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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Trump Rising; Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Apologizes in Court; Manhunt; Tsarnaev Apologizes, Is Sentenced to Death; Slain Pastor Honored at S.C. Capitol; Interview with U.S. Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired June 24, 2015 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Police say that the fugitives may have lost a pair of boots, but possibly gained a pair of shotguns.
I'm Jake Tapper. This is THE LEAD.
The national lead, police telling people to lock their doors and warning that two of the most wanted fugitives in the country are likely now armed and far away from the cabin they broke into just a few days ago. Where could they have gotten a gun?
Also breaking in national news, he took people's lives, he took people's limbs. Today, the convicted terrorist in the Boston bombing finally broke his silence, saying he's sorry in front of the victims and family members. But what he did not say might be more important.
The politics lead, Donald Trump trash-talking Jeb Bush like he bombed on "Celebrity Apprentice." Does the Donald really have a shot to steal New Hampshire?
Good afternoon. Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Our national lead today, prosecutors and victims of the Boston Marathon bombings minutes ago reacting to the sentence for the terrorist who perpetrated those attacks, a terrorist apologized and expressed some sort of remorse in court hours ago.
Some of the his victims say simply they do not accept his apology, that his remorse is not real, but what is certain, the judge says that the terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will die for his crimes.
Much more on that later in the show, but first some more recent new details on the hunt for the fugitives who broke out of prison nearly three weeks ago. They're still on the run. Police are warning the public again to be extremely careful.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAJ. CHARLES GUESS, NEW YORK STATE POLICE: I would point out to you that, those of you who are not familiar with the area, just about every cabin or outbuilding in the north country has one or more shotguns or weapons, and we have since day one operated under the belief that these men are armed. They're extremely dangerous. They're cunning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: The search area, 75 square miles, tough terrain. Thousands of tips from the public have come in. At least 1,000 officers are scouring the area, but still there have been no real breaks.
Could these men have possibly disappeared for good?
Alexandra Field is near the search area in Owls Head, New York. She has the latest on this ongoing manhunt.
Alex, what's the latest?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Jake.
We know that at least one of the fugitives could be barefoot. We know that the terrain here is not on their side. It's tough to navigate this part of the Adirondacks. But, at the same time, investigators are hoping that those challenges will slow these fugitives down, hem them in.
They have received a number of tips, still no credible leads on where the fugitives could be since Saturday. So, at this point, they are expanding the search area, and shifting it yet again.
FIELD (voice-over): Police methodically searching dense woods and fields around a cabin that they believe escapees David Sweat and Richard Matt were hiding out in.
GUESS: Their distance from that cabin could be extensive if their travel was unimpeded.
FIELD: DNA, along with a pair of boots, were found inside a cabin less than 30 miles from the prison the two convicted killers escaped from 19 days ago. Officials believe the fugitives were startled by something and left the cabin in a hurry, the items they left behind possible clues to how they are surviving.
GUESS: We have virtually 100 percent assurance that they were in that area.
FIELD: As the search for the escapees continues, new details are emerging on the role Joyce Mitchell played in the escape of the two inmates. CNN has learned Mitchell allegedly put hacksaw blades and drill bits into chunks of hamburger meat. She then placed the meat in a freezer inside the tailor shop.
According to a law enforcement official, she asked corrections officers Gene Palmer to take the meat to the inmates' cell, where they were allowed to cook food. The guard did not run the meat through a metal detector, a direct violation of prison policy. Palmer willingly spoke to police and said he had no idea the tools were in the meat. Tonight, we're learning more about the relationship between Mitchell and Sweat, who worked together in the tailor shop.
Erik Jensen, a former inmate who worked alongside Sweat and Mitchell, describes how Sweat wooed her.
ERIK JENSEN, FORMER INMATE: I believe they were sleeping together, you know, and I'm not the only one that would say that. They're in the back room. You know, we always used to laugh and joke with him about how, oh, it was his girlfriend, his boo, his little side thing.
FIELD: Jensen describe Mitchell as a giggling schoolgirl when it came to Sweat. He said there were many sexual encounters between the two and that they would disappear in the tailor shop closet where garments were stored.
JENSEN: They were back there, not so much Mondays. It was usually like a Tuesday, Wednesday and a Thursday, because, Friday, no orders went out.
FIELD: So, Jake, certainly, there's a lot of intrigue about what was happening behind bars.
And investigators have to concern themselves with a lot of it, because it could speak volumes about how these prisoners were able to pull off this escape. But here in the center of the search area, law enforcement officials are only focused on one thing. That is finding those fugitives.
At the same time, they're preparing for what will happen when they do find them and they're preparing for the possibility that both of these men could have armed themselves. They certainly got potential access to a number of the hunting cabins that surround this area, Jake.
TAPPER: Alexandra Field in Owls Head, thank you so much.
Let's turn now to Ron Hosko, former assistant director of the Criminal Investigations Division at the FBI, and CNN contributor and criminologist Casey Jordan is joining me from New York.
Ron, let me start with you.
Given the hunting cabins, what are the odds that these two do not have firearms at this point?
RON HOSKO, LAW ENFORCEMENT LEGAL DEFENSE FUND: Well, I think law enforcement has to proceed on the belief that they do have firearms.
These are hunting cabins. They're vacation homes. Many, many Americans have weapons in their houses. So, law enforcement cannot let down their guard with the supposition that they are unarmed. I think confidence should be very high that they are armed and treat them as though they are.
TAPPER: Casey, we continue to hear these new details about how far Joyce Mitchell went in helping these two murderers bust out of jail. Explain, what is the psychological motivation here? Did she think she was in love with them?
CASEY JORDAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, that giggling schoolgirl description really nails it. That's classic hybristophilia. These women are very often insecure, have low self-esteem.
They are classic enablers, and very submissive. And they feel like a little teenager in love when they're around these violent men. Very often, they have been victims of physical or sexual abuse. And we don't know that with Joyce Mitchell.
But what it does is make them very vulnerable. They want a safe relationship with a powerful man. They're very attracted to the so- called alpha dog, but I think she didn't show up with that getaway car because when it came down to it, the idea of actually having to physically be with them outside of the prison was terrifying to her.
TAPPER: Ron, there are now 1,000 officers in this intense manhunt. We're closing in three weeks here, though. Do you think there's a chance, a good chance that these guys are never going to be caught?
HOSKO: I think there's a chance of that. If you look at prior manhunts, this, because of the tree cover here -- I'm going to give you a quick example. I was hiking, a trail that I'm very familiar with. That trail is far different than it was two months ago.
Now it's overgrown. You would almost need a machete to work your way through it. So I could miss somebody by 10 feet. And that may give them 10 miles, that may give them 10 years of a lead on this thing.
TAPPER: Casey, when it comes to Joyce Mitchell and the prisoners, do you think, based on her personality type, is this about she actually found one or perhaps even both of these convicts attractive or compelling, or is it more that people like her are the kind who are going to end up with a prisoner, no matter who?
JORDAN: No, I think that she simply has a deep void in her life that she is trying to fill.
And she's -- you know, no disrespect to her husband, but I don't think she found it in her marriage. So she was going to be attracted to an alpha kind of guy, and there are no lack of those in the prison where she works. She's the kind -- you know, her husband -- her first husband had reported that she was a serial cheater. So she looked like the type who was always willing to trade up for any man who would give her that limerence, that giggly, wonderful romantic Romeo and Juliet feeling.
And if she wasn't finding it on the outside, she was definitely going to find it in the prison.
TAPPER: Ron, let me just ask you about the prison here where this fellow employee says that he didn't know that these power tools were hidden in the hamburger meat.
We heard from another former inmate about the rendezvous that Joyce Mitchell would have with a convict. What kind of prison is this? Is this normal behavior?
HOSKO: It isn't.
Typically, what you see going on in too many prisons is smuggling of narcotics, smuggling of communication devices. This is beyond the pale for a high-security institution. This should not be going on. The state could commit themselves to a thorough review of this, potential additional prosecutions. This is sloppy. This is not the sort of vigilance that we expect from a prison.
TAPPER: Certainly not.
Ron Hosko, Casey Jordan, thank you both.
Also breaking at this hour, he addressed the court, he said he's sorry, he asked for mercy, but it's what the Boston bomber did not say today that could be more important -- the drama in court right before a judge sentenced the Boston terrorist to death.
Plus, reaction from his victims, that's next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Now to the conclusion of the Boston Marathon bombing trial in federal court in Boston.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was formally sentenced for the bombings on April 15, 2013. In April of this year, he was convicted of a total of 30 charges, including the killing of 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, 8- year-old Martin Richard, and 23-year-old Lingzi Lu, and the wounding of 264 other people.
He was also convicted of the murder of MIT police officer Sean Collier.
Today, the convicted terrorist was given the opportunity to speak. He apologized.
And CNN's national correspondent Deb Feyerick was there, joins me now from Boston.
Deb, what did he have to say?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, it was interesting, because he broke his silence.
He admitted it. He said -- quote -- The bombing, which I'm guilty of, if there's any lingering doubt, I did it, along with my brother." And then he did, as you say, apologize to the victims and their families, saying -- quote -- "I'm sorry for the lives I have taken, the suffering I have caused, the damage I have done."
And at one point, he paused, seeming to choke up on those words, seeming moved by what he was saying. Now, he spoke in a heavy accent. It was almost a Russian Arabic accent, sounded like. He was standing in a dark gray suit, a gray button-down shirt. And he looked at the judge.
And he really said that this is Ramadan, this is the holy month of Ramadan. It's -- quote -- "a month in which hearts change."
However, the U.S. attorney spoke afterwards, and like many of the families, didn't believe it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[16:15:01]CARMEN ORBITZ, U.S. ATTORNEY: What I was struck more was by what he didn't say. He didn't renounce terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FEYERICK: And so, you see, many of the people were skeptical, saying, look, he could have done that anytime during the ten-week trial. He could have shown remorse at anytime. He chose not to until the very end, Jake.
TAPPER: And, Deb, obviously, it was emotional, this horrific person who committed this unspeakable act, finally being sentenced to death. What was the mood like in the cord, especially giving the fact that some of the victims and their family members spoke?
FEYERICK: Yes, absolutely. It was -- it was a really interesting mood, Jake. It was defiance, forgiveness. There was anger. There was also a sense of resignation that lives would never be the same.
Rebecca Gregory, she was probably the strongest, defiant -- the most defiant. She walked in with her prosthetic legs, and the toes -- the plastic toes were painted this ort of bright, happy coral. She said, you know, it's so funny you smirk and flip off the camera. I feel that's what we are doing to you.
Another amputee, Heather Abbott, said that he did not break me. The memory of those killed will be kept alive by those who survived this terror.
And a third person says, basically, I forgive you. I forgive your brother. Take responsibility, forgo the appeals process, so we can all move forward in peace.
A lot of headiness in the courtroom. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the beginning looked very relaxed. By the end, looking more sober, taken away in handcuffs, Jake.
TAPPER: Those victims, so brave of them, so much courage must be needed to muster to stand there in the presence of that person.
There was also an incident outside the courthouse, Deb. What happened? What was that about?
FEYERICK: Yes, it was really interesting. We broke for lunch, and a lot of the victims actually went down to the cafeteria that's inside the court just behind me, so the line was long. A couple of us moved on.
And there was a lot of police activity, and a man who appeared to be in his 20s, tall, wearing a white t-shirt, scraggly-looking hair and beard, striking similarity to Tsarnaev, he had driven his van in front of the courthouse, the car had no license plates at all, and police actually found a meat cleaver inside that car. That man was taken away. He's currently in custody.
We're waiting to see if or whether there will be charges filed against him. We don't know his name just yet, Jake.
TAPPER: A bizarre story. Deb Feyerick in Boston, thanks so much.
The Charleston church massacre quickly led to calls to take down the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina capitol. Now, cross the countries others are calling for license plates, statues, and General Lee, not the guy General Lee, but the Dodge Charger from the TV Show "The Dukes of Hazzard". Which is the line to be drawn?
Today, a shocking revelation from the White House about just how many Americans are held hostage right now around the world. All of that, coming back.
[16:22:30] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
The reverend and state senator, Clementa Pinckney, his body today ushered into the South Carolina state capitol, nearly a week exactly after a racist terrorist turned a bible study into a slaughter. But today, the congregation at Mother Emanuel Church continues to restore our faith by not allowing evil to win. They are going to hold another bible study class tonight as scheduled, one week after the terrorist attack. This evening's lesson -- the power of love.
All this as their spiritual leader lay in his casket, yards away from the shadow of the Confederate battle flag, still padlocked and flying above the Confederate soldiers memorial in the battle grounds there in Columbia, South Carolina.
Let's get right to CNN national correspondent Ryan Young. Ryan, a very somber scene in Columbia today.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly is.
You want to talk about the power of the love -- look, despite the 100 degree temperatures, I want to show you something, Jake, take a looking at just across the street. And look at all the people who are lining up to go inside to mourn together. We have seen South Carolinians from all over come to be here and they wanted to stand together.
This is the day they said they wanted to be here in solidarity.
YOUNG (voice-over): State Senator Clementa Pinckney's body arrived at the South Carolina State House today, as hundreds of mourners lined the street to pay their respects to the slain lawmaker and Mother Emanuel's reverend. His body lying in state inside the capitol tonight, while outside, a divisive symbol of the old south still flies on the statehouse grounds. His casket passed under the Confederate flag, the same one embraced by Dylann Roof, who took Pinckney's life and those of eight other African-Americans just a week ago.
GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: It's time to move the flag from the capitol grounds.
YOUNG: After Governor Nikki Haley's statement, South Carolina lawmakers overwhelming voted to open the debate to remove the flag from the capitol grounds once and for all. But the vote to actually take down the flag has yet to occur, and by any measure, its passing not a sure thing.
Haley's office acknowledge in a statement that she, quote, "does not have the authority to remove the flag herself today or any other day. And rather than violate that law, she will continue to work to change it."
As debate over the future of the Confederate flat overshadows the mourning in South Carolina, calls for taking down the flag are spreading across the South. Alabama's governor today ordered the Confederate flag to be removed from its state capitol grounds, joining governors in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia, who have also sought to diminish the presence of the controversial symbol.
[16:25:12] Even in Boise, Idaho, Mississippi state flag which features a Confederate display was removed from a display at the state flags at city hall.
REP. WILLIAM CHUMLEY (R), CHARLESTON: It stays there until the people of South Carolina say it should come down.
YOUNG: But in South Carolina, taking the flag down is expected to be an uphill battle. And some lawmakers are already trying to shift the focus of the debate.
CHUMLEY: We're focusing on the wrong thing. We need to be focusing on with the nine families that are left and see that this doesn't happen again. These people sit in there and waited their turn to be shot. That's sad. If somebody in there with the means of self- defense could have stopped this and we could have had less funerals than we're having.
(END VIDEOTAPE) YOUNG: Now, a local paper caught up with representative Chumley to ask him about the comments he made to CNN. In a statement that he released, he says, "Please let me be clear. The responsibility for the despicable murders in Charleston rests solely on the murder. And if any of my remarks suggested differently, I am deeply sorry."
So, you can see the scene out here, despite the flags still being here, hundreds of people gathering to mourn a leader -- Jake.
TAPPER: Ryan Young, thank you so much.
South Carolina is not only the only state that has Confederate battle flags or other relics from the Confederacy still flying. Yesterday, Mississippi's Republican's house speaker said his state's flag which blends the Confederate insignia into its design should be changed. And today, both Mississippi Republican Senators Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran echoed that call. And as Ryan Young just reported, also today, Alabama's governor issued a directive to yank down the Confederate flag flapping over his state's capitol.
Let's talk about the flag with Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina. He's also assistant Democratic leader in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Sir, good to see you again. Thanks so much for joining me.
REP. JIM CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: Thank you. Thanks for having me. There's been a rush from companies as well as lawmakers to take down Confederate flags, to yank the battle flag from stores, eBay, for example, has stopped selling items with Confederate insignias.
But it's kind of a slippery slope. They still sell Nazi currency with swastikas. Amazon making a similar announcement, but they still sell Nazi armbands.
I guess my question to you is, where do you think these companies should draw the line?
CLYBURN: Well, those companies and what they do in the private market, I don't think it has a particular relevance to officialdom. What we see here is a battle flag in a position of authority, sovereignty, on public grounds. If they want to sell people things, I don't have anything to do with that, and I don't believe that belongs in this discussion.
What belongs in this discussion is whether or not this Confederate battle flag, the battle flag of the northern Virginia has any business on the statehouse grounds, whether or not the Navy Jack, Confederate Navy Jack, the Tennessee flag, whether it should be flying is Summerall Chapel at the Citadel.
These are public institutions. And my children and grandchildren ought not be subjected to these things flying in their faces when they visit public places.
TAPPER: I take your point on public versus private. But let me ask you, in terms of public displays, official government displays of respect and honor, Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston -- as I don't need to tell you, is on Calhoun Street, named for the former vice president who as a senator defended slavery, spearheaded cessation, there are military bases throughout the U.S. for Confederate generals. Do you think those statutes should come down? Should those streets and military bases be renamed?
CLYBURN: No, I don't think that at all. I do believe we ought to have an honest discussion as to what the relevance may be of any one of these institutions or things. I'm not asking anybody to change the name of Calhoun Street. I really don't particularly like the statue of John C. Calhoun. The fact that the Citadel, the first Citadel was one block from Emanuel AME Church, and was erected to tamp down anybody that might be in insurrection against slavery.
So, this is the context within which all of this needs to be discussed.
And people keep talking about this flag being where it is. That statue there, that so-called Confederate soldier, that statue was not there when I was a child growing up. That statue was out at the Confederate cemetery.
[16:30:08] They had brought that statue here after civil rights became an issue. The flag was put there after -- on the dome after civil rights issues became prominent in this state.
So, all of these new things that have developed in response to civil rights activities, we ought to admit that that's why we did it. It has nothing to do with Confederate monuments. It's fine for the Confederate monument to be out there at the Confederate cemetery. It has no business on the statehouse grounds. That's it.
TAPPER: Congressman Jim Clyburn, always good to see you. Thank you so much for your time and sharing your views, sir.
CLYBURN: Thank you so much.