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Stolen Airplane Leads to Deadly Crash; Indicted New York Congressman Chris Collins Suspends His Campaign; Airline Employee Steals Empty Plane, Goes On Deadly Joyride; Charlottesville Police Tightens Security Ahead Of Today's Events; Omarosa Claims She Turned Down Hush Money. Aired 12n-1p ET
Aired August 11, 2018 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RYAN NOBELS, CNN HOST: Hello, thank you for joining me. I'm in today from Fredricka Whitfield and we're going to begin today with some breaking news. An empty commercial airplane stolen by an airline employee, that man taking a plane on an hour long joy ride near Seattle even attempting to do some stunts, all while armed military fighter jets followed behind him. Then the 29-year-old ground services agent crashed the plane into the ground, killing himself. We have the chilling audio of the man talking to air traffic controllers. Take a listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got a lot of people that care about me and it's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this. I would like to apologize to each and every one of them; just a broken guy, got a few screws loose never really knew it until now. Hey, you think if I land this successfully, Loudon(ph) is going to give me a job as a pilot?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know I think they would give you a job doing anything if you could pull this off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, right. Hey, it's finally got, can this thing do a back flip you think? I think I'm going to try to do a barrel roll and if that goes good, I'm just going to nose down and call it a night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, let's try to land that airplane safely and not hurt anyone on the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Oh, damn it, I don't know, man, I don't know. I don't want to. I was kind of hoping that was going to be it, ya know?
NOBELS: And CNN's Aviation and Government Regulation Correspondent, Renee joins me now. We know the NTSB just had a briefing on this. Renee, you've been following this story pretty closely. I mean what do we know about the kind of access this man had?
RENEE MARSH, CNN'S AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: He had a lot of access. I mean you listen to that air traffic control tape. First of all, kudos to the air traffic control for remaining so calm. This is - when you talk about people who have the access, who have those specialized badges to get you to the high security, very sensitive areas of the airport. This man was one of them. He had that and you have a background check in order to get that sort of clearance. He clearly had that. Certain criminal background if you committed certain crimes would disqualify you from having that kind of clearance, so clearly he passed that test.
But this is a criminal case right now and this investigation is underway. The FBI is leading it because it's a criminal case. We know that they're likely transcribing a lot of what you just heard there to get the full picture here of what was going on in this man's head. Of course social media is going to be important too. We know the sheriff's department said he was suicidal, but the FBI's going to want a fuller picture.
Did some specific event trigger him to do what we saw him do yesterday? The NTSB just gave a briefing. We know they're on the ground. You saw that plane crashed. He died. It crashed in a very heavily wooded area so the task for the NTSB as we speak now is getting to the wreckage. There's a lot of thick brush on that island. They want to get the plane's recorders, specifically the cockpit voice recorder because it will have picked up anything that this man said outside of what we heard him saying to air traffic control, if he was talking to himself, perhaps if he even made a phone call before he took off.
Those are all going to be crucial elements of piecing this all together. That along with video from around the airport to get a full time line because the truth of the matter is, this is a mind-boggling story. I mean, you're talking about a major commercial airport.
MARSH: A commercial airliner stolen essentially broad daylight, how did he pull this off? Yes, he had the access but, you know, it's a tough thing to get on to a runway, take off without clearance from air traffic control. So they're going to want to get that full picture.
NOBLES: Right and we know this is a plane that could have contained up to 76 passengers; thankfully he was the only person on board but I have to imagine Renee, aside from learning about this specific incident, this is going to raise serious questions about security across the board, isn't it?
MARSH: It is, but really Ryan, this is one of those tough things. Of course everyone's going to want to peel back the layers. Is there something we can enhance here? When you think about it, this is supposed to be a trusted individual within the airport. This is a person who you trust with that special clearance. If you can't trust them, then what do you do? But this looks like this is a mental health issue and so, you know, of course that might be a conversation that the airline has to have internally as well, maybe how to maybe perhaps better detect certain signs.
NOBELS: Okay, Renee Marsh, excellent reporting as always. We're going to check back with you very soon. Thanks Renee.
Some witnesses say the scene was so surreal, they first thought there was an air show happening when they first saw the low-flying plane.
And I just spoke to a former employee of horizon airlines who says he worked with the man who stole that plane.
NICK JUNKA, WITNESSED STOLEN PLANE FLYING: We're ground service agents, okay. These airlines do a great job at doing security clearances and background checks. We have access to these planes all day long. We secure them. This is the most outlandish thing --. I worked with this guy. He was a good guy. It was a couple years ago or a year and a half ago. I would have never dreamed of this individual doing this. Never. And --
NOBELS: I guess that's part of what makes it so remarkable, right?
JUNKA: We really got to start looking at mental illness and something -- he even said it himself; he's broken. How he even got that plane off the ground is astonishing. Horizon has their security process; all airlines have their security processes. The airport has their processes they follow. There's cameras, I mean you are monitored the whole time when you're there, okay. So how did this guy -- was able to get -- even get the plane off the ground is astonishing. I mean, we're all going to be looking at this and it's a learning lesson. Thank God nobody was injured, except for him.
NOBELS: And I do want to bring in Justin Green. He's a CNN Aviation Analyst and Aviation Attorney. I guess, Justin probably the question a lot of people have this morning as they hear about this story is how is it possible somebody could just walk into a plane, get it started and then fly off, even someone with ground security clearance? I know this may sound like a silly question, but do planes have keys? Do you need some sort of mechanism to get the thing started? How is this possible?
JUSTIN GREEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST AND AVIATION ATTORNEY: You know, these airplanes, if I go out to an airport, a Cessna would have a key, you need to get the airplane and start the airplane, but these airplanes are supposed to be secure. And I think this is going to be a major learning event for the industry because this is a really big deal and I thought air traffic control did a great job.
I thought the Air National Guard did a great job, but if this pilot, instead of doing what he ended up doing, had wanted to crash the airplane into downtown Seattle, the fighters were not going to be able to stop him. Air traffic control was not going to stop him. Where I'm sitting in New York, I'm about 10 to 20 miles from three major airports where you're sitting in D.C., National Airport is about a two-minute flight once an airplane gets off the ground, so this has to be a major, major issue. I'm glad the FBI is on the case because, you know, this is really an FBI kind of investigation; not a traditional NTSB investigation.
NOBELS: Right. So where does the liability exist here? Is it with the airline? Is it with the airport? Is it just with this individual? Where are the fingers going to be pointed?
GREEN: I think the fingers are really going -- I don't know if there's going to be any fingers. There's almost certainly not going to be lawsuits coming out of this but Horizon Airline is responsible for its own security and access to its aircraft. I think that's where we're going to look. Remember, German Wings was not that long ago so there has been this focus on airline crew, airline employees, you know, Malaysia Airlines 370, the missing airplane, that we really don't have answer to. That could be inside airline, you know, misconduct, criminal misconduct. So this is a real major issue that I think they're going to have to look at because this wasn't a major disaster. It was terrible for this person's family but it could have been much, much worse.
NOBELS: I hear what you're saying. Obviously, focus on the people that are mainly responsible for flying these airlines but if you start to extend that out to anyone who has this clearance on an airfield, I mean, we're talking about hundreds of thousands of employees here. Is it possible to get a mental health status check on every person that might have this level of clearance?
GREEN: Well, you know, they have criminal background checks and you could have, you know, annual checks. But, you know, people's mental health condition change. He could pass a mental health and then you go through a divorce, you go through a bankruptcy, you go through all these major life stressor events and suddenly someone who six months ago was great now is suicidal. So there's no panacea.
One issue is why did one person -- why was one person allowed access to this airplane? As Renee so wonderfully described, you know, how did that person get out, taxi out, take off?
You know he probably has some aviation background either flying airplanes or simulators so there may be some clues when the FBI starts asking questions. There may be some clues that could have led to a question about what's going on with this individual.
NOBELS: It's absolutely remarkable, given everything that could have gone wrong that actually didn't. The NTSB has started its investigation. What are some of the key things you'll be looking for in this investigation?
GREEN: Well, it's really interesting. I said before the NTSB's investigation, you know, this is really what they're good at. You know, they're amazing at aviation safety. This is really a criminal investigation. You know, the cockpit voice recorder that Renee described could have some key information, the flight data recorder, which in most cases is really the key evidence, probably won't be that important in this case. The security cameras that show what happened and how he gained access may be more important.
But I think the investigation is really going to focus on talking to his family, talking to his friends, talking to his colleagues, and trying to see was there any, you know, flashing lights, was there any warning, and what's scary is the answer might be there wasn't. There was nothing that anyone could have done, barring making sure that an individual doesn't have access to an airplane by himself or herself that could have prevented this.
NOBELS: All right, Justin Green, thank you for your insight; Obviously a lot more to learn about this particular case. We appreciate you being on.
GREEN: Thank you Ryan.
NOBELS: A shake-up on Capitol Hill. Breaking news, Congressman Chris Collins announcing he will not seek re-election. Why is this New York Republican and strong Trump supporter stepping away at a critical time in his campaign? We'll break it down when we come back.
NOBELS: We're following breaking news out of Seattle where an airline employee stole a passenger plane, flew it around for an hour, even doing some stunts as armed military fighter jets followed behind. The 29-year-old ground service agent then crashed the plane in a wooded area just south of Seattle. He died in that crash. We are watching the investigation for any details and we'll discuss all the security risks at play in just a bit.
But, we are following some breaking political news this morning as well. Indicted New York Congressman Chris Collins has announced that he's suspending his campaign for re-election. The Republican representative was charged this week with insider trading. CNN's National Correspondent Athena Jones following the latest developments in this story. Athena, pretty big development this morning?
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Chris Collins, Representative Collins saying he's going to suspend his campaign. Let me read to you part of the statement he put out this morning. He said, "After extensive discussions with my family and friends over the last few days, I have decided that it is in the best interest of the constituents of New York 27, the Republican Party and President Trump's agenda for me to suspend my campaign for re-election to Congress."
Now, Ryan, this comes just a few days after he was indicted on 13 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud, and false statements. He was indicted, along with his son and his son's fiancee's father. He, at the time, vowed he was going to continue to seek re-election. Well, now he is stepping aside, but he says he will be filling out the remainder of his term. We should note that these charges involve an Australian pharmaceutical company.
Prosecutors allege that Representative Collins learned about a drug that had failed a drug trial. He did not trade, they say, on that nonpublic information but he passed along to his son. His son then passed along, they say, to his fiancee's father, allowing them to trade that stock and avoid $768,000 in losses. Now, Collins and the others could face up to 150 years in prison if they were convicted on all counts, Ryan.
NOBLES: All right and we do have some reporting, Athena, from a GOP operative, that officials are going to attempt to nominate Collins for a town clerkship. This would begin the process of getting him off the ballot in New York; that's not an easy process. If that happens, how will he be replaced?
JONES: That's right, we understand according to the State Board of Elections, the party leaders within his district, New York 27, it's a reliably red district in upstate New York outside of Buffalo. Party leaders in that district would meet to select a substitution. So there is a method for replacing him on the ballot. We should note of course that Representative Collins was the first sitting member of Congress to endorse President Trump.
The rest of his statement that he put out early this morning talks about the need to make sure that his district remains in the Republican column. He talked about the need to protect the president from Democrats who are going to want to impeach him if they gain control of the House. President Trump has not weighed in on this at all. He ignored shouted questions. The White House hasn't commented on this. Representative Collins, a competitor here his opponent, Democratic opponent, Nate Murray, has said that he's doing the right thing by stepping aside and he has been raising money in the days - he's raised over $100,000 since the indictment of Representative Collins.
It's clear the GOP, the GOP is going to try to replace him; we don't know for sure how that's going to turn out in November but we do know that New York 27 has been a red or Republican district for a long time Ryan.
NOBELS: All right, Athena Jones, thank you for your reporting; we appreciate that. Let's talk about this now. Joining me to discuss, CNN Legal Analyst and former federal prosecutor Shan Wu. And Lynn Sweet, Washington Bureau Chief with the "Chicago Sun Times" and CNN Analyst and former General Counsel of the FEC, Larry Nobel.
Larry, let's talk first about the situation that Republicans find themselves in in upstate New York. I'm from upstate New York; I know how difficult ballot access is there not to mention the fact that Chris Collins probably isn't just on the Republican line, he's on probably on two or three other lines. I would imagine, though, That New York State Republicans have some pretty good election lawyers that are going to be able to navigate the situation and get him off the ballot in time.
LARRY NOBLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it sounds like they're trying. It sounds like they've got good lawyers who've figured out this avenue; put him on a different race which then that opens up a slot and then they can put somebody else on.
I think they very well may be able to do it. It still is a very messy situation; they have a lot to explain. They want him to go away as fast as possible and it's not going to be that fast of a process.
NOBELS: And Lynn, of course, regardless of what they can do legally, there's a huge political issue they're dealing with. There's all this talk on radio about a blue wave. How does something like this impact the dynamics across the country in terms of democrats trying to take back the House?
LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN TIMES: Well, if Democrats want an issue of a corrupt Republican Congressman, they've got it, no matter what he does and he could have done his party a favor by giving a clearer statement today. When you say you suspend a campaign, what the heck does that mean? Are you doing -- he could have added in this statement, and I will do everything I can to cooperate with Republicans, to get me off the ballot and get a good replacement.
SWEET: That also would have been helpful and he didn't do that. So when people send a blurry signal like that, it doesn't help the cause he is trying to help which is prevent a blue wave. So let's see -- he actually had the choice of resigning, which was even a stronger message. Now, it may be too late to have a special election, but he had steps he could take. Now, he said he had to be there in the statement, you know, to keep fighting the fight. If you want to truly help, there's nothing as good when you're accused of wrongdoing, criminal wrongdoing, as a resignation.
NOBELS: Very murky to say the least. We should say that I know a Republican there -- I'm from the Buffalo area. Stefan Mychaliw who is the Erie County Comptroller, a pretty popular Republican there, former TV news reporter. He's already announced he's going to seek the seat, so there is already Republican plans to make this process go forward but it's not going to be easy. Let's talk about the legal aspect of all of this. Collins facing extensive insider trading charges, up to 150 years in prison if convicted. What do we know about this place and in particular his family's role in all of this?
SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It seems like a strong case, particularly I think the evidence about the phone calls that he was doing on the White House lawn are just terribly problematic for him. These kinds of cases with family members involved, I would expect him to choose a plea deal. Had he faced this just a little bit earlier, a lot of times in a situation like this to avoid his family going down with him, he would have already resolved the matter. I just can't image he's going to keep fighting this while his son, I think the son's fiancee and the father of the fiancee are all involved as well.
NOBELS: Larry, the thing I find shocking about all this, is didn't we have a whole conversation about Congressional insider trading laws? There was this explosive "60 Minutes" report. We were supposed to end all of this. And in addition to the fact that Collins was heavily invested in this, it seems like another day we're learning of another member of Congress also invested in this company. Is this still a problem that the House of Representatives and Congress in general need to get their hands on?
NOBEL: It's a major problem. It's actually more of a problem in the House than the Senate. In the senate, you actually can't be on the board of a publicly traded corporation, in the House you can be and that makes no sense to allow a member to be on a board. But even beyond that, they shouldn't be allowed to trade in stock in companies that they are in a sense overseeing through legislation. This has been a problem with Collins for a while. There's been issues with him in the stock for a while. Because it's an Australian stock, there's some twists and turns about this, about the various laws that apply.
He also basically tried to get -- or did get a Republican colleagues to buy the stock, so he's been out there pushing the stock. It's a major ethics problem. I think the House has to really look at this. We have the Stock Act you were referring to that basically stopped them from insider trading. But Republicans have to look at this and ask whether it's really worth having members be able to individually trade stocks when almost everything they do can affect that stock.
How do you say that a tax bill doesn't affect every stock in this country? And this is the kind of problem they're going to have and, yes, they should do something about it. Will they? We always say reform comes from scandal. Is this a big enough scandal? I think it really should be, especially if other Republican members -- I haven't heard anything, but if any other Republican members are selling their stock. But if any of that comes out, I think this is going to spread.
SWEET: Well, I think politically it's going to be hard to impossible to have a ban on stock trading because people do come to Congress, even of more modest means, with a portfolio. What is realistic is for the House to act, to make it clear, you cannot be on the board of a publicly traded company under the what the heck are you thinking congressman, that you are on this company and that your family's invested in the stock and you're a lawmaker and you are on relevant, you know, committees. I think that is politically doable because there's just -- I don't know how many but probably there's not that many lawmen -- do you know how many congressmen are on boards?
NOBEL: No, I don't.
SWEET: This is very rare. People should know, this is very, very rare, because they are exposed and any competitive district, it would be an issue that so-and-so's going to sit on the board. It's not, again, like you have a job like I'm a teacher and I'm going to keep teaching in Congress or I'm a doctor and I'm going to see patients.
NOBELS: It is a completely different ball of wax we're talking about in terms of --
NOBELS: In Collins' case, he actually sat on a committee that oversaw the regulation of this particular company --
SWEET: So that's why he's a perfect storm of collision of ethical problems that we're talking about so I think what is doable, especially in this, for the midterms, for the Republicans to show they've done something and what they can do is something that will affect very little people, which is say you can't be on a board.
NOBELS: Now Shan, let me turn to Shan for a second. We've seen in the past that generally it seems as though in many cases that the federal government has got quite a bit of evidence against Congressman Collins in this case. It's normal for people to make plea deals in this case. It seems more and more, though, frequently, particularly members of Congress or public officials tend to go and fight all the way to a courtroom. Would he be making a mistake in this respect? I know you don't know all the insight.
WU: It seems like he would just because it's a strong case here. I think one thing that a lot of times people forget is sometimes they think of insider trading as kind of far removed from common folks on a jury and it's not. It's really just a basic form of theft. There's stealing in the sense that other people don't have access to that. That's why they're very difficult cases to win with a jury because once the jury understands that this is really just a theft case, then you become a very unsympathetic defendant.
NOBELS: All right. Terrific conversation. I appreciate ya'll for being here especially on a Saturday. Thank you so much.
Still ahead, a deadly joy ride over the skies of Seattle. How an airport employee was able to take off with a plane and what national security concerns does that bring to light? We'll get some answers when we come back.
[12:31:35] RYAN NOBLES, CNN ANCHOR: Let's get back to our breaking news out of Seattle where an airline employee stole a passenger plane, flew it around for an hour, even doing some stunts and talking with the control tower as he flew. This is armed military fighter jets followed behind. The 29-year-old ground service agent crashed the plane in a remote area south of the city, killing himself.
Joining me now on the phone is James Gagliano, he is CNN's law enforcement. You're not actually in the phone. There you are, live and in person, James. Always good to see your beautiful face, I appreciate you being here. He's a Law Enforcement Analyst and retired FBI supervisory special agent.
We've had a lot of conversations today about this, and particular the fact that the FBI is getting involved in this investigation. Why is it so important for the FBI to be, actually leading the investigation at this point?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: So, Ryan, let's understand and break this down for the viewers.
So the FBI is involved in any type of crimes aboard an aircraft. Now, there are some -- there are arguments about whether or not the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Marshal Service has jurisdiction over this.
Any time a plane is on the ground and anything that happens aboard that aircraft, the FBI has purview over that. So that's kind of how the FBI is involved in this. Anything that happens inside the actual plane itself, the skin of the aircraft, the FBI will be involved.
NOBLES: All right. Are they going to be looking into the background of the person that hijacked this plane? Are they going to try and find out perhaps what is motivation was to take such a dramatic action?
GAGLIANO: Yes. I mean, let's look at this. I mean, you got a guy that takes off, not allowed to do that and he does this going outside the realm of everything that you're supposed to do.
Understand what a plane is. The average aircraft weighs about 175,000 pounds. There's about 40,000 pounds of fuel on that. And understand JP-4 or jet fuel burns about 40,000 -- somewhere around 980 degrees celsius.
So, that's a very dangerous thing. It's essentially a missile. And listen, in the United States, we learned our lesson after 9/11. So, this is something that we have to be very concerned about, why the FBI is taking this very seriously.
NOBLES: And what kind of background screenings are there for people who work at airports and directly with the aircraft? And does this make you believe that those screenings, if they do exist, should be a little bit more intense?
GAGLIANO: Yes, Ryan, it goes back to you and I talked about this before, about the mental health issue. Any time we deal with, you know, a mass shooting or things like that, we always look at it and we go, how did we miss those signals or how did we miss those signs?
So, here's a 29-year-old individual. How is it possible that they were screened and yet possibly got through somehow through the screening process and were able to take an aircraft in Seattle and fly it without any type of, you know, checks and balances in place, something very, very concerning to the FBI as well as to the Federal Aviation Administration. And yes, we need to go back and look at our screening process right now for pilots, no doubt about it.
NOBLES: And we should also point out the fact that this was not some small municipal airport, this was a major, international, metropolitan airport in Seattle. It's got to be mind-boggling, right, that he was able to steal an airplane take it out to the runway and then take off without anyone being able to stop him? That's -- it just seems beyond the imagination.
GAGLIANO: Yes. No doubt about it. Listen, there are protocols in place. Oppose to 9/11, I know that in this instance, F-15s were scrambled. So the military was scrambled to try to discern whether or not this individual was looking to fly this into a, you know, a national monument or landmark as we dealt with in 9/11, very disconcerting. But these are kind of things that people look at, the public looks at. And says, how did we not have a better grasp on this type of situation?
[12:35:22] We live in a society where we relish our civil liberties but our civil liberties shouldn't allow somebody, even a pilot, to be able to access an airplane. And, again, take that thing up into the air, 175,000 pounds, all that jet fuel which burns at an insane 980 degrees celsius and be able to do that.
So yes, this is going to be something where the best practices, the FBI (ph) review, there's going to be a lot of people looking at this one and wondering how this happened.
NOBLES: All right James Gagliano, thank you so much. And we appreciate your perspective as always.
From the Apprentice boardroom to the White House, former Trump Aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman, now speaking out about her time in Washington. Still ahead, why she now claims she was offered thousands of dollars to stay silent. That new report is coming up.
[12:40:31] NOBLES: And we're still following the breaking news out of Seattle where an airline employee stole a passenger plane, flew it around for an hour, even doing some stunts. While armed military fighter jets followed behind. That 29-year-old ground service agent then crashed the plane in a wooded area just South of Seattle and he died in that crash.
We're going to have more on the security risks. We're going to play the chilling audio of what that man told air traffic control in just a little bit.
Charlottes Virginia -- Charlottesville Virginia I should say, on edge today. One year after a white nationalist rally turned violent and deadly.
This morning, President Trump is calling for calm, tweeting, quote, the riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence, peace to all Americans.
A state of emergency is in effect in Virginia and law enforcement in Charlottesville taking no chances after being criticized last year for being unprepared. In a show of force, police are already patrolling the streets on this anniversary.
CNN's Kaylee Hartung is in Charlottesville of us now. Kaylee, what events are being planned today? And how are police planning to keep the peace?
KAYLEE HARTUNG,CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ryan, the police chief here has said that no violence will be tolerated, in the city this weekend, you've seen pictures of that heavy police presence in the streets that we saw the violent clashes a year ago. The streets surrounding Emancipation Park, the park that general Robert E. Lee's statue sits in.
But I wanted to bring you to the downtown mall, just a block away from that park, to see a different visual. Yes, there is a law enforcement presence behind me, some just ahead of me. But what you see here are the people of Charlottesville.
Beyond that law enforcement presence, this is more than just business as usual for the city this weekend. One business owner telling me he's spoken to so many people today who've told them, they've come here very purposefully. To show their support for one another, to show their support for the businesses of downtown Charlottesville, while this area, in particular, is within a secure perimeter that authorities have created.
Officials saying they wanted to learn from the lessons of last year. On of those being, they wanted to keep separate any pedestrian traffic from vehicular traffic. Of course, remembering the attack that a driver issued when he drove his vehicle into a group of counter protesters, killing Heather Heyer.
So this secure perimeter, pedestrian only. The only vehicles you see are that have law enforcement. And a lot of members of this community, Ryan, they're saying they don't mind the inconvenience.
They want that feeling of protection from their law enforcement who many say failed to do their job a year ago, and yet other say, they feel this incredible presence of law enforcement, 1200 personnel on hand for the city. They feel like it's an overcorrection.
And Ryan, regardless of the feelings in that vein, it's very clear that the wounds here in the city of Charlottesville are still very fresh. The process of healing continues. And that's where so much of the focus is for the city over the weekend, because that negative energy, the organizers of the Unite the Right rally that took over this city a year ago, they are now organizing in Washington D.C. that rally planned tomorrow of course.
But here, a focus on healing, tonight there will be an event held primarily by students from UVA, other members of this community joining them. But they say, they will defend the rotunda that iconic building is in front of UVA's Campus that white supremacists marched to last year carrying their Tiki torches.
Again, the process of healing continues. But when you see the law enforcement presence like you do right here, it's a reminder of the painful past that this city now has.
[12:44:10] NOBLES: All right Kaylee Hartung in Charlottesville where they're trying to get back to normal a year after the events at that Unite the Right rally. Kaylee, thank you so much. And we'll be right back.
NOBLES: And we're following breaking news out of Seattle where an airline employee stole a passenger plane, flew it around for an hour, even doing some stunts as armed military fighter jets followed behind. The 29-year-old ground service agent then crashed the plane in a wooded area just south of Seattle and died in the crash.
The NTSB working to recover the flight data and cockpit voice recorder from the plane. We'll have more on what we know about the man in just a bit.
New allegations of the Trump administration trying to pay for silence, former White House Aide Omarosa Manigault Newman says she was offered a job with Trumps reelection campaign and $15,000 a month to keep quiet after being fired from her job at the White House.
This, just one of many shocking allegations in her new book, unhinged, an insider account of the Trump White House. CNN's obtained a copy of the book on Friday. CNN has also reached out for comment but we have not heard back.
On Friday, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders dismissed the claims in Omarosa's book, saying, quote "Instead of telling the truth about all the good President Trump and his administration are doing to make America safe and prosperous, this book is riddled with lies and accusations.
[12:49:59] Well, joining me now to discuss this and more is Senior Media Correspondent and the host of "Reliable Sources" Brian Stelter. Brian, this book hasn't hit the shelves yet. It's already stirred up a lot of controversy. When will people be able to read this book, other than people like you that get the advanced copy?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's actually out Tuesday but Omarasa's always been a pro of getting free PR and getting publicity for herself. And that's what we're seeing happen here.
Copies of the book have leaked out and she's about to start an interview tour, where she's making startling accusations against President Trump, portraying the White House as chaotic. You know, in some ways, this is a follow-up to "Fire and Fury," that was the Michael Wolfe book back in January that they came out and shocked the country and became a number one best-seller.
Now, this is different because this is an insider. Omarosa worked in the White House for a better part of a year. And then, she was forced out by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
The book is not doing as well as "Fire and Fury" did so far, you know, in terms of pre-orders. There's not as much interest so far. But we'll see if that changes in the coming days.
And like you mentioned, one of the most startling accusations involved this contract. She says she was offered a contract to work for the campaign, you know, once she was dumped at the White House she was offered a job with the campaign. But they were very restrictive language, an NDA, a Nondisclosure Agreement.
She says, they were trying to pay her to stay silent about her experiences at the White House. And the "Washington Post" did review a copy of that contract. So, we know at least that claim she's making does check out.
NOBLES: Brian, I have to imagine that the White House is going to do everything they can to try and question Omarosa's credibility when it comes to some of these topics. And already, some of these pretty bold statements that she's made have been disputed.
NOBLES: I mean, if the White House does make that claim, don't they kind of have a point? She's not necessarily the most credible actor in all this, is she?
STELTER: That is true. But Sarah Sanders and her press aides are not the most credible people either. This is an awkward situation where nobody involved has a reputation for being honest and telling the truth. You know, but you think about Omarosa. Let's go back to "The Apprentice."
Her brand, her persona has always been about being a villain, a liar, a back stabber. That has been the brand she was famously fired three times on various episodes of "The Apprentice."
But all of those issues, all the issues about her credibility, come back to the fact that President Trump still hired her. "The Washington Post" has described her as the highest ranking black employee at the White House.
STELTER: She was making $190,000. That's a big amount for a government job. So, the President brought her in, had meetings with her in the Oval Office. And now, she is betraying him in a stunning way. I mean, she does have tapes. I've confirmed from a source that she has tapes from her conversations with Trump.
STELTER: Apparently, there's no bombshells on the tapes but she's using those tapes as leverage as the White House tries to tear her down.
NOBLES: And do you think that's what she's going to do, is use these tapes to try and bolster her credibility, to say that I've made this allegation and I have a recording of it to back up my point? Is there any sense that's what her plan is?
STELTER: Yes. It's her way of saying, all right, you know, in the past, the White House has said she didn't have much interaction with Trump. That she didn't have a big job in the White House. Well, she can turn around and say, hey, I was with the president, here's the proof. It was on the tape.
Now, I don't know if she's planning on airing these tapes any time soon. But "The Washington Post's" Josh Dawsey was able to listen to some of them. And he says that some of the tapes back up some of the quotes in the book. So, she's using them to bolster her credibility.
But look, there are other cases in this book already that have been disputed, people like George Conway and Frank Luntz saying that things in the book attributed to them are not true. And in the book, she portrayed the president as a racist, a misogynist, and bigot. Those are her words talking about her former boss.
Of course, that leads me to wonder, why did she join the administration in the first place?
STELTER: She had known the president for a over a decade before she did.
NOBLES: And she was very close with Donald Trump for a very long period of time.
NOBLES: So, this is certainly a stunning turn of events. Brian Stelter, thank you. We appreciate it.
NOBLES: Coming up, a stolen plane sends jet fighters scrambling over the skies of Seattle. Why did an airport employee take over a cockpit for a deadly joy ride? The latest on the investigation coming up.
But first, this week's "Start Small, Think Big."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The silent disco concept started in Europe. I got inspired and found in some event in 2008. Come dance with us.
Sound event is a full scope production company that specializes in wireless headphones and sound events. This headphone utilizes my patented technology. The headphones glow a different color depending on what channel you're on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Silent disco, make some noise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ability where you can go with a bunch of friends that have different musical interest can gravitate towards the channel that they want to listen to.
So, on our headphones, there's three different channels of music. So, you can have top 40 on one channel, Latin music on the next channel, and rap and hip-hop or whatever.
A lot of people think it's kind of anti-social because you have headphones on. Well, it's actually the opposite because you can slide off your headphone right in front of the deejay and carry on a conversation.
[12:55:05] Starting the company was a tough sell. But I thought that if the technology was better and you forgot you were wearing headphones that it could be something and it was one of those kind of gut check moments. It was like, if I don't do this, I'm going to look back and someone else will.
NOBLES: Thank you for joining me. I'm Ryan Nobles in for Fredricka Whitfield.
[13:00:00] And we start with the breaking news out of Seattle. An empty commercial airplane stolen by an airline employee, that man taking the plane on an hour long joy ride near Seattle, even attempting to do some stunts all while armed --