Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Jury Resumes Deliberation in Manafort Trial; Tariffs on Chinese Goods; Power Plant Regulations Rolled Back; Watts Charged with Murders. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired August 21, 2018 - 09:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:30:46] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, verdict watch. The jury in Paul Manafort's bank and tax fraud trial are getting back to work right now deliberating already for three days, more than 21 hours. Today is day four. And we're waiting for the outcome inside the courthouse.

We're getting some new details, though, about what is happening outside the courthouse. Let's go to our Jessica Schneider. She joins us in Virginia at the federal courthouse.

So, day four. You know, you've got the lawyers on Manafort's side who at least are saying that they are happy, that this is a good sign for them. Is it?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That is the big question. That's how the defense at least is spinning it. They've said several times now that the longer this jury takes deliberating, the better the chances are for Paul Manafort to be acquitted in this case.

But really I think the true story here is that this is a very complicated case. This is a financial crimes trial. Eighteen complicated counts, bank fraud, tax fraud, foreign bank accounts. So this jury has to really go metallically count by count.

You know, they're sifting through, we've talked about the numbers, 388 documents, the testimony of 27 witnesses. So while the defense team is trying to spin this, it really is hard to read the tea leaves here.

Yesterday, the jury deliberated for about eight and a half hours, not saying a word. The only note they sent was that they wanted to go until 6:15 deliberating. So that was a lot longer than we'd seen the first two days.

So, Poppy, it's really hard to tell here. Of course, the defense team wants to spin it their way. But the truth is, we really don't know what's going on with the jury. Could we see a verdict today? Perhaps. Could it be another day? Perhaps as well.

Poppy.

HARLOW: And they need a unanimous jury, right? I mean this is a criminal case.

SCHNEIDER: Yes.

HARLOW: So they've got to get everyone on the same page. How is the defense team waiting it out?

SCHNEIDER: It's quite interesting. So there's quite a scene out here. And because we're on day four of this waiting game, it's really become a well-oiled machine.

So the courthouse, just behind me. The prosecutors, they're inside the courthouse. They have an office. The defense team, they don't have their offices around here. So they are just across the street in the hotel bar. And every day they camp out at what has essentially become their own reserve table at the bar. You walk in there. You can see the defense team. They're milling around the bar, the hotel lobby. I mean they're waiting this out just like the rest of us are. We're all outside kind of camped out outside the courthouse. The defense team has a little bit nicer accommodations inside.

And then, of course, they walk right into the courthouse every morning where we see them. They greet us. This morning they said that they're feeling good, just like they've said every morning.

Poppy.

HARLOW: Right. OK, Jessica Schneider, the waiting game continues. Thank you.

Ahead, a really important story. The Trump administration is rolling back Obama-era regulations on coal fueled power plants, but at what cost to public health? Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:37:39] HARLOW: Well, don't expect the trade war between the U.S. and China to come to an end any time soon. Just ask the president. In a new interview he said he doesn't anticipate much from the continued trade talks with China because, in his words, China has, quote, been spoiled for too long. So this comes in a week when we are expecting a second round of tariffs on $16 billion worth of Chinese goods. That will take effect on Thursday. Of course China expected to retaliate with more tariffs on American made goods.

Let's go to our chief business correspondent, Christine Romans. She's here.

It was striking last night reading this Reuters interview where the president is basically saying, look, I'm taking the long game here and I don't think China is going to change any time soon.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And we don't know how much of it is a negotiating ploy. Like how much of this is him sort of putting down the markers for the negotiation. But this is what he said in particular. He said, it will take time because China's done too well for too long and they've become spoiled. I'm possibly meeting with Chinese President Xi in November. He said, maybe, I'm not sure it's all been set up. We'll see. A lot of "we'll sees" here. So he's sort of downplaying.

And, you know, you've got a trade delegation coming from China to Washington this week. He says, I don't anticipate anything coming out of it. So this is -- this is the tone he's giving to the press and to the Chinese, clearly, ahead of those meetings.

So what happened here this week? An important mile marker here because they were right at the stroke of midnight on Thursday, 25 percent tariffs will begin collected on $16 billion in goods. And those are about 279 products, chemicals, motorcycles, handbags, toasters. Things that people will feel here. And China has promised to dollar for dollar retaliate.

HARLOW: There you go. I'm going to buy a new toaster this week. True story.

ROMANS: You need one?

HARLOW: Yes, kind of a fancy one I want.

ROMANS: All right.

HARLOW: So, you know, I'm going to get it before this kicks in.

ROMANS: Ten percent cheaper this week than next.

HARLOW: On a very serious note, though, the attacks on the Federal Reserve. The president keeps attacking this independent body that is so important to be independent in this country, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Reserve's new chair.

ROMANS: So the Federal Reserve -- think of it, everybody, as like the shock absorbers on the economy, right, and you don't want a president or a Congress deciding about the shock absorbers on the car, right?

HARLOW: Right.

ROMANS: This should be an independent -- an independent body. And it is.

The president saying that, you know, he needs more help from Jerome Powell. And he's not at all happy about interest rates rising.

I wanted to go back in time to almost two years ago, the second debate, when the president had the opposite -- the opposite position. He was accusing the Fed chief then and the president of inflating the stock market and using the Fed for political purposes.

[09:40:01] Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a Fed that's doing political things. This Janet Yellen of the Fed. The Fed is doing political by keeping the interest rates at this level.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: And so now he's complaining that this Fed is not doing that for him while he's trying to level the playing field. He says, on international trade, he'd like interest rates to stay low.

Jerome Powell, just for the record, just last month is on the record saying that the Fed does not act politically.

Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: We do our work in a strictly non-political way based on detailed analysis which we put on the record transparently. We don't take political considerations into account.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: There's an annual central banker convention, I guess, in Jackson Hole this week. I can't believe I'm saying this, but --

HARLOW: You're geeking out. Are you going?

ROMANS: No, but it's going to be really exciting because everything that is said from that conference will be felt through the --

HARLOW: It matters so much.

ROMANS: Well, through the prism of an executive branch that is criticizing the Federal Reserve here.

HARLOW: Yes. Look, this economy's really strong and higher interest rates could weigh on that a little bit, but --

ROMANS: The reason why the Fed is raising interest rates is because it was worried about an overheating economy because of Trump's policies.

HARLOW: Exactly.

Thank you, Romans.

ROMANS: OK. Nice to see you, Poppy.

HARLOW: Good to have you.

The Trump administration is green lighting a rollback of Obama-era clean air provisions and critics say this could come at the expense of public health. The Clean Power Plan, it aimed to reduce greenhouse gases from power plants by 32 percent from where they were in 2005 and they had to do this by 2030. It is also federally regulating emissions for the first time, but that's going to go away. This is a new proposal signed by the acting EPA Director Andrew Wheeler, who, by the way, once worked as a coal industry lobbyist, and it now puts the power in the hands of the states. The states to decide emission standards and set them for coal fired power plants. In fact, ostensively, states would have the right to complexly forego regulating these coal plants and their emissions.

Let's go to our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, for more.

Good morning, doctor.

You know, obviously there are reasons why there are limits on, you know, how much is emitted into the air and a lot of it has to do with public health. What does this mean for the average American?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: And the United States is known for their clean air. I mean you go places around the world and often times you can't count on cities, big cities certainly, having clean air.

You know, people think about, you know, greenhouse gases. They think about climate change. They think about weather-related events, things like that. Doctors, the public health community, looks at it from a public health standpoint.

You're talking about these particulates. Air pollution is essentially these small little particulates. You can't see them. They're about one-thirtieth the sides of the hair. And they're out there in the air you breathe. And we know better now in terms of what that does to the body, the sort of impact that it can have on the body, particularly to people who have an underlying illness, specifically heart and lung disease. They are the people who are going to most be adversely impacted by this. Non-fatal heart attacks as well. Irregular heartbeats. These are the types of things that are of concern when you have more pollution.

And let me just tell you the numbers here a little bit in terms of the numbers of people likely effected. And 1,500 to 3,600 premature deaths annually. That would -- decreasing those deaths or preventing those deaths, that would have been a benefit of the Clean Power Plan. And 90,000 asthma attacks, 1,700 heart attacks. You can read the numbers. But there is a direct health benefit to reducing air pollution. I almost can't believe I'm saying that, but there is, and people I think generally know it. It's -- these are some of the specifics that you should have in your back pocket as well.

HARLOW: And it's not just coal-fired power plants. I mean it's also -- this also has to do with changes when it comes to cars and trucks on the road that are huge polluters.

GUPTA: Right. You know, you look at -- and I think that the -- you know, we see cars and trucks and there were a lot of people who may have never even seen a coal-fired power plant, so you don't really get the context sometimes.

HARLOW: Right.

GUPTA: But if you looked at how much you'd reduce overall emissions by 2030 under the Clean Power Act, it would be the equivalent of taking 160 million cars off the road essentially. Think of it like that.

HARLOW: Wow.

GUPTA: So by the year 2030, you would have taken 160 million cars off the road. Under this Affordable Clean Energy Rule, which is going to be discussed in about 15 minutes, as you know, Poppy. It's like taking eight million cars off the road during that same time.

So I give you that example only because that is what people are used to seeing is the cars on the road. So 160 million additional cars off the road within the next 12 years under the previous legislation.

HARLOW: And when I was reading into some of the details of this, Sanjay, I mean it looks like this plan would still mean over a long period of time the amount of coal being, you know, used and those pollutants being emitted would go down, but in a much slower fashion. So it's sort of like a Band-Aid on the pain because there is, you know, pain for people whose jobs rely on that. I get that. But this is not like a complete reversal here. It still is, you know, it's just going to slow it down and arguably hurt the environment and public health in the meantime.

GUPTA: Yes. I think, you know, if you want to put numbers on it, you said 32 percent reduction by the year 2030. This would be somewhere, you know, 0.7 percent to 1.5 percent reduction. So you can start to put numbers on it. And there's another impact as well, Poppy, which I think you're alluding to, and that is that there's all these other sources of energy out there.

[09:45:17] HARLOW: Yes.

GUPTA: You know, cleaner sources of energy. If they are not propped up, if coal is propped up more, how does that affect our overall trend towards cleaner energy in the future?

HARLOW: Sanjay Gupta, thank you.

GUPTA: You got it, Poppy.

HARLOW: Good doctor for being here and walking us through all of that.

GUPTA: No problem.

HARLOW: It's an important change.

All right, ahead, an incredibly disturbing story with just a stunning, stunning update. A Colorado father accused of killing his wife and daughters is set to answer charges today as the suspect makes this stunning accusation. His father-in-law is delivering an emotional message to the community.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANK RZUCEK, SHANANN WATTS' FATHER: Thank you everyone for coming out to the candlelight vigil and saying all your prayers. They are greatly appreciated. And keep the prayers coming for our family. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:50:34] HARLOW: A Colorado man charged with the murder of his pregnant wife and two young daughters is due in court in just a few hours this morning. This as unsealed court documents reveal shocking new details in this case. There he is, Chris Watts. He is charged with their murder, five counts. He claims that he strangled his wife only after she killed their children. Prosecutors are not buying that.

More now from our Scott McLean who is there in Colorado.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, police say that Chris Watts confessed to killing his wife, but not their two young daughters. According to a brand new police arrest affidavit, he told investigators that he had woken up early on the morning of August 13 and told his wife Shanann that he wanted to separate. He then went downstairs and when he came back up he says that Shanann had strangled his daughters. Then, in a fit of rage, he says that he actually strangled Shanann to death.

But there is one key detail the police say that Watts left out, that he had been having an extramarital affair with a co-worker.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SHANANN WATTS: Bella, say hi.

MCLEAN (voice over): Prosecutors in Colorado say Chris Watts was not the family man he seemed to be. Formal charges against the father of two were filed -- murder charges for the death of his wife Shanann Watts and three and four-year-old girls, a felony charge for the death of their unborn child and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.

FRANK RZUCEK, SHANANN WATTS' FATHER: I am Shanann's dad. This is her brother. We would like to thank everyone in the Frederick Police Department and all the agencies involved for working so hard to find my daughter, granddaughters and Nico. Thank you, everyone, for coming out to the candlelight vigil and saying all your prayers. They are greatly appreciated.

MCLEAN: After Shanann and her two girls went missing, Chris Watts spoke to local media.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you guys get into an argument before she left?

CHRIS WATTS, CHARGED WITH MURDERS OF WIFE AND DAUGHTERS: It wasn't -- it wasn't like an argument. We had an emotional conversation. But I'll leave it at that. But it's -- I just want them back.

MCLEAN: Late the night before, Nickole Atkinson told ABC's "Good Morning America" that she had dropped Shanann off at home after a business trip. The next day, she and her young girls were gone with so few clues, even from Watts.

NICKOLE ATKINSON, SHANANN WATTS' FRIEND: He just kept saying he didn't know where she was. That she was on a play date. But he couldn't give us the name of the friend.

MCLEAN: Late last week, Shanann was found dead. Prosecutors say she was buried in a shallow grave. While court documents show her daughters' bodies had been sitting in a nearby oil tank for four days. Those same documents also suggest victims may have been strangled.

MICHAEL ROURKE, WELD COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It's been a long week for the Frederick Police Department, obviously for Shanann's family. It's been a long week.

MCLEAN: In 2015, the Watts went through bankruptcy and were sued by their homeowners' association for $1,500. But just weeks ago, Shanann's FaceBook page showed a happy family awaiting a new baby boy they had already named Nico.

S. WATTS: Come give me a hug. Oh. Oh.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCLEAN: Now, the defense had filed a motion to have their own expert take DNA swaps from Shanann's fingernails presumably to prove her involvement in the young girls' deaths. But a judge ultimately denied that request.

Poppy.

HARLOW: Scott McLean, thank you very much for updating us. It is absolutely tragic. We'll keep you posted. Again, he's going to be in court in just a few hours.

Ahead for us, a symbol of division at the University of North Carolina overnight came crashing down.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:58:30] HARLOW: A Michigan State health director will now stand trial for the death of two men connected to the Flint water crisis. A judge there has ruled that the neglect of Nick Lyon led to the alleged legionnaire's disease deaths of Robert Skidmore and John Snyder, who died six months apart in 2015. Lyon did not publically disclose the outbreak until the following year, 2016. His team says they will appeal this decision. In all, 12 people died and more than 80 became sick after the city of Flint, Michigan, switched its water source to the Flint River in 2014 and the disease spread. Countless families, including young children, were exposed also to high levels of lead as a result of that decision and doctors fear the physical and mental impacts of that exposure could be life-long for these children.

Meantime, nearly 250 protesters overnight tore down a confederate statue known as Silent Sam at the University of North Carolina. The UNC president said the monument has been a divisive source -- a source of frustration for a long time for many people, but she called doing it this way unlawful and dangerous. One person was arrested. Students and some faculty members have been calling for the removal of the statue for months. The United Daughters of the Confederacy gave it to the school in 1909. In the wake of another sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church,

Pope Francis will meet privately with victims of sex abuse by clergy members. The Vatican just announced that this morning. But we don't know when or where those meetings will take place. It's also not clear how many survivors he will speak to.

[10:00:07] HARLOW: All right, good morning. Top of the hour. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.

Russia is at it again. Overnight we learned of yet another cyberattack linked directly to the