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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Roughly 300 Emails, 850 Pages Made Public; Court Document: D.C. Murder Suspect Did Not Act Alone; D.C. Police Chief On Mansion Murders. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired May 22, 2015 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: But it still brings a lot of criticisms and questions about why she was using this private e-mail account on this private server that was housed at her house in New York, and we also see, Jake, in these e- mails, Clinton and the Obama administration at the time that they're struggling about he initial assessment that the Benghazi attack came from a protest over this cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.
[04:30:11] We see Clinton's deputy chief of staff assuring her, sending pages and pages of clips of what she has said assuring her that she did not ascribe a particular motive. Really wasn't getting herself in trouble in her description.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: I saw that. I was looking through some of them myself and I saw that -- I was one of the people that interviewed Susan Rice in her now infamous appearances and they had clips of her saying things.
Also a comment from I think the "Wall Street Journal" about how Obama failed his 3:00 a.m. call, and she constantly is sending these to aides and saying, please print. What else are we learning from this insider view?
KEILAR: So she has a penchant for asking e-mails to be printed on paper. That's sort of a funny, interesting --
TAPPER: Old school.
KEILAR: That's right. Also we learned that her aides refer to her as "H" a lot of the time. That was kind of interesting and there's a lot of heaping praise on the boss. You see a lot of that. But also something that was really interesting that I think would give people a chuckle was in December when she's thanking her deputies.
This is when she had a concussion and she can't go to the hill to testify. She is thanking them for going to the hill. She says, "You know, I'm sorry I can't be there today. I'll be nursing my cracked head and cheering you on as you remain calm and carry on."
And then later she actually says -- if I can find it here, she says, that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger as I have rationalized for years.
TAPPER: Interesting. A little bit of niche. I also it was a title of Bruce Willis' second album. Brianna Keilar, thank you so much.
Our National Lead today, the investigation began when a family and their housekeeper were found murdered in a house that had been set on fire. Now a week later, a suspect is thankfully under arrest and just faced the judge.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier will talk to us next about how police were able to track down this alleged killer and why law enforcement does not think he acted alone, coming up.
TAPPER: Breaking now in our other National Lead, just minutes ago, the man accused of slaughtering a D.C. family and their housekeeper appeared in court. We know police doubt he acted alone.
Daron Wint has been charged with first-degree murder. The dramatic takedown by U.S. marshals came late last night. It came exactly one week after the murders of D.C. businessman, Savvas Savopoulos, his wife, Amy, their 10-year-old son, Philip and their housekeeper, Veralicia Figueroa.
Court document show they were tortured in their D.C. mansion, held hostage overnight and killed before the house was torched apparently to destroy the crime scene and the evidence, but the fire did not destroy evidence.
Wint left behind, according to police, namely his DNA in discarded pizza crust. Marshalls cornered then apprehended Wint and five others last night.
CNN's Pamela Brown joins me now. Pamela court documents in this case revealed a lot of new information.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: A lot of new information, Jake, including the fact that there were multiple witnesses who played a part in delivering the $40,000 to the family home before the family and their housekeeper were killed.
And the court documents make it clear that police believe more people are complicit with the quadruple homicide beyond the suspect, Daron Wint, who is already in custody.
BROWN (voice-over): The 34-year-old Daron Wint did not act alone in the grisly quadruple homicide according to newly released court records. Wint who is seen here handcuffed and wearing a black hooded sweatshirt was taken into custody in Washington, D.C. Thursday night following a massive multistate manhunt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We tracked him up to New York City and we barely missed him. BROWN: Law enforcement sources say it's believed Wint fled the D.C. area following the quadruple murder and was hiding in his girlfriend's New York City apartment since Sunday, eventually making his way back to the nation's capital.
Wint was found traveling in a white Chevy Cruze, with three other women along with two men in this moving truck, one of the men is Wint's brother. Authorities recovered $10,000 of cash from the group, according to documents.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We followed him for about four, five miles and they did a wacky U-turn. We thought maybe they felt they were being tailed. We followed them. We continued to follow them.
We called PG County Police and they sent up a helicopter. We got to a situation where we could successfully take them down and we did our standard practiced vehicle pin maneuver, and we were able to safely pin the vehicles, both vehicles, and place him under arrest.
BROWN: Tonight, investigators are looking at what role the group may have played with the brutal killings of a wealthy D.C. couple, their 10-year-old son, and housekeeper after being held hostage overnight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't have to spend multiple hours, eight, nine, ten hours in someone's home to extort money, and in this case, I'm very certain that the father would he given the offender ten times $40,000 just to get him out of the house.
BROWN: Records show the 10-year-old boy was found burned with stab wounds. Fire accelerant was found in the room. Before the fire, two Domino's Pizzas were ordered to the home by Mrs. Salvopoulos. She instructed the delivery person to leave the food on the porch, ring the doorbell and leave according to these documents.
DNA found on the pizza crust led authorities to Wint. A D.C. police say Wint worked at the Savopoulos family business, American Ironworks in the past. Wint just had numerous run-ins with police including for allegations of domestic violence, assault and theft.
The latest gruesome accusations now have Daron Wint off the streets, but police are now looking for more suspects.
BROWN: Official I spoke with today says that no charges have been filed against the five people who were taken into custody with Daron Wint last night and no additional arrests have been made, but Jake, I'm told it's still a very active investigation.
[16:40:11] TAPPER: All right. Pamela Brown, thank you so much.
Let's talk about this active investigation with D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier joining me now on the phone with an exclusive interview. Chief, thanks so much for joining us.
First off, this seems like some very impressive detective work, but I do have to ask, having reviewed these court documents filed, have you arrested everyone that law enforcement believes was involved here? Is there anyone that the public can help you to search for?
CHIEF CATHY LANIER, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE (via telephone): Well, it's still far too early for us to conclude that there's nobody else involved. I mean, obviously, there is a lot of evidence still to be collected. This is a large crime scene where -- the suspect was in the house with the victims for a longer period of time.
And then the efforts to put out the fire makes that evidence collection more complicated. But I think it's far too early to say that there's nobody else involved, and right now as we're collecting more and more evidence, we get a new picture every single day as we collect more.
TAPPER: The five people that were arrested with him, with Wint yesterday, are they still in police custody?
LANIER: No, they're not.
TAPPER: They're not. Court documents make reference to at least two people being involved in the cash drop at the Savopoulos home including his driver. Are any of those people suspects in the case?
LANIER: Again, it's too early for us to draw any conclusions yet about who else, if anyone else, is involved, because there's still evidence to be collected.
The tough part here is, until all the evidence is collected and processed, it's difficult to draw, you know, final conclusions. So we're looking at every possibility of anybody who may have facilitated, participated or been a part in any way in this crime along with Wint.
TAPPER: Is there anyone involved as of now mentioned in any of the court documents or that was arrested with Mr. Wint yesterday who is related to him?
LANIER: There are some folks that were stopped when he was stopped yesterday. There were some relatives with him in the car. But right now the only person charged in this crime is Mr. Wint.
TAPPER: Can you tell us the relationship?
LANIER: I don't know for sure. I know one was a brother and I believe there was a cousin as well.
TAPPER: The court documents also include an affidavit stating that the crimes described both required the presence and assistance of more than one person. Are other people suspected, not just in the involvement of the crime because the affidavit makes it clear they are, but in the torture and the homicide, are they suspected of entering the house?
LANIER: That's what's unclear. I mean, I think it's pretty obvious was coordination to have money brought to the house and to get what he was looking for while holding the family hostage.
Whether there was someone else that actually took part in the kidnapping and the murder is just, it's going to take time to get this evidence together, and we just don't want to jump to conclusions or draw any conclusions too soon.
TAPPER: Wint's former attorney went on television, as I'm sure you know, and attorneys are, they advocate for their clients. The attorney was adamant police have the wrong guy. He was described as kind and gentle. Are you sure that Wint was involved?
LANIER: I'm -- from what I know about this case, I'm 100 percent comfortable that he was involved, yes.
TAPPER: Do you anticipate other charges being brought against him in addition to homicide?
LANIER: Well, I would say over the next two to three weeks we will probably finalize processing most of what we had and any additional charges will be forthcoming in that time period.
TAPPER: What have you learned about Wint's relationship with Mr. Savopoulos? He worked for him, I believe. Was there any friction?
LANIER: There's still a lot to be explored there. Obviously, you know, we're still interviewing quite a few people. There was a working relationship several years ago, but beyond that, we still have a lot of people to talk to do firm up what exactly, how that relationship has been in the more recent years.
TAPPER: There is a report that Savopoulos fired a family member of Wint's, can you confirm that report and if so, have you talked to that family member?
LANIER: I can't confirm that at this point, Jake.
TAPPER: Do you have any other of Wint's DNA anywhere else in the house?
LANIER: You know, I'm reluctant to comment on any more evidence. Again, we have quite a bit of evidence and not all has been processed yet.
TAPPER: And then lastly, Chief, now that you've made an arrest, is there anything else you can tell us about the victims and how they were killed in such a horrific story and a horrific scene, but the degree of brutality in this crime obviously will come out.
LANIER: What I can tell you is, there's two daughters that are heartbroken, and terrified, and the parents of Savopoulos and a spouse of -- Vera's spouse, the housekeeper's spouse, I mean, there is a lot of people that are really still, you know, trying to come to grips with this horrific situation.
So it's sad that a lot of the details that will come out during the court process will come out, but certainly we don't want to bring those out now.
[16:45:11] TAPPER: All right. I certainly can respect that. Chief Lanier, thank you so much for taking the time. Hope you have a meaningful Memorial Day.
TAPPER: All right, thank you, Jake.
When we come back, the U.S. marshal who nabbed the suspect will join me with new details on the moment they found Wint. How did they get him? What did he say when finally caught? That's next.
TAPPER: Last night marshals say they spotted Wint and five others leaving a hotel in College Park, Maryland. Commander Robert Fernandez joins me now. He leads the U.S. Marshals Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force.
So just to clarify for our viewers, the police and the detectives, they are the ones that investigated the crime.
[16:50:06] You and your team, you go and get the alleged the bad guys, that's what you do?
COMMANDER ROBERT FERNANDEZ, U.S. MARSHALS CAPITAL AREA REGIONAL FUGITIVE TASK FORCE: That's correct.
TAPPER: OK, so let's start at the beginning, what put you on the track to New York?
FERNANDEZ: Well, we got the case Tuesday night and we started doing the research on Mr. Wint and the possible locations of family members, previous addresses, criminal history, everything. Wednesday we did interviews. We did surveillance. A lot of investigation and we realized that he was possibly in Brooklyn, New York.
TAPPER: Is it from phone records? From the fact he had a former girlfriend up there or what can you tell us?
FERNANDEZ: It was a culmination of a lot of different investigative techniques. Some specific techniques I'm not going to get into, but it was a lot of just really good investigative work.
TAPPER: And did you know that there were going to be five other people with him last night when you got him?
FERNANDEZ: No, not at all.
TAPPER: You spotted him leaving the hotel. How far behind him and his group did you trail him?
FERNANDEZ: We were right behind the two vehicles that left the hotel. Surveilling them in under cover vehicles until we got to a position where we could take them down safely.
TAPPER: Right before the arrest of the suspect vehicles they made a U-turn. Did you think that they knew they were being followed?
FERNANDEZ: At first, yes, we did. They were going northbound and did a U-turn through a neighborhood and an empty parking lot, got back on going southbound and after that they didn't seem to have known that we were following them.
TAPPER: You said last night that your guys kept hitting red lights during the pursuit. How close were they to getting away?
FERNANDEZ: We kept hitting green lights. We wanted to hit a red light so it's a natural stopping point where we could conduct our blocking pin maneuver.
TAPPER: OK, you wanted to hit a red light so you could get out and stop them?
TAPPER: OK, and then you moved in for the arrest. Tell us about that.
FERNANDEZ: We got to a point where we wanted to get a helicopter because it was two vehicles. We have not --
TAPPER: Wait. Why would you want a helicopter?
FERNANDEZ: Well, we hadn't done a vehicle pin maneuver on two vehicles and we weren't sure which vehicle Wint was in. Didn't want to stop one and have the other one get away.
TAPPER: OK, so you want the chopper to find the other one while you stopped one car.
FERNANDEZ: It was a truck. We were concerned that if we tried to pin a truck, which we haven't. It was a big box truck that it might plow right through us and get away. We called PG County Police and they provided a chopper within 5 minutes.
TAPPER: Can you explain for our viewers what exactly a pin maneuver is?
FERNANDEZ: It's a -- we call it a vehicle pin blocking maneuver, we got in between the two vehicles, and at a choke point like a red light, we have the front and back cars actually pinch in the car, two other cars come around and pin the doors in. The car is immobile, can't move and people can't hardly get out of the vehicle.
TAPPER: OK, so we know that cash was in the truck. I think about $10,000, is that right?
FERNANDEZ: I saw a wad of cash but I don't know anything about the evidence that was found.
TAPPER: Can you tell us about any of the other evidence that was found in there? Anything else you saw? Do they have any guns on them? FERNANDEZ: I don't think anybody had any weapons on them. I didn't hear any were found. We just took custody of them, got them out of the car. Detained them, handcuffed them and turned them over to D.C. Police.
TAPPER: How were they when you took them into custody? Were they violent, resisting arrest, peaceful?
FERNANDEZ: They were completely compliant and they seemed terrified because we had overwhelming force immediately.
TAPPER: Including Wint, he seemed terrified, too.
FERNANDEZ: He was stoic and didn't seem he was combative at all.
TAPPER: One marshal seemed to have a long conversation with someone who appears to be Wint in the footage. Can you tell us anything about that conversation?
FERNANDEZ: No, I don't know anything about that and I don't believe that was Wint.
TAPPER: You don't think it was Wint at all?
TAPPER: All right, well, assuming Wint did this, congratulations.
FERNANDEZ: Thank you very much.
TAPPER: Great work. And please thank your team on behalf of everybody who lives in this area, because it was very horrific set of murders.
FERNANDEZ: I sure will. Thank you very much.
TAPPER: Thank you, sir. Appreciate it. Commander Robert Fernandez.
Coming up, not a grave forgotten, more than 200,000 little American flags placed in Arlington National Cemetery as the nation gets ready for Memorial Day. We will take a moment to remember those heroes. That's next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Before we leave you for the day, we want to take a moment to recognize Memorial Day, more than the unofficial start of summer, a time when our nation should remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States and for freedom more generally.
Yesterday, the 3rd U.S. Infantry regiment placed more than 228,000 flags at grave sites in Arlington National Cemetery to honor our nation's fallen heroes. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
TAPPER: This Memorial Day weekend as you are enjoying spending time with your family, take a moment, if you would, to reflect on those men and women who gave everything so that we could have the freedoms we so enjoy.
[17:00:12] That's it for "THE LEAD." I'm Jake Tapper, turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.