Return to Transcripts main page
NEW DAY SATURDAY
Iraqi Forces Battling Back ISIS in Iraq; Senate Blocks Surveillance Extension; New Video of Fatal Plane Crash in Georgia; New Details on D.C. Murders; Texas Bulletin to Law Enforcement Bandidos Out for Blood; Clinton E-Mails Released. Aired 7-8:00a ET
Aired May 23, 2015 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:00:10] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Iraqi Security Forces fighting back this morning against ISIS. Moving right now, in fact, to regain control of a town seized by terrorists, just miles from a base where U.S. advisers are stationed.
JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, two men in California charged with conspiring to support ISIS. One of the suspects' father says his son would never be a terrorist.
PAUL: And new this morning. The Senate blocks multiple attempts to extend the NSA's spy program. The debate, the right to privacy versus our safety.
JOHNS: And we've got some new dash cam video to show you. The final seconds before a small plane crashes into a Georgia interstate. And we're going to talk about how this cop's view could possibly help the investigation.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
PAUL: Good morning. So glad to have you with us. I'm Christi Paul.
JOHNS: And I'm Joe Johns in for Victor Blackwell.
PAUL: Yes. We want to start with some breaking news this morning. Iraq forces fighting back as ISIS is marching toward Baghdad. There is a fierce fight going on right now in a small town close to the military base of Habbaniyah.
What's interesting now is that ISIS apparently is using different tactics. They're coming across the river where there are no security forces rather than right what there you see, trying to battle through front lines. Miles from where U.S. advisers are situated. That's what this is happening here.
Want to bring in CNN's international correspondent Arwa Damon.
Arwa, what are you hearing about this base and how secure is it? Is there any gauge?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the base itself, the Habbaniyah Military Base, is fairly well fortified and quite secure. ISIS not likely to be able to penetrate through those various different front lines and pose any significant threat to the Habbaniyah base.
What is important in all of this, though, is that it seems as it finally the Iraqi government has managed to cobble together a haphazard fighting force that has managed to push ISIS back to a certain degree. This force is comprised of the Iraqi Army, also those paramilitary, Iranian-backed Shia units that we saw being quite effective, albeit controversial when it came to the battle for Tikrit. But also, perhaps at this stage, a level of collaboration between them and Sunni tribes.
We are hearing that the Sunni tribes are the ones that are trying to hold the ground, while this Shia force and the Iraqi Army try to push ISIS forward. Of course the big problem right now is that these Sunni tribes don't necessarily have the kind of weaponry needed to drive ISIS back should ISIS decide to target them with car bombs, as has been its method of operations in the past.
And we do know that ISIS is quite well at trying to take advantage of weaknesses when it comes to the defenses that have been put up in certain areas. So it's still very much a moving situation on the ground, militarily speaking. But at the very least, we are beginning to see a little bit of forward momentum when it comes to the Iraqi government forces trying to push ISIS back in this very critical territory.
PAUL: So let me ask you about the humanitarian need there. What have you seen in terms of, you know, some of these refugees, these -- as I understand it, over 1,000 refugees that have left Ramadi and have been trying to get closer to Baghdad that there's a real humanitarian need?
DAMON: Well, that 100,000-plus, these are people that have effectively fled since ISIS really began probing into Ramadi a few months ago. With the fall of Ramadi, we saw around 40,000-plus families, people, beginning to flee the city. Some of them did manage to reach safer ground. But a lot of them are hiding out in areas that, yes, are far away from Ramadi, but are still targeted by ISIS by mortars.
And then around 1,000 of them or so are currently stuck on one side of a bridge in Anbar Province. Unable to cross this bridge into Baghdad. We saw them there yesterday morning in the midst of a horrific sandstorm that they had absolutely no way to shelter themselves from. They are still stuck on that side of the bridge. This bridge which is the only safe passage at this stage between Anbar and Baghdad is still closed.
We've been hearing repeated calls from the United Nations about the need for more money. They simply do not have the funds needed to deal with the growing humanitarian crisis. Not just because of the battle with Ramadi but this has been a crisis that has been unfolding ever since ISIS barreled through and took over Mosul last summer.
[07:05:09] Humanitarian organizations desperately need more funding to be able to provide for all of those millions of families that have been internally displaced.
PAUL: Arwa Damon, we so appreciate the update this morning. Thank you so much.
JOHNS: ISIS has spread significantly in one year, going from 2014, the area in red, controlled by is, to 2015, significant gains in one year. All this as President Obama says, "I don't think we're losing to the terror group."
Let's bring in CNN military analyst Major General James "Spider" Marks and national security analyst Peter Bergen.
General Marks, these tactics coming across the river, could they use the same tactics, come from behind, say, to take over Habbaniyah?
MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, certainly, you want to attack an enemy where he is not. So it's not surprising that we're seeing tactics that are very adaptive by ISIS. But bear in mind, the ISF forces, the popular mobilization units, those Shia militia, are at this point aware of what ISIS is trying to do. So there are major routes that will be protected but absolutely, Joe, there are adaptive measures and tactics that will be employed by ISIS at every opportunity they can. And we would hope that the ISF and the Shia militia will do the same.
JOHNS: Peter, President Obama has said, we're not losing to ISIS. Does he finally need to go ahead and change this strategy? Is it possible that allied bombing runs just are not going to get the job done?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, part of that calculus is also, you know, what does the American people want. I mean, you know, Americans are now much more -- if you polled two years ago, a large majority of Americans would have said, you know, we should not have boots on the ground. That has changed. But President Obama is very firm on this point. We obviously do have boots on the ground with 3,000 fighters there.
American soldiers, they all have boots, they're on ground. But the rules of engagement prevent them from doing something that I think is necessary, if we're -- if the United States and its allies are serious about taking back Mosul. I think you're going to have to have American special forces advisers with the Iraqi army being involved on the ground. And also forward air controllers to bring in precise airstrikes.
I think if you don't have those, you know, trying to retake Mosul is going to be either longer or impossible.
JOHNS: General, speaking of advisers, there are actually advisers at this air base, which ISIS is marching toward. Do those advisers need to get out of there?
MARKS: Joe, they don't. They're there for a legitimate purpose. And that is to provide support to the units that are engaged. And really, they are a cohesive element that can hold those units together. But as also Peter indicated, you need to have the ability to really do some precision strikes. Airstrikes by themselves are only beneficial if they're really targeting and striking, hitting and damaging the targets that they need to go after. And without forward air controllers and that type of support, it just simply wouldn't happen.
JOHNS: So I guess you're saying that boots on the ground at least forward air controllers is the only way to stop ISIS?
MARKS: Oh, no. No, no, no. You've got the ISF, you know, the Iraqi Security Force, in the vicinity of Baghdad. Bear in mind, that Baghdad, as the capital city, has the best units in the Iraqi military. Some might say that's splitting a hair. But those are the most cohesive. Those are the ones that are going to work the hardest. And Iraq has acknowledged and it has relied on the Shia militia which are the only ones really showing up in combat.
So it's a combination, it's a layering of different capabilities. Ground forces from the Iraqis, support from the United States, airstrike from a coalition, and the ability to hold what we see -- you know, good intelligence to hold and to have a good assessment of what ISIS is trying to achieve relative to Baghdad.
JOHNS: But -- and I'd like to ask both of you to sort of weigh in on this idea of training the Sunnis to step into the battle there, and why it's a good idea or why not.
Let's start with you, General.
MARKS: Well, the Sunni tribes are certainly engaged right now. That is not a cohesive body that has a singular chain of command. That's the real issue here, it's a thing called unity of command. There is a quasi-coalition but there are fissures and fractures among the different pieces. That's the challenge. ISIS understands that completely. So until you have a shared picture of what you're -- and a shared objective, you're going to have challenges on the ground. But you need them to show up in some capacity.
[07:10:01] JOHNS: And Peter Bergen, if they don't get the Sunnis in the fight on the Iraq side, is there a danger then going over to ISIS?
BERGEN: Well, I think quite a lot of them have either gone over to ISIS or have acquiesced, and being controlled by ISIS. They regard ISIS as sort of the least, you know, bad option right now because the Shiite government -- the Shia-led government had let them down so badly. But interestingly, just to pick up on what General Marks said, you know, ISIS is very concerned about the issue of the Sunni tribes, the Sahwa, the awakening that existed in 2006, and it was allied with the United States and basically more or less destroyed al Qaeda in Iraq, the parent organization of ISIS.
And ISIS has just released the ninth issue of its magazine called Dabiq, and it talks quite a lot about this issue and how they're going to seek out anybody who might have been a part of this awakening movement or might be tempted to reawaken it. So ISIS is very concerned about this issue. And in the long term, you know, getting Sunni tribes to turn against ISIS is definitely the way forward.
JOHNS: Peter Bergen, retired General Spider Marks, thanks to both of you.
MARKS: Thank you, Joe.
BERGEN: Thank you.
JOHNS: To another developing story this morning in southern California, two young men are now in custody, accused of conspiring to support ISIS. They appeared in court late yesterday. One of the suspects arrested at LAX. Prosecutors say he was about to get on a flight for Israel. He allegedly planned to disembark in Turkey and go fight with ISIS. His father insists his son was innocent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SALEM ELHUZAYEL, SUSPECT'S FATHER: It's impossible. My son is a gullible nice young man who was raised very, very properly. And we are Muslim. Not a practicing Muslim. But he chose to pray. And basically that's probably a mistake. He had grown his beard and all these things. No way that he get that from us. Nader just an innocent human being who was traveling to go home, to see his family and enjoy a stay of one or two months and then come back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: Now the father says FBI agents searched his family's motel room. If convicted, the suspects could each face 15 years in prison.
PAUL: And a dramatic series of events on the Senate floor lasting well past midnight. It was a showdown essentially between privacy and security advocates. For now, we know that privacy has won. Senators pushed against measures that would allow the National Security Agency to continue data mining from telephone records. That law expires, by the way, on June 1st.
Well, our Athena Jones is in Washington for us this morning.
Athena, good morning to you. So what happens at this stage of the game?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi, well, right now, their plan is to come back a week from tomorrow, on May 31st, to try to get a bill passed that would extend the NSA's ability to collect phone data or at least have access to phone data, I should say. But it was very dramatic last night on the Senate floor when, as you said -- I think they adjourned at about 1:10 a.m. after multiple attempts to extend this law that expires on midnight on June 1st.
And it was not just people like Senator Rand Paul from Kentucky, the Republican senator and presidential candidate who worked for making moves to block multiple votes on this. Paul blocked a move to extend the law just until June 8th. He blocked a move to extend it just until June 2nd. So you also have the Senate more time to come to an agreement. But you also have Democratic senators stepping in to help.
Senator Ron Wyden from Oregon blocked an attempt to extend it to June 5th. And Martin Heinrich from New Mexico said no, let's not extend it until June 3rd. So a lot of opponents of this. And that's because a lot of people, people who want to see big reforms or maybe even an end to the program say that it has not done anything to save American lives. The government hasn't been able to show any examples of this NSA bulk data collection program, playing a key role in thwarting any terror plots. They basically say this is not the vital anti-terrorism tool that the government says it is.
PAUL: Where does the White House stand on this, Athena?
JONES: Well, the White House wants to see reforms. They support the reforms put through by the House that would remove the data that's collected from the hands of the government and put in the hands of telecom companies, the private companies themselves. Listen to what White House press secretary Josh Earnest had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We've got people in the United States Senate right now who are playing chicken with us. Right? They're in a situation where they're saying we're going to try to do just a two-week extension on -- or a short-term extension, of f these critical National Security authorities. And to play chicken with that is grossly irresponsible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So you heard that, grossly irresponsible. That's the White House's view. But the fact of the matter is, we're going to have to wait until next week, a day -- a week and a day away, to see what happens as they come down to the wire -- Christi.
[07:15:05] PAUL: All right. Athena, thank you so much.
Now, again, just to reiterate what she said, the Senate is returning from vacation next Sunday, the 31st. They'll pick the debate up at that point but remember that is just hours before this surveillance program expires.
JOHNS: Police are searching for more suspects in the murder of a D.C. family. How a key witness changed his story and how that's impacting the investigation.
Plus, the final moments of a small plane's flight caught on tape. How new dash cam video could shed light on why the plane crashed into a Georgia interstate.
And the hit reality show "19 Kids and Counting" is off the air. New details on the Duggar scandal involving one of the program's stars coming up.
PAUL: All right. Do you remember this frightening scene a couple of weeks ago? A single engine plane crashing on a busy Georgia highway. Killing four people.
JOHNS: That's just incredible. And so new this morning, video has been released by an Atlanta area police officer's dash cam, showing the plane's final moment. Now this is the video we see -- the final moments of the plane. The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report earlier this week. And we know the pilot radioed the control tower to say he's having trouble gaining altitude. But what exactly went wrong is still the mystery.
PAUL: OK. So let's talk with CNN's safety analyst David Soucie about this.
David, as we said, police just released this video. We see it coming down towards the street or the highway. And then there it is, that plume of smoke obviously indicating that it had indeed crashed. How could this kind of video help with the investigation?
DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Well, there's a lot of information here. What we do next in the investigation is come up to the scene and there's not a lot of evidence on the scene to use because of the intensity of the fire and as you know, most aircraft are made up of aluminum. So aluminum has a little bit less of -- it takes a lower temperature to melt. So by the time you arrive at the scene, tragically, there's not a lot there to go by.
[07:20:17] So these videos are extremely important. You can notice that the aircraft is in a stable flight attitude really. It's not varying much left or right. It's not -- evidently not in a stall situation. So the pilot was doing all he could to maintain control of the aircraft. So there's a lot of good information that can be used in the investigation.
JOHNS: So is that lack of evidence due to the explosion and fire part of the reason why authorities are saying this investigation could take as long as a year?
SOUCIE: Yes, it is, Joe. But there's a lot more to this than the casual observer may understand. The FAA also waits until the NTSB comes out with their final report and then the FAA takes recommendations from the NTSB and they have nine responsibilities. They go into whether or not it was certified properly, whether the pilot had his proper certifications. The other thing we're going to is the fuel, is the fuel controlled properly, did it have water in the fuel.
There's so many different aspects that you think would be simple. The pilot screwed up or the engine quit, or, you know, people think that those are simple conclusions. But those conclusions are not taken lightly by the FAA nor the NTSB in this parallel investigation.
JOHNS: A lot to think about there. Thanks so much for that, David Soucie.
SOUCIE: You better. Thank you, Joe and Christi.
PAUL: Thank you, David.
Well, the ballots are in. And right now, it's looking as though Ireland will be the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by a popular vote. JOHNS: Plus, a child molestation scandal hits one of television's
most popular reality shows. The future of "19 Kids and Counting" coming up.
[07:25:26] PAUL: Twenty-five minutes past the hour. I want to make sure you know about some of the other stories that are happening this morning. Look at Peru. They're declaring a state of emergency in two of its provinces because of these protests you see here that are over a copper mining project.
Four people, we know, have died in the demonstrations. Now national police and military troops are being sent in to help stop it. The protests are aimed at stopping a mine project which protesters believe will pollute the environment.
JOHNS: It looks like an historic day for Ireland. Unofficial tallies showing the people have voted to legalize same-sex marriage. It's the first time a country has done so through popular vote. And the win could be very big, as much as 2 to 1. An official tally is going to be announced later today.
PAUL: TLC has pulled "19 Kids and Counting" from its schedule amid allegations that Josh Duggar molested five young girls when he was a teen. The network says it's deeply saddened and it's troubled by the situation. Duggar did address the allegations when they surfaced this week issuing an apology and in fact resigning from his position at the Family Research Council.
JOHNS: Police arrest a man for the brutal murders of a D.C. family including a 10-year-old boy. But this case is not closed. Why the police chief says it's obvious more people were involved.
PAUL: Plus, Hillary Clinton releases hundreds of e-mails to the public. Why some lawmakers say these e-mails lead many questions, particularly about the attacks in Benghazi.
PAUL: Mortgage rates inched up this week. Here's your look.
[07:30:58] PAUL: Well, new developments in that D.C. murder case. Police are looking for more suspects this morning. Prosecutors say the man charged for the killing of a prominent D.C. family and a housekeeper could not have acted alone. D.C. Police Chief Cathy (INAUDIBLE) said, quote, "It's pretty obvious that there was coordination," unquote.
The attack began around 6:00 p.m. last Wednesday. It didn't end until 1:24 p.m. the next day when the house was set on fire. Savvas Savopoulos, his wife Amy, their son Philip, their housekeeper, all held hostage and we're now learning the victims were bound with duct tapes, they suffered from blunt force trauma. There are signs, too, that 10-year-old Philip was stabbed and tortured. Also in this police report conflicting reports from a key witnesses about the mansion.
CNN correspondent Sara Ganim is joining us now.
So let's talk about this witness, first of all, Sara. What do we know about what's happening there?
SARA GANIM, CNN INVESTIGATIONS CORRESPONDENT: This person is an unnamed witness. In the police report, Christi, he was the driver or the assistant to Mr. Savopoulos. He worked for him but when he was interviewed by police, he told several different versions of the story of what happened. He said that he was asked by Mr. Savopoulos to go and bring him $40,000 which we now -- police now believe was ransom money. But in the course of his interview, he admitted that he lied a couple of times to police.
I want to run through these. He lied about when he received a text message to go and get the money. He lied about how he got the money, what kind of -- where he put the money. So in one version, he said he put it in a manila envelope and then delivered it to a locked car in the garage of the Savopoulos home. But then changed the story and said in fact, he put it in a red bag and dropped it off in an unlocked car in the home.
There's also a discrepancy about how many bundles he dropped off. And whether or not they still had the tape from the bank, the white bank tape around them. So these are all things that have raised questions because, as you know, police said yesterday they don't believe that Daron Wint could have acted alone in -- this crime. And so that raises the question, even though this person in the police documents is not listed as a suspect, we know that Mr. Wint used to work for the Savopoulos family or for the -- for his company.
And this person also is an employee. It raises the question, do they know each other? And was he involved that police in fact now say that they don't believe he could have acted alone -- Christi.
PAUL: Yes. Very good point. All right, Sara Ganim, we appreciate it. Thank you.
GANIM: Of course.
JOHNS: We've seen an almost continuous flow of information rolling in on this for a whole week. And there's just a lot to consider so let's bring in HLN legal analyst Joey Jackson and criminal profiler Pat Brown.
So, Pat, the assistant's story changing. What does that tell you? And if you change your story over several times, and that information appears in charging documents as contradictory, does that witness have a potential legal problem?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: You know, if you're telling the truth, and this should be a fairly straightforward story if you're telling the truth. I mean, if he got a call and said you need to pick up this money and deliver it, there's only going to be one thing that happened, it's kind of hard to get these all those details completely different each time you tell a story. Because at the time it was going on he supposedly wasn't in any kind of trauma.
You know, in other words he wasn't in a mental state to be so confused. So why is this story changing? I mean, it's a huge red flag. And obviously, the police are looking at him now as a possible accomplice.
JOHNS: So, Joey, what do you think? Fear, confusion? And about that $40,000 ransom, what does that tell you? What does that amount tell you about Wint and the others who could be involved?
JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, Joe. Good morning, Pat.
BROWN: Good morning.
JACKSON: I think, well, whenever someone changes their stories there's one of two ways to evaluate that, Joe. I think the first way to evaluate that is that they're misrepresenting something and they potentially are lying and therefore could be involved. The second way, certainly, is what you may have suggested, that is that, you know, you're shocked or confused.
[07:35:07] Now I may not be under any mental trauma myself but learning of the fact that my, you know, boss has died in such a tragic way could certainly impair my memory. And so that's one or two things that are going to need to be explained but I can tell you this, that in undertaking the investigation the U.S. attorney and also investigators are going to be looking at this computer records. Looking at his text messages. Any e-mail records. Any surveillance information to determine whether he was involved.
But when you have $40,000 being brought to a home something certainly is amiss and it raises major red flags about what the money is for and just the whole dynamic of why it's being brought there in the first place.
JOHNS: Pat, Philip Savopoulos, the 10-year-old child, was allegedly tortured. Why a child? And what does that tell you about the suspect in this case? We -- it had been suggested, of course, it was going on in order to coerce the parents to come up with more money. But is it possible there is anything else to it?
BROWN: Well, we're talking about a guy, who -- the main suspect right now, Wint, the main suspect. He's got a history of violence and a desire for violence. He's threatened to hurt children before. Well, he just might like doing it. You know, people have a hard time understanding this but to have people in your control, he just might like brutalizing them just for the fun of it because he's psychopathic.
And -- so it doesn't necessarily mean that he has to have a reason. We want to have a reason. We want to have certain motives or things because as human beings we'd say, hey, there's got to be. Well, the motive may be fun. And we can't understand how it could be fun to torture some child but in Wint's case it may well be, you know, for whatever reasons that happened at the scene at the time. JOHNS: Joey, there seems to be a witness identification issue here.
In the police report, the witness describes a man with short hair, driving off in a blue Porsche. Wint does not have short hair. So is there a problem there for the police?
JACKSON: You know, Joe, it could very well be an explanation. And that explanation could be as the police believes that he did not act alone. And so certainly, it would not exclude the primary suspect from being involved because there's some other I.D. In fact it could only -- it could absolutely mean that another party or parties were assisting him.
And I think that's why the forensic evidence -- we have the pizza crust, there may be other evidence that's gleaned from the home in terms of hair, fibers, sweat, blooding, anything else that they can get to exclude suspects but also, Joe, to exclude suspects. And of course, surveillance video is going to play big, too, you know, in that neighborhood. And of course, where the Porsche of the wife was found torched at some later time.
And so as investigators move forward, I think you may see other people who are enveloped into this case and really determining why this actually happened. And just briefly, Joe, in terms of what Pat said, the motive, yes, I mean, inquiring minds want to know. You never as a prosecutor have to prove motive. But certainly you want it to make sense to the jury as to how this could happen because it aids in your prosecution and later in a conviction.
JOHNS: It certainly seems like there's going to be a lot more heard on this case, especially if there are other suspects as the police suggests.
Pat, Joey, thanks so much to you.
JACKSON: Thank you. Have a great day.
PAUL: Well, the target, apparently, law enforcement. Potential new threats this morning against police as thousands of bikers across the country are rallying for Memorial Day.
Also, hundreds of Hillary Clinton's e-mails released to the public. We're going to see if any of these e-mails actually hurts the 2016 presidential candidate as, of course, she's making her way through the campaign trail.
But first on this week's edition of "Staying Well," we want to take a look with you at food labels here that sound good but they actually may be really deceiving.
CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has more.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Organic, whole grain, natural. Who wouldn't want to buy food with these good-for-you sounding labels? But these labels may not mean exactly what you think they mean.
So let's take a look first at natural. The Food and Drug Administration says they won't object to a natural label if the food has no added color, no synthetic ingredients or artificial flavors. But that food can still be processed, some people wouldn't consider that natural.
As for organic, the label might say made with organic ingredients, but that means the food could just be 70 percent organic. Look for the USDA organic seal. That means 95 percent organic. As for whole grain, a label might have that phrase and only have small amounts of whole grain. Look for the first ingredient to be whole grain or whole oats or a whole rye.
So keep a keen eye on the labels as you walk down the grocery store aisle. And that way you won't be fooled by something that sounds terrific but maybe really isn't.
JOHNS: Now authorities are on alert this weekend as thousands of bikers around the country are gathering for annual Memorial Day celebrations.
We've got a map here of the six biggest rallies being held across the country. Tens of thousands of bikers are expected to come together in places like Red River, New Mexico, Buckhorn, Missouri. And a lot of other cities, including Washington, D.C., adding extra security. That's because of the deadly biker brawl in Waco, Texas, last Sunday. Nine people killed, 170 people arrested.
PAUL: In fact, justice correspondent Evan Perez is following the latest on that biker brawl and this new threat against police officers.
Good morning, Evan.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Joe and Christi, Memorial Day weekend is a popular time for motorcycle club rallies around the country. But this weekend, law enforcement officers in Texas are concerned about being targets of biker gangs. A bulletin issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety warns that members of the Bandidos are, quote, "out for blood." Now this is all in the wake of a shootout last weekend at a restaurant in Waco, Texas, that left nine people dead and nearly 200 arrested.
[07:45:02] Authorities say members of the Bandidos were involved in the melee. And the bulletin warns law enforcement agencies that the Bandidos and Black Widows motorcycle gangs have ordered a hit against Texas Troopers and local police. Now the warning lists potential trouble spots including Austin, El Paso, Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas.
The gang members are trying to obtain grenades and C-4 explosives, and are plotting to attack high-ranking members of Texas law enforcement with car bombs. Now the bulletin is based on information from an informant and it hasn't been corroborated. But according to the bulletin, gang members believe that police shot their fellow brothers at this Waco event -- Joe, Christi.
PAUL: All right. Evan Perez, thank you so much.
And in our next hour, too, by the way, we're speaking with a former ATF agent who went undercover with one of these biker gangs. The Hell's Angels. What was the most alarming to him in the biker culture? That's ahead in our 8:00 hour.
JOHNS: No smoking gun. New e-mail released from Hillary Clinton's private server. Are there more questions than answers when it comes to her handling of the attacks in Libya while she was secretary of state? We'll break it all down coming up next.
PAUL: Well, the State Department releases the first batch of e-mails from Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state. And it offers a new look at her handling of the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi which claimed the lives of four Americans including a U.S. ambassador, Chris Stevens.
[07:50:07] Well, the roughly 300 e-mails are just part of 30,000 that she turned over from her private e-mail server. Policy briefs, even scheduling requests we understand. But we want to bring in Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator Maria Cardona, along with Republican strategist Lisa Boothe.
Ladies, good morning to both of you.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning, Christi.
PAUL: OK, so the White House says that these e-mail do not change anyone's understanding of what happened in Benghazi.
Maria, do you agree with that?
CARDONA: Absolutely. You look at the e-mails that have been reported about and it essentially shows a secretary of state doing her job, looking at information that was sent to her, forwarding it on to the appropriate people, asking for additional information, asking for analysis, scheduling requests.
This is all a secretary of state at work doing her job, working for the American people. And I think what it's going to show frankly voters is that there has been absolutely nothing there from the very begin of what the Benghazi issue has been and what everything else that Republicans like to -- would like to see pinned on Secretary Clinton because there have been so many reports and investigations and money thrown at this. And it's been shown that there was no wrong doing. It has been shown
that there were holes in security that she actually took responsibility for and has implemented recommendations to make sure it doesn't happen again. And Republicans need to be careful that they're going to be politicizing this moving forward.
PAUL: OK. So, Lisa, do you agree? As Maria stated on Twitter that this is #bigfatnothingburger?
LISA BOOTHE, SENIOR DIRECTOR, BLACK ROCK GROUP: No. Not at all. I mean, look, these scandals have already hit home with Hillary Clinton. They've affected her standing in key battleground states. And the majority of Americans don't trust her and they don't trust her with good reason.
It is clear that Hillary Clinton went to great lengths to be deceitful, to hide information to the American people. And what we know now is that e-mails that she received were now marked classified. So her whole -- you know she wasn't e-mailing about highly sensitive information is a farce. So it is politically damaging to her.
Also most specifically in regards to Benghazi, we do know that there's more information out there. She received an e-mail from a confidant, Sidney Blumenthal, that alerted her to the fact these were planned coordinated terrorist attacks versus a -- you know, anti-Islam video that the administration had -- information that the administration had peddled just days later and that her State Department pedaled just days later.
So we know that she had information and she lied to the American people. So these e-mail are damaging. And the -- Republicans should be getting to the bottom of this because constitutionally it's Congress' duty to provide oversight. It's their duty to get to the bottom of these things to ensure that it doesn't happen elsewhere in -- elsewhere in the country or --
PAUL: OK. Wait. Let me get in here for a second because I need to get this point in here. The House Select Committee on Benghazi chairman, Trey Gowdy, sent out a press release and he was critical of the e-mails released, saying that it was provided -- it provided an incomplete picture essentially because Clinton's attorneys shows which ones to send to the State Department.
Maria, what do you say to that? Does that not give a little credence to the argument that, you know, maybe something was not on the up and up here?
CARDONA: No. Absolutely. First of all, Trey Gowdy will not be happy until he sees an e-mail that proves that Hillary Clinton was caught running across the grassy knoll. So that's number one. Number two, he clearly doesn't understand how this process works. When you are in a high level, secretary of state, secretary of any department, and you are under a FOIA request or under any obligation to turn over e-mails the people who actually make the decisions on what to turn over are the principal's team. No matter where they are.
This is not a process that was just used by Secretary Clinton. It is a process that is used by everybody who is under those FOIA requests.
So, again, to Lisa's point, these are all opponents' hair-on-fire talking points --
BOOTHE: Maria, Trey Gowdy --
CARDONA: Let me finish, Lisa. Let me finish. These are talking points that essentially prove that there has been no proof of wrongdoing and it drives them crazy.
CARDONA: Lisa is right --
PAUL: We've got one --
CARDONA: Congress has an obligation --
PAUL: We've got one minute left. I want to give Lisa a chance to respond.
CARDONA: -- for oversight and they (INAUDIBLE) their job.
BOOTHE: No, it's absolutely Trey Gowdy's job to get to the bottom of the situation, to make sure that this doesn't happen elsewhere in the world. So that is absolutely Trey Gowdy's duty. Secondly, it's Hillary Clinton's self-inflicted wounds and her reluctance to turn over this information or reluctance to be a participant in the process. And the fact that she went to such great lengths to hide this information.
These are just the e-mails that she chose to turn over. She deleted tens of thousands of e-mails and we now know that the information --
CARDONA: Personal e-mails, Lisa.
BOOTHE: No, the information she turned over is -- no, it's now classified information, Maria.
CARDONA: It was classified yesterday.
BOOTHE: So she was e-mailing about highly sensitive --
PAUL: OK. Listen, listen. We have -- I'm so sorry. But you're both making -- I understand the point you're making. It was not -- however, we need to point out, it was not classified information when it was sent.
[07:55:08] CARDONA: Thank you.
BOOTHE: But it is now --
PAUL: However it is classified information now which means that it was sensitive.
PAUL: But still leaves the question out there about whether using this private e-mail server was the right thing to do.
Maria and -- we appreciate both of you ladies so much and your insight.
BOOTHE: Thank you.
CARDONA: Thank you so much.
PAUL: Maria Cardona, Lisa Boothe, thank you for being here.
JOHNS: We have new details this morning into the gruesome murder in an upscale neighborhood in D.C. Police are now looking for more suspects involved in the killing and why a key witness is raising more questions this morning.
And talk about a hole in one. A massive sinkhole swallows up a large portion of one golf course. Details coming up.
PAUL: All right. Here's a look at some other stories that are developing this morning.
JOHNS: A fire at an oil refinery in south Philadelphia is now under control after sending plumes of black smoke into the sky yesterday afternoon. The fire took about an hour to get under control. Officials say it was likely started by a mechanical issue.
PAUL: And look at this. A massive sink hole opens up at a golf course in Missouri. This hole is 80 feet wide, 35 feet deep. It formed at the top of a rock -- golf course rather which even hosted a major golf tournament just last month. Here's the good news, nobody was hurt as a result, neither the safety or the public (INAUDIBLE) nothing in danger. However, if you were shooting for a hole in one in that thing, you could say I think I got one.
JOHNS: Yes. I think so.
PAUL: Your chances would be much better anyway.
Hey, we got more for you coming up in just a moment.