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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Iraqi Forces Battling Back ISIS In Iraq; Senate Blocks Surveillance Extension; Police: Assistant Changed Story Multiple Times; Verdict Reached in Michael Brelo Case; Police in Tamir Race Case Not Interviewed; Hunter Bid $350,000 to Hunt Endangered Rhino; 8- 9a ET
Aired May 23, 2015 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: It's 8:00 on the dot. Want to wish you a very good Saturday morning. We are so grateful for your company. I'm Christi Paul.
JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Joe Johns in for Victor Blackwell. Breaking news this morning, and the war on terror, and we begin right here at home in Southern California. Two young men are now in custody this morning accused of conspiring to support ISIS. They appeared in court late yesterday.
One of the suspects was arrested at LAX airport. 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 is saying his son is innocent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SALEM ETHUZAYEL, SUSPECT'S FATHER: It's impossible. My son is a gullible, nice young man who was raised very probable. We are Muslim, not a practicing Muslim. He chose to pray. Basically that's probably the mistake he had. He had grown his beard and all these things.
No way has that he got that from us. He is just an innocent human being traveling home to see his family and enjoy a stay of one or two months and then come back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: This father says FBI agents searched his family's motel room. If convicted the suspects could actually get 15 years in prison. Joining us live now is CNN law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes. Tom, this definitely seems to be something we're seeing more and more of.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, Joe, this is something the FBI is making arrests like this almost weekly. If you go back even just a year and a half, that's probably more than 70 people that have been picked up trying to join ISIS or trying to be supportive and do an attack here if they can get that far.
You know, luckily through social media and other personal information received by the bureau, you know, they're being able to stop many of these people, but it's a constant situation. It takes a tremendous number of resources for the government to investigate these cases and track, are they being serious? Is it just talk online? Are they actually intending to do it? It gets to the certain point where they just feel they have to make the arrest and take the case down.
JOHNS: Tom, take a look at this. We have video of the apartment of one of the suspects. Apparently, the authorities ransacked it. You've got to wonder, when they go in in a situation like this and somebody is believed to be aiding and abetting terrorism or whatever, what are they looking for?
FUENTES: Well, I don't think -- you know, I doubt seriously they ransacked it in that way. When you look at that video, you see food and plates and cups and stuff all over the place. That mess was already there.
They're not going to go in and create a mess, but they're looking for any communications, tickets, electronic means, phone, computers, laptops, anything that could indicate what their intentions were, who they were in communication with.
You know, money, just anything that would be indicative of their intent to go join ISIS.
JOHNS: Tom Fuentes, thanks so much for that. Thanks for being here all morning.
FUENTES: You're welcome.
PAUL: Also following breaking news this morning in Iraq, Iraqi forces are fighting ISIS militants in a small town on the road to Baghdad. And as we understand it, this is a fierce fight miles from the major military base of Habbaniyah, where U.S. advisors are situated.
Let's talk to CNN military analyst, Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. General, thank you so much for being here. So ISIS we understand is coming across the river around the town rather than what they're known for battling through those front lines.
New tactic, new target it seems. Do you think that the Iraqi forces and with the help of military intervention can actually stop them at this point?
LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, a couple of things, Christi, and good morning to you. First of all, as we said last Saturday when we were talking, it was going to be a tough week for Iraqi Security Forces in Anbar Province. That's exactly what happened. The Iraqi government is scrambling right now.
When you talk about what ISIS is doing, going around fortified formations as opposed to going through them, you have to take into consideration some other things. I checked some historical detail.
And during the month of May and June, usually in Iraq, you have anywhere from 10 to 20 days of high winds which creates things called shemals. I think Arwa Damon was probably in one of those yesterday. You can't see. So I think ISIS is adjusting their tactics to use the cover of these sandstorms to go around fortified positions.
[08:05:01] When you're talking about a force, the Iraqi Security Forces, that is not as well trained as they should be although they have been fighting in that area for over a year fighting some tough fights.
This is not one of the forces that's run away, you find them first of all exhausted, secondly, without reinforcement and some supplies. Third, they've moved their lines.
So this is going to continue to be a very tough fight as ISIS uses the advantage of all those things against the Iraqi security forces while using the weather conditions in their favor.
PAUL: So when you say that these weather conditions can help ISIS in May and June, what is the tactic there from Iraq and from coalition forces then? Because you can't just allow ISIS, right, to continue to push forward for two months because they inch closer and closer to Baghdad.
HERTLING: Yes, well, it's what we call in the military a condition of the battlefield. You just have to fight through it. You have to be reinforcing forces. That's what the Iraqi government is attempting to do by sending the some of the PM used, the militia units out to reinforce. You're talking thousands of those lining up behind the government security forces to try and prevent any further incursions by ISIS.
PAUL: You know, Representative Eliot Engle, Foreign Affairs Committee, said, I don't think the American public is ready for another full pledge war in Iraq because it keeps coming up should ground troops be sent in.
Polls though show that Americans, 68 percent of Americans, just last month said ISIS is a very serious threat more so than Iran, Russia, North Korea or China. So I'm wondering, do you think at any time the fear of ISIS and what should be done to stop them might supersede the fear of war?
HERTLING: I don't think so, Christie, and in my opinion, you know, everyone will have a knee jerk reaction to a tactical defeat, which is what this week was in Ramadi. Everyone is now saying let's send forces.
I've got to remind everybody, once you send forces there, they're there for a long time. Even when America forgets that those forces are there. The decision to send forces into combat is a very tough one.
PAUL: Stay close to this, General. I just want to bring in Arwa Damon, our senior international correspondent, who is there. Arwa, what are you hearing right now on the ground?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's been it seems finally -- this was much needed -- a level of collaboration between the Iraqi security forces, these Shia paramilitary units and the Sunni tribes at least when it comes to battle space that is centering around the town of Huseiba.
From what we're able to gather from multiple security sources, the Sunni tribes are mostly being left to hold territory while this Shia fighting force advances with the Iraqi army.
The Sunnis are being left behind in that role, which may not necessarily be ideal, but they don't have the weaponry that would allow them to actually advance in a significant manner and push ISIS back.
The Shia paramilitaries, the Iraqi security forces better armed for that particular task. But this is significant in the sense that at least in this particular battle space, we are beginning to see this level of cooperation.
We have been hearing from a number of tribal leaders and senior officials in Anbar Province. They wanted to see this Shia force come in. Clearly the Iraqi Security Forces were unable to get the job done themselves.
They do also want to see a real concerted effort to arm the Sunni tribes. This is where the government could find itself in a bit of a delicate position.
Because even though it is at the requests of the leadership in Anbar that this Shia paramilitary force went in, the government needs to make sure that it does not allow this impression to continue to grow. That it's deliberately not arming the Sunni tribes at this stage.
PAUL: Very good point. Arwa Damon and Retired General Hertling, thank you both so much. We appreciate it.
JOHNS: New developments into the gruesome murders in D.C. Police are searching for more suspects and a key witness changing his or her story. The latest is coming up next.
The tables are turned on a carjacker, who finds himself face down on the ground being held by his would be victim. We've got the video coming up.
Inside the world of a notorious biker gang, we'll talk to a former ATF agent, who went undercover inside the hell's angels.
PAUL: 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 privacy has won. Senators pushed back against measures that would allow the National Security Agency to continue data mining from telephone records. Our Athena Jones is joining us from Washington. So Athena, why won't the Senate take this up again for another week? And at that point, we know it's going to be just hours before the program expires.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Christi. The short answer is because they couldn't get it done last night after multiple attempts to keep this NSA telephone data collection program alive. Part of the thinking may be that you hear a lot on Capitol Hill. Deadlines are a good thing.
Maybe next Sunday when they're approaching this midnight deadline for the expiration of that program, maybe that will prompt senators to come to some sort of agreement.
But the bottom line is last night they worked well past 1:00 a.m. and tried to vote several times on various ways to extend this program. They voted on the House bill that would extend the program, make some important modifications to it.
Take the data out of the hands of the government. Leave with private telecom companies and requirement the government subpoena for it. Both those failed. But they also failed to extend it even by a day to June 2nd.
They couldn't extend to June 3. So there was a lot of opposition not just from Kentucky Republican Rand Paul who's made a name for himself by opposing these domestic surveillance programs, but also from some Democrats, who stepped in to block votes on other kinds of extensions.
So it was a dramatic moment, several dramatic moments on the Senate floor last night and even audible gasps we're told.
PAUL: So when you hear about all that drama happening on the Senate floor, is it likely six senators are going to change their mind after a week?
JONES: Well, I think that's the hope, but you know, this is the Senate. There's no telling what's going to happen. We're going to have to watch and see. I can tell you that the people, who want to see big reforms to this data collection program, this bulk collection program, they say, you know, it's not the vital antiterrorism tool that the supporters are making it out to be.
[08:15:00] The government hasn't been able to point to a single example of a case where this program played a key role in forwarding a terror plot. So they say it's not so much about saving American lives as the proponents say it is -- Christi.
PAUL: All right, Athena Jones, appreciate it this morning. Thank you.
JOHNS: After weeks of negotiations, the president's trade agenda received a critical boost from the Senate overnight. There was a bipartisan vote in favor of the so-called fast track trade bill, which would allow Congress to vote for or against major trade agreements negotiated by the White House with only up and down vote. It's known as fast track because it's designed to speed up the likelihood of U.S. approving free trade agreements. The legislation now moves to the House, which is expected to begin work on the bill in June.
PAUL: And new developments to share with you into the gruesome murders in D.C., police are searching for more suspects right now. A key witness seems to be changing his or her story. We'll tell you what's happening there.
Plus inside the world of a notorious biker gang, we're speaking with a former ATF agent, who went undercover with the Hell's Angels. Unique insight into what goes on behind closed doors there.
JOHNS: We have some new developments to tell you about 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 their housekeeper could not have acted alone. The D.C. police chief said it's pretty obvious that there was coordination.
That attack began around 6:00 p.m. last Wednesday and did not end until 1:24 p.m. the next day when the house was set on fire. Savva Savopoulos, his wife, Amy, their son, Philip, and their housekeeper, were held hostage.
We're learning now that the victims were bound with duct tape, suffered from blunt force trauma. There were signs that 10-year-old Phillip was stabbed and tortured.
Also in the police report, conflicting reports from a key witness about the ransoms. CNN correspondent, Sara Ganim, joins us. Sara, what is going on with this witness?
SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this witness, Joe, is an employee of Mr. Savopoulos. He was his driver, his assistant, and he would run daily tasks for him. He told police that he got a text message from Mr. Savopoulus asking him to bring him money, $40,000, which police believe now was ransom money.
But here's the problem with this witness, he told police several different versions of the story. For example, he told police that he first received that text message on Thursday and then changed the story to say that it came on Wednesday.
Another discrepancy, he changed the location of the drop off. He said that the car where he left the money was locked. Then he said that it was unlocked. Same location, I'm sorry, but different circumstance.
He also changed the time in which he says -- I'm sorry, changed the amount of -- the place that he put the money. So he originally said that he put it into a manila envelope and left it in the car.
And then later change that to a red bag. Now there's also a discrepancy in the amount of cash because there is a cell phone picture that police obtained that showed two bundles of cash.
One only had the bank tape around the bundle, when in fact, the employee who went and received that money from the teller said it was four bundles of money, and all of them had the tape on there.
There's also a discrepancy, this driver, who remains unnamed in the police documents. He said he was there at the bank when the money was withdrawn and then later changed his story to say, in fact, he was not.
Now with all of this yesterday, with the police saying that it's clear that Daron Wint could not have acted alone. This raises the question this morning, Joe, of who else was he acting with? Could this person have possibly known Wint?
Because Wint was also a former employee of Mr. Savopoulos, did they know each other? Was he aware of what was going on or was he simply doing as he was told and dropping off the $40,000 ransom money -- Joe.
JOHNS: So Sara, I mean, just to put a finer point it, it sounds like there's a question about whether $40,000 that was withdrawn from the account actually was delivered, all of it, $40,000, to the house and actually where it was delivered, right?
GANIM: Where it was delivered, how it was delivered, the condition in which it was delivered, the timing of when it was delivered. Was it delivered Wednesday night or Thursday? Was all the money there? Why did he say he put it in a manila envelope when in fact it was a red bag? Why did he say he put it in a locked car when in fact it was unlocked car? All of these things, all these discrepancies are raising questions.
JOHNS: Sure, there were others too because the initial reports were that the money was left on the porch. Now we find it was the garage. What we do know is according to authorities $10,000 was found on Wint when he was taken into custody. Thanks so much for that, Sarah Ganim.
GANIM: Of course.
PAUL: Inside the world of a notorious biker gang, we're speaking with a former ATF agent who went undercover with the Hell's Angels. Unique insight into what goes on behind closed doors.
Also family and friends still demanding justice six months after the deadly shooting of a 12-year-old by a Cleveland police officer, our investigators providing answers at this point. We're talking to the family of Tamir Rice.
It's a new concept in dining. Dinner Lab lets diners experience new food and new people in a whole new way. It's a mobile dinner club that's currently operating in 33 cities across the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Food has a tremendous power to bring people in contact with one another that wouldn't normally be at the same table. I'm Brian Bordenick (ph). I'm the co-founder of Dinner Labs.
I originally moved to New Orleans right after Hurricane Katrina as part of Teacher America to come and teach. I come from a very, very diverse background. Where I grew up outside of New York City, I grew up at the dinner table with friends.
[08:25:00] The original idea was bring together awesome people. We look for really amazing non-traditional locations. We're here at a place they store a lot of Mardis Grass floats.
We've had to deal with so many other things a normal restaurant wouldn't even think of. We have a kitchen many all cities we operate. We have a mobile kitchen that will bring onsite.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm the mobile chef. The menu is more of the Malaysian theme menu.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything we do as a company is connecting directly the guest to chef's narrative. Sometimes that's promoting our chefs and how they're prepping. We like to document those things on Instagram and Twitter.
The way people find out about our events right now is they get access to our website then they receive notification. We're in 33 cities across the United States right now. Dinner Labs was really about giving chefs the opportunity to do what they love to do, tell their story through food.
[08:29:31] PAUL: We do have some breaking news this morning out of Cleveland. We're just getting word that in about an hour and a half a judge will be reading the verdict of the voluntary manslaughter trial of a police officer there. His name is Michael Brelo.
I want to go to Ryan Young who has the latest for us.
Ryan, I understand this Cleveland cop was involved in a 22 minute police pursuit of a couple and fired 49 shots.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this case happened back in 2012. And from what we're told, over 137 shots were fired by several officers who participated in this chase. It was then discovered that the folks who were inside that car were not armed.
Now, of course Cleveland has been waiting for this verdict to come out. The judges actually held it for several days. Now we were known that what was going to end up happening is they were going to release this information over the weekend. We've been actually talking to people in the Cleveland area, community leaders who said they were giving a heads up about this because everybody is worried about what will happen next.
People talk about Ferguson, people talk about Baltimore. We know this community has been working extra hard to make sure that when this verdict comes out that the community stays calm. We're also told that Michael Brelo in this case stood on top of the car, on the hood and fired into the window of that car.
This angered a lot of people in the community. In fact, a lot of questions here about whether or not Cleveland was going to be considered the next Ferguson. So a lot of community members have been working extremely hard to make sure that this doesn't happen again.
Of course, the verdict will come out in about an hour and a half. We'll be standing by live to hear what information comes out in this court case and how they move forward as a city.
PAUL: Ok. So Ryan -- and we understand this is going to happen in an hour and a half. We're going to hear this verdict. And I'm assuming that there's a lot of security there.
YOUNG: Well actually right now we don't see a lot of security. You know, some of these court cases -- of course, I've been to Baltimore. I've been to and Ferguson. You don't see the cops on the street right now. We're told actually the National Guard did get alerted about the situation. But we're not sure if they're even anticipating anything happening here.
A lot of conversations in the community, with gang members, with community leaders, with church leaders to make sure nothing happens here like it's happened in other states. Of course, we don't know the verdict just yet. But of course, everyone is standing by. But as we drove through downtown this morning, no extra security precautions, nothing out of the ordinary. Everything looks like a pretty normal Saturday morning.
PAUL: All right. Hey -- Ryan Young, we appreciate it. Thank you so much. Ryan Young for us in Cleveland and again waiting for that Michael Brelo verdict to be read. We will bring that to you when it happens -- Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN HOST: Ok, Christi. Also in Cleveland, new details involving the case of Tamir Rice -- he was the 12-year-old who was shot and killed last November by a Cleveland police officer after authorities say police officer mistook Tamir's pellet gun for a firearm.
There are also reports that six months after the controversial shooting, investigators have not interviewed the police officer in question, Timothy Lowman. Meanwhile, an incident report published this week reveals that police officials wanted to charge Rice with aggravated menacing and inducing panic.
So let's bring in now an attorney for Tamir Rice's family, Walter Madison. What is your response in the first place to this report that the police officer in question has not been interviewed? I know a number of officers apparently were interviewed. They were put in the statements, the so called Garrett statements were taken out because some of this was a bureaucratic matter as opposed to police matter. But now we're hearing that perhaps the officer who fired the weapon has not been interviewed?
WALTER MADISON, ATTORNEY FOR TAMIR RICE'S FAMILY: It's outrageous. And it feeds to the public's distrust or the integrity of the system. You know, on one hand any experienced investigator should anticipate that a defendant may assort a Fifth Amendment, you know.
But in this case none of that really matters because anything that they say for certain would be self-serving. But in a crime fighter's dream, you have everything on video. It's almost immaterial what they have to say whether self-serving or no. You have it right there for your review. The only question they have to answer is whether or not a crime was committed likely. That's probable cause. And people are arrested for far less everyday in America.
JOHNS: Sure. But you do rightly point out he does have a right not to make any incriminating statements or statements that are being construed as incriminating.
MADISON: Certainly and no one has an issue with that. But the anticipation of that for any seasoned investigator. Particularly a high profile case like this begs the question, what's the delay for. And ironically or maybe not, today is the actual six month anniversary of Tamir's passing.
JOHNS: Ok. So let's talk about this notion of charging Tamir Rice with aggravated menacing or whatever. What do you think of that? It was pretty clear what we had on the ground there was a 12-year-old holding a pellet gun that police apparently mistook for a firearm. But the notion that they wanted to charge him in this takes it to perhaps a different level?
MADISON: Certainly. First of all, if there's any mistake in belief I suggest on the part of the police officer by the tack that they took.
[08:35:01] But what we do know, and if you look at Walter Scott is that there has been a pattern and an effort by some law enforcement officer to cover their behavior or their mistakes.
JOHNS: Ok. Now, this investigation as you said we're reaching the six month right now. We had a very brief statement not too long ago by the sheriff who was giving an update on his investigation and why it's taking so long. Sounds like bureaucratic nightmare. Why do you think it's taking so long? And what do you think about the amount of time?
MADISON: Well, there's really no explanation for the amount of time it has taken other than to think that they're just hoping that this will die, and they can sweep this under the rug.
JOHNS: But he says it's a bureaucratic problem really.
MADISON: Well sometimes justice a little more diligence. If it's taken you six months or however long that they claim to bring the case to this point, then maybe you need twice as much manpower. It would only seem to be reasonable and honest if they had applied a little more ore diligence.
JOHNS: Walter Madison, thanks so much. Good to see you once again.
MADISON: Always -- Joe.
JOHNS: We did reach out to the sheriff's office and prosecutors for comment. They both said that it's under investigation. And that was their only comment at least for now - Christi.
PAUL: All right. Joe thanks.
Inside the world of a biker gang. Up next, a former ATF agent who was undercover with the Hell's Angels gives us insight into what happens behind closed doors and what are their goals.
[08:40:04] PAUL: 39 minutes past the hour.
There's a Texas bulletin out this weekend that warns the Bandidos are quote "out for blood"; this comes almost a week, of course, after a deadly biker brawl in Waco, Texas that killed nine people and more than 170 were arrested at that point.
A lot of them are still behind bars this morning but it's the message from Bandidos that's putting authorities in Texas and really across the country on alert. Tens of thousands of bikers' rallies are scheduled this weekend gathering in spots from New Mexico through the nation's capital.
Let's talk about this with Jay Dobyns, he's a former ATF agent who went undercover infiltrating the notorious Hell's Angels. He also wrote about this in his book called "No Angel".
Jay -- thank you so much.
I want to ask you right out of the gate, when you hear about these Bandidos threat that they're out for blood based on everything you know, how dangerous is that?
JAY DOBYNS, FORMER ATF AGENT: I believe it's dangerous. I believe it. They have access to all kinds of weaponry, explosives, high caliber weapons, assault rifles. They recruit out of the military. They're looking for special force type people. Snipers, people with military training. They're armed up, gunned up and capable of what they're threatening.
PAUL: What is their goal Jay? What do they want to do? Is this about gangs fighting each other? Because I think a lot of people are watching and wondering as general public, how threatened are we?
DOBYNS: Well the public is in danger when they're around like they were at the Twin Peaks, like they were in 2002 at the Harris Casino in Las Vegas. They're about violence. They're about intimidation. And it's very easy to be in the wrong place at the wrong time as a member of the public if you're not paying attention.
PAUL: How do police move forward with this? What do you think police should be doing? Obviously they're on alert. How do they move forward this weekend? DOBYNS: They're going to continue to investigate. Law enforcement
and threats upon us doing their job is not unusual. It's not something that comes as a shock to us. But they're real -- The threats are real. Added attention and protections are needed and I'm sure they're in place.
PAUL: So let me ask you about your time with Hell's Angels, what was the most alarming -- what was the one most alarming thing to you that you walk away. Your takeaway from, with that investigation in your time with them?
DOBYNS: The all-in belief in the club, the club name, the patch hat they wear. It's the bible they live by. It's the religion they follow. As we saw, they will fight for it and kill for it and die for it.
PAUL: What is their religion? What are they fighting for?
DOBYNS: They're fighting for their brotherhood. They're fighting for territory, reputation, prestige. They all want to be the king of the mountain. They all want to be the big boy on the block. Anybody that challenges them is in the way standing in between them and that agenda.
PAUL: You were talking about their arsenal and the guns that they have access to. Where do they get the money? Does drugs infiltrate this? Do drugs infiltrate this?
DOBYNS: Well, narcotics and every other kind of crime that you can imagine. Extortion, prostitution, drug running, gun running. Money is not an issue for these guys. They know how to make money both legally and illegally. And money is not what is going to stop them from being able to get their hands on this type of stuff.
PAUL: All right, Jay Dobyns, we so appreciate it. Again, the author of "No Angel". Thank you for being here giving us Good insight.
DOBYNS: Thank you.
JOHNS: Christi man who that killed an endangered black rhino is calling himself a conservationist.
Up next we'll tell you the story of Corey Knowlton and the 350,000 reasons the Namibian government let him hunt a rare species.
JOHNS: Got a question for you. Did a hunter really help save the endangered black rhino by killing one of them? For more than a year, CNN has been covering the controversial journey of Corey Knowlton, the Texas hunter who became the target of a raging backlash after paying $350,000 to kill one of the last remaining black rhinos on earth. It may not be what it seems. CNN's Ed Lavandera joined Knowlton on its hunt through the bush in Namibia -- take a look. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Almost 6:00 in the morning. We're going to fly out to the first location to see if we can find the black rhino. This is where we're going to start the hunt.
Our location has to be kept secret. We've been asked to keep it secret. Why is that?
COREY KNOWLTON, HUNTER: They don't want any type of black market poaching ring to know exactly where these rhinos are at.
LAVANDERA: This isn't easy.
KNOWLTON: I think let's just stay really, really tight.
LAVANDERA: Do you still feel that what you did is going to benefit the black rhino?
KNOWLTON: 100 percent. I feel from day one it was to benefit the black rhino. And I'll feel that until the day I die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: All right. Well, Wayne Pacelle is joining us now. He's the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.
Wayne, first of all wanting to get your response if we could please to the "kill it to save it" rational. What do you think of that?
WAYNE PACELLE, HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE U.S.: Well, you know, this is one of the most endangered animals in the world. There are thousands and tens of thousands of people working so hard to save the black rhino. 99.99 percent of them aren't demanding the opportunity to kill one, or injure one or do something harmful to one in order to help them. This notion you've got to get something out of your contribution.
If this gentleman wanted to give money to rhino conservation or protection, nothing stops him from doing that. And why does he need to take the life of one of the animals? Everyday there are rhino protection advocates selflessly giving to promote conservation.
PAUL: So when he calls himself a conservationist. You do or do not agree with that?
PACELLE: I think he's a pay to slay operator. The guy is a professional trophy hunter. He takes people out and he shoots animals trophies for pleasure. Not for me -- not for management but his own personal enrichment and because he likes to do this.
And you know, if we go with this line of thinking? What happens if someone says I want to pay to shoot a mountain gorilla or a Siberian tiger? I mean we in the United States don't allow this. This is the first rhino trophy import that we've allowed in 33 years in this country because our policy under the Endangered Species Act has been to discourage Americans from killing the rarest animals in the world.
And just because you give a bunch of money -- we at the Humane Society in the United States, African Wild Life Foundation and all of our supporters who enable -- give money all the time but we don't the life of an animals in exchange for it?
PAUL: Ok. I understand what you're. On the other side of this, I have to get this in, there's a benefit some say of this kill because nearly a one. One ton of rhino meat was used to feed poor villages -- people in poor villages after the hunt.
And then there's also this rhino forum we understand. This was more worth more than gold and silver and even cocaine one said. Knowlton wants that $350,000 and you alluded to this, to go towards stopping its growing legal market.
PACELLE: Yes, the hypocrisy is incredible.
There had been 1,200 killed in South Africa bordering the Namibia in the last year by poachers. We as a nation and conservation throughout the world saying, let's not value rhinos just for their horns. You Africans, even if you're poor and going to try to feed your family with proceeds of selling rhino horn, you can't do it because we want to protect this species in perpetuity and allow future generations of this animal to live.
But we in the United States, it's ok for a rich guy to go shoot a rhino for its horn. What hypocrisy is this? What sort of moral reasoning is this?
PAUL: What is the answer? How do we save these animals?
PACELLE: We save them by cracking down on poaching which is what we at the Humane Society and the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the African Wild Life Foundation are doing. Funding anti-poaching activities, trying to suppress demand for rhino horn. We've got a big campaign in Vietnam which is the number rhino horn consuming country.
In the United States now, we've got bills in California and Oregon to ban any trade in the United States because we also happen to be a big market.
The solution is not letting some rich guy shoot a rhino for $350,000. The solution is a comprehensive approach to reduce demand and to protect the animals on the ground and not have this transactional idea that if I give money, I want to be able to kill one of these rare animals.
PAUL: All right. Hey, Wayne Pacelle -- good to get your voice on this today. Thank you for sharing.
PACELLE: Thank you so much.
JOHNS: Still ahead, we're following breaking news in Cleveland where a judge has reached a verdict in the voluntary manslaughter trial of a police officer. Michael Brelo was charged in the police chase and deadly shooting of an unarmed couple in a vehicle.
[08:54:58] We're expecting the verdict to be announced at 10:00 Eastern.
PAUL: We are a waiting the announcement of a verdict in the voluntary manslaughter trial of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo. You see him there. The judge is expected to announce at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. We'll bring that to you as it happens.
JOHNS: Brelo is charged in the death of Timothy Russell and Melissa Williams. They died in a police chase involving more than 100 officers and 60 police cars.
Police fired 137 shots at the couple's car. Prosecutors say 49 of those shots from came from Brelo's gun alone. They say His final 15 shots were fired from the hood of the couple's vehicle. Brelo's defense says there was a perceived threat. If convicted he could get up to 22 years in prison.
Checking other top stories developing now. A new video from a fatal plane crash on a Georgia interstate earlier this month. The video was recorded on an officer's dash cam. You can see the plane coming from the right corner of the screen. Few seconds later, plane makes a sharp right turn then a large plume of smoke. By the time the officer pulls up, the plane is fully engulfed in flames. Four people killed in the crash. A preliminary reports shows the pilot had radioed he was having he was having trouble gaining altitude.
PAUL: And a historic day for Ireland. Unofficial tallies show, and the country had voted to legalize same sex marriage. This is the first time a country has done so through popular vote. And the win could be as big one as much as two to one. An official tally will be announced a little bit later today.
[09:00:03] JOHNS: That's it. We'll see you back here at 10:00 newsroom.
PAUL: In the CNN NEWSROOM, of course, we're going to bring you the verdict in the Michael Brelo trial, live from Cleveland before. Don't go anywhere.
Smerconish is starting right now.