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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Sanders Draws Huge Crowd in Wisconsin; Powerhouse Families Dominating Politics; Accused Killer in Court; Law Enforcement Officers on Alert as Holiday Approaches; Ten Shark Attacks in Carolinas This Year. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 2, 2015 - 16:30   ET

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


[16:30:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Says the boat left the port too quickly and people on board stood up, which threw the ferry off balance. High winds only added to the recipe for disaster. Images taken shortly after show the boat upside down and barely above water. Divers are now using special equipment to search under water.

In our politics lead today, he is moving up in the polls while Hillary Clinton moves down as the money starts to pour in for him and his crowds get bigger.

Can Senator Bernie Sanders actually take down the Clinton juggernaut? That story next.

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TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Time now for the politics lead. Nearly 10,000 Democrats in Madison, Wisconsin, screaming and shouting for their candidate, but this Beatles-like welcome was not for the person you might think. All those people were not chanting Hil-la-ry, Hil-la-ry. They were there for Vermont independent socialist senator Bernie Sanders.

And no, he's not the Fab Four, but he does say he wants a revolution.

[16:35:00]

TAPPER: And he's shrinking the gap in the polls. He's putting butts in the seats and money in the bank.

Let's bring in CNN's senior political correspondent, Brianna Keilar.

Brianna, his supporters say "feel the Bern" -- B-E-R-N. Feel the Bern.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, feel the Bern, Berniementum, Hillary Clinton gets a Bern notice. You get the point here.

Bernie Sanders is gaining on Hillary Clinton in the polls and this might not be enough to beat her a la then-senator Obama in 2008, but it tells you that a lot of Democratic voters want another option.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR (voice-over): Hillary Clinton is raising big money, but Bernie Sanders is raising the roof.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VT.: In case you haven't noticed, there's a lot of people here.

(APPLAUSE)

KEILAR (voice-over): Almost 10,000 people flocking to his event in the liberal stronghold of Madison, Wisconsin.

SANDERS: Tonight we have more people at a meeting for a candidate for President of the United States than any other candidate has had in 2016.

KEILAR (voice-over): Sanders' straight-talking populism making this self-described socialist the progressive alternative to Hillary Clinton.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel more of a personal connection with Bernie than I ever did with any other candidate before. He just fits so well with my philosophy and my morals.

KEILAR (voice-over): The big crowds designed to challenge the fundraising juggernaut of Clinton.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Amen. I mean, I really believe that...

KEILAR (voice-over): -- whose events have mostly been stage-managed roundtables and smaller speeches.

Enthusiasm for Sanders in places like Wisconsin and Minnesota is helping build support in states that drive the nomination process. In Iowa, Sanders jumped from 5 percent support in February to 15 percent in May, all the way to a respectable 33 percent, shrinking Clinton's lead by 26 points.

And in New Hampshire, the wild-haired senator from neighboring Vermont has closed the gap to just 8 points in the latest CNN/ORC poll, his insurgent campaign bringing comparisons to fellow Vermonter Howard Dean's 2004 campaign effort.

But like Dean, Sanders still faces long odds. Clinton crushes him in national polls by more than 40 points. And her campaign just announced a record-breaking $45 million fundraising haul for her first quarter in the race to Sanders' $15 million.

SANDERS: They may have the money, but we have the people and when the people stand together, we can win.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: We can win. That is still very much debatable, seen as debatable. But Bernie Sanders, or more accurately those who support him, can certainly shape this race, pulling Hillary Clinton to the left as we've already seen him and those supporters do -- Jake.

TAPPER: And, Brianna, we should point out another Democrat joined the race today, trying to knock Secretary Clinton off her casual stroll to the nomination.

KEILAR: That's right, former senator from Virginia, Jim Webb. And he's sort of seen as someone who is maybe trying to target white working-class voters, the set that Hillary Clinton would have been going for in 2007-2008.

But this is interesting because he barely registers in the polls. I mean, at this point you have Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders who are registering in the polls.

And then when you look specifically at Jim Webb, compare to, say, a Martin O'Malley, who also doesn't really register in the polls very much, he hasn't done much early state travel. He's not really raising money, he hasn't put much into this in infrastructure, so it's kind of -- you wonder how serious he really is about tackling this at this point.

TAPPER: We'll see. It's early yet. Brianna Keilar, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Make sure to catch my "STATE OF THE UNION" sitdown with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders this Sunday at 9:00 am and noon Eastern. I'll also sit down with Republican presidential candidate former governor Mike Huckabee. Don't miss it -- Sunday.

Jim Webb entered the race for the Democratic nomination not with a splash or any flash, really, but he did acknowledge the long odds and low poll numbers that make him unlikely to pull off all the upsets.

But you would have some Democratic heavies think 2016 is the exact right time for some fresh blood.

And joining me now former Democratic senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart, he's out with a new book called "The Republic of Conscience."

Senator Hart, so good to see you. Thanks so much for being here. I appreciate you.

The thesis of your book is that if our Founding Fathers, who we're all thinking about a lot as we approach July 4th, if they were alive today, they would not recognize this nation.

And you write, quote, "Among many other fears that founders had about concentrated wealth and power and control of government was the perpetuation of small numbers of families.

"It is the nature of interests to protect themselves and what better way to do so than to negotiate comfortable arrangements with a few political families to attain and maintain political office."

That is certainly an interesting observation, given the current Democratic and Republican front-runners, Bush and Clinton.

GARY HART, FORMER U.S. SENATOR AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It must be pointed out that was a written a year ago.

TAPPER: Right. No, of course, fair enough.

(LAUGHTER)

HART: So it wasn't written yesterday --

[16:40:00]

HART: -- but a little prescient.

TAPPER: Yes. No, I know you are supporting your former campaign aide, Martin O'Malley, who went on to become mayor of Baltimore, governor of Maryland.

Why do you like him?

HART: I like him because he supported me.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: That's a good, honest reason.

HART: That's pretty simple. No, on his behalf, and by the way, support in my case, because I'm not wealthy, does not include money or regular involvement in the campaign.

I've talked to him off and on about international policy and national security, and I will continue to do so, but the parallel between this race and the one I waged many years ago is the need for a generational change and fresh blood in leadership and fresh ideas.

And we can't keep recycling, again, more or less the same candidates and the same families. I think it is time for this country to have a generational change of leadership and he has put himself forward. And I think he deserves to be heard.

TAPPER: I want to ask you, you have an interesting point of view, because you have been both an antiestablishment questioner of the national security military industrial complex, and yet you've also served on national security advisory boards for the State Department and Defense Departments.

When you hear about FBI alerts for ISIS and Department of Homeland Security alerts for potential terrorist attacks, how serious do you take those, given your history as both a skeptic of this national security system and also in some ways a part of it?

HART: No, no, I take the warning seriously. In both those capacities at Defense and State, I have maintained a high level of classification, so I know pretty much what to trust and not. I don't think our security agencies are in the business of misleading the American public. You can only cry wolf so often and then people quit paying attention.

I think when we receive alerts and there are warnings about the 4th of July and potential attacks, those are based on real evidence.

TAPPER: All right. Former senator Gary Hart, the book is "The Republic of Conscience," a lot of good food for thought on this July 4th weekend. Thank you so much, Senator.

HART: Thank you very much.

TAPPER: Coming up, the prosecution ready to reveal new information in the case against the man accused of killing a Washington, D.C.; family and their housekeeper but a surprise in court this afternoon brought the hearing to a halt. That's next.

Plus one expert is calling it a, quote, "perfect storm," multiple shark attacks off the Carolina coast. Why? That's ahead.

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[16:46:41]

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. The national lead now, just moments ago, the man accused of brutally killing a Washington, D.C., family and their housekeeper appeared in court. Police say Daron Wint held Savvas Savopoulos hostage along with his wife, Amy, their 10-year-old son, Philip, and their maid, Veralicia Figueroa.

Graphic details from court documents reveal that the father was found strangled, beaten and burned. His young son apparently suffered trauma to the back of his head. Police say DNA on a pizza box linked Wint to the crime scene. CNN's Tom Foreman is live at the courthouse.

Tom, what happened at the courthouse today? And my bigger question remains, why is Daron Wint still the only person who has been arrested in this horrific crime?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is an excellent question, Jake. And we'll get to that in just a bit.

What happened today basically ended up being a procedural matter. We thought that what was going to happen is we would hear the initial layout of the case here, as they went through the proceedings.

As it was, he simply ended up changing attorneys here, but there was a real hint that what Daron Wint is going to suggest is that he was as surprised as anyone else by these savage killings. At least that was what we heard from his former attorney.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN (voice-over): Wint came to court in handcuffs and shackles, only to immediately break free of his legal team.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was cooperative and forthcoming.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Dropping defense attorney Sean Hanover for a public defender over what appears to be differences of opinion about how to fight the charges against Wint.

Outside the court, however, Hanover remained eager to at least unofficially defend his former client, even as police say they have DNA, a boot print and more linking Wint to the killings.

SEAN HANOVER, WINT'S FORMER ATTORNEY: He was heartbroken like everybody else at their death and I can assure you that he never intended or wanted anybody, them or anyone else, to be harmed.

FOREMAN (voice-over): But the case against Wint goes beyond the evidence at the scene of the fire and murders. Officials say Wint, who was born in Guyana, was known as a troublemaker when he worked for Savvas Savopoulos years ago. CNN has learned Wint's green card was already in jeopardy earlier this year when he was arrested for receiving stolen property.

Still, the crime was complicated, and investigators suggest Wint had to have help. Sources tell CNN police are investigating Wint's brother and a cousin, who also worked for Savopoulos, and was also fired, threatening to burn the business in retaliation. But so far, no one else has been charged.

RON HOSKO, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI: That part is concerning, because certainly by now they've had enough time to do lab examinations, to get records that typically in this case would be phone records that may put others in proximity to the crime scene, to try to lift fingerprints, get other DNA from the scene. Now the question is, does that exist?

HANOVER: He's not a violent guy.

FOREMAN (voice-over): It could all play into the claim Hanover repeated even as he walked away form the case. His former client, he says, was set up.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN: And interestingly enough, he's not saying that he was set up by the police but rather suggesting, Jake, that he might have been set up by some of these other unknown, unnamed accomplices -- Jake.

TAPPER: That's the question, though, right?

If others are involved as has been alleged by Wint and also by law enforcement, is Wint naming any of them?

[16:50:00]

FOREMAN: Well, so far there's no indication he's naming anyone, if this is the case, but that would not be that unusual. What we have seen so far is sort of procedural.

As a practical matter, if Wint is going to cut any kind of a deal here, he would want to wait until his whole team settled, until the charges were settled and they could actually make a negotiation, if I hand over these other names, what do I get in return?

It seems like they're simply getting everything lined up before that kind of talk can take place. And then if this really is his defense, yes, you could probably expect he would hand over other names -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Tom Foreman, thank you so much.

Let's go back to the national lead. Law enforcement across the country on a terror alert ahead of the July 4th holiday weekend. Wolf Blitzer is here with a preview of "THE SITUATION ROOM," which is on in just 10 minutes.

And you'll be talking to Oklahoma senator James Lankford?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: He's a key member of the Intelligence Committee, the Homeland Security Committee. He's been well briefed on what's going on this weekend.

As you know, a lot of public officials, the secretary of Homeland Security, the FBI director, the chief of counterterrorism at the NYPD in New York, they have raised concerns. Just get ready; no specific plot supposedly.

But I'm trying to get a better sense right now on what is going on, how worried should the folks out there be, especially the jitteriness we saw this morning here in Washington after what turned out to be, fortunately, nothing.

But you saw hundreds of law enforcement personnel swoop down on that U.S. Navy Yard. So we're just going to try to get some more information on what's going on.

TAPPER: I have asked officials about the skeptics out there who say there have been dozens of these alerts over the years, and they never come to fruition. Everyone shoots me down, but there still is no credible specific threat about this weekend?

BLITZER: Supposedly, but they did get nervous, I suspect, because of what happened last week on three continents overseas, in Tunisia, in Kuwait and in France. ISIS sympathizers, lone wolves, as they're called supposedly, they killed a lot of people.

When that happens and they see these people inspired by social media, they get nervous over here.

TAPPER: Yes, better safe than sorry, I suppose. Wolf Blitzer, thank you so much.

Two months, 10 shark attacks, that's 10.

What is going on along the Carolina coast? We're getting some answers from the experts, coming up next.

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[16:56:31]

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. In other national news, shark attacks remain a serious concern on the Carolina coast this holiday weekend. There have been 10 attacks this year, all along this coastline, seven in North Carolina, three in South Carolina.

The number and frequency of those attacks are quite unusual.

So why is this happening now? Why there?

CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray is in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

Jennifer, it's a big beach weekend ahead.

What are authorities telling people in terms of safety?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, you know, Jake, they're not closing the beaches. They have no intention to. In fact the park service says it's really out of their hands. They oversee the beaches, but only to the shoreline. Beyond that, it is out of their control.

The beaches are expected to get a little bit more crowded as we go into the weekend. They're telling people to swim at their own risk.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRAY (voice-over): Another shark attack in the waters off North Carolina has beachgoers on alert, and with 10 attacks here along the Carolina coast in less than two months, those fears aren't easing up.

Sharks are like any other wild animal, always looking for food. That's why sometimes they can mistake humans for food. The uptick in bites is alarming. And experts are trying to sort out what's going on.

Neil Hammerschlag has been tagging and studying sharks for 15 years. He says this is the time of year many of his tagged sharks from Miami are near North Carolina.

NEIL HAMMERSCHLAG, MARINE BIOLOGIST: Some of the sharks like the tiger sharks that we tag off Miami and the Bahamas are in the North Carolina area right now there now, but we think they're there predominantly to feed on nesting loggerhead turtles.

GRAY (voice-over): In fact, on his website, you can see the shark spez (ph) right off the coast of the Outer Banks, but he says a reason for an uptick of sharks could be from a number of factors.

HAMMERSCHLAG: If there's a bunch of small fish or that are coming in shore or aggregating or following any nutrients in shore or currents, certainly the big sharks can be following those fishes in shore, which might have them interacting with people more.

GRAY (voice-over): Researchers want you to know shark bites are still extremely rare, because sharks aren't necessarily swimming around looking for you.

GEORGIENNE BRADLEY, DIRECTOR, SEA SAVE FOUNDATION: Sharks are not the huge killers. When you look at the number of people who are actually injured by sharks every year compared to the number of people who are injured by deer or even toasters, the number is very low.

HAMMERSCHLAG: The fact that bites are so rare, and the fact that they're nonfatal just shows that humans aren't on the menu.

GRAY (voice-over): But with warmer weather bringing more people to the oceans, experts caution, always be aware of your surroundings.

BRADLEY: The shark bites that you see along the coast are due to murky waters, mistaken identity, laying on top of surfboards; humans often look like seals, pinnipeds, one of the key items on a shark's menu.

GRAY: And you see that right there, that fishing rod, if you see someone fishing, do not go swimming around a fisherman. They're using bait. A lot of these fishermen on the shore are fishing for sharks, a lot of the surf fishermen. So stay away from that.

Also stay away from structures. Don't go swimming around piers, docks, people fishing off of piers, that's also a bad place to be.

Jake, I've spent a lot of time in the water with sharks, diving. Whenever you see one, don't start splashing around and trying to get out of the way, just be very, very still because they're not there to eat you.

TAPPER: Jennifer, a couple kids with boogie boards were going right near where that fisherman's pole is. You might want to go talk to them.

Jennifer Gray from Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, thanks so much.

That's it for THE LEAD. Wolf Blitzer and "THE SITUATION ROOM" right now.