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Dylann Roof Rests Death Penalty Case; North Korea Blames U.S. for Missile Launches; New Details on Obama's Farewell Address; Questions about Red Flags Florida Shooter Raised Himself; Obama to Warn about Future in Farewell Address. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired January 9, 2017 - 14:30   ET



[14:30:17] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: In South Carolina, the racist convicted of murdering nine worshippers in a church during Bible study, rested his death penalty case without calling any witnesses. He also did not provide any evidence to convince the jury to spare his life. This, after four days of emotional testimony from family members of the victims and a survivor of that mass shooting.

Let me bring in Martin Savidge, who has been sitting day in and day out in the courtroom in Charleston.

What happened today, Martin.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This death penalty phase of Dylann Roof trial has been full of surprises. Today was another one. It began as expected, with the testimony of the last person to give a victim statement, which was Felicia Sanders. She certainly saw horror inside of that church. She was one of those who survived. But in that process, she watched her son be gunned down by Dylann Roof. She watched her aunt be gunned down by Dylann Roof. She only survived by lying in the blood of her son pretending to be dead while she cuffed her 11-year-old grandchild. Those are the kind of compelling and deeply moving statements we've heard throughout. Hers is certainly one of the most significant.

Then essentially what happened is the prosecution said we rest. The judge turns to Dylann Roof and says, "Do you want to present any witnesses?" "No." He said, "None at all." It was implied maybe he wanted to make some kind of statement then. Turns out, no. Instead, what he did, to surprise everyone, was he asked to have his attorneys back again. This is the man who said he didn't want attorneys, he would defend himself. Now he wants them back. Because going on right now out of the earshot of the jury is the charging counsel. They are going to go over the instructions given to the jury. It's technical. He apparently felt, yes, maybe I do need a lawyer for this.

Now the next question: Will he speak tomorrow? Or will his attorneys speak tomorrow? If he does speak in his closing statement, what will he say? His opening statement was less than two minutes. There is still a lot of questions on this one -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: Stunning. No remorse. No attempt to spare his own life. SAVIDGE: Nope.

BALDWIN: Martin Savidge, we'll talk again tomorrow.

Thank you so much, in South Carolina for us.

Just ahead here on CNN, the man accused in the Fort Lauderdale mass shooting from Friday, he is in court today for the very first time. Were there warnings that were ignored? Should guns be allowed in checked bags? We will have a bigger discussion about all of that.

Also ahead, brand-new details about what President Obama will say in his farewell address tomorrow night from Chicago. And as we are learning, it will include a warning about the next four years.


[14:37:20] BALDWIN: A U.S. Navy destroyer fires three warning shots at Iranian boats. The ship firing on these boats as it moved into the Persian Gulf. Defense officials say several Iranian attack boats started speeding toward this U.S. ship. This happened at least five times during the course of several hours. The U.S. ship tried to warn them with bells, whistles, smoke flares, but the Iranians kept coming. They fired three missiles into the water and finally they stopped.

North Korea warning it could fire off a long-range missile at, quote, unquote, "any time." This, on the heels of Kim Jong-Un saying it is developing a weapon that could reach the United States. Ash Carter weighing in.


ASH CARTER, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Their nuclear weapons and ballistic missile defense programs are a serious threat to us. If it were coming -- if it were threatening to us, yes, that is if it's predicted impact.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN ANCHOR: Or one of our friends or allies?

CARTER: Yes, we would shoot it down.


BALDWIN: In a statement, North Korea also said, quote, "The U.S. Is wholly to blame for the development of its missile program." But signaled a willingness to open up a line of communication with President-elect Donald Trump.

So, for more, I want to bring in Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, president of the Daniel Morgan Graduate School, and former special American envoy to North Korea, and served as director of the National Counterproliferation Center.

Mr. Ambassador, welcome.


BALDWIN: Pyongyang appears to be offering Trump an avenue for future talks. I have heard you, you say it is time to sit down with the North Koreans. What do you think a sit down between Mr. Trump and Kim Jong-Un would look like?

DETRANI: I hope would that there would be preliminary discussions before the president sat down with Kim Jong-Un so as to determine if the North Koreans are serious about ultimately dismantling their nuclear weapons program. That's the key. That's the core issue. And, indeed, if they are serious -- and they said they were in 1944 and in 2005 with a joint statement that said they were prepared to dismantle their nuclear weapons program with exchange for security assurances, aid, development, and light-water reactors. If we can go back to the decision of 2005, and they are committed to doing it I think sitting down with the North Koreans makes imminent sense.

[14:39:48] BALDWIN: If they're committed to doing that. But we know last year, Ambassador DeTrani, North Korea exploded its most-powerful nuclear warhead ever. To put it in perspective, from what I understand, this is the equivalent of say 10,000 tons of TNT, detonated deep, deep, underground. How far -- with your knowledge, how far do you think North Korea is from developing a nuclear weapon that could actually reach the U.S.?

DETRAINI: Brooke, I think North Korea has come a significant distance in the last eight years. We've looked at four nuclear tests. We've looked at over 50 ballistic missile launches. They are working on miniaturizing their nuclear weapons. And I believe, and I think a number of others do, that they are able to miniaturize the nuclear weapons we assess they have.


BALDWIN: To make it all the way over here?

DETRAINI: Well, it is a question of mating those, if you will, those miniaturized nuclear weapons to missile delivery systems. That's the significance of an ICBM launch. If an ICBM launch is successful, it shows it can reach the continental U.S. It, therefore, becomes an existential nuclear threat to the United States. Very significant.

BALDWIN: How do you think -- let's say, in a matter of days, it will be President Trump. How do you think President Trump will handle if North Korea were to test a ballistic missile?

DETRAINI: Hopefully, North Korea does not test a ballistic missile. Hopefully, North Korea gets the message they should look at coming back to negotiations so that they do not launch that missile. Certainly, any missile coming towards the United States or an ally or a partner like that is a threat. And I think Secretary Carter made it very clear that the United States would ensure that that never happens.

BALDWIN: Shoot it down. Yep.

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

DETRAINI: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Coming up next, new video surface of the shooting at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport right there in baggage claim. The accused killer is appearing in court today for the very first time. There are all kinds of questions about red flags he, himself, raised in the past.

Plus, President Obama right now preparing to give his farewell address in Chicago. What will his message be to Donald Trump?


[14:46:33] BALDWIN: So many families are grieving today, many without their loved ones after that deadly attack inside the baggage claim area of the Fort Lauderdale airport. Two of them grieving are grandparents. Terry Andress was about to start a vacation with his wife and celebrate his 63rd birthday. Olga Weltering was on her way to celebrate her husband's 90th birthday on a cruise when she was killed.

The man accused of pulling that handgun, making his first appearance in court today. He was told by a judge he could face a death penalty. This Iraq war veteran was transported from the Broward County jail to face arraignment in federal court.

We have some really disturbing surveillance video. Here it is. This was obtained by TMZ, showing the suspect pulling out the handgun with his right hand and just starting the shooting.

The shooting raises questions about how he was allowed access to a gun, considering his history. Authorities took away his gun two month after his encounter with the FBI.

Let's being there. Gary Byrne is with me. He's the author of "Crisis of character," which is a book about his time as a Secret Service agent for President Bill Clinton.

Gary, thank you so much for being with me.

And this broke Friday -


BALDWIN: Thank you.

But we talked about it all this weekend. He was in Alaska couple of months ago, walked into an FBI office, tells them I'm hearing voices in my head, they are telling me to join ISIS. Voluntarily checks himself in for a mental check. They take his gun away. He gets out of the mental evaluation, and he gets the gun back. Why? BYRNE: Yeah. So, they determined, Brooke, in that evaluation that

they -- that he was OK, that they weren't going to deprive him of his Second Amendment right or his freedom of movement rights in the Constitution. So eventually, he ends up at the airport. And the video you showed, it is disturbing. And it's very sad.

But the system didn't really fail up until -- the FBI did the right thing. He was evaluated. The system only failed at the point where when he gets to the airport he either has a break with reality or listens to those voices. He takes the firearm into the bathroom, allegedly, loads it, comes back out with it hidden in his waist band. And you saw him in the video. He commits murder right in front of us.

How do you stop that? You know, my experience as an air marshal for 13 years, we put the security heavy on the departure side where everybody comes in at the checkpoints. Sometimes we neglect the baggage side. Clearly, if there had been some law enforcement there, maybe it would have deterred him from doing it or, two, maybe they could have stepped up and drawn their gun and stopped him.

BALDWIN: Sure, it is a soft target. When we were watching this on Friday, many though, it must be someone who walked into the baggage claim doors with a gun. And we were shocked to learn, in fact, he had properly filled out the paperwork, checked the gun, and we see what happened.

The next question is, so many people in this country, had no idea you could absolutely lawfully check a gun, and ammo.

BYRNE: Yeah.

BALDWIN: Do you think that that should change?

[14:50:00] BYRNE: No, I don't. Here's how it works, just to give your viewers a better idea.


BYRNE: Right now, as we speak, there are thousands and thousands of people, Brooke, there are thousands and thousands of people traveling around the country with firearms in baggage. They are hunters, sportsmen, competitive shooters, gun collectors. The process is you show up at the airplane with an unloaded firearm. You ask for the paperwork from the airline, you tell them what you have. They do this every day. You fill out the paperwork. You show them and or a TSA employee that the firearm is unloaded. and you are actually allowed to have some ammunition in -- like one box of ammunition in with it, because it's going into the checked baggage. But the gun cannot be loaded. So, you have an unloaded firearm that's been checked. There may be some ammo or may not be ammo with it. The owner locks it up in front of them and then it goes into the checked baggage. It's happening now as we speak. There is almost never a problem with it.

BALDWIN: Until Friday in Fort Lauderdale. I'm sure this is the beginning of many, many more conversations.

We've got to go.

Gary Byrne, thank you for your time. It is an important piece to discuss.

DETRANI: Thank you.

BYRNE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Meryl Streep calling out Donald Trump. Trump fires back. We'll talk live with someone who says the actress was wrong to go after him. Hear why.

Plus, the Trump transition team booting the long-time announcer of the inauguration, a guy who has called them for 11 presidents. He says he is heartbroken. He joins me live.


[14:55:47] BALDWIN: As Donald Trump prepares to take the White House next week after he puts his hand on that Bible, President Obama is preparing to deliver his farewell address tomorrow night. And he plans to do so before a packed house in his beloved hometown of Chicago. Thousands of people -- look at that -- lining up in the cold early Saturday morning to get free first-come tickets. Those limited tickets were scooped up as soon as the doors opened.

I can tell you, in his farewell address tomorrow night, we know that President Obama will reflect on his eight years. But we are also hearing he will offer some advice, along with warnings looking into the future.

Let's discuss with someone who most the president quite well, former press secretary, Bill Burton.

Good the see you, Bill.


BALDWIN: You are going to be in Chicago tomorrow night. I want to get straight to the reporting we're getting from John King saying that President Obama will offer -- his word - "admonitions" about the challenges we face moving forward. Admonition, warning, what do you think those warnings may be, Bill, and how delicate do you think the president has to be in speaking up?

BURTON: Well, you know, I think it would be fairly unprecedented for a sitting president to go after the incoming president in any sort of direct way. I think we probably don't need to anticipate that.

I think tomorrow's message, from what I understand from my friends at the White House, is going to be very forward-looking. He hopped on the phone with some of us -- I think some of this was reported out already, right after the election. And he said, you know, look, this election didn't go the way I wanted it to go, the way a lot of you wanted it to go, but at a certain point, we have got to buck up, get back in the fight and did all the things that matter to continue to make progress in this country. So, I think this is going to be a call to arms for progressives and for the people who supported him, and an underling of the fact that, you know, when ordinary Americans come together great things can happen. And that's how President Obama got elected. And that's how change is going to come in these years to come.

BALDWIN: You say call to arms, I know that the president was on ABC this week, and he was talking about, yes, he bears some of the responsibility of the unraveling of the Democratic Party. Do you think there is more? Hindsight is 20/20, but should he have done more, Bill Burton?

BURTON: Well, look, like you said, hindsight is 20/20. I think the president was doing everything he could when he started to stem the economy back up, save the auto industry, wind down two wars. There was H1N1. There were pirates. There was a lot of things going on. He was focused on those things much more than he was focused on the building of the Democratic Party. Yes, we have had big losses across the last decade across the country in state legislatures, in governor's mansions. And there is a lot of work that has to get done to turn a corner and get Democrats elected again.

I think President Obama is going to do a lot of that work as he is going to make very clear what the stakes are. But I think President Obama is going to talk about what is the path forward? How do we work together to make sure we protect the gains we have made and continue to fight to continue we make progress?

BALDWIN: Bill, talking about the path forward, and I heard you off the top whether or not he would warn, I understand he would never speak ill of the next president, but certainly he will have some sort of message for the leadership of the country moving forward. No?

BURTON: I think the most important messages that President Obama has for President-elect Trump he is delivering personally on their phone conversations and one-on-one meetings. And I think that those conversations are probably most important in terms of the leadership of our country.

I think the speech tomorrow is more going to be a speech to people, like me and my friends and all the people who went out there and supported President Obama, and all the people who are in the middle, and all the people who give progressive ideas a chance. And it's going to be a path forward in how we can band together and continue the fight on health care, on education, on the environment, to make sure that we're doing the things that we need to do to continue to make progress.

BALDWIN: 10 seconds. Is there any piece of him that wishes he had four more years? Or is he so done?

BURTON: I'm sure he feels like there's more work yet to be done.

BALDWIN: OK. I got it.

BURTON: But I think he and Mrs. Obama are going to enjoy not being in the White House.


Bill Burton, thank you. Safe travels in Chicago.