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Nationwide Manhunt For Facebook Murder Suspect; Critics Blast Trump for Calling Turkish "Strongman"; New Book Lays Blame for Clinton's Election Loss; Pence: N. Korea's "Getting Message" From Trump Rhetoric; Facebook Murder Suspect Found Dead In Pennsylvania. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired April 18, 2017 - 11:30   ET

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


[11:30:00] ART RODERICK, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, U.S. MARSHALS SERVICE: -- listen to the impassioned pleas from the family to turn himself in -- I mean, that to me, it's very extraordinary. You don't see that ever. And I think it's a testament to Mr. Godwin and the faith that he instilled in his children and in his grandchildren. To have the family come out right away and basically forgive this individual and please turn himself in.

I mean, from the law enforcement perspective, we don't want anybody else to get hurt. And the nightmare scenario here would be for Mr. Stephens to go out and kill somebody before we're able to find him.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ACHOR: Absolutely. Well, the search continues, and that family is just amazing to everyone.

RODERICK: Yes, absolutely great.

BOLDUAN: I mean, just amazing their strength and fortitude. Thanks, Art. Thanks so much.

RODERICK: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, his critics call him a strong man, an enemy of democracy now. President Trump just called him to say congratulations. New details on the commander-in-chief's call to his Turkish counterpart. What they said and what it means.

Plus, the first book out about what really happened behind the scenes of the Hillary Clinton's campaign for the White House. The books called "Shattered." What's the message inside? We're going to get reaction from a former member of Clinton's team.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:35:29] BOLDUAN: Being called a death float of democracy, a world leader pulling off a dramatic power grab, and now is President Trump caught in the middle of it? Here's what happened.

A referendum in Turkey giving President Erdogan sweeping executive powers. He can appoint judges, grant legal authority, essentially leaving his decisions unchecked. And the vote itself is coming under pretty big scrutiny. Accusations coming in from outside monitors of intimidation and fraud surrounding the vote. So, despite all that, President Trump calling to congratulate Erdogan.

Sources telling CNN just this morning that the President did not raise any concerns, just offered a simple congratulations. Joining me now to discuss this and much more is former defense secretary under President Clinton and CEO of the Cohen Group, William Cohen. Mr. Secretary, thank you so much for the time.

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: Good to be with you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you. In light of the criticism that's coming in from outside monitors that there were real problems with how they conducted this vote, was it the right decision for the President, for President Trump, to be the first western leader to congratulate Turkish President Erdogan in this way?

COHEN: Well, personally, I think it was premature, given the history that's been taking place, the locking up of opponents, of journalists and others who have been critical of Mr. Erdogan. But I think President Trump obviously made a calculation that our "national security" interests were more important than our ideals in this particular case, because Turkey is so important to the fight against ISIS.

But obviously, there are many people in Turkey now who feel that we spoke too soon, or our President spoke too soon, and undermined their effort to either have a recount or be validated in terms of criticizing the legitimacy of the vote itself.

BOLDUAN: And Secretary, you're hearing a bit of a different, even, message within the Trump administration. Here's what the State Department put out after the vote. They put this out, "We look to the government of Turkey to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all its citizens, regardless of their vote on April 16th, as guaranteed by the Turkish constitution." Is that sending mixed signals? I mean, you have one from the President not raising any concerns, this one clearly with a very different tone and much more cautious from the State Department.

COHEN: Well, they're mixed, and perhaps the President decided he didn't want to issue that statement, but that was sure to follow. But in any event, I don't think we've seen a commitment to Democratic principles in recent years. I think we've seen a slide for -- toward a more autocratic, authoritarian government, and that certainly calls into question the place of Turkey as it tries, if it's ever going to try to join the E.U. That remains doubtful.

So, there are political consequences to this, but I think the President obviously made a decision to continue to reinforce our relationship with Turkey, given the circumstances of facing ISIS on the ground.

BOLDUAN: Do you think it would have compromised the coordination to fight ISIS on the ground if the President had maybe calibrated his congratulations differently?

COHEN: It's hard to predict. BOLDUAN: OK.

COHEN: Whether Mr. Erdogan would have seen that as a provocation or undermining his authority, and therefore not participate. It's very hard to predict how he would react.

BOLDUAN: Yes. If I could ask you about North Korea, you have said that North Korea's the world's most dangerous problem right now. If you could, listen here to the vice president, who just told Dana Bash during his visit to the region about where things stand right now. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As the President says, it's time for them to behave, to listen to the world community and to set aside their nuclear ambitions, their ballistic missile ambitions, and be willing to join the family of nations. And for my part, in some odd way, it's encouraging that they're getting the message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: That was in response to the North Korean rep to the U.N., Secretary, saying that the U.S. is using gangster-like logic right now. Do you see signs that North Korea is getting the message, as the vice president says?

COHEN: Not yet. It's really interesting. I was looking over this morning, I wrote an opinion piece for CNN in October of 2006, more than a decade ago, and I called for the same thing I'm calling for today. Nothing has changed in those 10 years. Calling for more sanctions, calling for North Korea to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

[11:40:11] And so, I think the time has come to force a reckoning in terms of are we going to have a resolution or are we going to continue along this path of escalation without any sourcing (ph)? So, I think that the Chinese, perhaps, are getting the message that we are now on this point, I think as a result of Vice President Pence's statements, talking more softly, but carrying a very big stick. And the big stick comes not only in terms of the military power that we have, but rather, the economic power that we can bring to bear, more so than we have done to date, and to combine that with what China can do to combine their economic power to say to this regime, either change your course of conduct, or we're going to work together to change the regime.

And that can come from within, it can come from without, but to bring the kind of economic pressure that would basically isolate this country and be unable to survive. Then I think you would see people coming from within to say we've got to change our conduct or we're going to change our leader, and that's I think what has to happen. It's been going on now for decades, and I think the time has come, since they are so along this path of building a capability of striking the United States, that we have to resolve the issue, and to do it in a way that minimizes the chances for a war, but nonetheless, we are prepared in the event that he does something really fool-hearty.

BOLDUAN: Secretary Cohen, thanks for your time. Always appreciate it.

COHEN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, Hillary Clinton was quick to blame others, even though her closest friends and advisers said her loss was her fault. That is some of the detail that is coming out through a new book on Clinton's presidential campaign. What really went on within the campaign? That new book is just out, the first of many, to be sure, but the first. Details are ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:46:00] BOLDUAN: A new book is giving an insider's account of what went on behind the scenes of Hillary Clinton's election loss. The book is called "Shattered, Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign," and journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, they detail what they saw that indicated Clinton was headed for failure, for a loss. They talked to Democratic Party insiders and staff members of the Clinton campaign, who shared their accounts of a candidate who was either unwilling or unable to correct course, and former President Bill Clinton, who had a heavy influence.

According to "Shattered" here's one quote for you, and there are many. "In her ear the whole time, spurring her on to cast blame on others and never admit to anything was her husband. Neither Clinton could accept the fact that Hillary had hamstrung her own campaign and dealt the most serious blow to her own presidential aspirations."

Joining me now to discuss Bill Kristol is here of course is the editor of "The Weekly Standard", CNN political commentator and conservative columnist Kayleigh McEnany and CNN political commentator and former press secretary for Hillary Clinton's campaign, Brian Fallon is here as well

Brian, a couple of things first for you, if I could. There are -- there will be a lot of books written about what happened in the campaign and the election, no doubt, who did what right, who did what wrong, who deserves credit, who deserves blame. This is the first one out by Allen and Parnes. What do you make of it?

BRIAN FALLON, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY, HLLARY FOR AMERICA: Well, you're absolutely right, Kate, it's a fact of life now that after these big campaigns, you have these postmortem-style books. In my experience, things tend to get over dramatized in the retellings, and I think that's what happened here. I haven't read the book. It just came out today, but I've seen a few excerpts in some of the press.

And their descriptions of what the culture of the campaign was like, just, it doesn't resemble the experience I had day to day. We had -- we certainly made our share of mistakes and we had our ups and downs. I think, you know, the polling was clearly off right up through Election Day. I think that there were some travel decisions in terms of visiting the upper Midwest more that we would redo, if we could. But for all of the adversity and ups and downs that we had, there was actually a real teamwork sense of culture in that office every day. I enjoyed coming to work there every day. And there was true inspiration that we drew from our candidate, Hillary Clinton. So, to the extent that the book offers a different portrayal, it doesn't resemble my campaign experience.

BOLDUAN: One of the moments that stands out and one moment that no one's really heard of yet, is that Hillary Clinton called President Obama and said she was sorry on election night. Were you there for that?

FALLON: I was not. I was at the Javits Center, so I can't attest to where I see that.

BOLDUAN: What do you think she was sorry for, Brian?

FALLON: Look, I can't speak to that particular anecdote, but I think she's made plenty of appearances in the months since, including she did an extensive interview about the campaign with Nicholas Kristof of "The New York Times" just the other week. And I think you've heard her articulate the high stakes that she knew all along were on the line in this election, and I think that, obviously, she feels disappointed, just like the rest of us that worked on the campaign did. When we went around and said that we didn't think that Donald Trump was fit to be president of the United States, we really meant it. So, now that he is president, it means a lot, and we're living with the consequences of that every day.

So, I think that that is, you know, something that never leaves her mind. But to her credit and to the credit of the people that worked on the campaign, most of us have, you know, right back at it, back on the horse, trying to hold this president accountable and take a stand on behalf of all the issues and values that we defended during the campaign.

BOLDUAN: Bill, let me bring you in. One theme that came out of the book is kind of encapsulated in this one quote that's coming out of the book is this, "One person with whom Hillary didn't seem particularly upset was herself." You've been around for many an election cycle. You were no fan of Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, to say the very least, in this election. What do you think of that?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Yes, I don't know. I mean, I'm sure she's extremely disappointed. I don't really -- I don't know, they did a lot of reporting and I'm sure a lot of it is accurate, but I dislike this notion that when you lose, it was doomed, you know? I mean, she could easily have won. She almost did won. She won the popular vote, Trump drew in Inside Straight. It was pretty hard to predict that to be fair.

[11:50:02] I think the -- I said at the time on T.V. that I said -- I thought that Hillary Clinton should emphasize her positive agenda more. People wanted change. I thought he was running a risk and simply trying to disqualify Trump, which is really the core of their strategy. They said in response they look the polling showed it was hard for Hillary to sell herself as an agent of change even though Bill Clinton tried to do so at the convention, and that they had to disqualify Trump and they didn't quite get over the line in doing there.

But there's little too much sort of gee, they lost, therefore they were idiots or she was not reflected it up. And finally, on Bill Clinton, I know -- I mean, I heard this in real time about a week before the election, Bill Clinton was unhappy about the campaign. He wasn't being a yes man, so to speak, to Hillary or reinforcing her. He was telling her you've got to appeal more to white working class voters. You can't just depend on the college educated and on the traditional democratic constituency. So I think it's -- I don't know what the book says about Bill Clinton, but I do know this at the time he was calling people and complaining about the campaign. And I don't think he was simply a rah-rah guy for Hillary.

BOLDUAN: Guys, standby one second. I think we're getting some breaking news. Give me one second.

I want to get over to Brian Stelter right now. He's got some breaking news with regard to the story, the nationwide manhunt that we've all been following so closely since Sunday of that Facebook murder suspect. Here is a tweet that I'm going to read for you from the Pennsylvania state police right now. This is the first time I read (ph) with news. Steve Stephens was spotted this morning by PSP members in Erie County. After a brief pursuit Stephens shot and killed himself. The time stamp on that is 8:40 -- just -- almost just before 9:00 -- 8:46 -- this monitor is really far away.

OK, I'm not going to pay attention to the time stamp. I'm just going to pay attention to the tweet. Do we have Brian Stelter coming in on this? Brian --

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Brian. Sorry. So this is a huge announcement coming from the Pennsylvania state police.

STELTER: Yes. That time stamp 8:46 Pacific, so just a few minutes ago Eastern Time.

BOLDUAN: Got it.

STELTER: And we're standing by for a press conference top of the hour in Cleveland. Maybe we'll get more information from Ohio authorities. But this news is coming from Erie, Pennsylvania which is one of the locations where there was a search for this suspect.

BOLDUAN: Right.

STELTER: After the shooting on Sunday that was shown on Facebook and the suspect was talking with his friends on Facebook Live, holding the phone up, talking about committing this crime then essentially he disappeared from Facebook. His account was deleted, but his cell phone did register a ping on a cell phone tower in Pennsylvania. So there was suspicion he had been in or around Erie, Pennsylvania. Now, local authorities saying that this was a self-inflicted gunshot wound this morning.

BOLDUAN: All right. Let me bring in Sarah Ganim. Brian, standby. Sarah Ganim who's been following this case on the ground in Cleveland. Sarah, what are you picking up from this news we're hearing from Pennsylvania state police? What are you picking up in Cleveland?

SARAH GANIM, CNN INVESTIGATIONS CORRESPONDENT: So here in Cleveland, we're waiting for a press conference about to start in a few minutes. But I was able to talk to some law enforcement here who said that they are trying to verify that this, in fact, was Steve Stephens who shot himself and now the Pennsylvania state police have tweeted out. They tweeted out at 11:46 just a few minutes ago that Steve Stephens was spotted this morning by Pennsylvania state police members in Erie County.

After a brief pursuit, Stephens shot and killed himself. Like I said we're waiting for confirmation from the Cleveland police department that they also confirmed that this was Steve Stephens, the fugitive who they've been hunting for three days now. Just under three days ago after that shooting on Easter Sunday that killed Robert Godwin, Sr.

Now, of course, detectives telling me they are waiting for confirmation. They said, you know, "they want to see the body. They want to make sure that it was him. But this is what we're hearing from Pennsylvania state police. Of course, Erie County and that area, which is just about 90 miles east of where we are in Cleveland, a straight shot on i-90, has been a focus of this investigation from the beginning.

There were -- authorities were suspecting that he may have been traveling east after that shooting here in downtown Cleveland. Based on early information from the Erie -- from officials in Erie who said that there was a cell phone ping that was detected from Steve Stephens cell phone after the shooting occurred. Now, they later walked that back and there was never really a good clarification on whether or not that ping had come from one of Stephens' devices.

We do know that he had multiple devices that the police talked about knowing how many devices he had. But that was a big part of their investigation as well. So just waiting for that confirmation from authorities here that they are on the same page after seeing that tweet from the Pennsylvania state police. And that's what we're waiting for here, Kate.

[11:55:04] BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Just to reiterate the very important breaking news happening right now, we're waiting for a press conference, you see that on the left side of your screen, they're setting up for a press conference in Cleveland where we're going to be getting an update from authorities, from the mayor, from the police chief there.

Coming -- let me read the tweet one more time from the Pennsylvania state police, coming just a short time ago, Steve Stephens was spotted this morning by PSP, Pennsylvania state police members in Erie County. After a brief pursuit Stephens shot and killed himself. With me right now is Deb Feyerick. You've been following this also. Deb, what are you picking up? You've got a lot of sources that you work within the law enforcement community. What's important here?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Well, what's really important is that this was not just this threatened murder spree. This was also a suicide that he had gone to his mom just before the shooting and told her that he was suicidal. And when he didn't get a response he says, on the Facebook stream, he says, you know, now I'm going to go on a murder spree. So, the time was of the essence in order to try to get this guy, figure out exactly how many people he killed, because he said he'd killed many even though he only posted the one of the 74-year-old man. But that was always the concern, was this going to be something much larger or was he really going to sort of make this threat, kill this man, and then kill himself? So that's what they're looking at and so that's what's of most concern to them right now.

But they are going to have to go back and retrace his steps --

BOLDUAN: Yes.

FEYERICK (voice-over): -- to see, in fact, whether, for example, anybody else turns up. I hate to be so blunt about it. They've also got to determine whether in fact that gun was fired more than just one or two times, which would suggest if it wasn't a full gun, full of ammunition that there may have been other things going on.

BOLDUAN: And who he's been in contact in the last three days essentially. That's obviously a key question in retracing his steps. Deb, stand by with me.

Art Roderick, former U.S. marshal, he is still with me. Art, we spoke earlier in the hour and suicide was one of the options that you said is likely how this scenario is ending, just in how things have turned out.

RODERICK: Yes. I would have thought he would have done it earlier, actually. It seemed like on his Facebook postings this was it. And now we're hearing about social media communications with his mother referencing suicide. So, I'm not surprised. It was going to be, you know, either a self-inflicted gunshot wound or suicide by cop.

Now that, you know, once we get the 100 percent identification which seems to me pretty imminent at this point in time since we have got the press conference coming up --

BOLDUAN: Right.

RODERICK: -- now we've got time to sort out exactly what this guy has done. You know, there's been reference to previous homicides. There has been no evidence found at this point in time that he has killed anybody else. And hopefully over this three-daytime period he didn't take anybody else's life. So we've got time now to go back, retrace his steps and figure out what he's been doing over the past 72 hours.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Art, stand by with me. Brian, you brought me this breaking news. What else are you picking up? What are you hearing?

STELTER: Yes. Thinking about the distance here, it's about 100 miles, about 90 from Cleveland to Erie. He did not end traveling that far. The shooting, the self inflict the gunshot wound this morning in Erie County.

And this reminds me Kate of a story you and I covered about two years ago. The WDBJ, the shooting in Roanoke, Virginia. This man, approach a T.V. news crew shot and killed two people. Filmed it with a body camera. Uploaded the video and then committed suicide. In both cases, this person sharing on social media, the suspect wanting publicity and then ultimately taking their own lives.

BOLDUAN: And Deb, (inaudible) she's there in Cleveland. They're waiting for this press conference to start. And one thing that she said is we're looking at this. We have this tweet from the Pennsylvania state police. And those in Cleveland who are kind of running the show, they're still working to confirm exactly what they're hearing from this tweet.

In your experience, information moves very fast in the age of Twitter. This is them being cautious, this is not as if they're ready, they're going to be contradicting what Pennsylvania state police is putting out.

FEYERICK: No, absolutely not. And the Pennsylvania police would not be putting this out if they didn't know it were true. Also, they would have contacted the FBI. They would have contacted the Cleveland police. They would have contacted everybody that needs to know that this is over because one of the greatest things you can do as law enforcement is to make sure that you give the public peace of mind.

And so, you can't say there's a potential killer out there and not end it as soon as you know that it's over. So, again, it's interesting to Brian's point, the fact that he didn't get as far as you would have thought he did. The last place that the police had identified him being present was in Erie, Pennsylvania. He had multiple cell phones. He was clearly staying off those cell phones. What we do need to determine is, as the tweet says, the police approach him and he kill himself then was he just waiting? It seems like he had a strategy -- maybe receive (ph) strategy when he started and it sort of went nowhere, which is what we often find happens.

BOLDUAN: And also what led the police there. Guys, thank you so much. Our special coverage with this breaking news and press conference starting any minute. I'm going to hand this off to John King who will continue our special coverage right now.

[12:30:14] JOHN KING, INSIDE POLITICS HOST: Thank you, Kate. Welcome to "Inside Politics." As Kate --