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Yates & Clapper To Testify Before Senate Hearing; Pentagon Confirms ISIS Leader In Afghanistan Was Killed In Raid; Texas GOP Pushing Controversial Adoption Bill; 18 Students Charged In Penn State Hazing Death. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 8, 2017 - 07:30   ET



[07:33:45] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: In just hours, former acting attorney general Sally Yates and former director of national intelligence James Clapper are set to testify before the Senate Judiciary's Committee -- their hearing on Russia's interference in the U.S. election. So what can we expect to learn today?

Joining us to discuss is CNN national security analyst and former CIA and NSA director, General Michael Hayden. General, thanks for being here. Great to have you.


CAMEROTA: Sally Yates will be hamstrung, of course, by classified information -- stuff that she cannot share --

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: This is an open session.

CAMEROTA: -- with the open session, so what do you expect to learn today from her?

HAYDEN: Well, I think it's going to be fascinating, Alisyn. And let me go out on a limb here, all right, to say that at the end of the day the White House is not going to be enthusiastic with regard to what's said in the committee hearing and this isn't going to settle this issue down. And so what we have here are two career professionals, one in Justice, one in American intelligence -- not the deep state, not politicized individuals, although that's the charge that's been made against one personally and the other's institution.

These people are simply going to candidly answer questions from a very knowledgeable interrogator, Senator Lindsey Graham. So I actually think even though we've got this cabin because of classification concerns for both witnesses, we're going to learn an awful lot that we hadn't had really detailed knowledge about in the past.

[07:35:13] CUOMO: All right, so let's dialogue it out a little bit. So, Sally Yates says it wasn't a heads-up. I went in there -- I went in there early, I told them we know what he said -- what Flynn said to this guy and it's not the story that's coming out of the White House. He could be compromised by Russia because of what he exposed himself to. Now what? HAYDEN: Well, first of all, Chris, I think we know that objectively. I think I mentioned the last time we chatted that if the acting attorney general insists on seeing the White House counsel, that's a tectonic thing in its own right. But she's going to put on exclamation point on it by putting some of the human interest -- the details of the narrative of the plot line into the story. So it suggests a couple of things. One is the chaos in the Trump White House. Second is the inordinate distrust of the officials from the government they were replacing. And third, it's going to feed that darker narrative out there with regard to the relationship between the Trump campaign and the Russian federation.

CAMEROTA: And so, General, why is that you were saying that you don't think that lawmakers will be enthusiastic about what they hear today?

HAYDEN: No, I don't -- I think the White House will not be enthusiastic --


HAYDEN: -- about what they hear.

CAMEROTA: OK, and so what will James Clapper then add to this?

HAYDEN: I think what Jim will do -- and David Sanger suggested this a few minutes ago when you were speaking with him. I think Jim is going to lean a little bit more forward in terms of what kind of intelligence backs up that public white paper that the DNI's office pushed out the door in January. Now look, even I, as a career professional, was a little disappointed that what we got were the conclusions of the American Intelligence Community with regard to what the Russians did to influence our presidential election, but we got none of the supporting data.

Now I understand you've got to -- you've got to protect sources and methods but I think Jim's going to be a little more forthcoming with at least the kind of sources and methods that were relied on to get to those conclusions. And remember, Alisyn, those were high confidence conclusions on the part of the Intelligence Community.

CUOMO: You know, with what we just saw in France it's obviously so important that we get to the bottom of how Russia did whatever they did here, how it was disseminated, and how we protect against it. You do have this parallel concern about collusion. Clapper had been used a lot by Trump defenders saying hey, Clapper when he was leaving was asked about this and he said I've seen no evidence of collusion. What do you say in your experience to those who say if there proof we'd know it already, General, and we haven't been told anything so this is a fool's errand.

HAYDEN: So I wouldn't believe that we'd know it already. This deserves to be played out. That's why you've got these multiple investigations going on. That's why you've got the FBI on point here trying to find out what, if any, collusion took place.

But Chris, you bring up a great point and let me be very candid and perhaps a little dark here. Perhaps the only collusion that would have been required to make the Russian effort successful was a presidential campaign that incessantly chanted "lock her up" and threatened a special prosecutor to put his political opponent in jail if that campaign won. And a candidate, himself, who seemed to endorse WikiLeaks by saying "I love WikiLeaks." Maybe that was all the precondition you needed inside the American political process to make the Russian effort more likely to succeed.

CAMEROTA: General, what's happening with North Korea? There are now four Americans being detained -- being held in North Korea. What is this about?

HAYDEN: Well, number one, as I think most people believe, the Kim regime is going to try to provoke the Americans to show that they've got cards to play in this contest. And I think, frankly, Alisyn, this is about bargaining chips. Kim is kind of going to the cashier to get more chips to play with when he confronts the American administration, and this is really hard for us. We owe these people protection because they are American citizens. But, Alisyn, if we overemphasize this, if we over-focus on this, we simply incentivize Kim Jong Un to take even more Americans because he's getting the desired effect.

CAMEROTA: General, thank you for all of your experience --

HAYDEN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: -- and sharing your expertise with us.

CUOMO: All right, we have another story to share with you this morning. The disturbing new details emerging in the death of a fraternity pledge at Penn State. Now, evidence just released is leaving parents in shock. Why? We'll show you next.


[07:43:10] CUOMO: U.S. authorities are confirming that forces killed the top ISIS leader in Afghanistan. The Pentagon says Sheikh Abdul Hasib was one of several high-ranking ISIS members to die on April 27th in a joint U.S.-Afghan operation. Close to three dozen ISIS fighters were also killed along with their leader, along with two U.S. soldiers who may have been hit by friendly fire. Their faces are on your screen.

CAMEROTA: Back here, Texas is poised to vote on a bill that would allow adoption agencies to reject potential parents based on religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Republican lawmakers say this bill supports the religious freedom of state-funded adoption agencies and foster care providers, but critics say the proposed bill ultimately goes against the best interest of the child because it would allow adoption agencies to turn away qualified, loving parents.

CUOMO: Disturbing new details emerging in the death of a fraternity pledge at Penn State University. More than a dozen students are now facing criminal charges for their alleged role in the alcohol-fueled hazing ritual and for what they did not do to help sophomore Timothy Piazza. CNN "EARLY START" anchor Dave Briggs joins us now with more. Boy, I'll tell you, this is the wrong school to have this happen to but, once again, igniting the same questions.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR, "EARLY START": Yes, they've had a lot of issues not just with the Jerry Sandusky scandal but with the Greek life as well there, and this is just vile stuff. There are stunning and, in some cases, gruesome details in this 70-page grand jury report released on Friday and that's because this fraternity in question had a sophisticated video surveillance system that showed nearly every disturbing moment of the night of February 4th. The death of Timothy Piazza now one of the largest hazing cases in U.S. history.

[07:45:08] (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMES PIAZZA, TIMOTHY PIAZZA'S FATHER: This did not have to happen. No parent should have to deal with this.

BRIGGS: Eighteen Penn State University students charged in the death of Timothy Piazza, a 19-year-old sophomore who died after a hazing ritual in February. The students and the University's Beta Theta Phi chapter facing charges, including involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, and tampering with evidence. Prosecutors say surveillance footage inside the fraternity capturing the final moments of Piazza's life.The cause of death, according to court documents, traumatic brain injury, the result of repeated falls, including one down 15 feet of basement stairs after being forced to drink excessively.

In a group text message sent just before midnight, one brother writing, "Tim Piazza might actually be a problem. He fell 15 feet down a flight of stairs, hair first. Going to need help." The documents reveal the frat brothers put a weighted backpack on Piazza to keep him from suffocating on his own vomit. The video shows his limp body unresponsive as brothers throw liquid on his face in an effort to revive him. At this point a fellow pledge Cordell Davis, who has not been charged, telling "ABC NEWS" he wanted to call 911 after finding Piazza bruised and unconscious --

KORDEL DAVIS, FOUND UNCONSCIOUS PLEDGE: I was like Tim needs help right now. Like, we should call 911 right now and they said no, you're overreacting. And I said no, I really do know what I'm talking about. He could have a concussion.

BRIGGS: -- but his concerns ignored. Davis says they prevented him from calling for help.

DAVIS: They grabbed me, threw me against the wall, and like held me there.

BRIGGS: Another telling him that others were "kinesiology and biology majors" so Davis' word meant nothing.

DAVIS: It seemed like they just wanted to make sure that they, themselves, were safe rather than Tim truly being safe.

BRIGGS: Not until the following morning when brothers found Piazza unconscious, cold, and bloody did they call 911, almost 12 hours after his initial fall. STACY PARKS MILLER, CENTRE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Some of them describe that he looked dead and they waited over 40 minutes before they called for help while some of them Googled things what to do with a head injury.


BRIGGS: Now, Penn State president Eric Barron releasing this statement. "The alleged details in the grand jury presentment which suggest the inhumane treatment of a student forced through hazing to consume dangerous amounts of alcohol and endure hours of suffering are sickening and difficult to understand."

Now this, of course, the latest black eye for Penn State -- still stung in some cases by that Jerry Sandusky scandal -- likely to lead to a review of the entire Greek system, both at Penn State and around the country. As for Beta Theta Phi, permanently banned from Penn State. Their charter has been pulled. A judge has set a preliminary hearing, guys, for May 17th. As for that video surveillance, I put a call into the D.A. you saw there -- Centre County D.A. Will they release that surveillance video? Have not yet heard back from them. That would be really the game changer of Greek life everywhere in this country.

CAMEROTA: Sickening is the right word for this.


CAMEROTA: I've just never read such appalling detail about the lack of humanity for your fellow pledge or your frat brother.

BRIGGS: "Cold and lifeless" was the description of this young man and they allowed it to go on with no call to 911.

CUOMO: And the big issue, once again --

BRIGGS: Twelve hours.

CUOMO: -- is supervision.


CUOMO: Who knew, who oversees these things, who's recognizing them? Those are going to be the questions that the school is going to have to answer.

CAMEROTA: Dave, thank you very much for that. We should let you know that the family of Timothy Piazza, the victim, has a lot to say about these new developments. Their fight for justice, next.


[07:52:40] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PIAZZA: This didn't have to happen. This is the result of a feeling of entitlement, flagrant disobedience of the law, and disregard for moral values that was then exacerbated by egregious acts of self- preservation.


CAMEROTA: Well, that was the heartbroken father of Timothy Piazza talking about the shocking events that led to his son's death. Tim died during a hazing drinking ritual at Penn State in a fraternity and his final moments were caught on surveillance video. Eighteen members of that fraternity now face charges. Joining us is Tom Kline, the attorney for the Piazza family. Mr. Kline, thank you for being here.


CAMEROTA: The developments in this case and the findings from the prosecutor are so vile and sickening it's tough to know where to begin. Tim drank too much and after he drank too much there were a host, allegedly, of these fraternity brothers who saw him suffering, who saw him tripping, who saw him falling down the stairs, who saw him bruised, who saw him struggling, and they did nothing. How does the family explain what transpired during all of those hours?

KLINE: Well, the first misconception is that he "drank too much." The fact of the matter is that Tim was alcohol poisoned in a hazing ritual. He was forced with other pledges to go into a basement. He was marched into a basement where they were forced to consume first the vodka -- the 1.75 liters of vodka -- then to "run the gauntlet." In a very short period of time, Tim was put into an alcohol stupor -- an alcohol poisoning. This wasn't a party where Tim was sitting around drinking. That's a misconception. This was a vile, horrible hazing incident where a young man was sent into the den of debauchery -- a den of depravity.


KLINE: And this is something that just needs to be stopped at Penn State and around the country.

CAMEROTA: You know, Mr. Kline, I'm so -- I'm so glad that you're pointing that out and clarifying that because I want to read to you what the president of Penn State said about this and get your comment. He says, "The alleged details, which suggest the inhumane treatment of a student forced through hazing to consume dangerous amounts of alcohol and endure hours of suffering are sickening and difficult to understand. All indicators suggest Beta Theta Phi was a model fraternity. The brothers had a no alcohol policy which stated that anyone caught drinking would be expelled. It is clear, however, this was no model fraternity."Is it -- is it conceivable that the university -- that Penn State wouldn't know that these sorts of --

[07:55:30] KLINE: Sure.

CAMEROTA: -- forced drinking events went on at fraternities?

KLINE: Alisyn, it was an open and notorious secret that hazing and out of control drinking were rampant at Penn State. They knew it, they formed a task force, they did nothing about it. The claim now that they don't know anything, they didn't know anything, that it was a model fraternity is preposterous.

CAMEROTA: So there's surveillance video of the hours that Tim struggled for his life. Why? Why is there surveillance video set up in this fraternity?

KLINE: It's a very interesting situation. There was a donor -- actually, he lent millions of dollars. He's also recently sued the fraternity to get his money back -- and he renovated the university -- or I should say the fraternity house and then he also as part of the renovations wanted cameras and they added cameras to the house. So everything -- not only this horrible night -- this dark night, but other nights which were a part of the investigation and reported in the grand jury report. So it was by some happenstance but by some foresight that there actually were surveillance cameras. A good idea and obviously something that would have been known to these young men but didn't have the wherewithal to know what was going on in terms of being videoed.

CAMEROTA: But I mean, doesn't this speak to the culture -- the culture that somehow this was so acceptable that even though a video camera is taping you, even though, allegedly, fellow pledges are saying we have to call 911, something's happening, that they had such disregard for Tim's health? How do you explain? I mean, it's frankly, reminiscent of the old, you know, Kitty Genovese story of people witnessing a crime or hearing a crime and not doing anything. What does it say about the culture there?

KLINE: I've heard that analogy in the past few days. What was going on there was they realized that they, not Tim -- that they could be in trouble, and so they did everything humanly possible to preserve themselves. Self-preservation set in. They cleaned the house, they scrubbed their social media. They were doing everything to help themselves and nothing to help Tim. Why, my word, this poor soul, this poor, promising young man, this son of a wonderful family, this brother of another Penn Stater was left to die while they were concerned about their own welfare and while they pushed away any good samaritan who tried to help and call 911. It is outrageous and grotesque.

CAMEROTA: Very quickly, Mr. Kline, has the family seen that video?

KLINE: The family has not seen the video nor have I. We have requested it. We will need it, of course, in civil litigation as we go down the road. I expect to get it and someday it's going to be in the public domain, and from what we've seen in the grand jury report it is shocking.

CAMEROTA: Tom Kline, please share our deepest sympathies with the Piazza family and, obviously, we will follow this case wherever it goes.

PIAZZA: I will do so. They are grieving. They are so hurt and they are such a wonderful family who didn't need to lose this fine young man.

CAMEROTA: Understood. Thank you very much for telling their side of the story here.

PIAZZA: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: We're following a lot of news, including a senator set to question Sally Yates. He's going to tell us what he wants to learn today, so let's get right to it.


SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: There are so many questions here as to who knew what when.

CAMEROTA: The investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election running into new challenges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll continue to go through documents, we'll continue to go through witnesses. This will take several months.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From Donald Trump, we have seen someone who continues to try and obstruct an investigation.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We feel very confident that as all of this plays out it will land on the right side of where we are.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It does require some courage to champion the vulnerable, the sick, and the infirmed.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE SPEAKER: We're proud of this. We're proud of this effort. It's us keeping our promises.

OBAMA: Courage means not simply doing what is politically expedient, but doing what they believe deep in their hearts is right.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Monday, May 8th, 8:00 in the East. And after months of delays, Sally Yates, the woman who was attorney general for only 10 days, will finally testify today before a Senate hearing about Russia's attempts to interfere in the U.S. election and what she told the Trump White House.