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Tragedy At The Fraternity; North Korean Aggression; Global Cyberattack Hits 200,000; Tale of the Tape. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 15, 2017 - 07:30   ET



[07:33:25] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The parents of a teenager killed in a fraternity hazing ritual at Penn State are speaking out and, as you can imagine, they have strong words for the other students charged in his death. CNN's Sara Ganim joins us now with more. Sara, you spoke with them.

SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I did. Aside from being heartbroken, these parents are absolutely determined to make change. Their son was 19 years old. He wanted to be an engineer so that he could make prosthetic limbs for soldiers and for kids who needed them. And the parents told me that if they knew then what they know about Penn State fraternities they would not have allowed their son to join one.


JIM PIAZZA, FATHER OF TIM PIAZZA: He was a shy kid, but once he was comfortable with you he had a big personality. He was -- he would brighten a room when he walked in. Sometimes he was just bigger than life.

GANIM: Nineteen-year-old Timothy Piazza died in February, a grand jury finding he was put through a hazing ritual at his fraternity house called "The Gauntlet," forced to drink dangerous amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time. Prosecutors say surveillance video shows him unable to stand, repeatedly falling, first down 15 feet of stairs, then hitting his head on a stone floor, on an iron railing, and on a door before falling down the stairs again. Authorities say fraternity members waited 12 hours before calling 911 and then tried to cover up what happened.

MIKE PIAZZA, BROTHER OF TIM PIAZZA: When I walked into the room it looked like he got hit by a car. It was bad. But I got to see him. I got to say goodbye.

[07:35:05] GANIM: When you got to the hospital he was still alive.


GANIM: Were you able to talk to him then?

J. PIAZZA: I remember, I think I held his hand and we told him we loved him and whatnot, but he was in -- he was certainly not visibly with us but we did see a tear come to his eye and roll down his cheek. And I'm not sure if I want to know that he heard us or not because if he heard us then he knew he was dying and he would think that he let us down.

GANIM: The indictment is horrific for anyone to read but being his parents reading that, I mean when you read those details --

J. PIAZZA: They killed him. They fed him lethal doses of alcohol and they killed him, and then they treated him like roadkill -- like a rag doll. They slapped him around, they threw water on him. One kid punched his area that it was clearly visible.

EVELYN PIAZZA, MOTHER OF TIM PIAZZA: They said the spleen was shattered.

J. PIAZZA: It was chilling. As a parent, it was chilling. It was -- in my mind it was murder. They let him suffer for 12 hours. They let him die a very slow death. It's not any way anybody should ever be treated. There were people in that house that knew he was dying and when they knew that death was imminent the next morning, they waited 42 minutes to call for help while they told people to clean up -- cover up the evidence. Get rid of it. This wasn't boys being boys, this was criminal activity.

GANIM: What has been the response to you guys from Penn State officials? What have they said to you?

J. PIAZZA: I've had the dialogue with President Barron to some extent, but otherwise Penn State has been fairly silent. No one from Penn State or the fraternity, for that matter, came to the wake or the funeral.

GANIM: No one?

J. PIAZZA: No one. No one.

GANIM: None of the fraternity brothers --

J. PIAZZA: No one.

GANIM: -- came to the funeral?

J. PIAZZA: No one.

GANIM: And no Penn State officials?


J. PIAZZA: No Penn State officials.

GANIM: You expected a different response from them?

J. PIAZZA: I expected people to care.

GANIM: You feel like they don't?

J. PIAZZA: I feel like they're covering it up. GANIM: After Timothy Piazza died, Penn State ended pledging at fraternities for the semester and restricted alcohol to beer and wine.

Penn State put some restrictions into place in reaction to your son's death.

J. PIAZZA: Well, first of all, the changes that they put through, we told them they had to. I keep hearing from President Barron I can't do anything to these fraternities, they're on private property. Universities need to take a tougher stand and don't give me it's private property. You hold the ultimate pen, which is the pen of expulsion.

GANIM: Penn State's president, Eric Barron, has called the incident incomprehensible, saying the school's misconduct policy is vigorous. Beta Theta Phi, where Piazza was pledging, was supposed to be a dry fraternity, a result of a suspension eight years ago.

J. PIAZZA: This was an alcohol-free, hazing-free fraternity with an adult athletic trainer living in the house, but there were years of parties documented on the tapes. Nobody paid attention to anything. I blame all of them.

GANIM: You reference tapes. There were security cameras in the house --


GANIM: -- and there was an adult that you mentioned sleeping upstairs during that time.

J. PIAZZA: Was he sleeping? Who knows?

GANIM: You've called for him to be fired.

J. PIAZZA: Several times.

GANIM: Why is that?

J. PIAZZA: Because he had to know that there were illegal parties going on in that house for years that he lived there. He never said a word to anybody. He has a responsibility as an adult, as their adviser, as part of the university staff to speak up when he sees something going wrong. He didn't. He allowed a young man, my son, to die on his watch. That's why.

E. PIAZZA: There's no surprise that they were having parties. I mean, you can't get rid of all the bottles and vomit and trash.

GAMIN: That man, a chapter adviser, has not been charged. According to the indictment, no one notified him. He's made no comments.

What do you guys want to see happen in the future?

J. PIAZZA: I mean, I think the first thing that has to happen is we need to go through these trials and hopefully make a statement to the country that this can't happen. Tim Piazza is not just our son. I mean, he really represents every son and daughter of every family that is looking to go to college and potentially participate in Greek life in the future. We need to make these changes for them.


GANIM: CNN has made multiple requests for comment to Penn State, to President Eric Barron, and the chapter adviser, as well as those charged and their lawyers. All have declined to be interviewed and they have not responded to CNN's request for comments on the Piazza's interview with CNN.

CAMEROTA: I can't believe no one from Penn State went to the funeral.

[07:40:00] GANIM: No, and you know, beyond that, when Tim Piazza was sent to the hospital in an ambulance no one went with him and the family says that no one told the parents or his brother, who is also a Penn State student, what had happened to him or where he was. So the next morning when he didn't show up at his apartment it was his roommate who called his brother and said he didn't come home, and his brother had to think to call the hospital and he found him there. No one ever called the parents.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Now, you've been down this road before in terms of seeing where legal and moral and ethical responsibility will fall with Penn State University. Sara's on a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism team about the Sandusky situation. Where does that stand right now? We know what's going on with the kids in the courts but what about the school?

GANIM: So the past, right. Penn State has other allegations of hazing that hang over them right now, two lawsuits that include allegations of hazing. Not to mention that this is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, indictment on a fraternity and its members over hazing, so they have some questions to answer about how they've handled this in the past.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, Sara. Thanks so much for sharing. Please keep us posted on what's happening at the school and with the family.

GANIM: Of course.

CUOMO: All right, another major story this morning. North Korea says it's latest missile test proves the U.S. is in its range. The Pentagon's response, next.


[07:45:20] CUOMO: The Midwest getting its first taste of summer. CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray has the forecast. What do you see?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Oh, we're just going to skip spring and go straight to summer because temperatures definitely feel like it. Look at 92 in Dallas, 90 in Oklahoma City, almost 90 degrees in St. Louis, Atlanta close to 90. Still a little bit of a chill in the air across the Northeast because that storm system that brought a lot of rain and wind across the weekend is slowly making its exit, so we're still seeing a little bit of rain in places like Boston. That will slowly clear throughout the day. You should start to see sunshine by the end of the day gradually from south to north.

The heat, though, does build into the Northeast so you'll get a little bit of taste of it which will be nice considering your temperatures were well below average last week. Look at this -- D.C., 94 degrees by Wednesday. That's going to be your second 90-degree day of the season. Warm in the Northeast by the middle part of the week, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Good to know, Jennifer. Thank you very much.

Well, the U.S. is calling for international sanctions on North Korea as the reclusive country amps up its nuclear threats. North Korean state media reporting that Pyongyang's latest missile test proves its nuclear capability and puts the U.S. in range for a strike. CNN's Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon for us with more. What's the response, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Alisyn. The Pentagon very watchful at this point. Could North Korea actually be the threat that brings the U.S. and Russia together? This test over the weekend -- this North Korean missile landed just 60 miles south of the far eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, a very militarily significant area for the Russians. That's the home of their pacific fleet. Their air defenses -- Russian air defenses in their far east region now on high alert.

Nobody thinks the North Koreans were really aiming to attack Russia but this missile now very significant. It has flown higher and at a greater distance than previous tests of this missile so this potentially, in fact, gives Pyongyang valuable information in how to achieve longer distances. They're aiming at that intercontinental ballistic missile range -- the kind of missile that someday could attack the United States. That's the big worry at the Pentagon. Now, Russia also very much looking at that threat from North Korea -- Chris.

CUOMO: Some 60 miles off the outer coast there is where that missile landed. Barbara, thank you so much for keeping us ahead on this story.

So, President Trump's tweet about possible tapes of his conversations with his fired FBI director raising eyebrows. Why would he tape his conversations? Do we think that that actually happened? Would it be legal? Answers ahead.


[07:51:55] CUOMO: All right. This is being called the world's biggest cyberattack and it's not even over yet. Chief business correspondent Christine Romans in the Money Center. What do we need to know?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, as millions of people wake up and log on, early indications, Chris, are that the infection is slowing. This started late Friday, hitting 200,000 users in 150 countries. Law enforcement warned there could be more today. Already, new attacks reported overnight in China, Japan, and Korea.

Now, the virus locks users out of their computers and then demands hundreds of dollars to regain control. Global companies like FedEx and Nissan, as well as hospitals in the U.K., universities in China, German train networks have all been hit. Now, the ransomware, as it's called, targets a flaw in Microsoft Windows that Microsoft actually patched in March, but the virus hit networks that had not updated their systems. Microsoft urging customers to make sure their software updates are current.

And in an unusual move, Microsoft said this attack is a wake-up call for governments. That's because the tools used by the virus architects were stolen from the NSA. Microsoft said this scenario is why governments stockpiling cyber weapons is a problem, adding this theft is a dangerous as the U.S. having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen, if you were going to compare it to conventional warfare -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, that's a stunning --

ROMANS: It sure is.

CAMEROTA: -- comparison there. Christine, thank you very much for the update.

So, President Trump got the attention of lawmakers in both parties when he tweeted this. "James Comey better hope that there are no tapes of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press." Now, many lawmakers calling for the president to turn over any tapes to Congress.

Let's discuss with Samuel Buell. He's a former federal prosecutor and law professor at Duke University. And, Douglas Brinkley, CNN presidential historian and co-author of "JFK: A Vision for America." Mr. Buell, let me start with you. We know that D.C. is a one-party permission district, meaning only President Trump would have had to have given his permission to himself in order to make a tape recording. You don't need two parties. So is this -- if he had tapes -- if he were taping Oval Office conversations, is it legal?

SAMUEL BUELL, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, LAW PROFESSOR, DUKE UNIVERSITY: Well, yes, it's legal in the District of Columbia if one party consents, but it's not legal to use tapes to try to intimidate a witness. It wouldn't even be legal to pretend to have tapes in an effort to intimidate a witness. And what we need at this point is an investigation to look into this and certainly one of the first things that any prosecutor would do in this situation is to subpoena any tapes to find out whether they exist.

CAMEROTA: Douglas, historically speaking, ever since FDR, I think with just the exception of Eisenhower, presidents have taped their conversations, so what makes this any different?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, when we say "taped their conversations" a lot of presidents would take their telephone calls to world leaders, people on Capitol Hill. Not all, but most of them did. This is different. This is Donald Trump who's setting up, really, the head of the FBI in almost like a sting operation if it's true. And incidentally, I don't believe he taped him. But if he did, it would have been --

[07:55:10] CAMEROTA: Why don't you? I mean, let me just stop you there, Doug. I mean, since he's -- since he's suggesting that he may have tapes, which he puts in quotation marks, why don't you believe him?

BRINKLEY: Because he suggests crazy things all the time on his tweets -- that he's simply trying to get an upper hand over Comey. If this does exist then it does need to be subpoenaed. He does have to cough it up. He has to quit jerking the American people around. But, you know, he's -- I think it will come back that we were just saying well, what if there were tapes and it's just a kind of Trump reality T.V. game we're all following into.

That would be a very bizarre moment if -- as he got into the White House he set up a taping system and he entrapped the head of the FBI over dinner to tape him to use as a kind of blackmail. I think that would be extraordinarily volcanic in Washington if that's what happened. I have a feeling they're going to end up saying well, we really don't have a tape of that. We were just saying what if there was one.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, again, Samuel -- correct me if I'm wrong -- he doesn't have to set up a taping system. It exists. That's what FDR did. We know about the Cuban Missile Crisis because JFK had taped some of his recordings. Obviously, Nixon as well. So this -- again, you're saying that OK, maybe Oval Office conversations are taped and have been, but if he's hanging it over the head of someone that's where the crime comes in.

BUELL: Look, and if Douglas is right and he's lying about this, that in and of itself becomes more incriminating with respect to obstruction of justice.


BUELL: Why would you make up that story and attempt to intimidate the former FBI director from talking about the underlying issue here, which is why was he fired if you didn't have -- if you didn't have the tapes? So, a prosecutor would want to look at this hard without regard to whether the tapes actually exist. In some ways that's not the issue. The issue here is the president's behavior, the purpose with which he's acting, and whether that constitutes obstruction of justice.

CAMEROTA: Doug, how are we going to find out if these tapes exist?

BRINKLEY: Well, let me say, with Nixon it was voice-activated, meaning he had the whole White House all wired up. In this situation it's Trump and Comey having a meal. The assumption would be that the salt and pepper shakers aren't bugs but that's sort of what Trump's saying. When we keep saying the Oval Office, that's using the phone to tape meetings with world leaders. This was supposed to be private dinner between the two of them so it would have been -- it would -- it sends a chill down people in the White House' spine to think that Donald Trump may have potentially wired all these rooms like Richard Nixon did, not just the hot phone.

CAMEROTA: Interesting. So, Samuel, when --

BUELL: And how can you --

CAMEROTA: Go ahead.

BUELL: I was going to say how can you govern if your senior officials -- the ones with whom you are supposed to be having the most confidential conversations, like the director of the FBI, the head of the CIA -- are walking into the White House every day thinking that the president might be taping them.

CAMEROTA: Well, look, you make a great point but we also know that there are people from the Trump organization -- I mean, this is something that Donald Trump, they say, did a lot before he was president. That he did tape some of his office meetings and that his staff at the Trump Organization did know that he might be taping them. That this is sort of in keeping with something that he likes to do, Doug.

BRINKLEY: Well, it's possible but then he's got to cough up the evidence now. He's -- some people are using the word "constitutional crisis" now or at least a crisis in confidence in the presidency. This is a big one. This is a big -- Donald Trump's made a couple of tweets that are going to cost him. One was when he said that he -- Barrack Obama had wiretapped him. That was proven false. And now we've got to see whether this is real or not. But that wasn't just a casual aside by Donald Trump. He has Washington on fire over that particular tweet because if there is a tape he now needs to turn it over as evidence. I'm going to -- I think whether there is or isn't one you're going to find a White House trying to claim now that there really wasn't a transcript or a recording that they can share.

CAMEROTA: Samuel Buell, Douglas Brinkley, thank you very much for all of the legal and historical context here.

We're following a lot of news this morning, including a discussion with one of the men set to lead the president's new voting fraud commission. What's happening with that investigation? Let's get to it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I thought that this would be a very popular thing that I did when I terminated Comey.

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL SECURITY: A built-in system of checks and balances that's under assault and is eroding.

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The president is the CEO of the country. He can hire and fire whoever he wants.