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Nationwide Manhunt For Two Escaped Inmates; What Happened With Otto Warmbier; Interview with Sen. Richard Blumenthal. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired June 14, 2017 - 06:30   ET



[06:31:47] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: A nationwide manhunt is expanding at this hour for two escaped inmates accused killing two corrections officers. Police say the fugitives are considered, quote, "dangerous beyond belief." CNN's Kaylee Hartung is live in Putnam County, Georgia with the latest. How did this happen, Kaylee?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wow Alisyn, it was nearly 24 hours ago that Donnie Rowe and Ricky Dubose the two inmates overpowered their correctional officers driving a prison transport, murdered them and then carjacked the next vehicle that they saw coming down the road.

This manhunt continues 24 hours with those two men on the run. Now there have been many reported sightings of the two men over the past 24 hours. But what we do know is that they were responsible for a burglary. About 30 miles from where we stand now in Eatonton, Georgia, Central Georgia that is, Alisyn.

But through this burglary, they were said to have ransacked this home, taken food and clothes as they left prison whites behind. Now, that car that they overpowered and took, a 2004 green Honda Civic, we have not heard of reported sightings of that vehicle in the time since. But it's expected to be their mode of transport now.

And -- and while there are many questions about how this happened, the priority of course for the Putnam County Sheriff and state, local, and federal officials here is finding those two men. But when they do look back Alisyn, to figure out how this happened in the first place, there is video from that prison transport vehicle that can answer a lot of those questions.

And Chris, their reward now, $70,000 for anyone who can provide any information that could lead to their arrest.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: That is the main question, right now. The urgency is on finding these two men. We're putting the word out there so that local folks can help the authorities there.

Kaylee, thank you very much. If you learn anything more information, tell us. We'll come back to you.

All right, so another troubling question that has geo-political implications. What happened to this college kid in North Korea? Otto Warmbier was in custody in the rogue nation for some 17 months. He's now back home. But he's in a coma, and his family is demanding to know what happened. The latest, next.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN, the most trusted name in news.

CHRIS CUOMO, ANCHOR, CNN: All right. This is an important story to follow. The American student currently in a coma after being release by the North Korean government. He's back home in Ohio but he's not in good shape.

Video captured the moment Otto Warmbier was carried off the plane last night. He spend 17 months in detention in North Korea. He's been in a coma, we are told, for more than a year. CNN's Paula Hancocks live in Seoul with more. The obvious question is how.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Exactly, Chris. That's what everyone here is asking. The information we have at this point -- it's important to point out -- is from North Korean side. They're telling U.S. officials that Otto Warmbier contracted botulism shortly after that trial back in March, 2016.

They claim that he took a sleeping pill after that, which presumably they gave him. He slipped into a coma and never woke up. So this is what the North Koreans are saying. The State Department here is clearly saying that they're going to not take tht at face value.

They don't know about the timing and the cause until their own doctors can actually look at him. But let's just go back to March 2016 and remind ourselves of that trial, an hour long trial that was televised. Clearly Otto Warmbier was under duress and he was accused and found guilty of hostile acts against the regime.

His crime, he took a political poster off a hotel wall. And for that, he was charged with 15 years hard labor. Now North Korea says shortly after that, he fell into that coma. Now he has headed back to the states, back to his family who only last week found out that he had been in that coma for all that time. So clearly a devastating time for them.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, ANCHOR, CNN: All right, Paula. Thank you very much for all that background. We want to discuss it now with our CNN Military and Diplomatic Analyst, John Kirby and CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, so you heard what Paula just said, that the North Koreans say that he contracted botulism and took a sleeping pill and slipped into a coma.


CAMEROTA: Does that make any sense to you?

GUPTA: It really does not make sense. Botulism is a -- it's a bacterial infection that people typically think of nowadays with Botox. And the reason is that it causes paralysis of some of the muscles, which is what it can do if you get a bacterial infection as well. People will get sort of a muscle weakness, typically in their face.

It can get pretty bad and also effect the muscles of your diaphragm so that you're no longer able to breathe on your own. And that can cause problems, obviously. Someone could have a stroke or that type of symptom...

CAMEROTA: Can they slip into a coma?

GUPTA: If -- if they develop a lack of blood flow, oxygenated blood flow to the brain that could cause them to have a sort of coma like condition. Essentially a whole brain stroke which would look like a coma.

It - the sleeping pill part also doesn't make sense, it's not something that would cause a coma, why you would give it to somebody who was maybe suffering from botulism - it - it just doesn't make sense.

Nevertheless, even with botulism, as serious as it can be, someone if they're on a ventilator, they're on a breathing machine - we're talking over a year now, it wouldn't last that long.

So from the original diagnoses to the timing of things, to the treatment that he seemingly received, it's just very hard to piece this all together.

CAMEROTA: I know it was very hard to see that video of him coming off the plane in - on the stretcher.

GUPTA: Yeah.

CAMEROTA: So it's hard to know exactly what condition he is currently in, though they say he's in a coma. Can someone come out of it?


GUPTA: Well, if it's been over a year. I mean, first of all, several things come to mind. You see that he has - I saw that he had a tube in his nose but not a - didn't seem to have breathing tube, so seems like he's been fed but he wasn't requiring a - a breathing machine.

That's all I can sort of make out watching that video.


The big con concern here is if this has really been over a year that sort of excludes all the - the more, if you will, reversible causes of coma. Whether this was some sort of medication or something else, it's been over a year.

I mean, just from that standpoint alone it's very concerning. I think what he'll get here is a - a more clear cut diagnoses, for sure, but whether that's going to lead to some sort of treatment that, obviously, everybody wants. You know, it's - it's not encouraging giving the timing of this.

CAMEROTA: John Kirby, gosh, this is such a heartbreaking story - a tragic story. I mean seeing him in that, you know, courtroom, for lack of a better word, after his one hour trial, you know, pleading to the heavens for some mercy.


And then him being sentenced for 15 years for taking down a propaganda poster. I mean, this would be called a fraternity prank in our country. But he got a 15 year sentence.

How was it that he was released?

JOHN KIRBY, CNN ANALYST: Well, according to the State Department and the National Security Council...


once his condition became readily apparent to us over the last couple of weeks. A very strong, concerted diplomatic effort was launched to demand his release and to get his release on humanitarian grounds.

I give a lot of credit to the administration and Secretary Tillerson in particular for working this so hard and so aggressively and it seems like those efforts worked.

Now, what exactly led the North Koreans to be accommodating in this case, I don't know. I mean, clearly, it wouldn't be good for them for an American to die in captivity, incarceration there, in Pyongyang.

But as Sanjay pointed out, I mean, this is a - this is a regime that's not exactly known for humane treatment of political prisoners. So it's difficult to know if that was really a motivation or not. But clearly there was a lot of effort in the last couple of weeks that paid off.

CAMEROTA: His parents say that they did not know he was in a coma until last week, the regime had not shared that information with the Americans. What does this mean for the three other Americans who are being detained in North Korea>

KIRBY: Well, we certainly have our minds on them and -- and when I was at the State Department we never lost focus on them as well.

It - it -- this is an incredibly opaque regime. We don't know a lot about how they operate, about how they manage their own processes and we certainly can't get inside the mind of Kim Jung-un. We have to assume, unfortunately, sadly, we have to assume the worst for the way political prisoners are being treated.

We'll know more as - as they - as they take a harder look into Otto Warmbier's case but we're going to have to assume that the other political prisoners are also being treated badly.

CAMEROTA: John Kirby, Sanjay Gupta, thank you very much for all the information.

KIRBY: Thank you.



(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. They want to celebrate, the question is, where? Will they go to the White House?

Details in The Bleacher Report, next.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. The Bleacher report with a provocative question. Will the NBA champs; the Golden State Warriors in case you've been living under a rock, are they going to celebrate at the White House? Andy Scholes has more in the Bleacher report. What do we know?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good Morning Chris. Many don't expect the Warriors to go to the White House. You know in the past both Steph Curry and head coach Steve Kerr have been critical of President Trump. But, Klay Thompson meanwhile, he told CNN back in February that he'd probably go to the White House saying, Quote, I don't have to agree with everything the President does but at the end of the day he still is our President and is the leader of the free world.

Now the team issued a statement on the matter yesterday. It read, today is all about celebrating our championship. We have not received an invitation to the White House but, we'll make those decisions when and if necessary.

Now the Penguins meanwhile, saying they would love to visit the White House and if invited we would go as a team. We respect the office of the Presidency of the United States and what it stands for any opposition or disagreement with the Presidents policies or agenda can be expressed in other ways. The Penguins are set to have a championship parade through downtown Pittsburgh later on today.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: That will be very fun Andy. Thank you very much. Nearly 200 democrats in congress announced that they are suing President Trump over his business deals with foreign governments. Senator Richard Blumenthal is leading that charge. He joins us next.



CHRIS CUOMO, CNN, ANCHOR: Democrats accusing Attorney General Jeff Sessions of stonewalling during his testimony during a senate panel, yesterday. Senator Richard Blumenthal took it a step further. Tweeting quote "AG sessions should be subpoenaed to judiciary committee to answer questions he is dodging today publicly and under oath." Joining us now, the man behind the tweet, Senator Blumenthal of Connecticut, a member of the Senate Judiciary committee. Make the case, why is it wrong for AG for say I do not think it is in the national interest of the protection of confidentiality for me to reveal these conversations with the president?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, (D-CT) SENATE JUDICIARY CMTE: There is no executive privilege, there is no legal protection. He is a public official and the intelligence committee is conducting a lawful supremely important bipartisan investigation into Russia's meddling in our election and possible collusion by the Trump campaign or others in that Russian interference. And even possible obstruction of justice there's mounting evidence of it so. He has no legal basis to simply dodge these questions and that's why I have urged that he be subpoenaed under oath and publicly to testify before the judiciary committee. He participated in the firing of Jim Comey, the FBI director in the course of that investigation. He should answer why the department of justice which reports to the judiciary committee was apparently compromised in that way.

CUOMO: Why do you think he would give different answers because it is a different committee?

BLUMENTHAL: He would be subpoenaed and under oath before our committee where he has a direct responsibility to provide those answers. And if he fails to do so I think the Judiciary Committee would be within its rights to take action.

But, I hope he will provide different answers because it is the right thing to do and the president could give him permission to do so in the meantime.

CUOMO: All right. Now we know about a new lawsuit against Trump. Nearly 200 democrats accusing Trump of violating the Emoluments clause over foreign payments for different parts of his business enterprise.

We've all had to learn about the Emoluments clause. Part of the arcane history of the Constitution but it does have a practical import today. But, what is the basis of your lawsuit? Why do you think that you have an actionable claim here?

BLUMENTHAL: We're going to court, 190 of us, members of Congress. The largest number ever to see the president because he is vagrantly and blatantly thumbing his nose at the Constitution and at the American people.

This clause in the Constitution may seem archaic but it was profoundly important to the founders and it is the premier anti corruption provision of our Constitution. It forbids the president from taking any payment benefit advantage of any kind whatsoever without the consent of Congress. Any payment benefit from a foreign government, so.

CUOMO: Right. But, this scant case law that's on it in our history of understanding couldn't a case be made that this was really about graft about hey Congress needs to authorize before you get gifted something by some foreign government. And that makes sense.

But, contracts, bargain for exchanges of services or goods. Isn't that arguable outside the scope of an emolument? Isn't this just the president's legitimate business activity?

BLUMENTHAL: The president has a far flung empire of 500 companies doing business in 20 different countries and we really have no knowledge because he has failed to disclose about all of those business operations.

We can't consent to what we don't know. He has a duty at the very least to disclose what those deals and payment and benefits are. So the American people know that he's putting our interest first and not his business interests.

CUOMO: Is that what this is, Senator? Is this a clever way to get disclosure from the president or you're hoping that this is seen as a sustainable claim? It survives some rejudgement as they say on the civil side and that you get to discovery and the president has to turn over information about his business practices that he has to this point refused to provide?

BLUMENTHAL: At the very least he has to disclose what those business payments are. But we do know some of those payments.

CUOMO: Right.

BLUMENTHAL: For example, Saudi Arabia paying thousands of dollars in rent, the trademarks from China worth millions of dollars, the permits in India for his development there and possible, we don't know for sure but money pouring in from Russia. That's what his sons have referred to happening.

And, the American people deserve to know whether when he praises Turkey or the Philippines leaders he's doing it because it's in our interest or because he has business deals there.

We know about those deals and other deals around the world where potentially he could be sending arms to Saudi Arabia or other kinds of diplomatic relationships that otherwise he wouldn't engage in. And otherwise -- and maybe not be in our interest.

So, these profoundly important to the Constitution and enforcing the Constitution is our role and responsibility because we had this unique position. He cannot engage in these payments and benefits without consent of Congress. It's more than disclosure.

CUOMO: Well, it will be interesting. The political process to this point has failed to get the president to give out anymore information than he has already. It will be interesting if the legal route gives any more satisfaction. If you're found to have standing and all the other criteria for a lawsuit.

We'll be tracking it. Senator Blumenthal, thank you for making a case here on New Day, as always.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. We're following a lot of news for you this morning. Including a massive inferno that has been burning for hours in a London high rise. New Day has the latest right now.

UNKNOWN: This is CNN Breaking News.

CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to your New Day. We do begin with very troubling breaking news. At least six people are dead, dozens are hurt and just a lot still unknown. This was the scene at 1:00 in the morning and shortly thereafter in London. This massive inferno.

A 24 story building built - the flames were shooting out. It was one of the most large scale --