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Trump Supporters Discuss Foreign Policy Challenges; Dozens Injured After High-Speed Train Crash Outside Philadelphia; Missouri Man Faces Execution Despite New DNA Evidence; Ambushed Ohio Judge Returns Fire On Attacker; Navy: Remains Found In Search For Missing Sailors. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired August 22, 2017 - 07:30   ET



[07:30:50] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump announcing that more troops will be going to Afghanistan. This is a major shift from his position before taking office when he felt the U.S. should immediately get out of Afghanistan.

So how do the president's most passionate supporters feel about this change and other recent news events? I sat down with a group of Trump voters from Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Alabama, and Georgia, some of whom even volunteered for his campaign, to see how they feel today and to get the pulse of the people.


CAMEROTA: The president is going to increase troop levels in Afghanistan. Show of hands who's comfortable with that. Everybody would like to see troop levels go up in Afghanistan. Tell me why, Bobby.

BOBBY VIERA, TRUMP SUPPORTER: I think it's a serious problem that we that we've kind of not taken that seriously in the last eight years of Obama. And this is -- this is what he -- this is what he said he was going to do. That he was going to --

CAMEROTA: But, no, he didn't. When President Obama was increasing troop levels, President Trump (then-Donald Trump) tweeted we should get out. This is silly. We should rebuild the U.S.

We should leave Afghanistan immediately. We have wasted an enormous amount of blood and treasure in Afghanistan.

He wanted to get out.

VIERA: And how many generals did he talk to before he tweeted that?

L.A. KEY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: None. Now he --


CAMEROTA: Go ahead, L.A.

KEY: He didn't have the information at that time.

CAMEROTA: So why is he tweeting about it?

KEY: Why is he tweeting about it?


KEY: Because he can.


KEY: Because he can.

CAMEROTA: Yes, then he didn't know what he was talking about.

KEY: No.

DAPHNE GOGGINS, TRUMP SUPPORTER: He didn't have the facts.


KEY: He didn't have the information he has today, which is completely different.

VIERA: We have generals, we have military experts. We have to trust what they say.

GOGGINS: Had Obama listened to them in Iraq we may not be here with ISIS.

JIMMY DOZIER, TRUMP SUPPORTER: President Obama had way more troops over there.

CAMEROTA: And Donald Trump, at the time, didn't like that.

DOZIER: Yes, but he's trying to end it.

GOGGINS: Still doesn't.

DOZIER: Them generals said send 4,000 over there. We're going to try and end it.

CAMEROTA: And don't you think that President Obama was trying to end it?


DOZIER: He pulled out --


DOZIER: -- too soon. He pulled out too soon.

CAMEROTA: But, President Obama had a surge, as well --

VIERA: Right. CAMEROTA: -- so he was trying to do the right thing, as well.

GOGGINS: He surged Afghanistan?

CAMEROTA: Yes, 2011. So now, President Trump will be trying a surge.

VIERA: And you had a lot of military people saying that Obama didn't listen to them. That he was telling -- that they were talking to him and he was just ignoring what they said.

GOGGINS: A different commander in chief.

VIERA: You have a lot of military generals and people that came out saying that he was not paying attention to his orders.

CAMEROTA: I understand. I'm just trying to the consistency of it's bad when President Obama does it, it's good when President Trump does it.


VIERA: It's only --

AMANDA DELEKTA, TRUMP SUPPORTER: That's not what we're saying.

VIERA: We have generals, we have military experts. We have to trust what they saw.

GOGGINS: They know what --

VIERA: And if they're telling us --


CAMEROTA: OK, North Korea.


CAMEROTA: Go ahead. Tell us what's funny.

GOGGINS: Kaboom. What are we waiting for? No. I like the way he's handling North Korea.

CAMEROTA: And how is he handling it?

GOGGINS: Just tough. He has to be tough because he's dealing with craziness. And I think that --


GOGGINS: I think as commander in chief that he's been a lot more disciplined. If he can do that as the war erupts (ph) --

DELEKTA: And, you know, it's almost chilling. There was a video of President Trump being interviewed -- then a civilian -- then Donald Trump -- in 1999, and he was asked about North Korea. And he said what are we going to do, wait for them to have missiles pointed at us before we act -- before we do anything?

And look at the situation now. Look where their nuclear program has escalated to. And so, I think that Kim Jong Un has run around unchecked in that part of the world for a long time.

CAMEROTA: Some people you hear talking about President Trump's mental instability.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier -- let me read to you her tweet.

"The president is showing signs of erratic behavior and --


CAMEROTA: -- mental instability that place the country in grave danger. Time to invoke the 25th Amendment."

GOGGINS: Whatever.

KEY: She's looking for her own 15 minutes of fame.

GOGGINS: Whatever.

DOZIER: President Trump is smarter than anybody in this room.

KEY: Amen.

DOZIER: He has made millions of dollars. He knows what he's doing.

And for her to think he's mentally -- what in the world? Why would you think that guy's mental? He ain't mental.

You know, we had two choices, Hillary and him. And if Hillary was the president right now what do you think would be going on in North Korea? What do you think the stock market would be doing?

CAMEROTA: What do you think would be going on in North Korea?

DOZIER: All right. North Korea, that guy would probably have already done something. I know the stock market wouldn't have gone up.

VIERA: Trump is the world's biggest troll --

GOGGINS: Everybody that --

VIERA: -- and everybody falls for it every day hook, line, and sinker. He's just -- he loves controlling the narrative, you know, and he's turned into a raucous public enemy number one.

[07:35:08] Let's be honest, OK? Republicans hate him and Democrats hate him. You know why they hate him? Because he threatens their existence.

CAMEROTA: Again, but how is this helpful to the country?

(CROSSTALK) VIERA: The swamp -- because that's for -- that's for -- because that's for -- that's for the media. That's for the media to chew on and make everybody go hysterical while he's there actually getting things done.

DELEKTA: I don't find his Twitter productive, to be honest. I think it draws away from what could be a really positive message coming out of his administration.

They have accomplished so much in terms of the economy. You know, the stock market's up around 18 percent. Unemployment's down to around 4.2 percent which is the lowest since 2002, nearly 20 years.

I wish he would tone down the Twitter a little bit so we could focus on what his administration has accomplished.

CAMEROTA: Robert, what do you think?

ROBERT MCCARTHY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Twitter is an effective means for him to communicate directly with all of his supporters, bypassing the media, getting his message directly out.

CAMEROTA: What about the Republicans, like Sen. Tim Scott, like people who are now speaking out saying that they think that the president sort of doesn't have the stability -- the moral authority, is what Sen. Tim Scott said, to be a leader?

DOZIER: They think if they do this now that they'll get reelected if you want to know the truth. That's why I voted for Trump. I'm for business.

And they bringing this stuff up -- civil rights. Man, I went through civil rights in the sixties in Alabama. This ain't nothing.

You know, they got 100-200 people up there and everybody blowing it up, and those people don't represent Trump. And neither -- and one of us don't represent Hillary.

VIERA: And if Hillary was president they would be still be protesting the taking down of those statues. There would still be white supremacists out there and there would still be Nazis.

You know what? For eight years we heard Obama say that we can't -- we can't refer to terrorists as Islamic radical terrorists because it empowers them and increases their numbers. But for eight months, I've heard the left call Trump supporters white supremacists and Nazis with no fear at all that it's going to increase their numbers or empower them.

CAMEROTA: But the analogy there is that if President Trump was so angry that President Obama wouldn't call it for what President Trump thought it was, radical Islamic terror, why didn't he immediately call out neo-Nazis? Why didn't he call it what it is?

VIERA: If saying radical Islamic terrorist empowers the terrorists and increases their numbers, then why calling us white supremacists and Nazis doesn't increase their numbers or empower them?

CAMEROTA: How do you know it doesn't empower them?

VIERA: Well, obviously -- then why don't you stop saying it --

MCCARTHY: Exactly, exactly.

VIERA: -- if you don't want them to grow in power?

CAMEROTA: But I -- your logic -- hold on. Your circular logic is confusing.

If President Trump wants evil to be called out, why didn't he call neo-Nazis by name, at first?

VIERA: He didn't have all the facts yet.

DOZIER: He didn't know the facts.

DELEKTA: He didn't know the facts.

VIERA: Because it just came out on T.V. It just happened.


CAMEROTA: If you learned something there, stick around for tomorrow.

Coming up, our Trump supporters will talk about Charlottesville. They have a lot to say. They have very strong feelings about that.

Here is a little preview.


CAMEROTA: How many of you -- show of hands -- were troubled by the president's response to the violence in Charlottesville? None of you minded how President Trump responded?



CAMEROTA: OK. Wait until you hear what they think about Charlottesville and who they think was at fault. It's fascinating and we follow it to its complete conclusion and we'll show you how a conspiracy theory is born.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We also are following another story for you.

Attorneys in Missouri are hoping newly-discovered DNA evidence can spare the life of their client. They only have until midnight tonight to halt his execution. The race against time, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [07:42:20] CUOMO: We have breaking news. There's been a high-speed train crash outside Philadelphia. Forty-two people hurt at the latest count.

Transit officials are trying to figure out why the trained slammed into an unoccupied train that was parked at the station.

A passenger tells our affiliate there was blood everywhere. The train's driver was all banged up. All the injuries appear to be non- life-threatening.

CAMEROTA: A man from Missouri is set to be executed tonight despite new DNA evidence that may prove he is not the person that brutally stabbed a woman to death two decades ago.

CNN's Scott McLean is live in Missouri with more. Tell us about this story, Scott.


If the state of Missouri has its way, the next time Marcellus Williams goes to sleep he won't wake up. He is inside this prison south of St. Louis waiting to be executed by lethal injection in less than 12 hours from now.

His lawyers say that new DNA evidence shows he's innocent but it is not clear whether that evidence will convince the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the execution.


MARCELLUS WILLIAMS, JR., SON OF MARCELLUS WILLIAMS: That's an innocent man getting murdered, you know, and it's not right.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Marcellus Williams, Jr. was only eight when his father was arrested for murder. Almost two decades later, Marcellus Williams, Sr. is scheduled to be executed at 6:00 tonight. For the state, it's justice. To his son, it's murder.

WILLIAMS, JR.: The victim being a white woman, him being black, Muslim, a towering figure, they got to make an example.

MCLEAN: Williams was convicted of killing 42-year-old Felicia Gayle inside of her home in 1998. She was found with more than 40 stab wounds and a kitchen knife still lodged in her body.

The case hinged on the testimony of two other criminals, Williams' former girlfriend and the cell mate he bunked with while serving time for an unrelated crime.

Williams was also tied to stolen items from Gayle's home.

A nearly all-white jury convicted Williams of murder and sentenced him to die. But now, the defense has new DNA evidence it says proves Williams is innocent.

MCLEAN (on camera): What does the DNA evidence show, in your mind?

LARRY KOMP, WILLIAMS' ATTORNEY: That he did not hold the murder weapon and the murder weapon was found in the victim's body.

MCLEAN (voice-over): It was enough to delay the first execution date while experts examined the DNA on the knife. The first lab would not exclude Williams but three other analysts, including Greg Hampikian, said the evidence is enough to rule him out.

GREG HAMPIKIAN, PHD, PROFESSOR, BOISE STATE CRIMINAL JUSTICE: This knife was handled rigorously. It was rubbed and friction is what transfers DNA. So whoever handled this knife likely left DNA. It is not Marcellus Williams.

[07:45:03] MCLEAN: But the State Supreme Court disagreed, allowing the execution to go ahead. Now, at the eleventh hour, the case has been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A spokesperson for Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said based on the other non-DNA evidence in this case, our office is confident in Marcellus Williams' guilt.

As he waits for a decision, the younger Williams says his father is at peace with whatever comes next.

WILLIAMS, JR.: And if he -- tomorrow is his last day, I'm going to go be a witness and watch, you know. I should be there for him and support him in his last times -- last hours.


MCLEAN: Now, the Supreme Court is expected to have a decision later today. If it rules the execution can go ahead, then Williams will have only one lifeline left -- the governor, who has yet to comment on this case.

And even if Williams is to be eventually exonerated for this crime, as his lawyers hope, he has almost no chance of walking free because of separate convictions for unrelated crimes, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Let us know where that story develops. It's got a very compressed timeline.

So, there's another legal story for you.

It's being called a cold-blooded attempted murder of an Ohio judge, but it really took a twist. The gunman is dead because the ambush turned into a shootout with the judge and a nearby probation officer returning fire.

Now, police want to know if this shooting is connected to a high- profile rape case.

CNN's Alison Kosik has the story. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shortly after 8:00 a.m. Monday morning, a judge in Jefferson County, Ohio was ambushed, according to authorities, as he was making his way to court. Common Pleas Court Judge Joseph Bruzzese was shot several times at point-blank range in the stomach.

FRED ABDALLA, SHERIFF, JEFFERSON COUNTY, OHIO: This was just cold- blooded attempted murder on the judge, and that's not the way it's supposed to be in America.

KOSIK: Bruzzese, who has been a sitting judge in the county since 1980, was armed at the time and returned fire, along with a probation officer who happened to be outside.

The suspected shooter, Nate Richmond from Steubenville, Ohio, died at the scene. Police are waiting for forensic analysis to determine who fired the fatal shot.

ABDALLA: If any judge could do it, he could.

He's an avid sportsman, a hunter. He loves guns. Deer hunting, pheasant hunting, and duck hunting. I mean, he's a sportsman.

And I urged him years ago to carry a gun. If you're sitting on a bench you have to carry a gun because there's so many nut cases out there that want retaliation, you know.

KOSIK: A second man waiting in the alleged getaway car was hit by a ricocheted bullet. Authorities have not filed any charges against him at this point.

Richmond was the father of Steubenville football player Ma'Lik Richmond, one of two teens convicted in 2013 of raping a 16-year-old girl, a story that generated national outrage.

Records show Richmond had a lengthy criminal history. On the day his son was convicted he had this to say.

NATE RICHMOND: I'm Ma'Lik's father. Throughout my life, I've been through a lot of struggles.

I'm an ex-alcoholic. I haven't had a drink in 12 years. I thank God for that because when I drunk alcohol it caused a lot of my problems. It destroyed my life.

KOSIK: Authorities are still investigating a motive but say they see no connection with his son's case.

JANE HANLIN, JEFFERSON COUNTY PROSECUTOR: There's absolutely no reason to believe that there's any connection whatsoever between Ma'Lik Richmond and the actions of his father today.

KOSIK: Judge Bruzzese underwent surgery at the University Hospital in Pittsburgh. He's in stable condition. Alison Kosik, CNN, New York.


CAMEROTA: And we do have some news that has just broken in the past hour.

The U.S. Navy confirming that divers have found some of the remains of the 10 missing sailors on that warship that was involved in a collision.

What is causing these crashes? We will ask the former Navy Secretary, next.


[07:53:15] CAMEROTA: We have breaking news.

The U.S. Navy confirming that divers have found some of the remains in the search for 10 missing sailors after their destroyer collided with an oil tanker in the South Pacific.

The cause of the crash is under investigation but a Navy official tells CNN that a quote "loss of steering" may be to blame.

Joining us now is Ray Mabus. He's the former Secretary of the Navy under President Obama. Mr. Secretary, thanks so much for being here with us this morning.


CAMEROTA: What's your response to this tragic news that has broken in just the past hour that, you know, not surprising but obviously terribly, terribly sad for all of these families and the entire Navy that some of the remains have been found.

MABUS: Well, the Navy is a family and the fact that we've lost sailors just shows how dangerous a job these great patriots do day in and day out protecting us. It's a dangerous job whether we're at war or at peace.

And -- but I also think that the Chief of Naval Operations did exactly the right thing ordering a stand-down and an investigation not into this crash only, but what's going on because we've had two of these deadly crashes now --


MABUS: -- in the Seventh Fleet, which is the most -- you know, it's one of the busiest places we've got with North Korea, with the South China Sea, with everything that's going on there.

CAMEROTA: And so, what do you think is going on? What is behind these collisions? MABUS: Well, I think one thing -- when I got there in '09, from 2001 to 2008 our fleet got gutted. It went from 316 ships down to 278 ships. We simply didn't have enough ships to do all of the jobs that we need to do.

[07:55:04] And so, we're -- our deployments are getting longer and they're getting closer together. And we were just wearing out our equipment, we were wearing out our people.

And that's one of the reasons I focused on building ships. I built twice as many ships in seven years that I was there than in the previous seven years. But it takes a long time to get those ships into the fleet.

And so, you know, if there was a steering casualty -- that maybe the fact that we've just been running our equipment so much and -- but there should have been a back-up and we train on that. And so it may also point to the fact that we've been wearing out our people.


MABUS: And we've got to get these ships in the fleet and we've got to keep building them. The last budget that got put in didn't have enough ships in it.

CAMEROTA: Well, let me ask you about that because there's obviously a different school of thought and one school of thought is that you don't need to keep building ships, you need to fix the ones you have.

In fact, the "Navy Times" in February, wrote a somewhat scathing article about your tenure at the Navy and I just want to read a portion of it because what they're thinking is this.

"Under former Secretary Ray Mabus, the Navy made a policy of directing money away from operations and maintenance in order to keep funding shipbuilding, an effort to arrest the precipitous decline of the fleet's size, which has dropped from more than 500 ships at the end of the Cold War to today's 274."

They're saying now, "The Navy's leadership is lining up behind a unified message. Fix our fleet, focus on war fighting, then grow the Navy."

Did you build ships at the expense of maintaining the others?

MABUS: Absolutely not. We didn't send a ship out that wasn't correctly maintained. But, if you keep that operational tempo you're going to start wearing some stuff out.

And the Navy resets in stride but we never cheated on maintenance. We never cheated on operational monies in order to build ships. But you have got to, got to, got to have more ships or you're simply not going to be able to do the jobs.

And what we were trying to do because of this decline that the fleet just fell off the cliff -- what we were trying to do is do the same thing that we had always been doing but with many, many fewer ships.

But there was no -- absolutely no loss of, in terms of time or in terms of effort or in terms of focus on maintenance or on operations.

CAMEROTA: But doesn't the idea of -- hold on a second.

MABUS: But you've got to do those things together.

CAMEROTA: Understood, but just one second.

The fact that this U.S. Navy official says that the ship suffered a quote "steering casualty," doesn't that suggest a mechanical problem, therefore a maintenance problem?

MABUS: Well, yes, and that's what I said. We have -- we have been running these ships hard and you -- but one of the ways to keep from running these ships so hard, no matter how well you maintain them, is they're going to have mechanical problems unless you have the time unless you have the ability to have enough ships out there.

And so building the fleet had to be the first priority. Maintaining the fleet also had to be right there.

CAMEROTA: One more thing that I want to run by you, Mr. Secretary.

This admiral -- one of the spokespeople, Richardson, had another theory that he tweeted out.

"To clarify -- I'll read it to everyone regarding the "possibility of cyber intrusion or sabotage. No indications right now, but review will consider all possibilities."

Do you think that if there was a steering casualty that there could have been some sort of cyber intrusion or hack?

MABUS: I think John Richardson's got it right. I mean, I don't know what the -- what the situation is but you've got to look at the possibility of cyber. We are so networked now, we are so dependent on cyber that that's possible. But a steering casualty is not one of those things that you think about when cyber --

But when you have a steering casualty, one of the things that we train on all the time is if you have a steering casualty --


MABUS: -- and what do you then, and how do you quickly get steering back with one of your alternative systems. And I think that's why he's looking at every possibility.

CAMEROTA: Understood.

Former Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, thank you very much for being here with all of that information.

MABUS: Thank you. (audio gap)

CUOMO: All right. We're following a lot of news. Let's get after it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our troops will fight to win. Conditions on the ground will guide our strategy.

NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: I think what you saw last night was something the president believes in and something that he's going to follow through with.