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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
British Officials Warn Of Imminent Attack; Trump Scolded For Terror Tweets Before Facts Are Clear; Trump: Options For North Korea "Effective And Overwhelming"; Unprecedented Glimpse At Life Inside North Korea; Protests After Ex-Cop Acquitted in Death of Black Man; Trump's Long History of Fury and Humiliation; Hurricane Jose Strengthens, Threatening East Coast. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired September 15, 2017 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OutFront next, breaking news, warnings of another imminent terror attack as a massive manhunt is underway for the London subway bomber. This as President Trump weighs in. Is he doing more harm than good?
Plus, more breaking news out of St. Louis tonight. Protests getting violent after a former police officer is found not guilty in the shooting death of a black man.
And Trump's temper tantrums, and reportedly telling his attorney general he's an idiot to a shouting match with Mitch McConnell. Does the president need to cool it?
Let's go OutFront.
And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OutFront tonight, the breaking news. Warnings tonight of an imminent terror attack in London. Officials raising the threat level from severe to critical after the bombing on the London subway today.
A major manhunt is underway for a suspect in that tube bombing and you're looking that there's a massive police presence right now, heavily armed officers frankly all across London tonight. This was a major attack, at least 29 were injured. An IED, improvised explosive device went off on board a crowded train during the morning rush hour.
Just after news of the attack broke, President Trump weighed in, suggesting British intelligence was aware of who was behind the attack. The president tweeted at 6:42 a.m. this morning Eastern Time, "Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who are in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive."
Well, that tweet of course implies that they were in the sights that somebody drops the ball. It was highly insulting to Scotland Yard and it appeared to get ahead of investigators. British Prime Minister Theresa May fired back at Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY, UNITED KINGDOM: I never think it's helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser tried to do damage control a few hours later.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I think he means generally that this kind of activity is what we're trying to prevent. It is likely that law enforcement had been working on that problem since.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, Trump also used today's attack as an opportunity to tout his travel ban, even though there was no evidence that the suspect's identity when Trump tweeted this, he still went ahead and said the following. "The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific. But stupidly, that would not be politically correct."
Now, Trump's rest of judgment of course is not new after suspected terror attacks, with some blaring exceptions. You may remember, right, it took three days for the president to respond to the criticism of his post-Charlottesville remarks about both side being at fault and then when he did, he gave this defense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I wanted to make sure unlike most politicians that what I said was correct. Not make a quick statement. You don't make statements that direct unless you know the fact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Of course he did this morning and he has before. In fact, even after the facts are in, the president sometimes doesn't say anything at all or takes a long time to respond when Muslims are the victims of attacks. In August, a bomb exploded at a mosque in Minnesota. Trump's never publicly said or tweeted anything about it.
In June, the president was silent after a deadly truck attack outside the London mosque. In May, two men in Oregon were killed on a train where they tried to silence an anti-Muslim rant against two women. It took tree days for the White House to respond.
Jeff Zeleny is OutFront tonight at the White House. And Jeff, again, the president getting called out for, well, at least at this point it appears at the best he got ahead of the facts and at the worst, he's totally wrong.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin good evening. I mean, he president definitely did not waste any time weighing in on this terrorist attack. Obviously, we know he watches morning television so he was clearly watching that in the moment here in the U.S. when it was unfolding over there in London.
But he, you know, he received a bit of a rebuke, a b it of a soft condemnation from the British prime minister as we heard just a moment ago there. But the president did not apologize or acknowledge that today as he left the White House a short time ago. He did talk about radical Islamic terrorism, of course no one has mentioned that to be directly involved. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I want to say that our hearts and prayers go out to the people of London who suffered a vicious terrorist attack today. Radical Islamic terrorism. It will be eradicated, believe me.
America and our allies will never be intimidated. We will defend our people, our nations and our civilization from all who dare to threaten our way of life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: So that was the president there greeting members of the Air Force at Andrews Air Force Base before leaving Washington this evening for a weekend in Bedminster, New Jersey. But, Erin, the point here is, we have seen a pattern of terrorist attacks abroad or here. If they fit his sort of idea of a terrorist attack, he will weigh in indeed.
[19:05:03] Now, he did have a telephone call with the British prime minister, Theresa May but the White House has not released details of that. But there's no question I am told that they did talk about the fact that it appears once again, the president got ahead of the facts and Scotland Yard and the prime minister were not pleased by that. Erin?
BURNETT: Certainly not and of course there is an ongoing manhunt going on right now there and threats of imminent attack. So it's a very urgent situation at this moment. Thank you to Jeff and I want to go now to Phil Mudd, former CIA counter terror official, Nia-Malika Henderson, our senior political reporter, and Mark Preston, senior political analyst.
Phil, let's start with this major manhunt underway in London, warning of another imminent attack, 29 people injured. How much information do you think law enforcement actually has right now?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I'd say a fair amount but that information will explode in the next day or two. For example, the information from Closed Circuit T.V. which blankets London, remember there's an identifier here that somebody's carrying a bucket. If you look at the blocks around that train station, there's going to be maybe even hundreds of cameras where you're reviewing somebody who's carrying that bucket into the train station. You're also interviewing people, there's also some specifics you're looking at. I want to know what the electrical, electronic components are in that device since it didn't appear to explode. Are there serial numbers on there? Erin, the next day or two, as soon as you identify the person in that CCTV photo, you're going to be able to say what's their Facebook, what's their phone, what's their e-mail, then the investigation blows up.
BURNETT: And Phil, the other thing is, you know, the president obviously as we just said, let me read his tweet again. "Another attack in London again by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who are in the sights of Scotland Yard", right.
So he's implying they knew exactly who these guys were and I guess that they failed to stop them. That would be the implication there. But of course if the president was right, if they did know that, and he's now told them and the entire world that they're under watch, right?
MUDD: You thought we learned this lesson. Remember months ago the president spoke to the Russians about what appeared to be an Israeli intelligence operation related to ISIS in Syria. You would think he learned the lesson, don't talk about other people stuff to the public or to another security service or to another foreign official, in that case, the Russians.
You're right, there is not just an embarrassment here, there's an operational question. If he's right in saying that Scotland Yard already had these people in their sights, they are watching T.V. saying we might want to operate quickly if we have another device because it's only a matter of time before they identify us. That's the operational significance, Erin.
BURNETT: And that is hugely significant. And Mark, you have the national security adviser, H.R. McMaster then goes out to try to clean up the tweet, right? He was asked very specifically, was the president sharing classified information or was he wildly speculating negative things about Scotland Yard and here is how H.R. McMaster responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCMASTER: I think what the president was communicating is that is that obviously, all of our law enforcement efforts are focused on this threat from you know, for years. Scotland Yard has been a leader as our FBI has been a leader. So, I think if there was a terrorist attack here, God forbid, that we would say that they were in sights of the FBI.
So I think he didn't mean anything beyond that. I think he means generally that this kind of activity is what we're trying to prevent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Mark, it doesn't sound like he knew what to say.
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And if you go back and you listen to it carefully, H.R. McMaster is on more than one occasion said, I think this is what the president meant when he said. You know, an A for the effort on his part.
You know, he had to go out and try to clean this up, but the fact is, we are nearly eight months into office right now with President Trump and you would think at this point, he would realize he's the president of the United States. That he's the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Armed Forces. That he's the leader of the free world.
And that you can't go out and be very careless with your words because your words do matter. Best case scenario, he was just being careless. Worst case scenario is he just doesn't care, Erin.
BURNETT: Right, right. And of course, you know, yes. Nia, there's another irony here about the whole incident, right. The president tweeted at 6:42 in the morning, calling this a terrorist attack. It happened at 3 a.m. that's just a few hours, right. So either he woke up to it or he'd known for a couple of hours.
But in the United States when a white supremacist terrorist drove a car into a crowd and killed an innocent woman in Charlottesville, the president took three days to condemn hate groups and he was asked about that delay and here of course is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I want to make sure unlike most politicians that what I said was correct. Not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement was a fine statement, but you don't make statements that direct unless you know the fact. It takes a little while to get the facts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, Nia, he needs the facts on a white supremacist march that happened a 100 miles south of the White House but he did not need them on a terror attack more than 3,500 miles away.
[19:10:07] NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right and if he were only to take the advice and sort of suggestion that he raised there, that he waited to get the facts in this instance. I think, you know, the president has access to enormous amounts of information. Almost any information he wants in any given time.
But I think at the same time, he very much gets set into believing a certain narrative, and if that narrative, you know, lightly touches on something that he believes or wants to amplify and echo as this seem to do have, you know, London and something, you know, kind of dangerous happened on a public setting. Then he immediately goes to terrorism. He immediately goes to the idea that this must be something involving radical Islamic terrorism as he said before.
Also, that's I think what we see him doing. He's never willing necessarily to get more information that would challenge those initial narratives and those narratives that he likes to cling to and really kind of repeat over and over. So I think that's what we see on this president. And I think we'll probably see it over and over again.
He often doesn't sound like the president. He sort of sounds like the guy at the other end of the bar just sort of riffing. And so you would hope that he would bring people around him, intelligence folks and get briefings, but it doesn't seem like that's something that he likes to do.
BURNETT: No. And Mark, I mean, as we pointed out, the narrative -- when the narrative fit, he's quick to jump on it, right? But, mosque in London, mosque in Minnesota attacked, we never heard a word.
PRESTON: Never heard a word and what we haven't talked a lot about today since he made these comments but it's worth bringing up, is that he tried to use this to his political advantage when it comes to the travel ban. The fact is, right after he had tweeted that out about London, he then pivoted and talked about the travel ban and how it's not politically correct, but that we need to get it.
While the court say that how it's constructed and how he's doing it, is not legal. So, it really is, he's a political opportunist. He's certainly an opportunist, but to your point, Erin, he only drives home the narrative when it benefits him.
BURNETT: When it fits and of so of course today, the travel ban in the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific. That was the next thing he tweeted, by the way, before anybody knew who the perpetrator was. So he went ahead and tweeted about his ban on Muslim majority countries before anyone knew that this attack was related to that. So he, of course did jump to that assumption.
Assuming that H.R. McMaster is telling the truth, right, he didn't know anything about it.
MUDD: Yes, but let's understand, this is not about looking at national security issues. This is about looking at the president's personal agenda. You pointed to the contrast between Charlottesville and this event today. There's a simple contrast that involves what the president wants to do.
Charlottesville doesn't support his agenda, this does. That is, he wants to come and say, this relates to immigrants and the travel ban despite the fact that we don't have an identified perpetrator that would suggest it has anything to do with the immigration.
This is not about America. This is about Trumpism and a president who says, if it supports by agenda, I'm going to get out fast. If it doesn't, in the case of Charlottesville, I'm going to get out slow.
BURNETT: Or if does in the case of Muslims being attacked, I'm just going to stay home. Thank you all very much. I appreciate it.
And next, as rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea escalates, we have exclusive access to life inside the isolated and hostile country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What do you like about this game?
RIPLEY: Killing the enemy. Hitting the enemy. And who's the enemy?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And breaking news, St. Louis on edge. These are live pictures what you're looking at now in St. Louis after a verdict in favor of a white ex-cop in the shooting and death of a black man. We're going to be going there live. You see that stand off.
And this, Hurricane Jose, plotting a course that could have it marching towards other major U.S. cities. We're talking about the East Coast.
[19:17:36] BURNETT: Breaking news, Kim Jong-un says North Korea's final goal is to establish equal force with the United States nuclear wise. This is according to North Korea's state news agency. And it comes as President Trump visited Joint Base Andrews and said America will never be intimidated just hours after North Korea fired yet another missile over Japan. That's the second one in two weeks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: America and our allies will never be intimidated. After seeing your capabilities and commitment here today, I am more confident than ever that our options in addressing this threat are both effective and overwhelming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And OutFront now, Democratic Congressman from Virginia, Gerry Connolly, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Congressman Connolly, I appreciate your time on this Friday.
REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D), FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Great to be with you, Erin.
BURNETT: We are learning tonight that Kim Jong-un says his final goal is to establish, and quote, this is coming from the North Korean state news agency, equilibrium of real force with the United States, all right. That sounds like a level playing field, that doesn't sound like war. Is that something the United States should accept?
CONNOLLY: I don't think the United States should accept that as a reality to be desired, but I do think that time has run out. It is quite clear Kim Jong-un has been determined since the day he took power to become a nuclear power because it's the only way to guarantee the preservation of the regime. And frankly, the more Trump has threatened him with empty threats, fire and fury, a policy that more looks like fecklessness of failure in fact has accelerated, you know, the drive toward that nuclear and missile capability to protect the regime.
BURNETT: So, I want to talk about that and the president saying that there is a U.S. military option, right. He says he's got one. It'd be effective and overwhelming. His national security adviser, his U.N. ambassador both said today that military option is real.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCMASTER: For those who have said and have been commenting about the lack of a military option, there is a military option. Now, it's not what he have prefer to do.
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: I had no problem kicking it to General Mattis because I think he has plenty of options.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Does that sound to you, Congressman like an administration that believes in military strike is inevitable.
[19:20:02] CONNOLLY: Well, it remains to be seen whether those statements are wishful thinking or planned action in the extreme event of a nuclear detonation by the Koreans, North Koreans. But we got to remember that those threats scare a lot of our allies. You know, Seoul, Korea is 30 miles from the DMZ. Japan is within striking distance of any, you know, sophisticated weapon the North Koreans develop.
So the collateral damage if we can call it that could be in the millions of lives. So, loose talk about military options, it needs to be backed up I think at this point with something quite specific. And that's what's been lacking in the Trump policy if we can even call it a policy.
BURNETT: Of course there's nothing specific that doesn't involve many casualties as you point out. But, you know, you also said that the president's tough talk has not been working.
Look, he has been talking tough. He's talked tough on the campaign trial. He's talked tough last month with the whole Guam situation and he talked tough today talking about U.S. enemies. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I would give China to make that guy disappear in one form or another very quickly.
North Korea best not make anymore threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.
If he does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody has seen before what will happen in North Korea. When our enemies hear the F-35 engines, when they're roaring overhead, their souls will tremble and they will know the day of reckoning has arrived.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, look, I know you're critical of that talk, but it is the case that North Korea did not go through with the threat to fire missiles near Guam when the president's rhetoric was so fiery. Could his rhetoric actually be working when nothing else has?
CONNOLLY: Well, I guess we could all speculate that Trump's empty rhetoric has saved Guam from an attack by North Korean attack and North Koreans were never serious about. I think they were giving Trump some of his own medicine.
But, when you're the president of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt gave some good advice. Talk softly, but carry a big stick. He's talking very loudly and carrying almost no stick.
And this policy had been exposed for being rather empty in terms of backing up the rhetoric and the threats. And I think that makes for very bad foreign policy and I don't think it scares the North Koreans at all. Witness the fact that they've gone ahead with the largest thermonuclear explosion test device so far and just sent another intercontinental ballistic missile over the Sea of Japan.
What, pray tell, in this threatening rhetoric or diplomacy by Twitter, has deterred the North Koreans in any respect?
BURNETT: All right, well, Congressman, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
CONNOLLY: Thank you.
BURNETT: And as the Congressman talks about North Korea, everyone wants to know what's going on inside. What's going on inside the mind of Kim Jong-un? And tonight, a rare look inside North Korea.
We have unprecedented access to North Korea, beyond the capital city, beyond Pyongyang, beyond the military marches to towns and people. In a special report tonight, Will Ripley, who has more access to North Korea I think than any reporter in the world, that is safe to say, goes to towns and villages no one has ever seen inside of North Korea. Meeting people in places where a western camera has never been. Take a look.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Even in North Korea, kids love video games. These 14 and 15-year-olds, these are not just games, this is practice for real life. Most of these boys and a lot of the girls will spend their first years of adulthood serving in the Korean Peoples Army just like their parents and grandparents before them.
(on camera) What do you like about this game? UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Killing the enemy.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Hitting the enemy. Who's the enemy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Americans.
RIPLEY (voice-over): This hatred of Americans stems from the Korean War. North Korea contradicts western historians, saying that America started the war that killed millions of civilians and divided the Korean Peninsula.
Who do you want to fight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): To fight the sworn enemy. Americans.
RIPLEY (on camera): What did you teach about Americans in school?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They forcibly invaded us, slaughtered our people, buried them, buried them alive. Buried them alive and killed them.
RIPLEY (on camera): So they teach you that the Americans are the enemy and you need to shoot them, to fight them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes.
[19:25:01] RIPLEY (voice-over): Here's where things get awkward.
(on camera) So, what if I told you I'm an American, do you want to shoot me, too?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes.
BURNETT: I mean, Will, that's just incredible just to watch that moment. When you see those kids, they almost certainly never met an American before. By the way, they look a lot younger than 14. They look to me more like seven or eight. What was it like, those children, who thought you were their sworn enemy and were fine to say they'd shoot you, even though you were standing right there?
RIPLEY: It's a real, yes, it's a paradox in North Korea because you often encounter people who are smiling and friendly and polite and at the same time telling you how much they hate the United States. Those two young boys when I assured them that I was a good American, then they said they -- that they wouldn't shoot me.
They said they do believe there are some good Americans, but they are basically reciting the propaganda that has been force fed to them from cradle to grave. People live their whole lives in all that they have is, you know, this authoritarian government pumping information through state controlled media. And so you listen to what people say in this documentary and this conversation that it's remarkably similar because of what they been told their whole life. It's all they know. BURNETT: So, you know, you've been to North Korea 15 times and you've done it in tough circumstances. You get keepers and miners, right. I mean, the big question is how can you show a frank and accurate picture of life when the government minders are basically on your tail constantly?
RIPLEY: Well, yes, we know. When you leave the hotel, you're constantly under government supervision and it's a real challenge because North Korea wants to show you only the tidy and the nice aspects of the country. But what we were able to do during this 15- day journey is something we've never been able to do before. I can look out the window of our van and say, hey, let's stop here, let's get out, let's see what those people are doing. Let's go talk to them.
And so there were a lot of moments that were not set up or staged or prearranged and those are really the most powerful moments in the entire hour because these were unscripted, authentic conversations, really unprecedented conversations with regular North Koreans. And you need to read between lines when you're listening to what they're saying and I think you'll come away with a real understanding of the mindset of the Korean people whoa re living in a system that is so unimaginable compared to the country that we grew up in and that most people around the world live in.
Not to mention just the access from the demilitarized zone to the coast, up to the mountains near the Chinese border. The pictures of places we've never seen before, really extraordinary.
BURNETT: It is extraordinary and extraordinary reporting. I cannot wait to see it. Thank you for what you're doing. It's a real contribution to everyone including U.S. intelligence who certainly hasn't gotten what you've gotten.
So Will, tonight, Secret State: Inside North Korea. That is this evening, 10:00, right here on CNN. That is must watch.
And next, the breaking news, police and protesters clashing in St. Louis. There's a not guilty verdict in the trial of a white former police officer in the killing of a black man. The mayor says she's appalled.
And the wrath of Trump. Attorney General Jeff Sessions knows his temper well, but so do others. We'll show you.
[19:31:24] BURNETT: Breaking news: protests on the streets of St. Louis tonight. Police just announcing the demonstrations are no longer considered peaceful. You can see what's happening there. People starting filling the streets. The reason, a former white police officer was found not guilty today in the shooting death of a black driver.
At times, we have seen police and protesters clashing today. The St. Louis police say 13 people have been arrested. Four police officers have been assaulted during the protests.
Here's the bottom line: Officer Jason Stockley was charged last year with first degree murder. He pleaded not guilty. He waived his right to a jury trial. Today, a judge cited with a former officer despite prosecutor claims that he carried out a premeditated plan to kill Anthony Lamar Smith.
Ryan Young begins our coverage OUTFRONT. He is live in St. Louis.
Ryan, this is a city that has faced unrest before. But, obviously, now, these protests no longer considered peaceful. What are protesters telling you?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're telling us they're going to re-group now. If you look at the streets, they're empty, but they're going to meet at a park about a half hour from now. But I can tell you, it got energized right here in the middle f of this intersection. This is where the officers pulled in a bus, and at that point, protesters wanted to block the bus. Officers stepped in the middle between that bus and those protesters with their bikes using pepper stray and it got very contentious. We saw several of those arrests.
Now, if you're looking there, you can see the officers getting back on the bus involved in this earlier and members of the National Guard are also here. But protesters are saying they are fighting for their rights when it come to this because they believe the video shows there was something wrong with the stop and they can't believe it's taken six years to get this point.
Now, Erin, when I was last on CNN, I said Officer Stockley used the N- word during the chase. Court documents state the officer said, we are going to kill this MF. I misspoke and there's no evidence Stockley used the N-word.
But tonight, people in this community are certainly energized behind the idea they don't want justice not to be served. They're also calling for the judge to step down. It should be interesting to see what happens when it becomes dark here -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.
And here's the reality as we're watching what happens in St. Louis. Tensions over this fatal confrontation have been building. Jean Casarez is OUTFRONT with what you need to know about the case.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A high speed chase caught on police dashcam. Two St. Louis police officers pursuing a black man, Anthony Lamar Smith in December 2011. Prosecutors claim Officer Jason Stockley in the passenger's seat, can be heard saying during the chase, quote, we're killing this MF word don't you know.
Less than a minute later after catching up and purposefully crashing into Smith's car, Stockley on the right is seen opening fire shooting smith several times, killing him.
The defense say Smith refused commands to put up his hands and reached in the area where the gun was. Stockley later testified that he feared for his life.
Defense attorneys pointed out that, in contrast, Stockley's partner never drew his weapon at any time. Police say a gun was found in Smith's car, but prosecutors claimed it was planted. The only DNA on the weapon, Stockley's.
Dashcam video after the shooting show Stockley rifling through a duffel bag in his squad car.
[19:35:04] Prosecutors questioned what he was doing, the defense argued that he was looking for medical supplies to save Smith's life. It all began when Stockley and his partner tried to corner smith in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant believing they caught him in a drug deal.
Stockley testified he thought he saw a gun as Smith fled. The trial was heard by a lone judge. And finding Stockley not guilty Judge Timothy Wilson wrote he agonizingly pored every piece of evidence and he found that prosecutors did not prove Stockley's guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Jean Casarez, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT now, the attorneys for the former officer Jason Stockley, Neil Bruntrager and Brian Millikan. And thanks very much to both of you.
Look, Neil, there's outrage over the not guilty verdict. There's been protest. They're now classifying them as -- they're no longer saying they're not violent. What do you say to these protesters that say justice has not been served?
NEIL BRUNTRAGER, ATTORNEY FOR EX-COP ACQUITTED IN DEATH OF A BLACK MAN: Read the opinion. Judge Wilson agonized over this. Judge Wilson wrote a 30-page opinion about why he ruled the way he ruled. It is a clear and succinct description of the evidence in the case and why it is so compelling for a not guilty verdict. Read it.
You have no right to have any opinion if you don't know what this case was about and Judge Wilson spells it out. It's clear based on the evidence there was only one finding that was available here and again, read the opinion. That's the only thing I can say to these people.
BURNETT: All right. So, Brian, let me go through some details that we do know.
BRIAN MILLIKAN, ATTORNEY FOR EX-COP ACQUITTED IN DEATH OF A BLACK MAN: Sure.
BURNETT: Jean Casarez talked about this in her report, right? They say, prosecutors say there's dashcam video. They say that on that video, Stockley says he's going to kill Anthony Lamar Smith. They say he instructed his partner to hit Smith's car with their SUV, all to show premeditation. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFFICER JASON STOCKLEY: Hit him right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, Brian, prosecutors say that audio shows an officer admit he is going to kill a man. That proves premeditation.
MILLIKAN: It wasn't about him admitting anything. Erin, I was a -- I was a police before I became a lawyer. I've been in these pursuits. They're incredibly stressful. You say things sometimes that you don't mean and we've all done that in other stressful space stations.
The key in this case is to look at not what was said, but what he did. When he got out of the car after the accident, he went to Anthony Smith's car and was there for 15 seconds. The video clearly shows him at the window for 15 seconds. All the while, there's a witness who says he's giving -- Jason Stockley is giving Anthony Smith commands. To show his hands, Anthony Smith refused to comply with that and continued to reach for a gun which was located in between the console and passenger's seat.
There's a witness that also says Stockley looked startled and right before he began shooting.
So, the video -- the undisputed video evidence shows that this was not a premeditated murder. It was a policeman who didn't have his gun drawn when he went to the car initially. He gave him commands, he refused to comply. He feared for his life, he stepped back and began shooting.
BURNETT: OK. So, let's talk about this, because this is the heart of it, right, for both of you, Neil. Prosecutors say Smith was unarmed. They say Stockley planted the gun, right? That is going to be what this comes down to.
And you see Stockley in the video that we have entering the victim's vehicle, Smith's vehicle and as you just heard on the report, DNA analysis by the St. Louis Police Department testified that Stockley's DNA is on trigger, the grip of the gun that was recovered from Smith's vehicle.
So, the gun that was found in the victim's car had the DNA of the police officer all over it. But no DNA from the victim. They say that that shows it's a plant.
BRUNTRAGER: So, what the police officer said that night before there was dispute about any of this, Erin, was that he reached in that car, he searched for the weapon, found and unloaded it. Now, we absolutely demonstrated in the courtroom how you would do that, how you would grip the gun, how you would unload the gun.
All of that became part of the evidence itself. Now --
BURNETT: That would remove all DNA from the victim if it was his gun?
BRUNTRAGER: Listen, the DNA experts, the state's own experts said DNA is a fickle thing. Most of the time and they agreed with this, it is rare and they used this word, it is extremely rare to find DNA or fingerprint on a weapon even though they know the individual handled the weapon.
So, the absence of DNA means nothing. We don't leave --
BURNETT: But does the presence of it mean something?
BRUNTRAGER: The presence of it means that it proves exactly what Jason said he did.
[19:40:03] He unloaded the weapon. He picked up the gun and he unloaded it. He said he did that before any of this became an issue.
But the absence of DNA means nothing. Three DNA experts testified, Erin, on behalf of the state. Not the defense experts. These were the state's experts that you can draw no conclusions from the absence of DNA.
And what they said was and Judge Wilson focused on was the fact that there's no DNA doesn't mean that the person didn't handle the gun. It just means there's no DNA. It doesn't mean anything else.
And no conclusions can be drawn. That's not me being an advocate. That's what the state's own witnesses --
BURNETT: No, I understand. It's confusing. You're saying that no one should think anything when there isn't DNA. But then the other guy who briefly touched it, his DNA is all over it. You think the guy who touched all the time, I mean, I'm just saying where as a layperson, doesn't really add up.
BRUNTRAGER: When you look at the DNA information, there are a number of studies that say when you grip an item, you're more likely, the it's called touch DNA. When you grip an item, you're more likely to leave more DNA. This particular weapon in order to unload the weapon because of the nature of the weapon, you actually had to grip it very tightly. We have three different demonstrations in the courtroom where that worked and it showed that that happened.
And each of the experts say yeah, you're more likely to leave more DNA doing that. And they didn't say it was a lot of DNA. They said it was a little DNA. And it was on the gun.
And they couldn't say based on the amount of DNA that he touched it more than once.
BURNETT: All right. BRUNTRAGER: So again, there's limits in this evidence, but in this instance, I will tell you, the prosecution was arguing exactly the opposite of what is argued in most cases.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate both of you taking the time. Neil Bruntrager and Brian Millikan, as I said, were attorneys for the former officer, Jason Stockley, who, of course, was found not guilty by the judge.
And OUTFRONT next, President Trump known to rip into staffers and cabinet members. Why, why, why so aggressive and angry.
And breaking news, Jose re-strengthening into a hurricane. The latest track could strike the east coast.
[19:45:44] BURNETT: Tonight, Jeff Sessions at work as attorney general with backing from his boss. You'd think that'd be like a simple statement, but nothing is simple in this world. A source telling CNN, Trump actually relayed a message to Sessions that he's doing well as attorney general. The reason that he needed to do this is because the "New York Times" reported that Trump berated Sessions in May, humiliating and shaming him, calling him an idiot and telling him he needed to go.
And, of course, that would not be the first time Trump's aides have suffered his wrath.
Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.
TRUMP: You know, our whole theme is make America great again.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Attorney general and loyal supporter, Jeff Sessions, called an idiot over the Russia probe. FBI Director James Comey summarily fired.
TRUMP: He's a showboat. He's a grandstander.
FOREMAN: Journalists insulted.
TRUMP: Go back to Univision.
FOREMAN: And protesters taunted.
TRUMP: So, if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap of them, would you? Seriously.
FOREMAN: But for those who have known Donald Trump longest, these are all examples of his temper and his tendency to humiliate those who raise it.
Barbara Res worked with him for 18 years, and says while many men in the company treated women badly as for the boss -- BARBARA RES, FORMER EXECUTIVE FOR DONALD TRUMP: He had a temper all
the time. He gets very angry and he gets abusive a little bit. But you have to understand that that's the business.
FOREMAN: The president's hot temper goes way back. Listen to him in 1992.
TRUMP: I love getting even with people but I will --
CHARLIE ROSE, TV HOST: Slow up. You love getting even with people?
TRUMP: Oh, absolutely.
FOREMAN: In 2007.
TRUMP: If you have a problem with someone, you have to go after him.
FOREMAN: During the campaign, his temper was on full display as he ripped opponents.
TRUMP: He's got a pathological temper.
FOREMAN: And in office, more to have same.
TRUMP: I'd love it if the cameras could show this crowd because it is rather incredible.
FOREMAN: Sources say president was privately furious over attendance at this rally month even as he publicly praised it, dismissing the organizer. He sparred with the prime minister of Australia, calling their phone chat ridiculous. He has excoriated top Republicans, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, jabbed at Democrats and dogged reporters at every chance.
TRUMP: It's all fake news. It's phony stuff.
We are not going to let the fake news tell us what to do.
FOREMAN: Supporters often dismiss it as harmless, good humor.
CHRIS RUDDY, NEWSMAX CEO: You know, when Donald Trump calls someone an idiot, I think in the Trump lexicon, that's actually -- not a bad thing.
FOREMAN: And Trump himself.
TRUMP: I think my single greatest asset of any assets I have is my temperament.
FOREMAN: Well, and in some ways, he may be right, because remember, he rode into the Oval Office on a wave of voter anger and many of his fans are clearly pleased when he shares and he airs their outrage -- Erin.
BURNETT: And, of course, temper is the root of temperament, right?
FOREMAN: There you go.
BURNETT: I'm making an assumption. Maybe some linguists will tell I'm wrong, but that is my assumption.
All right. Thank you, Tom.
And OUTFRONT next, breaking news, a new hurricane threat to the United States. This one, I mean, it's hard to imagine this here, but we're talking about possibly another hit and this time, it's the northeast.
[19:52:08] BURNETT: Breaking news, hurricane Jose strengthening and now threatening the United States. Right now, parts of the east coast are in the cone of uncertainty as they call it.
Meteorologist Allison Chinchar OUTFRONT live in the CNN weather center.
Allison, I cannot believe we're talking about this now. This is the -- I mean, first of all, if it would hit, three hits in three weeks on three major U.S. cities. This storm is supposed to go away, but now, question marks.
ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I want to say, the one big difference between this and the others is we don't expect it to intensify to the strength the other two were. But even still, yes, the potential landfall is there.
Here's a look. As of the latest advisory that we had, this has gone from a tropical storm intensifying up to a hurricane. Winds right now 75 miles per hour.
But what we also learned from the latest advisory is that changes are about to take place within the storm, OK? That meaning the storm is expected to expand in size. In doing so, as it creeps up the East Coast, it is very possible that we could have tropical storm watches issued from the Carolinas as early as tomorrow, because as that storm expands, it allows some of those outer bans to potentially impact the outer banks region.
Then the storm continues its trek up to the north, Wednesday morning, potentially putting it about 225 miles east of New York City, OK. But, Erin, we talk about the cone of uncertain, the margin for error in that is also 225 miles, which is why cities like New York, Boston, Nantucket are still very much in the realm of possibility.
The two mayor models we look at, the red one being the American model, the blue one being the European model, again, when we're talking Tuesday into Wednesday, they end up clipping, if not directly over portions of the Northeast, certainly very close to still have some pretty significant impacts.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, Allison. We'll keep an eye on that. Hard to believe.
And tonight in Florida, it's becoming more and more clear that there was a devastating blow to the state citrus crop from Irma. In some areas, at least half of that crop gone and that effect is going to be felt at stores across the United States this winter.
Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT with tonight's numbers.
BOB NEWSOME, CITRUS GROWER: See where it's dark?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's how hollow (ph) it was.
(voice-over): Bob Newsome manages 10,000 acres of orange groves in southwest Florida. Hurricane Irma destroyed at least 50 percent of his orange crop in just a matter of hours.
NEWSOME: One crop a year. So, this is it. All we have is what we have for the year.
LAVANDERA (on camera): And much of it is lost?
NEWSOME: Much of it is lost.
(voice-over): The Florida citrus industry has struggled more than 10 years, this was supposed to be the bounce-back year. But Hurricane Irma slashed its way through the heart of the state's orange groves. Experts say 50 to 70 percent of the state's crop was ripped from the trees.
This is what the storm left in its wake, row after row of decimated orchards.
NEWSOME: This is a horrible event. Everyone's out. The water's draining.
[19:55:00] Everyone's helping each other. And we'll just put it back together.
ALVARO PERPULY, AVOCADO GROWER: This is a video of our avocado field. And as you can see, a lot of the avocado trees are destroyed.
LAVANDERA: Small farmers like Alvaro Perpuly have been hit especially hard. Perpuly grows avocados and mangos on a few dozen acres, but it's mostly gone now.
PERPULY: This is just a tremendous crop lost. This is 90 percent of our crops. LAVANDERA: The citrus industry employees 45,000 people. And those
farm field workers nervously fear the long lasting impact of the storm.
In small towns like Immokalee, Florida, many are scrambling for the basic necessities like water and food.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need help.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The farm workers especially, it's nothing but farm workers out there and it seem like they ignored us.
LAVANDERA (on camera): So, those orange trees don't like sitting in water?
NEWSOME: No, they don't.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): On Bob Newsome's farm, he would normally employ as many as 150 seasonal harvest workers. This year, he predicts, he'll need half as many.
GENE MCAVOY, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA AGRICULTURAL EXPERT: The fruit is off of the trees and it's floating in flood water.
LAVANDERA: Gene McAvoy, a University of Florida agricultural adviser, says the looming harvest looks bleak and the prospect of finding work is withering for many if there isn't fruit to pick.
MCAVOY: They live paycheck to paycheck. Their families are going to be hurting. It's going to impact -- you know, it's not going to be a good Christmas for the kids. It's going to be rough. It's really going to be rough.
LAVANDERA (on camera): You get emotional about it if.
MCAVOY: I get emotional about it.
LAVANDERA: Erin, the Florida citrus industry is a $8.6 billion a year business. All of the oranges you see bind me should have ended up in orange juice bottles in grocery stores around the country. But citrus growers here say it will take several years for them to return to a normal harvest, which means you can expect to pay more for that orange juice -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Ed, thank you very much. We should think of those families and all those individual people who just now don't have work.
We'll be right back.
BURNETT: And thank so much for all of you for joining us. Have a great weekend. "AC360" starts now.