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Lois Riess is Arrested; The 19th Anniversary of the Shootings at Columbine High School are Commemorated Nationwide; AT&T - Time Warner Merger To Be Decided By Judge By the End of April. Aired 7:30- 8a ET
Aired April 20, 2018 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Some passengers onboard that Southwest Airlines flight with an engine failure are getting a $5,000 check and $1,000 travel voucher from the airline, an effort to restore their confidence.
It comes, as we're learning more about the heroes who stepped into action on that plane, when a woman was nearly sucked out of the window, including Firefighter Andrew Needum, who helped pull the victim, Jennifer Riordan, back into the cabin and tried to save her life.
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ANDREW NEEDUM, FIREFIGHTER: God created a servant (ph) heart in me, and I felt a calling to -- to get up and do something. Stand up and act. I'm no different than any other firefighter in this -- in this country. For some reason, whatever reason that is, it was me that day.
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HILL: Joining us now, another hero onboard that flight, retired Nurse, Peggy Phillips, who helped to administer CPR on the victim. Peggy, we appreciate you taking some time for us. First of all, how are you doing today?
PEGGY PHILLIPS, RETIRED NURSE: You know, it's -- it's been sort of a whirlwind. All of this is, really, very new to me. I'm, really, a pretty low key person as far as getting myself out in front of people and the media, so this has been brand new and a little terrifying, so. I'm a little tired and I've worked -- I worked yesterday and I work today, too, so, but you know, hanging in there. I'm doing okay. I'm fine.
HILL: When all of this happened on the flight, you immediately, you hear the call. We need somebody who knows CPR. You immediately run back, you start to help. Do you remember those moments? Do you remember what was going through your mind?
PHILLIPS: You know, it was really -- I'm trying to think how to -- how to put. I was, really, almost relieved to hear them say, "We need someone who knows CPR." Because I thought, "I can help. I know this. This is my skill set. I can do this. I'm a registered nurse. I can do this. I can help someone." And that was the last thought I had before I went back and started helping Andrew.
HILL: And we've got a relief in some ways, for you, because you had someone else to focus on. You could -- you could help in that moment and -- and distract yourself, as well, from the reality of everything else that was happening.
PHILLIPS: It absolutely was. It -- it helped me because I'm sort of an action person anyway, and to just there and know that, basically, everything was out of my control, for a registered nurse, we're not used to that.
We're used to sort of being in control, and when I could get up and actually, do something I was trying to do and hopefully help someone, then I -- it was a sense of relief for me. It really was.
HILL: You had said that you realized pretty quickly that Jennifer Riordan would need more than CPR and yet, you didn't give up?
PHILLIPS: No. No, you don't. That is part of the training that you get for CPR, is you continue and you want to give the person every -- every chance that you possibly can, and you want to walk away from the whole incident and feel like you -- no matter what the outcome was, you did your best. You, really, you tried your hardest to save a life.
HILL: We've seen pictures of Jennifer Riordan over the last couple of days. We know she's a mother of two. Well loved by her community, by her family. Have you had any interaction with her -- with her family?
PHILLIPS: I have not. My thoughts and prayers are with them daily. There's probably not a moment in the day that goes by that I -- that I don't think about them, and I know how devastating this is to them and I know how much they're suffering, but you know, I just want them to know that -- that she was never left alone, there was always someone with her, and we definitely tried our -- our very best.
HILL: A rally around her in those moments (ph), and just to hear -- just to hear that your loved one was not alone can make such a difference, too. We cannot ignore, also, the heroics of Tammie Jo Shults, the pilot here, and the crew, who have been praised endlessly, as they should be. Did you have any interaction with, either, the pilot or the crew when that flight landed?
PHILLIPS: You know, several of the flight attendants came up and hugged. They were directly involved in -- in the whole situation that we were in at the time. The pilot was so gracious and so calm. She walked down and -- and literally, leaned over into each row of seats and asked, "Is everyone okay?"
She was very concerned about everyone. She showed incredible compassion and poise, and I was incredibly impressed by her.
HILL: A lot of people, I think, are saying the same thing, even the number of people who were not on that flight. We know, as we mentioned, Southwest is extending some money and travel vouchers, and there was some talk about how that could, also, be used for counseling. Is that something that you see yourself doing? Sitting down, talking with someone about -- about what you did just go through a few hours -- few days ago, rather.
PHILLIPS: You know, I'm very blessed. I have a wonderful support system with all my fellow nurses. They have all reached out to me in various (inaudible) ways and that has been -- that's the way that I -- that's the way that I can cope with it and can deal with it because they understand exactly what happened and how I was feeling at the moment because that's how they would be feeling too, and that has been a blessing to me.
HILL: Peggy Phillips, appreciate you talking some time for us. I know it's been a whirlwind. Thank you.
PHILLIPS: It has been, but you're so very, welcome.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: There's some good people on that plane and they made a huge difference.
CUOMO: Thousands of students across the country planning a walkout today. They are demanding gun control reform, and they picked today for a reason. We a live report from Parkland, Florida, where this student led movement began.
CUOMO: Two Florida sheriffs' deputies killed in an apparent ambush. This happened in Gilchrist County, Florida. Police say the gunman walked up to the window of a restaurant where the officers were eating Thursday afternoon and opened fire. Thirty-year-old Noel Ramirez, 25- year-old Taylor Lindsey on your screen right now are gone. Authorities say the alleged shooter identified as John Hubert Highnote was found dead from a gunshot wound near the scene. President Trump expressing his condolences to the families of the slain officers.
HILL: In Texas the so called killer grandma who became the subject of a nationwide manhunt captured. Two federal deputy marshalls arrested Lois Riess at a restaurant in South Padre Island. The 56 year old is accused of gunning down her husband and then a woman in Southwest Florida. Authorities believe she shot the woman who resembled her to assume her identity. Riess had been on the run since late March. She's currently being held in jail.
CUOMO: No criminal charges will be filed in Prince's death. Prosecutors say the music legend died after taking what he thought was vicodin but it was actually a counterfeit pain killer laced with fentanyl. He 57 year old was found unresponsive in his Minnesota estate two years ago. A toxicology report released last month showed Prince had high concentrations of fentanyl in his body.
HILL: Students at nearly 2,500 schools across the country walking out of their classrooms today in a call for action on gun control. The new push coincides with the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. That's not lost on the students who survived the massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. CNN's Dianne Gallagher is live in Parkland with more. Dianne, good morning.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Erica. You know that connection between Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Columbine, it reaches to the fact that there are about 40 students from MSD who are actually in Littleton, Colorado, right now trying to be with the current students of Columbine who aren't doing school today.
[07:45:00] They used this as a day of service. That's something that some of the kids here at MSD are a bit conflicted about. This call for a national walkout was started by a teenager in Connecticut soon after the February 14th shooting here in Parkland.
To mark this 19th anniversary, a lot of these kids you have heard them talking about being part of the mass shooting, mass shooting generation, and they all trace it back to that shooting at Columbine 19 years ago. Well, the Columbine send some stuff to some of the other schools saying, hey walkouts aren't really our thing on this day. We have having a day of service for a long time. We would ask that you do something like that today instead of just walking on out.
So Marjory Stoneman Douglas they're going to have projects for them at school to do during that time. A lot of the students do plan to walk out at least symbolically because it has taken a life of its own the past two months here. So at 10:00 a.m., they're going to have a moment of silence for one minute for all victims of gun violence. They are going to tack 13 seconds onto that to remember those 13 lives that were lost at Columbine 19 years ago.
During the day, they are expecting to do a lot of service projects. They're going to do a banner they will send to Columbine. Chris, Erica, the students here have tried to develop a relationship, not with just the current students at Columbine but also with the adults who were there at the school at that time. They have a pen pal program where they are linking up with some of the adults now where they can text and talk to them and talk about their feelings and what to expect as they get older surviving something like this.
CUOMO: You know look, they're going to have personal challenges and now they have challenges as citizens. They are seeing change ain't easy even when the emotion of a moment is overwhelming, even when it seems like everybody wants to help you and is on the same page. Change ain't easy especially when it comes to issues like this. Thank you for the coverage, my friend.
So another big story we have been following getting near the end. AT&T's CEO taking the stand defending the merger with Time Warner as the only way to keep pace with tech companies. How compelling is that case? The latest in the battle next.
CUOMO: AT&T resting its case now in a major antitrust trial calling their final witness. The Justice Department remember is suing to block the telecom giant's $85 billion purchase of Time Warner. Time Warner owns CNN. Let's discuss with CNN's Hadas Gold and Brian Stelter. Hadas, take us into the courtroom, the significance of the most recent testimony was?
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So yesterday was a big day. AT&T ended on a really big note with the AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson taking the stand and he really brought in this sort of historical perspective of why AT&T is trying to buy Time Warner. It's really to keep up with the times and be able to better compete with the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Facebook who he said get these reams of user data. Not only are they creating the content but also controlling the way people watch the content. Stephenson spent a lot of the time talking directly to the judge. The judge is who gets to decide this case and he called this an important moment for AT&T. He even compared it to back when AT&T was transitioning from wires to wireless and said they weren't expecting that change to happen as fast as it did so this time they are trying to prepare better for that change.
CUOMO: All right. So, Stephenson, his testimony, brain, obviously there is an order, sometimes it's based on convenience but usually it's on strategy. They ended with the big man at the top of their food chain. Why, and what did it mean for this case overall?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think because he was presenting the big picture and most compelling argument for why AT&T says it needs to be able to buy Time Warner. He made a comment that stood out to me on the stand. He said if you miss a moment of innovation, a cycle of innovation, your company may not die but it's going to get sick for a while. Certainly you can think about that being true across all industries.
In this case, the judge asked him, you know, seven years ago where did you see this marketplace going? Where did you see it looking? He said my answer would have been different seven years ago. Things are changing rapidly, Netflix being the best example of that. No one thought seven years ago that Netflix would be in most American homes making huge numbers of TV shows and movies. So you hear Stephenson making the argument AT&T needs to own Time Warner not to be anti- competitive but to keep up and continue with that pace of change.
I thought that was really interesting. He mentioned -- the judge mentioned Turner Classic Movies at one point, one of our sister channels. What's going to happen at Turner Classic Movies? At the end of the day, that's what everyone wants to know, what's going to happen to their favorite channels and favorite shows. In the past Turner, which owns CNN and Turner Classic Movies has made those channels widely available across all cable packages, all streaming services. The concern in this case according to the government is that AT&T
might try to hold those channels tightly, keep them away from rivals. But AT&T says that's not the case. Stephenson made this dramatic announcement in court that surprised a lot of people about this. He said we're announcing a new streaming service called AT&T Watch, $15 a month, really small package, no sports but it's free for customers of AT&T Unlimited and everybody else can buy for $15.
That was Stephenson's way of saying we need to innovate, we need to come up with new bundles, new packages, and we're going to do that and make them available to everybody. So doing that in court, announcing a new product is kind of an interesting twist but it was his way of saying we need to keep innovating.
CUOMO: Quickly, Hadas, what's next?
GOLD: So the justice department has started their rebuttal witnesses and the first was an expert in synergies, these are sort of economists and experts and the like who are going to try to further poke holes in AT&T's argument that this will be good for the industry, that this will be good for the business and that most importantly prices for consumers will not rise as the government has alleged.
CUOMO: All right. So you have rebuttal, then surrebuttal, and then closings. Any kind of suggestion as to timing?
[07:55:00] GOLD: We might be seeing the closings by April 30th, so in really just a few days. We're really coming down to the end here because, as the judge has consistently warned both sides, there is a timeline here. There's a merger deadline on June 21st. he said if they don't wrap everything up by the end of April, then he will not be able to get his opinion in in time before that deadline.
CUOMO: And there's then something surrebuttal, sorry, lawyer speak, rebuttal, prosecution surrebuttal, defense. And then there's the other aspect of strategy here. Very often lawyers will say I don't want to get the judge, him or her, that angry at me but ultimately I'm just worried about the jury, I'll have a separate relationship with them.
Not here. This is a bench trial. This judge will make the decisions so how that judge feels about you and how you've conducted yourself matters. This timeline, therefore, matters. So, brain, the idea of how does each side prepare for what happens with the verdict, what do we know about that? For the government this is somewhat easy. If they win, great, they have a precedent. If they lose, we tried. We never really won going after a merger like this before. What about on the AT&T side?
STELTER: Yes, the government wins, it may move on to other antitrust matters, maybe look at Amazon, for example. The President has talked about Amazon. The AT&T and Time Warner sides, they have been preparing for this deal for 18 months. They're ready to close it; they're ready to bring these two companies together within a matter of days if there's a favorable ruling. So that means little in the way of customers in the short term but a lot in terms of the companies. They would finish this deal right away.
If that does not happen, you can see Time Warner, CNN, HBO, Warner Brothers may be sold off in pieces, maybe sold off to different companies. You would do that potentially because that way it wouldn't be an antitrust concern depending on who's the buyer. But that's an open question, a big question mark. Certainly there would be other buyers out there that are interested, but AT&T and Time Warner, they are locked in this together until that June date, that June deadline.
CUOMO: Hey Hadas, just to tap your memory for a second. Have you picked up on anything during the trial where this judge may have suggested any kind of apportionment of a verdict? Hey, I'm going to let it go forward, but not with these entities or have you heard the government suggest that in any way? Has that come up at all?
GOLD: Yes, actually. First of all, caveat, it's hard to tell based off of a judge's questions which way he's going to go. Sometimes judge try to question themselves and be their own devil's advocate but a specific day where the judge asked an executive from Charter Cable, which is a rival distributor to AT&T, he was talking about this arbitration offer that Time Warner has put on the table. This offer would say if there are ever disputes over prices, if a distributor thinks that Time Warner prices are going up too high, then they could come to the table and do kind of a blind arbitration where a neutral third party would then determine whose contract is best.
Now, some of the distributors don't like the way the arbitration offer is arranged. They say that it's sort of blind. But the judge said to the executive, hey, how would you feel if we restructured this offer, would that be better for you? The executive said, yeah, it would be. Everybody was thinking maybe the judge will try to restructure this arbitration offer and that's the way that they could move forward.
CUOMO: Look at that. That was kind of a fishing expedition for me but it actually had happened and you remembered it and nailed it. Hadas, thank you very much; Brian appreciate your perspective as always. Well, my friends, it's almost 8:00 in the morning and there is a ton of news on this Friday, so what do you say? Let's get after it.
JAMES COMEY, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE FBI: I've been consistent since the very beginning.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is "New Day" with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CUOMO: All right, good morning. Welcome to your new day. It is Friday, April 20th, 8:00 now in the east. Alisyn is off; Erica Hill is here. Thank you. Tons of news, need the help.
Breaking news on the James Comey memos, 15 pages of partially redacted notes written by the fired FBI Director after 7 different interactions that he'd had with President Trump, and Mr. Trump's attempts to influence the Russia investigation.