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Stand Your Ground Law under Scrutiny; Satellite Images Show Dismantling of Text Site; Trump's Art of Distraction; Pitcher Dominates Debut. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 24, 2018 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR BRITTANY JACOBS: Allows people who can be the initial aggressor, like this gentlemen was, this self-appointed cop wannabe at this convenience store, because this wasn't the first time he had did this to people of color. But he comes to this mother, who's in the car with her two toddlers in the back seat, and he confronts her, starts cursing at her and telling her she needs to move the f-ing car. And he walks around the car. And so Mr. McLaughton (ph) has a right to stand his ground when he comes out and sees his family being assaulted. And so he walks and he's defending his family, his property, and he doesn't get the benefit of this stand your ground law. They give it to this person who provoked this confrontation. And then, when you watch that video, Alisyn, it's just heartbreaking because this is a mother who watches her boyfriend of nine years be killed in front of her and these three children, ages five, three, and two, watch this will person kill their father in cold blood. And then says he was defending himself when clearly -- when he pulls the gun, Mr. McLaughton starts to walk back --

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, you can see that.

CRUMP: As well as another -- another person. And so he's not in fear of his life. This isn't an objective fear. This isn't justified. And when you look at his history, the state attorney needs to make sure this cold-blooded murder does not get away with this.

CAMEROTA: Indeed. Mr. Crump, what I think is -- I think where people get stuck is that you see your client's boyfriend, Mr. McLaughton, come up and he does push Draka (ph). OK, he pushes him.

CRUMP: Yes, ma'am.

CAMEROTA: But that's -- so, you know, obviously, no kind of dispute should be -- should escalate to a physical confrontation. However, in other states, this is called a fistfight. This is a fistfight between guys.

CRUMP: Right.

CAMEROTA: We've all seen this at bars. We've all seen this in parking lots. It's unfortunate, but it doesn't end in a death.

And so when you hear the sheriff say, well, he had -- I'm quoting him, he had to defend himself, those are the facts and that's the law. Is that the law?

CRUMP: It's the law and it's ludicrous. It is just very bad law that encourages people and society to take the law into their own hands, to pull a gun and shoot first and then let's worry about everything later.

What this vigilante wannabe cop should have did was call the police. He shouldn't have took the law into his own hands. This whole thing would have been avoided.

And when we think about this stand your ground law, what it's doing, Alisyn, and the way it's been applied is allowing people a license to kill black people and people of color and not be held accountable. And if this is allowed to happen, this is not good for society because people are going to think that it's my right to take the law into my own hands. Let's don't call the authorities. Let's just shoot them, make sure they're dead, and then we can claim stand your ground. And these children have to suffer. Can you imagine the kind of counseling they're going to need after watching their father be murdered in front of them?

CAMEROTA: Yes. Yes. And also I think it's important to look at the numbers. So since the stand your ground law passed in Florida in 2005, there has been a significant uptick in homicides, in homicides. Some are called justifiable homicides in Florida parlance, and some are just called homicides. Either way, they're -- they've both gone up. And are you able to prove a direct correlation?

CRUMP: Well, it's certainly been suggested. And we'll keep looking at the data. But the mentality is clear in Florida and these other states that have stand your ground, especially these people who are promoting this NRA theory that, hey, I can just shoot anybody without any repercussions. And that's not how we should solve our problems, Alisyn. We have to be better able to deal with each other, other than just shooting at one another.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Mr. Crump, thank you very much for coming on and explaining your client's position and the law there. Obviously, we'll be following this case very closely.

CRUMP: Thank you.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New satellite imagery from over North Korea. What does it tell us about the progress of denuclearization? That's next.


[08:38:38] BERMAN: So new satellite images indicate that Pyongyang has begun dismantling a key missile test site. This comes as President Trump has slammed a report that he is frustrated with the progress in North Korea.

CNN's Will Ripley joins us live. He was the first foreign journalist to visit North Korea's satellite control center. He interviewed the scientist in charge of the facility that is being dismantled.

So, Will, tell us what it is and what it isn't and why this may or may not be significant.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So these satellite images show that work is happening to dismantle the Sohae satellite launch site, at least that's what we think is happening based on what you can see from high above because there were no international experts on the ground there to verify what we're seeing. The work has been happening as recently as a couple of days ago. Analysts with 38 North are say this is a symbolic step to dismantle this site that was used to launch a satellite back in 2012.

I went to the satellite control center in Pyongyang in 2015, and this is what's interesting, the North Korean scientists I interviewed denied that any of the work they were doing had anything to do with their nuclear program or ballistic missile technology, even though experts in the United States and around the world believed that it was kind of a ballistic missile program in disguise. They said that they were purely developing rockets for peaceful purposes.

And the rockets they were launching used liquid fuel. That's time consuming. You roll the things out. They're sitting on the launch pad for days. North Korea has moved on now to solid fuel technology. Much more efficient. They can put it on mobile missile launchers, launch very quickly. That's what North Korea is using right now. They're dismantling the old Chevy while keeping the Porsche shined and waxed and ready to go, John.

[08:40:09] CAMEROTA: Oh, Will, thank you for that context. We really appreciate how much you know and how often you've been on the ground there so that you can help us understand exactly what we're seeing there today. Thank you very much.

So, is the president's security clearance threat just a distraction from his strange Helsinki summit?

BERMAN: We'll talk about that next.

But first, a -- how a Hollywood actress hoped to make -- hopes to make a difference for kids growing up in poverty. Brooke Baldwin has today's "Impact Your World."


JENNIFER GARNER, SAVE THE CHILDREN TRUSTEE: I grew up, as I have often told people, one generation and one holler removed from poverty.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR, "NEWSROOM" (voice over): For more than a decade, Jennifer Garner has stood up for America's poorest kids as a Save the Children ambassador.

GARNER: The playing field for kids in America is not equal.

MARK SHRIVER, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SAVE THE CHILDREN: We've been working in primarily rural America for the last 75, 85 years focusing on education, make sure kids are entering kindergarten ready to learn. We have a home visiting program, working with the parents in the home, to make sure that they're stimulating their kids socially, emotionally.

BALDWIN: Save The Children also offers a two-week intensive program for students heading to kindergarten, like Elena, who has autism.

HEATHER FANCHER, PARENT: Some of the stuff that she's learned over the past year is just really, really blows my mind. I wish you could have met her at the beginning of last year.

SHRIVER: We run in-school, after-school, and summer literacy programs that have a physical activity and a nutrition component to it as well.

BALDWIN: Jessica Babb's son Levi entered the program four years ago.

JESSICA BABB, PARENT: He just took off. From the moment we started this, he's just has this love and desire for reading that I love and admire about him.

GARNER: We all talk about how kids are the future. We're not doing anything about it. And we have to be aggressively out there helping them.



[08:46:09] BERMAN: President Trump threatening to revoke the security clearances from some of the nation's most decorated former intelligence officials. Why? Well, because they've been critical of the president. So, is this a serious concern of his or meant to be a distraction from all the news about Russia?

Let's get "The Bottom Line" with CNN's political director David Chalian.

David, we want your big picture view of all this. I will only note that Maggie Haberman, who was here before, said, not just Russia, but don't lose sight of the Michael Cohen news either.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Indeed. There's no doubt there are several things from which the president would like to distract attention. Those are certainly the two highest on the list, John.

It is a distraction. I don't know if he didn't think the Iran all-caps tweet was getting enough traction, as he was watching media coverage and went down this other road to see if it would get more traction by threatening the security clearances of the former officials. But what is totally clear is that after last week and the onslaught of criticism he got for the way in which he was dealing with and treating Vladimir Putin and the comments he made, that he is clearly looking for something else to sort of consume all of the media oxygen out there right now. And so he's doing his best, as Donald Trump has done in the private sector, as a candidate, and as president, to really try to own and drive the narrative throughout the day. CAMEROTA: And, let's be honest, David, sometimes we do fall prey to

the latest shiny object and we do go stampeding off towards the latest shiny object. But what happened in Helsinki so burned our eyeballs with the standing on the world stage and blaming America and taking the word of Vladimir Putin that it's now hard to actually see the shiny object, any other shiny object. I mean --

CHALIAN: That's a good way to put -- that's a really good way to put it, Alisyn. I agree with you that the Helsinki moment will be sort of a definitional moment of the Trump presidency. I think there's little doubt about that. And yet, if you look at the public reaction to it, we don't have a ton of polling to look at, but that recent NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll was conducted, at least half of the interviews were done after the Helsinki summit. And, you know, the president's overall approval rating maintains sort of the same themes apply. He's in trouble with independents. His supporters feel even more strongly about him. And he operates in this very narrow band where his approval -- overall approval rating doesn't move all that much.

CAMEROTA: Would you like to --

BERMAN: You wanted to but in.

CAMEROTA: Another mea culpa moment?

BERMAN: I know. Alisyn has been submitting that the approval numbers among Republicans are indicative of something perhaps truly important going forward, because the number of Republicans has diminished ever so slightly and also it is a small slice of the pie of the overall electorate.

CAMEROTA: Oh, well, I mean, what I was saying, David, is that when you see 88 percent of Republicans approve of how he did his job, this was after what happened in Helsinki, I've been pointing out to John, that the number of Republicans is down to 27 percent. So you have to keep that in mind. It's not 50 percent of the country, it's 27.

CHALIAN: It is, Alisyn, but can I push back on that just for a second?

CAMEROTA: Yes, go ahead.

CHALIAN: Yes, I agree with you, there's no doubt that the Republican overall -- people who say they identify as Republican has been on a downward trend since the Trump presidency began. But his overall approval rating, which includes Democrats, independents, and Republicans, maintains in a very similar space in the low to mid-40s, time and again, this poll had him at 45 percent. I think last month, before the immigration headlines, before the Helsinki headlines, had him at 44 percent. So it's not -- yes, you can make that point about Republicans that that 88 percent is a smaller slice. But I'll also add one more thing about why I think that 88 percent number's important. Because every Republican on Capitol Hill pays attention to it. Because it's the number they use as the guide about how their own supporters back at home for their own job survival is responding to the president. And so when we look to Congress and we say, well, why is there not more outrage about something or why are they not doing something, this Republican-controlled Congress, to rein in the president someway, it's because of that number. So I wouldn't sort of toss it out as an insignificant number.


[08:50:24] CAMEROTA: OK, that's helpful. Thank you.

BERMAN: I want -- very quickly, very quickly, Eric Holder perhaps fueling the flames of the idea he might run for president with Stephen Colbert. Let's listen very quickly.


STEPHEN COLBERT, LATE NIGHT TALK SHOW HOST: April Ryan tweeted this. She said, breaking sources close to Eric Holder, the former Obama attorney general, says he is seriously considering throwing his hat into the ring for the presidential -- 2020 presidential bid.

General Holder, are you seriously considering throwing your hat into the ring for 2020?

ERIC HOLDER, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes, I'm thinking about it. And what I've said is that I'd make a determination sometime early next year.


BERMAN: That's rare when they actually admit they're thinking about it, David.

CHALIAN: Rare, although I think it's not going to be so rare this cycle, John. I think this presidential race with 20 to 25 Democrats, like Eric Holder who are really considering running for the nomination and trying to present themselves as the one that can defeat Trump and avoid a Trump second term, I think we're going to see more and more of them speak very openly that they are really thinking about it throughout this entire fall midterm campaign season.

BERMAN: And that is "The Bottom Line."


BERMAN: David Chalian, thank you very much.


BERMAN: Great to see you this morning.

Coming up, one of my favorite stories ever.


BERMAN: A pitcher who almost had his career, not to mention his life threatened, made his major league debut last night. Wait until you hear what he managed to pull off.

CAMEROTA: OK, I'm actually going to pay attention to this one, John.

BERMAN: He joins us live, next.


[08:55:27] BERMAN: All right, time now for the really "Good Stuff."

Cardinal's pitcher Daniel Poncedeleon back on the mound Monday night in his remarkable major league debut. He carried a no-hitter through seven innings, which is awesome. Just 14 months ago, the 26-year-old was struck in the head by a line drive. His family was unsure if he'd ever been able to eat, walk or talk again, never mind pitch. Luckily, he defied the odds and had that amazing debut last night. Daniel Poncedeleon joins us now.

Thanks so much for being with us.

First of all, I know major leaguers don't exactly wake up early, so it's great that you got up for us. I really appreciate it. And congratulations.

DANIEL PONCEDELEON, ST. LOUIS CARDINALS PITCHER: Thank you very much. Thank you for having me.

BERMAN: So I know, you know, you always say you don't want to be known as the guy who was hit in the head. You want to be known as a pitcher. Well, now you're going to be known as a guy who carried a no hitter through seven innings in his major league debut. How does that feel?

PONCEDELEON: It feels pretty good. I never imagined doing that. I was just hoping to go pretty deep into the game and give the team a chance to win.

BERMAN: That's a quality start, as they say, statisticians say.

Fourteen months ago you were in the hospital, weeks in intensive care. Did you ever imagine anything like this?

PONCEDELEON: When I was in intensive care, no, I didn't really imagine the situation being that bad. I think it was worse for the people around there that had to stare at me laying there sleeping.

BERMAN: Where did you find the courage to get back after you were hit? How did you take that first step? How did you take that first walk to the mound?

PONCEDELEON: I found the courage through God. That strength did not come from me, it came from him and his glory. And I just -- right when I finally came to, I had my dad pray over me and ask him to start healing me. And I just followed his plan.

BERMAN: Your dad was at the game last night. Your wife, your son were there. I understand your wife is also pregnant, so there's more on the way. What was it like to have them all there?

PONCEDELEON: Oh, it's the best. My family and her family have been supporters from day one and they -- her family travels very well. Her entire family was here. And I'm just very thankful to have ten plus people here in support of me.

BERMAN: So, walk us through the game last night. When does it hit you? At what point do you start to notice, hey, I haven't given up any hits yet?

PONCEDELEON: Around the sixth or seventh inning I started noticing that something good is kind of happening, but I also was noticing that I was pretty deep in pitch count and the game was still pretty tight.

BERMAN: Yes, for people who aren't baseball fans, you'd thrown well over 100 pitches, 110 pitches. You know, for a rookie pitcher, no skipper is going to leave you in the game that much longer. When you saw he was coming to take you out or when he told you, that's it, how did you react?

PONCEDELEON: There's a little bit inside me that wanted to stay in the game, but I fully understood the situation and the decision. And it was the right way to go. I was 116 pitches in and my AB was up and I'm not very good at the plate, so I couldn't have helped us there.

BERMAN: So you wear a cap now that's got a -- what, a carbon insert to protect yourself. Explain that?

PONCEDELEON: Yes, there's a little carbon insert that slides inside the hat that has a little lip. And I only have it on the right side of my head. So when I finish, you know, the right side of my head is the only thing that faces home plate.

BERMAN: You pitch without fear now?

PONCEDELEON: Yes, I always have.

BERMAN: And whatever happened 14 months ago is not going to change that?

PONCEDELEON: No, it's not going to change anything. I've always gone out and pitched with my heart.

BERMAN: You pitch with your heart, you pitched with a heck of an arm there. That's a nice fastball we just saw there.

When do you think you'll give up your first major league hit?

PONCEDELEON: I don't know. Probably the next time I pitch, but hopefully not.

BERMAN: Let's keep it going. Keep the streak going.

Daniel Poncedeleon, congratulations. What a game. What an experience. You will always have that moment with you and that's the important one to keep with you for your entire career. Congratulations.


BERMAN: Daniel Poncedeleon, thanks so much.

And that really is "The Good Stuff."

That's all for us today.

Time now for CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow.

[09:00:11] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: That is "The Good Stuff." Good for him.

And good morning, everyone, I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.