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THE SITUATION ROOM
Interview With Oklahoma Senator James Lankford; ISIS Advances; D.C. Murder Mystery; Baltimore Police Indicted. Aired 18-19:00p ET
Aired May 21, 2015 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: police indicted. A grand jury finds evidence to charge six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray. What happens next? Stand by for that breaking news.
ISIS onslaught. The terrorists seize even more land in Iraq and Syria, beheading opponents along the way. Why is President Obama defending his ISIS strategy, instead of changing it?
And murder manhunt. After the fiery and mysterious slaughter of a prominent Washington, D.C., family, police may finally be closing in on a suspect just because he had a taste for pizza.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is on assignment. I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
KEILAR: We have breaking news, a grand jury in Baltimore returning criminal indictments against all six police officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray. And that includes a second-degree murder charge against the driver of the police van. The officers are now scheduled to be arraigned on July 2.
Also breaking, stunning new gains by ISIS. The terrorists just seized the last border crossing between Iraq and Syria that was controlled by Syrian troops. A monitoring group estimates that ISIS now controls more than half of Syria, and that includes the historic city of Palmyra that was conquered just hours ago.
I will be asking Republican Senator James Lankford about that. He is a member of the Homeland Security and Intelligence Committees. Our correspondents, our analysts are also standing by as we cover all of the news breaking right now.
First, I want to go to Baltimore.
And that's where we find CNN's Miguel Marquez with the very latest on this big news coming from the state's attorney -- Miguel.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is big. It's another stunner out of Baltimore, another stunner from the Baltimore city state's attorney, Marilyn Mosby.
Just when many thought that she may be on the defensive and worried about the charges that she had announced earlier in the month, now she says that a grand jury has heard evidence on the six officers that are alleged to have engaged in the -- part of the death of Freddie Gray and she's come back with indictments of all of them, and not only indictments, but the same number.
The original number of indictments that she brought was 28. The grand jury also brought 28 indictments. The worst of them or the most serious indictment is one second-degree murder charge against the driver of that vehicle that Mr. Gray was in. That's Caesar Goodson, the officer who was charged there.
There were additionally six manslaughter charges, six assault charges, nine misconduct charges, and six reckless endangerment charges. Those reckless endangerment charges are the only ones that have changed. Previously, several officers had been charged with false imprisonment. Now all of the charges have been changed to reckless endangerment.
This case moves forward on the second. As you know, there were calls for Ms. Mosby to stand down, to recuse herself, that she was not fit to try these officers. This basically cuts through the argument. There was a suit that had been filed or a compliant that had been filed asking the judge to remove her from this case. That was in the district court. Now that a grand jury has charged, it bumps everything up to the circuit charge, basically an end run around that motion that has been filed against her and now everything moves to the circuit court, a whole different venue and a much firmer footing by the state's attorney here, now that she has a grand jury having heard evidence and charged those officers -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Miguel Marquez in Baltimore.
I want to talk more about these new indictments of these Baltimore police officers, what all of this means for the prosecutor's case against them.
Let's bring in our justice reporter, Evan Perez.
So, where does this go from here moving forward? We know they're arraigned July 2. But between now and then, what will we expect?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well we now begin to see What -- we will begin to see what the legal strategy will be for the officers, for the defense of these officers.
Brianna, I expect that we're going to see motions by these officers to try to get this case moved out of Baltimore. Now, their chances of getting convicted are much higher if this is tried before a jury from Baltimore City. It's very common in this area for any officers who are ever charged with anything to try to get it out of there, because they would frankly find a better jury at least in favor of the officers outside of Baltimore City, either Baltimore County or perhaps one of the other counties farther away from the city. Now, what Miguel was pointing out is, in the charges, the
reckless endangerment has now been replaced -- has now replaced...
KEILAR: To -- or, yes, false imprisonment goes to reckless endangerment. Is that right?
PEREZ: Right. And that's a significant change, simply because part of the controversy has centered upon whether or not these officers even had the right to arrest Freddie Gray.
KEILAR: Because he had a knife, right?
PEREZ: Because he had a knife, and that's what she hung the case on eventually -- initially. And now what she is doing is taking all the attention and all the pressure for her case away from the subject of the knife.
Now it's all about the treatment of Freddie Gray after he's arrested, either in the van or in the custody of these officers.
KEILAR: Can you explain the timing of this? Is this just a matter of the grand jury has wrapped up and so this is when the announcement comes, or is there any strategy to this, the timing of this announcement?
PEREZ: You know, she's under pressure to try to do this quickly. These officers have the right to a speedy trial.
And one of the things that happens in these cases, Brianna, is that officers try to -- their lawyers certainly representing the officers want to make the government move as fast as possible, increases the chance they're going to make mistakes and increases the chance that these officers will be able to go free.
And so that's one of the strategies that is at work here. She certainly had some more time to work with here, but she also was under a lot of pressure to defend her case. As you know, beyond the first day, where she was lauded, it's been nothing but bad press for her since then.
KEILAR: A lot of criticism. And real quick, do you think the case might get moved?
PEREZ: There's a really big chance of that, because this is a jury -- there's going to be a -- there's going to be very strong case made by these officers that in Baltimore City, they're not going to get a fair trial. And that -- this happens a lot in Maryland actually.
KEILAR: All right, we will be waiting to see in July 2, not too far off. All right, Evan Perez, thanks so much.
And stand by for more on the Baltimore police indictments.
Right now, let's turn to the other breaking news story that we're following, new victories by ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
I want to go to Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.
Tell us the latest on Syria, Barbara. This is really bad news for the U.S. and its allies and also for Syria.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It is really extraordinary, what is happening right now. ISIS has now essentially taken over a town, and adjacent to that town, Palmyra, are 2,000-year- old ruins, Greco-Roman ruins, priceless antiquities.
The United Nations already sounding the alarm now that ISIS has moved in. The world is holding its breath. The belief is ISIS may go try and destroy these ruins. They're already through this area, executing people they believe are loyal to the Syrian regime.
In recent weeks, ISIS has made some gains and the Syrian militias, the more moderate militias, have also made gains against the Assad regime in Syria, all of this opening the door for ISIS to move against President Assad, really extraordinary. It's causing a lot of concern in the U.S. intelligence community a big -- bigger vacuum, if you will, is opening up in Syria and there could be even more instability, more violence, ISIS very much on the move there -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Some have questioned if Baghdad, Barbara, could really be at risk here after the capture of Ramadi.
What is the sense that you're getting? Is that a reality that it's at risk?
STARR: Well, you have the victory that ISIS had in Syria we just talked about. You have the victory they have overtaken Ramadi in Iraq, Ramadi, Anbar province, in the west, very much a route into Baghdad.
Again, the U.S. intelligence community watching this very carefully. They don't think at this point it will happen. But it's being watched around the clock because if ISIS were to suddenly make a breakout move, break out of their traditional Sunni areas in Iraq and aim for Baghdad, which of course is Shia-controlled, massive concern at this point if they are able to make the move.
The U.S. cannot have Baghdad fall to ISIS. It becomes the ultimate game-changer. I think the bottom line here is now all of these scenarios being watched very closely because of these ISIS victories -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thanks.
And while ISIS is claiming more victories, President Obama says he doesn't think the U.S. is losing to the terrorists.
Let's bring in senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta -- Jim. JIM ACOSTA, CNNSENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Brianna,
President Obama is standing by his strategy for dealing with ISIS. And despite what the White House calls setbacks in both Iraq and Syria, aides to the president insist the U.S. plan is working.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you very much, everybody.
ACOSTA (voice-over): At a Cabinet meeting, President Obama ignored questions about his strategy for ISIS, instead defending his plan in an interview released today by "The Atlantic" magazine.
Minimizing the terror group's recent conquest of the key city of Ramadi, the president said: "No, I don't think we're losing. There's no doubt there was a tactical setback, although Ramadi had been vulnerable for a very long time."
GEN. JACK KEANE (RET.), U.S. ARMY: We know now that the conceptual plan is fundamentally flawed.
ACOSTA: Those assurances haven't stopped the second-guessing on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers and experts spent the day poking holes in the president's approach.
FRED KAGAN, RESIDENT SCHOLAR, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: It is failing in Iraq. It is failing in Syria. And it is failing across the board in the region.
ACOSTA: Unmoved, the president is doubling down on his strategy, brushing aside GOP critics who say U.S. combat troops should now be considered, telling "The Atlantic," "If the Iraqis themselves are not willing or capable to arrive at the political accommodations necessary to govern, if they're not willing to fight for the security of their country, we cannot do that for them."
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: For those calling on a change in strategy, I would encourage them to be specific.
ACOSTA: The White House claims the U.S.-led coalition is actually pushing ISIS back, despite an assessment from a Syrian human rights group that found the terror group controls more than half of Syria, including just this week the ancient city of Palmyra.
QUESTION: They do control territory.
EARNEST: They do control some territory, but less than they used to.
ACOSTA: But even as top Republicans tear into the president's strategy.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The White House still insists that no new strategy is needed, says the president's policies have been a success. It just isn't credible. Things need to change.
ACOSTA: Few in Congress appear willing to take ownership of the war. Nine months into the battle, Congress has yet to authorize the use of force against ISIS.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: When we have got all of these people overseas who are risking their lives every day, we have been silent. It's Congress that's the spectators.
ACOSTA: As for the president's goal to degrade and destroy ISIS, the White House said the mission is still in the degrade phase.
As for beefing up that phase with combat troops in Iraq, both the president and a spokesman today repeated that would be a mistake, as they put it, repeating the mistakes of the previous administration -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Jim Acosta at the White House, thank you.
And joining me now, Senator James Lankford, Republican of Oklahoma. He is on both the Homeland Security Committee and the Intelligence Committee.
Senator, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us about this.
We know Congress has been kept apprised of this quickly moving situation. You were just in a briefing. Can you share with us anything that you're learning?
SEN. JAMES LANKFORD (R), OKLAHOMA: Actually, your oversight there that you just gave on some of the media reports were very, very well done.
What's happened in Ramadi is a relatively small group of fighters -- we think about moving in, taking a fairly large city like Ramadi, it must have taken thousands and thousands of fighters. It didn't. It was a fairly small group of fighters that went in. It's a Sunni area. And so some individuals gave them very little resistance in that community.
And they were able to cause the Iraqi army to actually flee from there. So, that's what made it very, very significant. The Iraqi army did not hold in that area. And when you look at communities like Palmyra in Syria, I know there's a lot of conversation about the ancient sites there, but there are people involved.
And while there's great concern about an ancient site that is a historical site, the more important thing are the individuals that are on the ground that are being beheaded, and killed and brutally attacked by ISIS in the movement that they have through Syria.
KEILAR: When you look at this, ISIS controlling half of Syria, these advancements in Iraq, is ISIS winning here?
LANKFORD: ISIS is definitely on the move.
The springtime is when the fighting actually picks up in greater movement in that entire region. So, I'm not surprised that they're on the move. We're not taking out their command and control. We're not limiting their communication and their opportunities to be able to plan and coordinate these well-coordinated attacks.
And we have not put the pressure needed to take Assad out. A lot of the issue that is happening in Syria is Assad is still there. And after years now the administration of saying Assad has to go, the pressure is not being applied to Russia, to Iran, the folks that are propping up Assad and Assad himself to be able to actually be removed there and to transition to another leader.
That's become a prime element that's still a major problem in that region.
KEILAR: What do you see the answer to be to that situation?
LANKFORD: Assad has to go. I mean, the way that ISIS can recruit and the rebels that are in the north and all the chaos that's happening through a lot of Syria circles around a lot of people that do not like Assad.
Assad has to be removed and then you have to actually put someone in that is a qualified leader that can start to build some trust in that area. That stops some of the recruiting to that area. So, that's a key aspect of it. We have to remove command and control.
I was surprised. The president has talked a lot about not putting boots on the ground, and then last week he put boots on the ground in Syria to actually fulfill an operation that our special operators did an excellent job on.
KEILAR: But let me stop you real quick. I just want to ask you about this, because you say someone else needs to be put in place. Does that person exist? Who is that? Do you know who that is?
LANKFORD: That is the responsibility of the administration to work with the individuals in the -- probably the southern part of Syria to be able to coordinate, raise up leaders there to be able to build the coalitions to get that done.
We can't just have a rebellion that's happening and not try to actually build coalitions and work with individuals on the ground. That is the responsibility of the administration, to be able to work through, identify leaders that can be accepted in the region and in that -- and start to rebuild a coalition.
There is no one leader that's going to unify all of Syria that suddenly everyone is going to go, yes, that's a logical place. They're not unified. They don't have a setup succession like we do in the United States.
KEILAR: By pulling Assad out of the picture, don't you run the risk of creating a void that ISIS can exploit, especially if the answer is a U.S.-handpicked leader to try to lead the nation?
LANKFORD: Yes, it can't be just a U.S.-designated puppet. That's not what I'm looking for.
But for years, we have said we're going to help them transition. We haven't done that. That is a basic element that has to be done. That has to be front and center. So, while the fight is on and we seem to be just trying to hold them and keep them from winning, our strategy doesn't seem to be to win. It's to keep them from winning. So, it's an all-defense strategy.
We're not actually doing the move that needs to occur to actually push a new leader or a set of leaders and a coalition into place. But you're right. You don't want to have a void in Syria, but we do have to transition that, because with Assad there, there's this natural recruiting that's still happening.
KEILAR: All right, Senator Lankford, stay with me, many more questions ahead after a quick break.
KEILAR: We are following the breaking news out of Baltimore, grand jury indictments returned just a short time ago against the six officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray.
But right now, I want to take more with Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma about another breaking story that we're following, those major new gains for ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
Senator, you heard President Obama's assessment today. He said that his strategy against ISIS isn't failing. He said -- quote -- "I don't think we're losing."
I asked you before if ISIS was winning. You said they're on the move. Do you agree with the president's assessment then that the U.S. is not losing?
LANKFORD: That's a difficult call.
The standard the president is focused in on is, he wants to degrade ISIS capability. That means we're flying an aircraft in, flying over, hitting a Humvee. That's an American Humvee that was then given to the Iraqi army that was then stolen by ISIS.
Some ISIS fighters are driving it now. We fly an aircraft over and take out that Humvee. We have degraded their capability. So, under that standard, if we hit one of their vehicles, if we hit a truck, if we hit a .50-caliber machine gun nest, we're degrading their efforts.
But we seem to be annoying them more than actually slowing them down. And that's the challenge that we have right now. We're training. We should be engaged in training. We should be engaged in equipping the Iraqi army. We have -- we walked away from the Iraqi army and left them exposed.
And so they're not performing well obviously at this point and walking away from communities they should be able to hold. Where several hundred ISIS fighters can push out several thousand Iraqi army from Ramadi, we know that they're not well-equipped and they're not well-supported.
KEILAR: And in Iraq, the president commenting on they. He said, Iraqi fighters, Iraqi troops need to fight for themselves. It's not a battle that the U.S. can undertake.
And I wonder what you think about the U.S.' role in this, because recently we have heard from a number of your colleagues in the Republican Party there in the Senate, and they say that they want combat troops, U.S. combat troops, on the ground in Iraq. Do you agree with that?
LANKFORD: I do not, actually.
There's not a great need to have a big push to have a large-scale force back in Iraq or in Syria. Quite frankly, that becomes divisive again, becomes one more recruiting tool in it. We do need to help equip people. We do need to keep the coalition going.
The president is right to do a lot of the airstrikes on it, to try to do some equipping. But we are going to have to get closer into the fight to actually help provide some coordination for what's happening on the ground. We can't fight it from such a distance and help equip them.
If ISIS establishes a safe haven for terrorism in Syria and Iraq, that becomes a major issue for not just the United States, but all of the Western world and all of the region. This is a fight that will come to our door that we need to be able to take on there, not pretend it won't happen again like it did in Afghanistan, when the Taliban took leadership and we pretended that that would never come to our doors and it did.
So allowing a safe haven for terrorism anywhere in the world for this type of extremism is a direct threat to the United States and we need to be prepared to defend ourselves.
KEILAR: I want to ask you now. I want to turn you and talk to you about China, because we have some fascinating pictures from a report that Jim Sciutto filed from the air.
This is a manmade island hundreds of miles off of China's shore in the South China Sea. It's -- you can see the runway there. This is what appears to be a naval base, a military installment very far from China's coast. You have the former deputy director of the CIA, Mike Morell,
saying that war between the U.S. and China is a real risk. Do you agree? And I should also mention that a U.S. spy plane ran -- it really had a little interaction with what appears to be a navy installment there, them warning off of the area.
KEILAR: Do you think this is a risk, a conflict here?
LANKFORD: It is an ongoing conflict. But it's been around for a very long time. China is pushing into international waters.
They're pushing into disputed areas and trying to establish their dominance. It's no secret that China that wants to be able to basically run the whole Pacific Rim and to say we're the dominant force. The Americans aren't going to be here.
So, the keys are actually multiple there. One, we need to express again, as the Poseidon aircraft -- I think that is what you were mentioning, one of the United States aircraft coming in -- needs to fly in that area. We need to continue to reinforce, again, these are international waters. This is not Chinese waters.
So, we need to continue to reinforce that. We need to be able to put our ships nearby and let everyone know these are international waters and continue to make that statement. All of the neighbors need to hear that. We need to continue to engage in areas like trade. This conversation about the Trans-Pacific Partnership does have an effect on what's happening with China to be able to say to China the United States and all of the Pacific, we're going to cooperate together.
And as China tries to say, we're the big dog, we have the biggest military, and we have the most active economy, we're going to run this area, we need to let them know everyone is a sovereign state and you can't push everyone around in the Pacific Rim.
KEILAR: Senator Lankford, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time today.
LANKFORD: Glad to join you.
KEILAR: And we have some breaking news next, more on the indictment of six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray.
Plus, the manhunt for a suspect in a fiery quadruple murder here in Washington. Is he about to surrender?
KEILAR: We are following the breaking news out of Baltimore, indictments against the six officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray. We'll have much more coverage of that in just a moment.
[18:31:08] But first we're covering another breaking story today. ISIS forces making sweeping gains in Syria, with international monitors now saying that the terrorists control more than half the country as more cities are falling to a bloody ISIS offensive.
I want to dig deeper now with former CIA counterterrorism official and CNN counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd. So you're going to map this out for us. Because ISIS's reach is now so expansive.
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I feel like a counterterrorism kid in a candy store. You gave me a map here. Let's go. Let's give it a shot.
One of the reasons you worry about ISIS solidifying control here is the revolutionary ideology that we see from them has already spread into places you see here: North Africa. You see here in North Africa. You see here the Iranian Peninsula.
I would say if ISIS stays over the course of years, there are other areas that might be under threat. Here -- and this is where al Shabaab operates, the Horn of Africa. ISIS has talked about going over into Southeast Asia. So we're worried about solidifying power, because over the course of time, they will start to say we want new groups in countries like we see on the map here.
Let's take a quick look about that question of solidifying power. We talk about Raqqah as the headquarters for ISIS. You mentioned they're moving into Palmyra. We saw the loss of Ramadi for - for the government a few days ago. So we're seeing an expansion into new cities.
Let's look also at where we are in terms of geographic control. A couple things to look at this over the course of the next weeks and months.
Again we mentioned Raqqah. We talked about moving in -- this is Anbar province, Sunni area of Iraq. What you want to watch is are these lines of control solidifying? In other words, does ISIS start to feel comfortable enough to spread the revolution into other countries, because it has to worry less about fighting the battle in Iraq?
One other thing to note. Big gray area here, big gray area here. ISIS is not going to own Iraq, because this is Shia; this is Kurd. This is the Sunni area. This is why you see so much yellow here. This is where the fighting is going to happen.
KEILAR: All right, Phil. Thank you so much for illustrating that. Stand by for us, because we want to bring in former U.S. Delta Force officer and CNN global affairs analyst Lieutenant Colonel James Reese.
And we also have retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. He's our CNN military analyst. Colonel Reese, ISIS is now -- we saw it there on the map. It's
controlling more than 50 percent of Syria. It has the vast majority of the gas and oil fields in that country. How did this happen? How did we get to this place where ISIS has made so much progress?
LT. COL. JAMES REESE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, Brianna, you have to look at the history of ISIS. And we've talked about this really, over the last almost year about where they come from. The former al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula here. Al Qaeda Mesopotamia, with Zarqawi.
And when the U.S. forces pretty much drove everyone back, one place they were able to go to and just kind of hide and lay out was in western Syria, because Syria itself just became a safe haven. And you had all these forces trying to fight Assad. And Assad and his folks just circled the wagons to protect the regime there.
So once the U.S. left Iraq, it allowed the Ba'ath Party, the former al Qaeda folks all, really, to get together and start coming back in and pushing in. And we saw last summer when ISIS came across, and they blitzkrieged into Iraq and caught everybody off guard. That's really what's happening right now, where we sit now, almost 10 months later.
KEILAR: Phil, do you think ISIS could become spread too thin? Obviously, you said it's going to be confined by some of the Shia areas surrounding the places that ISIS has already taken over.
MUDD: Look, we talk about the -- what the control of cities like Ramadi means for the war itself. I look at this as a counterinsurgency guy and have a couple of questions.
First, America has a short view of time. We looked at what happened yesterday and what happened last week. The average length of time for an insurgency is ten years. So weeks don't make that much difference for reassessing.
[18:35:06] It's the reason that's important is, as ISIS gains territory, it's not just an advantage for them. It's a vulnerability.
One of the biggest problems you see for insurgencies in terrorist groups is the ability to go from intimidating a population to governing a population: medicine, schools, city council. And I think if you measure not in weeks or days but in years, you'll find ISIS has a real problem in stepping back and saying, "We know how to behead people. Do we know how to run primary schools?" I don't think they'll be able to make that leap.
KEILAR: General Hertling, the answer hear appears to be boots on the ground. Of course, the question is whose boots. And at this point, the Obama administration strategy is not U.S. boots on the ground in Syria. We're training moderate Syrian rebels. That's the plan.
But at this point, give us your assessment if -- if the U.S. has already -- if the situation is so far past this solution, are these moderate rebels going to be ready anytime soon? And if they are, are they going to be effective?
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I'm going to refute your premise there, Brianna, just a little bit and say the answer isn't boots on the ground. Everything that Jim and Phil just talked about was ungoverned spaces, places where government is not providing security.
That's what we're attempting to help Iraq do. You asked the good senator some very good questions about who's going to take the place of Assad if he is deposed. That's the key question. In Iraq, we have Prime Minister al-Abadi who is actually attempting to get government security, but he's -- but he's actually being thwarted by Mr. Maliki who's still in the parliament and others who don't want to allow the security to come together throughout Iraq and protect all the people.
Now, having said that, you get a good government in place, which the Iraqi parliament is attempting to do, having challenges doing it, which President Obama is attempting to push, then you say, OK, what about the forces? You have to retrain forces, provide good leadership. And I got to tell you, I'm hearing all of the debate.
After spending three years in Iraq, I'm hearing about send 10,000 more forces in there. We had 160,000 forces there the last time I was there, and we were having trouble with the government. They've got to want it. They've got to want it more than we do. And we are not going to provide either security or government institutions to counter the kind of things that ISIS is bringing into these areas.
KEILAR: Great insights, gentlemen. Thank you so much. Phil, Colonel Reese, and General Hertling, I really appreciate it.
Coming up, we have some breaking news. New details out of Baltimore on the indictment of six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray.
Plus, a suspect wanted in a fiery quadruple murder may be on the verge of turning himself in. The breaking news continues next.
[18:42:16] KEILAR: We are following breaking news out of Baltimore, where prosecutors just announced that six police officers have been indicted in the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal spinal injury in police custody.
I want to get more now with the former FBI assistant director, our law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes. We have CNN legal justice reporter Evan Perez; former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin; criminal defense attorney and HLN legal analyst Joey Jackson; and CNN anchor Don Lemon.
Evan, put this into context for us. What does the indictment mean for these officers?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: What this means now is they can start getting ready to try to go to trial to start attacking this case by Marilyn Mosby. The crucial thing that she has done is removed some of the controversy, at least tried to remove some of the controversy over the knife, which was the center of her case, the idea that these officers had no reason to even arrest Freddie Gray, that you know, this was an illegal arrest from the beginning.
That now is, you know, gone because now she's charging with them with reckless endangerment instead of false imprisonment, which was one of the charges that she brought in the beginning of the case.
KEILAR: Joey, what do you think of that move? Is this knife going to be important?
JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: I think everything is important, Brianna. But I think it was certainly important for her to remove that from the table and not get distracted. Because at the end of the day, even if there was the false imprisonment charge and the knife was legal, it would certainly explain and perhaps clear them of false imprisonment, but it doesn't answer the ultimate question as to how he died.
I think now the focus is was there carelessness? Was there negligence? If so, what degree of negligence or carelessness there was, and how exactly did he die in officer's hands? And that's what the discussion is going to be about, Brianna, as the trial moves forward.
KEILAR: Tom, you think the knife really matters here?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think it does matter, because everything starts from the arrest for the knife. I think that's one of the key issues.
And secondly, because if those officers are then later charged with reckless endangerment or other things, that if they made a legal arrest and they didn't do all of that, you know, we do know that he died in custody.
And then for a civil trial, there's no question. He's in police custody. He died from injuries sustained in police custody. But who actually did it? What was the nature of the injury? How was it inflicted? And that may not be as easy to prove, because don't forget: surgeons tried to save his life and -- and tampered with the crime scene by trying to work on his neck.
KEILAR: Sunny, the -- this arraignment, July 2, that's what we're expecting. What do we expect there and then moving forward from there?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think the arraignment is certainly just going to be pro forma. We're not going to see any fireworks. We're not going to see anything like that. And so that's just going to be really the beginning of the criminal trial process, like Joey Jackson just mentioned.
So we will probably be seeing a lot of motions from the defense. And I think the biggest motion, actually, that we're going see from the defense is a change of venue. No defense attorney wants to try this case at this point in Baltimore City, given all of the media attention on Baltimore City. So, I suspect that is going to be the next thing that we see.
And we know that Marilyn Mosby doesn't want to give up this case, right? This is sort of a make your career-type case. She's come out swinging. She's come out forcefully, and I think they're really going to challenge a change of venue.
KEILAR: So, Don, I mean -- but it could also happen. What do you think? You've interviewed Marilyn Mosby. What do you think if that were to happen, if this venue is changed, what it means for this trial?
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it's tougher to convict the officers because they will say that they believe that the city of Baltimore and the prosecutor possibly and the jury pool is tainted and that it wouldn't be a fair case for the officers there. And I think the members of the community will be upset because they want to see this take place in the community where it happened.
There's also some concern as well that Marilyn Mosby may have set up a false expectation that the officers would be indicted and then, you know, would receive jail time and then what-have-you. If that doesn't happen here the concern is there will be further unrest because people there will feel that justice has not been served.
I think Sunny is right when she said she doesn't want to lose the case. This is a career make-or-break case for her. And she was very emphatic in her language today. Sunny, I'm sure you're observing it as well.
LEMON: And her mannerism, and did not take questions. You know, this is what happens. When we get new information, this is not out of the ordinary. Basically saying, I've heard your criticism, I don't care, I'm proceeding, I'm going to --
KEILAR: She did have veracity there.
Don, thank you so much. Joey, Sunny, Evan, Tom, thanks to all of you.
And just ahead, new leads in a massive manhunt, a mysterious quadruple homicide and arson case here in Washington, D.C., not far from the vice president's home.
KEILAR: We're following breaking news: the manhunt for a suspect in a fiery quadruple murder. And now, CNN is learning that he may be ready to surrender. Daron Dylon Wint is wanted for the slaying of a Washington, D.C. family and their housekeeper. And, officials say it was DNA on a piece of pizza crust that led them to him.
CNN Justice correspondent Pamela Brown is at the scene, working the story for us.
Pamela, what are you hearing from your sources?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, we have learned from sources that Daron Wint's girlfriend told police today that he told he was going to turn himself in, but as far as we know, that has not happened. Police saying he is armed and dangerous as this massive manhunt for him continues tonight.
BROWN (voice-over): D.C. police say 34-year-old Daron Wint is a suspect in the brutal killings of the prominent D.C. couple, Savvas and Amy Savapoulos, their 10-year-old son Philip and their housekeeper inside this charred multimillion dollar mansion. Wint's girlfriend told police he fled to New York on a bus Wednesday night, according to a source familiar with the investigation.
CHIEF CATHY LANIER, DC METROPOLITAN POLICE: Just about every law enforcement officer across the country are looking for him. I think even his family has made pleas for him to turn himself in.
BROWN: We're learning more tonight about Wint's past. He served briefly with the marines, but left before completing basic training. He's had numerous run-ins with police, and more recently worked at American Iron Works, the construction company where Savvas Savapoulos was CEO.
LANIER: This does not appear that this was just a random crime, but there is connection through the business of the suspect and the Savapoulos family business.
BROWN: A major break in the case came Wednesday when ATF forensic specialists recovered Wints' DNA on a pizza crust, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation. A nearby Domino's franchise says it delivered pizza that night and left the food at the door, unaware the family was bound with duct tape inside.
RON HOSKO, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: It is incredibly brazen. It shows an element of calm that the person didn't feel rushed.
BROWN: Investigators say Savapoulos' assistant dropped off around $40,000 in cash at the family house. The assistant was apparently told not to come inside. This as we learned more grisly details about the murders.
Philip Savapoulos had stab wounds and was killed before he was burned beyond recognition.
HOSKO: Certainly, it was a sadistic killer. The son might have been used as the tool to make sure the parents were compliant.
BROWN: And the D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier saying today that she cannot rule out more suspects who may be involved with the killings -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Pamela Brown, thank you so much.
I want to get more now with the former FBI assistant director, our law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes.
We're going to walk through this. This all begins on Wednesday, May 13th. This is the house of the Savapoulos.
So, what happens at some point this perpetrator or perpetrators enters the home?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENNT ANALYST: Right. They probably knock at the door and as soon as it opens force their way in or force his way in and take control of the family that's in the residence at the time.
KEILAR: Then at some point it's on this evening that police say Wint ordered pizza from Dominos and it's left on the steps with cash sitting out there on the steps as we understand.
FUENTES: Right. And that's -- you know, that seems you know like a typical psychopath. He can commit the worst crimes possible, torturing the family, have them bound up.
[18:55:01] In the process of murdering them, order a pizza, have dinner, no problem.
KEILAR: And the first sign there's something maybe wrong, I think the woman, the other housekeeper in retrospect obviously realizes something was wrong. But we're told on the evening of Wednesday Savapoulos calls the housekeeper, tells her, we don't need you on Thursday. Then on the morning of Thursday this is the text that she gets from the wife, right? I'm making sure you do not come in today.
FUENTES: Yes, apparently, at the time she thinks it unusual but not enough so the investigate or call the police or look any further into it, you know? As far as she knows, she's being given a day off and takes that. Even though she gets two messages about it, which is unusual. But she's still, at the end of the day, takes the day off.
KEILAR: She tells the husband at the request of the family, the husband of the housekeeper who ultimately died, that her phone didn't charge and so, she's not going to be able to contact him. But she's staying overnight.
He shows up this morning as well to check on things. But it's not until 1:30 p.m. that it becomes very apparent that something is wrong. The house is set on fire. Firefighters respond.
If we're talking about a blaze that is taking really the upper levels of the house here, how long, considering there was accelerant, could this have been burning between basically when the perpetrator left and firefighter arrived. FUENTES: It could be just a few minutes. It could be less than
ten minutes if he's using an accelerant and the inside of the house has wooden furniture and wooden structure to it. It can happen very fast.
KEILAR: This is the Porsche that we understand he would have left with, the police say the suspect left with. This was at 5:00 p.m. that Thursday was found torched in a parking lot at a church. Also, police released this video of a suspect running.
What might he be holding is really the question? What do you think police are thinking?
FUENTES: Well, I think they're assuming it would be the $40,000 payment that came to the house and that might be been a big part of why he committed the crime in the first place, was to extort from the family, from his former boss the $40,000 in cash that he took from the scene. And you would think still have with him.
KEILAR: Let's just give people a sense of, this is Washington, D.C., this is Maryland. This is the crime scene, not far from the vice president's office, the Capitol just for perspective. This is where the car is found in New Carolton, Maryland, where we now know Wint's father lives not far from here.
KEILAR: This is where he has been scene and the girlfriend says turning himself over. Do you think that he will turn himself over to police?
FUENTES: Well, I think he's had plenty of opportunity to do it. So, we don't know if the girlfriend is covering for him and he's halfway to Mexico or Canada or who knows where in the United States. You know, we have her word for it that he was going to turn himself in. They're still questioning her in New York.
But we don't any that for a fact. And unless he turns himself in, that's how we'll find out if that happens.
KEILAR: Or might it be a decoy. We'll see.
Tom Fuentes, thanks so much for walking through this.
And there's also some breaking news now in that shootout that left nine people dead in Waco, Texas.
CNN justice reporter Evan Perez back with us now.
What are you hearing, Evan?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Brianna, this is a new and different warning from one that came to law enforcement right immediately after the shootout. In that one, there was a concern that bikers were headed into Waco for reinforcement to attack police officers. This is a new warning that went out from the Texas Department of
Public Safety and it warns that members of the Bandidos and Black Widows motorcycle gang were plotting to attack law enforcement officials in Texas. They were planning to obtain grenades, C4 explosives to attack not only high level members of law enforcement but also their family members, Brianna.
The question here for law enforcement is, is there a chance of another flare-up of violence with the coming Memorial Day weekend. That's a big weekend for gatherings of motorcycle clubs. That is something that they're very much on guard for.
KEILAR: So, where does this move forward next, Evan?
PEREZ: Well, you know, the concern right now is that they're trying to figure out how to bring the tensions down between these -- the various gangs that were involved in this shootout, Brianna. And there's also a concern that some f these gang members believe that police were massacring members of the gang. Police were the aggressors in this shootout.
As we know we've also reported in the last couple of days that perhaps at least four of the people who died, at least four of the nine who died were shot by police. That is something that the police are still investigating. They have not officially confirmed that. But that is something that is definitely feeding into the tension that we have in Waco.
KEILAR: Evan Perez, thank you so much.
And thank you so much for watching. I'm Brianna Keilar here in Washington.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" is next.