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Trade Deal Stalls; NAACP Controversy; Prison Worker in Escape Case Arrested; Democrats Revolt, Obama Loses on Key Issue; Interview with Ohio Governor John Kasich. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired June 12, 2015 - 18:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now: arrested. A prison worker is now in police custody in connection with the escape of two killers. And we're just learning about the charges. Tonight, another bombshell: Her husband may have been involved.

Deadly duo. Police believe that the escaped convicts are still together, that they're dodging a massive manhunt by hundreds of officers. Will a gas station surveillance video maybe provide clues about their trail?

True colors. A civil rights leader is accused of posing as African-American, when her parents say she's actually white. Why would she lie? And why was she outed now?

And stunning defeat. Members of his own party strike a huge blow to President Obama's trade agenda and his legacy, despite a personal appeal. We will be getting reaction from a Democrat who voted against him, as well as from a former top Obama adviser.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KEILAR: We have breaking news. A female prison worker is now under arrest. She's in police custody. New York State Police say that Joyce Mitchell has been charged with two felonies for assisting the escape of two brutal killers. We're standing by right now for a news conference by local authorities. It should be happening in a matter of minutes.

Also tonight, the DA tells CNN Mitchell's husband is also under investigation and he could have been involved or maybe just had knowledge, maybe extensive knowledge, of the breakout. More than 800 state, local, and federal law enforcement officers continue to comb this search area near Upstate New York near the prison where they escaped from.

They're investigating hundreds of leads, but the fugitives, they are still out there. They have been on the lam now for nearly a week. They're believed to be together and very, very dangerous. We have correspondents, analysts and newsmakers standing by as we

cover all the news that is breaking now.

First, I want to go to our Brian Todd. He has all of the new information about Joyce Mitchell and her arraignment.

This is just coming out here in the last few minutes, Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Brianna. Things are moving very, very fast in the case of Joyce Mitchell tonight. We are told she is under arrest, she is in police custody, and has been or is going to be arraigned very soon. She is going to be charged -- or has been charged actually with providing material assistance to the inmates, Richard Matt and David Sweat, also charged with criminal facilitation in the fourth degree. These are both felonies.

We did get word earlier from the DA, Andrew Wylie, that she could be charged. What we do know also from sources tonight, Brianna, is that Joyce Mitchell, according to what the sources, law enforcement sources familiar with the investigation are telling us, she provided these two inmates with hacksaws, with eyeglasses with lights affixed to them, with drill bits, as part of this alleged plot to help them escape from the prison.

We also know that she had a relationship with both of these men, again, this according to sources familiar with the investigation. It is not clear which one of the two she favored. We have been told earlier that she was the subject of a complaint for having some kind of a relationship with one of them, a complaint about that, and that one of them might have been removed from work in the tailor shop at least temporarily as a result of that, so things moving very, very fast.

We do know also, Joyce Mitchell has been cooperating with police investigators all week. They have been saying that she has been coming in every day, seeking them out. They haven't had to seek her out. She's been volunteering information, giving them very credible and good information about the possible whereabouts of these two inmates and about her alleged involvement in this.

Now the question is...

KEILAR: Brian, what about her husband? Is he involved?

TODD: That's right.

We do have some new information on that. The DA, Andrew Wylie, tells us that Lyle Mitchell also worked in the maintenance department of the same tailor shop inside Clinton Correctional Facility, where his wife, Joyce Mitchell, worked with the two inmates. Lyle Mitchell worked in the maintenance department there and, according to the DA, they are investigating him. They are trying to find out whether he had knowledge of the plot, maybe had some deeper knowledge that this was going to unfold.

That's not clear. But he is now subject of the investigation tonight, Brianna.

KEILAR: Thanks, Brian.

Miguel Marquez is near the search area for these escaped murders.

Give us the latest on the search, Miguel.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, it's been raining hard all afternoon. And now it is coming down in absolute buckets.

That must make it miserable for the hundreds of searchers out there, some 800 searchers assigned to this manhunt right now. But it also narrows the number of places that these two individuals who are on the run can go or would like to go. They have been out there for seven days now. It is miserable conditions. The temperature has dropped quite a bit as well.

Searching throughout the day has been in specific places just east of where we are. The area where they were believed to have bedded down a few days ago, that still seems to be the main area where they are looking, searchers going in sort of a grid pattern, figuring out what houses, what properties, what buildings, what streams, what paths, and what power lines go to that area, trying to figure out exactly where they have been, what they have searched, securing it, and going after them.

People that we talked to in that area say that they are sick of it. They are frightened that these individuals are out there, and hope it is done soon -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Yes, they sure do. It must be terrible after a week. Thanks so much, Miguel, there at the search area.

I want to bring in Tom Fuentes. He's our CNN law enforcement analyst. Also, we have former FBI -- we have former FBR -- pardon me -- former ATF special agent in charge Matt Horace, and we have former New York Police Chief of Department Phil Banks with us.

Phil, to you. Are you surprised about these charges that Joyce Mitchell's facing?

PHILIP BANKS, FORMER NYPD DEPARTMENT CHIEF: Well, unfortunately, I'm not surprised, certainly disappointed, someone who we hire and we trust to carry out the duties in which they were supposed to carry, so not surprised, but certainly disappointed. Very dangerous incident that took place, and, as we know, it's not over yet. So, we don't know what's to come.

KEILAR: Matt, this confidence from the DA, who says, it's been -- in 24 hours -- and this is what we heard last night -- we think these guys are going to be caught, why the confidence?

MATTHEW HORACE, FORMER ATF AGENT: Well, I think when you see the increased emphasis of all the investigators on the ground, it's not because they don't have evidence. It's because they do have evidence that these two suspects have either been in the area, they are in the area, or they were in the area.

If you saw them change the area of concentration, we would have reason to believe that the area has changed. So I'm pretty confident that if they're still there, they're not leaving until they have captured both suspects.


And then, Tom, this being caught at a gas station, does this indicate poor planning?


KEILAR: You can't tell? If they're rummaging for food, should they have had more foresight, you think?


FUENTES: If that's them for sure, yes, you would think they'd have this better planned out.

We all assumed, as smart as they were to get the breakout accomplished, that the second part would almost be easier than getting out of that place, so, yes.

KEILAR: So, you would be surprised if they didn't have some sort of -- once they go through all this trouble that's so elaborate to escape, you would think that they'd have a greater plan on the other side?

FUENTES: Yes, I would think a greater plan than just relying on Joyce and maybe even possibly her husband. You would think they would have had plan B, plan C, they would have had a number of contingencies, especially since they were able to make phone calls using her phone.

So, they could have made arrangements with other people and relied on more than just her.

KEILAR: These are smart guys. They're manipulators, right?

What do you think when you think of that, Phil? Do you think that they can be more manipulative? Do you think that Joyce Mitchell was manipulated or might she be lying to investigators?

BANKS: Well, if, in fact, that she was involved in this, she's capable of anything. She certainly could have been manipulated or she certainly may not be forthcoming now.

Unfortunately, it does not surprise me that things like this happen. They're going to happen. They happened in the past. They will happen in the future. But, hopefully, with the intel and with this investigation being conducted, I'm hopeful that the authorities will have these two men back in custody soon. KEILAR: Yes, certainly hopeful.

Matt, the gas station where these guys might have been, investigators are looking for video. Aside from whether these guys are in the video, what other clues might they want to find?

HORACE: Well, they might be looking to see if other people may have seen them. They might be looking to see if they have come through the area and other people are talking about seeing anything suspicious.

And keep in mind also, Brianna, I have to agree with Tom Fuentes on this. We still don't know whether she's the one that got played in this scenario, rather than she is the one coming forward and saying that she bowed out of it on her own accord.

KEILAR: Yes, it's a very good point.

What do you think, Tom, that we might be finding out at this press conference, other than charges sort of reiterated about Joyce Mitchell?

FUENTES: I think at this point they're going to place the minimum charge against her just to hold her, to get her locked up.

But this could be something that she wanted to initiate anyway. As Miguel mentioned, if the community is riled up and blaming her, she might be in danger from more people than just these two killers. So, that's the other concern that she might have is that, especially if they actually take hostages and kill somebody else and she's in the community and she was part of this, her life is in danger as well.



Tom, Phil, Matt, thanks, guys.

And stay with us, because we are standing by for this news conference on the arrest of Joyce Mitchell, the prison worker who was involved in the escape of these two convicts.

And also ahead, a bizarre story that's unfolding. A local NAACP leader is accused by her own parents of pretending to be African- American when she's actually white. The question tonight, a big why.

And a painful blow to President Obama's legacy delivered by members of his own party. Is there any way that he can turn this defeat around, a possible defeat for his trade agenda?



KEILAR: Breaking news because we are awaiting a New York State Police news conference on the arrest of Joyce Mitchell, the prison worker now accused of helping these escaped murderers escape from prison.

We will be taking you there live as soon as it happens. Should be any minute now.

And I want to bring back in our CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes. We also have ATF former special agent in charge Matthew Horace, and former New York Police Chief of Department Philip Banks.

OK, so, Phil, to you first.

This is interesting. This is a new tidbit we have just learned from authorities. They say that not only did she have a relationship with one of these guys, that she actually had relationships with both Sweat and Matt. What does that mean? It makes you think romantic relationships. Is that necessarily what it is?

BANKS: I'm not sure. That's something that certainly needs to be looked at. Relationships can mean a lot of things to a lot of individuals. In fact, if it was a romantic relationship, then certainly a review of the protocols taking place inside of that facility needs to be examined, because to try to get an understanding of how can the relationship develop in that particular manner?

So, hopefully, it was not a romantic relationship. But, certainly, there's a lot of the questions that need to be answered, so we can assure we never have something like this happen again.

KEILAR: Matt, how common would that be, relationships, whether it's romantic or it's an intense friendship?

HORACE: We pointed that out the other night, Brianna. Throughout history in the penal system, there have been these cases where people have gotten involved in an inappropriate relationship with prisoners and people who are incarcerated.

Whether it was romantic or not always remains to be seen. But, certainly, there's a line that you're not supposed to cross when you're in that situation. There's sort of like the guard position, the prisoner position, and romantic or not, there's a line that you don't cross.

KEILAR: Tom, would you rule out that Matt and Sweat are long gone from where police are searching?

FUENTES: No, I wouldn't rule that out.


FUENTES: It's a very strong possibility.

Well, first of all, the terrain that you see in that area, the bad weather that they have had, they could slip through the net, even with hundreds of officers. That's not impossible. And, again, we don't know how much credit to really -- how smart are these guys? How much credit should we really give them? Did they think this out so that they were going to leave false clues, have somebody else pick them up and get them out of the area, play Joyce and dump her, and run off with somebody else?

We just don't know all the possibilities. Well, we know there are many possibilities, but we don't know which one actually is going to apply here and we may not know until the day comes they're caught.

KEILAR: Phil, I know they're smart. We know that. Right? But they're not outdoorsmen. And we do believe they're on foot. So, do you think that they're in this perimeter that's been set up?

BANKS: You know, doing investigations, you have to let the facts really lead you. You can't lead the facts.

I'm not so sure where they are at this particular point, but I do know someone who can probably lead them to that. And that's the young lady who they're arresting today. We need to find exactly what she knows about what the plan was and go from there. There's a very good chance that they are not in the area. I'm betting that they probably are or pretty close to that area, though.

KEILAR: They probably are pretty close.

Matt, her husband, what do you make of this idea that now he may have been involved?

HORACE: Well, what seemed difficult for me to believe, that they both work in the same institution, she's really involved with two different suspects, two different inmates, he has no idea what's going on, and they got close enough, they had enough time to get close enough to develop a relationship where she was going to try to spring them in a daring prison escape.

I would find it very hard to believe that he knew nothing.

KEILAR: Very hard to believe.

All right, Matt, Phil, Tom, thanks so much to all of you.

We are standing by for that news conference on the arrest of Joyce Mitchell.

And also ahead, it's a bizarre story that is unfolding. A local NAACP leader is accused by her own parents of pretending to be African-American, when she's actually white. The question tonight, why?



KEILAR: Breaking news now. We're awaiting a New York State Police news conference on the arrest of Joyce Mitchell. She is the prison worker who's now accused of helping those two murderer break out of a maximum security prison in Upstate New York, and we will take you there live as soon as it happens. Should be any minute now.

We're also following a pretty strange new controversy that's really just exploding, so much interest across the country in this. This involves a civil rights leader who's accused of posing as an African-American, when actually she's white.

Rachel Dolezal is the head of the local chapter of the NAACP in Spokane, Washington. Her estranged parents, who are white, have come forward to say that she's lying about her race. They're providing photos of her as a young girl.


Dolezal had a really tough time answering questions from a local TV reporter who showed her this photo of an African-American man who is there in a Facebook photo with her who is referred to as her father on her Facebook page. Listen.


QUESTION: Is that your dad?


QUESTION: This man right here is your father, right there?

RACHEL DOLEZAL: Do you have a question about that?

QUESTION: Yes, ma'am. I was wondering if your dad really is an African-American man.

RACHEL DOLEZAL: That's a very -- I mean, I don't know what you're implying.

QUESTION: Are you African-American?

RACHEL DOLEZAL: I don't -- I don't understand the question of -- I did tell you that, yes, that's my dad. He wasn't able to come in January.

QUESTION: Are your parents, are they white?


KEILAR: Now, Dolezal walks away there, we understand, leaving I think her wallet and her keys. She goes and seeks shelter in a boutique.

And CNN national correspondent Suzanne Malveaux has been following this story. She joins us now.

Tell us, how did this begin, Suzanne?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, she even left her purse there, she was so upset.


MALVEAUX: And, really, she was hiding. She was in hiding for quite some time. She just didn't want to deal with all of this.

But this is kind of how the story unfolded. Right? Rachel, she grows up in predominantly white Montana. Her parents say that she's always been interested in diversity. Her parents actually adopted four black children. So they say, back in '95, she left home, she goes to school at Belhaven . This is in Jackson, Mississippi. And she immerses herself into the black community, becomes very interested in civil rights, social justice issues, specializes in ethnic hairstyling, African dance, art history, you name it, marries an African-American man.

They have a son together. She receives a full scholarship to the historically black college Howard University here in D.C., and according to her parents, though, it changes a bit here. She starts to assume a racial, a black identity, about 10 years ago, when she's referred to as African-American in a local newspaper.

Well, she also states it on her Facebook page, in a job application, and then in previous interviews. She is currently now a professor of African studies at Eastern Washington University and now, Brianna, she is the head of her local NAACP chapter as of January.

KEILAR: And the NAACP standing by her.

MALVEAUX: They are.

KEILAR: Her parents are not. They appeared on CNN and they were asked, why now? Why come forward now to out their daughter in this? Let's listen.


LAWRENCE DOLEZAL, FATHER: We are -- we are confirming the truth. We are her birth parents and we do not understand why she feels it's necessary to misrepresent her ethnicity.

RUTHANNE DOLEZAL, MOTHER: A lot of people knew that Rachel was white, and for a while it seemed like she was just doing more of an artistic, expressive representation of her identifying with African- Americans by doing her hair in extensions and things like that.

But when it started to be claims that she was African-American, then, as family, we didn't take the initiative to report her doing that.


KEILAR: Why now, Suzanne, are they speaking out? It's been years, we understand. Why now?

MALVEAUX: Yes. They have been estrange from their daughter.

And I think there's a family dynamic we're not actually aware of that will probably come out in the days ahead, because it's not really clear why they would actually out their daughter. But she did claim that Rachel had claimed that there were some death threats and reported hate crimes against not only her, but her family. These included threatening letters that were mailed, a noose that was actually on her lawn.

And this led to an investigation and some doubts, quite frankly, whether or not the threats were actually true. So then you have these Facebook postings of this African-American man who is not her real father, and these other inconsistencies that start to come out in the media that really question whether or not she's being truthful with her racial identity.


I want to go ahead and bring in a couple more panelists that we have. We have CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin and community activist John Gaskin joining our Suzanne Malveaux on this story.

So, Sunny, this is intriguing, because you have heard of stories where African-Americans have chosen to pass as white in the past. Certainly -- and it made a lot more sense decades ago, when they would be allowed more rights because of it. But have you ever heard a situation like this where a white woman is passing as a black woman?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I have never heard of it, actually.

And I was trying to do some research today when this story first broke, Brianna. And I didn't find anything like this. I mean, as you mentioned, historically, African-Americans in the '20s, '30s, '40s, certainly, there was this phenomenon called passing, where you would try to pass as white, so that you could improve your socioeconomic status, improve your life.

[18:30:03] But this in and of itself is so odd, because while she wants to be an African-American woman, a member of the tribe so to speak, membership doesn't necessarily have a lot of privileges in today's society. So, I think that's why everyone is questioning her.

And it's not so much a question as to whether or not she should be the head of the NAACP because we know in the civil rights movement and as part of the NAACP, there always have been white members, and really important members of the struggle of civil rights.

But I do think that people are questioning whether or not she received scholarship money to attend Howard University, scholarship money that may have been earmarked for an African-American student, and also her professorship at the university may have been earmarked for a more diverse candidate. So those are some questions that I'm at least hearing in the African-American community.

KEILAR: Yes, what do you think about that, John? You know, we should point out that the Northwest chapter of the NAACP, standing by her. As Sunny points out, when she applied for this professorship of Africana studies at Eastern University, she did say in part she was African-American. Is this problematic to you? JOHN GASKIN, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: Well, there certainly are

questions. We certainly do not know all the facts. And we will wait patiently for all of those facts to come forward, because we certainly don't know the politics locally as to why the question was even asked initially. But what we do know is, this is someone in the community that a lot of people seem to have a lot of respect for, someone who is very passionate about social justice and civil rights, and someone who appears to be an asset for the NAACP on the ground within that community.

And so, you know, like Sunny had mentioned, you know, the NAACP is a very diverse organization, more so than most people would think. Our founders, many of them happened to be white. So, I certainly can understand possibly she may get along with African-Americans more so than she does with anyone else. It's clear that she has a deep love for the African-American community, its culture, and its people.

KEILAR: Certainly, and I don't think anyone sees a problem with that, Suzanne. But you're looking at this blow up on social media. Part of it is because this P.O. box she had, that a letter shows up in, and then it's un -- yet authorities seem to think she placed this racist letter there herself.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's an investigation and that's why a lot of this is coming to light, whether or not this is real, some of these threats against her. And that's why they've been questioning and really looking into her racial identity.

So, it's unclear whether or not she's actually going to face any charges. But that is what the investigation is about. But as we know the NAACP is standing by her. I thought what was interesting about social media, last night, it was blowing up --

KEILAR: I am sorry to interrupt but we have to cut out to go to this press conference beginning in New York state.

MAJ. CHARLES E. GUESS, NEW YORK STATE POLICE: Today, we've arrested 51-year-old Joyce Mitchell of Dickinson Center, New York, for her role in providing material support to David Sweat and Richard Matt with their escape from the Clinton correctional facility. She has been charged with promoting prison contraband, first degree, a class D felony, and criminal facilitation, fourth degree, a class A misdemeanor.

She'll be arraigned at Plattsburgh City Court and remanded to Clinton county jail. This is one large piece of the puzzle in our quest to find these two escaped murders. Today our teams continue to search the area around state Route 374 in the town of Plattsburgh. A portion of Routes 374 will remain closed until the search has been completed to our satisfaction.

Within that search area we've had literally hundreds of personnel in yards of residences, walking along the wood lines, conducting grid searches through the wooded areas, and we will not stop searching until that area is searched thoroughly to our satisfaction. Also, members of law enforcement continue to go door to door, in and around the surrounding area, checking homes and seasonal residences. If members of the public see anything unusual upon arriving at their residence at their seasonal home or in the general community, they're asked to contact law enforcement immediately by calling 911 or by using our tip line.

I want to extend my heartfelt thanks for the outpouring of businesses for their support, state University of New York Plattsburgh purchasing has given us the use of dormitories for troopers brought in to support this operation. Additionally, the University Medical Center in Plattsburgh -- correction, additionally I would like to thank Verizon for upgrading their cell towers which has been instrumental in our investigation. And thank the superintendent of schools here at the Saranac school district for letting us use this conference center in this inclement weather.

Several local businesses and individuals have donated food and other supplies to help keep all first responders in the community fed and well-nourished during this stressful event.

[18:35:05] We are working seamlessly around the clock with several agencies in our hunt. We have a message for David Sweat and Richard Matt. We're coming for you and we will not stop until you are caught.

I would like to now introduce the Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie who is going to talk about Mitchell's charges as well as their arraignment.


Good evening, everyone.

The major has explained to you what the two charges are that will be filed or are being filed tonight. And the arraignment will proceed a little bit later on in Plattsburgh City court in the city of Plattsburgh. We will continue to -- our participation in this investigation and our working with the New York state police and all the local state and federal law enforcement agencies that are involved in this investigation, as the major just indicated, we will continue this investigation until these two individuals are taken into custody.

The promoting prison contraband charge is a class D felony as the judge indicated. The minimum sentence and maximum sentence range on those is a one and a third to four, or two and a third to seven-year maximum sentence. And the facilitation charge, facilitation to commit the escape, is a class A misdemeanor, punishable to one year in local county jail.

Those are the two charges at this point in time that we have file the. There's investigations ongoing as to potentially other charges that we may file relative to Joyce Mitchell. But those will be determined at a later time.

So, I don't have any other statements initially that I'll make at this point in time. I'm going to turn the podium back over to Major Guess. If you have limited questions for him, he will deal with those limited questions. I can just indicate we are going to deal with this on a very limited basis, as far as the questioning and answering on these issues tonight. Thank you.

REPORTER: Can you just repeat the charge -- the sentence? The length?

WYLIE: The maximum sentence on a D felony in New York state is two and a third to seven years, indeterminate sentence relative to that charge of promoting prison contraband in the first degree.

REPORTER: When you say Mitchell provided material support, what do you mean by that?

GUESS: I'm not at liberty to discuss the details of Mitchell's arrest. Eventually, after the arraignment, specifics to this case will be announced as these documents regarding her investigation interview become public record.


GUESS: Her husband has not been charged with any crime. Her husband is not in custody.

REPORTER: Can you comment on the challenges the searchers are having right now with the weather conditions, that potential evidence may start to deteriorate?

GUESS: Yes, the weather and environment and terrain do promote challenges to our searchers. It does hamper the investigation but it also aids the investigation in the fact that the escapees have to deal with the same inclement weather.

It's day six. If they have not escaped the area or they have not availed themselves of shelter, got to assume they're cold, wet, tired, and hungry. I would advise and remind the community and the residents that that makes these individuals even more dangerous and desperate. We are using every available resource at our disposal within New York state -- state, local, and federal resources. We have had over 800 law enforcement officers and corrections officers in the search area today alone. If you've been near the area, you've seen increased helicopter and aviation support.

Clearly we have our tactical teams as evidenced by one of our sergeants from the New York state police special operations response team behind us. And the border patrol team, the federal Bureau of Investigation team. We have every resource on the ground at our disposal.

And should I need more, I have Governor Cuomo and superintendent's authority to request more.


REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) piece of the puzzle but six days later you still (INAUDIBLE) still relevant or helpful in the search at this point?

GUESS: We believe the information is relevant and helpful. And Joyce Mitchell represents just one fraction of the investigation. We have extensive resources in our Bureau of Criminal Investigation and they're married up with all of our federal counterparts. And I can tell you we're going down every road in following every lead to its completion.


REPORTER: Once you charged her, doesn't that limit your ability to question her? I mean, are we to assume you've gotten everything you can out of her?

[18:40:04] GUESS: Our interviews with Joyce Mitchell have been fruitful and productive. We've decided to charge her tonight and move on with other aspects of the investigation.


REPORTER: Does that mean that you've questioned her to the extent you feel you need to?

GUESS: We're satisfied and we would not have charged her today if we were not satisfied with the productivity of those interviews.

REPORTER: Was there correspondent between --


GUESS: Your question, please?

REPORTER: Was there correspondent between her and either of the inmates?

GUESS: I cannot describe specifics of the investigation as it relates to Ms. Mitchell or any tactics, techniques, procedures the state police or our partners are using at this time.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) timeline right now about the gas station, the sightings, the surveillance footage? What can you tell us after they left (INAUDIBLE)?

GUESS: Well, I can tell you for a fact that we know they escaped in the early morning hours last Saturday. That it was most likely several hours before we got the warning and that we were able to establish a perimeter. Since that time all efforts of the state, federal, local agencies have come to the Dannemora community and we've incrementally expanded our search within New York state and nationally. I cannot speak to specifics of the times so I do not to impinge aspects of the investigation that are ongoing.

REPORTER: You seem to be focusing --


REPORTER: Can you tell us more about --

REPORTER: Can you talk about that, why you're focusing on this one area it seems like the last two days?

GUESS: Yes. If you've been in the area the last few days you've seen law enforcement presence. We're focusing on this area because we do not have any conclusive evidence that either of the inmates has left this area. Again, we have nationwide resources and international resources looking at the path of this escape.

No conclusive evidence has been given to me as the city commander indicating they have left the area. We're highly focused and intent on searching this area to our satisfaction.


GUESS: I'm sorry, right there?

REPORTER: Do you believe you're getting closer to tracking them down?

GUESS: We're getting closer with every step that we take, both with our criminal investigators and our tactical and ground searchers. Everything that we can eliminate, even if it's just shrinking the size of our search area, brings us that much closer to their apprehension.


REPORTER: Do you think they're still together?

GUESS: We have no reason to believe that they're not together. But we are planning for both eventualities. They may have separated on the moment that they left the confines of Clinton correctional facility or they may be together at this point. We're looking at both avenues and pursuing them both.

REPORTER: Does the intense search, Trudeau Road, in this area, mean they've eliminated Vermont as a potential place where the escapees could be?

GUESS: No, ma'am, absolutely not. We're looking at all aspects to include across the border.

We have not eliminated anything. The intense search in this area is largely due to the fact that we have a very concerned population in the area. They are doing exactly what we asked them. That's using our tip lines and 911 to call in leads.

So, the slightest indication that there may be something awry in the local community, we're responding to with appropriate and scaled force.


GUESS: Yes, sir.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) conclusive evidence or anything that perhaps they may have been anywhere beyond that (INAUDIBLE)?

GUESS: We know they exited the manhole cover. We're pretty sure they didn't go back into Clinton correctional facility. So, we're taking it for granted they're outside the walls. They have done a thorough search by department of correction community services personnel within the facility to eliminate the fact that it's antiquated facility that may have extensive networks. They've searched the facility.

We are outside the facility, which is my intent with the state police, and we're going to continue to search wherever it takes us.

Yes, in the back?

REPORTER: Have there been any confirmed sightings of the two men? There have been rumors going around.

GUESS: No, there have been no confirmed sightings. But we respond to every request for a sighting.

REPORTER: Where did they go after they were arrested?

GUESS: Depends where they're arrested. They'll be brought back to New York state for justice.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) to the escape?

GUESS: Any contraband introduced into a facility is critical as it provides people who should not have certain and specific items the ability to use those items to avail themselves of escape. This is a complex and elaborate escape as Governor Cuomo mentioned the other day. Anything introduced into that we take seriously. It is a crime.


REPORTER: (INAUDIBLEE) Mitchell or other prison employees being questioned at this time, investigated at this time, suspected to have any role in working with Ms. Mitchell or --

GUESS: We're interviewing numerous civilian personnel within Clinton correctional facility, and we are also interviewing --

KEILAR: All right. We're going to break away from this press conference to get some input here from Tom Fuentes, our law enforcement analyst.

[18:45:00] What stands out to you here?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think the level of frustration that the police are feeling at this point, the community's feeling. You know, just everybody.

And it's pretty clear that they've interviewed Joyce Mitchell for a week now. I think they pretty much have as much as they think they can get from her that's useful. And they've exhausted all of the leads possibly provided by her, the phone records, and her Internet records, and all of that.

And I think that and possibly that she may have been receiving threats also from the community. And that would become extreme. If somebody else outside that prison gets hurt, gets killed by these guys, that's going to come back right on her. People are going to blame her for that.

So, she may -- they may have wanted -- she may have wanted that it's time to get into protective custody and just go in.

KEILAR: All right. Tom Fuentes, thanks so much. Stand by. We'll be following the story more.

Tonight, the U.S.-led coalition is reporting 23 new airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. And we're getting a new tally the mission has cost U.S. taxpayers about $9 million a day since it began last August, comes to a total of about $2.5 billion with a B dollars.

As ISIS continues its murderous onslaught, there are ways that you can help thousands of refugees who have fled from the terrorists. To find out how, go to

We have more breaking news ahead. And stay with us. We'll be back after a quick break.


KEILAR: Breaking news tonight: a stinging blow to President Obama's agenda, maybe even his legacy, delivered by members of his own party. House Democrats voted down part of a critical trade deal, leaving the White House scrambling to come up with a rescue plan.

I want to bring in Congressman John Garamendi, he's a California Democrat. He was not swayed by the president's appeals. He voted against the trade measure.

And joining us as well, CNN political commentator Dan Pfeiffer, he was formerly a senior adviser to President Obama, one of his very top advisers, I should mention.

So, Congressman, you did not go with President Obama. Why?

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, for two reasons. One, I don't like the way this deal is formed, but also, I have a constitutional responsibility under the Constitution we have the authority and the responsibility to negotiate trade deals. I don't think we should pass that over to the administration, this or any other administration.

KEILAR: Do you think the Democrats are wrong? Are they seeing this wrong?

DAN PFEIFFER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do think they see it wrong. I think they see it in good faith. These are -- this is a family within the Democratic Party. Everyone has. But I think people are coming at it from legitimate points of view.

But, look, the president's view here is the jobs of the future are jobs where we export goods and export them overseas. And if we want to do that, we have to engage with the rest of the world and we need this deal to do that.

KEILAR: President Obama came to the Hill today, Congressman. Was that helpful, or did that hurt?

GARAMENDI: I don't think it hurt. Was it helpful? Yes. There are a few members that did go along with him. But for the most part, we're very, very concerned.

We take the opposite view that Dan just described. We think the trade deal will hurt manufacturing. Consider for a moment that this last year, we had a $524 billion, half a trillion dollar trade deficit in manufactured goods alone. We have exported American capital leaving the workers behind. Enough already. Therefore the trade deal, we are concerned about it.

KEILAR: House Republicans are talking about reviving this. Weirdly, you have President Obama with some House Republican on his side. It's kind of odd.

PFEIFFER: Strange bedfellows.

KEILAR: It is strange. Is this dead? Can this be revived?

PFEIFFER: I think it's on life support. I don't think it's dead.


PFEIFFER: There's a chance to get this done. It's going to take a lot of work and I know that folks in the White House will spend all weekend talking to people on the Hill to see if that can get done.

But there's -- the president has pulled a rabbit out of his hat before.

KEILAR: OK, and I know, this is so --

GARAMENDI: This is one is very deep in the hat.

KEILAR: Very deep in the hat. There you have it. And important to President Obama's legacy. So, we'll see who will win out.

Dan, Congressman, thanks so much to both of you.

Well, let's talk about 2016, shall we?

As Jeb Bush gets ready to jump into the crowded GOP presidential race on Monday, there's still more Republicans who are waiting in the wings. They are gearing up for their own announcements.

One of them joining me now. Let's talk to Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Governor, thanks so much for joining us from Utah. Really appreciate it.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: OK, Brianna. Thank you.

KEILAR: You look -- I'm sure as you see, we all see Jeb Bush. He's not really catching fire right now. Do you look at that and say, I want to jump in this race more?

KASICH: Well, it's up to me to decide, Brianna, and my team is, do we have the resources and organization to be able to move forward? Because I don't want to get into this just for, you know -- it's not a lark. I've got to feel that I can win.

I don't really spend a lot of time, once I see where things are, trying to assess a horse race. I mean, the most important thing for me is to be able to get out and talk, be heard. Let people get to know who I am a little bit.

Look, I'm optimistic where we are. Resources are coming. The organization, I've got Senator John Sununu in New Hampshire.

[18:55:01] So, it feels pretty good. I haven't decided yet. But I'll be deciding sort in the near future.

KEILAR: As you decide, you must be asking yourself, what sets you apart from the other candidates. What makes you different?

KASICH: Well, listen. I was, of course, in Congress. I was a military reformer. I was involved in a lot of national security issues. I was also chairman of the budget committee and one of the chief architects of the last time we balanced the budget, which we haven't done since, which we haven't done since we walked on the moon.

Then, I went into the private sector for 10 years and then became governor, an executive of a big major state, a swing state, and been able to turn that around.

So, I think it's experience, and it's also a very successful record. So, I think those credentials, that resume is unique of everyone who is in or thinking about getting in.

KEILAR: This -- talk about this trade deal with us here. On life support as you heard our guests say, both of them, those for and against the trade deal. This is important for President Obama. Many Republicans would argue that it's important for the economic health of the country.

What do you think about --

KASICH: I think it's --


KEILAR: What this did to the country today? KASICH: Well, look, it's -- I was in Congress and things

declared on life support. I figure at the end, the president will figure a way to get this done. Maybe they will make tweaks there.

But overall, it's not just an economic issue. I think it's also a national security issue. America needs to be engaged in the world. I think it takes not only a strong military and effective diplomacy but also business involvement. We ought to be thinking about this in more robust and frankly more visionary ways about the way to connect to the world.

It does affect us economically. And that's critical for national security. But I think it's also important that business -- the business community is involved around the world. You know, I think they have provisions in this to make sure that we can retrain workers. There has been some language on currency manipulation.

The only thing I would say is that when we do see trade violations, clear violations, the United States has to protest and address them. I think too often in the past, we have ignored them.

But I'm basically an open and free trader. And I think that's where we ought to go.

You know, it's interesting, right? You have Republicans and the president working together. Who knows? You know, maybe we will make progress on some other things. I think at the end of the day they will get this done.

KEILAR: You do? So, you are voting in favor of it succeeding. You think that it will, on the record there.

KASICH: I don't have a vote.

KEILAR: No. No. You think it will. We will leave it there.

KASICH: I have to tell you, I have been involved in chasing down more votes to pass more critical things like budgets, and not only in Washington but my own state. Sometimes you got to scramble. Sometimes, that's what executives do. The only key is you got to do it early.

KEILAR: I want to ask you -- that's an interesting point. Democrats saying he has it. We will see if he does pull the rabbit out of the hat.

I want to ask you about an important case in Ohio. We're talking about Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old killed last year by a police officer. He was playing with a toy gun.

And you have now a very important move this week -- a judge agreeing with basically civic leaders who have said that the police need to be charged. The judge says there should be charges. It's really non-binding but it's symbolic. Do you support the judge's finding that these police officers should face charges? KASICH: Well, look, I'm not going to -- I'm not the judge. I

haven't studied the judge's decision. But I can tell you this. This case in Cleveland is very, very important. People in the community want to believe that there will be a sense of justice.

You know, it was not long ago when there was a judge that ruled in favor of the police. The people of Cleveland realize that they want to be heard. They want justice. They protested peacefully.

And what the community is asking for a sense they are being heard and their grievances are being addressed. We have to see how this plays out. There's prosecutors, there'll be other judges involved. But it's very serious.

I have been very engaged in the community. We created a task force in police and community and we have to listen. You know, Brianna, when we have a chunk of Americans who think that the justice system doesn't just work for them but work against them, we have to listen. We have to address their grievances. We'll see, this case is yet to be decided.

KEILAR: Real quick before I let you go, can there be justice without charges?

KASICH: Say that again.

KEILAR: Can there be justice without charges?

KASICH: Well, look, I'm not -- I am not the judge. You know, I'm going to work with the community.


KASICH: However this decision goes to make sure we have calm and that we don't destroy the things that are beginning to be dramatically improved inside the city of Cleveland.

The community leaders have been terrific. They have been very responsible. They know they have a governor who listens to them and wants to help them.

KIELAR: All right. Governor, thanks so much for joining us. Really appreciate it.

Thanks so much for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.