tv Legal View With Ashleigh Banfield CNN June 24, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PDT
flag-draped coffins. for what? and i don't think mine was an uncommon thought. >> watch "the 70s peace with honor" here a 9:00 on cnn. >> thank you for joining us at this hour. "legal view" with ashleigh banfield starts now. three very important stories breaking this hour. we are about to hear from the police who are hot on the trail of those two escaped killers in new york state. in south carolina, the body of state senator and pastor clemente pinckney, one of those nine people killed in a charleston church, is going to make its way via horse drawn carriage to the state capitol building. also live this hour, president obama announcing a major policy shift to help bring home some americans held hostage by overseas terrorists.
but some people fear the new strategy may only encourage more kidnappings. hello, everyone. i'm ashleigh banfield. to our viewers in the united states and around the world, welcome, this is "legal view." any moment now, we're expecting a news conference on that manhunt for two very dangerous escaped killers, murderers, who made their way out of the clinton correctional facility in new york, and that was 19 days ago. the search has been on ever since. we have a lot of new developments to tell you about. first, a law enforcement official tells cnn that prison tailor joyce mitchell used baked goods to essentially facilitate their escape. we're going to break from those developments for a moment to bring you the news out of south carolina. i mentioned earlier a horse-drawn carriage known in these terms as a caisson. right now, what you're seeing in columbia, the capital of south carolina, is the procession from levy's funeral home to the state
capital where senator clemente pinckney, who was also a reverend and a victim of that terrible murderous rampage in the mother emanuel church, his body is going to rest in state, it's going to lie in state in the building at the state capital on the second floor in the rotunda. this is a very special day for so many people for so many reasons. there is a lot of symbolism in the pictures you're seeing, the state capital, where they are headed, well that state house in the capital, it still flies that flag, the confederate flag, that is the subject of so much grievance at this point. while the technicalities rage on as to whether that flag can continue to fly as the state senator lies in state and people come to view his body, there are measures that can be taken to actually have it come down, but
whether those measures will be taken, well, no one is sure just yet. but right now you can be assured there will be many people who will not only line these streets to watch this procession as the casket of senator clementa pinckney goes through the streets of columbia, the capital, towards the statehouse, but also those who will line up to get their chance to file past that casket as the senator lies in state. just so you know, this is going to happen today from 1:00 until 5:00. it's very hot in columbia and all measures are being taken to make sure that people can line up and still be safe. they're going to pass out water for those who are going to line up to wait their turn. the security is tight. they are asking people to leave backpacks, purses, any kinds of baggage behind because they still have to go through all of the security. they've canceled all of the tours at the statehouse in
columbia and, of course, the streets are lined not only with security but media. there are very strict rules about the statehouse. no one is going to be able to take any pictures anywhere inside the statehouse the media has been given a special dispensation to not only what we call a pool feed, one camera that really 12 s unobtrusive that will show the lying in state and the media is also going to be allowed on the first floor of the statehouse. so you're seeing the live pictures as we're getting them from our affiliates in columbia of the procession of the caisson that is on its way now for the next several hours. while the senator lies in state, the funeral plans also are still being finalized for friday and you will remember that the president with a very high level group of dignitaries is heading down to south carolina. the president will be giving the
eulogy of senator clementa pinckney. so i want to get you back up to new york because officials are filing out towards a live microphone for that. now what's become very regular briefing as to the situation in terms of hunting down those two escaped murderers. this news conference is coming to us from cadyville in new york correctional facility.on - we've got our correspondents standing by but i think it's probably best left to the officials. we're not sure if they're going to release brand new details but we certainly have been able to dig up a lot on the whom was arrested and is accused of having facilitated this escape. as we get ready, we are expecting not only the trooper who usually does the briefings but other officials may speak. >> good afternoon. i'm major charles guess of the new york state police. i'm joined by clinton county district attorney andrew wily and franklin county district attorney glen mcneil along with representatives from our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners. in the search for david sweat
and richard matt, the region around dannemora remains a primary focus of our investigation. residents will specifically note a strong law enforcement presence in the town of belmont as the search continues. in addition, although no evidence exists that the escapees are in the town a malone or village of malone, a search will begin that area to n attempt to assure the safety of the residents. our search area is approximately 75 square miles within franklin county. more than 1,000 federal, state, and law enforcement members are involved in this search area and our collaborative effort with our partners will continue until they're captured. we continue to aggressively pursue needs this case. we have developed more than 2,200 leads as of today and more continue to come in. we appreciate the public's assistance during our information and we ask them to continue to call 911 if anything suspicious is noted in their property, in their digital recordings and their trail cameras at any time.
we have received reported sightings each day and we have investigated every one. so far, none of the sightings have been substantiated but we'll continue to ensure to the public that every sighting or lead that is reported will be investigated until exhausted. we have dozens of experienced investigators tracking each lead and we are benefitting from the experience of our state, local, and federal partners. this remains very much a team effort. again, we ask the public to remain alert, take necessary safety precautions and remain vigilant about reporting neigh is out of the ordinary. we want to thank our law enforcement partners on a state, local, and federal level for their collaboration. the resources, expertise they provide are invaluable to our investigation. this search has not been without its channels. i would like to introduce captain john stripe from the new york state forest rangers who can detail what our teams have been up against over the past few weeks.
good afternoon. t searchers have had to work in an environment which presents significant challenges due to remoteness, terrain, vegetation and ever-changing weather conditions. this area contains mountains, hills and ravines that range from gentle to very steep. the area is heavily forested. much of the land has probably held timberlands, the undergrowth is thick, especially on tracks of land that have been logged within the past ten years. the vegetation is a dense combination of trees, saplings and brush. rivers, streams, ponds and large wetlands are also present. the wetlands are challenging with a combination of water, thick bogs and dense vegetation. searchers are methodically moving through an environment where it's not only difficult to navigate but the distance you can see ahead of you is only a few feet or less. the road system? this area is mainly secondary which slows down motor vehicle movement. there are hundreds of seasonal camps and second homes throughout the area. we continue to check these camps
and secure them as we identify them. however, we're also asking camp owners to report any suspicious activity or signs of trespass. in addition, searchers are exposed to large amounts of rain and biting insects. it should be pointed out that the remoteness of the area and the conditions i have described are the very reason the clinton county correctional facility was built in dannemora more than 100 years ago. thank you. >> we'll take a few questions at this time. >> reporter: [ inaudible question ] do you believe one of them is injured? >> there are numerous items we recovered from the cabin. although i can't specify what those items were, we have no definitive to reveal someone was injured. a bloody sock means someone had a blister. or it could be worse. i'm hoping for the best, anything that would impede their project and aid the searchers
would be a good thing for us. >> reporter: [ inaudible question ] >> time is always a concern. it generally works against the police in the immediate response but it works typically for law enforcement long term as we coalesce around the search area, bring in more partners. what you're seeing here is the face of relentless pursuit and we're going to be relentless until we capture these people. bottom line is we don't want them to have a restful, peaceful night putting their head on any pillow, whether it ends here today in owls head or whether it's an indeterminate at of time going forward, we will resolve these this case and capture these individuals. >> reporter: do you believe they were in that cabin and if so how far away do you conceivably believe they could be from there right now? >> we have every reason to believe they were at the point last seen where that cabin is. their distance from that cabin
could be extensive if their travel was unimpeded. but as you heard the captain say, it's a very remote, difficult terrain to work in. we had units in the area almost immediately and we're doing everything we can to keep them hunkered down and secure until we can capture them. >> reporter: how many miles can they make it on foot? >> again, that depends on the terrain and geography and environmental conditions. you could easily cover ten miles a day if you're unimpeded on an atv trail or something like that would be a high-speed avenue of egress. >> reporter: did they steal a shotgun from the cabin? >> what makes me think they're not together? i have to prepare for both eventualities and i'm not trying to toss the question back at you but we plan and we have been investigating since day one for both possibilities that they've either split up as soon as they pop their heads up out of the manhole or they remain together as a team. obviously they committed the escape as a team. working together as a team has certain pluses.
separating also has certain advantages when you're trying to elude capture. but we're working on both. >> reporter: is there a shotgun missing from the cabin, major, and also did any of the corrections officers who had access to that cabin that was broken into have any interaction with matt or sweat when they were at the prison? >> i won't comment on the last part about the interaction with the corrections officers. regarding the shotgun, there have been reports widely made that a shotgun is missing. i do not have confirmatory evidence that a particular shotgun is missing. i would point out to you that those of you not familiar the area, just about every cabin or out building in the north country has one or more shotguns or weapons and we have since day one operated under the belief that these men are armed. they're extremely dangerous, they're cunning, why wouldn't they try to arm themselves. >> reporter: a follow-up, wouldn't all the people who had access to that cabin know how many guns they own and tell you whether or not they have all their guns now? >> logic would dictate that, but
they put an inordinate amount of weapons and ammunition and other tools in these shared seasonal hunting camps and cabins. you would think that they'd have some sort of an inventory. but our investigation has led us to conclude that, in fact, a number of people cycle through these camps and cabins and they don't a definitive number of weapons so they can not tell us what's missing and what's not. >> reporter: do you have reason to believe that the inmates are. [ inaudible question ] >> that's entirely possible. perimeter is a very definitive term i have that not used unless i've used air quotes. by that i mean we've -- with this 75 mile square area -- and that's being generous, that's the primary search area -- they could have made it out before law enforcement could have encircled them. we are not limiting our investigation to owls head. we're looking nationwide and we have all the assets at our disposal, u.s. marshals, fbi and others to take this thing
nationwide and around the world if necessary. >> reporter: is it becoming more clear with any evidence that surfaced that they have more help. were there more characters involved? >> we're continuing to develop on that particular aspect of the investigation daily sometimes hourly. what we know for sure is that joyce mitchell, who has been arrested and charged, assisted them and our investigators, all investigators, are exploring what other further leads or collaborative efforts could have used to aid them in their escape. >> reporter: what if they cross the border in canada? >> we're ready for that. we've talked to interpol and our partners with the rcmp, our folks are adeptly integrated with them and our federal partners standing behind me at the podium are ready for that eventuality. in fact, looking in canada, and by that i mean looking to canada and not searching in can danchts thank you, everyone. >> reporter: just for
clarification, you said there were no substantiated sightings but the cabin has been substantiated, correct? that they were there? >> we have virtually 100% assurance that they were in that area but a sighting would indicate i have that some sort of photographic evidence to corroborate that or a visual kripgs of t description of the inmates that was so definitive that i could tell you that i have a sighting that confirms that. even though we had a subject that we interviewed, we don't definitive physical description from that subject. he saw someone fleeing into the woods. that's the best we could get from him. >> reporter: what makes you 100% certain they were there? >> we have a thousand people here and i believe they were at that point last seen as of 10:30 a.m. on saturday morning. >> thank you, everyone. >> thank you. >> so each day we've been waiting for additional details on just how close they are
getting, how narrow the net is becoming around these escaped murderers in upstate new york and it doesn't feel like there's a lot more information other than the fact that they've got a thousand people now on this search. i'm going to continue to cover this story and we'll take you live to our reporters. but i also want to take you back down to columbia, south carolina, so that we can take a moment to watch as the caisson that's carrying the body of senator clementa pinckney arrives at the statehouse.
. so as you can see, we are following a moving story, the casket bearing the body of senator clementa pinckney, reverend clementa pinckney will eventually get to the steps of the statehouse. the senator is going to lie in repose, i said earlier lie in state, i want to correct that. these are special issues of technicality and this issue is that he will lie in repose in the second floor rotunda of the statehouse but this is the image. you can see law enforcement effectively clearing the way as the caisson makes its way throughout columbia, south carolina, throughout the streets. it came from the funeral home and the casket with the reverend, the senator, inside will be in the rotunda for the better part of this afternoon
for those who want to come between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m. it appeared earlier as the hearse follows there was also a line that had already possibly started to form outside and the department of parks and recreation and tourism, other law enforcement agencies have made advanced preparations to make sure the flow of traffic and the foot traffic of those who want to come to pay their respects to the senator in and out of the statehouse and around it will be able to do so without a lot of difficulty. and let's keep in mind that it is extraordinarily hot in columbia. so they are also going to be passing out water to those who will be standing and waiting for their turn to go through the statehouse. no photographs allowed for those who will be coming through to pay their respects.
we do have news that the flag that flies very close to this location on the state grounds, the confederate flag, the subject of so much consternation, will continue to fly at full staff. governor nikki haley's press secretary just recently releasing a statement suggesting she does not v the authority to change that and that she will instead work on the law to change the existence of that flag and where it flies. there's some question as to whether there is some kind of authority, some kind of measure that could be taken for this very austere day. but while that happens, this is what you're seeing. this only a few days from the funeral for senator clementa pinckney and which will see a delegation the likes of which is rare. the last kind of delegation that
attended a state funeral of this magnitude was the senator ted kennedy's funeral, beau biden's funeral, senator robert byrd's funeral. on friday michelle obama, the house speaker john boehner, the house democratic whip steny hoyer, steve scalise, representative kevin mccarthy and several other senators will join president obama in traveling to columbia and traveling to south carolina to be at the funeral for senator pinckney. it will be president obama who delivers the eulogy on friday. cnn's victor blackwell is standing by and also i'm joined by jason johnson who says his real education began the day that he met clem pinckney. johnson is a college professor, he's a political analyst and he's live in atlanta as well. professor, i'll ask you to stand by for a moment so i can check in with my colleague just to get a feel for the silent pictures that we're watching.
victor? >> silent really is the right characterization of this. there are hundreds of people, maybe more than a thousand people who are here on the statehouse grounds. you see the long line there as people begin to file in starting at 1:00 to pay their respects to senator clementa pinckney and what you're hearing from not just people inside who knew him inside the house chamber or the senate chamber from people who did not know him. i walked up to a woman and asked her why did she come here, it's 100 degrees. and she's standing outside on the street corner an she said for her it was not an option. she had to be here because of the reverence she had for this man and that he was praising god when he was shot and killed, as well as those eight other people. again, the word "silent." as that caisson came down main street, ashleigh, the only things you really heard or i heard were the hooves of the horses hitting the asphalt and the helicopter above.
people were trying to chase down the caisson and get a picture of this moment, this moment of punctuation which in a broader spectrum is a moment of race relation, punctuation in this state. but there was silence here and now people are being beginning to file in for the next four hours his body will lie in repose here. ashlei ashleigh? >> if i could ask, jason johnson, what would the reverend, the senator, have thought about what's happening today? >> it's hard to watch this. it's just hard to see him be gone and this was not clem. this is a guy from jasper county. this kind of pomp and circumstance is not how he served. it's not how he served as a pastor, it's not how he served as a senator. the amount of passion, the interest, the pageantry, the respect, the love that's being shown now is only contrasted by the humility he showed
throughout his entire life. he was -- literally, i've worked for a lot of cam pains, i've worked for republicans, i've worked for democrats. he was one of the most loving, noble, humble and sincerest men i've ever met in my life. >> i have learned he was not interested in getting donations from people who could not afford to give donations, and that's very rare among our political breed these days. >> one of the first things that happened, i'm down there and i'm like clem, we have to raise money, we need this and that for the campaign. he was almost embarrassed to ask. he's like, "look, there's people here who are poor. i know they'll give to me and not pay rent." >> jason, i need to jump in for a moment. i apologize for interrupting. i want to take us to washington for the president. >> tourists, "journa tourist s, terence, it's a horror and cruelty beyond description for their families and for their friends it's an unrelatiatunrel
nightmare that the rest of us cannot imagine. as a government, we should always do everything in our power to bring these americans home safe and to support their famili families. dedicated public servants across our government work tirelessly to do so. . our military personnel risk their lives in dangerous missions such as the operation i authorized last year that attempted to rescue americans held in syria and yemen. and there have been successes such as the rescue of captain richard phillips held by somali pirates and jessica buchanan rescued from somalia. of these more than 08 americans taken hostage since 9/11, more than half have ultimately come home, some after many years. tragically, too many others have not. at this very moment, americans continue to be held by terrorist groups or detained unjustly by
foreign governments. for them, the nightmare goes on and so does our work, day and night, to reunite them with their loved ones. as i've said before, the terrorist threat is evolving. . the the world has been appalled by isil's barbarity, more than ever, the family of hostages have told us and told me directly about their frequent frustrations in dealing with their own government, how different departments and agencies aren't always coordinated, how there's been confusion and conflicting information about what the government is prepared to do to help, how they've often felt frost the bureaucracy and how, in some cases, families feel that they've been threatened for exploring certain options to bring their loved ones home. that's totally unacceptable. as i've got on the know some of
these families and heard some of these stories, it has been my solemn commitment to make sure that they feel fully supported in their efforts to get their families home and that there is a syncing up of what i know to be sincere, relentless efforts within government and the families who obviously have one priority and one priority only and that's getting their loved ones back. these families have already suffered enough and they should never feel ignored or victimized by their own government. diane foley, whose son jim was killed by isil last year said as americans we can do better. i totally agree. we must do better. and that's why i ordered a comprehensive review of our hostage policy, i want to thank everybody who contributed to this review inside and outside
of government, some of whom are here today. i especially want to thank the former hostages and families who contributed. i've come to know some of these families, often under the most heartbreaking of circumstances. when her son peter, also known as abdul rahman, was being leld in syria, his mother paula wrote me a letter and she said how on clear nights she and her husband would look up at stars and wonder if perhaps their son might be able to see them, too. a reminder of the bond they might still share. i've called these families to offer our con dell lenses aftdoy received gut wrenching news no parent ever wanted to hear. i've visited with them, i've hugged with them, i've grieved with them. i've spent time with some of the families as well as some of the former hostages here at the white house and needless to say it was a very emotional meeting.
some are still grieving. i thank them for sharing their experiences and their ideas with our review team. in fact, many of the changes we're announcing today are a direct result of their recommendations. i acknowledged to them in private what i want to say publicly. that it is true that there have been times where our government, regardless of good intentions, has led them down. i promised them that we can do better. here's how. today i'm formally issuing a new presidential policy directive to improve how we work to bring home american hostages and how we support their families. i've signed a new executive order to ensure our government is organized to do so and we're releasing the final report of our review which describes the two dozen specific steps that we're taking, broadly speaking, they fall into three areas. first, i'm updating our hostage
policy. i'm making it clear that our top priority is the safety and rapid recovery of american hostages and to do so we will use all elements of our national power. i am reaffirming that the united states government will not make concessions such as paying ransom to terrorist groups holding american hostages. and i know this can be subject of significant public debate. it's a difficult and emotional issue, especially for the families. as i said to the families who were gathered here today and as i've said to families in the past, i look at this not just as a president but also as a husband and a father. and if my family were at risk, obviously i would move heaven and earth to get those loved ones back. as president i also have to consider our larger national
securi security. i firmly believe the united states government paying ransom to terrorists risks endangering more americans and funding the very terrorism we're trying to stop so i firmly believe our policy ultimately puts fewer americans at risk. at the same time, we are clarifying that our policy does not prevent communication with hostage takers by our government, the families of hostages or third parties who help these families. and when appropriate our government may assist these families and private efforts in those communications. in part to ensure the safety of the family members and to make sure they're not defrauded. so my message to these families were simple. . we're not going to abandon you. we will stand by you. second, we're making changes to ensure that our government is better organized around this mission. every department that is
involved in our national security apparatus cares deeply about these hostages, prioritizes them and works really hard but they're not always as well coordinated as they need to be. under the national security at the white house we're setting up a hostage response group comprised of senior officials from across our government who will be responsible for ensuring our hostage policies are consistent and coordinated and implemented rapidly and effectively. . they will be accountable at the highest levels. they'll be accountable to me. soon i'll be designating as well a senior diplomat as my special presidential envoy for hostage affairs who will be focused solely on leading our diplomatic efforts with other countries to bring our people home. at the operational level, we're creating for the first time one central hub where experts from
across the government will work together side by side as one coordinated team to find american hostages and bring them home safely. in fact, this fusion cell located at the fbi is already up and running and we're designating a new official in the intelligence community to be responsible for coordinating the collection, analysis and rapid dissemination of intelligence related to american hostages so we can act on that intelligence quickly. third and running through all these efforts we are fundamentally changing how our government works with families of hostages. many of the families told us that they at times felt like an afterthought or a distraction. that too often the law enforcement or military and intelligence officials they were interacting with were begrudging in giving them information. and that ends today. i'm making it clear that these families are to be treated like
what they are -- our trusted partners and active partners in the recovery of their loved ones. we are all on the same team and nobody cares more about bringing them these americans than their own families and we have to treat them as partners. so specifically our new fusion cell will include a person dedicated to coordinating the support families get from the government. this coordinator will ensure that we communicate with families better with one clear voice and that families get information that is timely and accurate. working with the intelligence community, we be sharing more intelligence with families and this coordinator will be the families' voice within government, making sure that when decisions are made about their loved ones their concerns are front and sender. everyone who deals with these families on a regular basis will be given additional training to ensure families are treated with the dignity and compassion that they deserve.
in particular, i want to point out that no family of an american hostage has ever been prosecuted for paying a ransom for the return of their loved ones. the last thing we should ever do is add to families' pain with threats like that. so the bottom line is this. when it comes to how our government works to recover americans held hostage and how we work with their families, we are changing how we do business. after everything they've endured, these families are right to be skeptical and that's why it's so important as i told them today that we will be setting up mechanisms to ensure accountability and implementation. i've directed my national security team to report back to me, including getting feedback from the families to make sure that these reforms are being put in place and that they are working. in the course of our review, several families told us they
wanted to spare other families the frustrations they endured. some have even created new organizations to support families like theirs or to honor their loved one, such as the memorial foundation for steven sotloff who wrote "everyone has two lives, the second one begins when you realize you only have one." as a government and as a nation we can learn from the example the strength of their lives, the kind of strength we've seen in all these held hostages, including kayla mueller. kayla devoted her life to serving those in need around the world, to refugees in syria who had lost everything, she was a source of comfort and hope before her tragic death she was held by isil in syria for a year and a half and during her captivity kayla managed to smuggle a letter to her family. she said none of us could have
known it would be this long, but i know i'm also fight fwrg my side in the ways that i am able and i have a lot of fight left in me. i'm not breaking down and i will not give in no matter how long it takes. today my message to anyone who harms americans is that we do not forget. our reach is long, justice will be done. my message to every american being held unjustly around the world who is fighting from the inside to survive another day, my message to their families who long to hold them once more that the united states of america will never stop working to reunite you with your family. we will not give up no matter how long it takes thank you very much, everybody. >> the president outlining some pretty bold and sweeping new policies, not the least of which the hostage recovery fusion cell, a brand new way that this government is going to deal with the reality there are americans
being held overseas and there are family members back here desperately struggling to figure out some way to either pay for their freedom, negotiate their freedom or at least get some very big shoes behind them to help in the process and the president suggesting right now at the very least there will no longer be prosecutions or at least threats of prosecutions for families who decide to try to pay ransom. not suggesting there will be substantive concessions being made and the government will not pay ransom but that the government will now be allowed to communicate and negotiate with terrorist groups who are holding americans hostage. there are also some technical aspects to this new fusion cell director essentially from the beginning will be hailing from the fbi. deputies coming from the state department and pentagon and it doesn't come without controversy. critics suggesting there are other ways of leadership, there are other pools from which to pull and there are those who feel the state department should be involved as well.
i want to bring in david rode, he's not just a cnn analyst and pulitzer prize winning journalist, he also was held hostage by the taliban for seven months before he was able to escape. david, i want to get your initial reaction to this new set of policies. >> it's a good step forward. it's an improvement. i think the president spoke about not wanting to revictimize these families and this will help do that. the bottom line is these cases are difficult to solve and european governments are paying millions of dollars in ransom so we have been the changes announced today, american families, if a loved one is kidnapped by a militant group and the looking for one million to two million in ransom, it's virtually impossible for most american families to come up with that money. >> the president mentioned in particular kayla mueller and james foley, steven sotloff, those who died having been held in captivity for lengthy period
of times. i wanted to drill down on a specific piece of language you and see if we can't get to some resolution on what this is going to mean ultimately for the greater problem of hostage taking and this is that the president says that the united states government will not make substantive concessions? in this new notion the government can negotiate it won't make substantive concessions. do you have an idea of what that truly means. >> that means the u.s. government not pay ransoms. that's, again, what this is about. the estimate by the u.s. government that governments, france, italy, germany and spain have paid up to 200ed in ransoms between the last ten years and the u.s. has refused to do that. britain does not pay ransom, canada does not. the argue system you're reducing the incentive to kidnap an american but there's such publicity value in getting an person that the kidnappings
continue and i think these steps are positive but until there's a more coordinated response between the u.s. and europe this won't make a big difference. >> suggesting now that the threat of prosecution under the materiel support provisions that the justice department often will announce when those who are arrested in support for terrorist group, these are the kind of things some family members said they heard, that they would be facing prosecution under the material support statute. suggesting now this will not happen. will this embolden the taking of additional hostages or will it happen anyway no matter what the policy is here? >> i think people will try to take american hostages no matter what. i think it was a mistake, people in the administration have told me this. there were two officials in particular, one at the nsc and one at the state department that threatened these families with prosecutions. that hadn't happened for
decades, the government turned a blind eye. there's never been a family prosecuted. those officials have been moved out of their jobs. but the issue here is are ransoms going to be paid or not? i think it's an american idea that if a family wants to do it privately, if a company wants to privately pay a ransom, it's their right as individuals to try to save their loved one. i think many americans would object to the idea that the government can block a private ransom. >> just to be clear, the doj sending out a statement today that the department has never used the materiel support statute to prosecute a family's or friend of a hostage to pay but family members did report they were threatened and that is terrorizing if you here in that situation. . david, i'm glad to have you with us today. i'm glad to have you with us period. thank you so much. >> thank you. >> coming up next, a state, a nation honor ago state senator and pastor. clementa pinckney, his body is
lying in repose at the south carolina capital building right now and the president himself is making travel to eulogize him in his funeral in the coming days. does your makeup remover every kiss-proof,ff? cry-proof, stay-proof look? neutrogena® makeup remover does. it erases 99% of your most stubborn makeup with one towelette. need any more proof than that? neutrogena.
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its way through columbia from a funeral home to the statehouse and right past our victor blackwell who's covering this story for cnn. normally, victor, i ask you to give me with the sights, the sounds, the color, the backdrop, the facts behind the story. today i want you to do something very different because you yourself snapped a photograph as the caisson passed you and there is an enormous amount of significance to the photograph i want you to walk me through it. >> it's striking. as that caisson drawn here by the horses was passing by on main street it passed right by the civil war memorial and belwe the kaefg as it w the confederate flag as it was being whipped up by the winds here. and clementa pinckney's activism work inside and outside of the church and all the conversations from politicians, including south carolina governor nikki
haley who told the "new york times" that it came down to her not being able to look her son or daughter in the face and defend that flag, that that flag flew high above the capital as the senator was taken in, the symbol, of course, that was used by dylann roof, held on his web site in the justification for killing pinckney and eight others a week ago. so that image, as i tweeted it out, was being received by so many people as if there was a moment in which the governor could have taken this down for the passage of the caisson or during this four-hour period where people will file in at the top of the hour to pay their respects this was the time to do it and she should have taken that opportunity. that's what we're hearing on twitter. the governor says she doesn't have that legal authority. >> and i'm trying to get my head around that because i'm seeing a lot of different view points weighing in on the actual code and the litigation that is
surrounding this. for her part, her press secretary released a statement from the governor saying based on the 2,000 law she doesn't have the authority to remove the flag herself today or any day and rather than violate the law she will continue to work to change it. and yet there this loophole, section 110.10 that allows for a temporary take down of the flag to be cleaned or replaced for wear. is this not a good day for, frpfrp perhaps cleaning the flag? who's talking about this or saying you know what? let's talk about the senator, this is becoming a circuit. >> we heard from representative james clyburn who represents a district in south carolina and he says the governor should take that down. he hold that to alisyn camerota on "new day." in fact, even before the tragedies of last week, representative clyburn the wrote about this in his 2014 book "blessed experiences" in which
he said back in the '60s then-governor robert mcnair took it down for a half day just to test what the responses would be. at that time it was above the capital dome. and according to clyburn, the furor was so heavy that he put it back up immediately and his excuse was that it was just being cleaned. so he says there is precedent here and it should have come down. >> so it's not lost on main the president and the first lady will be coming to south carolina. i don't know if their plans are to be anywhere near the statehouse and the capital for friday's plan to be at the funeral services. butesque ily that confederate flag would be flapping in the wind above an african-american president is is eulogizing an african-american state senator and reverend who was killed for being african-american. >> the president will not be here but in the context of what
we've heard from the president about race relations and racism in that podcast that has gotten so much attention there is no doubt that the president will talk about that as clementa pinckney was not known o only as a revered state senator and respected pastor but his activism throughout the state was respected. >> victor blackwell reporting live from for us, thank you for sharing that photograph with us thank you, everyone, my colleague wolf starts after this break.
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hello, i'm wolf blitzer, it's 1:00 p.m. in washington, 6:00 p.m. in london, 9:30 p.m. in tehran. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. let's begin with the breaking news from south carolina. the pass and the state lawmaker killed in the church massacre in charleston is being honored. the body of clementa pinckney arrived at the statehouse and the capitol of columbia just a little while ago on this horse-drawn carriage. it will lie in repose throughout the day. senator pinckney was pastor of the emanuel ame church, he was shot and killed along with eight ur