Epstein investigation continues, Hong Kong protests intensify, Newark water crisis

Epstein investigation will continue following his suicide, Hong Kong protesters force the city's international airport to shut down, and lead contamination in Newark leads to a growing water crisis.
27:58 | 08/12/19

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Transcript for Epstein investigation continues, Hong Kong protests intensify, Newark water crisis
Yeah. Hey everybody I'm cover up in Washington DC you're watching the briefing room were following a number of very busy in developing stories. Here in Washington DC in New York City and all across the world we have brand new immigration reforms have been entries for the trump administration we have mass protests happening in Hong Kong. Another American city that's in a water crisis with lead in their drinking water. Full want to begin with the major story that's had everybody talking through the weekend and that is the death. Of multimillionaire and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein he was of course found dead in his cell on Saturday morning we have the two reporters that broke that sorely a flute argue with me. In Washington DC wanna bring him and we also -- could terse key. Who is in New York City also worked to break this story and we want to begin. A with airing in New York Jeffrey Epstein was also in his cell in New York City there's been a lot of discussion air in. About whether or not Jeffrey Epstein was on suicide watch we had heard that he had previously tried to commit suicide. We're later hearing he wasn't under suicide watch and I know the you have some new reporting this afternoon at about maybe why that was what are you learning. He was taken off suicide watch Trevor on July 29 in part at the request of his criminal defense attorneys who were urging. The Bureau of Prisons to remove him from suicide watch it is restrictive it's a special sell you Wear special clothing your under constant monitoring. It turns out though that may well have saved his life because after he underwent more than one psychiatric evaluation. And after that deputy attorney general Jeffrey Rosen was informed of the move. In fact Epstein was taken off suicide watch and so when he was found in his cell at 6:30 Saturday morning he had not been on suicide watch. There appears to have been no camera trained on his cell so no video catching him in the act. OK and of course are now multiple investigations have been launched Lou can of the you're looking at those and digging in to sort of how this occurred because he wasn't on suicide watch a breakdown had to happen here and what have you learned about why this could've happened. So the FBI and he inspector general you can for general are investigating. Does it view he has had as much. In the on the record statement they put out over the weekend I was there lot of questions right what happened how to despray can happen a special type of parliament. Any new occur around approve this is the this is the third incident. In which he POP. You know facility has been in question right we've had a death the weighted Bolger. In October of 2018. And then we had DB got shut down. Power outages and DC and Brooklyn teen. Let me assure you that this case will continue Juan. Against anyone who was complicit. When Epps thing. Any co conspirators. Should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice. And they will get it. So that is some assurance from attorney general William Barr who has also insisted. The there's gonna be these continued investigations he said he was appalled after learning of the death of Jeffrey Epstein let's go back to Eric deters ski in New York has another. Air you have been pretty deep into these Jeffrey F scene investigations I know that there's been some discussion about. The word conspiracy. In the charges against Epstein which could then lead to other people being charged can you just sort of lay out. What is the the possibility for other people to be charged any sex trafficking accusations. But at the moment Trevor it's only a possibility he faced to criminal charges when he was arrested at the beginning of July. Sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy and we know it a conspiracy takes at least two to tango right so there is the possibility. That someone else or a number of people may well have been involved in their art their suspicion that has fallen on a British social socialite. Can I Maxwell who was said according to some of the alleged victims to be. At Stevens madam. But there are others as well who have been alleged to have been involved in procuring women and girls to satisfy Jeffrey Epstein so lurid case. And case in point that the investigation continues Trevor just today ABC news has observed. Law enforcement officials from the FBI and Customs and Border Protection. And the NYPD the same task force that arrested Epstein last month. Those officers and agents were seen at his compound in the US Virgin Islands. Arriving for what may well be an extended stay to process evidence. So that may very well be proof that these are and investigations are continuing air and of course. You know we've heard from some of these accusers specifically a lot of them saying that they wanted their moment in court they're seeking justice and what have we heard from these accusers sense Jeffrey Epstein Seth what are they saying. We've heard from a number of them fool who are really concerned that they will not get their day in court that their accusations will not go before a proper criminal proceeding. Because at the moment there is no one else charts so there is no one else to to prosecute and there's no one to test there. Their accusations before a judge and jury on the other hand look they they they know that these investigations continue they finally feel listens to. But the federal government it is has come under criticism they gave Epstein what many consider to be a sweetheart deal back in 2008 to allow him to plead guilty to a lesser charge and serve. Less than a year and accounting prison mainly on work release and then finally he gets charged we've federal offenses that many of the victims said should have been brought a decade ago. And now the federal government can't even keep them alive and so it does point to what the attorney general called. The failings of of federal authorities here even though other arms of the government are working to keep the prosecution and the case alive. Erica terrorist he in New York City are really appreciated that was lit bar here in DC this is certainly. Not the last for gonna hear from this story but we do want to shift gears now to the trump administration they're changing regulations in terms of immigration and what could impact. Millions of people trying to get their citizenship here in the United States we have Serena Marshall who has been neck deep in all of these new numbers and procedures Serena is kind of a lot to wrap your head around alone. What I think is interesting is you know we talk about immigration all the time with president trump. It's usually about illegal immigration yes. Nervous is not this is not illegal immigration that is. Promise from the president he's in a tackle illegal immigration. This is about restricting legal immigration essentially can cut the number of legal immigrants come into the country applying for V is as applying for green cards. And half it will not only make it harder to qualify for. These you'll make it easier for the administration to deny your application they're now saying that not only. Do you have to prove date you'll. Not need public benefits to come to the United States theater proved that you will never or could never. Need public benefit. Now what his immigration rule change does do is like gays and it hurts legal immigration. It defines that public charge rule has never really been defined in the government before to now include anyone could receive food seems Medicaid or housing subsidies. In the future they're going to be looking at a whole slew of different. Qualifiers to make that determination from your education your ability to speak English York. Well how much of the federal poverty guideline numbers you qualify for you to make above the 250%. Market are to be considered a positive weighted factor verses and negative weighted factors should they. Are essentially now moving the immigration system to a merit based system which is what the president is wants to do right very long time her friend in May talking about the hair system. Could it get it done in congress synod is essentially an on tackling. It's pretty staggering because I know the other couldn't get that done in congress the statistic that I saw that was pretty wild is that 250%. That they have to hit. 40% of American born citizens don't get that number yeah I had strain so yeah it is an important distinction way people talk about this is. I've heard some people in correctly phrase it is not immigrants can decide receive benefits for just work and come dallas'. Abbott and tonight a sonics now that's not ours and it's important also point out with programs like Medicaid for example they're targeting that with this rule change. Already are coming to the United States yet to prove that you're not going to be a drain on the says stump. But if you do qualify you still cannot access those public benefits like Medicaid for five years. After you receive that accessed. But with this legal change they're going to be able to move the system away from Findlay based migration and where you're able to sponsor a grandmother and parents your spouse for example to more. Skilled based migration now that can have huge implications on families for example separating. Parent who might be a stay at home parent no longer will they be able to qualify and come within their spouse who hasn't job who has a visa to come and marketing and state. Because that spouse might not be making. Quite enough money to qualify for both of them. All right definitely and it's raising some questions I know about that the American sentiment. Of whom we want to bring end to the country that some critics have been have been saying. You know this might change what America stands for we statue of liberty right to question about that's a contention Allen during today's briefing actually that's right yes so a reporter asked do we need to take off he'd give me your tired your poor. Statement on the statue of liberty let's play his response. Well. I'm certainly not prepared to take anything down off the statue of liberty. We we we have a long history of being one of the most welcoming nations in the world. On a lot of bases whether you be in a sigh Lee whether you be coming here to join your family or emigrating yourself. This rule cover for US CIS almost 400000. People year. Whose applications. To become legal permanent residence. Will include. A meaningful analysis of whether they're likely to become a public charge or not. I do not think by any means we're ready to take an evening off the statute. Liberty. But you know he said the words meaningful analysis here and actually important Trevor because essentially they're gonna look at these qualifying factors when they're making a determination and is now becoming purely subjective. But if you don't qualify because they say that you my eight. Need a public benefit in the future there is a an ability to pay a feat. And overcome that role and that amount of around 8000. Allow a case that is a pretty substantial amounts of that was ten could finale he's the director of citizenship and immigration speaking at the White House. Briefing room we want to know the White House now our reporter Catherine fathers Catherine. We know that this is not necessarily a new concept for the trump administration they talked about maybe a mayor based immigration system why they laid out what they think this is necessary. AS and this is part of a broader push to favor these skilled applicants and less likely. And those less likely to reliant on public assistance but as you guys were we're talking about this president has tried to curb. Illegal immigration for some time both legal. In the legal course this is referring it's illegal immigration and he's called border crossings he's referred to them. As quote. An invasion I think it's important to point out Stephen Miller who's the architect of the president's immigration policies he's really behind the travel ban behind. This new rule it's been a top priority for him he's been pushing this for months. As I think that's a lot of what you we saw a peach Nellie rollout appeared and I eggs one of the other word we heard a lot of from treats Nelly here in the briefing room was quote. Self sufficient he said that this rule is to focus on whether a person please quote self sufficient when we pressed him. On income for example he said this has the with the president when he and comes in their ability to stand down there and two feet and that should determine whether they'll be able to become. Legal permanent resident. And Catherine we also want to ask do we know a lot of the trump administration's decisions on immigration have gotten pushed back legally are we hearing that a similar things gonna happen here. Yes this is going to be challenged in court we've heard from a lot of advocacy groups for the California attorney general has already said quote we are. Ready to take legal action to protect the rights of all Californians he calls this new war. Vital he says it's a weapon I think essential health care housing in nutrition programs so we've already heard from him on I have are likely to hear from many more states. And many more groups challenging this and the courts. Captured folders reporting for from the White House Catherine thank you we also know that with the policy this big that it impacts millions of people we're talking about an enormous economic change so we want to bring in. Tennessee eagle she is with the new American economy Hannah. When you're talking about all of these immigrants and all of these workers I mean what kind of lasting impact would that have on the American economy. Yeah I mean this could have a huge economic impact for communities all across the country and when me analyzed that population of people that could be affected by this role. We found that you know the annual in common with about 96 billion dollars. And and the total loss to the US economy could amount to a total of a 164. Week four billion dollars in your act and or act dollars considered so this really isn't just about. You know figuring out who is likely to succeed here is it's about. Destructing local economies across the country potentially. And handing you in your report in the American economy reported that it's going to specifically hit certain industries like construction food services and hospitality. In particular how do we see in those industries actually grappling with this new role he had asked so we have some really interesting stats their construction their about 5% of construction workers. Or more than half a million people who are likely to be affected by this rule hospitality recreation food service is. Another more than half a 1525000. People likely be affected you see similar numbers in manufacturing. Their industries across the country that really depend. On immigrants who could now me tonight and tree. Because of this rule and you know we have a long history in united states of welcoming people. Of all types too you know grow our community but also to grow our economy and and this role really threatens. And Hannah when you look at a lot of big corporations mean as if many of those were started by immigrants or children of immigrants Amazon for example. Jeff base as a child of emigrants you also have companies like do pines and and one knots large corporations. That were started by immigrants. When you look back window feeling that this is hypothetical but you have family that perhaps it might not no longer qualify who could go one potentially to create giant company like. DuPont absolutely I mean so today more than 44%. Of fortune 500 companies were founded by an immigrant or a child of immigrants. And you know this country has such a long history. A bringing people here who maybe don't have much in their pocket but who work hard and build a life and they do well and their children do even better. And that really is the story of the United States and the story in our economic success and so again I think a rule like this could really threaten. That kind of success south line. That tennis eagle the managing editor of new American economy Hanna thank you for your time Serena think he used this is a very complex issue we're going to be hearing a lot about it and want pushed back. OK we don't want to move overseas now because we have the latest in what has been continuous developments happening in Hong Kong. Massive protest who want to take you live to the Hong Kong airport where I know that they have been. Shutting down that airport there its international and they've been closing canceling many flights we have seen the the hundreds thousands of people indigent what's just the latest chapter in these ongoing Hong Kong protest that is up also another relatively complicated issues said regular perspective we have Victoria Foyt she's a faculty fellow with he. Victoria I don't need you to go through the entire sag and this let up to this protest that notes that involves a decades long. Conflict you could say with China and Hong Kong and there's some people are crying for democracy. Can you give us a nutshell what has let up to this latest moment are protest. And his best equipment each refuse extradition and her. Which would allow the Hong Kong apartments cheap HT. Anyone who know Hong Kong could see chocolate cookie Hong Kong people. Cheeks to Newman's time air concert or. It can see our our last your purpose conclude people because concert posted its formal independence issue. And you can't come cheap coal Knox trial in Hong complex censure Beijing since it's across the order to retire. She really didn't see don't have an inkling. And then the first ha one million contests and she narron. The governance competed to see you would think he could he would never British armoured foreign brands. And then tens of thousands she used to brag legislative council. And because it can't be invasive cases perhaps the rules to coherently to opt. Hang on that's ignorant and charisma and he's says forests which also outs rich people. And then refer and then converts. And I'm sorry they can present this suspect there are. But the injury and he house and home completely don't clean act. Some are still armed people and it includes Chris me Eaton and current so who didn't see. Okay well it appears that we've lost Victoria or there but this is a ongoing and chaotic situation in Hong Kong as seen from those videos that will be keeping a very close sign on as this continues to unfold we do what every fact the United States where. We had yet another water crisis on our hands in an American city this time it's happening. In Newark, New Jersey where it just within. The past hour or so the city actually started handing out bottles of water because there's contamination of lead in the drinking water so we want. Go out to Newark, New Jersey we have many Anthony Diaz who was Van Nuys and a member of the new work water coalition if they we appreciate you joining us here. The latest development is that who there was reports of lead in the water we know of the city handed out water filters. And then the latest tested tested three house is two of the three even with the water filters. Had too much lead that was above the threshold so why don't you just take us through what it has been like for you living in New York majors. So go to things as early interesting is that. What they'll work on the were coalition as we've been saying this. You know since this whole crisis has started that this issue is is big it affects the entire city. You really you know the administration needs to do more than what it's doing and a lot of the push back that we've been getting is that. Kate you guys are making this a bigger deal than her actual years. And we kind of field of validated an alliance that hey you know we were right all along. And now let's turn it just really get to work what we really care about a solutions. Trying to figure out how we can best help the people of north that's all we really care about. Okay in what do you think the solution is at this point. We'll right now since the federal government isn't both. We need you know more resource says we need more manpower we need you know copper occurrence of look at our infrastructure. And we just need all the led lines replaced we don't need to replace eight years from now we need to replace as of yesterday. And I think now that you know people are are really understanding that this is a crisis. And understanding hey you know we have to use bottled water I think that it's gonna be all hands on deck. In a you have set. It's not our continued at an interest income content. Those are presidential election you have you know Menendez you have these big way. All politicians and I think now it's kinda like hold their feet of the sirens a lesson. You needs of flood I'll bring all the resources of Washington sent into the state of New Jersey and more specifically into the city of more. That's it and ideas with the newer water coalition Anthony think you make a very interesting point in that this did not happen overnight this is something that has been building and we've seen a little bit of pushing back leading up to this point up until now where it does seem that the government is embracing that this is in fact a water crisis and we have a statement. A joint statement from the governor of New Jersey and also the mayor of New York if we can pull that up but they say is the city of new work is currently expanding testing of filtered drinking water to more Newark homes. And in coordination with the department of environmental protection. In its actively working with the filter manufacturer to determine the scope of the situation and to identify the required corrective action. As soon as possible so according to the govern the mayor that now working on fixing. What is this ongoing crisis Anthony we do appreciate your time I want to put this in a broader context this Stephanie and her environmental reporter here. We already had what happened in Flint, Michigan Stephanie it. It feels like for a first world country. Having drinking water that's not dangerous is pretty baseline why does this keep. What I kinda ties and suit you know. Why are we always talking about infrastructure week in Washington how everyone wants to joke its infrastructure we began this is actually one of the biggest issues. You know. One could argue strengthening our country and one of the legacies of Flint really is forcing everyone to kind of grapple with that issue again. You know interest water infrastructure especially. I you know the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that we need to spend. 400 and semi two billion dollars that's billion of the east over the next twenty years to upgrade this infrastructure in order to keep our water safe. And that means that we have probably neglected it for a long time and failing to update at. Yet. Yeah I mean you think when you when you hear failing infrastructure in the United States and Engel do you natural instinct does think. Our roads have potholes so where are burritos are a little cheeky this is a direct. Problem that could impact. Thousands millions of people and it's happening right now. Absolutely there is Jena six million lead service lines in the United States and that's only what we know about that's connecting. Your your water system to your home that doesn't account for it led plumbing inside it. Of of older homes right. You know you rely on the water out of your faucet every day you don't think about how it gets there. Even though the country has known about the danger of being exposed to lead for decades now I think there's kind of a reckoning now that that may be. We got a little bit complacent about keeping up with back to protecting it and now kind of having to grapple with. What happens when you wait too long these you kind of wonder we had Flint now it's Newark what's going to be the next city that meant they figured the throughout hundreds of millions of dollars. Are we looking as at current policy or we're gonna get anywhere close to that. So that EP is actually nearing the finish line on a new lead and copper along this is rule that would have. Have very significant impact for cities across the country it could mandate that let service finds be replaced. It could you know they could change the wet that the rules that haven't been updated in some time about how we Gillick is systems which. You know that I that the public health benefit could be huge for these cities. Also they're gonna have to grapple with the their enormous cost to city is and to private homeowners due to relic that the structure problem. Yeah I think that we're seeing now in all of these cities you can't keep kicking the can. Donna solutions are necessary are that Stephanie had their environmental reporter really appreciate your time. And of course now we're not to get through briefing her without talking about the 20/20 election so we wanna go out to Iowa we've got. Our campaign reporter Adam Kelsey would in the midst of this Iowa state fair. And Adam I know that you've been seeing I've I've seen all this constant video people dropping their corn kernels into vote you've been there with all the candidates talked all of these voters. I mean what's been the big takeaways over the past weekend. Well good afternoon Trevor we had a 21 candidates as he said here at the state fair over the course the past four days getting a little bit of a break today. As that no candidates are here on the political soapbox. But that doesn't mean as you said politics has instilled in top of mind and we've been talking to so many voters about their preferences and we've been asking them a pretty straightforward question. If the Iowa caucus was tomorrow. Who would you support. It would vote are Donald Trump is the first president is. Done everything he said he's got video I would vote for Elizabeth warring. Guess that her strain in speaking up four against president promised I would vote for the governor of Montana. And because. He is really strong audience our panel. But he's done a wonderful job with his Medicaid Donald Trump because I think he's going annexing jawbone the upon me and I broke my pocket or. I believe that Biden is the direction we need. Referred back to maybe some fundamental. Aspects of my beliefs you know for help I would ever vote for Donald Trump. Because he is for America and believe he is honest and look at Lyon. I think it's in one and what is it. And I think it's the right. Nolan work. I don't like anybody it's run and. So it a wide variety of responses there including some as you just heard. Who are not ready to make that final decision but the one thing cover that we've noticed is when we talk to these. Iowa caucus goers and potential caucus goers is how seriously they take this responsibility they say that they look out at this wide field of democratic candidates they want to take the time to learn all of their policies all of their positions and set the tone for the rest of these states as primary season rolls on and 21. I do you think that's interesting Adam because I myself I'm I didn't got midwestern roots being from Ohio but of course is not the lead state when it comes to the primaries. I'm curious are you hearing for many voters who are just saying it's too early we're seeing the video all of the candidates now are talking about. Mean malt more than twenty candidates a lot of people that I talk to you from back home say it's too early there's too many people let me know when there's like 45 left are you hearing anything similar is a very plugged it. Yeah it seems to be one extreme or the other on the one hand you have folks. Who say that as soon as Joseph Biden as soon as Elizabeth Warren as soon as Bernie Sanders got into the race their mind was made up of that was going to be their candidate the entire way through. On the flip side like you're talking about. You have a few more apathetic voters out there who were saying to themselves listen it's still August is still August this is the I was state fair this is traditionally the kickoff to caucus campaign season. I'm just starting to pay attention now but. In Iowa it you know as a whole you tend to have as I was saying more educated voters in the rest of the country because they're already starting to think about that caucus process and as you know it's it's a little bit complicated they get into that room next February they're allowed to speak their case they're allowed to change their mind it's kind of like ranked choice voting but in person so a little bit more complicated of these situations something that they have to be ready and on. Before they get to those caucus rooms cover. Adam while we got to hear what's than the superstar fair food that you can. Ha ha. Did too many to count at this point answer didn't meet sweats from the fried Bologna I just sad that I think all of our ABC reporters are in agreement the peppermint ice cream bar has been our favorite. I intrastate Kane peppermint ice cream bar that is on the ground news you can use Adam Kelsey a campaign reporter Adam thanks for making time for us. That is gonna do it for us today here in the briefing room thanks everybody for watching can catch is tomorrow at 33530. And 630 and always on abc.com. And ABC news live on for brought Washington.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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