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Colorado Springs Mourns Slain Officer; Gov. Christie Wins Coveted Endorsement in New Hampshire. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired November 29, 2015 - 08:00   ET


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Now, we know the FBI is conducting its own investigation trying to determine if federal charges should be filed.

[08:00:04] We have with us to talk now, CNN law enforcement analyst and former director of the U.S. Marshals Office, Art Roderick.

First to you, what's that federal investigation look like?

ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, the federal investigation it sort of falls under the FACE Act, which was an act signed in 1994 by President Clinton. It's a Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act which goes primarily to Planned Parenthood facilities but threats to employees, arsons, bombing. So, there is a nexus but only like a ten-year jail time for those particular crimes.

So I'm sure that the FBI is coming in the Department of Justice and looking at more of a domestic terrorism type investigation and also coordinating the local DA out there to find which charges are more heinous. Obviously we have three people that were killed here, to include a police officer, and I send out my condolences to the Swasey family.

I'm a native of Massachusetts. I was a police officer in Massachusetts for sometime. And I know his family comes from Melrose, Mass. And just want to let him know our thoughts and prayers for him and his family but the victims of Colorado Springs horrific incident.

BLACKWELL: We're hearing from people who knew him well and hear a lot of good things about Officer Swasey.


BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about the motive. We know the suspect, Robert Dear, mentioned baby parts, mentioned antigovernment anti- abortion views but still law enforcement hasn't determined a motive. Why not and what else do they need?

RODERICK: Well, I think at this particular point he seems to be sort of all over the place. It kind of reminds me of the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, sort of a loner. I'm sure, you know, they said he's kind of off the grid. I'm sure once they get into that, they probably already have, in his trailer, they might find some writings, manifesto, or some documents that will link to a broader reason why as to why he did this.

But it sounds like he kind of has a lot of issues going on here. I did hear early on there's possibly mental health issues also involved.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you, I don't know if it can be answered at this point. We know so little about the chronology of what happened there. We don't have the names of the two of the three victims.

Do you see there was anything in the case from the intelligence standpoint that could have prevented this?

RODERICK: When you have an individual like this, now, you know, this off the grid part really makes it a lot more difficult. If he was on social media and talking to other people in the chat rooms, you know, you will get a phone call on occasion that, hey, this guy is saying he's going to be doing something.

I think in this particular instance it's difficult to have stopped something like this. This individual sort of, you know, he had a barricade situation, a hostage situation, and he was sniping at police officers, and the public from a quarter of a mile away. I think that's where a lot of the initial confusion came in when the police first responded, is that when somebody is shooting at you a quarter of a mile away, a lot of times it's very difficult.

As far as preventing something like this, unless he's out there espousing this stuff openly in public or on social media, it's difficult to stop something like this.

BLACKWELL: All right. Hopefully we learn more about what happened inside that building and more about this man and, of course, more about the victims. We're waiting for the names. And some people, as we know, victims being released from hospitals.

Art Roderick, thank you so much.

RODERICK: Thank you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, police officers and community members are coming to honor and grieve for the three people killed in the seen. Last night, there was a vigil held for the officer Garrett Swasey. Take a look at all this, folks. While the attack was going on, he heard the radio call for backup, rushed from his post as a campus police officer to help. Those are his colleagues there remembering him side by side, as a devoted officer, a husband, and a father.


CHIEF BRIAN MCPIKE, UCCS POLICE: Garrett stood for something. Garrett stood for our American flag. He stood for justice. He stood for our university. He stood for our law enforcement brethren.

Garrett was an amazing, amazing individual. She knew Garrett. She knew Garret would not not go. She knew and she said to me that he knew, he knew the risks and he loved what he did. He dedicated himself to being here. He dedicated himself to this profession. And there's no way, there's no way that anything could have made him a better officer.


[08:05:03] PAUL: Our Stephanie Elam is live in Colorado Springs with more on those responders.

And, Stephanie, I know that -- I can't imagine what it is like for them to try to reconcile this, the whole community. For the first responders and officers, do we have any gauge what kind of resources are available to them right now in the aftermath?


That's one of the things that we keep hearing about, is that they are banding together to help the community, to help the healing that the officers are looking out for their own, and also, a community pouring so much outreach to help them, as well. Obviously, it's a difficult situation because we know Officer Garrett Swasey lost his life. But we don't know the two civilians and we probably won't until after Monday after the autopsy results are completed.

So, it's hard to heal when you don't know all the details surrounding who has lost their lives. We're starting to learn more about some of the people who were injured, including -- keep in mind there are five officers injured and four civilians that were injured as well. We're learning more about what transpired when the officers were hit. We understand that Dear was allegedly shooting through buildings and so that's how some people got hurt as bullets were coming through the wall.

We have now learned that officer -- SWAT Officer Dan Carter was hit. We have audio. So you can take a listen to how he sounded in those moments when he realized he was shot in the leg.


OFFICER: I've been shot. I've been shot.


OFFICER: On the south side of Planned Parenthood.

DISPATCHER: Copy, on the south side of Planned Parenthood, been shot.

OFFICER: Shots! I'm under fire. I'm shot! I'm hit.

DISPATCHER: Where was he shooting you from? Where's he at? Fifty- three, go ahead.

OFFICER: Right there in the parking lot, I was shot in the leg.


ELAM: Now, we know of the nine people in the hospital, there were five people that remain. So, some people now doing well enough to recover at home, but still a very devastating what should be a lovely holiday weekend spent with friends and family becoming a devastating turn of events here in Colorado Springs -- Christi.

PAUL: All right. Stephanie Elam, we appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Well, before becoming a six-year campus police veteran, one of Officer Swasey's first love was ice skating. He was a champion ice dancer. And Swasey was skating partners with former U.S. national champion, Nancy Kerrigan. The two were childhood friends in fact growing up in Massachusetts. Kerrigan said she's just heart broken by his death and described him as a little brother to her.


NANCY KERRIGAN, FORMER TRAINING PARTNER OF OFFCER SWASEY: A true friend, just very loyal, and loving, caring person. Good listener. He was sort of passionate about everything. Everything was done with great big giant smile and he had fun in life. So sad. He's got two young kids that they literally run to him every time he comes in the door.


PAUL: The police chief for Officer Swasey's department says Swasey had an enthusiasm that was hard to quell.

BLACKWELL: Donald Trump showing a bit of his diplomatic side, just a bit of it. The GOP frontrunner addresses his feud with a "New York Times" reporter and he talks about the controversy involving how his supporters punched and kicked a protester at an event. That's coming up.

PAUL: And Dr. Ben Carson fresh off his fact-finding mission to a Syrian refugee camp sits down with CNN's Brianna Keilar. She's joining us of a preview of what he said.


[08:12:16] PAUL: Twelve minutes past the hour.

And new this morning, Governor Chris Christie's struggling presidential campaign getting a much needed boost forward, let's say, after he received a highly coveted endorsement by one of New Hampshire's most influential newspapers.

In an editorial by "The New Hampshire Union Leader", the publisher wrote, quote, "Governor Christie is right for the dangerous times. He has prosecuted terrorists and dealt admirably with major disasters. Others have gained media attention by speaking bluntly. It's important when you're telling it like it is to know what you're talking about." Ouch!

BLACKWELL: Yes. They had a couple of other jabs. We'll talk about that with Ben Ferguson and Jeffrey Lord.

I mean, we also have from this -- good morning to you, gentlemen.


BLACKWELL: They say, also, we don't need a fast-talking well-meaning freshman U.S. senator. We don't need someone from the private sector who has no public experience.

Let me come to you first, Ben. Of course, Governor Christie wants the endorsement. What does it mean, though?

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, any time you get the endorsement you're out touted as a big deal. But if you're not getting the endorsement, this is not the end of the world. Very few papers have been able to pick the candidate they want to win especially when you're talking about for early primary states.

So, yes, for Christie, it's a great thing. For others in there the idea the paper wrote we need someone with experience in politics as an outsider. Well, that certainly doesn't seem to be what the appetite is of many voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, and move on down the list.

They consistently are seeing the outsiders as the type of person they want. So, I would take it with a grain of salt. It's great for Christie but is it going to make him somehow surge in the polls? Probably not.

BLACKWELL: Hey, Jeffrey, let me come to you. You're a Trump guy on the record. Could Governor Christie be the establishment candidate? The non-Trump that voters can coalesce around?

LORD: Sure. Possible. I mean it is entirely possible that one person is going emerge as the establishment candidate. Of course, I think in the beginning everybody thought it was going to be Jeb Bush. Now there seems to be some thought it's Marco Rubio. Now it's maybe Chris Christie.

Whoever it is, I'm not sure that being known as such is an asset. The establishment, particularly the Republican Party is a mighty popular thing to be around at this point. I'm not sure it would help him, if, in fact, that's the case.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk about Trump. He had the rally in Sarasota. We know he was facing the controversy of not just the "New York Times" reporter but the beating of and punching of a protester in this protest in Birmingham.


[08:15:03] BLACKWELL: We're going to play what he said and then we can talk about it, and when a protester was removed yesterday in Sarasota. Watch this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you see how diplomatic I've become? Right? Because at the last rally we had one person -- we had 15,000 people, we had one person who was really, really being bad. Really being bad and it was horrible. It was horrible. And we said get him out. We were a little bit rough and I got criticized. Today you are my witness I've been nicer than that, right?


BLACKWELL: Is that a little tongue or cheek or is there something else here?

Jeffrey, you first.

LORD: Well, you know, Victor, I want to say something that I've discovered here. You know, I do radio shows on occasion, you know, around the country where I'm asked to talk about various things. By consequences, I did too in Birmingham, Alabama, right after that event.

And both hosts separately told me that this story was being played for other than what, in fact, happened. One of the hosts was there and they said they had a number of calls from people at the event who said the guy was not only a well-known local troublemaker who would seek these things out but tried to, in a tightly packed crowd bully his way to the front of the crowd thus soliciting the action. They said the national media coverage throughout has been wrong about this. I wasn't there. I don't know I'm telling you what I'm told about this.

BLACKWELL: I will say we put the video up. And even if this was a local activist who tried to make his way to the Trump, he was, as we see on the video, reported on and tweeted out by our correspondents beaten and punched and kicked. Here it is as we're speaking about it.

Ben, to you on Trump. He also spoke about this "New York Times" reporter saying he would never make fun of a person's disability. But does that correspondent with what we've heard from Donald Trump and the rhetoric thus far?

FERGUSON: This is classic bully Trump. Whether it is laughing at the idea that a troublemaker got what he deserved or, you know, mocking a disabled reporter. It was obvious he was mocking the disabled reporter. Let's be clear and candid about that.

Yet, he seems to be -- it almost fits the M.O. that he wants. He wants to have the persona of I will take on anybody anywhere. A protester, a reporter. I don't care who it is. And his supporters absolutely love that. The anti-establishment I'm my own man. I owe know one anything. I'm not controlled by anybody. It fits the narrative.

The big problem is, I think, for Donald Trump moving forward now when people on the fence looking at all these other candidates. Whether it'd be Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio and Chris Christie and then Donald Trump -- is Donald Trump doing the right things to get you on policy issues?

We're not talking about policy issues with Donald Trump. We're talking about a theater of show of events of, you know, this is how I deal with things and the exciting TMZ part of the campaign trail. I think that's where he gets himself in trouble moving forward is he may have maxed out his base. He may not be able to add many more votes to the numbers.

BLACKWELL: All right. Ben Ferguson, Jeffrey Lord, we have to leave it there.

LORD: All right.

BLACKWELL: Thank you both.

FERGUSON: Good morning.

LORD: Thanks, Victor. Thanks, Ben.

PAUL: Meanwhile, Dr. Ben Carson is talking this morning about what he's learned from his -- let's call it a surprise trip, because not many people knew about it. It wasn't publicly known. His surprise visit to a refugee camp in Amman, Jordan.

BLACKWELL: And what he said he witnessed with his own eyes on the plight of the Syrians who were in those camps. That's next.


[08:22:45] PAUL: Twenty-two minutes past the hour.

In an interview with Dr. Ben Carson set for later this morning on CNN "STATE OF THE UNION", this, of course, after his trip to Jordan where he called the crisis there a, quote, "great human tragedy."

CNN's Brianna Keilar is in for Jake Tapper, has for us on that one-on- one with Dr. Carson.

Did you get a sense, Brianna, that maybe his thoughts have shifted at all since the trip?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't think that's the sense I got, Christi. Good morning to you.

It seems as if going on this trip, of course, Dr. Carson opposes settling refugees from the Syrian crisis in the U.S. he seems to have, I guess, a different -- not a different explanation, but maybe an explanation that is backed up by experience. He said talking to refugees in Jordan. They want to be resettled in Syria. That's obviously not possible. We talked about whether they would rather come to the U.S. or whether they would remain -- whether they would rather remain in Jordanian camps.

And his explanation of that I think is going to surprise you a little bit. He talks about the refugee camps and what the U.S. role should be aside from taking in refugees and what he tells us about the refugee camps is going to be surprising to the other viewers.

This is a trip that comes at a interesting time. The Carson camp said it's been in the work for some time, but at the same time when you see candidates take a trip like this, it's generally to try to show off some of their foreign policy bona fides and this comes at a time when Ben Carson needs to do that.

In the last month, he's seen his stock sink in Iowa. He has dropped ten points when you look at the Quinnipiac University polling. He said he thinks it's because some Americans of uncomfortable with him being at the commander in chief at a time when terrorism is such an issue. The Paris attacks really changing the landscape here in the last month.

So, I'll ask him about that, Christi, and I think it's going to be somewhat surprising when you find out what a he's learned about the threat that ISIS poses.

PAUL: Yes, very interesting. We're looking forward to it, Brianna, thank you.

[08:25:00] KEILAR: You bet.

PAUL: Absolutely.

"STATE OF THE UNION" starts at the top of the hour 9:00 a.m. right here on CNN.


BLACKWELL: A veteran police officer 20 years on the force was killed while responding to a domestic dispute call last night. This happened near Pittsburgh. Investigators say Ray Shelter, Jr. shot Officer Lloyd Reed and he ran off. Police later caught up with shelter and arrested him after a five-hour manhunt.

PAUL: Protests in Chicago over the death of and shooting into Laquan McDonald, showing no signs of slowing down tonight. There was another night of demonstrations. Protesters demanding top city officials step down and many alleging a yearlong cover up of the video showing McDonald's death. It appears to show the officer arriving and shooting 16 bullets in 15 seconds.

BLACKWELL: The Central Plains hit hard by a winter storm. More than a dozen people killed in Texas, and Oklahoma. Heavy flooding and more than 70,000 people in Oklahoma have no power.

PAUL: We're wishing you the very best. Hope that goes away soon.

And we're glad that you are with us in the morning. Thank you for being here.

BLACKWELL: Always good to have you on a Sunday.

"INSIDE POLITICS" starts right now.