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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Six Shot, Three Killed in DC-Area Shootings; GOP Wrestles With Whether to Back Trump; Interview with Congressman Peter King of New York. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired May 6, 2016 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:13] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Brooke Baldwin.
The D.C. area gripped in suspense for hours.
THE LEAD starts right now.
And breaking news: three people murdered, three more hurt, one suspect now in custody after gunfire at school, a grocery store near the nation's capital.
Before he builds his wall, Trump may have to mend some fences. Republicans planning to bring Donald Trump and Paul Ryan into the same room to try to work it out, after the speaker told us here on THE LEAD that he will not support Trump, not yet.
Celebrating with fireworks of mass destruction, fear that North Korea could at any moment test a nuclear weapon in celebration of their leader Kim Jong-un.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
SCIUTTO: We'll take you live now to a police press conference in Maryland for the latest on that shooting.
THOMAS MANAGER, MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE CHIEF: One of the plainclothes officers observed a vehicle, a silver vehicle that matched the description of a homicide that occurred in Prince Georges County last night. The tag number also matched to that vehicle lookout. We had a description of the suspect from the homicide last night that was in that vehicle, and the plainclothes officer spotted that individual at the Dunkin' Donuts in the Northgate Shopping Center in Aspen Hill.
They had this individual under surveillance, and when the individual walked back to his car, the plainclothes officers were able to take him into custody without incident.
The suspect's name is Eulalio Tordil. He is in custody now the Montgomery County Police Department.
With me is Chief Hank Stawinski from the Prince Georges County Police Department. We have been working in close communication with Prince Georges since last night regarding the homicide that occurred in Prince Georges. They had passed along information last night, passed along further information that we had gotten this morning regarding their homicide and that's one of the reasons that our officers were aware of the lookout and aware of the vehicle description from their case last night.
And we have remained in contact and been working with Prince Georges since that time. So, Hank --
CHIEF HANK STAWINSKI, PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Good afternoon. I'm very sorry to come before the community as additional violence has occurred, but as the chief said and I would just like to reach out and thank special agent in charge of the Baltimore field office and FBI Kevin Perkins, superintendent of the state police, Bill Pallozzi, law enforcement throughout the metropolitan area.
Since last night our investigators and our undercover apprehensive team have been working diligently to make apprehension on this individual, using different methods. It's tragic that we were not able to intervene prior to additional victims being harmed, but I am pleased with the fact this individual has been apprehended and now, we can restore some degree of peace. I'll be available to answer questions about the Prince Georges County incidents and about the overnight, but I want to take the opportunity to turn it back to the chief because I believe Mr. McCarthy wants to say a few things as well.
IKE LEGGETT, COUNTY EXECUTIVE: Good afternoon. I'm county executive Ike Leggett here at Montgomery County.
It's always sad to come before the media when we have a death that occurred in our community, but I want to acknowledge and thank overall the community, apologize for the inconvenience for our school kids, but more importantly, to thank our law enforcement officers especially those here in Montgomery County who, in cooperation with those from Prince Georges County and the FBI they've done an excellent job, a job that we can be proud of but a job nonetheless we hope would not come before you to explain the details, the fact we had death and the fact that we had disruption within our community.
It pays for all of us to pay attention to the concerns, the challenges that we face but also to recognize the great work that our law enforcement offices do each and every day an I believe we're going to go forward with this investigation now, and I'd like to turn it over to our state's attorney John McCarthy.
JOHN MCCARTHY, STATE ATTORNEY: I wanted to begin by just echoing comments of Mr. Leggett about the extraordinary work of the Montgomery County Police Department. Obviously, we'd not be here today if it was not or the coordination that gave information and allowed us to identify this vehicle in this parking lot earlier today.
[16:05:02] But because of the events that preceded the apprehension of the suspect in this case, to do this without incident, without additional loss of life is really an extraordinary effort and the people of Montgomery County should be proud of the police department. In terms of the charges, I will tell you the suspect in this matter,
the events today unfolded very, very rapidly. He is in custody at police headquarters here in Montgomery County. We would anticipate that the formal charges against the suspect will be lodged within several hours and the precise nature of those charges will obviously be related to the homicides that have been spoken about out here today, and other possible charges. By Maryland law, the suspect will have to be brought before a Maryland commissioner today on these charges, once those charges are lodged.
He will not be released from custody. He will be held in custody, the first formal time he will be arraigned in open court would be Monday at 1:00 afternoon in the Rockville District Court.
I'm going to turn this back over to the chief. I know you have a question, but I'm going to let Tom open it up for question. I'll be happy to answer any of the questions anybody has.
MANGER: A little over an hour.
REPORTER: What was the relationship between the suspect and the victims?
MANGER: The victims the relationship between the suspect and the victims today we don't know. I mean, at this point we don't know of any connection but that's still very early on in the investigation, that's certainly something that we're looking at.
REPORTER: Minor point, you've had a number of witnesses tell us he sat at Boston market and ate lunch for an hour.
REPORTER: He did do that?
MANGER: The suspect was in several of the businesses here, knowing that the suspect was armed, knowing that the suspect had made statements about what he intended to do, we needed to make sure that public was safe when we took him into custody. Our fear was that he was armed, and since we already shot four people today, we certainly did not want to have any other bloodshed here. And so, the plainclothes officers waited until it was safe to take him into custody and that's what they did.
SCIUTTO: You're listening there to police and local officials in Montgomery County, Maryland, from the Districts of Columbia delivering the news, the relief really that a suspect is now in custody. That suspect is Eulalio Tordil. He was an officer with the Federal Protective Service. This is the division of the Department of Homeland Security.
He is now a suspect in several shootings that killed three people over the last 48 hours. Police saying there that these events unfolded very, very rapidly. He's expected to be charged within several hours. He was under surveillance there in that mall where he was captured, for more than an hour, as he visited a number of businesses. They then moved in, crucially they took him into custody without incident.
I want to bring in Evan Perez, our justice reporter. He's been covering this. And also Brian Todd, who was on the scene there.
Brian, as we hear this, really a remarkable development that they were able to take him after these alleged acts of violence, without incident.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is remarkable, Jim, and police played this very carefully and well in the end. You see what we believe to be one of the victim's cars being towed away right here behind me.
But very quickly to get patient back to your point on how this suspect was apprehended, nonviolently but dramatically. A law enforcement official say they spotted the suspect's car in a parking lot across the street from the giant in the Aspen Hill area, the giant grocery store in the Aspen Hill area, spotted his car in a parking lot across the street. Then they saw him, according to a law enforcement official who spoke to CNN, they saw him through the storefront window of a restaurant in a shopping center across the street.
According to this official, they kept eyes on him, he was in this restaurant for about an hour and they were ready to move in on him if he did anything threatening. But he came out, he got in his car, when law enforcement officers blocked his car. That's how they apprehended the suspect according to a law enforcement official, this, of course, after a tragic 24-hour period, three separate shootings in three parking lots, Jim, leaving three people dead.
SCIUTTO: Just incredible, a suspected shooter taking the time to go to a restaurant while being chased by police. Brian Todd on the scene there.
I want to go to Evan Perez who's with me in the studio here in Washington.
Interesting. This is a highly vetted federal law enforcement officer. His job in the federal protective services is to protect federal buildings from violence like we've seen here.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Right.
SCIUTTO: Was there a failure here?
PEREZ: Well, it doesn't appear so. It appears shortly after he was subject to some kind of protective order issued by a court, it appears the wife, his estranged wife is who asked for that protective order.
[16:10:01] Shortly after that, the Federal Protective Service, which is a part of DHS, suspended his, both his badge, his credentials and took away his service weapon, and they put him on some sort of administrative leave. There's been a lot of changes, Jim, in the last couple of years as a result of the Navy Yard shooting and other incidents, in which when people who have security clearances, people who have badges and weapons issued by the federal government, when they come up for background checks whenever something derogatory shows up in their background, that that is updated, and they will take their weapons away, take away their credentials for this exact reason.
SCIUTTO: So, they did act unfortunately not before the acts of violence --
SCIUTTO: -- were carried out.
Thanks very much, Evan Perez, been covering the story from the beginning.
I want to turn to our politics lead. He says he won't do it ever, he says he can't do it right now. He says he can and will do it. He says he's all in, too, and would serve as his V.P. if asked. That thing many Republicans are wrestling over right now is whether to back Donald Trump, since he is now the presumptive Republican nominee.
CNN's senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny is in Omaha, Nebraska, live.
Jeff, Speaker Ryan, of course, told Jake yesterday here on the lead that he cannot support Trump right now, and now, Ryan tweeting and issues a statement saying he's going to meet with Trump, however, next Thursday.
What do we expect to come from this meeting?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, certainly an interesting meeting. He's not only going to be meeting with Speaker Ryan but also other top congressional leaders.
But it's not just that. We're also told there will be a private meeting between Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and Reince Priebus, the head of the RNC, who's sort of the referee in all of this. But Donald Trump is moving to take over this Republican Party. But, Jim, this is a party very divided.
ZELENY (voice-over): Donald Trump's victory lap is looking more like an obstacle course and that's just among Republicans.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I actually wish the primaries were not over. It's no fun this way. I want the primaries to keep going, but everybody's out. I'm the only one left. That's OK, right?
ZELENY: He's dispatched with his GOP rivals, but the discord inside the party rages on.
Trump has won the hearts of millions of Republican voters but the minds of party leaders remain elusive.
Senator Lindsey Graham says he can't vote Trump.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don't think he has the temperament in judgment to be commander in chief. I just can't go there with Donald.
ZELENY: Speaker Paul Ryan told Jake Tapper he can't endorse Trump.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I'm just not ready to do that at this point. I'm not there right now.
ZELENY: So far, Trump is holding his famously sharp tongue, perhaps taking a new stab at diplomacy.
TRUMP: He can do whatever he wants to do. It's fine, but I was surprised by it.
ZELENY: But other Republicans are getting on board. Some grudgingly, some not.
BOBBY JINDAL (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm voting for Donald Trump because I don't think we can afford four more years of liberal incompetence.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: As I said many times I support the nominee of the party.
ZELENY: Former Vice President Dick Cheney says he always supported the Republican nominee and will do so this year, too.
President Obama and Democrats are watching it all with delight.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is no doubt that there is a debate that's taken place inside the Republican Party. I think not just Republican officials, but more importantly Republican voters are going to have to make a decision as to whether this is the guy who speaks for them and represents their values.
ZELENY: But Trump knows just how to fire up any tepid Republicans.
TRUMP: Now it's between me and crooked Hillary.
ZELENY: Today alone, he is taking his message to a red state, Nebraska, and a blue state, Oregon. But the welcome was not entirely warm. Graffiti in letters eight feet tall saying "Dump Trump" were painted on this grain elevator in Omaha. It's been five extraordinary months since Trump landed in Omaha, campaigning for the Iowa caucuses when party elders thought he would fade away.
TRUMP: I love you Omaha. I love Nebraska.
ZELENY: Now it's his Republican party. And Trump is reveling in the moment, even putting on coal miner's hat Thursday night in West Virginia.
TRUMP: That is great. My hair look OK?
ZELENY: Now, you wonder why Donald Trump may be here in Nebraska. It's because the Nebraska primary is still scheduled for next Tuesday, and to show how quickly this campaign has moved along, Jim, there's still radio ads playing here today that Donald Trump has taken out against Ted Cruz, saying he can't be trusted on immigration. That shows how swiftly this has moved, but that meeting next week is going to give an indication into how difficult it or unite this Republican Party.
Donald Trump telling "The Washington Post" this afternoon, he agreed to meet with Speaker Ryan before we go our separate ways.
So, Jim, a lot of disorder still here to be worked out.
SCIUTTO: We should see what comes out of the meeting next week. Thanks very much, Jim Zeleny in Omaha.
[16:15:00] He has called Donald Trump a, quote, "whacko" and says he is not qualified to be president. But now, our next guest says he will support Trump as the GOP nominee for president. Congressman Peter King will explain why, right after this.
SCIUTTO: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jim Sciutto.
And sticking with our politics lead, and the growing GOP divide over Donald Trump's status as a Republican Party's presumptive nominee. We've got another reminder of that just now as Jeb Bush saying that he will not support Donald Trump as the GOP candidate.
Joining me is Republican Congressman Peter King of New York, who endorsed Donald Trump for president after his win in Indiana this week.
Congressman King, thank you very much for taking the time today.
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Thank you, Jim.
SCIUTTO: I want to play since we have you here today what you previously said about Donald Trump. Let's have a listen
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP_
KING: The view he's taking, the statements he's making have really nothing in common with the Republican Party. Donald Trump now is sounding like a left wing Michael Moore whacko. He's oblivious to the evil of the Klan and he's just coming in as somebody flying and say whatever he has to say.
[16:20:03] you know, George Bush is a liar, John McCain is not a war hero, a disabled reporter should be mocked and laughed at -- all of this stuff to me make him unqualified to be president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Congressman King, these were not on the fence statements here, nothing in common with the GOP, left wing Michael Moore whacko. What changed, why are you supporting him now?
KING: Yes, first of all, I made it clear that I would support the nominee of the party. So I'm supporting him as the nominee, and I will vote for him.
However, I've also said that I will not be able to campaign for him or be part of his campaign effort unless he somehow consolidates or gives some coherence to his statements. I would say my position vis-a-vis Donald Trump's position is the same as Paul Ryan's, except Paul said he's not endorsing him yet.
SCIUTTO: That's a big difference. To be fair, Congressman, that's a big difference.
KING: Yes, it is, but the point I'm making is that as far as the policy differences they're the same.
I -- Paul has a different obligation as speaker. My position is I want to stay active in the Republican Party as we go forward. If I'm going to do that, I have an obligation to support the nominee of the party, but I also have an obligation not to be defending policies that I don't agree with.
But I am a Republican. I believe in the two-party. And again, this is a close call, but I feel to stay within the party and to have a role to play and to try to frame the policies I have to endorse the nominee of the party but not with enthusiasm.
And as I've said, I will not campaign or be involved in the campaign unless some of his key positions, particularly on national and homeland security, change.
SCIUTTO: But I have to ask you, how do you explain to your constituents that you can make such strong criticisms, in fact you dismiss him as a credible and qualified candidate for president of the United States repeatedly, and then say today but, you know what, I'm going to support him. How do you explain that to your constituents? Why should they believe you now that he's qualified if you've said so many times he's not?
KING: Well, I certainly wouldn't have supported him within the Republican Party and right now, he's the only man standing. So it's going to be Republican I endorse, it has to be Donald Trump and also we are going against Hillary Clinton. And while personally I have a good Republican with Senator Clinton or Secretary Clinton, the fact is on many, many key issues I have strong disagreements, whether we're talking about Benghazi, whether we're talking about conduct involving the police, the economic policies, you know, the pivot role she was playing as far as Russia is concerned. So, I have real differences with Hillary Clinton, real policy
differences, including the appointment of a judge to the Supreme Court. The next justice of the Supreme Court could well define policy for the next 20 years. So, that's why it's important to me that we have Republican president.
So, again this is very pragmatic, not the sense of pragmatic politics but pragmatic government. To me, the Supreme Court being so vital, it's important to have a Republican president appointing that next justice and also on certain areas of foreign policy.
SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this. You heard the news that Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, former presidential candidate said as well he will not support Donald Trump.
SCIUTTO: The two previous Republican presidents, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush said they will not support him, will not participate in the convention. Those are significant forces in the Republican Party.
SCIUTTO: Is this a crisis within the Republican Party to have this kind of public split?
KING: Yes, the names you mentioned, Jeb Bush, Bush 41, President Bush 43, outstanding presidents. Jeb Bush would have been my first choice for president this year. There is -- I mean, there's a real -- yes, it is a crisis we're going through.
On the other hand, you have Dick Cheney and you have Rudy Giuliani, Governor Perry, who are supporting Donald Trump at this stage, and I think we have to decide as a party. That's why I want to play a role as we go forward. I don't want to take myself out of the game, if you will, as we go forward, as we define our party, because what Donald Trump has done has really reversed Republican policies on trade, on foreign policy, on domestic policy, and these are really key significant changes, changing really the structure of the party for the first time in 50 or 60 years.
So, whether or not this is a one-off, whether or not this is going to involve the future of the party going forward, I want to have a role to play in that. I can't emphasize how much I respect President Bush 41 or President Bush 43, and how Jeb Bush was my first choice this year, and then I went to Marco Rubio.
SCIUTTO: Congressman Peter King, thanks very much.
KING: Jim, thank you.
SCIUTTO: One Donald Trump backer says the soon-to-be nominee could reach across the aisle for his vice presidential pick, a Democrat. But could that really happen? That's after this. Plus, leaving everything behind to save their lives. Tens of thousands of people trying to outrun a wall of fire. Some told to pack up and go again, as the inferno threatens a shelter as well.
[16:24:24] SCIUTTO: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
With an FBI interview still looming over her campaign, Hillary Clinton may need a boost from President Obama. The FBI wants to question Clinton soon about the security of her private e-mail server. The investigation is nearing an end however, but it comes as Clinton battles trust issues more broadly with voters. Can she ride the coattails of President Obama's new job approval rating?
I want to bring in CNN's Brianna Keilar.
So, Brianna Keilar, Senator Sanders still getting pleased to stay in the race.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's -- it is sort of interesting here. This is coming from a senior adviser to the super PAC that backs Hillary Clinton, a former top aide to Bill Clinton.