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Clinton Speech on Orlando Attack; House & Senate Moment of Silence for Orlando Victims; New Details on Previous Investigations on Orlando Nightclub Terrorist. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired June 13, 2016 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:30:00] HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: And they are the most likely to the insidious effects of radicalization before it's too late, and the best positioned to help us block it. So we should be intensifying contacts in those communities, not scapegoating or isolating them.
CLINTON: Last year, I visited a pilot program in Minneapolis that helps parents, teachers, imams, mental health professionals and others recognize signs of radicalization in young people and work with law enforcement to intervene before it's too late. I've also met with local leaders pursuing innovative approaches in Los Angeles and other places. And we need more efforts like that in more cities across America. And as the director of the FBI has pointed out, we should avoid eroding trust in that community, which will only make law enforcement's job more difficult. Inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric and threatening to ban the families and friends of Muslim Americans as well as millions of Muslim business people and tourists from entering our country hurts the vast majority of Muslims who love freedom and hate terror.
CLINTON: So does saying that we have to start special surveillance on our fellow Americans because of their religion. It's no coincidence that hate crimes against American Muslims and mosques have tripled after Paris and San Bernardino. That's wrong. And it's also dangerous. It plays right into the terrorists' hands. Still, as I have said before, none of us can close our eyes to the fact that we do face enemies who use their distorted version of Islam to justify slaughtering innocent people. They would take us all back to the Stone Age if they could, just as they have in parts of Iraq and Syria. The terrorist in Orlando targeted LGBT Americans out of hatred and bigotry. And an attack on any American is an attack on all Americans.
CLINTON: And I want to say this to all the LGBT people grieving today in Florida and across our country. You have millions of allies who will always have your back.
CLINTON: And I am one of them.
CLINTON: From Stonewall to Laramie, and now Orlando, we've seen too many examples of how the struggle to live freely, openly and without fear, has been met by violence. We have to stand together, be proud together. There is no better rebuke to the terrorists and all those who hate. Our open, diverse society is an asset in the struggle against terrorism, not a liability. It makes us stronger and more resistant to radicalization.
And this raises a larger point about the future of our country. America is strongest when we all believe that we have a stake in our country and our future. This vision has sustained us from the beginning. The belief that, yes, we are all created equal and the journey we have made to turn that into reality over the course of our history, that we are not a land of winners and losers, that we should all have the opportunity to live up to our God-given potential. And we have a responsibility to help others do so as well.
[13:35:07] CLINTON: You see --
CLINTON: -- as I look at American history, I see that this has always been a country of "we" not "me". We stand together because we are stronger together. E pluribus, "out of many one," has seen us through the darkest chapters of our history. Ever since 13 squabbling colonies put aside their disagreements and united, because they realized they were going to rise together or fall separately, generation after generation has fought and marched and organized to widen the circle of dignity and opportunity, ending slavery, curing and expanding the right to vote, throwing open the doors of education, building the greatest middle class the world has ever seen. And we are stronger when more people can participate in our democracy.
CLINTON: And we are stronger when everyone can share in the rewards of our economy and contribute to our communities, when we bridge our divides and lift each other up instead of tearing each other down. Now, we have overcome a lot together. And we will overcome the threats of terror and radicalization and all of our other challenges. Here in Ohio and across America, I've listened to people talk about the problems that keep you up at night, the bonds that hold us together as communities, as one national community, are strained by an economy with too much inequality and too little upward mobility, by social and political divisions that have diminished our trust in each other and our confidence in our shared future. Well, I have heard that. And I want you to know, as your president, I will work every day to break down all the barriers holding you back and keeping us apart. We're going to get an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. We're going to forge a new sense of connection and shared responsibility to each other and our nation. And finally --
CLINTON: -- finally, let me remind us all, I remember -- I remember how it felt on the day after 9/11. And I bet many of you do as well. Americans from all walks of life rallied together with a sense of common purpose on September the 12th and in the days and weeks and months that followed. We had each other's backs. I was a Senator from New York. There was a Republican president, a Republican governor, and a Republican mayor. We did not attack each other. We worked with each other to protect our country and to rebuild our city.
CLINTON: President Obama went to a Muslim community center just six days after the attacks to send a message of unity and solidarity to anyone who wanted to take out their anger on our neighbors and Muslim citizens. He said that would not and should not stand for America. It is time to get back to the spirit of those days, the spirit of 9/12. Let's make sure we keep looking to the best of our country, to the best within each of us. Democratic and Republican presidents have risen to the occasion in the face of tragedy. That is what we are called to do, my friends. And I am so confident and optimistic that is exactly what we will do.
Thank you all so much!
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, with Sherrod Brown, the Democratic Senator from Ohio, often mentioned as a potential vice presidential running mate, delivering a speech she definitely would not have delivered before Orlando. A very thoughtful detailed speech dealing with the aftermath of Orlando, the terror attack there, killing 49 Americans, injuring 53 others.
Gloria Borger is with us. Jeff Zeleny is in Cleveland.
Gloria, certainly not the speech she would have delivered had Orlando not taken place?
[13:40:23] GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it isn't, Wolf. She laid out a very clear plan what she wants to do talking about lone wolves, hardening our defense against soft targets, and a surge in intelligence, and the list went on. While she didn't mention Donald Trump by name she clearly took him on for what she called scapegoating the Muslim community in this country. And then she harkened back to a Republican president, George Bush, after 9/11, who called for unity in this country and made a point of saying that you should not go after Muslims. And she talked about the ban and how it hurts the vast majority of Muslims who love freedom and hate terror in this country. And that's a direct attack on Donald Trump. But she was very, very careful, Wolf, not to mention his name, just to mention his policy.
BLITZER: And she was very, very specific in avoiding that name.
But clearly criticizing him implicitly on the ban on Muslims coming to the United States and other several issues.
Jeff Zeleny, you listened carefully to the former secretary of state. And she was very blunt in explaining what she would do. I was sort of surprised she specifically said friendly countries, like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, they have got to stop their funding of these terror groups.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, she was very specific, indeed. And this speech was designed here in Ohio, of course, one of the biggest battleground states of all, to kick off the general election campaign. Wolf, that's exactly what this speech is. That's exactly what today is. This new debate of this campaign is suddenly reframed with these horrific events in Orlando over the last 24 hours.
But, Wolf, so important and key that she didn't mention Donald Trump by name, as Gloria said, but throughout her entire speech that was the subtext here. Folks take a look at the differences between me and Donald Trump. Basically what she was saying.
She also called specifically for a ban on assault weapons and that was the first and loudest and most sustained standing here in this crowd here in battlegrounds Ohio. She said I believe weapons of war have no place on our streets. Wolf, that is going to be her battle cry in this campaign the next five months. We've seen the Democratic Party having challenges with the issue of guns over the years. They have tried to walk a fine line here. No more. That is over. Hillary Clinton is clearly siding with gun control and that is a message they believe resonates well here. I was struck by the specifics of funding terrorism. She was secretary of state. Some of her record is going to be picked apart here. But this is her bailiwick, her strong society suit.
I thought her tone was the most impressive or notable thing overall. Contrast that from two weeks ago in San Diego when she was going hard after Donald Trump. That speech essentially laid the predicate for this speech, this is the kind of leadership she is trying to present to the American people. Of course, we'll hear a rebuttal if you will from Donald Trump.
But this is a new moment in this campaign a new framing this campaign that's much more serious than pomp and circumstance and music. This is what this campaign is all about -- Wolf?
BLITZER: It certainly is. She said specifically I believe weapons of war have no place on our street. She was very, very specific in going over -- calling for this ban on assault weapons.
Paul Cruickshank is with us as well, our CNN terror analyst. Paul, we heard earlier in the day in a CNN interview with Hillary
Clinton here on "New Day" on CNN, she said, "Whether you call it radical Jihadism or radical Islamism, I'm happy to say either, they mean the same thing." In this speech, she spoke about radical jihadists. Explain your perspective because the president refuses to say radical Islamists or Islamic terrorism. She is coming increasingly forward on this. This seems to be a significant shift this morning, saying she is willing to use that phrase.
[13:45:43] PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, people in my field, analysts who look at it, we use the phrase Islamist, terrorists, we use the phrase jihadi. These are descriptive terms. They are not loaded terms. They are aimed to describe a certain phenomena that is going on. It has become very loaded obviously in the political discourse in the United States on both sides of the political divide. We're all aware of that.
But what I can tell you is that people like me have no issue describing radical jihadis to describe groups like al Qaeda, like ISIS. But if you are a political figure, a political leader in the United States or in the West, you may decide to be careful with language in order not to make the threat greater from these sorts of people. And that is why we've seen the president and other administration officials being very careful in their use of language. Jihad is a term which is used my many Muslims to denote a very different struggle to the one al Qaeda and ISIS use it to denote. So there is this battle over semantics but people like me want to move on from that and just talk about terms as best as we can to describe these phenomena.
BLITZER: Everybody, stand by. We are going to be getting back to you.
When the Senate and House convene later today here in Washington, both will hold a moment of silence to mark this weekend's shooting in Orlando.
Let's talk about that and what we also just heard from Hillary Clinton. Republican Senator and chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Ron Johnson, is joining us right now.
Senator thank you for joining us.
Let me get your reaction first of all to what we heard from Hillary Clinton. I assume you heard most of that speech.
REP. RON JOHNSON, (R), WISCONSIN: Wolf, my approach has always been trying to find areas of agreement that keep America safe, prosperous and secure. Again, there are an awful lot of parts of Hillary Clinton's speech that I agree with. That's a good thing. This is a moment where we need to unify as a country. That's certainly what the moment of silence is going to be about. Let's try to find real solutions.
I come from a manufacturing background, solved a lot of problems, root cause analysis. My root cause analysis in terms of what happened in Orlando and so many cases, it really is Islamic terrorists, that ideology. They are not going away. You can say you want to end wars. Two twice do that. Defeat your enemy or both sides agree to lay down their arms. Islamic terrorists aren't going away and they're not laying down their arms so we have to defeat them.
BLITZER: She reiterated a call to ban assault weapons. Are you ready to call for gun control and ban assault weapons once and for all?
JOHNSON: Wolf, fully automatic weapons of war are already banned. I'm willing to take a look at any solution that actually solves a problem. I think the hurdle that those that propose further restricting our constitutional rights -- let's look at what Islamic terror has done in terms of restricting our rights. We spent $95 billion on TSA. It's much more difficult to get on an airplane today. Are we going to further restrict our constitutional rights in reaction to this? I'm willing to look at any solutions that would work. But the hurdle of those who propose restricting our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is, will the proposals work. Often, you take a look at what's being proposed and compare it to past tragedies and you have to seriously conclude it wouldn't have solved the problem. I think the first thing we have to do is recognize that Islamic terror is disrupting civilization. It is restricting our freedoms. Let's not restrict them further voluntarily.
BLITZER: The AR-15 that was used in this terror attack killing 49 people, you wouldn't describe that as an assault weapon? You are differentiating between that and a fully automatic assault weapon?
BLITZER: Because that weapon certainly did kill a lot of people.
JOHNSON: So do bombs. There are other ways that terrorists can slaughter people. It's their ideology. It calls for the slaughter of innocents. That's the root cause. It's not law-abiding gun owners that are the problem. It's Islamic terrorists. And we need to actually accomplish what President Obama laid out as our goal 22 months, degrade and defeat ISIS. The analogy I have been using is it's like you have a hornets nest in the backyard. You can poke it and do some damage. But you make them actually more dangerous. We have to take out the hive. We have to defeat ISIS and Islamic terror once and for all. As a civilized world, we need to remain committed relentlessly to defeating ISIS and al Qaeda and Islamic terror wherever it has found safe haven around the world.
BLITZER: I know you have got to run, but one final question. Because Hillary Clinton mentioned it and I think it's fair to get your reaction. She said he was investigated for terrorism for 10 months by the FBI but he no problem going to a store and buying an AR-15 and another pistol. That a problem you see out there?
[13:50:07] JOHNSON: I spoke to a FBI deputy director. And basically, they did have a very robust 10-month investigation trying to track down whether any of the claims to co-workers were true. They couldn't collaborate it. Then they finally interviewed him and he basically said he made it all up. He was on the terror watch. They cleared him and they took him off. He didn't commit this terrorist act for a couple of years. The enormous challenge we have, the vexing problem is what do you do with the not guilty yet? This is why we need to take a look at not only this situation but San Bernardino, Ft. Hood, Texas. Remember, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, just in January, we foiled a plot. Sammy Hamza wanted to slaughter 100 people at a Masonic temple here. So we need to look at what the problems are and what we can do to try to prevent these tragedies in the future. But, again, I'll go back to the root cause, Islamic terror. We have to defeat ISIS and Islamic terror wherever it resides on the globe.
BLITZER: Senator Johnson, of Wisconsin, thanks very much for joining us.
JOHNSON: Have a good day.
BLITZER: Thank you.
Coming up, we're learning new details now on the FBI's previous investigations into the Orlando shooter. We'll discuss that. Update you on more information right after this.
[13:55:25] BLITZER: We are learning new details on the FBI's investigation into the Orlando nightclub terrorist.
Our justice correspondent, Evan Perez, is joining us.
Evan, I understand you went -- left a background briefing with top officials over there. What did you hear?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. A briefing by the FBI Director James Comey and Sally Yates, deputy director general, and they wanted to give background on what happened in previous FBI investigations into the shooting suspect.
For instance, back in May of 2013, the FBI placed him on a watch list that would have certainly raised questions if he tried to fly. Not necessarily the no-fly list but something that would have caused the FBI to ask questions, question him if he tried to fly. This was for about 10 months, from May 2013 to about March of 2014, when the FBI closed this investigation. This was an investigation that began when co-workers said that Mateen was boasting about ties to the Boston bombers. He said he was a member of Hezbollah. The FBI interviewed him and found that he was making it up. They closed the investigation. And even used undercover informants. They checked with Saudi Arabia where he had traveled and found nothing to continue the investigation.
He was, again, investigated or looked into back in 2014, Wolf, when his name surfaced in connection to someone who carried out a suicide bombing in Syria. That's Abusalah. FBI said there was not enough there to continue the investigation.
In essence, what the FBI director was trying to today was he believes they did what they should have done back in those investigations. He said they'll go back and review it, but he believes they did a thorough job.
He added more detail as to what happened on the night of the shooting in Orlando. He says that the suspect made three separate 911 phone calls. In one he hung up. The second one he spoke briefly with the operator and hung up again. And then in the third phone call, the operator called him and they spoke briefly. The FBI director wouldn't say what exactly was exchanged in the calls. We know from talking to sources he did mention the -- that he did mention the Boston bombers and Abusalah that carried out the Syrian suicide bombing on behalf of al Nusra -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Fascinating information. I'm sure we'll get a lot more in the coming hours and days.
Evan, thanks very much.
That's it for me. I'll be back 5:00 p.m. eastern in "The Situation Room."
Coming up in the next hour, Donald Trump will address the Orlando nightclub terror attack as well. We'll bring live coverage.
In the meantime, the news continues after a quick break.