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THE SITUATION ROOM
Grand Jury to Get Evidence Against Gunman's Wife; Trump Wants to Sit Down with NRA Over Selling Guns to Those on Terror Watch List; Source: Killer Befriended Transgender Women Online; Trump Renews Calls for Mosque Surveillance; Trump Breaks with NRA on No-Fly List Purchases; Body of Toddler Taken by Alligator Found. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired June 15, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:09] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: That's it for "THE LEAD." I'm Jake Tapper, turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. Federal case. Prosecutors now planning to present evidence against the Orlando gunman's wife before a grand jury. CNN has learned she told investigators she knew he wanted to commit a terror act. Will she face charges?
Last calls. New details of the killer's final conversations. His chilling calls to an old friend and a local TV station during his three-hour rampage. What did he say?
Mosque surveillance. Donald Trump renewing his call to increase scrutiny of the Islamic Houses of worshipacross the United States. And he's slamming the response of President Obama and Hillary Clinton to the Orlando massacre. But the presumptive GOP nominee is making a surprising break with Republican orthodoxy. What is he saying about guns?
And filibuster. Democrats, frustrated by Congress's refusal to act on gun violence, seize the Senate floor, putting pressure on Republicans. The lawmaker who represented Newtown is vowing to continue as long as he can. Will it move Congress to bar people on terror watch lists from buying guns?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
We're following the breaking news in the Orlando terror attacks. CNN has now learned that federal prosecutors plan to present evidence against the gunman's wife to a grand jury. Sources say Noor Salman has told investigators she knew her husband wanted to commit a terror act, and she accompanied him to a gun store and to the nightclub on what may have been a surveillance mission in the weeks before the massacre.
Shock waves from the attack are roiling the presidential race, with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump calling for increased surveillance of mosques. But in a surprise move, Trump tweeted that he'll sit down with the
NRA, which has endorsed him, to discuss barring people on terror watch lists and the no-fly list from legally purchasing guns.
We're covering all angles of the breaking news this hour with our guests, including a key member of the House Homeland Security and Intelligence Committees, Congressman Peter King. And our correspondents and expert analysts, they are also standing by.
First, let's go straight to Orlando. Our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, is on the scene for us. Pamela, there are critical new developments in the investigation today. What have you learned?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: And we're just getting some new information here, Wolf. As one law enforcement source said, the gunman was a boiling kettle and had been for some time. We know he expressed his intention, wanting to commit a violent act to his wife, according to those interviews. And I'm told by my sources that, in the two weeks prior to the attack, that he started upping his intake of jihadist propaganda, that before that he didn't consume that much; and then the two weeks before, he took in a lot.
It's still unclear what put him over the edge to conduct this mass shooting, but we're learning more about his wife, including the fact that she did accompany him on at least one occasion to buy ammunition. It's unclear if she knew what her husband was planning to do specifically in terms of shooting up that nightclub. and it wasn't unusual for him to buy ammunition. He liked using his guns for years. But tonight scrutiny remains for the wife of this gunman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ms. Mateen?
BROWN (voice-over): CNN has learned that the U.S. attorney plans to present evidence against the gunman's wife, Noor Salman, before a grand jury for charges related to the attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you know your husband is a terrorist?
BROWN: Law enforcement officials tell CNN she told investigators she knew her husband wanted to commit an act of jihad but claims she tried to talk him out of it and didn't know of any specific plot.
She also claimed her husband's behavior became increasingly violent, and she was afraid of him.
CNN has learned she went with him to Pulse nightclub and Disney Springs in early June, places investigators believe he was casing before launching the attack.
RON HOPPER, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: We will leave no stone unturned. And what that means is, at the end of all of our interviews, however long that takes, if someone is able to be charged in this investigation, we will bring them to justice. BROWN: In the middle of his three-hour rampage, the gunman made
several phone calls. Law enforcement sources say he called a friend to say good-bye, and he also called an Orlando TV station.
MATTHEW GENTILLI, PRODUCER, NEWS-13 ORLANDO: It's just a regular day.
BROWN: Matthew Gentilli, a producer at News 13 Orlando, says he received a call about 45 minutes into the shooting.
GENTILLI: Saying, "I did it for ISIS. I did it for the Islamic State" again. And I didn't know what to say to him. I was just blown away.
ORLANDO TORRES, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Never knew that we were in there at all.
BROWN: Orlando Torres overheard the conversations from the nightclub bathroom. He says Mateen claimed he had accomplices with him.
[17:05:04] TORRES: He mentioned the name of a female, addressing in that sense as playing dead with the other victims on the other side of the club, and she's wearing a bomb vest; and also that he was wearing a bomb vest. And also, there was supposedly three snipers out there and getting ready for the cops when they came.
BROWN: The FBI is still working to access data from the killer's phone, but it was damaged in the attack.
Survivors say when police broke through the wall to enter the club, water pipes burst, flooding the bathroom. The shooter's phone was found submerged in water and covered in blood. But investigators have succeeded in retrieving significant amounts of data from service providers, including e-mails.
SHERIFF JERRY DEMINGS, ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA: Suffice it to say that he had probed multiple locations before he chose that -- that spot.
BROWN: And despite this gunman expressing outrage at two men kissing in an episode right before the shooting, we have learned that he visited gay chat rooms on his laptop for some time. And we know the investigators have been looking at the websites he visited, and he was talking to transgender women on there, as well as women. Either he was trying to explore this lifestyle or he was looking, doing surveillance.
It's still unclear, Wolf, to investigators why he was on there. But what is clear is that motivations could be coming from several different places for this gunman -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Good point. All right, Pamela, thanks very much.
Let's get some more on the killer's wife, now a central figure in this investigation. Our justice correspondent, Evan Perez, is working this part of the story for us. What are you hearing, first of all, about possible charges against
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, I would be very surprised if she is not charged in this case. Just from talking to officials, they believe that there is enough evidence to indicate that she knew enough that she should have said something to law enforcement.
For instance, they believe that when she left -- according to her interviews that she's given to investigators, she even said that, when he left the House on Saturday, that she thought that he might be heading to call -- to carry out an attack, perhaps even against the Pulse nightclub. And she did not tell anyone. She didn't call police, she didn't call the FBI to report that, and so that is enough there for them to bring some charges.
Now, this is not going to happen very quickly, because there's still a lot of evidence to gather. She gave some statements initially which she later contradicted. There's still a lot of evidence to gather and to compare to her accounts. And, also, they want to see if there's anybody else in his circle who may have known information about this.
BLITZER: But it's significant that the federal prosecutor is now taking evidence before a grand jury.
PEREZ: Well, what -- this is a very normal process, especially for a very high-profile case like this. They would go to a grand jury to make sure they do -- they cross every -- everything to make sure that they know what they're doing before they bring this -- these charges.
BLITZER: What progress have they made in his whereabouts, the terrorist's whereabouts in the days, weeks leading up to this assault?
PEREZ: They've made tremendous progress, just looking at not only the data that they've been able to get from service providers. They've now been able to get some data off the phone. We know the phone was very damaged. It was underwater, covered in blood when they retrieved it on Saturday, Wolf.
But we do know that they have been able to get some information and be able to get a good picture of where he's been in the past few weeks.
BLITZER: All right. Evan Perez, thanks very much. I know you're still working on your sources. You get more information, you'll let us know.
Let's get some more on the breaking news right now. Republican Congressman Peter King of New York is joining us. He's a key member of the House Homeland Security and Intelligence Committees. Clearly, he's been well-briefed on what's going on.
So Congressman, what should happen to Noor Salman, this terrorist's wife?
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Well, you know, from all the evidence, even just the public record, to me, she could certainly be charged with failing to report a terrorist crime. She could be a co- conspirator in each of the 49 murders if she was involved at all with him in purchasing the weapons, if she helped to do a reconnaissance of the club. So -- and again, that's based on just what we know so far.
Again, this is going to be looked into a lot more closely as far as phone calls, e-mails, contacts, conversations she may have had. And also this could be a way to also bring pressure on her, in case there's other people that her husband had been dealing with, others in the community that, you know, she knows of. So I would say it's a combination of an investigation going on here and also a way to bring pressure on her.
BLITZER: Supposedly she's been cooperating. She has retained counsel; she has a lawyer. But she's been willing to have interviews. What does that say to you?
KING: That would indicate that maybe she spoke too soon. Maybe she should have gotten a lawyer first. I'm glad she didn't. I'm just saying I -- it's hard to tell what it means.
Put it this way: it could be she's trying to make a deal. It could be that the lawyer knows that she's definitely going to be charged with something, and he's trying to minimize the charges. And one way to do that would be as much cooperation as possible: filling in the gaps on what her husband was doing, obviously, whether anybody else was involved or could be involved in the future, but if nothing else, just providing as much detail and information.
[17:10:11] And also, she may be claiming a defense. Her defense could be that, because he was accused of assault and brutality against his wives, that she was in fear and that's why she didn't report it, that she had to do this because -- because he made her. I mean, these are all possible defenses that she would have.
BLITZER: You think she'll be charged?
KING: Listen, I don't know. I don't know what's going to happen with the grand jury. I haven't practiced law in a while, and when I did, I would never make a guess of who's going to be indicted or not.
I do know that, if she can be indicted, they certainly will. I mean, they're definitely looking at her. And again, it depends on does she have a valid defense? How real is the evidence?
But based on what's in the public record, I would be surprised if she's not. But again, no one knows what goes on behind the grand jury doors.
BLITZER: Is there any evidence to suggest they're interviewing other suspects who may have known about this plot?
KING: I don't know if there's other suspects. I would think, though, that the FBI, just based on past performance, its past record, is going to be talking to anyone and everyone who has had any dealings with him, you know, over the last several weeks and months. They're going to be going through all his social media contacts, e-
mails, phone calls, mail, anything. I mean, anything at all that he can show any contact that he's had with anyone else, anyone they've been in contact with. So I would say it's very possible we're at the very earliest stages of this investigation.
Now, if it ends with him, fine. But again, I think the FBI is going to run this to ground with every possible -- every possible lead.
BLITZER: What are you hearing about his -- the terrorist's phone calls to 911? Did he threaten to strap bombs to hostages inside the club?
KING: No. I have not heard that definitely. I just heard that secondhand. So I really can't -- can't vouch for that. I've heard the same reports, but I -- I've not had it confirmed.
BLITZER: Do you have any sense that this terrorist communicated directly with terror groups overseas? Do you know if he, for example, spoke Arabic?
KING: I've not heard that. As far as speaking Arabic, I don't know. I'm not aware. Again, I have not been told by any direct contacts that he's had. Again, that may have come out in the last few hours, but as far as I know, that -- that was not the case, as of, you know, the last I heard.
BLITZER; You questioned if the FBI investigation itself should have been closed. They investigated him on two occasions.
BLITZER: The second time for many, many months. I think about ten months. Do you think the FBI made a mistake?
KING: I don't want to be critical of the FBI. What I am saying is I think they may need to have a new pattern here, a new profile. Because when they close those investigations, even Director Comey said this, it was because what he was saying didn't really make sense. He was, on the one hand, taking about ISIS, the other hand, talking about Hezbollah, and they're enemies of each other. He would do this when he was carrying on rants. He was going through temper tantrums.
And that he also -- he had the acquaintance with the first American suicide bomber.
But of course, because it didn't add up, that's one of the reasons why the investigation was closed. He seemed to be more unbalanced than anything else. But now we know that they're the type of people that ISIS is appealing to. Angry -- angry Muslims who have jihadist leanings and who are unbalanced. This is a new soldier in the ISIS army. So I think the profile has changed.
And so for the very reasons that he was excluded two years ago, why the investigation was terminated, to me would be all the more reason today why that type of investigation should be kept open and why not only the FBI itself -- I realize the FBI can be overstretched. They get thousands of complaints. Some people just complain about their neighbor, and they call the FBI and say, "This guy a terrorist." Or a husband and wife are having a fight, and one of them calls in and accuses the others of being a terrorist. You can't keep those investigations open forever. You can't keep those lists (ph) open forever.
But in cases like this, where there's enough reasonable suspicion that the person, at the very least, has a mental problem and has some jihadist leanings, to me that -- that should be a new category. And also, the FBI should be making sure they make very good use of local police.
The FBI can't be investigating every case on the ground, can't continue it going. But you can have that type of monitoring surveillance. Surveillance is very important. And that can be done by the local cops, by the detectives, by their sources, their informers and by their undercovers.
BLITZER: Congressman, stand by. We have more questions, including what is emerging perhaps as a shift, a subtle shift, maybe not so subtle, of Donald Trump's position on guns and the NRA. Stand by. Much more right after this.
[17:19:11] BLITZER: The Orlando terror attack now a huge issue in the presidential campaign, and presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump now says he'll sit down with the NRA to discuss barring terror suspects from buying guns.
We're back with a key member of the House Homeland Security and Intelligence Committees, Republican Congressman Peter King of New York.
So what do you think? Trump wants to meet with the NRA about possibly barring people on the no-fly list, the terror watch list, from purchasing guns. Do you think that he's moving in the right direction?
KING: Wolf, I do. I actually introduced this bill, along with Senator Frank Lautenberg, back in 2007 at the request of the Bush administration. I've introduced it every Congress since then.
To me, it's commonsense legislation. I know people have some objections. They say there's names on the list that don't belong there. Fine. We can find ways to sanitize that list. And also, we have provisions in the bill that anyone who believes they're on the list wrongly, they can get their name taken off.
But to me, at a time like this, to allow someone who is on the terror watch list, who could be under investigation by the FBI, to purchase a weapon just doesn't make sense.
And again, if we balance the equities, on the one hand the inconvenience of some people who may end up on the list wrongly and have to wait a few weeks to have their name taken off, or to save hundreds of lives on the other hand, to me, the equities clearly are on the side of having anyone who is on the list being unable to purchase a weapon.
And, anyway, I think what really could be the game changer is if Donald Trump does this and talks to the NRA, he is right now, you know, the leader of the Republican Party as far as, you know, the races here for president. To have Donald Trump take this stand, I think it's very significant. I would support him on it 100 percent.
BLITZER: I know you're working with Senator Dianne Feinstein...
KING: Right. Absolutely.
BLITZER: ... on this issue, as well.
All right. Listen to what he said about Republicans today. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The Republicans, honestly, folks, our leaders -- our leaders have to get tougher. This is too tough to do it alone. But you know what? I think I'm going to be forced to. I think I'm going to be forced to.
Our leaders have to get a lot tougher. And be quiet. Just please be quiet. Don't talk. Please be quiet. Just be quiet, to the leaders. Because they have to get tougher. They have to get sharper. They have to get smarter. We have to have our Republicans either stick together or let me just do it by myself. I'll do very well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: He basically wants the Republican leadership in the House and the Senate to shut up, right, and let him do what he wants to do and not complain about some of the things he says. What's your reaction to that?
KING: Well, partly I'm not sure what Donald Trump wants to do. I mean, listen, I am endorsing him for president, but no one was tougher than George Bush when it came to fighting Islamist terrorism, and Donald Trump has been very critical of him.
Listen, we -- you can't just be saying you're going to ban Muslims from entering the country. You have to have some nuance and you have to have some sophistication to your proposal.
Now for instance, I support him when he says we need more surveillance at mosques. We do. To me, it makes absolutely no sense, because we know that there are terror threats going to come from the Muslim community, and the mosque is a gathering place. And we know there have been a number of terrorists over the years who actually hatched these plots in the mosques. That to me makes common sense.
To say, though, that you're going to keep all Muslims out, listen, some of our closest allies come from Jordan and Egypt. These are countries that are standing with us. And yes, should we have tighter vetting? Yes, we should. You come from a country where there's a terrorist influence, it makes sense to have more stricter vetting procedures. But that -- to say, to have this blanket approach, banning all Muslims, is wrong.
I think Donald Trump, if he wants the leadership to get behind him -- and I'm not saying the leadership is always right. I think in some areas, again, where he's been aggressive as far as the surveillance of the mosques, I agree with him. But you have to have an overall comprehensive policy.
And if he sits down with the Republican leaders to work out that policy, if he gets advisors that really -- fully understand this issue, then I think he will have more support.
And listen, I owe something to Donald Trump. When I was having my investigations of Islamist extremism and terrorism in this country, and the failure of some Muslim leaders to respond to that, Donald Trump was one of the few people who defended me on national television. So I owe him that, and I appreciate that.
At the same time, though, you can't be saying that we're just going to ban all Muslims. And we can't be saying that somehow President Obama is either allowing this to happen or I can't even get the exact words.
KING: Having a certain sympathy. Yes.
BLITZER: ... very quickly, so what I hear you saying is that the thousands of Muslims who live in your district out in Long Island or the many mosques out there, you think they should be -- the mosques should be routinely -- there should be surveillance of these mosques routinely?
KING: I think the police should have the discretion to do that, just like the many Italian-Americans in my district, when the Mafia was being investigated, I can tell you, the Italian-American community is investigated very carefully. It certainly was during the '70s and '80s, when the Mafia was at its peak. And I can tell you, the Irish- American community was scrutinized very heavily when they were going after the Westies.
You go to where the crime is coming. You don't go to Harlem to find the Ku Klux Klan.
BLITZER: Peter King, the congressman from New York, thanks very much for joining us.
KING: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Breaking news coming up, surprising new details about the killer, including who he was contacting on gay dating apps. Stay with us.
[17:28:45] BLITZER: We're following today's breaking news in the investigation of the terror attack on that Orlando nightclub, including surprising new details about the killer.
CNN's Brian Todd has spoken with people who knew him and know about his activities -- knew about his activities on the Internet. What are they telling you, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, they're telling us about a very assertive presence that Omar Mateen had online. People with knowledge of those activities say he was constantly making overtures, trying to find out more about the gay community, their events and the places they gathered.
TODD (voice-over): A jarring new portrait tonight of a killer who was active online in the gay and transgender communities. A law enforcement official tells CNN Omar Mateen befriended several transgender women on gay dating websites and chatrooms. Those individuals, according to the official, have told investigators Mateen seemed more curious than anything about their lifestyle. Investigators don't know if he visited the chat rooms for personal reasons or possibly for surveillance for an attack.
CORD CEDENO, COMMUNICATED WITH MATEEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA: You can message anyone that pops up.
TODD: Cord Cedeno tell us Mateen approached him several times about a year ago on the gay dating app Grindr.
(on camera): What were his messages to you on Grindr?
CEDENO: His messages were very simple. They were just, like, "Hey." And he would repeat "Hey" about six times. And I wouldn't respond, and then I would delete the message. It was just creepy, how he just kept repeating himself.
[17:30:07] TODD (voice-over): Cedeno says he eventually blocked Mateen's advances on Grindr but says he also saw Mateen at the Pulse nightclub at least once before the massacre.
CEDENO: He seemed like a loner. He was just very quiet at the clubs. He was just -- I've seen at the bar, maybe, once, just getting a drink.
TODD: Do you have any indications -- do you believe that Mateen had a physical relationship with another guy?
CEDENO: I mean, I don't think he had a relationship, but I think that he continually tried to hook up with men. He was openly gay on the dating apps. I mean, he would tell people that he was married.
TODD: Micah Bass, owner of a gay nightclub called Revere, says Omar Mateen tried to friend him on Facebook just a couple of days before the massacre.
MICAH BASS, NIGHTCLUB OWNER: I believe that he was wanting to see -- on my Facebook, I post all of our, Club Revere's venue, what's coming up on Friday.
I believe he was either learning more about us, trying to be what I call the -- you know, the befriend and then betray, is what I think he wanted to do.
TODD: Bass says he closed down his nightclub permanently just days before the shootings for financial reasons. The FBI was asked if Pulse was Omar Mateen's only target.
RONALD HOOPER, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Through the review that we've done of the evidence thus far, this was the intended point of attack for that evening.
TODD: Agent Ronald Hopper says he has no knowledge of Omar Mateen patronizing any gay nightclubs other than Pulse. Hopper says the FBI has given intelligence briefings to gay nightclubs throughout the Orlando area, just to give them a heightened sense of awareness, but he says there's no specific threat of an imminent attack -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting, thank you.
Joining us now, our senior law enforcement analyst, the former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes; our CNN national security analyst, Peter Bergen. His latest book, by the way, "the United States of Jihad," is about the threat of homegrown terrorists. And our CNN national security commentator, Mike Rogers, the former chairman of the House Homeland Intelligence Committee. Guys, thanks very much for joining us.
And Tom, the wife, Noor Salman, she's obviously being questioned right now, evidence presumably going before a grand jury we've reported right now. How important of a resource is she, and do you believe she will be charged?
TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: I think she's a very important resource as long as she keeps talking. If they charge her, she'd probably going to stop almost immediately.
But, you know, it will be very easy to bring an indictment against her, as it is easy to indict most people. Conviction is another matter. And if all they have is information that was given by her and no one else, if they can't corroborate somebody else saying that she was involved with him, saying that she was assisting him, they're going to have a hard time getting a conviction with that.
BLITZER: Well, she says she knew in general that he wanted to commit jihad, but she didn't know specifically about the plot at the Pulse nightclub. Could she still be charged?
FUENTES: She could still be charged, like I said, but conviction is another matter.
And I think the other aspect that she has going for her, and she can have the testimony of the first wife to assist her, is that he beat her, and she was scared to death of him. So she would know, if she calls the FBI or calls the police, and he wasn't going to do an attack that night, she's going to take a beating when he gets home. So that would be a pretty adequate defense for her, I think, unless they have more to this.
BLITZER: Whether there would be other corroborating evidence, if you will.
BLITZER: His personal phone, the terrorist's phone, apparently was damaged severely during the course of those three hours, but they're working to get all that social media, all that metadata, whatever, in other ways. How -- first of all, how important is that?
MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: Well, it could be incredibly important. Most of what's on your phone can be -- if you use the backup feature, can be obtained in other ways. E-mails, pictures, calendar events, things like that can be -- phone records can -- you can get from the phone company.
If he turned that feature off, like we saw in San Bernardino, if he had the wherewithal to do that, then that information becomes much more valuable, because it means they can't get it anywhere else other than that phone.
BLITZER: And there could be useful information there, if they can retrieve it. I'm sure their experts, technical experts are working on that.
Peter, some of the authorities said he was believed to be speaking Arabic at some times. Now, you'll know his parents, he was born in the United States. The parents were from Afghanistan, where they generally speak Pashtun, not Arabic.
If, in fact, he had learned Arabic, was fluent in Arabic, does that say anything to you about any potential motivation?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I mean, it's hard to judge what his level of fluency is, because we just don't know. But I mean, the fact is that any observant Muslim has a few words of Arabic, because the Koran is in Arabic, and the service is -- you know, some of the discussions of the mosque can be in Arabic.
So it wouldn't be surprising that he had some Arabic. But, you know, was he fluent in Arabic? Who knows? There's no evidence that he was.
BLITZER: So far, the only thing we know is he did go to Saudi Arabia twice and the United Arab Emirates, relatively brief visits in connection with the Hajj, a religious Islamic pilgrimage.
[17:35:01] BERGEN: Right. And that can be very innocuous. I mean, after all, every year, there are two or three million Muslims go for the Hajj, and then there's a lesser pilgrimage called the Umrah. So this is routine for people who can afford to do this, to go. You're supposed to go once in your lifetime. It's one of the five pillars of Islam.
BLITZER: How significant, if they can retrieve his online messages with these gay dating apps, how significant potentially could that be?
ROGERS: It's not huge. I think it can help determine motive. It can help determine if this was somebody who was confused about his sexual identity and/or he was using those apps to try to pick his targets or had more nefarious purpose in meeting any of these individuals. He may have had a less aggressive plan. You just don't know.
And so they're going to have to reconstruct all of it. They'll have to reconstruct his personal life. As I said, was this more than just him trying to understand the venues, where he might be able to plan attacks, how he might lure somebody in to where that he could kill them and still claim victory? Or was this truly a gentleman who was, again, confused about his sexual identity, trying to explore that side of him, at the same time going through a radicalization process. All of that would be incredibly important.
BLITZER: They can figure that out, right?
FUENTES: Well, yes. I mean, we had this case about a year and a half ago or so where the guy was using Christian Mingle and ended up murdering about 14 or 15 women using that app. So, you know, you do have misuse of these apps where people, you know, serial killers and rapists, are roaming on the Internet, looking for people and take advantage of some of these apps.
BLITZER: A lot of second guessing, Tom, why the local police waited three hours to finally go in there, storm that nightclub and kill this terrorist. There's a lot of second guessing they should have gone in much more quickly. What are your thoughts?
FUENTES: I'd like -- having been a tactical commander, I'd like to know more about what the police -- police chief knew at the time and what went into that decision.
You know, the modern theory is, like a Columbine-type school shooting, get the first couple of police officers to immediately go in there and try and neutralize.
But it's one thing when you have a large building, and it's well-lit and you can see what you're up against. It's a different thing to go in a dark building, where innocent people are being hidden in a number of rooms and bathrooms and under tables, behind counters, behind the bar. That's a different tactical situation. And I think the police chief had, you know, in his mind, an excellent reason for getting as much information as possible.
BLITZER: You're a former FBI agent. Do you agree?
ROGERS: Absolutely. And there was information coming out that I think he probably falsely put it out that there were explosives in there, that he had hostages wired for explosives. That is a completely different scenario. And he said he had accomplices.
So as Tom was saying, you go into a building where you have accomplices mixed with innocent people, something bad could happen. I think they were prudent in waiting that amount of time.
BLITZER: Because you know, lawmakers, they're frustrated he was removed from that terror watch list back in 2014 after a lengthy FBI investigation. Do you think it's time for some sort of a secondary watch list, people not under a terror watch list, people who have been investigated for terror, suspected of terror, just to be on the safe side?
BERGEN: Well, I think at the end of the day that's something for, you know, Congress to kind of decide, because we're all -- you know, it's out of form of just keeping an investigations open forever. I mean, that -- we're in a country where, when the case is closed, usually the case is closed. I defer to Tom and to Mike.
BLITZER: You think that's a good idea?
FUENTES: You have the more general list. You had that "tied terror list" that has more than a million names on it. Most of the criticism generated by these lists against the FBI and the intelligence community is too many people on the list, not too few.
BLITZER: All right, guys, stand by, because there's more information coming in, as well.
Also coming up, the political fallout from the terror attack. Donald Trump is renewing his call for surveillance of mosques here in the United States.
We're also following another big story breaking in the Orlando area. Searchers have now found the body of a little 2-year-old boy dragged off by an alligator near Disney World.
[17:43:27] BLITZER: We're following breaking news in the Orlando nightclub massacre, including breaking political news this afternoon. Donald Trump renewed his call for immigration restrictions for Muslim countries and surveillance of mosques throughout the United States.
Let's bring in our political reporter, Sara Murray, who is working the story. So what else, Sara, is Trump saying and how is Hillary Clinton reacting?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Hillary Clinton really went off again on Donald Trump today, attacking not only his temperament but his grasp of the issues, and suggesting that he doesn't have solutions to any of these problems that would prevent future attacks. As for Trump, he's doubling down on a suggestion he made during the
primaries, one that I think many, even in the Republican Party, hoped he would abandon, saying maybe it's time to increase surveillance on mosques.
MURRAY (voice-over): Tonight, Donald Trump is renewing his call to increase surveillance on mosques.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We aren't vigilant, and we aren't smart. And we have to go, and we have to go and maybe check, respectfully, the mosques. And we have to check other places, because this is a problem that, if we don't solve it, it's going to eat our country alive.
MURRAY: As he continues to slam President Obama's response to the Orlando massacre.
TRUMP: He gives a speech yesterday, a long speech that, at the end of it, nobody knew what the hell he was talking about.
MURRAY: And Trump is still floating the idea that the president is sympathetic to Islamic extremists, tweeting an unsubstantiated Breitbart article, claiming the Obama administration once supported ISIS.
Trump taking aim at Hillary Clinton, as well.
TRUMP: Hillary is a rank amateur. She's been doing it forever, and she still doesn't get it.
[17:45:10] MURRAY: While Clinton unleashes on Trump, saying his proposals would do nothing to prevent future attacks.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: A ban on Muslims would not have stopped this attack. Neither would a wall. I don't know how one builds a wall to keep the Internet out.
MURRAY: But in a new twist today, Trump also appears open to considering new gun control measures, tweeting, "I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list or the no-fly list to buy guns."
The NRA says it welcomes the meeting but its position hasn't changed, saying it's up to the FBI to investigate anyone on a watch list who tries to buy a gun.
Trump's latest suggestion comes as many Republicans have distanced themselves from the presumptive nominee, while he struggles to find his political footing in the aftermath of Orlando.
TRUMP: We have to have our Republicans either stick together or let me just do it by myself. I'll do very well. MURRAY: Today, he appears to suggest yet again that the tragedy will
only send his poll numbers climbing.
TRUMP: Take a look at the poll numbers from right after this horrendous and horrible and something we have to stop fast attack. Take a look over the last couple of days. Because, I'll tell you, people are tired.
MURRAY: But two new polls show Trump in serious trouble. A staggering 70 percent of Americans view Trump unfavorably in a new ABC-"Washington Post" poll compared to 55 percent who say the same about Clinton. And a Bloomberg poll found 55 percent of likely voters would never consider voting for Trump while 43 percent said the same thing about Clinton.
MURRAY: Now are continuing to see this rift play out in the Republican Party. There was this brief moment of harmony when Paul Ryan threw his support behind Donald Trump. And it seems like Republicans were coalescing behind their presumptive nominee. It doesn't look quite so much like that anymore since Donald Trump has renewed his calls for surveiling mosques, since he'd doubled down on the Muslim ban.
We're hearing more and more reservations from Republicans who frankly don't have a lot of other options other than to disagree publicly with their nominee and wait to see what happens in November -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Sara Murray, good report. Thanks very much.
Also breaking this hour, anger over the Orlando mass shooting bringing the U.S. Senate to a standstill. Democrats are filibustering, promising to hold the floor until they forced a vote on several gun control measures. A top Republican senator says they are working feverishly to try to reach a compromise.
The filibuster is being led by Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy who once represented the congressional district that included the Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site of another mass shooting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: I'll remain on this floor until we get some signal, some sign that we can come together on these two measures, that we can get a path forward on addressing this epidemic in a meaningful, bipartisan way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And just now Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California told reporters she has sent a copy of a bill to the NRA and is waiting for reaction.
Coming up, new details on another story breaking this hour. Searchers find the body of a 2-year-old little boy dragged off by an alligator near a Disneyworld resort hotel.
[17:52:47] BLITZER: Breaking news, just awhile ago searchers announced they have found the body of a little 2-year-old boy who was dragged away by an alligator near a Walt Disneyworld Resort Hotel in Florida.
CNN's Boris Sanchez is over at the resort. Tell us more about the attack and what the police have just reported.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the whole thing happened at about 9:00 p.m. last night. A family was on a manmade beach on this huge lagoon that's on the Walt Disneyworld Resort, and they were seemingly just relaxing and having a good time. The child was wading in the water. He was no more than a foot in when this alligator came out of the water and snatched him. His family immediately sprang into action but they weren't able to get to him in time.
That was 9:00 p.m. last night. More than 16, 17 hours later officials were still looking for him using sonar and divers, alligator trappers to try to find the 2-year-old toddler, but not having much success. So in the afternoon they told us that it had become a search and recovery effort instead of being search and rescue. They were now simply trying to recover the body of the young child.
And they confirmed this afternoon that about 3:30 today they found the body of the young boy, about 10 to 15 yards away from where the family had been on the shore. It was in about six feet of water. And it was discovered using sonar. Again confirming the absolute saddest news we've all been dreading we were going to hear all day.
Here is how Sheriff Jerry Demings described telling the parents this unfortunate news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF JERRY DEMINGS, ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA: I delivered the message along with a priest, a Catholic priest. And of course, the family was distraught, but also I believe somewhat relieved that we were able to find their son with his body intact, one, and two, that he was located so that they can come to grips with what has happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: A small consolation in what is otherwise a horrific, horrific story. Two other notes from that press briefing that we heard from officials, first off, they say that they're going to keep working to find the alligator that attacked the toddler. They pulled five alligators from the lagoon today and they're still examining them to figure out if there's any evidence that might link them to the attack.
[17:55:06] But they say they won't stop until they find that alligator. The other interesting thing about this they say that they're going to continue working with Disney and make sure something like this doesn't happen again. Quote, "We would not discount anything as a possible measure to try to prevent even something that is so rare like this to happen again," in what is supposed to be the happiest place on earth -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes. Hearts go out to the Graves family, loss of their little boy, Lane.
All right, thanks very much for that, Boris Sanchez, reporting.
Coming up, we're getting new details about the investigation into the Orlando terror attack. Will the killer's wife now face charges?