Return to Transcripts main page


Dallas Sniper Kills 5 Police Officers, Wounds 7; Officials: Dallas Sniper Served in Army Reserve; Interview with Hillary Clinton. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 8, 2016 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now. Ambush. Five Dallas police officers are shot dead. Seven others wounded by a sniper, as gunfire, sirens and screams end a peaceful protest over recent police shootings of African-American men.

The shooter. After a violent standoff, the gunman was killed by a robot armed with a bomb. Police say the former Army reservist told them he acted alone, angered by police shootings and that he wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers. Officials say he had no criminal record or known terror ties.

And country in crisis. There are prayer rallies and pleas for national unity following the Dallas massacre and the recent shootings by police officers. Political reaction has been pouring in. We're standing by to hear from Hillary Clinton.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Breaking news tonight. We're learning stunning new details right now about the bloody ambush in Dallas, the deadliest incident for law enforcement since 9/11.

The peaceful protest against recent police shootings ends in a bloody crisis as a sniper opens fire on officers guarding the rally. Five police officers are dead. Seven others wounded. Police say the gunman was killed by a robot bomb after a violent standoff and identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, 25-year-old former U.S. Army Reservist who served in Afghanistan.

Police say he told negotiators he was upset about police shootings and wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers. And despite additional fears of the conspiracy, sources say the gunman apparently acted on his own.

Much of the nation was already reeling from video images of the fatal police shootings of two black men this week in Louisiana and Minnesota. In Minnesota, a county medical examiner has now ruled the death of Philando Castile a homicide.

And now, across the country, as police step up security, political leaders are issuing urgent appeals for people to come together to show unity instead of fear and violence. I'll talk to Congressman Marc Veasey. And our correspondents, analysts and guests, they will have full coverage of today's top stories.

Let's go first to CNN's Martin Savidge. He's on the ground for us in Dallas. Martin, after the shock and chaos of this ambush, investigators are now getting a clearer picture of what happened and who was behind it. What are you learning?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, right now, we can tell you that the wounded from this horrific attack are still being treated at the Baylor University Medical Center behind me here. Over 200 Dallas police officers now have been interviewed and at least a dozen of them, it has been found, were firing upon the gunman.

Last night in the chaos, it was believed there could have been multiple snipers. Now we know federal sources have told CNN there was only one.

Meanwhile, streets of downtown Dallas remain a crime scene. Much of the city, much of the state, much of the nation are still in shock.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude, that's a cop down. There's four cops down.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): Terror in Dallas Thursday night as gunshots rang out at the end of a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Assist officer. Shots fired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Code three, stay off the radio. Officer down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we got a guy with a long rifle, but we don't know where the hell he's at.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden, I saw and heard six to eight shots. And it looked like two officers went down. I was screaming, "Run, run, run! Active shooter, active shooter!"

SAVIDGE: In the niche chaos, officers believed it was than one gunmen, but sources now tell CNN there was only one, 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson. This amateur video captures the shooter darting behind a column and opening fire on officers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Move back! Get back!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's shooting right now.

SAVIDGE: Police later cornered the gunman in a parking garage where they attempted to negotiate. After several hours, negotiations broke down. With officers in grave danger and the suspect holed up, police sent in a lethal robot.

CHIEF DAVID BROWN, DALLAS POLICE: We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was. SAVIDGE: The shooter was killed in the explosion.

In all, five officers were killed, seven others wounded. Two civilians were also hurt. DART Officer Brent Thompson recently married to a fellow transit officer, and Dallas police officer Patrick Zamarripa, a father of two and Navy veteran. Just two of the victims.

Misty McBride, another DART officer, shot in the arm and abdomen, but survived.

[17:05:04] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said that "I love you" and that "I'm glad you're here."

SAVIDGE: Here in the Dallas suburbs, police cars surround the shooter's home in Mesquite, Texas. Neighbors say Micah Xavier Johnson lived with his mother and kept to himself. Officials tell CNN that he served in the U.S. Army Reserves as a carpentry and masonry specialist, and he had a short deployment in Afghanistan.

BROWN: The suspect said he was upset about Black Lives Matter. He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers. The suspect stated he was not affiliated with any groups. And he stated that he did this alone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We refuse to not love our brothers and sister.

SAVIDGE: This afternoon, crowds gathered for a prayer vigil in Dallas only a few blocks from where the ambush occurred, cheering for the police chief.

DAVID: We need citizens to show officers that they appreciate their sacrifice.

SAVIDGE: In Washington, the attorney general calling for peace, too.

LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I urge you to remember, today and every day, that we are one nation; we are one people; and we stand together.

SAVIDGE: And President Obama calling the ambush a calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Anyone involved in these senseless murders will be held fully accountable. Justice will be done.


SAVIDGE: Three other people have been hauled in for questioning, and authorities say they do believe it's possible there were others involved in the planning or perhaps even in helping to carry out this attack. They say they will not rest until all are brought to justice -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Martin, thanks very much. Martin Savidge reporting for us.

We're getting new details right now we are getting about the Dallas killer. Ed Lavandera is on the scene for us, as well.

Ed, what are you learning about what police found, law enforcement investigators found in the shooter's home?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we were outside that house here in Mesquite, Texas, which is a suburb just east of Dallas. And this is where investigators, shortly after 1 a.m. in the morning, several neighbors told us, started appearing here in this neighborhood.

Dallas police officials say that during a search of Micah Johnson's home, where we're told he lives with his mother, that they found bomb- making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition and a personal journal of combat tactics. And that detectives are, right now, in the process of going through those journals to decipher and learn more from those -- those journals as we speak. But that's a sense of what they found here during this search of the house here in Mesquite, Texas -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Any political motivations? Have they discovered any social media contacts he may have had which could have underlined some political activity he may have been engaged in?

LAVANDERA: Well, his Facebook page is riddled with things -- with black empowerment movement. There's the black liberation flag was the cover photo on the page.

There was also a long list of groups connected to African-American black empowerment issues. One group in particular called the African- American Defense League. And in that group's page, there's a quote calling, saying, "We are calling on gangs across the nation, attack everything in blue."

So, obviously, those social media aspect of this is something that investigators and detectives will also be taking a much closer look at as well, hunting for any kind of clues to really pinpoint in further detail the motives behind this attack.

BLITZER: I'm sure they are. All right, Ed, thanks very much. We'll get back to you.

While police say the Dallas gunman told them he acted alone, the police chief in Dallas, David Brown, says the ambush that killed five police officers was well-planned. And he uses the word -- the police chief uses the word "suspects," not "suspect."

Let's turn to our justice correspondent Evan Perez. What is the focus of this investigation right now?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right now, they still -- the federal investigators and the Dallas police, I think, have come to terms with the idea that this is one shooter alone. I know that the police chief has been referring to multiple suspects but there was only one person who carried out these shootings.

Now there was a lot of confusion last night, as you can imagine, with the downtown towers there. The sound of the rifle going off. People thought that the shoots -- shots were coming from different places. That there was a triangulation of multiple shooters.

But now it appears that this shooter acting alone. And so now the focus is on, you know, what was his connections to anybody else? There were some other suspects who were arrested last night. We're told that those suspects are considered witnesses simply because they were there. They're not connected necessarily to this -- this terrorist act.

[17:10:04] But they still want to know more about him. They found -- as Ed just mentioned on his Facebook page, they found references to Afrocentric figures, people who are big in the afro-liberation movement, the black power movement. Again, these are people who are racist and advocate for violence and overthrow of white power as they call it. So this is something that I think the investigators are going to be working on for some time.

BLITZER: The three individuals who were arrested and being held, are they still being held or have they been released?

PEREZ: We know that at least a couple of them have been released, Wolf. We don't know whether the last one was released. Police just provided an update in which they said that one person was arrested for an unrelated weapons charge at the scene. It appears that that person might still be in jail. But that's, again, not related to shooting.

The question is are there other people who might have known about this? Are there people who might have helped him obtain the firearms? That is a question the authorities are still trying to answer.

BLITZER: The police chief keeps saying there are suspects, and they're going to find these suspects and bring them to justice.

PEREZ: Yes, they certainly -- certainly not -- they definitely had a hard time believing that one person...


PEREZ: ... could do all of this.

BLITZER: Evan, thank you very much.

Joining us now, Democratic congressman Marc Veasey of Texas. Thank you for joining us. What is the latest you're hearing about this investigation?

REP. MARC VEASEY (D), TEXAS: Well, one of the recent developments that I've been just briefed on is that they have found bomb-making materials inside of the suspect's home. This was reported by Dallas police, maybe about 15 or 20 minutes ago or so. And so we know that that is one of the newer developments. BLITZER: Yes, they -- we have been told also, Congressman, like you,

they found bomb-making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition and a personal journal of combat tactics. It looks like this guy must have been planning something along this -- this line for a while?

VEASEY: Yes. What he did was absolutely horrific. The protesters and the police were getting along fine. There had been many pictures on social media of police actually taking pictures with protesters with their signs. It looked like it was an absolute perfect event until this mad man, this gunman decided that he was going to open up fire and take the lives of these innocent police officers.

BLITZER: What is your understanding, Congressman, because I know you've been well-briefed. Did he act alone? Are there other suspects still at large?

VEASEY: What I've been told is that Dallas police feels that he acted alone. I believe at this point they feel very confident of that. And so that is what I'm going to stand by.

BLITZER: You're a member of the House Armed Services Committee. We're learning that the shooter actually was in the U.S. Army Reserves. He was on active duty in Afghanistan for a year, beginning back in 2013. Do you know anything more about his service, whether or not it had any bearing on what he might have done?

VEASEY: I have not been briefed on his service or his service record. I'm hoping that when we get back into session next week, that maybe that's one of the things that we can learn with me being a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

BLITZER: What have you heard from your constituents? How are they dealing with this, Congressman?

VEASEY: Oh, everyone is hurt. Everyone's heart goes out to the police officers that was killed. I actually spoke with the mom and the aunt of one of the police officers that was killed. That was from Ft. Worth, which is where I live. It's been absolutely devastating for the community. I know that, with me being a lifelong Dallas/Ft. Worth resident, I cannot think of a single incident that has been this tragic and this sad.

Of course, some people that are a little older than me that remember 1963, they will probably say that that was also a very sad day for them. But it's been absolutely terrible.

I've been monitoring social media, Facebook, Twitter, what have you, very closely, and it's been a very, very tough day for citizens of the Metroplex.

BLITZER: Describe the relationship, Congressman, between the police and the African-American community in your district.

VEASEY: Well, let me just give Chief Brown lots of credit. Back in 2009, Chief Brown really changed the way that the Dallas Police Department does business, and he's instrument in several different programs that has increased transparency, has changed the way that police actually report shootings and report dealings with the community. And we have seen a 64 percent decrease in complaints between 2009 and 2014.

I think that the relationship between the Dallas Police Department and the citizens have been very good, particularly under Chief Brown. Of course, there have been challenges, like in any other city, but I can tell you the changes that the chief has made that we have not heard much about have gone a great, great way in making the relationship a lot smoother between the communities.

BLITZER: Congressman, thank very much for joining us.

VEASEY: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Marc Veasey of Texas.

[17:15:02] Up next, we're getting new details on the deadly ambush in Dallas right now as appeals for common unity echo cross the country. Our experts and reporters are standing by.


BLITZER: We are following the breaking news. We are learning right now some new details about the gunman who killed five police officers, wounded seven others at a peaceful protest in Dallas.

Let's discuss with our experts. We're joined by CNN's Don Lemon, who's cover this from the very beginning. Our law enforcement analyst, Cedric Alexander, is with us. CNN legal analyst Laura Coates. She's a former federal -- federal prosecutor. She is with us, as well.

Don, I'm really curious. You watched all of this unfold last night in real time. You were anchoring our coverage. There's some dramatic video I want you to voiceover. Tell us what you saw here -- there because it's -- it's like something we haven't seen in a long time.

[17:20:11] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: It's like something I've never seen before, actually, Wolf.

So this is Ismael DeJesus's video. He's staying at the hotel across the street. The man that you're seeing behind the column -- see that column there? -- that is the shooter. And so Ismael was explaining that to me the entire time as that was happening. So that's the shooter.

What happened was a police officer had cornered the shooter here, and he had already, by this time, had taken the police officer down. So what Ismael said -- and this right here, these are the officers coming up to the scene after Ismael [SIC] had run away and the officer was down.

So what he said was he was in his hotel. He hears these shots. He looks out of his window, and you see that dark SUV there, Wolf? That was the SUV that the shooter drove up in. He parked it, and Ismael said he started shooting randomly at the intersection there. And then a cop snuck up behind him. A police officer snuck up behind him, and he said, Ismael turned around -- I mean, the shooter turned around, and just as matter-of-factually started shooting at the police officer.

He said as he was moving around, he had so many rounds, lots of 30- round magazines, and so many that they were falling out of his pockets, Wolf. And he said he thought the shooter was wearing body armor, because as the cops were shooting him, as the police officers were shooting him, he wasn't even affected by the police officers shooting him.

So he said he turned around, and he shot at the officer multiple times. And then, once the officer was down, he stood above him and then shot him execution style. And he said he was just shooting wildly. And then when the officer, you know, again came up to him, he shot the officer several times and then right up execution style.

And then didn't drive away. Left his SUV there and then made his way around the corner, and that's when he met up with other officers and more gunfire back and forth.

BLITZER: It's horrendous when you look at that video. Very, very disturbing.

Don, stand by. Cedric, we're hearing that during the search of the suspect's home in suburban Dallas, detectives have now found what they call bomb-making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition, a personal journal of combat tactics. It seems like a lot of planning must have gone into this operation.

CEDRIC ALEXANDER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, absolutely. And if you consider all of that material that was found at his home and the fact that he had tactical equipment -- it appears that he had some material in terms of how to maneuver around certain situations, how to take cover, how to barricade himself -- It sounds like he was preparing himself for this for some time. He was just waiting on the right event, and that event happened to be that peaceful protest the other night.

BLITZER: How does this attack, this assault, Cedric, psychologically impact police officers who are doing their jobs right now on a daily basis, not only in Dallas, but all over the country?

ALEXANDER: Well, you know, this type of event is something that really reaches beyond normalcy in any environment. And when that happens, it certainly does create stressors.

Policing in and of itself is a very stressful profession. You go anywhere from working an accident that's a minor fender-bender to going to an incident where you have a barricade subject such as you did the other night. That up and down, up and down type of psychological emotional stressors weigh on all of us.

But I'm quite sure, if Dallas is like most departments across this country, each one of those officers that were engaged in any type of shooting last night, even those who witnessed their fellow officers that -- injured and died, they're going to provide them with some psychological support to help them work through a lot of their feelings that usually follow that type of traumatic event.

BLITZER: Phil Banks is joining us now, former NYPD chief of department. Phi, this is obviously extremely disturbing, especially for police officers around the country. Does this type of attack further divide police from local communities that they're supposed to protect?

I don't think Phil is hearing me. Philip Banks, can you hear me?


BLITZER: All right, good. Does this kind of attack that we saw, this assault further divide police from the communities they supposed to protect?

BANKS: It has the potential to, and certainly it does, but I will say that it does not have to. And if the leaders in law enforcement and the elected officials and the community leaders who the community has put their trust in take an active stand here, it does not have to.

So it certainly is a horrific day, and my prayers go out to the families of the officers in Dallas and that city as a whole. So, you know, Wolf, it does not have to, but it has potential to be very divisive.

BLITZER: And also has potential maybe to bring some communities closer together.

Laura, let's talk a little bit about the impact this is going to have on the communities right now, Black Lives Matter protestors. They were marching peacefully in Dallas when, all of a sudden, this individual started killing police.

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's true, and it's such a horrific event from an otherwise peaceful event that was geared towards trying to vocalize a frustration that's growing in the community about what is perceived as an inability to the justice system to be able to deal effectively with police excessive force.

And what this kind of incident does, not is it only a murder that cannot be now prosecuted as a hate crime by this man, but also, it does nothing to further what the agenda should be, which is we've got to figure out a way to successfully prosecute those officers who are not honoring their title or their duty. That's a select few, but there is a plan that should be in place. And one of the ways to do that, Wolf, is to change the standard away from being this reasonable police officer being judged by only his peers and judged by an objective standard of common sense. That's not present.

BLITZER: Everybody stand by. There's a lot more information coming in. We're getting more information on the deadly ambush of police officers in Dallas.

The investigation in the fallout and new information is coming into THE SITUATION ROOM. We'll be right back.


[17:30:41] BLITZER: We are following the breaking news, the city of Dallas right now reeling after a gunman opens fire at a very peaceful protest, killing five police officers and wounding seven others.

Let's continue our discussion.

Don, a lot more protests have been planned throughout the country. Today how do you protect people's right to protest while ensuring safety out there?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Well, I think that -- it's left up to the police department. I think the onus is actually on the protesters as well and it's on the police department. The police are going to -- and we should be praising the officers because they acted heroically last night and they do it all the time in this country. But I think it's also the onus is on the protesters as well when we say see something, say something.

If you see someone around you acting strangely or if someone around you wants to be rowdy and wants to do something that does not go along with anything that is peaceful, then you have to call that person out. And so I think that, you know, police around the country are going to make sure that they keep the peace when it comes to these actions. Unfortunately, this happened in Dallas last night, but I really do think the onus is on the protesters and the people around them and then on the police as well. But I think that police are professionals. They will keep the peace. They are trained to do that.

BLITZER: And Phil, you served in the NYPD for a long time. Something like this happens in Dallas. There is going to be an impact on the NYPD in New York, I assume, greater security protection of law enforcement. Walk us through the thinking right now.

BANKS: Well, the thinking right now is that we have to make sure that the city is protected and I think that the commissioner has and I think that he will continue to do a very good job. Right now the police department is looking at securing the facilities and certainly looking to amp up their intelligence terrorism divisions to ensure that they are getting the properly intel. And once the proper intel is coming in, then they will devise a specific plan to keep the city and so they can keep the officers safe.

The NYPD has done a great job of that in the past and I'm confident that they will continue to do a very good job of that in the future.

BLITZER: Cedric, the police in Dallas, they say a huge investigation, obviously, now under way in the sniper's house in suburban Dallas. They have found what they call bomb-making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition, and a personal journal of combat tactics which all suggests this guy had some ideas, had some planning in his mind at least for a long time. ALEXANDER: Yes. That's exactly what it sounds like, Wolf. And he

was preparing himself for that particular day and that day came for him. And unfortunately that community, this country lost five police officers, six or seven officers injured, and a whole community that was traumatized. But at the end of it, and I said this yesterday before they identified that targeted and neutralized it, that this was not going to be a good day for him and it turned out not to be.

So, you know, going back to this whole point of where you just mentioned a moment ago, the responsibility of police and community, it is a joint responsibility, doing these types of protests. That community there in Dallas yesterday was a peaceful protest. And the police department walked right along with them, work right along with them.

And you had a guest on earlier today and she said something that was very profound, Wolf. And that is those police officers stood and walked with us last night and we are going to stand and walk with them today.

BLITZER: That is very profound.

ALEXANDER: That's profound.

BLITZER: Yes. I totally agree. All right, Cedric, everybody, stand by.

I want to also remind our viewers, Don will be back much more, a special edition of "CNN TONIGHT," 10:00 p.m. Eastern. You'll want to see that.

Coming up, we're getting new details, more reaction to the shootings in Dallas. So what is Hillary Clinton, what is Donald Trump, what are they proposing to end the deadly violence between police and the communities they serve?

Much more on the breaking news right after this.



BLITZER: Just a little while ago, I spoke with the Democratic presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton about the bloody ambush in Dallas, the recent shootings by police, and more.


BLITZER: Madame Secretary, thanks very much to you for joining us. Let me start with the deadly police ambush in Dallas overnight. The deadliest day for police officers here in the United States since 9/11. What would you do as president of the United States to prevent this from happening again?

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Well, first, Wolf, I've expressed my deep condolences and concerns to officials in Dallas and the region there, including the county judge, the mayor, the police chief, because this is an absolutely horrific event.

[17:40:05] I also want us to remember that just 24 hours before, we had a killing with the loss of life in Baton Rouge, in Minneapolis, and right before talking with you, it appears we had an additional event in Tennessee. This is deeply troubling and it should worry every single American.

You know, we have got to do much more to listen to one another, respect each other. We've got to do everything possible to, you know, support our police and support innocent Americans who have deadly encounters with the police.

This is the kind of call to action and as president I would implement the very comprehensive set of proposals that I've been making for more than a year, including we must do more to have national guidelines about the use of force by police especially deadly force. We need to do more to look into implicit bias and we need to do more to respect and protect our police.

Look at what happened in Dallas. Those police officers were protecting a peaceful protest, a protest of authority. That is a hallmark of America. And when the shooting started and everyone else was fleeing, the police were moving toward danger. So let's start understanding, putting ourselves in each other's shoes again, and really coming together as Americans to end this kind of terrible violence.

BLITZER: Madam Secretary, how would you bridge the divide between police officers who now feel targeted and African-Americans who also feel they are targets?

CLINTON: Well, I think that is the most important question, Wolf, because we've got to do a lot more to bring the police together with the communities that they protect and we have to have better lines of communication. As I said, we need national guidelines to really set out when force should be used and especially when deadly force should be used. Some police departments have really taken that to heart. They've done an excellent job over the last years, trying to figure out how to prevent any situation from escalating into the use of force.

And at the same time, we need communities to feel that they can trust the police, that the police are trying to protect them, and that is going to take a lot more communication, a lot more bridge building. It's going to take a lot of training on the part of our police officers to get back into the communities, to understand what is happening in neighborhoods.

I thought we were on the right track. Somehow we have veered off of it in recent years. I've met with so many family members, of those who have been killed in encounters. I've certainly talked with police officers' families who also have been killed in encounters. And we just have to make up our minds that we are going to bring our country together. This is much deeper even than these terrible killings. We've got to start once again respecting and treating each other with the dignity that every person deserves. BLITZER: Madam Secretary, the violence in Dallas as you know follow

that fatal shooting by police a day earlier of a black man, Philando Castile, during a routine traffic stop in Minnesota. The governor there said that if the people in that car had been white, that wouldn't have happened. Do you agree with him?

CLINTON: Well, I know the governor called for a Justice Department investigation and I absolutely support that. We have got to figure out what is happening when routine traffic stops, when routine arrests escalate into killings. And I don't think that we know all the answers for that, Wolf. Clearly there seems to be a terrible disconnect between many police departments and officers and the people they are trying to protect.

BLITZER: Do you agree with the governor, Madam Secretary? Do you agree with the governor when he said if those people had been white, they would not --

CLINTON: Well --

BLITZER: He would not have been shot?

CLINTON: Well, I think -- we have to find where the evidence leads us, but the facts are clear and the governor knows those facts that too many African-Americans have been killed in encounters with police over matters that should not have led to that action being taken. That's why, again, I reiterate a call for national guidelines. We have 18,000 police departments. Some of them are very small. Some of them are not very well-trained.


CLINTON: Some of them, you know, don't really have the resources that are necessary to keep training and retraining.

BLITZER: All right.

CLINTON: And frankly, Wolf, to go after systemic racism, which is a reality.

[17:45:04] BLITZER: Well, here's --

CLINTON: And to go after implicit bias.

BLITZER: Here's the fundamental question. Critically important right now. Why do you believe you would be better suited at handling the racial divide in America than Donald Trump? r

CLINTON: Well, I can only speak for myself. I have been involved in working to try to close the racial divide my entire adult life. I've worked on issues of criminal justice reform, incarceration, juvenile justice for many decades, and I'm heartbroken that we have to keep repeating and doing that work year after year, but I am determined and I am persistent. And I will call for white people, like myself, to put ourselves in the shoes of those African-American families who fear every time their children go somewhere, who have to have the talk about, you know, how to really protect themselves when they are the ones who should be expecting protection from encounters with the police.

I'm going to be talking to white people. I think we are the ones who have to start listening --

BLITZER: All right.

CLINTON: -- to the legitimate cries that are coming from our African- American fellow citizens, and we have so much more to be done and we have got to get about the business of doing it. We can't be engaging in hateful rhetoric or incitement of violence. We need to be bringing people together.

BLITZER: All right.

CLINTON: And I've said on the campaign trail repeatedly, we need more love and kindness and I know that is not usually what presidential candidate say, but I believe it and I'm going to be speaking about it from now all the way into the White House and beyond.

BLITZER: Let me turn to the sensitive issue, the e-mail investigation. Now that the threat of criminal prosecution is behind you, what have you learned from this entire episode about your e- mails?

CLINTON: Well, first, I greatly appreciate the work that the FBI, Department of Justice did, and they handled it very professionally. And I have said many times, and I repeat clearly today, it was a mistake for me to use personal e-mail and I regret that. I am certainly relieved and glad that the investigation has concluded. But I also know how important it is to make sure everybody understands that I would certainly not do that again.

That is something that, at the time, as even Director Comey said, seemed like a convenience, but it was the wrong choice.

BLITZER: Because he clearly said you did not break the law. But Comey, the FBI director, also said in announcing his findings this week that you acted, in his words, extremely careless, in an extremely careless way in handling classified, sensitive information.

Do you acknowledge you were extremely careless?

CLINTON: Well, I think the director clarified that comment to some extent, pointing out that some of what had been thought to be classified apparently was not. The State Department also made that clear. I think there are about 300 people in the government, mostly in the State Department, but in other high positions in the government with whom I e-mailed over the course of four years, they, I believe, did not believe they were sending any material that was classified.

They were pursuing their responsibilities. I do not think they were careless. And as I have said many times, I certainly did not believe that I received or sent any material that was classified.

BLITZER: All right.

CLINTON: And, indeed, any of the -- any of the documents that have been referred to I think were not marked or were marked inaccurately as has now been clarified.

BLITZER: But the FBI director did say about 110 e-mails were classified, various forms of classification. Even if they had not been marked, he said someone in your position as secretary of state should have known better. Here is the question, should you have known better?

CLINTON: I just believe that the material that was being communicated by professionals, many with years of handling sensitive classified material, they did not believe that it was. I did not have a basis for second-guessing their conclusion. And these were not marked. They were not marked, and in retrospect, some have said, well, they should have been, but they were not at the time. And I have the highest regard for the people in the State Department who are doing the very hard work of diplomacy day in and day out.

[17:50:10] Often under tremendous pressure from the field and under time pressures and questions from journalists and so much else. And I have no reason to believe that they were careless in their judgments in sending the materials that they did.

BLITZER: The State Department, as you know, has decided now to reopen its own internal review of your use of that private e-mail server or servers now that the Justice Department, the FBI has completed its investigation. Will you cooperate with this new State Department investigation?

CLINTON: Well, I assume they will pursue whatever process they think is appropriate and I also assume that they will pay very close attention to what the findings were of the Justice Department investigation.

But again, I will repeat because I think this is important. Over 300 people were on these e-mail exchanges. Some on many, some on a few. And these were experienced professionals who have had great years of dealing with classified material. Whatever they sent me, they did not believe and in my view, no reason to believe at the time that it was classified.

So I am very proud of the work that we did during my four years. We dealt with two wars of financial collapse, the Arab spring and so much else. And I think that the professionals with whom I communicated were very careful about how they handled classified material as I was over the course of those four years.

BLITZER: We're completely out of time, but very quickly, will you cooperate with this new State Department investigation? Because I know you didn't cooperate with the inspector general of the State Department in his investigation.

CLINTON: Well, there was a Justice Department investigation going on at the time. BLITZER: All right.

CLINTON: And of course, I fully cooperated with that.

BLITZER: Madam Secretary, thank you very much for sharing some thoughts with us on this day.

CLINTON: Thanks very much, Wolf.

BLITZER: Let's get some analysis. Our CNN anchor Don Lemon is still with us. Also I want to bring in our political director David Chalian.

First, Don, what did you think of her thoughts on Dallas, the tragedy, the shooting, the ambush that occurred overnight?

LEMON: I thought that she walked a tight rope there, you know, because she had to show sympathy for the officers and also talk about the issues that have happened just over the past couple of days when it comes to black men being killed and us seeing it happen live on tape.

But I thought the real interesting part for me, Wolf, is when she said, I'm going to be calling on white people to examine themselves. I'm going to be calling on, she said, white people to listen to the legitimate cries of our African-American brothers and sisters.

So speaking as a journalist, because I don't support or I'm not against any presidential candidate, that's not my role, but I will put myself in the role of the black voter in this country, of minority voters in this country, that is an appealing message to minority voters in this country, because there is nothing wrong with examining one's self. If you don't do that at some level, if you don't want to call it racist, if you don't want to call it bigoted, it's certainly selfish for people not to do that.

And considering the history of this country, I think all of us, there's room for every single person in this country, regardless of ethnicity, to examine one's self to see if there are racist, bigoted, or bias tendencies within us. And it's especially incumbent, quite frankly, on white people to do that considering the history of this country and slavery, and Jim Crow and beyond. And if you are at this moment in time saying, well, black people just need to clean up their acts and maybe they won't be shot by police and all those things, you are on the wrong message.

You should be wondering and you should be empathetic with your black brothers and sisters, and ask, why are they feeling this way? Why is this happening with police officers? Even if you don't believe it's real, how do you correct it?

I think her message was very appealing to voters of color. And I think if she had an issue with voters of color, she may have just won them over with that moment.

BLITZER: On the issue, David Chalian, of the FBI investigation into her e-mails, what emerged in your mind as significant?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think she clearly thinks just in the way she answered her questions that Jim Comey's comments before the House committee yesterday were helpful to her case. What -- what she seems to be unwilling to do, though she repeated her apology and said it was a mistake, is acknowledge his comments from Tuesday that she handled classified information in an extremely careless manner.

[17:55:12] She rejected that characterization not only for herself but she also wanted to defend all of her, you know, staff members who are on the e-mail chain. But she would not concede that point to Jim Comey even though she clearly welcomed many of his comments that he was making about that she would be reasonable not to know the markings that were on there represented classified information.

BLITZER: Clearly didn't want to make a commitment that she'll cooperate with this new State Department investigation. She made it clear she cooperated fully with the Justice Department investigation but she didn't want to go there, at least not yet.

All right, guys. Stand by. A lot more coming up, including the governor of Texas Greg Abbott, he's about to speak to reporters on the deadly shootings in Dallas. We're going to bring you his remarks, live. Stand by for that.

Plus, the secretary of Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson, he will join me live here in THE SITUATION ROOM. We'll get his reaction to the shootings. The latest on the investigation.


BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news, country in crisis. A deadly ambush on police in Dallas coming on the heels of police shootings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. Americans gripped by outrage and growing despair amid an escalating cycle of violence. How does the country now move forward?

Cop killer. Surprising new details about the Dallas gunman. His motive, his military background and more. Stunned friends are speaking out tonight. Were there any clues to his murderous plan?

And absolutely horrific. Hillary Clinton reacts to the ambush on Dallas police and Donald Trump takes to Twitter to talk about it.