Return to Transcripts main page
Donald Trump Receives Intel Briefing on Russian Involvement in U.S. Election; Captured Suspect in Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting Interviewed by Law Enforcement; Four Attackers of Special Needs Teen Charged with Hate Crime; Press Conference Held Regarding Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired January 7, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:46] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good Saturday morning to you. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell, 10:00 here on east coast, 7:00 out west. You're in the "CNN Newsroom."
PAUL: And at any moment, I want to give you a heads up here, the FBI and local authorities will be speaking to reporters about their investigation into the deadly attack of the Fort Lauderdale Airport. There's a live shot there. You can maybe see, there they are. The microphones are waiting for those investigators to step up and tell us something. They've been trying to find out why Esteban Santiago, an Iraq War veteran, went on this rampage killing five people at the airport yesterday.
BLACKWELL: The FBI says Santiago unloaded a handgun inside that crowded terminal. He's being held without bond on a murder charge.
Now eight others we know were injured in the shooting, adding to the dozens of people suffering from bruises and broken bones and several other severe injuries.
PAUL: This morning Florida Governor Rick Scott commented on the shooting and was offering victims the full assistance of the state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RICK SCOTT, (R) FLORIDA: Last night I went to Broward Health Medical Center to visit some of the victims and their families. Some of the victims were still in surgery fighting for their life. The state is going to continue to offer whatever resources are need, whether it's the county, the airports, anyone that needs any services.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: CNN Correspondent Rachel Crane joins us live from Fort Lauderdale. You have some new information for us this morning. The airport I know did reopen at least in part this morning and that authorities are back on the scene. Do you know anything about what they're doing there? RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Christi. Just moments
ago as you played some of that sound, Rick Perry (ph) spoke about going to the hospital last night to speak to some of the victims. He mentions that one victim he spoke with, a woman was shot in the arm, that she was expected to be discharged today. But she was one of the lucky ones, that several other victims that he spoke with were in more serious condition. It was unclear when they would be released. And here at the airport terminal two, where the incident took place, parts of it have reopened, but of course other parts are closed as this investigation continues.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, they want us to hold for the tango line. Guess there's fire going on in the terminal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're currently having a building evacuation at terminal two.
CRANE: Chaos and confusion in Fort Lauderdale Airport after a gunman opened fire inside a baggage claim area killing five people and seriously wounding eight more. Some people fleeing the scene ran away from dangerous on to the airport tarmac.
NYE WOODHOUSE, WITNESS: It was one real close one next to me and then there was four that I heard, bam, bam, bam, bam. It was like boom. We didn't know what it was. Everybody looked. Then there was boom, boom, boom, boom, and then people taking off.
CRANE: The suspect, identified as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago, apparently had a checked weapon inside his bag. One source said he went to the bathroom to get the gun out of his luggage and came out firing. He was taken into federal custody shortly after the attack.
SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: He's unharmed. No law enforcement fired any shots. The subject is being interviewed by a team of FBI agents and Broward sheriff's office homicide detectives.
CRANE: This morning new information about Santiago who flew to Florida from Alaska Friday. He served in the Puerto Rico National Guard, the Army Reserve, and the Alaska Army National Guard. He was deployed to Iraq in 2010 where he received a combat related honor. Santiago was discharged from the Alaska Army National Guard in August.
Law enforcement officials said Santiago visited an FBI office in Anchorage several months ago. He was accompanied by associated who were concerned because Santiago said he was hearing voices. Santiago told the FBI that an intelligence agency was telling him to watch ISIS videos. The FBI asked local police to take him to the hospital for a mental evaluation. Santiago voluntarily checked himself in. Authorities are now working to determine the motive and if it's terror related. They say it's a complex investigation that's spans several states.
[10:05:05] GEORGE L. PIRO, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: We are looking at all avenues. We have not ruled out terrorism. And we will be pursuing every angle to try to determine the motive behind this attack and any associates, any connections, communication.
CRANE: Christi, momentarily we do expect law enforcement officials to hold a press conference where we will get an update on this ongoing investigation. And here at the airport things are starting to get back to normal. We have seen airplanes take off and land here. We've seen a steady stream of passengers come through the airport. Also officials dealing with the challenge of returning some 20,000 bags and personal items that were left here yesterday during the evacuation.
PAUL: All right, Rachel Crane, appreciate the update this morning. Thank you so much.
We're going to tell you what's going on in the meanwhile. Santiago's aunt is shedding some new light on the suspected gunman, really helping us to get a little more. She was telling CNN he returned from a tour in Iraq a changed man. She said, and I want to quote to get this verbatim correct for you, "He talked about all the destruction and the killing of children. He had visions all the time." She goes on to say, "His mind was not right. He seemed normal at times, but other times he seemed lost. He changed. He stopped calling. He wouldn't respond to my messages. I would call and text. He seemed distant," unquote.
BLACKWELL: There's a lot to talk about here. Let's bring in the panel, Mary Schiavo, CNN aviation analyst and former inspector general with the Department of Transportation, Grant Whitus, a former SWAT leader, and Mary Ellen O'Toole, a former senior FBI profiler and a former FBI special agent on the line with us as well. Mary Ellen, I want to start with you. When you hear the report from Greg Sanchez with CNN about these visions and talked about destruction. As an FBI profiler, you would deduce from that characterization what?
MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: The description I would certainly have the opinion at least initially that he was dealing with some mental health issues and that they could have really factored into the shooting. But at the same time, you also look for other behavior which may be in conflict with that behavior that suggested that he was in control of himself and that he was able to put together a plan even at the last minute and was able to fly across country without any outburst, put his gun in the bag and the bag was carried as luggage, and he went into the bathroom to load the gun. So there's behavior there that was more consistent with someone who's thinking squarely. And then that has to be factored in with the mental health issue. So it's never really as clear as I think sometimes people want to make it seem.
BLACKWELL: Mary, let's talk about this weapon. We know that guns are not allowed in carryon luggage for obvious reasons, right, but this was in a checked bag. I wonder if you after this tragedy believe there is a serious conversation we're about to have or potentially it's even realistic to talk about not allowing these weapons in even checked bags to try to reduce the possibility or the potential for something like this in the future. MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, I certainly think it's a
conversation we need to have, but like everything in aviation, when something goes wrong, it's never just one thing. We actually have constitutional protections to carry firearms. And of course, we have the federal Firearm Owner Protection Act which protects people carrying firearms in transit, interstate transit.
Now, the one thing that would be, I'm not going to say anything here is easy, but the one thing you could do in the short term, and we need to do some stopgap measures so there are no copycats here, is the airlines do have discretion and we would have discretion on banning ammunition. For example, Alaska Airlines allows 50 pounds of ammunition. If you remove that from the scene, then you would obviously take away the ability to use a gun other than as a blunt instrument.
But in some court cases, ammunition have been -- has been defined as included in part of the right to carry, part of the right to have a firearm. So it's a complicated thing. But in the short term, this discussion needs to remove I think the ammo from the scene for now until we can sort this out because I worry about copycats.
BLACKWELL: Grant, even if the passengers on this plane, they were not allowed to carry ammunition or to carry weapons at some point in their checked baggage, anyone who's driving up to the arrivals gate there and are picking someone up, they could have a weapon with them. I wonder, we've had this conversation about soft targets, the movie theaters, the grocery stores, the airports, after looking at what happened here yesterday in Fort Lauderdale, do you see there are any smart security changes that could happen to prevent something like this?
[10:10:07] GRANT WHITUS, FORMER SWAT TEAM LEADER: Certainly. In this case this has happened at an airport where Santiago knew that he had probably less than a minute to do the firing. And it was not a stereotypical shooting or suicide by law enforcement. He shot as long as he could and either ran out of ammo or decided law enforcement was showing up, laid down and was taken into custody.
So this is not a gun control issue. This is actually let's get more good guys with guns in the right places who can end it even quicker. So he only had a limited time to pull this off and he knew it.
BLACKWELL: There's also the mental health variable that we're going to discuss a little later in the show. Grant Witus, Mary Schiavo, Mary Ellen O'Toole, thank you all for being with us. Stay with us because we're awaiting that press conference out of Fort Lauderdale to get the very latest to on the investigation. And of course we'll want you to weigh in on right after that happens as soon as we get some new information.
PAUL: In other new this is morning, president-elect Donald Trump is claiming the Democratic National Committee bears some responsibility for last year's cyber-attack. Trump tweeting overnight, quote, "Gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place. The Republican National Committee had strong defense," unquote.
Now, the newly declassified intelligence report, however, found Russians hacked both political parties and only released stolen information on the Democrats. That's the key reason the U.S. intelligence community found that Russia's intent was to help Trump and to hurt Hillary Clinton. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has the latest from Trump Tower in New York. Sunlen, I know that president-elect has been tweeting again this morning. What are you hearing there?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, he has been, Christi, and that's after receiving his talk intel briefing with the nation's top intel heads here at Trump Tower yesterday. After that meeting he did say that it was very constructive, but notably did not include any sort of condemnation of Russia, and very notably is refusing to acknowledge the findings of the U.S. intelligence community that point blank Russia was to blame for the hack and that they did so to influence the U.S. election.
What we have seen from Trump in the last 24 hours in a series of statements and tweets is really for him to try to cast this as his politics at play, pointing a finger at Democrats, casting them essentially as sore losers in the election and putting blame on the shoulders of the Democratic National Committee.
Here is one tweet that he tweeted out this morning where he says, quote, "Only reason the hacking of the poorly defended DNC is discussed is that the loss by the Dems was so big they are totally embarrassed." He later went on to tweet, quote, "Intelligence stated very strongly there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election resulted." He added "Voting machines not touched."
Now, the declassified report that was released yesterday did not claim in any way that the voting machines were affected. Rather this report, Christi, said that -- concluded that Russia had used a variety of tax picks to influence the election. Now on Capitol Hill lawmakers really after their classified briefing and reading this report have put out a united front in the acceptance that Russia was behind the attacks and many are calling on more investigations and more sanctions. In fact, many Republicans calling on more sanctions for Russia. The president-elect for his part has said that he intends to appoint a team within 90 days of taking the White House that will look into foreign hacking. Christi, Victor?
PAUL: Sunlen Serfaty, thank you so much for the update this morning. Appreciate it.
BLACKWELL: Donald Trump refusing to say Russians were responsible for the cyber-attacks during the election. To discuss we'll have our political panel, John Avlon and Rebecca Berg with us. That's up next.
[10:16:35] BLACKWELL: Live look at the spot where any moment the FBI and local authorities will speak to reporters about their investigation into the deadly attack there at the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport. Investigators have been trying to figure out why Esteban Santiago, an Iraq war veteran, went on a shooting rampage killing five people. We heard from Florida Governor Rick Scott this morning who said some victims are still fighting for their lives. We will bring you that update from investigators live.
PAUL: Donald Trump meanwhile seems reluctant to blame Russia for the cyber-attacks, tweeting there was, quote, "no evidence that the hackings affected the election results" as we were just talking about. But we want to talk more with John Avlon, CNN political analyst and editor in chief of "The Daily Beast," and author of the new book "Washington's Farewell." Also Rebecca Berg with us, CNN political analyst and national political reporter for Real Clear Politics. Thank you both.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to see you.
PAUL: I want to read you a portion of Donald Trump's statement on the intel report after he had this meeting yesterday with the leaders of the FBI and the CIA. He said, quote, "I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office. The methods, tools and tactics we use to keep America safe should not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm. Two weeks from today I will take the oath of office and America's safety and security will be my number one priority." Will that plan, do you believe, any indication, include Russia, John?
AVLON: It should. I mean, that's clearly the power who has been most active in hacking America's information, and the new reports indicate without any equivocation sought to influence the election on Donald Trump's behalf. That problem is that resolute tone is in contrast to his tweets and the attitude he seems to be taking towards the hack that was seen to be part of an effort to put him in office, a successful one. Now, it is not conclusive, it is not the only factor, but we know that a sworn actor tried to interfere in our election using cyber espionage and other tools. That is deeply concerning, and it's not only a foregone concern. It's something that should concern him now and should concern the whole country. This is the stuff that history will expose.
PAUL: Rebecca, I wanted to read to you a tweet that was sent out overnight by top Russian parliamentarian Alexey Pushkov, tweeted this this morning. He said "All accusations against Russia are based on confidence and assumptions. The U.S. were just as confident of the WMD's Hussein had." Now, to be fair the people who were in those positions during the Bush administration are no longer in those positions now. However, it is the point that Donald Trump has been making when he questions the legitimacy of U.S. intel. What does it say to you that a Russian parliament member is mirroring the president-elect's assertions?
REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, or you could flip that and say the president-elect is mirroring what Russia has been saying. And it's really nothing short of stunning. We haven't seen this from a president or a president-elect really in modern history. Now, what I would say is that at the start of all of the recent administrations, really, President Obama, President George W. Bush, there has been a concerted effort to try to patch up relations with Russia and institute a sort of reset.
But this is quite, quite different that we have president-elect Trump and Russian officials on the same page in terms of their messaging. And really stunning as well that Donald Trump even after this intel briefing yesterday, when he did receive information from these intelligence agencies with high confidence that Russia was behind this hacking and that they were looking to influence the U.S. election, that even after that briefing, even after this high confidence assessment, and that's significant because not all intelligence assessments are high confidence. They tend to err on the side of caution if there's any sort of doubt in their minds. After this high- confidence assessment, he still is focusing on the political elements, focusing on the DNC, not focus on Russia and what they decided to do.
PAUL: John, go ahead.
BERG: And let me jump in here. The reason I laughed when I saw that statement from the members of the Russian parliament is it's a classic example of what was initially Soviet misinformation technique, constantly in this case calling back to Iraq as a false equivalence designed to remove any validity to the urgent situation we're dealing with now, which is fact-based, not conspiracy based.
And to add to Rebecca's point, the president-elect taking a foreign power side over the consistent advice of his own intelligence is unprecedented in American history for all the common sense reasons you can imagine. This is uncharted territory.
PAUL: And let's get to that point. I want to listen to former CIA director Leon Panetta when he talks about questioning intelligence. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEON PANETTA, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I think the bickering that we've seen going on with regards to the intelligence dealing with Russia and the questioning of the intelligence on that issue has in some ways damaged our national security, because it sent a message to our enemies that somehow they can conduct these kinds of attacks on the United States and not pay a price for it. And that has -- that has to be very clear that we are not going to tolerate that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: John, do you think that we're playing into Russia's hand when we see the president-elect and the intel community seemingly at odds over this?
AVLON: Yes. Yes. I don't think there's another way to read it, and I think that's of course deeply unfortunate. The person who had the best 2016 was Vladimir Putin and anyone else who was trying to undermine the liberal order around the world.
I think that what we're seeing not only the division between the president-elect and the intelligence agencies, which is a deep fissure which is not going to heal easily and which will have repercussions through the next administration, but is also the question of what is the proper response? And there are mechanisms in place to try to start defining what a proper response to a cyber-attack is.
But the damage of this is very, very deep, in part because it's seems that the president-elect is loath to criticize an effort which may have helped him get in the office. And that is not consistent with the responsibilities of the office he has inherited. There should be no jump ball when it comes to whether you're taking the advice of your own intelligence services or those of a hostile foreign power.
PAUL: Rebecca, you have the last word.
BERG: Well, I would agree with John that this is really an unprecedented situation we find ourselves in. And Donald Trump with his statement yesterday after his intel briefing, appeared to be trying to patch things up with the intel community, and of course he chose former senator Dan Coats of Indiana as his DNI, director of national intelligence. And so he's sending signals that he does want to strengthen his relationships with the intel community, to show his respect for them. But he's sending mixed signals, frankly. To be sending those messages at the same time that he is apparently rejecting at least in part the assessment of the intelligence community, it's going to be very interesting to see where this goes from here.
PAUL: Rebecca Berg and John Avlon, always appreciate your insight. Thank you so much for taking time. Good to see you.
BLACKWELL: At any moment we are going to get an update from the FBI and also local authorities there at the Fort Lauderdale Airport after the shooting rampage yesterday. Five killed, eight wounded, some severely. We'll bring that update to you live.
[10:27:05] PAUL: Any moment now, you're looking at that empty podium, but the FBI and local authorities will step up to it to speak to reporters about their investigation into that deadly attack at the Fort Lauderdale Airport, killed five, eight are injured still hospitalized. As soon as they step up to the podium to make their remarks and answer questions, we'll take you there live.
BLACKWELL: Let's get to the new details on the torture of a man with disabilities in Chicago that was live streamed on Facebook. The four suspects are being held without bail. The judge told them she didn't see a, quote, "sense of decency" in them.
PAUL: All four had been charged with aggravated kidnapping because they allegedly asked the victim's mother for a $300 ransom. Here's CNN's Rose Flores.
ALONZA THORNTON, NEIGHBOR'S GRANDSON: It was kind of shocking to know that he was here. ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alonza Thornton says his grandmother
lives in the same building where this shocking video was broadcast on Facebook Live Tuesday showing a white teenage victim with mental health issues being abused by four black individuals.
THORNTON: Actually hearing about it word of mouth that it was in the area and actually coming here today knowing that it was here, it's appalling.
FLORES: The suspects face a slew of charges, including aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and hate crime. The judge denied the suspects bond Friday and scolded them in open court, saying "I'm wondering, where was the sense of decency that each of you should have had?"
One family member of the two female suspects who are sisters apologized outside court. Inside, the suspects showing no emotion, even when prosecutors described their alleged every move in open court. From suspect Jordan Hill picking up the victim at this McDonald's in a Chicago northwest suburb on New Year's Eve to Hill allegedly beating the victim before these cameras started rolling. Once they did, according to prosecutors, Hill even asked for ransom.
ERIN ANTONIETTI, ASSISTANT STATE'S ATTORNEY: The defendant Hill communicates with the victim's mother and demands $300 ransom in exchange for getting her son back.
FLORES: When a neighbor called police, that's when prosecutors say the victim got a window of time to escape.
Neighbors tell us that this is the house where the abuse happened. They also point out that on the same night there was a separate fight. The blood from that fight still remains.
A tough neighborhood in a city that is no stranger to violence, and now a call for justice for a teen who police say is still traumatized by the torture he endured.
FLORES: As for the victim, I spoke to the family spokesperson, and he tells me that the victim is with his family and they're asking for privacy and prayers.
Rosa Flores, CNN, Chicago.
[10:30:08] PAUL: Rosa, thank you so much.
I asked CNN's legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson about the role social media and this Facebook Live plays in this case now. Listen to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It really does. As we see a burgeoning, Christi, of technology and its uses, some uses very good, other uses quite deplorable as we see here.
But I think it factors in in a couple ways. First of all, it shows an intention. It shows that they knew exactly what they were doing, broadcasting it, laughing about it, glamorizing it, and taking joy in celebrating what they were doing, of course. So, that number, one is the case.
And secondly, Christi, it's very significant in terms of proof. If a picture's worth a thousand words, we could manage what a video is worth. And so in the event that it goes that far, there could be plea discussions, negotiations, et cetera, between the district attorney and their defense lawyers, but if it goes that far, think about it for one second. Christi, you're on that jury. You see that videotape. What does it do to you? What does it do to your feelings, to your emotions, to your thoughts about who can possibly do such things? Where is the humanity of it? And so I think it plays in very significantly as far as the compelling-ness of the evidence to show they knew exactly what they were doing, and what they were doing, it's really inhumane.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: For the Russian led campaign to undermine the election and a declassified intel report pointing at Putin, the reaction from Moscow this morning putting the blame on the Obama administration. We'll have details of that.
PAUL: Also Michelle Obama giving her final speech and celebrating the educators and the young people in the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: I can think of no better way to end my time as first lady than celebrating with all of you.
[10:35:12] PAUL: So good to have your company. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good morning to you. We are learning more about accused airport Esteban Santiago.
PAUL: We know he is an Iraq war veteran. His aunt tells CNN, quote, "His mind was not right when he returned from the war." She said he had visions, that he talked about the destruction and killing children. Just a few months ago Santiago told FBI officers that he was hearing voices. That triggered a mental evaluation.
Now, before that shooting, Santiago had only minor offenses on his criminal record, and now he's being held without bond on a murder charge. He is set to make his first appearance in court on Monday. I want to give you a live shot from the Fort Lauderdale Airport. We are waiting for the FBI and local authorities to get in front of those microphones and give us this news conference to give us more information about their investigation into that attack at the Fort Lauderdale Airport yesterday. We'll continue to bring that to you live as soon as they step up to the mics there.
BLACKWELL: This morning we are getting or seeing some new tweets from the president-elect about the future relationship between the U.S. and Russia. In just the last few moments president-elect Donald Trump has tweeted this. "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing. Not a bad thing. Only stupid people or fools would think it is a bad thing. We have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am president, Russia will respect us far more than they do now, and both countries will perhaps work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the world." Those tweets coming out, those three tweets coming out in a 20-minute span of one another.
PAUL: And this morning the Kremlin is taking shots at the Obama administration after a U.S. intelligence report found that Russian Vladimir Putin ordered an effort to influence the election and help Trump along the way.
BLACKWELL: A top Russian official tweeting this, "The democratic process in the United States is not undermined not by Russia but by the Obama administration and the media which supported Clinton against Trump."
For more now let's get to CNN international correspondent Fred Pleitgen live from Moscow. And this now is just diplomacy back and forth, 140 characters at a time. It seems, though, in this fight the U.S. president-elect and Russia are on the same side.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It certainly seems as though they're at least on the same page as far as Donald Trump's tweets are concerned. And a lot of the things that we're also hearing from state run Russia media, Victor, but also from Russian politicians as well. For instance Alexey Pushkov, who you just mentioned, who on the one hand feels like or says that he feels like Donald Trump is up against the U.S. political establishment as well as the media establishment also, that's something that we've been hearing echoed from a lot of media outlets a well.
Alexey Pushkov actually, he also came out with another tweet. He's obviously very senior lawmaker here in Russia. But also going up against that report that came out by the intelligence agency, saying that there really wasn't very much new in the way of evidence, they feel, that was put out there. It's interesting, his latest tweet reads "All accusations against Russia are based confidence and assumptions. The U.S. were just as confident of WMD's Saddam Hussein had."
So also using some of the same rhetoric that Donald Trump has been using over the past couple days. But I can tell you there has been a lot of anger, indignation, frustration at some of the language that's been coming out of D.C. over the past couple of days, especially pertaining to obviously the hacking but also to the assertion that Russia was using quote/unquote "fake new" to try and influence public opinion in America.
But one of the main culprits that was named in the report, Russia Today, RT News Network, they claim out earlier with a massive report refuting pretty all the claims that were made in the report of the intelligence agencies. So you can feel that there is a level of anger at the report that came out and certainly denials once again by Russian officials, by Russian media also that Russia had anything to do with this.
It's interesting you always hear the new nuances from the Russian citizens because they don't deny that Russian citizens may have been involved in the hacking, but they say that what is, quote-unquote, "official Russia," of course meaning any sort of Russian government agencies or the military or the Kremlin, of course, were involved in any way, they categorically deny that, Victor.
BLACKWELL: Fred, after this briefing that the president-elect and the vice president-elect had on Friday, there was this statement, and let's put a portion of it up, from Donald Trump. "I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office. The methods, tools, and tactics we use to keep America safe should not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm," speaking about hacking and cyber-attacks in the future and fighting those off.
[10:40:09] What's the degree of expectation in Russia that there will be some consequence for Russia from the U.S.? We know that the Russia did not respond in kind after those expulsions last week.
I've got to jump in here before you answer. Before you answer, Fred, we've got the news conference from Florida about the shooting rampage yesterday. Five people killed. Eight wounded, some severely. Let's listen.
GEORGE PIRO, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Good morning, everyone. My name is George Piro. I'm the special agent in charge of the FBI's Miami field office. I will provide you a brief update of our investigative efforts, but I want to reiterate that this is an ongoing active investigation, and to preserve our investigative efforts not only here in south Florida but really throughout the country, I will not be able to share a lot of the investigative information that we currently have.
Last night we began to process the crime scene at terminal two. That process has concluded. At approximately 7:30 this morning we returned the terminal back to the local airport authorities. We have positively identified the five deceased victims and we are in the process of notifying their family members and loved ones. We have concluded the interview of the suspect. The suspect remains in custody and is currently held at the Broward County jail on federal charges.
We are working very, very closely with the U.S. attorney's office, and this afternoon the United States attorney's office will issue a press release in regards to the charges that the suspect will be facing. We are conducting interviews and investigative leads in numerous locations, not only here in south Florida, but really throughout several other locations in the United States. We've conducted roughly 175 witness interviews. We've recovered video, physical evidence, and we continue to pursue every investigative lead. We have not ruled out anything. We continue to look at all avenues
and all motives for this horrific attack. And at this point we are continuing to look at the terrorism angle in regards to the potential motivation behind this attack.
At this point, I'd like to introduce the director of the airport.
MARK GALE, FORT LAUDERDALE-HOLLYWOOD INTERVIEW AIRPORT: Thank you, George. Good morning, everybody. My name is Mark Gale. I'm the airport director for the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport. Once again, I want to start by expressing our condolences and sympathies to those that lost their lives here in the horrific event yesterday. Their family and friends and their loved ones, please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers.
I want to give you a brief update on the status of the airport. As was mentioned, the airport worked through the evening to get our airport terminal facilities back in shape. We actually began or resumed operations about midnight on some cargo and some general aviation activity but did not resume operations for commercial service air operations and passenger service until 0500 this morning, 5:00 a.m. this morning, in terminals one, three, and four. Terminal two was still closed this morning. It remains closed right now. It is our intention that we are going to open that up later this afternoon or early this evening when we get it ready.
Yesterday's operation, one of the questions was how many cancellations we took. We ran about a little less than 50 percent of our normal operation yesterday. Today we hope to run approximately 85 percent of our operation. We are experiencing some delays and some cancellations partly due to this incident and partly due to weather and some other issues around the country.
One of the big issues that has come up that we've received many questions on, and that is the issue of connecting the passengers with some of the belongings that they left inside the terminal facilities when they evacuated. Overnight the airport collected over 20,000 items, luggage, cellphones, laptops, various personal items. We are in the process of cataloguing all of those items, protecting it, securing it so that we can get it back to his rightful owner as soon as we possibly can.
To that end, we're asking our passengers if they can call this 800 number. It's an intake center where they'll be able to provide information on what they're missing and then we'll do our best to get them hooked up with that personal item as quickly as we can.
[10:45:07] That number is 1-866-435-9355, again, 866-435-9355. We ask for their patience. Please understand that it's going to take some time to process that large number of items, but we really feel like we need to take those steps to ensure that personal property gets back into the hands of the rightful owner.
So at this time I'd like to bring up Sheriff Israel for some remarks.
SHERIFF SCOTT ISRAEL, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: I'm Broward Sheriff Scott Israel. I want to provide a status update and a point of clarification. We have six gunshot wound victims at the hospital. Originally yesterday we released that there were eight gunshot victims. There were actually only six. Three of them remain in good condition. Three of the victims remain in ICU as of this press conference. We will not be releasing the identity of any of the six.
From a point of clarification, I've been asked repeatedly why was the airport closed yesterday. When we originally arrived and had the crime scene in the downstairs portion by baggage of terminal two, there weren't any plans to close the airport. However, when we received information that there was a possible active shooter and shots had possibly been fired, although the last thing we wanted to do was impede the progress and travel plans of our residents and citizens, in the hierarchy of responsibility, preserving the crime scene came second, and most importantly keeping Broward County and its citizens safe came first. So I made the appropriate decision to close the airport until I was sure that people at the airport and in and about the airport were safe. You're going to hear from our governor now, Governor Scott. He'll be followed by Congressman Wasserman Schultz, and then we'll take some questions.
GOV. RICK SCOTT, (R) FLORIDA: I want to thank state, local, and federal law enforcement for all their hard work. This is a horrendous act. This morning I asked the director of the state highway safety to start helping these passengers. A lot of passengers, if you talk to them, they don't have I.D. They don't have their passports. And so we have highway safety coming here, and at the port for the cruise ship to help people get their I.D. The goal is we know we can do it in Florida, but we'll see if we can help with other states.
We're also reaching out to consulate generals to see if they can come to help people with their passports. We're also reaching out to the cruise lines to make sure they understand the issue that some of these passengers are having, not having clothes, not having I.D.'s, and we can do in that regard.
We've reached out to the Red Cross to see -- they did a great job at the port helping the passengers yesterday and this morning, -- to see if they can help some passengers with luggage, clothing, things like that. Right now I've been asking just to make sure from the state level we're available if there's any of unmet needs we don't know, any right now.
Now we have Congress Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, (D) FLORIDA: Thank you, governor. I'm Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The airport is inclusive within Florida's 23rd congressional district which I have the privilege of representing. This is obviously a horrific tragedy and we are devastated that this happened in our hometown, in our corner of paradise.
And it's my role as a member of Congress to assist the governor and sheriff and this entire team with any federal jurisdictional issues. The issues the governor just mentioned both the question of if someone doesn't have their I.D., how they can actually travel without it potentially, and we're in communication with the department of homeland security and TSA, federal officials in Washington.
Additionally, the consulates, while we are attempting to reach out to all of them, they are closed. This is Saturday. So we're working with the department of state to deal with the many dozens and dozens of foreign travelers who need to be able to communicate with their home countries through their consulates and try to logistically figure out if we can get some exceptions made so that we can get people on their way.
And I really want to commend the sheriff, all of the law enforcement officers, the FBI, the governor as well as the airport director and all their personnel. This is a tragic and difficult and challenging situation. We have a united front here and we really just want to extend our appreciation to everyone for their patience and understanding. From what I've been told the passengers, while obviously very stressed in this very difficult situation, have really been incredible and everybody is just trying to get through and deal with this horrific and difficult situation. Thank you.
[10:50:20] PIRO: So do we know why he came to south Florida? We're looking at that. The early indication is that there was no specific reason that he chose Fort Lauderdale international airport. But we're still pursuing that and trying to really determine why he came here.
PIRO: We're looking at that. We're going through the videos that we have here at the airport. We are trying to determine exactly what he brought with him and things like that. I'm not willing to share some of that information because it allows us to follow up. We've got some investigative leads that that we want to pursue and we don't want to compromise some of those investigative leads.
PIRO: So what type of gun did he use and did he follow TSA procedures? As I briefed last night, he used a semi-auto handgun. It was a nine millimeter. We're not read to release the make of the handgun, and every indication is that he did follow TSA procedures in checking in the weapon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has the subject been cooperating?
PIRO: The suspect did cooperate with the interview team, which was a joint combined FBI/Broward sheriff's office. The interview went over several hours and concluded sometime this morning, at which point he was transported to the Broward County jail and booked on federal charges.
PIRO: We're looking at not only all of the places that he has resided but all of the places that he has recently traveled. We've got some indications of other locations. But we're not really ready to release those, again, because as I mentioned earlier, they provide very valuable investigative leads and we don't want to compromise those. (INAUDIBLE)
PIRO: Are we prepared to say that he came here specifically to carry out the attack? Indications are that he came here to carry out this horrific attack. We have not identified any triggers that would have caused this attack. But again, it's very early in the investigation. And we're pursuing all angles and what prompted him to carry out such a horrific attack.
PIRO: So why have we not ruled out terrorism? I will tell you because it's way too early in the investigation. We have interviewed all of his family members that we've been able to identify so far and we will continue to do that. We have interviewed him. We're looking overall of his social media, things like that. It's giving us a picture of the individual. But it's way too early for us to really rule out anything. And that's why I said earlier we're looking at everything, including potentially terrorism related.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Follow-up to that, is there something specific that would indicate some kind of terrorism?
PIRO: Again, it's too early in the investigation for me to divulge any of the intelligence or evidence that we've collected because we do want to pursue several investigative leads that are really critical to give us a better understanding of not only the individual but the motive. So for me to make any comment now would really hamper our investigative efforts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was behavioral analysis part of that initial encounter with him in Anchorage?
PIRO: So was our behavioral analysis folks involved in the contact with him at our Anchorage office? It is very normal for citizens to walk into the FBI field offices throughout the country. The office -- our FBI offices are open to the general public and we welcome citizens to come forward and provide us information and assistance.
[10:55:08] So it is available and open to our community. So he walked in as anyone has the right to do so. It was during that contact that the agents themselves noted the erratic behavior that concerned them and motivated them to call the local authorities to have him taken into custody and evaluated at a medical facility for his mental health.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he was still able to check a weapon on to a plane. Is there a disconnect there do you think?
PIRO: I'm not in a position to answer that. Again, it's really too early in the investigation to determine any of those answers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was he a known problem to law enforcement?
PIRO: I think it's too early in the investigation to know whether the individual was a problem to law enforcement. As I've reiterated, we do have quite a bit of investigative leads that we want to pursue. So we're trying to preserve some of those because it does give us the ability to maximize the investigative efforts of those leads.
PIRO: Was there an altercation on one leg of this flight? We have not identified an altercation either on the flight or baggage claim. But again, it is very early in the investigation. We have conducted hundreds of witness interviews, but we have not completed all of those, including all of the passengers that were on that aircraft on both legs. So once we've concluded that, we'll be able to say with some certainty whether there was, but currently there is no indication that there was an altercation.
PIRO: Preliminary information is that he was not placed on a no-fly list.
PIRO: I'm sorry?
UNIDENTIF PIRO: Did the shooter have any help? At this point, it appears that the shooter was acting alone. But again, as I mentioned, it's very early in the investigation. We're still going over the significant amount of investigative leads that we've collected not only here in south Florida. Our Anchorage office is actively involved in supporting this investigation, so we're trying to determine whether he truly was acting alone or not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now the terminal has been turned back over to the airport, will there be any security or heavy police presence?
PIRO: I'll turn that question over to Sheriff Israel.
ISRAEL: The question was will there be a difference in security. There certainly will. As you can see, we have beefed up the patrol force at the airport. We'll continue it for an undetermined period of time. Many of our deputies on duty and a SWAT element are out here. They are carrying long guns. And we'll evaluate it as we go forward.
ISRAEL: Like any incident, there'll be a thorough debriefing. We would do that on any critical incident. We'll look at what happened and then we'll make, you know, changes or keep things going and it will either substantiate what we've been doing or possibly we might need to go in a different direction. But we'll evaluate that after we go through the after-action report.
ISRAEL: It actually was. When shots were fired, at that point I spoke with the airport director. We shut down the airport. We had SWAT teams from Fort Lauderdale, Miami-Dade, many of our local cities, Broward sheriff's office. We had FDLE on the ground, we had the FBI on the ground. We were going through parking garages. It is a voluminous airport. It is a mammoth project, and it takes hours and hours and hours to clear. And there were thousands and thousands of people. So you can't I going to shut down the airport and it is shut down. There are still people you have to take care of. There are people on tarmacs, on planes.
So the performance of law enforcement, not only the Broward sheriff's office but our federal, state, and local partners, was absolutely exemplary. I was never more proud of law enforcement. And we did the best we could. And we did an excellent job. It wasn't perfect, but you wouldn't expect it to be perfect when faced with those types of circumstances.
[11:00:06] ISRAEL: About 70 -- the question was, from the moment the first shot was fired, how long did it take our deputy --