Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Suspect Charged with Domestic Violence Last Year; Massive Manhunt after Orlando Police Officer Shot; Trump Faces Critical Week Ahead of Inauguration; Meryl Streep Rips Trump at Golden Globes; GOP, Dems Spar Over Trump Cabinet Nominees. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired January 9, 2017 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[10:00:00]

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: And over the last 6 years, Carol, Alabama is the only team that's racked up more wins than Clemson. We'll see if those Tigers can finally win a tussle. Last time they beat the tide 1905.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: We will do that. Coy Wire reporting live from Tampa, thank you so much.

The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts now.

And good morning, I'm Carol Costello thanks for joining me. Just one hour from now, the man accused of gunning down travelers in a Florida airport due in court. This is new video of that suspect making the trip to court. He's leaving the Broward County Jail and then he was transported over to federal court. Surveillance video, this is obtained by "TMZ," shows the suspect calmly pulled out a handgun and just opened fire inside Fort Lauderdale's airport. Five people killed. Several more injured. Now, this man is facing charges that could carry the death penalty. CNN's Rachel Crane, live in Lauderdale with more. Good morning.

RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Carol. New details surrounding the investigation emerging over the weekend, including that horrific surveillance video that shows the moments just as this attack was starting. Also, incredible tales of heroism emerging including one where a 70-year-old electrician threw himself on top of a young female passenger acting as a human body shield. She was on CNN this morning, described him as her guardian angel. But also, tales of terror about this attack from witnesses. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One lady that was killed was my seatmate on the plane and she was standing right next to me.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: In the baggage claim?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the baggage claim. I gave her a gift. She turned around. I turned around. And the pops started. We used the ground. I turned around and she was shot in the head and killed. Her husband was shot in the face. The guy next to him was shot in the cheek. The guy next to him was face down. He was dead.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Did the man say anything when he was firing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't hear anything. People were just yelling get down. I have a strong belief in a higher power. And I know someone was watching over us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CRANE: Just heartbreaking hearing that account. Now, we know that two of the victims remain in ICU in critical condition. Unclear of when they will be released. We do know, however, that one of the victims was in fact released from the hospital over the weekend. We've also learned that the gun that was used to carry out this attack had actually once been in the hands of law enforcement. That was following a metal health evaluation of Santiago back in November.

But as per law, he was given back the gun because he was deemed mentally stable. Now, an arraignment is being held in about an hour where Santiago is facing three counts of -- three federal charges, which all are eligible for the death penalty. And let me correct myself, that arraignment is being held at 11:00 a.m. today. Carol?

COSTELLO: All right. 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, Rachel - thank you so much. The case is also raising questions over whether law enforcement ignored warning signs and whether further action could have prevented it. So, let's talk about that. Matthew Horace is a former ATF executive, now serving as a CNN law enforcement analyst and Bob Baer is CNN intelligence and security analyst and a former CIA operative. Welcome to both of you.

Matthew, I just want to start with a simple question. What does it take, if someone has a legally licensed gun, what does it take to get that gun away from them for good?

MATTHEW HORACE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST AND FORMER ATF AGENT: Well, in this case the FBI made a determination after speaking to him that something just wasn't quite right. So they took possession of the gun pending a medical examination. Now, after the examination was accomplished, they had no reason to keep it. And unfortunately, they had to give the gun back.

COSTELLO: How difficult is it? I'm just curious.

HORACE: It's very difficult. As you know, many people, if you look at the aggregate number of people that we've seen be victims of mass casualties, from people involved in mental health, there's always been this point when someone thought something wasn't right. But getting them adjudicated mentally ill is a whole different ball game.

COSTELLO: Whole different ball game. So, Bob, this suspect, Santiago, told FBI that the voices in his head was being controlled by the CIA and -- those voices were forcing him to watch ISIS videos. So, does that mean automatically that the FBI or CIA would track this man?

ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST AND FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Oh, absolutely not, Carol. I mean, people that come in, saying they're controlled by the CIA or they've been sent by somebody, the Trilateral Commission, it doesn't matter. They're a dime a dozen. So, when this guy walks into the FBI office talking about the CIA controlling his brain, they go, here is another nut, let's give him to the mental health authorities. And that's what they did. I mean, there's no fault on the part of the FBI or the CIA not tracking this person. I just - I can't tell you just how many people like this are out there that believe in these wild conspiracies.

[10:05:03] COSTELLO: So, again Bob, I just want to hone in on that. So, these kinds of people are dime a dozen. And do many of them own guns legally?

BAER: That's exactly the problem, because of our laws. I mean, he was clearly unstable. I mean, before the act he was clearly unstable. His family said he was unstable. The National Guard threw him out because he was crazy. But our laws don't apply to people like that. They continue to have their rights until they're committed, and that's the problem. How do you sort these people out? We just don't have a good system for it.

COSTELLO: OK. So, here is something that, you know -- and sadly, I understand all of what you both just said. But here's something that disturbs me. So Matthew, this man was investigated for domestic violence three times. He was convicted once. He was prosecuted once for strangling his girlfriend and actually breaking down the bathroom door and I mean physically. He broke it down. He went in. He strangled her. He pleaded no contest to these charges. I would assume he had a restraining order to stay away from this woman. Yet, he was still able to legally own a gun. Why is that?

HORACE: Well, from the time that that happened until now might have been a good amount of months or years.

COSTELLO: No, it was just last year. It wasn't a long time.

HORACE: Yes. During the time when he was under that court order, he could not possess a gun legally. The question becomes, he has a gun now and he commits this crime now, and unfortunately, he sort of beat the system in that regard.

COSTELLO: So he beat the - because I figured he pleaded no contest which means you don't admit guilt. So, maybe that's why he was able to own a gun.

HORACE: Well, the law is very clear. You have to be convicted of a domestic crime or a crime punishable by over one year in prison or more. And that's what the law says and those are the parameters we have to work with.

COSTELLO: I think he went into a special program. So perhaps that's why. But you see it's just curious to me. So, what really needs to change, Bob, to stop this kind of thing from happening?

BAER: We need to change the laws. I mean, you know, somebody who is being -- even by the National Guard, unstable, just simply can't own a gun, and certainly should be on some sort of no-fly list in the sense of not carrying a gun in their suitcase. I think our laws are too lax. But that's not really my specialty. Too many guns out there, too many crazy people.

COSTELLO: So, Matthew, what is the answer and do you think anything will change under the Trump administration coming in?

HORACE: Well, my challenge and plea to Mr. Trump and everyone else. We are in the midst of a public health crisis. When you put together the carnage and chaos that we've seen involving mental health patient and guns, we're in a middle of a crisis. And until something is done, we're going to continue to see these incidents over and over again.

COSTELLO: What about the argument that there are laws on the book to prevent this but you know authorities just don't follow the law? They don't enforce the law. I mean, is that a valid argument, Bob?

BAER: No. I think the laws are too lax. I totally agree with Matthew. It's just too lax. Guns are too easy to get. And we have the FBI. Local authorities have no way to take them away from them. -- They can't do it. And we're talking about people with automatic weapons and the rest of it that scare me. And we have to change the laws. End of story. I don't think Trump's going to do it. But Matthew is absolutely right. The federal authorities' hands are tied at this point.

COSTELLO: OK. So, let's just focus on how to protect yourself right? You're standing in the Fort Lauderdale Airport, waiting for your bags to come, right? And this guy comes out of the bathroom with a gun. So, if there were 12 good guys with a gun standing around, would that have prevented death, Matthew?

HORACE: Maybe, maybe not. It needs to be 12 good guys who are prepared to engage in battle. And just because you have a gun doesn't mean you're prepared to do that. So, I know the laws in Florida. I know they have a law, you're not supposed to have a gun in an airport. I fully support that. And let's face it. This incident could have happened somewhere else, outside of the airport, but it didn't. It happened here and we have victims. We have dead victims.

COSTELLO: All right. I have to leave it there. -

BAER: And I would like to add one thing. If somebody pulls out a gun and starts firing, you run. You run. You do not get on the ground. You do not -- freeze. You run. Any operator will tell you that. It's hard to hit somebody who is running fast.

COSTELLO: Right. Running fast and in a zigzag manner, right? I have heard that.

BAER: Just run. -- A shooter can't track them fast.

COSTELLO: Matthew Horace, Bob Baer, thanks to both of you.

HORACE: Thank you.

COSTELLO: All right. We do have a bit of breaking news out of Florida to report. The Orange County Sheriff's Office says a massive manhunt is underway for this man. This man's name is Markeith Loyd. And he's suspected in the shooting of an Orlando police officer. CNN's affiliate "WFTV" reporting that Loyd was wearing a security-type uniform outside of a Walmart when he shot a female officer nine times. That officer is now in the hospital. Her condition is unknown. 13 schools currently on lockdown while this manhunt continues, of course we'll keep you posted.

[10:10:16] President-elect Donald Trump, facing a critical week, now 11 days out from his inauguration. While his cabinet picks head to the Senate hearings, Mr. Trump will soon be in his own hot seat. Set to hold his first news conference since July. Mr. Trump expected to be grilled about Russia and Obamacare. CNN's Jason Carroll, live outside of Trump Tower with more. Good morning, Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Carol. It's been six months since the last press conference. There needed to be clarification on a number of issues, six months ago. Six months later, where we are now. Still needs to be clarification on a number of issues. You talk about repealing and replacing Obamacare. Repeal it, yes, but replace it specifically with what and when?

Trump has also made numerous promises to build that wall on the U.S./Mexico border. That's understood as well. He says Mexico is going to pay for it. Mexico says, not going to pay for it. So, if U.S. taxpayers have to foot the bill. Then when will U.S. taxpayers be reimbursed and how?

And you talked about the Russian Intel reports, very clear, Russia was behind the cyber hacking. Reince Priebus made it very clear that the president-elect is on board, he thinks, with the results of the Intel report. But Trump's critics say he still has not come out with some sort of a definitive strong statement against Russia.

So, these are some things that many people, presumably even some of Trump's critics, are going to be looking for during that press conference. Kellyanne Conway for her part has already said that Trump has made it very clear where he stands when it comes to Russia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP: He recognizes that Russia, China, and others are constantly trying to hack into government institutions, businesses, individuals, and we of course are against that. We don't want foreign interference from anyone into this country. This man, Donald Trump, ran successfully on America first, and he means it, including on this issue. But we also just - you know, we can't get over the selective feigned outrage. There is no smoking gun when it comes to the nexus between these hacking activities and the election results.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: And here's another point. Trump has made it very clear that he would eliminate any potential conflicts of interest when it comes to his business dealings but still has not laid out any specifics in terms of how he would do that. That's another thing that many folks are going to be waiting for on Wednesday as well. Carol?

COSTELLO: All right, Jason Carroll reporting live from outside of Trump Tower.

Trump tweeting up a storm this morning but not about Russia or his first presser in 165 days, but about the actress Meryl Streep. I am sure you've heard it by now. Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes delivering a scathing speech directed right at the president-elect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS: There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart, not because it was good, it was -- there is nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth.

It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It -- it kind of broke my heart.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COSTELLO: Donald Trump, as I've said, hitting back via Twitter, dismissing Streep as "overrated." With me now to talk more about this is senior media correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources," Brian Stelter.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT AND HOST "RELIABLE SOURCES": Overrated? Meryl Streep. I don't know if Donald Trump has a lot of people agreeing with him on that. But you know, his voters love when he get into these battles with elites. His critics say, hey, hold on a second. Trump, you are an elite. You are the ultimate elitist, a billionaire in your tower in New York City. But that's where he is tweeting this morning, criticizing Meryl Streep, he would say counterpunching after she weighed in at the Golden Globes.

And as you've said, she was there to receive this lifetime achievement award, a very big moment for her. So, she used that moment to talk about Donald Trump. And in particular, that time on the campaign trail when he seemed to be mocking a disabled reporter from "The New York Times." We can show the video of that time.

Trump had made this kind of gesture on the campaign trail a couple of other times before, but in this moment when he's criticizing Serge Kovaleski of "The New York Times." He does this gesture with his hands, with his arms. That seems to mimic Serge Kovaleski's own disability. So, this was Trump on the campaign trail way back in 2015. Feels like a lifetime ago. And that's what Meryl Streep was bringing up in her speech last night.

I think we shouldn't lose sight of Streep's larger point, which was "This instinct to humiliate," she said, "filters down into everybody's life. It kind of gives permission," she said, "for other people to do the same thing." Her overarching point was the disrespect invites more disrespect and that empathy is necessary. [10:15:10] But as you know, Kellyanne Conway, one of Trump's top aides has responded this morning. Here's what she said on "New Day."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONWAY: You can't give him the benefit of the doubt on this, and he's telling you what was in his heart? You always want to go by what's come out of his mouth - rather than look at what's in his heart.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR "NEW DAY": It's a gesture that he's making on video.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STELTER: So, that's Kellyanne Conway defending Trump, saying he absolutely did not mock this reporter, that Meryl Streep has it all wrong. This is of course an example of a culture war issue. Trump does invite these sometimes. I personally, looking at his Twitter feed this morning, was not surprised he responded to Meryl Streep, but I was still kind of shocked. You know, you do the Reagan test here, the Bush test or the Obama test. Would any of those presidents weighed in, the way Trump is today?

COSTELLO: Well, that's a good question. The thing that intrigues me is - you know, there's that line -- has been floating around for a long time, don't believe what comes out of Trump's mouth because he doesn't mean what he says. And a lot of his supporters say that. But, you know, we're a divided country. Half the country believes what comes out of Trump's mouth. They don't understand what's in his heart. So that argument, I'm not sure that it will work, at least to unify the nation.

STELTER: This issue is about language. It's really crucial. It almost makes me want to go back to my college rhetoric classes. You know, because what Donald Trump says and the way he says it, is a vastly different from past presidents -- past president-elect. And I think we, as journalists and we, as citizens have to wrestle with how to interpret his words. Meryl Streep's bottom-line though, her words were clear. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.

COSTELLO: And couldn't he just end it by saying, you know what, if it was misconstrued, I'm sorry? And then move on? -- And we all go away.

STELTER: Or invite Serge Kovaleski for a meeting. By the way, the inauguration next week, maybe Meryl Streep should try to go to the inauguration. Or maybe she'll be at the women's march a day later.

COSTELLO: Maybe so. Brian Stelter, thank you so much.

STELTER: Thanks.

COSTELLO: Still to come in the NEWSROOM, Democrats and Republicans spar over Trump's cabinet picks. After an Ethics official says the confirmation process is moving way too fast.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:21:20] COSTELLO: A critical week ahead for the incoming Trump administration, not only for the president-elect but also for the men and women he's picked to help him lead the country. Confirmation hearings kicking off tomorrow for a slew of cabinet posts, but the Office of Government Ethics is voicing concerns over some of those nominees, saying they have not been properly vetted. CNN's Phil Mattingly is live with that. Good morning.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Good morning, Carol. Look, when you talk to Trump transition officials, they're full of confidence heading into this huge week for their cabinet. They say that their cabinet selections behind closed doors have faced more than 70 hours of questions from volunteers, mock hearings, more than 2600 questions from and over the course of that period. They think their nominees are ready.

But Democrats definitely looking to attack on a number of different levels. And Carol, you can kind of name the most not worthy one right now. You get a lot of frustration when you talk to Democratic officials about the ethics process. Now, as it currently stands, one source told me, at least three, potentially four of Donald Trump's cabinet nominees have not filed the appropriate paperwork to the Office of Government Ethics.

Now, why does that matter? Well, a couple of reasons. One, the director of the Office of Government Ethics said he's very concerned by this fact. Also noting, "It has left some of the nominees with potentially unknown and unresolved ethics issues shortly before their scheduled hearings." Now, here's why that matters. You look at Donald Trump's cabinet, a lot of very successful people billionaire after billionaire, after billionaire. Those people have financial portfolios that are simply, not really seen before in a situation like this.

I think the concern you hear from Democrats isn't certainly political, but on the policy side of things, you can certainly hear from Democrats and from the Government Ethics officials, is look, we need to lay out what this all looks like and figure out ways to stop any potential ethical issues before they actually set foot in their particular agencies.

Now, Republicans say this is a lot of sour grapes. This is a lot of politics. They also say that no Senate vote will occur - full senate vote, before all of these forms are filed. It's worth noting, Carol. This is an issue before the issue. If you want to know how -- seriously Democrats are taking these hearings right now, this is a good start, a good indicator, Carol.

COSTELLO: All right. Phil Mattingly reporting live from Capitol Hill. Thank you so much. Joining me now to talk about this some more is Nicholas Burns, former U.S. ambassador to NATO. He's also a former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Good morning.

NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO AND FORMER U.S. UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS: Good morning, Carol. COSTELLO: So, Democrats are saying that, you know what? Some of these nominees have not been properly vetted, so why are we holding confirmation hearings. Do they have a point?

BURNS: Well, I think the major point here is that the Senate has a constitutional responsibility to review all of the appointments of Donald Trump or any president. And that's financial disclosure, tax information, ethical forms, security, background check, suitability, does the candidate have the right experience to be successful in the job. So, all of that has to be taken under consideration. I certainly think that Majority Leader McConnell's statement that he would not allow a vote until these ethics forms have been cleared -- is the right attitude to take and I assume -- that will now happen.

COSTELLO: Senator McConnell also said that Democrats should grow up and confirm these people already. Is he right about that too?

BURNS: Well, I think that members of both parties have the responsibility, actually, to ask critical questions. That's certainly been the case in every past confirmation hearing for major cabinet appointments that I can remember over many, many years. And so, Republicans and Democrats have to ask critical questions. And then they have to use their best judgment. Some of these nominees are very impressive people. I assume that they'll obviously be confirmed. Others, there may be a confirmation battle. We'll just have to see what happens this week and next.

[10:25:05] COSTELLO: OK. So, you went through the confirmation process, right? So you heard what Phil just reported, --

BURNS: I did.

COSTELLO: He said four of these nominees have not filed paperwork with the director of Government Ethics. What does that paperwork entail?

BURNS: Well, the Office of Government Ethics, which is the central federal government office which adjudicates everything, has a questionnaire that all candidates for confirmation have to fill out. It's taken very seriously. The Office of Government Ethics has to ensure that that has been completed, that there are no conflicts of interests. And obviously, that plus the financial disclosure, the tax information, security background check, all of that should be completed before a hearing is held. If that is not the case for some of these nominees, then obviously, then Majority Leader McConnell's statement has to come into operation. It really is unthinkable to have a vote of the full Senate before all these boxes are checked and all these very important processes are adhered to.

COSTELLO: Democrats also say that Republicans have set these confirmation hearings. They've set them up one after another in order to push them all through, because they'll be so busy. I mean, journalists won't have time to breathe in covering these things and the people won't exactly know what's going on. Is that fair?

BURNS: Well, I'm not sure it deviates much from past practice. You know, every president wants to have his major cabinet secretaries ready to go on or just after Inauguration Day. That's been true of Democrat and Republican administrations in the past. I believe in the Obama transition in 2008, there were a number of hearings bunched together. So that's not unusual. The Senate, obviously every relevant committee is going to be dissecting these candidates. There will be full votes. I think the Senate can accommodate the schedule.

COSTELLO: Well, it will start up tomorrow, we'll see. Ambassador Nick Burns thanks for joining me this morning.

Tonight, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders takes questions from a live studio audience as Donald Trump prepares to take office. Join host Chris Cuomo in a "Bernie Sanders Town Hall," that's live tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, dumped by Trump, up next, long time inauguration parade announcer Charlie Brotman will join us live to tell us about how he found out that he will not be announcing this year's inaugural parade.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)