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Trump Meets San Juan Mayor After Blasting Her Leadership; 59 Dead, 527 Hurt in Worst Shooting in U.S. History; New Photos Show Guns Found in Shooter's Suite. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired October 3, 2017 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] CARMEN YULIN CRUZ, MAYOR OF SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO: -- plus centers of distribution. A robust supply chain that is not only robust but it's also consistent. What's happening right now and what I heard from the five mayors that were there, is exactly what I have been talking about. You get one pallet of water today, you don't get one for the next week. Five, listen, if you're going to make or do a contract for something, at least save 20 percent of that contract for municipalities. So that if you want to breed or get picked, well, then if you have a $100 million contract, then set aside $200 million of that so it is the municipality that does the work. And last but not least, we need also, to divide the country of Puerto Rico in more areas, so that there are centers controlled by mayors and run by mayors that can look at the neighboring municipalities and just sort of give them what they need. But that was, that part of the meeting was very good.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, there are six things you asked for. Do you feel that you were heard?
CRUZ: By the members of the staff, yes.
SANTIAGO: Do you believe that President Trump will move forward in helping you with those?
CRUZ: Well, I sure hope so. But, you know, sometimes his foul communication gets in the way. We would have all preferred, and I'm speaking for myself, to just have him hear from us the reality what's on the ground versus Alice in Wonderland and back to reality. So, we saw two meetings, totally disconnected, one to another. One was to praise the people that are working here. And we all praise them. We all know the effort that they are doing. But if we don't have interconnectivity, then we don't stabilize the hospitals. Then we don't have a robust supply chain. If things are not going to start to get better, listen, I would love nothing more than to stand in front of the camera to say, we were hurt and things are starting to move along.
SANTIAGO: Do you think that is going to happen?
CRUZ: I saw a real connection between the reality and the White House staff. I think that they finally understood, while talking to the Mayor of Ponce and myself, and other mayors that were there. There were five in total. The mayor of Bayamon, the mayor of Guayama, the mayor of Arecibo, Ponce and myself, that there was a disconnect between what they were hearing and what was really happening. The other thing is, I think we tend to as a society to judge a human crisis by the number of people that died instantly. So of course, when you say, well, Katrina were thousands and here we are up to 26. Well that doesn't convey the message that people are dying because on a continuum, they don't have dialysis. They don't have access to healthcare. They're drinking out of creeks and the potential things that can happen. So, that second part of the meeting was productive. The first part of the meeting was a public relations situation.
SANTIAGO: So, mayor, yes or no. Do you think this trip with President Trump on this island will help the people of Puerto Rico after Maria?
CRUZ: I think his staff understands now and they have all the data they need. But I would hope that the President of the United States stops spouting out comments to hurt the people of Puerto Rico. Because rather than commander-in-chief, he sort of becomes mis- communicator and chief.
SANTIAGO: Thank you for your time. I thoroughly appreciate you coming to us to discuss what happened in such an important briefing today. Still so much going on, on the ground as President Trump is on the island. And as Puerto Rico continues its own recovery efforts after hurricane Maria -- Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Leyla, thank you for the interview. Thank you for the reporting that you're doing there, very helpful to the audience. Stay well. Let's bring in General Russell Honore, nobody understands what happened during Katrina better than the general. He was down there in charge and those of us who covered watched his work day in and day out. General, thank you for joining us. I want to play you what the president said earlier that is getting the attention so you can provide context for our viewers. Here's the sound.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you've thrown our budget a little out of whack because we have spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico. And that is fine, we have saved a lot of lives. If you look at the -- every death is a horror. But if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here with really a storm that was just totally overpowering, nobody has ever seen anything like this, and what is your death count as of this moment, 17?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 16.
[15:35:00] TRUMP: 16 people certified. 16 people versus in the thousands. You can be very proud of all of your people, all of our people, working together. 16 versus literally thousands of people. You can be very proud.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[16:05:14] CUOMO: General, what do you make of the comparison?
LT. GENERAL RUSSEL HONORE, U.S. ARMY (RETIRED): Well, first of all, I'd say, Katrina was a failure. And afterwards the Congress forced the military and reorganized FEMA and gave them more capacity to be able to respond to a storm like this. As well as the headquarters, the US NORTHCOM under NORTHCOM or NORTH under General Buchanan headquarters was created. Along with the Marine, a Navy and an Air Force headquarters to be able to maneuver on these hurricanes. And General Buchanan is there now.
And my observation from day one is that it should have been there earlier. It is not a function of them not doing the right thing, the government did the right thing, they prepositioned. The problem is scale. And this was a horrific storm. And they still don't have the scale right in terms of response. If you took Irma, Irma was a textbook operation, President Trump did good on that. He did great on Harvey. He gave them everything they asked for.
But for some reason on this storm, we didn't maneuver on it. We responded to it in a different manner. Again, it's harder and the off the continental United States, which means we should have been even more prepared to maneuver in behind Maria. We saw it coming for days.
That being said, it is still a function of scale. We don't have 100 helicopters there yet. We still have less than 6,000 military. I agree with just about everything the President said. They were there, they are moving, the problem is the scale. It is not big enough. And they still need to scale up to over 100 helicopters. We need to make some exceptions and exemptions to the FEMA rule try to handle the recovery in a different way.
We need to put pods on the ground, Chris. Every town should have a pod. That's a point of distribution run by the National Guard with a couple of Puerto Rican National Guard troops there and bring in more National Guard to man those pods. Those pods provide food, water and ice. And even medics sometimes if people need help.
And they have communications. That has not been setup. I know John Buchanan is going to get there. But we've got a need for speed. We have to get the additional helicopters there. The difference I saw in Katrina, the CEOs of America stood up in Katrina. I had CEOs call from all over the country, what do you need? It is on the way.
We need the same focus on Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. We need American industry to stand up, get out there and move those trucks. Puerto Rican truck drivers I'm told, get paid $10 an hour and we expect them to go out in some of the areas not secured. Put guards with them. The other thing we need to do, Chris, we need to have a FEMA evacuation of the vulnerable population.
I've sent a note to the governor, I hope he had the discussion with the president. People are free to leave the island, but the airport is not open 24/7. When I was at the airport Sunday, two of the six lines and the TSA were not open. We had people standing there for hours. We need to scale up. And I hope the American people are not taking this as a criticism of
the President. This is -- an idea that we have not compared with the capacity to handle the scope of the problem. He's a businessman. And I hope he sees that today. We need to scale up and get the additional National Guard.
We have to get some additional helicopters. We need to bring in industry quickly to mobilize, use the military ships that roll on and roll off to get all the heavy equipment in there to get the power grid back up. We need to get generators to every home where people are staying. We need to encourage the National Guard families to go to military bases and friends and family so the guardsmen can focus on the job and not have to worry about it.
And we need to get rid of the curfew. You can't recover a community when you only work during daylight. That means gas stations are closed ten hours a day. We have to get them all open all the time. And that may have changed since yesterday because we have been pounding on that as a recommendation. And we have to do recovery in a different way. We cannot do recovery there like we did in Texas and Louisiana and Mississippi. We need to allow local mayors to issue contracts, 40 percent of Puerto Ricans are out of work. Let them solve their recovery and the disaster debris on their own and bring the companies back up.
But we need American CEOs to stand up. Because it is businesses at the end of the day that go from disaster response, which the military is doing to keep people alive, to get that company up and operational again. And any company that got equities down there, they need to put their first team together and need to mobilize and get there. And all of America, the Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico call in and make your reservations to go there.
[15:40:00] Because if you do that, the hotels will open up. We need to go there to have our conference and work for two or three days, just like the people in New Orleans and come help the people rebuild the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. And I think it was a great visit. I hope he's got a better understanding of the scope of the task.
He's a businessman. He's got to scale this up and give General Buchanan everything he has. And I think it will take days and weeks to get this stabilized, but he needed to put something on his watch on how many hours or days until he's wanting those pods stood up in every town. Because until they are stood up, the mayors are out there standing alone.
CUOMO: General, everything you say squares with what we saw and heard on that island and what we have been reporting now for weeks. It's not about how hard the men and women from the National Guard and the related agencies are working, it is about how many of them are and how much they are able to reach. And how good the communication is and the logistics.
Obviously, the need is still very great. And that is not about politics, it's about people. General Honore, thank you very much. We'll take a break, but when we come back, we'll updating you on the president's trip to Puerto Rico. And we have new information about the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. We'll give it to you right after the break. Stay with CNN.
[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: We are back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. 59 people were brutally murdered in Las Vegas and hundreds of others have been injured.
One of the victims, 28-year-old Christopher Roybal, a Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan and continued to struggle with his war experiences after coming home. In his final Facebook post back in July, he actually wrote about his experiences of being shot at during war. So, in one post, let me just read you what he wrote, what's it like being shot at? A question people ask because it's something that less than 1 percent of our American population will ever experience. Especially, one on a daily basis.
My response has always been the same. Not one filled with a sense of pride or ego, but an answer filled with truth and genuine fear/anger. It was never fear, to be honest, mass confusion, sensory overload. What's it like to be shot at? It's a nightmare, no amount of drugs, no amount of therapy and no amount of drunk talks with your war veteran buddies will ever be able to escape.
Roybal, went to Las Vegas with his mother to celebrate his upcoming 29th birthday, and they got separated somehow during the concert as the shots were coming down. His mother managed to escape unharmed. With me now is Ryan Chiaverini, the former brother-in-law of Christopher.
Ryan, so sorry for your loss, and I'm so grateful for Christopher's service to this country. And I understand you actually lost another friend as well. So, we'll get into all of this, but first, you know, I find it so tragic that he saw some of the fiercest fighting in Afghanistan and yet it is on U.S. soil at a country music festival where he loses his life.
RYAN CHIAVERINI, FORMER BROTHER IN LAW OF CHRISTOPHER ROYBAL: Yes, you know, Brooke, it's painfully ironic that he signed up to defend this country, he knew what he was getting into by defending this country, defending Americans in a war zone with military weapons. And it's just so painful to think about the fact that he's defending Americans, but yet he comes home and gets killed by an American with weapons that he should never have access to.
And, you know, when you were reading his Facebook post, it's just chilling for me because I can hear him speaking those words. And he was so proud to defend this country. And he was involved in a lot of heavy firefights in Afghanistan. And he tried to work through the PTSD when he got home. And he was doing well in his work, he was promoted and recently moved to Colorado Springs to kind of try to, you know, get his life in order.
And it's just so surreal right now. My phone was ringing off the hook. And I missed a lot of phone calls yesterday from my sister-in- law. And you look at your phone and you've got the missed calls and you have a text that says, call me. And the first thing I did was turn on the news because my gut just told me something awful had happened. And I called my sister-in-law who answered the phone. And she told me one of our good friends was shot in the head and she was dead. And that Chris was shot in the chest and missing. We didn't know all day whether or not he was in a hospital and just unable to contact us.
BALDWIN: With Chris, I would love to hear more about him. The fact that he went to Las Vegas with his mom to celebrate his upcoming 29th birthday. It is so sweet. Just tell me more about him.
CHIAVERINI: Yes, they had a really special relationship. And Chris married my sister. And we had a really great wedding in Cancun. And it was a huge party. He was a really fun guy. The last time I saw him, he had a baseball hat on, and I said, I really like that hat. And the first thing he did was took it off and gave it to me. And I said, no, I don't want to keep your hat. He goes, just keep it. I have more of them. And that is kind of the guy he was. He loved reciting movie quotes and comedies.
And he, he loved being a part of the family. He would usually call me brother and say it in a high-pitched voice to be funny with it. And he always wanted a hug and would recite the famous quote that says, brothers don't shake hands, brothers have to hug. It is an old Chris Farley thing. He had a fun sense of humor and a fun, sweet way about him.
[15:50:00] BALDWIN: In reading further about Chris's story in Las Vegas, the firefighter saw him down, he was hit, and the firefighter tried to stop, tried to revive him, but the bullets just kept coming down. And he couldn't. And apparently according to his mom, this firefighter actually says, he saw Christopher take his last breath. So, can you tell me what happened to your other friend?
CHIAVERINI: I just want to touch on that. I talked to my sister about what happened. Chris and his mother were separated through all the chaos when you have 20,000 people running for safety.
Chris, from what I was told, got shot in the chest, realized he was shot, and then showed his friend he had been shot in the chest. He was obviously not in his right state of mind. Laid him on the ground. And first responders were yelling for everyone to get to safety and leave the wounded and they would tend to them.
And a firefighter did tend to him. And we were hoping that maybe he was in a hospital and couldn't contact us. And we got the word late, you know, my sister and friends drove to Las Vegas, and once they got to the convention center, that's when he was on the death list. My other friend, a long-term was there with other people, her name is Hannah, loving mother of three, and her daughter is three years old. And I don't know how you describe this to her kids. But especially not a three-year old.
And she always had a smile and hug for any one who worked in the room. She couldn't hurt a fly. She was one of the kindest person I ever met. And I was told she was shot in the head and I don't think that she had much of a chance. It's unfathomable to think this is real. I kept waking up last night thinking maybe this is an awful dream and here we are again. It just keeps happening. And I work in the television business as well.
And usually I'm one of the transmitters of this kind of thing. And it's just a very surreal feeling to be a part of this hand be affected directly and just wonder when is this going to stop. We keep seeing it happen in schools. I was football player in college at the University of Colorado when Columbine happened and we all wore the flower on our uniform. That was 18 years ago. What has changed in 18 years?
I want us all to find common ground and common sense on how to stop this. It's not about politics, it's not about the second amendment. A mass shooting has nothing to do with protecting your family or the right to bear arms. I'm not a gun owner but I'm not against people owning guns. I'm against people owning military weapons that should only be in the hands of U.S. military. And it's chilling to me, and when you think about the irony of Chris, that fought for this country to defend this country and he is killed by an American with military weapons. No one signs up for that.
BALDWIN: Amen, Ryan, amen, Ryan Chiaverini, I am so sorry, you make excellent points. Thanks. Just a quick reminder to all of you watching, the police on Las Vegas will be holding a news conference on the investigation any moment. So, stay with us. We'll be right back.
[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: And we're back and as the nation mourns, the investigation expands. We are getting new images of the guns reportedly found in the shooter's suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay. Our affiliate WFXT reports these Weapons were used in the killings. So, let's talk this through with
Phil Mudd and Phil Banks
Phil Banks, first to you, just on the guns. And let's throw the pictures up again, guys, if we can. And you tell me what you see looking at these guns.
PHIL BANKS, FORMER NYPD CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT: I see a person who had no reason at all to possess such weapons. For the life of me I cannot understand why these weapons are possessed by a U.S. citizen.
BALDWIN: Tell me why for people who don't know much about firearms.
BANKS: Well, he has this weapon in a hotel. He's not doing any type of hunting. These are not hunting weapons. Their purpose are for the military to possess and for mass destruction. So, I don't see the purpose of U.S. citizen having these particular weapons. Only intent as far as I can see is to kill, destroy to maim, which he has done. So, someone would have to explain to me why somebody have those particular weapons, someone not working for the government, or any type military or law enforcement capacity to possess these weapons. I've never known a reason for them to exist other than to destroy. BALDWIN: 23 guns. 23 found in that Mandalay Bay room. 19 others
found back home. Listening to our reporting, she's been one of these gun dealership in Utah, apparently, he bought from multiple states, multiple shops over the course of weeks and months. There were tripods, scopes, computer in the room. He brought them over course of time in suitcases. You are an investigator. What would you be asking?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM EXPERT: There is a lot of pieces, I would be afraid someone as a viewer is going to look at these in isolation. Look at these guns. Or look at what happened in terms of his relationship with the girlfriend, that's not how this business works.
BALDWIN: All interconnected.
MUDD: You have got to look at it together. You can almost think of it as a time line. Think of the time line in terms of purchases of weapons, for example. And also, now we know we have a computer, what's the time line on Google searches. Let me know the timeline like emails and text. We know from his family he was a text messenger. Lay that over as well. Then I am going to start overlaying interviews, what did he say three months ago, last month. And in combination I wasn't to see two things.
Number one, where does that timeline match up, a friend says that he seemed odd. And that matches for example, I am not saying it happened, for example, with the Google search. Or a friend says I don't know anything, and we see text messages to that friend at the same time. That's anomaly. The time line on day two, three, four is going to get clearer and clearer with facts or anomalies.
BALDWIN: What about the girlfriend, first she was a person of interest, then she wasn't. She's been in Asia. Suddenly, I'm not connecting the two, but this $100,000, according to reports, he wired to the Philippines. She's apparently a Philippine national. We don't know if he was wiring it to her. What questions are you going to ask his girlfriend?
MUDD: First of all, I want her data, I want to know who she is, where she lived. I want her digital data. Every email address she had. I want her phone number. I want to see her digital life and how it matches up with his life.
Then obviously, I want to not only interview her, I want to interview people like family friends to say what they say about her. Person of interest, are you kidding me, the shooting is Sunday night, it is Tuesday, she's a person of interest. And believe me outside the family members who lost family in that event, the family members who are part of the family of the shooter, let me be blunt, I don't believe anybody. Show me the money. I want to see the facts, I want to see how the facts accord with what we find in his digital life before I take somebody's name off the table.
BALDWIN: Back to the guns. And I'm still hung up on this number of 42. 23 plus 19. Hotel versus home. And that's of what's been reported. And apparently all bought purchased legally. The man had no criminal history other than some minor traffic violation settled in the court. So, he did this above the law. How do you buy 42 guns?
BANKS: In this country, very easily. But, Brooke, I want to be clear, because I think Ryan brought up a good point. Here was a person who would probably pass any existing law now certainly, and any proposed law in front of Congress now. So, the act he was looking to carry out, he would have been able to carry it out no matter what legislation existing or proposed. So, I just want to put that into context.
Now, I do support tougher gun control laws. I do certainly do on universal checks. But I think the bigger issue is what is the fascination that United States citizens have with mass destruction? Whether Columbine, Sandy Hook, what is happening that's going on? I support as former law enforcement official, I support wholeheartedly stronger good control, anything that would reduce violence, because I've seen it firsthand and I have seen the impact it certainly has. But certainly, I'm not so sure that the tougher laws as proposed would minimum the atrocities that we saw that took place in Las Vegas.
BALDWIN: I hear you. And I know you know your guns, law enforcement. I know a lot of critics would disagree. And we'll have those conversations down the road. Today it is about the investigation and is about these victims and the survivors. Thank you so much for your insight into this investigation. And, again, that news conference set to begin any moment now on the investigation side of all of this. I'm Brooke Baldwin, thanks for being with me. Jake Tapper starts now.