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White House Says Nothing Has Changed Between Tillerson and Trump; Gunman's Hotel Room Note had Numbers Written on It; Hero Survivor Reunited with Cop Who Saved Him. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired October 6, 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] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: -- came into this event made folks wonder, was this for a reason? Was there something that you wanted to elude to? Dana, I want to talk to you about Rex Tillerson. Because after this NBC News report that Rex Tillerson referred to the President as a moron. Something that he did not deny in his press conference following that story breaking. Sara Sanders there saying the President still has confidence in his Secretary of State.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: She did, repeating what she said the other day and what the President even said when asked about it earlier this week after that story broke. And you know, that might be true write this second, it might not be. We've seen this movie before, over and over again. With cabinet secretaries, with former senior advisers, that he says he has confidence or he suggesting he has confidence and then they're gone.
The bottom line is -- and I was just before coming on with you talking to a senior Republican who is familiar with this sort of machinations going on. Who just said something that is really practical, which is, of course there's tension. That's obvious, between the two men, but more importantly, look at the job. The job of Secretary of State is to represent the administration around the world. And it is very, very difficult for somebody to do that job and to go and call on allies and travel arrange the world, maybe sit down with a North Korean. And for them to know that the President is furious at that person. I mean, it really undermines -- never mind the personality differences at the core -- undermines the ability of someone like Rex Tillerson to do his job.
KEILAR: Can you imagine, Heather, a situation where the Secretary of State calls the President a moron in ear shot of other people, of other officials and it's this public humiliation and the President would keep the Secretary of State on for any significant amount of time.
HEATHER CONLEY, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: This week has been extraordinary. And you know, your heart just goes out to the men and women of the State Department who are every day doing a really hard job of protecting the American people overseas and strengthening America. And this whole issue absolutely to Dana's point, it reduces our ability to do that effective diplomacy to try to work through these challenging issues, whether it's Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan. And so, this whole thing just impairs our ability to be strong and bold on a diplomatic front. And of course, everyone is talking about this incredible story. And it just reduces Secretary Tillerson's ability to do his job. It reduces the president's ability to have those options -- all of those options on the table. It just limits diplomacy and we need more diplomacy now more than ever.
KEILAR: That is certainly true. If you all could stand by for me. I do want to bring in Barbara Starr right now. She has some new reporting and this is on the body of the fourth Green Beret, Barbara, was found after an ambush. What are you hearing?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, let's put all of this in context. While the President was spending last day making a number of statements of political drama. I think there's no question about that. As commander-in-chief behind the scenes he well knew there was a frantic search under way by the U.S. military for the last 48 hours in West Africa, looking for a missing behind enemy lines American service member. And sadly, in last half hour we have come to know that this American service member was found dead after 48 hours of being missing in Niger in West Africa.
Now the fourth member of the U.S. military to be killed in an very unexpected and very vicious fire fight in the West African nation. What we know is this 12-man team led by Green Berets unexpectedly came under fire from about 50 ISIS affiliated militants. They were hit with rocket propelled grenades, with machine gun fire. They were in trucks. They got out of their trucks that were exploding around them. They tried to return fire. They did not expect this level of opposition. One man becoming separated. This is the man that had been missing for the last 48 hours. The President knew about this search.
A Navy SEAL team had been dispatched. They were hoping to find him alive. Sadly, they did not. Now, I want to emphasize, the news media did not report any of this over the last 48 hours. Because we do not report when an American is behind enemy lines. We do not report these things until we know that the next of kin and family has been notified. So, we know that now and are reporting that.
[15:35:00] But I think it's really important beyond what has happened here and this -- there will be a full investigation on how they didn't know they were going to run into all of this opposition. But let's just take a moment and put it in context while the President is saying all of this in the White House, he and several commanders in that room knew there was a frantic search under way for a missing American, sadly, now found deceased in West Africa -- Brianna.
KEILAR: That is very good context. Barbara Starr, at the Pentagon, thanks so much. We do have another piece of news in. Dana, I want to bring you in about this. Because the EPA inspector general is actually expanding an investigation that it had going on of Scott Pruitt heading up the EPA. This has to do with his travel on jets. Can you tell us about this? What does this mean?
BASH: I should tell you first of all, that this is a memo that our colleagues Renee Marsh and Greg Wallace obtained about the inspector general's work. The inspector general, of course, some of the internal watchdog of any agency and at the EPA what this memo says is the IG is now expanding this scope of its investigation into the EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt's travel. Specifically going back through September 30th -- all of those travel this year through September 30th -- to see effectively whether or not the expenses and the frequency, the extent and the cost was appropriate. So, you know, it's just the beginning of that widening probe. He's already had some issues and we'll see what they find. We know what happened when that widening probe happened at the HH -- the department of HHS with Tom Price. It didn't turn out too well for him. But we'll wait and see what happens. Everything could be status quo, which is not the greatest for Scott Pruitt, given the fact the optics are not great for this cabinet. The fact they are expanding the probe is certainly noteworthy and again, as spoken by our colleagues, Renee Marsh and Greg Wallace.
KEILAR: Yes, great report by them. Will keep an eye on that. Dana, thank you so much for breaking it down for us.
I do want to get to breaking news into Las Vegas investigation. Sources are telling CNN that the gunman rigged his car with 90 pounds of explosives meant for either target practice or to explode when fired upon. We're also getting word about cruises, a number of cruises that he look. Stand by for that.
[15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KEILAR: New details are emerging now about the man who murdered 58 people in Las Vegas. A law enforcement source tells CNN he had even more explosives in his car possibly used for target practice or type of material used for target practice. But possibly was in there for his car to be rigged so it would blow up if police took a shot at it. We're also being told the gunman tried but failed to buy what you're looking at on your screen. That would-be tracer ammunition. Essentially, the tracers allow you if you use these types of bullets to see where they are going. Could also reveal the source of where the bullets were coming from. That's important to note as well.
Meantime, some puzzling news today about that note that was left behind in the hotel room. Reportedly this was not a suicide note. It was not a manifesto. It was a list of numbers. Needless to say, those numbers are now being very carefully analyzed. All 58 murder victims have now been identified. They are now remembered by these markers that you see on the screen along the Las Vegas strip. Those were hand made in memory of victims by a man from Illinois.
A want to bring in Charles Ramsey. He's a CNN law enforcement analyst. He's a former Philadelphia police commissioner. This is what we know now. We know now that sources are telling CNN that investigators found 50 pounds of explosives in his car. It's a type of material called Tannerite. It is used -- if you can explain this to us -- for target practice at times. But the amount of it, having 50 pounds of it in a car has led some to believe that the idea was if officers fired on the car, it would be a big explosion. What can you tell us about this?
CHARLES RAMSEY, FORMER PHILADELPHIA POLICE COMMISSIONER: Well, I mean, Tannerite is used by target practice for some, especially if they are shooting from a distance, I understand. I'm not a real gun guy. But I've done a little research on that. If you're shooting at the distance and if you hit the Tannerite, you get an explosion so you know he hit the target. Now why he would have 50 pounds of it in the trunk of his car? I have no idea. Obviously, that's a lot. And perhaps he had another plan in the future that had he lived. He might have been able to execute. I really don't know the answer to that.
KEILAR: So, we also know now sources are telling CNN that he fired at fuel tanks at the nearby airport. Does that tell you anything?
RAMSEY: Well, maybe he was trying to create an explosion. That's new information for me. But I will say this, the Las Vegas police have a lot of information that we simply do not have. We're kind of getting it in bits and pieces. But they've got hard drive to his computer. They've got video. They've got a lot of forensic evidence and they're slowly piecing this together. So, that might have been part of his plan. Maybe that's why he chose that location. I've stayed at that hotel and it is right across from the airport as you know. Perhaps that was all part of a broader plot.
KEILAR: I want to ask you about this note that was found in his hotel room. I think so many people were expecting that there would be some sort of note that may shed light on a motive or maybe he would have had a manifesto that would do the same. But we haven't seen that. Instead this is a note with numbers. What do you make of this?
[15:45:00] RAMSEY: Well, I mean, a note of numbers, I don't know if we've ever seen that before. He was an accountant, maybe he put together some kind of code that only he understands. Why he would do that, I don't know. And it could just mean absolutely nothing. I'm sure that they've got a lot of people down at Quantico right now trying to decipher whatever is on that particular note to see if it makes sense at all. You're talking about a person with a deranged mind. There's no telling what he was doing. And not everything he's doing is going to be logical to those of us that aren't in that state of mind.
KEILAR: One source is telling CNN that the gunman took 20 cruises. That is a lot of cruises. And that many of them were to foreign ports in Europe, also in the Middle East. So why would that be information that would be of interest or would that inform investigators of anything?
RAMSEY: It would only inform them if they follow up to find out who he met with. Was this just a cruise? My understanding is that he did have some money. And he maybe just liked to travel. But he may have actually been going someplace to meet with others. We just don't know the answers to these questions. I wouldn't over speculate in this particular case because this guy is going to be hard to figure out. I'm sure he's given fits to the behavioral science unit down in Quantico right now. Because he just does not fit a profile that we've had in the past. And we're going to learn an awful lot about him as time goes on. One thing is for sure, this picture is being painted by friends and relatives that he was a happy go lucky guy, that picture is going to get darker and darker as time goes on. Because obviously that was not the case. KEILAR: Obviously not the case. Charles Ramsey, thank you so much,
sir. We do appreciate it.
As survivors came on to this network to share stories from Las Vegas, we were told time and time again about strangers acting selflessly as first responders and the unscathed helping the wounded. I want to share a powerful moment from this week. CNN's Erin Burnett interviewed Jonathan Smith. He was struck by a bullet while he was rescuing others. Erin reunited Jonathan with the police officer who then saved his life.
JONATHAN SMITH, SHOT IN THE NECK WHILE DRAGGING OTHERS TO SAFETY: I'm not a hero. I'm far from a hero. I think I just did what just anybody would do. Was it smart? Probably not. But if that was someone else's shoes and they'd seen me, I would want them to come back and at least help me.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: I know you were hit and kept trying to save people and then there was someone else who came in, San Diego off-duty officer. He came in and saved your life, Jonathan. And we actually have him with us tonight, officer Tom McGrath is here and I wanted to bring them in. Officer McGrath, thank you. I know you heard what Jonathan said.
TOM MCGRATH, SAN DIEGO OFF-DUTY OFFICE, SAVED JONATHAN SMITH'S LIFE (via phone): Yes, I did. I think he's being a little too modest. I think what he did was extraordinary.
SMITH: From the moment I got hit -- he was the first one who actually helped me stop the bleeding and he never left my side at all. And I remember him helping me get in the back of a pickup truck. A red pickup truck with another young lady who had a gunshot wound. And I kept telling him, I don't want to die. I don't want to die. And he kept saying, you're not going to die. I got you. Look at me, you're not going to die.
MCGRATH: It was a scary moment for both of us. But I just wanted to hold his hand and tell him, you know, this is the time to fight. You made it this far. This is the time to fight. He's a fighter. He's got that warrior mentality. He went into the sound of gunfire and saved -- it could be more than 30 people, if it's 30, it's 30. He had that warrior mentality. He went back in there and that's the type of mentality that got him through that and what kept him alive.
KEILAR: And Erin is joining us now. Erin, you reported from Las Vegas with so much sensitivity to these victims and what they went through and their loss and just how emotional it was for them. You had a chance to visit with survivors in the hospital. Tell us about that.
BURNETT: Yes, look, it was incredible just to see. When you look at Jonathan, he said this is what any human would do. It's not what any human would do. I mean, you know so many of us would have understandably been so afraid and run and he didn't. And he helped so many people. And some of those people are so, so grateful for what happened and fighting for her lives. One was Robert Aguilar. He still in critical care today. He has a shrapnel. His doctors calling him a miracle. Because they say they didn't think he'd ever walk again. He is going to walk again. Here's part of what he had to say.
ROBERT AGUILAR, SHOT IN HIP AS HE PROTECTED GIRLFRIEND FROM SHOOTING: We thought is part of what on. It kept going and then the next thing you know you heard people yelling and screaming and get down, get down.
[15:50:00] And then next thing you know, I was grabbing my girlfriend and we were just starting to move. And I felt -- it felt like a concussion grenade -- I was military -- so, it felt just like a concussed. It may have hit me, oh. And I saw my leg just kind of twist a little bit. And grabbed her, took her to the ground and we were behind a little barrier, just stay down, stay down. And she was starting to freak out and just stay down right here. Stay here. From there it just kept going. I mean we must have heard at least three to 500 rounds easily went off.
BURNETT: Three to five hundred.
AGUILAR: Oh, easily, yes.
BURNETT: And you are saying there that you're protecting her.
BURNETT: Did you realize that for you it really was possibly you are going to die?
AGUILAR: Yes. Oh, Yes.
BURNETT: You knew?
AGUILAR: If we weren't going to be able to get out of there, I mean I felt it. I knew I had it in my sight. I was just waiting to see when it was going to end.
BURNETT: I mean, it was just that moment when people going about their lives realized they were probably going to die. Victim after victim telling us they thought they were going to die. With Robert, his parents were there. His sister was there, his daughter, and he and his daughter was crying. Just the relief they are actually alive and able to be together. But the recovery is going to be a long time. Jonathan was shot in the neck. He went to the ER today, to have bandage removed, but it's going to be a long process, he's a copy machine repairman. He can't just go back to work. He has three kids. He said he wants to get back to his life and spend this time with his kids. A whole new appreciation for being alive. But this process is going to be long. In Jonathan's case he have a GoFundMe page that his sister-in-law set up. She lives in Texas. He obviously, lives in Irvine, California. But people are trying to raise money to get through this. Because it isn't just a quick recovery.
KEILAR: That's right.
BURNETT: Not emotionally. Not spiritually and not physically.
KEILAR: And financially. And as people look how they can help, that is one of the ways. Thank you so much, Erin. We really appreciate that report.
BURNETT: Thank you, Brianna.
KEILAR: You can catch Erin's show "OUT FRONT" tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern. It's right here on CNN. She'll have more on that.
Shortly after that, Anderson Cooper is going to host a special tribute to all of the victims of the Las Vegas massacre. "LAS VEGAS LOST", its commercial free AC 360 that airs at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
And next a potential hurricane is heading for the Gulf Coast. We are tracking tropical storm Nate as New Orleans declares a state of emergency. But first let's take a moment to honor this week's CNN hero. It's a woman who lost her leg at 17 when she was hit by a drunk driver. But she found a way to lift others up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONA PATEL, SAN ANTONIO AMPUTEE FOUNDATION: Once we lose a part of our body, there are just so many questions, will I ever be able to work again? How will I take care of my children?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's strange to learn how to walk.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a new world.
PATEL (voice over): Part of my job is to remind people that we are so much more than a body part. We can either lay down and let our circumstance over take us, or we can stand up and take charge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: And to see more of her story, just go to CNNheros.com.
[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KEILAR: The third hurricane to strike the U.S. mainland in six weeks could be headed straight for the Gulf Coast and that also includes New Orleans as part of this area we are talking about. So, all eyes is what is up with tropical storm Nate. It's already caused deadly flooding across parts of Central America. At least 21 people were killed in Honduras, Costa Rica, as well as Nicaragua. So, I want to get now to CNN Weather Center meteorologist, Allison Chinchar. You have an update on the warnings. What are you looking at? ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right now, we're taking a look
at where tropical Nate is. We do have warnings out for areas of the Yucatan Peninsula and Cuba. But we've also started to get a lot in areas of the U.S. Because that's where we expect the storm to continue to move.
Right now, the biggest area where we expect the intensification to occur is going to be out over the open Gulf. It will re-enter into much warmer water and in doing so that will allow the storm to intensify. The question is, how quickly can it intensify? Because it doesn't have much time from where it's located until it would actually make landfall into the U.S. Right now, the National Hurricane Center believes it will end up making landfall as a category 1 storm. But we do have some other models that are suggesting it could get slightly higher than that. So, time will tell in terms of this.
Right now, landfall looks to be late Saturday night local time for a lot of these areas. Then from there it continues up to impact at least about a dozen other states, including cities like Atlantic, Washington D.C., New York, even Boston. So, we've got the tropical storm watches and warnings, that's the yellow and blue color, as hurricane watches and warnings, that's the yellow and the blue color. As well as hurricane watches and warnings. The red and pink color along the Gulf Coast from areas of Louisiana through Florida.
Cities Like New Orleans, Biloxi, Mobile could expect storm surge up to four or seven feet. Whereas areas of Pensacola and Panama City, Florida likely to see storm surge about two to four feet. This is going to be a big concern for a lot of these areas. Because of that we do have storm surge warnings out for a lot of these areas along the Gulf Coast. And that will go starting tomorrow lasting all day through the evening. As well as, Brianna, the threat for strong winds. Areas at landfall could experience gusts up to 60 to up to100- mile-per-hour.
KEILAR: All right, Allison, thanks so much for keeping us updated on that as we train our eyes on the Gulf Coast. And I'll send you over now to the "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper. It starts right now.