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Officials Say Gunman Angry at Mother-In-Law, Church Member; Cousin of Man Who Shot Gunman Speaks Out; Trump Jr. Hinted That U.S. May Rethink Russia Sanctions. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired November 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] CHIEF JOHN MINA, ORLANDO POLICE, HELPED LEAD PULSE ATTACK INVESTIGATION: I think it was a citizen, a hero who jumped into action and also prevented numerous lives from being taken.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN host: That's exactly right. Chief Mina, thanks so much. Orlando police chief. Thank you for your time.
My conversation with the relative of that hero who pulled his weapon on the killer and chased him down. The stunning details of how it happened and his memories of the 26 people who were murdered.
[15:35:00] BALDWIN: We still haven't heard from the man who shot the gunman in Texas, but his cousin, Ken Leonard talked to me last hour on his behalf. Ken is a friend of the guest pastor who was killed in the shooting and some of the other victims. Here is a piece of the conversation.
BALDWIN: So, let's start with your cousin who I know is like a brother to you and it's my understanding that, you know, he had heard there had been an attack at the church early, early on. Can you tell me how he knew so quickly?
KEN LEONARD, COUSIN OF MAN WHO SHOT CHURCH SHOOTER: When I talked to him, he said that he heard gun fire and he's -- he knows about guns and he knows what a gun sounds like, and his daughter had actually gone to go see what was going on in her car. She came back and told her father that there was a man in black that was shooting people at the church.
So, Stephen went into his safe and grabbed his AR which is AR-15, the same style weapon that the shooter was using, grabbed a handful of ammo and a magazine and was running barefooted toward the shooting. He said he was loading the magazine as fast as he could. He didn't even know how many rounds he had put in the magazine. When he got there the guy had come outside and it seemed to him that he was reloading outside, and he saw that the guy was wearing body armor, and there was a Velcro strap from the back to the front, and he knew from that that the man had front and back body armor, and that the vulnerable spot was going to be in the side and so that's where he shot him the first time. BALDWIN: That's where he got him?
LEONARD: That's where he got him the first time. The man dropped the weapon when he was shot and went and forced his way into an SUV that a guy just happened to be near by and he pushed him into the passenger side. As he was doing that, Stephen shot him again in the neck and then he forced his way into the car, turned around and returned fire and shot two rounds through the back of the SUV, and that's when Stephen shot him a third time in the neck again.
BALDWIN: Oh, my goodness.
LEONARD: He then went to the guy named Johnny that you interviewed and said that guy just shot up the church and Johnny said I saw everything. Let's go and so, Stephen got in the vehicle with him and they took off and chased him at a high rate of speed and eventually the guy went through an intersection into a field and came to a stop. Stephen went up and made sure he got the passenger first to get on the ground because at that point he wasn't sure whether he was part of it or he was innocent, but --
BALDWIN: Sure. He made sure he wasn't a threat, but made sure he was safe at the same time.
LEONARD: Then went around to the driver's side and yelled at the driver to get out of the car and when he went up to the car he saw that the man was already dead.
BALDWIN: My goodness, Ken. I'm just taking in everything that you just said and just even going back if we can, to the fact that he hears the shots, goes back into his house, grabs the gun and there are many people in this world who would have stayed right there in the comfort of their own home. Has he played -- has he played this all back in his head and was there ever a moment where he thought, gosh, maybe I shouldn't run toward the shots?
LEONARD: Well, Stephen is the best shot that I know and the best way I can describe him is he's the Atticus Finch of Wilson County, and he, without armor and barefooted ran into the fire and put his own -- his own life at risk, took return fire and fired accurately three times. That's an amazing accomplishment especially for a man who wasn't ever in the military.
BALDWIN: How is he doing today? Have you talked to him?
LEONARD: Well, he's shook up. As you can imagine, he took a man's life and he feels the pressure of that. He also feels the pressure that he wishes he had acted sooner and, of course, Brian Holcomb and his family are all friends of ours.
BALDWIN: Oh, bless you.
[15:40:00] LEONARD: He grew up right around the corner from me and so we're friends with him and his wife and his family and we go back to childhood and it's -- it's just an amazing thing that he had the presence of mind to save lives and stop it right there. (END VIDEOTAPE)
BALDWIN: That was Ken Leonard speaking with me from Dallas on his cousin.
Coming up next, new details about this infamous meeting that Donald Trump Jr. had with the Russian lawyer during the 2016 presidential campaign. Was there quid pro quo between these two sides? We're going to delve into that.
Also, ahead just in a lawyer for Senator Rand Paul's attacker talks about the mysterious incident between the two neighbors. Stand by.
[15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: A request for dirt on Hillary Clinton and a pledge to review Russian sanctions. We now know two of the topics discussed at the now infamous meeting at Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential campaign, at least according to the Russian lawyer who was there. In an interview with the Bloomberg News she said Donald Trump Jr. asked her for financial documents on the Clinton campaign and offered up a possibility to re-examine an anti-Russia law passed if his father were elected.
Let me bring in special correspondent Jim Sciutto with more. As far as what you understand what her side of the story is, does this sound like quid pro quo to you?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It presents the possible circumstances for quid pro quo in that they both came to the meeting and Natalya Veselnitskaya, this lawyer. And in the early explanations of this meeting remember, that was something that the Trump said that was all the meeting was about, they said adoptions, But the U.S. adoptions of Russian children was stopped in response to this Magnitsky law which penalizes and sanctions many senior Russian government officials. Which according to this lawyer that was something that Don Junior communicated to her that if Donald Trump were president that situation might change.
We weren't in the room. We don't know that, but that's what she says. We just have a statement coming from Donald Trump Junior saying the following in response to this and this is a statement to CNN.
We've addressed the circumstances of the June 9th meeting on a number of occasions and what the interview shows once again is everyone in attendance has a similar account as to what happened.
That's true, but we should also note that initially that Trump explanation said it was about adoptions. It was only when e-mail evidence first reported by "The New York Times" was presented that Donald Trump Jr. was made aware that the Russians might be bringing damaging information on Hillary Clinton, and that the story from the White House changed. We also know and not to get too complicated here, and we know that the circumstances of how that initial statement was made are of interest to the Special Counsel Robert Mueller, because it would seem that the initial explanation from Trump world was not entirely forthcoming.
BALDWIN: You mentioned Robert Mueller and let me jump in. If you were the special counsel and it's a he said/she said, sort of. How would he determine who to believe?
SCIUTTO: You talk to everybody involved and whether it's a special counsel or cops interviewing someone involved in a potential crime, they look to see how multiple people describe it and see what adds up and of course, the special counsel has the advantage of other resources including electronic communications and e-mail, et cetera and perhaps some intercepts with the foreigners involved in this, and they see if there are contradictions there.
And in fact, already, one contradiction was discovered not by the special counsel, but by reporters, right? The initial Trump world explanation was this was just about adoptions and we learned later that, in fact, was there an offer of damaging information on Hillary Clinton before this, and that has been agreed to, although dismissed as unimportant by one side.
Listen, they behave like anybody else. If you ask the questions and if you find contradictory information, then someone's lying.
BALDWIN: Someone's lying. Jim Sciutto, thank you. Thank you very much.
We have new details just in to us in CNN on more on the victims of the church shooting in Texas including a 16-year-old girl and what her family says she wanted to do with the rest of her life.
[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: We are covering what has now become the worst church shooting in U.S. history. One of the difficult pieces of all of this that we learned today of the 26 people killed, the youngest victim, 17 months of age. And then there is this. Among the victims, the grandmother of the gunman's wife. Alison Kosik is with me now. She has much more on -- just tell me about the lives this community lost.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, what's interesting is we sit and we talk about the numbers of the deceased and their ages, but once we put pictures and names to those numbers, it truly begins to be just so heartbreaking. Let me start off with ironically, the shooter's wife's grandmother was killed in the church. She was -- she frequently volunteered at the church and there is a -- she's got a niece who wrote on her Facebook page, I have no doubt where she is now. She's in heaven laying her crowns and jewels at the feet of Jesus. I love and will miss you.
Then there is 16-year-old Haley Krueger. Her mom wrote this about her, saying she was a vibrant 16-year-old who loved life looking forward to trying out for the drill team next year and working as a nurse in the ICU. Whose life was so tragically cut short.
[15:55:00] And then there are the eight members of the same family viciously gunned down. Just to show you the enormity of this, we put together just the tree, the family tree. It's just so heartbreaking. There is Cara Holcombe. She was one of the eight members with her husband Bryan, Danny their son, Noah their 17-month-old daughter, Crystal, two months pregnant, her three children and another two of her children survived and are in the hospital with their stepfather John, her husband.
And of course, the pastor who wasn't there that day, he lost his 14- year-old daughter Annabelle. They weren't there. They were out of town. But interestingly enough the 14-year-old went to church on her own, Brooke.
BALDWIN: On her own. We continue to say their names, lift up their names in these days and weeks in the wake of this just horrendous shooting. Alison Kosik, thank you much.
Coming up next, we're going to talk to you a little bit about the Senator Rand Paul. Attacked at his home in Kentucky. His injuries severe, broken ribs, bruised lung. Just into CNN, the lawyer of his alleged attacker, his neighbor, speaking out. That's next.
BALDWIN: Just into CNN the attorney for the man accused of assaulting Republican Senator Rand Paul outside his Kentucky home has released a statement. It read, Senator Paul and Dr. Boucher have been next door neighbors for 17 years. They are also prominent members of the local medical community and have worked together when they were both practicing physicians. The unfortunate occurrence of November 3 has absolutely nothing to do with either's politics or political agendas. It was a very regrettable dispute between two neighbors over a matter that most people would regard as trivial. We sincerely hope Senator Paul is doing well and these two gentlemen can get back to being neighbors as quickly as possible.
Senator Paul took to Twitter, calling the run in a quote unquote, unfortunate incident.
I am Brooke Baldwin, thanks for being with me. "The Lead" with Jake Tapper starts now.