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Four People Shot Dead At Tennessee Waffle House; Conway To CNN: You Went There On Husband's Anti-Trump Tweets; Father Fatally Stabbed While Dining With Daughter On His Lap; GOP Senator Slams Comey For Timing Of Book's Release; Ice Swim Racing Is Not For The Faint Of Heart; Trump To Host French President Macron For First State Visit. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired April 22, 2018 - 17:00   ET

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


[17:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: It is 5:00 eastern, and 2:00 in the after out west. You are live in the CNN Newsroom. Thank you for being here. I am Ana Cabrera in New York.

And it is breaking news right now, a killer is out there, somewhere on the loose, and hiding from police. After shooting dead four people over night in Tennessee.

It happened near Nashville, the small town of Antioch. Witnesses describe a horrific scene, a man with a rifle, wearing a jacket, and nothing else, with no words, or warning, opening fire on people outside a Waffle House restaurant before heading inside.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK CORDERO, SHOOTING WITNESS: I dropped to the ground, and was able to keep an eye on the shooter from underneath my car. I was just fearful that he was going to come around my car, and try to get to me. But as I watched him, he fired a few shots through the window, and then he stepped inside the restaurant, and started opening fire inside the restaurant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: This is the man police are desperately searching for right now, Travis Reinking, 29-years-old. He got away, and police believe he is still heavily armed. CNN's Dianne Gallagher is in Antioch, Tennessee. Dianne, police, and the FBI, and Nashville city officials there just gave out some new information about this suspected shooter, what did they say?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Ana, perhaps most alarming at this point is the fast that, yes, he's still out there, and there are two weapons that are unaccounted for. They don't know if he them, but they want people to approach him in that manner.

We also learned pretty startling that, look, he was on law enforcement's radar, back in July of 2017, he was actually arrested by U.S. Secret Service for trespassing on the White House lawn. He tried to get into the White House, said he wanted to have a meeting

with President Trump. Now, they released him. When he went back to Illinois, he was interviewed by the FBI, he was interviewed by officials there in Illinois, and they determined they were going to revoke his firearm authorization.

They then took away four weapons, one of which was used in the shooting today, and they gave them to his father, that's who took them away. His father has acknowledged to authorities that he gave those weapons back to his son.

Now again, that AR-15 was used in the shooting today. Police found another one of those weapons in his apartment. The other two were unaccounted for, and they are still searching. Take a listen at what Nashville police said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DON AARON, NASHVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT: He went to his apartment, put on a pair of pants, and then went into a woodline behind the apartment. According to a witness, a shirtless man fitting Reinking's description was seen in the woodline.

A police helicopter, and several police dogs attempted to track Reinking, the dogs were tracking along the TBA power-line, the power grid until the dogs lost the track. But we think he has fled the -- that immediate area on foot, at this point, we do not know where he is.

MARCUS WATSON, ATF SPECIAL AGENT: Now director, all of my resources available, including a K9, and our crime intelligence center for support, and offer all resources available to us, to our partners to make sure that the suspect is found -- found swiftly, and he has his day in court.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: Now, again, Reinking is from Illinois, but he moved to Nashville police say in the fall of 2017. But three weeks ago, he was fired from his job, he works as a crane construction trade. But he had started a new job on Monday, and he didn't show up for work on Tuesday, Ana.

At this point, they don't what motivate it all. I talked to some of the people who were in the Waffle House, some of the witnesses say he really didn't say anything, he just started shooting.

CABRERA: So many questions, and yet, so much bravery inside that Waffle House, Dianne. Tell us about this man that police and witnesses are calling a hero today?

GALLAGHER: You know, everybody is calling James Shaw Jr. a hero, except James Shaw Jr. He was also there, he was with a friend, they showed up, he actually saw the shooter in his truck there at the Waffle House, thought he was kind of -- he had a blank look on his face, he said. They went inside. He went into the bathroom to hide when he started

shooting. He said, Ana, that he didn't feel like he was a hero, but he felt like he had to do something because if the guy was going to kill him, he was going to make him work to do so.

[17:05:03] Take a look at him talk about the story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES SHAW JR., DISARMED WAFFLE HOUSE SHOOTER: The gun was kind of jammed up, and it was pushed down, so we were scuffling, and I managed to get him with one hand on the gun, and then I grabbed it from him, and I threw it over the counter top. And then after that, I was trying to get out the door, and I think he was pretty much in the entrance way, so I just took him out with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: You know -- and again, he says look, I did it to save my life, please don't call me a hero, everyone. But nobody's listening to that, Ana. The CEO of Waffle House was here talking.

He thanked him. They had a big embrace afterwards. And I can tell you that during this whole time, James Shaw Jr. was -- he was stoic, he was trying to remain really strong when the Waffle House CEO got up, and spoke about it, and just really thanked him, and continued to praise him.

He started to cry a little bit, his fraternity brothers from Alpha Phi Alpha were here trying to show some support. But look, he has not slept yet, so he just went home to sleep for the first time in more than 24 hours, a lot of people here, they were really thankful for him, it could have been a lot worse.

CABRERA: What a courageous young man. Dianne Gallagher reporting, thank you very much for that, and we have this -- there on the bottom right on your screen where you can call the tip line if you have any information.

Obviously, this man hunt is still under way. Let's get a Law Enforcement Analyst in here, Art Roderick. He is also former U.S. marshal. Art, this shooting happened more than 12 hours ago, walk us through what's happening on the ground right now.

ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, it sounds like they have him identified as being on foot around the power-lines behind his apartment complex. You know, the first thing that came to mind is it seems like there's a mental health issue going on quite obviously.

I mean, he's arrested at the White House in 2017, he's there just with a jacket on, and nude underneath with an AR-15, so there's some mental health issues involved. It would not surprise me if we found out that there's a possibility that this individual might commit suicide, or has already committed suicide. We don't know that yet, but this is a very distinct possibility. Mr.

Shaw, his actions were right on. I mean, this man is a hero. He did everything he was supposed to do in an active shooting situation, you run, hide, fight, pass information on.

He waited for either the weapon to run out of ammunition, or the weapon to jam. The minute he saw that person look down at the weapon, he jumped him. And that's exactly what you've got to do.

A lot of these cowards aren't -- don't expect anybody to attack them, and when you do, you get the drop on him. And Mr. Shaw was right on that he a hero, whether he realizes it or not, I think he probably saved a lot more people that could have been shot, and killed inside the Waffle House.

CABRERA: Circumstances happen, it makes you wonder what would I have done in that exact same situation, and that took so much courage, just incredible.

RODERICK: Absolutely.

CABRERA: Are you surprised that this suspect hasn't been picked up yet, given he arrived in a vehicle, but left on foot.

RODERICK: I think when you're on foot, you have a little bit of an advantage where you can hide a little bit more, than you can if you're out on social media, or you're driving your vehicle around.

You know, a lot of people are looking for this individual right now, he's a young man, so I'm sure he has some social media, he has cell phones, he has, you know, computers, I'm sure they're dumping all that type of information to figure out what his motive is, but also to try, and locate his exact location right now.

But, you know, it's very odd, he took off out back with a pair of pants on, shirtless. And you know, it just wouldn't -- it wouldn't surprise me if they located him fairly shortly, and possibly not alive.

CABRERA: We know this guy was subject of a previous FBI investigation, was previously arrested by the secret service near the White House. How would federal, and local officials be working together right now?

RODERICK: Well, I do know that every law enforcement agency, federal state, and local has called the national P.D., and offered up their assistance. So right now, you have -- it appears he's probably still in the Nashville area right now if he's on foot.

But you have the feds involved, both from the weapons side of it, but also in case he leaves that jurisdiction, and heads across state lines, or county lines, then you have federal involvement.

So Nashville P.D. has every asset -- law enforcement asset at their fingertips, I'm sure they have forward looking, infrared up on helicopters, and they're scanning that whole area where he was last seen. I don't think this individual is going to stay loose very long.

CABRERA: On thing that's particularly worrisome is he could be armed.

RODERICK: Yes.

CABRERA: We know he had an AR-15 there at the restaurant that was confiscated now after this incident. Investigators also seized another gun in his apartment.

[17:10:00] But there are still other guns -- two other guns unaccounted for, a hunting rifle, and a handgun, police say. Does it surprise you that these weapons were initially seized in 2017 in that secret service incident, and they ended up back in his possession?

RODERICK: Well, it does surprise me that they're back in his possession. It doesn't surprise me that they were seized. This happens on a fairly regular basis.

If somebody has a court case, or a temporary restraining order where they'll have to turn the weapons over to the police department, and it looks like the FBI confiscated these weapons, they're still that individual's property, and I think legitimately, they were turned over to the father.

My question here is, what is the father doing turning these weapons over to his son, who he knows probably has some type of mental issue going on here.

And we always got back to the same thing in all these types of shootings is, you know, what kind of mental health issue are we talking about here. And it's a responsibility of the family here to monitor this thing, especially if those weapons were returned back to the father. I just don't understand why the father gave them back to the son.

CABRERA: Art Roderick, thank you for that analysis. We'll keep it close by on this breaking news, and bring you any update as soon as we get them. Also this hour, making the case, Kellyanne Conway, coming on to defend her boss' attorney, Michael Cohen, but the CNN interview took an interesting turn. We will play it for you.

Plus, a family dinner turns tragic, when a father with his 5-year-old daughter on his lap is stabbed in the neck. What police are now revealing. Stay with us, you're live in the CNN Newsroom.

[17:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Now to Washington, Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to President Trump came on CNN today to discuss the administration's wild week, and the President's tweets defending his personal attorney, Michael Cohen.

But quickly, things turned personal. Conway lashing out at CNN's Dana Bash over a question on her husband, George Conway's recent tweet, and retweets that appear critical at President Trump. Here's the exchange, watch.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I just want to ask you one question, that a lot of people are asking me, probably you too. And that is, what is up with your husband's tweets? Your husband is a very well respected lawyer.

And he's been sending some tweets that have been critical of the administration, just an example, in response to a tweet he said that President Trump's aides are reluctant to speak for him because he contradicts them later. And you're husband wrote, so true. It's absurd.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: He writes a lot of things that are supported. I mean, he writes a lot of things about corgis, and eagles (ph), and sports too. But the fact is -- well two things I'll say to you.

Number one that -- again, that woman who lost on the election whose name I never say on TV anymore is wrong. That woman, I think, she said white women have to listen to their -- the men in their life for their own political opinions, wrong again.

And number two, it's fascinating to me that CNN would go there, but it's very good for the whole world to have just witnessed that it's now fair -- excuse, that it's now fair game what people's -- how people's spouses, and significant others may differ with them, I'm very surprised, but very -- in some ways really even gratified to see that. That's should really be fun.

BASH: No, I actually -- first of all I would ask you that if you were a man...

CONWAY: No, you wouldn't.

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: A 1,000 percent I would.

CONWAY: No, no, no.

BASH: And it's about that, it's about -- it's about questioning -- publicly questioning what you are doing for a living, and with regard to your boss. And it has nothing to do with your gender.

CONWAY: It has nothing to do with my spouse.

BASH: Right, I'm just asking.

CONWAY: No, no. You just brought him -- you just brought him into this, so this ought to be fun moving forward, Dana.

BASH: OK.

CONWAY: Now we're going to talk about other people's spouses just, and taking everyone just because they either work in the White House or at CNN? Are we going to do that? Because you just went there. BASH: Yes.

CONWAY: CNN just went there. What difference...

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: It isn't critical. I am just asking about...

CONWAY: It was meant to harass and embarrass, but let me just tell you something.

BASH: Absolutely not.

CONWAY: Let me just tell you something, by definition, spouses have a difference of opinion.

BASH: I could not agree more.

CONWAY: By definition, spouses have a difference of opinion when one is, I don't know, draining the joint bank account to support things that the maybe the other disagrees with. So this is a fascinating rubicund moment, and I'll leave it at that.

BASH: OK. Well, that certainly was not intended to cross any rubicund. I was actually intended to be somewhat light hearted about the fact that we are all grown ups who have different opinions, but I'm sorry that you...

CONWAY: You said I've got to ask you a question that's on everybody's mind.

BASH: It is. It is. It is. I'm sure you hear it too. And it is hard to have two adults in a situation like this, but it is unusual for...

CONWAY: I'm sorry, it's hard for whom? I'm sorry, back it up. It's hard for the two adults, my husband and me?

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: Listen, my point...

CONWAY: So you're talking about my marriage again?

BASH: I'm not talking about your marriage. Kellyanne, here is my whole point.

CONWAY: It's hard...

BASH: It's that you are a professional working for the President of the United States, and your husband is a very well respected lawyer, and my point is that we don't often see -- in fact, I don't remember the last time we saw somebody working for the President in a high profile position when their spouse is saying critical things about them, that is all. That is all. CONWAY: That, A, is not true, there are other family members whose -- people who work at the White House, who certainly don't support the President privately, and publicly.

But I will tell you this, there are people who have been in this administration who worked for Democrats, or gave money to Democrats, but all that aside, that really is meant to divert attention from, again, the big issues that America cares about.

But like I said, CNN chose to go there. I think that's going to be fascinating moving forward. And don't deny that, when you just said it must be -- I do want you to clarify though for the whole worldwide audience, and in fact for me, since you raised me.

[17:20:01] It's, quote, difficult for whom to have two adults...

BASH: My point only is that...

CONWAY: Are you talking about my children, who...

BASH: No.

CONWAY: ... are probably watching you right now? Because it's not hard...

BASH: Well, I didn't say...

CONWAY: They have already seen a double standard for their mother for two years.

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: It is not about gender. I don't want to have this conversation. You know that I don't believe that it's about gender.

CONWAY: No, I didn't say -- no, no, it's not about gender. Hold on.

BASH: OK.

CONWAY: It's not about gender. There's been a different standard for me, than there had been for other people. And we bite our tongues plenty, because I work for the people of this country, United States government, the presidency, and the President of the United States. So there's plenty that I don't say -- there's plenty they don't talk about.

BASH: Absolutely. We'll just give you...

CONWAY: Do I have my say?

BASH: I will just give you...

CONWAY: Because you went back here.

BASH: Because you went there, you are always invited back here. Because you went there, I'll just give you an example, because you asked, Andrew McCabe, the President went after to McCabe for something that his wife did, ran as a Democrat. And then, that have nothing to do with the President.

CONWAY: No, no, no. The President knew something early that everybody else is now finding out. The President's excellent instincts, and he knew...

(CROSSTALK)

BASH: He didn't say that, he talked about his wife.

CONWAY: You don't know that he didn't say that. He knew that Andrew McCabe has cannot be trusted, and look what happened just this week. Andrew McCabe has admitted now that he lied four times, at least three under oath, Dana, criminal referral just this week because he lied about leaking to the media.

This is the number two at the FBI, this should have everybody concerned, everybody should go back, and look at what the FBI was doing, and not doing while Comey and McCabe were in charge of it. And they all thought, if not wanted, the other person to win the election, and that so colored, and politicized so much of their actions, and their inactions.

BASH: Well, as you know -- as you mentioned, the inspector general is asking to look into Andrew McCabe when we are covering, and we will continue to come on that. Thank you very much.

CONWAY: Thank you, Dana.

BASH: Thank you for coming on. Appreciate it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Let's discuss, shall we? Alice Stewart is with us, Republican strategist, and former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz in his 2016 White House bid, and Josh Dawsey, the White House reporter for The Washington Post.

So, Josh, Dana posed her question like this, it was five minutes ago, so, back to the beginning. What is up with your husband's tweets, in your view, does that question sound like it's meant to harass, and embarrass like Kellyanne Conway believes?

JOSH DAWSEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I think that's a fair question from Dana. Everyone in Washington, or a lot of people in Washington is certainly are talking about George Conway's tweets.

But that said, there are lots of differences in the history of politics between husband and wife. Me, and Madelyn (ph), James (Inaudible), John Mitchell and Martha Mitchell, I think Geroge Conway, as Dana said on the show is a long-time respected lawyer in Washington, and work for Republicans.

I think, Kellyanne, you know, is a very important surrogate for the President, she's defended him, you know, a number of occasions, and important situations, when crises really hit the fan. Kellyanne is someone he wants out there.

She was obviously the winning campaign manager for the President, and I don't know that it question our views at all. I think husbands and wives have the right to have different opinions.

I certainly think people in Washington have taken note of George Conway's tweets, but again, wives and husbands do not share same opinions on many issues, the fact that he is doing it publicly is noteworthy, and certainly interesting, and it seems to be sending, you know, some sort of message, but I don't think Kellyanne is responsibility for whatever her husband just expressed, just like I don't he will be responsible for whatever she chooses to say on television or Twitter either.

CABRERA: And she certainly could have answered the question with what you just said, Alice, but clearly this really touched a nerve with Conway. I know you spoke with her after the interview. What did she tell you?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: She was pleased to have the opportunity to address this topic, it's something she's been asked about many times, and she was glad to be able to express exactly what she did say.

It's that there are relationships like many other husbands and wives, they have different opinions, and as she said, her husband tweets things that are critical of the president, and this administration, and he tweets things that are praising the President, and this administration.

And you have to take it all into context, and I think it was important that she stressed that she's not one of those women like Hillary Clinton, who stands by ever single thing that her husband says and does.

She is a very strong, and independent woman. And in my view, she felt as though the repeated questions that Dana asked didn't take it too far, and she was also, I'm sure thinking, President Trump is watching this, I need to make sure that he understands I'm not going to back down, I'm going to stand my ground, and be firm with that.

At the same time, Dana Bash is a strong woman. She is someone that was certainly going to follow up on these questions, and the two of them clearly got into a very heated argument about something that, in my view, could have been a one and done question, and answer. But they clearly hit heads when it came to, specifically the issue where Kellyanne felt as though there was a double standard here.

CABRERA: When you talk about a double standard, I'm glad you went there, because I recall during the campaign, President Trump tweeted a photo comparing his wife to the wife of a Republican rival worked for, Senator Ted Cruz.

[17:25:02] And remember, Kellyanne Conway was part of the campaign at the time when Bill Clinton's mistresses, and accusers were brought to the debate with Hillary Clinton. Alex, different circumstances clearly, but team Trump didn't seem to think that spouses were off- limits then.

STEWART: Right. Yes. It is a very circumstance, and certainly being on the receiving end of that, I said then, and I'll say now that for President Trump -- then-candidate Trump to be tweeting anything about another candidate's spouse, I think, is disgusting, and disrespectful, insulting, and there's no place in politics for that.

That said being said, he's the President of the United States, and he was elected. Here we have though in my view, this is different, and that Kellyanne's husband is tweeting things about this administration on both sides.

And it has absolutely zero impact on her job as a senior adviser to the President, she has done a great job as someone who is working hard on the opioid crisis, on healthcare, and certainly tax reform.

It has no impact, and certainly doesn't influence the work she's doing in the White House. I think it's a valid question to say hey, what's up with it, but then, it's time to move on to more substantive issues.

CABRERA: John, George Conway was up for consideration for a post in the Justice Department's civil division last year as CNN reported. Bad blood there, do you think?

DAWSEY: What did you say, I'm sorry.

CABRERA: Was there any blood -- bad blood after that, do you think?

DAWSEY: I don't necessarily think so, I think George and Kellyanne are both savvy operators, a long-time operators. I mean, George Conway dates back to the 1990s, and the Clinton impeachment, Kellyanne has worked for, you know, dozens if not hundreds of candidates over the years.

I think he really disagrees with a lot of what the President says and does, he thinks his rhetoric is troubling. He has expressed this repeatedly on Twitter, he doesn't like the President's attack on institutions, particularly the DOJ, and the FBI.

He's made that pretty clear, I think this presidency has split a lot of people, you know, marriages across the country have been reporting on this, husbands and wives don't get along, and President Trump evokes very sharp feelings among people.

And I think for George Conway, he's been really troubled by a lot what he has seen, at least, if you take his Twitter feed to believe it.

And for Kellyanne Conway, she has seen the presidency a little bit different. She obviously, you know, has a big office in the west- wing, she interacts with the President in a considerable amount, and she continues to support him, even though her husband doesn't, as the Fox naming dynamic.

CABRERA: No doubt about it. Thank you both for the conversation. I appreciate it.

STEWART: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: Still to come, a horrific crime leaves a California ocean front community in shock after this father was stabbed in the neck with his young daughter sitting on his lap. What police know about this suspect, next, live in the CNN Newsroom.

[17:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: This is just a tragic story out of Southern California. A homeless allegedly walks up to a father having dinner with his family, and stabs him in the neck while his five-year-old daughter is sitting on his lap.

Anthony Mele died a day after this attack. His wife and daughter were not physically injured. Police arrested 49-year-old Jamal Jackson shortly after what police say was an unprovoked attack. And I should say the victim is Anthony Mele.

He has been charged now -- the suspect has been charged with first- degree murder. Polo Sandoval is joining us with more on this horrible story. What is the motive? Did you have any idea?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely nothing in this story, Ana, makes any sense whatsoever. Because it seems that these two people didn't even know each other, both victim, and the suspect had no prior encounter before here, and police say that this was a random act of violence.

According to the investigation, the police say that Anthony Mele was sitting with his family in a venture -- in a Ventura county upscale Steakhouse. He was sitting with his wife, with his five-year-old girl perched on his lap when apparently homeless man, now identified as Jamal Jackson, 49-years of age.

This man walked up to him, stabbed him in the neck, Mr. Mele did survivor initially, underwent some surgery, but eventually just passed away recently here. So investigators are now charging Jackson with premeditated first-degree murder.

A $1.5 million bond is keeping him behind bar there in California, Venture County District -- Ventura County District attorney saying that he did have a prior conviction for burglary, if convicted in this case though, Ana, he does face life in prison.

But like your initial question, what is the motive here. The answer is we just don't know at this point. Investigators are hoping to potentially see what light up to this incident. What was this individual doing roaming the area before he allegedly confronted Mr. Mele.

CABRERA: And I understand that there was a 911 call placed prior to this attack about a man being disruptive, and yelling. Did police respond to that 911 call? SANDOVAL: They initially were going to respond, but authorities have

said they didn't have enough law enforcement to respond to that, so they rely instead on some of the surveillance camera in the area.

They monitored him, as you can see here on some of the video that was captured that day. but eventually, hw walked-off camera, and then police later decided that he was just not a threat.

Well, three hours later, this violent confrontation happens, this deadly confrontation takes place. And now we know exactly what took place, and that's really the key here according to investigators, they want to -- for anybody who potentially had any kind of encounter with this gentleman -- with Jamal Jackson to call them, so they can try to piece together the motive in this horrible case.

CABRERA: A heart breaking story. Polo Sandoval, thank you for that. Coming up, fresh criticism for fired FBI director James Comey, why a Republican Senator is taking issue with the timing. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.

[17:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: James Comey's new memoir is drawing plenty of criticism. And now the former FBI director who was fired by Donald Trump is coming under attack from Republican Senator, Susan Collins. Collins has harsh words for the timing of Comey's book release.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: Don't write a book in the middle of an investigation that is ongoing.

CHUCK TODD, CURRENT MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: Do you think this going to be disruptive to the Mueller probe?

COLLINS: That is what worries me. I cannot imagine why an FBI director would seek to essentially cash in on a book when the investigation is very much alive. He should have waited to do his memoir

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: I want to bring in Timothy Snyder, and he joins us now. He is a historian, and author of several books, his latest is The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America.

[17:40:05] Tim, thanks for being here. The President has also been very critical this week of this book rollout, and James Comey himself has been on his book tour. He has tweeted about Comey at least a dozen times since his book tour began. What's your reaction, or how -- what do make of how he has handled all of this?

TIMOTHY SNYDER, AUTHOR, THE ROAD TO UNFREEDOM: RUSSIA, EUROPE, AMERICA: My first reaction is, it's not that the FBI has been too fast, it's that the FBI has been too slow, if Mr. Comey had understood some of the things back in 2016, he understood now, I'm sure he would have behave differently, and the whole world might be different.

The second thing, I think, which is important to understand is the essence of the argument of Comey's book, what he's saying, which I think is very important is that, this is an administration which doesn't understand law, that would prefer to govern in terms of clan, a gang, a leader who demands loyalty. That's the essence of authoritarianism. And that's also the essence I think of this book. That's the most important take away.

CABRERA: What do you mean about Comey being too slow?

SNYDER: I mean that in 2016, the FBI was investigating Russian interference in the U.S. elections, but did not treat it as a priority. I think it's only after Mr. Trump's victory that Mr. Comey realized that this was the essential thing in terms of the U.S. National Security, and U.S. sovereignty that they should have been worry about.

CABRERA: What are your though about how Trump has responded. He's the President of the United States, he could turn the other way, but he has been on lethal attack mode.

SNYDER: Yes, I mean, I think it's part of is a broader attempt to distract attention away from evaluating the presidency, Mr. Trump runs the government as though it were a kind of daily entertainment industry, where it's his job to turn our attention this way.

What Mr. Comey is trying to do is to ask us how we are governed, and whether this the right way. And Mr. Trump's answer I think confirms that this really isn't the right way.

CABRERA: In addition to the book, we also saw the Comey memos released this week. In these memos, the President seems obsessed with leaks in his conversations with James Comey, as he reports. He even suggests jailing journalists.

SNYDER: Yes, This is absolutely fundamental, we live in a country where there are way too few investigative journalists, and basically everything we know about Mr. Trump, about this administration, about the world at large, about threats to our own national security to ourselves, we own to these journalists.

These people are the heroes of our time. These are the people we should be supporting, whether you like their reporting on someone personally, or not is beside the question, to attack journalists is to invite a different kind of regime -- an authoritarian regime, this is the most damaging thing a president can do.

CABRERA: I want to read a quote from your new book, Americans today are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism in the 20th century. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. How would you rate the strength of America's democracy today?

SNYDER: Definitely on the downswing, and I'm not (Inaudible), so freedom helps, which far from an anti-American, that believes our democracy is on the downswing, World Democracy is also on downswing, what's gone wrong with us I think.

And that quotation points to it a little bit, is that we have forgotten that history is full of possibilities, even we, not just Europeans, not just other people around the world, even we can yield to the temptations, which allow rule of states to weaken. What history mean is taking responsibility for the moment we're in now, and not waiting for other people to come to the rescue.

CABRERA: We saw the funeral service for Barbara Bush yesterday, and one thing that was so striking was to see the political spectrum at her funeral, presenting a united front. Something we don't see much today, the sense of stability of being open to people with differing opinions. How do we get back to that?

SNYDER: I think one thing that we have to start doing is thinking about the future, thinking about the history of the U.S. in terms of the next five, 10, 15 years, what kind of country it's going to be for our children, and having the reasonable arguments about both domestic and foreign policy.

Where we are today is a kind of cycle where we're related, or outraged, and no one's expecting the government to do anything for the future, whether we like it, or we don't like it. I think that's the thing that has to change. Can we talk about the last five years, instead of the last five seconds?

CABRERA: Thank you so much, Timothy Snyder. Always appreciate your thoughts and insights.

SNYDER: Pleasure is mine.

CABRERA: A programming reminder, now you've heard from James Comey, and his memos, and his book tour. It's your turn to ask questions, tune in Wednesday for the only live town hall with the former FBI director, and Anderson Cooper moderates live at 8:00 p.m. eastern, right here on CNN.

And now, some adventurous racers are eager to enter Scandinavian Winter Swimming Championship. Hundreds brave icy waters to participate in pools that are cut out of a frozen river. Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a look at the annual winter swimming world cup in Sweden in this week's Fit Nation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's swimming, and then there's ice swimming.

[17:45:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get down in the water.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People who do this are crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right. I'm a little bit crazy. I think you have to be a little bit crazy when you go into the cold water, and swim in the cold water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You try not to freeze. You swim as fast as you can in the cold water.

GUPTA: This is the Scandinavian Winter Swimming Championship, one of the coldest swimming competitions in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of spectators coming to watch it every year. And they come from everywhere because they want to see these brave people suffering in the water.

GUPTA: Studies have shown that swimming in cold water can improve mental health, promote healing, and improve circulation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a good way to strengthen your body, to strengthen your mind, and be ready for extreme condition.

GUPTA: But swimming in water this cold, especially without a wetsuit, isn't without risk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You swim the same way you do as in regular swimming. But difference is the breathing because when you're in cold water, you're lungs cramp. So therefore, you have to train to be able to breathe very quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you first get into the water, you remember it's mind over matter. You're not going to die. If you stay in too long, you can get hypothermic obviously, and that's the matter. But the trick is just not to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't as bad as I thought.

GUPTA: Over 400 swimmers compete in various short distance races.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's breast stroke, free style, and for the first time, we also butterfly. And butterfly is special, because then you're under the water.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The hesitation before you go into the water, where you say, you don't really want to do this. And if you manage to do it, that's really good thing.

(CROSSTALK)

GUPTA: With the growing popularity of the sports, there's hope for a grander stage in the years to come.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hope we're in Beijing, we'll be in the Winter Olympics. Chinese already told us they would like to show the winter swimming as a potential new sport.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[17:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Welcome back. It's going to be a busy week at the White House. President Trump is welcoming French President Emmanuel Macron.

For the first state visit of his presidency, the two will have a private dinner tomorrow night at Mount Vernon, along with an official state dinner at the White House on Tuesday.

President Macron will then make a rare joint address to Congress on Wednesday. And during the visit, the French President is expected to push for France's exemption from the new U.S. trade tariff, and to encourage President Trump to recertify the Iran nuclear deal. Macron undoubtedly hopes his special friendship with the U.S. President will help to accomplish those goals.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: Look, I think we have this very special relationship because the both of us are probably the mavericks of the system on both sides. I think President Trump's election was unexpected in your country, and probably my election was unexpected in my country. And we are not part of the classical political system.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: And when it comes to the plan North Korea summit, President Trump is predicting a great outcome mostly. Boarding Air Force One in Florida, President Trump said things are looking very good when asked about North Korea.

And then moments later he lashed out at critics on Twitter, writing, funny how all the pundits that couldn't come close to making a deal on North Korea are now all over the place telling me how to make a deal.

But earlier this morning, he took in more temperate tone tweeting, we are a long way from conclusion on North Korea. Maybe things will work out, and maybe they won't. Only time will tell. But the work I'm doing now should have been done a long time ago.

Meanwhile, North and South Korea are just days away from their all historic summit that could dramatically alter the relationship between them. But for many ordinary Koreans, this change would come too late. Paula Hancocks has more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kwon Moon-Kok was just 19 when the North Korean war broke out in 1950. He deserted the North Korean military, hating the ideology, and walked 14 days to get home hiding in his mother's attic. He then joined the U.N. forces led by the United States.

KWON MOON-KOK, NORTH KOREAN SEPARATED FROM FAMILY (through a translator): I said it would be a matter of days, he says, for our forces to take over the north. I told my parents I will be back in a week, and the runaway in the middle of the night.

HANCOCKS: Kwon said he wouldn't have left if he had known he would never see his parents, or two brothers again. He said nothing in almost 70-years -- he doesn't know if any of then is still alive.

One of millions of families destroyed by the Korean War, one of thousands of North Koreans that settled here in Abai village on the east coast, near the DMZ, so they could move back home easily when the time came, but it never did.

Kwon married in South Korea, and has four children, and nine grandchildren, but still misses his North Korean family every day. He checks Google Earth once a week to see satellite images of his home town near Wonsan in the North.

The closest he can get to see it again. This is my school, he says. My mother and father live there. Kwon has little hope the summit between the North and South Korean leaders will make any difference.

During the previous glorying restorations, he even collected clothes for his North Korean family, and then threw them away when it turned sour.

I was almost 20 when I left home, he says, I am now almost 90. There's no joy in life for me. I'm waiting to die. I don't know why, he says, but the older I become, the more I miss my brothers. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Abai Village, South Korea.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Up next, back to our breaking news.

[17:55:00] The man police say shot, and killed four people at a Waffle House in Tennessee is still on the run, and possibly armed. We'll have the latest on the manhunt right after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Top of the hour, you are live in the CNN newsroom. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thank you for being here. It's breaking news right now.

A desperate manhunt for a mass killer, four people shot dead at this Waffle House in Nashville, Tennessee, two people outside, two people inside. It happened a couple of hours before dawn. Witnesses say a man drove up in a pickup truck, parked, and calmly got out with AR-15 rifle, and opened fire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CORDERO: I dropped to the ground, and was able to keep an eye on the shooter from underneath my car. I was just fearful that he was going to come around my car...