Return to Transcripts main page


Romney Fails To Secure Utah GOP Nomination; Police: No Confirmed Sighting Of Waffle House Shooter; Duchess Of Cambridge Gives Birth To Baby Boy. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired April 23, 2018 - 12:30   ET


[12:30:00] JOHN KING, INSIDE POLITICS HOST: Did they know it would be that rough?

MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, I think they did. Mitt Romney had put, you know, 9,000 miles on his truck driving around, trying to show these Utah delegates that he was ready to earn it. But he landed in the middle of this long-running fight within the Utah GOP over it's kind of the establishment versus the grassroots who do not like the fact that Mitt Romney went out and gathered signatures. They feel like that it was kind of a blow against delegates who want to maintain their power.

So I think that this showed us, in part, though, is that there is still kind of a brewing antiestablishment mood and Romney really bore the brunt of that this weekend.

It's important to remember though that the group of delegates that voted was like 1,500 votes for each of these candidates. There are actually 650,000 Republicans in Utah where Romney is very popular. So, while this one wing of the party is not happy with him, he still is very likely to be victorious in the primary as you mentioned. And these delegates just like the element of surprise and showing establishment candidates, particularly ones who have not lived in Utah for a long time, that they're still in charge.

KING: And help me understand a third element of the grassroots because this was not President Trump's best state either by long shot. So when you're going through the delegates, Kennedy tried the carpetbagger argument, he tried, you know, Romney is too close to the Washington establishment. He also made the pitch that Romney had his many differences with President Trump. What was the most powerful against of those arguments against Romney or was it a combination of a stew?

RESTON: I think it was a, you know, a stew that he really represented the grassroots activist base of the party. And Mitt Romney was the face outsider that's, you know, Goliath going in and trying to control the process. But I did also talk to a number of delegates at the convention who were still very unhappy with Romney taking on Trump in the 2016 race, calling him out as an impostor, and calling out his commentary. And there were some people there that really wanted to punish him for that.

At the same time, when I interviewed Romney this weekend, Romney said he would not yet endorse Trump in 2020. So that kind of shows you that there are a lot of Utah Republicans who are not happy with Trump and Romney is ready to represent them.

KING: Maeve Reston, appreciate the report. You had an interesting weekend. We'd be back as you continue your travels.

It is fascinating. Most of our midterm focus is on how big of a blue wave will it be? Can Democrats sustain the intensity? They have now all way through November. Both parties have these internal issues brewing as well. In another senate race, for example, Bob Corker, who is Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, who's got a big role today on Capitol Hill.

We'll he's retired and Marsha Blackburn quickly, the coalescing of all the Republican Party, one of the most fascinating about her is that you had the grassroots base and the establishment saying she is the strongest candidate. But Senator Corker didn't like Marsha Blackburn. He thinks she is too conservative. His friend Lamar Alexander from Tennessee doesn't like Marsha Blackburn. He does like the Democratic Former Governor Phil Bredesen.

Listen to Senator Corker. He is the Republican Senator from Tennessee in a seat Republicans have to hold, asked by Dana Bash yesterday. So what about Marsha Blackburn?


SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: I've sent the maximum contribution to the Republican nominee on our side. I've said I'm going to plan to vote for this person. I was in a long meeting where I talk about the -- they were asking me about Governor Bredesen. He is my friend. I'm not going to campaign against him, but I'm supporting our nominee.

Dana, you know, I'm supporting the nominee. I've worked with the nominee for some time, and I don't know what else to say.


KING: What else to say. How about, Marsha Blackburn is the Republican candidate. She will protect your tax cuts. She will be with President Trump on this big issue. She's the better candidate for the conservative people of Tennessee. There's a lot he could have said.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: You know, he couldn't said, John. He couldn't said her name. We didn't hear him say. He said this person, the nominee, really restraining to explain why he is supporting her.

KING: I'm not sure he wants her to campaign for her specially now.

RAJU: Yes, I need to congratulate (ph).

KING: But you say that that's stunning.

RAJU: It is. You know, Corker has a hard time faking it, as you can tell. Like he feels like he has to support her, even though he probably -- he could speak openly, we would probably say he is not supporting her, she is not his line of type of politics, you know, making politics. He is actually supported another candidate in this race, in the primary to drop out after Corker was having second thoughts about rejoining this race.

I think Corker himself maybe feels that he probably should have run for reelection, but ultimately think he decided prematurely to drop out of this race. But nevertheless this race could be on the map, and if it is, that's the problem for the Republicans particularly if this flips. That means, they could lose a Senate which we viewed as very unlikely, just some (INAUDIBLE).

[12:35:08] KING: You say could be on the map. This poll is about a month old, but the latest poll down in the race if you look at it here. Phil Bredesen, the former governor, actually up by, you know, 10 points. Again, Tennessee tends to be a red state but he's a candidate who win this other statewide races has proven that he can reach out to Republican voters. So a Republican family feud does not help in a year when you already know the Democrats have their wind at the back.

CATHERINE LUCEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: That's right. I mean lukewarm is an understatement for that commentary.

KING: Yes, I know you're being watch for that.

LUCEY: And it's a state where Republican should have no difficulty able to see. I think what we're waiting to see now is what kind of blowback do we get from the President, for example. Are we going after him? Obviously he's leaving but it could make it pretty unpleasant --

KING: Even the blowback though because Corker does have supporters in the state. He's a more of a moderate Republican, more of traditional old school Tennessee. Marsha Blackburn was more of a new age conservative. So they don't like her. Some people I heard think specially the women would lead, that's a negative. So good all boys Tennessee don't like the woman candidate, I'll leave that for the Tennessee debate.

But you have, even if the President now goes after Corker again or for Blackburn feels that she has to drive to Corer again. Then you're stirring up internal Republican disagreements. At a time you have a Democratic candidate who has been elected statewide. You understand a lot of people in his state are Republicans and like Trump, and he's running a pretty smart campaign. Look at this.


PHIL BREDESEN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF TENNESSEE: I'm not running against Donald Trump. I'm running for a Senate seat to represent the people of Tennessee. He has an idea and is pushing something that I think are good for the people of Tennessee. I'm going to be for it. It doesn't matter where it came from.


KING: If you've got one campaign that's running on most if not all cylinders, and the other campaign that's breaking down along the road as we just saw with Senator Corker's, whatever we want to call it there, advantage Democrats at the moment.

RAJU: Yes. I mean, there are names in Republicans who are put off by President Trump who may not be willing to support Marsha Blackburn who is campaigning against a Trump style conservative. The question is ultimately when President Trump does go to the state and presumably does campaigns for her, how does that play in the more general election atmosphere where there are some of those more moderate Republicans maybe inclined to break and vote for a Democrat.

LUCEY: And we saw in Pittsburgh recently that this kind of moderate Democratic campaign can work. I mean in a seat that is not traditionally, you know, blue.

OLIVIER KNOX, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, SIRIUS XM: It's interesting when Paul Ryan said he was going to leave people and now it's Donald Trump's party, right? What interest me about what Utah and Tennessee is you've got very notable Republican figures who still now have not figured out how to manage their relation with Donald Trump, right.

Mitt Romney came out and gave a fire and brimstone denunciation of future President Trump and then we had that sort of introducing (ph) peace making dinner in New York when he was thought to be addition in for possibly secretary of state.

And then Bob Corker who defended Donald Trump from Mitt Romney's attacks on foreign policy, who has also struggled to kind of managed that relationship. And so I think what we're going to see is in both of these is a test of just how much of Donald Trump's party is this?

KING: Right. It's a great question. We'll see if it certainly it is for the most part but a lot of people that I figure out are the ones who don't like it, and forget how to navigate it. We'll continue to watch that races passing, her name is Marsha Blackburn and Senator Corker, Marsha Blackburn.

We continue to monitor for a police briefing that will take soon down in Tennessee. Of course we're waiting there for any word on the manhunt for the Waffle House killer. We'll bring you that live what it happens.


[12:42:46] KING: Take you straight to a press conference, law enforcement in Tennessee on the Waffle House shooting yesterday.

DON AARON, METRO NASHVILLE POLICE SPOKESMAN: There is a significant tremendous law enforcement presence in this immediate area. Late yesterday, the police department was informed by a citizen from another county that while he was traveling in the area of I-24 in Old Hickory Boulevard near the truck stops of America, he came across a laptop case, a soft laptop case. The citizen saw it just laying there in the grass, picked it up, took it home with him to the other county. When he got home last night and opened it up, he saw that there was a handwritten identification card with the name Travis Reinking in the bag.

Now, our intelligence information tells us that Reinking was in that immediate area on Saturday night. At this juncture, we don't know if that laptop case wound up at I-24 in Old Hickory Boulevard prior to the shooting or after the shooting. Nevertheless, when the search is completed of this immediate area, and it's being done very carefully by grids, when the search is completed here, it will be extended beyond I-24 in Old Hickory Boulevard.

If Reinking is still in the woods, he's been there now for more than 24 hours, and at some point he's going to have to try to come out for food or water. So the law enforcement presence is continuing significantly. We would urge citizens not just in this area but also down to the Rutherford County line and beyond the I-24/Old Hickory Boulevard area, west of I-24 in Old Hickory Boulevard, to also be vigilant. We have talked to Lamar Advertising today, and very soon electronic billboards will be going up throughout the region with Reinking's photograph, urging persons to call in if they see him. Questions?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you still believe that he may be getting help right now or do you think he's still on foot?

[12:45:04] AARON: There have been no confirmed sightings of him, so we don't know where he is. It is possible that he has left the area, we just don't know. He did steal a car last week. We have been in contact with the Brentwood Police Department in Williamson County. It is our understanding that last Tuesday, he drove his pickup truck to -- near a BMW dealership in Brentwood, parked it at a storage facility, walked to the BMW dealership, inquired about purchasing a BMW. When the sales associate asked for his identification, he refused to give it, but had the key fob for a BMW automobile and stole the car from the dealership.

Brentwood police reports that they found the vehicle as he was driving it and engaged in a pursuit during rush hour. Because of all of the vehicles on the road at that time and the fact that this vehicle had GPS capability and it could be tracked, the pursuit was discontinued by the Brentwood Police Department, and later that evening, the vehicle was recovered from Reinking's apartment complex. But I would hasten to add that they had no idea who the man was. He wouldn't give any identification, there was no clue whatsoever of his name, but due to the GPS tracking, the vehicle, that BMW, was recovered on Tuesday from at apartment complex.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said he got the fob, you know, the fob (INAUDIBLE)?

AARON: I would defer to the Brentwood Police Department on the specifics or the BMW dealership.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But that car had nothing to do with the shooting (INAUDIBLE).

AARON: That's correct. He stole the car on Tuesday and due to the GPS capability it was recovered on Tuesday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he jump out of the car and just leave it there or was he arrested there on (INAUDIBLE) when they recovered the car?

AARON: No. The vehicle was recovered from his apartment complex due to the GPS capability. There was no one in it. He was not arrested. The police department nor the dealership knew who he was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But the car he took to the Waffle House, that was his own vehicle?

AARON: The pickup truck. You are correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And there's no connection between the BMW dealership and the reason do you believe that he may have been planning something maybe on Tuesday to do something sooner?

AARON: Well, that remains to be seen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something you're looking at.

AARON: We don't know what his plan was. Certainly, he had a pickup truck. Certainly, he had possession of this BMW car. What his intention for taking the BMW car remains to be seen.



AARON: During the investigation and the search of the apartment on yesterday, the Metro Police Department recovered the fob, the key fob to the BMW.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have he referred himself as a sovereign citizen?

AARON: And we knew that the car was recovered from that apartment complex.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Has anyone does the BMW for fingerprints that may have lightfully sent to Travis Reinking?

AARON: I would defer to the Brentwood Police Department. The car theft investigation is taking place in another county, another jurisdiction.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots were fired at the Burnette Chapel? What was that? Can you tell us more information about that?

AARON: I have seen a report of shots that has nothing whatsoever to do with the search for Reinking. I've been informed that there is a gun range in that area, in that vicinity. Perhaps, what was heard was coming from a gun range or maybe a hunter or something to that effect, but it has nothing to do with Travis Reinking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has his father acknowledged giving the guns back to his son?

AARON: My understanding is that he has.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And do you know if the father or the son belong to the (INAUDIBLE)?

AARON: I personally do not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey Don, does (INAUDIBLE) laptop, the position was found by 8 to 10 at the America --

AARON: It's a laptop case, not a laptop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So what else is in it? Can you talk about --

AARON: It was empty.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was empty, except for that.

AARON: It did have a handwritten identification card with the Travis Reinking on that card.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you can clarify the father had said the acknowledgment of the police (INAUDIBLE). And I understand this is a different jurisdiction, but the father had said that -- had told investigators in Illinois they had an understanding that he was not going to give the weapons back to his son. He is --

AARON: I'm not aware of any of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, is that illegal what he did? Was Reinking able to have weapons in Tennessee?

AARON: As we discussed yesterday, Chief Anderson said, who, by the way, is a lawyer, he is unfamiliar with the statutes in Illinois, as am I.

[12:50:06] As to the legality of the transference back to the son, I don't know, what the issues could be in Illinois. It is not illegal in Tennessee to possess long guns, legal long guns. So I do not -- I guess I would defer to Illinois and what their statutes are and their interpretation of the law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have a guy who have a mental health history (INAUDIBLE). What's your biggest worry right now?

AARON: I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your biggest worry right now?

AARON: Well, from the totality of the circumstances, from the issue at the White House and what we hear in Illinois, he shows signs of significant instability. Yesterday the police department recovered two long guns from the apartment. We also obviously have the AR-15. There was a fourth gun, a handgun, that is unaccounted for. He could well be in possession of that handgun.

So, we have a man who has exhibited significant instability. We are concerned for the citizenry, not just here but anywhere else he may go. And that's why you are seeing the significant law enforcement resources dedicated to this, not just from this police department but our federal partners as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you aware if Reinking was ever diagnosed with a mental illness?

AARON: I personally am not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, how does, if indeed, his father or him say that they claim to be members of the sovereign citizen group? How does that either hurt, complicate or has no impact for your investigation if you do that?

AARON: I don't have anything to say about that. I don't know anything about the sovereign citizen issue.

SHEILA: So Don, I guess I heard you saying that reports of the mental health instability of the issues, does that --

AARON: You need to start again, Sheila. I didn't hear the first part.

SHEILA: So, I guess you're saying, you know, these reports of his mental health issues gave the police search like a more sense of urgency because of that?

AARON: Well, look, the crime he committed, a quadruple murder, there is nothing more urgent than that, to find the person responsible. All these resources from this police department will be dedicated, anyway, and our federal partners are always here to help. But given his exhibited mental instability over the many months that we're aware of certainly adds another layer of urgency. But the highest urgency was already there given the quadruple homicide.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don, has he been recently spotted at Montview and Smith Ridge Road?

AARON: Not to my knowledge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What brought him to Nashville?

AARON: To my understanding, he was working in the crane or construction trade.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was that a job that he had after he got here or that's what he --

AARON: I don't know. We suspect that he arrived sometime in the fall of 2017. We understand that he was employed by one company, was fired or dismissed from that company about three weeks ago. Got a job with a similar firm last Monday -- I guess he worked last Monday and the firm is telling us that he did not report for work on Tuesday and they haven't seen him since.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess if he had any friends or family, any reason (INAUDIBLE) or connection that may have brought him here, or just a random city?

AARON: Not to my knowledge. I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you any closer to a possible motive?

AARON: No. No. We don't know why he went into the Waffle House. I will tell you that we do fully believe --

KING: We're listening here to the Metro police spokesman at Nashville, Tennessee, describing a manhunt underway. Some clues gathered so far in the hunt for the Waffle House shooter. Four people killed, others wounded in that shooting. You see Travis Reinking on your screen there. He is the suspect in the shooting.

I want to bring you the conversation with CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Art Roderick. He is also the Former Assistant Director for the U.S. Marshal's Office.

As you listen, Art, what did you hear there from an investigative search standpoint, obviously a massive manhunt under way. No confirm citings. They're missing a handgun. They were four weapons two seized in the apartment, one that was seized by a hero from -- at the restaurant, there's still missing a hand gun. What else?

ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well a couple interesting things. A stolen vehicle from last week, what prompted that? You know, we still haven't heard what the motive is or what the trigger was for actually going to that Waffle House on that particular day.

But I think the interesting thing here is they've got to confirm this whole sovereign citizen issue, because to me that opens up a whole -- another batch of questions here. You know, was he associated with an organized group? You know, is this is antigovernment group? Did he receive any type of tactical training that a lot of these groups do, you know, do put on for individuals that are associated with these groups?

And once you start mixing sovereign citizen rhetoric along with paranoia mental health issues, that's a very volatile situation that an individual can take to heart and cause a reaction like this and go out to do what he did at this horrible crime scene at the Waffle House.

[12:55:15] KING: And all the more reason for the community to have profound jitters (ph) in this. You heard the police spokesman talking that there was some gun fire heard earlier today in one part of the city down there and the police spokesman saying there's a gun range in that area. And to the best of his knowledge, this was just a normal use of a gun range, but understandably, the people of Nashville quite concerned because he did runaway from the restaurant, again, his AR-15 was seized from him by a hero, Mr. Shaw, at that restaurant but there's a hand fun missing. He's in the woods, let's say we're going to have a billboard company come in, put up electronic billboards with these photos they believe.

I shouldn't say he's in the woods, they believe he still hiding in a wooded area somewhere from a search investigative standpoint, what does that entail?

RODERICK: Well, as the time goes by, you really have to expand the search area especially if you've done a very good job within the immediate search area which it sounds like they have, both from the air and on the ground with K9s, with officers.

So, they have to start expanding the search area out, do a little more work in Illinois to try to get as much information as they can from the family and friends. It sounds like he wasn't on the job, his second very long. But I'm sure he had some friends and associates there in that apartment complex that they can go to and gather more information.

But it seems to me that they've got him sort of cornered in a specific area that is of course, unless he didn't have help. Somebody might have picked him up and take him to another location. But it sounds like with no confirm citings at all, that they probably haven't butts in to an area, if he's still alive.

KING: All right, Roderick, appreciate your insights. We'll continue to track this investigation.

RODERICK: Thanks, John.

KING: I want to show you something completely much more update and it is now to end the show. A happy moment outside of St. Mary's Hospital in London. Prince William and Katherine, the duchess of Cambridge, emerging from the hospital with their new instant son. Baby boy is their third child, now fifth in line to the throne.

Notable, this is the first time in history that the birth of a prince doesn't automatically mean he passes over his older sister in line for the crown. That's thanks to a law passed back in 2013. Look at those pictures. That's amazing.

Older sister Charlotte remains fourth in line after older brother George. We have the new baby right there. What do we think?

RAJU: I had to consult my wife, Archana, for some analysis because she's the royal baby expert in our household. She says this takes all the pressure off Harry because the baby is now fifth in line to the crown, so we'll see if harry ever gets --

LUCEY: And we saw the big siblings on their way in. Charlotte was already with her wave, so I think they're all well then to welcome the new baby in style. KING: No one else? That silence at the table here, you want to share the joy here, Olivier? No, you have no joy to share? All right. Remarkable pictures right there. Look at that. Kate, William, brand new baby boy in the U.K.

Thanks for joining us on INSIDE POLITICS. We'll see you back here this time tomorrow. The White House briefing start soon. Wolf Blitzer will bring you that. We'll also keep you track with those developments in Tennessee.

Wolf will be here after a quick break.