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Sheriff Says Gunman Targeted Specific Victims in Jacksonville; John McCain to Be Honored for Five Days in Three Cities; Longtime Aide to Senator John McCain Speaks About What the Senator Meant to Him; Schumer Wants Senate Building Renamed for McCain. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired August 27, 2018 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Because there is this very short window if in fact Trump wants this deal signed as the Mexican government says it wants before the existing Mexican president leaves office, which is why you have this very short window to get Canada on board otherwise the whole deal could fall apart on the Mexico side.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Catherine Rampell, thank you so very much.

RAMPELL: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next here on CNN, moments ago the Jacksonville Florida sheriff's office shared new details about the mass shooting at a video game tournament over the weekend. What were now learning about how the gunman targeted his victims. Next.


BALDWIN: Police now believe the 24-year-old man targeted gamers when he opened fire at a video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida. The man killed two and wounded 128 others before taking his own life. Those who survive say they had little time to run for cover as the gunman walked in the room and started firing.


ALEX MADUNIC, SHOOTING VICTIM: All of a sudden next thing you know pop, pop, pop, and then we just start scattering this and that. My first instinct was to drop down to the floor and get cover and I was in the fetal position under the table. I was next to some guy that also got shot. I don't remember his name exactly, but I just remember him holding each other's hands and stuff like that. And just praying that this stops. Next thing you know, it stopped for a second I'm guessing the suspect reloaded or something and just starting firing more. In I was underneath the desk and I ended up getting hit.


BALDWIN: Let's go to our senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin, there in Baltimore, the gunman's home town. Andrew, we know the sheriff held a news conference just a bit ago. What did he say about the investigation? DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: A lot to

unpack. First of all, we know that David Katz targeted those gamers specifically because the sheriff has the surveillance tape of the shooting. The 24-year-old who went to that contest apparently with two guns, not one, but two guns, Brooke, that were recently purchased, opened fire, and on the video, as you are about to hear, the sheriff says he passed several people before focusing on the gamers themselves. Take a listen.


SHERIFF MIKE WILLIAMS, JACKSONVILLE FLORIDA: A video surveillance footage from inside the restaurant clearly shows this is a single shooter incident and that the suspect took his own life after shooting the victims. The suspect carried two handguns, and extra ammunition into the establishment with him. However, at this point we believe that he only fired one handgun during the incident. And the suspect clearly targeted other gamers who were in the back room of a Chicago pizza participating in this gaming tournament. The suspect walked past patrons who were other parts of the business and focused his attention on the gamers.


GRIFFIN: CNN's Brian Todd also reporting that other gamers said that this person, this suspect who killed himself, David Katz had just lost, may have been upset over that loss when he opened fire. The investigation has moved here to the Baltimore inner harbor where the suspect lived in a town home with his father. The ATF visited the town home last night. Both parents, they are divorced, are cooperating. As to motive, we still don't know motive yet according to the sheriff.

But we are learning that David Katz has some emotional issues in his past. The "Baltimore Sun" finding divorce records of these parents, one, his father a NASA engineer, that say that David Katz did have emotional and stability problems. There was some dispute and discussion over financial bills to cover some of those medical expenses. At one-point David Katz did have to be hospitalized for psychiatric treatment. The other thing we've learned about the guns. He recently purchased them, Brooke, just within the last month or so and one of the guns had an aftermarket laser sight attached. That is according to the sheriff down in Jacksonville -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: When you get more, let us know, Drew Griffin, thank you.

Coming up next, we continue our tributes to the late Senator John McCain, his friend and former staffer joins me live from Arizona to share his memories of the man who served his country for more than half a century.

[15:40:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency, for its faith, and the wisdom, justice, and goodness of its people.




MCCAIN: I'm getting the best treatment that anybody could get, and I'm very happy. I'm very happy with my life. I'm very happy with what I have been able to do. And there's two ways of looking at these things. And one of them is to celebrate. I am able to celebrate a wonderful life, and I will be grateful for additional time that I have.


BALDWIN: Senator John McCain, he will be memorized for five days this week with services. Coming up a little later, planned in his home state of Arizona and also in the nation's capital where he served as lawmaker for more than 30 years.

And this just in, guys, let's show the live pictures of the White House. Guess what has just happened? The flag has now been lowered to half-staff. So, it had been lowered. It was raised. Now it's official lowered again. We have reached out to the White House for clarification on why it has been lowered again.

[15:45:00] Presumably, out of respect for the late Senator. As soon as we find out, we will let you know.

My next guest worked with John McCain for 25 years. Max Fose served as an aide for McCain Senate and presidential campaigns. Max, great to have you on. Welcome.

MAX FOSE, FORMER AIDE TO SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

BALDWIN: So, you go way back with John McCain, 1992, there you were, an intern at McCain's Phoenix office. You were telling me you had -- what? You were working at the car wash across the street. Why John McCain?

FOSE: Yes, I was working at the car wash across the street and I need an internship in college. And my college professor knew I had an interest in politics. And Dennis DeConcini was a Senator, and Senator John McCain was also a Senator. Because I saw his name across the street, I went in and you know got the internship. And the rest is history. So --

BALDWIN: So, Max, I was digging up an old "Forbes" article on you. And this is the quote from "Forbes". McCain had long been struck by Fose's personality and his technological savvy. Quote from McCain.

Max is the loveliest of young men, and if you asked central casting to send you the "Revenge of the Nerds" they would send you Max.

This was John McCain.

FOSE: Yes, I -- well my mom loved that quote. She always got a kick out of it. And I'm probably turning red right now hearing it again.

BALDWIN: What was he like?

FOSE: He was an amazing person. And he was fun to be around. And you know, it was like being around a rock star. And you would walk through the airport with him and people would turn and point. And you know -- you know, there's a thousand other politicians in the world but no one had that rock star status in that fun and people loved to be around John McCain. And he loved people in return. You know, I think he fed off, you know, how he inspired people and how he inspired generations not only of people who worked for him, but across the nation.

You know, I think you heard the -- what you just reported about the White House, I think that's a reflection of the outpouring of support not only in America but from around the world. And it's great to see he's well deserving of it. And I'm honored to be here and talk about him and you know to be a part of his life. And it's just a real honor to be here.

BALDWIN: Yes. Tell me about your trip to -- was it Walmart over the weekend and al the American flags. What did you do?

FOSE: Yes, I got up in the morning and I had an old campaign sign in my garage. And I put it up on corner, we live on a busy street in Phoenix and you know, we're about a mile and a half away from the funeral home. And I drove by and there was the honor guard there. And I didn't see any flags besides that the honor guard was holding. And Walmart's another half mile down the street. And so, I went in and picked up flags at Walmart, and I bought all the flags and all the ones I could find. And I'm standing in line and as the cashiers --

BALDWIN: Bought all the flags?

FOSE: The cashier is ringing them up. Yes, all the flags in the basket and as the cashier is ringing them up one by one, one by one, people in line are giving me that look, like, you know, come on, this is taking forever. And the first lady behind me asked me about them. And she thought I was going to a cemetery. And I said, no, I'm going down the street where Senator McCain's body lays and I'm going to put them out. She just hands me a dollar. And you know, it just kept going from there. It -- you know, it is a reflection of McCain himself, because he inspired that in people. You know, of all walks of life. It was a perfect moment of love. I don't know what else to say about it. It was just a perfect moment.

BALDWIN: So beautiful, it's such a beautiful thing for you to do, for someone that you clearly just so entirely respect. I wanted to ask you about 2008 and you know, the run for the White House. Because he had this, you know ready to be commander-in-chief platform, oodles of experience, and went up against the totally unexpected energy of a guy named Barack Obama. What was that like when that concession speech? FOSE: Well, I think it was John McCain putting country first and putting the healing of a nation in front of his own political ambition or what he wanted to achieve in his life. And I mean, that's John McCain at his finest when anybody else and you know what would happen now in politics. But anybody else would have gave that speech and John McCain gave that speech. And I think you see the same sentiment come through in what he just put out in his statement after he's died. And he's always about pulling people together and putting America first and not what divides us but what brings us together.

[15:50:00] And he knew, you know, this was the first African-American president. What this could have done to the country and he stood up and led. And it's inspiring. I would encourage anyone to go back and read his speech and read his statement from today. And you'll be inspired. And I hope it inspires a nation to come together and you know, not be pulled apart.

BALDWIN: I feel it from you. Max Fose, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

FOSE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Just a reminder minutes from now we are expecting Senators from both sides of the aisle -- speaking of inspiration -- to honor their late colleague, John McCain. We will take you live to the Senate floor for that moment. Stay with me.


BALDWIN: The building up on Capitol Hill where the late Senator John McCain spent many an hour may actually be renamed for him. The Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, announced his proposal one day after his colleague lost his battle with brain cancer.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: I'd like decades from now, little children to ask their parents, who was John McCain. And they will explain the sacrifice, his patriotism, and most of all his fidelity to do the right thing as he sought. And when he did the wrong thing, to change.


BALDWIN: McCain worked within the Russell Senate office building which is named after a Georgia Democrat, Richard Russell, who is a staunch segregationist who voted to block the 1964 Civil Rights Act. So, renaming the building would not require the signature of President Trump.

And at Senator McCain's request, the President will not be attending his funeral or any other memorial events. Unclear though as to whether the first lady will do so. Her office has not responded to multiple attempts to get something on the record. Melania Trump just wrapped up this tree planting ceremony over at the White House. Here she was a little while ago. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY: Thank you, everyone, for coming today. An honor to make a place here for another monument, I would say. Very special day. I want to thank the National Park Services for doing an amazing job and keeping the White House in beautiful shape.


BALDWIN: Let's go to our White House reporter, Kate Bennett, who was at that tree planting ceremony there on the South lawn. And Kate, I guess my question is, you know, what is the first lady's staff saying about their choice for even her not to attend any of the memorial events this week? What's their rational?

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well the staff isn't saying anything, as you mentioned. We have made multiple requests for comment on the record. They are just not responding. I don't think we are going expect to see the first lady at any of the John McCain memorial events. I think, you know, she did go to former first lady Barbara Bush's funeral. Of course, we remember that, and the President didn't. I believe that's a bit different.

It might be splitting hairs at this point, but that was a former first lady. Certainly, something more aligned with what the current first lady is akin to and therefore maybe slightly more appropriate that she go without her husband. However, it's anyone's guess right now why the first lady is not attending John McCain's funeral or his viewing at this point. She's not expected to. Again, we haven't heard officially, but we are not expecting it.

BALDWIN: OK. And Melania Trump, she did issue a tweet that goes a step further than that of her husband's, thanking the Senator for his service. And you said this before. The first lady has intention behind everything she does.

BENNETT: Yes, and I think this wasn't that much of a departure for the first lady. We've seen her several times, of course, tweet on her own. She does not need to have approval from the West Wing before she tweets. She doesn't need to ask the President what she should say or shouldn't say. She's been like that from the beginning. Certainly, she felt the need to thank the Senator for his service to his country. Ivanka Trump also tweeted, saying thanks to John McCain for his services.

Right now, it's sort of just the President that hasn't done so. You know, Brooke, when I arrived here for the tree planting ceremony, the American flag was back up at full staff. And now that I'm done a few minutes later honestly, it's down again as we said, at half mass. Certainly, this is a White House apparently still grappling with how to handle this very important remembrance of Senator John McCain.

BALDWIN: It was down over the weekend, then it was back up, now it's back down again. Waiting for some sort of explanation from this White House. Kate Bennett, thank you so much. And thank you all for being with me. I'm Brooke Baldwin here in New

York. Jim Sciutto in the big chair for Jake Tapper. "THE LEAD" starts right now.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Thank you, Brooke. Rare tributes for a very rare breed of American hero. "THE LEAD" starts right now.

New details today on the cross-country farewell planned for the late Senator John McCain as his final words are read out loud to the nation. Even after his death the vitriol endures. Moments ago, the White House reversing course, again, on a tribute to Senator John McCain. President Trump repeatedly ignores questions about him.

Plus -- shock and tragedy at a Madden Tournament. Brand-new information on why a gamer grabbed a real-life gun and went on a killing spree and yet another mass shooting in America.

[16:00:00] Welcome to "THE LEAD". I'm Jim Sciutto. We begin with the national lead any moment. The senate will convene for the first time since the passing of Senator John McCain, honoring the legacy of the man who held his Senate seat for more than three decades.