Return to Transcripts main page


Redacted Mueller Report Set For Release Tomorrow; Prosecutors Intend to Release Videos in Robert Kraft Case; Woman Sought For Columbine Threat Dead in Apparent Suicide. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired April 17, 2019 - 15:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Kamau shines a light on the people creating change and fighting for justice and making a difference. It all starts Sunday night, April 28, at 10:00 Eastern and Pacific, only on CNN.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BALDWIN: You are watching this breaking news here on CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

The breaking news is out of Colorado, where this massive manhunt is now over, and a woman described by the FBI as armed, dangerous and a credible threat to local schools because of her infatuation with Columbine is now dead.


JEFF SHRADER, JEFFERSON COUNTY, COLORADO, SHERIFF: The FBI recently just confirmed that they have Pais deceased from an apparent self- inflicted gunshot wound.

JASON GLASS, SUPERINTENDENT, JEFFERSON COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS: We're relieved the threat to our schools and community is no longer present.


BALDWIN: Eighteen-year-old Sol Pais arrived in Denver Monday night, just days before the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre that left 13 people dead. She immediately bought a pump- action shotgun and ammunition, forcing nearly 20 school districts to close today as the search went on for her.

And those schools are expected to reopen tomorrow morning.

CNN Scott McLean is outside of Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.

And the sheriff says this was an apparent suicide. What, Scott, can you tell us about where she was found and how?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that is right, Brooke. A self- inflicted gunshot wound is what the authorities are saying at this point.

Who, though, or what led her to that spot where she was found is still pretty unclear at this point. We know, though, that she was last spotted in the Foothills area, an area more sparsely populated just on the outskirts of metro Denver.

Police had been searching areas, we know, that she had last been spotted or suspected to have been. But there were no credible sightings in the last 24 hours. So, again, it is unclear how they managed to get over there, whether it was a tip or whether it was something else.

What is interesting especially, Brooke, about the area that she was found in near the base of the Mount Evans area, is that it is quite remote. It is not the Foothills. It is much further into the mountain range there. And it is quite a ways off the main highway as well, I-70, the main interstate.

And the road that she likely would have been found off of, based on the map, is actually a seasonal road. So it wasn't actually due to open for more than a month. So how she got there, who might have taken her there, and just the circumstances around her death are still pretty unclear.

It is a sad ending to this story, but you can bet that a lot of people are breathing a sigh of relief at this hour, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Absolutely. Scott McLean, thank you so much.

Mary Ellen O'Toole is a former profiler and special agent for the FBI. And Josh Campbell a former FBI supervisory special agent.

And so we have got a lot of questions for both of you.

Josh, if I could start with you here, how, in a span of essentially this day or so, do we go from law enforcement wanting to locate her, find her, question her, to her presumably killing herself?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: So, the actions are her own here. This appears to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

And at the end of the day, I think we have to pause, first of all, and focus on how good of a job this was for law enforcement. Obviously, law enforcement in the United States isn't perfect, but this is text bookcase. You had a lead that came in, in one part of the country, Miami.

That was then shared with another part of the country in Colorado, law enforcement fusing out to try to find her. They know she purchased a weapon. They were on her trail, tracking her to this location.

But to your question, at the end, this came down to her own actions.


CAMPBELL: Now, in the state of Colorado, law enforcement, mental health professionals, they can put someone on what they call a 72-hour hold if they think that person is in some kind of mental distress. They might be -- pose a challenge or harm to themselves or others.

BALDWIN: But they can't arrest them.

CAMPBELL: They can hold them and do that initial assessment.

In this case, we don't think that they actually were able to build charges or anything that they could hold -- but, again, the focus was on stopping a potential threat to the community.

Their goal was to find her. Their goal was to stop her safely. The fact that she ended her own life, again, is on her.

BALDWIN: Mary Ellen, who you on the fact on the fact that she is this -- or she was this -- described as infatuated with what happened in Littleton 20 years ago. By the way, she was 18. So she wasn't even born when that school shooting happened.

What kind of person would obsess over something like Columbine?

MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, unfortunately, we know that there are many people that obsess over Columbine. It is -- it is unusual that she's a female.

But we have seen this. It is called contagion effect. It's kind of gone from copycat to contagion effect, which means that there are certain small groups of people, particularly younger people, but particularly male, that are already contemplating either suicide or homicide or both.


And they want to emulate the Columbine shooters. I actually reviewed the basement tapes after Columbine. And it was my opinion that they never be released, because Eric Harris, who was the leader of the two, was so compelling in his prophesizing to future shooters to come with him, and you also will live in infamy.

And that's the message that's coming out that makes Columbine so powerful. But to say that it caused her to do this would be incorrect. She was already entertaining, most likely, thoughts of suicide and possibly homicide as she made her way out to Denver.

BALDWIN: And I know there have been people over the years who have been infatuated, fascinated with, in a really grotesque way, over what happened there 20 years ago.

And just listening to this school safety director saying that this threat really felt different than others that this high school and Columbine had felt in the past.

I mean, do you think -- I mean, dozens of schools closed over this. Do you think that it would have been handled the same way had we not been coming upon the 20th anniversary?

CAMPBELL: So, I certainly think that was a data point that escalated this in the mind of law enforcement.

Now, in this case -- in any case, law enforcement is looking to determine whether a specific threat is credible, whether it -- there is specificity there. In this instance, they did deem it credible. We know that. But there wasn't a specific target. That's why you see this large swathe of schools that were actually placed on lockdown.

But, again, as you're a safety professional trying to determine how do we protect this area, you can't lose sight of the fact of this one important element, that we are coming up on the 20th year -- 20-year anniversary of Columbine.

We know, based on the investigation, that she was -- quote, unquote -- "infatuated" with that. And so if you're sitting there, as a public safety professional, trying to figure out, what action do we take, again, that ratcheted things up a bit, because we know that these types of actors look at anniversaries, particularly if they're trying to conduct a copycat attack.

BALDWIN: And then, Mary Ellen, this investigation -- and I know Josh was making this point earlier, but, to you, you know, the investigation doesn't end with her death, right?

I mean, they have -- we know they have been talking to her associates, talking to her family members, digging through, I imagine, her social -- social media. What will they be looking for?

O'TOOLE: Well, first and foremost, they will want to know if there was anyone else that participated or helped her.

But they will also be looking for other people that have the same type of ideation, people that she communicated with on the Web and the Dark Web. So, they will be looking for similar people, particularly because the anniversary of Columbine is such a compelling anniversary for people that already have this type of thinking.

And we -- that's why people are on guard, even without this situation happening, because people will start to think about killing themselves or killing other people because of the anniversary of Columbine. So they want to prevent that.

BALDWIN: Certainly want to prevent that. And just awful to think about. I sat down with some survivors. And, you know, for them, just imagine there are all kinds of triggers, right, cars backfiring, fireworks.

But just imagine this anniversary coming up and the way it's being marked.

For both of you, too -- this came to my attention today as well, that this Friday is April 19. And, apparently, it's a date closely watched by law enforcement each year, because it's a focus of extremists.

Some of the events that happened on the date include Oklahoma City bombing, the Waco standoff.

So, Josh, how do federal officials prepare for this date?

CAMPBELL: So you look at the commonalities. And this is both acts that happened here in the United States. I know this having worked international terrorism, the same way you look at some of these groups and actors.

And people tend to key in on these dates. And, again, when you're -- if you're in this depraved mind-set, you're trying to conduct a copycat, you can't lose sight of a day when people around the country are either celebrating are grieving a potential incident, when there's focus, there's attention it, and it draws people to it.

Again, this date, February 9 -- or April 19, rather, it's a focus. There are other dates out there that law enforcement continues to look at. They adjust their posture security-wise based on what they have seen in the past. And I think we're going to expect back the same this week.

BALDWIN: Josh Campbell, good to see you. Thank you so much.

Mary Ellen O'Toole, thank you as well for that.

Also developing right now, prosecutors say they do intend to release the videos involved in the Robert Kraft case, as the NFL owner fights the release, facing charges in that prostitution sting. We have more on that.

And by this time tomorrow, a redacted version of the Mueller report should be available for you to see. The president says he's in the clear, but some of his advisers are mighty anxious about what the world will see.

Also ahead, actress Lori Loughlin apparently is quite frustrated by the criticism she's received over why she pleaded not guilty in that massive college admissions scam. We will discuss why she says she had no choice.

We will be right back.



BALDWIN: We're back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

More breaking news, this involving prosecutors in that prostitution case against the owner of the New England Patriots. They say they intend to release surveillance video.

They say it shows billionaire Robert Kraft allegedly paying for sex acts at a Florida day spa.

So, CNN's Rosa Flores is in Miami for us.

And so, Rosa, Kraft's legal team is responding. Tell me the details.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kraft's legal team, Brooke, is fighting back.

They're actually using the state attorney's office's own words against them. We were inside that courtroom yesterday. We -- I heard it with my own ears, when the state attorney's office told the court that they were not going to release these videos until a court order was issued.

Here's the quote -- quote -- "Judge, I can promise the court that nothing is being released until you issue an order."


Now, we -- we got off the phone with the state attorney's office about half-an-hour ago, asking them if they plan to break that promise, and the spokesperson saying that they don't plan to wait for the judge for weeks, but that the release of that video is not imminent.

Brooke, they told us that a conference call was going to start at 2:30. It's still going on. My producer Kevin Conlon has been text messaging with the spokesperson of the state attorney's office. And they're still hashing it out.

Needless to say, the judge is probably not happy with the fact that the state attorney's office provided this notice to the court that they intend to release this video.

Now, here is where the hearing ended last week. The judge asked both parties to draft an order and present it to the court. That deadline was last night. So the judge hasn't had much time to actually process that before the state attorney issued this order.

What's coming up next? We know of a suppression hearing that is scheduled for April 26. During that hearing, we know that Kraft's attorneys are expected to make some constitutional arguments, saying that if this video is released, that it would be a violation of Mr. Kraft's privacy, that he would not get a fair trial.

And then, most importantly, they allege that this video was illegally obtained. But, despite all these constitutional issues, Brooke, the state attorney's office filing today says that they are compelled, based on Florida sunshine laws, to release this video, despite constitutional arguments -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Rosa, thank you.

This is a fight, Joey Jackson.

Joey Jackson is with me, CNN legal analyst, criminal defense attorney.

Let me just get this in. So, attorneys for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft are calling -- are alleging -- quote -- "gross prosecutorial misconduct."

What does that mean?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It means something pretty bad.


JACKSON: I think it's an overstatement. I think sometimes, Brooke, when you're in a courtroom and you're fighting for your client, and you're fighting zealously, maybe you use language that's a little flowery.

I don't think it's gross prosecutorial misconduct. I think it's a bad judgment call, in the event the prosecutors move forward, when they say to the judge, hey, Your Honor, we're not doing anything without you.

And so it's not proper, once, of course, a prosecutor says that, to now go back on the word.

But let's talk about the facts, the issues and the law just for a minute.

BALDWIN: This is a quagmire.


BALDWIN: That's what you say.

JACKSON: It's a quagmire, to be clear. There's no question about it.

But here's the tension. On the one hand, you have this freedom, sort of, of information law, right? It's a public records law. And what it does is, it ensures that government, as it carries out its functions, is open to the light of day, that government's not hiding anything, that it's fully transparent, and those who want to access and know what's happening with government can do that, right?

And so people are making requests for this tape, media organizations and others. And so now they're in a position, that is, prosecutors, of, well, it falls within no enumerated exception, so we have to release it.

But not so fast. I think there could be a good basis for us not to see that tape for quite some time. I think it's very clear, when you do release a tape, perhaps on the eve of trial, that it does impair someone's right to a fair trial.

BALDWIN: You do?


BALDWIN: Because that's what the Kraft team is arguing.

JACKSON: That is a very good argument. And why? Because just think about it, right?

We're in a technological age, everything, right, viral, boom. One minute, everyone gets it.


JACKSON: And on the eve of trial, it's not a good look. And I think that you really want to preserve and protect someone's rights.

Having said that, so I do think it could be released under the law, but the release is not imminent to the extent that his trial is coming up. And if it impairs that right, slow down. There's no real imperative to release this tape right now.

I do think, ultimately, it could come out. So it's not a secret. The fact is, is that, when you get arrested, you're entitled to a public trial. And when prosecutors go to present their case, Brooke, exhibit A, play the tape, it comes up. So they are up against it.

BALDWIN: Why do they want it out there?

JACKSON: Well, I think prosecutors are not saying they want it out there. Prosecutors are saying, we want to obey the law.

And the public records law says that we have an obligation to the public to disclose this, right?


JACKSON: But the attorneys are saying that you're going to impair my client's right to a fair trial, so don't release it yet.

BALDWIN: Go you.

JACKSON: Now here's a problem. Here's a way I do believe that the Kraft attorneys can keep it under wraps.

And that is, remember, Kraft was offered, Brooke, he was offered, you accept the notion that you did this, you publicly admit that we can prove our case, and we will dismiss it. In the event the case gets dismissed, the attorneys make a motion to seal the records, and it never sees the light of day.

BALDWIN: So, he needs to mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.

JACKSON: Exactly, because if he fights it and it becomes a trial, now, at trial, they're going to introduce it, and we get to see it.


JACKSON: And on the issue of suppression, meaning that it's illegal, I mean, all indications are that police were following this drug trafficking ring and, as a result of that drug trafficking ring, they came across this. Nothing improper about that.

BALDWIN: OK, we will follow it and see if that mea culpa indeed happens, and you could be right, Joey Jackson. Thank you.

JACKSON: Could be.

BALDWIN: Could be.

JACKSON: Every once in a while.


BALDWIN: Could be. Thank you very much.

JACKSON: Thank you, Brooke, of course.

BALDWIN: Just ahead, after weeks of criticism from the religious right, Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg is now facing anti-gay protesters on the campaign trail.


AUDIENCE: Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete!



PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Speaking of things -- hello again.

Speaking of things that are at stake...


BALDWIN: We will talk about how he's handling those protesters coming up next.



BALDWIN: By this time tomorrow, the world will be seeing a redacted version of the Mueller report.

And that is the promise from the DOJ, saying the report will be released Thursday morning to Congress and to you, the public.

And as the president shows confidence the Mueller report will exonerate him, many in his inner circle are concerned that the details in the nearly 400-page report will embarrass him and them.

They note that the multiple members of the Trump administration interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller's team -- and that includes 30 hours with former White House counsel Don McGahn. Advisers say there is a sense of dread on what is likely to be the most credible account of the chaos within the White House walls.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins is our White House correspondent.

And, Kaitlan, a former Trump administration official who cooperated with Mueller, we're hearing, is having some serious second thoughts. So can you tell me about this person?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this person told my colleague Jim they're having second thoughts, because, Brooke, they're looking at it this way. They sat down with the special counsel, talked with him for dozens of hours, because the White House initially had encouraged people to cooperate with this investigation.

Now they risk that information becoming public tomorrow, with possibly their name attached to it, because they're not sure what exactly tomorrow's final report with the redactions is going to look at -- going to look like and now they're having second thoughts about what they did, because, in their thinking, Brooke, if they had fought that request from the special counsel to have an interview, then they could have potentially had to go for the grand jury, and that information would likely not be coming out tomorrow, because, of course, grand jury information is subject to secrecy rules.

So now they're wondering, now this information is going to get out there, potentially, with their name on it, and they're not necessarily worried about anything criminal coming out of this, there being any bombshells. But they're worried about the details being damaging and embarrassing, potentially, to the president, because a lot of what they said -- some of them sat down for dozens of hours.

And they talked about not only the aspects central to this investigation, but also the president's work habits, statements that he's made to them and his temper at times. So that information is all likely going to come out into the public tomorrow, based on what Bill Barr has said, these people are thinking.

So that is why they are dreading the release of it. Now, Brooke, one thing we do know is that pretty much everyone in Washington is going to be reading this report tomorrow.

We have talked to several White House officials who say they're going to read it, though some of them said they may wait until they leave the office tomorrow. But we also know the Trump campaign is going to be reading it, the president's family, his legal team, lawmakers up on Capitol Hill.

Pretty much everyone in town is going to be reading that report when the Justice Department releases it tomorrow morning.

BALDWIN: What about the president?

COLLINS: The president now is not expected to read it line by line, page by page. Of course, we don't know exactly how long -- what we're going to see tomorrow in this 400-page report.

But, instead, we're told by one White House official that the president's legal team is going to read it, and then they will...

BALDWIN: Got you.

COLLINS: ... brief him on what the key findings of it are, because the president...

BALDWIN: Got you.

COLLINS: ... as you know, is not a big reader.

BALDWIN: Kaitlan Collins, thank you very much at the White House. President Trump has, though, taken to Twitter with his own prediction

of who will lead the pack of Democrats trying run against him. And as per usual, the president resorted to some name-calling.

Here's one tweet: "I believe it will be crazy Bernie Sanders vs. sleepy Joe Biden as the two finalists to run against maybe the best economy in the history of our country (and many other great things)! I look forward to facing whoever it may be. May God rest their soul."

Jackie Alemany is the author of "The Washington Post" newsletter "Power Up."

And, Jackie, "May God rest their soul," that is something you say when someone dies. And Trump is using it on Senator Sanders and former Vice President Biden?

JACKIE ALEMANY, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes, we have got the tweeter in chief now playing his -- one of his favorite roles, which is that of political commentator, although confusing a few people, because if there's -- if they're dead, they're not -- they don't necessarily present a very formidable competition.


ALEMANY: But I think Twitter often provides a very helpful window into the president's neuroses, right?

And the person -- the people that we seen on his mind as of late have been Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Clearly, the president may have caught some of the highlight reel of Bernie Sander's town hall on FOX News.

And, obviously, as everyone knows, there is sort of this Trump-Bernie Venn diagram that exists. They both speak to alienated voters in a very powerful way, obviously, from pretty different tactics, right?

Trump, when he speaks to these white working-class voters, comes at them from a position of blaming others, whether it's immigrants or terrorists, whoever his foil at the moment is, whereas Bernie resorts to corporations and big businesses.

But, obviously, they overlap on a lot of policy issues, from trade to labor, to anti-interventionists. And I think that the president was obviously a bit rattled, potentially, by the fact that Bernie received a pretty positive welcome on FOX News.

And I think all the Democratic candidates might be well-served to appear in town halls on FOX as well.

BALDWIN: Because they have got someone watching, an audience of one. That's for sure.

Let me move you on to another issue, immigration.