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Kellyanne Conway Doubling Down in Defending the President; No Definite Frontrunner for Democrats in the 2020 Race; Indiana Senator Richard Lugar Has Died; CNN Heroes; A Seventh Body Found in Nashville; Four People in Seattle Killed by A Crane; Avengers End Game Setting Box Office Records. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired April 28, 2019 - 16:00   ET

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


[16:00:05] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and thanks for joining me. I'm Martin Savidge, in for Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin today with the latest on that deadly shooting in California where once again worshippers were attacked in their safe place. This time on the last day of Passover in a synagogue outside San Diego. One woman is dead, three people including the rabbi are injured but all three have now been discharged from a hospital. That's good news.

That rabbi is now describing the terrifying moment he locked eyes with the shooter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RABBI YISROEL GOLDSTEIN, CONGREGATION CHABAD: I mean, I met the terrorist face-to-face. Our eyes locked. And he aimed at me and miraculously I was able to just survive losing my fingers. But still alive here to say today. Sadly, my colleague, my longtime member, Mrs. Lori Kaye, that was standing with me in the lobby, did not survive. She was shot point black.

She was the ultimate woman of kindness. And it's unfathomable why this beautiful, beautiful, wonderful human being would be shot down. Her mother just recently died and she came to services to be able to memorialize her mother. And her daughter drove down from UCLA. She has her only daughter Hannah and she came down to be able to be with her mother, as she's doing the memorial service. So she was there to witness and to be there as her mother is laying on the floor dying. It was just unfathomable, undescribable terror, horrific, the (INAUDIBLE). And this has to stop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: That's just one account of the stories that we're now hearing about those terrifying moments inside the synagogue. 60-year- old Lori Kaye is the woman who died by jumping between the shooter and the rabbi. We now know a 19-year-old man is charged with one count of first-degree murder with three counts of first-degree attempted murder.

That man, according to police, is John Earnest who will be arraigned on Wednesday. And investigators are looking into a note he purportedly left online before the shooting, referencing other hate crimes and claiming responsibility for setting a nearby mosque on fire last month.

CNN's Sara Sidner now joins us from Poway, that's just north of San Diego. And of course we're learning that all of the victims have now been discharged from the hospital.

What else can you tell us, Sara?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Everyone has been discharged from the hospital, of course, we're talking about three people who were injured, including an 8-year-old girl and a rabbi. We talked to the family of that 8-year-old girl who were inside of the synagogue when the shooting began. The father, Israel Dahan, said he saw the gun, he heard the shots, he thought that it was a car accident. It was so loud, so strong. He thought that it might be a car accident outside, and then realized that it was bullets flying, that it was a gun going off again and again and again.

He said he flipped over a table as he was sitting there in the synagogue, in the shul, where people were praying. And then he began to run. He says that the shooter came in and was literally covered with magazines all over his body that he had, as he put it, all the bullets just all over his body. He said he came there clearly to kill everyone and to destroy the synagogue. The father then says that as he's leaving he realizes that one of his children is missing, he's not sure where his child is.

And then come to find out, another of his children, his 8-year-old daughter Noya, had been hit by shrapnel. She was bleeding on her face, she was bleeding on her leg. He said he actually felt relief seeing her because he knew at least that she was alive and that she was going to be OK. What he didn't know was what had happened to his other daughter who had separated because she had put herself -- she had gone to the bathroom, which is right near where the shooter was standing.

He was terrified she would not survive. Then he went over, he saw she was OK. Someone brought her to him. But as all this was going on, he noticed that the rabbi was there, the rabbi had come out, his hands were bleeding profusely, he was trying to wrap Rabbi Goldstein's hands to try and help save him. He said the rabbi was refusing to leave, that he wanted to stay there and pray again and again and again for those at the synagogue celebrating the last day of Passover.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ISRAEL DAHAN, DAUGHTER INJURED IN SHOOTING: First I heard the big shot like really -- would really echo shot. That I was thinking in the beginning something crashed. I said maybe an accident outside in the road, or something like that, and then I heard the second shot. On the second shot I turn my head to the door, and I saw him coming with a big gun like -- I'm guessing it was M-15 or M-14 or M-16, one of those rifles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Semiautomatic. [16:05:02] DAHAN: Yes. And I start seeing him shooting. And after

two, three seconds, I saw the rabbi running in to the shul with his fingers been cutting and bleeding all over. And then I saw him shooting, and our lady that she passed away.

Terrible feeling, what can I say? It's scary we need to live like that? It's just unbelievable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER: The woman he speaks of, he did not want to say her name, he wanted to make sure that her family knew what had happened to her. But that was Lori Kaye who lost her life. And the Dahan family says that she was family to them. Family to anyone who came in contact with her. She was loving, she was always happy to see you, she was always giving you help, even when he said, you didn't necessarily need it. She would come and just offer help and hugs and smiles to those around her.

He said, look, I don't know how to tell you how this all feels going through something like this. He goes, what I can tell you is that this is not the first time he has been faced with anti-Semitism. He moved here to Poway because he was targeted in his other California community, and in that community his family suffered having swastikas written on his garage, written on their cars, and they came here to be in a place of safety because they were invited by the rabbi, and now they're going through this -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: Hard to imagine. Sara Sidner, thank you very much.

Last hour I talked to Democratic Congresswoman Madeleine Dean from Pennsylvania, which is of course home to Pittsburgh where the Tree of Life synagogue attack last November occurred. Here's what she had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): And I think we're at an extraordinary crossroads in this country. My heart goes out to the synagogue, to the rabbi, to the family of Mrs. Kay. I've just come from the Greater Philadelphia Federation Holocaust remembrance where we lifted up the memory and the lives and the stories, and the untold stories of the six million who were killed during the holocaust. And we also lifted up Mrs. Kay.

We are at an extraordinary crossroads in this country, where we have to figure out where we stand in terms of our common humanity. We have to call out and stop bigotry, hatred, anti-Semitism, and we have to do the other part of this, which is gun control. A 19-year-old young man had his hands on an AR-style weapon, and thankfully allegedly it jammed because he was armed to kill as many people as possible.

We are at a crossroads in this country and strangely and importantly, in part that crossroads goes through our Congress and goes through the very committee I sit on, Judiciary. We've passed gun violence prevention bills like background checks and the Senate is sitting on their hands. Background checks save lives and at the same time we're going to be doing important oversight. We also had hearings on the rise of anti-Semitism of white supremacy. We are just at an extraordinary crossroads and we have to find our common humanity.

SAVIDGE: What do you think is -- I guess, or how much does the climate, the political climate in this country play into all of this? And is there a role for Congress in some way besides just gun control to, I don't know, calm it down?

DEAN: I think there's a role to play for every leader in this country and it starts with the top. It starts with the president of the United States. The president of the United States needs to call out bigotry, not incite it. He should not and ever compare what happened in Charlottesville and say that there were good people on both sides. He is a role model to others, he is a role model to children.

I call upon him to call out hatred, bigotry of any kind, anti- Semitism, Islamophobia, I call upon the president -- excuse me, I'm quite upset. I call upon the president to actually embrace love, to embrace the other, to build up community not tear it down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Joining me now to discuss further is Rabbi Levi Shemtov. He is the executive vice president of American Friends of Lubavitch. He's also Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump's rabbi.

Thank you for being with us today.

RABBI LEVI SHEMTOV, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF AMERICAN FRIENDS OF LUBAVITCH: Thanks for having me.

SAVIDGE: What is your reaction to everything that we've been learning about this shooting?

[16:10:02] SHEMTOV: Well, obviously, one of pain, one of disappointment, but obviously even though we feel these very deep feelings of pain, disappointment, sorrow, compassion, of course, and comfort to be offered to those who have lost their loved one, Lori Kaye, as well as those who sustained injuries. But the overwhelming sentiment must always be hope and the future and moving forward, and not allowing something as heinous and as terrible and evil as this to stop us or cut us down.

And I've been thinking a lot about it ever since someone came to synagogue yesterday who actually is a congregant at that Chabad Poway synagogue to tell us that they had just heard about the news. I don't know how they found out. But they are people who walk their children to that synagogue all the time, and I could see firsthand the pain and the difficulty that they were going through.

SAVIDGE: The actions of Lori Kaye are just remarkable. The sacrifice she made. This also falls on the sixth month, I believe, to the day of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting and then since then we have had attacks on people of faith in Sri Lanka. We've seen it in New Zealand. We just see hate that seems to be on the rise, and I'm wondering, do you believe it is the climate in this country and in the world that is contributing to this?

SHEMTOV: Well, I believe that we're dealing with a climate that didn't start yesterday or last year. This has been for the better part of the last decade something which has begun to rise. I don't think the gunman knew about Chabad. I think he was looking for a Jewish place to strike. And the pain I feel is not merely as someone from Chabad. I feel it as a Jew, I feel it as an American.

I feel that it is a puncture of that which has been so sacred in our American life. Personally, I'm a great grandchild of people who were murdered in cold blood by the Nazis. I'm a grandson of one who died in the war, fighting the Nazis in the military. And on another side, one who was persecuted for practicing their faith and here I am in the United States of America openly able to do whatever I want from a religious practice perspective.

And to see someone who would gun people down in cold blood merely because of what he perceived to be their religious affiliation, without even knowing who he was killing, shows a very deep evil within this person. And I've been thinking what can one say in times like this. And obvious there are words that can work. And I do want to reference words that we heard from my mentor, the mentor of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, which as you know is in every state and over 100 countries.

Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, was once asked to provide comfort for the community in Chabad which had experienced a cold blooded terrorist attack. And the rabbi answered with three words. He answered in Hebrew, you will be comforted when you will continue to build. So I believe that if we have a task as individuals, as communities, as a nation, it's to make sure that we smother the crackle of gunshots of hate with acts of decency, goodness, kindness, improving the world, bringing us all to a better space.

I want to tell you one idea which the rebbe also strongly emphasized was the need to inculcate values and building of character into the education of children. Not merely the acquisition of knowledge. And every year since 1978, the president has actually recognized his birthday as education and sharing day to reiterate that.

Now one initiative that he proposed and I believe it would behoove the leadership of our nation, our public officials to take heed and focus on this -- perhaps more closely is something called the moment of silence. Now we all know that we pray differently from each other. And I don't want anyone telling me how to pray, and I don't want to tell anyone else how they should pray. But a moment of silence --

(CROSSTALK)

SAVIDGE: How would this work -- how do you see that this would work?

[16:15:08] SHEMTOV: Well, a moment of silence does not allow any instruction on how to use it. So the rebbe said very clearly that if I tell you how to pray, you may be excluded. And even one who's not a believer or someone who is of one faith or another would go and ask their parents or if they couldn't find the answer from their parents, they would ask their mentor or religious leader, what is it that I should contemplate in that moment of silence? And he even said that just like the parents have to --

SAVIDGE: So the idea -- just to move it along here -- is inclusion.

SHEMTOV: It's not only inclusion, but it's the lack of exclusion, because there's also publicly available FBI data that clearly spells that those -- or clearly shows that those states which have mandated a moment of silence, and remember, it's silence only.

SAVIDGE: Right.

SHEMTOV: Those states that have mandated a moment of silence have seen a drop in juvenile crime.

SAVIDGE: All right, I --

SHEMTOV: And even if they --

SAVIDGE: We have to leave it there, Rabbi, I thank you very much for being with us. We do appreciate it, Rabbi Levi Shemtov.

SHEMTOV: We hope to be together again for happier things. Thanks very much for having me. And let's hope that we move forward to a much better, brighter future. Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Yes, indeed. Thank you, sir.

Still ahead, breaking news in Virginia, as we continue to follow as rescue teams on very treacherous mission try to save five people who are trapped inside of a cave. We'll have the latest on how they're doing next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:20:12] SAVIDGE: The whole time we've been on the air this afternoon, there's been a rescue operation in underway in Virginia to get to a number of people who are trapped underground. It happened actually since I believe Friday.

Ryan Young has been good enough to follow it for us and he's here with an update.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Martin. Look, we've been looking into this all afternoon, so to speak. We thought somebody was going to get rescued a little earlier. It seems now that that one person has been pulled out.

First of all, let's set the scene for everybody. When you look at this video, you see how tiny the hole is. This is what cave rescues are really dealing with at this point. Sort of the treacherous opening there, we know there's been a lot of rain in the area. The men went down there. Apparently they were going to camp for the weekend. And something went wrong, and of course it got wet. It got cold down there. One man was able to make it out. He was about 22 years old. He was the one to signal to authorities that there was a problem. In fact listen to one of the cave rescuers talk about the conditions below.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With cave rescue incidents, this has the potential to extend, you know, to eight to 12 hours, depending on what all is involved with getting the subjects out, and it may even extend beyond that just depending on the circumstances.

Certainly we're hoping for the best and that we can get them warmed up, get them moving, get them some energy back, and get them out on their own power.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YOUNG: Yes, really, Martin, that was the key. We've talked about this before. Getting their energy back up, getting them warm so they can get them moving. So they wouldn't have to try to pull them out with pulleys. They could try to get out themselves.

Looks like one person's out, four still left on the inside. Wondering the ages right now. They're not releasing any names. But it looks like some good positive movement so far.

SAVIDGE: Yes, we were talking about the temperature inside that cave. And one of the things they said they may not have been prepared. It's about 50-some degrees down there?

YOUNG: Absolutely. And it's dark. One of the guys went down there with a T-shirt on. In fact we've heard that they weren't experts in this. So obviously they've made some bad choices going in. Plus the fact this is a private cave. They shouldn't have been there in the first place.

SAVIDGE: Well, we'll worry about that after they're --

YOUNG: Absolutely.

SAVIDGE: All right. Ryan Young, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

Still ahead, a football star hours after being drafted in the NFL injured in a shooting. His teammate killed. What we're learning about the moments leading up to the violence. That will be next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:26:13] SAVIDGE: We're following other breaking news. Hours after being selected in the NFL draft, a young man is now in the hospital with a gunshot wound. 23-year-old Corey Ballentine is recovering after he and his Washburn University teammate were shot in Topeka, Kansas, early this morning. Hours earlier, on Saturday, the New York Giants selected Ballentine with its or -- yes, with its sixth round draft pick. Sadly Ballentine's former teammate, Dwane Simmons, did not survive.

I'm joined on the phone by Rick Peterson. He is a sportswriter for the "Topeka Capital Journal."

Rick, thanks for being with us. Any idea of how this shooting unfolded?

RICK PETERSON, SPORTSWRITER, TOPEKA CAPITAL JOURNAL: Everything I've been told is that both Corey and Dwane were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were arriving at an apartment complex and supposedly a car pulled up, and there was just a slight conversation, and then they were fired upon. You know, that's all. We haven't heard all the details yet. I think, you know, obviously the investigation is still ongoing, no suspects have been arrested. But it was just a shocking, shocking development.

SAVIDGE: Yes, it is, especially on a night that would be full of so much celebration. The shooting ended of course with the tragic death of Washburn junior Dwane Simmons, as you said. How would people closest to Simmons describe him?

PETERSON: He's one of the most popular guys on campus. I mean, everything I've been told, you know, both these guys. And Dwane was very, very popular with everybody on campus. Would talk to anybody, had an infectious personality. And I think everybody's just in shock right now.

SAVIDGE: I want to read the president at Washburn released this statement saying, in part, "This was a terrible way to end a day which should have been a day of celebration, and a day to look forward to, Dwane's upcoming year at Washburn and the beginning of Corey's professional career. I'm just wondering, you know, you've already mentioned a bit about your own shock and those in the coaches, the community, I'm wondering how is everyone feeling in reaction to all this.

PETERSON: I think it's a little early to know. I've talked to Coach Craig Schurig, a Washburn head coach, multiple occasions today. He is going to have a meeting -- a team meeting at some point today. And, you know, I think that's when they'll start to process of trying to, you know, get through this as a group. They've had some -- you know, like most college teams, they've had some tragedy to deal with over the years. But this was just so sudden and so shocking that I think it's going to take a long time to get -- you know, get through this.

SAVIDGE: How is Corey doing, do you know?

PETERSON: Corey will -- from all indications, Corey will make a complete recovery. The Giants have already sent out a statement, and, of course, they're monitoring the situation. He is the last I knew was still in the hospital, but all -- you know, it's very good that he will make a complete recovery.

SAVIDGE: And we'll hope for that. All right. Rick Peterson, thank you very much for updating us on the telephone.

PETERSON: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: Coming up, the White House doubles down on President Trump's response to the tragic event in Charlottesville. We'll talk about that next. But first, the season premiere of the CNN original series, "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA." That's tonight at 10:00, and here's the first look.

[16:30:01] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, NEWSROOM ANCHOR: As we grieve another apparent hate crime, the debate over how the president responds to these tragedies is once again front and center. This week, the president's response to Charlottesville was thrust back into the spotlight when Joe Biden used Trump's comments following that deadly rally as a jumping off point for his 2020 campaign.

And this morning, White House Counselor, Kellyanne Conway doubled down in defending Trump's very fine people on both sides answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: He was talking about the debate over removing statues and renaming...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he wasn't talking about the weekend at all...

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY: But he condemned them in no uncertain terms unequivocally. Go and pull the full comments.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[16:35:06] SAVIDGE: What do you know? That's exactly what we did. And here is what the president said in August of 2017.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides, on many sides. Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK. Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said there was hatred. There was violence on both sides.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Yes, I think there's blame on both sides. You look at both sides. I think there's blame on both sides. And I have no doubt about it, and you don't have any doubt about it either.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Neo-Nazis started this thing...

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They showed up in Charlottesville... (CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Excuse me, you didn't...

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides. You had people in that group -- excuse me, excuse me. I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down of -- to them, a very important statue, and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Joining me now, the Author of The Washington Post Power of Newsletter. That's Jackie Alemany. And the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the Beat D.C., that's Tiffany Cross. Thank you both for being with me here. Jackie, this rally in Charlottesville, it was clearly promoted as a white nationalist event. This was -- let me show you the poster here. It tweeted out by Richard Spencer.

He is a well known white supremacist. We saw the chilling video from the night before the marchers chanting, Jews will not replace us. So I show you all this because I want to ask why are the president and Kellyanne Conway trying to reshape the narrative that this rally was only about the removal of the statue?

JACKIE ALEMANY, THE WASHINGTON POST'S POWER UP JP AUTHOR: Well, I think what you see the White House doing here is what, you know, they have done time and time again over the past two years, which is refuse to apologize or to, you know, revisit past major missteps that the president has made. And this is Kellyanne and the president yet again trying to claim that their response was appropriate to something that was actually a -- you know, what has been presented as really inaccurately.

As you said, unite the right was explicitly marketed toward white supremacists and far right extremist groups. Kellyanne had the chance to explain exactly what the president has even meant with his newest explanation. And, you know, instead of just outright condemning all violence that occurred at Charlottesville, and she didn't even explain that clearly on Jake Tapper's show this morning.

But I think, you know, Kellyanne continuing to parse the president's response, really, I think overshadows the bigger picture here, which is the policies of the White House and the continued rhetoric on all sides of the coin as it relates to, you know, anti-immigrant, anti- semitism, and Islamophobia, and these overall tropes that the president continues to push, and the policies that the White House has prioritized.

(CROSSTALK)

SAVIDGE: Let me just play you something else here, because National Security Adviser, John Bolton, reacted to the California synagogue shooting this morning, and here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: It was an atrocious, utterly inexcusable action. I think the president spoke very forcefully on it. At this point, we don't know anything more than what law enforcement has already announced publicly. We don't see a connection to other groups. It was a hate crime, no doubt about it. But the investigation will continue. We'll see what happens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: The president has spoken out quite clearly on this particular incident. But it's also clearly been a trend in these types of attacks, Tiffany, and you think that Bolton should have just said -- or shouldn't have said there's no connection with the groups? I mean he seems to play it down?

TIFFANY CROSS, THE BEAT DC MANAGING EDITOR AND CO-FOUNDER: Yeah. I think that's the motto of the Trump administration, I think from John Bolton to Kellyanne Conway to Steven Miller. These are people who share commonality with white supremacists because they promote white supremacist policies, rhetoric. And when they're not doing that, they are apologizing for them.

Listen, no matter what side of the coin you flip, Robert E. Lee was a racist. So even if you say that, well, this is all about the statute and not about the incident. We already know what happened in Charlottesville. It claimed the life of Heather Heyer. And the men who were who were saying, you know, these horrible, awful things, they went back to cubicles the next day, to the office next door to you the next day, to the house next door to you the next day.

[16:39:54] They went back to families, to a wife, who perhaps maybe your colleague or someone you see every day. This is something that permeates throughout this country. And so when we say this is not who we are, well, that's not exactly true. This in fact is who America is. This is -- we elected this person as a president. This is the way the country was founded.

But why we love this country is because of the promise of who she could be. So even after everything the country has done to people who look like me, even after all the things that the country has continuously been, anti-immigration. I can still manage to be more of a patriot than people who support this administration. Because I think the promise is there.

And when you look at historically and the parallels of things that are happening today, some of the -- no matter how you spin it. Robert E. Lee, what he did was treason, as referenced by Article Three in the Constitution. He was found to be treasonous back at the time that he led the fight against the north. So this is ridiculous. I think it's really dangerous that Kellyanne Conway has a platform to continuously spread these lies every time she comes on TV.

(CROSSTALK) SAVIDGE: Let me just continue the conversation here. Jackie, following the attacks on the Muslims that took place in New Zealand, which I covered, President Trump said that he doesn't see white nationalism as a rising threat. Do you think that yesterday's shooting, in any way, might have changed his mind?

ALEMANY: You know I am not a mind reader. And it's impossible to tell with this president. But I know going into 2020, would you know that his campaign is going to revisit the themes that he harped upon, you know, in 2016, 2015, which he credits I think to his victory, right? And that is again, an anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti- terrorist theme.

You know, it's one of -- in addition to trade and the economy, those are the priorities for the president. So I -- you know, he -- and also the president, that was -- you know, the president himself hasn't come out and said actually that the attacks in New Zealand were acts of terrorism. He really -- I think issue one tweet on the matter, was asked about it once during that time that you referred to, and it actually hasn't had the opportunity to revisit or to comment on it.

And the prime minister of New Zealand explicitly asked the president to express a message of love to Muslims around the world after the attack, which the president obviously declined to do.

(CROSSTALK)

SAVIDGE: Let me bring in Tiffany one last time, because we're going to run out of time real quick. And Tiffany, here's my question. The Democratic candidates of 2020, of course, have condemned the attack on the synagogue yesterday. Many of them also tied to gun violence, and of course, changing gun laws. We have seen so many of these tragedies. We have seen so many calls for changing of the gun laws that has not come about. Is this the right strategy to continue to pursue?

CROSS: Absolutely. You're asking me if pursuing gun rights, changes the gun rights laws is the correct strategy to pursue.

SAVIDGE: That's what I am asking. In other words, we have seen these mass shootings. We have seen the calls for the changes of the laws. It has not happened. So I am wondering, is that the only avenue open to us, to continually go after that, or are there other ways that we should try to approach this?

(CROSSTALK)

CROSS: So no, that's not the only avenue. But I think that is the proper avenue. And it's not the only avenue that Democrats are taking. Listen, I think there are -- across the field of Democrats, people have put forth policies. Most recently, Senator Kamala Harris put forth her policy on gun rights, where she talked specifically about how this administration has rolled back specific policies.

And she's saying if Congress doesn't act within the first 100 days, that she will use her executive order power to overturn some of these things. And I think you'll see other candidates follow in that same pursuit of changing some of these gun laws. And when you look at the close relationship that this current administration has with the NRA, I think of course, you can pursue that line of talking on the campaign trail.

But I also would add that there are also all types of mental health issues that people are addressing as well. I don't think that, you know, it has to be -- you can walk and chew gum at the same time. This is something that has to have -- it's a multifaceted issue. And it has to have multifaceted solutions. And I think you're seeing that.

But what we cover most frequently is the specific Second Amendment and gun rights, because that's, you know, clickbait and what most people pay attention to. But I don't think it's a single path line that the Democrats are walking on this one.

SAVIDGE: All right. Jackie Alemany and Tiffany Cross, thank you both. We appreciate it. We're back in a moment.

[16:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: There's plenty of star power among the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders. But there doesn't appear to be a clear frontrunner. A new Washington Post, ABC News poll of Democrats and left-leaning independents found that 54 percent remain uncommitted. And Joe Biden, who entered the race just a few days ago, is the only candidate with the double-digit support.

Several 2020 candidates are on the trail today. CNN Correspondent, Layla Santiago, is in San Francisco where Beto O'Rourke is hosting a town hall. Layla, what do we hear from the former Texas congressman today?

LAYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of folks have emptied out, but this was a packed house, as Beto O'Rourke really hit home on things about immigration, his stance on immigration, and climate change, really getting personal speaking to this audience, saying you guys know what it's like to have a mask over your face to protect you from the smoke from those wildfires, rather.

This crowd was quick to cheer on his positions, but also boo, join him in criticizing some of the things that are now current policy and practices. But let's put this into perspective here. We're in south -- excuse me, we're in California. This is the state with the most contributors to his Senate race outside of Texas. It's also, you know, a place where the draft Beto movement was a stronghold before he ever even announced he was running for president.

But let me also put one thing into context. We're half an hour away from Senator Kamala Harris' home turf. So interesting to hear from these voters, many of which are really, really undecided, saying that they have a shortlist, in this crowd, Beto was on many of those, but that -- at this point, it's still too early to make a decision for 2020. [16:49:59] SAVIDGE: Layla, thank you very much. Appreciate it,

Layla Santiago there joining us. Meanwhile, former Senator, Richard Lugar of Indiana has died. The 87-year-old Republican served in the Senate from 1977 to 2013. Lugar was Indiana's longest service senator, spending 36 years in the Senate. He is survived by his wife and four sons. We'll be back in a moment.

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[16:54:52] SAVIDGE: To learn more about (Inaudible) breaking new program, you to nominate a CNN hero, go to CNNheroes.com right now. We have breaking news out of Tennessee, where police have found a seventh body at one of two homes in a rural area about 25 few miles northeast of Nashville. The suspect is in custody, captured overnight. He was found hiding in a creek about a mile from the initial crime scene.

The investigation began after a 911 call from a family member who found four bodies in one of the homes and then discovered another at a crime scene nearby. Police say they believe that all the homicides are linked, but they haven't revealed the suspect's relationship to the victims or a possible motive. Other top stories we're following this hour, four people in Seattle are dead after a crane collapsed and fell from the roof of a building onto cars below.

Two of the victims were crane operators. The other two were people in cars smashed by the falling crane. The road where the accident happened is still closed as authorities continue to investigate why that crane collapsed in the first place. And a historic weekend at the movies, as the Avengers End Game continues to set box office records all around the globe.

The Marvel Studios blockbuster made an estimated $1.2 billion at the worldwide box office for its opening. The superhero film is the only film in history to cross the $1 billion mark for its debut, congrats. Thanks so much for joining me. I am Martin Savidge in for Fredricka Whitfield. The news continues with Ana Cabrera after this short break.

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