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One Student Killed, Eight Injured in Shooting At Denver-Area School; House Judiciary to Vote on Holding Bill Barr in Contempt. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired May 8, 2019 - 09:00   ET


[09:00:32] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right. It is the top of the hour and we do begin with breaking news. We are now learning the second suspect in a deadly Colorado school shooting is a juvenile female. Police say an 18-year-old man and that girl opened fire at a stem school in Highlands Ranch that is just miles from Denver, on Tuesday, and close to Columbine.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: How often have we seen images like this at American schools? One person dead, eight others injured. The adult suspect is expected to appear in court this afternoon. Here is the district attorney.


GEORGE BRAUCHLER, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, 18TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT: I grew up in these parts. If you had suggested to anyone behind me or in this room that within 20 years and 20 miles we would have dealt with Columbine, the Aurora Theater, Arapahoe High School, the shooting of Zach Parrish and four other deputies we'd have thought you mad, and yet here we are again.


SCIUTTO: That's just the shootings in one community there.

Ryan Young, live in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, this morning.

Ryan, what else are we learning this morning about the suspects in this shooting, the victims? Tell us what you know.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, when you listen to that sound you know how disheartening this is for this community. You hear it in the voices here. People are very upset. They're sort of trying to figure out exactly what's going on. They're baffled by this. And in fact, there is a crime scene still behind me, they are going to maintain it for quite some time because this is a very large school. In fact there's a lot of windows that you can see into.

You can see it looks like a normal classroom but here there are signs of all sorts of sheriff's deputies around as they continue to collect this evidence. But I think the thing that stood out to all of us, the shocking news here is that one of the suspected shooters here is a young female. I don't think I've ever heard about that in a school shooting so that really stood out as this information came out today.

They said they were dealing with a small young person. They were able to identify this person as a young female person. Don't forget the shooters apparently split up to go to different targets at some point in this. And as we hear from more students from the inside, the fact that how the shooting took place, and that they were students who got involved to try to stop the shooters that really stands out to me, though.

We've gotten to a point here where you have young people who realize what they should do and there's other people who ran and hid. You have some tried to take the shooters out. Then you have the deputies who are nearby, there is a substation, they were able to respond so quickly. Deputies were arriving as the shots were still being fired.

But listen to the sound from a student on the inside. Listen to her fear. Listen to the terror in her voice as all this was unfolding.


NUI GIASOLLI, WITNESSED SHOOTING: The shooter came in late. He walked to the other side of the classroom where we also had another door and he opened the door, he walked back as if he was going to go back to his seat and then he walked back to the door and he closed it. The next thing I know he's pulling a gun and he's telling nobody to move.


YOUNG: The pain there, the fact that she's talking about a shooting that happened at her school, you think we're just seven miles away from Columbine. So all that is put together. And you talk to people, they are just in shock because of this. And now you have this new information that's coming out.

The news conference it happened about an hour ago. We do know that first suspect will appear in court. We're hoping to get some more information as detectives have been able to work through this for a few hours. But the other part of this that people are not talking about just yet in there to try to figure this out is the ATF obviously has a track where these guns came from and they don't believe these two young people could actually purchase them. So that's going to be the next question here. They'll figure out where did these guns come from.

HARLOW: Do you know what, Ryan, I know they're doing the investigation and it's very important and we want to know those answers, but let's keep the focus also on the victims. You have one murdered.

SCIUTTO: Absolutely.

HARLOW: You have a number injured. What can you tell us about them this morning?

YOUNG: Well, you know, if you think about this you have three still in the hospital, five have been released and one dead. And the idea here, you have parents who are showing up here in sheer terror yesterday. I think the images that stand out to us of course are the young people who walked out with their hands on their head.


YOUNG: And you just think about that. The idea how this is going to just reverberate through this entire community. I think all of us feel a little bit of pain because as we stand here we are all looking for answers, especially as a reporter, but no matter what, when they tell us where the guns come from, it's still not going to help us get to the reason of why.

[09:05:01] HARLOW: Look at that mother carrying her child there. Right? This could be any one of us, any one of you watching. Unbelievable.

SCIUTTO: Ryan young, thank you.

I mean, you have to ask the question, has our country given up on this? Have you given up on this? Has your congressman or congresswoman given up on this? That's a question you have to be asking them because we see this. This is the 13th school shooting just this year. It's not normal, nor should it ever become normalized nor should we allow it. Scenes like this, frightened school children, confused as to why this happened in a place they were supposed to be safe and yet people get guns and they do this.

HARLOW: Look at the images on those parents' faces, on the officers, and the staff and the children, and these are images just a few days ago out of Charlotte because keep in mind it was just days ago at UNC- Charlotte where we saw more damages of pain after a madman gunned down two people there.

Just listen to these statistics. Thirteen school shootings this year alone, 45 last year, 42 the year before. As Jim said this is not OK, this is not normal, and we and everyone should continue to press lawmakers in both parties in what they will do about it.

SCIUTTO: Look at those red bars there. Those are for K to 12, right? Those are kids from 6 --

HARLOW: Let's pull it back up.

SCIUTTO: Six to 18. Just in the last year 13, 45 last year. Those are children who will forever remember that and really other kids, right, because kids are getting trained in school. They are taught that this is normal.


SCIUTTO: So you have to ask the question, have we given up on that? Are you comfortable with that? I'm not.

HARLOW: I'm not. SCIUTTO: Other story we're covering today, the constitutional crisis

unfolding in Washington and that's not me saying it. That is the Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler. In just about an hour Nadler will oversee a contempt of Congress vote against the attorney general of the United States, the nation's top law enforcement official, Bill Barr. Barr's offense, repeatedly defying a committee subpoenaing to hand over the full and unredacted special counsel report to the committee. This along with the underlying evidence behind that report.

HARLOW: And overnight Barr added to that defiance by warning the committee through his assistant AG, Stephen Boyd, that if it holds him in contempt he'll advise the president to, quote, "invoke executive privilege with respect to the materials subject to the subpoena." Nadler clearly not backing down, he was just on CNN's "NEW DAY" moments ago. Listen to this.


REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): We cannot allow Donald Trump and his minions to convert a democratic government into what amounts to a monarchy where Congress elected by the people has no real role.


HARLOW: Our Sunlen Serfaty is on Capitol Hill.

Sunlen, he did not mince any words in that great interview that Ali did with him. The Judiciary Committee is going to hold this vote, it's in about an hour, then what?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, then if and likely when this passes out of the House Judiciary Committee, Poppy, it will go to the full House floor for a full vote in front of all the members of the House there. And certainly this is a significant moment just in an hour as the House -- the Judiciary Committee will vote here in the committee and that's the first step in this whole process.

And you could certainly sense the frustration on Chairman Nadler's face this morning and certainly in his words when he said they worked up until the last hour last night trying to broker a compromise between DOJ staff and his staff to try to avoid this moment, but he said at 11:00 p.m. it was abruptly cut off, of course, when DOJ sent that letter to the Judiciary threatening to ask President Trump to invoke executive privilege over the withholding of the full Mueller report and the underlying evidence.

And certainly some very strong words from the chairman this morning. Very loaded words I should say, essentially saying that President Trump is a king here and that the attorney general is acting like his own personal attorney. So certainly a big moment here for House Judiciary in a little under an hour.

SCIUTTO: All right. So if they follow through on this threat, if the White House does to claim execute privilege really across the board on everything in the Mueller report, first of all, is that possible, but then what happens?

SERFATY: Yes, that's the big question. I think this is essentially the new front in this battle between House Democrats and the attorney general. According to Chairman Nadler he said, first of all, he's not, you know, swayed away from that threat in any way. He said he doesn't think that they have that right to do it at all. He said that they -- he believes they waived executive privilege when they gave that information to Mueller and what was published in the redacted Mueller report anyway.

So certainly a significant escalation of tension with that very dramatic threat coming from DOJ and certainly sets quite the stage for this morning.

SCIUTTO: Sunlen Serfaty on the Hill, thanks very much. Right outside that hearing which we're going to bring you live as it happens next hour.

Let's discuss now all the issues involved.

[09:10:01] Elie Honig, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Molly Ball, national political correspondent for "TIME" magazine.

So, Elie, tell us about the law here, how does the White House claim executive privilege for an entire special counsel report.

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So big picture here, what we're seeing is a battle of the branches. It's the kind of thing you study in law school. They say what if things got so extreme hypothetically? What if the executive branch said across the board you get nothing, and then what happens? And I think what we'll see today is the table set on the executive privilege claim and on the redactions to the Mueller report in a couple ways.

First of all, symbolically. The attorney general likely will be held in contempt of Congress today. That's a big deal. I know Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress.

HARLOW: Right.

HONIG: That was a big deal. But let's not get used to this. Right? Attorney general of the United States being held in contempt should be a big deal. And then procedurally it sets the stage to take this from the realm of legal posturing into the courts. So we're going to have a fight over Congress' core authority to conduct oversight and then we'll have this executive privilege question litigated.

HARLOW: Molly, it's interesting, Elie brings up Eric Holder. It wasn't that long ago when he as attorney general was held in contempt by Republicans and ultimately they did get a lot of the documents that they were requesting that the Obama White House was denying at first. Are there parallels here or is this a whole new ball game?

MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: There are some parallels in that, as you say, that contempt vote opened the door to a negotiation with the executive branch.

HARLOW: Right.

BALL: Where they did end up getting some things. And the Democrats see this pretty similarly. They do hope that this vote can put pressure on the White House, on the Department of Justice to try to get them to comply. They don't want to rush to court immediately. They would like to have the White House come to the table, see if there is some accommodation to be made.

Based on the statements from the White House and the positions that they have taken and the across the board decision to refuse congressional requests, it is somewhat questionable whether they will respond to that kind of pressure or whether they will force the Democrats' hand, force this into court and then of course the question is how do the courts decide this.

But as Elie was saying, this is a showdown between the branches of government. This is about separation of powers. This is about checks and balances and whether, you know, our institutions as set up in the Constitution can handle this kind of a challenge, this kind of a clash.

HARLOW: Yes. Yes. Particularly in the political environment that we're in right now.

Elie, you made the bright point to me, as you always made, bright points, but that of the multiple battles going on between Congress and the White House now, Trump's taxes, Barr, special -- Bob Mueller testifying, that this is actually the weakest one. The unredacted report is the weakest arguments. Tell us why.

HONIG: Yes, strategically as a lawyer you want to pick the battles. And there's a saying that bad facts make bad law, right. If you go into court and it's not the best factual scenario you may not like the decision. And if you look at all the issues that are sort of percolating out there. and you just listed them, will Barr have to come back, the tax returns, will Mueller have to testify, I think that the Congress is on a stronger legal footing there in all of those than with the redactions. I think the redactions that were done here are fairly moderate and reasonable.

HARLOW: About 8 percent of the report.

HONIG: Yes. Percentage wise it's fairly low and the justification for them, grand jury materials, protecting third person privacy is reasonable and there is some support in the law.

HARLOW: Chairman Nadler, Molly, made a lot of news this morning in this exchange with Alisyn Camerota about whether the special counsel will testify. Listen to this.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": You are confident that, is it fair to say, this month Robert Mueller will appear before your committee?

NADLER: Well, now that the president has said what he said, I'm less confident than I was.

CAMEROTA: Meaning you think that the president could stop Robert Mueller?

NADLER: I think the president will try to stop Robert Mueller, whether he will succeed is another question.


HARLOW: That's a really big deal, Molly. That's news.

BALL: Yes, well, and Jerry Nadler has a law degree and I don't, but the Democrats do feel confident about their legal standing in the long run. I think the question is how long can this be dragged out, how long can it be dragged out in the courts. But if the White House is trying to drag this out, you know, for 18 months and have it go past the election so that this information never gets before the public before people get a chance to vote, it's doubtful that it would take that long.

What the White House may be doing here is just keeping this issue on the front burner for longer rather than putting it to rest by sort of ripping off the band-aid, if you will.

HARLOW: OK. Thank you both.

You may not have a law degree but you've got a very smart brain and we're glad you joined us this morning. To both of you, Molly and Elie --

BALL: Thank you. I've got a BA.

HARLOW: There you go. Thank you, guys.

So big deal also, Iran announcing it will stop complying with some key parts of the nuclear agreement with the other signatories. This as the U.S. pulls up and ramps up pressure on Tehran. We'll have the latest.

SCIUTTO: Plus seeing red. The stunning "New York Times" report, Trump's businesses lost more than $1 billion in a decade. The reporter who broke that story, it's a remarkable one, coming up.


HARLOW: And oh, baby, we get our first look at the newest member of the royal family. Look at the sweet little boy. Goodness.


SCIUTTO: Welcome back. Iran says it will stop complying with parts of the nuclear deal as tensions with the U.S. mount. The move comes exactly one year after President Trump pulled out of that agreement unilaterally. Iran is accusing the U.S. of increased pressure after the Trump administration imposed new sanctions on the country.

HARLOW: Meanwhile, a big development overnight, U.S. intelligence is learning Iran is likely moving missiles through the Persian Gulf on boats. That is what apparently prompted the U.S. to deploy a carrier strike group and bomber task force to the region.


With us now is retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, also, of course, a diplomatic analyst for us and former State Department spokesman. Good morning. This is such an escalation of tension, and now you have Iran saying basically to France, to the U.K., to Germany, to China, Russia, by the way, in two months if things don't turn around, we're out of this, even though the rest of them are on board. That's big.

REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), FORMER STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: Yes, right. These are all problems of Trump's own making here. I mean ostensibly we moved this bomber task force and carrier strike group to the region, or are moving them based on threats that were likely instigated by Trump's designation of the IRGC as a terrorist group, which is something that two previous administrations wouldn't do for that very reason.

And now Iran is saying today, they're not going to - they're going to start non-complying with the deal by building up their stock piles of low enriched uranium and heavy water because of U.S. unilateral sanctions that the Europeans are now having to deal with. So, I mean, both of these incidents have escalated tensions and unnecessarily so.

It's really difficult when you look at this all this week, Poppy, to look at this and say that the maximum pressure campaign that Trump and Pompeo are touting is really serving our national security interests.

SCIUTTO: That's the point here, right, because this deal was negotiated to get that facile material out of the country. I forget (ph) - you know, 99 percent shipped out, now Iran says it's going to be making more of the stuff which is not what the U.S. wants. What is the U.S. policy now then? Because Trump said he wanted a better deal. They're not negotiating a deal right now. Is it regime change? Is it military action? Does the U.S. have a policy?

KIRBY: I don't think they do, Jim. I mean if they do, they're certainly not doing a good job articulating. That's part of the problem here. There doesn't seem to be a cohesive foreign policy with Iran except, hey, we're going to keep pressuring them and hope that they behave as a, quote, and this is Pompeo's words, "normal nation". I'm not sure I understand what that means.

Look, Trump said he hated the deal because it just kicked the problem down the road. Well, what he's done recently with these decisions is bring that can right to our toes here, as Iran can now start building up their stockpiles. And then in 60 days, if the Europeans don't begin to trade in oil with Iran, if they follow the U.S. lead, in 60 days they're going to now lift all their enrichment limits from the deal, which moves - which would take a problem that was out to about 2030 and bring it right up to our doorstep. HARLOW: OK. So Secretary of State Pompeo with this surprise trip and

those key meetings in Iraq -

KIRBY: Right.

HARLOW: - with the president and prime minister, and then a national security adviser who, just in 2017, when he wasn't in this role, was publicly advocating for regime change in Iran.

KIRBY: Right.

HARLOW: Those two things combined, what - you know, what is your best read? Do you believe that this administration's goal, although not explicitly stated, is regime change?

KIRBY: It's hard to conclude anything other than that, Poppy, just based on what we're seeing, the way they behave, the rhetoric that they want regime change. They want - they want the Mullahs out of power and the hardliners out of power in Iran. But what they're doing, ironically, is the Mullahs' job for them.

The only other people that hate the Iran deal more than Trump and his surrogates are the Mullahs, are the hardliners who don't like the Rouhani government and don't want the deal in place. So maybe they are going after regime change. I don't think they are looking for or arguing for armed conflict with Iran, but if they're trying to get regime change they're going about it the whole way there. They're doing the Mullahs' jobs for them.

SCIUTTO: Yes, that's right (ph). I mean the hardliners were against the nuclear negotiations.

HARLOW: Absolutely.

SCIUTTO: You're not going to - you know, the U.S. is going to screw you on this, in effect, and their position strengthen (ph).

KIRBY: We make the mistake when we look at Iran of thinking of it as sort of a monolithic state. Yes, it's a theocratic regime, no question about it. But there are internal divisions, governance divisions inside Iran that we should be trying to take advantage of rather than exacerbate.

SCIUTTO: John Kirby, thanks very much as always.

KRIBY: You bet.

SCIUTTO: The president ran, you'll remember, on being a skilled businessman, a very wealthy one, but did a "New York Times" report just put all that into question, blow up that story?



HARLOW: All right, welcome back. While the Trump administration fights to keep house democrats from ever getting a hold of his tax returns, "The New York Times" has done some really important investigative journalism here. Gotten a hold of tax information from what the president has always claimed was his heyday in the business world and turns out it was more of a mayday.

The "Times" found that 1985 to 1994 trump's core business racked up more than a billion dollars in losses, quote, "year after year,' the "Times" reports. "Trump appears to have lost more money than any nearly any other individual American taxpayer."

SCIUTTO: That's remarkable. Earlier this morning, President Trump was pushing back, claiming that developers, quote, "always wanted to show losses for tax purposes. It was sport." Keep in mind, that's a sitting U.S. president describing the obligation to pay taxes that you and I are obligated to pay.

But in that same statement he slammed the "Times" report as, quote, "highly inaccurate hit job." Susanne Craig, the "Times" reporter who worked on that story joins us now along with CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza. Susanne, let me start with you first. Fantastic reporting here.

I mean you took transcripts of these tax returns, not the returns themselves but transcripts, then compared that to publicly available information to confirm those numbers.