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FBI Digs into Military, Social Media History of Masked Dallas Gunman; Photographer Captures Dramatic Image of Dallas Gunman; Biden Vows to Beat Trump in Southern States Trump Won in 2016; Justice Department Intervenes in Manafort Prison Transfer; Democrats Ask for Investigation of Jared Kushner for Violating Hatch Act. Aired 11:30a- 12p ET
Aired June 18, 2019 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:33:34] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Happening right now, the FBI is digging into the military and social media history of an Army veteran who was shot dead after he opened fire outside of a federal courthouse in Dallas.
A photographer for the "Dallas Morning News" captured this dramatic image of the gunman wearing a mask, tactical gear and belt full of ammunition during his high-powered rifle attack.
Another witness captured cell phone video of the attack from his apartment window.
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WHITFIELD: CNN's Dianne Gallagher is joining us from Dallas.
What are officials learning about the suspect?
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right now, I'm going to let you see behind me at this federal building an courthouse, they have been trying to still piece together the scene, try and figure out exactly what happened on Monday morning when they say the 22-year-old Brian Isaack Clyde opened fire, starting in this parking lot, began shooting into the building.
There were about 300 people inside at the time. There were people in the parking lot as well who were able to run for cover. Nobody else was shot. And federal protective authority officers were able to take the shooter down.
One of the people outside was that "Dallas Morning News" photographer, who got that incredibly chilling shot. Listen to what he said about that moment.
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[11:35:01] TOM FOX, PHOTOGRAPHER, DALLAS MORNING NEWS: I noticed somebody on the sidewalk near the corner. I didn't know who it was. I pulled out the long lens and looked through the view finder and saw the muzzle of the gun and the guy with the mask on. I just made some frames, real quick.
And that's about the time that I heard something else that made me run. I was running down the sidewalk thinking I have to get out of harm's way. He's coming this way.
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GALLAGHER: Here is the thing. Talking about the weapon he had, also it was these magazines. Five 40 round magazines on him, wearing that mask. He looked like he was dressed trying the go in to battle.
What we do know about his history, he served two years in the U.S. Army, from 2015 to 2017. Authorities, as much as they are going over the scene, they are also going over his digital footprint, his social media posts, trying to figure things out from his profiles, talk to his friend, talk to his family.
The biggest question for these authorities is, why. What caused this 22-year-old to open fire on this federal building?
I don't think we can go without saying that what happened here yesterday, they averted what could have been another mass shooting in downtown Dallas. A federal authority said to us, look, you see the security around these federal buildings, the system worked as design yesterday.
WHITFIELD: Dianne Gallagher, thank you so much, from Dallas.
Up next, a bold promise from the Democratic frontrunner. Joe Biden says he will beat Donald Trump in a list of states, some that haven't gone blue in decades. Can he deliver?
[11:41:22] WHITFIELD: Welcome back.
Joe Biden makes a bold prediction for 2020. The Democratic presidential frontrunner says he can beat President Trump in deep-red southern states. Watch.
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JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES & DEMOCRATIC PREIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I plan on campaigning in the south. I plan, if I'm the nominee, on winning, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, believe it or not. And I believe we can win Texas and Florida if you look at the polling data now. It doesn't mean -- it's marathon. It's a long way off.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: All right. Can Biden deliver? He does say he believes. Maybe there's some wiggle room.
Joining me now, CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza.
Can a candidate, particular Biden, be overly confident here?
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes, Fredricka. I think a little bit. Joe Biden doesn't really need to win the five states he said he's going to win. If he wins Michigan, Pennsylvania and one other state, he's president against Donald Trump.
Could he win them is the question. It depends is the answer based on the campaign to come if Biden is the nominee.
Also, sort of where the country is. These states are not created equal. You have states like South Carolina that is pretty solidly Republican. Trump won it by 14 points there. This is not a state where Democrats had much more success. Then you have states like North Carolina and Florida. Barack Obama won North Carolina in 2008. Barack Obama won Florida in 2008 and 2012.
It's not all of a piece. They're not all the same. Georgia is harder. Texas is harder. South Carolina is harder. Florida and North Carolina a little bit easier.
But the important thing to remember here is, if Donald Trump can't hold Michigan and Pennsylvania, two states he won, that no Republican presidential nominee had won since 1988, he's down to 270 electoral votes. That's one more than gets him reelected.
He has a tight race and narrow path without -- even if Joe Biden can't expand the field the way he's talking about.
WHITFIELD: There's President Trump -- there's some wishful thinking going on here. I want to ask you about this trend --
WHITFIELD: -- where he's been joking about serving more than the constitutionally sanctioned two terms in office. What is the nucleus of all this?
CILLIZZA: Yes. Over the weekend, he tweeted, in one of his many tweets, the media treats me really badly. They should do a poll on the media and how bad they are. "And what if I stayed? Would people have me? Do you think the people would demand I stay longer after six more years?"
In a vacuum, Fredricka, you could say he's joking there. The Constitution says you can only serve two terms. But Donald Trump, in a closed door talk to donors back last year, said he admired Chinese Xi Jinping because he's president for life. He's joked on a number of other occasions that maybe I'll stay around longer.
Remember -- I don't think there's a grand plan that Donald Trump has about how he will extend beyond two terms.
I do think, however, it reflects his lack of familiarity, lack of care for the fact we have term limits on presidents for a reason. There's a reason that George Washington, who could have stayed, didn't, because he didn't want there to be a king right after we had broken away from Britain.
He just doesn't -- he is the most unorthodox person we have ever elected. This is yet another manifestation of that unorthodoxy.
WHITFIELD: He's expressed out loud his admiration for authoritarian, totalitarian type regimes.
WHITFIELD: More than four years, eight years in office in many of those places.
WHITFIELD: Chris Cillizza, thank you so much.
CILLIZZA: Thanks. Appreciate it.
WHITFIELD: Appreciate it.
[11:45:05] Coming up, a Paul Manafort avoids a transfer to Rikers Island after the U.S. Justice Department intervenes. Is President Trump's former campaign chairman getting special treatment? That is next.
[11:50:13] WHITFIELD: Paul Manafort won't have to spend time at New York's infamous Rikers Island after all. The former Trump campaign manager, who is serving time for fraud and foreign lobbying allegations, caught a break from the deputy attorney general.
Manafort, instead, has been moved to a federal correctional center in Manhattan ahead of a hearing on state charges.
A senior Justice Department official telling CNN the DOJ decided to, quote, "err on the side of caution," and keep Manafort in federal custody.
Joining me right now, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Shan Wu.
Good to see you.
SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: How unusual is this for a deputy attorney general to get involved in a situation like this?
WU: It's highly unusual, Fred. In my time, when I worked for Attorney General Reno, we only had one case where the A.G. and deputy were directly involved. That was a national security issue and was more a question of what kind of conditions there were to make sure the defendant could meet with their lawyers.
This is a situation where DOJ really has no dog in the fight. They're just directly interfering.
It's really unusual, too, that they wrote the Manhattan district attorney and said, hey, are you planning to respond to this complaint from the lawyer.
Also their confusion over, is this a Bureau of Prisons designation or not, is very telling as well because usually these are completely left up to the Bureau of Prisons to decide where the prisoner will go.
So I think that silence is also indicative that this probably is something that came from on high.
WHITFIELD: So then Paul Manafort is getting special treatment in your view?
WU: Oh, I think he is. Now, why he's getting that special treatment, it's rife for speculation, whether the White House tried to weigh in on that.
But this is very unusual because it's New York state's jurisdiction, it's their case that's going to be prosecuted now, not the federal ones.
WHITFIELD: So House Democrats are also asking the Office of the Special Counsel now to investigate the president's son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, for possible violations of the Hatch Act. They allege that his fundraising for the re-election campaign is of question.
So what would it take to make this kind of case? We know the president has already thrown his support behind Kellyanne Conway when the same kind of allegation was being made.
WU: The president's defense of Kellyanne Conway, when he said that he thought her First Amendment rights were being violated, that was just breathtakingly ignorant in his lack of understanding about the Hatch Act.
I think it's very easy to make the case against her as well as against Jared. But I think the problem is going to be will there be anything done.
I mean, the Hatch Act is not like a very heavy-handed criminal penalty piece of legislation, but it's really the first line of defense. We elect people through a political process, but then we want the politics to stop at the door of the office. In this administration, it constantly goes on the campaign trail.
You have Kellyanne doing that, you have Jared talking regularly with the campaign people. I just think the chances of anything being done about it are highly, highly unlikely to occur.
WHITFIELD: And what does it mean to you that the president would continue to back Kellyanne Conway, and if the same kind of recommendation comes as it pertains to Jared Kushner and the president takes the same route, what does that say to you about the president even enforcing the word or advice of the special counsel's office?
WU: It just says that he has no regard whatsoever. It would be an understatement to say that the president and his administration have put ethics on the back burner. They simply, completely ignored them.
He could care less to understand what those restrictions should be. He could care less about actually enforcing it because the Hatch Act is really meant to be enforced by the employer.
WHITFIELD: Shan Wu, we'll leave it there for now. Thanks so much.
WU: Sure thing, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Still ahead, President Trump says ICE will round of millions of undocumented immigrants. And it comes as he prepares to kick off his re-election bid. Coincidence or falling back on his 2016 strategy?
First, the CNN film, "APOLLO 11," gives a stunning look inside humanity's greatest scientific feat. Here's a preview.
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JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We choose to go to the moon.
MISSION CONTROL: This is Apollo Mission Control.
KENNEDY: We choose to go to the moon. And do the other things. Not because they are easy.
MISSION CONTROL: Ready to launch.
KENNEDY: But because they are hard.
MISSION CONTROL: Ignition sequence starts.
[11:55:04] MISSION CONTROL: This is Houston. Loud and clear.
UNIDENTIFIED ASTRONAUT: It's worth the price of the trip.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The enormity of this event is something that only history will be able to judge.
MISSION CONTROL: Good luck and god speed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apollo 11 has been given the mission of carrying men to the moon, landing them there and bringing them safely back.
UNIDENTIFIED ASTRONAUT: Beautiful, just beautiful. Magnificent ride. ANNOUNCER: "APOLLO 11," Sunday night at 9:00 on CNN.
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