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3 Dead, 11 Hurt in Mass Shooting at California Festival; Kamala Harris Releases Her Medicare For All Plan; President Trump Escalates Attacks on Congressman Elijah Cummings of Baltimore. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired July 29, 2019 - 09:00   ET


[09:00:06] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A very good Monday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto in New York. Poppy Harlow is in Detroit where tomorrow 10 Democrats will take the stage for the first night of the CNN Democratic presidential debates. More on that in just a moment.

But first, we go to the small town of Gilroy, California, where a shooter opened fire at a food festival. Here is what it looked and sounded like.




SCIUTTO: Such a sad, such a familiar scene in America today. The gunman killed three people, injured 11 others. Police say he used an assault-style rifle to pick random targets out of the confused crowd.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought it was like a firework at first. Then I saw him like point a weapon like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just heard pop, pop, pop, pop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I see everybody, that was running, getting shot, so I was terrified. I was terrified.


SCIUTTO: How many times have we heard witness accounts like that. Well, look at one of those who was killed yesterday. He was Stephen Ramiro. He was just 6 years old. There he is. The Gilroy police chief says that the gunman cut through a fence to get into the festival. They say they stopped him within minutes of his first shot but there is now a manhunt under way for a second suspect.

CNN national correspondent Sara Sidner, she is live in Gilroy.

What are we learning this morning about the shooter or shooters and the weapon used? SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Police have not used the

word shooters. What they have said is that they do believe that there may be, possibly, a second person who was somehow involved but so far they have only said that they believe there is so far one shooter in all of this.

I want to bring up a detail here, that I think is very significant. Police say they engaged this shooter within one minute. But within that minute three people had already been killed and eventually, of course, police right away engaged the shooter, killing the shooter. Eleven people injured within that minute before police were able to engage the shooter.

This festival, by the way, is a Northern California favorite. Gilroy, you can smell the garlic when you come into this town. It is well- known for all this. This was really a Sunday family outing where 100,000 people or so would come to this festival every year starting on Friday, Saturday, and then Sunday. It would culminate in this family day so you had lots of kids, families out here that were just trying to enjoy their Sunday.

And just as this was beginning to end is when police say the shooter cut through a fence, got into this festival and engaged people, innocent people just trying to have a good time. And you hear that same refrain where we didn't know what was happening. We heard what we thought were firecrackers. And suddenly people realized, some people smelling the smoke from the gun. They were that close. Others people just hearing those sounds and then chaos ensued.

Again, police say they are still looking for a potential second person who may somehow have been involved in all this -- Jim.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Sara, it is tragic and it happens all too often in this country. This morning we're seeing the first images of that little boy, that 6-year-old victim. If we could just pull him up on the screen again because that is what this is all about, right? The lives lost.

What else can you tell us about the victims, those who were shot, those who survived and those who didn't?

SIDNER: Look, we know that there are several people that are still in the hospital. We understand now that the 6-year-old, Stephen Romero, who was shot and killed during all this, one of the three people who were slaughtered here in Gilroy, that his mother was also hit by gunfire.

Let me let you listen to his grandmother who was outside of the hospital and who described what her little grandson was like.


MARIBEL ROMERO, STEPHEN ROMERO'S GRANDMOTHER: We need to know that they got this person and there's justice. This is really hard. There's no words to describe because he was such a happy kid.


SIDNER: Just a happy kid. That happy kid gone because someone decided that they were just going to take aim at innocents at this festival. There are other children who witnessed this. A 7-year-old talking about the fact that he thought he was going to die. These are the words out of the mouth of babes. You listen to this and we hear this over and over and over again. And all -- every single time people say something must be done but it keeps happening -- Jim, Poppy.

SCIUTTO: Too familiar, too inured to it.

Sara Sidner on the scene, thank you very much.

Let's speak more about this with CNN law enforcement analyst as well as retired FBI special agent James Gagliano.

[09:05:07] James, I've sat next to you to talk about shootings like this. I can't even count the number of times. Let's set that aside for a moment. Let's talk about the specific circumstances here. A couple of things that are somewhat unusual, the possibility -- the possibility just at this point of an accomplice who they are now searching for, but also some preparation involved. Cutting through a fence here. What do those circumstances tell you about it?

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, first of all, to your point, as the United States rightfully harden targets, we harden critical infrastructure, key resources, transportation hubs, sporting venues, even schools and churches and synagogues and mosques now have armed guards at them.

Where is the path of least resistance? And it's at something like this. Over the course of days 100,000 people passed through there. Thankfully, thankfully there were armed law enforcement in there who engaged the shooter within witnesses say about a minute. Typically in these mass shootings five to seven minutes before police arrive. And now a lot of things can happen there. This could have been much worse. Obviously you can't diminish a 6-year-old child, three fatalities, and 11 wounded people but this could have been so much worse in a place like this with so many people and not a lot of security.

SCIUTTO: But does not show you the limits of the strategy there? I mean, you can harden every target in a world but in one minute with a weapon like this you can still injure and kill more than a dozen people.

I want to play the sound of the weapon being fired and ask what that tells you about it. Let's have a listen.

James, when you hear that pop, pop, pop at that speed, that's a semiautomatic to you?

GAGLIANO: That sounds like a semiautomatic to me. Now, witnesses have described it as an assault weapon. Just a breakdown for the viewer what an assault weapon is. It's typically a rifle. Could be fully automatic or semiautomatic with a collapsible butt stock, a pistol grip, shrouded barrel and a flash suppressor. The key point here is detachable magazines, and those magazines could hold anywhere between 20 and 30 rounds.

SCIUTTO: But the other key point, is it not, is the power of ammunition? I mean, we've talked to ER doctors who describe the wounds that bullets from a weapon like this cause. They say wounds like they see in wartime.

GAGLIANO: Right. Well, you know, again, it's important to understand, a round that comes out of an M-4 or an M-16, if you will.

SCIUTTO: Right. These are assault rifles. Yes.


GAGLIANO: AR-15, assault rifles. Typically travels around 28,000 feet per second. And that's why, you know, one of the biggest issues is also if it goes through a human being, it doesn't stop. It can go on and hit another human being.


GAGLIANO: So in this instance the shooter also showed up with a bulletproof vest, looked like he was prepared for war.

SCIUTTO: And watch those injuries, right, because the nature of the injuries are such that many of those people can be in real danger. Tell us about how you would describe this because the FBI talks a lot about domestic terrorism.


SCIUTTO: Not Islamic inspired terrorism but domestic terrorism, acts of violence designed to terrorize. Would you describe based on what we know at this point?

GAGLIANO: Two separate ways the FBI looks at these. You spoke to international terrorism, which we classically think of a globalized jihad. This doesn't appear to be that. And we've got to be careful about using the term terrorism until law enforcement has established it as such. For the viewer, terrorism is what? It is violence and intimidation to further a political or social aim.

Four different types of domestic terrorism that the -- that the FBI is looking at right now. And a homegrown violent extremism is a big, big focus according to Director Wray. The first, racially motivated. We don't know if that was the case here. Anti-government, anti- authority. We don't know if that's the case here either. Animal rights and environmentalism and then abortion extremism.


GAGLIANO: Those are the four categories. Sometimes it's hard to try to fit one in there. And Jim, going back to 2017 when you and I spoke about this, we still don't know what motivated the Las Vegas shooter to kill 50 people.

SCIUTTO: And we don't really know even the motive of, say, the Sandy Hook shooter. I mean, you have mental -- history of mental issues here, and so far we're not aware of any online post or video on a motive. It could still come out. Sometimes they do at a later time.

James, always good to draw on your expertise even in the sad circumstances like this. Poppy.

HARLOW: So sad, Jim, and as you said, all, all too common in this country.

OK. We will, of course, stay on that tragic shooting, update you on the victims. But still to come for us in Detroit, 2020 candidates laying out some major policy proposals today. This is ahead of tomorrow night's Democratic debate right here on CNN. It will be a make-or-break night for many of the contenders. We're here live in Detroit with a preview next.

SCIUTTO: Plus President Trump escalates his attacks on Congressman Elijah Cummings as well as his home city of Baltimore this morning. Why is he ramping up his attacks? Could it have something to do with the 2020 election?

[09:10:06] And the director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, announces that he will step down. His replacement a man who passionately defended the president just a few days ago in the Mueller hearings. Coincidence? Stay with us.


HARLOW: All right. Good Monday morning, everyone. We're so glad you're with us. Welcome back to Detroit where time is running out for the 20 Democratic presidential candidates to prepare for tomorrow and Wednesday night's big debates here on CNN.

Senator Kamala Harris this morning unveiling her version of a Medicare for All plan.

Kyung Law has the details. So I believe that the Bernie Sanders camp would take issue with her calling this exactly Medicare for All. It's a little bit different.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a difference, as far as what the Bernie Sanders camp believes, and their belief that it should be a full single-payer system. What the Harris camp believes is that this is Medicare for All as we know it in 2019.

[09:15:00] So, let's take a look at the details here. It scales up Medicare, and again, this is Medicare as we currently know it.

It does allow for traditional Medicare, the government-run program that we all think of. But there is a private option in today's Medicare. It is called Medicare advantage, about a third of Medicare enrollees choose to go this route. So, what the Harris plan envisions is simply scaling this up for every

American to be able to buy into. It is a stark difference from the Sanders plan which would basically eliminate all private insurance. The other thing the Harris camp does -- and this is again, a distinction with the Bernie Sanders plan is that Sanders believes that he could get there to Medicare for all in four years.

Harris does not believe so. That she believes it will take about 10 years, so that there is a smooth transition, Poppy. And one thing I do want to add is that we need to note the timing of this. This is the day before the Democratic debate. The Harris camp clearly saying they want to put this out there, they are going to be on offense --

HARLOW: Yes --

LAH: This is to answer that criticism.

HARLOW: For sure. And they don't want any confusion like the last debate when she seemed to raise her hand at that one question, but then walked it back, you know, the next day in interviews. Before you go though, I mean, she is committed to doing this, she says, without raising taxes, a penny on the middle class. You need to get the money --

LAH: Yes, and let's take a --

HARLOW: From somewhere or so, how is she proposing paying for it?

LAH: Right, so yes, let's look at the details of this. She is saying no middle class tax hike. And the detail of this is that she wouldn't tax families who make less than a $100,000. And there would be a progressive tax for any family or any household that makes above $100,000 plus.

So, that's how she is defining middle class tax. She would make up that --


LAH: Shortfall between the 29,000 that Bernie says would begin his tax to a $100,000 is through by --

HARLOW: Yes --

LAH: Taxing those stock trades, those Wall Street trades, those derivative trades. And she believes that she can get that done.

HARLOW: OK, all right, Kyung Lah, thank you so much. We'll see what she has to say on stage about it. Phil Mattingly is CNN congressional correspondent along with Hilary Rosen; political commentator and Democratic strategist, and Wes Lowry; national reporter for "The Washington Post" joins me as well. Good morning one and all.


HARLOW: So, let's just begin, Phil, on this Medicare for all plan with a little caveat that she wouldn't lose the option to have at least over the next 10 years of private insurance, et cetera. The Sanders campaign responding this morning saying -- so she continues her gradual back-down for Medicare for all.

This is why you want a candidate with a lifetime of consistency and a track record on the big issues facing us. And they're right, I mean, Sanders has been plugging away at the same thing for a long time. She's newer to this with this new proposal. What will it mean in voters' minds?

MATTINGLY: You know, I think the interesting part about this plan, look, if you're looking for purity on Medicare for all, there is no one more pure than Bernie Sanders. And I think what Senator Harris has been dealing with over the course of the last couple of months, trying to figure out how to handle private insurance, how to figure out how to pay for this.

This now puts some meat to the bones on where she actually --

HARLOW: Yes --

MATTINGLY: Stands on this issue. And I think importantly, particularly given the fact that it's been released a day or two before she comes out on stage. That gives her something to point to when this attack line most certainly comes from those who do support this issue. I think it's also important to note the positioning here, right?

There are -- there were essentially two polls in this race up to this point. There was medical for all and then there was a public option which senator -- Vice President Joe Biden, Michael Bennet, others --

HARLOW: Yes --

MATTINGLY: Have pitched as well as kind of the more pragmatic alternatives for Medicare for all. I think what Senator Harris is trying to do here is kind of thread the --

HARLOW: Thread the needle --

MATTINGLY: Thread the middle ground here, trying to address those on the far left, who think Medicare for all is the only answer. But for those in polling shows who were very concerned about losing their private insurance -- you were talking about union folks in particular when it comes to the Democratic base, trying to address that as well.

I think the big question is can -- trying to have the pragmatic middle ground where she's currently having it --

HARLOW: Yes --

MATTINGLY: Actually work when I think both sides think --

HARLOW: Yes --

MATTINGLY: That their side is the right answer. HARLOW: And by the way, the Kaiser polling from just the last year

shows that the people who really like private insurance are the ones who get it through their employer --


HARLOW: They generally grade it with an A or B, and her plan wipes that out by the way, at least, the employer-based plans. Let's switch topics here and talk about women's issues. We know that --

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: But there's one key point in healthcare which is really important. Which is that, you know, for the last three months, President Trump's people have been in court trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Since Medicare for all, Bernie Sanders 20 years ago, that consistency, we actually created the Affordable Care Act which gave a lot more people without employer plans health care.

HARLOW: Yes --

[09:20:00] ROSEN: And so, walking this line for the Democratic candidates -- actually healthcare has changed.

HARLOW: Yes --

ROSEN: And so, them being creative is actually a good thing. Talking about it on the campaign trail is the most important thing.

HARLOW: Sure, and it's the key issue for every --

ROSEN: Key issue.

HARLOW: American. On the issue of women's progress and rights, we know this is going to be what Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is going to hammer home on the stage. She's made that pretty clear in her public remarks. Let's listen to her speaking at a "Des Moines Register" event in Iowa just a few days ago. Here she is.


SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): We have Democratic candidates running for president right now who do not believe necessarily that it's a good idea that women work outside their home. No joke. We have presidential candidates running right now who thinks the MeToo Movement has gone too far.


HARLOW: So, Hillary, she needs a boost. There's speculation she's going to go after Joe Biden on this front about 1981 tax bill. So effective for her? Is this what she needs? Is this the entre she's been waiting for?

ROSEN: I don't think it is effective for this reason which is that Kirsten Gillibrand has been out-front in the Senate for the last several years on women's rights issues. She took on the army when no one else did on sexual harassment.

She gets a lot of credit for that. But I think in this race, it is a very hard sell when you have, you know, three other prominent women also running to say that she's going to be the only one as president fighting for women's equality. I think you -- I think she needs to go broader, I think she hasn't gone broader -- broad enough.

And I think this sort of attacking for old positions probably is not going to be particularly useful for her.

HARLOW: So, Wes, let's talk about this state, the great state of Michigan, we're in the great city of Detroit. This is a state where the economy has gotten better --


HARLOW: Under President Trump. The unemployment rate has dropped from 5.4 percent to 4.1 percent, the GDP has increased 8 percent in the Trump presidency. A really interesting piece by May Raston(ph) quotes an independent voter, a white man named Grant Gaither, let me read this to you. "I'll take progress over a few S words that are said here and there. The guy says stupid things.

But as long as things are good, I could give two SS until he says a literal N word or something like that, then I might be pissed. Beyond that, it's irrelevant to me." So, how should all of these candidates be thinking about that and thinking about beating President Trump on the stage tomorrow night.

LOWERY: Well, look, first of all, it was really excellent work by whatever producer had to do all those asterisk, because there was quite a few profanities in that quote.


HARLOW: We have the best team here, Wes --

LOWERY: So, shout-out to whoever that was, right, and try to follow it like diagrams in the Senate. But you know, the --

HARLOW: You're right --

LOWERY: This is -- you know, this is one of the crucial questions facing every Democrat in this race. We have an economy that by the numbers is doing pretty well, right? Now, there's a question, we're so far out from when voters actually go to the polls, and that could change.

And so, we don't want to build in too many assumptions into our analysis or into the conversation, but it is true that there's a fair number of voters out there who are pretty happy with where things are. And how do you speak to those voters?

And -- but I think there's a secondary question, too, right? Whether or not the pathway to a Democratic victory is even speaking to those voters, right? That what we know is that angry people, scared people vote. Well, you saw this in 2016 where you had a lot of people who had consumed a lot of media about how Barack Obama was ruining the country and everything was terrible and socialists, Muslims and the immigrants coming over, right?

And that was Donald Trump's strategy, and you got a lot of people who were scared, who were frustrated, who were anxious both economically, but also certainly culturally and racially got them out to vote. If those voters feel less besieged currently, if they feel like things are going all right, there's a question if they show up in the same way for Donald Trump as they did previously --

HARLOW: Sure --

LOWERY: Whether or not he does -- whether he can still motivate them. We saw this --

HARLOW: Yes --

LOWERY: In 2018, he closes the campaign, talking about the caravan and it didn't work --

HARLOW: Yes --

LOWERY: For him. And so, for Democrats, there's a question --

HARLOW: Sure --

LOWERY: Of you do certainly have to engage these voters certainly in states like Michigan, Wisconsin, my home state of Ohio. But also, you have to look at the people who are motivated and who are upset right now, and it's the type of people who --

HARLOW: Yes --

LOWERY: A few N words are not big deal to, you know.

HARLOW: So, but for -- that should be a big deal, but I hear you --

LOWERY: Yes --

HARLOW: Phil, finally, I think a lot of people are expecting that tomorrow night is just going to be a big clash between Sanders and Warren or what we saw between Harris and Biden in the "NBC" debate. Both campaigns though are saying don't expect that. So, are they going to play nice tomorrow night?

MATTINGLY: Look, the point of these debates -- and I think you can also talk to the campaigns and they express some frustration about the theatrics or the animated --

HARLOW: Sure --

MATTINGLY: Nature of the debate, and yet, when you talk to activists in the field, when you talk to people in Iowa and New Hampshire and some of the Midwestern states as well, everybody is keying on this. Everyone is paying attention to this. A lot of people are making their decisions about this, a lot of donors are making their decisions about this.

[09:25:00] So, it's very easy to say, you know, we're going to play nice, everything is all good, we agree on a lot of issues, wait and see.

HARLOW: You know what it could be, Hilary?

MATTINGLY: It's a little bit different when the lights are on, the stage is up --

HARLOW: Totally --

MATTINGLY: And perhaps a couple of people have some set pieces --

HARLOW: Hello!

MATTINGLY: To attack.

HARLOW: Does anyone remember 2008, the lights are on, they're on the debate stage, she's likable enough.

ROSEN: Yes, maybe there will be some swipes like that.

MATTINGLY: Did anyone know that heinous attack --

HARLOW: You know --

MATTINGLY: Was coming last debate?


MATTINGLY: No, you didn't, certainly --

ROSEN: Well, you know, here, you've got Elizabeth Warren who actually has a lot of deep policy arguments against Bernie. Two other people to quickly look for, this is Steve Bullock's first --


ROSEN: Debate tomorrow night. A lot of people are wondering, is he kind of a centrist alternatives to the Joe Bidens of the world. He's going to have to make his mark in this. And I expect he'll take on both Sanders and Warren, then Amy Klobuchar, you know, is running out of time and money.

Hopefully, you know, she's thinking about what's her mark. And then you have Pete Buttigieg who is very wonky. This isn't a good forum for him. He's a talker. And so -- but he's got money to keep going. So, the question is does he have to make --

HARLOW: Yes --

ROSEN: A mark? It's a crowded -- it's a crowded stage tomorrow night.

HARLOW: To say the least. ROSEN: To say the least --

HARLOW: But an exciting one, two big nights coming up. Thank you guys all very much. Wes Lowery, Phil, Hilary, thank you. The CNN Democratic presidential debate starts tomorrow night, two big nights, 10 candidates each night, tomorrow and Wednesday live from right here in Detroit, 8:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.

Well, President Trump attacking -- his attacks this morning again on Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings, slamming him in a new series of tweets. Clearly, he must see this as part of his 2020 strategy, but why?