Return to Transcripts main page


Three Killed, 12 hurt In Mass Shooting At California Festival; Democratic Candidates Prep For Make-Or-Break Moment At CNN Debate; Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) Releases Medicare For All Plan. Aired 10- 10:30a ET

Aired July 29, 2019 - 10:00   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEWSROOM: A very good Monday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto in New York.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN NEWSROOM: And I'm Poppy Harlow live in Detroit, where 20 democrats are preparing for the CNN Democratic President Debates. We'll get to that in a moment.

But, first, we begin with breaking, this out of Gilroy, California, a tragic news, where a shooter opened fire at a summer festival full of families.

That was the scene as that gunman fired into the festival, killing three people, injuring 12 others, and police say that 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 point the weapon up like this.

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I saw everybody running getting shot. And so I was terrified. I was terrified --


SCIUTTO: The pop, pop, pop, what sounds like a semiautomatic weapon. One of those killed, well, that's a picture of him, a six-year-old, Steven Romero. The Gilroy police chief says they stopped the shooter within minutes of his first shot, but there is now a man hunt underway for a second suspect.

CNN National Correspondent Sara Sidner is live in Gilroy. Do we have any update on the possibility of a second person being involved here, Sara?

SANA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not any update that is significant. Police have said that they are seeking someone who they haven't said was involved in the shooting itself, but that may be somehow a part of this may have somehow known the shooter or was near the shooter at the time that this all happened.

And obviously this is still a very active scene. We have watched as a team of FBI agents have walked down that road just behind me there and into the area where the shooting happened. There are still a lot of police officers around this area.

We should also, of course, concentrate on those who were killed and those who were injured. 12 people injured. Police initially said 11 injured by gunfire. But a 12th person took themselves to the hospital. You can hear the chaos. You can see the chaos there yet again.

At another place at Sunday, folks were just trying to enjoy themselves with their families here at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, which is a famous festival here in Northern California that people adore coming to. It is a quintessential Northern California thing to do in the summer time. And here, they are running for their lives. We heard from a seven-year-old who talked about wondering if he was going to be killed. And now, we hear that a six-year-old has been killed.

But let us listen to those folks who were there and who witnessed this as they're standing there with their families.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we saw him shooting and running towards our tent, our vendor's tent --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We heard the pop. That's when we walked out of the bathroom. We heard the pop. I didn't think nothing of it. We both looked at the same time and saw him. He was putting a thing in. And then also he just started walking towards our tent and start shooting like this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then we ran the other way and everybody else was running. And she remembered her granddaughter and people kept telling me to run, get down. And so then she went back to the ten and I was on the other side.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was pandemonium. It was just -- it was this chaos. But it was like everything happened so fast and then it was over with.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We hugged each other and said, you know, thank God, it could have been us.

SIDNER: And those two sisters talking about their ten-year-old grandchild who actually helped save her brother, a three-year-old, that she pushed underneath a table to try to save him, these are children trying to save one another from gunfire. We have heard this so many times before. And every single time it just hits your heart so hard. Here in Gilroy, this community will be grieving for some time. Jim, poppy? SCIUTTO: Children living through the sounds and the dangers of a war zone. Sara Sidner, thanks very much.

On the phone now, we have a survivor, Miquita Price. She was there as the shooter opened fire.


Miquita, we appreciate you coming on today. I imagine you're still processing what saw yesterday. Tell us what you witnessed.

MIQUITA PRICE, SHOOTING WITNESS: Yes, I am still shaken up. I was located in the white tent that you see on the video and we were just eating. It was almost like 5:30. It was about six of us sitting at the table and there was a family that had just had twins and they were showing the twins off to us.

And we heard a pop, pop, pop, and it was really muffled and it was a pop, pop, pop again and everybody started screaming. And my spouse pushed me down on the ground and said, lay down, they're shooting. And as they started shooting, the shots were no longer muffled. They were actually clear and like he was coming towards us, the gunman, as we were laying down.

And after a minute or two, he stopped. And when he stopped, we got up to run for shelter and it was me, my husband, a lady and her daughter. And as we were running for shelter, which was an enterprise utility truck, we were going to go run and hide under that, he opened fire again.

And as we were running, the lady next to me, she got shot in the neck. We didn't know she was shot in the neck until we hid under the truck. Under the truck, it was her, her daughter, me, my spouse and the sheriff. And we noticed she was bleeding. And I just literally freaked out and the lady freaked out and the shots started again.

And when the sheriff told us, once he stops, me and my spouse need to climb over the fence to get out of the event. She instructed us and we jumped over this long barbed-wire or a metal fence rather and we just kind went out of the event. We were that close. My husband was able to see the gunman in army fatigue and he was able to see the fire that was coming out of that gun.

SCIUTTO: I'm so sorry, Miquita, you had to go through this.

I wonder, as it was happening, because you and I, every American, has seen stories about shootings like this so many times for so many years. As it was happening, did you have a quick sense that this was real, that this was a real shooting, or was it even hard to come to terms with that?

PRICE: I had a great sense that it was shooting. The voice came in my head and told me if I do not get off of this ground, I will lose my life. And those are the exact words that came in my head. So when he stopped, I got up and I ran. No one instructed me. That's the only thing that told me to do is just run for my life. And that's the only thing that I think that has saved me because had he started out, everyone in that tent would have died because we were right there and we were kind of in like a horseshoe, so we were trapped. There was nowhere else for us to run.

SCIUTTO: Goodness, I'm so glad you and your husband are safe. But I'm sorry you had to go through this, as I'm sure folks watching are too. Miquita Price, thanks very much.

PRICE: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Let's speak now about the investigation of the shooting. Joining me now, former FBI Supervisory Special Agent Josh Campbell live from Gilroy. Josh, it's good to have you on. We're drawing on a lot of experience here from your time in the FBI. There are -- this is all too familiar. We've seen this in a thousand locations, circumstances.

What appears to be somewhat unusual about this is the possibility of an accomplice. We don't know that yet, but police said they are looking for a possible accomplice, but also the preparation. They cut through the fence here to get to this festival. What does that tell you?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, we're here, Jim, talking about another mass shooting in America. As you mentioned, this one specifically has those aspects that make it stand out. The first, as you mentioned, is this notion that there may have been a second person possibly involved.

Now, that has not yet been confirmed. Authorities tell us that is coming from witnesses providing that information to law enforcement, the witnesses that were here behind me at the festival here at the scene of the crime.

Now, we know looking at past events that there is almost always never a second shooter. But authorities can't rule that out, especially if they have people that are providing information suggesting that someone could have been an accomplice. So that's something that law enforcement officers are running down right now.

The second aspect that you mentioned gets to the motive, which we don't yet have. If the person's goal here was to cause indiscriminate mass loss of life, this person went through a lot of steps that one wouldn't need to do if that was the ultimate goal, coming and cutting his way through a fence to come into this facility. We know that there were metal detectors here. Authorities telling us that he essentially bypassed that to get into the festival.

So the question comes out to why did he want to get into the festival and conduct the attack inside. Was he targeting someone or, again, was this just an indiscriminate killing, so many questions. We expect to hear from law enforcement officers in a couple of hours and we hope to have these answers provided, Jim.

SCIUTTO: I want to play some audio that they've queued up of the gunfire itself and then get your sense of what that tells us about the weapon here. Have a listen.

Josh, the speed of the shots there, does that sound like a semiautomatic weapon to you?


CAMPBELL: Yes, those are the sounds of murder, Jim. And it's too soon, I think, to tell exactly what the type of weaponry was. We did hear reports that this was a rifle. Again, law enforcement official, we hope, will provide additional details when we hear from them in just a couple hours time.

But, again, we know from looking at past events that there appear to be certain types of weapons that subjects go to in order to cause mass murder and these are weapons that easily available here on the streets here in the United States of America.

Now, the question will also come down to was there one weapon or were there multiple weapons involved, as our colleague, Sara Sidner, mentioned just a little earlier. We saw this team of FBI agents arriving. These are from the evidence response teams, agents and analysts who are processing the scene and they'll want to account for every single round that was fired behind me.

And as they pick up the shell casings, as they look at the analysis, we'll get those questions answered about what type of weaponry and more importantly were there more than one person involved.

SCIUTTO: One thing about these high-powered rifles, you speak to the E.R. surgeons, that they cause enormous damage. The injuries are horrific, like they see in war zones. Josh Campbell, it's good to have you there. We know you're going to stay on top of it.

Happening now, this is President Trump speaking about the shooting. Have a listen.

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: A wicked murderer opened fire and killed three innocent citizens, including a young child. We grieve for their families and we ask that God will comfort them with his overflowing mercy and grace. We're praying for those who are recovering right now in the hospital. Some very, very serious injuries.

We thank the brave members of law enforcement. They never let us down, who swiftly killed the shooter. We reaffirm our national will to answer violence with the courage, determination and resolve of one American family. We will continue to work together as communities and as citizens to stop evil, prevent violence and protect the safety of all Americans.

We're joined for today's ceremony by our wonderful Vice President, Mike Pence. Thank you, Mike, very much, thank you.

Along with many distinguished guests, I want to begin by recognizing a leader many of you know very well. On September 11th, he declared the City of New York and the United States of America as much stronger than any group of barbaric terrorists strengthened our willingness --

SCIUTTO: That's the President there at an event signing the 9/11 Emergency Workers Fund, but prior to that just for a moment there making comments on the deadly shooting in Gilroy, California, praising law enforcement, expressing sadness for the victims there, words we've heard from this president, Poppy, as you know after many previous shootings, many times before.

HARLOW: We have, indeed. All right, we'll stay on that.

Still to come, the countdown is on for the next round of democratic primary debates. Contenders like Senator Kamala Harris rolling out major policy proposals today, hers on healthcare.

Plus, the President continues his fight with Congressman Elijah Cummings and his belittling of the City of Baltimore, but why isn't the President saying that he and the White

House would do more to help?

SCIUTTO: And President Trump nominates a staunch loyalist to be the Director of National Intelligence, the highest ranking intelligence official in the land. That position is supposed to be non-partisan. Is this nomination problematic?



HARLOW: All right. Welcome back. It is debate eve, or, you know, debate eve morning in the Motor City right now. 20 democratic presidential candidates are preparing for tomorrow night and Wednesday night's CNN debates. For some that includes dropping some pretty hefty proposals, this morning from Senator Kamala Harris unveiling her version of a Medicare for all plan just hours ago. It scales up the current Medicare system to include a traditional Medicare option and a private insurance option that will phase out after a ten-year transition.

Let's talk about this with Maria Cardona, CNN Political Commentator and Democratic Strategist, and Mia Love, CNN Political Commentator and former republican member of Congress in the great City of Utah. Good morning to you, ladies.


HARLOW: Congresswoman, let me begin with you. On what Senator Kamala Harris is saying here is I can do this. I can get you there to Medicare for all, but I can get you a little bit slower, ten years, and without raising taxes on the middle class. She would raise taxes, by the way, above $100,000.

The issue for her, I think, is her position just wasn't clear on the debate stage last time. Are you clearer this morning?

MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I am not clear, and that's concerning. Because, first of all, I would hate for anyone to think that this is over, right? I would hate for anyone to think that they can't lose this race and have Donald Trump win. So you've got to be very careful about what you're going to say.

Medicare for all is not a message for all of America. And I'll tell you right now there are people, especially independents, that are concerned about losing their private healthcare.

Bernie Sanders isn't clear about whose taxes are going to be raised.


Kamala Harris isn't clear. Senator Harris isn't clear about whose taxes are going to be raised.

HARLOW: I actually think Bernie Sanders has been pretty straightforward that if you make over $29,000 a year, you're going to see a tax increase of about 4 percent. But his argument that he made pretty clearly to Jake yesterday was, but I'm going to save you on your out of pocket healthcare costs, so net-net, you're going to pay less. The issue is selling that to people.

CARDONA: I think that's exactly right. I partially agree with the Congresswoman that the messaging in all of this is so critical. I'm glad that Senator Harris put this out today because it is a lot more detailed than where she has been. And she has been a will wishy- washy, not just within the last debate but even before that. She was answering questions about whether she would get rid of private insurance or not.

Today, I think she's making clear that she wouldn't get rid of it for people who had it and for people who wanted the option of having private health insurance. So those details, I do think, really matter.

HARLOW: It's not exactly. She would get rid of the employer-based private insurance.

CARDONA: And have it as an option. And so that is the problem, because you do have to be more detailed. And when others are going to come at you, as they will for her, you know, Joe Biden says that you can't do that without raising taxes, right?

HARLOW: So, congresswoman, about Joe Biden, you're going to watch him really closely.

LOVE: Yes. So I'm watching him really closely because he's got a really fine line that he has to walk. So, first of all, he is going to get attacked because he is at the top right now and everyone feels like they need to go after him to bring his numbers down. He's got to figure out how he's going to handle that and still be the grown-up in the room.

The other thing he's got to watch out for is the fact that he is tied to the Obama administration. He has to say, look, I am my own man and this is what I'm going to offer. This is my plan. And even though I served under this administration, I have ideas for America myself. HARLOW: Let me ask you, Maria, as a democratic strategist, would you warn the other democratic candidates on the stage to tread carefully when thinking about attacking Biden on the issue of race in the same week where the President is now continuing his attack on Elijah Cummings, on the City of Baltimore that is 56 percent African- American? Should they be thinking about that and thinking how hard do we want to go after the frontrunner in the party right now on this issue specifically?

CARDONA: Yes. But I will say though that that doesn't mean they can't go after his policies, which is what they have done in the past.

But I will say this. I think voters want to hear more about what you're going to do from here on out. And I actually believe that Joe Biden is very well positioned to talk about his vision and talk about his policies with the backdrop of what this president has done even in the last month to raise the sort of veneer of rampant and rancid racism in this country that he is actually allowing to happen.

Joe Biden started out his campaign on this whole issue of how this is a fight for the soul of America, and I think that's good for him tonight.

HARLOW: Okay. Well, we'll all be watching both nights. Thank you both very, very much, Maria and Congresswoman, we appreciate it.

All right, so Senator Harris' Medicare for all plan already facing quite a response from team Bernie Sanders. His campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, Tweeting this morning, so continues her gradual back-down from Medicare for all. This is why you want a candidate with a lifetime of consistency and a track record on the big issues. And guess who is with us now, that man, the 2020 Bernie Sanders campaign manager, Faiz Shakir. Thank you for being here.


HARLOW: It's great to have you in person.

SHAKIR: Yes, great to see you in person.

HARLOW: Thank you for taking the time.

How is this a back-down if it gets us to Medicare for all in a decade?

SHAKIR: Well, she started with supporting Bernie Sanders's Medicare for all as a plan. And so we appreciated that. Now, she has moved away from it.

Unfortunately, I think we've seen two major changes, right? One is she's decided she'd like to privatize Medicare. She'd like to introduce more insurance companies into Medicare. Obviously, that introduces more corporate greed profit-seeking into the Medicare program. That's dangerous for Medicare, in general.

The second thing she says she wants to do is phase this in over ten years, not in one term of a presidency, not in two terms of a president, but that you'd have to wait ten years for people who have been struggling for a long time for care.

HARLOW: So former HSS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is louding this plan and saying this is what we need right now. She is saying that she can do it without raising taxes on those who make under $100,000 a year. I hear your point, I do.

But you need to convince the American people. And you know what the Kaiser numbers from this year's polls show, 58 percent of Americans like Medicare for all. But when you tell them that they cannot have private insurance as an option, that support drops to 37 percent. Isn't that a problem?

SHAKIR: First of all, Poppy, a few things to break down. I appreciate Governor Sebelius. She's a good friend. She's been a good ally. She happens to work for Medicare advantage companies who are going to benefit from this kind of a plan.


So let's be honest about when people critique it, where they're coming from.

We've offered a pledge, as you probably remember. Bernie Sanders is saying that we should not take any money for running for president from health insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. Elizabeth Warren, I think, said she would take that pledge. I don't believe Kamala Harris said she would take that pledge.

And I think what that means is, are you willing to fight these health insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies when you're in the Oval Office. And I don't think we know that. I don't think that we have confidence that she is, and obviously the plan here is suggesting that they is some concern over taking them on?

HARLOW: What about those numbers I just read to you?

SHAKIR: We're going to be honest about it and we're going to try to make the case, right? We want people to know --

HARLOW: You're going to sway those votes? You're going to try to sway those voters?

SHAKIR: Yes. We've got to have an honest debate with the American public. They should know the benefits that they're going to get from Medicare for all. Quite frankly, we feel there's been generally a biased conversation about this we often see on a lot of television shows of the criticism of Medicare for all. I appreciate you having me on and having the opportunity to talk about the benefits.

HARLOW: You are always welcome on this show. We will always put the facts and the numbers out there. And we're going to keep having this conversation.

Let's talk about the liberal voters. When you look at CNN's poll of polls in the last month or so, Senator Sanders is slipping among the most liberal democratic voters. He's at 19 percent, Elizabeth Warren is at 28, Kamala Harris is at 21 percent. They are eating into what was his base, without question, in 2016. What are you doing about that?

SHAKIR: It's six months to go until we actually vote in Iowa. I mean, I think these numbers right now, the first question they ask is, are you likely to vote? If you look at our base of voters, Poppy, I think these are people who have a lot of jobs, they're working at Walmart, they're working at McDonalds, they're working at Amazon, they're postal workers, they're teachers, they got lives.

And I don't think they're answering, yes, I'm planning to vote right now. I think that there's a lot of people out there who haven't checked into this race. And we're anxious and excited that when we get into the winter, we're going to have a lot more people engaged.

HARLOW: And what about the African-American vote? It was really interesting, I think, exchange, Senator Sanders' exchange with Jake Tapper yesterday about his vote for the '94 crime bill. And I know why he voted for it. I've watched his speech on the floor, write about it.

SHAKIR: Violence Against Women's Act, the banning of assault weapons.

HARLOW: I 've watched it. Everyone should watch it. But he did. And he said yesterday to Jake, I'm not happy I voted for a terrible bill. When you look at his polling numbers in a state like South Carolina, 10 percent among African-American, versus Biden at 51 percent, we know that bill disproportionately, adversely affected the African-American community. How does he get those numbers up?

SHAKIR: Well, we've got work to do. We're going to continue to make the case to them. I mean, I think there's an argument for racial justice paired with economic justice that he speaks squarely to in the African-American community.

When you see the President attacking Baltimore and cities with poverty in a disgusting way, who is fighting for a plan that provides healthcare, jobs, housing to these communities and lifts them up? That is what Bernie Sanders has been fighting for a lifetime, literally getting arrested on the frontlines fighting housing segregation and education segregation in our society.

HARLOW: He went and toured some of the most in need neighborhoods in Baltimore back in 2015 after the death of Freddie Gray.

All right, finally, I know you hate hypotheticals, but I'm just going to throw one out there, because why not.


HARLOW: Is there a world in which if Senator Sanders does not win the democratic nomination, he would believe that it is best for progressive voters for him to run as a third party independent? SHAKIR: There's an easy answer to this. First, we are focused on winning the nomination. Second of all, if he is not the nominee, he's going to do everything he can to support whomever the nominees, whether it's any candidate in the field.

HARLOW: So that world does not exist?

SHAKIR: It does not exist.

HARLOW: Thank you, come back.

SHAKIR: Thank you very much.

HARLOW: Looking forward to the next few nights on CNN. Faiz Shakir, we appreciate it.

SHAKIR: Thanks, Poppy.

HARLOW: Thanks very much.

All right, so the CNN democratic debates start tomorrow night, two big nights, ten candidates each night, 8:00 P.M. Eastern, only right here on CNN.

All right, ahead, this is really important. You should pay close attention to the President's new pick to lead the entire intel community. Is he qualified enough to do this job or did he get this job because of, you know, how loyal he's been to the President? We'll discuss next.