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Two Dead in Walmart Shooting; Community Remembers Victims of Festival Attack; Former Michigan Governor Talks about Debate; President Trump Answers Questions from Reporters; Trump Defends his Attacks on Cummings and Baltimore. Aired 9:30-10a
Aired July 30, 2019 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:30:00] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Morning's shooting at a Walmart.
Our Nick Valencia joins us now with breaking developments. Also reports of a police officer down, is that right?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jim.
Here we have very limited information at this hour. This is still a very fluid situation, a developing situation. But here's what our assignment desk has been able to confirm so far.
Two people were shot dead at a Walmart in South Haven, Mississippi. DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco tells CNN an officer responding to the shooting and the suspect were both shot in the early morning incident and are being treated at nearby hospitals. There are several responding agencies, including South Haven Police, as well as the county sheriff's department. They evidently have secured the area and the investigation into the cause of the shooting is ongoing.
According to local affiliate reporting, this shooting happened at around 6:30 or 6:45 at the Walmart store there off South Crest Parkway, on Goodman road. This is, as I mentioned, still a developing situation here and we're working on getting more information. But this is what we can tell you. Two dead in a shooting early this morning at a Mississippi Walmart.
SCIUTTO: Nick Valencia, thank you. We're going to stay on top of that story.
Of course, just 48 hours ago, there was another shooting, a deadly one, in America. And we're learning more about the 19-year-old shooting in that attack in Gilroy, Georgia, as investigators pour over his home and the festival turned crime scene where he opened fire. At the same time, the Gilroy community is mourning the loss of three young victims. Those are their faces there. Six-year-old Stephen Romero, 13-year-old Kayla Salazar, and 25-year-old Trevor Irby, all dead.
CNN correspondent Dan Simon live in Gilroy. So, Dan, there's -- there was some concern in the initial hours and
days after this shooting of the possibility of an accomplice still at large. What is the latest?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at first authorities were pretty much saying that there was a second suspect out there. That's based on some of the descriptions that they got from witnesses. But now, as we're approaching the 48-hour mark, Jim, they seem to be less confident in saying that there is an accomplice.
So, at this point, they're really asking for the public's help with this. They're saying, hey, if you have any photos or videos that -- that might yield some clues, go ahead and upload those files directly to the FBI.
But at this point, Jim, they cannot say definitively that there is a second suspect.
SCIUTTO: And the shooter, about motivation here, there were social media posts prior. What has that told us?
SIMON: Well, at this point they're still trying to pin down a motive. Why would this shooter target his own hometown? Keep in mind, he lived just about a mile away. Of course he did have this Instagram account where he made reference to a white supremacist book, also talked about high fire danger, sort of a cold, calculated way to talk about perhaps gunfire at this festival. But, as you said, they're looking at his home. They're going through his vehicle trying to glean any clues.
In terms of the weapon, Jim, we do know that this was a semiautomatic AK-47-style rifle that was purchased legally in the state of Nevada earlier this month. We should point out that such weapons are actually banned in the state of California, cannot buy one here, can't even import one here. And so that further highlights this major gun divide that we have in this country. Of course it's going to be a talking point on the campaign trail for many days or weeks to come.
SCIUTTO: Yes, and also you can ban it in one state but, of course, it's easy to get from the neighboring state to the other with a weapon like this, which has very high-powered ammunition. The injuries just devastating from it.
Dan Simon, thanks for being on the story. We know you're going to stay on top of it.
Debate night in Motown. So, what do Michigan voters really want in a 2020 candidate? We're going to ask the state's 45th governor, that's coming up.
And, remember, night one of the CNN president debates starts at 8:00 Eastern Time, moderated by our colleagues Dana Bash, Don Lemon and Jake Tapper, only here on CNN.
[09:38:222] HARLOW: All right, welcome back, everyone, I'm Poppy Harlow, live from Detroit.
And right now d-town is debate town as CNN and 20 Democratic presidential candidates take the motor city by storm. In the hours left before the first night of the debate kicks off tonight, what is going to happen? How could this all rev up the race? Remember, the president won Michigan in 2016.
With me now is former Democratic governor of Michigan, James Blanchard. We should note, he has contributed to three of the candidates, Biden, Harris and Bullock.
You're not just picking one, sir?
JAMES BLANCHARD (D), FORMER MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: No, I might contribute to some of the others.
But welcome to Michigan. Welcome to Detroit.
HARLOW: Oh, it's -- and what a beautiful day.
BLANCHARD: Yes, it's fabulous.
HARLOW: And welcome you guys have given us.
BLANCHARD: Glad you're here.
HARLOW: We are so glad to be here.
So let's talk about tonight. You've given money to Biden. You were at the fundraiser just a few days ago where he said he was going to be, quote, less polite on the debate stage. What should we expect from him?
BLANCHARD: I think he should just be himself. The other night here in Michigan he was dynamic, he was energized. For anyone that was worrying about whether he's slowing down or being too calm, I think -- I think he'll do very, very well.
And I don't think he needs to -- I don't think he needs to attack the others at all. I don't think he will. His message really is a unifying message, a positive message. I mean he's a guy that's had a career of respecting other people, of bringing people together. That's what people in Michigan want. That's what people --
HARLOW: So you're saying stay high?
BLANCHARD: I would.
HARLOW: Like Michelle Obama said, don't go low.
BLANCHARD: I would say stay high.
BLANCHARD: Be your -- be your same old self. Just -- just put some more energy into it. I think he was a little too casual in the first debate and I think he doesn't need to do that.
HARLOW: OK. All right. So how do these candidates address the economy here in Michigan that has done really well over all under President Trump. Unemployment is way down. Economic growth is up.
[09:40:07] BLANCHARD: That's true.
HARLOW: How do they answer those questions?
BLANCHARD: Well, it all started in 2009 with Barack Obama rescuing -- and Joe Biden rescuing the auto industry, General Motors, Chrysler, all the suppliers. That's when the recovery began. I might add that Mr. Trump and Mike Pence opposed the auto rescue. So it's the Democrats who put both Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, back on track.
HARLOW: OK. Stay with me.
BLANCHARD: All right.
HARLOW: Guess who's speaking? The president at the White House.
HARLOW: We'll be back to you on the other side, but let's list to the president of the United States.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just want to tell you the economy is doing fantastically well. We have people over in China right now. We're negotiating with China. We'll see what happens. We're either going to make a great deal or we're not going to make a deal at all. But a lot of great things are happening and including with China.
Our country has gone way up in terms of its differential (ph). We're the number one economy in the world. It's picked up tremendously in the last three (ph) years since I've been here. So a lot of great things are happening, a lot of really great things are happening.
The economy is through the roof. I guess we'll hopefully get good decisions from certain branches of government. We'll see what happens.
But we have a lot of good things happening. We were just speaking with the Department of Commerce and we have interest in our country like we've never had before.
QUESTION: Mr. President, do you regret hurting (ph) Baltimore?
TRUMP: No, Baltimore has been very badly mishandled for many years. As you know, Congressman Cummings has been there for a long time. He's had a very iron hand on it. It's a corrupt city, there's no question about it. All you have to do is look at the facts.
The government has pumped in, over the years, billions and billions of dollars to no avail -- to absolutely no avail. Baltimore is a -- is an example of what corrupt government leads to. Billions of dollars have been given. And I feel so sorry for the people of Baltimore, and if they ask me, we will get involved.
But we're already involved from the standpoint that over many years, billions and billions of dollars have been given to Baltimore. It's been misspent. It's been missing. It's been stolen with a lot of corrupt government. And as you know, Cummings has been in charge.
Now, I will say this: I think that Representative Cummings should take his Oversight Committee and start doing oversight on Baltimore. He'd find out some real things.
QUESTION: China, China, China, how did the talks go today?
And on the Fed, what should the rate cut be?
TRUMP: So, the talks are moving very well with China. But they were often with China, but China always makes a new deal at the end, or seems to.
We're taking in billions and billions of dollars from China in the form of tariffs. Our people are not paying for it. China reduced their currency, they devalued their currency, and they're pumping money into the system in order to pay for it.
They had the worst year in 27 years. They've had a terrible year because of the tariffs. A lot of companies are moving out of China. You've never seen this before.
The United States is doing phenomenally well and we're taking in tens of billions of dollars for -- from China.
We're giving the money to our farmers, who have been really targeted by China, to do a number on (ph) them. And because they like me, the farmers like me. And I love the farmers.
And I will say that the farmers are very grateful. The most they've ever spent on agricultural product is $16 billion. So when they pulled out, I took just a small part of the money that China's paying us, and I gave it toward the farmers. And the farmers are very happy.
QUESTION: (inaudible) the Fed enough for you, sir?
TRUMP: The Fed moves, in my opinion, far too early and far too severely. It puts me at a -- somewhat of a disadvantage. Fortunately, I've made the economy so strong that nothing's going to stop us. But the Fed could have made it a lot easier.
I would like to see a large cut and I'd like to see, immediately, the quantitative tightening stop. It should (ph) be stopped.
QUESTION: Is the quarter (ph) (inaudible)? TRUMP: But then to have done quantitative tightening and also higher interest rates simultaneously, I think was a big mistake.
TRUMP: I also think that had they not done it -- as good as we've done -- we've set a record, as you will tell, as you will say, in the stock market. We have the all-time high in the history of the stock market. I think I would have been 10,000 points higher, and I think we would have been in the 4s with GDP.
President Obama had zero interest rates. We have normalized interest rates. With zero interest rates, anything happens, and yet we still blew his economy away.
QUESTION: Was it a mistake not retaining Janet Yellen?
TRUMP: I don't talk about that. I just -- I'm very disappointed in the Fed. I think they acted too quickly by far, and I think I've been proven right. People have said I was right, they were wrong. The Fed is often wrong. The Fed is often wrong.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) op-ed calling Mitch McConnell a Russian asset?
TRUMP: The Washington Post called Mitch McConnell what?
QUESTION: A Russian asset.
TRUMP: I think The Washington Post is a Russian asset by comparison.
Mitch McConnell loves our country. He's done a great job. We're trying to pass an infrastructure bill. It's being written up right now as we speak for our highways and our roadways.
Mitch McConnell has got more judges than probably any -- I mean, in all fairness, with my help. But as a combination, we've got up -- we're going to be a very soon to 179 federal judges. Nobody's ever seen anything like that. And other than George Washington, we'll end up having the highest percentage of judges put on the court, and it's going to be a legacy.
Mitch McConnell is a man that knows less about Russia and Russian influence than even Donald Trump, and I know nothing. So I think it's a horrible thing when a paper, which is really just a paper for the benefit of Amazon, The Washington Post, is fake news, just like the New York Times is fake news.
It's put there for the benefit -- The Washington Post -- of Amazon. That's my opinion. And I think it's a disgrace.
And if they actually said that -- I didn't read that. If they actually said that, that Mitch McConnell is an asset of Russia, they ought to be ashamed of themselves, and they ought to apologize.
(CROSSTALK) QUESTION: (Inaudible) are you going to watch the Democratic debate tonight and tomorrow? And you haven't (inaudible) as to who your likely opponent will be in 2020.
TRUMP: Well, I think right now -- I am watching.
I think right now, it will be sleepy Joe, I think. I feel he'll limp across the line, that's what I think. So what I think doesn't mean anything, but I know the other people, I know him, I think he's off of his game by a lot, but I think personally, it's going to be sleepy Joe.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) concerns about the millions of people (inaudible)?
TRUMP: No, I think I'm helping myself because I'm pointing out the tremendous corruption that's taking place in Baltimore and other Democratic-run cities. All you have to do is look at the past mayors in Baltimore, see what happened. No, I think I'm helping myself.
And I'll tell you what, the White House and myself and letters and e- mails and phone calls -- I've received more phone calls than I think on any other subject of people from Baltimore and other cities corruptly run by Democrats thanking me for getting involved.
Those people are living in hell in Baltimore. They are largely African-American. You have a large African-American population. And they really appreciate what I'm doing, and they've let me know it. They really appreciate it.
And by the way, the numbers just came out: unemployment for African- Americans is the lowest it has been, the best numbers meaning, in the history of our country. The lowest in the history of our country.
But people have called from Baltimore thanking me so much. There's all that money that's been spent over 20 years, has been stolen and wasted by people like Elijah Cummings.
TRUMP: Well, I have a great relationship with Brazil. I have a fantastic relationship with your president. And he's a great gentleman. He was here, as you know. In fact, they say the Trump of Brazil. I like that, that's a compliment.
And by the way, I think he's doing a great job. It's a tough job, but I think your president is doing a fantastic job. He's a wonderful man with a wonderful family.
TRUMP: Yes, we're going to work on a free trade agreement with Brazil. Brazil's a big trading partner. They charge us a lot of tariffs, but other than that, we love the relationship.
QUESTION: Are you concerned about health of Russian opposition leader...
TRUMP: The what?
QUESTION: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who apparently might have been poisoned while in prison. Have you heard about that?
TRUMP: I don't -- I've heard about it. I don't know about it, but I'll find out about it. This is new. I heard about it last night.
QUESTION: Are you concerned more about the Ratcliffe nomination? Democrats and Republicans say a -- a Trump loyalist (inaudible).
TRUMP: Well, John Ratcliffe is a brilliant man. He is a wonderful person. I spoke to him long before about this -- long before -- months ago. I spoke to him long before the Mueller fiasco.
That was a fiasco. I think probably nobody in the history of Capitol Hill has embarrassed themselves like what Mueller did to himself and to the Democrats.
But John Ratcliffe, I spoke to him about this for a long time. He's a very talented guy. He's a strong man. It's what we need in that position.
TRUMP: I am the least racist person there is anywhere in the world.
When conmen -- who I've known, you know, almost all my business life, cause I had to deal with them, unfortunately, in New York. But I got along with him, Al Sharpton. Now, he's a racist, he's a racist.
But when people -- when people...
TRUMP: Let me explain to you. What I've done for African-Americans in two and a half years no president has been able to do anything like it.
Unemployment at the lowest level in the history of our country for African-Americans. Nobody can beat that.
You look at poverty levels, they're doing better than they've ever done before. So many things.
Opportunity zones, criminal justice reform. President Obama couldn't get it done. It was done -- really, the biggest beneficiary probably is African-Americans. I got criminal justice reform done. President Obama couldn't get it done, no other president was able to get it done.
What I've done for African-Americans, no president, I would say, has done.
Now, I'll say this: They are so happy -- because I get the calls. They are so happy at what I've been able to do in Baltimore and other Democratic-run, corrupt cities. The money has been stolen -- what they've done. It's been wasted and it's been stolen, billions and billions of dollars. And the African-American community is so thankful, they've called me and they've said, "Finally, somebody is telling the truth."
QUESTION: Do you think there will be a -- do you think there will be a trade deal with China before November 2020?
TRUMP: Well, I think the biggest problem with doing a trade deal is China would love to wait and just hope -- they hope -- it's not going to happen, I hope -- but they would just love if I got defeated, so they could deal with somebody like Elizabeth Warren or sleepy Joe Biden or any of these people, because then they'd be allowed and able to continue to rip off our country like they've been doing for the last 30 years.
China has been taking out hundreds of billions of dollars a year from our country. And now what I've done with the tariffs is, number one, they had the worst year they've had in 27 years. Yesterday, Wall Street Journal: the worst year in 27 years. Companies are leaving China by the thousands and their prices are coming down.
And I will tell you this: China is dying to make a deal with me. But whether or not I'll do it -- it's up to me, it's not up to them.
QUESTION: Just this week, what do you think you can get China to give you in a -- in a negotiation?
TRUMP: Well, I think China's willing to give up a lot, but I -- that doesn't mean I'm willing to accept it.
I think if China had their wish, they'd wait til after the election, they'll pray that Trump loses and then they'll make a deal with a stiff, somebody that doesn't know what they're doing, like Obama and Biden, like all of the presidents before.
Because what they've done is they just picked our pockets as a nation. That's not happening with Trump.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) boycotting your event (ph) today...
TRUMP: That's OK.
TRUMP: Well, I think if that's the case, I -- I'd be shocked. But if that's the case, they're fighting against their people, because the African-American people have been calling the White House, they have never been so happy as what a president has done.
Not only the lowest unemployment in history for African-Americans, not only opportunity zones for -- really, a -- the biggest beneficiary, the inner cities, and not only criminal justice reform, but they're so happy that I pointed out the corrupt politics of Baltimore. It's filthy, dirty, it's so horrible. And they are happy as hell.
TRUMP: So you may have a couple of politicians boycott, but it's all a fix. It's all a fix. The fact is African-American people love the job I'm doing cause I'm working for them. I'm not working for the politicians.
QUESTION: Did you (inaudible)?
TRUMP: Oh, absolutely.
It's -- what he should do -- what Elijah Cummings should do, is he should take his Oversight Committee, bring them down to Baltimore and invest all of the -- and really study the billions and billions of dollars that's been stolen. It's been wasted. It's been stolen.
They ought to take that beautiful waste of an Oversight Committee, go down to Baltimore and other Democratic-run cities and take a look, see if you can find the billions that have been stolen.
TRUMP: My relationship with Kim Jong-un is a very good one, as I'm sure you've seen.
We'll see what happens. I can't tell you what's going to happen. I know one thing: that if my opponent was president, if she won, you would be in a major war right now with North Korea. And we are nowhere close.
So we'll see. I have a good relationship with him. I like him, he likes me. We'll see what happens.
QUESTION: Are you going to visit (ph) Baltimore (inaudible)?
[09:56:30] TRUMP: At the right time I'll visit. But the people of Baltimore are very thankful. They have let us know by the thousands of people, because of the fact that finally somebody is pointing out how corrupt Baltimore is. How billions and billions of dollars have been stolen. And the ones that like it the best what I'm doing are African- American voters. Those are the ones.
SCIUTTO: The president there just a few moments ago on his way from the White House to Williamsburg, Virginia.
Let's do some quick fact checks, because oftentimes in the president's interactions with reporters there are false things that he says.
For one, he said that China is paying -- that the U.S. is getting billions and billions of dollars in tariffs from China. Of course the fact is that U.S. importers and consumers pay for tariffs. That's not a true statement.
He also made quite a charge against Representative Elijah Cummings, saying that Baltimore has taken -- stolen, he seems to be saying, or wasted billions of dollars. He then said it again later there, Poppy, claiming, it seems, to be accusing Cummings of stealing billions of dollars in aid money. It is not clear what that is based on. I think we can fairly call that a baseless charge.
SCIUTTO: But also I think key, and you heard this as well as me, Poppy, the president showing no hesitation to stick with his attacks on Cummings and claiming that it helps him.
HARLOW: Yes. A hundred percent. I mean, Jim, he also said that "The Washington Post," one of the post storied journalistic institutions in this country --
HARLOW: Is a Russian asset.
HARLOW: With no basis in fact. And then he said that -- that, you know, it is for the benefit of Amazon, just because Jeff Bezos owns "The Washington Post" and Amazon, they're not connected at all. And Amazon -- "The Washington Post" does a lot of critical reporting on Amazon. So just setting those two facts straight for everyone, because they were stunning to hear, Jim.
SCIUTTO: No question. No question.
Suzanne, if we could begin with you, because it's CNN's reporting that within the White House, and again we've heard this times before, that some of his aides are uncomfortable or have some discomfort with the president's attacks on Elijah Cummings.
Despite that, you heard from the president there really expanding his attacks on the sitting representative, claiming, without basis, that he's stolen billions of dollars in federal money. It appears the president is going to stick with this line of attack.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He's doubling and tripling down on what he has said before. And it seems like this is his winning approach, at least in his mind, because, yes, CNN reporting that there are at least some staff, some members in the White House that are concerned and uncomfortable with the kind of language going after a very popular Congressman Cummings, as well as the whole city of Baltimore.
We heard the president say that the people in Baltimore were living in hell, and that he was the least racist person that there is. When you talk about the fact checks here, and I want to talk about this a little bit more, he said that there were thousands of people through emails and calls that he has been hearing from since just yesterday, the day before, when he brought up all of this. People from Baltimore, he said largely African-Americans who are affirming what he says and are appreciative of the complaints that he has leveled against the congressman. That, of course, needs to be fact checked. He says it's one of the things -- the issues that has come up beyond any other issue when getting some sort of response from the community.
[10:00:01] And I asked him specifically, in light of that, there are lawmakers from Virginia who are boycotting his event today in Jamestown