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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Fallout Continues Following Mass Shootings; Dow Plunges. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired August 5, 2019 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[16:00:00]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The Dow closing in just a moment, down -- you hear the bell there -- down around 750 points, amid an escalation in the U.S.-China trade war.

CNN's Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange.

Alison, why? What exactly prompted this big drop?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Because of an escalation in this tit-for-tat trade war. That's why we saw these massive losses in the stock market.

Overnight, the latest salvo coming from China, devaluing the yuan, its currency, against the dollar. There also now is a worry that there could be a global currency war on top of the trade war. Now, China is saying this wasn't a deliberate move. But many believe it is in retaliation for President Trump promising to slap a 10 percent tariff on the final $300 billion in Chinese goods, that tariff going into effect on September 1.

It is something that White House advisers had tried to get the president not to do because especially of that timing, Jake. It is supposed to go into effect once again on September 1. That is right in the middle of back-to-school shopping. So that could hit American consumers really hard because that tariff will hit those consumer products and clothing.

And American companies are caught right in the middle -- Jake.

TAPPER: Alison, how long -- how much longer should we expect to see this market volatility?

KOSIK: And that is why you're seeing this kind of move today, especially with the Dow down over 700 points, because there is no end in sight.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had promised that there could be a solution to the deal by the end of the summer. Well, that looks highly unlikely. And now investors are thinking there is probably not going to be a solution to the trade deal this year. So, that puts a lot in question and that increases the volatility.

So, you're seeing investors reprice stocks because they are expecting corporate America to get hit hard -- Jake.

TAPPER: Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange, thank you so much.

Turning to our national lead, a nation devastated and today the death toll is still rising; 31 people have now been killed after those two mass shootings in the span of 13 hours in the United States. That is nine killed in Dayton, Ohio, and now 22 in El Paso, Texas, where two more people were added to the official death toll earlier today after that white supremacist opened fire at the Walmart on Saturday.

Police officials telling CNN that the alleged terrorist has shown no remorse for the shooting and has been cold in his interactions with police.

In Dayton, officials today are saying that the shooter, who was killed early on Sunday morning by police, may have had up to 250 rounds in his possession. They recovered at least 41 spent shell casings. The friend who had traveled to the Dayton entertainment district with the gunman and the gunman's sister, who he killed, is being treated in the hospital.

Police hope to learn more from that friend.

Now, while much of the national conversation since the shooting has been about guns, and about white supremacist ideology, President Trump in his remarks tried to focus on instead mental health and on what he called a culture of violence, blaming the Internet and video games, at least in part.

The president also tweeted that the violence was the fault of the news media.

A short time ago, former President Obama released a rare and rather pointed statement, saying -- quote -- "We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments, leaders who demonize those who don't look like us or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life" -- unquote.

A fairly clear reference to President Trump.

CNN's Ed Lavandera has more now from El Paso, where hate has left a town in tatters.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He has no regret and no remorse. That is how police are describing the white supremacist suspected of killing 22 people at this El Paso Walmart Saturday. The death toll jumped this afternoon after patients died from their wounds in area hospitals.

DR. STEPHEN FLAHERTY, DEL SOL MEDICAL CENTER: We're deeply saddened to be here today to have to tell you that two patients have passed. LAVANDERA: Twenty-one-year-old Patrick Crusius has been charged with

capital murder and prosecutors say they will pursue the death penalty. When he turned himself into police in the parking lot, officers say he looked nothing short of evil.

Crusius is cooperating with police as investigators pore over a racist hate-filled document he allegedly posted online just 20 minutes before opening fire.

"I'm probably going to die today," the post read, and warned of a Hispanic invasion of Texas.

Authorities say the massacre that followed was an act of domestic terrorism. At least seven Mexican citizens are also among the dead. When news broke, Jimmy Villatoro and Ray Garcia rushed to the scene. They helped rescue five young children had been holding a sports team fund-raiser with their parents outside.

JIMMY VILLATORO, RESCUED CHILDREN: They were screaming and shouting, where is my dad? Is my mom dead? Are they alive? I told them they're all OK. We're going to get them out of here.

[16:05:00]

LAVANDERA: Many of the parents had jumped between their children and the gunman. Jimmy and Ray found the children unhurt, hiding underneath cars in the parking lot.

VILLATORO: I get the kids out, go back and get their mom. She had been shot in her legs.

LAVANDERA: Just 13 hours after El Paso's tragedy, another gunman murdered nine people outside of a nightclub in Dayton, Ohio. Surveillance captured the chaos as 24-year-old Connor Betts takes aim from behind body armor and a mask.

Police say he had as many as 250 rounds of ammunition along with him, along with this modified double-barreled weapon.

NAN WHALEY, MAYOR OF DAYTON, OHIO: The shooter had a gun that he got legally with magazines that he got legally, a gun that can kill nine people and injure 26 more in the course of 24 seconds.

LAVANDERA: In less than a minute, officers shot and killed the gunman who had come to the popular nightlife district with his sister and a friend. He had separated from the group and came back shooting. When the rampage ended, his sister was dead. Police today are still unsure if she was an intentional target.

RICHARD BIEHL, DAYTON, OHIO, POLICE CHIEF: It seems to just defy believability he would shoot his own sister. But it is also hard to believe that he didn't recognize that was his sister. So we just don't know.

LAVANDERA: Officials have yet to determine a motive, but former high school classmates say the shooter was -- quote -- "dark and depressive."

Some say he also had a kill list for boys and a rape list for girls. As grief takes hold of both El Paso and Dayton today, so does confusion and rage. Why? Why does this have to keep happening?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAVANDERA: And, Jake, this Walmart parking lot behind me has become a therapeutic place where many people have come to lay flowers and mourn together.

And the one question, Jake, that many people you hear over and over talking about here in the city, how this gunman could get in his car and drive 10 hours and nowhere along the way of that long drive have any second thoughts or remorse about what he was about to do -- Jake.

TAPPER: Ed Lavandera in El Paso, thank you so much for that, sir. We appreciate it.

I want to go now to Dayton, Ohio.

Joining me is CheRon Henderson and Chelsea Jones. They both witnessed the horrific shooting in the early morning hours of Sunday.

First of all, we're so glad that you're both safe. And thank you so much for being willing to talk to us.

CheRon, you were waiting in line, you say, when you heard gunshots and you saw the shooter. Tell us what happened.

CHERON HENDERSON, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Well, I typically go in first for whatever reason. So I was standing in line and I had just handed the security guard my I.D. He checked my age and he went to hand it back.

And when he handed it back, I immediately hurt gunshots behind us. And right now, typically when we're down here together, we're always holding hands. And I just happened to have her hand at that moment.

And when he gave my I.D. back, we heard the gunshots. He literally grabbed me by the back of my neck and he said run. And so we just ran inside because there wasn't anywhere else to go.

TAPPER: And, Chelsea, what was the scene like after the shooter was gunned down, which I understand was fairly quickly after he started shooting?

CHELSEA JONES, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: It was quick. However, we had no idea that it was the actual shooter. We actually saw him go down.

But we thought it was a security guard outside of the club. So, afterwards, they turned the lights on at the club and the security guards that were inside just told us to get out of there as quick as we can. So everybody kind of scurried out of there.

I do remember us kind of being the last two people to leave the club. And as we were able to leave the parking lot, which was maybe 20 minutes or so later, I just remember seeing bodies in sheets just riddled all over the sidewalk throughout the Oregon District.

TAPPER: And CheRon, this area of Dayton, as I recall, it is usually perfectly safe, very festive, a lot of people walking around, happy, having a good time.

HENDERSON: Yes.

Well, typically, we choose to come down to the Oregon instead of the other clubs in Dayton because that is where we feel safest. And it is ironic because we were on the phone with a friend on our way down here.

And they asked us like, hey, where are you hanging out tonight? And we were just kind of like, of course we're going to the Oregon. That is the place that we feel safest. And those were literally my words before we came down.

And so to come down here and be down here -- we were on Snapchat. We were taking pictures together, videos together like we always do. And we just never expected anything like this to happen. I would have never expected anything like this to happen here.

We walked through the parking lot where the police usually -- where they usually congregate. There was like four or five cruisers there. They were kind of all in a huddle talking to each other and everything.

We say, hey, how are you doing? We make sure we make eye contact, so that I see you and you see me and we know that we're safe.

TAPPER: Right.

[16:10:01]

HENDERSON: And this is honestly the last place that I thought in the whole city of Dayton that anything like this would ever happen.

TAPPER: Chelsea and then CheRon, how are you doing? This is traumatic event you went through. Are you OK?

HENDERSON: I think OK is...

(CROSSTALK)

HENDERSON: OK is a big word.

Like, we're alive, and we're very blessed to be alive. We're blessed to be together. We're blessed to have been down here together and have made it out together, but I honestly wouldn't say OK.

I feel very bad and almost selfish for even feeling bad about what we went through, considering the fact that there are people who actually lost their lives down here right in front of us. But like I said, I'm very blessed. I'm blessed to have come down here

with my best friend and to have left with my best friend intact, in one piece, nothing more than a hurt hip and a hurt ankle from being trampled, but no gunshots, no real wounds.

And we will heal, we will pray. We will be together. We have our families. We have our children, my husband, her fiance. We will be together and we will be fine. But there are people that really lost their lives down here and lost their family members that they will never get back.

And that is heavy on our hearts, as well as what if -- 10 seconds in one direction or the other and the story could have been different for us as well.

So, just honestly, just truly blessed to be alive, but, no, I honestly can't say that I'm OK.

TAPPER: Understandable.

Chelsea, how are you?

JONES: I have to agree for the most part.

I constantly have the what-ifs playing in the back of my head. I try not to. But they are. And like she said, 10 seconds one way or the other, I have so many what-ifs.

That night, we actually got in line with a friend that I haven't seen since elementary school. And had she not been there, we would have been in the back at the line, would have been at the end of the line, closer to the shooter.

And I just cannot imagine. Between the two of us, we have six beautiful kids. And I just -- I don't have any words. I don't really know how to feel.

I am at least happy, like she said, that we are here together and that we were -- we survived that situation. But it is very traumatic for me, and we are just taking it one day at a time.

TAPPER: All right, Chelsea and CheRon, thank you so much. We're so glad you're OK. We're so glad that those kids still have moms.

HENDERSON: Thank you for having us.

TAPPER: Appreciate it. Thanks for talking to us today. We appreciate it.

JONES: I appreciate it.

TAPPER: President Trump condemned white supremacy today, but does one speech from a Teleprompter make up for decades of rhetoric to the contrary?

Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:16:33] TAPPER: In our politics lead today, President Trump today condemning racism, bigotry and white supremacy, though he made no acknowledgment of his own rhetoric, which even former White House staffers and Republican members of Congress have called racist or racially divisive. This after two mass shootings left 31 people dead, a death count today that grew by two.

A source telling CNN that the president has also ordered his team to come up with possible proposals, a few of which he laid out in his speech earlier. But after suggesting background checks for gun purchases may be a solution, in a tweet, the president stayed away from any mention of gun laws in his spoken remarks and instead focused on this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: CNN's Boris Sanchez picks up our coverage now from the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump with his first significant remarks following this weekend's two mass shootings.

TRUMP: These barbaric slaughters are an assault upon our communities and attack upon our nation and a crime against all of humanity.

SANCHEZ: Reading from a teleprompter, Trump zeroed in on the El Paso suspected gunman's alleged motive, outlined in a racist anti-immigrant screed posted online moments before the attack.

TRUMP: The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate.

SANCHEZ: But the president failed to mention the accused shooter mirroring some of his own language about immigrants.

TRUMP: This is an invasion. That's an invasion. Invasion.

We have a country that is being invaded.

SANCHEZ: The president's use of invasion on camera and in tweets echoed in the alleged gunman's manifesto where he refers to a Hispanic invasion despite him writing that Trump didn't inspire his views.

TRUMP: Our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. SANCHEZ: Trump's speech also laid out several policy ideas to address

mass shootings but didn't mention gun-control measures like background checks, a noticeable change from his tweet just a couple of hours before when he wrote that Congress should pass strong background checks, perhaps marrying them with desperately needed immigration reform. Instead, Trump on camera repeating Republican talking points, tying mass shootings to social media, mental health issue and violent video games.

TRUMP: Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.

SANCHEZ: And advocating for the death penalty and so-called red flag laws.

TRUMP: We must make sure that those judged to pose a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: Jake, the National Rifle Association put out a statement praising president Trump's remarks, saying that they welcome the president's call to address the root causes of the horrific acts of violence that have occurred in our country. No mention in this statement of the background checks that president Trump alluded to in those tweets, but failed to mention in his speech, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Boris Sanchez at the White House for us. Thanks so much.

Let's chew over all of this.

And, Alexandra, let me start with you because President Obama just gave what I think is fair to call a fairly pointed, even if he didn't go after Trump by name statement. Let me just read part of it.

We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonized those who don't look like us or suggest that other people, including immigrants threaten our way of life.

[16:20:09] At this point, why not mention President Trump if that is who it is aimed at?

ALEXANDRA ROJAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JUSTICE DEMOCRATS: I mean, I would agree. I think President Obama is trying to tow the line to make sure that we're reuniting the country because it is a scary time right now. I don't think anyone as much as they want to say thoughts and prayers or whatever has an answer because the reality is that politicians on both sides have failed the American people, right? We have not adequately solved gun violence in this country.

And so, I think it is important to name what needs to be named but also highlight that America does not have a monopoly on racism and sexism and bigotry, but what we do and what is unique about the United States from the rest of the world is our access and ability to have just so many weapons of warfare that are in American hands and on the streets.

So, I think, you know, Barack Obama was, again, trying to tow that line of inspiring people but also needing to condemn and say what needs to be done.

TAPPER: And, Bill, a new "Washington Post" op-ed says this, quote: You can't be mourner in chief or healer in chief when you spent your entire political career stocking the hate and championing the white supremacy you now decry.

Obviously, they don't think that President Trump in their view can fill the role that people want a president to fill.

BILL KRISTOL, CONSERVATIVE WRITER: Yes, I think we're long past him filling that role. I suppose if he had actually taken some responsibility, didn't have to be exclusive responsibility, said a lot of us have said things we now at this moment especially that we regret. I have to. He doesn't have to say he's the only one.

He could leave it vague, but he had to take some kind of personal responsibility after his performance over years, obviously pre- presidential and presidential, but especially the last few weeks which has been a torrent of abuse of send them back and Elijah Cummings in Baltimore and then, you know, gloating about the robbery of Representative Cummings house, and then everything else, I mean. So, yes, I think his speech was perfunctory.

President Obama's statement was awfully good. You know, I voted against him twice and I don't regret that. I would have preferred John McCain and Mitt Romney's policies. But that was a presidential statement. We're not going to get that kind of presidential statement or leadership I think from this president which does make it important for others to act, I do think, or others to step forward and speak.

I do think there is a case for Congress coming back. Maybe the Senate won't pass these gun control proposals, I don't think it is enough for Nancy Pelosi simply to say the Senate should come back, maybe the House could come back and both do a little bit of attempted governing at this moment when the country --

TAPPER: Yes.

KRISTOL: -- needs to see responsible behavior from elected officials.

ROJAS: I will say there is HR-8 which is literally sitting on McConnell's desk.

TAPPER: Yes, we're going to talk about that later on in the show. But hold your horses on that.

Yes?

ALFONSO AGUILAR, PRESIDENT, LATINO PARTNERSHIP FOR CONSERVATIVE PRINCIPLES: But on the reaction, and you mentioned President Obama's comments which I think were very good, very appropriate, but I think he stroke a tone that some Democratic candidates didn't. When you hear Beto O'Rourke or Cory Booker really going after the president, basically saying he's racist and he's encouraging and inspiring these type of acts of violence, I think that's just preposterous and irresponsible.

Look, I've been critical of president's comments in the past. I don't think they help create a environment of consensus, of -- an environment that is constructive, but there is a lot of hate unfortunately on both sides.

Now, the president is the president. He's the head of state, head of government. He has a responsibility. He's made some statements in the past that have been offensive.

But to call him, you know, a white nationalist and that he is responsible for this, I think is totally irresponsible and I think it is too early to make that type of comment.

STEPHANIE RAWLINGS-BLAKE (D), FORMER MAYOR OF BALTIMORE: I think it might be unproductive. I don't think it is -- I don't think they're off. We've talked about this before. White nationalists identify him as white nationalist. Is it productive? No.

AGUILAR: But is the time to do it either?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: It's always a time to call out what needs to be called out. I think trying to whitewash it or sweep it under the rug is not helping either.

The problem is, as Tupac says, Trump is a reflection of his community. There are too many people who believe as he does. There are too many people who are not willing to step up for gun reform.

The NRA doesn't have power -- just because of money, the NRA has power because it has voters --

TAPPER: Right.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: -- who are not convinced that any of the things that you talk about both parties have failed, but any of the things that are in the House and the Senate are the answers to the problems of gun violence.

TAPPER: And stand by, because we're going to talk more about that later in the show.

Coming up, the website that has been a megaphone for bigots that hosted the El Paso shooter's racist rant, that website pulled down as authorities are struggling to track hate in the wild west of the Internet.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:29:33] TAPPER: In our tech lead today, just moments before taking 22 innocent lives, the alleged El Paso terrorist uploaded a hate- filled screed to a Website called 8chan. That's a public Website used by many groups and individuals, but also in particular by racists to spread their toxic thoughts.

Three of the recent racist killers in El Paso and Poway, California, and in New Zealand, all used 8chan message boards to share their anti- Semitic, xenophobic and racist agendas.

As CNN's Sara Sidner reports for us now, law enforcement is struggling to keep up with and regulate these dark online communities.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Minutes before the chaos and --

[16:30:00]