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Interview With Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH); Fallout Continues Following Mass Shootings. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired August 5, 2019 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:05]

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: You are watching special coverage here. I'm Brooke Baldwin live in Dayton, Ohio, where, this weekend, people here experienced something that has become all too common in this country, a mass shooting.

Nine people are now dead, including the gunman's sister, and all of those families struggling for answers and preparing to bury their loved ones in the coming days.

And their community is demanding action, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: And we're here. I'm Chris Cuomo in El Paso, the site of another mass shooting that just occurred hours before the one in Ohio, 22 people now killed. Somebody died in the hospital recently.

There are another two dozen people still injured, and clearly this murderer came to this place to target people who were brown on the border.

And so you're going to have all different kinds of stories about who was affected and how families are destroyed, but what brings them all together is that they were taken out of this world by hate.

Different cities across the country, the question is the same. When will the pain become a sense of purpose for us to do better than this? No remorse, no regret, because that's what a zealot who is focused on hate brings you when they kill.

That's how one Texas official describes the 21-year-old man responsible for what happened here. He's facing charges, heavy charges. If convicted of this capital murder, he could be eligible for the death penalty for what he did at this Walmart.

He left clues about his motives just minutes before the attack, say police, an online manifesto, if you want to call it that, but it was just a hate screed showing that he was about white nationalism, he was against the diversity of this country, he was aimed at immigrants and what he thought was an invasion. If it sounds familiar, it's because it is. He's feeding off the

division in our politics right now. It doesn't make it OK. It doesn't make anybody directly responsible, but it's something that we have to take care of.

And we can, because if you kill somebody in furtherance of a political end, you're a terrorist. But the law doesn't recognize a white nationalist the way it does someone from ISIS. Why? Why can't we do better? And why can't that lead to a contagion of cooperation that lets you start looking at background checks and the other things that the majority of this country wants, ways to help with mass shooters?

DOJ says they have an idea of making all mass shootings death penalty- eligible. Will that work as a deterrent, when a lot of these mass shooters see it as death by cop, murder-suicide? Is that the right way to go?

Or are you ignoring the obvious? And, if so, why?

I want to bring in Brian Todd, one of our best, always investigating the situation.

But I want to flip it a little different. I see people coming up to you here, and it's something that we don't give voice to enough. So while we're sitting here, a part of our job becomes consoling locals who are completely consumed with grief and don't understand why this happened and why does it keep happening.

This woman came up to me. Her name was Alma. She goes by Skosh (ph). She painted a rock for me from El Paso with the Virgin Mother. She said to hold it and let its weight be heavy on your heart to give you strength.

A guy named Philip and his daughter, maybe she's 13, 14, Riyana (ph), they bought us lunch from Whataburger. Not wealthy people. Guys coming up thanking us for being here, it happens to us all the time.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely.

CUOMO: That's the side of this country that people have to recognize, that in a moment of tragedy, this woman took it on herself to beautifully paint a rock and give it to us, just because she wants to do her part to make sure that this country comes together.

TODD: Right.

CUOMO: You have seen the same.

TODD: Absolutely.

And it's kind of an indication of how, Chris, communities like this have a tough time getting their minds around this when this happens to them. They hear it on the news, they see it on the news from other places.

I have had people in El Paso tell me last night and today, of course, we didn't think it could happen here. We just can't process this. This is kind of the way they try to process that by showing kindness to others, talking to the news people about what they're hearing, sharing information if they can.

It's a way to try to get your mind around something that we really can't when it happens to your community.

(CROSSTALK)

TODD: Right.

CUOMO: That your community is about more than this. And certainly El Paso is going to prove that. And it's done it early and often already.

So when we look at this guy, he checks every box so far of being somebody who was motivated by hate and acted on that hate, which he saw as a political agenda.

TODD: That's right. And we're getting new information about how cold and calculated he's been.

Talking to police officials today, they're saying to us that while he's been in custody, while he's been interrogated by police, he has shown no remorse, no regrets for what he's done, that he's acted very cold emotionally when talking to police.

And that is consistent, Chris, with what police are telling us about how we actually carried out the attack.

Here's a clip from my interview a short time ago with police Commander Steven Lopez.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVEN LOPEZ, EL PASO POLICE COMMANDER: The reports that we received is that it was a calculated attack And it was well-planned out. And the reports that are coming out is that he showed no emotion.

And it appeared, according to the videos and the eyewitness testimonies, that he had some type of training on how he approached his victims.

[15:05:10]

TODD: Can you -- training, you said. Can you be more specific?

LOPEZ: No, not specific on the training part, but it looked like he had it pre-planned. He knew exactly what he was doing.

So whether it was weeks or months in planning, he had a mission.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TODD: And another police official told me a short time ago that he came face to face with the shooter at the moment that he was arrested. He said he had a stone-cold look on his face. This police official said it was nothing short of pure evil.

This guy has says, I have been on the force for 31 years. I have seen murderers. I have seen robbers. I have seen nothing like this.

CUOMO: We have to deal with the reality that guys like this have always existed.

TODD: Yes.

CUOMO: But they knew they were condemned. They knew that people didn't want them and they needed to stay in the shadows. Something is emboldening them now, a dynamic.

And we need to figure out, as a community, how to starve that and to feed this, because this is who we are too, people who will come together and show the best of us when we see the worst in somebody like this.

TODD: Absolutely.

And, again, this community is having such a tough time. When you talk to the police, they're emotional. A sheriff the other day just posted something on Facebook talking about how angry he was emotionally, the sheriff of El Paso County.

I talked to several police officials just a short time ago. They're really -- they're pissed. They're angry. They're angry that this has happened. They're emotional. They mix that with bereavement. It is so tough for them to deal with. And these are grizzled veterans.

CUOMO: Brian, thank you so much for digging in for us.

Brooke, what you're dealing with there in Dayton, one of the most amazingly spontaneous or contemporaneous reactions by first-responders we have ever seen. Yes, nine people lost their lives. A dozen or so were shot after that, but amazing what would have happened otherwise, but how much pressure can we put on the police?

How long will it be until we start giving them the tools through laws with access and the way we regard people who commit these shootings? We're putting some much pressure on them to act in ways that are almost superhuman.

BALDWIN: We are. And we're grateful for every single one of them who responded and within 30 seconds here and took this madman out, and also to the fire and EMS crews as well. When we run away, they run toward danger.

Here in Dayton -- Chris, thank you -- we're gathering more and more of these images of those lives lost and learning more details of the lives they led.

So I just want to focus in on these names before we bring in the congressman.

Megan Betts was just 22, was the shooter's sister. Nicholas Cumer was 25 and just one week away from finishing an internship at a cancer treatment center.

Derrick Fudge, 57, was out for a fun night when -- with his family when he was shot.

Thomas McNichols, a father of four, was 25, described by a cousin as a gentle giant.

Monica Brickhouse was 39. She was reportedly out with friends, including 36-year-old Beatrice Warren-Curtis.

Saeed Saleh, 38, we understand, was an immigrant from East Africa here in Dayton.

Lois Oglesby just 27, a mother and a nurse's aide who reportedly gave birth just last month.

And Logan Turner reportedly just celebrated his 30th birthday last month.

In the time it took for me to read that to you, about 30 seconds, in about that same time frame, that is the amount of time it took this gunman to unleash this terror and murder nine people. And within that same amount of time, police here in Dayton, Ohio, took this gunman down, killing him, saving what the mayor here told me estimates to be hundreds of lives.

So, with me now, Democratic presidential candidate Tim Ryan, who's also a congressman here in this great state of Ohio.

And I have got a lot to talk to you about.

But, if I may, I just want to read. We have just gotten a tweet from President -- former President Barack Obama. So it's long, but I think it's important to read the whole thing.

This is what he just tweeted. This is the first time he's weighed in on this.

He writes: "Michelle and I grieve with all the families in El Paso and Dayton who endured these latest mass shootings. Even if details are still emerging, there are a few things we already know to be true. First, no other nation on Earth comes close to experiencing the frequency of mass shootings that we see in the United States.

"No other deployed nation" -- excuse me -- "developed nation tolerates the levels of gun violence that we do. Every time this happens, we are told that tougher gun laws won't stop all murders, that they won't stop every deranged individual from getting a weapon and shooting innocent people in public places.

"But the evidence shows that they can stop some killings. They can save some families from heartbreak. We are not helpless here. And until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our gun laws, these tragedies will keep happening."

He goes on: "Second, while the motivations behind these shootings may not be fully known, there are indications that the El Paso shooting follows a dangerous trend: troubled individuals who embrace racist ideologies and see themselves obligated to act violently to preserve white supremacy.

[15:10:08]

"Like the followers of ISIS and other foreign terrorist organizations, these individuals may act alone, but they have been radicalized by white nationalist Web sites that proliferate on the Internet. That means that both law enforcement agencies and Internet platforms need to come up with better strategies to reduce the influence of these hate groups."

And he ends with this: "Just as important, all of us have to send a clarion call and behave with the values of tolerance and diversity that should be the hallmark of our democracy. We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred and 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 or refer to other people as subhuman or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people, such language," he writes, "isn't new. It's been at the root of most human tragedies throughout history, here in America and around the world.

"It is at the root of slavery and Jim Crow, the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda, and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. It has no place in our politics and our public life. And it is time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party to say as much clearly and unequivocally."

Congressman Ryan, he didn't say his name.

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.

BALDWIN: Who was he talking about?

RYAN: Yes. Well, we all know. We all know.

And that's how a president writes. That's how a president thinks. That's how a president responds to a national tragedy. And that's how a president creates an environment of tolerance and love and compassion and inclusion. And we're not getting that right now.

And there's no way -- I'm the most bipartisan guy you would ever want to meet in your life. I mean, I watch Cleveland Browns football and all my friends are Republicans, OK?

(LAUGHTER)

RYAN: This is beyond left and right. This is the president creating an environment where this kid wants to get in a car and drive 10 hours and go shoot people.

And he's created that environment, that cover, that political cover for people to do these kinds of things.

BALDWIN: This is how President Trump addressed this today. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy.

Open wounds cannot heal if we are divided. We must seek real, bipartisan solutions. We have to do that in a bipartisan manner. That will truly make America safer and better for all.

I am open and ready to listen and discuss all ideas that will actually work and make a very big difference.

Republicans and Democrats have proven that we can join together in a bipartisan fashion to address this plague.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So, we have gotten a lot of responses to this.

One, Senator Cory Booker -- quote -- and pardon my French, but this is the quote: "Such a bullshit soup of ineffective words. This is so weak. We should quickly condemn his lack of a real plan."

RYAN: Yes, totally disingenuous.

This could have been the same speech he gave after Parkland, when all the kids got killed in Florida. This doesn't move the ball down the field at all. He's not talking about the very issues that would stop this.

And there are two bills sitting at the United States Senate right now.

BALDWIN: I want to ask you about that, because you hear from the president, and you also heard from his surrogates after he spoke this morning, basically saying, this is on Congress.

RYAN: Yes.

BALDWIN: But I want you to -- for -- remind everyone, you all passed this comprehensive...

RYAN: Yes.

BALDWIN: This bill, including mandating universal background checks in February.

RYAN: Right. Right.

Yes, passed it. It's sitting at the United States Senate right now. Mitch McConnell can pull these bills up, two bills. One closes the Charleston loophole. One does the universal background check, so that you can't buy off the Internet or you can't do person-to-person sales without it having a background check.

BALDWIN: Yes.

RYAN: Simple stuff supported by 80 -- 70 to 80 percent of the American people. Over 70 percent of gun owners support this stuff.

He should have walked up to the podium and said: I'm calling Mitch McConnell to bring Congress back, bring that Senate back. And they should vote on these two bills. I will sign them by the end of the week, period.

BALDWIN: But he didn't do that.

RYAN: But he didn't do it.

And he's distracting. He's talking about mental health, when four out of five of these mass shootings, mental health is not even involved. He's talking about video games. They have video games in other countries. They don't have this issue.

This is around the weapons of mass destruction that are killing people on streets like this. Look at this place. We're in Dayton, Ohio. And people are walking around.

BALDWIN: It's gorgeous, bars, lunch, businesses up and down...

(CROSSTALK)

RYAN: Whatever town you're in...

BALDWIN: Yes.

RYAN: Whoever is listening to this, whatever town you're in, you have a street like this.

BALDWIN: Yes.

RYAN: You're an older city, but you're on the comeback. You got some bars and restaurants and shops. This is inclusive, diverse community here.

BALDWIN: So, what is your message to Mitch McConnell?

RYAN: Get off your ass. Get off your ass, Mitch McConnell.

[15:15:01]

This is ridiculous. You're -- he's been bottlenecking what's happening and protecting the NRA for his entire career. But the country is passing you by. And now the point of the spear is coming at you, because we know you are the one who has been protecting Donald Trump on a variety of issues, but particularly on this one.

And it's time for the Senate to get off their rear ends and do something about it. People are getting killed here, all over the country. And I will say, this is an accumulation of things happening, because now it's Walmart. Now it's Middle America in Dayton. Now it's the church in South Carolina, Mother Emanuel.

It's a...

BALDWIN: Just when you think it can't happen where you live, it does.

RYAN: If I heard that once, I have heard it 1,000 times in the last day that I have been here. We never thought this would happen in Dayton, Ohio.

BALDWIN: Congressman Ryan, thank you so much for your time.

RYAN: Thank you. Yes, thank you.

BALDWIN: I appreciate it.

And we again, here in Dayton, we're going to take you back to Chris and El Paso, where the death toll has now risen today.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. And you are watching CNN's special live coverage.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:20:54]

CUOMO: We have now had a pair of shootings in the last few days that took 31 of us. The toll just went up one more here in El Paso, now 22 people gone here, part of that 31, dozens injured in both places, God willing they make it through.

That's where we put all our efforts in how to deal with these crises, as opposed to stopping them. The guy here, murderer, white supremacist, thought there was an invasion of Hispanics, traveled from where he was in Plano, Allen, Texas, to here, close to the border, picked this Walmart.

Could have passed a dozen between here and where he was. It wasn't about Walmart. It was about finding the people that he wanted to target and one place where he could get him, and he did just that. And then he surrendered to authorities, only too happy to talk about why did it, said it online, and is now cooperating with them.

So what do we do?

I want to bring in state Rep. Joe Moody, speaker pro tempore here in the statehouse, legacy of service in your own family. Thank you for being here.

It's hot. It doesn't matter. People are coming down here in waves to show their respect, relatives, but also just related by community. What is the challenge for you now?

JOE MOODY (D), TEXAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE: You know, I think we're like any other community that thought, the day before this happened, this couldn't happen to us.

And so there's a level of disbelief. There's a hurt. And this is a community that welcomes the other, that welcomes the stranger. And I'm pretty certain that's why this community was, was targeted, because of our loving nature and such.

That's what -- I think that's what's so challenging, so difficult for us to come to grips with this level of hate that came to visit our community. And those are the challenges.

I mean, just over the last several hours, we lost two more people to this to this violent act. And we need the strength to figure out how to heal. And then, for those people in positions of responsibility, we need the courage to act going forward.

CUOMO: What are you going to do, though? I mean, in Texas, you're not changing any gun laws in Texas. I don't mean that to be cynical, just practical.

I mean, the Dayton shooter got his gun from Texas, had it delivered to a local dealer there. It's part of your culture here is that more is better when it comes to guns. The only thing to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun, I mean, that's part of the culture in Texas.

So what do you do? Do you think you have a better chance of going down the most obvious avenue here, which is pushing to treat people who kill in the name of hate differently, treat these white nationalist types differently?

MOODY: Well, I think we need -- I think certainly calling it what it is, domestic terrorism and calling out white nationalism for what it is, is important. Those words are important. We're starting to hear that.

I think what's -- I think one of the other values -- you talked about guns in this state, certainly have a long history. One the other values long in this history of this state and this community is embracing diversity, embracing what makes us different.

And that's what makes us stronger. And we need to carry that value forward. But just because -- just because we have tried and failed in the past to enact sensible legislation around access to weapons and ammunition doesn't mean that we're going to -- doesn't mean that we should let that be the story going forward.

We have been on the phone with Republican leadership in this state, talking to them just this morning about what we can do. When the shooting happened in Santa Fe, within days, there were roundtables convened by the governor's office. We expect nothing less here.

We want to look at every option on the table. And we expect to have swift and immediate action, to the extent that we can bring about change. CUOMO: I haven't heard anything to that end. But you are right about

the goal. And I don't mean to dismiss it cynically. I have had so much good experience here in Texas. It's a huge place. Lots of culture, lots of depth and history, beautiful people who care about one another.

And I hope that's made manifest in how you protect yourselves from this the next time.

Joe Moody, I told you at the end of the week, yes, the attention will move on. That's the nature of our culture these days. If you're fighting the fight, and you need word to get out, you got a friend at CNN. You let me know what's going on. And I will stay on it.

[15:25:03]

MOODY: Chris, thank you so much.

CUOMO: Joe Moody, the best to you and all your family by extension, all right?

MOODY: Appreciate you.

CUOMO: All right. Be well.

We're going to take a break here.

Look, what do you do? We're very dependent on government, and sometimes too much, in these situations. Look happened with 8chan, where their backup service on the tech side said, I'm not doing work with them anymore.

The head of Dick's Sports was way ahead of the curve on this, who put profits literally on the other side of doing what he thought was right for the people who he shops -- or who shop there and in their communities.

Let's bring him in and get his perspective next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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