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CNN RIGHT NOW
El Paso Author: Massacre Product of Trump Era Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Latino Invective Poisoning U.S.; Police Searching Social Media for Dayton Shooter's Motive; FBI Study of Active Shooter Situations Find Common Factors; Demand to Divert Post-9/11 Funds to Fight Domestic Terror; Trump Sues California over Law that Requires Candidates to Disclose Tax Returns. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired August 6, 2019 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[13:30:05] JUAN FERREIRA (ph), SOCCER COACH OF SHOOTING VICTIM JAVIER RODRIGUEZ: I was asked today, what message would he say to us, what message would he want us to send. I would say, "Do your best, stay focused, hone your craft in soccer." See, soccer was life for Javier.
ADRIAN BERNOS (ph), SOCCER COACH OF SHOOTING VICTIM JAVIER RODRIQUEZ: In a time like this, I can't help but feel angry that this young man was robbed of his potential, robbed of his future and robbed of his life because of someone's unfounded hatred. However, I know that if I truly want to pay tribute to Javier's life, anger has no place in honoring his memory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST; Two high school soccer coaches their mourning the loss of Javier Rodriguez who was killed. He was just 15 years old. He is the youngest victim in the mass shooting here in El Paso.
While the families of all 22 victims plan funerals, of course, and vigils, the entire community here is left to grapple with the hate that inspired the killer to carry out this act of domestic terrorism.
My next guest writes beautifully about what is going on here in El Paso.
One of the things he wrote, he said, "El Paso alone is over 80 percent Hispanic. We switch from English to Spanish without skipping a beat and we are fine with that. But the Trump era is not. It's brought us walls, internment camps and children in cages. The massacres, the outcome I feared for years, and I can't help but feel that its genesis lies with the president of the United States."
Joining me is the writer, Richard Parker. He's also the author of "Lone Star Nation, How Texas Will Transform America."
Richard, I'm sorry to meet under these circumstances. You wrote a really lovely, beautiful piece that I read. Just talk a
little bit about what you're seeing here. Every day is a little bit different. And today what are you seeing? What are you hearing?
RICHARD PARKER, AUTHOR: Well, what I'm seeing and hearing from talking to people is, beneath the fear, which has come, and it's quite palpable -- I grew up here, as you mentioned. My mother is a Mexican immigrant. She fears now leaving the house without her passport. She's been an American citizen for over 30 years.
That fear has been resident here throughout the Trump years. It wasn't lost when the president came here in February to talk about his purported wall, which he has not built one mile so far.
And so layered under that now is the anxiety about the future. I have heard people openly say to me stay safe. I have never heard that in this city.
COOPER: El Paso is very safe.
PARKER: A very safe town. El Paso has fewer murders that took place on Saturday in a year.
That said, I've also heard people say out loud to perfect strangers, look out when you walk into a parking lot, watch out when you go into public or through the front door of a building. These are alien conversations except every place mass shootings happen.
I think the thing that makes this different, strikingly so, is that the shooter deliberately and, through a political motivation, targeted Latino people. He could have done this anywhere.
But the fact is that El Paso is to the Mexican experience what Miami is to the Cuban-American or Venezuelan experience. It has always been a magnet and a throughway for culture, commerce, people, and the movement of goods and money.
COOPER: It's interesting because clearly the shooter drove intentionally here for many hours to get here. And I don't know how -- how much he -- he clearly picked El Paso for a reason, and that is very likely the reason. I mean, this is not a coincidence that it just happened here.
PARKER: That's correct. It's also not a coincidence, not to jump on the president too much, that he has come here largely and quietly unwelcome in the past, in February of this year, to talk about his purported wall.
People didn't miss that. They understood that he was coming here to sort of stick a finger in the eye of a largely Hispanic city to make his point for his base, which doesn't reside anywhere near here.
COOPER: Do you think -- do you think he should come tomorrow? PARKER: No, I really don't. I think -- I think the president would
have been wiser to wait first, because even politicians like the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, has said we have these funerals and memorials to observe. That's accurate, that's true.
But the only reason the president could come here and do any good is to renounce his own white nationalism. And I don't see that happening.
[13:35:07] COOPER: Richard Parker, I appreciate you being with us. Thanks for coming. Thanks very much.
PARKER: Thanks for having me.
COOPER: Sorry it's under these circumstances.
Brooke, let's go back to you and we'll have more from El Paso in just a moment.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: All right, we'll come back to you in just a little bit, Anderson. Thank you very much.
Coming up next, the motive here in Dayton. The shooting, the nine lives lost still a mystery. No one really may ever know. When I talked to the mayor, the answer to why. But the clues that investigators are gathering, the people he worked with, what he left behind, his trail on social media, is ex-girlfriend. We have some of the pieces of the puzzle coming up here next on CNN.
[13:40:25] BALDWIN: Here in Ohio, the motive of the shooter is still unclear. Police are saying there isn't anything so far to indicate whether or not it was perhaps a racial motive.
But the shooter does appear to have a troubled past, including as we've been reporting, having some sort of hit list of people he wanted to rape or kill when he was in high school.
Now investigators are obviously working, gathering clues about his life, including looking at the trail he left behind on Twitter and what appears to be what he retweeted, extreme left-wing and anti- police posts.
Drew Griffin has been digging through his past.
You're with me now. What have you found?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: A lot is being made of this. I think the Twitter account is confusing. Yes, it is anti-police, in some cases, anti-ICE, in some cases, pro-AntiFa, the violent pro-leftist group. Also a message to Joe Biden, "Hurry up and die," showing support for the more progressive kind of people.
But shortly after the El Paso shooting, which took place hours before this one, he is tweeting about support for gun control, calling the -- BALDWIN: Makes no sense.
GRIFFIN: -- shooter a terrorist and a white supremacist.
Clearly, there's no clear path to a motive, which is what the police are telling us.
Also according to our sources, in the writings that were discovered in his home, although there was a fascination with mass killings, there isn't any political bias or racial animosity, at least that our sources say have been discovered.
BALDWIN: What more do we know from a girlfriend or high school?
GRIFFIN: And this is so typical of what we see in many of these cases. Fascination with guns. The kill list in high school was real. He was pulled out of school and arrested for it, apparently expelled. We're still trying to get the records. Threatening other students, threatening girlfriends.
One of his current girlfriends, a modern day, I would say, has told us that he did have dark thoughts. He did carry videos on his phone of mass killings that he liked to share with her. And he did take her shooting. So he was very, very skilled with guns.
So we have this dark past. We have this potential for mental problems.
BALDWIN: Lived with his parents?
GRIFFIN: Lived with his parents.
BALDWIN: With his parents.
Drew Griffin, thank you very much. Thank you.
Coming up next, I will be joined by a former FBI special agent who was in charge of the agency's active shooter initiative. We'll talk to her about what these recent mass shootings all have in common.
We'll be right back.
[13:47:21] COOPER: New details now on the surrender of the El Paso suspect. Police here say that the 21-year-old gunman actually turned himself in to a motorcycle police officer. They say he drove about two blocks from the Walmart, got out of his car, put his hands up and identified himself to the officer as the shooter. The officer then handcuffed him as he cooperates.
Academics and crime specialists continue to try to understand why people kill like this, studying past incidents, all in an effort to stop future ones. The FBI has done extensive research on basically every active shooter
situation. The FBI conducted one study that looked at over 160 active shooter incidents from 2000 to 2013. I've actually read this. It's really fascinating. It includes the tragedies of Sandy Hook and Ft. Hood, Texas.
And former FBI special agent, Katherine Schweit, joins me now. She co-authored that study. She once led the active shooter initiative.
Thanks for joining us.
I'm so happy to actually talk to you because that study is so fascinating and all the details in it. Most of these active shooter situations are over within five minutes. Most of the people get killed or are killed in those first minutes, according to your study. That's why police response time is so critical and police strategy has changed.
KATHERINE SCHWEIT, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Absolutely. Police strategy has changed because we wanted to make sure that police officers knew how to go in. And initially, after Columbine, there was always this concern that maybe they were grouping up and having to get a team together. We needed to change that, so law enforcement made that change.
They were still working on getting two or three people together before they go in to finding the assault and find the shooter. They don't do that anymore. Police officers are there right now. It's not a coincidence that those police officers were in the right place at the right time in these two shootings.
I remember looking at videos of the Navy yard shooting for a story I did on "60 Minutes" and the first police officers that went in was a mix. One was a bicycle police officer and one was a Navy M.P., so whoever was on site first, they all quickly teamed up and went in and that made a big difference. That's the difference in many cases between life and death.
I think a lot of people think that these shooters just snap and that they pick up their gun and go in and do this. That's not what you've found.
SCHWEIT: No, absolutely. One of the things that I think is a very common misconception is this idea of snapping. It isn't that.
This type of violence we know is a planned, it's a plan of prepared violence. Somebody is a grievance collector, a term that's often used. It's a person that has a real or perceived grievance. It may be because of work. It may be because of a spouse. It may be because they don't like the way a TV or newspaper portrays something. So you can't necessarily say or get your fingers on exactly what it is.
[13:50:22] But they're more brittle and they start to collect and got more obsessed about that grievance. And they plan and prepared. So, first, they get an idea and then they plan and prepare. And the planning and preparing is where we can see people intercede.
COOPER: It also seems now increasingly we're seeing, you know, white nationalist-related shooters but who are writing, whether it's an actual manifesto -- that seems a little bit too fancy a word --
COOPER: -- for some of these, like, racist screeds that we're seeing.
SCHWEIT: I would say.
COOPER: But it seems like they're sending a message to each other to kind of -- it's like a continued conversation, you know, one references the other.
SCHWEIT: Somebody was working on this idea of targeted violence where you want to -- you're an ideologue, like a white supremacist, isn't any different than somebody who is supporting al Qaeda or somebody we were investigating from an investigation from an espionage standpoint. These are people who believe in their cause.
And they want other people to know how they believe in their cause and how strongly they believe in it and what they're willing to do to prove, even if they just have control for those moments of the shooting.
And you mentioned before about the shootings being so quick. And 70 percent of them in maybe five minutes or less. But in fact, half of those are in two minutes or less.
It's also important that the -- that civilians understand what to do, which is why, as part of the whole, we need to train police better and push that forward. We also need to train civilians better. We need to get them to all be trained in run, hide, fight. We need to get them to understand how to put on a tourniquet and stop bleeding. Those are equally important.
COOPER: Yes. Run, hide, fight. That is such a change as well. But that's the message.
I went out with the New York City police. They send people into offices, officers to offices to train employees in various big companies, you know, run, hide, fight. Where is your desk an OK place to hide? You may think it is. But it's not. That's important for people to understand in whatever environment they work in.
Katherine, it's fascinating work that you do and you've done. That report is just really, really extraordinary.
It's an honor to talk to you. I look forward to talking to you again, I hope under better circumstances.
SCHWEIT: Thank you.
COOPER: That's Katherine Schweit.
Brooke, back to you.
And Brooke, you know, what Katherine was talking about, that response time, it doesn't get better than the response time in Dayton, Ohio. You know, and again, that's -- it's interesting that Katherine says about half of these, it's over in two minutes. That's an extraordinary thing to realize how quickly these events occur.
BALDWIN: It is incredible what can happen in 30 seconds. It's incredible here in Dayton how police were able to respond in 30 seconds and, you know, end the carnage.
But, you know, that's a local or state level. I want to talk federal.
Anderson, we'll come back to you in just a second.
You know, weeks after the September 11 terror attacks, then-President Bush signed the Patriot Act into law. What it did was gave the government broader powers to investigate people of having terrorist ties both at home and abroad. What it included was a massive expansion of government surveillance.
And Carrie Cordero is a CNN legal analyst and former counsel to the assistant attorney general for national security.
Carrie, I wanted to have this conversation with you just about should law enforcement be given the same tools, the same funding to fight domestic terrorism, such as what we've seen here in the states?
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think, Brooke what we're definitely seeing is that the threat -- whatever is the major threat or one of the most significant threats that Americans are facing from a national and Homeland Security perspective is changing.
And we need to be able as a country and in terms of our legal authorities and investigative authorities, we need to be able to adapt to that threat. That doesn't mean the old threats have gone away. So the foreign international --
BALDWIN: Do you see that happening? Doesn't that need to happen?
CORDERO: -- activity.
I think there certainly needs to be an increased emphasis on the domestic terrorism front. The FBI is the primary agency that conducts those investigations. We need to make sure that they have the expansive policies that they need, that they may need new legal authorities to be able to conduct more thorough investigations.
The big gap there's between investigating international terrorism and domestic terrorism is the ability to be able to monitor somebody based on a particular legal standard. That authority is not as available to investigators on the domestic terrorism front. BALDWIN: Yes.
CORDERO: There need to be more resources probably drawn toward those efforts as well. So there's a legal piece and a policy piece.
[13:55:13] BALDWIN: More tools, funding, resources. Because you think about, you know, if this shooter, who was taken down across the street from me in Dayton, if this motivation had been ISIS related or ISIS inspired, what do you think the president or just even the Trump administration would be doing right now?
CORDERO: Well, certainly, I think the administration's rhetoric would be very different. The two shootings, Dayton and El Paso, they're different.
Because in El Paso, I think we know at this point so quickly that it was motivated specifically -- is a hate crime. It's motivated based on hate and racism and white supremacy. That's what it looks like. Dayton I think we're still learning what the motivations of that attacker were.
I think the president's rhetoric would be different.
I think it's important to note, Brooke, though, that I don't think there's one fix that is going to solve this national plague that we are encountering when it comes to these mass shootings.
There's several components. There's focusing more carefully on the domestic terrorism and white supremacist threat. Then the second piece is the gun control laws, looking at the assault ban, looking at background checks, a whole suite of gun control law aspects that Congress needs to take up. And the third case, which is relevant to the El Paso attack, is the political rhetoric.
BALDWIN: It is a full mosaic at every level in terms of how to prevent this from happening in this country.
Carrie Cordero, thank you so much for your insight. I really appreciate you coming on.
I want to pivot to this. There's breaking news out of the White House this afternoon. President Trump is filing a lawsuit against California, taking on a law that would force all candidates to turn over tax returns.
BALDWIN: Here's the breaking news now. Lawyers for President Trump have just filed a lawsuit over California's tax transparency law. The law requires candidates for president, that they must release five years of income tax returns in order to be placed on the state primary ballot in 2020.
California's governor was quick to respond to the suit with this tweet. Let me read this from Governor Newsome. He said, quote, "There's an easy fix, Mr. President. Release your tax returns as you promised during the campaign and follow the precedent of every president since 1973."
CNN justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider, is with me now.
And is this part of the president's effort to just stop any efforts for him to release his tax returns?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It is, Brooke. This is really the latest move from the president and his legal team. They're battling against releasing his tax returns really on multiple fronts. Including, of course, just minutes ago in California, the president filing that latest lawsuit asking the federal judge in California to stop that just signed California law that requires all candidates for president to disclose five years of tax returns in order to get on the primary ballot.
[13:59:55] Now, the president's lawyers, in this latest lawsuit filing, they're calling the law unconstitutional and in violation of the First Amendment. Their primary argument is because the Constitution specifically sets forth the qualifications for president and vice president, that neither California nor any other state can add onto those qualifications.