Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

Trump To Visit Dayton and El Paso; Exclusive Video: Gunman Spent Time in Bar Before Rampage; State of the U.S.-China Trade War; The World Reacts to Latest U.S. Shootings. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired August 7, 2019 - 04:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[04:31:58] MAYOR NAN WHALEY (D), DAYTON, OHIO: His rhetoric has been painful for many in our community.

REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): The words that have dehumanized us are still hanging over us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump heads to Dayton and El Paso just hours from now. How will he be received?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN ANCHOR: CNN with exclusive new video. What the Dayton gunman was doing in a bar just hours before the deadly attack.

ROMANS: No end in sight to the U.S.-China trade war with both sides dug in. A deal could be more than a year away.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone. I'm Christine Romans.

RIPLEY: I'm Will Ripley. It's 32 minutes past the hour here in New York.

And we begin this hour with President Trump today, traveling to two American cities. Both hit by mass shootings over the weekend. The massacres just 13 hours apart. The president flies to Dayton, Ohio, this morning followed by El Paso later this afternoon. Some leaders in the grief-stricken cities say the president will not fill his traditional role of consoler-in-chief. They say his presence will only deepen divisions instead of helping people heal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WHALEY: He's the president of the United States, and as he has an official capacity as president, you know, on official capacity of mayor, I will greet him here.

And, look, I know that, you know, he's made this bed and he's got to lie in it, you know? He hasn't -- you know, his rhetoric has been painful for many in our community, and I think the people should stand up and say they're not happy if they're not happy that he's coming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: In El Paso, the mayor has already made clear he's welcoming the president because that's his job. And El Paso's representative in Congress, Veronica Escobar, outright declined an invitation to join the president on his visit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ESCOBAR: The words that have dehumanized us are still hanging over us.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: So, you need to hear this president apologize --

ESCOBAR: Yes.

CUOMO: -- for the things he said?

ESCOBAR: And to acknowledge that they were wrong and to take them back.

CUOMO: And if he doesn't?

ESCOBAR: As far as I'm concerned, he should not be here until he does that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: Escobar says she refuses to be what she calls an accessory to Trump's visit.

ROMANS: On the Dayton attack, we have new information and exclusive new video this morning. CNN has obtained security camera footage from a bar where the gunman spent more than an hour before his attack began. As you can see, 24-year-old Connor Betts blends right in, dressed in a t-shirt, shorts, sneakers. The tactical vest and the mask he wears later, nowhere to be seen. He walks in to blind bob's bar. He's carded, given a wristband. He waits for his sister, Megan, and a friend identified as Charles Beard.

At 12:13 a.m., about an hour after he arrives, Betts speaks with the staff and leaves. His sister and Beard remain in the bar for another 45 minutes or so. Police say there was some communication between the two during that time, but there's nothing in the video, no visible arguing, no disturbance that gives any indication of what led to the rampage that came less than an hour later.

Megan Betts, his sister, was killed along with eight others. Charles Beard was seriously wounded.

[04:35:00] CNN's Brynn Gingras is in Dayton for us with more on the president's visit today and the latest in the investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Will and Christine, we know the president and first lady are expected to be here on the ground later this morning in Dayton, Ohio. I talked to first responders, they're also expected to meet with people in this community who are still grieving over the fact that they lost nine lives here and others injured in that horrible attack over the weekend.

We're also learning at this time more about the investigation. The FBI is now involved, specifically because there has been some that's been sort of come to light about the violent ideologies that the gunman sort was researching, looking into, before this attack. And so, now, the FBI is part of this investigation.

We know from their investigation that Connor Betts was obsessed with mass shootings. He would research them. He even talked about a wanting, a desire to carry out one himself.

TODD WICKERHAM, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: We have found very specific violent ideologies that the shooter we know followed and was interested in. This individual, the shooter, the attacker in this case, very specifically seeking out information that promotes violence. We are going back as far as we need to try to find out why he did this and also if anybody else knew about this or was involved with this.

GINGRAS: Parts of this are still sort of coming together, but still a lot of questions. Three of the major questions I want to point out that investigators are still trying to answer, one is that what more about the ideology that might have influenced Connor Betts. And the second one is who if anyone knew about his intention to carry out that rampage. And number three, again, is the motive. What made him do this?

These are all questions that investigators will be on the ground looking through digital evidence, looking through surveillance video trying to get some answers to -- Christine and Will.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

RIPLEY: A woman who claims she dated the Dayton gunman says he was fascinated by mass shootings and things that made terrible people do terrible things. Adelia Johnson said they bonded over what she calls depression humor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADELIA JOHNSON, GUNMAN'S FORMER GIRLFRIEND: He showed me the one video of the mass shooting on our first date. I'm not sure which shooting it was. I was drunk, and it was at a loud bar. So --

REPORTER: Did you find that odd?

JOHNSON: I think it's weird, but it wasn't like -- it wasn't a red flag. Which I know is weird to a lot of people, but given the context of him being a psychology student and him being fascinated in the psychology of those things, that's what made it digestible. (END VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: Johnson says her relationship with the gunman mainly consisted of going out drinking and talking about mental illness and world tragedies.

ROMANS: All right. The latest now on the El Paso massacre. The family of accused gunman Patrick Crusius says outside influences drove their son to open fire on a crowded Walmart, his killing 22 people. Now, they released this statement: Patrick's actions were influenced and informed by people we do not know and from ideas and beliefs that we do not accept or condone in any way. He was raised in a family that taught love, kindness, respect, and tolerance, rejecting all forms of racism, prejudice, hatred and violence. There will never be a moment for the rest of our lives where we will forget each and every victim of this senseless tragedy deep.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is in El Paso where President Trump is expected later today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Will, since Saturday's massacre of 22 people here in the city of El Paso, this is a city that has been grappling, coming to terms with what has happened, especially given that the motivation for this attack was from a white supremacist wanting to carry out and inflict pain on the Hispanic community. The racist motivations for this attack is something that they are dealing with.

But many of the people we've spoken with here in El Paso say that one of the things they tax great comfort in is that it wasn't one of their own that did this, that that feeling and the spirit of the El Paso community wasn't shattered in this, that it was someone from the outside who came to inflict this kind of pain.

But it has in the words of some of the people we talked to cast an eerie feeling over the city.

Did you feel protected here from racism?

CLARISSA BOONE, EL PASO COLLEGE STUDENT: Yes, because I know that we are a lot of Hispanics here. We are always like a big community.

LAVANDERA: So, you never had to face that?

BOONE: No. I mean, people here are very supportive. Very nice. And to have that coming here is like -- I don't know.

SONIA HEREDIE, EL PASO RESIDENT: It's hitting hard. It's hitting home.

LAVANDERA: Some of the people we talked to say that overt racism like this attacker brought here to the city isn't something that they normally deal with. They're used to living in a place where the far majority of everyone is Hispanic, and they're used to that kind of community. So, seeing that kind of hatred up close has been shocking and stunning for many of the people we talk to -- Christine and Will.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[04:40:04] RIPLEY: The 19-year-old gunman who used an assault-style rifle to kill three at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California last week, he had a target list. They say it contained religious institutions and political groups of both parties, as well as federal buildings and courthouses. The FBI is opening a domestic terror investigation into that shooting. Investigators say they've not come to a conclusion yet about the gunman's motives because he was exploring competing violent ideologies.

ROMANS: All right. In the wake of mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso, the nation's nerves are rattled. Panic broke out in public places twice with no shots actually fired. In New York's Times Square, backfiring motorcycle sent hundreds of people scrambling for cover thinking it was gunfire. The NYPD tweeted: Please, don't panic. Times Square is very safe.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a mad scramble for the exits at a Walmart.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

911 OPERATOR: What's going on, ma'am?

CALLER: They're shooting, ma'am. They're shooting, they're shooting, they're shooting!

911 OPERATOR: Where? In the store?

CALLER: Walmart, Burbank, yes!

911 OPERATOR: They're shooting in Walmart?

CALLER: Yes!

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ROMANS: But no one was shooting. Law enforcement sources tell CNN the chaos began with a dispute between two men. One of them grabbed a pair of scissors. When the other displayed a licensed handgun, that set off panic a noisy stampede by other customers that other then mistook for gunfire.

RIPLEY: Senate Republicans are scrambling right now to come up with a response to the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWD: Do your job! Do your job! Do your job!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: Protesters on Capitol Hill demanding tougher gun safety laws, calling on GOP senators, as you heard there, to do your job. Last night, a small group of demonstrators gathered outside of Senator Mitch McConnell's office in Louisville. They want the majority leader to allow a vote on gun violence measures that have already passed the house.

And they're not alone. Look at this new "USA Today" poll, 67 percent of Americans say they want the Senate to pass a background check bill that's already made it through the house. And that sentiment cuts across party lines, 79 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of Republicans agreeing the Senate needs to act.

A related programming note, CNN's Chris Cuomo will moderate a live "CUOMO PRIME TIME" town hall, "America Under Assault: The Gun Crisis". That's tonight at 9:00 Eastern, here on CNN.

ROMANS: Forty-two minutes past the hour.

Trade wars are never easy to win. And the one with China is -- well, it's getting out of hand. There's a sense that a deal won't happen before the 2020 election. Despite the threat of tariffs, China halting agricultural purchases and the U.S. labeling China a currency manipulator. The White House says the U.S. trade team still plans to meet with the Chinese in September.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: The president said, you know, if you make good deal or good progress on a deal, maybe he'll flexible on the tariffs. On the other hand, if there's no progress on the deal, then the tariffs might get worse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The president signaled he's not backing down from his aggressive stance tweeting massive amounts of money from China and other parts of the world pouring into the United States for reasons of safety, investment and interest rates. We're in a very strong position.

China is not backing down either. "The Wall Street Journal" reports that policy advisers in Beijing believe it can wait for the tariffs to damage the U.S. economy more, to force President Trump into making concessions.

We said at the outset of this, I mean, I and lots of other people said, you know, trade wars always hurt everyone.

RIPLEY: Sure.

ROMANS: You know, there's no example in history where trade wars turned out well. And that is the fear here.

RIPLEY: When you have the two largest economies in the world going at it and then you have China essentially not worried about political concerns whatsoever. So, they can double down. Not to mention the fact that they need soybeans for hog feed, and their hogs are dying off because of the swine fever. So, they actually could cut off American agriculture for the foreseeable. ROMANS: Right.

RIPLEY: Yes.

ROMANS: Yes. Farmers are the worst hit so far.

RIPLEY: All right. We have some pretty incredible photos to show you of police officers on horseback, and this suspect in handcuffs. Now, a police chief is apologizing.

ROMANS: Plus, the manhunt for armored car robber as surveillance cameras catch them in the act.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:48:20] RIPLEY: Hard to believe in 2019 in the United States of America, we are still seeing images like this. The police chief in Galveston, Texas, now apologizing for photos showing his officers on horseback using a rope to lead a handcuffed man across the street. They say the transport vehicle was running late, and that's why they did this. And now, the police chief saying this procedure ending immediately.

The family of 43-year-old Donald Neely (ph) says an apology, though it just doesn't cut it. Through their attorney, they say they are appalled by this viral photo. Police charged Neely with criminal trespassing after several warnings. The man's family says he's bipolar, homeless, and had lost touch with them.

ROMANS: Fired FBI agent Peter Strzok wants his job back and wants back pay. Strzok is suing the Justice Department claiming his termination last year was the result of political pressure from President Trump. Strzok played a senior role in the Russia investigation until former special counsel Robert Mueller removed him from the team in 2017. Many Republicans claimed anti-Trump texts between Strzok and his lover, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, proved a conspiracy to undermine the Trump presidency.

RIPLEY: Philadelphia police and the FBI releasing this surveillance video as their manhunt intensifies for three armed robbery suspects. The footage shows two armed robbers advancing toward the armored car and then running away when the armored car personnel opened fire. One of the suspects dove into an SUV. The driver took off, and the third got away on foot. The FBI is offering a reward now looking for any information leading to their arrest.

ROMANS: All right. What do people in other countries think of mass shootings in America? We're live in London with their take next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:54:24] RIPLEY: Leaders from around the world are sending their condolences as America grieves yet again for mass shooting victims. The Dayton and El Paso shootings just 13 hours apart. It's prompted some countries to issue travel warnings if their citizens plan to go to the U.S. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is live in London.

And I know, Nick, in my travels, people have asked why can't America stop this? What are they saying internationally?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's extraordinary, isn't it, Will, because the outside perspective on a problem often gives it the sharpest focus. And certainly here in Europe and in much of the world, there is just disbelief really that this singular problem is continually causing so many deaths and also continually eludes some kind of obvious solution, in many countries, which is being lax gun control, massacres like we've seen in the last week or so in United States have led to sweeping quick changes in the gun legislation.

[04:55:16] One here in the '90s caused a ten-year mandatory sentence if you owned a handgun in the United Kingdom. But the last week in the United States has caused many in the world to speak out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALSH (voice-over): The grief here is local and agonizing.

: Not our children. Please, don't. Not one more.

WALSH: For the anger and bewilderment has slow turned global. The U.S. has been here many times before, and so has the rest of the world watching on, bewildered by the all-to-familiar debate about gun control and the U.S. paralyzed by politics. Elsewhere, in a moment of violent tragedy, the answer seemed clear.

JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: Australia experienced a massacre and changed their laws. New Zealand had its experience and changed its laws. To be honest with you, I do not understand the United States.

WALSH: Other leaders more conventional in their condolences and condemnation. The U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeting: Our hearts go out to the victims and all those affected by these appalling acts of violence.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel added: Families and entire cities have been plunged into mourning and suffering by these acts of violence and hate.

But the Mexican president went a step further. It's time for American leaders to take action, he said.

MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR, PRESIDENT OF MEXICO (through translator): The U.S. needs to control the indiscriminate sale of weapons. I say this with all due respect. It is not our intention to meddle in the internal matters of any country. But yes, the matter should be reviewed.

WALSH: The suspected El Paso shooter was a 21-year-old, apparently fueled by hatred of immigrants and Hispanics. It's prompted some Latin American countries to update their travel warnings.

Venezuela is urging its citizens to postpone their plans or exercise caution, and Uruguay is warning travelers of, quote, the growing indiscriminatory violence in the U.S.

The reality is this is an American malaise with only American solutions and which the rest of the world simply looks on in disbelief.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALSH: To point out, Venezuela is in the middle of a lengthy political dispute with the United States. So, there's that undertone to the travel warning. Uruguay was recently the recipient of a hashening travel advise from the United States, too. So, there's politics at play here, but you cannot take away from this when you're not in the United States, the extraordinary disconnect many people about this crisis in the U.S. that seems to have some kind of relatively simple gun-control-based solution to outsiders.

On top of that, too, Americans I met say there's a disconnect between how outsiders feel and their understanding of the right to bear arms, the Second Amendment, how that's cherished by so many Americans. But, really, weeks like this bring into sharp focus exactly how uniquely American this problem seems to be -- Will.

RIPLEY: There have been so many weeks like this.

Nick Paton Walsh, live in London, thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning.

Look at markets around the world. You can see Hong Kong bouncing a little bit back. You know, the protests in Hong Kong have really been a weight on the Hang Seng index. And European markets opened a little, bouncing back.

The big story here, of course, is China, the U.S., the trade war, the currency in China, the people's Bank of China set the Yuan at 6.9996 Wednesday, allowing it to drop, touch from that 7.21 a dollar, a psychologically important benchmark on Wall Street, of course, where we go see there's a rebound in the futures market.

After the rebound yesterday from Monday's awful performance, the Dow closed up just over 1 percent, snapping a five-day losing streak. The S&P 500 also 1 percent higher, the Nasdaq up a little bit better than that.

All right. Gun-related products that shouldn't have been on Google and Amazon are now gone. They shouldn't have been there. Ammunition or magazines could readily be found on the sites as recently as Monday. Both Amazon and Google said the listings were taken down when they were told about them.

Google banned the listing of products from Google shopping all the way back in 2012. RIPLEY: Wow.

ROMANS: It does allow for the sale of safety accessories like trigger locks. Amazon's policies say that sales of firearms and ammunition are prohibited. Amazon does allow for listing of scopes and other tactical devices. No word on why they managed to get on those sites. But they will be gone now.

The streaming war is heating up. Disney putting together a huge package for fans. Disney will offer a bundle that includes Disney Plus, ESPN Plus, and commercial supported Hulu. The cost will be 13 bucks a month. The three services add up to $18 if purchased a la carte.

The new option is Disney's latest plan to beat Netflix which also costs about $13 a month. And Disney plus launches in November. The streaming wars, we are just in the early innings of the streaming wars, folks. It's going to be interesting. How many of are you going to buy.

END