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McConnell Won't Call Back Senators For Gun Control Vote; Heavily-Armed Man Causes Panic At Missouri Walmart; Rep. Tim Ryan (D- OH) Is Interviewed About Action on Gun Legislation. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired August 9, 2019 - 07:00   ET

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


[07:00:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- we made a speech.

And that was some crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are recovering from serious injuries and he's thinking about is his crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we're talking about here is a constitutional right. We have to be very cautious about how we limit that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's happy to hold back these kinds of bills. We need to defeat Mitch McConnell.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, can I just see my mother? Please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Due to hard work, these men and women and law enforcements we're once again becoming a nation of law and order.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Six hundred and eighty people who were detained from seven different sites in six cities.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn't response to some sense that we have a crisis. That narrative doesn't exist here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. Alisyn is off. Erica Hill joins to me in New York. And this morning, we do have developments in the effort to fight gun violence in America, a mixture of the very new and the very old.

First the new, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell he is using language, I don't think he's ever really used before on background checks. He says, a discussion on background checks expanding them for gun purchases. Those discussions will be front and center again.

I don't think I've ever heard him say that exactly. But it's just movement in language from Mitch McConnell so far. That's new, what's old is not happening now. McConnell is not calling the Senate back in the action now. They are on recess, so this will have to wait until September.

Likewise, from the President of the United States, he has been talking about background checks including with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer talking about it.

CNN is reporting that the President seems intrigue by them. His gut is telling him to do. But, he's talked about background checks before. Will he expand any political capital? We just don't know. What we do know, he is going on vacation today.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, meantime, the gun control debate and the fallout from the President's visit to Dayton and his visit to El Paso really overshadowing a significant upheaval in the nations intelligence sector.

The deputy director of National Intelligence, Sue Gordon, abruptly resigning, joining her outgoing boss, Dan Coats, President Trump quickly handpicking a new acting director. So, keep in mind here, what this means is the two top intelligence post in the nation are unfilled.

BERMAN: All right, joining us now, Joe Lockhart, CNN and political commentator and former Clinton White House Press Secretary, Tara Setmayer, CNN Political Commentator, and Raul Reyes, CNN opinion writer.

I want to play you the sound for Mitch McConnell. Because again, these are words that I haven't heard from him before in these years long now discussion on battling gun violence in America. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY): There's also been some discussion about background checks. That's an issue that's been around for a while. There's a lot of support for that and there's a bipartisan bill in the Senate. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Republican, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a Democrat. So, those are two items that for sure will be front and center as we see what we can come together on and pass.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Background checks Joe, front and center. Again, not what we've heard from Mitch McConnell in the past, new words, new words. As a Democrat, do you find that encouraging in other words enough?

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Actually not really, John. I listened very carefully to what he said. Acknowledging that it's front and center is the acknowledging the obvious, it's what everyone is talking about. He didn't say he'd bring the Senate back. He didn't say he would commit to bringing something to the floor. He could have very easily said that.

I think Mitch McConnell knows that there are number of Republicans in cycle for reelection this year that under some pressure. He was giving them a little space and a little protection there. But he's made no new commitments. And the one thing Mitch McConnell knows is there are not 60 votes in the Senate for any of these bills. Republicans, there are just aren't enough Republicans to vote for him. So, I don't take any real meaning in it beyond recognizing that there's some political peril for the position they've taken.

HILL: Let me say, you also can't probably take in to account that the one it's not really a vote but really the one person who matters in all of this is President Trump. Because this could go -- I mean, this could all, especially with two weeks of vacation coming up. Everything could be up in the air Tara.

And as you look at this, one of the things that stood out to me in terms of that interview, what Mitch McConnell said, is he said, we can't fail to pass something. So, he knows, right?

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right.

HILL: He knows something needs to be done. But he also knows that if the President is not on board, this could be a major concern for him and for some of those other folks are vulnerable.

SETMAYER: Well, that's exactly right. I mean, we were in that similar situation after Parkland where the country most recently, I mean Sandy Hook was another example farther back. But most recently after Parkland and then after Las Vegas, you know, the President was in the same space where he saw that the country was really crying out for something to be done. You know, enough is enough. We've got to do something.

[07:05:10] And he made promises to Democrats at the time. And then the NRA got to him and nothing happened of any real consequence. The difference now though I think is that, the NRA being in such disarray. They are considerably less influential than they were back then. The internet scene war that's going on in NRA has cost them a lot of money and some political capital I think. And there are may be some room here.

Then Mitch McConnell knows that there are people that are up for reelection. They know that the suburban voters, particularly suburban women, they're not going to tolerate nothing being done. And I think you hear a lot more Republicans than you did before speaking out from Adam Kinzinger to Representative Peter King who's one of five Republican congressmen who cosponsored H.R. 8, the bipartisan legislation that passed to House which I think 240 to 190.

So, you had a lot of Republicans that were supportive of that bill. I think, you know, you have more people like Mike Turner of Ohio whose daughter was across the street from where the massacre happened in Dayton saying, having a change of heart because it starts to hit home a little bit more.

And I think if the President can stay focused long enough and not let some of them be more extreme, gun rights folks talk amount of it, there are maybe room for something. But until we see a concrete bill or something like that coming from Trump saying, I support this, I wouldn't hold my breath.

BERMAN: And the other thing we would need is leadership. Mitch McConnell and the President could choose, Raul, to lead on this, correct?

RAUL REYES, CNN OPINION WRITER: Yes, absolutely. But as Tara said, the big question, the big issue is that, one thing we know about this President is -- during his administration, he has been a very unreliable negotiator.

I mean, he came forward at one point signing on to a potential immigration deal with the Democrats. And then a week later he said, that was all out the window. This subject has his tension right now at the moment. But to me it's very telling that, who was he consulting this week when at least two phone calls was the ahead of the NRA rather than let's say some of the different groups that are working to comeback gun violence.

And I just want to remind people, you know, this is received again so much attention because we've seen these horrendous mass shootings. But to the American public, this really is not necessarily a contentious issue when you have something like 86 percent of people favoring, increased background checks, closing that -- the gun show loophole. We have 70 percent who want action on gun safety.

So, it's really an issue. It's a contentious issue among the Republican leadership. It's not a contentious issue in many ways with the public at large. We know what the public wants.

HILL: This is interesting quite, right? Well, we want to move on in case about that. And Joe I want to start with you in this one because you have such a unique take to this. What we saw from President Trump this week and those visits to Dayton and to El Paso.

And then the fallout since then, a lot of it coming with this photo, and we're just going to put it up for folks. This is two-month-old, Paul, both of his parents. I mean the story of his parents losing their lives. His mother was found lying on top of him, she tried to protect him. Her husband who -- his family later found out on Sunday had died. Her husband Andre, this little boy's father died afterwards at the hospital.

This boy's life is so tough. He was brought back by his family. So, we want to point that out. His family was happy to be there. But the fact that this is the picture that the First Lady tweeted out and we're seeing the President with the thumbs up sign.

To say that there is some tone deafness here, it's not the first time, it's not new, it's not unexpected. But it doesn't make it OK, Joe. And I know that you have been in this situation where you have been with a President who has gone to comfort families after a shooting tragedy. I mean, just put it in perspective for us what we're looking at and then what you've experienced?

LOCKHART: Yes. It's really an unprecedented situation. And we -- I think we've become numb to the phenomena of Donald Trump. But it's worth, it's boring just for a second. You know, I worked for President Clinton.

We went through a column by (ph) and we went through a mass shooting in Oregon. And one of the hardest things I ever have to do and it was nothing compared to what the President have to do, was the families of the victims, those who had died would gather in one case of school cafeteria and another case, a school gym. And they'd sit together with their families.

And the President went, family to family and heard their stories and put his arms around them and comforted them. And did what a President is supposed to do.

And this President, you know, there's a big debate about whether he's capable of it or just doesn't want to do it. Who cares, you know. It's his job, you know. The video that they released out of Dayton was sickening to me. It looked like a campaign ad and it was all about how Donald Trump was well received, not what Donald Trump brought to Dayton or what Donald Trump brought to El Paso.

[07:10:04] I don't think he met with any of the families of the victims who died. It is a terribly hard job to do. And I can tell you this. I got on Air Force One with President Clinton after these school shootings. And we didn't put the T.V. on and complain about politicians. And we didn't, you know, we didn't have Twitter but we didn't go out and hold a press conference about how the President was being mistreated.

The President was gutted. He had just gone through the absolute worse part of the job and it stayed with him for a days and weeks and months. And probably is still with him. So, while we're, you know, we've seen it all from Trump. We really should understand that this is a fundamental failure of Donald Trump as President of the United States.

BERMAN: All right, we -- go ahead I heard a lot of sides --

(CROSSTALK)

SETMAYER: Yes. Not only of the President because we've already established that he does not possess an empathy gene. This is not the first time that he's been this catalyst and unaware and used, you know, things to feed his own ego put him out of in front of any kind of unity or leadership. He just isn't capable. It's not who he is.

But people that support him seemed to be OK with that. They make excuses for it. Or you have someone like Tucker Carlson who goes on air at "Fox News" and tries to diminish the problem of white supremacy that's on the horizon on this country and tell people that it's a hoax and it's a lie. You know, I wrote a piece for CNN.com it's up now about this. And I used the example actually of the family of the young boy, the young infant that the picture is involved in.

I used the example of his sister because there's other kids involved besides just that two-months-old. His sister Skylan (ph) who's five years old asked her family after she found out that both her parents have been gunned down, is he going to come and shoot me next? I mean, these are the kinds of heartbreaking stories that we're facing with these kinds of massacres. And the President of the United State is standing there in a photo with the thumbs up.

I mean, you know, these people are all of -- they owe everyone that's ever been a victim of these kinds of shootings an apology because they disrespect the memory of the people who lost their lives by being so flipping about it, making campaigns videos, complaining about crowd sizes. It's disgraceful. And the people who justify this, they're just as bad because I remember, because I was part of those Republican circles.

When Republicans went after President Obama for not affectively calling out radical Islam, for going to play golf after a journalist have been beheaded and made comments about it. If the President of the United is yanking it up at his private golf club that evening after a massacre happened in El Paso. But no one seems to have a problem with it.

I mean, this is -- this really is about what the soul of America is at stake whether this is what the American people want as leadership. Because that fundamental question of Joe Biden keeps pushing, I think is a good one. Because that's what we need ask ourselves in times like this, in times of crisis. Is this the kind of leadership that we want? And I would think the answer is no.

BERMAN: Raul?

REYES: Right, you know, I think it's a truism that when we have a type of any type of tragedy, it tends to bring out the best in people and the worst in people. And we saw some of the best in people in the response of the community of El Paso where my family is all from, the people responding with compassion for the victims and love and support and just trying to grapple with this trauma and move forward.

And we see the worst in the President. And it does not bring me pleasure to say that because he is the leader of this nation. We see the worst in this President who can't show anything other than his own narcissism and cannot stay away from this type of petty and fighting for one day. And, you know, remove himself from the arguments and the attacks. So, that to me is profoundly sad.

BERMAN: All right, Raul, Tara, Joe, thank you very much.

REYES: Thank you.

HILL: A difficult scary moments at in Walmart, heavily armed man wearing body armor confronted and arrested inside a store in Springfield, Missouri. He'd been walking around filming himself. No shots for fired, no one was hurt. Of course they're given what happened less than a week ago in El Paso, folks understandably on edge.

CNN's Omar Jimenez has details live for us. I mean, Omar, I can't even imagine what was going through the minds of the folks in that store as they saw him. OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erica. I mean, this man walks in, in tactical gear, has a rifle strapped to him as well, as you can see his picture there as well. You can understand why people were at the very least a little nervous.

I mean, in fact the manager then pulling the fire alarm just trying to get people out of that store when he walked in. You mentioned it earlier he was filming himself as he was pushing a card through the Walmart.

And then as those calls were coming through for a potential active shooter because that's how police in Springfield, Missouri got this call. The man walked out and was detained by an armed fire fighter, an off duty fire fighter until police arrive just minutes later.

[07:15:03] But again, the good news is no one was hurt and no one was -- no shots were fired in this. But I want to tell -- I want to show you how police described responding to the scene. Again, for what they thought was another active shooter inside Walmart.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. MIKE LUCAS, SPRINGFIELD POLICE DEPARTMENT: He walked in here heavily arm with body armor on in military fatigues and caused a great amount of panic inside the store.

So, he certainly have the capability and a potential to harm people. He was compliant with us. But his intent was not to cause peace or comfort anybody that was in the business here. In fact, he's lucky he's alive still to be honest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JIMENEZ: And of course this happened just five days after the shooting at the El Paso, Walmart. And between this and what we saw earlier this week of the backfiring motorcycle in Time Square, it's very clear the events of what have happen this past weekend and beyond are still very much on people's minds here. John.

BERMAN: You could see in the face, Omar, of that police lieutenant hearing his voice, he was so serious that this was something that was just beyond the bounce giving where the country is this week.

Omar Jimenez, thank you very much.

So, the debate over what to do about guns in United State is being taken right in Mitch McConnell's doorstep by a 2020 presidential candidate, Tim Ryan. Congressman Ryan joins us from Kentucky up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[07:20:38] REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want us to have Mitch McConnell pass these two bills that are sitting on his desk right now. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: As presidential hopeful and Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan on a different kind of campaign trail urging the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to act on gun reform. He led a caravan of gun rights activists from -- led a caravan of people trying to battle gun violence all the way to Louisville and Kentucky.

Congressman Tim Ryan joins me now from Louisville. Congressman, thank you so much for being with us today. What difference do you think that that demonstration your caravan has made so far?

RYAN: Well, I think it's the accumulation of all of these the fact that this happened in Dayton not too far from Louisville, Kentucky. We had five different states represented there with -- and 1,500 people within 24 hours. It literally like we're going to see Mitch McConnell, we're going to his hometown. And we had 1,500 people in five different states there.

There is something happening on the ground. Enough is enough. As I've said, John, I think people go in the bed heartbroken about El Paso and waking up hearing about Dayton. I think that started the fire in the country that is going to keep growing day by day.

BERMAN: So, you have heard Mitch McConnell. He did a local radio interview, you know, as a politician, sometimes you say something locally that you don't say nationally. And sometimes people speak more the truth when they're at home than when they're in Washington DC. He said he wants the discussion on expanding background checks for gun purchases to be front and center. Does that encourage you?

RYAN: Well, I mean, that sounds like atomic two step to me. I mean, their playbook, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, the National Rifle Association, their playbook has always been how do we slow walk this, how do we mealy-mouth it until it goes away, until the, you know, new cycle changes, until something happens in the world or something happens in America or there's a natural disaster and then the story goes back on the back burner.

And I think that's what Trump saying, oh, we'll have this conversation. We have to -- we don't want to have it now. We don't want to do it now. We don't want to call the Senate back to deal with this now. And that's the problem, John. That's the problem that the American are fed up with.

And now people are starting to pay attention. As you said in your previous segment, you know, 80 to 90 percent of the American people support this stuff. This is not a heavy lift. I mean, I wish we had more issues in American legislative bodies that 90 percent of the American people agreed on.

We need to move on this. We need to move on it now. No slow walking, no conversations. There's only so much technical expertise you need to actually close a loophole like the gun show or person to person sales or internet sales. This is not a heavy lift. We need to get it done and Mitch McConnell needs to bring the Senate back and act now. BERMAN: What he says he's not doing, he is not bringing the Senate back. So, when you hear Mitch McConnell say in front and center on background checks, we heard the President in the CNN's reporting is the President instinct, that's the word that we are being told from White House insiders is to push from background check. What leadership have you seen from the leader and the President so far?

RYAN: I haven't seen anything. I don't know how you can watch this stuff, how you cannot meet the families like the President did and not be so moved emotionally to act immediately. It's mind boggling to me. It's the pain, the heartache, you know, you all have been reporting on this. It rips your heart out.

And to think it's preventable, to think this kid could have had a, you know, a 100 round magazine drum and annihilated another hundred people and think that that could potentially happened that the anxiety level of the country, you saw it with the Time Square video, that's where everybody is today.

I met a woman here yesterday who was in Time Square. She has not slept yet, John, since that Time Square incident with the motorcycle backfiring. That is where the American people are.

Yes, you have the deaths and you have the people who are injured. And then you have all the people around them that are having huge experiences, a post-traumatic stress and other emotional issues not sleeping. They're not even on the sheet. They're not even in the article. But yet they're not sleeping. And their lives have been completely damaged.

[07:25:13] And yet, Mitch McConnell sitting on his hands and he wants to talk about it in four, five weeks? Give me a freaking break. I mean, I get so mad when I hear this stuff. And then Donald Trump saying, well, yes, I want to consider. Oh yes, maybe red flag, oh, yes, oh, yes, it's always, oh, yes, something, some other time.

And people keep dying. And this is isn't even accounting for the deaths that are less than four people which are considered mass shootings four or more, the day, the day hand to hand gun violence that's happening. It's got to stop, John. The whole country is on edge. We need the leaders to act.

And I'm telling my Republican friends very clearly here. This is not like of the rest. When a Congressman from Youngstown, Ohio can say, hey, we're going to meet in Louisville, Kentucky in 24 hours. And 1,500 people show up from five states, mob demand action organizing it. You know there are something happening. I would just tell them, be very careful.

BERMAN: Let me ask you because you say that you want Mitch McConnell to bring the Senate back now, the President take action now. You left the presidential campaign trail, you went to Dayton, you lead this caravan. What are you going to do? How are you personally going to keep this pressure up? What are your plans for the next few weeks?

RYAN: Well, I'm back off to Iowa today, in South Carolina on Sunday and Monday. And again, you know, Representative Fletcher Smith is a supporter of mine in South Carolina. He was there or he had many friends at Mother Emanuel AME. This is an issue in South Carolina as well.

And so, I'm going to continue to bring this argument to the national stage to the best of my ability and galvanize people. And I think they're ready. So, this is a part of the presidential campaign. We'll to continue to be a part of it until we get movement. And I will use every platform I possibly have to try to get this thing done. We've got to get something done, no more talk.

BERMAN: All right, Congressman Tim Ryan, thank you for being with us this morning. Thank you for your input and talking to us all week. It's been a tough week for America. I appreciate it Congressman.

RYAN: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Erica?

HILLER: That it has. Senator Kamala Harris also weighing in on the gun debate of what needs to happen, we are on the road with the Senator, the presidential hopeful of course. More on her take on that. And also her thoughts on the President's visit to Dayton and El Paso, that interview just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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