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Police Thwart Mass Shooting; Battle for Senate Control; U.S. Steel Lays Off Workers; MLB Warns of PEDs. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 22, 2019 - 06:30   ET



[06:32:25] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we do have breaking news. There's a huge manhunt in California at this hour for a possible sniper suspected of shooting a sheriff's deputy in the city of Lancaster. Authorities say the bullet came from a four story building across the street from the sheriff's station. The deputy was wearing a bulletproof vest, which officials say saved his life. Authorities scoured that four-story building in their hunt for the suspect. They say he is no longer there.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And this morning we are learning new details of yet another potential mass shooting that has been thwarted by police. This one is in Long Beach, California. Police say the suspect amassed a collection of, again, high powered and high capacity weapons and was preparing to take aim at the hotel where he worked.

CNN's Nick Watt is live in Los Angeles with more.

Nick, this just gives us a sickening deja vu, which we've had virtually every day this week.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is absolutely right, Alisyn. And in this case, the suspect is a 37-year-old cook who worked at the Marriott Hotel near the Long Beach Airport.

Now, apparently on Monday afternoon he told a fellow employee that he was planning to shoot up the place, to open fire on fellow employees and anybody he saw coming into the building. The Long Beach Police tell us that this was related to a workplace incident. He was upset with HR for some reason that we're not quite sure of yet.

Take a listen to what else the Long Beach police chief had to say.


CHIEF ROBERT LUNA, LONG BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT: Suspect Montoya had clear plans, intent, and the means to carry out an act of violence that may have resulted in a mass casualty incident.


WATT: So, the day after that fellow employee told authorities about this plan, the suspect was arrested at his home just a little bit away from the hotel. And in that home police say they found a huge cache of weapons, Alisyn, including, as you mentioned, high powered rifles and 38 high capacity magazines that are illegal in California. Also tactical gear.

As the chief said, this suspect had everything he needed to carry out a mass casualty event.

Now, the Long Beach Police say that they will be presenting their case to the district attorney today.


BERMAN: Nick, please keep us posted on this. Again, this is just one more example of this pattern we've been seeing over the last few weeks. Thank you so much for your reporting on this.

So a small jet bursting into flames after an aborted takeoff. How did everyone on board manage to escape alive? That story, next.


[06:38:51] BERMAN: All right, breaking this morning, a big political development that could impact the balance of power in the Senate. Colorado's former governor, and former presidential candidate, John Hickenlooper, has announced he will challenge Republican Senator Cory Gardner for his seat. Now, Hickenlooper just dropped his bid for president last week and Colorado is among a handful of key Senate races that will determine whether Republicans are able to retain control of the Senate next year.

Here to break these races down for us, Ron Brownstein, senior editor for "The Atlantic" and CNN senior political analyst.

We'll get to Hickenlooper and this breaking news and the context of this larger story in just a second, Ron.


BERMAN: But, first of all, we talk about who has more at stake here, who has more to defend. The Republicans are just defending more terrain this year, correct?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. They are. And, you know, the common thread that links these individual races, as we talk about them, is that it's becoming much harder for either party to win the Senate races in states that usually vote the other way for president, right? It is now routine for 90 percent of voters who say they approve of the president to vote for his party's candidate in the Senate race, 90 percent who have disapproved to vote for the other party's candidate.

[06:40:00] In 2016, John, as you may know, for the first time in American history, every Senate race went the same way as the presidential race in that state. And so that is kind of a looming factor over many of these contests. There may be a few exceptions where a candidate can win if their side doesn't carry the state presidentially, but I think the vast majority of these races are going to fall the same way as the presidential race in that state, especially because it is, of course, a presidential year in 2020.

CAMEROTA: So, Ron, let's talk about four of the Senate races to watch --


CAMEROTA: Because you're keeping your eyes on Colorado, Arizona, Maine, and Alabama.

So what are you seeing?

BROWNSTEIN: Right. So the first three, Colorado, Arizona, and Maine, in that order, are the Democrats' best chances to pick up seats, especially with Hickenlooper in the race. I think Cory Gardner is the most endangered Republican incumbent. In an analogy that John would appreciate, I think his chances of re-election are about the same now as the Red Sox chances of repeating as World Series champions. And they may not even make the playoffs. Very tough. Trump is at 40 percent consistently in the state. Hard to -- as is Gardner.

Then you go down to Arizona, where you have Martha McSally, who lost in 2018, was appointed to fill out the John McCain seat and is trailing again in recent polling against Mark Kelly, the Democrat, with, again, Trump under water in his approval in the state.

And then Maine, where Susan Collins has been able to sort of establish herself traditionally as an independent brand, much harder now in this highly polarized era after she's voted for Brett Kavanaugh. Democrats have recruited a very strong challenger, the speaker of the state house. And it's hard to -- it's going to be tougher for her to win than in the past if Donald Trump can't win the state.

And, of course, the one Democratic state that is the most engaged is Doug Jones in Alabama. A very Republican state. Trump will probably win by a big margin. Unless he gets Roy Moore again, who is in the Republican primary, it's going to be tough.

BERMAN: Which isn't impossible, by the way. I mean we've seen it happen before.

BROWNSTEIN: Which is not impossible.

BERMAN: OK, so the math there is this. If the Democrats pick up three seats and the White House, it will give them a 50/50 split plus the vice president.


BERMAN: They would control the Senate. So if they won all those three races you just talked about --


BERMAN: But lost in Alabama, and took the White House, they would need to win one more.

BROWNSTEIN: Right. And that --

BERMAN: Which are the states that you see the possibilities in?

BROWNSTEIN: That's the big question mark, right? You just laid out the exact math. They -- Democrats are feeling increasingly optimistic about their chances in those three. But Alabama is very tough unless you get Roy Moore, and he is not leading in the primary polling right now, although he could pull it out.

After those three, what do Democrats have? They have North Carolina. They have Iowa. They have Texas. Maybe Kentucky. Highly unlikely in a presidential year. And then kind of the wild card in all of this is Montana. If Steve Bullock joins the governor exodus from the presidential race, that we see with Jay Inslee and John Hickenlooper, and decides to run for Senate in Montana, Democrats believe that would put Montana in play.

In those other three states, Iowa, Texas, and North Carolina, you do have, you know, potentially competitive races. But, again, it's hard to imagine Democrats winning them if they don't also win the state presidentially.

CAMEROTA: Well, Steve Bullock, Governor Steve Bullock told me when we were doing the piece with him out in Montana that he's not interested in running for the Senate.


CAMEROTA: He said specifically that there were other people who were talented and could do it and he was going to step aside.

But your math suggests that if he entire equation hinges on Montana, obviously maybe that would change his --

BERMAN: If only there were a town hall meeting. If only there were a setting where you could ask Steve bullock again these questions.


CAMEROTA: I wish there were. Oh, well.

BERMAN: It's Sunday night.

BROWNSTEIN: It's a reasonable --

BERMAN: Sunday night right here on CNN.

CAMEROTA: Just kidding. 6:00 p.m. East Coast Time.

BROWNSTEIN: I was going to say, real quick, it's a reasonable question to ask him, what is the balance between his personal ambition and what he feels in terms of loyalty to the party and even the country given the stakes in this election and how control of the Senate will dramatically affect what the next president can achieve.

CAMEROTA: Slow down, Ron, let me write that down. BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Yes, you can bet that a question like that will come up on Sunday.


CAMEROTA: We're really looking forward to actually that town hall meeting.

BERMAN: Ron, great to have you with us today. Thanks so much.

CAMEROTA: Yes, great to see you, Ron.

BROWNSTEIN: Good to be back. Thanks.

CAMEROTA: OK, there were some terrifying moments, but a lucky ending for ten people aboard a small jet in northern California. The pilot aborted takeoff, causing the Cessna to crash. Look at this aftermath. There's this trail of thick, black smoke all over the town of Oroville on Wednesday. It's not yet known why the pilot aborted the takeoff, but everyone on board that plane managed to walk away without injury.

How is that possible, John?

BERMAN: Whatever they did, it worked out there. That is some amazing imagery right there.

All right, this morning, fires are rages at a record rate in the Amazon Rain Forest and darkening the skies over Brazil. The country's space research center says there have been close to 73,000 fires in Brazil this year. More than half in the Amazon region. That is more than an 80 percent increase compared to the same period last year. Scientists warn the fires could strike a devastating blow to the fight against climate change.

[06:45:11] CAMEROTA: All right. So of course we all remember the viral debate over blue or white dress. Remember that optical illusion or whatever that was? OK, there's a new one that has the Internet buzzing. What do you see here? A bird or a bunny?

John, answer me right now.

BERMAN: I -- I mean I want to -- I'm going to keep people in suspense.

CAMEROTA: Oh, for your answer? OK. OK. I'll leave it in suspense too. We have the answer, next.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And, by the way, steel. Steel was dead. Your business was dead. OK? I don't want to be overly crude. Your business was dead. And I put a little thing called a 25 percent tariff on all of the dump steel all over the country. And now your business is thriving.


[06:50:02] CAMEROTA: Well, that was President Trump touting the success of his administration's tariffs on the steel imports last week. But some steel workers in Michigan may disagree with the president's claim that the industry is thriving after U.S. Steel announced plans to lay off about 200 workers at one of its plants.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich is live in Michigan with more.

So what are they telling you, Vanessa?


Well, people here in the community are confused and shocked, especially hearing the president talking about those tariffs, how they're supposed to spur production and growth. But, instead, U.S. Steel announcing that they are temporarily laying off about 200 workers here at this factory behind me citing challenging market conditions. And this is very much in contrast with what we just heard the president say there. He's even citing himself as the reason why the steel industry came back in the first place.

But we spoke to one city official who says he sees no evidence of that. And he and another community leader are concerned that these temporary layoffs may, in fact, become permanent.


RICHARD MARSH, CITY ADMINISTRATOR, ECORSE, MICHIGAN: We assume that we'd have more production. And, in fact, we thought it'd have the reverse effect, there'd be more hiring taking place, you know, here locally.

It was a shock. And I'm hoping that things reverse quickly.

JAMES PERRY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DOWNRIVER COMMUNITY: It's a recession when your neighbor's laid off. It's a depression when you get laid off. And it hasn't changed in the past 38 or 39 years.

You know, you get concerned when you hear 200 people are laid off. So it is a concern.


YURKEVICH: That 200 number of temporary layoffs may not sound like a lot when you compare it to the couple thousand that are working here at this factory. But the concern is over this being an indicator that the industry is, in fact, in peril rather than recovering, as the president notes. And if you just look at U.S. Steel stock prices this time last year, that stock was trading at about $30 a share. Today it's trading at about $12 a share. That's about a 60 percent decline.

And, John, we asked U.S. Steel when these temporary layoffs would be coming back online. They told us they didn't know when these jobs would be coming back.


BERMAN: It's the uncertainty. The uncertainty that is out there is part of this environment now and the president's trade policy is part of that.

Vanessa Yurkevich, thank you so much for being there on the ground and talking to people about this.

OK, so this might be the most hotly contested question of the morning. Take a look at this. All right, you see that there? Is that a bird or is it a bunny rabbit?

All right, this optical illusion has the Internet on fire. I mean on fire. A scientist in Norway first shared the video and it went viral, setting off this debate, a bird or bunny. You can see it being, you know, stroked there.


BERMAN: You don't pet a bird.


BERMAN: So what do you think it is?

CAMEROTA: Well, a bunny doesn't have a beak, OK?


CAMEROTA: So I'm going with bird, because that thing has a beak.

BERMAN: So I was trying to create suspense --

CAMEROTA: I know, I saw that.

BERMAN: Because I'm with you. But I think it's a bird too. A bunny doesn't have a beak and you can clearly see the beak.


BERMAN: So the Internet's -- the Internet's wasting its time.

CAMEROTA: Well, but -- but Havi (ph) -- no, no, Havi, our EP, thinks that those were ears.

Oh, OK, no, ears don't do that.

BERMAN: OK, now -- yes.

CAMEROTA: Ears don't eat corn like that.

BERMAN: So it turns out it's a bunny with wings eating corn. No, no, it's a bird. It's an African white necked raven named Mischief.

CAMEROTA: Oh, I can see why.

BERMAN: He's 18 years old, which means he can drive and vote, but not yet drink. And he lives at the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, Missouri.

CAMEROTA: You might make a visit there, John.

BERMAN: I don't -- I like raptors. I like hawks and eagles and falcons.

CAMEROTA: That's it. I thought you liked all birds.

BERMAN: Not these.


BERMAN: And this one apparently --

CAMEROTA: Not bunny birds.

BERMAN: This one apparently --

CAMEROTA: That's where you draw the line.

BERMAN: This one says stuff. Listen to this.


BIRD: Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi.


BERMAN: I think we buried the lead because --

CAMEROTA: I guess.

BERMAN: Because that's -- that's much more alarming or concerning or revelatory rather whether it's a bunny.

CAMEROTA: Thank you. I agree. It's a talking bunny.


CAMEROTA: OK. Well, sorry that we've ruined the fun for everybody who was going to spend --

BERMAN: I don't think it was that fun. I think the Internet was dumb on this one. It was so clearly a bird.

CAMEROTA: Yes, and my dress is white today.

BERMAN: Unless they had Internet without pictures.

All right, up next, a major concession from the U.S. Tennis Association after last year's clash between Serena Williams and a chair umpire. We'll let you know what they decided. That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:58:58] BERMAN: All right, something else to worry about this morning. Major League Baseball has reportedly warned its players that over the counter sex supplements could contain banned ingredients that would result in a failed PED test.


BERMAN: Andy Scholes with the latest in the "Bleacher Report."



Yes, according to ESPN, two players who are facing suspensions claim they failed their test because the banned substances they took, well, they came from over the counter sex supplements. EPSN's Jeff Passan broke this news on Wednesday, referring to an internal memo that was sent to clubs and obtained by ESPN. Passan reports that the memo states in part that these products are often contaminated with prohibited and unsafe ingredients. And according to Passan, quoting from unnamed sources, the use of over the counter pills commonly found at convenience stores that advertise improved sexual performance is prevalent among baseball players.

[06:59:51] All right, the chair umpire who clashed with Serena Williams during last year's U.S. Open will not work any matches involving Serena or her sister Venus Williams at this year's tournament. Last year umpire Carlos Ramos first gave Williams a warning for getting a coaching signal from the stands. He then gave her a point penalty for breaking her racket. And then a game penalty for verbal abuse.