Return to Transcripts main page


3 Killed, Shooter Dead at Naval Air Station Pensacola; White House Faces Deadline to Say If It Will Take Part in Monday Impeachment Hearing; Democratic Presidential Candidate Deval Patrick Discusses John Kerry Endorsing Joe Biden, Impeachment, the Economy. Aired 11- 11:30a ET

Aired December 6, 2019 - 11:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: We are following the breaking news out of Florida where the U.S. Navy is dealing with a second on-base shooting in three days, including one just this morning at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. Three people killed, several others were injured. The shooter is dead as well, according to, as we just learned in the press conference that we were just listening to.

The sheriff there during the press conference saying this about the scene this morning, "Walking through the crime scene, he said, "was like walking through -- walking through this scene was like walking through the scene of the crime of a movie.

The base was put on lockdown after reports of an active shooter came in just before 7:00 this morning. And this is a massive facility to lockdown. Just to give you a sense, the base has more than 20,000 people working on it. More than 16,000 military personnel. Some 7,000 non-military personnel.

And a lot is still unknown. We're going to bring you those details as they come in.

As we mentioned, this is the second shooting at a U.S. naval base in just three days. On Wednesday, a sailor opened fire and killed two people injuring a third at the Pearl Harbor naval shipyard in Hawaii.

CNN crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, is joining me now. He's been tracking the latest.

Shimon, one of the reasons, as we just heard, there's not more detail they're not ready to talk about, what they're saying, some of the families, the family notifications have still not been completed and that's something we all want to be very careful of.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: That's right. They're going as far as not releasing where the shooting took place in the building because they're concerned that by releasing that information, that perhaps somehow people will be identified.

One of the things really what we're learning here is that this could have been far worse. We have 11 people shot here, the shooter, two deputies. But this obviously could have been far, far worse had it not been for these two deputies who intercepted, who stopped this shooter. They came in, exchanged shots with him. They shot him, killed him. They, too, suffered gunshot wounds, one in the knee, one in the arm.

And it's clear, authorities here this morning saying, look, this could have been much worse had these two deputies, the naval police, the other law enforcement that was there, had not come in there so quickly and stopped this from happening.

They're also being careful, law enforcement here, as to motive. It does seem, in watching the law enforcement and the Navy base officials talking, that they're concerned about releasing too much information. Sounds like they know a lot, but they're still being very careful. Because of the investigation here, they don't want to release a lot.

Keep in mind, one of the things that authorities are going to be looking at is whether or not this has any connection to the shooting in Pearl Harbor days ago.


BOLDUAN: Of course. it will be looked at just being days apart. Another naval, Navy base.

PROKUPECZ: Right. So they're not ruling it out.

But I was struck by how careful the deputies here, the sheriff and the Navy base officials were in releasing some of this information. Four dead, we have here. And obviously, the number of people that have been shot here, that's a pretty high number when you look at it. About 10 people, two deputies. So heroes here.

And we're going to learn a lot more about them and now the victims. Who are the victims? Why was the shooter targeting these victims and who is the victim?

And so this is a training base? They spoke about this was a classroom setting.

BOLDUAN: Almost like a small city. There are -- there's homes on the base and that's something to consider.


BOLDUAN: This isn't just a place that people work. This is a place that people really live.

PROKUPECZ: Right. And those are going to be the important stories.

And, honestly, the motive, what set this off. But my sense, in watching the authorities there talk, is that they know a lot more than right now they're willing to release because there's probably some significant information they're still working through.

Obviously, they're saying the FBI -- that's where the FBI is going to be helping them --


PROKUPECZ: -- and that's what they're doing now. The FBI is there. They're collecting the evidence but digging into the background of this guy and probably, later today, we're learn a lot more.

BOLDUAN: Much more. They said they're going to possibly have another press conference today.

But in the meantime, thank you, Shimon. I really appreciate it.

Joining us how on the phone is Jeff Bergosh. He's a facilities manager at this Naval Air Station at Pensacola Naval Air Station that we're talking about now.

Jeff, can you hear me?


BOLDUAN: Thank you so much for jumping on the phone.

It's my understanding -- I mean, there's a lot to process this morning for you and everyone who works there. You were on your way into work this morning when this happened then the -- when the main road kind of became something of a parking lot I heard you said. What did you see?

BERGOSH: Well, it was about 10:00 until 7:00 and, suddenly, the traffic came to a standstill on Navy Boulevard, which is the major artery coming into the Naval Air Station Pensacola. Then we had a couple of emergency vehicles come by, but then, suddenly, dozens and dozens of sheriff's vehicles with their sirens blaring were going down the wrong side of Navy Boulevard as a high rate of speed. That's when we realized something major was going on.

BOLDUAN: And I got a chance to talk to some of the people you work with on the base. But during the press conference just now, they said that the shooting took place in a classroom building. And this is a training base, right, so as a facilities manager, I thought it would be important to ask you, can you put into perspective how many buildings we're talking about?


BERGOSH: There's over 1000 multiple various geographical locations from the base, the complex.

Yes, we -- and I was escorted on o the base just now because my part time job is I'm an elected county commissioner in Escambia County, Florida. I'm a contract employer working for the facilities management. But I'm also a country commissioner.

So I just did go to the incident command center on the base. I was able to meet with our EMS folks, our ambulance folks who transported with some of the victims. And I was participating in the news conference. I stepped aside to join you guys on this call.

There's information that's known that's not going to be released at this time and there's good reasons for that.

BOLDUAN: But as my colleague was getting to, it's your understanding that there's more information that they know. Do you get the sense authorities know a lot more than they're releasing at this moment?

BERGOSH: Yes -- sorry, say that again? There's some folks passing by. What was that question again please?

BOLDUAN: Is it your understanding that the authorities, they know a lot more than they're releasing publicly at this moment in terms of the details of how this went down?

BERGOSH: Yes, absolutely, and those details will be forthcoming. Absolutely.

But as you heard in the press conference, we've got to make sure the students, military students that are here, their families are notified because they don't want to create a panic.

But, yes, I believe in the hours and the days to come, you'll find there's a lot more information to be released about this incident.

It's just a tragedy. And I would ask your viewers to keep Pensacola, Florida, Escambia County, Florida, in your prayers.

This is going to be a really, really devastating, negative impact on our community. But we are resilient. We will bounce back from it. But just keep these victims in your prayers, please.

BOLDUAN: Jeff, thank you so much. And we'll keep you in our prayers as well. Thank you so much for jumping on. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

BERGOSH: Absolutely. Thank you. Bye-bye.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

We are going to be keeping an eye on --continue to keep an eye on the unfolding situation happening there.

But we want to turn our attention to Washington where the White House right now is facing a deadline. And the speaker of the House is making clear that it is full steam ahead for the House to consider impeaching the president of the United States.

With all signs still pointing to a full House vote before Christmas, which as we know, is right around the corner, the White House has a 5:00 p.m. deadline today to announce whether it will take part in any of the final proceedings that are going on in the House.

Right now, House Democrats are drafted articles of impeachment. They plan to work through the weekend, with another hearing set for Monday.

So let's get to the Hill. Senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, is there, joining us now.

Manu, what are you hearing about the scope of the charges that Democrats are working on right now?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It has not been finalized yet. And only a handful of people are working on it in this entire building. And that's the speaker of the House. She makes all the calls on this. She's consulting with the Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, and the top staff of those three individuals. They're ultimately the ones who know about all the details.

I just tried to ask Jerry Nadler about, where things are, the scope, has it been determined, he declined to comment about everything.

But what I can tell you from we have gleaned from the sources and some of the steps they're taking is that the scope of the charges are almost certainly going to include abuse of power, which Democrats have been talking about for some time, as well as obstruction of Congress for defying those subpoenas.

And the Democrats appear increasingly open to including elements of the Mueller report, evidence the president may have obstructed justice in his handling of trying to obstruct that investigation as outlined in that report, to include those charges as well.

They have taken steps in the recent Judiciary hearing from this week where they presented evidence about that, throughout the hearing. We expect to hear more about that on Monday as well.

And from our sources, that's not an accident that seems to be an indication of something that is certainly on the table at the moment. But that's still a discussion that's happening.

You're probably not going to get any final word on the exact scope and the details of the articles until next week, which is when the Judiciary Committee will probably take its votes in that committee on those articles of impeachment -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: And so with that in mind, Manu, how realistic is this Christmas deadline at this point?

RAJU: Very realistic. The speaker has not set a specific deadline.


RAJU: But what we've been told and gathered here, that's what they're aiming for at the moment. That's why she made the announcement yesterday to make it clear they're drafting these articles. They'll be voted on, almost certainly next week, after that Monday hearing. We expect a Judiciary Committee session, maybe one or two days to vote on that.

Then it will go to the full House on the week of December 16th. That's the week before Christmas. Expect that's when the vote will happen. [11:10:10]

And the trial, of course, Kate, will probably take all of January in the Senate -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: So many moving parts. Things are changing by the minute. Really, but it is amazing how things are progressing at the moment.

Manu, stay there because we always need you. Appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Joining me now -- I want to talk about these two big questions I was talking about with Manu. CNN legal analyst, former federal prosecutor, Elie Honig, is here and, CNN legal analyst, Anne Milgram, a former New Jersey attorney general.

Great to see you. Thank you.

So let's start with the charges.

Elie, what does it add -- I say case, but, again, it's not a traditional legal proceeding, as we say. But what does it add if they include evidence from the Mueller Russia investigation and report into this?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Context, background. It shows you that President Trump was on notice. He basically got a warning the Mueller investigation, you can't do this, it is not OK to even welcome and encourage, as Mueller found, foreign election interference.

And let's remember, Robert Mueller testified on July 24th, and the next day, the 25th, Trump jumps on the phone with Zelensky and encourages him to do it again. I think the phrase Adam Schiff used in his report was "a president unbound," a president who is not responsive to the lessons already learned.

BOLDUAN: But, Anne, does it really make the case stronger, including the Mueller charges, when you consider the political risk that is clearly concerning some Democrats in doing that? Or there wouldn't be an internal debate.

ANNE MILGRAM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: My view is that everything Elie said about the president's intent and the president's knowledge can be there even if you don't include charges surrounding the Mueller obstruction of Justice. It would be part of knowing if what the president did was wrong. That could still come in without bringing those charges.

So my view is along the lines of where you are for two reasons. One is it would be longer and more complicated. We have not had hearings. We had Robert Mueller for one day, but we've not had a thorough hearing on the obstruction charges. We have not seen on those charges. So there's not a lot of evidence that's beyond the paper, right now. So.

And second of all, I think also it's really important in my view this we keep this focused on 2020 election and we'll not be looking backwards. Even though I believe Donald Trump did engage in obstruction of justice related to the 2016 election. To me now that's just part of the narrative of harm here.

BOLDUAN: Because I keep thinking back since this debate is going on, what Nancy Pelosi said yesterday. Ukraine is the vehicle but all roads continue to lead to Russia. And that is really where she is. That can -- I will say, she eloquently made it vague enough looking back or looking forward. I will just say that.

But then what are the ramifications today, what are the ramifications of a White House not sending over, as they're facing this deadline, not sending any counsel, any representation? What does it change?

HONIG: Nothing. It's a symbolic protest. It reminds us that the White House has been and remains unwilling to engage on the merit of the charges at least up to now. And it's very late in the House process. I don't see why they would change that now with maybe a week or two to go.

Another question is, will they en engage meaningfully in the Senate. I think they have to mount a substantive defense at some point.

At this point, I think they prefer to wave the flag and claim to be victims of the process. But at some point, they can't run from the facts forever.

BOLDUAN: Assuming the House votes to impeach the president by Christmas, as Manu was laying out, then it goes to the Senate, and if the majority decides to just playing it out, not to call not a single witness, they don't need witnesses, the trial goes as it would, what would you make of that? Would that -- could -- can you have a meaningful Senate trial without witnesses?

MILGRAM: I think the answer here is going to be no. I don't think we're going to see it.

There are a couple of pieces. One, to Elie's point, the Republicans and White House have not engaged, but there are people they want to have called as witnesses that the White House Democrats would not have called. That may be it in the Senate where Mitch McConnell and the Republicans are in charge. They said they want Hunter Biden to testify. They said they want a whole host of people. I'm not saying those folks will definitely testify, but I assume --

BOLDUAN: It's not clear that the folks leading the charge in Senate would call them to testify.

MILGRAM: I agree. But I think there's a list of people that the White House will say we'd like these witnesses to testify and that's the kind of negotiation that will go on with the Republican Senator.

And I think, for that it's worth, at the end of the day, the American people are going to expect this be a thorough and fair process. If you don't call any witnesses, if you're just debating paper, to me, it won't look like there's a fair -- (CROSSTALK)


BOLDUAN: Right. But what is the definition of three ring circuses, as John Cornyn put it. Who defines what a substantive witness is, what a meaningful witness would be? We will soon find out because coming it's coming. The train is leaving the station as we speak in the House it looks like.

Good to see you guys. Thank you very much.

Coming up, Joe Biden gets a boost today from a former presidential nominee. What does that mean in the race?

Plus, the two big questions right now about impeachment, as we're discussing. How far the charges go and how fast the timeline should be. Where are they in this internal debate? A Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee joins us.



BOLDUAN: This morning, John Kerry, former secretary of state, is throwing his support behind Joe Biden's presidential campaign. He'll be appearing with Biden in Iowa shortly.

The party's 2004 presidential nominee saying in his endorsement that Kerry's not endorsing his old friend because he's known him for so long but, rather, quote, "Because I know Joe so well."

A boost for Biden, yet, but also a blow to maybe the two candidates from Kerry's home state of Massachusetts, Senator Elizabeth and a late entry to the field, former Massachusetts governor, Deval Patrick.

Governor Patrick is joining me now.

Good to see you, Governor. Thanks for coming in.

DEVAL PATRICK, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Kate, thanks for having me. Good morning.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

So, you have Kerry endorsing Biden. Biden continues to lead in the national polls, leaving folks to wonder where is the room for another moderate Democrat like yourself in this race?

PATRICK: First of all, Biden is a great guy and so is Secretary Kerry. They're both friends of mine. They've known each other a lot longer than I have known either of them, but I've worked well with them and I wish them well, but not too well.

(LAUGHTER) PATRICK: I am not in this to harvest endorsements from other people who have worked in Washington for a long time. I will earn those in the fullness of time if I first earn the endorsement of regular voters. And that's what we're about.

That's what we're doing. We're out talking with folks in the early states and elsewhere. And we're talking and listening to voters to make sure that the agenda that we are developing and that I have worked on through much of my professional career in and out of politics is, in fact, the agenda that will make a difference for folks today.

BOLDUAN: What would you say is the biggest policy difference between you and Joe Biden right now?

PATRICK: Well, I think probably the biggest difference between us is philosophical. His approach seems to be nostalgia, backward looking. I think as much as I loved working alongside the Obama administration and the vice president, we need different things today because the different challenges today. And they go beyond just responding to an incumbent president today who gets up every day looking for ways to divide us.

They deal with issues like economic indicators that don't actually indicate how people are living their lives. Inflation is low. So long as you don't count the cost of education, health care, housing, the very things that enable people to move on to a path of economic mobility.

We talk about how unemployment is low. That is true. So long as you count --


BOLDUAN: Joe Biden will say I'm not looking back. I'm still looking forward and I've got plans laid out.


BOLDUAN: I haven't seen the Patrick plans laid out yet.

Where is your biggest policy difference with Joe Biden? On your approach to the economy? To health care? Is it on your approach to student debt? Tell me.

PATRICK: I think that the difference is you'll see as we lay out a policy agenda that's about opportunity, that is about reform and is about also a democracy agenda. Fixing the ways in which we have contorted our access to the ballot through purging and suppression and gerrymandering and money that have made it so hard for people to get the outcomes they want in their and from their government in Washington.

I don't need to critique Vice President Biden's campaign or any other candidate's campaign. That is not what this is about. This is about offering to voters a range of life and leadership

experience in all sorts of sectors where I have actually delivered on some of the things that others are talking about and that people need.

BOLDUAN: So two big discussions in the election that I want to ask you about. First, impeachment. There are lot of discussions, of course, but on the plate today, impeachment. From what has been laid out by the House so far, do you think that Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office? I have not heard you say yet.

PATRICK: Well, I've said before that this president has committed a whole range of impeachable offenses. We've heard about them in recent hearings in the House. We heard about them in the Mueller report.

It's a grave act to remove a president from office. And I appreciate those members of the House and the Senate who are taking it -- who are dealing with it with a gravity it deserves.


PATRICK: That is separate and apart -- excuse me.

BOLDUAN: Go ahead. Sorry, Governor.


PATRICK: No, I was just going to say I think that is -- I know there's a lot of conversation about the politics of impeachment. I'm not interested in that. I think the framers understood and gave us an method and an expectation that we would treat the removal of a president from office as a grave matter and I respect those members who are treating it that way.


BOLDUAN: You respect it, but if you had a choice, you would vote to remove him from office?

PATRICK: I'm not in the House or Senate, but, yes, I think he is -- he has committed impeachable offenses. And that is no small thing. That's not a casual comment. It's not about a ding at a president of a different party.

I'm very old fashioned and I believe, once you get the job, you're everybody's president.


PATRICK: You've not just president of those folks who voted for you.

BOLDUAN: And everybody economy is something you would oversee.

Let me ask you about the economy. It's a huge issue. Today, a better than expected jobs report for November came out, 266,000 jobs added. Exceeded where expectations were.

The economy is the top issue always when it comes to voters, to Democratic voters.


BOLDUAN: So if that's the case, we're looking at like the 21st month strait straight of unemployment below 4 percent, if you will. How do you make the argument against Donald Trump on the economy?

PATRICK: Well, first of all, I think those indicators are terrific. And no one reasonable is going to root for failure in the economy. You saw that we saw Republican leadership doing that, that very thing during the Obama administration. I don't want to repeat that kind of business.

What I'm saying is that when you get out there and talk to workers, you hear about just how hard it is for them to move forward.

I've had the experience of living the American dream, growing up in poverty and getting a great education, and having an economy that had a place for me to, you know, show what I could do once I got into it.

You hear over and over again from folks that that's much, much harder to do today. And you and I both know it. The inflation or the jobs numbers are terrific so long as you count the numbers of folks who are working two and three minimum-wage jobs just to survive. We've got to be able to do better than that.

We've got strategies, which we'll be rolling out in our opportunity agenda to talk about how to grow the economy out to the minimal and the marginalized and not just out to the well connected.

BOLDUAN: Unfortunately, a quick question on a long -- on something that deserves much longer debate I need to ask you. Kamala Harris dropping out of the this race this week.

I want to read you one thing Cory Booker said in the aftermath of Harris leaving the race: "What message is that sending that we heralded the most diverse field in our history and now we're seeing people like Harris dropping out of this campaign. This is not about one candidate. It's about the diverse coalition that is necessary to beat Donald Trump."

And so what do you think when you hear this, you could be looking at a debate with not a single person of color on the stage this month?

PATRICK: Well, first of all, I think Senator Booker is exactly right in the sense that we should celebrate the incredible diversity of this incredibly talented Democratic field of contenders.

And it will winnow down. And candidates will make decisions about whether their campaigns should move in this direction or that direction or not move at all.

I hope Senator Harris continues to contribute her considerable talents in the public field.

The debate rules will change in January. And how they change I hope is not just about who is on the stage, but how the debate could serve better as an actual mechanism to communicate with voters about what's on our mind.

BOLDUAN: Governor, thank you for coming in.

PATRICK: Great to be with you. Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: See you on the trail.

Coming up, lawmakers gearing up for an historic vote on impeachment. How far do Democratic members want the charges to go in this moment? A member of the House Intelligence Committee, the committee that led the investigation early on and those public hearings until this week, is our guest, next.