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At This Hour

Sheriff: "Shooter is Down" After Shooting in San Jose, CA; Washington Post: Grand Jury to Consider Potential Charges Against Trump. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired May 26, 2021 - 11:00   ET


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Emergent posture, but certainly a heavy police presence as they try to deal with things there.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, I was going to ask for your interpretation at the very point. Josh Campbell, thanks very much.

The headline there, we're following reports of a shooting near downtown San Jose, California. Police saying it is still an active scene. CNN does not have information yet on the numbers, casualties. We, of course, will bring you the details as they come.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto.

AT THIS HOUR with our colleague Kate Bolduan starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: We do begin with breaking news.

Right now, we are watching a situation unfolding in San Jose, California. Police are investigating reports of an active shooting at a rail yard near downtown. We're going to -- showing you live aerials from the scene. We've been watching them for the last several minutes, and this is all that we have at the moment.

Very little information has been released. Police are asking everyone to stay out of the area. We do -- CNN has a crew headed that direction right now. We're going to bring you the information that we get as it comes in.

As I'm looking at this, let me bring in Anthony Barksdale, CNN law enforcement analyst.

Anthony, as we always have to say as situations like this unfold, there is very little information coming out from the county sheriff, but it is a very big police presence that we can see from these aerials of the scene. We know it's a maintenance rail yard -- light rail yard. When you're looking at this, can you just talk to me, if you do what you can see in these images? ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: What you really --

you want to see a large response. You want to see police get resources to the scene and contain it as fast as possible. From there, you want time. You want to be sure that you're treating victims, you're triaging -- if there are those that are shot, and you have to then really look to confront the shooter. So, so far, we've got the resources there, and now we fall into the management and supervision and execution phase of addressing the active shooter.

BOLDUAN: Things that we've seen in the aerial images that have been coming in, we've seen a lot of police tape blocking off streets. It seems like it's a maintenance real yard, so seems like it has the potential of being a very big scene that police are going to have to deal with. That might contribute to what we're looking at, which is -- I mean, I lost count of all the law enforcement vehicles I saw on the scene.

I will say in the images I'm looking at now, you don't see a lot of urgency in what looks like the police presence on the scene. So, hopefully, that's a good indication that at least the scene is somewhat calm and contained.

We're looking -- watching KGO, and their helicopters. That might staging -- it's hard to tell, but that looks like law enforcement presence there. But talk to me about the challenges that a maintenance rail yard, any kind of a rail yard, the size of an area, if that becomes the site of a shooting that presents for law enforcement.

BARKSDALE: Signs of a crime scene, because right now this is a crime scene, an active crime scene really matters. So, if they're not running around looking like they're disorganized, that's a good thing. In a situation like this, you fall into what's known as an ICS system, incident command system.

This came from the fire issues in California in the early '70s. So, what you have is one person, an incident commander placed above all resources there at the scene and this incident commander is deciding, what teams go where, who takes this area, who's in a point to cut off streets? Are we going to have -- what's the route for the ambus? How do we get people in and out to the hospital, or continue the evacuation of any of those still trapped in this unfortunate crime scene?

So, if it's -- if it's -- if it's steady right now and you're seeing organization, okay, that's a good sign that somebody, that we have people there that know what they're doing.

BOLDUAN: Anthony, stick with me.

CNN's Josh Campbell, he's been watching us and tracking these developments since they just started coming in a few minutes ago. Josh is joining me now.

Josh, any more detail coming out?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, we're still waiting for information from law enforcement there. The initial report we got was from the Santa Clara County sheriff, saying they were responding to this incident. And, of course, whenever we see a mass shooting, obviously officers has the duty to respond to mitigate the threat and the information will follow much later.

We know the area around the shooting.


This is near the light rail yard, is locked down to include a middle school nearby, they're in a state of lockdown as well out of an abundance of caution. But, of course, you know, this massive presence we're seeing right now from first responders indicates they're taking this very seriously.

As you were just saying, it's a good sign that we're not seeing an influx of tactical resources and the like, but also, you know, sadly, we also -- I've covered so many of these shootings, so many of them are over in a matter of seconds. And so, we don't yet know how many victims we're talking about here if any. We don't have information about the shooter. We know law enforcement has surrounded that location.

One other thing, they've actually now directed the media to a particular area. And so, we're hoping to get some kind of update. Again, I'm reading the tea leaves.

That's typically the last thing on their mind if there's an actual emergent threat. And so, that gives us some sense that they are at least preparing to provide some additional information, which, of course, we'll bring to you.

BOLDUAN: Look, Josh, I think this is against -- the backdrop this is against is important, right? They're investigating a shooting. We don't know how many. We don't know if there are fatalities, if there are injuries.

But when they come to brief reporters, we know we'll get some more information. But this is against a backdrop of, gosh -- I mean, I just looked back, there were at least 12 mass shootings just over the weekend. Every day this week there have been more reports of more shootings in America.

That is the backdrop against this. This has become and is all too familiar, the number of times you and I have been on together, the number of times that Anthony Barksdale has had to talk about how this unfolds, the information that comes out slowly and then what we learned. But it's against the backdrop of such a deadly weekend of violence.

CAMPBELL: It is indeed. And, you know, as Anthony was just mentioning there, the processes that go in place whenever there's a shooting, we discussed what the media will do when they stage.

Basically, I mean, this is an indictment of society now that we've routinized now, we know how to respond to these kind of incidents and we know what to expect.

And again, that's just the sad state, that we continue to cover these issues of gun violence over and over. We don't know what type of weapon may have been used here. Obviously, those details will follow. But again, just a serious situation, police officers taking it seriously.

It's worth noting that this incident where it took place is literally around the corner from the local sheriff's station. And so, even though you might have a large law enforcement presence staged a block or less away, again, with these gun incidents we've seen, they can be over too quickly to include the loss of life, to include injuries, obviously, a very serious deal that we continue to see across the country.

BOLDUAN: And a very, very big police presence there outside of this maintenance facility.

Much more to come. Josh is watching -- watching this. He's going to bring us more details.

Anthony Barksdale is going to stick very close to us as well. Thank you very much both of you. We're going to keep an eye on this.

And at very same time, the other news going on at this hour, potential criminal charges against former President Donald Trump. "The Washington Post" is reporting, Manhattan's district attorney has convened a special grand jury as part of its criminal probe into Donald Trump, an investigation that has gone on for two years and is now taking a new turn. This grand jury could decide on any indictments against Trump or others in the Trump organization.

The longtime focus for prosecutors in New York has been on whether the Trump organization misled lenders and insurance companies, essentially potential fraud, potential financial crimes.

CNN's Paula Reid, she's joining me now. She's been tracking all these details and this new reporting.

Paula, what are you learning?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, we know this is an incredibly powerful tool, a grand jury for prosecutors. And it's going to allow them to do two very important things. The first, allow them to continue to gather evidence, subpoenas, additional documents and witnesses. Then they'll have the opportunity to potentially test their case before this group of up to 23 randomly selected people.

Now, the fact they convened this grand jury two years into the investigation does suggests that they believe they have some evidence of a crime.

Kate, the grand jury's work is done in secret. It's the prosecutors, the grand jurors and a court reporter. There's no defense represented, there's no public, and there's no journalists. So, in order to understand what's going on, we're relying on our

sources. We know from our sources that at the heart of this investigation are questions about whether the Trump organization may have lied about its assets, questions about whether they went to banks and lied about how much money they had, saying they had more than they did to secure loans and whether they told the government they had less than they actually did so they didn't have to pay as much in taxes.

The crime that that could potentially suggest, fraud. But fraud is difficult to prove. You're going to need documents. You're going to need witnesses.

The former president doesn't email, doesn't text. The man does not leave much of a paper trail which is why witnesses are so key.

And one witness that's going to be especially important if he is willing to cooperate will be the Trump Organization's longtime CFO, Allen Weisselberg. At this point, there's no guarantee the former president or anyone else will be charged.


BOLDUAN: Paula, thanks. Appreciate it.

So what all does this mean?

Joining me right now is CNN legal analyst Jennifer Rodgers. She's a former federal prosecutor and CNN's chief political correspondent and co-host of "STATE OF THE UNION", Dana Bash.

Jennifer, why is -- Paula laid out really some important detail of what we know and what we're hearing from sources. Why is a grand jury special?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's special because it's not a regular grand jury as the other kind is called, which just sits for one month. That kind of grand jury tends to hear your run-of-the- mill cases that don't take as much time to develop. It's important because it's another step towards charging. You know, we heard last week that the attorney general has joined forces with the D.A. which suggests to me that the A.G. is bringing meaningful evidence to the table that suggests criminal activity.

And this is another step forward that they have to take in order to charge Trump or the organization or any of the other executives. And, you know, they just wouldn't do it if they didn't think they have enough to charge someone. I'm not saying it's going to be Donald Trump. But they wouldn't go through this effort unless they believe they were going to ask for an indictment of someone. And so, that's why it's so important at this point.

BOLDUAN: And, Dana, Paula mentioned Allen Weisselberg, who's been the major focus on all of this, the top financial officer of the Trump Organization.

Let me play for everybody, once again, what his former daughter-in-law told Erin Burnett recently. This daughter, former daughter-in-law is now cooperating with prosecutors.


JENNIFER WEISSELBERG, FORMER DAUGHTER-IN-LAW OF ALLEN WEISSELBERG: Donald Trump and the Trump Organization are one in the same. Allen and Donald may look different, but they are not different inside. There's no difference. The power that they've been -- they were handed --

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, "OUTFRONT": Will Allen Weisselberg flip on Trump?



BOLDUAN: They talk about Allen Weisselberg and why he is so key. I wonder how concerned -- how much -- you know, how close he is. What's your reporting on how close Allen is? What all he knows, Dana, and how much trouble he could mean?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he knows everything. You know, just listen to that sound bite from his former daughter in law, and every bit of reporting that anybody who has, you know, even covered Donald Trump now as a former president, before as a politician and even before that as a private businessman knows the intractable relationship that Weisselberg had with Donald Trump, Donald Trump's father, Fred Trump, and the whole Trump Organization.

Politically, just in terms of Trump as a person, people around him are very, very worried. As Jen said, not necessarily because they think that this step means that he's going to be indicted, but because it means somebody in his orbit could be. Could be indicted to press charges, it could be indicted to put the squeeze on in order to get more information that could potentially hurt the former president and his family, his corporation even more.

BOLDUAN: Jennifer, what is the timing of all of this? I mean, what are the options of what happens now?

RODGERS: We're hearing from reporting, including from CNN's Kara Scannell, that sources are saying timing is late summer. And that makes sense to me. It's not going to happen before then, because it does take a lot of time to put all the relevant evidence in the grand jury. Hearsay is not allowed in the grand jury. So, every single witness, every single piece of paper and document has to be put in, so that takes time.

So, I think we're talking about a matter of months. I mean, Cy Vance is leaving after this year. I do believe as much time has been spent and effort put into this investigation and his knowledge of it, he'll want to make that decision. He won't leave it to his predecessor who starts at the beginning of 2022. So, I think we're thinking somewhere in the next few months, certainly by the end of this calendar year.

BOLDUAN: All right. Both of you, thank you. Dana. Really appreciate it. Jennifer, appreciate it. Thank you so much. So, we are continuing to watch this developing situation in San Jose of a shooting in that city at a maintenance rail yard. There are reports of fatalities from this shooting incident. The sheriff does say, I'm hearing, that the threat is over, but there is a whole lot of questions of what exactly that means. Sounds like another tragic day is unfolding in America once again of gun violence.

We'll get back to the scene and back to the breaking news after a quick break.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BOLDUAN: All right. We are continuing to follow the breaking news out of San Jose, California. Details very thin right now, but it is an unfolding situation.

Police are responding, have been responding to an active shooter situation at a rail yard. You're looking at video from moments ago. There's been a very big police presence.

There are reports now of fatalities that are coming in. How many, that is very unclear at this moment.

Let me go right now to CNN's Josh Campbell. He's been tracking all the details that have been coming in.

As happens, Josh, it is slow to come in because they need to be careful and it has been unfolding. What is the very latest that you're hearing?

CAMPBELL: Yeah, that's right. We expect to hear more from authorities in about 11 minutes at a press conference. What we're hearing is sadly, according to the "San Jose Mercury" news, there have been fatalities in the shooting near this valley transportation authority light rail yard.

We're told by the mayor that multiple people are being treated, in his words. We also know from the Santa Clara County sheriff's department that the shooter is, in their words, down. We don't know if he's deceased -- if he or she is deceased or injured. We don't know if this person was fired upon by law enforcement or possibly, you know, some type of a self-inflicted gunshot wound here. We don't yet know all of that.

But we're hearing the suspect is down which tells us they don't think there's a lingering threat from this person. Again, we're hoping for additional details in just about ten minutes' time from authorities. This incident occurring this morning resulting in this large police presence. Businesses and areas in around there going into lockdown to include a middle school that's nearby.

So, obviously, authorities and people are taking this very seriously. But again, the top line there for us. Sadly, we're hearing there have been deaths according to the "San Jose Mercury" news. We're hearing the shooter is no longer a threat according to the sheriff.

BOLDUAN: We're going t learn more in 10 minutes time. Josh is sticking here with us.

Let me also bring in Anthony Barksdale, as well as Andrew McCabe, kind enough to jump on with us.

Unfortunately, Andy, we're back on talking about another tragedy that is unfolding in America. You see this, and what are the questions you have in this moment?

ANDY MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, you know, Kate, I was thinking the same thing. Your viewers are probably as capable of commenting on these incidents as we are now. The scenes we're seeing from the video feed are very, very familiar. You see a very large law enforcement response to the scene which I should remind you could be folks who were summoned there to help out, tactical teams, those sort of assets.

But it also usually includes a lot of officers who just self-deploy to the scene. Each of these mass shootings typically provokes a massive response from law enforcement of all stripes. That might account for the number of vehicles you're seeing there on the video. The understanding that we have fatalities, but that the shooter may have been neutralized in one way or another also I think explains why you're seeing what appears from the video to be somewhat of a lack of urgency.

People are standing around, certainly talking, briefing others on the status, no doubt. But you don't see tactical teams flooding into the building with guns raised in an effort to neutralize the threat. So, I think that's a good indication as well.


Anthony, though, this seems like a very big response. There are a lot of officers on the scene.

BARKSDALE: I don't have an issue with that. It's a large area, and you have to deploy your resources effectively in this situation. When you're dealing with a large building, a large area, you have to be methodical. You don't want to put your officers, put citizens in danger by just sweeping past.

So I know it looks like a lot. It may even look like an over-response to some, but you want those resources at your disposal to protect and prevent lives -- the loss of lives. So, it's okay, and today, it's over for now from our understanding, but we are seeing this far too much.

BOLDUAN: Far too much.

Anthony, when a sheriff tweets out shooter is down, what's that going to tell you? He or she is dead? BARKSDALE: I would definitely say the shooter is incapacitated. I

would wait for a ruling that the shooter -- the condition of the shooter. But to me that means the shooter either with self-inflicted wounds or officers have engaged and incapacitated the shooter.

I do want to say one thing. In situations like this, this is where police officers need military grade equipment, whether it'd be the rifles that they use or ballistic shields or even bullet-resistant vehicles.

This is a prime example of how these active shooter situations demand that the right tools are there and available for your police officers.

BOLDUAN: Andy, while we're waiting for more details -- again, we'll bring you the press conference when it happens live. What Anthony is bringing up is the struggle when we talk about law enforcement and police reform in America, right?

As Anthony is saying, they need everything at their disposal when they're running towards danger and they don't know what they're getting into. But the we juxtapose that in completely different situations, but it is it's all part of the conversation about diverting resources from police departments in order to serve communities and put money towards communities in a different way. It's just all part of the conversation now.

Look, we don't have details about this. You and I are exhausted and saddened that we continue to see images of ambulances sit -- ambulances sitting there in an unfolding situation. We see it too many times. I'm going to go back to, as I'm looking down at just the reports from this weekend, this could, again, be in ten minutes, another mass shooting in America.

There were at least 12 mass shootings in America between Friday and Sunday.


Every day this is happening, and people are just going to work.

MCCABE: That's exactly right. And I -- to put those numbers in context, we've become so numb to this wave of gun violence. Let's put those numbers in context. Where are the numbers that show how many mass shootings they had in Canada or the United Kingdom or France over last weekend?

I would be pretty confident in saying that there weren't any numbers, or if there were, they were far less than what we experience here in the United States. We are in the middle of an unprecedented wave of gun violence. It is a wave of violence that none of our similar western democracies experience, and we have to start confronting the reasons behind why so many American citizens die at the hands of other citizens in incidents like these mass shootings, or even just the normal day-to-day violence that we experience in many of our cities and rural areas. We continue to sweep this issue under the rug, and it just gets worse every day. And if I could add one thing to what Anthony said, I absolutely agree

that police need the sort of tools they have to respond to these sort of mass shooting incidents as one of the primary findings that we came up after studying incidents like Columbine and Virginia Tech to deploy these sorts of high-powered rifles for this purpose, so that police would have the tools they need to respond.

But there is a valid conversation around whether or not those tools need to be deployed to things like, you know, civil unrest --


MCCABE: -- and First Amendment protest activity. There are ways to parse through these issues intelligently. And hopefully these are the conversations we're having now.

BOLDUAN: There is an intelligent conversation to be had. Those conversations largely are not being had. You can't ignore it anymore, you guys. It's happening every day.

San Jose, California, is now the site of another tragic shooting because now we're getting reports of fatalities. We do not know how many. We will be learning a lot more hopefully very soon as they will be holding a press conference.

The sheriff's department tweets out: the shooter is down. How much damage was done, how many lives were taken -- I'm afraid to say we don't know but will soon find out. We'll bring this to you. We're going to continue to follow.

Andy McCabe is with me. Anthony Barksdale is with me. Josh Campbell is watching this as well. We have crews headed to the scene.

Another tragic day in America unfolding before our eyes. We'll be right back.