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At This Hour
New Video Shows Lawmakers Scrambling to Save The Capitol; Families Outraged After Jury Spares Life Of Parkland Killer. Aired 11- 11:30a ET
Aired October 14, 2022 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone. At This Hour, another day, another mass shooting in America, a teenager and an off-duty police officer among the dead in North Carolina. Donald Trump ignoring his subpoena from the January 6th Committee, so how will Congress and the Justice Department respond? An ominous warning that this year's flu season could be the worst in years. This is what we're watching At His Hour.
And thanks for being here. I'm Erica Hill in today for Kate Bolduan. We begin with a developing story in North Carolina where five people have been killed in a mass shooting in Raleigh. Police say a teenage boy and an off-duty police officer are among the victims. The shooting suspect according to authorities, a 15-year-old white male, he is in custody with life threatening injuries. I want to get straight to CNN's Ryan Young who's live in Raleigh, where officials briefed the media this morning. Ryan, good morning.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Erica. When you think about it, there's been so much going on just this morning alone. We had that news conference a little earlier. Now we moved to this location because we wanted to show you that this still remains an active crime scene as police are still trying to figure out exactly what happened here.
We're still waiting to hear what the motive could have been. But so many people are in shock about a 15-year-old being connected to this case. When you think about those gunshots being fired in a neighborhood just like this one, so many questions, so many left questions left unanswered. And then the idea that the governor said he can't believe this sort of violence has shown up in this community. Take a listen to what the governor had to say about an hour ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ROY COOPER (D-NC): No neighborhood, no parent, no child, no grandparent, no one should feel this fear in their communities, no one. As policymakers, we cannot and we will not turn away from what has happened here. We must be resolved to make changes and to succeed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: Erica, we want to show you the names of the victims, all five of them because obviously someone's still in the hospital at this point. You think about this community being in shock. You look at this neighborhood, it is a beautiful neighborhood. We've seen neighbors crying and holding hands obviously shocked by the violence that's hit here.
This all started around 5 o'clock yesterday. And it took several hours of a manhunt for police to be able to cordon off the suspect. And despite losing one of their own and another officer being shot, who's also been released from the hospital, you think about that pain that community is going through. And then to deal with this now with so many unanswered questions, we're digging down on this to try to figure out exactly what happens next, but so many unanswered questions at this point, Erica.
HILL: Yes, and yet another heartbreaking shooting in this country. Ryan, appreciate it. Thank you.
Turning now, to the insurrection investigation, Donald Trump is dismissing the revelations from yesterday's January 6th hearing, ignoring the House panel's extraordinary step of voting unanimously to subpoena the former president. CNN's Sara Murray is live in Washington with the very latest for us. Sara, good morning.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Well, there wasn't a lot of substance in the letter from Donald Trump, but you really do get a sense of his disdain for the Committee in that response. That, as you said, after the Committee took this extraordinary step of subpoenaing the former president for documents as well as testimony.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): The central cause of January 6th was one man, Donald Trump.
MURRAY (voice-over): The January 6th Select Committee focusing squarely on former President Donald Trump and its last hearing before the midterm elections and closing with an extraordinary move.
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Those in favor will say, aye.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aye.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aye.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aye.
MURRAY (voice-over): Unanimously voting to subpoena Trump for testimony in their ongoing probe.
CHENEY: We are obligated to seek answers directly from the man who set this all-in motion. MURRAY (voice-over): After members revealed new evidence showing Trump planned months before the 2020 election to try to stay in office, no matter the outcome.
CHENEY: President Trump had a premeditated plan to declare that the election was fraudulent and stolen before Election Day, before he knew the election results.
ROGER STONE, AMERICAN POLITICAL ASSISTANT: The key thing to do is to claim victory.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get right to the violence.
STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: If Biden is winning, Trump is going to be so crazy --.
MURRAY (voice-over): In the days after the election leading up to January 6th, Trump's own officials repeatedly tried to dispel the false claims of election fraud Trump continued to repeat.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: suitcases of ballots out from under a table, you all saw it in television, totally fraudulent.
RICHARD DONOGHUE, FORMER ACTING DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: There is no suitcase. The president kept fixating on the suitcase I supposedly had fraudulent ballots and that the suitcase was rolled out from under the table. And I said, no, sir, there is no suitcase.
WILLIAM BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: I told him that it was crazy stuff and they were wasting their time on that and was doing great grave disservice to the country.
MURRAY (voice-over): Using witness testimony to show Trump had privately admitted he lost the election.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was looking at the T.V. and he said, can you believe I lost to this effing guy.
CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE: He had said something to the effect of, I don't want people to know we lost Marc. This is embarrassing. Figure it out.
MURRAY (voice-over): The Committee also disclosed new documents received from the Secret Service detailing how officials knew about violent rhetoric days before January 6th. In a December 26th, e-mail a secret service field office related tip from the FBI that the Proud Boys plan to march into Washington, saying they --
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): They think that they will have a large enough group to march into D.C. armed and will outnumber the police so they can't be stopped. Their plan is to literally kill people. Please, please take this tip seriously and investigate further. MURRAY (voice-over): The Committee unveiled never before seen footage of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rushing to safety as protesters breached the Capitol.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We have got to get finish the proceedings or else they will have a complete victory.
MURRAY (voice-over): Anger and disbelief in the hours that followed, as Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer scrambled to get help to the Capitol.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): I'm going to call up the effing Secretary of DoD.
PELOSI: Oh my gosh, they just breaking windows, they're doing all kinds of, it's really that somebody, they said somebody was shot. It's just horrendous and all at the instigation of the President of the United States.
SCHUMER: Yes. Why don't you get the President to tell them to leave the Capitol, Mr. Attorney General, in and your law enforcement responsibility. A public statement they should all leave.
MURRAY (voice-over): Showing witnesses testify that at the same time Trump was in one place.
MOLLY MICHAEL, FORMER EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT: It's my understanding he was watching television.
MURRAY (voice-over): One question, the panel left unanswered whether recommendations for criminal referrals will be sent to the Department of Justice.
CHENEY: Our Committee may ultimately decide to make a series of criminal referrals to the Department of Justice. But we recognize that our role is not to make decisions regarding prosecution. A key element of this Committee's responsibility is to propose reforms to prevent January 6th from ever happening again.
MURRAY: Now members of this Committee have previously said they also wanted to speak to the former Vice President Mike Pence. When I spoke to the chairman of the Committee though after the hearing yesterday, they suggested, you know, we have enough information that Mike Pence did his job. He said instead they really want to talk to the former president because so many people who are around Donald Trump either refuse to speak to the Committee or invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
HILL: Sara Murray, appreciate it. Thank you.
Well, in Sara's piece you just saw some video of congressional leaders there scrambling to save the Capitol on January 6th, it was taken in a nearby military base where the top lawmakers were taken during that siege. CNN exclusively obtained an hour's worth of video that was not shown by the January 6th Committee. That video was taken by Pelosi's daughter who was a filmmaker. She was with her mother on that day. And in it, you see Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer pleading with Vice President Pence to stop the violence. Here's more of that moment.
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: (INAUDIBLE) I'm at the Capitol building. I'm literally standing with the chief of police of the U.S. Capitol Police, Steven Sund. He just informed me what you will hear through official channels, Paul Irving, your Sergeant-at-Arms, will inform you that their best information is that they believe that the House and the Senate will be able to reconvene in roughly an hour.
They also confirmed to me they have thousands of law enforcement. They're confident that they can secure the campus and that Pual Irving, Madame Speaker, is going to communicate to you because he's your, he's your point of contact on security in the House, that he'll explain to you the process for reentering but, but Steven has told me the chief of police, U.S. Capitol Police believe (INAUDIBLE) will be in a position, the members will be in a position to reconvene the House in roughly an hour.
SCHUMER: The Senate as well, Senate as well?
PELOSI: House and Senate?
PENCE: Yes, I just communicated, I'm going to give Senator Schumer a call unless he's on the phone.
SCHUMER: I'm here. I'm here Mr. Vice President.
PENCE: Yes, we just communicated the same over at the Senate. Leader, just consider this your, your, I'm just giving you a heads up. The Sergeant-at-Arms will give you the official but I, you know, I was very pleased to hear from the chief. He came over, he joined me here in the basement of the Capitol to inform me they think you'll be able to reconvene the Senate and Madame Speaker you'll be able to reconvene the House is roughly an hour.
SCHUMER: Good news.
PENCE: (INAUDIBLE) Sergeant-at-Arms will be in touch about the process for getting members back into the building (INAUDIBLE).
SCHUMER: Great, great. OK. Thank you.
PELOSI: Thank you very much, Mr. Vice President. I'll see you in an hour.
PENCE: (INAUDIBLE) if you didn't hear before Chuck (INAUDIBLE) they have thousands of law enforcement on the campus and they're confident they can secure the campus for reconvening, so.
PELOSI: Thank you very much, Mr. Vice President.
PENCE: I hope that's helpful. I'll let you talk through regular channels (INAUDIBLE).
PELOSI: Thank you. I look forward to see you in an hour too, thank you. Bye-bye.
HILL: Joining me now CNN legal analyst Paul Callan, he's a former New York City prosecutor, and CNN chief national affairs correspondent Jeff Zeleny. So there's a lot to get to. I actually want to go back to the letter that we got just a short time ago, Jeff, this letter from the former president, which really, I guess, is just replaying his greatest hits, if you read through it. It's a lengthy response. It does not directly address the subpoena. What do you see in this letter?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well look, the letter I mean, if you read it, it's a bit of a time warp. You may think it's in the, you know, the days and weeks after the November 2020 election, or in the month of December of that year. But in fact, it's not. I mean, we've learned so much from the Committee's work over the past year. We have learned so much information, you know, from the DOJ, you know, what the attorney general, other judges across the country have said there simply was not election fraud enough to overturn the election.
So the President, the former president, starts out in all caps said the election was stolen. It just simply isn't true. So he included some attachments of photos of crowds from that day. It's largely beside the point. The question is, is he going to comply with this subpoena or is he not? And I'm told there is part of him, he has told advisers that he believes throughout this whole process, the Committee, he's not had a chance to share his side of the story.
So part of him likely would want to testify. But of course, any lawyer would say that he should not testify. And you know, the bottom line is a 25 days until the midterm elections, the clock is running out here. So do not look for him to testify anytime soon. But that statement this morning was largely just things we've heard again and again.
HILL: Yes, it was his greatest hits playlist, a number of them, a number of lies in there and debunked election fraud claims. When we look at -- when we talk about the subpoena, Paul, I'm just curious, could it have potentially been more effective, if this ends up being some sort of a drawn out fight, which is possibility to first ask Donald Trump to appear before issuing the subpoena?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think if they had more time, that probably would have been a smart way to go if it were three or four months ago. But with the midterms coming up in three weeks, and possibly a Republican Congress being sworn in in January, they're dead out of time. So now if they want him, they've got to serve the subpoena. And they have to enforce it immediately. If he doesn't obey the subpoena, he has to be held in contempt by Congress, because you know that Trump will probably try to litigate it.
HILL: So we'll be watching for that. Meantime, I want to go back to this clip that we just played. So this is the moment we see. We see leadership, we see the Speaker. We see Senator Schumer on the phone. They're in conversations with Vice President Mike Pence, who is telling them what's happening. This is Mike Pence, who's been whisked away, of course to safety, doing his job, doing what needs to be done. Well, we know I mean, the juxtaposition there, Jeff, of what's happening in that moment versus what we're told the President was doing in that moment, which was sitting back and watching television, can you just weigh in on that for us?
ZELENY: It really is extraordinary seeing these images, really, for the first time from inside Fort McNair, you see adults, government officials, the leader of our country, you know, responding and doing their work, you know, the very warm conversation with Speaker Pelosi and Mike Pence. She asks, you know, if he's OK, she's concerned about his safety. And then he of course, calling back to say the Capitol will be cleared in an hour.
These are government officials doing their job. And the President was simply AWOL during those hours. We know that of course, during hours and hours of testimony from people who worked in the West Wing, allies of his, not his critics, allies of his that he simply did not do anything to try and stop the violence in real time there. So I think it's just extraordinary to show that much of the government was working. Mitch McConnell, John Thune, Chuck Grassley, the Republican senators, the top leadership, the Democrats, of course, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Steny Hoyer, you saw people trying to move the process forward and certify the election results. The President at the time was simply AWOL, not a part of any of this.
HILL: Well, the Committee was very clear in making its closing argument yesterday. They are putting Donald Trump at the center of this plot. Based on what has been presented, based on what we know. Again, Liz Cheney also made clear their job is not criminal charges as we know. But based on your experience is there enough evidence here that you see to bring any formal charges?
CALLAN: Well, I think technically there is enough to support an incitement charge, incitement to riot charge against him for the things he said in that speech, and also, his role and his aides' role in gathering this large crowd. I mean, ironically, this letter that the ex-president has sent today, 16 pages of delusional nonsense that has been debunked about election fraud, but he starts out by talking about the size of the crowd.
Well, that just indicates that he was aware of what he was dealing with. If the crowd was too big, as he says it is, all the more danger when you encourage them to march to Congress, while Congress is about to certify the presidential election. So I do think you could support an indictment on that charge. However, I think that it would be difficult to get a conviction. And that on appeal, you might have problems in sustaining a conviction on that particular charge. And prosecutors usually when they look at that situation, they don't go forward with the case. So I think in the end, he doesn't get indicted for that, but maybe on some of the other theories that Garland is investigating.
HILL: Paul Callan, Jeff Zeleny, always good to talk to you both. Thank you.
Two former Trump administration officials have been spotted at the federal courthouse for the grand jury investigating the insurrection meets. And a source tells CNN that Marc Short, the former chief of staff to Vice President Pence was compelled to testify yesterday. Now this was his second time in front of the grand jury. Short declined to comment as he left the courthouse. Trump advisor and former National Security aide, Kash Patel, was also seen in the area where the grand jury meets. Patel has peddled numerous false claims about the 2020 election.
Donald Trump also suffered another legal setback. The U.S. Supreme Court rejecting his request to intervene and litigation over documents seized from Mar-a-Lago. Trump wanted the court to allow a special master to review about 100 documents marked classified, a move that could have opened the door for his legal team to review those records and possibly argue they should be off limits to prosecutors in a potential criminal case. However, in a one sentence statement on Thursday, the Supreme Court denied that request.
Outrage after a jury spares the Parkland killer, the death penalty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY MONTALTO, FATHER OF MURDERED PARKLAND STUDENT GINA MONTALTO: Today's ruling was yet another gut punch for so many of us. And the monster that killed them gets to live another day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: That gentleman, a father, the father of Gina, among the 17 people killed at Parkland, he'll join me next.
HILL: New details of behind the scenes tension among the jury in the sentencing trial of Parkland killer Nikolas Cruz. The court will hold a hearing this afternoon to discuss reported threat against one juror during deliberations. On Thursday, the jury spared the shooter his life, a recommendation instead of the death penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The families of the 17 victims killed, many of them outraged by the decision.
Joining me now is Tony Montalto, his 14-year-old daughter, Gina, was murdered at Parkland. Mr. Montalto. Thank you for taking the time to join us today. I know this decision was not what you were hoping for. Sitting there in the courtroom, as you listened to this verdict, you listen to each count. You're hearing your daughter's name. What was that like for you in those moments?
MONTALTO: It was terrible to hear that the jury found a way to excuse the full measure of justice for someone who walked into a school, killed my beautiful 14-year-old daughter, Gina, 13 of her classmates and three of our teachers. How can we excuse someone for choosing to take the life of so many other individuals and attempt to take many more? In his own words, the only reason he stopped shooting was he ran out of people to shoot.
HILL: So many family members were also in Court yesterday. I'm wondering if you've had a chance without the cameras around to speak with one another privately to talk through this verdict together.
MONTALTO: We have the time to speak with one another, to speak with the state prosecution team. And quite frankly, it's just an unfathomable verdict. We look at the restrictions that were placed on our families in the courtroom by the head judge. We couldn't wear pins to represent our daughters, our sons, our organizations that we founded to remember them by.
During our victim impact statements, we are restricted by law about what we can say. And then in one of the ultimate insults, the law requires that the victim impact statements and not be considered by the jury. That is the only time when we can speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. How our laws in Florida allow that to be ignored is something that stand with Parkland which is formed by the families who had someone taken that day. It'll be something we should look at changing in the next legislative session.
HILL: As you look forward, as you look to that next work that you just mentioned, when we look at what happened with the jury here, and again, I know this wasn't the result that you wanted, the foreman said there was one hard, no, for the death penalty, two others eventually joined and they cited the gunman's mental state, at least one juror, as you've heard by now said they felt threatened by another juror. If you could sit down with these jurors, what would you want them to know?
MONTALTO: I would want them to place themselves in our shoes and look at the innocent victims. My beautiful daughter left our home for school on Valentine's Day. The other sons and daughters that left, left their loving homes, the teachers went to their jobs. And they failed to come home to our families because this admitted murder shows to take a weapon to school, shows Valentine's Day. And these are not facts that I'm making up. These are his own words that he used that were presented as evidence.
How could you ignore that kind of evidence? He planned this attack. They found that all the aggravators existed, yet they found some way to justify his actions to excuse it, that is unfathomable to me. As I said yesterday, we have to start looking at the facts. And we have to remember that facts need to be verified by a third party. We can't just say things and make them facts. That's called an opinion. Clearly, this juror had an opinion, and she ignored the facts. And as a country, we need to look at who victims really are. Victims are not the ones who perpetrate the crimes. Victims are the ones who are innocent, who are going about their daily lives, and then victimized by someone who's having a troubled time in their lives. That is inexcusable. We saw evidence put forth in the rebuttal phase, which quite frankly, wiped out the defense's case for anybody who had an open mind.
For somebody who had an agenda, for somebody who wasn't honest with themselves prior to participating on that jury, they had an easy way. But when we look at 17 murders, we look at another 17 wounded, we look at the stalking of the hallways. How can we justify that anything in that murderer's life justified the actions he took at that school?
HILL: Mr. Montalto, we're almost out of time. But I do want to give you a moment to just tell us about Gina if you would.
MONTALTO: Gina was our firstborn. She was bright. She was bubbly. She was kind and compassionate. Gina was a Girl Scout. She was active in our local church. She was on the color guard team at the high school. She truly loved life. And Gina unlike this mass murder, she knew right from wrong.
When she was faced with a decision to help a child who had fallen into a pool, she didn't need to be told to do the right thing. She knew, she walked over, she picked the child up, brought him to shore safely before his parents could even arrive. Gina was a lifesaver. The world is a poorer place without her.
HILL: Mr. Montalto I'm sorry that we are speaking under these circumstances. But again, we appreciate you taking the time to join us and thank you for sharing some more of your beautiful daughter with us. We'll be right back.
MONTALTO: Well, thank you.