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At This Hour

5 Killed, Dozens Hurt In Shooting At Colorado LGBTQ Plus Bar; NYC Police Seek Man Who Is Attacking LGBTQ Plus Bar; Trump Faces New Special Counsel Over Classified Docs, Jan. 6. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 21, 2022 - 11:00   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: For sure, it's down like that very courageous when you're dealing with a country like Iran, Amanda Davis, enjoy the show out there. Thanks so much for joining us. And thanks so much to all of you for joining us today. I'm going to be watching the World Cup in a couple hours. I'm Jim Sciutto. AT THIS HOUR with Kate Bolduan starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone AT THIS HOUR, new information coming in about the mass shooting in Colorado Springs, including how heroes stopped the gunman from killing even more people, plus Republican Kevin McCarthy. He doesn't have the job as House Speaker quite yet. But some are already wondering how long you'll be able to hold on to the gavel. And a shakeup at Disney, a former CEO is back after he really just left, big questions now about the company's future. This is what we're watching AT THIS HOUR.

Thank you so much for being here everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Police in Colorado are crediting now the heroism of two nightclub patrons for bringing down the gunman, grabbing his gun, hitting him with it, and pinning him down until police arrived at the scene of the mass shooting at an LGBTQ plus bar. Sadly, at least five people were killed, 25 others hurt in this attack on the gay community in Colorado Springs. The club's owners describe the suspect as being heavily armed wearing a military style flak jacket when he entered the bar with quote unquote tremendous firepower is how they say it. This morning we are hearing more from the survivors and learning more about the victims. Rosa Flores is live in Colorado Springs with the very latest. She joins us now. Rosa, what are you hearing?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, I just got off the phone with a city and police PIO who say that the suspect, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich, is still in the hospital. He still has not been booked which also means charges have not been filed, but that the police are there with him AT THIS HOUR. Also just into CNN, two law enforcement sources telling my colleague Evan Perez, that according to the sources that Aldrich purchased both weapons that were recovered at the scene and describing those two weapons as an AR style rifle and handgun. And that the timing of the purchase of those weapons is unclear.

But here's an important point. There was a case linked to Aldrich from 2021, in June of 2021, when his mother called the police about a bomb threat calling that his son was in the home with homemade bombs, ammunition and also hand guns. Well police responded to the scene. And later and CNN and our investigative team was able to obtain some video that shows Aldrich walking outside of that home barefoot with his hands up in the air.

Well, according to these two law enforcement sources, that particular case would not have shown up in a background check because it was never adjudicated. The charges were never filed. And so Kate, one of the other big questions here is the motive. According to the district attorney, they are investigating this through the lens of a hate crime. And we're expecting to learn more in a press conference later today. We don't know the exact time of that press conference just yet. Kate?

BOLDUAN: So much more to learn about the investigation, but you're also learning more about the victims of this attack, Rosa?

FLORES: You know, we are. We're learning more about their final moments. We're also learning more about the individuals who were there witnessing this tragedy. Now authorities have not released the names of the victims. But we are learning because some of the family members are talking to the press. We know that one of the victims is Daniel Aston, his parents tend to telling "The Denver Post" that their son moved to Colorado Springs to be close to them.

Now this is a very tight knit community. Club Q, as many in this community have described was their safe haven, a safe haven that turned into a crime scene and so everybody knew everybody else. And Michael Anderson the bartender tells us a little bit about Daniel Aston, take a listen.


MICHAEL ANDERSON, BARTENDER, CLUB Q: I've know, Daniel Aston for a few years now. Most recently, he's always been a friend to me, but he was my supervisor at Club Q. He was the bar supervisor and he was the best supervisor anybody could have asked for. He made me want to come into work and he made me want to, you know, just be a part of the positive culture we were trying to create there. And he amazing person, he was a light in my life. And it's still surreal that we're even talking about him and past tense like this.


FLORES: And Kate think about that. We are days away from Thanksgiving and five chairs will be empty. Kate?


BOLDUAN: It's just so horrible and it's going to compound as the community learns more. Rosa, thank you so much for that.

Joining me now for more on this is Adrian Vasquez. He is the police chief in Colorado Springs. Chief, I know you've more than enough on your plate right now. Thank you so much for taking some time for us. Can you give us first the latest that you know about the numbers here? Does it remain five people killed, 25 people injured?

CHIEF ADRIAN VASQUEZ, COLORADO SPRINGS POLICE: Thank you for having me, Kate. So the latest numbers and I'll be getting a briefing to solidify because the numbers can be fluid, but five are deceased in this shooting. And we have multiple people up to 30 that will be injured. So I'm being a little cautious because injuries could range from being shot to maybe falling when trying to get out of the building. And we're trying to really solidify those numbers, but I believe we're going to carry of 25 or 30 that receive some sort of injury. And then we'll have others that are victims that were not injured, for example, having weapons pointed at him and those kinds of things. So we should have those numbers solidified fairly soon.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely, thank you for that Chief. We know the suspect was subdued by two people in the club, a pretty incredible act of bravery. What they did, were either of those people injured will take him down.

VASQUEZ: You're absolutely right, two absolute heroes. If not for them, I don't know how many other people would have been injured. One of them was injured in his in the hospital. I'm waiting for an update on him. But non-life threatening injuries is what I'm told. And I believe he is not in critical condition. And then the other individual was not injured. But they did an amazing job.

BOLDUAN: Rosa said that she just heard that the suspect is still obviously he's in custody, he's in the hospital still. Have you been able to or anyone been able to speak or interview the suspect yet?

VASQUEZ: We have made attempts to interview the suspect in his case, I do not believe that he made any statements. And then now at this point, we're just waiting on doctor's release for us to be able to book him into our jail.

BOLDUAN: The way I saw described in some of the reporting is that he's not been cooperative in interviews with investigators. Is that how you would you would describe it as accurate?

VASQUEZ: I haven't heard that he has not been cooperative, just simply that he is has determined not to speak to investigators.

BOLDUAN: We've seen the reports that the suspect was arrested in 2021, after allegedly threatening his mother with a homemade bomb and she had reported to police. Back then, is she cooperating with law enforcement?

VASQUEZ: So she has not been cooperative with law enforcement. And, you know, we did, of course attempt to interview her but we're not able to do that.

BOLDUAN: If she is not cooperative, are there other -- are there next steps in trying to convince her to assist in this she would be key and trying to understand the state of mind of this man?

VASQUEZ: Well, she would -- we would certainly welcome at an interview with her at any time. But there's also additional interviews, whether it be other family members, friends, people that you, the suspect, as well as other types of investigative resources that we have available to us that are being pursued by our detectives. So I feel like we're probably doing really well in those other areas. And I think it'd be very helpful for us to continue down those paths.

BOLDUAN: That's very interesting. The mayor this morning, described the suspect as extremely well-armed, what kinds of guns, how many? How much ammunition did he have? Can you give us a picture of that?

VASQUEZ: So we know that he had a long gun, an AR style weapon. And that was the main weapon that he did utilize during this shooting. He additionally had a second hand gun. I haven't been briefed yet on the very specific type of handgun, but we know it was a handgun. And I should have those facts later on today, also.

BOLDUAN: Anything you can tell us about a social media footprint, that's obviously key in trying to understand motive.

VASQUEZ: Absolutely, so not a lot I can say there. However, it is one of the investigative techniques that our detectives are going down. And you're absolutely right. Oftentimes, social media or other types of digital footprints are very important in these types of investigations. And so we're pursuing those, and they really are key, oftentimes and us determining I know, in this particular case, we want to know if this was a bias motivated crime. And so those types of investigative tools will often help us greatly determine whether that's true or not.

BOLDUAN: We can expect charges to be filed. Do you know if charges have been filed yet against the suspect?

VASQUEZ: They have not at this point in time. Right now, we're waiting for the release of the suspect from the hospital. We'll get him down to our criminal justice center in those files. Those charges should be filed relatively soon after that.


BOLDUAN: And finally really quickly I mean this has shaken your community so much, Chief, this is another hit to the broader to the gay community at large, are LGBTQ plus people safe in Colorado Springs?

VASQUEZ: You know, I believe that they are. And we have, you know, great outreach to those communities. And I want them to know, I mean, in this particular case, the Club Q was truly a safe haven for them. And I want them to feel like Colorado Springs, which is an absolutely beautiful city is a safe place to live. Unfortunately, this doesn't speak to that. This evil act does not speak to that. But we, the police department are here for them. And we'll do everything in standing by them to make them feel safe again.

BOLDUAN: Chief, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate your candor and the information you brought to us today.

VASQUEZ: Thank you, Kate. I appreciate it. BOLDUAN: Thank you very much. And he will be joining in that press conference. We will be tracking later today but much information that the police chief just gave us right there. I do want to turn now to this though. What you're looking at on your screen is This is police in New York are looking for this man, you saw throw that brick and then run away he's seen throwing the brick at a window of an LGBTQ plus bar in New York City. It is the third time this same bar has had its windows smashed in the last week. These are pictures of the aftermath we're going to show you of one of the attacks at the bar, this one from Tuesday.

And police are now stepping up patrols around the city in light of these incidents. Athena Jones is live in New York's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood for us with more on this. Athena, have police identify this person that we see in this video that they're looking for?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kate. And so far, no police have not yet identified or detain this person. We did see some detectives here earlier, taking pictures of the damage can see in the distance behind me, the shattered a window. But this is you mentioned Hell's Kitchen is a neighbor, a vibrant neighborhood home to a lot of gay bars and clubs. And the owners here wanted to open this bar they just did so last summer as a safe space.

They're invested in shatterproof glass, which means that even though this point this bar has been attacked four times in the last month, three of them in the last week, no one has been damaged. I should point out a CNN colleague was at the bar last Tuesday when it was -- when a man threw a brick or someone threw a brick through the window. He said everyone in the bar hit the ground. They thought it wasn't gunfire. So there's a lot of concern. And people are people's concerns are heightened, that their fears are heightened in this neighborhood. I'm joined here by near city councilman Eric Boucher, who is also -- who's also part of this community and who represents this district. Tell me what the fears are here, what people are telling you?

ERIK BOTTCHER (D), NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL: There is a lot of fear and trepidation, right? Especially given what happened in Colorado over the weekend, the horrible crime in Colorado. And there's a lot of anger right now. But I'll tell you what, if people are resolute, then they're not going to be cowed. We are not going to be cowed and intimidated. We are not going to stay home, this bar was packed last night. And we're going to stand up for our rights and for our right to exist.

JONES: And we don't know yet know the motive of the incident here. But of course, given the environment, the gay community has often felt under attack. And increasingly so when recently or years, we saw that huge mass shootings in Orlando in 2016, and Pulse nightclub. Now this happening in Colorado, the owners here and you want to see more police presence in this neighborhood. Tell me more about that.

BOTTCHER: So the NYPD has committed to giving additional presence outside of our venues just like they did after the Pulse shooting five years ago. But we want the people who did this to be brought to justice the person who has been targeting this bar, and the PD has devoted resources from the Hate Crimes Task Force. We want to ensure that this person is brought to justice because people need to know if they commit these crimes, they will be brought to justice.

JONES: Thank you.

BOTTCHER: Thank you.

JONES: So the bar owners, the community wants to see this person brought to justice and to make sure this doesn't happen again, at a period where the LGBTQ plus community already feels very much under attack. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Athena, thank you so much for bringing that to us. I really appreciate it.


Well, Kevin McCarthy, he is preparing to be the next Speaker of the House, so why then is one Republican predicting McCarthy isn't going to last very long. That is next.


BOLDUAN: We're just weeks now from Republicans retaking control of the House of Representatives and Democrats retaining control in the Senate. Lawmakers though on both sides of the aisle are bracing for new gridlock and a crush of investigations when the new Congress begins on January 3rd. Melanie Zanona is live in Washington, tracking this for us. And Melanie in the midst of all of the preparation for the next session, Kevin McCarthy is facing some new questions about his hopes of becoming speaker. What are you learning?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, Kevin McCarthy is going to have a lot of work to do between now and January when the speaker's vote is on the House floor. As you might remember, 31 Republicans voted against him in the internal GOP leadership elections last week. And since then, there have been two Republicans who have come out and put themselves in the never Kevin camp, meaning they're not going to vote from him, no matter what.

That includes Matt Gaetz and Andy Biggs. And then there's two other Republicans who are signaling they are likely to vote no. That includes Bob Good and Matt Rosendale, all members of the Freedom Caucus. Now we don't know the margins just yet, but it is likely that McCarthy is only going to be able to afford to lose maybe four members, maybe less, maybe one or two more. And so he is going to have to work to win over the rest of those holdouts.

But the risk there is that some of these deals could weaken his own power, weaken his own speakership. It can also turn off moderate who were going to have an equal amount of say in this whole process. Listen to Congressman Adam Kinzinger's take in all this.


[11:20:06] REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): I think he has cut so many deals with bad people to get to this position that I think he's not going to be a leader at all. I think he'll be completely hostage to kind of the extreme wings of the Republican Party. And I frankly, don't think he's going to last very long.


ZANONA: Now, it's already going to be extremely difficult to govern in a razor thin majority. So the question for McCarthy becomes, how far is he willing to go to become speaker, Kate?

BOLDUAN: We'll find out soon enough. It's good to see Melanie. Thank you.

So now to a strange case, I guess you could call it a deja vu in Washington. Donald Trump is running for president again, he's back on Twitter again. And also once again, a special counsels investigating him, this time for his handling of classified documents and the alleged role he and those close to him played in the January 6th attack on the Capitol. Evan presents tracking all of this for us. He joins us now. Evan, what is the latest here with the move to put in place a special counsel?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, the Attorney General said that it was in the interest of making sure that people could understand that this is an investigation that is being done without any partisanship and without, you know, independently within the Justice Department, given the fact that the former president announced last week that he is running for office against the Attorney General's boss, the President Biden, of course. And the reaction, of course, as you might expect from the former president is not good.

He thinks that this is a political stunt. And you're also getting some criticism from people on the left who believed that this could delay this investigation, the Justice Department tried to say that, you know, the fact that they're bringing in a special counsel doesn't mean that this is going to delay anything. The two leading teams that are running this investigation, the one dealing with classified documents from Mar-a-Lago and the January 6th investigation are already there. They're already well underway, and they're going to go under underneath Jack Smith's oversight.

I'll read you just a part of what Jack Smith said he put out a statement saying, I intend to conduct the assigned investigations, and any prosecutions that may result from them independently and in the best traditions of the Justice Department. The pace of the investigations will not pause or flag under my watch. We expect that he is going to be coming back from The Hague in the coming days, Kate, and he is going to be running this investigation for however long it takes.

BOLDUAN: It's good to see you Evan, thank you so much. Joining me now for more on this is CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers. So Jennifer, what do you -- what does the Special Counsel mean, in this circumstance? I know you've come around on this issue actually.

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I have you know what it means here is something it didn't mean, actually when Robert Mueller was doing it a few years ago, because now the president is not the president anymore, so he is chargeable. So it means that now you have two investigations, who are being taken over by a career prosecutor whose job it is to build cases and charge cases. And there's no obstacle to that in the way that there was when Robert Mueller was conducting his investigation.

So I think it moves, means that things will move swiftly. And that in fairly short order within the next couple of months, he'll be in a position Jack Smith will to decide whether at least the documents case will be charged.

BOLDUAN: Do you think this speed, it doesn't slow things down you think, does it speed it up?

RODGERS: I think it might I mean, it's hard to tell this. And this has been ongoing. They've had great folks in place working these cases already, which is why --

BOLDUAN: My gut reaction is oh, this slows things down. He's got to start over again.

RODGERS: Well, he certainly has to get up to speed. But see, I don't think either of the cases is ready to go, right? January 6th is definitely not they're putting people in the grand jury who were resisting their subpoenas for months and months. And even the documents case, there's an obstruction piece to it that Merrick Garland was emphasizing. That means they're probably not done with that either. Because there are some witnesses there, they're probably going to want to nail down. So you know, yes, he needs to get up to speed but I don't think they were ready to charge in the next couple of weeks anyway, which is why both of them have emphasized it was --

BOLDUAN: So with on the most basic level when it comes to these circumstances with a special counsel now taking over, what changes and what doesn't?

RODGERS: Well, the investigation as far as day to day work will continue as it was, but the boss is different now. So in terms of are we going to do a different investigative step, you know, he will be making those decisions. Then when it comes to the ultimate charging decision, he will make the charging decision and then he'll have to go to Garland and tell Garland what he wants to do. So, you know, the question is, is Garland going to overrule him or let him do what he wants to do?

BOLDUAN: You think this move makes it more likely than less that Donald Trump could face charges?

RODGERS: I think there are a few things I think some of the moves they've made in the past couple of months adding to amazing trailers from SDNY. The public evidence that we've seen makes it pretty likely because it's so strong on the documents case, but yes, I don't think Merrick Garland would appoint someone just to wind this down. I think he knows it's chargeable and that's why he wanted to put someone independent in and I don't think Jack Smith would take this job unless he intended to try to make this case. You know, that's what he does. Why is he going to immerse himself in this if he doesn't think it can be made?


BOLDUAN: That's really interesting. It's great to see you. Thank you.

RODGERS: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: All right, so Disney's board ousting its CEO and bringing back a longtime leader who had really just left, details on the shake up and what this stunner means for the company. That's next.