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At This Hour

Gunman Kills Three, Injures Five at Michigan State University; Pence to Fight Special Counsel Subpoena; Nikki Haley Enters 2024 Race; Senators Get Classified Briefing on Aerial Objects; Interview with Rep. Adam Schiff on Pence Dodge and Unidentified Balloons. Aired 11- 11:30a ET

Aired February 14, 2023 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everyone. AT THIS HOUR, chaos on another campus. Three students shot and killed at Michigan State University and five in critical condition this morning. Investigators trying to determine the gunman's motive.

Plus, Mike Pence is planning to fight the subpoena from the special counsel investigating Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

And it is official, Nikki Haley is running for president. Donald Trump has his first opponent.

This is what we are watching AT THIS HOUR.


BOLDUAN: Thank you so much for being here. I'm Kate Bolduan and we need to start in Michigan with the deadly mass shooting there. A gunman killed three students and five other students are in the hospital, fighting for their lives.

The terror last night for students and so many others, to run for their lives and hide for hours until an "all clear" given. And we are now hearing some of the accounts of the students who survived it all.


CLAIRE PAPOULIAS, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY SHOOTING SURVIVOR: He came through the back and he just started attacking people. And I will never forget the screams of my classmates. And they were really screaming in pain for help. I thought that I was going to die. I was so scared.


BOLDUAN: And this morning, official after official really was seen fighting back tears as they talked about the tragedy, about the victims. And now this community trying to work through it all. Shimon Prokupecz is here with the latest. What is the latest with the investigation?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The biggest question the motive here and police are trying to figure that out. They're going through search warrants and other evidence. They believe they have the weapon.

They know a lot about the gunman and have identified him. So they're working through his history. Certainly a troubled past here but the key here is the motive for authorities. Take a listen to them trying to figure that out.


INTERIM DEPUTY CHIEF CHRIS ROZMAN, MSU POLICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY: We had the same question last night and we have the same answer this morning: we have absolutely no idea what the motive was at this point.

We can confirm that the 43-year-old suspect had no affiliation to the university. He was not a student, faculty and staff, current or previous. So that's an unknown right now.


PROKUPECZ: The other thing that we have learned is that all of the victims here are students. Three of the dead and five remaining in the hospital with horrific injuries. So working on that and making sure that those five survive.

So the shooting occurs in two areas of the school, Berkey Hall and then the Union Hall, walking distance. So he goes from one area to the next and then leaves the campus.

Several hours later police find him. There was a tip from a citizen. It is so key here in what the police did, is releasing the picture of the suspect here so quickly. And really, when you think about the information, the constant flow of the information from authorities, I think it helped them to try to capture this gunman.

Obviously a lot of work left here for authorities, for the police as they are trying to work through the motive. But it is the victims' suffering going on on that campus and the community, what they'll be feeling here for a long time.

BOLDUAN: Great point, exactly right. Good to see you and thank you for doing that. We appreciate it.

Joining me now is Graham Diedrich, he's a graduate student at Michigan State.

Graham, thank you.

How are you doing this morning?

GRAHAM DIEDRICH, GRADUATE STUDENT, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY: I am still trying to process what is happening at my campus and in a community that I have lived in for my entire life.

You don't expect these things to happen to you until they do. I think that, while it was addressed previously, we don't understand the motive but we know the cause. There is an unregulated gun market in the country. And we have the solutions to address the issue and I just hope that politicians will.

BOLDUAN: Graham, it was a bit of a question last night and then we learned this morning that everyone who was wounded and everyone who was killed, they were all students.

When you learned that, how did it impact you?


DIEDRICH: Yes, learning that it was students who were attacked, it is just awful. This is a place of learning. It's a place where we come together to respect our differences. And the fact that this happens every day across the country, in K-12 schools and today at a university, it is just horrific.

BOLDUAN: So let's talk about what you experienced last night. You were in the library last night. And you barricaded yourself in a study room with a small group of people, is my understanding.

And we will show the folks some of the pictures that you sent us from when you were in the middle of it last night, as you were all in hours of uncertainty and fear.

When did you know that something was wrong?

What was it like being there?

DIEDRICH: Yes. You know, I work at the writing center at Michigan State so I was working with clients on a client letter, just a normal day. And then I started to notice people looking pretty worried, talking on their phones. And then I heard sirens.

I turned to a co-worker and they told me there's an active shooter situation and that's when we got the email from the university to run, hide and fight if we had to.

That is when we really decided to go into lockdown. So myself and a few others with me, we took heavy furniture from around the library and just essentially barricaded ourselves into a study room to make sure that we were safe. That lasted -- overall, that whole process was about five hours.

BOLDUAN: Your campus is essentially closed down now for a few days and classes are canceled until Monday I believe.

What are you going to do today?

DIEDRICH: It is a good question. I think I need time to reflect and process about what is happening. I think I was more in the moment last night and was not really thinking about the severity of what was going on. It was really more survival and making sure that those around me were safe as well.

But now when you come back to campus and you see the helicopters in the air and the police swarming the area, it feels like something bad happened here. And we need to ensure there is justice and accountability at every level and that this never happens again.

No one should have to go through what we all had to go through yesterday.

BOLDUAN: I'm really sorry that we had to meet under these circumstances, Graham. Thank you for coming on and speaking to us about it.

DIEDRICH: Yes, thank you for sharing our story.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Be well.

I want to turn to someone else who knows exactly what is going on here. Joining me now is Dr. Denny Martin, he is the chief medical officer of Sparrow Hospital in Lansing.

Thank you for your time. You said this morning that five of the students injured in the shooting and being treated, they are all at your hospital and being treated by your teams and cared for and they're all still in critical condition.

Can you give me any further detail, of course with the caveats of their privacy, the nature of the injuries, the surgeries that were required?

DR. DENNY MARTIN, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, SPARROW HOSPITAL, LANSING, MICHIGAN: Yes, the -- there are five individuals that were brought here last evening. Four of the five did require some immediate surgical intervention. Without going into the specifics of their injuries, I will say that it took a team of numerous anesthesiologists, trauma surgeons, general surgeons, cardiothoracic surgery and (INAUDIBLE) surgery team to handle the (INAUDIBLE) injury.

There was one individual whose wounds did not require immediate surgical intervention and was taken directly to the ICU. And they remain there (ph) (INAUDIBLE).

BOLDUAN: That list of specialists required is striking and is a statement in and of itself, Doctor.

Do you have sense of prognosis, of recovery for any of them yet or is it too early to tell how they will fare?

MARTIN: It is -- it's -- yes, it's (INAUDIBLE) occurred just about 15 hours ago. So the condition of all five is they are all under the care of trauma and the critical care teams here.

But there's varied conditions amongst the five of them. I would say (INAUDIBLE) more critical than others (INAUDIBLE). But again, it is quite early. It is quite early in their recovery from this event.

BOLDUAN: Yes, it is quite early.

At the press conference this morning, you became emotional when speaking about how your colleagues responded to the emergency.


BOLDUAN: All of the people that jumped in to help without question, reaching out to you to say, how can I help?

Doctors are human of course but doctors also see a lot of horrible things more often than most.

What is it about this that is hitting you so hard?

MARTIN: You know, just -- I think the proximity of the home. This is our community, a lot of people here have students on that campus. And it is -- we see it on the news reports but when it comes into your facility, it is very different and it becomes very real.

We all know it's a real thing occurring in the country more than any of us plus (INAUDIBLE) anymore but, yes, this one is home obviously for us. And you know, it has been a really tough three years for everybody in health care with the pandemic and coming off of it and events like this just occurring too frequently around the country.

And the resilience of health care has been tested. But time and time again, people respond. And it is not just the physicians and surgeons; it's nurses, it's all of the technical staff and the good folks in the lab.

I saw an American Red Cross family leaving this morning after I was here until the early morning hours. And it took everyone to come here and, like the first responders, so many people in health care run toward the emergency instead of away.

And so the resilience is amazing. We had dozens of people who just showed up and said, where can I help? It was a very proud moment for us.

Your humanity and your heart is what makes doctors and physicians and all health care workers, the nursing staff, everyone who was up last night all night, working together to try to help this community. Doctor, thank you so much for your time. And I know it is one small thing but please thank your entire staff from all of us watching this. It's a truly beautiful thing, seeing you all come together to help your community.

MARTIN: Thank you so much for the support.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

And we will have much more on this and the investigation and this community ahead.

And former vice president Pence is preparing to fight, fighting a subpoena from the special counsel investigating Trump's efforts to reverse his 2020 election lass. Mike Pence's legal rationale is coming up next.





BOLDUAN: Sources tell CNN that former vice president Mike Pence plans to fight a subpoena by the special counsel investigating Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Katelyn Polantz has the latest on this one.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, we are hearing he may make a novel and unprecedented argument in court when he goes to court. And that is that he wants to invoke the protection of Congress around him when the special counsel wants to question him before a grand jury around January 6th.

Potentially his conversations with president Trump what was happening when he was being pressured to block the election result. And the reason he wants to do this, because there is a part of the Constitution called the speech or debate clause, that allows members of Congress to block executive branch inquiries.

And at that time he was vice president but he was also the president of the Senate around January 6th and that is the legal route. But all of this is coming amid a political backdrop, where Mike Pence is going to be potentially running for president.

He has been speaking publicly about the conversations with Donald Trump and he wrote a book, he hasn't asked for everything but he does plan to be in Ohio tomorrow and address both this subpoena and the challenge.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Katelyn.

And now, this Nikki Haley is making it official. She is the first major declared Republican rival to Donald Trump. And she made the announcement in a video sent out this morning.



NIKKI HALEY, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. (voice-over): You should know this about me. I don't put up with bullies. And when you kick back, it hurts them more if you are wearing heels. I'm Nikki Haley and I'm running for president.


BOLDUAN: Kristen Holmes is in Washington tracking this.

She is running. What is the campaign event planned for tomorrow?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we have an official race on our hands. It is going to be a launch campaign in Charleston, South Carolina, where the campaign is going to be based.

And then Haley is going to be hitting the road, like the 2024 hopefuls do, visiting early states, Iowa and New Hampshire.

Clear from the video that one of the big arguments that she is going to be making in the race is that it's time for a new generation of leadership and not clear if it is aimed at Trump or Biden.

If she wins, she would have to go against Biden. But right now, the major rival is Trump, because he is the main GOP candidate. And if you remember, in 2016, Haley was critical of his announcement to run.


HOLMES: And then she joined his administration and then she was critical of him after January 6 and then she said she would not run for president in 2024 if he ran.

Obviously this is not the case so expect to hear about that from Trump and his surrogates. But it is an interesting dynamic that is going to unfold as we see the starting and the ramping-up of this Republican primary.

BOLDUAN: Your recounting of the twists in that relationship was masterful. Thank you for that.

So this morning, it has been busy on Capitol Hill, senators are getting a briefing on the three unidentified objects shot down by the U.S. military over the weekend.

So what is coming out of the Senate briefing?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it has been mixed reviews; politicized to a large degree. And some of the Republican senators are saying to the large part, they are not learning much new. Other senators are saying that they are confident with how it was handled by the Biden administration despite not more than they knew about the objects yesterday.

Pretty consistent from both Democrats and Republicans coming out of that briefing, they want to hear from President Biden directly. And they believe that he should address the American people directly about why these objects are deemed necessary to be shot out of the sky.

I want to note that John Kirby, the spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, did say that the leading theory among intel officials is that they were balloons likely for benign purposes and likely commercial. But this is what the lawmakers said about the need to hear from President Biden.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): The American people need and deserve to know more. That there is a need for greater transparency and more facts to the American people.

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Biden owes the American people an explanation. President Biden should speak on camera directly to the American people today.


BERTRAND: Now the White House has confirmed that President Biden has been directly engaged in this issue. And of course, he was the one who gave the orders to shoot down the objects. But the criticism and pressure for him address this himself is growing by the day, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Natasha.

And just before the air and before the show, I talked to Democratic congressman Adam Schiff. He is on the House Judiciary Committee and was the former chair of House Intelligence.


BOLDUAN: Let's start with the reporting that Mike Pence is going to be expected to fight this subpoena, that in his role as president of the Senate, he is shielded from testifying.

What is your reaction to that?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), MEMBER, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: It is a real cop-out by the former vice president and he did something similar when we sought for weeks and months for him to come to testify before the January 6th committee.

And he ultimately turned us down.

But nonetheless, put some of the information that we were interested in in his book so he could not tell it to Congress but he could put it in a book to make a profit.

Similarly here, I think he is using excuses for not wanting to testify, concerned that it might impact his presidential campaign adversely if he were to testify. But the public has a right to know and a need to know and he should cooperating, not resisting. Not a surprise but a profound disappointment in Mike Pence.

BOLDUAN: Constitutional experts are split on this but there seem to be some agreement that the constitutional argument here is stronger, the speech and debate clause is stronger than any claim of executive privilege in shielding him.

Do you see that?

SCHIFF: Honestly, there is nothing that precludes Mike Pence from testifying. The only legal question is, can he be compelled to testify? But from my point of view, the most profound question is why are you resisting, what are you hiding?

Why don't you come forward?

Why don't you do it voluntarily?

There's no obstacle and no speech and debate problem, no executive privilege problem. He could choose. And he is choosing not to cooperate and therefore the Justice Department has to litigate and perhaps he hopes it will take too much time and he can play the same game of rope-a-dope in the courts that Donald Trump played for years.

But there is nothing that precludes him from doing this. And I think the public need to know outweighs any other consideration.

As you mentioned, you tried to get him to speak to the January 6th committee to no avail.


BOLDUAN: I will play this for everyone when he said to CNN, far after the fact about why he refused. Let me play this.


MIKE PENCE (R), FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The very notion of a committee in Congress summoning a vice president to speak about deliberations that took place at the White House, I think, would violate that separation of powers.

And I think it would erode the dynamic of the office of president and vice president for many years to come.


BOLDUAN: He talks about it as the precedent that it sets.

Why didn't you take him to court?

What can the DOJ and do differently?

SCHIFF: Well, first of all, in terms of his excuse, former presidents, let alone former vice presidents, former presidents have voluntarily come before the Congress. So there is ample precedent for people doing their duty.

And Mike Pence sadly decided not to do his duty.

In terms of why we did didn't pursue the litigation, we would still be in court litigating. And the new Republican majority would move to dismiss the action. So again, nothing precluding him from coming to Congress and using the word "summon" to convey, well, this would be compelling the vice president to come in, yes. But only if he refused.

BOLDUAN: All right. Well, stand by to stand by on that one. I wanted to ask you about the series of the shootdowns of the unidentified airborne objects.

We heard a while ago that the leading theory coming from the White House -- and the White House said this, said this, this morning, the leading theory is that the three objects shot down over the weekend -- this is of course, after the Chinese spy balloon was brought down -- the following three were for -- the balloons were for quote-unquote "benign purposes."

If that is the leading theory from the White House, what does it say about this situation and where we find ourselves right now, Congressman?

SCHIFF: Well, first of all, we say the first appears to be the most serious in that it was not a weather balloon by China but a surveillance craft. And the administration appropriately shot it down but waited for a place not to harm the people on the ground because of the size of the object.

In terms of the other objects, I think what it says is there probably were any number of balloons or other objects flying over our airspace that could have potentially interfered with aircraft and may have had benign purposes.

But we have to do a better job in understanding technologies to discover these kinds of potential threats to our airspace and also when foreign actors are doing surveillance activities.

So I think we must do a better job of what is floating over the United States. I will say in the last Congress, in our Intelligence Authorization Act, we did include language to try to get the Pentagon to step up a unit to identify some of these unexplained aerial phenomenon (ph) and that came out of our work but, clearly, more needs to be done.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Congressman, thank you for your time.


Now coming up still for us, it is nothing short of a miracle. Rescuers are still finding survivors buried under the rubble. This is now eight days after that massive earthquake in Turkey. We will take you there next.