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At This Hour

Testimony By Top Fox Hosts, Execs Sought In Defamation Trial; Police: Shooter Legally Bought Seven Guns Despite "Emotional Disorder"; Now: Lawmakers Grilling Regulators Over Banks Collapses. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired March 29, 2023 - 11:30   ET



PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg during an exclusive interview I did with him earlier this month. And he said that the need is to find a cause here, but that this might just simply be a contributing factor. Listen.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: It would be one thing if we found a certain piece of technology in the cockpit, or a certain control tower where there were -- there were a lot of issues. But instead, what we're finding is that pilots, ground crews, and controllers alike seem to be experiencing this uptick. Some have described it as a kind of rust, but that needs to turn into a very concrete diagnosis and specific action steps. We're not going to wait for something worse to happen to act now.


MUNTEAN: The other issue here Nolan said in this closed-door FAA meeting is the increase in retirements that also led to matriculation, more people rising up through the ranks quicker among pilots and among air traffic controllers a bit of a brain drain, is something we discussed during that primetime special earlier this month. Of course, this might not be as simple as one cause. All six of these incidents are very different and they're all under investigation by the NTSB. It may take a year or more, Amara, for them to find an exact cause.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Pete Muntean, thank you for that.

Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham. Those are just some of the popular Fox News hosts that Dominion Voting wants to testify in the billion-dollar defamation case against the right-wing media outlet. CNN's Oliver Darcy Joining us now with more. Oliver, Fox is likely to push back on some of the names on the witness wish list, right? What more do we know?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: This is shaping up to be one of the most extraordinary media trials in modern American history. You could have some of the biggest names over at Fox News take the stand in a potential trial later -- in a couple -- in a few weeks, in just -- in April. And that those include people like Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott, President Jay Wallace, then the hosts like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Maria Bartiromo, Laura Ingraham, Bret Baier, a lot of potentially big figures testifying at a potential trial in just a few weeks.

Now, the judge has not granted -- he has not waited on the witness list that Dominion has submitted to the court. So, there's still -- there are still some things up in the air. Rupert Murdoch, of course, Dominion wants to have him testify. And the judge has indicated in that case, at least, that he might compel him to testify. He's not really being moved by some of Fox's arguments to prevent a potential testimony from him in the trial yesterday in a court hearing -- a virtual court hearing.

He had rejected some of those arguments saying that, you know, the 92- year-old is -- been traveling, he was at the Super Bowl recently, for instance, he has indicated he is -- looks forward to traveling between his various residences across the world. And so, it's likely or potentially likely that the judge could compel Murdoch to testify in this case, but you're expected to see if this does go to trial, some of the biggest names in right-wing media being taken to stand.

WALKER: Oliver Darcy, thank you for your reporting as always.

And ahead. We are going -- I will speak to the Nashville Police Chief, John Drake, about the tragic shooting in a city and the investigation into the shooter. That is after a quick break. Stay with us.



WALKER: Now, let's get back to our top story. The investigation into the mass shooting at a private elementary school in Nashville. Police have revealed that the shooter, 28-year-old Audrey Hale had been able to purchase seven firearms legally. This, even though the shooter was under a doctor's care for an emotional disorder. We also know Hale fired at the six victims indiscriminately. But an exact motive for the shooting remains unclear at this time.

Joining me now is Nashville Police Chief John Drake. Chief, really appreciate you joining us this morning. First off, look. You're human. You are a native of Nashville. You've been with the police department for 35 years. How are you holding up? How have the last few days been for you?

JOHN DRAKE, CHIEF, NASHVILLE POLICE: It's been very trying for me. I -- you know I've done this for 35 years, as you said and I have trained and we've trained and we prepare, but you'd never want to see this day happen. And when it did, it's just been exhausting.

In the last couple of days, I've had maybe three or four hours of sleep. My heart and prayers keep going to the families of the victims, to the people of Nashville, and to the people of this nation to have to deal with another one of these incidents. It's been -- it's been tough just trying to -- trying to get some sleep. Hopefully, that happened soon and sooner. WALKER: Yes, I do hope you get some rest, Chief. Have you had a chance to speak to some of the victims' family members? And if so, can you give us a glimpse into what those conversations have sounded like?

DRAKE: So, the list of the victims' families is on my desk. I was going to call yesterday, but we decided that to give them one more day if they were still processing and picking up some of the victims to take to prepare for services, and so, I feel today would be the best opportunity to at least try to say something to them. But I'm looking forward to just hearing what they have to say, offering whatever we can do, and just let them know that our hearts and prayers are with them.


WALKER: I'm sure they understand that you've been quite busy with this investigation. Chief, you have said the school itself -- or the church itself was targeted, although the shooting may have been more indiscriminate. You did say that there may have been some resentment that the shooter felt. Can you specify or can you characterize that at all? Do you know if the shooter had a specific grievance against the school?

DRAKE: Yes. So, what we know is the suspect actually went to that school. And as I said once before that there may be some resentment. But we haven't been able to confirm that. That was just the initial conversation from one of the detectives trying to ascertain information.

But what I can say is we're investigating a criminal act committed by -- a horrendous criminal act committed by a criminal who took six innocent lives. We know that person went to that school and was still very much in the deep phases of investigation to try to determine as much as we can.

WALKER: And are you -- as a part of this investigation, are you speaking to previous employees or past teachers from the Covenant School? I asked Because, you know, we wonder if something bad may have happened to Audrey Hale while the shooter was a student there.

DRAKE: Yes. So, we talked to the school. We have some of our executive staff meeting with the school. Though I met with the school this morning, we met with the parents, and as of right now, we don't have any indication there was any problems at the -- at the school or at home. Of course, she was 28 years old and still living at home with her parents. But we can't confirm any type of problems at this time.

WALKER: Sure. What about this emotional disorder that you referenced yesterday in the news conference? Is there anything more you can tell us about what the parents said regarding the shooter's emotional stability or instability?

DRAKE: So, what we know is that the suspect was under doctor's care for an emotional disorder of some type. The parents felt like she should not own any weapons. She did have one weapon that they incur -- encouraged her to sell, which she did, so they thought she didn't have anymore.

But with the campaign under the care of a doctor, we didn't have any more information other than that was it. Law enforcement was never contacted. She was never committed to an institution. So, that's basically -- that's where we're at right now. And we're still delving into that as well.

WALKER: You know, six or seven firearms are a lot of weapons to be hiding inside a home that one shares you know, with his or her parents. When you spoke with the parents of Audrey Hale, did you have any reason to doubt that they truly did not know that there were more weapons inside that home?

DRAKE: So, I detect this met with the parents and they feel very strongly that they did not know they had more weapons in the house. In fact, as she left to commit this horrendous act, she left with what we were told was a red bag. The mom confronted her about what was in the bag and she just kind of played it off, hey, you know, you're just being mom, everything's OK, something to that nature. No quote on that. But -- and so, she left with this bag. She never looked inside.

I firmly believe from what the detectives have said that the parents felt like there was one weapon in the house, and she sold it and she didn't have anymore. Until we can find out differently, we have to go with it. And they felt pretty strongly about that.

WALKER: You referred to us several times, Chief, to this manifesto, you know that it showed that this was meticulously planned, the maps of the school, details about how this mass murder would play out. Typically, a manifesto will, you know, declare in writing intentions or a motive, anything more you can tell us about what were in these writings?

DRAKE: So, not anymore, as far as what's been disclosed. Our detectives are looking at the manifesto. They're been -- in coordination with the FBI and the TBI and in combing through all of the documents, all of the writings, the maps -- the maps did have a display of entry into the school, a route that would be taken for whatever was going to be carried out.

And so, that's very much in the phases as well. There's quite a bit of writing to that. And so, we'll know more as we read more into that.


WALKER: When you say quite a bit, how many pages would you estimate?

DRAKE: I couldn't estimate the number of pages, but it's a -- it's a notebook.


DRAKE: Maybe it has 60 pages in it. I'm not sure how many of the pages are written on but I couldn't -- I couldn't give you a true estimate on that. WALKER: You got it. So, your investigators are still combing through that. This was mentioned yesterday in the news conference that I was at with you yesterday you know, regarding any warning signs could anything, had been done to prevent the shooter? We know in Tennessee, there are no red flags, which would red flag laws -- excuse me, which would help prevent or remove weapons, I should say anyone that is deemed a threat by a judge.

And in that news conference, Chief, you said that look, there's no law for that. You acknowledge that. But you said had it been reported that she was suicidal or that she was going to kill someone and it was made known to us and we would have tried to get those weapons.

With all due respect, it was reported though, right? I mean, we spoke with Averianna Patton here on CNN who said on the day of the shooting just minutes before, this woman got a message from Audrey Hale, a former middle school teammate -- basketball teammate, that she was going to die, that she was going to do something bad. She made several calls. I think one was to her share of a suicide prevention line. Do you think the ball was dropped there?

DRAKE: No, I don't think any ball was dropped. I'm aware that this person has said they contacted the sheriff and they contacted the Department of Communications. But what I can say is that the moment we got the call, we responded immediately to the scene. Officers pulled up, was taken gunfire, pull the gun out, went inside, did not wait. If their timeline was accurate, the actual call came in after the officer had already arrived on the scene. So, it plays no bearing on that.

And I know people are looking for something. But we had six people that were killed. We had heroic officers that went into harm's way to stop this. And we could have been talking about more tragedy than what we are. And so, I'd like to focus on we had a criminal act committed by a criminal, we have six innocent, beautiful lives that were taken, and we had officers that went in harm's way to stop this. And so, that's where I would like to stop that.

WALKER: Yes. Chief Drake, your officers were indeed heroic. And their actions were quick. I think once they arrived at the school, it took about four minutes to take the shooter down. We really appreciate your time, Chief John Drake. Thank you very much. And of course, you know, we are thinking of all of you and hope that we see some change moving forward. I appreciate your time, sir. Thank you.

DRAKE: Thank you. Thank you so much. Appreciate you having me on.

WALKER: We'll be right back.



WALKER: House lawmakers want to know what triggered two of the country's biggest bank collapses in years and how to keep it from happening again. U.S. financial regulators are testifying at this hour before the House Financial Services Committee on the dual falls of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. CNN's Matt Egan joining me now with more. Matt, any big surprises yet?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Amara, you know regulators are back in the hot seat today as lawmakers, they try to understand how these banks were able to fail. And you know so far, all the players are kind of falling into their familiar roles. Regulators, for the most part, they are blaming management. Progressives, they're pointing to deregulation. And some other lawmakers, you know, they're pointing the finger at regulators themselves.

Republican Pete Sessions from Texas, he urged regulators to take a tough look at them in a -- at themselves. Look in the mirror. Listen to this exchange between Sessions and Michael Barr from the Fed.


REP. PETE SESSIONS, (R-TX): I have heard none of you three accept real responsibility for your role in this endeavor. I think this is a wake- up call to all three of you. I hope it's a wake-up call to your organization.

MICHAEL BARR, VICE CHAIR FOR SUPERVISION, FEDERAL RESERVE: I agree with you. I think we need to take a good hard look inside at the Federal Reserve, at our supervision, at our regulation. I think we need to be humble about that. And I think we're going to be unflinching in our review about --

SESSIONS: Does that include your role?

BARR: Absolutely. Absolutely. And I'm here today to be accountable to you for that purpose.


EGAN: Now, Barr also said that anytime you have a bank failure like this, he said bank management clearly failed, supervisors failed and a regulatory system failed as well. Amara, he's basically saying that there was a perfect storm of forces that led to these bank collapses.

WALKER: And today, Matt, senators introduced this bipartisan bill to give federal regulators the power to claw back pay from executives of failed banks. Tell us more about that.

EGAN: Yes. This is all about trying to hold bank executives accountable.


This is a new bipartisan bill that was introduced by Democrats, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Republicans including Josh Hawley. And this legislation would require regulators to claw back some or all executive compensation from banks -- from bank executives in the five-year period leading up to a bank failure. Senator Elizabeth Warren, she summed up the sentiment best. She said, "Americans are sick and tired of fat-cat bankers paying themselves handsomely while risking other people's hard-earned money." WALKER: Yes, I think people on both sides of the aisle would agree with that statement. Matt Egan, I appreciate your time. Thank you for your reporting. And thank you for yours. I'm Amara Walker. "INSIDE POLITICS" starts after the break.