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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Interview With Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton; Clinton Responds to Recent Fatal Shootings by Police; Five Police Officers Killed in Dallas. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired July 08, 2016 - 16:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jim Sciutto, in again today for Jake Tapper.

And here we are again, sadly, a fast-moving afternoon of news, the nation reeling, yet again, from gun violence. Any minute now, we expect to hear from Hillary Clinton.

The presumptive Democratic presidential candidate will give her first interview since this week's shootings and protests, now this ambush of police.

As we await that interview, we are learning new information on what was the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since 9/11, 15 years, five police officers hunted down and killed in an ambush in Dallas, seven others hurt as they tried to respond and protect what had been a peaceful protest.

Police have now identified the as Micah Xavier Johnson. He is a U.S. Army veteran killed by an explosive device delivered by a police robot during a long and dangerous standoff with police officers last night.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's four cops down.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he shot five, seven times.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it's a sniper from up here somewhere.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You better stop.



SCIUTTO: A sniper. Police say the gunman told negotiators that he wanted to kill white people, especially white police officers.

Aside from that, any minute, we expect the governor of Minnesota to address Wednesday's killing of Philando Castile, a black man shot and killed by a police officer, his fiancee saying he was trying to comply with that officer's order when he was killed.

And also right now, crowds across the country showing no fear and some unity, gathering in rallies, some in response to police shootings of black men this week in Louisiana, then in Minnesota. Crowds also gathering in Dallas right now, people joining together to remember those police officers who lost their lives in a night of horror, a deadly ambush in the streets.

CNN's Stephanie Elam, she joins me now live from Dallas.

Stephanie, we are learning more about how exactly these events unfolded last night.


If you were paying attention to what was happening last night, Jim, as this was unfolding, you could see the police were arresting other individuals. But, at this point, the consensus coming out of officials now is that they do believe that this shooter acted alone.


ELAM (through translator): A peaceful protest turning deadly as a sniper takes aim, the crowds running for cover, officers frantically trying to locate the shooter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a guy with a long rifle. We don't know where the hell he is at.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slow down. He's in the damn building right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Assist officer. Shots fired. Code three. Stay off the radio. Officer down.

ELAM: In the aftermath, five Dallas police officers are dead, seven more wounded, as well as two civilians, a horrific ambush-style attack against police.

DAVID BROWN, DALLAS POLICE CHIEF: This was a well-planned, well- thought-out, evil strategy by these suspects.

ELAM: Tonight, law enforcement officials have identified the killer as 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson, a former Army Reservist who was deployed to Afghanistan as a carpentry and masonry specialist and a self-described black militant.

Johnson lived here in this Dallas suburb with his mother, a neighbor telling CNN Johnson was more withdrawn after his time in the war zone. A friend, though, said Johnson did not seem depressed or suggest he was capable of such deadly extremes.

BROWN: He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.

ELAM: Police attempted to negotiate with the shooter, who told them he had bombs placed around the city. After those talks broke down, and additional gunfire was exchanged, police sent in an armed robot.

BROWN: We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was.

ELAM: It all started at what was a peaceful protest in downtown Dallas, one of many across the country, public outcry following police-involved shooting incidents in Baton Rouge and outside Minneapolis earlier in the week involving black men.

President Obama speaking about the shooting from his overseas trip in Poland, calling Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to offer condolences and support.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There has been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement. The police in Dallas were on duty doing their jobs, keeping people safe during peaceful protests.

ELAM: Most of the injured officers have been released from the hospital. Two civilians remain hospitalized.


And, Jim, just a piece of color from here in Dallas. We drove here overnight from Baton Rouge to get here. I saw a black DART police officer walk by three young men, who addressed the officer the officer and said, "Thank you, sir, for your service."

I mention that just because it shows a bit of humanity that hopefully will prevail after a very devastating week here in America -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: We should all be thanking law enforcement officers today. Stephanie Elam, thanks very much.

Until the moment when the sniper launched the horrific attacks on these officers, that demonstration in downtown Dallas was a passionate, but a peaceful one. Officers and protesters walked alongside one another calmly, happily without any trouble, smiling, even posing for pictures like these we're showing you here.

Let's bring in CNN correspondent Tom Foreman.

So, Tom, an amazing turn of events. A peaceful event, a sign of unity and it took this horrible turn. How did it happen? TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very quickly and unexpectedly is the


They had been together for quite some time. Things looked like they were going to go just fine. Then shortly after the sun set and darkness arose, everything erupted.


FOREMAN (voice-over): 7:00 p.m., protesters gather in a park and, under the watchful eyes of Dallas police, begin marching one-and-a- half miles through downtown. All is peaceful until almost 9:00. Then:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody is really armed to the teeth. This is not -- this is not one person.

FOREMAN: Near the towering Bank of America skyscraper, shots fill the air and chaos fills the streets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired. Code three. Stay off the radio. Officer down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a guy with a long rifle. We don't know where he's at.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go! Get back! Get back!

FOREMAN: How many shooters? Where are they? No one knows. By 9:40, three officers are reported down. By 10:30, the number is up to 10, with three dead. Police still think, as they did early on, they are dealing with more than one shooter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slow down. He's in the damn building right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know where he's at. He's in that building. We're hearing shots from that building.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One-sixty-nine, we have got to get (INAUDIBLE) down here now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, 169, get them here.

FOREMAN: 11:10, police exchange fire with the suspect in a nearby parking garage and corner him. Negotiations start -- 1:47 a.m., five officers are confirmed dead. A decision is made.

BROWN: We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was.

FOREMAN: Shortly after 3:00, police confirm the cornered gunman has been killed by the device. Though, it now appears he was alone, police remain uncertain.

BROWN: We still don't have a complete comfort level that we have all of the suspects.

FOREMAN: What they are certain of? A staggering number of fatalities, injuries and the peaceful protest turned to panic by unimaginable violence targeted Dallas' finest.


FOREMAN: They now believe it was really was just one shooter, but there are a million questions out here still to be answered, Jim.

Exactly where was he moving? How long did it take so long to figure out where he was and to get in on this guy and giving the sense that there were many people out there? And there is going to be discussion, it's already started a little bit, about this use of this robotic device.

It's really more correctly described as a remote device that was used this way. But people are going to ask questions about that. What role does that play? How will it fit into the future?

SCIUTTO: The first time we have seen that.

We are going to a break. And when we come back, we're going to have Hillary Clinton live with Wolf Blitzer. Please stay with us.



SCIUTTO: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

I want to get right to Wolf Blitzer. He's standing by with the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Jim, thanks very much.

Madam Secretary, thanks very much to you for joining us.

Let me start with the deadly police ambush in Dallas overnight, the deadliest day for police officers here in the United States since 9/11.

What would you do as president of the United States to prevent this from happening again?

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, first, Wolf, I have expressed my deep condolences and concerns to officials in Dallas and in the region there, including the county judge, the mayor, the police chief, because this is an absolutely horrific event.

I also want us to remember that, just 24 hours before, we had a killing, with the loss of life in Baton Rouge, in Minneapolis. And, right before talking with you, it appears we had an additional event in Tennessee.

This is deeply troubling. And it should worry every single American. You know, we have got to do much more to listen to one another, respect each other. We have got to do everything possible to, you know, support our police and support innocent Americans who have deadly encounters with the police.

This is a kind of call to action. And, as president, I would implement the very comprehensive set of proposals that I have been making for more than a year, including, we must do more to have national guidelines about the use of force by police, especially deadly force.

[16:15:16] We need to do more to look into implicit bias and we need to do more to respect and protect our police. Look at what happened in Dallas. Those police officers were protecting a peaceful protest, a protest of authority, that is a hallmark of America. And when the shooting started and everyone else was fleeing, the police were moving toward danger.

So, let's start understanding, putting ourselves in each other's shoes again and really coming together as Americans to end this kind of terrible violence.

BLITZER: Madam Secretary, how would you bridge the divide between police officers who now feel targeted and African-Americans who also feel they are targets?

CLINTON: Well, I think that is the most important question, Wolf, because we've got to do a lot more to bring the police together with the communities that they protect, and we have to have better lines of communication. As I said, we need national guidelines to really set out when force should be used and especially when deadly force should be used.

Some police departments have really taken that to heart. They have done an excellent job over the last years, trying to figure out how to prevent any situation from escalating into the use of force. And, at the same time, we need communities to feel that they can trust the police, that the police are trying to protect them and that is going to take a lot more communication, a lot more bridge building. It's going to take a lot of training on the part of our police officers to get back into the communities, to understand what's happening in neighborhoods.

I thought we were on the right track. Somehow, we have veered off of it in recent years. I've met with so many family members, of those who have been killed in encounters. I've certainly talked with police officers' families who also have been killed in encounters.

And we just have to make up our minds that we are going to bring our country together. This is much deeper even than these terrible killings. We have got to start, once again, respecting and treating each other with the dignity that every person deserves.

BLITZER: Madam Secretary, the violence in Dallas as you know follow that fatal shooting by police a day earlier of a black man Philando Castile during a routine traffic stop in Minnesota. The governor there said if the people in that car had been white, that wouldn't have happened. Do you agree with him?

CLINTON: Well, I know the governor called for a Justice Department investigation and I absolutely support that. We've got to figure out what is happening when routine traffic stops, when routine arrests escalate into killings. And I don't think that we know all of the answer for that, Wolf. Clearly, there seems to be a terrible disconnect between many police departments and officers and people they are trying to protect.

BLITZER: But do you agree with the governor, Madam Secretary? Do you agree with the governor when he said if those people had been white, they would not -- he would not have been shot?

CLINTON: Well, I think -- we have to find where the evidence leads us, but the facts are clear and the governor knows those facts that too many African-Americans have been killed in encounters with police over matters that should not have led to that action being taken. That's why, again, I reiterate a fall for national guidelines.

We have 18,000 police departments. Some of them are very small. Some of them are not very well-trained.


CLINTON: Some of them, you know, don't really have the resources that are necessary to keep training and retraining. And, frankly, Wolf, to go after systemic racism, which is a reality and to go after implicit bias.

BLITZER: Here's the fundamental question, critically important right now. Why do you believe you would be better suited at handling the racial divide in America than Donald Trump?

CLINTON: Well, I can only speak for myself. I have been involved in working to try to close the racial divide my entire adult life. I've worked on issues of criminal justice reform, incarceration, juvenile justice for many decades and I'm heartbroken we have to keep doing that work year after year, but I am determined and I am persistent.

[16:20:02] And I will call for white people, like myself, to put ourselves in the shoes of those African-American families who fear every time their children go somewhere, who have to have the talk about, you know, how to really protect themselves when they are the ones who should be expecting protection from encounters with the police. I'm going to be talking to white people -- I think we are the ones who have to start listening to the legitimate cries that are coming from our African-American fellow citizens and we have so much more to be done and we've got to get about the business of doing it. We can't be engaging in hateful rhetoric or incitement of violence. We need to bring people together.

BLITZER: All right.

CLINTON: I've said on the campaign trail repeatedly, we need more love and kindness and I know that's not usually what presidential candidates say, but I believe it and I'm going to be speaking about from now, all the way into the White House and beyond.

BLITZER: Let me turn to the sensitive issue of the e-mail investigation. Now that the threat of criminal prosecution is behind you, what have you learned from this entire episode about your e- mails?

CLINTON: Well, first, I greatly appreciate the work that the FBI, Department of Justice did and they handled it very professionally. And I have said many times, and I repeat clearly today, it was a mistake for me to use personal e-mail and I regret that. I am certainly relieved and glad that the investigation has concluded.

But I also know how important it is to make sure everybody understands that I would certainly not do that again. That is something that, at the time, as even Director Comey said, seemed like a convenience, but it was the wrong choice.

BLITZER: Because he clearly said you did not break the law. But Comey, the FBI director, also said in announcing his findings this week that you acted, in his words, extremely careless, in an extremely careless way in handling classified sensitive information.

Do you acknowledge you were extremely careless?

CLINTON: Well, I think the director clarified that comment to some extent, pointing out that some of what had been thought to be classified apparently was not. The State Department also made that clear.

I think there are about 300 people in the government, mostly in the State Department, but in other high positions in the government with whom I e-mailed over the course of four years, they, I believe, did not believe they were sending any material that was classified. They were pursuing their responsibilities. I do not think they were careless.

And as I have said many times, I certainly did not believe that I received or sent any material that was classified.

BLITZER: All right.

CLINTON: And, indeed, any of the -- any of the documents that have been referred to, I think were not marked or were marked inaccurately as has now been clarified.

BLITZER: But the FBI director did say about 110 e-mails were classified, various forms of classification. Even if they had not been marked, he said someone in your position as secretary of state should have known better.

Here is the question: should you have known better?

CLINTON: I just believe that the material that was being communicated by professionals, many with years of handling material, they did not believe that it was. I did not have a basis for second-guessing their conclusion. And these were not marked. They were not marked, and in retrospect, some have said -- well, they should have been, but they were not at the time. And I have the highest regard for the people in the State Department who are doing the very hard work of diplomacy day in and day out, often under tremendous pressure from the field and under time pressures and questions from journalists and so much else.

And I have no reason to believe that they were careless in their judgments in sending me the material that they did.

BLITZER: The State Department, as you know, has decided now to reopen its own internal review of your use of that private e-mail server or servers, now that the Justice Department, the FBI, has completed its investigation. Will you cooperate with this new State Department investigation?

[16:25:00] CLINTON: Well, I assume they will pursue whatever process they think is appropriate and I also assume they will pay very close attention to what the findings were of the Justice Department investigation. But, again, I will repeat, because I think this is important -- over 300 people were on these e-mail exchanges, some on many, some on a few, and these were experienced professionals who have had great years of dealing with classified material. And whatever they sent did not believe and had, in my view, no reason to believe at the time that it was classified.

So I am very proud of the work that we did during my four years. We dealt with two wars, financial collapse, the Arab spring, and so much else. And I think that the professionals with whom I communicated were very careful about how they handled classified material, as I was over the course of those four years.

BLITZER: We are completely out of time. But very quickly, will you cooperate with this new State Department investigation? Because I know you didn't cooperate with the inspector general of the State Department in his investigation.

CLINTON: Well, there was a Justice Department investigation going on at the time.

BLITZER: All right.

CLINTON: And, of course, I fully cooperated with that.

BLITZER: Madam Secretary, thank you very much for sharing some thoughts with us on this day.

CLINTON: Thank you very much, Wolf.

BLITZER: The former secretary of state.

Back to Jim Sciutto right now -- Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: So, Wolf, dual message there from Secretary Clinton, even a difficult, delicate one, because on the one hand she says on the day that five police officers are killed, more need to be done to protected police, but also said in her words is there a terrible disconnect between police and the people they protect. Somewhat difficult, delicate balance she is trying to strike there.

BLITZER: And she is trying to make it clear how upset she is. Obviously, all of us are upset, but she is trying to look forward, if, in fact, she is elected president of the United States, how does she bridge that gap?

There is a serious gap right now between the police and many people in local communities and it's a problem, a serious problem here in the United States. She's got some specific proposals. I know that the current president, President Obama, for almost eight years, he has worked on this issue and we have seen some of these problems that are still very, very evident here in the United States right now.

There are no easy solutions, Jim, as you well know. This is a problem that's been around a long time. Presumably, it's going to be around much longer. There's a lot of work that needs to be done.

I am encouraged, though, slightly encouraged that people are beginning to appreciate the enormity and there's got to be a much greater dialogue between all communities, between police and local communities. There is a lot of mistrust right now. There's got to be a much better dialogue.

SCIUTTO: No question. One of the ironies is a couple of the remedies she suggested, better community policy, training in de-escalation, these are things that actually the Dallas Police Department have led the way on, and it's odd and somewhat sad that they took those steps and, yet, still had to face what they did just last night.

BLITZER: The Dallas Police Department was really in the forefront of having a community dialogue, working together with the community, very diverse police department. The police chief himself African-American in Dallas. They work together. The amount of shootings had clearly gone down.

But, still, we saw what happened last night and it's such a painful, painful incident. So many people are suffering right now. So many people want to find some answers and as you know, Jim, there are no simple answers right now. People have to work really, really hard to get to the bottom of this.

SCIUTTO: An important moment with the Democratic presidential -- presumptive Democratic nominee for president during this violent week.

Wolf Blitzer, thanks very much.

I want to talk about what we just heard from Secretary Clinton with CNN political commentators Van Jones. He's here with men in Washington. And Buck Sexton is joining us from New York.

Van, that message she was giving there, police need more protection. But they also have to bridge this disconnect. What is your reaction?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, she was trying to do the same thing, I think most of us are trying to do in our hearts. We literally have had our hearts broken open three times in one week with African-Americans dying with police encounters, whatever the facts ultimately determine, definitely heart breaking, and also to see it on video. And then to hear not one, not two, not three, not four, but five police officers gunned down, trying to protect protesters who were protesting them.

And so, here she is, she is trying to figure out how do I speak to both of these concerns, but also chart a way forward.