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A Least 3 Killed, Several Shot In New Mexico; Special Counsel John Durham Concludes FBI Never Should Have Launched Trump-Russia Probe; Police ID Suspect In Attack At Democratic Congressman's Office. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 15, 2023 - 15:30   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Police in New Mexico are on the scene of a mass shooting in Farmington. That is about an hour north of Albuquerque. It's in northwestern New Mexico near the Colorado border. I want to get now to Camila Bernal for the very latest on this. Camila, what can you tell us?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brianna. So, they are investigating an active shooter situation at the moment, and you mentioned three people at least so far that we know have been killed. But this also became an officer-involved shooting.

So what officials are saying is that there were two officers who were shot during this situation. One with a New Mexico state police and one with Farmington police. They were also taken to the hospital and we're told that they are in stable condition.

There are very limited details here. But again, at least three people have been killed in this incident. Police officers are still investigating. They're trying to figure out exactly what happened, and we do know that the suspect was killed on the scene. We do not have the identity of this person.

But there are no other threats at this time according to authorities. So, they do have the situation under control. But unfortunately, three people are dead and two injured, at least, that are police officers. Thankfully, we do know that they are in stable condition at the moment -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, obviously we are looking for more details right now about the circumstances surrounding this mass shooting. Camila, thank you for the very latest on that. We'll stay on the story -- Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Developing right now, a deadline in Fulton County Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis must respond today to a motion by attorneys for Donald Trump. The ex-president's legal team is trying to throw out a special grand jury that investigated his attempts to interfere in that state's 2020 election, interfere and overturn the results there.

CNN's Sara Murray has been following. Sara, the deadline was actually earlier this month for the D.A. to respond, extended it to today. I mean, the question is we can guess how Willis is going to respond to it. But do we know the judge's positioning on this?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, I don't think the district attorney is going to say, please disqualify this on the case and throw out all my evidence. You know, right now these motions are going to the judge who has been overseeing the special grand jury. If he's the one who makes the call on this.

It'll be hard for me to imagine that he says, OK, let's throw out all of the evidence this grand jury has spent time collecting. It's possible he could listen to what Trump's attorneys want and say, let's have another judge take a look at this. But I think, you know, we pretty much know what to expect from the D.A.'s office today.

A fulsome argument about why the evidence should not be thrown out. Why she should not be disqualified and frankly why it's too early. I mean, this case is not even in the indictment stage. So, it would be unusual to toss all of this evidence this special grand jury found before we even see indictments, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Sara Murray, thanks so much. We're going to of course stay on top of that case. Boris, Breaking news.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: That's right, Jim. We have breaking news just into CNN. The long-awaited Durham investigation has just concluded. Remember, this is the Trump-era probe that explored the origins of the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

We are joined now by CNN senior justice correspondent Evan Perez. Evan, when this was launched during the Trump administration, those officials vowed to investigate the investigators. What did they accomplish? What more are you learning about the end of this probe?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Boris. This is now an investigation that's four years in the making and we finally have the conclusions. More than 300 pages released by the Justice Department. It's now been transmitted to members of Congress who also are going to want to bring John Durham in to review some of the findings. But the bottom line is this.


The investigation found that the FBI failed in many, many ways. Things that we already knew from a previous inspector general report -- and I'll read you just a part of it -- of John Durham's conclusion.

He says, based on the review of Crossfire Hurricane and related intelligence activities, we conclude that the department and the FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to the law in connection with certain events and activities described in this report.

This is the top line finding from John Durham who was taking a look at what the FBI was doing, what the intelligence community was doing. In the end he doesn't suggest any changes that the FBI and the Justice Department need to do. He says that there are plenty of rules and regulations in place that the FBI just needs to do a better job of following.

One of the interesting things that we did uncover here, obviously, the suspicion of people in the Trump world, the Trump campaign, obviously you have the Trump White House and Bill Barr, the Attorney General who did appoint John Durham to do this legislation.

They believe that there was this massive conspiracy of spying by the FBI, by the intelligence community of Trump and his campaign. But one of the things that we did find was there was an instance where the FBI sent a confidential source into a Clinton campaign fundraising event.

Apparently trying to get some information about possibilities that there were big promises being made to a foreign government.

So, a lot of things. We're still going through this more than 300 pages of this report and we'll come back to you with more of these filings. But John Durham's report, four years in the making is finally in the hands of the public and finally in the hands of Republican members of Congress who say they want to learn more -- guys.

SANCHEZ: So, Evan, I just want to reiterate two of the key takeaways that you noted. First, special counsel Durham concluding that the FBI should never have launched its investigation into connections between Donald Trump's campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. But simultaneously the special counsel did not recommend any new charges against any individuals or any changes to the way that the FBI handles politically charged investigations.

So those two key takeaways, very important here and this does not -- this does not fall in line with the description from the former president that we heard at the time, of his expectations of the Durham probe. Right? He was saying that former President Obama was spying on his campaign. That this was a witch hunt, a deep state-coordinated effort to make up claims about his connections to Russia. This Durham report doesn't get anywhere near those allegations from the former president, right?

PEREZ: Anywhere near those accusations from the former president and certainly from the former attorney general who appointed Durham who thought that there was something here. And to reiterate what you just mentioned, you know, the report does say that the Justice Department and the FBI did have a duty to look into those original tips that began this investigation.

But he says in this report, he doesn't say that, you know, the FBI should have launched a full-blown investigation. He says that perhaps there was enough here to do an assessment which is a much lower level. And he says that the FBI ignored all kinds of evidence that would have gone against some of its suspicions about Trump and some of the people around the Trump campaign.

As you pointed out correctly, there are no more additional charge being recommended against anyone, and not anyone in the FBI, not Jim Comey and Barack Obama, not Hillary Clinton. No one in the campaign is being charged with anything. What we do know is obviously there was a charge against a former FBI

lawyer who did falsify some parts of a FISA application on Carter Page -- this was an aide to the former president -- to the campaign of Donald Trump. And there was, of course, a charge against a lawyer, a false statement charge who was prosecuted, against a former lawyer who was working for the Clinton campaign.

Again, this was an outside lawyer and in this case the jury acquitted him -- that was Michael Sussmann. We do know, obviously, that this investigation is now concluded. And what John Durham is saying is that he believes that there was plenty done wrong here. But he's not suggesting that the FBI and the Justice Department do anything major different except it here to the rules that are already in place.


SANCHEZ: Evan, we're going to let you get back to reading that 300- page report to bring us any further conclusions. I do just want to point out that Attorney General Merrick Garland, in sending it over to Congress, does so without any additions, redactions or any other modifications. So, this is the actual source material handed directly over to Congress.

Quite a bit different from what we saw Attorney General William Barr do with the Mueller report a few years ago. Evan Perez, thank you so much. Brianna and Jim, we're going to hand it over to you with this breaking news.

KEILAR: All right, let's bring in Elliot Williams to talk about the legal aspects of this. I mean, I think this is pretty key, right? Where he says in this, we conclude that the Justice Department and the FBI failed to uphold their important mission of strict fidelity to the law in connection with certain events and activities described in this report. How bad is this for the FBI?

ELLIOTT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, it's pretty bad. It sounds like there was sloppy work by the FBI and the Justice Department that led to the opening of an investigation. But the question is, was there the grand conspiracy that I think many people thought and formed it. It doesn't look like that was there.

But by any measure it looks like there was some sloppiness. Now I think the devil is going to be in the details here. And really, I want to see what the explanation was for sort of the basis for how they came to that conclusion.

SCIUTTO: I don't want to equate the two, the FBI investigation, Crossfire Hurricane and this Durham investigation. But we should note, there are come commonalities here, right? That each started with quite a broad allegation of a conspiracy, that the legal work that at least not back up with actual charges -- for many actual charges. I mean, Durham at the end of the day got one criminal charge. I believe for faking an e-mail. Right? Can you see some of the same weaknesses in each investigation?

WILLIAMS: Yes, I think that's right. I mean, look, for this amount of time for there only to have been three criminal charges that were brought at all and of those three, two of them ended up in acquittals and one of them ended up in a plea agreement. There was not the kind of large-scale criminal accountability here they think that they would have wanted.

SCIUTTO: Just for folks at home if they don't remember how this originated. But during the Trump administration because driven in part by his allegations that this whole Russia investigation started by Democrats, conspiracy theory, George Soros, I mean, you name all the connections, many of them typical connections that were made.

That he was first appointed by Bill Barr that later named a special counsel to investigate the origins of the Russia investigation with the FBI, which was known by the name Crossfire Hurricane. That was the origin of this.

And at the time, having covered this, was there a great deal of excitement or interest on the right that there would be discoveries, as you say, on a mass conspiracy and that criminal charges were going to follow. That portion of it though, we should note, and he has found wrongdoing -- not wrongdoing or at least not meeting their high standards. That vision of it did not come to be.

WILLIAMS: It simply did not. It's -- and again, you know, I think there's something important to note in the law. There may be wrongdoing. There may be something that smells bad. There may be something that's irresponsible or irregular, but just simply does not lead to massive -- a great number of criminal charges and that's often what you end up seeing.

KEILAR: I'm interested in how one of the things that is not recommended -- aside from new charges -- are changes about how the FBI handles politically charged investigations. And the FBI has had a number of issues, right? With politically charged investigations in recent years. From Hillary Clinton, to this one. I wonder if you're surprised that it doesn't recommend some sort of guidance about how they would do that?

WILLIAMS: Look, I worked at the Justice Department for six years in all ending at a pretty high level over there. There are a lot of safeguards built in place for protecting political investigations. Starting with number one, you don't bring charges in advance of election day by box of (INAUDIBLE). Number two, very serious matters always have career, not just politically appointed people working on them.

They get brought to the senior career officials at the Justice Department to ensure that these kinds of things don't happen. Now look, I will be the first to tell you, people are human, and make mistakes and are sometimes subject to their own biases and prejudices and so on. And you got to make sure to corrected them. As seems to have been the case here. At least with the recommendation. But those -- there are a lot of checks in place to make sure problems don't --

(CROSSTALK) SCIUTTO: As you say, they kept by the checks of the number of days

prior to an election. Right? For instance, you know, the guidance of the office of legal counsel which was so key during the investigation while Trump was still in office, right? Can you pursue those? So, I mean, I suppose we should note though there were -- there were a lot of the allegations of politics injected to each stage of this -- and he found some -- well, if it's not politics, he certainly found some standards that were not met.


But the sad fact in the country today is that there are allegations of politics in virtually anything. You know, it rains today, allegations of politics. So, to your point, some of the standards were followed.

WILLIAMS: Right. Look, Again, people are political beings and people are allowed to have political views that they bring to work. Even when they work in government. The question is, when do those political views infect or interfere with their ability to do their jobs in an effective manner? And again, as I said, there are safeguards to ensure that they don't. When they happen, people should be dealt with accordingly.

And frankly, if John Durham had found that people violated the law or rules, he could have brought charges and recommended personnel changes based on folks that act in that manner. It seems -- again, I haven't read the report yet, it was dropped just a second ago -- but it seem that those kinds of recommendations were not made.

KEILAR: So, this is the breaking news that we are following right now. Special counsel John Durham concluding that the FBI never should have launched the Trump-Russia probe. However, this does not go where Republicans, I think, had hoped that it would.

That there was some sort of deep state conspiracy to target Donald Trump. Nonetheless, we do understand that Jim Jordan is going to want Durham to testify next week. So, we're going to see where the is going. But that is the news as it stands right now. We'll get in a quick break and be right back.


SANCHEZ: We're tracking breaking news just into CNN. The long-awaited Durham investigation has just concluded. Remember, this is the Trump- era probe that looked into the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

We want to go now to CNN's Sara Murray who's been following the reaction from Capitol Hill. And Sara, very importantly, the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Jim Jordan, now says he wants to hear directly from John Durham as early as next week.

MURRAY: That's right. Jim Jordan just tweeted he is hoping to get testimony from John Durham next week. And of course, Jordan's committee has oversight over the Justice Department. But Jordan has also presided over the investigation into what he calls the weaponization of the federal government.

And so, you can imagine, they want John Durham in front of their committee to talk more about, you know, why he believes that this investigation into the ties between Donald Trump's campaign and Russian nationals should have never been opened.

And you can imagine he's going to be seizing on a lot of the details in this report that are favorable to former President Donald Trump. We have seen that, you know, time and time again. Now that Republicans have taken the House, that they have used these committees not only to highlight what they believe is sort of injustice in the way justice is needed out by the federal government. But also, to highlight efforts where they feel like Donald Trump has been unfairly targeted by the government -- Boris.

KEILAR: Sara Murray, thank you so much for that report. We do have some new video from a mass shooting out of Farmington, New Mexico, where at least three people are dead at this point. This is video you can see here on the street. This is a huge police presence. We have CNN's Camila Bernal who's following this story. Camila, what more can you tell us at this point?

BERNAL: So, right now we know at least three people were killed in this shooting and at least two officers were injured as well. According to authorities, multiple officers were involved in this officer-involved shooting, and they now say that the suspect has been killed. They have not identified the suspect. What they're saying is there is no threat at the moment.

The person that took that video said he was about a block away, and thankfully is safe. But again, there is huge law enforcement presence in this area, and three people were killed.

In terms of the officers that were injured, we know one of the officers was with the New Mexico State Police. The other officer was with Farmington police. Both were taken to the hospital, and authorities saying they are in stable condition at the moment. So good news there.

And just to kind of tell you exactly where this is. This is in Farmington, New Mexico, which is just south of the Colorado state border. And so, again, we are awaiting for more details from authorities. But what we know so far is that at least three people were killed and at least two officers were injured and thankfully are in stable condition. Guys, back to you.

KEILAR: All right, Camila, thank you very much.

SCIUTTO: All right, the news coming in fast and furious as we speak. Another story we're following right now also breaking. A violent attack at a Congressman's office in Virginia just outside of Washington. Police say a man with a baseball bat walked into the office of Democratic Congressman Jerry Connolly, assaulted two of his staff members, one who was on the first day in the office. CNN's Manu Raju joining us now with details. Manu, we have some new details, I believe including the name of the suspect. MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right.

Police are identifying the suspect as a 49-year-old, from Fairfax, Virginia, by the name of Xuan Kha Tran Pham of Fairfax, Virginia. Someone who is a constituent of Jerry Connolly, the Democrat from the district. And this individual is being charged with one count of aggravated malicious wounding and one count of malicious wounding. The police say this occurred at 10:49 a.m. today. The man came into Connolly's office.


And Connolly later told me that this person used a metal bat to strike one senior aid of his over the head and then attacked another one on her side. The one that he attacked on her side was an intern on her first day in the office. Both of those staffers were taken to a hospital. They have non-life-threatening injuries but serious injuries and they are now being treated.

This of course coming at a time of a rise of political violence that we have seen, the threats in this country. Everything stemming from last year from Nancy Pelosi's home in San Francisco, the attack against her husband, dating back to 2017. The attack on the baseball diamond, that left Steve Scalise, the Republican majority leader, who was injured after being shot on that baseball diamond.

Today this assailant using a bat allegedly to attack two of his aides. And Connolly telling me that this individual also destroyed many things in his office. Glass was shattered in a conference room, computers were destroyed. Connolly saying this individual was filled with rage at the time. And within five minutes or so, that's when police responded to this attack.

Connolly said there were a handful of aides in his office. Connolly, himself, was not in the office. He was at a nearby ribbon cutting for a food bank, he and a senior aide. But two staffers injured here after being attacked by this assailant with the bat. A 49-year-old from Fairfax, Virginia.

SCIUTTO: Manu Raju thanks so much for updating that.

On one of several stories -- just in the last seven minutes.

KEILAR: Yes, and of course if you would think of Gabby Gifford, as well. Right? This has been something that has been going on for some time that is incredibly alarming. As we see this pattern happening as well, you know, both sides of the aisle. But we see and of course with Democratic Congressman Gabby Gifford. You mentioned the baseball attack against House Republicans, then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband, and has been other.

SCIUTTO: And hundreds of people attacking Congress in the minutes of January 6th, the certification of the election.

SANCHEZ: Sadly, a string of political violence that we've watched unfold over the last few years driven largely in part because of the rhetoric, right, that we've seen, especially on social media from leaders that at times have not been perhaps responsible with their words.

And on the Durham news, that is a big deal as well. Ultimately that investigation coming up, at least from the former president's perspective, short.

KEILAR: Yes, and there's going to be a lot more with Jim Jordan wanting him to testify next week.

SCIUTTO: All right, "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper is going to start right after a short break with updates on all these stories.