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Three Killed in New Mexico Shooing; Congressional Staffers Assaulted; Biden to Hold Debt Ceiling Negotiations; Ukraine Shot Down Missiles Overnight; DeSantis to Announce by end of May; Durham's Newly Released Report. Aired 9-9:30a ET
Aired May 16, 2023 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Terror in New Mexico. A teenage gunman firing indiscriminately while roaming a neighborhood. Police are calling the attack purely random. Now three people are dead.
SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening today, round two of critical debt talks. The president is calling top congressional leaders back to the White House with the days to get a deal done simply running out. Will either side budge before default? That economists say could be a catastrophe.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So word is Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is now just days away from declaring his 2024 run for president, but the new fury he is facing in Florida.
All this now on CNN NEWS CENTRAL.
BOLDUAN: We have new -- there are new details coming out this morning on the terrifying random shootings in Farmington, New Mexico. This happened yesterday afternoon. And now three people are dead and six others are wounded. Police are calling the shooting - the way they talk about it is - they call it purely random. The gunman has not been identified, but police do say he was 18 years old and he was killed by police once they arrived on the scene.
CNN's Natasha Chen is following this for us. She's joining us now.
Natasha, the randomness of this is what is so scary. What more are you learning?
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kate, the police chief posted a video to Facebook last night talking about how they are trying to investigate the motive here by talking to this gunman's family and looking at the evidence. The police chief called this one of the most difficult and horrific days Farmington has ever experienced.
Just to go over some of the basics here, he -- the gunman did shoot and kill three people, six others were injured. Those six injured include two police officers, one Farmington police officer and one state police officer. They are expected to be OK with non-life- threatening injuries.
And he did use three weapons, the police chief said, including one AR- style rifle.
Here's the police chief describing the shooter's movements.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF STEVE HEBBE, FARMINGTON, NEW MEXICO, POLICE: The suspect roamed throughout the neighborhood, up to a quarter of a mile. At least six houses and three cars were shot in the course of the event as the suspect randomly fired at whatever entered his head to shoot at.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: He did call this devastating and unbelievable, but he also said that he was very proud of the three agencies that responded quickly within five minutes of that first call, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Natasha, what are you hearing from people in the neighborhood?
CHEN: Yes, some witnesses spoke to "Good Morning America," and we want to play some sound for you about how terrifying it was for them. Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOLENE ROBLEDO: Finding a bullet hole through your daughter's window was just like, my gosh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this is the room. Went through right there.
ROBLEDO: It was traumatic to be barricaded in your laundry room with your daughter who is one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: So many questions that are unanswered right now and that was the feeling of community members who actually gathered for a vigil last night. Our affiliate reports that people prayed for the families of the victims, of the injured and even for the family of the shooter. You had mentioned that the 18-year-old was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police, but also that there are just so many things left to investigate and left to figure out. So, this community is really just mourning right now and waiting for more answers from police. We're expecting a press conference later this afternoon, Kate.
BOLDUAN: I mean just the definition of senseless here. Natasha, thank you for the update.
BOLDUAN: John. BERMAN: A U.S. congressman says two of his staffers are recovering this morning after being attacked by a man with metal baseball bat. Democratic Representative Gerry Connolly tells CNN the attack happened yesterday at his district office in northern Virginia. The staffers were taken to the hospital but have since been released.
CNN has learned that the suspect, who has been arrested, may have been involved in another disturbing incident that was caught on video.
BERMAN: All right, CNN's Sunlen Serfaty, live in Washington, with the latest on this.
Sunlen, what are you learning this morning?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, this is such a -- was such a brazen, violent attack. The U.S. Capitol Police, at this moment, says there's no known motive, but the congressman, however, in an interview with CNN, he says he believes this is something likely more about a mental illness.
Now, the suspect is 49 years old. And according to his own father is schizophrenic and has not taken his medication, according to his father, for three months. Now, the congressman says the suspect had contacted his office in the past before. He had reached out for help to the office on a particular issue and that the staff had certainly sensed in those conversations with him that he made some bizarre statements, but that he never made any threats like this violent attack that unfolded yesterday.
In an interview with CNN, Congressman Connolly says it was only the quick thinking of his staff that prevented many more in his office from being injured. The congressman notably was not there at the time. But he says that the suspect entered the office filled with an out of control rage, demanding to see him.
Here's more of what he told CNN's Manu Raju.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): I don't think there is a motivation. I think we're talking about real mental illness.
If you're a member of Congress and your office happens to be in the federal building, you know, the courthouse, you're going to have security. But if you're in a commercial office space, like me, you have no security. None. And what could go wrong with that? Well, we learned the answer to that question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: And the congressman and many others on The Hill are calling now for reassessment of the security that's provided to the members, their families, their staff and their district offices.
Meantime, John, the suspect is now facing charges of one count of aggravated malicious wounding and one count of malicious wounding.
BERMAN: Sunlen Serfaty, in Washington. So scary for these district office workers around the country because they're there forward facing, doing constituent services, non-partisan stuff, really with very little security.
SIDNER: It's a real shame, John.
All right, President Biden will meet with congressional leaders today for a second round of high stakes talks on the debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reiterating her warning that time is running out to raise or suspend the debt ceiling before the June 1st deadline. After that date, the government will not be able to make all of its payments she said.
Ongoing talks between White House aides and congressional officials have been described as productive, but House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is not hopeful that both sides can come to an agreement before the deadline.
CNN's Lauren Fox on Capitol Hill.
You spoke with McCarthy this morning. We heard from Biden on Sunday, who was hopeful. What is McCarthy saying and how is he feeling about these talks at this point?
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I asked McCarthy if he was optimistic that today's meeting would yield a result, and he told me not if things don't change. And that gives you a sense of where the House speaker is this morning.
And he has been down on these talks over the last 24 hours, despite the sunny portrait that the White House has been conveying over the last 48 hours. That really shows you the massive lift for lawmakers going into this meeting today. In part they can't even agree on whether or not they are making progress. Staff has been meeting continuously, including over the weekend, for the last several days, trying to figure out what the contours of a deal would look like.
Meanwhile, there just isn't that much time. Biden leaves tomorrow for a foreign trip. We know, of course, that he can continue having conversations with key stakeholders over the phone. But it's important to remember that it takes time in the Congress to pass legislation, both out of the House of Representatives where Republicans and those on McCarthy's right flank want time to look over any proposal, and in the U.S. Senate, where floor procedure just takes a lot of time.
And I know that sounds very dry to folks back home, but, Sara, it's so important to emphasize that they can't just snap their fingers, get a deal at the last minute and get this passed. It's going to take quite the lift. And it's going to take a lot more time than we certainly have looking at that potential date of June 1st as the x date for when the U.S. could default on its debt.
SIDNER: All right, Lauren Fox, appreciate it, live for us from Capitol Hill.
Things are getting more and more tense.
BOLDUAN: That calendar is so important to look at.
SIDNER: I know.
BOLDUAN: There are -- one looks near impossible, but they've got to get it done.
And this is definitely one of those scenarios where the old adage applies, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. That said, there are some areas emerging of possible common ground, like revising the permitting process.
Now, both sides agree new energy projects are a priority and they want to streamline the regulatory process, but they want to do this for very different reasons. Republican lawmakers, they want to expand oil and gas drilling. Most Democrats want to focus on speeding up renewables and a move towards renewables, like wind and solar projects.
There's also new work requirements for certain government programs that's getting a lot more attention.
A long-standing goal of Republicans who want stricter standards for Americans to access government benefits, like food stamps and Medicaid. Now, President Biden has signaled a willingness to take a look at this, but his team has said that he would not be on board with anything that would take away health coverage or push Americans into poverty, in their view.
There's also some consensus around clawing back unspent Covid-19 funding. After meeting with Republican leaders on The Hill last week, President Biden said that this was, quote, on the table. Republicans suggest there's something like $60 billion left in unspent Covid relief money that they could be looking at.
Finally, the major sticking point comes down to broad-based spending cuts and budget caps for the next really decade. Republicans have proposed maxing out discretionary spending at 2022 levels for as far out as the next ten years.
Now, Louisiana Republican Garret Graves, he has said that the White House is, quote -- the way he put it is, pushing for a shorter window, something more like a two-year spending caps deal. But other Republicans say a shorter deal like that would be very difficult to accept.
So, this may be the lay of the land today, but there is a long way between areas of common ground and consensus and actually getting this thing over the finish line.
BERMAN: All right, Kate, new this morning, a claim that a U.S. citizen died fighting in Bakhmut, and Russia claims to hit a U.S.-made patriot air defense system in Kyiv.
After much speculation, sources tell CNN Governor Ron DeSantis plans to launch a bid for the White House by the end of this month.
And Martha Stewart makes "Sports Illustrated" history, becoming the oldest swimsuit cover model ever.
BOLDUAN: On our radar this morning, 911 tapes have now been released by the city of Allen, Texas. They offer really terrifying detail of how the shooting at the outlet mall last week played out. In one call that was released, a woman tells the dispatcher that she's trying to help someone who was shot.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DISPATCH: Describe their injuries. What's going on, ma'am?
CALLER: Um, she's - where was she shot? She was shot in the stomach, the abdomen. We have her (INAUDIBLE) -
CALLER: No, we're at H&M.
DISPATCH: You're where?
CALLER: (INAUDIBLE) - we're back -- the back room.
DISPATCH: You're where?
CALLER: H&M. DISPATCH: OK, I'm sorry, ma'am, we've got a lot going on. We've got a shooting victim at H&M. OK, ma'am, keep her safe please. Can you please press something on her to stop the bleeding.
CALLER: We did. We do.
DISPATCH: OK. I've got help on the way. I'm letting them know. I need you to bear down, please, OK, I have to keep taking 911 calls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Oh, my God, it's really just terrifying.
Eight people were killed that day, including three children. The gunman was shot and killed by police.
Also on our radar at this hour, the Biden administration is set to announce nearly $11 billion in grants and loans to help rural America invest in clean energy. The funding is coming from the Inflation Reduction Act, and the goal is to help move electricity co-ops and utilities in rural America toward renewable energy systems, as well as zero emission and carbon capture systems.
And Martha Stewart shows us once again why she is a living legend. She is now the cover model on this year's "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit issue. She is now the most -- I'm going to say -- senior woman to be featured by the magazine. About this big moment, Martha Stewart said she doesn't think about age much, but this is, quote, kind of historic. She is 81 years old. A girl can dream, John Berman, a girl can dream.
BERMAN: An inspiration to us all who like swim wear.
In Ukraine this morning a claim that a U.S. citizen has died in Bakhmut. That city has seen heavy fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces for months now. The head of the pro-Russian Wagner paramilitary group claims that a body was found with U.S. identification documents. CNN cannot identify the authenticity of those documents.
Also overnight, Ukrainian air defense says it repelled a major aerial assault by Russia. Ukrainian officials say waves of Russian drones and cruise missiles, sophisticated cruise missiles, targeted Kyiv, but Ukraine's air defenses, they say many western made, took out the Russian weapons.
CNN's Nic Robertson joins us now from eastern Ukraine.
Nic, the Russians are also claiming that they took out the U.S.- provided -- a U.S.-provided patriot missile battery which would be no small thing.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: And the Ukrainians are not giving up any information on that at the moment. And what they have said is that the Russians are trying to find a way to penetrate the air defenses in Kyiv and, of course, the patriot systems that have been sent to Ukraine are part of what appears to be now a very hard and secure defense system around Kyiv. I mean what the Ukrainians are saying here is that there was six of these hypersonic -- Russia's fastest, ten times the speed of sound, missiles, the (INAUDIBLE) launched -- that's an air warning siren. It goes off regularly here. That these missiles were incoming to Kyiv, fired from aircraft coming from the north. They took them out. There were nine cruise missiles fired from the Black Sea coming from the south and there were three land-based escanda (ph) S-400 missiles. This is a big missile fired from the ground coming from the east from Russian territory.
Russia clearly doubling down in efforts to try to find a way through their air defenses around Kyiv. And, of course, they'd like nothing better than to claim that they've successfully taken out a patriot air defense battery. There's no evidence yet to show that's correct. And I think that we can add that to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Wagner mercenary boss' claim to have the I.D. documents of an American citizen. His word cannot be taken at face value.
He speaks a lot of propaganda. And nothing better than he would like right now to claim the death of an American citizen apparently fighting alongside Ukrainian forces. The fight in Bakhmut is intense from what we understand here and conversations I've had today, the Russians are literally having to take troops out of the front line in other areas and move them into Bakhmut to hold back the Ukrainian push that we saw last week.
BERMAN: Claims and counterclaims. One thing remains true, though, we can tell by the air raid sirens, Nic, a very dangerous operation.
Nic Robertson in Ukraine. Stay safe, Nic.
SIDNER: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is preparing to launch his bid for the White House before the end of this month. That is according to two sources. DeSantis had vowed that he would not make a decision about 2024 until the state's legislative session ended earlier this month. He's been signing bills that coincide with his anti-wokeness campaign, if you will. The latest yesterday defunds diversity, equity and inclusion programs at all public colleges in Florida.
Still, some Republican donors aren't convinced he's their guy, as GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has repeatedly gone on the attack against DeSantis.
CNN's Steve Contorno is joining us now from St. Petersburg, Florida.
So, DeSantis was in Iowa this past weekend. He is doing all the things to indicate - so this isn't really -- wouldn't be a huge surprise, would it?
STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Sara. I was with him in Iowa and it certainly had the look and feel of a presidential campaign. There were DeSantis 2024 signs. There was a team DeSantis for president tour bus. And when I talk to people close to his campaign who have knowledge of the planning, they say that an announcement is coming in the next two weeks. He is going to be -- spend next week in south Florida where he will be meeting with some of his top donors and bundler (ph). And the message to them is, it's go time.
But DeSantis is entering this race in a much more precarious position than a lot of his supporters expected when he won re-election last year. Remember, he won that race by 19 points. He was the talk of the GOP. He was called defuture (ph) by "The New York Post." But polling shows that he is falling farther behind Donald Trump. Donald Trump has more than 50 percent of the GOP votes right now according to an ABC/"Washington Post" poll. DeSantis firmly in second place, but well behind Donald Trump.
And when you talk to people who are -- who have run campaigns in Florida, we talked to one operative who is a veteran of Florida campaigns who said, quote, did he peak in January? He must now prove that he didn't.
And his campaign and people who want to see him win believe there is still plenty of time for him to recapture that magic. Listen to what Steve Cortes said last night about why he is endorsing Ron DeSantis this go around. This is someone who was a Trump adviser in previous elections.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE CORTES, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER, ENDORSED DESANTIS FOR 2024: It will not help the country's psyche, it will not help the country from a policy standpoint, to have a rematch of the 2020 election that almost no one wants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CONTORNO: Yes. So that is one of the main arguments for DeSantis' campaign is that everyone in this country, or a vast majority of them, do not want to see Donald Trump versus Joe Biden again when you look at polling. However, DeSantis still needs to convince Republican voters that he is the best person to supplant Trump. And right now he's having a difficult time doing that. But people I talked to who are around his campaign, or around the campaign that is about to be announced, they say just wait, when he's in the race, everything will change, Sara.
SIDNER: All right, Steve Contorno, thank you so much for that.
BOLDUAN: And it's about to heat up in a really big way there.
So, there's also this ahead for us. Extremely troublesome. That is how the special counsel, John Durham, describes what he sees as failures by the FBI during its Trump/Russia investigation. The criticism, the pushback, and where this now political football goes from here. Also, $1 million per second. That's how much Silicon Valley Bank lost
in deposits in just one day in March. The former CEO is on The Hill this morning. Why he says no bank could have survived what his back experienced.
We'll be right back.
BERMAN: This morning, three people are dead, six others injured. Police say an 18-year-old gunman randomly opened fire on a neighborhood in New Mexico. The attack was caught on camera. The suspect was allegedly firing from three different weapons before officers shot and killed him.
In Washington, round two of critical debt negotiations at the White House. In just a few hours, President Biden meets with top congressional leaders, including House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. could default on its debt as soon as June 1st if no deal is reached.
BOLDUAN: Republicans on Capitol Hill are calling for new testimony today. The Republican chairman of House Judiciary now inviting Special Counsel John Durham to testify about his newly released report on the Trump/Russia probe. Durham released that final report on Monday, a 306-page document that wraps up a four-year-long investigation and criticizes the FBI's handling of the probe, saying that the FBI should have never launched an investigation into connections between then candidate Trump's campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. But Durham does stop short of finding evidence of any broad conspiracy against Trump, which Trump has alleged.
CNN's Paula Reid has much more on this.
She's joining us now.
Paula, there is a lot to chew through. I mean it is 306 pages. What are people seeing in this today?