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DACA Fix?; Changing of the Guard in Politics?; No Suspect Yet in Idaho College Murders; Mass Shooting in Colorado. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired November 21, 2022 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes. I hereby pardon Chocolate and Chip.
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JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Now both get to live their lives at the North Carolina State University in Raleigh. They can thank JFK for doing the first documented presidential turkey pardon.
Appreciate your time today on INSIDE POLITICS. We will see you tomorrow.
Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello, and thank you for joining us. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
We begin this hour in Colorado Springs and at the site of the nation's latest mass shooting. Makeshift memorials are growing today outside Club Q, where two people managed to overpower and disarm a gunman who opened fire on members of the LGBTQ+ community.
This attack left at least five people dead and at least 25 injured. Among the victims, 28-year-old Daniel Aston. His parents tell "The Denver Post" that their son was bartending when he was killed. Police say the 22-year-old suspect is in the hospital, and they hope to learn more once he is released.
This rampage lasted only minutes, but to those trapped inside, the horror felt like an eternity.
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JOSHUA THURMAN, WITNESS: We -- we heard everything. And all I could think about is everything, my life, just everything, friends, family, loved ones.
I came here to celebrate my birthday. Honestly, I was supposed to be in Denver. But I came back a day early, and, like, I just -- it's sad.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: CNN's Rosa Flores joins us from Colorado Springs.
Rosa, what more are you learning about the suspect?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, and we just have new information from the El Paso county courts. And this involves the charges that the suspect would be facing.
And we just learned about this. So bear with me a little bit as I read these to you, because, according to these court documents, the suspect would be facing multiple murder and hate crime charges. Now, we understand that he's still hospitalized. This is according to the police chief, and that he hasn't been booked.
So, it appears that he, at this point, is being held pending these charges. Let me keep reading, because this is important.
According to these documents, he would be facing five counts of first- degree murder and five counts of bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury. Now, that's interesting, because Colorado enacted its bias- motivated crime law in 2021. And I want to read this to you because this is very telling. It explains in essence, why this is one of the charges.
The bill says that -- quote -- "A person commits a bias motivated crime if -- with the intent to intimidate or harass another person, in whole or in part, because of that person's actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation."
Again, Ana, that's important, because we have been discussing the why. That is the question that everybody in this community has. And, of course, we knew from the district attorney that they were investigating through the lens of a hate crime. Well, now we know, according to these court documents, that this suspect, who is in the hospital, hasn't even been booked yet, is most likely being held on these five counts of first-degree murder, five counts of bias- motivated crime, causing bodily injury.
Of course, we know that five individuals are dead, dozens are injured, and some of them are still in the hospital, some of them still fighting for their lives in the hospital. So, if any of those individuals were to parish, these charges, of course, could be upgraded and more charges could be added.
To the latest regarding the information we know from the police chief here, according to the police chief, the suspect has not made any statements. His mom is not cooperating and that the suspect was carrying an AR-style rifle and a handgun.
Again, a lot of developments here in Colorado, Ana, but the latest, that these court documents show that, most likely, this suspect is being held on five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury -- Ana.
CABRERA: OK, Rosa Flores in Colorado Springs for us, thank you. We are also learning that this suspected gunman was arrested in June
of last year in connection to a bomb threat. He had threatened his own mother with what she said was a homemade bomb. But there's no evidence that police or his own family tried to trigger Colorado's red flag laws, a safety measure that could have taken away his firearms.
CNN's Tom Foreman joins us now.
Tom, can you walk us through how the red flag law works and why it wasn't triggered after this 2021 incident?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and it's so interesting that Rosa said the mother, according to police, is not cooperating.
This is the incident from 2021, a Ring doorbell image of it. This suspect, the incident with his mother where he was in the home, she called police, and, according to the records, basically said he's threatening me with bombs and with ammunition and with weapons. They actually had to evacuate neighboring homes, because, for hours, they could not get him to come out or talk to them in a way that they could feel that people were safe.
He finally did come out. Why this didn't trigger something, we don't really know, because, in 2019, that's when the legislature passed this law that would allow family members, a roommate or law enforcement to petition a judge to temporarily take someone's firearms if they are deemed a danger to themselves or others.
Maybe one of the issues here is the response to that, which was that this law would allow a judge to simply take the weapons right away when there's a threat out there. Within 14 days, they have to hold a hearing with the person there who had the guns taken, where they can argue as to why they shouldn't have had them taken.
But if the judge thinks, no, you're really a threat, we should have done this, they can allow them to be seized for as long as a year. The response to that around the state, though, 37 counties out of 64 then passed their own local rules saying, we're Second Amendment sanctuaries. You can't do this here.
And in the most extreme cases, the sheriff said they would not enforce that law, even if they were told someone was a threat because they thought it was a Second Amendment infringement, Ana.
CABRERA: And so was El Paso county, where this bomb threat reportedly happened, a so-called Second Amendment sanctuary?
FOREMAN: Yes, it was, because the commissioners there passed that, and they weren't alone in doing that.
But within the first year in El Paso County, between 13 and 38 petitions were filed under this red flag law that was instituted at the state level; 51 to 100 percent, somewhere in that range, were granted at that time. Also in the first year, 85 percent of these orders were requested by law enforcement, in many cases, in the very counties where they said we don't want this law, we're against the law, we're standing up for it and putting it -- well, then law enforcement turned right around and said they wanted to have this kind of protection.
And if you look at the extreme risk protection order, as of June 2022, now this is up until now -- that -- those two were in the first year -- or were in the first year -- sanctuary counties had received petition for protection orders; 20 of the 37 counties that said we're sanctuary cities, we don't -- or counties -- we don't believe in the state law, 20 of them had used this law to try to protect their citizens.
So, Ana, why it did not kick in with this suspect, we do not know at this point. What we do know is that El Paso had taken -- that El Paso County had taken a stance that said, we're against this law, at least publicly. Yet we also know many counties around the state did that publicly, but, in a practical sense, said, yes, this is a tool to protect people, in many cases to protect law enforcement.
CABRERA: And those laws are only as strong as people participate in them.
CABRERA: Thank you very much, Tom, for that.
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PHIL WEISER (D), COLORADO ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think it's fair to say, based on the facts, it's very hard to conceive of a situation where the motive wasn't generated by hate.
We are living at a time of rising hate and rising demonization. And all of us in leadership positions have to recognize that our words matter. We can and we must have a more inclusive we the people. That's a phrase that Justice Ginsburg used.
The legitimate -- or legitimization, I should say, of hating towards LGBTQ+ individuals has to stop.
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CABRERA: Now, that was Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser this morning. And he's right.
The Club Q attack appears to be emblematic of a surge in hate crimes nationally in recent years. It will be a while before we get this year's numbers, but the FBI's most recent figures for 2020 show 7,700- plus hate crime incidents, a 12-year high.
Now, if you break it down by victim, 20 percent of those incidents, one in five, were targeted because of their sexual orientation. And there are indications this trend line is continuing. Through June of this year, anti-LGBTQ incidents were outpacing last year, according to data from the nonprofit conflict monitoring group ACLED. And even in liberal bastions like New York City, anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes spiked 46 percent last year, according to CNN's New York affiliate. Just in the past week, one LGBTQ bar in Manhattan had its windows smashed three times. These incidents and, of course, the Colorado shooting have compelled the NYPD to adjust its posture.
Here's what its commissioner told CBS today.
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KEECHANT SEWELL, NYPD COMMISSIONER: Anything that happens across the country that horrific, we monitor, and we want to make sure that we have our assets in place to be able to offer comfort for our communities.
We have had some incidents in Hell's Kitchen which are causing us some concern that we have a number of resources devoted to as well.
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CABRERA: President Biden and marks Transgender Day of Remembrance yesterday with this sobering reminder, saying: "Too many LGBTQI+ people in the United States and around the world continue to face unconscionable attacks."
Now to Idaho and the brutal stabbing deaths of four college students all attacked in the middle of the night, apparently while they were sleeping. Police are now revealing that the 911 call made around noon the following day came from the cell phone of a surviving roommate.
Remember, there were two people who lived in the same house who survived. We also learned multiple people talk to the 911 dispatcher at that time. Now, police say the callers were concerned one of the victims on the second floor had passed out and wasn't waking up. So that's why they called police.
Sally Krutzig is a reporter with "The Idaho Statesman."
So, thanks for joining us, Sally.
I know you have been in close contact with investigators. You have been working your sources. Help us understand, what led to this 911 call?
SALLY KRUTZIG, "THE IDAHO STATESMAN": So, the 911 call, we recently learned, was made by a friend on the roommates -- one of the surviving roommates' cell phones.
There are two surviving roommates who were at home at the time of the attack. At noon the next day, a phone call was made from one of those surviving roommates' cell phones. But we have just learned that, before calling 911, they're -- the roommates summoned additional friends to the House who helped call 911.
We're not exactly sure who spoke to the dispatcher, but we do know the roommates and roommates' friends made that call.
CABRERA: I want to hear this 911 call, because I'm trying to visualize how it is that they can call and think that their roommate is unconscious, but not see blood, given what we have heard from the coroner that it was -- and from police -- that this was a gruesome and bloody scene.
Are there separate entrances from outside the house where these roommates who weren't victimized, who weren't part of the crime, according to police, didn't realize that just how bloody the scene was?
So there are several entrances. There's a front door, and then the two surviving roommates actually lived in the walkout basement on the bottom floor. And there was a second door to the outside on that side. But we're not sure why, when the call was made, they said there is -- we are afraid there's an unconscious individual who isn't waking up. They said that they were afraid that this might be the case.
So we're not sure if they somehow did not have a complete visual on the victims.
And, obviously, they summoned other people to the house and multiple people talked to the dispatcher. It would be really interesting to hear how that conversation unfolded. So far, police say they have no suspects, but they have ruled some people out?
KRUTZIG: That's right.
There's been so many rumors -- and it's a small town -- about who did it. Was it this person? Was it this person? But they have now officially said the surviving roommates and the roommates' friends who came to the house, they are not suspected. An ex-boyfriend who one of the victims called multiple times around 2:50 a.m., they have ruled him out.
And then there was a hooded figure who has seen interacting with them on a video camera at a food truck late at night. A lot of people are kind of like, oh, must be him. Police have spoken to him and ruled him out as well.
CABRERA: And what are the community's biggest questions at this point?
KRUTZIG: I think the community just wants a little bit of clarity on how police know there's possibly not a threat.
Police for the first three days continued to say, there's no threat to the community. There's no threat to community. They walked that back a little bit on the third day and have said, we can't say there is no threat community, but they haven't said there is one. And so people are just like, well, the killer is still on the loose.
You know what exactly should we be prepared for? I have spoken to people who they have started carrying around concealed weapons. One person said: I didn't have a gun, so I started carrying around a knife and flashlight.
There's a lot of fear and uncertainty in the community right now.
CABRERA: And as of the latest press release from the authorities there, more than 600 tips have come in that they have followed up on. They have done more than 38 interviews with people who may have some kind of information related to the murders, and, again, no suspects, no murder weapon at this point.
Sally Krutzig, thank you very much. We will continue to be in touch with you throughout the investigation.
I want to bring in former FBI senior intelligence adviser Phil Mudd now.
So, here we are, Phil, a week later, no weapon, no suspects. Are you surprised this is where we're at?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I would say a little more than surprised, especially in the age of sort of digital exhaust.
If you're looking at the four individuals who were murdered, presumably, at this point, things like their cell phone, e-mail, texting, et cetera would all have been covered. Obviously, the police are talking about as many as 90 or more interviews being conducted already.
So, with that digital trail, with the fact that you have surviving roommates who presumably not only know what's going on in that household, but also know what the friend structure is around that household, boy, that's a lot of data and a lot of interviews in a relatively small community.
If you had said that this would take more than a week last Sunday or Monday, Ana, I would have said no way.
CABRERA: The victims were stabbed to death. Police say the scene was gruesome. Would you expect a killer to leave behind more evidence, more clues, whether it's a bloody footprint or other DNA, in a crime scene like this?
MUDD: I would for a couple of reasons.
First, the killer in this case is going to spend a lot more time thinking about the murder and the reasons for the murder then what to do after and how to ensure that the escape is perfect. So I'm not saying the escape was perfect. But, clearly, the killer or killers did a pretty good job of not leaving behind too much evidence. The other thing I'd say is the difference between this kind of murder
and just a random murder on the street with a rifle or a pistol. When you're -- when you're killing four people with the knife, the level of passion, the personal engagement, watching someone die, the level of passion is extremely high. That's a personal murder. That's not a murder done from 30 feet, from 50 feet.
And to think that a person conducting that murder with that level of anger, hatred, passion, to kill people with their hands four times, to think that they were good enough not to leave a lot of evidence, boy, that's odd.
CABRERA: Any other thoughts on the type of person investigators should be looking for?
MUDD: I don't think so.
I think one of the things that you're looking for, obviously, at the initial stage, is, who had contact with these people? The problem in this case is assuming that the person who did that, the people in contact with those who were murdered might have a motivation that makes sense to us, that seems linear.
I guess, going into this, one of the first points as an analyst I would be having is, let's not assume that we understand what our adversary is thinking, because that's not a rational human being, Ana.
CABRERA: And investigators already publicly said they don't believe the following people were involved.
And I want to put back up the graphic that we had earlier when we were speaking with Sally. They say the two surviving roommates have essentially been ruled out, a man in surveillance at the food truck near two of the victims earlier in the night, a driver who took two of the victims home.
Are you surprised police have already ruled these people out?
MUDD: No, because, if you're looking at the investigation, the intensity of an investigation, the amount of material that the police must have reviewed, for example, all the material from cell phones from the roommates, all the statements the roommates made and whether they corresponded not only with each other, but with every other friend and family member the police have spoken with, after a week, after five, six, seven days.
The police must have put an incredible box around those two surviving roommates to ensure that, when a police officer gets out in front of a camera and says, we're taking them off the table, they must have a really good what we call pattern of life on those two roommates to rule them out, Ana, and a week should give you a good pattern of life.
CABRERA: Yes, I went to school just across the border from Moscow in Pullman, Washington. I know this is such an agricultural small town community. Everybody feels like they know everybody. And there's a sense of real kinship and camaraderie there. I imagine everybody's on edge right now.
Phil Mudd, thank you so much for taking the time to offer your expertise.
CABRERA: Now to the inner workings of Washington and how Democrats are assessing the future of their party. They're not all in yet on Biden 2024. Why it could all hinge on who Republicans back.
And it's the most watched sporting event on the globe, so when a team protests their own national anthem to send a message, the world gets it.
Plus, Americans are traveling this holiday weekend. A lot of us are traveling. And we have some tips to make it just a little easier for you.
CABRERA: The midterm elections have sparked a changing of the guard both in terms of House control and some party leadership.
But at the top of the ticket, voters may end up getting more of the same, a Biden-Trump rematch in 2024. Donald Trump has already announced, while President Biden is still weighing a reelection bid. But Democratic operatives tell CNN it's not Trump who worries them in 2024, but the prospect of a younger, fresher GOP opponent.
CNN's Harry Enten is that the Magic Wall with us now.
So, for a while, it seemed like age was a dicey topic, but now it's sort of become the focus again.
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: It's come into the mainstream.
It's something that everybody's sort of talking about, and I think you get a pretty good indication why when you look at the Biden-Trump potential matchup in 2024. Each would be the oldest nominee ever, combined, obviously, the oldest.
Look at this. Joe Biden would be 81 on Election Day in 2024. Donald Trump would be 78. That on its own would be the oldest. And I think it's just part of a larger thing that's sort of going on, right?
If we're looking at congresspeople and look at the percentage of congresspersons over the age of 70, back in 1982, it was just 5 percent. But we have seen this slow, but steady climb. Look at that. Now 23 percent of the members of Congress are over the age of 70. We're dealing with a lot of old folks in our politics at this point.
CABRERA: Well, I was just thinking, if there's so many of those years, once you get up above like 2002...
CABRERA: ... I mean, it's the same people who are in Congress, of course. They're getting older. So I guess that makes sense.
But now we're hearing, at least on the Democratic side, that there is a shift in leadership. Many of the older generation are stepping aside to bring up the younger generations. Walk us through this.
So, essentially obviously, if you look at the age of the House Democratic leaders, right now, look at this, 82, 83, 82. But all these folks are basically going to be stepping aside, maybe go to a lower position, in the case of Jim Clyburn. Look at the proposed new leadership.
Hakeem Jeffries, who will be the new proposed Democratic leader, 52, Katherine Clark, 59, Pete Aguilar, look at that, just 43. So while the old were old, the new will actually be mostly Gen X. So there is a real changing of the guard, at least as it comes to age, with this new proposed Democratic leadership.
CABRERA: Do voters care about age?
ENTEN: Yes, this is, I think, sort of the big question. We're having this conversation. And I think a lot of times people say, OK, does age actually matter?
And I think this question and what ultimately occurred kind of gets at this. How do you feel about an over 75-year-old presidential candidate? This is back in 2019, poll before the 2020 primary. Only 37 percent of Americans were enthusiastic or comfortable; 62 percent had reservations or a very uncomfortable.
Note, of course, though, that Joe Biden went on to win not only the Democratic nomination, but became president himself. So I think they may think, theoretically, we don't necessarily like someone over the age of 75. But, in reality, when it comes down to the candidates and they are actually faced with those choices, they are willing to go with someone over the age of 75.
And here's the other thing I will just note, right? Look at the voters. They're getting older too. The percentage of voters over the age of 70, it was just 9 percent in 1980. Look at that. It's nearly doubled. In the 2020 election. It was 16 percent. So, yes, of course, our politicians are getting older, but so are the voters, Ana.
CABRERA: That's so interesting, because we have had a lot of focus on the youth vote and the importance of the younger generations to be speaking to them and their issues.
And yet the electorate is that much older. A bigger share of the electorate is older.
ENTEN: Exactly right.
The over-70 vote is significantly larger than the under 25-year-old vote in a presidential election .I believe it's about 9 percent for those -- 9 to 10 percent for those under the age of 25, over 70, significantly larger. You should play to them.
CABRERA: OK. Thanks for the data, as always, Harry Enten.
ENTEN: Thank you.
CABRERA: Democrats have control of both chambers of Congress right now and at least for a few more weeks. So they are sprinting right now to try to get some final pieces of legislation to President Biden's desk, including a bill helping so-called dreamers, some 600,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and who have now been in this immigration limbo for at least a decade.
But immigration bills that make it to the Oval Office are a rare breed, a rare breed. And 10 Senate Republicans will have to get on board for this one to get there.
Let's bring in CNN's Jessica Dean at the Capitol.
Jessica, do Democrats really think they could potentially pull off a buzzer beater on this DACA fix?
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you just laid out how hard this is going to be, Ana.
We talk about this all the time, that Senate filibuster, getting to 60, needing those 10 Republicans to come on board any legislation. And so we have senator Dick Durbin, who heads up the Judiciary Committee in the Senate, and Senator Bob Menendez, who was an original co- sponsor of that 2013 bipartisan immigration legislation, coming back together, restarting these talks, the key being restarting the talks.
And, look, when you talk about the timing, this is a tiny little amount, a sliver of time that we have got between now and when the new session of Congress starts, when Democrats will lose their majority in the House and things will really shift in terms of what they can get done.
Durbin and Menendez would like to find a fix for this, to find a pathway to citizenship for the some 600,000 dreamers who are living and working within the United States right now, but really don't have any resolution as to what their future holds.
And, Ana, as you point out, immigration has always been a thorny issue for Congress. So the bottom line here, these starts have -- these talks have restarted, but they still got a long way to go and not a ton of time.
CABRERA: OK, Jessica Dean, keep us posted. Thank you.
A World Cup mired in controversy and, today, a platform for protest, the Iranian soccer team silent as the national anthem for their country played moments before their match.
We're live in Qatar next.