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Three Mass Shootings In 3 Days In California; Pence Attorney Finds Classified Docs At Former VP's Indiana Home; Judge Hears Arguments On Releasing Trump Grand Jury Report; 2 Memphis Fire Dept. Employees Terminated After Tyre Nichols' Death; Antonio Romanucci, Attorney For Nichols' Family, Discusses Death Of Tyre Nichols, Release Of Video. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired January 24, 2023 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JENNIFER MASCIA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: And that is something that would have come up if the gun applicant's family members or friends had were interviewed before he got a gun license.
All of that behavior would have risen to the authorities and he would have been denied. But in this country, that doesn't happen.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Jennifer, let me stick with you.
More mass shootings in 2023 so far than any other year on record at this point. Is there a clear understanding of why so many now?
MASCIA: We had a huge gun sales boom during the pandemic. It put 20 million guns in a lot of the first-time owners hands just in that first year.
When there are more guns around, there are going to be more shootings. That is something that the numbers bear out. In 2021, we had more shootings on record, 49,000 nearly.
And maybe it's worth asking, should this be on legislators? Where are the gun companies in this? They are silent when these tragedies happens. But they profit from gun sales and benefit from weakened gun laws. This is a corporate ability issue.
They could be setting basic standards tomorrow. They could regulate who they sell their guns to. But they are not. I think we should be asking them why.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: Chief, much more challenging to dig into and investigate the Monterey Park shooting, given the shooter himself has taken his life.
But in terms of the Half Moon Bay suspect, authorities say that he is fully cooperating with the investigation thus far.
What does that mean? He is providing a motive, providing specific details, or how do you read that? CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, you will get
a clearer motive. And I thought that this is one that they could establish a motive relatively quickly, because when he was captured, he had gone to the police station or the substation, which is not what an average mass shooter would do.
So that indicated to me that he wanted to turn himself in. And if he turned himself in, he would want to cooperate. S they will have a lot of questions answered as a result of that.
It won't change the fact that seven lives were lost in that event, in that incident, and so the tragedy is still there.
And very quickly, when you are asking about, you know, the mass shootings, it should not be a surprise. I mean, we have got millions of guns on the street. We're awash in guns.
Many are semiautomatic, some are assault rifles, all capable of firing multiple rounds very quickly. It's not unusual from crime scenes where you've got 40 or 50 shell casings on the ground.
And people are not just hit one time but hit multiple times. They are hit multiple times. You have people with multiple gunshot wounds from very devastating weapons. That is why the numbers are where they are.
And it's not going to down, they're going to continue to rise, unfortunately --
RAMSEY: -- because nothing is happening.
GOLODRYGA: Seventy lives lost in this country in the first three weeks of this year alone. We cannot grow numb from statistics like this.
Jennifer Mascia and Charles Ramsey, thank you.
BLACKWELL: There are more questions in Georgia and across the country over whether a judge will release a special grand jury report that could recommend charges for former President Trump and his allies.
This all ties back to their alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 Georgia elections. Why the Fulton County district attorney does not want it released to the public, next.
GOLODRYGA: We want to take you back to the top story this hour, and that is another batch of classified documents found at a private residence, the home of former Vice President Mike Pence.
Multiple sources telling CNN that Pence's attorney discovered about a dozen documents marked classified at Pence's Indiana home last week. They have since been turned over to the FBI. Just moments ago, Attorney General Merrick Garland was asked about it
by our Evan Perez.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: You won't be surprised with respect to the second question. I'll give the answer I usually give, which is, I am unable to comment at the present.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: CNN's Lauren Fox is there on Capitol Hill. She's with us now.
So, Lauren, how are the lawmakers responding to all this?
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this news was breaking as lawmakers were heading to their Republican and Democratic Senate lunches. So we are getting some initial reaction from lawmakers. And sometimes breaking the news to those lawmakers.
Senator Lisa Murkowski was saying, wow, essentially arguing this is now a part of the growing trend that we are seeing with the folks leaving the White House or the vice president's office and then finding themselves in a position where there's classified information found in their homes.
I also talked to Senator Mark Warner, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee. And he said, quote, "Holy heck."
And followed up saying, "I would have thought that a year ago when this started coming that anyone who had one of these jobs would have gone back to check."
And then he, half joking, said, "Check your closets."
He's still fighting to try to get briefings and information about how classified information was handled.
We also know Lindsey Graham is arguing that potentially there's an issue with overclassification happening. This is what he said at a press conference earlier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I don't know how this happened, and we need to get to the bottom of it.
I don't believe for a minute that Mike Pence is trying to intentionally compromise national security. And I can't think that about Biden and Trump. We clearly have a problem here.
So hopefully, when this is all said and done, maybe we are overclassifying things. That may be part of the problem. But count me in for getting this fixed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOX: And James Comer, the chairman of the Oversight Committee, who has been investigating this issue with regard to President Biden, says that he got a call from former Vice President Mike Pence, who assured him that he is going to be fully cooperating with the House investigation.
GOLODRYGA: Interesting piece of advice from Senator Warner there, check your closets.
Lauren Fox, thank you.
BLACKWELL: The lawyer for the family of Tyre Nichols said that Memphis police treated Nichols like a "human pinata." The Nichols family has now watched this video of that fatal beating. They say he suffered during that traffic stop.
What the video shows. We will discuss it with the family's attorney ahead.
BLACKWELL: In Atlanta, a judge just wrapped up a hearing to determine whether you will see the report by the special grand jury investigating whether Donald Trump and his allies broke the law.
GOLODRYGA: For seven months now, the special grand jury examined efforts by the former president and his allies to overturn Georgia's 2020 election results. Prosecutors now still must determine if they are bringing charges.
Here with us is CNN political correspondent, Sara Murray, who is in Atlanta.
So, Sara, the Fulton County D.A. and attorneys for the media made their case before the judge today. What did both sides say?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That is right. The judge did not make a ruling.
But District Attorney Fani Willis did signal that the special grand jury likely would recommend indictments. As she was talking to the judge, she referred multiple times to preserving rights of defendants, saying there potentially are multiple.
Take a listen to what she had to say in court, and what the attorney representing the media organizations who were arguing for the report's release had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: At this time, in the interest of justice and the rights of, not the state, but others, we are asking that the report not be released, because you having seen that report, decisions are imminent.
THOMAS CLYDE, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS: The faith of the public and the court system is much improved by operating in a public way.
The jurors themselves have asked for it to be published. There's enormous public interest in what they have said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: Now you heard Willis there saying that the decisions are imminent, presumably the decisions on whether she is going to be bringing charges or not.
And we don't know who could be on the table for possible indictments. We don't know if that's the former president or his associates. And all of that is what is included in this report. And so highly anticipated.
The judge said that he would not make any rash decisions when it comes to the release. So it sounds like we will be waiting for a little bit longer to hear if the public will get a chance to take a look at that.
BLACKWELL: And we will wait.
Sara Murray for us there in Atlanta. Thanks, Sara.
GOLODRYGA: Sources tell CNN that the U.S. is finalizing plans to send tanks to Ukraine. It comes as Germany is set to send Leopard II tanks as well. The significance of this move is straight ahead.
BLACKWELL: We're learning new details in the investigation into the deadly police beating of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols.
Two members of the Memphis Fire Department were terminated because of their involvement in the, quote, "initial patient care" of Nichols.
GOLODRYGA: This is in addition to the five police officers who were fired for violating for department policy in connection with his death.
Video of the January 7th arrest could be made public this week or next.
The Nichols family reviewed the footage yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RODNEY WELLS, TYRE NICHOL'S STEPFATHER: Our son ran because he was scared for his life. He did not run because he was trying to get rid of no drugs, no guns, no any of that.
He ran because he was scared for his life. And when you see the video, you'll see why he was scared for his life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: An attorney for the family of Tyre Nichols joins me now, Antonio Romanucci.
Thank you for your time.
The descriptions of this video, Ben Crump, who's also representing the family, called it "appalling, deplorable, heinous." You called it "violent." His stepfather called it "horrific." The chief called it "egregious."
What can you tell us about what's on this video, more than just the description of how it made you feel?
ANTONIO ROMANUCCI, ATTORNEY FOR TYRE NICHOLS' FAMILY: Well, I certainly agree with all of those descriptions. And there are a lot more descriptors that we can add, "brutal, savage."
I thought of a new one today as I reviewed that video in my head over and over because I can't unsee it, even though I don't have it in front of me.
And that's how violently intentional it was. There really was just a heinousness to it, a callousness seeing Memphis police officers in their uniforms, under the color of law, beating a citizen so savagely, really without any cause.
Because we hear, we hear Tyre, over and over, what did I do? He's asking them, what did he do to deserve this disproportionate use of force on him.
BLACKWELL: How much can you tell us about what they did that you saw in this video?
ROMANUCCI: Here's what I can say. I mean, we have to lead off with the premise that this was a traffic stop. That's what this led to. It was so needless and unnecessary.
And there's about a three to 3.5-minute period of time where it's a consistent overall beating and use of force on this young man.
You know, we can't forget that he's -- he's a son, he's a brother, he's a co-worker. He's so many things.
And for -- to see this several-minute unabashed, unabated beating and use of force, for what? A traffic stop?
And for this young man crying, what did I do? For this young man crying literally, screaming for his mom.
(CROSSTALK) ROMANUCCI: He's not fighting the officer.
BLACKWELL: At the top of the bloc, I said the Memphis Fire Department, two employees for their initial patient care, they were fired.
What can you tell us about what they did or didn't do, those two fire department employees?
ROMANUCCI: So, understanding that I still have some limitations on what I can say, during a period of time before the EMS services arrived on scene, fire is on scene. And they are there with Tyre and the police officers prior to EMS arriving.
BLACKWELL: OK, all right.
Is there -- I wonder, as you watched this video and you now have the names of these officers, have you started to do the work to determine if there are -- if they have histories or past allegations against any of these five?
ROMANUCCI: That's all beginning right now, Victor. We're in the process of doing that.
Understand that, you know, we had a very productive meeting yesterday with local government officials, the state's attorney's office and also the federal government. And we hope to work cooperatively with them.
And I left that meeting very encouraged by what they told us and by what we told them in terms of all of our investigations moving forward.
BLACKWELL: All right, Antonio Romanucci, thank you so much.
GOLODRYGA: A manhunt is underway in Washington State for this man, who investigators say fatally gunned down three people. We'll have a live update on the search ahead.