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Communities in California Suffer through Three Mass Shootings within Short Timeframe; Justice Department Conducting Investigations into Both Former President Trump and Current President Biden for Their Handling of Classified Documents. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired January 24, 2023 - 08:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Three mass shootings in three days, California is suffering two more tragedies while it mourns another. At least seven people killed after a gunman opened fire at two workplaces. We'll take you there live.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And in that mass shooting at a dance studio, we are learning what investigators found inside the gunman's home as the death toll rises this morning.

LEMON: In the war in Ukraine, Russia reinforcing its front lines by adding tens of thousands of troops to the battlefield. But they're arriving unprepared as Moscow builds up for a spring offensive.

HARLOW: From New Mexico to Maine, the nation braces for a multi-based storm threat of snow and tornados that covers 2,000 miles.

LEMON: And a key hearing today in Georgia over whether Donald Trump broke the law when he tried to overturn the election. The findings are in, but will the public see them?

CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

We're going to begin with yet another grim reminder that our nation is suffering from what seems to be a never-ending crisis, a problem that is unique to America. California is reeling from three back-to-back mass shootings. Investigators say a gunman killed seven people at a mushroom farm and trucking facility in a small northern California city of Half Moon Bay. The suspect under arrest. The sheriff says it is believed that he was a worker at one of the locations.

Our nation as a whole has already suffered nearly 40 mass shootings this year alone, and it is still January. This deadly month coming after 647 mass shootings last year. Objectively and tragically is an American crisis.

Our Veronica Miracle is live with Half Moon Bay this morning with the very latest. Good morning to you. What do we know? VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Don. Some more

disturbing news here out of Half Moon Bay. We know that these two shooting locations where this massacre took place happened about five- minute drive from each other. And people work and live at these locations where this took place. It was in the afternoon after school had gotten out, so authorities say that children were present when seven people were killed at the first location. There were four bodies that were discovered by deputies. One person still critically injured in the hospital. And at that second location, three bodies were discovered.

And about a little over two hours after that first 911 call came in, a deputy found 67-year-old Chunli Zhao at a police substation where they were able to take him into custody. The mayor saying that those victims are believed to be farmworkers and some of them are Chinese. Very disturbing similarities here at the Half Moon Bay mass shooting to the one in Monterey Park, two suspects who were both elderly Asian men, a lot of disturbing similarities there. Don?

LEMON: Veronica Miracle, thank you very much. We appreciate that.

HARLOW: We should note President Biden just released a statement calling the shooting senseless, this latest shooting that killed seven. He had already released a statement about the previous shooting that killed 11. He also pushed to take action in Congress on assault weapons yet again. Joining us now is San Mateo County District Supervisor Ray Mueller who represents the community. He's spoken to so many people after this. And I will ask you the same thing that I asked the mayor this morning, which is can you believe that this happened after the shooting that murdered 11 on Saturday night in California?

RAY MUELLER, SAN MATEO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS: So there is a duality in that answer. The answer is, no, I can't believe it happened to us, but, yes, I can believe it is happening because it is happening in every community across the country.

LEMON: You have spoken to people connected to the victims. What are you learning, sir?

MUELLER: Just -- actually just complete overcome with sadness. Last night I was at the shelter when families, the news was being broken to them that their loved ones had passed and saw the grief and agony in their face. It's horrifying what has happened in our community, but at the same time, the outpouring of love and compassion for our community, people showing up at the shelter late in the evening bringing blankets, bringing food, working together and coming together around. We had quite a few people who were present at those sites who were in shelter late last evening.

LEMON: When you said -- you said duality in your answer, yes, you can believe it, no, you can't, I think most people feel that way, so I'm glad you said that.


So specifically, to bring this home for people, when you say, talking about the horrific tragedy, what specifically are they saying to you? Because this has a huge impact on their lives. What are they saying to you specifically?

MUELLER: Right, specifically right now they just want to know if their families were involved and they were trying to -- and they're thinking about -- I mean, to be candid with you, we had grief counselors with people last night. We weren't trying to break down what they thought of the event. We were just trying to provide them emotional support. So, it is not a circumstance where you're trying to break down their reaction to the shooting. It's where you're just trying to provide people to them to help them work through their emotions.

HARLOW: And I understand there were children there, weren't there?

MUELLER: Yes, there were. There were children present, we were with them last night. Children are incredibly resilient. It is going to be some time before we can go and work through with them what they saw and felt. Last night we were trying to provide them and surround them in love, frankly. So we're -- I was playing soccer with one of them and trying to provide them with as much support as possible while we help their parents.

HARLOW: I'm glad you were able to do that for those kids. Thank you. And we're so sorry. We say it too often, but we're so sorry, yet again, this has happened now to your community.

MUELLER: My message to everybody out there is it could happen to your community, too. We never thought it would happen to us, never thought it would happen to us.

LEMON: We're glad that you could come on to convey that, Mr. Mueller. Thank you so much, and be well.

MUELLER: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.

So we should take a look now at these side by side videos. Let's put them up. This is where police were investigating the massacre in northern California, there was a vigil in southern California for Saturday night's mass shooting at a dance hall. Another victim died in the hospital, bringing to 11 the number of people killed.

I want to get now back to California, go to CNN's Kyung Lah. She has been following the shooting from the start, the one in Monterey Park. And she has spoken to members of the community there. She's actually a member of the community herself. Kyung, what are you hearing?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, certainly people understand that this has happened. Everyone here knows that this is an American story that is now touching this society, but what they need to know most importantly from investigators is, what is the motive? Because for them, here, they need to understand why.


of the earthquake, right? You're right there. And you feel it shock you more.

LAH: These are familiar images in today's America that once felt so far away from Monterey Park, a city that prides itself for being the country's first Asian majority suburb, a draw for immigrants searching for a bit of home.

BJORNBAK: We want something really, really Chinese, more Asian, they come here to Monterey Park, and you feel it, you sense it.

LAH: Why is that important in this country, to have a city like this?

BJORNBAK: For a number of Asian people, they come here and, you see the signs, they have all the Chinese character there, and a lot of people, they don't speak English at all. They feel very comfortable to live here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Additional units requested, multiple victims, gunshot wounds.

LAH: The killer was not from the outside. He was one of them, striking at a dance hall police say he knew, and on a holiday weekend.


TERRI LO, MONTEREY PARK COMMUNITY MEMBER: So sad because of course, because life is most important for all the family members. Sadness this happened, especially in the lunar new year.

LAH: The weekend marked the city's first lunar new year festival since the pandemic began, and the ensuing fears caused by anti-Asian racism. This lunar celebration was to be a return, a new beginning for Monterey Park. But this crime has begun a new sense of belonging here to a shared American nightmare.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It just makes people feel nervous, right? Feel not at ease. Why this killer will do this?


LAH (on camera): And on this morning, we can't talk about Monterey bay without -- Monterey Park without talking about Half Moon Bay. The shooter of this mass shooting was 72 years old. The shooter in Half Moon Bay, 67 years old. Both Asian men, both attacking their own communities.


I spoke with one of the women you saw in that story, Don, Terri Lo, and she said very simply, what the hell is going on? Don?

LEMON: That's true. That needs -- both elderly Asian men, that needs some unpacking, Kyung. We'll stay on top of that. Thank you very much. I appreciate that. For much more on the outbreak of violence all across America, coming up at the top of the next hour, the mayor of Monterey Park, Henry Lo, will join CNN.

HARLOW: Attorney General Merrick Garland is addressing the Justice Department's dueling investigations into the handling of classified documents by the former president and the current president.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We do not have different rules for Democrats or Republicans, different rules for the powerful and powerless, different rules for the rich or for the poor. We apply the facts and the law in each incase in a neutral, nonpartisan manner. The role of the Justice Department is to apply the facts and the law in each case and to reach appropriate decisions in a nonpartisan and neutral way without regard to who the subjects are.


HARLOW: House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer has sent a letter to the Secret Service asking for them to provide visitor logs from President Biden's home in Wilmington where the FBI just went on Friday and found more classified documents. Paula Reid is live in Washington with more. I believe when they asked about visitor logs, the administration had said those are not kept, right? Do we know what the Secret Service have these for the Wilmington home?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Secret Service said in a statement yesterday, they said, look, we don't keep visitor logs at this private residence. So the records that they're requesting may not actually exist. It's also important to note the Secret Service didn't protect that home between a critical period, which is about March, 2017 to March, 2020. And that's the time during which, of course, he just left the vice presidency, wasn't the nominee. And the reason for this request is a pretty legitimate question, which is who could have potentially had access to the classified information that was at that home. Now, that is a question that Republicans and reporters will continue to ask, but it's not clear that these logs exist, and even if they do, if they have all the answers.

LEMON: OK, listen, what are people saying, Paula -- good morning to you. What are people saying about Garland? Do they feel he's treating the cases exactly the same? Or should they even be treated exactly the same way? Because it's nuanced.

REID: It is incredibly nuanced. But to the average American on a superficial level, these cases do look the same, and it has become a Republican talking point, trying to argue that Trump has been treated differently than Biden.

But let's be clear, the Trump case is more legally significant because, first of all, we're talking about a different amount of classified information that was retained. Hundreds of documents with Trump versus dozens so far with Biden. Also, the way these two have interacted with the Justice Department. Former President Trump is under investigation for possible obstruction. There were also concerns that documents were being moved, which is why the Justice Department executed a search warrant to try to uncover classified information.

But also, I don't want to downplay the significance of the Biden investigation. With each new discovery of classified information, legally and politically the risks for him continue to increase. So the attorney general, he has a real challenge here to try to convince the American public that these cases are both being handled in a similar, fair manner. And it's not just the political stakes here, the legal stakes. It's also trust in the institution that he is now responsible for protecting.

HARLOW: And to be clear, some of the classified documents that Biden held, Paula, would have been held longer than what Trump removed, years longer, correct?

REID: Yes, that's exactly right, because it would have been from his time as vice president, which is, of course, obviously before Trump was even in office. So a lot of questions still with the Biden classified document investigation, which is also much younger than the Trump investigation.

LEMON: Thank you, Paula. Appreciate that.

U.S. and western officials are urging Ukraine to shift its focus in its war with Russia. We have a new report, that's next.

WALKER: And in a few hours, the bad blood between Taylor Swift and Ticketmaster -- get it, bad blood -- will be focused on a very serious, though, Senate hearing. How strong is Ticketmaster's hold on live entertainment? Is it a monopoly? We'll break that down ahead.



LEMON: For this morning, Ukraine is being urged to cut its losses in the brutal fight for the Eastern City of Bakhmut, and instead focus on planning an offensive in the South. U.S. and Western allies advise that Bakhmut holds little strategic significance for Ukraine. But sources say President Zelenskyy seeming -- seems reluctant to abandon the city that months of shelling has led heavily damaged. CNN's Natasha Bertrand joins me now with more. Good morning to you. Why Zelenskyy has (INAUDIBLE) to abandon Bakhmut?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, Don, totally unclear at this point whether Zelenskyy would be willing to abandon the city, which really has become a symbol of Ukrainian defiance over the last six months of fighting. The city is completely destroyed, Ukrainians and Russians are going toe to toe there, expending large amounts of ammunition, huge amounts of casualties in this kind of World War I style fighting. But President Zelenskyy does not necessarily believe that it is inevitable that Russia is going to take the city, and he believes that it is important for the Ukrainian forces to keep it because it could allow Ukrainian forces to take back the rest of the Donbas Region, of course, which is what Russia wants to do as well.

So, he is not convinced at this point that it is time to give up Bakhmut, but the U.S. is telling him, look, it is not a strategic enough city for you to be expending this amount of troops and ammunition on. We want you to focus more on the South. And on a different style of fighting that does not give up as many troops and equipment as you're using right now.

LEMON: Natasha, let's talk about this new reporting that you have on the Biden Administration raising concerns with China over aid in Russia's war effort. What do you -- what can you tell us about that?

BERTRAND: Yes. So, we're learning that the Biden Administration has actually raised concerns directly with Beijing, about the idea and the fact that these Chinese companies are sending military equipment to Russians to use in the war in Ukraine. This is non-lethal aid, things like flak jackets and helmets, but nevertheless, things that the Russians could really use right now. And so, the administration is trying to gauge whether or not Beijing is actually aware of what these companies are doing, and whether they're complicit. Right now, the administration does not have a good idea of that. But they say that if it does come out that Beijing is actually even directing these companies to help Russia, then it is going to have a significant impact obviously on U.S.-China relations, Don.

LEMON: Natasha Bertrand, thank you very much.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Ukraine is hoping its Western allies will send them German-made Leopard 2 tanks, but Germany has been resisting so far to do that. However, Germany has said they will not stand in the way if other countries like Poland want to send some of their Leopard tanks. Joining us now to explain all of this and its significance, CNN Anchor, National Security Correspondent, Jim Sciutto. This is -- was all has been all the talk in the past few days.


HARLOW: And Germany would technically need to sign off, right, on a country like Poland, sending a tank that they made.


HARLOW: They're saying they're not going to stand in the way. Can you explain why these tanks matter so much in Ukraine?

SCIUTTO: Well, it has echoes of debate we've seen since the start of this war, even going back to 2014, the focus on the next big weapon system. You remember all the debate about sending fighter jets in, you know, the west view, not the right weapon for this time requires too much support, Ukraine wanting those weapons systems. And there are a lot of similarities between that and these tanks.

Now, let's talk about why specifically Leopard tank, Leopard 2, they certainly have some advantages. One is they use NATO standard ammunition, 120 millimeters which makes it a lot easier for NATO allies to provide that ammunition. They have more than the Soviet-made stuff that go to the tanks that Ukraine relies on now. But the problem is it requires, in general, I've spoken to former tank commanders, more support, more training for the crews, that kind of thing. So, the question from the view of some U.S. officials, right, is that this is more of a burden or could be a burden for Ukrainian forces in the field than an advantage right now.

HARLOW: And the idea too, Jim, right, the belief that these Leopard 2 tanks are much more effective on Ukrainian terrain than -- right -- than the U.S. tanks? Can you talk about how effective they fared in the war?

SCIUTTO: Well, here's the thing.


SCIUTTO: Tanks have not done well in this war --

HARLOW: Just in general.

SCIUTTO: -- that's for either side. Russia has lost -- and these are conservative estimates by Oryx, 1600 tanks, Ukraine close to 500. These are almost certainly underestimates, but let's take those numbers as they are. Thousands of tanks have been destroyed already. They're big targets. Ukraine has had enormous success against Russian tanks in small units using those Javelin shoulder-fired missiles. And now relying on those Bradley Fighting Vehicles that are going in as well. They have anti-tank weapons, they're smaller, they're faster. U.S. officials believe that's the way Ukraine should be fighting this war. And to kind of make them pin back with more tank divisions will make them more vulnerable, because Russia has great anti-tank weapons. In fact, one U.S. official said to me, the concern is that Ukraine will have tank its own tank graveyards like we saw for Russian forces --


SCIUTTO: -- at the beginning of the war. One final note, Poppy.


SCIUTTO: It's just the numbers we're talking about here. Russia has many hundreds of tanks deployed in Ukraine, more than a thousand. Poland is talking about sending in 14, Germany has a total of 200 Leopard 2 tanks in storage, they're not going to send all of them. So those numbers, you know, the math in terms of writing that balance doesn't quite add up either.

HARLOW: Really lopsided, even if --


HARLOW: -- they got all of them. Jim, thanks for that.

SCIUTTO: Thanks.

LEMON: And this morning's number is 3.5 billion. We'll show you why.



HARLOW: Taylor Swift joins a growing list of angry artists with beef against Ticketmaster after the botched rollout of her tickets, left millions of fans unable to get their tickets, their seats to her upcoming stadium tour. Senator Amy Klobuchar says this chaotic sale highlights the problems in America's ticketing industry, but these problems are not new for too long. The senator says, "Consumers have faced high fees, long waits, and Web site failures."

LEMON: Today, Klobuchar and the Senate Judiciary Committee will be addressing those issues when it holds a hearing on the lack of competition in the ticketing industry. So, to remind us how we got here, let's bring in our CNN Senior Data Reporter Mr. Harry Enten. So, Harry, I think we gave the number 3.5 billion. So --



HARLOW: So, why?


ENTEN: So, why? This morning's number is, as you said, 3.5 billion- plus, that was the presale request to for Taylor Swift's Eras Tour. That those 3.5 billion requests overwhelmed the Web site back in November, it basically couldn't get those tickets that she actually wanted to get. So, a lot of angry Taylor Swift Fans and, you know, you're talking about the Senate meeting they're holding today. And I think the real question, is Ticketmaster a monopoly? That is, I think, the question that is being asked. And it's being asked, because take a look at the Ticketmaster's share of the market for ticketing and live events, it's 70 percent plus. Major concert primary ticketing. Look at this number, 80 percent plus. So, basically, when it comes to getting your tickets for stuff like Taylor Swift, you got to rely on Ticketmaster because there really aren't really many more options than that.

HARLOW: What's the definition when monopoly again?

ENTEN: (INAUDIBLE) You know, a monopoly is the idea. Yes. Yes, this is -- this is it. This --

LEMON: (INAUDIBLE) like Ticketmaster?

ENTEN: Yes, I think so. This kind of gets sad, right? It'd be one thing if it was a monopoly that everybody liked, like the game itself, but the Better Business Bureau grades of ticket -- of two ticketing giants -- look at StubHub, A plus according to the BBB, look at Ticketmaster, a C plus.

HARLOW: Why? ENTEN: So, this gives you an understanding of what's going on here, which is that it's not just that people have so few choices, is that they don't like the choice that they have. And this gives you an understanding that you can actually be well-liked if, in fact, you're, you know, a ticketing giant. StubHub is a, you know, a Web site that I use many times to get sports tickets, but Ticketmaster is in sort of a club of itself, of not being well-liked. And of course, here's the thing that comes down to it.

When you upset Taylor Swift fan, you're upsetting a lot of Americans. So how many Americans are Swifties? Any type of fan 44 percent, a bigger moderate fan 12 percent.

HARLOW: I cannot believe there's polling --

ENTEN: There's polling on everything.

HARLOW: -- on how many people are Taylor Swift fans.

LEMON: 44 percent of Americans are Taylor Swift fans?

ENTEN: Of any type. Of any type. But the big moderate fans are 12 percent. So, basically, you have a disliked Ticketmaster, and you upset the wrong crowd. And the result of that is that --