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CNN This Morning

Eight Killed, Seven Wounded In Shooting At Dallas-Area Outlet Mall; At Least 103 Wildfires Burning Across Alberta Amid Hot, Dry Spring; Russia Calls Pro-Kremlin Blogger Bombing A Terrorist Attack; ; Two More Horses Put Down At Churchill Down, Seven Euthanized During Derby Week; Lakers Rout Warriors To Retake Series Lead. Aired 6-7a

Aired May 07, 2023 - 06:00   ET



AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and good morning. Welcome to CNN THIS MORNING. I'm Amara Walker.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. It has happened again. We are waking up to the tragic realities of gun violence in this country. Eight people are dead, seven injured after a mass shooting at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas. Some of the scenes we saw captured on video, we warn you they are hard to watch.


WALKER: You can hear the rapid fire there and see shoppers and employees scrambling into storage areas, and they hid when they heard the gunshots. We also saw people in the parking lot running. Witnesses say some people sheltered in place for up to two hours as law enforcement cleared the sprawling area.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mom and I were in Johnston and Murphy shopping and out of nowhere heard about like 10 pops go off. And I looked at the customer next to me. I was like, was that gunshots? And he was like, no, it's probably just construction or something. And then like heard 10, 15 more shots go off. And so, I ran to the front of the store. And we were like, no, that's shooting.

And we see the guy. There was this guy dressed in all black, wearing a vest, has an assault rifle and he is just shooting at people right across -- he was at like Francesca's area shooting at people. So, we got everyone in the store and to the back of the store and just camped out there.


WALKER: Well, officials at an area hospital say the injured victims they range in age from as young as five years old to 61. Authorities have yet to release details about those who were killed in the shooting. BLACKWELL: CNN's Isabel Rosales is joining us now. So, this all ended, police say, when that shooter was killed by another officer who was there on some unrelated call. What more do we know?

ISABEL ROSALES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. And, Victor, Amara, that was such an incredible detail to hear from the police chief yesterday during the press conference. Just by a whim, one of his police officers was there at the mall as you said, Victor, on an unrelated call and then heard that shooting happened, followed the sound of the shooting, immediately confronted the shooter, shot and killed him.

Now, when it comes to details about the shooter, those details are very limited. Authorities have not named the shooter. They do have his car and are going through those details following the investigative process. But they do believe that that shooter acted alone.

We do get an insight from dashcam footage in a car showing the moments that the shooter just stepped out and started aiming and just spraying bullets. We do have a witness cellphone video, too, that shows people screaming, running. Let me show you that video again. And again, it is disturbing.


ROSALES: And we heard those five rounds going off and then a series of other rounds. You can see people screaming, panicked. They're scrambling, figuring out a way to get out of this mall. Some people rushing to nearby stores hiding in there. And as you guys mentioned, up to two hours waiting on this police process to take into effect as they go through this large facility, this large outlet mall complex and clear it room by room.

Those are aerial images right there of police escorting customers having their hands raised in a calm and orderly fashion out of that mall as they work to understand there in those moments what exactly happened. And as we later figured out, just one shooter.

We did also speak with Texas Representative Keith Self who represents Allen. He says that his prayers are with the victims, with their families, and with law enforcement officers. Here's what he had to say about the next steps and the motive.


REP. KEITH SELF (R-TX): I want to know the motive of the shooter. You know, so often it is either mental health or it's gang related, which I don't expect in this case. But I am interested in the motivation of the shooter because that is -- that is something too often shooters are known to law enforcement.


They are just not -- they are not on the FBI watch list and they're not handled, whatever it is, those are the questions I have. What is the motive for the shooter so that we can -- we can take that into account in our planning for the future? (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROSALES: And just still so many questions a day later. Who was the shooter? Why did he do this? Who are these victims? And what can be done to prevent anything like this from happening again? Which are the questions we see time after time pretty much every day, right, in America.

One and a half mass shootings per day is the average from the Gun Violence Archive. With the death toll we know that there are at least eight victims. Three out of seven surviving victims, they're in critical care. And as you mentioned, Amara, victims as young as five years old. Just horrifying.

WALKER: Can't even imagine.

BLACKWELL: Isabel Rosales, thank you so much for the reporting.

WALKER: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Let's go now to Jasmine Wright live at the White House. The president has been briefed on the shooting. Is there some response from the White House?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, Victor, Amara. Well, President Biden was briefed on the shooting, a White House official confirmed to CNN, last night. Now, the shooting seemed to unfold here around 4:00 p.m. eastern time as President Biden was heading to mass. He left mass about 6:00 p.m. and told reporters traveling with him that he was unaware of the situation.

So, around 8:00 p.m. eastern time we heard from the White House who said the president had been briefed and that the White House is closely monitoring the situation and in contact with both law enforcement and local officials on the ground. Now, since then we have not heard a more full statement or response to the shooting from the White House that we are waiting for. But responding to these tragic mass shootings has been a routine feature of President Biden's administration, specifically this year.

He has had to respond to really multiple sometimes back to back. And so, we know that President Biden has used these moments really to call once again for gun control measures, including assault-style weapons ban. Now, it appears that the shooter used an assault -- an AR-15 really at that Allen outlet mall. And so this is something that President Biden is likely going to talk to.

But, of course, we know with the current congressional makeup that is unlikely to happen. So, President Biden once again will wake up here at the White House to a nation in mourning. Victor, Amara.

WALKER: All right. Jasmine Wright, thank you.

Let's talk more about this with CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. Juliette, it's just so exasperating. We were just dealing with the shooting that happened in Atlanta and now this. Look, another day, another mass shooting in America.

And again -- time and time again what we see usually is the gunman, you know, often in tactical gear, heavily armed, choice weapon being an assault-style rifle. Anything stand out to you in this particular shooting?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think that the eyewitness reports make it clear at least what we know now is the shooter in a way that we are starting to see in a lot of cases it's sort of like a performative aspect to these gun shootings. They dress up in a certain way, a certain machismo. He enters and just starts shooting. This is completely indiscriminate from the outside and then inside.

I think the second issue is just how lucky it was that there was a police officer at the facility. We still don't know a lot in terms of the time lags between when the shooting started and when the shooter was killed nor how long it took for all other law enforcement to get there.

I think two key things stand out now. I mean, one is, you know, these are traumatic not just, you know, not just because there are people dead, but you saw the pictures all day yesterday, teenagers, old people, you know, who is at a mall on Saturday who are trying to find family members, being evacuated from this huge facility in Texas and sort of this focus on family unification.

But I do want to make it clear we have not gotten enough from public authorities yet. We have been doing this long enough. There is no reason that they cannot confirm what kind of gun it was. At this stage, the name of the killer, there is no -- he is dead. I mean, he has no privacy rights. The investigation is essentially just going to determine what motivated him. The ages of those victims.

I just found that, again, here we are in Texas, public officials, you know, accuse others of being political. But in fact, you know, as citizens we are owed this basic information at this stage simply because it's part of the narrative every couple of days in Texas right now. We are -- this is -- this is the second time I have been on in five days about a Texas mass shooting alone.

BLACKWELL: Yes. It's interesting that I was our Web site this morning and there is a little box on the side that said new details about the Texas mass shooter and it was the last Texas mass shooter because it was just a few days ago that we were covering this.


This was a community violence where a man went and shot the neighbors.

WALKER: Can't keep up.

BLACKWELL: There are so many that are happening. Juliette, on the question of the releasing of information, you say there is no reason that they would be holding back this now. There is no practical reason for an investigation of any type to know if this person was maybe -- we don't use the word radicalized often in this context of domestic shooter, but maybe it happens, that there would be a reason to hold any of that back now?

KAYYEM: Not at this stage. We have been through this before. In most cases we would have known the name mostly because it's the community that is going to know more about it. How can the community help the police about a neighbor, a friend, an ex-boyfriend, whoever he was, right, about what was happening to him, how he was getting radicalized if they don't know the name?

Now, look, the way information flows now there are people now who know the name. There are people now who know that someone didn't return that night. This information is going to get out anyway. And so, one of the reasons why it is part of standard operating procedure for police to be clear to not hide things at this stage is because the community is the victim but they also can help in these cases, how did he get this gun? Why don't we know the type of gun?

I mean, let's just be honest here. We know. We have all seen the pictures but without the public officials coming out and saying, here is what it is. You know, a discussion about this particular type of gun. With we have seen enough -- we know it's -- you know, that if it's not an AR-15, it is a similar type weapon.

WALKER: Look, of course, we want to know more about the gunman. You know, of course, the why needs to be addressed at some point. But, you know, for me and for my family, all I want to do is find ways to keep them safe.

I mean, it was just a few days ago that I left CNN in a rush because I realized there was a gun man that was, you know, on the run. And as I arrived to my son's school, he is 2 1/2, by the way, it was already locked down. And I was seeing pictures from my neighbors who rode up on their bicycles to check up on their children. They couldn't get to them, obviously, in the same school and there were dozens of officers in SWAT gear, you know, standing outside with rifles, you know, which I guess also makes you feel a little safer for your children.

Look, what I'm getting to is let's talk about what the public needs do because now we are at a point where we are talking about you and I go to the shopping mall. You and I go to a restaurant. My children go to school. My husband goes to work.

This could happen anywhere. What is your advice, Juliette?

KAYYEM: Anywhere.

WALKER: I mean, if gunshots just start going off wherever we might be, in a public place, what are we to do? Do we run? Do we stay put?

KAYYEM: It's very -- it's very hard because the data is changing. So look, we still believe in run, hide and fight, in that order. If you can run, this is what I tell my kids, you know, you run. You do not need to be here. You run. Hiding is good if you can do it. It can be dangerous as well as we saw in the Pulse shooting. Look, every shooting is going to have its different dynamics. But I will say now there used to be sort of, you know, never fight, right? In other words, run, run, run. There is now growing evidence, at least that engagement with the shooter can at least buy time. We saw this in the case in California in the Lunar New Year mass shooting. We saw this in Club Q. If people remember there was engagement with the shooter. All of these are different.

I mean, look, the fact that you are asking me this question means that we have a tolerance for this, which we shouldn't, and that we are going to have to learn to adapt. But mostly, get guns that kill this quickly off the streets and out of the hands of people who walk into shopping malls -- and he knew exactly what he was doing. I mean, you saw those pictures. There is no -- there is no alternative plan for him than to kill a lot of people.

BLACKWELL: Yes. I think we are going to have more of this conversation, Juliette, because if lawmakers are not going to do anything and it's unlikely on the federal level and certainly in Texas at the state level it's unlikely that there will be legislative change, what are we to do? What are the businesses to do?

We've talked about soft targets and does it make sense? Is it feasible to fortify these places? We will get into more of that. Juliette, stay with us because we will have much more, obviously, on the analysis, but more of the reporting on the tragedy in just a few minutes.

The trend of mass shootings in America going largely unaddressed as I said on Capitol Hill, prompted many Americans to wonder if they are not doing it, what do we have to do? We will get into that next.

WALKER: Plus, devastating wildfires in Canada. Over 100 fires are burning out of control in the province of Alberta. Now, tens of thousands being forced to flee.



WALKER: All right. Back to our top story this morning. The mass shooting at a Texas outlet mall that left eight people dead, seven others injured.

BLACKWELL: One witness said he initially thought the pops that he heard while shopping were fireworks. But when he went to investigate he saw a man wearing tactical gear and carrying an assault rifle.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My mom and I were in Johnston and Murphy shopping and out of nowhere heard about like 10 pops go off. And I looked at the customer next to me. I was like, was that gunshots? And he was like, no, it's probably just construction or something. And then like heard 10, 15 more shots go off. And so, I ran to the front of the store. And we were like, no, that's shooting.

And we see the guy. There was this guy dressed in all black, wearing a vest, has an assault rifle and he is just shooting at people right across -- he was at like Francesca's area shooting at people. So, we got everyone in the store and to the back of the store and just camped out there.


KINGSLEY EZEH, WITNESS: I saw two ladies rushing to us. And then one was like, someone's shooting, someone's shooting. And then right behind on the other side, right in front of DKNY, there's another guy, he just had -- he held his neck like this and there was like blood just dripping down, you know?

And then we went inside and then I was -- I had like two people in front of me who were like, go down, go down. So, we all went down. And then I heard like three shots.


BLACKWELL: Police say that the shooter in the Texas mall there was killed by an Allen police officer who was at the mall for an unrelated call. Investigators believe that the shooter was acting alone.

WALKER: CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem is back with us. So, I mean, if you are, you know, keeping tally, that's hard to keep up, there have been nearly 200 mass shootings this year. We are not even 200 days into the year. I think, we're like 120 some days into the year. I was doing the math.

But again, you know, we're just talking about this before the break. I mean, how do we learn to live with this? Because this is -- this is -- this is America for you.

KAYYEM: Yes. So, I mean, obviously, there is going to be the defensive measures making self-targets less soft, training for response, educating people not just about run, hide, fight, but obviously -- this is horrible but just stop the bleed and tourniquet saving because we know that victims of gun violence if you can stop the bleeding that can help protect their lives.

So, those are all defense. Those are all sort of accepting that something bad is going to happen because to a certain extent we are stuck on offense. We can't get laws changed. We can't reflect the American public. The polling even from Fox News, even of gun-owning Americans shows much more favorable ratings for gun safety laws, for red flag laws, for getting some of these weapons better regulated in particular the AR-15. So, the American public knows what needs to be done.

So, outside of the laws, because, as you said, Texas is unlikely to change, at least not in this legislative session. Another thing to think about is, obviously, our culture. It's one thing to want to allow people to own certain kinds of guns. It's another to be performative or to treat it as part of the culture war. Sort of the game which I think a lot of politicians do now. They put pictures of themselves with AR-15s. They put pictures of their young children carrying AR-15s. Maybe if we can't change the laws we can all agree that we need to take this weaponry for what it is, weapons of mass destruction, and treat them not as games. And, I think, if we can change the culture in some ways, because I do believe most gun owners are into responsible gun culture. That what we see online is just a sliver of it. But it's the -- that's the piece that gets radicalization, that gets people who may have other issues like mental illness radicalized or thinking that guns are simply the only solution.

And so, I do -- I do remain optimistic that there are things we can do. I mean, one is I see the polling. And two, I see what we call generation lockdown. I mean, I see how kids who have grown up because we have not been able to do anything prioritize gun safety much more so than older generations.

BLACKWELL: I hear you on seeing the polling, but, Juliette, as you know, that has been the polling since Sandy Hook. And this president, as then-vice president, took all of his relationships back to the Hill to see if he could get something done and was unable to do it then. And we know now that the reality is in Congress.

I've got one more question for you. We've talked about the individual level. You mentioned potentially hardening soft targets. Soft targets being grocery stores, malls, any intersection of public life. Let's if put up the map of the outlet mall here. Because when we say mall, this is like a series of strip malls. You see the gray here, the lighter gray, those are the stars and these are parking lots. How can you harden this? I mean, unless there is a search --

KAYYEM: You couldn't.

BLACKWELL: -- at the perimeter or a guard at ever door, you can't harden this.

KAYYEM: You absolutely can't. And let's just be clear here we wouldn't want to. I mean, in other words when people say, well, we have to just -- you know, when people who don't want to deal with guns say we have to just harden places or, you know, put more guns or more metal detection in places, that kind of society would not function, right?

No one is going to tolerate 10 minutes getting into a shopping mall. No one is going to tolerate bag searches getting on to a subway. We are a nation that moves and that's good. That's what makes us the kind of society we are.

And so, these kinds of statements by what we just have to do defense better, it is not possible in our society.


We can get better at it. We won't make ourselves totally safe. That's not the standard. Then we'd all be at home. We'd all have to stay at home.

WALKER: What about more of a streamlined approach when it comes to at least fortifying our children's schools? I mean, is there a way to approach this where, you know, you can find ways to secure the schools without some of these protocols or doors working against them?

KAYYEM: Yes. So, metal detection has gotten better. It's more -- it can -- you can have people -- kids go through and you don't have to stop them. Obviously, doors and training for teachers in terms of lockdown protocols. Those are some of the -- some of the ways to help students.

I am now a greater proponent of armed guards at certain schools depending on what the threat environment was. I used to be opposed to it. But none of it, none of it is going to get us to safe, right, because you're looking at this school here and fortifying it, and then down the street there is another school and that's the -- we don't have to accept it but that's where we are now.

WALKER: That is where we are. Juliette Kayyem, appreciate your analysis and your advice.

KAYYEM: Thank you.

WALKER: Thank you very much. All right. Still ahead, lots of questions up in the air after Russia accuses Ukraine of flying drones into the Kremlin. Well, that attack was foiled. The allegations give the Kremlin a chance to rally Russians around President Putin. We'll discuss next.



BLACKWELL: Immigration officials are bracing for a wave of migrants at the southern border when Title 42 expires this week. The COVID-era policy was used to turn away some migrants on the grounds. They could contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Now, when Title 42 ends, the U.S. will return to the use of Title 8 which would remove those who arrive at the border illegally and bar them from reentering the U.S. for five years.

WALKER: Several people were arrested in New York City last night after people protesting the death of Jordan Neely got down onto subway tracks inside Grand Central Terminal and delayed trains. There have been several demonstrations over Neely's death calling for charges against the man who put him in that deadly chokehold. The man's family says Neely suffered from mental health issues.

BLACKWELL: Unusually warm weather and high winds creating dangerous situation in Western Canada. Right now, there are more than 100 fires burning out of control in the province of Alberta.

WALKER: Some 25,000 people were forced to flee Saturday night after dozens of new fires sparked.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's scary. I just hope everybody left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a little bit anxious about what's going to happen, what we're going to go back to.


WALKER: Here's CNN's Paula Newton with more.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Good morning, Victor and Amara. You know, it has been an absolutely extraordinary spring in Alberta. You have to picture the thousands of people literally had to scramble from their homes in some cases within minutes as these wildfires started to pop up. You know, they had dozens pop up in just a matter of 24 hours. There are more than a hundred right now burning throughout the province.

And that issue here -- and this can be a risky time for wildfires in a spring, but it was the warm temperatures. So many of those fires started burning out of control. It was unusually hot weather in Alberta. Add to that the lack of any kind of rain. You know, some of the trees don't even have leaves on them yet out there.

I want you to listen now to the premiere of Alberta describe the conditions and why she's declared a state of emergency. Listen.


DANIELLE SMITH, PREMIER, ALBERTA: Much of Alberta has been experiencing a hot dry spring. And with so much kindling, all it takes is a few sparks to ignite some truly frightening wildfires. These conditions have resulted in the unprecedented situation our province is facing today. Our firefighters and first responders are doing an incredible job, and we are grateful to them.


NEWTON: Now, some extra resources from across the country have already arrived in Alberta. Others on their way and that includes obviously firefighters. What might also help is hopefully some cooler weather at least if not some rain throughout the week to come. But thousands of people remain on alert right now and are being told that they might have to scramble from their homes as so many of these fires continue to rage out of control. Victor, Amara?

WALKER: All right, now to Russia's war on Ukraine. And Russian authorities have evacuated a thousand people from the front lines in Zaporizhzhia. They claim it's to get residents and children out of harm's way amid intensified shelling. But Ukrainian officials are calling it forced deportation.

Meantime, Russia is blaming Ukraine and several western nations for what they are calling a terrorist attack on Russian soil on Saturday. A roadside bomb wounded a pro-Kremlin blogger. It comes just days after Russia made the baseless claim that the U.S. and Ukraine were behind drone attacks that targeted the Kremlin in an attempt to assassinate Vladimir Putin.

Let's bring in CNN Contributor and former CNN Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty. Good morning to, Jill. Let's start with uh this bombing, Russia blaming Ukraine and other western nations for the bombing of this military blogger's car Saturday. And this is not the first time that something like this has happened and the Kremlin has pointed the finger at Ukraine. What do you make of it?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, there are so many events like this. Remember not too long ago, just a few weeks ago, there was a very well-known blogger who was blown up in a club. So, this is happening a lot. I think, you know, what you've got right now is the war continues but it's unleashing political forces that somebody maybe, you know, a year ago could never have predicted. So, you have a lot of odd things going on in Moscow, you have the element of drones which have really become, you know, one of the main ways that this war is being conducted.

At least, you know, from the -- let's say the public attention of how you can get in, how the Ukrainians for example, can get actually into Russia and bring the war to Russia. So, you know, who killed him, how they killed him, etcetera, it goes into the mystery machine of what is going on right now.


WALKER: And what about these drone attacks from this past week? Is that part of the mystery machine? I mean, and by the way, the pictures were quite spectacular, right, because they were foiled right above Vladimir Putin's residence. Who do you think was behind these alleged drone attacks? You know, as you know the Kremlin is blaming Ukraine and the U.S. Both countries vehemently denying that. What do you make of it?

DOUGHERTY: You know, I was doing live shots the day it happened, and I'm still a little confused because I think we really don't know. But my thoughts have gelled to the point that, you know, over -- let's say over here people were saying well it has to be Ukraine, the drone came directly from Ukraine, and you know, almost hit the building where Putin has his office, or it could be ally groups, Ukrainians, or let's say in the middle, it could be Russian groups, partisans who are anti- Putin, or finally over here, it could be a false flag. In other words, the Russians doing it themselves to blame the Ukrainians and use that as an excuse to hit Ukraine even harder.

I think I come down somewhere in the middle to left which would be I think there's a connection somehow to Ukraine. This is my personal opinion, but I'm not convinced that it's the government. There are a lot of groups that, you know, support the Ukrainian government.

And if you look at it -- if you take the scenario of false flag, Russia doing it, I do think that holds up because they -- after this happened -- it happened early in the morning, around 2:30 in the morning, it took the Russian government quite a long time to come up with an official statement explaining this. And it is just -- basically, it's really embarrassing to have two drones make it all the way to the Kremlin and practically, you know, hit -- actually hit the building where Putin has his office.

So, I think what we're into is a lot of like almost a P.R. move, the military -- something that looks military a drone, but that has great propaganda potential. And it is embarrassing to Russia. I think they're going to use it to really harden their position on Ukraine. We've already seen that. And I also think they're going to use it to crack down domestically on anyone who was against this war because inside Russia, I'll tell you, Amara, it's a lot more repressive than it has ever been.

WALKER: Yes, the theory of potential partisans in Russia, Russians launching such attacks -- and by the way, there have been several unexplained attacks on Russian soil. It does raise a lot of questions especially about Russia's vulnerability from within.

Jill Dougherty, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Still ahead, another mass shooting in America followed by renewed calls for some gun reform. But with a clear divide in Congress, is this a fight the White House will invest in?



WALKER: Reaction to Saturday's deadly mass shooting this time at a mall in Allen, Texas, outside of Dallas. It's sparking swift reaction from elected leaders across the state. Republican Senator Ted Cruz tweeting he and his wife are praying for the families who lost loved ones in the massacre that claimed the lives of eight people. Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton striking a similar cord, calling on Texans to pray for those affected but some responses were more blunt.

Democratic State Senator Roland Gutierrez, who represents the town of Uvalde where 19 children and two teachers were gunned down nearly a year ago, in that mass school shooting tweeted this, "There is a special place in hell for people who watch all this happen and choose to do nothing. Hashtag blood on their hands."

BLACKWELL: This is the latest in a string of mass shootings in this country that terrorized the nation this year. And of course, every time there calls for gun reform, and they want lawmakers in Washington to do something, to take some action.

Joining us now to discuss is Wall Street Journal White House Reporter Catherine Lucey. Catherine, good morning to you. Jasmine Wright at the White House told us that yes, the president has been briefed. There is no full statement out from the white house yet, but we almost know what it's going to say. It's going to be some of the thoughts and prayers from the president but also a call for an assault weapons ban.

The realities of congress make that almost impossible to happen now, but is the White House investing anything else? Is there anything else they can do or willing to do to try to curb gun violence in this country?

CATHERINE LUCEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: That's right, Victor. The -- you know, the President has been briefed. I'm sure we will hear more from him, and I think we will hear something along those lines. The President has been increasingly vocal about his desire for concrete act on assault weapons ban, as well as the fact that he sees limited tools left in his toolbox. You know, he said recently he felt like he had exhausted his executive authority and this really was on Congress.


There was a -- he passed a -- it was an executive order he did earlier this year. There was a more narrow -- a narrowly focused piece of legislation that passed from Congress and that he signed into law last summer. And he's saying that they need to act. And we heard that from him, we heard that from the press secretary at the podium. I think he will continue to hear that call and you'll continue to hear that from him I think on the campaign trail. I think part of his message easily could be a calling for more gun control and calling on voters to elect more Democrats who agree with him in an effort to break this log jam in Congress.

But it's a very heavy lift. You know, we saw even in the first two years of his presidency when Democrats controlled the House and the Senate, they still didn't have enough votes, you know, given the numbers they need in the senate to move anything.

BLACKWELL: Yes, again, we'll expect to see that statement from the White House probably later on this morning.

Let's talk about some of the other things that are happening this week. Title 42 expires on Thursday. And there's the expectation of a surge of migrants. We'll be speaking with someone later this morning about the surge there at the border. How potent of an issue is immigration right now? You'll remember, it's one of the trinity of issues that Republicans ran on in the midterms, but that didn't lead to the red wave that they expected. How much is this worth politically?

LUCEY: This is a tough issue for the president and the White House, and a number of hard issues he's facing in the coming days. And you're also obviously been talking about the debt ceiling. But immigration is something that Republicans have consistently but focused on. They are making clear they will continue to make that an issue.

And the you know, the President and the White House are sensitive to the idea that we could see these, you know, scenes at the border of, you know, huge numbers of migrants, people crowding some of these towns, that could be concerning to the public. I mean, we know the President, you know, has authorized sending troops down in an administrative capacity, that they are concerned about how this is going to unfold.

We also know that, you know, as the president launches his reelection campaign, you know, his poll numbers are low. There's a lot of concerns about his age and fitness for office. And certainly, immigration is one of the issues -- you know, in our recent polling, we see that a lot of voters don't think he's -- don't make he's handling the border very well. So, that is something that he's going to continue to contend with I think as his campaign unfolds.

BLACKWELL: You mentioned the debt ceiling. There is a meeting of leadership, Congressional leadership with the president coming up. At this point, we don't see anything that is moving from the posturing, right? Republicans say we want the major cuts in order to raise the debt ceiling, Democrats -- the President says that there will be no negotiating over the debt ceiling. What should we expect this week, just a platform for more posturing or is there any potential for some movement when this meeting happens?

LUCEY: I mean, that's the question. And obviously, they are now facing a deadline with the Treasury Secretary saying, you know, the nation could be unable to pay its bills as soon as June 1st. Both sides have been very locked in in their positions. We know the White House has, you know, privately been looking at, you know, what other scenarios, you know, like, they could explore if -- you know, if it comes to a default.

I think we have to see if there's any give around anything like a short-term extension or further negotiation. But I agree, so far there has been little sign of movement, you know, as this deadline gets very close.

BLACKWELL. A big week ahead. Catherine Lucey, thanks for helping us understand it.

WALKER: All right, still ahead, an incredible finish at the Kentucky Derby overshadowed. Two horses who competed in the race forced to be euthanized after suffering injuries. This just in the latest string of horse deaths at Churchill Downs in the last week and a half.



BLACKWELL: Horse racing is being scrutinized by PETA and other animal rights groups.

WALKER: Yes, a total of seven horses were euthanized in the course of a week leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Coy Wire is here now. And officials at Churchill Downs are trying to find out what happened, right?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yeah, one of the biggest events on the sporting calendar every year here in the U.S. certainly overshadowed by these horrible events. One trainer had already been suspended earlier in the week after two horses died in his care. Then two more deaths.

In the early races, Saturday track officials saying euthanization was the most humane treatment they could offer. In a statement, Churchill Downs called all seven situations over the past week unique and that there was no discernible pattern detected in the injuries sustained. It goes on to say that they are committed to the health and well-being of the horses, but that this is a sobering reminder for the entire industry to explore every avenue possible to minimize any avoidable risk.

Now, the sport also facing continued scrutiny over doping. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is nearing the end of a two-year ban after his 2021 Derby winner Madonna Spirit failed a post-racing drug test. Pre-race favorite in this one, Forte, at three-to-one odds, was scratched due to injury as well just hours before the race. It would be Mage at 15-to-one odds holding on to beat Two Phil's and Angel of Empire to win the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby. Jockey Javier Castellano, 45-year-old from Venezuela, winning his first Run for the Roses in 16 tries.

We'll go NBA playoffs now as a 27-point blowout for the Warriors in game two for the win. Now, the Lakers, they're responding with a 30- point blowout as the series moved to Los Angeles. The Lakers were down 11 points halfway through the second. They went on a 22-to-2 run and never looked back. LeBron James scoring 21 points on just 11 shots.

D'Angelo Russell becoming the first Laker to hit five three-pointers and score 20 points before half-time of a playoff game. And how about the old man LeBron playing defense here, Victor? Look at this. Can you do that? Look at that block. My goodness. His son, Bronny is in the stands loving it.

Anthony Davis racked up a team-high, 25 points, 13 rebounds as the Lakers win 127-97, taking a two-to-one series lead. And Bronny, earlier in the day, announced that he has committed to play in college at the University of Southern California, the Fighting Trojans. Amara Walker maybe did a good job of getting him to go there. I don't know.

WALKER: Yes, it was all me.

WIRE: Your alma mater. It was all you.

WALKER: No, but LeBron James, I guess, the key is you just tell him he's old and he'll win all the games.

BLACKWELL: And you keep saying it. The old man, LeBron. The old LeBron.

WIRE: Hey, he's amazing.

BLACKWELL: These are huge wins. Coy, thank you.

WIRE: You got it.

WALKER: Thank you, Coy.

BLACKWELL: All right, of course, there's much more ahead in the next hour this morning. But first, get ready to relive the decade of social media and social movements, peak TV, and major political events. Here's a look at the new CNN Original Series, The 2010s.


TED SARANDOS, CO-CEO, NETFLIX: By happenstance, we had a meeting with a production team that was making House of Cards. They had kind of mentioned David Fincher is going to direct it, and we've got Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright starring. And I immediately kind of, you know, lit up because I love the original House of Cards. I'd seen it on our streaming service before.

And we went into the meeting and we sat and said, we will give you a two-season order, no notes, which was completely unheard of at the time.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: The new Netflix drops 100 million bucks to create the TV show House of Cards.


BLACKWELL: Watch the first episode tonight at 9:00 right here on CNN.