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Man Arrested for Shooting Rampage in Philadelphia; Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner Interviewed on His Record Prosecuting Gun Related Crimes; Analyst Examines Political Stances of Both Major U.S. Parties on Gun Related Issues; CNN On The Ground Of Jenin Camp After Israel Raid; Treasury Secretary Departs for Key Trip to China. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired July 05, 2023 - 08:00   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Police say the shooter was dressed in body armor and a ski mask as they move through a southwest Philadelphia neighborhood just randomly firing those shots at cars, at people, just walking on the street early on a Monday night. At least five people were killed, two children wounded, including a toddler who was shot four times in the legs. Police say the suspect fired off at least 50 shots with an AR-style rifle. Also, they had a 9-millimeter handgun, and they were wearing a bulletproof vest.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner joins us now ahead of the arraignment. Thank you, Mr. District Attorney. We appreciate you being with us. Another tragic shooting in the streets of America. We know the name now from your office. Have you learned anything about the motive?

LARRY KRASNER, PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: What we have learned is that by all indications, a couple days into the investigation this was random. This was someone who set out to kill strangers, which of course, has become way too common in the United States. We also know that he appears to have no connection to any of the victims, that none of the victims had any connection to each other. That was significant. Aside from the fact that they were all in a particular area, we don't have any more information than that it was a random, premeditated, deliberate killing carried out with an assault rifle, and he was also carrying a ghost gun.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Sir, along with the ghost gun, have you been able to track the origin of the assault rifle? Was it purchased legally? Was it illegally purchased?

KRASNER: That is underway now. We don't have the results back. It does take a little bit of time. Partly it takes time because the NRA has done a hell of a job of trying to make it difficult for people to investigate the source of a weapon. But there is good reason to believe that his purchase of the AR and his either manufacture or purchase of a ghost gun, which, of course, they're not sold through official vendors, there is good reason think that it may have been obtained illegally. HARLOW: Can you update us, if you have an update, Mr. District

Attorney, on the victims? Because, we are talking about some of the victims as young as two years old here, a two-year-old boy shot four times in the legs. Any updates?

KRASNER: I can tell you the victims ranged from as young as two up to about 59. We have five who are deceased. We have four who are injured. Of the four injured, two were struck with bullets. My information on the surviving victims is that they are in stable condition and, obviously, everybody in Philly and everybody in the world, I would think, is hoping for their quick recovery.

But this is just a tragedy at the most profound, deepest level. We are talking about completely innocent bystanders who did absolutely nothing to put themselves at risk, and they have suffered this horrifying consequence.

MATTINGLY: Sir, can I ask you. You mentioned that the NRA makes it very difficult to investigate and prosecute some of these cases. I think at points you have been criticized for both your decisions on prosecutorial discretion, but also, I think from a numbers perspective that convictions on illegal gun cases haven't necessarily been where I think even you said you would want them to be, which there are a lot of different elements that go into that. What's your view on those who say to some degree your office needs to be doing more when it comes to illegal gun purchases, bringing cases on both violent and nonviolent gun cases?

KRASNER: Our conviction rate at trial on shooting cases is extremely high. It's nearly 90 percent. And that's what we are talking about here. We are talking about shootings. We are not talking about whether or not a gun -- the search for a gun gets suppressed because of illegal police conduct or a case thrown out because witnesses don't show up. That's a gun possession case.

This man, this person, Mr. Carriker, had a gun conviction, and it, obviously, didn't stop this. He had a gun conviction back in 2003. And yet here we are looking at five people dead as a result of a mass shooting rampage where he was well armed and had another firearm back at his residence.

So what we are up against here is people would like to deflect, they would like to talk about other things. But the reality is this office has been extremely focused on gun violence, extremely successful in the prosecution of gun violence. We will vigorously prosecute this case. And all the people throwing out that criticism should show you their record on the votes that they put down or the votes they supported in relation to gun regulation. Pennsylvania's gun regulation is crap. It is crap. If you go to New Jersey, if you go to other states nearby, you go to Delaware, these states are safer, and they are states that have more reasonable gun regulation. It is time for a bunch of legislators who wear AR-15 lapel pins, it's time for them to quit or to get voted out.

HARLOW: You're talking about some in Congress, some of the names, George Santos, Congresswoman Anna Paulina Luna, seen this year wearing AR-15 pins.


But I want to get to the point you just made about, Mr. District Attorney, about the laws in the state and what that means for the gun laws in city. The city of Philadelphia has many times tried to institute its own gun laws, and you have been blocked by the state courts because of what are known as preemption laws, which block the city from instituting their own laws, laws that you refer to, for example, in New Jersey or Delaware that you view would be more effective. As I understand it right now, the most recent case on that is on appeal. It will be heard by the State Supreme Court. Do you expect to prevail there? And if so, what would that change?

KRASNER: We are going to keep fighting. We have to keep fighting, but it is time for this legislature, and, frankly, legislators across the country to swear off their addiction to NRA gunman and so swear off their addiction to this gun fetish that is really only shared by a moderate quantity of the U.S. population. Most Americans want reasonable gun regulation just like they want reasonable car regulation, and they accept reasonable car regulation.

It's time for people who are running for office to swear off NRA money, to swear off gun lobby money, to swear off this absurd interpretation of the Second Amendment that has been put out there by militias, much of it untrue. And frankly, it's time for the Supreme Court to cut it out. This should not be a country of guns. It should be a country of people, living people.

HARLOW: The Supreme Court ruling last term in Bruen stands which brought in Second Amendment rights, they are going to take up another case on this next term. I want to ask you just about Philadelphia specifically, and it's been public that you and the police commissioner have not seen everything eye to eye when it comes to gun- driven violent crime. A few years ago, she said fundamentally there are key disconnects as far as what crimes we prosecute and who believes what the main drivers of violent crime are. Ultimately, we can meet all day, and we're going to have to walk away and agree to disagree. Are you more on the same page, the two of you, now?

KRASNER: I think that was always a misunderstanding, frankly. What was going on here, of course, we had a terrible gun violence crisis. It continues, although it's much better in Philadelphia than it was. It continues all over the country, although it's much better all over the country than it was. And a lot of law enforcement were acting like gun possession was the same thing as a shooting.

The data showed that our position was right, and our position was that when you convict someone or prosecute someone for gun possession, there is a one percent chance that person is going to end up being a shooter on the -- a shooter who is then arrested and prosecuted for shooting. On the other hand, when you spend time and energy going after actual shooters, at that time the solve rate for shootings was close to 20 percent. When you spend your time going after shooters, you catch shooters. When you spend your time preventing shooting, you prevent shooting. My point was simply that we have to prioritize all shootings. That's

the top priority. It is important to prosecute illegal gun possession. But as I just said, in this very case, the man had been convicted of illegal gun possession, and it did nothing to stop him from doing what he did later.

MATTINGLY: I understand that there are elements herein terms of there's only so much money to go around. There are, obviously, disagreements between the various parties. That is not specific to Philadelphia. That is nationwide, to some degree. But the idea of, OK, if it's only one percent end up being actual shooters, that's one percent of people that are bringing violence crime. I am trying to understand why you can just separate from that. One percent is still people being shot. Am I wrong?

KRASNER: Well, maybe I could put it this way. Among the people who are shooting, 100 percent are shooters. So where should we put more resources --

MATTINGLY: I guess what I'm asking is why can't you do both?

KRASNER: You can, and we always have. The point, though, has been at a time when it was very difficult for law enforcement to solve shootings, they were talking all day long about gun possession, and I was talking all day long about shootings. We are in a better place now. We're in a place where shootings are down almost 21 percent, according to the PPD, the Philadelphia Police Department's own data in Philadelphia. Homicides are down almost 21 percent, and that's even after this horrific shooting. And I think our point has now been largely accepted.

I believe you are mischaracterizing the situation if you suggest that the commissioner and I disagree on much. We actually agree on a great deal. Both are important. But anybody who wants to tell me that a gun possession case is more important than a shooting, I do not agree.

HARLOW: District Attorney Larry Krasner, thank you for coming on. Thank your office for the update this morning. Of course, we're going to keep tracking this, five people killed and more injured in this tragic shooting in your city. Thank you for the time.

KRASNER: Thank you. Bye-bye.

MATTINGLY: All right, and this just in from Shreveport, Louisiana. Three people dead, at least six others injured after a shooting at a Fourth of July block party. That's according to our CNN affiliate KLSA. It happened just before midnight.


We've reached out to Shreveport police for more information. We'll bring you new details as soon as we get them.

Meanwhile, we want to bring in CNN's security correspondent Josh Campbell is with us, Elie Honig is back with us right now. Elie, I want to start with you, because you had some very candid words about the district attorney yesterday. After listening to what he has to say, I think he won reelection by a significant amount. He is clearly in office and has a very clear set of priorities. His explanation?

ELIE HONIG, SENIOR CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't think his conduct matches his rhetoric. We just heard the D.A. talk about how he is focused on actual shooters, actual acts of violence. Let's look at a couple specific cases. There was a case a couple years ago where a man robbed a convenience store in Philadelphia, shot the owner, the clerk with an AK-47. Larry Krasner's office pled that case out for three- and-a-half years. Is that being tough on shootings?

Another case. A young man was pulled out of his car and murdered in Philly. That person was not charged with first or second-degree murder. He was pled out to a 13-and-a-half-year sentence for an intentional murder during the course of a robbery. And people in Philadelphia are rightly outraged about that.

If you want to rail against the NRA and the Second Amendment, God bless. Run for Congress. That's who makes the laws. If you're the D.A. of a major urban center with a real crime problem, your job is to enforce the laws. And I have to say, some of the numbers that he cited are, let's just say, very carefully crafted. He said the conviction rate at trial is very high. OK, but you know what that doesn't count? Cases that were not charged, cases that were pled out very cheap. That's the real problem here. He said homicide rates are down. But compared to when? Yes, compared to last year, but they spiked since Larry Krasner took office. Not solely his fault. But he is very carefully choosing --

HARLOW: The numbers are about net-net in terms of violent crime from when he took office to now.

HONIG: Well, shootings and murders are way up from 2018 when he took office to now.

HARLOW: I have a question. Josh, we'll get to you in just one second, but I just have another question for you on this effort in Philadelphia to change their gun laws that he has been pushing for but being blocked by preemption laws by the state. Is that unique to Philadelphia? Is -- yes.

HONIG: Yes, that's very unusual. I have never heard of other than there. The ability of a D.A. to say I'd like this law to become the law of the state and move it through. You can certainly advocate for legislation.

HARLOW: No, it's been Philly itself cannot make any of these changes.

HONIG: Right, and preemption makes federal laws take precedence over state and local laws. And the courts in Pennsylvania decided that this was preemptive.

MATTINGLY: Josh, I want to bring you in. The district attorney has made this point several times before and he made it just now where seems to be implying that illegal searches were hampering -- their ability to bring these cases were hampered to some degree by what the police were doing as they investigated these cases. Can you kind of explain that to me or what he is getting at there?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So first, that was a really great interview and very enlightening. And I am not one to both sides an issue without merit, but when you talk to people in law enforcement, the people who responsible for responding to these types of shootings, they see folks, leaders on both sides of the political spectrum who are at fault here.

And let's start with the progressives, with the D.A. that you just mentioned there. I think that there was a bit of deflection from. You mentioned the illegal search issue. That particular D.A. has been aggressive in going after police misconduct, which I think most people agree is a good thing. But the issue about the gun itself, what he said was, and there was that deflection where he said that anyone who tells me that prosecuting a possession is more important than a shooting, no one said that. That's a strawman. I think you look at the topic and how you actually enforce the law and solve crime, it requires both things. But to focus just on the shooters, that's like saying we prosecuted every single arsonist who is out there. OK, well, what about the people who were illegally obtaining the accelerants in the first place? Might we look at that and perhaps dedicate some resources there as well? So that's an issue we continue to see, particularly from the police, that, look, we need to go after the crime before it actually happens to try to do that prevention.

And finally, I will just point out because he mentioned the NRA. Folks in law enforcement see fault on the right as well, especially this attachment to guns and an unwillingness to pass even legislation that the majority of the American public wants, such as universal background checks. On our air after that deadly mass shooting in May, I was in Texas covering that shooting, there was a Republican congressman who was on CNN who was offering condolences for his constituents, obviously, which is a good thing, but our colleague Paula Reid pressed him and said, what are you doing to do about it? And he kept saying this is a mental health issue, this is a mental health issue, which is a favorite talking point for Republicans after these shootings. But I am not aware that that particular congressman has done anything to advance mental health legislation since that shooting.

So again, I am not in the business to both sides, but you look at those that are on the beat that are responsible for responding to these shootings, they see politicians across the board that have more work to do.


HARLOW: Can I ask one question on this before we go? There is prosecutorial discretion is brought up in the interview. There's also the issue of what do you prioritize, and funding and resources and the number of prosecutors you have? Does Larry Krasner have a point when he says this is what we are prioritizing as an option?

CAMPBELL: Well, look, there's a saying, you know, in the military, you focus on the closest alligator to the boat, right? And if there's a shooting, and that's violent, and that's taking lives, obviously, you're going to prosecute shooters. But, you know, in law enforcement, you look at what's in your domain, what are the threats that we're facing here? And I would submit that it is just as important to focus on those who possess weapons illegally, because we've seen recidivism, you know, we've seen crimes escalate.

And so, I think it's just a false equivalent to say, we'll we can't -- we can't focus on these resource issues. That is, by the way to Elie's point, I mean, you know, for those who want to run for Congress, that's an issue for Congress. If you're really interested in solving this, regardless of whether you're Republican or Democrat, perhaps get more funding to these prosecutors that are facing this challenge.

MATTINGLY: All right, Josh, Elie, appreciate the conversation, guys. Thank you.

HARLOW: Very much. Happening now, thousands are attending funerals for the 12 Palestinians killed in Israel's recent military operation in the West Bank. Israeli forces pulled out of Jenin wrapped up their largest military operation in the West Bank in 20 years of summer. Abdelaziz is live on the ground in Jenin, getting our first access there. What can you tell us?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Well, first, I have to explain why you have this bird's eye view of me but that's because there is no infrastructure left in this camp. No running water, no electricity, no internet. So, my cameraman is perched on a balcony, and I am here bringing you the ground level view. You can already see these piles of rubble that have built in. That's because bulldozers have already been clearing this area. This is one of the main streets here in the camp.

And it's been turned to mud, all of the infrastructure here torn up by one of the worst rates this camp has seen in some 20 years. And again, people are coming just for the first day because this raid just ended. The first day, they're returning some of them to again, this extensive damage. Some of them, to homes that are completely destroyed. Israel's military says that it was targeting terror infrastructure, that it took out weapons sites, that its objective was to neutralize what it called a terror haven here in Jenin.

But many of these families tell us they were simply caught in the crossfire. I mean, look at the damage to this vehicle. Some of these cars again, you can see them strewn all around these family 7,000 to 8,000 people now have nowhere to sleep tonight. So, these families are wondering about trying to figure out if their home is still standing? Where do they sleep tonight? What's happened to their place?

HARLOW: Salma, thank you to you and your crew. Again, this is the first look we're getting inside on the ground reporting. Thank you, Salma.

MATTINGLY: All right. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is now off to China on a high stake's missions this year. They're at Andrews Air Force Base, will she be able to help to cool economic tensions?

HARLOW: Plus, Japan is about to release treated radioactive water into the ocean. This is 12 years after the Fukushima Nuclear meltdown. Should we be worried? More on that ahead.



MATTINGLY: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, now on her way to China for a high stakes trip. It's part of her mission to cool tensions between the world's two largest economies to address economic superpowers. This tit for tat has continued to advance, over technology that has been escalating between Beijing and Washington, back and forth export controls different critical components and chips and technology materials.

Wall Street Journal now reporting the Biden administration is considering blocking Chinese companies from using cloud services provided by American companies like Amazon and Microsoft, that follows China's move earlier this week, to put export controls on certain materials and chips. That's what Yellen's entering when she hit lands in Beijing.

Joining us now CNN International Business Correspondent Rahel Solomon, CNN Political Commentator and Political Anchor for Spectrum News, Errol Louis. And CNN Contributor and Biden Biographer, Evan Osnos, the author of Joe Biden: The Life, The Run, and What Matters Now. I think more importantly, to this discussion, Evan, you wrote an amazing book called The Age of Ambition. That pulled a lot from your, I think, a decade as a China correspondent from the New Yorker.

And I kind of want to start with you on this before drilling a little bit more. Big Picture we've seen this is now kind of the second meeting, the Commerce Secretary, the Trade Representative Economic side, the U.S. and China seem to be trying to get things back on track to some degree. Why, particularly, when military to military conversations are just not happening?

EVAN OSNOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think the short answer, Phil, is that the stakes are just extraordinarily high. You know, look, this is a relationship that has $2 billion of trade going back and forth every day. The reality was this relationship has been going into the deep freeze for months. And what you saw with Tony Blinken visit which now after all already feels like a long time ago, just a few weeks ago, was an attempt to try to bring it back, get some sort of warming up.

And now Janet Yellen is going over there to say look, we are going to have problems, there's just no question about it. We're going to slug each other with our left hand now. And then, with these kinds of tit for tat disputes that you heard about just a moment ago. But we should be able to have a handshake with the right in a sense, we should be able to have a robust economic relationship.

So, her message is, we are not looking to decouple here. But make no mistake, we are not backing off from this strategy of identifying specific Chinese companies, sectors of the Chinese economy that we think are imperiling U.S. National Security. Or that are involved in human rights abuses in places like St. John. And so, it's a complicated message to say on the one hand buckle up, folks, there's going to be more of this. But we're not looking to break off contact if you aren't.

HARLOW: Yes, we can't decouple but we can de-risk, seems to be what she's going in here with for how you have -- your beat, obviously, on CEOs and businesses and the impact. I think we're going to get the sort of final word from the Biden White House on the chip export restrictions at the same time as this week. China put restrictions on to one hard once off, two types of metal that are used integrally in chips. So, a little bit of this, a little bit that -- oh, and by the way she goes as the Trump tariffs are still in place. What are CEOs saying because it affects their bottom line?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's interesting because American companies find themselves in a bit of an awkward position, right? So, the Biden administration, of course, concerned about National Security concerns of the implications, but how some of these chips could be used militarily. But you have Chinese companies or American companies, rather who do business in China, like Micron, for example, who's already been caught up in this Micron gets about 10 percent of its revenue from the Chinese market.


That's already been caught up in the tit for tat Nvidia for example, put out a statement of the CFO rather saying and comments last week. That what we expect to be this expanded restriction, these responses, export restrictions from the Biden administration, of the CFO said that that will not necessarily have an immediate material impact. But it will have an impact on future earnings.

And so, National Security concerns being what they are, you have American companies who are sort of in the middle of this not to mention American companies or multinationals who do business in China. Who were finding the business environment to be quite tense as of late with these new National Security restrictions, and some vagueness and some broadness in terms of how they're written. And so, American companies find themselves in a really tight position.

MATTINGLY: Apparently, the Balancing Act that President Biden and his team are attempting to play here. Again, to Poppy's point it's not decouple, it's de-risk. They want to have an open line of communication, but they are not going to hesitate to be very candid when they feel like it's necessary. Clearly, the risk of military conflict is as high as it's been in a long time. How are they accomplishing what they're trying to do in terms of that balance?

ERROL LOUIS, HOST, YOU DECIDE, PODCAST: Well, they're building up to some kind of new arrangement when it comes to the conflict and cooperation that has to go hand in hand. The tough conversations are about the South China Sea, and what are they territorial waters? What is the fate of Taiwan? That's the tough part. This in some ways is the easier part, because they can sort of go, tit for tat.

And there's a lot at stake in both cases. One thing to keep in mind, though, I think, is that the existential threat for Xi, for the Chinese regime is really quite high. I mean, it's one thing to talk about, you know, who's going to control the the chip market and so forth. But they had protests unprecedented just a few months ago, in November. You don't see Chinese mass protests against that regime. And yet they had that, they had the severe lockdown. The United States, in some ways is rising high.

You've got Russia tied down, and they're Ukrainian debacle. You've got China coming out of a lockdown that has been disastrous, both economically and politically in the form of actual unrest. And you have Joe Biden trying to get to reelection, trying to sort of methodically put together a sort of a reasonable Economic stand. And then putting aside the really, really tough questions, these military questions. The questions of human rights abuses. It's probably the right order in which to tackle this, it's going to be a much easier conversation for Secretary Yellen, than for Secretary Austin, the Defense Secretary.

SOLOMON: And can I just add to what Errol said in terms of the threat to Xi? China is also dealing with significant domestic issues economically, really high unemployment for its young people, property sector crumbling. While we are out sort of keeping interest rates, where they are we have been raising interest rates. They're actually lowering interest rates to try to boost their economy. So, certainly, threats to Xi for example.

HARLOW: To your point -- and in India, economically, at least moving closer to the United States. We just --

SOLOMON: Seems to boom.

HARLOW: -- saw from this visit, and a little bit more away from Beijing. Evan, what's a win here for Secretary Yellen?

OSNOS: You know, you should expect her to come out of this with some sense that the Chinese accept this new normal. You know, this is the new reality, this is going to be a very tense relationship, not just for six months or six years but going forward. The thing to watch for is to see what sort of access does she get? What sort of reception does she get? You saw they put out the red carpet recently for Elon Musk and Bill Gates. They didn't give quite set treatment to Tony Blinken. Let's see whether she gets access to senior people and what kind of messages they send about how they envision the future with the United States. That's the thing to watch for here.

HARLOW: Yes. Four years since we've seen the Treasury Secretary visit. So, it's a big one. Thanks, guys. President Zelenskyy claims that Russian troops have placed objects resembling explosives on the roof of Europe's largest nuclear station, Russia says the exact opposite. We'll get into the risk ahead.