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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Resign; Report: Uvalde Officers Lost Momentum When Fired Upon. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 07, 2022 - 05:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. It is Thursday, July 7th. I'm Christine Romans.

And we begin this morning with breaking news from London. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to resign later today. A Downing Street spokesman telling CNN that the prime minister will make a statement to the country today, this as Johnson has been rocked by a new wave of resignations.

Joining us now live from London, CNN's Nada Bashir.

Good morning, Nada.

We've been following these developments the past few hours. What do we know so far about the reports that Johnson will step down?


Just gone 10:00 a.m. here in London and clearly a lot has happened. Boris Johnson now expected to stand down from his post as prime minister. We are expecting him according to Downing Street to make a statement in the coming hours. We're also waiting for that lectern to come out here to address the press, give that statement announcing his resignation.

We understand that he spoke with the chairman of the 1922 committee, that is the committee of back bench members of parliament here in the conservative party who would oversee the process of both the prime minister resigning and of course that potential vote of confidence. But it hasn't reached that stage. The prime minister now announcing -- expected to announce that he will step down.

And this has followed significant shift in the conservative party. We've seen a number of resignations nearing 60 now, MPs, government aides all announcing their resignation. The overwhelming theme has been of course questions around the prime minister's integrity, trust in the prime minister, whether he is the right person to lead the conservative party anymore. And we have, of course, seen the bombshell resignations from his cabinet ministers, some of his closest allies including the former Chancellor Rishi Sunak who led the way for the snowball effect of resignations.

In the last couple hour, we've also seen the newly appointed chancellor, the prime minister's number two now, Nadhim Zahawi, issuing a letter publicly calling on the prime minister to step down. So he hasn't resigned, but according to sources close to the situation, we understand that number of cabinet ministers close to the prime minister, loyal allies some of them, spoke to him yesterday calling on him to step down from his post before we get to the point of calling a vote of confidence. He shared that letter publicly and we have of course continued to see a flurry of resignations.

This comes off the heels of a number of crises. The party-gate scandal really rocked the prime minister and yesterday he managed to weather that storm. We've seen some historic local election losses under the prime minister's watch and of course there was a scandal surrounding the deputy chief who the prime minister appointed to the position despite it soon became clear knowing of the historic allegations one of which was upheld.

So, these have really pushed the prime minister to this point. He has so far until this point remained defiant. We heard from him yesterday speaking to lawmakers in the House of Commons during the questions time deflecting saying that he wants to get on with the job, focus on his policy priorities saying that that is what the electorate want him do.

But it doesn't appear to be the case. Recent snap polling showing that 7 out of 10 adults want him to resign. And also the feeling among some of his closest allies in government -- Christine.

ROMANS: So you've laid out what got him here. You know, Boris Johnson famously has nine lives, right? Now, it looks as though we're on the doorstep here literally and figuratively of him stepping down. Explain what happens when a prime minister resigns. What happens next?

BASHIR: Well, that really is the key question. There doesn't appear to be an obvious frontrunner who would take over that position of prime minister. We do, of course, have the party conference in October, at this point the prime minister would stay in caretaker prime minister until that point.


But there's still a lot of -- there isn't a lot of clarity around what the next stage would entail. That is, of course, a very long time for Boris Johnson to remain in office even as a caretaker prime minister, given the fact that he's really lost command, lost the trust of his own closest cabinet ministers and widely across his party as well.

So there are questions around what the next steps would be? And, of course, who the next prime minister would be? That continues to be quite a division within the Conservative Party. So, not a clear frontrunner. There are several senior ministers, secretaries, former chancellors, Rishi Sunak, one of those names going around the newspapers, former health secretary, Sajid Javid. The foreign secretary, Liz Truss, perhaps. But there doesn't seem to be one name overpowering the others at this

stage. The question now, of course, what happens next? What will the prime minister say in his address to the public later on today and whether or not he can come to an agreement with the 1922 committee and with his cabinet officers about what those next steps would look like for him and for the Conservative Party.

ROMANS: So interesting so many of the names don't resonate with the public maybe the way Boris Johnson's name, that he is a larger than life figure really.

It's early. Any sense of the public reaction to the news here?

BASHIR: Look, we've seen pretty strong criticism of Boris Johnson over the last few months. I mentioned those scandals really rocked public opinion in the prime minister. He obviously came into office with the vow to get Brexit done. That was his catch phrase, focusing on that, and quickly we saw the government engulfed in the coronavirus pandemic, that was a key focus for the government. He did push through the vaccination campaign. He did, of course, have some success on that front with regards to getting the vaccine out quickly as he did.

Also, most recently, of course, we've seen the prime minister obtain the role of the states man with regard to his relationship with President Zelenskyy in Ukraine. But there has been heavy criticism and growing distrust in him as a leader of the government.

ROMANS: All right. Nada Bashir, we know that you'll be monitoring for us and we will, of course, come back immediately as soon as we have any news. We'll talk to you a again very, very soon and check in on developments. Thanks, Nada.

All right. Turning now to the Texas elementary school massacre. Catalog of mistakes, missed opportunities, things that police could have done at key moments to stop the Uvalde shooter and save lives but it didn't happen.

A chilling new report from the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center Alert laying out the tactical response and missteps in the Robb Elementary School tragedy that left 21 people, mostly children, dead. The report says that Uvalde police officer spotted the gunman outside the school, was ready to fire and asked for permission to take the shot. His supervisor either did not hear him or responded too late. Authorities didn't breach the classroom until more than one hour later.

The damming assessment also revealed an officer sped through the parking lot while the gunman was still there but didn't see him. And the report notes the school was unsecured, two doors that should have been locked but weren't. An external door the shooter entered through in a classroom door with a lock that had been reported as broken several times.

Once inside, the report says police lost momentum after the gunman shot at them, forcing them to retreat. It says that there was a lack of effective command and confusion about who was in charge and what to do next.

CNN spoke with the only survivor in one of the two classrooms the gunman attacked, a teacher, who says as he laid bleeding, he felt abandoned by the officers just outside.


ARNULFO REYES, A TEACHER WHO WAS INJURED IN THE MASS SHOOTING: I thought that we were all dead or something, but if they would have gotten this before, some of them probably would have made it.


ROMANS: Let's bring in Scott Sweetow, president of S3 Global Consulting and former ATF senior executive.

Thank you so much for joining us this morning. Your reaction to this report.

SCOTT SWEETOW, PRESIDENT, S3 GLOBAL CONSULTING: I've read it and it is damming. One of the things that you understand when you put on a badge figuratively or literally, in this era of the post-active shooter era where these things are happening all the time, that you may have to lay your life down to go this and save people. And that means that you may have to go in by yourself, you may have to go this with one other officer or two other officers, but as the alert report makes clear and as our training makes clear, you have to put yourself on the line to stop these shootings or large numbers of people are going to die.

ROMANS: So, a couple of things there. The report notes that the officers lost momentum because they didn't return fire when fired upon.


And then it took over an hour to regain momentum. Is that reasonable explanation?

SWEETOW: I think it's an explanation of what happened or maybe describing why the officers may have done what they did. But this is not a military situation. It is not something where you have a tactical back and forth. These things tend to resolve themselves fairly quickly.

So it does not surprise me that the officers were taken aback when they received gunfire. But you have to pull it together immediately and you have to respond. There is one gunman. At that time, there were a large number of officers, some of whom also had long guns. They had ballistic helmets. They had ballistic shields. And it was really incumbent upon them to go in even at the risk to their own lives because they knew kids were dying.

ROMANS: And the incident command, the command, who was in charge, there seems to be this confusion about who was actually in charge. All of this fully-armed people for an hour while children were being killed or were dying.

What do -- what do we make of the lack of incident command here?

SWEETOW: So the fire service really is the agency that is responsible for coming up with a lot of this notion that law enforcement later adopted about incident command. It is an outstanding system and it relies upon the highest ranking person really kind of putting things together. And that as additional people, higher think people show up, you get this incident command level, including when there is other departments and other agencies present in what you call a unified command. And ultimately, law enforcement officers are trained to follow orders.

And so it is incumbent upon these chiefs or deputy chiefs, whoever is in command initially to kind of set the pace and make sure that things are handled. So in this case, it is quite apparent that you had high ranking law enforcement from Uvalde that were present that would have had incident command but they didn't exercise it. Unfortunately chaos rained. And law enforcement allowed some of this to happen before ultimately a border patrol tactical team decided they that had enough and they went in and took care of it.

ROMANS: Just -- it's a remarkable read. It's heartbreaking. All of these missed connections. But maybe it is instructive for law enforcement moving forward because sadly these events keep happening.

Scott Sweetow, thank you so much for your expertise this morning.

SWEETOW: Thank you.

ROMANS: All right. More ahead on the big breaking news, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set to resign. We are live at 10 Downing Street awaiting his announcement.

And a key member of the Trump inner circle agrees to testify before the January 6 committee.



ROMANS: All right. Returning to our top story here, breaking news out of London. Prime Minister Boris Johnson set to resign, a waiting game now in front of number 10 Downing Street where the cameras are waiting for when Johnson will make the address to his country.

Julian Zelizer, historian and friend of EARLY START, is here with us this morning to sort of break this down.

Talk to us about the history of this moment, Julian.

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it comes at a very fraught moment certainly for the United States. If we're thinking of it that way, we're dealing with global economic problems of inflation. We're dealing with the war in Russia, and here we'll have a dramatic change of leadership right in the middle. So one of the global questions is how does this affect international

relations, how does the change of leadership affect these basic problems that really the world is facing right now.

ROMANS: I mean, there has been so much that has happened during his tenure when you think about it, Brexit which brought him into power, vaccinations and high marks for his vaccination program during COVID. COVID, he actually came down with COVID at one point and then the scandal surrounding celebrations when the whole country was in lockdown, inflation. You know, I mean, it has been remarkable tenure.

ZELIZER: Absolutely. He's also a representative of the kind of conservatism that took hold in the United States too. And other parts of the world. Some people have compared him to the former President Donald Trump. And so it is a little like that Reagan/Thatcher moment in the '80s. And so he has embodied this version of politics overseas and thousand he's now he's fallen to power.

ROMANS: It's interesting. He he has had nine lives no question. And he is a bit of a showman. So I wonder how it will play out.

ZELIZER: Well, I don't know how he will handle this. He is someone who is made for the television age and he is a showman. But this has been a dramatic fall from power and the set of scandals that in the end he couldn't survive, more controversial than some of his more controversial policies such as Brexit.

ROMANS: What will his legacy be do you think? I mean, stepping back, what will the Boris Johnson legacy be?

ZELIZER: I think it's that legacy of conservative populism, the way he implemented it and some of the ways in which he fractured Britain's position within Europe. And I think that's the major thing that we'll be talking about for decades to come.

ROMANS: All right. Julian Zelizer, thank you so much for joining us this morning and we'll be watching that door in number 10 Downing Street. We're expecting Boris Johnson to speak at any moment. We'll be live in London, of course.

And ahead, how Republicans are plotting to undermine the January 6 committee findings if they take back the House in the midterms.



ROMANS: All right. Back now with our breaking news out of London. The cameras there trained on the front door of number 10 Downing Street. Prime Minister Boris Johnson set to resign after being rocked by a new wave of resignations.

Let's bring in Nina Dos Santos live in London.

He has held on so many times under criticism about scandals and now it looks as though it is the end of the road for Boris Johnson. What brought him here?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Well, essentially, the question mark is whether or not he was telling the truth on various issues. The latest scandal involved an mp who was accused of groping people. Then it turned out that former civil servant said that Boris Johnson wasn't being forthcoming about what he knew about it previously and continued to defend this person and promote them.


And that just came after endless scandals that involved you may remember the party-gate scandal that caused Boris Johnson to plunge in the polls. It emerged that behind the scenes there had been multiple parties breaking lockdown restrictions at a time when the rest of the country was taking extreme precautions to make sure that COVID didn't spread and of course this is one of the countries where more than 100,000 people died from that disease. It had one of the worst legacies at one point, mortality rate for COVID.

And in the meantime, it turned out that those parties had happened. Boris Johnson had said that he wasn't at any of them but then his wife was fined.

So the question is whether or not the prime minister could be trusted and he also sent out some of his own ministers over the course of the weekend to defend what he did and didn't know about the latest scandal and it turned out that they felt they had been lied to as well. And so, whether it's COVID, whether it's party-gate, now this latest scandal, big question mark is whether or not Boris Johnson has been competent and forthcoming with the truth with the electorate and his own MPs.

That has precipitated 58 resignation letters from his own party after he narrowly scraped through a no-confidence vote just a few weeks ago. So, the party saying that they will rewrite the rules to have another no confidence vote as soon as possible. Even before then, we saw a delegation of cabinet ministers drive to Downing Street and tell the PM it was time to go.

Up until early this morning, he appeared to be trying to hold on, but now, it seems he is about to be inevitable and he will be leaving at some point later today, Christine.

ROMANS: Yeah. Quickly, Nina, the timing we don't know, just an aide said that he will be speaking to the country soon. Lunchtime, is that what I was hearing?

DOS SANTOS: We don't really know although it could be pretty soon. What I would also say is we don't know what happens after he does step down because he appears to have indicated that he would like to stay on until the autumn as caretaker prime minister. Recently, a number of the MPs we've been interviewing already starting to indicate that they would not view that as acceptable.

So, not only, Christine, are we talking about a fight to get up until this point where Boris Johnson has finally realized the game was up, but then the question mark is at which point after he announces that he is leaving does he actually go -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Nina Dos Santos, thank you. We know that you'll be monitoring it for us in London.

DOS SANTOS: Back here, a big get for the January 6 committee. Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone agreeing to testify tomorrow. Plus --


ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: It just defies logic to think that there wasn't some other factor involved.


ROMANS: A former top director at the FBI demanding to know why he was targeted by the IRS when Donald Trump was in the White House.