Return to Transcripts main page
4 Dead, At Least 8 Hurt In Louisville Bank Shooting; Police: Officers Arrived At Shooting Scene Within 3 Minutes; Biden Admin Weighs How To Respond To Abortion Pill Ruling; Intel Agencies Scramble Amid Secret Documents Leak. Aired 12-12:30p ET
Aired April 10, 2023 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to Inside Politics. I'm John King in Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That sadly the sound of violence visiting yet another American city. Louisville Police say a shooter killed at least four people, sent eight more to the hospital after a morning assault at a downtown bank. Kentucky's Governor choking back tears, says that's his bank.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D-KY): This is awful. I have a very close friend that didn't make it today. And I have another close friend who didn't either, and one who's at the hospital that I hope is going to make it through.
So, when we talk about praying, I hope people will.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Plus, a ruling with implications everywhere. Federal judge tries to take abortion pills approved by the FDA off the market. The Biden White House now grappling with how to respond. Some Democrats argue the White House should simply ignored the court.
And who done it with global implications. Some of America's most sensitive secrets wind up on the internet, and they give the world a peek at Ukraine's battlefield, its faltering air defenses and guess how the United States spies on Ukraine's president. We begin though, with yet another deadly episode of gun violence.
Four people are dead in Louisville, Kentucky. Eight more are injured, including two police officers. That after a morning shooting at a downtown bank. We know from a news conference just last hour that it took police just three minutes to respond to the scene where they exchanged gunfire with the shooter. The gunman is dead and police say this gunman is they believe a previous employee of the bank. Let's get the very latest from CNN Shimon Prokupecz standing by for us in New York. Shimon.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, three minutes, John, just think of that. It took officers just three minutes to get there. And still it was not enough time. Sadly, four people were killed. The officers according to police encountered gunfire almost immediately when they arrived at the location and there was an exchange of gunfire. And police say it is fortunate, we are lucky because of the police response here being so swift and quick, this could have been far worse.
There appears to have been a lot of employees inside this bank at the time. This was before the bank opened, some time before 9am when all of this unfolded, and as you said, police are investigating the connection that this gunman had to the bank. It's not entirely clear exactly what that connection is. Take a listen to authorities describing what happened this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Within three minutes of being dispatched, officers arrived on scene and encountered the suspect almost immediately, still firing gun - gunshots.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without a doubt their actions saved lives.
BESHEAR: But we certainly saw I think the very best from them today. And I want to thank them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PROKUPECZ: And John, honestly there's still a lot we don't know like this gunman's connection to the bank. What was going on? This appears right now to be the motivation here appears to be this connection to the bank. But police have not said anything else as they are continuing to investigate how this all unfolded, how this gunman got inside the bank.
So a lot of still questions remain. But as you said, John, just more gun violence here now this morning in Louisville, Kentucky, and really just three minutes, when you think about that job and - and that, in and of itself is just not enough time to stop this gunman and to stop people from dying.
KING: It's remarkable. Shimon is going to stay with us. Let's also bring in to join the conversation, our CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst John Miller and the retired Missouri State Patrol Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson. Captain Johnson, let me start with you. I saw some notes you sent into us about your take on the response. You were talking about how times have changed, sadly, because we have these conversations so too often. But often in the past, it would have been wait for SWAT to arrive, or you saw in this swift response new tactics that you believe helped save lives?
CAPT. RON JOHNSON, RETIRED MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: Yes, I do. I believe officers are - and departments are well trained, and they're practicing and training officers how to respond. And that's the road officers we saw in the pictures that we saw reported on CNN, we saw road officers out there pulling up to the scene and we saw them getting out of their cars with breaching tools so they can immediately go into the bank. And we talked about the three-minute response, I think if we go back many years ago, that would have not happened and would have been more tragic than it is and so those officers did a great job.
And as we know that officers always respond after the fact and they are reacting so we have to continue to learn from this, but we have to continue to do something about gun laws in our country, we have to do something so that this response and its treatment of response, we don't have to continue to do, we have to get better. I think it's been 12 or 14 of these shootings already. So, we've got to - we got to get better.
KING: John Miller, when your - you have the police saying they didn't lay out the details, but they believe it's either current or more likely a former employee of the bank. Walk through your list your to do list based on the information we do have, but there's so much information we are yet to have. If you're a law enforcement, you're investigating this and you believe you have a disgruntled former employee, how is that different, if you will, when you're building your to do list your task list from a random shooting.
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So, what you're looking at here is an individual who they believe they've identified positively. On your to do list, it begins with that weapon that's on the ground there. I am told by law enforcement source that that is an AR-15 variant. So, it's, it's the gun that has become famous in so many - or infamous in so many active shooter incidents across the country.
It's also the gun that we recognize is the one deployed by our own law enforcement, SWAT teams and the U.S. military overseas. But it is by any measure, an assault weapon, designed first for war, that is now one of the most popular weapons in private sales across the country. That gun recovered; it is now part of the crime scene.
So, they'll be running the background of that gun, where and how was it purchased? Was it purchased by the shooter? Second on the to do list is there going to get a search warrant for that individuals house? What are they looking for? They're looking for computers, phones, hard drives, anything that may contain clues as to the motive, a manifesto, written products, records on the weapon and so on.
Step three is to go to the point of purchase where that weapon was bought and find out when that happened. And you know what forms were executed. Got to say Kentucky is what gun advocates call a free state. Concealed carry is legal there. If you're from Kentucky, it's also legal in in Louisville, and Kentucky if you have a license from any other state, which means people from anywhere who possess a legal firearm in the country can carry a concealed weapon there.
As far as a rifle goes, in this case, the AR-15 variant, all you have to be is 18 and past the federal background check that you're not a convicted felon. And you can purchase that weapon unless it's a private sale from a friend or a gun show at which point, you don't even have to undergo a background check under state law.
So, it's - it's one of those places that is probably going to be in some state of self-examination this week about whether or not they need to do anything with those gun laws, which is a conversation we've seen repeated in these cases.
KING: A conversation we have seen repeated. The governor has a very different take than the legislature in that state, which is this has been a conversation in Kentucky. Now Captain Johnson come in on that point. The police - the bank was not opened yet. As Shimon said this is 8:30 in the morning before the bank would have opened for the day.
The police could not answer as to whether there was any armed security on site in terms of doing the investigative work, I assume, and this is an assumption we need to be careful with assumptions. But if this is a former employee access might be easier if a perfect stranger walked up to the bank before it opened.
JOHNSON: You're probably right. I think we'll have to wait and get those answers back. But that will be something I think police will immediately try to find out how access was gained with this a former employee or is he still a current employee that may be on the verge of being a former employee on how did he get into the bank.
It's obvious that he knew to go to the bank at this time, and may have known the procedures to get in. So, there's a lot of things that could have happened or he could have gotten there when another employee got there and forced his way in. So, we don't know. But what we do know is that most of our banks throughout the country have significant training on safety and what they should do if someone approaches the bank. And so those people probably had more training than most of our businesses.
And so, we just have to make sure that we train as much as we can, be as safe as we can. But this is something our country has to look at and the gun laws, the other speaker talked about what's going on in Kentucky with gun laws. And I think it is something people will look at and I think as a country, we will look at, do we need consistent gun laws that are consistent for our country and not specific state by state by state?
KING: That again, politics gets in the way of that conversation. You hear the smart voices from law enforcement, like yourself make one point but it gets caught up in the politics. John Miller back to you for the conversation we're just having. It was striking listening to an account from one of our affiliates in Kentucky that a woman called her husband she locked herself in a bank vault.
People sort of in the back of their minds have a strategy for risk if this happens to them. I know everyone is different and I know everybody listening might have different views on gun control around the country or gun safety reforms, but this is the 100th day of this year.
We have had 146 mass shootings in the United States of America. 146 mass shootings in the United States of America on the 100th day of the year, 15, just this month. Again, I'm not trying to have a political conversation here. But what is the - what is the common-sense adult conversation the country has to have?
MILLER: Well, I mean, there is a - there is a political conversation that is going on currently, based on exactly what you're talking about John, which is there was the assault weapons ban that was passed with the crime bill, you know it in 1994. And it was to sunset after 10 years. And when it came up to sunset, it was not voted back into effect.
And what you see is a roller coaster here of when the assault - when the assault weapons ban expired, assault weapons sales went through the roof because gun owners and enthusiasts were worried it might come back. And when President Obama was elected, and talking about gun control during the campaign, you saw sales of assault weapons go through the roof again.
In fact, every time there's a discussion about things like this, about limiting access to assault weapons for civilian users, long capacity magazines, and so on, you see those sales spike. So, in the great law of unintended consequences, the more we've talked about bringing these limits back, the more we've expanded the numbers of assault weapons in the hands of average citizens who are going by the marketing of gun companies, which say, this is America's gun, as you know, one politician wanted to make the AR-15 America's gun.
So, it's a - it's a time when we really have to come to terms with ourselves about where we want to go with this.
KING: I think that's very well put. Louisville will take the lead. Now Nashville, obviously a conversation playing out there as well. We could go around the map of American cities. Shimon Prokupecz, let's wrap it up. It's not every day you see a governor on the verge of tears. Governor Beshear saying his campaign headquarters when he ran for attorney general was in that building. He says he knows very well two of those who were killed today and someone else who is in surgery.
We don't have any information on the victims yet. From - from your perspective, what are the big questions we're waiting to hear? We will get a briefing later today.
PROKUPECZ: Well, certainly the connection that the gunman here had to the bank and were there any signs. You know, often, sadly, John, what we've learned is that many of these shooters, there are events that happen, that occur. And then finally they get to this point where they want to take action. What if any signs were there before this and the gun purchase and how this individual got their hands on the gun.
And you're right to see the governor there, get emotional, that is not something we're used to seeing. But sadly, all across this country, because we're seeing so many of these shootings right now. This is going to affect more governors; it's going to affect more politicians as we keep going. And also, law enforcement.
You know, they've trained for this, but it just seems that now for law enforcement, they have to be more ready.
And certainly, after the events and Uvalde, officers don't want to wait, they see what happened there. And they do train for this. But it just seems like they need to be more prepared for this than ever before. And certainly, the actions of the officers here from everything we know right now, just three minutes, and that wasn't even enough.
And it's just so many questions now, obviously, about this gunman and how he got his hands on this weapon. And you know, to me, there are the big questions always are what led up to this right? And the days, the weeks maybe, even the hours before this happened. Because time and time again, we see there are warning signs and absence of any kind of, you know, gun reform and legislation and falls on families and friends to say something if they see something and law enforcement to take this kind of action to try and save lives.
KING: Certainly, and again, we applaud the quick response by the Louisville, and we certainly wish the best for those two Louisville Metro Police officers who are at the hospital at this hour. Shimon Prokupecz, John Miller, Captain Johnson, appreciate the conversation on another difficult morning in America.
Up next for us, some very big legal decisions facing the Biden White House a federal judge suspends the FDA approvals of an abortion pill. The administration now appealing and getting advice from some Democrats, just ignore the court.
KING: I want to turn now to urgent legal strategy decisions for the Biden White House as it fights to preserve access to medication abortion. Friday night, a single judge in Texas issuing a ruling that would essentially make abortion pills unavailable to women everywhere. Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk's ruling undoes the FDA approval of (inaudible) mifepristone, overriding 50 separate state policies about medication abortion.
The Justice Department filing an immediate appeal but today, another deadline. 3pm, today the Biden administration DOJ to ask for a longer stay if it wants which would keep that drug on the market. The case could find itself on the supreme court docket within days. There of course the six to three conservative majority invalidated Roe last year. It could make another nation shaping decision about the future of abortion. Let's get straight to the White House. CNN's Arlette Saenz is there. Arlette, what next from the White House?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well John, the Biden administration is working through the ways that they can try to protect access to this medication abortion, but the options may be very limited in what the White House itself can do.
[12:20:00] President Biden has vowed to fight this ruling out of Texas every step of the way, warning that it not only threatens access to the abortion pill nationwide, but it also could have lasting repercussions for other drugs approved by the FDA. That sentiment was echoed by HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
XAVIER BECERRA, HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: You're not talking about just mifepristone. If a judge decides to substitute his preference, his personal opinion for that of scientists and medical professionals, what drug is it subject to some kind of legal challenge, so we have to go to court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAENZ: Now the Justice Department did move very quickly on Friday night to file that appeal. They are expected to seek a stay in the case as well. But the other question is, what more can the administration do. One thing that some Democrats and even a Republican South Carolina Congresswoman Nancy Mace, they have called for the FDA to simply ignore this ruling from the Court.
Yesterday, Becerra was asked about that by our colleague, Dana Bash. At the time, he said everything is on the table. But that comment was later walked back by a spokesperson at HHS who said ignoring judicial rulings could set a dangerous precedent. Now, within the hour of that Texas ruling coming down, there was a separate ruling from a federal judge in Washington who actually said the FDA must keep these pills available in 17 Democratic-led states and the District of Columbia. Those conflicting and competing decisions could pave the way for this abortion issue, this medication abortion issue to head all the way to the Supreme Court.
KING: Back in the courts on a critical national issue. Arlette Saenz at the White House. Appreciate your kicking us off there. Let's bring the conversation in the room with me to share their reporting and their insights, CNN's Dana Bash, Laura Barron-Lopez of the PBS NewsHour, Bloomberg's Mario Parker and CNN's Joan Biskupic. Joan, of course, the author of a great new book Nine Black Robes: Inside the Supreme Courts drive to the right and its historic consequences.
Because of that work and your daily work, let's start there. As Arlette notes, one judge in Texas says no, a judge in Washington state says yes. What happens now?
JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SENIOR SUPREME COURT ANALYST: OK, well the Department of Justice is definitely appealing the Texas ruling, which was the more significant because what this judge has said that FDA approval of the first part of the two-part abortion medication protocol was invalid, completely invalidated the process that went all the way back to 2000.
Government contends that this is safe and effective, many women in fact, the majority of women who have abortions rely on medication abortion. So, the Supreme Court warned back in 2000, when it reversed in June - when it reversed Roe v. Wade, that it was not outlawing abortion nationwide. If this ruling stands, the practical consequences will be to prohibit and prevent abortions in states that now make it legal. So, it would have a great effect.
KING: And so, the administration will - is appealing, is most likely to ask for a stay. That they have a three o'clock deadline before they do that. Interesting in your conversations yesterday, including as Arlette noted two members of Congress of two different parties and Secretary Becerra, let's listen to Congresswoman Ocasio Cortez and Congresswoman Mace who say that to them, this judge overstepped that he did, that a single federal judge in Texas, in their view, does not have any authority to overturn an existing government regulation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO CORTEZ (D-NY): I do not believe that the courts have the authority to - to - have the authority over the FDA that they just asserted.
REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): This is an FDA approved drug, whether you agree with its usage or not, that's not your decision. That is the FDA decision for 90 percent of America somewhere in the middle. And I think that that 90 percent would be OK with listening to the FDA rather than a judge who used an old law that was determined unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Yet, whatever your opinions on this particular issue, the Biden White House has roundly routinely, even when Donald Trump was still in power, criticize him for criticizing judges or criticizing institutions or acting outside the norms. Secretary Becerra said everything's on the table, then they had to pull it back. Because this is a judge, you can disagree with the decision, you can appeal it, you can go through the system, but you can't just ignore it, can you?
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, the FDA can ignore it. And there are other ways - there are ways for them to at least slow walk at the FDA. If on Friday, which is when this day is going to lift, if that does in fact lift and if in fact this drug is effectively outlawed until and unless the Supreme Court takes it up and reverses that. So, there are lots of options I should say.
Nancy Mace was on - on this morning with that with Kaitlan Collins. But on that note, she obviously was in a rare position of agreeing with a very liberal Democrat, Ocasio-Cortez. I spoke with another Republican congressman, a congressman from Texas who said that Gonzales who said it he thinks that if the FDA does that the FDA should be defunded.
So that just shows you how there are political points of view. I don't think either - either of those will happen sort of all over within the Republican spectrum.
KING: So, let's - let's listen to that for it's just an interesting moment, that the most important thing, especially for women around America is what is the legal - what's my access? What are the courts going to do? What's the administration going to do? But there's a huge - there was a political fight about this anyway. Right? So, Congress - Congresswoman Mace says, I'm pro-life, the Republicans have gone too far. Congresswoman Gonzalez says, you better listen to the judge, or we will also take your money.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TONY GONZALES (R-TX): If the administration wants to not - not lead this ruling, not live up to this ruling, then we're going to have a problem. And that may be a couple point where House Republicans on the Appropriations side have to defund FDA programs that don't make sense.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: And yet, if you pick up the Wall Street Journal today and read the editorial board again, a very conservative Editorial Board says abortion has been a political gift to the Democrats that they want it to keep giving, which explains why they sounded almost gleefully furious on Friday after a Texas federal judge overruled the Food and Drug Administration's approval of the abortion pill, mifepristone.
So, we're going to watch this play out in the courts, it was already a big political issue. And now even more.
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, PBS NEWSHOUR: Yes, it was also striking, I thought about what the congressman said to you, Dana was he also said that they need to stop talking about the abortion and stop having this abortion conversation when Republican states are putting it front and center by deciding to potentially go further than Roe to the overturning of Roe.
And also, just on the point of potentially ignoring it or not. I think there's a difference between the FDA saying, look, we have supremacy and so we're going to slow walk this and we're going to enforce our laws as we see fit. And what Senator Wyden and Representative Ocasio- Cortez are calling for which is for Biden to issue some executive power, saying that we're just going to flat out ignore this, which the administration has been saying they're not going to do whatsoever.
BISKUPIC: You know, can I just add that I don't think it's going to come to this only because I think the judge that decided this case was so far to the right, far more conservative than even the conservative Fifth Circuit, and even the conservative majority on this court right now, that I do not think the FDA is going to be strict of the removal. And the other thing is, I think what the Justice Department is going to argue is that this case shouldn't have been able to get into court in the first place. They did not have legal grounds, the groups that brought this, so there are several stages.
MARIO PARKER, NATIONAL POLITICS TEAM LEADER, BLOOMBERG: I think that you see just how perilous this position is for Republicans right now. Right? Because as you mentioned, the judge was appointed by former President Donald Trump. He's been silent. How much have we've heard that someone is boisterous is the former president when he's getting delivered a win to his - his base, just be silent on notching that victory?
BASH: And I just want to add one thing that's getting lost in a lot of this political debate in the legal debate, which is that yes, this is an abortion medication. But it is also used widely for women who are experiencing miscarriages so that they can take this pill and deal with the miscarriage without having to go in and, and deal with it surgically, either in the hospital or in the doctor's office. And that is something that I think, again, is getting lost.
KING: We'll watch the administration the White House decision today on asking for that stay and then we'll follow the case as it plays out, both legally and politically. But when we come back, spying on Zelenskyy, confidential information about Ukraine's air defenses, and details on how deep the United States has penetrated Russian organization.
U.S. officials beginning at the Pentagon now doing damage control, as leaked documents send shockwaves around the world. We'll have coverage from the Pentagon and the State Department next.