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Uvalde Report Reveals Systemic Failures in Police Response; New York Times Reports, Lawyer Pitched Trump on Extreme Martial Law Coup Plan; Zelenskyy Suspends Two Officials, Accusing Staff of Working with Russia. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired July 18, 2022 - 07:00   ET


CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Put some dairy in the cup, I'm not -- I wouldn't buy, I wouldn't go crazy like everyday else.


I don't know about you guys.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: What would you put?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Crazy. I mean, I don't think it's a question. I think you'd absolutely go crazy when you have your day with the stanley cup.

COLLINS: Well, what are you putting in it?

BERMAN: Why limit yourself to one thing?

COLLINS: Champagne.

BERMAN: Beer before liquor, I can't remember which goes first, but I'd start with every which way goes first.

COLLINS: All right. Carolyn, thank you so much for joining us.

And New Day continues right now.

BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world, it is Monday, July 18th. I'm John Berman. Brianna is off. Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins here with us this morning.

400 officers from various law enforcement agencies, they were on the scene at the Robb Elementary School that day, just one of the revelations in this wide-ranging report on the Uvalde massacre. It describes widespread failures, egregious poor decision-making that resulted in more than an hour of chaos in the, quote, lackadaisical approach by those sent to help.

The report states law enforcement failed to prioritize saving innocent lives over their own safety and failed to adhere to active shooter training. The police chief failed to assume his responsibility of incident command, the report says. The report says the Robb Elementary School lockdown was likely delayed by poor Wi-Fi connectivity. And the school also had reoccurring problems with maintaining its doors and locks, those are just a few of the revelations in this report.

COLLINS: And Uvalde's mayor is releasing dramatic new video showing the first moments that officers arrived on the scene there at the school.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired. Get inside. Go, go, go.


COLLINS: The new body camera footage gives a close up view of the action, but mainly the inaction, as officers waited 77 minutes to confront the gunman.

Joining us now is Democratic Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez. Uvalde is part of the district that he represents. And, first off, thank you so much for joining us this morning on this because you've been a very important voice.

And so I'd like to start off this morning because this new footage, and it just feels like the more footage that we have seen, I wonder if you feel like now you have a full understanding of why the Texas Department of Public Safety and other officers did not act sooner.

STATE SEN. ROLAND GUTIERREZ (D-TX): Well, thank you, first of all, Kaitlan, for having me on. I tell you there is still yet more footage. There's footage that I have seen in a trailer very early on for a few moments, which adds some value and I think that it shows the firepower of this type of weaponry.

What this report for me does primarily is it stops pointing fingers and spreads it around to all the law enforcement agencies that were there, including the Department of Public Safety. We have seen nothing but finger pointing from the director of that agency since day one, and not only is that not right, it's not accurate. I think that every law enforcement agency was there, shared responsibility.

And what that report indicated was that the larger or more powerful groups should have stepped in. DPS should have stepped in. The federal government should have stepped in and said, hey, with err in control. Nobody established a command center. The communications were off. We have known this. We've been saying all along systemic failure, human error, certainly everything you could imagine happened on this day.

COLLINS: Yes, it's a huge indictment of the inaction by everyone who was at the scene. And so if you are watching this and you want to know, how do you fix this?

GUTIERREZ: That was the reason we needed to see this and yet more. I need to know for myself as a state senator who the Texas Ranger was talking to on the other end of this as he walked through that campus over and over with the game warden behind him, that's the guy with the red tablet. Those are state employees. I want to know who their supervisors were, who they were on the phone, who they were getting orders from. I want to know what Steve McCraw knew and when he knew it.

At what point does a next supervisor in those agencies that have higher firepower and manpower and resources, at what point did their bosses say, go in, or why they didn't say go in. That's what I want to know going forward.

COLLINS: And who do you think is going to answer those questions?

GUTIERREZ: Well, I have a lawsuit. I have sued the Department of Public Safety. What we saw yesterday is just part of the beginning of this thing for me. I need to know that the agency that is accountable to the legislature, and that's the Department of Public Safety, is going to do the right thing in the future and is going to correct the things that happened and it's going to hold the people accountable that violated their training in not going in.


And this notion that the other guy was the incident commander, that's the cafeteria school cop. I mean, let's be very clear. That's what that report is saying.

And let's not also forget the larger question here, is that we shouldn't have weapons of this type of caliber in the hands of 18 year olds. And so, absolutely, Greg Abbott should be held accountable as well.

COLLINS: Well, on that front, you know, most of these victims had these devastating injuries as a result of the high-powered rifle. Even the best police response may not have saved them. But the report does say that some of them died on the way to the hospital and I'm quoting the report now, it is plausible that some victims could have survived if they had not had to wait for rescue.

GUTIERREZ: There's a little guy Maya Zamora (ph). She received five gunshots to her upper torso. She's still in the hospital today after 20 surgeries. She is a miracle baby and I've seen her and her parents and I use her as the example of who could have survived and who couldn't have. Has she been another five minutes, she might not even have even survived.

My point is that that was that golden hour, it's the time of modern day medicine. We have two babies that we know that had single gunshot wounds, they likely bled out, 5, 10, 15 minutes earlier. Who is to say who could have survived and who couldn't have?

COLLINS: Well, on that front, you know, when you are a parent and you're watching more and more of this footage come out, I know you've said you've sued the Texas Department of Public Safety, but who holds these officers accountable? Is it the individual agencies or who is responsible for doing that?

GUTIERREZ: The Department of Public Safety director is a direct report to Greg Abbott. Greg Abbott has the power, and, by the way, I'm sure Greg Abbott saw those videos a long time before we all did, but he has the direct power to go and ask for accountability, the direct power to ask what happened here, why didn't you tell people to go in, why didn't your supervisors tell people to go in. He has the direct power to get any kind of report that he wants.

He is the governor of the state of Texas and he has refused to step in since day three, he hasn't been back to Uvalde and he's refused to ask for any kind of accountability here and he's done nothing but put obstacles in this district attorney and other people that he has put in place that have just devastated this community. We have to get to the bottom of this, but it begins at the top in Texas.

We are 26 days away from school starting and we have yet to have this governor call a special session to raise an age limit from 18 to 21 on access to AR-15s.

COLLINS: Senator, I'm going to let you go, but did you just say that the governor of Texas has not been to the scene of shooting since the third day after it happened?

GUTIERREZ: That's correct. He did not go to any single funeral. He never has come back since his second news conference, which would have been on Friday after that Tuesday.

COLLINS: Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez, thank you for joining us this morning.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you.

BERMAN: Developing overnight, a mass shooting at a shopping mall south of Indianapolis. A gunman opened fire in a food court in Greenwood, Indiana. He appeared to have used a long gun rifle that he brought inside the food court. Three people were killed, two others injured, among the wounded a 12-year-old girl. Police do say that a Good Samaritan who had a gun on him shot and killed the gunman.


CHIEF JAMES ISON, GREENWOOD POLICE: The real hero of the day is the citizen that was lawfully carrying a firearm in that food court and was able to stop this shooter almost as soon as he began.


BERMAN: Police say it is not known if the victims were targeted or given a motive for the shooting. Their investigation is ongoing. According to the Gun Violence Archive, the U.S. has now reached 352 mass shootings this year.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, hours from now, jury selection is going to start in the trial of former Trump Adviser Steve Bannon. He is facing two criminal charges for defying subpoenas from the House January 6th committee and has pleaded not guilty.

CNN's Sara Murray joins us live. Sara, what should we be expecting today?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, this is a day that Steve Bannon was hoping to avoid or at least put off. He said there's a CNN documentary about me, there's all these January 6 hearings, there's so much attention on me, surely this should be delayed. The judge is not buying it and now his trial is set to get under way in just a couple of hours.


MURRAY (voice over): It's finally Steve Bannon's day in court.

STEVE BANNON, HOST, WAR ROOM: This is going to be the misdemeanor from hell.

MURRAY: After the right-wing fire branded Trump ally lost multiple attempts to delay his criminal contempt of Congress trial, jury selection starts today. If convicted, Bannon faces anywhere from a month to a year behind bars.


Last November, Bannon was charged with two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas for documents and testimony. He pleaded not guilty.

In the run up to January 6th, Bannon spread lies about the 2020 election.

BANNON: They know they stole this and they also know that we're going to show they stole it and we're not going to accept that.

MURRAY: And he reportedly encouraged Trump to focus on stopping the election from being certified on January 6.

The House select committee wanted information from Bannon about his communications with Trump regarding January 6, about Bannon's efforts to persuade Americans that the election was stolen or to attend the rally on January 6 and any communications about extremist groups, like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, according to the subpoena.

Even though Bannon stiffed the committee, it has still been able to uncover some information on his contact with Trump.

REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-FL): The committee has learned from the White House phone logs that the president spoke to Steve Bannon, his close adviser, at least twice on January 5th.

MURRAY: And highlight his inflammatory remarks a day before the Capitol riot.

BANNON: All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. It's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen, okay? It's going to be quite extraordinarily different.

MURRAY: Staring down possible jail time and fines, Bannon made an 11th offer hour to testify before the committee in public

BANNON: My offer is out there. Here is what I need. Give me a date, a time, a room number, a microphone and a holy bible that I can take the oath on.

MURRAY: Bannon, who was Trump's chief strategist at the White House in 2017 --

BANNON: If you think they're going to give you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken.

MURRAY: -- claims he's free to talk now that Trump waived executive privilege, but prosecutors say privilege wasn't properly invoked and didn't give Bannon the right to ignore the subpoena. The judge largely blocked Bannon from using the shaky privilege claims as a defense at trial but hasn't decided whether Bannon can use his new offer to testify as a defense.

MURPHY: There is a lot of information that we would like to get from Mr. Bannon and I certainly hope we can find a way to do that.

MURRAY: Prosecutors were unmoved by Bannon's about-face, saying in a court filing, the criminal contempt statute is not intended to procure compliance. It is intended to punish past noncompliance.


MURRAY (on camera): Now, over the weekend, Bannon again asked the judge to dismiss this case. We'll see if he addresses that at all today before the jury selection gets under way. Look, there is a lot on the line for Bannon. If he is convicted in this trial, he faces jail time, guys.

COLLINS: He did say it would be the misdemeanor from hell. Sara Murray, thank you.

BERMAN: New details now emerging about events prior to January 6th. The New York Times is reporting that former President Trump took a phone call from a conservative lawyer on Christmas Day of 2020 in which the then-president entertained theories on how to overturn the election results. The Times reports that the lawyer, William J. Olson conceded that part of his plan could be regarded as tantamount to declaring martial law, and then another aspect could invite comparisons with Watergate. The plan included tampering with the Justice Department and firing the acting attorney general.

With us now, one of the reporters who broke that story, Political Analyst and Senior Political Correspondent for The New York Times Maggie Haberman.

What's going on here exactly with this Christmas Day phone call?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: This was -- this conversation was memorialized in this memo that William Olson wrote and sent to the White House. And according to his memo, he and Trump spoke at 5:00 on Christmas Day 2020 when Trump was at Mar-a-Lago and the rest of the world was celebrating, and that Trump directed him to discuss with the attorney -- the acting attorney general, Jeff Rosen, the idea of the DOJ getting involved in the election, essentially, replicating a lawsuit that Texas had filed against Pennsylvania objecting to Pennsylvania's electoral votes and suggesting DOJ should do the same thing. Rosen, according to this memo, was not interested and was clearly slow walking it and we've learned that a White House lawyer who Olson describes as someone from the White House Counsel's Office was actually Eric Herschmann, who we have seen repeatedly throughout these January 6 hearings.

These are obviously not plans that Trump took up but he certainly was listening to this guy, according to his own memo. And this lawyer had found the same path that everybody else found in terms of trying to influence Trump, which was your official staff is being disrespectful to you. When they're dismissing these ideas, it's about you, it's not about the ideas themselves.

This memo was written ten days after that December 18th meeting that we heard so much about at the latest January 6th hearing where, you know, the White House team, again, was batting back these pitches from outside advisers. Trump wasn't giving up on them even if the White House staff had successfully, you know, batted those back that night.

COLLINS: And, clearly, he was listening to William Olson because it said in the memo in your reporting that Olson encouraged Trump to leave Mar-a-Lago. He said he needed to go back to the White House to be in a position for this. I was in Florida with Trump at the time and I remember we were supposed to be there for several more days, and we found out with like a few hours' notice you're going back to D.C. with the president.


HABERMAN: Yes, that's right. And Steve Bannon was one of the people also encouraging Trump to leave Mar-a-Lago. There were a couple of people in his ear. But, certainly, I would say that Bannon and Olson, though I don't have any reason to believe they were working together, certainly were working the same -- the same area of concern.

BERMAN: Thursday night in prime time, the January 6th committee holds its next, maybe last for a while, hearing. The subject we are told will be the 187 minutes inside the White House between when the riot at the Capitol began and when Donald Trump took any action. You always to us, Maggie, have said this is the key period that needs more illumination.

HABERMAN: Absolutely. And it has been something, John, of a black hole up until now, and I still don't know how much new detail they're going to show. The committee members have indicated that they have a lot of new information.

But the reality is that there's two big questions, one is what Donald Trump was physically doing and saying to his own aides and we have heard some testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson that he was sort of, you know, sounding happy about the hang Mike Pence chants or at least affirming about them. Then there's the question of what actions if anything did he take. And, you know, what Liz Cheney has said previously at the start of these hearings is the answer is not much, that, basically, he was doing almost nothing.

Now, how they narrate that, how they explain that, is a big question, but what exactly Trump was up to, who was in his ear, who was in and out of the dining room off the Oval Office, you know, beyond what we know which was Ivanka Trump and Mark Meadows and then to some extent White House counsel and Eric Herschmann, that's a big question that hopefully we will have answered on Thursday.

COLLINS: But it doesn't seem like they have gleaned a ton of information about that, beyond just that he wasn't doing much. Even though they've talked to the people who were there that day, at least a few of them, Ivanka Trump obviously being the major one, about what he was not doing. And so is that really going to be the point of this hearing, I guess, is to show he did nothing?

HABERMAN: I think that is the point of the hearing, right? I mean, I think the point of the hearing is going to be not just his lack of action but also what was his disposition, what was he saying to people. Was he watching television? The answer widely is, yes. What was he saying as he was taking this information, what was he saying about calling in the National Guard? Those are all questions that I expect to at least be, if not answered, addressed somewhat on Thursday night.

BERMAN: All right. Maggie Haberman, great to see you, thank you for sharing your reporting.

Overnight, a major government shake-up in Ukraine. President Zelenskyy suspending two top officials over their staffers alleged collaboration with Russia.

And as monkeypox spreads in the United States, a grim assessment from a former head of the FDA.

COLLINS: And the entertainment world is buzzing this morning, really, the whole world.

BERMAN: Yes, exactly. Why limit it?

COLLINS: The surprise elopement of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. 17 years later, later.



BERMAN: New this morning, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy says he has removed two of his top officials, the prosecutor general and the head of the powerful state security service. This is amid an investigation that some within their departments committed treason. Zelenskyy says some of their subordinates were accused of working against Ukraine and collaborating with Russia. Joining us now, Reena Ninan, a former ABC and CBS News Anchor and founder of Good Trouble Productions, and Jim Sciutto CNN Anchor and Chief National Correspondent.

Jim, the language used there, treason within their departments, sounds strong and then you see this level of upheaval at the senior levels of the Ukrainian government, it raises questions. But what are you hearing about what actually happened?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: So, I don't want to underestimate the level of upheaval. They are at war, so to have disruptions at the senior level is significant. But to clear, he is not accusing those people of being collaborators themselves but in effect of not sufficiently policing collaborators within and failures within.

It's long been known that the SBU, their main intelligence service, had Russian infiltrators. Russia has been working it for years. And part of the criticism seems to be they weren't aggressive enough in getting them out. They also had their own intelligence failures. We've spoken of loads of intelligence failures on all sides. The Russians certainly underestimated the Ukrainians, the U.S., you can argue, overestimated Russian capabilities. And within the Ukrainian establishment, our understanding is they believe Ukrainian intelligence underestimated the Russian push from the south. So, you have a few reasons for him to make a change.

By the way, the number two I'm told who is going to be taking over for the SBU is a really hard man, right? And I was thinking in Godfather terms, it's like his wartime consigliore. That's who is putting in charge right now.

BERMAN: Tom Hagen, another war time consigliore.

COLLINS: And what about on the ground, because you said Russia -- you saw Russia had this operational pause, people doubted whether or not that ever really happened, but now they seem to be entering a much more aggressive phase of all of this.

REENA NINAN, FORMER ANCHOR, ABC NEWS AND CBS NEWS: Yes, and focused down in the south. So much of it, it's hugely important for trade and the economy, getting access to that port, the seas down there. But also, you know, one of their long-term strategies for Russia has been to try and create this land bridge down from the south, into the separatist region in Moldova, and that's hugely important for Russia and something they have been very vocal about, a tactic that they wanted to achieve.

SCIUTTO: And would cut off Ukraine from its --

NINAN: Totally.

SCIUTTO: It would cripple the Ukrainian economy to not have access to the Black Sea.

BERMAN: But south is one of the areas where Ukraine has basically announced they're staging counteroffensives and they're trying to regain territory. Sometimes progress, sometimes not. We now understand that Russians are moving troops to the south. Jim, what are you hearing about the actual prospects for the Ukrainians to retake ground?

SCIUTTO: So, one way to read Russia moving troops down there is that they need troops down there, right? This was territory they already gained and now they have to defend again. I mean, that serves Ukrainian interests. But you're right, it's not like Ukrainians are chewing up territory in the other direction fast. It's been slow, incremental progress.


They have been able to disrupt and that gives you a sense of the long war predictions here that, sure, Russia controls Kherson but things are blowing up in Kherson on a regular basis both from internal insurgency-like operations but also the use of U.S. supplied weapons, these longer range, more accurate rockets that are able to get at, for instance, ammo depots inside Russian territory.

COLLINS: And, Reena, part of the reason that the White House cites for why President Biden just got back from this trip to Saudi Arabia is to sustain their support for Ukraine. They are going to have to deal with the Saudis when it comes to energy. After he got back, President Biden was asked about some criticism that he got for the way he greeted the Saudi crown prince, and this is how he responded to reporters.


REPORTER: The Saudi foreign minister says he didn't hear you accuse the crown prince of Khashoggi's murder. Is he telling the truth?


REPORTER: Do you regret the fist bump, Mr. President?

BIDEN: Why don't you guys talk about something that matters? I'm happy to answer a question that matters.


COLLINS: Clearly perturbed about the questions about how he greeted him. We have heard that from White House officials. But what is your assessment of how this trip actually went for the White House?

NINA: What's so fascinating if you were watching the images from the Arab world and Arab T.V., it's a totally different disconnect from what you're seeing in the U.S. In the Arab world, they feel like the White House is back in love with them again and they bought it. They really -- and part of Biden's mission here was to -- a little bit of repair. They felt left in the dark, is the White House interested in the Middle East? Meanwhile, influence in China and Russia is growing. And tomorrow, Putin will meet in Tehran and, you know, Turkey will also be there. Turkey and Saudi haven't had great relations. All of a sudden they're trying to mend fences as well because everyone is seeing who is cozying up with who. And that was an important win for the president that the Arab world truly feels like the U.S. is back for them.

SCIUTTO: It was interesting. The Biden administration, in effect, has aligned its Saudi policy with the Trump administration, right? They're saying the relationship is bigger than the Khashoggi murder. If you are the Trump administration, as you know, okay, they said that right in the midst of it, and, by the way, you had the president questioning the CIA assessment that it was MBS that ordered this. But at the end of the day, both administrations have said Khashoggi murder, bad thing, but we need the oil, we have strategic partnership here, Iran negotiations, potential of an Iranian nuclear threat, et cetera, that that wins the day, in effect.

BERMAN: Jim, you said you would warn about the possibility of no deliverables from this, not getting anything, an immediate return. Is there still a possibility they get something back?

SCIUTTO: It doesn't look like it, right, at least in hard terms. But to Reena's point, perhaps what was the intended deliverable, to say that we're still involved here.

Now, typically, that, in effect, is a game for Saudi Arabia but it's not clear what the American consumer takes home from this, right? They are not going to suddenly put 100,000 barrels of oil on the market a day to bring down gas prices, but perhaps that was their intention.

COLLINS: Yes. I think the White House was worried about it looking transactional, like here we went and now we've got this, but President Biden has said that Americans may see the result of this in their announcements and what they assured him in the next couple of weeks.

SCIUTTO: We will be watching.

COLLINS: We will be watching. Reena and Jim, thank you very much for joining us. You can watch more of Jim on Newsroom at 9:00 A.M. here on CNN.

Is the window for containing monkeypox closing? What a former FDA chief is saying about that as cases in the U.S. are only rising.

BERMAN: How the overturning of Roe versus Wade is affecting treatment for miscarriages, the new CNN reporting, next.