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Today: Criminal Contempt Trial Begins for Ex-Trump Aide, Bannon; Biden Returns Home to High Inflation, Stalled Domestic Agenda; New Body Camera Footage Released of Police Actions During Mass Shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Elementary School; Mass Shooting Takes Place at Mall in Indianapolis. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired July 18, 2022 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get inside! Go, go, go!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: There's also some upsetting new video, body camera footage, that gives us a close-up view of the action but really the inaction as officers waited 77 minutes to confront the gunman.
Joining us now is CNN's Shimon Prokupecz and CNN's Josh Campbell on all of this. Shimon, I want to start with you because you obtained this footage from the Uvalde mayor after it had already been shown to the families, which is so important because that has not always been the case in this. And when you got this, why was it so important for the mayor to have the public see this footage?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: So, the mayor's been particularly -- this is a really interesting dynamic in this entire investigation and really what's going on in Uvalde. You have a mayor, Mayor Don McLaughlin, who is frustrated by the investigation. And so as a result of that, against everyone's advice, against what the district attorney wanted, what the attorney general wanted, what others wanted in terms of the investigators, he released this bodycam footage for transparency reasons. We had been asking for it, and as a result of that, the families wanted to see it. He decided that it was just time to put this video out.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So Shimon, I want to play some of the moments from this bodycam video. Let's put this up so people can see it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired! Get inside! Go, go, go!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One female shot in the head.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired inside the building, Uvalde!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which building?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can't break in here
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can't break in here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep shooting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's in the class on the right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take cover here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right, Shimon, tell us what we saw there.
PROKUPECZ: Right. So, you see some of the actions by the officers there, certainly as they were going in, there we saw video of the officers pulling out and this other footage that was released. The beginning moments of this shooting, when this started and the gunman got inside the school have raised a lot of questions over the police response. It was failed. It was the wrong response. We saw officers going in, and then we see them retreating almost instantly after shots were fired, and then they never regroup.
And then on the outside you have complete confusion about what's going on inside. The officers outside, you see that Sergeant Coronado, the body cam footage, you see him later giving directions to officers, seemingly not even knowing there were kids inside the classrooms. No one was communicating with each other. The 911 calls were not being relayed to officers, what kids that were inside the classroom were saying.
So, what we're seeing in this body cam footage is just complete, complete confusion, complete lack of control, complete lack of command of the entire incident. And that is what the report hit on. But we didn't even need this report to see that. Every law enforcement official who knows anything about this investigation and knows anything about this incident has come out and said that. And it's -- the blame, they say, needs to be shared equally on every law enforcement agency and every law enforcement official that was there that day.
COLLINS: Nearly 400 officers on the scene. And Josh, there's part of this video that's also -- the whole thing is disturbing, but part of it that raises a lot of questions is where Arredondo is speaking with the shooter while he is still inside the classroom. And this is what he was saying to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know, I know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cover, cover.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's communicating.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you hear me, sir? Sir, can you hear me? Put your firearm down, sir. We don't want anybody else hurt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got kids in there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know, I know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what we're trying to do. We're trying to get them out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Please put your firearm down. Is that the way officers are supposed to respond to an active shooter inside an elementary school while there's kids in the classroom?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No, that sentence is difficult to hear. What he's doing there is using the wrong tactic for the situation that is occurring in front of him. We know based on the reporting, based on some of the statements prior that this was being treated as a barricade type situation rather than the active shooter situation that it was. And we know based on the video, we also know based on this report, that those officers as they arrived, they heard the gunshots. They knew that this was an active shooter.
So for the chief to try to use pleasantries, to get this shooter to drop his gun is really hard to hear. I think what this shows is that this was not just a failure of execution, that we've known, but this is important -- a failure of preparation. If you look at the video, you read this report, it's clear these officers were not prepared, they were not trained, or at least acting upon training that they did receive when it came to an active shooter situation.
And just to give you an example, I grew up not far from Uvalde in a small Texas town. We had a resource officer at the school who spent much of their time busting kids for truancy and pot and writing tickets in the bus lane -- not do diminish those efforts. But particularly if you're in a department like this with low tempo, not high activity, you have ample time to be preparing, to be going through the motions, to bring your team into the hallway, to practice, what do we do if there's a threat outside, what do we do if there's a threat inside? Yet it appears as we learn new information here and we see this report, we see the video, that they were not adequately prepared.
We all cover so many of these mass shootings, often hear victims say that we never thought this would happen to us. That's understandable for a victim. But for a police department in an era where there's no place in the United States that's safe from gun violence, it's simply inexcusable to be caught flat-footed, to not use that precious time to prepare for the incident where you might need to match violence with violence or to protect those you're sworn to serve.
BERMAN: Josh, there's also a moment on the video where you hear a police officer telling another police officer that a student is calling 911 inside the classroom. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had a child on the line.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What that a child who called 911? The room is full of victims.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Victims --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's victims in the room --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A child on the phone, multiple victims.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A child just called. They have victims in there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Sorry, that was a police operator telling that to an officer. Josh, what's notable in that?
CAMPBELL: When you're in a dynamic situation like this, you're basically relying on the information that you're getting that's coming into you. That's real-time intelligence. We have a victim. We know that they're telling us what's happening. This report shows that there was a complete breakdown in communication, both technical and just tactical, sharing information with the people who needed to have it.
And what is so interesting is we look at this video that Shimon got there from the mayor. And you see the multitude of agencies that are there in the hallway. We heard the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety pointing a lot of fingers at the police chief of the school, saying that they are to blame, that this was a failure of command, but when you see all of those badges and all of those patches, you have to ask yourself, why didn't one of those officers step up and say, look, we're getting information that shows there are victims here. We need to go.
And I think this has been called a cover-up by a lot of the victims, that DPS is pointing fingers, not wanting to share some of the blame with their own officers there. It reminds me of the late John Timoney, he was a legend in American law enforcement, used to say, and that is when you're having a difficult time getting information, there's usually a problem with the information. And that's what appears here, is that this family, this community has been just strung along. They're not getting the answers that they want. It's based on reporting like Shimon and Rosa there on the ground that is getting them some of these answers. But it's so hard to see these videos and see in real-time what was happening, the information that they had, yet they failed to act on it.
COLLINS: Yes, and that failure spanned multiple agencies. Josh, thanks for your analysis. And Shimon, thank you for that great reporting.
So developing overnight, a mass shooting at a shopping mall south of Indianapolis. A gunman open fire in a food court in Greenwood, Indiana. He appeared to have used a rifle. Three people were killed, two other injured. Among the wounded, a 12-year-old girl. Police say a good Samaritan who had a gun on him shot and killed the gunman. "Indy Star" columnist Gregg Doyel lives nearby the mall and was at the scene. He joins us now. Gregg, thank you for being with us. You say you were there. You went to the scene, at first not as a reporter but as a father. What do you mean?
GREGG DOYEL, SPORTS COLUMNIST, "INDIANAPOLIS STAR": My son has a job at Forever 21 at the mall, down the hall from the food court.
And I knew he wasn't there. I don't want to play the my son was there card. He wasn't there. My son has COVID, of all things. And I wasn't happy he had COVID, but I'm happy now. Anyway, I live a half-a-mile down the road from there. I could hear the sirens from my home. My car was in the shop so I couldn't even drive. I just walked there just out of curiosity, out of horror, out of relief my son wasn't there, drawn to it like flies to crap. I had to know. I had to know.
BERMAN: What did it feel like for you inside that parking lot knowing that there was a mass shooting going on or just concluding inside that building where I'm sure you had been many, many times?
DOYEL: We didn't know that it was over. I'm sure people around the world may have known, but sometimes when you're right there, you don't have the same access. Yes, you have got phones, but everybody is talking and crying. And I was drawn to the different emotions. I saw, and I approached people and eventually told them who I was and what I do. But I was drawn to these people as a dad.
I saw a father and a mother staring at their phone, staring at it, and a chaplain is talking to them and they're talking to the chaplain, and they looked very nice and worried. And I walked up to them. And they told me, the father said to me, word for word, every time I text him, he always responds. Leaving an unspoken that my son is in there and he's not responding. And I'm trying to comfort him.
Anyway, we read about all these stories and we hear about them, and we know it's horror, but I've never really thought too much, because you think about the shooting. I never thought too much about what's going on outside the shooting? And so not only do you have parents waiting to hear from their kids inside, but I heard people talking about that they left -- they'd spent hundreds of dollars and had their stuff in boxes at the food court under the table as they're eating, and they had to hurry out there and they left it in there.
And I heard one person telling me that his wife left her purse in the food court because they had to run out, and her purse had their medication. And so the guy is telling the cops, my medication is there. I have got to get my wife's medication, for my son also. And the cop's like, you can't go in there. It was mindboggling the small details behind this enormous tragedy.
BERMAN: Now that you have been near one of these, and, unfortunately, there are a growing number of people in this country who have been near something like this at this point, but now that you have been near one, what do you think people need to know about them?
DOYEL: Oh, lord. I guess this is where I'm supposed to play the political card. I'm not doing it. Listen, I know what you guys represent. I'm with you guys. But I'm not -- I'm not going there. What do people need to know? It has to stop. But I'm not going to give you a clip that says --
BERMAN: I'm not looking for that. I'm just looking for what it felt like. I'm looking for the moment of uncertainty that you were alluding to before of parents not knowing their kids were inside. The chaos of not knowing what was going on for you inside as a reporter. And I know generally speaking, you cover sports, but information is your business, and you couldn't get it, what's that like.
DOYEL: Well, you can't get -- I'll tell you this. I was amazed at the class of the people outside. Granted, everybody outside, including me, I said some things to a cop that weren't entirely -- they were accurate, but they weren't entirely accurate in that moment, I guess, because I wasn't thinking clearly. It's chaos out there.
And yet everybody was patient and understanding and nice. You would think, if this were a movie, you'd have parents screaming at the cops for more information and rushing to the doors and pounding on them. In real life, people are standing there talking gently to them, the cops talking gently to them. We're not getting information and we all understand why. And you see a chaplain and a pastor and a priest walking around from family to family, making sure they're OK, taking down information.
It was very -- it was terrifying outside, and yet people behaved themselves very, very well. And in that kind of situation, you wouldn't think that would happen.
BERMAN: Well, listen, Gregg Doyel, I appreciate you sharing what you saw. I'm glad your son isn't there. I hope he gets over his COVID very, very quickly. Thank you.
DOYEL: Thank you. I'm sorry for biting at you earlier. Thank you.
BERMAN: You're always welcome to bite at me. Appreciate it.
So, this morning, former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon will stand trial on two counts of contempt of Congress over his refusal to comply with the subpoena from the January 6th committee. But Steve Bannon is not backing down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON, FORMER ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Pray for our enemies, OK, because we're going medieval on these people. We're going to savage our enemies. So pray for them. Who needs prayers? Not MAGA, not war room, and certainly not Steven K. Bannon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Joining me is national correspondent from "Bloomberg Businessweek" Joshua Green. Josh is also the author of "Devil's Bargain, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising." And Josh, you've written and studied Steve Bannon probably more than anyone in this country.
He is in a bit of a different position than he's ever been in before. Explain.
JOSHUA GREEN, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK: Well, when he was first charged with criminal contempt last November, he basically used it as a political platform to draw attention to himself demonstrate his loyalty to Donald Trump. You know, he famously warned that it would be a misdemeanor from hell. That's his quote, for the Biden administration, well, it hasn't turned out that way. And today with his criminal trial, starting off, you know, he may be facing jail time.
BERMAN: How, you know, he has said that it's going to be the misdemeanor from hell, and he is sort of intimated that he is going to make a show of this. What's the likelihood of that, do you think?
GREEN: Well, it's a lot less now than it was a couple of months ago, because every stunt Bannon has tried to pull from subpoenaing Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders to trying to insist on live testimony before the January 6 Committee to even trying to delay his trial based on CNN's Steve Bannon documentary that aired last night, every one of those things has been shut down by the judge who says no, we're going to go to trial, you're going to have to face accountability for these actions and that's what Bannon is looking at now, as the trial gets off this morning.
BERMAN: So this charge, if he is found guilty, if he is convicted, it has a minimum jail time requirement of 30 days. It's not forever, but it is 30 days. How much do you think Steve Bannon cares about the possibility that he would be in jail for a minimum of 30 days?
GREEN: Well, you know, he wouldn't show it because as the clip you showed, you know, he's all about bravado and hyperbole and projecting MAGA strength and so on. That's his media brand.
But knowing that guy, he doesn't want to go to jail. I mean, he is facing two charges, each with a minimum, I think of 30 days in jail maximum of a year. So you know, if things don't go his way in this criminal trial, and most legal experts, I've spoken to said, there really isn't a big debate about the facts here.
He spurned a congressional subpoena and the laws about this are pretty clear. Well, if something doesn't change, Bannon could wind up in jail, which would essentially make him the, the G. Gordon Liddy of the Trump administration. BERMAN: We just saw live pictures, by the way, Josh, I don't know if
you could see them -- of Steve Bannon going, arriving at the Courtroom. He just arrived at the Courtroom.
He was smiling. He waved to the crowd. He said a few things to reporters that we could not make out what he said. And of course, he was with his attorney, who also represented the former President in his second impeachment trial.
What's the level of contact at this point between Steve Bannon and Donald Trump?
GREEN: Well, I think there's a fair amount of contact. I mean, one of the big changes in this case over the last week or so was that originally, Bannon had refused to testify because Trump had claimed executive privilege. Trump did not want his former employees testifying before the January 6 Committee.
What's changed is the Committee has actually done a fairly good job of showing what was going on in the Trump White House, presenting the former President as basically treasonous. And so Trump changed his mind and decided, hey, I want somebody out there defending me and he wrote a letter to Bannon, released publicly, even the January 6 Committee and the Justice Department that said, I'm releasing you from this claim of executive privilege. You can testify.
The Justice Department responded by saying, this is just an effort to winnow out of accountability. We're moving forward with a trial and that's where we are this morning.
BERMAN: Yes, the legally most interesting thing was that a Trump lawyer actually told the FBI that Trump never did invoke executive privilege to begin with, which is the biggest problem that Bannon might have right now.
BERMAN: Josh, listen, thank you so much for being with us this morning, as we watched Steve Bannon arrive for his trial on Federal contempt charges.
Still ahead, we are going to speak with White House economic adviser Brian Deese, as the administration faces new headwinds.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, a West Virginia woman has woken up from a two-year coma and immediately named the man who attacked her and put her in that coma.
And a Ukrainian father has been brought to his knees during his four- year-old daughter's funeral. What we know about the latest young victim of Russia's war in Ukraine.
[08:22:58] COLLINS: President Biden is back at the White House this morning
following a high stakes visit to the Middle East where gas prices were the backdrop of his meetings in Saudi Arabia.
Joining us now is the Director of the White House National Economic Council, Brian Deese.
Brian, thank you for joining us this morning. And we cover gas prices when they go up here, we also cover them when they go down. They have been going down. And so is this a pattern that you think consumers should expect to continue, and for how long?
BRIAN DEESE, DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Well, we've now seen gas prices fall for 34 straight days. They are down about 50 cents. That's positive. What it means is that for a typical household, you're probably generating savings about $50.00 a month. And all over the country, there's about 20,000 gas stations where gas is now retailing for less than $4.00 a gallon.
To your question about where we go from here? If you look at where the market is today, wholesale gas prices, as well as oil prices, we should continue to see retail gas prices at the pump fall for through the rest of the month. And hopefully we'll get down closer to that $4.00 a gallon number nationwide.
So this is positive news, a positive development. In fact, the most sustained fall in gas prices in over a decade.
COLLINS: And 50 bucks is a lot to a lot of households. It's very meaningful. But when inflation hit a new high last week, the administration and President Biden called the numbers out of date. And I wonder, do you worry that makes the administration sound out of touch with people who say these higher prices are killing their budgets?
DEESE: Well, the point we were making there is that those numbers for June don't actually reflect the gas price decline we just discussed. And I think that for typical families out there, what is most relevant is what they're experiencing right now in the economy.
So we are trying to focus on that question and focus on how, for example, the decline in gas prices is affecting people right now. But of course, what's important is looking forward and the administration and all of us are focused on where else can we reduce costs for families, even as we try to bring down the deficit and help to reduce inflation on the fiscal policy side.
You know, I'll give you one concrete example. Healthcare costs right now.
DEESE: We have legislation in the Congress that would, for the first time, allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, and also put a cap on catastrophic costs that many American seniors face with prescription drugs. If we could provide some relief on prescription drug costs, that would add to the $50.00 in monthly savings that we're seeing on the gas price side.
So as we think about this issue, we think not only what people are experiencing right now, but how we can make more progress going forward on bringing down costs for families, whether it's prescription drugs, or its computer chips or trying to continue to keep this gas price decline. That's where our focus is.
COLLINS: Yes, and I want to get to prescription drugs in a moment. But Brian, first, based on your assessment of where things are right now, with the economy, how challenging do you think it is going to be to avoid a recession at this point?
DEESE: Well, I think if you look at where we are, remember, it was just about two weeks ago that we got the jobs report for June and you saw that in the second quarter of this year, we had historic job growth, close to 400,000 jobs a month created in this economy in the second quarter. That's good news. And it reflects the fact that we have a historic labor market right now.
And we also have household balance sheets that continue to be strong record low numbers of mortgage delinquencies, record note, low numbers of credit card delinquencies. So these are not the marks of an economy in recession.
Going forward, we need to focus on making these right choices so that we can make this transition, we can bring prices down without giving up all the economic gains that we've made. And what I can tell you is two things.
One, the United States is in a better position than any other country in the world right now to drive that transition and make that transition effectively. You see our strength internationally, you see it in the strength of our currency. We are in a better place than almost any other country.
And number two, if we make these right policy choices, it will matter, it will make a difference. It will bring prices down more quickly and give us a better chance to drive that transition effectively.
COLLINS: When it comes to policy choices, we are seeing inflation upend the President's agenda. On Friday, he appeared to concede defeat when it comes to getting a climate bill passed after Senator Joe Manchin said he could not support the roughly $300 billion or so in tax incentives for clean energy like solar and wind power. Were you caught off guard by Manchin last week?
DEESE: Look, I'm not going to get into the to's and fro's and the back and forth. What I'll say is this is that the President for some time has been laying out what we need to do on clean energy. We need to provide long term incentives for investment here in the United States, so that we can create the jobs and the economic opportunity that flow from new clean energy technologies of the future.
We have been encouraging Congress to do that. That's the right thing to do, but the President also made clear on Friday that if Congress and the Senate is not going to act on that front, then he is going to take the powers that he has with executive authority and take steps on that front.
But I also just want to step back here and remind people that when we're talking about the legislative front, this is the President that passed the most significant economic legislation since Roosevelt, the most significant infrastructure legislation since Eisenhower, has confirmed more judges since Kennedy, and has passed the major crime -- I'm sorry, major gun legislation for the first time since the Clinton administration. And we are knocking on the door being able to do more congressionally as well.
So we have made a lot of progress. We've made historic progress. That progress has helped lay the foundation to put the United States in a better position economically, than almost any other country in the world, and now we've got to keep building on that.
COLLINS: Well, Brian, I ask that because you were one of the administration officials who had kind of tried to woo Senator Manchin, maybe you would dispute the use of the word "woo." The two of you went ziplining together in West Virginia, I know. And so I just want to know, does the White House feel and do you feel like Manchin was straightforward with you?
DEESE: What we are focused on right now is the American people, their concerns and how we can make as much progress as possible over the next several weeks. That is our focus. That's what we're focused on, not the to's and fro's of negotiations, not reading out private conversations we have, but how we can make progress and we have a lot of opportunity to do that right now.
We're hoping that tomorrow, as early as tomorrow, there will be a vote in the Senate on legislation to build more domestic capability in semiconductors. Hugely important issue for inflation, hugely important for our national security and economic security, and we're expecting that there will be more progress in the weeks ahead. That's where our focus is.
COLLINS: Well, Brian, you said the President is expected to take executive action on climate change, strong executive action, when should we expect that?
DEESE: I'm not going to get ahead of the President on specific timelines, but I think you heard clearly that he intends to move forward and he intends to move forward with both, the speed and the scale that this challenge reflects.
COLLINS: All right, Brian Deese, I still want to know more about that ziplining with Senator Manchin. Thank you for joining us this morning though.
DEESE: Thank you.