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The Situation Room

New Video Shows Police Responding To Gunman At Louisville Bank; D.A. Bragg Sues GOP's Jordan Claiming Interference In Trump Case; Defense Chief Says, Will Turn Over Every Rock To Find Intel Leaker; Mom Of 6-Year-Old Boy Who Shot Teacher Charged With Child Neglect; Taiwan's FM: "We Are Ready" If China Wants To Launch A War. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired April 11, 2023 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news, chilling just released video shows police responding to the Louisville bank gunman and his deadly rampage against co-workers. Our experts are breaking down the footage and we'll get reaction from the Louisville mayor who's joining us live this hour.

Also tonight, the Manhattan district attorney is now suing the House Judiciary Committee chairman, accusing Republican Jim Jordan's trying to interfere in the prosecution of former President Trump.

And Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is vowing to turn over every rock to find out who leaked highly classified intelligence on U.S. allies and adversaries. We're getting an inside look at the high-stakes investigation.

We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Let's get right to the breaking news. CNN's Omar Jimenez is in Louisville for us. Omar, the body cam video just released a few moments ago was very revealing and disturbing.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf. Police leadership said it's easy to tell an officer to run towards gunfire. It's harder to actually do it. And that's what we saw unfold on this body camera video. It's from the perspective of two of the responding officers, one of whom is still recovering in the hospital in critical condition after being shot.

And this video picks up after police actually arrived or as they arrive, but after those inside had already been shot, some of them killed. A warning to our viewers, some of what you're about to see may be considered graphic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop, right there over the jump.

JIMENEZ (voice over): New body camera video shown for the first time tonight detailing the moments police encountered the gunman at Old National Bank in Louisville.

Police arrived just minutes after the first 911 call went out almost immediately engaging in a gunfight and eventually killing the shooter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Suspect down. Get the officer.

JIMENEZ: Officials say the shooting inside the bank that only lasted a minute was still able to take lives and injure others.

MAYOR CRAIG GREENBERG (D-LOUISVILLE, KY): This awful act of violence at Old National yesterday has taken another life. Late yesterday, we learned that Deana Eckert passed. She was 57 years old. She was an employee of Old National Bank.

JIMENEZ: Police revealing the AR-style rifle used was purchased less than a week before the attack.

INTERIM CHIEF JACQUELYN GWINN-VILLAROEL, LOUISVILLE METRO POLICE: He purchased the weapon used in this tragic incident on yesterday, on April the 4th. He purchased the weapon legally from one of the local dealerships here in Louisville.

JIMENEZ: Authorities continue to search for a motive.

GWINN-VILLAROEL: We're just trying to piece everything together.

JIMENEZ: Conducting a search of the gunman's residents, not yet revealing what was recovered but acknowledging a note left by the shooter warning of his attack. One of those warnings reported to police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 25-year-old white male Connor Sturgeon, 6'4". He's texted a friend, called a friend and left out a voicemail saying he's going to kill everyone at the bank, feeling suicidal.

JIMENEZ: Now, officials in Louisville prepare for an evening vigil Wednesday.

REP. MORGAN MCGARVEY (D-KY): We are heartbroken. We are despondent.

JIMENEZ: Their message Tuesday was clear, responding to these mass shootings is taking too heavy a toll.

DR. JASON SMITH, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE HEALTH: It's more than tired. I'm weary. There's only so many times you can walk into a room and tell someone they're not coming home tomorrow. And it just breaks your heart. When you hear someone screaming, mommy or daddy, it just becomes too hard.


JIMENEZ (on camera): And as of now, we still do have at least three people still recovering in the hospital, one remaining in critical condition. In regards to the video, one of the difficult things that the deputy police chief described was that the angle of the officers we're seeing because it was dark inside and light outside, they actually could not see inside that lobby, but the person inside the lobby, the shooter, could see them, making it incredibly difficult.

But as the deputy police chief outlined, the most heroic things that we do as officers are shrouded and people's tragedies, and I think there is no exception here, Wolf.

BLITZER: Certainly not. All right, Omar Jimenez, thank you very much.


Joining us now from Louisville, the mayor Craig Greenberg, he was just at that news conference as well. Mayor Greenberg, thank you so much for joining us.

I know you had a chance to review this body camera footage before it was publicly released. What stands out to you as you watch this very disturbing video?

GREENBERG: Two things stand out, Wolf. First of all, the bravery and the heroic nature of officers Will Galloway to run to the scene knowing that there was a gunman, not knowing what was behind the glasses, you just heard not being able to see above them or through the glass, and they continue even after Officer Wilt was shot. Officer Galloway remained in a position where he could take care of the situation. And once the officers arrived on scene, no further injuries or deaths occurred as a result. So, the officers truly were able to save lives. And so I'm very thankful for that.

And, secondly, it's just a heartbreaking tragedy to see that, to see some of the other footage of victims that have been impacted with injuries or worse, five of our neighbors who have been killed by this horrific act of gun violence.

BLITZER: Yes, it's really heartbreaking. We see in this new video, Mayor, the moment that Police Officer Nick Wilt arrived on the scene, the situation as he was shot by the gunman. Do you have any update, first of all, on his condition tonight?

GREENBERG: He has made some positive progress, but he is still in critical condition. And so the doctors have advised us and his family that the coming hours and days are absolutely critical given the shot to the head that he took. And so we continue to support and pray for him, his recovery as well as the other victims who do have some injuries. And we're here as a community to support those families who have lost loved ones as well.

I'm sorry. I don't have an exact update, but we will continue to provide updates as we get them, but we're just praying for positive, good news for Officer Wilt.

BLITZER: How is your community, the Louisville community, Mayor, reacting to seeing this video of how all this unfolded, especially when so many, including you, actually lost personal friends in this killing?

GREENBERG: Yes. I think, first and foremost, our city is heartbroken, heartbroken for five more lives lost due to gun violence. And whether, like me, you knew someone and were close friends or family with someone who was killed or whether you're just part of our community, these five victims should not be dead, just like everyone else who was killed by gun violence in our city, in our country should not be dead.

And so while there is a spirit of compassion and a spirit of coming together and we are going to unite as a community stronger than other and share, love and support for one another, I'm also hopeful that we are taking action. Because as you heard from the doctor at the University of Louisville Hospital earlier on in your package, we are weary. We're tired. We have had enough gun violence in Louisville. We have had enough gun violence in our country, and it is time to take action.

And so, as mayor, I know I will be working with elected officials with members of the (INAUDIBLE), with clergy, with anyone who wants to be a part of the solution, to take whatever actions we can to encourage our state legislators to take action, to give us more tools to end gun violence.

BLITZER: Because I know, Mayor, you're calling for what's called local autonomy, for your city, for Louisville, to take action on gun control, among other measures. What are the chances Kentucky state lawmakers will actually heed your call?

GREENBERG: I am hopeful. I'm hopeful that with all of the tragedies we have had across the country and right here now again in our backyard that people on all sides of the aisle are willing to talk and willing to take action. I have heard from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle in our State Capitol today. I've had conversations with several of them, preliminary conversation, and we're going to be meeting in the coming days to talk about what we can do together.

This is not about finger-pointing. This isn't about blame. This isn't about politics. This is about life and death. And so, right now, I am optimistic and hopeful that we can come together to make progress.

BLITZER: Mayor Craig Greenberg, thanks very much for joining us and give our best to your entire community. Our heart goes out to all of those families who are suffering right now, so many are. Thanks so much for joining us.

GREENBERG: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Let's bring in our experts right now on law enforcement and gun violence, and let me start with John Miller. Walk us through, John, how you view the police response in this newly released body camera video.

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, they get the call. They were all right up, and, very quickly, you see a couple of things that are tells.


You see the training officer, Directing Officer Wilt, who is the -- his trainee, about where to park at the scene, how to pull up, how to stay out of the gunfire. Once they hear that shot fired, then you see Officer Wilt, you hear him on the radio calm as could be. This is his fourth tour of duty and he comes on in a perfectly calm voice, and he says, we have shots fired, shots fired here. His Glock in his hand his finger outside the trigger guard, he's doing everything he was trained to do.

On the other hand, you see his more experienced training officer, Cory Galloway. He takes the patrol rifle from the trunk of the car. He charges that weapon, so it's ready to fire and they're doing what they're supposed to do, which is they're advancing towards the gunfire, towards the danger.

And, you know, very early in this scene, you see, Officer Wilt is hit. Officer Galloway finds cover, puts the call over the radio that more shots are fired, there's an officer down and is trying to get a beat on that gunman with that rifle that he has, which interestingly is the same rifle that the gunman inside the building has. They are in obviously a very dangerous situation, but it never stops until it's resolved. And this is what they call immediate action, rapid deployment, moved to the gunfire.

BLITZER: Chief Ramsey how do you assess the tactics on display here in that body camera video and the overall response?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, first of all, this is very dramatic, and you can see from the response that the shooter had a tactical advantage on the officers. I mean, he's elevated. He's inside. He can see out of the glass. They can't necessarily see in. So, when you go up those stairs and you have no cover, yet they continued up the stairs going toward him, and, of course, Wilt, unfortunately, was struck, causing Galloway to go back down, get cover, radioed to the other officers so they don't go right into the line of fire.

John picked something up that is very important. You can see when the rookie officer pulls up, he pulls up a little too far in front of the glass. So, the veteran tells, hey, back up a little bit because, you know, you don't want to get, you know, hit before you can get out of the car. So, tactically, everything was going about its best as it could, but they were at a distinct disadvantage from the very beginning. And that time of day, he could see out, you can't see in. You can see the glare on the glass. Well, that's what the cops are seeing.

Now, you just can't blindly fire in. You could hit a hostage. You could hit a bank employee and not the bad guys. So, you want to get a clear shot if you're able to in order to take him out. Eventually, he was able to get that shot fortunately and kill him.

BLITZER: And, Chief Ramsey, what do you make of how quickly the police and the local authorities actually released this body camera video?

RAMSEY: Well, again, you know, I think that things have definitely changed in policing. And it's not just the police department, it is also your district attorneys whoever involved in a decision to release body cam footage. But I think we have learned that the quicker you get it out, the better. And so you saw that in Memphis, and now you see it here that's even quicker than Memphis, quite frankly.

So, you know, getting that information out as quickly as possible is important, and, fortunately, they were able to get it out.

BLITZER: Yes, go ahead, John.

MILLER: I just want to observe one other thing, which is, you know, we know that Officer Wilt is shot. We know he's shot in the head. We know he's down, you know, that Galloway is on the radio trying to tell people how to get to him to pull him out, even as he's advancing towards the gunman. He's saying there's an officer down. We need to plate (ph) him. We need to move him out. At the same time, you see he gets shot. Now, he's grazed in the side, Galloway, and he backpedals towards cover. But at this point, he's taken a round, which is, you know, he stays in the fight after he's not just come under fire but been hit.

BLITZER: Good point.

Jennifer Mascia is with us as well. Jennifer, this gunman actually bought his weapon legally a few days before the whole massacre. Just how permissive are Kentucky's gun laws?

JENNIFER MASCIA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, Kentucky, like more than half the country, it only requires background checks for gun sales from federally licensed dealers. And those background checks are really just a two-minute criminal background check. It only checks for convictions, mental health hospitalizations that are involuntary. It doesn't check for arrest that don't lead to convictions. It doesn't check for mental health history that's short of involuntary psychiatric commitment or if somebody was recently he fired.

The truth is that most mass shooters get their guns legally because our background checks just don't go very deep. You know, in other countries, it's more akin to a job interview, a month's long process. Several mass shooters we've seen have acquired their guns legally because they didn't have a criminal history.


You know, some people are legal gun owners until suddenly they aren't. And it's really hard to predict who that is going to be no good point.

BLITZER: Yes, all right, good point. Thanks to all of you. We're going to continue our coverage, obviously.

And just ahead, other important news we're following, the Manhattan district attorney hits back at a top House Republican who's investigating him. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Tonight, the Manhattan district attorney who indicted former President Trump is now suing Republican Congressman Jim Jordan. Our Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju is up on Capitol Hill for us. Manu, walk us through this lawsuit and how Congressman Jordan is now responding.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, filing this lawsuit in federal district court, seeking to prevent Jim Jordan's investigation into brag from going forward. Of course, Bragg brought forward the case against Donald Trump that led Trump to become the first former president to be indicted on criminal charges, stemming from that hush money investigation involving the former adult film actress, Stormy Daniels, and accusation that he falsified business records to try to help his political career in 2016.


What Bragg is alleging in this lawsuit is that Jordan, in his words, is trying -- using a transparent campaign to intimidate and attack him and issue a subpoena that Jordan issued last week for a former district attorney in his office, Mark Pomerantz. So, Bragg is trying to block that subpoena, block the efforts to get Pomerantz to come testify and for those documents that Jordan has demanded.

They say this in this lawsuit. Congress lacks any valid legislative purpose to engage in a free ranging campaign of harassment and retaliation for the district attorney's investigation and prosecution of Mr. Trump under the laws of New York. That campaign is a direct threat to federalism and the sovereign interests of the state of New York. The court should enjoin the subpoena and put an end to this constitutionally destructive fishing expedition.

Now, Jim Jordan pushing back in a tweet, saying, firstly indict a president for no crime, then they sue to block congressional oversight when we ask about the federal funds, they say they used to do it that were, Wolf, about $5,000 in funds that Bragg's offices were used for a different Trump investigation. But Jordan is still pushing ahead and plans to have a field hearing in Manhattan next week to try to discredit Bragg in his record prosecuting a crime in New York.

BLITZER: All right. Manu Raju up on Capitol Hill watching all of this, thank you very much.

Let's get some analysis right now from our legal and political experts. Laura Coates, how strong is Bragg's case here.

Hold on a second. I don't know if -- I wasn't hearing you, Laura. Are you hearing me okay?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I am hearing you. Are you able to hear me?

BLITZER: All right. Now, we hear you. Go ahead. Start again. How strong is Bragg's case here?

COATES: It is quite strong, given the fact that, of course, it's never been happening before where you've got a member of Congress in the federal government trying to usurp the role of a state level prosecutor. It's about staying in one's lane. And, remember, it was a grand jury that indicted this particular individual, a grand jury, not a politically-motivated or an elected official, as he is accused of being. That makes a world of difference here.

And so what you have now is an intention to try to undermine the process that needs to play out in any criminal proceeding, and instead use congressional wait to try to influence perhaps what might take place here.

BLITZER: Yes, we'll see. Adam Kinzinger, Congressman Jordan is your former colleague. How hard will he and other House Republicans fight all this?

ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he will fight as hard as he can as long as he's raising money. This is all about raising money. It's about showing the base you're fighting. So, if he stops, you know, being able to raise money on this, he will probably stop fighting. But my guess is, among the base, among the people that, you know, they continually go to and milk every dollar that they make from them on this, you know, political move that they're actually doing, Jim Jordan, then he'll keep doing it.

But I think he's completely wrong to continue to go after the prosecutor on this, Alvin Bragg. We believed as Republicans in state rights states' rights until about five minutes ago, when it became inconvenient. And Donald Trump isn't anything but an employee of the federal government. And being an employee of the federal government or a former employee of the federal government does not indemnify you against any case brought by a state court.

BLITZER: Gloria Borger, how much is this congressional effort to investigate Bragg led by these Republicans actually about defending former President Trump?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, it's all about defending former President Trump. And I'm old enough to remember when Congressman Jordan was subpoenaed to appear before the January 6th committee, which Adam Kinzinger, of course, was a part of. And what did Jordan himself do? He challenged the constitutionality of that subpoena before a congressional committee. He did not appear. And now he is the one subpoenaing Mark Pomerantz here.

And so, you know, it's kind of ironic to me that he would say, oh, yes, we have the right to subpoena Mark Pomerantz, but he himself did not appear before the January 6th committee.

BLITZER: Adam, Gloria makes a very solid point here. What incentive does Bragg have to comply with House Republicans now that the shoe is on the other foot?

KINZINGER: Well, I don't think he has any incentive. And I said this during the whole -- you know, the committee hearing, is like, look, you guys want to be in the majority, you're going to be in the majority more than likely. Now they are. And now you think you have the right to subpoena people when you said that Congress didn't have the right to subpoena you? It is kind of the shoe is on the other foot, and, frankly, turnabout is fair play. I hope we can get back to a functional Congress but we're not there right now.


BLITZER: Laura, how will this fight fit into the bigger picture of Bragg's ongoing case against Trump?

COATES: This is so crucial. I mean, first of all, grand jury is supposed to be secret. And so until there is actually a trial or any grand jury related testimony or evidence that ought to come in under a judicial order and permission, we have a long way to go until that point. So, the idea of using the court of public opinion through whatever hearing Jordan is anticipating rather than waiting for the process to unfold -- and I remind everyone there was a the reason we wait for the court of law. There are judicial protections. There is evidentiary protections that are in place there that you want to have in place as much to protect the defendant, as for the United States government or the state government as well. And so if you have everything unfold at the whim of a politician as opposed to at the behest of a jury, you will have the subversion of due process of the law.

BLITZER: All right. Guys, thank you very, very much.

Coming up, U.S. officials just gave an update on the investigation into the leak of classified documents. We'll have the latest right after this.



BLITZER: Tonight, high level U.S. officials are stressing the gravity and the urgency of the investigation into the leaked intelligence documents.

Let's bring in our Senior National Security Correspondent Alex Marquardt. He is here with me in THE SITUATION ROOM. Tell us more what officials are saying just a few minutes ago, they're updating us on this and how worried they are.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Just moments ago, Wolf, the secretaries of defense and state speaking side by side, reiterating what a priority it is to figure out what happened here but making clear that they don't appear to be any closer to getting to the bottom of this. The Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, saying he got his first briefing about this leak of classified documents only on Thursday, on April 6th, and that was weeks, if not months after they first appeared online on this social media site called Discord.

Here's a little bit more of what the two secretaries had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LLOYD AUSTIN, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well, there were somewhere in the in the web and where exactly and who had access at that point, we don't know. We simply don't know at this point.

I will tell you that we take this very seriously and we will continue to investigate and turn over every rock until we find the source of this and the extent of it.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: We have engaged with allies and partners at high levels over the past the past days, including to reassure them about our own commitment to safeguarding intelligence and, of course, our commitment to our security partnerships.


MARQUARDT: So, Wolf, now, the investigation really is ramping up. The Department of Justice leading the criminal probe to try to figure out who exactly posted these documents online, the Pentagon, of course, leading the interagency process to figure out what the impact was on national security. The pentagon is going to be looking into who has access to these kinds of documents, how they're disseminated. It is believed that thousands of people may have been able to see these documents as they were put out.

They will also be looking into printer logs because it is relatively easy to figure out who was printing national top secret documents. And these were these slides that we saw. These were photographs of documents that were printed out. This could have a significant impact on relationships with allies. As one senior defense official told me, this is embarrassing.

BLITZER: Yes, very embarrassing for the U.S., indeed. Alex Marquardt, thank you very, very much.

Let's dig deeper right now. Joining us, CNN Military Analyst, retired Major General James Spider Marks, and the former U.S. Ambassador Ukraine William Taylor.

Ambassador Taylor, as someone with a long career as a diplomat, how much damage does this kind of leak actually do with key U.S. allies?

WILLIAM TAYLOR, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Well it does, Wolf, make them worry. They expect that their frankness and their honesty and their trust is reciprocated, and so they share a lot with us, we share a lot with them. They need to understand and be sure that the things that they share with us are going to be protected. So, this is a challenge.

BLITZER: Yes, it's a major challenge right now. General Marks, what impact do you think this leak will have on the battlefield right now in Ukraine?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES SPIDER MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, it always has an impact. Let's be frank. What has happened is an illegal activity if it was specifically leaked. The other thing you need to keep in mind is our networks are vulnerable. It could have been hacked into, somebody could have grabbed that documentation and then posted it someplace.

But it always impacts the soldier on the ground at the point of at the point of combat. When there are secrets that are revealed that go to training levels and equipment disposition, it affects what's happening on the ground.

BLITZER: It certainly does. And, Ambassador Taylor, the secretary of state, Secretary State Blinken, he had a call with his Ukrainian counterpart today. What goes into mending relations after a leak like this?

TAYLOR: Well, Wolf, they will have reviewed what's been revealed, and they will also reassure each other that this is not going to affect in any real way the decision-making, that is the Ukrainians get to decide when and where they're going to mount this counteroffensive. And I imagine that was discussed today. They get to decide, and they probably won't decide until just before.

So, the leak of this kind of information, as General Marks says, this is a month-and-a-half old. This will not affect that decision, that decision will be made right away when they're about to make this counteroffensive.

BLITZER: General marks. What are U.S. adversaries, enemies, adversaries actually gain from this leaked information?


I know there's enormous fear that sources and methods could be compromised and perhaps U.S. sources could be in danger.

MARKS: Well, you just answered your own question. That's the deal, it's sources and methods. Not only is it how this document got revealed, how it got posted, how it got leaked. That's important. But the content of that documentation is what's really important as it affects those young men and women that are prosecuting these operations on the ground. That's what's significant right here. We put them at greater risk when that information is available to everybody.

Our enemies take great -- will see this as a great advantage in terms of our vulnerabilities and what they can gain from this type of information, will encourage them to continue to try to penetrate our networks.

BLITZER: And they certainly can get a lot. General Marks, Ambassador Taylor, to both of you, thank you very much for helping us appreciate the enormity of what's going on here.

And just ahead why Dominion can't bring up the January 6th insurrection in its billion dollar defamation trial against Fox News for its election lies, as the judge also limits some of Fox's evidence. We'll be right back.


[18:40:00] BLITZER: Tonight, new revelations in Dominion's $1.6 billion defamation case against Fox News for the network's election lies, the judge ruling that Dominion can't make any mention of the January 6th insurrection in the trial.

CNN's Oliver Darcy is working the story for us. Oliver, walk us through the judge's decision.

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, Wolf. This was a notable decision because Dominion had argued that January 6th was central to a lot of the arguments that want to make in court. Fox had opposed any mention of the Capitol attack, and they did end up becoming victorious in this particular legal motion in court today in a pretrial hearing. The judge said -- he said that this maybe for another court at another time, but it's not for this court at this time, handing a legal victory on this issue to Fox News.

BLITZER: At the same time, as you know, Oliver, the judge is also giving some warnings to Fox News. What are you learning on that front?

DARCY: Yes. Outside this legal victory, it was not great in court for Fox News. The judge at one point became notably frustrated with the network for not being forthcoming, fully transparent about Rupert Murdoch's role at the company. For years, Fox lawyers have maintained that Rupert Murdoch doesn't have an official role at Fox News. He's the chairman of Fox Corporation. But that the lawyers had said he didn't have an official role at Fox News. It was only disclosed recently that he is actually an officer at the company.

And the judge, not very happy about this, making it clear in court, he said at one point, you have a credibility problem to the Fox legal team, and so not good for them heading into this trial. Jury selection, Wolf, starts on Thursday and then opening arguments are set to begin on Monday unless both sides can somehow hammer out a deal to prevent this from going to trial next week.

BLITZER: So, what's your assessment? What happens next?

DARCY: It seems like it's going to trial, Wolf. I mean, there have been no indications that this will be settled and it's going to be a big problem, I think, for Fox News. At least from a reputational standpoint, you're going to have, you can see on the screen there, some of the biggest stars at the network on the stand testifying about how they privately acknowledged and knew that Donald Trump's election lies were lies, they were not true. And then you're also going to have them having to admit on the stand that they gave air to those election lies in the wake of the 2020 election.

So, it's going to be an agonizing process for Fox News. It sets to last about five to six weeks. And I can't imagine at least from a reputational standpoint is going to be anything but bad for the network.

BLITZER: $1.6 billion lawsuit. Oliver Darcy, thank you very, very much. Turning now to President Biden. He's in Northern Ireland this hour marking the anniversary of a historic peace accord and kicking off a celebration of his own Irish roots.

CNN's Chief White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly is on the scene for us. He's joining us from Belfast right now. Phil, this trip holds a lot of significance for President Biden.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Wolf, there's no way to separate the deeply personal from the broader agenda the president will be pursuing over the course the next several days. It is ancestral heritage. It tracks back all the way to the early 19th century. It is seen in the quotes of Yates and Haney pretty much every time the president speaks publicly. It will be seen with visits to the Bluets and in the Finnegans in County Mayo, in County Louth, over the course of the next couple of days.

But there's also a very complex diplomatic element of this trip, and that will happen here in Belfast tomorrow. The president, as he stated repeatedly, very supportive of the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace and stability to this area 25 years ago, but also recognizing the complications that continue to exist, complications on the economic side of things and complications brought by that Brexit vote just a few years ago.

The president very supportive of the Windsor agreement that was put in place about a month ago, but yet there are still real questions about the political future of an area that lags far behind, particularly on the economic development side, of Ireland just to its south.

The president will be meeting individually with the five leaders of the political parties here. The body that currently meets here is not meeting at this point in time, isn't telling that the president is going to try and urge them to that point, not wanting to put a thumb on the scale here, but recognizing that there's still very real concern about the future of an element that has been so critical here in this area over the course of the last 25 years.

BLITZER: Yes, certainly critical, indeed.

President Biden, as you know, also called the family of Wall Street Journal Journalist Evan Gershkovich, who has been wrongfully detained in Russia.


What are you learning about that call?

MATTINGLY: Yeah, Wolf, that call happened on Air Force One, on the way here to Belfast. The president had been trying to connect with "The Wall Street Journal" reporter's family. As you noted, the U.S. has identified Evan Gershkovich as wrongfully detained, setting up kind of a new way of approaching his detainment, which the president made very clear is illegal.

Now, Evan Gershkovich's family after that phone call did put out a statement saying, quote: We appreciate President Biden's called us today, assuring us that the U.S. government is doing everything in its power to bring him home as quickly as possible. In addition to being a distinguished journalist, Evan is beloved -- is a beloved son and brother. There's a hole in our hearts in our family that won't be filled until we are reunited.

He went on to say they are grateful for the support of his colleagues and continue to push for his release. Certainly, a number of things on the president's agenda right now with that call to the family finally occurred on his way over here to Belfast -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yeah. We certainly all hope Evan will be released soon.

Phil Mattingly, thank you very much for that report.

Coming up, the mother of the six-year-old boy who shot his teacher now facing accountability for her son's actions. We'll have more on the charges in the case. That's next.



BLITZER: The mother of a 6-year-old who shot his teacher at school is expected to surrender to Virginia authorities this week after being charged with felony child neglect.

Our Brian Todd has been covering this story since day 10.

Brian, tell us more about the charges and the case against this 26- year-old woman.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, two different charges have been filed against the mother. Tonight, we have new images of her, new information about her, and we're learning the prosecutors might not be finished bringing charges.


TODD (voice-over): A shocking assault inside the first grade classroom. Teacher Abby Zwerner shot in the hand and chest by her six year old student. Tonight, that student's mother criminally charged by prosecutors in Newport News, Virginia.

Twenty-six-year-old Deja Taylor faces charges of felony child neglect and recklessly leaving a loaded firearm so as to endanger a child. That's a misdemeanor.

MISTY MARRIS, DEFENSE AND TRIAL ATTORNEY: It's very unusual for a parent to be prosecuted for the acts of their children.

TODD: Taylor's attorney sent CNN a statement, saying in part: Deja has cooperated from the first day of the incident. She has no criminal record. We will make our best efforts so that these proceedings will be more collaborative than most. The commonwealth's attorney previously told CNN, Taylor's 6-year-old

son will not be charged in this case. Experts say there are several reasons why the boy wouldn't be charged.

MARIO LORELLO, FORMER JUVENILE PROSECUTOR: One would be whether or not he is competent to stand trial. Two would be the law really presumes that children that are that young aren't able to really form criminal intent.

TODD: Abby Zwerner's attorneys last week filed a $40 million lawsuit against the Newport News school district, alleging that administrators at Richneck Elementary School had been aware that the child was violent at home. That he had choked a teacher during the previous school year when he was in kindergarten, and that school staffers especially then assistant principal, Ebony Parker ignored several warnings on the day of the shooting that the boy had brought a gun to school.

CNN could not reach parker for comment.

As for the parents' responsibility --

MARRIS: This case is going to come down to where was the gun stored? How was the gun stored? And how did a six year old gain access to it?

TODD: Deja Taylor's lawyer told CNN that the boy's parents claim they kept the gun at their homes secured with a safety and kept it on the top shelf of the mother's bedroom closet. The parents had previously issued a statement saying, quote, our son suffers from an acute disability and was under a care plan of the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day.

The parents said the week of the shooting was the first week they were not in class with him and, quote, we will regret our absence on this day for the rest of our lives.

In an interview with NBC, Ms. Zwerner talked about that horrifying moment in her classroom.

ABIGAIL ZWERNER, TEACHER SHOT BY 6-YEAR-OLD STUDENT: I just will never forget the look on his face that he gave me while he pointed the gun directly at me. That's something that I will never forget. It's changed me. It's changed my life.


TODD (on camera): Deja Taylor's attorney tells CNN she'll be turning herself in this week. The commonwealth's attorney who indicted her is indicating that more charges possibly against other people could be brought. He says his office has asked the court to impanel a special grand jury to investigate any, quote, security issues that may have contributed to the shooting.

Wolf, that could mean that school administrators could be charged.

BLITZER: All right, Brian. Thank you very much.

This important note to our viewers coming up on "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" right after THE SITUATION ROOM, a closer look at the Russian prison where "Wall Street Journal" reporter Evan Gershkovich, which is being held. That's coming up at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Stand by for that.

Just ahead here in THE SITUATION ROOM, CNN's exclusive sit down with the foreign minister of Taiwan who's warning that China is preparing to launch a war.



BLITZER: Tonight a CNN exclusive interview with the foreign minister of Taiwan, who's warning that China is threatening war.

Here's CNN's chief national security correspondent and anchor Jim Sciutto.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPNDENT: Is Beijing, in your view, threatening Taiwan with war?

JOSEPH WU, TAIWAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Yes, indeed. Look at the military exercises and also their rhetoric. They seem to be trying to get ready to launch a war against Taiwan.

But if we look at the U.N. charter, the most fundamental tenet in resolving international dispute should be through peaceful means, and Beijing's way of handling the differences between Taiwan and China is through coercion, military threat, and the threat to use force against Taiwan.

And these are unacceptable and therefore the Taiwanese government look at the Chinese military threat as something that cannot be accepted and we condemned it.

SCIUTTO: Does Taiwan have today what it needs to defend itself?

WU: Yes, we do. We have been procuring military arsenals from the United States for a long time and when President Biden was in office all these years, they have announced nine batches of arms sale to Taiwan. And we have also been increasing our military training so that we are ready at any moment if China wants to launch a war against Taiwan.

And I think in a war situation, the determination is probably more important than the military equipment. And on that note, I would say that Taiwan is absolutely determined to fight for our own freedom and to fight for our sovereignty. And we are ready to defend ourselves. But hopefully China will not.


BLITZER: And "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.