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State of the Union

13 Hours Of Bloodshed, 29 Dead In Two Mass Shootings; At Least Nine Dead, 27 Injured In Dayton Mass Shooting; Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders Speaks Out; Ohio Governor and Mayor Hold a Press Conference After Shooting. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired August 04, 2019 - 13:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington with the state of our union is shaken and angry. We are all as a nation trying to come to grips with the news of the two horrific mass shootings, one in El Paso, Texas, one in Dayton, Ohio early this morning.

We're also learning more about what might have driven two men, white men in their early 20s to such acts of horrible violence. At least 20 people were killed and 26 wounded or injured Saturday in a packed El Paso Walmart as families did their back-to-school shopping. Schools are going to open in the next coming days in Texas. Authorities say they are investigating that attack, that mass shooting as a case of domestic terrorism and a possible hate crime.


CHIEF GREG ALLEN, EL PASO POLICE DEPARTMENT: From the manifesto that we first saw, we have to attribute that manifesto directly to him based on that information in that manifesto. That's where that came from. And so we're going down that road. It's beginning to look more solidly like that is the case.


TAPPER: The manifesto he was referring to is a document uploaded just before the shooting, that is a screed filled with anti-immigrants and anti-Latino nonsense.

And then just after 1:00 this morning, there was a second round of shooting. At least nine people were killed when a gunman opened fire in Dayton, Ohio in an business and entertainment district part of the town. 27 people injured or wounded. Police killed that gunman within a minute. He was apparently wearing body armor and carrying a high- capacity rifle. We're learning more about that suspected terrorist in Dayton.

CNN's Polo Sandoval has just arrived on the scene. And, Polo, what are you learning right now into the Dayton shooting?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The question right now, Jake, is certainly that -- what is that motive? It's something that authorities and, of course, family members of those nine people killed are struggling with. And as you stand here in downtown Dayton, you certainly get a sense of that loss here.

This is as close as we can take you, Jake, the crime scene still about a block away from where we're standing here. But we're standing and what is, really, a thriving arts and entertainment district on a Sunday afternoon, certainly could potentially be bustling with people, checking some of the local restaurants. But instead there is this eerie silence. The only noise that we're hearing, essentially journalists here on the ground covering the story, and then a couple blocks away, a church where afternoon service just wrapped up, you could hear bell toll. So there certainly is that eerie silence that -- here downtown.

But, really, the main question again is that motive. So far, investigators have identified that the suspect there is a 24-year-old local man. The man, the police say, arrived at this bar not far from where I am standing, wearing body armor on with a rifle and then shot and killed those nine people before police were able to arrive in just mere moments, opened fire, shooting and killing that suspect.

So now, they are the ones tasked who will be tasked with essentially following this trail of evidence. Investigators, we're told, are processing a scene about ten miles away from where we are, executing various search warrants. And that could potentially provide some crucial clues while the community here, Jae, now is tasked with basically healing and left with answering that question, how -- why did this happen?

TAPPER: Our Polo Sandoval in Dayton, Ohio, thank you so much.

And just to reiterate a point I made earlier in the show, CNN has the names and photographs of both the alleged shooter in Dayton, Ohio, and the accused terrorist in El Paso. We have reported them, but we are not going to share them beyond the initial reporting of the names. We don't want to bring any more attention to the heinous acts than has already been given.

For more on the El Paso, joining me now from Las Vegas, democratic presidential candidate and Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders.

Senator, under these conditions, it's horrible to bring you in to talk about this, but thank you for doing so. Two mass shootings within 13 hours. You Tweeted just a few minutes ago, quote, Mr. President, stop your racist, hateful and anti-immigrant rhetoric. Your language creates a climate which emboldened violent extremists. Could you elaborate more what you mean by that Tweet?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT): Look, I am sure that President Trump does not want anybody in this country to go around shooting other people. But what he has got to understand is that when you have language that is racist, that is virulently anti-immigrant, there are mentally unstable people in this country who see that as a sign to do terrible, terrible things.


So I think the President has got to stop the racism and that xenophobia immediately.

Second of all, Jake, I think the issue of the moment is whether the NRA will continue to determine gun policy in America despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of the American people, gun owners and non-gun owner want common sense gun safety legislation. So what I have asked Mitch McConnell, republican leader of the Senate, bring us back to Washington, end the recess right now and let us sit down and work on the kind of legislation that we need.

The truth of the matter is the American people want to expand background checks, they want to end the so-called gun show loophole. They want to, in many cases, ban assault weapons, and my own view is we may want to be thinking about treating assault weapons the same way we treat machine guns today, having very strict license requirements for them. We want to make sure that we wend the process by which people can legally walk into a gun show, buy all the guns that they want, and then sell those guns to criminal elements.

So there's a lot to be worked on, but I think the American people are sick and tired of the NRA determining gun policy in America.

TAPPER: As you know, machine guns in this country are very tightly regulated. It's almost impossible to get one. You really think that the United States Senate would vote for a measure that would make them as difficult to obtain semi-automatic assault rifles as difficult to obtain as machine guns?

SANDERS: Jake, here is the fact. There are somewhere between 5 to 10 million assault weapons on the streets of America today. That is more, unbelievably, than the United States military has. So what we need to do is to sit down together and determine, for a start, clearly, I think, no more sale and distribution of assault weapons, and then figure out how we go forward at a time when, you know, it doesn't give me a good feeling to say this, but we all know it to be true. There are thousands of people in this country in every state of America who are either suicidal or homicidal. That is the sad reality of mental health in America today.

And when you have hundreds of millions of guns out there, 5 to 10 million assault weapons, that is not a good mix. That's not a good combination. So we need to do some bold thinking but essentially do what the American people want, not what the NRA wants.

TAPPER: CNN has learned that a Twitter account linked to the suspected terrorist in El Paso was sharing and re-Tweeting some of President Trump's Tweets and postings about the border wall. Now, President Trump has condemned the shooting and if that so-called manifesto, that screed by the accused shooter, was his, when I believe law enforcement says they think it is his, he does say, I felt this way long before President Trump,

But given that, what do you make of the fact that he was re-Tweeting some of President Trump's Tweets about the wall and such? SANDERS: Look, I mean, clearly, Donald Trump does not want anybody shooting down innocent people. You know, Trump and I disagree on everything, but I'm not going to suggest to you for one second that that is what Trump wants.

But what he has to understand, in a nation where you have many, many thousands of people who are mentally unstable, that when you talk about invasions and hordes of people, and when talk about Mexicans as criminals and rapists, and a country under siege, you have unstable people who are going to see that as a sign that they have got to take up arms and do the horrific things that we just saw in El Paso.

So, look, bottom line is if there is any silver lining in this horrible, horrible, horrible period in American history, it is that all of us, conservatives, progressives, republicans, democrats, independents, have got to come together and think our way through this.

But the bottom line is the NRA is way, way, way out of touch with where the American people are on the issue of gun safety. Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump have got to stand up to the NRA and let's sit down and figure out a path forward that protects the American people.

And, you know, one of the things, Jake, that bothers me so much is that you got kids who will soon be going back to school. And these ki9ds are traumatized by these events. They are worried that when they go into a school, which should be a place of learning, a place where kids enjoying each other, and now, they are frightened.


So don't underestimate the trauma that this has on children and all Americans. This is a major, major issue and we have got to come together to resolve it.

TAPPER: One of your 2020 rivals, Congressman Beto O'Rourke, told me this morning that he believes President Trump is a white supremacist or a white nationalist. Do you agree?

SANDERS: I do. Look, and it gives me no pleasure to say this, but I think all of the evidence out there suggests that we have a president who is a racist, who is a xenophobe, who appeals and is trying to appeal to white nationalism. And, you know, it breaks my heart to have to say that this is the person we have who is President of the United States.

TAPPER: If you don't mind my asking a personal question, because I know you're not really one for that, but after the Tree of Life shooting, which was also part of this deranged white supremacist theory of Jews bringing in Latinos to commit white genocide on this country, so this was no longer a white country -- again, this is an insane conspiracy theory from the far fringes of the fever swamps of the internet. But that was what motivated the Tree of Life terrorist against Jews. You would be the first Jewish president. And I'm wonder if you feel less comfortable, less safe in America today than you did 10 or 20 years ago?

SANDERS: Jake, it's only Jews, and you're right, I went to that synagogue in Pittsburgh and talked to the rabbi there. And what a horrible shooting that was. It is the African-American community that have to deal with mowing down of people in a church in their community. It is the Muslim community today, the terrible attack in mosque in Australia. I was in a mosque meeting with Muslim leaders in Los Angeles. It is the Latino community. It is the gay community.

And, I mean, again, this is -- we can disagree on healthcare and the environment and educational policies. But there should not be a moment in American history where we have a president who is deliberately trying to divide us up based on our religion, based on where we came from, based on the color of our skin. That is so un- American. That is so much against everything that I was led to believe, you were let to believe, the American people were led to believe about what this country stands for, you know? And we have got to get over that.

I hope that Trump understands that maybe he's got to change the way he is doing this. And I hope very much that Mitch McConnell will have the courage to bring us back to Washington and put together a legislation which has the wide support of the American people. This is not radical stuff. This is what the American want. They want expanded background checks. They want to end the gunshot loophole. They want to end the store man provision (ph). Many people want to ban assault weapons. Maybe we should go further. But we have got to come together as a people. We cannot let the NRA dominate the discussion.

TAPPER: Senator Bernie Sanders, thank you for joining us on this horrible day.

SANDERS: Thank you for having me, Jake.

TAPPER: Dayton, Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley is holding another press conference on the deadly shooting overnight. She is joined by Governor Mike DeWine, the Governor of Ohio. Let's listen in.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): My wife (ph) and I want to express to the victims, they victim's families, the Dayton community of great sympathy. This is a heartbreaking tragedy, and it is the type of tragedy that you pray never comes to your state or to your community.

The mayor and I talked earlier this morning, very early this morning. Prior to that, I received a call from our public safety people about the situation. I just want to say that the City Of Dayton, Montgomery County, the first responders, everyone has done an absolutely amazing job. You practice for these tragedies and we pray to God they never occur. If you don't practice, you're not ready.

It's clear Dayton was ready, the community was ready. The Mayor has pointed out to me how many other departments have made them self available and have been involved in helping. So I just want to thank all of them.


I want to thank the Dayton Police Department, the officers who were involved in ending this tragedy, their professionalism, their quickness, their amazing courage and their response undoubtedly saved many, many, many lives. We may never know how many lives were saved. But, you know, the police department and the mayor gave me a tour, my wife and I, the tour a few minutes ago. And the assailant was obviously very, very close to being able to kill dozens and dozens more people.

So in this tragedy, we have to thank our first responders. We have to thank our police department for the amazing job that they have done. The mayor and I have been in contact throughout the morning. We'll continue to be in contact. I've made it clear to her that, you know, any resources that we have in the state certainly is available, from mental health specialists. And the highway patrol, of course, has been involved as well.

Again, my hats off to the City of Dayton, to the police department and to the first responders. Thanks, Mayor.

MAYOR NAN WHALEY (D-OH): Thank you, Governor. Thank you so much.

I certainly appreciate the Governor's help, Ohio State Patrol, who have been terrific. As we've gone through a number of these issues over the past summer, the Governor has always been one to quickly call, quickly check in and then be here when we're dealing with these issues. So we certainly appreciate your personal leadership.

We have some updates from police. And so I'm going to turn it over to Deputy Chief Carper;


First thing I'd like to do is go ahead and confirm the identity or release the identity of the shooter. The shooter in this incident is Connor Betts, C-O-N-N-O-R B-E-T-T-S, white male, 24, date of birth, 10/28/94.

And I would ask we -- it's our understanding that some images of the suspect had been posted by media, and some of those are not correct. So please make sure that you have the correct photograph or image of the suspect when you report that.

And, secondly, there's -- I believe some of the media has the wrong Facebook posting on their website. So if you would, please make sure that you have the correct ones so we are identifying the proper person and the proper person's image.

With that, we will have additional information at 4:00. We originally thought it would be about a 3:00 briefing for a more comprehensive view of what happened and what the response was. That's going to be at 4:00 right here at this location. So we will give you additional information on the suspect and actually what transpired.

At this time, I will give you the names and demographics of the nine people who were killed. And the first one is Lois Oglesby, O-G-L-E-S- B-Y, black female, 27. The second one is Megan Betts, B-E-T-T-S, white female, 22. Saeed Saleh, S-A-L-E-H, black male, 38. Derek Fudge, black male, 57. Logan Turner, white male, 30. Nicholas Cummer, C-U-M-M-E-R, white male, 25. Thomas McNichols, M-C-N-I-C-H-O- L-S, black male, 25. Beatrice Warren Curtis, black female, 36. And Monica Brickhouse, black female, 39. Those are the nine names of the individuals who were killed overnight.

With that, I'll turn it back over to the mayor.

WHALEY: So tonight, I want to also announce we will have a vigil at 8:00 P.M. We've talked with the leaders of the Oregon Business District Association. It will be on the streets of Fifth Street in the Oregon District at 8:00 P.M. this evening.

Also, the blood center is closed today. We've been informed they have adequate supply today, but we want to remind people that if they want to take action, it would be good to donate blood tomorrow.


And we have a special effort we're putting together.

And I want to thank the Dayton Foundation and have Mike Parks come forward to explain what we're trying to do for victims' families.

MIKE PARKS, PRESIDENT, DAYTON FOUNDATION: Thanks, Mayor. First, our thoughts and prayers are with the families and the victims. As two months ago, we learned as a community, we came together to help those in need. And once again, we'll do that.

And as we speak, a fund is being established called the Dayton Oregon District Tragedy Fund at the Dayton Foundation. That will be up and going later this afternoon for those that would like to help. And if you'd like to help your neighbors and friends, there will be a way to do that and to assist those that have been impacted.

WHALEY: Thank you, Mike.

I think what's the most amazing about our community is once people woke up this morning as early as 5:00 A.M., 6:00 A.M., 7:00 A.M., folks and leaders from across the community called and reached out and said, what can I do? And then others we called and they immediately stepped in. And I want to appreciate -- I really appreciate the Dayton Foundation for doing this quickly, as we know that there will be people that weren't prepared, obviously, for such a tragic event in their families.

All right, with that, I'll open up for question.

Mike Campbell?

MIKE CAMPBELL, DAYTON DAILY NEWS: Can you tell us whether the (INAUDIBLE) who had died is related to as sister, aunt or whatever on the suspect?

CARPER: Yes, that's the sister of the suspect.

CAMPBELL: Was she found in a different location from the other shooting victims?

CARPER: All nine shooting victims were located in the Oregon District on or around Fifth Street.

REPORTER: Is there another crime scene in a different area related to this?

CARPER: As I said earlier, the investigation leads us in different directions. So, obviously, we look at vehicles, we look at houses, and, yes, we did conduct a search warrant earlier today.

REPORTER: can you please say one more time (INAUDIBLE)?

WHALEY: We will put this on our site as well. So how about we do that? Is that okay? I think that will be best. We'll put that up.

REPORTER: You mentioned that all the victims were found in the same location, but we are hearing reporter that the suspect's sister and her boyfriend were found in a car. Can you comment on that?

CARPER: That's incorrect. And I will say that the family members of all nine people who are deceased have been notified and a victim witness member from the Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office has been assigned to each of those families to help them through this process as well.

WHALEY: And that's why we waited until this afternoon to release the names.

REPORTER: Deputy Chief, have went any further about possible motive?

CARPER: We will address that at 4:00 as best as we can. We will be able to provide much more information on the actual incident itself at 4:00.


CARPER: The address that we -- where he was staying, where we conducted a search warrant earlier today was in Bellbrook. That is correct.

REPORTER: I want to ask about the gunman (ph). (INAUDIBLE) the suspect from our own backyard (INAUDIBLE)?

DEWINE: Well, all the victims are from our own backyard too. And so, you know, this is just an immense tragedy. You know, no matter where the victims are from, they're victims. And our hearts go out to the families. But this is a Miami Valley tragedy.

REPORTER: Can you comment on the suspect's clothing? We're hearing that something on his sweatshirt represented death. CARPER: I cannot. We'll comment more at 4:00. I don't know if we'll get into that great of detail, but we will provide as comprehensive of an overview of what occurred at 4:00.

REPORTER: The shooting in the parking lot behind Ned Peppers (INAUDIBLE) or on the street?

CARPER: The shooting took place on and around the street inside -- in Fifth Street.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) the shooting?

WHALEY: We're telling you that the shooting took place on East Fifth Street, not the sidewalks of Fifth Street.

REPORTER: Okay, not the parking lot?

CARPER: Not the parking lot, correct.

REPORTER: You said that it was the shooter's sister, but what about the boyfriend? I mean, (INAUDIBLE) shooter's sister and the boyfriend (INAUDIBLE)?

CARPER: We can give a little bit more information at 4:00 on that.

REPORTER: Do you know more about the information and --

WHALEY: I'm sorry, I can't hear you.

REPORTER: Do you know more about (INAUDIBLE)?

CARPER: We will try to get you a general idea of that at 4:00.

REPORTER: Governor DeWine, you said that Dayton was clearly prepared for this. Does that speak to the fact that those nine people who were killed, there was no way to avoid that?


DEWINE: Well, I think that's the first thought that always goes through your mind whenever there's a tragedy of any kind. The question is that policymakers have to think about is is there anything we can do in the future to make sure something like this does not happen. Make sure is the wrong term, but to lessen the possibility or to lessen the number of people who were killed.

These mass shootings, if you go back, and I don't pretend to be an expert, but, you know, they're all alike and they're all different in that sense. And so sometimes you get different lessons from each one of them. I don't think today is the day to try to draw the lessons because, frankly, we don't have all the facts. And there's going to be ample time for all of us to talk about what we learned from this tragedy.

but, again, without all the facts, I would just tell people wait until you get all the facts and then we had can start having those discussions.

REPORTER: In fairness, I think the Mayor said it was the 250th mass shooting this year. It's the 216th day of the year. It's more than one a day right now at this pace. At what point has enough time expired before you can enact (ph) before the next one?

DEWINE: Well, you've asked -- with all due respect, you've asked several questions at the same time. Let me just say that let's -- there will be ample time for us to discuss the lessons learned from what happened today. But let's first get the facts and get all the facts out. And there will be time to have those discussions.

Each one of us in public office has an obligation to take what facts that occur, to take tragedies, whether it's a natural disaster, whether it's the disaster of a mass shooting such as this, whatever it is, and try to come up with the lessons learned.

REPORTER: A quick question. I'm wondering if you (INAUDIBLE) were targeted specifically and the sister and her boyfriend? Can specifically sought them out in any way or any of the other --

CARPER: We will address that as best we can at 4:00. I will say this. Due to the very short timeline of violence, it's hard to imagine that there was much discrimination in the shooting. It happened in a very short period of time.

REPORTER: What about the (INAUDIBLE) investigating, what did they find?

CARPER: Absolutely. You know, we're always looking at what could have motivated such a horrific action as this. And like I said this morning, we're interviewing dozens of people and going through a lot of different electronic evidence, other evidence to try to determine that. We don't have that answer yet. This is the first day. This is going to be a lengthy investigation. So we'll do our best to get the information to you. But speculating at this point would be premature.

REPORTER: The shooter's family cooperative at this time?

CARPER: I won't address that.


WHALEY: We said earlier that it was a .223 caliber A.K. like long rifle. He had extra magazines as well as he was wearing body armor.

REPORTER: Did he have extra guns or just that one gun?

CARPER: We can get some more specifics at 4:00, yes.

WHALEY: I'll bet we'll see you all at 4:00.

I want to recognize some people that are here. The Coroner's Office has been in great partnership, obviously. The coroner has been in autopsy all day. So Erik Blaine is here. State Representative Phil Plummer is here. State Auditor David Yost is here. And my dear friend -- and I don't think I wouldn't get through anything without the Mayor of Kettering, Don Patterson.

Okay, we'll see you in a few hours. I will see you at 3:00. We're going to have a press conference at 3:00 and a press conference at 4:00.

TAPPER: Okay. That's the mayor of Dayton, Ohio and the Governor of Ohio and the Assistant Police Chief of Dayton, Ohio giving us the later.

I'm joined now by a panel of law enforcement experts. I want to find out what they make of it all.

Lisa, I want to start with you. You just heard the victims' names read off during that press, names and demographics. Two-thirds, six out of the nine victims, were identified as African-American.

Dayton is a city that I think is about roughly 40 percent African- American. Does it seem significant to you that two-thirds of the victims were black?

LISA MONACO, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, look, Jake, what I heard was the Governor talk about learning lessons. He talked about how we need to learn from this and similar events. And I think we need to learn the lessons of the past, which means in years past, we had a whole of government approach to international terrorism.


I think we need to apply the same type of unity or focus to domestic terrorism. And we should make no mistake, that's what the events in El Paso and these other shootings have been.

As to your question about demographics, I think it's early to say, right? We don't know specifically the motivation of this attacker, this terrorist. There will be lots more to come in that vein. The FBI and the state and local law enforcement authorities are doing, as I understand, parallel investigations.

So there will be lots more to be learned in the coming hours and days about motivation, about what really prompted this, what triggered this individual to do this unspeakable act.

And I also want to acknowledge, however, the incredible work and the speedy work that it sounds like first responder and law enforcement did, so we need to learn lessons and chief among them is treating domestic terrorism with the same priority focus that we have in years past with international terrorism.

TAPPER: Right. And we had Deputy FBI -- former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe on the show earlier, and he talked about how the FBI doesn't have the same tools to approach domestic terrorism that they have to address international terrorism such as ISIS or Al Qaeda- inspired events.

Juliette Kayyem, let me bring you in. The shooter's sister was also identified as one of the victim. She was one of the three white victims killed in the same area as the others. Three white victims, six African-American victims. What does that tell you, the fact that his sister was also one of his targets?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Okay. So that's not a coincidence. She just didn't happen to be on the street. And I think it was telling that the authorities said they're going to come out at 3:00 P.M. with a greater narrative of what happened in this family.

So I'm just going to state what we know and then we'll figure out that the pieces, how they put them together. You have a white male going -- or at least killing his white sister in an area in which it appears at least the numbers are predominantly African-American on a Saturday night when maybe she was at a bar or dancing. He did not kill her at home if he wanted to kill her.

So this is both a family rage issue, obviously, but something else. And that's what I'm taking away from that press conference. That's what I'm taking away from them saying they're coming back at 3:00. Their failure to answer in the affirmative if the family has actually been cooperative. This is what we learn from these interviews and from what we understand.

But the sister factor, the white sister and predominantly African- Americans killed is my takeaway from that press conference.

TAPPER: And, Phil, let me bring you in. Law Enforcement has visited the shooter's home. Again, we're not mentioning the name of the shooter. What are the next steps in the investigation?

PHILLIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: You can put this into two big baskets of stuff. The first is digital. I don't want to just know whether there are documents like manifestos, which we saw in El Paso. I want to know things, like Google search history, when that history started, if it started, not only on ideology but looking at things like body armor. I want to know, and we're seeing this increasingly in the past few years, whether this person or these people are part of an informal network that talks about things like white supremacy. So there's a digital piece.

But what you're talking about is the human piece, the interviews, to determine things like motivation. There is, of course, the secondary piece of those interviews. Go back to the Pulse shooting in Florida. You want to know if anybody knew something beforehand. And I mentioned Pulse, because there were longstanding questions there about whether family members knew anything about the Pulse shooter and whether they could be partly culpable, Jake.

TAPPER: Same thing with the Boston Marathon shooter. We never really got a full answer on what the wife knew about that, right, Juliette?

KAYYEM: Yes, that's exactly right. There is going to be some part of this family that knew what the rage was with this killer. And either -- you know, we also don't know whether he was on law enforcement radars for other activities, for other violent activities, sister abuse, family abuse, those all come out. But I really think this factor of going presumably the sister as a victim in public is just -- is unique, it's horrible, it's horrifying, and there are multiple victims because of the family rage. And that's what we will learn about more.

TAPPER: And as you noted, it's -- Juliette, the idea that he could have killed his sister at home where they lived in this largely white suburb of Dayton, but instead he went downtown to Dayton, a much more diverse area, killed her, her boyfriend, we're told, and then also seven other individuals, and six of the nine killed were black, seems like there might be some information there that's relevant.

But let's turn to the El Paso attack for a second. And, Lisa Monaco, I want to bring you back, former Homeland Security Adviser to President Obama. The U.S. Attorney in West Texas says that they're treating the case as domestic terror. What does that mean in terms of the investigation?


MONACO: So that was significant to me, Jake, and I'm sure to Phil and Juliette as well. I means that they are looking for connections to domestic terrorist organizations, groups, potential links between the El Paso attacker and other groups that they may have investigations going into. They're looking into what type of domestic grievance may have motivated this individual. And, obviously, we've got a lot of information on that thus far, the manifesto that seems quite clear.

The sheriff has linked and the law enforcement authorities have linked to this attacker, and importantly and somewhat uniquely in these situations, although let's pause for a minute on just how incredible it is that we're talking about this as a series of types of situations. We have many unfortunately of these situations to compare it to.

But this individual is talking, it seems, to law enforcement and we've seen indications in the briefings that we've had thus far from the authorities that they are feeling increasingly confident about his motivations, pairing this manifesto to him. And so all of that is going to be part of the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI, their investigation, domestic terror focus will, I think, in the first instance look at those linkages, the motivations or contacts he may have had with other individuals who espouse a similar ideology.

TAPPER: All right. Thanks, one and all. I appreciate your expertise.

As the President orders flags to be flown at half-staff, one former republican governor is saying enough is enough. We need gun reform now. Who is it? That's next.



TAPPER: Welcome back to State of the Union. I'm Jake Tapper in the wake of two horrific mass shootings in Texas and Ohio. We at State of the Union invited several republican lawmakers to come on the show to talk about what can be done, the Senate Majority Leader, the House Minority Leader, the two U.S. Senators from Texas, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Texas. All of them declined to come on, as did anyone from the White House to talk about these shootings. But Ohio's former Republican Governor is willing to share his thoughts.

Joining me now, former Ohio Governor John Kasich. Governor Kasich, what is your reaction to the mass shootings in El Paso and then waking up to learn what happened in your home state of Ohio in Dayton?

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, come on, Jake, we're all devastated, you know? But with this -- after the Las Vegas shootings, I convened a group in Ohio to pass some reasonable gun control measures. I had to do most of them by executive order because I couldn't get any of it through legislature, including a simple thing like a red flag law, that if you know somebody in your family poses a threat to your own family or to somebody else, you go to the judge and you have their gun taken away until they're stabilized. I could not get that done.

Now, I hear all these thoughts and prayers. I mean, I can pray with the best of them. But, you know, prayer without action doesn't matter. And people say, well, you know, it's all white nationalism. Okay, yes, we should condemn it, of course. And, frankly, that's a cause for people to look at whether somebody is stable or not.

But at the same time, we need reasonable gun control legislation. So when I convened a group in Ohio to solve some of this problem, or to get at some of this problem, since Las Vegas, when I convened a group, there has been 34 of these type of shootings. And the fact of the matter it is, it is outrageous for the politicians to just sit back and hope this will go away.

One other thing, the media has a tendency to focus. They, focus, they focus, and then it goes away, so there's no pressure. You want to pass gun control legislation, people need to start marching, like they did Parkland, Florida. Florida had no interest whatsoever in passing any kind of gun control legislation until those incredibly brave students demanded it and the people of the state demanded

Too much of the time, the only voice you hear from are gun owner people, most of whom are reasonable, but the ones who don't want any changes, they just do a barrage of negativity. And the fact is everybody else sits still. You want to get gun control legislation, begin to march for it, and you will get it.

TAPPER: So, Governor, first of all, why do you think the legislature would not pass any further gun restrictions when you were governor and pushing for them?

KASICH: Politics, Jake. Politics.

TAPPER: But what? Are they afraid --

KASICH: That's why they don't pass this legislation. They're afraid of the gun owners. TAPPER: Because the gun owners will vote them out of office?

KASICH: Yes, or they'll make their life miserable. And so, you know, I can't tell you how many legislators I talk to, and they're like, well, one guy called me and he doesn't like any of this stuff. And let's be clear, most gun owners favor reasonable gun control legislation.

And let me give you another little dirty secret out there. People want to blame all this on republicans, they should carry a large part of this blame. You know how many democrats run for the fences whenever this issue comes up? They don't want to deal with it either, plain and simple.

Your candidates for president -- I'm just telling you. I'm calling it the way it is.

TAPPER: But the House of Representatives, which is now under democratic control, passed some gun control restrictions and we've had a number of democrats running for president call for everything, from closing the gun show loophole to red flag laws, to gun licensing, to further restricting whether or not somebody can purchase a semi- automatic rifle. I mean, I do hear democrats calling for a lot of gun-control measures.

KASICH: Jake, I can tell you in my legislature, we did not have the kind of strong bipartisan support we needed, nor did we give -- nor did the -- my friends, look, this is not a republican or democrat issue. This is what I'm trying to tell you. I'm not trying to shift blame from republicans. They all can be blamed for this, because after Las Vegas, and one thing after another, they all ought to be doing something.

Now, running for president, that's a whole other kettle of fish. I'm just trying to suggest to you that until the public itself and the media, for example, the Dayton Newspaper, the newspaper in El Paso, it should be front page every day until they get some of these restrictions in place. That's what has to happen, Jake.

TAPPER: You were a fairly reliable gun rights vote when you were in Congress. Did Las Vegas change this for you?


KASICH: No. Look, Jake, I voted for the '94 -- you know, this is a thing Biden gets condemned for the '94 crime bill. Well, that's when we banned assault weapons and high magazines. Now, what we found out that manufacturers figured out how to reconfigure the gun. And the fact is though the high magazine -- high-capacity magazine should have stayed in place. I believe those things matter.

Now, when I did that, the gun people were against me all the time. When I ran for governor, the democrat candidate for governor was endorsed by the NRA. They did everything they could to defeat me in that election. And, unfortunately, the police union who wanted me to vote for that assault weapons ban was nowhere to be found. In fact, they endorsed him as well. So you pay a high price politically for leading on this issue.

But you know what? Think about what this is. You know, it's in a Walmart in El Paso. It's in a Garlic Festival in California. It's in Dayton, you know, in an entertainment district. Jake, it could be our family.

TAPPER: I know.

KASICH: And God bless those families. Did you see the pain on those people's faces?

TAPPER: It's heartbreaking.

KASICH: Did you see how -- it is, and it demands that we start to do something. We need leadership at all levels of both parties and the media that keeps the heat on. And we need people out there to begin to organize the rallies, and you're not going to get it all. Small steps. Small steps. You're not going to prevent all of this.

TAPPER: Right.

KASICH: Small steps can be very helpful.

TAPPER: There is another aspect to the El Paso shooting, at least, we're still waiting for more information about the Dayton shooter, but the El Paso alleged terrorist is believed to have written this white supremacist and racist screed that was posted on 8chan. FBI Director Christopher Wray has pointed to white supremacy as a, quote, persistent, pervasive threat. And there are people, a lot of people, democratic presidential candidates and republicans who say President Trump gives comfort to white supremacists, that he's not responsible for these shootings, that he should not be blamed for these shootings, but that he creates an environment where white supremacists are able to thrive. Do you agree? Do you disagree? What's your take?

KASICH: You know, in light of 29 people being murdered here and so many injured, I think casting blame on the President -- look, there's nobody been more critical of his divisive language than I have been. There's not republican in the universe that's been more critical, okay? This is not the time now.

But what I will tell you, Jake, and what I have been so upset about and worked up about because of my own family and the risk to them and families and families all over America is this business of dividing and hatred and polarization leads nowhere but a house divided against itself will not stand. That's not just me. That's biblical. And the fact is that this rhetoric, it's been going on for a long time, leads the people taking matter sometimes in their own hand, particularly when they are not in balance. And that's why this red flag law matters so much.

I'm not saying it's going to prevent anything, but if you spot somebody who is unstable and poses a threat by things they text on the internet, why not using some sort of technology to be able to pick up these kinds of radical things that can lead one to conclude that the person that is posting these things is not stable, and with the protection of court to determine who is stable and who is not.

So we've got to end all the division, Jake. I've been saying it. I wrote a book, Two Paths. You know, you can go down the negative path. You've got to go higher. All those things will help.

TAPPER: President Trump did Tweet about the shooting in El Paso, condemning it as, quote, a hateful act and act of cowardice. Is that adequate, do you think? Is that enough of a condemnation?

KASICH: No, no, no, no. Look, if I were president, I would convene a group today and I would say, we're going to have some national gun reform, period, end of story, you know? And so -- and they don't want to do that. They don't want to disrupt the base of people who are gun owners, including democrats, as I might say again, they don't want to disrupt it. It could hurt them politically somehow.

There should be a group convened today. It should include law enforcement. It should include community activists. It should include people of faith. This is exactly, exactly what we did in Ohio. And we made a little bit of progress, but not the progress that I wanted.

And here in Ohio, I call on Ohioans, Ohio legislators, the Governor, all of them, pass the red flag law. Do something now. Don't keep thinking it will fade away. It may fade away with the media, it may fade away with the public, but, look, 34 incidents, major incidents since Las Vegas.


How many do we need? Do we need 134? Search yourself. Look in the mirror. Stand up. Do something. Please, do something.

And don't behind the fact, oh, we've got all this rigmarole and all this, well, you know, if we just had people with more guns, it would stop the violence. That's just -- come on, that's nonsense. You've got to do something here to restrict this.

TAPPER: Governor John Kasich, former Governor John Kasich of Ohio, thank you for joining us today.

KASICH: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: What we do not yet know in the wake of this weekend's mass shootings is what, if anything, our elected representatives might try to do to stop or at least curtail these awful attacks.

Joining me now, 2020 presidential candidate and Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan. Congressman Ryan, your reaction to the mass shootings in El Paso yesterday, and then, of course, you wake up to learn what happened in your home state of Ohio in Dayton?

GOV. TIM RYAN (D-OH): yes, it's just brutal, Jake. I think the whole the country is exhausted, scared. I mean, you know, I'm getting calls, we've got kids going to school, parents are scared to death to send their kids to school. You watched the videos of this and you see Walmart in the background, Dillard's in the background, the churches in the background of some of these shootings and you think there's no place safe to go. And that's eating at us as a country, which is why our -- part of the reason why our anxiety level is so high.

And then, you know, what happened down in El Paso -- you cannot connect, you cannot not connect the President of the United States and his rhetoric. I read that manifesto this morning a couple of times. And the language in there is so similar to the kind of language that you hear at a Trump rally, you see in his Tweets, and the President isn't just speaking to, you know, really smart people who are stable at his rallies. He's speaking to the lowest common denominator to where this jackass gets in a car and drives ten hours to go kill Latinos and Hispanics and Mexicans, mostly Mexicans.

I mean, he's creating a culture and an environment in which this stuff keeps happening. And we're so dysfunctional. You mentioned it in the last interview. We passed universal background checks out of the House of Representatives. It's sitting at Mitch McConnell's doorstep right now and he needs to act on it and this country does need to mobilize and get him to act on it.

TAPPER: Earlier in the show, Congressman, your 2020 rival, Beto O'Rourke, said that he thought President Trump was a white nationalist. I asked Bernie Sanders if he agreed. He said yes. I asked Pete Buttigieg if he agreed. He said, at the very least, he makes white nationalists feel comfortable or words to that effect. What do you think? Is President Trump a white nationalist?

RYAN: Well, the white nationalists think he's a white nationalist, and that's the crux of the problem. They support him. The David Dukes of the world support him. They said he's going to implement their agenda. That's all you need to know. And it's causing killings happening here in the United States and it's created a toxic culture now in the United States around the immigration issue, around -- now around the gun issue. And he has to bear responsibility.

And more than anything, the laws (ph) and executive orders, Presidents Of the United States, they create culture. And that culture can say, we're going to reach for the stars and we're going to go to the moon or that culture can be, you know, go back to where you came from, or you come from a shithole country. I mean, those are two different examples. What kind of country do we want? And we have got to mobilize.

People cannot be quiet anymore. And I'm not saying we've got to yell and scream. I'm saying we've got to act. And people who are on the sidelines who want to kind of ignore the toxicity that's happening have got to step up so we can actually start getting some stuff done.

TAPPER: You used to have an A rating from the NRA and you have changed your views. Why did you change your mind on supporting further restrictions on gun ownership?

RYAN: Because I'm a living, breathing adult who is awake and watching what's happening and could no longer watch the inaction happening. I come from a state like Ohio where we have a sportsman's culture, we hunt, and so that's kind of where I started politically. But watching kids get killed in schools and watching the nightclubs and what happened in Nevada, I didn't want anything to do with it. Not only do I have an F rating now, I gave every dollar that I got from the NRA to the gun control groups because I want them to have the resources they need to continue to push this message out.


And we've got to activate.

We're starting to have conversations, Jake, with some of these groups about a national vigil tomorrow night about 8:00, where the whole country goes out, buy candles, go to your town square, you know, get your priest, get your pastor, let's go out and let the world know that this is unacceptable. We're not going to yell and scream. I think we should do 29 minutes of silence, one minute for each of the victims that were killed in the last two days. I certainly invite all of the other presidential candidates to help communicate this with their email lists and all the people that were always asking them for money and asking them to do things. Let's do a national vigil tomorrow night with 29 minutes of silence and start the process of healing this country, Jake.

This is just exhausting for everybody. And we've got to do something about it. And I think we should start immediately bringing this country together.

TAPPER: Congressman Tim Ryan, Democrat from Ohio, thank you so much for joining us today. Try to enjoy the rest of your Sunday with your family. We appreciate your time, sir.

RYAN: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: And for you at home, try to enjoy the rest of your Sunday with your family. Stay with CNN all day for the latest on this heart- rending day in the United States of America.