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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  August 5, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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hit list. classmates say the gunman in the dayton massacre had a list of people he wanted to kill and rape when he was in high school. we are learning more about his war-like arsenal that allowed him to commit a slaughter in seconds. not blaming guns. president trump claims mental illness and hatred pulled the trigger in the texas and ohio shootings. tonight he's not offering new gun proposals and is ignoring his own hate-promoting rhetoric. and top democrats are demanding action from the president and his party arguing mr. trump is part of the problem as gun violence claims more lives. this hour, new reaction from presidential candidates kamala harris, joe biden, tim ryan. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> we are standing by for a news
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conference by police in el paso, texas, as we cover all the breaking news on the back-to-back gun massacres in texas and ohio. the loss of innocent life is even more staggering tonight as two more victims in el paso have died, raising the death toll from the two shootings to 31. police tell cnn the el paso gunman had a stone cold look that was nothing short of evil when he was arrested and accused of a domestic terror attack fuelled by hatred of immigrants. in ohio, authorities still are investigating the dayton shooter's motives. they say he may have had up to 250 rounds of ammunition when he slaughtered nine people in 30 seconds before he was killed by police. tonight, president trump is trying to blame these horrific mass shootings on mental illness, violent video games, and the culture of the internet. he isn't proposing any new gun restrictions. he's refusing to address his own toxic rhetoric even as he condemns racial hatred and white
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supremacy. reaction from two democratic presidential candidates, senator kamala harris and ohio congressman tim ryan standing by along with our reporters and analysts covering the story including correspondents in el paso, dayton and at the white house. first to brian todd in el paso. what's stand by for the start of the news conference and we will have live coverage, you have been talking to officials there. what are you learning? >> reporter: right, wolf. new information tonight on the methodical nature with which this gunman approached the walmart. in a few minutes we hope to have more information on the planning of the attack, maybe how long it took, why he chose that walmart and why he chose el paso. we are getting new accounts from police about how the shooter has been while in custody while talking to investigators. el paso police tell cnn tonight the man who allegedly carried out the slaughter at the walmart has been unapologetic. officials say patrick krus yucr
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showed no regret or remorse for killing nearly two dozen innocent people and has been cold emotionally talking to investigators, consistent with how police say he carried out the attack. >> the reports we received was that it was a calculated attack, well planned out. the reports coming out is that he showed no emotion. it appeared, according to the videos and the eyewitness testimonies that he had some type of training on how he approached his victims. >> reporter: training, you said. can you be more specific? >> no, not specific on the training part. it looked like he had it pre-planned. he knew exactly what he was doing. whether it was weeks or months in planning he had a mission. >> reporter: another police official tells cnn tonight he came face to face with the shooter when he was arrested. quote, he had a stone cold look. it was nothing short of evil. police are giving a general description of the weapon they believe he used to gun down his victims.
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>> what was reported that it was a model that looked like an ak-47. >> reporter: the 21-year-old alleged shooter, a white supremacist, is being charged with capital murder and the shooting is being called an act of terrorism. >> we are treating it as a domestic terrorism case. we are going to do what we do to terrorists in this country which is deliver swift and certain justice. >> reporter: authorities are also investigating a racist anti-immigrant document they believe was posted online by the suspect that states it took less than a month to plan the shooting. the four-page document published on 8chan about 20 minutes before the shooting. the author said he opposes race-mixing and encouraging immigrants to return to their home countries, speaking of a hispanic invasion. authorities say the shooting began in the parking lot of the walmart. the shooter then entered the store. panicked shoppers slid under tables. others ran for their lives. a heartwrenching story of two
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young parents killed saving their infant child. 24-year-old jordan onchondo carried her son paul inside the walmart. their aunt and uncle tell us jordan and andre had an instant to react. >> from what we understood the shooter came in, pointed a gun at my niece jordan. andre was quick to jump in front of jordan and paul, the baby. from what we understood a bullet went through andre and jordan. >> they both shielded the child and then the child fell as they fell. >> yes, under jordan. that's where the broken fingers occurred and the bruising occurred from what we understand when they pulled baby paul out. he was covered in their blood. >> reporter: police say the shooter was arrested without incident after getting out of his vehicle and approaching police unarmed as they arrived at the walmart. he's currently being held at the el paso county detention
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facility. the new district attorney said they'll seek the death penalty. >> let's go to el paso now. authorities there including the mayor are briefing reporters. >> eight of the individuals who lost their lives come from our sister state of chihuahua, mexico. while borders may separates us, grief transcends them. we will honor every victim like they were a member of our community. el paso is a family. we must continue to stand united as our region heals. i could not be more proud of our city from the offers for free funeral services to the lines to donate blood to the overwhelming crowd at vigils throughout the city. el paso has shown that we are much stronger than saturday's attack. i have issued a local disaster declaration yesterday activating all available state recovery
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efforts. various state and federal officials have contacted offering resources for our community. this was an act of domestic terrorism fuelled by hate. an evil individual. i will not assist in promoting or emboldening his agenda, nor any movement that he would be associated with. our diversity makes us special. we are three states, two countries, one region. as i have been saying, there is no other city or region like el paso/juarez. now let me cover one other item that you will ask about. president trump called me yesterday. he was very gracious in the call. you all know of my history with the president as i have defended el paso. he was very gracious, offered to help in any way he could.
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it was a brief call. nothing overly specific. i made no requests at that time. i said we're waiting to see what settles. he's coming out here on wednesday. i want to clarify for the political spin that this is the office of the mayor of el paso in an official capacity welcoming the office of the president of the united states which i consider is my formal duty. i will ask president trump to support our efforts with any and all federal resources that are available. our recovery is no small task. together we will risetragedy. i'm here to ensure we receive every state and federal resource that's available to us that we need. i will continue to challenge any harmful and inaccurate statements made about el paso.
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we will not allow anyone to portray el paso in a manner that is not consistent with our history and values. throughout our community bienvenidos is displayed as a message that's defined our community for over 350 years. i will not allow this evil senseless act of violence to change what our community represents. i would like to call on chief allen. >> good afternoon, everyone. greg allen, el paso police chief. just had an update from our investigators at the scene. we have lists of the deceased and we will be providing you with that later. we have now 22 people confirmed
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killed. total number of mexican citizens at eight. we have 15 patients still in the hospital, two of which are critical. nine have been discharged. the number of total injured was raised by a number of 27 because one self-admitted to the hospital and left on his own. two of the 27 injured, one was an infant with broken bones. another sustained injuries trying to escape the scene. the breakdown of fatalities as far as the deceased, we have one german, 13 u.s. citizens, one undetermined, seven mexican nationals. with that, i will ask you all to provide me with any questions you have. mario? >> thank you, greg.
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my name is mario d'agostino. i'm the fire chief here in el paso, texas. i want to give a brief of how we have been handling the flam ami reunification and notifications. we set up a center saturday. that's been operating around the clock. we'll transition in the next day to a family assistance center that will be open for 10 to 12 days before we do our final transition. that final transition takes us into a long-term recovery. it will be the el paso strong resiliency center and will be open as long as we need it open for the community. we encourage anyone who needs help to call to get the help they need first. don't let mental health issues build up on you. don't let the thoughts, everything that's concerning you get to you. reach out. we have a number. 779-1800.
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that will get you the help you need locally. there is no charge for that service. thank you. [ inaudible question ] >> i tried to preempt your question with my remarks. i represent the office of the mayor of el paso, texas. this is not a political visit as he had before, which i did not visit with him. i was noted from the podium, as i recall. he is president of the united states. so in that capacity, i will fulfill my obligations as mayor of el paso to meet with the president and discuss whatever our needs are in this community
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and hope that if we are expressing specifics that we can get him to come through for us. i'm already getting the e-mails and the phone calls. that's why i'm saying what i'm saying now. i would appreciate it if people would save their time and not necessarily have to send them. [ inaudible ] >> yes, i understand. we are not dealing with that now. we are dealing with a tragedy of 22 people who have perished by an evil, hateful act of a white supremacist that has no bearing or belonging in el paso. it was not done by an el pasoan. no el pasoan would ever do this. i don't know how we deal with evil. i don't have a textbook for dealing with it other than the bible. i'm sorry. we are going to go through this.
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the president is coming out. i will meet with the president. i guess for people who have lots of time on their hands i will deal with the e-mails and phone calls. >> i can't go into details right now. that would be too revealing of the investigation that's still ongoing. right now we haven't fully cleared the crime scene. they were still gathering evidence at that particular location. [ inaudible question ] >> i'm sorry? it was bought in the nearest hometown in allen, texas. i don't have the exact details of that now. the weapon was purchased legally. it's a 7.62-caliber weapon. that would be two varieties of
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weapon. 7.62 by 51. 7.62 by 39 would be russian kalishnakov caliber. the what? you'll have to contact -- well, our pios will provide the information. they have to clear it with the investigative unit to see if that's permissible. [ inaudible ] >> right now he has no bond. he's under a charge of capital murder in general. that determination is cleared by the district attorney's office. they work with the investigators to come up with the appropriate charge. if that's the case then it was approved by the district
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attorney. [ inaudible ] >> from the police department perspective, we are doing okay. we have employee assistance programs available. ehn is also assisting with that. i will let the fire department comment on that side. >> yes, thank you. the fire department, we did set up debriefing teams immediately following the scene. we have eah assisting them as well. we have international firefighters coming on scene next week doing debriefing, going station to station talking, seeing if there are effects. we have had the positive communications with them and we are monitoring them. [ inaudible ] >> i can give you in general. he took 10 to 11 hours traveling from allen, texas, to el paso. as soon as he got here, he was lost in the neighborhood.
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after that he found his way to the walmart because we understand he was hungry and that's about as far as i can go without getting into too much detail. was he cooperating? yes, he cooperated from the beginning. none of this had to be any way coerced from him or threats or anything like that. he volunteered most of the evidence that we are able to utilize at this time. [ inaudible ] >> i can't make comment on that directly. again, that's part of the investigation. >> last question, please. [ inaudible ] >> that's a good question. i see it's on my fact list here. i have seven on the list we'll provide to you. right now it looks like seven confirmed from the list with the deceased actually on it.
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i'm sorry? [ inaudible ] no, not to the investigators. i asked that question again this morning. right now, he basically appeared to be in a state of shock and confusion. >> thank you. >> i'm sorry? we don't know that now. >> thank you all. >> i'm sorry. would you mind repeating? no. we haven't ascertained that right now. that's what we suspect he did right now. >> thank you all. >> thank you. >> all right. so we just heard from authorities in el paso including the mayor, dee margo confirming that the president will be visiting el paso on wednesday. the mayor saying as the leader
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of the office of the mayor of el paso, he will welcome the office of the president of the united states despite criticism coming in of the president including a tweet earlier in the day from beto o'rourke, the democratic presidential candidate, former congressman from el paso who tweeted this. he said, this president who helped create the hatred that made saturday's tragedy possible should not come to el paso. we do not need more division. we need to heal. he has no place here. jeffrey toobin. what do you think? the mayor is in an awkward position. the president wants to come show respect for the city of el paso. >> the mayor welcomes the president. this is an institutional responsibility of the mayor. the president is coming to town. there will be plenty of time to talk about how the president has behaved. elected officials will do a lot of that. i don't see that the mayor has
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any real choice except to behave professionally for this immediate grieving period. >> the other thing we were learning here and we were getting confirmation of it from the local police chief there that the suspect is fully cooperating, has volunteered a lot of information and he's talking. >> yeah. wolf, from the beginning after the shooting, he could have gotten away, frankly. he apparently didn't have the firearm with him. he emerged from his own vehicle unarmed and approached police officers, gave himself up. from the beginning that's been his behavior. i think he described the suspect as essentially being shocked and confused. it's not clear, wolf, how much planning went into this. it's clear that he had every intent to kill mexicans and hispanic people. he clearly came with the purpose and carried out his gruesome acts exactly as he planned to do it. >> he says of the 22 people
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killed in el paso, eight are mexican citizens. we're watching that closely as well. stand by. i want to bring in democratic presidential candidate ohio congressman tim ryan. congressman, thank you very much for joining us. i know you're in dayton and you have been listening to what we have to see. do you think the mayor had any choice but to make it clear he was willing to accept the president who wants to come to el paso on wednesday? i assume the president will come to day tton as well. >> the way i would have handled it was quietly tell the president he's not welcome. it's a tough reality in this world, but i think congressman o'rourke was right. the president helped create an environment that's so toxic in the united states where maybe not most people who hear him r
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always a person that's been r radicalized and gets activated. when you look at the manifesto and you see the same phrases the president uses in his rallies, it is not hard to connect the dots on this. as mayor he can do what he wants. that's a tough position to be in. the reality is i would not want the president of the united states in my town after he contributed to the environment that caused this kid to drive ten hours into el paso. >> have you been told, congressman, that the president will visit dayton? >> we have heard nothing. the mayor nan whaley said nothing about him coming here. she quipped that maybe he's going to toledo. he got things mixed up. maybe he won't be in dayton. >> made a mistake. let's talk about the president's speech this morning at the white house. he said the country must seek real bipartisan solutions. you heard him say that. he said besides red flag laws,
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did you hear anything from the president today that could actually gain bipartisan support? >> nothing at all. to me it was a slap in the face, quite frankly, wolf. of the victims and the families who have just been in so much pain the last couple of days, to start talking about video games, pushing this off somehow on mental health when we know four out of five mass murder like this have nothing to do with mental health issues and the vast majority of people dealing with mental illness aren't violent in any way, shape or form. to throw that out there as a red herring that the nra used, that this president has used quite frankly is disgraceful. there is one thing that needs to be done here. we need to address the fact that people are getting weapons of war, bringing them on streets like this street that i'm standing on here in dayton and slaughtering americans. it keeps happening over and over again. it's insulting.
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i find it insulting. i believe the people of ohio find it insulting that he's trying to distract us, wants to run the clock on the news cycle. he said the right things today, put enough stuff out there to talk about and the reality is probably nothing will happen because he gave the same speech after parkland in florida when kids got killed there. >> the president had a tweet before the speech at the white house suggesting tying background check legislation to immigration reform. is that appropriate when the el paso shooting suspect was apparently motivated by anti-immigrant hate? by the way, in his speech he never mentioned coming up with any background check legislation. >> never talked about any kind of gun control or gun issues that need to be dealt with that we all know, wolf. here's the thing. 70 to 80% of the american people recognize what needs to be done here. that's why there is an outrage
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in the country, especially in communities like this that see all kinds of gun violence, not just the mass murders happening but gun violence happening all over the united states in communities all over the united states. he addresses zero with regard to trying to deal with that. then to bring in the immigration issue, let's remember how toxic he's made this issue. this has been a welcoming country. we always have our issues but he made the issue toxic. going back to the birtherism and saying that barack obama was not born in the united states. then it was everyone's rapist and a drug dealer who comes in here who has brown skin. he continued the rhetoric. at his rallies, most recently of people screaming and yelling, send them back, him saying to members of the united states congress they should go back to the country that they came from, when three of them were born in the united states but happen to have more pigmentation in their skin than white people do. that's ridiculous. this is what he wants the
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tie-in. he made the issue toxic and is trying to unite it with the issue around the slaughters in el paso and dayton. i find it disgusting, disrespectful. it's a slap in the face to the victims, not just the ones in dayton but the ones who suffered from the acts of violence over the past decade. nothing has been done. you wonder why people have high anxiety levels, why people are afraid to go out. you can't go to a church, a walmart, sending kids to school, can't come into the most revitalized area of a city like dayton because of this violence. it's time for it to stop and time for us to come together as a country and put this at the foot of mitch mcconnell where two bills that passed with many, many votes sitting on his steps in the senate, he needs to act on them and the president needs to make him act on those. >> so far he's refused to allow those house-passed measures to come up for a vote in the senate. former president obama put out a rare statement today. let me read a portion of the
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statement. we'll put it on the screen. we should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear or hatred. leaders who demonize those who don't look like us or suggest other people including immigrants threaten our way of life or refer to other people as subhuman or imply that america belongs to just one certain type of people. clearly it seems to me, and i wonder if you agree, he seems to be referring to the president of the united states even though he didn't mention any names. >> that's what a president acts like, wolf. that's how a president writes, how a president elevates the conversation. i have been saying now for two days that the most important job of the president of the united states is to be the cultural leader of the country. that president can have us reach for the stars and go to the moon or that president can have
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crowds chanting "send them back." that's what the current president has done. it's a refreshing reminder of how president obama conducted himself in a dignified way. that's what america is longing for. under this political discussion we are having here, america is ready to come together. they are ready to end the violence. they are ready to end the hate. they are tired of the anxiety levels and insecurity and not feeling safe. they are ready to. cotogether and start healing the country which is what we need to do and start solving problems. mobilizing the federal government to be a leader to do great things for us, lift our sights up, heal the economy and other issues. we have to get the weapons of war off the street so people feel safe again to go shopping at a place like walmart or go to church or send their kids to school. >> congressman tim ryan, thank
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you so much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. we should note, by the way, cnn asked about 60 republican elected officials to join us to talk about the shootings. nearly all of them have declined. i hope they change their mind. just ahead, we'll hear from another democratic presidential candidate, senator kamala harris. we'll get her reaction to the shootings and her plan of action. that's just ahead. use as much as you want, when you want. and if you like netflix, it's included on us. plus no surprises on your bill. taxes and fees are included. and now for a limited time, with each new line, get one of our latest smartphones included. that's right, only $40/line for four lines and smartphones are included for the whole family.
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we are back with the breaking news on the mass
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shootings in el paso, texas, and dayton, ohio. we heard from the el paso mayor who said he'll welcome president trump's plan to visit el paso on wednesday. let's get the latest on the president's response to the attacks. our white house correspondent kaitlyn collins joins us. the president blamed the shootings on a lot of things, but not necessarily on the weapons or on his own rhetoric. >> reporter: yeah. he also didn't introduce major new gun laws he thinks should be passed, proposals like that. wolf, he also didn't mention the background checks. he first tweeted this morning something that caught white house aides off guard. they didn't think it was wise what the president was proposing in the tweet which was linking background checks to potential immigration reform. as the president addressed the nation hours later at the white house, wolf, he did denounce bigotry and white supremacy and vowed to do something. now the question is what is it that the president is going to do. >> our nation must condemn
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racism, bigotry and white supremacy. >> reporter: tonight, president trump is condemning white supremacy after two mass shootings in less than 24 hours. >> these sinister ideologies must be defeated. >> reporter: he's offering few details on what he'll do to stop another from happening. in an address from the white house the president said he's directing the fbi to examine ways to identify and address domestic terrorism. he stopped short of calling for new gun laws. instead, turning his focus to mental health. >> mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun. >> reporter: trump making no mention of his morning tweet suggesting tying background checks to immigration reform. the president did reference the el paso shooting suspect's manifesto that warned of an immigrant invasion and advocating views he said predated the president. >> the shooter in el paso posted a manifesto online consumed by
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racist hate. >> reporter: today trump ignored how some of its language echoes his own. >> i was badly criticized for using the word "invasion." it's an invasion. but how do you stop these people? >> shoot them! >> you can't -- [ laughter ] >> that's only in the panhandle you can get away with that stuff. >> reporter: democrats aren't brushing off the similarities. >> he's been calling mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. members of the press, what the [ bleep ]. hold on a second. it's these questions that you know the answers to. connect the dots about what he's been doing in this country. >> reporter: instead, trump says other factors are to blame. >> we must stop the glorification of violence in our society. we must recognize that the internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform
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demented acts. >> reporter: today he repeated a talk point from house majority leader kevin mccarthy that video games play a part in increased violence in america. >> this includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now common place. >> reporter: an old claim un substantiated by research. it was dismissed by supreme court justice antonin scalia in 2011. for the most part republicans are staying silent. those who are speaking are struggling to propose new solutions. >> bad people are going to do bad things if they are hell bent on doing it. >> reporter: democrats are calling on mitch mcconnell to reconvene the senate on stalled gun legislation they argue could prevent the next shooting, a step sources say he's unlikely to take. the question now is what happens next. trump has called for gun restrictions in the past. >> i think it's something you have to think about. >> reporter: but later backed off after sitting down with nra
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leadership. now, wolf, the mayor of el paso just announced the president is going to visit on wednesday. that's a visit that beto o'rourke who, of course, is from el paso and used to represent texas in congress has said should not happen because, in his words, quote, the president has helped create what we saw in el paso on saturday. now, wolf, i was in el paso back in february the last time both president trump and beto o'rourke were there when they staged counter-rallies going after each other. beto o'rourke criticizing the president over wanting to build that border wall. the president going after beto o'rourke saying he didn't think that presidential bid he's pursuing was going to last. of course now with what happened on saturday over the weekend with all of the people dead, so many injured it is going to be a very different contrast when both of them are there in texas on wednesday. >> thanks for that report. joining us now, leading democratic presidential candidate senator kamala harris. thanks for joining us.
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>> sure, wolf. good to be with you. >> you say president trump in your words has emboldened white nationalism. what went through your mind when you heard him say today that the nation must condemn white supremacy? >> you know, wolf, i just -- he does not speak as a leader. he rarely does. on this occasion, america needs a leader to actually speak truth and do it in a way that acknowledges fact. we just can't get that from donald trump. it is his words, yes. i said that. his words and his conduct have coddled this kind of behavior. in terms of the white nationalism. the reality is his words also today were empty and frankly meaningless on the issue of gun
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violence. with el paso a mother was a human shield to save the life of her infant child. we have seen police officers run into danger to save innocent lives. we have seen the worst kind of tragedies we can imagine and this president won't call it what it is -- gun violence out of control and that we are in need of reasonable gun safety laws. i feel strongly that america needs real leadership and this president is not able to provide it. >> you think there is going to be a chance that some significant gun legislation could even come up for a vote in the senate. it passes the house where there is a democratic majority but the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell doesn't let this kind of legislation come up for a vote. >> it's highly irresponsible. but this is not the first time. i'm a part of leadership on a bipartisan bill to improve
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america's elections infrastructure because we all know the russians interfered in the election with the president of the united states. bipartisan support. i serve on the senate intelligence committee. there are members of the senate intelligence committee, republicans who support this. he will not put that on the floor for a vote. i call on him to step up and i believe strongly the members of the united states congress must lead and stop kocowering to the special interests and must lead in terms of fighting for the well-being of the american people and the safety and well-being of the american people. it is time to act. we are not going to wait. we can't wait for another tragedy. you know, people say, oh, well, maybe we're waiting for a good idea. nope. all the good ideas have been had. many of my friends and i have proposed great ideas. but you know what? we don't need new ideas.
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we've got them. we need congress to act and in this case the united states senate. mitch mcconnell should put the vote on the floor. i believe everybody should have to stand and speak on this issue and be held accountable. those votes aren't distinguishing between a republican and a democrat. those children going to school every day in fear of a gunman roaming the halls of the school could care less if you are a democrat or a republican. the american people have a right to expect on certain issues we not act in a way that's about partnership but about the best interest of the health and well-being and safety of the american people. >> senator, mitch mcconnell put out a statement. let me read part of it to you. he said senate republicans are prepared to do their part. he's asked committees to reflect on the president's policy
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proposals that were spelled out today. what are the chances that this leads to legislation that could potentially be signed into law? >> frankly, wolf, you know washington, d.c. th this is in the hands of one person and it's mitch mcconnell. i hope and pray he urnszs he has the power to do the right thing here and he will do the right thing. it doesn't sound like he's prepared to do that and that's irresponsible. >> president obama rarely weighs in on these issues publicly. he put out a powerful statement today. let me read once again a piece of that. he said we should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments or demonizes those
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who don't look like us or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life or imply that america belongs to just one certain type of people. that's part of the statement from president obama. it is clear he's referring to the current president. i assume you agree. >> of course. you contrast the words and you don't even need to know who they are coming from to know that one are the words of a leader and the other are the words of someone who doesn't understand and is not actually a leader. president obama is absolutely spot-on and has a history of being spot-on on these issues. listen, donald trump does not understand the importance and the responsibility of being president of the united states when it comes to speaking to our better angels, speaking to our
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better selves, when it comes to elevating discourse and engaging all americans to think of ourselves as all being in this together. on this issue in particular he was playing golf for most of the day. are you kidding me? blood is streaming. babies are being orphaned. he's playing golf. just across the board when you look at the behavior, the action, and the words of this current president america deserves better. >> it appears, as you know, that the el paso shooter specifically targeted the hispanic community and several mexican citizens who happen to have been visiting el paso and were killed in the process. you are right now at the unidos u.s. conference. what are you hearing from the people there? >> i'm hearing what i have been hearing frankly for the last two
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years. but in a heightened volume today as we all mourn what has happened in our country. i'm hearing a combination of things. i'm hearing fear. i'm hearing outrage. i'm hearing also a recommitment to fight and to fight for the best of who we are. you know, wolf, i have been meeting people along the way ever since this president started campaigning about rapists and murderers and mass deportations and a wall that, by the way, will never get built, and villifying immigrants, i have been hearing the stories from the day after the election in november of 2016 from pediatricians because families were cancelling appointments for their children to come in for fear that those families would have contact with an institution that might deport them. i have been hearing from teachers from day one noticing
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that children aren't coming to school out of fear that when they go home after school their parents may not be there. i'm hearing the fear that comes from family members and parents who are concerned that if they are going shopping for school supplies on a saturday, weekends before school starts that they might be slaughtered because of a white supremacist. these are the things i'm hearing. we need a president of the united states who says, i will work in every way possible so that the people of our country will not live in fear. so that the children of our country will not live in fear. but we don't get this from this president. from this president what we get is hate mongering. we get speech that's clearly intended to sow hate and division among us.
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so i applaud president obama for speaking up at this moment in the way that he did. >> under a hypothetical kamala harris presidency, senator, you say you are prepared to take executive action if congress can't pass gun control legislation within your first 100 days. you want obviously universal background checks. you want an assault weapons ban. is there any other action you're considering when you look at these -- for example, two most recent mass shootings and unfortunately tragically, sadly there have been so many of them in recent years? >> right. so under the harris administration, i will give the united states congress 100 days to pull their act together on this and put a bill on my desk for signature. if they do not, i will take executive action, as you mentioned, and in particular put in place a comprehensive background check requirement. i will also make sure that we give the atf the resources that it needs to take the licenses of
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gun dealers who violate the law. wolf, you should know, 90% of the guns associated with crime are sold by just 5% of the gun dealers. we need to take those licenses. the third piece is that i'm prepared to take executive action to ban the importation of assault weapons into our country. why am i prepared to do this? it is time to take action. words are not enough. beautiful speeches are not enough. great ideas are not enough. grand gestures are not enough. we need to take action. the people of our country deserve it. >> senator kamala harris, thanks so much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. take care. >> all right. let's get back to our analysts and assess what we have just heard. susan hennessy, what do you think? is anything really going to happen? we hear the outrage after every one of these horrible attacks and very often, nothing happens. >> it is sort of hard to imagine that after the united states sort of shrugged when first graders were slaughtered in
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their classrooms. if that wasn't a moment of national change maybe this one will be it. it feels as though we are reaching a breaking point. people are afraid. if they weren't motivated in the past by just grief and fury and anger at this point i do think we are starting to see americans who are afraid to sort of take their kids wholly owned subsidry of the national rifle situation. they are not going to do anything that the nra doesn't want them to do. that's why mitch mcconnell isn't acting on the bill. it's because the nra which has an enormous amount of support among republican voters. they are in control of the process. the president is not going to do anything that the nra doesn't want. it's not like there is some mystery here. this is the gun lobby is in charge of the republican party.
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>> you heard the president say he had serious conversations about all of this with the attorney general bill barr. what are you hearing from your sources at the justice department? what are they thinking? what are they planning on doing, if anything? >> they spent the weekend. he spoke to the vice president, president and fbi. one of the things they spent the time looking at is possible legislation. one of the things that they're talking about, one idea is the idea of passing a new law that specifically makes mass shootings or mass shooters essentially eligible for the death penalty under federal law. the irony is that if one of the shooters had simply planted a bomb, there is a weapons of mass destruction law that would apply. because he used the gun, there is no such law. that's one of the things that they are looking at at this point. >> you're a former fbi special age
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agent. the fbi is always on the front line in dealing with these massacres. what would your former colleagues, the rank and file fbi special agents, what would they like to see? >> i think they would like to see some action here. we have been talking about this issue for years. it continues to get worse. i think it starts at the top. words have meaning. and i think the reality is that when those words are repeated at the podium, during a speech, that we have to appreciate that those words are received by certain individuals. and then those individuals get online. and they interact with like-minded individuals. and then their actions become inflamed and then there is a mass shooting. >> politicians playing with fire. >> exactly. fbi agents, i saw the article in the washington post about how fbi agents are reluctant.
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fbi agents are eager to investigate this sort of ideology because that's what they do. and they just need legislation to help them combat. >> fbi agents, as good as they are, aren't fortune tellers. and you can't go through people and decide who is going to be a killer. there is just no way of doing it. and this nonsense about violent video games. in japan and korea, they play more violent video games than we do. and they don't have anything like this because they don't have the availability. >> video games is a distraction. as an investigator, look at what just occurred twice in 24 hours. and the common theme is hate. this ideology -- >> it's the availability of assault weapons. >> killed nine, ten people in 30 seconds. >> we spent the last couple of years talking about isis and
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radicalization. it's the same type of thing that's happening here. i think that's why. it is one of those things that can inflame people who are on the cusp. >> let's bring in -- the president did say, he did condemn and use the words white supremacy in his speech. >> i think going back to what senator harris said, even if we had seen emotionally well-addressed speech from the president, it would be too late. we in the media are so used to covering these mass shootings. there is like a textbook for what the proper procedures are for news networks and what have you to cover you. we have had 2 sathus far this
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year alone. there needs to be some more action taken. obviously, words are important. actions speak louder than words. we have not seen any sort of gun legislation in this country for a quarter century. there clearly are a lot of americans who would like to come together one way, shape or form and respond to this. we respond to all other emergencies. that's why it is so baffling for people around the world to see this literal self-inflicted wound, the country shooting itself in the foot constantly covering the stories knowing that the next few weeks we'll be on to something else and the number will continue to go up. rhetoric is important. i'm not sure we heard that from the president today saying that white nationalism is a bad thing is something that everyone should know. i was fortunate enough to have grown up in texas. we are a lucky country to have mexico as a border country and as a neighbor. all of the rhetoric we have been hearing clearly escalates the
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tension in the country. the access to guns is an issue that people need to address head on once and first of all. video games and mental illness. they don't have a staggering number of casualties from mass shootings here in the u.s. >> we are looking at tweets this morning. he said republicans and democrats must come together and get strong background checks perhaps marrying the legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. that's what he tweeted early in the day. he didn't mention any of that in his ten-minute address. >> i think he didn't mention that because he wanted to stay as far away from legislation as possible in the speech. the speech was designed to inoculate him from the responsibility that he bears for the climate that we have in the country right now. when you talk about twinning legislation like gun control and immigration reform together, you have two problems. one is that normally when you twin legislation together you
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put something easy with something hard so that the easy to pass issue will pull the hard to pass issue over the finish line in congress. but in this case, you have two things that are hard to pasthat he wants to put together. that tells me he doesn't want anything to pass. the president essentially today in that tweet took a legislative hostage by saying to democrats signaling to the house that if you don't give me what i want on immigration, you're really not going to get what you want on gun control. but as others have said, the republicans do not want to do the things that are sitting there on the table, background checks, waiting periods. you got stuff like gun show loop hole and senator booker pushed this idea of a licensing gun ownership. they don't want to do any of those things. the senator majority leader does it. i think it will be a hard slog
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in congress to get this done. >> there clearly is a rise in domestic trisk right now. >> something does need to be done. there is bipartisan support for some common sense gun measures. there is some bipartisan support for red flag laws. the person who is preventing this is essentially mitch mcconnell who aren't allowing the bills to come to the floor. >> we're quickly running out of time. i quickly want to alert our viewers to a personal final thought tonight. we want to look beyond the breaking news headlines on shooting massacres to consider how much all of us have lost, the people of el paso and dayton, certainly every person who lives in this country and loves this country. we have all lost a lot. and it's been on the air of the past three days. i have been covering a story that is sadly too familiar,
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weapons of war unleashed on men, women and children going about their every day lives, shopping at wal-mart. this time 31 people are dead. here are their names. their families are grieving, feeling the same pain, shock and horror as all of the families of all of the shooting victims who have come before them. there have been so many. study their names. and look at their faces. they are gone. and there are dozens of others who are injured, some still fighting for their lives. still hard to believe that here in the united states of america, we are not safe. we are not safe at shopping centers, night clubs, schools, movie theaters, churches, mosques, synagogues. who would have thought that we would have to go through metal detectors to pray? it's up to our leaders to finally take decisive and bold action to end this epidemic of gun violence in our country. so far despite so many
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massacres, they have failed. and we are left once again to mourn the victims and honor their legacy. may they rest in peace. and may their memories be a blessing. erin burnett outfront starts right now. >> outfront next, breaking news tonight of the seconds just before a heavily armed gunman opened fire killing nine people. also breaking, police just holding a press conference on the mass shootings in el paso, texas. new details about why the gunman may have picked wal-mart as the target. and a lawmaker slamming his party saying republicans are enabling white supremacy in america. let's go outfront. the breaking news, we have new surveillance video tonight from one of the two mass shootings. this from dayton, ohio where a


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