tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN August 6, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
new accounts of the el paso shooting massacre as witnesses describe the gunman's cold-blooded stare and police reveal new details of his surrender. what more might he be telling investigators tonight? unwelcome visit. the president is defying democrats who oppose his trip to el paso tomorrow amid concerns the shooter was influenced by mr. trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric. what message will he send to grieving latino families? and targetless -- new information tonight about the gunman in last week's shooting at a california food festival. we'll tell you who was on his chilling list of potential targets. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. breaking news tonight, the fbi just revealed that the dayton gunman had a history of exploring very specific violent
ideologies. that's why the bureau is now taking a central role in the investigation. authorities say they haven't found any evidence that the gunman had a racial motivation or that he was influenced by the el paso shooting massacre just hours before he opened fire. also breaking, new details on how the el paso shooting suspect surrendered. a police sergeant telling cnn the gunman turned himself in to a motorcycle police officer putting his hands up and identifying him seven as the shooter. after one of the worst attacks on latinos in u.s. history. some el paso democrats are asking president trump to cancel his visit tomorrow. but he's sticking with his plans to travel to texas and ohio. i'll get reaction from el paso council martinez hernandez and our correspondents and and a li li analysts are standing by. first to randi kaye in dayton for us.
randi, authorities gave us an update on the shooting investigation just a little while ago. update our viewers. >> reporter: well, wolf it seems the more information that is coming out in the press conferences, the more questions people have especially as we hear more about these red flags that people who knew this gunman have been pointing out. we've also learned today, wolf, this dayton, ohio, gunman was not on the fbi's radar prior to this shooting. tonight the fbi is taking a central role in the mass shooting in dayton, ohio, revealing moments ago new insight into the gunman. >> we have uncovered evidence throughout the course of our investigation that the shooter was exploring violent ideologies. one piece of evidence does not necessarily constitute a motive. >> reporter: police aren't giving details of what they found, not linking his crime with any racial motivations or other mass shootings. >> we have not seen any evidence that the events in el paso influenced him. >> reporter: a dark picture of
connor betts who killed his own sister and eight others is emergin emerging. police uncovered violent writings from his home and membership in a metal band with extremely graphic, sexually violent lyrics. the gunman's ex-girlfriend says she was worried about his mental health. >> he was jealous of the support system i had of myself and jealous of how much i loved my therapist. he wanted that for himself. he wanted help. >> reporter: new terrifying cell phone video from inside the bar the moment the dayton shooter opened fire. these surveillance images show how crowded the bar was from the outside. they're grainy but you can see 24-year-old suspect connor betts, a hunched over figure moving between two umbrellas. as the gunfire erupts, one man crawls on the ground outside the bar. using his body to shield his girlfriend from bullets. deion green was at the bar with his father and says he saw a man wearing a mask but didn't
immediately notice anything else out of place. >> it wasn't the type of body language. he walked normally, came around the corner, heard two shots, pop-pop. >> reporter: after those shots, he expected his dad to get up from the ground. instead, he took his last breath in his son's arms. >> i just laid across his body and just laid on him. it was just unreal. just kept saying, i love you. get up. get up. just get up. i don't know what else to keep saying. >> reporter: one more note about deon green whose father died in his arms of, wolf, he believes he spoke to the shooter's sister that night. she was also killed. before she died he says she said to him, i've been shot. call 911. it wasn't until he was interviewed by police the next day, they were questioning him about the woman that he was speaking to at the scene who died there, it wasn't until then he put it together and saw her photo in the news and realize that had indeed was the
shooter's sister he was speaking to. a remarkable connection, wolf. >> indeed, randi kaye. thank you very much for that report. now to the shooting massacre in el paso. brian todd is on the scene for us where police say the gunman gave himself up. brian, what are you learning about that surrender? >> reporter: we have new information that suggests this killer could have conceivably gotten away. here is what we're talking about. if you see that sign way down there in the distance, that's the walmart sign. we will focus on that. that's about a half a mile away from where i'm standing. our information from police suggests that the gunman was able to get in his car, drive almost a half mile to this intersection here. sun mount drive where he was then apprehended. new details tonight on his capture and on the chaos inside the store. dramatic new information on the suspected walmart killer. police tell cnn patrick crusius
drove up to a nearby corner. he got out of a honda civic and told police he was the shooter. the officer immediately handcuffed the suspect. then texas rangers contained the scene. witnesses to the shooting are giving new accounts to cnn of the chaos inside the store moments earlier. >> people were running inside just screaming, and i was just -- i took off to the back because the police were holding open the doors. they told us to leave the building, go into the containers in the back, hide in there in case the gunman came outside that he wouldn't know we were back there. >> reporter: daniel flores, an employee of the store, got a horrifying glimpse of the killer as he eyed his victims. >> he was there just to kill. whoever crossed his path, he was going to kill. there was no remorse.
there was nothing. just pure hate. >> reporter: a veteran fbi s.w.a.t. team leader said the shooter had the advantage over police because of the layout of the walmart. >> each row, the rows cascade against each other. they go perpendicular to each other. you have different sections. you have plants on one side and electronics on the other and some of the super wal marmarts a grocery store. >> reporter: we are learning how the alleged shooter made his way to the walmart where he killed 22 people soon after allegedly posting an anti-hispanic hate-filled screed online. >> he took about 10 or 11 hours traveling from allen, texas, to el paso. as soon as he got here he was lost in a neighborhood. after that he found his way to the walmart. we understand he was hungry. >> reporter: he has been unemployed for five months. he also bought his high-powered rifle legally. >> if he cooperated from the
beginning, nothing had to be coerced or forced. >> reporter: daniel flores, who has devoted his career to serving those walmart customers, still can't get his mind around the killer's apparent motive to target latinos. >> he was looking for someone that looks like me. that's like the biggest issue. it's like he was targeting me. >> reporter: just a short time ago the family of the alleged shooter issued a statement that reads in part, patrick's actions were apparently influenced and informed by people we do not know and from ideas and beliefs that we do not accept or condone in any way. he was raised in a family that taught love, kindness, respect, and tolerance rejecting all forms of racism, prejudice, hatred and violence. there will never be a moment for the rest of our lives when we will forget each and every victim of this senseless tragedy. the alleged shooter's family trying to distance themselves
from him in every way tonight. >> brian, thank you. brian todd on the scene for us in el paso. over at the white house tonight president trump is ignoring complaints about his plans to visit dayton and el paso. to jim acosta. i take it the president's trip is still very much on? >> reporter: that's right. president trump is laying low today and steering clear of the tamaras as he prepares to head to check on those communities devastated by last weekend's massacres. mr. trump says he will make the trip despite lawmakers saying the president and his rhetoric are not welcome. with the president staying out of sight, his aides are responding to leaders in the shell-shocked cities of el paso, texas, and dayton, ohio, who question whether mr. trump should just remain at the white house. >> what's your reaction to the president not being welcome because of the rhetoric? >> the president is the president of all the people. >> reporter: dayton's mayor is
encouraging her residents to speak out against the president. >> look, i know that he's made this bed. he has to lie in it. he hasn't -- his rhetoric has been painful for many in our community. i think people should stand up and say they're not happy if they're not happy he's coming. >> reporter: beto o'rourke is telling mr. trump don't come. >> this is the most racist president we've had since perhaps andrew johnson in another age, in another century, and he is responsible for the hatred and violence we're seeing right now. >> reporter: the president was glued to supportive segments on fox news tweeting i am the least racist person, but the president is facing plenty of new questions about the connections between slurs against migrants and the manifesto adopting his use of the term invasion. >> this is an invasion. this is an invasion. we have a country that's being invaded. >> reporter: something his campaign did as well on facebook as noted by "the new york times."
the white house is rejecting any notion the white house is to blame for any violence. >> it's not the president's fault. you have to blame the people here who pull the trigger. >> the president jumped into the debate on twitter asking did george bush ever condemn president obama after the sandy hook school shooting? that was in response to a statement tweeted out by former president barack obama who said we should soundly reject language out of the mouths of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred. the department of homeland security is calling for more funding to guard against white supremacist violence. >> is it now our top domestic terrorist threat? >> i think that's the information we have from the fbi over the last two years, a number of their investigations are racially motivated and within that category the majority are white supremacist motivated. >> reporter: democrats are calling on mitch mcconnell to bring lawmakers back to washington to vote on new gun control measures after
protesters gathered outside his home this week. >> i don't know what he's waiting for. and i don't know what republicans in the senate are waiting for. they should be calling on mitch mcconnell to bring the senate back to vote on this legislation today. >> reporter: getting back to those elected leaders who don't want the president to come to their communities. democratic congressman from el paso, texas, said she was invited to join the president for his trip to el paso tomorrow. she has declined that invitation, wolf. the president was in meetings with aides preparing for tomorrow's trip to ohio and texas and looking at a wide range of policies aimed at preventing mass shootings. those officials maintain the president understands the gravity of the moment. we'll find out tomorrow. >> jim acosta at the white house. thank you. joining us now el paso city councilmember cassandra hernandez. cassandra, thank you so much for joining us. i know were you born and raised in el paso. how is your community feeling in light of this targeted attack on the latino community?
>> thank you, wolf, and thank you for your words. it means so much to el paso and to me. we have been bruised and battered but we are unbroken. el paso in this time of adversity, i've never been so proud of. we are stepping up, giving love, we are praying. we are el paso strong. my heart hurts for the families who have been shattered and to those who have lost their lives. we will continue to move forward and not let fear control our community. >> what are you hearing, cassandra, from the survivors and the families who are grieving right now? >> the families who have been shattered are heartbroken. they are asking why. why is this happening in our city? why did this happen to the ones that they love?
el pasoians have come together to pray and to give strength and love to them and to let them know that there is a reason this is happening in our city. it's become common place in our nation. it's unfortunate and we're tired. we're angry and we want to see change so this does not happen in our city and across the nation anymore. >> congresswoman escobar represents el paso here in washington and the u.s. house of representatives, she tweeted out an update on president trump's scheduled visit to el paso. she wrote that the white house invited her to join the president but she requested a phone call with the president to share the impact of his rhetoric on the el paso community. she said she was told the president was too busy to have that conversation. what's your reaction to what she is now saying?
>> my reaction is the reaction i've heard from the city. in the past 19 hours there has been a petition circulating and the border network for human rights has report ed over 20,00 el pasoans have petitioned not to welcome president trump. we are at a time of healing and mourning. i don't believe the general population of el paso is welcoming president trump. others want to welcome him and show our generosity and compassion and let him know his words and hate-filled rhetoric would not define our city. for the most part people are not happy with his visit. >> she wrote, i decline the invitation because i refuse to be an accessory to his visit, to join without a dialogue about the pain his racist words and actions have caused our community and country. will you be receiving the president tomorrow?
>> no, i will not be meeting with the president. i will not entertain a conversation with him. he has spoke loud and clear at his press conference to send his condolences which we accept and appreciate. it's not just enough to denounce white supremacy. we want to see action today not tomorrow. and he has made clear he's not willing to take action and has diverted blame to mental health illnesses and to video game industry and it's not enough for our city. and so for those reasons i have decided to stand behind my city and to not welcome president trump. >> what action do you and your constituents want to see from the u.s. congress right now? >> my understanding is the u.s. congress has brought forth gun reform policies that make sense.
that can be easily implemented today. what we demand as a city and what others have said across the nation is we need to call upon mitch mcconnell to pass that legislation now, to let it be heard. at the state level, this state has easy access for guns in our community, in our schools and universities, and we need to have universal background checks, to have a ban on assault rifles, on weapons of war, and the things we have heard over and over again so we can prevent these tragedies. we are tired. people in my community, hispanic latinos, are afraid but we're unbroken and we will spread the message of love and fight forward and hope this never happens again. >> cassandra hernandez, thanks so much for joining us. please send our love to everyone in el paso right now our hearts
go out to all of you. thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> we'll have much more on the breaking news coming up as the fbi reveals the dayton gunman was exploring what the fbi is describing as violent ideologies. what more will the feds uncover? ? ♪ when a forward-thinking safety system and peace of mind come together at the perfect moment. ♪ don't miss your perfect moment to experience our most advanced safety technology on a full line of vehicles. now, at the lexus golden opportunity sales event. experience amazing at your lexus dealer. i can taste my beer! i can taste my beer. i can taste his beer. i can taste your beer.
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gunman had a history of what the fbi is now saying exploring violent ideologies. the bureau is taking a central role in the case. we're joined by a democrat who serves on the house intelligence committee. congressman, thanks so much for joining us. let's get right to the specifics. officials now say the dayton gunman was obsessed with mass shootings and the shooting in gilroy, california, last weekend, is now being investigated as another incident of domestic terrorism. do you believe this is a turning point in how the country thinks of these attacks? >> that's a good question and i'll answer it by saying no and yes. no in as much as, once again, we see an american ending the lives of lots of other americans with a firearm. and i want to start with that because it was just enraging to see the president blame the media and then in his talk to
the nation blame the internet. other countries have a fractious media, have mental illness. no other country makes it a peace of cake for somebody to buy a weapon that should be in the hands of law enforcement and the military and, no, sadly, as you know, wolf, we've had this conversation before, it is going to be a sadly predictable thing, mitch mcconnell will not act on the house bills and we'll have this conversation again a week or two weeks from now. yes on the question you asked which is i sense a little bit of a sea change where people are waking up to the fact domestic terrorism, that terrorism committed by alienated, often far right, anti-immigrant -- this is an international thing -- is more of a risk to all of us in our country than the terrorism we have been fighting since 9/11.
more americans by far have been killed by extreme nationalists, terrorists in this country since 9/11 than killed by the kind of islamic extremism that we have reconfigured our government to fight. people are start to go sing to , this is a serious problem and we need to think about it systematically. >> mike turner represents dayton, by the way, now says he supports what he describes as preventing military style weapon sales to civilians, magazine limits, and red flag legislation. another one of your republican colleagues, peter king of new york, supports hr-8, the background check bill, you passed in the house and has been sitting in the senate right now. so do you see any real opportunity here for change? >> wolf, if i can amend what i was saying earlier.
in the years i've been doing this, we've made real progress and even made tangible progress. the federal budget for the first time in decades is providing funds to study gun violence as a public health issue. that's pretty small beer up against the massacres we see almost every day in this country. and politically, look, it used to be the democratic party was divided on these issues. it used to be nobody would support anything like universal background checks. there are a few out there doing it. it is moving so, so slowly at a time day or every other day there is yet another massacre and, wolf, look, one of the things we need to dispense with right off the top, yes, universal background checks supported by 90% plus americans, limiting the kinds of military hardware that people have access to, that's not going to fix the whole problem.
people say, well, this shooter wouldn't have been caught in a background check. none of these things will fix the whole problem but when children are being mowed down in the streets, the objective has to be not to come up with the perfect solution but to save a few children's lives. and that's why we need to keep the pressure on mitch mcconnell and on others to begin to move this legislation consistent with second amendment rights. >> thanks so much for joining us, congressman. >> thank you, wolf. just ahead, we're going to dig deeper into the violent ideologies that the dayton gunman was exploring according to the fbi. is there any pattern to the shooting massacres? my insurance rates are probably gonna double.
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we're back with breaking news. the fbi is taking a central role in the dayton mass shooting after recovering evidence the gunman was exploring what the fbi is describing as violent ideologies. let's bring in our team of experts. not only the fbi the dayton police chief, anthony, also said this just a little while ago. >> the individual had an obsession with violence to include mass shootings and it expressed the desire to commit a mass shooting.
subsequent material revealed an orientation toward violent ideologies which elevate this case to one of federal interest. >> you're a former fbi special agent. what does that tell you? >> a couple things, wolf, it says it rises to federal interest so what that means now there is a room in the fbi building, the j. edgar hoover building, where agents are working around the clock analyzing evidence from all of these scenes -- gilroy, dayton and el paso and linking different pieces of evidence and are identifying additional actors and groups that may be involved making it a federal effort brings the full resources of the federal government to bear and allows the u.s. government to work across state lines. a couple other things to note here, we talk about this extremist ideology. was it done in the privacy of his own home, of friends? regardless, they're clues.
it tells us we all need to come together, to work together to help prevent this. the fbi doesn't have the resources. people need to talk to their children, talk to their friends. if they're seeing these red flags, these clues, call the fbi local law enforcement. >> see something, say something. when you combine this information with some of the details we're getting from the gunman's female friends, what kind of profile is that establishing? >> we're seeing someone who was part of a ban that was engaged in misogynistic lyrics, was disciplined for having a rape and kill list, somebody who female acquaintances said had actually threatened them when he turned them down for dates. we've seen this link again and again and again. between mass shootings and individuals who engage in violent threats against women.
that was the case in texas. the pulse nightclub shooting, the perpetrator there was also a domestic abuser. the same thing for the congressional softball game in which a congressman was shot. we've seen this link over and over. more than half of mass shootings in the past decade have been committed by somebody with links to domestic violence. the president is focused on mental illness here. that is a distraction to get the conversation away from guns. this is about guns and guns in the hands of individuals who threaten and harm women. to the extent there will be a serious conversation about gun control in this country, closing things like the girlfriend loophole, making sure domestic abusers do not have access to weapons is a common sense place to start. >> the fbi is also launching this new domestic terrorism investigation into the gilroy, california, festival shooting.
what are authorities learning that is so disturbing? >> it's very disturbing, wolf, you're right. what they've learned in gilroy that shooter there, his potential targets, he wanted to target, they say, religious institutions, government institutions. he had violent ideologies like we're hearing in dayton about that shooter. the difference in gilroy they're saying he actually wanted to potentially target different institutions, religion, and government institutions and that's why they're opening a domestic terrorism investigation. that's why they're calling it a domestic terrorism. i think, wolf, we need to keep in mind el paso, i think, has changed the game in many ways for the fbi now. i think they'll look at more of these now, take the lead on a lot of these investigations. they are playing a more central role in dayton than they usually do in these kinds of cases, in
these kinds of investigations. they're taking almost a lead role. we've seen other mass shootings where they come in and offer assistance. they realize there is a major problem and they are concerned about it. that's why we're seeing them talk more about what's going on, take front and center and put a lot more resources into all of this now, wolf. >> everybody, stick around. there's a lot more that we're following. we'll resume our special coverage here in "the situation room." we're pretty different. we're all unique in our own ways. somos muy diferentes. muy diferentes. (vo) verizon knows everyone in your family is different. there are so many of us doing so many different things.
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tonight democrats are warning president trump his visit to el paso and dayton will only add to the communities' pain. our experts are here to discuss. a strong statement from veronica escobar. she represents el paso. she says she was invited by the white house to join the president when he comes to el paso tomorrow. i refuse to be an accessory to his visit, she writes. >> i think this is part of a pat earp where democrats are pushing back not just against the president, against the president. they have caused a different level of response from democratic officeholders on the hill to the 2020 presidential candidates.
there is no caution had a sofer. there is an aggressive plea for action. no even for donald trump, no moment of deference because he's president. it is attacking him because his rhetoric is cited here as one of the reasons from the person who committed these horrible acts. i do think we're seeing a lack of patience whatsoever from these democrats and they're responding in a new way. >> what do you expect from these two communities, david? >> one quick thing, on that point of patience, i think that's right. two years ago you can imagine that there might be some uproar if a councilmember didn't meet the president of the united states even if they disagreed. now after three years of the president's rhetoric you're seeing democrats say we have
enough data, we can't co-sign this anymore. he's in a position he has to go or else he cedes the moral authority he has left. if he goes with the basic teleprompter formula speech it will be the right things to say for a president but probably not a lot of people will take him sincerely. he's not known for the soothing consoler in chief role. >> you've covered congress for us. mitch mcconnell is under enormous pressure to do something on gun legislation. a lot of democrats want him to reconvene the senate. they're off until mid-september. what's he going to do? >> i would like to think he's feeling the pressure. democrats have made him essentially the bogeyman number one saying he's the one that's leading to the inaction on this
in the congress and certainly the nation is still reeling from this horrible tragedy. i think that's why we saw, in part, mcconnell's office say he's taking this serious. his statement seemed to indicate more than he typically does that the senate will act in some way saying the senate stands prepared to act. we have seen this pressure before, intensify on him. we've seen this putter out before. i don't think anyone on the hill is holding their breath. >> he needs cover from the president. if the president were to tell him to do something, he would do it. >> i'm not so convinced. he won't do anything without the president's commitment. there's no doubt you are right. >> the president took the initiative, we need more background checks. >> i don't know because, remember, the president said that before, right? mitch mcconnell didn't go running to the senate floor to
get background checks passed before the president pulled it back. there is no doubt mitch mcconnell, whether it is the smallest possible measure, no matter what it is, he's not going to do it until he has the president's complete commitment to supporting it, that he would sign it. mitch mcconnell will need that to get the votes he needs. >> everybody stick around. we'll have much more coming up right after this. a golden opportunity?unitye when luxury and capability meet exceptional offers. now, at the lexus golden opportunity sales event. experience amazing at your lexus dealer.
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. the attack in el paso and dayton certainly horrified the nation .what's the impact how the rest of the world sees the united states. let's bring in two correspondents, collars an ward. leyla staying from. and 78 citizens died in el paso. how the mexican government responding. >> already the president says he wants justice, wants to see what the legal options are in all of this given that -- that some of this -- his own citizens were victims of this. the foreign minister who is in el paso called in a terrorist attack with the intent to target latinos from guatemala. the consulates when they heard about the shooting and they were concerned that some of their citizens could be involved. they opened a hotline to reach out to anyone who needed questions answered about this. and then you have places like
venezuela a venezuela uruguay issuing a caution to the citizens traveling into the u.s. to be aware and vigilant of hate crimes and u.s. government inability to control them. i think just with the response from those countries you can really sort of sense the fear that the governments are feeling. i guarantee you that the citizens of those governments and those in the hispanic and latino community here in the u.s. are also feeling today. >> you know, it's interesting, clarissa, president obama's adviser susan rice wrote an article for "the new york times" saying the consequences of mr. trump's raw racism are not contained within america's shores. they rick shay sfarms new zealand, poison the international climate and undermine the ability to secure
global interests. you reported on hate crimes around the world. what are the implications of all the rhetoric we are hearing. >> i think here in europe, wolf, there is a huge amount of concern. there has absolutely been an uptick in white premcy activity, far right activity, particularly in eastern europe. but it's not limited to europe as -- as susan rice mentioned in the ed toerl. new zealand 51 muslim worshippers killed in a mosque by a white supremacist. there is a growing sense it's a real problem. as i worked last year on my anti-semitism series. the poland bond. he said white supremacy, xenophobia, these things always existed, simering beneath the surface. but only now are we in a moment in a political climate he said where people feel emboldened to
give voice to these ideas, that previously would have been considered taboo that previously would have been considered unacceptable. when you look through the manifestos whether the new zealand killer whether the el paso killer and you see the buzz words like invasion being echoed in you mainstream political vernacular that causes concern particularly for leaders in europe where there is a significantly growing problem. >> as i've pointed out when i travel around the world people always come up to me, say they admire the united states but any wonder why guns are so available and why there are so many mass shootings in the united states. clarissa and leyla geist thank you very much. we'll have more news right after this. it's all included for the whole family, starting with unlimited data. 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,
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as we all grapple with the attack on roonts in el paso, a powerful voice on race in america died. the author of tony morrison was the first african-american woman to win a nobel prize. her nofrls including beloved and song of solomon explore the stark rals of being a person of color in the united states. she was awarded thele medal of freedom by president obama. the former president is remember morrison's writings as a beautiful, meaningful challenge to our conscience and our moral imagination. tony morrison was 88 years old. may she rest in peace. may her memory be a blessing.
and to our viewers thanks for watching. i'm wolf blitz ner the situation room. cnn's coverage of the mass shootings in dayton and el paso continues right now. with erin burnett "outfront." outfront next, the defining moment in trump's presidency. the president about to visit el paso and dayton, two cities grieving after massacres what will he say? and how will he be received? and a top republican going where few republican colleagues go. calling for a ban on assault weapons. will others follow? and senator elizabeth warren surging in polls showing grange ground on joe biden bigot. are moderates buying the progressive agenda? good evening i'm erin burnett trump's pivot almoment. the white house making preparations at this hour for the visit to the massacre cites in dayton and el