tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN February 15, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
appreciate you and, again, you know, we've been here in parkland, florida high school. at this time yesterday, we covered the breaking news, and now we know 17 killed, so many others injureinjured. i'll be here tomorrow to continue telling the stories of what happened and what can be done. thanks for being with me." the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. thanks. new clues this afternoon about what was going on in the shooter's mine before the massacre as the nation grieves. accused florida high school shooter comes fashice to face w a judge this afternoon. he had ties to a local wheat supremist group. quote, i'm going to be a professional school shooter. that was a clue attributed to the killer. did the fbi miss a chance to
prevent this from happening? president trump addresses a mourning nation, pledges to ease the pain, but does not mention the word "gun" even once. why? ga good afternoon, welcome, families in parkland, florida are mourning 17 teachers and children today as we learn more about the horror yesterday, a brutal and calculated attack leaving 17 bodies in the wake and sent 14 to the hospital with injuries, some of them serious. the alleged shooter appeared in court where he's charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. the antidefamation league said the suspect participated in, quote, training exercises, with a white supremest group, he was flagged and threats to law enforcement and a chilling comment on youtube saying, he was, quote, going to be a professional school shooter, unquote. when the fbi was told about that
post on youtube in september 2017, there was already a lot known about the suspected shooter for anyone who wanted to ask the questions. the shooter had been suspended from school for fight and bringing in ammunition to the school, and school ad min straiters listed him as a potential threat, particularly if he was carrying a backpack according to usa today. the accused shooter had been expelled for disciplinary reasons, and he had already purchased an ar-15 style rifle, and a user with his exact name had posted that he could, quote, do so much better than that bronx doctor who shot up a hospital. a month after the fbi got that september 2017 tip, a user with the shooter's exact name posted, quote, i want to shoot people with my ar-15. the fbi says they did, quote, data base checks, but could not
identify the youtube poster who said he wanted to be a professional school shooter. >> the fbi conducted data base reviews, checks, unable to further identify the person who actually made the comment. >> the person who actually made the comment did so under his own name, with the unusual spelling of his first name. the big question for the fbi today, why was that too difficult to track down? in somber remarks today, president trump offered sympathy for the victims of the massacre. >> i want to speak now directly to america's children, especially those who feel lost, alone, confused, or even scared, i want you to know that you are never alone, and you never will be. >> president trump saying he was committed to tackling the difficult problem of mental health. he did not mention the word
"give up "guns" once in his remarks. we are live in florida, and it appears there was no question among those who knew the suspect that he was seriously troubled. >> reporter: especially if you dive into his mental history, say his public defenders. they laid it out in stark terms. public defenders said the young man suffered from a lifetime of mental illness, he had brain development issues, impulse control issues as well as a recent trauma. they describe him as, quote, a broken child who fell through every single crack. just 24 hours after the deadliest school shooting since newtown, the young shooter was in court, emotionle lesles lesl counts of murder. >> a broken child. >> staff and children among the dead in what was florida's safest city. >> we had an athletic director,
campus monitor who responded immediately when there were signs of trouble in the school. unfortunately, those two heros gave their lives for our kids. >> reporter: an assistant football coach reportedly threw himself in front of children to block them from the bullets, saving countless lives, but losing his own. armed with only cell phones, students recorded dramatic video as a massacre unfolded. evacuations took place. >> i need everybody down! >> reporter: many trying to cope with what they saw. >> i've heard a young man crying for his mother as he was dying. >> reporter: and the shocking loss of those they'll never see again. >> i saw at the beginning this was just -- it was all a drill, just a drill, until i saw my teacher dead on the floor. >> reporter: now a local white supremist group has ties to the 19-year-old who carried out the attack, a spokesman for the group told the antidefamation
league nicholas participated in one training exercise with them. riding with other members to tallahassee, florida, six hours away, and said he was never encouraged to carry out any kind of shooting. social media posts under the name indicate violent racist views with slurs and threats of murder with one saying, i want to shoot people with my ar-15. when the shooter's adoptive mother passed in december, a former classmate took him into the home and he brought the rifle with him. >> it was his gun in his room, and these folks are horrified. they did not see this coming at all from the young man. they saw depression, obviously, he lost his mom, but they helped him get a job. >> reporter: his former manager tried to help the killer after his mother passed away. >> you could tell he was off, but there's people that are off that you wouldn't say, lock him
away because he's dangerous, but for him, it's that more scary, i worked with him and i couldn't have done anything else, but, hey, you want to play basketball, that's just scary to think it could have happened at work or anywhere. >> reporter: the public defender says that as far as what the suspect is feeling right now, that he is expressing some sadness over what has happened, that he understands that there has been some loss of life, and that he is dealing with the shock. jake? >> thank you. my panel of law enforcement experts joins me to dig into this. josh campbell formally from the fbi. the fbi was told in september about the youtube post where the person said, i'm going to be a professional school shooter. the person whose youtube page was reported to fbi, they sat down with him, took an interview, and we heard today from the fbi, they ran the guy's name on data base and couldn't find anything. be honest. he posted that under his own
name with the unusual spelling of his first name, and if there had been a real thorough investigation, there was a bounty of information saying he had problems. >> first, this is the nightmare scenario for law enforcement, an agency to realize there's information in their holdings that may have saved lives, it's the nightmare scenario. the fbi is looking through the action, trying to determine what happened, what can they do better, how did information flow? so that's the first part. second is, this shows there is a lack of fusing information in the country between law enforcement and mental health providers, those who are, you know, working in the schools, family members and the like, that is something to work on. difficult in the aftermath of a tragic situation like this to talk about policies and procedures and processes, but it's so important. we can't lose site of that, in order to make sure it does not happen again, we have to do that action to see what went wrong and how we can stop it.
>> i have to ask, what -- what more should the school have done? obviously, they're a lot we don't know. he had debeen suspended. told not to bring in a backpack. ultimately expelled, put in school for at-risk youth. once a potentially dangerous student leaves a campus, should there be some sort of body or government system where the school says, this guy's no longer a problem for us, but we're worried about him for society. >> well, we would hope, jake, but we commend the school on doing everything within their powers to thwart this problem before it was an issue in their schools, which, unfortunately, that's what it turned out to be. what could they have done more? well, i beg that question of myself myself, and what i think can happen moving forward is a system in place that coordinates better with the law enforcement community, with following up, with the social workers, with
the mental healthy professionals that say we are keeping a dossier of information on this individual from which we have that's being passed on, and we're doing regular checks on this individual to make sure that they are not just a threat to our school, but not to our community as well. >> one of the other questions, josh, the president didn't use the word "gun," but rick scott, the governor of florida did, saying we have to keep guns out of the hands of people with serious mental problems like this. what can be done? the shooter had not been adjudicated in terms of his whatever mental and emotional issues he had, but what more can be done in terms of making sure that somebody like that cannot purchase a firearm. >> that's the issue. there's a question of adjudication. until they are denied something, they are allowed to do it. back to the larger picture, if there's a system in place where law enforcement and mental health provide rs and family members report information into a system everyone sees, that
solves a couple problems, first of being, imagine the scenario all the people who saw the warning signs, the individual blinking red, if that information was provided, perhaps the fbi agent searching on a youtube poster, that name would have hit somewhere. that's a potential area to interdict and stop the plot. secondly, the weapons, if that information was fed in, vice versa. the fbi involved as well. if that information they saw was presented against the person, that's factored in before a weapon is approved for purchase. >> and the antidefamation league said the suspect was associated with a white supremist group, pra participated in a training exercise with them. again, nothing -- it's not against the law to be a hateful b b bigot and participate in training exercises. >> again, we go back to the sharing information, but ensuring the information is going to the right agency at the right time and have the proper follow-up done. as someone serving for the fbi
and in the local law enforcement community, you get tied up in all levels, but in most cases, the fbi are not knocking on doors. it's the local agencies that are doing that, have more responsibility to do that, that are doing the liaison, working with the schools, so when we talk about this broader perspective of sharing information, i think that's what we really have to key in on, and that's where we find real solutions. >> stick around, more to talk about as the killer stormed the halls, 17-year-old hannah desperately texted her sister saying, quote, there's a shooter on campus, call 911, please. she wrote back, hannah, what, are you serious right now? i'm not joking, they shot through the wall. someone in my class is injured. i'm not joking. call mom and dad. i don't have service. i don't know how this message is going through. the sister responds, calling 911 and then mom and dad. more stories about the victims and heros next. p
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. just over 24 hours since the unthinkable shooting at the florida high school and learning the names of the 17 victims, many of them young students. he was nicholas was planning on swimming for the university of indianapolis next year, and alyssa was loved in her local soccer club, and her classmate, jamie, was also killed. athletic director chris hickson and the geography teacher called heros. we learned the names of more victims, peter wang, lou foyer, alex, martin duke, helena ramsey, waukeen oliver, and,
martin, they are saying the assistant football coach sacrificed his life, saving students. >> reporter: that's right, jake. there are a lot of people now coming forward saying that coach feiss was the man who save them in many ways. you have to understand that the coach was beloved teacher and coach. he is a big man. he was well-known by the student body, and he was known as one of the teachers beyond a teacher who instructs you, but a man who love the students, and he was in the hallways, directing children, telling them how to get out of the school when the gunfire began, even students say after wounded and had fallen to the ground, he continued to compel and tell students to get out and get away safely. he's being remembered as just one of what is now a growing emerging group of heros and
beloved is the term that fits him so well, people say. jake? >> martin, you're outside one of the hospitals where some of the injuries victims were taken. what are you hearing from physicians? >> reporter: well, first of all, there's nine remain hospitalized between two hospitals, three initially used, and the good news here is that all of the victims in both hospitals are expected to make a full recovery. there's some still listed in critical condition and one needs additional surgery, but doctors believe everyone will make a full recovery. there was a total of nine people brought here to broward north, two arrived here pronounced dead on arrival, and also brought here was the suspect, and i asked the doctor how that went, and they said, well, first of all, only very limited number of hospital knew the suspect was being brought. they knew what the emotional state would be, treating victims at the same time so the suspect was taken to a separate part of
the hospital. i have to point out doctors have a hard time forgetting what they saw here. here's one doctor. >> young children, pale coming in together, not talking, and it's something that you are always going to remember, especially when it happens to young children because it's not what they expected to happen by going to school. >> the victims exhibited wounds coming from a high powered rifle, shattered bones, heavy blood loss, big bullets, one doctor said big holes, a lot of damage to be repaired. jake? >> martin savage, thank you so much. today, president trump offered, quote, whatever he could to ease the pain, unquote. those words got angry response from the mother of alyssa, who was killed in the shooting. take a listen. >> president trump, you say, what can you do? you can stop the guns from
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president trump promised to secure the nation's schools and improve mental health, but the president never used the word "gun," it never crossed his lippings and plans to visit parkland, florida. cnn from the white house filed this report. >> my fellow americans, today, i speak to a nation in grief. >> reporter: all too familiar ritual unfolded across washington today in the wake of another mass shooting in america. flags lowered to half staff from the white house to capitol hill. >> mr. speaker, can you tell us
when the house may muster the courage to take up the issue of gun violence? >> reporter: despite cheers from democrats, there were no signs today washington is any closer to addressing gun violence in the wake of the deadliest school shooting since sandy hook. he did not mention the word "gun" from the white house, but talked about mental health. >> we are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health. >> reporter: while offering no specifics, the president said it was time for action. >> it is not enough to simply take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference, we must actually make that difference. >> reporter: it's the fourth major shooting addressed since taking office, each time he said it's not the right moment to talk about guns. after the massacre on the las vegas strip -- >> we'll be talking about gun
laws as time goes by. >> reporter: and the rampage inside the texas church. >> but this is not a guns situation. i mean, we could go into it, but it's a little bit soon to go into it. >> reporter: the white house had no daily briefing today, but the question we asked the press secretary 136 days ago still lingers. >> does he believe he could bring something new to the gun debate that's been, you know, i guess, locked into local politics for so many years. >> i think there's going to be certainly time for the policy discussion to take place, but that's not the place that we're in at this moment. >> reporter: that moment has not yet arrived. trump's presidential campaign was supported by the nra, but before running for office, he criticized the party's stance on guns writing, the republicans want the nra line and refuse limited restrictions. i general lly oppose gun contro but support the ban on machine weapons and longer waiting
period to purchase a gun. >> reporter: since taking office, the president has not expressed support for gun control measures at all, jake, in fact, he rarely talks about the topic here. he only has done so when one of the american tragedies, horrific tragedie tragedies, have come up. >> thank you. one parkland student used the interview on cnn as a call for action to lawmakers. >> ideas are great. ideas are wonderful and help you get reelected and everything. what's more important is actual action and pertinent action that results in saving thousands of children's lives, please, take action. there's a vacation at the end of every week with hilton.
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joining me now is former cia director leon pa nnetta, thank u for joining us. >> good to be here. >> wahat was your response and response to the shooting from president trump? >> well, you know, i'm glad that the president spoke to this tragic event that has taken place, but, you know, i think all of us feel that hundreds of these mass killings have taken place, and we all kind of follow a script now where the president says words of condolence, expresses deepest condolences to the family, says that it should never happen again, but somehow nothing ever gets done. nothing gets done, and i fear that we're caught in a cycle where these kinds of killings are going to continue and little
is going to happen as a result. >> what do you think can be done? assuming that, you know, there's not going to be a wholesale ban on any sort of semiautomatic weapon, what do you think there is -- political will or at least the responsibility of the political will to be done? seem like there's this nexus between people with serious mental illness and their ability to purchase guns, but seems there should be a solution in the overlap, and yet, i don't see any action. >> well, i think that's the question that should be bothering every american, which is that we've been through so many of these events and families have been so harmed by what has taken place, that something, something can be done to try to prevent these weapons from getting in the hands of those who have mental problems.
something can be done to try to limit these assault weapons from getting into their hands and causing these kinds of danger, but the problem is, we came out of the lass vegas shooting, and everybody, incoming the nra, republicans and democrats, said we have to do something about bump stocks, which were used in that instance to create even greater death to take place, and yet nothing happened. everybody supported something to be done, but nothing happened. so there's a real problem with political courage to do anything, no matter what we say needs to be done unless the courage and leadership of those we elect to office is there to do something about it, nothing is going to happen. >> why are people afraid? why are politicians -- it can't just be a campaign contribution. is it that they are scared of being portrayed by the gun lobby
as antigun? they just philosophically don't think anything should happen? that infringing on anybody who might be possibly mental ill, infringing on their right to get a gun is more important than a child's right to go to school without being killed? >> i think it's a combination thing that's created this paralysis we now see. there was a time, i mean, when i was the chief of staff to bill clinton that we were able to get gun legislation passed through the congress, that actually provided for an assault weapons ban along with other provisions. it was the right thing to do. unfortunately, that law came to an end and was not renewed. as a result, what's happened is that those who are elected to
office are increasingly afraid of doing anything on this issue, anything, for fear that it will come back to haunt them in a political race. it is not just about money of the it's about the issue itself. what is needed here, i said this a lot, in democracy, we govern by leadership or by crisis, and the problem is if leadership is not there willing to take on this issue and at least try to do some of the things that are required here, then we're going to continue to have crisis. we're beginnigoing to continue these mass killings. i don't know how many mass killings it's going to take before that courage and leadership timely shows up where it should in the congress of the united states. >> i know a lot of people thought that after sandy hook, after the newtown massacre where 25 6-year-olds were slaughtered
by someone with mental illness as well as six school administrators with congress not willing to do anything there -- i'm not calling for specific measures, but an attempt to keep guns out of hands of people who have severe mental illness, if congress was not willing to do that, why would they be willing to do it for any other incident? >> well, that's the question, jake. you know, at this stage, i would be satisfied if they moved anything dealing with trying to limit weapons going to those who are mentally retarded, establishing a communication. my god, even the killer that was involved yesterday is somebody who clearly had indicated that he was going to shoot people, and to at least have some base of information available to law
enforcement so that they can go out and try to prevent these things from happening. just do something. just -- you know, take some kind of action to show that this country understands how terrible it is that these kinds of mass killings continue to take place. we have got to do something, otherwise we're going to see this repeated again and again. >> i think you meant mentally disturbed in that previous sentence. i think you misspoke. we know the fbi was alerted to the individual when he posted something about wanting to become a professional school shooter back in september 2017. by this time, the individual was kicked out of school, had been kicked out of the school for discipline, bringing ammunition, teachers were scared of him, purchased an ar style rifle, horrific and disturbing images posted under his name on social media. do you think the fbi dropped the
ball here? >> you know, jake, this one screamed out for attention. there's no question in terms of what was being said, the record that was involve here. you know, i'm not going to lay it all blame on fbi or, for that matter, other law enforcement, or for that matter school officials. i think everybody bears some responsibility here for what happened, but the problem is, it happened. the question we have got to ask ourselves is how can we develop laws that will ring the bells that have to be rung here so that when we get this kind of information, action is taken, and we are able to do something to prevent this from happening. that's what is required. we have got to be able to say to law enforcement at every level,
when this kind of information is available and people understand that there is somebody with serious mental problem and could resort to this terrible action, that something is going to be done to deal with that. that is the something, i think, that in the very least the congress, state legislatures, ought to be able to do in order to try to provide some kind of protection here for these children. >> and i know you say that as a hunting enthusiast yourself, sir, thank you so much, leon panetpa net -- panetta, good to see you. there's so much done in the name of protecting us from travel bans to the wall to immigration reform to keeping out people who would do us harm, and i don't want to beseech any
of the attempts, but i think of the parkland massacre yesterday, las vegas massacre, and the church in sutherland springs, texas, and yet there's really not just the same kind of desire to do something to protect us the same way there is from these threats from across the border or from jihadi terrorists. >> watch the video of the mother of a girl killed yesterday screaming into the wind about do something. there's a lot of things you could do. there are a lot of things that could be done that would address the issue in at least some ways. there's not going to be one thing that fixes it, but there are 12 things that would help, and many of the issues do not require courage. tightening background checks or banning and assault-style weapons are 80% or 90% supported in the american public, so i'm
mystified why we're paralyzed on all fronts when it comes to the issue. >> because our politics paralyzed it. it's 80% in the polling, but not at the polling place. i voted for president clinton, they awarded us with a landslide against us. >> lost the house. >> 54 house seats, and 19 -- actually our lobbyist thought 40, but whatever. after sandy hook, president obama put up a little gun bill, republicans killed it, and won the next election in a liand side. our president trump said, he's the only one who could solve the issue. has unique capacity to speak to my fellow gun owners and hunters, i own guns and love hunting, but those who hunt voted for trump.
say to them -- first off, meet with the cops, what do they need, a police commander was shot in chicago this week in the head. ask what they need to protect us. they'll tell you. then go to the country, tell your supporters, this is not gun control or violating the sec amendment, but a few common sense ways to keep guns out of the hands of people in the terrorist watch list who are allowed to buy guns if you can believe that, adjudicated from the mentally ill, domestic abusers, we can do a lot. mr. president, you could change the politics of this, no one else can. >> we'll be right back. been jimmy's longest.
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awaiting a press conference. we'll bring that to you live as soon as it starts, but back to my political panel, and, kevin, we talked during the break, paul said that he thinks president trump is the key to this, he could change it because he, gun owners believe he shares their values, and could speak to them about some sort of change in terms of whatever needs to happen to keep guns out of the hands of people with serious mental, and emotional problems, but you disagree. >> i disagree. i think it's much bigger than that. it's not as simple as that. look, even -- i think the legislative and political environment hurdles are very, very real, and proponents of stricter gun control measures have to be weary of that. i mean, if you look at just the way the legislative system we have right now, i mean, just the minimum standard for governing,
getting a budget done, passing appropriations bills, like, we can't do that right now. we're running the federal government on a continuing resoluti resolution. if you look at something like daca, right, a bill that we've known about the deadlines for months now, and yet we're struggling with it at the very last minute, so the idea that you're going to change or alter laws that many people believe proponents of the second amendment believe is a fundamental right, you'll do it easily, those expectations have to be mannered. it's going take more time than people think. >> do one thing, then a second thing, see how it works. >> in order to get small done, again, this is not a licensing law or change like that, they believe it's a constitutional right, even the little things take a lot of time. >> well, as a defender of the first amendment, i understand people who defend the second amendment believing it's very important, even the smallest incursion, encroachment on it is
important, but i just -- i do not believe that we should be in a situation where we see these shootings every few weeks, and there's not even 24 hours of discussion about whether anything will happen. there's an assumption from the hour number two that nothing's going to be done. >> can i say something, susan? i know you're a supporter of the first amendment, as am i, but you support restrictions on it. >> everything in life, there's balance. >> you can't libel people? >> that's right. you can't fire in a crowded theatering and -- >> you can't give the russians our nuclear secrets. >> i don't know about that one. >> there's supporters of the second amendment that is important and that's republiced, but we have to hit a better balance than we are now. >> kevin, you support gun rights, i have to ask you, is there not some sort of grounds where people can hear an argument about we need to take more measures to make sure people with serious emotional and mental problems can't get
guns as easily as they are able to do so today? >> that's a good question. i think there is. one of the big problems is when people look to the federal government, it's a bigger challenge. this is a government that's further removed from everybody else. i think there's a great deal of progress you can make state by state. legislatures and citizen governments are much closer to the peopling and those conversations are more substantive and tailered to the individual populations with different opinions about this than if they were in maine orrings you know, in indiana or differentprofiles, so that coul a solution where people look to their local governments to do a better job. >> is the adjudication standard, in other words, paul, the idea that someone has to be adjudicated mentally ill by a judge, that that is the only thing to go into the national check system. is that too high a standard? is there a sphere of individuals who don't merit that, but maybe at least there should be
information in the national check system so a gun store owner says, well, i don't know, look what this has here, fbi put in notes about social media postings, that makes me uneasy, or is constitutional question, he has the right to buy the gun. >> we don't want to limit first amendment rights, you want to post on social media, but this murderer was flagged for things he said. i, again, i think the -- go to the experts, the cops, mental health professionals, ask them, what do you need? just be discreet with them about this. we've then seen anyone trusted by the folks who -- i say this, as i said, a gun owner, hunting, i take my kids hunting, i get it, i love it, i understand it. they're not going to listen to me. they will listen to donald trump, and he could do this. he could turn this around with simple -- nobody wants to ban
weapons or take weapons or take away my hunting rifles or shotguns, but he could do this, and i'm literally praying for him. i didn't support him, i don't even like him, but he's the person who is uniquely positioned. an african-american guy named hussein was not going to do this, hillary was not going to do this, but this guy could do this. ronald reagan supported the brady bill. >> another quick break, expecting this press conference with the sheriff's office with the latest information on the shooting. stay with us. my day starts well before
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any moment we expect a news conference to begin. we'll hear from the sheriff's office as well as florida governor rick scot. we'll go live once it starts, but let's just get some quick final thoughts from our panel here about where this goes, if anywhere, in terms of gun violence in america, mental illness in america. >> the politicians fail us, but the teachers and coaches, again, in the school shootings, step up, and protected their students. >> it's the first three words of the constitution, we, the people. people can have the gun laws immediately if they voted on it. i'm praying for the victims, praying for our country, but go to the polling place and vote. >> another key right now is not to have reflexively poisoned debate by questioning voters.
that's key. >> that's a lot of people who sincerely believe in gun rights, not because of nra money or fear, but believe in it. thank you for being here. appreciate it. that's all for "the lead," and turning it over to "the situation room" with wolf blitzer. thanks for watching. happening now, breaking news, ignored warning, a source of the fbi received at least one warning of threats from the suspect in the florida high school massacre, including a boast he wanted to be a professional school shooter. why didn't the bureau share the alarming information with florida authorities? ready to kill. chilling evidence emerging about the attacks meticulous planning and methodical way it unfolded. why defense attorneys say the young man accused of 17 murders feels remorse. national shame, president trump offered the usual thoughts and prayers we hear every time a bloody crime