tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC May 31, 2019 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
mueller contradicting the trump/barr claims, the reigniting of the impeachment debate, two mueller aides debating his approach. i'll be anchoring it at 9:00 p.m. eastern on sunday night. i hope you'll consider joining us. don't go anywhere right now, because "hardball" is up next. good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington with that horrific breaking news now out of virginia beach. there's been a mass shooting at the municipal center there. 11 people are dead. according to police, the suspect, a current city employee, was also killed. police say they believe the suspect acted alone. we're going to keep an eye on that and any developments out of that news story out of virginia beach. and now to tonight's politics. the word tonight is that the trump partisan allies on capitol hill want to rough up robert mueller. the reason is politics. the president's allies wanting to discredit the special counsel and diminish his findings.
they want him to testify before the congress where they can assault him with hostile questions about the origins of his report. anything but the report itself. "the daily beast" is reporting that this has become the mission. ever since mueller declared on wednesday he did not want to testify. in the report, quote, president trump's close advisers are increasingly pining for mueller to be dragged before congress and subjected to conservative lawmakers' questions about the conduct and outcome of his investigation. well, this clashes, of course, with president trump's public call for bob mueller not to testify, a position the president repeated last friday. >> they want to do a redo, like even the fact that they're asking bob mueller to come and testify. he just gave them a 434-page report. he just gave that report. why does he have to testify? it's ridiculous. >> but according to "the daily beast" the special counsel's eight-minute statement on wednesday encouraged trump's
allies to support him testifying before the congress. and now rudy giuliani says if they allow republican congressman meadows and jordan and a few of the others there, they'll eviscerate him more than they did michael cohen. in terms of the politics of it, i would love to have him testify. i think he's afraid to. that's rudy giuliani talking. meanwhile democrats remain adamant in their call that mueller testify. they also want him to testify, even though mueller made clear he won't say anything beyond the contents of his report. here's the chairman of the house judiciary committee, new york congressman jerry nadler. >> we will have mr. mueller's testimony. i think it's very important that he testify before the american people, even if he doesn't say anything beyond what was said there. >> well, this comes as attorney general william barr tells cbs news that he didn't agree with the legal analysis in mueller's report. barr says that he intervened to apply what he called the right law when he decided to announce that the president had not
obstructed justice. >> we analyzed the law and the facts, and a group of us spent a lot of time doing that and determined that both as a matter of law, many of the instances would not amount to obstruction. >> as a matter of law? >> as a matter of law. we didn't agree with the legal analysis -- a lot of the legal analysis in the report. it did not reflect the views of the department. it was the views of a particular lawyer or lawyers. and so we applied what we thought was the right law. >> that's bill barr up in his mountain lodge somewhere. by the way, it's about 90 degrees here in urkt washington. i'm joined by madeline dean, heidi przybyla, the white house reporter for "the daily beast" that had this story and john meacham is the author of the new book with tim mcgraw, "songs of
america, patriotism protest and the music that made a nation." thank you all for joining us. congresswoman, this is a strange situation. robert mueller has been a hero for many people for the past two years and now the goal of the republican troublemakers is to get him up on the hill, tear him apart on the origins of his probe and make him look awful. >> well, thank you for having me on and i am very mindful of the shooting that you are covering yet again in this country. we've had another mass shooting. at least 11 dead. it's time this president focused on something like that instead of the sandstorm that he creates day after day. as to mr. mueller coming before congress and coming before our committee, i am very confident that mr. mueller will testify credibly and that he will not have any problem handling the republicans on my committee. we're talking about somebody who was fbi director for more than ten years. he's been up against some of the toughest legal minds and
adversaries. i have no worries. i actually think that reporting reveals something very different. i think it reveals a white house in panic, and so instead i think they decided their message of the day would be sure, let's get mueller out there. let's try to scare mueller. mueller is not to be scared. mueller is not to be toyed with. he will come, he will testify honestly and credibly. this white house is in a panic. >> who are your sources? are they on the hill or at the white house? >> the people on the record for the story include rudy giuliani, john dowd, joe digenova, matt gaetz, people that have the president's ear and speak to him regularly or fairly regularly. again, there are both people within the administration and without it who are starring to form this consensus among trump world. >> talk about how they think they can get his scalp.
the congresswoman thinks he's tough enough to stand up against it. the motive they have in wanting him on the hill and under the lights, if you will. >> exactly. they really do think if you get him in front of meadows, gaetz, jim jordan, that they will be able to essentially filet robert mueller and publicly humiliate him. at this point it's about getting him out there so they can enact some sort of trumpian revenge fantasy. >> hold on, congresswoman, i want to hear from heidi przybyla. what do you make of the fact -- they have made it pretty clear where they'll buzz in on him. they'll go in on him on strzok, the fbi agent who shouldn't have been talking with his girlfriend, lisa page. they'll go in on christopher steele and the dossundercuts, undermines and sabotages his report. >> i agree with the congresswoman that mueller is not going to be at owlall kowed
that. they will create these made-for-tv moments that will be played in a certain way, specifically primetime hosts like sean hannity. they will ask questions that aren't really questions, they're statements. they will preen for the cameras and we covered in a skewed way. that's why when we see footage of a fox news viewer earlier today saying she thought there was nothing bad for the president in the mueller report, you understand how even if mueller gets up, does a great job, knocks it out of the park and recites his whole report, just giving jordan and meadows the air time that they would get on fox news by sean hannity would serve the purpose for the maga crowd and further continue -- if they can defile an entire institution of the fbi, they can certainly hurt one individual. >> john meacham, i just watched that ten-part series on the o.j. trial. beautiful dramaization, i assume
it's pretty accurate. that case, that trial wasn't about evidence, it was about attitude. the jurists the an attitude, everybody had an attitude. the maga people aren't going to change their minds based on some incremental piece of evidence. they still are like we like trump, we hate you guys. >> american politics has always been defined by the tension between reason and passion. and the o.j. trial was a case where passion trumped reason. in most congressional hearings, chris, you know this as well or better than i do, going back 70 years to mccarthy, through watergate -- remember the chinese fund-raising hearings? iran contra hearings. they have always been, since the advent of television, they have been theatrical productions. with all respect to the congr s
congresswoman, i don't think the white house is in a panic or any more than they tend to be perenni perennially. i think because bill barr stepped in and functionally made the mueller report the barr report really, in terms of political narrative, a phrase that's overused but in this case applies, because of that, oddly, and one of the many oddities of the era, a report that is to any sensible reader self-evidently damning has become in this carnival-like atmosphere in which we live, has become somehow exculpatory. >> let me go back to the congresswoman. what about the fact they just have to mess things up. they don't have to win the argument, just mess it up and say there isn't a clear cut national mandate to impeach? >> well, you know what, i thought this week the fact that mueller on his way out the door chose to speak was very pivotal and important and powerful. because what he said was read the report. america, you need to read the
report so that you see the sweeping interference by russia, the wallowing and welcoming of it by the trump campaign, and then the obstruction of justice evidence against of this president. read the report. i thought that was really powerful. and what he also said going out the door was that now it's up to congress. so i don't deny, it will be circus-like, it will be carnival-like. we have seen the lack of credibility of the questioning that comes from some of my colleagues on the republican side in judiciary. it will be a circus. they'll get sound bites on fox or whomever they like. but more importantly what will come forward are facts that the american people need to know. the american people don't have the time to read a 448-page report. so we need mr. barr to come before us and paint the picture for america of the damning relationships between the minions in the trump world and trump campaign and trump administration and the
extraordinary bad conduct of this president in trying to obstruct the investigation into his behavior. we need mr. mueller to come forward. he'll come forward credibly. they'll throw mud, but i am certain that between the questioning on our side of the aisle that will be robust and professional and based on fact and not based on foe, that the american people will begin to see this story. that's what has to happen. >> i just think, congresswoman, that's well said. i can just see jim jordan with his white shirt, rolled up, ready to go into action. i read peggy noonan from "the wall street journal." she's calling for censure now, something short of impeachment. something that might even pass muster with republican senators. >> well, either impeachment is something that democrats think is something that needs to be wielded where you have a corrupt and out of control president, or they don't. whether it's politically
palatable or not. but that aside for a moment. one reason i think stories like this are important beyond the potential partisan thee atrics that it does show and underscore the overriding ideology of trumpism isn't immigration, it's not the border wall, it's not family separation or anything like that, it's fielty to donald trump. they wouldn't be doing this if mueller didn't come out and cross the president. he did and he must pay in a humiliating way and that's why they're doing this. >> you and the congressman have made it clear that the majority in the house will be able to handle the drama. but these characters, joe digenova, rudy giuliani, these are street fighters. they have come out -- they have not been in public fight for a long time but they came out for this street fight.
this is very gladitorial. and they seem to delight in the fact -- in fact they like that he's dignified. >> this has to be done. even though they will do what they're going to do and that will get play to a certain percentage of the american public that, by the way, is not growing, it's static. everyone else, the independents, if you look at the polling right now, independent voters need to hear this story because democrats, if you look at the polling, are very supportive of impeachment. it's not even close. that's true. if you drill down into the numbers, democrats are supportive of impeachment but it's the independents that need to hear the story. they need to hear not only about the obstruction but about the pervasive attack on our democracy that included hacking into voting systems in florida and illinois, stealing voter data, spearphishing.
>> what poll are you looking at. >> it's a harvard poll. if you google thehill.com, they break it down bipartisan affiliation. the reason why there's a split right now over impeachment or why there isn't as much support for it is because it's partisan. independents don't support it. democrats support it, republicans really don't support it. >> congresswoman, what's it like in montgomery county up in pennsylvania. you are home all the time. what are people saying? >> well, thanks for asking me. i had a town hall, you'll recognize the venue, at montgomery county community college this week. >> sure. >> more than a hundred people were there in torrential rain so i was very appreciative they came. they wanted to know about substantive things, health care, social security and their student loan debt, gun violence was premiere among them. within about ten minutes i was asked the question about impeachment. the room burst in applause when i said i had asked for the beginning of an impeachment
inquiry. so by that poll, it was 99% believe that we need to begin an impeachment inquiry, if not impeachment. i believe in process. i believe in starting the inquiry. the other thing i wanted to point out is not only do we want mueller to come before us, but i was talking with our committee today. we're planning to have some of the now more than 1,000 federal prosecutors who have signed onto the letter saying that mr. barr misrepresented the report. you know, it will be very interesting to hear from them because, of course, they served in both republican and democratic presidents, for republican and democratic presidents. so it will be very important to hear from them. the other thing that i notice in the list of people we talked about today, whether it's giuliani or barr or mr. trump himself, they lack something. they lack credibility. and i think the american people see that. >> wow, well said. thank you, congresswoman madeline dean of montgomery
county, pennsylvania. john meacham, i wish i had more time. john, are you for the pro censure approach or not with peggy noonan? where are you, john? >> i'm not for it only because i think it's barely a slap on the wrist. i think if it were to fail, he would claim more exoneration. >> well said. >> i think -- and -- you know what i mean? >> i agree completely. >> if you're going to go for the king, go to the king. >> thank you, john meacham, heidi przybyla. a normal president would be deeply hurt by a censure. this president wouldn't even feel the welt. let's get the latest on that horror story in virginia beach. the police chief said 11 people were killed. another six were injured. the suspect was shot and killed by police. so we're getting that word now. multiple sources tell wavy, a local nbc affiliate, that the
suspect was a disgruntled former city employee. jim cavanaugh, what do we make of this -- it looks like totally domestic, one of those postal office kind of things, something to do with office attitudes and horrors or whatever they were. your thoughts. >> right, you're right, chris. it's a man choking on an empty grudge. he's going to die in his horrible suicide mission, this time at the hand of the officers. but he's in there to kill everybody and be killed himself. it's an old formula. he's mad at his employer. you know, we call it workplace violence, but it's a sickness that pervades in america. the mad bomber of new york city planted bombs all over new york city because he was mad at con edison, his employer, because he had hurt his back so he decided to plant bombs across
the city. so it's an old formula for violence, it's not new, but it keeps happening and happening and happening. the country getting a grip on this, mental health, firearms, suicide prevention, all those things come into play and security at these buildings. >> jim, i have to ask you about this. it's like domestic violence. is that one of the sins that we just live with in any society where people have access to guns and they have emotional situations and some people commit horror? >> that's true. i don't think you can ever be free from it totally in a country as large as ours, but i think you can certainly reduce the amounts. there will probably be some warning signs, chris, that came out. we'll learn days later -- >> how do you reduce it? how do you thwart something like this? thwart it? >> reduce it one way with better gun laws. see what access he had and how
easy it was to get. unfortunately, it's the first formula for the mass killer. hey, i'll just get some guns, big guns, many guns, lots of ammo, i'll just kill everybody. it's so, so easy. so we've got to start there. there's political leaders that understand that. it doesn't mean any of these violations of the second amendment. that's just thrown out to scare everybody. listen, it's not going to reduce anybody's legal gun ownership, it's going to stop these people. that's the first thing. the second thing is suicide always plays a role here. suicide is endemic. we as police negotiators always look at suicide because suicide really drives people to do these things. they're suicidal and become homicidal-suicidal. instead of going out in the field and killing themselves, they're going to go to the workplace and seek revenge at all the people that ever looked at them wrong at work or that fired them or didn't give them a raise. the empty grudge, i like to call
it. they're choking on that empty grudge. they're collecting it for years, and all of a sudden they're going to go in now because they have come to the endi of their rope and they're suicidal and they're going to kill everybody. recognizing the signs. what does the community have to do that in the mental health arena. and building security. i can tell you, chris, when i heard about this, i said, unfortunately, municipal building, courthouses, hospitals, places of high human emotion. and when you go in those places, unfortunately, i've been in some this week, you know what, the security really is not that great. it's lackadaisical in my view. if a man can walk across the parking lot of your building, your facility carrying a rifle, you don't have any security. and so churches, you know, municipal buildings, i hate to see these kinds of things. this is probably going to get down to workplace violence because he was an employee
there. but there's going to be signs that were seen before and nobody acted appropriately on them. and now we have, you know, 11 people dead. think of the pain in virginia beach now from this. >> jim, we've got a report now from the mayor and police chief. they briefed reporters. let's listen. >> this is the most devastating day in the history of virginia beach. >> right now i can tell you that we have multiple casualties and multiple fatalities. we have 11 deceased victims. there at the scene. we had six more victims transported to area hospitals. we know that shortly after 4:00 p.m. this afternoon the suspect entered building 2. he's a long-time employee of public utilities. i will not release his name at this time. and he immediately began to indiscriminately fire upon all the victims.
officers entered. once the call went out, officers at headquarters responded to building 2. they secured as much of the victims that they could and then they engaged with the suspect. the suspect did shoot a police officer. officers returned fire. the suspect is deceased. >> well, there it is. darren, thank you for joining us. what can we make as this story breaks, this horror breaks? >> well, as a practitioner, this is something that really causes my heart to jump out of my chest, because one of the first things that we have to take into consideration is this is a case of workplace violence. more and more organizations, particularly municipalities or municipal organizations practice active shooter protocols. when we have a employee, he or she would be responsible for participating in these active shooter protocols. therefore, the shooter in this particular case would have known what the protocol would have
been, be it shelter in place or evacuate, the response locations and how police would come in, et cetera. so just from my experience in responding to workplace violence situations, it was always one that was troubling because the shooter, or i want to say the perpetrator in these particular cases would have a greater understanding of the schematic of the structure than we as responding police officers. therefore, my heart goes out to the officers that responded. i believe one of the officers was shot in the process. generally speaking, when you respond to these active shooter cases, you have one of two options. you either evacuate or shelter in place. i believe in this particular instance, they sheltered in place. you shelter in place when the people, the people in the building were in a greater amount of danger when they were leaving the building.
>> darren, let me ask you about the officer. is it protocol for the officer to basically have a showdown or to cover himself or herself? is it to take on the shooter like in high noon, gun to gun, or is it to seek shelter yourself? >> well, over the last few years that's changed. in the past we had an operational plan whereas the officer kind of waited for special operations troops to come in like s.w.a.t. and then converge on the shooter. that has since changed. now the first officer on the scene, the responding officer is responsible for and are trained to confront the shooter directly. that's what i believe happened in this particular case. granted, we're speaking from a place of conjecture because a lot of the details haven't fully been introduced to us as the public, so we have to just based on what we have, we do know that they were required to shelter in place. so going back to what you
mentioned earlier, chris, the officers are now trained to confront them and i believe that's what happens. >> do you have to assume that the shooter, when you arrive at a situation like this from headquarters, that the shooter is in a suicidal mode? in other words, they're expecting to sacrifice their lives as part of this rite of whatever, of revenge or whatever you want to call it, that they know they're going to die so they're going to shoot it out? >> chris, these are the worst-case scenarios. when you have a shooter that feels as if they have nothing to live for and this is a suicide mission, because these are the individuals that will take out as many people as they possibly can and attempt to shoot the police as well. from my understanding it was a methodical search. he went from floor to floor, shooting and killing innocent civilians. so when we have someone like that, unfortunately this is something where we have to
neutralize the assailant as quick as possible. believe it or not, a large number of these mass shootings result in people that basically feel as if they have nothing to live for and they're on a suicide mission. that's when police really need to, quote unquote, have their heads on a swivel and bring as much resources as they can. the first responding officer is now trained to effectively combat the shooter or i'll just say attempt to neutralize the shooter initially. however, the additional resources that we bring in must be capable of stopping the rounds that this particular asail anasa assailant is using. >> hold on, darren. i want to bring back jim cavanaugh. jim, we're learning here that -- he's not a suspect, he's dead, the shooter if you will is dead, shot by police in a shootout after they had protected the other people from being shot. what are we looking at now?
>> we're looking at, just like the lieutenant said, we're looking at hero cops. the first few officers, they move quickly in. that's the protocol. we all train on active killer drills. you're deciding when you get the call on the radio that he's a suicidal/homicidal guy. your question of do you go like high noon, you do a tactical movement and are moving from cover to cover. the first thing i think about is cover. the first thing to get behind a tree or wall but you've got to move fast. a virginia beach pd officer took some rounds, was wounded, apparently. i don't think they said he was killed. the other officers, well tran trained, and they look this loser killer out. now, these guys often are out for infamy and i think it's a good thing that in the news business his name is going to be reported and his picture is
going to be up. that has to happen in journalism. but the point being that it's not just hyped for weeks on ending. it's going to be in the news today and it can be relegated to the bottom of the page because what we've seen, chris, recently in shootings like in colorado and stuff were the heroes who tackled the guy, the students and the coaches. their names are up, their pictures are up, they're the heroes. that's what you like to see. don't give these guys the infamy they want. >> i love the fact we don't use their names. i hope we don't have to. let me go to david jolly. david, you've been involved in this debate over gun violence. this case, all cases are a little different. this is about apparently a workplace situation where the anger was -- and the shooting was addressed at fellow workers, perhaps the employer. this is something i remember, we all grew up with the post office situations where there's a lot of pressure at work, a lot of
unhappiness of many people in their jobs. here we go. >> sure. and look, the national reaction typically follows a traditional narrative of heartbreak for the victims. we mourn as a nation for the lives lost and for their surviving families. we reflect on the valor of the first responders, and the chief was very specific to recognize the valor of those who went in the building. the police officer who it appears survived the shootout because of a bulletproof vest, i believe he said. but then the next step in the national conversation is always the public policy debate, the political debate, if you will. i was in the house after the pulse nightclub when frankly nothing happened. we know after vegas what happened on bump stocks, took a year. that does very little to address the mass violence by firearms. we've seen parkland, we've seen pittsburgh, tonight it's virginia beach. chris, we are a nation with broken gun laws.
not just easy access to guns, but our laws are broken. we see violence in the united states at a rate you do not see anywhere else in the civilized world. to deny the fact that our laws are broken is simply pure ignorance on behalf of politicians that can say such. we can debate the solutions. but what we know tonight once again, we're reminded coming out of virginia, is firearm laws in the united states of america are deeply broken. >> hold on, david. let me go to clint van zandt. clin clint, we call you in on the worst nights, but here we are again. >> yeah, chris, you've covered these so many times and we with you. what your guest is saying, that's part of the equation. part of the equation is that we've got more guns than people in this country. but if we passed a law today and said no more manufacture, no more sales of guns, we'd still have guns around 500 years from now. so part of the equation is the mental health aspect of it.
for someone to commit one more senseless act of workplace violence suggests that one more person has not developed any type of conflict resolution skills other than marrying what he's seen someone else do, which is go in and commit the ultimate crime against anybody and everybody. you blame one person, you blame the whole workplace itself, and so many of these individuals go in fully expecting to die. and the question we ask sometimes is, well, if you're that bad off, why don't you just go out in the woods and do it or go in your backyard and do it. but it's always the individual. i've spoken to some people who have survived these things, chris, who are the shooters. they have this imagined picture of their getting even. not just for themselves but for everybody like themselves who have been in a similar situation and felt they were taken advantage of. but until we're able to identify
an individual who's going into a crisis state, when we with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight we find these pre-incident indicators on an individual, our challenge is to find those indicators and to get society, law enforcement, mental health community, to do something about it along with doing something concerning our guns in this country too. >> clint, i want to ask you because you're the pro in this. if you have 330 million people in a country and more guns than that, it's just a roulette wheel that goes around and it's going to land on somebody. there's that many numbers, that many guns. somebody who shouldn't have a gun will get one if they don't already have one and are going to do something bad. isn't this just a law of averages in this culture? >> that's the key issue, chris. the guns are there. anybody who wants a gun, no
matter what gun laws we pass today, if you want to buy a gun you can go on the streets of new york city, chicago, l.a., washington, you can buy a gun on the street. the issue is that each individual who commits an act like this by and large is because he's seen someone else do it and it's the aha phenomena. aha, now i too know how i can get even. i know how i can settle the score. until we can touch those people, they're going to do just what you just said. it's going to be the roulette wheel and it's this city today and it's another city tomorrow and it's not going to stop until we find a way to reach people before they do this. that's kind of our crapshoot too. you're always trying to identify that person. >> thanks, clint, as always, sir. let me go back to darren with the new york police record and you've got all those years working. let's talk about the police officers and the good guys here, not the people with real problems that brought hell on us
again. talk about the police officer that walks into one of these situations. he's called from headquarters, he's told there's a live shooter at this place. he knows there are people already down. what does that person have to have in their head and their hearts to walk into that situation? >> i give you from my personal experience, and i've responded on many of these cases of workplace violence. the first thing that goes through me is a chill goes down my spine because i know this is a violent situation, highly volatile, and i'm not sure if i'm going to come out of this alive because we have a shooter, once again this is a shooter involved in workplace violence that knows the schematic of the building. so the cop that's responding knows what i was telling you. so they're going to be very, very -- i don't want to use the term hesitant, but they're going to go into this as tactically sound as possible. one of your guests mentioned cover and concealment.
that is absolutely essential. you want to establish cover and concealment every step of the way when you enter that building. like a mentioned, that first officer that responds on the scene, he or she is responsible for engaging the shooter. then the next thing that's going to happen is we are going to set up three perimeters. we're going to set up something we refer to as the hot zone, the warm zone and the cold zone. the hot zone is the area where the actual shooter would be located. anyone that's in that area where the hot zone is located should have body armor that is equivalent to the weapon that's being used by the shooter. the warm zone is going to be a little further out but once again, those individuals should wear body armor that's equivalent to the rounds that are being fired from this weapon. and then you're going to have the cold zone. the cold zone is the outer perimeter. that outer perimeter, that's where you're going to have uniformed officers that are setting up traffic blockades and
cutting off pedestrian traffic from entering that facility. they're also going to check credentials to ensure that the special operations troops get in there as quick as possible. so going back to what you mentioned to me initially, chris, that first officer is a human being. he's a person that pumps red blood just like you and i. they're going to be nervous, but at the same token, they're going to practice a level of tactical vigilance and that's where that officer is looking. >> i love the protocol information. let's go to pete williams, our expert here on the law and what we know about the police situation. pete williams. >> well, chris, tonight the mayor is calling this the most devastating day in the history of virginia beach. the numbers you know, 11 people killed, six people injured. we don't yet know the condition of the people who were taken to two hospitals, five to one, one to another, presumably all with gunshot wounds although authorities haven't said yet
what the nature of their injuries is exactly. but this is a person they say who was an employee of this building. in other words, they say he was shooting at people that he knew. entering the building just after 4:00, about 4:30. this is the municipal building. it's in a cluster of city office buildings near the court house, near city hall in virginia beach. then the police chief says he just began indiscriminately opening fire. now, we don't yet know what kind of weapon the gunman was carrying or how heavily armed he was. we do know that the police response was very quick because you've got all these city buildings around. you have this large police presence there anyway. they were in that building very, very quickly. we do know that the gunman was killed in a shootout with police and one of the people who was a target of the gunman's gunfire
was a police officer, but the police chief is saying that his life was spared by the body armor he was wearing, by in essence his bulletproof vest. we don't yet know anything further about the motive. all they're saying is this was a current employee of this municipal building. he's being described as a disgruntled employee obviously. earlier there had been a rumor that he had been fired, but the police chief said that he was a current employee. we had sense that this was a workplace shooting early on this afternoon when some of the witnesses were saying that they knew who the gunman was, so that suggested it was a co-worker, someone they knew. we were just waiting to find out whether this was a domestic violence situation or workplace shooting, but it does seem now like it's the latter. >> it seems that we've been saved from this particular category of mass shooting for a while. remember, pete, you've got a great memory. remember all those post office
situations that became almost classic. >> right. decades ago. and then there was a spate of them about 10 or 15 years ago also in large industrial settings. but you're right, we haven't seen a lot of these, fortunately, lately. so we're fortunate that they're not -- they don't happen more often than they do. of course one of the questions is how did the person get the gun inside this building? but this was an office building, and not every office building in america -- you know, you expect to see metal detectors in courthouses at the concourses of airports, which is where most americans would run into them, here in washington virtually every federal office building has metal detectors for people who walk in off the street. but this is the kind of place where you go in to see the people about your water bill, to
operations -- people who carry out the normal day-to-day operations of a city, and it did not have metal detectors probably because there wasn't a lot of public walk-in. but that's how this person was able to get this gun in. of course an employee would know how to do it. >> pete williams, thank you so much, sir, tonight. our local affiliate, wavy, interviewed some witnesses at the scene. let's listen. >> yelling and screaming, trying to get everybody safe and some gunshots. >> reporter: when you heard the gunshots, what did you hear? >> we just heard people yelling and screaming to get down. i was on the phone with 911 so i was trying to concentrate on getting -- talking to them. >> a human face of a tragedy. let's listen to what virginia governor ralph northam had to say while on his way to a briefing on the shooting. >> our folks at the hospital,
just making sure that we take care of everybody right now. we're going to be briefed here and i'll have some further comments a little while later in the evening. >> they say 11 are dead. when you hear that -- >> yes. it's just a horrific day. >> let me go back to jim cavanaugh. unfortunately another guy i talk to in the worst moments of our times here. jim, as pete williams was talking about this category of mass shooting, it seems to be people who know each other face to face, people shooting people they know from work, they see them at lunchtime, they see them coming and going to work, they may work next to them, they know who they're shooting, and they're killing them. killing as many as they can shoot before they're shot. it seems like an extremist thing, i'll kill until i'm killed. >> that's right, chris. what you find in these workplace shootings too is they'll sometimes skip some employees. they'll sometimes let some employees go because they liked
them or didn't have a grudge against them or they're an actual human person to their mind. sometimes it's not every single person. sometimes they go for their person or the person that turned them in or the revenge. as clint said, pre-incident indicators. they're there. everybody is going to know he's a disgruntled employee. that's not going to be a secret. when you go to his home life, there's probably going to be some indicators of in instability in his life. some drugs or issues with him emotionally. he could have all kinds of things going on. and he couldn't have had prior contact with the police. you know, the question of the gun laws, as congressman jolly was talking about, he's right because, you see, what you have to do is you are hurtiputting ah of hurdles in front of a mass killer. there's hurdles to get over.
when the gun laws are better, there's more hurdles. it's not that somebody can't get over them some time, but that most people can't. the way it is now, heck, just go into the gun show and buy all the ammo you want, buy all the guns you want. you need more to kill more, get more. there's no restrictions. so it really plays into the killer's hands. where if he has to go into the back alley to try to find a gun, that's risk for him. sometimes he gets a gun that jams and doesn't work. sometimes he runs into an undercover atf agent or police officer and gets arrested. sometimes he even gets hurt by a criminal. it's risky business to buy black market guns in tough neighborhoods. so we talk about it on television, how easy it was. listen, i worked gun trafficking for 33 years. i'm telling you it's not so simple. it's criminal activity. so that's a risk that we put out to the buyer in the black
market, that he might be arrested, he could be hurt, he could be in jeopardy of the criminal justice system or drug dealers or whatever. but we don't even have to do that. the mass killer doesn't face that risk, he can go wherever he wants. walk into the gun store or the gun show without restrictions. so we need to tighten that up. we're living in america really in the last 35 years, that's the design by the gun lobby. they controlled all the laws, all the gun laws in congress. congress will not budge on anything. they won't hear or let anything get through. so this is -- this is america designed by the gun lobby. >> right, i agree, and they're probably circling the wagons right now as we speak at the nra and places like that where they'll think there will be heat for a couple of weeks and it will blow over. our concern is protecting the rights to own a gun. anyway, the mayor and police chief have briefed reporters just a short time ago. let's watch that.
>> this is the most devastating day in the history of virginia beach. >> right now i can tell you we have multiple casualties and multiple fatalities. we have 11 deceased victims. there at the scene we had six more victims transported to area hospitals. we do know that shortly after 4:00 p.m. the suspect entered building 2. he's a long-time employee of public utilities. i will not release his name at this time. and he immediately began to indiscriminately fire upon all the victims. officers entered. once the call went out, the officers were at headquarters, they responded to building 2. they secured as much of the victims as they could and then they engaged with the suspect. the suspect did shoot a police officer. officers returned fire. the suspect is deceased. >> clint van zandt, let's talk
about the kind of person who would do something like this, because we'll know a lot more in the paper tomorrow, by midnight we'll know more. but it seems to me to be angry at your bosses is not a rare mood to be in. people get mad at their bosses, get mad at their co-workers. they quit jobs, they bad mouth. these are normal, we live with them all the time. why don't they just go wash dishes in oklahoma, go somewhere else. why do you have to go back to where you work and shoot people? it's a subset of anger. talk to me about the cases you've studied where people resort to mass shootings at the workplace. >> yeah, and one of the many questions that jim cavanaugh and myself and others ask every time we see these is why today, chris? why not yet? why not tomorrow? what was the triggering event that set this guy off finally? was it a confrontation at work? was it a confrontation at home? those are the things we have to
understand. we have to know what the triggering mechanism is that finally sets a person off. and the challenge is i've worked with companies that have had me come in and have said we need you to talk to this guy because everybody in the workplace has said he's been voted most likely to come in and shoot the workplace up. when you do an assessment, tell us if he's going to do that or not. most of the time when you talk to somebody like that, there's a level of anger, frustration, rage, there's mental health issues going on. but many times too if you can identify that person, you can talk to them. the problem is, is that we see these things. we see people that are angry, frustrated, rageful, depressed, whatever it is. and it's not my job. i'm not my brother's keeper. i'm not supposed to find out about this guy. no, it's kind of what we need to do to protect us all. i teach workplace violence.
you tell the clients, when you see something, just like in new york city, when you see something, say something. that should also be addressed in the area of workplace violence. if someone is talking about weapons, if they're angry, if they're talking about getting revenge, if they exhibit any type of mental health problems, these are the times as co-workers we should have a responsibility to tell someone. hey, this guy has got some problems. somebody needs to talk to him and find out is he the next shooter? is he the next suicide person? or is he just going to pick up and move to another town and wash dishes? but we need to have some way to interview those people and talk to them before they act out, because as you say tomorrow, everybody is going to understand, we're going to say, gee, i always knew that guy was going to act up, he was always crazy. well, then tell somebody if you know that. >> darren, let's talk about the ballistics here or the weaponry.
i know we all look for hope and say, well, if you get automatic weapons or bump stocks out of the hands of people they can't do mass shootings. here's apparently a single shot kind of weapon. i don't think it's a revolver, it's probably a semiautomatic pistol. it looks like you can do a lot of damage with a single shot weapon. darren? >> chris, let me jump in on that and you can do a lot of damage. it doesn't have to be a fully automatic weapon, it doesn't have to be a semiautomatic. chris, you and i remember virginia tech. when the 21, 22-year-old shooter there had two semiautomatic pistols and he was able to create that much murder and mayhem on that campus. so it's not really the capacity of the weapon necessarily, it's how dedicated that shooter is, what type of environment is he
shooting in and how quickly can law enforcement respond. and the challenge is most mass shooters go into an environment where they believe there's not going to be anybody who can stand up against them. in essence, they don't think there's going to be a police officer there to take them on at that time. what they're pryitrying to do i kill as many people as they can. if the police show up, then a murder-suicide takes place. this guy's probably ultimate goal like many may well have been to die in this incident. he was able to do that but why couldn't we identify him beforehand. can we keep the guns out of their hands and get people mental health before they commit something like that. if we could do those two miracles, we could stop this in this country. >> jim cavanaugh, i want to talk about the proliferation of this
horror because i'm thinking of all the cities and towns in this country that are known for mass shooting. columbine, san bernardino, virginia tech that was mentioned, sandy hook. it just seems like it's every part of the country, every region has been hit like this. california all the way to connecticut, down to the south. of course ft. hood. all this, it's just everywhere. every city is now -- it seems like every state has a city known for a mass shooting now. >> that's right, chris. it really behooves all the governments, local, county governments, city governments to band together and form a little task force of agents, police, county deputies, state troopers, some mental health professionals, school administrators, form a little task force. formalize it more, not just a network of making a phone call.
maybe get an office space for them where they meet regular every month. all the people come in. clingt was just talking about that and recognized as having problems. here's a guy having a problem. he works at this company, everybody is afraid of him, here's what's going on. sitting around the table, there's a city detective, there's a state trooper who runs the intelligence center, an fbi agent, and they say let us check. does that guy have a gun? what is he doing? and maybe there could be someone look at him to see if he could be interrd. it's the hurdles you're trying to make to stop the guy from doing what he's going to do. look, chris, what does the secret service do when they think somebody is going to attack one of their protected persons? they interview the person. they go, they sit down and they interview the person. we heard you made a threat against one of our protectees.
why would you want to do that? who are you? what's going on? >> it's direct. clint will tell you as negotiators, what do we say to a guy who's going to kill himself? are you going to kill himself? we say, hey, look, are you planning on killing yourself? let's fwauk thatalk about that. you need direct intervention. you talk every night on your show about leadership, political leadership. it is the sine que non of stopping this problem. you'll never stop everything all, no car wrecks, no heart attacks. you want to reduce it. it can be greatly reduced in my view with real determination. look, the gun lobby should have a say, chris, i just don't think they should control all the gun laws and lock down the congress. they should have a say pause they want to protect rights of
gun owners. good, i've been around them for years. but they shouldn't control anything to the detriment of every citizen where you can't go anywhere or you're going to get slaughtered. >> let's go to frank figliuzzi who's on for other issues. frank, when i first went to capitol hill back in '71 i was working as a capitol cop for a while. i would go to the police station there right next to the senate building and they had little xs where everybody had been killed in the last year or so. it was a very dangerous neighborhood, capitol hill back then. now the united states has cities all over the country, schools, all kinds of work places where there's been mass shootings. if you just show a map of the united states, it's frightening. what do you say to the rest of the world when they pick up the paper in hong kong tomorrow and see another shooting in the u.s. why is america the country that has mass shootings all the time? >> i know that it's hard to
explain because i know my friends and colleagues in other countries just shake their heads at this. they worry about knife crimes and assault. what i think we need to have the world understand is this is what we are right now and we have to come up with ways to deal with it. one of the things that i keep stressing, chris, not only from my fbi career but in my corporate security career is the need for everyone to understand the warning signs and indicators. these things don't just happen. the myth that people going postal, quote unquote, or that they just snap is just that, a myth. employers have got to set up systems for co-workers to report their concerns about employees. if you know someone who is obsessing, can't get off of a topic, is engaged in odd drawings or writing or talking of hurting themselves or others or have recently acquired
weapons or are training with weapons and you combine those with stresses in life, a divorce, family illnesses, stress, and the job change, the job impact. i note that today is friday. i note that friday throughout the corporate world is a day when personnel actions happen. >> it sure does. >> at the ending of a pay period. this is what triggers people. so we've got to get the warning signs and triggers trained into people and people have to report concerned co-workers. >> and if people face a termination, it tends to happen on friday afternoon. who knows if that's involved here. frank, let me talk to you about this mass shooting thing because as you point out, street crime is worldwide. sometimes it's knives, sometimes it's pistols. but what's it about us, the mass shooting? it doesn't seem to happen in japan. you know, the other day on the danube a boat overturned with a
lot of south korean tourists on it. they don't die in mass shootings in south korea or anywhere except here. >> look, this goes back to historians talking about the wild west and the building of america and the impact of a gun, the importance of firearms in american history and taming the west. we have this kind of image, an iconic image of what it was like to carry the sidearm and the revolver and the six-shooter and it permeates our media now. it permeates our entertainment. we find it entertaining to play violent games, to go see a movie that's filled with bloodshed. and it's become a part of our culture. we have to call time-out on that. we have to ask ourselves as people debate gun laws and gun control and all of those issues, what are we doing culturally? what are we doing with our kids? what do we call entertainment? but it's part of the culture who
we are and it's time to question that culture. >> have you seen any movie previews lately? they're horrible. it reminds me, clint -- or frank, back to the days -- clint, back to the days of "gunsmoke" which was the number one show for ten years and everything was about a new guy coming into town and trying to get a reputation by shooting something. reputation. isn't that interesting culture overlay? kill somebody, get a reputation. >> well, it's how we choose to deal with things. we've got to get additional coping mechanisms and start teaching people how to deal with trouble without violence. it's easy for us in our society because of the accessibility of weapons to not try to talk it out, to not be equipped with coping skills but rather to go down to the store and buy the firearm. it's the easy way out. we've got to teach alternative coping methods. >> well, we've got a meeting
coming up in fresno state next monday night, coming up two days from now, and i have to tell you mayor pete buttigieg, who's out there, he is calling for registration of firearms. that's of course a very hot proposition, clint. that's a hot one. registration. but maybe we're going to reach that point at some point. >> let me go to frank on that one. >> yeah, we may reach that, clint, but again, you start telling americans, okay, we're going to send a police officer to every house, we want to see your guns, we want to see your serial numbers on your guns. maybe in a hundred years but not in the next five or ten years is anything like that going to happen in this country. >> okay. thank you so much to all our guests tonight. a tragic night. we report the news here. the news tonight and here it is, 11 people are dead in virginia beach after a mass shooting at a
municipal building. the suspect, according to police, was a disgruntled city employee. he was killed by police. msnbc will continue covering this story all night long, of course. a quick programming note, as i said on monday night coming up in two days, actually three days, mayor pete buttigieg will join me for a live town hall meeting at fresno state in california to answer voters' questions about the major news of the day. i'm sure we'll talk about mass shootings and gun violence. tune in monday night, 7:00 p.m. eastern here on msnbc. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york, i'm chris hayes. there's breaking news at this hour. another, another horrific mass shooting. this time at a municipal center in virginia beach, virginia. 11 people are dead and at least six more hospitalized after a city employee opened fire on co-workers this afternoon.