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The Worst Mass Shooting in American History; Obama Addresses Nation Regarding Orlando; Tonight's Tony Awards Dedicated to Victims; Community Reeling After Loss; Learning More About the Killer. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired June 12, 2016 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Our breaking news, the worst mass shooting in American history.
This is CNN TONIGHT, I'm Don Lemon live in Orlando.
Here's what we know right now, 50 dead, 53 injured at the Pulse Gay nightclub. The gunman identified as Omar Mateen of Fort Pierce, Florida. He was shot and killed by police.
They say Mateen was armed with an assault-type weapon and a handgun. Another gun found in his car. And according to a neighbor, Mateen worked as a security guard at the Forth St. Lucie court house. His ex-wife says he wanted to be a police officer and apply to the academy. She also says he had a violent temper and her family rescued her from the marriage after only four months. And according to his imam, Mateen was at Friday prayers just two days ago. He had been investigated by the FBI for possible ties to Islamic Extremism, but no evidence was found to charge him.
There's been no claim of responsibility either from Jihadi forms, but ISIS sympathizers are praising the attack. We want to get the very latest on the situation now from CNN's Jessica Schneider. Jessica, thank you so much for joining us. So many killed, so many injured, this is the deadliest attack on American soil since 9/11. So, take us through what happened inside that nightclub.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, you know, down the Pulse nightclub last night and into this morning, it was packed, 350 people were inside. Saturday night is Pulse's most popular night, it's Latin night, so a lot of people inside. The timeline that we know 2:00 in the morning, the gunman storms in. The first person he sees and encounters is an off-duty police officer who's doing security. The gunman then moves into the night club starts opening fire and taking hostages.
We know that the attack went down in two separate locations within the club, and for three tensed and agonizing hours that gunman took hostages and he shot people inside the club when police surrounded. It was finally at 5:00 in the morning, three hours later, that police actually took down one of the walls with their armored vehicle. They were able to get some of the hostages out and actually then take down by shooting and killing the gunman. So, it's a very tense standoff for those three hours, but finally at 5:00 they were able to take down the gunman themselves. Don.
LEMON: And Jessica, I want you to standby because we have video of that moment when police were able to take down that gunman. It was shot by David Ward. He was standing on his balcony. Take a look at it. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody, stay back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And again, that was the moment that Mateen was taking down and the man who shot. This is -- it's about 5:08 in the morning. A lot of fire power there.
SCHNEIDER: Yeah. It was very tense. And, I mean, some of the words that we're getting is from people actually inside. So, a source who knows the nightclub's owners has actually told us several examples of what these people were going through inside the club. While this gunman was opening fire, people were fighting for their lives and hiding.
We've heard many instances. One we heard, a woman was in the bathroom and she actually covered herself with dead bodies to stay safe. She did survived. Another case, one of the bartenders hid under the glass table and then when police finally got in there around 5:00 in the morning, they said anyone who's still alive, please raise your hand. Another instance we heard off, people in the dressing room, they had to huddle together and hide until police came. And the police actually took out an air conditioning unit so those people could escape through the window, Don.
LEMON: Jessica Schneider, thank you very much for your reporting. Jessica, appreciate it.
I want to bring in now CNN's Chris Frates. He's in Washington for us this evening. Chris, President Barack Obama spoke to the nation once again about mass murder, about a mass murder. Tell us about that.
CHRIS FRATES, CNN INVESTIGATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Well, you know, Don, I was in the White House briefing room today when the President spoke. And I got to tell you his remarks had this very "here we go again feel" to them. And, you know, that's really no surprise, right? The President has addressed the nation after more than a dozen of these mass shootings. I think the number's now 14. So, we've heard some version of these remarks before and today the president called this an act of terror and he reminded the nation that this shooter targeted LGBT Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE USA: Although it's still early in the investigation, we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate. And as Americans we are united in grief and outrage and in resolve to defend our people. So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[23:05:31] FRATES: Now the President went on to say that in the face of hate, in the face of violence, Americans will not give into fear but rather stand together in unity and stand together in love, Don.
LEMON: And Chris, as you said the President has spoken about gun violence so many times and it's inevitable that followed by the debate over gun control happens. Has that already started already?
FRATES: Yeah, Don. I mean after, you know, the previous mass shootings that we've heard the President talked about, you know, he said how frustrated, how disappointed he's been in his inability to pass what he likes to call commonsense gun reforms. And his remarks today, the President again eluded to this issue saying the massacre is yet another reminder of how easy it is for someone to get a gun and let's some shoot people in a night club or let's some shoot people in a school or a movie theater kind of making reference to the many shootings we've seen during his presidency. And look, if history is any guide here, that's likely just the beginning of another round of really intense debate over gun control, Don.
LEMON: You know, Chris, we're in the middle of a really heated presidential campaign and at times, ugly, really, the candidates are quick away and a lot of people are talking about it. Tell our viewers what they said.
FRATES: Yeah, it really didn't take long for this tragedy to already hit the campaign trail. Because remember, right later this week we were expecting to see President Obama and Hillary Clinton campaign together for the first time, really, kind of kick off the general election in Green Bay, Wisconsin, but this afternoon we heard both from the Clinton campaign and the White House announcing that they're postponing that trip.
They essentially decided against campaigning on the heels of this very, very terrible tragedy. But, you know, that didn't stop the candidates from taking the social media to way in. This morning, Clinton tweeted this. Let's show it. She said, "Woke up to hear the devastating news from Florida. As we wait for more information, my thoughts are with those affected by this horrific act." And she signed it H letting everyone know that she in fact wrote that tweet herself.
And this afternoon we heard from Donald Trump and he tweeted this. He said "Is President Obama going to finally mention the words radical Islamic terrorism? If he doesn't, he should immediately resign in disgrace." And no surprise here, when Obama didn't mention Islamic terrorism, Trump put out a statement calling on Obama to step down.
But, Don, it's also important to point out here that Obama did call it an attack of, you know, an attack of terror and he added that though the investigation here is still ongoing officials have not yet determined the shooter's motives, but he said the full resources of the federal government are in fact working to determine, you know, whether the killer was inspired by or associated with a terrorist group, Don.
LEMON: All right. Thank you Chris Frates, in Washington. We appreciate that.
Security being tightened all across the country in the wake of the deadly attack on the Pulse nightclub, New York City on high alert and tonight's Tony Award ceremony happened dedicated to the victims of Orlando. Here to talk about that is CNN's Brian Stelter. Brian is in New York for us. Brian, good evening to you. Earlier today, the Tony Awards announced the ceremony would be dedicated to the victims of Orlando. There were lots of tributes tonight. Tell us about that.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: A terrible day, Don. In some ways this award ceremony an example of life going on, but this was a subdued Tony Awards. Here on the red carpet, many people being asked and wanted to talk about the attack today. And at the very beginning of the show at 8:00 p.m., we heard from the host, James Corden, as he addressed what happened this morning. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CORDEN, HOST, TONY AWARDS: Good evening. All around the world, people are trying to come to terms with the horrific events that took place in Orlando this morning. On behalf of the whole theater community and every person in this room, our hearts go out to all of those affected by this atrocity. All we can say is you are not on your own right now. Your tragedy is our tragedy. Theater is a place where every race, creed, sexuality, and gender is equal, is embraced, and is loved. Hate will never win. Together we have to make sure of that. Tonight's show stands as a symbol and a celebration of that principle. This is the Tony Awards.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STELTER: James Corden setting a tone there and it continued through out the broadcast. The stars of Broadway, some straight, some gay, all of them talking in different ways about this tragedy. Lin-Manuel Miranda, one of the biggest winners of the night, the creator of Hamilton, (inaudible) on stage saying at one point senseless acts of tragedy reminds us that nothing here is promised. Not one day. Don.
[23:10:18] LEMON: Yeah. And I'm told doing the performance of Hamilton, all the guns are removed. They did not use them on stage. Brian Stelter, thank you very much, I appreciate that. We're going to be right back with much, much more in our breaking news tonight. The worst terror attack in this country since 9/11, the deadly attack on the Pulse nightclub right here in Orlando, Florida.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Back on our breaking news. I want you to take a look now at your screen because this is the front page of tomorrow's Orlando Sentinel with the message, "Our Community Will Heal." "Our Community will Heal." Tomorrow's front page of the Orlando Sentinel. Very poignant.
In Orlando, the city reeling after the attack inside a gay nightclub that killed 50 people and wounded dozens of others, there's a whole lot to deal with as far as the investigation and also those who are injured at the hospital. And that's why I want to go to CNN's Nick Valencia. Nick, you're at a staging area for friends and family. Give us the latest there.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been an exhausting day for these friends and family of loved ones that are still unaccounted for, Don. The numbers have not changed this afternoon, 50 dead, 53 injured. What we don't know and wish we could tell you is the status of those 53 that are still hospitalized.
[23:15:05] Earlier we were at a different staging area, friends and family still waiting to hear about their loved ones. The remaining anyway, I should say, had been move to this facility here and they told us earlier that doctors came in with a list or rundown, so to speak, of exactly the conditions of those 53 that remain hospitalized.
You know, talking to these friends and family you really get a sense, perspective, a scope, of what these numbers, these high numbers mean exactly. This community just shaken to its very core. There are really aren't very many words to describe exactly the emotion, the raw emotion that we've seen from these family members and friends that are expecting a lot of them as the hours tick by, they're expecting to hear the worst of the worst. Don.
LEMON: I mean, it's so awful, Nick. I mean, you're in a nightclub and, you know, it could happen to anyone of us. You and I have gone to nightclubs together. This can happen anywhere. The survivors, though, are reeling from the attack. And as understand, you spoke to one very emotional man earlier. What did he tell you?
VALENCIA: You know, we talked about this being the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, the deadliest attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, but when
you hear the stories of these survivors -- these victims that saw what happened, it is just unimaginable. We spoke to one individual named Andy Moss, who was there in the nightclub when the shooting started.
ANDY MOSS: Wake up then everything is going to be normal but it's not. This is what happened. I - There's no going back. You can't change the fact of what this guy did. And it's always said that God gives his hardest battles to His strongest people but He gave His strongest community, a heart has helped battle and we're standing up and we're fighting. That's all we can do.
VALENCIA: Well, looking at Andy's eyes, it was just heartbreaking to see the pain. He's still looking for his bestfriend. He went to that nightclub with his friend, Chris Summers, 23 years ago, and he tells me that he still has no idea where his friend is. Don.
LEMON: It's just awful. And you're right it's heart wrenching to listen to him. You can, you can just feel it in his voice there. Thank you, Nick. I appreciate that. CNN has obtained some video that I want to tell you about of a witness -- of what a witness says is the moment the police stormed the Pulse nightclub and a dozens of gunshots that ensued. Witness is David Ward. He was next to the Pulse nightclub and he took the dark video from his balcony. Pay attention to this. Look at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, David Ward said that was at 5:08 in the morning, the precise moment when Omar Mateen was taken down. And speaking of him, who was this gunman? Who was this killer?
I want to bring in CNN's Drew Griffin now, CNN's Senior Investigative Correspondent. He is in Fort Pierce Florida tonight. You're outside, Drew, of the gunman's apartment. What are you seeing? What can you tell us about him?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN's SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're seeing is the FBI evidence team coming in tonight and hours and hours and hours of course after this horrific shooting and just kind of getting ready to begin the process of dissecting everything they can, find inside that apartment what they are looking for is to find in the trail of what seems to be just a first generation American whose parents are of Afghan descent, went to high school here, went to college here, got a job in security, and was well known in the community, trying to find where those trigger points were that either radicalized him or something else. Maybe something mentally handicapped that went wrong in this person's head that forced him to do this.
And outside this apartment tonight, they are just beginning the task of delving into where this guy live, potentially what kind of gadgets or computers he was working on, and what other kind of ammunition or guns he may have had inside this apartment here, Don. So really, the FBI's task is just beginning here to try to piece together this guy's life. And like you say, there's a lot of, there's a lot of diverging things. He was a great guy, he was a nice guy to some, to others he had flashes of anger, talked about Muslim issues in angry way and police are just having to try to piece together what exactly did take place inside this guy's head and also what happened leading up to this terrible event, Don.
[23:20:17] LEMON: And your family members are speaking out as well. There had been questions about the alleged shooter's family, in particular his father. Can you tell us about that?
GRIFFIN: Yeah, I can. His father is from Afghanistan. And what brought our attention to him tonight is YouTube videos and I hope we can play them for you because they are a bit strange. Somewhat incoherent. This is his father speaking to the Afghan people at times. He announces his candidacy for President of Afghanistan. And in a very recent, I think in the last 24-hour video, he poses as a military commander and wants to announce that he's going to arrest the five enemies of Afghanistan.
Our translator called some of this on the YouTube incoherent and nonsensical at points. It certainly looks strange. He was also involved in a television show that was taped out in California and broadcast specifically on Afghan issues. We don't hear or see anything that says he's anti-American. We don't see or hear anything that says he is antigay or homophobic in any way. But again, this is strange behavior from the father and we already know from the ex-wife of the son that that son may have had very strange behavior and even violent behavior during a previous marriage, Don.
LEMON: Since you mention that that, you know, his ex-wife married him for just four months, again as you said, she is speaking out. Let's listen. Drew, and then we'll discuss it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SITORA YUSUFIY, EX-WIFE OF ORLANDO SHOOTER: When he would get in his tempers, he would express hate towards things, toward everything. So, in that respect, you know, yeah, but it was at the moment when she is emotional stability and turning totally different. My family literally rescued me.
The night they were there, they had to pull me out of his arms and buy an emergency flight, I left all my belongings. We made a police report. And, you know, because we were at a distance, I was in New Jersey and he was in Florida. The divorce took a year and a half to finalize it because we were doing it from a distance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, she hasn't seen him for seven years but certainly, I mean, he had a history of troubling behavior, troubling past, right?
GRIFFIN: We're trying to check out many, many cases, Don, where we've been told of instances where the suspect snapped. I don't know how else to put it, but various instances when he snapped, a couple of his high school friend is talking about how he would blurt out certain things or colleagues at various places of work were, you know, he just had flashes of anger.
We also, though, did talk to his local imam, says he's known him his since 2003. He's going to the local mosque here since then. Recent years, very quiet, kept to himself, did his prayers and left. Antisocial, perhaps, but not violent, according to the imam. But again, there's lot of different parts of this person's story we have yet to confirm. And, you know, it's falling into a place where unfortunately we've seen in the past where radicalization and perhaps mental illness may be a mixture here that has turned deadly.
LEMON: Drew Griffin, great reporting as usual. Thank you very much. We're going to be right back with more of our breaking news here in Orlando. The scene of the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
[23:27:45] LEMON: We're back now with our breaking news tonight, the deadliest mass shooting in the history of this country killing 50 people at the Pulse nightclub here in Orlando. Joining us is a man who worked there and lost his friends in the attack. His name is Scott Shaner and he is here with his partner Antonio. And Antonio was actually closer to the person who was killed.
SCOTT SHANER, WORKED AT PULSE NIGHTCLUB: Yeah, I just...
LEMON: And one friend is still in the hospital.
SHANER: Yeah. I work part time there, just, you know, dealing poker -- their poker nights, but he was supposed to be there last night with his friends. And I know when I woke up this morning to the phone calls of -- you know, if everybody is OK. And he told me the last thing he got from his friend was I've been shot and our mutual friend is dead. Nothing has been confirmed on the friend as of yet that was deceased. I do know that his friend that was shot is OK and recovering at Orlando Regional at this time and we have spoke via phone within last few hours.
LEMON: But people probably wondering why he's saying is to overcome, speaking, he said, he said he didn't want to talk. But you only worked there part time, right?
LEMON: Isn't shocking to -- obviously it's shocking but when you got word of so many people who were injured and killed in this?
SHANER: The community, I think we all feel the same. We just feel numb. I mean we're a close community. We may not be directly close friends with any of these victims but we're all going to know the names. We're all going to know, "Yeah, I've seen that person. I've talked to that person." You know, we're doctors, we're lawyers, we're teachers, we're brothers, we're sisters. You know, this community has just been devastated right now, but fortunately we're a community that were strong. We're going to get through this and we're not going to let a coward break our spirit and break our heart.
LEMON: In that vain, so let's honor the life of your friend and the people who were injured. So, tell us first about the friend who died.
SHANER: He wasn't a close friend of mine. He's more of a close friend to his. The reports that I've heard from friends inside are that he just -- he fell to the ground and he never moved. And debris was falling on top of him and he and the other friend kept calling his name and he didn't move, you know? And they haven't released the name but no one's talked to him or heard from him. No one from Orlando Regional has released the name that he's treated. So we're just -- right now, we're just assuming the worst, unfortunately.
[23:30:10] LEMON: And the friend who's in the hospital now? SHANER: He was shot twice. Both were in the leg and the hip. He was in surgery for a few hours. He got out of surgery maybe around 6:00 this evening. He was recovering. They spoke on the phone a few hours ago. He's doing well, resting, recovering and hopefully that he will have a full recovery from this.
LEMON: And you're hearing stories from family and friends of other people who are who you didn't necessarily know. What kind of stories are you hearing?
SHANER: I think the stories are all pretty much the same from everybody. It's like the initial shock of what was happening was we didn't know if that was part of the music, the part of the atmosphere that the shots were so timed in with the music. Some of the people that worked there that I know, you know, are in critical condition right now, recovering at Orlando Regional.
And, you know, I thank all those doctors. You know, I'm a paramedic. I've been doing this for 18 years. And, you know, I thank them people, thank those first responders, those fist Orlando officers that were on scene and gauged him. We don't know how much more damage he could have caused if those officers weren't there.
I did see a picture of my one friend on Facebook. He's giving two fingers up. It looks like he's going to recover right now. They still have unless to that critical condition. The other friend we're hearing rumors of how his condition is, no one's been able to confirm anything on him.
LEMON: And again, Antonio is too overwhelmed because, again, he was close to the person that you can't find. He was supposed to be there last night -- Antonio was supposed to be there.
SHANER: Yeah, his friend was trying to get him to come out and hang out.
SHANER: He hasn't gone out with him in a while, and, you know, just wanted to try to, you know, go out and have a good time. You know, that's all this community, you know, really does. We don't try to, you know, bother everybody. You know, we're a good community. We're a very open and loving and welcoming everybody. You know, we don't discriminate against each other. We don't discriminate against, you know, black, white, Mexican. And, you know, we accept everybody in this community. And that's what I think hurts this community the most.
LEMON: And what do you want to say to the haters? What's your message?
SHANER: We're not going to let cowards beat us. And that's exactly what they are. You go and kill innocent people, you're a coward. And that's it.
LEMON: Thank you, Scott. You OK, Antonio? ANTONIO: I'm good.
LEMON: Thank you. I appreciate you joining us. Good luck to you. We'll be right back.
[23:36:22] LEMON: Our breaking news here in Orlando, a community grieving after the massacre of 50 people at a gay nightclub. At least 53 more wounded. Here discussing a law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes, a former FBI Assistant Director, Juliette Kayyem, CNN National Security Analyst, Michael Weiss, the Senior Editor of the Daily Beast and, Tom Verni, a retired New York City Police Detective.
Juliet, I want to start with you because you and I first met at the Boston bombing couple years ago. The gunman called 911, pledged allegiance to ISIS and then he also mentioned the Boston bombing. The fact that he did mention Boston, what does that say to you, why is that significant?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, he wanted to identify with something greater than what in fact he was doing which was a mass murder. So, he identified both with ISIS and then also did s historical moment that everyone remembers this tragedy, we remember their names, the (inaudible) brothers, to elevate what he's doing. So, he wanted to identify with something greater than he was.
And that is unique. That phone call is just so unique in terms of him wanting to have this identification. And look, we're talking about, you know, was this the ISIS motive? Yeah, it's totally possible if not likely that there are multiple motives here, so we shouldn't lose the LGBT story, and the hatred towards territories of LGBT that may be related to ISIS. And then, you know, we're not talking about it, but our president certainly did, the gun issue. It is something that we cannot ignore in this discussion. So, there's multiple motives going on here and narratives that are all important during this tragedy.
LEMON: Michael, I want to -- speaking about the LGBY issue here, let's discuss that because as I understand, the Daily Beast who you're for has spoken a story regarding this shooter and the LGBT community.
MICHAEL WEISS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, my colleague Katie Zavadski has a piece up. She interviewed a drag queen from Orlando who knew the shooter quite well and said this homophobia is a surprise to me. The guy -- Apparently they went to high school together. The guy used to order food from, you know, Ruby Tuesday's and was quite familiar with the bar staff, which included several known lesbians. The shooter might have even attended a drag show or two according to this friend.
So, again, Don, I mean this does raise the possibility that perhaps he had some doubts or questions about his own sexual orientation or something bothered him about being, you know, quite familiar close to people of that persuasion. Who knows? I mean this is speculation, but it does show you that this was not, you know, an inveterate pathological bigot, something happened that turned him against the LGBT community. LEMON: Tom Fuentes, I want to play this video and get the law enforcement part of this, your FBI expertise with. This is someone who lives next to the club. He shot this video from his balcony. His name is David Ward. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold fire.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Tom Fuentes, it started close to 2:00 with the gunman shooting and then, you know, holding people hostage inside of the Pulse nightclub. And about 5:08 that's according to the man who shot this video, that's when this would happen. I guess that they felt that they were in a position where they can go in and then take this gunman down?
[23:40:15] TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: You know, Don, I -- having watched that video several times, I can't tell for sure what it is showing. Obviously, we see shots being fired by the police and hear shots coming back at them but I don't know exactly the position they were in when those shots were fired. What kind of target picture they had with the subject. So, I would like to hear more about that incident from the police when they give the details later on.
LEMON: And Tom Bernie is a retired NYPD detective. I'm sure you've been involved in some hostage situations. Again, the same question, I guess they felt that they were in a position, obviously, to take this gunman down after him holding hostages for several hours.
TOM VERNI, RETIRED NYPD DETECTIVE: Yeah. I mean, ideally they would want to talk him out of it to try to secure the safety of the remaining people that haven't been already shot and killed. But, yeah, there comes a point where they must have made a move for a reason, either they felt they were coming to a dead end that there were going to be more victims, that he was going to shoot and potentially take the life of. So, they had to make a move at some point and they felt that that was the time to do it and they did.
And it seems like they -- I mean, Orlando Police Department, I mean, kudos to them. They did a fantastic job. They have pointed out earlier, hey clearly saved a number of lives by taking the actions that they did under an unbelievable and unpredictable situation that nobody could have even presented to them.
LEMON: Hey, Michael Weiss, I want to ask you about this message posted on the side associated with ISIS news agency Amaq, described the attacker as "an Islamic state fighter." Also, they claim that the attack was directed -- will ISIS still claim responsibility, even if they didn't actually direct him to do this?
WEISS: Sure, of course. I mean, again this is -- you know, for them it's a global casting call to recruitment tribe to have people go out under (inaudible) completely autonomously plan and perpetrate attacks and then have the attacks credited to the ISIS brand. So, it is a little unusual, though, if they say we directed him when they didn't because, again, part of their terror sort of, you know, propagation is to inspire people, the so-called lone wolves to go out and carry out these attacks without any kind of coordination or planning from ISIS H.Q.
I mean, it's more terrifying to all of us here to think that there are people who are in our midst, in our own cities which is being radicalized by the internet. They don't need to necessarily coordinate or link up with guys in Syria or Iraq, much less go over to Syria and Iraq and be sent back, like the Paris attackers were. So, in a sense, don't know why they're pushing that line if it's not true. Maybe it is true, we don't know. We'll have to wait and see.
LEMON: Yeah. And there in lies a problem, Juliette. The internet, people can become radicalized without having to go anywhere near the people that they are aspiring to be Like.
KAYYEM: That's right. But also the internet is a great source of information to determine what in fact happened with him so -- and it gives, you know, people access to the outside world and makes people actually appreciate the other in many ways so that we are our community. So, it's just a tool, it's just a platform. It's the content that matters and ISIS has been successful in the content. And this is where we don't know the expense of which the relationship between the Orlando shooter and ISIS is.
I suspect it was ISIS motivated. We actually don't seem to have any evidence yet of travel that would then suggest that there was some meet up or training. But this case will unfold and we'll certainly learn more over the next couple of days.
LEMON: All right, all of you, thank you very much. When we come right back, more on our breaking news, the worst mass shooting here in American history here in Orlando. And I want to show you this, is a live picture of the Castro District in San Francisco where a vigil is being held. It's happening right now. We'll be right back.
[23:48:07] LEMON: Our breaking news, the investigation of the mass shooting here in Orlando. Back with me, we have Tom Fuentes, Juliette Kayyem, Michael Weiss, and also Tom Verni. Juliette, this is horrific tragedy already getting politicized in 2016, raised Donald Trump shot off a few tweets. One tweet reads, "Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism. I don't want congrats. I want toughness vigilances. We must be smart."
Juliette, Donald Trump continues to press the president to call it radical Islamic terrorism. Is it necessary to call it that?
KAYYEM: No. And look, he calls it -- the president calls it terrorism. There are reasons -- well, first of all, we don't actually know for sure yet. We have a lot of evidence that suggests it is, but I would rather have my president or any president only relate the facts. There is an ongoing investigation, so you can speculate all you want on twitter. It does not make it reality.
And I think -- but, let me just say and, Don, you just -- you know, you are so right. You know, we've got about 24 hours of explanation and misery until this becomes very politicized. America's anxiousness will be up. Historically, that tends to benefit Republicans when people have more fear about their own homeland and, in fact, their own children and their neighborhoods. And so, by tomorrow, when Trump speaks at 2:30, I believe, you know, this will be very politicized.
LEMON: So, Michael, Hillary Clinton's campaign responded to Trump's tweets with a statement which reads in part, "Donald Trump put out political attacks, weak platitudes and self-congratulations. Trump has offered no real plans to keep our nation safe and no outreach to the Americans targeted, just insults and attacks. In time of crisis more than ever, Americans are looking for leadership and deserve better."
So, Michael, do you see this even as sort of the October surprise that we, you know, often talk about in politics?
[23:50:03] WEISS: Well, I have to be honest. I mean, this kind of a grim event is exactly the kind of thing that can get a guy like Donald Trump elected president of the United States. We've seen this in Europe with the rise of the far-right and the pluralitarian political parties, essentially cresting off a wave of, you know, Islamic terrorist attacks and espousing the various xenophobic and isolationist foreign policy rhetoric.
Donald Trump has no policy to deal with the Islamic state. The policy that he has kind of vaguely muttered about includes partnering with Russia and Bashar al-Assad's regime, which today massacred scores of civilians in the province of Idlib. And I've seen video -- photographs rather of children burnt to a crisp by this air war. If that's Donald Trump's idea of fighting terrorism, I've got news for him, that's exactly the kind of thing that creates more terrorists. And it allows this kind of menace to proliferate.
I think he's an imbecile when it comes to the Middle East and much else. I'm going to be very, very frank and stark with you. I study this stuff for a living. I've written a book abut ISIS. I think he's a national security threat to this country. Nothing he said -- and, you know, somebody today in the media said, "Oh well, you know, there's going to be a moratorium on politicizing this." I said, "Yeah, don't hold your breath. This guy will be first out of the gate to turn this into a political campaign issue."
By the way, he still sticks to his guns that Egypt Air was an Islamic terrorist attack. And we have no proof -- you and I have discussed this on your program. I mean it looks increasingly like that probably it was not an act of Jihadism. So I mean, you know, this is a very dangerous candidate running for the highest office in the land and doing things that actually don't make America great but rather unsafe, less safe than we are today and we're not that safe to begin with. LEMON: What you say, you really feel Michael there. Tom Fuentes, let's talk about this gunman more. Two former high school classmates at two different schools remember Omar Mateen saying something to the effect that Osama Bin Laden was his uncle. What do you make of it?
FUENTES: Well, I don't know, Don. You know, if that was said by him as a worship of Osama Bin Laden and, you know, it's a very interesting comment. But again, you know, something that somebody in high school says trying to be outrageous or trying to impress young women or get attention, may or may not be how he really felt at that time or how supportive he really was.
We don't know the evolution of his radicalization at this point. I think we'll learn more about it, especially if they can get a hold of his social media and his computer information and phone information, hoping they can get to it. But, you know, there's lot to be learned about when he decided that he was going to be a mass murderer. And making comments like that in high school, maybe it was already started but we don't know that for sure.
LEMON: And Tom Verni, he seems to be -- it seems that 9/11, the attack's really impacted him.
VERNI: Well, I mean 9/11 attacks were an inspiration for anyone that practices this radicalization of the Islamic religion. And that is kind of a cornerstone for them, where they get their rocks off by, you know, committing acts of unbelievably mass murder against people who have nothing to do with them. So, it's not surprising to me -- and again, you know, I feel awful for the victims and their families. And once again, I want to express my condolences to them.
And again as someone who is an openly gay person, an openly gay police officer for almost 22 years in the NYPD, not only did I have to worry about terrorism, having been there with, you know, the North Tower almost coming down on my head, but then also as someone who goes to, you know, socializes in gay clubs and bars back in the day and occasionally every so often with friends of mine, you know, it's something now I have to think about. And I have to think about, you know, people in this country that are going to be there just to simply come and attack us for doing nothing but having a nice night out.
Having said that with the many bias incidents that I had been involved in and investigations I have been involved in, I can't think of one that was committed by someone who was a either a Muslim or a radical Islamist to be honest, you know, just putting it out there. So, you know, we have to kind of keep this perspective when people start to attack the Muslim religion that -- my personal interaction with the Muslim community has always been that they've always been very professional, always nice and practicing what they preach. This is not someone from that community. This is someone from a complete left field end of that community.
LEMON: Yeah, we know this is someone who is distorted Islam. So, I have to ask you, Juliette, because you have been talking about ISIS inspired, ISIS directed. We should not -- it should be noted that this is a holy month of Ramadan, what should we make of that? KEYYEM: Yeah. Well, if he is even ISIS inspired rather than ISIS directed, he would certainly know if he were following passively picking up stuff on social media that ISIS was approving and reeking benefits to those who might target civilians or Westerners during the holy month of Ramadan. It's relevant but I don't think sort of explains, you know, his pattern or where he -- why he chose that bar or his radicalization process.
[23: 55:23] LEMON: All right, great. Thank you all I appreciate it. We'll be right back
LEMON: We're grateful that you joined us under such horrific circumstances. Our live coverage is going to continue with John Vause in Orlando and Isha Sesay in Los Angeles, in just a moment. But before we leave you, here's "Hamilton's" Lin Manuel Miranda accepting his Tony award and paying tribute to the victims of the Orlando attack. Good night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIN MANUEL MIRANDA, AMERICAN ACTOR: We chase the melodies that seem to find us until they're finished songs and start to play when senseless acts of tragedy remind us that nothing here is promised, not one day.
The show is proof that history remembers we live through times when hate and fear seems stronger. We rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer. And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside. I sing that as a symphony Eliza (ph) tells her story. Now fill the world with music, love and pride. Thank you so much for this.