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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Victim SnapChated Video of Shooting; Orlando Shooter Had No Direct Link to ISIS: Obama Talks Orlando Attack in Security Briefing; Witness Talks Orlando Shooting; Trump, Clinton Weigh in on Orlando Shooting. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired June 13, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:28] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Just into CNN, we have some new video we want to show you of what took place in this nightclub behind me, the Pulse nightclub, more than 24 hours ago.
It's disturbing video. Amanda Alvear was 25 years old. She was SnapChating video from the dance floor, sending pictures to her friends. She was Snapchating video when shots rang out. Let's take a look at the video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANDA ALVEAR, SHOOTING VICTIM: I'm at the club.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right. That's awful. You can hear the shots ring out at the end there.
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old, was SnapChating that to a friend who captured it on Facebook. Amanda Alvear did not survive. She's one of the 49 people who died inside the Pulse nightclub behind me. That's first time we have heard gunshots from the shooting, as he first went in to the building there.
All right. Also we're waiting to hear from President Obama. President Obama just a short time ago was briefed by his intelligence team with the very latest on what's going on in the investigation. We will get video from that in just a moment.
Until then, I want to bring in our national security analyst, Juliette Kayyem; and law enforcement analyst, Art Roderick. Art worked with the U.S. Marshal Service. Juliette worked with Homeland Security.
The president is about to speak to us. It's on tape. I know what he said. What the president said, no known direct contacts between ISIS and this man. However, they believe he was a homegrown terrorist inspired by international terror. That's what this has all been leading to. JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Exactly right, and
that matters. There's a big difference, not to the victims, of course, or their families, but there's a big difference in terms of an investigation between ISIS directed, there's some person in Syria or Iraq training people to come to the U.S. or sort of telling them, directing them what to do, and someone who is alone in the room or has mental illness and radicalizing and going out and doing a tragedy or horror like this. And what it means, who are you going to investigate? Where is the path going to lead you? Who else might know? So I think this is going to be a domestic investigation for the most part and there will probably be other arrests. There's no question in my mind that some people will be arrested because of knowledge or complicity in this.
BERMAN: Who else will be arrested? If no one else was part of the attack or the planning, how will they be culpable?
ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: They may be part of the planning. We don't know that yet. FBI has been doing a search warrant at his residence. That information I'm sure will come out of there. If he had a Playstation 4, if he had some type of gaming console, there could be communication on that also. So I think they'll get to the bottom if he did have any help and if there was a conspiracy.
BERMAN: They're tracing the guns right now. Right now, three guns, two used inside, a handgun and a long gun, an AR-15 rifle. Also a revolver found in his car. What we know is this guy had no problem buying guns because he was a security guard, worked for a security company.
KAYYEM: Actually, made it easier.
BERMAN: Let's listen to the president right now.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Are we all set? OK.
I just had the opportunity to get the latest briefing from FBI Director Comey as well as Deputy Attorney General Yates and the rest of my national security team about the tragedy that took place in Orlando. They're going to be doing a more extensive briefing around noon, a little bit after noon, over at FBI headquarters, so I will allow them to go into all the details. But I thought it was important for you to hear directly from me.
First of all, our hearts go out to the families of those who have been killed, our prayers go no those who have been wounded. This is a devastating attack on all Americans. It is one that is particularly painful for the people of Orlando, but I think we all recognize that this could have happened anywhere in this country, and we feel enormous solidarity and grief on behalf of the families that have been affected. The fact that it took place at a club frequented by the LGBT community I think is also relevant. We're still looking at all the motivations of the killer, but it's a reminder that regardless of race, religion, faith, or sexual orientation, we're all Americans, and we need to be looking after each other and protecting each other at all times in the face of this kind of terrible act.
[11:35:44] With respect to the killer, there's been a lot of reporting that's been done. It's important to emphasize that we're still at the preliminary stages of the investigation, and there's a lot more that we have to learn. The one thing that we can say is that this is being treated as a terrorist investigation. It appears that the shooter was inspired by various extremist information that was disseminated over the Internet. All those materials are currently being searched, exploited, so we will have a better sense of the pathway that the killer took in making a decision to launch this attack.
As Director Comey I think will indicate, at this stage, we see no clear evidence that he was directed externally. At the last minute, he announced allegiance to ISIL, but there's no evidence so far that he was, in fact, directed. Also at this stage there's no direct evidence that he was part of a larger plot. In that sense, it appears to be similar to what we saw in San Bernardino, but we don't yet know, and this is part of what is going to be important in terms of the investigation. As far as we can tell right now, this is certainly an example of extremism that all of us have been so concerned about for a very long time.
It also appears that he was able to obtain these weapons legally because he did not have a criminal record that in some ways would prohibit him from purchasing these weapons. It appears that is one of those weapons he was able to just carry out of the store, an assault rifle. A handgun, a Glock, which had a lot of clips in it he was apparently required to wait for three days under Florida law. It does indicate the degree to which it was not difficult for him to obtain these kinds of weapons.
Director Comey will discuss the fact that there had been some investigation of him in the past that was triggered, but as Director Comey I think will indicate, the FBI followed the procedures that they were supposed to and did a proper job.
At the end of the day, this is something that we are going to have to grapple with, making sure that even as we go after ISIL and other extremist organizations overseas, even as we hit their leadership, even as we go after their infrastructure, even as we take key personnel off the field, even as we disrupt external plots, that one of the biggest challenges we are going to have is this kind of propaganda and perversions of Islam that you see generated on the Internet and the capacity for that to seep into the minds of troubled individuals or weak individuals and seeing them motivated then to take actions against people here in the United States and elsewhere in the world that are tragic. And so countering this extremist ideology is increasingly going to be just as important as making sure that we are disrupting more extensive plots engineered from the outside.
[11:39:53] We are also going to have to think about the risks we are willing to take by being so lax in how we make very powerful firearms available to people in this country. And this is something obviously I have talked about for a very long time. You know, my concern is that we start getting into a debate, as has happened in the past, which is an either/or debate, and the suggestion is either we think about something as terrorism as easy access to firearms or it's all about firearms and we ignore the role, the very real role, that organizations like ISIL have in generating extremist vows in this country. It's not an either/or. It's a both/and. We have to go after these terrorism organizations and hit hem hard. We have to counter extremism, but we also have to make sure it's not easy for somebody who decides they want to harm people in this country to be able to obtain weapons to get at them. And, you know, my hope is that over the next days and weeks that we are being sober about how we approach this problem, that we let the facts get determined by our investigators, but we also do some reflection in terms of how we can best tale what is going to be a very challenging problem not just here in this country but around the world.
Again, my final point is just to extend our deepest sympathies to the families of those who were affected and to send our prayers to those who are surviving and are in hospitals right now, their family members, hoping that they get better very soon.
But in the meantime, you can anticipate some time around noon that Director Comey and a Deputy Attorney General Yates will provide you with a more full briefing about this. OK.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)
OBAMA: I think we don't yet know the motivations, but here is what we do know, is organizations like ISIL or organizes like al Qaeda or those who have perverted Islam and created these radical, nihilistic, vicious organizations, one of the groups that they target are gays and lesbians because they believe that they do not abide by their attitudes towards sexuality. Now, we also know these are organizations that think it's fine to take captive women and enslave them and rape them. So, you know, there clearly are connections between the attitudes of an organization like this and their attitudes towards tolerance and pluralism and a belief that all people are treated equally regardless of sexual orientation. That is something threatening to them. Women being empowered is threatening to them. So, yes, I'm sure we will find that there are connections. Regardless of the particular motivations of this killer, there are connections between this vicious, bankrupt ideology and general attitudes towards gays and lesbians. And unfortunately, that is -- that's something that the LGBT community is subject to not just by ISIL but by a lot of groups that purport to speak on behalf of God around the world.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What are your thoughts about the fact that a lot of these incidents over these years, there have not been any move to reform gun control in this country?
[11:45:34] OBAMA: April, I think you know what I think about it.
The fact that we make it this challenging for law enforcement, for example, even to get -- to get alerted that somebody who they're watching has purchased a gun, and if they do get alerted, sometimes it's hard for them to stop them from getting a gun, is crazy. It's a problem. And we have to I think do some soul searching. But, again, the danger here is that then it ends up being the usual political debate. And the NRA and the gun control folks say that, oh, Obama doesn't want to talk about terrorism. And if you talk about terrorism, then people say, why aren't you looking at issues of gun control?
The point is that if we have self-radicalized individuals in going to be very difficult oftentimes to find ahead of time, and how easy it is for them to obtain weapons is in some cases going to make a difference as to whether they're able to carry out attacks like this or not. And we make it very easy for individuals who are troubled or disturbed or want to engage in violent acts to get very powerful weapons very quickly, and that's a problem. It's a problem regardless of their motivations. It's a problem for a young man who can walk into a church in South Carolina and murder nine people who offered to pray with him. It's a problem, you know, when an angry young man on a college campus decides to shoot people because he feels disrespected. It's certainly a problem when we have organizations like ISIL or al Qaeda who are actively trying to promote violence and are doing so very effectively over the Internet, because we know that, at some point, they're going to be -- out of 300 million people, there are going to be some individuals who find, for whatever reason, that kind of horrible propaganda enticing. And if that happens and that person can get a weapon, that's a problem.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, everyone. Thank you, guys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, guys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks, guys.
BERMAN: You can just see President Obama there speaking rather extensively after his intelligence briefing in the morning. He said the attacks here at the Pulse nightclub were homegrown extremism inspired by extremist information disseminated over the Internet but there is no evidence, he says, of a larger plot. He also spent a great deal of that impromptu news conference talking about guns and the availability of guns to people who would commit acts of terror. This is something the president feels very strongly against.
We're on again joined by Art Roderick and Juliette Kayyem.
Juliette, the president was quite passionate.
KAYYEM: And good for him. We have a tendency to look at motivation only. How do you stop a terrorist? How do you stop any violence? You get some motivation and you get to the means. We tend to focus on motivation. Was he directed by ISIS? Was he inspired by ISIS? And we don't talk about the means. And so I think maybe because he only has a year left, we can't forget that access to weapons that can kill 50 people just down the street is part of what makes terrorism successful. So it's not to deny that motivation is important and we need to work to counter violent extremism but that we also have to address the means. I think he said don't go down one lane or the other. That it's both.
BERMAN: And he said you don't have to --
KAYYEM: I'm in counterterrorism. It's an important message, whether it's kids at an elementary school or people on a Saturday night dancing.
BERMAN: Art, Juliette, thanks so much.
The president said you don't have to choose between a calling it terrorism or calling it an issue of gun violence. You need to address both issues, typically, how somebody who would like to a terrorist can get a hold of such guns. These are discussions that will be had in the coming days and weeks to be sure.
Coming up for us, we just got in some chilling new video from inside the nightclub the moment the shooter came in and opened fire. That's after the break.
[11:52:01] BERMAN: I'm John Berman, live in Orlando, just down the street from the Pulse nightclub where a little more than 24 hours ago 49 people were murdered killed by a gunman who walked in and opened fire.
Just a few minutes ago, we got video, SnapChat video being sent out by someone on the dance floor. You can hear the shots ring out. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALVEAR: I'm at the club.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: That's awful video to see.
Amanda Alvear, who took that video, did not survive. 25 years old. Our thoughts are with her and her family today.
Joining us right now is David Ward, who lives just across the street -- just down the street from the Pulse nightclub.
David, you saw it unfold. When did you first know Saturday night into Sunday something was wrong?
DAVID WARD, WITNESS TO SHOOTOUT WITH POLICE: I woke up at 2:00 to the sound of gunshots. I originally thought it was a couple of cars backfiring. There is usually a lot of commotion and things going on. I went out and I saw people fleeing. I figured it was some guy in an argument grabbed a gun and made the shot. Four seconds after that, everything erupted. Those shots we just heard here, 60 rounds. And everybody was fleeing through my yard, into my garage. And a number went back towards the club recognizing their friends weren't with them and shouting their names and trying to get back to the club.
BERMAN: Went back to get people out. This went on for three hours. In he first came in and started shooting and when the SWAT teams came in. What happened during those intervening hours?
WARD: As soon as the real shots rang out, I went back inside. I've got two young daughters. I went inside to make sure they were secured. It was the case my back balcony overlooks the overflow valet across the street. That's where everything was staged, triage, I think SWAT was there. They were going through every car, checking out people who were injured, determining who may be a threat and so forth. It was that, tactical noise and all that. They did have -- one their battering ram was positioned in that parking lot as well. Ultimately, it moved across the street behind the back wall of the club. At one point, I think it was getting close to 5:00, they punched through. And then we heard the detonation.
WARD: It literally shook my town home. After that ended, I actually went out on the balcony and filmed, you know, the team as they moved forward. And I think you guys have seen that, with the volley of shots from SWAT.
BERMAN: David Ward, we are glad you are OK and your kids are OK. You live across from Pulse. It's part of your life. You watch it. You see people coming in and out. We know this is a tough day for you as well.
Thank you for being with us. We appreciate it.
WARD: It is. Thank you.
BERMAN: Kate, let's go back to you in New York.
[11:55:08] BOLDUAN: Thank you so much, John.
We did hear from President Obama just moments ago. The president calling the Orlando shooting a "devastating attack on all Americans." He says it's being treated as a terrorist investigation calling it homegrown extremism.
The tragedy, the investigation, they have now become a big focus for the candidates hoping to replace President Obama to become the next president of the United States. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton weighing in and facing off over the Orlando shooting. Listen here to both of them on CNN this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION (voice-over): The first thing you need is you need a president that's going to mention the problem. And he won't even mention what the problem is. And unless you're going to mention -- unless you are going to say it's radical Islamic terrorism, and hate, unless you are going to say that, Christine, it's going to be -- you are never going to solve it. And you have Hillary Clinton refuses to use the words.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE (voice-over): From my perspective, it matters what we do rather than what we say. I have clearly said that we face terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering innocent people. Whether you call it radical Jihadism, radical Islamism, I think they mean the same thing, I'm happy to say either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Let's bring in CNN's chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, for much more on this.
Dana, this is something we have heard very often, kind of a prime criticism that Republicans have against President Obama. Donald Trump is levying it against Hillary Clinton, you need to define your enemy first before you can defeat it. Hillary Clinton, she's -- she said it. She said radical Islamism. She sys she has no problem saying it. How significant is that?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Significant in that this has been as, you said, a huge rhetorical and political club that Republicans across the board have been used, and they think quite successful -- they have been using quite successful, rather, against the president and then painting it more broadly against Democrats and now Hillary Clinton. By kind of taking that off the table, it does rob Donald Trump, and now -- her opponent going into the fall, of that sort of rhetorical jab. But it also -- it's not just rhetoric. I mean, the reason why Republicans have thought it was so successful is because it connotes weakness, they think. That if you are not willing to call it what it is, which is radical Islamism, and radical Islamic terrorism, you can't define the problem, how are you going to fight the problem? So that's why this is sort of a pivot point for Hillary Clinton.
Especially since, Kate, this was something that she went out of her way not to say during the Democratic primaries, during a debate with CBS. I was looking back at the transcripts. She was asked, point blank, about using that term, and she danced around it, as did Bernie Sanders, by the way. So this is a change, and one that I think shows that, on a presidential level, the Clinton campaign and Democrats I talked to here in Washington think that national security could be a plus for them and they are going to aggressively go after Donald Trump on national security. That's usually not something we see on the presidential level from the Democrats.
BOLDUAN: One thing we have definitely seen in the aftermath of this massacre is two wildly different responses from these two candidates.
BOLDUAN: They have changed their schedules kind of dramatically. We're going to be hearing from both of the candidates speaking and making big speeches today on the issue in the aftermath of Orlando. This sets up to be a really crucial day, I think.
BASH: Absolutely, it does. This is, unfortunately, the way we see a lot of the ebb and flow of political campaigns and of the national narrative that when something happens at home, then it's obviously front and center. It makes national security much more front and center in voters' minds. Obviously, this is on the level even since 9/11 because it is so devastating just in terms of the sheer numbers of people who were killed, who were massacred. But this is one of those test moments. And if people, the campaigns on both sides feel that people are paying attention and they feel understandably afraid of what happened at home because there is homegrown terror, as the president just said, that how each of them frames the argument now and portrays themselves is absolutely crucial going forward to November.
We're going to be hearing from Hillary Clinton speaking in Cleveland around 12:30 today. Donald Trump making a speech in New Hampshire 2:30 today. Important moments -- an important moment for the nation.
But as we look at these two candidates, who want to be the next president of the United States, who would be the voice in the aftermath of a horrific tragedy like this, important words coming up.
Dana, will be there watching it all.
Dana, thank you so much.
BASH: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: On behalf of John Berman, in Orlando, myself, here in New York, thank you for joining us.
Our special breaking news coverage of the Orlando massacre continues right now.