Return to Transcripts main page
THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Hackers Target Democrats' File On Trump; Clinton, Sanders To Meet Later Today; Survivors Of Mass Shooting Speak Out. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired June 14, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: The key questions, was he self- radicalized? Was he an unstable individual who carried out this attack, or is this something larger that was directed by ISIS?
The second question is, what was missed? What -- what did people around him not pass forward to law enforcement that could have prevented this? And then lawmakers are asking ourselves, how could we prevent this in the future?
And I think a key issue is, how could someone on a terror watch list, even in the past who came off, how do we not have a law in place that alerts the FBI that you were looking at this person before, now, by the way, he has bought an assault weapon?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: So, Let's try to break down some of the things you just said. The first one, the latest information we have is that there is not evidence, at least nothing uncovered yet, indicating that this was directed by a terrorist group, that the individual in question appears to have been self-radicalized.
Is there anything new on that front?
SWALWELL: Yes, hope that's the case, and right now the FBI is going doing this, going through everything about this individual's background to make sure that is true.
But until that's the case, I think we remain on alert here and know that ISIS can not only direct, but with their success abroad, inspire.
TAPPER: Sources are also telling CNN that there's an active investigation right now into what the terrorist's wife might have known about the plot, whether she knew something and failed to notify officials. Have you heard anything about that? Have you heard anything about a possible imminent arrest?
SWALWELL: Jake, I will just say looking at San Bernardino, we know that oftentimes these family members work together, and I imagine that that will be a part and is a part of their investigation, but nothing further yet on that.
TAPPER: In the last few hours, this case has taken on a real twist and an odd development, reports that the terrorist had possibly been a patron at the Pulse nightclub several times and even used gay dating apps. FBI investigators have recovered his cell phone.
Have you been briefed on any of that, including what is in his cell phone and what that might mean?
SWALWELL: Jake, this is a terrible loss during LGBT Pride Month for the community.
And the question right now that is being examined is, was this a casing? Was this individual going there to check out the nightclub based on the open reports we have seen from people who have seen him there, or was this because he himself was gay?
And that is an important question in this, but we know that a hateful person with an assault weapon, a weapon of war, carried out this horrific crime.
TAPPER: You have talked a lot in this interview about the semiautomatic rifle that -- and the Glock that the terrorist had. Your Republican colleagues do not support, at least most of them, any effort to make it so if you're on the terror watch list or the no-fly list that you can't legally buy a gun.
Are you going to be able to convince any of them as to your way of thinking?
SWALWELL: I hope so, and I hope my Republican colleague on the House Intel Committee, Peter King, who's the sponsor of the House version of that bill, helps, because right now if you are too dangerous to fly on a plane, you should be too dangerous to buy a gun.
But I also think under this bill the attorney general has brought authorities, and I think one that should be looked at is whether you come off a watch list and then later on go and buy a firearm, do we want the FBI to know about it? And I think the answer is yes.
TAPPER: Well, that's fine that you trust Attorney General Lynch with that power, but would you trust Donald Trump's attorney general with that power?
And that's why I think Congress can actually clean that up and make sure that anyone who comes off a watch list, if they go on to buy a firearm, we at least know about it and maybe can go back to that investigation.
TAPPER: Congressman Eric Swalwell, thanks so much.
SWALWELL: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: Two very different pictures being painted about the Orlando terrorist, one, a person who could not stand the sight of two men kissing, the other a man who visited gay nightclubs and reached out to men on gay dating apps. So who was the terrorist? That story next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [16:38:19]
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
The FBI is now talking to people who say they communicated with the man who would become the Orlando terrorist through gay dating apps.
Let's bring in CNN's Brian Todd.
Brian, how would this news, if it turns out to be true, who would it affect the investigation?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, a law enforcement official tells us it would certainly change their perspective on this investigation.
We do have new information this afternoon on the killer's activities in the gay community, but there are also new questions about his motive for engaging with the community.
TODD (voice-over): The picture that's emerging appears to show a conflicted killer. Several gay men, including clubgoers, say Omar Mateen was a frequent visitor of gay nightclubs and used gay dating apps.
Kevin West knew him from the gay dating app Jack'd.
KEVIN WEST, INTERACTED WITH MATEEN: When he was first contacting me, he was saying, like, what clubs are popping? The last contact was like three months ago.
TODD: West recognized Mateen when he saw him on Saturday night.
WEST: I was right in front of Pulse. And I was standing outside of the car. I said hey. He turned, looked at me, said, hey. And he was just walking like a regular person. But he had on one of those droopy-type hats that hang off the back of your head in a way.
And I always remembered him, because the picture that he showed me online before was of him wearing one of those hat things.
TODD: Chris Callen, who worked at Pulse as a performer, told Anderson Cooper he had seen Mateen dozens of times at that club over a three- year period.
CHRIS CALLEN, WORKED AT PULSE: Like I said, I had introduced myself once before. When we first saw him there, me and a security guard that used to work at Pulse, we said hello and everything, and he was very friendly and all that.
But, yes, he had frequently been to that bar. And it's been going on three years.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think he was there to meet people? And was he there to meet guys? Was he there to -- do you know why he was there?
CALLEN: Yes. When I -- when we met him -- and, I mean, we introduced ourselves and said hello, and that was really all I got to do with him, because I was performing.
But he seemed like -- and even my partner said that he seemed like a very nice, comfortable -- he loved where he was at. He was drinking with another guy.
TODD: It's a stark contrast to the angry, homophobic young man described by former co-workers and family members. Mateen's ex-wife told CNN she acknowledges he may have been gay, but may have hidden it out of shame.
SITORA YUSUFIY, EX-WIFE OF OMAR MATEEN: It surely might be, because now everything that's coming out, and I feel like the tragedy that happened, you know, particularly in that nightclub, you know, targeting that group of people, there has to be some sort of a reason psychologically.
TODD: In the immediate hours after the attack, Mateen's father said he believed his son's motivation for the killing was seeing two men kiss recently in Miami. It's not clear whether he was interested in men or whether he was pretending to be in order to surveil possible targets.
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: We are going through the killer's life, as I said, especially his electronics.
TODD: Tonight, investigators are piecing together all the evidence as they work to understand a killer's motives, whether he was driven by loyalty to a terror group or his own inner demons.
TODD: Now, as far as the apps that Omar Mateen used, the gentleman who we interviewed for the piece, Kevin West, said that he knew Mateen through the app called Jack'd, but Jack'd has said they cannot substantiate that and they say they have not been contacted by law enforcement.
But there also are indications that Mateen might have used the app called Grindr. And the people who run Grindr say they are cooperating with law enforcement -- Jake.
TAPPER: Brian, the killer's visits to the Disney complexes also are part of the investigation into his activities in the gay community, right?
TODD: That's right.
Law enforcement officials with knowledge of the investigation, Jake, are telling us that they believe that Mateen visited Disney Springs, as well as Pulse, but he visited Disney Springs during the week of June 1 to June 6. That's when the Gay Days Celebration 2016 was taking place at Disney in the Disney complexes.
They say that he visited those areas and investigators believe that those visits were intended to surveil those locations. So, his visits to the Disney complexes certainly playing into this whole equation of whether he was gay or whether he was actually just pretending to be to surveil these areas.
TAPPER: All right, Brian Todd, thank you so much.
More news breaking today: The Democratic National Committee e-mail was hacked, including their oppo file on Trump. And experts say Russia is behind it.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. This just into CNN, Russian hackers managed to infiltrate the computer network at the Democratic National Committee and what information did they apparently zero in on? Well, the opposition research file on one Mr. Donald J. Trump.
CNN correspondent, Rene Marsh joins me now. Rene, do we have any idea -- do investigators have any idea why they were looking into that file?
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we do know first off that this was a very sophisticated hack. The cyber security firm called in to investigate tells CNN the perpetrators are affiliated with the Russian government and the goal was essentially to gather intelligence.
The hackers were looking for information on political campaigns and strategies, opposition and research on Donald Trump and foreign policy plans. Now, the researchers were roaming around the network for about a year, but were removed this weekend.
The DNC chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, saying in a statement, quote, "When we discovered the intrusion, we treated this like the serious incident it is and reached out to Crowd Strike immediately. Our team moved as quickly as possible to kick out the intruders and secure our network."
And of course, Crowd Strike is the team of cyber security experts called in to fix this breach. They tell CNN that two separate groups gained access. They don't believe that the hackers were working together.
But they were known perpetrators who have previously targeted the White House, the State Department, and the Joints Chief of Staff.
TAPPER: Rene, correct me if I'm wrong, but this is not the first time that there have been suggestions that the Russians were digging into, snooping around American politics.
MARSH: So we should point out that U.S. officials haven't officially come out and said that this is directly linked to the Russian government, but you're right. In 2008, we saw both computers at the headquarters of Barack Obama as well as John McCain, they had been hacked by foreign entities. They were seeking foreign policy information.
I mean, it just goes to show that U.S. politics very much high interest for adversaries, other foreign entities. The more information that they can learn, they can use that to their advantage.
Of course, Donald Trump hasn't been in politics for a long time so you saw they went directly after his opposition research file. They want to learn as much as they can about him, possibly if he becomes president, use that to their advantage.
TAPPER: Rene Marsh, thanks so much.
Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are expected to meet later today right here on our nation's capital tonight as the primary season officially comes to a close. But will Sanders concede the nomination or will he take the fight all the way to the convention in Philadelphia?
[16:50:03]Joining me now is CNN senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny. Jeff, what are sources telling you about what is likely to come out of this meeting?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, the sources on Senator Sanders' side says that he comes in peace and friendship, but he does not plan to suspend his campaign or make an endorsement tonight. He still wants to get some of those concessions out.
Really what he's after is changing the Democratic Party. He had a press conference with reporters in the last hour and we asked him what his plans were and he said he wants to remake the Democratic Party.
He wants to make it more open, more accessible to younger voters, all kinds of voters, change super delegates. He also wants to remove the leadership of the Democratic National Committee. He did not name them specifically, but we know who he's talking about, the chairwoman of the party.
Now the Clinton campaign is not likely to give into all these things, but they will allow him to have somewhat of a say on the party platform fight. They believe that's pretty harmless. He can make that more progressive.
The Clinton campaign just wants this to go away and they want to make him promise that he will help defeat Donald Trump. They can use him, she can use him in terms of energizing those younger voters, those white working class voters that she struggled with for the last six months or so.
TAPPER: Right now, they're very, very worried about getting those supporters on board. They need independence. They need young people and white working class voters. Is the Clinton campaign confident that they can get them? ZELENY: Eventually they believe that Bernie Sanders will come on board. There's one thing sort of hanging over everything here. Bernie Sanders has been in the Congress for a long time. If Democrats wanted to control Senate, he could be a party chairman.
That is one of the -- you know, he has some leverage but the party establishment has leverage too. The Clinton campaign thinks eventually he'll come around, but he wants to take this fight to the convention.
I asked him today if he could see himself putting in her name in the nomination as she did, as you'll remember, eight years ago. He would not answer my question on that.
So this is still sort of unfolding and it's raw, but at some point he needs to accept the reality here and we'll see if he does that tonight.
TAPPER: A tough process. Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.
Trapped in a bathroom and playing dead, hoping the killer doesn't shoot him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGEL COLON, SURVIVOR: I'm thinking I'm next, I'm dead. So I don't know how but by the glory of God, he shoots towards my head, but it hits my hand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Survivors of the Orlando terrorist attack share what it was like inside the nightclub. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back. We now know the identities of all of the 49 victims whose lives were cut so short when the Orlando terrorists targeted the gay nightclub, Pulse, their ages range from 18 to 50.
Those who were lucky enough to make it out safely, they may be haunted forever by the sights and sounds of the mass murderers they had to witness. CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has the harrowing stories of survival.
COLON: We just grabbed each other. We started running --
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You're listening to 26-year-old Angel Colon describe the horrifying seconds before he was shot by the gunman Sunday morning inside Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. COLON: I was shot about three times in my leg so I had fallen down. I tried to get back up but everyone started running everywhere. I got trampled over and I shattered and broke my bones on my left leg.
GUPTA: Unable to move, he just lays there waiting.
COLON: All I could hear was the shotgun, one after another and people screaming, people yelling for help.
GUPTA: In a cold, calculating move, the gunman seemed to zero back in on the victims.
COLON: I hear him come back and he's shooting everyone that's already dead on the floor, making sure they're dead.
GUPTA: He closes in on him.
COLON: I can hear the shotguns closer and I look over and he shoots the girl next to me and I'm just there laying down. I'm thinking I'm next, I'm dead. So I don't know how but by the glory of God, he shoots towards my head but it hits my hand.
And then he shoots me again and it hits this side of my hip. I had no reaction. I was just prepared to just stay there laying down so he won't know that I'm alive.
GUPTA: Angel is finally rescued by a police officer who drags him to safety and becomes just one of 22 survivors who are now recovering at Orlando's Regional Medical Center. Today the doctors attending to those patients describe how they were overwhelmed in the immediate aftermath of the massacre.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a drill, this is not a joke. We have 20-plus gunshot wounds coming in.
GUPTA: Forty four victims all needing different levels of care. Doctors had to make quick decisions on who was to be seen first. Tonight as the hospital tries to return to normal, doctors and staff are trying to come to grips with what happened.
DR. CHADWICK SMITH, ORLANDO REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: I was walking out of the hospital and walking out I saw team members walking into work crying. And I just -- I just couldn't express how -- it's hard to describe how you feel, but I know how they feel.
GUPTA: Jake, I can tell you that they do a lot of drills, a lot of scenarios to try and practice for this sort of thing. Certainly after hearing those stories, you can understand why those drills can never replicate what happened here in real life. Jake, back to you.
TAPPER: Our thanks to Sanjay Gupta. If you want to help the victims of the Orlando terrorist attack, go to CNN.com/impact.
That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. You can follow me on Twitter @jaketapper. I turn you over now to Wolf Blitzer. He is right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thank you for watching.