Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Official: Wife Says Shooter Talked of Attack For Months, If Not Years; New Video Emerges of Orlando Shooter; Disney Gator Attack: Two- Year-Old Boy Found Dead; Interview with Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings; Interview with Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired June 15, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:11] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news. The shooter's wife tonight telling law enforcement she had a suspicious her husband was planning an attack and that he had been talking about it for months, if not years.
Plus, an alligator dragging off, killing a two-year-old at a Disney Hotel. How could this tragedy have happened?
And Republicans running away from Donald Trump as Trump fires back saying, fine, I'll do it alone. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news with new information about shooter's wife. Noor Salman admitting tonight that her husband may have been planning an attack, perhaps even on the Pulse nightclub. That she knew those things and he had been talking about an attack for months if not years. This is the latest information breaking at this hour. We are also learning that she was with her husband at least once when he bought ammunition. And tonight, a grand jury is considering charges against her.
Noor Salman admitting she was with Mateen when he scouted out possible locations for attack. Now she is telling investigators, though, we understand, some conflicting stories about what exactly she knew of her husband's plans. And we are learning a lot more about her tonight. A source at the mosque that she and her husband attended telling me she was friendly but not religious. That she would go to the mosque to attend parties, major life, religious events, but not prayers, not regular players. And I'm told she never covered her hair. She never wore hijab and when she went to the women's section, she wore short sleeves.
Also tonight, new details about the night of the massacre. Officials saying Mateen drove around the Orlando area in the hours before the shooting. He drove by, several locations, and then finally, stopped at the Pulse nightclub. During the deadly three-hour standoff inside that club, Mateen told police he planned to strap explosives to hostages. At some point, Mateen took time to call a friend to say goodbye and call a television producer at CNN's Orlando affiliate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW GENTILI, RECEIVED PHONE CALL FROM SHOOTER: And he cut me off and he said, "I'm the shooter." He sounded really calm on the phone. And he started saying that he did it for the Islamic State. He did it for ISIS.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Pamela Brown is OUTFRONT tonight to begin our coverage in Orlando. And Pam, what more do you know tonight about the wife's possible role in this attack? I mean, this is stunning, this reporting that you have that he had been talking about it for months if not years.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. In fact, one source called him a boiling kettle. That he was looking for any excuse to be violent. And apparently, his wife knew of his intentions to be violent. But she claimed she didn't know of anything specific. But she has been getting conflicting reports to investigators, according to our sources. Initially she said she didn't have any inkling of what he was going to do the day of the shooting and then she said that she had a suspicious he might launch an attack and perhaps it would be on this nightclub. She claimed she told him not to do it, but she did not call police. And tonight she remains under intense scrutiny by investigators.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ms. Mateen?
BROWN (voice-over): CNN has learned the U.S. attorney plans to present evidence against the gunman's wife, Noor Salman, before a grand jury for charges related to the attack.
JEFF ASHTON, ORANGE COUNTY STATE ATTORNEY: If you know a crime is going to be committed and you want it to happen, and you do something to help it happen, you're responsible just as if you did it yourself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you know your husband is a terrorist.
BROWN: Law enforcement sources tell CNN she told investigators she knew her husband wanted to commit an act of jihad, but claims she tried to talk him out of it and didn't of any specific plot. She also claimed her husband's behavior became increasingly violent and she was afraid of him. CNN has learned she went with him to Pulse nightclub and Disney Springs in early June. Places investigators believe he was casing before launching the attack. In the middle of his three-hour rampage, the gunman made several phone calls. Law enforcement sources say he called a friend to say goodbye and he also called an Orlando TV station.
GENTILI: You know, it was just a regular day.
BROWN: Matthew Gentili, a producer at News 13 Orlando says he received a call about 45 minutes into the shooting.
GENTILI: Saying, I did it for ISIS. I did it for the Islamic State again. And my -- I didn't know what to say to him. I was just blown away. ORLANDO TORRES, SURVIVED SHOOTING: Never knew that we were in there
BROWN: Orlando Torres overheard the conversations from the nightclub bathroom. He says Mateen claimed he had accomplices with him.
TORRES: He mentioned a name or a female addressing in that sense that is playing dead. With the other victims on the other side of the club. And she is wearing a bomb vest. And also that he was wearing a bomb vest. And also that it was supposedly three snipers out there and we're ready for the cops if they came.
BROWN: The FBI is still working to access data from the killer's phone. But it was damaged in the attack. Survivors say when police broke through the wall to enter the club, water pipes burst, flooding the bathroom. The shooter's phone was found submerged in water, and covered in blood. But investigators have succeeded in retrieving significant amounts of data from service providers, including e-mails.
[19:05:25] SHERIFF JERRY DEMINGS, ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA: Suffice it to say that he had probed multiple locations before he chose that spot.
BROWN: And we have learned that the shooter began increasing his frequency of consuming jihadist propaganda in the weeks leading up to the attack, and there seems to be other motivations at play here, according to investigators. We have learned, Erin, that he was in gay chat rooms, talking to transgender women. We know the FBI has spoken to some of these people, and that this point, the FBI is still trying to figure out what exactly set him off to attack that nightclub on that night. But we know he had an inclination toward violence for some time, according to those the FBI has interviewed -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right, Pamela Brown, thank you very much. I want to go to straight now to Democratic Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, he was just briefed by FBI Director Jim Comey.
And Senator Nelson, let me just ask you, the breaking news at this hour. The shooter's wife knew for months if not years that he wanted to attack. Had gone with him to case out possible locations to attack. Was with him at least once when he bought ammunition. She says she didn't know the specifics. What more are you learning about her possible role?
SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA, BRIEFED TODAY BY FBI DIRECTOR ON ATTACK: Erin, we had a long meeting with the FBI director, and I specifically asked him the question about the wife. He deferred. He did not want to answer any questions about the wife, because that is under investigation. If you want to know my personal opinion, I think that she is involved. To what degree, we will have to wait and see.
BURNETT: And I guess the big question is, whether you think she should face charges. I mean, people hear these things, and it is -- it fills people with anger. I mean, unbelievable anger. I mean, she was with him when he visited the Pulse nightclub, when he visited Disney Springs, which reporters now say trips that at least on his part were to scout out locations. There is a grand jury, we are reporting, convenes now to investigate this. Do you think she should face charges?
NELSON: Obviously, I can't render that judgment until I know what the FBI has found.
BURNETT: So let me ask you about the other developments that you learned about in that briefing. As you said you point blank asked the FBI director about the wife. He did not want to talk about that in great detail. But you did learn some things that you did not know before about this attack.
NELSON: I originally had thought that because of this special weapon has a collapsible stock, that that might be the way that he had concealed the weapon getting in there. Apparently, he encountered the armed off-duty policeman, security guard, when he came in with the weapon and so he was not concealing it. And, of course, in his first round of shooting, was just picking out people, and shooting them.
And then later on in one of the bathrooms we have already heard testimony from some of the fortunate people that got out alive, that he would spare them in the bathroom and yet in others where there were score or more inside a bathroom stall, he would take his weapon and put over the stall and just start shooting them. This is just unbelievable. It's an animal.
BURNETT: It is unbelievable. It is hard to hear that.
BURNETT: And that obviously is something we have never heard before of how he'd actually conducted his horrible killing spree in that bathroom. The FBI tonight, Senator, is warning other gay bars and clubs in Orlando to be on a heightened sense of awareness, state of awareness, basically. Do you have any sense as to why? What the specific concern may be?
NELSON: I think it is lower level of security. I don't think it's the heightened sense of security, the FBI tells us. There is no credible threat that is in the area. So I think that's a wrong report. At the end of the day, Erin, this is going to be a combination of an ISIS-inspired hate crime, also anti-gay. And probably there are some mental disturbance as well. So it will be a while sorting out all of this.
[19:10:12] BURNETT: All right. Well, Senator Nelson, thank you very much. I appreciate your time as he said. Briefed today by the FBI Director James Comey with those horrific new details about how the shooter killed people who were hiding in that bathroom. Hoping so desperately to live.
Next, the first known video of the shooter. Caught on tape. He was actually working security at the BP Oil spill. You're going to see him. And hear him. And an alligator killing a toddler at a Disney Hotel. Something
impossible to imagine. How could this happen?
And Donald Trump threatening the GOP.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: We have to have our Republicans -- either stick together or let me just do it by myself. I'll do very well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:14:30] BURNETT: Breaking news. We have just obtained footage of the Orlando gunman in a documentary. And this documentary was actually about the BP oil spill. It was called "The Big Fix." And Omar Mateen is in it, because he was working security on that spill. He's captured complaining about the cleanup efforts while he was there working as a security guard. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OMAR MATEEN, FORMER G4S SECURITY GUARD: No one gives a (bleep). No one gives a (bleep) here. Everybody just out to get paid. They're like hoping for more oil to come out and more people to complain so they'll have jobs. Because once people get laid off here, it's going to suck for them. They want more disaster to happen because that's where their money-making is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. All about the money, right?
MATEEN: All about the money. Exactly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That is Omar Mateen, the first time you have heard him speak. And this comes as a law enforcement official tells CNN that he befriended several transgender women online. We are discovering another nightclub may have been in his sights, as well.
Brian Todd is OUTFRONT.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A jarring new portrait tonight of a killer who was active online in the gay and transgender communities. A law enforcement official tells CNN, Omar Mateen befriended several transgender women on gay dating websites and chat rooms. Those individuals, according to the official, have told investigators Mateen seemed more curious than anything about their lifestyle. Investigators don't know if he visited the chat rooms for personal reasons or possibly for surveillance for an attack.
CORD CEDENO, COMMUNICATED WITH MATEEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA: You can message anyone that pops up.
TODD: Cord Cedeno tells us Mateen approached him several times about a year ago, on the gay dating app, Grindr.
(on camera): What were his messages to you on Grindr?
CEDENO: His messages were very simple. Just like, hey, and he would repeat hey about six times. And I wouldn't respond and that I would delete the message. It was just creepy how he just kept repeating himself.
TODD (voice-over): Cedeno says, he eventually blocked Mateen's advances on Grindr but says he also saw Mateen at the Pulse nightclub at least once before the massacre.
CEDENO: He seemed like a loner. And he was just very quiet at the clubs, he was just -- I saw him at the bar maybe once just getting a drink.
TODD: Do you have any indications -- do you believe that Mateen had a physical relationship with another guy?
CEDENO: I mean, I don't think he had a relationship, but I think that he continually tried to hook up with men. He was openly gay on the dating apps. I mean, he would tell people that he was married.
TODD: Micah Bass, owner of a guy nightclub called Revere, says Omar Mateen tried to friend him on Facebook just a couple of days before the massacre.
MICAH BASS, NIGHTCLUB OWNER: I believe that -- was wanting to see on my Facebook -- I post all of our club Revere's venue. What's coming up on Friday.
I believe he was either learning more about us, trying to be what I call -- you know, the befriend and then betray is what I think he wanted to do.
TODD: Bass says he closed down his nightclub permanently, just days before the shootings for financial reasons. The FBI was asked if Pulse was Omar Mateen's only target.
RONALD HOPPER, FBI ASSISTANT SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Through the review that we have done of all of the evidence thus far, this was the intended point of attack for that evening.
TODD: Agent Ronald Hopper says he has no knowledge of Mateen patronizing any gay night clubs in Orlando, other than Pulse. Agent Hopper says the FBI has given intelligence briefings to gay night clubs in Orlando to heighten their sense of awareness, but he says there is no specific threat of an imminent attack -- Erin.
BURNETT: Brian Todd, thank you very much. I want to go now to our law enforcement analyst, former assistant director for investigations at the U.S. Marshal Art Roderick and Bob Baer, CNN intelligence and security analyst. Thanks to both of you back with me tonight. Bob, let me just start with you. This new video that we have. It's
unbelievable, actually. This is from BP. The documentary about BP, undercover video. In it, Omar Mateen is basically saying everybody wants to have bad things happen so they can get work and keep getting work doing cleanup. This is the first time we have heard from him. This is just a couple years ago, coming on the night we hear that his wife says he was planning an attack for months if not years. When you see this video, what do you see, Bob?
BOB BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: I see somebody looking for a cause. He's psychologically confused, adrift, if you like. He's looking for anything, whether it's environmental, you know, political causes we don't even know about so far. And he eventually landed on the Islamic State. Probably like the FBI says, according to self-recruitment. And he just wanted some sort of anchor in his life. It's a strange anchor for all of us. But for him, if you're this disturbed, it's not a big leap. I have seen this happen over and over again with various groups around the world, where people are in a lot of personal trouble. And overnight they turn to violence.
[19:19:20] BURNETT: And Art, what do you think? I mean, it is unbelievable that this video actually exists. And this is Omar Mateen. This is the only time -- the first time anybody watching this has heard him speak. And this is -- and this is what we see. What do you hear?
ART RODERICK, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR INVESTIGATORS, U.S. MARSHALS: I agree with Bob. And I look at it from a little different perspective. I mean, he bounced around from job to job to job. And all of them had something to do with security or he applied for some type of law enforcement jobs and I think he was looking for an anchor. And I think he ended up, obviously, relying on the radical Islamic ideology.
And that's what he landed on, unfortunately. But, I mean, I think -- I listened to Senator Nelson's comments, and I agree with Senator Nelson. We have three things going on here. Some mental instability. He's questioning his sexual preference, and then also, you know, he lands on this ideology that caused him to eventually do this horrendous crime.
BURNETT: Now, Bob, let me ask you, because there is the possibility that he was gay. There are many people who are now saying that's true. But there are others who are still questioning whether it's true or not. And then, of course, there's the possibility someone related to the mosque was telling me today, what if he was masquerading as gay, and on this dating aps, to get to know people and find places and all of this was part of a longer plan to sort of hide amongst the community and then conduct an act like this. If that is the case, that would be incredibly terrifying.
BAER: It is terrifying. But Art is right. And Senator Nelson is right. We have got mixed motivations here.
BAER: Same like the Paris attackers. Petty criminals, into narcotics, which is totally transgressive in Islamic, narcotics. Yet they were into it. They were going to night clubs, as well. And, you know, they are just eventually attracted to this cult. And this is truly a death cult. And for them, it's their redemption. I think it's insane, and most people do. But it's some bizarre reason they end up here. This is how they find their redemption, is in political violence.
BURNETT: And Art, we are learning new details tonight. We are learning about the shooter's wife, that she at one point went with him to get ammunition, but she was along with him when he went on several trips and investigators say were designed to scout locations, several to the Pulse nightclub. On the night of this horrible attack, they got his cell phone. It was damaged in the attack. And they have gotten the data. And this is what they now know. They know that he spent hours at Disney Springs, a mall -- doesn't have to have security by the Disney World Theme Park. Did he that before he went to Pulse.
So in the hours before this attack, Disney has said that he had had visited there, they think that was for scouting trips earlier this spring. What do you think, I mean, was he always thinking Pulse was going to be that night? Is it possible that he was like, maybe Disney, maybe pulse, I'll see what I think, I'll stop by a few of the places I scouted and it happened to be that he picked Pulse at the last minute?
RODERICK: It could very well be. I mean, if he had gone ahead and did what he was planning to do at Disney, I mean, the economic impact on Disney -- not only Disney, but the resorts around the world would have been immense. I think, you know, maybe he saw something he didn't like at Disney and ended up going to Pulse. But it's also very interesting this issue going on with his wife right now. You know, she's come out with conflicting statements.
RODERICK: If they're convening a grand jury and the U.S. attorney is going to take that to the grand jury --
RODERICK: And I'm not downplaying the grand jury and I'm not criticizing, but as we all know, if the U.S. attorney decides to go to the grand jury, more than likely there's going to be an indictment here. It's just going to be a matter of which federal charge it's going to be.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.
And next, the shocking and unbelievable story. The two-year-old snatched, killed by an alligator at a Disney Hotel. The latest details on this impossible to imagine heartbreak.
And more from Orlando. We're going to go inside the Pulse nightclub right after the shooting. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[19:27:30] BURNETT: More breaking news tonight in Orlando. A nightmare becoming reality. Police confirming tonight that they recovered the body of a two-year-old boy after he was attacked by an alligator at a Disney World hotel. It happened right in front of the boy's parents, they desperately were trying to save him. How could this have happened?
Jessica Schneider begins our coverage OUTFRONT.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A tragic ending after a 16-hour search for a two-year-old boy who was snatched by an alligator at a Disney resort. Divers finding the body of Lane Graves this afternoon in the seven seas lagoon on the ground of the Grand Floridian resort.
SHERIFF JERRY DEMINGS, ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA: Of course, the family was distraught. But also I believe somewhat relieved that we were able to find their son with his body intact.
SCHNEIDER: The horrific scene unfolded Tuesday as Matt and Melissa Graves were visiting from Nebraska with their son lane and their four- year-old. The whole family was outside for a movie night. Two-year- old Graves was wading into the water around 9:00 p.m., that's when his father says the alligator attacked and dragged his son into the water.
NICK WILEY, FLORIDA FISH AND WILDFIRE CONSERVATION COMMISSION: Our thoughts and prayers are with this family.
SCHNEIDER: Authorities say as the four to-seven foot alligator snatched the toddler, the boy's father struggled to pry the gator's jaws open but it quickly disappeared underwater. Stunned witnesses called for help and emergency crews dispatched marine units, divers and scoured the lagoon's sonar. At 1:45 p.m., they located the boy's body, still intact, not far from where he was taken.
WILEY: On behalf of our entire agency and we are terribly heartbroken at this outcome.
SCHNEIDER: The Seven Seas Lagoon separates the hotel resort from the Disney World's magic kingdom. It's a man-made lake about 200 acres in size and 14 feet deep in parts. But it connects to a series of canals that feed into large bodies of water, making it possible for alligators to get on to Disney property. The Florida fish and wildlife commission says Disney has full-time staff monitoring the water, killing any alligators that pose a threat.
And Disney says they have never had an attack in the 45 years since the waterways were created. Disney also posts these no swimming signs and as a precaution, they shut down all of their beaches. Since the boy was snatched, officials have killed five gators. Now they'll perform forensic tests to see if they got the one that attacked or if they need to keep searching. WILEY: There is a good chance we already have the alligator.
[19:30:00] SCHNEIDER: And Disney has released a statement, saying they are devastated and heartbroken by this horrific incident. They have also pledged to do whatever they can to help the family during this very difficult time -- Erin.
BURNETT: Jessica, thank you.
And OUTFRONT now, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.
Sheriff Demings, what went so horribly wrong?
SHERIFF JERRY DEMINGS, ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA: It was really a tragedy that occurred here in which we had a 2-year-old child that was wading and for whatever reason, an alligator came out of the water and attacked a child, which has brought us to the point where we are today. And we had to deliver sad news to the parents that the child was indeed dead. But we also were able to say to the parents, we had honored the commitment to search for the child until we could locate the child.
BURNETT: And you're saying the boy was -- he was wading in the water when the alligator attacked?
DEMINGS: Yes. He was probably not far from the shoreline, maybe within 6 to 12 inches of water, at most.
BURNETT: Six to 12 inches of water. How fast did this happen?
DEMINGS: It happened in a matter of seconds, based on the testimony of his father and other eyewitness testimony.
BURNETT: I mean, how -- have you found the alligator? Because I know part -- the question people are going to have here is how is it possible there were alligators near this beach, right at did I see's top luxury resort. How there were alligators there. Have you found the alligator responsible yet?
DEMINGS: Let me tell you about this. In most cases, it's a rare sighting of an alligator at the Seven Seas Lagoon. But there are signs that are posted that say "no swimming."
In terms of do we have the right alligator, we are going through a process with the Fish and Wildlife Commission to determine whether or not the five alligators that were taken out of the lake today, if one of them could be the alligator in question.
BURNETT: Now, I know, sheriff, that you said there are signs of "no swimming" and the boy was wading in the water. But obviously, this is a resort people come to from around the world. This family was from Nebraska. They're not used to alligators. There were no signs saying "no alligators." There were just signs saying "no swimming."
Could this have been prevented?
DEMINGS: Well, in every tragedy, I believe that there is an opportunity to learn from it, and to make a modification. And I'm sure that the corporate giant and Disney will take a look at everything that happened here and try to make certain that it never happens again to another one of their guests. They were here with this family. They have tried to make the family as comfortable as they possibly could be. But there's no way to take back what has occurred.
BURNETT: And, Sheriff Demings, I understand you have said the body of this child was found, and found intact. Can you tell us anymore about how this child died?
DEMINGS: There was some concern that the alligator may have dismembered the child. But we found that the child was completely intact. He had all of his extremities, which I believe for the family, if there was anything comforting about this, we know that they have recovered the entire remains of their son.
And so, that's most important to all of us. If it had been a situation in which there had been portions of the child that could not be located, we would have continued to dive in this lake to return all of the remains to this family.
BURNETT: All right. Sheriff Demings, thank you so much for your time and sorry to talk to you about such a horrible, horrible thing.
DEMINGS: Thank you. We're just very appreciative of the prayers that everyone has given for this family. And thank you for the opportunity to speak to you this evening.
BURNETT: Thank you, sir.
Our prayers are with that family. Unbelievable to imagine what those parents are enduring.
With me now, the host of ABC's "Ocean Mysteries", Jeff Corwin.
Jeff, you just heard the sheriff, 6 to 12 inches of water, the boy was wading. It was obviously dark, 9:00 at night. It happened within seconds.
Are you shocked that this happened in this man-made lake or not?
JEFF CORWIN, HOST, ABC'S "OCEAN MYSTERIES": I am very shocked that this has happened. I'm shocked that an alligator this size would attempt to behave in such a predatory fashion. Disney is -- safety is their specialty. They have never had a situation like this in many decades of work with millions of people experiencing this park.
[19:35:01] They know they live in alligator country. Surrounding the park itself, there are thousands of acres of ideal alligator habitat. These animals move back and forth, and they ebb and flow, as they have been doing for eons.
But they have a system down for managing this. And to have this happen, I think it has left everybody reeling.
BURNETT: I mean, as everybody reeling, because you say, look, it hasn't happened in 45 years, this is their top property.
CORWIN: It's never happened.
BURNETT: Right. The 45 years the property has been there. You're right. So it's never happened.
But, yet, no swimming is one thing. Beware of alligators when there are millions of them that live in Florida and as you point out, their habitat is all around this. There are canals that connect it. I mean, sure, hindsight is 20/20. But it does seem shocking that it wouldn't say "beware of alligators." I mean, there is no way any little boy should be in that water.
CORWIN: In all honesty, Erin, I don't think they ever perceived there would be an alligator of a predatory size that could cause this situation.
Again, they have a team of experts that work 24/7 to be ready to prevent something like this.
So, as the sheriff indicated, is there a lesson to be learned here? Whenever something like this happens, if you don't walk away with something to glean from it, make changes to ensure it doesn't happen again, then you're not doing your job.
But I believe that they have done their best. But I have no doubt that there is going to be some -- there's going to be a learning curve here.
BURNETT: Jeff Corwin, thank you.
And next, Donald Trump threatening his party. If the won't join him, he's going to go it alone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is too tough to do it alone. But you know what? I think I'm going to be forced to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And the horror inside the Pulse nightclub. Sanjay Gupta was with the medical examiner, the one who went in those first moments and saw it all.
[19:41:07] BURNETT: Tonight, Donald Trump going rogue, threatening the Republican party that he is prepared to go it alone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This it too tough to do it alone. But you know what, I think I'm going to be forced to. I think I'm going to be forced to.
Our leaders have to get a lot tougher. And be quiet. Just please be quiet. Don't talk. Quiet. Just be quiet, to the leaders. Because they have to get tougher, they have to get sharper, they have to get smarter.
We have to have our Republicans either stick together or let me be myself. I'll do very well. I'm going to do very well, OK? I'm going to do very well. A lot of people thought I should do that anyway.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The thing is, some GOP leaders might be really happy to see him go. Manu Raju is OUTFRONT.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Donald J. Trump.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICS REPORTER (voice-over): There is one person Republicans on Capitol Hill do not want to talk about. Donald Trump.
They'll dunk into offices. Cut off interviews.
UNIDENTIFEID MALE: Don't think we're not doing questions this week.
RAJU: And they'll avoid uttering his name.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I'm not going to be commenting on the presidential candidate today.
RAJU: Trump has been the presumptive nominee since May. But some hill Republicans seem to be in denial.
(on camera): Why have you not endorsed Donald Trump?
SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R), TENNESSEE+: I'm going to endorse the Republican nominee when we have one. The Republican convention is in July. It's the job of the convention to nominate a president of the United States.
RAJU: You don't think he may be the nominee?
ALEXANDER: I'm not sure.
RAJU (voice-over): The anxiety shows how badly divided the party is.
While Hillary Clinton gets daily support from Democratic leaders, there's a deafening silence from Trump's own party. And the GOP pushback to Trump's often controversial comments has been fierce. The latest, doubling down on his demand to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S. interest.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country's interest. RAJU: Senate Republicans in difficult re-election races are keeping
(on camera): Are you feeling any more comfortable with the prospects of Donald Trump as your nominee?
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: I wouldn't say that's necessarily the case.
SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I'm going to see how this plays out and see if Donald Trump can earn the support of Republicans like me.
RAJU: Are you concerned about his rhetoric, Donald Trump's rhetoric?
ALEXANDER: Yes. I am. I don't think you can go around the country saying that we need to keep people out of the country, based solely on their religious belief and expect to be president of the United States. But hopefully, he'll change that.
RAJU: Now, Erin, one reason why Republicans are distancing themselves is because they believe that is the reason why they can win re- election, by showing some separation from the top ticket and pointing to voters about the things they have done to help them back home.
Interestingly, Erin, I'm told today, Republican senators had a lunch at the national Republican Senatorial Headquarters where they talk about the 2016 campaign and one person that they did not discuss was Donald Trump -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Manu Raju.
And OUTFRONT now, the chairman of Donald Trump's national security advisory committee, Senator Jeff Sessions.
Senator, you heard the reporting there. Obviously, you in some ways are a little bit lonelier tonight. Donald Trump says he is going to go it alone. You heard him. "I'll do very well. I'm going to do very well. A lot of people thought I should do it by myself. I'm just going to do is very nicely by myself."
What does he mean by that?
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: Well, he's gotten the first support of all the Republican leadership, and endorsement. So, of those individuals.
But look, the ideas that he's expressing are clear and unmistakable. I believe he's correct. I believe people have misread, though, what he's saying.
He's not banning all Muslims. Not saying Muslims can't enter into America. [19:45:01] He's saying we have a problem. There's a radical element
there that is threatening a safety of America, and if I'm given the power as president, we're going to have a pause and we're going to figure out what's going on, and improve it.
And I think if our people would listen to that full message, they would feel a lot better about it.
BURNETT: So, of course, those aren't the words that he uses. He doesn't put it the way you put it.
SESSIONS: Well, he pretty much did.
BURNETT: Well, he says he wants to temporarily ban Muslims from coming into the United States. That's how he puts it.
SESSIONS: A temporary pause on immigration until we have developed some good policies to -- based on the nations they come from.
BURNETT: Well, he says their religion tends to be -- certain nations, but he says religion.
Let me just ask you thought, Senator Sessions, because I don't want to try to relitigate that whole point. But I do want to ask you because of this temporary ban on Muslim immigration is so controversial, Paul Ryan has said point blank, you just heard him, he doesn't support it. Do you think when you say he's got the endorsements of the Republicans, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, do you think those endorsements are secure?
SESSIONS: Well, I think they are. And I think he's going to strengthen his message, and people are going to see more of the strength of the issues that he deals with. Issues such as good tax policy that I know Paul Ryan believes in. A welfare reform system that Ron and all Republicans, I think, believe is timely. We have a re-strengthening of our trade policy to make sure that we're not losing jobs to unfair competition. That can not continue. And we're going to create a lawful system of immigration. We're going to end the lawlessness and protect the interests by our American people and American workers, as well as the public safety.
Those are things that are going to resonate and have been resonating with independents, with Democrats also. I think he's going to have a strong campaign, and I believe we'll see more and more people move toward it.
BURNETT: All right. So let me ask you on that more and more people moving toward it. Because it's not just the leadership issue right now. It's voters. Senator, as you're aware, a poll out today, 70 percent of American adults have an unfavorable opinion of Trump. That is the highest level since he announced he was running for president.
It is a 10-point jump in just one month. That's bad. There's no way to sugar coat it. That's bad. He's got to turn it around. Or do you think he can win with a 70 percent unfavorable rating? SESSIONS: No, he'll have to work that down. I don't know how accurate that poll is. Certainly Hillary Clinton has extremely high negatives, too, maybe higher than any other candidate -- up until today.
So I think this is a problem that he'll have to deal with. And I believe he can and will do so. His message is focused directly on the problems working Americans are feeling today. They are feeling that the establishment is not listening to them, and they haven't been, in my opinion. They feel like their interests are not being protected, and they are right in that. Donald Trump is going to have and already has stated good policies that will improve that situation.
I got to tell you, we need some changes here. Overwhelmingly, the American people believe we are on a wrong track. And we need to get on the right track. And I believe there's one hope that that can happen.
BURNETT: So - and just as a point here, Clinton's unfavorability, you're right, it's high. But it's 55 percent. So significantly better than his.
One final question for you, though, Senator because this is an area where you disagree with Donald Trump. He tweeted today he'd be meeting with the NRA about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list or the no-fly list to buy guns.
Look, a lot of Americans agree with him; a lot of Republicans may agree with. The NRA does not agree with him. At least you don't seem to. You voted against a bill last December that would have effectively done just that.
Do you now support the idea of people on the no-fly list not being able to buy guns or do you still think that Donald Trump is wrong -- they should be able to get the guns?
SESSIONS: Erin, I supported the Cornyn amendment, which says if you're on the no-fly list, on the list, you cannot buy a gun. But you do have a right to object to that and establish your legitimacy, because the right to keep a firearm is the same as a right to free speech. And we can't have a secret list that says you can't speak. So if you're blocked from getting a firearm, you should have an opportunity to present your case and prove that's wrongfully decided, and you should have a chance to review it.
Also, he's been under so much attack lately, that's one reason those high numbers have gone up. I think a lot of that has been unfair and over the top. And I believe as time goes by, people are going to feel a lot better about the thrust of his campaign and his message. Because it's right from Middle America.
BURNETT: All right, Senator Sessions, you are nothing if not loyal. Your endorsement, of course, very secure tonight. Thank you very much, sir.
And OUTFRONT next, the horror inside the Pulse nightclub, just moments after the attack ended. Sanjay Gupta -- tonight, you'll see his report.
[19:53:32] BURNETT: Breaking news: for the first time we are learning what officials saw in immediate aftermath of the terror attack that left 49 dead at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The medical examiner was in the club and now is speaking first to CNN. He spoke to Sanjay Gupta, our chief medical correspondent.
Sanjay, you know, you spoke to him, the horror of what he saw in that club.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, look, Erin, he is a veteran. He has seen many things, many mass casualties from natural disasters and even aviation disasters. But this was very, very different. Listen to how he described it to me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. JOSHUA D. STEPHANY, ORANGE COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER: Almost like time stopped. There was things, lights blinking, drinks that just poured, checks about to be paid, food half eaten, and that's not even thinking about bodies on the ground. I mean, just looking around and seeing, it's like time stood still. Like everything was gone, everything stopped.
But when you actually see everyone lying down in one place, down in one place, their final positions, you can feel it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: He made a point of telling me as well, Erin, that families often talk to him. And the number one question they have is do you think my loved one suffered at all. He said he really didn't believe people suffered in part because there was no movement from any of the seats.
[19:55:02] They -- as he described it, they sort of laid down where they were and there was no movement after that. So, a little bit of solace he's trying to provide to families, Erin.
BURNETT: I suppose, given what we are talking about, that is a little bit of solace.
What did he say, Sanjay, about trying to respect the victims, given where they were lying?
GUPTA: Well, you know, it was an incredibly respectful process he was describing. One things most poignant, I guess, is that they took the victims. They also took the shooter back to the M.E.'s office, but the shooter was placed in a different building. And he said, look, this isn't part of a rule or protocol, I just didn't want the shooter to be in the same room as victims, I didn't want him getting autopsy in the same place as victims. So, he was in a separate building.
He went -- this medical examiner went to the autopsy by himself on the shooter, that was a way of showing some respect. Also said the shooter's body has not yet been claimed as of tonight, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Sanjay Gupta, thank you very much.
And we'll be right back.
BURNETT: Thanks as always for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT any time, anywhere on CNN Go. Have good evening.
"AC360" begins right now.