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Interview With U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson; Five Police Officers Killed in Dallas; Black Lives Matter Protest Unfolding Outside White House; Trump Releases Video Statement on Dallas Shooting. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired July 8, 2016 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And absolutely horrific. Hillary Clinton reacts to the ambush on Dallas police, and Donald Trump takes to Twitter to talk about it. What do presumptive Democratic and Republican presidential nominees say needs to be done right now to stop the violence?

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: We're following breaking news.

New details emerging tonight about the deadly ambush on deadly ambush on Dallas police and the gunman investigators say shot and killed five police officers, wounded seven others, the 25-year-old Micah Johnson. People have just revealed that a search of his Dallas-area home turned up bomb-making materials, ballistics vests, ammunition and more.

Johnson is believed to have acted alone. The Dallas police chief says that, during lengthy negotiation, Johnson expressed anger at two fatal police shootings of African-American men this week in Louisiana and Minnesota. The chief also says Johnson was killed by a police bomb robot after options ran out to take him alive.

I spoke about the wave of violence this week, the wave that's left the country reeling right now with the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. She called the Dallas police massacre -- and I'm quoting her now -- "absolutely horrific" also said that white Americans might listen -- must listen, I should say, to the legitimate grievances of black Americans.

We're covering all angles of the breaking news with our guests, including the secretary of homeland security, Jeh Johnson. He's standing by live. And our correspondents and expert analysts, they are also standing by.

First, let's go straight to Dallas.

CNN's Stephanie Elam is on the scene for us.

Stephanie, there's new information about the investigation. What are you learning?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Wolf. They're moving quickly to find out more about the shooter and what they found in his possession.

And they're looking to make sure there was no one else he was working with. But it's pretty clear at this point they do believe Johnson was acting alone.


ELAM (voice-over): Tonight, new details emerging about what is the now deadliest attack on police officers since 9/11, five Dallas police officers killed, seven officers and two civilians wounded during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest, one of many occurring nationwide following the shooting deaths of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota at the hands of police this week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a guy with a long rifle. We don't know where the hell he is at.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slow down. He's in the damn building right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Assist officer. Shots fired. Code three. Stay off the radio. Officer down.

ELAM: Tonight, authorities have identified the shooter as 25-year-old Micah Xavier Johnson, a self-described black militant and former Army Reservist who was deployed to Afghanistan as a carpentry and masonry specialist.

During the search of the suspect's home, detectives found bomb-making material, ballistics vest, rifles, ammunition and a personal journal of combat tactics. The chilling moments captured on cell phone video as the shooter engaged with police.

DAVID BROWN, DALLAS POLICE CHIEF: This was a well-planned, well- thought-out, evil tragedy by these suspects.

ELAM: Police are now revealing what Johnson told negotiators during the lengthy standoff.

BROWN: He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.

ELAM: And explaining the decision to take Johnson down using a robot armed with explosives.

BROWN: We saw no other option but to use our bomb robot and place a device on its extension for it to detonate where the suspect was. Other options would have exposed our officers to great danger.

ELAM: President Obama addressing the issue from Poland.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There has been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement. The police in Dallas were on duty doing their jobs, keeping people safe during peaceful protests.


BLITZER: Mike Rawlings, the mayor of Dallas, is speaking right now. I want to listen in.


MIKE RAWLINGS, MAYOR OF DALLAS, TEXAS: ... in honor of this.

Before we do that, though, I wanted to deliver a little bit of news that I think is relevant, and everybody wants to hear. As many of you know, the police released the confirmation that the deceased suspect was identified as Micah Johnson, black male, 25 years old.


We have been working this case throughout the night and throughout the day. And we believe, given the facts that we have today, that Mr. Johnson, now deceased, was the lone shooter in this incident.

And by piecing together what was happening at the time, after we talked to all of the and interviewed all the officer officers, there was confusion with everybody running around, but this was a mobile shooter that had written manifestos on how to shoot and move, shoot and move, and he did that.

He did his damage. But we did damage to him as well. And we believe now that the city is safe and the suspect is dead, and we can move on to healing.

Part of that healing is to get the support of our great state. I have had mayors from all over the state call me. And the lieutenant governor was here today, attorney general, and now the governor of the state of Texas.

Thank you, Governor Abbott, for being here.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: Absolutely.

Well, Mayor, thank you.

I want to thank you for the leadership that you always show, but also especially the leadership that you provided over the pass 24 hours. You have been a voice of calm, of reason, of the type of leadership that Dallas and Texas needs at this time.

Before coming out here, I had the opportunity to meet not only with the mayor, but also with Chief Brown, who is going back to work and is not out here with us right now. But I also want to express my gratitude to police Chief Brown for his unrelenting resolve in focusing on and resolving this issue as swiftly as possible.

I also want to express the gratitude of the state of Texas for all the first-responders who responded so quickly, so effectively to the urgencies of last night. And I want to express my gratitude to the White House that reached out to contact me. Because of the president's trip, we were unable to make an official connection, but he did want to express his sorrow and grief for the people and law enforcement in Dallas, but also any assistance that he could provide.

Similarly, I want to thank my fellow governors.

Mayor, like you, I have had governors from across the entire country contact me about ways in which they can help and expressing their sorrow for Dallas' loss.

At the same time, I want to express my gratitude for the men and women who are behind me right now. What you are seeing right now is an aggregation of public servants who are coming together in support of the proposition that we stand united behind the people of the city, the people of the state and the law enforcement officials here.

I do want to recognize, from the state side, right behind me is Attorney General Ken Paxton. We have Senators Royce West, Don Huffines, Bob Hall, and Kelly Hancock, Representatives Ken Sheets, Angie Button, Linda Koop, Helen Giddings, Cindy Burkett, Matt Rinaldi, and Rodney Anderson. And I apologize if I missed you. That's the list we have.

But regardless of who is or who is not on the list, it's essential to understand the way that the state of Texas stands united with the city of Dallas. Already, the state of Texas has provided Texas Department of Public Safety officers, Texas Rangers, forensic specialists to aid in the efforts of responding to this challenge.

We need to understand also there will be ongoing challenges. As a result, my office is extending aid and support to the Dallas Police Department for counseling for their officers for issues and challenges that they will be facing for some time.

Now to respond to what has happened in the past 24 hours. The past 24 hours in Dallas has been a veritable tale of two cities. On the one hand, it's been the tale of heroism of police officers. At the same time, it's been a tale of cowardice by an assassin.


We are so proud, even in our mourning today, of the men and women who wear the uniform of the Dallas Police Department, as well as the Dallas Area Rapid Transit for their heroism in the face of remarkable danger, running toward danger to aid those who need it the most, fulfilling their oath to serve and protect and do everything they can to help the citizens of this city.

For every man and woman of the Dallas Police Department, as well as any law enforcement officer in the state of Texas, I want you to know you have the respect of a grateful state, and you have a governor who has your back.

As it concerns the cowardice, it seems as though the sole suspect now has received his justice. And what will be important is to ensure that there are no other potential co-conspirators with this particular assailant.

If there is, they will be sought, they will be found, and they will receive the justice they deserve.

Most importantly today, on this day and in the coming days, the primary message is one word. And that is unity. We need to understand that Texas has its own brand of principles that have helped elevate this state to true exceptionalism.

Texans need to unite behind those very principles that will continue to evaluate Dallas and the state of Texas. One of those principles is respect and reverence for the men and women who wear the uniform. Another is that we, the citizens of this state, need to play our own active role in ensuring safety and security in our communities, as well as justice and prosperity across the state.

When we unite together behind those principles, we will ensure the Texas of tomorrow will be even better than the Texas of today.

Another point is a true Texas trademark, and that is the word resilience. Texans have faced challenge after challenge after challenge for well over a century, and we have always shown our trademark resilience, which is needed now as much as ever in the city of Dallas, as the city and the state in parallel work to respond.

We must summon the ability to respond to this challenge in a way that will make Dallas and Texas even stronger. Texas is a tough state. But just like we have overcome so many challenges in the past, we will overcome this challenge, with the future being even better than the past.

So thank you, Mayor, for the role that you have played. Thanks again to Chief Brown, who could not be with us. Thanks to these men and women who stand behind me, beside me and with me as we work our way forward.

With that, we will be happy to take a few questions.



ABBOTT: Shock, disbelief and an urgency to return to Texas to do everything I could.

What I did is, as soon as I heard about it, I was on the phone constantly, speaking to the mayor, speaking to my staff, assuring that, first and foremost, the state of Texas was going to get on the ground in Dallas, Texas, any and all resources that could assist them without interfering with what local law enforcement was doing.

I'm proud that Texas Rangers, Texas Department of Public Safety officers and others are assisting in this process. But, you know, after the immediate shock, you immediately go into the process of calculating what can we do to help, how can we help resolve this?



ABBOTT: The best thing that we can do as a city and state to heal is two things, one, show that we are not harmed, damaged, or altered by the cowardly attack by someone who does not stand for Texas values and principles.

We, as a people, need to move forward and live our everyday lives, knowing that Texas is going to be greater going forward, unaltered, unaffected by this act of cowardice.

Second is, like what we are showing right this moment, we need to replicate this on an ongoing basis, showing that we as a state, of every people, of every color, of every background, that we unite behind the core principles that make the state of Texas a truly exceptional state.


ABBOTT: I will clarify what I said. I will let the mayor clarify with his more detailed information.

He provided detailed information for you that he can elaborate on. I have no information about any co-conspirators. I just -- as a former law enforcement official and prosecutor, I want to make sure that we button down every corner before we rule out any possible co- conspirators.

And if you recall what the mayor said, which he will echo here, I think, in a second, remember this. We know what the mayor said about the gunman. What we don't know is who, if anybody, may have known what the gunman knew, what he was going to do, may have assisted him in any of his efforts.

And so it's good news that the gunman has been identified, but I think good law enforcement means that we continue down every rabbit trail until they are exhausted, ensuring that we eliminate any other possible suspects or co-conspirators who may have aided this gunman in any way.

RAWLINGS: Well said, and anything I would say would be redundant. That's exactly...


RAWLINGS: Yes, so what was happening, real time, is there were about 20 individuals in ammo gear, in protective equipment, and rifles slung over their shoulder.

When the shooting started, at different angles, they started running. We started catching. And that's when we proceeded to start to interview them. As we have started to unravel this fishing knot, we realized that the shooting came from one building at different levels by this suspect.






RAWLINGS: So, the first question is, no, those are separate charges. And the second is that we don't know at this point. And that's why making sure that we understand this co-conspirator, if there are any, that can give us those insights, is going to be important.


ABBOTT: I think we need to focus on a couple of things. First, we need to focus on our gratitude, our respect, and administration for the role of the law enforcement officers played. They played the role that we hoped law enforcement officers will play, and that is run toward danger to save lives.

We also need to focus on the imperative of unity, that we unite, of all citizens in Dallas, all citizens in the state of Texas, understand very importantly what the mayor described today about the background of the shooter, understand that this should not be used as tool of division, but instead we can use what happened here in Dallas for good.

What I have found personally is that we are all challenged in different ways. And we may not understand the reason for that challenge. But what we can do, we can find purpose in every single challenge that occurs.


I can find purpose in what happened in Dallas, Texas, and one of those purposes is working together for greater unity in Dallas and Texas.


RAWLINGS: We're going to send that. It was sent out earlier in a press release and more details will be coming with that press release, I think, in the next half-hour.


RAWLINGS: Excuse me?


RAWLINGS: They have not, and that's the research they're doing right now.


RAWLINGS: They have. They have.


RAWLINGS: The same automated robot equipment to detonate and defuse bombs was used to place C-4 in place and to detonate that.

This was a man that we gave plenty of options to, to give himself up peacefully, and we spent a lot of time talking. He had a choice to come out and we would not harm him or stay in and we would. He picked the latter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys, we got to go.

ABBOTT: Thank you all.

RAWLINGS: Thank you.


ABBOTT: Thank you.

BLITZER: All right, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, the mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings, wrapping up a news conference.

Headline, that they believe at least for now this individual was the lone shooter. Micah Johnson, he had written a manifesto how to shoot and move. The suspect obviously was killed by that robotic bomb that we just heard about. The city, the mayor says, is now safe. We can move on, although the governor says the investigation into perhaps others who may have been involved one way or another continues.

We're joined now by the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.

Mr. Secretary, thanks very much for much for joining us.

I want to just get your reaction to what we just heard from the governor and the mayor.

JEH JOHNSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Well, first of all, Wolf, thanks for having me on.

Second, I think it's important to stress I just came from Police Plaza here in New York City to stand with the law enforcement community, our police community. I think it's important to stress, in the city of Dallas, in Texas and in places like Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and nationwide that the acts of this gunman last night do not represent the views of all of those who peaceably demonstrate and who are seeking change.

Similarly, the acts of any police officer who engages in excessive force do not represent the law enforcement community in general. The police officer is there to protect and to serve the community. And it's important for the public nationwide to know that, day in and day out, the police officer is there to protect them, to serve them.

We just heard the press conference. It does appear that the gunman was a lone gunman. The question of conspirators has not been fully answered yet. The investigation is still very, very young. It's less than 24 hours. And in the coming days and the coming hours, we're going know a lot more about this individual and the circumstances that caused him to murder police officers.

BLITZER: We got this release from Dallas police saying various federal agencies are deeply involved right now in the investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI, U.S. Marshals, Homeland Security, investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Public Safety.

What is the role, what is your department's role in this investigation right now?

JOHNSON: Well, any event like this, you can count on the federal government working alongside state and local enforcement.

Within the Department of Homeland Security, there's background we can potentially provide about the individual concerning his travel from our Customs and Border Protection Agency, our Immigration Custom Enforcement personnel. Homeland Security investigations could have a separate and distinct role in this to assess whether he's ever been under investigation by any of our components.

And so we're all working effectively and cooperative right now. That's what joint task forces are for. That's what fusion centers are for. And so we receive reports moment by moment, hour by hour. And in the coming days, I expect we will see a lot more of federal, state and local cooperation.

BLITZER: Is there anything else you can tell us, Mr. Secretary, about this shooter, about this killer? We know he served in the U.S. Army Reserves, was on active duty for a year in Afghanistan.


What else can you tell us, if anything?

JOHNSON: He appears to have been a lone gunman. And, at this point, we do not see any connections to any foreign or international terrorist organization or any inspiration from them.

We are going to learn a lot more about this individual in the coming days. But, at the moment, we don't seek any -- we don't see any links to any foreign terrorist organization.

BLITZER: You're in charge of homeland security in the United States, Mr. Secretary. Are police officers across the country safe right now?

JOHNSON: Wolf, I believe that the public in general -- and this is certainly true of public safety officers -- have to be aware, have to be vigilant. We put out a new national terrorism advisory last month that calls for

public vigilance and public awareness. We continue to be concerned about attacks on public places and public events. We do not know the full character of what happened last night, except from his own statements. He had a hatred of white people, according to what we're hearing, and he had a hatred for police officers.

And so we need to be vigilant, see the signs of someone who may be turning toward violence. The public can make a difference. And the law enforcement community, we grieve with them tonight. We mourn with the families. And we need to stand behind our police officers, who are there to protect and serve the community.

BLITZER: What are you doing to make sure that the two party conventions, the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia, the Republican Convention in Cleveland, that police officers, indeed, everyone else, will be safe during those two weeks?

JOHNSON: Good question.

We have been organizing, planning for months, if not years now, for the national political conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia. The Secret Service has a leading role in that, working with state and local law enforcement, working with the city governments in those cities.

And you can expect to see a fair amount of security at both conventions in a well-planned event to keep delegates safe, to keep the public safe. We can expect certainly demonstrations of some sort, of some character. That's not atypical at a political convention.

And the area will be carefully organized. And there will be a fair amount of security. I plan to personally visit Cleveland and Philadelphia in advance of both conventions to inspect it myself. But we have been on this now for quite some time.

BLITZER: A lot of people still fear some sort of act of terror, whether some individual, a lone wolf, as they say, inspired by ISIS or some other terror group or something more coordinated.

How concerned are you about that?

JOHNSON: Wolf, I will repeat what I have been saying now publicly, which is that we face an evolving global terrorist threat, where we have to be concerned about the homegrown violent extremists. That's not a comment on what happened yesterday in Dallas.

But we have to be concerned about the homegrown violent extremists, those who self-radicalize, in direction to terrorist-directed attacks across the world. We're concerned about public places, public events. The public will see increased security at a lot of public places, public events, transit centers.

But, in general, we continue to encourage the public to travel, to associate, to go to summer holiday events, but be aware and be vigilant, Wolf. BLITZER: One final question. I know you have got to run, Mr.


What's your bottom-line message to the American people right now, who are obviously very deeply concerned?

JOHNSON: My bottom-line message tonight is that, just like the murderer who killed five police officers does not represent the broader movement of those who want to see change in certain police practices, the actions of a few police officers that caused people concern do not represent the broader law enforcement community that is there to protect and to serve us.

Violence never works. Violence should never be condoned. It's never sanctioned. It never leads to positive change. This individual was obviously deranged. He had a hatred. He thought he could accomplish something. But I suspect that we will see the Dallas community coming together in light of what happened here.

And so we continue to counsel public awareness and public vigilance. But Americans should know that their law enforcement and homeland security communities are working overtime to keep them safe.

BLITZER: It would be great not only if the Dallas community, but communities all over the country decide to come together right now in the aftermath of this horrific, horrific event.


BLITZER: Jeh Johnson is the secretary of homeland security.

Mr. Secretary, thank you so much for joining us.

[18:30:04] JOHNSON: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: We're going to continue to follow the breaking news. We're getting more information coming into THE SITUATION ROOM. Let's take a quick break. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Protesters gathering. You can see a big crowd in Atlanta right now. Very peaceful demonstrations in Atlanta. We're going to watch this unfold, as well.

We're also standing by to speak to the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott. He's going to be answering our questions momentarily. You just saw him at that news conference. We have more questions for him. We also will be speaking to the president and CEO of the NAACP, Cornell William Brooks.

Just moments ago, Donald Trump released this video on the Dallas shootings. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) [18:35:04] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The shooting of the 12 police officers in Dallas, Texas has shaken the soul of our nation. Just a few weeks ago, I met with many of the men and women in the Dallas police force during my visit to Texas. They're not just police officers. They're mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters. And they're all on my mind today. They're on everybody's mind.

A brutal on our police force is an attack on our country and an attack on our families. We must stand in solidarity with law enforcement, which we must remember is the force between civilization and total chaos. Every American has the right to live in safety and peace.

The deaths of Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota also make clear how much more work we have to do to make every American feel that their safety is protected.

Too many Americans are living in terrible poverty and violence. We need jobs, and we're going to produce those jobs. Racial divisions have gotten worse, not better. Too many headlines flash across our screens every day about the rising crime and rising death tolls in our cities.

Now is the time for prayers, love, unity and leadership. Our children deserve a better future than what we're making them live through today. But to get them there, we must work together and stand together. We will make America safe again.


BLITZER: Strong statement from Donald Trump, the Republican presumptive presidential nominee, on that video just released.

David Chalian is with us, our CNN political director. You listen carefully, he seemed to be hitting all the right notes in that -- in that statement.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, I think you're hearing Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump try to accomplish similar things here today, which is speak to both the need for the police to be protected, to do their job to protect the rest of us; and understanding the anguish that people are going through, specifically in the African- American community in terms of police-community relations and these young men getting killed.

So he addressed both. He didn't sort of put his thumb on one side or the other there; say this group is right or that group is wrong. He didn't pit a group against each other. He clearly tried to thread the needle. It's a -- it's a video release. You know, he's not taking questions on it or going into detail about what his plans would be to do it, but that can come in the days to come.

This is basically going on camera and giving the statement that he had given as a written statement earlier today. But you said, he's sort of hitting every note in what he's saying.

BLITZER: Very strong, measured statement from the Republican presumptive nominee. David, stand by.

The governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, is joining us right now. Governor, thank you so much for joining us. How are you doing right now in the aftermath of this horrific massacre?

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: Well, listen, Wolf, this obviously is shocking. It's shocking to the people of Dallas and to the state of Texas. But listen, we are a very resilient state, and Dallas is a very resilient town. We've been through challenges before and have come out very successfully.

This is a challenge. But you will see in the coming day, weeks and years that Texas and Dallas are going to come out stronger. We view this as an opportunity to sow seeds of unison here in the state of Texas to address challenges, overcome those challenges, and make this state even better.

BLITZER: Can you give us an update, Governor, on the conditions of the seven police officers and the two civilians who were injured, who were rushed to hospital?

ABBOTT: Wolf, I'll tell you this, and I really shouldn't be giving speculation. I'm telling you what I was told. And that is that everybody who was in the hospital has been released. That is hearsay that I've heard, and so take it for what that is worth. But reportedly, right before I came in, I was told that everyone who had been in the hospital is now out of the hospital. Don't take it as fact. Just take it as a hearsay statement.

BLITZER: Well, that's good news. Let's hope it's true. We're praying for all of them, of course.

We're learning more, Governor, about this shooter, Micah Johnson. He served in the U.S. Army Reserves. He was on active duty in Afghanistan for a year. He had no criminal record, no known ties to terror. We just heard that from the secretary of homeland security. What else can you tell us about him and his possible motives in killing all these police officers?

ABBOTT: Right. This was new information that was revealed at this press conference today that the mayor of Dallas shared with me moments before the news conference. I spoke with both the mayor as well as the police chief.

And reportedly the shooter had a, quote, "manifesto" that detailed at some length about what his plans were, what his mental design and approach was toward this. And so I think this had been fairly well thought out. I think it almost opens as many questions as it answers.

Who, if anybody, was involved with him in the creation of this manifesto and hearing of his plans and carrying out his plans. And so what I think what this does is, for one, it alters the narrative a little bit behind the motives behind the shooter as a very troubled individual who had anger on his mind, that he really wanted to take out almost along the lines of a Charles Whitman, who shot from the U.T. tower decades ago. But we'll learn more as we investigate more over the coming days. So

I think the bottom line of what this shows is that no one can really jump to any conclusions right now, because we're only, at best, halfway through the analysis, to be able to determine precisely who all was involved in this. What was the motive behind it and was the motive either one of rationality or was it someone who was truly mentally deranged.

BLITZER: And it's still, as you point out, an open question whether he had any accomplices, any assistance, anyone else may have inspired him to do this criminal act. Is that right?

ABBOTT: I think it's fair to say, as a law enforcement person, I would say you always want to keep it open as long as you can to see if there were any accomplices to the crime.

Right now we have no leads or other information that anybody other than the shooter, who is now deceased, was the sole architect of this plan. That being said, what law enforcement must do in the coming days is to run down every possible trail to find out if anybody else had any level of involvement in this particular crime.

BLITZER: One final question, Governor, before I let you go. This written manifesto, as the mayor pointed out, that you found. I assume it's a lengthy document. He said it was a manifesto, how to shoot and move. What else can you tell us about this document?

ABBOTT: Pretty much everything the mayor said earlier about this manifesto is all that I'm aware of. And it will be something that we dig into, as well as other papers, documents, computer records that will shed more light on both the manifesto, as well as the thought process behind this, as well as whether or not the man was truly mentally deranged or what set him off to cause him to create such a horrific crime.

BLITZER: Greg Abbott is the governor of Texas. Our hearts go out to all the people in Texas. Our deepest condolences to the families. Governor, thank you so much for joining us.

ABBOTT: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Let's get some more now on the breaking news. The president and CEO of the NAACP, Cornell William Brooks, is joining us. Cornell, you've been talking to us every day. First of all, what's your message right now to the people of Dallas?

CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS, PRESIDENT/CEO, NAACP: My message to the people of Dallas is that the NAACP grieves with our fellow citizens. Just as it was horrific for nine students of scripture to lose their lives in the church of Charleston as a consequence of a rationally motivated assassin, it is wrong for five police officers to lose their lives at the hands of racially motivated assassin. Racial violence, racist violence never solves anything.

And so we grieve with them. We grieve with those families. And we now this: that those police officers died beside people peacefully protesting against police misconduct. That speaks to their character. That speaks to the character of the protesters. It speaks to the character of our Constitution, and it speaks to the character of our country. That is a point that should not be missed.

This is a moment for us to come together; to come together across schisms and fault lines and fissures of race and region and religion. But it is a moment for us to come together and appreciate who we are as Americans and double down against injustice, even in the midst of our grief.

I knew this. We have people within the ranks of the NAACP who grieve for the 500 people who lost their lives in police custody this year but who also understand profoundly, profoundly that police officers want to go home at the end of the shift. They have families. They have loved ones. And so we stand in opposition to violence of any sort and, certainly, any form of racial hatred.

[18:45:04] We've done that as the NAACP for 100 years. More than 100 years.

BLITZER: Cornell, when you heard of the police chief in Dallas, David Brown, tell us that in negotiations that when they were talking to this killer, they -- he said his goal was to kill white people, as many white people as possible, especially to kill white police officers.

What was your reaction? What went through your mind when you heard the police chief say that?

BROOKS: It's very sad. Very, a moment of grief. In the same way that the heart coils, the conscience is repulsed by black lives being demeaned, being dehumanized, cheapened in terms of violence in this country. We feel that way about people who are white, people who are Jewish, people who are Catholic, people of any hue and heritage.

And so, to have someone so racially deranged as to see white people as the object of his hatred and white police officers categorically, generically, stereotypically speaking is repulsive, is repugnant. It runs against everything that we stand for American, surely everything we stand for as NAACP, and certainly everything -- any person of conscience in this country stands for and those of us who take up arms, I should say, take up the fight against injustice day in and day out across this country.

BLITZER: You know you and I have had this conversation before, I know you. I know your family. I know your sons. I know you're in Baton Rouge right now where we had the horrific incident earlier in the week. A black man was killed by police officers. Another black man was killed in Minnesota by police officers. The governor of Minnesota said if the individuals in that car had been white, the black man would not have been killed.

What's the conversation you're having with your sons right now about this overall situation?

BROOKS: The conversation I'm having with my sons is the same conversation I've had here in Baton Rouge and the conversation I look to have as I head to Minnesota. Namely this, Mr. Castile, Mr. Sterling, Ms. Bland, all of those who lost their lives at the hands of police misconduct and police brutality have value. They're human beings and our humanity is not diminished by our degree of pigmentation. It's not diminished by our nationality or our ethnicity.

I say to people day in and day out that Americans who have black skin, that skin does not represent a robe, I should say, a cloak of suspicion and white skin does not represent a robe, if you will, of respectability. We at the end of the day are human beings with all the same frailties and virtues as any other human beings.

So, I say to children all across the country, that we have to value ourselves. But be clear, that means more than slogans, more than sound bites. It means sound legislation. It means we go to the polls and vote in way that protects our communities and demands policing that responds to our needs as a community. It means very clearly, passing the End Racial Profiling Act, the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act. It means establishing a national standard for excessive use of force.

And so, when we speak to our children, we have to speak to them in terms of compassion, speak from the heart but we also have to speak to them presupposing they want real reform and that their lives are so important that we act as though they matter and that means they matter in terms of legislation. They matter in terms of reform. They matter in terms of the way we police our communities. We can't give our children words. We have to give them actions and example.

BLITZER: Cornell William Brooks is the president and CEO of the NAACP -- Cornell, thanks so much for joining us.

BROOKS: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: We've been showing our viewers live pictures. These are Black Live Matters protesters outside the White House now. We'll stay on top of this.

Other demonstrations going on in Atlanta right now.

Let's take a quick break. We'll be right back.


[18:54:20] BLITZER: Let's get some more in the breaking news. These are demonstrators outside the White House right now.

Rene Marsh is outside the White House with them.

Rene, tell us what's going on over there.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we know that this group of roughly 200, 150 people outside of the White House, they're kind of all standing around here. They were at the Department of Justice. That's where they started and they made their way here to the White House right now where the group has assembled.

It's unclear at this point exactly where they're headed to next, but the message is very clear. I spoke to a couple of people in the crowd here and they say they're just fed up. They're fed up of continuing to read these names, individuals killed at the hands of police officers.

[18:55:07] I spoke with one young woman who says she's out here because she's simply a frustrated black woman. That's kind of what I've been hearing continuously from all of the people out here chanting things like "Black Lives Matter." "Justice now"

Wolf, you could tell emotions are pretty high here outside of the White House. Back to you.

BLITZER: All right. Rene, thanks very much.

Let's get some more in the breaking news. Civil rights activist DeRay McKesson is joining us, the St. Louis County community activist John Gaskin is with us. The criminal defense attorney and our legal analyst Joey Jackson, and former FBI assistant director, CNN senior law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes is with us.

DeRay, how does the black lives matter movement engage now with law enforcement during a moment, a sensitive moment like this?

DERAY MCKESSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: So, remember that the movement began focused on ending violence and that commitment remains the same. The protest was over in Dallas when the lone shooter started shooting and Secretary Johnson was really clear that this was a lone shooter that had no ties to any other groups, specifically any of the protesters who were out there demonstrating.

So, the focus of the movement remains clear that we know that the officers chose to kill the two people, one in Louisiana and one in Minnesota and that wasn't okay, and we are focused on making sure that we have structural changes to end police violence.

BLITZER: John Gaskin, do you worry that the targeted killing of these police officers will make it more difficult to improve the interactions between the law enforcement community and the African- American community?

JOHN GASKIN, ST. LOUIS COUNTY COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: First off, my heart goes out to the law enforcement officers that were killed and both injured in Dallas. I'm not fearful of that as DeRay so eloquently mentioned. It is so critical that activists and community leaders separate their message from that sort of hate because those sorts of actions solve nothing in our community. They only divide us and create further tension within the community.

And I believe that this weekend people will remain peaceful as well as continue to make their message known and continue to make their demands clear within the community in terms of getting fair, community policing within their communities. BLITZER: All right. Well said. Tom Fuentes, you know, it was

unusual that after the negotiations failed, the police sent a robot with an explosive device, a bomb close to this individual or shooter to kill him and that's a pretty extraordinary move.

TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, it was extraordinary, but if you look at the circumstances it seems that the negotiators were telling Chief Brown this is over. We're not going to be able to get him to surrender and the SWAT leader will say, if we assault him, we will probably have more casualties, more officers possibly killed.

So, he showed a tremendous amount of respect for the lives of his officers by using that robot in a way that no further loss of life would occur, except the person who brought it on himself.

BLITZER: Joey, as we all know, the killer in this case is dead, but police say he did provide them for should reasons for the shooting during the standoff last night, according to the Dallas police chief. Micah Johnson said he was upset about the recent police shootings and wanted to kill white police officers and white people in general.

How do investigators dig deeper right now into the motive of this dead suspect?

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, Wolf, what they'll do and apparently there was a manifesto, as well, a manifesto of hate detailing his grievances against all of humanity.

But remember, every one of us leaves a blueprint in life? Who are we? What's your background? Who are your associates? What do you daily? What do you confer to those associates? What is your social media blueprint? What do you say? Who do you communicate with? What are the nature of those communications?

And so, I think when they delve into that, they're going to get a sense of who he is, what he was about and what his motivations were even in the absence of himself because he's dead.

BLITZER: DeRay, do you see hopeful change on the horizon?

MCKESSON: Yes. We know change often comes slower than we wanted to, but there was real progress. I would love for Obama to have a national use of force standard. We know that could be a powerful lever, to make sure police are held accountable.

And importantly, activists all across the country continue to press at the local policies, to change laws, policies, and practices so I remain hopeful. And you see people in the streets because they believe and they know that the government can be better and do better than it is today.

BLITZER: All right. And one final thought from you, John Gaskin, are you hopeful?

GASKIN: I am very much so hopeful. You know, I thought we'd be along in terms of progress. A whole lot more versus two years ago when we saw Michael Brown slain in Ferguson, but I still remain hopeful. I remain hopeful because people have continued to take their message to the streets, do it peacefully.

But most of all, I'm calling upon Congress, the same courageous individuals that took to the floor Congress a couple of weeks ago, calling for gun reform. I'm asking for that same sort of tenacity and effort to be done with bringing about quality --

BLITZER: We just lost you. We just ran out of time, as well.

I want to thank all of our guests. That's it for me.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.