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New Details on Ft. Lauderdale Investigation, Shooter; Broward County Mayor Talks Ft. Lauderdale Shooting; FL Governor Rick Scott Holds Press Conference; Trump Causes Friction Downplaying Russia Role in Hacking; Chicago Neighbors React to 4 Charged with Torturing Special Needs Teen; Michelle Obama Gives Emotional Speech. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired January 7, 2017 - 13:00   ET



[13:00:54] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right, we are now getting details into the investigation into Friday's shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale airport. Two victims were shot in the head. Meanwhile, Authorities say they have concluded their investigation of Esteban Santiago and the 26-year-old army vet was taken into custody after pulling a gun from his checked luggage and firing into the baggage claim area. Five were killed. Six others injured. And there are -- they rather are in three rather are in critical, but stable condition. Although the airport has reopened today that investigation is really just beginning. The FBI saying they are not ruling out terrorism.


GEORGE PIRO, FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: We have not ruled out anything. We continue to look at all avenues and all motives for this horrific attack. And at this point, we are continuing to look at the terrorism angle in regards to the potential motivation behind this attack.


WHITFIELD: And the more we learn about Santiago, the more red flags emerge about his troubled past and possible mental health issues. He'll make his first court appearance Monday.

Let's go to Rachel Crane in Ft. Lauderdale.

Rachel, what more are you learning about the direction of this investigation?

RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, law enforcement officials wrapped up a press conference about hour ago, and they said that they have concluded their crimes processing the crime scene here at terminal two, that they've handed it back over to airport officials. They also said they have concluded their interview with Santiago.

They said he was, in fact, cooperative and the interview took several hours and that he is now in county jail.

They did not give the make or model of the gun. But they did give more details about the weapon. Take a listen.


PIRO: He used a semiauto handgun. It was a .9 millimeter. We're not ready to release the make of the handgun. And every indication is that he did follow TSA procedures in checking in the weapon.


CRANE: Now, one of the major questions for law enforcement officials is motive. Why would he do something so horrific. They're not ruling anything out, including terrorism.

Now, the FBI says they do not know why Santiago chose this specific airport. But they do believe that he came here to carry out this attack.

In order to piece together this investigation, they've talked to 175 witnesses. They've gathered physical evidence, video surveillance. They've spoken to several members of his family, including his aunt, who they spoke to yesterday. Now, CNN spoke with her today and she described that Santiago changed when he came back from a 2011 tour in Iraq. She said, "He had visions all the time. His mind was not right. He seemed normal at times, but other times, he seemed. He changed."

Now, here at the airport, it is far from that scene that we saw last night with thousands of people waiting on the tarmac. It's pretty much business as usual, although we have seen very long lines throughout the morning. The sheriff said earlier that they're operating about 85 percent of their operations.

During the press conference, they also spoke about the challenge of returning some 20,000 bags and personal items left during the investigation -- Fred?

WHITFIELD: Rachel Crane, at Ft. Lauderdale at the airport, thank you so much.

And more details now on the shooter. According to multiple law enforcement officials, Esteban Santiago was armed when he went into the FBI offices back in Anchorage in November and, at that time, he told the feds he was hearing voices.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz joining us now with more.

Shimon, what more can you tell us?

[13:05:09] SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN PRODUCER: Well, as the FBI has gone back and looked at what contact they may have had with the alleged shooter, they found that, as we know, he visited a FBI field office in early November. During that time, when he came to the office, he was armed. He did have a gun. Sources believe it's the same gun he used at this shooting. When he came to the office, he told the staff why he was there and sort of told them, hey, I have a license for a weapon and I have the weapon on me. During their conversation, this is when he told the FBI agents he was hearing voices, that he felt the intelligence agencies were making him watch ISIS videos. The staff took the weapon from him. The agents then took it and gave it to the local police, who turned it over -- who kept it. The local police took it. They took the alleged shooter to the hospital where he would receive some sort of psychiatric treatment. And he was held there for about 72 hour

And then when he was released, the police in Anchorage gave him back the weapon. They gave him back the gun. There really was no reason for them to keep it. There really was no reason for them to take the gun away from him. He had a legal right the gun. And this is sort of the explanation we're getting from U.S. official, from law enforcement officials that we've been talking about.

But, Fredricka this is certainly going to raise some questions because why weren't some red flags, why didn't someone tell someone? This guy, who may have had had, at that time, some sort of mental issue -- it's clearly now coming out that he may have been suffering from PTSD -- why was he allowed to hold on to these weapons. And now, we see what happens. And they do believe it is the same weapon they confiscated from him and then gave it back to him, is the weapon used to do the shooting.

WHITFIELD: And we don't know any record, hasn't been revealed any kind of diagnosis. We talked to a mental health expert earlier who works with vets and he talked about this not looking like PTSD to him but a form of schizophrenia. But what we know, based on accounts from his aunt, even to those officials at the FBI, something was awry. His behavior was unusual, and they weren't quite sure. And no one really anticipated something like this from happening.

So, Shimon Prokupecz, thank you so much for that information.

Meantime, you're looking at the bottom of your screen there, that is a live location there in Ft. Lauderdale airport. We understand the Florida -- right now, you're looking at images from yesterday. But in the small boxed area, and now you see these live microphones there in place for Governor Rick Scott to update us on the investigation there in Ft. Lauderdale. When that happen, we'll take that to you.

Also, the mayor of Broward County, or a mayor in Broward County, joining me with how they are managing in the aftermath, after this.


[13:11:59] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Live pictures now outside the Broward Health Medical Center where, at any moment, Florida Governor Rick Scott will be coming out to give us an address, updating us on the latest on the Ft. Lauderdale shooting yesterday. We'll bring that to you, live, as it happens. Meantime, let's talk more about all that transpired there in Ft.

Lauderdale, the horrific shooting in the baggage claim area of that Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport. Five people killed, six injured.

The mayor of Broward County, Barbara Sharief, is joining me on the phone.

So, Mayor Sharief, this is a very important airport -- all of them are -- but this one, particularly, is a big transit area. You've got cruise ships that will be loading up passengers today, many of them coming through there. We understand many don't have their I.D.s because they were left at the airport with so much going on. In what way are you able to facilitate the many needs, including the needs of family members of those who have lost family members or there remain many who are injured?

BARBARA SHARIEF, (D), MAYOR, BROWARD COUNTY (voice-over): Well, thank you. First off, I would like to say Broward County, the board of commissioners and all of our community really just want to make sure that our thoughts prayers are with victim at this point in time.

As we processed the scene yesterday, initially, there were estimates that is there were a low number of baggage items left in terminals. As of last night, we've elected 25,000 pieces of personal items and luggage that will need to be returned to the passengers and people who left it in the airport.

We have a toll-free number they can call to retrieve their items. 866-435-9355. Again, 866-435-9355.

It's crucial, in order to unite them as quickly as possible with their belongings, we need to know where they left it because in the pandemonium yesterday, people left things everywhere. And so, that's pretty much what we're dealing with today.

The other question that we raised in regards to them not having their identification to travel, those passengers needing identification, they will be met by the S.O. at one of the terminals. They need to get there an hour early so they can be processed and their items returned to them. So, if they have identification in their bags, there will be a bag check with an BSO officer and then that item will be reunited with that passenger and they can move on.

WHITFIELD: We put that 866 number up to assist our viewers in any way, retrieving their bags, identifying bags, I.D.s et cetera.

So, Mayor, what is your greatest need right now in trying to pacify, assist, comfort people who may have been directly or indirectly impacted by what happened?

[13:15:20] SHARIEF: Right now, it's not just our passenger, but it's our staff, our employees, who have been working tirelessly around the clock as the people went into that terminal and witnessed that horrific aftermath. And so, we are giving Red Cross assistance as well as psychological, mental health counseling assistance throughout Broward community services.

What we're asking for right now is that members of the community who want to assist us and help in that effort, they can call that same 1- 866 number and we are more than happy and willing to take the help and assistance. As I said, there were thousands of passengers displaced yesterday. The initial estimate was --


WHITFIELD: So, Mayor, sorry, I'm going to have to interrupt because we have to go to this press conference now with Florida Governor Rick Scott.

RICK SCOTT, (R), FLORIDA GOVERNOR: -- over the district but came back to just, basically -- first off, probably, the most important thing is thank everybody that we're seeing here, these patients.


SCOTT: Broward Health did an outstanding job. They have wonderful nurses and doctors. And they're very committed to taking care of these patients. Every patient or family member I talked to was very appreciative of the hard work of the employees here at Broward Health.

You know, unfortunately talking to family that lost a loved one, you can't imagine what they're going through right now. Wake up thinking it's going to be another wonderful day in their lives and then lose a loved one. I talked to a family that this hospital provided outstanding surgery and they feel comfortable they'll get back to normal. But they're going through the issue that they have jobs, and who is going to take care of their loved one that's injured. So, but -- I know there's a lot of wonderful people trying to take care of everyone.

I asked the -- I directed the Department of Highway Safety -- one thing I thought about today was how do we get all of these passengers in a better position, so I asked highway safety to come up, go to the airport and to the port -- a lot of people going on cruises -- to get up there to see if they can help people get I.D.s, both in this state and other states. We asked consulate generals to come in to help people get passports. It was difficult to get on here, it's hard to get on the cruise ship without I.D. and to travel without any idea. So, we're just trying to do everything we can to be helpful. I talked to Red Cross to see what they can do. A lot of people don't have their luggage and it's going take a while.

The most important thing is just what can do to be helpful. Make sure no unmet need, talking to the sheriff, the airports, I don't know of any of them that needs -- I don't know if Mark, if you want to talk about anything?

MARK SPRADA, CEO, BROWARD HEALTH: My name is Mark Sprada, and I'm the CEO here at this hospital.

We thank the governor and all the state agencies for their support at that difficult time. We're very proud of the performance of our trauma surgeons and staff.

It was like an organized symphony. We didn't miss a hiccup and they accommodated the shooting victims and nearly 30 medical patients that came from the airport. We're very proud to serve this community and extremely proud of all of our care givers.


SPRADA: Sir, we are a level-one trauma center and teaching hospital. We recognize the importance of serving our community, so we train for this. It's what we do. It's like clockwork. And again, very, very proud of our staff.


SPRADA: Certainly, as you know, there's privacy law, but we have six shooting victims. They range in terms of their prognosis, but they're being supported by their loved ones and TAF members. And everyone who came through our doors has their life today. And we're making sure that they enjoy the gift of life.


[13:20:07] SPRADA: Sounds correct.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you expect any releases today?

SPRADA: We expect one release today.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Governor, when you talk to the people who were impacted by being shot, being traumatized, can you talk to us about that in terms of what it was like?

SCOTT: I talked to families after Pulse, and we lost -- we had 49 people lost their lives there. And I talked to those families, their stories, and we visit the hospitals, like we did here, and listen to their stories.

Mostly, what you think about is the positive stories. I had one that told Johnny Damon that he could outrun him, even though he had three bullets in him. So, there are some positive stories.

But I'll tell you, when you talk to that have been impacted, they're appreciative of the care they're getting. The people here, the care givers here are outstanding. They're very appreciative of the care.

Now, if you lost somebody, it's just traumatic. It is just totally out of context. You know, you might have been going on vacation and then this happened, and it's just you never in your wildest dreams thought this would happen to you. And you know, if anybody lost a loved one - and I lost my mom four years ago, and I still wake up thinking I need to call my mom. So, they're just starting this process. They're just in shock.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) psychologically, getting that, what do you want them to know? (INAUDIBLE) SCOTT: Well, Florida's blessed. We have wonderful law enforcement. We're in a 45-year low crime rate. We're going to have 110,000 to 115,000 visitors here. People love to come to our state. Almost 400,000 people moved here. People will love our state. And part of it is because we love each other. We try to care for each other.

I was walking through the airport today, and one guy came up to me and gave me the names of a couple of people that I should make sure I reached out to and thanked, that worked at one of the airlines, because they were wonderful. He said, if I got their names, I could tell you a lot more stories.

This is a tragedy, right? Just horrible. People lost their lives, their loved ones. We have people still injured, but we have a lot of wonderful people doing a lot of nice things for each other.


SCOTT: They might have come back from a vacation and lived here. This is a big -- you know, this is the time of year that everybody's coming to Florida, right? And so, if you stop and think about it, what happened to these individuals is out of their wildest -- they just never would have imagined. And they're like a lot of us. You wake up and think, you know, you're either coming back from vacation and are exhausted, but had fun, or going on vacation, and you're so happy. So, to have this happen to them. But they're positive. They're appreciative. And anything -- you go through this, I would assume -- it's never happened to me and my family, but you're appreciative of life, that you have it. So, but people are very, very, very appreciative of the care they're getting here at Broward Health.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks, everyone.

SCOTT: Thanks, everyone. Thanks. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, Florida Governor Rick Scott there talking about the -- really the gratification, the level of appreciation for so many people coming together, working together in such tragedy. At the same time, he says measures are being put into place to help people get their I.D.s. Many people coming in to get on cruise ships, many will be leaving ports today, he says there will be measures put in place to help facilitate that. And one bit of news from the hospital there, the Broward Health Medical Center, one patient, one of the six patients, will be released today.

We'll have much more right after this.


[13:28:19] WHITFIELD: We're following the latest details into the deadly shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale airport.

And also, we're talking and keeping a close eye on politics. Donald Trump continues to downplay Russian meddling in the U.S. election, even though an intel report blames Russia for hacking Democratic Party groups and individuals. That report says with "high confidence" those hacking efforts were ordered directly by Russian President Vladimir Putin and that Putin's goal was to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump. Trump, instead, casting blame on the Democratic National Committee for allowing the hack. His partisan stance causing friction with Democrats and Republicans and the intelligence community.

Joining me now to discuss is Jamil Jaffer. He is a former chief counsel and senior advisor on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and he is an adjunct law professor at George Mason University where he teaches classes on counterterrorism, intelligence and national security matters.

Thanks so much for getting out in the snow there in Washington, D.C.


WHITFIELD: So, Jamil, what is your reaction to Trump downplaying Russia's role or the impact of the election. He tweeted out his response this morning, even placing blame that the DNC didn't do enough to protect itself.

JAFFER: I think President-elect Trump is right that companies and organizations like the DNC have to protect themselves better in a world in which nation states are coming after us in cyber space. No question he's right about that.

Now, on the question of Russia's involvement, it's clear from the intelligence community's report that they've got credible evidence that Vladimir Putin ordered an influence operation.

[13:30:00] This isn't the first time the Russians have come after U.S. elections. They did it in the Cold War. they're doing it again here. The real question is, what do you make of all of it.

WHITFIELD: And how do you use this to best serve you, particularly since he'll be sworn in as president in just a matter of days.

So here is what former CIA Director Leon Panetta says about the impact of a president-elect questioning intelligence.


LEON PANETTA, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: It's impacted on the credibility and impacted on the morale of the men and women who served in our intelligence community. When the quality of that intelligence is questioned, it begins to undermine the relationship between the president and the intelligence communities.


WHITFIELD: Do you agree with Leon Panetta -

JAFFER: yeah, I totally --

WHITFIELD: -- it undermines the relationship?

JAFFER: I totally agree with Director Panetta. He's completely correct that when you question the motivations and the intelligence the intelligence community is providing, you're undermining morale and faith in the system. That's not good for the country.

Now, at the end of the day, though, you can't expect that President Trump is going to say, yes, I agree that Russian's influenced the election and they got me elected. If anybody expects that, they're going to be waiting a long time. That --

WHITFIELD: Is that what he needed to say? Is it really move on from election day and now move on to the future, you know, of this nation and how this potentially jeopardizes by acknowledging this intel of Russia's meddling?

JAFFER: That's a great point. Russia's been a bad actor for a long time. There are activities in Ukraine. Against where they appear to help -- are after the people that we support. Now they're after our election. This is not good activity. And while Trump may want to create a better election, he's got to understand what's going on.

WHITFIELD: Jamil Jaffer, thank you so much.

JAFFER: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Coming up, a horrific crime broadcast live on Facebook. A special needs teen bound and beaten. Four people now facing charges, but can prosecutors prove it was a hate crime? Our legal panel weighing in next.


[13:35:45] WHITFIELD: Four people charged with torturing a special needs teenager will stay in jail. A judge denied them bond. The suspects face several charges, including hate crimes.

Rosa Flores went back to the neighborhood in Chicago where this happened and talked to people who live there.


ALONZA THORNTON, CHICAGO RESIDENT: It was kind of shocking to know it was here.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alonza Thornton says his grandmother lives in the same building where this shocking video was broadcast on Facebook live Tuesday --


FLORES: -- showing a white teenage victim with mental health issues being abused by four black individuals.

THORNTON: Heard about it, word of mouth, that it was in the area and actually coming here today knowing that it was here, it's appalling.

FLORES: The suspects face a slew of charges, including aggravated kidnapping, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and hate crime. The judge denied the suspect's bond scolded them in open court saying, "I'm wondering where was the sense of decency that each of you should have had."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're sorry this happened to the family.

FLORES: One family member of the two female suspects, who are sisters, apologized outside court. Inside, the suspects showing no emotion, even when prosecutors described their alleged every move in open court, from suspect, Jordan Hill, picking up the victim as this McDonald's in a Chicago northwest suburb on New Year's Eve to Hill allegedly beating the victim before these cameras started rolling.



FLORES: Once they did, according to prosecutors, Hill even asked for ransom.

ERIN ANTONIETTI, ASSISTANT STATE'S ATTOREY: The defendant held communiques with the victim's mother and demanded $300 ransom in exchange for getting her son back.

FLORES: When a neighbor called police, that's when prosecutors say the victim got a window of time to escape.

(on camera): Neighbors tell us this is the house where the abuse happened. They also pointed out. on the same night, there was a separate fight. the blood from that fight still remains.

(voice-over): A tough neighborhood in a city that is no stranger to violence.

And now, a call for justice for a teen who police say is still traumatized by the torture he endured.

(on camera): As for the victim, I spoke to the family spokesperson and he tells me that the victim is with his family and they're asking for privacy and prayers.

Rosa Flores, CNN, Chicago.


WHITFIELD: Let's bring in our legal guys on this case. Avery Freeman is a civil rights attorney and law professor in Cleveland. And we don't see him. He's on the phone. Good. And Richard Herman is here.



A New York criminal attorney and law professor joining us from Las Vegas.

And you guys are always here, no matter what the technical difficulty. You make it happen.

AVERY: 16 years, Fred.

WHITFIELD: I know. It's been a beautiful --


A beautiful trio. 16 years. That's good.

HERMAN: And you're only 29. That's amazing.

WHITFIELD: That's right.


So, this case is so disturbing, aggravated kidnapping, hate crimes being considered, Richard. I wonder if there's a whole other direction this case could go because it was live streamed. It happened on Facebook. Are prosecutors finished with trying to lay out what kind of case they're trying to build here?

HERMAN: Well, you know, in our social media age, now, criminals just video their crimes and live stream it. It's incredible. It's incomprehensible. That for 30 minutes, Facebook didn't shut it down or complaints weren't coming in about this or reports were being made.

But, look, this is a reprehensible behavior by four people, three 18- year-old, one 25-year-old. They're all going to prison. They're charged with heavy felonies. But the most important one, that battery with a deadly weapon, brings 15 years. And the reason they're bringing hate crimes is because of the mental condition of the victim. And what that hate crime statue does, it could bring you zero to three years, but it enhances the sentencing of the other felonies. So, that's why they're doing that. They're going to send a clear message this behavior is not going to be tolerated ever again.

[13:40:17] WHITFIELD: It is so heartbreaking. So many lives here ruined and impacted.

So, Avery, Illinois hate crime law says that the crime committed, if the offender launches an attack by reason of a person's race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality or physical or mental disability. And is what is said on this tape in conjunction with the behavior of these individuals that will help, I guess you know, constitute whether, indeed, it is a hate crime?

FREEMANR: Oh, yeah. This is exactly why Illinois and 46 other states have enacted laws like this. The importance is, of course, in this sentencing. The lawyers defending these four in this barbaric behavior are going to do their best to try and get some kind of plea. The difficulty if I'm prosecuting this case, how often -- you're hoping criminals are stupid. This is beyond one's imagination. People are posting and streaming this live. So you are essentially handing a sentencing judge the book. And that's what's going to happen here because the hate crime part of it is going to add three to five to felonies, which appear on video. I don't know what possible defense could be constructed here.

HERMAN: It's worse than that, Avery. It's if there's a conviction on the hate crime, and that they get sentenced for the aggravated battery, that battery sentence will be enhanced further by the judge.


FREEMAN: I understand that, sure.


WHITFIELD: Go ahead. Sorry, Avery.


FREEMAN: I think the importance is hate crime legislation, there's federal, most of the states have them, is essentially for the enhancement, so if you start picking on people because of what color they are, there's a consequence --


FREEMAN: -- that is extremely severe. That's where I predict it's going.

WHITFIELD: Richard, we're really talking on the state level with that hate crime. What about on the federal level? Do you think this case rises to that?

HERMAN: Probably could, Fred. There were several federal statutes violated here. I think the feds are going to sit back, let the state handle this.

But I would be remiss, Fred, as a criminal defense attorney, not to mention two things. As we always say in the defense case, there's two sides to the coin. These people knew him. They didn't -- this was not an abrupt situation. They knew him. They had a situation with him. And they said they tied him up. Well, he walked out of there.

So, look, there's going to be convictions here. But I'm saying there's a little more to it than just this video we saw.

WHITFIELD: Richard, Avery, thank you so much. Very troublesome case. Appreciate it.

FREEMAN: Absolutely.

WHITFIELD: Always love your expertise. Appreciate it. Happy New Year.

FREEMAN: You, too.

HERMAN: Happy New Year.

WHITFIELD: Coming up, First Lady Michelle Obama bidding an emotional farewell to high school counselors at the White House.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Lead by example with hope, never fear. And know that I will be with you, rooting for you and working to support you for the rest of my life.


WHITFIELD: Her contributions and the legacy Michelle Obama leaves, next.

But first, 2016 was likely a record year for business travel.

Vanessa Yurkevich has more on this week's "CNN Money Away."


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dallas is known as the convention city. Four million people travel here for business every year, including me. But on this business trip, I'm determined not to leave without a true Texas experience.

I'm Vanessa Yurkevich.

CHRIS MOODY, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And I'm Chris Moody.

We travel a ton for work, and so do you.

YURKEVICH: But you can still get in a bit of adventure before you have to hop back on the plane.

Before check out, a quick tip. Hotel status means bigger perks. You can get there quicker by doing a whole health status challenge. Get to gold or platinum by staying a set amount of nights in just a couple of weeks or months instead of a year.

Now with a little time you have left, this city slicker is going to be a Texas cowgirl if the day.

I'm herding cattle, y'all. I found Beaumont Ranch an hour outside the city.

Spencer Allen is taking me on a two-hour longhorn cattle drive.

SPENCER ALLEN, WRANGLER, BEAUMONT RANCH: I have taken out different executives from companies that will be riding behind us on the phone the whole time.

[13:45:01] YURKEVICH (on camera): Their taking business calls on the phone while they're moving the cattle down the road.

ALLEN: Right.

YURKEVICH: At least they're, you know, sort of getting out here.

ALLEN: Right. They're out in the country and getting to experience a little bit of Texas.

YURKEVICH: What's the most important thing about cattle ranching, when you're moving cattle?

ALLEN: I don't let the cows get behind me. I don't want them to run by, scare the horse. You know, another big thing, you don't want to get between a mama and baby.

YURKEVICH: They don't have this in New York.

ALLEN: Right. Any of the big cities, most don't have anything like this anywhere close by. It's a pretty unique thing to Texas.


WHITFIELD: Welcome back. President Obama isn't the only one leaving the White House this month. First Lady Michelle Obama is moving on to the next chapter of her life. At a White House event, her last scheduled event at the White House, Friday, honoring the school counselor of the year, she gave a very emotional speech.

CNN's Michelle Kosinski has more.


OBAMA: As I end my time in the White House, I can think of no better message to send to our young people. Something that has carried us through every moment in this White House and every moment of ore lives and that is the power of hope. The belief that something better is always possible if you're willing to work for it and fight for it. It is our fundamental belief in the power of hope that has allowed us to rise above the voices of doubt and division. Of anger and fear that we have faced in our own lives and in the life of this country.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a crowd of educators, advocates, school counselors, the first lady took this opportunity to speak to America's youth about America's values. She didn't miss the chance to once again hit out at the kind of rhetoric she has said defined the Trump campaign.

OBAMA: If you or your parents are immigrants, know that you are part of a proud American tradition. And whether you are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh, these religions are teaching our young people about justice and compassion and honesty. See, our glorious diversity, our diversities of faiths and colors and creeds, that is not a threat to who we are. It makes us who we are.


[13:50:07] KOSINSKI: Noting it, too, comes with responsibility. Half of those young people she's speaking to didn't vote at all. OBAMA: You cannot take your freedoms for granted. Empower yourself

with a good education, then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless prize. Lead by example with hope, never fear. And know that I will be with you rooting for you and working to support you for the rest of my life and I am so grateful to all of you for your passion and your dedication and all the hard work on behalf of our next generation and I can think of no better way than to celebrate with all of you. So, I want to close today by simply saying thank you. Thank you for everything you do for our kids and for our country. Being your first lady has been the greatest honor of my life. And I hope I've made you proud.


KOSINSKI (on camera): You got a sense that was difficult to deliver. Her face was serious throughout. Not smiling very much. The emotion seemed difficult to keep under control.

And it was surprising, just days ago, to hear her words in an interview with Oprah Winfrey when she said, now we're feeling whatnot having hope feels like. Well, here, the message was continued hope.

And afterwards, Friday night, here at the White House, the Obamas hosted a star-studded farewell party.

Also, this weekend, President Obama is expected to work on his farewell speech that he'll deliver next week in Chicago. The White House said his goal is to keep it optimistic and forward-looking.

Michelle Kosinski, CNN, the White House.


WHITFIELD: Let's talk more about very powerful messages that we saw yesterday, particularly from Michelle Obama.

I want to bring in April Ryan. She is the White House correspondent for the American Urban Radio Network and author of these two books right here, "At Mama's Knee" and "The Presidency in Black and White."

Good to see you, April.


WHITFIELD: The first lady, hands down, every knows she is a rock. But to see her so emotional and people around her emotional. You saw a lot of people wiping tears behind her. And then she would say, I hope I've made you proud. How did this role of first lady reshape Michelle Obama or perhaps is it the other way around?

RYAN: I think Michelle Obama reshaped the role. I think you're right. It's a double-sided variable. Mrs. Obama shaped the role. She came in as a real woman who helped with real issues and issues really that people and then looking at our children and in that White House, she understood what it meant to be the wife of the president of the United States and her unique role as the first African-American first lady.

And then the role actually shaped her as well. She came into this as a stellar woman already, but she stood on the world stage and had a platform for the military to deal with children and obesity and also make us all focus in on health, and also look at how we are as women and not just as women, but in the household, how we are as a working mom who really has in some cases, almost a single mom, as she talked about before. And even in the White House, her husband as the president of the United States and she's doing what she's doing in the White House and somewhat being a single mom as well with her mother's help, it was just a really awe-inspiring eight years for many women who are in that type of situation.

WHITFIELD: She was not an enigma at all. I mean, it seems like she really emotionally exuded what she was thinking, feeling, whether it was past tense or not. She does admit she went into this reluctantly. She was totally encouraging to Barack Obama, her husband, Senator, president, when he decided to run, but then she also said she didn't really want him to run initially. How did you see her and that acceptance evolve from a tepidness to a full commanding first lady with the missions you outlined?

RYAN: There was one moment, early on, in the first term, I knew she wasn't necessarily in the bag for this at the beginning but she fell into it and I watched their love blossom even more. And I remember being one day when the president was actually leaving, in the motorcade, going somewhere. And she was at the door in her workout gear giving him a farewell kiss good-bye and I said, wow, that is amazing. She's falling into this and she's welcoming it and embracing it in front of us, the press. And just watching the kids grow and watching how she maneuvered through everything.

And then to see her very emotional yesterday, she has gone through this wave of feelings and emotions but still, stalwart for the American people but it's final now for her. She's really facing, I'm going back into the world after doing this momentous job with my husband.

[13:55:40] WHITFIELD: That's a great point. You saw them as individuals. Saw him and her, but then also as a unit, a couple, and a unit as a family.

RYAN: Yes.


April Ryan, looks to me that you just outlined your third book.


RYAN: Maybe so.

WHITFIELD: April, good to see you.

RYAN: Thank you, Fredricka.


WHITFIELD: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Thank you for being with me.

All right, the next hour of CNN NEWSROOM coming up right after this.


[13:59:43] WHITFIELD: Hello, again. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Thanks for being with me.

We're getting new details into the investigation in Friday's shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale airport. Authorities say they have concluded that their interrogation of the accused gunman, Esteban Santiago, is completed. The 26-year-old Army veteran was taken into custody after pulling a gun from his checked luggage and then firing into the baggage claim area. Five people were killed, six others injured, two of them recovering from gunshot wounds to the head.