Return to Transcripts main page

AT THIS HOUR

"Multiple Fatality" Shooting At Orlando Business; Sheriff: Fired Employee Kills Five In Orlando; Trump Undermines His Own Defense Over Travel Ban; Trump Team Argues That President's Tweets Aren't Policy; Trump Renews Attack: "Pathetic Excuse" By London Mayor. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired June 5, 2017 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:00:04]

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. We are following breaking news from London and Washington right now. New raids this morning following the terror attacks in the heart of London that left seven dead and 48 injured. The three attackers killed by police have now been identified and authorities are racing to figure out whether they're part of a larger network.

But as London grieves, the president of the United States issues not one but two attacks on the city's mayor. President Trump already under fire for his controversial response to the weekend tragedy just moments ago doubled down on his attack on the city's leader with this on Twitter.

His statement, "Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who had to think fast." I'm going to stop myself and take you over quickly to Orlando, Florida, where a workplace shooting occurred this morning. Police there are giving us an update. Let's go there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- Danny Banks and Fire Chief Otto (inaudible). Sheriff Demings?

SHERIFF JERRY DEMINGS, ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA: It's a sad day for us in once again in Orange County. I'm going to share some details about a tragedy that occurred this morning at the Fioma Incorporated Business that you see just behind me.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims this morning. I will share more detail about what has occurred. You will be hearing from myself as well as Mayor Jacobs in just a moment, then followed by a representative from the FBI and FDLE, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the fire chief who responded to this emergency this morning.

But let me just share some details with you. At about 8:03 a.m. this morning, we received a 911 emergency call into our communications center about an active shooter situation here at the Fioma Incorporated Business. This is a worldwide business that primarily provides accessories for RVs.

At about 8:03.45 a.m. this morning, we were dispatched here to this call. Deputies arrived on scene just two minutes later to active shooter call to service. Once they arrived here, they found multiple individuals that had been shot.

Three male victims were deceased at that time. One female victim was deceased. A fifth person, a male, was transported to the Orlando Regional Medical Center where he subsequently died as a result of his injuries.

There were seven survivors, individuals who were inside this business who are being interviewed presently by detectives from the orange county sheriff's office. We have a 45-year-old subject who is deceased inside as a result of his own means.

The individual was armed with a handgun and a knife this morning. There is no indication that he used a knife on any of the victims, but shot five innocent people this morning and then turned the gun on himself and killed himself.

The individual in question is a former employee of this business. He was fired sometime in April of this year, so he was a disgruntled employee that came back to this business this morning. In terms of a history of this business, we have very few records of any significance here.

However, about three years ago, in June of 2014, we did respond to this business in which the subject who is responsible for the deaths this morning was the subject of a workplace violence incident in which he allegedly battered another employee here in the business. There were no charges actually at that time.

In terms of this subject, this 45-year-old subject, when we look into his criminal history, what we have found is that he has a criminal history minor in nature of charges such as possession of marijuana, dui, and misdemeanor battery.

At this time, we have no indication that this subject is a member of any subversive type organization. We have no indication that this subject is a participant in any type of terror organization. What this is at this point is likely a workplace violence incident. We will get more into the details of the investigation as it unfolds.

At this time, we have designated a reunification location for the family members.

[11:05:01]What we are asking individuals who may be related to persons who work at this business, we have set up at Full Sail University, which is located at 3535 North Forsythe Road, a family reunification site.

Families are able to respond there to a building called the Live One Building, the Live One Building. We have deputy sheriffs who are there who will direct family members to that particular location.

We also have a phone number that has been set up for individuals to call, should they wish to receive information. The phone number is area code 407-679-0100, extension 3087. And I'll repeat that, area code 407-679-0100 --

BOLDUAN: All right, you're listening in to this press conference from Sheriff Demings in Orlando, Florida, laying out the details, a lot more. We really have very little detail of what happened. Pretty terrifying scene in Orlando, Florida, this morning, at a business there.

Let me bring in James Gagliano, who was watching this with me, former FBI special agent. James, it's one of the scariest things you can think of in a business. No nexus to terrorism is what the sheriff says, but a disgruntled employee, takes it out on his former colleagues and then turns the gun on himself.

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Absolutely, Kate. And what we're seeing in this new normal right now is law enforcement has to presume terrorism until proven otherwise, and I felt like the police chief did a good job of allaying citizens' fears and saying this was an isolated incident.

They're changing their tactics as well. Since Columbine, we can no longer sit back and wait. In these instances, these folks are turning the guns on themselves after they kill as many people as possible or they're looking to conduct a suicide by cop, as we saw in London.

So, I think the police officers here responded appropriately. They go to the sound of the guns now. They accept a higher level of risk to try to save more lives.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Five people dead, seven survivors. That happening this morning in Orlando. James, thanks so much for jumping on. I really appreciate it

We will turn from that terrible situation in Orlando to the president's tweet storm this morning on his controversial travel ban. And yes, the president himself is calling it a ban today, making a point to call it a ban.

In a series of tweets pointing to the London attack as a reason the U.S. needs the travel ban, also arguing his Justice Department should have stuck with the original version that's been held up in the courts.

CNN justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider, is live with us now with more on the details. Jessica, what is the president's argument here?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Kate, whatever the president's argument is, it is seriously undermining his own Justice Department's argument. Put it this way, DOJ lawyers are in the midst of a long and protracted legal fight here, and all this time they've been trying to convince the courts to essentially ignore the president's own words.

And so far, of course, no court has ignored President Trump's statement. And now this morning the president is once again making life very difficult at the DOJ, attacking their argument on two fronts. So, here goes. First, the president has called it a travel ban this morning three separate times in his tweets. Now, that term alone flies in the face of what his lawyers have labeled it. They've insisted repeatedly that this is merely an executive order or a temporary ban.

On the second front, the president has admitted both today on Twitter and even back at a march rally that his second executive order on this travel ban was just, quote, "watered down" and "politically correct." So again, that's the exact opposite argument that the DOJ is trying to put forward.

They have said repeatedly that this is religiously neutral. It's based on the national security concerns of the United States. So, really, Kate, in a series of tweets this morning, the president continues to contradict his own administration's lawyers, and that could really things even more difficult as they heads to the Supreme Court.

It was just last week the Trump administration petitioned the Supreme Court to let that executive order stand. It's a petition that will be referred to the full Supreme Court and then the justices at some point will ask for a response to the challengers.

So, the president this morning, Kate, really undermining a lot of what his lawyers have been working very hard to argue on multiple fronts -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Quite an amazing turn of events when you look at these statements coming out from the president, much more than just tweets. These are statements coming directly from the president. Jessica, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

With me right now, former CIA operative, Mike Baker, a co-founder of the global intel and security firm, Diligence. Errol Louis is also here, CNN political commentator, and A.B. Stoddard is the associate editor and columnist for "Real Clear Politics. And Joan Biskupic is joining us. She is a CNN Supreme Court analyst.

Joan, let's start with you, where Jessica Schneider rightly left off. This is coming before the Supreme Court, this travel ban. Did the president hurt his case before the court? Will the justices look at these statements on Twitter this morning?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Well, lower court judges have looked at what he said extracurricularly like this, and it is up there right now, and the justices have asked the challengers to respond to the government's petition by next week.

[11:10:12]And the key question has been, what did he say during the campaign and what did he say afterward? The administration lawyers have said don't go back to the campaign statements, look only at what he's done since.

But each week, each month, each day almost, Donald Trump is giving the courts and the challengers more ammunition to say that this is something that's targeted toward certain people based on religion. He used the phrase politically correct, politically incorrect. It's not about that, it's about being religiously free. And what lower court judges have been looking at, and what the U.S. Supreme Court justices will be looking at is, is he actually targeting certain people based on their religion?

And I think this could backfire not just in a substantive way on the arguments, but also, think of what he's saying to judges. He criticized judges during the campaign. He's criticized judges since the rulings.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely has.

BISKUPIC: And in some of these tweets, he's added comments about judges being slow and political. I think that gets their attention.

BOLDUAN: Well, it's definitely getting a lot of our attention, at the very, very least, Joan, that's for sure. Errol, also at the very least, he's very clearly putting his aides and his own Justice Department in a tough spot.

I mean, he's suggesting in one of the series of tweets that the Justice Department was wrong in putting out this revised travel ban. But to be clear, it's his executive order. He signed the executive order. His name is on it. What is the president doing here, Errol?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's his order, it's his employees. It's essentially his case that's going to the Supreme Court. And is often the case, he ends up undercutting and undermining the people who are trying to speak with one coherent voice.

Look, this is one of the things that when folks say we want a businessman in the White House. We want somebody to run the country like a business -- think about the kind of business that he ran.

It wasn't a Fortune 500 company where you're responding to multiple different major institutions. It was kind of a solo operation in which he went almost impetuously --

BOLDUAN: Family business, too.

LOUIS: Yes, family business, and he would sort of always call the shots, and you know, if people had to catch up with him, so be it. Doesn't work so well when you're the executive of the United States.

BOLDUAN: And A.B., as Errol was saying, he's putting a lot of his employees in a tough spot. I mean, he is, though, calling it a ban. He seems to be wanting to clear up one element of this, which is a term, terminology that the White House has taken pains and many an hour in the White House briefing room to push back on, saying that this is not what the administration has put out is not a ban at all. Even his own secretary of Homeland Security has made that case. Just listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: The administration's travel ban puts a temporary hold on people from six countries. No European country is on that list. But in light of this attack being carried out by a French national, should France be added to the list?

JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Well, again, it wasn't a travel ban, it was a travel pause in certain countries that had been identified by the Obama administration and then confirmed by the United States Congress.

BOLDUAN: So, should they be added to the travel pause?

KELLY: A travel pause. Stay with me here. A travel pause so that we could get our arms around increased vetting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: That was back in April, A.B. I mean, if you're Secretary Kelly this morning, what do you do?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR AND COLUMNIST, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Well, I don't think he's going to go on television like Sebastian Gorka and Kellyanne Conway and say everyone's so obsessed in the media with the president's tweets, which actually say what he's feeling and what he's thinking.

And it's designed to bypass his own staff in the media and get straight to the voters for the real deal. I don't think General Kelly's going to go on and say, this is just social media and people should just discard it and only pay attention to what we put on paper on the official letterhead of any cabinet within the administration.

So, if I were him, I'd lay low for a few more days. This is not the first time the president's done this. He does this all the time. He asked Jeff Sessions, who was recused at the time from the Russia investigation, to join him at a meeting with his Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, to come up with a memo describing why James Comey, the then FBI director, could no longer function in that position.

He sent out his staff to talk about why. It was the strong recommendation of Rod Rosenstein that led to the firing of Comey. Vice President Mike Pence went to Capitol Hill and repeated it seven times to the cameras, and the assorted reporters there who asked him the questions about where did this come from and why is this happening.

And then the very next day, President Trump went on TV, interviewed with Lester Holt of NBC and said that Russia was on his mind, and that basically led to him deciding to fire Comey, and he was never going to take anyone's recommendation anyway, he had already made the decision.

[11:15:13]So, he undermines the message out of the White House all the time. I wrote this last week. They're trying to make all these staff changes with a new communications room to cover the gush of leaks over the Russia investigation. No massive strategy is going to work as long as he is shooting off on Twitter and undermining the message of the day. Doesn't matter what they tell Secretary Tillerson or Mattis to say to our allies overseas.

He's picked a fight with the mayor of London. It's reckless and ineffective relationship and imperiled our relationship with a key ally. It really doesn't matter what everyone else does on staff. It matters what he does.

BOLDUAN: Mike, as I'm reading through the president's tweets on the travel ban this morning, it kind of strikes me, is the president undermining even his own argument from this morning when he kind of wrapped up the tweets on the travel ban saying, "In any event, we are extreme vetting people coming into the United States in order to help keep our country safe."

Then he followed up with "The courts are slow and political." Is it clear what extreme vetting means? Is it any different than regular vetting?

MIKE BAKER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Well, here's the thing, I can't explain the lack of messaging discipline from the White House. That's way above my pay grade. But I have spent a lot of years working counterterrorism operations overseas in some very unusual and hostile environments.

And I have a company now that a great part of it does due diligence, does investigations of people globally and companies globally. So I feel like I've got some experience in this.

And what they're talking about, if they had messaged it properly and explained it properly and not conflated it as if it was some panacea for stopping terrorism, if they had simply said these particular countries on this suspension -- and they lost their battle when they lost the ability to call it a visa suspension --

BOLDUAN: Yes.

BAKER: They're failed states, essentially. There's no infrastructure. If you don't have the ability to go and use databases, for example, or some type of infrastructure --

BOLDUAN: And ask for that check.

BAKER: -- for those individuals, you're basically going out in places -- and my folks have done this in places like Iraq. You have to travel to villages and talk and find family members to talk to people to get an understanding of their associations or past activities.

So, when you say extreme vetting, it's confusing. It's vetting, but you're trying to do it in places where there exists no infrastructure. Now, that makes sense to me, just like it made sense to the previous administration, to label these countries and to say we probably need to consider this.

BOLDUAN: Can you unspin this spin? BAKER: No. No, you can't walk this dog back now because now what they've done is they've allowed this discussion to kind of morph into the travel ban, it's going to keep us safe. Well, you know, yes. I mean, it would be nice, if we're vetting people, but it's not a panacea for the problem of counterterrorism, but it is an element of it, and it would be worthwhile pursuing, but I think they've lost the argument here.

BOLDUAN: Errol, kind of undermining all of it today, if you will, is the president's advisers coming out, two presidential advisers coming out today and saying don't listen to the tweets. Tweets are not policy. The media's obsessed with the tweets. And again, tweets are not policy. That is exactly what they said. This is also the same White House that says the tweets speak for themselves. When is -- when are tweets policy? When are tweets not policy?

LOUIS: Some clever person has created a bot that automatically takes the tweets and puts them on official White House stationary so that you can look at it as a statement. We've had this conversation in my newsroom, should we call them presidential statements because that's really what they are.

BOLDUAN: They are statements.

LOUIS: Absolutely. Somebody, if that's a Supreme Court argument, is going to say there's not that much difference between sending this out electronically to 31 million people and standing up in front of a camera in national prime time. The only difference is, if anything, Twitter might reach more people.

So, if the president gets up and gives an address from the oval office in primetime, I think we all understand and agree that he's giving instructions to his government, he is talking to the public, he is announcing a policy.

I personally, you know, again, in our newsroom, we've had a discussion about whether or not we should call them presidential statements as opposed to tweets, because it could be radio, it could be television, it could be Twitter. He's talking to the public.

BOLDUAN: A.B., give me your final take. As I look at these tweets today, I do wonder, is there a political benefit for the president to seeing the ban struck down in the court, to having a huge loss here, then he has someone new to blame, and thus, has someone to point the finger at when he goes back to try to galvanize the base?

STODDARD: No, I really don't. I think this is important to the base and he needs a victory desperately right now. His agenda is really, truly stalled in the Congress. They have tons of budget deadlines and a debt ceiling increase and all these really difficult things to do before they can even get to a reform of the health care, fix of health care and some kind of tax reform or infrastructure.

[11:20:10]And so, you know, he needs to come home with a win for the base. I think another loss, even though he'll blame the judges and the media and everybody else, it's not something he can stand. He'll make the Democrats, as you saw in the tweets today, you know, the fall guy on ambassadorships and everything else, but when it comes to this travel ban, if he gets in his own way and he loses, he's really going to regret it because this is something he really wanted to deliver.

There is no wall. Mexico's not paying for it. There's a long list of things he can't deliver on, and I think he really wants a win on this.

BOLDUAN: And on that question of when are tweets policy, I guess as I'm seeing you there in the corner, Joan, but I've got to go, I guess maybe the Supreme Court will be the final word on that, when they decide if what he said on Twitter is part of the policy coming out of the White House. We might find out very soon. Guys, thank you very much. I really appreciate you joining me today.

We're following the breaking news, though, on the attack in London. Authorities working to determine whether the attackers are part of a wider network, this as the British prime minister declares enough is enough.

Plus, President Trump under fire for his response, his follow-up, and then some shortly after the attack. And once again this morning, he is going after the mayor of London.

And moments from now, amid all of this, we will hear from the president himself. We will hear from the president live. You will definitely want to stand by for that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:25:18]

BOLDUAN: The breaking news from London to Washington, new raids this morning following the terror attacks in the heart of London that left seven dead and 48 injured. The three attackers killed by police have now been identified.

But as London grieves, the president of the United States issues not one but two attacks on the city's mayor. President Trump already under fire for his controversial response to the weekend tragedy just moments ago doubled down on that attack of the city's leader.

Here's the tweet, "Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who had to think fast on his no reason to be alarmed statement." That came after this one from the weekend, "At least seven dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and mayor of London says there is no reason to be alarmed."

Here's the important context of what Mayor Khan said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR SADIQ KHAN, LONDON: Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. No reason to be alarmed. One of the things the police, all of us need to do is make sure we're as safe as we possibly can be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: So, President Trump clearly seems to be taking the mayor out of context there. The mayor called Trump's tweet ill-informed and also said he's got bigger things to worry about.

Let's go to London right now. CNN international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, is outside 10 Downing Street. So Nic, is there any response from the mayor or 10 Downing Street on these attacks from President Trump today?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Sure, there have been responses. The mayor's office said, as it said yesterday, that it is busy, you know, working with the police on an active terror investigation that is not going to respond to these comments.

The leader of the opposition here who is also the Labour Party, which is also Mayor Sadiq Khan is from, has criticized President Trump very strongly, very clearly, saying that he lacks a sense and the grasp of what the mayor was trying to do and trying to say.

There is a political damage in this, of course, for Theresa May. She hasn't spoken about President Trump's tweets, but in this country, she is very much associated in people's mind with the strong position she's taken beside President Trump, so any criticism just days away from the leader of the opposition about President Trump reflects very badly on Theresa May.

Also, very interestingly, there was a statement by Lou Lukens, the acting U.S. ambassador here, saying that, actually, he commends Mayor Sadiq Khan for the strength of what he's doing.

BOLDUAN: Yes, that was a fascinating statement that he did put out and we'll be talk being that in just one second. Clearly seemed to be in contradiction with what President Trump is saying at this moment. Nic, great to see you. Thank you so much.

Joining me now to discuss, CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist, Keith Boykin, and Barry Bennett, former senior adviser to the Donald Trump campaign. Gentlemen, great to see you, as always.

Barry, clearly, it appears that President Trump thinks criticizing the mayor of London and taking him out of context here, that it's working for him. How is it working?

BARRY BENNETT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I don't know. I think both of them have better things to do than continue this Twitter fight. It didn't start, though, with this. It started over a year ago. But still, they've both got better things to do. Move on.

BOLDUAN: I think a lot of folks would agree, Barry, on moving on, but Keith, I mean, a lot of the criticism about this, other than Barry rightfully says, they should just move on, but a lot of criticism of the president over the weekend was that he wasn't offering condolences, he's just attacking the mayor. But coming from President Trump, this is how President Trump is, not necessarily attacking the mayor, but this is how Candidate Trump ran, no apologies. He's talking about action. Should anyone be surprised?

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, we shouldn't be surprised, but we should be disappointed because we should expect more than that from the president of the United States. He is no longer a candidate. He is actually the president. You can't just be a campaigner all the time.

And there's no policy coherence from this administration. Not only is the president contradicting Sean Spicer's comments on January 31st, saying this is not a travel ban, he's also contradicting his own Justice Department today when he talks about the travel ban, criticizing them for the way they're pursuing this in court.

And he's contradicting other people in his own administration. He's contradicting the U.S. embassy in London which said today they are praising the mayor of London.

And then imagine this, imagine if after 9/11, Tony Blair, the prime minister of Britain, went off on Twitter or somewhere and attacked Rudy Giuliani, the mayor of New York City, for the way he was handling the terrorist response in New York City.

That's just the outrageous thing to think a president or a leader of one country attacking a tiny mayor of another city that's going through a terrorist crisis, that's not something you do, it's not presidential. It's not leadership.

BOLDUAN: Well, I mean, Barry, what do you say to that? What do you think Donald Trump would be saying right now if Tony Blair or, you know, the British prime minister decided to take on Rudy Giuliani the days after 9/11?