Return to Transcripts main page


Police Recover Electronic Devices; Government Response to Puerto Rico; Trump Faces Two Tragedies. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired October 3, 2017 - 09:30   ET



[09:30:54] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The very latest from Las Vegas.

At least 59 people have been killed, 527 others at least injured.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: In the shooter's 32nd floor suite at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, police found 23 weapons. At his home in Mesquite, Nevada, they recovered 19 firearms at least, as well as explosives, ammunition and some electronic devices. What they have not identified yet is a motive. So far police do believe the shooter acted alone.

Let's talk about what they are trying to get off of these devices with Noel Kersh, a computer forensics examiner with Pathway Forensics.

Thank you for being here.

There are some reports that two computers were found in the home. You've got to assume a cell phone. You know, I don't know. It -- these things aren't easy to just get into. I mean we remember what happened with the fight over the phone after the San Bernardino shooting. How hard is it just to access these devices?

NOEL KERSH, COMPUTER FORENSICS EXAMINER, PATHWAY FORENSICS: Well, a lot of it depends on the device that he has and if he had a password for the device, obviously. Some devices are easier to get into than others. A lot of it depends on the operating system. A number of factors play into how easy or hard it is to get into the device.

What they may be able to find on the computers are backups of the phones or iPads that he had that may have been backed up to the computer. And sometimes those are easier to get into than the device itself. So hopefully from the computers they'll be able to get some picture of who he was talking to and what he was doing and try to answer some of these questions about motives that all of us -- all of us have.

BERMAN: Yes, what can you learn from all of this? It's not just who he was talking to. It's where he was.


BERMAN: His patterns of movement.

KERSH: Right. BERMAN: His patterns of activity as well.

KERSH: Right. There's a lot of information you can glean from a computer, obviously. You can learn a lot about a person's interests, a lot of their behaviors, what they were doing, who they were talking to. If I were the investigators on these computers, I'd be looking for other people to interview as part of the investigation. Who was he speaking to? Where did he source these devices or these weapons, rather, that he used in the shooting? Things like that. How long ago was he planning this? When did he make his reservations at Mandalay Bay? All of these types of questions can be answered from the computers.

HARLOW: It's not just his devices. So even with all the security cameras they have all over Las Vegas, all over that hotel, the police are still acting for people, you know, 22,000 folks at this concert, for their cell phone video, for all of that. Why do you think that is? I mean what specifically are they looking for in this videos? I suppose very different vantage points?

KERSH: Right. I mean what they're -- what the investigators are going to do is they're going to collect all of these videos, these cell phone videos from all these different people and put them all on to a timeline and establish, you know, what was happening at certain points in time of this attack, where was the shooting coming from, and who was the shooter? They wanted to nail down, first of all, was there just one shooter and answer -- and close off that question of whether or not it was just Paddock acting by himself or if there were other players in this.

So it's a lot of information, a lot of data that they're going to be collecting and combing through, and it's just going to take some time. This stuff doesn't happen overnight. So it will take a little time for them to go through all of it.

BERMAN: And, of course -- and search history for this guy is going to be crucial as well.


BERMAN: Even something as simple as the ammonium nitrate. I mean was this about lawn care or was this a guy trying to build a bomb.

KERSH: Right.

HARLOW: Right.

BERMAN: And that could be as simple as checking some of the searches there, right, Noel?

KERSH: Yes, absolutely. The web searches are a good piece of evidence to search for and see again what was this person's interests, what were his motivations, what was he looking for, what was he trying to do? And so that's one of the things that they're going to look for is, what was he searching the Internet for? What was he trying to do? Who was he speaking to? See if there's some plans that were drawn up and saved to his computer. Or his financials, his bank records and things like that to see when he acquired these weapons, who he acquires them from, things like that. So there's so much data that they can glean, so much information they can glean from these devices. So it's going to be interesting to see what they come up with.

[09:35:16] BERMAN: Well, and let's not forget -- yes, let's not forget, he was an online gambler as well.


BERMAN: So there could be a history there, which (INAUDIBLE).

Noel Kersh, great to have you with us.

KERSH: Right. That's -- that's -- yes, it's probably a key part of it.



KERSH: Thank you.

BERMAN: Thanks so much, Noel.

HARLOW: It just doesn't bring -- you know, those answers don't bring anything necessarily for those families, that's the incredibly hard thing.

BERMAN: No, not for the families. Not at all.

All right, the Pentagon says a Navy hospital ship is now in Puerto Rico, but some patients still don't have access to medical care. Next, how medical care is reaching them.


[09:40:07] HARLOW: President Trump, this morning, right now in the sir on his way to Puerto Rico to survey the storm damage from Hurricane Maria. As he left the White House, he was asked about the relief effort. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In Texas and in Florida we get an A plus. And I'll tell you what, I think we've done just as good in Puerto Rico. And it's actually a much tougher situation. But now the roads are cleared. Communications starting to come back.

We need their truck drivers. Their drivers have to start driving trucks. We have to do that. So at a local level, they have to give us more help.

But I will tell you, the first responders, the military, FEMA, they have done an incredible job in Puerto Rico. And whether it's her or anybody else, they're all starting to say it. I appreciate very much the governor and his comments. He has said we have done an incredible job. And that's the truth.


BERMAN: All right, joining us now live from San Juan, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, the president gives himself high marks for the Puerto Rico response and seems to cite anyone else who praises the admiration. He gives the Puerto Rican locals a bad grade, I think, on the trucks there. What are you seeing, though, on the ground?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a -- it's a bit of a mixed bag, a hodgepodge, if you will in some ways. There are some place that have gotten pretty good relief. I mean in San Juan, obviously, as you've been hearing, it's a -- it's a -- people have gotten relief. They've gotten aid. They have generators.

You start to get outside, though, not that far, I was in the more central part of the island yesterday and it's a different picture. They -- you have these communities that have still been sort of cut off. They haven't -- they haven't been able to get any sort of aid from either local or federal government. Hospitals still with just a few hours of fuel at any given time. It's not stable for them. They can't take in new patients.

They tell me that their morgues are overflowing. They have no way of contacting the families. I mean there's many problems here. The communications is a big one.

But the private organizations now going in, literally on foot, to some of these organizations to try and address what would otherwise be preventable deaths.


GUPTA: It's been nearly two weeks now. And make no mistake, there's people who still haven't been seen, who have been stranded, who have been forgotten, that need some sort of medical care.

Why is it, do you think, that a private organization can get in here when no one else has?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's interesting.

GUPTA (voice-over): None of this is easy. The only way in today, by foot, in the rain. Loose horses still roaming.

GUPTA (on camera): So what's happening here is that doctors and nurses have shown up, going into people's homes, trying to administer care, where the people are, because it's been too hard for them to get to any kind of hospital or clinic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three -- three or four -- four patients.

GUPTA: In there? Is that right?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. We came in and everybody's got an ailment.

GUPTA (voice-over): But it is necessary. And Project Hope, volunteer nurses and doctors, answered the call.

There's a lot of pain. Treatable illnesses slowly becoming deadly.

Stephanie is 22 years old. Her mother is ill, needing treatment, and her father, he died at a hospital right after the storm. This family still doesn't know why. We may never know if Stephanie's father is one of the official deaths of Hurricane Maria, but we do know he left behind a family that is vulnerable.

GUPTA: Why, what did she tell you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no words. No words to express that.

GUPTA: It's tough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's only -- she's only 22. Without a dad. And that's her grandma who's with her. So it's kind of difficult, right?

GUPTA (voice-over): Volunteer Oscar Soto (ph), a native Puerto Rican, was in the Dominican Republic when the storm hit and told me he couldn't reach his own dad for days.

GUPTA (on camera): How is your dad?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're with life and that's what's important. That's what's important. Family's OK. But, yes, this is our family, too.

GUPTA (voice-over): The thing about Puerto Rico is that it was already on the edge. Many here are sick, older and poorer than the mainland, with long waits and a severe shortage of specialists in an economic recession. There was no reserve here. Nothing to keep them from toppling off the edge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hurricane just causes a lot of stress. You have people, you know, coming late (ph) from work, trying to get gas, and stress builds up, you know?

GUPTA: But today at least the mission is clear, treat as many people as possible, as fast as possible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We just learned about another patient right here that was asking for their blood pressure to be taken. She felt like she had high blood pressure. So we're just going to do a really quick stop.

[09:45:02] GUPTA: The battle to prevent additional deaths here is just beginning.

(END VIDEOTAPE) GUPTA: Never ending work, as you might imagine. But again, these private organizations now getting to places that were really hard to get to. I mean you couldn't get there by any kind of vehicle. So literally by foot because there's too many wires down, too many polls crossing the roads. By foot, treatment bags in hand, trying to administer care. And as soon as they show up in one of these neighborhoods, word of mouth goes out. Other people say, oh, there's someone who's sick in this building. There's someone whose home collapsed over here. They all sort of aggregate and try and get their care. That's what it feels like right now especially on the central part of the island.

HARLOW: What do you think, Sanjay -- I mean I will never forget the piece of yours that we aired at the end of last week, you going to collect these prescription medications and bring them to people because the government couldn't do so. At this point, what is needed the most? Is it more medication? What is it?

GUPTA: Well, I will tell you, and it's interesting, maybe surprising, but it really comes back to communications, getting the coms up. And it's really struck me, I think here more than other places that I've covered, just what a huge difference that makes because so many of these supplies, Poppy, are on the island. As we saw, you know, the antibiotics that were needed over here, I mean, five cents, a nickel's worth of antibiotics, over here, needed over here, to save somebody's life over here --


GUPTA: But they're not connecting. Gas is a problem. Drivers are a problem. There's a lot of problems. But simply being able to call and say, we have it, it would make a huge difference.

BERMAN: All right, Sanjay. Dr. Sanjay Gupta for us in Puerto Rico.

HARLOW: Thank you.

BERMAN: Sanjay, great to have you there. Thanks so much for your reporting.

The response in Puerto Rico, the massacre in Las Vegas, you know, two tragedies facing the country and two tests for the president. Stay with us.


[09:51:19] HARLOW: Right now, President Trump is on his way to Puerto Rico, to survey the damage, meet with some of the responders there. Tomorrow he heads to Las Vegas to meet with shooting survivors and emergency response teams. These are two major national tragedies and tests for this president.

Joining us now, CNN political director David Chalian.

So, David, the president addressed some questions on this briefly as he was getting on to I believe Marine One to go to Air Force One. He gave himself very high marks for the response to all of this. And, you know, in a more subtle way, sort of undercut the Puerto Ricans -- the Americans at the same time. What did you make of it?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. This president has been quite eager to give himself good marks in a response when he -- in the face of news coverage that indicates the response in Puerto Rico has not been as robust, as fast as needed, as on the ground as early as need. And, quite frankly, giving out grades for performance isn't going to turn the lights on any faster or get water to someone's home any faster.

What I think, Poppy, is so sort of intriguing for this president about these two days that you just mentioned, going to Puerto Rico for Hurricane Maria response, going to Las Vegas, these are two events that have been thrust upon this presidency. So much of Donald Trump's presidency, these first eight and a half months, have been completely dominated by controversies of his own making, controversies that he created, and harkening back to taking some of the most controversial statements from his campaign rallies and injecting it into governing and the base appeal that he has been making throughout much of his presidency.

Now is that moment where this has nothing to do with what he planned or what he campaigned on. This is just a moment of presidential leadership. And for someone who has really spent the first eight and a half months redefining for Americans what it is to be president or be presidential, this is the traditional role of the office that is now sort of demanding Donald Trump's time in these next two days.

BERMAN: Look, presidents are often judged on how they handled events not of their own making.


BERMAN: And these are two just such events. Although, with Puerto Rico, he's got to clean up his remarks. So he's got to do some damage control on remarks that were absolutely of his own making.

If I can shift to Las Vegas, David, because you were with us yesterday when we heard the president's remarks, the measured remarks, trying to unify the country. That was yesterday. Now he goes to Las Vegas tomorrow to meet with first responders there.

He was asked about guns. Guns already being discussed by many people surrounding this massacre. This is what the president said today.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, we have a tragedy. We're going to do -- and what happened in Las Vegas is in many ways a miracle. The police department has done such an incredible job. And we'll be talking about gun laws as time goes by.


BERMAN: Now, that last part, David, we'll be talking about gun laws as time goes by. Will we? Will he? For real?

CHALIAN: Some people will. I doubt Donald Trump will be one of them.

John, as you know, I actually saw a shift in sort of the American political response yesterday. Those Democrats, folks on the left, in favor of gun safety legislation, they jumped quickly to make sure to put into front and center into the conversation the need for action, as they call it. And what you just saw there is Donald Trump is trying to sort of push away action. So I think that right there is going to be the beginnings of this debate. Those that want to do something that will lessen gun violence in America and those that are trying to push off that debate to another time. We will see that play out in real- time in the hours ahead. There is no doubt about that.

[09:55:13] And Donald Trump really is not, by the way, neither are the Republican controlled House or the Republican controlled Senate, none of those folks in controlling the levers of power in Washington are eager to put some sort of gun law front and center on to the agenda right now.

HARLOW: All right, David Chalian, thank you very much for the analysis.

We are waiting for the president to arrive in Puerto Rico.

Also, we're waiting for -- in just moments in this room in the Capitol, Republican leadership set to speak on camera for the first time after the massacre in Las Vegas. We'll take you there.


[10:00:02] BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.

Major questions this morning. The big one, why?