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Police Search for Motive in Deadly Shooting Spree; Trump to Arrive in Puerto Rico; National Guard Distributes Aid in Puerto Rico; Interview with Representative Ruben Kihuen; Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired October 3, 2017 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:01] MIKE BOUCHARD, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, ATF: So it uses the action of the gun to help pull the trigger more quickly and to a layman it would sound like a fully automatic firearm.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Can anyone do that? Is this something that's difficult to do?

BOUCHARD: Anybody can do it. You can buy it online. Simple instructions to add it. It's very easy to do. Just about anyone who's familiar with firearms could add that to their firearm.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: What are the key things, Chris, in the digital search? Because there is, obviously, the investigation of the hotel room, of the home, of the car where the ammonium nitrate was found, but there's also, equally important, right, the investigation of this guy's online life and search history?

CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION: That will be looked at. We know from his brother, the interview with the brother, that he texted the brother reasonably often. The brother handed over two years worth of texts so we know he had a mobile device, at least one. I mean, everybody has a phone these days and a computer. They'll delve deep into that. They'll determine his social network, if you will. They'll interview everybody in his social network.

The phones have GPS, the apps on the phone have GPS, they'll track his movements. There's video all over that hotel. He videoed himself apparently. So there's a trove of information that needs to be exploited. I'm sure they're in the process of that right now and they probably have a lot of answers they're not giving us right now.

BERMAN: And Mike, back to you, again, to your area of expertise with your ATF training and experience, the ammonium nitrate, this explosive which can be used, the fertilizer which can be used to make a bomb, what alarm bells does that set off for you? And what more would you want to learn about that?

BOUCHARD: Well, looking at his property there was no grass growing around his yard so he obviously didn't need ammonium nitrate. So he had -- he was possessing that for some other reason. Perhaps he was looking to make diversionary devices. No one really knows what his motive was or what he was intending to do. But that along with the Tannerite that he supposedly had which is used for exploding targets could be used as diversions to create more havoc for people while he was shooting at them.

HARLOW: What do you think changes, gentlemen? It's hard to imagine what security enhancements could have prevented something like this. So what now, do you think, Chris?

SWECKER: Yes. I mean, I was head of security after I retired at one of the largest companies in America and had some experience with special event security and honestly the venue itself can be as secure as it needs to be, screening going in, walls up, security guards, all the things that need to be done, I have heard were done.

You're only as good as the security around you in a scenario like this. The hotels nearby, the -- you know, if there were presidential visit, if it were a presidential event, there'd be snipers up on rooftops. So they would have checked every hotel room. They might have evacuated the hotel rooms. That's just not going to happen here.

This is the hospitality industry. I was out there last week at a conference. There are exhibiters and exhibit halls and they're carrying large duffel bags and equipment in and out of the hotels. I just don't see what they could have done or what could be done in the future.

HARLOW: All right. Gentlemen, thank you both very much for your expertise. We appreciate it.

BOUCHARD: Thank you.

BERMAN: President Trump on his way to Puerto Rico right now touches down shortly. Will the reality on the ground match the very high grades that President Trump just this morning gave to the federal relief effort? Stay with us.


[10:38:06] HARLOW: All right. This just in. CNN has learned the mayor of San Juan will attend a briefing with President Trump today during his visit to Puerto Rico. The two, of course, have not been on the same page. They have traded barbs over and over again, over the mayor's criticism of the storm response and the president's criticism of her.

BERMAN: Yes. This should be an interesting meeting to say the least.

President Trump lands in San Juan to survey the damage on the island. As he left the White House this morning he was asked about the relief effort.


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, communication is starting to come back. We need their truck drivers there. 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. CNN's Sara Murray in San Juan at the airport where the president will arrive shortly.

Sara, what exactly is on the agenda today?

SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, we are expecting him to arrive, we're expecting him to meet not far from here with the Puerto Rican National Guard to get an update on their efforts.

As you mentioned, he will have a briefing with the mayor of San Juan but a number of other officials on the ground here as well. The governor of Puerto Rico who gave an extensive briefing to reporters earlier today as well as the three-star general who's been leading disaster relief efforts here, and Brock Long, the FEMA administrator, who has been on the ground since yesterday evening, is also expected to be traveling with the president and briefing him today.

Their goal, of course, is to give him a sense of the situation on the ground here. What the president is likely to see is San Juan. This is a place where cell phones are working again, where the power is coming on, where restaurants have been opening.

[10:40:06] It is vastly different than what we are seeing play out across the rest of the island. Just 5 percent of Puerto Ricans have power here. About 40 percent have access to a cell phone signal and about half have access to clean water. So there are huge swaths of this population that are still entirely cut off from the basic necessities of life.

And when we were speaking to the governor of Puerto Rico earlier today he was saying he's actually printing out photos of the devastation across the island to try to give President Trump a more accurate picture of just the magnitude of the devastation on a personal level and on a humanitarian level. I think that's what local officials want to leave the president with and certainly they're planning on asking him for a very significant aid package in the near future here and they're trying to justify to him why that is necessary.

For Trump, of course, this is going to be yet another test of him as comforter-in-chief. What he says to Puerto Ricans here. He's expected to meet with survivors. We're still waiting for more details on where that will be and who those folks will be.

Back to you.

BERMAN: And it'll be a test of civility between the president and the mayor of San Juan also.

HARLOW: Yes. Yes.

BERMAN: As they're in that meeting.

Sara Murray, for us in San Juan.

HARLOW: Thank you.

BERMAN: As you heard the president giving himself and the administration high marks for the response in Puerto Rico. What matters, though, is the reality on the ground. You can see the naval ship Comfort which has arrived in Puerto Rico today to start delivering medical supplies.

Let's again talk about the reality in Puerto Rico. CNN's Leyla Santiago has been there since before the storm hit.

Leyla, what are you seeing today?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're actually in a distribution center right now in (INAUDIBLE), John, and this is it. This is the FEMA aid. And I got to tell you, this is more than what I saw a few days ago, but I wanted to go beyond these distribution centers. I wanted to see how this aid goes from FEMA to the people who need it most.

Here's what I found.


SANTIAGO (voice-over): Now, on the move, help two weeks after Hurricane Maria.

(On camera): So these are meals that are now being handed over from the federal government, FEMA, into the hands of the Puerto Rican National Guard. They are now on their way to remote areas on the western part of the island to get to the people that need it most.

(Voice-over): After an hour and a half following the convoy, one truck veers off to Guayanilla, still bearing the scars of Maria in southwest Puerto Rico. Badly-needed water, food. It's the first time the National Guard has delivered aid straight from FEMA here according to town officials. But it's not all for here. The rest goes down the road to another community in need. The vice mayor in this town of more than 20,000 admits the lines are getting longer.

(On camera): I'm asking him if this is enough.


SANTIAGO (voice-over): Frustration is growing.

GUSTAVO ADOLFO VEGA, RESIDENT OF GUAYANILLA AND VIETNAM WAR VETERAN: There are people here who need other people. Please do something.

SANTIAGO (on camera): Is the government doing enough?

LIZA MINNELLI PACHECO, PUERTO RICAN LIVING IN TAMPA, FLORIDA: Not enough. Let's be real. If this would have been the United States, none of this would have been happening. A lot of people have found --

SANTIAGO: But this is the United States.

PACHECO: Well, that -- no, a lot of people don't know that this is the United States and they don't treat it like the United States.

SANTIAGO (voice-over): The food sent by the U.S. government barely makes a meal.

(On camera): There are 20 of these in one of these boxes. They are an emergency meal. And each one has crackers, raisins, granola and some Vienna sausage for these people to take home.

(Voice-over): Less than an hour later, the announcement comes. There is no more food.

(On camera): She says she's sad that there's no food left, but at least there's water that she can get now for later.

(voice-over): Federal help is arriving, but it's not nearly enough for everyone in need. Here in Guayanilla, the wait continues now for more water, more food, and more help from FEMA.


SANTIAGO: And just to give you a better idea as to how desperate they are becoming, the packages of water actually arrived when we were there, 32 bottles of water. The officials were actually cutting it in half so that they could reach more homes and distributing half to each person. And I've got to tell you about an exchange that I've just had just in the last 10 minutes. I spoke to the mayor of this town and he was holding back tears, holding back tears, as he told me from above, from the federal level, it may look like a lot is being accomplished, especially when stuff like this is getting out. But he is seeing people day to day, and he's saying the desperation is getting out of hand.

[10:45:03] I mean he told me yesterday, he had to deal with a gentleman who was about to commit suicide. I spoke to a doctor that was right next to him who told me that one of his patients is now eating dog food, eating dog food, patients eating dog food in a clinic.

So on the ground, yes, FEMA, I'm seeing more of it. I'm seeing more of the aid. But there is still so much more that is needed when you just talk to people here.

HARLOW: And Leyla, quickly before we go, first of all, thank you for bringing us this day in and day out and with the weeks you've been there. But it sounds like the president is not going to go far outside of San Juan that we know of. Is that a concern among people there? Do they want the president much further out seeing what's going on in those parts of the island that have a lot less help?

SANTIAGO: Actually I just asked the mayor here that. I said, hey, you know, do you feel that the president is going to get an accurate reflection of what's going on and that was his concern. I mean he's worried that the president is not going to see the urgent need. When I asked him what's the message that you would give him he said this is urgent. People need help. And certainly on the other parts of the island, they're not even able to communicate. So, of course, people are worried that that may be a problem.

HARLOW: OK. Leyla Santiago, again, thank you for your reporting, very, very much.

Ahead for us, in the grips of unimaginable horror, in Las Vegas, our next guest says he saw humanity.


[10:51:04] BERMAN: Our next guest represents the constituents of Nevada and then the hours following the shooting rampage he stood alongside first responders as they coordinate the emergency efforts.

HARLOW: And joining us now from Las Vegas is Democratic Congressman Ruben Kihuen.

Thank you for being with us. You wrote, sir, one --


HARLOW: Good morning. You wrote, "One cowardly attack will not define who we are as a city and a state." And if that has ever been more true I don't know when. We just had this incredible woman, Heather Gooze, on with us, recounting how she stayed with one of the young men who was murdered, for hours and hours until his loved ones could be with him.

How is everyone coping now two days after this tragedy?

KIHUEN: You know, we're hearing so many stories of people who were saving lives yesterday. We're so grateful for our local community here who has stepped up to donate blood and to help out the doctors and nurses, the first responders, the police.

I just want to say thank you to our local community, and as you said, I mean, this is the hardest time we've had here in our state but I know that Las Vegas is going to be stronger because of this event. But we're all working together here, dealing with the families, the victims, and we're doing our best to bring sanity here to our community.

BERMAN: We've seen the lines at the blood drives. What else do you need this morning?

KIHUEN: Well, we need people to continue stepping up to donate blood. The lines were about six hours long yesterday. But from what I'm hearing we're still going to need blood in the days to come. So we're still asking for people to show up today, tomorrow and the next few days, and again, I'm also asking my colleagues in Congress that, you know, yes, we should continue praying for these victims, but we should also start taking action.

I believe that now the American people want us to take action. You know, these mass shootings are happening too often and the American people deserve better.

HARLOW: You said, Congressman, that in the midst of all of this, you saw humanity. What did you see?

KIHUEN: You know, I was at the hospital yesterday for a few hours and I got to see firsthand a lot of these victims, the families, and I saw doctors and nurses and police officers and firefighters who were scrambling to save lives running from one bed to the other. There was about 190 victims there at that time when I showed up around 3:30 in the morning and, you know, I'm just so proud of our first responders.

I'm so proud of our community who has stepped up to help in this very dire time here in our state. But again, Las Vegas has always been the entertainment capital of the world. We're going to continue being. We're going to be now safer than ever. And we obviously want people to continue visiting our city. We don't want to let one bad actor, you know, ruin our reputation. Las Vegas has always been a safe city and we are going to continue being a safe city.

BERMAN: You said it's time for Congress to take action. What specifically are the questions you want to address now when it comes to guns?

KIHUEN: Well, first of all, you know, we're seeing these mass shootings happen too often. We saw what happened last year at Pulse Nightclub, we saw what happened in Sandy Hook and so many other places. You know, it's time for us to take action. Thoughts and prayers are very important, but it's time for us to take action.

You know, why aren't we talking about universal background checks? Over 70 percent of Americans all across the country want us to have universal background checks. Why aren't we talking about limiting the magazine capacity? Why aren't we talking about, you know, some of these sensible gun laws that will prevent gun violence in our country?

Why aren't we talking about investing in mental health system? Here in Nevada and across the country we have an underfunded mental health care system. Why aren't we investing in these things. You know, these are things that can prevent gun violence in the future.

[10:55:06] HARLOW: Congressman, thank you very much for joining us today. We wish the best. I think those six-hour lines to give blood say everything about your community. Thank you again.

KIHUEN: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. President Trump on his way to Puerto Rico right now. He says the response there has been just as strong as in Florida and Texas. A-plus he said.

Coming up, he will arrive on the island. How will he be greeted? We just learned the mayor of San Juan who has been at odds with the president will meet with him. Stay with us.