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Las Vegas Massacre: Shooter Tried to Buy Tracer Ammunition; NRA Says It Favors Regulating Bump Stocks; President Trump: "Calm Before the Storm"; Hurricanes Will Impact U.S. Jobs Report. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired October 6, 2017 - 04:30   ET



[04:30:22] DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: This morning chilling new clues in the Las Vegas investigation as authorities are still trying to determine a motive behind the massacre.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump's ominous confusing warning.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Maybe it's the calm before the storm.

REPORTER: What's the storm?

TRUMP: Could be the calm before the storm.


ROMANS: The cryptic message comes as the Trump administration prepares to decertify the Iran nuclear deal.

Welcome --

BRIGGS: Was it a joke?

ROMANS: You know, when the president says may be, could be, it's almost like a tease to the next episode to a reality show, but a lot of folks are saying, with all of that military might, those military brains behind him, what was he suggesting?

BRIGGS: It was a hint of sarcasm. We're talking about a nuclear showdown.

ROMANS: The president, he likes to entertain and that might have been just in a little of entertainment before dinner.

Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. It is 31 minutes past the hour.

We start with the Las Vegas investigation. He left no manifesto, no evidence of his motive but investigators are now discovering disturbing clues behind Stephen Paddock's mass shooting in Las Vegas. One law enforcement official telling CNN this chilling detail, that the shooter tried to buy tracer ammunition at an Arizona gun show in recent weeks.

ROMANS: Let's look at what tracer rounds look like. You can see them here. They're completely legal. They have a coating or charge that burns brightly when fired. It could have allowed the gunman to target his deadly fire much more accurately.

The official says the shooter bought other ammo at the gun show but could not obtain tracer rounds.

There are new details about the note left in the gunman's room at the Mandalay Bay. Clark County Sheriff Lombardo telling "The New York Times" the note contained numbers analyzed for their relevance, and it was not a manifesto or a suicide note. It was numbers. They're trying to decode what that might mean.

BRIGGS: And it now appears that the gunman was not just targeting people as he fired from the 32 floor of the Mandalay Bay. A large fuel tank in nearby McCarran International Airport was hit by two bullets. One round penetrated the tank but officials say there's, quote, almost zero likelihood a bullet could trigger a fire of explosion in jet fuel, which is not highly flammable.

ROMANS: And there's new information that may shed light on how the shooter was casing the targets. In August, someone named Stephen Paddock reserved a room at Chicago's Blackstone Hotel, with a view of the city's Lollapalooza Music Festival, right there below in Grant Park. That person never checked in and it was not immediately clear whether it was the same man who killed 58 and injured hundreds in Las Vegas. He checked in or he reserved a room under the name Stephen Paddock.

And there's new video of the moments following the attack, as Good Samaritans jumped into action to help transport several victims to the hospital. We want to warn you, this video might be disturbing.

We want to warn you the video might be disturbing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where's the guy with the double shots?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) to the hospital now. It went through in his arm and he has a shot --



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get in the truck. Get in the truck.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get in the truck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not right this second. Hang on a second. What's that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is important. OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got a driver for this thing?



ROMANS: Hospital officials said people came in cars. They came in in cabs. They came in in police vehicles, just remarkable.

An unexpected twist now in the battle over gun violence. The National Rifle Association announcing it is in favor of tighter regulation of those bump fire stocks and these other devices that allow semiautomatic weapons to simulate fully automatic weapons fire. The NRA statement comes out amid calls for an outright ban on these devices. The gun rights group says in a statement, the NRA believes the devices allowed to allow semiautomatic rifles to function like fully automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.

BRIGGS: The NRA statement calls for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives, the ATF, to review rapid fire devices. It does not mention Congress.

President Trump is also signaling he is willing to look into the matter.

And listen to House Speaker Paul Ryan.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: So, the point is we all have to get more educated as to what these are. How they became available in the first place? Was it a regulatory misstep by ATF some number of years ago? And we all know and believe that fully auto weapons are illegal.

[04:35:03] And so, is this a big gap that needs to be close, and if so, how to close it?


BRIGGS: Various members of Congress watching YouTube to figure out what these are.

Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo planning to introduce legislation next Thursday to ban the sale of bump stocks.

Dianne Feinstein, Democratic senator, has also introduced her own legislation, which is more widespread. So, let's bring in former at executive Matthew Horace via Skype this morning to talk about who owns the responsibility of this, because the NRA made it seem as though it is on the ATF.

And here's what Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said to Chris Cuomo on "NEW DAY" yesterday.


KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: We are hearing from so many legislators and so many individuals in this country, and you read it publicly, too, Chris, they never even heard of a bump stock before. And so, I did know, I did know, and it's in the "New York Times" today as well that it was President Obama's ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, in 2010 that decided not to regulate this device.


BRIGGS: OK. Matthew, did the ATF decide not to regulate these things or is it up to Congress? It's not clear.

MATTHEW HORACE, FORMER ATF EXECUTIVE: Well, it's a complex cycle, as you know. The ATF enforces the laws that Congress enacts and the NRA's responsibility to advocate for lawful gun owners. So, this always comes up whenever an incident like this happens. But it's very clear, one thing and for sure, that bump stock is not a firearm, and ATF does regulate firearms. So, that language is very clear.

ROMANS: So, when you look, there's a 2010 letter on Slide Fire's Website, which is maker of one of those things, that said it petitioned the ATF to approve this particular device as a way to help people with disabilities simulate an automatic weapon without having to hold it a certain way. This was to help people with disabilities who couldn't -- who couldn't use a semiautomatic in the right way.

Does that -- does that wash with you?

HORACE: Well, it doesn't wash with me personally, but I know that unfortunately, ATF is put in the unenviable position to have to evaluate things like this quite often, conversion kits that convert firearms from semiautomatic to fully. And we can only evaluate things as relates to what they are. If they're not a firearm, then we don't regulate them.

BRIGGS: If there's legislation like Carlos Curbelo that passed, that bans, makes these illegal. Would it solve the problem or would much more about be required to stop the problem?

HORACE: Well, it will solve that problem for this specific device but it doesn't solve the broad problem of criminals who have method, motive, means and intent --

BRIGGS: Sorry to interrupt. Let me make clear: are there many more device that can automate a semiautomatic weapon?

HORACE: There are -- there are many other process out there that people are aware of that can automate semiautomatic weapons, yes.


ROMANS: Let me ask you this new detail about the tracer rounds that the gunman apparently at a gun show, what, in Arizona, a gun show in a southwest tried to buy tracer rounds. For whatever, could not buy them. But how does that change I guess your idea of the grandiosity of this particular shooter what he was trying to do?

HORACE: Well, it really doesn't because as investigators complete evaluating their leads, we may find in fact that he tried to buy other types of ammunition in other gun shows around the country. One thing we know now is that his activities transcended geography, time and capacity. So, it doesn't change to my mind.

BRIGGS: And still no sense of a motive as to why Stephen Paddock did this. But what does it tell you that there may have been a reservation, there may have been him or someone with the same name overlooking the Lollapalooza, the Life is Beautiful festival as well.

HORACE: Well, they're probably going to find out as time goes on he stayed in any number of hotels and evaluated any number of venues with this act.

ROMANS: Just remarkable what we're learning. We know there's a note in the room with numbers, but no manifesto. Really, they have not cracked the motive part of this. And all the attention now has been on the explosives in his car, potential explosives in his car, the fact that he -- a couple of bullets hit a jet fuel repository right near, next to McCarran.

It is all the things we saw in that room. You make a very good point that, you know, it is legal to have all these guns. Everything all these guns that he amassed was completely legal.

HORACE: It is absolutely right. You know, through my time with the ATF, I've been in people's home I see hundreds of firearms. To some people, it may sound odd. To others, it's normal course of business.

BRIGGS: Yes, unbelievable he didn't break a law until firing those weapons.

Matthew Horace, former ATF agent, thanks for joining us.

ROMANS: So, of all 58 victims who died in the Las Vegas massacre have now been identified. Much of the focus, of course, has been on the gunman and his motives.

[04:40:01] We want to remember and honor the innocent lives he took.

Forty-year-old Rocio Guillen Rocha was a restaurant assistant manager, a long time Disney employee and a super mom.

[04:10:02] The Eastvale, California woman just gave birth to her fourth child last month. Her fiance Chris was by her side when she died. BRIGGS: Patricia Mestas was looking forward to spending her time with her grandchildren. The 67-year-old Menifee, California native was a retired store manager who loved travelling, her family, and, of course, country music.

Thirty-one-year-old mother of three Keri Lynn Galvan works full time as a server in a local restaurant, somehow managed to always get her kids to their appointments and practices. The Thousand Oaks, California native took her children to Disneyland every month just like her own father did for her.

ROMANS: Teresa Nicol Kimura had a heart bigger than most, according to her friends. The 38-year-old California woman was with six of her friends when the bullets rained down. They all survived. She did not.

Brett Schwanbeck, a retired 61-year-old truck driver from Bullhead City, Arizona, loved taking his two sons camping, hunting and dirt biking. He was at the concert with his fiancee. The kids say there was no one, no one more fun to be around.

BRIGGS: Twenty-four-year-old Austin Meyer of Marina, California, celebrating a birthday with his girlfriend. He recently moved to Reno to study. His sister says he was ambitious, smart and a joy to be around.

Thirty-one-year-old Carrie Parsons, staffing manager from Seattle, in Las Vegas on a girl's trip like so many others. Friends say she just got engaged during a recent trip to Hawaii.

And Andrea Castilla's boyfriend was planning to propose to her right after this country music festival. The Huntington Beach, California woman celebrating her 28th birthday. She was killed trying to protect her younger sister.

ROMANS: All right. Forty-one minutes past the hour. President Trump trying to decertify the Iran nuclear deal. He says Iran hasn't lived up to the spirit of the deal. This as the president warns of a calm before the storm.


REPORTER: What storm, Mr. President?

TRUMP: You'll find out.



[04:46:17] BRIGGS: President Trump plans to decertify the Iran nuclear deal next week. That's according to two senior U.S. officials. Once the president announces the move, Congress would have 60 days to figure out a way forward. According to one official, under the new strategy, the current deal would remain in place with efforts being made to strengthen nuclear inspections. ROMANS: Sources also tell CNN, national security adviser H.R.

McMaster invited a group of Democratic senators to the White House on Wednesday to discuss the president's plans. He hinted he is not so sold that this decertification is the right way to proceed.

CNN has also learned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is working behind the scenes with Congress to head off a possible international crisis as the October 15th certification deadline for the Iran nuclear deal looms.

BRIGGS: An ominous comment from President Trump during a photo op with military leaders and their spouses at the White House. Listen to the president tells reporters right before leaving the room for dinner.


TRUMP: You guys know what this represents?

REPORTER: Tell us, sir.

TRUMP: I don't know, maybe it's the calm before the storm.

REPORTER: What's the storm?

TRUMP: Could be the calm before the storm.

REPORTER: What storm, Mr. President?

TRUMP: You'll find out.


BRIGGS: The White House is not responding to CNN's request for a comment or clarification. Earlier, the president raised eyebrows telling the officials he expected them to provide a, quote, broad range of military options at a much faster pace.

ROMANS: More fallout this morning from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's reported comment calling President Trump a moron. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders saying it would be beneath Tillerson to directly rebut the allegations, while the president insists there is nothing to the report. It served to escalate his ongoing one-sided war with the news media.

We get more from CNN's Ryan Nobles at the White House.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, good morning.

And after a day of back and forth between President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the president used Thursday to go after the media, and accusing reporters are making the tension between he and the secretary of state out to be more than what it actually is. This, of course, comes after an NBC News report said that Tillerson called the president a moron after a meeting at the Pentagon.

The president saying that did not happen, and Tillerson himself saying he never intended to resign. As a result, on Thursday morning, the president tweeted that this was another example of the media getting the story wrong. And he, in fact, said that the Senate Intelligence Committee should investigate news organizations and reporters, and hold them accountable.

At the press briefing on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders defended the president's comments.

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the president has a great frustration with the fact that a lot of times you have inaccurate information that's being presented as factual. A lot of times you have opinions that are being presented as news and they're not. And I think that that is a real concern and something that certainly should be looked at.

NOBLES: Meanwhile, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, who is a Republican, told our Manu Raju that his committee has no plan of investigating news organizations but he did say that it is up to reporters and those news organizations to be held accountable for the reporting and he said that much of the reporting surrounding the investigation into Russian has been very loose at best. However, Burr said that accountability should come from the public, not necessarily the government -- Dave and Christine.


BRIGGS: All right. Thank you, Ryan.

Harvey Weinstein planning to sue the "New York Times" over what he calls faulty reporting, and a story detailing decades of sexual harassment claims against the powerful movie producer.

[04:50:01] "The Times" piece identified several of Weinstein's accusers including actress Ashley Judd, but reportedly reached private legal settlements with at least eight women over accusations of sexual misconduct. In a statement, he apologized for his behavior saying he plans to take a leave of absence from the Weinstein Company and that he's committed to changing his ways.

ROMANS: At least two Democrats said they're going to give back donations from Harvey Weinstein. He's someone who is a well known Democratic donor. And there was another --

BRIGGS: A frequent Obama White House visitor.

ROMANS: That's right, that's right. And the RNC spokesman said what?

BRIGGS: Ronna Romney McDaniel is calling for Democrats to give back donations --

ROMANS: Give back their money.

BRIGGS: -- from Weinstein, which there are decades of. ROMANS: Of course.

All right. Fifty minutes past the hour. Recent hurricanes will have a huge hit on the U.S. jobs report. How much? Economists still are not sure. And I'm going to tell you something, I think no one has a clue what this jobs number is going to be because those hurricanes were just so powerful, and probably suppressed hiring in such a dramatic way.

In less than four hours, the Labor Department releases the jobs report. September does not look good.

A CNN Money survey predicts 90,000 jobs added. That is well below the current average of 175,000 for this year. The forecast ranged between losing 50,000 jobs to gaining 200,000. A huge swing in h expectation. Lots of uncertainty because of Harvey and Irma.

Eleven million people work in the areas hit by the storm and analysts are having a tough time predicting the fallout. Don't panic. Any impact should be short lived. The storms could eventually boost hiring when rebuilding begins. Some economists think the temporary job loss will bump the unemployment rate up to 4.5 percent. That is still very low.

Most believe it could remain at 4.4 percent, a 16-year low. Wage growth should remain at about 2.5 percent. One note here: Hurricane Maria will not affect this report. The national numbers don't include Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

BRIGGS: Also relatively small. When you're talking about Houston, the fourth largest county in the United States.

ROMANS: Yes, it's just remarkable. So, that's going to be at 8:30. I'm telling you right now. I mean, anybody who tells you, oh, it's going to be x. Just doesn't know.

BRIGGS: So, I shouldn't get you to predict. All right.

ROMANS: No, my prediction is unpredictable.

BRIGGS: You got it.

ROMANS: Can Elon Musk fix Puerto Rico's broken power grid? The Tesla founder thinks he can. His play on CNN "Money Stream", next.


[04:56:41] ROMANS: Happening today, Vice President Mike Pence travels to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to be briefed on recovery effort. He's set to meet with Hurricane Maria victims, governors and to take an aerial tour.

The government of Puerto Rico announcing just 9 percent of customers have electricity, 9 percent. Fifty-four percent of customers have running water, just over half. We're also told more than 8,000 people are staying in shelters across the island. Meantime, composer Lin Manuel Miranda and 22 of his friends releasing a new song to raise money for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico.

BRIGGS: Senator Bob Menendez refusing to say whether he'll resign if he's convicted on federal corruption charges. The New Jersey Democrat back on Capitol Hill Thursday during a break from his trial in Newark. Menendez says he expects to be acquitted.

If he is found guilty, Democrats could be in a bind. They almost certainly be faced with voting for the senator's expulsion if he stays on. If he steps down, Republican Governor Chris Christie gets to choose his replacement.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on CNN "Money Stream" this Friday morning.

Global stock markets mixed as Wall Streets winning streak endures. For the fourth day in a row, the Dow, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 all hit record highs. That's the sixth day for the S&P 500 alone. Six record highs in a row has not happened since 1997. Stocks current record run is fuelled by hope for tax reform.

And even the president is celebrating, tweeting about the all-time highs, about the low jobless rate. Look at that, manufacturing enthusiasm at the highest level in decades. A nice reminder, right before what should be a lousy jobs number. The September jobs report is out later this morning. We expect that those big hurricanes have depressed hiring. There's a lot of chatter on Twitter, though, about the president's tweet, even from some Republicans who are saying, yes, all of these great things happening and there's been no change in economic policy yet at all.

Netflix is raising its prices for the first time in two years. Its standard and premium services will rise $1 and $2 each. Each service stays the same. Current showers will get 30 days notice with what the price hike, the extra cash will help Netflix pay for all its programming. The company plans to spend -- Dave, get this -- $15.7 billion on content, $6 billion on content this year alone. The golden age of content.

Can Elon Musk fix Puerto Rico's broken power grid? He thinks so. Millions of Puerto Ricans are without power. So, the Tesla founder is suggesting solar as a long term solution, tweeting that the Tesla team had done this for smaller islands so it can be done for Puerto Rico. Decision is up to Puerto Rican officials.

They didn't take long to respond. Puerto Rico's governor says the island could be a flagship project for Tesla. The company has built solar grids for islands before, but on a much smaller scale. An island in Hawaii for example with 70,000 people. Puerto Rico has 3.4 million residents. It is in the path of hurricanes, too. So, you'd have to make infrastructure, solar infrastructure that could withstand the category five hurricane.

BRIGGS: Nothing is out of reach for Elon Musk.


BRIGGS: But 95 percent of the island still without power.


ROMANS: I meant hurricanes.

BRIGGS: You meant hurricanes.

ROMANS: I meant hurricanes. You know what I meant. It's Friday.

BRIGGS: No earthquakes.

ROMANS: I have a cold. It is Friday. Dave is my translator. Whatever I say, Dave will translate.

BRIGGS: That's frightening.

All right. EARLY START continues right now with the latest in the Las Vegas investigation.


BRIGGS: This morning, chilling new clues in the Las Vegas investigation as authorities are still trying to determine some kind of motive behind this massacre.