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Investigation Continues into Motive of Las Vegas Shooter; First Responders at Las Vegas Shooting Attack Interviewed; Hurricane Threatens Gulf Coast; Trump: "Calm Before the Storm" After Military Meeting. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired October 6, 2017 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it's Friday, October 6th, now 8:00 in the east. It's has been a long week. Alisyn is taking the day. Poppy Harlow very graciously stepping in. Thank you.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And you woke up this morning somehow.
CUOMO:: I did with my seven-year-old grabbing my hair and shaking my head.
HARLOW: Five cities in four days?
CUOMO: Something like that, I don't know. But there's a lot of news. And he had to get around, and we're getting after all of it.
This morning, let's start with Las Vegas. The investigators there are still trying to unravel the mystery of what drove a man to become so evil, capable of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history? Authorities have all of his stuff, computers, cellphones, his entire digital phone print. And now there's a new clue. A note left in that Vegas hotel suite reportedly has random numbers on it. We're still waiting for that major clue. We're also learning that killer may have been casing other locations before Sunday's massacre.
HARLOW: And we've also learned that the killer tried but failed to buy tracer ammunition at a gun show in recent weeks that would make it easier to see where the shots were going. Meantime, thousands of people turned out last night for a candlelight vigil, honoring a fallen off duty Las Vegas police officer. His name, Charleston Hartfield. We also now know the identities of all 58 victims killed in this senseless attack. In this hour we honor all of them.
Ahead of that, let's get to our Jean Casarez. She has the latest on the investigation. Good morning.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy. Law enforcement continues to not say anything publicly about motive, why this man did what he did. Law enforcement does confirm to CNN that the FBI has hundreds of people working on this case at this point, and video released from the scene as the bullets are flying, people helping people. We do want to warn you that some of this may be extremely disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is the guy with the double shots?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has three in his arm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody else?
CASAREZ: Civilians racing to save the wounded in this heart-wrenching video minutes after the attack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get in the truck!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get behind the wall!
CASAREZ: Raymond Paige risking his own life to get the injured medical help, loading them into his truck and driving them to safety.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have five wounded.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A gunshot wound to the chest here!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody help, please. Please.
CASAREZ: CNN now learning that the killer recently attempted to buy tracer ammunition at a gun show in the Phoenix area, but was not successful. The ammo, which is legal and looks like this, would have allowed him to be more accurate when shooting in the dark.
But five days after the massacre, investigators finding few clues to understand why he did this. "The New York Times" reporting that police did find this note in his hotel room that contained numbers that are still being analyzed.
Authorities are also look into whether the killer was casing other large events. In August, a person with the killer's name reserved a room at Chicago's Blackstone hotel during the Lollapalooza music festival, but the person never checked in according to the organization with knowledge of hotel records. This after police confirmed that days before the massacre, the killer rented a room at this downtown Las Vegas condo complex overlooking another, much larger music festival.
And we're learning just how far the killer's gunshots travelled. Vegas International Airport confirming two rounds that struck this 43,000 barrel jet fuel tank which is roughly 1,100 feet from the concert site and further from the killer's location on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort, and even farther from the killer's location on the 32 floor of the Mandalay Bay resort.
Thousands gathering to honor off-duty police officer Charleston Hartfield, an 11 year veteran of the Las Vegas metropolitan police department. Police and soldiers accompanying his widow and children as the nation mourns the 58 victims.
(END VIDEOTAPE) CASAREZ: We also have not heard anything about forensic examination of electronic devices, cell phones, computers from the hotel room, his homes, and even his vehicles. Chris, Poppy?
CUOMO: All right, Jean, we have to get after the investigation now because the more we learn about what this man did to prepare and how he got what he used, the better chance we have of stopping it the next time. Let's bring in CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano. James, you've been helping us piece together the puzzle from the beginning. What is this new information for you in terms of what makes sense, the tracer bullets, the note, the new information?
[08:05:05] JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: All these things, again, they're going into building a profile, Chris, and behavior analysis is going on right now, and each different piece of evidence we come across right now is going to lead to more leads.
Just take, for instance, the fact that he booked the room in the BNB, he booked a room in another hotel in Chicago, they said he didn't check in on that. You know what that's going to turn out in the way of leads - every single field office of the FBI, all 56 in the United States covering all 50 states is now going to be reaching out to hotels and saying is anybody under this name checked in or meeting this description? Every one of those leads is going to have to be run down.
I think with the parallel investigations going on right now, you have certainly the Las Vegas sheriff's department conducting an investigation, working in concert with the FBI because it has not been determined to be an act of terrorism just yet. One of the things that I think needs to happen is I think that we need to see a little bit more restraint on the information that is being released now. And it should be done in concert. The FBI has one way of doing things, which is guarded and releasing things only as it can assist the investigation. The sheriff operates under a different set of rules and regulations.
HARLOW: This guy did not have a big social life in terms of friends or any friends, only his girlfriend, who we'll get to in a moment, but he had to have an online life of some sort. He had to have Google searches, some of that. They are looking at his computers, they are looking through his cell phone. We know he texted with his brother in recent weeks. And then there's this note which police went out of their way, the sheriff today, this isn't a manifest, this isn't a suicide note, but there are numbers on it. When you piece those things together, what are you thinking?
GAGLIANO: Very limit the social media imprint right now, Poppy. We're not seeing much from what has been released.
CUOMO: Right, from what has been released.
GAGLIANO: What's been released. But we do know that there are some devices, Chris, that were been picked up at the house. Those things leave what we call in the business digital exhaust. You can't even open and turn it on without their kind of a signature. And those things, again, maybe there's nothing on that computer per se, but that will lead to something else. Obviously Google searches are important, and unless he used some type of aftermarket device to completely scrub it, a lot of that stuff can be forensically harvested. And again it's just going to lead to more leads.
CUOMO: Has anything come out to you that's as compelling as who they have already in his Marilou Danley?
GAGLIANO: No, I still think, Chris, as many people have opined, she is the key to this investigation. No one had a more intimate relationship with him obviously than she did. The family had limited contact with him, doesn't seem to have a wide swath of friends. And the house that they bought where they built the privacy fence around it, none of the neighbors really knew him other than comings and goings. They didn't know anything about him personally.
Again, what we've got to be care about doing, we want to apply normal people standards. We want to go, this is not fitting the way regular folks act. And this guy was a sociopath. So we have to look outside of that and not be, well, he didn't do this, so then this can't happen. We have to follow the evidence. I think that's what the FBI stressed.
HARLOW: Final quick thought on the tracer, trying to buy these tracer bullets, couldn't buy them. And then the fact that we know that at least two bullets hit a fuel tank all the way at the Las Vegas airport. Any relevance to you?
GAGLIANO: Two things that the tracer rounds could be used for. Obviously one is to improve accuracy. He did this dastardly, deadly deed at night, and the tracers would have helped him. He's wouldn't have had to look at an air pointer, mechanical site. He could have just followed the tracer round.
CUOMO: It would have showed where he was also.
GAGLIANO: It would have showed where he was, Chris. And it's also good to point out, that the barrel of the rifle -- we could not see muzzle flashes from the angle I've seen on videos, which means he was pulled back inside. And again, it speaks to, he had military knowledge for somebody that didn't have any military experience.
HARLOW: Thank you for the expertise. Looking for answers.
CUOMO: All right, so we know who the bad guy is, but we are learning all the time about the good guys, the good men and women who stepped up to avert an even greater tragedy. Joining us now are two members of the Clark County Fire Department. They jumped into action during this massacre. We have fire captain Joe Geeb and we've got engineer Travis Haldeman. Joe was on duty that night, Travis was off duty attending the concert. Travis, everybody you were with, is everybody OK?
TRAVIS HALDEMAN, ENGINEER, CLARK COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: Yes, sir. Thankfully we were blessed. All my friends and family made it out unharmed. CUOMO: Good. We take solace where we find it in a situation like
Captain Joe, you can't prepare for something like this. I know you first responders drill all the time and think of every kind of scenario, but this just checks every box of chaos, that field of fire the likes of which we've never heard here, thousands of people in different directions, no real solid clue as to what the threat is. How did you respond?
JOE GEEB, CAPTAIN, CLARK COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: Well, I think we fell back on our training truthfully.
[08:10:00] We have been blessed to have leadership that had some foresight in something like this, and so they put some pieces in place that allowed us to train with our officers, have the equipment necessary, and really just get our arms wrapped around this problem.
CUOMO: Travis, you being in there, could you imagine that you would find yourself in the midst of something like that trying to save lives?
HALDEMAN: You know, this is something that we train for, however I don't ever train or practice for, you know, my wife being there with me. Usually I am with my captain and a crew full of guys ready to go. So yes, it was definitely different being in the chaotic atmosphere, kind of unprepared for what was about to happen.
CUOMO: How did you handle knowing that the woman who was the center of everything that matters to you in this world was there and vulnerable?
HALDEMAN: Yes, no doubt it was really, really, really terrifying. My first priority was making sure that we got her to safety, getting her in the best cover possible. As soon as we did that and I thought she was in a safe enough position, I think we just looked at each other and had that nonverbal communication husband and wives have sometimes, and I told her I had to get to work. She understood, and that's exactly what happened.
CUOMO: How hard was that?
HALDEMAN: It was difficult. However, just doing a quick scan of the crowd I saw there were so many people that needed some help. At the time I was very calm, cool, collected, in control of my own thoughts and actions, which is really a testament to the training of the Clark County fire department has given me over the last nine years, and I just wanted to put that to good use. I had some experience already in dealing with gunshot wounds and just I saw a lot of people that really could use help.
CUOMO: Too many people. There was one little piece of good luck in dealing with the catastrophe. Is it true there was a unit that was right nearby that actually heard the gunfire, called it in, and was able to be on scene literally in seconds? GEEB: That's absolutely correct. One of our stations, Station 11,
which is right on the Las Vegas strip, right across the street, for the most part, was returning back from a call. And that came in, so they got the ball rolling to get all the resources necessary, including our mass casualty incident, to the scene so we could start taking care of people appropriately.
CUOMO: You know, we love you guys. You are the best among us, the first responders. People say you are angels here on earth. But I've got to tell you, Travis, this had to be hard for you. Yes, you went there and you put yourself out and do what our first responders do so beautifully, but has it sunk in yet where you were, what was going on, and how many people didn't make it out?
HALDEMAN: It hasn't. It was definitely something both me and my wife have begun to start to heal from. My recommendation to anybody involved, it's just to do what everybody is telling you to do, start talking to somebody. Whether it's your friend or family member, expert counselor, anybody, just start to get that ball rolling. It took us two days to want to open up to anybody. My wife's company flew out a crisis counselor, and we started to talking to him, and I can't tell you how much that has helped us since then.
CUOMO: Good for you. Good for getting the help to get over this as quickly as possible. The best to you, the best to your wife, and gentlemen, you and captain, thank you so much for what you did that day. As bad as it was, it could have been worse but we had our first responders there. Gentlemen, thank you and be well.
HALDEMAN: Thank you, sir.
GEEB: Thank you.
We do have some more breaking news this morning. Hurricane watches in parts of the Gulf along the Gulf coast, tropical storm Nate already has killed 20 people in Central America. Our meteorologist Chad Myers, has the forecast. So where is it headed?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It's headed to Louisiana, Mississippi, or Alabama. And that's the ground zero, if you will, of this storm right now. All the models now agreeing that this will make landfall in less than 48 hours as a hurricane. Likely not a category three or major hurricane, but certainly 80 miles per hour.
They track right here, the very small cone because it's so close now. We are almost 36 hours away from landfall, so the cone is not very wide. It could be stronger, it could be weaker, but a stronger storm would still make that storm surge that we know what happened around Katrina time, all that surge got into the Bay of St. Louis.
This is going to make landfall very, very similar in a location similar, not a similar strength we hope, but to where it kind of came right onshore in the Plaquemines Parish as a category one hurricane.
[08:15:01] So, 80 miles per hour will be OK. But you don't have time, at least that much time to prepare. Today is the day. You need to get ready for it. It's on land tomorrow night -- Chris.
CUOMO: All right. Chad, thank you very much. People are going to be watching this information. Hopefully, the speed of the storm reduces its impact. We'll see.
All right. So, speaking of storms, the president is at a meeting with the senior military, and he looks out and he says, you could be looking at the calm before the storm. Was this just another rhetorical flourish by someone with the penchant for entertaining? What storm? Discuss.
CUOMO: President Trump's message last night about the calm before the storm after a meeting with his military leaders is, of course, raising questions. The president refused to clarify what he meant.
[08:20:01] Was it just a joke? Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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: You talking Iran, ISIS, or what? What storm, Mr. President?
TRUMP: We have the world's great military people here in this room, I will tell you that. And we're going to have a great evening. Thank you all for coming. Thank you.
REPORTER: What storm, Mr. President?
TRUMP: You'll find out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right. Joining us now is CNN military and diplomatic analyst, John Kirby. What's your take?
JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: Look, I think, first of all, it's reckless for the commander-in-chief to be tossing out phrases like calm before the storm.
But I also think you have to put this in context. This was a social setting. You could see all the military leaders had their spouses there. This is a yearly thing. It's not at all about doing business.
And as I watch that clip and I have seen it several times this morning, Chris, and you look at that smug look on the president's face and you can tell what he's do something wrapping himself in the glory of being surrounded by all the senior military people and sort of showing that he's the boss, that he's really the commander-in-chief.
So, I'm actually not going to go out on the limb. I don't think it's going out of the limb to say that there's probably no big storm coming here from a military perspective. He was simply trying to show off.
CUOMO: Hope you are right.
Secretary of State, Tillerson, comes out, and gives a bizarre press conference where he reaffirms his commitment to the president, says he was never thinking of leaving, all this reporting about intrigue in the place.
What's your take?
KIRBY: Yes. So, first of all, very, very significant that Rex Tillerson would come out and give a press conference. You know, Chris, this is not a secretary of state that enjoys the media spotlight, doesn't do a lot of interviews, certainly doesn't do a lot of pressers.
So, for him to come out and rebut this tells you that there was obviously some discussions between Foggy Bottom and the White House, that this story needed to be cleaned up and cleaned up quickly. Now, we're hearing that President Trump was not all that happy with the way he cleaned it up.
We also know that Tillerson had problems with the White House over staffing and resource issues. So, the tensions between the White House and the State Department are nothing new. What's going to be interesting to see is if this particular story from NBC about the moron comment makes it untenable for Secretary Tillerson to stay in office much longer.
I've talked to some people at Foggy Bottom, some colleagues. They tell me that he has no plan to go anywhere, anytime soon, that he is committed to staying onboard the team. But, obviously, that's the president's call. We'll have to see.
CUOMO: Do you buy this presser was a make good and this was the bargain for exchange, if you want to stay, go clear this up?
KIRBY: No, I don't think it was a bargain in that, Chris. I do think, though, that it was probably directed, that he was told, look, you better get out there and fix this right away, you do it however you want but you better do it quickly.
But I don't think it was a bargain for, you know, do this and you get to stay. I don't get the sense that Rex Tillerson needs this job so badly that he would do something extraordinary just to be able to stay in the job. I just don't get that sense from him. CUOMO: If he were to be out now, it would be another unprecedented
removal. We have never seen anything like this, except for Alexander Haig, you know, in terms of dealing with intrigue. But even he was there much longer than this.
The Iran deal.
CUOMO: The president hates the deal.
CUOMO: He hates it. Obama did it. It was Obama signature disaster. He wants to decertify. What would that mean?
KIRBY: Well, so, what this is, this is a Trump two-step, Chris. All he's doing -- there's two certification channels. One is through the International Atomic Energy Association, they are THE ones that are doing the real scientific assessments, and they are certifying for the international community that Iran is in compliance and we expected they'll continue to do that. That's the one that really matters.
This one is the certification required of the White House by Congress when the deal was put in place for the president to say internally to the United States, yes, they are still in compliance.
So, what we are hearing is they are going to decertify their compliance with a deal, which automatically then kicks it over to Congress and they will have 60 days to examine the president's decertification statement and determine about whether they want to reinstitute the nuclear related sanctions on Tehran.
Now, so, technically, Chris, when he does this, nothing really changes. The deal stays in place. The only way it changes is if Congress decides, you know what, Trump, you are right, they are not in compliance, we're going to snap back these sanctions, and then you have a real risk of the deal falling apart, because what you'll be doing is giving the hardliners, the mullahs in Tehran exactly what they want, because they never liked this deal either and they will press on the government and Rouhani to see if they can get Iran to back out. And once Iran backs out from their commitments, then the game is over.
CUOMO: All right. Mattis, Tillerson, even McMaster when he was here with us, they were not as rash or as definitive as the president is in terms of wanting to step back from this. How real is the concern about the allies feeling differently about this than the president does? How real is the concern that you won't be able to make a deal with North Korea if they know that this president will walk away from one so easily?
[08:25:05] KIRBY: I think it's significant. If you saw the testimony this week, Chairman Dunford, the chairman of the joints chief of staff, and then last week at the Hudson Institute, the U.S. commander of strategic command, both said when we make an agreement like this internationally it's important for us to meet the requirements of those agreements, because other people, allies and adversaries, are going to be reading into that when we pull out.
And you can tell both of them were referring to North Korea. Now, we are a far cry away from sitting at the negotiation table with North Korea, but it's absolutely fair for our friends around the world to wonder, as well as our adversaries, if we pull out of this, what that means for our word as a negotiating partner, our trustworthiness in other agreements, you know, in other ways and around the world.
I will also tell you that many of our allies are concerned about where the president is going on the Iran deal. They understand that this is a little bit of a bureaucratic maneuver. But nobody else in international community is in favor of the United States pulling out of the deal.
CUOMO: And we've heard that's, you know, violating the spirit of the deal doesn't mean anything. The deal was about one thing.
CUOMO: What they're doing with terror sponsorship, something else.
John Kirby, thank you very much for your perspective. Appreciate it.
KIRBY: My pleasure.
HARLOW: All right. So, survivors of mass shootings, the families of mass shooting victims are now stepping in in a beautiful way to comfort those who lost loved ones in Las Vegas. They're going to join us with their message next.