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Tragedy In Texas; Tiny Texas Community In Mourning; North Korea Tops Agenda On Trip; Trump Criticized U.S.-Japanese trade Relationship; Saudi Arabia Anti-Corruption Sweep. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired November 6, 2017 - 04:00   ET


[04:00:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I did not need to know. There are only 48 days.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: I already have my first Black Friday e-mail.

ROMANS: I just see the first holiday sales for a car company already.

BRIGGS: Unbelievable. All right Early Start continues right now. The latest on the shooting in Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

BRIGGS: Troubling new questions about the man who opened fire on a church full of worshippers, killing 26. Why was he allowed to buy a weapon after being court marshals and discharged from the air force for assaulting his wife and child?


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mental health is the problem the here. This was a very, based on preliminary reports, very deranged individual. A lot of problems over a long period of time.


ROMANS: The President just been an hour and a half ago on his trip to Asia. He says the shooting isn't a gun problem. It's a mental health problem. That is more on his high stakes meeting in Japan before he heads to South Korea. Interesting the President says this is a mental health problem, making that declaration. The CDC center for disease control by law, congress, ruled in 1996 that it cannot study public health and the gun industry. That those two things cannot be studied together. Maybe this President would like to open the door for examining that intersection.

BRIGGS: Don't hold your breath.

ROMANS: I won't. Good morning. Welcome to "Early Start." I am Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Monday, November 6 it is 4:00 a.m. in the east, 3:00 a.m. in Sutherland Spring Texas. This morning, another American community torn apart by gun violence. At least 26 people killed in Sunday's church shooting in this small Texas town of Sutherland Spring, near San Antonio. The death range from five to 72, about 20 others wounded we're told eight of the dead were from one family.

ROMANS: The pastors own child as well. The shooter 26 year-old Devin Patrick Kelley is dead. Kelly was court martialed by the air force and given a bad conduct discharge back in 2012. It is behind the unfolding mystery, what set him off on this rampage. Let's bring in CNN's Dianne Gallagher live this morning for us in Sutherland Springs. Diane it is just five weeks after the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Here we are again. Walk us through what investigators know.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT : That question you asked, what made this man do something like this is something that investigators are trying to pick apart here in Sutherland Springs, because by all accounts, this was a 26-year-old man who came dressed for war. He was in all black, he had a tactical vest, ballistic vest on and he was already shooting his weapon unloading that Ruger ar-556 as he approached the church before he even went inside. Of course we do know once he got inside he killed 26 people. As he left the building, a man who lived next door to the church brought his own gun out and engaged with him, he engaged in a chase as well as law enforcement. At that point, we're told that Devin Kelley ran off the road. They found him about eight miles in another county from the church here where it's said he died from a gunshot wound. They don't know if it was self-inflected or came from the neighbor.

But officials tell us they found multiple firearms in the vehicle. The one that he used in the shooting, that Ruger AR-556 we're told he purchased it legally back at an academy sports and outdoor store in April of 2016 in San Antonio. This raises a lot of questions, because you mentioned that court-martialed, he was court-martialed on one count of spousal abuse and one count of child abuse back in 2012. He served 12 months. He was confined for 12 months. They buckled him down in rank to an e-1. And he got that bad conduct discharge, but where told by sources that no type of disqualifying information showed up in his background check. This is a legally purchased firearm. So, those are the questions that are sort of spinning here in Sutherland Springs right now trying to figure out why he did it and also how he got his hands on those weapons, Christine.

ROMANS: Fascinating. In private life, in civilians, that kind of an arrest and conviction would preclude him from entering the military. On the other side, does it preclude you from buying a gun? That is a good question this morning, Dianne Gallagher, thank you for that, keep us posted.

BRIGGS: The shooting has left a tight knit Texas community struggling for answers this morning even as they rely on their faith and one another.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Loss. Be with husband as we learn to deal with this in the days to come. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My heart is broken. I mean I would never think

where it can happen and it does happen. It doesn't matter where you're at. I mean in a small community, real quiet and everything, look at this, what can happen.

[04:05:09] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were flabbergasted, there's just no reason for something like that to take place. Especially here where everybody's family. We all help each other out. We all know each other. This is just devastating.


ROMANS: Simply devastating. Joining us on the phone right now CNN law enforcement analyst Cedric Alexander past president of National Organization of Law Enforcement Executives. Good morning. Under such terrible circumstances. Where do you think the investigation is headed right now as they try to figure out what drove the shooter?

CEDRIC ALEXANDER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think a couple of things, one, they want to know about more who is the shooter, what was his life like that led up to what was going on in his life that led up to this horrific shooting. Those are going to be some of the important questions but the bigger question also is going to be how was he able to go in and legally purchase a firearm, having had a domestic violence history in the military. It would suggest, but yet still to be explored and known, are those two separate judicial systems which we know they are, but why they did not overlap at this particular case. So that he would not have been able to have been sold that weapon is a question I think we all need clarification on, and we will hopefully have that over the next couple of days or so. But this is a horrific event. Very painful for that community and for this entire country to watch again.

BRIGGS: It's not clear if those systems overlapped, if it would have actually had any impact on the purchasing of this weapon. The (inaudible) that covers 26 states, Texas is not one of them, the (inaudible) prevents someone with a domestic violence arrest in purchasing certain types of weapons, but again, 26 states, not Texas and it's very difficult to enforce. How central will social media be in the background of this shooter, because in the wake of Texas there was almost no social media or fingerprint, almost no digital footprint of Stephen Paddock? How central of that being in the investigation?

ALEXANDER: Well it is going to be important, but I think we have to remember that in each one of this cases, and all this shooting, each one of these perpetrators, the way in which they carried out their act, their prior history, their leaving a message or social media information, a footprint behind is going to be very different for each one of them. But, in this particular case, because social media is so much a part of our lives every day, they will continue to investigate and look into his social media history to determine if there are even markers or anything that could give some indication leading up to this act. But we always have to be careful to judge each one of these cases individually because it can sometimes be very perplexing to us when we're trying to put it altogether within a matter of a short period of time. ROMANS: But it would be so helpful if we could study these really

with a critical eye toward public health and yes, each is different, but there must be some kind of analysis of what -- let me read numbers, harvest music festival, 58 dead. Pulse nightclub 49 dead. Virginia tech, 32 dead. Sandy Hook, 27 dead. First Baptist church in Sutherland springs yesterday, 26 dead. I could go on and on, yet, as a society, we do not study the public health effects, mental health or otherwise of gun ownership in this country. The President last night, just a few hours ago, saying this is a mental health issue, not a gun issue. As a law enforcement, professional, sir, do you think that we should as a country examine what in god's name is wrong here?

ALEXANDER: We have to be very careful of something. The every person that may have a mental health history does not make them a criminal. And everyone who owns a weapon legally does not make them a criminal as well.

ROMANS: It doesn't even allow us to study it. We're not even allowed to study it from a very academic standpoint. I am just asking, do you think, in a law enforcement stand point, should this be something that would be look at academically.

ALEXANDER: Absolutely it should be. We're seeing more and more cases across this country where someone with mental health condition has got possession of a firearm, whether they bought it legally or it was stolen, and used it to hurt innocent people. That discussion needs to be raised again, and we need to confront that issue, and find ways and come up with a variety of different ways in which we can approach this issue, but we cannot continue to ignore it.

[04:10:09] And we can't blame a one particular population as the one who are going to go out and commit harm to someone. Because here, again, there are people with no health conditions in the country who are not violent, but at the same time we have a second amendment in in country which makes guns very available to anyone who can be in possession of them. But we also know that millions of guns are stolen every year, and so the access to the weapon in this country is very easy. We've got to go back and take a look at our gun laws, but we also have to, and I agree with you, look, sit down and take a look at this particular case, where you have guns that are accessible in this country and people who suffer with mental illness in this country. We cannot continue to ignore without studying them. They need somebody studied. I would say that to you that yes, they do. Need to be studied.

BRIGGS: Cedric Alexander CNN law enforcement analyst thanks so much. You know, here's the thing. In the wake of Las Vegas, the language was it's too soon to be talking about the gun legislation, but the truth is no matter what side you're on, now's the only time to talk about gun legislation, because as we saw in Las Vegas, the conversation moves on in a week, two weeks. Bump stocks are still being sold. In fact they're flying off the shelves now. President Trump also pointed out the gun laws in Texas allowed someone, a hero, to chase after this victim with his rifle. We're not sure if he shot and killed Kelley, the shooter, but he certainly picked up his weapon and pursued the shooter. So, there are two sides. ROMANS: Just common sense. Somebody who served time for assault,

should they be allowed to buy those guns? I mean apparently they could. We treat these events as if they're some kind of rash of tornado outbreaks. And there is nothing we do about it. Oh wow 58 killed in this outbreak. A person did this.

BRIGGS: But after the New York terror attack, it was quick to close immigration loopholes.

All right. Ahead, President Trump speaking about the shooting during his trip to Asia.


TRUMP: So sad. Sutherland springs, Texas, such a beautiful, wonderful area with incredible people. Who would ever think a thing like this could happen?


BRIGGS: Just awful. Only five weeks removed from the deadliest mass shooting in American history. The President says guns are not the issue. Live in Tokyo ahead.



[04:15:55] TRUMP: In tragic times, Americans always pull together. We are always strongest when we are unified. To the wounded and the families of the victims, all of America is praying for you. Supporting you, and grieving alongside of you.


BRIGGS: All right. That reaction just in to CNN. President Trump in Japan reacting just a few hours ago to yesterday's mass shooting at a Texas church. He is ordering flags across the U.S. at half-staff through Thursday night. And asked about the shootings, he says guns are not the issue. Mental health is.


TRUMP: We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries, but this isn't a guns situation. I mean we could go into it, but it's a little bit soon to go into it, but fortunately, somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction. Otherwise it would have been as bad as it was, it would have been much worse. This is a mental health problem at the highest level.


ROMANS: The shooting now taking some of the focus away from the President's Asia trip. Senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny joins us this morning from Tokyo with the latest, good morning Jeff. JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning

Christine. You're right this certainly has taken some of the focus away, the attention away from the President's visit here. You've heard those comments just a short time ago this morning when he was giving a news conference with the Japanese Prime Minister. Again, the President reluctant to say that any of the issue here is gun-related, going to say it's a mental health-related issue. But of course, this is the second shooting in just a little over a month's time this President has had to deal with. Of course the Las Vegas shooting a little over a month ago, the tragedy last week in New York City as well.

So the President is becoming accustomed to talking in these moments, but you can be sure there will be a new round of discussion here about gun control laws. Will they be addressed or not? We've seen so many shootings as you know, but the President said it's too soon to talk about that, but again he is not changing his schedule. The White House tells us he is staying on focus here, but this of course is dominating at least the domestic side of the conversation here as he continues his swing through Asia.

ROMANS: Absolutely. Interesting Jeff, that he said that this is a mental health issue, not a guns issue, as you well know, congress forbids the CDC, the center for disease control to study the public health problems of gun violence. Maybe the President could use that -- change that, try to lobby for something like that. Jeff Zeleny thank you so much, sir. In Tokyo this morning.

ZELENY: Well see.

BRIGGS: All right. Japan just the first stop on President Trump 13 days Asia tour. North Korea tops the agenda at almost every stop in this five nation trek. CNN's Alexander Field live for us in Tokyo with what's next on the President, on his trip. Alex, good morning to you. They certainly will address trade. That is a key issue here on the trip, but North Korea, are Shinzo Abe and President Trump speaking with one voice about that North Korea nuclear threat?

[04:20:07] ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, they usually have a different tone when they talk. There isn't another foreign leader that sort of echoes the manner in which President Trump speaks, but certainly on the issue of North Korea they are speaking with the same voice. That is to say they are on the same page 100 percent. They said it over and over in the press conference that they had today. What else did they say over and over again? How much they like each other. These are two leaders who want the world to know and the other leaders in the region to know that they are very much align when it comes to developing a policy to counter the mounting threats that are coming from North Korea.

You heard Prime Minister Abe say during that press today that Japan will take actions, they will be issuing new sanctions against 35 different entities and individuals related to North Korea. He also talked about increasing purchases of defense equipment from the United States. That is something that certainly President Trump has been speaking vocally about. Both of this leaders agree that Japan needs to do more to increase the military's capacity to defend this country in the face of the threat that comes from North Korea. They both also agree that it's important to keep saying that all options are on the table. And you heard the Prime Minister echo something else, that we had heard from President Donald Trump in the past which is that this is not the time for 3dialogue. This is the time to really get tough with Pyongyang, to prove that they can really squeeze Pyongyang in order to try to accomplish this goal that is shared by this allies which the denuclearization of the Peninsula. From here, from this visit with his closest ally in the region, President Trump will travel to Seoul South Korea where certainly the scary concerns post by North Korea will be a top matter on the agenda. Dave?

BRIGGS: Alexander Field live for us in Tokyo. Thanks so much.

ROMANS: The President slamming and criticizing Japan's trade practices vowing to renegotiate what he calls a love side of the relationship.


TRUMP: We want free and reciprocal trade, but right now our trade with Japan is not free, and it's not reciprocal. And I know it will be.


ROMANS: Trade a major focus of Trump's trip to Asia, the U.S. runs deficits with each of the countries he will visit. The President did not say how he would narrow the $57 billion trade deficit with Japan. It's the third largest trade gap for the U.S. Now a trade deficit on its own is not inherently good or bad, but it is something the president was basically elected by saying he would end. Speaking to a group of Japanese business leaders, Trump partly blamed Japanese companies for current imbalance, specifically auto makers. American buy Japanese cars, but Japan's car market unfairly favors Japanese companies. Trump also told them to build the cars in the U.S. instead of shipping them overseas. About 75 percent of Japanese branded cars sold in the U.S. are actually already made in North America. The President also promised a new deal with Japan could mean more trade than anybody ever thought under TPP that is the Trans Pacific Partnership that Trump withdrew from the U.S. from during his first week in office.

BRIGGS: OK so this two are tight. Reciprocal trade, how does that go into produce trade agreements?

ROMANS: You know the U.S. has complained for years about what they say is unfair, specifically in the auto industry, and that was part of the TPP was to try to iron out some of these problems, and now he is starting from scratch, basically.

BRIGGS: what is going to get on concession, we shall see. All right 26 people killed and yet another mass shooting in the United States, we are live in Texas with the latest and major anticorruption arrest in Saudi Arabia, dozens swept up, but is this really about corruption? Leadership looking to consolidate power? Live in the Middle East as well.


[04:28:22] BRIGGS: All right. Some of Saudi Arabia's most high profile, prince and businessman swept up an anti-corruption probe. At least 38 former current and deputy ministers now under arrest accused of corruption. CNN has obtained a list showing at least the name of at least 17 of the prince and top officials arrested by a newly formed anticorruption committee initiated by the Saudi King. They committee also removed three ministers from their positions. Let's get to CNN John Defterios with more, John the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, 32 years old and making his mark in a hurry.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Indeed, Dave, in fact eyebrows were raised, because the same weekend they launch that anti- corruption committee they came down like a hammer and arrested many of the top names in Saudi society, including members of the royal family. Ministers of the cabinet and very prominent businessmen. On Saudi television they described this as a storm against corruption. They had a picture of the king. Very interesting, the optics here, many of asking probably in the United States why do we care. Saudi Arabia is a key ally the Middle East, it is the number one exporter of crude, and Donald Trump when he visited last May signed some $300 billion of contracts over the next ten years. They landed some very big fish. Including the son of the former king who passed away in 2015, who is the minister of the National Guard. Former administer of finance who was a sitting minister of state. Very respected in the World Bank communities as well. But I'm watching from a business standpoint, the prince (inaudible), more than $20 million investor in apple, Twitter, city group, news corporate zone by Rupert Murdock, extraordinary that he is been taken, because he has never been linked to corruption and he is in partnership.