Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Former President George H.W. Bush in Intensive Care; New Allegations Surround V.A. Pick Ronny Jackson; White House Won't Rule Out Pardon for Cohen; A Question Of "Breeding;" Waffle House Shooting Suspect In Custody After Day-Long Manhunt; Man Wrestled Gun Away From Shooter; 10 Dead, 15 Injured After Van Plows Into Pedestrians In Toronto. Aired on 8-9p ET
Aired April 23, 2018 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:08] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
We're continuing to follow the news out of Houston, Texas, tonight. George H.W. Bush, the 41st president, 93 years old, is in intensive care of Houston Methodist Hospital. Just two days ago, the world watched him say farewell to his wife, the former first lady, the woman he married 73 years ago. Then in a few hours after this remarkable photo was taken, President Bush was hospitalized.
CNN's Special Correspondent, Jamie Gangel has the very latest. She joins me now.
So, what do we know right now about the president?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: What we've been told is that Sunday morning, he was suffering from an infection, it became a crisis. He was brought into Houston Methodist hospital and went right into the ICU, and that the infection led to sepsis, which, for someone his age, with his health problems, is really dangerous. And that on Sunday, they had some real scares, that twice his blood pressure dropped, and they weren't sure he was going to make it.
The good news is that they've been giving him antibiotics, they've been giving him I.V. fluids, and it seems to have stabilized him. He is still in the ICU, but I'm told that it's very serious.
COOPER: There was a statement put out by the family, yes?
GANGEL: Right. And that statement says that President Bush was admitted to the hospital after contracting an infection that spread to his blood, that would be the sepsis, that he is responding to treatments and appears to be recovering, and that they'll issue additional updates.
I think that everyone is hopeful. He appears to be recovering. But when you're 93 years old, when you have Parkinson's, when you've been in and out of the hospital a lot, they don't know.
COOPER: And suffered a great loss.
GANGEL: Right, and you suffered a great loss. COOPER: How did he -- I know you were at the funeral this weekend,
how did he seem then? I mean, we saw the images of it.
GANGEL: So, you know, the first picture you showed was Friday when he went to greet the public.
COOPER: Which was extraordinary.
GANGEL: Extraordinary, and unexpected.
COOPER: And he chose to do that?
GANGEL: He chose to do that. He was watching a video feed, he said, I should be there. Classic George Bush. And he went down. They said, well, you'll only stay for 15 minutes, and he stayed and stayed and stayed. And so, it was very stoic. It was -- and then --
COOPER: Which must be exhausting, I mean, he's making contact with all those people, shaking hands.
GANGEL: Absolutely. Absolutely. And then Saturday was the funeral. It had to have been very emotional. We saw the pictures, it was heartbreaking when his son Jeb read one of the love letters that he had written on a wedding anniversary to Barbara Bush, he broke down.
But I will tell you, I'm told that after the burial at College Station, he went out to dinner with his family. So, Saturday night, he was doing pretty well and then, Sunday morning, it was a different story.
COOPER: It was so interesting to hear the reactions of George W. Bush, some of the other children, the five children of this remarkable couple, that, I mean, obviously because of the age of Mrs. Bush, but their faith has really helped them through this, the sense of, they know where their mother has gone, they know how she faced her death and how she lived her life.
GANGEL: Right. So, you hear from the Bushes always, what are the three most important things, faith, family and friends. There is no question, a lot of people didn't know that Barbara Bush had been suffering from COPD for the last two years. At the end, she told them, I am at peace. It's time. And I think that helped them.
President Bush has been say, when I saw him last, he said, I'm going to live to 102. So, he's had a tremendous amount of energy. But these two people were married for 73 years.
GANGEL: This is a great love affair. This is -- it has been a terrible loss for him and you have to just think it has some impact.
COOPER: It's also, just the extraordinary life that he has lived and frankly continues to live, I mean, they met, you know, you talk about 73 years, she was 16 years old when they met at a dance.
COOPER: And it wasn't long after, I mean, I think he was 19 when he became the youngest airman flying in the Navy.
GANGEL: Exactly. They were very young. She loves to say, and it is true that he was the first man she ever kissed, the only man, and she said, her children always rolled their eyes at that. But it was an extraordinary relationship. You look at the old pictures, his plane had her name on it, and they've been through so much --
COOPER: Yes, hard to imagine one without the other.
COOPER: They lived their entire lives together.
Jamie, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
We're going to come back to Jamie momentarily.
[20:05:00] Right now, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Sanjay Gupta joins us.
Sanjay, just for people out there, let's talk about sepsis, what it means to someone President Bush's age.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, this is an infection that has become a more serious infection, sometimes a life-threatening infection. Typically, it can start off even as a minor infection in the skin, or as a kidney infection or in the blood, urinary tract infection. But it becomes something that starts to overwhelm the body.
Sepsis itself can progress to severe sepsis, can progress to septic shock. And in the initial stages, you know, someone typically has a high fever. They figure out what is causing the problem, and they start to treat it, with antibiotics and hope that the fever comes down, the bacteria's cleared and that whatever vital signs, if there was any abnormalities return to normal. That's the goal initially, Anderson.
COOPER: How does -- and this may be a dumb question -- but how does somebody get that infection in the first place? I mean, obviously, the president had a -- you know, a very busy weekend, emotionally painful and draining weekend, but a lot of interaction with other people. How does one get an infection like that?
GUPTA: Well, I think there's two things to sort of keep in mind here. What is -- the inspection can start off as a relatively minor infection. It can start off, you know, something that, in someone who is otherwise healthy, has no underlying medical problems, they'd be able to combat that infection. But this is something that does start to spread.
And it could be because one's immunity is weakened, as certainly in very young and very old people, their immune system is already weakened. But to your point, Anderson, people talk about the toll that a loss like this takes on the body, what does that toll look like? It can sometimes have an impact on the heart and there is a syndrome called broken heart syndrome, but it can also have an impact on your immunity, your ability to fight infections.
So, it could be a combination of things. Getting the infection, which may be not all that uncommon, but then the more difficult time of clearing the infection on his own.
COOPER: And according to the family statement, he, the president is responding to treatments, appears to be -- appears to be recovering. That certainly sounds optimistic.
GUPTA: Yes, it certainly does. And being in the intensive care unit at a place like Methodist, that's one of the best places you can be in the world to try to take care of this, but I would say that, you know, he is 93 years old. He does have these underlying medical problems.
And he's been -- you know, he was hospitalized almost a year ago to the day, I think, middle of April last year for pneumonia, so, you know, these are all concerns, you have to weigh them into the picture. So, it's great that he's on the mend, but these types of recoveries are not typically measured in minutes and hours, Anderson. They're more days and weeks.
So, you want to make sure that the trajectory remains in the right -- in the right direction, and that's going to take some time.
COOPER: And how might Parkinson's disease play a factor in this?
GUPTA: I think primarily because when someone has Parkinson's disease, they're just more immobilized. When you are more immobilized, you are more likely to develop these infections. Now, again, you know, it doesn't mean you can't clear these infections on your own, meaning your body is sort of naturally taking care of these, or it doesn't get to the point where someone developing a high fever, developing difficulty breathing or signs of early sepsis.
But in Parkinson's and again, given his age, these factors all in aggregate might make it harder for him to fight the infection on his own.
COOPER: Sanjay, stay with us. Jamie Gangel is coming back in as well. Also, Gloria Borger is here and Paul Begala.
I mean, Gloria, this has been such a difficult week, obviously, for the family, but for George H.W. Bush. It's -- I mean, it's unthinkable to lose the love of your life, person you've been with, for more than 70 years.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Who has taken care of you, who's been with you the entire time. And what was so striking to me, watching our coverage, was him sitting there and shaking the hands of every single person who came by to pay their respects.
As Jamie says, it's sort of classic George H.W. Bush. But so gracious, and clearly, this -- this was not easy for him, either emotionally or physically, to be able to do that. And yet, he sat there and he did that and just watching it was so emotional for someone like me.
It was almost as if he didn't want to leave her yet, and he wanted to do what she would have wanted him to do, which was to be political and sort of greet everybody and say, thank you so much for coming here, which is exactly what he did.
COOPER: And, Paul, it really does speak to that sense of sort of service and honor and just fealty that I think is so important in the Bush family.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And putting others first.
[20:10:01] He famously always talked about how his mother told him not to use the world "I." She hated -- his mom hated if he talked about himself in the first person.
There he was with his daughter Doro going over, completely unscripted, unplanned, going over -- and these things are very carefully planned for aging first families, and going in there, shaking all those hands. And yet, here's another typical George H.W. Bush thing. This morning, he was telling aides, I have a May 10th event for Brian Mulroney, the former Canadian prime minister, and said, I've got to get to that, I've got to get better in time to get to that, and then I want to go to Kennebunkport.
He's still fighting. He's still planning his life ahead and still thinking about obligations to others like his dear friend Brian Mulroney. It's amazing.
COOPER: Yes. It's also, you talk about Kennebunkport, Jamie, I mean, it's rare that you have a family that is so sort of connected -- I mean, you talk about bicoastal people, this isn't bicoastal, but a team so rooted in Texas and yet also in eastern establishment.
GANGEL: He has spent every summer of his life up in Kennebunkport in Maine, except for when he was in the Navy. It is a touchstone for him. It is so important.
And just to go back to his health for a moment, what hasn't been reported is, he's been in and out of the hospital many more times than we know about. Keeping him going, dealing with these infections, dealing with breathing problems, it's an ongoing balancing act.
COOPER: Sanjay, you talked about somebody, you know, obviously, he's in a wheelchair, does that contribute to the danger of infections, I mean, sort of sores, or things that might develop from lack of movement?
GUPTA: Yes, that's a real concern. Just pressure points can lead to some skin breakdown, and, you know, those can seem like relatively minor infections, again, but for someone whose immune system is not as robust, someone who has underlying medical problems, that's when those infections can start to become more widespread and problematic. And in addition to the infection, it's in part the body's response to
that infection, if you will, Anderson, meaning that the body responds aggressively, trying to fight it, but as it does that, it can lower someone's blood pressure, it can -- it can change someone's heart rate, it can cause breathing problems. So, it's the body trying to do its job, but that can also be part of what makes somebody so sick.
So, that's the balancing act, as well. Got to treat the infection, not hurt other organs, make sure that the vital signs stay stable throughout all of that, as well.
COOPER: All right. Sanjay Gupta, Gloria Borger, Paul Begala, Jamie Gangel, thank you very much.
We'll continue to monitor late developments throughout the broadcast with former President George H.W. Bush.
Coming up next, we have breaking news just in involving the president's physician and his choice to run the V.A.
And later, you'll meet a man -- an extraordinary man who risked his life to save others when that gunman opened fire at a Tennessee waffle house.
[20:16:20] COOPER: More breaking news tonight. Late word that the president's pick to run the Department of Veterans Affairs, Rear Admiral Ronny Jackson, is in trouble.
CNN's Juana Summers joins now with the reasons why.
What are you hearing?
JUANA SUMMERS, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER: Hey, Anderson.
What we're hearing is that both Republicans and Democrats on the committee are reviewing allegations, raising concerns about Ronny Jackson, the White House position who the president has picked to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. While they're not detailing what these allegations are yet, what we know is that they have to deal with improper conduct at various points of his career, according to two sources. Now, those sources tell my colleague Phil Mattingly that the committee is in talks to delay Jackson's confirmation hearing. That was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, while they try to wrap their heads around these new details.
Jackson, of course, had questions around his nomination. He's not someone who had a lot of management experience, and people had concerns about what his policy views are to lead one of the government's largest federal agencies.
2COOPER: How far along are they, and are they refuting or substantiating allegations?
SUMMERS: They are still trying to figure this out. We spoke to Democratic lawmakers who are huddling on this issue on Capitol Hill tonight. One of them, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, telling us that these are raw allegations, they're trying to figure out exactly if there's any factual basis to them.
We also hear from Montana Senator Jon Tester. He's the top Democrat on the Senate Veterans Committee, and he told us this, that he's going to tell his staff and himself to give them enough time to do as much as they can in the next 48 hours, there's just 48 hours, to see what they can come up with.
And he asked if these allegations are troubling, he told my colleagues on the Hill today, that if true, they could be.
COOPER: So, I mean, is -- I mean, I was going to ask how soon they need to figure this out, is it that 48-hour time window?
SUMMERS: Yes, there's not a lot of time here. I think if these allegations are indeed corroborated, it's important to note, we don't know if senators have indeed corroborated these new allegations. They could perhaps be troubling.
I'm assuming Senate lawmakers, who had a lot of questions for Jackson, would want to know more about these, as there are a number of cabinet nominees that this administration is trying to push through right now.
COOPER: And are these the only issues that could derail Jackson?
SUMMERS: They're not. When Jackson was selected to replace David Shulkin, who was ousted from the White House, a number of lawmakers had questions about him. The V.A. is a sprawling agency, the government's second largest bureaucracy.
A number of lawmakers worried that someone with a more traditional military background might not have the management experience. A number of Democrats on the Hill tell me that they're concerned whether or not Ronny Jackson would support privatizing the V.A., something that Democrats and the nation's veterans groups don't want to see happen.
We still don't know a whole lot about his policy views. Lawmakers have been holding their fire, really not saying whether or not they'd supported him. So, this is a really stunning development for this nominee.
COOPER: Juana Summers, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
SUMMERS: Thank you.
COOPER: Staying in Washington tonight, France's president and first lady arrived late today, planted a tree symbolically at least, the tree was already on the ground when they turned out with the spades. Afterward, they toured Mt. Vernon and will be honored tomorrow night with a state dinner, the first one for this administration.
Meantime, there's new reporting tonight on how President Trump is relying more and more on his own personal cell phone and less on his chief of staff, John Kelly. Sources inside and outside the White House telling CNN that he's increasingly dialing up outside advisers, bypassing the White House switchboard, bypassing Kelly. He's also been tweeting a lot, obviously, defending Michael Cohen, slamming "The New York Times'" Maggie Haberman, and the Russia probe, fueling speculation about whether a pardon of Michael Cohen and others could be coming and coming perhaps by way of the year 1913. That's when boxer Jack Jackson, history's first African-American heavyweight boxing champ, was convicted of taking his white girlfriend across state lines.
Over the weekend, the president tweeted this about him: Sylvester Stallone called me with a story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson. His trials and tribulations were great. His life complex and controversial.
[20:20:02] Others have looked at this over the years, most thought it would be done, but yes, I am considering a full pardon.
Now, other presidents have considered doing the same, but keeping them honest, given that the president has already conspicuously gone outside the normal channels to pardon two others, scooter Libby and Joe Arpaio, the question is, was this really about a message from Mr. Stallone or is it a message to Mr. Cohen and others?
Some other tweets from Saturday contained further hits. Quoting here, "The New York Times" and a third rate reporter named Maggie Haberman, known as a cooked H flunky, who I don't speak to and have nothing to do with are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will flip.
The president continues. They use nonexistence sources and a drunk drugged up loser who hates Michael, a fine person with a wonderful family. Michael is a businessman for his own account, lawyer who I have always liked and respected. Most people will flip if the government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don't see Michael doing that, despite the horrible witch hunt and a dishonest media.
Well, keeping them honest, of all the people to claim he doesn't speak to, his choice of Maggie Haberman is especially rich. Her story over the weekend on the possibility of Cohen flipping on the president, it may have touched a nerve, but it hardly negates the fact that few reporters enjoyed a longer, more fruitful relationship with the president than Maggie Haberman. A few reporters are as well sourced as she is in the Trump White House.
In any case, the White House on two occasions today did not rule out pardoning Cohen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I wanted to ask you a question, sort of following up on what you were asked this morning about Michael Cohen. It was noticed by some that you didn't close the door one way or the other on president pardoning Michael Cohen. What is your -- what's your read on that right now? SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's hard to
close the door on something that hasn't taken place. I don't like to discuss or comment on hypothetical situations that may or may not ever happen. I would refer you to personal attorneys to comment on anything specific regarding that case. We don't have anything at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The president also lashed out again at the Russia probe, barely making a dent in Twitter's 280-character limit. Quote, a complete witch hunt, he wrote.
That said, Sarah Sanders today said Robert Mueller's job is safe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: We have no intention of firing the special counsel. We've been beyond cooperative with them, we're continuing to cooperate with them. We continue to repeat that we think that the idea that the Trump campaign was involved in any collusion with Russia is a total witch hunt. Our position on that has been very clear since the beginning of this process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Never mind the multiple reports by Maggie Haberman and others that the president once went to the White House Counsel Don McGahn about firing Mueller and spoken about it numerous times to numerous people. Today, an assurance from the White House, there is no intension of firing the special counsel. We shall see.
Let's dig deeper into the legal angles when it comes to pardons, and perhaps laying the groundwork for shutting down the Mueller probe, joining us, CNN Chief Legal Analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, and Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz, author of most recently of "Trumped Up: How Criminalization of Political Differences Endangers Democracy".
So, Jeff, Sarah Sanders left open the possibility of President Trump to pardoning his personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Do you see any indications that the president would not pardon Cohen?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's very hard to say, I mean, I -- you know, he is obviously dangling a pardon before Michael Cohen, in all but explicit terms. But, you know, Michael Cohen hasn't been indicted yet, so -- and he may never be, so, there may be no reason to pardon him.
But, you know, it is worth pausing to consider, you know, again, what it would be like if Hillary Clinton were president of the United States and one of her top aides was under criminal investigation and she was tweeting, stay strong, don't flip, you know, the Republican Party would have impeachment proceedings under way already, if that were the case. Now, you know, the standards have changed so dramatically that we all shrug it off. But it's totally inappropriate, what the president is doing, but I don't think it's unlawful.
COOPER: Professor Dershowitz, is it inappropriate?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: I think it's inappropriate. I think it sends a message that the president may be trying to influence the decision of Michael Cohen.
Look, the prosecutors can influence the decision of Cohen, they can threaten him, they can cajole him. They can even offer him money, they won't do that, but they're allowed to under the rules of the -- of the courts today. They have tremendous leverage over him.
But I think it's inappropriate for a president to dangle a pardon. It's not inappropriate for a president to grant a pardon.
Now, one reason for not granting a pardon, if the president granted a pardon, there goes Michael Cohen's Fifth Amendment privilege. He no longer is exposed to criminal prosecution, so, the first thing the prosecution would do is call him in before the grand jury, tell him he has no Fifth Amendment, he has to answer the questions. If he doesn't answer the questions, at that point, he can be held in contempt and the president would have to pardon him from the contempt and all of that would be a complete mess.
So, I don't think we can expect a pardon, certainly not at this point in time.
[20:25:03] Down the line, who knows? Remember, President George H.W. Bush, whose health we're all playing for today, did pardon Casper Weinberger and five people on the eve of their trial and the special prosecutor did say it was designed to continue a cover-up and end the prosecution or end investigation of that White House. But I don't think it's going to happen right now.
COOPER: Jeff, I mean, the president really does have tremendous, I mean, power to -- in terms of pardoning.
TOOBIN: It is one of the absolute powers established in the Constitution. There's no judicial review. The courts can't invalidate a pardon. Congress can't force the president to grant a pardon. It is a sole discretionary power of the president.
And, you know, most presidents use a procedure that is established by the -- in the Department of Justice, where there's a pardon attorney and the President Obama used that power to grant commutations and pardons to hundreds of nonviolent drug offenders. Presidents get in trouble when they go outside that process. That's when Bill Clinton went outside that process to pardon Marc Rich, a fugitive. President Trump, the pardon of Joe Arpaio, the pardon of Scooter Libby was not in that process.
It's problematic, it's politically troubling, but as a matter of presidential power, there's no doubt that the president has the authority to do it.
DERSHOWITZ: I'm so glad Jeffrey's finally, finally learning that the president really does have these enormous powers under the unitary executive, to pardon, to fire, to end an investigation. It doesn't make them right. And I don't condone the president telling people to stop an investigation or go soft, but I would distinguish and Jeffrey now distinguishes between what's right and what's unlawful.
TOOBIN: Alan, thank you for patronizing me so gently there, but I actually don't think it's the same thing with the power to fire the president -- the director of the FBI. And actually negotiating a pardon may well be an impeachable offense, that if you say to Michael Cohen, don't cooperate and I'll give you a pardon, that may well be an impeachable offense.
DERSHOWITZ: I agree with you. I agree with you. I agree with you.
TOOBIN: Well --
DERSHOWITZ: I think that could be -- that could be obstruction of justice. If you offer somebody a presidential pardon in exchange for not testifying, that could be an obstruction of justice. But it would have to be proved by, you know, overwhelming evidence --
DERSHOWITZ: I think -- if it were to be done, it would be done in a lot more subtle a way and it would be difficult to establish as an impeachable offense.
TOOBIN: I wouldn't say subtlety is the dominant character of this administration. So, we'll see how this unfolds.
DERSHOWITZ: Well, Professor, I mean, a presidential pardon only applies to federal crimes, not state crimes. It's been reported that Mueller has been sharing information with the New York state attorney general in regards to the investigation. Do you think Cohen -- again, we don't know what, if anything, they have on Cohen, do you think Cohen could face charges at the state level?
I talked to Jeff about this before, and he said he thinks it's overstated the power that the state may have if Mueller is -- if that investigation closes down.
DERSHOWITZ: Well, there are all kinds of rumors about taxi medallions and real estate issues. Those tend to be both state and federal crimes, if they have been committed. Remember, we still have to have a presumption of innocence as to Cohen and certainly as to the president.
But I think there may be some power in the state attorney general, and, of course, they're trying to change the double jeopardy law now, so that if a person is pardoned by the president, that pardon eliminates the double jeopardy that generally operates under New York law. And if that were upheld by the court, it could give the state a fairly powerful weapon, and in general, I think states are asserting themselves much more today in the legal arena than they ever did in the past and challenging the exclusive nature of the supremacy clause. So, I think we may see some action by the states. States have brought
lawsuits now against the president over the travel ban. So, I think we're seeing muscle flexing by state attorneys general.
COOPER: Professor Dershowitz, Professor Toobin, sort of, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
Coming up, today, the White House was asked what the president meant when he used the words breeding concept, in reference to immigration. We'll have Sarah Sanders' response, next.
[20:33:02] COOPER: When the President used the word breeding, and the tweet about California immigration, his critics saw it as an example of racially charged language. Came up today at the White House briefing, the basic question, what was the President's intention using that word?
CNN Jim Acosta asked about it and read from the tweet that setoff the storm.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: (INAUDIBLE) ask you about a tweet that the President put out last week, he tweeted a lot of the weekend, but last week he said -- he was talking about sanctuary cities in California and saying there was a revolution going on in California. So many sanctuary areas went out of this ridiculous crime infested and breeding concept. We haven't a chance to ask you about that tweet when he used the word breeding was he making a derogatory term about Latinos in California that they breed a lot or that they're prone to breeding --
SARAH SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: No, he's talking about the problem itself growing and getting bigger.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What does -- (INAUDIBLE) because when you think of breeding, you think of animals breeding, populating --
SANDERS: I'm not going to begin to think what you think. Certainly I think that it can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. But the President is talking about a growing problem. And I addressed that with Jim. And I don't have anything else to add.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One just to define what the President meant about breeding. To be specific, he is not talking about people having babies? Yes?
SANDERS: Not that I'm aware of. I'll have to ask him to dig into that deeper, I just thought that I'm aware, and I would have to ask him to be more specific. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: So the President according to Sarah Sanders there is saying that in this context the word breeding synonymous with the word growing, to be clear we find a record of Mr. Trump as either civilian or president using the word breeding that way.
Let's talk to former Trump Senior Campaign Adviser, Jason Miller and CNN Political Commentator, Bakari Sellers.
Bakari, you hear Sarah Sanders saying that -- the President referred to quote (ph) the problem itself growing and getting bigger, that's what breeding concept meant.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that we have grown accustomed to Sarah becoming a pretzel from the podium. And it's something to get in the end or her way in and out the situations.
[20:35:02] The President is president of United States not necessarily because of politics or policy, but I think it has a lot to do with cultural issues in this country. And what he was going to was the heart of this base. What he was talking about is this breeding concept where you refer to animals that way. Of course it was derogatory. This isn't anything new and the reason that he's able to do this and harping (ph) these issues is because culturally, there are a large segment of the population who are afraid of this country becoming Browner.
In any time the President is able to go back and harping (ph) that and point that out. And show the divisiveness and show the devise that we have in this country, he proves to be successful with his base. And so, I'm not outrage and want to flip and table over. And this is par for the course for this president of the United States.
My job is to call him out on it. And the fact that he doesn't have the courage to stand up and say, you know, simply look, this is how I feel about people of color. Like, you all go out in dark places and breed. This is what you do. I mean this is not about a growing concept, this is about showing that the country is becoming Browner. In places like California, he has an issue with that.
COOPER: Jason, is breeding concept that as Sarah says, the problem itself is growing and getting bigger.
JASON MILLER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well I think when I first saw and keep in mind this is last Wednesday, so we're talking almost a week ago. I think I saw when the President tweeted exactly that -- when my reaction when I saw it, i thought maybe he meant breeding contempt and that was the phrase that the was using there. I didn't think living of it move on, I didn't see much news of it over the past five days, and then it pops in today's.
COOPER: So you though the -- when the word was contempt was meant to be contempt.
MILLER: That was the first thought that I had. Didn't think much anything of it and then there wasn't a heck of a lot of news on it over the past five days. And then it pops back up and it gets brought up in addition to Jim and another reporter brought it up during today's press briefing as well.
But, the President has brought up sanctuary cities over and over. And specific to California as we saw their Senate just passed something to try to make the entire state a sanctuary state. So this is something the President is talking about on the campaign trail, that some piece talk about this probably had what, 10 or a dozen tweets on sanctuary cities and now sanctuary state over just the past week or two weeks alone. I've never heard the President use this charged language that I think folks are trying to put in his mouth or make it sound like he is making some racist type comment. I think he was just offered up this commentary and sanctuary cities and -- then he moved on and didn't think about it and that's my opinion on it.
SELLERS: You know, this whole debate, this immigration debate, this debate around sanctuary cities, it's almost brilliant the way that the President of the United States has developed this and like a national security type apparatus that we're doing this to make sure that our citizens are safer. When and all honesty, that's not at all. I mean you can use racially charged language and envelop in this larger argument of sanctuary cities when the fact is, it was derogatory.
I mean this -- I mean with all due respect, my friend Jason here, this breeding concept is not new. In fact this is language that's ripped right out of white nationalist Nazi sympathizers. This is not a new phrase. No, no I'm not calling --
SELLERS: -- I'm not calling the President that. But what I am saying is that simply this phrase that he used, is a direct -- it's there, it's that language over and over again. So whether or not he consciously used it or not, the fact is it is still a derogatory piece and racially charge language.
MILLER: But we have this Anderson pointed about, we haven't seen the President used those two words next to each other. I've definitely heard him say breeding contempt before. But again, don't know to the specifically to this tweet, but he's talked about sanctuary city over and over. I mean when he had the angel moms, they'll come and join him on a campaign trail or Kate Steinle's family. I mean the issue of sanctuary cities in this outright disrespect for the rule of law, was a major -- is a for sanctuary cities --
SELLERS: No, they're outright contempt with that rule of law is ironic.
MILLER: Oh, but it's -- it's a bit -- when you talk about culturally, the fact that you have actual municipalities and now an entire state, there's basically giving the middle finger to the rule of law like this. I mean this was a big part of the reason why President Trump won in 2016.
SELLERS: Well, honestly and Anderson, I'm sorry to belabor this. I don't believe that this is a conversation about the rule of law at all. And I think that what he's able to do with his immigration language, with his build a wall language, with his kick him out. With his sons of pitches referring to NFL players with this breeding contempt language, it all ties him together. Because what's he's doing is his talking about one of the glaring issues we have in the United States of America --
MILLER: The legal immigration?
SELLERS: -- race. And so that's what he's doing. I mean, you listen, people want to say all the time, I will get this on Twitter, Bakari, stop playing the race card, stop. I'm not playing the race card, I'm black right, I'm not playing a card. This is who I am and I'm telling you, that when the president uses derogatory terms and language, when he wraps this up in some policy, I feel that is so transparent that we can see through it. I mean he's referring to people breeding like dogs on the street. I mean --
MILLER: That's not -- there's no way that's what he was referring to, I mean --
SELLERS: Well, you can accidentally use this --
MILLER: He doesn't use language like that. We've never heard him use language like that in some different kind of context. Yes, he talks about the wall, which I hope he builds it, and I hope. You get (ph) from shining cities (ph) after maybe a couple of places. I hope he does something about sanctuary cities. I think it's absolutely disrespectful that an entire state could move in that direction. And I think it's an important issue.
[20:40:10] Look, we're on opposite sides of this issue and I respect that --
SELLERS: Then maybe -- maybe we can get the Dreamers together. And all I'm saying is that -
MILLER: You've got to call Chuck and DNC -
SELLERS: We gave them $25 billion. My only point is that, the President of the United States has an obligation and a duty. First, he should not tweet, if he was trying to say breeding contempt. And say breeding concept, that's first. But second, he has an obligation to represent all of the --
MILLER: Respectfully I'd say don't come back at it and say this is some racially charged comment when that's not the way the President talks.
COOPER: All right, we're going to take a break. Bakari Sellers, Jason Miller, thank you very much.
Coming up, after a deadly shooting at a Waffle House in Tennessee, the manhunt for the suspect finally comes to an end. Tell how he was caught and a conversation will not going to miss him, I'm going to speak to a remarkable man who wrestled the gun from the shooter. We always ask what would you do in a situation like this. Would I be able rise up and take the gun from somebody. Risk my own life to do that, this -- that's exactly what this man did. We'll hear from him, next.
COOPER: A man accused of killing four people in a Nashville area Waffle House is now in custody. The 29-year-old suspect was arrested late this afternoon after day long man hunt. In a moment we're going to talk to James Shaw Jr. the hero who wrestled the gun away from the shooter. But first more on the manhunt itself.
Randi Kaye joins us now. Randi, you were right there leading up to the capture of the suspect. Walk me through what happened.
[20:45:06] RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Anderson, we were out earlier this afternoon, we're at this apartment complex where there's also a construction site. But the apartment complex was where the suspect was living, so we were there doing some of these on camera stand ups that we do. And sure enough this truck with a construction worker and it came speeding up to us and he said, I thought you were the law. And I said sir, what's going on and he said, well I just called the police, because I thought I saw the suspect walking through our construction site. And making his way to the wood, so we called 911, he said the guy is here, you should come and get him, he's wearing black pants and a red shirt which is what the suspect was found wearing.
And so sure enough, I said to him do you want to go on camera. And he said no. He was a little concern about putting his face out there. So, as soon as he drove away Anderson, moments later, dozens of police cars came racing down over there, racing down the street. In front of us, lights and sirens and blaring, they swarm the apartment complex. They went up and they talked to that construction worker who directed them to a path inside that area and right into the woods. And they all went into the woods, they split up in the wooded area and were able to nab that suspect in the woods, Anderson.
So we thought the guy --
KAYE: -- and they certainly weren't --
COOPER: Sorry, go ahead.
KAYE: No, I think they certainly weren't trying to hide the fact that they were coming after him. I mean they came with such a seen lights and sirens blaring. They certainly weren't trying to sneak up on him.
COOPER: Can you -- have you been able to learn anything from the victims from the shooting?
KAYE: Yes, we have. And it's important for the lot of people here are talking about the four people who died. Two of them were killed outside the Waffle House, two others were killed inside. All of the victims Anderson were under 30-years old. Waffle House employee Taurean Sanderlin was killed outside, along with Joe Perez who apparently sent his mother a text message, you know, very last communication, saying I love you. Those killed inside were Akilah Dasilva and DeEbony Groves and Dasilva's cousin said that the world had a lost a talented young man who excelled in computer science was a quick learner who never gave up. So a very sad day Anderson here in Nashville, Tennessee.
COOPER: Yes. Randi, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
As Randi said a terrible tragedy, four people killed all under 30- years old. Could have been worse if not for the action of James Shaw Jr. who wrestled the gun away from the shooter.
James, at what point do you realize something terrible was happening.
JAMES SHAW JR., WRESTLED GUN AWAY FROM SHOOTER: Probably when the glass was broke and shattered and there was dust in the air. And I looked back and there was a gentleman right there beside the entrance of Waffle House. And he was laying there on the ground. He was no longer alive. And he shot again and that's when I jumped from my seat and kind of slid on the ground to the entrance up the bathroom.
When he started shooting, I actually jumped and lunged towards the bathroom area and I was actually looking at him and then when he -- he actually shot towards the bathroom area and I was actually grazed with a bullet in my upper right elbow. After that I think he had to reload. I saw an opportunity to kind of take advantage of him.
So I ran through the door as fast as I could and I hit him with the door and that kind of made him a little woozy and he kind of let go of the gun. And then he was tussling for the gun, kind of wrestling for it. And he had it in one hand and that's when I took it from him.
COOPER: People think about how they would react in a situation like this, but nobody knows until it actually happens, I mean -- what was going through your mind when you made the decision, OK, looks like he was reloading, I'm going to do something.
SHAW: The only example I can give to you is if you ever almost drowned and you're gasping for that air, that last bit of air or worth that you don't think you're going to get. It take -- it seems like this going to take that long.
So, in that second, I saw the barrel pointed down to the ground. It seemed like it was forever. I know I say it happened in a split second which it did, but it seemed like it was forever. And in that time, I was like I have to go now. So, I say he's going to have to work for this kill and luckily it worked out in my favor. But the gun was hot. He was naked. I didn't -- none of that mattered. I can deal with nudity and I can deal with a hot gun. You know, I got a blister on my hand, but --
COOPER: So you grabbed the barrel of the gun and it was hot.
SHAW: Well after it was discharged, and then, you know, it was very hot. But I didn't feel that then. I was just trying to get the gun away from him.
COOPER: You know, there are some people have asked if this could have been a racially motivated incident. It was using racial -- you know, in appropriate racial words or just sort of us --
SHAW: As far as I know, it was just swear words.
SHAW: All of it was a blur. Like literally all of it was a blur.
COOPER: I mean do you consider yourself a hero? Because, I mean I sure do, and I'm sure everybody in that restaurant does as well.
SHAW: Heroes seem kind of like they're not touchable. If I'm looked at as a regular person, if someone else is in this situation, they have that same thing within them that they can project that also.
COOPER: You know, James, I have this thing right, I don't believe in naming the shooters in a case like this in a mass shootings, I don't think history should remember that persons name. But I certainly hope history and everybody in this country remembers your name, James Shaw Jr.
[20:50:22] SHAW: Thank you, sir.
COOPER: Thank you so much for what you did and for talking to us tonight.
SHAW: All right. You have a good one.
COOPER: Remarkable guy. That's a GoFundMe page he set up for the victims and for those who have injuries from this shooting.
There's breaking news in Toronto. The death toll has risen to 10 after a van plowed into pedestrians. What we know about the suspect in custody, next.
COOPER: Now the investigation in Toronto and the trauma after a driver used a rented van as a deadly weapon against pedestrians. At least 10 people have died, others are very badly injured. Alex Marquardt joins as now from Toronto. What do we know about this? What's the latest?
[20:55:06] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, what we just heard from federal and local authorities who gave us a fuller picture of how this attack unfold and also provided some updates as you mentioned, death toll has now climbed to some 10 people, most the day, it was at nine, but that's because many of the injured are and continue to be in critical and serious condition.
We also heard from the authorities about the attacker himself. He was taken into custody without incident. They have identified the attacker. He's a 25-year-old from Richmond Hill which is about half an hour from here. They did provide the name. As you know, Anderson, we will not be reporting that name, but they say this is not a name, contrary to some earlier reporting, that was in their files.
Now, that right now they are not calling this a terror attack. They're saying it is not a threat to national security. There's no indication that there are any other attacks that are in the works, and they are not raising the terror threat level.
Now, they are offering a better picture of how this unfolded this afternoon. It took some 26 minutes from start to finish starting at just 1:26 p.m. Anderson, this is one of the biggest streets in the country. Young Street at 1:26 p.m. on a beautiful day like today. It would have been bustling with people going to and from work, to and from lunch, the attacker in that white Ryder rental van hopping up on the sidewalk driving southbound on this side and really plowing into people.
We spoke -- we heard from witnesses who said, that who described the scene as a nightmare, as pandemonium, saying the driver was going as fast as 40 or 50 miles an hour as he was ramming into people. Anderson?
COOPER: Have -- I mean, have police spoken to the possible motive of this person? I mean we've seen that video that's extraordinary of after it was done of the man basically holding up -- I'm not sure, I think what it was, holding it up toward a police officer and then drawing it several times almost as if he wanted to be shot by the police officer.
MARQUARDT: Yes. That's the big question right now, is what is the motive, and some people have speculate there was suicide that he was looking for a suicide by a cop, as they call it. The authorities have not said that, but you're absolutely right, that is some incredible video at 1:52. So 26 minutes, as I mentioned, after this attack started, the police did manage to corner the attacker. They got him out of the car. You see him pointing something at the police. They say it was not a gun, however, the attacker claimed that he had a gun. The police said, we will shoot you if you don't put it down. They managed to get the attacker on the ground and handcuff him without firing a shot. So we're showing remarkable restraint. Let's just show you some of that video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down. No, get down. Get down. Get down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: But no, Anderson, there's been no declared motive right now. As we mentioned, right now they don't think it was a terror attack. There has been no claim of responsibility, but when you see an attack like this, of course it dredges up those horrific memories of where there have been very similar terror attacks, places like Nice, Barcelona and of course in New York on Halloween just last year, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, and the 15 injured. Alex Marquardt, thanks very for the latest. Appreciate it.
Coming up, just days after the funeral of former First Lady Barbara Bush, words tonight that her beloved husband, former President George H.W. Bush, is in intensive care. The latest from Houston, ahead.