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Ten People Dead and Ten Wounded in Texas High School Shooting, the 22nd School Shooting This Year; NYT: FBI Used Informant To Investigate Russia Ties To Campaign. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired May 18, 2018 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[22:00:00] (JOINED IN PROGRESS)
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Done deal. That's all it is.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: I want to thank you all. I appreciate it. Time to hand things over now to Don Lemon and "CNN TONIGHT."
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon, live in the U.K. My colleague, Chris Cuomo, is live in Santa Fe, Texas, the latest American town in mourning. As Chris and Anderson have been reporting here all day on CNN and all evening, nine students and one teacher shot to death today in their high school, 10 others wounded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's actually shooting. He's in the art room. We've got shots fired right now, guys. We need you all up here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The suspect, a 17-year-old student, in custody tonight. Two weapons were used in this deadly shooting. A shotgun and a .38 caliber revolver. Pipe bombs and pressure cookers were reportedly found at the scene and nearby, that's according to a law enforcement official.
The Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, says the guns were legally owned, legally, by the suspect's father. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said the shooter walked into the school this morning in a long coat with a shotgun underneath on a 90-degree day and started shooting.
No other way to put it. This is horrible. It is disgusting. It's terrifying. But what it's not, sadly, is surprising. Nobody should be surprised to hear this terrible news.
This is the 22nd school shooting in this country since the beginning of this year. It happened at a school that had -- just had a safety drill, just a few weeks ago. And yet, 10 people are dead tonight.
The latest school shooting is proof positive that drills and school safety procedures alone are just not enough. It's not enough to teach our kids to run faster and to hide better.
We adults and leaders are failing them, pretending that they're safe, pretending that it can't happen here is a luxury that American students just don't have. We can't afford that. And they know better. We should listen to them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESLEY LUMMUS, STUDENT, SANTA FE HIGH SCHOOL: A teacher was telling us to go, go, go, and then, you know, it's like instinct. You're scared, you're traumatized, so you're running as fast as you can.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And once you got over to Indy automotive, when did it become clear that something had happened like a school shooting?
LUMMUS: Well, you know, it was kind of clear when all the cops were pulling up. Because we were thinking, you know, this is not a fire drill, this is obviously something very serious. There were a lot of cops, so that's when we were like all clicked and I was like, my gosh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody was panicking everybody was crying. And I started to seeing two or three students jumping over the fence trying to get all away from all of the fire.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I can tell all of you people out there is just pray. That's what we need right now, guys, just pray for Santa Fe ISD and all the schools. All the school, just pray for our kids.
DAKOTA SHRADER, STUDENT, SANTA FE HIGH SCHOOL: I was scared for my life. Nobody should go through this. Nobody should be able to feel that in school. This is the place we're supposed to feel safe. This is where we come most of the week. Nobody should have to go through this and nobody should feel that pain. It hurts my heart to see this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there a part of you like, this isn't real? This would not happen in my school?
PAIGE CURRY, STUDENT, SANTA FE HIGH SCHOOL: No. There wasn't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why so?
CURRY: It's been happening everywhere. I felt -- I've always kind of felt like eventually it was going to happen here too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Did you hear that? I mean, did you hear that? A high school student feeling in her bones that someday, somebody would shoot up her school and she'd have to run for her life. That should never, ever happen in America, let alone 22 times in under five months.
This is the reason that students across the country, ever since the Parkland shooting in February, they have been marching for their lives. Now after another deadly shooting, will we finally listen? Will we listen?
I want to get straight now to the breaking news and our CNN Senior Investigative Correspondent, that's Mr. Drew Griffin. Drew, thank you for joining us this evening. Give me the very latest on what investigators are saying tonight?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, you're hearing it from a court affidavit, a probable cause affidavit that the shooter here seems to be confessing to this crime, admitting that he didn't shoot people he liked and meant to kill the ones he did. That's according to a probable cause affidavit.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, he appeared at a hearing tonight. We do have him buying Plexiglas (ph), entering a few rudimentary questions that he's a citizen, that he wants to have a court-appointed lawyer. He was not asked to enter a plea. He was denied bail. And then sent back into custody.
Don, the magistrate who handled that was a man named Mark Henry and he said after that hearing that it appears at this time that this suspect acted alone. There's been a lot of confusion through the day about a possible second suspect. The authorities seem to be backing off on that.
[22:05:04] But right now, we have this information coming out tonight, from a probable cause affidavit, that this shooter is saying that he spared people he liked and targeted people he didn't. Don?
LEMON: Drew, it's interesting, only 17 years old, and it's sad that you have to look into the background of a 17-year-old kid, really. You have been looking into the background of a shooter. What have you found?
GRIFFIN: Yes. We have been doing the usual digging and scrubbing of social media and friends and everything looking for any kind of signs. And we're stymied by this, quite frankly, Don.
Earlier today, Greg Abbott, the Texas governor said there were no warning signs, as far as they can tell. We still don't see any tonight, but we do have limited, limited exposure to this person on his social media.
Take a look.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, had scant details on his Facebook page before the page disappeared. But this is what CNN was able to confirm before Facebook removed him from its platform. Pagourtzis said he started attending Santa Fe High School three years ago, he posted pictures of himself, showing what appears to be a normal, nondescript, high school student.
On April 30th, less than a month ago, he also posted this. A custom black t-shirt that says born to kill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DUSTIN SEVERIN, STUDENT: He wears a trench coat every day and it's like 90 degrees out here. I talked to him a few times. He used to play football in ninth grade. He's nice, but real quiet. He keeps to himself. He doesn't talk to very many people. He'll be walking around with his trench coat on, headphones in. Doesn't say anything. (END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: On the same day he posted his t-shirt, he also posted a photo of this black duster jacket with Nazi, communist, fascist, and religious symbols and under the name Kamikaze. Pagourtzis posted three rap songs on YouTube.
That is it. The rest, typical teenager. A photo of him and a church group, other photos showing an average teenage American. On his Facebook page, he showed interest in joining the U.S. Marine Corps, starting in 2019, he wrote, the marines have no record of him.
Before high school, Pagourtzis had also attended Santa Fe junior high where he was listed on the sixth grade honor roll. He was mentioned as a standout player on the school's J.V. football team a few years ago, but that is it.
Law enforcement tells CNN at this point they have no reason to believe he was on anybody's radar and so far, there is no explanation for why he would have done this.
Don, we found scant people who knew him very well, that are willing to talk to us. But one colleague did speak out to us tonight, at least over the phone. He spoke to this shooter just last week. He says he can't believe it. Pretty friendly was his description of this shooter. Not an outcast, just in shock that this happened. Obviously, lots of investigation to go. Don?
LEMON: Absolutely. Drew Griffin, digging into the details for us from our world headquarters in Atlanta. Drew, thank you very much. We'll get back to you.
You know, it bears repeating, this is the 22nd school shooting since the beginning of this year alone. Twenty two schools across this country. Today it was Texas where nine students, one teacher lost their lives. Ten more were wounded.
My colleague, Chris Cuomo is on the ground. He's in Santa Fe, Texas. Chris, we have covered far too many of these shootings together at this network and at others. And the question I ask, will we listen to these students? And a bigger question is, why?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Well, that's the plague, right? The question is the plague. There has been no story, no type of news coverage that's taken me more places in this country than school shootings. We all know the sad reality. The only open question is what we're going to do with it.
And we have to remember who matters most and why I'm in Texas right now and why CNN continues to cover these. If we don't come, if we don't remember to care and remember our interconnectedness, then we're never going to get anywhere better. So let's focus on the people who matter, the people who lost their lives here, and the people who managed to get out.
Right now we have Dakota Shrader with us. She was at school when this happened. Was supposed to be just any other day and now it's one she'll never be able to forget. Her mom, Susan Davidson, is with her. It's good to see you again. We've been talking a little bit here. Mom, thank you for bringing you guys down here to talk about this.
I saw you in the piece. You were very upset. You don't know how to process this. Nobody does. When you heard those shots ring out, you were right down the hall, what did it mean to you?
SHRADER: I was frightened. I was scared for my life, my friend's life that was with me also.
CUOMO: You knew what it was right away?
SHRADER: No, I didn't. All I heard was boom, boom, three times and I thought it was either an explosion or a gunshot. Either way, I ran.
[22:09:58] CUOMO: When it sank in, this is what's going on, what did you see around you?
SHRADER: Woods, trees.
CUOMO: So you were lucky enough, you got out right away? You know a lot of people who didn't.
CUOMO: What does that do to you, at your age, to know that people you've known so long are gone?
SHRADER: It breaks my heart to see that these people that I've grown up with my whole entire life, seen every single day, and then they just get taken away from life just in a split second, I thought.
CUOMO: School starts at about 7.05.
CUOMO: This happens not long after. You get word, I can't imagine, as many moms as I've met in your situation, it chills to the bone every time. When you got the call, there's a shooting at Santa Fe high, what did that mean to you?
SUSAN DAVIDSON, DAKOTA SHRADER'S MOTHER: Nothing can prepare you for that phone call, nothing. It's fear like you've never known.
CUOMO: How long until you found your baby?
DAVIDSON: About 30 minutes. That was the tough 30 minutes. But there's other parents out here that still don't.
CUOMO: Fourteen hundred kids were in that school. This crime scene has been complicated by the explosive devices, the police have been working very hard. There are a lot of agencies involved. That's why we're so far away from the school right now, is because they found devices in the surrounding area and in some trailer. How does this happen here in a place like Santa Fe? DAVIDSON: It's not supposed to. And it was shocking. Very shocking.
We thought -- I thought it would never happen here.
CUOMO: We get hit with this question. What to do, what to do? You had two school resource officers with weapons and by all accounts, they went right at this guy, right away. You heard the gunshots of the valleys back and forth. Is that true?
CUOMO: So you know that they were taking him on. You know that they probably prevented more loss of life. But you still lost nine of your fellow students, you lost a substitute teacher. And God willing, the other dozen or so will make it, the people who were injured, they'll all be OK. When you go back to that school, how will you feel?
SHRADER: I'm not going back. I'm not. My mom's not going to let me go back after that.
DAVIDSON: This is the second time.
CUOMO: Second time what?
DAVIDSON: That this -- we had a scare in February of 2018. And, you know, it wasn't a mass shooting, but just the same, they were, you know, told to take cover under their desks and students texting their parents that they love them, you know, they don't know if they're going home that day.
CUOMO: What was it that time? What did it turn out to be in February?
SHRADER: Supposedly, it was firecracker that everybody heard.
CUOMO: So you don't want to go back to the school?
SHRADER: No. I don't feel safe there, at all.
CUOMO: So what do you do? What do you do for school? You got to figure it out?
SHRADER: I'll figure it out.
DAVIDSON: Yes. She's going to go to Clear Lake.
CUOMO: So it's not just emotion of the moment. You've had it. You believe that another school would be safer?
DAVIDSON: I don't know. I don't know anything at this point. I've been proven wrong so many times.
CUOMO: It is a helpless feeling.
DAVIDSON: It is very helpless.
CUOMO: You know, when I was watching the piece, this won't feel like this to you, I have one of you at home and I understand that you know, you feel all grown up inside, but you are people's babies. Talking about things that no parent ever wants to hear come out of your mouth about life and death and what you did to survive and how you'll remember your friends and what you'll do with your life and how you'll keep yourself safe. It makes everybody feel sick. What has been hardest about this day for you, emotionally?
SHRADER: Seeing all the families being so hurt by this situation, not knowing whether their kid is alive or not. They're until now, they're still not knowing whether their kid is out here or, you know, it's just -- you never know where their kids are. And that's -- that hurts. And I know it hurts.
CUOMO: Do you think that this is just how it is? Is this just normal now? Is this what we have to live with? Or does something in you tell you, this doesn't have to be this way?
SHRADER: It shouldn't be this way. We shouldn't have to worry about coming to school and there being an active shooter. We shouldn't have -- we should feel safe at where we're supposed -- where we are, most of our time.
CUOMO: That's everybody's wish, right? Just to keep our kids safe. Everybody says it and the words, the words turn bitter in your mouth when you know that nobody's really doing anything about it.
CUOMO: How to make a school safer place, how do you make it so there's only one point of entrance. What do you do in terms of the school resource officers? What do we do in terms of weapons? Different issues. We know that something's going to come out about this 17-year- old guy. They knew somebody knew something about him. Could day get him help? What the complications were. It's the same story almost every time.
[22:15:01] I wish I could promise you that I know that the people in charge will do better, but we've learned, there are no guarantees.
CUOMO: Except, you've got a family that loves you. And you have been gifted with a future that some of your friends don't have. And I hope you make the most of it.
SHRADER: Thank you.
CUOMO: Thank you to talking to me for about this. I'm sorry it's this way. Mom, Susan, thank you for being here. I wish you the best going forward.
DAVIDSON: Thank you, you too.
SHRADER: Thank you very much.
CUOMO: Don, you said it all right at the top of the show. I wish I could tell you there was something new, but we're right where we've known we have been for a long time.
LEMON: Yes. Well, you know, you're talking to the student and the parent there. You know, I think these students are going to make a big difference with this. And hopefully our lawmakers will listen to them so far, not much has changed. Even in the wake of Parkland and we've been sitting and watching and waiting, and here we are, covering another one of them.
So, you know, let's hope. We can only hope, Chris, this time, it will make a difference. We're doing to get back, much, much more on the deadly shooting. I'll get back to my colleague Chris Cuomo there in Santa Fe at the high school or in Santa Fe and talk about this shooting there.
The big question tonight, and it's literally a question of life and death, how do we keep this from happening again?
LEMON: Here's our breaking news tonight. A 17-year-old Texas high school student charged with capital murder in the mass shooting at his school that killed nine fellow students and one teacher and wounded 10 others.
[22:20:06] Joining me now, Jim Maxwell, a retired FBI special agent, and CNN Law Enforcement Analyst, Art Roderick. He's a former assistant director of the U.S. Marshal's Office. Gentlemen, good evening to you. Boy, how many times have we--
ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Hi, Don.
LEMON: -- gone through this, sadly.
JIM MAXWELL, RETIRED SPECIAL AGENT, FBI: Hi, Don.
LEMON: The same question to both of you and the only one that really matters is how do we stop this? Art, you first.
RODERICK: Don, somebody said something to me the other day and it's stuck with me. And it's -- aren't you sick and tired of talking about the same thing when it comes to these school shootings? It's sad and here we go again.
Now we in law enforcement tend to keep our emotions out of this and look at this basically from a surgical position, because our job is to try to prevent this from ever happening again. But when you sit here and listen to these students who I agree with you, I mean, I think they could very well make the difference in making some changes here in the future hopefully, so that we're not here every month, every couple times a month talking about these school shootings.
In this particular case, you're talking about two of the most common weapons that we have in this country. A .38 revolver and a shotgun. And you know, I don't want know how this one could have been prevented. I mean, it seems like there was no red flags here. You had school
resource officers respond correctly. They probably saved a lot more lives than could have been killed. But again, you know, here we go again.
LEMON: Yes. You know, we always say, well, it's -- if you're, you know, 2part of the gun lobby, you say, it's mental health. And put it off on mental health.
LEMON: And then others will say, no, it's the guns. I think it's a comprehensive approach and we have to stop pretending--
RODERICK: It is.
LEMON: -- that there's of guns. But the other side of the coin is, we're not even addressing the mental health issues here one Band-Aid for it. And whatever side you're on, that you don't want the guns, you know, people to have sensible gun control and on and on and on. And also, not to have a stigma when it comes to mental health issues.
But Jim, same question to you. I mean, we have to stop this. How do we do it? Because it's truly a plague.
MAXWELL: Well, I couldn't agree more, Don. This is a multi-faceted approach here to solving this problem. You know, there are issues that -- valid issues about the availability.
And there's no continuity from school district to school district around the country, and I've dealt with this, because I've done assessments at these schools on how they handle at at-risk children. The other issue, too, is the architecture of the schools.
I agree with Mr. Pollock (Ph) who was on earlier in the evening. We should treating these schools airports. We need to tighten the security and have a standard for all high schools. Before you enter a high school, I can show you examples, Union City High School in Hudson County, New Jersey, they have a huge facility and they do a wonderful job of containing the students.
They know the flow, they have community officers working permanently at the school. They're heavily involved in the school with the students. There are excellent examples of these types of systems working around the country. The problem is, we don't have that continuity across the country.
LEMON: You know, Art, in addition to the two guns, a law enforcement official tells CNN that authorities found pipe bombs and pressure cookers inside the school--
LEMON: -- in the surrounding area.
RODERICK: Yes. LEMON: I believe at a trailer. And they believe he made those incendiary devices. What can you tell us about his plan? What does that tell you about his plan?
RODERICK: I mean, it means there's a lot more planning involved than just him grabbing two weapons that were available at the father's house in one form or another and taking those in and just committing the horrendous act that he did commit.
But I mean, there's another level of planning here. Now, you know, we've heard reports that some of these devices were unearthed, they weren't workable. We've heard other reports that one of them might have exploded in one of the classrooms, because there was evidence of some shrapnel injuries.
So we've got to sort that out. But if this was a decoy, I mean, it just -- to me, it looks like based on the planning that he did do, that he took some of the more deadly parts from past shootings and used them in this particular shooting. Whether it's the trench coat from Columbine, the pipe bombs that were used at Columbine.
RODERICK: The pulling of the fire alarm that was done in Parkland. I mean, there's a lot of similarities to other shootings that we've seen in the past.
LEMON: Yes, you're right on. Because when I looked at those pictures, I thought, Columbine, the long coats. But we don't know.
LEMON: There are reports that he wore coats like that, you know, a lot of the time, quite often. But I don't know if those reports are true. But again, he did post them online and what went along with those quotes, somebody insignias, words that were on the black T-shirt that just, you know, added to this equation.
But Jim, let's stick with these explosive devices. Because neighbors are telling CNN that they heard a loud noise. It was a big boom. It was early this morning around 5 a.m. and when they went outside to check, there was no smoke, there was no debris. Do you think the shooter may have been testing the devices?
[22:25:06] MAXWELL: Well, that's one thing, part of the investigation. You know, if you look at the bombing that took place in New York City, the individual from Elizabeth, New Jersey. He practiced and set off devices in his backyard to make sure that they worked.
So what I would be looking for with this young man is, are there any complaints on a police blotter of explosions being reported in the past few months, in the immediate area.
But these devices, this guy was definitely a student of past cases. Pulling the fire alarm, the clothing he wore, and using these devices to, even if they were bogus or, you know, non-functioning devices, they were, like Columbine, they were placed to slow down first responders.
That's -- and this guy definitely did some planning and research before he started the execution of his plan. There's no doubt in my mind that he's a student of past incidents. Yes.
LEMON: Art, I'm going to give you the last word, the final word on this. But I think it's important for our viewers to see the things that he posted on his Facebook page that show signs of aggression and violence. These are the picture of a T-shirt that said, born to kill. Also posted a jacket with Nazi, communist, and religious symbols. Give us a final word on this, Art.
RODERICK: I mean, a lot of people, saying, there's not much on his Facebook page, but apparently law enforcement has located some journals that he had been writing in, which to our current knowledge that we have right now that's been passed on to us, is that those journals more or less explain a lot of what he's done here.
Hopefully at some point we'll be able to understand what's in those journals and see exactly what this individual was thinking about when he committed this horrendous act.
LEMON: Art, Jim, thank you so much, gentlemen. I appreciate your time.
RODERICK: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: When we come back, much more on the Santa Fe, Texas High School shooting that left nine students and one teacher dead. How can we do better to protect our students?
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: In the aftermath of the deadly high school shooting in Texas, the President ordered American flags be flown at half staff at all federal facilities, and he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We grieve for the terrible loss of life, and send our support, and love to everyone affected by this absolutely horrific attack. My administration is determined to do everything in our power to protect our students, secure our schools, and to keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves, and to others.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The former Vice President, Joe Biden, tweeted this message, saying, enough is enough is enough. Decent people have to take a stand. These are our children.
Let's get back to the ground of this horrible shooting with Chris Cuomo, who is joined now by CNN Law Enforcement Analyst, James Gagliano, and retired FBI supervisory agent. You're in good hands there, Chris. His expertise, he's helped us out a lot. You couldn't have a better person helping out on the investigation, and what's going on.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You know, I wish, Don, that I didn't know how right you are. But unfortunately, James and I have stood next to each other too many times, asking the same kinds of questions. And look, let's deal with what we know.
The President, what we just said there is a hollow statement of intention. And it's not all his fault. Everybody says they want to do something. Everybody says enough is enough, they do nothing. This is a war of resistance with two sides that should not exist.
So, every time we have one of these, we try to look productively at it. And what do we see here that would have made a difference? What did make a difference here? Two armed school resource officers engaged this shooter early on, 1,400 kids in that school, 20 or so hurt, or killed. Is that a sign that it worked on some level, having the armed SROs in there?
JAMES A. GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Sure. And, Chris, recently, we've reported on that at CNN, in Illinois, there was another case where a police officer responded immediately interdicted a subject.
This is a complex topic, and taking the politics out of it, and obviously, where folks retreat to their intransient positions on the gun reform side. From law enforcement, we're looking agent it from this perspective.
Right now, we've got to get to the bottom of how this was done. You talk about the complexities of this case, the type of weaponry, how this individual was able to, with a shotgun, and with a 38, and some devices that appear now to have been inert with the decoys that he had set up to make them look like bombs.
And we have to then go from that, and try to determine what the motive was. Why is that important? You always ask me that. And the motive piece of this is important, because it helps us possibly prevent the next one.
And that's what law enforcement is going right now. Yes, they're working through the scene. Yes, they're trying to make sure to disable any other devices, and make it safe. Yes, they're trying to get to the bottom of this to determine if this was a single lone wolf actor in this -- bad actor in this.
And then the next thing is, Chris, best practices. The days of Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon, 1975, standing outside of a bank, where law enforcement's goal was contain, and negotiate are over. We now have to go to the sound of the guns.
And from columbine, 19 years ago last month to today, we're seeing how, when law enforcement responds, when school resource officers, when off-duty cops, when good guys respond, and go to the sound of the guns, it can't prevent every tragedy, but it can mitigate, and minimize it, and I think that's what we saw here today. This could have been much worse. CUOMO: I know. And yet, it's such a low bar for satisfaction.
CUOMO: You know, that 10 dead, and 10 more plus including some law enforcement officers hurt is the best they could do in this situation. And that is in no way to disparage the effort. I wouldn't have had the guts to do what these law enforcement officers did here.
That's why they're better than the rest of us, angels among us, you included, for doing that work for the government, and the people for so long.
[22:35:06] So James' ideas are always spot-on, Don, but all we know is, it wasn't enough. And as you said early on, so accurately in the last segment, it's a combination effect. Don't tell me nobody knew anything about this kid, that there was nothing to it.
They have protocols in place now, the Columbia protocol to ask kids who seem removed, dark, depressed, you can ask him questions, you can trigger things, you can get help. We're nowhere on so many different levels. And that's what each one of these tragedies teaches us.
LEMON: Hey, Jim -- excuse me. Chris, you're a little bit sharper than me, and that proves a point right now, I'm a little bit jetlagged. But you made the point that the President standing there.
And listen, I mean, it's tough when he has to come out and do these things, but just saying, you know, our heart goes out, you know, we're praying, or what have you.
Everyone needs prayers. Of course, our hearts go out. That's really the easy thing to do, Chris. The tough thing to do is to actually do something, and force our lawmakers to do something in Washington.
CUOMO: Well, Look, you know, people are putting a lot of hope on these kids, and I've been shy about that start again part, because don't think that's fair to them, to make it all on their shoulders, to make change. But we do know one thing. Politicians act out of fear of consequence, not out of conscience.
CUOMO: So if they believe there is a price to not making schools harder targets, to not making more sensible laws that help stop shootings like this, they don't attach fear to an action, we'll stay right where we are.
LEMON: Well put, my friend. Thank you, Chris. Thank you, Jim. We'll see you. When we come back, breaking news, The New York Times reporting that the FBI used an informant to investigate Russia's ties to the Trump campaign, we're learning more about that tonight.
[22:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: We have more breaking news for you tonight. The New York Times is reporting that FBI -- the FBI used an informant to investigate Russia's ties to the Trump campaign, but only after their suspicions were raised about two members of the campaign.
Joining me now, CNN National Security Analyst, Matthew Rosenberg, who helped break the story for "The Times," also CNN Contributor, John Dean, who was Nixon White House Counsel. This is fascinating reporting that you have here, Matthew.
Let's start with your story, and I just want to read a key part of it. You said, FBI agents sent an informant to talk to two campaign advisers only after they received evidence at the pair and suspicious contacts -- suspicious contacts linked to Russia during the campaign.
The informant, American academic who teaches in Britain made contact late that summer with one campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, according to people familiar with the matter.
He also met repeatedly in the ensuing months with the other side -- with the other aide, excuse me, Carter Page, who was also under FBI scrutiny for his ties to Russia. So, you know the identity of this informant?
MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: We do. And we're not naming the informant, because out of a desire to protect -- to protect his identity and safety. We don't normally name confidential informants, unless there is some compelling reason to do so, some wrongdoing accused here.
And as far as we can see, there was no wrongdoing. The FBI had an open investigation on the possible links between Trump associates and Russia. Now, they couldn't very well send FBI agents to question people at the center of this investigation, like George Papadopoulos, or Carter Page, because to send FBI agents would to tip -- would be to tip them off to the investigation.
So they used an informant, a source, whatever you want to call him, an asset. And this person reached out, and met with them, and tried to sell information out of them. It's not clear how successful it was. But it certainly isn't a spy planted to the Trump campaign to dig up political dirt.
They had an open investigation, they had probable cause. They felt that they were -- this was warranted. And, you know, at some point, you've got to kind of look at what is normal practice, and what is done here, and what has been said by the President, and some of his allies in Congress, and weigh the two.
And decide, you know, what do we want to do here, and what's more accurate? And do we want to have a bigger conversation about how did law enforcement conduct its business? Fine. But we can see no evidence that there was a political hit, or political hit job in the works here.
LEMON: So because this completely contradicts what the President and Rudy Giuliani have been saying about a spy being implanted in the campaign, did you call the White House for a response about this academic?
ROSENBERG: I think the White House has said, you know, they're referring questions elsewhere. Look at the tweets. Yes, so that's really it. You know, I think the White House has said -- you know, the President has said what he wants to say on this.
There definitely does seem to be an attempt, though, by some of the President's allies to try and discredit the investigation, and turn the focus on to the people who participated in it, rather than the -- what they found, or what they're finding, still.
LEMON: So, John, I want to bring you in now, because both CNN and Matthew's reporting is that the informant was not used for political purposes. So what's your reaction to this new report?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's clear that the White House is running a fog machine, trying to confuse things. They might have been tipped to fact. This informant had been uncovered. It's hard to tell how much they knew about it.
But it's -- obviously, it's the vigilance of the FBI. They're doing exactly what they should have done. They're running the early stages of a counterintelligence investigation during a presidential campaign.
And they were doing everything not to politicize the investigation, or get involved in the campaign. If they'd sent a couple of agents to meet with Papadopoulos, and Page, or Flynn, it would have been a very different matter.
But they sent instead a -- apparently, a well-placed, and from what I read between the lines, Republican, somebody who would be able to be of like mind of many of these people, on some issues, to go talk to them, and brush up against them, and find out what they could find out about what was going on.
[22:45:12] LEMON: Yes. And, Matthew, as you reported in this piece, the Justice Department has said that the exposure could pose a grave risk to the source's life. Are you concerned about that?
ROSENBERG: Of course. That's why we didn't name them. You know, I don't want to-- I don't want to weigh, you know, who's under threat for what. We didn't name them because we don't normally name these sources.
But I think the Justice Department also has another issue here, too, which is, if people fear that they're going to be exposed, or their sources for politically unfavorable investigations, or investigations that displease the people in power, they're not going to be sources for those kinds of things.
And that's going to hamper law enforcement, and hamper the question of intelligence overseas, and that's a real issue, both for the FBI, for the DOJ, for the CIA as well. And I think all of those agencies are deeply, deeply concerned about this right now.
LEMON: John, I have to ask you, do you remember we were talking about the unmasking of sources, and the Republicans were so upset about the unmasking thing, and that sources were unmasked, and turns out the story wasn't true.
And you don't really hear about it now. Doesn't this completely -- it's sort of hypocritical, because now they want to reveal the name of a source when they were so concerned about unmasking names.
DEAN: Very good point. Very good point, Don. They've flipped over on the other side of the issue, and it looks like they'll throw anybody under the bus that's caused confusion, if they think they can somehow impinge the investigation, or try to discredit it, which I don't think this is going to do.
The fact that the FBI felt that they had to send somebody out to talk to these people, that they had probable cause already to do so, does not actually look good for the Trump campaign. They don't do this without justification. So I think this is a bad story for them, that they're trying to confuse.
LEMON: Yes, the concern was unmasking the names of Americans. This is an American citizen working in Britain. Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it. When we come back, Rudy Giuliani had a lot to say this morning to Chris Cuomo. We're going to dig into his, and the President's claims in light of what we now know.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Breaking news now. Reports that the FBI dispatched an informant to speak with at least two advisers to Donald Trump's presidential campaign after the bureau obtained evidence at the aides had ties to Russia.
Let's go to Chris Cuomo now. He spoke to President Trump's lawyer this morning about the President's claims of spying. He is back with me now.
Chris, as I was watching you this morning this was The Buzz, right, your interview with Rudy Giuliani revealing some very interesting things. Before we get to that, give me your reaction from this reporting from "The New York Times" about this informant.
CUOMO: Well, look, it advances our understanding of why we were going so slow on this. The reason that it was testy with Rudy Giuliani about this is because they didn't know that somebody had infiltrated the campaign.
I know it sounds good if you want to disparage the efforts of the Department of Justice. I know it's tantalizing to take a little bit of information that there was some kind of asset in play, and make it into a spay game, which you have to remember, Don, that's an ugly and pejorative term to people in the intelligence business like Rudy Giuliani was.
CUOMO: He knows the power of the word spy as a pejorative, and he didn't have proof, and he knew he didn't have proof. And now we get The New York Times advancing the understanding somewhat, and it just proves why we were pushing back this morning.
LEMON: Well, Chris, I want to play some of it. But as I was listening to it because the President, and his tweeting, and folks were saying it as if it's fact, but Rudy Giuliani said, if it's true, and when he said that, I went, if it's true, you guys are out here acting like it is true. But listen, let's -- this is before the news broke. Here's Chris with Rudy Giuliani.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: Here's the issue that I really feel strongly about with this informant if there is one. First of all, I don't know for sure with the President if there really was one. We're told that.
CUOMO: Told that by who?
GIULIANI: We're told that by people who -- for a long time we have been told that there was something -- some kind of infiltration. At one point the President thought it was a wiretap. There were -- there were some FISA applications. We haven't been notified that he was on tap, or intercept.
CUOMO: There's never been any proof that he was on a wiretap, either.
CUOMO: But he did say it as fact many times.
GIULIANI: I think he -- I think he thought that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK, so there's so much there. The wiretap, there's no proof of that. There's no proof of this guy infiltrating -- this informant infiltrating the campaign. Were you surprised that he was beginning -- it sounded like he was beginning to backtrack there.
CUOMO: No, because, you know, Rudy Giuliani is a very skilled attorney, and he knows what he knows, and what he doesn't know. He's caught in a situation right now because of the needs of his client, and he has a client who happens to be our President, who is spinning things beyond the existence of demonstrable fact.
So he has to say, well, the President thought it was true, he felt it was true. That's not the real basis of analysis, and that's what this President does. And many people who support him then believe things that are not true because he says them. And that's how we got into this jam on whether or not he was spied on.
LEMON: Hey, Chris, we've got about 30 seconds left here. This is the definition of gaslighting, isn't it?
CUOMO: Well, look, I've now watched that movie twice because we've used the phrase so much. And look, you know, what's going on here is ugly politics. It's toxic politics. And there's a danger in it.
[22:55:00] All we have is the truth. They can disagree. You've got to disagree with decency about what to do about things when policy happens, but once you start messing with what is, you completely compromise any chance to get to what will be.
That's the problem with lying. That's the problem with misstating facts, and that's one of the big problems we have right now with this whole Russia situation.
LEMON: Yes. Hey, Chris, I can't wait for you to join us in prime time. You're like a surgeon when it comes to -- especially these legal issues, and we look forward to having you in June 4th, right?
CUOMO: Yes, sir. High praise. Time with you is time well spent.
LEMON: All right. I'll see you soon. We'll be right back.
LEMON: So why am I here in Windsor? Why am I anchoring the news in a tuxedo? Well, we're just hours away from the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Harry along with his brother and best man Prince William, they were on that traditional walk about this evening, visiting crowds of royal wishers on the castle here -- right here in Windsor.