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CUOMO PRIME TIME
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberg Interviewed; Latest on the Annapolis Shooting; Rep. Lius Gutierrez Interviewed; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Interviewed. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired June 28, 2018 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN: Absolutely. Thank you, Anderson.
I am Chris Cuomo. Welcome to PRIME TIME.
We have breaking news on the mass murder at a small local newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, the "Capital Gazette" paper. The suspect is in custody. And we have new information and an interview with reporters who are inside during the shooting. Police say this was a targeted attack and we're live at the scene with new reporting on motive in just a moment.
Plus, tonight, Republicans on full attack against the head of the FBI and the man who oversees the Russia investigation. Both picked by President Trump. Congressman Luis Gutierrez was there and he's going to tell you why it seemed like GOP lawmakers were on the attack to present a trophy to President Trump.
And later, can Democrats stop a Supreme Court vote before the midterm elections? Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says yes. What's the plan? She's going to tell you.
There is a lot to tackle tonight. What do you say? Let's get after it.
CUOMO: All right. Here's where we are right now. We set up the white board to give you information, all right? In terms of murdered and injured, and that's the word we use, often it's killed but let's be honest. This was intentional, it was tactical and it was meant to take lives. Five right now, injured, three, say authorities.
But you have to watch that number because how people will recover, how severe the injuries are, we still don't know, all right? This "Gazette" newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, is very well known and beloved in that community. These numbers are shocking but I have to tell you, response time was a huge factor.
Reportedly, the gunman was reloading but first responders were there in sixty-seconds. They got in. They identified and engaged, ultimately capturing the murderer. That made a huge difference in this saving of loss of life here.
The suspect: a Maryland local, late 30s. They have his name. He is in custody and talking.
I'm not going to use the name because accused murderers don't deserve the respect in these situations. Motive is an intentional targeting here, all right? So, this was not an accident.
It's not about political animus, but it is intentional, and they say it comes from a lawsuit, that there was a suit filed here that it was a defamation suit that this man had against the newspaper. Now, the judge threw it out, and on appeal, that was affirmed, that this was a garbage suit, but that seems to be the stem of the animus here.
What was used? Shotgun. Now, what does that tell us? That we are not going to have the kind of protracted gun battles that we have after some of these shootings where access, the type of weapon, the type of ammo. This is something that you are not a law away from changing.
However, there are going to be issues here about who this man was, why he was able to maintain weapons and what was known about his particular state of mind.
Now, particular attention of detail is also going to come up. There were devices used here, all right? Now, there was bad reporting that it was IEDs. They're not IEDs. They were smoke grenades.
And he used them on entry to conceal himself and create some confusion. He then went around identifying targets. OK?
So, this is not your typical murder/suicide, according to authorities as well. So, there are some different components here and then some things that are painfully familiar.
Brian Todd is on the scene in Annapolis, Maryland.
Brian, police are also looking at social media as a clue as recently as what might have happened today.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is absolutely right, Chris. Tonight, we're told by police that social media threats were issued toward the newspaper, some as recently possibly as this morning. Other information we have tonight from multiple law enforcement sources, Chris, police are at an address associated with the suspect, the address in Laurel, Maryland, about 30 miles away from here.
Also, we're told by sources that this suspect did have a dispute with this newspaper. That he filed a defamation claim against the newspaper back in 2012. But that that claim was dismissed.
This was, according to police, a targeted attack. Police saying that this suspect came in to the building, looking for his victims. And we have a very dramatic account from a survivor of the attack, Phil Davis, a crime reporter for the "Capital Gazette." He was here inside the building and heard the gunman reload. Phil Davis was hiding under his desk because the gunman came in.
Here's his account to Anderson Cooper just a short time ago. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHIL DAVIS, CRIME REPORTER, CAPITAL GAZETTE (via telephone): I did see the door shatter. Essentially, he shot through the first door, the glass shattered. I turned around to see it. Once I started to realize that something was up, I didn't know what it was, I just assumed the worst, and kind of hid under my desk and didn't see anything after that until he was apprehended.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: Just a horrific account from that witness, Phil Davis, who could have been a victim himself.
We also get dramatic accounts tonight, Chris, from witnesses who saw the police rush in. Really incredible when you think of the fact that they arrived here within sixty-seconds of when the shooting began. One witness said she was in a locked down business very short distance away. She could see the police responding.
She said some of them were running toward the building still in their civilian clothes, pulling on their Kevlar vests as they ran into the building. They quickly identified the suspect and engaged with him somehow.
But we're also told that he tried to evade them at least in some measure. He was found, himself, according to the Anne Arundel County executive, he was found himself hiding under a desk and he dropped his weapon some distance away -- Chris.
CUOMO: That's an important detail. We've been waiting for that to get some kind of confirmation. It makes the situation a little different. But the distinguishing characteristic right now, Brian Todd, response time. Sixty-seconds to get in there and make this kind of stop. God forbid what would have happen first down they weren't there as soon as they were.
Brian Todd, thank you very much. We'll check back with you if you have any developments.
I want to bring in two men who know the newspaper very well, Democratic Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, and Chris Trumbauer, a councilmember in Anne Arundel County.
Gentlemen, good to have you both on the show. I wish it were under different circumstances.
Congressman, let me start with you.
One of the things that describes the heart and passion of the men and women inside this local paper is that despite all the tragedy they've had to live through today, they are working to put a paper out tomorrow.
What does that reflect for you in terms of what you've come to understand about them? REP. DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER (D), MARYLAND: That reflects their
professionalism, their passion for the job. You know, we are -- our democracy is based on certain tenets. And one of those tenets is the First Amendment and our media, to be able to cover government, to be able to cover people and communities.
And that -- this paper is a very unique paper. They've covered me. I was interviewed last week with Chase Cook, and he's a reporter that is not one of the five. And we had a long interview about the immigration issue.
So, when you talk about the reporters and talk about what they mean to our country, it's very important. And yet, as bad as they feel, and losing all five of their people and other people that are injured, and if they're going to continue to report -- that's their passion, that's their job, and I respect that.
And I also want to acknowledge those first responders. One minute, that's fantastic. That's who -- what they do, and they protect us, and they showed that today.
CUOMO: I mean, extraordinary response time. And obviously, these are never situations to celebrate, but God forbid, if they hadn't been there sooner, we know that every moment counts.
We heard the account from one of the reporters on the inside. This murderer was reloading. He obviously had an intention to do as much damage as he could.
Now, Councilman, in terms of the threat assessment here, authorities have identified this man as a guy who was a party to a lawsuit that got thrown out as a baseless defamation suit. But they are doing threat assessment about whether there were threats on social media, things that could have been flagged, things as recently as today.
What do you know about any of that?
CHRIS TRUMBAUER (D), ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY COUNCIL: Well, I know the police are making details available when they have them.
But, Chris, let me first say this is a small community. It's a close community. And I personally knew some of the reporters that were in the building. One of them, Pat Ferguson, was out here just a few minutes ago covering the press conference. And afterwards, I came up and I gave him a big hug.
I was glad he was OK, but he was out here with his pen and paper in his hand, and he was reporting. And I think that's emblematic of these local reporters and what they mean to the community and how seriously they take their job. And the fact that they were threatened today, and the fact that other journalists may feel threatened in today's environment, I think is really sad.
CUOMO: Well, look, and just keeping it on the straight human realities of this, the man you saw out there covering his job, he lost friends and colleagues today. TRUMBAUER: Yes, he did.
CUOMO: I mean, everybody has got a tough time doing the job. Everybody knows that being a journalist often puts you in positions of stress and duress. But to have lost people that you know and care about and still do the job, that speaks if not to the media in general, to these men and women specifically.
Councilman, you do know them well. What is your experience been with them? What makes them special?
TRUMBAUER: Well, this isn't a big town paper that puts a lot of stories out on the national wire. I mean, they cover my county council meetings. They cover local lacrosse games. They cover community events.
And I think that they -- this paper feels like part of the fabric of the community. And so when the news first broke, I think everybody felt shattered and heart broken, and we're a state capital, Annapolis, and we're used to having a lot of attention and we're used to political stories and other things.
But this -- I don't think anybody expected this. I don't think that anyone was prepared to deal with it. And so, a lot of people are just walking around town in shock, not knowing exactly how to respond today.
CUOMO: You know, Dutch, there's plenty of reason to believe here that this is a one off. That this guy had specific animus, he had a specific beef, and he decided to divorce himself from sanity and do something like this.
But you've used it as an opportunity, Dutch, to remind people that no matter how you feel about certain news reporting or the back and forth with politics, that at the end of the day, these people matter. Their lives matter and the way we treat each other matters.
RUPPERSBERGER: They do matter. The media matter. But also we have to remember, these are people that have husbands, wives and brothers and sisters. And they're part of our fabric of our society.
And they're out there doing their job. They get up. They go to work, and then this happens today.
You know, this issue with guns has got to stop, you know, especially with the assault weapons. I don't want to go too far with that. But we're not talking about taking people's guns away. We're talking about protecting Americans on assault weapons and do the things that are necessary to do.
And I think you're going to talk about that later tonight on your show.
CUOMO: Well, look, you know, this situation doesn't have the most usual fact pattern which is where you see a semi-automatic rifle that's used, tamed in the wrong way. You know, lots of ammunition that may or may not be accessible to people and those types of situations.
But we never shy away from having the conversation, because I think that's part of the bad politics here, Congressman, that people say well, you can't talk guns here. It's too soon. Well, when the hell else are you going to talk about it except in a moment of crisis.
But here you got a shotgun and I don't know what law would have kept a shotgun out of somebody's hands, but you do have the dovetailing of what was known about his mental health state, who was checking on him, what resources were available?
RUPPERSBERGER: The other issue you talk about is mental health. I think it's easier probably to get a shotgun than a handgun.
RUPPERSBERGER: But that's not the issue. The issue here tonight is five people are dead.
RUPPERSBERGER: Five people who worked in the media which is so important to our country. And we just have to move forward. Congress has to get their act together on a lot of things, and especially this, because this type of situation is not going to stop.
CUOMO: Yes, Councilman, you know, imagine the --
RUPPERSBERGER: We have more killings in our country than any country in the world.
CUOMO: Well, we know the stats, and, unfortunately, we keep adding to them, Congressman.
Councilman, let's end on this. You know these people. And what a difficult position for them to be reporting on themselves, and how difficult that has to be for them, because that's a very unusual situation for a journalist that while you're processing something that actually happened to you. You know, you're not there as a proxy for the experience of other people that you're only knowing in the moment. This is -- this is a very heavy burden for them to carry.
TRUMBAUER: Well, it certainly is, and I'm sure a lot of people like me, they found out about the incident on Twitter or other social media, because some of those reporters were in the building and they did -- when they felt like they were safe, they did grab their phones or their devices and they started to update people.
And immediately what happened in this community was people started asking is so and so OK, or have you seen this person? Because we know a lot of these reporters on the first name basis and we do -- we were concerned about them. But I mean, there were reporters from the capital out here tonight covering the press conference, you know, right across the street from the building where this horrible shooting happened.
So, it does speak a lot to journalists. I give them a lot of integrity.
TRUMBAUER: It's unfortunate that now they're being, you know, targeted. Not only with violence but also just by hate speech and other things in the media. And I just -- I wish everybody would treat each other like human beings.
CUOMO: Well, this is certainly a reminder of what's supposed to matter most to all of us. And I tell you what? Gentlemen, I appreciate you both in here giving dignity and respect to the men and women who had to suffer through this situation today and yet, still had the resolve to do their job of bringing information to their community.
Gentlemen, thank you both, and, Congressman, thank you for saying you want to take up this situation, because Congress certainly has been asleep at the wheel on this. Best to both of you.
RUPPERSBERGER: Take care.
CUOMO: All right. Much more to come on tonight's breaking news, the "Capital Gazette" shooting. We know why this gunman walked into that room. But what we don't still understand is, what was going on in his head? What could have been known? How could this have been diverted?
We deserve -- we have to ask those questions, because the people who suffered through this today deserve to get those answers as part of processing their own situation. And we do know this. Response time was huge.
So, please, we're going to take a break, but don't go away. We have more information and two law enforcement experts who are going to explain just how close this situation was to an order of magnitude even worse.
CUOMO: All right. Welcome back to CUOMO PRIME TIME.
We do have breaking news. We're following the shooting at the "Capital Gazette" in Annapolis, Maryland. The alleged murderer in custody. Police are interrogating him, trying to determine exactly what it was that he wanted to do, what it was he kept from doing from ridiculously quick response time that we'll take you through.
Joining us now, former CIA counterterrorism official, Phil Mudd, and retired FBI supervisory special agent James Gagliano.
Gentlemen, thank you for popping up on short notice here.
Now, look, we put down the essentials as we're getting them in. Five and three -- five lives taken, murdered here. Three injured.
Those numbers have to be put in context. This was a full office. It was a small space. The response time of sixty-seconds, how much does that jump out at you, James?
JAMES GAGLIANO, RETIRED FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: That's incredible. As a former SWAT team leader, you can't get places that quickly unless you're actually close and on scene. But the fact that these officers charged in and went to the sound of the gun -- Chris, we always talk about that -- not containing and waiting to negotiate, but going in to interdict the shooter speaks volumes about that police department.
CUOMO: But, look, we've got to -- we have to examine it by contrast also, Phil. You know, we've seen what happens when officers delay before they go in. Witness accounts here on the scene have them running in as they were still suiting up, you know, so anxious to get in there and take this guy on.
And that seemed to be of critical importance, because one of the witness accounts inside said they heard him reloading. So, this murderer had every intention to keep going. How significant?
PHIL MUDD, FORMER FBI SENIOR INTELLIGENCE ADVISER: Chris, I think response time is only half of it. We're missing the second piece of it, which is what the mindset is of the people going in there. Can you imagine stepping in there realizing, I don't know what weapons he has, I don't know if he has explosive devices.
CUOMO: He used smoke grenade, so visibility is in question.
MUDD: That's right.
There's some talk about how much training was conducted after the Broward County attacks and you remembered tragically, we had somebody who didn't enter the facility. So, it's not only the response time. It's somebody saying, I've got a family. I've got a spouse. I'm going in there regardless of the prospect that this individual or individuals because you don't know, might have a weapon trained on me. It's incredible courage.
CUOMO: Well, and that's why present company of you two included, you're better than the rest of us. That's why you're our heroes and our first responders.
James, we know that he's in custody. What's going on right now?
GAGLIANO: So, in most of these incidences of recent vintage, most of the time, the person that does one of these things, perpetrates one of these horrific crimes, they either kill themselves or they conduct a suicide by cop. They're looking to basically go out in a blaze of glory.
In this instance, where you have somebody that has been apprehended, it's a treasure trove of information. Now, reports we're initially getting said he was not being cooperative, but he was cooperative enough that police were able to determine who he was.
Now, as a law enforcement official, what you want to do in those situations is use active listening skills. So, you're deferring judgment. You're trying to establish rapport with that person. You're basically showing empathy but not sympathy, understanding, not agreement.
And you help this person walk through why they did it. You ask open- ended questions. You're empathetic toward their plight. You're trying to get to the bottom of it, trying to help them and hopefully you get a confession. Or find out if there were any accomplices.
CUOMO: OK. So, right now, they're saying it's just him. I guess the last part of that winds up being a saving grace, because a lot of people say, who cares why? You got him.
It seemed to have been he had an intentional beef, this defamation suit that he brought against the paper that was dismissed and on an appeal. It was seen to have no value.
But for you, Phil Mudd, how important is the follow-up interview with someone like this?
MUDD: Critically important. Now, I got to tell you, when I'm going in, I probably did 2,000 threat briefs at the FBI. Those characteristics are not on the board tomorrow morning when we're going in for a conversation about this, for example, with the FBI director.
There's still a people game here. Let me give you a few characteristics. We think we know one of them. Looks like the guy acted alone.
Let me give you a couple of other questions. Did somebody participate? Radicalized, did they say, this is OK, help him gain a weapon? Somebody participate in a way that's material?
Number two, did somebody know? They were aware he was trying to put together for example the explosive devices? This is still a criminal investigation. Regardless of whether we think tonight he acted alone, I still want to know if somebody either provided material support or should have called before I get into issues like what was his motivation. That's a little further down the road for me.
CUOMO: James, you made an earlier point that I want to flesh out a little bit more, which is, this is not as typical as the ones that you and I have been to far too many standing shoulder to shoulder. Social media may have been relevant here, that there may have been threats as recent as today. That's going to shine.
They're going to shine a light on that in terms of what did you know? What should you have acted on? What does it mean in terms of protocols? His use of smoke grenades. The fact that he may have been trying to hide instead of taking himself out.
What do you see in those elements?
GAGLIANO: Well, generally speaking in all this, Chris, the consistent thread is a grievance. And that grievance is perceived. It's inside their minds. If it's somebody that has mental issues, it could be something they perpetuated themselves. If it was a workplace issue -- and, obviously, we know in this
instance, he was not a workplace person, he was someone who had a grievance against the newspaper. And then trying to establish motive is important for this. How do you prevent the next one? How do you make sure that we put barriers in place or have warning signs that are not missed the next time?
And the last thing, Chris, the weaponry that he used smoke. We use smoke canisters in the military for two things. One is it's a signaling device and the other is obscuration, to prevent some kind of camouflage.
In this instance, I think he probably deployed it as an incendiary device, because it creates, what, panic and terror. People get up and start running. They see the smoke, they think the building is on fire and it causes all kinds of chaos.
So, interesting selection of a shotgun which is not the standard weapon we see used in these, and smoke canisters. What was the point in the smoke?
CUOMO: Now, in terms of why he did this, there's so much negativity going on right now. You guys are living it alongside of us here, in this Thunderdome existence of political dialogue. The congressman we just had on, Ruppersberger, made a point to bring it up. Frankly, I didn't, because the lawsuit, the defamation suit kind of fills that in for me, but I'm not an expert.
The idea of what catalyzed his anger, what catalyzed his animus, what made him decide that now was the time when the suit was from 2015. So, you know, some years later. Phil, does that fit into the mix?
MUDD: It does --
CUOMO: 2012 was the substitute. 2015 was the appeal when it was all wrapped up. So, any way you look at it, this was years ago.
MUDD: I got to disagree with most of the media commentary, including the commentary from people who are already suggesting it may have been the media environment led to this. People are blowing through one significant point you see in a lot of cases. That's a term we use in the law enforcement business -- EDP. Emotionally disturbed person.
How confident are we -- before we're saying he had a motive we can understand, that was a rational actor, how confident are we that he didn't have emotional issues maybe dating back as far as 2015 that led him to snap today and say I'm off to do that stuff? You would be surprised when you're looking at cases at the local or the federal level where the first question is, is the guy even acting in a rational way where you ascribe a motive to him? A lot of times, you can't.
CUOMO: You know, look, that's a fair point. I know that that guns matters. I know who gets guns matters. That's a real discussion.
People always say, well, don't talk about it right now. I wouldn't talk about it that much right now because it's a shotgun and you're not a law away from dealing with that the way you are with these assault rifles. However, the mental health component, what you call EDP, it's relevant almost every damn time, Jimmy, that you and I are standing someplace around this country with dead people in front of us and families that are shattered, and they never wind up really moving the ball on that.
Who knew? Who could have checked on them? What were the resources available? What are the tools to deal with somebody if you have suspicions? They often wind up being empty boxes. This could likely be another piece of evidence of the need.
GAGLIANO: Chris, we also live in a society, you and I debated this often, where we treasure our civil liberties but want to be safe. We treasure privacy. And HIPAA and FERPA are two things. We want people that have mental illnesses or any type of physical malady to be able to say that shouldn't be for public consumption.
But with these mental issues, in cases like this, there's no way to knit these together so a gun shop owner, a guy who is a good citizen and selling weapons doesn't know that somebody is already being treated for a mental illness or in some type of drug to prevent an outbreak.
CUOMO: I'm just saying, it's much more common than it is not that we have a discussion where at the end of the day, this man or woman, it's almost always a man, was known by those around him to have a problem, to need help. And they usually don't know what to do.
MUDD: That's true, but there has been one change in the debate and reflecting back on the Broward County, the school shooting where the question was how many interactions did we have in the school shooter? You're seeing an increasing number of states talk about things that we refer to as red flag laws.
MUDD: Forget about gun control. We're talking about someone who has emotional disturbance identified at the school, identified by a neighbor. How easy it, I'm talking not in terms of a phone call, in terms of policy and regulation, to call law enforcement and trigger a process that says forget about gun control, this guy shouldn't have a weapon for some period of time, 30, 60, 90 days.
CUOMO: A hundred percent, because right now, you need adjudication and that means you have to go through a whole court process. It takes time and in that window of availability of making difference, someone can act.
CUOMO: But when we're talking about guns, it's all a part of a discussion of how do you stop the shootings.
And no matter how many happen, and, man, think about the men and women affected by this one, they're doing a newspaper tonight. They're still doing their job. They are victims of a situation that they're covering as journalists. That gives them tremendous respect.
But it puts a little bit of an onus on the rest of us. These situations deserve answers. So, now is the time to talk about them. It's not polite to discuss not needing an answer when you're in the moment of crisis, that's the right time.
James Gagliano, Phil Mudd, thank you very much as always.
We're going to keep you posted on details as we get them. And they are coming in slowly over time. But we have other topics as well.
The Republican fury with the Russia investigation boiled over at this congressional hearing today. A Democrat determined to stop his GOP colleagues and the White House from trying to shut down the probe is here next. His name is Luis Gutierrez. And he'll be on PRIME TIME right after this.
CUOMO: Things got heated on the Hill today. Congressional Republicans took aim at the head of the FBI and Bob Mueller's boss, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Remember, they are both Trump appointees.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If you have evidence of wrongdoing by any member of the Trump campaign, present it to the damn grand jury. If you have evidence that this president acted inappropriately, present it to the American people.
Whatever you got, finish it the hell up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Casual Captain Benghazi there, Trey Gowdy, who seems to have forgotten how long he took with his investigation that yielded nothing. The back-and-forth dug into everything, from biased text messages to President Trump's claim that the Mueller team is a bunch of angry Democrats.
But it got a lot more personal with targeted questions at Rosenstein himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Your statement that I'm personally keeping information from you, trying to conceal information --
REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: You're the boss, Mr. Rosenstein.
ROSENSTEIN: That's correct, and my job is to make sure that we respond to your concerns.
But you're using this to attack me personally. JORDAN: Why did you --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: This has been a long time coming. Republicans have painted this picture of a dirty DOJ as their rebuttal to the Russia probe. So, it was time and opportunity to put some meat on the bones.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JORDAN: Mr. Rosenstein, did you threaten staffers on the House Intelligence Committee? Media reports indicate you did.
ROSENSTEIN: Media reports are mistaken.
JORDAN: Sometimes but this is what they said. Having the nation's number one law enforcement officer threaten to subpoena your calls and e-mails is downright chilling. Did you threaten to subpoena their calls and e-mails?
ROSENSTEIN: No, sir, and there's no way to subpoena phone calls.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: It's interesting those who attack the media as fake news will turn to it when it serves their purposes.
But any way you look at it, the intention was clear: to show that those running the probe are dirty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSENSTEIN: If it were appropriate for me to recuse, I'd be more than happy to do so, and let somebody else handle this. But it's my responsibility to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: My next guest was in the room as a member of the House Judiciary Committee. Illinois Luis Gutierrez is here.
Welcome to PRIME TIME, sir.
What a day.
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you, Cuomo.
CUOMO: Let me ask you, do you believe there was meat put on the bones at the suggestion that this investigation has been improper?
GUTIERREZ: I think if you walk away from anything in this hearing, it's that they want to give the president a trophy, and the trophy is Rosenstein's head on a platter. That's what they want. They want to eliminate him, discredit him, impeach him, get him fired so they can stop.
Look, Cuomo, let's get to the real meat of the matter, and that is if you ask the deputy attorney general and the head of the FBI as I did, did a foreign country try to undermine, influence, corrupt our election system during the 2016 presidential election? Here's what they both said, yes. And that that is the unanimous opinion of all of the intelligence agencies --
GUTIERREZ: -- of the United States government.
So, why aren't we talking about that and allowing that campaign which is clear? And secondly, isn't Mueller's probe also looking into who might, right, have tried to influence the outcome of the investigation? And clearly, the president of the United States has told you and me and we've all heard him, I fired Comey because of a fake investigation into the Russia what he says collusion.
CUOMO: Well, he certainly has said it. Whether he wants to own the words, Congressman, who knows because he changes his mind a lot about what's true, but he did turn to Rosenstein --
GUTIERREZ: He does, he does.
CUOMO: -- the man his brothers and sisters on the right are now trying to condemn as a basis for getting rid of Comey. You remember that memo that he wrote. But it seemed to me that they don't really care about the Russia probe as much as they care about undoing the Russia probe by saying that the people who are doing the Russia probe were covering up for Clinton. They just happen to be targeting two of Trurmp's own guys to make their case today.
GUTIERREZ: Right. So, when I asked them, I said, from zero percent to 100 percent, who do you owe your job to deputy attorney general? He said President Trump. I asked Mr. Wray, the FBI director, he said 100 percent, the president of the United States.
These are both Republicans, and they're both appointed by the president of the United States, and yet, it is the Republican Party trying to undermine their credibility so they can crush the probe into the Russia intervention in our electoral process, and they're trying to destroy our deposition exhibit.
Listen, if it was very clear -- for those that have read the inspector general's report which I have, you read the inspector general's reports, they say that special agent Strzok didn't play a significant role or any in undermining the investigation or really leading the investigation. So, that's a red herring there.
You remember -- probably, Cuomo, you remember when the president would say almost every day, can't wait for the inspector general's report.
CUOMO: Right. GUTIERREZ: Republicans almost, right, like in unison -- there was
nothing there. So, now --
CUOMO: Well, there was stuff in there, Congressman, but it wasn't what they were hoping for.
CUOMO: I mean, certainly, you had inappropriate activity.
GUTIERREZ: Thank you.
CUOMO: You had lying by McCabe.
GUTIERREZ: Absolutely, absolutely.
CUOMO: You got a criminal reference and there are certain things to clean up. And Wray and Rosenstein own that.
GUTIERREZ: You're right. You're right. But how does that lead back to the deputy attorney general? How does that lead back to the current FBI director and the investigation and Mueller's --
CUOMO: Well, they'll say it leads back because they won't give them the documents. They'll say they're not giving them the information that they want. Do you think that's a fair criticism?
GUTIERREZ: And that -- and that's a rabbit hole they want us to go into. So, they want such material that it would be, wow, against the rules, against the rules to give them this kind of information.
Plus, you and I both know what Nunez did. He works in collusion with the White House, and they'll take whatever information, especially in those documents and if I'm Donald Trump, I'd like to have all of my friends of the Republican Party, and all of the members of the Judiciary Committee gather that information and give it to them. It's wrong what they're doing, trying to corrupt an investigation into something -- OK, Cuomo, let's just remember we all agree, everybody agrees that the Russians intervened in our electoral process.
Should or should there not be an investigation into that? I say absolutely. It is fundamental if we're going to --
CUOMO: There haven't been there like a ton of them?
GUTIERREZ: I'm sorry?
CUOMO: I mean, you have the Mueller probe. You had the Senate Intel. You had the House Intel which they shut down. I mean, there's been a lot of investigating. You just guys can't agree on anything so there's no plan on what to do going forward.
GUTIERREZ: Yes, but, Cuomo, we have to let Mueller. He was assigned the task to get this done. It's been 15 months. Look --
(CROSSTALK) CUOMO: Right. But you tried to come up with a plan to keep our elections safer the next time around. That conversation --
GUTIERREZ: Cuomo, Cuomo, Cuomo, here's what I say -- let the investigation go where the investigation and the time. It is more important that we be careful and instead of hurried because this is about undermining our fundamental democracy. How it is we elect those that lead our country. And I think let's give it time.
As you said earlier, I mean, my friend Trey Gowdy, two years. They spent more time than that investing Hillary Clinton. And I remember I was in Congress 26 years ago, more like 20 years ago when they began the investigation into Clinton. That thing went on year after year after year.
So, look, let's get to the bottom, and let's get the facts. What's the rush? The rush is this. They want to fire the deputy attorney general of the United States so they can put somebody else in their place so that person can fire Mueller, and that is really dangerous to our democracy.
We should all be gathering together and saying let's find out who tried to corrupt our electoral system and let's go after them and put them in jail.
CUOMO: So --
GUTIERREZ: And let's remember, unlike what my Republican colleagues said today, there is meat on the bones. There have been indictments. There have been already more -- there have been at least five guilty pleas.
Let's let this go and let an experienced prosecutor, an experienced former head of the FBI, Mueller, take the investigation to where it needs. What's the rush? The rush is: let's end the investigation.
CUOMO: Well, let me ask you something in terms of what this all means for the business of the American people getting done. Is it just between now and the midterms? Is there just no chance that anything meaningful gets done on a bipartisan basis that might make people's lives better?
GUTIERREZ: Look, today's hearing was called by the Republicans. It was an emergency hearing. What was the emergency of having today's hearing? The emergency of having today's hearing is they didn't want to go on recess without giving one more stab at --
CUOMO: I get -- I get what they're doing. I'm just saying what's the answer to my question?
GUTIERREZ: The answer to your question is that elections have consequences. And today, hundreds of women, I believe many of whom immigration wasn't that big an issue for, right, are today getting involved and today in acts of civil disobedience said enough of the treatment of children and separation of those that are coming.
Elections have consequences. People are organizing. People are registering. There's an election in November, and guess what, until then, I think you're going to see much of what is going to continue to happen.
Because, Cuomo, how do I work with somebody who says I'm going to be as mean, as vicious, as nasty and cruel to immigrants as possible as an election strategy to get myself reelected to Congress and work with me in a bipartisan manner? I can't do that. I'm going to stand up for the children and we cannot rest until every child is returned to their parent.
CUOMO: All right. Congressman Luis Gutierrez, thank you very much for making the case. You're always welcome on the show.
GUTIERREZ: Thank you.
CUOMO: All right. We're going to turn to another Democratic lawmaker, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who says in another very important topic, that she's going to do everything she can to block President Trump's Supreme Court nominee. What does that mean?
CUOMO: Senator, thank you for joining us.
SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: All right. You know the news. We're still finding out why this shooter killed these people, and hurt more in the building where the "Capital Gazette" is.
We're light on details, but it does raise the issue of, here's another one.
GILLIBRAND: Yes, exactly.
CUOMO: Are you aware of anything on the federal level that is being done actively to deal with the issues that seem to invariably surround these shootings?
We know what the states are doing, but on the federal level, is there anything to give any hope for any kind of momentum?
GILLIBRAND: Well, Congress is certainly broken and has done nothing to end gun crime. But I do have hope, because I believe the fact that this movement has become one led by kids, led by students, that it's intersectional, so it applies to all communities, all kinds of gun violence.
That momentum that's being created by these kids marching -- marching out of school, marching on Washington -- is making a difference. To have young women like Emma Gonzalez call B.S. on every excuse every Congress member has ever given her, to have a young man stand up to Marco Rubio and say, stop taking money from the NRA, that's going to change things.
And for every one, every child that is marching and speaking out, we have parents who are now going to think about this issue differently, and that's going to happen in red states and blue states and purple states.
So I actually am optimistic that when we do flip the House, and possibly the Senate, our first vote can be on common-sense gun reform, to actually ban the assault weapons and the large magazines, ban the bump-stocks, have a universal background check system where terrorists can't get access to weapons, and then have the investments in mental health that have been needed for a very long time.
I think that is all possible, especially if we can flip the House and Senate.
CUOMO: All right. Let's talk about the big news from yesterday, which is going to reverberate for days, weeks, and years to come. Justice Anthony Kennedy is stepping down.
That means that President Trump will wind up having a big mark next to his name in the history books, not for what he says, not for any of his political policies, but he's going to put at least two conservative judges on this court.
So, do you believe Democrats can do anything to stop a vote before the election?
GILLIBRAND: I do. And Democrats can stop a vote before the election if people all across America speak out and demand it, and protest, and march, and are really active in voicing their views, because what this president has promised to do, he said he would try to overturn Roe v. Wade, he said they would do it automatically, quote, unquote.
He has listed 25 judges, all of whom he believes will overturn Roe v. Wade. And so women's rights are absolutely on the chopping block.
CUOMO: Now, what you're going to hear from the right is the same thing we often here from the left when it comes time to pick a judge, which is I want somebody who looks at the facts in the law, that doesn't bring anything personal into it nor partisan and you know that whoever the nominee is, is going to say exactly that.
And they may even say what John Roberts said when he was being put through the confirmation process of believing the Roe V. Wade is stare decisis. Would that be enough to allay your concerns?
GILLIBRAND: I don't think that's going to happen, Chris, because the president told us it's not going to happen. President Trump said I'm going to pick from this list of 25 and that my goal and any one of these justices is to overturn Roe V. Wade. He already made it very clear who he was going to choose and why he was going to choose it.
So, to think that you're going to have a normal process under this president who hasn't done anything normally at all, I think is -- is not -- it's not a smart bet because the truth is, he's not going to do it --
CUOMO: But Gorsuch talked that talk --
GILLIBRAND: And nobody believes him. No one believes him.
CUOMO: Still got the votes.
GILLIBRAND: He didn't get a vote from one Democrat and I believe now that we've seen what Gorsuch has done on this course. He's already undermined women's rights, he's already undermined union rights, he's already undermined basic civil rights in this country.
I don't think people are going to trust that President Trump isn't going to do what he said he was going to do.
CUOMO: But didn't -- didn't he -- are you right that he didn't get one vote? Didn't he get three? Didn't he get Manchin?
GILLIBRAND: He got no Democratic votes.
CUOMO: He didn't get Manchin, Heitkamp?
GILLIBRAND: He did not. They -- they -- they stood strong and they passed it with a Republican votes.
CUOMO: I thought he got three, by the way.
GILLIBRAND: You might be right, Chris. But I believe this Democratic Caucus will stand together because you're really deciding whether or not you value women and you want them to have basic civil rights and civil liberties over their own --
CUOMO: But it does -- it does -- it does raise a good issue though. You know you have people who are vulnerable in some red states and I was laying it out for the audience last night. The Democrats have to make sure that they have all their own on board first, because you've got some people who are vulnerable and they may see this in terms of survival mode for them to go along with the president.
What do you say to those Democrats?
GILLIBRAND: I think this is a survival issue for women. I -- you know I don't know how much you know about maternal mortality but it -- women in America if you were young, if you were raped, you were 12 years old and forced to bring a pregnancy to term, that creates so much problem for that patient.
Whether she survives child birth or not, I don't know. But telling women they have to carry children to full term in all circumstances, I don't think that is what this country believes in. They believe that women are smart enough and capable enough to make their own moral choices, their own reproductive choices, their own health care choices.
And when you're trying to say that politicians in Washington and the president of the United States should make that decision for you, I think they're going to disagree.
CUOMO: So, Senator Gillibrand is banking on public sentiment. Let's talk about public sentiment in another forum which is elections. In your home state, you just had a big development there in the congressional primary.
GILLIBRAND: Sure did.
CUOMO: A newcomer, 28-year-old Puerto Rican, Ocasio, won against a ten-term congresswoman -- congressman, Joe Crowley. She had some words for you. She put out a tweet about it if we have it for the audience.
Disappointing that Gillibrand didn't even bother to talk nor consider me before endorsing. You'd think a progressive leader would at least be interested in how a no corporate money, Bronx Latina triggered the first New York 14th primary and 14 years on progressive issues.
What do you make of her point?
GILLIBRAND: She ran an amazing race. And the issues she ran on are fantastic issues. And I supported Joe because he's my friend and because of his leadership, we passed the 9/11 health bill.
So I was going to support him regardless of how great she is. But it doesn't mean I can't be excited for her election and what she's actually going to do.
I think she's going to shake up Congress. I think she's going to make a difference. I think this country is yearning for young women voices, women of colors' voices. She's going to make a difference and that's good for America, it's good for New York, it's good for democracy.
CUOMO: You know it gets tricky. I know Crowley's your friend, but you believe in her positions but you didn't endorse and this is kind of what you're seeing within your party in figuring out who do you guys want to get behind. If you had to do it again, would you have backed her?
GILLIBRAND: No. I mean, I back Joe for a reason. We've worked together for a decade and we worked really hard on a lot of legislation, including the 9/11 health bill. So, he earned my vote.
But it doesn't mean that Alexandria is not going to come to Washington and make a difference.
CUOMO: She's also got some positions that are even to the left of Bernie Sanders. She wants to get rid of ICE.
Now, what are you going to do with your party if you do come into a majority and you have a significant number, at least in influence, of people who have that kind of a position?
GILLIBRAND: Well, I agree with it. I don't think ICE today is working as intended. I believe --
CUOMO: But you think you should get rid of the agency?
GILLIBRAND: I believe that it has become a deportation force, and I think you should separate the criminal justice from the immigration issues, and I think you should re-imagine ICE under a new agency with a very different mission and take those two missions out.
And so we believe that we should protect families that need our help, and that is not what ICE is doing today, and that's why I believe you should get rid of it, start over, re-imagine it, and build something that actually works.
CUOMO: All right. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, thank you very much for making the time. We know you've got a vote schedule. Appreciate it.
GILLIBRAND: Well, thank you, Chris. I appreciate it.
CUOMO: Don Lemon is standing by with a preview of "CNN TONIGHT" just minutes away.
You know, if Democrats want to stop the vote, they better make sure they got their full complement of their caucus, and Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, and Joe Donnelly, all voted for Gorsuch. And two of those three are in really tough races.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST, "CNN TONIGHT": And you're reading my mind. I'm going to take you from one senator to another one, because as you said, it's believed they don't have many options, except Cory booker says yes, there is one option, there's another option. He doesn't believe this president should be able to pick a Supreme Court justice because he is under investigation and he is concerned that he will pick someone who protects him -- him meaning the president.
If they all get onboard, who knows? It could work like Benghazi. It could work like the witch hunt. Who knows? Maybe it may do something? I don't know, but that's what he believes.
The other thing, Chris, is cold civil war, constitutional crisis, right? Those are big terms. Well, Carl Bernstein, a legendary journalist, says if we're not in it now, it's imminent. He believes it's imminent. He's going to explain that to us as well.
CUOMO: Provocative stuff. I will be watching as always. Thanks, my friend.
LEMON: See you.
CUOMO: All right. We have some final thoughts and some reflections. I have a story that comes to mind that I want to share with you that will give us some perspective. A very powerful lesson about the struggle that we have going on in our society right now, next.
CUOMO: We don't exactly why this gunman decided murder was his only option in targeting the "Capital Gazette" news but police say it was specific. Maybe it had something to do with mental illness or some personal issues, some combination. Who knows?
But what we do know for sure is that it's another example of a gun violence pandemic that our society is maddeningly willing to accept. It is a fact that there has been no meaningful legislation in Congress to stop the shootings. So, more dead, more lives shattered, more proof that we have a problem. Also, more reason to do something to stop the damn shootings.
Now, the shooting taken together with the kids stranded at the border and the political punch fest that we're suffering, all lead us to the same problem. Those kids torn from parents, dumped all over the country, the harshness of that move, the lies about fixing it, the slow fade of interest in our society about it.
The empty calls for civility. Why empty? Because they're mostly made for those who decidedly uncivil. And yes, I'm talking about the president, those around him who excuse and empower his talk, his media friends that echo and reward it.
The idea of suggesting today that this shooting is to be blamed on the left is as baseless, unproductive and frankly stupid as it is to point to the other side.
And this guidance goes for those who oppose Trump as well. Those who believe that fighting fire with fire is their best response. It's all symptomatic of the same problem, of us feeding the wrong wolf.
What am I talking about? Google the story of the two wolves. Short version. Grandpa says to grandson, there's a fight inside me. Two wolves raging inside. One is anger, envy, ego, basically all the seven deadly sins for your Christians: pride, wrath, envy, greed, gluttony, lust and sloth.
The other wolf is truth, love, peace, compassion. They're both trying to dominate me.
The boy says, which one wins? The old man says, the one you feed.
I'm not pitching you some weak, passive or Pollyannaish pabulum. You know by now that's not me. I could be wrong, but here's some perspective, I've lived the Thunderdome of our political crucible more fully than many. I've traveled this country to occasions of more mass shootings than most, and to madness, war, and murder all around this world.
I know this story teaches the right lesson. I have never seen anger or animus lead to anything but more of the same. Anger is not the antidote to anger. Truth and a righteous passion are. You don't have to love or even respect your opponent, but you must
respect yourself and the stakes enough to not resemble what you oppose. Feed the right wolf.
That's all I've got for you tonight. Thank you for watching.
"CNN TONIGHT" with Don Lemon is going to start right now.
I know you know that story, Don. I just feel, tonight, it fits.