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Family Separation Protests on Capitol Hill; Shooting at Newspaper in Annapolis. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired June 28, 2018 - 15:00   ET



SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I can tell you, from my vantage point here, I do see some arrests starting to take place.

We see one woman right here. She is being escorted out by the Capitol Hill Police. We see probably about 50 Capitol Hill Police lined up. Nothing seems out of the ordinary right now. People seem to be...

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: What are they chanting, Sunlen? Can you hear?


SERFATY: ... likely escorted out.

Trying to listen here. We do have some random chants over there as people are being escorted out as they're being arrested.

I should tell you it seems very orderly, though, certainly a tense moment, but very orderly. People are being pulled up by police officers right now and being slowly walked out.

But I have to say, this is being order -- this seems to be orderly, from my vantage point right now, although, of course, it is very loud, with many people still chanting, still protesting.

And I see one woman, as she's being arrested right now, just putting her fist in the air, which is something that these protesters have been doing.

When I talked to the organizers before this, they told me their intention was to be as civil as possible, and it does seem that it's pretty orderly right now. But, certainly, these women -- and the majority of this group are women -- want to make a very pointed political statement here today in this Capitol complex.

CABRERA: Right. Right.


CABRERA: Sunlen?

SERFATY: Hoping that many lawmakers can see them.

CABRERA: And that's what I was going to ask you about, as we see these women raise their hands and officers moving in.

And they're obviously showing that they have their hands up. They're trying to comply with officers' requests, I presume.

But given they are inside that building, where there are lawmaker offices, and you talked about some of the lawmakers looking down from those offices from their windows, have any of those lawmakers actually come down to speak with these protesters to hear their message or to interact with them in any way?

I didn't know exactly how long all of these people have been there either.

SERFATY: Ana, from when I have been here, and that's been before the protesters got here, I have not seen any lawmakers.

I don't see any lawmakers specifically looking from their offices. What I see is a lot of Capitol Hill staff, where many of them work out of this building. It would be interesting to see if lawmakers, seeing these images play out, decide to come down and join those protesters.

As we have been talking about for many days, there have been many lawmakers who have been very vocal, of course, against this zero tolerance policy, who have been demanding questions -- answers to their questions from HHS about exactly what's going on with the children, what's going on with these potential reunifications.

So, it would be interesting to see if any lawmakers do -- oh, here we have Senator Hirono. She is a senator from Alaska. She is the first lawmaker I have seen. She's here in the green jacket, Ana. She's coming through. I'm not sure if she's joining the protest or just walking through. It seems like she's coming to greet these protesters.

You see her there. She's putting her arms around a woman. She's talking to some of these women that appear to have been arrested and are going to be escorted out. She's a senator from Alaska. And she's been very outspoken against these...


CABRERA: Sunlen, we're going to watch your images. I'm going to give you a second to try to figure out what exactly is going on. But I want you to stand by and stay with us, as we will continue to keep this shot up.

But I want to turn to our Kaitlan Collins, who is at the White House, because, again, the issue that they are protesting is the family separation that is happening at the border. And, at last check, this administration wasn't even able to answer whether the separation of families had ended, let alone what the plan is to reunify these families that had already been separated prior to the president's executive order ending the family separation.

So, Kaitlan Collins, how is the administration explaining the lack of family reunions right now? KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, really,

their explanations have truly shifted.

And one thing I would like to know before I get into all of that is, these protests are going on not very far away from the White House in Washington. But neither President Trump nor the first lady, Melania Trump, are here in town.

The president just wrapped some remarks in Wisconsin. And the first lady is actually visiting some detention facilities on the border today. So, they are not here to witness this, to hear these chants of these protesters.

But, back to the White House's shifting explanations on this policy, the president, you saw him in the Oval Office sitting there at the Resolute Desk just not that long ago signing this executive order trying to bring these separations to end after days of controversy and outrage directed at this administration because those separations were in response to their zero tolerance immigration policy.

And the president essentially said at that time when he signing that executive order that he was taking matters into his own hands. But, lately, we have seen the White House shift their explanation, essentially saying that that was only a short-term solution, that Congress is going to have to come up with a permanent fix, and essentially alluding to the fact that, of course, because of that Flores settlement, after 20 days, those children would no longer be able to be held with their families.


So, the White House has really not come up with any other kind of solution to this. They have maintained that their zero tolerance policy immigration policy is still in effect, even though Customs and Border Protection has said, no, it's certainly not.

And we have that federal judge who has directed them to stop separating families and to return separated families within, some 15, some 30 days. Now, that's a big deal, because that federal judge in conflict came down with that ruling.

But, of course, the question is, how would they get those families reunited in just 30 days? Thirty days is the most lenient deadline they have. Some for certain children who are under a certain age, they only have 15 days to reunite them.

Of course, that comes amid weeks of questions about where exactly these children are, how they would find their parents, how they would reunite them. A lot of unanswered questions from the White House about this. And this is still certainly a big deal, as you can see from these protests, from the pictures of those children still in facilities on the border.

And the White House largely has not really given any new updates about what exactly it is they are doing in light to reunite these families here, Ana. CABRERA: All right, Kaitlan Collins, stay with us.

I want to bring in Gloria Borger, our chief political analyst.

And, Gloria, obviously, the calm that came after the president's executive order was initially issued has since been erased, with these protesters now going straight to lawmakers. What what's your reaction to what we're seeing?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, I think there's outrage because the families have not been reunited and the children have not been reconnected their parents.

And there's a sense of frustration because Congress has not done anything on this. And I think that you can demonstrate at the White House, and you can demonstrate on Capitol Hill. And that's exactly what they're doing.

They're there in the Hart Office Building. Most members of Congress after today will be leaving town for the July 4 break. And I think that these protesters want to keep this issue front and center.

You have the first lady today making a trip related to this. And the issue has not been -- the issue has not been resolved, and I think that's what these protesters are talking about.

The Mylar, of course, I don't know if you have spoken about this before, but this is what the children are sleeping under, as opposed to blankets.

CABRERA: Right. They have sort of aluminum-type blankets.

BORGER: Exactly. Yes.

CABRERA: We're looking at Sunlen Serfaty's live shot. We did see a woman being escorted out with her hands behind her back. And we're seeing what appears to be a sit-in on those Mylar blankets that you referenced, and they're chanting.

Let's listen for just a second, see if we can hear what they're saying.

Sunlen, I know you're still with me here. I can't hear what they're saying. Maybe you can. But I also understand you just spoke with the lawmaker -- with Hirono who had just come to address some of those protesters.

What did she say to you?

SERFATY: That's right, Ana. I did speak with Senator Hirono from Hawaii, who was the only lawmaker that we have seen come down and come and share a moment with these protesters.

We saw her go right up to one of the protesters who were being arrested. And I spoke with her afterwards and said she just wanted to come and show solidarity with some of these protesters and thank them for what they're doing.

And certainly the senator has one of the senators who has been speaking out about the zero tolerance policy. And she said she wanted to give them essentially a tap on the back for their efforts here today.

Just to let you know what's going down here, Ana, we are -- we have now been pushed back by the Capitol Hill Police, who, by my count, have already arrested about 40 people. They escorted about 40 protesters out.

It was all very civil and all seemed under control. And as you see this picture unfolding here, they have sat down in the middle of the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building on those cellophane blankets here and are just having something of a little sit-in.

And many of the people I spoke with beforehand said that they well know they could get arrested today, but essentially they said that's the point. They want to create a big moment on -- up here on Capitol Hill, the day that many lawmakers will wrap up their legislative work for over a week and head home without addressing the family separations issue.


So, this moment right here is exactly, of course, what the protesters wanted, what protesters here wanted.

And, again, I just think it's pretty shocking seeing these Capitol Hill staffers look out over the balconies of their offices, stopping work at their computers and are looking at the scene unfold.

This crowd, it's hard to estimate, but it's a large crowd, but certainly not filling up this whole atrium, but they have essentially stopped work up here for many of the Capitol Hill offices.

Interesting that so far, at least from my vantage point, Ana, we have only seen one lawmaker come down and greet the crowd.

CABRERA: That is interesting.

And, Gloria Borger, back to you, as we continue to look at these pictures. Clearly, these protesters do not want to let these lawmakers off the hook, as they're preparing to go home on this recess, again, inaction on immigration, despite the outrage they have been speaking about what's happening at the border currently.

We heard the president trying to push their hand forward in passing some kind of legislation using the family separation practice as some leverage of sorts, almost admitting to doing just that, then issuing this executive order.

Help us understand why lawmakers are so hesitant to act on this single issue alone?

BORGER: Well... CABRERA: Why couldn't they just pass some kind of legislation

addressing this?

BORGER: Well, they could. I mean, that's a good question. They actually could just pass a small piece of legislation outlawing these kind of family separations.

But there are a lot of members of Congress who say, look, we need to do comprehensive immigration reform. We need to -- we shouldn't do anything without making sure that the dreamers are going to be OK. That would be the Democrats. And the Republicans, the Republicans say, well, if you're going to do that, give the president the money for his wall.

And so it gets tied up in politics. And the Democrats say, of course -- and it's true -- that you don't need -- the president did not need any legislation to undo what he did, the zero tolerance policy, that he could have just ended it with a phone call.

He ended it with an executive order. But what they want is an end to the zero tolerance policy. And that is something that the president and his attorney general have said that they're not going to do.


CABRERA: Do you think that this protest is putting more pressure on the president to take further action?

BORGER: Well, no. I think -- look, the president has said this publicly. He has said that this is a good issue for him politically. He's said -- he's not keeping it a secret -- that this plays well with his supporters, that immigration was an issue that he ran on.

Building a wall was an important part of his platform. And, as you know, he likes to keep his campaign promises. And so when he got a lot of complaints about the separation of families, he signed an executive order, thinking he could take care of that, but he still kept the zero tolerance policy, which is what he promised to do.

So -- and once he signed the executive order, he thought this would go away, but it did not, because HHS and DHS have had a very hard time reunifying these families. They have not been able to do it, and we're not quite sure why.


The last news that we got on that front was that more than 500 children who were...

BORGER: Right.

CABRERA: ... in the custody of Customs and Border Patrol, which only have those children for the first 72 hours or so after they initially separated them from the parents, they had been able to reunite those families, so, some 500-plus children in Customs and Border Control.

But then there were the 2,047 children who remain in HHS custody...

BORGER: Right.

CABRERA: ... who had been separated for a longer period of time from their families.

And there are still very few answers as what the plan is for those children, and whether DHS and HHS even knows which children belong to what parents and where those children and where those parents are.

BORGER: Right.

CABRERA: And that's the question that...

BORGER: That is what is remarkable.

CABRERA: ... should be a simple enough answer at this point, now more than a week since that executive order. Right?

BORGER: Right.

And this protest -- this is a problem that the president created. And now -- and the policy created, because it wasn't well-planned. It was kind of ad hoc. And, you know, usually these things are thought out months and months in advance and with very -- with rollouts.

This was kind of adhocism at its worst. And so there isn't any plan to reunify these families. And the people at DHS are working very hard to try and do that. But since there wasn't a plan in the first place, it's hard to undo something that had no plan.


And so it's government at its worst, in fact. And...

CABRERA: Meantime, there are fallouts that re happening that are impacting people's lives.

BORGER: Of course.

CABRERA: Now we're learning about children who are as young as toddler age that are having to go to court to go through the immigration court system, deportation proceedings...

BORGER: Right.

CABRERA: ... by themselves, without their parents, even if they had been here with their parents initially and then separated.

I want to bring in -- Gloria, stand by.

I want to bring in Christina Jewett. She's an investigative reporter for Kaiser Health News who's been reporting from Texas and can speak to the separations involving these toddlers who are now appearing in detention hearings.

What are you learning about that, Christina?


I just started with the question of what's next for these kids who are in HHS custody. And what I learned is that they're getting with a sponsor, a family member, a family friend. And they're being summoned into court to defend against a deportation order, essentially.

And these are children who don't have the benefit of mom or dad at their side to tell the story of why they're seeking asylum, of what the problem was in their home country that caused them to flee.

They -- many of them do you have an attorney, but they are bearing that burden of working on their own defense at very young ages.

CABRERA: OK. We have some breaking news.

I would love to talk to you more, but I want to get this right away in here.

"Baltimore Sun" now reporting that there's been a shooting at a newspaper building in Annapolis, Maryland. This is apparently at the "Capital Gazette" building, we're told. And you can see where that is on the map. We have some live pictures right now in Annapolis, Maryland.

Very few details right now.

But I want to bring in Josh Campbell. Of course, he's former FBI, for us.

There are reports of several casualties, Josh. We want to be careful obviously in discussing the situation. We have very little information.

Are you getting anything from your sources?


Yes, there's still a lot that we don't know right now. There have been some unconfirmed reports of some subject taken into custody. We haven't been able to confirm that yet, so we still don't know. You can bet that law enforcement, as we look at this building, is going to treat the situation as an active scene until they're able to clear the building and ensure that the are no longer any threats.

Whenever these types of incidents happen, the first thing that I try to look at is, what is unique about this location and what is in and around that location? Obviously, we talk about active shooter situations, the first thing we want to know, is this some kind of act of terrorism? Is this some kind of target of some massive loss of life?

I -- again, there's a lot that we don't know right now, but as I look at this particular facility, and what is in its vicinity, this wouldn't be the type of target that you would go to if your goal was just to indiscriminately take large loss of life.

Obviously, in Annapolis, you have the seat of government there. You have the lot of malls and other types of areas. So there's a lot we don't know. We will have to drill down and figure out what made this location the target for this person or persons that were responsible.

Again, we're seeing some reports that are coming in as far as some casualties, some injuries. No reports yet that we have seen of any loss of life. But, again, that doesn't make it -- make it any that less serious, as we continue to see -- I think that is a state police helicopter we see off on the right.

Whenever these happen , you will see resources that will surge in to a location. Law enforcement from federal, state, local agencies will surround the scene. Obviously, this happened a short time ago, so we understand that law enforcement has already been there, locked down that scene, and is going through.

We will just have to wait and see as information flows in what we're dealing with here as far as the person or persons responsible.

CABRERA: I mean, what stands out to me, Josh, looking at some of these aerial pictures -- and I'm not sure if you have access to a monitor right now -- but I don't see a bunch of flashing lights, which I would normally anticipate in an active shooter situation.

Does that sound right to you?

CAMPBELL: Yes, you're spot on.

And we can read a lot into the level of response that we see from law enforcement. In some of these incidents -- and, again, our job is to look at these, even when there is a sad number of casualties, and try to read from the tea leaves.

We don't see the massive inflow there of ambulances and things that you would see if you did have this major situation involving multiple people.

So that is a good sign now. But as we see there, there is traffic flowing, so that tells me that at least police have the vicinity locked down. That is something that going to hold, crime scene they're going to hold for as long as it takes in order to determine what they're dealing with there.

Again, this is an unusual location because it's not in a highly trafficked area. Obviously, it's a fair sized building, so there will be a lot of questions to answer as far as did the person know.

One thing we're seeing there which is textbook in this case on our screen are people that are exiting with their hands up. We have seen this obviously far too often. We have all become well-versed in what this means.

And that is that police will evacuate a building. And before they give the all-clear, they will want to make sure that there aren't people evacuating that may have been involved or responsible for what happened.

So, what we're going to see, as we see these pictures on our screen, law enforcement bringing people out in an orderly fashion. They will, you know, do those searches, likely to make sure that they're not armed, they don't have any weapons.



CAMPBELL: And then, obviously, ask for witness statements and witness information.

In these type of situations, when officers are arriving, these are key sources of intelligence. People who were there, what did they see, what did they hear?

CABRERA: Again, just if people are just joining us, want to let you know what we're looking at right now, which is a developing situation.

"The Baltimore Sun" currently reporting multiple people may be shot at this newspaper building, at "Capital Gazette" newspaper. Working to get more information confirmed.

And thank you, Josh, for staying with me as we continue to discuss what little we know.

I can tell our viewers that this is a daily newspaper that published in Annapolis, Maryland, since 1884, is owned by Baltimore Sun Media.

I want to bring in Brian Stelter, our chief media correspondent.

Brian, talk to us a little bit more about this paper and what we know about this building.


As a Maryland native, someone who used in Annapolis, this is a very well-known paper in the community, a really important newspaper that covers local politics, covers the Statehouse there in Annapolis.

What we know, very little, of course, as you mentioned, is from "The Baltimore Sun," which is also owned by Tronc. Tronc is the parent company of both "The Sun" and "The Capital Gazette." So, that is why "The Sun" had some initial information about what has happened here.

We know the shooting was reported at an office park where there are multiple offices. But according to "The Baltimore Sun," the newsroom, newspaper offices were involved in this particular incident.

And there were some very scary messages posted on Twitter by an intern from the newspaper who at one point was publishing the address of the office park and calling for help. He later said that people had been wounded at that location. But we know very little else at this point.

CABRERA: Right. STELTER: I think everyone thinks about the climate of threats against

journalists in this country. But we have no idea what's unfolded there so far.

CABRERA: No, but we are now learning that the ATF is responding to a shooting incident at this location.

This is according to a tweet the ATF just put the tweet out.

Josh Campbell, if you're still with me, what does that tell you about what's happening there?

CAMPBELL: So, it's going to be all hands on deck.

So, any time you have a situation where there is some type of active violence, some type of emergent situation that law enforcement's responding to, at the initial outset, it doesn't matter whose jurisdiction it is. The focus is going to be surging law enforcement resources, regardless of the patch that they're wearing on their shoulder, whether it's state, local, federal authorities.

They're going to get to the scene and, you know, provide that resource, provide that support, and, again, each agency brings different things to the table. So, if and when there is an all-clear with -- at least not a continuing threat, then each of those agencies will be able to provide resources and, you know, their areas of specialty and expertise that they bring to the table.

So in situations like this, you know, offices are -- police departments and federal agencies have offices in many different places, and they're going to surge the resource to the scene.


CABRERA: Josh, what's going on here?

As -- I mean, it looks like there were just a few more people walking out with their hands up. But now it looks there are literally dozens of people heading back toward the building.

CAMPBELL: Yes. So, it's tough to say.

Obviously, we don't have a lot of information. That would lead us to believe that maybe that all-clear has been given and now they're allowing people to go back in. I can't fathom law enforcement allowing citizens that they just evacuated back into a building if there was a continuing it threat.

You see a flurry of activity there. People -- there is someone running the toward the area and then people walking away. So, it's confusing.

One thing I want to point out -- and this is just a matter terminology, because I have seen different reports from different media outlets -- you know, in this business, obviously, we have to call it like it is, but there's one phrase that we use, one word, you know, casualties.

When you hear that word used that there was a casualty in a situation, that doesn't necessarily mean a fatality, someone who has been killed. So, that could be an injury. So, you know, obviously, no situation like this is something that we ever want to see.

But as we hear reports of casualties, that's a terminology that law enforcement and medical personnel will use, that doesn't necessarily mean that there were people who were deceased. But obviously they will be cared for and, you know, evacuated to local hospitals if they were, in fact, injured.


And I'm looking at "The Baltimore Sun"'s reporting, again, "Baltimore Sun" owned by the same company as "The Capital Gazette," where this incident is apparently taking place.

And I'm looking at what they have to report on. And they only say that a shooting has occurred at "The Capital Gazette," and that multiple people have been shot, according to a "Gazette" reporter, Phil Davis. But police were not responding to requests for comment.

So, again, we don't have that confirmed that, indeed, multiple people have been shot. But that is what the reporting is from "The Baltimore Sun," also owned by "The Capital Gazette," a daily newspaper published in Annapolis, Maryland, where all this is taking place.

We're working to get information.

I want to turn to our Evan Perez, who's been working the phones, trying to understand what is happening here.

Evan, what have you learned?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, we know that there's been, as you mentioned, a big police response, not only from the ATF, which says it's on its way.


They say that there is a shooting at "The Capital Gazette" in Annapolis, Maryland.

The Maryland State Police is also on it way. They say that they're also responding to this shooting incident. There's very, very precious few details on here.

I must -- I will say "The Capital Gazette" appears to have published a story on their Web site at this point, which is now providing information. It appears to be the same information that "The Baltimore Sun" is reporting, just saying that there have been multiple people shot in this newsroom, and attributing it to a "Gazette" reporter by the name of Phil Davis.

It's the same story Brian Stelter just referred to that was published by "The Baltimore Sun," which is obviously co-owned or similarly owned by the same company as this newspaper.

But, at this point, there's really just a big response from the police agencies, not only the federal agencies here, the state agencies, the Maryland State police, as well as local authorities, who are trying to figure out exactly how to contain this situation.

We don't know whether or not -- how many people have been injured. The local paper there is saying that several people have been injured in this shooting. But we don't know whether they have anybody in custody, whether they know if it was one shooter or multiple people who did this shooting.

So, at this point, precious few details from the local authorities there. And we expect to hear a little bit more as the folks get there on the scene.

CABRERA: And, of course, the beauty of social media these days is we're able to get some information very quickly through the platforms like Twitter.

And Anne Arundel Police, their PIO just put out a message saying active shooter, and then listing an address, 888 Bestgate Road. The media staging area is there. So also confirming that there's a response to an active shooter.

Let's listen in.

LT. RYAN FRASHURE, ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: We're doing the best we can. We're doing everything we can to get people out safe. And we're trying to minimize the casualties.


QUESTION: But you said it was (OFF-MIKE)

FRASHURE: Yes. Family is going to reunite at the Lord & Taylor Inside Annapolis mall. We will have officers over there to reunite you with guys with family. And we will give another update as soon as possible.

QUESTION: Are the newspaper officers involved in any way, as far as you know?

FRASHURE: I can't confirm exactly where in the building, but I can tell you that it is 888 Bestgate Road.

QUESTION: Thank you, Ryan.

QUESTION: Lieutenant Frashure, look, I don't want to put you on the spot. We work together frequently. I have been told by other sources that someone's in custody. You're not ready to say that officially yet?

FRASHURE: Correct. I cannot confirm that.

What I can tell you right now is that we're doing everything we can to secure that building, make sure people are out safe. We're evacuating people. And, again, there's a lot of factors that go into these things. So, there's a lot of secondary things that we have to look into also, whether there's any type of -- whether there's other shooters.

There might be more than one. Bombs, anything like that. So, there's a whole variety of things that we have to go through, a checklist, if you will, to make sure everything's safe for the people that are inside that building.

Our object now is to get them out of that building, get them safe, get them reunited with your family. And then our investigation will continue.

QUESTION: So, no -- you're not ready to say anything about any possible injuries?

FRASHURE: Correct. Correct. I will have an update for you as soon possible.

QUESTION: All right, thank you very much, Ryan. Appreciate it.

Lieutenant Ryan Frashure from the Anne Arundel County Police Department.


So, we were just dipping there in to our affiliate. WJLA is on scene at that press conference involving one of the public information officers. Appeared to be Lieutenant Ryan Frashure with the Anne Arundel County Police Department there in Maryland, responding to an active shooter.

He confirmed that, but not able to confirm whether there were indeed any injuries, nor whether anybody had been taken into custody. What we heard him say was, they're doing what they can right now to secure the building. They wanted to get everybody out of the building, reunited with families, make sure as many people as possible are safe.

But this obviously a developing situation and an ongoing investigation. We will continue to look at these live aerials.

I want to bring in Tom Fuentes, former FBI, as well.

Tom, what is your assessment based on what we heard and what we're seeing about what's happening now?

TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, when you watch videos like this, especially when the aerial view is a wider view, I go by the officers on the ground.

There doesn't seem to be any kind of frantic search for another shooter or locking down the neighborhood or evacuating that whole building. They're pretty much just standing around outside that building, which means that they will probably announce soon that whoever was responsible for this has been neutralized, either arrested or possibly shot, or the person shot himself, and that now they're going to go about the crime scene investigation and then search the rest of the building and do what they have to do to make sure there's no booby traps or other shooters running around and hidden inside.

But it certainly appears like the main danger is over. And even though they will continue to call this an active shooter for a while, it doesn't seem like they're too worried about it.

CABRERA: Josh Campbell, do you agree with that?

And, as we look at these pictures, you do see at least some law enforcement officers just standing there observing, it appears.

CAMPBELL: That's right. It's very telling.

As we were talking about earlier, you look at the posture of the police, they're not surging into the building. You don't see that influx or inflow of additional emergency vehicles. And so that -- that is telling. It appears as though they don't see the threat continuing.