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"Capital Gazette" Publishes After Five of Their Killed in Shooting; Bail Hearing for Newspaper Shooting Suspect; White House Puts Supreme Court Search on Overdrive; Interview with Representative David Cicilline; Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired June 29, 2018 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:03] ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: That was LeBron cliff diving with his family somewhere in the Caribbean.
And so, Poppy, while all of us are on edge about where he's going to play next season, it looks like he's just having fun chilling in paradise.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good for him. Andy, thank you for the reporting.
All right. We have a lot to get to. Let's start.
Top of the hour, good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. And we are minutes away from a bail hearing for the Maryland man charged with unleashing that massacre at the "Capital Gazette" newspaper in Annapolis. It ended with the murder of five newspaper staffers who were there just doing their job reporting the news for their community.
And this morning we remember them and the lives that they led. Longtime writer Wendi Winters, editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, sports reporter John McNamara, ad sales assistant Rebecca Smith and assistant editor Rob Hiaasen.
Through it all, survivors reported on their own tragedy. This morning the paper as it always does rolled off the presses and on to stoops all around town. And this morning the "Capital Gazette" intern whose Twitter account pleaded for help when the shooting started talked about leaving the newsroom when it was over.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY MESSENGER, CAPITAL GAZETTE INTERN, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Unfortunately we saw -- we had to pass two bodies of our colleagues, which was something that nobody should ever have to stomach. Just unfortunate that somebody would come into a place that only reports truthful stories that are fact-based, and unleash hell on the office. It was -- we try to keep our eyes from off of the ground, but inevitably, we were -- we all, as journalists, were kind of curious. And it was sickening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Rene Marsh is with us. And Rene, you've been there reporting on the ground. What is the sense you're getting from the community and what you can tell us.
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Poppy, the sense that I get is in this tight knit community, they are mourning, but it's not just this community, it's the entire state. The governor of Maryland has ordered the flags here in the state fly at half-staff in memory of these five victims.
I want to show you the front page of the "Capital Gazette." The five victims, the journalists, shot and killed at work in the middle of that newsroom. Their pictures there, above the fold, on their own newspaper here. Many of these journalists hid under their desks as this gunman stormed into their newsroom with a shotgun in hand. He deployed these smoke grenades.
Take a listen to this one reporter who survived all of this, what he says it was like when he was inside as the gunman opened fire. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PHIL DAVIS, STAFF WRITER, CAPITAL GAZETTE: He shot through the front door. The glass shattered. He was going down our newsroom, starting from the front and, yes, just continually shooting people. But at some point, when I was listening to him reload, it's, you know, are we all going to die? It's not necessarily is he done, is he not going to leave until everyone in here is dead?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARSH: All right. You know, behind me there is still a police presence. So they still have the roadway that leads to the newsroom blocked off. Still very much so an active crime scene. As for that shooter, in just about 30 minutes from now, he will have his first hearing where he will hear the formal charges against him. We know that it is five counts of first-degree murder. And we know, Poppy, that this tragic shooting, it was caught on surveillance video. Surveillance camera inside that newsroom rolling on all of this as it unfolded. Back to you.
HARLOW: Rene Marsh, thank you for being there and for remembering those lives. We appreciate the reporting.
Let's get to our Brian Todd, he is outside the courthouse in Annapolis. The bail hearing here set for about 20, 25 minutes from now, Brian. What are we expecting?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Poppy. We're expecting to get our first look at the suspect, Jarrod Ramos. He's going to appear at this bail hearing in about 20 minutes. It is expected that he will not be actually physically at the courtroom. He's going to appear via video. He's being held at a local jail. It's going to be a fairly short hearing, just to set his bail but we'll get our first look at him.
Interestingly enough, we've learned some added information from probable cause documents filed in the case. He is officially charged this morning with five counts of first-degree murder and the probable cause documents give some information which is consistent with what CNN has been reporting since yesterday. The probable cause documents saying that Ramos allegedly entered the building at about 2:33 p.m. Eastern Time, that he shot his way through the windows and doors of the offices to that newspaper.
That is consistent with what sources told CNN, that he used a long gun, a shotgun to shoot his way through those door and that he started to open fire at victims inside the "Capital Gazette" newsroom.
We've been told by sources that this was a targeted attack, that's what police have said.
[10:05:03] This is a targeted attack that he walked around that area looking for his victims. Witnesses say that they could hear him reload. One of the survivors, Phil Davis, a reporter there, said he was hiding under his desk and he could hear the shooter reload. But the police -- you know, this is part of the really dramatic part of the story, the police interrupted this attack, getting there between 60 and 90 seconds s after it started and were able to stop him.
But according to the probable cause documents, he went and hid in another part of the office and was found hiding under a desk himself. Some distance away from where he left his weapon -- Poppy.
HARLOW: Brian Todd, thank you for being there, for the reporting. Again, bail hearing set to begin this hour.
With me now is Josh Campbell, our law enforcement analyst and former supervisory special agent with the FBI.
Let's just start with the remarkable response of the police department, showing up 60 to 90 seconds after this began.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Incredible response, Poppy. I mean, if you look at the amount of time that it took them, it was, you know, mere seconds as Brian was saying there, 60 to 90 seconds. That's incredible. And in these types of situation, speed matters. When you're surging to the sound of gunfire, as a law enforcement officer you may be, you know, the deciding point between, you know, someone taking another life or being taken into custody. It looks like an admirable job done by law enforcement here.
CAMPBELL: We heard some of the -- police audio and the communication was exceptional. I mean, they're calling out to each other, they're letting everyone know what's going on, really a textbook case.
HARLOW: What do you make of some of the things we've learned about this suspected shooter? The fingerprints were altered so they had to use facial I.D. recognition software to figure out who it was, that he came in with a long gun, he had at least seven-year grudge against the paper, but the people with whom he had the grudge against were not even working at the paper anymore. And then after all of that, he hides under a desk. What does that tell you?
CAMPBELL: You know, it's really hard to get inside the mind of someone like this. Oftentimes we try to attach some sense of, you know, rationality to an irrational act.
CAMPBELL: It's simply difficult to do. You know, what we do see and, again, it's really hard at the outset of something like this to determine, OK, what is making this person tick, what are they thinking? As we learn more details, especially going back with his, you know, previous connection to the paper and following the suit and, you know, there being this pattern, he really fits the mold of one of these, you know, injustice collectors, we call them.
Someone who is gathering these grievances, who, you know, maybe only going on inside his own mind, that he senses that he's a victim, and that he needs to act on that and eventually, you know, decides to do that. One thing that will be interesting is, you know, you mentioned, the location where he was found underneath the desk. As these incidents happen, the one thing we always ask is, you know, what does the subject plan on a given date? Do they go and think that this is going to be their last day on the planet?
CAMPBELL: That they're going to go out in a blaze of glory or they think they're going to be taken into custody. You know, we don't know if he ran out of ammunition or, you know, what the circumstances were there. But again a very depraved individual and that's another question, you know, what was his goal on that day and how did he think it was going to end.
HARLOW: Josh, what about the decision that law enforcement has to make every day when they see threats on social media. I mean, how do they decide, when do they decide we move in, we come to try to prevent something that could happen because of this threat or this is just someone spouting off and it's not a credible threat because you look at this and he did make threats on social media against the paper.
CAMPBELL: It is so tough, Poppy. And there's always this fine line between free speech and illegality, and you know, at one point do you cross that and move into someone who is simply spouting off, which is, you know, protected, you can say things that you want. But if it, you know, moves into harassment or some type of threat, it's very tough. And, you know, law enforcement officers in the United States, we have to remember, you know, they don't -- you know, simply, unlike some countries, troll social media just to see what people are saying.
CAMPBELL: So a lot of times you have to have people that will bring something to their attention and say I actually feel threatened. HARLOW: Exactly.
CAMPBELL: And it's very tough. But I think it shows, Poppy, in the one thing that we look at, we always learn something. Both the law enforcement and also the public. People will look and say, what were the characteristics of this person and do they fit someone I might know, is there someone that I can be on the lookout for. So lots of lessons learned that will help hopefully help stop this kind of future attacks.
HARLOW: Josh Campbell, thank you for the analysis this morning.
CAMPBELL: Thanks, Poppy.
HARLOW: All right. Now we take a moment to remember those lives lost and to honor the five people who are just doing their jobs and were murdered while they were trying to deliver the news.
Wendi winters, the 65-year-old mother of four. She covered local events for the paper. Her daughter says she was a gift to everyone who knew her.
The absolute most beautiful person, that is how a friend describes Rebecca Smith, the 34-year-old sales assistant who was just recently hired at the paper.
Co-workers remember 56-year-old John McNamara as a jack of all trades and a fantastic person. His wife describes their time together like this. "Our biggest argument was about who was lucky enough to have the other. He was devoted to his friends and his family, he was devoted to his craft and he was devoted to me."
Rob Hiaasen's brother is honoring the 59-year-old newspaper editor as a man with a remarkable heart.
[10:10:04] He leaves behind three children and a wife with whom he just celebrated 33 years of marriage last week.
And co-workers say they'll remember Gerald Fischman as a peculiar and endearing figure in a newsroom full of characters. He worked at the paper since 1992.
HARLOW: This morning, an all-out blitz by the White House to name a Supreme Court justice nominee. Why the rush? The court's next term doesn't begin until October. But in 10 days the president leaves for Europe, for that NATO meeting and the meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin and according to a source, the White House wants him to reveal the pick before that trip.
[10:15:05] Our chief political correspondent Dana Bash is with me now.
Look, I mean, he's already holding these meetings with key, key votes on this, right? I mean, red state Democrats at the White House last night and the president is trying to convince them. DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. The
problem is you can't convince a senator to support a nominee that hasn't been picked yet. So it is -- he's kind of trying to butter them up and talk about these issues and others. But, you know, they're not going to be able to say, yes or no until they actually see the name and the record and everything that goes along with it.
Having said that, Poppy, the president has said since the campaign that there is a list of 25 names that he would consider for potential Supreme Court picks. Neil Gorsuch is on the court. And a majority of those names are now already on lower federal courts. So the options are not that vast in terms of who the president will pick. And also, even though the president is talking to red state Democrats, it is possible somebody like Heidi Heitkamp, depending who is nominated could support the nominee.
She is up for a very, very, very tough re-election fight in November in the state where the president won by 34 percentage points.
BASH: So it wouldn't be out of the ordinary for someone like that to support the presidential pick, especially since it wasn't that long ago that Supreme Court nominations ended up for the most part with really big bipartisan votes.
HARLOW: They did. I mean, it was almost a unanimous -- almost unanimous support for Justice Ginsburg and --
BASH: That's right.
HARLOW: And since then, I mean, it has changed, though, in recent years. Heitkamp told -- you know, talking about this meeting with the president, came out of it and said, look, the president has a chance here to unite the country by picking a truly non-ideological jurist. But then the president told the crowd last night, we'll be picking somebody and we'll be hopefully making you very proud. Is it possible for the president to really pick a non-ideological jurist and also please his base?
BASH: Yes and no. I mean, it's sort of -- I think the Supreme -- unless somebody has a very clear record of saying, for example, I'm just throwing this out there, that they don't believe that "Roe v. Wade" is settled law, that they do believe that "Roe v. Wade should be overturned.
BASH: It's hard to imagine somebody actually explicitly saying that.
BASH: But it's possible, then no. But you look at somebody like Neil Gorsuch, for example, he is somebody who had wide -- and has widespread respect among both parties. Democrats for the most part didn't support him, it was a very partisan environment, but he is somebody who also has the support and the backing of the conservative movement to the nth degree and now they're looking back at this court session saying we were right.
HARLOW: Right. So what's up with John Kelly, Dana?
HARLOW: Where is he like -- it's like Groundhog Day here. I keep hearing he's leaving, but he's still there.
BASH: He's still there. Look, the senior administration official said to me this morning, anybody who tells you that they know exactly what's going to happen with John Kelly is lying. And the reason is because it is Groundhog Day. We have heard this about John Kelly, that he is out the door before. And we had heard similar things about other administration officials, some left, some didn't. So the answer is we really don't know for sure. Having said that, he has very publicly said he's not loving the job.
He's been more quiet, hasn't been as out front publicly as he was several months ago. And he is almost wrapping up the first year in his tenure and in Trump years, those aren't even dog years. I don't even know what you would call them. I mean, each day is like a year, I would imagine, being the chief of staff in this White House. So it is -- would not be a surprise if John Kelly left.
I did speak with somebody this morning, I texted with somebody this morning who is familiar with the president's thinking who did say he thought that John Kelly was going to be close to leaving. It's hard to imagine according to people who know him that he would do it on his own because he is a military man, he is all about public service.
HARLOW: Right. Sure.
BASH: But you never know with this White House.
BASH: With this president and in this atmosphere.
HARLOW: Dana Bash, thanks for the reporting.
BASH: Thank you.
HARLOW: All right, meantime lawmakers faced off with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein yesterday and, wow, did it get ugly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Whatever you got, finish it the hell up because this country is being torn apart.
ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: I am the deputy attorney general of the United States.
[10:20:01] OK. I'm not the person doing the redacting. 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.
JORDAN: The Department of Justice --
ROSENSTEIN: Because I'm telling the truth and I'm under oath. If you're to put somebody else under oath and they have some different --
JORDAN: I know these staff members.
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: They want to impeach you, they want to indict you, they want to get rid of you. They want to undermine this investigation.
So, Mr. Rosenstein, good look. We're in the minority.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: So after hours of throwing punches back and forth, did Rosenstein receive a knockout blow or did the House leave things looking, well, pretty battered as well?
With me now is Democratic Congressman David Cicilline. He sits on the Judiciary Committee, and he was there yesterday.
And look, this fight is about documents and turning over all of the documents from the Justice Department having to do with the early days of the Russia probe and what should be in the hands of Congress or not. You were there yesterday. You heard Trey Gowdy, your Republican counterpart, say Russia isn't being hurt by this investigation now, we are, the U.S. is, wrap it up, it's dividing this country. Does he make a valid point?
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D), RHODE ISLAND: No, actually he doesn't. I mean, what yesterday was about was promoting a narrative that the FBI and the Department of Justice are engaged in an unfair investigation and they should wrap it up to be done with.
This is an ongoing effort by the president and his allies in Congress to do everything that they can to undermine the integrity of the investigators and the importance of this investigation. This is a serious, serious issue. Our intelligence communities have concluded unanimously with high confidence that a foreign adversary of the United States, the Russians, interfered with an American presidential election with the expressed purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton.
This is a wide ranging criminal and counterintelligence investigation. And what the Republicans did in the committee yesterday was behave more like Donald Trump's defense team rather than members of the Judiciary Committee that have serious oversight responsibility. We had 20 hours of hearings and interviews related to Hillary Clinton
e-mails. We could have been doing a hearing on family separation, on responsible gun safety legislation, on corruption in the administration. We're doing none of that. We ought to leave Mr. Mueller and his investigators alone, let them complete their investigation.
They're asking for things that Congress has no right to as a matter of law and they know that because they're trying to set a pretext to take some adverse personal action against the people leading the investigation.
HARLOW: Congressman, you bring up family separation. And I just want your response to something that your Democratic counterpart in the Senate Dick Durbin had to say yesterday about his concerns about any reunification plans from this administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: When it comes to reunification, there wasn't a word about it in the president's executive order. And as we listen to them today, it doesn't sound like they have any plan whatsoever.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Do you share his concern? Do you believe now that the federal judge has handed down this mandate that these kids be reunited with their parents within 30 days, some even a shorter time frame, that there is a plan from the administration on exactly how to do that?
CICILLINE: I completely agree with Senator Durbin. I think there is no evidence that there is a plan. We've introduced legislation, we have written letters to the administration demanding this. We've tried in every way that we can to press the administration to tell us where are these children, what is your plan for reunification. I have seen no evidence that they have a coordinated well-thought out plan ready to execute.
I think this whole thing was done sort of shooting from the hip in a way that sort of caused some excitement among Mr. Trump's base, but in a way that totally undermines our values as a country.
HARLOW: On the Supreme Court, Politico has some interesting reporting this morning saying that Democrats are looking at talking about changing the strategy here to try -- you don't have much of a leg here, but to try to get the Supreme Court nominee vote to wait until after the midterms and the Democrats are planning to move away from the talking points of this isn't fair, this should wait until after the midterms to focus on the real world impact that another conservative justice would mean on the court. Especially when it comes to trying to sway some Republican senators who are, say, pro- choice, like Lisa Murkowski or Susan Collins. As a Democrat, do you think that's a better strategy? CICILLINE: Well, I think it's very, very important that people
understand and we make the case to the American people of what is at stake in this Supreme Court nominations. Everything that we consider important, whether it is protecting a woman's right to make decisions about her own health care, her own body, whether it's equality for members of the LGBT community, whether it's about this growing power of big corporate special interests like decisions like Citizens United, and ripping away the ability of working people to be represented in an effective way under the Janice Decision.
[10:25:04] Just deciding huge victories to rig the economy further in favor of the most powerful corporations and the richest people in this country. There is a lot at stake, voting rights, access to the ballot. They invalidated part of the Voting Rights Act. So I think people need to understand this matters a lot and they ought to demand that their members in the Senate not confirm a nominee who will undermine core American values and that will drag us back to a very dark time in our nation's history and --
HARLOW: So your -- your message to red state Democrats then, like Heidi Heitkamp, like Joe Manchin, like Joe Donnelly is what?
CICILLINE: Well, I mean, you know, senators are going to make the decisions they think are right. I don't have the luxury of making an actual vote in this. But I think look, this is a decision which will have consequences for many generations. It is not just an appointment for a year or two. This is a lifetime. What is at stake here based on president's other actions is very, very substantial. And people ought to make a decision understanding it is going to affect many generations and I think has the potential to undermine so many important parts of our country and things that have made America the envy of the world.
People should not give away that vote lightly and I hope the Democrats in the Senate will stand strong and only support a nominee who will, you know, support those core American values and not contribute to really bringing us back to a very different time in our nation's history.
HARLOW: Congressman David Cicilline, thanks for being with me this morning.
CICILLINE: Thanks for having me.
HARLOW: All right. Still ahead, journalists gunned down at a newspaper in Maryland. It is an all too painful reminder for the father of the journalist who was killed while on the job two years ago. You'll remember her, Allison Parker. Her father joins me next.