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Small Children Appearing Solo Before Immigration Judges; New Details Emerge on Newspaper Attack; Could Trump's Supreme Court Pick Bail Him Out of Russia Probe?. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired June 29, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Business is booming. If there's no crime, they will create crimes, create methods to lock you up anyway, because it is business. And they're good at it.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ryan Young, CNN, Chicago.
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Be sure to tune in. "AMERICAN JAIL" premieres this Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, only on CNN.
Top of the hour. I'm Ana Cabrera, in for Brooke Baldwin. Thank you being with us on this Friday as we learn new chilling details about the attack on "The Capital Gazette" newspaper and the suspect accused of carrying out this deadly rampage that left these innocent lives gone.
Prosecutors now believe the shooting was a planned, targeted attack. Police say the suspect was -- quote -- "there to kill as many people as he could," even blocking an exit to prevent victims from escaping.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WES ADAMS, ANNE ARUNDEL STATE'S ATTORNEY: We brought to the judge's attention the evidence that suggested a coordinated attack, the barricading of a backdoor, and the use of a tactical approach and hunting down and shooting the innocent victims in this case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: The suspected gunman making his first court appearance today, where a judge ordered him held without bail, charging him with five counts of murder.
Investigators say the accused shooter used a shotgun to kill five employees of "The Capital Gazette" and injure two more. Just hours after the nation's latest mass shooting, the newspaper published today's edition, "Capital Gazette," focusing its coverage by remembering the hardworking journalists and staffers who were killed.
Let's get right to CNN's Brian Todd, live in Annapolis, Maryland.
Brian, what more are you learning?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, we are learning just a few moments ago from court papers that the suspect, Jarrod Ramos, was fired, terminated from his job at the Bureau of Labor Statistics back in 2014 for security-related concerns, that according to court documents that CNN has reviewed.
He worked there as an I.T. help desk specialist, according to these records, and was terminated back in 2014. And, again, you put together the mosaic of this man's life, at least over the last several years, and it does reveal a pattern of at least some resentment toward "The Capital Gazette" newspaper, some resentment toward people he felt had wronged him.
And, according to police and prosecutors, this kind of culminated in a process of what they believe is a series of really kind of particular planning moments leading up to the attack yesterday.
According to one of the prosecutors, Wes Adams, who appeared in court today at his bond hearing, there are two entrances to the "Capital Gazette" offices, one in the back of the building, one in the front.
Well, the entrance to the back of the building, according to the prosecutor, was barricaded yesterday. The shooter then went through, shot through the front glass doors, shot his way into the office, was methodically walking around, looking for his victims, according to police, and killed five people, including one person who was apparently shot, according to the prosecutor, as they tried to escape out that back door.
It was at that time that the police intervened. They got there very quickly, within 60 to 90 seconds of when the shooting began, and according to authorities, they found the shooter, Jarrod Ramos, underneath a table. He was trying to evade them, and he had dropped his gun some feet away, in trying to escape.
They say he did have an escape plan and that he was -- again, they believe he was planning this for some time. The police chief did say that they searched his apartment and they found materials suggesting planning and suggesting, according to the police chief, that this was a bad guy -- Ana.
CABRERA: Wow. We know he had some warnings, had been out there on social media, some grievances with the paper. And now we learn of these red flags from his previous employer.
Thank you very much, Brian Todd, for that update.
Now, President Trump today defended journalists in his first comments about "The Capital Gazette" shooting. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This attack shocked the conscience of our nation and filled our hearts with grief. Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being
violently attacked while doing their job. My government will not rest until we have done everything in our power to reduce violent crime and to protect innocent life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: To discuss, I want to bring in David Chalian, CNN's political director.
David, this now coming from a president who has previously called media the enemy of the American people. What do you make of today's comments?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I think today's comments were completely appropriate for the president to make. It was his first chance on camera to respond to the events in this way.
And, yes, we normally don't hear him put -- talk about journalists and put them in a category with the broader American people, as he did here, but obviously he wanted to pay tribute to the victims, who were journalists here, and express his sympathy, and, of course, pledge, as you heard him say, that he wants the government to be able to do everything in its power to protect the innocent.
I know, Ana, some people are drawing connections to his heated rhetoric about the -- we have no knowledge that there was some direct line here in any way. I don't think it is a good thing for the president to call the free press in this country the enemy of the American people, because it is plainly not true, but it is a political strategy.
That's plainly what he is doing.
CHALIAN: And one that he feels is an appeal to his base and that works for him. So, I wouldn't anticipate that diminishing at all for the president going forward.
CABRERA: Well, that's what I was getting at, I think, with my question which is, there was this stark difference in tone in talking about the media, and I wonder if this was a turning point of some sort.
CHALIAN: Yes, I would be skeptical.
CABRERA: We will have to wait and see. Yes.
CHALIAN: Yes, I would be skeptical if it is. Yes.
CABRERA: Let's talk about bigger picture this wild week in Washington, because the president is now moving full steam ahead in nominating a new Supreme Court justice. How consequential is this for Trump's legacy?
CHALIAN: Hugely consequential.
This is one of those things for any president that really does get to put a stamp on something that lives far longer than their presidency. You even heard the president this week, Ana, say he is looking for somebody that's going to sit on the court for 40 or 45 years.
He is really looking long into the future, long after he's left this Earth, quite frankly, to have somebody there still sitting on the court. And so the other reason this is a huge opportunity, of course, is because Anthony Kennedy, as you know, at times has been a swing vote on certain cases, especially some social cases as it relates to abortion or same-sex marriage or the death penalty, has sided with the more liberal side of the court.
To replace a swing vote with a solid, reliable, constantly conservative vote really makes this a much more 5-4 conservative majority court than a 5-4 potentially swinging court. And that's reshaping the ideological positioning of the court.
CABRERA: And I also think about the shorter-term consequences, or what it means shorter-term, because I remember voter enthusiasm in the Supreme Court went hand in hand in the 2016 election, having talked to voters on the campaign trail who said they were voting for President Trump, at the time candidate Trump, simply because of that Supreme Court issue.
Do you think Democrats have a galvanizing message or issue at this point going into the upcoming election?
CHALIAN: Well, Democrats clearly have a galvanizing issue in President Trump and opposition to him.
We have seen Democratic enthusiasm play itself out in many of these primaries, in special elections in the last year-and-a-half in the Trump era, in the polling. So that enthusiasm advantage clearly exists for Democrats, as it does usually for the opposition party of the president's party, in opposition to the president's party in the first midterm election season.
This will also help Democrats, no doubt, energize them a little bit, a fight over the Supreme Court. But I think you're right to note that, 2016, I remember in the exit polls it showed that the court was more important to Trump voters. If you asked somebody, is the court really important to you, they were overwhelmingly more likely to be a Trump voter than a Clinton voter in 2016.
And this in a year where Donald Trump is telling Republicans, please don't be complacent, I know we have got power in the House, the Senate, the White House, but you have to get out and vote, this is a real shot in the arm to remind Republicans why it is they want to unify and be enthusiastic about continuing Republican leadership on the Hill.
CABRERA: David Chalian, thank you so much for joining us.
CHALIAN: Thank you so much.
CABRERA: More on our breaking news, as we learn the gunman in the newsroom attack barricaded the backdoor. A woman who worked in that newsroom is going to join us to remember her colleagues.
Plus, an attorney who is representing a 5-year-old in immigration court joins me live to explain what's happening as these children go before a judge.
And new reporting the president wants to quit the World Trade Organization. It's part of his new world order. We will discuss.
CABRERA: Former President Barack Obama has a message for Democrats. Stop moping.
Here was part of his comments at the DNC fund raiser last night.
"If you're one of these folks who is watching cable news at your cocktail parties with your friends and you're saying civilization is collapsing and you are nervous and worried, but that's not where you're putting all your time, energy and money, then either you don't actually think civilization is collapsing, or you are not pushing yourself hard enough. And I would push harder."
He went on to say: "We shouldn't expect politics to be entertaining all the time. Sometimes, you're just in a church basement, making phone calls and eating cold pizza."
Let me bring in Van Jones, CNN political commentator and host...
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I love that man.
CABRERA: ... of "THE VAN JONES SHOW."
Obama, though, giving some tough love to Democrats. How do you think it is being received?
JONES: Probably well just, because we need that.
I think, listen, I was much more prepared for Trump to win than for Kennedy to resign. That's to me a much bigger deal. Again, you win presidential elections, midterms, whatever, but Supreme Court swing votes come around once in a generation.
CABRERA: So, you think rights is even more groundbreaking or earth- shattering? JONES: I think it's a much big -- oh, much, much, much, bigger deal,
with a much longer timeline, and many more rights for women, LBGTQ, et cetera, at risk.
So, you need sometimes for somebody like Barack Obama, President Obama, to come forward and remind people, listen, this is not bean bag. Sitting around here, fanning ourselves, and liking things, that's not work.
When Obama ran and won in 2008, 2012, everybody that I know was working. People were doing phone banks. People were going to swing states. People were raising money.
I haven't seen any of that. I didn't see it in 2016 and I haven't seen it since. I see a lot...
CABRERA: Even with the marches that we're seeing out there that are bringing people out?
JONES: Look, I love marches. I love marches, but marches is not -- that's not voting. Retweeting smart stuff, it is not registering voters. It is not the hard work.
And so he has got the credibility, like nobody else, to remind people, do you know what it means to actually fight for what you believe in, not complain, not be upset, but to put in that hard work?
And when he said the cold pizza, a lot of people's heads started nodded, because you remember...
CABRERA: They remember.
JONES: That's what it was when he ran.
CABRERA: And you think that ultimately led in part to his success.
It is not just the Supreme Court news this week, but this ongoing border situation, with families being separated, and now not being reunited as quickly as some would like or was expected.
CABRERA: And Hillary Clinton is commenting on this situation, saying her worst fears about the Trump administration are coming true, telling "The Guardian" this.
"The question of how we reunite the children who were taken from the parents is one that's keeping me up at night, is the one that's keeping me up at night."
Is that the one keeping you up?
JONES: Well, yes, true.
And I tell you one thing. If she were president and something like this happened on her watch, inadvertently or on purpose, and it was time to fix it, she would get it fixed. I don't think anybody thinks that she's somebody who wouldn't pull together an interagency process, appointed somebody to be responsible to get this thing done, given them a deadline, and made the thing happen.
She -- Democrats and Republicans gave her high marks at State Department, except for Benghazi. Don't forget, they used to say, Hillary Clinton is great, Obama is terrible, when she was secretary of state.
So, there's a way to get this done, but, right now, there's not a single human being in the entire federal government with the responsibility for getting these kids back. So, that means it's not going to happen.
You got to have somebody with authority and a timeline and direct line to the president to get it done. If Hillary Clinton were president, and something like this happened, I guarantee you those basic steps would be in place. They are not in place.
She is not the only one staying up late night worrying about it.
CABRERA: Senator Dick Durbin yesterday actually said that, when he talked with HHS officials and DHS officials and DOJ officials yesterday, he asked them the question, do you know how many kids and parents have been separated? And they couldn't answer that question. The answer was, we just don't know.
But I also want to ask you about this upcoming interview you have, because we have "THE VAN JONES SHOW" also going to air this weekend, on Sunday night at 7:00.
JONES: Yes. Yes.
CABRERA: You talked with Senator Tim Scott about how to work with President Trump. Let's listen to a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: You have had this conversation and some conversations like this with President Trump.
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Yes.
JONES: How do you judge whether you're making progress there? Sometimes, people think -- want you to kind of be the racial Trump whisperer in some way.
JONES: How do those conversations go? I just want to understand, you know, how you see a Donald Trump and those conversations.
SCOTT: Well, they're hard. Yes.
They're hard. They're painful. They're uncomfortable to sit in the Oval Office and have the conversation with the president about things that you strongly disagree about.
He didn't change his perspective. I certainly can't change my perspective. Mine is educated by my experience. So that helps me.
But the way it closed, I thought, was -- gave me reasons to be hopeful. It closed with: "Tim, I don't see what you see. What can I do to make things better?"
That was a shocking response. I was surprised after the conversation that his response was, help me see a better way.
And my answer is always not for him to speak about issues in a way that he doesn't necessarily believe, but for him to actually do something, and our opportunity zones was the outcome of, help me help other people, Tim. And I said, support my opportunity zone legislation.
He said he would, and, 24 hours later, he was. That allowed the Senate to put it into the tax bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: You seemed surprised, Van, because Scott had previously said that this president was racially insensitive.
JONES: Yes. Well, Listen, I -- it was a remarkable conversation.
You don't have enough people in public life like Tim Scott, who is a problem-solver's problem-solver. He is not a bomb-thrower. He's not bombastic, even in a situation with the Donald Trump White House, where, after Charlottesville and that massacre, Tim Scott was critical.
He went in there, he talked to Trump. They couldn't see eye to eye. But somehow Tim Scott, in the middle of all that, got Trump to agree to support the opportunity zones, which is going to help a lot of poor people.
So, I am trying to get more voices like that heard. I know you are as well. Even in the midst of all this, there are good people trying to do good things. And there's no better person in Washington, D.C., right now than Tim Scott.
CABRERA: Good to have you with us, as always, Van Jones.
CABRERA: Don't forget, you can see the full interview with Senator Scott Sunday night, 7:00 Eastern on "THE VAN JONES SHOW." Up next here in NEWSROOM: the Russia investigation and Supreme Court.
We will get into the potential legal and ethical problems if President Trump's pick to be the next justice ends up ruling on something that actually involves the president himself.
CABRERA: The retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy comes at a pivotal point in the Russia investigation, because, if special counsel Robert Mueller chooses to subpoena President Trump to testify, well, the president's lawyers have said they would challenge a subpoena.
Listen to Rudy Giuliani's argument on FOX News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: We're going to see what kind of legal remedies are available to us, including I, they subpoena us, challenge the subpoena. The same reason they can't indict him, they can't issue a subpoena to him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: But Mueller could litigate that issue all the way to the Supreme Court.
So, could the president be looking for a justice who would rule in his favor?
Ambassador Norm Eisen, a CNN contributor, is joining us now to discuss.
Ambassador, you were the ethics czar under President Obama. What are the key questions related to the Russia probe that you foresee the Supreme Court could ultimately decide?
NORMAN EISEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Ana, thanks for having me back.
And the key questions all swirl around this problem of a conflict of interest in the president appointing a justice who could then resolve crucial issues in the Russia investigation.
You just heard one from Rudy Giuliani. It's an issue that was previously addressed in slightly different form in United States v. Nixon. Can a president assert executive privilege to refuse to provide information to a special counsel?
This -- if Robert Mueller follows through and seeks a subpoena, that could end up in the Supreme Court. By the way, in the Nixon case, President Nixon tried not to turn over the famous Nixon tapes. He was unanimously overruled.
There could be issues about whether a president can be indicted. That's an unresolved legal question. There could be issues about the scope of presidential pardons and the double jeopardy.
And, Ana, it is not just those direct questions, but all kinds of other cases the Supreme Court has. There's a double jeopardy case coming up that's already on the docket that could determine the scope of states' ability to proceed against a president or others who have been pardoned.
So, it's a sticky wicket.
CABRERA: There are a lot of questions there that you posed that could ultimately reach the Supreme Court's desk, but how soon?
EISEN: Well, on the double jeopardy case, that's already on the court's docket for the next term.
And the way that works is, right now, if the president pardoned himself or others, under the double jeopardy provisions of our Constitution, they have been interpreted to say it is not double jeopardy. Even if the federal crimes are wiped out by pardons, you can still be prosecuted by the states.
But, just yesterday, Ana, the Supreme Court took a case, the Gamble vs. United States case, to determine if the states can actually do that. So if the Supreme Court holds in that case -- Trump is not a party in that case, but if they hold, they reverse their existing press department, no, a state cannot prosecute once they have been federal proceedings, guess what?
President Trump is emboldened to issue pardons, maybe even a self- pardon. So whoever is the justice ought to think about saying, I'm going to recuse because of this conflict. Tell Congress, I'm not going to sit in judgment on these issues that are very personal to President Trump.
CABRERA: In just 10 seconds, if you will, I mean, could the president ask for a loyalty pledge from his next Supreme Court nominee?
EISEN: He -- if he tries, that's going to be yet another reason that that Supreme Court nominee should say, I'm not going to work on Trump- related personal issues regarding the Mueller investigation, pardons or indicting presidents or executive privilege.
CABRERA: Ambassador Norm Eisen, as always, we appreciate your perspective. Thank you.
EISEN: Thanks, Ana.
CABRERA: More on our breaking news this hour, as we learn the gunman in the newsroom attack barricaded the backdoor. A woman who worked with some of the victims joins us to share her stories and her memories about them.
Plus, just in, it could be a dramatic development in this standoff over migrants and immigrants who cross the border illegally -- what the Justice Department is now considering for people seeking asylum.