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Gunman Kills Six at Maryland Newspaper; Rod Rosenstein and Christopher Wray Testify on Capitol Hill; Details of Trump-Putin Summit Announced; Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 29, 2018 - 04:30   ET




[04:30:35] SELENE SAN FELICE, STAFF WRITER, CAPITAL GAZETTE: Thanks for your prayers, but I couldn't give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) about them if there's nothing else.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A targeted attack on a Maryland newspaper. The alleged gunman had a personal vendetta against the paper.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: Did you threaten to subpoena their calls and e-mails?

ROD ROSENSTEIN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: No, sir, and there is no way to subpoena phone calls.

JORDAN: Well, I mean, I'm just saying.



DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The Trump-appointed deputy attorney general beating back GOP efforts to undermine the Russia probe. Rod Rosenstein debunking claim after claim by the Republicans.

ROMANS: And the White House fast-tracking the search for a Supreme Court nominee. The president personally meeting with senators key to approving the next justice.

Well, welcome back to EARLY START. Friday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: I'm Dave Briggs. Happy Friday, everybody. 4:31 Eastern Time.

This morning's front page in Annapolis, Maryland, says it all. A gunman's rampage at the "Capital Gazette" that killed five people. The deadliest day for American journalists since 9/11. Officials releasing the names of employees killed. Wendi Winters, who worked on special publications, Gerald Fischman, editor of the editorial page, John McNamara, a staff writer who covered sports, Rebecca Smith, a sales assistant, and Robert Hiaasen, the paper's assistant editor and brother of famed Miami novelist Carl Hiaasen.

We encourage you to visit the "Capital Gazette's" Web site for more on each of the victims. One survivor, "Capital Gazette" staff writer Celine San Felice described her terrifying experience to CNN.


SAN FELICE: I was working at my desk when I heard the shots, and it took a couple of them for me to realize what was happening. And I looked at Anthony, the intern, and I said, I'm getting out of here. And I grabbed my purse and I went to the back door which I was only a couple of steps away from. It was locked.

What happened here was very calculated. I reported on Pulse, when Pulse happened. I went to school in Florida. And I remember being so upset hearing about the victims who were texting their families, and there I was sitting under a desk texting my parents, telling them that I loved them. And I just don't know what I want right now.

Our whole lives have been shattered. And so thanks for your prayers, but I couldn't give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) about them if there's nothing else.


BRIGGS: Police officials say the shooter's intent was clear.


WILLIAM KRAMPF, ACTING CHIEF OF POLICE, ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY: This was a targeted attack on the "Capital Gazette." He entered the building with a shotgun and he looked for his victims as he walked through the lower level.


BRIGGS: Overnight, police searched the suspect's home. We are learning more about a possible motive. In 2011, the paper ran a story about his guilty plea to criminally harassing an old high school classmate. He filed two lawsuits over the story. Both dismissed. The suspect is due in court this morning. The "Capital Gazette" reporting overnight he has been charged with five counts of first- degree murder.

CNN's Brian Todd has more from Annapolis.

BRIAN TODD, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, the man who allegedly opened fire on the "Capital Gazette" newspaper on Thursday afternoon has been identified by multiple law enforcement sources to CNN as Jarrod Warren Ramos, in his late 30s. According to our sources, Mr. Ramos did have a complaint with the newspaper that he filed a defamation claim against the "Capital Gazette" back in 2012, but that that claim was dismissed.

Police say there were social media threats directed at the newspaper of a general nature, not directed at any particular person that they know of at the moment, but there were threats via social media directed at the "Capital Gazette," some of them coming as recently as Thursday morning.

We have dramatic accounts also of -- from witnesses and from survivors of the police response and of the gunman's movements when he came into the building. According to Phil Davis, who is an employee of the newspaper who survived this, the gunman came in, shot his way through the glass doors, came into a small space there in the newsroom and started opening fire. Mr. Davis said he could hear him reloading as Mr. Davis was hiding under his desk as were several other people and described it as a terrifying experience.

[04:35:01] We're told by police that the police response was incredibly rapid. That they got to the scene within about 60 seconds, no later than 90 seconds from when the shooting started. One witness told CNN she was on lockdown at a distance not too far away from the shooting. She said she saw police running in, some of them in their civilian clothes, pulling their Kevlar bulletproof vests on as they ran into the building. Police credited with basically interrupting this attack.

A very tragic incident here on Thursday afternoon. Five people dead, at least two people wounded. The shooter we're told has not been cooperating with police. We're told by one source that they identified him from facial recognition software, at least initially -- Dave, Christine.

ROMANS: Because he didn't have any I.D. on him. All right. Thanks so much for that, Brian.

President Trump who has called the pres the enemy of the people was peppered with reporters' questions about the Annapolis newspaper shooting as he arrived back at the White House.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, can you comment on the shooting? Mr. President, can you comment on the shooting?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, can you react to the shooting in Annapolis?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The Annapolis shooting, sir?


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, will you keep talking about enemies of the people?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- the families, Mr. President?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why are you walking away? UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why won't you come and talk to us about that?


BRIGGS: Earlier, the president did put out a tweet saying his thoughts and prayers were with the victims and thanking the first responders. The first lady did call the shooting tragic and evil. And Sarah Sanders said a violent attack on innocent journalist is an attack on every American.

ROMANS: All right, 36 minutes past the hour. The simmering feud between the president's supporters and the Department of Justice playing out for all to see on Capitol Hill. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Chris Wray fending off attacks from House Republicans in a fiery five-hour hearing. Listen to Trey Gowdy who took nearly 2 1/2 years to complete the Benghazi investigation ripping Rosenstein over the length of his -- of the Russia investigation.


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.


BRIGGS: So much for civility. Rosenstein, a registered Republican, spent much of the hearing debunking efforts by the GOP to undermine the Russia probe including one memorable clash with the congressman citing a claim straight from FOX News.

Here's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine and Dave. Now the House Republicans and Rod Rosenstein went to battle. They have been battling for months and months over a range of issues, namely the production of documents related to the Clinton e-mail investigation and the Russia investigation.

The Justice Department has provided documents. In fact, Christopher Wray, the FBI director, and Rod Rosenstein testified yesterday that they have provided 880,000 pages of documents. Nevertheless Republicans are just not satisfied. They say that enough of these documents either have been heavily redacted or they're not responsive to the request and a sign of the tension between conservatives and Rod Rosenstein, a very feisty exchange between Jim Jordan and Rosenstein at a contentious hearing yesterday.


JORDAN: I don't know why you won't give us what we've asked for.

ROSENSTEIN: Sir, I certainly hope that your colleagues are not under that impression. That is not accurate, sir, and --

JORDAN: It is accurate. We have caught you hiding information --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, can we allow the witness to answer? Mr. Chairman, point of order, we can go to Mr. Jordan's press conference and listen to him, but we came here to hear from the witness.

ROSENSTEIN: Your statement that I am personally keeping information from you, trying to conceal information --

JORDAN: You're the boss, Mr. Rosenstein.

ROSENSTEIN: That's correct, and my job is to make sure that we respond to your concerns. We have, sir.

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.

JORDAN : Well, I mean, I'm just saying.



RAJU: The House yesterday passed a resolution calling on the production of these documents by July 6th. Otherwise, there's a warning among some conservatives that Rod Rosenstein could be held in contempt of Congress.

Now Democrats are saying this is all part of an effort to undercut Rosenstein because he's in charge of the Mueller investigation. They would think that either simply trying to give a pretext for President Trump to ultimately fire Rod Rosenstein and put someone else in charge of the investigation when they meddle in the Mueller investigation -- Christine and Dave.

ROMANS: All right. Manu, thank you for that.

That hearing came moments after President Trump tweeted that Russia continues to say they had nothing to do with meddling in our election. The president essentially giving Vladimir Putin a pass or speaking on behalf of the Kremlin, despite intelligence assessments that say otherwise.

[04:35:05] His meeting with Putin also underscores the growing tension between the U.S. and its traditional allies.

Let's bring in CNN's Frederik Pleitgen live in Moscow.

And Fred, you know, the president sort of, you know, speaking on behalf of the Kremlin and repeating that Kremlin line really got a lot of attention yesterday.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, that certainly did, and it's certainly something that the Kremlin seemed to be quite happy hearing.

It's interesting, Christine, because the official line that you hear from officials here in Moscow is that they obviously don't want to weaken any sort of traditional alliances between the U.S. and its allies. But then if you look at state-run media, which is essentially controlled by the government here, the rhetoric is very different. They say that the Europeans are going to have to come to terms with the fact that in the future it's going to be America and Russia running the show.

There's other shows that are saying that somehow the destinies of President Trump and Russia are intertwined. That's on top of the usual banter that you hear on Russian TV with them saying essentially Russia got President Trump elected. And of course, all of that is causing some concern among European allies and also other allies of the United States, traditional ones, who have had serious issues with the president over the past couple of weeks and months. Of course we know Justin Trudeau of Canada having that altercation with the president. Angela Merkel in Germany of course quite angry at the president after he attacked her when she was at one of her really weak points with the migrant crisis there in Germany.

So it's going to be very interesting to see the proximity of the NATO summit that the president is going to be at and then right afterwards, that summit with Vladimir Putin. Certainly the allies of the U.S. are going to be looking very, very carefully as to how those two summit goes. As some European politicians, some European leaders believe that the damage that's currently being done to these traditional alliances may be a lot longer term than just the term of one president -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. Fascinating. Fred Pleitgen for us in Moscow. Thanks, Fred,

BRIGGS: All right, ahead the vice president in Guatemala with this message about migrants crossing the southern border.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I say with great respect to the presidents gathered here, this exodus must end.


BRIGGS: What the White House says about an order to reunite more than 2,000 families separated at the border. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:47:09] BRIGGS: 4:47 Eastern Time. The White House launching a full-court press to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. The president plans to have a nominee by July 9th, weeks before Kennedy is scheduled to leave at the end of July. President Trump had senators over to the White House Thursday. They included three red state Democrats. West Virginia's Joe Manchin, Indiana's Joe Donnelly and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota all facing tough re-election fights this year.

ROMANS: Their states went overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016 and a vote against his Supreme Court nominee could end up costing them crucial votes. The president also met with Judiciary chairman Chuck Grassley and GOP senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins who are all being closely watched as the White House vets Supreme Court nominees.

BRIGGS: The White House claims it cannot keep the country safe unless a federal judge reverses its order requiring the administration to quickly reunify immigrant families separated at the border. A spokeswoman for the president telling reporters on Air Force One, the ruling endangers national security.

The administration's hard-line immigration policy is not deterring everyone. CNN's Nick Valencia was on a ride along with Customs as they caught a group of immigrants crossing the Rio Grande.

ROMANS: The video there. Vice President Mike Pence visiting Central America, home to many fleeing migrants. After meeting with the leaders of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, Pence delivered this clear message.


PENCE: Among this flood of illegal migrants are human traffickers and violent gang members like MS-13. But most are making the journey seeking economic opportunity. Driven by the misguided belief that they can ignore the laws of the United States and enter our nation without consequences. I say with great respect to the presidents gathered here, this exodus must end.


BRIGGS: As of Monday, there are 2,047 separated, unaccompanied minors in the United States. According to a map provided by the U.S. government source, most of them are in Texas, Arizona, New York and Florida.

ROMANS: California passing the toughest law yet protecting data privacy. And that could mean tougher scrutiny nationwide for Silicon Valley. The law gives consumers sweeping control over their personal data. Forces tech companies to disclose what data they collect, why and who they share it with. Consumers can even stop companies from selling their data to third parties, including advertisers. That's big because that's a huge source of revenue for companies like

Google and Facebook and many opposed the law calling it burdensome but several recent privacy leaks, many involving Facebook, have spurred calls for greater consumer protections online.

The new rules take effect in 2020. They only affect California residents but the law of course could force tech companies to apply them nationwide rather than have two systems, one in California and another for everywhere else.

BRIGGS: All right. Coming up, how does triple-digit heat sound?

ROMANS: Not good.

BRIGGS: Not good. We are headed that way this weekend with heat alerts for tens of millions.

[04:50:03] Your forecast next.


ROMANS: 54 minutes past the hour.

[04:55:01] An Oakland teen whose brain death case has captivated the world has died. Jahi McMath who was relocated to New Jersey was taken off machines that kept her alive last week after suffering internal bleeding and kidney issues. Almost five years ago, two hospital tests showed she was brain dead. Doctors planned to take her off a ventilator but her family refused to believe she was dead and it took the hospital to court. Jahi's body will be flown back to Oakland next week. Her brain will be preserved for scientists to study.

BRIGGS: Rescue crews in Thailand have new hope in their desperate search for a youth soccer team stuck in a cave for nearly a week now. Thai and British officials exploring a second more promising entry point to underground tunnels. They have located a hole running at least 72 feet deep in the jungle floor, and climbers are now being lowered down. A dozen teenagers and their soccer coach went missing five days ago.

ROMANS: More than 55 million people under an excessive heat alert today in the plains and in the Midwest. And the heat wave set to roll over the East Coast this weekend. Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the latest.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We've got a sizzler of a weekend ahead of us, Dave and Christine. Over 55 million Americans under an extreme heat warning, advisory or watch. This includes Chicago, Grand Rapids, Michigan, St. Louis, Little Rock and Minneapolis. One of those weekends you want to stay indoors, enjoy the air conditioning and certainly if you're going to step outside, drink plenty of water and find shade whenever possible.

If you step outside, this is what it will feel like on your exposed skin. Easily breaking triple digits from Kansas City to Wichita, all the way southward into Dallas. Actual temperatures this weekend will be hot along the East Coast as the heat spreads towards New England. 91 today in the big apple. 97 to cap off the weekend.

This is all thanks to an upper level ridge that's developed across the central parts of the U.S. And this ridge is responsible for a boundary of severe thunderstorms that caused over 350 wind damage reports on Thursday. More severe weather possible for the upper Midwest later today.

Back to you.

ROMANS: All right. Derek, thanks for that.

BRIGGS: Little league players, look out for that heat.

ROMANS: That's right.

BRIGGS: But college baseball has a new champion. Oregon State capturing its third national title with a 5-0 victory over Arkansas in the College World Series in Omaha last night. Freshman pitcher Kevin Abel fired a two-hit shutout. Struck out 10 in the decisive third game. He retired the final 20 batters in a row and threw 129 pitches. Afterward he told reporters he's not sure how he did it. The Beavers' first two national championships came in 2006 and 2007. Congrats to the Beavers.

ROMANS: All right. Let's get a check on "CNN Money" this morning. Investors putting aside their trade fears at least for now. Global stocks higher at the moment. Wall Street closed up thanks to a rally in tech and bank stocks. But it was a bad day for drug stores.

Look at the pharmacy stocks, Dave. They fell sharply after Amazon said it was buying an online pharmacy. That could disrupt the entire industry. Overall, pharmacy businesses lost $17 billion in market value yesterday. Rite Aid alone falling 11 percent.

One of the best stocks this year? Chipotle up 48 percent so far. Chipotle wants to win customers back after a series of health scares. Wall Street is betting on its new CEO.

I spoke to him, Brian Niccol. His plan involves changing the cultural narrative of Chipotle.


BRIAN NICCOL, CHIPOTLE CEO: The things that drive culture happen around us every day. Right? Sports, technology, music, fashion and, obviously, food. And we believe Chipotle is a brand that should be showing up in all of these spaces. So Chipotle showed up in one of the big e-games called Fortnite.


NICCOL: And we did it in a way that was very organic. Yes, and I have an 11-year-old son who plays the game way too much.

ROMANS: Me, too. Fortnite is a fixture in my house, too.


NICCOL: So the fact that we got Chipotle to show up in that space I think is a testament to the idea of making the brand more visible in culturally relevant places.


ROMANS: Culturally relevant. For Chipotle a part of its turnaround plan is also going to introduce faster checkout, new menu items, avocado tostada, anyone? And happy hour in the afternoon when things slow down and try to start pushing maybe snacks, you know, too, so like we're not maybe just meal food but also snack food on those off- hours.

BRIGGS: Is breakfast in play?


BRIGGS: I'm hungry, my friend.

ROMANS: Not yet. He does not have a plan for breakfast yet.

BRIGGS: OK. All right. A guy can hope. EARLY START continues right now.


SAN FELICE: And there I was sitting under a desk texting my parents, telling them that I loved them.


ROMANS: A targeted attack on a Maryland newspaper. The alleged gunman had a personnel vendetta against the paper.


JORDAN: Did you threaten to subpoena their calls and e-mails?

ROSENSTEIN: No, sir, and there's no way to subpoena phone calls.

JORDAN: Well, I mean, I'm just saying.


BRIGGS: Deputy attorney general beating back GOP efforts to undermine the Russia probe. Rod Rosenstein debunked the claim after claim by House Republicans.

ROMANS: And the White House fast-tracking the search for a Supreme Court nominee. The president personally meeting with senators key to approving the next justice.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.