Return to Transcripts main page


Jack Daniels Caught in Trade War Between E.U. and U.S.; Remembering the Life and Legacy of Senator McCain; Senator McCain to Lie in State at U.S. Capitol Rotunda; Police Update on Mass Shooting at Video Game Tournament; Jacksonville Mass Shooter, 24-Year-Old White Male; John McCain: A Former Policy Hawk Who Never Wavered. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 26, 2018 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:00] CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The initial reading showed growth of a whopping 4.1 percent. That's the fastest pace in four years. So we'll be looking to see if that number is revised higher.

And the escalating trade war, has that hurt Jack Daniels? Their parent company, Brown-Forman, has warned retaliatory tariffs from the E.U. could damage the business. Investors will find out how much it will hurt on Friday when the maker of bourbon and other alcoholic drinks reports its quarterly earnings report.

In New York, I'm Christine Romans.

CABRERA: It is 7:00 p.m. Eastern, 4:00 in the afternoon in Arizona. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thank you for being with me. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And tonight, a nation in mourning for the man some call the last maverick.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I'm very happy with my life. I'm very happy with what I've been able to do. And there's two ways of looking at these things, and one of them is to celebrate. I am able to celebrate a wonderful life.


CABRERA: A lot has been said about the loss of John McCain, the man, and the loss of what John McCain represented to and about America. But perhaps his longtime colleague and friend from the other side of the political aisle, former Vice President Joe Biden, said it best.

John McCain's life is proof that some truths are timeless: character, courage, integrity, honor. A life lived embodying those truths cast a long, long shadow. John McCain will cast a long shadow. His impact on America hasn't ended, not even close. It will go on for many years to come.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCCAIN: I've had the go fortune to spend 60 years in service to this wondrous land. It's not been perfect service, to be sure. And there were probably times when the country might have benefited a little less of my help.

But I tried to deserve the privilege as best I can. And I've been repaid a thousand times over with adventures, with good company, and with the satisfaction of serving something more important than myself.


CABRERA: John McCain, the six-term Arizona senator, former prisoner of war, and one-time Republican presidential nominee, died Saturday at the age of 81. His colleagues, friends, and family, remembering a man so passionate about his beliefs but one who also understood the art of compromise for the greater good.

And on that last issue, he famously seized the moment last July during a dramatic return to the Senate after his cancer diagnosis.


MCCAIN: Stop listen to the bombastic loud mouths on the radio and television and the Internet. To hell with them.


MCCAIN: Let's trust each other. Let's return to regular order. We've been spinning our wheels on too many important issues because we keep trying to find a way to win without help from across the aisle. We are getting nothing done, my friends. We're getting nothing done.


CABRERA: McCain will lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda ahead of his funeral at the National Cathedral followed by his burial at the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland.

Now, before he died, McCain asked presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush to deliver eulogies. Two men who, at different times, kept McCain from becoming president but who also revered him as one of the most influential figures in American politics.

To quote President Bush, some lives are so vivid, it is difficult to imagine them ended. Some voices are so vibrant, it is hard to think of them stilled.

During his life, McCain survived several brushes with death: plane crashes, bouts with skin cancer, and years of torture in Vietnam. And it was in those years, locked in a cell in Hanoi and during the worse of humanity, that McCain said he fell in love with his country.

He wrote in his memoir, "Faith of My Fathers," I have loved her before then. But like most young people, my affection was little more than a simple appreciation for the comforts and privileges most Americans took for granted. It wasn't until I had lost America for a time that I realized how much I loved her.

The ordeal would go on to define the future senator and presidential candidate's life and inspire the respect of his colleagues.


BOB DOLE, FORMER SENATOR OF KANSAS: No one works any harder on the issues of war and peace. I didn't agree with Senator McCain on normalizing relations with Vietnam, but he was there and I wasn't. And no one takes his responsibility more seriously.


CABRERA: Former Senate majority leader and World War II veteran Bob Dole is joining us now by phone.

Senator, thank you for your time. Thank you for your service. Tell me, what does John --

DOLE (via telephone): Oh, thanks.

[19:05:00] CABRERA: What does John McCain mean to you?

DOLE (via telephone): Well, he's my friend and my hero. And we served together for years. And he's a complete package. This man had it all.

He had courage, of course. He garners praise when he's a prisoner of war, but he is also a very bright, very smart man and senator.

Now, sometimes, John would get a little angry and somebody would complain to me as the leader, and I'd just simply say, well, if you were locked up in a cage for five years, you might lose your temper now and then, too.

CABRERA: Yes, he had an excuse. No doubt.

DOLE (via telephone): Well, he had a perfect -- you know, he didn't do it trying to make a point by losing his temper. He just sometimes boiled over. And when he did, nobody really paid a lot of attention, except when he cast a vote that might hurt the Republican Party. But that didn't happen but, I don't know, maybe half a dozen times.

And everybody's talked about his courage and his statesmanship and his love of America and his family and his children. And the colleagues that he served with, I don't -- I can't think of a one that ever stood on the Senate floor and criticized John McCain.


DOLE (via telephone): Well, there wasn't anything to criticize. I mean, the guy was honest. He was a man of integrity. He spoke his mind, and if you didn't agree with him, that was OK with him. But he wanted to make his position clear that he would vote for - well, for measures that were good for America. Period. CABRERA: He put country and all people before himself. You served

with him well over a decade in the Senate. Do you have a favorite memory?

DOLE (via telephone): Well, I wore John's POW bracelet for a number of years. And one day in the Senate, I decided to let John know. And so we got off in a corner and I extended my arm and on my wrist was the John McCain POW bracelet. It was kind of an emotional thing for John.

But he was my friend and, you know, what do you say about a man like John McCain?

CABRERA: I have learned so much more about John McCain in this last year of his life that I had really no understanding or comprehension of the depth of this man until now. And I want to read you something that I thought hit home for me. These were some opening lines from his speech when he nominated you for president in 1996.

And he said, in America, we celebrate the virtues of the quiet hero, the modest man who does his duty without complaint or expectation of praise. The man who listens closely for the call of his country, and when she calls, he answers without reservation. Not for fame or reward, but for love. He loves his country.

Senator, those were Senator McCain's words about you, but I bet many people would say the same about him.

DOLE (via telephone): Oh, I would say the same double about him. I mean, as I said, he was the complete package. You know, we were so honored to have John McCain in the Senate and part of our team. And he was always -- you know, he'd always vote with us with a few exceptions.

He's a great guy and good friend and icon and all the things that have been said about John McCain. But he was a man who loved his family, who loved Cindy, his wife, and he loved the people he worked with, his staff. You're no better than your staff, and he had a great staff. And he loved his staff.

And there was never any doubt about John McCain's honesty or integrity. You didn't have to agree with him, but you had to -- you would listen to him because he made a lot of sense.

CABRERA: Do you remember the last time you spoke with him?

[19:09:58] DOLE (via telephone): It's been about two months ago. But I talked with his wife several times in between.

CABRERA: Given your parallel path that you and Senator McCain had, I just wonder what your perspective is on whether he felt satisfied about his contribution to this country and as a public servant, as a senator and a Republican presidential nominee.

DOLE (via telephone): Oh, in my book, he gets an A-plus, you know. He was just a different kind of person because he's, you know, been tortured for five -- over five years and refused to go when he could have gone because other prisoners had been there longer. And he was that kind of a person all his life.

When John McCain -- he'd come up to me and say, old pal, what's going on today? You know, he's just a nice guy. And we got along fine and never had a problem that I can think of, except I did have to quell a few misunderstandings.

CABRERA: Does John McCain represent a more civilized time in politics, do you think?

DOLE (via telephone): Oh, yes. You know, we could use John McCain now. And it's so partisan now that it's difficult to get much done. But John McCain would work across the aisle and I believed in compromise, so we were able to work with our Democratic friends and got a lot done.

And if we look at our military today, you want to say, thank you, John McCain. We're the strongest, most powerful military in the world, and much of it is due to John McCain's action on the Arms Services Committee.

CABRERA: Who do you see as picking up where John McCain left off?

DOLE (via telephone): Oh, boy. I don't see anybody, anyone now in the Senate. Now, there may be someone there that I'm not aware of, but John had this gift where he could walk across the aisle in the Senate and talk to his Democratic friends and get -- sometimes get their votes on an amendment he may have had or a bill he may have had.

And he had a way of persuading people that you should vote for this bill or this amendment because A, B, C, D, whatever. And he's just a great guy.


DOLE (via telephone): And, you know, everybody talks about his courage and it's true. And his bravery and what he did in Vietnam. You know, he suffered a couple broken arms and a plane crash.


DOLE (via telephone): But he never complained. I never heard -- and we were pretty good friends. I never heard him complain about anything. You know, he might have complained about we're not getting anything done here, but he got things done by crossing over and talking with his Democratic friends.

CABRERA: Right. What made him so effective and so convincing?

DOLE (via telephone): Well, just John McCain. I mean, he just -- you know, I've never -- you know, some senators get up there and they get on the floor and they attack their colleagues. That never happened with John McCain.

Everybody was John's friend. And if you didn't agree with him, it was all right with him. And sometimes he -- you know, he would boil over a little, but people understood why it happened.

CABRERA: My thanks to Senator Bob Dole. In this hour, we'll have much more on the life and legacy of Senator John McCain including his impact on U.S. foreign policy and the indelible mark he left on the nation's capital.

Plus, John McCain the family man. I'll talk to a reporter who actually got the chance to visit the Grand Canyon with the McCain family. Don't miss that one.

And we are following breaking news out of Florida where sources tell CNN a gunman killed three people and injured 11 others at a video game tournament. Details straight ahead. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


CABRERA: We are following breaking news out of Jacksonville, Florida. This is the podium where we're expecting a press conference here momentarily about a mass shooting that happened at a video game tournament today in Jacksonville.

As soon as they take the podium there, we will be sure to take you there live. In fact, let's just listen in for a moment, and see if this is maybe starting up right now.

OK. We're being told that they're just doing a little bit of a check right now. This isn't actually the press conference. We'll go back there here shortly.

In the meantime, let's continue our honoring of John McCain. The words and praise and mourning are pouring in for the late senator, especially in his home state of Arizona.

Images of McCain and tributes to his life grace the front pages of newspapers all across the state today. Flowers and candles placed outside of his office in Phoenix. This where -- is where the first of three services will be held for McCain.

Kyung Lah is joining us now from Phoenix.

Kyung, what kind of reaction are you seeing from people there in Arizona?

[19:20:03] KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we can look at it in two ways, but they're all unified by this one sentiment. Senator McCain was certainly a national figure, but here in Arizona, he was the favorite son.

He was the man who succeeded Barry Goldwater, larger than life within the state and a source of deep pride but also history, past and present, for people here. So it's a tremendous loss.

As the hearse was moving Senator McCain's body out of his beloved Arizona ranch, about 100 miles away from where I'm standing, and made the journey south, what we saw was something quite extraordinary. This was not broadcast or put out as a route that people can go to,

but people still somehow made it out of their houses in the Phoenix heat, standing on these desert winding roads and waving flags as his hearse arrived at the funeral home. There were people there waving flags to say thank you to Senator McCain.

But also, Ana, in the political world, we're hearing from both sides of the aisle within the state. People I know who are Democrats here, long time Democrats, as well as longtime candidates for the Republican side, they are all responding, saying that this is a tremendous institutional loss for the state, Ana.

CABRERA: And he took on the somber task of planning his own funeral while he was still alive. McCain requested that he be eulogized by George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the men who beat him in his two bids for the presidency. What can you tell us about McCain's process and planning his own funeral?

LAH: And he did make the request that President Trump not be invited. He wanted to have a say in how his last acts here, how he is last remembered on earth. And so for the last year, he'd been talking to friends at his Arizona ranch as they come to visit him about exactly what he wanted. And what he wanted is now going to be seen.

I'm standing here at the Arizona state capitol, and you can you see the flags here are lowered. They are lowered in honor of Senator McCain. And this here at the capitol is where the public remembrance will begin on Wednesday.

After a private ceremony here in the rotunda, the Senator will lie in state. And for six hours, the public will be able to come in here to say farewell.

On Thursday morning, there will be a public memorial service at a local Baptist church and then the Senator departs for D.C. On Friday, the Senator will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda. On Saturday, a national memorial service at the National Cathedral. And then on Sunday, Senator McCain will be laid to rest at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Ana, we know, from knowing the Senator for many years, it was his military service that was his backbone, that really carried him forth in public service, that he saw his time in the Senate as just an extension of his service in the military. It is a fitting final resting place for this man who loved his country, Ana.

CABRERA: Absolutely. And a country who loved him, too. Kyung Lah, thank you for that.

He was well known in the halls of Congress and on the campaign trail, but he was also a devoted family man. We'll hear from someone who went on a trip to the Grand Canyon with John McCain and his family next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCCAIN: Are you someone who likes fine jewelry and respects a politician who can reach across the aisle? If so, you can't go wrong with McCain/Feingold.




CABRERA: Back to our breaking news out of Jacksonville, Florida. A press conference with an update on a mass shooting that happened at a video game tournament there earlier this afternoon is just getting underway. Let's listen in.


SHERIFF MIKE WILLIAMS, JACKSONVILLE SHERIFF'S OFFICE, FLORIDA: So good evening. I'm Sheriff Mike Williams, and I'm joined here tonight by our Mayor, Lenny Curry; our state attorney, Melissa Nelson; the FBI Special Agent-in-charge of the Jacksonville field division, Charles Spencer; and our JFRD chief, Kurt Wilson.

First, let me say this. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families who were all affected by this senseless act of violence here today. I ask that you please pray for these families as they deal with this tragedy in the coming days and weeks.

I'd like to thank the media for joining us as we come together to provide the community with an update on information and dismiss any rumors regarding the events that took place earlier here today.

So here is what we know. So this afternoon, there was a Madden 19 event at Chicago Pizza at the Jacksonville Landing. At 1:34 p.m., 911 calls came in stating that people have been shot inside the Chicago Pizza.

Two minutes later, at 1:36, officers were on scene at Chicago Pizza inside the Landing. Shortly thereafter, this is when the Landing went on lockdown as other patrol units worked to evacuate the area. When the SWAT and bomb teams arrived on scene, they also conducted a detailed sweep of the Landing.

So there were three deceased individuals at the scene, one of those being the suspect who took his own life. There were nine victims transported by JFRD to area hospitals, seven of those had gunshot wounds. In addition, there were two additional gunshot victims that self-transported themselves to local hospitals. I'm happy to report that they are all in stable condition at this time.

[19:29:54] So let me recap. There were 14 total victims, 12 with gunshot wounds and 12 with other injuries that were sustained during fleeing from the restaurant. So please note this number may change as we learn of other victims who may have transported themselves to area hospitals.

If you are a victim and you have not heard from us, we ask that you please call us at 630-0500 to report this.

The single suspect in this case is a white male. And this is pending confirmation, but we believe the suspect to be 24-year-old David Katz from Baltimore, Maryland. And the FBI is assisting us with that leg of the investigation in Baltimore.

We have located an impounded the suspect's vehicle and a search of that is pending. We believe he stayed somewhere locally last night. Maybe in a hotel. If anyone has any information about where he stayed last night, please call 630-0500 or e-mail And we will be releasing more detailed information about the suspect in the next couple hours.

So we know that the suspect used at least one handgun to commit this act. And we are working, again, with our partners at ATF on that aspect of the investigation. So we'll not be discussing any details pertaining to the motive at this time as that part of the investigate still on still on going.

So as I mentioned in an earlier news conference, there is a video and we do have a copy of that footage. But we're asking if anyone has any additional video footage to please e-mail that, call us 630-0500 to get that information to us.

So our family assistants unit is up and running. So if you have a loved one that you believe to be at that event and you have not heard from them, please call us again at 630-0500 so we can have that information.

If anyone has any information in reference to this shooting, any information at all, we're asking you again to please call us at 630- 0500, e-mail us at or of course use our partners at crime stoppers 1-866-845-tips.

So i want to take a minute to thank the men and women of Jacksonville sheriff's office and the Jacksonville fire and rescue for their incredible response today.

So we spent a lot of time training together and separately for events like this. And we pray obviously that it never happens, but today it did. And they were prepared.

I also want to thank our partners. Many law enforcement partners that stepped up with us today and helped us work through all of the challenges that we had today. So with that, I will invite our Mayor Lenny Curry to say a few words.


MAYOR LENNY CURRY, JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: Thank you, sheriff. Today, this evening and tonight Jacksonville is mourning. We have faced an occurrence that is all too common and will require us to continue to do the hard work of public safety to make sure that people are safe.

One violent crime in our city is one too many. Tonight, we pray for the wounded and we pray for families of those who were lost. Sheriff Williams and JSO are working with State Attorney Nelson and law enforcement professionals from local, state, and federal agencies. We thank them for quickly responding and securing our downtown.

Our local fire and rescue professionals rapidly responded, running into chaos to start saving lives. Local medical personnel at several hospitals responded perfectly. At terrible times, we see the best in people. And today is no different.

There were witnesses who had not hesitated to talk to law enforcement and we need that to continue. If you have any relevant information about this incident, you should call the numbers that the sheriff and his team are publicizing.

Governor Scott and scores of leaders from around the state have expressed their condolences and support. To all those and anyone watching I say this -- pray for Jacksonville as we deal with this senseless tragedy.

WILLIAMS: All right, thank you, mayor. With that, I'm going to have Charles Spencer who is the SAC in the local FBI office say a few words.

CHARLES SPENCER, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Thank you, sheriff. Again, I express my profound sympathy for the victims of this tragedy and for the Jacksonville community as a whole.

At this time, the FBI is providing the investigative and technical assistance to the Jacksonville sheriff's office. We also are providing assistance for any investigative leads that take us outside the Jacksonville area. Currently, as stated by the sheriff, FBI Baltimore and ATF Baltimore are assisting in the investigation in Baltimore.

The effective response today highlights the strong partnerships that the FBI Jacksonville sheriff's office and all the partners in the community have in responding to this incident. They responded quickly and efficiently.

[19:35:00] It also highlights the effectiveness of the training that we do together and the exercise that we continually do to prepare for tragedies such as this.

The Jacksonville sheriff's office responds to this incident within two minutes of the first call for service is exemplary. The sheriffs should be very proud of his deputies. I just want to reiterate one final time that if you have any videos, you have any information to this -- about this incident, you need to share it with a sheriff's office as soon as you can. Thank you very much.


WILLIAMS: So a tough day for us as can you imagine. But, again, we could not have been able to get to this point of investigation without our partners. So I won't name everybody, because I will forget somebody. But just a tremendous response -- local, state, and federal agencies coming together responding to help us here in Jacksonville and we appreciate it.

Moving forward tonight, we're going to be releasing some additional information about the potential street closures that obviously are being impacted by the investigation. Business closures at the Landing. When we finished mapping that out, we'll release a map of what is closed. It will be a small footprint around the Landing. It will not be all of downtown. If you work near the landing, you may want to pay attention to that. If you work in other parts of downtown, you'll be fine. So, again, we'll get more detailed information about that out later tonight. So with that, we'll be able to answer some questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Was he a gamer at the competition?

WILLIAMS: He was here for the competition.


WILLIAMS: I do not know the answer to that question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Can you share with us any details of the motives?

WILLIAMS: Not at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Sheriff, what can you tell us about the victims who lost their lives? Were they gamers? Do you have any details? Have you been in contact with their family members?

WILLIAMS: So we're still working on all of that. So even potentially at this point confirmation of victim ID has not yet been done for the victims.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Sheriff, we saw (INAUDIBLE). Is that still -- are they still searching areas right now?

WILLIAMS: No. Not at this point. So we have, you know, not realizing the catalyst for the event. Obviously, we took all precautions and that is one of them.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: How many were inside when the shooting happens?

WILLIAMS: So I don't have that number. But there was a large number of people. It was not full. There were enough people in there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: What was the fire marshal's capacity to that establishment?

WILLIAMS: So the fire marshal capacity is 238, I think I've heard were near that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Sheriff, what is the number of fatalities versus the number of injuries. WILLIAMS: So the number of fatalities is three to include the suspect. And then you have an additional nine who were injured from gunshot wounds and two that were injured from fleeing the restaurants.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What about security? How much security was there?

WILLIAMS: So that's -- well, I don't know. We have to look at that down the road.


WILLIAMS: So, again, until we can confirm the identity of the victims, I can't answer that question. That is something that we're working on. And once we do that, keep in mind that we're going to have to reach out and if they are from out of town, it's going to take some time to locate his families. So our family unification process, our family process is very narrow at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Is there another suspect in custody?

WILLIAMS: There is not another suspect in custody.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Sheriff, that Jacksonville fire and rescue were in training. Can you talk about that?

WILLIAMS: Yes. They were. They were close by doing some elevator work, I believe. They've been in this building and we're able to respond quickly. And, again, hats off to them for their tremendous response and the courage they showed day in and day out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Do you know anything other than what we've been seeing and circulating in the media where you see the game being played in the corner, two people playing the game. Is there other video that you have access to?

WILLIAMS: So we won't talk about the other parts or pieces of evidence we have at this point in the investigation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Sheriff, can you answer a question over at the Football Park Center?

WILLIAMS: So we may be wrapping that up. We're very close to closing down witness and interviews and that type of thing. Maybe a few left.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Sheriff, will security measures increase after this?

WILLIAMS: So that's a question that we will obviously delve into in the coming days and weeks. And that is something we'll be looking at. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Were there gamers inside this restaurant when the shooting happened?

WILLIAMS: There were gamers inside.



WILLIAMS: So again we won't confirm any of the motives at this point. Still under investigation. So before we talk about that, we'll be sure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Can you confirm that the FBI and ATF Baltimore are searching his home right now?

WILLIAMS: So we are having -- there is some cooperation going on in Baltimore with ATF and FBI.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: He shot himself, sheriff, inside that facility, inside that venue?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Was the gun legal? Did he have legal possession of the firearm?

WILLIAMS: That is all part of the ongoing investigation that we're working in conjunction with our partners.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: He just got this one firearm?

WILLIAMS: One firearm was used in the event.


WILLIAMS: Thank you.

[19:40:00] CABRERA: That was Sheriff Mike Williams from Jacksonville as we are learning more about a mass shooting that happened earlier this afternoon there at a video game tournament.

He gave us some updated numbers, revising the number of people killed to three including the shooter.

Also learning nine others were shot and two more people were injured leaving the restaurant.

I want to bring in Polo Sandoval who is here with me. He's been following the story from the very beginning.

We are also learning more about the suspect, Polo.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Really wealth of information even though this investigation is still in the preliminary stages here. The sheriff confirming the identity of the suspect. A 24-year-old man by the name of David Katz from Baltimore, Maryland according to investigators.

Police believe that he was participating in this video game tournament that was happening there in Jacksonville earlier this morning. Police also confirming just now that he used at least one handgun.

The ATF is now involved and investigating that aspect, of course, of this case here. How did this gun end up in this individual's hands?

Also, there is currently a search for the suspect's vehicle. Hoping, obviously that that could provide more evidence. And then finally, they believe that Katz, this 24-year-old man, who had been responsible for this, stayed at a hotel last night in the area there in Jacksonville, Florida.

But, again, this man believed to have been participating in this event, this EA sanctioned video game tournament that was happening that had brought many gamers together here.

The question, though, that Sheriff Williams at least could not answer at the moment is why. What is the motive here? What is behind Florida's latest mass shooting incident? Investigators say that it is still too early, Ana. Yes, there had been plenty of rumors, speculation that had been circulating online in many of this communities, but the sheriff not confirming that except to tell us that it is a 24-year-old man from Baltimore who is among the dead, who police believe is responsible for this shooting.

CABRERA: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you. We'll, of course, continue to bring you new information as we get it. No word just yet on the identities of the victims. We'll take a quick break and be right back.


[19:46:20] CABRERA: Senator McCain, he was a veteran politician. A maverick who commanded respect from the halls of Congress to the presidential campaign trail. But he also was a down to earth guy who appreciated the simple things in life including a summer trip in 2016 to the Grand Canyon with his family and some of his campaign staff.

Joining us now is "Roll Call" senior writer Niels Lesniewski who went on that trip with McCain.

First, Neils, I appreciated your account that you wrote about today. Tell us a little bit more about how you ended up on this trip to the Grand Canyon with John McCain?

NIELS LESNIEWSKI, ROLL CALL SENIOR WRITER: Sure. It's good to be with you this evening. What's sort of happened is I was being assigned as we were planning for "Roll Call's" coverage of the Republican National Convention in 2016.

I was assigned to find a Republican senator who was skipping out on Donald Trump's nomination being awarded to him, and I assumed that I was probably going to end up in New Hampshire with Kelly Ayotte, the Republican senator at the time up there.

But what happened was I was just talking to Senator McCain one day as I often would do and as a lot of reporters on Capitol Hill would often do, in the basement of the Capitol, and ask what he was up to during the week of the convention and he just sort of came right out and said that he was going to be going to the Grand Canyon which is, you know, about as far away from Cleveland, Ohio, as you can get.

And without any prompting or staff nearby or anything like that, he said, do you want to come along?

So, of course, that led to a conversation with some editors and management about I guess I'm going to Arizona.

CABRERA: That's so cool. What do you remember most about that trip?

LESNIEWSKI: So it was -- it was sort of a whirlwind trip. We were only up there in Northern Arizona for a couple of days on that trip, but maybe the craziest thing was actually riding on the Grand Canyon railroad.

The tourist train that leaves out of the small town of Williams in Northern Arizona that takes a lot of people to the Grand Canyon to the south rim each year and riding that train with John and Cindy McCain and really getting to sort of talk to both of them.

And there was a lot of stories that were being traded just with the various people from all over the country and all over the world who just sort of happened to have been seated in that historic sort of (INAUDIBLE) that afternoon.

CABRERA: During your time with him, what did you learn about John McCain the person?

LESNIEWSKI: Well, so the most interesting thing, when I think about that trip in terms of McCain as a person and, of course, as a politician I had already been covering him for about a decade at that point. But as a person, the thing that struck me was how engaged he was with all of the people who he encountered, who worked at the Grand Canyon. Who the people were, who were the National Park Service personnel or the people who were involved in the local businesses up there in Northern Arizona who were sort of reliant on the tourist dollars that came in from all the visitors to the Grand Canyon.

And how many of them seemed to know him and how well he sort of knew the Grand Canyon himself. You know, there were points at which the two of us really would be sort of off to the side.

[19:50:10] I had a photographer with me and the photographer would be taking photos, and I would be basically just chatting with McCain and he would be talking about various trips to various different parts when he hiked down into the Canyon when he was a little bit younger. And he would be telling specific stories about the various spots that he stopped in over the years. CABRERA: John McCain, the outdoorsman, who knew? Niels Lesniewski, thank you very much for joining us and sharing your story.

LESNIEWSKI: Thank you.

CABRERA: And John McCain was a foreign policy hawk until the very end. How the relationship Senator John McCain forged with U.S. allies made a lasting impact on America. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


JOHN MCCAIN, U.S. SENATOR: I hope those who mourn my passing and even those who don't will celebrate as I celebrate a happy life lived in imperfect service to a country made of ideals whose continued success is the hope of the world. And I wish all of you great adventures, good company and lives as lucky as mine.



[19:55:52] CABRERA: John McCain believed in strong U.S. leadership on the world stage and he fought for it until the end. Most recently, he slammed President Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. After all, McCain never stopped being a Russia hawk when George W. Bush said, "He looked in Putin's eye and saw his soul," McCain quipped that he saw just three letters -- KGB.

To McCain's point, amid today's flood of tributes, the only high- profiled negative commentary on McCain is coming from Russian state media.

And joining us now CNN Global Affairs correspondent Elise Labott.

I wonder, Elise, if McCain had become president what effect that might have had on Russia's actions in Ukraine and Georgia, for example.

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, Ana, it's a great question because you would have seen a much tougher, I think, U.S. policy towards Russia from the very beginning for instance if he had beaten out George W. Bush and became president at that time. You remember that John McCain was very forceful about U.S. defending the Georgians when Russia was invading.

It was a very modest policy that George W. Bush instigated. He helped with some air lift in bringing troops from out in the field back to combat the Russians. But their warrant, we ruled out military intervention. He was not very tough on sanctions. And I think John McCain would have had a much more robust U.S. policy.

Same with Ukraine. You remember John McCain was really pushing for arming the Ukrainians with lethal aid for a long time. President Obama did not want to do that. President Trump ultimately did start sending some lethal aid to the Ukrainians. But I think, you know, John McCain would have done it much earlier. And you have to wonder whether Putin might have even invaded Crimea if you had a President McCain long ago that was so tough on Russia.

CABRERA: We know how proud he was to be an American. How much he loved this country and its freedoms and all it represented. And he wanted to give that in some way to people who were less fortunate in countries where life wasn't so good.

How do you think he shaped U.S. intervention on a humanitarian level and in terms of global security in the Middle East?

LABOTT: Well, Ana, John McCain was really dogged in, relentlessly dogged in his pursuit of human rights. If there was anybody that was being oppressed or, you know -- by their leaders, any leaders he thought as thugs, he would not hesitate to call the leaders out, stand them down, whether they were U.S. allies or foes. And similarly he would support leaders and many of them were dissidents that he fought for their freedom at the time.

And you saw how John McCain along with Lindsey Graham who is one of his frequent traveling partners made 47 trips to Iraq. We see some pictures of Ang Sung Su Chi in Burma.

You'll remember that John McCain was, you know, speaking very forcefully about releasing political prisoners in Burma because he himself was a P.O.W. And, obviously, has you know fought very hard for aid to Syrian rebels.

There really wasn't anywhere in the world that he didn't fight for human rights or for people to stand up and fight against tyranny. Why? Not only because he thought it was the right thing to do, but he also thought that promoting democracy and human rights was good for U.S. national security.

CABRERA: Elise, quickly, McCain travelled to dozens of countries. He wanted to reassure the world about Trump.

What effect did that have? And do you think anyone will fill that void now?

LABOTT: I think that he travelled to all those countries to reassure allies that the U.S. is not moving towards isolationism because you saw so many of these policies by President Trump wanting to get out of Afghanistan, wanting to get out of Syria.

He was there in Europe at NATO and all of these countries' conferences around the world to say that the U.S. is still a reliable partner, a reliable ally and that U.S. leadership is indispensable. And that's why I think you see so many of these tributes coming in around --