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Gunman Kills Eight at Indianapolis FedEx Facility; President Biden Says U.S. Gun Violence is a National Embarrassment; Protests in Chicago After Release of Video Showing Police Shooting Of 13-Year-Old Adam Toledo; Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene Launching "America First" Caucus Pushing For "Anglo-Saxon Political Tradition"; CNN: Rep. Gaetz Is Telling GOP Colleagues He's Being Treated Unfairly but He's Cooperating with DOJ Probe; The Indianapolis Shooting Victims. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 16, 2021 - 20:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: The Justice Department is heralding this plea, which comes exactly 100 days after the Capitol attack.

Thank you so much for joining us. You can watch "Out Front" anytime on CNN Go. Thanks for watching.

AC 360 starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: There is no way in good conscience to use the words "Good evening" tonight though there are many words to choose from -- mournful, tearful, and yes, as a country, shameful. Good is simply not one of them, not after what happened overnight.

When we began this program last night, we noted that between the police killing of Daunte Wright and the trial of Derek Chauvin and the police shooting of a seventh grader, it was in so many words, a lot.

Then, late last night, a gunman opened fire at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis. Eight people were killed by a 19-year-old former employee, several others were wounded or hurt.

Countless more tonight are living the nightmare of losing someone close and the toll extends beyond the victims and their next of kin. This, we know from experience, the shockwaves, they ripple out over time and distance.

Fourteen years ago, tonight, the country was reeling from the loss of 32 lives on the Campus of Virginia Tech University. Do you remember that shooting?

A month ago, we were watching the horrible images come in from two mass shootings in and around Atlanta. It seems a long time ago, doesn't it? The sad fact is, though that mass shootings have become so common, it may soon be hard for one not to fall on the anniversary of another.

This is a map of mass shootings in just the last month, which we're defining as four or more people shot wounded or killed, excluding the gunman. One other thing to note, there's only room on the map to show a little less than half. The full count again over just a single month since the Atlanta shootings is 45, and the map is profound as it might be, it doesn't do justice to the story, it doesn't capture the horror, it doesn't capture the wounds and the deaths of so many Americans.

The map doesn't tell the story of the five people who were shot and wounded on March 17th in Stockton, California or the four shot in Gresham, Oregon a day later. In Houston, on the 20th, five shot at a nightclub, that same day in Dallas, eight people shot and one killed; in Philadelphia that night, someone opened fire at a party, killing one and wounding five, at least 150 others fled for their lives.

Then on March 22nd, in Boulder, a gunman opened fire at a supermarket killing 10 including a local police officer.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The consequences of all this are deeper than I suspect we know. By that, I mean, the mental consequences, the feeling of -- anyway, it is just -- we've been through too many of these.


COOPER: Just three nights later, two gunmen opened fire outside a bar in Philadelphia, wounding seven. That same night, five were shot and three killed in Memphis.

Three shootings in Virginia Beach left eight wounded and two dead, four wounded that night in Norfolk. Two gunmen killed one and wounded seven in Chicago. That was all on the 26th of March.

The next day in River George, Illinois, a mass shooting on a party bus killed one and wounded three. At a nightclub in Yazoo City, Mississippi, a shooter wounded six and that afternoon, four people were shot in Chicago.

In Essex, Maryland on March 28th, a man fatally shot his parents before shooting three people at a convenience store, killing two of them. That day in Chicago, another four shot and wounded on a highway; and in Cleveland, seven people shot at a nightclub, one time, one night in America.

Except it wasn't.

Five shot, two killed in D.C. on the 31st. Four killed at an office complex in Orange, California, one of the victims, a nine-year-old boy. On April 3rd, seven wounded near a nightclub in Quincy, Florida. Five wounded in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Three killed and four others hurt at a party in Wilmington, North Carolina; four shot the next day, Easter, in Beaumont, Texas.

And in Birmingham, Alabama, an argument spiraled out of control, more than 30 shots fired at a local park. One killed, five wounded including four children. In Monroe, Louisiana that same night, six shot and wounded at a local

bar. April 5th, five shot and wounded in Baltimore; one killed, three wounded on the sixth in Detroit. Two shot, two killed on the seventh in Milwaukee.

Also, that day in Rock Hill, South Carolina, former NFL player killed five people, you probably remember that one, including, a prominent doctor, his wife and their two young grandchildren.


TRENT FARIS, YORK COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: I've lived in Rock Hill my entire life and Dr. Lesslie was my doctor growing up. So that's how this is kind of a little -- a little hard on me, so -- but Dr. Lesslie has been one of those people that everybody knows.


COOPER: Everybody knows. Now, he is dead. The Sheriff's Office spokesman speaking there. His boss, the Sheriff saying, "There's nothing about this right now that makes sense to any of us." April 7th, Rock Hill, South Carolina.

On the eighth in Bryan, Texas, a gunman killed one and wounded five others at a cabinet manufacturer and said one worker who had first walked toward the popping noises which she thought were from machinery malfunctioning, "I started walking and someone grabbed me and said, no, we need to run." And thankfully they did. April 8th, on the job in Bryan, Texas.

On the ninth in Fort Worth, one killed, five injured during a shootout on the freeway. Four shot and wounded on the 10th in Allendale, Michigan; four shot and wounded in Waterbury, Connecticut; one killed, three others wounded at a convenience store in Missouri. One killed and three wounded in Memphis.

In Seattle, April 11th, a toddler and three others hit by gunfire in a parking lot. In the following four days, 10 more people would be killed and at least 25 wounded in six more mass shootings, including the latest one overnight.


COOPER: Barring drastic changes or a miracle, it will not be the last and in as little as a few days, perhaps it won't even be the latest. But it's where we begin with CNN's Miguel Marquez.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In less than a couple of minutes.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): Eight more lives lost in America's latest mass shooting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was firing any open and I immediately ducked down and got scared. And my friend's mother, he came -- she came in and told us to get inside the car.

TIMOTHY BOILLAT, WITNESS: We heard three more shots, and then, my buddy, Levi saw someone running out of the building and then more shots went off.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The suspect, officers say has been identified as a 19-year-old man who was a former employee at this FedEx. They say, he entered the sprawling facility near the Indianapolis Airport just after 11:00 p.m. last night.

After opening fire in the parking lot, killing four, he killed another four inside. Seven more injured in the rampage.

MCCARTT: He got out of his car and pretty quickly started some random shooting outside the facility. There was no confrontation with anyone that was there. There was no disturbance, there was no argument.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Police say he used at least one rifle. They responded within minutes to what they described as a chaotic crime scene, but the gunman had already killed himself inside the building.

BOILLAT: I'm a little -- I'm a little overwhelmed.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The F.B.I. is assisting local police in searching the gunman's home and car.

CNN has learned he was known to Federal and local officials after a family member reached out to them warning of a potential for violence.

MCCARTT: We've recently identified him. So, now the work really begins trying to establish some of that and see if we can figure out some sort of motive in this, but we don't have that right now.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Family members of victims and those who worked at the facility gathered at a nearby hotel as police worked to identify the victims.

The facility, the second largest hub in FedEx's global network with more than 4,500 employees.

In a statement, FedEx said, "The company is deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of our team members."

MAYOR JOE HOGSETT (D), INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA: Nothing we learn can heal the wounds of those who escaped with their lives, but who will now bear the scars and endure the memories of this horrific crime.


COOPER: Miguel Marquez joins us now not far from the scene. So what more do we know about the interactions the shooter had with Federal law enforcement in the past? MARQUEZ: Yes, we know back in March of 2020, the shooter's mother

called police here in Indianapolis and said that he had the potential -- he wanted to commit suicide by cop, essentially. Police came around, they checked everything out. They confiscated a shotgun at the time.

It also prompted something they saw in the house or in his room prompted them to contact F.B.I. They interviewed him, a month later, they found no evidence in sort of extremism, religious or violence of any sorts. So they dropped the case, but he kept the gun -- and then they did not give the gun back. But now the question will be, where did this gun come from? How did he get it? And could all of this have been prevented -- Anderson.

COOPER: Miguel Marquez, thank you.

Ali Brown is a member of the Indianapolis City County Council. She joins us now, Councilmember Brown, thank you for joining us. When you woke up this morning, heard another mass shooting had taken place. What did you think?

ALI BROWN, MEMBER, INDIANAPOLIS CITY COUNTY COUNCIL: I was shocked. I was shocked and I was sad. This is the third mass shooting that we've had in Indianapolis this year. I was heartbroken, and then I was angry because this is the third mass shooting we've had an Indianapolis this year. And it seems that we can't do -- we can't stop it.

COOPER: Do you -- I mean, would you be surprised that this happened again in Indianapolis three months from now.

BROWN: I don't want to say that I would be surprised. I'm just saddened and I'm shocked and it's -- we live in a culture where there's too many people who have too many needs and have the ability to access guns instead of accessing mental healthcare or other systems they need, so I'm afraid that it might.


COOPER: What are you hearing from people in your community tonight?

BROWN: You know, people here in Indianapolis are -- they are frightened. They're scared. They're sad -- sadness is definitely a big thing. You could feel it everywhere today.

We always say, you know, you always feel like this can't happen here. This has now happened here three times this year. We had a school shooting here, we're coming up on the third anniversary in Noblesville, just north of us. You know, we should acknowledge that this does happen here and we have to do better in trying to stop it.

But people are hurt. This is -- we are Indiana -- Indianapolis is a big city. There's a million people here, but it feels like a small town and everybody knows somebody who works at one of the FedEx plants. So it's a real hard day.

COOPER: You know, and again, these are early reports, but from what Miguel was saying, it sounds like, you know, some member of -- the family of this particular shooter, you know, reached out to law enforcement, they did the right thing. They raised their concerns to law enforcement, who -- and this person was on the radar of Federal and local officials. And yet still, this happened, what would need to be fixed?

BROWN: Well, Indiana has some of the most lax gun laws in the country. But one thing we do have is the red flag law. So that's what went into effect when his family member called the police to investigate it and they were able to take away his weapon a year ago.

The problem is that in Indiana, you only have to do background checks when purchasing a weapon at a gun store. There is a loophole we call the gun show loophole where you can buy a gun at a gun show without any background check.

You can buy a gun person to person. You can go on Facebook and find a gun and not even have to show ID. It's harder to get a vaccine in Indiana than it is to get a gun because at least you have to show ID for that.

So no matter how proactive the police can be without being able to close those loopholes, where 70 percent of Indiana gun owners support closing those loopholes, the gun show loophole. We can't do anything to stop somebody who's had their guns removed from going around and getting it some other way.

COOPER: Do you think this shooting will change anything?

BROWN: I hope so. I hope so. It's -- you know, this is something that a lot of us have lived with the majority of our life. I was in eighth grade when Columbine happened 14 years ago. I was in college when Virginia Tech happened. And I was a teacher when Newtown happened and surely when a bunch of kindergarteners were massacred in their classroom, we thought something would happen.

But as you stated, as you went over those numbers, the hundreds and hundreds of people who have died, I don't know what it's going to take.

I've called on our state legislature as an Indianapolis counselor, they've taken away our ability to do any kind of gun laws in our city. We can't protect our own people. So we need our state legislators to do something about this.

We need our Federal legislators. We need Senator Braun and Senator Young to back up H.R. 8 on the universal background checks. We need this. Our police are asking for it.

Until we do something, until we step up and say enough is enough, we are not going to be able to do anything here.

COOPER: Councilmember Brown, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

Next, more on the politics of trying to, if not end, then at least limit gun violence and what the President plans to do about it.

Later, a live report from Chicago where protesters gather in the wake of the police shooting of a 13-year-old.

And later tonight, Marjorie Taylor Greene, the QAnon curious congresswoman's latest effort reviving an old movement with racist roots to push for what she is calling the quote, "Anglo Saxon political tradition."



COOPER: We're in a familiar place tonight discussing a sadly familiar subject. So is President Biden who joins every President dating back to the 1980s, and having to deal with a modern phenomenon of Americans targeting other Americans in large numbers.


BIDEN: This has to end. It's a national embarrassment. It is a national embarrassment, what's going on. And it's not only these mass shootings that are occurring every single day. Every single day, there is a mass shooting in the United States, if you count all those who are killed out on the streets of our cities and our rural areas. It's a national embarrassment and must come to an end.


COOPER: Joining us now on the politics of what to do about it, CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borger and CNN senior political commentator, David Axelrod, who saw moments like these from the inside during the Obama administration.

Gloria, I mean, President Biden rejected the idea that his administration has prioritized infrastructure over dealing with guns, arguing he can work on more than one thing at a time. But in terms of political capital, oftentimes, it's got to be focused.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: It does have to be focused, and you could just hear the frustration in the President's voice. And David remembers this, as well as I do that, after Newtown, Joe Biden was put in charge of getting some form of gun reform legislation through the Congress by then President Obama.

And I heard the same frustration from him then, and he did not succeed. He tried to get universal background checks. He tried to do even more than that, and he could not do it.

And here we are, all these years later, and he is saying exactly the same thing. Now, he is President. Yes. Now, he has an agenda. Yes. But I think he's right. I think you can do more than one thing at a time. And we don't know yet whether the ground has shifted a bit.

The NRA has been having its own problems. The Democrats control both the House and the Senate. Will they be able to get some kind of a compromise that yes, maybe a little bit narrower than what Democrats want, but will they finally be able to do something? And will the President of the United States say enough is enough? And maybe we have to end the filibuster, so not everything takes 60 votes to get through the Congress.


COOPER: David, will anything -- I mean, you've seen this from the inside, what did you learn?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I learned to be very deeply skeptical about whether things can get done, and I've done -- and I talked to Democrats and Republicans in the Senate today, Anderson, and neither side at this juncture can count to 10 Republicans to support, you know, a gun bill.

Joe Manchin tried in 2013, after Newtown to make all commercial sales of guns subject to background checks. He did it in a bipartisan basis with Senator Toomey, and it got I think, 54 votes, that was the effort that Joe Biden was involved in then.

And even though the polls are overwhelming on this, the politics haven't changed. This has become sort of a cultural issue for the right. You know, it's a bit like masks, it is freedom versus public health, and they haven't really shifted much on this.

So you know, I -- it is numbing to be sitting here with you, again, talking about these stories, they come so fast that you can barely remember last week's mass shooting.

But the politics is not is not shifting, and I am not optimistic that a compromise be reached.

Chris Murphy, the Senator from Connecticut is working hard, apparently to find a compromise. I do think that the White House are spending most of its political capital on the infrastructure plan. That is the biggest thing in front of them right now. And I think Joe Biden has a sense, a realistic sense of what's doable here.

COOPER: Yes. Yes. I mean, Gloria, David talks about, you know, Chris Murphy, the lead sponsor of the background check bill in the Senate. He said he is open to compromise on this. He says he has been talking to Republicans for several weeks. But, again, swaying enough Republicans to get a version of his bill passed is, you know, not easy.

BORGER: It's difficult. It's difficult. And, you know, the problem is that Republicans over these years have become more and more dug in. As David points out, guns have become a cultural issue. If you say you want to do universal background checks, and 90 percent of the public says, yes, okay. We think that's a great idea. You have a large group of Republicans who see that as somehow taking away their Second Amendment rights, taking away their freedom, which is the key word here. We hear it used with masks, as David points out.

And somehow, this becomes an issue that Republicans can run on. I mean, remember after Parkland, Donald Trump was saying, oh, yes, yes, we're going to get something done on gun reform. Right?

He had all the parents in. They met with him in the White House. And what did he do? You know, some regulatory ban on bump stocks after he met with the NRA.


BORGER: Didn't do anything.

AXELROD: Anderson, Anderson, we should point out that even in this week, the House -- the Statehouse in Texas voted to do away with permits to carry a gun. This was just passed recently in Tennessee. In Texas, the law now says, you have to have a permit to carry a gun concealed or unconcealed and you have to go through training and you have to have your fingerprints taken. This law would do away with all of that.

This is in the face of all of what we've seen. So that tells you where the temperature is among the right on this issue.

COOPER: Yes, Gloria Borger and David Axelrod, thank you. Appreciate it.

Chicago also grieving tonight. Protesters angry over the police shooting of 13-year-old, Adam Toledo, taking to the streets. The question whether the video of the shooting shows an officer justified his actions. We will have the live report from Chicago when we come back.



COOPER: Protests in Chicago tonight after the release of a video that shows the final moments in the life of 13-year-old, Adam Toledo.

The video of the police shooting has stirred intense debate there and across the nation about whether the officer was justified. Martin Savidge joins us now from Chicago.

So what has been the reaction from the community to the body cam footage which was released just yesterday?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me show it to you. Anderson, it is playing out right now on the streets of Chicago. This is Milwaukee Avenue. This began at Logan Square.

There are thousands of people and the crowd has continued to grow. It is not just the death of Adam Toledo that has brought them out in the streets. His is one death of many that they believe, people who died at the hands of Chicago Police and died wrongfully.

In many cases, this crowd believes that they were murdered by police much in the way that many of them see the death of Adam Toledo, so this protest is only just now getting started. The reactions though, are still very, very visceral. Many people here

cannot believe that they watched the death of a 13-year-old. We warn you what you were about to see is hard to watch.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): THIS is the moment when police killed 13-year- old, Adam Toledo. Newly released body cam video showing the officer identified as Eric Stillman firing one shot as Toledo raised his hands in the air.

Police say this image shows Toledo was holding a gun before Stillman shot him. And they say that gun was found nearby after the shooting.

But look closer, when Toledo raised his hands, he did not appear to be holding anything.

Police say that Toledo was holding the gun less than a second before he raised his hands.

The family's attorney says they won't know if what Toledo had in his hands was a gun until she has the video forensically analyzed but says, it doesn't change what happened.

ADEENA WEISS-ORTIZ, LAWYER FOR ADAM TOLEDO'S FAMILY: That child complied. Adam complied with the officer's request, dropped the gun, turned around. The officer saw his hands were up and pulled the trigger.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Officer Stillman's lawyer says the officer was left with no other option and that he feels horrible about the outcome. But he was well within his justification of using deadly force.

JOHN CATARANZA, PRESIDENT, CHICAGO FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: That officer had eight-tenths of a second to determine if that weapon was still in his hand or not. The officer does not have to wait to be shot at or shot in order to respond and defend himself.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Police say that they were responding to alerts of shots fired in the early morning hours of March 29th. Surveillance video appears to show someone shooting toward a car.


The new body cam video shows the chase that ensued moments after officers arrived on the scene. Prosecutors are now charging a 21-year- Adam Toledo with the beginning of the encounter. They say the gun recovered at the scene of Toledo's killing match the shell casings found at the first location where the car was fired off. And that Toledo's hands and gloves dropped by the older suspect tested positive for gunshot residue. The White House today called the new video chilling.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Too often in this country, law enforcement uses unnecessary force too often resulting in the death of black and brown Americans. The President, again has repeatedly said that he believes we need police reform.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Martin, we also learn new information about how long it took for Adam Toledo's family to hear what happened to him from authorities.

SAVIDGE: Right. According to authorities and the family, they say it was two and a half days before the family of Adam Toledo was notified of the boy's death. The reason for that they say was that Toledo did not have any identification on him at the time. And also the other man who was taken in custody, who is with him, apparently gave the wrong identification. So it's just one more tragedy that is compounding both the sadness and the anger felt on the streets of Chicago tonight.

COOPER: Martin Savidge, appreciate it. Thank you.

Want to get perspective now and the officers actions from Dr. Charles Morgan, a neuroscientist who teaches Forensic Science at the University of New Haven. He's an associate professor at Yale University's Department of Psychiatry. Thanks so much for being with us.

When it comes to a police officer like you've seen the video from Chicago who's in a foot chase. For any officer, what happens to a person's brain in a situation like that? And how does training impact the decisions they might make?

CHARLES MORGAN, COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICES & FORENSIC SCIENCES, UNIV. OF NEW HAVEN: Thank you for having me. You know, it's a great question. We all have brains, police officers brains are like ours. And I like to show people when I go to court and testify. This is our brain. But this is not our brain under stress. When you're under stress and under threat. You no longer have the part of your brain where you do critical thinking, you're really left with this part of your brain. And that part of your brain is really early and it's programmed to let you freeze, run or fight or flight or fight response.

COOPER: What is that part of the brain called?

MORGAN: That part of the brain is called the amygdala.


MORGAN: And it's the center of the brain that identifies the world only in black and white terms, something is a danger, or it's not. And those split seconds, you either run, you freeze, or you fight, and we train police officers not to run away. If they freeze, they die. And so, they move at threats like military folks. So, it's a terrible incident. But it is both unreasonable from a neurobiological perspective and unfair to expect a police officer in eight tenths of a second to stop when they've initiated an activity to defend themselves.

COOPER: I've been in situations where my adrenaline was, you know, at the highest volume imaginable and very, you know, some dangerous situations. And I was not, I knew I was not thinking, well, I didn't know in the moment. But I was not thinking clearly I was not responding. I was hearing things differently than they were actually sounding that you're saying that's essentially what happens that it's a very primitive part of your brain that's in play.

MORGAN: Oh, absolutely. You know, sometimes under stress sounds go away, you get tunnel vision. Those are all side effects of a turnover of a chemical called glutamate in our brain, but it's a side effect of having a high rush of adrenaline and cortisol in our brain. And you're absolutely right. We all don't get smarter under stress. I always tell my friends, I just get stupid faster than other people under stress. But we all lose an ability to think coolly calmly, and think through things when we're under a high adrenaline.

COOPER: But --

MORGAN: So, it's part of our brain doesn't function.

COOPER: Right. The science is fascinating. But, you know, in reality police officers are going to be under stress. This is an incredibly stressful job just as anybody, you know, this can be anybody under tremendous stress. So how does training come into play here?

MORGAN: Personally, I think training for police officers needs to take into account how we think and function under stress as humans, we resort to what we know and what we've done by habit. So, most training really emphasizes, you know, moving at a threat using a weapon and things like that and under stress, that's what people resort to. So perhaps training could begin with more activity based on de-escalation and something not as threatening, not as lethal and then adding that training later. Because the decisions that police departments make right now are in response to the threats they perceive.


And unfortunately, as you know, guns are available, right? So the police feel they have to respond to threat. But I think training should take some of what we know from neuroscience into account. But we do have to ask ourselves in society, what do we want from our police? Because it's unreasonable to expect them in those moments to suddenly stop and think and do Monday morning second guessing --

COOPER: Right.

MORGAN: -- right?

COOPER: Well, also, I mean, when you see that video, and it's horrific, no matter how you view it, the amount of time we're talking about here, I mean, it's all happening so fast from them showing up on the scene to the chase, to, you know, him yelling at the kid to freeze. And then from the time, you know, he turns around, it's just they say it's a second from the time, they believe he had a weapon in his hand to being shot.

MORGAN: And it's kind of unfair, it happens so fast. But in today's technology, we freeze a frame and you see it. And one way we think is we call it a vividness bias. We, we see something that's striking, and it's vivid, and we can see it in our mind. And we give it an enormous amount of weight. And that we stopped thinking about it in context. So this happens in the blink of an eye from the officers perspective, right? He's running, he's chasing, he says, drop it, and, you know, the child turns, and in that split second, it's impossible to know whether he's dropped a gun, does he have a gun, but he's turning and it's a threat.

But with the technology and they slow it down and you see the image, we sit back and look at it and go, oh, he could have stopped. But it's just not true in real life.

COOPER: Interesting. I would like to continue this discussion (INAUDIBLE) because it's fascinating what you do and fascinating just learning about how the brain are actually -- our brains actually change what we would normally do or could possibly do.

Dr. Charles Morgan, really appreciate it. Thank you.

MORGAN: Thank you very much.

COOPER: Up next, what Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene says she is now planning with some like minded members of Congress and how there's some immediate pushback from her own party. Details when we come back.



COOPER: The far-right fundraising QAnon curious Congresswoman from Georgia, Marjorie Taylor Greene says she's launching a new Congressional Caucus called America First. The online news site Punchbowl reports that a flyer circulate on Capitol Hill promoting the group calls for quote, common respect for uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions, and pushes a series of conspiracy theories about election integrity.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy reacted almost instantaneously without identifying the Congresswoman by name, he posted on Twitter, quote, America is built on the idea that we are all created equal and success is earned through honest hard work, he said. It isn't built on identity, race or religion. The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln and the party of more opportunity for all Americans, not native as dog whistles.

I get some perspective now from former Republican Congresswoman Mia Love, CNN political commentator, and CNN senior political analyst Kirsten Powers.

Congresswoman Love when you look at the American first caucus policy platform, there's language in there, as we mentioned about quote, uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions. What does that mean to you?

MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the first question I would ask is whether someone like me would be included in that caucus? Would I be able to join a caucus like that? You know, Anderson, in 2018, I was concerned about I wrote an op-ed about this, I was concerned about the Republican Party not reaching out to minorities enough, and how that was going to hurt the nation, not just the party. And I can't believe how far below the mark we fall in not only are we not reaching out to black communities, but it seems like we have not been able to even define our policies, where people like Marjorie Taylor Greene are taking over the party and consent -- and condensing it instead of expanding the party that I actually signed up to belong to.

COOPER: Kirsten, when you heard this stuff? Well, I mean, it's not a surprise coming from, you know, this particular Congress person, but what did you think?

KIRSTEN POWERS: CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, I think you know, first you think of, it's not even really, you could call it a dog whistle, but it's not really a dog whistle. It's just an explicitly pro-white statement, right. And when she's referring to these Anglo-Saxon traditions, we usually think of that of wasps, white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. And Mia hits on exactly the right point. It's not talking about people like Mia, and it's not talking about the people who actually built this country, the people who, who were brought here against their will, black people, the people who then came in, in waves of immigrants, the types of immigrant the way the types of people that she is now demonizing. They are the people who actually built this country.

But she's trying to hearken back to this idea that's very European centric. Even in the flyer, it talks about having more European style architecture and things like that. And this is so core to our identity, and that there are all, you know, we're importing all of these people from another country and how dangerous it is. It's not even close to language. It's just very explicitly racist.

COOPER: Yes. And Congresswomen Love, you know, it's not, I mean, you know, that Marjorie Taylor Greene is basically a fundraiser. I mean, she's basically just out, you know, a provocateur to exist on Twitter, to raise money to, you know, in empower herself and grow her name, grow her brand.

LOVE: Well, she shouldn't be a political activist. She shouldn't be a member of Congress representing people. And look, listen --

COOPER: That's so old fashioned.

LOVE: -- we understand.

COOPER: That's so boring. And you actually have to be on committees. You actually have to research and read and meet with people and think of ideas, not your own and consider and change your mind. No one wants to do that anymore. She's certainly will.

LOVE: And well, that's exactly what we actually need right now in America. I mean, we need people to actually research and look up and actually know what policies like immigration is going to do to help our economy. What inclusive policies are going to do to bring people to come along with us?


I mean, this is essentially it's really frustrating because as a former member of Congress, I respected everyone and understood that they had a district that they had to represent that may be diverse in thinking from my district. But what we did was we actually respected one another.

And we understood that in order to actually get anything done, not only did we have to work with Democrats, but we had to have a good amount of Republican members in the House to debate ideas. And when you're condensing and pushing people out of even your own party that does nothing for you, your policies or this country.

COOPER: Yes, I mean Kirsten, building your brand and making money and she's making a ton of money. She's raking in a lot of money on these kind of, you know, stunts. Building a brand is not getting anything, it's not actually getting something done.

POWERS: Well, I mean, she's caring for this idea if she really encapsulates Trumpism. I mean, this is the same kind of argument that Tucker Carlson's making over at Fox News, right? This idea that we're being replaced that, that Americans are being replaced by people from another country that that immigration and undocumented immigration and legal immigration is replacing us. So there is unfortunately, in the Republican Party, an audience for this.

And so the question is, you know, how much does this affect the rest of the Republican Party? Yes, they've come out and they've condemned her. But as we remember, they were not really willing to punish her in any way that that was left to the Democrats. So, I think that she is carrying the mantle of Trumpism.

And so, she is also raising her profile and all these other things. But I think that is also a critical part of what this is about, this caucus in particular.

COOPER: Yes. Kirsten Powers, good to see you. Thank you. Mia Love. Thank you so much, really appreciate it.

Just ahead, more on one of the GOP congressmen we mentioned who've signed on to the so called America First caucus, Matt Gaetz. And what he's telling Republican congressmen about the federal investigation is under at least those congressmen who are willing to still talk to him.

Also, new reporting from the Washington Post about how that probe began, when we continue.



COOPER: Several Republican congressmen have told CNN that Congressman Matt Gaetz is probably telling his colleagues that he's being treated unfairly, that he's cooperating with the federal probe into allegations about whether he broke sex trafficking laws and had sex with a 17-year-old. So, obviously a few of his Republican colleagues are speaking with Gaetz, many whoever steered clear of him and several of the more moderate members are donating campaign contributions Gaetz gave them.

Joining me now The Washington Post Matt Zapotosky, he shares a byline and a fascinating new story about how this federal investigation unfolded. Matt, first of all did I ruin your last name?

MATT ZAPOTOSKY, THE WASHINGTON POST: Zapotosky, pretty good (ph).

COOPER: All right, sorry. I knew I had got a slightly off. I appreciate your forbearance on that. In your article he spoke with a local teacher in Florida, who was running against Jason Greenberg for tax collector was falsely accused by Greenberg in 2019 of having inappropriate relationship with a student. How did this end up leading to congressman Gaetz?

ZAPOTOSKY: Yes, essentially, the federal authorities were investigating Mr. Greenberg. predating this allegation but then Mr. Greenberg, the incumbent tax collector in a county in Florida is running against this school teacher and authorities would learn he fabricates this allegation against a school teacher fabricates evidence. The school teacher and his lawyer put it in front of federal authorities sort of by way of the sheriff's office. And federal investigators to say, hey, we have cause to arrest Mr. Greenberg on federal and other charges.

And in searching Mr. Greenberg's devices, his electronic devices, his records, they come across evidence that points at Mr. Gaetz in sex trafficking. At that point, the investigation is Mr. Greenberg has nothing to do with sex trafficking. It's about some allegations of financial impropriety and sort of predate the stalking allegation. And then he's arrested on stalking charge, because it's just been searching through these tax collectors devices. And he's a friend of Mr. Gaetz, that they come across evidence that says, hey, maybe we should investigate Mr. Gaetz (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: Matt is just fascinating. You also wrote the Jason Greenberg was known in Florida for his strange behavior, even worn some sort of a badge and used it to pull over a woman who was speeding according to reporting.

ZAPOTOSKY: Yes, that's right. So, Joel Greenberg, even before the feds were on dam had developed kind of a reputation he rises to power very quickly in Florida around the time Matt Gaetz becomes a congressman, but then his eccentricities sort of become known around the tax collector's office, which he now leads, he wears a badge around the office, he institute's sort of open carrying or carrying firearms in the tax collector's office.

In his neighborhood, according to a police report, he pulls over this woman in what seems to be a private vehicle with a light bar on it shows a badge like a tax collector badge and yells at her. He alleges that she's speeding, she ends up calling the police and saying I got pulled over in this weird way. I don't really know what this is about and the police find wasn't a law enforcement officer who pulled her over. It was Joel Greenberg. They ultimately don't they investigate him but don't charge him for impersonating police officer.

So, he was kind of known as an eccentric guy, but he was very close and friendly with Matt Gaetz and then his woes kind of lead federal investigators to be interested in Matt Gaetz.

COOPER: How similar are they? I mean, because you're right, they're kind of cut from the same cloth.

ZAPOTOSKY: Yes, they are. They're sort of both young, brash politicians. They come from wealthy Florida families, Gaetz's family. His father, Don Gaetz is in sort of Florida Republican royalty. Joel Greenberg family is not politically connected that way but they own a very wealthy dental practice down there in Florida. That sort of not afraid to speak their mind that are most germane to this people in Florida tell us they'd be known to party together. Matt Gaetz would, according to these people, brag about how Joel Greenberg would set him up with women. They were both kind of in the sort of Trump orbit.


You know, Matt Gaetz talked about how Joel Greenberg would be a great elected representative of office beyond the tax collector.

So, these guys are similar and now their legal woes are kind of in mesh. And we don't have any evidence that Matt Gaetz is connected kind of the various wrongdoing at the tax collector's office that Joel Greenberg is accused of, but Joel Greenberg is indicted on a sex trafficking of a minor charge. And we're told that authorities are investigating these not been accused of anything. Matt Gaetz for being involved with that same line.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, there were a couple of times when I read your story and your reporting or my jaw it just like dropping, it's so fascinating, or the Washington Post. Matt, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

ZAPOTOSKY: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up, we're going to return to the mass shooting in Indianapolis. Authorities have just released the names of victims, more on that ahead.


COOPER: Moment moments ago Indianapolis Police released the names of eight victims killed last night in the mass shooting at a FedEx facility. Thirty-two-year-old Matthew R. Alexander, 19-year-old Samaria Blackwell, 66-year-old Amarjeet Johal, 64-year-old Jasvinder Kaur, 68-year-old Jaswinder Singh, 48-year-old Amarjit Skhon; 19-year- old Karlie Smith, and 74-year-old John Weisert. Our thoughts are with them and their loved ones tonight.


News continues. Let's hand it over Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME." Chris?