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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Source: At Least 1 Killed, 5 Wounded in NY Hospital Shooting; Trump: If GOP Deal Fails, Repeal Now & Replace Later; TV Anchors Allege White House Used "National Enquirer" as Threat. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired June 30, 2017 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Crystal, first of all, we're glad you're safe, thank you so much. I understand you did not physically, with your eyes, witness something, but you did hear the shooting.
[16:30:03] Tell us what you heard.
Crystal, are you there?
All right. We're still working out some of the sound issues.
James, let me go back to you, James Gagliano, retired FBI special agent. When does the FBI decide that they are going to take over a crime scene such as this or at least offer help to local police authorities? Is there a certain crime where they always do it? Is there a certain kind of crime when they never do it? What's the decision making process?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (via telephone): Well, Jake, where this, I guess, where we go back to is 1995. There was a presidential direction directive 39 that was signed under President Clinton at the time which basically said in an incident like this, we have to assume terrorism first. And then we work backwards from that.
So, in any incident where it is presumed to be terrorism, we automatically give the Federal Bureau of Investigation purview. Now, listen, in New York City, there are 1,200 FBI agents. There are 35,000 police officers. So, they have vastly more resources and we work in concert with them and there is a collaboration along all the federal agencies, state police as well as NYPD because New York City is such a target.
So, when something like this, we presume it's terrorism. Obviously, the FBI is not going to be the first responder there because, you know, they're police officers scattered throughout the five boroughs. They have much more proximity to a situation like this.
We assume it's terrorism until we can determine, as seems to be in this instance, that it's not, that it's workplace violence or something like that. And then, unless there's some type of nexus to a federal crime, like let's say this happened at Fort Hamilton, on U.S. federal property, unless there is some nexus to a federal crime or it's part of gang violence or something like that, then the NYPD would have purview because it would be worked as a simple homicide case. And so, that's all being worked out. But in the initial aftermath of
this, the biggest advancements we've made since 9/11 is agencies, federal agencies, agents, officers, troopers, they're not showing up at crime scenes and introducing themselves and exchanging business cards. As Harry pointed out, they've worked together. They've conducted exercises together so the folks that respond know each other and it is a seamless operation. It's much more collaborative than it was pre-9/11.
TAPPER: Bronx-Lebanon Hospital in the Bronx. You're looking at images of it. There was a shooting there just a few hours ago in New York City. One shooter is dead. It might be the only shooter. Apparently according to law enforcement sources, self-inflicted wound, next to him was a body of a woman. Her identity has not yet been revealed publicly. Bronx-Lebanon Hospital, one of the biggest hospitals in New York has almost a thousand hospital beds, two major hospital divisions.
Among those individuals at the hospital today, Crystal Rivera (ph), who was on the 16th floor of the hospital. She's now safely outside the hospital.
Crystal, are you there.
CRYSTAL RIVERA (via telephone): I can hear but not that much.
TAPPER: Tell us --
RIVERA: (INAUDIBLE) on my side.
TAPPER: Tell us what you heard today.
Crystal, tell us what you heard --
TAPPER: Crystal, it's Jake Tapper. Can you hear me?
RIVERA: I can't hear anything.
TAPPER: We're obviously still having audio issues with Crystal. Obviously, this is a situation where we didn't have a camera in place.
Let me go to Jason Carroll who is still covering this from our New York City bureau.
Jason, get us up to speed. What's the latest?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, again, hearing that this shooter in this particular situation died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Jake. We've been reporting that for the past several minutes. What is unclear at this point is where the shooting started. We know where it ended, the 16th floor of Bronx-Lebanon Hospital.
Unclear at this point where it started, did it start on another floor and end up on that floor? That's going to be part of the investigation going forward.
Shortly after the shooting started just before 3:00 at about 2:50 p.m., the hospital immediately went into lockdown. Investigators then started doing a floor by floor search of the suspect who once again was found on the 16th floor, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, a female body victim deceased found next to his body.
There are five other victims. Three of those victims, we are told, are in serious conditions with gunshot wounds. It is unclear at this point if those victims are doctors, nurses, other patients.
[16:35:00] That information should be forthcoming. ATF special agents are out there at the scene. You're looking right now at the scene as you see NYPD there at the scene as well as hospital private security. Mayor de Blasio has been briefed on the situation. He should be there at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital very, very shortly.
We are also expecting a statement from the hospital shortly as well. You were talking before about just how large this hospital is. Just to give our viewers who are unfamiliar with the facility, 972 beds there, 138,000 patients served there last year.
Very large facility, so you can imagine just how difficult it would have been once this shooting was an active shooting situation for law enforcement to get out there and get this facility on lockdown and do that floor-by-floor search when everything was going on. But once again, the situation, that shooter, that suspect dead from a self- inflicted gunshot wound there on the 16th floor.
I should also add, one witness describing the scene there saying blood was on the walls and the stairwell of the facility there as well -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Jason Carroll, bringing us the latest. If you're just joining us, there was a shooting just a few hours ago at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center in the Bronx, New York, and we'll bring you more information when we get more information.
But for now, let's turn to our politics lead.
When it comes to policy, it has seemed to be the only consistent thing about President Trump has been in many ways his inconsistency. So, when he swore Obamacare would be repealed and replaced simultaneously, perhaps it was only a matter of time before he would take the opposite position, which he tweeted today saying, quote: If Republican senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately repeal and then replace at a later date.
That complicates negotiations for Republican lawmakers who are trying to reach consensus on the legislation.
Let's get more right now with CNN's Jim Acosta who is at the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Standing with the South Korean president, President Trump issued yet another dire warning on the threat posed by North Korea.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed. Many years and it's failed. And frankly, that patience is over.
ACOSTA: But as the president was leaving the Rose Garden, nearly all the questions shouted at him were not about national security --
Will you apologize to Mika Brzezinski, Mr. President?
They were about the president's tweets and his ongoing war of words with m MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, who now alleged White House aides made them an offer, go softer on your coverage of Mr. Trump and the president will kill a story about the TV host in the "National Enquirer".
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: He said if you call the president up and you apologize for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone and basically spike the story.
ACOSTA: A White House official confirmed Scarborough did speak with the president's his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, but the official denied there was ever any offer of a quid pro quo.
Top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said it was all about counterpunching critics in the media, critics Conway described as unpatriotic.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR: It doesn't help the American people to have a president covered in this light. I'm sorry, it's neither productive, nor patriotic.
ACOSTA: The president is also disrupting Senate negotiations over health care, tweeting, if Republican senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately repeal and then replace at a later date. That mirrors the suggestion from some GOP lawmakers who are growing frustrated with the logjam in the Senate.
SEN. BEN SASSE (R), NEBRASKA: What I'm recommending is that we give comfort to the American people by repealing the maximum amount of Obamacare that we can, but add a one-year delay before that would be effective, so there is an action forcing event so that we get to work.
ACOSTA: The problem is, it's not what the president promised.
TRUMP: We're going to do it simultaneously. It would be just fine. We're not going to have like a two-day period, and we're not going to have a two-year period where there is nothing. It will be repealed and replaced.
ACOSTA: Even some Republicans say splitting up repeal and replace won't work. REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: The problem is, we know how
Washington works. You can't -- sometimes on deadlines, we still don't get things done.
ACOSTA: Now, as for health care, White House officials tried to clarify the president's stance today, saying they're looking at all options. Asked whether the president now just favors an approach of repealing and not replacing, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president's thinking has not changed on the issue -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Jim Acosta at the White House for us, thank you.
As we've been reporting, the hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" are now raising questions about whether the president of the United States and White House staff abused the power of the office by demanding that Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski drop their critical coverage with the threat of a nasty story about them in the "National Enquirer", published by a Trump friend, that publication.
[16:40:10] CNN correspondent Jessica Schneider joins me now.
And, Jessica, this is quite a serious charge by Joe and Mika. Have they provided any evidence to back it up, text messages or whatever? And how is the White House responding?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, as for Joe Scarborough, he has not provided any text messages or call logs, but he does say that they exist, to prove that he was contacted by three White House officials who urged him to call the president to make this "National Enquirer" story go away.
Now, as for the White House itself, they are batting back at all of this. This entire story, saying that, it was in fact, Joe Scarborough who called Jared Kushner and there were no such promises of killing this "National Enquirer" story.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Tonight, a new allegation from the MSNBC hosts engaged in a war with the White House. Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough claimed they were threatened by the White House this spring.
SCARBOROUGH: We got a call that hey, the "National Enquirer" is going to run a negative story against you guys. And they said, if you call the president up and you apologize for your coverage, then he will pick up the phone and basically spike the story. Three people at the very top of the administration calling me.
SCHNEIDER: Brzezinski and Scarborough first lobbed the accusation in a "Washington Post" column Friday morning after the president personally attacked the cable news hosts, tweeting, I heard poorly rated @morningjoe speaks badly of me, don't watch anymore. Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago three nights in a row around New Year's Eve and insists on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a facelift. I said no.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: He appears to have a fragile, impetuous child-like ego that we've seen over and over again, especially with women. It's like he can't take it.
SCHNEIDER: This was the story the "National Enquirer" ultimately ran in June, accusing the couple of cheating on their spouses. Brzezinski said the tabloid hounded her family to get the story.
BRZEZINSKI: They were calling my children. They were calling close friends.
SCARBOROUGH: You're talking about the "National Enquirer"?
SCHNEIDER: The president has close ties to the "Enquirer", which endorsed him during the 2016 campaign and has relentlessly attacked his political adversaries.
President Trump and a "National Enquirer" publisher David Pecker are close friends and allies.
The "National Enquirer's" editor-in-charge Dylan Howard issued this statement: At the beginning of June, we accurately reported a story that recounted the relationship between Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the truth of which is not in dispute. At no time did we threaten either Joe or Mika or their children in connection with our reporting on the story. We have no knowledge of any discussions between the White House and Joe and Mika about our story and absolutely no involvement in those discussions.
After the explosive accusation from the couple on air, the president responded, tweeting: watched low rated @MorningJoe for the first time in a long time. Fake news. He called me to stop a "National Enquirer" article. I said no. Bad show.
Scarborough quoted the president's tweets and called him out: yet another lie. I have texts from your top aides and phone records. Also, those records show I haven't spoken with you in many months.
NBC confirmed to CNN that Scarborough told NBC News executives about the threats and calls from the White House as they were happening.
But the White House is putting out a different spin. An official says it was Joe Scarborough who called Jared Kushner about the upcoming "National Enquirer" story. Kushner then told Scarborough to call the president, but official denies there was any indication that the president would help kill the "Enquirer" story in exchange.
The president himself did not answer questions about the allegation at his joint press conference today.
REPORTER: Will you apologize to Mika Brzezinski, Mr. President?
(END VIDEOTAPE) SCHNEIDER: And the White House has not released any official
statement on those accusations. Joe Scarborough, meanwhile, has not responded to CNN's request for additional details on his version of those events -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Jessica Schneider, thank you so much. We have much more to talk about in our politics lead today, including President Trump's election fraud commission which is now asking states for the names, dates of birth and voting history of every voter in America. We'll talk to one secretary of state who is saying, no way.
Stay with us.
[16:45:00] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD, also in the "POLITICS LEAD" today, after his November victory in which President Trump won the electoral vote but not the popular vote, Mr. Trump claimed for that evidence that 305 million people voted illegally. There remains is no evidence for that charge, but the White House launched a Commission to study the issue nonetheless, vice-chaired by the very controversial Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Kobach and the Commission this week, asked all 50 states for their voter rolled data, information that includes names, addresses, party affiliation, and in some cases, even the last four digits of your Social Security Numbers. CNN's Tom Foreman has the story.
TRUMP: So many cities are corrupt and voter fraud is very, very common.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In a quest to root out allegedly rampant voter fraud, the President's Commission wants an ocean of sensitive information about every voter, including the person's full name, address, date of birth, political affiliation, voting, military and criminal records, part of his or her Social Security number and more. States, particularly some Democratic blue ones, are pushing back hard. California is flat out refusing to hand over the info.
ALEX PADILLA, CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF STATE: The President's sent allegations of massive voter fraud are simply not true.
FOREMAN: So is New York. We will not comply and Virginia too. There is no evidence of significant voter fraud. But some states that went Republican red for Trump were also blocking including Utah, Alabama, Iowa and Wisconsin. They'll hand over only some data and still, others are dismissing the whole idea of voter fraud run amok.
[16:50:06] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You might find some illegal activity but not to the scale that's been described.
TRUMP: People that have died 10 years ago and are still voting, illegal immigrants are still voting.
FOREMAN: As a candidate, Donald Trump insisted fraud was a real problem. Even after he won the Electoral College, he lashed out at news more people voted for Hillary Clinton tweeting, "I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."
TRUMP: So many things are going on.
FOREMAN: To help steer his Commission, he chose Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobak who calls the state's complaints complete nonsense.
KRIS KOBACH, KANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE: We're looking at all forms of election irregularities, voter fraud, registration fraud, voter intimidation, suppression,
FOREMAN: Kobach has zealously hunted vote cheaters back home for months yet he's found less than a dozen probable cases out of more than a million and a half registered voters. What's more, he's a champion for voter I.D. laws which many skeptics consider a way to suppress minority votes. And he was fined by a Federal Judge in Kansas just last week for his conduct in a lawsuit involving voting rights. Connecticut's take, given "Secretary Kobach's history, we find it very difficult to have confidence in the work of this Commission."
FOREMAN: A cornerstone problem here is that there's just no evidence out there that's ever been a widespread voter fraud problem, despite what the White House says. And interestingly enough, some of those states are also raising real privacy concerns, including the Vice President's own states of Indiana, which says it can't fully comply with this request.
TAPPER: Interesting, Tom Foreman, thanks so much. Joining me now is the Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. Madam Secretary, thanks so much for joining us. Your office received this request from the Commission, you have said you will not comply. Kentucky will not comply. Why not?
ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES, KENTUCKY SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, not on my watch Chris. Are we going to start infringing on the 10th Amendment which specifically leaves elections to the states to run, especially when it comes to voter registration? Not on my watch. Are we going to pull it -- participate in a political activity that is really -- it's a commission that is set up as a pretext to try to find an answer to a problem that simply doesn't exist. And not on my watch. Are we going to reveal sensitive voter information data that at best is a waste of taxpayer money, and at worst is a national effort to suppress votes across the United States?
TAPPER: Is there voter fraud in Kentucky? Is it a problem that needs to be addressed?
GRIMES: You know, the President has stated a claim over and over again that is simply untrue. It's a lie. There is no evidence to back it up. Expert after expert, especially across bipartisan lines, has said that there is no proof for it, and in the Commonwealth of Kentucky we have no evidence of voter impersonation that would back up the President's claim. We continue to be vigilant and to assure voters of the integrity of our process. The President's tweets, 140 characters at a time, though, they're breaking down our democracy and there comes a point when you say no. This is not only a request to try to justify a lie the president has put forth, but this isn't about party, this is about the personal privacy of voters. When you're talking about releasing to the federal government their last four digits of their Social Security number, their date of birth, where they live if they've been serving in the military if they've had felony convictions? I don't know about you, but the same way the NRA doesn't want a federal gun registry, Americans don't want a federal voter registration database.
TAPPER: The letter from the Commission request publicly available data. White House said this afternoon that refusals like yours are quote mostly a political stunt. To play devil's advocate here, if publicly available data is a matter of public record, why take issue with providing it to the federal government?
GRIMES: Well, first let's make sure that we make well aware to all the viewers that are out there that this request goes beyond publicly available information. Social Security numbers, your dates of birth, your entire voting history, whether you've served in the military, criminal convictions, it's overly broad, it's sensitive, personal voter information. Also, let's make sure that people understand, the National Association for Secretaries of State has repeatedly stood by the fact that the 10th Amendment is there for a reason. Elections are left to the states to run. This is encroachment at the federal level at its finest. I sit at the National Secretary State meeting right next to Kansas, and I can tell you time and time again, I've heard my Republican counterparts echo as I am now that this is simply not an area that the federal government needs to overreach and let alone one that's on a baseless sham Commission to try to back up a president's purported lie of 3 to 5 million people voting illegally that simply hasn't happened.
[16:55:02] TAPPER: Quickly if you could because we're nearly the end of the show but why do you think Kris Kobach and this Commission want this data?
GRIMES: Well, obviously you have somebody who is running the Commission that himself is putting himself on the ballot coming up shortly to try to become Governor of Kansas. And one can only speculate. I think it's another reason why you have so many secretaries, not just Democrats but Republicans, saying they're not going to be turning over this information. For what reason, what purpose, other than voter suppression does the federal government need the party registration of not only millions of Americans but 3.3 million registered voters in the Commonwealth of Kentucky?
TAPPER: Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, thank you so much. I hope you have a happy 4th of July.
GRIMES: Thank you.
TAPPER: Tune-in to Sunday CNN for "STATE OF THE UNION." My guest includes Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Ben Sasse. That will be at 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 Eastern on Sunday. Wolf Blitzer is in "THE SITUATION ROOM" after this quick break. Stay with us.