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49 Killed in Deadliest Mass Shooting in U.S. History; Trump Slams Obama's Handling of Terrorism; Authorities Learn Shooter Visited Disney Property Hours Before Killing. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired June 13, 2016 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN "Breaking News."
[23:01:20] DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And it is "Breaking News."
We are learning more about Orlando nightclub terrorist Omar Mateen.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon in Orlando, where President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit here on Thursday. Of course, CNN will carry all of that for you.
Here's what we know at this hour, though. According to the "Orlando Sentinel", regular patron say the killer visited the nightclub several times and he visited a Disney property two months ago.
The question is, was he casing it for a potential attack?
Also, Donald Trump slamming President Obama and Hillary Clinton on the issue of terrorism and getting into a war with the "Washington Post."
We're going to get into all of that this evening.
But I want to begin this hour with CNN's Pamela Brown who is here with me in Orlando. She has been working this story and investigating it. We're learning much, much more about Omar Mateen.
So give us the latest on the investigation. His dad calls him Omer, but you know, we pronounced it Omar Mateen.
What's the latest on the investigation?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: So we know that investigators have followed up on more than 100 leads, Don. And they've also have been interviewing the wife of the gunman.
And she has been speaking to investigators giving helpful information according to our law enforcement sources, including some of the place this gunman visited in the days and perhaps the weeks leading up to the mass shooting.
So investigators are using that information to piece together a time line. And they want to figure out if there was preoperational surveillance done. If there were, perhaps, other targets he was scoping out. All of that is still under investigation.
But what we do know is that he was exposed to Jihadist propaganda online. And that in part is why he was radicalized according to our law enforcement sources.
One source I spoke to, Don, said, he was taking in a lot of that propaganda. And it wasn't just ISIS. It was other terrorist groups as well.
And so the picture that's emerging of this gunman is someone who is very confused, very disturbed because there seems to be other influences here beyond just the fact that he may have been inspired by terrorist organizations.
LEMON: Yes, he was certainly conflicted about something. Because we are learning, this is information that you can tell me about -- about him possibly visiting "Pulse," going to the club before numerous times.
BROWN: Right. And so four patrons who are regulars at that club actually told the "Orlando Sentinel," Don, that he had visited this club multiple times prior to the attack.
And so that is a line of inquiry that investigators are pursuing. They want to figure out why that was. Was it for personal reasons? Was it all part of this planning prior to this attack so he could do the preoperational surveillance? They haven't quite figured out why he had gone multiple times, but it is certainly something of interest.
LEMON: What about the reports about gay hook-up or dating sites like Grinder or Jacked?
BROWN: That's something else that investigators are looking at, because again, they're putting this picture together, this mosaic. And now we've heard from these patrons. He went to the nightclub multiple times, this gay nightclub. And now we're learning that he was using these gay apps.
And so the question is, that investigators are trying to answer, was he doing it for his own personal reasons? Was he just trying to learn more about the gay community or was it all part of his planning? I mean, that's so unclear, but it's certainly, again, of interest.
LEMON: And, again, as the patrons are saying, they have seen him. There are people who are saying on these apps, right, that he contacted them. Those are, again, according to people who were using those apps. And say that they contacted him or he contacted them on them.
LEMON: Thank you, Pamela Brown. I appreciate your reporting on that.
Donald Trump getting a major speech today. Let's talk about the political part of this. A major speech today in reaction to this massacre here in Orlando. CNN's Dana Bash has that for us.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump's 34-minute speech was brimming with the kind of nativist rhetoric that helped him win the G.O.P. nomination.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They are pouring in and we don't know what we're doing.
[23:05:07] BASH: But as he doubled down on the solution to Americans fear of attacks at home, limiting immigration into the U.S., Trump made lots of claims, some true, some not true.
In the category of not true, this --
TRUMP: The killer whose name I will not use or ever say was born in Afghan, of Afghan parents, who immigrated to the United States.
BASH: His parents did emigrate from Afghanistan, but the killer himself was born in New York, which is why U.S. officials are calling it an act of home-grown terrorism.
Still, regardless of the Orlando killer being American, the thrust of Trump's response to the attack is focused on concerns about immigrants.
He drilled down on Hillary Clinton's plan to let Syrian refugees into the U.S.
TRUMP: A 500 percent increase in Syrian refugees coming into our country. Tell me, tell me, how stupid is that?
This could be a better, bigger, more horrible version than the legendary Trojan horse ever was.
BASH: That stat at Clinton's refugee proposal would be a 500 percent increase over President Obama's plan is true.
To be specific, Obama's plan allows for 10,000 refugees, Clinton's is 65,000. That would actually be a 550 percent increase about what Trump claims. But he also argues there is no vetting.
TRUMP: Having learned nothing from these attacks, she now plans to massively increase admissions without a screening plan.
BASH: The reality is refugees now go through months of processing and paperwork before being admitted into the U.S. so that is false.
Then there's the question of how many Syrian refugees are coming in now.
TRUMP: We have to stop the tremendous flow of Syrian refugees into the United States.
BASH: On CNN's "New Day," Trump was more specific.
TRUMP: We have, by the way, thousands and thousands of people pouring into our country right now who have the same kind of hate and probably even more that he has.
BASH: On the numbers, what Trump said is true.
According to the State Department, 3,887 Syrian refugees have been admitted to the U.S. since last October. More than 2,000 of them in the last month alone. Though that's far fewer so far than the 10,000 President Obama said he would allow.
And on the issue of guns --
TRUMP: Her plan is to disarm law-abiding Americans, abolishing the Second Amendment and leaving only the bad guys and terrorists with guns. No good. Not going to happen, folks. Not going to happen.
BASH: Trump repeated his claim that Hillary Clinton wants to do away with America's right to bear arms. But that is false.
Clinton does want to restrict access to guns, but not abolish the Second Amendment.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If the FBI is watching you for a suspected terrorist links, you shouldn't be able to just go buy a gun with no questions asked.
BASH: Beyond those specific statements for Muslims in America, Trump's overall tone was no doubt alarming. Even as he said some American-Muslim communities are great and call for a partnership, he also said they know what's going on. They know that he was bad.
Despite offering no evidence, any of the killer's fellow American- Muslims knew about his intentions.
LEMON: Thank you, Dana. I appreciate that.
I want to talk about this now with Kayleigh McEnany, CNN political commentator and a Trump supporter.
Buck Sexton is here as well. He is a political commentator who is a former CIA agent. And political contributor Van Jones here as well. And Mo Elleithee is the executive director of Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service.
So good evening to all of you. It's good to have you on.
Kayleigh, what's your reaction to what you just heard from Dana Bash?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, CNN REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, first of all, you know, I want to say that my heart goes out to the victims and their families. I know this is an unimaginably hard time. And just we are all with you no matter what side of the aisle we come from.
But my reaction to Dana's piece is that Donald Trump is exactly on point. You know, he was correct when he said in his speech that we have engaged in deadly ignorance.
We have a president who has called this workplace violence. He called these random acts of extremism. He has called it every euphuism he could possibly called these actions in the book.
But the problem is this is radical Islamic terrorism and we need a commander-in-chief who will say that and say it boldly, and go after these monsters who are slaughtering people: gay, straight, female, male. We need someone who is going to go after these monsters and find them. And that is exactly what Donald Trump said in his speech.
LEMON: Van Jones?
[23:10:00] VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, like Kayleigh, this is a horrible situation. I'm not gay. I'm not Muslim. But I'm very close to both communities.
Also, I want to say to you, Don, you're having to pull double duty tonight as both a victim of the community and doing your job. So, you know, first of all, much honor and respect to you, brother.
Listen, I think that Donald Trump's tone and his ideas are just horribly wrong headed. The reality is we don't understand what happened yet. This could in fact be an act both of a hate crime against gay people. It could also be an act of self-loathing by a gay person. It could be radical terrorist act by somebody inspired by jihad, or that could be an excuse for a cover. It could be a gun policy failure. It could be evil.
And instead of us coming together like we used to do when these things happen, instead, we have people who run and try to divide us with their own favored policy prescriptions to recycle their own sound byte. And that's wrong. It's wrong today.
And I was very disappointed to hear that kind of an approach when most people are just shocked and grieving.
LEMON: I want to go to Buck Sexton.
Buck, Donald Trump said on -- and by the way, thank you, Van, for that.
Donald Trump said on CNN this morning that she is not afraid to say -- or Hillary Clinton said she's not afraid to say radical Islam. Trump was asked to respond to that on "Fox News" tonight. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: Did you say radical Islamic terrorism was responsible. She did say that. And that's a departure for her.
TRUMP: She was under the same. She didn't use the term. She used radical Islamic-ism. She didn't use radical Islamic terrorism. No, but there is a difference. And she didn't say it. She said she would use it. And, Bill, the only reason she did that is because I've been going after her.
O'REILLY: You've been pounding the narrative, no doubt about it. There's no doubt about it.
TRUMP: If I didn't do that, she would have never -- Bill, if I didn't do that, she would have never said those words.
O'REILLY: Well, I don't know that. I mean, but you're much better at that, with frisking mind reading thing than I am.
TRUMP: I do. I don't want the credit. I don't want the credit.
O'REILLY: All right.
TRUMP: If I didn't pound her on that, she would not have said it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: All right. So, Buck, he says that he force her to say it.
I mean, what do you think? Does it matter what she says or what it is called?
BUCK SEXTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's important to have an accurate and open discussion and description of what's happened here. The motivations behind it.
I should note that Hillary Clinton on CNN this morning referred to radical Islamism and radical Jihadism, which is unnecessary. It's kind of strange for a former secretary of state not to know that Islamism by its nature, at least by western notion is considered to be radical and certainly Jihadism, and jihadization is considered to be radical. And she said that those two things are the same.
Again, getting perhaps even further in the weeds here than we need to.
On Van's point that he made a minute ago about how we use to come together --
LEMON: But let's listen to it. No, no, as you're talking about it, let's listen to what Hillary Clinton said so we can discuss it. Let's -- here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: From my perspective, it matters what we do more than what we say. It mattered we got Bin Laden. I would namely call him. And I have clearly said that we say it's terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering innocent people.
And, you know, whether you call it radical Jihadism, radical Islamism, I think they mean the same thing. I'm happy to say either. So what I won't do, because I think it is dangerous for our efforts to defeat this threat is to demonize and demagogue, and you know, declare war on an entire religion. That plays right into ISIS' hands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Buck, I want you to respond quickly and I want Van to, as well. I didn't mean to cut you off. I just wanted our viewers to hear it.
SEXTON: What I said before stands. I mean, there is a distinction between Islamism and Jihadism. And you don't have to add radical before that. And to think Hillary Clinton coming out and saying it, it just shows that she is not very comfortable with this terminology. And she doesn't use it very often because she uses it improperly. And for a former secretary of state, that's weird.
But I also want to move on to Van's point, which I think is much more central, much more necessary, which is this should all be about stopping the next attack.
I would think that there should be a unity between political parties and across political lines to try and do that. You know, there are some things we can have a real discussion and should have a real discussion about immigration in this country and whether it has any effect whatsoever on terrorism.
A discussion, to be sure.
LEMON: OK. All right.
SEXTON: And I think also there is a discussion to be had on gun control although once again, people --
LEMON: I want, Mo, to get in on this conversation.
Sorry, I had to cut you off. I have more people on the panel.
So, Mo, you heard what he said, she said. Does it matter what it is called?
MO ELLEITHEE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY'S INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE: Look, I'm kind of with her on this, right. I'm far less concerned with what it's called and much more concerned with what we do about it. But I will say this. Words do matter, right?
I mean, this is the point he is making. That words do matter. And if you listen to the words that he's using, it should be chilling to every American out there.
When he is casting aspersions on an entire faith and making them complicit in what happened in Orlando, that is remarkably dangerous. When he is insinuating and questioning openly the loyalty of the president of the United States in combating this, that should be horribly chilling to every single American.
[23:15:15] There is a reason why Donald Trump is featured in ISIS recruiting videos. There is a reason why he has become the face of the anti-Muslim movement within the Muslim community.
It is, it is setting us further back when we use this kind of rhetoric. It's -- Van is right. It's about coming together as a nation. But it's also about how we're going to deal with our adversaries abroad.
LEMON: All right. I'm dealing with very limited time. So sorry to cut all of you off. But we'll be right back. We're going to continue our conversation. I've got to get a break in.
LEMON: So let's pick up our discussion now.
Back with me: Kayleigh McEnany, Buck Sexton, Van Jones and Mo Elleithee.
Kayleigh, I want to play this for you. This is Donald Trump. He called in to "Fox and Friends" this morning. And he said this about President Obama in relation to the Orlando attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP (via telephone): He doesn't get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands. It's one or the other. And either one is unacceptable.
We're led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he's got something else in mind. And the something else in mind, you know, people can't believe it. People cannot -- they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can't even mention the words radical Islamic terrorism. There is something going on. It's inconceivable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[23:20:12] LEMON: OK. So what is he insinuating? What is he saying there? Is he accusing the president of being a Muslim extremist sympathizer?
MCENANY: No, I don't think so at all. In fact, later in the day, he was asked what he meant by that, to extrapolate. And he said, I don't think the president wants to see what's going on.
And I think that there are a lot of people who sit back and they are very befuddled by the president's actions whenever these things happened. Oftentimes, not today, thankfully, but oftentimes he takes the opportunity to instead of chastising the terrorists, you know, he'll condemn their actions, of course, but then he goes on to say to America, it's important to be tolerant.
And we Americans sit here and we think we don't have a tolerance problem. I don't look around. I have spoken to many people today. I watched the news from top to bottom. I haven't seen anyone saying inflammatory, Islamic hateful things.
JONES: Donald Trump.
MCENANY: We don't have a tolerance problem.
ELLEITHEE: Except for Donald Trump.
MCENANY: The Islamic radicals do. No, no. He never said anything that castigated the entire religion. He talk about radical Islamism.
ELLEITHEE: I disagree. Yes, he did.
MCENANY: He made one comment -- he made one comment about Muslims knowing about what's happening, which in fact if you turn in your T.V., I think every Muslim in America knows what's happening. That is what he was talking about. And we can distort his comments all night. But I think it does a disservice to the victims.
We should be talking about how to address radical Islam, not parsing Donald Trump's words.
LEMON: Well, OK. Mo, first.
ELLEITHEE: I'm sorry, Kayleigh. I like -- I guess I just don't see it the way you do, because Donald Trump has made an entire campaign out of castigating Muslims, and making them a large part of the problem, and wanted to ban an entire religion from entering this nation.
It's not parsing words to replay what he said and amplify it.
I mean, the man is running for president. And what he is saying is very, very dangerous.
LEMON: Van Jones?
JONES: Yes. I just want to say a couple of things.
First of all, there is this mythology that somehow the president of the United States came out and said radical Islamic terrorism, radical Islamic terrorism, then everything would be perfectly fine and we would all -- and this tragedy would be better. I just don't think that's right.
Some Americans haven't heard why he doesn't use that term. I just like to explain it.
It would be paying them an incredible compliment to associate them with Islam. This is one of the great faiths to call them what they want to be called. It would be giving them a comment. He's insulting them by refusing to call them that.
Just like when the KKK, another terrorist organization, they call themselves a Christian organization. We would never call them Christians, because it would actually pay them a compliment.
They call themselves patriots. We don't call white nationalist terrorist groups patriots, because that's what they call themselves.
I just want to be clear. It's not that that he's not every day trying to keep us safe if he just forgot to say some term. If he said that term, it won't magically fix the problem. I just don't understand this obsession with the term.
SEXTON: Van, if I can.
LEMON: Buck Sexton?
SEXTON: I think that's just wilful blindness. I mean, it's neither Van Jones is, nor the president or any other else's place really would be able to say that any particular group is or is not within the Islamic faith, especially when groups are calling themselves things like the Islamic State. They certainly would beg to differ.
And I'm not here to sort of parse out who is the correct, from the theological perspective, who is correct and who is not. I'm really trying to figure out ways to prevent the next terrorist attack.
And the reason that people have trouble with this administration in particular is because as Kayleigh noted earlier in the show, the president had said things like Fort Hood, where you had a U.S. -- a member of the United States military in contact with a wanted al Qaeda leader, and was then shooting up people on a U.S. military base. And the president calls it workplace violence.
I mean, the downplaying of the ideological basis for this kinds of terror and the pretense that a majority of the strategic mass casualty terrorism that United States and its allies faces is not from something within the broader Islamic community makes a lot of Americans feel very uneasy about the way this administration handles things.
SEXTON: It's us in front of all of our faces. We see all of the different groups. Islam in some form or another in their name. That's not to say it's representative of the whole faith, but to say it's none the faith at all is just not being honest.
LEMON: Buck, Kayleigh will respond to that.
MCENANY: Yes. And, you know, I think it does matter, too, calling it Islamic terrorism, because there is fear in this country, this politically correct kind of fear that if you see something going on that is strange and the person happens to be of the Muslim faith or an Arabic person that you can't report it, which is what we saw in San Bernardino. People saw strange things going on, but they didn't report it out of fear of being labelled or called bigoted.
Likewise, we see the co-worker of this young terrorist man come out and say he believed the company did not let this man go or look into the warning signs because in fact he was a Muslim man. And they didn't want to be accused of being bigoted.
When you have a president who says, yes, this is Islamic terrorism; yes, we should be on the lookout for anything that is strange from anyone of any color, origin or ethnicity including Islamic people, or Arabic people, it makes a difference. It is important to call it what it is so people feel like they can report strange things when they see them.
[23:25:15] LEMON: Everybody, stay with me.
Up next, Donald Trump revokes the "Washington Post" -- I've got to get to a break, Van, on the other side.
Donald Trump revokes a "Washington Post" press credentials. And we'll continue this conversation as well.
Van, you'll get the first word.
We'll be right back.
LEMON: Back now with Kayleigh McEnany, Buck Sexton, Van Jones and Mo Elleithee.
Van, I know you're chatting a bit to get in. Go ahead.
How did you want to respond to what Buck and Kayleigh said.
JONES: Well, first of all, I'm not going to insult my friends and compliment my enemies by calling these butchers Muslims all the time. I don't know why anybody thinks that's a good idea.
There are a billion Muslims in the world who hate this stuff and offended by it. And I think it doesn't make a lot of sense.
The other thing I want to point out is, the vast majority of people who have been killed in the United States by terrorist acts since 9/11 have not been killed by Muslims. They've been killed by politically- motivated white supremacists and politically-motivated white nationalists. And so that is something that we don't talk about.
[23:30:16] So when it happens, when a white person shoot someone, we're talking about their mental state first, were they crazy, and their ideology second. When a Muslim does it, we talk about ideology first, and then their mental state second. There have been extremists on the religion and they are crazy. We got to have one standard, either we're going to talk about people's mental state, no matter their faith, no matter their religion, no matter their culture, or we're going to talk about the ideology. If we talk about ideology, the white supremacists have killed more people since 9/11 than the Muslims have.
SEXTON: All right, I have to respond to this. I mean first of all, the cutout 9/11 from ...
LEMON: Buck, I can't, Buck. I can't. That's the last on this conversation, Buck.
SEXTON: If this is ingenious on the faith ...
LEMON: The "Washington Post" is the first outlets to report on this with the original reporting. They were the first - one of the first outlets to report on the headline reading, Donald Trump suggests President Barack Obama was involved with the Orlando shooting. The post later changed the headline to Donald Trump seems to connect President Obama to Orlando shooting. Trump took notice of that and here's what he said. He said, "Based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign, we are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest "Washington Post."
So, Buck, "Buzzfeed", "Politico", "The Daily Beast", "Univision", "The Huffington Post" have all the been blocked in recent months. Is Donald Trump at war with the press right now?
SEXTON: I don't know how long this will really last. You had "Huffington Post" which is one of the most read news sites in the world saying that Donald Trump's campaign was a joke and they weren't going to cover it. So I mean this works both ways and that is quite obvious at this point. You also have Democrats candidates who won't go on Fox News to do a debate. So I mean, there is any number of ways can you slice this and Donald Trump deciding he's going to revoke press credentials. He's within his rights, I suppose, to do it. I don't encourage it. I don't think it's a good idea, but if he wants to do it, he can do it, I suppose.
I still would like to respond to the fact that we are pretending that the threat from non-Islamic terrorism is equivalent to other terrorism. But if we have to move on, I suppose we'll move on.
LEMON: Buck, I only have two minutes. It's only a timing thing. And always, you want to let the Trump supporter respond, it's not it. It's a timing thing. It's OK. They want you to respond to the "Washington Post" that him revoking their press credentials.
MCENANY: Yeah, I think - yes, absolutely should of because in fact, I think what they did was edging on libel or defamation. When you say Donald Trump suggests Obama is involved with the shooting, when all Donald Trump has ever said that it had no intonation of that. He said, "Look, there might be something else going on there -- going on here." And from that, "The Washington Post" basically concocts this headline much like the "National Inquirer" would do. I mean this is obscene. If you want to be a real credible news organization, report facts. Don't report lies. Don't make things up. Because then you don't deserve that press credentials. LEMON: OK, so listen, here is what the "The Washington Post" said, the executive editor saying, "Donald Trump's decision to revoke "The Washington Post's" press credentials is nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press. When coverage doesn't correspond to what the candidate wants it to be, news organization is banished." Mo, what is your take on that?
ELLEITHEE: I spent 20 years as a press secretary and communications director. I have had my fair share of fights with your colleagues in the press corps, Don. I have gotten into screaming matches with some of them over the years. I've never banned anyone from covering. Number one, it's silly to think can you ban anyone from covering your campaign. If you want to restrict access, I guess you have the right to do that. But when you are stepping out on to this stage as a candidate for president of the United States, this comes with the territory. You're not going to like all the coverage. You're going to think some of the coverage is unfair. But the press plays a role. Nobody knows that better than Donald Trump. Donald Trump is a creature of the press and the press coverage. So to do that I think is disingenuous.
LEMON: In the short time we have left, Van, you worked for the Obama Administration. And most administrations, if they don't like what you're saying, they don't tell you they're going to take the press credentials. They just ice you out. So, is his way a better way of this, you know?
JONES: Look, it might be a fair point. There are lots of ways for the press to handle it. I guess you could give him points for being authentic and being clear about it. There is, I think, a concern, though. He doesn't seem to have the same basic respect for the independents of the press that you would want. He loves the press when he's getting a lot of attention. He gets really, really angry when the attention is different. I think it's disturbing. I wish he had more respect for an independent judiciary. I thought that his comments about the judge were wrong and also about the press.
SEXTON: The press is predominantly left leaning. We all understand that, right? We're not leaning in some ...
JONES: What are you ...
SEXTON: I can read that, I'm sorry.
LEMON: I think all of them do the same thing. I think they all the same thing. Donald Trump is saying, "I'm not going to do it."
[23:35:01] And everybody else says, "They don't tell you."
SEXTON: Absolutely, yeah. Absolutely. They get some people access and other people not.
LEMON: So it's all the same thing.
SEXTON: It's not as crazy as people think.
LEMON: Absolutely. All right, up next, late breaking news about the activities of the gunman leading up to the shooting, the killing at the Orlando nightclub. We'll be right back.
LEMON: More breaking news into CNN. Investigators using cell phone data have determined that Orlando shooter, Omar Matten visited a Disney property just hours before the attack and they have learned that he searched online for a lot of Jihadist propaganda including ISIS beheading videos.
So let's talk about. Art Roderick is here, CNN law enforcement analyst. Michael Weiss is here, the senior editor at the "The Daily Beast", Jim Maxwell, a retired special agent at the FBI, and Bernard Kerik, former New York city police commissioner, and Anthony May, a retired explosives investigator.
Michael, what do you make of this search and also visiting a Disney property?
MICHAEL WEISS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, to be honest with you, I don't what to make about visiting the Disney property. I mean maybe he wanted to go to Disney World or, you know, he was scouting another potential target. The Jihadi propaganda though, this is straight out of central casting. I've seen reports today that he was watching the sermons and YouTube videos of Anwar al-Awlaki who was the sort of main Al-Qaeda cleric based in Yemen killed in a drone strike three years ago by the United States.
[23:40:10] It is very common for ISIS adherence today to have been, either in part or in whole, radicalized by al-Awlaki videos. Everything is so far about this guy that we've discussed in the last segment, you know, that he might have been closeted gay and, you know, had some kind deep-seated personal grievances against blacks and Jews and ethnic minorities and so on.
Everything so far leads me to believe that, again this was a lone wolf phenomenon. You can write the script with a crayon, these kinds of characters. The only thing that's missing so far is some stint in jail, you know, an arrest for some kind of petty criminality and radicalization process in prison or he linked up with a radical Imam. But almost every major terrorist operation seen in west adheres or, you know, kind of conforms to this broad script that we're seeing unfold so far. I don't see anything to indicate that there was a large scale coordination with ISIS in Iraq.
LEMON: All right. Bernard Kerik, there's information about searching for Jihadi propaganda.
BERNARD KERIK, FORMER NYPD COMMISSIONER: Listen, that's what they do. You know, these guys are radicalized online. We've seen this, you know, in the last two or three events where they're continually looking for propaganda. They're searching the internet. They are communicating with abroad through internet, through these various apps. This is the way they communicate. This is the way they learn. This is the way they are radicalized. Yeah.
LEMON: Let's talk about soft targets, Jim Maxwell, because people all over the country have been concerned about soft target, about movie theaters, about concert halls, malls, just about anything out, yeah. You can say anything is a soft target. You can't protect 100 percent of the people. What can we do better though?
JIM MAXWELL, RETIRED SPECIAL AGENT AT THE FBI: Well, we have to be aware of citizens that have what we call situational awareness. If you're going to a concert, if you're going to a movie theatre, you sit in that theatre and you look at the exit signs, where can I get out of here, how do I -how can I get out here quickly? This is something that the population in Israel deals with every day. And we're just starting to experience it now with these types of events. And I think this just emphasizes more that if you see something, you have to say something.
And if I could discuss why this individual was seen at Disneyland, he probably was evaluating what was the best target, what was the best soft target. If you look at Disneyland, I think it is very difficult to get a weapon past the main gate in Disneyland. But in a crowded bar ...
MAXWELL: ... that's not the case. And it's not unusual that these individuals would case a place ahead of time. We have the case where the conspiracy to blow up the Prudential Building in Newark, New Jersey after 9/11. Those individuals were seen casing that location prior to the event. So this is not unusual at all.
LEMON: OK. Ark Roderick, I'd rather -- you're shaking your head in agreement here.
ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: The first thing that popped in my head when I heard how this went down in the time of the evening absolutely led me to believe right away that he had been surveilling this particular location which means he was probably out surveilling others, looking for the softest target possible. He hit this place at 2:00 a.m. when it was jam packed with people as we've seen from the video and just started shooting people. And it was loud, it was jam packed, and actually, nobody could really hear the rounds going off, Don.
LEMON: So he had been interviewed by the FBI multiple times. The question is, why doesn't that information trickle down to the proper sources, especially when he is purchasing guns?
RODERICK: Well, I mean the FBI did interview him a bunch of time. We also had the incident, it was at the community college, where he was taking the weapons training. That should have raised red flags. There should have been communication even through the joint terrorism task force and the fusion centers all around the country.
LEMON: Right. RODERICK: And that should have been communicated on. What you have here is a situation where there is really no linkage between what the FBI comes to a -- concluded their case and they couldn't find anything there, which means there is no conviction, there is no case moving forward, there is no criminality involved in what he doing, which a lot of them basically go out and purchases weapons.
LEMON: So is there something, Bernard Kerik, where, I mean, at least there could be some sort of flag or at least some sort of information sharing even if you, you know, don't prohibit someone from buying a gun, their right of buying a gun. At least the person selling them the gun would at least have some information about it and maybe able to alert authorities in some way. No? Is that not feasible?
KERIK: That's exactly what I wrote about this morning, Don. We need a flagging mechanism where, you know, this guy was on the radar on two or three different occasions, being looked at as a possible sympathizer or supporter or a terrorist.
[23:45:11] They found nothing. Rightfully so, they went on about their business. But at some point, once he filed an application to purchase a firearm that should be flagged in some way where it bounces back to the bureau or the local municipality, the local police where they can give him a call, stop by his house, go check him out, what you are looking for the guns for? Without that, you're going to have tons of these things happen in the future.
LEMON: Anthony May, I want to -- if you want to weigh in on that, I see several of the panelists shaking their heads. Are you in agreement or not in agreement with that?
ANTHONY MAY, RETIRED ATF EXPLOSIVES INVESTIGATOR: Well, look, Don, this is not an unusual event. What the FBI did when they looked at him was what they can do all the time. And they didn't do anything wrong. I've heard CNN all day long where they've been asked, you know, whether the FBI do anything wrong. They didn't.
Look, when a person goes to purchase a firearm or explosives, they come up on the NICS, the National Criminal Instant Background Check System. And they're looked at to see if they're prohibited from purchasing a firearm, are they convicted felon, are they a fugitive from justice, an illegal drug abuser? This is not unusual. GAO reported in May of 2010 that from February 2004 to February of 2010, the FBI data showed there were 1,228 individuals that came up on the hit list, that were on the watch list, trying to buy firearms. Ninety-one percent of those, roughly 1,119 times, the transfer of the firearms or explosives was allowed to go through. That's because there was no prohibiting factors to prevent that.
And this is not law enforcement's fault. Law enforcement is doing their job. We don't enforce -- we don't make the laws, we enforce the laws. Congress, the senate particularly, had a chance back in the May of -- or actually December of 2015, one day after the San Bernardino shooting to do something about this but they rejected legislation that would have prevented a suspected terrorist or someone on the watch list from, in fact, making a purchase that your Orlando shooter did. It's not law enforcement's fault. The problem lies with our laws and our regulations.
LEMON: ... after the break. Don't go anywhere.
[23:51:20] LEMON: Back with Art Roderick, Michael Weiss, Jim Maxwell, Bernard Kerik and Anthony May. And just before the break, Anthony May, you brought up a good point when you were talking about Congress. I interviewed last night Police Commissioner William Bratton, and here's what he had to say. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BRATTON, NYPD COMMISSIONER: We have the insanity of the country that Congress that is beholden to the NRA, actually being held hostage by the NRA, the idea that we have a terrorist watch list and no-fly list and somebody that's on that list can go out and legally purchase firearms in the United States of America. Well, there's the height of insanity and who is authorizing that insanity? Congress of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So those are some very strong words, you know, when he said that NRA is holding Congress hostage. Is that problem you think, Jim Maxwell, to Mr. May's point?
MAXWELL: You know, I believe it's something that is going to have to be examined. I wouldn't go so far as being held hostage. But I think it's going to take some sort of congressional action to change the statute. Tony very clearly laid out the criteria for getting weapon in the United States. You can't have a felony conviction. You can't have a history of mental illness. You can't have a history of drug use. And now, they're going to have to add to that, if you are on a watch list, you can't have access to weapons. It makes perfect sense. But the law doesn't exist right now. And in order for it to work, you have to go to Congress to get some sort of change or amendment to the structure of the law as it stands today.
LEMON: Art Roderick, as you were here, you were saying that there is a solution to some of this. You were saying when the president comes to town, what were you saying?
RODERICK: Well, I mean that there is something that any agency that does protection knows about and, you know, a lot of threats are made to the judiciary, the U.S. Marshals protect the judiciary, you know, the Secret Service protects ex-president, the vice president. We've got diplomatic security from State Department that protects state heads coming to visit. And generally, what you'll do, if somebody is making some type of veiled threat, it doesn't quite rise to the level of a full-blown threat that can you take and criminalize that particular threat. What they'll do is they have a list of names. This individual has threatened this judge, this individual has made some veiled threats to the president, and what they'll do is when they're traveling somewhere, they'll actually go and knock on that individual's door just to do a reality check with that person and let them know, "Hey, we know you're near in town. We're checking on you."
LEMON: All right. Let's talk about the gun issue because Donald Trump attacked Hillary Clinton on the gun issue today. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Her plan is to disarm law abiding Americans, abolishing the Second Amendment and leaving only the bad guys and terrorists with guns. No good. Not going to happen, folks. Not going to happen. Not going to happen. Thank you.
She wants to take away Americans' guns and then admit the very people who want to slaughter us. Let them come into the country. We don't have guns. Let them come in. Let them have all the fun they want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Michael Weiss, do you think that these sort of domestic terrorism incidents have a connection to immigration in this country?
WEISS: Well, in this case, no. I mean this was a guy who was born in New York, not Afghanistan as Donald Trump erroneously stated today. His father came into the country 30 some odd years ago when Ronald Reagan, not exactly a squish on the Second Amendment and not certainly, not an enemy of the United States or its national security, was president of the United States.
[23:55:08] I've said it before, I'll say it again, Donald Trump doesn't know what he's talking about on these issues. Stanley McChrystal, the former head of JSOC, Joint Special Operations Command, a guy who is responsible for killing more Al-Qaeda in Iraq members including senior leadership than probably any other American said today or yesterday that AR-15, the assault rifle used to shoot up, you know, the Pulse nightclub is meant for the battlefield. It's not meant for the streets of the United States. When the founders wrote the Second Amendment, they were talking about muskets, they weren't talking about not Uzis, OK?
And this is subject to interpretation and reinvention all the time. I mean the constitution is a living dynamic document as most people who study it agree. Look, Donald Trump is playing to the cheap seats here. This is his tactic since the beginning of his campaign. And as I've said before, you know, I'm much more amenable to an argument for, you know, all -- the possession of guns and America's rights to court, but if you know what you're talking about when it comes to the Middle East or radical Jihad or ISIS. Donald Trump knows none of those things.
LEMON: Yeah. Bernard Kerik is a police commissioner. You had to many times police are out, you know, outpowered with guns. Does he have a point about limiting, you know, what kinds of guns people can own? KERIK: I think it's a good question to ask and I think it's something
that has to be looked at. You know, I would have to agree with Stanley McChrystal. You know, these are -- the AR-15s, the AK-47s, the coalition of cops, and Uzi, you know, these are weapons used on a battlefield. You know, do we want those on our streets? I want our police to be able to have them. I don't see a problem with our, you know, off duty police officers being able to possess or carry them. But beyond that, you have to ask yourself, do we want people in our communities carrying these types of weapons?
LEMON: Yeah. That's enough to be the last word. Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate that. That's it for us to night. Thanks for watching. Make sure you stay with CNN for late breaking news on the Orlando massacre. Good night.