tv CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell CNN May 17, 2022 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com good afternoon, i'm eerk hill in for alisyn camerota. welcome to the "cnn newsroom." >> i'm victor blackwell in buffalo. president biden is taking an unequivocal stand against white supremacy, calling it a poison. now, his condemnation came after he visited the site of the latest racist rampage that ended with ten americans, ten black people in this country dead. it is the deadliest shooting so far this year. >> this morning, the president
and the first lady laying flowers at a memorial at the market. you see that makeshift memorial there. during his remarks, president biden blasted the surge in white supremacy that had motivated him to run for office more than three years ago and that police say radicalized a white teenager to commit that mass murder in buffalo. >> white prsupremacy is a poiso. it's a poison. running through our -- it really is. running through our body politic. it's been allowed to fester and grow right in front of our eyes. no more. i mean, no more. we need to say as clearly and forcefully as we can that the ideology of white supremacy has no place in america. >> reporter: more on the president's speech in a moment, but first, the latest on the investigation. online postings show the suspected gunman visited the
scene of the buffalo massacre, the store behind me, three times on a single day in march and he wrote about carrying out the attack on march 15th but then he delayed several times. reportedly, the suspect also visited the supermarket just the day before his shooting spree. store manager told abc that she saw the suspect in the same camouflage outfit that he wore the day of the attack. the manager said after the suspect entered the store, that he was apparently bothering customers, so she asked him to leave. and reportedly, she did so without incident. the manager's brother told the buffalo news that the shooting suspect had been posing as a beggar outside the store. cnn's shimon prokupecz joins me with more:. we're learning the suspect thought about possibly shooting that guard at the market. >> right. he was thinking about that back in march when he first visited the supermarket here three times in one day, according to his writings and now police believe that is, in fact, accurate, that
he was here three times in that one day. and what he was doing was m mapping out the location. he drew maps. he figured out where the exit was, type of people that were inside, noticed that most of the people inside were black. these are the people he was targeting. and then he talked about the security guard, the security guard that he's probably going to have to kill him and we heard that heroic effort by this security guard who tried to take down the shooter but couldn't because he was wearing that body armor so he knew already, the police say, what he was facing when he was coming here. he also came today before the shooting in sort of what they call a reconnaissance to see what else was going on here and investigators, really, the president today talked about this poison of white presuprema. this is what investigators say he was consuming online. one of the thing he was most consumed was the christchurch
shooting in new zealand where the white supremacist shot over 50 people. they say that he was studying that shooting and in many ways replicated what happened there with the camera, the live stream, but also writing names and white supremacist slogans on the guns that police ultimately fond. so, a lot of it was just -- went on for months and months, maybe even over a year where he just sat at home and online, consuming and studying this poison that the president is talking about. of course, this is very concerning for investigators. and now we wait for the next steps here. look, they're really trying to figure out, were there any missed signs here along the way? we know he had interaction with law enforcement along the way, but were there any missed signs, and what can they do to prevent this from happening again? because this consumption of this information is clearly radicalizing people, and this is what it leads to. >> we heard from the new york a.g., letitia james, she said it was a daily diet of hate that he consumed. so, we know that there is, of course, this state investigation as the charge he's already
pleaded not guilty to of first-degree murder but there's also the federal investigation. where does that go from here? >> that's ongoing. look, we do expect the department of justice, the u.s. attorney here in buffalo to bring federal hate crime charges, which could very significant because they could potentially carry the death penalty. under the state charges, there's no death penalty, but the federal charges, there could potentially be death penalty, and that's going to be ultimately up to merrick garland, the attorney general. but they are still working through it. they could be presenting some information to the grand jury or they may just file a criminal complaint. still unclear. but we do expect that in the next few days. >> shimon prokupecz, thank you so much. the president called out those who pushed the fallacy that white americans are being replaced, this great replacement theory. he says he condemns it, and those who spread the lies for power, political gain, and for profit. >> the media and politics, the
internet has radicalized angry, alienated, lost and isolated individuals into falsely believing that they will be replaced. that's the word. replaced. by the other. by people who don't look like them. and who are, therefore, in a perverse ideology that they possess and being fed, lesser beings. >> joining us now, cnn political analyst and april ryan. april, you wrote the book "the presidency in black and white." i'm going to start with you on this issue of race and the white house. this president ran on the slogan of restoring the soul of america, and listen, every president runs on these optimistic aspirational slogans. trump had, make america great again. obama had, change you can believe in. but what's the progress that this white house says it's making on that restoration and doing more than these speeches?
>> well, you know, that's interesting because i asked that question yesterday in the white house briefing room of the first black white house press secretary, and actually, the president has, in this moment, tried to strengthen the department of justice and its civil rights division and all the civil rights divisions within the federal government, but i asked the question, does there need to be more teeth as this continues, even as this president ran on the issue of charlottesville, the hate that was born out of charlottesville? he said it condemned the soul, hurt the soul of this nation, and they are talking about things that they can do moving forward. victor, there are conversations, loud conversations that civil rights leaders are having right now to discuss the very issue of what this administration can do to fix these kind of hate-filled, deadly crimes, and if there is a meeting with civil
rights leaders on what they can do, beyond what's being done now, it will happen after this asia trip, and there are conversations about the possibilities of those meetings. >> yeah. the president did not name names, anyone in media or in congress. he was asked about specific figures, tucker carlson, members of congress on the tarmac. what do you make of the decision to speak about the ideology and not those who are spreading it? >> i think that makes sense from this white house. they are trying to focus that criticism on the hateful ideology itself, not necessarily individual actors. i'm sure the white house doesn't want to be drawn into a back and forth with some of those prominent conservative figures. you mentioned tucker carlson and others, some of those folks who pushed these theories but we have to separate the hateful ideology from the political ideology here. great replacement theory is a
conspiracy that links in anti-semitism, racism and that fear of replacement. but we have a real growing white anxiety in this country that's based off of the true demographic changes that are happening in cities all across the country, in neighborhoods all across the country, and that is something that is also playing into this. when you look and kind of engulf yourself into the media sources that are really pushing this, it is not just the conspiratorial aspect. some of it is in panels just like this, and increasely, black and brown people having voice in shee media and culture and that's going to have to be addressed as well. >> april, the president said that he's asking congress to bar people with mental illnesses from acquiring weapons. he was asked on the tarmac about legislative moves. he says he wants to do what he's done before, that was an assault weapons ban. that is not going to happen. but how much energy is this white house going to put into the effort of stronger gun
safety legislation? >> the effort may be strong, but you have organizations and lobbying groups that are just as strong or even stronger like the nra that has thwarted them at every moment. every time there is a major shooting, multiple shooting, the nra has found a way and other lobbying groups have found a way to create this chasm that it cannot build a bridge over to create change. but at the issue, at the base of this, it is guns and it's also the issue of racism and hate. and i talked to ben crump over the weekend, civil rights attorney who happens to be one of the attorneys for one of the victim's families and he said there needs to be more laws, not just gun laws, but laws about hate that they can create laws about asian hate, why not create laws about hate on black americans?
>> astead, last one to you. this president knows the effort of trying to get gun legislation passed. he was the point person in the obama administration in 2013 after the shooting at sandy hook, and could not get even universal background checks, which has huge support, especially in the polls at that time. if it couldn't happen after 4 and 5-year-olds were mowed down in a classroom, what makes it any more possible now? >> yeah. i think this is -- we should be clear here. the likelihood of this passing is low. you know, no one knows that more than president biden himself. he was there in 2013, as you mentioned, when that legislation failed and we only have a more divided congress, a congress that seems more unlikely to pass any legislation on that president's major part of his agenda, much less what we have now. i think we're going to see democrats try to really hone in on those reactive measures, strengthening department of justice, strengthening kind of anti-hate crime laws and
targeting those supremacists, but we should be clear that those are, again, only reactive. the things that are driving this, the things that are sparking this is a pervasive ideology that is going to take more than just legislation but really a country that decides that it's for everyone and that enough is enough. >> and some things you can't legislate away. >> exactly. >> astead hernden, april ryan, thank you. voters heading to the polls in five states today. one of the brightest spotlights is on pennsylvania where celebrity doctor mehmet oz. is banking on a trump endorsement to push him across the finish line. will it work? in north carolina, gop congressman madison cawthorn fighting to stay above water after a series of scandals. we're going to take you live to both states next. gent alone isn't enough... ...add finish jet dry 3 in 1. to dry, prevent t spots, and protect glasses against cloudiness.
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♪liberty, liberty, liberty. liberty.♪ right now, voters heading to the polls in five states. this is the biggest primary day so far this year, ballots being cast in kentucky, north carolina, pennsylvania, idaho, and oregon. one of the biggest spotlights, though, is on pennsylvania, and the pivotal races there for governor and u.s. senate and that is where we find jeff zeleny. the gop senate race now in an unexpected three-way competition, which is really putting the power of the donald trump endorsement to the test. set the stage for us. where do we stand on this tuesday? >> reporter: erica, about six more hours left to go, a little bit less than that. voters have been going to the polls throughout the day across the state and it is the republican senate race that is really one of the most competitive in the country, one
of the most closely watched in the country and this is why. republican senator pat toomey is retiring. that is creating an open seat, so democrats see this as their best pick-up opportunity. republicans, of course, want to hold this seat in their effort to win control of the majority in november. but it is all going to come down to who wins the primary today. there are a lot of nervous republicans from washington to beyond because they are uncertain of the outcome of this. it looked, just a couple weeks or so ago, that either dr. mehmet oz or david mccormick would win this race. it's been a hard-fought campaign, no question, but in recent days, kathy barnett, a conservative activist and commentator, has been coming on strong. former president trump, who's endorsed dr. mehmet oz, called into a rally last night. he had this to say. >> go out and vote for dr. oz. i think you're going to be extremely happy. if you're not, you'll blame me and that's okay, but you're going to be very happy.
i don't worry about it. >> so, the question is, has the former president been able to convince conservatives that dr. oz is one of them, that he is a true conservative candidate? many voters we have spoken to here simply are not sure of that, but dr. oz also bringing other people into the primary as well, so that is one of the things that we are watching here. but also, erica, on the democratic side, very interesting. the leading candidate is in the hospital. he's not campaigning today. this is his fourth day off the campaign trail. he suffered a stroke late last week. we're told just a short time ago he voted on an emergency absentee ballot but he's going to remain in the hospital throughout the rest of the day, perhaps for up to a week or so. he's still widely expected to have an edge in this contest. he's running against two other challengers, but this campaign for the next several months between now and november certainly going to be up for grabs in terms of who controls the senate come november.
but of course, first things first, we have to see who wins the primary here tonight. >> yeah. that's for sure. one thing i know is true, jeff zeleny, this will not be your last trip to pennsylvania in 2022. that, we can say for sure. thank you. >> reporter: that's right, that's right. meantime, in north carolina, the republican primary to replace retiring senator richard burr will be another test of trump's influence. congressman ted bud is facing off against former governor pat mccrory, mark walker and marjorie eastman. number of races are under the microscope in north carolina today. what are we seeing so far? >> reporter: well, let's talk about that senate race first for that seat from retiring republican senator richard burr. the republican side has become a very ugly race between really the top three candidates that we're talking about here, and that's congressman ted bud, who was endorsed by president trump
and has been the benefactor of a lot of outside money in this race. former north carolina governor pat mccrory, who has battled back, look, on tv in north carolina, we see ads from him all the time, essentially trying to push his conservative credentials without that trump backing and that's what we've seen in that particular race, both of those candidates very busy throughout the day. erica, look, polling suggests that ted budd right now is in the lead and has been for several weeks now. now, on the democratic side, look, former chief justice of the state supreme court sherry beasley has had a much easier route and been able to save money as well because essentially the democratic field cleared for her. so, her night, pretty much in the bag. now, here in hendersonville, the race that everybody is watching, though, is that 11th congressional district and whether or not freshman congressman madison cawthorn can keep his seat amidst just a slew
of scandals and really lots of money and pressure from republicans here in the state as well as in washington. he has very few friends left in his own party because of comments he's made, because of run-ins with the law, and because of essentially just going out of line, they have said. most of these candidates, there are seven who are fighting to beat him in this here, have said they're basically, you know, just as maga, just not as embarrassing. it's a very red district, and they're attempting to sort of come over that superstar status that cawthorn gained in 2020. now, i just spoke to him a few moments ago, actually, here. he got that late sort of push from president trump -- former president trump on monday. he says that he's feeling very good. erica, he's got to get at least 30% of the vote to avoid a runoff, though, with the second highest vote getter in north carolina. >> all right, we will be watching, dianne gallagher, appreciate it. thank you. joining me now to discuss, cnn
political commentator charlie dent, former republican congressman, of course. good to see you this afternoon. so much focus, i don't need to tell you, on your state and as jeff just ran through for us, this last-minute surge we're seeing for kathy barnette, this last-minute push from former president trump, the robo calls over the weekend, we just saw dr. oz holding up to phone at an event really trying to grab some extra momentum leading into today. you had said a barnette win would be a nightmare. what do you think it says about the state of the party in pennsylvania right now that we are where we are on election day? >> well, erica, i said it would be a double nightmare because if we had kathy and doug to be nominated, it would be a fiasco. doug is seen as unelectable in the fall. barnette would have a very difficult time, and i think really what's happened is you had the two major candidates, oz and mccormick, kind of trying to run in this maga lane. the problem they have had is no one really believes they're authentically maga. nobody believes that.
and say what you will about kathy barnette, she's authentically maga and she's made all these homophobic and anti-muslim comments so she has emerged because the two front runners are just pounding each other for months and created a third lane. but the party's in really bad shape. there is not a mainstream candidate right now, except for jeff bardos, but he's polling behind the three leading candidates. so, the party's in a bad cond condition. what's even worse, though, erica, is that republican state committee of pennsylvania did not endorse a candidate in either the senate or the governor's races. ordinarily, they try to help shape and condition the field. in the governor's race right now they're trying to get candidates to drop out and stop mastriano but these things should have happened months ago before these candidates got in the race. but they're trying to do it now. this is pathetic. i mean, they played switzerland. they were afraid to put their finger on the scale. well, that didn't stop donald trump from putting his whole butt on the scale to try to
influence things in both the governor's race with oz and in the senate race with oz, rather, and the governor's race with mastriano. >> how much concern is there that all of this chaos, right, and lack of commitment that we're seeing within the party there, could actually be effective and helpful to democrats? >> oh, the democrats -- josh shapiro, the gubernatorial nominee for the democrats, he's been running ads essentially kind of pumping up mastriano, saying he'll be great for the trump agenda. the democrats want nothing more than to run against doug because he will get a lot of swing-voting republicans and independents to cross over. they'll go on the democratic line. this could affect races down ballot, including the senate race as well as there are going to be at least three or four competitive house races in pennsylvania as well as u.s. house plus state legislative races. so this is a disaster. this is a state, by the way, erica, that had, for years,
nominated people like dick thornberg, the scrantons, tom ridge, john heinz, i mean, basically mainstream people, and you know, always tried to make sure we got the right outcome in these primaries, but that is not happening now, and again, this could be a double nightmare, a catastrophe for the republican party in pennsylvania if mastriano is a nominee and barnette. >> we'll be watching to see. i guess we'll know in a matter of hours. former congressman charlie dent, thank you. be sure to stay with cnn for election night in america. our special live coverage kicks off tonight at 7:00 p.m. ukraine reporting heavy casualties north of kyiv after russia carried out missile strikes overnight. this as the battle for mariupol nears an end after the last remaining fighters at the city steel plant were ordered to surrender. what this signals in terms of what's next in the war. s internt that can keep up with its demands. verizon has fast, reliable internet solutions
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with internet and voice for just $49.99 a month for 24 months with a 2-year price guarantee. call today. the last ukrainian holdout in the besieged southern city of mariupol have surrendered. new video shows seven buses with ukrainian soldiers leaving the city's azovstal steel plant this morning. more than 260 fighters have been evacuated after ending their combat mission. ukraine is now working on a prisoner exchange with russia for some of the most severely injured soldiers. far from the front lines, in the west of the country, local
military officials say russian missiles targeted railway infrastructure and a military base, hitting close to the border with poland, a nato ally, of course. meantime, finland and sweden said they plan to hand in their applications to join the alliance on wednesday. cnn military analyst, retired army major general spider marks joining me now. good to see you this afternoon. let's start in mariupol, if we could, because if we look at what has been left behind, russia basically leveling this city, but it is still a key location as we know. what does losing mariupol mean for ukraine? >> well, erica, thanks for having me. yeah, the issue primarily, when i look at what happened with ukrainians in mariupol, first of all, they were, if reports are accurate, they were ordered to surrender, which tells you the level and the will to resist on the part of the ukrainians is quite incredible, isn't it? they are demanding to stay. they want to continue to fight.
they've realized, and i think the zelenskyy government understands entirely, that mariupol has now turned into a wasteland. the russian tactics are brutal. they're despicable. we've seen this for weeks and weeks and weeks. so, the desire to just completely level mariupol is a strategic advantage on the part of russia, only because they can now hang a flag and say, this, whatever this is now, remains -- or is now in the hands of the russians. so it doesn't -- i think inevitably, the ukrainians understood that this was probably a losing fight, but it demonstrated this incredible will. and the russians, as we've indicated for weeks, they're not going anywhere. they're going to continue to fight in ways that we don't understand as warfare, using long-term artillery tactics, indiscriminate fire. this is despicable stuff. it's not -- >> you know, based on something you just said, i want to get your take on what we heard, these really remarkable statements from russian military analysts, a former colonel.
you talked about the level and the will of those ukrainian soldiers to resist, that they had to be told to surrender. so, he specifically noted, on russian tv, the ukrainian troops were more professional, that they were more engaged, more dedicated to this fight, and then he also said this. take a listen. >> translator: let's not wave about rockets in finland's direction. this just looks ridiculous. the biggest flaw in our military and political situation is that we are in total geopolitical solitude and the whole world is against us, even if we don't want to admit it. and we need a way out of this situation. >> we need a way out of this situation. for him to be so blunt, basically the whole world is against us. who do you think that message is really for? >> oh, clearly, it's for putin. it's remarkable, isn't it, that number one, he made the message. it was delivered in some way. i'm curious now as to what his status is. i mean, it's quite phenomenal. but it clearly is to putin and
his oligarchs and his leadership, his military leadership, to step up, let's be professional. they haven't demonstrated it yet, but maybe there's an inkling, maybe there's a scintilla of hope. >> i'm going to have to stop you there, general. sorry to interrupt you. i want to take you straight to buffalo where the mayor is giving an update. let's listen. >> to meet with the families of the victims of this terrible attack on the buffalo community that injured -- that shot 13 people and killed 10. the president was very compassionate. president spent an extended amount of time with the families, which was very good to see. really giving families one-on-one time to be able to talk to him and the first lady. >> what were some of the things the family members said to the president? >> the president and first lady met with the families one-on-one, so it was just the
president, first lady, and the families. so, those of us that traveled with the president were not in those individual meetings with families. >> what were the topics? what's the schedule? >> talking to the ceo of tops, john persons, they would like to open the store as quickly as possible. they understand the importance of the store to the community. right now, there is still an investigation going on inside of the store. as soon as that is concluded, tops will then begin to do the work that they have to do to reopen. in the meantime, they will be providing assistance and getting customers that don't have access to vehicles to other tops supermarkets in their network, recognizing that people really rely on this store for their groceries and also to fill their prescriptions.
>> medical examiner. when do you expect that process -- >> i think that process is probably going to start to move more quickly. it is my understanding that the first of the funerals is going to be this saturday, so that process is moving. i don't have the name right now as we speak. >> describe what it was like over the memorial with the president and other politicians. it was a very somber moment. >> it was a somber moment. it was an emotional moment. we added flowers to the already significant outpouring of support. the number of flowers, candles, and other items that were there show the tremendous impact that this horrible act has had on the community. saw a real resolve in the
president to make a difference, to try to bring to an end mass shootings in this country. they happen horribly for different reasons. this one motivated by racial hatred, but over the last several years, there have been hundreds of mass shootings in the united states in america, buffalo being one of the most recent and one of the most deadly. >> mayor, what did you and the president speak -- how was that conversation? >> i had the opportunity to speak to the president a number of times during his visit. on the tarmac, at the memorial site here, outside of tops, and at the community center. the president certainly talked about gun control. he talked about his concern for the families here. there was talk about what could
be done to end these mass shootings. the president seemed very moved by what he saw here in this community, and i really felt a strong sense of resolve and commitment in the president to try to bring change as it relates to these kinds of situations. >> we talked to some people who said, tragedies like this happen and then politicians come here and they say things but then nothing ever changes. what's your feeling about that? you just touched on this. >> when it relates -- as it relates to gun control in this country, change has been very elusive. there are those in washington who have put the needs and the desires of the gun manufacturers ahead of the lives of americans. that has to stop.
and i think the president will not forget. i think he was moved by what he saw. i think he has a sense of resolve. many of us -- some of us that were able to travel with the president live in this zip code. every day i wake up, i leave this zip code to go to buffalo city hall and other parts of this community. every night that i come back home to lay my head down on the pillow, i come back to this zip code. so, i will never forget. i can't forget. this is my community. this is where i come every day, and this is why i work so hard to make a difference. so, i won't forget, and i won't let others forget what happened here in buffalo, new york, what happened to my friends, what happened to my neighbors, what happened to my community. >> mr. mayor, the more we learn
about the alleged shooter and the planning and the months that he spent becoming radicalized and consuming all this -- what the president's called poison, what's your reaction to that? it just seems like we keep learning more and more about this individual. >> the radicalization of this individual, the level of hatred in the heart and head of this individual is stunning. it's staggering to know that that kind of hate, that kind of evil, that kind of premeditated evil exists in our nation, exists in the state of new york. i think much more has to be done about social media and hate speech on social media. hate speech that comes out over our air waves. the president touched on that. the president spoke about that, and i am hopeful that more will
be done to prevent the proliferation of hate on social media. >> i know that president biden has had the chance to speak directly with you, but what did you make of his comments to the people of the united states and the people of the community of buffalo and just what he had to say today at the community center? >> well, the president said a lot of things. he talked about the fallacy of replacement theory, how nonsensical that is. he called it out. he called out white supremacy and talked about the evil of that. he certainly talked about guns and something being done about assault weapons and assault weapons falling into the wrong hands in our country. and those messages to the
american people are critically important. i think the president's resolve -- i saw him steel himself during this visit to get something done. i felt it. i think it's powerful, and i think it's real. but what was even more powerful to me in this time and in this moment was the moments that the president spent with the families of the victims of this racially motivated, heinous attack on this community. and the president didn't hurry through those meetings, didn't rush through the people that were hurting and in pain and spent a lot of time individually with families, which i think shows his compassion and his commitment to change. >> have you gotten an opportunity to talk to the officers who were some of the first responders?
how are they doing? what has your message been to them? >> i have spoken to some of the police officers and firefighters who were first responders to this scene. i thanked them for their bravery. i thank them for their heroic actions, for running into this danger as others had to hide and had to run for their lives. if not for the swift response of the buffalo police department, more lives would have been lost on that saturday afternoon. if not for the heroic actions of security officer and retired buffalo police officer aaron salter engagine shooter and exchanging gunfire with the shooter that ultimately took his life, more people would probably have gotten killed inside the store. so, our police officers, our
firefighters that responded to the scene are heroes. it was a horrific scene. the damage done with the assault weapons taking ten lives was like a war zone. and certainly, as human beings, i'm sure that has an impact on our police officers and our firefighters. we have encouraged our police and our firefighters who have responded to seek counseling if they need it. to not feel like there's any weakness or anything wrong in talking to somebody about the pain that they feel, because they feel pain. they feel anger. and they feel hurt as well. >> anyone else? >> thank you, everyone. >> that's buffalo mayor byron brown, who's served this community for more than 25
years. he says that he will not let this country forget about what happened to his neighbors, to his friends, to his community. also spoke about president biden and his visit here today. president biden, first lady jill biden, he said spent private time, one-on-one, without the other local leaders, without others, with the families of those victims, the ten people killed here on saturday, and the president said -- the mayor says that he believes the president has a strong sense of resolve to bring about the change that he discussed in remarks today and spoke specifically about the degree of hate that spread on social media and on the air waves. we know that this suspected shooter, in that 180-page racist statement, talked about the great replacement theory, that being the fuel of this attack. now, cnn obtained a photo of two of the rifles that investigators
say they took from the man accused of killing those ten people here at this store in buffalo on saturday. the weapons are seen from inside the suspect's car. they were not used in the shootings. writings are all over the guns, including the words "white lives matter." law enforcement source said that the guns had other notations that reflect the racist beliefs of the suspect. cnn's brian todd is in the hometown of the accused gunman and brian, i understand you just spoke with the local d.a. what'd he tell you? >> reporter: that's right, victor. we spoke to a local d.a. of broom county. this is about the incident in june of last year where the suspect, payton, was flagged by school officials after he made an online threat associated with a school project, threatening to commit a murder-suicide. he later claimed that he said he was joking but that threat alerted school officials who alerted state police, who picked him up and took him in for a
mental health examination where he was evaluated for a short time and then released. i asked the d.a. what was missing, what was missing, you know, was anything missing that should have been flagged during that evaluation or right after? here's what he had to say. at the time, you had a 17-year-old individual who made a threat but not to a specific individual, not to a specific place. the school went through their protocol and called the police, got the state police involved, the new york state police, spoke with him, transported him to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. he was cleared and released. >> reporter: do you believe that his -- knowing what you know, that his parents should have done more to flag his behavior and stop something like this from occurring? >> that's something that will come out through the investigation. >> reporter: and michael korchak did not rule out charging the parents, when i asked him if the
parents could be charged, he said he couldn't comment on that but he said they are investigating his relationship with the parents, also not leaving off the table of charging someone at the school or investigating someone at the school for their roles in all this, but it still stands that after that mental health evaluation, after he was evaluated and released, he was able to purchase at least two guns legally, victor. >> brian todd, thank you for the new reporting. joining me now, new york state assembly member peoples stokes. buffalo is in her district. unfortunately, i think we just lost that shot. hopefully we can get her back up. to talk about what we heard here from the mayor and the visit from the president. we'll see if we can -- we've got her? okay, all right. so, assemblywoman, thank you. we're working through some technical issues here. we'll try to get through this conversation. first, let me start with the visit from the president and the first lady. what did that mean? what value did that bring to this community?
>> i think it was significant. i think it brings to the people hope, i mean, he's the president of the united states. for him to come here it says that for the families who lost their loved ones, the ten families that i love you and i respect you, and i came here to support you in your time of so sorrow, and he says the same thing to all the citizens of the great city of buffalo that the president is concerned about what we're going through and he came to see how we were doing, and i think that's commendable. >> the president talked about legislative changes he wants in washington. we know realistically that's unlikely to happen, especially in a midterm election, but you're calling for legislative changes here in new york. now, new york has some of the stronger gun safety laws in the country. what specifically do you want to
change? >> well, i think we do have the strongest gun laws in the country, and quite frankly, i'm proud of those laws, and other states would be smart to mirror us, but until they do, i think there's another thing that we can do, and that would be to prohibit citizens from having access to armor gear. this gentlemen had armored gear from head to toe, only thing you could visibly see on him was his eyes. unless you're going to war, you do not need to have on that kind of bullet proofed armored equipment. >> but that equipment only protects the life of, let's say, in this case, the attacker. it does nothing to save the lives of those who were his victims. so what if that legislation even passes, what would that solve? who would that protect? >> well, by the way, the officer, the retired officer who was on duty protecting the store as a security guard, he shot that guy at least two, maybe
three times. none of it penetrated him because he was totally, fully armed in armor. his whole body was in armor. so maybe he wouldn't have killed so many people. >> okay. let me ask you, there's something you said several times, and i don't know if anyone's ever followed up on it. i've got the opportunity. you said since the shooting that you want to make sure that in this case, law enforcement, you said that law enforcement hasn't been specific enough. what does that mean in you saying that you want to make sure that in this case law enforcement is specific enough? >> well, actually, that's not what i said. i quoted a line from common, and it essentially says that justice for all is not specific enough and isn't in america. i mean. >> all right.
so unfortunately we're having some challenges with. our thanks to assembly woman crystal people-stokes. i'll send it back to you. >> we'll take it from here. as we keep an eye on the formula shortage here in the united states, could there be a potential light at the end of the tunnel for parents. nestle making a big move to alleviate that shortage here in the u.s. this as president biden announces other new steps to solve the crisis. we're going to bring you up to speed on the very latest, next. this stuff works on dandelions, crababgrass, clover. this stuff w works for up to three months. this stuff works guarantnteed, or your moneney back. this is roundup p for lawns. this stuff works. your record label is taking off. but so is your sound engineer. you need to hire. i need indeed.
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today president biden said the national baby formula shortage is a national priority, and laid out what his administration is doing to address it. >> today we took another important step with the fda, the federal drug administration announcing guidance that will allow major manufacturers to safely import formula that is not currently being produced in the u.s. market. the fda will closely monitor the product quality and safety. >> nestle is also rushing baby formula into the u.s. from outside the country to help, or trying to help ease the shortage here. cnn medical correspondent elizabeth cohen joining me now. we know that the fda and abbott came to the agreement of reopening the plant. the white house was thin on details of timing.
i tried to get details this morning on brian deese, i couldn't get any in terms of a time line. what have you learned about when parents can expect to see some of this new formula be available to them. >> so erica, abbott is available about their time line, and we're getting details. it is many weeks at least. this is a multistep process. let's get a closer look at this agreement so the fda and abbott, they find a consent decree or i say that they have come up with a consent decree, that gives a pathway to reopen the shuttered manufacturing plant, a path way to reopen. it will be six to eight weeks before the products from the plant, once it does open, are on store shelves and that's at least. it could very well be quite a bit longer than that. the fda announced they have flex
-- flexibility on importing formula. requirements are different in the u.s. than they are in other countries. until now, we haven't seen a lot of importation. there are different rules. what they're saying now is you know what, we're going to use the term again, kind of create a pathway so we can more easily get imports in. it's not going to be super quick. we are in this for a while, erica. >> yeah, we certainly are. we'll continue to press them on both fronts. i want to get an update for folks, the fda giving emergency use authorization for pfizer's vaccine for a booster for kids ages 5 to 11. a number of studies have found the effectiveness of the two doses do wane substantially for kids. they waned during the omicron surge. is the boost going to be the same smaller dose, and if so, do we know how effective it will be? >> yes, we do know that it should be quite effective. so these children ages 5 to 11 started getting vaccinated at the end of october. we're getting to that four to
six month time when some of them should be boosted: let's take a look at what's involved here. it is that lower dose, and it's five months plus, after the second shot. what we saw with adults or anyone over age 12, that the risk of death went down 20 times with a booster. that's according to a cnn analysis. that's a huge dircfference. if your child is at the five months plus place, get the booster. >> i feel like we have said that a few times. elizabeth, thank you. >> i think so, thanks. top of the hour here on cnn newsroom. i'm erica hill in today for alisyn camerota. >> i'm victor blackwell, in buffalo, new york. poison, that's how president biden is labeling white supremacy in america. his condemnation came after he visits the site of the latest racist rampage, the deadliest this year that
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