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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Orlando Survivor's Emotional Scars Will Never Go Away; Trump Threatens Republicans He's Willing to Go It Alone; Ryan Responds to Trump Threat to Republicans; Source: Clinton Not Considering Sanders for V.P.; Gun Store Reported Orlando Shooter to Police. Aired 11:30- 12p ET
Aired June 16, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] JILLIAN AMADOR, ORLANDO SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I remember there was a girl laying next to me with a green shirt, and I just -- it was like a flight or fight and I just ran until I couldn't run anymore. Friends have told me that I went out the side bar area door, but to be honest with you, I don't even know where I exited or what I passed or anything like that.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So you got out pretty much right away after it started?
AMADOR: Yeah. I was probably on the floor like ten seconds. It seemed like forever, and then, yeah, I got out.
BERMAN: And you called your cousin immediately.
AMADOR: Yeah. I called my fiance actually and I was running, and I'm like I think -- I don't know what happened. There's gunshots and I'm running and they can hear the gunshots in the background and then they're like stop and see if you have been shot. I couldn't. The adrenaline was pumping and my arm was gushing blood. I didn't know what had happened. Surreal.
BERMAN: What do you want people to know about you today after all this?
AMADOR: I want people to know about me -- really what I want them to know is we're not going to be divided by this. Orlando is going to be strong. There are plenty of lives that have been lost but they're not in vain. I'm going to live a life worth living. God spared me for a reason and I'm going to show the lives that have been lost, I'm going to put honor to their name.
BERMAN: If you had a message to the other people right now trying to heal, trying to get better, what would that be?
AMADOR: Seek help. I know that for me it's been hard to sleep or anything like that, and counseling or therapy, the outpour from everybody that doesn't even live here, I have been getting messages from different countries, different states telling me it's going to be OK. To seek help, don't try to get through this by yourself. BERMAN: Have you been able to sleep so far?
AMADOR: No, I haven't been able to sleep.
BERMAN: Not at all.
AMADOR: It's been very hard.
BERMAN: Listen, I think you need to know that so many people around the world, you know, are thinking about you and just impressed by your strength. I think they know that you're not going to let anything like this stop you.
AMADOR: No, I'm not.
BERMAN: Thanks, Jillian. I appreciate it.
AMADOR: Thank you.
BERMAN: I'm joined by Sanjay.
I want to thank Jillian, first of all, for sitting down and talking to us.
Sanjay, Jillian, she was really strong in that interview. But she had been staying with her mother ever since. She hasn't been back to Orlando. She's staying with her mother half an hour away. She hasn't been able to sleep. Like the other survivors, she tells us she feels guilt, this survivor guilt.
GUPTA: It can be very immediate. It can be very powerful, and it can be very surprising. You know, we've interviewed a few people about this and experts, that's one of the things they always describe it as. People don't really understand what is it exactly this emotion I'm feeling. Part of it is for very obvious reasons. She had to scramble to get out of there. Did she scramble and make it out when others did not? Did she even worry maybe she impeded somebody else's ability to get out or people may have been getting trampled on the ground, things like that, but also she's coming to grips with her mortality and this is a young woman. None of us have ever seen anything like this, but she's are imaginable and now she's confronting her o^1 mortality in a way. It's all of this happening at the same time. It's not quite post-traumatic stress because it's too early for that but it's acute stress syndrome, and it's certainly I think why she's probably not sleeping and having all the feelings she described to you.
BERMAN: The president, the White House has made clear one of the things the president wants to do is reach out to these folks. And Jillian knows she needs help and she's going to reach out to get it. She wants every one to know everyone has been great to her, the city has been great to her. She's so grateful for the outpouring of support.
Sanjay, thank you so much. GUPTA: Thank you.
BERMAN: Politics now, Donald Trump is threatening to go it alone, slamming the Republican Party for not lining up behind and telling party leaders he doesn't need them. Will House Speaker Paul Ryan respond to this? He's set to speak any minute. I guarantee he will be asked.
[11:38:30] BERMAN: Breaking news. You're looking at live pictures -- you will in a moment look at live pictures of House Speaker Paul Ryan. There he is, speaking to reporters. He's talking about the Republican agenda in the House right now. Any minute we expect him to take questions, and one that is certain to come up is Donald Trump. Donald Trump, over the last 24 hours, has basically told Republicans to get on board or Donald Trump is willing to go it alone. It will be interesting to hear what Paul has to say about that. We'll take you to it the minute he faces that question.
In the meantime, I want to bring in CNN political commentator, Mary Katharine Ham; Republican strategist and Donald Trump supporter, Boris Epstein; and the mayor of Miami Beach and a Hillary Clinton campaign surrogate, Philip Levine.
Thank you all for being with us.
Mary Katharine -- I should warn you I'll have to dump out of these as soon as Paul Ryan faces this question so bear with me if I cut you off.
But, Mary Katharine, Donald Trump essentially now saying, my way or the highway. Do you get the sense that more and more Republicans are going to choose the highway?
MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the idea that the message was ever not my way or the highway I think is naive. Like Donald Trump is Donald Trump is Donald Trump. He will be Donald Trump every day. And his message --
[11:39:41] BERMAN: All right. Let's take Paul Ryan's questions here.
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: First of all, I think -- first of all, let's make sure we keep the victims in our prayers and their families. I want to make sure that we understand the gravity of this moment and the sensitivity. We want to make sure something like this doesn't happen again. Everybody wants that, but as we look at how to proceed, we also want to make sure that we're not infringing upon people's legitimate constitutional rights. That's important. We also want to make sure that someone who is not supposed to get a gun, doesn't get a gun. So we've got to figure out how that works. Take a look at what happens right now with the FBI. If a person is on a terror watch list, the law enforcement is supposed to be notified whether they're trying to buy a gun.
The FBI director just told us the other day, if we do this wrong, like the president is proposing, we could actually blow our ongoing terrorist investigations, so we want to get this right so that we don't undermine terrorist investigations, and I would other factors that need to be dead" with. We just passed this week, 53-0, Tim Murphy's mental health bill, out of the commerce committee. Let's make sure we are not infringing upon a law-abiding citizen's Second Amendment rights.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So are you looking at legislation?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Would curtailing the Second Amendment protect this country from Islamic -- radical --
RYAN: That's a good question. So the question is, is going after the Second Amendment how you stop terrorism? No. That's not how you stop terrorism. We have a bill that's being voted on right now to go after homegrown jihadists. This is a person who was radicalized by Islamic terrorists. He claimed it was by is. So we need to make sure we're focusing on the real issue here, which is terrorism. The fact that people are becoming radicalized and committing these horrible acts of terrorism in our country. So not only do we need a better foreign policy, not only do we need a better policy with respect to Iraq and Syria and fighting terrorists and preventing ISIS from expanding and growing, we need to have a better job and a better handle on homegrown jihad and on combating the ideology itself. Again, a week ago today we rolled out a 67-point plan for a better national security to address these issues.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The bill that you described countering terrorist radicalization act, now, that authorizes DHS' countering violent extremism training. That particular training has been criticized --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- for essentially training these federal agents --
RYAN: I agree.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: To whitewash and put in like political correct training telling these agents that they can't investigate particularly suspects who may have Muslim backgrounds saying that they can't look to people who may have certain things that may be Islamic. Is the GOP essentially condoning --
RYAN: No, I have concerns about this aspect of DHS, and one of the reasons why we delayed the markup of the homeland security bill in the appropriations committee is because we wanted to look at all of these issues to see if something needed to be improved in the appropriations process of Homeland Security, and that's one of our concerns.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: In the after math of Orlando, your party's presumptive nominee has renewed his calls for the Muslim ban which you have repeatedly rejected. If he continues to say controversial things that draw concerns, draw your concerns, do you envision any scenario in which you would rescind your endorsement?
RYAN: That's not my plan. I don't have a plan to do that. Look, we're going to agree to disagree on some things. That's just the way things work. Mitt Romney and I didn't agree on everything. What we do agree on is we don't want another Democrat in the White House, I can tell you that. And we do have a lot of common ground on a lot of things that we think will move us in a better way in this country.
We don't agree on that. Everybody knows that. And you also know that if I'm asked a question, I'm going to answer it honestly and if I'm asked a question about a proposal that I don't agree with, I'm going to say I don't agree with it. It's just that simple.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To that end though, I mean, when you wake up in the morning and you read the paper, there he goes again. You call up Brenden (ph) and Ashley (ph) and say I have to say this? How many more times do you have to do this?
RYAN: I don't know the answer to that question either.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How many times do you have to keep doing this?
RYAN: He's a different kind of candidate. This is a different kind of year. I'm going to be myself and speak up in defense of our principles, in defense of not just our party's principles but our country's principles. We want to conserve our founding principles, liberty, freedom, self determination, our Bill of Rights. Those are important principles. No matter what, we're going to defend the principles. I do believe the last thing we want is a Democrat in the White House like Hillary Clinton.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you have a response to his comments --
RYAN: I'm sorry. I was -- you jumped ahead of him.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Speaker, one of the nuances though of the Orlando shooting is -- I guess the question is should someone who is on the terror watch list be taken off it or being investigated by the FBI, should that show up in a background check or should it be totally eliminated?
[11:45:01] RYAN: Yes. I think that's a fair question. We need to dig into the bottom of this particular case and to see if refinements on how they adjudicate these cases work with respect to terror watch lists, with respect to -- we need to know more about what is it the FBI learned when they visited with him? Why did they take him off the list? There is a lot that Congress has to do to get to the bottom of this particular case to make sure that if any mistakes were made that they're not to be repeated. That's point number one. Point number two, we don't take away citizens' rights without due process. I am going to defend the constitution here. We do not take away a citizen's rights without their due process. And so if you have a quick idea in the heat of the moment that says let's take away a person's rights without their due process, we're going to stand up and defend the constitution.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Speaker, do you have any thoughts on John Cornyn's Shield Act and have you had any discussions with Mitch McConnell?
RYAN: I'm familiar with it. I haven't talked with Mitch about it in particular. I have talked with our members about it. I think there's a version of it floating around here in the House. This essentially codifies what the FBI already does. We think they should do what they do, and so I think we'll have further conversations about how to codify what the FBI does.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Speaker, regarding the Constitution --
RYAN: Did you already ask one?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: No, I didn't.
RYAN: OK. All right.
RYAN: Just making sure.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Regarding the Constitution, the Republican nominee has revoked the credentials of "The Washington Post," even "The National Review," the conservative publication, the liberal publication, "Mother Jones. What do you feel about the Republican nominee revoking credentials of really respected media?
RYAN: I don't think I've ever heard of it. I think that's a new one. I don't know a whole lot about it. I hope and assume that this will get worked out.
Who is with "The Post?"
RYAN: King is here.
OK. Last question, King.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Will you --
RYAN: You're trying to come up with one now, aren't you?
The bonus. Where is the bonus?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: This morning, Mr. Speaker, you rolled out your plan to rein in executive power. Mr. Trump yesterday said this, addressing congressional leaders like yourself, "Be quiet, just please be quiet, don't talk." What is your reaction to this and how do you have any confidence this is a guy who is going to have respect for separation of powers.
RYAN: You can't make this up sometimes. I'll just say we represent a separate but equal branch of government. We just spent the morning talking about how valuable the separation of powers is and how we're trying to restore the entire principle of self government, of government by consent. We will lose our freedoms in this country, including all of the Bill of Rights, if we don't robustly defend the separation of powers. And we will fight for those rights on behalf of our citizens so that we remain a self-governing people.
Let me leave it at that and say make sure you call your dads this weekend.
BERMAN: House Speaker Paul Ryan facing questions on a number of issues, on the investigation right now here in Orlando, on calls for new gun control measures, and, yes, also on Donald Trump. On gun control, by the way, he said he wants to let the investigation run its course but he's open to hearing a discussion about possible laws that might address the issue of people on terror watch lists being able to buy guns, but he says he will stand up for the Constitution and constitutional rights when it comes to that as well.
I want to bring back the panel to talk about what we just heard.
Mary Katharine Ham, before we went to Paul Ryan, I was asking you a question about Donald Trump, saying my way or the highway. He was asked a question, I believe by Manu Raju, could he see a circumstance where he would take back his endorsement of Trump and he essentially said no.
HAM: I think these two will continue to disagree and continue to disagree publicly and he made note of that. The idea this was ever going to look like a normal unification process I think was just -- this is not how this was going to go down. He's not a normal candidate. He doesn't want to play by any of the normal rules. That's part of his appeal. He also wants the advantages of doing those things without doing it. He wants the funders, he wants everybody to jump in line, he wants everybody behind him, but he doesn't want to repair those things and be trustworthy and not lash out at people. He just keeps doing those things. I think you're not going to see a normal unification process because he's not a normal candidate. He's not going to become one.
BERMAN: It's interesting, and Paul Ryan clearly isn't going to pretend that everything is OK.
BERMAN: We know he's not going to rescind his endorsement but --
HAM: He's like it's 2016!
BERMAN: Donald Trump, yes, different kind of candidate, different kind of year. I'm going to answer questions honestly, which was a warning shot I think to the Trump campaign.
Boris, you're a Donald Trump campaign surrogate. You heard Paul Ryan say what he said right there but he's still endorsing Donald Trump. There are folks who are not, Larry Hogan, the governor of Maryland. The governor is very close to Chris Christie. He says he's not going to vote for Donald Trump. You have Lindsey Graham, Mark Kirk, more and more folks, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, who say they will not vote for Donald Trump, Republican office holders. This isn't normal for us. We do not see this every four years. How does Donald Trump plan to address this?
[11:50:23] BORIS EPSTEIN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST & DONALD TRUMP SUPPORTER: You're right. It's not normal. Normal is not the goal. The goal is for Donald Trump to come in and change the way Washington works. A lot of old-line Republican disagree with this.
EPSTEIN: Everybody has -- excuse me. Let me finish.
Everybody has their right to vote and make their decision the best way they can. Over 13 million voters in the GOP primary voted for Donald Trump. More than three million more than voted for Romney, more than ever in a GOP primary for the nominee. These people should listen to the voters and not their own political interest. What Paul Ryan said, I disagree with the candidate but I still support him, that's his right. He should be doing that. You never agree with everything your candidate says. He disagreed with Mitt Romney and he was his vice presidential pick. There's two, four Republican office holders want to go away from Donald Trump that's their choice but doing it at their peril and they're doing it against the voters. That's a huge mistake.
BERMAN: -- the support you're getting from Paul Ryan, Boris. Hold on a second.
I do want to get to one question on the Democrats with the mayor, Philip Levine, because we did learn something new from the Clinton campaign. The Clinton campaign is not vetting Bernie Sanders as a possible vice presidential candidate. Bernie Sanders will not be, we're told, the vice presidential pick of Hillary Clinton. That's not surprising. I don't think anyone is shocked by that. I'm a little surprised that it came out this early, this clearly, and this frankly. It seems as if the Clinton campaign was eager to separate itself from Bernie Sanders on this front.
PHILIP LEVINE, (D), MIAMI BEACH MAYOR & HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN SURROGATE: Well, let me just say this. Senator Sanders and I said before, did an unbelievable job of bringing more people to the campaign. We expect him to be very active at the Democratic convention in July. The fact Secretary Clinton said that, a lot of people want to be her vice president.
Just getting back to what Boris said, let's look what is going on. This is the good ship "Titanic Trump" going down. All the Republicans are jumping off in the water. They don't care if they have a lifeboat or not. But the one good thing about Donald Trump is he still has secured Kim Jong-Un's endorsement. He has not lost that yet.
LEVINE: The fact of the matter is the Democrats are unified. The Republicans are good ship "Titanic." Unfortunately --
BERMAN: When everyone talks at once, no one wins. There are only losers.
Mary Katharine, I'll give you the last word.
HAM: The Democrats are, indeed, united at this point, mostly united. She has to do some work to bring the Bernie Sanders folks behind her FBI-investigated candidacy.
EPSTEIN: I completely disagree. The Republicans are much more united.
BERMAN: Breaking the rules.
Boris Epstein, thank you so much.
Mayor Philip Levine, Mary Katharine Ham, I do appreciate your time.
BERMAN: I want to get to some breaking news right now. I want to get our investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin, who broke the news moments ago that the Orlando manager of a gun store nearby says his staff was suspicious of the shooter's behavior when he came to buy body armor several weeks ago and that they told law enforcement about it at the time. I had not reported that earlier. I want to make it clear they say they reported it to law enforcement.
Drew Griffin is with us right now.
What can you tell us?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Reporter: this falls into the possibility yet another warning sign that was missed. We know from my colleague, Brian Todd, that Omar Mateen went to this store, which is a miles from where I am, about four or five weeks ago and asked to buy soft body armor level-3A. He said he worked in security so they didn't think that was suspicious. Then he asked for heavy or hardened armor, the kind the military wears. And then according to a manager I talked to this morning, John, he started to talk on the phone in a foreign language that they didn't recognize. They didn't recognize it as the usual Spanish that you have down here in Florida or a Germanic or a French language. They thought it was Arabic. Then the man simply left.
They thought it so suspicious they claim that they contacted law enforcement. The manager would not identify, which law enforcement agency was contacted, and would also not say if they turned over any video surveillance of that person. But he does say Omar Mateen came to their store four, five weeks ago, asked for body armor. The store doesn't sell any body armor but the store actually contacted law enforcement in advance -- John?
[11:54:53] BERMAN: If that's true, we need to get a response from law enforcement to find out what they say about that point of contact.
One other thing interesting, Drew, if he made a phone call from inside that store the cell phone data that they are gag it and location data and cell phone records provided by the companies will be able to establish who he called from that store. That could be an interesting thread. Any response from law enforcement yet on the claim this was reported?
GRIFFIN: Nothing official. I know that some of our colleagues who were in touch with the federal investigation, Evan Perez, for one, is trying to nail this down and find out if it's true. But also trying to find out exactly who did this, who did they call? Did they call local? Did the call the local ATF? We just don't know at this point.
BERMAN: That's something we do need to find out. Be very interesting to hear the response there.
Drew Griffin, excellent reporting. Thank you.
Just moments from now, President Obama will arrive here in Orlando. He's set with to meet with the families of the victims, also survivors of the horrible attack at the Pulse nightclub, and first responders, some of whom work behind me at this hospital. Again, President Obama will be here shortly. We'll stay on it. That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)