Return to Transcripts main page


President Obama to Address Nation on Terrorism; California Terror Attack: FBI Raids Home Linked to Guns Used in Shooting; Three Stabbed at London Subway Station. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired December 6, 2015 - 07:00   ET


[07:00:00] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): This comes just days after the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror and, if so, it would underscore a threat we have been focused on for years.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The San Bernardino shooters have an arsenal of guns and bullets all purchased legally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's disturbing. If I can go then and fully equip myself that easily, it's ridiculous.

PAUL: Just how easy is it to stockpile weapons and ammunition?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To buy ammunition, you have to provide any identification.

BLACKWELL: And Donald Trump pumping your crowds of supporters, saying more Americans need to be armed.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know what a gun-free zone is? That's like meat to these animals.


PAUL: Good morning, everybody. We are so grateful to have you, as always. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

And we're starting this morning with President Obama and this planned address to the nation from the Oval Office scheduled at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. He'll talk about the San Bernardino attacks, the terror threats to U.S. and how the government is planning to keep Americans safe. This will be his third address from the Oval Office during his presidency.

Now, we are learning this scheduled address as we get new information on the California attack. The FBI raided this home. Investigators say a man who bought two rifles for those California shooters lives there. The FBI is looking at phone and travel and computer records to find out why Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook killed 14 people.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop. Drop it, you fool. You ain't no Muslim brother.


PAUL: This heightened terror alert is not just in the U.S. What you're watching here is police in London quickly stopping a potential terror incident at a subway station there. A man with a knife stabbed three people, shouting, "This is for Syria". Police subdued him with a stun gun. They arrested him. And we're going to talk more about this a little bit later.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk now about what is really rare, this Oval Office address from President Obama. The president to speak to the nation at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

PAUL: About the terror threat from ISIS, what the U.S. is doing to combat. This, of course, coming as we said after two apparently self- radicalized terrorists killed the 14 people in San Bernardino, California. So, nerves are raw here in this country about this issue.

BLACKWELL: Yes, let's go to Chris Frates following this for us -- Chris.


CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, Victor and Christi.

In his speech, the president will talk about what the government is doing to keep Americans safe. The Oval Office address will also touch on the investigation into the ISIS-inspired attacks in California that killed 14 people.

The White House said Obama will also address, quote, "the broader threat of terrorism, including the nature of the threat and how it's evolved and how we will defeat it. He will reiterate his firm conviction that ISIL will be destroyed and that the United States must draw upon our values, our unwavering commitment to justice, equality and freedom to prevail over terrorist groups that use violence to advance a destructive ideology."

Now, that news comes on the heels of a meeting the president held with his national security team on Saturday. The White House says the president's team updated him on the investigation into the California shootings and highlighted several pieces of information that point to the attackers' radicalization to violence.

We already know about one piece of evidence suggesting radicalization. That's a Facebook post from the female shooter pledging allegiance to the leader of ISIS. During the briefing, which included the FBI and CIA directors, the attorney general, and the homeland security secretary, the White House said officials reiterated there is no evidence yet that the killers were part of a larger terror cell.

On Friday, remember, the FBI said it was investigating the acts as an act of terrorism. And, guys, people will be watching what the president has to say about that and the investigation more generally, as well as listening to hear how the president plans to deal with the larger issue of defeating ISIS -- Victor, Christi.


PAUL: Thank you so much.

Let's talk about this with Douglas Brinkley, CNN presidential historian and professor of history at Rice University.

Mr. Brinkley, thank you so much for being with us.

We cannot stress enough the importance of this in a sense that this is only the third time the president has addressed the nation from the Oval Office. With that said, do you believe he is going to speak to something actionable, that is going to be done against ISIS?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: You know, it was indeed, the worst terror attack in the United States since 9/11. That's a problem for the president who wanted to say his eight years in the White House that we didn't have a terror attack here at home.

So, President Obama tonight is going to have to, I think, reassure America that we are safe, that our intelligence apparatus is doing everything possible to try to find Islamic extremists and perhaps explain radicalization processes and ask Americans to be vigilant, keep their eyes open for unusual activity they might encounter over the holiday season.

But this is also a talk where he has to be commander in chief. People want ISIS destroyed. He has to sound firm and resolute and use language that you do about wiping out the enemy and American prevailing without losing our values and those values are once let's not ostracize or go after Muslims in America because they aren't the enemy.

PAUL: Now, he has done that, however. So, I think people are looking at this tonight and wondering, is he going to say anything different that might turn into action against ISIS? And is he going to make it political and get it -- make demands from Congress as well?

Listen to this real quickly and then we are going to get into that.



OBAMA: Right now, people on the no-fly list can walk into a store and buy a gun. That's insane. If you're too dangerous to board a plane, you're too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun. So, I'm calling on Congress to close this loophole now.


PAUL: Are we going to hear more of that and how impactful it might be?

BRINKLEY: Well, we are going to hear more about it. That is the president's principle talking point. He is connecting San Bernardino, what happened on the Islamic terrorism there, if you like, the jihadist to the gun culture of America that we have way too many guns.

Look, most sane people will say what the president is saying about this no-fly zone, those people shouldn't be allowed to go get guns, so I think he has a strong point. But as we have seen time and again, he has failed to convince Americans on this gun issue.

If I had to write a biography about the Obama years, a big part of it would be all of the school shootings. President Obama has become a mourner in chief. He keeps raising the gun issue, pushes it hard and it falls backwards on him. But I think he is going to make this an important part of his address tonight and in the coming weeks, try to make the correlation between what happened in San Bernardino and the easy accessibility of weapons in America.

PAUL: He is the president of the United States. His voice is so strong, people listen to him. He is coming from the Oval Office which he has only done twice before. The prior, I should point out, two occurred in one in 2010 the U.S. operations in Iraq and then, of course, the gulf oil spill.

Being that he has mentioned ISIS many times and, unfortunately, said they were a jayvee team at one point, said they were confined and then we had the Paris attacks, and then, of course, this time around, just hours after he said that the U.S. is safe, San Bernardino happened -- how powerful is his voice? I'm wondering if there is something definitive he needs to say to really convince the American people that the U.S. has this under control.

BRINKLEY: Well, as you rightly pointed out, he's only twice come to the American public in this forum. The one I remember was when Osama bin Laden was killed and he got to interrupt on a Sunday and American cheered and BP spill, the press and pundits just made him eventually address what is going on in the Gulf.

In this case, I think it's going to be more about reassuring and letting people know he is vigilant, that he is on the job and doing everything we can, that hopefully San Bernardino is an isolated incident. But I do think that he has to come across as a war-time president tonight.

Sometimes as you mentioned, the jayvee comment he made to David Remnick at "The New Yorker" has been an albatross around his neck. It's a horrible comment that he's living with right now, and being mocked and ridiculed all the time about it. So, this is a president we know is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, but he has to come across as being marshal in tone because American people do not like the idea we are dilly-dallying around with ISIS in any way that people them crushed and, of course, the Republicans are bringing that point every day.

PAUL: So, you don't think we will hear about him talking about full- fledged boots on the ground moment?

BRINKLEY: I don't, but I think he'll talk about the Syrian civil war and the fact that we are continuing air strikes and that we have, you now, special ops that are just been assigned there.

PAUL: OK. Douglas Brinkley, always appreciate your insight, sir. Thank you for being with us.

BRINKLEY: Thank you.

PAUL: Of course.

And our special coverage of the president's address begins at 7:00 p.m. Eastern with Wolf Blitzer. The president speaks at 8:00 Eastern, and at 9:00, an all star tribute celebration of CNN Heroes right here tonight at CNN.

BLACKWELL: Well, Christi and Douglas just talked about it, this attack in San Bernardino.

[07:10:00] We now know the FBI has raided another house, searching for answers in that mass shooting. Why did those two killers go on the attack?

Plus --

PAUL: See how hundreds of Arab Americans in Detroit are taking a stand against ISIS and terrorism.

BLACKWELL: Also, a CNN exclusive. U2 talks with our Fareed Zakaria about their concert tonight and what they believe is the ultimate response to terrorism.


BONO: That's poetry in music and humor. A child sings before it can speak. It's the very essence of our humanity.



BLACKWELL: Take a look at the aftermath of an FBI raid at a home. This is in Riverside, California. See the garage there damaged, window shattered. See the boxes piled up there.

This is the home of the man who investigators say bought the two rifles used by the killers in Wednesday's attack in San Bernardino, that terror attack there.

For more, let's in bring Polo Sandoval. He is live for us in California this morning with more on that raid.

What have you learned about this man potentially and the raid?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you, Victor, that this man has not been arrested. He has not been detained even and really is not considered a suspect in this case. In fact, police haven't officially identified him yet. So, as a result, we are holding back on releasing his identity because, again, authorities simply believe that he legally purchased, or they believe that he legally purchase two of the four weapons used in that shooting on Wednesday and that may be the two rifles.

But still, that raid that happened late Friday to Saturday morning was actually -- it was enough to at least shake a community that is already on edge, especially when you hear from some of the neighbors. Take a listen.


FREDDY ESCAMILLA, WITNESSED HOUSE RAID: Like, 3:00 in the morning, you know?

[07:15:01] Like, I got woken up -- a sound I heard was a loud speaker. It sounded like a voice coming from a loud speaker and that's when I saw this big unmarked SUV and that's where the sirens were coming from. I mean, the lights. And it was one single voice, you know, over a loud speaker.


SANDOVAL: So as we hope to learn more about this weekend police activity, I think it really does goes to show that police are far from being done here. They're still collecting evidence, and that includes the site where it went down four days ago, Victor.

In fact, I want you to look behind me here at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. You see tops of so many vehicles, Victor. Those cars have not moved four days. Presumably some of those vehicles belonging to the 14 victims that were shot and killed here Wednesday.

Investigators are still preserving this as an active crime scene, so, as a result, I think you can still expect more investigators to be coming out here. But when you take this sight in and you see potentially well over a hundred vehicles still parked here, while the death toll of 14 is extremely tragic, you see that and it's also a reminder there were so many people inside that death toll could have been even higher.

Looking ahead on what we can expect today, I think the main source of information today will come from President Obama as he gets ready to address the nation. We expect him to update people across the country on what happened here on Wednesday and, of course, what we can expect from this point forward, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Several scenes there and very large investigations that are going on at those scenes. Of course, we know it's now stretching around the world. Polo Sandoval for us there in San Bernardino, thank you so much.


PAUL: Victor, new video this morning, hundreds of Arab Americans holding a rally in front of an Islamic center near Detroit. They are taking a stand against terror.

Muslim men and women and children all marching yesterday carrying flags and banners and condemning ISIS and other terror groups. Activists say they hope to change the current rhetoric toward Muslim Americans.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we are, what we stand for is moral ideas, things that we try to -- people peacefully and not with bombings, not with attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: American Muslim is not a terrorist. We are not a terrorist. I serve in the American Army six years, so we love this country. This country is the most beautiful country.


PAUL: Of course, coming a day after the San Bernardino shooters were hailed by ISIS as supporters of the terror group.

Still to come, terrifying moments at a London subway stop, as a knife wielding man goes on the attack. We're going to show you what happened.

Also, a big concert being held tonight with U2 in Paris. A CNN exclusive: Bono talks about performing and defiance in the face of terror.



[07:21:25] BONO, U2: We are very determined to get back there as quick as we can. Paris is a very romantic city. And, you know, the essence of romance is defiance. And defiant joy, we think, is the mark of our band and of rock 'n' roll. They are a death cult. We are a life cult.


BLACKWELL: All right. That's Bono of U2 ready to rock Paris tonight. They were supposed to have performed the night after the attacks three weeks ago. But their concert was cancelled.

We are hearing they could be joined on stage for a song by the Eagles of Death Metal. You remember, that was the band that was playing at the concert where gunmen rushed into the Bataclan and killed 89 people and injured 100. You'll hear more of their interview with Fareed Zakaria exclusive here on CNN. It's coming up next hour.

PAUL: A warning for the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Citizens are being told to stay away. Authorities say an eminent security threat has them on high alert there. American citizens are being told to watch their surroundings and be vigilant and take steps to be prepared for an emergency.

BLACKWELL: ISIS is claiming responsibility for a car bomb that killed the governor of Yemen's Aden province. Five of Jaafar Saad's bodyguards also died in that blast.

PAUL: In London, police have announced a major shift in their terror response tactic. They've been holding drills to prepare for possible attacks like the ones in Paris. Officers are now being trained to move past the victims and focus on the attackers.

And those new tactics may have played a role in what police are calling a terror incident, that's how it's being characterized, at an East London tube station. Take a look at this.


PAUL: The Metropolitan Police say a man stabbed three people before he was subdued with a stun gun and arrested. One of those victims is seriously injured. Police are also looking into reports that the man was shouting, quote, "This is for Syria".

CNN's Phil Black is following this for us in London.

What can you tell us, Phil, where the investigation stands thus far this morning?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christi, the crucial point is the police have declared publicly that they are treating this as a terrorist incident. That's how they are investigating this. That is not the usual response to knife crime in this country.

The video, shot by witnesses and uploaded to social media shows the chaotic bloody aftermath of this man's random attack against three people in the underground station, three seriously wounded and others were threatened. In the video he is confronted by police who used tasers to bring him down.

So, now, he is in custody and police are working to try to determine just what his motivation was. Whether he is perhaps just a mentally ill man acting alone, or perhaps even something more sinister than that if there was some sort of ISIS or Islamic sympathy guiding or motivating him. Of course, the key question: was he alone or manipulated or controlled by other people as well -- Christi.

PAUL: Of course, we know on Thursday, parliament voted to expand their air strikes against ISIS, moving now into Syria. Do they believe that could be linked to this attack?

BLACK: This will be a concern. Police have not said publicly why they are treating this as potential terrorism but we know from witness statements in a wide range of British media reports that this man is said to have said during the course of his attack, "This is for Syria".

[07:25:04] So, of course, it's important because it comes just days after the British parliament voted to expand its military actions against ISIS, to conduct airstrike not just in Iraq as it has been doing but in Syria as well.

And a key part of this debate the last week or so or even further back have been opponents saying they oppose this sort of military action because they fear that it could make Britain a more likely terror target. The government's position in this is that the intelligence assessment here is that Britain is already among the very top level of aspirational terror targets as far as ISIS is concerned and that already they say seven ISIS-related terror strikes have been disrupted here in the U.K. just in the last year.

PAUL: All right. Phil Black, appreciate the update. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: All right. High caliber assault rifles, thousands of bullets, we have a look at just how easy it is to legally stockpile weapons in the U.S.

PAUL: And Donald Trump saying the government needs to do a better job of monitoring the families of suspected terrorists.


BLACKWELL: All right. We're just a little more than 12 hours away now from a rare moment from President Obama. A prime time Oval Office address, his first since 2010. The president will speak to the nation about the terror attacks in San Bernardino, California, on Wednesday. Also, about the threat from ISIS and what the U.S. is doing to keep Americans safe.

We, of course, are going to have live coverage. That starts at 7:00 p.m. Eastern tonight on CNN.

PAUL: Meanwhile, new details on that deadly California massacre in San Bernardino. The FBI raided this house there.