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Three Possible Terror Attacks on American Soil in single Day; ISIS Claims Responsibility for Minnesota Mall Stabbing; 29 Injured After Explosion in New York city; U.S.-Led Coalition Air Strikes Kill Syrian Solders; Russia Calls Emergency Meeting of U.N. Security Council. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired September 18, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(VOICE-OVER): This is CNN Breaking News.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: We begin tonight with breaking news. Three possible terror attacks on American soil in a single day, in New York City, New Jersey and Minnesota.
First, the New York City bombing that shook an entire neighborhood and sent 29 people to the hospital. You're looking at brand-new video of the moment the bomb went off. You see a huge flash of light then debris falling to the ground followed by people running, terrified.
There is another angle we want to show you of that explosion. Police and the FBI are starting to put together pieces. They are now confirming to CNN that bomb, a second pressure cooker device, just four blocks away that did not explode and a third set of pipe bombs, one of them exploded on the Jersey Shore yesterday, all similar in kind.
This is what is left after the two bombs that exploded. On the left, a wrecked dumpster that New York bomb -- in New York that detonated inside of the dumpster.
On the right, a trash can on the route of a charity 5k race in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. Nobody was hurt in the New Jersey bombing. I should note, only of those three pipe bombs placed in that trash can in New Jersey actually detonated, according to the officials.
They're not saying with certainty that all three of these bombs in New York and New Jersey are exactly the same or necessarily made by the same person, but we now know they are all similar by design.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody, get off of the street! Let's go, get off the street!
HARLOW: Saturday night, 8:30, people in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea say the blast rattled the street and apartment buildings and sent everyone in the vicinity running and ducking, thankfully. All 29 people that were injured in that blast have been discharged from the hospital while investigators work on the bomb from New York and New Jersey, and ISIS links news agency now saying the man who stabbed nine people at a mall in Minnesota last night is a soldier for the Islamic State. That man shot dead by an off-duty police officer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Just moments ago, we heard from leaders from Minnesota's Somali American community, the Somali Muslim community there, they spoke about the attack. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDUL KULANE, CENTRAL MINNESOTA COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT ORGANIZATION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: As the Somali community has been touched by this incident. First of all, our solidarity goes to the families who are affected. We condole with those victims who have been hurt last night by the individual -- suspected individual. We condemn it, the strongest word we can possibly do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Our Nick Valencia is following that story. He joins me from Atlanta, and here with me in New York is CNN Terrorism Analyst Paul Cruickshank.
Nick, let's just walk through what we know and what we don't know because as the Somali community (inaudible) extensively on them in my home state of Minnesota, coming out condemning this. This is a community that has been come after again and again by terrorists from Al-Shabaab, now to ISIS, trying to recruit their youth to fight overseas and to fight here in America. At the same time though, we do not have the name of the person suspected in this stabbing yet.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We don't. And we know from local affiliate reporting as well as local media reporting that this individual has been identified.
We have not, here at CNN, been able to verify those details just yet but what we just saw was proactive press conference, an impassioned plea by leaders in the community there in the Somali American Community in central Minnesota saying that this individual who stabbed nine people at a mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, does not speak for them. A very clear and direct language, Poppy, saying that this person has no relationship with their community, and that their community does not have a relationship with any terror group, not ISIS, not Al- Shabaab, not anyone.
Interesting to point out, we also heard from the council on American Islamic Relations, the executive director there in Minnesota saying that there has been a lot of anti-Muslim organizing, and he hopes that this incident, this attack that happened yesterday doesn't further cause a divisiveness there in the community.
Let's start with what we do know about this suspect was that he entered a mall about 8:00 p.m. last night and almost immediately began stabbing people indiscriminately, leaving nine people injured. All of them are expected to survive. They range in age from 15 to 53.
Highlighted at that press conference earlier today from the mayor as well as the police chief and the FBI was the heroic action of Jason Faulkner, a part-time police officer with the nearby Avon Police Department, a former police chief from Albany who, according to the mayor, clearly prevented additional injuries.
The suspect lunged at this officer while the officer exchanged fire, hitting the individual. The individual got up three separate times before he was shot dead.
The mall will remain closed; it is still an active crime scene. The individual -- the suspect who carried out this attack, his car was found in the parking lot. That has been impounded. We also know that at least two search warrants have been executed at one home there in the area. Poppy?
HARLOW: Nick, thank you very much.
Paul Cruickshank, you know this well. This is not new in terms of this recruitment especially among the Somali community, if in fact that is the case with this person who carried out the stabbing in Minnesota.
I sat down last year with the Minnesota's attorney general, Andy Luger. He talked extensively about this, about how Minnesota has been targeted and this community has been targeted in terms of recruitment.
And this is not new. This goes back to Al-Shabaab.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Yes, this goes back to Al- Shabaab, the Somali terrorist group which was successful in recruiting a number of individuals of Somali descent from Minnesota, from Minneapolis.
There has been a cluster of radicalization in that area. People a decade ago going off and joining Al-Shabaab in Somali. But now, they've been trying to go off and join ISIS.
U.S. officials, intelligence agencies have detected a recruiting pipeline from Minnesota to join ISIS in Syria and Iraq. They've charged 11 Somali Americans in Minnesota, Minneapolis area already in connection with that case. There have been a number who managed to reach ISIS in Syria. In fact, at least some of them were killed fighting with ISIS over there.
HARLOW: And just quickly, I'd like your assessment on the language that was used by this ISIS-connected news agency talking about this person as basically a soldier for ISIS. What does that mean, Paul? Does that mean ISIS inspired? Does that mean this person would have traveled overseas to be trained? What does it mean?
CRUICKSHANK: Well ISIS went on to saying that statement that their news agency -- that this individual, according to what they believe, was responding to their call for attacks.
So, they are not claiming that this person traveled to Syria or Iraq and actually met and joined the group. They're just saying that he answered their call. They've been putting out the calls for some time now, for their supporters around the world to launch attacks in their name. Recently saying to their followers that you should stay in the United States. Stay in Europe and launch attacks there. Don't come over here.
But ISIS is not providing any proof that they had any prior knowledge that this attack was going to happen. They may be just acting optimistically here after they heard some media reports suggesting like an Islamist connection.
HARLOW: OK guys, stand by with me. Joining me on the phone is Abdirizak Bihi. He is not only a very active member of the Somali community in Minnesota, he has a unique perfective because his nephew was recruited by Al-Shabaab to fight overseas and killed in that fight. We spoke last when I was reporting on this in Minnesota last year. Abdirizak, thank you for being with me.
ABDIRIZAK BIHI, SOALI COMMUNITY LEADER: Thank you for having me again, Poppy.
HARLOW: We talked about, you know, what your community faces in terms of this recruitment and we are not naming the suspected stabber at this time, so please refrain from using any names that may be circulating out there until we get that confirmed.
But look, you and your community leaders just came out and held this press conference because of a fear of reprisal from others in the state against the Muslim Somali Community in Minnesota in the wake of this attack. Talk to me about your sense on the ground there right now.
BIHI: You know, I'm not in St. Cloud right now, but this affects us first, St. Cloud area as you will expect an (inaudible) the whole community. It's really a bad -- really bad incident that was committed by an individual that has nothing to do with the community. But we have history where backlash has, you know, ensued such acts and that's what the community leaders and whole community is really concerned.
HARLOW: Talk about the recruitment efforts. What has changed from when Al-Shabaab was targeting young Somali Americans living in Minnesota back in 2006, 2007, 2008 and now ISIS recruiting members of your community?
BIHI: Well, the recruitment is very down right now, thanks to the law enforcement that's engaging the community in conversation in many forms, including even concerning Islamaphobia. But, you know, this is different. This is very different.
[17:10:00] Back in 2008, when a nephew and other kids were going -- were recruited, after doing a lot of outreach, I used to have a difficult time because a lot of people would say, well, they're fighting the utopian invasion. But right now, the whole community cannot comprehend why Syria, why ISIS.
You look at this community. It's a community that everyday you see relatives that have been killed by Al-Shabaab suicide bombing back home in Somalia. It's a community fled from this bad (inaudible) and came to America to build their lives as Americans. It is very interesting when Islamaphobia or a backlash happens to the same people who are victims of these people. It's really a difficult time.
HARLOW: The U.S. Attorney for Minnesota, Andrew Luger, when I sat down with him last year there to talk about this problem said to me, and he made a point of noting that the Imam's religious leaders within your community are working incredibly hard to fight this recruitment. What can you tell me about how effective that fight has been against those who wish to do harm to the community and wish to recruit members of your community to become terrorists?
BIHI: You know, I want to say that our Minnesota U.S. Attorney, Andrew Luger, has done a tremendous process, a wonderful job, to not only persecute this, but to equally engage the community, the Imams (ph), the youth, the whole community.
As a matter of fact, I'm a part of Somali American Task Force that works directly with him and with the foundations to create jobs and other issues, and to educate everyone. We are seeing a tremendous unity from the Imams, from the - all sectors of the community, from the mothers. As a matter of fact, tomorrow, we have another meeting that was earlier scheduled to address those issues. It is a tremendous effort. Everyone is on the same page against the radicalization or the recruitment of ISIS in our young people.
HARLOW: Abdirizak Bihi, I appreciate you joining me tonight. It's very important perspective and we'll keep all our viewers posted as we learn more about the identity of the person that carried out this horrific attack last night in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Thank you so much.
A lot of breaking news to get to this hour. The FBI is saying those two bombs in New York and New Jersey and the explosive device in New Jersey are "similar in design." They're still working to see if there is an absolutely connection between the two.
When we come back, the man who ran the Boston Police Department on the day of the Boston Marathon bombing will join me. His unique and personal perspective, and more on the hunt for the bomber in New York. That's next, live in the CNN newsroom.
[17:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HARLOW: As we mentioned at the top of the hour, the Minnesota stabbings are one of three possible terror attacks on U.S. soil in a single day. The other two involved bombs exploding in New York and New Jersey.
Our Deborah Feyerick is live in New York tonight, not far from where that one bomb exploded on West 23rd Street. And Deborah, first of all, I mean, you are probably well sourced with law enforcement. So what are they telling you in terms of the status of the investigation tonight? Any motive ascribed and also, you know, their challenge with not being able to find very clear surveillance video of the blast.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's interesting about that is that they do have video surveillance. You have got to remember that New York City has a very sophisticated surveillance system throughout the city. So they're going to be looking at that along with video that's being turned in from other people who may have been in the area.
Plus, they have got to gather human intelligence. Talk to anybody who may have seen something that seemed suspicious. So all of that right now is well in the work.
Also, they're looking at the blast pattern. The first blast that took place here behind me, 23rd Street, they're looking at all of that. They're trying to determine exactly how the bomb went off. And they're labeling and marking everything so that they can find any potential evidence.
Remember, the Boston marathon bombing, they were -- they had to label every single piece because you don't know what could potentially be significant until you really have some time to analyze it.
Reports have been that there was some sort of a sulfur smell that could indicate the presence of black powder. So, all of these are saying that investigators are looking at.
I want to bring in Congressman Carolyn Maloney because she actually got up close to the scene. You were able to see the blast itself. What stood out to you? What did it look like?
REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D), NEW YORK: Well first of all, I was very grateful. When you see the blast, it was a serious one, it was deep, it was strong. I was grateful that no one was killed, that no one was seriously injured.
Of the 27, they've been released from the hospital. But when you see the blast, the dumpster was thrown across the street. The large dumpster was reduced to a smaller scale filled with holes. The glass was blown out on both sides of the street, including beautiful stained glass windows were destroyed and the church on the street.
I was just grateful that no one was hurt. There is a home for the blind, 180 people are being served lunch and dinner by the Red Cross. The police, NYPD, the residents who express their gratitude, that they were reviewed and feel like they are being addressed, their concerns. They're opening up an emergency office with a small business administration and other services for people. They're reviewing every single piece of tape from the red light cameras to what individuals have turned in and every single piece of glass has been marked by the FBI evidence team.
HARLOW: But Deborah, my question is, why this site? There were three sites, New Jersey, 27th Street will open in three hours, I've been told, and 23rd Street. Are there any connections? Usually, terrorists want to say, we did it. No one is claiming credit. I find that and usually terrorists claim credits. They want to say "we did it." No one is claiming credits. I find that unusual.
And also they Iconic sites, Times Square. Remember the smoking car in Times Square? So this is not an iconic site. It's not a store. It's not a landmark. Personally, I was involved in two parades and one huge festival with literally ...
FEYERICK: And so why not those sites? That's very interesting.
MALONEY: More people. Why this site? So the FBI is reviewing all this and hopefully we'll get some professional answers coming back.
But I had with me Carolyn Maloney. We really appreciate your time. One quick note, what is it?
MALONEY: It's been 15 years since 9/11. 20 attempts have been thwarted, thank God. And we've got to be even better in stopping this. I'm grateful to the NYPD, emergency management and everyone that's here helping.
[17:20:00] FEYERICK: Thank you so much. Congressman Maloney, thank you so much. We do want to say, Poppy, that one of the key things is that some of our colleagues have been reporting that, in fact, cell phones that were found not only at the device on West 27th street but also the one in New Jersey.
Investigators are looking at all of that to determine whether, in fact, the devices were similar because an individual may have read the same magazine -- individuals may have read the same magazine or whether in fact, they are directly connected.
So when investigators look at something like this, it's not just what does make sense but it also is what doesn't make sense. And you heard the congresswoman saying, why this particular area? Why this neighborhood? Why, you know, 8 o'clock in Chelsea as opposed to a busier parade or something like that?
But the last point (ph) about the dumpster, Poppy, that dumpster may have prevented a lot more serious injuries because it took the brunt of the impact of that device. And so you bet, FBI investigators are looking very, very closely to see what kind of evidence is in that dumpster itself. So they've got a lot of work to do, and they're doing it very diligently, Poppy.
HARLOW: Absolutely. Deborah Feyerick, thank you so much. Deborah will be with us throughout the night as we learn more on this investigation continues.
Ahead, our coverage of the bombing in Manhattan last night continuing with analysis from our experts. This, as we start to hear from the victims, the people right there last night when it all exploded.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was close to not actually seeing my son again. That was the scariest part of the night for me.
[17:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HARLOW: Twenty-nine people injured last night when that bomb exploded in New York City, just hours after another explosion in New Jersey that, thankfully, did not hurt anybody when it detonated.
What is missing from the bombings, though in New Jersey and New York is a claim of responsibility or, frankly, any suspect. Ed Davis is with me, he was Boston's Police Commissioner in 2013 when the bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Also with us, our law enforcement analysts Tom Fuentes and Matthew Horace.
Commissioner Davis, thank you for being with us. You know, yesterday, on this program, as we were covering what was happening in Seaside -- Seaside Park, New Jersey, with that pipe bomb that exploded, luckily, the runners hadn't passed by there yet. You know, I immediately thought of the Boston Marathon bombing. What was in your mind?
ED DAVIS, FORMER COMMISSIONER, BOSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, the same thing. And tragically, some of the smaller events that occur day in and day out in towns and cities in America don't have the level of security that we have at a big event like the Boston Marathon, so these are easy targets.
HARLOW: So what has changed, I mean, in terms of, you know, a lot of security protocol around mass gatherings and big events, changed in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing? What has changed the most?
DAVIS: Well, I think the amount of money that's being spent to try to secure these events, it's doubled and tripled in some cases. And I've talked to event planners and the not-for-profits that are really having a hard time making the security spend what they need to.
So, we have to look at that. You know, the thing that was shocking about the New Jersey bombing is if this thing had a cellular phone detonator on it, they seemed to have set it off at exactly the wrong time.
There are some things that don't add up here, the placement of a bomb inside a container, like the -- like the dumpster. That cuts down on the lethality of the device. So, it's really confusing. This is a little different from what we saw in Boston.
HARLOW: That's interesting. Tom Fuentes, to you, do you read that as, you know, more amateur?
TOM FUENTES, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: First of all, Poppy, I'd like to tell Commissioner Davis, it is an honor to be on with you. I have the highest respect for you and your staff and the entire Boston Police Department. I was on the air here that whole time during the marathon bombing and aftermath, and I just want to commend you for that, first of all. I'm sorry, Poppy ...
DAVIS: Thank you, sir. The feeling is mutual. Thank you.
FUENTES: Thank you.
HARLOW: The question I was asking is whether you read, from what Commissioner Davis said during the bombing, inside the dumpster to making the impact a bit less than it could have been it sounds like, do you read that as it -- as it being a bit more amateur?
FUENTES: Well, yes, in a way, and to that point, I thought earlier yesterday, when we only had the New Jersey event, that maybe it was more like a prank. That it wasn't intended to harm runners. That they detonated it on purpose at a time when nobody was on the street. It barely did any damage to a plastic container that it was put in.
Then later, we hear that two other devices didn't explode that were a part of that, but maybe they weren't intended to. So, we don't know. It might have been just -- to me, it might have been like a prank, until we have the New York event, which is a different story. Then they might have just been stupid and put it inside the dumpster, not realizing to what extent it would contain the blast.
HARLOW: And Tom, the FBI is using the wording, "potential act of terrorism." Walk us through your former FBI assistant director, the differentiation between a potential and an outright. Why are they qualifying it right now?
FUENTES: I don't know. That's a good question. And I think it's just a - you know, everybody is trying to downplay it and, you know, not strike fear. But, you know, in the case like this where you don't have -- at least you're not going to have a homicide event, you know, fortunately, I don't know why they would say it's potential or it's not potential.
You know, In Boston, as I was mentioning, I was on the air, Commissioner Davis immediately came out, day one. They didn't know who did it or why they did it or any motive, came out the very first afternoon, held a press conference and said it's not a gas explosion, it's two bombs, therefore it's terrorism.
And I want to introduce the special agent in charge of the FBI who will now have this case because of terrorism. It was a pretty simple decision to make. He made it. He said it. And on this -- this event in New York, we still see this dancing around with the authorities of not wanting to say what it really is.
HARLOW: Well, we do have the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force investigating it as a -- now, they're using the language "possible terror attack." I take your point. It is one that has been broadly debated, certainly, in the last 24 hours.
Matthew Horace, to you. You're a former ATF agent with an expertise in explosives. Let's pull up the image that we do have of that pressure cooker, that bomb that was found on 27th Street, late, late last night. They've taken it up outside of New York City. They're obviously going through it bit by bit. How difficult is it to make something like this? How sophisticated does someone have to be in bomb-making to be able to put this together? [17:30:00] MATTHEW HORACE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Poppy, as you know, plans for doing this are online or in magazines, they're on online publications. And let's face it, after the Boston Marathon bombings, we saw the carnage and the damage that a device like this can do, depending on the type of explosive that's inside the device, depending on if it has shrapnel or glass or nails or other devices inside of it. It can really do a lot of damage, though.
It's not difficult to make. It is difficult to make and make it well. You know, this is one of those cases. As Tom always says, how can you reason with psychopath? We have a calamity of errors here. The one in New Jersey didn't go off. The one in New York went off but in a very isolated area. And then this one didn't.
HORACE: So, somewhere on the way, we're going to find out what in the world is going on here and how come these devices were designed, built but didn't operate as designed?
HARLOW: Gentlemen, thank you so much. Commissioner Davis, Matthew Horace, Tom Fuentes, we appreciate it a lot more ahead.
Also, to the politics of it, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump reacting to the bombings, their responses very different last night. Coming out more on what we're learning about the attack in Chelsea right in the middle of Manhattan and what Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton's responses tell us about how they may handle threats and attacks like this as the Commander-in-Chief, next.
HARLOW: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are responding very differently to last night's bombing in New York City. Trump first speaking about it as his rally in Colorado last was about 40 minutes after the explosion was first reported and before authorities confirmed that it was, in fact, a bombing in New York City. Here's what Trump said.
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[17:35:00] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I must tell you that just before I got off the plane, a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows exactly what's going on, but boy, we are living in a time. We better get very tough, folks. WE better get very, very tough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Clinton, on the other hand, more measured. She told reporters when she was in touch -- that she was in touch with officials from New York. And then she said this on her plane last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's always wiser to wait until you have information before making conclusions. Because we are just in the beginning stages of trying to determine what happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: So what do these two dramatically different responses to the same event tell us, about how Trump or Clinton may lead our nation, especially after a moment like this in four short months? One of them will be doing just that. With me to discuss, Ryan Lizza CNN commentator and Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker", and Ron Brownstein is with us, a CNN political analyst and senior editor of "The Atlantic."
Ron, look, I think we actually got the responses that the public would expect from Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Yes, they're very different. Which one though, do you believe is the most indicative of how they would actually act as a commander-in-chief? Because there is one thing, the rhetoric, right, and what you say ahead of an election to get votes, and one thing about how you'd actually in the oval office.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think they were both very revealing and I think that you saw an incredible distillation of much of the choice in this election in that 40 seconds of contrasting video.
You know, Trump's greatest strength is that many voters view him as likely to bring change. He says what he means. He will be something different. He will not be a typical politician. And he will kind of go out and say what he believes and, not incidentally, given his coalition, that he will crack down on all of these foreign forces and influences that they believe are undermining many of the verities of American life.
On the other hand, what you saw from Clinton, is her comparative advantage in this race. That she is a more sober, you know, kind of deliberate leader, and that voters overwhelmingly see that. And as Trump's greatest strength is that he will likely to bring change, far more voters consistently (inaudible) say Clinton is qualified to be president or more qualified to be commander-in-chief, and far more qualified to handle foreign policy.
So I think you actually got a very good summary of how do the contrasting styles and arguments that they are bringing to the voters now and with all likelihood, bring to the Oval Office if they are elected.
HARLOW: And I think, Ryan, the argument is over. You know, did Trump speak far too soon before authorities said something, the fact -- the point is that he was correct, so this would be a different conversation if it was not correct. There was not a bombing.
But aside from that, let's listen to what his running mate, Governor Mike Pence, said about the bombings in New York and New Jersey and that stabbing in Minnesota today. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. MIKE PENCE (R-IN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As a governor and a candidate for national office, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on an ongoing investigation, other than to say that we are thankful in our hearts that there is no loss of life as a result of these horrific attacks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: So he says it wouldn't be appropriate for him to comment. That is drastically different than what his running mate said. Who handled it in a way that is more effective in terms of garnering the votes and the support of the undecided that they need?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you get the sense that Pence and Trump are not on the phone coordinating their response to this. They are sort of running separate campaigns in a sense. Their responses were completely different.
Pence's was more like Clinton, which is what most political leaders do in a breaking news situation. Frankly, most journalists, commentators, anyone that is in the public eye, when a major, breaking news event where none of us actually have the facts, you tend to be extremely careful.
Now, if you are a political leader, it's even more important to do that because you don't want to say something that gets ahead of the facts, and Pence and Clinton, long-time politicians, both know that that's the way to operate.
Trump, yeah, I mean, I personally got the sense from Trump that every time there has been an incident like this, some kind of terrorist attack, he jumps on it very quickly and he wants to be out there speaking about it, whether he knows what happened or not.
At the time he spoke last night, it was not known whether this was truly a bomb and so he was -- he was getting ahead of himself. I think if you were the president, you know, you'd hope that he would have people around him that would sort of contain that impulse to speak before the facts are actually in front of him.
[17:40:00] HARLOW: And just to be clear, I mean, we didn't know, right? The press, the media, the public. We don't know what Donald Trump knew or Hillary Clinton knew or President Obama knew. But he said, he said, Ron, "we better get tough, folks." Right? And he kept saying, we're going to get tough and smart and vigilant." I mean, he used that as an opportunity without, you know, certainly at least knowing who was behind the attacks because that's still not public, that the current administration's policies aren't working. That's what he was saying.
BROWNSTEIN: Right. Two big points, I think, are important here. One is that you know, these kinds of attacks, unfortunately have become a drum beat in American life. And there is no evidence that the American public is being knocked truly off balance by them.
People are concerned about terror. They see a sense for vigilance. But opinions are not radically shifting as a result of this. Yes, Donald Trump did clearly get a boost the last poll in the republican primary around the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.
But in terms of the general election attitudes, for example, on the idea of banning Muslim immigration, it has not radically changed month after month on this. And the second point I think, it is striking that Trump made those comments and you sited on the same day that Robert Gates, who was the CIA director on George H.W. Bush, the Defense Secretary for both the son, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, joined a long list of 50 other republican national security officials in saying that he viewed Trump as unfit and unqualified to be president. The same kind of shoot from the hip, you know, that we saw yesterday that does appeal to a segment of the electorate that believes the political class has failed them.
Also, has stirred, I think unprecedented resistance across party line among the national security leadership. Even Barry Goldwater in 1964 did not face as much defection from republican national security leaders as Trump has from this long line of former cabinet officials and others who said they simply do not believe he's qualified to be president.
LIZZA: And this is exactly the kind of response to an incident that people like Gates and the sort of national security establishment of the republican party would point to as, wait a second, this is not how you operate when something like this -- when something like this goes down.
HARLOW: But he did, as we saw ...
HARLOW: As we saw though on this show yesterday, he does have the support of former CIA director being who served under President Bill Clinton. So that is one big name in defense that he does have. I think I have to leave it there. Ron Brownstein, Ryan Lizza, thank you very much.
LIZZA: Thanks Poppy.
HARLOW: Coming up, lie for us in the CNN Newsroom following a diplomatic firestorm over the accidental U.S.-led coalition bombing of Syrian troops. Secretary of State John Kerry reacting in an exclusive interview our Elise Labott.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: The biggest judgment they need to make is stop Assad from bombing people indiscriminately, which he continues to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[17:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HARLOW: A war of words at the United Nations after U.S.-led coalition air strikes killed and wounded Syrian soldiers, the Assad regime's forces. This is a first, and that bombing prompted Russia to call an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council last night.
The U.S. expressing regret over those air strikes if, indeed, they say they did kill coalition forces. This as the Russian ambassador to the United Nations calls them suspicious in their timing. In that, Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. called the emergency meeting that Russia called a "stunt."
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SAMANTHA POWER, UNITED STATES U.N. AMBASSADOR: This said, even by Russia's standards, tonight's stunt, a stunt replete with moralism and grandstanding, is uniquely cynical and hypocritical.
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HARLOW: That was just as she went into the room to meet with the members of the Security Council. Let's bring in our CNN Global Affairs Analyst, Elise Labott. You sat down with for an exclusive one-on-one interview with Secretary Kerry. What did he tell you in the wake of what is clearly a first, if it was a U.S. air strike on the Syrian forces?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And he struck pretty much the same tone as Ambassador Powers, saying, listen, the U.S. could have called the U.N. Security Council meeting all these years while Russia was legitimizing the Syrian strikes and even aiding them and even making strikes of their own at some point.
And he basically said the situation that the U.S. and Russia find itself today in this situation with the Syrians, is really one of Russia's making. Take a listen.
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KERRY: The biggest judgment they need to make is stop Assad from bombing people indiscriminately, which he continues to do.
And if you are serious about having a ceasefire, and they say they are, then they should keep Assad from flying right now and prove their sincerity about a ceasefire. But to allow Assad, who is a spoiler -- he doesn't want a ceasefire -- to allow him to continue to go after opposition, pretending that they are Nusra, is in and of itself a huge challenge to this effort.
So we call on Russia to stop the grandstanding, stop the show boating, and get the humanitarian assistance going. It is now Sunday morning. This started Monday night of last -- this past week.
And the humanitarian assistance is supposed to be flowing. The regime, once again, is blocking it. So Russia's client, Russia's supported friend, is the single biggest blockade to the ability to move forward here. And The opposition feels threatened because the bombs continue even as there's supposed to be a cessation of hostility.
So let mew just say this clearly. Russia signed up for the cessation of hostilities. Assad said he would live by it. Then he needs to stop and let the joint implementation center get set up so Russia and the United States can coordinate in order to avoid the kind of terrible thing that happened yesterday, which we all acknowledge and regret.
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LABOTT: Those some tough words, Secretary Kerry obviously trying to move beyond this incident, which the U.S. said was an accident, and focus on what they think is the real issue, is that the Assad regime is not letting this aid through even though this was really one of the conditions of the agreement in order to go on to the next phase for them.
HARLOW: For the ceasefire, a week in now and so many people are not getting any food, any medicine, as Samantha Powers said, last night they are starving to death and dying because they don't have that medicine. Quickly though, contextualize for us the tension level between the United States and Russia because you heard the Russian spokesperson coming out yesterday and saying the White House is complicit and the White House is helping ISIS.
[17:50:00] LABOTT: Well, the U.S. kind of says that's ridiculous. And in fact, you know, the Russians want this agreement with the U.S. to work on fighting ISIS and fighting on this together.
I think you have to look at the bigger context here. The U.S. is also investigating Russia for hacking into the U.S. election. There's a lot of tension not just on Syria but Ukraine. So, a lot of mistrust between the parties. The Pentagon is even saying it's not even sure if they want to hold up its end of the bargain and cooperate with the Russian, share intel and share targeting (ph) because there's no trust there between the parties.
HARLOW: It's really bad situation. Do you think ...
LABOTT: This as we kick off a huge week here in New York. The United Nations general assembly where all those world leaders come together. You'll be covering it all. Elise, thank you very much. And much more of our interview with Secretary Kerry tomorrow morning on "New Day."
Just ahead, live in the CNN Newsroom, much more on the breaking news. United States potentially hit with three terror attacks in a single day.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For Jane Goodall, a plane ride over Tanzania led to a troubling realization.
[17:55:00] DR. JANE GOODALL, ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: When I flew over the Gombe National Park against (inaudible) 1960 ...
I was actually shocked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She discovered the chimpanzee population was rapidly shrinking, and the human population wasn't faring well, either.
GOODALL: There were clearly more people that they (inaudible) good support. It's best because do something to help the people live better lives. They couldn't even try to save the chimpanzees.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Goodall reached out to local villagers.
GOODALL: We asked them what did they feel that we could do to help them. One was to grow more food. Two, was to have better health, and three was to have better education for their children.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Jane Goodall Institute started providing micro credit loans to villagers to help them grow food and raise livestock.
GOODALL: We've seen a complete cycle of regeneration, villagers' lives improving, education going up respecting women and the start of the downward trend in family size.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the farms, fields have recovered. Barren lands that once divided chimps have grown back, reconnecting the population.
GOODALL: Animals are on the brink of extinction could leave us another chance when people care and are determined.
[18:00:00] HARLOW: Top of the hour here in the CNN Newsroom. I'm Poppy Harlow. In New York, we are continuing to follow the breaking news that the United States may have been hit with three separate terror attacks in a single day. Two of those attacks happened less than 100 miles apart in the ...