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NEW DAY SUNDAY
Dozens Injured in New York Explosion; U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power Blasted Moscow for Calling Emergency Meeting; Obama Delivers Passionate Speech for Clinton. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired September 18, 2016 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
[05:00:16] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. So grateful to have your company one hour earlier than usual for us. We want to welcome you, our viewers in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. We're starting with breaking news this morning out of New York. Right now police with sniffer dogs, they are searching for explosive devices after a massive blast -- and you see the video here -- ripped through a neighborhood in Chelsea. That's the community. Injuring dozens of people. And the force of the explosion blew up the window sending glass and pieces of metal flying in all directions, and sending terrified people running.
You see in some of the videos here, cell phone videos, surveillance video, we're going to be showing all morning. And it could be heard several blocks away.
PAUL: Officials say this bomb went off in or near a dumpster and a second device which looks to be a pressure cooker with wiring was found blocks away. Now that device is being analyzed at the moment.
New York Major Bill de Blasio, though, says the explosion, quote, "was an intentional act." Investigators are analyzing security footage that may possibly show a person near that explosion and we do know that they're examining that very careful at this hour.
BLACKWELL: CNN of course is covering this from all angles. We have CNN's Jessica Schneider at the scene of the blast there in New York.
PAUL: Cristina Alesci outside the hospital where the victims have been taken as well.
BLACKWELL: So let's start here with you, Jessica, right outside where this happened about 8:30 Saturday night. Give us an idea of the situation behind you. I see that there's still an area cordoned off. How much of this area is still shutdown?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Victor, there's a big area shutdown right now. About 20 blocks of cross streets are shutdown. We're on 23rd Street. This explosion happened just down the block here near the intersection of 6th Avenue. In the past few minutes, in fact, I have seen those teams of police officers. They're scouring these streets with flashlights, with policing dogs. They're working to ensure that this area is safe.
Mayor de Blasio is speaking overnight saying that this in fact was an intentional act but right now saying that this explosion that happened just down the street, no terror connection as of yet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Huge explosion and I saw the back window of the SUV pop out. Like all the glass went into the street and my wife and I just looked at each other and we just ran up 6th Avenue.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): New York City on high alert after an explosion rips through Manhattan. Surveillance video obtained by MSNBC captures the chaos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I felt like a lightning bolt struck the building. It like shook the ground. And everyone ran out of the restaurant into the street. The whole city was in the street.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: We believe at this point in time this was an intentional act.
SCHNEIDER: The explosion happened about 8:30 p.m. in the Chelsea neighborhood and it was in or near a dumpster, according to a law enforcement source. Dozens of people were injured.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm willing to help. Come with me.
JAMES O'NEILL, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: We do have video and we see the explosion and we're going to use that to help us in our investigation.
SCHNEIDER: Several hours later, police cleared a suspicious package just four blocks away from the explosion site and they warned residents to stay away from their windows. Reporters had to move as well.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I think we're OK here for second.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you're not. No, you're not.
QUEST: No, we're not.
SCHNEIDER: Officials say a second device appears to be a pressure cooker with wire sticking out and what looks like a cell phone attached and a piece of paper with some writing. Police confirmed the device was removed by the bomb squad for investigation.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Because it was not detonated, there might be fingerprints, there might be proof of purchase, there might be other things that can lead the investigation.
SCHNEIDER: And the count is now 29 people injured in this explosion. No one was killed. Now in terms of the investigation police sources tell us that they have obtained surveillance video of this block, 23rd Street, and they've identified someone who is a person of interest so they're looking at that, looking at other surveillance video and police have also taken to Twitter to appeal to anyone who might have any information to come forward -- Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: All right, Jessica Schneider there for us near the scene of the blast. Now she said 29 people injured. We know that two dozen of those were taken to hospitals across New York.
PAUL: Yes. Some of the first people to get to the victims, the bystanders who heard the blast and then of course ran to help. We want to warn you here because I don't want you to be caught off guard. The video could be disturbing for some of you to watch here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come with me. Come with me. Come we me. I'm holding you, OK? Come with me. You're OK.
[05:05:01] Nothing's going to happen, OK. Nothing is going to happen to you. Come on. There's the ambulance right here. I got you. I got you. Mommy, you know (INAUDIBLE). Right here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One injured.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard the explosion and I fell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What does my eye look like?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's OK. It's OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's OK. You're OK. You're OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My eye, does it look OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our friend is around here somewhere. We don't know where she is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, one second, ladies. One second, ladies.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got some stuff going on. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was a bomb. You heard?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our friend is around here somewhere.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have minor injuries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know. I know.
PAUL: My goodness.
BLACKWELL: You could see that the metal in the woman's arm.
BLACKWELL: It gives you an idea of the types of injuries. We learned from the NYPD and the fire department there in New York that this were no serious injuries except for one person that had some puncture wounds but a lot of the pieces of metal and glass that flew everywhere.
PAUL: Right. It was debris primarily that was causing so much of that injury. So many of the injuries on these people, and you can imagine for them how confusing it s because they don't even know what happened really.
PAUL: You know, they're just walking down the street, suddenly there's an explosion. So not only are they dealing with the fact that they're injured and they don't know what's happening in that regard, they don't know. And when you're in a car crash, you know you're in a car crash.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Yes.
PAUL: When somebody attacked you, you know somebody attacked you. This you can imagine how the confusion it's adding to some of, I'm sure, their emotions. But as this device exploded, and you can see how the glass in the middle tore through the air and what it did. The force of the glass itself was enough to affect those nearby. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a huge explosion and I saw the back window of an SUV pop out. Like all the glass went into the street. And my wife and I just looked at each other and we just ran up 6th Avenue.
SCHNEIDER: New York City on high alert after an explosion rips through Manhattan. Surveillance video obtained by MSNBC captures --
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACKWELL: All right. That's part of a story that was filed, but you heard from the man there who was actually thrown off of his feet as glass and pieces of metal, as we said, went flying. We have with us now from New York CNN correspondent Cristina Alesci who has been keeping up with the injuries and those who were sent to hospitals. We know that 24 of the 29 were sent to hospitals.
Do we have an update on how many are still there and the severity of those injuries?
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: We don't have an update as to how many are actually still being treated but just to give you some context here, Victor. 23rd Street is a very busy street, especially on a Saturday night in New York City. It's not exactly a tourist designation but it is a residential neighborhood and people come in, go to bars and restaurants so if you were in the vicinity and very close to the blast, it is very likely that those pieces of metal or glass may have caused injuries.
In fact we caught up with one victim who was very shaken. He was actually driving and lost control of his vehicle. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID MARTINEZ, BLAST SURVIVOR: I was driving in the car and next thing you know I felt an explosion and the car just tilted over. Half way it came back down. And what happened was I just blacked out. Next thing you know I'm in an ambulance. And you know, a little traumatized. I just thought about that I was close to not actually seeing my son again. That was the scariest part of the night to me.
RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What kind of injuries do you have? You're on crutches I see.
MARTINEZ: Well, sprained knee and a little head injury, and a knee somewhat -- I've got to see, got to go back and more treatment for my knee. See how bad it really is.
CRANE: And what about your car? Was it severely damaged?
MARTINEZ: Yes, the whole left side. The glass broke out and everything.
CRANE: And what about you? What are your injuries? I see you're also pregnant.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The baby is fine. Everything is fine with the baby. A mild concussion I have.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALESCI: So this clearly the car in bad shape but thankfully those two people seemed to be OK.
I'm outside of Bellevue right now. It's a level one trauma center. It's actually the place where when things like this happen, victims come here for treatment. Especially in Lower Manhattan so we're waiting to see who comes out. So far it's been quiet. We heard from a hospital official earlier this morning that said about nine people were being treated here. Unclear if they're still inside -- Victor.
[05:10:01] BLACKWELL: All right, Cristina Alesci, outside of Bellevue Hospital. Thank you so much.
PAUL: We're also following the investigation, believe it or not, into multiple stabbings at a Minnesota mall. Police were forced to kill a man armed with a knife after he went on a rampage. This happened at Crossroads Mall. It's in St. Cloud, about an hour outside Minneapolis.
BLACKWELL: Authorities say the attacker was dressed in a security uniform when he stabbed eight people last night. And most of the people are OK but one is still in the hospital this morning. An off duty officer at the mall shot and killed that assailant. Witnesses say the man made reference to Allah and then asked at least one person if he or she was Muslim. The mall will be closed today as police continue their investigation to find out what led to that attack.
Authorities in New York with the major breaking story this morning examining evidence including surveillance video which will be key in trying to find the suspect or suspects in the explosion in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. They're also looking at the debris left behind in their search for clues. We'll have the latest on the investigation in a moment.
PAUL: All right, well, New York, we are with you this morning as you wake up to some news that I know can be really -- can really shake you up here. Dozens of people wounded after this blast ripped through the Chelsea neighborhood. Take a look at the video we have here.
This morning we know that investigators are analyzing additional video footage from that scene. They're trying to figure out if a person seen in it could be connected to this explosion.
BLACKWELL: All right. So that was the explosion on 23rd. There was a second device with wires sticking out of it found on 27th. It was taken away. Disarmed by police. Our first responders took some panic-stricken and bloodied victims at the hospital. Right now police are trying to make sure that no other devices are in the area.
Let's bring in CNN law enforcement and former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes.
[05:15:01] And Tom, good morning to you. And I want to put up the picture that was tweeted out by the chief of counterterrorism for New York's police department. It shows the dumpster in which we believe this device was placed in it. And you can see it's kind of mangled. We know that there were reports from Hoboken across the Hudson in New Jersey. They heard the explosion.
When you see this type of damage, you hear about the size and the type of damage this has done and the injuries, what does that say to you about this device? Do you rule in or out certain components?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Victor, when they rule out that it was a gas explosion or some other natural type explosion like that, you know, then what else can it be but some type of explosive device which they say was caused by a person so to me it tells me that it was a rather large explosive device that someone built and someone detonated and caused the injury of dozens of people, so I think it shows me it's a deliberate act and indicates an act of terrorism.
Whether it's domestic terrorism or international we don't know but it certainly would have the appearance that someone has taken -- made an attempt to kill people on purpose.
BLACKWELL: All right. We know that this is a broad scoped investigation now. Searching with dogs and robots. Give us an idea having been on the scene what is happening there now. And they say they're searching using robots. What type of robots would they employ?
FUENTES: Well, they called for a bomb disposal robot last night for the second device that was located and, you know, we used that and it called for the containment vessel to either take it away or neutralize that device so it indicates that it's some type of a device that they were fearful and we later saw the pictures of the pressure cooker, that it was capable of exploding even though they don't know if anything inside it explosive or whether it's a hoax just designed to cause fear.
But that's what terrorism does. It causes fear making you believe that something might happen even if it won't happen. Like when someone calls in a bomb threat on an aircraft that's flying with passengers aboard. So we don't know that yet. As far as the rest of the search, you know, the fact that someone put an explosive device in a -- in a garbage can in New Jersey yesterday and then this device that exploded near that dumpster -- in or near the dumpster indicates that they're looking inside of every trash container, box, any other place that a device like that could be placed on a sidewalk, on the street in an alley way, you know, somewhere and of course it's still dark in New York City so it's difficult to search for devices.
BLACKWELL: All right, Tom Fuentes, with us all morning. Tom, thanks so much.
FUENTES: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says that the explosion was an intentional act. However, he says that so far there's no evidence that there's a connection to terrorism.
PAUL: But he is urging his city to be on alert. All while trying, of course, keep everybody calm. He spoke during a news conference overnight. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: Tonight New York City experienced a very serious incident. All elements of our first responders have been a part of the operation here. NYPD, FDNY, Office of Emergency Management, obviously our federal partners, FBI and others, working with us. So all hands are on deck. Injuries are significant. You'll hear from Commissioner Nigro on the details of the injuries. But at this point we can confirm that none of those injured are likely to die.
We also want to be upfront saying that there's no evidence at this point of a terror connection to this incident. This is preliminary information. It's something we will be investigating very carefully but there is no evidence at this point of a terror connection.
I also want to affirm that based on what we know at this hour there is no specific connection to the incident in New Jersey. It's again too early to say anything definitive on those questions, but there's no specific evidence of a connection at this point.
I want to say more broadly there is no specific and credible threat against New York City at this point in time from any terror organization. So as we are analyzing what happened here we are doing it against the backdrop but we have no credible and specific threat at this moment.
But we do want to be very clear. The early indications, the initial indication is this was an intentional act. We're going to have a lot more to say in the coming hours as we have more detailed analysis but we believe at this point in time this was an intentional act.
[05:20:01] I want to assure all New Yorkers that the NYPD and all other agencies are at full alert. And that our anti-terror capacity, in particular, is at full alert. Our critical response command and our other key units, our strategic response group, our emergency services unit, all are on alert and all are dealing with this situation and being vigilant all over at this point in time. And we have in this city the most advanced anti-terror capacity of any city in this country and obviously the largest police force of any city in the country all ready to ensure our safety.
Now I want to be clear, whatever the cause, whatever the intention here, New Yorkers will not be intimidated. We're not going to let anyone change who we are or how we go about our lives and we have the best police force in the country and a number of other key agencies, FDNY, OEM, et cetera, making sure we will be safe.
We are at this point of course tracing every lead and every potential. It's too early to give you any details of the investigation because it's just begun over the last few hours. I want to say upfront we're not going to go into a lot of detail about what we're finding so far. The investigation that will take certainly more hours before we can give you more but we do want to urge all New Yorkers, anyone who may have information related to this incident, anyone who is an eyewitness, anyone who may have video, the NYPD needs that.
Please reach out immediately if you have any information that we can use. Call 1-800-577-TIPS. 1-800-577-TIPS, if you have any further information. Finally a second site as we speak is being treated by the NYPD. It's 27th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. There's an investigation underway as substantial NYPD presence on that street and that street has been cleared as this investigation continues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: And of course we'll bring you more on the breaking news. The explosion in New York late Saturday. We have our reporters there on the investigation and those victims taken to local hospitals. We have our law enforcement and counter-terror analyst who will be with us all morning. So stay with us for the latest on our breaking.
PAUL: But of course there's breaking news, it seems, internationally as well.
PAUL: Russia calls a special U.N. Security Council meeting overnight and here's what the U.S. ambassador had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Seriously? And they're calling this emergency meeting. Really?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Russia's response to that, things seem to be getting a bit dicey in that region and Syria again. We're going to bring you more just a moment. Stay close.
[05:26:24] BLACKWELL: Our teams are working right now to get the latest from New York police as investigators in the city are analyzing an explosive device and trying to figure out more about a massive explosion that ripped through the Chelsea neighborhood in the city.
PAUL: You see the surveillance video right there where it happened. Dozens of people were injured. Police and sniffer dogs are searching that area as we speak here after a bomb went off next to a dumpster.
Now a second device resembling a pressure cooker is how it was characterized was removed from a second area there about four blocks away. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says the explosion, quote, "was a intentional act." They are not however connecting it to terrorism as we are very -- in the very early stages of the investigation here. Just to be clear.
BLACKWELL: And we'll get back to that story. But we got to tell you about this. The United States expressing regret over an airstrike that killed at least 80 Syrian government forces. U.S. Central Command says they thought they were hitting ISIS targets. Well, then Russia called an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council and the U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power, she was not pleased. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWER: Imagine how often this council would be meeting if we were to gather every time the regime or Russia struck a hospital or a school or a bread line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Well, here's Richard Roth, CNN senior United Nations correspondent.
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: A fierce and bitter war of words between the U.S. and Russia Saturday night at U.N. headquarters in New York. Russia had called for an emergency Security Council meeting. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power before she went into the session said the U.S. regrets the loss of life. Syrian soldiers hit by a U.S. airstrike. But then blasted Moscow.
POWER: This said even by Russia's standards tonight's stunt, a stunt replete with moralism and grandstanding is uniquely cynical and hypocritical.
ROTH: Samantha Power spoke while the Russian ambassador was briefing the Security Council in close consultations. Quickly the Russian ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, came to meet the media outraged at what he had heard.
VITALY IVANOVICH CHURKIN, RUSSIAN U.N. AMBASSADOR: In all my years in the United Nations, that is over ten years, and all my years in international life, I have never seen -- which is over 40 years, I've never seen such an extraordinary display of American heavy handedness as we are witnessing today.
As I was talking in the Security Council, sharing our analysis and the frustration of the situation of Syria, Ambassador Power chose to talk to you.
ROTH: Diplomats inside the meeting said the real show was outside before the cameras. Both the U.S. and Russian enjoys seemed to indicate an interest in keeping the humanitarian pause agreement in place but there are bruised tensions.
POWER: And so why are we having this meeting tonight? It's a diversion from what is happening on the ground in Syria.
CHURKIN: Frankly I don't know what the next step is going to be or what the next we can expect. Unfortunately from what I heard Ambassador Power says as she walked into the room this is not a very good omen.
ROTH: Ambassador Churkin has quarreled with other U.S. ambassadors, though this appeared to be particularly edgy. The General Assembly Annual Debate begins Monday and Syria is a major topic.
Richard Roth, CNN, United Nations.
PAUL: As you heard there, Russia's ambassador said this was, quote, "American heavy handedness."
[05:30:04] We want to go to Russia now and get that response. Going to CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance who is live from Moscow.
So, Matthew, as we listen to this back and forth between the ambassadors, the tone that we're getting particularly from Samantha Power very different. She's usually very measured. She is very keen to what is happening and she seemed particularly frustrated or exasperated.
How is Moscow and the people there in Russia, how are they responding and reacting to what has happened?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, I mean, I think Samantha has been an outspoken -- she should be an outspoken defender of the U.S. interests and she's often criticized very publicly. The Russians as well precisely in this tone. And so it was more of what we heard from before from Samantha Power.
There's been an angry response, first of all, in Russia, to the attack that took place in the first place. The Russians confirming 62 Russian -- sorry, Syrian soldiers killed and about 100 injured. And as we've been hearing from the Syrians, the death toll is likely to be much higher than that.
The problem or one of the problems with it beyond the death toll is that, you know, Syrian troops were fighting ISIS in the area around Deir ez-Zor, in eastern Syria when this attack took place and so it led the Russians to make this claim through their Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova that the White House appears to be defending ISIS and that was of course stridently rejected by Samantha Power at the United Nations Security Council meeting last night.
There's also been a sort of another line as well coming out of the Russian Defense Ministry, which is that if this was an error as the United States says that it was then it was an error due to the reluctance on the part of the United States to coordinate its military actions on the ground with Russia and so, you know, the Russians are criticizing obviously the U.S. action in this instance whichever way.
PAUL: OK. So let's talk about that because you're right, Russia blamed the U.S. for not coordinating with them on airstrikes. There was a statement from the U.S. Central Command that said coalition did confer with Russian military prior to the strikes. They broadly described geographic areas to Russia which is customary but they did not give a precise location.
I'm sorry, Matthew, we've run out of time. I'm going to get back to you on that question a little bit later in the show. Just wondering about the protocol if that is normal protocol in situations like this and situations that are so unstable as we're seeing in Syria.
Matthew Chance, we appreciate it. Live for us there from Moscow.
BLACKWELL: And we'll get back to Matthew. We're getting more in on the investigation in New York into this explosion late Saturday. The discovery of a suspicious device. A pressure cooker with wires out of it. We have our reporters there and our analyst standing by. We've got more breaking news coming in. Stand by. We'll be right back.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
[05:36:23] PAUL: Always great to have you as company on a Sunday. We want to welcome you, our viewers in the U.S. and around the world this morning. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Right now, New York, the people there are waking up to news of a blast that ripped through the Chelsea neighborhood. We know that dozens of people were injured, taken to hospitals and this morning investigators are analyzing additional video footage from the scene. They're trying to figure out if a person seen in surveillance video there could be connected to the explosion.
PAUL: We know first responders brought some panicked and bloodied victims to the hospital. At the moment, police are trying to make sure that there are no other devices in the area. And New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling this an intentional act, though he is saying that there's no connection to terrorism that they can tell in the early stages of this investigation. Now investigators, as we said, on the scene of this explosion as they try to decipher any other evidence that might be out there.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Let's bring in CNN correspondent Jessica Schneider who is near the scene.
Jessica, we know this is still an active scene but what type of activity are you seeing?
SCHNEIDER: Well, Victor and Christi, this investigation now going on more than eight hours. The explosion happening just behind me. I'm on 23rd Street. The explosion happening down the intersection of 6th Avenue.
Now to give you an example of the enormity of the concern out here about 20 blocks worth of cross streets are shutdown by the NYPD ranging from 34th Street from to 14th Street. And what I've seen out here in just the past few hours, teams of police officer who are scouring the streets here, there were flashlights and also canines trying to ensure that this area is safe. There has been -- there was also a scare in another location. They were worried that there was some sort of suspicious device.
That turned out just to be garbage that people were concerned about but the explosion that happened here on 23rd Street, there was also that device just a few blocks away from here. It turned out to be a pressure cooker with wires coming out from the top and also some -- a note with some writing on it that the bomb squad is now investigating it. They've taken that from the scene. But a lot of concern out here.
The enormity of the police presence spanning about 20 blocks as they continue to work to determine exactly how this happened and who might be responsible -- Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: All right, Jessica Schneider for us near the scene of that explosion. Jessica, we'll get back to you in just a moment.
But now let's bring in CNN law enforcement analyst and former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes.
Tom, good to have you back. We've discussed a bit at the top of the show the explosion earlier in the day in Seaside Park in New Jersey several miles away. Now the mayor there in New York says there's no connection between what happened in Chelsea and what happened in Seaside Park, but people I'm sure have a difficult time accepting that this is just a coincidence, that there are two explosions in trash receptacles so close to one another.
Do you expect that police are investigating this as if there could be some connection there?
FUENTES: Well, of course they're investigating, Victor, in the way of determining a connection that would either be information from the investigation and someone taking credit. The same person takes credit for both and they can try to verify that. So far we've heard of no one taking credit for any of this, but also the main reason would be if they can link the devices. If they can show that the construction of the devices was similar, the way they were wired, the way they were put together, the explosive material itself. What was used to detonate it.
[05:40:03] And early indications are that they did not match. That we had a pipe bomb at the Seaside, New Jersey, location, and some another type of mysterious event occurring near that dumpster in New York City, and then of course we have a pressure cooker, an even different device, that was found a couple of blocks away. So, so far there's no indication that those events matched.
PAUL: OK. So let me ask you this, Tom. Because we're talking about such a wide swath. I mean, we know that there are four blocks in between, which doesn't seem like a lot but when you look at all the areas that are cordoned off, but when you're talking about a four- block area from the first scene of the explosion to where the second device was found and surveillance video. How much surveillance video might they be able to obtain and how long is it going to take to go through it when you're talking about four blocks?
FUENTES: Well, the difficulty, Christi, is that, you know, it's a dark area. It's not all completely lit up like Times Square might be so it is possible that there are cameras that might not have enough information on them. In other words it would look like shadows walking around instead of detailed description of an individual that they could get from it.
Now apparently one of the videos does appear to show somebody but again the fact that it was after dark and that many of these cameras are not real sensitive to low light situations may make it a lot more difficult.
In the Boston marathon bombing we had this was occurring in broad daylight and it was downtown Boston, near the finish line, thousands of cameras that the FBI and the police were able to go through later to try to get a description of the individuals placing the bombs. We may not have that level of information in this situation.
BLACKWELL: Tom, you bring up the Boston bombing back in 2013. I think that's the last time that many people heard of these pressure cookers being used possibly as bombs. Now again, I should say that what was found on 27th has not been confirmed as a bomb yet. That there were any explosive there. It could be a hoax, it could be something else, but we learned back in 2013 that these components can quickly be traced back to their origin where they were purchased.
Walk us through some of the ways that investigators likely now that they have this device will be able to determine where it was purchased, who purchased it, and possibly who's responsible.
FUENTES: Well, the cooker itself is in one piece so they'd be able to try to determine where that would have been sold and if there's any identification numbers on it or if there were fingerprints either on the outside or, you know, one of this components. That's one aspect. If there is some type of explosive material inside that might indicate a certain individual or group of individuals or Internet posting, calling for the use of that particular material.
The way it's detonated would also be somewhat identifiable but that's not going to be as easy to do and in often cases the items may not be able to be traced because they're so commonly available. Every part of the pressure cooker bomb looks like what could be purchased at a home supply store or, you know, an appliance store whether it's the cooker itself, the wires, the cell phone, the masking tape or electric tape that was used to bind it all together, the wires. So all of those things that are commonly available may not have individual characteristics that can identify it to a particular manufacturer or retail outlet where the individual could purchase the components.
PAUL: You know, Tom, Mayor Bill de Blasio has been very clear that they're not connecting this to terrorism. Especially in the early stages of this investigation now as we're just in the first few hours here but I'm wondering what elements need to be present to characterize it as terrorism?
PAUL: And what do you think of it at this point? Would you lean towards that or no?
FUENTES: I absolutely would and the mayor made the comment that because no -- credible threats were received prior to these events therefore it can't be terrorism or they're not going to rule out terrorism, but when you have an act where an explosive device and then a secondary device that didn't come from the store with masking tape and cell phones and wires wrapped around it, when you have a situation like that somebody is deliberately trying to carry out these acts and the fact that they actually injured so many people with one of the devices it meets all of the hallmark definitions.
And I have run two joint terrorism task forces, this was an act of terrorism. Whether the mayor politically doesn't want to say it. Maybe because he's going to be hosting the world when the United Nations opens up its fall session, I don't know. But for him to say there weren't threats received, they didn't have threats in advance of the Orlando attack. We didn't have threats in advance of San Bernardino. But it was pretty clear pretty quickly that those were acts of terrorism.
[05:45:04] So I don't know what the mayor is raving on but law enforcement officials I think would pretty readily see that it is. Now the fact that the police commissioner didn't say it, you know, that depends on his relationship and position with the mayor but this has all the indications that it's a terrorist act because it was deliberate.
PAUL: All right. And yes, and you're right. I just wanted your input on that but just to be clear you are absolutely right, they are not classifying this as terrorism at this moment but the timing is interesting. One week ago today we were talking about the 15th anniversary of September 11th.
BLACKWELL: Yes. We were.
PAUL: We've got the U.N. General Assembly opening up tomorrow so there are certainly questions that I'm sure in the next -- in the next few hours will be answered.
Tom, I'm sorry we've run out of time right now. We're going to get back to you of course and we can -- we can talk more about that in just a little bit.
PAUL: Thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: And there's a lot happening in the political world as well. So we want to get you the latest on that. With President Obama coming out swinging with a series of attacks against Donald Trump and he explains why he'll consider it a personal insult if voters stay home and don't vote for Hillary Clinton this November.
[05:50:02] BLACKWELL: Well, this morning police are trying to find answers as to what caused an explosion that injured dozens of people in New York City's busy Chelsea neighborhood. You saw that there. That was the moment of the blast from inside the Orange Fitness there in Chelsea. You're looking toward the front door there. The glass there shattered. You see the debris, people running outside.
We want to warn you, though, we've got more video to show you, but this one you're about to see is pretty graphic, disturbing and may not be suitable for everyone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My eyes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come with me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: OK. These are first responders who are talking here to people, as you can see who have blood on them, and some of these victims just seem to be stunned, a little numbed, confused about what just happened. One witness said the blast felt like a lightning bolt struck the building. And New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is classifying this as, quote, "an intentional act," but added, quote, "there is no specific credible threat against New York City at this time from any terror organization."
We should point out on the campaign trail, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are reacting to the news overnight here. Trump was quick to call it a bomb, making the remarks at a rally in Colorado Springs. He spoke nearly two hours before New York officials publicly confirmed any details.
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DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just before I got off a plane a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows exactly what is going on, but boy, we are living in a time -- we got to get very tough, folks. We've got to get very, very tough. It's going to get very, very tough folks it's a terrible thing that's going on in our world and our country and we are going to get tough and smart and vigilant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Hillary Clinton spoke to reporters hours later, also calling the explosion a bomb. She said she spoke to New York City officials but wanted to wait for more facts before she made any conclusions.
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HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think it's important to know the facts about any incident like this. That's why it's critical to support the first responders and investigators looking into it trying to determine what did happen. I think it's always wiser to wait until you have information before making conclusions because we're just in the beginning stages of trying to determine what happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: And the White House confirms that President Obama received a briefing about the explosion and the investigation. We'll bring you the official statement from the White House as soon as we get it and more from New York in just a moment. But before that briefing President Obama spoke at the Congressional Black Caucus foundation gala giving a passionate speech about the upcoming election and his legacy.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more for us this morning.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: President Obama delivering a rallying cry to black voters during a speech Saturday night in Washington in some of the strongest language he has used yet, acknowledging that he is not on the ballot but his legacy is.
He delivered a blistering attack against Donald Trump and said it would be a personal insult to his legacy if Donald Trump was elected.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot. Tolerance is on the ballot. Democracy is on the ballot.
And after we have achieved historic turnout in 2008 and 2012, especially in the African-American community, I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy, if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election.
You want to give me a good send-off? Go vote.
ZELENY: The president has often criticized Donald Trump but not in these strong of terms. He also said that Trump is simply wrong about the history of the country. He talked about his birth certificate but he also talked about more and said that black voters in particular need to rally to Hillary Clinton's side.
Now for her part Hillary Clinton also on stage at that Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner. She came to the president's aid, talking about his birth certificate.
CLINTON: Even when hateful nonsense is thrown their way, Barack, Michelle, their two beautiful daughters have represented our country with class, grace, and integrity.
Mr. President, not only do we know you are an American, you're a great American.
ZELENY: President Obama and Hillary Clinton talked backstage. There's no question that he is going to be one of the biggest components in her final election strategy here in the next 50 days.
[05:55:01] He made that case clear to black voters and he is going to go across the country campaigning for the month of October.
Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Washington.
PAUL: All right. I want to get with the surveillance video for you here capturing the very moment that an explosion went off in Manhattan. Look at that. Police as we speak here trying to piece together the evidence that they have. Trying to pinpoint the bomber in this particular situation. You see the people there outside that Orange Theory as they try to get to safety. Details from police and eyewitness accounts for you coming up next.
BLACKWELL: Well, this morning, New York understandably on edge after a blast rocked the city's Chelsea neighborhood last night. And right now investigators are analyzing video footage. They're trying to determine if a person seen in the video is the person who's responsible for the explosion.
PAUL: Let's talk about this explosion and what witnesses said they feel from it. I mean, they could feel it from miles away, we know that. We spoke to Chris Duffy from -- he's an EMT from Connecticut, and he just happened to be in that area. He tells us what he saw, what he heard. Take a listen.
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CALLER: I was on 7th, walking towards 23rd, and heard a very loud explosion. The explosion sound probably lasted for, I don't know, three to five seconds. It was the loudest thing I've ever heard. I actually jumped. I didn't see the explosion. Initially I thought, OK, this can't be real, you know, fireworks or something. I didn't know what it was. And then saw a lot of people walk over. But I walked up 23rd and there was a cloud of -- I guess it was smoke, coming toward me and kind of some people running away. So I actually walked away for a split second, because I thought, I don't have any of my gear or anything.