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4 Killed, 40 Wounded in London Terror Attack; U.S. Officials: Info. Suggests Trump Associates May Have Coordinated with Russians; Republican Health Bill Faces Crucial Vote Thursday. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired March 23, 2017 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[02:00:12] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Isha Sesay, in Los Angeles.
HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones, in London, where it is 6:00 in the morning this Thursday. And the city is waking up in shock after that savage rampage yesterday that claimed four lives. A man in a large SUV ran down dozens of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, just a couple of hundred meters behind where I'm standing right now. And after that, he then fatally stabbed an unarmed policeman who was guarding the parliament buildings. The driver was shot and killed by police officers at the scene.
Police say the attack is likely to be Islamist-related terrorism. They haven't publicly identified the assailant, though we do believe that Scotland Yard and the Metropolitan Police force do, indeed, know the identity of the man involved.
The prime minister, Theresa May, has called the attack, quote, "sick and depraved." And she says any attempt to defeat the values of liberty and democracy will be doomed to failure.
Condolences are pouring in from around the globe. In Paris, the Eiffel Tower went dark on Wednesday night in solidarity with Londoners.
For a look at how the attack played out, our Clarissa Ward picks up the story.
A warning, though. You may find some of the images in her report disturbing.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): About 2:40 p.m. London time, a car driving over Westminster Bridge plows into horrified pedestrians.
WARD: Witnesses describe the carnage.
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: There were people on the ground the whole length of the bridge.
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: I saw people flying in the air.
WARD: Authorities estimate at least 40 people are hurt, including three police officers, some with, quote, "catastrophic injuries."
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How about the injuries?
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: (INAUDIBLE). One person wasn't moving at all.
WARD: One woman ends up in the River Thames. She's later rescued with serious injuries.
The attacker speeds over the bridge, heading towards parliament, passed Big Ben and then crashes into a railing around the parliament complex. But the attack is not over. He exits the car and runs through an open gate heading towards parliament armed with a knife.
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: A guy came past my right shoulder with a knife and just started plunging it into the policeman. I just -- I've never seen anything like that. I couldn't believe it.
WARD: The attacker is able to stab an unarmed policeman before he is shot by responding officer.
WARD: One photo from the scene is of a man on a gurney being treated for injuries, multiple knives strewn about the ground below him. It's unclear at this point who he is.
A medical helicopter lands amid the chaos in New Palace Yard. Authorities, so far, hasn't confirmed to CNN who was airlifted out, but we do know tragically the policeman died from his wounds. His name was Keith Palmer, a 15-year veteran. Three others also died in the attack.
The assailant also died from gunshot wounds. Authorities almost immediately called the attack an act of terror.
MARK ROWLEY, ACTING DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, METROPOLITAN POLICE: Terrorists have a clear aim and that is create discord, distrust and to create fear. The police stand with all communities in the U.K. and will take action against anybody that seeks to undermine society, especially where their crimes are motivated by hate.
WARD: Clarissa Ward, CNN, Washington.
VAUGHAN JONES: It has just gone 6:00 a.m. here in London and the city is very much roaring into life again as you can hear prime rush-hour time now. We've had sirens going past, presumably linked to the ongoing lockdown behind me in parliament.
I want to bring in our Nine dos Santos and Isa Soares, who are covering this across London for us today.
And, Nina, to you first.
The latest, if you can, on the investigation itself, given the fact there are so many unanswered questions still.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There are many unanswered questions and a few bits of information coming, too. Also, remember that this is a huge part of central London. It is still effectively under lockdown and cordoned off. I'm about as close as you can get, Hannah, to the crime scene. Back behind me is Westminster Bridge. As you see, the streets are completely deserted. The police are having a tough job trying to start turning pedestrians away. Remember, these are government offices as well and people have to get to work. But at the moment, the Ministry of Defense, behind me, I understand, probably won't see its staff being able to get through to work either.
[02:05:02] On that bridge, forensics analysts will have been working throughout the course of the night on the vehicle that was used in this attack. That will probably give them some fresh information about the perpetrator. Overnight, we also heard from the Metropolitan Police that they have what they say is a fair idea of who the attacker might have been. But as of yet, they haven't released a name.
I want to bring you up to date with the very support we have in the U.K., in particular, the Press Association have been reporting that overnight we've seen an apartment in Birmingham in England raided. But at the moment, there is no confirmation that that apartment is actually linked to this particular attack.
So if we don't know who the attacker was, we are getting a slightly clearer picture of his motives. Remember, there's a full counterterrorism investigation in place. Hundreds of extra offices have been assigned to this case to find out what we know so far. They say that they reckon that the motive was probably Islamist-related terrorism, as you mentioned earlier.
I should point out that it's a sad day for the Metropolitan Police because just as they are having to desperately try to piece together this puzzle that moves very quickly, they're also mourning the loss of one of their fellow officers, Keith Palmer. 48 years old, a husband, a 15-year veteran of the police force, and also a father. So far, his name is the only one being released among the victims -- Hannah?
VAUGHAN JONES: Nina, yesterday we heard from Scotland Yard appealing to the public for any kind of mobile phone footage or any photographs that eyewitnesses to the incident may have had, that they come forward with that information. I guess that separates this attack from many others, the fact that it is such a tourist spot and such a busy part of central London. But there may be many people that may have that crucial clue, that crucial bit of information for this investigation to move forward.
DOS SANTOS: You are absolutely right, Hannah. I mean, Westminster Bridge, those of us who are Londoners, like myself, and live here, we go past this very often as a main landmark. And what you often see is tourists, in particular, in the spot where that vehicle crashed into the fence, standing next to the houses of parliament to take a picture of themselves, a selfie, with Big Ben in the background. It's that type of material that the police are appealing for from tourists, eyewitnesses.
This is an area that is very, very busy. It's often very busy in the early afternoon, which is when this attack took place. So they'll be trying to piece together an appeal for as many witness statements as they can get, but of video evidence, any video evidence they can get.
I can tell you, anecdotally, I was on the scene at around about 20 minutes after the attack took place yesterday afternoon, and all around me, people were talking about what they heard, what they saw among themselves. So there will be a lot of people who will have seen a lot, and the police will be urgently trying to speak to them, if they're not speaking to them already -- Hannah?
VAUGHAN JONES: Nina, thanks very much.
Isa Soares, live for us in Westminster as well.
Isa, on the politics front, we heard from Theresa May last night. She said life will go on. And will parliament go on as normal today?
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very much so. In fact, parliament will go on, life is going one. A sense of normalcy, if you can call it that, for many people. Though, as Nina pointed out, there is a huge area around the house of parliament still cordoned off, as you can see behind me. Many people can't get to work, as this is all closed off. But parliament, in an act of defiance, showing clearly they will not - no one will put a stop to what they have to do here. They will sit today, both House of Commons, House of Lords. House of Lords at 11:30, House of Commons at 9:00 this morning.
And we also know, Hannah, that the prime minister, Theresa May, will be making a speech to parliament. We do not know what time that will happen. But perhaps talking about the atrocity of what happened here in London yesterday. But also praising the men and women who run to danger, face the danger, really applauding them for the work they did here yesterday. Many people here in London have been praising the police officer, not just Palmer, but the other police officers who have put their life in danger. In fact, it will be a busy day in parliament, a very strong act of defiance -- Hannah?
VAUGHAN JONES: Isa Soares and Nina dos Santos, covering this event in London for us. Thank you very much, indeed.
It's not just a busy day in London, but it's also very busy across the pond in the United States as well.
For all the latest information from there, I'll pass you over now my colleague, Isha Sesay, in Los Angeles -- Isha?
[02:09:51] SESAY: Thank you, Hannah.
There's a lot going on, that's for sure. Back in Washington, we have exclusive details about the FBI investigation on possible links between Trump campaign officials and Russia.
Also ahead, President Trump's pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare faces its first major hurdle in Congress. Will he have enough votes?
SESAY: Hello, everyone. We are following breaking news out of London where four people, including a police officer, were killed in a terror attack.
VAUGHAN JONES: It struck here, at the very seat of British power, the British Parliament. Police say the attacker drove through a crowd of people on Westminster Bridge wounding dozens before then crashing into a fence near the parliament building itself. The assailant then got out of the vehicle and stabbed an unarmed police officer. We now know that police officer was 48-year-old Keith Palmer, a 15-year veteran of the Metropolitan Police force in London. Palmer died in that attack along with three others.
On any given afternoon, the street near parliament, behind me at the moment, would normally be packed with tourists and Londoners going about their daily business. But on Wednesday, many witnessed this tragedy.
Here are some of the account of what happens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: The situation here is that the House of Commons was in (INAUDIBLE). The sitting was suspended. We are locked in as we get reports of what is going on. Obviously, it's scary and confusing. (INAUDIBLE) -- terrorism and you have to live with it.
[02:15:02] UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: They were crawling on the bridge. There were bodies literally about 10 --
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: All in different places along the bridge.
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: A huge shock, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: It must have been terrifying.
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: It was horrendous, absolutely horrendous.
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: Yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: We actually saw both of those incidents from our office windows. We're all shaken up right now, as you can imagine. Our thoughts are with the police officer that was stabbed and anyone else in this horrible incident. Our entire (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: The next thing, of course, was chaos. Tourists who frequent that area, of course, were panicking. People shouting, oh, my god, and running all directions. Then police arrived, including armed policemen as well, and telling everyone to clear away, clear away.
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: I walked past about nine injuries, but some were very significant, some people had regained consciousness and was OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Horrifying scene. Shocking the city of London to its very core.
We'll have more on the terror attack in London just ahead.
But in Washington, developments in the FBI investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia happening at a dizzying pace. First, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes revealed communications between President Trump and his associates may have been intercepted by legal surveillance of foreign targets. Nunes, a Trump transition member, briefed the president and spoke with reporters without sharing that information with his Democratic counterpart on the committee. Adam Schiff blasting him, saying his actions cause doubt on how independent the committee's investigation really could be.
Then Pamela Brown and Evan Perez had this exclusive report with Anderson Cooper.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, A.C. 360: Evan, first, what have you learned?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, U.S. officials tell CNN that FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign. Now, FBI Director James Comey made his bombshell announcement Monday before Congress that the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. The FBI is now reviewing that information, which includes human intelligence, travel, business and phone records, and accounts of in-person meetings. This information is what was raising suspicions of FBI counterintelligence investigators that the coordination may have taken place, though some officials caution that the information was not yet conclusive and that the investigation is still ongoing. But the FBI has not commented, nor with the White House. Though Trump officials have denied that there is any evidence of collusion.
COOPER: Pamela, this does give us more insight into what Director Comey knew when he spoke on Monday.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It certainly does, Anderson. If you recall, in addition to Comey saying the investigation includes looking at connections of Trumpet associates, he also explains what it means that the investigation is being in the first place. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED CONGRESSMAN: Don't you need some action or some information besides just attending a meeting, having been paid to teleconference the picture was taken or that you traveled to a country before you are open to investigation for counterintelligence by the FBI?
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: The standard is, because there's a couple different at play, the credible allegation of wrongdoing or a reasonable basis to believe that an American may be acting as an agent of a foreign power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And one law-enforcement official said the information in hand suggests, quote, "the people connected to the campaign were in contact," and it appeared they were giving the thumbs up to release information when it was ready. But there are other US officials we've spoken with who say it's premature to draw that inference from the information gathered so far since it's largely circumstantial. And the FBI cannot yet prove that collusion did in fact took place but the information suggesting collusion is now a large focus of this investigation -- Anderson?
COOPER: What sort of sort of coordination is under investigation, Evan?
PEREZ: Well, most of the FBI's focus on the stolen and published e- mails by WikiLeaks, including those from the DNC and from John Podesta, the Clinton campaign chairman. US officials said that the information being investigated was not drawn from the leaked dossier of unverified information compiled by that former British intelligence official, who compiled it for Trump's political opponents. Though we should note that the dossier also suggested that there was this coordination between Trump campaign associates and Russian operatives.
COOPER: Pamela, do we know who is being investigated at this point?
[02:19:58] BROWN: So our sources would not say who connected to Trump was being investigated on this information but we do know the FBI had already been investigating four former Trump campaign associates, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Carter Page, for their contacts with Russians known to US intelligence. All four have denied improper contact.
And one of the obstacles here, Anderson, we're told through officials is that the FBI, in trying to find conclusive intelligence, is having a tough time because communication between Trump associates and Russia have ceased in recent months, given the public focus on Russian ties to the Trump campaign. In fact, some Russian officials have even changed their method of communications, making monitoring more difficult -- Anderson?
SESAY: There is so much to get to, so much to begin with.
Joining me now to do that, radio talk show host, Ethan Bearman; and Jim Lacey, the author of "Taxifornia" and a Trump supporter.
Gentlemen, welcome. Good to have you with us.
Let's remind everyone, first, of the announcement the FBI chief made on Monday during the hearing. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMEY: The FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. And that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: That was a bombshell that Comey dropped on Monday. After that, the White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, said there is no evidence to suggest any collusion took place.
James, first to you.
From the reporting from Pam Brown and Evan Perez shared with us, it would appear that wasn't actually the case, that he wasn't actually being accurate.
JAMES LACEY, TRUMP SUPPORTER & AUTHOR: I think that there is some inaccuracy in your report tonight with respect to Devin Nunes and not talking to Adam Schiff. You know, I want to take a step back and I want to frame the question a little different way. What we heard about this morning from Congressman Devin Nunes, the head of the Intelligence Committee, relates to the individual's privacy rights. He reported that we had a situation where a private citizen, although associated with the Trump campaign, was surveilled on information that had absolutely no foreign intelligence value.
LACEY: And it was widely distributed -
SESAY: We're particularly referring to what Evan Perez and Pamela Brown shared early on about this new information that they had on the investigations of possible collusion.
LACEY: Well, it is curious that that information came just hours after Devin Nunes announced that there had been inappropriate surveillance and inappropriate disseminating --
(CROSSTALK) SESAY: What are you suggesting?
LACEY: What I'm suggesting is, is that there is more than a coincidence that U.S. officials released information to CNN that would somehow step back on the initial information. Look, what is the fruit of the poisonous tree? What is this investigation all about? This investigation is about whether or not the Trump campaign had links to Russians who hacked the DNC? And what did that hacking accomplish? It revealed that journalists, including journalists at CNN, cheated. That they went against their journalistic ethics and they gave information over to the Democrats to help Hillary Clinton. Now that is -
SESAY: Ethan, you jump in.
ETHAN BEARMAN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This is a classic example of attacking the messenger. The information -- the person who released information, as opposed to the information itself. The information itself is extremely damaging. And it's rather ironic that Republicans, who typically would be the ones that would want to fight Communist Russia and an autocrat like Vladimir Putin -- they've been very strong about that in the past -- suddenly, are passive about the fact that there are connections here. We have four officials who have lied about their contacts. What makes this is --
LACEY: No, there's no evidence of that.
BEARMAN: -- absolutely -- of course, there is. They were just named in the report.
LACEY: There's no evidence of that.
BEARMAN: Paul Manafort --
LACEY: There's no evidence for that.
BEARMAN: Attorney General Sessions himself lied twice under oath. Lied under oath.
LACEY: No, he did not.
LACEY: Let's stop back from that.
SESAY: Let him finish. BEARMAN: So the other aspect of this that is rather ironic is when you talk about a foreign power interfering in US elections, that is nonpartisan, that an American citizen would want to get to the bottom of it. In this case, suddenly, instead of trying to get to the bottom of it, it's misdirection attacking the messenger as opposed to the information.
SESAY: There's a lot to get to. I want to get to the point of Chairman Nunes' disclosures today about communications from the president and his associates getting swept up.
James, to you.
People have suggested that Chair Nunes had political motivations by coming out with this information now and was trying to provide some cover to the White House. Do you think that was going on?
LACEY: You have to look at what his offices. He is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He has legal responsibilities to the American people to oversee intelligence. So what did he do? When he had the information, the first thing that he did, he didn't go to Trump. The first thing he did was he informed the speaker the House, Paul Ryan. He then called the CIA director and informed him. He then went to see the president of the United States. Why is it important that he should go see the president of the United States about this? Because the president of the United States enforces the intelligence laws of this nation.
You know, there's a lot of Eric Snowden-type issues involved with the revelation that Congressman Nunes made this morning that our government is surveilling people that they shouldn't be surveilling --
[02:25:36] SESAY: OK --
SESAY: Let me be accurate here for our viewers who maybe having been following this as closely as we have.
The chairman has also said that this is a normal incidental collection.
SESAY: Based on what I could collect, this appears to be all legally collected foreign intelligence under the Foreign Intelligence -
LACEY: If was, Isha. But the is that the information was disseminated. This is the issue that people are missing in the discussion. This information, even when the intelligence agencies would've known that it was -- that there was absolutely no foreign intelligence value to it, they still went forward and they still put in reports and they widely disseminated it --
SESAY: -- thought there was value.
BEARMAN: You have the issue of Russia and you have the issue of the leaks --
SESAY: Let him finish his point.
LACEY: Please let me finish on this point.
That information should not have been disseminated widely within the intelligence community. There should be a stop to it. Now that might be a policy issue, but it's certainly something for our government to be looking into it. It's certainly something for Congress to be looking into. And it's certainly something that we should be afraid of.
SESAY: All right --
LACEY: I men, Big Brothers is out there looking at us, and this is an example of it.
SESAY: Ethan, the president has been given a gift vindicating him of his wiretap tweets.
BEARMAN: I think Trump supporters, of course, they'll see it as vindication. But everyone else is looking at this rationally, trying to get to the bottom of what is actually happening here. We need a full investigation. We also need the chairman to follow protocol and involve the entire Intelligence Committee, not just the president and the CIA.
SESAY: All right.
A lively bunch there, and a very good conversation.
All right, we'll get back to the breaking news out of London just ahead. We'll look at what police and security forces can do to stop attacks like this one.
[02:30:36] ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Isha Sesay, in Los Angeles.
HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones, live in London. It's half past 6:00 this Thursday morning.
British police say they think they know the identity of the man behind the deadly terror attack from yesterday, but they're not naming him yet. The front pages of the British newspaper are plastered with headlines about that attack, which took place yesterday afternoon around 2:30, coming up to 3:00 in the afternoon, the busiest time of day. It left four people dead and at least 40 others wounded. Many of those injuries are known to be severe and people are still being treated in hospital for those injuries.
The prime minister, Theresa May, has called the attack, quote, "sick and depraved," and says, "We will never allow evil to drive us apart."
And in the just few minutes, Britain's press association has been reporting that police raided an apartment in Birmingham. It's not immediately clear if that is related to the parliament attack from yesterday.
Joining me here in London, former chief superintendent for the Metropolitan Police, Dal Babu; also from Los Angeles, director for the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, Brian Levin; and CNN law enforcement contributor, Steve Moore.
Dal, I'll bring you in first. You have experience in the Metropolitan Police and their operations and how they handle these kinds of incidences. Your reflections on yesterday and at the speed at which the security forces were at the scene and dealing with it.
DAL BABU, FORMER CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: I think the Metropolitan Police did an absolutely amazing job dealing with this very, very quickly, minimizing the potential harm, further harm that could have been caused. It's horrific that four individuals have died, including a police officer, Keith Palmer. But it could have been much worse, if you look at what's happened in Nice ad in other places around Europe. So I think we have to have confidence in the police service in being able to deal with these issues and have the confidence that they'll be able to minimize any harm that comes from these kinds of incidents.
VAUGHAN JONES: Dal, you have the experience at the Metropolitan Police force.
Steve Moore, joining us from Los Angeles, you have experience at the FBI as well. I'm wondering, how do police forces these days deal with the likes of terrorists or potential terrorists just getting into a car and ramming people down, mowing people down in a very public place. How to the authorities get to grips with that, Steve?
STEVE MOORE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there's going to be two parts of this equation. First of all, you'll try to interdict it long before the person gets in the car. But if you cannot do that, if, for some reason, they get past you, you're going to have to come up with physical barrier systems. You'll have to arm more police officers so that the tragedy with Officer Palmer doesn't happen again. And so that, instead of being victims themselves, they can work to stop the attack quicker.
VAUGHAN JONES: Brian Levin, as well, this hasn't yet been attributed or at least claimed by ISIS, although we do understand that it is related to terror that the authorities are investing. I'm wondering, with ISIS at the moment, can you give our viewers an understanding on how things stand on the battlefield with ISIS. Why would they suddenly, potentially, be turning to these kinds of tactics to try to push forward their agenda?
BRIAN LEVIN, DIRECTOR, THE CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF HATE AND EXTREMISM, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERISTY, SAN BERNARDINO: That's a great question. And as we've discussed, they've lot 62 percent of their turf in the Iraq/Syria theater. They're folks are on the run. Al Qaeda, as well, is experiencing difficulties militarily in Yemen. Also, their Internet presence has been truncated but not eliminated. They're using offshore platforms and their own internally produced platforms. So what we have here is a terror organization that has lost some its top leaders, including a fellow named al Anani (ph), who said go kill people with knives, rocks, run them over. And in their issue of their magazine, they talked about in recent months running people over and using knives.
The problem is there is a movement that is distinct from an organization. And the extremist movement has a vessel on the Internet. And lone wolves, if this person is a lone wolf, can act upon it. And what they do is they rely on regular routine daily instrumentalities, like knives and vehicles. Those are difficult to interdict. But we're going to see is the use of more barriers. And when I was on the job on the NYPD, there was a rule you can't shoot at a vehicle if that was the only force being used against you. That's changed. So, immediate response. And that's what the Metropolitan Police did. Kudos to them. They saved lives by their quick response.
[02:35:42] VAUGHAN JONES: Yeah.
LEVIN: And that's something that we've seen changed since Columbine here in the United States. We're not relying on SWAT teams to get there. We're relying on the line officers.
VAUGHAN JONES: Dal, Brian was just talking about ISIS and their ongoing threat. This is nothing new. We've known about this threat from ISIS for a long time, particularly in London and in continental Europe. I'm wondering whether the security alert level in the country can get any higher. Yesterday, we had a COBRA meeting with the prime minister chairing that meeting. Security, as I understand it, is currently at high, extreme.
BABU: Yeah, it's the highest level. And it's where the security service is expecting an attack to happen.
VAUGHAN JONES: An attack is imminent?
BABU: Yes, and they've said that it's been at that level and people ask, should we bring it down? We've had an attack, and it's at the right level.
There are a couple of important issues. In Britain, we're not allowed to have firearms as a standard issue. That makes a huge difference in what individuals can do, the harm they can do. If you imagine he had access to firearms, this would be more a lot more horrific than it already is. As tragic as it is, but it would be a lot more horrific. That makes Britain unique in the sense that we don't have firearms. That's really important, not having firearms means the bad people can't access the firearms. We have a lot more police officers are trained with firearms. Your colleague in America talks about more officers. That's where we had a hand full of individuals. We're got more police officers and they're able to react very quickly.
And I think the final thing is I think we need to look at how we deal with the individuals that are being influenced by Twitter, by Facebook, by Google, all these big companies. They have a huge amount of input. We need to put pressure on them to make sure that people like Daesh and ISIS can't influence and get followers to do bad things.
VAUGHAN JONES: Final word to Steve Moore in Los Angeles for us.
Steve, the timing of this particular incident, it happened at a busy time of day, in a busy part of London as well. Do you think that nowadays we have to start shutting down some of our most public places at these very busy times in order to prevent this kind of attack?
MOORE: Well, Hannah, I think if we do that, then they've, in a way, won. I think what you have to do is take areas like this - and we now, obviously it was chosen specifically because of the significance and, frankly, because it wasn't protected adequately. And this is not a hit on Metropolitan Police. They're the best. But they chose a vulnerable area with lots of potential casualties. I would really not like us to close these things down. I think we need to just find innovative ways to continue to protect against these kinds of attacks, whether that means more weapons, whether that means, like the Metropolitan Police did, coming up with a plan to interdict marauding attacks. This is what we need to do. We need to go on with life but we need to protect better.
VAUGHAN JONES: Well, this is what all the politicians have been saying. Theresa May joining in that chorus of voices, saying we need to carry on life as normal. Life will go on, even if the normal is no longer what we expected or have become accustomed.
My thanks to all my guests, Dal Babu, joining me here, and also to Brian Levin and Steve Moore, in Los Angeles. Coming up to midnight there, your time. It's coming up to 7:00 a.m. here in London. Thank you to you all.
SESAY: Our special coverage of the London terror attack continues in a few moments with the prime minister's show of resolve, that was just mentioned.
But first, here's how London's mayor, Sadiq Khan, responded to yesterday's attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[02:39:31] SADIQ KHAN, LONDON MAYOR: Our city remains one of the safest in the world. London is the greatest city in the world. And we stand together in the face of those who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life. We always have and we always will. Londoners will never be cowered by terrorism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Hello, everyone. I'm Isha Sesay, in Los Angeles.
VAUGHAN JONES: I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones, in London.
We're following the developments from Wednesday's terror attack outside the Houses of parliament, a couple of hundred meters down the road from where I'm standing now. London still in lockdown. Investigators say the assault that killed four people was Islamist inspired. Police believe they do know the identity of the attacker but, so far, they are not releasing any details or, indeed, what his motivation may have been, or, indeed, if he had been working as a lone wolf or with a number of other assailants.
U.S. President Trump took to Twitter to say this: "Spoke to U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May today to offer condolences on the terrorist attack in London. She is strong and doing very well."
For her part, Theresa May called the attack "sick and depraved." But she is encouraging Londoners to get back to business as usual this Thursday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Tomorrow morning, parliament will meet as normal. We will come together as normal. And Londoners, and others from around the world who have come here to visit this great city, will get up and go about their days as normal. They will board their trains and leave their hotels and walk these streets. They will live their lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUGHAN JONES: The British foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, was in Washington on Wednesday to take part in a meeting of ministers working to combat ISIS. He was notably absent from the group photograph when that was taken. Although, it's not yet clear whether the reason Boris Johnson wasn't in the photograph is because he was being briefed on the terror attack unfolding in London at the time. He did send this message via Twitter: "Heartbreaking. This is not the first attack on London or, indeed, on our parliament, and won't be the last. But our values will prevail."
Also, taking to Twitter, Nigel Farage, the former leader of the U.K. Independent Party. He said, quote, "Very upset and depressed by the terrorist attack in Westminster. But unfortunately, not surprised."
Someone else who may not have been surprised as well is the "Politico" reporter, Silvia Borrelli, who joins me. And also in Los Angeles, I'm joined by Dominic Thomas, the chair of UCLA's Department of French and Francophone Studies.
Welcome to you both.
Silvia, to you first. Your reactions, where were you and what did you see or hear from colleagues as the attack unfolded?
SILVIA BORRELLI, REPORTER, POLITICO: I was a few blocks away from parliament in the city of London. I tried to come over here in the area, but everything had already been shut down. So what I could see really was a lot of commotion in the area, but the police reaction was really swift. So they put the whole area into lockdown. No one could access. A lot of panic in the immediate aftermath of the attack. But everything else seemed normal around the city. My colleagues inside parliament were in lock down until late evening. They said they were exhausted. They saw most of what was going on from the windows, but it was confusing for them as well. In the beginning, they thought it was a car accident. Because you're not really expecting this kind of attack right here in the heart of the city. But a lot of commotion and a lot of --
[02:45:28] VAUGHAN JONES: Is there a sense of inevitability about this. I know we talked in the last hour, and you said you experienced what happened in Brussels and the atrocity as it unfolded there. Was it inevitable?
BORRELLI: I mean, this one looks a lot less sophisticated than the ones in Paris or Brussels or Nice. It's hard to control or to avoid a situation or incidents like these if someone with a vehicle just slams into the public and into a fence in parliament. Because what can you do? Just close off the entire area? There's a lot of security in Westminster. There's a lot of police. There's higher patrols than there was in the past. But at the same time, this is just a car driving on the street and running into people, which is really hard to control and to avoid. It's different from Brussels last year, because there were bombs and firearms involved there and --
VAUGHAN JONES: And various locations as well.
VAUGHAN JONES: And Dominic Thomas is standing by for us at the moment.
Dominic, unfortunately, for France, of course, France has been so involved in all these terror attacks over the last couple of years with "Charlie Hebdo" and in Paris and Nice. Now, we understand, among the wounded, several of the school children or French students, rather, would be on the Westminster Bridge and perhaps mowed down by the assailant as he drove the vehicle across the bridge. What's the latest you're hearing from the French authorities?
DOMINIC THOMAS, CHAIR, DEPARTMENT OF FRENCH & FRANCOPHONE STUDIES, UCLA: They've been monitoring the situation. President Hollande has made arrangements for members of the school group's family to travel to London. This was a large group of student visiting one of the most important and iconic tourist sites in the world. And from what we understand, three teenage students that were in this group on the bridge were hit by the vehicle. Two of them are seriously injured and are in our own hospital at the moment. Of course, the French are reaching out and following this situation very carefully after the last two years and their experiences going back to the "Charlie Hebdo" and Nice attacks. Just like the Berlin attack in December, the last three attacks have involved vehicles, and also symbolic sites. Westminster in this case, the Christmas market in Berlin, and Nice on the 14th of July, a French celebration. So there's a lot in common here as they look at this situation.
VAUGHAN JONES: Dominic, this is now, of course, a murder investigation, a terror investigation, which is still unfolding. But this will, no doubt, play into the political narrative, and not just in the U.K. but also across Europe. France has presidential elections coming up. I'm wondering if this will play into the political fear in France at all and how it might have an impact.
THOMAS: Yes, it will. The early response was moderate, obviously, reaching out, thinking about the victims and their families. And then a few hours later, over in the Netherlands, Wilders took to Twitter and started to essentially accuse the authorities for the lax immigration policies and so on. We see how le Pen will start talking about this and how, once again, questions relating to Islam and border control and national identity will coalesce around this particular question. And what we end up, ultimately, with candidates who will be talking about an open and important to have values of tolerance and democracy against others that advocate for a more closed vision of the world along the lines of sort of Brexit and so on.
VAUGHAN JONES: Yeah. Dominic Thomas, thank you very much. We appreciate your analysis on this.
Also, Silvia Borrelli, thank you for joining me on a cold Thursday morning in London.
Isha, for now, back to you.
SESAY: Hannah, thank you so much. Great conversation there.
Nearly three years after the ferry sank off the South Korean coast, we're getting our first look at the vessel above water. Salvage crews have pulled the 6800-ton ferry from the seabed. It was overloaded and traveling too fast when it capsized. More than 300 people drowned, most of them teenagers on a school trip. The bodies of nine victims are still missing. Workers still searching the vessel once it's stabilized and secure.
U.S. President Donald Trump faces his first big test in Congress in the coming hours. The Republican bill to roll back Obamacare comes to a vote. And right now, Republicans don't have enough votes for it to pass. If it fails, it would be a major setback for the president, who promised to repeal and replace Obamacare.
CNN's Phil Mattingly has our report. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
[02:50:24] REP. PAUL RYAN, (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is the American Health Care Act.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: House Republicans still hope to secure victory Thursday after nearly a decade of railing on Obamacare. They are still scrambling for votes, relying on President Trump to close the deal.
RYAN (voice-over): I am so pleased and impressed with President Trump and Mike Pence, who are leaning into this thing, working hard, talking to members, brokering things, getting it done, leaning into it.
MATTINGLY: But it may not be enough.
REP. MARK MEADOWS, (R), NORTH CAROLINA: I said we believe the best approach is to actually start over.
MATTINGLY: Despite a full-court press from the White House and House GOP leaders, as it stands, there are 27 House Republicans leaning against or outright opposed to the Obamacare repeal plan. Driven mostly by the conservative House Freedom Caucus who, despite intense lobbying from President Trump and Vice President Pence, insist they have 25 "no" votes, according to an aide. The group met privately Thursday over pizza. Their efforts were bolstered by two Senators, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, both of whom were urging the members to block the bill.
(on camera): What's your message to Freedom Caucus people considering voting for this?
SEN. RAND PAUL, (R), KENTUCKY: I think principles are important, and that often when you feel strongly that something is not going to work, that's more important than loyalty to party, frankly.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Undercutting a delicate balance GOP leaders hope to strike, one that can draw enough support from all sides of the party.
RYAN: You have to have a bill that you can get buy-in from a big- tent-wide caucus party, the Republican Party, that can actually pass, which is what we're putting together. No one gets everything they want.
MATTINGLY: Sources tell CNN the behind-the-scenes efforts have gone full bore with White House visits, private calls and texts in a desperate push flip wary lawmakers. The divide also splitting key outside GOP supporters, with Republicans stalwarts, including the Chamber of Commerce and National Right to Life, calling for support, and conservative groups, like Heritage Action and Club for Growth, urging members to stand against the bill. Those efforts clearly having an effect. House Freedom Caucus members continue to block any clear path to passing.
MEADOWS: We believe that we need to postpone the vote and get it right.
SESAY: Our thanks to Phil Mattingly for that report.
We got back to London next, with the latest on the deadly terror attack near the British parliament.
[02:55:13] SESAY: I'm Isha Sesay, in Los Angeles.
VAUGHAN JONES: I'm Hannah Vaughan Jones, here in London. Thank you so much for joining us here.
We are covering this terror investigation as it unfolds. There are many unanswered questions still for the police here. The Metropolitan Police working around the clock since this attack started. It happened about half past 2:00 local time yesterday afternoon. It's Thursday morning now here, just coming up to 7:00 a.m. here in London. And we are, of course, covering all of the events here from the heart of the British parliament. Even though the area is on lockdown, we'll cover the events as soon as we hear any details on the assailants involved, the motivation, any responsibility for the attacks and the like, as the day unfolds.
Thanks so much for joining us. Plenty coming up in the next hour here, live from London, on CNN.
SESAY: And thank you for watching. I'm Isha Sesay, in Los Angeles.
Do stay with us for our continuing coverage.
[03:00:11] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church, at CNN Center in Atlanta.