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Police Identify Attacker As Briton Khalid Masood; Prime Minister: Masood Linked To Violent Extremism; U.S. House Set To Vote Friday On Republican Bill; Arrests Made in London Attack; Trump Defends Controversial Claims; Sunken South Korean Ferry Being Raised; Tribute to Slain British Police Officer. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired March 24, 2017 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[01:00:00] ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONA CORRESPONDENT AND ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, arrest was made as the death toll climbs in London, and we know more about the man who carried out the attack.
SESAY: Plus, no more negotiations on health care. The White House is putting its foot down after Thursday's vote was canceled.
VAUSE: And later, raising the Sewol ferry after nearly three years under water.
SESAY: Hello, and thank you for joining us. I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. This is NEWSROOM L.A. At least eight people have been arrested after the deadly terror attack outside the British parliament. Police raids on Thursday, mostly focused on Birmingham in Central England. Six people are being held on suspicion of preparations of acts of terrorism.
SESAY: Police say, the man who carried out the attack is 52-year old, Khalid Masood, and ISIS news agency says, he was a soldier of ISIS. British Prime Minister, Theresa May, revealed more information.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: What I can confirm, is that the man was British-born, and that some years ago, he was once investigated by MI-5 in relation to concerns about violent extremism. He was a peripheral figure. The case is historic. He was not part of the current intelligence picture.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Authorities have identified three of the four victims in Wednesday's attack: American tourist Kurt Cochran, British school teacher AyshaFrade, and British policeman Keith Palmer.
SESAY: Well, those in police say, they have what may have been an attempted terror attack. They arrested the driver speeding toward a busy shopping area and refusing to stop. VAUSE: Prosecutor say, he had knives and a pellet gun, but according
to a local report, the driver was - he was too drunk to answer questions from police.
SESAY: All right. We'll let's get more on that terror attack in the U.K. let's bring in CNN's Europe Editor, Nina dos Santos, who joins us live from London. Nina, on Thursday, we know there were a number of raids conducted in London, Birmingham, and elsewhere; several individuals taken into custody. We're learning anything more at this stage about their identities, and what connection they may have had to Khalid Masood?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Well, here at the Metropolitan Police Headquarters, in New Scotland Yard, they're not actually releasing the identities of those individuals, and not really encouraging the media to speculate as to their links to Khalid Masood. But, what we do know, is that the 39-year-old woman was arrested in East London during these raids on suspicion of terrorism-related offenses. He does have - he is reported in the British media to have a 39-year-old wife, but at this point, we have no indication to put one with the other to say that that is the individual.
We do know that there were several other individuals who're arrested in raids in Birmingham. And this age - the age range for these individuals goes from 21 years old to 58 years old. Many of them in their 20s here, many of them are being held under suspicion of preparing terrorist acts. And that means, that they can be held in custody in question for 48 hours before they have to be released or police have to apply for a good reason to keep them in custody for more questioning from there on. Already 24 hours has passed, and so, the big question is, what they're trying to do here is figure out the family ties, the friendships, the network that Khalid Masood might have been involved with, to try and understand his motivation and his methods better. Isha.
SESAY: Well, Masood, as you know Nina, had an extensive criminal record that spanned two decades, and had once been investigated for extremism. We're learning - the question now that a lot of people are asking is, why is it that he had been investigated for violent extremism at one point but he wasn't on the radar of British Domestic Intelligence?
SANTOS: Yes, many people here across the U.K. are asking the same question as well, and almost to sort of pre-empt that question, if you like. We saw Theresa May in Parliament give a statement saying, well he was a peripheral figure, sort of waning off that kind of criticism. Remember that this is a brief she knows very well because she was the Home Secretary for several years: one of the longest serving Home Secretaries that the U.K. has had, before becoming Prime Minister. So, the big question everybody has is, what motivated this individual to do this if he had already been on the radar for extremist links beforehand and, as you quite rightfully mentioned, violent behavior.
He had a string of convictions going back since 1983, for possessing offensive weapons: in particular, knives, for also grievous bodily harm, and inflicting harm in front of individuals. And at one point, was accused of stabbing somebody in the face, in an altercation once. That, apparently, according to British media, didn't go to trial. So, he had a known record of using knives. He also had a known record of extremist activity, but the working assumption here in London at this hour is that maybe he was on the radar at a time when Al Qaeda was the biggest threat, rather than the next biggest threat having morphed into ISIS-related or ISIS-inspired terrorism activities.
So, the big question that authorities will be asking themselves and trying to investigate at this point is, is there any link? Has he become re-radicalized, if you like? The other thing we have to take into account is his profile: his age is not congruous with age profile that we've seen of people who've committed similar attacks in places like Brussels, and also Paris. There's a much younger individual, who were active online. So, you can imagine that the cyber side of the investigation will also be important as well here. Isha?
[01:05:48] SESAY: A lot still to be uncovered. Nina dos Santos, joining us from London. Nina, appreciate it. Thank you.
VAUSE: Prime Minister Theresa May says, that Britain will not be intimidated by the attack. And Queen Elizabeth offered here prayers and deepest sympathy.
SESAY: London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, led an emotional vigil in Trafalgar Square. CNN's Erin McLaughlin was there.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In the heart of the capital, thousands gathered at a symbol of the city's freedom and democracy, for a moment of silence. And to light candles in remembrance.
SADIQ KHAN, LONDON MAYOR: Londoners, will never be cowed by terrorism.
MCLAUGHLIN: It's powerful to see Londoners; people from all over the world gathered in one place to express messages of sympathy and solidarity. People of all ages and faiths offered comfort and hope.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We thought it's really important for us to be here. We particularly wanted to bring our kids so that over time we can talk to them and share with them about, you know, the importance of love and tolerance, and acceptance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a Muslim, this is my duty to come here because of what's happened yesterday: as a Muslim, we never support it. And we want to show our support to the British community.
MCLAUGHLIN: On Thursday, the attack claimed a fourth victim: a 75- year-old man, pulled from life sport. And the world learned the identity of teacher AyshaFrade, reportedly killed on her way to pick up her kids from school. She was highly regarded and loved by her students, and be here colleagues, said a school statement, she will be deeply missed. American Kurt Cochran was in London to celebrate his 25thwedding anniversary. His wife, Melissa, badly injured in the attack. On social media, Cochran's brother-in-law wrote, "Our hearts are broken this day, as we say good-bye." U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted out his prayers and condolences. And there was a parliamentary tribute to police officer Keith Palmer.
MAY: He was every inch a hero, and his actions will never be forgotten. Hear-hear.
MCLAUGHLIN: The injured hailed from 11 nations. An attack on London; is an attack on the world, a point made by the British Foreign Secretary and former London Mayor who's on a visit to the United States.
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: The world is uniting, to defeat the people who launched this attack. And to defeat their bankrupt and odious ideology. And I say that with confidence because our values are superior. Our view of the world is better and more generous and our will is stronger.
CRAIG MACKEY, LONDON ACTING POLICE COMMISSIONER: This cannot be undone.
MCLAUGHLIN: At the vigil, London's acting Police Commissioner said, while we can't change what happened, the capital can control its response. A day after the brutal attack, London stood united and defiant. Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.
SESAY: Well, another moving tribute to the London victims in Berlin, where the famous Brandenburg Gate was lit up with the image of the British flag.
VAUSE: Berlin was attacked with a similar attack, in December. A truck driver plow through a Christmas market killing 12 people.
[01:09:14] SESAY: We're going to take a quick break. Still ahead, an ultimatum from the Trump White House to Republicans: vote now to repeal Obamacare or suffer the consequences at election time.
KATE RILEY, CNN WORLD SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kate Riley with your CNN WORLD SPORTS headlines. London is still coming to terms with Wednesday's terror attack on Parliament. And the Football Association in England has said, they will pay tribute to those who died and recognize the bravery of the security services and all those involved. When England play Lithuania at Wembley on Sunday, stars and clubs took to social media to show their support.
The England football team hosting on Twitter saying,"Sometimes football isn't everything. A message to London, our city, stay strong, stay safe, stay together." David Beckham who captained England, 59 times, took to Instagram: "My thoughts are with those who lost loved ones and were injured in London. Prouder than ever of our great city and the people who protect us." And three-time Formula One World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, is in Australia, ahead of the start of the first race of the season tweeted: "Praying for all those affected in London."
One of the lives claimed was Keith Palmer, a policeman and season ticket holder for League One Football Club at Charlton Athletic. The team posted a video on their Twitter account showed their support. The club all lay a red and white scarf of their seat. He occupied for many years as a local supporter of the club and will remain until their home fixture on April 4th. That's a look at all your sports headlines. I'm Kate Riley.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody, the investigation into alleged ties between the White House and Russia is growing more partisan. Atop health democrat says, he's seen new information on possible collusion between associates of President Donald Trump, and the Kremlin. Adam Schiff suggests that it could even merit a grand jury investigation.
SESAY: But that's not the case according to the Chairman of the Intel Committee. Republican Devin Nunes, indicated he doesn't know what Schiff's talking about. Here's what the two lawmakers told CNN's Manu Raju.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: You said that there's more than just circumstantial evidence of collusion. What did you mean by that?
ADAM SCHIFF, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM CALIFORNIA: I don't feel comfortable talking about particular evidence: either that the FBI is looking at, or that we're looking at. But I do think that it's appropriate to say it's the kind of evidence that you would submit to a grand jury at the beginning of an investigation.
RAJU: This new evidence of collusion from Schiff, you said you have no idea what he's talking about?
DEVIN NUNES, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM CALIFORNIA: I don't know.
RAJU: You haven't seen any new evidence of collusion?
NUNES: Not that I'm familiar of, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Keep in mind, though, they sit on the same Intelligence Committee. They're both the ranking member of -
SESAY: Well, the Republican plans to rollbackObamacare: heads for a make or break vote on Friday, but chances for passage seem slimmer than ever. The vote was supposed to be held on Thursday: the seventh anniversary of Obamacare. But it was postponed when Republicans couldn't get enough of their own party members to support the bill.
VAUSE: Now, defeat, would be a blow to the President. He's campaigned to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. After a day (INAUDIBLE 14:43) the negotiations, the White House and Republican leaders announced an ultimatum. They were done. And they will hold the vote now, on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL RYAN, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE SPEAKER: We have been promising the American people that we will repeal and replace this broken law because it is collapsing and it's failing families. And tomorrow we're proceeding.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have the votes? Do you have the votes? Do you have the votes?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Do note, there's no answer. No response to, do you have the votes?
VAUSE: Deadly silence.
[01:15:10] SESAY: Many conservatives opposed the Republican bill for not getting rid of Obamacare's main provisions. Our own Phil Mattingly explains.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Meeting after meeting and lots of legislative wrangling, the Republicans are still short of a health care deal. GOP lawmakers shuttling into closed-door meetings on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue.
DONALD TRUMP, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Only politics is we have a great bill.
MATTINGLY: Underscoring a clear reality despite the all-out blitz from President Trump and House Leaders, they don't have the votes. That comes in the wake of a moment of brief daylight as the White House and House Leaders agreed to changes sought by the conservative house freedom caucus.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Earlier today, you think you're confident that they have the votes. Do you believe that?
BRADLEY BYRNE, UNITED STATES HOUSE REPUBLICAN: Yes, yes. If it took us up for a vote it's going the pass.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you say that?
BYRNE: Because if you are a Republican, you have one choice, you are going to vote with Donald Trump to repeal and replace Obamacare or you're going to vote was Nancy Pelosi to defeat the only bill that repeal and replace Obamacare. And if you are a Republican, that's a pretty simple choice.
MATTINGLY: But even as its members filed into the White House today and gave President Trump a standing ovation, still, unwilling to commit to the bill. MARK MEADOWS, UNITED STATES HOUSE REPUBLICAN: I'm still a no at this time. I'm desperately trying to get to yes and I think the President knows that. I told him that personally, and I can say with all the freedom caucus they are really trying to get to yes. That's why we met for such a long time. It was at times a not contentious but I would say very rigorous debate.
MATTINGLY: And the change they sought to strip the essential health benefits required by Obamacare risked alienating the party's centrist faction. One of them told CNN, quote, "This bill is collapsing", a conundrum that led house minority leader Nancy Pelosi who shepherded Obamacare to passage to provide some unsolicited advice of her own.
NANCY PELOSI, UNITED STATES HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: You build your consensus in your caucus and when you're ready, you set the date to bring it to the floor. Maybe a great negotiator rookies on an error for bringing this up on a day and clearly you're not ready.
MATTINGLY: So here's where we stand, it is now do or die. It is the highest game stakes of chicken you can imagine. The President made very clear through his advisers there would be no negotiating. He wants a vote. He is demanding a vote and he wants it on Friday whether the members like it or not whether they have the votes or not. And I think that's a really crucial component here. As it currently stands, they do not have the votes, which means they need something to change quickly. The President hopes that backing the members that aren't with him right now, that will be the answer. Well, we'll see on the House floor it's about as dramatic as it's going to get. Phil Mattingly, CNN, Capitol Hill.
VAUSE: Well for a lot more on the high drama on Capitol Hill, let's bring in Legal Analyst, Earl Ofari Hutchinson Author of the End of Obamacare and Republican Consultant John Thomas. OK. So, John, I guess this is a negotiating ploy right out of the art of the deal, you know reframe the vote not for necessary Trumpcare but a vote to keep Obamacare and explain that one to the folks back at home. But why rush on this? You know President Obama for about a year before Obamacare, actually got through he convinced his own party and passed on party lines, but he also got other groups on board like, you know doctors and medical professional groups as well. Why push this through so quickly?
JOHN THOMAS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Well first of all this was one of the main campaign pledges he ran on day one, you know repeal and replace. We were past day one so he's got to get it done quickly. The other thing is he's tried the carrot approach, there is no more pork or backroom deals that he can provide to these members and he is worried that you - you end up going into a death spiral of negotiations. So he's made the determination he has gone as far as he can. Now it's time to bring out the stick.
SESAY: Well it is remarkable that the House Republicans voted nearly 90 times to reveal -- repeal parts of Obamacare. And now they have the White House and they have both houses of Congress and they can't get it together.
EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, you know, when they took all those votes they already knew it was dead on arrival in the Senate. So really they had nothing to lose. It was not going to pass in the Senate and it was not being attained in the Senate, and if it did the one time it did it got pass at. President Obama he did sell it. But now it's different. As John said, Trump made over and over again on the campaign trail repeal and replace. He kept saying that. That was one of the lynchpins of his campaign. Now you have taken the House and now you have taken the Senate, you being the GOP and you tried, you've had seven years to put a replacement on -- program on the table. You haven't done that. So everything is coming together if you don't do it now, when? Trump said something else he says that if you don't do it now as part of his ultimatum, what I'm going to do is move on. No, he's not going to move on. This is a crucial public policy issue and this is a political issue. So there's no moving on. It's going to keep coming up - coming up even if it doesn't pass within 24 hours.
[01:20:06] VAUSE: You know what is interesting; we heard from Nancy Pelosi, the former House Speaker the Democrats, their facing they're saying this is a rookie mistake by a new White House administration setting a date before you have the votes. We also have this reporting from the New York Times in the last couple of hours about the strategy here and some regrets from the Trump administration. "Mr. Trump has told four people close to him that he regrets going along with Speaker Paul D. Ryan's plan to push a health care overhaul before unveiling a tax cut proposal more politically palatable to Republicans". So judges from this new strategy what have you hear? You know is Trump right? Should have they gone with the tax cuts first and then try to do the health care.
THOMAS: It might have made more sense. I mean, tax cuts are something Republicans can all agree upon and when you look at what the CBO said, I don't know that their projections are 100 percent accurate but by and large, I mean look, this isn't giving the amount of savings that Republicans want to. So look, they're rushing through on something that is controversial. It's not a simple fix. Yes, and this is -- to be fair to Democrats, this is what you get when you don't have somebody with a lot of experience in White House.
SESAY: And Earl, OK, according to New York Times reporting, some regret on the part of the President. Let's look at Speaker Ryan. I mean, because this is it now, if this thing fails, someone's looking at who is going to be left carrying the can. Should he be worried that it's going to fall to him-they - and he will have regrets that, you know maybe this is a President who is too open to negotiating?
HUTCHINSON: Well this is his kind of his fall back, kind of another ploy saying look, you know maybe we rushed it here shouldn't have listened to Paul Ryan. Maybe I should have used the tax cut Trump card at that point in time. I don't want to use the double on that time. But the fact of the matter is he didn't. You know, when you talk about tax and tax reforms you know that - been there's been a lot of proposals put on the table over the years on that too. Some have gotten some places, some have not. But health care is different. It has so much political dynamite to it you see that's the thing. So, they're going to keep focusing on that, they're going to keep pounding on that. Taxes will come along at some point but I'm going tell you it's almost a snoozer, a yawner. That doesn't draw attention. This does. We probably wouldn't be talking about that if it wasn't for health care. That is the jewel in the crown.
VAUSE: Let's take a look at the latest polling because Trumpcare according to here its 17 percent support amongst the people who were polled. So, the choices here for Republicans are pretty grim. They can either fail to get the bill through or they can - and then suffer the consequences or they can get this bill through and then John, they're essentially, you know, if it gets through the Senate as well, they're taking a package to the American people that, you know, most people hate that they don't like. This is not how it was all meant to play out.
THOMAS: Well look, the administration is taking a risk that it will lower the costs and perhaps open up more access for people because of lower costs. So they're taking risks. If it doesn't do that, it's going to blow up in their face.
VAUSE: You see this what - this is why Obamacare it went through with 37 percent approval and hope that it would get more popular as people learned about it, it got less popular.
SESAY: But the more problems of Trumpcare not to pile on, but the CBO as you know released another some more data on Thursday showing that what we had thought would have been this 337 million -- billions saving of a 10 year isn't quite what we thought. Now as you look at those numbers, it's actually 150 billion. It doesn't make this even more of a lemon, doesn't it?
THOMAS: It does if those projections are right. The CBO has been wrong before, I mean I think the difference between John, you point of you know Obamacare and Trumpcare is that Democrats voted for the bill and didn't even read what the heck was in it. Republicans are actually reading what is in it and are trying to fix it as it goes through. So Democrats in the lineup more so than Republicans, which I think it's -- there's just has been bad press coverage from the outset about Trumpcare and that's what's been stalling it.
SESAY: OK is it bad press coverage or is it a bad bill?
THOMAS: That's a good question.
HUTCHINSON: Well, you got there's something else. It's not just the CBO I mean, look at the polls. This GOP has a problem. The problem is the majority, there have been a number of polls that show a majority of people do not, when they know what the Affordable Care Act is, not Obamacare. They don't want it replaced the way it is and the way the GOP is framing it. So there's really a double problem with Trump and Paul Ryan. On one hand, we made all these promises to make the change repeal and replace. But on the other hand, we've got conservatives in the party that don't like it they call it Obama land. We've got a majority of the American people that say we do not want to replace the whole thing. There are certain parts of it that we like. And many, by the way, has been pointed out. Many of Trump's supporters that voted for him, guess what? They are benefitting from the Affordable Care Act. So you got a triple problem.
SESAY: Answer my question. Bad bill, bad press, which is it?
THOMAS: Oh boy. I mean it's a combination. But I think we haven't seen the final form is going to change in the Senate. There are some tweaks that need to be made for sure.
VAUSE: Very wise answer. This health care reform stuff, it's complicated. No one knows how complicated it is. John and Earl.
THOMAS: Thank you.
SESAY: Anyway, moving on. The Kremlin calls -- claims it had one of its critics killed absurd, that Denis Voronenkov was shot and killed outside the Kiev hotel on Thursday.
[01:24:18] VAUSE: The former Russian lawmaker fled to Ukraine last year. Ukraine's President calls this killing a Russian state terrorist act. More details now from Frederick Pleitgen reporting from Moscow.
FREDERICK PLEITGEN CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Denis Voronenkov calls wife devastated after her husband, a Kremlin critic was killed right in the heart of Ukraine's capital. Police say the assassin waited for Voronenkov and his bodyguard in front of a hotel and opened fire arrived once they arrived. As a result of the shootout, one man was killed. Kiev's police chief says, his bodyguard was wounded and the killer was also wounded. Both are in hospitals and being given medical assistants. The killer later died in hospital. Ukrainian authorities saying he never regained consciousness.
Denis Voronenkov was a former member of Russia's communist party; he fled to Ukraine in 2016 and adopted Ukrainian citizenship. Though he denied it, Voronenkov was charged in absentia by Russian authorities for alleged fraud in a real estate deal in February. Highly critical of Vladimir Putin and Russia's annexation of Crimea, Voronenkov vowed never to be silenced. Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko quickly pointing the finger at the Kremlin saying on his official website, "The insidious murder of Denis Voronenkov in the city center of Kiev is an act of State terrorism by Russia which he had to flee for political reason".
Denis Voronenkov is not the first Kremlin critic mysteriously killed. In 2015 opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was gunned down in central Moscow, or the former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko, who British authorities believed was poisoned with a radioactive substance in 2006, London pointing the finger as Moscow as well. For its part, Russia points to recent political murders in Ukraine and calls the allegations against Moscow absurd. It seems like Ukraine will make everything so that no one will ever know the truth about what really happened today on March 23rd in Kiev. The spokeswoman for Russia foreign ministry said, "Ukrainian authorities have launched a full- scale investigation into the murder of Denis Voronenkov, another Kremlin critic dead, leaving behind a grieving wife expecting their second child." Frederick Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.
VAUSE: And we'll return to London now after the break with more details on the man who drove his car into crowds of people on Westminster Bridge.
[01:31:07] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Isha Sesay.
The headlines this hour --
VAUSE: Police have arrested eight people after the London terror attack, most in Birmingham and central England.
SESAY: Investigators are also revealing new information about the man behind the deadly rampage.
CNN's Nic Robertson has the details.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Khalid Masood, 52 years old, with a three-decade history of violence, named by police as the terrorist believed to be responsible for the deadly carnage in London Wednesday.
According to police, he had several aliases, was born in Kent, just south of London, most recently living in the West Midlands.
Masood's most recent conviction in 2003 for possession of a knife, one of many brushes with law enforcement, including for radicalism.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: What I can confirm is that the man was British-born and that some years ago he was once investigated by MI5 in relation to concerns about violent extremism. He was a peripheral figure.
ROBERTSON: ISIS's propaganda wing claiming him as a soldier of ISIS, acting in response for appeals for attacks, but offered no evidence of a direct link.
Police say he was acting alone.
MARK ROWLEY, ACTING DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: It is still our belief which continues to be borne out by our investigation that this attacker acted alone. ROBERTSON: Even so, in an armed raid in Birmingham in the West
Midlands early Thursday morning, witnesses report police taking several people from this building.
UNIDENTIFIED WITNESS: I see police arrest one lady and I see two, three people, but I don't know how many people arrest. But I see one lady and two, three people and police with gun outside waiting and that's it. I see these people. That's it. I never ever see these people before.
ROBERTSON: A mile away, at the Enterprise Car Rental Agency, the owners call polic3e to say their vehicle was used in the attack.
Birmingham, the once-fabled industrial heartland 100 miles from London, appears to be emerging as a center of gravity in the attack.
(on camera): Police say, of the eight people arrested Thursday, six of them, including those detained here, are all being held on suspicion of preparation of acts of terrorism. Police caution the investigation still has a long way to run.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Birmingham, England.
SESAY: Turning back now to U.S. politics, and U.S. President Donald Trump is defending some of the most controversial claims of his political career in an interview with "Time" magazine.
VAUSE: He says, he can't be doing so badly because, in his words, "I can't be doing so badly because I'm president and you're not."
Here's Brianna Keilar.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Trump unveiling a string of untruths as he talked about how he handles the truth in an interview with "Time" magazine.
[01:3506:] KEILAR: Let's start with President Trump's explanation of his recent claims that President Obama wire tapped him before he entered the White House, a claim that is unfounded and unsupported by almost all Democrats and Republicans.
"Now remember this," Trump said, "When I said wiretapping, it was in quotes because a wiretapping, today, it is different than wiretapping. It is just a good description but wiretapping was in quotes. What I'm talking about is surveillance."
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: If you look at the president's tweet, he said, quote, "wiretapping," in quotes.
KEILAR: Not exactly. Wiretapping was in quotes in this tweet but in this one, it's not in quotes. And on surveillance Trump pointed to these comments from Devin Nunes, the Republican chair of the House Intelligence Committee.
REP. DEVIN NUNES, (R-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition, none of it related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team.
KEILAR: That communication seemingly picked up by agencies looking at foreign targets legally. Nunes' evidence remains secret. Member of his own committee have yet to see it. And he shoots down Trump's original claim.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Just to be clear, there is no evidence that President Trump himself was wiretapped.
NUNES: That is correct. That is correct.
KEILAR: On Trump's false campaign claim that Ted Cruz's father was connected to President Kennedy's assassin, Trump told "Time," "That was in the newspaper. I wasn't -- I didn't say that." The newspaper that Trump refers to the "National Enquirer. That's right, the supermarket tabloid.
And on the assertion that millions of people voted fraudulently, explaining why he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by about three million ballots, he said, "Mostly they register wrong. In other words, for the votes, they register incorrectly and/or illegally and they vote. You have tremendous numbers of people. In fact, I'm forming a committee on it."
It will be interesting to see if that committee includes the folks who oversee voting practices, secretaries of state, many of whom are Republicans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As I say about voter fraud, it exists, it's rare.
KEILAR: Or Republican Senators?
UNIDENTIFIED SENATOR: I've not seen voter irregularity in the millions. There's always some on the edges, but I've not seen anything on the millions. I don't know what he was talking about on that one.
KEILAR: Maybe not.
(on camera): Trump also talked about how he was right he would win on election night, even though he has said he thought he would lose. And he stuck with his false claim that Muslims celebrated on 9/11 in New Jersey, even though that has never been corroborated. And at the end of the interview, he essentially dropped the mic, "Hey, look, in the meantime, I guess I can't be doing so badly," he said, "because I'm president and you're not." Fact check? True.
(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: Thanks, Brianna Keilar, for that report.
Our panel stuck around. Earl Ofari Hutchinson and John Thomas are with us.
Earl, let's pick up on that last point, "I'm president and you're not." That's telling. What it says is that he never paid a major price politically for the falsehoods and misleading statements and what some people would say are lies.
EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON, POLITICAL ANALYST: But, John, he is saying something else, I can keep doing this. I can keep doing this.
HUTCHISON: I am president and you're not. That's even more frightening.
He has been caught every step of the way. We have seen a litany of things. We don't have to go through it. Of things that have not been substantiated. But on the other hand, moving ahead what else is going to be on the table? What else are we going the hear that can't be substantiated and shoot from the lip and the hip and somewhere else, what does that mean for the GOP? We are seeing GOP Senators and Congressmen saying this is not right, this is not something we can defend. Now you've got something else happening. In the Republican Party, there is a lot of concern. We have a loose cannon here.
JOHN THOMAS, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: John, a lot of the Republicans are Never-Trumpers that didn't like Trump and still don't like Trump and they love the opportunity to bash Trump.
SESAY: You say that, but take a listen to this. This is something that the journalist wrote about the exchange, if you. I'll put it on the screen. "The more the conversation continued the more the binary distinctions between truth and falsehood blurred, the telltale sign of a veteran strategic leader who knows enough to leave himself an escape route when he tosses a bomb."
There is no line for him. He doesn't see truth and falsehood. He just kind of moves between the two is what the journalist is saying.
THOMAS: A perfect politician. Because they operate in that realm all the time. Donald Trump has not just won politically using these tactics. He grew up in the tabloid wars of New York where you throw insults and if you are defending yourself, you're losing. This is what he has done his entire life. It works well for him.
[01:40:12] VAUSE: The logic for Trump, when you read that article, he says something without evidence, like the comments about Sweden and refugees and immigrants. He waits and something happens, like what happened in Sweden, and he says, look, I was right. So then, what was a lie in his world becomes true. I mean, this is how the sort of the matrix of the Donald Trump mind works, isn't it? HUTCHINSON: And the other thing, too, you know, I'm not sure he's a
good politician. I'm not sure about that. A good politician like you said before they give themselves a way out. He's not compounding things over and over again. If you are caught one time saying something you cannot substantiate you back away and find something else. You find something substantial that can be proven that you can in fact go back to your constituents and say, look, I am a credible elected official. Not politician but elected official. But it's piling up. The "Wall Street Journal" today, I mean, they have been -- there have been issues with Trump, but I think it's fair to say they are conservative. They came down hard on him. Extremely hard because of that same point you're telling too many falsehoods and too many things that can't be substantiated. And you're hurting yourself and the credibility of the office.
SESAY: When he is found out, John, he says, well, I read it somewhere, someone told me, it wasn't me. The problem with that is you're now the president of the United States, the buck stops with you.
THOMAS: Sure. I mean, look, that's who we elected. That's his style. I'm not going to apologize for how the president conducts himself. But strategically speaking, Earl's right, a lot of these blurred truths are unforced errors, and they're causing him more political harm. It's a hard job that he has to begin with and he makes it harder when he goes off on these tangents without having hard proof to back it up.
HUTCHINSON: And it's hurting the Republican Party. That's the problem.
VAUSE: Will the truth ever catch up with him? Will there be a price to pay for all of the false accusations?
THOMAS: I think on certain things, well, things like he said we'll repeal and replace Obamacare, he can't get that done. Where he talks about we're bringing the jobs back. If they don't come back --
VAUSE: Stuff that impacts people's lives.
THOMAS: Yeah. But by and large, this is talk-show chatter, mostly.
SESAY: You say that, but how do you account for the fact that his polling right now is 37 percent? What is that about?
THOMAS: Well, look, because if you look at the -- if anybody who watches nightly news, it's negative story after negative story, but if you look at likely voter polling --
SESAY: I know you're not talking about us.
(LAUGHTER) THOMAS: If you look at likely voter polling, he's hovering in the high 40s --
THOMAS: -- which means the base is not leaving him. And he's fine right here.
HUTCHINSON: For now.
VAUSE: Thank you.
SESAY: Thank you, John. Thank you. You're a good sport.
Time for a quick break now. Families in South Korea are getting hope of closure. More on the operations to recover victims from a sunken ferry, next.
[01:46:16] VAUSE: An American-Israeli teenager is under arrest for a series of bomb threats a Jewish institutions and community centers in the U.S. and other countries.
SESAY: His attorney says he has a history of behavioral issues and an inoperable brain tumor.
Oren Liebermann has more from Jerusalem.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Police have arrested an American-Israeli Jewish teenager for scores of bomb threats in the U.S., and in New Zealand and Australia. This is the result of a months-long undercover police investigation between Israeli policed and the FBI. Also, including other countries as part of the investigation.
Police arrested the 19-year-old suspect Thursday morning, taking computers and evidence from his home in Israel. They say he camouflaged his computer and changed his voice when making robo calls to JCCs, Jewish Community Centers, and other institutions, making it harder to track him down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking at to why he got ahold of satellite equipment and computer technology he used in order to make those bomb threat calls.
LIEBERMANN: The suspect's lawyer says he has a brain tumor that has affected his behavior for years. She also says he was pulled from public school in first grade because of his behavioral problems and that he was deemed unfit for Israeli army service. The lawyer says the suspect's father was also arrested. Neighbors in the suspect's neighborhood have described him as polite
but introverted, always with his laptop, but rarely was he with friends. One neighbor says she spoke to him only in English.
UNIDENTIFIED NEIGHBOR (through translation): He's a bit of a weirdo. He's introverted. He was always alone, him and his laptop.
LIEBERMANN: The main question remains, why. Why would an American- Israeli Jewish teenager make bomb threats to Jewish community centers in the U.S. That is part of the ongoing investigation. The suspect, whose name has not been released, will be held for at least another week.
Oren Liebermann, CNN, Jerusalem.
SESAY: South Korean officials will soon be able to inspect the Sewol ferry that sunk in April 2014, taking more than 300 lives.
VAUSE: Nine victims are unaccounted for and their families watched from afar as the ferry was raised.
Our Paula Hancocks is there as well.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first eerie glimpse of the ship that claimed 304 lives, the Sewol ferry which may hold the bodies of nine victims finally lifted from the frigid waters of the Yellow Sea. Families watched from nearby boats. Their first sighting of the vessel that pulled their loved ones beneath the waves.
This person lost his son, one of the 250 students who died while on a school trip.
:I told him once," he says, "there are two people in this world who would die for you, me and your mother. But I wasn't there when he needed me."
Seeing the ship emerge slowly, the family struggled to put emotions into words. And overwhelming hope the operation will succeed, that the ship will be towed to a nearby port and the missing bodies will be found and that an investigation will tell them why their children died.
The Sewol sank in April of 2014 on its way to a holiday island. The majority of those who died were students, told by the crew to stay put while the crew and captain saved themselves. They have since been sentenced to lengthy prison terms, a manmade disaster that traumatized a nation.
(on camera): This port is where many of the families waited in the days and weeks after the disaster. And as you can see, almost three years later, it's still a memorial to those who have been lost. You can see yellow ribbons with messages of support on them. There are paintings and gifts that have been left. And there is that painful reminder that not everyone has yet been found.
Paula Hancocks, CNN, South Korea.
[01:50:21] VAUSE: We'll take a short break. When we come back, a moving tribute in British parliament to the policeman killed in Wednesday's terror attack in London.
SESAY: Wednesday's terror attack in London left four people dead, including a veteran policeman.
VAUSE: He served in the army with a member of the British parliament, who had this tribute for a fallen friend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED BRITISH PARLIAMENT MEMBER: While our hearts go to all those people who were wounded and murdered. And with your indulgence, sir, I would like to turn to P.C. Keith Palmer, who I met as gunner, Keith Palmer at Headquarters Battery 100 Regiment, Royal Artillery. He was a strong, professional public servant. And it was a delight to meet him here again only a few months after being elected.
Would my right honorable friend, the prime minister, in recognition of the work that he did, and the other police officers and public servants here in the House do, consider recognizing his gallantry and sacrifice formally with a posthumous recognition?
[01:55:34] MAY: I thank my honorable friend for the obvious and compassion and passion about which he has spoken about an individual he knew. And he bears witness to the tremendous public service that Keith Palmer had given this country in so many ways and having served in our armed forces, and then come here to this place, and pay the ultimate sacrifice here at our heart of democracy. I can assure my honorable friend that the issue that he's raised is, of course, one that will be considered in due course.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Keith Palmer was every bit the hero.
SESAY: You are watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from Los Angeles. I'm Isha Sesay.
VAUSE: I'm John Vause. Stay with us. A lot more after a short break.