Return to Transcripts main page
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Belgian Authorities: Individual Neutralized at Train Station; Sean Spicer Returns to the Podium; Jose Mourinho Accused of Tax Fraud in Spain;
Aired June 20, 2017 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to THE LEAD, I'm Jake Tapper. We'll begin with breaking news. Just in to CNN. You're looking at live
shots from Brussels, Belgium. Witnesses there reporting explosions and gunfire as locals ran in panic from the city central train station. We're
seeing, you can see an explosion there. That's an image of an explosion from inside the central train station. We're seeing heavy police presence
right there, right now. Belgian media is reporting that a possible suspect has been quote, neutralized at the scene. Let's go live now to CNN's Erin
McLaughlin, who is in Brussels. Erin, what's the latest?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jake. Well it seems that the situation is under control. That according to the police, it
unfolded about over an hour ago at a grand Central Station, one of the main train stations here in Brussels. You can see it just down the road that
way. Eye witnesses reported seeing some sort of explosions, a couple pops, small explosions and then according to police, the suspect, a private
individual has been quote, neutralized. Unclear how they managed to neutralize the suspect in this case. But you can see that they're taking
this incident extremely seriously, and they have cordoned off the street surrounding the train station. Not letting traffic through. You can see a
very heavy military presence out on the street. This is a city under a heightened state of alert due to the terror threat that is persistent in
this country. They're taking no chances here in Brussels tonight, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Erin McLaughlin, thank you so much. As we learn more information about what's going on in Brussels we will bring you that.
But let's turn to our politics lead now. This afternoon White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, held an on-camera briefing and took reporters'
questions. That's something that in and of itself should not be news, but in it case, it is. Because the Trump administration has been keeping
reporters at bay for more than a week. In important ways the Trump White House has been less transparent than its predecessors, it's just an
empirical fact. Even those who thought the President Obama's administration never live up to its ballyhooed promises of transparency.
President Obama did release his tax returns, as has been standard for presidents for years. President Trump has --
ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: Belgian police say the situation at the Central Station in Brussels is now under control. That information coming to us
from Belgian police. They are saying that the situation that happened in Central Station is now under control.
Let me just give you a rundown of what took place in the last, I would say half an hour, 45 minutes. Witnesses describe a loud explosion, this is a
picture from inside the station. Where witnesses described some kind of loud explosion. You're looking at a picture from inside the station,
showing the scene. This was posted to social media shortly after the apparent loud bang or the apparent explosion happened. You can see an
object squarely in the middle of that photograph on fire. This happened about 45 or so minutes ago. Police have set up a perimeter around the
station. They're not letting people in or out. Police have set up a perimeter as I've been mentioning. The Belgian National Railway say that
traffic has been suspended, so trains have been halted. Military is on the scene. Belgian authorities say the individual responsible has now been
neutralized. I want to bring in our Nic Robertson, who is joining us live now. Nic, set the scene for us, what do you know?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: At the moment, we know that the security services, they say, that they neutralized the suspect.
The sequence as you described it, there was a louder bang and some smaller bangs afterwards. If we examine what we can see so far, that the image of
something burning, it's about the size of a grown man. We don't know what it is that's burning.
There's, you know, the authorities say that the suspect was neutralized. So, word was that the subsequent smaller bangs, were they then gunshots
that would have neutralized the suspect?
[16:05:05] Was the suspect intending to set himself aflame? Was the suspect wearing a device that failed to go off as he expected and just went
up in flames? These things aren't clear but what is clear now, is that the authorities there believe this was a threat, that the threat was
neutralized. That as you say, the trains had been stopped. That the area has been secured.
So, the impression at the moment is that one individual as far as we're aware, at the moment -- and this is an impression we have to say that --
this is an unusual time for an act of terrorism. One would expect that to come more typically from what we've seen at a more crowded and busier time,
not so late in the evening at the station. So, we have to look at it through that light as well. But for right now, this is being taken as a
very serious threat and that's the way it's being treated.
ASHER: All right, Nic Robertson, live for us there. Appreciate you being with us, thank you so much. I want to go now to our Erin McLaughlin, who
is live at the station.
So, Erin, I've been listening to you speak earlier and you were mentioning that, of course, the situation right now is under control. Just set the
scene in terms of police activity. In terms of where you are? What's happening behind you? Just walk us through that.
MCLAUGHLIN: Sure, Zain. I'm standing not far from the Central Train Station. As you can see, authorities have set up a rather wide security
perimeter. There's plenty of politician trucks. There's also a heavy military presence out on the street. We know from authorities that it was
the military inside the station itself. That quote, neutralized the suspect in question following a series what appear to be small explosions
from the photograph by one eye witness showing a small flame. The military is inside the station, because Brussels is a city under heightened alert.
They're very wary of the threat of these threats of terrorism. Which has persistent here in this country ever since the Paris attacks. No
suggestion at the moment from authorities that this is in any way linked to terrorism. But no doubt that will be something that authorities are
looking at as they try and piece together the how and why this incident happened. They're taking it very seriously. Zain?
ASHER: So Erin, when police say -- and I apologize, you may or may not know the answer to this -- but when police say that an individual was
neutralized, does that imply that an individual has been merely shot and injured or the individual has been killed? Do we know yet?
MCLAUGHLIN: We do not know the answer to that question, Zain. The word neutralized is something that we have heard from several authorities at
this point. We know the situation is under control. How they neutralized the suspect in this case, is simply not clear. We know that there was some
eye witness reports of hearing gunshots. We know that the military is obviously, troops are armed with guns inside the station. When they're on
these patrols. But again, it's not clear if that is how they in fact neutralized the subject. We are trying to get more information on that.
ASHER: Erin, do we know how quickly police were able to get to the scene and evacuate the station? And as you mention, I was just in Brussels about
a week ago. I mean, that city is very much on high alert.
MCLAUGHLIN: It is a city that is on extremely high alert. It is not normal to see such a heavy military presence in a European capital. You've
seen military now though because of this persistent terrorist threat in places such as Paris. For brief period of time we saw the military even in
London. But they are patrolling main areas, main sites in Brussels, including train stations.
As again, as I said, it was the military that, quote, neutralized the suspect in this case. In terms of the overall response, we got here,
shortly after the incident, the first eye witness accounts started to spill out on to Twitter, and this perimeter had already been set up, the
perimeter you see behind me. So, it seems as though it was a quite rapid response on the part of authorities.
ASHER: And Erin, you know you've covered a number of these sorts of incidents across Europe. You know this incident happened about an hour
ago, 55 minutes ago or so. Would you have expected us to be getting more concrete information from police by now?
MCLAUGHLIN: I think the authorities at this point are simply trying to piece together exactly what happened. We know the situation is under
control. We know they're working at the scene to establish facts.
[16:10:06] In these kinds of investigations, establishing exactly what happened. Piecing together eye witness accounts takes time. Authorities
don't want it get things wrong. They want to be distributing the correct information. So, at this point what we know is there was an incident at
the train station, the situation is under control, the suspect has been, quote, neutralized. Anything beyond that right now though, we're relying
on eye witness accounts in terms of the explosion taking place, two smaller explosions we have that still from the scene. That's sort of the
information we have to give you right now. The motives of what this explosion was about? Why this individual was inside the station? What his
intentions were? More than likely part of an active and ongoing investigation.
ASHER: Erin McLaughlin, live for us there in Brussels, thank you so much.
I want to go to an eye witness now, Remy Bonafette is with us. Joining us on the phone. So, Remy, thank you so much for joining CNN just to share
your perspective and what you saw. Describe where you were in the station, and what exactly what went on? Just set the scene for us here.
Guys, OK. It looks as though we don't have Remy Bonafette who was and eyewitness that was going to be joining us. We will, of course, try and
get him back a little bit later on in the show. But I want to recap the breaking news for you.
About an hour or so ago police reported an "incident" at the grand Central Station in Brussels, we saw pictures. If we can just pull up the
photograph on the screen of Twitter that showed a small type of explosion. It looked as though something, some object caught fire. That is what we're
looking at here. We got this image from social media about an hour or so ago. We know that the individual has been neutralized. We don't know if
it means. That the individual was neutralized, as in shot and killed, or shot and injured. And we will of course, hopefully will have more
information from police a little bit later in the show. And of course, when we do will bring it to you. In the meantime, I want to bring in
Michael Weiss who is joining me now on set. So, Michael, just walk us through your thoughts in terms of what happened here.
MICHAEL WEISS, CNN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER FOR INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS: The immediate thing that jumps out at me is this was Brussels, which is the
headquarters/barracks of ISIS' francophone Jihadi network. So, probably the most significant and prominent non-Arab, or I should say, European born
network of jihadi. We saw them attack in Paris infamously. A few weeks later they hit Brussels International Airport. The bomb maker for the
explosions in both of those incidents came from Brussels. Here you have another target of a major transport hub, a central rail station.
The oddities to this story is as follows, at least to my mind. Number one, it was a lone actor. According to the Belgian authorities which shut this
down immediately, said this guy has been neutralized, nothing to see here, it's all done. If he was acting alone, what kind of device did he have?
I've seen rumors on social media and Belgian media reports that he might have been strapped with a suicide vest. In which case, did he take it off
and detonated inside the rail station and then make a run for it. And and then he got shot by Belgian soldiers. Also, the time something a bit
weird, 10:00 p.m. Granted, I mean, Brussels can have an active night life. But this is not 4 p.m. This isn't rush-hour traffic. ISIS coordinated
attacks, things are sort of part of a many-pronged and multi-man effort, usually they look for maximum impact and maximum butchering. So they want
to kill as many people as possible.
ASHER: Just take a look at this photograph that you've got on screen. What does that say to you? What does that scream out to you?
WEISS: I mean, honestly --
ASHER: It looks very small.
WEISS: I does. And not to diminish from the scariness of it all. But a device that probably didn't go off as intended. It could have been ill-
manufactured or there's always the possibility that this guy was a jihadi or jihadi inspired. But he was an amateur and a loner who decided to take
it upon himself to conduct an operation like this and witness the harvest.
The bomb doesn't kill anybody, he makes a run for it, he gets shot. Nobody gets hurt. Still scary. The guy managed to build a device that in some
says detonated or was built for him. I think the issue now for Belgian intelligence, Belgian counterterrorism officials is trying to make sure it
was a one-off and it was a guy who acted on his own accord. If he's part of a network or he's part of a cell, then it makes it more difficult. And
as we know, there are thousands of jihadis still running around the continent who have yet to be swept up in these counterterrorism dragnets or
kill themselves in operations.
ASHER: I don't want to jump the gun in terms of assuming that it's terrorism. Of course, we don't know. We haven't had that confirmed yet.
You know, you can look at the signs and obviously people tend to jump to conclusions. In terms of the neutralization of this individual, it is far
more useful for authorities to neutralize him and injure him as opposed to kill him. That way they can get information.
[16:15:08] WEISS: Yes, they're going to interrogate him. Who do you work for? Who else is part of your organization? Are you part of an
organization? But given the urgency of these kinds of situations, if he had some device on him, I mean, again, there were rumors, eye witnesses
saying they heard gunshots. That might have been Belgian soldiers killing the guy or shooting at him. But assuming he might have been armed, it's a
shoot-to-kill situation. They don't have the luxury of saying, gee, you know, for the sake of human intelligence, let's try to get him in the leg.
But if it's kill or be killed, they're going to kill him. Neutralize is also tends to be a euphemism for they killed him.
ASHER: And my producer just came into my ear just to tell me that police in Belgium have now said that it was an individual who set of off an
explanation. It looks as though this was a deliberate attempt.
Let me get your thoughts in terms of what's happening in Western Europe as a whole. I'm from London, we've seen a number of these sort of lone wolf
attacks. Extremely scary because of the dramatic uptick in 2017 for London. How do you piece all of this together in terms of what's happening
in Europe as a whole?
WEISS: Well, it's strange. I mean, lone wolf to me is a little bit of a misnomer at this point.
WEISS: Because what we've seen in the evolution of international jihad, a lot of the instances and attacks that we assumed where people being
radicalized in their mom's basement, watching YouTube videos of Anwar al Awlaki. It turned out, no, in fact, they had made contact with an ISIS
operative. They had either gone to Syria and Iraq and come back. That lot tended to sort of dwindled out as the border became a little more secure
and as the coalition war drained ISIS' resources.
Now what you're seeing is essentially remote-controlled jihad. People who go online, connect with ISIS, HQ in Raqqah. Although, I would argue that
the foreign operations planning has probably been relocated from Raqqah, given that the area has been completely encircled by U.S.-backed forces.
So, these guys tell them, right. So, we have other assets in play in whatever your city or country is. We want you link up with so-and-so on
Sunday. Don't ask questions. Just meet him. He'll pick the place and they coordinate this way. We've seen this in the Asian South Pacific and
Indonesia and the Philippines. Essentially, it's almost redolent of the cold war. KGB running multiple agents whose identities are not known to
ASHER: How hard is it for authorities to actually keep tap on these individuals who are now --
WEISS: It is exceedingly difficult. Because you know, Isis is going to ground in a physical and in the virtual sense. They've gone to ground in
the virtual sense, years ago. It's not like they're using active Twitter accounts to direct-message their acolytes. No they're using Telegram and
WhatsApp. Technologies, that frankly as a journalist, I rely on, so that I'm not being is individuated or surveilled law enforcement around the
world if I'm going to talk to an ISIS person to get an interview. And this is very, very difficult when you have end-to-end encryption, how do you
hack that? You have to have a specific phone number. Then get a warrant and do all of these things.
ASHER: We've seen that issue pop up a number of times.
WEISS: Exactly. And look, this is an organization has been around for a very long time since 2003. It has shown a remarkable ability to evolve and
to be quite resilient. Even suffering battlefield strategic defeat. It comes back phoenix like from the ashes. It is keeping many steps ahead of
international law enforcement when it comes to digital cybersecurity, media, trying to get around these dragnets and trying to evade capture.
QUEST: Always interesting to hear your perspective. You have studied the subject inside and out. Michael Weiss, lifers there. Thank you so much.
Much more on this breaking news story after the break. Don't go away.
[16:20:41] ASHER: Welcome back, I recap the breaking news for viewers all around the world. Belgian police say a situation at the Central Station in
Brussels is now under control. Witnesses describe a short time ago a loud explosion. You're looking right now at a picture of inside the Grand
Station in Belgium. It looks like an object on fire. This image coming to us from social media. It looks like an object on fire there.
Police we know have set up a perimeter. National Belgian Railway Company says traffic has been interrupted. So, trains in and out of the station
have now been halted. We're looking at images around the station, you see a large amount of police activity there. We know that military is on the
scene. Belgian authorities say the individual responsible has been neutralized. I want to bring in our Nic Robertson who's joining us now
live from London. So Nic, you have covered recent attacks in both -- a large number of them, sad to say. But in both Paris, Brussels and London
as well. Just explain to us, how much information-sharing is there across European authorities when it comes to tracking down potential suspects.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: There certainly is an improved amount. Certainly, in the case of Brussels and France, it's
improved a lot since the Bataclan attack and then the following attacks in Brussels. And I think, as we look at the situation right now, where we
don't know precisely what's happened, there's an indication here that there was a threat and it was neutralized, we know that. And it's an indication
that something has been set on fire.
You know, and we know there's an historic connection, as Michael Weiss was just saying a little earlier, between attackers in Paris and attackers in
Belgium that they work together. That there's commonality sometimes in the bomb-making. So, I'm thinking here, yesterday, in Paris, there was an
attack in Paris where a bomber drove a car laden with explosives into a police vehicle. It didn't explode. But it did burst into that flames. In
Belgium tonight, there appears to be a similar situation where there appears to have been something that at the very least was a major threat
enough to be shot at and neutralized, that appears to have burst into flames.
Knowing there is that historic connection, we know that the police today overnight went to the apartment, south of Paris where the attacker set off
from with his car full of explosives. They found more weapons and explosives. One, if one is investigating this quickly, in, this whether
it's Belgium or France, one has to be looking at was this another case, where the two situations are tied together. Was this a case even where the
person in Belgium decided that their cover was blown because they were associated with the attacker in Paris? We don't know this. This is all
speculation at the moment. But for investigators, these will likely be the avenues. The chances of back-to-back with similar outcomes, fires rather
than explosions, is going to be too much for investigators to overlook. So, this is where the cooperation comes in. It's not just this sort of the
sharing of information, travel information that occurs over a weekly, monthly basis. Then there is a much more immediate connection as well.
And no doubt that's being worked tonight between Brussels and France.
ASHER: So Nic, even though technically the attack was thwarted, in that the police arrived at the scene very, very quickly. They apparently
neutralized the individual. The fact that this individual is actually able to carry an apparent device into a train station, and apparently detonate
it, has still got to be incredibly disheartening for police.
ROBERTSON: You know, I think that police and the counterintelligence services and the security services, you know, take a very long and broad
view. They know there's a lot of threats out there. They know they don't know where all the threats exist, they're doing their best to stay on top
of those threats, but particularly in a borderless situation that's much of Europe. A threat may live in another country and travel to your country to
perpetrate an attack. Because what we've witnessed here in Britain is different to that. Britain's borders, are different.
[16:25:00] But you know for counterterrorism experts and the police in Europe at the moment, particularly France, particularly Belgium and
potentially Germany, there is that recognition that the threat is large. It's difficult to stop and some of them are going to get through. This as
far as we know right now has had an outcome that hasn't, as far as we know so far, because the police are going to have to look at what this person
was doing earlier today, has not had a bigger, more negative, more deadly impact.
So, you know, that is one that, if you will, almost got through. The police just hear in Westminster, in the center of London, just in the past
48 hours, arrested somebody carrying a knife. The suspicion was they were on their way to perpetrate an attack. The situation now is very real, it's
very live for counterintelligence officials. This for them would potentially be more of a success than a negative. Negative, yes, because
they didn't know about it and he got to a Central Station, but it was relatively empty. Positive because he wasn't able to perpetrate a horrific
attack. This is the reality in Europe at the moment. I think officials that are involved in this realm of work, they fully accept and understand
that. Their hands are full.
ASHER: Nic Robertson, live for us there, thank you so much. Appreciate that. I want to go now to Paul Cruickshank. He's a CNN terrorism analyst.
Paul, think you so much for being with us. I believe he's joining us on the phone. So Paul, it feels as though there is an incident in Europe,
pretty much almost once a week. Is this the new normal now for Western Europe? What are your thoughts?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST (via phone): Hi, Zain, yes, I'm actually in Brussels this evening. And it does feel like almost every
week, there are not one, but multiple incidents attacks now. Coming from people inspired by ISIS, in touch with ISIS, often we're seeing these
attacks in Western countries. You have to say also, that often the plots have been thwarted. The security services have thwarted a very large
number of plots across continent here in Europe in recent months. There has not been a single major terrorist attack in Brussels since the bombing
attacks at the airport, at the metro station in March of last year.
But I can tell you that the police in Brussels across Belgium have been under high alert. They've been worried about the threat, and very worried
particularly about this period of Ramadan. A period when ISIS have said it followers in the West, this is the time we want you to launch attacks. If
you do it now you'll be rewarded ten times more in the afterlife. They're putting out that bogus theological message to their sympathizers, and some
of them are taking them up on that and moving forward with attacks.
We don't know yet whether this attack was in any way connected to jihadism, to ISIS in any way. But the early details are being reported by Belgian
media, suggest that the attacker was wearing some kind of suicide vest. But it could have been a fake suicide vest, not clear yet about that.
Also, the Belgian fire service saying that nobody was killed or injured in this attack. There were no victims in this attack. The status of the
actual person who may be responsible for this. not clear at this point.
Whatever kind of explosion there was, Belgium authorities saying it was a pretty weak explosion. So, it's possible this was some kind of makeshift,
rudimentary device. This was somebody perhaps who hadn't received much instruction, training in how to do this and then may have decided to move
forward on their own steam. We're being told there was only one person involved in this incident. What appears to be some kind of possible attack
in one of the main train stations in Brussels.
ASHER: Paul, the fact that this quote-unquote incident this individual trying to set up an explosion, that it happened around 8:00, 9:00 at night,
local time Brussels. It wasn't during rush hour, it wasn't during the morning what do you make of that?
[16:30:00] CRUICKSHANK: Well what I can tell you is that in contrast to the situation, a decade and more ago when we saw a lot of terrorist plots
happening, first thing in the morning at dawn, in this era of ISIS inspired and ISIS directed attacks. we've seen many attacks being launched in the
evening hours rather than in the morning hours. The reasons for that are not entirely clear. It has to be said that in the evening, it can be very
traumatic for people kind of winding down from a day to be the victim of terrorist attacks. People out and about enjoying themselves, letting their
guard down. This may be one of the motivations for launching attacks later in the evening.
But I've got to say in recent months the attacks have come late in the evening. We saw it with Manchester. We saw it with London Bridge and
indeed we saw it back in November 2015 with the Paris attacks. And they're basically putting out that message by launching these attacks, every hour
of the day, that people in the West can never sort of rest calm.
ASHER: Right, right. Paul Cruickshank, we have to leave it there, I'm up against a break. We'll hopefully have you back a little bit later in the
show. We'll have much more on this breaking news story after this break.
ASHER: Hello, everyone. I'm Zain Asher. We'll have more on the developing situation in Brussels in just a moment. But first, I want to
give you the top headlines we are following for you at this hour.
Belgian authorities say soldiers have neutralized an individual inside Brussels central train station after at least one explosion. Police have
set up a perimeter around the station and a bomb squad is on the scene. There are no reports so far of injuries, authorities say the situation is
now under control.
A U.S. fighter jet shot down a pro-Syrian regime drone early Thursday, it happened in Southern Syria near the borders of Jordan and Iraq. The
Iranian-made drone was believed to be armed and within firing range of U.S. troops. It was a third downing of a pro-regime aircraft this month.
And there are conflicting reports whether or not an airplane crashed earlier while trying to put out wildfires in Central Portugal. The
country's emergency services say it didn't, despite earlier reports it did. Spain, France and Italy have sent dozens of firefighting planes to help
fight the raging blaze which has killed at least 64 people.
[16:35:00] All of the residents of the burned Grenfell Tower in London have been offered temporary housing, according to the boroughs of Kensington and
Chelsea, they'll be located in central London, pending a permanent housing offer. 73 people were killed or presumed dead in the devastating fire of a
U.S. President Donald Trump sat down with his Ukrainian counterpart. Saying they discussed a peaceful resolution to the conflict in eastern
Ukraine. The visit came as the U.S. moved to tighten sanctions on Russia. The Treasury Department said two Russian government officials were among 38
people and entities added to a list of sanction targets as the U.S. looks to seep a diplomatic resolution to the crisis in Ukraine.
U.S. President Donald Trump said Otto Warmbier's death is a disgrace. He died less than a week after he returned to the U.S. in a coma from North
Korea, where he spent 17 months in detention, the U.S. president suggested Warmbier would still be alive if he had been released sooner.
Want to turn now to our breaking news this evening that we've been recapping for you for most of the hour. The breaking news out of Brussels.
Witnesses reported explosions and pictures show a fire as people ran from the city's central train station. Belgian authorities say the individual
responsible has been neutralized and the situation is under control. One witness said the bang was very cloud, although the fire was as you can see,
in this photograph, quite small. Armed patrols, including a bomb disposal unit quickly surrounded the station. Another witness said the situation
was calm and there was no sign of panic. I want to go straight now to our Erin McLaughlin, who is joining us in the general vicinity of the train
station. So, Erin, we just got word that authorities have confirmed that an individual set of an explosion there we know that three rail stations
have been closed what more can you tell us?
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I am standing just a short way away from the train station where this incident took place. You
can see that there is a very heavy police presence, they've cordoned off the area. A heavy military presence as well. The military is a normal
sight here in Brussels for the past year or so, there's been a heightened military presence because the city is in a heightened state of alert. Due
to the persistent terror threat. No suggestion at the moment that this incident is in any way connected to terrorism. Though we are expecting an
update very shortly from authorities, from the prosecutor.
From the Brussels prosecutor, what we understand in terms of what unfolded emergency services received a phone call at 8:49 in the evening, that there
had been some sort of explosion. The explosion took place, military troops inside of the train station shot the suspect. It is unclear whether or not
the suspect survived. Although we do understand from the Brussels prosecutor that no one was injured in this incident and the situation is
under control. Though obviously authorities still on the scene. Carrying out this investigation at that time. Again, we are waiting for an update
from authorities to be happening in just a few minutes.
ASHER: Erin it's extremely fortunate there are no injuries. Walk us through what is going to be the priority of Belgian authorities as they
look into this individual and this investigation.
MCLAUGHLIN: I think right now what they're most likely trying to assess, Zain, is motive. The reason for the explosion what sort of explosives he
had. Or the individual had on him. Really unclear at this point in terms of information given to us. We know that the Brussels prosecutor has
referred the case to the federal prosecutor. And a federal prosecutor is the one normally to investigate terror-related incidents in this country.
No indication so far, nothing said that this is in any way a link to terrorism. Although that is certainly the concern. Given the history of
Belgium in March, they're remembering the year anniversary of the Brussels attacks, which claimed some 32 lives.
[16:40:00] ASHER: What's going to be the knock-on effect of this explosion in terms of heightened security in and around major spots in Brussels, from
MCLAUGHLIN: Given the already-tense atmosphere here in Brussels, there's already a heightened security presence throughout the city and the military
as I said, is a common sight at key locations, such as airports, such as train stations. Authorities really are taking any number of precautions.
To deal with a potential terror attack. So, in this case of this incident, security was already in place inside of the train station, the troops
seemingly able to respond quite quickly neutralizing the suspect. Thankfully in terms of this security situation, no victims New York city
injuries reported. I want to bring in Juliette Kayyem, a senior national security analyst. Help our viewers make sense of the dramatic uptick in
individual lone wolf attacks, explosions, attempted explosions, across western Europe. We've seen so far in 2017.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: It's a combination of factors. One is clearly that ISIS is somewhat on the defensive in Iraq
and Syria. And so, they are begging for attacks in the west. They no longer require these lone wolves or others to come to Syria or Iraq to
train. They would prefer if people stay where they are they radicalize online. These are not sophisticated weapons. We've seen cars, we've seen
what looks like a pretty unsophisticated bomb today. And so, all of this means is that the risk is higher and the capacity to stop these events is
that much more difficult. Because they're not organized, you know, amongst a large conspiracy, it could be just one individual.
We're in the middle of Ramadan, we're at the end of Ramadan. In which there has been a push for attacks in the west. And so that news until this
weekend and unfortunately this is the new normal for European cities on the other hand, the response by Brussels is that this is what we think it is,
is I think also shows the lessons learned because of all of these attacks, including immediately neutralizing the threat, period. No questions,
that's what you do.
ASHER: You mentioned ISIS being on the defensive. If that's the case how to authorities in western Europe change their tactics, change the threat,
given the rise in attacks.
KAYYEM: One is before the attack, intelligence-sharing, prevention, working with communities, the Muslin or Arab communities and in these
countries, being able to have a sort of greater situational awareness of what's going on. The other is accepting that there's going to be a number
of these attacks, that won't be able to be stopped. Simply because our cities are too open. The capacity to stop all bad things from happening
is, does not exist. And so, then you see these investments in public safety, emergency response and police. We saw it with the London bridge
attack. No one who made it to a hospital died. That is a way to look at success in some of these cases, here in Brussels this is a terrorist
attack. A quick neutralization, people are saying there really wasn't panic and those are ways we have to start to begin to view ways, view those
as successes as well.
ASHER: Juliette Kayyem thank you so much for joining us.
Recap the breaking news for all our viewers around the world. An individual was neutralized in Brussels on Tuesday when soldiers intervened
by opening fire after the explosion. According to a spokeswoman. She was not confirm if the individual was actually killed by soldiers we know that
the individual was neutralized. She said that no civilians were injured in the incident. Still to come here, Sean Spicer was back at the White House
podium. As speculation swirled over his future.
[16:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ASHER: Sean Spicer wears back at the mic in the White House press room. It was Spicer's first-on camera briefing in over a week. It comes after
intense speculation that he'll be moving to another role at the White House. But Spicer says he is not going anywhere just yet,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's no secret we've had a couple of vacancies, including our communications director who has been
gone for a while. We've been seeking input from individuals as far as ideas and meeting with people who may have potential service to the
administration. We're always looking for ways to do a better job of articulating the president's message and his agenda and we'll continue to
have the discussions internally. When we have an announcement of a personal nature, we'll let you know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: So technically, technically, he didn't actually deny it. Spicer also addressed concerns that the press is getting fewer and fewer
opportunities to actually question Donald Trump's staff, Donald Trump's personnel. I want to bring in senior White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny
who joins us live from the White House. Let's talk more about that. Because obviously Jeff as a journalist. You're used to politicians dodging
questions or used to them being guarded. What we've seen from the White House press briefings, it goes, is that a completely different level. Walk
us through the past six months in that briefing room.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's definitely a common practice for politicians to not want to you know specifically be
subject to you know, the inquiries from reporters. It's a different matter in this case, largely because the Trump White House is trying to change the
subject. They're trying to move beyond the cloud of the Russia investigation which is hanging over this White House and indeed much of
Washington so we have definitely seen a, a fewer press briefings, fewer opportunities to reach officials, other things than we did in the earlier
months of this administration.
I can tell you this is the third straight president I've covered, President Bush, President Obama and now the Trump White House. And this is
definitely at least during this stretch, the least access we've had. Now the president himself has given a lot of interviews, mainly all to Fox News
and other things so Sean spice certificate right when he said he's given more interviews. But in terms of the access to basic information, it's
certainly been in short supply around here recently. Zain?
ASHER: So, Jeff, what is the solution? As the White House comes under more scrutiny, they become more guarded what can journalists like yourself,
what can we all do to change that, do you think?
ZELENY: I think the briefing room gets a lot of attention, the White House briefing room. But not much great journalism gets practiced in a White
House briefing room. That is not where the stories are unearthed or found. You know that takes hard reporting and good old-fashioned shoe leather
reporting across Washington. But in terms of asking and urging more access, it's something we have to keep sort of pounding them on. But the
reality is a lot of the information about the Russia investigation, about other things facing this White House are coming from other parts of
Washington, not this building.
[16:50:00] From Capitol Hill, from the justice department. So, the White House is limited in some respects at the amount of stonewalling it can do.
In terms of changing their attention back to health care, tax reform, the agenda. They can talk more about that. The president often up-ends that
about sending out a tweet about Russia or something else and it goes right back to where it started from.
ASHER: Jeff Zeleny, we appreciate the work you do, my friend, thank you so much.
From Messi to Mourinho. The world-famous football coach is the latest to be caught up in accusations of tax fraud in Spain.
During his time as coach of Real Madrid. Jose Mourinho has yet to comment on the tax fraud case. Including Mourinho, the number of football coaches
targeted by Spanish prosecutors is now enough to put aside a soccer team. Just last week Cristiano Ronaldo was accused of defrauding authorities of
taxes. And Lionel Messi and Mascherano have faced charges. I want to bring you Don Riddell who joins us from the CNN center. Explain why
there's been this uptick in terms of Spanish authorities going after football stars. What's behind this?
DON RIDDELL, CNN ANCHOR: Well to be honest, Zain, that's a question I'm for the Spanish tax authorities, I don't know why that is the case. But
there certainly is a theme here. They seem to be going back to the same period of time. Because Cristiano Ronaldo's issues from last week were
from a similar time period. Mourinho here, 2011-2012. For the record, he denies it or at least his team have. They've put out a statement,
detailing the tax that he has paid. He says that for the time period in question, he paid $29 million in tax, at a tax rate of 41 percent, which
will give you an idea of what kind of money he was earning during that time. He says that he's, the government has ratified his tax affairs and
he has complied with all of his tax obligations. But Cristiano Ronaldo said a similar thing last week when he was in all sorts of trouble.
Ronaldo very upset about the accusations leveled against him. He said he wanted to leave Real Madrid and get out of Spain altogether there does seem
to be a pattern emerging, doesn't there?
ASHER: Certainly so. With Ronaldo, with his threats of leaving Real Madrid, is he just talking? Is that all talk?
RIDDELL: Well that would be interesting, wouldn't it? He and Mourinho together at Manchester united. He and the club president, Perez, says he
doesn't think that's going to happen. He's going speak with the Ronaldo's federation cup is going on where Ronaldo is playing with the Portuguese
side. Ronaldo has made these noises before. He doesn't usually leave. He's had the most incredible season of his incredible career with Real
Madrid. So, it would be hard to see him go play somewhere else. But if he's unhappy and he wants to get out, he's the boss. I'm sure he could
make that happen. But it's too early to say. And of course, he's not been on Real Madrid's team since the allegations emerged. He was hit with four
counts, Jose Mourinho, two counsels. The figures that Mourinho are dealing with are a lot lower than what Ronaldo is accused of.
ASHER: It's interesting because Neymar, Messi, now Cristiano Ronaldo, could there be any -- give me your thoughts here, don could there be other
Real Madrid stars that also end up under scrutiny now as well?
RIDDELL: They don't all play for Real Madrid. Let's see. I mean what's really, really interesting about this is the amount of money these players
and managers earn. And the manner in which they earn it. So, Ronaldo for example, I think it was 60 percent of his salary comes from actually
playing for Real Madrid. The rest comes from his image rights. That's the money he earns through endorsement deals. His aftershave line. Sponsoring
cars, whatever. It's the same for Mourinho. He's an incredibly marketable individual. An it's the image rights which the tax authorities seem to be
going after. We'll have to see whether there is a discrepancy there or not.
It's hard to imagine people earning this level of income, that they wouldn't have the money to pay these kind of tax bills. They owe an
extraordinary amount of money. Perhaps there's a misunderstanding. Perhaps an accountant slipped up somewhere along the line. We'll have to
wait and see. But it is fascinating. And I think one of the reason, one of the many reasons these guys don't particularly enjoy these kind of
headlines is apart from the fact that it casts them in a negative light. We get to learn more about their earnings, more about the extraordinary
amounts of money they earn, which I'm sure they would rather we didn't know.
[16:55:00] ASHER: I know, some of these guy's life is but a dream. Don Riddell, live for us. If you want to catch up with the QUEST MEANS
BUSINESS while you're on the record or listen to us again. We'd love for to you do so you can download our show as a podcast, available from all the
main providers or listen at CNN.com. That is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, I'm Zain Asher in New York. We'll have an update on the situation in Brussels
after this break. Don't go away.