Return to Transcripts main page


Halloween Trick or Treat Turned into Real Horror; Terrorist Attacks on Holidays. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired October 31, 2017 - 22:00   ET



[22:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, it's somewhat fearful, but if you change your life, and the bad guys win. I mean, you have to go out and live the way that you're going to live. And so enjoy what the city has to offer all the time.

JASON CARROLL, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Thanks for that. And we want to thank all of you for coming out and doing events. Again, we want to point out that both the mayor and the governor walked part of the parade out here tonight, Anderson. Again, heavy police presence. But a lot of folks doing exactly what they were advised to do, come out and go on with their lives.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN: Yes. Jason Carroll, I appreciate that. That's about all the time we have for tonight. Time to hand things over to Don Lemon and CNN Tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Here's breaking news as we look at these live pictures. A deadly truck attack in New York City. Police calling it an act of terror just blocks from the World Trade Center.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us.

Here's what we know right now at the moment. Eight people are dead, at least 11 injured in the deadliest terror attack in New York City since 9/11. A brazen daylight attack on a crowded bike path alongside the Hudson River. A truck rented today from a Home Depot entering the bike path at Houston Street at 3.05 p.m. Plowing south through cyclists and pedestrians for 16 blocks.

Slamming into a school bus at Chamber Street injuring two students and two adults. The attacker then jumps out of the vehicle with what turned out be a paint ball gun and a pellet gun. He's shot in the abdomen by police or police and taken into custody.

The suspect identified as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov, a source says he left a note in the truck claiming the attack was in the name of ISIS. Law enforcement sources say he came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan in 2010 and most recently lived in New Jersey at least part time.

Witnesses reported the suspect was yelling "allahu akbar" according to four law enforcement sources. There's a lot to get to tonight. I want to get straight to CNN's Brynn Gingras just about a block away from that scene. Brynn, good evening to you. You're downtown in the shadow of the Freedom Tower where this attack occured. Take us through what happened and what we know at this hour.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Yes, Don, I can look up to my right and I can see the Freedom Tower lit in red, white and blue. And then really over my left shoulder just a block away from where I'm standing there's more lights. Those are investigators working this crime scene. That truck that the suspect used to commit this attack, that is at the end of the street. So we're really not far from it.

I can tell you, Don, that I have been talking to witnesses all day, I have talked to law enforcement officials who are on the scene almost immediately. And they all describe it the same way. And it is e horror between the mangled bicycles that were on the scene between the people crying that were out for help that were injured, and then of course the bodies that were there along that bike path.

And you laid it out for you viewers, but again it was along 3 o'clock this afternoon. You can imagine how busy a bike path on the west side highway here in New York City was at that time with people commuting or just exercising or just hanging out. The driver of that car we've identified through sources is Sayfullo Saipov drove that bike down -- or drove that car down, truck, rather, and mowed over those people leaving eight people dead. Just a horrific scene here in New York City, Don.

LEMON: Really unbelievable. Brynn Gingras on the scene for us. Brynn, thank you. We'll get back to you. Now I want to turn to CNN's chief national security correspondent Mr. Jim Sciutto. Jim, good evening to you. We're looking at this video now. This is the suspect Sayfullo Saipov. What have you learned about him tonight?

JIM SCIUTTO, CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, let's run through what we know. We know his name is Sayfullo Saipov. He is 29 years old, originally from Uzbekistan, though he came to the states some seven years ago in 2010. Since then we know that he has residence in Florida, also more recently part time living in Patterson, New Jersey which is quite close to New York, half hour away, very close to New York City.

He's been arrested in the past, this picture you're seeing here is from an arrest in Missouri in 2016 for traffic related violations. To this point we don't know whether he was on any sort of watch list or whether law enforcement, the FBI, et cetera, knew him to be or suspected him to be someone who had Jihadi tendencies, that relevant because as witnesses have said he shouted "allahu akbar," God is great as he left that truck, after carrying out this attack. And we also now know that he left a note either in the truck or around the truck claiming that he carried out this attack in the name of ISIS.

LEMON: And the White House, how is the president responding tonight, Jim?

SCIUTTO: Well, it didn't take the president long to go to this topic, he tweeted just moments ago "I have just ordered homeland security to step up our already extreme vetting program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this."

Now, to be clear as you and I have talked about a number of times, we've reported on this broadcast and others, the president has a travel ban still working its way through the courts.

[22:05:02] This is actually the third version of the travel ban. Previous ones ran into legal issues.

But I should note the countries the Muslim of majority countries that are on this list, Uzbekistan is not one of them. And this is an issue that comes up frequently of these attacks. You have a number of kinds of suspects who carry this out in the U.S. You have some homegrown terrorists who are American, been here forever, you have some who are immigrants may have come a number of years ago as children perhaps.

We don't know when, for instance, the suspect here was radicalized. He's been in the country for seven years. So we don't know if the radicalization took place in his home country or if it took place more recently. Typically terror suspects when they carry out attacks they carry out those attacks soon after their radicalization. So it's possible that that took place when he was here in the U.S.

LEMON: Jim Sciutto is our national security correspondent. Jim, thank you very much. I want to bring in now Dmitry Metlitsky, an eyewitness to the harrowing attack today. And he joins us in the studio. Thank you for coming in. We really appreciate it. As I understand...



LEMON: Absolutely. As I understand, you were on your way to pick your son from school?


LEMON: What did you see?

METLITSKY: I was coming down the west side highway in the Uber and then looking down on the phone and then my Uber driver started yelling look, the car is running down people on the bike path. And when I looked up I saw this like four or three people lying down in blood by the Stuyvesant High School. And I told the driver it must be a Halloween prank, right. The kids are all over they're people pranking people, did the bloody make-up.

And he's telling me like no, no, no I saw it could be -- I saw the truck, you know, plowing through people. And then literally we work over the light was red and we were standing there and then the unmarked police car came. And then I saw two policemen running, and then there were eight or nine, something like that, very loud shots fired. And then basically they started they started waving us to sort of free the highway.

LEMON: Where were you exactly? You're on the west side highway?

METLITSKY: On the west side highway.

LEMON: Where were you? Were you right at Houston or you're further down?

METLITSKY: No, no, further down.

LEMON: Near Chambers.

METLITSKY: Right by the -- near Chambers, right by the Stuyvesant High School.

LEMON: The Stuyvesant High School.


LEMON: And so, but your Uber driver saw not initially from the beginning because it started at Houston Street.


LEMON: But he saw, he actually saw people get mowed down. Did you see people get run over?

METLITSKY: No, not personally.

LEMON: You didn't.

METLITSKY: But it probably happened when I looked down on the phone.

LEMON: But the Uber driver saw it?


LEMON: So then what happened next? You said that you saw an unmarked police car.

METLITSKY: I saw an unmarked police car coming down from north, on the west side of the highway. So stopping probably one car across from and then two policemen ran forward, and then I heard like nine gunshots fired.


METLITSKY: And then all the while I was looking at the -- before the gunshots were fired, I was actually discussing with the Uber driver that it was probably a prank. And he was telling me that, no, he saw a car.

And then what happened next is we sort of pulled forward and I then I saw that rental, sort of rental U-Haul type truck that what appeared to have collided with a very large delivery truck, but then also I saw notice the small school bus badly damaged on the perpendicular street and has the Chambers police, I don't remember, probably Chambers.

LEMON: Right. METLITSKY: And then the police were sort of waving us to go ahead, go ahead. And then I saw a bearded gentleman lying on the floor with the blood on his abdomen, so I presume he was shot, but I did not see him being shot. And then I actually saw a second gentleman that was standing on his knees on a grassy divider that separates west side highway from the bike pass.

And the gentleman was standing on his knees with his hands up in the air.


METLITSKY: And the gentleman would strike me that he sort of wore not weather-like clothes, he wore a t-shirt that was not really a t-shirt weather.

LEMON: So you don't if he was related, maybe they thought he was related and he just...


METLITSKY: I don't know. Maybe he was just a passerby.

LEMON: And they wanted to stop him. But you never saw. You didn't see, so you heard the shots, but you didn't see him get shot?


LEMON: But you did see him on the ground?

METLITSKY: Yes, I saw him on the ground and I saw policemen kneeling over him.

LEMON: And you saw the truck?

METLITSKY: And I saw the truck. That's correct. No, no, I didn't see the truck mowing people, but I saw the truck once it's collided.

LEMON: Your 10-year-old son, you were going to pick him up?


LEMON: Lenny?


LEMON: You took him trick or treating tonight.


LEMON: Was he afraid, were you afraid to do that?

METLITSKY: I sort of I have to shoulder on. I told him that, look, I saw something bad but, you know, life goes on. We have a plan.

[22:10:03] We have to continue as a plan. We just have to be careful, careful crossing the street. You know, don't let -- sort of look around that no one tries to...

LEMON: You never think this is going to happen. And it's interesting as you mention all these streets. I mean, these are the streets that are right near the World Trade Center, you know, and we remember the names of these streets from 9/11. And so it's just that you never know.

METLITSKY: You know what I was thinking, I was thinking of the banality of evil.

LEMON: Say again?

METLITSKY: Of banality of evil.

LEMON: Of evil.

METLITSKY: Right. Evil does not look scary. It wasn't the guy. Like when he went to, he didn't look scary. It wasn't very like dramatic. It was this sort of very low-key, ordinary evil doing tremendous damage to so many people. So many lives have been wasted for nothing.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you for coming in. And give, tell your son we said hello.

METLITSKY: Thanks for having me. Hope it was under different circumstances.

LEMON: Yes. Absolutely. Thank you. Dmitry Metlitsky, we appreciate it.

Let's discuss the investigation now and what we have learned so far. CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank, he's a co-author of "Agent Storm: My Life Inside Al Qaeda and the CIA," also with us CNN counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd, a former CIA counter terrorism official.

What a harrowing story we've that heard from Dmitry this evening. Paul, I'm going to start with you. Sayfullo Saipov, 29 years old, from Uzbekistan came to the United States in 2010. Why is this significant? What can you tell us about terror activity in Uzbekistan?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, TERRORISM ANALYST, CNN: Well, the significant Jihadism in Uzbekistan, Don, there are two major Jihadi groups. The IMU, the IJU. The first affiliated with ISIS and the second affiliated with Al Qaeda. Both those groups have significant presence in Syria and Iraq.

At least 1,500 Uzbeks have traveled as foreign fighters to those foreign countries, and there's a lot of Jihadi propaganda in Uzbek. And some Uzbeks have been motivated to launch a terror attacks in the west. Notably a truck attack in Stockholm, Sweden, in April which killed several people.

So investigators are going to looking at whether there was perhaps travel back and forth between Uzbekistan. But it's quite possible that all the radicalization in this case happened in the United States, given that this individual came to the United States in 2010.

And also there was a DHS study which looked at foreign-born violent extremists and found that most of them had become radicalized after they came to the United States and through social media, propaganda on the internet and so on and forth, Don.

LEMON: Yes. It's interesting, Phil. I don't know if you were the last guest. He said what he found -- what he struck him was the banality of evil just how ordinary looking this man was or is.

PHILIP MUDD, COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST, CNN: I think, I think we've seen that in the 126 years since 9/11 back when we had the original guy, the Al Qaeda guy, we would have them in to talk with us in CIA prions about what they knew about Al Qaeda to give us classes on terrorism.

So, from day one you have this perception that the people we're seeing are the face of evil, that if you saw them they might be different from the person you would see every day on the street, if you talked to them, they might be extreme. Some of the people we talk to all the time, Don, the casual that you might see every day, they just have a switch go on.

LEMON: Absolutely. And Paul, we see this picture of the suspect Saipov holding a paint ball gun and a BB gun. Why have those guns?

CRUICKSHANK: I think almost certainly because he wanted to be killed by the police, that he craved martyrdom in his vision he wanted to go to paradise. You would see that in so many plots in the west and elsewhere where this is a big motivating factor.

And that was a similar thing that happened in Nice, France in 2016 whether it was the deadly truck attack killing 80 people. The suspect in that case had a fake grenade, had a replica gun also appeared and wanted to be shot by poice.

And just here in the U.K. we saw a case with another vehicle attack on London Bridge where the three suspects were wearing fake suicide vests again because they wanted to be shot dead by law enforcement. In that case they were. In this case the suspect in his estimation likely has failed to get what they want to die.

LEMON: Paul Cruickshank and Philip Mudd, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

[22:15:00] When we come back, much more on our breaking news. Eight people killed, multiple injuries in the deadliest New York City attack since 9/11. One World Trade Center flooded with red, blue, and white light tonight. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo calling it a tribute to freedom and democracy.


LEMON: Our breaking news tonight, eight people are dead in what New York City officials are calling an act of terror. A truck attack on a crowded bike path just blocks from the World Trade Center. Joining me now is Chris Swecker, a former FBI assistant director for the criminal investigative division, and two former New York City police detectives, CNN law enforcement analyst Harry Houck, and law enforcement consultant, Tom Verni.

It's good to have you all. I wish it was under different circumstances. Tom, I'm going to start with you. Sources telling CNN that the attacker left a note in the truck saying that he carried out this attack for ISIS and then yelled "allahu akbar." Given what you know about this what's the priority for law enforcement right now?

TOM VERNI, LAW ENFORCEMENT CONSULTANT: Well, my condolences to the family and well wishes to those injured by the way.

I mean, look, we're going to tear this guy apart and find out everything that we can about who he is and where he came from. We're going to find out where he's been living. We're going to knock on every door that we can, neighbors, friends, past acquaintances, where he's been for the last year, where he's been for the last 10 years.

[22:19:56] We have to find out everything we possibly can to make sure that he is not part of a larger plot. It seems up to this point that he is kind of one of these lone wolf people or maniacs. And we want to make sure he's not part of a larger plot. We want to make sure that there's nothing else kind of hiding under the bushes so to speak.

LEMON: Can I ask you something because people always say lone wolf, lone wolf. I mean, Chris, can you actually have lone wolf when you have the internet? Is there such a thing as a lone wolf?


LEMON: Because the internet is actually, you know, it can be a group of people on the internet? Is that feasible anymore?

SWECKER: I don't believe, you can, Don. I don't believe in the term self-radicalization. You know, lone wolf is descriptive in some ways, but your point is well-taken. This is mass media campaign, a multi media campaign by ISIS to recruit people. And because of the scope and the breadth of their campaign and the way they run it, they're going to get some followers. Some people are going to buy the message.

So, it's a deliberate campaign, it's a deliberate direction, they tell them how to conduct these attacks, when they conduct these attacks, stay in place and do it, don't try to come to the battlefields. So this is a very specific direction, in my opinion. So I don't believe in the self-radicalization thing. I think that this is very much direction on the part of ISIS when something like this happens.

LEMON: We heard Paul Cruickshank saying most of them became radicalized when they come back or here in the United States. So, harry, let me tell you what I know about him and then I have a question for you. So, he's 29 years old. He's from Uzbekistan. He came to the U.S. in 2010 and most likely at least according to Paul Cruickshank and others, that he was radicalized here. But authorities think that he acted alone, but they can't be sure. What are they doing to make sure that there isn't another eminent

attack especially considering as we said, the whole internet factor?

HARRY HOUCK, LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, CNN: Yes, exactly. You know, they're going to look at his Facebook, Twitter, you know, if he's on that, talking about anything like that to find out who's his close friends are. What's really important about the letter that was found, though, going to ascertain whether or not that letter has any other DNA on it besides his own.

What about the handwriting in that letter, is it in his handwriting or somebody else's? They're going to look close and they want to find out if this guy is affiliated with anybody else or anybody else knew about this attack.

When he rented this truck did he use his credit card, he used somebody else's card or was there somebody there with him at the time when he rented the truck? They're going to go back to his apartment, they are going to check his apartment for DNA, is there any other DNA in the apartment trying to track that person down, did that person know about the attack? A lot of work to be done here, but there's a lot they can find out while they were conducting an investigation.

LEMON: Tom, I want to ask you, is it always people can use whatever excuse that they want for their own craziness for their own issues, right? And it could be that he's so angry or he's so upset, and that he's just using this ISIS thing as an excuse, I'm just asking who knows? How...


VERNI: It's very possible.


VERNI: Don, I mean that's very possible. But probably a little unlikely. You know, I want to know how well this guy was vetted, you know, several years ago when he came back to the United States. He was around that age coming from Uzbekistan, he was what, like 22 years old.


VERNI: He's around that age where people are radicalized, you know. And we're going to know exactly what's he'd been doing for the last seven years.

LEMON: Well, let's continue this conversation because I want to know he was -- you know, whether how many of these things are people are just using that as an excuse, because they see that on the internet, they may see it on the news and they think it's cool or whatever. Who know what they're trying to rationalize or if he's part of a bigger network. How long does it take long enforcement to figure that out?

So when we come back -- stay with me. We'll continue our conversation. When we come back was the suspect sending a message by carrying out his attack just blocks from ground zero? We'll discuss.


LEMON: Back now with my panel of experts and we're talking about the breaking news, the truck attack in New York City that officials call an act of terror that kills eight people and wounds at least 11 others.

Tom, I'm going to ask you, why would he travel from Tampa to come to New York and conduct this attack?

VERNI: Well, if you're going to do a terrorist attack, New York City is the place to do it, right? We had 9/11. There has not been a successful terrorist attack in New York, a death caused by a terrorist attack since 9/11. At 16 years that they've been trying. And kudos to the NYPD and all the law enforcement agencies in New York that have thwarted all of those plans where no one has died as a result of a terrorist attack in 16 years.

That's just unbelievable that that's just happened but now that's happen.


VERNI: So, you know, we have to now be vigilant again and keep that level of vigilance to make sure that if we can all possibly help, you know, to thwart another attack just by the common person seeing something that's out of line and then alerting law enforcement to try to get a handle on it.

LEMON: Let's talk about some of the obvious things here, Chris. What today is, the holiday and all that and why would he choose the location he did? There's Halloween tonight, a holiday in the U.S. Other attacks have been on holidays like Christmas in Berlin, Bastille Day in France. Any significance there?

SWECKER: Yes, I think so. I mean, we don't know, we can't get inside his head, but we know that ISIS has been calling for these types of attacks since what, 2014 in the Ruminiyah publication that they have online. Al Qaeda has been calling for these types of attacks. They call out symbolic targets, New York of course is the iconic city. This is real close, of course, to the World Trade Center monument. So there can be a lot of symbolism here.


LEMON: What's the message beside -- I guess it's the obvious message, right, that it's near the World Trade Center.

SWECKER: Yes, I mean, that's our monument.

LEMON: Yes. Go ahead, Chris.

SWECKER: Yes, that's our monument. I mean, that's obviously that's probably the most single most iconic American monument when it comes to terrorism, it's our pride. It's us standing up to terrorism. [22:30:05] And this may be his way or ISIS' way of striking back.

We've seen that there's one incident recently where there was an ISIS flag, there was an ISIS flag, there was an ISIS post showing an ISIS flag right at the tower. So they obviously put some stock in that symbolism on that target.

DON LEMON, HOST, CNN: Yes. Harry, I want to ask you, the NYPD allowed the Halloween parade to go on tonight. What does that say? Does that say I guess they're confident enough that this person acted alone?

HARRY HOUCK, LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, CNN: Well, listen, even if they're not I think that maybe they're confident enough there's not going to be another attack tonight, but, listen, we can't stop living our lives. And I think by keeping the parade on tonight, which is real big parade in New York every year, it's insane, it's a great time.

We're letting ISIS and the terrorist out there, listen, you are not going to stop our way of life here. No matter what you do life is going to go on, and no matter what you do, we're going to fight back and try and live our lives as normally as possible. And I think it's a great thing that they did.

LEMON: Yes, that's what the officials said today at that press conference.


LEMON: Chris, I'm wondering what are the challenges for the FBI in the early stages in terms of gathering evidence, whether it's in New York City or in Florida?

SWECKER: Well, just making sure that there aren't other terrorists out there, trying to understand his social network, if you will. Might be a malignant social network behind him, talking to his friends and family, just making sure there isn't something else going on out there.

We really want to dissect this one. We've got a live terrorist here. We'll be able to sort of study him like a frozen cave man, so to speak. And this is a great opportunity to get at his motivation, anyway, and see how he was inspired or even directed.

LEMON: Usually they die, but now the NYPD can get information and look for the others. Yes. Go ahead, Harry.

HOUCK: He's a way talk to himself saying to himself his mission wasn't accomplished because he's still alive.

LEMON: Thank you all, I appreciate it.

HOUCK: Although he...

LEMON: Go ahead. Finish your thought.

HOUCK: Yes, that was it. You know, he's just got to be thinking to himself that, you know, his mission has not been accomplished. And he's probably feeling terrible about that. And I'm glad he's feeling terrible about it. And, you know, hopefully we'll be able to get to the bottom of this and find out if anybody else was connected to this attack.

LEMON: I appreciate the conversation. Thank you for your expertise, gentlemen.

When we come right back, much more on what officials are calling an act of terror on New York City today. Former CIA Director James Woolsey will join me next. I'm going to ask him whether he thinks ISIS was involved and why vehicle attacks are spreading around the world.


LEMON: Breaking news. A deadly terror attack in New York City just blocks from the World Trade Center.

I want to bring in now Ambassador James Woolsey, former CIA -- former director of the CIA. Thank you for coming in. Let's talk about this. We know that it was a terror attack, but we don't know whether he acted alone or by some sort of direction or what's going on. What's your read on this?

JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, part of my read it doesn't matter that much because we're going to find -- the Islamists are on jihad, and that's certainly not the majority of the Muslim world, but it's an important section. And the ideology can spread in all sorts of ways, through social media, through internet, through individual contacts. And people talk some about lone wolves.

I'd say, you know, most wolves travel in packs. And it's a pack that doesn't necessarily have to have been formed by one spokesman teaching people in their presence.

LEMON: Yes, but you can pick up, you can be on this and get direction, right?

WOOLSEY: Absolutely.

LEMON: And be among a group.

WOOLSEY: Absolutely.

LEMON: But investigators and sources are telling us now that they believe he acted alone, but that doesn't mean that he wasn't directed by someone, is that correct that he didn't?

WOOLSEY: Well, and that doesn't mean that he wasn't influence by someone.

LEMON: Yes. Does it matter if it's ISIS? I mean, you know he's saying, it is believed that it is ISIS. He's saying "allahu akbar," but does it matter to identify this specific terrorist?

WOOLSEY: Only if it's going to help us stop the next wave. And we did a good job in mainly providing assistance and support and so forth to our allies in the region and helping to defeat ISIS pretty decisively now in Iraq and Syria. But that's in part that they've migrated or migrating to other places like unfortunately yesterday, New York.

LEMON: In your years as working, when you were working with this newer director, were you aware, were you making people aware of these vehicle attacks? Because I ask you because let's look at these vehicle attacks, right. This is that in the last year. There was a Nice, France attack on Bastille Day.


LEMON: The Berlin Christmas market attack.


LEMON: Two in London this year, the Barcelona one just a couple of months ago. We're seeing more of this. Tell me about this. What's going on?

WOOLSEY: Well, the terrorists have found that by using knives and trucks, which can be almost anyplace, you don't have to smuggle anything. You don't have to invent anything. You don't need new chemicals. Lots of people have knives and lots of people have a truck.

LEMON: People rent truck every single day, right.

WOOLSEY: Sure. And so if you can kill dozens of people that way, although you're not killing the hundreds that you did if you brought down an airplane, they're satisfied with that. They got a lot of attention, they wreak havoc, the New Yorkers are telling them -- and I'm proud of New Yorkers in a lot of ways. The New Yorkers are telling them something rude and going ahead and having their parade.

[22:40:05] I think that's the right thing to do, and I'm glad they did it.

LEMON: So let's -- so then how do you know -- so then what are you fighting here? Because you're not fighting against chemicals. You can't, you know what I mean, you can ban certain chemicals, you can't buy this at other stores.


LEMON: If someone buys too much of this or buys this ingredient, at least you know. If someone buys too many types of weapons or starts to, you know, tries to fix or rig the weapon, you may know about that.


LEMON: But how do you know about a truck or...


WOOLSEY: A truck or a knife, you don't.

LEMON: So you're fighting an ideology, you're fighting with radicals, what are we fighting here?

WOOLSEY: I think you're fighting an ideology. And you have to integrate law enforcement and people who work for law enforcement into the community. So this is partly related to the broken windows syndrome of making sure that things stay well-done in the community as a whole.

But you have to have as I think Giuliani and come of the other people did several years ago when they implemented this in New York, you've got to get into the society, into the community. You've got to get to know people. You've got to know who's brother-in-law has just come back and is saying crazy stuff when he speak at the mosque.

You've got to get into the society. Because we can't win on this just by rocking back and waiting for somebody to knife somebody else or somebody to ram a truck over them.

LEMON: It was -- it was Brent and Giuliani at first and then I think it was Shaffer antimony (Ph)...

WOOLSEY: I think.

LEMON: ... those guys and on and on and starting with the broken windows. There was a lot of criticism, but in some ways it worked. It got a lot of criticism but it did work in some ways. And now I think they are working and have worked on how to fine tune that.

WOOLSEY: Well, I think we have to be pretty tolerant of the enforcers under these circumstances because we really at war with an ideology. And we've got to fight, and we can't fight if we just sit on our hands and wait.

LEMON: The administration have said that they are pushing ISIS out of certain territories, that they are gaining over a hold of ISIS overseas. Is that pushing it over here possibly?

WOOLSEY: Well, to some extent. It's also creating great chaos increasingly so I think in Africa, where the influence of the Islamic state...


LEMON: Niger.

WOOLSEY: ... is starting to push. And so the Africans are trying to, some of them are trying to resist and we're helping them, in Niger we're helping them. But that's part of the problem, too.

LEMON: Ambassador Woolsey, thank you. I appreciate it.

WOOLSEY: good to be with you.

LEMON: When we come back, much more on our breaking news. What officials are calling a deadly act of terror in New York City just blocks from the World Trade Center. Plus, new developments in the Russia investigation. A woman in the

president's inner circle will be interviewed by Robert Mueller soon. Is the investigation getting closer to the president? We'll discuss.


LEMON: Word out of the White House tonight that President Trump's sticking with the strategy of cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller and rejecting Steve Bannon's advice to take a harder line at least for now.

So let's discuss. Philip Lacovara is here, he's a former counselor to Watergate special prosecutors, CNN global affairs analyst David Rohde, and CNN political analyst Ryan Lizza.

Good evening, gentlemen. So, Ryan, CNN has learned today that the White House communications director Hope Hicks will be interviewed by the special counsel. His team, how significant is this development?

RYAN LIZZA, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN: I think it's very, very significant because she is one of President Trump's closest aides. She has been by his side since the very beginning of his presidential campaign in summer of 2015. And I really mean by his side.

I mean, she often played the gatekeeper role for Trump when he was a candidate. And even in the White House, one of the few people that can get reporters and other people immediate access to the president. So she's seen everything.

And she often communicates on behalf of the president, prints out articles for him, sends messages. So she's, you know, very, very important, very, very close to him and has been through the entire scope of where this Russia investigation is looking. So she has a lot of information.

LEMON: But it's been quiet and behind the scenes and not as well- known as many of the people who are around Trump at least until recently...


LEMON: ... until she got this communications job. SO, David...


LIZZA: But she replaced Anthony Scaramucci, but has a much lower profile than he does.

LEMON: Absolutely. As the communications director should. She is doing at least a good job with that.


LEMON: So, she, David, as Ryan just said, Hicks has been employed by Trump for years, before he was president. Can Mueller ask Hicks about anything before her tenure with the president, as President Trump or with the campaign?


DAVID ROHDE, GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST, CNN: Yes, I mean, the investigation, yes, regarding collusion during the campaign. So it's what did she know, any questions. It can be Papadopoulos and how serious was his role, it can be, you know, even questions about Don Junior and his meeting with the Russian lawyer. I think that's all open territory.

LEMON: But what about when he was a developer and she worked with him?

ROHDE: I would think not.


ROHDE: I think it's the scope of this time. But the point of the conviction as the guilty plea of Papadopoulos, is that everyone now knows they have to be truthful speaking to the FBI.


LIZZA: And just one thing to add to that, Don, she worked for Ivanka at the Ivanka's company previously.

LEMON: Right.

LIZZA: And so, she wouldn't necessarily be an expert on the Trump organization, financial, you know, complicated financial dealings, although she might know something about that. But I would expect the reason Trump himself is in the crosshairs as far as we know and these interviews are important is the obstruction of justice investigation.

She would have quite a bit of knowledge of the meetings that went onto the point when they fired Comey. She would know something about this statement that was released from the White House and coordinated with Don Trump, Jr. over the Trump Tower meeting that is being investigated.

[22:50:03] So, I don't -- I doubt, although I could be wrong. I doubt it's about Trump organization and the president's financial life previous to being a candidate.

LEMON: But she's an interesting person to talk to since she has been with him so long. Phil, I have to ask you this. The Washington Post is reporting tonight that there's disagreement among the president's closest advisers is how to deal with this Mueller investigation.


LEMON: Some of them like his former chief strategist Steve Bannon has been saying, you know, he should hit back hard. He should be more combative but not all of his advisors agree.

And here is what one confidant Christopher Ruddy the Post. Ruddy said, "I like Steve but his advice is not always the most helpful in this case, whatever Steve says the president should do the opposite."

So, I mean, if we were to listen if he were to listen to Steve Bannon and not Christopher Ruddy and fired Mueller what would that mean?

LACOVARA: I think that would be a big mistake from the president's own standpoint because that really would set up a confrontation with his own Justice Department. As you know the Mueller appointment was made by the deputy attorney general who was trying to retrieve some credibility after he was used to justify firing James Comey.

And the deputy have said he wouldn't permit the firing of Mueller unless he was satisfy there were grounds for it, and I don't think the president could come up with grounds.

LEMON: Yes. The president lashing on this Russia investigation, Mueller's investigation. We'll discuss that right after this.


LEMON: Trump White House working overtime trying to convince everyone there's nothing to see here when it comes to the Russian investigation.

Back now with my panel. Let me just -- I just want to read what the president has been saying about this. Because he continued to lash out this morning about this investigation blaming it on the special prosecutor and the media.

Saying, "The fake news is working overtime as Paul Manafort's lawyer said there was no inclusion and the events mentioned took place long before he came to the campaign. Few knew knew the young low level volunteer name George who has already proven to be a liar, check the dems!"

So, is this all leading up to him firing - trying to fire Mueller, do you think he's going to fire him.

ROHDE: I do think it will eventually. I don't know when it will happen, but you know, as you were talking in the last segment, you know, Bannon is trying to do this. We are so completely divided as a nation politically that, you know, his base watchers of Fox News are I think genuinely outraged. They feel Hillary Clinton, you know, the uranium deal should be investigated and they believe all this stuff. So I think he will do it eventually.

LEMON: Do they ever read the fact checks on the uranium deal and how that actually works?

LACOVARA: No. It's a very simple answer they don't.

LEMON: They don't. All you have to do is read how that. It would take nine levels of the government. Hillary Clinton would have to go, and she was not even -- it's just a weird...


LACOVARA: And she wasn't personally involved.

LEMON: She wasn't personally involved.

LACOVARA: The Trump solid core of 35 percent of Trump supporters do not care about the hard facts. They simply go with the Trump Billy Flynn razzle-dazzle philosophy. If he is directing their attention off at the shiny object in the corner they simply will not focus on facts.

LEMON: So if he wore to --go on.

ROHDE: He's effective. He is effective the hole crazy like a Fox the tweet storms, it works. I mean, people believe him over much of the mainstream media, his supporters do.

LEMON: So the whole point, if he were to fire Mueller, which is possible he could, then you think he could get away with it. That the American people would have no say or Congress or?

LACOVARA: I think he would get away with it because his core base would not be eroded in the slightest and his core is enough to terrify enough republicans to make them vulnerable in the House.

LEMON: Do you think he will listen to Bannon, Ryan?


LEMON: You say yes, Phil. Ryan, what do you say?

LIZZA: You know, the truth is he didn't listen to Bannon quite a bit when Bannon was in the with White House, right? Bannon struggled to influence the president on a whole range of issues and he was frustrated quite frequently.

So, I don't -- you know, Bannon is not the spend golly figure that sometimes he's made out to be and Trump does not, you know, is not micromanaged by Bannon, but obviously Trump is no fan of the special counsel. And that's why it's pretty important republicans in Congress are pushed and get on record about what they would do if he takes that action.

Because if people think this is a real attack on the rule of law that they should speak up now and make sure that the president doesn't cross that line.

And one thing I want to say on his tweet about how this was all years ago, if you look at, if you read that indictment yesterday, the special counsel is accusing Mueller and Gates of engaging in what? Engaging in a secret money-making scheme to influence American politics on behalf of a foreign power.


LIZZA: That seems pretty relevant if you are investigating a secret scheme to influence...

(CROSSTALK) LEMON: But Ryan, speaking of facts, all you have to do is look at the dates. The date is through 2017 and as far as I know...


LIZZA: In terms of -- that's right.

LEMON: Right. And as far as I know he was working, Manafort was working for the campaign in 2016.

LACOVARA: Don, there's one other point that's important on that. The indictment is very clear in identifying that the foreign government on whose behalf Manafort and Gates were working was Yanukovych of Ukraine whom the indictment identifies as pro-Russian.


LACOVARA: And so there's a direct link between this indictment and Russia because Yanokovych...

LIZZA: Absolutely. Yes.

LACOVARA: ... was Putin's man and the indictment said he fled to Russia after he was pushed out.

LEMON: Quickly, Ryan.

[22:59:55] LIZZA: People are really missing that. And I'm glad you put it that way. If someone is running a secret campaign on behalf of a pro-Putin ally to influence American politics, well, that would be definitely a person of interest if you're investigating collusion with Russia and this is the guy who run the campaign.

LEMON: Right. Thank you all. I appreciate it.

LIZZA: Thanks, Don.