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Police Share Attack Information; Preventing Vehicle Attacks; Trump Attacks Schumer. Aired 12-12:30p ET
Aired November 1, 2017 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[12:00:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Trump himself on camera for the first time since the terror attack in his hometown of New York City. He's going to holding a cabinet meeting at the White House just moments from now. We are told he will address this attack, and we will bring that to you as soon as it happens.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST:: Thank you, Kate.
And welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. Thank you for sharing your day with us.
The man who allegedly mowed down people on a crowded bike path is talking to investigators as New York City now deals with a deadly attack the suspect says was inspired by ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: There is no grand statement to what was done. It was the act of a coward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: President Trump immediately blames top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer because Schumer supported the visa program that suspect used to enter the United States seven years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: President Trump, where is your leadership? The contrast between President Bush's actions after 9/11 and President Trump's actions this morning could not be starker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Plus, more Russia meddling fallout. The special council schedules an interview with a key deputy of both candidate and President Trump. And the social media giants face more tough questions on Capitol Hill. A key Democrat says the Russian attacks continue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We have a president who remains unwilling to acknowledge the threat that Russia poses to our democracy. President Trump should stop actively delegitimizing American journalism and acknowledge and address this very real threat posed by Russian propaganda. I believe the Congress too must do more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We begin the hour with the latest on that terrorist incident in New York City. At least eight people are dead, 12 people wounded after a terrifying rampage along the west side highway in the heart of New York City. It's the deadliest terror attack in New York since 9/11. Police have identified the suspect -- you see his picture right there -- Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old native of Uzbekistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MILLER, NEW YORK DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER: Based on the investigation overnight, it appears that Mr. Saipov had been planning this for a number of weeks. He did this in the name of ISIS and, along with the other items recovered at the scene, was some notes that further indicate that. He appears to have followed almost exactly to a t the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels before with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: As you can hear there, investigators, the FBI and the New York City Police Department, trying to learn more about what happened. The accused attacker and the heroes who worked quickly to stop him from doing even more harm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, POLICE OFFICER: We got multiple casualties. This is a mass casualty situation here. Need traffic shut down from 14th Street on the West Side Highway at this time. It's going to be a crime scene.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Tuesday afternoon, Saipov allegedly drove a rented pickup truck onto a busy bike path plowing down cyclists and pedestrians. Police say h then crashed a truck into a school bus outside a high school. An eyewitness describes the horrifying moment when he realized this was not just an every-day car accident.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIAAN WAGENER, WITNESSED TERROR ATTACK: I started running this way. And there were kids all around me because the school was just letting out at the time. So I started running and pushing them this way. Get out. Get out. And they started moving back.
And then the truck landed really hard. And I turned around to look at the truck and I thought, I should take a picture just to document the wreck, you know, just in case anybody needs it. And then I saw the driver -- I assume he was the driver -- standing next to the truck with his arms down and he started raising his arms. That's after I took the picture. And then I saw the guns in both hands. So then I yelled "guns," and I started pushing and running toward the corner. I said, get around the corner. Get around the corner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Now, we now know from investigators the suspect actually carrying a pellet gun and a paintball gunshot. He was shot in the stomach by a New York City police officer. The suspect now recovering at a hospital where sources say he's been speaking with investigators.
Let's get straight to the scene now. CNN's Miguel Marquez joins us live from New York, where officials just wrapped up a briefing just a short time ago.
Miguel, what are the big headlines this hour?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, they're saying that this was under -- in the works for about two weeks, that he had been planning it. That he had also surveilled the area.
Also say that the note that they found in that car clearly links him to ISIS. It said Islamic state will endure forever. They said it was written in Arabic.
They also had a pretty good timeline of just how quickly, despite how long he was planning for this attack, it took very little time for him to actually carry it out. At 2:06, he rented that truck in Passaic, New Jersey. And just under an hour later, 3:04 p.m., he entered the bike path in lower Manhattan and killed eight people.
[12:05:08] Of those individuals who are in the hospital, there were 12 that were hospital -- 12 that were put in hospital, three have now been released from the hospital. Four remain in critical condition. And the rest are still in the hospital. The injuries everything from amputations to serious bodily injury.
Authorities only saying now that they are conducting searches at various locations. They've done them overnight. They will continue to do that. And they are talking to everybody that this individual knows, including his wife, his children, other family members, friends and any acquaintances.
One thing they also wanted to make perfectly clear is that this is an individual that had never been the subject of either an NYPD or an FBI investigation, but he may have relationships to those other individuals who were subject to FBI or NYPD investigations. And all of that is being looked at now.
KING: Miguel Marquez on the scene for us in New York. Miguel, appreciate the reporting.
And with us now to share their expertise and their insights, Peter Bergen, the author of "The United States of Jihad," Art Roderick, the former assistant director of the U.S. Marshal Service, and the former Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., police chief, Charles Ramsey, joins us from Philadelphia.
Chief, let me start with you. If -- listening to the briefing at the top of the hour from the police commissioner, from the intelligence chief, from the FBI, what jumped out at you either about the investigation or the early lessons learned?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, the first thing that jumped out to me was how quickly they were able to determine this was an act of terror. Often times it takes a while before they're able to do that. But they did it really quickly.
And, apparently, this had been preplanned. I mean this guy drove right from the Home Depot straight to that location. So that became something of interest as well. It wasn't just a random act where he was just looking to see where he could cause harm. He actually thought this through and had planned it.
KING: Thought this through and knew where there would be a crowd.
Peter Bergen, when you heard the New York authorities saying it's pretty clear, he went on the Internet, he pretty much followed ISIS' instructions word for word, get a truck, find a crowd, find a way you can get up to a decent high speed and cause mayhem. What else? Notes of some affiliation to ISIS. And now they say never a subject of their own investigation but they believe now had come in contact with some people who were watching. Piece that together. What does it tell you?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I'll tell you, it's quite unusual in these cases for somebody not to have come to the attention of law enforcement authorities. Major Nidal Hasan, who killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, was the subject of FBI interest. Omar Mateen had been interviewed twice by the FBI before he carried out the attack in Orlando that killed 49 people. So that's kind of unusual.
But, you know, what we have seen -- this used to be a very obscure tactic using a car as a weapon. But since 2014, when ISIS really called for this, we've seen 15 of these jihadi terrorist attacks. They've killed 142 people in the west. It's a very effective approach. Unfortunately, relatively easy to do.
KING: And, Art, when you listen to details here, obviously New York City, probably more than any other city in America, they're piecing together all the video now.
ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Right.
KING: They know when he rented the truck. You heard there some -- not really frustration, but the idea, from the New York authorities, that we can have our own program to track all the truck rentals in the city. We need cooperation to go outside the city. I mean just if you were involved in this right now, what are your big questions?
RODERICK: Well, I mean, I think right now, when you look at what they've done, the big question I've got is, OK, he wasn't the target of an investigation, but he was contacting an individual that was a target. So now they've got to widen this net and look at how that contact was made, what other individuals were contacted by the specific target of that FBI investigation. And I know there's a lot of leads going out from this JTTF around the country to try to track everybody down that's associated within that linkage between that individual and this individual that committed the crime yesterday.
KING: And, chief, as we go through this I just want to show our viewers that tactic, we've seen it around the world. If you just look just since 2014, more than a half dozen terror attacks involving vehicles.
If you're the big city police commissioner, especially in New York City, you know about this. You know the instructions are out there. You know that the view on ISIS is they cannot launch a large scale 9/11 type attack, so they will try these smaller scale attacks.
You heard from the -- at the briefing there, there were no ballers. Those either concrete or steal posts essentially to block a car from getting on to the bike path. You can jog through. You can get a bike through. Maybe a smaller vehicle through. What does that tell you? Is that -- as a police chief yourself, a former chief, is that a question of resources? Is that a question of inconveniencing people?
RAMSEY: No. I -- listen, it's impossible to protect with 100 percent accuracy all the different soft targets that are out there. Certainly we all learn from one another. I'm sure there are chiefs around the country now looking at jogging paths, bike paths and other areas where perhaps installing ballers might help. So that's how we learn these things.
[12:10:02] But I don't think you could have anticipated this. It's not a resource issue. I don't think anyone is better prepared than the NYPD to deal with terrorist-related incidents. But this is something that obviously, as he was scouting around to see where he could do the most damage, he noticed that this was a vulnerability, and he took advantage of it.
KING: To that point, he noticed the vulnerability. He took advantage of it. What would you do? If you're the New York City police commissioner today and you're trying to piece together, not what did we do wrong, but what can we do better, I mean, what is it? And is the answer almost nothing if somebody decides to do this on their own, who is here legally, who came seven years ago, who, to Peter's point, may have associated with some people on your radar screen but he never himself popped up?
RODERICK: It's almost impossible to stop an unsophisticated attack where the individual is willing to die for what he believes. I think here in the U.S. we've done a lot since 9/11. The 9/11 Commission saw a lot of gaps. We filled those gaps in. We have JTTFs. We have fusion centers. We have not the greatest but a lot better communication between law enforcement in this country. And I think to pull off a sophisticated attack is a lot more difficult here in the U.S. than it is over in Europe. KING: And, Peter, help us with some history. We're going to bring you
some tape in a few minutes. The president of the United States is meeting at the White House and some reporters were brought in. One of the things he says, and we're going to talk about this a bit later in the program, is he's going to move to terminate this diversity visa program. Again, this suspect came in seven years ago into the United States from Uzbekistan. The leadership of Uzbekistan says we will cooperate with the investigation in any way. The local authorities say he was radicalized here once in the United States. If that holds out to be true, I mean what will be done to go back and retrace his steps, his family, his relationships outside of the United States before he got here?
BERGEN: Well, I mean, the big question here is, why did he do this? I mean -- and you can't totally answer it because it gets to the nature of evil, which is killing total strangers in the cause of some ideology is -- you can't totally answer the why. But usually there's something what NYPD called a cognitive opening. I lost a job. I feel Muslims are under attack. I recently lost a parent. I'm stymied in some way.
Omar Mateen, who carried out the Orlando attack, he was kind of going nowhere. He was working as a security guard. He wanted to be a cop. He applied to the police academy two times. He was rejected. So these are the kinds of things that you kind of want to know, which is, what is the -- what turned him toward militant Islam? We don't really know.
And, by the way, the other thing -- interesting thing is, FBI now says the kind of -- the trajectory by which somebody radicalizes can be very quick. It used to be 18 months. Somebody would sort of flirt with these ideas and then go and do something. This can now be a matter of weeks or months. So that is something we still don't know. But, you know, it's interesting.
He's got three kids. He's 29. He's not a young guy. You know, some young hot head who's 18. But this is the profile we see in the Florida attack, in the San Bernardino attack, people with kids, people who are -- you know, with jobs. You know, they're in their late 20s. It's not necessarily the young hot head popular (ph) imagination.
KING: Right. And so, chief, take us through what's happening today in the sense that this suspect was not on the radar screen. He apparently associated with some people who are. Obviously he has a family. He has friends.
The president, in this briefing, we'll get more details on this, says he was the point of contact for 23 other people who wanted to come into the United States. If you were the New York City police commissioner, not the former Philadelphia police chief, what questions and what orders are you giving today to piece together, who was this guy, who knows him, and who might have had a clue he might do this?
RAMSEY: Well, they're going to start with yesterday and they're going to start working backwards. And they've got a lot of evidence that they've collected. They've served search warrants at his home and probably other locations as well to try to learn as much about this individual as they possibly can. And at what point in time did he become radicalized? Who did he associate with? Was this strictly by the Internet? Was there an individual that he was dealing with that was part of this? I mean they're going to have to go back and look at everything to find out if they missed something. Is there something that they could have seen that they didn't see? I mean that's how you learn from incidents like this.
But as of right now, I don't know if there's anything in particular that really jumps out at them as something that perhaps either the FBI or the JTTF should have picked up on.
KING: And how does it change the thinking, the planning, psychology of law enforcement and counterterrorism officials in the sense that this is of no comfort to the eight families or those who are still dealing with the injuries in the hospital, but some people would say this is somehow proof of quote/unquote progress in the sense that, you know, you don't have an ISIS that can project fly airplanes into buildings, project that kind of a mass trauma attack. But you have these horrifying terrorist incidents on a smaller scale. What does it do to the reallocation of resources, thought process, in -- as opposed to right after 9/11, al Qaeda's going to do this again. Now ISIS is going to try to do this but in a very different way.
RODERICK: I think from a law enforcement aspect --
RAMSEY: Every time --
RODERICK: Oh -- from a law enforcement perspective --
RAMSEY: Go ahead, Art, I'm sorry.
RODERICK: That's OK, chief.
From a law enforcement perspective, when you look at this, I mean, you heard John Miller come out yesterday and talk about after the Nice attack, after Barcelona, they went to all the truck locations in the area, over 100 of them, and briefed them on what to look for, when to call, if they see something suspicious. I think that's the pro-active attitude that we have over here. And that's what we've got to do now.
[12:15:12] They'll analyze this event and then they'll go ahead and say, OK, how could we have prevented this? I think the key part is what you brought up, the 23 people that he supposedly either sponsored, that he could under his immigration status either sponsor or have contact with.
KING: But it leaves you -- since you're not talking about a large scale -- an organization and a quasi-military operation, Peter, how do you identify those people if they stay a low profile until they do this?
BERGEN: Well, it's very hard. I mean we've looked at about 120 of these cases in the United States in the last several years of people attempting to join ISIS or identifying with ISIS and we didn't find any in person physical recruitment. There wasn't a mosque. There wasn't a radical cleric. There wasn't a returning foreign fighter from Syria. It was all on the Internet.
And, you know, there's an Israeli counter academic who's come up, I think, with a very useful idea, which is, we used to talk about lone wolves, but they're really part of virtual packs, right?
BERGEN: So people in their kind of -- kind of, you know, basically you're in this sort of echo chamber of people that agree with you, who are kind of moving you on. The big question here is, was it simply inspired or was this enabled by ISIS in some way, meaning, was there somebody who actually provided some kind of direction who he may not have met with but literally was giving him virtual direction.
KING: We'll continue the conversation in a minute. We've got to work in a quick break.
We want to let you know, we're waiting to hear directly from the president of the United States. His first public statement on camera about the attack in New York.
Plus, the president's instinct the morning after, say, yes, I'm thinking about the victims in New York, but also to attack a senior Democratic senator. The president of the United States saying Chuck Schumer of New York is at least partly to blame for what happened yesterday.
[12:20:44] KING: Welcome back.
Less than 24 hours after the deadliest attack in New York City since 9/11, the president of the United States is blaming Democrats, singling out the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, for what the president says are soft immigration policies he claims allowed the suspect entry into the United States. The 29 year old did arrive from Uzbekistan in 2010 under what's called the diversity visa lottery program, which allots 50,000 visas from countries with low immigration rates.
And in a series of tweets this morning, the president said this, the terrorist came into our country through what is called the diversity visa lottery program. A Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based. We are fighting hard for a merit-based immigration. No more Democrat lottery systems. We must get tougher and smarter.
Almost three decades ago, Senator Schumer did dream up the concept for the diversity visa program. His idea would later be signed into law as part of a bigger law by the president -- Republican President George H.W. Bush.
Today, Senator Schumer declined to comment on that program specifically, instead offering this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: I think the president ought to stop tweeting and start leading. The American people long for leadership. Not divisiveness, not finger pointing, not name calling. This is a tragedy. It's less than a day after it occurred and he can't refrain from his nasty divisive habits.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Dana Bash joins our conversation.
I guess not a surprise. It used to be at least for 24 hours after a big event like this, the president directly attacking Chuck Schumer at the press conference. Both the mayor of New York City and the governor of New York and the police commissioner say they haven't hear from the president. They did hear from his Homeland Security adviser, from the acting secretary of Homeland Security.
Just one last point before I -- jump in on this one. What Republicans are saying is, sure, attack the president if you want. Maybe he should have had the good decency to wait a while. But, after Vegas, after other events, Democrats came out pretty quickly calling for gun control.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Right. And we should say, Senator Schumer isn't just the Senate minority leader, the top Democrat, he also represents the people of New York, where this event happened.
BASH: So it's kind of doubly jarring that both of them are going at one another given the fact that it wasn't that long ago that that kind of thing didn't happen for several breaths after something this devastating happens.
But I do think that what we are already seeing and we're going to see even more stepped up is the debate about vetting, which is immigration, or stepped up law enforcement and changing the approach to dealing with people who are terror suspects on U.S. soil. And that is really, I think, the debate that is in question, even within the Republican Party. You heard -- you saw the president, who seemed to have been watching another cable channel this morning, and then tweeting out a lot of the same ideas about extreme vetting and it's, as you said, it's not clear what that means. He said that his Homeland Security department was going to step it up. Nobody there knew what policy he was talking about or hadn't gotten the notice.
But at the same time, there have -- there has been -- it hasn't really been tested that much recently because you haven't had people who have been terror suspects whose suspects have stayed alive. The question of whether you give them American judicial rights, read them Miranda rights and so forth, or you hold them as an enemy combatant. And those are really, really real debates that are going to go on right now.
KING: Right. And how much does that, from a counterterrorism, law enforcement standpoint -- how much, if you're Chief Ramsey or, Art, if you were back in your old job, or, Peter, as you study these things, how much does immigration need to be part of this conversation? To be fair to Senator Schumer, it is true, the president is right, he was the person that came up with this idea, along with some other Democrats as well. He was -- but he was part of this. That's a factual statement. He was part of creating this program.
Senator Schumer would also say he tried to do away with this program as part of another immigration bill that went off the rails that they tried to do years later, the so-called gang of eight.
But how much of this, for all the finger pointing, then for all the emphasis on local police and federal assistance, how much is the immigration system a problem, Peter, when you're trying to track people who, in this case, at least so far, they're saying he was radicalized when he got here, not when he came?
BERGEN: I mean, invariably people who carry out lethal attacks in the United States are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. I'm not quite sure yet what the status of this guy's exact -- but, you know, he seems to be here legally, obviously, under this visa program. So the problem is stopping people radicalizing here. And you can't stop the Internet. The people are from all around the country. They don't necessarily fit any particular ethnic profile. It is a very tough thing.
[12:25:11] The people who know the most are peers and family members. The FBI has done a study of this looking at a lot of cases. Peers are very reluctant to come forward. Family members are somewhat less reluctant to come forward. The people with the least and useful information are strangers. They're very eager to come forward, but they don't know much. So, you know, it's enlisting those people who say, do you see signs of radicalization? Do you see signs of plot planning, which, you know, peers and family members may well see.
KING: Chief Ramsey, if you're still with us, Senator Lindsey Graham was saying today that they should try this guy as an enemy combatant. And the president apparently, in tape we're going to hear in just a few moments, says he'd consider that. Maybe send him to Gitmo.
If this were your city and you were the chief, and obviously there's a city, state, federal issue here, especially in New York, federal -- you have a death penalty involved with the federal charges there -- but does this enemy combatant issue even factor into your thinking or are you thinking, I want to try this guy right here where this happened so everybody gets to see him?
RAMSEY: Well, I don't think it would factor into my particular thinking. I would just simply want him prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There are certain -- you know, certainly people that would make that determination beyond me. But I would want to see to it that he was -- however way we tried him, that it was done to the fullest extent of the law. And I happen to think -- and this is a case where the death penalty would be appropriate. KING: And, Art, we're back in this conversation. Here's what the
Senate Judiciary -- they got the information. He did come in, in 2010 on this diversity visa, became a lawful permanent resident according to a press release from the committee. The chairman now asking the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department sending out a wide net. Was he on any kind of a watch list? Did he come up for any kind of attention?
Take us into the law enforcement aspect of that and we've got about 30 seconds before this tape of the president. Anybody who comes in on one of these things have to be watched or can you do that?
RODERICK: I -- there's just too many of them. I mean the group that we're talking about is so large, there's not enough law enforcement officers in this country.
I've worked at both DOJ and Homeland Security and I can tell you, the hardest job is being a Homeland Security investigator dealing with immigration laws that change on a regular basis. They are able to exploit these gaps that they find. We saw it in San Bernardino. We saw it here.
KING: All right. Just moments ago, the president had a cabinet meeting at the White House. He took some questions from everybody. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A man drove a truck into a pedestrian bike path and murdered eight people and injured very, very seriously at least 11 more. All of America is praying and grieving for the families who lost their precious loved ones. Horrible act. Our hearts break for them and we pledge to renew our resolve in their memory.
My administration is coordinating closely between federal and local officials to investigate the attack and to further investigate this animal who did the attacking. And updates will be provided as available.
I am today starting the process of terminating the diversity lottery program. I am going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of this program. Diversity lottery. Diversity lottery. Sounds nice. It's not nice. It's not good. It's not good. It hasn't been good. We've been against it.
So we want to immediately work with Congress on the diversity lottery program on terminating it, getting rid of it. We want a merit based program where people come into our country based on merit. And we want to get rid of chain migration.
This man that came in, or whatever you want to call him, brought in with him other people. And he was -- he was the point of contact -- the primary point of contact for -- and this is preliminarily, 23 people that came in or potentially came in with him. And that's not acceptable. So we want to get rid of chain migration. And we've wanted to do that for a long time. And I've been wanting to do it for a long time. And we'll be asking Congress to start working on it immediately.
There are bills already about ending chain migration. And we have a lot of good bills in there. We're being stopped by Democrats because they're obstructionists. And, honestly, they don't want to do what's right for our country.
We need strength. We need resolve. We have to stop it. So we're going to get rid of this lottery program as soon as possible. He came in through the diversity program, as you know, and we're going to stop that.