Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Turkey's Economy on the Brink of Total Collapse; Disgruntled White House Employee Fires Back; Trump Rejoice Strzok's Firing from FBI. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired August 14, 2018 - 03:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[03:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: Turkey hit by a financial crisis with hefty tariffs from the U.S. hitting their mark. The lira is diving to a new record low.

Plus, as Yemen says goodbye to the children killed in a Saudi-led airstrike, protestors are demanding justice after the tragedy.

And as the number of people living on the streets rises, the U.K. is setting an ambitious goal to end homelessness in less than a decade.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church, and this is CNN Newsroom.

Turkey's president is lashing out at U.S. rariffs calling them a stab in the back as his country grapples with a deepening currency crisis.

The Turkish lira sank to a new low Monday before clawing back some of its losses moving up to about seven to the dollar. As the lira freefalls, stocks in the U.S. and Europe took a sharp hit Monday and are bracing for what could be another volatile trading day ahead.

Now this comes as the U.S. is ramping up economic pressure on Ankara to free a detained pastor.

More now from CNN's John Defterios.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: It's an economic disaster analysts say caused mainly by the man in charge. Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again defiant on Monday, quick to blame everyone, but himself for an economy in the firing line and a currency on the brink.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT (through translator): Do not worry about it. Be relaxed about it. We did not make concessions from the rules of free market economy. Nobody should listen to speculations that say otherwise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEFTERIOS: The Turkish lira continues to crumble, dropping nearly 20 percent in the past week of trading. It's the result of years of mismanagement at the top, critics say. Lavish spending on megaprojects like airports and bridges symbols meant to furnish Erdogan's image in winning re-election.

Now he's faced with a soaring current account deficit, inflation of nearly 16 percent, and corporate debt which is priced in lira and rising.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fall of the Turkish lira is only the beginning of a real economic crisis, of a possible recession in Turkey. We would need to see complete change in economic policies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEFTERIOS: That change is unlikely as Erdogan now tightens his grip over the country's central bank after re-election in June and he installed his son-in-law as both finance and treasury minister.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Don't panic about the dollar. This has nothing to do with the dollar. If they have their dollars, we have our God. Stay calm.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEFTERIOS: The lira's tail spin is starting to rattle global markets with European banks hit particularly hard, and there's a political plot twist as well.

Last week, President Trump said he would slap new tariffs on Turkey, a punishment for Erdogan continuing to jail an American pastor named Andrew Brunson. Over the weekend Erdogan showed no signs of backing down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERDOGAN (through translator): You can never bring this nation in line with the language of threats. We understand the language of law and rights but not threats.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEFTERIOS: He is saying about the U.S. and currency speculators are waging, quote, "economic war against Turkey" casting no blame on his own economic policy.

John Defterios, CNN Money, London.

CHURCH: And CNN's Arwa Damon is in Istanbul, Turkey. She joins us now live. Good to see you, Arwa. So Turkey's president blames the U.S. for some of his country's economic woes. But critics say it's Erdogan's own mismanagement that's to blame. How is this being viewed within Turkey and how concerned are people there? ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very, very

concerned, Rosemary. There are those that are already beginning to feel the impact of this, and by that I mean individuals who deal in dollars, individuals who import goods are now basically selling at a loss.

Others are still waiting to see what's going to happen because we haven't really seen inflation hitting prices just yet but, of course, that is at the top of people's anxieties.

And yes, the president and the government are by and large blaming this war on the economy. But one does have to remember that prior to all of this we had been seeing a slower impact to a certain degree. The lira had been slowly losing value.

But yes, with those declarations by the U.S., the sanctions, the tariffs, it did put an end to that tailspin which is one of the main reasons why the Turkish president is lashing out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERDOGAN (through translator): On the one hand you're a strategic partner. On the other you shoot yourself in the foot. On the one hand you're with a strategic partner with us in Afghanistan when everybody else is leaving.

[03:05:03] You're a strategic partner in Somalia. You're a strategic partner in NATO and on the other hand, you stab your ally in the back. Is this acceptable?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DAMON: And Rosemary, a number of analysts even individuals who don't necessarily support the president or the current government in power here are saying that move by the U.S. to slap those tariffs on to aluminum and steel imports was akin to kicking someone in the gut when they're already down, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Interesting, and of course, I want to ask you how bad this could get for Turkey and how likely it could be that Erdogan would create new alliances with, say, Russia or China to help lift the country out of its economic trouble.

DAMON: Well, that is pretty much what the government has been alluding to at this stage saying that if they lose the U.S. as a strategic and economic partner, they are going to have to look elsewhere.

And you do have some pretty interesting geopolitics playing out here. It's not just Russia and China but Turkey of course does have interests and ties with Iran as well as several other nations. But we're in a stage that could potentially see significant differences on the global stage.

And of course, you have to bring Europe into this dynamic as well. If Turkey's economy were to collapse that would not just be contained to Turkey itself, it would have vast rippling effects which is what so many people are concerned about at this stage.

When it comes to the population there are gravely, gravely concerned. Look, Turkey has been through a variety of different economic crises in the past and none of them have bode well for the Turkish people, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Our Arwa Damon, bringing us up to date on the situation from Istanbul in Turkey. Thanks so much.

And this just in to CNN, metropolitan police in London say a car has crashed into the security barriers of the British parliament. The driver has been arrested. These are live pictures from outside the house of parliament. It's unclear at this point whether there were any casualties. We will of course bring you more details on this story as they come in to us here at CNN.

Well there is grief and anger in northern Yemen. Thousands attended the mass funeral Monday for the children killed in last week's Saudi coalition airstrike. Fifty one people died. Forty of them children when their school bus was hit.

Houthi rebels and mourners blamed the U.S. for backing the Saudi coalition. Saudi Arabia insists the strike was a legitimate military operation.

Well, the White House has been silent on the airstrike. But the Pentagon is calling on the Saudis to be transparent in their investigation.

Barbara Starr has the details.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Defense Secretary James Mattis now saying he is having a three star general talk to the Saudis about what happened, how it happened and how to prevent it from happening again after this horrific attack on a school bus in Yemen in which so many young children died.

This is not a Pentagon investigation. This is to support the State Department call for an investigation, and of course, the United Nations also calling for an investigation.

The U.S. military does support the Saudi- led coalition in Yemen in this way. They provide refueling for Saudi and Emirati aircraft conducting strike missions. The U.S. doesn't conduct those airstrikes against the Houthis in Yemen.

But the U.S. also helped the Saudis try and have accurate intelligence about where military targets maybe located? So that would be a major question here. Did the Saudis know about this target? Did they strike it very quickly perhaps without full planning and understanding of what they were striking?

These will be some of the key questions that the U.S. is going to be very interested in knowing the answers to and it is not clear how much the Saudi military is going to really want the U.S. poking into this. But some things are not really expected to change. The U.S. is

expected to continue to support the Saudi-led coalition as it has since the Obama administration against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The U.S. supports the Saudis. It does not obviously support the Iranian-backed rebels.

But this situation in Yemen really, truly a humanitarian disaster. Tens and millions of people now totally dependent on international aid. There is a cholera outbreak and massive concern growing about the cost to the civilians trapped in that war torn country.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

[03:10:00] CHURCH: For the second time this year Malta and the populist Italian government are refusing to allow a ship with rescued migrants to disembark in their ports.

Right now the ship is stranded in the Mediterranean Sea with 141 migrants aboard including 67 unaccompanied minors. Some of the migrants are weak and malnourished. And now the British territory of Gibraltar has withdrawn its flag from the ship.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK ROMANIUK, SEARCH AND RESCUE COORDINATOR, SOS MEDITERRANEAN There are people here who were wounded during the trip. There are people who are sick. They do need attention from proper medical facilities on land.

The ship has doctors, nurses, midwives that were on the ship. It is not a hospital. It's not definitive care. Their cases cannot be treated here. They need to be disembarked as soon as possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCH: Italy and Malta left the same ship strapped in June but Spain ended up taking the migrants. Just like last time, the ship is stranded between Italy and Malta. But the government in Madrid says Spain is not the safest port because it's not the closest to the ship. The European Commission says it is talking with E.U. member states to try to find a quick solution.

Well, the White House situation room is one of the most secure rooms on the planet, or so we thought. That is until a former reality star gets in. Was Omarosa protecting herself or breaking the law? We'll take a look at that.

Plus, medically kidnapped. After the world renowned Mayo Clinic caved her life, an 18-year-old girl says she was held against her will. We're back in just a moment with that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. U.S. President Donald Trump went on a Twitter tirade against one of

his former advisors, Omarosa Manigault-Newman. Now this comes after she released a recording of her being fired, recorded in one of the most secure rooms on earth.

Kaitlan Collins has the details.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: President Trump addressing soldiers at Fort Drum.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm here today to sign our new defense bill into law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[03:14:56] COLLINS: As former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault- Newman escalates her war with the administration revealing she recorded her conversations with the president.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)

TRUMP: Omarosa, what's going on? I just saw in the news that you are thinking about leaving. What happened?

OMAROSA MANIGAULT-NEWMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: General Kelly -- General Kelly came to me and said that you guys wanted me to leave.

TRUMP: No, I -- nobody even told me about it.

(END VOICE CLIP)

COLLINS: Omarosa breaching major security protocols secretly taping her firing by John Kelly in the White House situation room, one of the most secure places in Washington with no devices allowed.

(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)

JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think it's important to understand that if we make this a friendly departure, we can all be -- you know, you can look at -- look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation, and then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation.

(END VOICE CLIP)

COLLINS: Trump tweeting today that despite intense pressure to fire Omarosa, he kept her around because she only said great things about me.

Adding, "whacky Omarosa skipped work, missed meetings and was a vicious colleague" despite promising this on the campaign trail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We're going to get the best people in the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Asked about Omarosa over the weekend Trump said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Low life. She's a low life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Omarosa had no defined role in the West Wing but raked in nearly 200,000 taxpayer funded dollars and carried the title assistant to the president. She's also claiming the Trump 2020 campaign offered her a $15,000 a month position if she agreed to keep silent, something she says she refused to do.

Trump also admitting for the first time she signed an NDA writing on Twitter, "Whacky Omarosa already has a fully signed nondisclosure agreement."

When CNN reported that senior staff signed NDAs earlier this year, the White House denied it. But Kellyanne Conway said this yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR: We have confidentiality agreements in the West Wing, absolutely we do. And why wouldn't we?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: One White House official telling CNN they don't consider Omarosa's recordings to be a national security threat but noting they're worried she wasn't the only staffer recording conversations. All this as Omarosa threatened more trouble for the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have more recordings?

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you planning on releasing them?

MANIGAULT-NEWMAN: I don't know. I'm going to watch to see. They've been threatening legal action. They're trying to figure out, how to stop me. I'm expecting that they're going to retaliate and so I'm just going to stand back and wait.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: Now Omarosa is denying that she signed the White House version of a nondisclosure agreement so it's unclear which nondisclosure agreement that the president was referring to in his tweet. What we do know that Omarosa has done is create a sense of paranoia here in the West Wing. People who long suspected that she was recording their conversations and now those conversations seem to be coming to light and Omarosa is only promising that there could be more.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.

CHURCH: CNN political analyst Michael Shear joins me now. He is the White House correspondent for the New York Times. Thank you so much for being with us.

MICHAEL SHEAR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure. Happy to.

CHURCH: Well, so much to unpack here. Firstly, what possible ramifications might there be for Omarosa breaching major security protocol by taping her conversation with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly in the situation and for breaking her nondisclosure agreement with the White House.

SHEAR: Well, first of all, on the security issues about the taping in the situation room, I got to tell you, I've been a White House reporter for almost a decade covering both President Obama and now President Trump.

I can't remember a more shocking thing to see -- to hear an actual audio recording from inside one of the most secure places in the country frankly. It's unclear at this point what the legal ramifications are. It's clearly a massive breach of policy.

And if she were still an employee at the White House, it would be clearly a firing offense in a heartbeat. Whether or not they could or would go after her legally is unclear.

As far as the nondisclosure agreement, we're still are uncertain what exactly she signed. The White House employees routinely are required to sign pledges essentially not to disclose classified information, basically saying that they won't do that, that's illegal anyway.

We reported several months ago on reports that the White House was trying to or had tried to get their employees like Omarosa to sign broader nondisclosure agreements that suggested that perhaps, you know, they wouldn't disclose any information classified or not.

That was the kind of thing that Trump liked to do as a businessman and in the campaign. You know, it's unclear, a, whether she signed it, and n, what kind of penalties, financial or otherwise, she would incur as she's obviously broken whatever agreement she made.

[03:19:59] CHURCH: All right. We'll watch to see what happens there, obviously. And then in a tweet President Trump said he told John Kelly to work things out with Omarosa because she only said great things about him. What does that reveal about Mr. Trump as a leader?

SHEAR: Well, look, I think if you step back from all of this insanity and the craziness of former employee writing this tell-all book and the taping and all of that, you have to start at the decision to bring her into the White House in the first place.

You know, President Trump famously said he was going to hire only the best people and he brought somebody in who I think there were a lot of questions even from the moment that her name for service as a possible competition in the White House making by the way, the top amount of salary that any -- you know, that all of the most senior advisors made what she made.

You know, the question has to be put to the president, why did you bring this person into the White House in the first place? And did you think when you did that that it was going to end any other way?

Because this is a reality TV person with borne -- amid Donald Trump's reality TV show. It's unclear to me why anybody would have thought this would have ended any other way.

CHURCH: Just finally, Omarosa, of course, we know recorded her conversation with the president and another one with John Kelly. She says she has more recordings and is just waiting to see what legal action may be brought against her.

So how many more recordings might she have and how concerned would the White House be that there is something even more damning still be released.

SHEAR: Well, so my colleague Maggie Haberman has reported that it's potentially dozens or more scores of recordings that she could have. I don't think anybody knows that for sure, inside the White House they're all guessing.

I actually -- I actually wonder whether -- I mean, certainly they have to be worried that there are some huge, big explosive revelations in one of them. And I supposed that's always a concern.

But it may be more of a concern for them that just the drip, drip, drip that as she continues to put one of these tapes out every other day for the next three, four, five, six weeks, that's where it could have an impact, not so much, you know, on ultimately damaging his reputation but just sort of tying up the White House in a kind of never ending series of controversies that makes it hard to do anything else.

CHURCH: Yes. Certainly with countdown to the midterms we'll see what the reaction is to all of this. Maybe it will come and go quickly as other issues have. We shall see. Michael Shear, thank you so much. We appreciate your analysis.

SHEAR: Certainly.

CHURCH: And we are following breaking news out of London. The metropolitan police say a car has crashed into the security barriers of the British parliament.

And we are looking at live pictures now from outside the houses of parliament. The police have put out a statement via Twitter and it reads, "At 7.37 today a car was in collision with barriers outside the house of parliament. The male driver of the car was detained by officers at the scene. A number of pedestrians have been injured. Officers remain at the scene. We will issue further information when we have it."

And we shall do the same here at CNN. As soon as more details come in, we will share them with you.

Well, now getting back to U.S. politics. The prosecution has rested in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. It is the first major test in court for special counsel Robert Mueller whose team presented 27 witnesses in 10 days.

Manafort has pleaded not guilty to all 18 charges of tax and bank fraud. Prosecutors argue Manafort evaded taxes on some of the $60 million he was paid as a consultant for the usted pro-Russian president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych.

Now when that income dried up, prosecutors say Manafort resorted to bank fraud rather than giving up his expensive lifestyle. It's unclear if the defense will present any witnesses. Manafort is not expected to testify.

Well, a key figure in the investigations of both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is out of a job. The FBI fired Peter Strzok and President Trump is very happy about that decision.

Manu Raju explains.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Peter Strzok, controversial figure in the Russia probe terminated by the FBI because of his text messages disparaging Donald Trump.

Strzok's lawyer says FBI deputy director David Bowdich overruled a recommendation to demote and suspend the special agent while Trump quickly took to Twitter to celebrate and to call for an end to the Russia probe.

"The list of bad players in the FBI and DOJ gets longer and longer base on the fact that Strzok was in charge of the witch hunt will it be dropped."

Strzok help oversee the start of the Russia probe and played a key role in the Clinton e-mail investigation which Trump today said should be properly redone.

[03:25:07] Strzok was taken off special counsel Robert Mueller's team after the discovery of texts between him and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Those messages, including one in which he says they'd stop Trump from becoming president led to a tense 10-hour congressional hearing in July.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETER STRZOK, FIRED FBI AGENT: I'm stating to you it is not my understanding that he kicked me off because of any bias but I don't appreciate what was originally said being changed. REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don't give a damn of what you

appreciate, agent strzok. I don't appreciate having an FBI agent with an unprecedented level of animus working on two major investigations during 2016.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: But the Justice Department's inspector general found no evidence to suggest Strzok's feelings towards Trump impacted the decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton. Something Strzok made clear at the raucous House hearing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STRZOK: It was in no way unequivocally any suggestion that me, the FBI would take any action whatsoever to improperly impact the electoral process.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: The news comes amid questions about whether Trump will sit down with the special counsel. Trump's lawyers say the president won't answer questions about whether he asked then FBI director James Comey to back off investigating the former White House national security advisor Michael Flynn.

Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani now changing his story, disputing Comey's sworn testimony that the president suggested he back off Flynn.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES COMEY, FORMER UNITED STATES FBI DIRECTOR: And the reason I keep saying his words is, I took it as a direction. I mean, he is the president of the United States with me alone saying I hope this, I took it as this is what he wants me to do. Now I didn't obey that, but that's the way I took it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: Giuliani now saying this on CNN's State of the Union.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: There was no conversation about Michael Flynn.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: The comments to Jake Tapper contradict what Giuliani said repeatedly?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: How is he a good witness for the president if he saying that the president was asking, directing him, in his words, to let the Michael Flynn investigation go?

GIULIANI: He didn't direct him to do that. What he said to him was can you give him a break.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Comey says he--

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: And this last month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI: He didn't tell him don't investigate him, don't prosecute him. He asked him to exercise his prosecutorial discretion because he's a good man with a great war (Ph) record.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: After Giuliani denied making that claim he offered this explanation to tapper after being shown video of his past comments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI: I said it but I also said before that I'm talking about their version of it. Look, lawyers argue in the alternative.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: Now Rudy Giuliani again making news about whether or not the president will sit down with a special counsel's team for that much anticipated interview, saying that if there's not an interview before September 1st then it will not happen because the midterm elections are getting very, very close happening, of course, in November.

Still, Giuliani calling for the end of the Russia probe by September. But no sign that that's going to happen given the fact that there is at least one witness who's scheduled to come in September 7th and that is someone who's close to Roger Stone who is one of President Trump's closest friends.

Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.

CHURCH: There are signs a major battle is imminent in Syria. A Russian general is offering his prospective on the fight for Idlib. Our exclusive report still to come.

Plus, out of the shadows the U.K. has an ambitious plan for getting its homeless off the streets but does it go far enough? We'll take a look at that back in just a moment.

[03:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: A breaking story we are following out in London. A car crashed into the security barriers outside the British parliament. Live pictures there from the scene we're showing you. Police have cordoned off the area. They say the driver has been arrested and that some pedestrians were injured, but it is unclear how many and we will, of course, bring you more details as soon as we get them in. In fact our CNN producer, Hilary McGann is at the scene. We have her on the phone now. Hilary, what are you able to tell us about what exactly happened here?

HILARY MCGANN, CNN PRODUCER: Hi, Rosemary. Well, right now I'm just at the corner by Westminster Bridge. And what I know at the moment is that the situation is ongoing. I've been told likely here that a number of people have been injured. But it is important to pass the fact that the police had not specified what the motive may be in this attack. Right now, we are constantly being pushed back quite a bit onto the bridge. There is in my direct line of view nine emergency vehicles, heavily armed police and, as you can imagine, a palpable amount of tension and fear among a lot of civilians who are on their way to work this morning when this happened.

CHURCH: And Hilary, of course, what people worry about this in instances like this and we don't have any confirmation about this, but the worry is any form of terror attack. What are authorities saying about that aspect of this story?

MCGANN: Of course, absolutely. And Rosemary, as you mentioned that I'm standing very near to the scene where a terrorist attack happened in 2017. So for a lot of people these site is familiar. There's a lot of worry here that a heavy presence of police here. And I'm currently being pushed back further up on the embankment. I know that the situation is ongoing. We know that a number of people are injured, but as of the moment, again, it is not yet clear. We are trying to -- any information we can get.

CHURCH: As you mentioned, Hilary, you saw and we're looking at some live pictures now of one of the emergency vehicles. You say there were nine emergency vehicles that you were able to spot at the scene. We don't know how many people were injured at this point, but that might be some indication

MCGANN: Yes, we don't. Most of the vehicles I've seen are police vehicles, but I have seen one ambulance leaving the scene so we know that there are people injured. We don't know the number at the moment, we just know the situation is ongoing. And the vast majority of people that have left have been diverted on their route to work. It's hard to say when this situation will be over, when we're going to find more information. It's still very, very much ongoing here at the parliament.

CHURCH: Yes, most definitely. We do know from a statesman from Metropolitan Police there in London that this happened earlier in the morning, 3:37 we understand. So that certainly gives us an idea of when this occurred, but how many people would likely have been in that area at around 7:37.

MCGANN: Yes, well, 3:37 Eastern Time is 8:37. That is the height -- or 7:57, that is the height of the commute into London, this is essential London, as by parliament, if you can imagine, there are offices in the area. The amount of people going to work at that very time. So, there is a large amount of people at the moment that are around me that are looking for how best to get to work. It is -- without a doubt there was a lot of people I am sure in the area at the time of the incident.

CHURCH: And also in that statement Metropolitan Police in London has said of course as soon as they get more details they will share them with everyone. People want to know what is going on. There's a lot of concern. The possibility and fear that terrorism is involved here. How soon might we hear from authorities?

[03:35:06] MCGANN: Well, given the fact that last year in 2017 there was a lot of terror attacks. In London, I am tracking U.K. it is normal and natural that the civilians here would automatically go through that and think and worry, is this what happened? We don't know yet. But the Met police has been keeping us updated as much as possible throughout the morning. The fact that the police here on the scene had told me the situation is ongoing, tells me that, they themselves are trying to track by what the motive may have been.

CHURCH: But we do know that they have taken the male driver into custody so there's an opportunity here to talk with him, to ask him questions, to get an idea of what is happening here. Again, we know, we're looking at time frame, how long they can at least get back to people to either reassure to let them know what the situation is.

MCGANN: Yes, indeed. I'm sure that they will be trying to clarify this a soon as possible, give information to the public. Because if there isn't any sinister motive for this, if this was a case of an accident, I'm sure that the Met police, would want to be calming the population around here, making sure people will feel at ease, this was an accident, there is no sinister motive. But yet, we don't know that still. I just as I am thinking here, Rosemary, there are helicopters circulating in the area, the heavy police presence. It still -- despite of what -- needs to be clarified what exactly happened here at the British parliament on London.

CHURCH: So we don't know if this situation has concluded in any way, if there are helicopters in the sky nearby. What does that indicate to you?

MCGANN: Well, it corroborates what I exactly what I have been told here on the scene here, Rosemary, that the situation is very much ongoing. I know that the man in question as you mentioned has been arrested. The Met Police had clarified that. However, we know that a number of people have been injured. And I have been see -- in the time that I had been here like 25 minutes, I have only seen one ambulance leave the scene. So it's very likely that people that are injured might possibly still be being treated throughout the scene. There are a number of police vans there at the moment so I'm sure that is the reason for the helicopter. I think to be honest with you the Met police and all authorities here in London are being safe. They are making sure that they have all of the information that they need. They're making sure that the scene is look through with precision and they will update us as soon as they can.

CHURCH: Yes. An abundance of caution, no doubt. Of course, Hilary, as we look at that live picture that we're sharing with our viewers across the globe, it looks very quiet there. They have cleared the streets very quickly. There doesn't seem to be any sense of alarm. As we look at the facial features of some of the police there on the scene and other emergency workers there, but they have really been able to move the people out of the way very quickly. Talk to us about how difficult that will be now in the hours ahead trying to redirect people to go off to work and get on to where they need to be.

MCGANN: Yes. Well, there was an extremely robust response this morning from authority. They -- and also from what I heard with them speaking to civilians on their way to work, they were trying to ease anymore tensions. They were saying the situation is ongoing. It is going to be fine. This is how you can get to work. Remember that we're in a very, very busy area in center London outside of parliament. There are a number of offices around here. As you can imagine, the numbers of people leaving the station here at Westminster at the time the incident was happening. And within minutes it seems the police were able to clear those streets, bring in emergency responses and really isolate the scene of the crime and get everybody out of harm's way should there be any danger to other civilians.

CHURCH: Yes. It has to be said that authorities there in Britain are very well versed in dealing with situations like this. Any emergency situations and we're seeing that it seems very much a contained situation, but talk to us again about what we know so far for those viewers who may have just join us as we bring them this breaking news out of London.

MCGANN: Indeed, Rosemary. What we know so far, there was an incident just outside of parliament near Westminster in London this morning. It OK place, less than an hour ago now, just an hour ago, we know that a number of people have been injured, a man has been arrested. What we don't know yet is what the motive may have been. We know there's a heavy police presence here in London outside of parliament. We know that the two stations had been closed.

[03:40:00] We know that an ambulance has left the scene and that the scene and that the scene is still ongoing as had been told, and that routes had been redirected for commuting passengers.

CHURCH: Right. And as you mentioned there, it is just one ambulance that has left the scene. The police have told us in a statement that a number of pedestrians had been injured. We don't know that number, but as you mentioned, one ambulance has left the scene at this point. And people are getting on as we look at this due from the strafe there people are getting on with their business and they are getting on to work. There is no sense of panic on the street there in London.

People are used to dealing with these sort of emergency situations and, again, we do not know if terrorism is linked to this in any way or any form, but we are looking at this live picture now. People, pedestrians have been diverted away from the area. Police have the situation under control. Hilary, talk to us again about this particular part of London. We're talking about the Houses of Parliament and the number of people that would have been there at 7:37 in the morning. MCGANN: Yes, exactly. This is one of the busiest parts of London,

Central London, outside parliament with a massive amount of government offices just around this area, this vicinity. The other reason people might know this area, because in March of 2017 very close to where I'm standing right now there was a terrorist incident and there were lives lost. So, if you can imagine for people that work around here that may have witnessed that scene that may have been working there on the day, of course this is immediately what they go to.

There has been a very robust response here this morning from authorities. The scene was -- people were here straightaway. Heavy police presence here. I must say that there was a lot of armed police that I have seen this morning. They have isolated the scene. We know that the situation is still ongoing. We know that a number of people have been injured and that the man inside in quest has been arrested. What we don't know right now, Rosemary, just to repeat and I think it's important to repeat, is that we do not know at this stage what the motive may have been. That is that we are waiting for Turkey on from the next (inaudible).

CHURCH: Yes. And the key point there, of course is that the driver, the male driver has been taken in to custody. There will be an opportunity to question him and find out what exactly happened here. To find out if there is motive. We don't know again whether if there's any link to terrorism. But obviously most people's minds go to that because of past incidents there, but at this stage we are waiting to hear and to get more information from London, the Metropolitan Police to find a little bit more about what is happening here.

But when we look at the ground here these pictures, we see calm, we see authorities have taken control of the situation very quickly. London police are used to dealing with these sorts of emergency situations and we're seeing pedestrians, people getting on their way and getting off to work. Hilary, just going back to you. Just talk to us, again -- actually, if you'll just stand by. From the Metropolitan Police here. I just want to read out this tweet. At this stage officers do not believe that anybody's is in a life threatening condition. Cordons are in place to assist in the investigation. Westminster tube station is closed. The Metropolitan Police there in London keeping people up to date in a very organized and very calm way. Hilary, back to you, just to talk to us about the way that authorities there in London tend to deal with these situations.

MCGANN: Yes, Rosemary. As I mentioned before, there was an incredibly robust response here in London. It's terrible to say that that robust response may come, because of the fact that in 2017 London was the victim of a number of terror attacks. As a result, the police presence here is rich, it was robust, they were quickly on the scene, they quickly took control of it and the police that I heard that were near the barriers were speaking to civilians really calming them down. There was a sense of -- possible sense of panic, tension among civilians and fear on what worst that could happen.

Police were very, very quick to say that the situation is ongoing. Do at harm's way, in your best interest, please redirect the route to work. So they are very much in control of the scene right now. There are helicopters above me. There are police all around me. There are armed police here and as I mentioned, I've already seen an ambulance leave the scene. So what we know right now, from the recent statements is that people are -- that may have been injured are not at least in a life threatening condition. A man has been arrested and taken into custody and we know that the Met police are still at the scene. The situation seems to be ongoing, but thankfully no lives seem to be at risk right now.

[03:45:07] CHURCH: That is very important, Hilary McGann bringing us up to date on the situation there. This breaking news we are following out at London. We will continue to bring our viewers details as they come into us. But we will take a very short break and we'll be back with more on the other side of that break. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHURCH: We are following breaking news out of London. Just about an hour ago, a car crashed into the security barriers outside the British parliament. We're looking at live pictures from the scene right now. Police have cordoned off the area. You can see that in this shot. They say the driver has been arrested, but a motive is still unknown at this point. Now police also say some pedestrians were injured, but it is unclear how many. But authorities do not believe any of the injured are in life threatening condition. And they added in a statement that the Westminster tube station has been closed.

So that will cause some travel problems this morning there in London. Let's turn again to CNN producer, Hilary McGann. She is at the scene and joins us again on the phone. So, Hilary, just bring us up to date on what we're learning. Are you learning anything new since we last spoke on the situation there as we take this live picture from the scene?

MCGANN: Yes, Rosemary. Just as you were speaking there another ambulance drove from Westminster Bridge onto the scene. I must stress the fact that the ambulance came in not necessarily in a rush. We know from the latest statements from the met police that they said, and I quote, at this stage officers do not believe that anybody is in a life threatening condition. What we do know that a number of people are injured. Their lives are not at risk. A second ambulance has arrived on the scene. The helicopters, while I'm speaking to you now, you may be could hear it Rosemary, it is hovering just over the bridge.

There remains a heavy police presence here, there are a lot of armed police plus the situation is -- while it is ongoing seems to be under the police control. The area is completely cleared almost at this point. I have been pushed back by Westminster bridge and the police have cordoned off the vast majority of the area here just outside Westminster parliament here in London.

[03:50:10] CHURCH: Yes. Hilary, we were talking earlier about just how crowded this would have been about an hour ago when this car crashed into the barrier. Talk to us again about that, if you would because we will have viewers who might just be joining us and wondering what is happening here. But talk to us about the scene about an hour ago when this occurred.

MCGANN: Yes, of course. As you can imagine, the scene took place, a car crashed into a number of pedestrians just outside of parliament just over an hour ago here in the City of London during what would have been the busiest time in the commute in London. For anybody that is unaware, parliament is in central London and it's one of the busiest spaces in London. There are vast amounts of offices, government offices just around this area. So if you can imagine, Westminster tube station where I'm very near to right now is one of the busiest tube stations during the morning rush hour.

There was -- when I arrived it was just before the tube station closed and there was hundreds of commuters arriving on the scene that were being very swiftly redirected on their route to work by Metropolitan Police here. It remains a very heavy police presence. The situation is ongoing and we know those that have been injured, are not -- their lives are not at risk. We know that a man has been arrested, but we still don't know, Rosemary, and I think it's important to rephrase it, we do not know what the motive may have been at this point.

CHURCH: No, Hilary, we don't know at this point, but we do have this video. If we can just bring that up, a video of police taking that male driver into custody. We're looking at that now. Obviously, you know, again, the situation seems very calm as they take this man into custody, putting him into this car. It's difficult to see any details of him at this point, but he is been taken there into custody. He will be questioned and at some point authorities will share some more information with everyone in an attempt to calm people, because under these sorts of situations, of course as we've been discussing, the concern here is that there may be links to terrorism.

We understand that some of these pedestrians have been injured. And we understand, let me just read this out from Metropolitan Police tweet at this stage officers do not believe that anybody is in a life threatening condition. Cordons are in place to assist the investigation. Westminster tube station is closed. So, Hilary, just going back to you and that is critical. You know, we were talking about the tube station being closed there. That is going to cause a real headache for people today trying to get off to work. But, again, authorities very calm, very organized in redirecting the pedestrian traffic. But how difficult will it be for people to get around that particular part of London and get off to work?

MCGANN: Yes, in the area around parliament here at the moment is more or less completely shut down completely cordoned off. There are a lot of workers that cannot get to their offices this morning. Plus the priority remains among these (inaudible) - there is concern that a lot may have happened. Because of the fact that we don't know the motive, because of the fact that it is in London and particularly by parliament, there's a lot of fear, and it is understandable tension as to what the motive here may have been.

Just to reiterate what I was saying earlier, Rosemary, earlier I was standing very, very close to the scene of where a terrorist incident took place in March of 2017. This has happened before so as a result people are on edge. People want clarity. And it also explains the reason why there was such a robust response here this morning. The Met police here in London will continue to update us as soon as they have information.

It's important to remember the fact that this incident took place just over an hour ago and while the man has been arrested and is in police custody right now, I would imagine that questions are ongoing. Once the Met police know and feel confident of what exactly took place here just over an hour ago outside of parliament, they will update us. But that update, of the motive should there have been anything sinister, is still to come. Rosemary?

CHURCH: Yes. A very interesting point there, very important. We still don't know so very much. We know that this car crashed at 7:37 into this barrier in front of the British parliament.

[03:55:00] We know that pedestrians have been injured, but police have stated they're not life threatening injuries, that is critical. We know that the male driver has been taken into custody, but we don't know very much more than that. Hopefully authorities there Metropolitan Police in London can inform us whether terrorism is involved here, because that is what people want to know at this point. They want that possibility eliminated. They will want some more details to explain what has happened here.

Hilary, just going back to you very quickly. We're looking at that vision again, the video of this male driver being taken into custody. Again, I don't know whether we know very much about just how swiftly obviously police were on the scene as this happened and they moved very quickly to bring this to a calm closure. Do you have very many details about how that played out?

MCGANN: Well, I know that there was a very robust response, Rosemary. I was here within half an hour of the incident taking place and when I arrived the scene was completely cordoned off. You're talking back to the bridge. You're talking more than 200 feet closed off. Very heavily armed police was here. So far this morning I've seen two ambulances arriving at the scene. As I said, the latest guidance and information have the Met police -- those injured this morning in the incident outside of parliament, there's no belief that their lives are at risk. Those ambulances have arrived. Police presence remains heavy here at the moment and helicopters still limbos over my head. While the situation is ongoing, it seems to be very much under control.

CHURCH: Hilary McGann, CNN producer bringing us up to date. She is there at the scene in London where that car crashed into security barriers at the British parliament. We thank you so much, Hilary for bringing us up to date on the situation. The information you had, there isn't a lot there, but we are bringing that and we will continue to bring it to you my colleague Hannah Vaughn Jones picks up this breaking news from London. She will join you next. Thank you so much for being with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)