Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
President Trump Attacks Media On Same Day Bomb Is Found In CNN's New York Offices; FBI Handling Investigation As Domestic Terror Bombs Appear To Have Sulfur Substance; W.H. Officials Are Rejecting The Premise That Pres. Trump Should Tone Down His Rhetoric; Sources: Officials Are Trying To Track Down Package Sent To Former V.P. Biden. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired October 24, 2018 - 20:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:
[20:00:03] That's what we talk about. That's what we do.
The federal government is conducting an aggressive investigation and we will find those responsible and we will bring them to justice, hopefully very quickly.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Any acts or threats of political violence are an attack on our democracy, itself. No nation can succeed that tolerates violence or the threat of violence as a method of political intimidation, coercion, or control. We all know that. Such conduct must be fiercely opposed and firmly prosecuted.
We want all sides to come together in peace and harmony. We wan can do it. We can do it. We can do it. It will happen.
More broadly, there's much we can do to bring our nation together. For example, those engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as being morally defective. Have to do that.
The language of moral condemnation and destructive routine, these are arguments and disagreements that have to stop. No one should carelessly compare political opponents to historical villains, which is done often. It's done all the time. Got to stop.
We should not mob people in public spaces or destroy public property. There is one way to settle our disagreements. It's called peacefully at the ballot box. That's what we want. That's what we want.
As part of a larger national effort to bridge our divides and bring people together, the media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories. Have to do it. Have to do it. They've got to stop. Bring people together.
We're just 13 days away from a very, very important election. It's an election of monumental, just if you look at it, monumental importance. Isn't it? Wouldn't you say monumental importance?
There are dramatic differences between our two political parties. That, we know. It is essential for democracy to draw a sharp contrast between the two different platforms put before the American people. And we have a chance to do that right now in many states and on November 6th. We need more, not less, debate about policy issues in our country. But what we cannot do is let our --
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The president speaking in Wisconsin, speaking quite hypocritically, I just have to say. He talked about explosive devices being sent to former government officials. He made no mention of an explosive device sent to this building behind me, the headquarters of CNN, a news organization he routinely attacks. He calls reporters the enemy of the American people. And, yet, he said it's the media's fault for the kind of reporting that media organizations have been doing.
What happened today was an act of terror. Terror designed to kill or maim, to scare, or to silence. Now, thankfully, none of those targeted were hurt nor were any of the people who handled the explosive devices, I'm talking about postal workers, or couriers, or security guards. They weren't hurt or killed, either.
If the devices were designed to kill, they failed. They were designed to scare and to silence reporters or politicians. They failed at that as well.
We here at CNN are thankful for the sharp eyes and the quick thinking of the men and women who protect us every single day in this building and around the country and the world and for the quick response and expertise of the New York City Police department and all the other agencies now involved in what is a massive and ongoing investigation.
Terror only works when it produces fear. We are not afraid. We are here and we will be here tomorrow and we'll be here the day after and we'll be here the day after that.
[20:05:00] We have a job to do. And what someone try to do here today, it only makes our resolve that much stronger.
Tonight, the search is on for the person or persons who tried to murder and might have murdered a string of high-profile political figures, including former secretary of state and two former presidents of the United States. Five bombs. One is yet possible bomb which is still being assessed and just moments ago word of yet one more suspicious package.
The first went to billionaire liberal financier George Soros. The rest were discovered in the last 24 hours all addressed to people that President Trump, himself, has singled out for verbal abuse. One targeting a former CIA director was sent, as I said, to the building behind me, the New York headquarters of CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are no longer suspicious packages. COOPER (voice-over): Shortly after 10:00 a.m., CNN is giving an
update on suspicious packages mailed to Democratic politicians.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a -- excuse me, that sounds like a fire alarm ear. We'll keep you posted on that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to jump in, there's a fire alarm here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Might have heard it in the background.
COOPER: The Time Warner Center, home to CNN's New York office, was abruptly evacuated.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are outside safely. All of our CNN colleagues that we know of are outside right now. Everyone is safe.
COOPER: The package was sent to CNN's mailroom, addressed to former CIA Director John Brennan, who's become a frequent critic of President Trump's. Brennan, whose name is wrongly spelled on the package, works as an analyst for NBC News, not CNN.
This week, alone, six devices were found by authorities, four of them intercepted just today. All addressed to Democratic politicians, donors, or in our case, the news media.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK: It was clearly an act of terror, attempting to undermine our free press and leaders of this country through acts of violence.
COOPER: On Monday, a bomb was found inside the mailbox of liberal philanthropist George Soros. Soros was recently accused by President Trump of paying protesters to show up for anti-Kavanaugh demonstrations during his confirmation hearing.
On Tuesday, a package was found at the Clintons' home in Chappaqua, New York. It also contained an explosive device.
And on Wednesday, Secret Service intercepted another one sent to former President Barack Obama. Police say these bombs all seem to be connected.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: As you've heard, there is a number of devices and there's a pattern, apparently, to the number of devices. We wouldn't be at all surprised if more devices show up.
COOPER: Two additional suspicious packages were sent to former Attorney General Eric Holder and California Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
The package sent to Holder wound up at the office of Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz in Florida. She was listed as the return address for the package, which is the same return address listed for bombs sent to CNN, the Obamas, and the Clintons. Six suspicious devices intercepted in just one week. And authorities fear there may be more on the way. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: Meantime, two of the intended victims have spoken out. Want to tell you about that. Hillary Clinton earlier today and John Brennan just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I recognize that there are a lot of raw emotions and feelings in this country and very strong feelings for individual political parties, as well as individual politicians. But this country was founded upon the foundation of freedom and liberty and freedom of speech. And if I and others are being targeted because we're speaking out, and we're living up to our responsibilities as citizens, I think that's, again, is a very unfortunate turn of events.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are fine. Thanks to the men and women of the Secret Service who intercepted the package addressed to us long before it made its way to our home. Every day, we are grateful for their service and commitment and obviously never more than today. But it is a troubling time, isn't it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It is, indeed.
For more on the investigation, let's get to the latest on the investigation, including this latest and newest suspicious package.
I want to turn to CNN's Pamela Brown who's been working her sources from the very beginning.
Pamela, what's the latest, what have you learned?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We're learning, Anderson, about a second suspicious package addressed to Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, this time in California. This is according to my colleague, Mary Kay Mallonee who was reporting that ATF as well as the LAPD are on their way to a postal facility in south-central L.A. to look at this package that is very similar to the packages, the suspicious packages, that were examined in Florida, as well as D.C. and New York.
We know earlier today, there was another package addressed to Maxine Waters that was recovered at a facility in Maryland. So, this is yet a second one. The FBI is still examining the earlier package that was addressed to Maxine Waters, but they all share this similarity of the manila envelopes, the six forever stamps, the computer-generated labels. All of these are clues to investigators that these packages are linked.
And the FBI just earlier today released this statement asking the public for help saying that there could be more packages that are out there. And we know, Anderson, that at least one of the devices, this pipe bomb, contained sulfur, an explosive material. Pipe bombs are notoriously unstable, Anderson, and could explode just through handling it, so in some ways, officials I've been speaking with say it's remarkable that nothing was set off here.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, it would have very easily, one of these been detonated just by a postal carrier.
COOPER: Or in a sorting room somewhere.
Just in terms of the investigation, I assume the FBI is in charge and they're the ones who -- they don't already have all the devices, they soon will.
BROWN: That's absolutely right. All the devices will eventually make their way to the FBI's facility at Quantico, and the FBI is looking at this as an act of domestic terror. That is, an individual who acts through an extremist ideology, whether it be political, social, racial, in nature, and in this case, you look at the targets, and it appears that there's a political motivation here.
These are -- these targets are high-profile Democrats, many of whom served under the Obama administration. So that is a clue to the FBI. They're looking at in terms of who might be behind this, understanding what is part of the mindset here.
Now, my colleague, Jeff Zeleny, asked President Trump earlier today whether he believed this was an act of domestic terror. He would not answer that question, Anderson.
COOPER: I should also point out not just high-profile Democrats, also John Brennan, former high-ranking, you know, head of the CIA and obviously CNN as well. All people that this president has verbally targeted and encouraged others to criticize as well.
Pam, I appreciate the reporting.
The fact that none of these bombs went off, obviously, gives investigators an awful lot to work with in terms of potential evidence. As Pam said, they're all said to be similar. This happens to be one that came here to CNN. Authorities released the photo.
I'm not showing you anything that I shouldn't be showing you. The authorities released this photo. So no one gets any ideas, neither the authorities or we are going into great detail about the devices, themselves, about how these things are made. You obviously see in the photo a cylindrical container, wires out of each end, what appears to be the face of a small clock.
Now, the package is addressed to former CIA Chief John Brennan. His name is misspelled. President Trump has called Mr. Brennan, who's dedicated his life, frankly, to public service, quote, a very bad guy. He actually doesn't work for CNN.
The return address is Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, formerly the DNC in Sunrise, which is also misspelled, Florida. The bomb was taken to the New York Police Department's facility in the Bronx. And, again, as Pam mentioned from there, it goes to Quantico, Virginia, where the FBI will study it.
So, I want to talk more about the many roads that could lead investigators to whoever did this. With me right now is retired NYPD Lieutenant Darren Porcher. He currently teaches criminal justice at Pace University here in the New York area. Also joining me is former FBI supervisory special agent, Josh Campbell. He's CNN law enforcement analyst. And former senior counterterrorism official, Phil Mudd, joins us as well.
Darren, just from what the fact all of these devices are now in the hand of authorities, there are many potential clues that could be in these devices.
DARREN PORCHER, RETIRED NYPD LIEUTENANT: Absolutely. When we look at these investigations into explosive ordnance, I like to figure it out as a three-legged stool. The first leg of the stool is the actual ordnance, what is the signature connected with this ordnance.
Here, we have a black powder substance. The second leg to this stool --
COOPER: So, a bomb maker often has a signature, a particular way they make a bomb over and over and over again.
PORCHER: Exactly. This is something law enforcement stores and look to moving forward.
The second leg to the stool is the delivery system. We've had different delivery systems in connection with this particular ordnance. Here at CNN, for example, we had a courier that delivered it. We had other locations where U.S. mail delivered this particular ordnance.
You -- the U.S. mail service has a record. They take a snapshot of all packages that go through the system.
And the third leg to the stool is the actual target.
[20:15:02] When I say the target, meaning who was the intended victim here? We want to look at the commonality factor in connection with threats.
We had eight to ten people that had these packages mailed to them. We want to see if we had consistent threats to these individuals by one person. So we take those three legs to the stool and that's how the investigation moves forward.
One of the things we have to take into consideration are the teachable moments that law enforcement has experienced in the past such as what happened earlier this year in March, when we had the Austin bomber. We'll look at the way that bomber progressed and law enforcement is going to use that, such as widening the video. We even saw how we have pictures from the FedEx location. The second teachable moment would be we go back to 2001, when we had
the anthrax scare here in New York City. The NYPD had hammer teams that went to different locations, coupled with the FBI Joint Terrorist Task Force.
And the third, and I want to say the most significant piece, is the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. Those three components are going to triangulate and we're going to focus on this particular investigation moving forward.
COOPER: Josh, you were formerly with the FBI. Right now what stands out to you about what we have seen take place here?
JOSH CAMPBELL, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: Well, so there are two aspects. There's obviously the forensic commonalities we've been talking about that a number of devices all have the same construction, the same makeup. Obviously, we're dealing with the same person or group of people that are constructing them.
But also as investigators try to get into the mindset, you have to remember, this person or this group of people are still at large, they have not been caught. And so, investigators are essentially racing against the clock to determine who these people are, to get in their mind.
Obviously if you look at the number of targets, they all have those commonalities. These are Democrats, progressives or people who have received the ire from the president and his allies. So, again, politicians will look at that and say, well, that's politics, let's not talk about that. Investigators will very much be talking about that, because again, they're trying to get to the bottom of what is motivating this person, inspiring this person to do this.
I'll tell you, when I mentioned, Anderson, it's a race against the clock. We still don't have people in custody. We don't know if there are other devices that are out there. We still don't know if this person will act again.
It's very serious. I spoke to someone just a while ago, we've been working local law enforcement sources, it was described by a source, this is the most important investigation for the United States government right now. We are dealing with the attempted assassination of two former presidents, and a number of officials. It's very serious.
And so far, you know, the clues are continuing to work, but they don't yet have the leads that will get them to that person. It's all hands on deck right now, Anderson.
COOPER: Phil, you also have handwriting on the packages, misspellings on some of the packages. Anybody in public life probably, I know I have folders full of letters from, you know, all variety of people who have written over the years. Threats or whatever it may be. Those are all things, certainly anybody who's president of the United States probably has boxes and boxes full or the Secret Service already has boxes and boxes full of handwriting analysis on thousands of people. PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I think that's right. One
of the things -- you're looking at a joint terrorism task force led by the FBI. You might consider that because that says FBI, that it's mostly FBI individuals involved there, but the elements there include people like the Postal Service, who's going to be looking at where stuff like this was mailed. They are excellent at tracking packages.
You mentioned the lettering on those packages. Josh was talking about the targets. One of the elements of the Joint Terrorism Task Force is going to be the Secret Service. In addition to asking questions like who was that courier that delivered something to the Time Warner building today, the Secret Service would ask, do we have people on file who have sent stuff like this in the past or who have this list of potential targets and who have approached targets like this in the past?
I tell you, one of the things that strikes me about this, Anderson, is there are so many clues here from targets, to packages, to devices, potentially we don't know if there are fingerprints or DNA on those packages.
I don't think this person is going to be free for long. There are too many clues here.
COOPER: Do you agree with that, I mean, there's just a bonanza of potential clues?
PORCHER: Absolutely. One of the things we take into consideration, a place like New York City, the average citizen is videotaped or photographed 100 to 200 times a day and goes back to when we look at the apprehension of the bomber in Austin, Texas. The way that person is caught is because we captured him on video in Austin, Texas, entering a FedEx facility.
I think the same thing is going to happen here. I genuinely believe that this was an amateur, because this is a rudimentary device, black powder. Something that's more sophisticated like anthrax, you have a more targeted approach. Here I believe it's a matter of time and we will catch this person moving forward.
COOPER: All right. Darren, thanks so much. Josh Campbell as well. Phil Mudd as well. Sorry we were talking under these circumstances.
Next, President Trump speaking tonight in Wisconsin. We showed you a little bit of that but we learned he has actually not called any of the bombing targets to express his concern to them or to give them any information, talking about former presidents. We'll talk about that.
[20:20:01] And later, more on what kind of person does something like this, what motivates a bomber. We'll learn from a former top FBI profiler who joins us.
We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: What the president said at the top of the hour about today's attempted bombings is notable for what he left out, namely, any of the intended victims. President Trump, a former secretary of state, and two ex-presidents are in his words merely former high-ranking government officials. He gave no names. Nothing to indicate he sees them as individual human beings and distinguished former public servants, as two former presidents of the United States.
He also made what appears to be a first attempt at something familiar, putting the perpetrator and victim on equal footing.
He also made no mention either of the bombs sent to the offices right behind me here, at CNN. It was striking and it bears repeating what he said. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I want to begin tonight's rally by addressing the suspicious devices and packages that were mailed to current and former high- ranking government officials. My highest duty, as you know, as president, is to keep America safe.
The media also has a responsibility to set a civil tone and to stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories. Have to do it. Have to do it. They've got to stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That was the president of the United States tonight responding to the attempted bombings that occurred today. More controversy earlier as well, the president's comments.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny joins us now with that.
So, Jeff, explain what the president did and did not say today throughout the day.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, one thing the president did not say, he did not say that this was an act of domestic terrorism. That is something that the New York mayor said.
It's also something Republican Speaker Paul Ryan said shortly before the president arrived there in Wisconsin. He quieted down the crowd of supporters and said: Make no mistake, this is an act of terrorism.
I tried to ask the president about that in the East Room earlier today. If he believed it was. He looked me square in the face and did not answer the question. He did not say that again this evening if he does or does not believe this.
That's one thing he did not say. Anderson, he also did not take responsibility at all for any of the heated rhetoric.
[20:25:01] Tonight, you could hear him spreading around the blame and talking about the media there, saying stop the hostility. What he's looking for is someone who agrees are with him. That is not in the First Amendment at all. That is not our jobs, quite frankly.
But we did not hear the president accept any sport of responsibility for something he and his supporters do and lead. He uses the bully pulpit, has the unique ability with the bully pulpit to set the tone here. And we learned tonight exactly how he's going to do it. It's not what he said earlier today, a call for unity.
COOPER: He also said at the rally tonight that politicians should stop vilifying one another. I mean, the president has called opponents he doesn't evil. I mean, he calls Maxine Waters low I.Q. I mean, the idea that he is not the -- I mean, you know, you talk in h past administrations about presidents having a bully pulpit. He literally uses it as a bully pulpit.
ZELENY: He does, he absolutely uses it as that. If the president decided to follow his own example tonight, and not talk about opponents in those terms, I can tell you, Anderson, his rallies would be much shorter. He would not be giving 75-minute speeches like the other night in Houston.
If he was to take that out of his speech, that's basically what his program was built on. And his supporters like it. So, this is coming 13 days before the midterm elections. We do not know where this is going to go. No question.
But the president has been successful in doing one thing, undermining the credibility of the fourth estate, of the press. You could hear some of his supporters behind him there applauding him. So, you know, he, again, did not follow the example he set earlier today that people should come together. That, to me, did not sound like a rallying speech to come together.
COOPER: I mean, he didn't even acknowledge in those remarks that CNN was sent a bomb today. And in fact, the only thing he said right about the media was that the media needs to be nicer to him, essentially. I mean --
COOPER: That's incredible.
ZELENY: Right. He never went from suspicious packages, what we thought earlier, to an actual pipe bomb.
And also, Anderson, I was very surprised to learn this evening that he did not reach out, this White House did not reach out to President Obama specifically, to the former secretary of state, the former president, Bill and Hillary Clinton. Yes, they're rivals, but at times like this, sometimes you reach out. They did not update them at all.
So that underscores the lack of civility, if you will, in the president's words -- Anderson.
COOPER: Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much.
CNN's Kaitlan Collins is at the rally for us.
Kaitlan, so the president seemed to at least in part blame Democrats and certainly the media for what happened today.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, he came out, he made these remarks which we weren't sure, Anderson, entirely, if he was going to address it again after addressing it for the first time at the White House earlier today.
But after Paul Ryan came out here, Scott Walker, all on stage, condemning these attacks, president Trump got up and that was one of the first things he said. He talked about these attacks. He called for civility. He said you should settle your disagreements at the ballot box. That was one key line.
But Anderson, you're right, those two lines you can't ignore where that Trump said that those engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as being morally defective.
Now, some critics of the president might raise questions about things he said about his political opponents. On stages like the one he's on right now behind me including on Maxine Waters, John Brennan, those type of people as well that he's often criticized. There are a lot of his big targets here.
Another thing he did say, he talked about the media saying they need to set the tone, they need to stop with the hostile attacks, the false attacks, and we know, Anderson, from reporting on this president for two years now that that is often how he perceives any kind of negative media coverage. He thinks it's a false attack afternoon him because people are upset he's president. Not because it's accurate or something he said. He essentially believes it's negative and it is not true, that the media is making it up, which of course isn't true. It's accurate reporting of what's going on in his White House.
But it was an interesting way to mention the media in a speech like that, especially after he has not acknowledged that one of those packages today was sent to a media organization that he regularly goes after. But he did use his platform, Anderson, to go after these attacks once again and to say that they shouldn't happen.
COOPER: I mean, when you label the American media the enemy of the people, somebody's going to listen to that and act accordingly to that. We'll see as this investigation continues.
Kaitlan Collins, I hope I'm wrong. Thanks very much.
As we widen the conversation with our veteran team of political analysts, I just want to bring you very quickly this network's view of the kind of climate that the White House is contributing to.
And I'm reading now from a statement by CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker. I'm quoting: There's a total and complete lack of understanding at the White House about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media. The President, and especially the White House Press Secretary, should understand their words matter. Thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that."
That was a statement he made earlier today and can certainly be repeated after what he just -- what the President just said tonight at that rally. Still, no seeming comprehension.
Former senior Obama adviser and longtime friend of the Obamas, David Axelrod joins us, also CNN Political Analyst Gloria Borger and David Gergen who joins me here. David, of course, has served presidents in both parties, including Bill Clinton.
David Gergen, I mean, you hear what President Trump said tonight. Did you expect him to at least acknowledge two former presidents had their lives threatened today?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I expected far more than he did. Yes, he should have acknowledged both presidents. Jeff Zeleny was right, he should have reached out to the former presidents and assured them of their, you know, their continued help from the FBI and others and the Secret Service.
But I think most of all, he should have taken some responsibility, but I think he completely refused to do that. He hasn't taken an ounce of responsibility or accountability for this whole thing.
I think what he needs to understand is Donald Trump unleashed the dogs of hatred in this country from the day he declared he was running for president and they've been snarling and barking at each other ever since and it's just inevitable. There are going to be acts of violence that grow out of that.
A president's duty, he says, first duty, is to provide for the safety of the country. How do you make the country safe here at home? You keep us together. You keep us in a civil conversation. You try to unite people. He's failing in that. If he understood it, he could completely change the tone of this country.
But I'm sorry, right now, I think Jeff Zucker had it nailed, as did Jeff Zeleny that, you know, we're in a situation where President of the United States on a really important issue, when people's lives are at stake, is not stepping up to his responsibility.
COOPER: I mean, David Axelrod, you know, everybody who received one of these devices, I mean, you can't ignore the fact that time and time again, this President has rhetorically gone after that person or that organization.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No. He didn't say that.
COOPER: And, you know, wanting John Brennan's security clearance revoked. I mean, a lot of people wouldn't know who John Brennan is if it wasn't for President Trump putting him front and center or Maxine Waters or, you know, some of these other people.
DAVID AXELROD, FORMER SENIOR ADVIDER, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Well, there's no question about it. I mean, what is the thing that links all of these people together?
It was interesting to me that the NYPD said they had already sent someone over to CNN to warn them about the possibility that a package might arrive. Why, because CNN has been the target of the president's fulminations at these rallies.
You know, you can't deliver a, you know, homilies about unity in the Oval Office during the day and then run off to rallies at night where you deliver extemporaneous jeremiads about the evil opposition and the -- at the media as the enemy of the people.
And, Anderson, let's remember, it was just a week ago that the President was exalting the fact that a congressman had body slammed a reporter. Well, if you glorify violence in your speeches, people are going to hear that.
And we don't know who delivered these bombs, but odds are they were someone who's heard the President's message and acted on it. So, he bears responsibility for this. He, you know, directly or indirectly influencing the climate in our country and it's a terrible thing.
We had five -- we had two former presidents, a secretary of state, a former CIA director, and a congresswoman today who were almost assassin -- who were threatened with assassination and you would think that that would be a bracing message for the President, but he sees political advantage in exploiting these passions and whipping them up.
He thinks it's working for him headed into this election campaign. And his rallies have become more and more vituperative, his charges more and more irresponsible as the day goes on. So this is at his doorstep.
COOPER: Gloria, I mean, to this exact point, I understand that there's some new reporting, some new reporting about how the White House is responding.
BORGER: Yes. Our colleague, Pamela Brown, is reporting that the White House -- that there are some White House officials who are saying, "We're not to blame. The President is not to blame for any of this, that he should not be blamed for crazy things that violent people want to do."
[20:35:06] And a senior official told Pam that we're not a doormat. And, you know, Anderson, to what David Axelrod was just saying, the President tonight said leaders must stop threatening opponents as if they're morally defective.
I'm old enough to remember the Kavanaugh hearings when the President said that the opponents of Kavanaugh were evil. He used that word, evil. Is that morally defective? I would think so. And the press being the enemy of the people, crooked Hillary, lyin' Ted. So you have the White House coming out with a statement saying, you know, "It's not us."
But this is the President of the United States, his words matter. His words echo throughout not only this country, but the world. And I don't think, you know, look at all the people who were attacked, including as David points out, you know, former secretary of state, former president, maybe another former president. Somebody wanted to kill them. And this reads like a Donald Trump enemies list.
And I was actually at that rally in Missoula, Montana last week when President Trump applauded a Congressman Gianforte for body slamming a reporter and he got applauded in the audience and he said, you know, "He's my kind of guy."
What signal does that send to Americans? I mean, it's not a good signal. So the White House can say not our fault, not to blame. But this is a leader of the free world or supposed to be.
COOPER: Ye. And David -- I mean, David Gergen, this doesn't go anywhere better. I mean, this only devolves from here. I mean it's, you know, multiple pipe bombs today.
COOPER: Somebody is going to get killed. I mean --
GERGEN: Somebody is. We don't know how many other bombs may be out there tonight. I'm sure there are efforts being made by Secret Service to pin down whatever they can. But this will be -- you know, this serves as an invitation to others. He couldn't get this done. This crazy person over here, but maybe I'll try it. And maybe I'll be glorified in some way. There are crazy people out there. And Donald Trump is not directly responsible for individual crazy people.
GERGEN: But he bears indirect responsibility and he ought to acknowledge that and step up to it. That's what a serious, you know, brave president would do, a man of integrity would do.
COOPER: Yes. Or even acknowledge, "You know what, I called people evil, I've demagogue people, I made them less than human."
GERGEN: Yes. I think, yes, he ought to calm it down. Maybe just, you know, if he just cooled it for a little bit, it would make a big difference.
COOPER: Yes. David Axelrod, very quickly.
AXELROD: Yes, I was struck by -- I was struck by something he said to Lesley Stahl about why he taunted Dr. Ford after having said nice things about her and he said, "Well, we wouldn't have won if I hadn't done that." That is Donald Trump.
He thinks that this works. He thinks he is profiting from it politically. He will stop if he believes that he will -- he isn't profiting politically from it. He is not making moral judgments here. He does not thinking about his responsibility as president. He's thinking about his needs and his --
COOPER: Yes. AXELROD: -- and his own benefits as a politician. And that's a terrible, terrible thing right now.
COOPER: Yes. David Axelrod, Gloria Borger, David Gergen, thank you very much.
There's more to cover in this hour, more on the investigation, specifically how pieces of evidence come together to make a portrait of the suspect. I want to talk with former FBI profiler.
[20:40:19] COOPER: Given the breaking news in the last hour alone, it's not lost on anyone here that it would-be bomber is still on the loose or perhaps more than one and the search for him or her or them is on.
Joining me now to talk about it in what's unfolding is CNN Law Enforcement Analyst, Charles Ramsey, the former top cop in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., also former FBI profiler, Mary O'Toole.
So, Chief Ramsey, you were the D.C. police chief during the D.C. sniper attacks. Can you just explain the difficulty investigations like this can be? How long they can take? Or sort of what's happening right now?
CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, they can take time. I remember back in 2002 during the D.C. sniper, which ironically was October of 2002, right around this time of year, it does take time.
But there's an awful lot of pressure to find out very quickly or at least as quickly as possible who is responsible so that you don't wind up in this case with anyone actually being killed because right now we're very fortunate.
They found so far six devices, I believe, none of which went off. That doesn't mean there are not more out there. So there's a tremendous amount of pressure to make sure that they identify this person as quickly as possible.
COOPER: Mary Ellen, you profiled the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. I mean, looking at how this individual or individuals sent these packages, is there anything you can tell in terms of what kind of a person it could be behind this?
MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, it would all be very preliminary, but what becomes important is taking a look at all of those devices to see, number one, if they are forensically linked, and then number two, how are those devices put together, and are they actually functional? And are they functional to become lethal?
And what that will show is the person's level of knowledge about the device. And where did he get the components and what was his signature? You heard people over the last 24 hours talk about a signature in this. And that means how does he crimp the wires, how does he apply the powder? That becomes important and tells us something as well.
And here's the final thing that I think is really important. Looking at the package for the one that went to CNN in New York, there was an awful lot of tape on there. There were six stamps. And then there was the envelope that had to be connected. So, there's a real good possibility that forensic evidence is going to be obtained off of those devices.
The fact that he can put together a pipe bomb does not mean that he's forensically sophisticated. If people don't realize that even if a device explodes, you can still obtain somebody's DNA off of one of the components. So, that's what here is going to become so critical. So he can put it together, but it doesn't mean he's sophisticated.
COOPER: Chief Ramsey, can you just explain how all the law enforcement agencies actually, you know, the FBI, the NYPD, would be working together behind the scenes? It's going to be -- I mean, just kind of an enormous undertaking.
RAMSEY: It is an enormous undertaking but they work together all the time. The Joint Terrorism Task Force was put together for this very reason. So you'll have members of the NYPD, you'll have members of ATF, you'll have the FBI. You'll have all of the law enforcement agencies that need to be part of this investigation working seamlessly together in order to fight out who is responsible.
And not only that, they're reaching out to law enforcement agencies across the country, JTTF across the country, to make everybody aware. Remember, we got the midterm elections. You got a lot of very heated campaigns going on now around the country.
Everyone needs to be very sensitive to this and paying very close attention to any packages that they may receive because this thing isn't over yet until that person is in custody and we can rest assured that any packages that still may be out there have been recovered.
COOPER: Yes. Chief Ramsey, Mary Ellen O'Toole, I appreciate your expertise tonight, especially tonight. Thank you.
Joining us now is former director of National Intelligence, James Clapper. He's also a former colleague of John Brennan's and a fellow verbal target, rhetorical target of the President from time to time.
Director Clapper, I mean, as someone who's also, you know, born the brunt of the President's attacks, I'm wondering what went through your mind as you watched these events unfold today?
LT. GEN. JAMES CLAPPER (RET.), FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Well, obviously, very disturbing that, you know, we'd reached this point and it's frankly, on one hand, disturbing, but at the same time, really not terribly surprising.
[20:45:06] Just given the uncivil state of political discourse in this country, I figured there's a question of time before something like this would happen. And fortunately, to this point, there have been no loss of life or injury.
COOPER: I'm wondering -- I don't know if you heard the President's remarks at the beginning of this broadcast and when he's speaking at that rally, not even mentioning that two former presidents could have been killed today, that a former secretary of state. He just described former government officials. No mention of media organization being targeted, just that the media needs to be nicer in their reporting of him.
CLAPPER: Well, I was -- it's not the first time I'm very disappointed. I really, in the first instance, question the appropriateness of even staging this rally on a day like today with attempts to murder and that's what it is. Two former presidents and other officials and, of course, what is an attack on the media.
And so I couldn't help but fantasize and that's all it is. The President canceled the rally and given a straightforward and statesmanlike address to the nation from the Oval Office and acknowledge his responsibility and his part in this very negative discourse, the result of which, I think, is inevitable.
And it's almost as though he is completely outside this and it has no -- bears no responsibility for it and I'm just extremely disappointed.
COOPER: I heard you say earlier that you had a conversation, I think it was with the former head of your security detail today. Can you say what precautions you've had to take in the wake of this news, or have you?
CLAPPER: I'm sorry, Anderson, I didn't hear the question. Could you repeat it?
COOPER: Are you taking precautions in the wake of what we saw today?
CLAPPER: Yes, absolutely. My wife and I were traveling today, so first when I started hearing these reports and I got e-mails from people saying, you know, you're a potential target as well, and I called our next-door neighbor whom we're very close to who normally take care of our mail for us. And it was very disconcerting to have to tell her, "Hey, be careful. In fact, you may just want to avoid our mailbox." And that was actually very disturbing to me to have to do that. So, yes, we're taking precautions.
COOPER: James Clapper, I appreciate talking to you. Thank you very much.
We've got some breaking news right now with Josh Campbell. I want to go to him. Josh, what are you learning?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Anderson, there are law enforcement sources who are telling myself and colleague Brynn Gingras that there's a new development in the ongoing investigation of this missing packages, it involves former Vice President Joe Biden.
Now, we're not sure if the specific device that I'm about to describe is actually -- or package, rather, is actually connected to the series of packages that we saw today. But what law enforcement sources are telling us is that as we speak, officials are trying to track down a package that was originally addressed to an old address of the former Vice President in Delaware.
Now, the package was apparently returned to sender. It didn't really alert officials at that point as being suspicious, but after the developments today, obviously became of interest. And whether it was a witness that called the police or it was some type of electronic detection that alerted them to this package that was out there, we still don't know.
But we're told that right now law enforcement officials are trying to track down this package due to what they're describing possibly similarities in the description of the packages sent today and, again, this package that was addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden.
So it was very much an effort, all hands on deck by law enforcement officers to determine if this package does contain a device similar to what we've seen. It does have a description enough that has alerted to them to, you know, obviously move forward in a concerted effort to try to identify it. We'll continue to ping our sources and bring you further developments, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Josh, we'll continue to follow this very closely. Josh Campbell, I appreciate that breaking news. We're going to take a short break.
Up next, more on what the pieces of the bombs uncovered so far may reveal.
[20:53:30] COOPER: We have more on the breaking news that CNN's Josh Campbell just brought us right before the break, to tell you about law enforcement officials are trying to track down a package addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden now considered suspicious because of similarities to other packages.
The package was misaddressed and returned to sender. It was not clear if the return address was Debbie Wasserman-Schultz as it was with some of the other devices or another address. Authorities are right now trying to locate it.
Joining us, Fred Burton, Chief Security Officer at Stratfor and a former counterterrorism agent at the State Department, also Rick DesLauriers who oversaw the FBI investigation into the Boston Marathon Bombing. Appreciate both of you being with us.
Rick, when you look at these new X-ray photos of the device, I'm wondering what you see and what stands out to you from what we've learned so far?
RICHARD DESLAURIERS, FORMER SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, FBI: Well, good evening, Anderson, my pleasure to be with you tonight. The investigators will be looking for similarities between the bombs. What fragments might be inside the bombs, what the triggering devices are, and what the similarities are. And I'm sure that once an initial assessment of those bombs has been made and they are rendered safe, they will be on a plane under the FBI academy in Quantico, Virginia.
COOER: How true is it -- I mean, everybody talks about a signature the bomb makers have? Is that universally true, that every bomb maker has kind of a unique signature?
DESLAURIERS: I believe the FBI lab at Quantico has a database that they will be able to check to (INAUDIBLE) past devices that have been used and look for any connections. And I have great faith that the FBI analysts and agents and executives down at the lab at Quantico will do a great job in pulling this all together.
[20:55:09] COOPER: Fred, what does it tell you -- I mean, you know, that the fact they didn't detonate, that's obviously going to help investigators just in terms of, with the sheer number of potential clues.
FRED BURTON, CHIEF SECURITY OFFICER, STRATFOR: It certainly will, Anderson.
COOPER: Sorry, go ahead.
BURTON: It certainly will. The fact that it didn't detonate to me is fascinating, so there could be a firing train malfunction there or the actual intent could be nothing more than panic and fear.
And the bomb maker possibly is watching to see what the next move might be on law enforcement's part, very similar to what we saw unfold here in Austin, Texas, not too long ago where the bomb maker actually adjusted his plans in targeting an M.O., predicated upon the news coverage.
COOPER: Rick, how much of a concern are copycat attacks. I mean, it's obviously something we always think about when reporting on some like this. But in an incident like this, how often does that happen or copycat, you know, threat.
DESLAURIERS: Certainly that's a concern, Anderson. The investigators will be looking at that. There are various manuals out on the internet that show how to make bombs and we saw that in the Boston Marathon Bombing investigation.
And what the investigators will be looking for as well is what inspired this individual or individuals to try to commit these heinous acts and what inspired them. We know that the Anwar al-Awlaki inspired internet site, is what inspired and radicalize the Boston Marathon bombers. So they will be looking for that as well as for technical clues and forensic clues in the bombs themselves.
COOPER: And, Fred, I think it was you who tweeted earlier today that envelopes, packages, IEDs are a treasure trove of forensics. What else can investigators determine just from the packaging that was sent, let alone the device?
BURTON: Well, the amount of forensics are unbelievable, Anderson. When you start looking at trace evidence, how wires are crimped, how wires are cut, that traditional signature like you will see with all bomb makers.
The other aspect here that I've heard nobody talk about, Anderson, is there's no doubt in my mind coming from the protective intelligence field that this individual is known to the U.S. authorities. He's in their databases.
COOPER: That's fascinating. And, again, there's handwriting analysis as well. There's handwriting evidence with misspellings. Fred Burton, Rick DesLauriers, appreciate your expertise. The news continues with "Cuomo Prime Time" right after this short break.