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Trump Attacks Media as Police Investigate Nine Suspicious Packages; Second Suspicious Package Addressed to Biden Found; Retired Cop Found Deniro Package, Left it in his Office. Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired October 25, 2018 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders this morning defending the president and his rhetoric as a manhunt is underway for a serial bomber targeting CNN and Democrats across the country. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: People who stop criticizing their opponents as morally deficient. A few weeks ago, he said the Democrats who opposed Kavanaugh were evil. Does he regret that statement?
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president feels like we should call out despicable acts, which is exactly what he has done over the last 24 hours. The idea that --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is evil a way to describe people in the political sphere?
SANDERS: I'm sorry?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is evil an appropriate way to describe --
SANDERS: It's a word that people have used on your network a number of times not only to describe the president but many people who work in this administration.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)
SANDERS: Absolutely. Day in, day out, there's a negative tone. 90 percent of the media attention around this president is negative despite historic job creation, despite the fact that our economy is booming, despite the fact that trade deals everybody said couldn't be made have been made. Despite the fact that the president is trying to install law and order at our border and protect the security of Americans from the east coast to the west coast, north and south. You guys continue to focus only on the negative. And that is -- there is a role to play.
Yesterday, the very first thing that the president did was come out and condemn the violence. The very first thing your network did was come out and accuse the president of being responsible for it. That is not OK. The first thing should have been to condemn the violence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: That is not the very first thing CNN did. I'm just going to fact check that every time I hear that false statement. The first thing we did was report the news. Poppy and I were there.
HARLOW: Right, for hours.
SCIUTTO: Many of our colleagues for hours -- we continue to do that as the story develops. Here with us now is chief CNN media business correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources" Brian Stelter. So, Brian, it was a pretty quick turn from the White House to what's appeared to be very scripted statement from the president during that rally last night before he started to speak in his own voice with more jabs directed at the press.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right, scripted Trump versus unscripted Trump, sometimes two very different important. He did say some very important things in the media wake of yesterday's bombs and yet he's reverted to form in recent hours by attacking the media at least three times on Twitter today for various reasons.
You know, I think it's notable that Sanders is trying -- her comments are awful, to be talking this way. And acting like the Trump White House is the real victim here. But she wants this fight with the media. I think she wants this fight with the media. She wants to play the victim and not deal with the real issue at hand, which is that her boss is involved in fueling a fire. I don't think anybody on this network is saying that the president is responsible for what this perpetrator is doing, but we have to recognize the fire and how it's being fueled. And if you're fueling a fire, you can tell someone not to touch it, but he is responsible for that fire, for his rhetoric, for his behavior. That's what's important here.
HARLOW: So it's just not new and it's not surprising that this is the reaction. And the president's poll numbers are going up in the wake of it.
STELTER: Yes. The president is not going to change. However, the political environment may change. The political conditions of his presidency may change. All of this is unfolding less than two weeks until the midterm elections. When I say the political environment, that's partly what I'm talking about, but we could also see other political leaders. We could see corporate America. We could see corporate leaders do more to try to bring us back to a safer place where people are bringing the temperature down instead of up, because it seems like the president is still raising --
[10:35:05] SCIUTTO: You do see attempts credit where credit is due, we had a Republican lawmaker on a short time ago -
HARLOW: Ben Sasse.
SCIUTTO: Ben Sasse, call for it exactly - exactly that, sorry.
HARLOW: I was just going to say, literally a safer environment.
HARLOW: All right, Brian, we have to hop to some breaking news. Our Evan Perez is with us. Evan, what are you learning?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, now authorities have identified two packages that were addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden. As you remember last hour, we talked about the fact that they were tracking down these packages that were addressed to Joe Biden. And so now, they have identified two different packages that have the same appearance, similarities, to the other packages. They were - they had the same envelopes with the postage stamps and a return address to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the congresswoman in Florida.
And from examination of the two packages, they appear to contain devices that are similar to the ones that have been identified in at least seven other locations in the past 48 hours. So authorities now are looking at these scenes in Wilmington. I believe we have a picture from outside Wilmington, and another one in New Castle, Delaware.
So they're trying to make sure that they secure these two devices. And then the work begins to examine them and see to make sure whether they believe that they were constructed by the same person, the same bombers, person or persons who were behind the other mail bombs. But at this point, they have now identified these two packages that they believe were addressed to the former Vice President Joe Biden. And at this point, they're going to take it back to the FBI lab to examine them.
SCIUTTO: Evan Perez, thanks very much. That makes number 10.
HARLOW: Wow, 10. We have more news on the other side. We'll be right back.
[10:41:32] HARLOW: All right. We're getting new details on that package that was delivered to the actor Robert De Niro's office right here in lower Manhattan.
SCIUTTO: CNN's Shimon Prokupecz joining us with the latest. What are you hearing?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So this package that we have been talking about since -- you know, Jim and I -- since early this morning actually came to Robert De Niro's TriBeCa Productions offices yesterday -- yesterday morning. And it was discovered by a retired police officer who actually worked security for the company there. He saw the package. He didn't think anything of it, I'm told, and he put it in his office. And it wasn't until later yesterday evening after all the news reports and the photos were put out by the FBI and the NYPD and some of the photos that we put out that he realized, oh, my God, I have something in my office that's very similar to this. He then called the first precinct in Tribeca here in Manhattan, called the desk sergeant and told them what he had.
And around 4:00 in the morning, that's when police went there with emergency services unit and the bomb squad, and around 7:00 a.m. or so, as we were on the air this morning, they removed it in that truck you just saw, and now the police have it. I mean, it's really, you know, they talk about see something say something, and in photos and the importance of letting the public know. And in this case, it really worked. You know, now we're at 10 possible bombs that have been sent, you know --
HARLOW: In 36 hours.
PROKUPECZ: In 36 hours. Hopefully, this is it, right? So far, we haven't heard of anything that was received today. Everything so far has been from yesterday. The two Biden ones, everything seems old, nothing new, so hopefully this is over. The big thing, though, obviously still unanswered is who is behind this.
SCIUTTO: And still a possibility, Governor Cuomo raised it, of others. We just don't know.
PROKUPECZ: We still don't. The manhunt though is ongoing. I honestly don't know that they have any clues as to who is behind this right now --
HARLOW: Interesting. You're not getting any Intel.
PROKUPECZ: Any Intel on it.
HARLOW: OK. Thanks Shimon.
SCIUTTO: Shimon thanks very much. And we have other news in to CNN. Defense Secretary James Mattis is expected now to deploy some 800 additional U.S. troops to the U.S. border with Mexico. This, in response to the migrant caravan.
HARLOW: Migrant caravan that is thousand-plus miles away from the U.S. border.
SCIUTTO: And they're going by foot. It will take them weeks to get here.
HARLOW: Right. We should note that.
According to three administration officials, these additional troops, 800 more troops, are expected to provide fencing, wall materials, other technical support at several key points along the U.S./Mexico border, also providing medical tents, medical care for the border authorities there. Just to be clear.
As we said, again, you've got a migrant caravan that the president is warning about leading up to the midterms. It's over 1,000 miles away at this point. And remember why many of these migrants are fleeing, right?
SCIUTTO: Violence in Central America -
SCIUTTO: -- threats to their lives, they say.
SCIUTTO: We're going to keep on top of all the stories.
Coming up just after this break, we're going to speak to governor of the great state of Ohio, the Republican Governor john Kasich. Stay with us.
[10:49:02] HARLOW: All right. The president this morning taking aim at the media, OK, taking to Twitter, doing what he did last night, after he condemned, rightly so, these attempted attacks, he pointed to the media for ginning up all the anger.
SCIUTTO: The president tweeting, we're quoting, "A very big part of the anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the mainstream media." just to be clear, I'll repeat this. That's not true. We report the facts. We do our best to do it every day. You saw that yesterday, and we'll continue to.
More importantly, joining us now, Ohio Governor John Kasich. Republican governor. Thanks so much for taking the time.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: You're welcome.
SCIUTTO: First, let me ask you this directly. You heard Sarah Sanders earlier today saying the first thing the media did is blame the president for this. Not the first thing we did. We reported the facts. But the fact is we didn't blame the president. There have been questions as to whether the president's rhetoric and demonizing of the media and regular attacks on the media adds to the threat, might encourage some to take that message to then attack the media as well as others.
[10:50:09] That's the question I would just like to ask you. In your view, does the president demonizing not just the media but also former government officials, former presidents. Maxine Waters. Does that add to threats like this?
KASICH: You know he has the largest mega phone, Jim. And you know, look, other people, Democrats have said things, you know, Hillary said, you know when they go low, we'll go low, and all that. We understand that, but he has the largest megaphone. You know I didn't endorse Donald Trump, and in fact, didn't vote for him for president, as you know. And I was always concerned that - I was concerned but was hopeful that perhaps he could get to the point where he could unite the country. I have now become convinced, absent a Damascus road experience. I have become convinced that he's not capable of this. He is not capable of being the unifier. In fact, I have become convinced that he doesn't know how to accept personal responsibility, and he always finds somebody else to blame. I don't want this to be -- I don't want this to be construed as a personal attack. It's an observation that I make. And so do I think it matters if the president of the United States, and originally last night, I praised him for being conciliatory early on when he did a television interview last night, only to find out - you know, after that that there was an attack on the media, calling the media the enemy of the people.
Now, here's the thing. I think both of us, all three of us here, know that when you get into a place, and a crowd gets revved up, there's also somebody on the edge that might do something very stupid. And we now have a heightened sense of threats. And panic, and the caravan's coming and they're going to be in your home and all this stuff. And you rev people up. And what happens? Somebody out there who is unstable does something crazy. And that's what I think we're seeing here.
So I think we all have to calm down. Everybody has to. But this back and forth this morning about who blamed who and what, this is America.
KASICH: And you know what? This is not where Americans live. This is not where a silent majority of Americans live.
HARLOW: You're right. One of the most beautiful things that happened to me yesterday was when I got home after all of that reporting, I got a text from a woman named Leandra, and she lives in Beattyville, Kentucky. And she is a staunch supporter of the president, both elections. I reported on her, and she said we care about you. Thank you for what you do every day. OK, it is beyond politics for her.
KASICH: God bless her.
HARLOW: But governor, it's not representative fully of the American people because despite these continued attacks and divisiveness from the president, his poll numbers are going up. How do you explain it?
KASICH: Well, first of all, there's a big chunk of the country that doesn't support him. So let's -- let's just kind of look at where things are inside the Republican Party, it's shrunken. And you know, look, things have also become very tribal.
Here's what bothers me. You know we have a caravan coming north. We don't want all those people coming across our border, and there are ways to deal with it. I believe that if we could check those who are legitimately in need of asylum, could be vetted before they even get to the borderer. But you know what, we are born in America. You know how lucky we are to be born in America and not be born in Guatemala where they would say to your daughter, you know if you don't do what we want, we will rape your daughter or we kill your son if he's not a drug mule? Now, they're marching north, and you know what, it could easily have been all of us. That we're in the caravan, that we're marching north trying to save our families and save our children.
We've got to start putting ourselves in the shoes of other people. We've got to start thinking about the consequences that others suffer. If we have been spared those by the grace of God, let us be appreciative, let us count our blessings, and let us reach out to those who have less. And let's stop putting up walls around ourselves and not understanding the plight, the trouble, and the problems of others. It is not right. And the Lord doesn't want it, and our people at their hearts want to reach out to others. Look at what they do in these storms. They go and they rescue people they don't know. They put them in their homes. They feed them. That's America. Not all this garbage and this division and yelling and screaming and hatred on all sides.
SCIUTTO: Governor --
KASICH: I guess I feel strongly about this, don't I? This has been bubbling up in me for a long time.
SCIUTTO: Your passion is clear there. I'm going to ask you this directly. Are you going to challenge President Trump in 2020?
KASICH: You know, Jim, the answer is that is I don't have an idea what I'm going do for this reason. Right now, I have a voice. It's by the grace of God I've earned the voice.
[10:55:01] And I don't want it to be diminished. I'm going to tell you something. One way or another, I'm not going to go away. Do I have to be an elected office or run as a politician to have a voice? I'm not convinced of that. But we'll see. All options are on the table. I don't know. But I know this. I'm going to rally the people as best I can in the community to bring out the best of them to realize that when we solve our problems where we live, we don't care about party identification and philosophy. All we care about then is making a better life for our families and our children. That is what I will be dedicated to doing.
HARLOW: Governor John Kasich, really important words this morning. Thank you for spending some time with us on this, OK? Appreciate it.
KASICH: You're welcome.
HARLOW: Thank you all for being with Jim and I yesterday through it all, today. We'll see you back here tomorrow morning. Stay right here with CNN for the breaking news. Three more suspicious packages found. A nationwide manhunt underway. We're on it.
SCIUTTO: We're not going to go anywhere. Stay with us.