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President Trump Criticizes Media After Media Targeted By Bomber; More Bombs Discovered, Manhunt Under Way; Interview With New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired October 25, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: I held my breath, because the question to me was, is this a one-off, or is this going to be a pattern? I had the answer -- the question answered when, at 1:00 the next day, 1:00 in the morning, I found out that the Clintons had received a package.
But it is accomplishing the purpose, apparently, of the sender, wreaking havoc. That's why what I'm saying, as the governor of the state of New York, is, you haven't wreaked any havoc.
New Yorkers are doing exactly what New Yorkers always have done. We're tough, we're resilient. We have had a number of terrorist attacks. We get it. This is a new time -- type of terrorism. It's political terrorism. It's internal terrorism, we believe.
But it's not going to affect our day-to-day existence. We're going on. We're doing our business. And you haven't succeeded. Terrorism only succeeds when you let it succeed. And, in the meantime, think about it. Yes, the president has to change his rhetoric.
But let's tell the American people, stop listening, turn it off, reduce the ratings, and you will see how quickly the speaker stops speaking.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: We will end on that message. Governor Andrew Cuomo, good to see you. Thank you so much for coming on. We do appreciate it.
BALDWIN: And we will -- we will listen for the police update coming up later this hour.
Let's continue on. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
Let's reset if you're just joining us here.
This massive, massive manhunt is under way for whoever is behind those 10 suspicious packages sent to two former president and others who have been targets of President Trump. Moments from now, authorities here in New York will provide an update on where they are in this investigation. I know it's still early goings.
Just today, we are learning two packages were addressed to former Vice President Joe Biden and another was sent to actor Robert De Niro. The other targets, as the governor just alluded to there, the Clintons, the Obamas, former Attorney General Eric Holder, California Congresswoman Maxine Waters. Two packages were actually dressed to her.
Liberal billionaire George Soros, and former CIA Director John Brennan. And that was the package that was actually sent to us here at CNN in New York.
That particular device was just taken or is en route to Quantico, Virginia, via this FBI bomb truck for more testing.
Also new to us, that suspicious powder from the CNN package has been tested and initially determined not to be anthrax.
So let's start there with Pamela Brown. She's our CNN senior White House correspondent.
And so, Pamela, you have new reporting about where these packages may have originated. What are you learning?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, and this is key, because authorities are selected going to find who is behind this string of package bombs.
And investigators and now believe that at least some of the devices, the suspicious packages, at least some of the 10 originated in Florida.
Now, we know some of the packages where there at Debbie Wasserman Schultz's office. She was, as you know, Brooke, return-to-sender address there. But now authorities believe that at least some of these packages originated in Florida.
So that is where part of this investigation is focused, as the manhunt intensifies for who is behind this. As that is going on, authorities are analyzing these devices. We know, as you pointed out, the device that was recovered at CNN has been on its way to Quantico today. And authorities will pick that apart to see what clues they can get from that.
Now, something that has been perplexing investigators, Brooke, is that none of these pipe bombs went off. Pipe bombs are notoriously unstable, yet through all the jostling in the post office and other people carrying these packages, they haven't gone off, which makes you wonder, makes investigators wonder whether that was intentional or whether they were just poorly constructed.
But at this point, investigators are picking apart every single clue they can to determine who is behind this. And the thinking is among investigators is that more packages could be discovered.
I mean, just today, we're learning about two packages that were mailed to the former Vice President Joe Biden, a package mailed to Robert De Niro at his offices in Tribeca in New York. And so the concern is that there could be more out there, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Right. And, as the governor just said, you have to -- you have to remain vigilant and act like this is not over.
Pamela Brown, thank you so much for your reporting there.
Let's talk more about this investigation. Jeff Beatty is with me. He's a former FBI agent and CIA counterterrorism officer who has consulted with the Pentagon after anthrax letters were sent to Capitol Hill.
And we remember that was -- that was certainly a frightening, frightening time.
Also with us, David Chipman. He's a retired ATF special agent.
So, gentlemen, thank you so much for being with me.
And, Jeff, just starting with you, right this very moment, what are our investigators doing?
JEFF BEATTY, CIA COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICER: Well, one quick thing right before that -- thank you very much, Brooke.
BEATTY: I really appreciate your kindness over the years and Chris Cuomo's and Anderson and everybody else I have had a chance to work with there.
So I'm telling you this, because I would like to see you say, please don't do what you did yesterday in the future.
And by that, I mean you are vulnerable to a forced-exit ambush. You work in a very secure building. You have good measures in place which in fact detected one of these packages.
People pulling a fire alarm or driving you out of a secure space, out into the street, to a space that is not secure, is what I call a forced-exit ambush. You don't know anything about the parked cars there. You don't know anything about the people on the curb.
It's a very dangerous scenario. So I just caution you and hope that the next time, if you're forced out of the building, that you will pick a different venue for your own protection.
(CROSSTALK) BALDWIN: Let me just jump in. And let me just say, we will assess that.
And I was actually on a flight home from Europe and missed the whole thing, thank goodness, but my colleagues did not. And I really stand by and admire the CNN Time Warner Center security guards and NYPD, who helped make sure all of my friends here at CNN are safe.
So, taking that into full consideration, and assessing -- hopefully, there won't be a second time, but just -- just wanted to jump in and say that.
And I'm absolutely sure that the NYPD and others did their best to secure the space that you were occupying.
BEATTY: But real, real quickly, I would have to say -- and I'm sure David can clarify that for us -- it does not take 48 hours for ATF or the FBI to know whether or not these devices were intended to go off.
Very early preliminary examination of them will tell you whether or not things were constructed properly, and whether or not this device was, in fact, supposed to explode.
So the government knows, but they haven't told us yet, whether, in fact, these devices were supposed to explode. And I think that that's -- you have said it. Everybody has asked the question, why didn't any of these devices go off?
And it feeds into the political discussion that people are having. And it feeds into motive. So they will be looking at that, the motive, to try to identify who it is that did this and why, because it is curious that none of these devices went off.
In Boston, three devices one off by a couple of amateur kids, the Tsarnaev brothers. And why didn't these go off in a rather elaborate scenario?
They know. And it would help us all to know, so that we're dealing with the known, not speculating, not dealing with the unknown, as to whether or not these devices ever in fact were attempted to be a mass murder incident or whether they were just hoax devices.
BALDWIN: Well, let me -- David, let me ask you to speak to that. And what do you make of what we know? And it is still early going. And we don't know a lot. And I'm sure the government knows a lot. I hope they know a lot and just aren't sharing with us or the authorities.
We know at least one of them contained projectiles, glass shards. From what about these devices, are these materials you can buy at the Home Depot? What's your assessment of the devices themselves? DAVID CHIPMAN, RETIRED ATF SPECIAL AGENT: Well, I think this is the
You know, law enforcement knows a hoax device. I haven't heard that term used by law enforcement. This is an unprecedented, widespread attack, 10 devices. I have never heard anything in my law enforcement experience of this scope.
So this is the real deal. There could be a number of reasons why the devices didn't go off. And experts will know that. It's going to be quite easy for them, because the devices are intact. They will be able to examine this and come to a conclusion.
I think that, oftentimes, criminals are confident, yet not very competent. That could be part of what our story is. Or perhaps it was intentional. This was a threat, saying, I have the capability to do this.
What is unique, though, I would point out, is if shrapnel was included in a device, that is not something I have seen, including devices that at least the bomber didn't intend to do something.
And then the most important news I have learned over the last couple of 10 minutes on your -- on your show is this fact that we're getting more information about where these devices were delivered.
If we have different points, like Florida or -- and New York, then it becomes harder to imagine that we're dealing with a single person, because you can't be in two places at once.
So I'm sure investigators are spending as much time trying to track down with certainly the delivery methods of these devices as they're spending on the construction of the device itself. And hopefully NYPD will share some of that with us coming up.
BALDWIN: Yes, we will the coming up in just...
BEATTY: You know, Brooke...
BALDWIN: Quick, Quick, quickly, Jeff, no, know I want you to jump in.
But also, you know, all the packaging, all the tape, the postage stamps, I mean, I don't know if this person -- fingerprints, that kind of thing, what are they looking at?
Well, there'll be certainly looking for all of that. And that's rather easy for them to do.
If we look at the operations themselves, and put this in context with other operations -- you know, David said he'd never seen an operation that involve 10 different things. And I agree. There's probably more than one person involved with this. But I have also studied an awful lot of terrorist incidents, and I
have never seen a terrorist incident go forward without the terrorist having conducted a rehearsal.
Timothy McVeigh conducted rehearsals. The Tsarnaev brothers conducted rehearsals to make sure that their explosive device was going to function. So it's incredible to me that this elaborate, multiperson enterprise would go forward delivering these, some by courier, some by mail, without having, in fact, tested them to know that they can have confidence that the device will go off.
They also had to do extensive reconnaissance. They had to understand what security measures were in place that was going to screen mail headed for a former president, what security measures were in place at CNN.
If they wanted to blow up CNN, they could have put a package bomb in CNN's lobby. I don't believe there was an intention to blow up CNN. It would have been so easy to walk into your lobby, just...
BALDWIN: OK, OK. Just forward...
BEATTY: ... street side of the turnstile.
BALDWIN: Let's not -- that's giving me goose bumps to even think about even the thought of that.
It was a good day yesterday, in the sense that my friends and colleagues are OK and that nothing went off.
BALDWIN: But let's just -- let's leave it there. And, guys, hopefully, we will get more from NYPD. And, as we mentioned, some of these devices are en route to Quantico. They're going to get to the bottom of this.
Jeff and David, thank you both so much. Thank you.
Coming up next: President Trump going after the media on Twitter again today, reportedly telling people closer to him that he thinks he's being unfairly linked to the mail bomb attempts, but he's also ignoring his own rhetoric in the process. So let's have that conversation.
Also, as we have been mentioning, we're going to take you live to the New York Police Department headquarters. As soon as that news conference begins, live pictures there. We are expecting updates from the mayor, from the police commissioner and the FBI.
You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin .
BALDWIN: We're back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
And as we cover -- as we continue -- as we continue our special coverage, rather, not to be lost in all of this chaos, there have been two assassination attempts on two former presidents.
That is extraordinary and horrifying. Yet the current president has not mentioned them by name in public, nor has he reached out to them.
And there is a precedent for how former presidents react to any kind of terrorism. Bush 43, of course, defending Islam immediately after 9/11.
And Bill Clinton -- let me take you back to 1993 -- defended his successor against an Iraqi plot to assassinate Bush 41 in Kuwait.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1993)
BILL CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My fellow Americans, this evening, I want to speak with you about an attack by the government of Iraq against the United States and the actions we have just taken to respond.
This past April, the Kuwaiti government uncovered what they suspected was a car bombing plot to assassinate former President George Bush while he was visiting Kuwait City.
This attempt at revenge by a tyrant against the leader of the world coalition that defeated him in war is particularly loathsome and cowardly. We thank God it was unsuccessful.
The authorities who foiled it have the appreciation of all Americans.
It is clear that this was no impulsive or random act. It was an elaborate plan devised by the Iraqi government and directed against a former president of the United States because of actions he took as president.
As such, the Iraqi attack against President Bush was an attack against our country and against all Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: I asked my team to pull this clip this morning, because, in this extraordinary moment, Republican, Democrat, it doesn't matter. Humanity. This is about the right thing to do.
So let me bring in CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, also Rice University history professor.
And, Doug, I bring up the Bill Clinton-George H.W. Bush example because that is what presidents are supposed to do. DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I'm so glad,
Brooke, you played that clip of Bill Clinton, because that's exactly what Donald Trump should have done, talked directly to the American people.
After all, the president is a public information officer. There's a lot of confusion going on now. Imagine if you worked in a post office today. Imagine if people all over the country are looking suspiciously at their packages.
And President Trump's determined to be a one-note person, which is midterm elections are coming up, and I represent the Republicans.
He needed to have pivoted and addressed the country. He should have made a phone call to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, George Soros, and the others. He should have talked to Jeff Zucker at CNN. It was a moment to heal the country, pull it together and explain what's happening, sort of like Governor Cuomo did in the first part of his interview with you.
But, alas, Donald Trump is all about winning and the midterm, and he sees this as a political trick. So, he's avoiding being presidential.
BALDWIN: Governor Cuomo saying that Trump did call him.
BALDWIN: But, again, President Trump, listening to him, hasn't reached out, hasn't called former Presidents Obama and Clinton, didn't even mentioned them in his speech last night.
And I just wanted to take a moment. Douglas, you have covered president after president. How extraordinary is it that there was an assassination attempt against two of the six living presidents in the very same day?
BRINKLEY: It's truly unprecedented.
It's a horrific event that's occurred. We have political terrorism going on right now. The president keeps talking about people from Honduras eventually showing up at the border, but in our country now, there is a bomber that has been sending so far 10 packages out there, two presidents with assassination attempts.
The whole world is watching. And we have a largely mute Donald Trump. He just doesn't want to believe this is happening. And so there -- it's never a good idea in a national crisis for a president to be flippant.
I remember when George W. Bush broke -- right when Katrina hit on August 29, 2005, continued to give a speech in San Diego on foreign affairs, and then played air guitar. And he was roundly criticized for that. You have a situation here where Donald Trump did a little bit in Wisconsin last night talking about what's happening, and then did a typical political rally. He seems to be refusing to embrace this as a very serious crisis of domestic terrorism.
BALDWIN: It's a problem.
Douglas Brinkley, thank you very much, as always, for your perspective here.
Let me just remind everyone, moments from now, we are expecting an update from law enforcement on the investigation into these devices.
Shimon Prokupecz is there for us now.
Shimon, what are you expecting?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right.
So, we expect to hear from, obviously, the NYPD, the NYPD police commissioner, folks from the Counterterrorism Bureau, and, of course, obviously some of the folks that are coordinating this investigation, including the FBI, which is leading this investigation, as well as the ATF.
This press conference supposed to get under way in about 10 minutes or so -- so, hopefully, we will get more updates. We should get some new information regarding where this investigation stands.
And we will be right back.
BALDWIN: Right now, while New York investigators are -- were just discovering another suspicious package earlier this morning, President Trump was sending out a tweet attacking the media, had echoes of what he said at a rally last night, mere hours after urging the nation to come together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To stop the endless hostility and constant negative and oftentimes false attacks and stories. Have to do it. Have to do it.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: They have got to stop, bring people together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Former CIA Director John Brennan, one of the bomber's targets, sent out this blistering countertweet -- quote -- "Stop blaming others. Look in the mirror. Your inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies, and encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful."
CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger is with me.
It is nice to see you.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to see you.
BALDWIN: Here's the reporting we have from Jeff Zeleny over at the White House, that Trump is digging in, that he has no plans of claiming responsibility for any of this.
BORGER: Well, it doesn't surprise me. It doesn't surprise me.
He never looks at himself, never looks in the mirror, as John Brennan says.
BORGER: And it was absolutely stunning to me last night, when he said, we must stop treating our opponents as morally defective.
And I'm old enough to remember when he called the Kavanaugh opponents evil. Well, is evil morally defective? And then he said about the media, we must stop spreading false stories, false narratives, whatever.
What about Obama's birth certificate? Was that a true narrative? What about Ted Cruz's father participating in the assassination of JFK? Is that a false narrative that he was spreading?
So, it's this incredible inability to look at himself. And the staff is not saying, wait a minute. They're enablers.
BORGER: They're saying him, you know, you're right. The media is bad. You're not treated fairly.
By the way, I have never met a president or talked to a president or heard a president who thought the media treated him fairly, because, when you become president of the United States, you have to know you're going to get criticized, and you're going to get criticized every single day.
BALDWIN: Rise above.
BORGER: He should ask his brethren in the small club how they thought they were treated by the media.
BALDWIN: You have to rise above it.
BORGER: Well, you do.
But that's -- that's part of the job. And he doesn't get that part of the job, to be larger and not to get smaller.
BALDWIN: You mentioned last night.
BALDWIN: So, it was first right around this time yesterday when he spoken, and he called for unity. The line we keep hearing, we have to come together.
BALDWIN: And then, at beginning of his rally last night, he called for this civil tone.
And Ohio Governor John Kasich called him out for not taking some responsibility. Here he was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: 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 a unifier.