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Bombing Suspect Tracked Down by Fingerprint And DNA; Key Issue for FBI Now Is Discovering If Bomber Had Helpers; FBI Says 13 Bombs Mailed Are Not Hoax Devices; Sessions Has Not Called Bomber A Terrorist. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired October 26, 2018 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Photo of this individual at a Trump rally from 2017.

RENE MARSH, CNN GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT: Right, Brooke. So much we have been digging in to Cesar Sayoc's background and coming across his social media and within our own video archives. You are looking, it's highlighted there, this is a February 2017 rally in Melbourne, Florida. This is to -- toward the end of the rally, end of the event. What was happening in front of him was the reporters were going live from the rally and there he was holding a "CNN sucks" sign back in Florida back in 2017. We have been going through his social media. We do know that obviously authorities have been going through his social media as well, his Twitter account extremely political in nature. In going through many of his tweets, it is clear that he had his eyes on his targets before he even mailed those suspicious package packages.

As you go through, there's essentially a tweet for almost every person targeted from Cory Booker to the Clintons, to the Obamas, to CNN. He has a negative comment about all of those people on his Twitter feed. The criminal complaint makes the point that as recently as October 24th, Cesar Sayoc posted a tweet that was critical of Soros. Why that's an interesting piece of information is that tweet actually happened after the suspicious package was recovered from Soros' home. So, he had been clearly monitoring the events and when you go through his social media, extremely political in nature. There are several tweets at Donald Trump as well, wishing Donald Trump happy birthday. So, he was very active in that way on Twitter, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Rene, thank you. With me now Van Jones, the host of "THE VAN JONES SHOW" here on CNN. This is America?

VAN JONES, CNN HOST: Yes. Well, first of all, I just want to say any chance I get a chance to say this I want to say it, thank goodness for the way that Jeff Sessions has handled this. You know, obviously I have a lot of differences with Jeff Sessions but this is one of those moments where he showed absolute professionalism, patriotism, nonpartisanship and got after this. I think the world needs to see that. I think we all need to see that, that at the end of the day -- when van jones and Jeff Sessions are on the same page, something's happening. You have to understand this is very, very destructive to democracy. I thought it was so sad to see the man there holding the sign up, CNN sucks, whatever he was saying, I think the President is not to be held responsible for anybody who does stuff like this, you can't control what your followers do, but it can set certain people off and we all need to be more responsible with our rhetoric. We don't know who's listening when we're blowing off this steam saying CNN sucks, CNN sucks. Well, somebody may take that seriously and someone here could have been hurt. It's not the President's fault. There's a lot of hot rhetoric on all sides, but we need to start to tone this stuff down, reign it in so there's less room for people to feel they have life to do this sort of thing.

BALDWIN: On the rhetoric point, I want to play what the President said from the White House when he had been briefed by intel officials. He knew an arrest happened. This was the President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must never allow political violence to take root in America, cannot let it happen. And I'm committed to doing everything in my power as President to stop it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: You know, today in my opinion he said all the right things, but to your point about rhetoric, this is a man who has the biggest megaphone in this entire country --

JONES: In the world.

BALDWIN: And there was a missed opportunity to say America, in this political environment, we all need to tone it down.

JONES: No, I think that's right. There's teleprompter Trump and then there's Twitter Trump. They're not all the same Trump too often. I love when he goes offer the teleprompter and says something off his heart that is good. He could have done that more this time. It's not over. We're going to have days and days of more coverage. There's plenty of opportunities to clarify to his supporters and everybody else that this is not acceptable, that he does not want this from his supporters. If you like me and you want me to be President, do not do this and just let it be.

[15:35:00] BALDWIN: Your former boss at the White House, former President Barack Obama on the receiving end. They intercepted this package. He is one of the targets. He is speaking at an event a couple minutes from now. Hasn't said anything publicly yet. What do you want to hear from him?

JONES: Let's just be clear. President Obama has been under threat since he announced for President back in 2007 or whatever it was. He and the secret service and others said he was threatened excessively even for a U.S. President. So, he's used to this in some ways. I think that he as a credibility to step forward and say, listen, this is not the right way to go. His family lives under this threat for a long time, it not new to him. But it's new to the country to hear that this has gone as far as it's gone. Thank god some postal worker someplace stopped this thing and saved his family. He can speak about that, I think, but those of us listening to him have to remember this is new to us, it's not new to the Obamas.

BALDWIN: Van Jones, we'll tune in. Of course, the "VAN JONES SHOW", tomorrow night at 7:00 eastern. Your special guest Jared Kushner. We'll be watching. Thank you so much. Still ahead, we'll talk to a former postal inspector, member of the Unabomber task force. We'll get his take on today's developments. Stay right here.

[15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Let me bring in a retired U.S. Postal Inspector. He was there the day Ted Kaczynski was arrested. Paul, welcome to you. You have the insight we're all looking for. You were there, you talked to Ted Kaczynski after he was arrested, moved into that other cabin. I know the circumstances from then are quite different from today but, still, put yourself in the shoes of the investigators today. This guy sitting in the FBI facility in Florida, how do they get him to talk?

PAUL WILHELMUS, RETIRED POSTAL INSPECTOR: That's a really good question. Ted made it known from the get-go he'd talk to us about anything other than the case. So, we just sat and had a conversation with him about living in the woods and that kind of thing. The suspect they have in hand today, that's a good question. I don't know.

BALDWIN: That was a manhunt and this is a manhunt as well. This is an individual who had quite the criminal history, arrest, they had prints. Now we're learning they had a single fingerprint from this package that he was hoping to have it en route to Maxine Waters, the California Congresswoman. It because of the fingerprint they helped track him.

WILHELMUS: That's fantastic. Physical evidence was never something we enjoyed with Ted's devices. He went to great lengths to avoid leaving any kind of physical evidence.

BALDWIN: Your impression sitting across from Ted Kaczynski, that he had this arrogance about him and you were there as they were executing the search warrant, tell me more about what happens in the moments after a major arrest like this.

WILHELMUS: Ted just talked about general life in general, living in the woods, and wouldn't get into any specifics at all about why we were there that day. When the arrest warrant, affidavit, was given to him later in the afternoon, he read through it very deliberately, and he was very in tune with all the events of what was contained in that affidavit. Ted was just a really bright person, there's no doubt about it. You don't go to Harvard when you're 16 if you're not. So, I think that just made him different maybe than most of us in a lot of ways.

BALDWIN: As a former postal inspector, you've seen these pictures, the packages, these 13 IEDs, the block letter font, the misspellings, the amount of tape, the American flag stamps. What stands out to you?

WILHELMUS: It's interesting you say that, Brooke, because some of the features, some of the things we instruct postal employees to look for suspicious packages, usually excess postage, incorrect addresses, misspellings, that kind of thing, the postal service has protocols for the employees to identify suspicious packages. They set them aside and then they are investigated.

And usually they're nothing but they do have protocols they follow and these packages we've seen this week exhibit some of those very same traits, some of those things would only be suspicious to the recipient. The biggest one is I'm not expecting a package from that person. But we do have protocols at the Postal Service and I guess that's why they're protocols because you see them over and over.

[15:45:00] BALDWIN: There is a reason for it and again to reiterate what the head of the FBI said, there could be others. I'm sure postal service employees across the country are on high alert. Paul Wilhelmus, thank you for being with us. I want to bring in two more voices now, retired ATF senior special agent and explosives specialist Tina Sherrow, and retired FBI special agent bomb tech, Jim Maxwell.

Welcome to both of you. Let me read part of this criminal complaint that was unsealed in the DOJ press conference. Tina, to you first. Each of the 13 IEDs was largely similar in design and construction, and each consisted of approximately six inches of PVC pipe, a battery, a clock and explosive material and certain of the mailings included photographs of a target marked with a red x. What do you glean from that?

TINA SHERROW, RETIRED ATF SENIOR SPECIAL AGENT AND EXPLOSIVES SPECIALIST: What we gleaned from that is that law enforcement worked together like a well orchestrates symphony to bring the perpetrator to justice. And it certainly is indicative of the type of things that we would look for in a live device. And it gives us a lot of information in terms of how we proceed with the investigation moving forward, which the investigators did clearly and how they were able to get a fingerprint, DNA, and use all of that information to move forward with the investigation.

BALDWIN: Jim, what do you think of the fact that Christopher Wray kept referring to these as IEDs. your impression.

JIM MAXWELL, RETIRED FBI SPECIAL AGENT BOMB TECH: Well, from your reading the affidavit, what you have to keep in mind here is what constitutes as bomb? A bomb in my training, you would have to have a power source, a switch, a load meaning some sort of explosive material. So according to that affidavit, that basic criteria is met. The real question that needs to be answered, though, and this is what is incumbent upon the lab right now, is to prove that this combination of this battery, this clock and this energetic material actually did function. That actually would work as a bomb.

But right now, what's being laid out in that complaint is the basic criteria of what constitutes an explosive device. Right now, my major concern, I echo everybody's remarks here, this is a wonderful example of local, state and federal law enforcement working decisively and working together to achieve a common goal. And they did a great job, everything fell into place. Fingerprints were found, this guy was identified and my concern is determining whether he had any assistance and how many other devices are still in the flow. Those are the two things I think would be priorities right now.

BALDWIN: They didn't respond to it earlier, but how unusual is it, Tina, to have these 13 IEDs, these 13 package bombs and not a single one of them, thank goodness, detonated, especially after all the travel.

SHERROW: It is very interesting to wonder why they didn't go off. We don't know if it was simply a flaw in the way he did his design? Did he wire them incorrectly and perhaps there was a loose connection? The material inside of these devices is sensitive to heat, so they're a little more sensitive than other materials we might encounter in the explosives world. It will be really great to hear from law enforcement. It is interesting.

BALDWIN: And they have this treasure trove of evidence, Jim, and learned some while ago this is an individual kicked out of his parent's home, lived in his van and who knows if he was trying to put these things together where he slept.

MAXWELL: Exactly. And also, from a bomb technician's perspective, walking into that kind of environment, say he has a large quantity of pyrotechnic material, if that stuff becomes airborne, walking into a closed space is a very, very hostile environment and has a lot of potential. Because this material is subject to heat shock and friction but also static charge. Even the rubbing of two pieces of nylon clothing together is enough so a lot of caution has to be exercised in exploring that location or any location where he --

[15:50:00] BALDWIN: Any location, any location. The fact that they did take down the highway does make you think that would not have been where he put these together potentially. But they're going to get to the bottom of it. I just have the outmost admiration and respect to.

MAXWELL: Well, they did a wonderful job.

BALDWIN: They really, really did. Thank you both very much. Just a heads up. At any moment we're waiting to hear from former President Barack Obama since an individual tried to send a bomb to his home in Washington D.C. you're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. We'll be right back.

[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: We're going to go to Brian Stelter, who is standing by at the location of President Trump's next rally in South Carolina. Brian, we've been talking about this arrest and the rhetoric across the country. We saw the picture of this individual who was arrested at a Trump rally holding up a sign that was critical of CNN from just a year ago. This is where a lot of this rhetoric comes from.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and this is the first Trump rally -- this one tonight will be the first Trump rally since today's arrest and since we've learned some of the information about the suspect. Brooke, this rally is in this arena here, the Bojangles coliseum. It is nasty outside. It's just beginning to get crowded in here about three hours before President Trump is scheduled to speak. I've been speaking to people here and they're not interested in the bombs and of course they want to talk about the news media.

A man came up to me with a CNN sucks t-shirt on, called me fake news, but you know what he did then? He turned around, he came back and he said, hey, we're all people, we're all human. we all have a lot in common. Brooke, I have heard Jim Acosta and others say the same thing at these Trump rallies. There have be a lot of vitriol and invective but then they come and want to apologize and shake your hand. We'll find out tonight if President Trump will take the high road.

BALDWIN: We'll see if it's teleprompter Trump or twitter Trump tonight. Brian, thank you so much there.

STELTER: Exactly, yes.

BALDWIN: In Charlotte, North Carolina. We're going to a quick break. You're watching CNN.

[16:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Noteworthy that with these five federal crimes could face up to 48 years in prison. Still perhaps too early talking to one of our former federal prosecutors on whether or not they would go the terrorism route. Noteworthy they did not mention weapons of mass destruction, but significant that Christopher Wray stood up there and kept referring to these packages, bombs, as IEDs, 13 sent in total. And listening to the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, calling this utterly unacceptable and referring to as political violence. I'm Brooke Baldwin, thanks for being with me, "THE LEAD" starts now.