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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Several Wounded in Stabbing in Netherlands; Police Kill Suspect in Deadly London Bridge Terror Attack. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired November 29, 2019 - 16:00   ET

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


[16:00:01]

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And that does it for me. Thank you so much for watching. I hope you have a great holiday weekend.

"THE LEAD" starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Welcome to a special holiday edition of THE LEAD. I'm Erica Hill, in for Jake Tapper.

And we begin with breaking news in our world lead.

Three people injured in another stabbing attack, this one in a busy shopping district in the Netherlands, according to police, who are now asking for help from the public.

The new attack coming just hours after a different stabbing in the heart of London. That attack has left two people dead, the suspect killed by police. They are also calling that attack in London an act of terrorism.

Let's begin with CNN's Bianca Nobilo, who is covering the Netherlands attack.

So, Bianca, what do we know at this hour?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At the moment, all we know is that an attack happened on Friday evening in The Hague, in the Netherlands. This is obviously the key city. It's the seat of the Dutch Parliament.

It's also where the International Criminal Court is based. The city itself has a population of around half-a-million. And this was a particularly busy evening. As you may be able to see from some of the pictures, it is the Black Friday sale.

There were plenty of Christmas shoppers out there on the streets. And from what we understand, the attack happened within a department store on Big Market Street. We understand that three people have been injured. They have been

stabbed. And we're still waiting to hear more details from the police. As of yet, they haven't given us a motive. But they have said that the situation is -- quote -- "complex."

I'm also learning that police are looking for a man between the age of 45 and 50 apparently wearing a tracksuit and asking anybody who might be able to identify somebody of that description to come forward with more details.

But it is definitely a developing situation. As I said, nothing has yet been disclosed on the motive of this attack. But within the context of the other attack in London today, which you mentioned, obviously, there's an increased sensitivity -- an increased sensitivity towards this. And we will be monitoring the situation closely.

HILL: All right, Bianca, thank you. And we will continue to check in with you, of course, throughout the hour as we learn more.

Just hours before that attack in the Netherlands, a deadly terror attack unfolding in London, police confirming just moments ago two people have died after a stabbing near the iconic London Bridge. Three others were injured.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRESSIDA DICK, COMMISSIONER, LONDON METROPOLITAN POLICE: I am deeply saddened and angered that our city of London has again been targeted by terrorism.

It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to inform you that, as well as the suspect, who was shot dead by police, two of those injured in this attack in the London Bridge area have, tragically, lost their lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Police officers shot and killed the suspect, who was wearing what looked like an explosive device, but they believe that device was, in fact, a fake.

Witnesses recorded what appear to be members of the public tackling the suspect. You're looking at that, here taking away the knife, before the suspect was ultimately killed by police.

And I do want to warn you some of the video we're about to show you is graphic.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is live for us in London tonight. Nick, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the situation has been

contained, to the best of their knowledge. So what's happening on the ground right now?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in the next 20 minutes or so, the British prime minister will meet with his top security officials in the sort of basement of Downing Street to discuss this unfolding situation.

Behind me, though, we just learned from the head of London police that actually the Fishmonger Hall on the other side of the river there is where they believe the attack began. And you can just see up on the bridge a tent erected by British police, where we understand the actual killings themselves or the attack on the assailant -- or the restraining of the assailant seems to have occurred.

But here's how today's events unfolded.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALSH (voice-over): Terror returns to London Bridge. Recorded by witnesses from multiple angles, a group of people appear to restrain a man on the ground. Members of the public pull back.

Firearms police drag one man away. Then two shots are heard.

(GUNSHOTS)

NEIL BASU, U.K. HEAD OF COUNTERTERRORISM OPERATIONS: A male suspect was shot by specialist armed officers from the City of London Police, and I can confirm that this suspect died at the scene.

A number of other people received injuries during this incident. I'm now in a position to confirm that it has been declared a terrorist incident. I can confirm at this time we believe a device that was strapped to the body of the suspect is a hoax explosive device.

WALSH: A knife is seen pulled from the scuffle, yet still many ordinary Londoners appear to have thrown themselves at the assailant to restrain him.

[16:05:07]

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I also want to pay tribute to the extraordinary bravery of those members of the public who physically intervened to protect the lives of others. And, for me, they represent the very best of our country. And I thank them.

OLIVIA BIZOT, WITNESS: I was also in the Boston Marathon attacks in 2013, and also a very similar experience while I was at the marathon, sort of 20 minutes or something -- I can't remember how long -- but just before it actually happened, and sort of a very similar thing of just having a flood of people just running, and not really knowing what was happening, and just fear, like, a huge amount of fear on their faces.

And you could feel it as well in the energy of just everyone stressing out.

WALSH: The identity and motive of the suspect remains unclear.

Similar horror befell London Bridge in June 2017, when three attackers drove a van into pedestrians, and then launched a savage knife attack, some also wearing hoax explosive vests. Police killed the attackers in minutes, but, still, eight victims died.

After that attack, roadside barricades went up in London, some visible in these videos today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me. What happened?

WALSH: London Bridge would have been bustling at that time with commuters and workers in the city.

The extraordinary speed of the police response and reaction of members of the public a sign of how practiced and anticipated the horror of such attacks are in London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALSH: And, of course, the key unanswered question is, who was this man? Was his motivation terror-related, the police say, but it's unclear what ideology may have been fueling him?

And sad to say, too, U.K. Security Service have long pointed to mental health often being a contributing factor to incidents like this, but London Bridge now trying to get back to normal, almost heartwarming scenes of seeing restauranteurs inviting police patrolling the area here trying to make people safe in for a cup of tea, but that bridge behind me now still jammed with the buses that were stopped by police as the incident unfolded.

You can see the lights still going on there, London sadly too used to this kind of attack -- Erica.

HILL: Yes, too used to it, indeed.

Nick Paton Walsh, live for us in London tonight, thank you.

As we look at what we do know, as Nick just pointed out for us there, we don't know a lot at this hour about the suspect.

But the fact, Paul, that British police are saying this is a terror attack -- again, we don't know the motive. I haven't seen a claim of responsibility, to this point anyway, unless I somehow missed something.

But based on what we do know and the information that's come out, Paul, where is your mind at this time?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, one interesting detail is this fake suicide vest.

And we have seen the use of fake suicide vests in several ISIS- inspired attacks in Europe and in the West in recent years. One was on that very same bridge two years ago, when three attackers wearing fake suicide vests did a knife attack on that bridge and the surrounding area.

There was also an attack in January 2016 in Paris on a police station, where the perpetrator had a fake suicide vest. And, more recently, in Catalonia in August 2017, the perpetrators had fake suicide vests.

And in those attacks, the reason presumably they were wearing fake suicide vests is because they wanted to be killed by police, because they wanted to become martyrs because, in their warped world view, they wanted to go to paradise for doing that.

Was that the case with this attacker in London today? We don't know yet, because the police are not telling us what they think the motivation was. They're not specifying yet that this was a jihadi attack.

HILL: What is interesting too is the location.

So, with all of you, frankly, we have talked far too many times about these types of areas, right? This is well-known around the world. It's iconic. Tourists are here. But this is also, this area, London Bridge, very close to the major financial center of London.

All -- adding all of that up, Juliette, we talk a lot about protecting a lot of these targets. Nick just laid out for us there some of the barriers that went in place after 2017.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That's exactly right.

Look, I mean, in any urban environment like this, in London, and now we're seeing in The Hague, you're only going to be able to minimize the risk for the public. You will not get it to zero.

So how we think about it in security is, what kind of layered defenses can you have, especially for such a vibrant area around where London Tower is?

So, you do things to sort of try to stop the high-consequence events, including cars that would have caused a lot more damage than a knife. But you also focus on what we call right of boom, which is, after the incident, how fast can first responders get there?

You engage the public, as we saw here, and then there's a remarkable response within seconds by the Metropolitan Police, who obviously had to shoot to kill because they had no idea what -- well, when they see that they have no idea whether further harm may ensue.

So that is exactly think about it, try to prevent something bad from happening. But, if it does, are people prepared to stop more bad things from happening?

[16:10:07]

HILL: James, part of what will be key here, obviously, will also be speaking to some of the victims.

So we know that two people, tragically, were killed. It took a while to get information on victims, but we have also learned that three were injured.

I imagine what they can tell officials will be key here in putting together this picture.

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: A hundred percent, Erica.

And one of the critical things here too is understanding that bad guys, whether or not they're terrorists and whatever their political ideology, the perversion that they follow is, one of the key things here is, terrorists and bad guys follow the path of least resistance. They're like water.

So, two-and-a-half years ago, Paul spoke about the similar attack on that same bridge, three attackers from ISIS. They ended up killing eight people. They mowed people down with vehicles. The London police have now erected concrete bollards there to separate the pedestrians from vehicular traffic.

What now? In this instance, the attacker uses an edged weapon. And, Erica, a lot of times, people will question and say, well, why do police shoot people with a knife? I mean, why do they do that?

The availability of edge weapons and the amount of damage that you can do -- we know two people have been killed already, and there are a number of others wounded -- because knives are readily available. They don't require ammunition. You don't need a license for one.

You can nick somebody doesn't matter what kind of shape they're in. So -- and it's lethal. So this is something investigators are going to be looking at. The forensic piece of this is going to be very critical on that bridge.

HILL: And, Nic, as -- there's been a lot of talk today about Britain lowering its terror threat level at the beginning of November.

I talk about whether people were maybe off their guard, but I'm curious too. You cover this so well and so much of it. Is there also the chance that, in lowering that threat level, Nic, it may in some ways inspire people to carry out an attack, because they may think the guard is down?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know, I have to say, in this case, the attacker here, this lone assailant, as best we know at the moment, chose absolutely the wrong place, because it was an attack that -- at a location that had been chosen before.

And perhaps that was a motivating factor. Perhaps he also thought that he could kill a number of people by going to the same location, but the police already are very heavy in that area, the financial district. We have heard the mayor and the prime minister talk about the -- and the police commission as well, talk about the City of London Police.

The City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police came together. The city of London, the financial district, right at the end of the bridge there, is an area that has been targeted before in the past by other terror groups.

The police presence and capability and capacity and ability to move swiftly is well-known. That, on this case, they were on the scene and taking care of the attacker within five minutes is substantial.

There are other places that that attacker could have gone to that would have been perhaps harder for the police to reach for a number of reasons, and let's not speculate about where they might be, that they could have had a higher death toll.

So I think, in this case, the attacker chose the wrong place. And he chose the wrong place as well, and I would add to that London, because it's very clear, from what we saw today, not only are the police ready, but civilians on the street, passersby...

HILL: Right.

ROBERTSON: ... are ready to step in and take them down.

HILL: The public stepping in.

We're going to continue our coverage of this breaking news, not just the stabbing attack in London, but another in the Netherlands just hours later.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:18:02]

ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: We are back with our world lead.

Just moments ago, a Dutch state broadcaster reporting there is no indication of terrorism in the stabbing in The Hague, in the Netherlands a short time ago. That coming -- that stabbing, three people stabbed in The Hague. That happened just hours after a deadly stabbing attack in London which is being investigated as a terror attack. That attack in London, near the iconic London Bridge, again, two people killed in that attack. Three others wounded. The suspect was also killed.

As we look at this, of course, it's tough to ignore that this is the holiday season. We know in the Netherlands, as we're told by reporters there, this is the height of Black Friday shopping, which has made its way to European at this point as well. This incident happening in a department store in London, not in the middle of holiday shopping, but we are in full holiday mode.

And that, of course, Juliette, begs the question for people back here in the U.S. about what they should be doing as they're out and about. We can't forget the Christmas market incident in Germany from a few years ago.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That's -- that's exactly right. Look, we just have to assume that there is some sort of terror attack and the greatest threat here in United States is white supremacy is persistent and consistent but not existential. So, what I mean is there is going to be a level threat especially given the prevalence of guns in our nation. That means that people need to be aware and they need to be conscious. But also public safety is also ratcheting up because they're responding to different threat levels, different intelligence assessment and, of course, the holiday season.

So, you know, I tell people not to change their plans. There is no reason to at this stage and to continue forward because when you have a threat that is sort of consistent and persistent but not specific, you -- what are you going to do otherwise? Just stay home until there is world peace? That's just not going to happen.

And people just have to be rational and realistic about where they are in their surroundings, and then also, you know, push government as it does to be able to respond if something were to happen.

[16:20:08]

HILL: Nic, there's been so much talk for the last few months about -- you know, we've been told the ISIS caliphate was defeated, that al Qaeda is floundering, and yet, the terror groups of people have heard of may not be strong but they are certainly still in existence. Is there -- I'm sorry. Go ahead.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I was going to say, look, I mean, there will be a concern and there was a concern, and there has been a concern going back to when, you know, hundreds of radical-minded youngsters went from Britain and the other European nations, as well, and the concern was when their caliphate was defeated as it is territorially, not ideology, many of them would try to return home. But I think the reality is, that the numbers returning back to European have seemed to be dropping off, therefore, the perceived threat of those coming back and the ability of intelligence to step up their readiness, to have more operatives to be able to cope with those increased levels, they are at that stage where they are seeing levels of returning potential ISIS fighters and supporters. They've seen those levels drop off.

So, they have a better handle on them. That doesn't mean people went goat through the net. The lead attacker on the London Bridge in 2017 had been under the watchful eye of British intelligence services and then shifted their attention, we don't know about this particular attack but definitely that perception exist that that threat was there.

Perhaps the biggest concern is that all of these guys and women that went off to fight in Iraq and Syria form networks and it is hard to track those networks as they come back. But the reality is that the perception of the threat and the reality of the threat had been dropping off. HILL: Paul, there is the possibility, especially from what we know at

this point, that this is someone who may not have been party to any terror group. This is called a terror attack but this person has not been linked, this suspect could be somebody who was inspired perhaps by something online, whether it'd be one of the well-known terror groups or something else.

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERROR ANALYST: Absolutely. Absolutely there is that possible. And I think we're only going to learn more in the days ahead.

The first thing that the British will have to do is identify the attacker and from there they could look at social media and network of contact to see if there is some kind of inter-connectivity with any kind of extremist or even a terrorist group. There is no claim of responsibility so far by any terrorist group, nothing from ISIS.

And in the last week, we have seen a massive takedown of ISIS propaganda on the Internet which was coordinated by Europol. So, it's possible we haven't heard from ISIS because they're finding it much more difficult this week to put more propaganda out.

HILL: All right. Appreciate all of you, joining me with your expertise.

We're going to continue to monitor this breaking news both out of London and The Hague, so we'll stay on top of that for you.

Meantime, back in the U.S., Democrats who were waiting on the biggest RSVP yet on the impeachment investigation also sending out some new information on that deadline today. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:28:04]

HILL: Welcome back to our politics lead.

The White House now has one week to decide whether to participate in the Judiciary Committee's impeachment proceedings, which kick off next week on Capitol Hill.

As CNN's Alex Marquardt reports, this comes amid new questions about the testimony of a key witness, one the president claims clears him of any wrongdoing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new showdown brewing on Capitol Hill. The Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, this afternoon sending a letter to the president, asking him to reply by next Friday, saying whether he'll participate or not in the next round of impeachment hearings.

No response so far from the White House but Trump is not expected to be there.

Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham saying Wednesday, the president has done nothing wrong and the Democrats know it.

REP. STEVE COHEN (D-TN): When you complain and complain and have the opportunity to put your story to the American public and you don't want to do it and you don't want to be subject to cross-examination yourself, it shows you don't have a very good story and a very good defense.

MARQUARDT: This coming week, the Judiciary Committee is set to take the baton as the impeachment inquiry moves into a critical new phase. They are now tasked with drawing up articles of impeachment based on historic hearings earlier this month with current and former officials with roles related to the Ukraine scandal.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL): I think there is a mountain of evidence that has come to light through a public testimony, through the depositions that I've had an opportunity to listen to.

MARQUARDT: The House Intelligence Committee is expected to release their report detailing what was uncovered during their eight-week investigation. Nadler will use that as a guide, basing the articles of impeachment on those Ukraine-related charges that the president was trading a White House meeting and military aid for Ukraine with investigations that he wanted for political purposes.

Democrats are also mulling adding additional articles of impeachment, including an obstruction of justice article based on the Mueller probe.

Across the board, Republicans have stood by the president and bashed the Democratic-led process.

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): This will be the first partisan impeachment in the history of our country. I think Chairman Schiff and Speaker Pelosi knew from the very beginning how they would vote and what they were going to try to prove.

MARQUARDT: Another of the president's efforts to defend himself is also eroding.