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CNN RIGHT NOW
Police Say, Suspect Killed After Terror Attack Near London Bridge; Trump Preps For Consequential Weeks In Impeachment Push; Kamala Harris Aide Resigns In Scathing Letter About Campaign. Aired 1- 1:30p ET
Aired November 29, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN HOST: Yes. For her, it seems like it is do or die in Iowa, so we'll see, just a couple of weeks left.
Thanks for joining us on Inside Politics. Ana Cabrera is in for Brianna Keilar. She picks up our coverage Right Now.
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello on this Friday. I'm Ana Cabrera.
This is a special edition of CNN Right Now. Breaking news, police are investigating a terrorist incident at London Bridge where a number of people were stabbed. We want to warn you that the video you are about to see is graphic.
And as you can see, members of the public tackled the man to the ground as police moved people away, shots ring out.
The suspect died at the scene.
CNN International Security Editor Nick Paton Walsh is there for us.
Nick, why is this being treated as a terror incident?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well, we don't know the motivation of this man and police say much about this is still unclear, particularly that in itself.
But this particular assailant, you saw him in that graphic video on the ground there. He was said by police to be wearing a hoax device, a suspicious vest to some degree, possibly a suicide vest. That will give you some indication as to the kind of motivation perhaps behind this.
And he was also, we understand, carrying a knife too and some of the video shows the public throwing themselves at him, wrestling him, one, in fact, seen taking away what looks like a knife from the scene of the attack.
Police say they were called to premises. We don't know exactly where that was. But that appears to be where this attack began around about 2:00 today. And then this incident occurred on London Bridge, at which point you see police officers pulling away a member of the public described by London's mayor Sadiq Khan as being the very best of humanity, attacking this particular assailant, trying to get control of him.
They pull a member of public away presumably for their own safety, perhaps seeing this suspicious hoax device upon the body of the assailant and then the police take the, presumably, unavoidable decision to shoot this particular attacker. He's then said to have died at the scene.
After that, of course, a lockdown comes into effect here in Central London. One of the busiest parts, so close to the financial center here as well. People towards the end of their Friday lunch time perhaps thinking about going home early.
Scenes of panic, fear, gunshots never heard in a part of London like this hardly. Sadly, stabbing crime is part of gang culture, but this caused deep shock at the heart of -- this part of the city that police called.
And they're still, in effect, around me. We've seen large numbers of armed police coming and going at this point. They're bringing in further support here to begin this investigation and to be sure too there's no residual threat in the buildings around here.
I'm a good two blocks away from where London Bridge begins itself where that attack actually was. But the cause of concern being this man may not have acted alone.
It does appear, according to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, that the incident is far, as they know, over. For the last few hours, they've been referring to this as an ongoing situation. It seems like they have it more under control. We're hearing from station staffs that key parts of the underground, the metro facility here may begin reopen soon.
It seems like they have a handle on this particular incident. The assailant is dead, several people stabbed, some seriously injured. But the key question now, who was this man, what was his motivation, where did he initially begin his attack at about 2:00 today and what does this mean in terms of the enduring terror threat towards London, sadly, a city so frequently targeted in the past years. Ana?
CABRERA: There a lot more questions to answer. Nick Paton Walsh at the scene for us, thank you.
Earlier, I spoke to one witness who was standing near the scene and captured the moment a suspect was apprehended. Again, we are not going to show you the moment that suspect was shot by police, but you also see there's a man who takes a knife from the scene, we decided to blur that part of the video, right now, because we don't know who that man is or his role. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LLOYD GRIFFITHS, EYEWITNESS WHO TOOK VIDEO: When I realized something was happening, I kind of looked up from my phone, and there was -- looked like members of the public were fighting with a man that was -- it looked like he was trying to be pinned down on to the pavement, the left-hand side of the pavement on London Bridge.
At that moment, I kind of saw like -- it looked like a shine of light come across from the man on the floor. And I realized quickly it was a knife. The sun was shining on the knife. And it was a relatively large knife. At that point, I realized it was something quite serious going on there.
And very quickly, it was at least one member of the public ran out to the cars to help. And then police went over with some guns, and it ended with the man being shot.
CABRERA: So it was your understanding as you were recording it that it was a police officer who fired that shot?
GRIFFITHS: Yes. Definitely, yes.
CABRERA: How quickly did police respond to this incident?
GRIFFITHS: Within seconds. It was very, very fast.
CABRERA: And that was before you started recording?
GRIFFITHS: The police weren't there when I first started recording, but from my (INAUDIBLE) I think it was maybe 20 seconds later. So this was all under a minute, I would say. They were very quick and very swift. And thank goodness for the police in London.
CABRERA: And after you stopped recording then, what happened?
GRIFFITHS: We were kind of locked on the bus for a little bit. And from that moment then, we were -- everybody was kind of like wondering what was happening. And we didn't know if there were explosives on him or anything like this, so we all kind of went to the back of the bus to get as far away as possible.
And then we heard the police kind of like shouting at us and people more or less saying run, so the driver opened the doors and then we just ran as quickly as we could.
CABRERA: Joining us now is retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent James Gagliano.
James, right now, we still don't know the motive. We know someone was shot and killed. Yet everything is still on lockdown. Are police worried about another potential attack?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, that's got to be the number one concern, Ana. The first thing is police, at first, treated this like it was a terror attack. That's what you got to do in the post-9/11 world. You assume the worst. You assume terrorism until proven otherwise.
Now, when the police did come out and gave a quick press statement, they did say they have declared this a terror attack. We don't know what type of terror group this was, if it was a group or a lone offender.
Number one priority right now, determining were there any accomplices to this. And, Ana, that just doesn't mean somebody that was working directly with this attacker but whether or not this attacker was inspired or directed by some other type of extremist group.
CABRERA: As far as the investigation, what needs to happen before anything can be reopened?
GAGLIANO; Well, first of all, I mean, London Bridge, the significance of London Bridge, I mean, the IRA bombed it in 1992, you and I sat on set one weekend together. I believe it was June 30, 2017. And there was a terror attack that had marked similarities to this one.
What do I mean by that? It was a vehicle attack. This one doesn't appear to have been a vehicle attack, but a knife was used, an edged weapon and a hoax bomb vest, the suicide bomb vest.
So right now, authorities are going to have to keep a significant portion of that bridge closed. They're going to have to do everything they can to harvest as much forensic evidence as they can. And then, obviously, this is the 21st century, they're going to be mining social media. They're going to be looking for whatever digital imprint or digital exhaust this attacker might have left behind.
CABRERA: As we've been discussing, London officials have declared this a terrorist incident. I want to be careful not to jump to any conclusions before we know more. But does this have the markings of any specific group?
GAGLIANO: It does. And I heard some terrorism experts talk about this. This appears to be the type of extremism. Is it similar in nature to the one that happened a couple of years ago that I was just referencing in June of 2017. That was an attack by ISIS.
Now, no terror group has come out and claimed responsibility for this. And for police, while we assume terrorism, meaning there was some political goal or aim that was associated with the violence or the intimidation or the threats of saying, we always have got to be cautious to follow the evidence wherever it takes us. And I assume that once police have some more information on this, they'll be releasing it pretty fairly soon.
CABRERA: As always, James Gagliano, you're great to have on all of these incidents with your expertise and insights. Thank you.
GAGLIANO: Thank you, Ana.
CABRERA: Still to come, will the White House show up to a consequential impeachment hearing? The clock is ticking.
Plus, the Taliban undermines President Trump's surprise revelation that peace talks have restarted.
And one of Kamala Harris' campaign aides writes a scathing resignation letter that describes a campaign imploding.
CABRERA: It's a big week ahead for President Trump and the impeachment inquiry. The House begins phase three officially. It started with closed-door testimony, then the public testimony with the House Intelligence Committee, and now the House Judiciary Committee buttons it up with hearings of their own as they try to nail down the articles of impeachment.
The president has been invited to send his own attorneys, but, so far, no decision from the White House. In fact, when the hearing starts, the president will be out of the country, far away from Washington. He is heading to England where he'll have to explain to European allies why the U.S. is cutting money for NATO.
Our Jeremy Diamond is in West Palm Beach. And it is an important week in this possible impeachment of President Trump. What are you hearing from there?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana.
Next week will be an extremely significant week because it heralds the next phase of this impeachment inquiry. Early in the week, we're expecting the House Intelligence Committee to submit its report, outlining the allegations -- the central allegations against President Trump in this Ukraine scandal. And that will essentially key up the first public hearing from the House Judiciary Committee.
That is coming on Wednesday and it will be the first phase of this next phase of the impeachment inquiry where the House Judiciary Committee could begin drawing up articles of impeachment. That is the committee that is responsible for doing that. And it will start this next series of weeks during which House Democrats will essentially have to decide whether or not they will move forward with impeaching President Trump.
For now, House Democrats are indicating that that could happen by Christmas. We know that that timeline has shifted several times, but we could finally get an answer to whether that happens by Christmas time.
For the White House though, the main question will be whether or not to participate in those House Judiciary Committee hearings. So far, the House Judiciary Committee, as you mentioned, Ana, has invited the White House to have an attorney present for that first hearing on Wednesday.
The White House so far has not made a final decision. But as of now, they are leaning against that. That, Ana, is despite the White House's central complaint that the process has been biased against them and that they have not been afforded the opportunity to participate in those hearings so far. Ana?
CABRERA: Okay. Jeremy Diamond for us, thank you.
As the House Judiciary Committee prepares to get down to the details of impeachment, we have to wonder what will that final bill look like. Some are advocating for narrow articles of impeachment, zeroing in on the Ukraine scandal. But my next guest is going the other way.
Sophia Nelson is a former Republican Council for the House Oversight Committee during the Clinton impeachment. Sophia, it's good to have you here.
Some are advocating for narrow articles of impeachment, but you think narrowing the articles would be shortsighted. Why?
SOPHIA NELSON, FORMER HOUSE GOP INVESTIGATIVE COUNSEL: Well, two things. First of all, I think that this is bigger than Ukraine, right? It started with the Mueller report, which I think that people thought, okay, that was over, and then Ukraine just came out of nowhere.
So I think you're really looking at the standard for a president, Ana, what's the standard going to be going forward. And I think there's an abuse of power. I think there's an obstruction of justice. I think you have a number of places you can go with this that a broader than just Ukraine.
Ukraine is more narrow. But I think the breaches and the things that this president has done are a lot bigger than just Ukraine.
CABRERA: You mentioned abuse of power, obstruction of justice. Any other articles you would recommend or are those the two?
NELSON: No. I think emoluments violations seriously so. I mean, the fact that the Secret Service and other federal agencies who had to spend millions of dollars since this presidency began at Trump properties to protect the president and those are the places that he goes. I think the emoluments violation is huge.
And then I think you're also looking at obstruction of Congress, not complying with subpoenas, not showing up and producing documents, that Congress is a co-equal branch of government.
And while the president does enjoy protections under executive privilege, executive immunity, I think Judge Jackson slapped that down this past week saying it's not an absolute immunity under article II as the president suggests he has as president.
CABRERA: What do you say to critics who would argue your articles are too broad, including Speaker Pelosi and Adam Schiff who want to keep it narrow?
NELSON: I'm not sure that they do want to keep it narrow. I think that if you just focus on the Ukraine issue of obstruction or inviting a foreign power to get involved in our elections, I think that argument is going to be what you saw from the Republicans and the same in the Senate, which is, okay, maybe the call wasn't perfect, maybe it wasn't great, but he had no intent to really do anything that was illegal or an abuse of his office.
And I think it's going to be harder for them to prove. You watched the same hearings as I did, and the republicans didn't budge on this. I was frankly surprised. I thought some of the witnesses were compelling and really problematic for the president. But I don't expect this to get any different after articles and once it goes to the Senate.
So I would go broader on things that I think have a standard for future presidents, Ana, that will be problematic if we don't define what can a president do and what can he not do. And I think that's really what this impeachment needs to be about.
CABRERA: A quid pro quo though is pretty straightforward versus the Mueller stuff and beyond. If you expand the articles beyond Ukraine, don't you run the risk of maybe muddying the waters and maybe losing some of the 50 percent support impeachment has right now with the public?
NELSON: I think quid pro quo is clear for you and me in Washington. I don't think it's clear for people in Iowa or Kansas or New Mexico or Texas or other places in this country. I think that's inside the beltway language. I think that what people can relate to is a president abusing the power of his office in any number of ways that I listed for you that I think regular people can then relate to. Is that really what we want a president to do in the future, not just this president but what about going forward?
Ana, my position hasn't changed. If you can't impeach this president, you can never impeach any president, in my opinion, going forward. Because it's never going to get, I think, this serious in terms of a number of violations, unless there's a president waiting out there that we really don't want to learn about.
CABRERA: Sophia Nelson, happy Friday. Great to have you with us.
NELSON: You too. Thanks.
CABRERA: Thank you.
New drama in the 2020 race. One of Kamala Harris's campaign aides resigning with a scathing letter about the campaign. Hear what she reveals.
And back to the breaking news, a number of people stabbed in what London officials are calling a terror incident. We'll go back live. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.
CABRERA: To the campaign trail now. And the last time that Democratic Candidate Kamala Harris polled in the double digits was back in June after that first debate. She was at 17 percent. Right now, however, not so much. You can see Biden is still on top but Harris has plummeted to 3 percent. So what happened between June and November?
CNN Political Analyst and National Political Correspondent for The New York Times, Alex Burns, has some insight into that. His latest article is entitled, How Kamala Harris's Campaign Unraveled. And this is really a fascinating read, Alex.
You spoke to more than 50 current and former campaign staff members, and you write that, to some of them, Harris' decline has really not been a surprise, almost seemed predictable. Explain.
ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANAYST: So two of my colleagues, and I spoke to dozens and dozens of people who are close to the campaign, formerly worked in the campaign, still work in the campaign, contributed money to the campaign, and the picture we came away with was really of the Harris campaign as an organization that is at war with itself, that it is divided into feuding camps, even inside the groups of Kamala Harris loyalists, people who are based out in California versus at her campaign office in Baltimore, people related to her who are in senior positions of the campaign versus people who joined much later and who simply at almost every level do not see eye- to-eye about the campaign's message and strategy.
And at the heart of all this, and I think most of the people who are in or close to her inner circle would agree, at the center of this is a candidate who has never really defined a clear and consistent message for why she's in this race, why she wants to be the president.
CABRERA: You write about what some have described as flawed decisions. Walk us through what were those flawed decisions.
BURNS: Well, early on, the campaign made a set of big strategic bets on some of the later states in the primary calendar, South Carolina and Nevada, downplay Iowa and New Hampshire. That turned out, I think they now acknowledge, to be a significant mistake. They wanted to develop a direct feud with Joe Biden early, as you saw in that first debate. They were not able to convert a big clash with Joe Biden on the debate stage into sort of sustained growth for Harris in the primary.
There was a debate and there continues to be a debate inside her campaign about how to deal with her record as a prosecutor in San Francisco and as the attorney general of California. Warring factions split between Senator Harris' sister and her consultants who worked with her starting back in California over whether to lean in to her record as a district attorney and law enforcement official or to make some apologies for it and to make ideological and policy concessions to the left wing of the Democratic Party.
You add it all up and you have a campaign that sort month-by-month or at least season-by-season has been changing message, changing strategy, and in a campaign of this scale, that kind of inconsistency is rarely a blueprint for success.
CABRERA: In fact, finally, there was a final straw for an important position inside her campaign. The state operations director writing a resignation letter which you got your hands on, and let me read part of it.
This is my third presidential campaign and I've never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly. She goes on to say, it is unacceptable that with less than 90 days until Iowa, we still do not have a real plan to win. She says the treatment of staff specifically was the final straw for her.
What kind of treatment is she referring to?
BURNS: Well, that was the final straw for a lot of people, including people who are still working for the campaign but are not terribly happy about it. That when you got to the end of October, early November, the campaign started letting people go in large numbers, essentially wiping out their operations in states like New Hampshire to focus on Iowa.
There was a meeting at the beginning of November with her campaign manager and a whole bunch of folks on the staff where he was asked repeatedly to sort of walk through the strategic implications of these firings and this sort of reorientation of resources and how it positions them to win, and they were not satisfactory answers forthcoming in that meeting. So people really do feel -- people still inside the campaign, a lot of people have left the campaign, like they were dealt with capriciously, and that changing strategy so many times and by never really defining a clear plan for winning in those early states.
The campaign kind of wreaked havoc on a lot of people's lives, people who picked up and moved to these states or turned down other jobs in order to work for a candidate that they believed in.