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The Brief with Bianca Nobilo
Two Dead In London Bridge Terror Attack; White House Has A Week To Decide Whether To Participate In Impeachment Proceedings; Iraqi PM: Will Submit Resignation To Parliament. Aired 5-5:30p ET
Aired November 29, 2019 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: All that happening at 9 A.M. and 12 P.M. Eastern. Our continuing coverage on CNN continues right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Live from London, I am Bianca Nobilo, following Breaking News.
Two years after an attack on London Bridge, it's happened again.
British people, British police say that two people were killed and three were injured after a man began attacking people with a knife. Police shot
and killed the suspect just minutes later, after bystanders tackled the man and wrestled the weapon from his hands.
Nick Paton Walsh is near London Bridge.
Nick, what have you learned over the last couple of hours about exactly what happened today?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well police have revealed that behind me on the other side of the river here, Thames, is
Fishmongers' Hall. That is where the attack started before 2 o'clock this afternoon.
And you can just about make out, perhaps above that, on the bridge, the tent, which we believe is where police are continuing their forensic
investigation. That's where some of the more graphic scenes today, in which ordinary Londoners threw themselves at this assailant before police shot
him, seemingly believing that he was carrying an explosive vest.
Here's how today unfolded.
WALSH: 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 pulled back. Firearms, police dragged one man away, then two shots are heard.
CRESSIDA DICK, COMMISSIONER, LONDON METROPOLITAN POLICE: I am deeply saddened and angered that our City of London has again been targeted by
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.
WALSH: A knife is seen pulled from the scuffle, yet still many ordinary Londoners appeared to have thrown themselves at the assailant to restrain
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 lives of others. And, for me, they represent the very best of our country, and I thank them.
OLIVIA BIZOT, LONDON BRIDGE ATTACK WITNESS: I was also in the Boston Marathon attacks in 2013, sort of very similar thing of just having a flood
of people just running, and nobody knowing what was happening, and just fear, like 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.
WALSH: 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
London Bridge would have been bustling at that time with commuters and workers in the city.
WALSH: 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.
Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.
NOBILO: We have heard the details. The suspect in the terror attack killed and wounded people with a large knife. He had an explosive device strapped
to him, which was a hoax device. Police did - obviously didn't know that at the time they approached him.
One question now is, was he acting alone? Now the police are looking into that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK: That's obviously a very important line of investigation for us. Was this person involved with anybody else? If so, who? And, of course, we will
be working to minimize any threat that may be out there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that the U.K. is strong enough to withstand any attack on its soil.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Anybody involved in this crime, in these attacks, will be hunted down, and will be brought to justice.
And I think the message that we send to them and anyone associated with this type of attack is one that will be familiar and that is that this
country will never be cowed or divided or intimidated by this sort of attack, and our values, our British values, will prevail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, is offering his heartfelt thanks to people who jumped into harm's way to stop the attacker before the rampage
got any worse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON: Members of the public didn't realize at the time that was a hoax device, and they really are the best of us, another
example of the bravery and heroism of ordinary Londoners, running towards danger, risking their own personal safety to try and save others. And I
want to say thank you to them, on behalf of all Londoners, but also because it shows the best of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Nina Dos Santos is with us now. She's near London Bridge where the incident occurred. Nina, you've been speaking with eyewitnesses all day.
What have they told you?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well many of them described pretty dramatic scenes.
I can tell you the - what I saw when I arrived 45 minutes after this incident had taken place, Bianca, was the first thing I was confronted with
was a mother with a distressed toddler. The woman was flushed in the face. She was crying.
She was being escorted by a police officer who actually flagged down the taxi that I was just about to get out of, and said, "Could you please give
your taxi to this mother? She needs to get away from here with her son as soon as possible."
And then, later on, throughout the course of the afternoon, I spoke to various people, two Italian tourists, who said that they hadn't realized
immediately that it was gunshots, but people just started panicking.
And one witness who actually said that this was the second time she'd been involved in something like this. Take a listen to Olivia Bizot, who's a
journalism student who has been caught up in something like this before.
BIZOT: I was coming on my bike and I heard explosions. And then the police came and told all the cars to stop going. And then, all of a sudden, a
whole flood of people were running, looked absolutely terrified.
And I sort was just asking them what was going on, what was happening? And then, one of them said that there were explosions, and just everyone just
kept running, running, running.
SANTOS: When you say explosions, could they have been gunshots?
BIZOT: Well I think so. But, at the time, I didn't really understand. And I kind of assumed it was construction or something, but it was only when the
police came and then told us to stop, and then when the person told me it was gunshots.
SANTOS: How concerned were you and how panicked were the people?
BIZOT: Everyone was incredibly panicked, really stressed out, didn't know what was going on. And everyone just made everyone else continue to run.
SANTOS: Now, we were just talking before about this is the second time that you've had a lucky escape from an incident like this.
BIZOT: Yes. I was also in the Boston Marathon attacks in 2013 and also have very similar experience whilst at the marathon, sort of 20 minutes or
something, I can't remember how long, but just before it actually happened, and sort of very similar thing of just having a flood of people just
running and nobody knowing what was happening, and just fear, like huge amount of fear on their faces. And you could feel it as well in the energy
of just everyone stressing out.
SANTOS: And today, you feel - felt the same?
BIZOT: Yes. And it reminded me of that afterwards when I finished and sort of got to a place where people were calming down, and then I remember
thinking, "Whoa! That - that was just the same."
SANTOS: So, as you can see there, Bianca, there are just so many of stories here of people who have been caught up in this.
They may not have seen this person be shot down, but they certainly heard it. And it was the - just the movement of the crowds that they said was
also distressing, the fact that people had to get out of the area quickly.
And just to show people how things are looking at the moment, London Bridge Station, a major thoroughfare here, where thousands of people come through
every day, it was shut for more than four hours at one point. It opened a couple of hours ago.
And things are just getting back to normal. But the security cordon is still quite wide. As I was just saying earlier, we're about a block and a
half away from where the start of London Bridge is. This is believed to be where this incident first started to occur. The police forces said that
they're likely to keep this cordon up for quite some time.
Right at the moment, we have a special COBRA meeting that's taking place between the security officials, the Metropolitan Police, members of the
government, and also the Mayor of London to try and piece together who this individual was, what their motivation was, and also who has been caught up
in this, this event that sadly has cost two innocent people their lives, and three more people remain in hospital this hour, Bianca.
NOBILO: Nina Dos Santos, thanks very much, coming to us from close to where the incident occurred earlier today.
A number of witnesses, CNN spoken to, have mentioned the quick police response. Dal Babu, former Chief Superintendent of the London Metropolitan
Police explains why that is.
DAL BABU, FORMER CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT, LONDON METROPOLITAN POLICE: People would have either been doing Christmas shopping. It's Black Friday event
here today, so a lot of people out there shopping, although they had gone out for their lunch hours.
On the other side of the bridge, 2.5 years ago, there was an attack where eight individuals were killed. And so, we - people will be very, very
concerned and worried.
Now, as it happened, the attacker chose the side of the bridge, which is governed by City of London Police.
London has three different police forces, the Metropolitan Police, City of London and British Transport Police. And the City of London Police cover a
very small area. So, you had officers reacting very, very quickly.
In London, we've actually had quite a significant reduction, and across Britain, in police officers, and there was a big debate in our General
Election about the need to replace those police officers and the police staff.
So, in some ways, the fact that this attack happened on the one side of London Bridge, which is coterminous with City of London Police, meant the
police were able to respond very, very quickly.
NOBILO: Dal Babu there.
We just played you a sound bite from Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier today. But he just spoke again, moments ago, about the London Bridge terror
attack. Let's take a listen.
JOHNSON: Well we've received the heartbreaking news tonight that two members of the public have lost their lives in this attack. And obviously
our thoughts are very much with them, their families, their loved ones, and everybody affected by the attack.
And my thanks go first of all to the emergency services, the - the police, for their bravery and professionalism.
And, to repeat again, my thanks to those members of the public, who put themselves in harm's way to protect others. And I think they represent the
best of our country. And I thank them on behalf of the rest of our country.
I'm now going to be chairing the government's emergency COBRA committee. And while it is too early to say exactly what happened, we will make sure
that the government give - gives the police and the security services all the support that they need.
There will be now, for reassurance purposes, an enhanced police presence on the streets, and we're not only, as you know, putting 20,000 more police
officers on the streets of this country.
But I have long argued that it is a - a mistake to allow serious and violent criminals to come out of prison early. And it is very important
that we get out of - of that habit, and that we enforce the appropriate sentences for dangerous criminals, especially for terrorists that I think
the public want to see.
And I'm going to go into COBRA now. And all decisions arising from that meeting will be communicated to you as soon as we have them.
I can't really go into the details now, except to say that as far as we can tell, the incident at London Bridge has been contained. But anymore that we
get full will be - we'll be passing out after COBRA's taken place.
I think it's very important that when people are convicted of very serious and violent crimes, and potentially violent crimes, that they receive the
custodial sentences that I think the public would want to see. And that's something that we've said - I've said since I became Prime Minister and I
think it's something that the - the public will want to see.
Well, I think it's very important that in a democracy we continue to get on with the democratic process.
And I think it's vital that we show respect to the victims, to their families, and certainly we - we have acknowledged that, and campaign -
campaigning has been suspended, and the opposition parties have also suspended campaigning in London.
But I think it's very important in a democracy that we are not bowed, we're not intimidated by terrorism, and that we get on with the normal democratic
processes. And that's what we'll be doing.
NOBILO: Boris Johnson there.
We've just had some breaking news.
A law enforcement official familiar with the ongoing investigation has told CNN that British police have positively identified the London Bridge
attacker. We'll have more on those developments for you coming up in the program.
We'll also have any other details that come to us over the next couple of minutes as well as a talk with Britain's former Counter Terror Director.
NOBILO: Now, back to today's big story. A suspected terrorist and two other people are dead in London.
(LONDON BRIDGE ATTACK VIDEO)
NOBILO: You may find this video disturbing. It shows members of the public wrestling with a man accused of fatally stabbing two people. A man is seen
on the video carrying a knife away from the scene.
Police shot the suspect to death. They say an apparent bomb strapped to his body was fake. And a law enforcement official familiar with the ongoing
investigation has told CNN that British police have now positively identified the attacker.
Here's a closer look at how it all unfolded.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Earlier today, I heard a couple of gunshots, like 10:07 (ph), and then I saw some people running away from the buses.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone, keep moving please, so police could (ph) clear the area.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The rush of people running into the cafe, where the manager ran and shut the door, and locked it, and everybody basically dove
under the tables, and - and we were told that shots were heard, and then, at some point, where we saw police coming to the bridge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looked like members of the public were shouting with a man that was trying - it looked like he was trying to be pinned down. I
kind of saw, like a - it looked like - like a - like a shine of light come across from - from the man on the floor. And I realized quickly it was a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then the police went over with some guns, and it ended with the man being shot.
NEIL BASU, METROPOLITAN POLICE ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER FOR SPECIALIST OPERATIONS: I'm now in a position to confirm that it has been declared a
KHAN: I would also like to thank members of the public who risked their own safety this afternoon. They are the best of us.
NOBILO: We've also learned about how fast police were able to respond to the scene.
The Commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police says the incident began at Fishmongers' Hall near London Bridge. Police were called at 1:58 P.M this
afternoon. And just five minutes later, police confronted the suspect on London Bridge at 2:03 P.M.
Joining us now via Skype is Richard Barrett, former Counter Terrorism Director for the British Intelligence Service.
Very good to have you on the program, Sir, thank you for joining us. This - this attack, which happened today, and the aftermath of it, we've just
heard that the British police have positively identified the attacker.
Can you give us some insight into what would have been the most immediate and urgent priorities of the police and the Intelligence Services in the
aftermath of the attack?
RICHARD BARRETT, FORMER COUNTER TERRORISM DIRECTOR, MI6: Well certainly to identify the attacker, in order to be able to find out whether other people
were involved, or likely to be following up that attack with another one, and wrap up any contacts that the man might have had, and to, of course,
take control of any explosives he might have had or other weapons and so on. So, there will be quite a lot of follow-up activity once the identity
NOBILO: What are the biggest unanswered questions to you with the details that are publicly available about what happened today?
BARRETT: Well, I think the main question is to what extent was this organized and planned by any organization abroad, whether it was Islamic
State or al-Qaeda or any other, to what extent it was premeditated or sort of much more spur of the moment.
I mean, clearly, if the man had built himself a fake suicide vest, there was some planning, some organization there, at least by him.
And, you know, of course the background of the person, why he came to think that this might be a good idea, this completely pointless act of killing
people on London Bridge, why he thought that might be a good idea in support of what cause?
NOBILO: How - how do you assess the current threat level facing the United Kingdom?
And it was obviously reduced earlier in the year. And after several years of - of many terror attacks in London, there seemed to be some - something
- somewhat of a calming down of the situation.
But do you think that is naive, simply because the public aren't privy to all the Intelligence available?
BARRETT: No, I don't - I don't think it was a mistake at all to reduce the level from substantial - from severe to substantial.
I mean, after all substantial also means that an attack is - is likely. It just means that that's less likely than at - you know, severe or critical.
So, I don't think that - substantial or critical, I'm sorry. But so, I don't think that was a mistake. That was done at the beginning of November,
And that followed the death about Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and various other disrupted plots and so on that I think gave the Security Services some
confidence they were on top of the - of the matter.
But nonetheless, there's always a risk that some individual could come up and commit an attack like this one.
NOBILO: There is, obviously, a lot of discussion happening about whether or not, as you mentioned, this would be a lone wolf attack, somebody acting on
their own or somebody who is part of a larger group or a coordinated strategy here.
How do you go about trying to discern which one of those two categories this attacker would fall under?
BARRETT: Well, I think you - the - the term "Lone wolf" is a little bit misleading anyway because it's extremely rare that anyone committing a
crime like this purely on their own. They're usually in touch with someone, will have touch with someone.
So, I think that the key will be to find out who this guy was in touch with, where he got these radicalizing ideas from and, you know, what sort
of possibility is there for somebody else doing the same thing, whether from his circle or influenced by the same people.
NOBILO: Richard Barrett, thank you very much for joining us this evening. We appreciate it.
BARRETT: Thank you.
NOBILO: We're also following a separate stabbing attack, this one in the Netherlands.
Three young people were wounded on a street lined with shops in The Hague. Police are asking the public for any information and are still trying to
identify a motive. The Dutch media, citing sources, say there's no indication presently of terrorism.
THE BRIEF will return in just a moment.
NOBILO: The White House has one week to decide whether it will participate in impeachment proceedings. U.S. House Democrats sent President Trump a
formal letter giving his counsel until December the 6th to decide.
A person close to the White House told CNN that Mr. Trump and his team are still considering whether it's, quote, worth it. The other option is to
wait until a potential Senate trial to make its case directly to Congress.
Almost one full month after he promised to step down, Iraq's Prime Minister says he will submit his resignation to parliament. Adil Abdul-Mahdi's
announcement follows nearly two months of deadly protests and blistering criticism at Friday prayers from Iraqi's top Shiite Muslim cleric.
Antigovernment activists celebrated the announcement, but say it's only a first step. Many Iraqis blame government corruption and foreign influence
for the country's economic hardships.
Our Arwa Damon filed this report from Iraq.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There is something of a dual celebration unfolding tonight here in Baghdad's Tahrir Square, the
epicenter of the demonstrations in the capital.
It started initially with the Prime Minister, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, saying that he would be presenting parliament with his resignation.
And that now, you have the cheers of a crowd that is thrilled that at this moment, at least, Iraq is in the lead in their soccer match against the
United Arab Emirates. But despite this aura of festivities, this is still a very difficult, challenging, and emotional time for all Iraqis who have
been involved in these demonstrations.
Throughout the course of these celebrations, you still see people carrying coffers (ph) with photographs of those who died in the antigovernment
protest. Earlier in the day, we saw two, three coffins that came by and then elapsed through here of people who had recently died.
Protesters that we have been talking to are saying that this time they will stick it out until the very end. They say that the Prime Minister's
resignation is only a first step, just the beginning.
They want a major overhaul of the entire system of governance, a change in the Constitution. They want an end to sectarian politics, and they want
foreign influence out, speaking out very strongly against Iran.
Iraqis have paid a heavy price just to get this far with upwards of 380 dead and 17,700 wounded. Tonight is a moment to come together as they have
been throughout all of this.
Demonstrators here very quick to tell you that none of this is about a sect or an ethnicity, this is about making Iraq a better country.
Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.
NOBILO: There will be much more on the London Bridge terror attack on CNN at the top of the hour. For now, that's THE BRIEF. I am Bianca Nobilo. And
WORLD SPORT is next.
VINCE CELLINI, CNN SPORTS HOST: He is out before the final month of the year.