Return to Transcripts main page
Boston, One Week Later; Wife's Lawyer Speaks To CNN; Boston Suspect, Officials Communicating; Investigators Seek Motive In Bombings; Boston Bombings Probe Turns To Russia; Mourners Remember Boston Victims; No Word On Charges For Bomb Suspect
Aired April 22, 2013 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: One week ago today, Boston was rocked by a deadly terror attack. Now federal, state, and local officials are continuing their search for answers. The lone surviving suspect, the 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is in intensive care at a Boston hospital, a gunshot wound to the neck, but word today he is communicating with officials.
Meanwhile, the city coming together and preparing to move forward, holding a moment of silence today at 2:50 p.m. Eastern, the moment of the explosions one week ago. NEWSROOM special coverage of the Boston bombings begins right now.
Good morning. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Boston. We're reporting live from the scene of what's going on. Here's the very latest from Boston on this Monday morning. Charges could be filed as early as today for the surviving suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Officials say evidence recovered suggests he and his brother were planning another attack. Some 55 people remain hospitalized at multiple facilities throughout Boston. As families mourn those killed, a funeral will be held this morning for Krystle Campbell and a memorial service is schedule tonight for Lingzi Lu.
Following a tense Friday under a lockdown, Bostonians they are heading back to work today, but the blast site, a stretch of Boylston Street that includes Copley Square near the marathon's finish line remains closed for now. Boston's police commissioner telling CNN the area is expected to reopen in the next day or two.
Let's begin with a new twist in the investigation. One person we haven't heard from in this tragedy is the wife of deceased suspect, Tamarlan Tsarnaev. Our Chris Lawrence just spoke with her attorney.
He is joining us on the phone right now from Rhode Island. Chris, tell us why she is relevant, very relevant, potentially in this investigation, the wife of this suspect who is now dead.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Because basically, Wolf, federal agents have been trying to speak with her, trying to determine exactly, what, if anything, she may have known about her husband's plans, any information at all that she may be able to provide.
Right now, we're right outside the home her parents where she has been staying with her young daughter since her husband was killed in that shootout just a couple days ago.
We spoke with her attorney in the last hour and he is basically giving us so very new contacts in this woman that federal authorities are looking to talk to. She was raised a Christian. She converted to Islam and became more devout as their marriage progressed.
Her name is Catherine Russell. We are told she goes by Katy to her friends. The attorney says basically she wears a head scarf. She is observant. She's been working tremendous hours. He said 70 to 80 hours a week, seven days a week, as a home care specialist.
Tamarlan, the husband would stay home to take care of their young daughter who is 3-year-old. This is toddler. That's some of the background we're now getting now and we're also finding out some of what she's been dealing with over the past few days and especially over this past week.
He said that it's been very, very hard for her. He said that she understands why federal authorities want to speak with her. He said she understands that they think it is a matter of national security and a potential threat to national security.
He said she knows that, but it is very difficult for her. She said she is very upset because of what happened to the people at the Boston marathon who were injured and killed, but that she is dealing with the fact that she has lost her husband and the father of her child -- Wolf.
BLITZER: So far she has not answered FBI or other law enforcement's questions, right? She is not cooperating with this investigation, at least not yet according to her attorney. Just want to be precise on that -- Chris.
LAWRENCE: I don't know if I would go so far as to characterize it as not cooperating, Wolf. I know that the attorney says that federal authorities reached out to her and to the family, to her and her parents because she is living with her parents now, the daughter.
And that they informed the federal authorities that they did have a lawyer and that they'd be sort of speaking and using their lawyer, you know, to protect themselves. I do know from speaking with some neighbors here in this neighborhood in Rhode Island that federal authorities have been to the house here at least twice.
We believe when we first got here that the family and the parents were here and they left literally within minutes as we were pulling up. So they were here at the home. They left within the last half an hour or so and we can confirm that federal authorities have been to this house more than once.
BLITZER: All right, Chris. We'll stay in close touch with you. Chris Lawrence in Rhode Island speaking with the attorney for the wife of the elder suspect who is now deceased. Chris, thanks very much.
The man who could provide some answers about the attack, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is currently at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center here in Boston. Pamela Brown is outside the hospital. She is joining us now with more on his condition and the events that will likely lead to federal terrorism charges -- Pam.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we are learning this morning from our colleague Fran Townsend and Gloria Borger that the suspect has been communicating with investigators here at the hospital since yesterday.
The suspect remains in the intensive care unit. He is still in serious condition with a tube down his throat. He is still under sedation we are told. As the investigation continues, the big focus today is what charges will he face and when?
BROWN (voice-over): One week after two deadly bombings exploded in downtown Boston killing three and injuring 183 people, the only surviving suspect remains in serious condition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
As federal prosecutors prepare to bring charges against him, law enforcement sources say Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is unable to talk after a gunshot wound to the neck. Exactly when he suffered this injury is still unknown.
EDWARD DAVIS, BOSTON POLICE COMMISSIONER: This is a very complex investigation, and it's hard to say exactly how he received that injury. There was certainly a shoot-out in Watertown. There were explosives thrown. So that's being looked into right now. It's hard to say exactly how it occurred.
BROWN: We're learning more about the tense moments right before Tsarnaev's arrest. This aerial video shows infrared images of him hiding out on a boat in the backyard of a home in Watertown. According to a law enforcement source close to the investigation, after 25 minutes of negotiations with FBI agents, Tsarnaev was apprehended as he was leaving the boat.
DAVIS: There were three Boston police officers that initially surrounded the boat. Other officers came and assisted, and we held that position until the FBI hostage rescue team could come in to place.
BROWN: In Boston's Copley Square, crews are cleaning up the crime scene. Police announced a five-phase plan to have the area open soon. Despite signs the city is slowly returning to business as usual, heartache remains for many.
Later this morning, 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, who was killed in the explosions, will be laid to rest in Bedford, Massachusetts. A memorial was planned for the third victim, Lingzi Lu on Boston University's campus tonight. Her parents who traveled here from China will be in attendance. Meantime, critically injured transit officer, Richard Donahue, remains hospitalized.
DR. RUSSELL NAUTA, CHAIRMAN, DEPT. OF SURGERY: This was a truly exsanguinating injury meaning that the officer's blood volume was almost entirely lost to the point of heart stopping.
BROWN: Now doctors are saying they are cautiously optimistic about his recovery.
BROWN: At 2:50 p.m. today, the exact time the first blast went off one week ago today, there will be a moment of silence throughout the state of Massachusetts in honor of the victims -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Pam, thanks very much. Pam is outside the hospital.
Investigators meanwhile, they are looking for a motive in last Monday's terror attacks. We've heard from several people who knew the suspects and we're getting their reaction.
CNN Nick Paton Walsh is joining us once again. He is live in Southern Russia in Dagestan for us right now. You spoke with the victim's aunt. What did she say -- Nick.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, most interestingly, she talked about his return last year for six months to Southern Russia. You remember he left earlier in 2000 decade, came back last year of six months and spent some of it with his father. She described a radical change he saw in him.
This was in front of her, a man who had embraced Islam in America during his time in the past five years in the United States, described him as devout, often not looking women who weren't related to him in the eye and considering Islam central to his faith.
In fact, during that six-month period, she says also he went to Chechnya a couple of times, where we believe relatives of his live. This is a picture of a man who came back here perhaps to look at his roots to some degree to meet his father.
We're learning too that on his YouTube Channel he posted a link to an extremist video who was in this town, but for the same time he was last year, but who died at the hands Russian Special Forces in December last year.
WALSH (voice-over): Is there a connection between this gun fight involving militants and police in Dagestan and one of the Boston bombers? The YouTube page of deceased brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev suggests there might be. He put up a link to a video titled Abu Dijan -- the video was removed, but CNN has now found it, and it shows this man. Abu Dijan is the name used by an Islamist militant (inaudible0. Russian Special Forces hit the hideout last December.
An armored car brought in to kill as many as six militants inside including him. The grisly aftermath showing their heavy weapons, but also the heavy hand used to kill them. Four months later, the marks remain of the violence fueling militancy across this region.
Neighbors told us the young man who once lived here seemed peaceful, ordinary. But in the dust lies a question, why did Tsarnaev's YouTube page link to the rants of the militant who died here? In the town where Tsarnaev's father lives and Tamerlan visited just last year.
(on camera): You can see just how intense the violence must again. Here could be the clearest link yet between one of the alleged Boston bombers and the violence that's been gripping southern Russia.
(voice-over): A U.S. intelligence source told CNN that Tsarnaev brothers' social media accounts are being examined for possible links to extremists in the Caucasus, in case they reveal the darkest secrets of Boston. Why did the bombers do it?
WALSH: This does not mean Tamerlan Tsarnaev met that militant. It is interesting after his time in Dagestan that he posted a video of him on his YouTube Channel. That was subsequently deleted. All part of a picture we're putting together here along with the information we're getting from the (inaudible) trying to explain why if he did have an involvement in the Boston bombing, he chose to go that particular route -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Nick, thanks very much. Nick Paton Walsh is on the scene for us in Dagestan in Russia.
Just ahead, weighing the possible charges against the surviving Boston bombing suspect. We could find out fairly soon whether those charges are going to be filed as early as today. Special edition of NEWSROOM, we're live from Boston. We will continue our coverage right after this.
BLITZER: Some new video just coming into us only a few minutes ago. In about 45 minutes, family and friends will say goodbye to Krystle Campbell, one of the victims of the Boston marathon bombings. Mourners hung an American flag outside of the church in Medford, Massachusetts where Campbell's funeral will be held. Campbell, a restaurant manager died just a few weeks before her 30th birthday.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could be charged as early as today for his alleged role in the Boston marathon bombings and actions afterwards. There are two schools of thought how to treat him. If he's declared an enemy combatant, there's no limit to how long have been questioned without an attorney or how long he could be detained.
If he's charged as a criminal, he will be Mirandized eventually and gain access to an attorney, but he also could be eligible for the death penalty. Our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin is joining us now once again to give us some more contexts on the legal aspects of all of this.
Is it almost certain -- do you believe based on everything you know, Jeff, that the Justice Department, the U.S., the Obama administration would charge him with crimes that could include the death sentence?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, certainly as an initial matter he will be charged with crimes that could be eligible for the death penalty. There is a formal process that the Department of Justice has once that hurdle has been passed about whether the government actually does seek the death penalty.
Ultimately, this is a decision that will go to Eric Holder, the attorney general. He will have to decide whether they will pursue a death sentence against Tsarnaev. The initial stages of the prosecution will go forward in any case. That's a longer process.
And you can be sure whatever happens with this legal process, it's going to be a matter of at least a year until this case goes to trial, if there is a trial at all. So there will be a lot of quick activity in the next week or so and then things will likely to slow down considerably.
BLITZER: What about this argument -- we're already hearing he was supposedly brainwashed by his older brother. A criminal defense attorney could use that argument presumably to try to save him from the death penalty, right?
TOOBIN: Absolutely. There are a number of factors that the defenses even at this stage you can be sure the defense use. He's only 19 years old. The Supreme Court has said that no one under 18 can even be considered for the death penalty. So his youth is one reason.
The other point as you mentioned is, what was the influence? Was he brainwashed? Was he coerced by his older brother? The other factor is what role he actually played, how the division of labor took place. We don't know that at this point.
If he was very much the minor player, that will be another factor. Again, that's something that's going to play out over a number of months and you can be sure there'll be no decision for sometime on that.
BLITZER: He's got to get healthy presumably before anything significant can be done. If he's communicating right now, he's not been read his Miranda rights, but he's writing answers to questions. What do you make of that from the legal perspective, that he's at least giving some answers to the FBI?
TOOBIN: Well, that suggests that his arraignment will be fairly soon. He can't be arraigned if he can't understand what's going on. He has to be able to be told what the charges are. He has to be given a lawyer. He has to communicate with his lawyer.
All of that has to happen in a way where he understands what's going on. If he's writing, if he is communicating, that does suggest he is capable of undergoing an arraignment. They can take place at hospitals. They don't have to take place in the courtroom. We could be moving forward to an arraignment in the next day or so or at least this week.
BLITZER: Yes, that would require presumably a judge or a magistrate showing up at his bedside unusual, but not totally, totally extraordinary either. Jeffrey, thanks very much. Jeffrey Toobin joining us on the legal aspects as he always does.
Among the many unanswered questions in the Boston bombings, where did the Tsarnaeve brothers acquire an arsenal of guns they allegedly used in the shootout with police. That and more when we come back.
BLITZER: Welcome back. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting from Boston where there will be a moment of silence at 2:50 p.m. Eastern this afternoon following by the ringing of the bells to honor the bombing victims. We'll have more from Boston in just a moment. Let's look at some other stories making news right now.
Major flooding is affecting the Midwest from Central Michigan to St. Louis. More rain is on the why. The Illinois River theoria is already at an all-time high and not expected to crest until tomorrow.
We're learning more about the snow boarders that died in a Colorado avalanche this weekend. The men were all under 30s and living in Colorado. A sixth party survived by digging himself out of the snow and hiking to a road for help. All were wearing avalanche beacons and proper equipment.
Investigators are back to the scene of that fertilizer explosion. They'll be examining the crater of the blast to find the cause of the explosion. Residents were back to see their damages homes. The blast killed at least 14 people.
Investigators are just now getting a chance to communicate with bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev because he has a tube in his throat, the two sides can only talk by pen and paper.
Fran Townsend is our national security analyst. She is in New York. She is joining us now. Fran, what information could investigators receive from Tsarnaev assuming he is still sedated and he can't talk, but he's writing answers to questions?
FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Wolf, you're not going to get a long narrative, right? You'll begin by asking yes and no questions. Give us names of conspirators. Are there additional explosives? Give us addresses.
Where are they? Phone numbers, right? It is the simple basic lead questions that only he can really provide right now. Are there foreign contacts? Where are they? Give us names that sort of thing. That can be extraordinarily helpful even at this early stage.
BLITZER: How common, Fran, is it for investigators to communicate through writing with a wounded suspect?
TOWNSEND: Listen, this is a real challenge for investigators, but they understand it is required of them in these circumstances. It is important enough -- given the amount of explosives investigators found post marathon bombing, right?
In the car chase there were five pipe bombs, three exploded, two didn't. There was the pressure cooker bomb, they had guns. So given the amount of explosives close to the bombings, you could see the urgency investigators feel. You know, as difficult as it is, as challenging as it is.
BLITZER: Is this written communication admissible potentially as evidence?
TOWNSEND: You know, Wolf, I think investigators worry less about that. You have to know whether or not To communicate in writing right now, it's worth it because what the risk are. You have to know the level of sedation he's under. We believe they're operating under a public safety exception.
The thing that's most important to them is to understand is there any continuing risk to the U.S. public exception and for that very reason, the thing that's most important to them is to understand, is there any continuing risk to the U.S. public particularly in the Boston area.