Return to Transcripts main page


New Arrests, New Scrutiny in Boston; Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's Friends Charged; FBI Focuses on Bomb Suspect's Wife; Mixed News Before Jobs Report; FBI Details Bombing Investigation

Aired May 2, 2013 - 09:00   ET



CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Accused of trying to throw investigators off their trail. This morning the minute-by-minute details are emerging. What they knew and what they did.

Also, Seattle on edge. May Day protests getting violent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The crowd surged around several officers on foot.

COSTELLO: Teargas, flash bang grenades, bottle rockets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't like the police. We don't need them.

COSTELLO: Organizers calling it a march against capitalism.

Plus, American arrested in North Korea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kenneth Bae was just at the wrong place at the wrong time.

COSTELLO: Jailed for 15 years. Hard labor. What he did or didn't do straight ahead.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


COSTELLO: Good morning. Thank you so much for being with us. I'm Carol Costello.

The Boston bombing investigation tops our news this hour. Right now three college buddies of one suspect are in jail and the widow of the other suspect is under intensifying scrutiny. Investigators now know Katherine Russell had a phone call with her husband Tamerlan Tsarnaev after his picture appeared on national television but before investigators knew the names of the suspects.

Also new this morning, two sources are telling CNN the nature of that conversation is now under investigation. And authorities want to know why she did not notify police.

In the meantime lawyers for the three new suspects say they are fully cooperating with investigators. All three remain in federal custody this morning accused of taking potential evidence from the dorm room of their pal, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Covering -- covering the story from all angles from Boston to Moscow. Pamela Brown, Brian Todd, Phil Black.

But let's start with you, Pam. Give us the latest. Bring us up to date.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Carol, following the three arrests yesterday, the investigation continues to be focused on the widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Investigators remained very interested in talking to her about she might have known about her husband's activities, including his travel and associations, as well as any encounters she may have had with him after the attack.


BROWN (voice-over): Two CNN sources familiar with the investigation say Katherine Russell, the widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, spoke with her husband the night the FBI released video of him in connection with the Boston bombings. Authorities questioning Russell trying to determine that nature of that call. What was said and why didn't she notify authorities?

This as three friends and classmates of Tamerlan's brother Dzhokhar are now under arrest. Two, seen here with the younger Tsarnaev on a trip to New York's Times Square, are accused of obstructing justice. The third man accused of lying to authorities.

According to the criminal complaints, when federal authorities released video of the bombing suspects, the three men saw it on CNN and immediately thought one of the suspects look like their friend Dzhokhar.

Dias Kadyrbayev texted Tsarnaev that he looks like the person on TV. Tsarnaev texted back, "LOL." The accused three allegedly met at Tsarnaev's dorm room where they received another text from him. "I'm about to leave, if you need something in my room, take it." According to authorities, Azamat Tazhayakov never thought he'd see his friend alive again.

And the dorm the three find fireworks in a backpack with the black powder emptied out, Vaseline, and a laptop. Authorities alleged the three took the evidence out of the dorm room to protect Tsarnaev. The complaints also say the men then took the items back to an apartment in New Bedford, wrapped it in a garbage bag and put it in a dumpster along with some of their own trash.

The bag with the fireworks is later recovered by investigators after a two-day search at a local landfill. Unclear whether the laptop has been recovered.

This CNN exclusive video shows two of the men being taken into custody at the time on immigration violations. The third man, Robel Phillipos, is a U.S. citizen. At court hearings on Wednesday, the three agreed to waive bail. Their lawyers say they did not wrong. ROBERT STAHL, ATTORNEY FOR DIAS KADYRBAYEV: He is just as shocked and horrified by the violence in Boston that took place as the rest of the community is. And he did not know that this individual was involved in a bombing.

HARLAN PROTASS, ATTORNEY FOR AZAMAT TAZHAYAKOV: My client, Azamat Tazhayakov, feels horrible and was shocked to hear that someone that he knew at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth was involved with the Boston marathon bombing. He has cooperated fully with the authorities and looks forward to the truth coming out.


BROWN: In the criminal complaints, Tsarnaev allegedly told his two friends, now suspects, that he knew how to make a bomb. This was a month before the marathon. But at this point there is no clear indication that the three suspects knew anything about the plot before the attack, these charges authorities say are only related to what they allegedly new after the Boston marathon bombing -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Pamela Brown, live in Boston.

Let's head to -- and talk with Brian Todd now. These college buddies accused of destroying key evidence. Two of them drove around in a BMW with a license plate that reads "TERRORISTA#1". They were also photographed in Times Square with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

So, Brian -- Brian, tell us more about these suspects.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Carol, what we know is that they all became friends when they all matriculated at U-Mass Dartmouth in the fall of 2011. That they became fairly close friends over the next year and a half or so, especially the two Kazakh students, Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov.

According to their lawyer and according to some accounts on some publications, they really just kind of gravitated toward Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. They looked up to him. The attorney for Dias Kadyrbayev told CNN a short time ago that his client at least relied on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to kind of show him the ropes, that his client didn't speak English very well. He and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev both spoke the same language, Russian.

So all three of them, the Kazakh students and Dzhokhar, spoke the same language. Dzhokhar was very Americanized. He helped them kind of assimilate into the United States. And into the culture here and really kind of got them used to things, and they looked up to him to an extent that could be some kind of motivation for why they allegedly did some of these things -- Carol.

COSTELLO: All right. Brian Todd, reporting live from Boston.

On to Tamerlan Tsarnaev wife Katherine. Investigators say Tsarnaev's wife was on the phone with Tamerlan on April 18th, three days after the bombing and a day before Tsarnaev was killed during a police shoot-out. As you might expect, investigators want to know what the two talked about. But if Tamerlan Tsarnaev's wife, how much is she required to divulge to investigators?

Paul Callan is CNN's legal analyst. He joins us now.

Good morning, Paul.


COSTELLO: OK. Let's talk about spousal privilege. Is Katherine required to answer all of the investigator's questions?

CALLAN: Well, the wife of a criminal defendant generally gets a spousal privilege and she -- if there is a discussion that happened within the context of the marriage, it's protected. That's what spousal privilege is about. But when the husband dies, the privilege dies also, because it's really only meant to preserve an existing marriage. And obviously if he'd dead, the privilege would serve no purpose. So I don't think she'll get protection with respect to that privilege ultimately.

COSTELLO: So with this phone call between Katherine and her husband on the 18th, if you were her lawyer what would you advise her to do?

CALLAN: Well, there's -- you know, her lawyer is probably sitting down with her and is very worried about the fact that she may be facing charges herself, depending upon her knowledge of the plot. And, you know, the currency, the card you have to play with prosecutors is information. And I'm sure that what her lawyer is doing is negotiating with federal authorities to say she can supply information to you, in exchange for immunity from criminal charges.

That most likely is what's going on behind the scenes. Now she's got to have good information to get a deal from the feds and that's what we don't know about at this point. What kind of information she would have to trade.

COSTELLO: Because we're hearing varying levels of cooperation. I mean, at first we were hearing she was fully cooperating, and then she wasn't at all, and now she sort of is? So what does that tell you about her? Can you expound on that some more?

CALLAN: Well, with respect to cooperation I can tell you that this is not at all unusual. The thing goes back and forth. Because it's an ongoing negotiation. Federal authorities, of course, don't want to commit to a lenient sentence and then wind up getting information that's useless to them. So a lot of times defense attorneys feed a little bit of information to the prosecutors. Sometimes they have a session that's actually called a queen for a day session, Carol. Based on an old television show from the 1950s and 1960s, where, you know, whoever told the saddest story would get a prize based on clapping by the studio audience.

Believe it or not, that's what prosecutors call these immunity sessions. And she comes in, she has immunity for a day, tells her story and then prosecutors say, well, if that information proves to be valid, we're willing to make the following offer. So I'm betting that that sort of thing is probably going on in the background. Some kind of a queen for a day immunity session.

COSTELLO: Fascinating. Paul Callan, reporting live for us this morning. Thanks so much.


CALLAN: Nice to be with you, Carol.

COSTELLO: Nice having you with us, Paul.

Just ahead on the NEWSROOM, more coverage on Boston bombing developments. But up next, Seattle on edge after a May Day demonstration turns into a melee. Why police and protesters clash during a rally for worker's rights.


COSTELLO: More Boston coverage in just a minute. But first, a check of our top stories at 12 minutes past the hour.

Seattle Police keeping a close eye on downtown areas after violence erupted at a May Day rally. Wow. The police used pepper spray and flash bang grenades to subdue protests who they say hurdled bottles, metal pipes and fireworks at them. Seventeen people were arrested, eight officers were hurt.

An American man is sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea. Kenneth Bae was arrested in November in North Korea. He was accused of committing unspecified hostile acts against the state. He was in North Korea on a tourist visa. The United States wants Bae released on humanitarian grounds.

Kentucky Police say a 2-year-old girl was accidentally killed by her 5-year-old brother. Caroline Sparks died Tuesday after her brother shot her with a .22-caliber rifle he got for his birthday.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He just picked it up before we realize.

DAVID MANN, UNCLE: He just tried to -- accident. Just tried to -- it's just -- it's something that you can't prepare for.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just know she's in heaven right now, and I know she's in good hands of the Lord.


COSTELLO: Relatives say the single-shot rifle had a child safety lock and was kept in a safe spot. The gun maker Cricket Markets -- the gun maker Cricket, rather, markets weapons to children under the slogan, "My First Rifle."

The calendar says May, but the -- those are snow plows on the road. A late spring storm sent cars skidding along an icy Interstate 35 in southern Minnesota Wednesday. Parts of the state have seen as much as eight inches of snow.

Turning now to your money. Last hour we learned jobless claims unexpectedly fell to a five-year low. The number of people filing for unemployment last week dropped by 18,000. So that's 324,000 jobless claims, the fewest we've seen since January 2008. Of course this comes before tomorrow's big monthly jobs report.

Joining us from New York, CNN's Christine Romans and from Washington Stephen Moore, senior economics writer for the "Wall Street Journal" editorial page.

Welcome to you both.


COSTELLO: Hi. OK. So this is kind of confusing. So jobless claims fell, but the jobless report is not expected to be very good, Christine.

ROMANS: Yes. Look, I like the jobless claims report. I like being able to say that you've got fewer layoffs and you've got jobless claims, the line at the unemployment office getting shorter and in fact, fewer layoffs -- you know, it's slowing here. Those numbers look good.

But you're not seeing robust hiring, even as you're seeing the layoff numbers get a little better.

So, why aren't we seeing robust hiring? I mean, you still have companies who are managing to pull as much as they can out of the customer -- out of the employees that they have right now and they haven't really felt this urge to higher up yet. So, you know, you want to be seeing a couple hundred thousand jobs created. I mean, just to keep up with new people coming into the workforce, you need 100,000, 150,000, that we're just not seeing that.

I'll tell you what the forecast is for tomorrow, Carol, for April. The forecast: 150,000 jobs added; unemployment of 7.6 percent.

I mean, I guess the good news is, it's a lot better than Europe, where they got 12 percent unemployment, and they're, you know, European central bank is throwing out the life raft to keep the economy going. But it's just not -- it doesn't feel robust.

COSTELLO: No, it does not feel robust. Let's talk about why, Stephen? Does the sequester, these forced cuts, have anything to do with it?

STEPHEN MOORE, SR. ECONOMICS WRITER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, look, I actually am a fan of the sequester. I think, actually, the fact that we've finally gotten somewhat serious, or at least semi- serious about this budget deficit and the enormous debt we have I think is a positive --

COSTELLO: People go through the forced layoffs because of these cuts. So, does that add to the jobs numbers? MOORE: Sure, remember, every time you have a dollar that the government doesn't spend, that's a dollar that the private sector can spend, so, look --

COSTELLO: But it's not.

MOORE: What? Look, here is I think my point. We had the huge stimulus by the way, spending over the last few years, that didn't create private sector job growth.

I'm just not a believer that spending creates growth in unemployment. Christine is right, two conflicting reports about the jobs. One of these private sector surveys says employment will be -- has actually slowed down this month, and Christine is right. The other report showing jobless claims falling, which is a good thing.

And I think the explanation -- how you square that circle is that what's happening is you're continuing to see people drop out of the labor force. And this is really been the kind of hallmark of this recovery. It's really been almost unprecedented that even as the economy has improved and picks up, you still have people dropping out of the labor force, and that's really inhibiting growth.

COSTELLO: OK. Christine, I want to ask you about the forced cuts. Forced spending cuts, sequester. In your mind, do they have anything to do with what might be kind of an eh jobs report tomorrow?

ROMANS: We, we'll be digging into these numbers to see if you are seeing those forced spending cuts and either look or government job cuts.

But some of these things like the FAA, furloughs, for example. Those aren't job cuts, people just staying home, right? They're not getting paid for a day of work. So, those aren't going to be considered a forced spending cut. It will be the knock-on effect of, you know, less economic activity because of those forced spending cuts.

And I -- you know, we're still trying to see where that's going to show up first if that's going to show up first. No question. I will tell you this, what companies say -- and I'm interested on Stephen Moore's take. What CEOs and companies say, is they say, because Washington is thrashing around, getting a head straight about what they're going to do about budgets, it makes them less likely to hire simply because of indecision in Washington and because of sequester- related stuff. You know what I mean?

So, not necessarily the slowdown because of the sequester, but the slowdown because of the uncertainty about how Washington has been treating budgetary policy.

MOORE: You know, Christine, I do talk to a lot of employers. They do talk about that.

But there's a bigger concern that employers have right now, that I think swamps everything and that is the new health care law. You know, the new health care law, a lot of employers don't understand it, they don't know what impact this is going to have on their hiring and their costs. And until that gets sorted out, a lot of employers are kind of capping their employment.

And don't forget, that new law says once you hire the 50th worker, every -- you know, you have to provide all of these new health care benefits for all your employers. So, it's kin of set a cap on employment, and I think, Christine, the health care law right now is a bigger deterrent than even the sequester.

Let me just make one great point to challenge you guys on this point. If you look in the 1990s, remember when we had the peace dividend in the Clinton years and pretty significant budget cuts during that period, more significant than what we're doing right now, we have, as you all know, we had robust growth in private sector employment. So, my point is, we can do these sequesters and downsize government and see very robust private sector hiring because it happened in the 1990s.

COSTELLO: We'll see. And we'll be back tomorrow when the jobs report comes out.


COSTELLO: Well, you know me, like to be a little suspect of everything.

Stephen Moore and Christine Romans, thanks so much.

MOORE: Thank you.

COSTELLO: Coming up next -- you're welcome.

Coming up next in THE NEWSROOM: more coverage of developments in the Boston bombings, including the raid on the home of two friends of the younger bombing suspect. We'll show some amazing video, when we come back.


COSTELLO: Fascinating, exclusive video to show you now. Two of the three friends of the Boston bombing suspects, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The students now face federal charges for destroying evidence.

On Friday, April 19th, authorities initially believed the surviving Boston bombing suspect was in a New Bedford, Massachusetts, apartment with two friends.

A SWAT team descended on the apartment complex. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God. You see his hands?

SWAT TEAM: Put your hands up, and no one will get hurt.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COSTELLO: After authorities realized Dzhokhar was not in the apartment, they took his friends into custody.

A neighbor of the students, Felix Jorge, a neighbor, appeared on "STARTING POINT" to talk about the arrests and what he knew about the students.


FELIX JORGE, NEIGHBOR OF TWO BOMBING SUSPECT'S FRIENDS: For this to happen, I mean, 40, 50 SWAT people and police and state police and everything to show up on your doorstep, rifles trained, you know, with a storm moving in, a literal storm, it really was one of the scariest moments of my life.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: How well did you know those guys? You live in that neighborhood.

JORGE: But to be completely honest, just -- it was kind of a hi/bye situation. You would say them every once in a while, but after talking to some of the neighbors nearby yesterday, I was actually informed that they were party animals. So I never knew that. They seemed like nice kids to me, who are cordial when I saw them.


COSTELLO: We're also learning more about what the younger bombing suspect and his friends were doing in the days following the Boston bombings, that includes text messages, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sent to his friends after they told him he looked like the bombing suspect. Dzhokhar's response was simple, "LOL", laughing out loud. Followed up by another one saying, "You better not text me."

Crime and justice correspondent Joe Johns has more for you.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An FBI affidavit says the two men from Kazakhstan got the first hint of what was coming in a conversation with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev about a month before the marathon when Dzhokhar explained that he knew how to make a bomb.

Two days after the bombing before the photos were released, Kadyrbayev meets up with Tsarnaev and noticed as he, quote, "appeared to have given himself a short haircut."

But according to the third suspect, Robel Phillipos, full realization of what was going on apparently kicked in when he, Kadyrbayev, and Tazhayakov "started to freak out because it became clear from a CNN report we were watching that Dzhokhar was one of the Boston bombers."

This was the evening of April 18th. They reached out in text messages to Dzhokhar and told him he looked like the suspect on television.

Tsarnaev's return text contained "LOL" and other things Kadyrbayev interpreted as jokes such as "you better not text me." Also, "Come to my room and take whatever you want."

Between 6:00 and 7:00 that night, Kadyrbayev, Tazhayakov, and Phillipos went to Tsarnaev's dormitory room on the UMass Dartmouth Campus, the affidavit says.

Kadyrbayev located a backpack that contained an emptied out cardboard tube described as fireworks, a jar of Vaseline believed to have been used to make bombs. Kadyrbayev decided to remove the backpack from the room in order to help his friend Tsarnaev avoid trouble and took the laptop and the Vaseline as well.

About 10:00 p.m., Kadyrbayev said they collectively decided to throw the backpack and fireworks into the trash.

April 19th, the next day, Tazhayakov saw a garbage truck come to their apartment to empty the dumpster where Kadyrbayev had discarded the backpack. When authorities interviewed Phillipos on April 20th, the affidavit says, he initially said he did not remember going to the dormitory room then changed his story, saying he did not remember going there with the other two men, denying they had entered the room at all.

It apparently wasn't until a fourth interview on April 26th when Phillipos eventually confessed that he had lied to agents during his previous interviews.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


COSTELLO: And coming up next in THE NEWSROOM, one of the three new suspects in the bombing case went to high school with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. I'll show you a video of that third man, and hear from a young man who knows both of them.

We'll be right back.