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THE SITUATION ROOM
Man Behind Ohio State Attack Identified; Trump Claims He Won Popular Vote; Interview with Sen. Rand Paul; Terrorism Possible Motive in Ohio State Campus Attack; Seized ISIS Documents Reveal Thousands of Terror Plots. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired November 28, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:07] WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Happening now, breaking news: terror attack? Chaos on the campus of Ohio State University as a man plows into pedestrians with a car, then goes on a stabbing rampage. There's new information about the attacker just coming in. Did he have ties to terror?
ISIS plots uncovered. A British general says thousands of ISIS plots against the west have been revealed in documents and digital files seized in Syria. What were the terrorists targeting in the United States?
Infighting and irritation. The Trump transition team is openly feuding over the president-elect, who he should nominate for secretary of state. Top loyalists are publicly disagreeing over top contenders including Mitt Romney, with Trump said to be irritated by the fighting. Who will he pick to be America's top diplomat?
And questioning the results. Donald Trump claims millions of people voted illegally in the election but offers no evidence as the push for a recount in key states gains steam. Why is the effort unlikely to change the outcome of the election?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: The breaking news this hour, new information about the man behind a possible terror attack at Ohio State University. School officials have identified him as Abdul Razak Ali Artan. A federal law enforcement source tells CNN he was 18 years old of Somali descent and lived in the Columbus, Ohio, area. Campus officials say he ran down pedestrians with a car, then jumped out and used a butcher knife to stabbing people before being shot and killed by campus police.
We're also following the Trump transition and the search for a secretary of state. President-elect Donald Trump just tweeted about his meeting today with retired General David Petraeus saying he was, quote, "Very impressed."
But Trump is said to be irritated by the public campaign that top aide Kellyanne Conway is waging, among others, against Mitt Romney. A source inside the Trump team tells CNN Conway and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus are fighting over whether Trump should nominate Romney or Rudy Giuliani for secretary of state.
We're covering that and much more this hour with our guests, including Senator Rand Paul. He's a key member of the Homeland Security and Foreign Relations Committees.
And our correspondents and our expert analysts, they are also standing by.
Let's begin with the attack at Ohio State University. Our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, is on the scene for us right now.
Pamela, you're learning new information. Update our viewers.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. We have learned that the suspect was a student here at the Ohio State University of Somali descent. He's a legal permanent resident of the United States by the name of Abdul Razak Ali Artan.
And officials say he drove his speeding car into a crowd of people right outside of a classroom building behind me, unleashing chaos and fear.
BROWN (voice-over): Around 9:52 a.m., chaos erupts in the heart of the campus, near buildings for the science and engineering programs. A car jumps a curb, plowing into pedestrians. Then the male driver, identified as Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an Ohio State student of Somali descent, jumps out and continues to attack with a knife and slashing people.
CHIEF CRAIG STONE, OHIO STATE POLICE: He exits the vehicle and used a butcher knife to start cutting pedestrians. Our officer was on scene in less than a minute, and he ended the situation in less than a minute. He engaged the suspect, and he eliminated the threat. The suspect was DOA.
KEVIN VASQUEZ, OHIO STATE STUDENT: It's very hectic here right now. There's, like, 40 cop cars. Everyone is very frantic, and all the SWAT teams are getting together, and cops are still pulling up.
BROWN: A text message from the university goes out to all students, telling them to shelter in place, because there's an active shooter on campus. A tweet from the university's emergency management department told students to run, hide, fight.
WYATT CROSHER, OHIO STATE STUDENT: We did hear, like, three or four things that would sound like gunshots. And then we heard sirens come, so we assume they were gunshots.
BROWN: The students barricade their classroom doors in an effort to keep the attacker at bay. One class piled up chairs at the door.
As law enforcement arrived on scene to try and contain the situation as quickly as possible. MARY CLARK, OHIO STATE STUDENT: We have quite a few military men in
our class who actually are all standing by the doors, keeping us safe. So feeling pretty good about that.
BROWN: Police say in the end, there was no second suspect, and no shots were ever fired by the attacker. Today, investigators are poring through the suspect's communications and belongings, seeking motive. But the police said there was no question he meant to do harm.
STONE: The only thing is you can say, based upon common knowledge, that this was done on purpose, to go over the curb, and strike pedestrians and to get out, start striking them with a knife, that was on purpose.
[17:05:07] BROWN: And officials say there is an elaborate camera system here on campus. Investigators have been reviewing that. And it showed that the suspect was in his car alone, but investigators want to rule out whether he had any help. Right now investigators are interviewing any friends, family. We know the car that he drove, according to an official, was registered to one of his family members.
Still, a lot to investigate here in Columbus, Ohio. Back to you, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Pamela Brown in Ohio State University. Thank you.
Let's get some more on the breaking news. Joining us, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. He's on the Homeland Security Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee. Senator, thanks very much for coming in.
So police are suggesting this possibly could be an act of terror. Do you buy that?
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Well, I don't think we have enough information yet. Once we have more information, there are questions we have to ask to someone who was born in the country, to someone who immigrated in the country. Does this have anything to do with immigration? Are there ways we can prevent this?
One of the big debates we've had with the FBI is that the FBI seems to want to collect more information on everyone, whether you're guilty, innocent or whether there's any suspicion. I think we're collecting so much data we're getting lost in the data. So what I'd like to see is more specific targeted investigations using warrants for people we have probable cause. So if there is suspicion beforehand, we try to go deep into the situation to find out more about it.
But instead, the FBI is often asking for broad powers to look at everyone's information. That I'm opposed to, but I would like to see the FBI do a better job investigating. One common thing to most domestic attacks in our country have been they've been previously investigated by the FBI and found not to be credible threats, and they were incorrect. So I think we need to keep the investigations open longer.
BLITZER: One thing we do know about this individual, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, is that he was permanent legal resident of the United States. His family was from Somalia. He was a first-year student at Ohio State University. That's what we do know. Not a U.S. citizen but a permanent resident.
PAUL: Right. And you know, a lot of Somalis came here. They're good people. And they wanted the American way, and they want freedom and prosperity, but they did come through the refugee program. And so, as much as some people don't want to talk about it, I think the president was elected with a message saying, you know what? We need to review the refugee program. We need to review immigration and say, are there any more vetting or more controls we can have to try to not have people coming into our country. I'm all for people who want to work and want to be part of the American way. But part of that means religious tolerance, believing in the First Amendment, religious liberty. But also it means we have to screen better people who are coming to our country.
BLITZER: What I hear you saying is you're with President-elect Trump when it comes to extreme vetting from countries where there are terrorists, basically, based?
PAUL: Right, and this would include not just Muslim countries but North Korea and other countries for which we have an adversarial if not an enemy type of relationship. We do have to be careful. And the other thing is, is that...
BLITZER: Would you go so far, Senator, to just ban people from those countries until the terrorist threat ends?
PAUL: What I think we need to know is who's coming in and who's leaving. We know who's coming in. But I don't know we're doing enough screening. We have no idea who's leaving. So about 40 percent of people overstay their visas. We don't know who they are or where they are.
And yes, we do need controls on who comes in and who leaves. And the one thing people misunderstand, and I'm a big stickler for the Constitution -- the Constitution does not yet apply to people who have not yet come here. Now, once you've come here, it applies to you, whether you're a citizens or not. All persons are included. But the Constitution doesn't say anything specifically about those who haven't come. That is an unknown rule and a rule that we have as a society to decide what our immigration laws are going to be.
BLITZER: You agree with retired Lieutenant General Flynn, who's going to be the national security adviser to the new president in the White House. He tweeted -- earlier this year, he tweeted, "Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL" -- rational, all caps -- "Please forward this to others. The truth fears no questions."
PAUL: You know, I saw a lot of his statements and I saw a lot of his speeches, and I think if you put the words "radical Islam" in place of "Muslims" or "radical Islam" in place of "Islam," and we're talking about people who have an extreme ideology who most Muslims who I know in this country would condemn as not being true -- true to the faith of Islam, I think it would have been much better spoken. And I think if he were given a chance to clear that up, hopefully, that's what he would say, is that he meant radical Islam, not all of Islam.
BLITZER: Because in particular tweet, he didn't say "radical Muslims." He said, "Fear of Muslims is rational."
And you remember, earlier when he was running for president, Donald Trump said he was going to put a ban, at least a temporary ban, on all Muslims coming to the United States. He revised that later.
PAUL: I think it's better for all of us if some of that's clarified. I'm not sure how it could be clarified. But I think if he were here, my guess is he would respond and say, "You know, I did really -- in the heat of the battle, we said things on the campaign trail. But what I really meant is that people have a radical ideology that believe in violence against the west and death to Christians and death to Jews. But that's not an ideology that people who want to come into our country.
[17:10:04] BLITZER: What you're saying is different than what we, at least, heard during the campaign from Donald Trump and his top advisors. You agree with that?
PAUL: I think a lot of campaigns, Republican and Democrat, you find that words sometimes get intemperate on the campaign trail but are much more tempered when people have time to think about them and be more thoughtful.
BLITZER: What about when Donald Trump said he wants to survey, quote, "certain mosques"? Mosques -- mosques -- here in the United States. Is that appropriate?
PAUL: I'm against just randomly surveying mosques or churches or synagogues. Now I don't think there's anything to say, though, that if the police in Washington, D.C., suspect an individual; and they have information that they've gathered that this individual is a possible terrorist, I don't think there are provisions in our law that say, "You can't follow them where they go." And you can't explore their relationship with people.
So I don't think there's an absolute provision from going to a church, but I think there's a provision against saying, "Oh, we're going to target churches." Or "We're going to target mosques." So once again, it gets to how correct and precise we're going to be with our words.
BLITZER: You're on the Homeland Security Committee. You know that ISIS, AQAP, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, online in social media have suggested, if you don't have a gun, get a knife. If you don't have a gun, get a car. They describe a pick-up truck as the ultimate mowing machine. Do you suspect that's what happened in this particular case?
PAUL: Well, it shows that we're going to have to continue to be more careful and do something better.
My point is, is it's how we go about it. Some want to randomly collect everyone's information. I want to more specifically target the people for whom we have suspicion.
BLITZER: I need you to stand by, Senator.
There's more to discuss, including the latest developments on the transition, the Donald Trump transition. We're going to continue our conversation with Sen. Rand Paul, right after a quick break.
BLITZER: We're back with the Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.
We're following the breaking news. President-elect Donald Trump meeting with retired General David Petraeus as Trump looks to fill the key position of secretary of state.
Let's get some details from CNN's Sunlen Serfaty. She's outside Trump Tower in New York City right now. Sunlen, Trump just tweeted he was, quote, "very impressed" with General Petraeus. What's the latest?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. And President-elect Donald Trump has held a slew of meetings here today at Trump Tower.
But it really is the job of secretary of state, the most high-profile cabinet position, which is causing so much of the dispute between Trump's team. Trump taking meetings today and tomorrow with three of the men under consideration for this top job, including, sources telling CNN, having dinner tomorrow night with Mitt Romney, the man at the center of this battle.
SERFATY (voice-over): The infighting within Donald Trump's transition team is now boiling over into a public feud.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you.
SERFATY: A deep split emerging within the president-elect's inner circle over who should serve as secretary of state. The battle lines are drawn between those fighting for Mitt Romney and those for Rudy Giuliani.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP SENIOR ADVISOR: I'm all for party unity, but I'm not sure that we have to pay for that with the secretary of state position.
SERFATY: Top advisor Kellyanne Conway saying supporters of Trump will feel betrayed to award one of his most vocal critics such a prominent cabinet post.
CONWAY: He went so far out of his way to hurt Donald Trump. There was the "never Trump" movement, and then there was Mitt Romney.
SERFATY: Transition sources tell CNN Trump is irritated over Conway's public campaign against Romney, a charge Conway disputes. But now others within Trump's inner circle are going on the attack.
REP. CHRIS COLLINS (R), NEW YORK: What do I know about Mitt Romney? I know that he is a self-serving egomaniac who puts himself first, who has a chip on his shoulder, that thinks he should be president of the United States.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think we'd be enormously disappointedif he brought Mitt Romney into any position of authority.
SERFATY: Trump's incoming chief of staff...
PRIEBUS: It isn't a matter of warfare.
SERFATY: ... downplaying the infighting but playing up a potential Romney pick.
PRIEBUS: There's a lot of opinions about this, and yes, it is -- it is a sort of team of rivals concept, if he were to go toward the Governor Romney concept.
SERFATY: As this public jockeying between Romney and Giuliani loyalists continues, other options for the position are emerging.
Trump bringing in former CIA director, retired four-star general David Petraeus to Trump Tower today.
LT. GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS (RET.), FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Very good conversation, and we'll see where it goes from here.
SERFATY: Petraeus resigned in 2012 and pled guilty to mishandling classified information, which Trump accused Hillary Clinton of doing via her private e-mail server.
Also under consideration, Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, who will meet with Trump tomorrow.
And Trump is now also calling in Mitt Romney for a second round of meetings since their first sit-down nine days ago.
JASON MILLER, SPOKESPERSON, TRUMP TRANSITION TEAM: With the case of Governor Romney, the two, quite frankly, hadn't spent that much time together, and so this gives them a little more time to do so.
SERFATY: Romney quietly waiting in the wings in the time since, making no mention of the drama swirling around him, tweeting only about his family. Quote, "No greater joy than making discoveries together with grandchildren."
SERFATY: All this going on as Donald Trump still works to cobble together the many other cabinet positions he is still yet to fill. Among those meetings taking place in Trump Tower today, Fran Townsend and David Clarke, the controversial Milwaukee county sheriff.
And we are, of course, still waiting to hear from Ben Carson who is taking the holiday weekend to consider the possibility of taking the post at Housing and Urban Development -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Sunlen, thank you. Sunlen Serfaty outside Trump Tower in New York.
Also breaking this hour, Michigan is now officially declaring Donald Trump the winner of the state's 16 electoral votes, almost three weeks after the election. Trump won there by just under 11,000 votes. But the push for a recount in key states apparently gaining some steam right now. Michigan may be included, as well.
Our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, has more now.
Jeff, even though he won the election, Trump is once again talking about voting fraud.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it's an extraordinary claim, and it's extraordinarily not true. Donald Trump is suggesting he actually won the popular vote, if millions of people hadn't voted illegally. The election may be over, but there are new signs of chaos the 2016 campaign is not.
ZELENY (voice-over): Donald Trump is showing signs tonight of being a sore winner. The president-elect is suggesting, with zero evidence to back up his claim, that he won the popular vote and he's a victim of widespread election fraud.
"In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide," Trump wrote on Twitter, "I won the popular vote, if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally." After repeatedly railing against the system on the campaign trail...
TRUMP: It is a rigged system. And be careful with the voting, be careful with everything. You watch everything, folks.
ZELENY: ... he's now throwing out blatant and baseless allegations on Twitter: "Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California. So why isn't the media reporting on this? Serious bias, big problem."
Election officials in all three states say Trump's charges are flat- out wrong. Trump transition officials have not offered any hard evidence to back up his staggering claims of fraud.
Hillary Clinton's lead in the popular vote has climbed to over 2 million. Despite charging that millions of fraudulent votes were cast nationwide, Trump is actually crying foul over the recount getting under way in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Elections Commission said today it would start counting
nearly 3 million ballots again at the request of Green Party candidate Jill Stein. She's pledging to foot the $1 million tab in Wisconsin, even as she pushes for recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Trump swept the three Rust Belt states, turning them red for the first time in more than two decades. A recount is highly unlikely to change the outcome.
MICHAEL HAAS, WISCONSIN ELECTIONS BOARD ADMINISTRATOR: This is certainly not Bush v. Gore.
ZELENY: Trump, who won the election by 22,000 votes, called the Wisconsin recount a scam. Mark Thomsen, leader of the bipartisan Wisconsin Election Commission, blasted Trump for peddling what he called a conspiracy theory.
MARK THOMSEN, WISCONSIN ELECTIONS BOARD CHAIRMAN: To say that it's not fair or that it's not -- people are counting illegal votes, from my vantage point is an insult to the people that run our elections.
ZELENY The Clinton campaign says there is no evidence of wrongdoing but still plans to observe the Wisconsin recount. That set up a political firestorm.
CONWAY: The idea that we are going to drag this out now where president -- the president-elect has been incredibly magnanimous to the Clintons and the Obamas, is pretty incredible.
Mark Elias, Clinton's top lawyer, responded on Twitter: "We are getting attacked for participating in a recount that we didn't ask for by the man who won the election but thinks there was massive fraud."
Meeting today in Madison, the election board said Stein must pay the recount bill by Tuesday. If she does, it begins in all 72 counties across the state on Thursday there is a deadline of December 12.
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee and soon to be Trump's chief of staff, called it a waste of time.
PRIEBUS: We will sit there and look through Scantron ballots. We will look win for the second time, and they will lose again for the second time, but our country doesn't need it.
ZELENY: Now, it's not just Wisconsin. The deadline for requesting a recount in Michigan is on Wednesday. The results of Michigan were certified today by the secretary of state's office. Trump officially won by 10,704 votes out of nearly 5 million votes cast. It's the only state in the country CNN had yet to call, putting Trump's official tally at 306 electoral votes to Clinton's 232. Given that margin, Wolf, even some Republicans close to Trump wonder why he's making all these new claims of voter fraud.
BLITZER: Jeff Zeleny reporting for us. Jeff, thanks very much. We're back with Senator Rand Paul. Senator, is it appropriate for the president-elect to make this charge that millions of people voted illegally in this most recent presidential election?
PAUL: I don't quite understand it. I do think that there are two sort of separate issues. Sometimes he says the elections are rigged, and sometimes we're talking about there being bias. And I think there's some bias in the news media. We all say one side or the other, and we think our in the issue, but as far as the elections, whether or not they're legitimate, we've had times of periods in our history where we've had problems. We've had people go to jail in Kentucky for rigging elections, Texas back in the '50s, '60s, '70s. But I think it's probably better than it used to be.
[17:25:02] I think people still worry about systemic cheating, like someone hacking into computers, because it's become computerized. So I think it's important as we go forward to make sure that there are very visible checks and balances that people can see, because I don't think we want to distrust our system. I largely do trust our system.
BLITZER: But When he says millions -- his words, millions of people who voted illegally. I mean, that -- there's no evidence that millions of people voted illegally.
PAUL: Yes, I don't know anything about that.
BLITZER: But do you lose faith in the president-elect when he makes a charge like that?
PAUL: I just don't understand it.
BLITZER: You just want to leave it like that?
PAUL: Yes, I mean, I just don't want to say about something I don't have a lot of information about, and I don't think that there are millions of people that are voting illegally.
BLITZER: Because people -- you know, people say it's very hurtful to the U.S. democracy. People around the world are watching the United States, president-elect of the United States tweet, "In addition the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote, if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."
Then he, in another tweet, he said, "Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California, so why isn't the media reporting on this? Serious bias. Big problem." Have you seen evidence of serious voter fraud in those three states?
PAUL: No, but I think there is concern, and I think what we need to do, probably, as we move forward, because people are bringing up and placing these doubts about our election system -- there was talk of Russians hacking the system, people hacking into our computers -- that I think, and I do meet people who are worried about the integrity of the system, that maybe being more public with the way our checks and balances work. So for example, in my state, it's done by paper. You fill out the
paper. It goes in. The judges sitting there will see the tally. So if the tally was 500 to 300 and it got changed by their master computer, they would see that their precinct wasn't reported the same way they do. So we do have checks and balances in every precinct.
But I can tell you, when I was kid, I remember in my dad's elections, there were 3,000 people that voted in the same handwriting, and we thought there was fraud. So there are -- there is fraud sometimes, but typically, it's not illegal people voting; it's a bad judge. It's a judge who decides to vote for people who never showed up.
BLITZER: Let's talk about Mitt Romney right now. He's going to have a second meeting tomorrow night, dinner they're going to have in New York City with the president-elect. You've said Romney would be, in your words, "an even keel pick." You obviously want Romney to be selected as secretary of state, given the options, right?
PAUL: Well, I wouldn't put it that way. What I want is somebody who understands that the Iraq War was a mistake, that nation building has been a mistake, and that regime change has been a mistake. These are things that Donald Trump has expressed, and I believe and agree with completely. That's why I supported him.
But I don't believe Bolton, I don't believe Giuliani have understood that or have come to understand the historical significance of that. I'm unsure about where Romney is on this, and if he comes before my committee, I would ask him, 'Do you now understand the Iraq War was a mistake and made us less safe, emboldened Iran, made the whole situation more chaotic?"
Because if we don't understand those lessons, we're still facing the same kind of questions. Should we topple Assad in Syria? Should we have regime change and nation building?
I think it's also connected to Donald Trump's domestic policy. He wants to build infrastructure. If you're going to build a nation in Afghanistan and Syria and Iraq and you're going to build their roads or pave their roads, there's not enough money left to pave our roads. So there is somewhat of a choice in foreign policy that will also affect our domestic policy.
BLITZER: ;Just to recap, you don't think you could support Giuliani, you don't think you could support U.N. ambassador John Bolton. What about retired General Petraeus?
PAUL: You know, I think the problem they are going to have if they put him forward is there's a lot of similarities to Hillary Clinton as far as revealing classified information.
One, is that a good thing, to have a high-ranking person reveal classified information? And also, the similarities. I mean, they spent a year and a half beating up Hillary Clinton over revealing classified information, and then they would appoint somebody who the FBI says not only revealed it but then lied about it in an interview, and purposely gave it to someone who did not have the clearance to have that? I think that's a potential problem. But I think...
BLITZER: He pleaded guilty to that charge.
PAUL: And pleaded guilty to it. I think part of the guilty plea, though, has to do with holding higher office. I'm not a lawyer, but I think if you look at the statute on there, there may be a provision that says you may or may not be able to hold office.
BLITZER: There's also a provision that says the president of the United States can grant security clearance, basically, to anyone he wants.
PAUL: Yes, there's going to be some questions asked, I think, if that were the conclusion.
But to my mind, what's most important is I want Donald Trump to pick someone who agrees with Donald Trump. Donald Trump said nation building was a problem, regime change was a problem, the Iraq war was a mistake. I want someone who fully understands that.
BLITZER: But bottom line, who do you want?
PAUL: I don't have a pick that I'm putting out as anybody. What I want is someone who understands the historical significance of the failure in Iraq and that we don't repeat it.
BLITZER: Has anybody contacted you, by the way, from the Trump Organization about a possible job or an interview or a meeting? Has he invited you to Trump Tower?
PAUL: You know, I have not been, but you know, I'm pretty happy with my current job.
[17:30:02] BLITZER: You just got reelected, too.
PAUL: Just got reelected.
PAUL: Thank you.
BLITZER: If you do get that information, let us know.
PAUL: All right.
BLITZER: Senator Rand Paul, thanks very much for joining us.
PAUL: Thank you.
BLITZER: More breaking news. New details on the attack over at Ohio State University today, including what we're learning about the man behind it.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news: authorities now say terrorism is a possible motive for today's attack at Ohio State University.
A man drove his car into a group of pedestrians standing at a sidewalk, then slashed people with a butcher knife. A policeman shot and killed the assailant, who was a student at the university.
[17:35:02] Let's get some insights of terrorism, and our national security experts are joining us right now.
Phil Mudd, let me start with you. Authorities say it was an 18-year- old assailant, a student of Somali descent, Abdul Razak Ali Ratan. What's your analysis, based on everything you know right now?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: If I look at this case, Wolf, this looks similar to what we've seen over the past three or four years when we get people who have combination of motives. I'm thinking back, for example, to the Orlando shooter.
When you get one person, as opposed to a complicated conspiracy, you have to ask questions not only about, for example, what's on his Facebook page -- does he have an ISIS flag up -- but you have to ask questions about what his mental state is. Does he -- did he have a problem transitioning to college? Does he have a history of drug abuse or family problems?
In these cases of singletons, be careful about making too quick an assumption about one motivation or another. Often it's a mix, Wolf.
BLITZER: So they're going to go through all of his social media, all of his e-mail, whatever, to find out if there was a motive?
MUDD: That's right. I think, over the next 24 hours, you can think of baskets or categories of information. They'll get a laptop or a desktop. Figure out not only who he was e-mailing, who he was texting, but also, for example, what kind of Google searches he was conducting, whether those were changing over time.
Overnight, you should have conversations with friends or family that might give you an indication not only of motive but of whether his mindset was changing.
So I would think in this case, over the next day, by tomorrow morning or your show tomorrow afternoon, we should have a clearer sense of whether he was motivated by extremism or whether he was simply emotionally disturbed.
BLITZER: We'll get a better sense, I'm sure.
Peter Bergen, we do know, based on, you know, terror attacks over the past couple years, the use of a vehicle has been a weapon in ISIS- inspired AQAP, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula-inspired -- in Nice, for example, a guy drove his truck, killed dozens of people in Nice who were just walking around.
Talk a little bit about the possible motive of using a vehicle as a weapon to kill people. PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Vehicles -- vehicles are
ubiquitous. ISIS has called for these kinds of attacks. You don't have to go and buy a gun, maybe drawing attention to yourself. Having a car is a completely innocent kind of activity. Apparently, he got this from a family member.
Picking up on Phil's point, it's quite possible that there's a mix of motives, not just, you know, an Islamic extremist attack. He may also have had personal problems. We saw that in Orlando, where the attacker had abused both of his wives and also was motivated by ISIS.
BLITZER: How do you think the president-elect, Jane Harman, should respond to this incident at Ohio State University, based on what we know right now?
JANE HARMAN (D), FORMER MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, I'm pleased he's not tweeting. I think there needs to be a lot more information. And I just would add a couple of things.
First of all, he was 18 years old, living with his family. We may need to learn clues from his family about what they're like, and hopefully, we will.
But the second point is over the weekend, it was reported in "The New York Times" that President Obama is expanding the legal scope of the war against al Qaeda to include Shabaab in Somalia. Columbus has the second largest Somali population in the U.S., after the Twin Cities. By the way, Washington...
BLITZER: In Minnesota.
HARMAN: Yes, in Minnesota. Washington, D.C., is the fifth largest Muslim population. And so -- fifth largest Somali population.
So it could be that Shabaab has put out an all-points bulletin which this kid found on, you know, social media, saying, "Attack any way you can." And these are logical tools now in the toolkit of these terror attacks.
BLITZER: All right. Everybody, stay with us. There's more to discuss. We're getting new information right now about General GGeneeneral David Petraeus. He met with Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York today. At stake, the secretary of state position. We'll have more right after this.
[17:43:33] BLITZER: There's breaking news. We're back with our terrorism and national security experts, but we're getting in this breaking news.
According to two federal law enforcement officials, a Facebook page believed to be the Ohio State University assailant included grievances about attacks on Muslims. Investigators are examining the page to determine if this, indeed, was an act of terror. That will take some more time to investigate, to ascertain whether or not there may have been other motives, as well.
The 18-year-old assailant, who was shot and killed by local police, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, drove his vehicle onto a crowded sidewalk, started running over individuals; then got out of the car, used a butcher's knife to start slashing others, as well.
The information we're getting on his Facebook page included grievances about attacks on Muslims, this according to two federal law enforcement officials.
A community member who spoke to the family of Abdul Razak Ali Artan said the family described the son as -- described the family as shocked. The mother described Artan as, quote, "a good kid." She said he had just finished community college. He was a student at Ohio State University.
He came to the United States with his family, by the way, from Pakistan in 2014 after leaving Somalia. That's the latest information we're getting.
Phil Mudd, let me get your reaction to the headline that the attacker apparently pasted on his Facebook page -- posted on his Facebook page, grievances about attacks on Muslims.
[17:45:00] MUDD: I would say the headline is be cautious. In the political polarization in this country, Wolf, people watching this program, people reading newspapers, are going to want to jump to judgment, and that judgment will be, we have another case of Islamic extremism in this country.
My answer is an investigator should never do that. The questions for friends and family, the questions as you look at his e-mail will be everything from, what does that Facebook posting mean? Did he have a fight with his girlfriend? Did he have a dispute with his mother? Did he get fired from his job? Until it's over, Wolf, it ain't over. And I don't know much beyond what I knew 10 minutes ago about his motivations. One of them might have been extremism, but I'm not sure yet.
BLITZER: Jane Harman, what is your analysis?
HARMAN: I think be cautious is right. We're sending signals, if we are not cautious, that any Muslim who kills kids with a truck and a knife, which is a terrible thing to happen, is definitely a terrorist, and we don't want to go there until we know we should go there.
BLITZER: Peter Bergen, if there is a Facebook page from this individual in which he complained about attacks on Muslims, what conclusion, if any, would you draw?
BERGEN: I'm just going to agree with Jane and Phil. You know, often you find -- in some of these cases where there is a lethal attack or an attempted lethal attack, somebody is mentally disturbed. And is that really terrorism if it's a case of mental disturbance?
On the other hand, this could be terrorism. I mean, it's so -- HARMAN: No question. No question.
BLITZER: Finish your thought. I could be --
BERGEN: Well, no. It's simply that we've seen in quite a number of these cases that people do have mental issues, which kind of clouds the issue if it's really terrorism. On the other hand, we've also seen people who are perfectly mentally sane carrying out an act of terrorism who place on social media their grievances.
BLITZER: And I'm sure they're going through all that social media right now and interviewing everyone who's associated with this individual to try to find out some more.
All right. Stick around. Don't go too far away. Coming up, a British General goes public now with a frightening new discovery. Newly seized documents reveal thousands of ISIS plots. Stand by, new details.
[17:50:39] BLITZER: We're following today's breaking news, an attack at Ohio State University that left 11 people injured. Authorities say terrorism is a possible motive. We're also getting alarming new details about a huge number of newly revealed ISIS terror plots targeting the West.
CNN'S Brian Todd is joining us. Brian, how did these plot come to light?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, those plots were discovered when ISIS was pushed out of the Syrian city of Manbij, was a key launching point for its operatives to conduct terror operations abroad. Tonight, coalition intelligence officials are working furiously, going through those captured ISIS files, because experts are warning that ISIS could be accelerating those terror plots now that they know their enemies are on to them.
TODD (voice-over): Chilling new information tonight from a top coalition commander who says several ISIS plots to attack the West have been discovered. British General Rupert Jones tells reporters the plans are in tens of thousands of ISIS documents and digital files, captured after the terror group was driven out of the Syrian city of Manbij this summer. General Jones says, quote, "A huge amount of intelligence gathered in Manbij related to threats in Europe and elsewhere."
Tonight, reports say a special unit of the coalition is searching those captured phones, maps, laptops, and hard drives for more information about plots. Analysts say they need to move fast because ISIS will.
MICHAEL WEISS, CO-AUTHOR, ISIS: INSIDE THE ARMY OF TERROR: When they know that they have lost some of their human intelligence or their signals intelligence or their digital intelligence, anything that they have got in the pipeline in terms of terrorist attacks, they like to speed up.
TODD (voice-over): What are intelligence officials looking for in the captured ISIS plans?
AKI PERITZ, FORMER COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: You can actually pin point the individuals who have gone to the battlefront and have gone back, and so intelligence services can actually see these the information and then arrest the people before they can really do anything bad.
TODD (voice-over): Intelligence officials had been crowing since Manbij was taken from ISIS, saying the city close to Syria's border with Turkey was crucial to ISIS' plots to launch operations outside Syria and Iraq.
JOHN BRENNAN, DIRECTOR, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: It was a place where a lot of the foreign fighters were located and external operations, some of them were generated.
TODD (voice-over): General Jones' information on ISIS plots comes just days after five suspects were taken into custody in the French cities of Strasbourg and Marseille. Prosecutors say they had been directed by ISIS operatives in the Middle East to attack France. A travel alert was then issued, warning Americans to be careful at holiday festivals in Europe.
PERITZ: As ISIS loses territory, it has to show that they are still an incredibly potent successful organization. And one relatively easy and cheap way to do so is to commit terror attacks abroad.
TODD: And tonight, France and Belgium remain key targets for ISIS. Analysts say many top members of ISIS' foreign operations branch are either French or Belgian, Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian, there's also some very chilling detail emerging, an ISIS plot that was disrupted in France very recently. What have you learned?
TODD: Well, that's right, Wolf. The French prosecutor says on the night those operatives were arrested in Strasbourg and Marseille, at least two of those operatives had downloaded the app called Periscope, which enables you to live stream any event. The prosecutor says that led authorities to believe an attack was imminent and that the terrorists were going to live stream what they were going to do for the world to see.
BLITZER: Chilling indeed. All right. Brian, thank you. Brian Todd reporting.
[17:55:00] There is breaking news coming up. The man behind the attack at Ohio State University today has now been identified. Did he have ties to terror? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news. Brutal attack. Authorities are scrambling to figure out if the stunning assault at Ohio State University today was an act of terrorism. Tonight, we have new information about apparent Facebook posts by the attacker venting his concern about attacks on Muslims.
[18:00:54] Dirty laundry exposed. As the President-elect moves ahead with his transition, we're learning more about the infighting over at Trump Tower over choosing his Secretary of State. Is retired General David Petraeus now a top contender after adviser Kellyanne Conway publicly bashed Mitt Romney?