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Suicide Bomber Identified in Deadly Russia Metro Attack; Dozens Reportedly Killed in Syria Gas Attack; NYT: FOX & Bill O'Reilly Paid $13 Million to Five Women. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 4, 2017 - 06:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[06:31:34] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We do have some breaking news right now out of Russia. Authorities are identifying the man they say detonated that bomb on a metro train in St. Petersburg. This as the death toll rises to 14 people.

CNN's Oren Lieberman is live at the scene with the breaking details -- Oren.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The foreign ministers of Russia and Kyrgyzstan holding a joint press conference and revealing that the preliminary indication is that this was a suicide bombing, suicide bombing. There had been speculation of that yesterday, but this is the first official confirmation that that is the direction of the investigation.

And it was Kyrgyzstan security authorities who identified the suspect in this case as Akbarjon Djalilov, born in 1995. That makes him 21 or 22 years old. He was born in Kyrgyzstan, but he was a Russian citizen. And they say that is the man responsible behind this deadly bombing that killed 14.

That may answer the who, it doesn't yet answer the motive, the how or the why, and it doesn't say he was acting alone, because remember, there was one more bomb found at a metro station along the same line. That bomb was diffused before it went off. But we don't yet have the answer of who was behind that bomb. Was it somebody else? Was this a bigger group?

All of that as Russia has declared three state days of mourning after this attack. And that's exactly what you can see behind me. This crowd gathered at the memorial, hundreds if not thousands of flowers as well as dozens of candles here as a way of remembering those lives lost as the investigation continues -- Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Appreciate the reporting. Let us know what else you learned.

We also have breaking news that's happening right now in Syria. Reports of a gas attack there just days after President Trump said the U.S. would not topple the country's leader. Who is behind this attack? How many have been killed? The target may have been a hospital, next.

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[06:37:15] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CUOMO: We are following breaking news. Reports of a gas or some kind of chemical attack in Syria killing dozens. Right now, the numbers are early, but we're hearing as many as ten kids may be involved. And after that, a French news agency says a rocket slammed into a hospital where doctors were treating the victims, killing dozens more.

This attack comes just days after the Trump administration said it's not going to try to overthrow Syrian leader Bashar al Assad.

All right. Let's discuss this. We have two perfect guests. Bobby Ghosh, editor in chief of "Hindustan Times", and our Arwa Damon, CNN international correspondent.

Not to easy to say, but good to have you both.

All right. Let's talk about the urgency of these circumstances on the ground. The context, Bobby, is we'll hear people say this is what he does. This is what Assad does to his own people. Now, we need to know who is responsible for these attacks. But what is this concerning?

BOBBY GHOSH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, INDUSTAN TIMES: Well, the concern is that he has chemical weapons still despite having promised to have gotten rid of all of them.

The risk is that he can use them and now that you have a president in the United States saying we're not interested in changing that regime, he may feel a sense of impunity. He has Russia backing him. He has Iran backing him. The United States says it doesn't care whether he is in power or not.

This is basically giving him license to do what he wants.

CAMEROTA: Arwa, you've done so much reporting in that region. You've seen all the atrocities up close. And so, you know, it sounds like the Trump administration is sort of changing the doctrine. I mean, their feeling is whatever you do in your country is your business. We're focused on the United States, and we're not going to try to foist democracy on other far-flung places where we haven't had a great history of that.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, compounded by that is the fact that this is actually happening at two levels. You have under the Obama administration, for example, the chemical attack that happened in 2013 that everyone thought would actually galvanize the United States, galvanize the international community to do something, to bring about an end to the violence. That didn't happen. There has been absolutely no accountability whatsoever when it comes to Syria.

Now, with President Trump seemingly taking even more hands off approach, saying, you know what? You want to gas your people, you want to do whatever it is, you want to, in other countries, imprison people, you want to silence voices of dissent, you want to torture, we're not going to get involved. We're not even going to bring it up.

That's sending a very frightening message, especially to the Middle East at this stage, which can hardly afford a United States that doesn't have a clear policy.

CUOMO: Well, that brings us back to the red line with President Obama and not seemingly escaping into the sand, that there was nothing that Syria can do that was too much.

Now, Syria will say, or suggestion is, this isn't us. But from your experience on the ground, how many entities have this kind of capability to attack from above and have there be some type of gas- related ordnance?

[06:40:05] DAMON: Not many. And that's probably why most people are going to say it's Syria. The Russians obviously have air assets, as does the United States and other coalition partners. It just wouldn't make sense for them to carry out this kind of an attack.

And this is very much the pattern of what we have been seeing coming from the Assad regime and from the Russians as well. They will bomb civilian areas. They will bomb hospitals, and they will continue to do it because no one is willing to stop them.

Whatever is going to cost, whatever bargaining chips need to be put on the table to force the Russians and the Syrians to stop killing innocent civilians, no one is willing to put those chips on the table.

CAMEROTA: I mean, in fact, the U.S. policy seems to be backing off. We heard Secretary of State Tillerson, as well as Ambassador Nikki Haley, saying the plan is no longer to try to remove Assad, and then we have al-Sisi from Egypt meeting here with the U.S.

So, human rights violations do not seem to be at the top of the U.S. priority list anymore.

GHOSH: No. I think Donald Trump's point of view is that it hasn't worked in the past, so we're going to try something new. Now, in the field of diplomacy, that's not always a good idea. There's a reason why things move in a certain way even though it's frustrating and slow.

CAMEROTA: They also --

GHOSH: Unpredictability is not a good thing.

CAMEROTA: I understand. But they also feel that upsetting the apple cart such as in, say, Iraq or Libya also has backfired.

GHOSH: Well, yes, but, you know, that train has already left the station. The apple cart is upset. The damage control needs to be done allowing -- sending the word out to the world that we don't care about human rights. Especially when the other major players in the region, Russia and Iran, most prominently plainly don't care about human rights, means that whole discussion is off the table, and that's not a good idea.

That's sending a bad message to all the poor people caught in the middle of it who are dying. It's sending a bad message to every bad guy out there who might, you know, be inspired to say, now, I can pull this sort of stamp on my own people. If not the United States, then who?

CUOMO: You have the experience of watching what happened before, during, and after the Arab Spring, and that was supposed to be the ultimate manifestation of this, right? Let's inject democracy. Let the people decide for themselves.

What works in that part of the world in terms of stabilizing humanity?

DAMON: I think that's the key question. I mean, and we don't know what works, because the region has been so unstable for so long. But one thing that doesn't work and has not historically work is U.S. meddling.

America has not been able to figure out how to play the dynamics of the Middle East, to push the Middle East towards being a more stable region, nor quite frankly have other countries, some deliberately are wanting to inject instability. When we want a microcosm, just look at the Arab Spring, all of the movements and all of the respective countries started out with a basic simple desire, we want democracy and we want freedom. And then all the outside actors came in and began using these movements as their own proxy battalions fields, and now, we have, frankly, this intractable mess that we're in right now.

CAMEROTA: Arwa, Bobby, thank you very much for sharing all of your expertise and being here in the studio with us.

GHOSH: Anytime.

CAMEROTA: All right. We have to tell you about wild weather back here at home. It has struck the South. Where will these deadly storms go next? We'll let you know.

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[06:47:19] CUOMO: We have problems we need to pay attention. The weather has really wreaked a horrible toll. Storms, tornadoes leaving the trail of death and destruction in the southern U.S., a part of it on your screen right now. At least five people killed, including a South Carolina man in his mobile home when powerful winds caused it to flip several times.

CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray has your forecast.

You know, the most harrowing question is, what happens next?

JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, all of this rain is actually headed up to the Northeast. We're not going to see that severe threat like we did in the South, but these were dangerous storms deadly, as you said, 157 wind reports, 15 tornado reports yesterday.

By the way, this weather report is brought to you by Purina. Your pet, our passion.

So, let's take a look at what's going on now. So, all of that rain is pushing to the Northeast, and actually some of it's going to turn into snow, believe it or not. That's what we all want. The beating of April.

Winter storm warnings in place, which are weather advisories as well. But the big picture showing all of that rain. It is going to be a wet, wet day across much of the Northeast. We could see travel delays as well in places like Boston. Most of the snow, though, is going to stay north of Portland. So, that's what we'll be watching as we go throughout the day today. In fact, we could see as much as six to eight inches of snow in some of those areas -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh. It's mostly spring.

Jennifer, thank you very much.

So, the North Carolina Tar Heels winning their sixth national championship. Some call it sweet redemption.

Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report". Hi, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Alisyn.

2017 has been the year of redemption. Clemson avenges their football championship loss in January. The Patriots win the Super Bowl, getting their own redemption a month later. Now, we witness North Carolina basketball getting their own redemption, too. This is the moment Tar Heel nation knew they claimed it.

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WIRE: Impressive just for these guys to make it back to the championship game. I got to catch up with one of the heroes moments after the game.

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WIRE: I saw you go over and talk to your mom. What kind of a moment did you share?

JUSTIN JACKSON, NORTH CAROLINA: I just said we did it. We were both crying. You know, we've been through a lot.

JOEL BERRY II, NCAA TOURNAMENT MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER: I was in tears. Just because we have worked so hard to get back to this point, and all we had on our mind was redemption from last year.

[06:50:01] And when that confetti fell and it was it was on our side, you know, it was the greatest feeling in the world.

WIRE: Chris, it was a long, tough road just to make it back to the title game. All kinds of potential pitfalls along the way. But they made it, and now the Carolina Tar Heels are national champs.

CUOMO: Congrats to them and to you. Excellent job, my brother.

All right. We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, how do we treat women in the workplace? What is allowed?

The context, more trouble at FOX News. New claims of sexual harassment. Advertisers jumping ship.

Is that what it takes to change a culture? How is the network's biggest star responding? Next.

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CUOMO: FOX News hit with a new lawsuit filed by a contributor who accuses the network's founder, Roger Ailes, of sexual harassment. This as new accusers are coming out against FOX News host, Bill O'Reilly. "The New York Times" reports that the network and O'Reilly have paid out $13 million to five women.

Now, two companies have pulled advertisements from his show as of last night.

Now, O'Reilly did not address the allegations on his show last night, but said in a statement that he is vulnerable to lawsuits because of his status.

One of his new accusers, who has not filed a lawsuit and says she is not seeking any money, spoke to CNN's Don Lemon last night about O'Reilly.

[06:55:06] Here's a piece.

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WENDY WALSH, BILL O'REILLY ACCUSER: I was asked to be on his show as a regular guest. And three weeks into it, I got, you know, kind of an exciting e-mail from his secretary saying Mr. O'Reilly is coming out to Los Angeles and he'd like to have dinner with you. I said, absolutely, because I wanted to talk to him about my career prospects. He brought it up at the beginning of the dinner basically said, Roger Ailes is a good friend of his, and they plan on making me a contributor.

At the end of the dinner, he simply said, "Let's get out of here," and there was this awkward moment where we couldn't find each other, and then he caught up with me and said, "No, no, come back to my suite." And I simply said, "I'm sorry, I can't do that." He said, "What, you think I'm going to attack you?"

So, anyway, at that point, he became hostile, and then he spent some time weaning me off the show. I did --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: All right. Joining us is one of the reporters behind that "New York Times" investigation, Emily Steel, along with contributing editor for "Vanity Fair" and author of "War at the Wall Street Journal", Sarah Ellison.

It's good to have you both here.

Let me start with you, Emily. In terms of the reporting, how confident are you? What do you think you're dealing with in terms of scale and scope, in terms of what we know about FOX News culture?

EMILY STEEL, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: We're very confident with the reporting, which is why we were able to go forward with this and put it on the front page of the "New York Times." And what we found is that there were five settlements with women who had made allegations that Bill O'Reilly had sexually harassed them or otherwise treated them inappropriately.

One of the interesting thing is two of the deals, two of the settlements were struck in the month since Roger Ailes had left the network, and another one, FOX did not know about until late 2016. It was a secret deal that Bill O'Reilly had struck in 2011.

CUOMO: Please, jump in whenever because you guys know so much more about this than I do. But when I learned in your reporting about the timing, it suggested to me more of a window into culture, right? Because there is somewhat of a temptation to put it all on Ailes. This began --

SARA ELLISON, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, VANITY FAIR: Absolutely.

CUOMO: -- and ended with him, and now, FOX News is clean and pure because he is though longer there. Do you agree with that assessment?

ELLISON: Well, that was essential the storyline that FOX wanted everyone to come out of the summer with, is that they had launched an investigation. It was with real law firm. They had gotten to the bottom of this. Ailes, it was stunning he had left the company that he founded.

And James and Lachlan Murdoch were there and say, we want this to be a transparent, open, safe culture for women. Everything is fine, everyone is moving.

We obviously see that this is a kind of a problem in a workplace that is much harder to eradicate. And while they were making all those things and while they were putting out those statements and making those sorts of grand pronouncements about the future, they knew that these settlements were there with Bill O'Reilly, and they weren't announcing them, and it makes -- this is a business. They have a business to run.

And they don't want to sacrifice their biggest star who pulls in half a billion dollars a year over two years. He is -- you know, he is worth a lot to the company. So, it really makes you look at that investigation this summer a little differently as was that an effort to kind of whitewash some of the problems? Was it an effort to just have a great public relations moment? Or were they really serious about getting to the bottom of the problem in?

STEEL: And what we know too is that it's not just Roger Ailes or Bill O'Reilly who have had accusations made against them. There is a woman named Tamara Holder, who FOX News struck a settlement worth more than $2.5 million with. She had made allegations that a man had sexually assaulted her, a FOX News executive, in that company headquarters.

CUOMO: Now, one of the things you have to deal with in reporting this, and frankly dealing with it, legally, is what is real and what is opportunistic? Where once you know an organization is vulnerable -- and I think by any estimation, you have to qualify FOX News as vulnerable on this issue.

ELLISON: Sure.

CUOMO: Now, I can come forward, much more likely, a female can come forward and say something happened and they're going to settle because they're worried about the exposure.

Do you believe there is any real risk at that or that is a factor at all in what we're seeing there?

STEEL: Well, that's certainly what Bill O'Reilly said, that he is a target because of his prominence, and the other thing you hear is that sometimes companies do settle these allegations, not necessarily because there is merit, but because they don't want the bad headlines. They don't want the cost of going to trial.

ELLISON: Well, I mean, there are two things. One is that the Ailes scenario is one where we heard different scenarios from lots of different women. So, that, Julie Roginsky yesterday, Roginsky, her suit really looked quite similar to some of the other women. That's something that I'm pretty confident that that -- the claims in that suit have some back-up evidence for what those are.

Of course, Ailes and O'Reilly have denied these claims very vehemently. There can be some opportunism. But I think when you look at a company like this, it's very hard to not to see with this number of women that are coming forward. This is not a fun thing for women to do. I don't think that people who are coming forward come out of it with a badge of honor or feel like they're particularly more employable than they were before they made the claims.