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Sources: No Link Yet Between Manchester Bomber, Terror Groups; Mother & Daughter Describe Escape from Manchester Attack; Brennan: There was Collusion Between Trump/Russia; People Describe Manchester After Bombing. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired May 23, 2017 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Just based upon what you know, and we know ISIS has claimed responsibility, does this have the hallmark signs of the Islamic State?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANAYST: Well, in some ways, yes, in a sense that it was a suicide bombing. In the sense that this was an utterly callus act targeting young girls at a pop concert. ISIS, as a group, has said their followers and operatives should target everybody, anywhere, any time in the West. They really make no distinction at all when it comes to who they are targeting. It is a group that wants to maximize media impact by carrying out increasingly horrific acts of violence. So to that degree, yes, it does bear the hallmarks of an ISIS-inspired or ISIS-influenced plot. But what remains to be seen, the degree to which ISIS played a role. They claim this guy was a soldier of the caliphate. They made that same claim with the San Bernardino and Orlando plots. There is no evidence whether there were any organized communications to ISIS -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: The question is, whether it's ISIS or not, how do we keep our public places safe? These were children.

Paul Cruickshank, thank you so much.

Speaking of these young people here last night in Manchester, some of the survivors of this terror attack say they will never forget the horror and the fear they experienced.

I talked with one mother and her daughter. The daughter got the tickets for a Christmas gift. She was thrilled to see Ariana Grande. They described how they managed to escape with injuries, but alive.


BALDWIN: This was supposed to be so exciting. This was a Christmas present. Then what happened?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: When we were coming out the door, there was a massive bomb and everyone started running. There was blood everywhere. Everyone was screaming.

BALDWIN: You had no idea it was a bomb at first?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: No. BALDWIN: What did you think it was?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: A fire work or something that had exploded. I didn't know what it was.

BALDWIN: What did you first feel? You got hit on your back side?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: My back was hurt. The whole building was shaking.

BALDWIN: The building was shaking. What did it feel like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was like an earthquake. It shook like underneath us. It was right behind us when we came out into the foyer.

BALDWIN: You had left the concert, walked into the foyer where the man apparently detonated himself?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. He was behind us. Then, we heard the explosion. It was massive. And then there was a big flash. There was fire and debris and that's when it hit us. That's how close we were. I grabbed her and run. There were people bleeding on the floor and everything.

BALDWIN: People bleeding?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a lady in front of me. Her leg was pouring out blood.

BALDWIN: Screaming, young girls?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, everyone was screaming.

BALDWIN: What were you hearing?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: People crying and screaming. It was mad.

BALDWIN: It was mad?


BALDWIN: What happened? Your mom grabbed you and you ran out?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, as fast as I could.

BALDWIN: To where?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Down the steps. I jumped in a taxi. There is a taxi there. My shoe snapped. I was running with three girls and they shared a taxi with us. BALDWIN: Everyone is running. Tell me how many people.



BALDWIN: Thousands of people just running as fast as they could, trying to get out. We didn't realize we had been hit until we was in the taxi. I didn't feel it. It was just adrenaline.

BALDWIN: Did you feel it?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Yes. I felt it on my back. I didn't feel it anywhere else.

BALDWIN: Was it stinging? What did it feel like?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Stinging. My back was stinging as soon as it hit me.

BALDWIN: Then when did you get to the point where you say --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt my clothes rip, through my jeans and through Olivia's dress, it went through my clothing. It was the nuts and bolts.

BALDWIN: What were you saying to your mom?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I didn't say anything. I was just shocked, speechless.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she is still in shock.

BALDWIN: Still in shock.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think we realize how lucky we were.

BALDWIN: Lucky to be able to get out and be OK.



BALDWIN: You went to the hospital and the doctors said it was nuts and bolts?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, nuts and bolts from the bomb, the debris.

BALDWIN: Before you went to the hospital, the thing with this concert it was a lot of young girls --



BALDWIN: -- whose parents had dropped them off. So you threw three girls in your taxi cab.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, shared a taxi with us as well. Younger children than Olivia.

BALDWIN: Did you just swooped them and take them in the car?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We decided should we all share a taxi. So I said yeah.

BALDWIN: Were you talking to the girls?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Yes. They were really scared.


UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: They were crying, and we were saying, are you OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A girl had a really bad mark on her back and a hole in her bottom?

[14:35:19] BALDWIN: Ariana Grande tweeted she felt she was broken.


BALDWIN: How did you interpret that?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: She made out like it was her fault but it wasn't. She was upset. Almost everyone went to see her and some people didn't make it home because they died.

BALDWIN: How could any of this hit any of us yet? It is almost surreal standing here --


BALDWIN: -- in front of the arena talking to you.

What do you want people to know, people back in America about? This is your home, this is Manchester, this horrible, tragic, senseless thing happened. What's the message to everyone else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't expect to take your children out and not come home. There are so many young children that got lost. They don't know where they are.

BALDWIN: People are still missing. What do you want people to know?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just speechless, because the kids went to have a good time for Christmas presents and birthday presents, and then some didn't get to come home, and some were sent to the hospital straight away, and people lost their parents because everyone was running.


BALDWIN: So lovely and so brave, both of them, to share their stories. They showed us the bandages on their back side and legs. And they are hurt. They are still bleeding one day after.

Brianna, what I was left with was this notion of a 12-year-old girl in the back of a taxi cab with her mother trying to comfort girls younger than her, girls that had been dropped off at the concert and were alone and looking for their parents. Awful.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: It is heartbreaking. These moments of kindness are so important, Brooke.

We are going to be right back to you in just a moment.

We'll have more on our breaking news there. Not only are we learning that President Trump asked his intelligence chiefs to deny collusion with Russia, also knew, the White House learned about the president's power to end the investigation all together.


[14:41:39] KEILAR: Welcome back. I'm Brianna Keilar. And Brooke Baldwin is live this hour from Manchester, England. We will be getting back to her on the deadly terror attack in a moment.

First, more on the startling testimony before the House Intelligence hearing into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. The former CIA chief, John Brennan, testified. He said the Trump campaign had contacts with Russian officials. He said he was worried about them.

Joining me now, CNN congressional correspondent, Phil Mattingly.

Phil, how problematic is this testimony for the White House?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly wasn't a positive development, Brianna. In a public forum, you have the former director of the CIA saying explicitly, while he was at the CIA, he saw intelligence and information that made clear there were contacts between U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign and Russian officials. We have reported that in the past but not directly attributed in a public forum to somebody at the level of John Brennan. He made clear this is something he and his agency became aware of last summer. In August, he placed a call to the head of the FSB, the Russians' lead intelligence service, and warned him about the meddling and told him to back off. It was clear this was something that riled the agency and the CIA director had a big problem with.

Now, it is being played out in a public forum, really only adding to the questions, Brianna, and problems that we have seen escalate in the last couple of weeks.

KEILAR: It might be a bit of a small victory, I will say, in this hearing for the Trump administration. Certainly, an important one.

Brennan stopped short of saying there was collusion. Here is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN BRENNAN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I don't know whether or not such collusion -- that's your term -- whether or not such collusion existed. I don't know. I know that there was a sufficient basis of information and intelligence that required further investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not U.S. persons were actively conspiring, colluding with Russian officials.


KEILAR: So that's something, Phil, that the White House is going to say, look, Brennan did not say there was collusion. It seems obviously still from his perspective still to be this open question, as we see all these investigations play out.

MATTINGLY: No question at all. The former part of this statement is certainly the White House is going to seize on, something we have seen repeatedly over the past couple of weeks. Any public official comes out and says, we haven't seen evidence of collusion. It is the latter part of the statement that could be severely problematic. The director of the CIA, which is not a law enforcement institution or agency, said that, based on what he saw, he saw sufficient evidence that there should be an FBI investigation. When he left the CIA, he hadn't seen any collusion. He had seen enough to require some type of investigation. That was the focus -- Brianna?

KEILAR: He said the thread needed to be pulled.

Phil Mattingly, thank you so much.

We are covering breaking news in England.

I want to go back to Brooke Baldwin. She is live for us in Manchester -- Brooke?

[14:44:51] BALDWIN: Brianna, thank you.

When you think about what happened here at this arena last evening, it is young people, young people, a lot of young girls targeted during this Ariana Grande pop concert.

We have new details on the bomber who is claiming responsibility and, more importantly, the survivors, the victims, and those who are still missing. We'll speak with two parents who have yet to hear from their daughter.

Stay with me.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BALDWIN: Welcome back. I'm Brooke Baldwin, live in Manchester at the site of the terrorist attack.

Dozens and dozens more have been injured and at least 22 people are dead, including young children. More have been injured. People are gathering at a vigil site to pay their respects. I was there before the top of the show, because I wanted to feel it. I wanted to talk to these people. They shared what it is like being in the city today.


BALDWIN: To think this happened to young boys and girls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is horrible. It is horrible when anybody dies but a senseless attack on people that have never done anything wrong. I think that makes it awful.

[14:50:05] BALDWIN: What has it been like walking around Manchester today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a strange atmosphere. Everyone is grieving. I think everyone has been awake since really early. I was following it. I was a bit depressed today. Feeling sad.

BALDWIN: How would you describe, at this vigil, people --


Listen to this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's amazing. It has made me really, really proud. To see that everyone has responded. Everyone wants to help and do what they can. That has made me feel really proud.

BALDWIN: I couldn't help by notice your sign made by kids in elementary school here in Manchester. Do they understand what happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We put a big explanation out today and told them they could be upset and let them ask questions and we answered all the questions. It took 50 minutes to half an hour of questions and answers and let them grieve a little bit. A couple of the children were there. They tried to get into school and didn't quite make it. My daughter said, just let me go home. They are grieving.

BALDWIN: A couple of the kids from the primary school were at the concert. Are they OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they are fine.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very shaken but they are nice and safe. They are very lucky.

BALDWIN: Thank goodness. We are here surrounded by police and people that live in Manchester.

Why was it important for you to show up? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To show these people can't beat us. They might as

well give up, because they are never going to win. There is nothing they can do to us. Every time something happens, people of England will be here like this.


BALDWIN: Walking around in that vigil that was jam-packed, you could sense the resilience in this city.

But, you are about to hear from two parents -- just imagine this -- who still cannot find their daughter. No word. She was at this arena at this concert. Where is she?

I'm Brooke Baldwin. This is CNN's special live coverage.


[14:56:47] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KEILAR: I'm Brianna Keilar, live in Washington. This is CNN's special live coverage of two developing stories, including breaking details on the investigation into President Trump and Russia. For the first time, the former director of the CIA reveals that the Trump team was in contact with the Russians. This, as we are learning that the president asked his intelligence chiefs to push back against the FBI investigation. We'll have more on that in just a moment -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: I'm Brooke Baldwin, live in Manchester, in England, a site of unspeakable horror and tragedy. Here's what we know at this hour. We are learning new information about the terror attack, an attack that targeted young children, little girls, teenagers, along with their parents at a concert ambushed by a terrorist wearing a bomb.







BALDWIN: 22 people have died, including children.

A homeless man who was outside this arena tells CNN what he saw when he jumped in to help.


STEVEN JONES, WITNESS: Some of the children's faces, one little girl, she was covered with blood. Some guy was calming her down. We took the little girl's T-shirt off, and luckily enough, she wasn't hurt. It was somebody else's blood on her. We were able to pull nails out of some of their arms and stuff and a couple out of this little girl's face.


JONES: Yes. It was them type of nails and bits of glass, all sorts of stuff in them. The moms were hysterical and screaming. And the children were upset. We haven't even slept most of the night because of what we seen.


BALDWIN: As we're telling the stories of some of the victim her, and when we say children, I am talking about an 8-year-old, 8-year-old Saffi Rose Roussos (ph). Her teachers talked to CNN and saying the notion of an 8-year-old not leaving a concert alive is heartbreaking. And 18-year-old Georgina Callander (ph) and college student, John Atkinson were all killed in this attack. Nearly 60 more were injured. Some still hanging on to life. Eight different hospitals treating people from this terror attack.

When it comes to the investigation, there have been multiple raids here around Manchester. ISIS has claimed responsibility. We are told a 22-year-old man has been identified as the suicide bomber. So far, no known links to terror.

Let me bring in an eyewitness to this terror attack. Sam Ward is with me now.

Same, thank you so much for taking the time.

Just to orient our viewers, that's theory enough. You live just nearby.

SAM WARD, WITNESS: Literally, 200 meters that way.

BALDWIN: You were home last night.

WARD: Yeah.

BALDWIN: Do you hear the blast from your house?

WARD: Yes. We were all sat in the living room, windows wide open. It is a really warm day and, all of a sudden, this almighty bang happened. It was nothing like I've heard before in the city center. We immediately rushed to the balcony just to see what was going on. And all from there, from police coming at 100 miles per hour down the road to the ambulances lining up at the fire station --