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Gunfire and Explosions in Philippines; Trump to Announce Withdraw from Climate Deal; Attack at Tourist Resort; Trump Ditches Climate Deal. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired June 1, 2017 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:03] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Ana Cabrera. I want to welcome our viewers around the world and here in the U.S. We begin with breaking news.
Right now we are following reports of an attack unfolding at a tourist resort in the capital of the Philippines. Gunfire and explosions have been heard at the Resorts World Manila. This is a casino and hotel, a complex really near Manila's international airport and police, fire trucks, S.W.A.T. teams, they are all on the scene right now. This information is coming to us from CNN Philippines.
It happened just after midnight local time there, but this, a casino that operates 24 hours a day. At this stage, we don't have reports of any deaths or injuries. Of course, it's a developing situation.
And let me give you the backdrop here of this. This is a recent insurgence we've been seeing of ISIS militants and anti-ISIS bombing campaign happening right now in the Philippines marking the terror group's first significant foothold outside the Middle East.
Again, no confirmation at this hour exactly who is involved in this latest attack.
I want to bring in Ivan Watson, who's joining us from Singapore.
Ivan, what are you hearing and learning?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, this is still very much developing situation. And as you reported, as we're hearing from our sister network CNN Philippines, reports of gunfire, of explosions taking place around a hotel complex that is very close to the international airport in Manila, in the Philippines capital. Reports of people fleeing the scene.
This complex has a number of hotels in it. It has a shopping mall and also a casino complex as well. We're getting reports of heavily armed Philippine security forces, S.W.A.T. police officers moving to the area as well as fire trucks as well.
We do not know who is behind this. No claims of responsibility. No confirmations of any casualties at this time. The context is important. We don't have any direct correlation here,
again, any claims of responsibility. But this comes about a week after there's been just a surge of violence on the southern Philippines island of Mindanao, where you have Islamist militants who have aligned themselves with ISIS, who took over - took control of a town called Mirawi (ph) there. Tens of thousands of people have fled. Reports of more than 100 casualties there. And the government has had to declare martial law on that island.
And this is, of course, the Philippines capital, very far from that island, and it's still very much an unfolding situation. And we'll be bringing you up to date as we learn more from the Philippines security forces and from eyewitness on the ground around the resorts world complex there near the airport.
CABRERA: Ivan, one of the eyewitnesses we heard from earlier here on CNN was describing the scene, talking about hearing explosions and gunfire, but that that has since stopped. Do you know any more whether this is still an active assault that's taking place or whether the perpetrators here have been captivated?
WATSON: We haven't gotten any information from Philippines officials yet at this time. It's worth noting, it's only 2:00 in the morning right now in Manila and this has clearly created - at least among hotel employees, very much a sense of panic and concern. So we're still trying to piece together what exactly has happened there. And is this, in fact, still an unfolding situation? So we're just going to have to bring you up to date as we get more information about that, Ana.
CABRERA: We'll let you continue to work your sources in gathering that information.
I want to bring in Colonel Cedric Leighton, CNN military analyst, who has been to this area many times.
What strikes you about what you're learning?
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST (via telephone): Well, Ana, I think the biggest thing here is that, you know, this is an area where a lot of Filipinos go for their vacation time, for their leisure time and also attracts a lot of foreign tourists. So what you're finding is a soft target. This is a classic soft target for terrorists to go after. And the fact that they're doing this indicates that whoever is behind this is ramping up their efforts against the regime of President Duterte. And the fact that they are doing it now shows that I think they believe that they need to send a message to the Filipino government and, unfortunately, a lot of innocent civilians are going to be caught in the crossfire.
CABRERA: We're hearing this is an area where there are multiple hotels. There's a casino. There's a shopping center. So it's quite the complex. If you were law enforcement responding to this scene, how - what's your approach? LEIGHTON: Well, your basic approach is going to be one in which you
have to secure the perimeter. And what you have to end up doing is you have to make sure that you contain any casualties, any damage that is there. The other thing that you have to do is you have to make sure that the terrorists don't escape. If you can catch them, that then shortens your investigative timeframe. It also makes it possible for you to really find out more about the terrorist attacks, you know, what their modus operandi is. You'd - also, who they're working for. And that, I think, is going to be the key factor.
[14:05:16] CABRERA: Let me bring in CNN terror analyst Peter Bergen, joining us now.
Again, this is an unfolding situation, Peter. We don't know exactly what is happening just now. We know there have been explosions. There have been sounds of gunfire. People wearing masks reportedly on the second floor of this hotel complex. But, again, it's the context that makes this even more alarming given the terrorism and additional activity we've seen from groups like ISIS in parts of the Philippines.
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERROR ANALYST (via telephone): Yes. I mean let's start with the modus operandi of this attack and think about some previous attacks that look very similar. This looks like - to me looks like a circle (INAUDIBLE) attack, which, you know, Colonel Leighton was just saying, you know, perhaps we - you know, you want to try and capture these guys. I don't think that's going to be an option here. These guys, if it is an (INAUDIBLE) attack, are going in to die. (INAUDIBLE) Mumbai and about a decade ago where they went in, they took all the, you know, the people - hotel guests hostage and they fought to their death and it, you know, played out on cable TV for - pretty much live for three days. This is the intent to make this last as long as possible.
We saw this also in Kenya with the West Gate Mall attack. Similarly, you know, gunmen went in, took hostages, fought to the death and the whole thing lasted at least 48 hours. So that's the modus operandi.
Then the context, that you mentioned, Ana, ISIS has called for attacks during Ramadan. Unfortunately, we've seen four very significant attacks in Iraq, one at - outside of an ice cream parlor killing mostly women and children in Baghdad. We saw the massive attack just in the last 24 hours in Kabul killing more than 90. We've seen other attacks. And unfortunately for groups that are sort of - if indeed this is an Islamist terrorist group, as it seems plausible, you have both Abu Sayyef (ph) in the Philippines and then also ISIS. You know these groups se an attack on Ramadan as being particularly auspicious, even though, you know, 99.9 percent of the world's Muslims are, in fact, you know, opposed to this kind of attack and are fasting and praying during the holy month of Ramadan.
CABRERA: We're looking at images coming to us from the scene right now where you see people looking to be in fear. We see people on the ground. We see people looking around. Again, we don't know exactly the status of everybody who was in this area. No reports of casualties. But, also, we don't have all of the information.
I want to get to Maria Ressa. She's the executive editor of Rappler, near the scene.
I know, Maria, you've been hearing from witnesses there. What are they telling you?
MARIA RESSA, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, RAPPLER (via telephone): They heard gunshots. Some people are saying that they saw masked men, but then others said they haven't. Some people - we've seen people walk out injured and are being treated by paramedics outside on the street outside of - we have ambulances and fire trucks. Some folks coming out dazed. But right now it's - it's about an hour and a half after it happened and people are waiting for word.
We have heard from the Philippine national police, a spokesman from the police have asked media to be careful about their coverage, to not compromise operations that are going on right now and to be aware raw (ph) information could be damaging as well. It's unclear exactly what's happening. The smoke, though, is still there and we're waiting to hear more.
CABRERA: You mentioned that people were being treated by ambulances. Any sense of the types of injuries or why they are being treated?
RESSA: Unclear. We're seeing are people being brought outside. A woman who was - looked like she was limping, being held by two men who were helping her outside. And then out on the sidewalk, paramedics who were just taking care of a person who couldn't walk. We also saw photos of an overturned car after some of the explosions. But again, it's unclear exactly what is happening now.
CABRERA: And in terms of law enforcement presence on the scene, we understand that there is a combination of police, S.W.A.T. teams. There's also these emergency responders, like firefighters and ambulances that have responded. Set the scene a little bit for us in terms of what you can visibly see and are you seeing a strategy in terms of law enforcement responding?
RESSA: What we know is that S.W.A.T. teams have gone into the building with (INAUDIBLE). They've asked people to evacuate. There are two hotel complexes right on either side. The people who have evacuated, some of them actually hid. One man who identified himself as Julio Silva (ph) told us that he was on the third floor of the building when he heard the gunshots. He hit in the bathroom. He said several more gunshots followed, thick smoke and then before he fled, he fled and got outside along with his companions. They went to the second floor where a security guided them out of the building.
[14:10:30] So it's - it's unclear exactly what operations are going on inside. But people outside are waiting to hear word about it.
CABRERA: All right, Maria, stay with us.
I want to go to Ivan Watson once again.
Ivan, you have some new information reporting from the hotel. What are they saying? WATSON: That's right. The verified Twitter account of Resorts World Manila has tweeted that, quote, "Resorts World Manila is currently on lockdown following reports of gunfire from unidentified men. The company is working closely with the Philippine national police to insure that all guests and employees are safe. We ask for your prayers during these difficult times."
So we've got statements coming from the hotel's verified Twitter account, coming out on social media.
And a little bit of more context about this area. I've stayed in some of the hotels in this compound. There's a Marriott Hotel there, for example, which - where several years ago I actually saw them hosting a U.S. Marine ball at that location. So that gives you a sense of kind of some of the foreign customers that would be coming to some of the hotels in that complex.
There's an adjoining shopping mall there. And though there are some security measures, you'll have, for example, dogs and guards that could be sniffing people coming in and out, and it's quite typical for there to be armed guards outside of hotels and shopping malls in Manila, there are also links between the shopping mall complex there and the Marriott Hotel and the other networks of hotels and casinos in that area. You can walk across the streets between these various hotels and shopping areas.
And this is all, again, very close to Manila's international airport. There's also a - an Air Force presence in that broader area of Manila itself. And, of course, reports and that are now verified now from the official account of Resorts World Manila of gunfire and a hotel right now that's in lockdown as this situation does still appear to be unfolding, Ana.
CABRERA: And we are hearing from those witnesses, those nearby, saying they're still seeing smoke rising from the scene.
Ivan Watson, stay with us.
We're going to take a quick break here as we continue to follow this breaking news right now happening in the Philippines, in Manila. Reports of gunfire, masked men, explosions in a reports complex near the airport.
We're working to gather more information. Stay with CNN. We'll be right back.
[14:16:54] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CABRERA: Breaking news. Reports of gunfire and explosions inside a resort in the Philippines. Witnesses say they have seen masked men. The hotel says it's on lockdown. We'll take you back there in just a moment. This happening in Manila.
But, first, we have more breaking news here in the U.S. The president is leaving everyone in suspense, giving his decision on
whether to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. The Rose Garden treatment. We'll bring that announcement to you live in less than an hour from now. Administration sources say they expect the president to say the U.S. will leave the other 194 countries that have committed to curb carbon emissions and join Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries who oppose it.
Now, during the campaign, President Trump made it clear that he was no fan of the environmental deal put in place by former President Obama. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to cancel the Paris climate agreement and stop - unbelievable - and stop all payments of the United States' tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Now, in recent days, the president says he has been listening to many voices, both inside and outside of his inner circle, some still lobbying to stay.
For more on the big announcement, let's go to CNN's Sara Murray, who is at the White House.
Sara, we have been reporting he's been to withdraw. But is there a chance the president could pull an audible here?
SARA MURRAY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, of course, with Donald Trump there's always a chance the plans could change and I think that's why we've seen a number of his advisers saying, you know, nothing's official until it comes out of his mouth.
But that said, we are being told that the president is expected to announce a withdraw in this Rose Garden ceremony today. Remember, it's a pledge he made on the campaign trail and he's certainly been sending signals, publicly and privately, that this was his plan. And I think that's why we saw so many European leaders leave their meetings with him last week when he was abroad feeling a little bit dejected, feeling a little bit disappointed by what they heard from the president. This is a monumental decision. And as you pointed out, it really isolates America from the rest of the world if, in fact, the president comes out and announces what we expect, that the U.S. is withdrawing from this agreement.
CABRERA: This decision could have massive global implications, Sara. Businesses, even the Pentagon, all of our U.S. allies have said we should stay. That that would be in the U.S.' best interest. So what is the political calculus here if he announces a withdraw?
MURRAY: Well, it will be very fascinating to see how the president explains his decision. We know he's spoken to a number of different people. People who work within his own West Wing that are divided on whether or not he should go through with this move to withdraw. And we have seen a last-minute push by big business to try to convince the president that this is the wrong decision, that he should stay a part of the Paris Climate Accord.
Remember, on the campaign trail, President Trump said over and over again that it would be better for jobs if we withdrew. That doesn't really match with the rhetoric we've heard from much of sort of the big business community over the last 24 to 48 hours. So it will be very fascinating to see how the president explains his decision-making process on this.
[14:20:04] And, remember, the one thing they have not made clear is exactly the mechanism for how we will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. So, obviously, we'll be looking for sort of the finer details of exactly how this will work as well.
CABRERA: And late reporting coming in to CNN saying that the president believes he's crafted some language in terms of this potential withdraw that would appease some of the critics of withdrawing, including his own daughter Ivanka Trump. So it will be very interesting to hear what words he chooses in his announcement
Sara, thank you.
And stay with us for much more of this major announcement just a short time from now.
Plus, back to our breaking news out of the Philippines. Gunfire, explosions and reports of masked men inside a resort there. We'll take you back there live.
Stay with us.
[14:25:09] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CABRERA: Back to our breaking news.
Right now we are following reports of an attack unfolding at a tourist resort in the capital of the Philippines. Gunfire and explosions have been heard at the Resorts World Manila. This is a casino and hotel complex near Manila's international airport.
Now, we've seen police, fire trucks and S.W.A.T. teams all on the scene, according to eyewitness, this information coming to us from CNN Philippines. Also it happened, we're learning, just after midnight local time. This is a casino, of course, that operates 24 hours a day. At this stage, we don't have reports of deaths or injuries. The situation is still unfolding.
And the backdrop of this is a recent insurgence of ISIS militants and anti-ISIS bombing campaigns happening in the Philippines marking the terror group's first significant foothold outside the Middle East. So we're working as we get through this situation to get more information on who could be involved in this tourist attack - tourist - potential terrorist attack at a tourist destination.
Let's go live now to April Rafales. She is ABS-CBN journalist near the scene there.
April, I understand you're very close. What are you seeing and hearing?
APRIL RAFALES, ABS-CBN JOURNALIST (via telephone): Hello.
We are just outside the Resorts World Manila. We are at the southern part of the complex. And we can't get inside because it's been cordoned off as it is now in lockdown after reports of several gunfire emerged shortly after 12 midnight a while ago.
But this is what we know so far after talking to some witnesses and people and civilians coming from the casino building. They said that shortly after 12:00 midnight, several men wearing black masks, and wearing black clothing all over, entered the second floor of the casino building and opened fire as people inside - that's why - the people who are currently - who were currently at the first floor started to - started to open the windows and jump out of the windows and jump out of the building from the third floor. That's why some of them are now injured and we're immediately rushed to the hospital.
We are not sure yet what people or what suspects are they or what group they are affiliated with because the national capital region police office is very careful not to say anything that might pre-empt their operations or that might give unnecessary information to the people, especially to the public, who are now in panic. All the - all we know is that these are people, several people who are wearing black masks and wearing black clothing all over who did not identify themselves. We are not yet sure if there are people who are still inside or if there are - or if they are injured, victims who are still inside. But the people, the Philippine national police, together with the Bureau of Fire and Security Forces are all over the place guarding the place and strategizing on how they can get inside. Their priority right now is to make sure that no other civilians will be hurt who are still inside.
CABRERA: All right, April Rafales, thank you for giving us that update.
Again, as we continue to follow this breaking news out of the Philippines, out of Manila, where it appears a terrorist attack may be underway. Reports of gunfire, several men in masks wearing black clothing, storming this tourist destination, a hotel and casino complex near the airport in Manila. We continue to talk with people on the ground to get a better sense of exactly what's unfolding here. We have learned that the resort is on lockdown right now. We'll continue to follow this developing situation.
But we have more breaking news right now here in the United States. New information right now on President Trump's big decision on whether to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. Let's go straight to CNN's senior White House correspondent Jim
Jim, what are you learning?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana.
We are being told by a congressional source that the president, the White House, has informed Capitol Hill, members of Congress, that the president has decided to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. Now, we have obtained talking points from the White House here at CNN that has been distributed up to Capitol Hill. And we can just read you a few of the top lines here. This is basically what the White House is telling its friendly members of Congress, its fellow Republicans up on Capitol Hill, as to what they should say in these interviews that are going to be coming, obviously, about the withdraw of the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.
[14:29:48] Just to read this to you. It says, Ana, that the Paris Accord, and this is according to the White House, "is a bad deal for Americans and the president's action today is keeping his campaign promise to put American workers first. The accord was negotiated poorly," this is in the words of the White House, "by the Obama administration and signed out of desperation. It frontloads costs on the American people to the detriment of our economy and job growth, while extracting meaningless commitments from the world's top global