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Trump Pushes Travel Ban, Takes Dig at Justice Department; Eleven People Detained After London Terror Raids; ISIS Claims Responsibility For London Terror Attack; Source: One Bridge Attacker Had Ties To Ireland; Facebook Wants To Be "Hostile" To Terrorists. Aired 9-9:30a ET
Aired June 5, 2017 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You're looking at pictures from, I believe, moments ago from Orlando outside the scene. We do not have any details on this, other than a statement from the Sheriff's Office that they are on the scene investigating a multiple fatality incident at some kind of business headquarters. As we get new details, we will bring them to you immediately.
In the meantime, more breaking news. This morning, the President criticizes his own Justice Department, contradicts his own Press Secretary, complicates his own legal case, all before 6:45 a.m. And all with the threat of international terror in the air.
Eleven people now detained after a wave of terror raids following the London Bridge attack. British Prime Minister Theresa May says investigators have identified three attackers who killed at least seven people and injured 48 others. Authorities are now sifting through forensic evidence trying to determine whether the attackers were part of a larger network.
And in the wake of this horrific attack, President Trump unleashed on his still blocked executive order, calling for a travel ban. And he used those exact words, writing, "People, the lawyers, and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I'm calling it what we need and what it is, a travel ban," caps included. And he wrote, "The Justice Department should have stayed with the original travel ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to the Supreme Court."
If only he knew someone in the Justice Department he could discuss this with. Let's begin with CNN's Senior Washington Correspondent Joe Johns at the White House. I think the President, you know, throwing the White House into a bit of chaos with these tweets this morning, Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, John. And President Trump's tweet storm, if you will, comes at a time that the administration is trying to get back on track after all the recent distractions -- I should say, disruptions, over the Russia investigation.
The President of the United States is trying to now push one of the big policy initiatives he promised on the campaign trail. That would be the initiative to put $1 trillion into transportation infrastructure across the country. It all begins today here at the White House with the Air Traffic Control Initiative. This is a push by the administration to try to privatize the air traffic control functions of the federal aviation administration.
On Tuesday, the President has bicameral leadership meetings with members of Congress here at the White House. On Wednesday, he flies out to Cincinnati for a campaign style rally there.
On Thursday, possibly the most, if you will, challenging day of the week, that would be the day when the former FBI Director James Comey testifies on Congress, and he has a number of questions members want to ask him about, including the conversations he had with the President and the memos Mr. Comey wrote about those. That day, there will be some more infrastructure stuff. Even more, in fact, on Friday. And at the end of Friday, a meeting with the President of Romania.
So a lot of things on the plate for this President, as they try -- try -- to move on from the Russia investigation. John, back to you.
BERMAN: Meanwhile, Joe, just to be clear, you had a chance to speak with Kellyanne Conway on the subject of the President's tweets on the travel ban. What did she say so you?
JOHNS: That's absolutely right. After the four tweets this morning, the President sort of reframing his positions, if you will, on the travel ban, I asked Kellyanne Conway this morning, what about the President's tweets? And she essentially asked me why it is we, the media, are obsessed and focused so much on the President's tweets as opposed to focusing on the things he does. I, of course, responded, well, he's the President, and it's the President's tweets, to which she had no response.
BERMAN: All right. Joe Johns for us at the White House, thanks so much.
You know, Kellyanne Conway said much the same thing to NBC. You know, White House staffer Sebastian Gorka actually told Chris Cuomo the tweets are not policy. They're social media, suggesting they somehow don't hold the same significance because of where they appear.
So it does beg the question, what exactly do tweets mean? If only there were an answer. Oh, wait! It turns out the White House does have an answer for that -- tweets mean exactly what they say. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the President's tweets stand for themselves.
I'm going to say I'm going to let the tweets speak for itself.
I think the tweet speaks for itself.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: The tweet speaks for itself. Except, apparently, this morning when they don't. Now, as a general rule, it makes sense to pay attention to words from a president whenever they are said out loud, written on paper, even typed on a phone in 140 characters or less. So that's what we're going to do here this morning.
I want to discuss with my panel, Alex Burns, CNN political analyst and national political reporter for "The New York Times"; April Ryan, CNN political analyst, White House correspondent for the American Urban Radio Networks; and Patrick Healy, CNN political analyst and deputy editor of "The New York Times." Also with us, CNN Supreme Court Reporter Ariane de Vogue because there are really multiple angles to what's been going on over the last three hours or so from the White House.
[09:05:12] April Ryan, first to you, just the confused messaging here.
APRIL RYAN, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Yes.
BERMAN: You have several White House aides out there saying, you know what, ignore -- ignore -- the words from the actual President of the United States. They don't mean anything. What do you make of the messaging conundrum now from the White House?
RYAN: Of course, they want us not to pay attention to that because it's not on message with what Sean Spicer and the communications department have been trying to say and trying to push this executive order through, this travel ban.
Now, here's the deal. I've been covering the White House for 20 years. Anything and everything is presidential that we cover. It could be their dog. It could be their cat.
It could be what they wear. It could be their tweet. It could be the message of the day. It could be who they meet with.
That tweet is something -- those tweets, rather, this morning. They are we are news. It is from the President of the United States, from his fingers, from his mind, to the American public, and we cannot ignore it.
He totally upsets the apple cart as this White House is trying to push forward with his campaign promise of this travel ban or whatever the White House wants to call it. But the President made it a point to say it is a travel ban in all caps. He screamed it this morning.
BERMAN: And, of course, Sean Spicer on January 31st said out loud in words from the podium inside the White House briefing room, it is not a travel ban. And that's just part of the complications this morning, Alex Burns, because the President also somehow suggested that his Justice Department is not acting on his wishes. The Justice Department never should have watered down his original travel ban which the courts struck down or at least blocked, saying that they should go back to the original before the Supreme Court. ALEX BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well,
this is not the first time he has said this. Immediately after a federal judge in Hawaii blocked the second version of the travel ban, he went at a campaign style rally and said I think we should go back to the first version. And, you know, our understanding is that the President has been frustrated and angry at advisers who assured him that the second ban would have a much easier time in court. Like, clearly, that has not panned out the way he expected it to.
But all of this really does go to the heart of the question of just how much of what the President says should be taken at face value. The administration has tried over and over in court to argue that, you know, the tweets don't count, the campaign speeches don't count. A T.V. interview by Rudy Giuliani shouldn't really count. And up to this point, the court has not taken that argument seriously.
BERMAN: And, Ariane de Vogue, Supreme Court reporter, to the legal point here, because the most recent court that blocked part of the travel ban said the order speaks with vague words of national security but in context, drips with a religious intolerance animus and discrimination. It gets to the intent of what the President means by the executive order. And when he writes down, whether it be on paper or on Twitter, that it means exactly what I'm saying right now, it's a travel ban, that's something that can be used in future court cases, I imagine, including before the Supreme Court if they decide to take this up.
ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Well, look, the tweet this morning definitely complicate the legal arguments, right, because the challengers always said that the intent of this executive order was to disfavor Muslims. And what did they use as proof? The President's campaign statements.
And the DOJ lawyers, Department of Justice lawyers, some of the top in the country, came to this court and said you can't look at campaign statements. You have to look at the executive order on its face, and it's religiously neutral. And they also say, look, we came up with a revised ban.
So now, the tweets changed that for two reasons, right? First of all, the President seems to suggest there's no difference between the two bans, and he also suggests that the Department of Justice lawyers are making simply like a politically correct argument simply to please the courts. That could hurt their argument.
And you think of all the other kind of tweets the President could have done, like focusing on national security. But, John, at the end of the day, what will matter is if this case does make it to the Supreme Court, the justices will have to decide whether or not they want to weigh Trump's campaign statements and his statements as President when they look at the intent of this executive order.
BERMAN: Yes. Look, there's no reason to believe that any judge anywhere will say those tweets don't count because they're just social media. If the President wrote them, I believe they will take them into account. Patrick Healy, another aspect of this is sort of this question,
though. The President's talking about the travel ban. He's talking about terrorism. He's talking about immigration. Is this a subject where he would like to see the focus? Whether or not he's contradicting himself, whether or not he's complicating his own legal case here, this may be an area where he's more comfortable having the country discuss rather than, say, James Comey testifying on Thursday.
PATRICK HEALY, DEPUTY CULTURAL EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: That's absolutely right, John. I mean, he's got James Comey coming up on Thursday in public testimony. He's got a health care bill that is stalled in the Senate. He's got tax reform and infrastructure plans that he has been, you know, touting as sort of a game change for America. But, you know, those are going nowhere right now, so he's reverting to form.
[09:10:06] I mean, when he first joined Twitter years ago, he saw this not as something that was fun or kind of like a parlor game. I mean, it was a way to have kind of a one-man media operation, in which he could speak directly to the people who were following him back then. Now, he sees this, again, as a way to connect directly with, you know, whatever kind of base he sees as remaining for him.
He would be probably happy if he could be having, you know, two or three campaign rallies a day and tweeting. I mean, that is sort of his comfort zone. He's never really grown beyond that and shown himself as someone who can, you know, sort of legislate with strength, can make deals, can keep the trains running on time. So, absolutely, this is what he wants to talk about. He called it a ban originally, that is how he saw it, and that intent is really clear.
BERMAN: Let's shift to Thursday, James Comey testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee. We think, testifying. We assume this will go forward.
The White House is still using the word "if," Alex Burns. Kellyanne Conway was on T.V. this morning, saying this about whether or not the President would use executive privilege. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, SENIOR COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: The President will make that final decision. But if Mr. Comey does testify, we'll be watching with everyone else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Still saying the President will make the final decision on executive privilege, still saying if he will testify. Your paper reporting the White House not likely to go down the executive privilege route, so why then is she sort of lobbing that ball up in the air today to sort of muddy the waters?
BURNS: I don't have a great answer for that question, John. But I do think that the White House has tried at every opportunity to try to just cast some kind of a shadow over James Comey's behavior and motives and the likelihood that he can deliver the goods that he claims to be able to deliver, so this may be part of that. But if the White House wants to invoke executive privilege, they are running out of time.
And it's a giant political gamble because, you know, the risk is there that you look like you're trying to hide something. And even more so, the risk is there that you like you're trying to hide something and then lose in court, and Comey gets to testify anyway.
BERMAN: All right. Alex Burns, April Ryan, Patrick Healy, Ariane de Vogue, thanks so much.
New raids, new arrests after the deadly attack in London. And now, British police say they know the identities of the attackers who rammed a van into pedestrians and then went on a stabbing spree.
Facebook wants to help in the fight against terror. How it plans to become hostile to terrorists using the site.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, new details coming in about the terror attack in London. British Prime Minister Theresa May says police have identified all three attackers. A source also confirms to CNN that one of the attackers had ties to Ireland. All of this as 11 people have been detained in a series of anti-terror raids.
Let's get right to CNN's Alex Marquardt. He is outside London right now with the very latest. Good morning, Alex.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. That's right. Most of the raids and arrests taking place here in this East London neighborhood called Barking. A lot of the raids taking place in this residence right here. We know that overnight there were two more here in Barking and a nearby neighborhood.
Eleven people so far have been arrested, seven of whom are women. Right now it's unclear what their connections to the attackers are. We also know that earlier today the Metropolitan Police put out a statement in which they said that a huge amount of forensic material has been seized in raids over the past few days.
We're getting a fuller picture of how the attack unfolded but very few details from the police as to the identities of the attackers. One as you said had ties to Ireland and Theresa May is saying that the police do know the identities of all three attackers. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The police have now identified all three of the attackers, and when progress in the investigation permits, Metropolitan Police will release the names.
(END VIDEO CLIP) MARQUARDT: Now the big question will be how to stop these attacks going forward. The U.K. has now seen three major terror attacks in just nine weeks but this morning, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police said in the same time frame, nine weeks, five different attacks were foiled.
She also said, quote, "The majority of the threat that we're facing is not from overseas," meaning that the main terror threat here in the U.K. is home grown -- John.
BERMAN: Alex, one question here, ISIS is claiming responsibility for the attack. What are officials saying there about a possible link?
MARQUARDT: That's right. They put out that claim of responsibility about 24 hours after the attack through their so-called official media channels. There were few details in that claim of responsibility. For now there's no indication the terror group had contact with the attackers. There's no evidence that this was ISIS directed as opposed to ISIS inspired, which of course is an important differentiation to make -- John.
BERMAN: All right, Alex Marquardt for us, great to have you with us. Great to have you here at CNN. Thanks, Alex.
Want to discuss now with our panel, joining us is Paul Cruickshank, CNN terrorism analyst, Juliette Kayyem, CNN national security analyst and former assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, and Mubin Shaikh, a former extremist and former counterterrorism operative.
Paul Cruickshank, first to you, you're working your sources across Europe right now. These three men, what are they saying, does it look like they had connections outside of their own little unit?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, what they're doing is they are investigating whether they have connections to a wider extremist milieu and this part of East London is an area where there has been a sort of history of Islamist extremism, minority pockets of that.
There's been one group called "Amujaharun," a British pro-ISIS group that is being particularly active in the area. Its leader Anjem Choudary (ph) was convicted and sentenced to jail for five years last year for urging support for ISIS.
I've interviewed him several times. I followed this group. They are very active in that area. That is one of the things they'll be looking at.
They are also obviously looking at whether there's any overseas connection, but given the crude techniques that they used in this attack, doesn't appear they were trained killers who would have been overseas with a group like ISIS. The focus is much more domestic right now, John, in this investigation.
[09:20:12]BERMAN: So Juliette Kayyem, on that point, crude weapons here. The British authorities on the scene and killing those terrorists within eight minutes of the first call for help, and there may be two lessons here, one reassuring, one not so.
The first lesson is that British authorities are on this. They have a response system in place that can move rapidly and try to keep casualties at a minimum. The less reassuring part of it is, is that there were still seven people who died, more than 40 people injured, even though this attack may not have been as "successful" as the terrorists had wanted.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That's exactly right. It's the challenge of how do you measure success both for the terrorists and for cities and countries in this age of the kind of terrorism that we're seeing. But part of how we need to measure it is can law enforcement public safety, fire officials, the public be able to react in a way that minimizes the harm after the attack.
We call this right of boom planning, right, in terms of saving lives, minimizing those who have to go to the hospital. In that regard I quote the mayor of London. The response was spectacular.
Because if you can minimize the death toll it undermines the terrorists' success even though of course they got through and killed some people, but it also helps the city bounce back and become more resilient.
Unfortunately, in this day and age with the kind of terror we're facing we have to anticipate future attacks and we have to measure own our success by whether we are prepared for after the boom.
BERMAN: You know, Mubin, President Trump calling for a new travel ban here in the United States. I know the situations in England obviously very different, than the situations in the United States particularly number of extremists who have gone back and forth and worked with ISIS directly. Nevertheless, how do you see the idea of a travel ban as being a useful tool in fighting terror?
MUBIN SHAIKH, FORMER EXTREMIST: Well, I mean, on the facts of it, the travel ban is not warranted. The Cato Institute conservative think tank I guess I mean they've crunched the numbers on, this having been attackers coming as refugees. I mean, you have white supremacists that have killed more people in the past few weeks than you've had refugees kill people in the past few 20 years. So the merits of the travel ban are nonexistent.
BERMAN: And the idea of home grown, correct, we don't know the identity, Mubin, of the British attackers, were they born in Great Britain or outside of the country and moving in there. The great deal of terrorists in particular within Europe is coming from people who were born within the countries they attack. Isn't that right?
SHAIKH: That's right. This is where the threat comes from, and it begs the question, what is the domestic policy that's in place to prevent these things? The U.K. is struggling with trying to get certain countering radicalization programs really going. The prevent program, for example, but you have, you know, malevolent naysayer fifth column Islamist groups in the U.K. that are arguing day and night against those programs, so you know, there's nothing of this sort in the U.S.
I mean, under the previous administration there was a semblance of a CVE policy that was starting to take shape but the current administration kyboshed all of that and said, we'll forget about other types of violent extremism and focus only on Muslim. I don't see how that's going to work either.
BERMAN: All right, Paul Cruickshank, Juliette Kayyem, and Mubin Shaikh, thank you all so much for your time. Appreciate it.
Facebook says it is taking on terror after the weekend attacks in London. The social media site says it wants to be a hostile environment for terrorists. CNN's chief business correspondent, Christine Romans is here before the bell with that.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And you know, you got these companies under a little bit of criticism because there's a feeling that sometimes the safe space as Theresa May put it for terrorist ideology breeds in the very place that is oxygen for democracies, free speech.
So Facebook, Twitter and others are saying they're going to be hostile to the terrorist ideology. Law enforcement sources for years have said it's not the case. They don't work fast enough. We don't know the motives behind these three individuals to be clear here.
I want to you listen if you will to what Theresa May said about this safe space for terrorist ideologies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAY: We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the internet and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Facebook says it works aggressively to remove terror content, but the big complaint among law enforcement for a long time is encrypted channels that may shield the conversations of people planning terrorist attacks.
BERMAN: WhatsApp which Facebook owns.
[09:25:05]ROMANS: Right. And Twitter has said they move quickly to get terrible content off but anybody onto there you can see this stuff frequently. Also she says Theresa May says Democratic governments must do everything they can to reduce risks online, that even means regulating the companies. The word is out there, these companies have to do better and more quickly, otherwise the word is on the street you're going to get regulated.
BERMAN: What do the markets look like? A tumultuous weekend not the kind that investors like.
ROMANS: A little bit lower and really what we're watching for stocks a little bit lower here, but the big story is crude oil, taking a big dip as A:rab states cut ties with Qatar. This is a very interesting development that maybe you haven't heard a lot but a lot of folks are talking about crude oil down.
Anything seen as instability in the Middle East, this region, so much of the world's oil passes through, either produce from or passes through so again Arab states cutting ties with Qatar. They accuse Qatar of sponsoring terrorism. Qatar says it's unjustified. So that's why oil prices are down.
BERMAN: We'll cover that story in a bit. Christine Romans, great to have you with us. Thanks so much.
President Trump facing a critical week as fired FBI Director James Comey getting ready to testify Thursday at 10:00 a.m. What do lawmakers want to know from him?