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One Dead, Eight Injured After Van Hits Crowd Near London Mosque; Trump Lawyer Contradicts President's Tweet; Democrats Consider Senate Blockade Over GOP Health Care Bill. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 19, 2017 - 06:00   ET

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


[06:00:04] SAEED HASHI, WITNESS: Suddenly turned right to the mosque. So, I was suddenly (ph) shock on. We were screaming and he approach the woman, old Somalia woman was in her 60. And then kind of (INAUDIBLE) and Algerian guy and drove a bus, he hit another three, four, five, six seven. And suddenly the car stopped. So we don't know, (INAUDIBLE). We managed to get him out of the car.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So we got exclusive video of the man that they say they wrestled out of that vehicle. That man you heard from there, some others, they pulled him out of the car. They say he put up a real fight. He was punching, scratching, biting and all the time saying things like "You deserve this. You guys deserve this."

They managed to hold him on the ground for about ten minutes they say until the police arrived also keeping a very large, increasingly angry and emotional crowd away from him. And what we surely are very tense situation.

Now the police here said they're treating this terrorism but it keeping an open mind. And at the moment is the motive. They're still trying to get to the bottom of that. The Muslim community in this part of london is under really (INAUDIBLE) and experience no doubt on this, they believe this was an attack against them, and they say it is simply the latest example of the sort of hatred and Islamophobia they have been experiencing, an escalation of what they've been experiencing since those other recent attacks in London this year.

Chris, Alisyn back to you.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, Phil. Thank you very much. Will check back in with you throughout the program, let's bring in our panel now. We have CNN Counterterrorism Analyst Phil Mudd, CNN National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem and CNN Law Enforcement Analyst James Gagliano.

Great to have all of you. Help us with this breaking news. So James, you know, authorities have yet to classified this as terror attack. They're also considering it a hate crime. So I guess the difference is one is politically motivated and one is personal?

JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, in a certain sense, Alisyn. The terrorism piece is an event where you have violence or intimidation or the threat of the same in pursuit of political or social ends or aims. The hate crime piece, now I looked it up this morning. And I don't know if the Britain, if the U.K. has an actual hate crime statute. They have crimes against hate speech. But in this instance, what we know now is just a small bit just come of it. The authorities have been very guarded with what they're releasing for investigated purposes.

It appears to be a case of moral relativism. It appears that someone decided he was going to go something to get back and attack that happened on the London Bridge a couple weeks ago. Still too early to say that definitively, but I'd say more relevant.

CAMEROTA: But what makes you think that?

GAGLIANO: Well, number one, the eyewitness accounts and what was said. Now, do I think he was targeting that particular mosque because of its past -- it had some extremist past but again he didn't turn himself around and become a model mosque I guess as far as keeping extremists away. Or was he just out and look for the closes target of opportunity where he saw people (INAUDIBLE) or didn't look like him.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: And look, in either way, if it was an intentional act directed at this particular group, he's going to wind up in the same place. And authorities they're calling it a terrorist activity. So his motivation will become clear overtime.

Phil Mudd, let's deal with the reality of what this means. Other than the legalities of it, we see this time and again, innocent Muslims are caught, they're getting it two ways, right? ISIS kills them most of all, and many non-Muslims blame the entire community or either not stopping extremism or in some level owning it.

So, what do you believe the reality is when something like this happens where, you know what the reaction is going to be. There will be people who are sympathetic to the Muslim community who are being victimized because of actions of extremists within their ranks, and there'll be others who say "Well, their community is the problem" and that's why people are so mad and this man obviously went too far.

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: There this pretty straightforward. Chris, if you look at the ideology of ISIS, what they wanted to do is to say that Muslims can't live in the west and Muslims should be attacking the west for moving in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. And that Muslim in the west should be attacking people who are in Britain-American et cetera to force countries like Britain and United States to leave Iraq and Afghanistan.

They want this to happen because they want to accelerate the division between what Muslims and what they see as the Christian west. This is pretty simple. I would expect there's a pretty good chance that we'll see ISIS come out and say this is exactly the reason we want you to attack because people in the west are prejudice against you and they won't allow you to live and grow in these communities. This fits an ISIS propaganda line they've been talking about for years.

CAMEROTA: Julia, this is the fourth attack in as many months. I think we have a map that shows that can remind us of the other just heinous that we've seen, the Westminster Bridge, obviously also a vehicle attack. And then, of course we remember the Ariana Grande concert that was so horrible. So, is something particular happening in London and the surrounding areas?

[06:05:09] JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, obviously this is an intensity and frequency of terrorist attacks that Britain has not seen in ages, and part of this is a cyclical nature of it. You have the attack and potential copycats. And now you have something that looks like it's an attack against a community that's viewed as responsible for the original attacks.

And so that's the challenge right now happening in London and Britain. It's what -- you have over 1200 mosques in Great Britain. You're not going to be able to protect them all. But there has to be assurance is made to that community that they will be protected.

The equivalent of being attacked during Ramadan is like South Carolina AME Church. You know, these are places of worship even in this day in age we like to believe that they are safe. The second issue is to be able to stop the cyclical nature of these. As Phil was saying, if ISIS now comes out and says this is the problem with diversity, what you don't want is a copycat on the ISIS side to say that's exactly right, let's do the next attack and then you'll have attack after attack.

It's a challenge in a diverse city with multiple soft targets. You're just not going to be able to fortify them all. And this use of force of cars and vehicles as weapons is almost impossible to stop. I will say, one last thing, this was an example in which it looks like the population and civilians were able to stop a terrorist attack. There might be something to learn from this, that they were able to pull him out.

CAMEROTA: That is not worthy. I mean look, bystanders, it just coming, you know, you see this on planes, here at home, it comes down to bystanders sometimes having to intercede.

CUOMO: You know how often they are the first responders because they're involved in the event. But James, first of all, you have to distinguish these different events. The other three were terrorist attacks against non-Muslim population, mostly within London.

This was some type of manifestation of righteous or unrighteous retaliation based on your political point of view, I guess. But the idea of using a car, part of the explanation, it's easy to get. It's not as easy to get semi-automatic weapons in the U.K. as it is here. So, isn't that part of the explanation of why they're using the car?

GAGLIANO: Chris, I think statistically in the U.K. about 4 percent of the populous have weapons and I believe 90 percent of police are unarmed.

CUOMO: Right.

GAGLIANO: In this instance using car absolutely. I mean it was van probably weighs 4,000, 5,000 pounds, 2 1/2 tons. I think what we'll have to move to law enforcement is this. You know how each country in the United States and Great Britain now have terror threat levels. And we had just so depending upon the Intel.

I think there was a paradigm called coopers colors which said that for citizens when they're walking around, you can no longer be in condition white, initial white means you're not aware, you're oblivious to your surroundings. You have to be at the next level which is condition yellow.

CAMEROTA: Wow, panel, thank you very much. We'll monitor this obviously throughout the program.

CUOMO: Yes. And as we learn mores information about why this guy did it, we'll bring on to you and I'll increase our understanding.

All right, where other top story this morning is a new twists in the Russia investigation. Confusion, double speak, frustration also known as Monday. A member of President Trump's legal team says the President is not under investigation. The problem is, the President tweeted that he is.

So, this is the latest in the President's wrestling match with the reality of this Russia probe. CNN's Joe Johns live at the White House with more. What's the reaction down there?

JOE JOHNS, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. A familiar form of damage control that started with a presidential tweet. The President's legal team seeking to clear up any confusion over whether he believes he's the subject or target of the investigation. Though the special counsel does appear to be looking into whether there is enough evidence to launch an obstruction of justice investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAY SEKULOW, MEMBER, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S LEGAL TEAM: The President is not under investigation.

The President is not under investigation.

The president is not and has not been under investigation.

JOHNS (voice-over): President Trump's personal legal team denying that he's the target of a probe despite the President's own tweet, seemingly acknowledging that he is being investigated for firing FBI Director James Comey, taking a swipe at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed the special counsel and characterizing the purported investigation as a witch hunt.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Trump has a compulsion to counterattack and is very pug nauseous. I don't think it serves him well. I don't think the tweet helped him.

JOHNS (voice-over): The President's attorney, Jay Sekulow offering this explanation. SEKULOW: That tweet was in response to a Washington Post story that ran with five unnamed sources, without identifying the agencies they represented, saying the special counsel had broadened out his investigation to include the President.

[06:10:10] JOHNS (voice-over): Before appearing to blame social media for the misunderstanding.

SEKULOW: its 141 characters. There's a limitation on Twitter as we all know. And the President is a very effective utilization of social media.

JOHNS (voice-over): Sekulow conceding in a different interview that he could now know for sure.

SEKULOW: When you know one, notified that he is. Can't read people's mind but I can tell you this, we have not been notified that there's investigation of the president of the United States.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R) INTELIGGENCE COMMITTEE: It isn't the best interest of the President and the country to have a full investigation.

JOHNS (voice-over): Despite the confusion prompted by Friday's tweet, the President continues to attack the special counsel's investigation.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: What's happening here is the President wants to take down Bob Mueller. They're essentially engaging in a scorched earth litigation strategy that is begins with trying to discredit the prosecutor.

JOHNS (voice-over): The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Community insisting Sunday that the Russia investigation is just beginning.

SCHIFF: I think there is evidence. I'm not prepared to say there's proof you can take to a jury, but I can say there is enough that we ought to be investigating.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS (on-camera): Another interesting comment from Jay Sekulow on the shows yesterday, he said the President might in the week ahead address whether there are any recordings of Mr. Trump's conversations with former FBI Director James Comey. Chris and Alisyn, back to you.

CAMEROTA: OK Joe, more to come this morning. No doubt. Thank you very much. So how is President Trump fighting the cloud of Russia over his administration? Our panel discusses the latest threats next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:15:16] CUOMO: All right. Here we go again. A tweet takes us down a road that makes everything more confusing when it comes to the President and the Russia probe. The President is upset that he is being looked at by the investigation by Bob Mueller for potential obstruction, so he tweets that. His lawyer says forget about what he tweeted. He's not under any investigation with strange belief and logic.

Let's bring in our political panel to figure out what this all means. CNN Political Analyst David Drucker and David Gregory and Washington Post Congressional Report Karoun Demirjian. David Gergory, help us make sense of this because I want this to really just be something that's irrelevant.

I mean this seems to be like word play and Sekulow trying to clear something up without wanting to say what he must feel as counsel which is, man, I wish my client weren't saying anything about this, but he's got a unique client here, doesn't he?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. I mean that's the point that's. I mean, it's Monday and here we go again. That's the real issue. You have in Donald Trump someone who is a street brawler who, whether this is a legal or political fight, and it's both, wants to fight it himself and wants his lawyers to kind of catch up to what he's done, and try to explain it.

Jay Sekulow knows better. I mean, this word play over Twitter is really ridiculous. I think he knows that, but he's trying to make an argument. Others have to make arguments. But again, let's look at what's going on. There is a legal process that's under way. We don't know the extent to what the Mueller team is doing in terms of what they're looking at. We know how much is in the public domain now for them to investigate that would make sense, and we know about the reporting that's out there that's not really being contradicted given that President is verifying it himself.

At the same time the President I think views this, again, as political process, a fight to be won in the court of public opinion to try to denigrate the reputation of Bob Mueller and suggests this is all part of an effort to get him, to use the media to get him. Anonymous sources to conspire to get the President and undermine his presidency. And I think he'll use that throughout this process.

CAMEROTA: Hey Karoun, it's not just the tweet, that is causing confusion. It's also Jay Sekulow's own words of the Sunday show. Let me play for you how he seemed to be saying two diametrically opposed things. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Should we take that tweet from the President as confirmation that the President is under investigation?

SEKULOW: Let me be clear. The President is not under investigation.

Now he's being investigated by the Department of Justice because the under special counsel regulation report still to the Department of Justice not independent counsel. So he's being investigated for taking the action that the attorney general and deputy attorney general recommended him to take by the agency who recommended the termination. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: I'm glad he cleared that up. He's not -- he's being investigated, but not under investigation. Make sense of that?

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: I mean trying to talk your way out of a jam is a tricky task. But really what's critical is terminology really matters here. One of the things Sekulow was saying, yesterday when he's on CNN was he kept repeating he's not the subject of the investigation, he's not the target of his investigation. Which it seems like in his head is what he is defining is under investigation.

It a safe subject to say target that actually matters, that means that they investigating the President for wrongdoing. That's means that Mueller's already got into a certain point, affects what the President was. And that's not what we actually reported. What we reported was that Mueller's team is looking into these conversations to see if there is reason to think that obstruction of justice occurred. He's talking to various cleanse chiefs at this point.

So this is just kind of like expanding the probe, taking a look at this, making it a focus now of the general investigation that they're doing, not identifying Trump as the central target and trying to prove a case around him at this point. Yet, it's examining whether there is a case to be made around this issue of obstruction which is not where this probe started.

It started in the question of whether there is collusion with the Russians and now has it expanded. So again, this is why, you know, Trump's lawyer is trying to speak in ways that make it seem like there's absolutely nothing there, but he's not fully identifying if there anything there that the probe is getting into and also saying that just because he hasn't been alerted to it doesn't mean they're not at these preliminary initial stages of looking into these allegations.

CUOMO: Well, that's the thing I was heard. Jay Sekulow is coming on the show this morning. And then I think it'll be very helpful for people to in 8:00 hour, your can watch. Well, Karoun says is accurate. But there's a distinction without a difference here, because they're just stripping away all the nonsense for a second.

[06:20:02] If they want to know whether or not Mueller is looking at them, all they have to do is pick up the phone. And the idea that they wouldn't pick up the phone, David, because they don't want to meddle is absurd given what we know about the posture of this White House is.

Also, James Comey cleared this up. He said twice during his testimony that he was sure that the special counsel would figure out whether or not what happened between him and the President constituted obstruction. There is no secret here that Mueller is looking at and there is no secret that the President doesn't like that. So he has yet another one of his surrogates out there twisting in the wind trying to make him have as much distance from this as possible. DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And if you're a surrogate for the President, you always end up in this situation at one time or another because instead of your communication strategy and really your information strategy, being driven by facts on the ground and where you want to take things, you're reactive and responding to things the President said and trying to clean up the things the President said.

Now, I know that people that are close to the President in terms of his outer circle of friends and his supporters believe that when he tweets like this -- this is what got him elected. He fights back against liberal mainstream media and they think this is effective.

But as President, that may have been true in a campaign sense, as the President he has done nothing but get himself into trouble when he does this. And the only reason we're even having this conversation today and since over the last couple days is because of that tweet regardless of what the President meant. And when I spoke to allies of the President on Capitol Hill and around Washington on Friday after that tweet, this is, you know, one those rare times they told me, yes, that tweet OK, that tweet OK. I wish he didn't do it but OK.

In this tweet, bad. One Republican member of Congress told me that wasn't smart and these are people that support him and want him to succeed.

CAMEROTA: David, let's quickly just move on to the business of Congress and what they're trying to do. Possibly even this week, so there is this new -- well, you know, we don't know what's in it, but the GOP -- the Senate health care bill. And we heard Senator Bernie Sanders say that from what they though, they think it's dangerous and that they plan to be obstructionist, the Democrats, to try to block it.

CUOMO: And they're going to get help from Republicans, by the way. There are a lot of Republicans who don't want 20-plus million people on their tab when it comes to a next election cycle and explaining why they let those people become uncovered. But the secrecy is the problem here, isn't it, David?

GREGORY: It is a problem. It's one that Republicans complained about when Obamacare was originally debated and ultimately pass on a party line vote, which is why that so dangerous to do politically. And for the health of policy and that's where Republicans find themselves. They would make the argument, as Mitch McConnell has, that they're doing work behind the scenes in order to achieve consensus which is not easy to come by because of the various constituencies among Republicans that they have to cater to, conservatives and moderates alike, the fight over general coverage, medicaid expansion.

These become big issues and there are ones Democrats are going to run on next week. But I think Democrats are going to fight this hard, both because they recognize they've got to fight to get it above the fold here in terms of the Russia investigation, but because this is an issue they're going to want to run on, the best thing they can do is try to stop it in its tracks.

DRUCKER: There's a special election in Georgia tomorrow. The outcome of that could really drive this debate.

CAMEROTA: OK. We of course are watching that panel, thank you very much.

CUOMO: All right, so coming up on the show, we have the President's attorney on, Jay Sekulow, in the 8:00 hour. We're going to ask him about these different things that are in the wind what matters, what doesn't and why.

[06:23:40] CAMEROTA: OK, back to an update now on our breaking news. At least one man is dead, eight others injured after another, what authorities are calling a terror attack in London with a vehicle. So we have all the latest for you on New Day.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CUOMO: Breaking news from London. At least one person dead, eight others injured after a van plows into Muslim worshippers near a mosque in north London. Police are treating this incident as a terror attack. It would be the third vehicle attack in the U.K. in four months, the first targeting Muslims specifically.

The alleged attacker is in police custody, held on attempted murder charges. So far there's no word of a motive as police await the chance to question the suspect. We're learning bystanders took it upon themselves to detain the driver until police arrived.

Meantime, official are increasing security around places of worship. There's concern in the Muslim community. They're observing the month- long holiday of Ramadan. The Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to speak any moment. When she does, we'll bring it to you.

CAMEROTA: Also out of London, a different story. There was just a moment of silence there a moments ago for the victims of that horrific high-rise fire in London last week.

OK, the numbers here are staggering. Authorities say the number of people dead or missing is now 79. Only five of the dead have been formally identified. Officials say it's complicated because many of the victims are from different countries. Investigators still do not know what sparked this inferno.

CUOMO: Do you know and there's a little bit of false intrigue here about why can't they figure it out? All right, here is what we know, and unfortunately we learned that the worst way possible during 911. Sometimes the temperature of a fire inside the building because the materials and dynamic of the fire can be so hot that two things happen.

One, anybody on the inside almost is disappeared. And second, it's too dangerous to go from floor to floor and section to section. You don't want to risk life to identify lost life. So there should be some sympathy for this process at this point.

CAMEROTA: And just the notion that 79 people are missing.

CUOMO: I can't believe there are more. To be honest, the time of day that happened when every body could have been sleep, 24 stories.

[06:30:04] CAMEROTA: And maybe those numbers will change.

CUOMO: Hopefully, hopefully. We'll stay on it. All right, so the real question -- legal question, important question that people following the Russia probe these would be the president --