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NYC Terror Attack Suspect Charged, Terror Ties Investigated; President Trump Calls U.S. Justice System a Joke and Laughingstock. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 1, 2017 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:14] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

We begin tonight with breaking news. So much of what we were hoping to know in the wake of yesterday's terror attack in Lower Manhattan we learned in just a few short minutes late today. Federal terrorism charges filed against the driver, details revealed, shedding light on means, motive, opportunity and timeline.

But there's more that authorities want to know which is where why we're again breaking with tradition tonight and showing his photo just in case anyone has any information about this person. That's the number to call there at the bottom of the screen, which we'll show throughout our two hours tonight.

But, first, the facts that we know. Two reports starting with CNN's Shimon Prokupecz, who joins us now.

So, what have you found out about why the suspect chose Halloween?


So authorities believe the reason he chose Halloween, quite simply is because he wanted a big impact. He felt that in the area along this stretch on the West Side Highway, along this bike path, which really isn't that far from the Halloween parade, he thought there would be a lot of people there. So, he figured he would do this attack for a great impact in an area where there would be a lot of people -- Anderson.

COOPER: What else was in the complaint?

PROKUPECZ: So, there's really a lot of information on this ten-plus page complaint. The authorities say that they have his cell phones, two cell phones and really they have found a lot of information just off of his web searching. He was searching on his phone Websites. They found 90 videos of ISIS propaganda. One of them was a beheading.

They also found some 3,800 images of ISIS, and they also found that he feels researching pickup trucks and just Halloween, the term Halloween.

So, all of that is basically painting a picture for authorities that he wanted a big impact type attack. COOPER: Earlier, the FBI was looking for information about a second

individual. What do you know about that now?

PROKUPECZ: So, they have located that individual. Shortly after they put out his photo, within about 20 minutes or so, they found him. They are questioning him.

He is not considered a suspect. I was told that there was no imminent threat because of him, but they were able to find him and they are now questioning. They believe he's an associate. They want to ask him what he knows. That's what I'm being told, what he knows about the suspect.

Keep in mind that the suspect was planning this for about a year, so anyone in that timeline authorities are going to want to talk to. So, he's not going to be the only one that they're going to be looking for and wanting to speak to, Anderson.

COOPER: And, Shimon, how did this terrorist, I mean, how did he make a living?

PROKUPECZ: Right. So that's unclear. There's some thought that he was odds and ends kind of jobs or where -- or pick up driver. Authorities are still working through that. He didn't appear to really have a great amount of money, so that is still under investigation.

They are talking -- they've talked to his wife, who has been cooperating and that's still stuff that they really are trying to figure out.

COOPER: All right. Shimon Prokupecz, appreciate the reporting.

For more, let's go to CNN's Jason Carroll, who is in Lower Manhattan, near the site of the attack.

So, you're learning, Jason, more about what the suspect has said.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. And we should also tell you that the suspect did appear in a wheelchair in federal court earlier this evening. He did not enter a plea. That's going to come at a later point. He is facing two counts, including providing material support to a terrorist organization -- that organization, of course, being ISIS. Again, did not enter a plea. That's going to come when the U.S. attorney indicts. The U.S. attorney has 30 days to do that.

But as you heard from my colleague there, Shimon Prokupecz, really getting more insight now into the state of mind of this particular man. He had already given investigators a great deal of information and apparently not showing any remorse, Anderson, when he was in his hospital room, when he was questioned, apparently, he said he felt good about what he had done and at one point, Anderson, asked if an ISIS flag could be hung in his hospital room.

COOPER: Unbelievable. I mean, he also did a dry run, is that right? CARROLL: He did. He did. We know from the criminal complaint that

at 2:06, that was the time with where he actually rented the truck from Home Depot, but on October 22nd, he actually rented a truck and did some turns to try to practice.

We also know that at one point, he said that he wanted to hang the is flag on his truck which falls in step with some of the material left behind which including a note that was written in English and Arabic, which included ISIS propaganda -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jason Carroll, appreciate the detail.

I want to bring in our security experts. Art Roderick and Phil Mudd, as well as Paul Cruickshank in London.

Phil, just from what we've learned today, how do you see this investigation now?

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: People are talking about lone wolf versus broad conspiracy. This is a little more confused, a little more muddled and I think it's going to be get more complicated.

A couple things here are different than what you would expect to see in a lone wolf operation. The first is the length of radicalization and then the length of operational planning. We learn that he thought of a truck about two months ago, but he was thinking of this operation as long as a year ago.

[20:05:04] He was not isolated from society. He has a family, presumably has associates.

Point one, somebody knows something.

COOPER: In past cases, people talk about stuff to someone.

MUDD: You got -- and it's not simply a question of whether they look at somebody and say, I'm going to go mow down people in the West Side Highway. It's whether their activity changes, whether their language change. Do they talk about U.S. politics differently, religion differently, they dress differently.

The second issue is the FBI picking up a second person of interest. I'm not suggesting that person was involved in the conspiracy. But the fact that they looked for him so quickly tells me that they have questions for them. Those questions, some are simple. Did you know something about the operation?

Some are more complicated, that was the circle of people who might have told him that joining ISIS was OK. Who might have radicalized, who might have encouraged him. This tells me that the story, the sorted of spider web around this individual is more than just a spider in the middle. There's going to be tentacles around it that are complicated.

COOPER: Art, how about you? ART RODERICK, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: No, absolutely. I think the linkages here, when we found out that although he was never the target of an FBI counterterrorism investigation, he was always on the periphery. He was just outside of the radar.

So, now, what they're going to do is they're going to go back and look at the linkages between him and the individuals that were targets but also who he was talking to out there. So, this individual that they picked up today could be one of those people that's on the periphery that he had had contact with but I think because of all of his postings and everything that he's put out there and fact that they have all these contacts on his phone, there's people that know that he was planning to do something here.

MUDD: One of the points I want to make here, this sounds complicated, but there's a term we use in the business called hops.

COOPER: Humps?

MUDD: Hops.


MUDD: One of the reasons this is complicated is you have an individual in the center. He has a circle of associates. One of the associates was picked up today. That's one hop.

Think of multiplying those hops not just by people who he knows physically but by people he's communicating with potentially on the Internet, maybe he downloads a YouTube video. In this case, you're going to want to move out two hops. Individuals he's directly connected with, individuals they are connected with.

Multiply the number of people by e-mail accounts, phone accounts, text messaging, kind of YouTube they're downloading. I want to know what Amazon orders they had. Did they order ball bearings, for example, backpacks?

That tell us you one reason why this is so complicated an investigation. A lot of stuff to look at, Anderson.

COOPER: Paul, when you look at, and again, this is still, you know, early days here. When you look at what we now know about this individual and about the nature of the attack, how does it compare to others?

Paul Cruickshank, can you hear me?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, with this case, it's the same tactic that we've seen with other ISIS-inspired, ISIS- encouraged cases where you have a truck attack.

I was really struck by the similarity with what happened yesterday and an ISIS manual that was put out in November of last year with some very specific guidance for how to launch these kind of attacks and how to claim these kind of attacks, a handwritten note that should be thrown of the truck, Anderson, with specific language about that the Islam State will endure. We saw all of those things, it would appear, with this attack showing that he would have read this manual probably.

COOPER: Art, how common is it that someone would make a drive run like this person, because, I mean, you know, I've run along that stretch of New York, there's not a lot of places where a truck could get on there. I mean, in some ways it's difficult for a truck to veer off the road the way this one did. He seemed to know the spot to do it.

RODERICK: Yes. I mean, it would be interesting to see if we could get video of that dry run and see what actually what he did, and I think that's probably what they're looking for right now, going back and trying to pull video of when he did that dry run. But that shows the preplanning that this individual was involved in. And we've heard preplanning back a couple months, but also back, you know, in the complaint, they say that it's possibly been a year that he's been planning this.

So, although it was unsophisticated to the degree of what he used, he did do preplanning, which indicates, you know, that he was looking online. He was looking at what ISIS was putting out online and he did have some preplanning, which means somebody has got to know something out there, somebody else knows something.

COOPER: Also, I mean, it's not surprising, I guess, but it's still sickening that this radical Islamist is proud of what he's done. I mean, he seems happy with what he's done and he wants to, you know, the flag of ISIS to be up in his hospital.

MUDD: And remember, he wrote a note in Arabic. He's sending a message not only to Americans. He's sending a message to people overseas, the he sympathizes with, saying, I succeeded according to the same word of God that you're following. That's his perspective.

You have to remember, we look at these people and I think Americans across the country look at these people as some sort of crazed lunatics.

[20:10:05] When we started taking down al Qaeda prisoners, even as long as 16 years ago, after 9/11, the first one we took down was in the spring of 2002. I remember talking to one of the interrogators. We had them as you now know in CIA secret prisons called black sites.

And we'd have casual conversations with these al Qaeda prisoners and one of them looked at the interrogator one day, not involved in an interrogation, or just sitting around talking. He says, you know, if you ever let me out, I've got to go back and do my work. He's admitting to the person who's imprisoning him that you can't let me out because I'm so committed to the cause that I will do it until I die. The commitment these people have goes beyond I think what's easy for us to imagine.

COOPER: Paul, are -- do you expect a claim of responsibility for this from ISIS? I mean, there hasn't been one yet. Does that surprise you? CRUICKSHANK: It sort of does surprise me to some degree, Anderson,

just because there's so much in the media about him claiming allegiance for ISIS and so on and so forth. So, he's really setting up for them to claim. But sometimes when it comes to ISIS, there's no rhyme or reason.

And after the Chelsea bombing attempt last year, where there was again all sorts of media reporting about connectivity to ISIS inspiration, they didn't claim that either, but they claimed some attacks where there was absolutely -- they had nothing to deal with whatsoever, like the Las Vegas attack, like an attack in Manila, the Philippines.

So, I think there's a lot of chaos when it comes to ISIS claims things at the moment. So, we'll have to wait and see.

One possibility is that the attacker may have uploaded some kind of video. And we've seen that in other attacks. For example, after the Berlin attack last winter, and they're sort of putting together a bigger media production which will take a bit longer. But yes, somewhat surprising.

COOPER: You're talking, Paul, about, I mean, a so-called martyrdom video?

CRUICKSHANK: Yes, that he would have uploaded over social media. I mean, this guy was on his cell phone downloading all kinds of ISIS videos, seemed pretty tech savvy and not difficult for individuals like that to find someone online that they could upload a video too in ISIS territory in Syria and Iraq. We'll have to wait and see whether that's the case. It was the case in several attacks in Europe, for instance.

COOPER: Yes. Paul Cruickshank, appreciate you being with us. Phil Mudd, Art Roderick as well, thank you.

Now, that number to call in case you've got any information on the alleged killer. It is 1-800-CALL-FBI, 1-800-225-5324. Just select option one. You do not have to give your name.

Next, the president's tweets and pronouncements on the alleged killer. His press secretary's announcement that they consider him an unlawful enemy combatant. And the president's poke at the justice system itself, a look at that, on the legal angles.

Later, breaking news on the Russia investigation, including late word from the president himself about where he thinks he stands in it all.


[20:16:44] COOPER: Reaction to yesterday's terror attack continuing from the White House today after letting loose with a string of tweets, including one slamming New York senior senator, Democrat Chuck Schumer. The president then proceeded to say this about the justice system in America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need quick justice and we need strong justice, much quicker and much stronger than we have right now, because what we have right now is a joke and it's a laughingstock. And no wonder so much of this stuff takes place.


COOPER: Saying a joke and a laughingstock.

Later this afternoon, his press secretary said in short, he didn't say what you just heard him say.

CNN's Jim Acosta asked her about it. He joins us now.

So, the president had obviously the strong words on Twitter and on camera about the New York attack and the U.S. justice system. What more can you tell us?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Contrast what the president said today, injecting politics into the aftermath of a terrorist attack, the one in New York City. Contrast what he did in Las Vegas, Anderson. You were out there, you remember in the days after that attack in Las Vegas, the president said, hang on a second. We can't politicize this tragedy. We can't talk about gun control right now.

He did the exact opposite today. He seized on the issue of immigration and said we need to get rid of chain migration, which is when people come into the country, they can sometimes bring in their relatives, and also talked about getting away from this diversity lottery system, saying that it does not have the proper vetting and screening measures in place when in fact, that program does have screening and vetting measures in place.

He also blamed that system, as you said, on the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, despite the fact that that was signed into law as a program by former President George H.W. Bush.

So, the president playing a lot of politics with terror today.

COOPER: And we just heard the president saying that the justice system in America is a joke and a laughingstock. Then, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders basically tried to clarify some of those comments or basically just flat out deny them.

ACOSTA: That's right. I tried to ask Sara Sanders during the briefing why did the president say that the U.S. justice system is a joke and a laughingstock. Here is what she had to say. She denied that the president said that. Here's how it went down.


ACOSTA: Why did the president call the U.S. justice system a joke and a laughingstock during his comments --


ACOSTA: He said that the system of justice in this --

SANDERS: He said that process. He said the process has people calling us a joke and calling us a laughingstock. Look, I think as I told Margaret, he's simply pointing out his frustration of how long this process takes, how costly this process is and particularly for someone to be a known terrorist, that process shouldn't move faster. That's the point he's making, that's the frustration he has.


ACOSTA: Now, you heard Sarah Sanders there, Anderson, say that people are calling us a joke and a laughingstock, that's what the president was referring to.

COOPER: That's just not what he said.

ACOSTA: That's just not what he said. You go back to the quote: we need quick justice, we need strong justice, much quicker and much stronger than we have right now because what we have right now is a joke and a laughingstock.

COOPER: Let' me just play that. It's on video. Let's just play it.

ACOSTA: Perfect, yes.


TRUMP: We need quick justice and we need strong justice. Much quicker and much stronger than we have right now, because what we have right now is a joke and a laughingstock, and no wonder so much of this stuff takes place.


[20:20:05] COOPER: Now, I mean, Sarah Huckabee Sanders knows what the president said. She just is pretending he said something else.

ACOSTA: She was pretending that he was saying something else, Anderson, and it's disappointing because we count on Sarah Sanders to sort of give us the straight scoop in the briefing room. That is just not what happened today, and that -- it goes straight to the credibility of those questions that we talked about when Sean Spicer was the White House press secretary.

You can't have the White House press secretary come into the room as Sean Spicer did and say, it was the largest inauguration crowd in the history of the United States as Sean Spicer did. That is a kind of statement that shatters the credibility of a White House press secretary. And so, when you ask Sarah Sanders as we did today, why did the president call it a joke and a laughingstock, the U.S. justice system? For her to pretend that he said otherwise was just not playing straight with us, Anderson.

COOPER: Right. Especially, I mean, it is on video. It's one thing to lie about something that wasn't actually recorded and then, you know, it's easier, I guess. But when it's actually to say you believe what Sarah Huckabee Sanders just implies that everybody who doesn't is just an idiot because we heard what we heard. Anyway.

ACOSTA: Right. Yes, I was reaching for my cue tips, Anderson, to make sure that my hearing was OK.

COOPER: Yes. Jim Acosta, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Joining us now is former Obama White House ethics czar, Norman Eisen. Also, constitutional law scholar and George Washington University law professor, Jonathan Turley.

Ambassador Eisen, what do you make of what, first of all, what the president said, not what Sarah Sanders said he said, but what he actually said?

NORMAN EISEN, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE ETHICS CZAR: Well, Anderson, Jonathan and I were watching the stories of these precious individuals who perish at the hands of terror in New York City, and it was so striking to see that a number of them were foreigners who had come to the United States to visit from other places. What the president did today -- lying, dishonoring the Constitution, disdaining American justice by calling it a joke and a laughingstock, attacking due process by saying we need quicker, stronger results as if our American courts were not good enough.

He dishonored their memory and he dishonored the United States. And he served that -- dishonor sandwich between two lies where he first smeared a senator falsely for the visa program and then he says at the end, Anderson, no wonder there's so much of this.

Come on. The amount of time that the courts in the United States are not what is causing the terror. It was a disgraceful performance in an administration that has been full of them, perhaps a new low.

COOPER: Professor Turley, when the president also said today that America needs far greater punishment for terrorists, is it clear to you what that means and what it exactly far greater punishment would look like? I mean, the Boston marathon bomber, for example, is on death row.

JONATHAN TURLEY, PROFESSOR OF LAW, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Right, I'm not too sure what it means, quite frankly. I've been lead counsel in terrorism cases in the United States. I refuse to take enemy combatant cases in Gitmo because of the due process limitations.

I don't what the president was referring to, the penalties in terrorism cases are, as you've noted, extreme. And this idea takes too long. This man will never see a free day for the rest of his life.

While these cases can stay in courts a long time, these people are in jail and in this case, a conviction is hardly going to be difficult. I mean, he left quite a trail. He seems eager to admit his guilty. So, I just don't know what the president was thinking of when he wants a faster system.

But I think the danger of these comment is we can't bend to the thread of people like this. We can't give up our values. That's how you defeat al Qaeda is by remaining true to who you are. And we're defined by due process and it's expensive and it takes time. But it works. And the punishment, as you've noted, quite heavy.

COOPER: I mean, Ambassador, it sort of harkens back to the time the president was speaking to law enforcement officers and talk about, you know, don't be so gentle with them, don't put your hand on their head when you're putting them in the vehicle, which then law enforcement, you know, agencies put out statements and said to their officers, this is not how we handle -- you know, this is not how we deal with systems, not people who have even be convicted, but with suspects and people.

It does seem like it's the kind of thing in a barge. One thing to say, you know, it's a joke. It's a laughingstock. It's another thing for the president of the United States to be saying this.

EISEN: Anderson, it's so true when our nation is attacked and lives are lost here. We look to the president for leadership, to help us heal, to help us respond with strength, but also to defend the Constitution, our founding documents, and the virtues that make America great, not to attack them.

[20:25:00] And, you know, it actually was very similar to what happened with those prior law enforcement comments because the president also said he might consider sending this gentleman to Guantanamo. Well, now, we're hearing reports that in fact the man by the president's own Justice Department is going to be charged as he should be in the U.S. justice system.

So, you have a repudiation there by the president's own Justice Department. My heavens, the attorney general was sitting right across from President Trump. He should have stood up and walked out.

COOPER: Professor Turley, what do you say to those who are watching and say, look, this guy should go to Guantanamo, you know, put him away forever and never think about him again?

TURLEY: Well, I -- I think people have to think seriously about the implications of what they're suggesting. First of all, Guantanamo has been a colossal failure. There had been very few trials that have come out of that. It's been a rallying cry for extremists around the world.

And in many ways, it really undermines our credibility both inside and outside the country. But I think the people also have to consider in the administration what this case would mean if the president changes its course and sends him to Guantanamo Bay. You know, the legal status of these trials in Guantanamo Bay has always been somewhat precarious.

For an individual like this would be the worst possible case to test those principles. Bad cases can become bad law and they should think very seriously whether they really want a case of a lawful resident being sent to Guantanamo Bay to be the next case before the Supreme Court. That's not the case that I would bet on if I was on their side.

COOPER: Professor, is the record of trying terrorists in American courts better than the record of trying them through Guantanamo?

TURLEY: Yes, it's much better because they get tried. Most people at Guantanamo Bay were not tried.

And I can tell you, as someone who's been lead on the defense side of these cases, the idea that they're mollycoddled or that they play fast and loose with the system is simply not true. The conviction rate among terrorism cases is one of the highest of any crime in the United States. It's very rare to have people acquitted in terrorism cases.

But what they do get is a fair trial. And then when we impose the punishment, we impose it on our terms, not theirs. And they get a fair trial, the type they deny other people.

COOPER: Professor Turley, appreciate it. Norman Eisen, as well. Ambassador, thank you.

Coming up, we keep learning more about the radical Islamist suspect in yesterday's attack, including why he specifically picked Halloween and what police found on his phones. The latest on that and his background in Uzbekistan.


[20:31:06] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Again the breaking news, the suspect wounded and arrested in yesterday's truck attack was charged late today in federal court. Two terrorist counts. He was refused bail. Authority saying ISIS -- he was refuse bail. ISIS related propaganda videos was found on one of his cell phones, as well as images of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. A second phone showed searches for Halloween in New York City and a truck rental outlet in New Jersey. More now on the man's background from CNN Senior Investigator Correspondent Drew Griffin.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His relatives are refusing to say much at all. From inside her Brooklyn apartment building a person believed to be the suspect's mother-in-law told CNN off camera, she was in shock, couldn't believe it, eventually slamming the door shut.

New York City Police officers came and went from her building.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we talk to her up on 70?

GRIFFIN (voice-over): But the main law enforcement focus is the suspect's home in Paterson, New Jersey.

CARLOS BATISTA, NEIGHBOR OF SUSPECT: The truck have been here for about three weeks, I don't know.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): What we know is the suspect grew up in Uzbekistan. Neighbors there say he lived a normal, peaceful life in this home. The suspect moved to the U.S. in 2010, got married and a man who knew him here in the U.S. found him entirely different.

Mirrakhmat Muminov said he was a young aggressive man, telling CNN there was monsters inside his mind. Muminov hired the suspect for his trucking business but said he had to fire the terror suspect, vaguely referring to a customer quality issue. The 29-year-old truck driver has a long list of serious traffic violations in several states and was seven arrested for failing to appear in court.

Somehow even after that he was able to become an Uber driver in New Jersey. Uber saying he passed their security screening. The suspect also live for a while in Tampa Florida, neighbors there say, he and his family kept to themselves. New York and federal officials tell CNN it appears the radicalization took place online and for the past two weeks the suspect had been planning his ISIS-inspired attack.

JOHN MILLER, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER, NYPD: He appears to have followed from almost exactly to A T, the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels before with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack.


COOPER: And Drew joins us now. Did Uber do a background on this guy? I mean he know all those traffic issues and he'd been arrested?

GRIFFIN: Yes, it's amazing but they did and he did pass the background check. An Uber spokesperson says they're horrified by this sense as active violence, but they've gone back through his driving record, they find no evidence of any safety concerns when it comes to customers this guy was driving for. Of course Uber now says it banned it from the Uber app and that they are now cooperating of course with federal and local officials. Anderson.

COOPER: I mean, you'd think they might want to look at their security protocols if this person who again had multiple traffic citations and been arrested, gets to drive, I don't get that.

GRIFFIN: Yes, I think that's going to be a no-brainer and that's going to be a tag alone story as this story moves forward Anderson. Obviously this guys was driving for Uber, he had a very terrible driving record as we've -- we pointed out.

COOPER: Yes, Drew Griffin, appreciate your reporting. Thank you.

Perspective now from CNN National Security Analyst and former director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Director Clapper, just in terms of what you've all learned just I mean what we all learned today from the investigation, I'm wondering is there's anything of particular that stands out of interest to you? JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, one aspect of this, Anderson, that I do think is unique to this case is that the perpetrator, the terrorist is still alive. And, what I'm hopeful is that we'll be able to perhaps do a psychological profile here and learn what makes these people tick. When did they cross over that line?

[20:35:03] And the difficulty we have here is in identifying people, even if they come from someplace else and then come here and become radicalized. And that is a really daunting challenge for law enforcement and intelligence. So, I'm hopeful in the long run that some good may come of this terrible tragedy by learning something about the psychology of people that get caught up and become radicalized.

COOPER: I mean after all this time and all the cases that have been looked at often in the retrospect, as you said many times the people -- the terrorist are dead, is that not already kind of clear? I mean I remember reading Peter Bergen's book which is an analysis of American Jihadist and there isn't one particular path that people take.

CLAPPER: No there isn't and that's quite true. And that something, we know, we certainly understand. But this is a case and point where you do have a surviving attacker and hopefully we'll learn more about this, because despite understanding of this, actually detecting someone who is in the process of radicalizing at the right time, without invading similaries and privacy is something we haven't figured out yet in this country. And that's our challenge here, is not so much people coming in and conducting attacks, but people who are here who become radicalized. So whatever -- I'm hopeful that we'll learn something about this with this particular case.

COOPER: I think it's also hard for people to believe, and ISIS may find it hard to believe that this person and these people in general do not tell other people or do not give indications, you know, I think back to the Garland attack and one of the -- I think was Elton Simpson was his name, the person one of the -- who had committed that attack, he'd been on the FBI radar for years. He'd been followed, they run, you know, undercover agents following him for long periods of time, but there's only so long you can follow somebody for. And if they don't so something at a certain point you have to make an operational decision.

CLAPPER: Exactly so and this is another example of that. And the question that I think that this poses is well, just how invasive, how intrusive should intelligence law enforcement would be when they have people on the radar, so to speak, but who perhaps haven't met the evident area threshold for continued surveillance or an arrest or anything of that sort. And that is a tough problem for this country.

COOPER: Yes, Director Clapper appreciated your time. Thank you.

CLAPPER: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next, new reports of the president stewing over the Russian investigation. One report that everyone's just fine. That one comes from the President himself and a new interview. We'll have the latest on that.


[20:41:44] COOPER: It is just two days since the first charges were filed against the president's former campaign manager, another aid. And since we learn of a guilty plea from a former adviser who's now cooperating with authority. So, the question is -- is the president agonizing over these developments or is it cool as a cumber. Kind of depends on who you're talking to. Maggie Habermann just spoke with the president himself today, he downplayed any concern over the development but that is an odds with what Jeff Zeleny has been hearing, he joins me now, and Maggie is joining us on the phone.

So Jeff, what's the latest your learning about the impact special counsels having on the president as he prepares to go to Asia?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, good evening. There's no question that the entire Russia investigation has consumed this White House. And in fact much of Washington for the last several days. And some aids were concerned that it's interrupted the president's briefing time, his time to learn exactly what needs to happen on this voyage, he's about to go on, on Friday. But the big question here tonight is, if it's a welcome diversion going to Asia for this time or it is preoccupation with Russia, is it dangerous distraction while he's there.

Now there's no question this is a high stakes, a foreign adventure he's going on. You know, even if this was not happening the rising threat of a nuclear, Pyongyang would be a certainly a challenge for him. But the concern from some aids we're talking to is that some of these briefings have been interrupted, some of them cut short. In fact he spent several hours earlier this week -- in fact all morning until early afternoon in the residence of the White House following bit by bit, blow by blow of this Russian investigation.

So the question here is, is he fully briefed on this? But Anderson, many aids say that they're actually looking forward to changing the subject and they believe this trip will actually force him to focus on something. It will take away his telephone, his television watching habits. And it'll focus on the matter on hand, in fact we've seen another previous foreign trips, he's actually done quite well.

COOPER: So Maggie, you spoke to the president by phone today. What did he tell you and how did he sound?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITCAL ANALYST: Well, his voice was very upbeat, he clearly wanted to communicate a message, you know, Anderson, but you know, with despite what we have read in some places, that, you know, he's not "fuming", he's not railing about this. And I think there's an important distinction to be made, I think that his television viewing habits which we know about and which annoy him enormously, that we say what they are but they are what they are.

I think that was separate and distinct from whether his mood is being governed by them. I do think that he is extremely focused on this. What has been described to me by aids however and this indicates for a while is, you know, he will need to blow off and then he will move on. And there has been a lot of this around this. He had been calmer than some folks have anticipated, in part because they knew an indictment Paul Manafort was imminent at some point. They precisely plan, they didn't know that there would have include Rick Gates, Manafort's deputy although that seems likely George Papadopoulos, the foreign policy hand who pleaded guilty, that one caught some people by surprise.

The fact that Stan Clovis, one -- another former adviser of the president, who is currently up for appointment just await Senate confirmation, in fact that he went to speak to Robert Mueller also caught people by surprise. But that I think is different than sort of a stands of the constant disarray which is what I have had a lot of push back from not just the president but by his top advisers.

[20:45:03] COOPER: Maggie, there was a reporting, I think is on Monday, that the president have spent the morning watching television especially and the briefings had to be pushed back, you know, didn't go down --


COOPER: -- to work until like 12:30. Do you get the sense that he was talking to you with the expressed purpose of rebutting the reporting, like Jeff said, that he's been seething with anger?

HABERMAN: I think that's entirely what he was hoping to do. I think that he is frustrated by seeing those reports. I think that whether, you know, whether he realizes how people hate his venting moments or not is a different question. He clearly does not want that narrative to be out there. As we know very well he likes to take control of the narrative, I think he was hoping to dispel (ph) the impression of sort of, you know, White House disarray.

COOPER: And Jeff, in terms of logistics for this Asia trip, I mean everything from time difference to the food, the President is eating all of that is being viewed against the backdrop of trying to keep him happy on message and focused.

ZELENY: Sure, and again a separate of this Russia investigation, for a new president, you know, only nine months in office, this is a challenge for anyone. Particularly look where he is going, he's going to Asia, to five countries. He's going as close as he's ever come to North Korea. Of course with every word he said will, you know, be studied and parse. And that is why this is a challenging thing.

And we, you know, I've heard a lot of details reporting this story tonight. Of course his advisers are trying to keep him comfortable. It's one of the reasons he's stopping in Honolulu on the way out to Tokyo, he's going to try to get adjusted to the time zones. Most presidents do this, but, you know, he's going to be given a food that's familiar to him. Again most presidents have this, but it's so interesting Anderson talking to aids, they want to make sure he's upbeat and happy. But again on the earlier trips he's taken earlier this year, he in fact hasn't enjoyed being in the company of world leaders here. So a lot of these advisers actually think this is a welcome opportunity to actually change the subject and actually sort of be a diversion here.

Again the question is how much of this will be a distraction for him, because of course he'll still get news updates. And there are surprises still to come in this investigation and he's following those bit by bit, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, Jeff Zeleny, Maggie Haberman, appreciated it. Thank you.

Up next more on the Russia probe, the kind of things that might be weighing on the president. New details revealed about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's lavish lifestyle including multiple passports, fake names, dozens of bank accounts. Fascinating stuff ahead.


COOPER: Two days after former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was taken to FBI custody along with his colleague Rick Gates, we are learning some pretty surprising new details about Manafort's lifestyle. Reads like something out of a movie multiple passports, fake names and a lot of cash. CNN's Jessica Schneider has details.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three passports, a fake name and dozens of bank accounts, all revealed in court documents. Special counsel Robert Mueller calling it all a history of deceptive and misleading conduct on the part of Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former Manafort deputy Rick Gates. The two are under house arrest after a federal court judge agreed with the government that both man are flight risks.

Manafort currently has three U.S. passports, each of them under a different number. This alone however, is not illegal. The prosecutor said he has submitted 10 passport applications and roughly the last 10 years. This year, Manafort has traveled to Mexico, Ecuador and China with a phone and e-mail account registered under a fake name. Also over the past year, he traveled to Tokyo, Shanghai, Dubai, Madrid, Havana, Grand Cayman Island, Cancun and Panama City and both Manafort and Gates were frequent travelers to Cyprus.

Manafort wrote in financial documents, that his assets were worth between $19 million in April 2012 and $136 million in May 2016. But in some months, like when he was serving as Trump's national campaign chairman in August 2016, Manafort said his assets were worth $28 million but then wrote he had $63 million in assets on a different application.

Meanwhile, Gates frequently changed banks and opened and closed bank accounts, prosecutors said. In all Gates had 55 accounts with 13 different financial institutions. Some accounts were in England and Cyprus where he held more than $10 million from 2010 to 2013.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Manafort, when was the last time you spoke to the President?

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): CNN spotted Manafort coming home to his Alexandria, Virginia condo on Tuesday. Manafort and Gates can only leave their homes to meet up lawyers, appear in court or for medical or religious reasons and they must check-in with authorities daily. The new details are prompting some to question if the Trump campaign properly vetted Manafort in the first place.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER, (D) INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Paul Manafort has a long reputation of working on campaigns, on presidential campaigns but the fact that is he an outlaw to the extent that he has been this slow so far is deeply concerning I think to all of us. And I'm beginning to wonder if he wasn't an agent of Russia.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Manafort's attorneys told reporters on Monday, his client is not guilty. Gates had also pleaded not guilty.

KEVIN DOWNING, ATTORNEY OF PAUL MANAFORT: There is no evidence that Mr. Manafort of the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): There's also new information tonight about the Trump campaign meeting in March 2016 where George Papadopoulos sat just feet from then candidate Donald Trump, a source in the room says that Trump did not dismiss Papadopoulos' idea of arranging a meeting with Russian President Putin. An official telling CNN, "He did didn't say yes and he didn't say no." But then Senator Jeff Sessions shut the idea down.

And while the White House said it was the only meeting that Papadopoulos attended --

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It was a brief meeting that took place quite some time ago. It was the one time that group ever met.

[20:55:00] SCHNEIDER (voice-over): CNN was told he attended another campaign policy meeting. Trump was not in attendance but Sessions was and sat next to Papadopoulos.


COOPER: Jessica, how is the president responding to the new details about his meeting with Papadopoulos?

SCHNEIDER: Well, Anderson, he's silent so far. Of course, it was just yesterday that President Trump tweeted about Papadopoulos calling him a liar. But now with these latest revelations that President Trump was in fact in that March 2016 meeting and he didn't dismiss that proposed meeting with Putin, we're not actually hearing directly from the president. Instead, Anderson, Sarah Sanders, she was asked about it today by our Jim Acosta and Sanders said that she does not believe that the president recalls a possible Putin meeting even coming up. Anderson?

COOPER: All right Jessica Schneider, thanks.

When we come back, the latest details in the investigation of the worst terror attack om New York City, since the September 11th attacks. What we've learned about the suspect, next.


COOPER: Breaking news at the top of the hour. Federal terrorism charges filed against the driver in yesterday's truck attack in lower Manhattan and a string of details made public about what authorities found that they believe paints a picture of a radicalized, premeditated killer. But they want to know more about the man you see on the screen. So if you do know something, there's a number to call down there are the bottom of the screen which will show throughout the hour.

[21:00:00] First CNN's Brynn Gingras joins us with the very latest. So what was in this complain?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well there was a lot to unpack there Anderson. It really gave a clear picture or -- of where investigators are at this point.