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Eight Dead, At Least 13 Hurt in NYC Terror Attack; Terror Suspect Talking with Investigators; President Trump Slams Visa Lottery Program After Attack; Candidate Trump Didn't Dismiss Putin Meeting Idea; Court Records: Manafort Has Three U.S. Passports. Aired 9-9:30a ET
Aired November 1, 2017 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:25] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. John Berman here in New York, Poppy Harlow down at the scene of the deadliest terror attack in New York City since September 11th.
We're waiting on a news conference expected to start two hours from now from the New York City police and the FBI. But this morning we are getting new details on the suspect. A 29-year-old Uzbek national shot and wounded by police after he drove his truck down a bike path on the west side of the city.
CNN has learned the man has been charged with -- is now talking with police and the FBI at the hospital where he had surgery. We also know that in addition to the note he left at the scene, in which he declared his allegiance to ISIS, he also apparently trafficked in materials regarding ISIS online.
There was news from the governor of New York, important news, right here on CNN's "NEW DAY" who said that this killer was radicalized inside the U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: He is a depraved coward, is what he is. And he was associated with ISIS. And he was radicalized domestically. And he's a depraved coward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: That is incredibly important. I'm Poppy Harlow down here, just about a block and a half away from the deadliest terror attack in this great city, our city of New York since 9/11. What the governor said just there is critically important, as John noted, that this terrorist was radicalized domestically, this 29- year-old Uzbek national.
And what is most important that we remember this morning are the victims. Eight people murdered, innocent lives taken less than 24 hours ago. 11 people injured. Some critically, still in the hospital at this hour.
There are many, many questions, very few answers at this point. But we have learned that the suspect is talking, being somewhat cooperative with authorities. What will he say that will give them more information as to what drove him to this and how he was radicalized here in the United States at some point in the last seven years.
Let's get straight to our Jean Casarez who is also down here at the scene.
And Jean, let's just begin with what we know and what we don't know at this point?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, what we know is that the primary crime scene is behind us, about a block and a half away, and it remains closed today.
The truck that the suspect rented yesterday, law enforcement say hours before the attack, is still there. Why? Because it's a crime scene. You know, the fact is the suspect is alive so the crime scene processing is taking place in the advent of charges, a criminal investigation leading to criminal charges.
And we're learning more about the hero officer that was patrolling the area, saw this suspect get out of his truck, brandishing what was believed two weapons, and he shot him in the abdomen. His name is Ryan Nash. He was an NYPD officer there at the scene, just happened to be patrolling and he is the one that did not kill him, but shot him seriously, so he had to have emergency surgery last night.
And finally, Poppy, we are learning more about the victims. We have just learned minutes ago that there are actually 13 people injured instead, that is not including the suspect. They are at Bellevue Hospital and New York Presbyterian this morning and their conditions range from fair to critical -- Poppy.
HARLOW: And Jean, we know of the eight that were murdered. I mean, when I saw last night in the first pictures, those bikes, those bikes that so many New Yorkers and tourists rent, just scattered there along the west side highway bike path. I thought immediately tourists. And we know that five of these Argentine, you know, tourists were here to celebrate, Jean, their 30-year high school reunion.
CASAREZ: That's exactly right. We are learning the identities very slowly of these victims, the ones that perished, the ones that did not make it, but five of them were Argentinean citizens and they were here together celebrating their 30th high school reunion.
We also know one of the victims was a Belgian national. And I think one of the most horrific things we've learned that of the eight people that perished six of them were killed on the spot as this man allegedly drove through that very populous bike path.
[09:05:02] HARLOW: Wow. Jean Casarez, thank you for the reporting. Of course we're going to be updating you on the victims, those injured, some in critical condition throughout the morning as we learn more. But let's go to Shimon Prokupecz. He's been working his sources. In
terms of what we know about this 29-year-old Uzbek national, we are not naming him because of course he is not one who should be getting any of that glory. However he wanted to go down in all of this. But we're learning that importantly he is talking, Shimon. He is talking to the FBI and he's being somewhat cooperative, is that right?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes, that's right, Poppy. You know, sources I've talked to wouldn't -- were careful in characterizing his cooperation. They wouldn't say that he's overly cooperative or uncooperative and so, you know, it's just best for us to say that he is talking to them.
They would not go into what he was saying, what he was telling them, but it has been helpful to investigators. We've learned a lot overnight, search warrants were conducted at his home in New Jersey where investigators spoke to his wife. I'm told by some other sources that he has kids who are also in New Jersey. And really, for investigators now, it's about figuring out two things, whether or not he's connected to anyone else, whether here or overseas somewhere. And the other issue now for investigators is when did he become radicalized.
As we have been reporting here this morning, investigators have found ISIS-related material on social media accounts that are connected to him. Those accounts, I am told, are not in his name. But investigators, the FBI, the NYPD have been able to locate them. They now have them and they've been reviewing them. They've also been reviewing the notes, the series of notes that he left behind which they found outside the truck.
All of this is painting a picture for them. But still, the key is, when did he become radicalized. As you said, the governor this morning on "NEW DAY" said that he was radicalized here. So that is an important part for investigators. At least they feel somewhat that this did not happen while he was traveling anywhere overseas and so perhaps he was self-radicalized.
Investigators also have told us that they believe he acted alone but they can't yet rule out that anyone else may have been helping him or he may have been talking to someone else. That's going to require some phone work. They did find a phone at the scene which they're going to review.
Also, I don't know if they found computers, but the thing is the social media accounts have been -- played an important role here, and also they have been able to paint a -- put together a timeline of when he got to New York. So all of these are very helpful and as you know there will be a press conference around 11:00 this morning where we hope to learn more.
HARLOW: That's right. That's right. A joint press conference between the NYPD, the FBI, less than two hours away.
Shimon, great reporting as always. Thank you very much.
Let's head to the White House, our Joe Johns is at the White House.
And, Joe, the president is responding this morning. What are we hearing?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, the president moving quickly to begin assigning blame for what happened there in New York City, the terrorist attack, and just as quickly getting a response.
The president tweeting this morning calling out Democratic senator, Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, for his support of a pre-9/11 visa program that was instituted during the Clinton administration, apparently used by the suspect in 2010 to enter the country.
Here's a tweet from the president. "The terrorists came into our country through what is called the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, a Chuck Schumer beauty." And it's important to say that this program was set up essentially to allow more people into the country from countries that do not typically produce a lot of immigrants.
The president and some key Republicans on Capitol Hill have been trying to get rid of the program.
Senator Schumer responded this morning, "I have always believed and continue to believe that immigration is good for America. President Trump, instead of politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of tragedy, should be focusing on the real solution, anti-terrorism funding which he proposed cutting in his most recent budget."
So we're still trying to find out also what the president meant by another tweet last night when he said he was ordering the Homeland Security Department to step up the already extreme vetting. We asked DHS this morning what the president meant by that, what they were doing. They referred us back to the White House -- Poppy.
HARLOW: All right. Joe Johns at the White House. Let us know what else you hear from the president. Thank you.
I do want to give our viewers an update. We now have a new victim total. Thirteen people now, we've now learned, 13 innocent victims injured, eight people have perished. We'll keep you posted on their status throughout the morning.
[09:10:03] Joining me now, let's go through all the details, the experts on all of this, Tom Verni is with us, former NYPD detective in this great city, is with me here. Karen Greenburg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham is also with us.
So let me just -- I mean, standing here is surreal for me. We live --
TOM VERNI, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE: For both of us, yes.
HARLOW: We lived in an apartment a block and a half from here. I had so many wonderful years there and this is how I used to walk to the subway every morning. We hear the governor saying this is a man, a 29-year-old, who is radicalized domestically. They were able to figure that out very quickly. What could tell them that?
VERNI: Well, this is a little deja vu for me as well because I was here when the North Tower came down on 9/11. So -- this is not a man, this is a psychotic mongrel, first of all. OK. I don't want to insult animals by calling him an animal because he's not even that. So this is -- you know, we've heard the term lone wolf before, and we're trying to kind of get away from that a little bit because now we're talking about how people are becoming radicalized or influenced by things that will read online or various magazines and caliphates that have come forward since 2014. You know, the Islamic State has talked about doing attacks just like this. And that's what we've seen in Europe and now we're seeing it here.
HARLOW: So, Karen, a few things that we do know from Shimon's reporting and his sources, we know that there are social media accounts linked to this terrorist that have ISIS-related materials. OK. So we know that. We know the governor says radicalized domestically. We also know from Shimon's reporting that he's talking. That he is talking to authorities, and that is different. That is what makes this so different than so many other recent terror attacks in the West, is that the attacker survived and that he is saying something to authorities.
Could be a treasure trove of information, lead them to other people, lead them to the source of this radicalization. If you are questioning him this morning in the hospital, what would you be asking?
KAREN GREENBERG, CENTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AT FORDHAM UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: Yes, I mean, I think it's -- you're making a very good point, Poppy, which is that the attackers do not normally survive the attacks in the United States. And so this is -- he could be a valuable trove of information.
There's both specific and general information that we would want from him right now. So first is how -- did he collaborate with anybody? Did anybody help him? Did anybody know about it? Is there a larger network of individuals who might be planning similar attacks. And they're going to press him very hard on these things. They're going to want to know, was this inspired or was this directed in any way. And they're also going to have to assess, of course, how much he is telling them the truth.
But then there's the more general question, which is very important for law enforcement.
GREENBERG: And that is if they can figure out how he got radicalized and what the steps of radicalization are, and that would be probably a later interview, a later interrogation, but that is an extremely important part of what they're going to want to find out.
HARLOW: Right. We also know, Tom, that he did leave a note, either next to his car in his car expressing sympathy and some relation to ISIS. Now ISIS has not directly claimed responsibility. But that note is helpful to them. And then the question becomes sort of, you know, what changes going forward.
Mayor de Blasio was on this morning saying look, some security measures will change. This guy was able to get on the bike path, hop the curb, drive almost a mile, 16 blocks. But what could prevent that?
VERNI: Well, you know, it's interesting I used to live Hell's Kitchen.
VERNI: And I used to ride this bike path a lot, so it's kind of freaky to be actually to know that -- you know, either one of us could have been on that bike path here. And the thing is, how much security do we want to put in place where it becomes cumbersome for us to go about our daily lives? Right? We're going to have to live with the fact that we live in a world where people are out there every day looking to hurt us.
I am shocked that actually an attack like this hasn't happened sooner. Let's remember, it's been 16 years since we've had a fatality of a terrorist attack here in New York.
HARLOW: I mean --
VERNI: And that's --
HARLOW: And a lot of credit to the remarkable --
VERNI: -- due to the work of the NYPD and law enforcement, the JTTF do a fantastic job of preventing or thwarting those threats.
HARLOW: And you know, just quickly, Karen, this happened right by NYPD headquarters not far from that, right next to the Joint Terrorism Task Force headquarters. I mean, this is one of the most watched parts of Manhattan and it still happened.
GREENBERG: Right. I mean, I think you have to give the NYPD a tremendous amount of credit, but I think the credit goes way beyond the response and the resilience here.
GREENBERG: The parade took place last night. That was an incredibly important decision by law enforcement and public officials, the mayor, the governor. It was a very important decision. We have the marathon coming up.
I think -- and New Yorkers, because of this attack, because this is the first lethal terrorist attack since 9/11, understand the degree to which they have been kept safe. So I think that's an important message here. And of course they're going to want to try to find ways to keep the New Yorkers even safer. But there are twin messages here.
HARLOW: There are, indeed. You saw the resilience.
Thank you, both, Tom and Karen.
John, you saw the resilience of our great city, right? The Halloween Parade goes on last night, the marathon is going to go on this weekend. This is New York strong.
BERMAN: Yes. You will not stop this city by a cowardly attack like this. Poppy, thanks so much. We will follow all the developments on this terror attack all morning long. What happens next for the driver?
Plus, new details this morning in the Russia investigation as the president is dismissing George Papadopoulos as a low-level volunteer, but did not dismiss the idea of meeting with Vladimir Putin when Papadopoulos brought it up.
BERMAN: All right. New developments this morning in the Russia investigation, CNN has learned that then Candidate Donald Trump did not dismiss the idea of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the campaign.
The idea was proposed by George Papadopoulos in a meeting with the candidate himself and his foreign policy adviser. Papadopoulos, of course, just pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his meetings that he had with Russian connections.
CNN senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, on Capitol Hill. CNN senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, at the White House. They did the reporting on this.
[09:20:07] Manu, first to you. Talk to me about this meeting and how the president responded.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Yes, that's right. This is a March 31st meeting.
BERMAN: All right. Manu, hang on one second. There's a moment of silence down at the New York Stock Exchange. This in remembrance of the eight people killed in the New York City terror attack.
Again, a moment of silence at the New York Stock Exchange to remember the eight lives lost, the eight lives taken by a terrorist attack here in New York City yesterday.
I want to go back to Manu Raju and Jim Acosta. Gentlemen, sorry to interrupt you. Obviously, the world right now rallying behind this city. Manu, you gave us reporting, again, the president was in a meeting -- then Candidate Donald Trump in a meeting with campaign advisers including George Papadopoulos. He suggested meeting with Vladimir Putin and the president said? RAJU: He said he didn't rule it out, John. In fact, he didn't just miss the idea and according to a source who is at the meeting, he actually did not say yes or no. Now we do know from court documents that Papadopoulos attended this meeting with then-Candidate Trump, March 31st, 2016.
And according to the court documents, it said that when Papadopoulos introduced himself to the group, he stated in some in substance that he had connections that could help arrange a meeting with then- Candidate Trump and President Putin.
Now, Candidate Trump made some remarks, but clearly left the idea open, according to the person in the room, who we talked to. Now the White House was asked about this meeting earlier this week, Sarah Huckabee Sanders in the aftermath of the revelation that Papadopoulos plead guilty to his connections and his efforts to setup these meetings in his discussions with the FBI investigators.
When Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked about this, John, she said that the president did not recall specifics from this meeting and the White House refused -- did not respond to further questions about what we now learned as then Candidate Trump not refusing to rule out the meeting between Putin and himself. It's something that Papadopoulos continued to push through the campaign season -- John.
BERMAN: It is interesting. You would think a major subject like that might be something that the people at the meeting remembered. Jim Acosta, to you on that point, then Senator Jeff Sessions, now Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in that meeting and people seemed to remember his response?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. According to a source who is at this meeting, Senator Sessions at that time, now the attorney general, dismissed this idea from George Papadopoulos. Essentially dismissed Papadopoulos as this kid who really did not know what he was talking about and should not be suggesting something like this in front of the candidate.
Now why is all of this important? This is important because remember a couple days ago, John, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was dismissing George Papadopoulos as a low-level volunteer.
Now if he is a low-level volunteer, why, of course, is he sitting in that photograph that we've all seen many, many times of then-Candidate Trump holding this meeting with his so-called National Advisory Board.
Now, I will tell you we have talked to somebody who is at that meeting, J.D. Gordon, who is sitting to the left of George Papadopoulos. J.D. Gordon tells us in a statement, "I was surprised to learn this week what George Papadopoulos was up to during the campaign. He obviously went to great lengths to go around me and Senator Sessions."
So, this is obviously surprising a lot of people who were in the room as to what George Papadopoulos was up to. The other context in all of this, John, that I think is important. The reason why then-Candidate Trump, the president now, held this National Security Board meeting is because he was coming under criticism at that time during that stage of the campaign because he had said I know a lot about foreign policy and I know a lot about national security because I watch the shows.
What we are told by our sources that essentially this board was thrown together in a sense to give then-Candidate Trump some cover to show that he is talking to other people.
[09:25:00] When I talked to a source who is in that meeting and was involved in this process, this source was saying that then-Candidate Trump did not really listen to many of these advisers at all and continued to go on basically his own gut instincts as to what his national security and foreign policy ideas should be.
BERMAN: It will be interesting to see if a guilty plea from George Papadopoulos refreshes memories from people who were there. Manu, one last point quickly?
RAJU: Yes, one last point, this could be an issue of interest with the special counsel going forward. The president's response to what George Papadopoulos proposed notably that was left out of the court documents, but we believe that this is something the special counsel may want to investigate further -- John.
BERMAN: All right. Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, Jim Acosta, Gentlemen, thank you so much for your reporting. A very busy morning here. We are getting new details about former Trump Campaign Chair Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates.
Both men are under house arrest this morning and according to court documents, both men had complicated and peculiar financial setups. This year, Manafort traveled to Mexico, China, and Ecuador with a phone and e-mail account registered under a fake name. He currently three U.S. passports, each under a different number.
Gates frequently changed banks and open and close bank accounts, opening 55 accounts with 13 financial institutions. Both gentlemen expected back in court tomorrow.
CNN's justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider has the very latest on that -- Jessica.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: John, these new court filings revealing that complicated financial and travel web for both of these men. So, first to Paul Manafort, not only did he have three different passports, all three different numbers, but prosecutors say he submitted ten passport applications over the past 10 or so years.
He travelled the globe in the past year to places like Dubai and Havana, Cuba, but really it was Manafort's travel to Mexico, China, and Ecuador where he allegedly went with a phone and e-mail account registered in a fake name. That is really raising some questions here. Now Rick Gates, meanwhile, he did frequently change banks, and he opened and closed accounts, according to prosecutors. In all he had 55 accounts with 13 different financial institutions, and some of those accounts were in Cyprus, prosecutors say, where Gates and Manafort travelled frequently.
So, all of these questionable transactions is part of why the government successfully argued for house arrest for both of those men. They have also both surrendered their passports. Due back in court on Thursday.
Now in the meantime, Special Counsel Mueller's probe is moving full steam ahead on many fronts. In fact, we've learned that White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, who's been one of the president's longest serving aides throughout the campaign as well, she'll be interviewed by Mueller's team in mid-November after she returns from the president's 12-day Asia trip.
Investigators from Mueller's team also ramping up their interviews with other White House officials, those we learned could be wrapped up by Thanksgiving. Of course, Mueller's team may be looking at Hope Hicks, and she was on Air Force One when that initial misleading statement about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with that Russian lawyer at Trump Tower was crafted.
John, we know that that is still a focus for the special counsel. So, a lot still happening with the special counsel's investigation. Ramping up perhaps.
BERMAN: Indeed and Hope Hicks is around the president even before there was a Trump campaign. Jessica Schneider, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
This morning, we do have fast-moving developments here in New York City as well, the terror attack here. One official tells CNN the suspect is talking with investigators. The governor of New York says the suspect radicalized here in the United States. Key developments. Much more ahead.