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EARLY START

NYC Terror Suspect: It Was Done for ISIS; Republicans Delay Tax Bill to Thursday; World Series Going to Game 7. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 1, 2017 - 05:00   ET

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


[05:00:00] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: A lot of money -- more than 50 percent for Facebook this year.

EARLY START continues right now.

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MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: Important additional measures are being taken for people's safety. But the bottom line is, we are going to go about our business in the city. We're not going to be deterred.

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MARQUARDT: New York City and its leaders defiant in the wake of a terror attack. New details this morning about the attacker, his ISIS claim and what the authorities are learning about him. A look at the World Trade Center this morning, the spire red, white and blue right there.

Good morning and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Alex Marquardt.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Nice to have you here this morning. I'm Christine Romans. It is Wednesday, November 1st. It is 5:00 a.m. in New York here.

Tightened security in New York City as victims and their families face the aftermath of a deadly truck attack in Lower Manhattan. Officials are calling this terrorism. And we have learned the suspect left a note, claiming he did this in the name of ISIS.

MARQUARDT: The attack killed eight and injured nearly a dozen others. Sources have identified the suspect as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov. And at this point, investigators believe that he did act alone. He launched the attack in broad light just after 3:00 p.m. on the crowded bike path along the Hudson River on the west wide of the island of Manhattan, mowing down cyclists and pedestrians for 16 blocks.

ROMANS: Nearly a mile. It was the deadliest terror attack in New York City since 9/11. It ended in the shadow of the World Trade Center.

That's where we join our Jean Casarez with more on the suspect, who is alive, who is in the hospital after surgery, after being shot and more about the victims and where they are from -- Jean.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Christine. We are here, we are right at the crime scene. This is where it all happened less than 24 hours ago.

And we are learning more about the victims. First of all, of the eight people that lost their lives, six of them were dead instantly as this man allegedly plowed into them in this pick-up truck he rented from Home Depot just very shortly before coming over to New York City.

We also know that five of the victims are citizens of Argentina. They were here together celebrating their 30th high school reunion. Also a Belgium national lost their life.

We do not know about the two other victims. Eleven people were injured. We don't know if they are still in the hospital or not.

We are also learning a little bit more about the suspect, Sayfullo Saipov. He's lived in three states that we know of. First of all, his license, authorities tell us was from Florida.

We also know that the state of Ohio is where he was married in 2013. He's an Uzbekistan national, he married in 2013, a woman from the same country, Nozima Odilova.

And we also know that he most recently was associated with New Jersey. He lived there, neighbors say at least on and off in New Jersey. And that is where he rented that truck. It was 3:05 yesterday afternoon, he was going southbound on the west side highway here in New York City and he was driving on the wrong side of the roadway. And he started mowing down people riding their bicycles and walking away from him.

So, they didn't know it was coming. They didn't know probably until they were hit that he was right behind them. He ended up hitting a school bus and injuring two adults and two students. He got out of his truck, at that point, brandishing what appeared to be two weapons.

They were later found out to not be actual guns. But an NYPD officer shot him at that point, taken to the hospital, Christine and Alex, where he remains this morning.

ROMANS: And they were able to talk to him before he went into surgery. They will be able to talk to him again and try to find out what, exactly, over the past seven years in this country happened that made him do such an awful thing.

Jean Casarez, thank you so much.

MARQUARDT: Now, this attack comes at a hectic time here in New York. It happened just hours before last night's busy Halloween parade, all while the city gears up for Sunday's big marathon, as well as next week's mayor election.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has assured New Yorkers, there is no broader threat to be concerned about.

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GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: There's no evidence that suggests a wider plot or wider scheme, but the actions of one individual who meant to cause pain and harm and probably death and the resulting terror. And that was the purpose.

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ROMANS: President Trump is, of course, from New York City. His wife, the first lady, Melania Trump, was in New York City when this attack happened. The president tweeting his condolences and prayers to the victims, and adding this: I just ordered homeland security to step up our already extreme vetting program.

[05:05:06] Being politically correct is fine, but not for this.

The suspect is originally from Uzbekistan. It's a country, though, not included in the president's travel ban. The president of the Uzbekistan this morning says his country will use, quote, all forces and means necessary to help with the investigation.

All right. The terror suspect is from Uzbekistan. Is there a bigger concern about people being radicalized in that nation? Our terror analyst Paul Cruickshank joins us next.

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ROMANS: All right. Welcome back to EARLY START this morning.

Police are learning more about the terror suspect accused of killing eight and injuring nearly a dozen in New York City yesterday. Sayfullo Saipov came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan in 2010.

[05:10:03] The question, is there a larger connection about radicalization in that region?

I want to bring in CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank live in our London bureau.

And he comes from a country where there's so little representation in American immigration from this country that he actually was given a visa in the immigrant, literally a lottery where trying to keep it open in the United States. He won the lottery and had a shot at the American dream and then turned around and killed all these people.

What do we know about where he is from?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, we know he's from Uzbekistan, came to the United States in 2010, as you were saying. We also know that Uzbekistan has had a significant problem with jihadism over the last few decades. There are a number of jihadi groups there who'd been trying to overthrow the regime. There's been a lot of repression.

The regime has pushed out a lot of these extremists and they've gone to places like the Afghanistan/Pakistan area and more recently to Syria and Iraq, up to 1,500 foreign fighters from Uzbekistan believed to be in Syria and Iraq, joining groups affiliated with ISIS and al Qaeda.

We also know there have been a number of Uzbeks and people from Central Asia that had been involved in terrorism plot attacks in the West and there was an Uzbek involved in an attack in Stockholm in April, a truck attack.

Here in the United States, there was a big counterterrorism investigation in 2014-2015 centering on a group of extremists in Brooklyn. They want to travel to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS. There have been six arrests over the past few years in that case, five of the six being Uzbek nationals in that case.

So, one of the things authorities are going to be looking at if there are possible links to other conspiracies in the United States. In that case, back in 2015, that group discussed shooting President Obama, also discussing the attack on Coney Island. So, there's track record for Uzbek and Central Asians getting involved in jihadi terrorism. There's a bit of a network, even in the United States of Uzbeks, and there are many Uzbeks who have gone from their home country to Syria and Iraq.

But, of course, they are going to have to look through all of this. It's not clear whether this individual had direct connections to any foreign fighters overseas or anybody involved in jihadi terrorism back in Uzbekistan. But one of the things they are looking at is his travel patterns, did he go back home? Where as he been and who has he come into contact with, living in New Jersey, obviously, not too far away from where some of the individuals in this Uzbek extremist network were based in Brooklyn.

But, so far, we are not hearing of direct connection that authorities are telling us between him and other past terror plots cases in the United States.

MARQUARDT: Paul, obviously, we have seen this spate of terror attacks across Europe and the Middle East while ISIS controlled significant amount of territory in Iraq and Syria. Now, they have all but lost that. Do you expect the number of these ISIS-inspired or directed attacks against the West to now go up?

CRUICKSHANK: That's a very good question. I don't think there's a very clear answer yet. On one hand, there is sort of anger at the fact that ISIS has been pushed out of all its territory in Syria and Iraq. But on the other hand, there's a sense of deflation amongst these sympathizers in the West that this caliphate project really has come to nothing and are they willing to give their lives for a cause, which isn't going anywhere right now?

In the United States, itself, we saw a peak of counterterrorism arrests in 2015 and the numbers really come down since then, 2016- 2017. There's seemingly less energy in the jihadi system in the United States over the last couple of years or so, that in that peak, 2014 going into 2015, many fewer people trying to travel to join ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

But, of course, authorities remain very concerned. There are 1,000 investigations into jihadi terrorism activity in the United States right now. About 80 percent involve a sympathy for ISIS. Those investigations are taking place in all 50 states.

And we have seen before, people who have been part of previous investigations have been cleared.

[05:15:01] The investigations have stopped and they moved forward to launch attacks. We saw that with Orlando shooting in 2016.

So, one big question is, was this individual on the radar screen of U.S. counterterrorism? That is not something that we know yet, at this point.

ROMANS: You know, a difference in some of these attacks that you're mentioning, is that they are going to be able to talk to this guy and try to find out why he did this, who he talked to. Was he inspired by or directed by ISIS and just what, really, was the motive here? They will be able to get a lot of information from him, one would think.

CRUICKSHANK: That is absolutely right. One of the questions they will want to ask, is there anybody else you are involved with here that would be wanting to move forward and see if there's some kind of a conspiracy here. We are at an early stage in terms of ruling that out. I think authorities will not rule that out in terms of people actually investigating this.

Whether there are people he was connected to who are also motivated by this same extremist ideology. There's a lot of concern after these kind of attacks of being copy cat style attacks of people inspired by what they see that happened. In the U.K., where I am now, three terrorist attacks this year. British authorities have spoken about how in each of the attacks, the attackers were inspired by the previous attack.

And so, that's going to be a big concern moving into the holiday period in the United States. I think we can expect in the next few hours, I fully expect ISIS to claim this attack, given everything reported in the news about him claiming allegiance to the group. And I think we are going to see the group call for more attacks to distract from this narrative. They lost so much territory.

MARQUARDT: But, of course, they have also claimed responsibility for attacks in the past, where there's been no evidence that they actually directed them.

Paul Cruickshank, in our London bureau, thanks very much. We'll be talking to you throughout the course of the day.

ROMANS: All right. Seventeen minutes past the hour. Republicans delaying the release of their long awaited tax bill. Now it comes Thursday. That misses a self-imposed deadline as leaders still hammer out key sticking points. The plan was set to unveil today but in a statement late last night,

House Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady said the leadership team decided to wait. They are on track to approve a bill, we are told next week.

The administration is not worried about the delay. The president tweeted that House members are working hard and late toward the massive tax cuts that you know you deserve. White House aides say this gives time to resolve differences. And there are some big sticking point, two of them.

Changes to retirement savings and eliminating the state and local tax deduction. Both would help pay for the cuts, right? The tax cuts. GOP members from high tax states don't want to touch the popular state and local tax deductions.

Republicans are still working on a compromise. Speaker Paul Ryan told conservative leaders the GOP may still release significant details today.

One new addition, keeping the top tax rate. Previous proposals cut the top bracket from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. Keeping a higher rate fights criticism that this plan helps the wealthy and corporations more than the middle class.

MARQUARDT: And switching gears. It is now becoming clear why the feds placed former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates under house arrest after they were indicted in the Russia investigation. New details from court filing reveal that Manafort currently has not one, not two but three different U.S. passports. Manafort traveled to Mexico, China, and Ecuador this year with a phone and e-mail account that were registered under a fake name.

ROMANS: According to prosecutors, Manafort's top deputy Rick Gates has been opening and closing bank accounts frequently, 55 accounts with 13 different financial institutions to be exact. Prosecutors say both men are multimillionaires with means and motive to flee. The next court appearance from Manafort and Gates is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

MARQUARDT: And the guilty plea from another campaign aide, a campaign adviser named George Papadopoulos does have the White House rattled. We are told Trump associates are worried about who else could be speaking with the special prosecutor's team. The president and his staff tried to down play the role that Papadopoulos played in the campaign, referring to him as low level and a liar on Twitter.

While at the White House, the Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is reinforcing that message from the podium.

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SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What I can say is, I think Papadopoulos is an example of somebody doing the wrong thing while the president's campaign did the right thing. All of his e-mails were voluntarily provided to the special counsel by the campaign.

And that is what led to the process and the place that we are in right now with the campaign fully cooperating and helping with that.

[05:20:05] What Papadopoulos did was lie and that's on him, not on the campaign. And we can't speak for that.

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ROMANS: It is worth noting, the e-mails prove Papadopoulos was in touch with several high level campaign Trump officials in ongoing conversations.

CNN has also learned President Trump is rejecting Steve Bannon's call to fight back hard against special prosecutor. The president's former chief strategist recommended funding for Mueller's investigation among other things.

Mueller's team is also getting ready to interview White House communications director Hope Hicks. She's one of the president's longest serving aides. An official expects all White House interviews to be completed by Thanksgiving.

MARQUARDT: Now, one of the greatest World Series of all time is now headed to game seven. How Los Angeles forced a decisive game at home tonight, next.

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MARQUARDT: The World Series is going to a game seven. The Los Angeles Dodgers taking game six from the Houston Astros, 3-1, last night. L.A. was trailing 1-0 in the sixth inning when Chris Taylor doubled in a run to tie the score and Corey Seager followed with a long sacrifice fly putting L.A. ahead to stay.

Tonight, Dodgers Stadium will host the first World Series game seven ever, with Yu Darvish taking the mound for L.A. against Houston's Lance McCullers Jr.

ROMANS: A teacher in California is recovering this morning after she was held hostage by a parent for nearly seven hours. Authorities say the man barged into his child's elementary school in Riverside, east of Los Angeles. "The L.A. Times" reports the intruder punched a male teacher before taking a female hostage.

MARQUARDT: Officers eventually forced their way into the classroom, shooting the suspect and freeing the teacher. She was taken to the hospital as a precaution. The condition of the parent is unknown. Classes of the school have been canceled for the rest of the week. And there is no word on a motive.

ROMANS: A Utah nurse caught on video being handcuffed and dragged has settled her dispute with police for $500,000. This incident which drew national attention. It happened when she refused to let law enforcement draw blood from an unconscious patient back in July. Now, the nurse was following hospital policy when she said the detective Jeff Payne he would need warrant or consent of the patient, who, by the way, was unconscious, to draw the blood. Payne was ultimately fired after an internal investigation found he violated department policies.

All right. Our top story this morning, a terror attack in the shadow of the World Trade Center. The suspect said he did it for ISIS. We'll tell you what authorities are learning about him and his motive, live in Lower Manhattan, next.

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