Return to Transcripts main page

EARLY START

New York City Terror Attack Coverage; Republicans Miss Self- Imposed Deadline for Tax Bill. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired November 1, 2017 - 03:00   ET

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


ANDREW CUOMO, GOVERNOR, 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: New York City and its leaders defiant in the wake of a terror attack near the World Trade Center. New details this morning about the attacker, his ISIS claim, and what the authorities are learning about him.

And a look at one World Trade Center, its spire (ph) red, white and blue this morning. Good morning and welcome to "Early Start." I'm Alex Marquardt.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN HOST: And I am Christine Romans. It is Wednesday, November 1. It is 3:00 a.m. in New York. Tightened security in New York City this evening, this morning as victims and their families face the aftermath of a deadly truck attack in Lower Manhattan.

Officials are calling it terrorism. And we have learned the suspect left a note claiming he did this in the name of ISIS.

MARQUARDT: The attack killed eight people and injured nearly a dozen others. Sources have identified the suspect as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov.

And at this point, investigators do believe that he acted alone. He launched his attack in broad daylight just after 3:00 p.m. on a crowded bike path along the Hudson River on the west side of Manhattan, mowing down cyclists and pedestrians for 16 blocks.

ROMANS: Sixteen blocks -- it was the deadliest terror attack in New York City since 9/11. And it ended in the shadow of the World Trade Center. That's where we join our Jean Casarez live with more on the suspect and the victims.

Jean, bring us up to speed.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, we can confirm with you this morning that eight people at this point have lost their lives on a sunny afternoon yesterday in New York City, bicyclists and there were pedestrians. And we can also confirm that 11 people were injured.

We do not know at this point how many people remain in the hospital. But we also can tell you a little bit more about this suspect.

As you said, his name is Sayfullo Saipov (ph), 29 years old, Uzbekistan national coming to this country in 2010. And it's believed that yesterday, hours before the attack, that he actually did rent a truck and then at 3:05 p.m. began driving that rented U-Haul truck southbound on the west side highway right here in New York City.

Well, the pedestrians and the bicyclists, they were also going southbound. So they had no idea what hit them as suddenly he came driving through.

He ended up crashing into a school bus, injuring two adults and two children, or youths. As you did say, once it all ended, he came out of the vehicle, brandishing two weapons.

And there was an NYPD police officer on patrol right there, his name, Ryan Nash (ph). And he shot the suspect in the abdomen. It was ultimately found out those two weapons, a paintball gun and a pellet gun.

He was taken to the hospital, was in surgery last night. And we have found out, law enforcement sources have told us although there was a Florida identification associated with him, he at least lives part- time in New Jersey, and Patterson, new jersey.

One of our producers spoke with neighbors. They said that they had known of him. And he did get into some trouble in Missouri.

And I believe that is the picture we have of him. It's a mugshot from 2010. And it is when he was brought up on charges of not having proper brakes for a truck, being a truck driver.

He never showed up to court. Finally, a guilty plea was entered in for him. But at this point, he remains alive.

And you can bet authorities have spoken with him or want to speak with him about any information at all. But that is the latest. And you are so right, the police presence here is strong.

They are telling people to be vigilant. If you see something, say something. But Christine and Alex, they do believe he acted alone.

ROMANS: Jean, do we know about his profession? I mean, at one point, he had been, it looks like a commercial driver of some sort.

CASAREZ: What we know is a truck driver. That's what we know at this point. But also as you said, a note was found in that truck.

It is believed that he spoke getting out of the truck "Allahu Akbar (ph)," and that the note said that he was doing this for ISIS.

ROMANS: All right. Jean Casarez for us from the scene, where it is 3:00 a.m. in New York City. Jean, we'll talk to you very shortly. MARQUARDT: Now, this attack comes at a hectic and busy time here in

New York. It happened just hours before last night's busy Halloween parade.

All while, this city gears up for Sunday's big marathon as well as next week's mayoral election, Governor Andrew Cuomo assuring New Yorkers that after this attack, there is no broader threat to be concerned about.

[03:05:12]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: There's -- there's no evidence to suggest a wider plot or a 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: President Trump, of course, is from New York city, and his wife, Melania, was in New York City when the attack happened, the president tweeting his condolences and prayers to the victims, then adding this, "I've ordered -- I've just ordered homeland security to step up our already extreme vetting program. Being politically correct is fine but not for this."

It should be noted the suspect is originally from Uzbekistan, a country not included in the president's travel ban.

MARQUARDT: Now, joining us live is Fawaz Gerges. He is the chairman of the Contemporary Middle East Studies at the London School of Economics and author of "ISIS: a History." He's live in our London bureau.

Good morning, professor.

FAWAZ GERGES, EMIRATES CHAIR OF THE CONTEMPORARY MIDDLE EAST STUDIES, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Good morning.

MARQUARDT: Now, before we get to -- to talking about this attack, I just want to throw up on the screen for our viewers the number of car ramming attacks involving vehicles since 2014, the vast majority there taking place in Europe, one of them in Jerusalem, and of course, yesterday's attack here in New York City, a number of them, particularly the ones that -- that were carried out in Europe, either claimed by ISIS or carried out in the name of ISIS. So let me ask you, after this spate (ph) of attacks over the past three years, are you surprised that an attack like this in the name of ISIS has been carried out in this manner in the United States?

Or was it simply a matter of time?

GERGES: No, first of all, I'm not surprised. Trucks and cars have emerged as the weapon of choice for either ISIS-directed attacks or ISIS-inspired attacks -- very primitive weapons, very simple weapons. I mean, think about how easy to get, to hire trucks or vans or cars.

All you have to do is to have the will to kill. We have seen it in Nice in France.

We have seen it in Canada. We have seen it in Germany. We have seen it here where I am in London and Britain.

We have seen it now in the United States. They are simple weapons. They are primitive weapons.

And I think we should not be surprised because for the past two years or so, ISIS had been calling on its followers to use whatever they have -- knives, pellet weapons, their hands, cars. Just in the past few days, ISIS outlets, ISIS magazines, have directly and specifically called on their followers to use cars and trucks and knives.

The -- the -- the good news -- I know it's very tragic, I know it's very insidious, very sad what happened in New York yesterday. I mean, I lived most of my life in New York.

And I know the feeling now. But the reality is the suspect did not have any advanced weapons. He did not have guns. He did not have partners.

And this tells you that basically, this is a lone wolf. This is an individual most probably inspired and motivated by the deadly ideology of ISIS.

ROMANS: We know, Professor Gerges, that he is originally from Uzbekistan. He came to this country several years ago on a diversity -- diversity lottery, diversity visa, which is a part of a lottery system where, you know, people from around the world can get lotteries.

It's really honestly the luck of the draw to get that -- to -- to get that visa. We don't know if he was directed by or inspired by ISIS.

We don't know where he was radicalized and how. Those will all be parts of the investigation. He is alive, which is kind of a rare -- a rare event for investigators who can ask him all of these questions.

What can you tell us about where he came from as a -- as a source of this kind of ideology?

GERGES: Well, I mean, first of all, this ideology, the ideology of Jihadism, or Salafi Jihadism, whether you're talking about al Qaeda or the so-called Islamic State, is really now a transnational ideology. It's a global ideology.

It's a traveling ideology. You have individuals in London, in New York, in California, in Nice, in France, in Belgium, who basically tend to buy into this utopia, into this mythology -- the mythology that somehow, the Western states are attacking Islam, are attacking Islamic countries. No (ph), it's a mythology, that this is the mythology of the 21st century. [03:10:01]

And you have some individuals who buy into it. So it's really -- but the former countries of the Soviet Union, where the suspect came from. You have insurgencies there.

You have more than almost 1,600 combatants who have traveled from these countries into Syria and Iraq. Remember Chechnya, the -- the insurgency -- the counterinsurgency in which Russia brutally put down in Chechnya.

You have many radicalized individuals. But I hope, and this is my plea for your audience, let's not generalize about this particular program that brings, I mean, diversity individuals into the United States.

This is a lone individual. It does not speak about the program itself. I mean, I -- I know we're trying to make sense of this, I mean, savage -- or these savage attacks.

But the reality is I, myself, even though I -- I work on these movements, ISIS and al Qaeda, I call them basically criminal networks, that we should not invest these ideologies and these individuals with any cultural and civilizational overtones, even though many of us are trying to make sense why an individual who was embraced by the United States, allowed to settle in the United States, has made a life in the United States, basically will turn around and kill his own citizens.

It tells you about the insidious nature of the ideology. But the ideology really is a traveling ideology, a traveling utopia.

And you have individuals who basically, he was working in Patterson, New Jersey, what (ph) I also know very well because I -- I lived near Patterson, New Jersey. So it's -- it's very easily in the context of the war that's taking place in the greater Middle East and -- and the traveling nature of ideology because you have a great deal of -- of ideological propaganda out there by the Islamic State calling on supporters and followers to basically attack Western countries using whatever primitive means that they have a their own disposal.

MARQUARDT: All right, our thanks to Fawaz Gerges from the London School of Economics.

ROMANS: Thank you so much. Nice to see you this morning and such a -- such a terrible story, frankly. Twelve minutes past the hour, Republicans delaying the release of their long-awaited tax bill.

Why did they miss their self-imposed deadline? We're going to do that story next.

[03:12:29]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:16:06] ROMANS: All right, about 14 minutes past the top of the hour, Republicans delaying the release of their long-awaited tax bill until Thursday, missing a self-imposed deadline as leaders are still hammering out some key details. The plan was to unveil the tax bill today.

But in a statement late last night, House Ways and Means Chair, Kevin Brady, said the leadership team decided to wait, adding they're still on track to approve a bill next week. The administration is not worried about the delay.

The president tweeted the House members are working hard and late for the massive tax cuts that they know you deserve. A White House aide says this allows more time to resolve differences.

There are a couple of big sticking points here -- changes to retirement savings and eliminating the state and local tax deduction. Both of those moves help pay for the tax cuts.

But GOP members from high tax states, they don't want to touch the popular state and local tax deduction. 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.

Preserving a higher rate is to combat criticism that this tax plan helps the wealthy more than the middle class.

MARQUARDT: And it is now becoming clear why the Fed's 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 filings reveal that Manafort currently has not one, not two, but three U.S. passports, all with different numbers.

President Trump's former campaign manager traveled to Mexico, China, and Ecuador this year with a phone and e-mail account registered under a fake name.

ROMANS: How can you have three passports?

MARQUARDT: It's a mystery.

ROMANS: I don't know. According to prosecutors, Manafort's business associate, 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, which means they have the means and the motive to flee.

The next court appearance for Manafort and Gates scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

MARQUARDT: Now, a guilty plea from former Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, has the White House rattled this morning. CNN has learned that Trump associates are worried about who else might be working with the special prosecutor's team, the president trying to downplay the role that Papadopolous played in the campaign, referring to him as a low-level staffer and a liar on Twitter.

Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders has reinforced this theme.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

And that is what led to the process and the place that we're in right now, was the campaign fully cooperating and helping with that. What Papadopolous did was lie and that's on him, not on the campaign.

And we can't speak for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right, it's worth noting the e-mails prove Papadopolous was in touch with several high-level Trump campaign aides in ongoing conversations. CNN has also learned President Trump is rejecting Steve Bannon's call to fight back hard against Special Prosecutor Mueller, the president's former chief strategist.

He had recommended funding for Mueller's investigation should be cut. 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, that interview set for mid-November. An official expects all White House interviews to be done by Thanksgiving.

MARQUARDT: One of the greatest world series of all time is now headed to game 7 -- how Los Angeles forced a decisive game at home. That's coming up next.

[03:19:43]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:23:40]

MARQUARDT: Welcome back to "Early Start." The World Series is going to...

[03:23:43]

[03:26:31]

ROMANS: The show cut to a commercial. Afterwards, Williams explained she became overheated in that costume. She acknowledged she passed out then added, "I'm a champ (ph) and I'm back."

MARQUARDT: Champ (ph) indeed. That was quite dramatic.

ROMANS: Yes.

MARQUARDT: A terror attack in the shadow of the World Trade Center. This morning, the suspect says he did it for ISIS -- what else authorities are learning live in Lower Manhattan after the break.

[03:26:54]

COMMERCIAL BREAK)