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Terror in NYC; Trump: "We Must Not Allow ISIS to Return"; Dodgers Rally to Beat Astros 3-1, Force Game 7. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 1, 2017 - 06:30   ET


[06:30:01] CHRISTIAN WAGENER, WITNESSED TERROR ATTACK: So, it's like, but I heard the shots and I thought, thank God. At first, I thought the guns he had was sophisticated, fast-acting guns. So, at least, I didn't the burst of --

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Fortunately, there was a cop from the first precinct right there who intercepted him as he was running away.

Christiaan, what do you do with all these that you saw and that you experienced? I mean, here we are downtown Manhattan, Freedom Tower right over our heads.


CUOMO: People are getting back to work. I mean, you have a whole media thing going on with police. After that, people were back on the path they were allowed to be on.

What do you make of it? Like, how much panic stays with you? What does it mean this happened to you?

WAGENER: Yes, it's -- you know, I've been in tough situations before in my life. I've travel around the world, and I've seen tough situations before. But this is a situation completely manmade. There's no reason for this.

So, it's completely manmade and what's bizarre about this, it's done from a standpoint of religious fervor. So, you look at that, how could you ever fight that unless, you know, people that are in charge of religion get together and say, hey, this is wrong. Somebody has to stand up and say this is wrong. It can't go on like this.

So -- but in a way you feel powerless and in a way you feel you have hope for humanity that we work this out.

CUOMO: And life goes on.

WAGENER: And life goes on. But, you know, it's hard to place it. I think it's hard to place it, because in a lot of ways you feel powerless. In other ways, you feel maybe I'm part of the problem. I think after you walk away from something like that, you examine yourself and say what's my involvement with this kind of thing?

CUOMO: Why was he in that truck? WAGENER: What was he -- I mean, why did I get away? Why did other

people get hit? You go through all of that stuff. But it's very sad. All of these people who got hurt and died, it's horrible. It's not necessary. It's out of humanity to do that stuff.

CUOMO: It makes you think about what matters. You've got your wife, you're here. Thank you for talking to us. What else can we do? Enjoy the day, right?

WAGENER: Keep on going.

CUOMO: Think about those who are gone. Christiaan, thank you very much.

WAGENER: You're welcome.

CUOMO: Alisyn, to you.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Chris, thank you very much.

So here's the latest if you're just joining us on the New York City terror attack last night. Eight people are dead, 11 others hurt after this man rammed a truck into pedestrians and bicyclists along the city's riverfront bike path and that extends for many miles that he drove for nearly a mile down it killing people. This is the deadliest attack since 9/11.

President Trump responding to the attack in a series of tweets. The president saying, quote, I've just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already extreme vetting program. Being politically correct is fine but not for this.

All right. Let's bring in our panel and discuss this. We have CNN political analyst John Avlon, and associate editor for "Real Clear Politics", A.B. Stoddard.

Nice to see both of you.


CAMEROTA: As we said, the deadliest terrorist attack in New York City since 9/11. Obviously, the scope is completely different and we all our attitudes and experience have changed since 9/11 when we couldn't have imagined what happened on that day and now, sadly, we've come to understand that these things happen. John, you were there on 9/11.

From President Trump's tweets, he said the very first tweet he sent out yesterday at 5:30 p.m.: in New York City looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. Not in the USA!

Well, it did happen in the USA.

AVLON: It did. This is not exactly drawing inspiration from Churchill, but the president tweets as he does. I think the important thing for leadership in moments like this is to

try to unite the nation, is to try to show resolve and a resolute sense of resilience. I think New York City embodies resilience in so many ways because we have experienced 9/11. I worked for Rudy Giuliani during that time and was proud to do so.

This is a totally different kind of attack. This is one of these decentralized 21st century attacks that takes a truck on a bike path, kills innocent civilians. More experience within Europe than we do here.

But the key differentiator is the NYPD didn't shoot to kill necessarily. They got him alive, so we have the suspect. That's going to be very valuable in getting inside the mind of evil and understanding more about his context, his contacts, and what he was thinking.

CAMEROTA: So when President Trump tweets these things, I'm not sure the outcome is to make people feel calmer and more comforted. One of the things he tweeted, we just read it: I've ordered homeland security step up our already extreme vetting program. Being politically correct is fine -- since when?

[06:35:03] But not for this.

But he already announced he had extreme vetting. What does this mean? Is this a policy change?

A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Right, well, I think he is trying to show resolve. He wants a solution and he and the administration have been given credit, they should take credit for the fact they've demolished much of the caliphate of ISIS and that's significant.

It doesn't mean they're not going to be splintered all around the world trying to still retain their power and their potency through these individual attacks.

And another time, it would be an incredible coup that he survived an abdominal -- a shot to the abdomen and he's going to live to tell. But he may not take us to his leader.

These, most of the time, are independent actors and for whatever reason, especially this new sort of advent of using cars instead of bombs is something that's come here. It is a continuous threat and what President Trump has trouble dealing with and what people really criticize President Obama for saying is, too much of this, we're powerless.

AVLON: The criticisms of the two presidents are on the flip side with President Obama, it was an extension of the idea this is a perpetual problem that we need to deal with in a more law enforcement away, with Trump, it's very much, it's broad base rhetoric, it's policies of extreme vetting that may or may not be rooted in actual policy.

But this happened. We're going to have to deal with it. But I think simply saber-rattling is not sufficient.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about all the developments that have come out about the Russia investigation, in particular Paul Manafort. He was shadier than people knew!

AVLON: How is that possible?

CAMEROTA: Because now, in the court documents, we know things like he had three different passports, with three different numbers. He had attempted to get 10 different over the course of ten years. He had traveled to Ecuador, China and Mexico using a fake e-mail address, fake phones, fake names. He had money stashed in Cyprus, the Grenadines, and the Seychelles. What?

AVLON: I'm saying, I didn't realize that applying for 10 passports in 10 years was on the menu. I did not know that was possible.


CAMEROTA: I didn't know you could have three different passports with different numbers. That's a flaw.

AVLON: And I'm going to say probably not applying with the spirit if not the letter of the law. Everything about this is totally shady. It's transparently what it is. It seems to be someone whose primary job seems to be moving and laundering money, which is the clear allegation, and he's exactly the kind of person you'd call to run a campaign at a critical time.

CAMEROTA: I'm sensing irony.

STODDARD: That's an amazing thing, if you think about all the risk he took, and succeeded in taking with all these passports and different identities and everything, that he would step into the job of manager.

CAMEROTA: Right. I mean, listen, President Trump believes in extreme vetting except for his staff.

STODDARD: That is clear. That is clear.

CAMEROTA: That is clear. I don't know if there was anything for President Trump or his staff to know this about Paul Manafort, though there were always whispers that he was doing something fishy. But I don't know they could have known all of this without the FBI's help, but should they have gone a little deeper before making him chairman of the campaign?

AVLON: Yes. And, look, for that critical period, these two men were incredibly close. They were in close proximity and everybody knew that Manafort, because of his previous consulting work for people like Mobutu and other shady dictators, Marcos, and others, was kind of a shady character. He sort of was reanimated for the purposes of this campaign.

But just like you vet vice president candidates, that is a thorough deep vetting. You don't do that for every member of your senior campaign staff, but you should at least inquire. And if you don't, you're asking for a problem. This is a different kind of problem in most campaign vetting. This is a guy who is basically living like a triple life trying to skirt international law.

STODDARD: I would say, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn had a certain reputation as well for his connections to the Russians. They were willing to overlook that. He enjoyed being with Michael Flynn. He thought that he was loyal. He made him national security adviser.

Look, where we are today. He -- it is clear candidate Trump was willing to overlook and President Trump, people's backgrounds and not apply the scrutiny that you should apply when it comes to a job in the White House.

CAMEROTA: OK. So, today, Hope Hicks will be interviewed by Robert Mueller's team. Hope Hicks has been loyal and with Donald Trump for many years. She's part of the Trump organization. She never speaks publicly. She is a dutiful --

AVLON: She is the communications director who does not speak.

CAMEROTA: That's interesting.


CAMEROTA: So, but it will be interesting to know what she has to offer.

AVLON: Yes. I mean, look, she has been incredibly loyal. She came sort of out of nowhere in his campaign circle, was elevated to communications director without a significant amount of experience in the field except that the key attribute for Trump, which is loyalty. But she's been there the entire time.

[06:40:00] So, she's going to, you know, if she doesn't take the Fifth, there's going to be a lot of information she's got about the context.

STODDARD: Alisyn, there's a lot of concern about this drafting of a false statement about the Don Jr. June 16th meeting in June of 2017 on the plane ride back from Hamburg when the president actually ended up -- coming up with a reason for this meeting and Hope Hicks was in on that meeting.

She has a story to tell, and she -- would be best advised to tell everything she knows.


CAMEROTA: A.B., John, thank you both very much.

OK. Let's go back down to Lower Manhattan where Chris is reporting after the terror attack from yesterday -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. So, Alisyn, this is the deadliest terror attack since 9/11 to hit New York City. And there's a helplessness because this is the place that was supposed to be the safest.

We're in the shadow of the New World Trade Center. You have the Joint Terrorism Task Force that's right here. You have the police headquarters that's right here, and yet somebody with a truck was able to do so much death and destruction to cause that much.

So, on the flip side for investigators, there are new indications of what they have to look out for. What is a soft target? What are these vehicle attacks really about? How can you access them?

And where this man was from is a part of the world we have not focused on when it comes to the origination of terror.

What are the clues? What are the questions? We have new information, next.


CUOMO: All right. Eight lives lost, a dozen, maybe more, injured, all by a guy with a truck. He hit New York City.

This is the deadliest terror attack here in New York since 9/11. And it happened in one of the safest assumed places in the world.

[06:45:03] That's the World Trade Center. You have the Joint Terrorism on Task Force that's right here. You have police headquarters that's right here.

The police presence down here on a regular basis is overwhelming and yet it was able to happen in such simple yet terrible fashion. What do we do about this emerging threat?

Put up the map of what we've seen with what you could call vehicle borne attacks. We've seen them all over the world.

Now, there's a reason that we're seeing them. There's an evolution in a threat. There's an evolution in the call. And there's a positive in this and a negative in terms of what it means, in terms of the terror threat.

We're going to talk about that right now. We have two great guests to break down this threat and what to do about it. We got Paul Cruickshank, CNN terror analyst, also with CTC sentinel. And we have Michael Weiss who is a CNN national security analyst. Michael is with me right now.

Now, when we talk about the vehicles and the map is there, we've seen them all over the place, there is a plus and a minus to that. The plus is, you could do it even here. He hopped a curb, killed eight people, could have killed more if he hadn't rammed into a school bus right down the street from us.

And yet it is also proof of the deterioration of their ability to organize, get real weapons and do things. I'm talking about ISIS and ISIS-inspired types.


CUOMO: Is that right?

WEISS: Yes, more or less. I mean, the idea of pulling off the spectacular on a scale of 9/11,that is far more difficult, the planning, the months of planning that goes into that, that's not something that an organization that has just lost its de facto capital is probably looking to do.

But I put an important caveat on that, which is using vehicles, using knifes, using rocks, rudimentary crude devices to just kill and maim as many people as possible, that injunction was issued by Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the spokesman of ISIS in 2014 before they'd even lose the city of Kobani.

And I stress that because -- Kobani, being northern Kurdish city the coalition went to war in Syria to reclaim. I stress that because there's a misconception these foreign attacks bear some direct relationship to ISIS' losses on the battlefield.

I would argue the emphasis on foreign operations has been increased as their caliphate continues to shrink and now crumble. But they have always had this objective, Chris. They've always wanted to export jihad to the West even when it was Zarqawi who was leading the franchise.

Remember, he tried to perpetrate two major attacks in Amman, Jordan. One was a chemical weapons attack, which thankfully was aborted. The other was a successful hotel bombing which the Jordanians consider their 9/11. There are also attacks that al Qaeda and Iraq was planning in Europe going back now 15 years.

So, this isn't really anything new but, yes, the adaptation, if you will, knowing that counterterrorism officials are more on guard, populations are more sort of inured to this threat, anyone who can get behind the wheel of a car, and as you say, just mow over loads of people.

CUOMO: Look, and the good news is, what are we seeing behind us? Life is going on. The aspect of terrorism is to scare you out of your norms. You're not seeing it here. We had the Halloween parade. People were out. I was down here.

There's a numbness. There is a reality people have to deal with.

So, Paul, that takes us to the aspect of who did this and why they did this? What do we know so far?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, we know they pledge allegiance towards ISIS. We don't know a lot more beyond that, when this individual was radicalized. Most of the foreign born violent extremists after coming into the United States according to a DHS assessment which was released earlier this year. So, quite possible he was radicalized inside the United States.

Did he have any ties to any extremist networks in the United States where there was a major counterterrorism investigation launched in New York City by the FBI in 2014 into a group of Uzbeks and Central Asians trying to join ISIS in Syria and Iraq who were discussing shooting President Obama, launching an attack on Coney Island?

So, one of the things authorities will be doing is looking whether there's any connectivity to any past terror activity on U.S. soil. They'll be also looking at the potential overseas angles, whether this individual made any trips back to Uzbekistan, Uzbekistan has been a hotbed of jihadi activity since the 1990s. There's a repressive dictatorship there which has created a pressure cooker environment in which you've seen growth in jihadi extremism.

They have all left Uzbekistan, being pushed out and many of them up to 1,500 Uzbeks now in Syria and Iraq with groups like ISIS, a string of attacks and plots in the West in which you've had an Uzbek connection, central Asian connection including the St. Petersburg metro, the attack in Russia., an attack in Stockholm, a truck attack in April.

[06:50:08] And so, a lot of concern about jihadi propaganda in Uzbek over the Internet.

CUOMO: Right.

CRUICKSHANK: The group in New York, the FBI are investigating were active on that social media.

CUOMO: Right.

Now, look, we don't know the connection of this guy's ethnicity to his intentions yet. We know he's been here a long time. I started off in Ohio. He bounced to Florida, then he wound up in New Jersey and obviously did the deed here in New York City.

Now, Michael, Central Asia will be a new geographical aspect to this discussion for the uninitiated. To you, it makes perfect sense because?

WEISS: Well, as Paul said, I mean, these guys have been fighting a low level or not so low level terrorist insurgency since the 1990s. I mean, there were civil wars in Russia, there were two Chechen wars. A lot of the graduates who ended up going off and immigrating to Syria to join what it was even then before ISIS, al Qaeda in Iraq, which had became ISIS, were known as, quote, the Chechens. Now, Arabs used this term, the Chechens, to refer to everybody who speaks Russians, who wants to do jihad.

I interviewed an ISIS defector in 2015 who said, it was always these guys from Dagestan, the North Caucasus, Central Asia, any of stans coming with the most battle hardened, and the most feared and respected. And he gave an instance of a group of Chechen fighters called to Raqqah to sort of pay their respects since central headquarters and ISIS was so terrified at these guys that they posted snipers on rooftops in case they got out of hand or attempted some kind of coup.

Added to which, the two most powerful war ministers, the last one that we know who was reportedly killed by the coalition, was a Tajik special forces operator trained by the United States State Department in counterterrorism who boasted on video, on YouTube, when he joined ISIS, I'm going to use all the tool kit you Americans have taught me how to kill Muslims against you and I'm going to bring the jihad back to you.

His predecessor, al-Shishani, was an ethnic Chechen but of Georgia nationality, also a special forces fighter trained by the U.S. who fought Russia in 2008.

CUOMO: All right. So the history is deep. There's a reason we'd be worried about this region. But we don't know, Alisyn, the specific application to this man and this crime, this act of terror. You can do what he did without a lot of coordination and without obviously a lot of motivation from others. This could have all just come from his own sick mind. And now, we have investigators from so many different levels of law enforcement picking up the pieces.

CAMEROTA: That is the sad reality, Chris. I mean, that is the chilling and the sad reality of how seemingly easy it was for him to mow down people. We'll be back with you in Lower Manhattan soon.

But we do have other news on a much lighter note. This World Series is too good not to continue. It's the L.A. Dodgers forcing a decisive game seven with a win over the Houston Astros. We have details in the "Bleacher Report", next.


[06:56:21] CAMEROTA: The Dodgers rally to beat the Astros and force a winner take all game seven in the World Series. Coy Wire has more in the "Bleacher Report".

You must live for nights like that, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: And yes, three hours of sleep, we live for it, Alisyn.

Good morning to you.

This "Bleacher Report" brought to you by the new 2018 Ford F-150.

Houston/Los Angeles in a first-ever world series game seven at Dodgers Stadium tonight. Now, before the game, L.A. hosted a moment of silence to honor those affected by the terror attack in New York.

Once the game got started, though, it was baby-faced Jack Peterson, the 25-year-old stealing the L.A. spotlight again, his third home run of this World Series. This kid from Palo Alto, he was sent to the minors back in August, left off the roster for Dodgers' first playoff series. Now, he's money.

L.A. wins, 3-1. Former Los Angeles manager Tommy Lasorda tells present manager, hey, don't get too excited just yet.




ROBERTS: Thanks for the words of encouragement.


WIRE: Nothing like a bit of humble pie from a Hall of Famer.

Tonight, winner takes all, game seven at 8:20 Eastern.

Alisyn, not much sleep again for this guy. It will be a good one in Los Angeles.

CAMEROTA: All right. We'll look forward to talking to you tomorrow, Coy. Thanks so much.

All right. Back to our top story. Eight people are dead after the deadliest terror attack in New York City since 9/11. We have new details about the suspect and the investigation, next.