Return to Transcripts main page


Eight Dead, 11 Hurt In NYC Terror Attack; Trump Orders Increased Vetting After NYC Attack; NYC Mayor On Deadly Terror Attack; Sources: Terror Suspect Talking With Investigators. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired November 1, 2017 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: CNN national security analyst Gen. Michael Hayden joins us now. He is the former director of the CIA and the NSA. General Hayden, thank you very much for being here.


CAMEROTA: Let's talk about that for a second, this diversity immigrant visa program that the president just tweeted about. It allows 50,000 immigrant visas to become available annually from random selection of entries to people who are countries -- from countries with low rates of immigration. This guy was from Uzbekistan.

So what do you know about this diversity visa program and whether or not it's safe?

HAYDEN: Well, with regard to it being safe, I mean, all immigrants to the United States should come through a process of vetting and my life experience, Alisyn, that none of this was haphazard. That it was very thorough.

And where we had challenges, it wasn't with regard to what the American government was doing, it was with regard to the capacity of the originating government. And that's why the president's picked those half a dozen countries or so whom he believes can't give us the right kind of information.

Uzbekistan is not that kind of country. In fact, if anything, Uzbekistan may have too strong control over their citizens, their identities, and their records.

So I get the point that we might want to base our immigration more on merit for solid economic reasons, but that doesn't -- that doesn't shift the scale in terms of how we should vet for national security reasons.

CAMEROTA: But when the president says that the diversity visa program was a Chuck Schumer beauty --


CAMEROTA: -- what, did Chuck Schumer dream this one up? HAYDEN: You know -- you know, I have no idea and frankly, Chuck Schumer doesn't have it within his ability to change American policy with regard to immigration. That's kind of a whole of government solution. So I don't need -- I don't think we need to blame that on one person.

Look, fair discussion. Go to merit-based for economic advantage rather than these other criteria which were more based upon family relationships. That's a legitimate discussion.

CAMEROTA: So when the president says we need to do even more extreme vetting, do you know what that would look like?

HAYDEN: You know, it makes me a little uncomfortable. It has the ring of the campaign more than of strategy, falling back on the language that President Trump used last summer as he was running for president.

Look, we need to vet. We need to be very, very careful. But, Alisyn, there's another factor here as well. We can't be or appear to be to these communities working against them and their interests.

This was a radicalized individual. We have radicalized individuals in this country. We don't have radicalized communities.

But if we overachieve in some of these security programs and our government now begins to look threatening to these communities, we then develop radicalized communities which are a far greater danger to us.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Look, I mean, it is a delicate balance and you just articulated it so perfectly.

While we speak, I want to look at the aerial -- we're getting some aerial video in right now from one of our affiliates.

This is Paterson, New Jersey. This is the suspect's home. This is coming to us from our affiliate WABC. So you can see, obviously, people are monitoring Saipov's home.

You know, he survived, obviously. The police did not shoot to kill this suspect and so maybe he'll be able to answer some questions about what happened in this home here -- how he became radicalized.

I don't know about your experience, General, but in my experience as a crime reporter of interviewing murderers, it's often unsatisfying, frankly, how they explain why they did what they did. They either haven't given it a lot of thought or they don't give you much.

HAYDEN: Right, but this is an opportunity, Alisyn, as you suggest. We don't often get to do this because this man wanted to be a suicide bomber. In this case, suicide by policemen by holding those two fake guns up.

So we will get a look behind the screen that we don't normally get and get to understand perhaps a bit about the radicalization process for someone like him who's been in America for seven years.

And let me give you three categories -- hypotheses, Alisyn, that we might want to explore.

He could have been ISIS-directed. Frankly, I doubt that given the pressure we have on the caliphate.

He could have been ISIS-inspired. That's the fellow going to the Website and just taking the ISIS message.

And I'll give you -- I'll give you a third category here.


HAYDEN: The ISIS-justified, and that's the individual who's intensely unhappy in their own personal circumstances, prone to violence. They're not pulled by ISIS, they grab ISIS as justification for violence that they were probably intent on doing anyway.

We may learn an awful lot about that process in which he was as we get a chance to interrogate him.

[07:35:02] CAMEROTA: OK, that's really good to know.

General Michael Hayden, thanks so much. We always appreciate having your expertise on with us. Thank you.

HAYDEN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: All right. Let's go back to Lower Manhattan, the scene of the terror attack, and that's where Chris is reporting this morning.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So let's go step-by-step on what we understand right now.

We are getting aerials from Paterson, New Jersey. Why? Not because there is an active threat.

Authorities say that they are trying to seize upon all intelligence they can at this point to figure out what motivation there was for this murderer, this terrorist. They have access now to his computer. They want to interview the people who are close to him.

So that is the nature of the police activity that we're seeing in Paterson, New Jersey. That's what're being told.

Now, back here in Lower Manhattan, this place is so significant to the entire world. Why? New York City is a symbol.

You'll remember the E.B. White poem about New York as a symbol of the world's aspiration. That is it to the nation what the church's white spire is to the community. It is the white plume saying that the way is up.

And that white plume is now the World Trade Center, OK? This place has been rebuilt to be better than ever and it is in the shadow of this building as the sun hits it this morning that we see the most deadly and successful, if you want to call it that, terror attack since 9/11.

Eight lives lost, as many as a dozen or more injured. Police believe some may have self-evacuated, so we'll wait for more information about how many people were victimized by this.

But certainly, the entire world is watching and this city is, once again, trying to figure out what normal is all about.

Let's bring in the mayor, Bill de Blasio -- New York City mayor on the scene yesterday, giving people the comfort and confidence that Halloween would go on, the parade would go on, life would go on.

How are we doing this morning, Mr. Mayor?

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: Well, Chris, it was amazing last night. Almost a million people came to the Halloween parade in Manhattan.

And Chris, you know New Yorkers. The attitude is one of strength, perseverance. People are not going to have their lives changed by someone who's trying to undermine our society.

And I was so impressed by my fellow New Yorkers. They're going to go about their lives. We're not going to let the terrorists ever win.

And also, the NYPD deserves incredible credit. Their response, immediate. A young officer five years on the force steps in, stops this terrorist. You know, New Yorkers are very proud of how the NYPD handled this situation.

CUOMO: No question about that.

The concern on one layer, Mayor, is it's too easy. One guy with a truck hops a curb and is able to do all this, even in a part of the city that we presume is the safest. You know, it's surrounded by a lot of enforcement headquarters.

I don't have to tell you about the police presence. You make sure that it's kept in place.

So what do you say to people who are just worried that this can happen any time, any place?

DE BLASIO: Well, Chris, the worry is natural. It's a very painful incident and our hearts go out to the families of the eight people whose lives were taken, and people are feeling it. And obviously, the closeness, physically, to Ground Zero means even more.

But at the same time, people in the city see an intense NYPD presence every single day. We've added 2,000 more officers on patrol in the city in the last two years.

We have the strongest anti-terrorism capacity we've ever had and that includes, Chris, a lot of officers out with long guns, with heavy gear that New Yorkers see and are reassured to see every single day. And you will see increased police presence over these next days as well.

I think it's painful for us but at the same time, people know the NYPD is the finest police force in the world and knows a lot about stopping terrorism. And you're going to see that presence and I think people are going to know that it's there for them.

CUOMO: You know, the world has changed. You know, I've heard you talk about it with your kids and you were talking to young people this morning.


CUOMO: When you and I were growing up, Mr. Mayor, if we saw the long guns and police presence like we see today it would have freaked us out. But today there is a reassurance in that.

But there's also a new dynamic. Who does this?

And you saw the president weighing in this morning. He's blaming this presence of this man for seven years in this country on what they're calling an open border policy, essentially. Yes, he came in legally through a process -- through an airport and had been here many years, so far we understand, without incident or any flags to authorities.

But there's blame here. This is about Muslims. This is about people wanting to get us. And this is about Democrats like you letting them in too easily.

How do you respond?

DE BLASIO: Look, the last thing the president or anyone else should do is politicize this tragedy. We have to find out what happened here.

[07:40:00] That work's going to be done by the FBI, by the NYPD, and all of our partners to determine exactly who this man is, what moved him to this horrible act, what's going on, is there any bigger ramification? That's what we should be focused on.

But look, in the end, the last thing we should do is start casting aspersions on whole races of people, or whole religions, or whole nations. That only makes the situation worse.

The bottom line is we -- anyone who wants to come to this country should be very thoroughly vetted as an individual. But the minute you start generalizing it, especially to a whole religion, then, unfortunately, we're sending the exact negative message that a lot of our enemies want, that the terrorists want to affirm that this nation is somehow anti-Muslim.

We've got to do the exact opposite. We've got to show we respect all people in America. That's about as American a value as there is.

Our constitution says it, our history says it. We respect all faiths.

When we send that message it helps us -- in this country, in this world, it helps us fight terror. It helps us have the high ground.

So, no, this should not be politicized.

We should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the FBI and the NYPD, get to the bottom of this, figure out if there's additional measures we need to take to keep people safe, and move forward and never let the terrorists have the high ground.

CUOMO: And take care of these families who were affected down here --


CUOMO: -- obviously. Look, that's the big discussion. The micro discussion, Mr. Mayor, is how do you harden up soft targets like this?

As you know, this guy was able to jump a curb at West Houston and get on to the park path.

You think you need better barriers?

DE BLASIO: Chris, we're going to go immediately and see what changes we need to make in that area.

You know, we had an incident in Times Square some months ago. It did not turn out --


DE BLASIO: -- to be related to terrorism. We made a number of physical changes there. We made physical changes to some other locations.

Let's face it. In the modern world, the age that we're dealing with now we literally, every single month, change our tactics to strengthen ourselves against terrorism.

We used to -- for example, we had these big parades like last night, the Halloween parade, the Thanksgiving parade, the New Year's Eve.

We used to allow vehicles to cross the parade path at certain intervals. We don't allow that anymore. We put up big blocker trucks, we put up blocker cars. We stopped that because of what we saw in Nice, because of what we saw in Berlin.

We are adjusting every time. We are going to make an adjustment here, too. We're going to decide some places that need additional hardening.

We don't have the illusion that we can be everywhere all the time but we do know we can keep improving our defenses. And most especially, a strong, visible NYPD presence.

And as you said earlier, those officers with the long guns and the gear, yes, maybe once upon a time people would have been unsettled. But now, they're reassured to see that strong presence and we're going to keep it out there at key points all over the city. CUOMO: What a month. We started October out in Las Vegas, the deadliest mass shooting in modern history. And now at the end of the month, here we are right back at the site of 9/11 with the most deadly terror attack since then in New York City.

Mr. Mayor, thank you for being on the show this morning. We know you're very busy. Appreciate it.

DE BLASIO: And Chris, thank you for your reporting. I just want to tell you our hearts go out to these families. But one thing I can say is New Yorkers are going to stay strong through this, no matter what.

CUOMO: They are here. They're out in numbers and they're telling me to get out of the way, as all New Yorkers would.

DE BLASIO: That's New York.

CUOMO: Alisyn, to you.

CAMEROTA: OK, thanks so much.

So, Chris, Republicans are delaying their plans to unveil their tax overhaul bill. Why?

Plus, we'll have much more of our breaking coverage in the New York City terror attack.

We'll be back in one moment.


[07:46:35] CAMEROTA: OK, Time for "CNNMoney Now." Republicans delaying the release of their long-awaited tax plan. Why?

Let's bring in chief business correspondent Christine Romans in our Money Center. What's going on here, Christine?


Well, the big reveal has been delayed. The plan was to unveil the tax bill today but GOP leaders, Alisyn, are still hammering out some pretty important details. So late last night, House Ways and Means chair Kevin Brady said they decided to wait.

Now, the administration is not worried about the delay. In fact, a White House aide tells us it will allow more time to resolve the differences.

Two big sticking points here. Changes to retirement savings and eliminating the state and local tax deduction. Both of those moves help pay for tax cuts but GOP members from high-tax states don't want to touch the popular state and local tax deduction. Republicans still working on a compromise.

Speaker Paul Ryan told conservative leaders the GOP may still release significant details today. One new addition, we're told, keeping the top tax rate. Previous

proposals cut the top tax bracket from 39.6 down to 35 percent. That would be a tax cut for the richest earners. That prompted criticism the tax plan helps the wealthy more than the middle-class.

Looks like maybe that higher tax rate on the highest earners will stay in there, though we don't know what income brackets we're talking about here, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Christine, stand by because obviously, as soon as we get any details about that tax plan you will parse it for us.

Meanwhile, President Trump, this morning, blaming Chuck Schumer for how this terror suspect in New York got into the U.S. in the first place.

We'll ask Ohio Republican Congressman Jim Jordan what he knows about this, next.


[07:52:18] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CUOMO: We are at the site of the attack in downtown Manhattan. However, the center of the investigation is in a nearby hospital. That's where the murderer and alleged terrorist is hold up.

And we have new reporting about what police are learning from him and from his home.

Shimon Prokupecz, reporter and producer, has that. What's the new information?


We've learned that the NYPD and the FBI have spent the night at the hospital with the suspect and actually talking to him. And he's been -- we're told he's been somewhat cooperative. He's been providing some information.

These sources I talked to caution that, you know, that would not necessarily describe him as being overly cooperative but he has been providing some information to them and so this is helping investigators as they try to piece together exactly what happened here.

We also have learned that overnight investigators -- the FBI and the NYPD have been able to find -- they found social media -- various social media accounts that are linked to the suspect that contained ISIS-related material. Now, the officials are telling us that the accounts were not necessarily in his name but they have been able to link those accounts to him and they have found ISIS-related material on them.

We're also told that search warrants were conducted overnight. They have talked to his family in New Jersey. His family is safe, we're told, and they also are providing some information.

And some other key aspects here, Chris, as they go through this investigation. The key for them now is to find out when he was radicalized. Was this a spur-of-the-moment attack or was this something that he had planned over a period of time?

I spoke to one official who said that they believe right now that this may have been planned and it wasn't a spur-of-the-moment type of attack because what they're thinking is he had to have known where you could take the pickup truck. Where he could get onto the bike path without those barriers.

There are barriers along the West Side Highway where this attack occurred, but he seemed to know that one stretch, which is a couple of blocks, where there are no barriers, and that's where he mounted onto the bike path.

So there are lots of clues now that investigators are working with and we hope to learn more today. Later this morning there will be a press conference by the NYPD and FBI at 11:00 a.m. -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Shimon. Please bring us any more information from your reporting as soon as you get it from investigators. Thank you very much for all of that breaking news.

[07:55:02] Let's discuss this and so much more with Republican Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio. Good morning, Congressman.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: Good morning, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: So let me start with this attack in New York.

The president just tweeted. He said, "The terrorist came into our country through what is called the diversity visa lottery program, a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based."

How is this Chuck Schumer's fault?

JORDAN: Well, I assume -- well, I know the president's referring to this diversity visa lottery program. Senator Cotton, Sen. Perdue have legislation that would eliminate that.

I support that. I think it's just good common sense, and the president supports that. I think that's something we need to do, obviously today where mostly it's about our heart goes out to them -- the folks who have been impacted by this evil terrorist act.

But that program needs to go and that's what the president's referring to.

I don't know the history -- if Chuck -- if that was a bill that Chuck Schumer sponsored --


JORDAN: -- or supported, or what. CAMEROTA: It was.

JORDAN: What I do know is the president's right. That program needs to go.

CAMEROTA: So, Chuck Schumer, I believe, sponsored it but it was a bipartisan piece of legislation and it was signed into law in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush.

JORDAN: Yes. Well, I mean, that's the facts. What we know is the situation today and I think common sense would tell you it's time to change our immigration program and this program -- this diversity visa program needs to go. That's what the legislation would do.

Again, I think if you talk to the American people they would say yes, that makes just good common sense when since 1990, this terrorist threat has taken on a whole new form, as we all know too well. So let's change it and let's do what we campaigned on.

You know, I say this all the time. Pretty simple what the focus of our job should be.

What did we tell the American people we were going to do when we ran for this job? We told them we were going to build a border security wall, we told them we were going to have stronger vetting for refugees and folks who come into this country.

And this diversity visa program is something that should be changed. That's what Sen. Cotton and Sen. Perdue's legislation does. Let's pass that legislation and do everything we can to address these kind of situation to hopefully, prevent more of them from happening in the future.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Look, it's a fair conversation for us to have, obviously, this morning. It's 15 million people apply for it from around the globe every year, as I understand it. Only 50,000 make it in.

JORDAN: Fifty thousand, yes.

CAMEROTA: And it is supposed to obviously continue America's reputation and history as a melting pot, so it's open to countries where not a lot of immigrants come from and that was the motivation behind it.

But I think my question to you was focusing on Chuck Schumer. Why make a partisan attack this morning?

JORDAN: Well, I mean, I think you'd have to ask the president that. But I think the underlying point is exactly right. This is a program that needs to change, this is a program that needs to be eliminated.

Just -- it was just a few weeks ago when Sen. Cotton and Sen. Perdue were at the White House and they unveiled this legislation to raise that. I think the American people would say this is something that needs to pass. You're right. Today is the day were we say let's figure out what happened yesterday. Let's pray for the families who have been impacted.

But think about solving this problem. This is a good common sense way to do it and I certainly support what the president wants to do and what Sen. Cotton wants to do.

CAMEROTA: OK, so let's talk about what happened earlier this week.

What were your thoughts on Monday as you watched Paul Manafort and his business associate Rick Gates --


CAMEROTA: -- surrender to the FBI?

JORDAN: I mean -- I mean, look, it looks like they've done some things wrong but that's why you have, you know, a trial, and we'll figure it out. They've obviously pled not guilty.

But this -- the indictment goes from 2005 to 2015, prior to any Trump campaign. And there's obviously nothing in the indictment that talks about collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Here's what we do know, Alisyn. We do know that the Obama Justice Department tried to influence the campaign last year with Mr. Comey calling it a matter, not an investigation, with Loretta Lynch meeting with Bill Clinton on the tarmac three days before Sec. Clinton's scheduled to be interviewed by the FBI.

We do know that someone tried to influence the campaign, namely the Obama Justice Department. So, that's a big story.

And we learned last week that if there was any collusion it was Hillary Clinton's campaign paying for the dossier -- paying Fusion GPS to produce this dossier -- the Democratic National Committee paying for that.

So that's what we learned last week. I think that's important news and why it's important that we're now going to investigate those issues moving forward. Congress is going to investigate those --


JORDAN: -- which we should have done a long time ago.

CAMEROTA: Congressman, why do you seem more focused on Hillary Clinton and what happened then on an investigation connected to a sitting president --

JORDAN: I'm focused on --

CAMEROTA: -- a sitting president and an election that was less than a year ago?

JORDAN: Alisyn, I'm focused on the facts.


JORDAN: The fact is the attorney general of the United States told the FBI director of the United States in the summer of 2016 to call the Clinton investigation a matter, not an investigation. Why would he do that?

In the summer of 2016, the FBI -- or, excuse me, the attorney general of the United States meets one day before the Benghazi report is scheduled to come out, three days before the FBI is scheduled to interview Sec. Clinton -- the attorney general meets with Bill Clinton on the tarmac.


JORDAN: And if it was just golf and grandkids that they were talking about why in the days after, in e-mail communications with the public relations people did she use the name Elizabeth Carlisle?


JORDAN: I mean, that -- I'm focused on the fact -- I'm focused on the fact --

CAMEROTA: I understand.