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Trump Calls for Immigration Crackdown after NYC Attack; Prosecutors: Suspect Planned Attack for a Year; NYT: Trump Denies He's Angered by Mueller Charges. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired November 2, 2017 - 06:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Contrast what he did in Vegas. The president said hang on a second. We can't politicize the tragedy. He did the exact opposite today.

[05:59:25] DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We need quick, strong justice. What we have right now is a joke.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what the president was referring to. The penalties in terrorism cases are extreme.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: The president ought to stop tweeting and start leading.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The suspect was planning for this about a year. And he chose Halloween because he wanted a big impact.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: This was the actions of a depraved coward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He did do pre-planning, which means somebody has got to know something.

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: The commitment these people have goes beyond what's easy for us to imagine.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome the our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Thursday, November 2, 6 a.m. here in New York. Alisyn is off. Poppy Harlow here with me now.


CUOMO: You were down there at the scene yesterday.

HARLOW: Right after you.

CUOMO: And this story lives on in bigger fashion, and here's why. In a late-night tweet, President Trump declares that the New York terror suspect should be executed. This comes an hour after the president called America's judicial system a joke and a laughingstock. President Trump clearly using this attack to push his hardline immigration and national security agenda.

But he ignores a fundamental constitutional guarantee: due process of law. And he may have complicated this case. We'll tell you why.

The president's brash response stands in such stark contrast to the refusal to address the bigger issues after Las Vegas, when that gunman opened fire on thousands of concertgoers. And, remember, we still don't know why.

HARLOW: We are also learning stunning new details this morning about the deadly attack here in New York City. Federal prosecutors say the suspect, the attacker, was inspired by ISIS, planned this attack a year ago, conducted a trial run last week. Authorities have also revealed that he planned to continue the killing spree, to drive over the Brooklyn Bridge; was stopped by that heroic 28-year-old police officer who apprehended him.

All of this as the cloud of Russia appears to be consuming the president and the White House. CNN has learned that the president is fixated on the news coverage of the Russia investigation. His aides are trying to reshift his focus to the 12-day Asia trip that is in front of him, beginning tomorrow. The president insisting once again in a new interview he is not under investigation. The facts, though, will fare that out.

We have it all covered for you. Let's begin with our Joe Johns at the White House. Good morning.


The president reacting with outrage to the attacks in New York. Also focusing on punishment and attacking the legal system. But justice quickly turning this into a debate with Democrats over immigration, raising questions about when the president thinks it's appropriate to bring in politics following a national tragedy and when he doesn't.


TRUMP: Diversity lottery, sounds nice. It's not nice.

JOHNS (voice-over): Overnight, President Trump tweeting that the suspect in New York City's terror attack should get death penalty. The president also saying he would consider the suspect, labeled an enemy combatant by the White House, to the controversial prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

TRUMP: Send him to Gitmo. I would certainly consider that, yes.

JOHNS: Mr. Trump continuing to politicize Tuesday's tragedy to advance his immigration policies.

TRUMP: We want to immediately work with Congress on the diversity lottery program, on terminating it, getting rid of it. JOHNS: The president calling for an end to the diversity visa lottery

program, a program that allowed the New York City terror suspect to gain entry to the U.S. in 2010. And demanding that Congress get tougher on vetting for immigrants coming to the U.S., shifting the country away from a family-based system toward a merit-based one.

TRUMP: We have to get much less politically correct. We're so politically correct that we're afraid to do anything.

JOHNS: The president blaming New York's Democratic senator, Chuck Schumer, for implementing the program and endangering the country. Schumer helped craft the bill that was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990.

But in 2013, Schumer was also part of a bipartisan group, known as the Gang of Eight, that pushed to end the diversity program.

SCHUMER: The president ought to stop tweeting and start leading. It's less than a day, then, after it occurred, and he can't refrain from his nasty, divisive habits. He ought to lead.

JOHNS: President Trump also venting his frustration at U.S. courts, insisting they're too slow and too lenient.

TRUMP: We also have to come up with punishment that's far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now. Because what we have right now is a joke, and it's a laughingstock.

JOHNS: Press secretary Sarah Sanders mischaracterizing the president's remarks when asked by reporters.

ACOSTA: He said that the system of justice...

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He said that process. He said the process has people calling us a joke and calling us a laughingstock.

JOHNS: The president's comments and tweets after the New York attack starkly different from his response to the mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 dead and injuring hundreds more. The president then dismissing the idea of discussing gun control as inappropriate.

TRUMP: We're not going to talk about that.

JOHNS: It took 24 hours for the president to reach out to New York's leaders after the attack. But the governor making clear the president's tweets are a distraction.

A. CUOMO: The president's tweets, I think, were not helpful. I don't think they were factual. I think they tended to point fingers and politicize the situation.


JOHNS: Today is expected to be a big day here at the White House as the president unveils his pick for chairman of the Federal Reserve. Also, the White House will be watching Capitol Hill very closely as House Republicans unveil their tax plan.

Chris, back to you.

CUOMO: Joe, appreciate it.

People sleeping on that Fed chair choice a little bit and shouldn't. And maybe the biggest move that the president has made with respect to the economy thus far. We'll discuss it.

However, this morning there are more details coming out in this terror investigation, including possible clues about motive. According to the criminal complaint, this murderer planned more carnage on the Brooklyn Bridge. CNN's Alex Marquardt is live in Lower Manhattan has those details.

It is impressive how quickly investigators compiled the case. But this guy's talking. Obviously, that's a big advantage. What do we know?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's impressive how quickly. It's impressive also, in a very dark way, about how little remorse he is showing. We are learning more about the planning that went into this, how darkly premeditated it was. And the reason we're learning so much is because the attacker has waived his Miranda rights. He is speaking to investigators. We know that this was one year in the making and that Halloween was chosen, specifically chosen because so many people would be out and about.

The attacker has told investigators that he feels good about what he's done.


MARQUARDT (voice-over): The man accused of carrying out a mile-long killing spree on a New York City bike path officially charged on federal terrorism charges, including providing support to ISIS.

JOHN MILLER, NEW YORK DEPUTY POLICE COMMISSIONER: He appears to have followed almost exactly to a "T" the instructions that ISIS has put out.

MARQUARDT: Authorities revealing chilling new details about how 29- year-old Sayfullo Saipov became radicalized while living in the U.S. Prosecutors say he began plotting the attack one year ago.

JOON H. KIM, ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Saipov allegedly admitted that he was inspired to commit the attack by the ISIS videos he watched.

MARQUARDT: The criminal complaint says Saipov was inspired by ISI leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, investigators finding dozens of videos and thousands of images of the terror group on his cell phone, which was recovered at the attack site.

Authorities say Saipov waived his Miranda rights and told them he chose Halloween, because he believed more people would be on the street and wanted to, quote, "inflict maximum damage against civilians."

From his hospital bed, prosecutors say Saipov confessed that he was proud of what he did, even asking them to hang an ISIS flag in his room. Investigators say Saipov rented a similar truck just last week to make a practice run.

CARLOS BATISTA, NEIGHBOR: The first time I saw him was three weeks ago. And I guess he constantly rented the same model truck out.

MARQUARDT: Some neighbors surprised, saying he was polite, nonconfrontational, even a peace maker. But an acquaintance in Ohio described him as a nervous man, even aggressive but still, saw no signs of radicalization. Police outlining how quickly Saipov carried out the attack. He rented a truck at a Home Depot in New Jersey just an hour before. Police license plate readers capturing the truck crossing the George Washington Bridge. And roughly 20 minutes later, police say Saipov jumped a curb onto the bike path, mowing down pedestrians and cyclists for nearly a mile.

Investigators now say Saipov planned to continue down to the Brooklyn Bridge but was stopped unexpectedly when he crashed into this school bus. Officer Ryan Nash, who shot Saipov as he tried to flee the scene, telling reporters that he's no hero.

OFFICER RYAN NASH, SHOT TERROR SUSPECT: Although I feel like we were just doing our job, like thousands of officers do every day, I understand the importance of yesterday's events and the role we played.

MARQUARDT: This as we're learning more about the eight people killed. Among the victims, five men from Argentina celebrating their 30th high school reunion. This video showing the group enjoying a bike ride along the Hudson River just before the attack.

Another tourist also killed, 31-year-old Anne-Laure Decadt, visiting from Belgium. She leaves behind two young sons.

And two American victims: Nicholas Cleves, a 23-year-old New York native, and 32-year-old Darren Drake from nearby New Milford, New Jersey.

JAMES "JIMMY" DRAKE, VICTIM'S FATHER: He had everything going for him. Everything in the world you can imagine.


MARQUARDT: Now investigators are, of course, reaching out to anyone who may have known the attacker who can answer many of these questions. We know that investigators have spoken with the wife. We don't know what she's told them. The FBI was also looking for someone who was possibly an associate of the attacker. They've put out a picture and a poster of him but then very quickly said that they have found that individual, a young man, and they are questioning him.

The U.S. attorneys' office now has 30 days to indict the attacker, at which point he will have to enter a plea. Chris and Poppy, we should note one more thing about the planning. We're told in that complaint that the attacker thought about hanging ISIS flags in the front and back of that truck as he carried out the attack, but he decided not to so as not to draw more attention to himself -- Chris.

CUOMO: Wish he had, Alex, right? Probably would have changed the fates for a lot of people. Thank you for the reporting.

A lot to discuss here. Because we have a new wrinkle in the potential prosecution. CNN counterterrorism analyst Phil Mudd is here. CNN political analyst Errol Louis and CNN political analyst David Gregory is here, as well.

David, there's no question that this man will likely be eligible for the death penalty. I think he checks the first two categories of the '94 Federal Death Penalty Act. It being a homicide and it being terrorist-related. But the president coming out and saying he should get it, doesn't sound to ring true to people politically. But what does it mean here that's of concern?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it means a couple of things. Primarily for a prosecution, it tends to taint the case that the prosecutors would bring and any defense lawyer would stand up and talk about these kinds of comments by a president being prejudicial to the process of a trial. That's why presidents tend to stay out of making comments like this because they don't want to prejudice a case.

This is a president doing like a lot of presidents do after an attack, which is both reflecting the fear and the anger of the country they're governing. But he has a special obligation to also recognize that he is the head of the government and to try to stand up for all the protections that America provides in a criminal justice system.

And to have the president of the United States refer to our criminal justice system as a joke and a laughingstock, I think, says a lot more about him than it does the justice system. Even though it's true there are limits to how effective the justice system can be in fighting terrorism, let's also remember, this guy was read his Miranda rights. He waived them and is providing all kinds of information to FBI agents.

That is part of how it works with investigations. And it's how we have gleaned as much information as we have.

HARLOW: You know, Phil, to David's point, the justice system seems to be working as well as it possibly could, you know, 48 hours after this attack. He's talking. They have this 10-page complaint with so many details from him. And yet the president is indicating, let's listen to the president indicating it's not working. The system isn't working. Here's what he said.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should bump stocks be banned? Should bump stocks be banned?

TRUMP: We'll be looking into that. I'm going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of

this program. Diversary [SIC] -- diversity lottery. Diversity lottery. It sounds nice. It's not nice. It's not good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you want the assailant from New York sent to Gitmo? Mr. President, are you considering that now?

TRUMP: I would certainly consider that now. Send him to Gitmo.


HARLOW: OK. Two things you heard there. His refusal to deal with gun control questions after the Las Vegas shooting and then his jumping into the political immigration debate just hours after this attack.

And then you heard him saying, "I'd consider sending him to Gitmo," saying that the U.S. justice system, it doesn't work. It does work.

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: It doesn't work unless you consider a fact. So let's try a couple of facts. Let's bookend what we see from the justice system in the United States and what we see from Gitmo. And let's assume that Americans, whether you're Republican, a Democrat, an independent, have a couple of characteristics they might look toward.

One, how many people are prosecuted. Two, how fast they're prosecuted. Three, what sentences they get. If you look at prosecutions in the United States from the people I've chased, terrorists in the United States, including bin Laden's inner circle, you have hundreds of prosecutions in the United States. I'm not aware of any prosecution that was ever disrupted by a threat here to answer people who say "We can't do it here, because it's too dangerous."

And if you look at the success rate on those, extremely high. And the charges lead to years and years in prison if not the death penalty. Remember, the prosecutor last night is saying these are life charges and, in some cases, death penalty charges.

Contrast the Guantanamo Bay. It takes forever. It doesn't happen. You're talking about fewer than 20 prosecutions in Guantanamo. And it's expensive as all get out compared to what you get in the federal system. So if I'm looking at the president, I'm saying that's red meat for followers. Can you actually interject a fact in the conversation and tell Americans if you want to be a hard ass on terrorism, send them to federal court.

[06:15:04] CUOMO: Look, Errol, just for point of comparison, if you put the Boston bombers up against KSM, you know, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and what's happened.

Here's this punk from up there in what happened in Boston. Two years, right, and he got his sentence. Now, look at what's going on with KSM. It's still going on. There's your answer right there. So what's going on here? Is this the president playing to the passion of the moment? You know, be harsh. You know, yes, he's got to die. Yes, send him to Gitmo. Forget about the fact that this guy is on American soil. And I don't think we've ever seen anybody caught here on American soil sent to Gitmo.


CUOMO: But those are just -- those are just in the way, in conveniences to his feeding of feeling.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: That's exactly right. This is the demagogue's trick of being the angriest guy in the world, right? So all capitals, exclamation points, tweeting. And sort of blindly disparaging the justice system. Even though they are acting with, you know, sort of ruthless efficiency, frankly, you know, I mean, there are hundreds of prosecutions that we've seen already. In general, you've got, like, a 93 percent conviction rate in any federal prosecution situation. And the rate is even higher when you're talking about these terrorism cases.

CUOMO: You think what he's really talking about is the subtext is that he's upset about the investigation on him?

LOUIS: I'm not so sure that's what it's about.

CUOMO: That's why it's a joke and that's why it's a laughingstock.

LOUIS: No, I'm not so sure about that, because this has been a right- wing talking point for a long, long time, that you know, who cares about these courts? Let's just go out and kill them.

In this case if the police had, in fact, simply, you know, been tough and cruel and just killed this guy on the spot, well, there is a whole lot of information we wouldn't have gotten. I mean, we have a system that actually works. We have a president who's never wanted to acknowledge that what works in that system are the checks and balances and the restraints that everyone, including the president, must submit to.

HARLOW: David.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, there are protections. This is a legal permanent resident. And so there are protections that are afforded to those types of immigration cases, or immigration status in the United States.

If you go back to the first World Trade Center bombing trial, we learned so much about the -- al Qaeda, about how Osama bin Laden was operating at that point. We've had others in the immediate post-9/11 era. The Padilla case, who wanted to explode a dirty bomb, who was put through the criminal justice system. And others, including the -- who would have been, I think, one of the 20th hijacker in 9/11, who actually was in a federal trial, Moussaoui.

So there is information to be gleaned.

And the other piece of it is, what we need to focus on, if -- if you're the leader of the country, is what's effective at this point? How -- how do we learn more about why this happened, who this was, and how it could happen again? And that's what the president is not talking about, because he's angry about how he got to this point and what we're going to do with this particular person instead of trying to bring the country to a large place, trying to bring Washington to a bigger place about what we do now.

HARLOW: And you wonder if it's an impediment to justice to push for Gitmo.

CUOMO: Every federal prosecutor has said that what he said last night...

HARLOW: Well, not only tainting the jury pool but also, you've got 600 convictions -- terrorism convictions in federal courts since 2001. In Gitmo, Phil, you brought this up, you've got -- you've got eight.

CUOMO: A handful.

HARLOW: You've got eight convictions, three of them appealed. I mean, those are just the numbers.

Thank you, gentlemen.

Up next, the cloud of the Russia investigation appears to be consuming the president right now. His own chief of staff says he is distracted by it. But the president says not the case, everything's fine, in a new interview. Our panel weighs in next.


[06:21:41] HARLOW: President Trump trying to downplay reports of a White House in chaos after one of his former campaign aides pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about repeated contacts with Russia.

In a phone call with "The New York Times'" Maggie Haberman, the president said, quote, "I'm not under investigation, as you know. It has nothing to do with us." A lot there that's not factual.

The president also claiming he's not angry at anybody, pushing back against "Washington post" describing him as fuming and our reporting that he was seething over the Mueller indictments this week.

Let's bring back our panel: David Gregory, Phil Mudd, Errol Louis.

Errol Louis, to you: reading this -- I mean, Maggie, first of all, has this way of getting the president to just spill it out, right? And reading that was so counter to all of our reporting. What did you make of it?

LOUIS: Well, I thought it was specifically intended to counter all of this reporting. Because a number of news organizations, including CNN, had noted that he's fuming, he's seething. He's locked away in the East Wing...

HARLOW: Watching cable television. LOUIS: ... watching cable television, screaming, losing his temper. You hear other White House aides saying that the walls are closing in, and on and on and on.

So I think this was his way of trying to project some calm and some confidence, trying to regain the narrative. Not very plausibly, I might add. I mean, this is somebody who has sort of made his brand, the anger, the rage, the ability to sort of project strength and strike back. It's very uncharacteristic for him.

And then, of course, it's laced with inaccuracies, saying that, "Well, of course, this has nothing to do with me." You know, sir, your campaign manager was just hit with a federal indictment mostly based on documents. That man is either going to plead guilty or go to prison, most likely. It does have something to do with him.

CUOMO: Right. Look, Phil, I don't know why. People have tip-toed around this a little bit in the past. How could you make a good case that the president is not under investigation? They're looking at how Comey got dismissed. They have to be. We know it from the document production. If you're looking at how he got dismissed, you are investigating how he got dismissed. Who dismissed him? The president. He must be under investigation.

The idea of being a subject of the investigation, that they think he's the main guy, that's a different consideration. But certainly, he's under investigation, isn't he?

MUDD: And he's got to be ticked off. Let's move fast forward. Let me explain to you why he's ticked off now.

You've got to look at the documents from the past week and the indictments on two types of people. One, a low-rent person on the periphery of the campaign, who gets indicted for lying to a federal officer.

Second, the campaign manager gets indicted for money laundering. High-end person, low-end person. The president obviously knows that.

We know now that Mueller and his team are going in to interview people who were very close to the president, including his communications director, who has been with him forever. They're going in there with the interviewees knowing if they say anything that the feds can prove wrong, Mueller is not going to sit around and wait. He's going to slap a 1001, lying to a federal officer violation on you.

So the president is looking at this saying, "Boy, my people directly connected to me are going to be interviewed imminently. And there's a chance that they say something wrong, it's going to get a step closer to the Oval Office."

HARLOW: To David Gregory. We know Manafort, Gates is back in court today. Means more cameras, more cable news coverage, more newspaper headlines. This as the president leaves for this big, long 12-day trip to Asia. He lands in Japan, and he's going to go golfing with Shinzo Abe. And there is our reporting that he feels like his ability to negotiate with -- with Abe is hampered by this Russia investigation. How do you see it?

[06:25:08] GREGORY: Well, it may be, because there's a cloud over his administration, which is this investigation, much of which he has himself brought on by firing the FBI director who was doing the investigation.

And we have a president who talks very tough in the face of a terror attack but has been mute on the question of an attack on America's election system perpetrated by the Russians. So those inconsistencies are there.

The investigation continues. And we don't have to prejudge where it may go. Where it is right now is concerning enough.

But if you're the president, he ought to be focused on really big- ticket issues. You know, he's got a new Fed chief that he's likely to nominate now. And as Chris was saying, that's a very important step for the future of our economy. The stock market is performing incredibly well. And he's got a major tax reform piece of legislation that's facing some troubles but should occupy his attention.

To say nothing of his Asia trip, which is so important. Because this is such a potentially catastrophic conflict with North Korea.

So there's a lot for him to be focused on. He should be focused on it, and he should and can, I think, do a lot of good on these other areas if he -- if he can compartmentalize just a little bit, which has not been his strength.

CUOMO: But look, Errol, the president's strength to this point has been the first line, harnessing the anger, giving the emotional response that meets with the expectations of his base.

His problem has consistently been the second line, right? So we see that playing out here again. "You should kill this guy. You know, this is what should happen."

But when we look at Las Vegas, and he didn't do that. And the reason is so obvious. One played to political advantage of anger, which is "We're angry at the immigrants," this certain population that supports the president. In Vegas, that didn't play for him, because it brought up a lot of things that his base is not as angry about. And that's why here we are now. We're bookended here this month. Right? Started the month in Las Vegas. Now we end up with this terror attack in New York. We know nothing about what happened there and why he did it. We know everything about this, because the guy is talking. That guy is dead.

But that bump stock thing, "Now is not the time to talk about it." Errol, have respect for the victims. That rule didn't hold here. He didn't even express condolences right out of the box here. He went after the visa program out of the box.

How do you explain it?

LOUIS: That's right. Well, I mean, look, it's -- one fits his political narrative and political aims, and the other doesn't. That's sort of -- at a minimum, that's the first level of analysis.

But the other thing that goes on, I think, is you know, here again a demagogue is often projecting themselves as a strong leader. Donald Trump certainly does that. But in a way, they're also led. So you know, he's reflecting, I think, some of the ambivalence and some of the inconsistencies of his base. The base knows that they don't want immigration. They know that they've got some anti-Muslim sentiment, wherever it goes.

On the other hand, when you have something like what happens in Las Vegas, they're not quite sure what to do. This is homegrown. There's no note. There's no politics behind it. It might actually take them into the realm of having to sort of put some gun controls in place, even minor ones like the bump stock, and they don't know what to do with it.

And so Donald Trump is really going where his base is leading him. A much better approach, of course, would be to actually step forward, be consistent, do something as basic, shows the humanity of talking to the families who lost -- who lost loved ones here in New York.

HARLOW: And David where -- David, where...

GREGORY: It's also interesting that if -- when you talk about the issue of guns versus terrorism, those who support gun rights say, "Don't make these kinds of changes. Don't be rash about this. Because they -- they don't work. These steps won't work, and we can show that."

When it comes to tightening immigration, they ignore arguments about whether it will work or not. They say, we have to tighten controls. Whether it's relevant or not, whether it works or not. They will do anything we can to cut it off.

CUOMO: Strong point. One of them, it's all emotional, right? Lock down the borders. We have no borders. Of course, that's not true. But it feels good. It feels as if you do it, it emotionally seems is like it will be satisfying.

And David's right, I never even thought of it that way. They never make the same type of logical extension when it comes to gun control. Very interesting politics playing out there, gentlemen. Thank you.

HARLOW: Interesting.

CUOMO: Just a moment of pause. You know, I mean, let it sink in. Let people marinate on it. It's early. They're drinking coffee.

HARLOW: A pause after a point.

CUOMO: That Gregory, he's good looking and smart. You've got to give them a moment to do that.

All right. So Houston, your fans, the Astros, going all the way back to J.R. Richard, you finally got World Series champions. Their first ever. A champagne-soaked "Bleacher Report" with the biggest smile you've ever seen in your life on Andy Scholes.