Return to Transcripts main page
Russia Probe Threatens to Overshadow Trump's Asia Tour; Mueller Asking About Kushner's Role in Comey Firing; All-Female Japanese Police Squad to Protect First Lady; Latest Weinstein Allegations Could Lead to Arrest; Security Ramps Up for NYC Marathon After Terror Attack; New Zealand: World Capital of Extreme Sports; Tax Plan Name Doesn't Make the Cut, Cut, Cut. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired November 4, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:00] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, back here at home, the Russia investigation intensifies. Every day this week has brought a stunning revelation, and there could be even more while President Trump is away.
According to multiple sources, next week, congressional investigators will question one of the President's closest confidantes, his long- time bodyguard Keith Schiller. The President is so close to Schiller that he asked him to hand deliver that note when he fired former FBI Director James Comey.
And we're also learning that the Special Counsel is setting his sights on Jared Kushner, the President's son-in-law. Sources say Mueller's team has begun asking witnesses about the role Kushner played in Comey's firing. And the President's son-in-law and adviser recently turned over documents to the probe, and the probe to Mueller.
CNN's Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta is in Tokyo ahead of the President's arrival there.
Jim, this trip is incredibly important. It's also quite long. Is there concern inside the White House that the Russia investigation might not just overshadow it but undermine it as well?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Ana, I think there's just no question that the Russia investigation is going to loom over this trip.
I think one of the interesting things to watch as President Trump is making his way across this side of the world is just how many chances he has to take questions from reporters.
We do believe he's going to hold a news conference tomorrow with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
And by the way, he's going to be speaking to American troops here in Japan in the next couple of hours, and then having dinner with Shinzo Abe.
But the question, I think, over the coming days is just how many times he's in front of us, in front of the press, as he travels from here to Seoul, South Korea, to China, to Vietnam, and then the Philippines. Because every step of the way, obviously, with all these developments back in Washington, the questions are going to be asked about this Russia investigation.
I will tell you, he did do an interview with Sinclair Broadcasting within the last couple of days, and some of those clips are starting to surface. And in some of those clips, he is being asked about the Russia investigation.
He reiterates that there was no collusion. He reiterates that he feels he is not under investigation. But no question about it, that is going to continue to dominate some of the headlines of this trip.
But senior administration officials also tell us, Ana, that we should be focused on how the President deals with North Korea, this threat posed by Kim Jong-un.
The President is going to be dealing with that issue almost every stop of the way on this foreign trip. He'll be talking about it, obviously, with Prime Minister Abe.
But then when he goes to South Korea, he is going to be not very far from the border with North Korea. And so he will be very much almost eye-to-eye, face to face, with this nemesis that he's had, the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, when he lands in Seoul, South Korea.
But getting back to the Russia investigation, I think one of the lingering questions -- and I think we'll have an answer not too long from now, Ana -- is whether or not President Trump sits down, meets face-to-face somehow with the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
When we left Washington to start on this trip, that was a question that had not been revolved. Will President Trump meet with Vladimir Putin, with the specter of the Russian investigation hanging over everything? That will be something to watch, if it indeed happens, Ana.
CABRERA: And, meantime, we know Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, now has turned over some documents to the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.
Is Kushner traveling with the President, and does the President still have confidence in Kushner? Does he have his full support?
ACOSTA: We do expect members of the President's family to be on this trip. That is something you're going to see. They may not be here for the entire trip. And as we saw during his last foreign trip, much could be made of which advisers are accompanying him at any other point of a foreign trip.
But, Ana, I think more than anything else, you know, typically with these presidential trips -- and I was here with President Obama back in 2014. Typically, with these trips, you focus on what the President says, in speeches or in press conferences.
Never before have we had a president where you had to watch what he tweets. And in this very critical part of the world where people are on edge because of the threat posed by North Korea, I think that is going to be the story to watch, in addition to the Russia investigation, is just how the President handles his tone, his language when it comes to dealing with Kim Jong-un and North Korea.
Because obviously, you know, the President can talk about Kim Jong-un being Rocket Man and that sort of thing in a speech to the United Nations. It's a very different sort of thing to do that in the region when you're traveling from country to country, so I think that will be something to watch as well, Ana.
CABRERA: All right. Jim Acosta, you are there for us to cover every step of the way. Thank you.
As Jim noted before leaving for his trip, President Trump sat down for an interview, and a portion has just been released. In it, President Trump dodges a question over whether he will try to remove Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but here's how he answers the question.
[20:04:57] He says, quote, well, I hope Mueller is treating everything fairly. And if he is, I'm going to be very happy because when you talk about innocent, I am truly not involved in any collusion with Russia. Believe me. That's the last thing I can think of to be involved in.
Joining us to talk more about all of this, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Laura Coates; White House correspondent for the "Washington Examiner," Sarah Westwood; and CNN contributor and Donald Trump biographer, Michael D'Antonio.
So, Laura, we're used to hearing the President really on the attack. In that quote, he seemed to be taking a different tone, almost sounds like he's welcoming Mueller's investigation now. What do you make of it?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it almost seems as though he is trying to speak to Mueller through the press and say, look, FYI, don't look over here, nothing to see here, folks. And in his effort to do so, I think he's trying to make sure that he is able to connect in some way and present his case in the court of public opinion.
However, a Mueller's style seems to have been, over the past several months, since at least May when he took over the post as Special Counsel, it's almost be indifferent to what's happening in the mainstream media, and instead to be laser focused on the issues that matter to him and his team.
And as the indictments have shown you in the past week, as the guilty plea has been showing you this past week, and all the delays in which the media finds out about his team, you really see that he probably is ignoring even this plea through court of public opinion.
CABRERA: So that court of public opinion, I'm so glad you brought that up. Let's take a look at this new "Washington Post"/ABC poll, which finds more than half of Americans approve of the way Mueller is handling the investigation and just under half saying it's likely that President Trump himself committed a crime.
More thinks it likely than not likely. So, Sarah, what does this mean for the President?
SARAH WESTWOOD, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Well, clearly that means that the President would put himself in danger if he were to try to go after Mueller's credibility. That's a strategy that the White House tried to employ early in the investigation.
There were suggestions from the President's allies that Mueller's motivations might have been compromised based on the people he was hiring. There has been some rumblings that Republicans might try to go after Mueller for the amount of taxpayer money he's spending on the investigation.
But at the end of the day, Republicans and Democrats seem to agree that Mueller's integrity is unimpeachable, and public opinion bears that out. Poll after poll shows that Americans approve of the way Mueller is handling this, that he is popular, that there is not a broad consensus that he is going on some sort of partisan exercise.
And you can see that in the fact that there are Democrats who have come under the scrutiny of his investigation. Tony Podesta is a great example. He is one of the top Democrats in Washington, and he is reportedly under scrutiny in this probe as well.
So it's clearly not a partisan exercise, and those polls demonstrate that President Trump would put himself in jeopardy if he tried to go after Mueller's credibility.
CABRERA: Michael, sources tell CNN that Mueller has begun asking about Jared Kushner's involvement in Comey's firing. The President was fiercely protective of Michael Flynn, we all recall. Is there any reason to think he wouldn't be just as loyal to his son-in-law?
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR, "THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP": Well, I think he'll be loyal as much as he can be and with whatever means are available to him.
What's remarkable, when you step back from the situation, to note is how much both the President and actually General Flynn, and even if you consider Paul Manafort, have put their in the -- sons-in-law or sons in jeopardy by drawing them so close into their activities. And in a way, that exposes to Mueller's investigation.
The other thing that I think is worth noting, and this picks up a little bit on what Laura said, is that there is communication being made by many parties to all parties.
So the President may send a signal through the press to Mr. Mueller, but I also think, in the indictments and in statements that are made through the press, Mueller is signaling to the administration and to the President's campaign associates much to be concerned about.
In particular, the indictment of Manafort suggests that he is being investigated for the kind of money laundering that has to do with organizing a conspiracy. It's not just about hiding money from the United States government, but it's about obtaining funds illegally to further some untoward project.
And I think that that implicates many people in Trump's circle, and that's being communicated to them through the press and through this indictment.
CABRERA: Just through the indictment. Laura, do you agree?
COATES: Oh, absolutely. And, you know, one of the goals, I'm sure, of Mueller and his team is this kind of anxiety-driven paranoia that's going to happen.
[20:10:00] Now, who was watching me? When did I talk to Papadopoulos? Is -- are there more Papadopouloses out there that I may have communicated with? If finances is an issue, then are my finances now going to be in question?
That level of uncertainty and anxiety is going to breed a lot more cooperation as you go along.
And the important thing to keep in mind here is, if the President were to try to attack Mueller's team or Mueller's integrity and credibility, remember, Mueller only came in in May and that counterespionage investigation was under -- was already under way back when Comey was still in office.
So if you think about it, the President would have to say, I am calling into question the integrity of the entire FBI, not just Mueller and his team. And that's a road I think he may be willing to take this last week but one that would be really, really ill advised.
CABRERA: Well, he did start pointing fingers at the FBI, saying he's disappointed with the Justice Department and FBI earlier this week, too. And that was in relation to some of the --
CABRERA: -- new dribble drabble that was coming out about the DNC, and we're not going to go there right now in this conversation.
But I want to get your legal expertise on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and some of the new scrutiny he is under because we now know he testified under oath, on three occasions, he was not aware of anyone on the campaign meeting with Russians.
But then this week, the court records reveal that he, one, was in a meeting with a campaign adviser who pitched setting up a meeting between Vladimir Putin and Trump and, in fact, says it was Sessions who told him no, who shut that down.
And then, two, we also found out there was another adviser who had told Sessions that he was traveling to Moscow. Listen to what Congressman Jim Himes said about this. Himes is on the Intelligence Committee. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT), HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE: What I would point out, Alisyn, is that sometimes we get so lost in the details of this investigation that we forget that Jeff Sessions is not the only individual in the administration with seeming memory lapses around contacts with Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: At what point does forgetfulness become suspicious or even more?
COATES: Well, we're about 10 miles past that point right now, Ana, because, you know, perjury is a self-inflicted wound. And as the Attorney General of the United States, he is essentially the top lawyer in the entire United States of America.
And he should know better than anyone that people who have selective memory, particularly on topics that are something of a criminal investigation, let alone a congressional investigation as well, really breathe and invites additional scrutiny and additional -- and additional investigation by the FBI and Mueller's team.
And so this pattern of selective amnesia can only lead to additional scrutiny. And at some point, it becomes less coincidental and more criminal in nature.
And I think we are now at that point in time where, if Congress decides to invite him back to testify again or if Mueller's team wants to actually interrogate or interview him -- maybe that's a lesser word to use -- they already know at this point that he has put himself in great legal peril by having this very nuanced, very caveat based answers that, ultimately, keep ringing to be untrue.
CABRERA: And, Sarah, the President has publicly shamed the Attorney General more than once. I mean, lawmakers are now questioning whether he lied under oath. Is Sessions' job at risk?
WESTWOOD: Well, that has been a question for months now. President Trump has openly vented his frustration with the Attorney General for having recused himself from the Russian investigation in the first place.
And recall that that took place back in March because Jeff Sessions wasn't entirely forthcoming about his contacts with the Russian ambassador. So this is not even the first time that Sessions' credibility has come into question.
And the argument that the Trump team has returned to, time and again, is that the underlying meetings that they've been covering up when they've been caught in these false statements are not themselves problematic.
And you -- that bears out in the fact that Mueller didn't indict George Papadopoulos based on the underlying meeting but the fact that George Papadopoulos lied about it to agents. That's what got him into trouble.
And the question has to be asked why Trump campaign members, including Jeff Sessions, continue to cover up these meetings if they were so innocuous at their core because lying about them has certainly gotten the Trump campaign and now Trump administration officials into far more trouble than they ever would have gotten if they would've just disclosed this piece and if they were truly innocuous at their core.
CABRERA: Michael, the President has said he doesn't recall that campaign adviser pitching a meeting with Putin, but listen to what he said just last week about his memory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don't remember much about that meeting. It was a very unimportant meeting. Took place a long time. Don't remember much about it.
I'm a very intelligent person. One of the great memories of all time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So, Michael, is this an example of really just important everything the President says is right now?
D'ANTONIO: Well, every moment, he is reflecting on what will serve him best and then he's going to offer that explanation. And his first inclination is always to praise himself, so when he talks about having one of the great memories of all time, I think he means it.
[20:15:04] And I actually think he does have a very good memory. He certainly never forgets someone who has offended him, and I don't think he has ever forgotten someone who offered him an opportunity. So Papadopoulos was offering him an opportunity. That went in and he considered it.
Now, here we have a case where Jeff Sessions, with whom the President has been quite annoyed over the last few months, may have bailed him out by intervening and saying that's not a good idea, we're not going to have that meeting.
So part of what's going on here is the President is responding moment by moment in a way that he thinks will work.
And he's also got folks around him, who, I think, are confused and somewhat afraid. You know, when Sarah was talking about how these meetings weren't that serious and yet they didn't tell the truth, I think it's because they don't know whether they're secure in their jobs and what the thing is that the President wants them to say and do.
CABRERA: Got to leave it there. Laura Coates, Sarah Westwood, Michael D'Antonio, thank you all.
COATES: Thank you. CABRERA: Coming up, Japan going all out not just to impress the
President but the first lady as well. The sharply dressed, all-female police squad assembled to protect her during the trip. Much more live at CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:20:30] CABRERA: You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera. Thanks for staying with us.
Japan is preparing for President Trump's visit just hours from now, and we know President Trump and the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, are planning to golf together during his stop.
There are also plans for the first lady, including a special protection detail for her. An all-female police squad will protect Melania Trump and other visiting female dignitaries.
White House reporter Kate Bennett is joining us now from Washington.
Kate, tell us more about this squad and its duties.
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It's pretty interesting. They're actually being put together for the 2020 Olympics, but this is sort of a test run for them.
But it's all female. It's sort of in a way sort of helps the dignitaries -- the female dignitaries feel a little less intruded on. They're wearing all these black suits and those sort of -- it's just -- it's an interesting thing.
They practiced in front of the media the other day as we can see here, but the U.S. Secret Service is still the primary line of defense for the VIP protectees like the first lady. So should something happen, this squad wouldn't necessarily be the ones handling the emergency. But they are there to help the dignitaries during the visit.
CABRERA: OK. So what will Melania be doing during this visit, and what kind of reception is she expected to get there in Japan?
BENNETT: You know, I think she's going to be received quite well in Japan and on the rest of the stops as well.
You know, when we saw her abroad in May, she really came out of her shell. She did a lot of -- a lot more talking, a lot more interaction with people on the world stage than she had done here even.
And I think we can expect to see her, again, taking part in spousal programs. She'll spend some time with Mrs. Abe. She'll tour around and do some cultural events. I think we're looking for her to do the same thing when she goes on to South Korea and when she goes on to China.
So this is an opportunity again for her to sort of step out globally, to maybe champion her platform now that she's announced it, of helping children. And we'll see her, I think, do some solo things as well. Again, this is a first lady who is still emerging in her role. We're
hearing more from her. We're seeing her more. So this trip is really going to be telling.
CABRERA: Do people there care about her style? I know, in the past, fashion's been a big deal.
BENNETT: Yes. I mean, this is like -- this is the era of, who are you wearing, right? And this was Michelle Obama's real gift when she was first lady. She always practiced fashion diplomacy, and she'd wear designers from the country she visited.
Melania Trump seems less concerned about those sort of loose guidelines of wearing designers from each country. However, obviously, people care very much what she's wearing.
She was -- you know, she was a hit when she got off the plane in Saudi Arabia. And if you remember the black jumpsuit with that wide gold belt, the $50,000 Dolce & Gabbana jacket she wore to Sicily on that trip, which might have been a miss, or even in the summer when she wore that red Christian Dior suit in France to celebrate Bastille Day.
So she's very conscious of what she wears. She's a former model. She looks great in clothes. I have a feeling my -- a source tells me that she has packed a bag for each stop at each event on this trip as well, so I'm sure we'll see her wearing some fabulous outfits.
CABRERA: All right. Kate Bennett, we will be watching. Thank you.
CABRERA: Coming up, a dramatic new twist in the Harvey Weinstein scandal as New York police now announce they are building a rape against the disgraced movie mogul. Much more straight ahead.
[20:23:55] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: New York police say they are building a strong criminal case against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein after an actress claimed he raped her seven years ago.
Already, more than 60 women have come forward with allegations of harassment and assault against Weinstein, but investigators have seemed to zero in on this account by "Boardwalk Empire" Paz De La Huerta because it falls within New York's statute of limitations for rape.
CNN's Brynn Gingras has more. Brynn?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ana, there are open investigations against Harvey Weinstein in New York, London, and L.A., but now the NYPD says it has a case that could actually put the movie mogul behind bars.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GINGRAS (voice-over): A New York Police Department source says this is the strongest chance of bringing criminal charges against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
ROBERT BOYCE, CHIEF OF DETECTIVES, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT: We have an actual case here.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Thirty-three-year-old actress Paz De La Huerta, best known for her role in "Boardwalk Empire" --
PAZ DE LA HUERTA, ACTRESS: Well, for Annabelle --
GINGRAS (voice-over): -- says Weinstein raped her on two separate occasions in late 2010. Detectives say she's credible because --
BOYCE: The ability to articulate each and every movement of the crime, where she was, where they met, where this happened, and what he did.
GINGRAS (voice-over): De La Huerta tells CNN she first met Weinstein when she was 14, acting in "Cider House Rules," a movie he produced. So 12 years later, when Weinstein offered to give her a ride home from a club, she says she didn't feel uncomfortable. Until they were in her New York City apartment.
She told CNN her story on the phone.
DE LA HUERTA (via telephone): He pulled my slip dress up, and he unzipped his pants and he -- yes, and then he raped me.
GINGRAS (voice-over): De La Huerta says it happened again, nearly two months later.
[20:30:00] DE LA HUERTA (via telephone): The first time, I was in just complete shock, and it just happened so quickly. The second time, I was terrified of him. In a million ways that I knew how to say no, said no.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Weinstein's representative did not respond to CNN's request for comment regarding De La Huerta's allegations. But through a spokeswoman, he has repeatedly denied any allegations of nonconsensual sex.
More than 60 women have accused the movie mogul of sexual harassment or assault. An NYPD source says the department's rape hotline has fielded dozens of calls about Weinstein, but De La Huerta's case stands out because it fits within the statute of limitations.
BOYCE: If this person was still in New York and it was recent, we would go right away and make the arrest. No doubt. But we're talking about a seven-year-old case, and we have to move forward in gathering evidence.
GINGRAS (voice-over): De La Huerta says she has been working with police and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office on gathering evidence, including accounts from her friend and a therapist who she confided in after the alleged attacks.
The DA's office would only say a senior sex crimes prosecutor is assigned to this investigation.
DE LA HUERTA (via telephone): I'd like to see him go to jail. I mean, I think he's a rapist. He's gotten away with it for too many years. It would be nice to imagine that justice exists.
GINGRAS: Earlier this week, I reported the NYPD says it has one other open case against Harvey Weinstein. Ana.
CABRERA: Brynn Gingras, thank you.
Coming up, police stepping up security for the New York City marathon after one man's mile-long killing spree on a bike path. The precautions they're taking, plus the clearer picture we're getting of the deadly rampage and the attacker. Stay with us.
[20:35:39] CABRERA: The New York City marathon is going ahead as planned tomorrow. Security has been ramped up in the wake of the worst terror attack to hit the city since 9/11.
Governor Andrew Cuomo says there will be two to three times as many officers on the streets of New York for this race as ISIS has just recently claimed the suspect as a soldier of the caliphate.
We are learning much more about the 29-year-old Uzbek national who authorities say drove a pickup on a mile-long killing spree. CNN's Brian Todd examines how the lone wolf terror suspect might have become radicalized.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Before he slaughtered eight people and got out of his rented truck yelling, Allahu Akbar, Sayfullo Saipov was not on any terror watch list, officials say, and not the direct subject of any New York police or FBI investigations.
But they say Saipov was likely connected to individuals who were the subjects of investigations, and they offer another clue.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: He was associated with ISIS, and he was radicalized domestically.
TODD: Officials say Saipov has lived in Ohio, Florida, and Paterson, New Jersey. They aren't yet saying how or when Saipov was radicalized in the U.S.
What's your best take on how he was radicalized?
DR. LORENZO VIDINO, DIRECTOR OF THE PROGRAM ON EXTREMISM, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: In many cases, it's a combination of online and offline radicalization. People start hanging out with like-minded individuals, people who embrace ISIS ideology, and then they go online to reinforce their nascent jihadist views.
In many cases, people radicalize because they some personal issues, whether it could be, you know, family problems or, you know, job problems.
TODD: Expert Lorenzo Vidino says the process of becoming radicalized means spending a lot of time online.
VIDINO: Now, it's apps like Telegram, like others that are very easy to download onto your phone. They are mostly encrypted, and you can get all sorts of information.
You can interact with other people. You can reinforce your ideological commitment to ISIS. You can get operational instructions.
TODD: And officials believe Saipov had close familiarity with operational instructions.
JOHN MILLER, DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF INTELLIGENCE & COUNTERTERRORISM, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT: He appears to have followed, almost exactly to a T, the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels before with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack.
TODD: One of the most popular instruction manuals Saipov might have read online, this one in the ISIS magazine, "Rumiyah."
It discusses how to use rental trucks to attack crowds and inflict maximum casualties. Quote, vehicles are like knives, it says.
And it urges attackers to announce their allegiance to the terror group. Quote, an example of such would be simply writing on dozens of sheets of paper, the Islamic State will remain. Very similar to a note officials say Saipov left in his vehicle.
MILLER: The gist of the note was that the Islamic State would endure forever.
TODD: For ISIS, experts say, lone wolves offer an easier way to strike at soft targets, without the extensive planning and skill used in attacks like Paris.
NADA BAKOS, FORMER ANALYST, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: It doesn't have multiple pieces. You don't -- you're not dealing with multiple cells or multiple people that you have to coordinate with. You just have to make sure that your target is one that is penetrable.
TODD: A key question now, how can authorities stop people from becoming radicalized?
Terrorism experts say that's incredibly difficult. It requires police and intelligence services to get into communities to establish networks of families and neighborhood leaders to watch for signs of young people becoming radicalized and get to them before they are.
But most law enforcement agencies, experts say, simply don't have the resources to move that far into communities.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
CABRERA: Thanks, Brian.
Let's get straight to Joshua Geltzer. He is the former senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council.
Joshua, thanks for spending time with us. The New York City marathon tomorrow morning, tens of thousands of runners, millions of spectators, are expected.
The NYPD says it has more than doubled its rooftop observation posts. They'll have plain clothed officers among the crowd. They have K9s, helicopters, traffic control agents throughout the city.
How are you feeling about security for tomorrow's big race?
[20:39:56] JOSHUA GELTZER, FORMER SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR COUNTERTERRORISM, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Our law enforcement is very good. They work very hard at events like this. They work very hard every day, day in and day out, around the clock. And generally, they pick up individuals in extraordinary ways before they get to the point of violence.
What we saw this week was, in some ways, the toughest case. Somebody who, at least, seems to have radicalized largely on their own, probably by consuming some of those materials we just heard about.
GELTZER: And stopping those is really, really hard. But in general, our law enforcement does a great job, and I'd be confident, generally, in their ability to stop these sorts of things.
CABRERA: I mean, one of the big revelations in the investigation, we learned later this week. We learned investigators found 90 ISIS videos, nearly 4,000 images of ISIS related propaganda, including an image of the ISIS leader al-Baghdadi on the suspect's phone.
How important is that for investigators to determine exactly who and what might be his influences that led to this attack?
GELTZER: It's quite important. I'm interested in seeing what those videos, what those images are, and in particular, where he got them from.
GELTZER: Social media companies have found this to be a tough challenge, to try to get this content off of their platforms.
I'm interested if he got them from the open internet, a social media or a file upload site, or did he get it from more of a closed chat room, the type that's seen on Telegram, for example? And if so, what led him to get into that closed chat room in the first place?
CABRERA: I want to get your reaction to something President Trump tweeted after the terror attack in lower Manhattan.
He wrote this: I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already extreme vetting program. Being politically correct is fine but not for this.
Republicans balked at politicizing the tragic Las Vegas mass shooting. Why do you think this tragedy is different for Trump, and does his rhetoric help or hurt?
GELTZER: I think it hurts, unfortunately. For him, he seemed to see this as an opportunity to go back to this idea of extreme vetting.
But as the week has seemed to confirm, vetting wasn't really the problem here. This is somebody who radicalized once in the United States and once here lawfully. That's a hard problem, but it's a different type of problem.
And the rhetoric that divides us, and it goes back to issues that can lead to divisive conversations on religious ethnic lines, that's the type of thing that terrorists like ISIS want to provoke with this sort of attack.
CABRERA: President Trump also made a bold assertion in the wake of Tuesday's terror attack in New York -- Monday's attack, I should say.
He said the U.S. military was hitting ISIS 10 times harder after the attack, but Pentagon records don't support the President's claims. Does this concern you, as a former senior director of counterterrorism at the NSA?
GELTZER: I'm all for hitting ISIS pretty hard, but I'm also all for appropriate transparency about what we're doing. And so it is hard to square those comments with, as you say, the information that gets provided about the coalition activity in Iraq and Syria against ISIS.
And so it's hard to know what to make of those comments. It's also usually not so easy to turn around and hit targets when you have someone like this who seems to have been inspired from afar.
So I'm all for hitting ISIS hard, but I'm also all for doing what's appropriate in the wake of an attack like this, to continue to carry out a very methodical campaign to get that group out of the safe haven they've developed in Iraq and Syria.
CABRERA: And we see them leaving Iraq and Syria. Meantime, we hear that ISIS was struck by the first air strikes in Somalia against this terror group. What does that tell about the evolution of this terror organization?
GELTZER: ISIS has gone global. They have official affiliates around the world. They have unofficial networks around the world. And it's a problem that the government recognized long ago.
The government has been working to address this. We spent a lot of time, when I was still in government, on ISIS in Libya, which had become perhaps the most worrisome manifestation of the ISIS problem outside of Iraq and Syria.
But it's cropping up in Somalia and elsewhere. And where appropriate, the military can be an important part of the response to it. It's rarely going to be the only tool in the tool kit, but if used appropriately, it can be part of dealing with a group that somehow has found it's a way into safe havens and pockets around the globe.
CABRERA: Joshua Geltzer, thank you for your expertise.
GELTZER: Thank you.
CABRERA: And for sharing with us.
Coming up, defying gravity in the adventure capital of the world! Bill Weir previews a brand new episode of "THE WONDER LIST: NEW ZEALAND" next.
[20:44:22] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: So how about a little adventure on the edge of the world? Tonight's brand new episode of "THE WONDER LIST," Bill Weir gets a healthy dose of adrenaline as he tries to understand New Zealand's obsession with extreme sports. Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are constantly looking for new ways to thumb their noses at gravity. Sometimes, this involves a mountain. Sometimes, it's a bridge.
TORI BEATTIE, FORMER PROFESSIONAL SKIER, NEW ZEALAND: Adrenaline is a heck of a drug.
WEIR: It is.
BEATTIE: That's why people come to New Zealand to do things like this.
WEIR: This is Tori. She is a Tasmanian daredevil.
When did you start throwing yourself off things?
BEATTIE: I started about 15 years ago, skiing off things as fast as I possibly could. Riding my bike off things, driving my car. It's an affliction, for sure.
WEIR: And why here? What was the magnetic pull to this place?
BEATTIE: It's physically stunning, but it's -- there's a freedom here. You can get away with pushing the limits, and pursuing your boundaries as a human. Seeing what's possible, what's not, and having fun doing it. We're not -- we've got freedom to do what we want here.
WEIR: Exhibit A, the Kawarau Bridge.
This is the birthplace of the bungee jump?
BEATTIE: This is the birthplace of the bungee jump in New Zealand. So it's moved to other locations, but this is its iconic, spiritual home.
[20:50:04] WEIR: It's the equivalent of jumping off a 14-story building. So what better place to lose one's bungeenity?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So stand up and then --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you walk here, it's like penguins.
WEIR: Like penguins?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are your names?
WEIR: I'm Bill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill and what --
BEATTIE: I'm Tori.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cool. Oh, awesome.
WEIR: Oh, my God.
WEIR: OK. This just hit me about -- what I'm about to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. We will go in three, two, one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I'll do the screaming for you.
WEIR: Like we were hanging -- literal foot hanger.
CABRERA: Yes. So, Bill, how was the view on the way down here?
WEIR: It was amazing. It was really cool, very cool. It's not as high now that the sport has exploded around the world. These two little guys, you know, who were ski bums down there has
said, hey, I got an idea. I see these guys in Vanuatu tie a vine around their ankle and jump. They said let's try it with rubber bands and the bridge. And since then, they've sold 3 million --
WEIR: -- bungee jumps.
CABRERA: What makes New Zealand the place to be for thrill seekers?
WEIR: You know what it is? I think that's what was fascinating. First of all, I went down there because so many Americans want to move there. After the election, it became this booming place.
But it's this strange combination, you know. While Australia was hailed as a prison colony, these were really hardy, adventurous sort of like their, you know, Down Under version of our pioneers going west.
And so to live down there, you have to be crafty, and you have to have some ingenuity. And you have a lot of hutzpah, you know, and you got to love the outdoors.
And so the -- you know, Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Everest is a New -- was a Kiwi.
WEIR: They punch above their weight. It's a country that's like half the population of England with twice or 10 times the land. So, you know, more -- way more sheep than people
CABRERA: But how refreshing!
WEIR: And it's so refreshing. And I saw hitchhikers. I haven't seen hitchhikers in America since I was a kid, right?
CABRERA: Right. You're going to let your friend tell you at school day.
WEIR: And so it's still a very safe insular society.
CABRERA: Yes. You also explore a very controversial method being used to protect New Zealand's wildlife while you were there.
CABRERA: Tell us about that.
WEIR: This is crazy, and this was the other big story. So this is last big land mass to be discovered by humans. And when humans, the Maori, showed up, it was all birds. There are no mammals native to New Zealand. But as man brought our
rats and our cats and our weasels and our possums, it devastated the bird life.
So a quarter of the native birds are gone, extinct. Four thousand are, you know, endangered or threatened. The bay's little Kiwi, the symbol of the country, is threatened.
So they want have to literally poison every rat, mouse, feral cat, possum, and this whole -- like tens of millions of predators by the year 2050 --
WEIR: -- and make it just birds. They want to basically put nature back the way man found it. And in -- and by doing this -- in order to do this, they dropped millions of tons of poison bait all over this beautiful landscape --
CABRERA: How are they going to --
WEIR: -- to kill the little critters.
CABRERA: It almost seems contradictory to --
WEIR: It does! For a native of --
CABRERA: -- to be --
CABRERA: -- you know, infusing poison into the landscape.
WEIR: And it's everybody in the country. It's politically hugely popular. The protesters are considered fringe, which I found so fascinating.
So, anyway, tonight is the probably the funniest episode of the season and a really interesting story about how we change things and the sort of the laws of unintended consequences. You know what I mean, like --
CABRERA: Yes, absolutely.
CABRERA: Lessons to be learned tonight. Thank you, Bill Weir. It's the brand new episode of "THE WONDER LIST" coming up next right here on CNN. We'll be right back.
[20:57:44] CABRERA: It was repetitive but definitely catchy. President Trump wanted to call the proposed GOP tax bill the "Cut-Cut- Cut Act." But as Jeanne Moos reports, critics got a bit snippy.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Trump, the master brander, dreamed up a name for the tax bill that cut to the chase.
JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": The Cut-Cut-Cut Act.
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": The Cut- Cut-Cut Act.
MOOS: Cut it out with the laughter. This was a serious name proposed by the President to convey --
TRUMP: A giant tax cut. A tremendous tax cut. A massive tax cut.
MOOS: But somehow Cut-Cut-Cut didn't sound serious.
COLBERT: That name truly sucks, sucks, sucks.
FALLON: I guess that beats the name for his immigration bill, the Bye-Bye-Bye Act.
MOOS: Instead of the knives coming out, the scissors did. GIFs ranging from the "Big Lebowski" to "Edward Scissorhands" were posted.
The Cut-Cut-Cut Act activated memories. And you thought 9-9-9 was bad.
HERMAN CAIN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have put my 9-9-9 Plan on the table.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: Your 9-9-9 Plan?
CAIN: My 9-9-9 Plan is a bold solution.
MOOS: A little too bold. Pizza chain CEO Herman Cain and his tax plan never made it through the Republican primaries.
CAIN: 9-9-9 will pass and it's not the price of a pizza.
MOOS: In the end, President Trump didn't get the name he originally wanted. It was cut, cut, cut down to size. Only one cut survived.
REP. KEVIN BRADY (R-TX), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS: The Tax Cut and Jobs Act.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The Tax Cut and Jobs Act.
MOOS: Republicans wanted to emphasize that their plan did more than just cut, cut, cut. Simplifying the code means many taxpayers could file in a form on the size of a large post card, which the President kissed. But he also had to kiss goodbye his preferred name and leave it for kids.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cut the carrots. Cut, cut, cut.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That hurt!
MOOS: New York!
CABRERA: Jeanne Moos tells the story like no one else. That does it for me. I'm Ana Cabrera. Thank you for joining me. I'll see you back here at 5:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow.
[21:00:00] Have a great night. Stick around for "THE WONDER LIST."