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Serial Bomber Blows Himself Up As SWAT Closes In; CNN: Trump Furious Over Leak About Putin Call; Stormy Daniels Tweets: "I'm Not Going Anywhere;" Judge Rejects Trump's Bid To Dismiss Defamation Case; Ex-Playboy Model Sues To Talk About Alleged Trump Affair. Aired 11- 11:30a ET
Aired March 21, 2018 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, there. I'm Brianna Keilar in for Kate Bolduan. This morning, Austin, Texas awakens from a nightmare. The city's serial bomber is dead. Police say early this morning the suspect now identified as Mark Anthony Conditt detonated a bomb in side of a car as a SWAT team closed in to arrest him.
Since March 2nd, five separate explosions have gone off across the Austin area. Two have been killed and four others injured as the attacks grew more sophisticated. Police warn the threat may not actually be completely over.
Ed Lavandera is in Round Rock, this is where the manhunt came to an end and Nick Watt is in the bomber's neighborhood with some new details.
Ed, I want to begin with you. How did authorities track him down?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, there were a couple of things that led investigators to begin the pursuit of Mark Conditt. One of the big breaks that came was remember over the course of the last few days, we talked about these packages discovered and one of them that exploded in a distribution center in just north of San Antonio and one near the Austin airport.
We learned that those two packages were sent from a drop-off location in South Austin. We have surveillance camera images from those pictures and you can see the suspect walking in there, carrying two pictures and a bit of a surreal scene. Wearing a hat, what appears to be a blonde wig and gloves.
This was clearly a tipoff to investigators who had been combing through that surveillance video that was one of the things that allowed them to begin backtracking and pursuing them and following him through the various intersections and streets and that sort of thing.
We also understand that they used cell phone triangulation to pinpoint his whereabouts in the parking lot of a hotel off of Interstate 35. That's what was able to bring them closer to the suspect late last night as the team was standing near him, watching him and basically on surveillance.
They were waiting for a tactical unit to show up, Brianna, so that they could move in and arrest him. But before that unit could show up, he started leaving that scene and started driving away. Eventually driving into a ditch just over the interstate here.
You see -- behind me a SWAT team unit approached the car and that's when authorities say the suspect blew himself up inside of that car. So, it has been a surreal fast paced 12 hours or so here in Austin as this investigation has come to a head.
KEILAR: And Nick Watt, what are you learning about the suspect, Mark Anthony Conditt, as you're there in the bomber's neighborhood?
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, we're in his neighborhood. This is a small little town just north of Austin. We know he was 24 years old and this is where he lived. I can ask our camera guy to push in and give a view.
So, that is his house, just a few minutes ago we saw a heavy armored SWAT vehicle pull into that street and we've heard somebody over a bull horn saying come out with your hands up, come out with your hands up and repeating that.
Now, Conditt also grew up in this neighborhood. We just visited at his parent's house, which is just a few blocks away. While we were there, we saw ATF and FBI going into that house. We also spoke to their direct neighbor, a man called Jeff Reeb, who has been their neighbor for 17 years since he said the family moved in next door.
He said that Conditt was one of four kids and he had three sisters and he described him as a quiet kid but a very normal kid. He said his grandkids used to play with Conditt when he was young, and he was totally shocked.
He said, listen, as always in these situations, as it always seems to be, I'm totally, totally shocked. He said the family were great neighbors and he said that he thinks that the last time he saw the suspect was just a couple of weeks ago.
He said he used to see his red Ford Ranger pickup truck parked outside the parent's house for a couple of hours when he used to come to visit. He didn't have much interaction with the suspect over the past few years, listen, I'm a 75-year-old man and he was a 24-year-old kid. We exchanged pleasantries but didn't have deep conversations, but, you know, he said, listen, he was a quiet nice kid -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Nick Watt, surprising to the folks in his neighborhood and Ed Lavandera, thank you so much to both of you. I want to talk more about this extraordinary manhunt. We have Juliette Kayyem, a CNN national security analyst with us to discuss this. She's a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security.
Juliette, police say when they finally located this suspect, they wanted a peaceful resolution, obviously. Take us to those final moments. How does law enforcement approach a suspect in a situation like this?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, they would have given him all the time in the world to make the decision to come out peacefully. It's clear that Conditt did not want to do that, that how this ended for him in his mind was going to be his own death.
Whether it was through explosives that he detonated that killed himself or through some interaction with police. There's not a lot they can do but their sentiment to end this peacefully would have been for a variety of reasons.
One is you do want the defendant to survive. He's going to have information and you want information from him. We also don't know if other packages are out in the sort of postal atmosphere. The primary concern is protecting Texans at this stage and making sure there's not any other undetonated bombs.
And the third is obviously the copycat fear, which is I think a big concern right now, not just in Texas but elsewhere. Conditt, we don't know much about him, how did he learn how to do this, how was he somewhat sophisticated about it.
What you want to do is sort of ensure that there's no copy cats and one way of doing that is, you know, having the -- having -- showing the perp walk and he would have been you know, put before a court, that's not going to happen now.
KEILAR: They don't really have a motive here, Juliette, other than that he wanted to create chaos and mayhem. Presumably they are going to have more time here to see if it goes beyond that.
KAYYEM: That's right. I'm going to be very careful here because we don't want to presume a motive. But obviously of significance is whether the crimes were motivated as a hate crime and in other words, were the targets either -- we know some of them are African-American or people who had opinions that Conditt did not like.
That is a primary significance, not because you wants to know what motivates him because you have an impacted victimized population, in particular African-Americans, a population in Austin, who were and are living in fear.
I was at South by Southwest just in the middle of this, maybe after the third bombing. You could feel the tension in the city and south by southwest is a party, right? And you want people in Austin generally but also the African-American community to both feel safe and be safe.
And so, I think the motivation, we can guess at it now, but it's of primary importance to make sure that minority populations are populations that people focus hate crimes on are protected.
KEILAR: Juliette, really appreciate it. As the White House right now grappling with an issue, the president and his chief of staff are said to be furious over the latest leak from administration insiders. It began with this off the cuff comment yesterday in the oval office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I had a call with President Putin and congratulated him on the victory, his electoral victory. The call had to do also with the fact that we will probably get together in the not too distant future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: According to "The Washington Post," though, the president's national security advisers warned him not to congratulate Putin even including a briefing material, with a note in all capital letters, do not congratulate.
Frequent Trump critic Senator John McCain was quick to explain why. He said an American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections and by doing so with Vladimir Putin, President Trump insulted every Russian citizen who has denied the right to vote in a free and fair election.
CNN's Kaitlan Collins is at the White House for us.
Kaitlan, I know that you've been talking to some sources this morning. What are they saying to you?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, they are saying, Brianna, the president is not very happy this morning especially with whoever leaked that information about those briefing documents that he was given that told him not to congratulate Vladimir Putin on his election victory.
I'm told by sources the president has been asking his allies, outside advisers who they think leaked this information. As I'm told by one source, this reinforces the president's long held belief that there are people in this administration, specifically in the national security realm that are actively working to undermine him.
He thinks that this leak just goes one step further to prove that and he has been fuming about this over the last 24 hours since it leaked, Brianna. Because as you pointed out, the president made that comment in the oval office to reporters admitting that he did congratulate Vladimir Putin.
And just hours later this information that he was given those cards leaked and the president is not happy about it, but it's not just at the top, Brianna. The president's staffers and aides are also angry about this, including the chief of staff, John Kelly, who we're told is going to address it in the west wing with officials today.
The fact that something so sensitive was linked to the media. But also, staffers in the White House are saying that they believe this is unacceptable and ridiculous and can't believe that it leaked. So, to be clear here, they are not upset about the fact that the president congratulated Putin on his election victory.
[11:10:08] They are upset that the nature of those documents that was given to the president before he was briefed did leak. But, Brianna, I should also note one more thing. The president often makes calls like this to foreign leaders early in the morning.
When he does that, he usually makes them from the residence when there aren't a lot of staffers around. Only staffers he summons to them, including sometimes the national security adviser himself, H.R. McMaster.
And we're told that sources inside the White House believed that the president sees this as an attempt to embarrass him or embarrass McMaster and things are not too pleasant inside the west wing at this moment.
But we should know that the president's schedule is completely clear. They've canceled all of the events because of the snow here in Washington. A lot of time for him to stew over this, Brianna, in the west wing and figure out who exactly leaked this information.
KEILAR: All right, Kaitlan Collins, a beautiful scene at the White House there. Thank you. Joining me now is one of the reporters who broke the story, "Washington Post" White House reporter and CNN political analyst, Josh Dawsey, and also with us is CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza.
So, Josh, Kaitlan is reporting is that the president is really ticked off by your story and infuriated by the leak, but it seems he may have missed the significance of ignoring guidance on what should be obvious, that you don't congratulate someone for his win in an election with questionable results, especially as Putin's role in meddling in the U.S. presidential election is so front and center.
JOSH DAWSEY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, well, I'm not sure about the leaks -- what I like to talk about, you know, as our reporting and what it indicated is that, you know, the president by his national security team was given an extensive briefing, do not congratulate Vladimir Putin in all caps, he was also told to condemn an attack in London with a nerve agent of a Russian ex-spy that is widely believed to be sanctioned and possibly done by the Russian government.
And the president was given written briefings before this call and he did not follow them. He talked about Syria, North Korea for our sources did not mention these two topics. So that's what happened yesterday. He was given this information and also given an oral briefing and in the call with Vladimir Putin, did the call his way and did not follow what his national security advisers had put in writing.
Obviously, that's the president's choice to do. He can say whatever he wants in any call. It's his right. He's president of the United States, but he did not follow what many of the professionals in the White House wanted them to do.
KEILAR: Chris, you wrote this morning that this feels like a purposeful leak at the highest levels designed to publicly embarrass the president. Why?
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Well, publicly embarrass/communicate with them. Why? Because Brianna, he doesn't listen, to Josh's point, he doesn't pay attention. He doesn't read or consume the information that experts are providing him.
People he has brought in to advise him on these matters. Now it would seem to your point somewhat obvious, why you shouldn't congratulate Vladimir Putin on and election that doesn't pass the democracy standard, but he doesn't listen.
So, I think it speaks to the level of dysfunction in this White House that the way that you communicate with this president often times is through the media, through cable television because they know they being his advisers know he pays attention to stuff like that and whether it makes him angry or not, it is likely to at least register.
KEILAR: So, you have, Chris, then someone trying to communicate with him and register with him where I guess they couldn't say, excuse me, Mr. President, you really don't want to handle it this way or don't feel comfortable doing that.
But then on the other hand, isn't there a value in Americans knowing that the president wasn't supposed to congratulate Putin and the people around him are alarmed that he did, Chris?
CILLIZZA: Aabsolutely. I'm not anti-any of that. I think the more transparency we have in government broadly speaking the better. And I do think there's an element within particularly the national security apparatus and we've seen this before, remember, this is not the first phone call with a foreign leader that is leaked.
Way back about six days into the Trump presidency that contentious phone call he had with Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian prime minister, made it into the news as well. I think there is an element within the national security apparatus that believes the reason to do this is to show that this guy is not either listening, is ignoring good best practices on these things. And yes, I think that's absolutely a motive.
KEILAR: Josh, some of your sources say that Trump -- he may not have read this note. It's a written briefing note that includes this in all caps do not congratulate, and the point that a lot of sources have made is that he frequently doesn't read his guidance or even the presidential daily briefing in part or in whole.
DAWSEY: The president likes to consumer information verbally. He likes to ask questions and have briefings given to him orally and likes to be spoken to and talk to folks to get his information. We have reported this and so have others.
[11:15:11] It has led to his intelligence team giving the briefings in a nontraditional way where much of a briefing is done orally. The president is someone who is not an avid reader, doesn't say he doesn't read at all, gets newspapers every morning and he looks at them and he will read things throughout the day, but he does not read voraciously.
He likes to consumer information orally. So, what several of our sources noted to us last night was that this was provided to him in a written matter and may not have come up in the verbal briefing that he was given by H.R. McMaster and national security apparatus and that could potentially be.
We obviously don't why, but that could potentially be maybe why he did not follow the directions, maybe he did not read them.
KEILAR: Josh Dawsey, great reporting, thank you so much.
Chris Cillizza, thank you to you as well.
And coming up, a porn star, a Playmate, and a former "Apprentice" contestant all posing new legal problems for the president and that includes a polygraph test that suggests Stormy Daniels was telling the truth about having sex with the president.
Plus, where is Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder and CEO is out of sight as his company takes a beating over a massive data scandal, even skipping a major company meeting on this issue. Stay with us.
KEILAR: New legal troubles for President Trump involving a porn star, a Playboy model, and a former reality show contestant. Three women are now fighting to tell their stories of alleged affairs and sexual harassment.
The porn star, Stormy Daniels, released results of a polygraph test as proof that she's telling the truth about sex with Trump. The former "Playboy" model, Karen McDougall, now suing a publishing company that bought her story and her silence, and the former "Apprentice" star, Summer Zervos winning in court. A judge rejecting President Trump's motion to have the case against him dismissed.
We are covering the latest twists and turns with CNN national politics reporter, MJ Lee and CNN national correspondent, Athena Jones, as well. MJ, first to you, what do we know about this polygraph test that's taken by Stormy Daniels?
MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, Brianna, this is pretty incredible, even by 2018 standards. We now have a copy of the polygraph test that Stormy Daniels took back in 2011. This was a part of her interview with "Life and Style" magazine.
She was talking about her alleged affair with Donald Trump in 2006 and as a part of this interview they made her take this test to try to determine if she was telling the truth. She was asked two questions, one of the questions was, did you have vaginal interest course with Donald Trump?
And the second question was, did you have unprotected sex with Donald Trump? Now, she answered yes to both of those questions and the person who administered the polygraph test said at the time that there was no reason to question that she was telling the truth.
In other words, he determined that she was telling the truth when she said that she had unprotected vaginal intercourse with Donald Trump. Now just to add to the drama, there is video apparently of her, Stormy Daniels taking this polygraph test.
Michael Avenatti, her lawyer, saying that he actually paid $25,000 to be in possession of this video because he wants to make sure that the video is preserved and not tampered with as this lawsuit continues.
And I should add too as you know on Sunday, the "60 Minutes" interview with Stormy Daniels is supposed to air. So, who knows what more news could come out of that interview as well.
KEILAR: And Athena, Summer Zervos, who is the former "Apprentice" contestant says that Trump kissed her aggressively and touched her breast on two occasions in 2007. What's new in her case?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brianna. Well, the new headline here is that her defamation suit against the president is being allowed to go forward. Summer Zervos came forward with allegations against then-Candidate Trump in October of 2016. He immediately began to deny those allegations and did so repeatedly.
Almost daily at some point on Twitter and campaign rallies and debates and so Summer Zervos says that he's accusing her and other women of lying when they talk about this sexual misconduct they are accusing him of.
She says she's been defamed and hurt emotionally and financially. Her case is going to be allowed to go forward. His legal team has ten days to respond to this ruling. And I should not that his legal team tried to argue that this case should be dismissed or postponed on several grounds, one of them being that he has immunity, but the judge in this case said, look, no one is above the law.
It has been settled and the president has no immunity and subject to laws for purely private acts. This of course would be in that category. And this is significant, Brianna, because it's likely the president will be deposed in this case and called to testify.
And I should mention that Zervos's legal team last year subpoenaed Trump's campaign for a lot of information, all documents relating to Summer Zervos and communications with and about Summer Zervos and all documents concerning any women who asserted that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately. So, that is potentially a lot of women that it could stir up more information about.
KEILAR: M.J., the third woman who is the focus right now is Karen McDougall, former "Playboy" model. She said that she had a 10-month consensual affair with Trump in 2006. Tell us what's going on here.
LEE: That's right. She says she had a ten-month affair with Donald Trump and now decided to sue American Media Inc., the company that owns the "National Inquirer" and basically what she is saying that she told her story to the publication and was paid $150,000 at the time.
And then the publication never ran the story, even though she would like that story out there. And in addition to that, she is also saying that the company has since threatened her with financial ruin. So, this lawsuit is essentially so that she can speak out which obviously is similar to what Stormy Daniels is trying to do, although the parties involved are very different.
[11:25:06] And it just raises the question as Athena was saying, could this mean that there are other women who have any kinds of agreements related to Donald Trump and the stories they want to tell about Donald trump who might be coming forward in the coming days and weeks.
KEILAR: MJ Lee and Athena Jones, thank you so much to both of you for your reporting. I should make a programming note. CNN's Anderson Cooper will sit down for an exclusive interview with Karen McDougal tomorrow night at 8:00 Eastern.
Joining me now is former U.S. Attorney Michael Moore to help us dig through a lot of these cases here. So, you have three women, different situations for all of them. Which case do you think is the most potentially damaging for the president?
MICHAEL MOORE, PARTNER, POPE MCGLAMRY LAW FIRM: I think there are probably two, the Summer Zervos case may be the worst because it more quickly subjects the president to a possibility of a deposition. And I think that's what no lawyer would want his client to do in the case if he were representing Donald Trump.
The other is the Stormy Daniels case because we've got an aggressive move by her lawyer, they are moving forward with the case and continuing to get bits of the story out there even while the case is in limbo litigation, there are decisions made and filings made.
Information is getting out in the public arena in that case but for real jeopardy the Summer Zervos case. Honestly, I feel like after this kind of segment I need to go home and take a shower. I can't believe we're talking about unprotected vaginal sex with the president of the United States. We should be talking about other things. It's amazing he's got us in this position.
KEILAR: It is not fun to talk about, I will say. It's important to talk about.
KEILAR: There are so many salacious details. We're hearing from the Stormy Daniels camp about this polygraph. Talk to us about that. Polygraphs -- she took it and it showed that she was if you take it at its word, that she was honest about what had happened, but polygraphs are generally inadmissible in court and can be unreliable.
It's also important to note it's not if there's no utility in them. For instance, for folks who get security clearances, many of them do take polygraphs, so clearly there are accepted utility in them. What does Stormy Daniels have to gain by releasing the results of this test and also the photo we've been showing.
MOORE: First the photo, she's telling us she did, and she was there without being under duress, as far as the results of the examination, polygraphs are typically not admissible in court. They are useful, they can be useful tools and there are actually provisions where you could have a polygraph come into court and sometimes they have to agree ahead of time and the science on polygraphs is a little bit up and down.
They are useful analytical tool, let me say that. A lot of times in major investigations you'll have the law enforcement ask the person to take a polygraph to give an indication on whether or not there is evidence of truthfulness or evidence that maybe there's something else there to hide.
What's interesting in this case to me and I throw this in at you and do appreciate you covering, the cover-up is what is so astounding to me. This president, you may remember many months ago he challenged whether or not he ought to be in court.
He was so busy in the transition and trying to get into office that his lawyers argue he doesn't have time for court proceedings and now injected himself in the middle of this case especially in the Stormy Daniels case.
KEILAR: Well, Michael, in the Summer Zervos case, I mean, this is a state level case.
MOORE: That's right.
KEILAR: Which when you said he said he shouldn't be in court. I mean, this is significant, this isn't just a federal case, this is a state level case. Does that open the door to other things?
MOORE: Well, I mean, I think you can talk about Bill Clinton and where he was during -- I think it was Paula Jones and whether or not he could be deposed and how the cases laid out in which jurisdiction. That's why I say there's jeopardy there for the president.
The other part to me that to me is important here, this is a case where you see that the president has tried to use money to keep these women quiet. If we tie it back and think about, that's why we keep talking about Russia and security clearances and those things.
I believe at the end of the day you're going to see that Russia has a monetary hold on this president. And I think Bob Mueller knows that. It all is in play and all full circle and may be evidence of how people empower with positions of money and holding people to the fire like he's trying to do with these nondisclosure agreements trying to keep these people quiet. You can kind of see how it plays in on a larger scale too.
KEILAR: We do not know I should say where the special counsel is on potential financial ties, that's certainly something that you think is a threat worth pulling, but I have to put out there we do not.
MOORE: I've been saying he needs to follow the money all along. My guess he has the tax and business records and that's why we're seeing the type of investigation and interviews and ultimately the pleas that we're seeing in the case. And at the end of the day, behind every stone we -- every time we flip over a rock, there's something Russian underneath. So that's got me thinking of where this thing heads at the end of the day.
KEILAR: All right. We'll see. Michael Moore, thank you so much.
MOORE: Great to be with you.
KEILAR: Great to be with you as well. Coming up, outraged investors are now suing Facebook as the company takes a beating over a massive data scandal. So where is the founder? Where is the CEO Mark Zuckerberg?