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Driver of Deliver Van in Germany Attacks Crowd; President Trump Deploys National Guard to U.S.-Mexico Border; Reports Indicate President Trump Considering Testifying to Robert Mueller; Bus Full of Canadian Hockey Players Crashes. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired April 7, 2018 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Police say that three people are dead, 20 others injured, and some of them have life- threatening injuries. The driver of the delivery van committed suicide by shooting himself. Authorities are treating this incident as a deliberate attack. Police spokesman telling CNN that they motive and the identity of the driver are unknown.
I want to bring in CNN law enforcement contributor Steve Moore. He is also a retired FBI supervisory special agent. Steve, good to see you. So what do you read into the kind of details we have on this incident?
STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I kind of detected from the tone of your voice that you are also wondering about the suicide. The fact is that a Middle Eastern terrorist, an ISIS terrorist would never intentionally commit suicide because that in Islam is -- sends you to hell basically. It's the same as an unjustified murder. So the fact that the person committed suicide leads me to believe that they are not an orthodox Middle Eastern person.
And the other thing that gets me is that he had a gun. So he could, if it were a terrorist, he would have likely gotten out of the car and continued to kill until he was killed.
WHITFIELD: Interesting, because we talked to editor and chief of the German newspaper who said that earlier that the police do know who they are dealing with, that it was described as I think that he said 29, a 29-year-old German citizen, and that SWAT teams were already outside that person's home and looking for explosives, also trying to get a better handle of the digital footprint. Are there any indicators as of yet that would say that this person did act alone or that any of this fits the hallmarks of someone who is associated with some sort of network?
MOORE: Well, what you do to determine that at least in the short term, obviously in long term you are going to write a biography on the guy, but in the short term what you are look for is imminent danger. And imminent danger, and if you find that the motive might be mental illness, a grudge against somebody specific, then that's going to mitigate strongly against there being accomplices.
WHITFIELD: So what are the steps in your view that authorities are likely taking right now? Earlier it was reported they have been scouring the van looking for explosives, now we are hearing that SWAT is at the residence. What are the steps in general that you think are happening?
MOORE: While the teams are at his residence making entry and making a safe entry, that is why if they are not in, that is why they are not, they are going to now that they have identified him, they are going to be talking to family and friends, anybody who knows him, anybody who has ever known him, and they are going to be trying, it is kind of like triage in a hospital, the first thing that you do is to stop the bleeding, before you even set broken bones or things like that. And so the stop bleeding thing here is when you get to the family and the friends and they say, no, no, he has nothing to do with this or that, or he has had mental problems and he's angry and he's not on his meds or something like that, that changes things on the fly, and it changes your treatment of the case. So that is going to be happening right now, interviews while they are getting into the apartment.
WHITFIELD: And what about the eyewitness accounts, how critical might that be in a case like this plowing into a crowd?
MOORE: Eyewitness accounts are very important, but they don't necessarily move the ball much in this situation. I mean, I have read that several people say there might have been more people leaving that van than just him. But I don't know that I have ever worked a mass casualty event where some people didn't see more assailants than there actually were.
WHITFIELD: All right, Steve Moore, we will leave it there, thank you so much.
WHITFIELD: Thank you.
MOORE: Meantime in the country, the United States, and the first of as many as 4,000 additional U.S. National Guard troops are now at the U.S. southern border in response to the president's calls for the military to mobilize. Today Texas National Guard teams began meeting with federal border agents to assess resources. They say troops will soon be spread out in five sectors along the 1,200 miles long Texas- Mexico border. Two helicopters full of troops deployed from Austin just last night, and at least 250 Texas guardsmen will be heading to the border by Monday.
Arizona is planning to send approximately 150 troops next week. President Trump says the extra troops will stay there until his proposed wall is built.
[14:05:05] For more, let's go now to CNN's Nick Watt on the border in Nogales, Arizona. So what are you seeing there, and what's being said about what is anticipated?
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, here in Arizona, we are seeing nothing yet. Those 150 troops are expected to be here sometime next week. They are already on the border, as you mentioned, in Texas, figuring out where the next wave should go.
Apparently letters were sent out this morning by the Texas National Guard to call up another wave of Guardsmen to go to the border. They will be in a support capacity. They will only be armed if they are needed to be armed for self-defense. They will be involved in things like aerial surveillance. They will be here in Arizona helping, we are told, with some infrastructure construction on the border. They will not be apprehending people coming across the border. They will not be dealing with the detainees.
And the next question of course is, is this even necessary? Now the Department of Homeland Security describes what is happening on the southwest border right now as a crisis. Is it? Opponents will point to the stat that says that in the year 2000 1.6 million people were apprehended at the border. That has since fallen to around 300,000 a year. So there is no crisis. Why is this necessary?
Proponents saw, well, March this year was way higher than February this year, and March this year was way higher than March last year. And they say there are more families, there are more unaccompanied kids, and that is why it's a crisis. That, Fred, is why this is needed.
WHITFIELD: We shall see what happens Monday when many are expected to be mobilized along the borders there. Thank you so much, Nick Watt.
President Trump's call to beef up security comes as a caravan of Central Americans travel through Mexico towards the U.S. border. They say they are asylum seekers fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries. CNN's Layla Santiago has more from Puebla, Mexico.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a caravan at the center of some of Trump's tweets. It is the caravan that started on the southern part of Mexico, and it is heading north. When they started there were about 1,000 or 1,200 people, and now a much smaller crowd. This is about a total of 500 Central Americans making their way north.
President Trump has said that this is a dangerous caravan. So I want to sort of show you that the volunteers here in Puebla have welcomed them, providing meals for many of them. The priests and the Catholic churches have provided shelters and some of the shelters have also taken in some the Central Americans who are heading north.
Again, this is annual event. So every year, it sort of starts out big and then they break off into smaller groups. President Trump has said that the group has disbursed, and while it has gotten smaller, you can see behind me there are still hundreds.
I'm actually going to see if I can speak to this woman. Senora? She is from Guatemala. She says because of the delinquency and the violence she left Guatemala. She is going to stay here in Mexico. She says she is going to Tijuana, and from there -- gracias -- from there she wants to stay there and make money and send that back to Guatemala to help her children that she left behind there.
This is actually not the first time that I have heard a story like this. The people here telling me they are fleeing violence from either Guatemala, El Salvador, or Honduras, they are fleeing the corrupted government, or they are just trying to find a better life because they can't find a job in their own country.
Now, what is the next step for them? These Central Americans say that they will, some of them, again, stay here in Mexico, some of them heading to the U.S./Mexico border. From here they are heading north to Mexico City, and from there the organizers say that many of them will break off into smaller crowds. Again some of them, they say about 200 according to the organizers will be making it to the U.S./Mexico border, and we will have to wait to see exactly how many make it there and if they will be able to seek asylum.
Leyla Santiago, CNN, Puebla, Mexico.
WHITFIELD: Still ahead, a CNN exclusive. President Trump begins informal preparation for a potential interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Is this a sign the president might actually sit down with investigators?
[14:13:31] WHITFIELD: All right, now to a CNN exclusive. President Trump's legal team is preparing him for a potentially questioning by Robert Mueller. A White House official familiar with the situation said this is a sign the president's legal team is intensifying deliberations over whether to allow the special counsel to question Trump. One long-time confidante of the president, however, is sending a warning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: I thought it was a perjury trap that there is every possibility that the special counsel is looking at some process related crime that doesn't relate to Russia. I obviously believe the special counsel has a political bias as demonstrated by the FBI text messages and e-mails that have surfaced and the political nature of this investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN White House correspondent Abby Phillip joins us live now. So what are you hearing about this preparedness taking place?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred. Sources are telling CNN that the president is being told by his advisers some new information about what they think that he can expect if he decides to sit down with Robert Mueller. These preparations, our sources say, are pretty informal and they've been pretty brief as well. But his lawyers are trying to give him a sense of what are the topics that Mueller might want to discuss with him if they agreed to an interview.
The talks between the president's lawyers and Mueller's lawyers are still ongoing however, and no final decision has been made about whether an interview will even happen at all. But this is the first indication that we've gotten that they are seriously preparing for this possibility and starting to prepare the president for what that would look like.
[14:15:07] At the same time there are a lot of really unanswered questions about this, including whether or not President Trump will testify under oath. And Trump himself has wavered publicly and privately about whether or not he is willing to do such a sit down. Listen to some of the comments he has made in the last several weeks about whether he is willing to talk to Mueller at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, would you still like to testify to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, sir?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would like to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of the events?
TRUMP: One-hundred percent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to talk to Mueller?
TRUMP: I am looking forward to it actually.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You would do it under oath?
TRUMP: I would do it under oath.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PHILLIP: And as you mentioned, several of the president's friends and outside advisers, people he listens to on television, are telling him this is a trap. Don't bother going in for an interview with Mueller. And also as the "Washington Post" reported this week, Mueller's team has mentioned to Trump's lawyers that he is not a target of their investigation, but is a subject of the investigation, which is a small distinction but one that means that the president may not be the target of some kind of imminent charge of criminal, of a criminal act. But at the same time even that is being viewed as a trap by some of his friends. They are saying that all of it is an attempt to put the president at ease, get him into a room with Mueller, and then he is set up to potentially perjure himself in the context of an interview, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Abby Phillip at the White House, thanks so much.
Straight ahead, a touching image coming out of tragedy. More than a dozen people are dead after a tour bus carrying a junior hockey team collided with a semitruck. A live report next.
[14:21:21] WHITFIELD: President Trump is now responding after a tragic bus crash killed 14 people in Canada. The bus was carrying members of a junior hockey team last night when it collided with a tractor trailer. Just moments ago the president tweeted "Just spoke to Justin Trudeau to pay my highest respect and condolences to the families of the terrible Humboldt team tragedy. May God be with them all."
CNN's Polo Sandoval joining me right now. So Polo, several people also survived this crash, so what do we know about their conditions?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred, at least 50 people who survived that deadly crash that took place on Friday, we understand that this bus that was transporting that Humboldt Bronco's team over to one of their playoff games collided with a tractor-trailer rig, killing 14 people.
At this point, Fred, we have not heard from authorities as far as who is among the dead, but we do understand that there are many of these promising young athletes that are fighting for their lives.
There is of course some hope that has come out of this, including a very powerful picture that has been circulating on social media the last several hours, has been shared widely here. It shows three of their survivors this photo snapped by a supporter of the Bronco team. It shows that these men, holding each other's hands here, this image shared by even the premier of the western province of Saskatchewan and also on social media under the term "United in Grief." This image clearly a testament to the unity of this team, how they are still together even in tragedy.
They are receiving support and condolences from people all around the world, and of course heads of state including there in Canada where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter to express his support and condolences, tweeting, quote, I cannot imagine what these parents are going through right now, and my heart goes out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy in the Humboldt community and beyond. Fred, we have to remember that hockey is more than just a game here, and it is certainly a game of life -- a way of life, rather, for many people here in Canada. So as a result, this is certainly sending shockwaves throughout the entire hockey community there both in Canada and the United States as well.
This team, a junior hockey, junior league hockey team made up of about 16 to 20-year-olds, Fred, so that certainly makes things much worse here. These are young athletes that had such a promising future, and now investigators there in Canada are tasked with trying to find out exactly what went wrong and what caused this bus to collide with this tractor-trailer rig.
WHITFIELD: Our hearts go out to the them as well. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.
And thanks so much for being with me this afternoon. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Up next, "All Access at the Masters, A CNN Bleacher Report Special," it starts right after this. But first, here is this week's Turning Points.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thing that I love most about what we do is being able to give patients a second chance, and resonates with me as a victim of gun violence.
At the age of 17, I nearly died after a .38 caliber bullet ripped through my throat and ended up in my shoulder. I had a rupture of my windpipe. I had an injury to the carotid artery, and injury of my vocal cord, and so it really changed my life.
I was inspired to go into medicine to become a trauma surgery. We see a significant amount of gunshot wound victims here at John Hopkins here in Baltimore. I understand and I can feel what a lot of these other survivors have gone through.
[14:25:00] The other aspect is that being an advocate when it comes to being commonsense gun legislation and to make our communities safer. The worst day of my life in a very kind of odd way was probably also the best, because it gave me this opportunity where I am out here trying to make a difference in other people's lives.
VINCE CELLINI, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Greetings from Augusta, Georgia, home of the most anticipated Masters in years. This tournament, an American institution, played on one of the most exclusive golf courses in the world. And today you'll get a peek behind the scenes at Augusta National Golf Club, and of the people who make it all so iconic.
CELLINI: The dramatic road to Augusta national golf club. Tiger Woods back in action for the most highly anticipated Masters ever.
TIGER WOODS, GOLFER: Six months ago I didn't know if I would be playing golf, forget playing at the tour level. I didn't know if I would ever play again. Now I know I am on the weekend.