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EARLY START

Suspicious Package Detonated In New Jersey; Search For NY Bomber; ISIS Claims Minnesota Mall Stabbings; President Addresses U.N. General Assembly Tuesday; Clinton: "Wiser To Wait" For Information Before Making Conclusions; Airstrike Threatens Fragile Ceasefire In Syria; Federal Reserve Meeting This Week. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired September 19, 2016 - 05:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[05:29:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: There are similarities between the bombs used in the explosions this weekend in New York and also New Jersey. And new details into the stabbing spree at a Minnesota mall. ISIS now claims responsibility for that attack.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everyone, I'm John Berman.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 30 minutes past the hour. Breaking overnight, new terror fears. Up to five devices, apparently pipe bombs, found in a trash can right next to train tracks in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The bomb squad is on the scene there, detonating one device already. This, of course, in the wake of an explosion Saturday night right here in New York City.

Many developments in this story overnight. Breaking them all down for us this morning is CNN's Rachel Crane. She is in Elizabeth. Good morning, Rachel. What are the latest developments?

RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine. Well, the FBI, the local authorities, the bomb squad here on site responding to that backpack that the mayor says housed up to five devices (audio gap) that made it. That's when the bomb squad was using a robot. It clipped one of those wires.

I actually heard that boom as I happened to be on the phone with the mayor at the time. He tells us that there was no timer or cell phone connected to these devices. He also said that those devices are still on scene, that the FBI is encasing them, and that they will ultimately go to Quantico where the FBI will continue this investigation.

Now, the FBI is referring to these devices as IEDs -- improvised explosive devices -- and they have said that they have rendered the area secure. Now, the mayor also pointed out that this trash can where the backpack was found very close to a pub, and he says that there is surveillance footage and that the authorities are reviewing it now -- Christine.

ROMANS: The ultimate case, if you see something, say something. Those two men found it in the trash can. All right, Rachel Crane, thank you so much for that.

BERMAN: All right, also breaking overnight, police and the FBI -- they conducted a traffic stop of what they're calling a vehicle of interest in the Manhattan bombing. They questioned folks in a car.Apparently this car -- it was in Brooklyn. It was taken into custody right there, the people questioned. We are not clear right now as to the status of the people being questioned in that vehicle so that could be an interesting development.

This all comes as new surveillance video appears to show that one person was in two key locations Saturday night. He's first seen on video with the rolling duffle bag near the scene of the blast on 23rd Street before that bomb went off. Then, again, a few blocks away where the second undetonated bomb was found.

ROMANS: And, of course, there was another attack this weekend. ISIS now claiming responsibility for a multiple stabbing attack at a Minnesota mall. Now, the attacker knifed nine people before an off- duty police officer shot him dead. Officials say three of those people remain hospitalized, one in life-threatening condition.

Right now the FBI is calling Saturday's attack a potential act of terrorism. Authorities have not yet identified the attacker but the Minneapolis "StarTribune" spoke with the man's family. The father of the attacker told the newspaper he is a 22-year-old college student born in Kenya. He is Somali. He grew up in the U.S. CNN has not confirmed that information. The FBI says it is still trying to determine whether the attacker had any direct contact with ISIS.

CNN contributor Michael Weiss joins us now to help break down all of these latest developments. He is a senior editor at "The Daily Beast" and co-author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror".

Well, let's talk about New York and New Jersey right now. This is a manhunt underway. They're trying to find out who did this, are they related. What is your initial gut read on what's happening here in New York and New Jersey?

MICHAEL WEISS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it would be one hell of a coincidence if they weren't related. I mean, two devices within a few blocks from each other in Manhattan and then this IED or series of IEDs that were planted not that far way in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Look, if this is some act of international terror or Jihadist in nature -- look at the calendar. You've got the U.N. General Assembly happening this week. This would be the time to wage these sort of discombobulating opportunistic attacks very close in the tri-state area, particularly in New York City which, I mean, is still --

The old line used to be, after 9/11, pick up any Jihadi in the world and he's got a map of Manhattan in his pocket. Today, actually, it's now he's got a map of Paris in his pocket because that seems to be the new hub for -- especially ISIS-related attacks.

BERMAN: Governor Andrew Cuomo, on Sunday, said there's no known tie to international terror. But that, in and of itself, means something very specific, right? They've seen no signs that this attack Saturday night and these other bombs that were planted were directly ordered. They picked up no intelligence they were ordered by anyone overseas but that doesn't necessarily mean not inspired by.

WEISS: Yes. I mean, the definition of what is related to international terror is evolving and changing all the time. In San Bernardino, these guys didn't have a direct line to ISIS HQ, but that's not the point. ISIS has said very explicitly -- and this is a two-year strategy for them. Actually, it goes back even farther than that but for the sake of argument let's say it's the last two years since the founding of the caliphate.

[05:35:00] Inspire, radicalize, remotely ideologize people everywhere around the world. Some of them don't even have to be Muslim. A lot of people go off to join ISIS just because they're psychopaths. They're gangsters and petty criminals and they're drawn to the ultraviolence of ISIS and what it --

ROMANS: From loser to lion.

WEISS: Loser to lion, exactly. So, for them, this is a kind of human wave campaign, if you like. So until we know who did this and the guy is captured or killed and then we kind of have a deep dive into his background, you won't necessarily know he is an ISIS Jihadi.

ROMANS: Yes. You know, the Minnesota case is so interesting. We're learning more about who the attacker is. He was wearing a private security uniform. A college student, 22 years old, according to his family who told the local newspaper there. ISIS claiming responsibility, but he is Somali. Al-Shabaab is the terror group. There's been a big concern among the Somali diaspora. What do you make of all that?

WEISS: Yes, well, as I said in the last segment, I had gotten a bit of information from the defector from ISIS who, himself, has informants inside what's known as the Amn al-Kharji, which is their foreign intelligence branch or their CIA, if you like. These are the guys who plan these attacks abroad. And he said within the next three months they're planning something in Minnesota and he specifically said it was going to be a member of the Somali diaspora community.

Now, dressing up as a security guard -- I mean, it's a knife attack so it's pretty rudimentary but there's some forethought into this, right? This wasn't some random guy who had a moment of insanity and went around stabbing people, it was premeditated. He knew he had to get past security cordons. He wanted to dress up and look like a member of the security detail of the mall. It suggests to me that this was probably Jihadi in nature.

BERMAN: All right, Michael Weiss, thanks so much --

WEISS: Sure.

BERMAN: -- for being with us. Appreciate your time this morning.

WEISS: Yes.

BERMAN: All right, this terror in the headlines -- obviously, it will play into the presidential race today. Both candidates on the stump. We'll give you the very latest -- that's next.

ROMANS: A trip to the emergency room can be stressful and costly but one facility is looking to save some senior citizens time and money be equipping them with iPads. "CNNMONEY"s Vanessa Yurkevich takes us behind the technology.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEROY STRUBBERG, PATIENT: OK, it's ready for blood pressure.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT, "CNNMONEY": Leroy Strubberg lives 60 miles from any major city in Missouri. He's 80 years old and he's recovering from three small strokes.

STRUBBERG: This is when I get to pedal back over there.

YURKEVICH: Heart disease, like Leroy's, costs the U.S. $358 billion per year, the cost for care that's only increasing. To keep costs down but still provide efficient care for people like Leroy, hospitals are going virtual.

STRUBBERG: Hi, Megan.

MEGAN: Hello, Leroy.

STRUBBERG: Boy, you look lovely today.

YURKEVICH: Leroy is one of 250 starter patients in Mercy Virtual Care program. It's part of Mercy Hospital and the goal is to keep people from continually using the emergency room. Leroy talks to nurses twice a week through his iPad and back at Mercy they analyze vital signs that can raise red flags and report it back to the patient's doctor.

DR. J. GAVIN HELTON, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, MERCY VIRTUAL AMBULATORY MEDICINE: Can I see your elbow again that you had issues with?

The sickest five percent of patients are typically responsible for about half of the health care spent. They're spending half of your health care dollar while their quality of life deteriorates and so we need an answer for those patients.

YURKEVICH: And under new federal guidelines hospitals are now partly responsibility for keeping costs down and continual emergency room visits could mean a penalty. Mercy estimates that they've reduced emergency room visits for their patients by one-third.

STRUBBERG: That has been a big reward to me and the satisfaction that I've got somebody to talk to and to help keep checking me -- am I OK.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:43:35] ROMANS: Overnight, President Obama suggested sexism could be hurting Hillary Clinton's bid for the White House. Speaking at a Democratic fundraiser the president also went after Donald Trump, calling him unqualified to be president and calling his campaign a reality show.

There was also some harsh debate over whether Donald Trump has really put the birther issue to rest. Joining us this morning, with just one week before the first presidential debate, to discuss all of this and how the terror attacks might affect the race and the rest of the campaign, "CNN POLITICS" reporter Eugene Scott. And Eugene, this morning -- nice to see you again this morning.

EUGENE SCOTT, REPORTER, "CNN POLITICS": You, too.

ROMANS: The front page of every newspaper -- terror, city on edge -- every American paper is talking about these three episodes in New York and New Jersey and what happened in Minnesota. How does that color the race going forward here?

SCOTT: Obviously, we need a lot more information before we can determine what exactly happened, but I think one thing voters will be paying a lot of attention to is how both candidates respond. We have a piece on cnnpolitics.com that look at both how candidates have responded in the past to terrorist attacks or attacks that we thought were terrorist attacks before we actually knew. And I think voters are really interested in seeing if the more aggressive forward approach is what they want or if cautious and just waiting to find out more information is best.

BERMAN: Trump get hit over the weekend for saying within a half an hour of the bombing Saturday night he said it was a bombing. And there were critics who said oh no, that's much too fast, that's much too fast. Hillary Clinton waited two hours before she responded to it. I'm not sure how much that really matters to voters but Democrats are trying to paint Trump as someone who is too quick. You know, goes in too fast in these situations.

[05:45:00] SCOTT: In the past he has, what some would say, jumped the gun and has actually been right. And so whether or not that works against him depends on who you are talking to. Some people like stepping out first and getting out there first more than they do getting out there correctly.

ROMANS: Right. Someone in an official capacity -- I mean, the reason why they wait is because you wait for law enforcement. You wait for the briefings. You let the governor or the mayor be the one who is the spokesperson, not the person on the stump. So that maybe just shows his outsider status more than anything else.

Let's talk a little bit about what the president said last night about sexism. I found this fascinating.

BERMAN: It really was.

ROMANS: It really was. He was at a New York fundraiser at a restaurant. There was not very many people there, I don't think, but a small group and they didn't have a camera but this is -- this is what he said about the race right now. Can you put it up on the screen for me so we can read it? There we go.

"There's a reason why we haven't had a woman president; that we as a society still grapple with what it means to see powerful women. And it still troubles us in a lot of ways, unfairly, and that expresses itself in all sorts of way." That's kind of a remarkable statement.

SCOTT: Very much so. If anyone knows that cracking glass ceilings doesn't move a society completely forward in terms of their views of discrimination, it's President Barack Obama. And I think a lot of people have thought that electing him would make us post-racial. And I think a bit of it was a warning to Hillary Clinton, in the event that she wins, that these issues related to gender will still be a part of her presidency in ways that men before her haven't had to deal with.

BERMAN: I saw it in the context of other things that happened the last three days with the Clinton campaign and with the White House, also. The president trying to help shore up the African-American vote, saying that he'll be personally insulted if black voters don't turn out for Hillary Clinton.

Also trying to perhaps reinforce the support among women for Hillary Clinton. And also support among millennials, which has been soft. I mean, she is leading among millennials but not by enough. And, of course, that's what Hillary Clinton's going to focus on today. It seems to me that the Clinton campaign writ large, which includes the president, is really trying to focus on that.

SCOTT: Very much so. SoI was at the Congressional Black Caucus Gala where he spoke to this issue about it being a personal attack if his core constituencies do not get on board with Hillary Clinton. And I think, to your point, he was trying to communicate that any doubt in her ability to be president may be related to gender in ways that if she were a man that would not be the case.

Michelle Obama was speaking to millennials on Friday and I covered that, as well. She made it very clear --

BERMAN: Beyond very clear. She was like if you're reaching the 34, I'm talking to you.

SCOTT: And you know, the reason why that so mattered -- and I know, Christine, you love this piece -- she talked a lot about the economic downturn and how the economy was when the Obamas came into the White House in a way that many of these millennials don't remember.

ROMANS: Yes.

SCOTT: That's eight years ago. And so she wants to make it very clear that I know you think these third-party options are better options than the two we have but they aren't better options than Hillary Clinton.

ROMANS: I want to talk quickly about the birther -- birtherism and the birther debate and the rewriting history from Trump surrogates who are trying to sort of say he was never obsessed with this and there was just a very -- a very conflict-filled moment between Chris Christie and Jake this weekend. Let's listen to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: It's just not true that he kept it up for five years.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Sure, he did.

CHRISTIE: It's simply not true.

TAPPER: It is true, though.

CHRISTIE: It wasn't like he was talking -- no, Jake, it wasn't like -- it wasn't like he was talking about it on a regular basis until then. And when the issue was raised he made very clear the other day what his position is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: I think the look on Jake's face pretty much sums up how many of us who covered this have felt because now you've got not only Kellyanne Conway but others over the weekend saying no, no, no, he's not bringing this us. He hasn't been bringing this up. Donald Trump launched his candidacy on the back of rumors and lies about the President's birthplace and now they're trying to rewrite it and say he's the one who put it to bed.

"The Washington Post" giving that statement by Chris Christie, by the way -- four Pinocchios in a sort of a -- saying that he lied. Is this over now? Is birtherism over?

SCOTT: I don't think it's over because also on Friday the Congressional Black Caucus has come out and said yes, you apologized -- I'm sorry, you did not apologize and that was the problem.

ROMANS: Right.

SCOTT: Yes, you walked away from saying that he was not born in the U.S. but an apology is what is needed, and moving forward on others issues that you have said -- statements that you have made that have been concerning regarding race and gender and just otherizing people groups. So the way he handled it, I think, is not enough for some people that he is not winning yet. Whether or not he's actually going to move forward with this, that remains to be seen.

ROMANS: It will come back at the debates. Do you think it will come back in the debates?

BERMAN: Yes.

SCOTT: Yes, I think they're going to ask why -- why the shift?

BERMAN: I would think. I would hope. All right, Eugene Scott, great to have you with us. Thanks so much.

ROMANS: Nice to see you this Monday morning. I love it that you're here.

All right, let's take a look at what's coming up on "NEW DAY" this morning. Chris Cuomo joins us now. Hey, Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Why the shift? Because he's getting killed with blacks and because college-educated whites are sensitive to these types of issues and what a leader says and what a leader means. And as long as his surrogates are out there still bashing Hillary Clinton as this mythical creator of the birther sentiment it's not going to go way. Great coverage this morning, guys, on that, and of course on the big story this morning.

[05:50:00] Breaking news on this investigation that is expanding in New York and New Jersey. More devices found. You've had three go off. Two went off on their own. We now have another device that was detonated by authorities when they were trying to remove it.

What are the connections? There are reports of a car filled with people that was taken in to be questioned by authorities. We're not saying they're in custody. Why? Because they weren't arrested and that matters in investigations. You want to get your language right. You don't want to get ahead of the information. We have all of the latest on it and we'll also show how it is playing in this election.

But the real focus is going to be on who did this, what do we know, what do we know about the types of devices, and what is suggests, John and Christine, as you know, from when we were up in Boston. These days you do not have to be that sophisticated.

ROMANS: Right.

CUOMO: You do not have to be directed to be effective and the investigators are taking that into consideration, as well. We'll take you through it this morning.

BERMAN: And let me be clear, there's a lot of new developments and there are a lot of moving parts so there could be developments that happened between 6:00 and 9:00. Reason, in and of itself, you ought to stay with CNN because this stuff is happening fast. Thanks, Chris.

ROMANS: Thanks, Chris. All right, Wall Street seems unphased by the string of attacks this weekend. Investors focused on a major event that starts tomorrow. I'll tell you what it is when we get an EARLY START on your money, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[05:55:40] BERMAN: Russia says the mistaken killing of Syrian soldiers in a U.S.-led coalition airstrike has put Syria's fragile ceasefire in jeopardy. Secretary of State John Kerry, though, is blaming Russia for not doing enough to enforce the ceasefire. Secretary Kerry tells CNN Elise Labott he wants Russian leaders to make sure that President Assad lets humanitarian aid through to Syria's hardest hit areas. That isn't happening -- not even close.

CNN's senior international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen is live in Damascus, in Syria, with the latest on the ground. Fred, good morning.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, John. And, you know, it's one of those things that we've seen time and again throughout this Syria conflict where the people on the ground in a lot of these cities, especially Aleppo, really in dire need of aid and, of course, also the calm that that ceasefire, at least for a large portion of time, has brought. But at the same time you have large international politics and, of course, Syrian politics getting in the way of allowing that calm to last.

We were in Aleppo until yesterday and we really saw the breaches of that ceasefire continuously expand, especially in the night from Friday into Saturday. There was a lot of artillery shelling that was going on. There was also what we believe to have been an airstrike going on, as well, and that's something that's continued.

Now, of course, the fact that there was that coalition airstrike on those Syrian forces was really something that also hurt the ceasefire, as well. The Russians came out and said that that really makes it difficult to sustain the ceasefire. But generally, also, both sides have seen breaches going on.

At the same time, humanitarian aid not getting to where it's supposed to go, still waiting for assurances from the Syrian government that it will be able to get through. Meanwhile, people on the ground continue to suffer, John.

BERMAN: Indeed, they do, and all sides not living up to the promises to those people who are suffering. Frederik Pleitgen, thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right, it is Monday morning. Let's get an EARLY START on your money. Transit delays and crowded roads could be ahead for workers coming into Manhattan this morning following investigations in New York and New Jersey. Unclear how that could affect the stock market when it opens in a little more than three and one-half hours. It seems investors, though, are starting the week with optimism at this point. Dow futures solidly higher. Stock markets in Europe and Asia are up. Oil, up as well.

The big story moving your money this week, the Federal Reserve and its decision on interest rates. The group's meeting starts tomorrow and right now investors put just a 12 percent chance of a rate hike this week. You could see there what the going guesses are for November and December. It's 19 percent for the next meeting, just six days before the November election. The money is on December -- a 45 percent chance of an increase after that meeting.

BERMAN: Yes, they don't usually like to do it during election season.

ROMANS: But they have before. I mean, the most important thing is the economy and what the economy needs.

BERMAN: Sure, sure.

ROMANS: And the Fed has been operating without any help from Congress, quite frankly -- fiscal policy for so long. You know, I -- they don't like to move around in an election but I wouldn't be surprised if they did.

BERMAN: All right, we have so much breaking news overnight. Five suspicious devices found in New Jersey. Perhaps a vehicle stopped, people taken into custody and questioned in relation to the New York attack Saturday night. "NEW DAY" picks up right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CUOMO: Good morning, welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Monday, September 19th. Welcome to our viewers in the U.S. and around the world. We do have breaking news. A bomb explodes overnight near a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey. We have video -- watch.

(Video playing, bomb exploding)

Police say that was one of five devices found inside a backpack hidden in a trash can.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Also new this morning, the FBI questioning several people who were picked up near the Verrazano Bridge in New York in connection to Saturday's bombing in New York City that injured 29 people. This series of mysterious attacks over the weekend, of course, raising fears of terrorism or is there a serial bomber on the loose?

We have every angle of this breaking story covered for you so let's begin with CNN's Jean Casarez. She's live in Elizabeth, New Jersey. What do you know, Jean?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, the FBI continues to process this scene. This is an active investigation. It all started last night at 9:30 when two men found a backpack in a trash can that was near a pub and close to train tracks. They thought there might be some valuables in it so they took it out, took it under the train tracks and opened it up and they saw a pipe and they saw some wires.

They realized it was a very serious situation so they went to local authorities. Local authorities called in the bomb squad and also the FBI's bomb squad and that is when a robot came in to try to disarm -- and I think you're watching it right now.