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Manchester Police Give Update on Terror Investigation; Trump Lands in Brussels ahead of NATO Meeting; Flynn Denies House Intel Request for Russia Docs; President Expected to Hire Atty Amid Russia Probe. Aired 10-10:30a ET
Aired May 24, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:03 ] CHIEF CONSTABLE IAN HOPKINS, GREATER MANCHESTER POLICE:. After this we will be in a position to formally name the victims in line with guidance from the coroner. I would also like to confirm that we have spoken to all of the families of those that lay injured in our hospitals and of course, we are doing all we can to support all of them, too.
You will be aware that the level of activity in this investigation is intense and is continuing at a fast pace. We have made three further arrests in connection with attacks overnight and this afternoon went to an address in Manchester City Centre using a controlled explosion. Officers are currently at the scene searching that address, but in order to execute that entry, we did have to close a main line railway line for a short period, but this now has reopened as we continue those searches. So, that brings the total number of people in custody currently to four.
People across Greater Manchester would have seen a significant increase in the number of armed officers on mobile patrol and on static points across the city. We have been supported by forces from across the northwest and beyond and this forms part of our well-tried and tested plans for any major terrorist attack.
Obviously, with the announcement from the prime minister last night of the increase in the threat level to critical, you will be aware that the military are supporting policing across the country under the code name Operation Temperer. This is about the military being used to guard iconic sites and other sites outside of London and across parts of the north. This frees up armed police officers to then give the police service capacity to deploy them to places like Manchester as part of our plans for keeping the country safe.
What I would confirm is that there are no military personnel patrolling the streets of Greater Manchester nor are there any plans for that to happen at this time. The armed police that is now available throughout the rest of the country is being used to supplement my armed officers here in Manchester and in particular, is enabling us to work to make sure that the planned Manchester games and the 10k run go ahead this weekend.
We obviously had significant plans in place with event organizers in Manchester City Council around those annual events. We are now, obviously, reviewing those plans with organizers and with the City Council in light of this week's attack to make sure that we can allow them to go ahead in a safe an environment as possible.
So I'm happy to take a couple of questions at this point.
QUESTION: Have you found the bomb factory?
HOPKINS: As I've said, we are carrying out extensive searches of premises across Manchester, but it would be ill-advised of me to comment on the investigation to that detail.
QUESTION: Somebody else put that bomb together. Are you searching for that person? Is this a search now for a bomb maker?
HOPKINS: I think it is very clear that this is a network that we are investigating and as I've said it continues at a pace as this extensive investigation is going on and activity taking us across Greater Manchester as we speak.
So, thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: That was Chief Constable of Manchester City Ian Howard there giving us an update on the investigation. He did confirm that four people are now in custody. He did confirm there was a raid in the Manchester City Centre. He also said that all of the victims, all of the people killed, their families have been reached at this point and he didn't say that one of the dead, which is something we did not know, was a police officer.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.
BERMAN: His identity, at this point still not revealed.
HARLOW: Also interesting, that last question that was asked are you searching for the bomb maker. He didn't say yes, he didn't say no, but he said "this is a network that we are investigating."
BERMAN: Fascinating. All right, joining us now, CNN terror analyst Paul Cruickshank, CNN's Muhammad Lila is outside the hospital where we just learned the identity of another young victim. But we're going to begin with Atika Shubert because again, Atika, we just had confirmation of what you've been looking at for the last hour or so, this raid in Manchester City Centre.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And that search is still ongoing inside. We understand they're focused on one flat in particular. What eyewitnesses have told us is at about 20 or so police came in quite heavily armed with masks and they had special cell phone jamming equipment with them, as well. That's often used to sort of prevent any phones that could be used to detonate explosives, for example. They heard a small bang after police went inside the building. That may have been in order to access the apartment. Now, what or who they may be searching for, we still don't know. We're hoping to get more details.
We just heard from the chief constable there. What I do want to point out is that this is a very different location from the suburban houses they were searching yesterday.
[10:05:01] This is a street where a lot of students live. There are a lot of apartments for rent for example on a short-term basis and so, it is also very central. It is only about a mile and a half away from the site of the attack. So, hopefully when we get more details we'll be able to get back to you on what exactly they were looking for in this apartment.
HARLOW: Again, no answer from the chief constable there on whether or not they are looking for a bomb maker in all of this, but he said it's a network.
So, let's go now to Muhammad Lila because you have some new information on yet another one of the victims who has now been identified.
MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's right, Poppy. We got confirmation of the victim's identity just a short time ago. Her name is Nell Jones. She was a student at the school in Cheshire, which is a city outside of Manchester and has a population of about 1 million, the principal breaking the news to the students this morning.
It's a really tragic story because the night of the concert, her parents were unable to get in touch with her. So, they frantically came here to Manchester looking for her, putting out notes on social media saying please help us find her. Well, unfortunately, we know that they did find her and she is confirmed amongst one of the 22 dead.
We also know that overnight, another victim identified. She was a receptionist at a school. She was a mother of three, her name is Jane Tweddle. And there's a common thing here, John and Poppy, that you see, you see this idea of school come up over and over again and that's simply because a lot of the victims and a lot of the people that went to this concert were school-age girls and school-age boys and you know, we're probably going to be getting more information about other confirmation of identities.
Let me just leave you with one thought. Think about how old you were, John or you were, Poppy when you went to your first concert. It's probably something that you remember just like your prom or just like your wedding. Well, concerts are something that we remember the first time we went to. There were a lot of people at this arena that went to the concert for the first time and unfortunately, had to suffer through this terrible, terrible ordeal. Poppy?
BERMAN: So true, Muhammad Lila for us outside the hospital. As Muhammad knows, we are learning the identities of some many of these victims through the schools who have to tell the other students there -
HARLOW: Principals, middle schools --
BERMAN: Why there are students now missing from their class rolls.
Paul Cruickshank, to you, our CNN terror analyst, Atika Shubert was outside the site of a raid right now. She said they were using cell phone jamming equipment and there was controlled explosion inside. It certainly seems to point to -- Poppy keeps referring to as this open question is, are authorities looking for a bomb maker?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, that's a real possibility here. What they're learning as they pursue this investigation with greater certainty is this notion of a wider network behind this attack of other co-conspirators who may have helped the attacker and may have constructed the explosive device. And all of this is of great urgency right now because the worry will be if there are others out there not already under custody that they can accelerate attack plans as this sort of dragnet comes down on them.
So, they have to find these people if they are, indeed, out there before they can strike again. Not much more, we really learned from that press conference apart from this greater certainty that this was some kind of conspiracy likely involved in terms of this attack, John.
BERMAN: And they made very clearly, this investigation does continue and it is very, very active and visible, as it turns out in Manchester, as well. Paul Cruickshank thanks very much.
We are also keeping an eye on President Trump, his overseas trip. He arrives in Brussels this morning ahead of his first NATO meeting on the agenda, a meeting with the king and queen as well as the prime minister of Belgium.
HARLOW: Let's go straight to our correspondent Phil Black who is following all of that. The president, I think, just about to land. What is this meeting going to entail?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, we expect Air Force One to touch down here in Brussels pretty shortly and what we think will be key will be the NATO summit that's taking place tomorrow. This will be important because President Trump has been a very critical voice about the NATO alliance. He's questioned its relevance. He's talked about the alliance not spending - the other members not spending enough on defense and indeed, the others not doing enough to fight - in their counter terrorism efforts, as well.
So, it's going to be a pretty casual affair. They're going to be having dinner together, that is President Trump and the leaders of the other 27 NATO member countries and they're going to be looking to address those issues in particular. So, we can expect, we think, commitments from the other countries to outline plans that would see them increase their spending on defense up to the 2 percent goal that is NATO-stated target. That is 2 percent of GDP for each country and indeed, probably some sort of widening of their commitment, expanding of their capability in the fight against ISIS.
[10:10:00] That's a more controversial one because all of those individual countries that make up NATO are already contributing to the international coalition against ISIS. It is possible that NATO as an organization might join that coalition formally, but it is unclear what that would mean and whether that would be anything more than -- a symbolic gesture. Speaking of symbolism, at the new NATO headquarters in Brussels they will also be commemorating a new memorial to 9/11. It will include a fragment of the World Trade Center and it will also be commemorating the one and only time that the NATO alliance has declared its Article 5 obligation that is collective defense, an attack on one being an attack on all and of course that was in response to the terror attack on 9/11 in 2001.
So, overall, this entire trip here, this entire meeting is one that is designed to appease, satisfy, impress the American president in the hope that he will commit to NATO in a way that he hasn't done so publicly, so far, at least. John and Poppy, back to you.
HARLOW: Right. He has been unwilling to do. Phil Black, thank you very much for the reporting.
As we wait for Air Force One to land there at Brussels at any moment. Back here at home, President Trump not getting as much support as he might like from his fellow Republicans on the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Moments ago, House Speaker Paul Ryan responded to reports that the president referred to Comey as a nut job while he was speaking with the Russians. Well, here's what the house speaker said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: The former FBI Director Jim Comey, does it concern you that the president referred to the former FBI director as a nut job?
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: I don't agree with that and I - and he's not. I like Jim Comey. I know that there are people who were on both sides of the aisle concerned about decisions he made. I think he was put into an impossible position.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: The House Speaker Paul Ryan in the not a nut job camp this morning. We are bringing in CNN congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly. Phil, also some major developments, perhaps in the investigations from various congressional committees.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's exactly right. You really need to focus, guys, on the Senate Intelligence Committee right now. We saw yesterday, just think, over the course of the 48 hours, Michael Flynn the former national security adviser who the committee has been seeking information from and potential interviews as well, took the Fifth Amendment, said he was going to use his Fifth Amendment rights, privileges not to have to turn over documents. Well, they are moving forward. If there's any chance they would brush them back at all, that is not going to be the case.
The committee has now issued two new subpoenas and according to a source familiar with the committee, these are very tailored subpoenas. The initial subpoena they sent to General Flynn was about personal records. These two subpoenas would be targeting two separate business entities. The argument being, you can't plead the Fifth for business. Take a listen to the top two senators on this committee as they kind of laid this process out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK WARNER (D), VICE CHAIRMAN INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: While we disagree with General Flynn's lawyers' interpretation in taking the Fifth -- it is even more clear that a business does not have a right to take the Fifth.
SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), CHAIRMAN INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: If, in fact, there's not a response, we'll seek additional counsel advice on how to proceed forward. At the end of that option is a contempt charge and I've said that everything is on the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: And guys, a really important point there, obviously, that the top Republican on the committee, Richard Burr, the chairman of the committee makes very clear, contempt is in the cards right now. Michael Flynn's lawyers are currently weighing the two new subpoenas, what their next actions are here. But I think, a big issue here or a big point to make is, in the wake of the special counsel Robert Mueller being named, there are some question if the Capitol Hill investigation, both the Senate Intelligence investigation and the House Intelligence investigation would walk back a little bit, would start to take the pressure off.
This is being made very clear now that not only will that not be the case, but they are ramping up. They are clearly targeting Michael Flynn. They're clearly targeting that information from Michael Flynn. And it's also worth noting the House Intelligence Committee is doing the same thing. We saw the hearing yesterday, the public hearing, the former CIA director John Brennan. It's also worth noting that they have said that Michael Flynn has turned down their request for documents and they will now be issuing subpoenas, as well, guys.
HARLOW: It is fascinating to follow and you are on top of all this. Thank you, Phil Mattingly.
As we look at live pictures of Air Force One just landing in Brussels for this key meeting that the president has with NATO leaders. We're going to track that. You'll see the president and the first lady and his team walking off of Air Force One in just a moment. Stay with us.
[10:18:07] BERMAN: All right. President Trump landing in Brussels for NATO meetings that will take place later today and tomorrow. You are looking at live pictures of Air Force One. Any minute, those doors will open and the president will deplane and begin this next phase of his first overseas trip. A trip that the White House thinks is going very, very well beginning with a speech in Saudi Arabia, then the visit to Israel and leaving the Vatican, leaving Rome this morning after his meeting with the Pope. We are going to keep these pictures up so you can see the president's arrival, but we're all going to move on to some of the other business of the morning. HARLOW: Of course, this is also really important meeting with these NATO leaders given how critical he has been of the alliance. We'll wait to see what the president says, is there a shift in tone and all of that.
Also, new this morning, just breaking in to CNN, former national security adviser Michael Flynn has denied a request for those documents to be turned over to the House Intel Committee. This of course, investigating, leading the Russia probe on that side. The House Intelligence Committee is preparing to issue subpoenas against Flynn. That is according to the top-ranking Democrat Adam Schiff.
BERMAN: We know that the president, he is going to hire outside counsel, an outside attorney and perhaps also reportedly bringing a crisis management team. This at the investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia heats up.
Let's talk about this now, joining us, Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst and senior editor at "The Atlantic," Emily Jane Fox, a CNN contributor and writer for "Vanity Fair," and Mark O'Mara, CNN legal analyst, criminal defense attorney and a former prosecutor.
Mark, first to you, the breaking news we just heard that Michael Flynn is not going to provide documents to the House Intelligence Committee. He's done the same thing on the Senate side. Can he be forced to?
He truly cannot. He has an absolute Fifth Amendment right first against testimony and we know he's exercised that. He hasn't done it in the right Intelligence Committee. He's done the same thing on the Senate side. Can he be forced to?
MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST AND CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He truly cannot. He has an absolute Fifth Amendment right first against testimony and we know he's exercised that. He hasn't done it in the right way yet. A generic, I'm not going to testify doesn't work. He has to show up, answer the questions or be asked the questions then assert his right.
[10:20:08] It is a separate issue whether or not he can be compelled to produce documents and quite honestly, it is a detailed analysis, generally speaking, he's going to say no, which he already has now done and then the Senate or House is going to have to go through a review, it's Fisher case of the United States Supreme Court that identifies the documents, how they were produced, how they were created and whether or not they can compel him. If they compel him, maybe he's clear as far as immunity as to production of documents, long process.
HARLOW: Here's the thing, Mark, he also has businesses, if he has any sort of corps or LLC's that he was paid through those for these speeches, et cetera, those businesses can't assert a Fifth Amendment right, can they?
O'MARA: That is sort of true, as well. It's not a law yet because it used to be that corporations do not have a Fifth Amendment right for anything, however, some recent cases, Hobby Lobby, Citizens United have started chipping away and giving corporations some legal rights. I think we're far away from that and I think Flynn's corporations are going to be compelled to present that testimony or those documents and we'll have the Senate or the House will have those.
BERMAN: Legal battles inside legal battles.
Emily, on the subject of lawyers, you have a little bit of a scoop here. You know, we know that the president is going to bring in some outside counsel, Marc Kasowitz, but we did know what you reported first is that Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law actually went to Chris Christie, you know former adviser to President Trump but adversary to Jared Kushner, asked for essentially legal advice here. What do you make of that?
EMILY JANE FOX, CNN CONTRIBUTOR AND WRITER "VANITY FAIR": So, what two sources familiar with the conversation told me is that Chris Christie was going around last week, saying that Jared Kushner called him, asking if the president should hire a lawyer. And what Chris told people, he said was the president should lawyer up and shut his mouth which actually we've seen him now do. So, Chris Christie last week, really had the finger on the pulse of what the president should do.
HARLOW: But the fact that Jared Kushner went to Chris Christie, there's just a little bit more than a little bit of history here.
FOX: Absolutely. So, Chris Christie was actually a prosecutor who put Jared Kushner's father in prison. The two have had a little bit of a standoff ever since.
BERMAN: And that would leave a mark, I would think.
FOX: A little bit of a mark, particularly, because the Kushner family believed that it was Chris Christie who kept Charlie Kushner in prison for 28 days longer than the family expected him to. The two reportedly, according to White House official, buried the hatchet earlier this year, saying look, the president is in office now, we have bigger fish to fry and it turned out, they did have a bigger fish to fry -- relying on each other.
BERMAN: Ron Brownstein, again, we are waiting to see the president to get off the plane right now. He has arrived in Brussels ahead of NATO meetings.
While the president has been traveling overseas, we have heard from the former CIA Director John Brennan, who said there were connections that he saw, contacts between the Russians and Trump campaign officials which concerned him and raised a lot of questions.
There's Melania Trump right there and the President of the United States, President Trump. Let's watch them.
All right, we just saw the president and Melania Trump, the first lady deplaning from Air Force One. They have arrived in Brussels for this leg of the trip. There will people who will have watched that video, who'll note they did not appear to hold hands because that's been a thing on Twitter. Leave that aside, it's hard to walk downstairs holding hands. Let me just say that.
Ron Brownstein, John Brennan, we heard from yesterday. We know we're going to hear from James Comey. There are a lot of people, it seems, willing to talk that create problems for this White House and they keep on talking.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST AND SENIOR EDITOR "THE ATLANTIC": Yes. Look, I thought that was surprisingly revealing and substantive testimony for an open session and it was significant, above all, for what you noted. That you know, the former CIA director said there was sufficient evidence of contacts between -- his phrase, "U.S. persons and Russian intelligence" that it warranted passing it on to the FBI for further investigation. Similar to what former FBI Director James Comey has said that there was sufficient grounds for investigation and all of this directly contravenes the repeated arguments of the president, particularly on Twitter, that this is all fake news or a witch hunt or Democratic sour grapes over the election.
I think it is much harder for any Republican and you saw the Republicans on the committee mostly trying to act as defense attorneys rather than, you know, looking for kind of unveiling facts.
[10:25:04] It makes it harder for anyone to argue that this is simply all made up because you now have these very substantive voices saying they don't know where the investigation is going to lead, but they know that there was enough there to begin a serious inquiry into what exactly was going on.
HARLOW: And we're continuing to look at these live pictures. There, you see the president walking forward. He's getting ready to have some pretty important meetings in Brussels with NATO leaders given how critical this president has been of NATO in general, calling on NATO countries to put up more in terms of funding of the alliance. These are important meetings. Will we see a shift in tone from this president as we see him approach the motorcade?
Emily, to you, all kinds of reporting this morning about, -- a big player in the Trump campaign, Corey Lewandowski, paying some visits to the White House, some talk about whether or not he's going to lead the crisis management group within the White House. We know this president values loyalty above all else.
So, is Corey Lewandowski going to make a comeback? What would that mean and look like for this White House?
FOX: It wouldn't be entirely surprising if you look at who he's filled at the rest of the administration with the people who understand how to deal with President Trump and who understand what that kind of responsibility means. And I think that Donald Trump, more than anything, likes to bring in people who he knows he can trust and I think Corey Lewandowski is someone who not only knows how to deal with him and who he knows how to deal with, but brought him, basically, to a primary victory.
HARLOW: But also brought him drama. I mean, you know, -- do you remember the reporter confrontation.
FOX: Yes, it's not something that President Trump tends to shy away from. Look at the rest of the people he's filled at the administration. Those are people who don't tend to shy away from drama either. So, it's not entirely surprising choice when he's faced with a big problem, to bring in someone he feels like he can trust.
BERMAN: You know, Ron Brownstein, the president trying to also engage at some domestic policy while he's on the overseas trip and while fending off the Russian investigation, the budget getting released over the last 24 hours. And you note in "The Atlantic" that some of the provisions here, some of the spending cuts, frankly, they affect Trump voters in states that won for Trump. What do you see there?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, the budget is striking because on the one hand by exempting the main portion of social security and Medicare from cuts while imposing significant reductions everywhere else, he is making a dramatic statement, a kind of generational allegiance. You know, a majority of his votes came from whites over 45 and today, 80 percent of seniors who rely on those two core retirement programs are white. So, on the one hand there is a tilt for what I call the gray over the brown, the younger diverse population. But on the other hand, the breadth of these cuts are so large that they do reach into this, you know, increasingly lower income, blue collar, non-urban Republican constituency, particularly the Midwestern states.
If you look only, for example, at SNAP, the former food stamps program, a majority of those receiving benefits under the program today in all of the five Midwestern states that tipped the election, Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are non-college whites and those are the voters at the very core of the Trump coalition, the same issue, John, that we see playing out on health care, in Medicaid. In those five states, a majority of those who gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act are also non-college whites. So, -- in this budget, you see the collision between the traditional Republicans, small government ideology and the material, practical interests of their evolving coalition.
BERMAN: All right, Ron, Emily Jane Fox, Mark O'Mara, stand by for just one moment as we continue to watch pictures of the president's arrival in Brussels.
HARLOW: We want some reaction from Capitol Hill. Joining us now as we continue to look at these live pictures to one side, on the other side of our screen is Republican Congressman Blake Farenthold of Texas. It is nice to have you here.
And as we look at these pictures, let me just get you to weigh in because you are an attorney and we learned overnight that the president is retaining, we are hearing private counsel aside from White House counsel Marc Kasowitz, a big-name attorney. Does it make sense you, him bringing in private representation right now? Is it a smart move?
REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD (R), TEXAS: Listen, I'm happy it's going to save the taxpayers potentially some money.
BERMAN: A fiscal conservative.
HARLOW: OK. But aside from that, in all honesty, are you - look, we've seen this before when White Houses have been in crisis, in the Clinton administration, around Iran-Contra, the Reagan administration. What does this signal to you? Is it a good move for this president?
FARENTHOLD: I think it's a defensive move, anybody who is facing some issues that probably ought to have a lawyer. You know, the saying, they teach us in law school is the person who represents himself as a fool for a client. I don't think there's anything particularly there that Donald Trump needs to worry about, but when you've got people constantly pecking at you, you need some defense.
BERMAN: Constantly pecking at you. You actually have agreed with the president's framing of this. You agree that this is a witch hunt. Explain.
FARENTHOLD: Well, we just saw in the Intelligence Committee yesterday the Chief of the CIA was asked, was there any evidence of collusion with the Russians on the part of the Trump campaign and the answer, several times, he was asked that was no, there was not. Yet, we still see the constant level of attacks.