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AT THIS HOUR
Man Attacks Paris Policeman Outside Notre Dame Cathedral; NSA Contractor Reality Winner Arrested for Leaking Government Documents; Trump Defends Twitter Tirades with Twitter Tirade; Comey to Testify Thursday. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired June 6, 2017 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] KYLE RICHES, EYEWITNESS IN PARIS: And that's when they started yelling at us to get off the bus, to go up the street kind of away from Notre Dame and just clear out the entire area.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: What was that like for you? You hear these gunshots, the urgency of the police. Can you just describe what it was like when you guys were running away? You had no idea what was going on.
RICHES: Yeah, we had no idea what was going on. It was definitely terrifying. I mean, we were just in London two days before when that terrorist attack happened as well. So, we're still a little bit scarred from that.
RICHES: But it's definitely different when you don't understand the language in the country. I mean, I speak Spanish, so I can understand a tiny bit of French. I mean, bits and pieces of it, but when they're yelling fast and yelling at everybody to get out of the way, you just kind of run away, just from instinct, I guess.
BOLDUAN: And you were just running anywhere. They just wanted you to run away.
RICHES: Yeah, they just wanted us to get out of the plaza at that point.
BOLDUAN: Where are you now? Are you still nearby?
RICHES: No, we got on -- we were on a tour bus, so we saw another bus that was stopping at that same bus stop, so we got on that one, and it actually dropped us back off kind of where they start the tour, but now we're back at our hotel just trying to stay safe at this point.
BOLDUAN: Yeah. That's absolutely understandable.
Well, thank you so much for jumping on. I really appreciate it, Kyle. And thank God you and your wife are both safe.
RICHES: Yeah, no problem.
BOLDUAN: I really appreciate it. RICHES: Thank you.
Brian, we had the same reaction of just amazing. You can imagine the chaos we've been talking about for everybody in that plaza or inside the cathedral at the time. Then also, Kyle Riches says he was just in London as that terror attack was happening, he was in London as well.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, RELIABLE SOURCES: And both incidents taking a toll on his trip, obviously, and on all the tourists who might be at Notre Dame. This was 4:30 local time, very busy there at the cathedral. And the witness that we shared the photo from a few minutes ago showing people inside the cathedral with their hands up in the air, this witness, a man from Los Angeles, who happened to be there today, he said the police asked them to all put their hands up in the air. A couple minutes ago, though on Twitter, he says police are starting to let those citizens, locals, civilians, tourists, all out of the cathedral, that everyone inside the cathedral is safe, according to this witness, Matthew. So, that photo, we saw his hands up in the air, remarkable and scary scene inside the cathedral, because, at first, they had no idea what was happening outside. They heard gunshots, they heard police activity but weren't allowed to go outside. Now it sounds like about an hour later, they are being allowed to leave the cathedral.
BOLDUAN: Mike, is that pretty standard? If it's happening outside, you don't know exactly what's playing out, contain what's inside at the moment?
MIKE BAKER, CO-FOUNDER, DILIGENCE SECURITY FIRM & FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Right. I mean, you've got to control the crowd, basically. And you've got to secure the crowd. And you know, you do what is field expedient. In this case, it was lock the place down, keep them inside while you deal with the threat on the outside, determine how much of a threat you've got.
BOLDUAN: I'm going to go right now to Alex Marquardt. He's been covering the attack there in London, covering the latest developments there.
Alex, obviously, it's unsettling news, no matter where it's happening at any point in the world, but what you've been looking at over the past couple days, of course, is a massive increase in stepped-up security there. What are you looking at?
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. I mean, this is the kind of attack that really most countries in Europe can relate to. What you're seeing here is a heavy police presence because we are near the site of that attack on Saturday night. But you're right in general, there has been a massively stepped-up police presence, increased patrols here in London in the wake of the attack, but more than that, there's this bigger debate going on about how secure, how much of a presence the police should have in the streets. In the past, before this recent wave of attacks -- and there have been three major terror attacks in the past nine weeks -- the police had stepped up their presence and how much they are armed relative to that threat. Keep in mind, most police officers in this country are not armed. The number of armed police officers has gone up. There has been -- they have put more of these fast response units who are heavily armed in the streets of London.
But because this is a relatively new phenomenon here in England in the past two years, England has not seen the same wave of terror that the rest of Europe has, they are going through this debate right now. They are talking about whether there should be shoot-to-kill policies, how much -- how well armed the police should be. Other European countries like France and Belgium have already gone through this debate. You can see the military on the streets of Paris and Brussels. So, now all of these European countries are grappling with this debate of how much of a police state they want to live in -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: And that is an excellent point.
Alex, stick with me.
Alex is in London covering that, the fallout and the investigation from that terror attack there.
Bob Baer is still with me on the phone.
Bob, as we're talking to the eyewitness who said they were just told to run and run and get out of the way, what changes in Paris today and tonight?
[11:34:57] BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE & SECURITY ANALYST (voice- over): Well, what changes is, you know -- first of all, let's address Americans. They are targets in places like Paris and London as much as the locals are. And any tourist areas are going to be, whether it's a concert or Notre Dame, are going to be possible attack sites, and the CIA, they always tell us, when things go bad, stay out of the crowded areas. Stay off of the metro. Stay away from where people conglomerate. And if we are seeing a wave of attacks, if I were an American tourist in Europe, I would follow those rules. And I think it has changed. I, by the way, on the arms, the British have to start carrying them. If these guys are going to be wandering around with knives and you are unarmed, you are at a great disadvantage and more people are going to die. And this goes completely against British culture. It's unfortunate, but I don't see a way around it.
BOLDUAN: And, Bob, the fact that when we're talking about what's playing out, or played out today in Paris outside Notre Dame, the fact that this attacker targeted a police officer, targeted two police officers, and not one of the however many tourists were there in that plaza, does that indicate anything to you?
BAER: All of these people are self-recruited. Let's assume this is a terrorist attack in Paris. They're self-recruited on the Internet. This is a pattern. And then they go to guidance, a human being which they talk to, usually a cleric who blesses, maybe not the detail, but blesses the attack. Now, right now, there is a wave of in France attacks on policemen. One was killed fatally. But this could change overnight and someone could put it out, say well, maybe it's more effective to attack tourists, American tourists, or whatever, Israeli tourists, British, and that could change almost imperceptibly. We won't know until it happened.
BOLDUAN: And of course, Bob -- and I know you've acknowledged it as well -- we don't know this person's motivation, we don't know what's behind the attack, what the goal was, what the motivation is. If this has nothing to do with any motivation from terror, what does that say?
BAER: You know, I think the French are on high alert and they're taking any attack on the police or tourists or anybody else from the get-go is a terrorist attack and that's the way we should, too, simply because there's been so many of them. Last year, let's don't forget Nice. We all have amnesia. And then Berlin Christmas attacks and this whole trend toward low-tech weapons. I just think we have to assume there's going to be a lot more of it. You know, it's very sad, but this is the way things are going until this virus burns itself out. And as we just were talking about, with Raqqa falling, I think it's going to put us in a period of great danger for the next couple months.
BOLDUAN: Everyone stand by, if you could.
We're continuing to follow developments coming out of Paris, an attack this morning. A man, according to Paris police, a man attacked a policeman outside of the Notre Dame Cathedral. Police shot back. The man is wounded. We do not know the severity of his wounds right now, other than indications are he was shot straight in the chest. And they have the situation under control. And a terror probe has been opened. That according to the Paris prosecutor. Continuing to follow developments. If details come in.
We'll get in a quick break and be right back with continuing coverage of this breaking news.
[11:42:19] BOLDUAN: We're continuing to follow breaking news out of Paris. We've been following this developing situation outside of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris all hour now. We do know that the situation there, one police officer was wounded after an attacker apparently attacked the police with a hammer, a hammer he pulled from a backpack, according to one source with the situation. The attacker was shot by police in return. He is at the hospital. That's according to Paris police. And Paris police do now say that the situation is under control. But the Paris prosecutor has now opened an anti-terror probe into this situation. A lot of details not known and still coming in outside of what is happening outside of the Notre Dame Cathedral, what happened earlier today there. We'll continue to bring you developments. We are expecting to get some new video to be coming in shortly and we'll bring that to you as soon as we get it in.
Let's turn to other news we are watching. The person responsible for leaking a classified NSA memo is facing charges. The top-secret contractor, Reality Winner, had top-secret clearance and accused of, quote, "removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet." In layman's terms, illegal. Sources say the document detailed a 2016 cyberattack that was carried out by Russian military intelligence and targeted a U.S. voting software supplier. An important note here, though, there has been no evidence, according to all involved, there is no evidence that any votes were, though, affected by that hack and that attempt.
Here with me, still with me, so kindly have been with me throughout the hour, Mike Baker, a former CIA operative and co-founder of Diligence, a global international and security firm; Brian Stelter, of course, CNN senior media correspondent and host of "Reliable Sources."
So, Brian, first to you. What do we know about this government contractor? What do we know about Reality Winner and exactly what she did?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, RELIABLE SOURCES: First, that is her real name. There were lots of punch lines about that, but Reality Winner is her name, a 20-something. She had been working this job in Georgia. Apparently e-mailing at one point with "The Intercept," an online news site that specializes in trying to get secret documents from the government and publishing them. At one point, she e-mailed "The Intercept," one of the ways the government honed in on her. More importantly, according to the government, she printed out this top-secret NSA report, mailed it to a reporter at "The Intercept," and by the time it was published online yesterday, she was found and arrested. According to prosecutors, she did admit to going ahead and leaking this information. We will hear more from her in court maybe later this week.
BOLDUAN: Yeah, absolutely. So, she is charged with breaking the law.
BOLDUAN: From as clear cut as it appears to be and the fact that she's acknowledged this, seems to have admitted some fault here --
[11:45:07] BOLDUAN: -- is it safe to say, Mike, that this is not a unique prosecution that would be sought by a Trump presidency, that this would be sought by any president, Obama, keep going back?
BAKER: No, President Obama and his administration were very aggressive --
BOLDUAN: They were.
BAKER: -- in prosecuting leakers. No one can look at this and say this is purely an exercise by the Trump administration.
But I understand, people will always -- there will always be an element of folks that will look at this individual or at Snowden or someone in this similar situation and go, oh, it's a hero! They're just working for the good of the country. And you know, I understand that, but I'm speaking from my own experience, which is that you signed agreements, you sign a commitment. If you take a job, voluntarily take a job because you want that job, to handle, the responsibility of handling classified national security information, you will not disclose that information. That is your agreement for taking that job. We seem to have gotten to a point where some people just decide, well, it's OK, I'll sign the agreement, but maybe I'll change my mind. Maybe I know better or maybe I didn't get enough hugs at the office or maybe I like my 15 minutes, whatever the motivation is --
BOLDUAN: I haven't heard that side of it.
STELTER: But have her bosses violated their compact with the public by not telling us about this report? This report was from May 5th. Now it's early June. It's been a month. We haven't learned about what was in this report until she leaked it.
BOLDUAN: In terms of reports, it does seem almost quick that maybe the public would hear about that.
BOLDUAN: Can I ask you about the substance of this leak, though? Because Russia using a misinformation campaign to try to influence people in the election, that's one thing, right? That's one thing that obviously the intelligence agencies say Russia was very actively trying to do, but does this start to get at what people most feared could have happened in the election, which was that -- is this getting to evidence that Russia was actually trying to change votes?
BAKER: Well, yes. There's no doubt about it. It speaks sort of to that overwhelming concern, did they actually somehow tamper with the machines and change votes?
BOLDUAN: No one says that they did, but --
BOLDUAN: No one said they were able to pull it off.
BAKER: Nobody working in cybersecurity, nobody working in counterintelligence or in the intelligence business is surprised at the extent to which Russia or China or other countries out there would be trying to do everything possible. So, the fact that they were meddling takes it into a wide playing field.
BAKER: So, the fact that they're trying to go after software, that is part of what you would assume they were trying to do. To your point, I understand what you're saying in terms of, well, they should have released this report. Well, I'm sorry, but if they've got an investigation going on, or for intelligence purposes, the same reason you don't release sources and methods, then they've got to be able to conduct their -- I know -- the public would like to know everything, but there's a reason why you do keep some secrets sometimes when you're conducting an investigation or you're involved in a counterintelligence operation or a terrorism operation. There's a reason for secrets. And you know, I'm here to tell you, I'm speaking from my experience. Other people disagree I'm sure, and I respect that. But I'm saying, if we had 100 percent transparency on everything, this world would be even far more chaotic than it is right now. And I know right now there's a lot of people out there banging their heads against the TVs, saying I can't believe he said that.
BOLDUAN: I don't even want to know all the secrets that you have in your head, Mike Baker. I'm not even going to ask. We're not going to start there today.
Brian -- I'd be interested in the secrets in your head, though.
Great to see you. Thank you to you both.
Coming up next for us, President Trump's most effective opponent is the president himself. Pretty scathing new editorial coming from what's normally friendly territory, the "Wall Street Journal" editorial pages, as the president pops off again on Twitter.
Plus, more on our breaking news we've been following throughout the hour. A police operation has been under way near the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris after a man attacked a police officer. Stand by for more details coming in.
[11:53:26] BOLDUAN: Now to President Trump defending his tirades on Twitter, with new tirades on Twitter, once again, contradicting his team at the White House. Insisting he means what he tweets and he tweets what he means.
Plus, this morning, he is accusing the media of trying to stop him from using social media. Writing this in a statement on Twitter, "They hate that I can get the honest and unfiltered message out."
Here's the thing. The "quote/unquote, "media" isn't trying to tell him what to do at all. It's his own staff, his advisers, his supporters who's trying to get him to stop Twitter.
These head-spinning tweet storms come during a huge week that cannot be overstated. This afternoon and this evening, he is going to be meeting with members of Congress to try to discuss how to push forward his agenda. Remember, this was supposed to be infrastructure week.
Tomorrow, the Senate Intelligence Committee will be holding a hearing on the Ford Intelligence Surveillance Act, an important element of it. They're going to be hearing from the director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, NSA Director Mike Rogers and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
And that, of course, brings us to Thursday, the hearing of all hearings with James Comey testifying in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. So what's at stake? And what is he tweeting about?
With me is CNN political commentator, Republican strategist, Alice Stewart; Krystal Ball, Democratic strategist and senior media fellow at the New Leaders Council; and Garrett Graff, author of a biography on Robert Mueller, called "The Threat Matrix, The FBI at War in the Age of Global Terror."
All right. A lot to get to at this moment.
Alice, the president today on Twitter, this is today on Twitter, yesterday on Twitter, the day before on Twitter. Now going all the way back to the election once again saying that if he had relied on the networks or major papers, he would have zero chance of winning the White House.
You specialize in communications. Can you decipher these communications? Honestly, what is going on here?
[11:55:22] ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: One thing that's important to remember, he's the president of the United States. The same goes when he was a candidate for president of the United States. When he makes a statement and he's making a statement now, it is a presidential statement, whether it comes from the Oval Office, the rose garden or from his Twitter feed. He needs to keep in mind that his statements and his words and his tweets have consequences and they do matter. It would be helpful if he would keep those in line with the message that they're driving from the White House. They've had a good week with regard to infrastructure and pushing that message.
BOLDUAN: The message to whom? I feel like the caterpillar in "Alice in Wonderland."
Who's out of line? The White House needs to get in line with the president, but can they.
STEWART: Generally, the way it works in the past is the communications director and the com shop gets together, here's our message. They get together with the senior advisers, this is what we're pushing today. You talk to the candidate or elected official and say we're driving this today.
STEWART: Generally, everyone is on the same page. However, Donald Trump tends to live in an alternative --
BOLDUAN: He's a little different.
BOLDUAN: This seems, if you look at what he's tweeting about -- and we'll call them official presidential statements coming from the hands of the president -- he seems to be clearly at the very least angry and lashing out. He seems upset in what he's tweeting about. I mean, as the "Wall Street Journal" put it today in a scathing opinion piece, when it comes to Donald Trump, the puck stops everywhere else.
Let me read kind of the operative for everyone. "In other words, in 140-character increments, Mr. Trump diminished his own standing, creating an international incident, demonstrating that the loyalty he demands isn't reciprocal, wasted time he could have devoted to health care or tax reform or infrastructure week. Mark it down as further evidence that the most effective opponent of the Trump presidency is Donald J. Trump."
So needless to say, he lost "the Wall Street Journal" editorial board. He did a while ago if we're being honest about it. Does this hurt him at all with his supporters that put him in the White House though? I venture to guess no.
KRYSTAL BALL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST & SENIOR MEDIA FELLOW, NEW LEADERS COUNCIL: I think there is a base of support that he's right about. He can do basically anything and they would be with him and the more that he complains about the media and the more aggressive he is on Twitter, the more they love him. But that's not all of America. There were a lot of people who voted for Donald Trump who weren't so sure about Donald Trump, who said that he may not be fit for the presidency, but we're so disgusted with Hillary Clinton or so disgusted with Democrats that they decided to pull the lever for him instead. So there is a persuadable group of people. The other thing I would say is when you pull on his tweets and whether he should dial that back, overwhelming majority of Americans, including a lot of his own supporters, have a problem with this undisciplined approach on Twitter because it is so unhinged and so counterproductive. She has been governing and he decided to run for president and he's been governing from this place of grievance. It is always someone coming at him. It is always someone else's fault. It's the media. It's the judges. It's the Democrats, et cetera. It never comes down to him, even when it is his own administration, as in, quote/unquote, "the travel ban." Even when it's his own administration and his signature on the executive order.
BOLDUAN: One that may be coming at him this week, Garrett, in your line of expertise, may be James Comey, the former FBI director. The big testimony that will be occurring on Thursday. Asked about the testimony and what to expect, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, said that basically that Comey talked to Robert Mueller, a man you have written extensively about, and Mueller has not fenced him off.
"Not fenced him off." What does that tell you?
GARRETT GRAFF, AUTHOR: Well, it tells me that there's going to be as everyone knows at this point all eyes on Jim Comey on Thursday morning. This is probably the biggest hearing that we have seen on Capitol Hill in decades. And it's going to be a fascinating window into some of Trump's behavior behind the scenes. I mean, we don't have a lot of details about this interaction and the series of interactions that Jim Comey has had with the president since the election other than a couple of news reports here and there. This is going to be the first time that Jim Comey has been able to speak expansively in his own words with his own documents as backup.
Guys, great to have you. Thank you so much. A lot to look forward on.
We'll also continue to cover the breaking news out of Paris, France, where there was an attack on a police officer this morning. Police there in Notre Dame have the situation under control but more details are coming in.
Thank you so much for joining us AT THIS HOUR.
"Inside Politics" with John King starts right now.