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AT THIS HOUR

Manhunt Underway For London Subway Bomber; North Korea Launches Missile Over Japan; U.N. Security Council Meets Soon About North Korea; Trumps Demands Apology From ESPN For "Untruth"; Trump Blames "Both Sides" For Charlottesville Again. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired September 15, 2017 - 11:00   ET

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


[11:00:00]

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. We are beginning with breaking news. A terrorist on the loose in London after leaving a homemade explosive device on a crowded subway. The city's mayor says a manhunt is right now under way.

The video, this video we will show you, shot just moments after the explosion and it shows what's being called a crude bucket bomb. You can see fire still burning there inside. Witnesses describe a really terrifying blast ripping through the commuter train injuring several people. Listens to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the next carriage, heard the bang and saw the flash and fire and everyone panicked and ran and there was blood and there was burns.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: The blast happened during the morning rush hour under the -- when the underground system or the underground system was packed with people. President Trump tweeted that, quote -- in response he tweeted this out that the, quote, "Loser terrorist was in the sights of Scotland Yard." We're going to get to that in a second.

Let's get the very latest on where exactly things stand in this investigation. CNN's senior international correspondent, Nima Elbagir, is near the scene of the attack, CNN terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank is here with me as well.

First, Nima, to you, what is the very latest on the manhunt?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, police have now evacuated a 50-meter perimeter around the tube station. They're looking for any and all evidence that they can find, any remnants of this device.

You can see the cordon behind me remains in place. The manhunt is ongoing even as British security sources tell us that they found a timer on the detonated improvised explosive device which leads them to believe they say that the intent behind this was much more ambitious than luckily the impact was able to be.

This was an incredibly crude device in its execution but the ambition behind it is what worrying security forces here this morning -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. Nima, manhunt under way. Let me bring in Paul really quick, as Nima was talking about they found a timer on the explosive device, you're picking up more, just picking up new information about the bomb itself. What are you hearing?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: That's right. A source briefed by investigators tells me that according to an initial assessment of the device that they believe there's a high likelihood that it contains TATP, the high explosive TATP, that same explosive used in ISIS attacks in Paris, in Brussels and other recent terrorist attacks as well.

Now that's a preliminary assessment. It has not been fully confirmed yet, but a very worrying new detail. The source also telling me that this was a crude device, a poorly made device as well.

And, of course, it didn't go off. And if this was TAPT, that needs to be confirmed, but if it was TAPT, if it had gone off you could have seen dozens of casualties, perhaps very few people getting out of that train carriage alive. It's a high explosive, many times more powerful than the Boston devices were.

BOLDUAN: One thing we know unfortunately we've all had to learn about TATP it's very unstable and the fact that it's crude but involves TAPT points you where?

CRUICKSHANK: Well, the fact that it was poorly made could indicate that this was somebody who had no training, they were trying to do it off the internet. It's possible that the person who did this could have got training overseas and just didn't do it, particularly well.

You're right. TATP is what they call very sensitive. That means that it can go off easily if there's shock, if there's friction. One of the scenarios this could have gone off prematurely because of the movement of the train that they might have wanted this to go off a little bit later on the journey into London.

Parsons Green is a subway stop very much on the fringes of that tube network, rather than in the heart of Central London.

BOLDUAN: All preliminary as you're pointing out, Paul, but important element of this. Nima, quick to you, on President Trump's response, how is Scotland Yard, officials there responding to his tweet today, when he as you see we put on the screen, I'll read it for you again, he says, these are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard?

ELBAGIR: They are frankly upset, Kate. The authorities here have had to deal with the ramifications of President Trump's tweets in the past. The trigger-happy finger has impacted investigations they've said before. Manchester when their net was, as they claimed, closing on members of the network that was responsible for that, they believe that leaks from the White House impacted directly on their ability to be able to apprehend some of the members of that network. So, this is just seen as yet another inopportune comment by the president -- Kate.

[11:05:02] BOLDUAN: Yes. Just past 4:00 in London, manhunt under way as we speak in the investigation. Clearly just getting going. Thank you both very much. I really appreciate it. We will have more as it happens throughout the hour.

We're also following this breaking news this morning, the international community is now scrambling to decide how to respond to yet another missile test, a missile launch, by North Korea. In a brazen show of defiance, North Korea fired a second missile over Japan. This is a second one in less than a month. Setting off air raid sirens.

(VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: South Korea responded within minutes firing off two ballistic missiles of their own. The U.N. Security Council holding an emergency meeting in just a few hours to figure out how to respond what they will do this time that will bring about anything different.

Let me bring in right now CNN's Will Ripley live in Tokyo. Will, what's the very latest that you're hearing from Tokyo?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to imagine from this vantage what the U.N. Security Council is going to do after they just past another round of sanctions and I was in Pyongyang speaking with officials and regular people who say the sanctions will not stop that country from continuing to launch missiles and develop nuclear weapons.

So, that could and perhaps already do threaten the mainland U.S. Here in Japan, there were discussions between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Japanese counterpart, Foreign Minister Taro Hono (ph) reiterating the U.S. commitment to defend Japan.

This is a country that has had missiles flying in its direction all year and now twice in two weeks or so, missiles flying directly over Japanese residents. They're hearing air raid sirens for the first time since World War II, children in school being told what to do in the event of a nuclear attack.

Clearly, this is a very frightening development for the region. From the North Korean perspective, they could have pointed this missile South that traveled 2300 miles coming down the Pacific. Had they pointed itself that would have put it smackdown close to Guam, a U.S. territory that North Korea has threatened repeatedly.

Once again, just continued provocations and the international community trying to figure out what other steps they could take without China and Russia's buy in on an oil embargo or black listing Kim Jong-un seems as though options are pretty limited here -- Kate. BOLDUAN: We have to wait to see exactly what comes out of this emergency meeting this afternoon. But I also -- this is -- I want to take a moment. You've been in North Korea more than any western journalist and very fascinating special that is debuting on CNN tonight.

What can you say ahead of folks seeing your special tonight, Will, I know I get this question a lot, about your level of access, the line you must walk when you are in the nation?

RIPLEY: You know, it's great question. Obviously whenever we're in North Korea we have government minders who are with us when we're shooting at all times. They don't screen the video or preapprove scripts, but they definitely try to make sure that we're in environments the North Korea wants the world to see.

That said, we had the rare opportunity this time, 15 days in the country, to stop the van and to jump out and talk to people and have unscripted moments and those were the moments that are really highlighted in this program that I think are -- people are going to learn something.

You have to read between the lines when listening to what the North Koreans say to from children to senior citizens, things that sound very similar because they're force fed the government line from cradle to grave.

And so, when people are watching they're going to hear things that might sound very crazy to them, but I think you're going to come away learning something about the mindset of North Koreans not to mention the unprecedented access from the South all the way up to the border with China through deep rural areas. The pictures are astounding -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: What I've seen simply put access very few people in the entire world have been able to have to this nation that is cut off. I'm so looking forward to seeing it. Thank you so much, Will. We're keeping an eye on all of this.

Tonight, just to remind all of you, you can catch Will's exclusive behind the scenes look at one of the most secretive regimes on the planet, "Secret State, Inside North Korea," that airs at 10:00 Eastern only on CNN. That's tonight.

Let's stay in the moment right now, joining me to talk about this most recent missile launch Retired Colonel Steve Warren, CNN military analyst and former Pentagon spokesman, Tony Blinken, a CNN global affairs analyst and former deputy secretary of state and also deputy national security adviser under President Obama, and Sue Mi Terry, a former CIA North Korea analyst.

All thank you so much for being here. Tony, first to you, what is different about this launch from those in the past?

TONY BLINKEN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, Kate, what we're seeing here is a sustained effort by Kim Kong-un to take the initiative and to have the momentum. I think what's very important now is to have a very sustained, comprehensive and deliberate approach to ratchet up the pressure on him, to do it calmly and deliberately and keep it going.

It takes a while for the pressure to have an effect. The administration got two good Security Council resolutions, could have been stronger but still they did a good job. Now those need to be implemented.

We also need a diplomatic flip side to that to make clear that as the pressure goes up on North Korea we're also prepared to negotiate. The problem is this, I hope the president keeps his itchy Twitter finger away from his iPhone or Blackberry because he's basically blustered us into a corner.

[11:10:14] By saying a few weeks ago that if North Korea simply threatened us again there would be fire and fury, we've now seen two additional missile launches and a nuclear test, where is the fire and fury?

That undermine our credibility with countries like China at the same time it lowers the rhetorical threshold to force and that could send the wrong message to Kim Jong-un that we're actually out to get him, not just his missiles and nuclear weapons, that's the source potentially of miscalculation.

So, I hope the president keeps this in check. The administration needs to keep going on this deliberate, comprehensive sustained pressure effort, but with real diplomacy to back it up.

BOLDUAN: Great. But where does the administration go? I mean, where does -- let's start with the U.N.? What could come out? What do you see that could possibly come out of the U.N. Security Council today in this emergency session that would change the behavior of North Korea right now?

SUE MI TERRY, FORMER CIA NORTH KOREA ANALYST: Well, not much because they just came out with a new United Nations Security Council resolution on sanctions and it was hard, we had to water down some things to get that passed. I'm not sure what more we can do on that front.

But Tony is absolutely right, I think what we need to do is get China to enforce the sanctions on the ground. Not just for a few weeks or few months, but sanctions to work they have to be sustained and implemented over a course of time.

For Iran, it took about three years of sustained sanctions and secondary boycott to bring Iran back to the negotiating table. So, the pressure has to be really on and be sustained.

BOLDUAN: What I hear is patience, if you will, let these sanctions go into place and put more pressure, but seems that patience is waning, Colonel, on Russia and China. You saw -- we saw this statement put out by the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that is now time for China and Russia to stand up and take direct action of their own. Are Russia and China interested in taking more direct action against North Korea?

COLONEL STEVE WARREN (RETIRED), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, the Russians and the Chinese have said publicly that they do have some interest in trying to help contain the North Koreans, but the problem is we haven't seen a lot of action from them.

They did support the most recent U.N. Security Council resolution which is a good sign. But we also know that it's not necessarily in their best interest to see North Korea come under -- have them come apart. They're walking a tight rope just like we are to try to keep North Korea where they want North Korea to be as a buffer against the United States.

BOLDUAN: And Tony, South Korea's president had told CNN he has no interest in deploying or developing nuclear weapons in South Korea. John McCain, though, has said that sending U.S. nuclear weapons there should be seriously considered. Is that a viable option here?

BLINKEN: Look, our policy is denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula not re-nuclearization of the peninsula. So, I don't think that's a good place to go. That said, absolute solidarity with our allies in South Korea is critical. North Korea is constantly trying to drive a wedge between us. We shouldn't play into that.

So, when the president was unfortunately critical of his counterpart in South Korea, that's doing North Korea's business for it. But we need to stay in solidarity and as my colleague said, we do need to get China and Russia to continue to do more.

China has, of course, a unique role to play because 90 percent of North Korea's trade is through China but Russia, there are thousands of North Korean guest workers in Russia sending the money back that they get not to their families but to the government to pay for the military program. That needs to stop.

So, it's a little bit curious, again, why we have this friendly relationship between the president and Mr. Putin, when Russia is a part of the North Korea problem too.

BOLDUAN: Colonel, what's your position, what's your take and analysis on the idea of, obviously, that's the path North Korea is going, to, you know, to be nuclear North Korea. What about South Korea? What do you think about that conversation?

WARREN: Well, you know, I know the South Koreans have talked about at least wanting to put this nuclear weapon into South Korea on the table. What that really is, is a military option. There's a broad range of military options that are available to us.

When you think military options you have to think that these options come through all different domains. Military options from the air, from the space, from cyber space, from the sea, the land.

So, all of these things create pressure that can underpin the diplomacy and economic actions that we're trying to take to get the North Koreans to behave in a way that, you know, suits the western world.

BOLDUAN: Sue, on a basic level, do you think a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula is a pipe dream at this point?

TERRY: What I don't think we should ever give up on the goal of trying to achieve denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. We should never publicly accept North Korea as a nuclear power. We cannot give them that kind of prestige and so on.

[11:15:04] And we need to continue with sanctions and pressure. But you're right at the end of the day there is a real possibility that North Korea is never going to give up nukes and they might achieve that capability to attack the United States with nuclear-tipped ICBM.

We need to prepare for that possibility, which means containment and deterrence, missile defense, everything else that comes with it.

BOLDUAN: The march towards that hasn't been stopped or deterred by the sanctions that are in place. Thank you all very much. I really appreciate it.

Coming up for us, President Trump has a new target in the media, ESPN, of all places. Why is he taking on the sports network right now? We will have details after a break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: President Trump now slamming ESPN and demanding an apology after host, Jemele Hill, called the president a white supremacist in a tweet. The initial response following that tweet from the White House came from Press Secretary Sarah Sanders who called Hill's comment a fireable offense.

Hill has issued an apology to ESPN saying in a statement that her comments were her personal beliefs not the network's. But now the president is weighing in.

[11:20:08] CNN White House reporter, Kaitlan Collins is joining me now with more on this. So, Kaitlan, why is the president weighing in here?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, that's a great question, Kate. Though the president has a lot on his plate right now ranging from North Korea to tax reform and what's going on with immigration, he's instead been on a tear on Twitter this morning going after ESPN and an employee who labeled him a white supremacist tweeting "ESPN is paying a really big price for its politics and bad programming.

People are dumping it in record numbers. Apologize for the untruth." So we see there, Kate, he's calling on this employee from this company to apologize for the negative things she said about him.

BOLDUAN: We will all just stand by to see if any apology comes that way. President Trump is weighing in, as you said, been on a tear this morning on Twitter, also on twitter but also in some comments he made yesterday. He's speaking out again, weighing in again on the Charlottesville violence of last month following his meeting with Senator Tim Scott. Why is he reigniting this, Kaitlan?

COLLINS: I don't know, but he sure is. He met with Senator Tim Scott at the White House this week, the senator who was critical of the president's initial remarks to Charlottesville. He was hoping to get a word in with the president and kind of show him where his remarks were wrong and why they had such contention.

But then yesterday we heard from the president about his version of the meeting he said that he attempted to justify his comment that there was violence on both sides in Charlottesville. Listen to what the president said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I think especially in light of the advent of Antifa, if you look at what's going on there, you have some pretty bad dudes on the other side also and essentially that's what I said. Now because of what's happened since then, with Antifa, look at what's happened since Charlottesville, a lot of people are saying, in fact, a lot of people have written, gee, Trump might have a point. I said you got some very bad people on the other side also, which is true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: So, Kate, as you see he's not only not apologizing for those comments, he's essentially doubling down on them.

BOLDUAN: It sure seems like it. Kaitlan, thanks so much. Thanks also for making it through the construction noise that is constant and always comes on in the middle of live shots.

Let me bring in right now Keith Boykin, a CNN political commentator, Democratic strategist and former Clinton White House aide, and Bruce LeVell, executive director of the National Diversity Council for Trump. Great to see both of you. Thank you for coming in.

Bruce, to you, on exactly what Kaitlan was just talking about, and what we played from President Trump yesterday, why is the president going back to this? He was widely criticized by his party for equating the white nationalists and the protesters who were there protesting white nationalists and he was only really asked in this gaggle about his reaction to the Tim Scott meeting?

BRUCE LEVELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL DIVERSITY COUNCIL FOR TRUMP: Well, thanks for having me, Kate. First of all, I'm surprised that we're actually even talking about this, especially in light of the horrific, you know, tragedies we have in Texas and Florida.

I've been a little out of the loop doing mission work trying to help people take trees out of their houses and roofs in Atlanta, but I will tell you this, the president has made it very clear people getting back to Charlottesville who showed up with some intent to protest the statute. Some who came which I won't give this other group any life and I've said it on our other shows I will never give a hate group out of Louisiana life, I want to caution the media to stop giving this type of entities life.

It doesn't do anything good for the American people. It has no substance and is very counterproductive especially what's going on in the world today of being threatened and blown up by North Korea and things that can help the American people that effect since we're on the subject of race.

That the 15 percent tax cut, I like to say cut, not reform, that affects all Americans, especially small businesses like myself, who I have a business in Atlanta, which I represent 28 million, one of 28 million small businesses that can actually help and fuel and help this economy that affects all these relationships.

Now in terms of the conversation with Senator Scott, I don't know what was said in there. I do know that it's always great to see any senator that wants to talk to the president and to have dialog, president Trump is a really good man.

I watch a lot of people come on the show and try to articulate his heart. I know him. He's a very compassionate man who cares about people. You saw how he said about how the parents brought these children over and put them under duress with DACA and wants to show that he wants to be compassionate and help a lot of folks.

It's disheartening to see this narrative being played out to put President Trump in this type of, you know, this category which is totally false. President Trump is 71 years old. OK. For 40 plus years he's been in media and on tv shows, he's been all over the world.

And once again, not one person has ever come forward to validate this type of unjust claims they're trying to put on the president. It's totally wrong. It's totally wrong.

[11:25:05] BOLDUAN: I don't think it's -- I mean, I'm not talking about 70 years in the past. I'm talking about right now and the comments he's making and the meeting he had. Bruce, I love having you on and want to continue having you on, just to be clear all the things you listed out we're talking about North Korea.

We spent weeks and days and I'm talking about it today about the disasters left behind by the hurricane. So just so we're clear we're talking about it all. We walk and chew gum at the same time and you do as well. We're talking about this in the comments that the president doubling down of the president making, is making on his Charlottesville --

LEVELL: He's condemning violence on all sides. Condemning violence on all sides -- harm people -- everyone.

BOLDUAN: Well, let me bring Keith in, but that is something that Tim Scott wanted to talk to the president about because he is not putting violence -- Tim Scott what he wanted to make sure what is making the point is this isn't about violence on all sides.

This is about racists and those who came there to protest racists, but it's that comment of saying, that it's on both sides, Keith, that the president is sticking with. I mean, Tim Scott, he said some response to all of this yesterday, you can't rebuild Rome in a day.

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. And first let me answer Bruce's question the reason we're talking about this because the president himself spoke about this on Air Force One yesterday. He made this an issue. It was starting to die down. He brought it up again. He didn't have to bring it up.

And because of that, we are discussing it right now. When the president says that both sides have bad people on it and doesn't focus on the people who actually killed someone in Charlottesville, he's reigniting an old injury, a new wound if you will, creating because of this issue we won't let go.

I made a list yesterday of all the people that Donald Trump has himself labeled racist recently on Twitter. The list includes Barack Obama, Bryant Gumbel, Tere, Tavis Smiley, the movie "Jungle Unchain," even the tv show "Blackish" calls all these people racist.

And yet Trump gets upset when somebody attacks him and calls him a racist or white supremacist. The reason people call him that, Bruce, because they see his behavior and the pattern of behavior that goes back before he took office, when he was sued by the federal government, when he was leading the charge against the Central Park Five, when he was attacking Barack Obama for five years, the racist attack on his birth certificate.

LEVELL: The one Hillary started.

BOYKIN: -- Muslims an Mexicans and everyone else. This is a history of racial indifference or at least racial indifference but racism on the part of the president of the United States.

BOLDUAN: I want to move this conversation forward and respond, Bruce, this is how Tim Scott, this is how Senator Scott reacted yesterday, about this. He said he had gone into the meeting and told "Politico" that he had gone into the meeting with the president because he had wanted to raise concerns about the fact that somehow three centuries of American history of raping and murdering people based on their color is somehow equal to what Antifa is doing today.

It's not that there aren't vents people everywhere, this is about race. That is what an anti-Semitism, and that is what Tim Scott went in to express. But does this show you that the president didn't learn anything from the backlash that came at him?

LEVELL: Well, once again -- well, we don't -- first of all we weren't in the meeting in all due respect and we don't know what was said. We only heard pretty much what Tim Scott has conveyed. I don't know what his constituents have challenged him --

BOLDUAN: I take Tim Scott on his word. LEVELL: Well, I'm not saying I'm not going to take his word. We don't know the entire meeting, Kate, in all fairness, we weren't there listening to everything. At the end of the day, you know, it's very good for --

BOLDUAN: Bruce, you hear what Tim Scott went in to say and heard what President Trump said on the plane yesterday.

LEVELL: Well, you know, it's getting back to condemning all violence on all sides that came in there to harm our precious right of the first amendment. There were other folks over there that came with a peaceful way to protest the statues since we're back on Charlottesville, who wanted to do harm and other folks who wanted to come over and harm other folks.

The president has made it clear and said it's hate on all side, hate everywhere that want to stop people from the first amendment to peacefully protest. Listen, we're not going to sit up here and twist words around and jump in the president's head.

BOYKIN: It's not about twisting words --

LEVELL: Excuse me. Excuse me, Keith, I didn't cut you off. Trying to --

BOYKIN: Go ahead.

LEVELL: -- put words in a meeting that neither one of us were sitting in that room and involved in. We own got one statement a paragraph of what Tim Scott said after a half hour of dialog back and forth. So, we don't know exactly what went back and forth.

BOYKIN: OK. That --

LEVELL: But the end of the day --

BOYKIN: You're filibustering now.

LEVELL: -- there's no way in the world for us as American citizens since we're on the subject of race reconciliation, this is something that on the social issues of how we direct ourselves and our ministries and our society in our cultures and our communities, on who reconcile with, some who we take care of.

BOLDUAN: Wait.

BOYKIN: OK.

LEVELL: It's not putting policy on race for the president --