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tv   CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin  CNN  June 20, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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people lost confidence. >> and that's especially true in the aftermath of comey having said the same thing, so maybe in the run-up to comey's testimony, you think, you've got a lot of things on my plate, i'll get to that. but after comey says, he showed no interest in it for them, these many weeks later to still be showing no interest, i don't know. >> gentlemen, thank you so much. let's roll along. top of the hour, you're watching cnn. cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. -- captions by vitac -- >> by the end of this week. remember that the house already passed its bill in may. remember the victory lab there in may with the house republicans and the president. all of this plays into the looming deadline that republican leaders have self-imposed for themselves, a vote before the summer recess begins in july. so look at the calendar. that's eight legislative days
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remaining. also moments ago, the white house in its first on-camera press briefing in eight days revealed this about the president's part in forming said legislation. >> has the president seen the draft of the senate health care bill? >> i don't know that. that's -- i know that there was some chatter today. i know the president has been on the phone extensively with the leader and with key senators so i don't know if he's seen the legislation or not. but i know that -- extremely hard and the president has been giving his input and has ideas, feedback to them and he's very excited about where this thing is headed. >> do you know if anyone on the staff has seen a draft of the bill. >> i don't. i know that they are up there working hand in glove with them so to the extent that it's -- i don't even know -- you know, where we are in terms of a final plan. i know that the saf has been working very closely with the leader staff, with senate finance and others, so i don't want to get ahead of an
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announcement from senator mcconnell saying when that final product is done so i will refer you back to him. >> what's more, the leader of the senate republican seemed to confirm democrats may get very little say on the text of the senate health care bill. >> when you say that democrats aren't interested, but they're not invited into the -- >> well, they've made it clear earlier they were not interested in participating in this. they have no interest in it whatsoever. >> so are they invited into your planning sessions? >> into the republican conference? no. but they made it clear they're not interested in helping. they are not interested in what we are trying to achieve. at all. and i do find it particularly laughable the complaints about process. >> let's begin with our cnn senior white house correspondent jim acosta who was in that briefing. jim, the white house -- let's begin on health care and we know that the white house talked about how the president wants a bill that, quote, unquote, has
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heart. do we know that wha that means. >> that's a reference to stories that came out last week from cnn and others that the president was saying behind closed doors to a group of republican lawmakers that the bill coming out of the house to repeal and replace obamacare was, quote, mean and needed to have some heart. and so that was sean spicer acknowledging during the briefing today that the president did have that criticism of this health care bill. and so, it is interesting that the white house is acknowledging that. it makes you wonder what they're going to say once this senate health care bill, once it ever comes out, is scored by the congressional budget office, and i expect it to still show millions and millions of americans potentially losing health care coverage as a result of that bill being signed into law. and so, that's going to be another question for this white house to answer, but as you heard, and you just played there a few moments ago t president or at least sean spicer can't say whether the president is even looked at this legislation, but it does appear he has an opinion on it, and he's expressing it. >> so, couple questions on health care, also a couple questions in the wake of otto
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warmbier's death coming back after being, you know, 17 months detained in north korea. this young american student, you know, dies yesterday. the president just tweeted about north korea. what did he say? >> yeah, we can put this up on screen if you have it. if not, i can just read it to you. he tweeted a few moments ago, while i greatly appreciate the efforts of president xi in china to help with north korea, it has not worked out, at least i know china tried. brooke, that's in reference to what is essentially been the president's strategy since the beginning days of this administration, which is not to punish china on trade, which is something he promised to do during the campaign, in exchange for chinese cooperation with respect to north korea and what the president seems to be acknowledging there in that tweet is that that did not work and so it is sort of interesting when you look back at what the president said earlier today in that meeting with the ukrainian president and then what sean spicer said during the brief ago few moments ago, where they -- they're right up to the edge of blaming the obama administration for not doing enough to secure the release of otto warmbier,
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and yet right after this briefing is over, the president is saying, well, you know, this other thing i tried over here with china and prodding china to pressure north korea, that didn't work. so, i think this is going to continue to be a question for the trump administration moving forward, was this the right idea, was this the best idea in terms of trying to put pressure on north korea. because the president gave away a lot of trade sanctions on china that he promised during the campaign in exchange for chinese cooperation on this issue and he didn't get it. >> jim acosta, thank you. another big briefing, big topic in that briefing was georgia, the georgia sixth congress all right district. voting has been underway in the most expensive house race in u.s. history. much of america's watching this pivotal election, including president trump. democrats are pushing this race as a referendum on his presidency and president trump certainly hasn't shied away from tweeting about the race. this morning, he took a shot at the democrat trying to win the seat that has been solid red since 1979.
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here's a tweet from the president. democratic jon ossoff, who wants to raise your taxes to the highest level and is weak on crime and security doesn't even live in the district. let's bring in someone who knows this race very, very well. greg is back with us today. he's a political reporter for the "atlanta journal constitution." and greg, you know, obviously turnout is key and i'm also hearing that you're dealing with some bad, bad weather in this part of georgia. >> yeah, there's flash flood warnings today, traffic all over atlanta's highways, which is not too big of a surprise, but the streets are clogged with rain. so, there's a question about how that will dampen turnout today. >> what did you think, just -- we just moving off of the weather and on to, you know, the president, we showed his tweet from earlier this morning and yet you have sean spicer in the briefing moments ago saying don't read too much into it with regard to this, you know, mega-expensive six sixth district race. >> by the way, we're at more than $50 million. we could get to $60 million when
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all the tally is counted up. but trump has clouded everything about this race from really the beginning. where both candidates are both talking about -- they're saying they're talking about local issues, really it's a national debate and most voters are talking about trump as well. this is a district that trump narrowly won just in november. probably would not be competitive at all if not for questions about trump, and jon ossoff, the democrat in the race, has capitalized on that. he's used his make trump furious platform at the beginning of the campaign to help raise $23 million plus. >> wow. also, i think what really fascinates me about this district specifically is the women, that the suburban, educated moms. you have a lot of them in the sixth district and these are the women who, as we point out, for years and years had voted republican last november a lot of them actually voted for hillary clinton. >> and that's what made this district so close in november. and ossoff, it's fascinating, because polls show ea reverse gender gap.
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karen handel is running to be the first female republican congresswoman in georgia and yet she's trailing ossoff by as many as double digits in recent polls and she's leading ossoff among men and ossoff is just assailing her on her ties -- on her role at susan g. komen foundation, so there are ads all over the district about that. >> polls close at 7:00. you have a big night ahead of you. greg, thank you so much at the agc. >> thanks for having me. once again, reports of shoddy paperwork is dogging fire department national security adviser michael flynn. it appears there was another case in which flynn was not entire truthful about his interactions overseas. the top democrats on the house oversight and foreign affairs committees are now looking into two trips flynn made to the middle east. in one case, the congressmen say that flynn failed to disclose one of the trips on his security
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clearance form. in the other example, they say flynn listed a hotel they say that just doesn't exist. flynn's lawyer declined to comment in an e-mail to cnn. so i have nick akerman with me, assistant special watergate prosecutor now a partner at the law firm of dorsey and whitney. and cnn chief local correspondent dana bash so welcome to both of you. and dana, let me just dive right in with you. how -- we're seeing this trend with trump officials forgetting or not disclosing the details, jeff sessions, jared kushner, and michael flynn. how does it happen, especially when we're talking about a campaign that has been so totally under scrutiny. >> how does it happen? you know, that's the -- the big question. how and why these people, particularly somebody at the level of national security adviser, either doesn't know that he has to disclose these things or doesn't find people to work with him who do know.
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and then the next question is, if that is -- if that is the case, how did it happen? and then sort of furthermore, brooke, given the fact that we are where we are and these investigations are going forward, the fact that it is a series of problems that mike flynn clearly seems to have with regard to not disclosing meetings and business that he's doing, that puts him in legal jeopardy. so does that mean, as senator sheldon whitehouse of rhode island has said publicly on cnn's air, he believes that flynn is making deals with the special prosecutor, with the fbi, and what does a deal mean for either donald trump or other people in trump's orbit. could it be ominous for that. >> you read my mind. >> all have a snowball effect. >> that is where i was going next. let's listen to that sound. this is senator sheldon
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whitehouse. >> all the signals are suggesting that he's already cooperating with the fbi. and may have been for some time. this would be just another bit of leverage for the prosecutors to make sure that he was cooperating and giving truthful testimony in order to avoid lengthy imprisonment. that's the conclusion from all of the evidence and some experience in dealing with this. >> listen, nick, we don't know what flynn knows or what he might have if, in fact, he is talking. but would you agree with the assessment from the senator? >> well, it's certainly possible. but let me just say this about that national security clearance form. i just did one a few months ago. i had to certify that everything in that form, i didn't omit anything, i didn't lie about anything. it stated that if i did omit anything or lie about anything, it's all over the form. i mean, you'd have to be a complete moron to miss this. it says that you will go to jail, five years imprisonment so
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the idea that all of these people came down with amnesia after meeting with ambassador kislyak, which i refer to as kisly kislyakitis. it's like the dementors in "harry potter" sucking all the memories out. >> you're having a hard time, number one. but back to sheldon whitehouse, the democratic senator who's saying, you know, listen, if you're a prosecutor, you'd be telling your client, shh, because if you want a deal, if you don't want prison time, don't talk. and we haven't heard flynn talk. >> that's right. but he may be. i mean, we don't know exactly what the prosecutors are doing. there is a reason why donald trump went to jim comey and said, i want you to stop the investigation. the reason being, donald trump is not -- he's not mr. pro bono. so, the idea that he's trying to get the fbi to stop this
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investigation into jim comey says to me, what is it that donald trump is concerned about, what does he think will happen if mike flynn is investigated, convicted, and sentenced to a lengthy prison term. what is his one get out of jail card free? and that is whoever he knows information about. >> yeah, it was the -- he was apparently reportedly said to comey, get it out there publicly that i'm not under investigation. but dana, it's been interesting and this is also something else that senator whitehouse pointed out in that interview with wolf, even after the firing, the president has been in touch with mike flynn and he has said, stay strong. stay strong. what was your read on that? >> or at least got a message to mike flynn that he should stay strong. we're not exactly sure -- no, you're exactly right. who knows. you know? it could be that he's trying to be loyal to a friend and somebody who was extremely loyal to trump during a campaign and
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at times where trump had a lot of po of people fleeing his orbit when he made some pretty big mistakes. and michael flynn did not do that. now, on the flipside, i totally agree that donald trump doesn't generally just offer what seems to be almost unconditional support and loyalty just out of the goodness of his heart. there might be something else there that we gijust don't know about. but that is why the concept or notion of flynn potentially talking to the feds in order to get, you know, to get either immunity or a lighter sentence for whatever it is that he may have done, may have done, that is criminal is a big red flag for the white house and for the president himself, potentially. >> i mean, just quickly, do you think the president might be nervous? >> do i think so?
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>> yeah. this possibility that he's cooperating with the fbi. >> sure. i think -- absolutely. but i think even more so, i mean, we know from so many pieces of evidence, but even on this particular issue, that what he's most concerned with is his own reputation and being cleared of doing anything allegedly improper, but also anything that even suggests that he didn't win the white house without some help from the russians. so, i think that is probably what is paramount here. >> okay. dan bash, nick, thank you both so very much here. meantimes ago, speaking of the president, he tweeted about north korea, just a day after otto warmbier, the 22-year-old american student was released by the north korean regime died. here, what the president's now saying about china helping as lawmakers pressure president trump to do something. also ahead, first on cnn, did president trump's nominee
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welcome back. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. now to the just sadness and outrage over otto warmbier, the u.s. student who died just days after being released by north korea. 22-year-old warmbier was brought back home from north korea in a
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coma and it's still unclear why he was detained in january of last year and sentenced in march of 2016 to 15 years of hard labor for tearing down a political poster. senator john mccain has called warmbier's death murder and president trump says it is a, quote, total disgrace. >> it's a total disgrace what happened to otto. that should never, ever be allowed to happen. and frankly, if he were brought home sooner, i think the result would have been a lot different. he should have been brought home that same day. >> with me now, bill richardson, former u.s. ambassador to the united nations. he's also head of the richardson center for global engagement which worked on behalf to have the warmbier family to help secure otto's release. he has been to north korea several times, meeting with diplomats, helping win the release of an american detained in north korea in 1996 as well
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as the release of bodies of six american servicemen. thank you so much for joining me. >> thank you, brooke. >> i mean, first, i have to begin with this family. i mean, otto was in college. they send their son away to asia to study abroad. he ends up coming home, unresponsive, in a coma, parents have no clue what north korea did to him. how are they handling this? >> well, they're heartbroken. i've been in touch with them, mickey bergman, my executive director, was with them over the weekend. we got close to them because we were working very closely to secure otto's release. we met 20 times with the north koreans in new york, the united nations representatives. i sent a delegation late last year to north korea to try to get otto out in exchange for some humanitarian assistance. i mean, this is a personal tragedy. this is a young, good kid. he made a mistake.
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he shouldn't have taken that banner down to, but to get 15 years. and then failure to disclose by the north koreans that he was in a coma. was he tortured? was he abused? we don't know. and north korea should come clean. >> governor, otto's father was very critical of the obama administration's handling of his son's detention. here he was. >> when otto was first taken, we were advised by the past administration to take a low profile. while they worked to obtain his release. we did so without result. earlier this year, cindy and i decided the time for strategic patience was over. and we made a few media appearances and traveled to washington to meet with ambassador joe yun at the state department. it is my understanding that ambassador yun and his team at the direction of the president aggressively pursued resolution
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of the situation. question is, do i think the past administration could have done more? i think the results speak for themselves. >> so, let me just read. we have an obama administration statement today. "during the course of the obama administration, we had no higher priority than securing the release of americans detained overseas. these tireless efforts resulted in the release of at least ten americans from north korean custody during the course of the obama administration. it is painful that mr. warmbier was not among them, but our efforts on this behalf never ceased, even in the waning days of the administration." governor, did you have any conversations, you know, with the obama administration and if so, what did they entail? >> yes, i did, brooke, and i met with susan rice at the white house. they were aware. the obama administration of our private efforts to try to get otto out. they were very concerned. you know, one of the problems was that the election was taking
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place and the north koreans obviously didn't want to deal with a lame duck administration that was leaving. they wanted to deal with a new administration, so i think that caused a delay. now, i'm going to give credit to president trump and the state department for being aggressive by as soon as they found out that otto was in a coma, they demanded the north koreans take otto out and send him back to the u.s. they sent an airplane. so i'm not disputing their efforts. but i think the issue has to be, what do we do now? there are three more americans there. the north koreans should release them unconditionally. there's one canadian there. they're used as bargaining chips. let's hope that these three americans are not abused the way otto warmbier was, neglected. it's a crime against humanity, what the north koreans did. i've been dealing with them for years, and i've never seen it so bad. >> i mean, do you think, though, that otto's death will make it
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more or less likely that those three come home? >> if the north koreans were smart, they'd realize what a disaster they've caused with the way they treated otto. they should release these three unconditionally as an act of contrition, as a goodwill gesture, humanitarian gesture. but i don't know what they're going to do. because kim jong un, the leader, controls the entire decision making process. and it's uncertain what they're going to do, but they should be punished in some way for the way they acted. international public opinion being the best vehicle so far. >> well, senator john mccain, i'm sure you've seen this today. he's calling this a murder. do you see it as a murder? >> well, i see it as close to that in that he might have been tortured. he might have been abused. it certainly was not botulism that caused the ka ma or taking
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a sleeping pill. >> which is what north korea said. >> yeah, the north koreans said that. that's a lie. that's wrong. that's been medically disproved by cincinnati doctors, by many others. so this is why north korea needs to come clean. i wouldn't -- i wouldn't lose a lot of sleep over that, but i think this is something that involves the not just mistreatment of an american but a violation of the geneva convention of the treatment of prisoners and this is why it's so important that we do everything we can, the international community, the security council, to find these three other americans, get them out, and the canadian, and concentrate on humanitarian issues as a way to possibly start a dialogue with north korea over missiles, over nuclear weapons, but i wouldn't hold my breath, brooke. >> what about china? just last question.
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u.s. and chinese officials are supposed to meet in d.c. tomorrow and the president just tweeted, "while i greatly appreciate the efforts of president xi in china to help with north korea, it has not worked out. at least i know china tried." china tried, governor. what's your response to that? >> well my response is that the president tried a new tactic, push china to do more because they've done very little. they have major leverage over north korea. they give them food. they trade with them. energy assistance. coal. oil. 80% of all commerce goes through china to get to north korea. they have the juice with north korea, but they haven't been willing to use it. i think that china may have -- the president asked for their help with otto warmbier, they probably helped. it seems from the tweet. but not enough. and china needs to be more active, not just on humanitarian issues like otto, but also on stopping the north koreans from
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these missile tests, from these nuclear tests, from these bluster and instability they're causing in the korean peninsula. so, china needs to step up, and i hope that the president and his team get a lot tougher with china and push them more, because it's not enough, what they've done. >> former ambassador to the united nations, former governor of new mexico, bill richardson, thank you so much. we are following some breaking news out of brussels. a situation unfolding there at a train station. there is apparently a lot of police activity. more when we come back. here's to the safety first... i think i might burst... totally immersed weekenders. whatever kind of weekender you are, there's a hilton for you.
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>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> all right. welcome back. you're watching cnn. we've some breaking news coming out of brussels, belgium, where there are reports of explosions and gunfire. cnn's aaron mclaughlin is there.
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aaron, tell me just what you know. >> reporter: hi, brooke. well, i'm standing not far from the scene of this activity, the incident that unfolded. police just confirming on twitter that there has been some sort of incident at brussels grand central train station. you can see it in the distance there. they have set up a security perimeter around the station. you can see a very large police presence. there's also a military presence out on the street. the military presence there, largely because brussels is on a continued heightened state of alert due to the terror threat. no suggestion so far that this incident at the moment is a result of terrorism. what we do know from police tweeting out that there has been an incident at the train station, one of the main train demonstrations here at brussels. the police also tweeting that the situation is under control, asking that they follow -- that
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individuals follow instructions. we know from belgian media that the police have confirmed, according to belgian media, that there has been some sort of explosion inside the station and that soldiers opened up on a private individual. that is what we know so far. we are working to get more information, brooke. >> we'll let you do that. erin, thank you so much outside the train station. i have remy, also a witness on the phone. remy, are you in or near this train station? what are you seeing? >> i was near the train station. now my employer is driving me back home. >> did you hear the bang? reports of some sort of explosion inside the train station. >> yeah, it was -- i was actually waiting in the main hall when all of a sudden there was a very loud explosion, and then in front of me, i could see -- i could see a burning object. people were looking around us and after a second, there was a
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second explosion, and then people started to run out of the station. and then i could hear very loud bangs, although i could not see any people injured at all. and then i ran into the hilton hotel. >> remy, where exactly were these explosions? were they in the middle to the train station or just on the outside? >> inside, inside, in the middle of the train station. where most people are waiting. >> near where people are waiting. and when you say you saw one burning and then you heard that second explosion, how -- how loud -- how large was that fire? how large was -- >> the fire, that was actually very surprising because the bang was very loud. it was like a very big fire work that just went off in front of my nose but then the fire, i have a picture. the fire is quite small. so it was a very small explosion, but with a very loud
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bang. yeah. >> okay. remy, stay with me. i've got one more person i want to bring on. arash azami, also on the phone with me. >> hi there. >> it's brooke, you're live on cnn. i understand you tried to walk into the train station moments ago. were you being held back because of the police? >> yeah. so, we -- we left our taxi, we were late for our train. we walked into the train station and right at that moment, we were loudly evacuated by security personnel, so first we didn't understand them. we saw people running out of the station and then we figured something must be wrong. and then we were let in by personnel of a restaurant next to the train station and that's where i am right now. >> so i was just talking to our last guest, who actually saw and then heard a second explosion. did you hear two explosions? >> no, we didn't hear any
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explosions. we just witnessed the evacuation, and right at that moment, all kinds of police cars and security were rushing around to secure the building. >> all right. i'm just getting information in talking to you arash, a bomb unit has just arrived there on the scene. if you're just joining us, we're watching these pictures out of brussels, belgium. you see a lot of flashing blue lights, huge police presence because there's been reports of explosions inside one of their central train stations in the belgian capital. belgian police referring to it as an incident with an individual at the station. they're saying that this situation is under control. but please follow the instructions. we're talking to two different eye-witnesses here. so, arash, it's just about quarter until 10:00 your time in belgium. how busy is the train station right about now? >> well, right now, of course, i can't tell. like i said, it's evacuated but usually this is a very busy time
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at this kind of train stations, and i can confirm that right now i'm looking at an explosive, what is that, one of these with a unit to dismantle explosives and a command car of the police and there's a lot of military here. but the situation seems to be contained. there's no -- there's no sign of panic on the station square. >> that is a good sign. that is a really good sign. arash, thank you. michael weiss just got seated. you know, terror expert here and just listen, no one's calling this terrorism, michael. but you know, when you hear, especially in the wake of what's happened in paris and london and when you're hearing eye-witnesses describe bangs and explosions inside a train station a lot of people's minds go there. >> and talso it's brussels. we saw all of the paris attackers had essentially plotted their attacks from brussels and there was the famous attack in the brussels airport. major transport hub.
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explosion, a bomb, this doesn't seem to have done much damage, thank god, but thoughts immediately go toward a case of jihad, rights? just given the venue and the city involved. >> it seems like, you know, belgian police were on it very quickly. it sounds like they've cordoned off the area. we spoke to an eye-witness who couldn't go any further inside the train station, was told to leave. the original witness didn't describe the explosion -- it sounds like the sound really reverberated and was quite loud but the way he described the fire was quite small. we just don't know a lot, really, timotat this point in t. >> well it wouldn't be the first time that a bomb turned out to be a dud or that was semi-successful in detonating but not having the mix ma'aximu impact that had been intended but completely unaware as to what the situation is at this point. >> our reporter at the train station and here's an overlook of the city. she had mentioned there's been a heightened state of alert in belgium.
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was that because of what's happened elsewhere in europe? >> yeah, and also, this is the sort of central hub for isis's european network. brussels -- belgian police authorities and law enforcement, intelligence have had a really are rough time rounding up everybody that they suspect might be at large. i mean, remember, isis started sending operatives into europe even before they lost kobani in 2014. this was always part of their main strategy. first we build our caliphate, do our nation building in syria and iraq and then bring the jihad to the west and they were relying on native sons and daughters from europe who had either gone off and got the training in roqqa or more often than not were radicalized and remotely controlled by isis command while they walked the streets of europe, particularly the french-speaking streets of europe. >> you and i were sitting here 24 hours ago. >> the champs-elysees. >> we were talking about the champs, the individual who tried to ram a car or a van into, you know, security police.
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>> yep. >> along the champs-elysees and also the man who was outside of -- in london outside of that mosque in that community in london. and you know, a white man in that case. we don't know if he was specifically targeting, you know, muslims, but it was just after ramadan, after midnight, just people are on edge right now, especially in europe. >> sure. and remember -- i mean, well, the london attack and the champs-elysees attack, these were both rudimentary in the sense that this was getting in a car and mowing people over. a bomb, though, it comes back to the paris and brussels attacks. the bomb maker for that isis network lived in brussels. so, when you hear bomb, and you see a major transport hub in a european capital city, the headquarters of nato, the headquarters of the european union, you know, i'm not trying to jump to conclusions here, but i am thinking -- >> that's important to point out the significance of brussels. >> right. >> seeing all those leaders just, what, was that a couple weeks ago, looking at some new
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pictures here. so on the right side of the screen, i presume that this is tape that's just come back in from us, perhaps after the explosion. guys, just get in my ear and let me know if we know anything. yes, i am correct. so everyone standing around wondering what the heck is going on. at least talking to the las eye-witne last eye-witness, that there doesn't appear to be a lot of panic, that the police have this under control and perhaps hopefully it was a dud and it didn't wreak the damage that this individual was hoping. but still, you know, my goodness. just in europe right now. >> well, remember, what was it a little over a year ago, the bombing here in new york in chelsea, which was essentially a -- fortunately turned out to be nothing more, really, than a dumpster fire, but that could have been very significant in a downtown crowded area full of bars, restaurants, people, you know, enjoying a night life, and it just -- it was a bit of a damp squib. if this is a similar situation, then, yeah, this is the reason
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why people aren't running in terror. >> that was still plenty scary for a lot of people on a saturday night in manhattan. michael, stay with me. i've got erin mclaughlin in brussels. i understand you spoke with the police. what did you learn? >> reporter: hi, brooke. well, we're still waiting for more information. police at this point being tight lipped with the details. they have confirmed that there has been an incident at the central train station here in brussels just behind me, you can see that they've cordoned off the road leading to the station. you can see a very heavy police as well as a military presence. a producer here on the ground a short while ago saw a bomb disposal truck drive by, but in terms of what exactly unfolded here, the sequence of events, authorities at the moment, again, not saying at present. we do know, though, from police that the situation is under
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control here in brussels as they continue to work on what now, obviously, is an ongoing investigation into what exactly happened. but again, a situation is under control, according to eye-witnesses, there were blasts, some pops heard inside the station itself, unclear how many individuals were injured in the incident, if there are any injuries at all. also, unclear how authorities managed to get the situation under control. >> erin, thank you very much. in brussels for us. we'll come back to you when you get more information. but let's bring in anthony may, he's a retired atf explosives investigator. you know, anthony, we just heard erin say that the bomb disposal truck is there. tell me what they're doing. >> well, right now, they're probably going to try to clear the area. ensure that there are no secondary devices. i'm not very familiar with what's going on there. kind of caught me off guard on this one. but i'm sure there's backpacks, luggage laying around, maybe, that they've got to go through,
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just to make sure there's no other hazards, no secondary devices to clear the scene so they can get the injured out and then start the criminal investigation. >> anthony, are you near a tv right now? >> no, i'm not, actually. i'm on my way to an airport. >> okay. well, let me just describe to you, because we're getting our first images what appears to be the explosion mid-explosion, this sort of fiery tower, maybe, i guess, 5 to 6 feet in height just based upon the height of the structure next to it. that would be in any train station and you can see the fiery glow, people running from it. you know, beyond that, the fact that you're not looking at it, tell me -- tell me what -- what, you know, units will do once they upon that explosion. the remnants. >> they're going to try to establish where the blast seat was once they start the investigation but i think they're probably -- it's probably too soon into this event to start looking into
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that. like i said, their major concern right now is to secure the scene and make the scene safe to evacuate the injured as well as follow on investigators. >> what about the person who put it there? how are they looking for him or her? >> i'm sorry, why -- i'm in a very noisy background area. why are they -- >> i said, what about the person who left the explosion? how are they looking for him or her? >> well, typically, they're going to start canvassing the area for any cctv cameras, footage that may have picked up the individual. teams of investigators pulling those camera footages, reviewing those to see what they can glean from that. as far as identifying who the individual was and what direction he might have headed in and then continue trying to following him with the cctv cameras. >> stay with me, anthony. erin just back to you, you know, outside of this train station. it's just about 10:00 at night
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where you are. describe to me just what's normal at this time of evening in terms of crowds around the train station. >> reporter: i mean, this incident did happen later in the evening, not as congested as that train station as it would be during, say, a rush hour, people would be making their way home from work. as you can see, this scene before you now, the street is -- the street is empty except for emergency services, which are responding to this incident. there's also a military presence out. traffic, though, is moving sort of around this area. there are -- there is a small group of bystanders that have gathered, mainly curious to see what is going on. other than that, the area surrounding the station itself appears to have been completely evacuated. brooke? >> erin, the first eye-witness who i spoke with who it looks like is actually the one who provided the image of the
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explosion, was saying that it appeared to be -- or he heard two explosions and that the explosion was sort of deeper within the train station. have you heard anything on that from police? >> reporter: no. i mean, at the moment, police are being very tight lipped in terms of details. the first accounts that we heard of this incident were accounts from eye-witnesses on twitter. i called authorities immediately when those accounts first crossed and they were still trying to put the pieces together as to what exactly transpired here which, you know, what happened now, of course, is the subject of an ongoing investigation. again, it does appear, though, that this incident has been dealt with. the situation, the police are saying, is under control. though they are not giving much detail in terms of these explosions that have been heard by eye-witnesses or how they brought this incident under control, brooke. >> so, erin, let me just ask you. when you have police saying the
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situation is under control, that makes me wonder about the individual who placed these bombs or explosives. do we know anything about the person who placed them or is that person in custody? or neutralized? have they said?remy. not at the moment, brooke, we simply do not know. there were reports on twitter of shots fired as well. we don't know if that was from the police or not. we simply do not know how they resolved the situation at present. >> erin, thank you. i just looked at information that the emergency services are on-site. michael weiss, if i can continue picking your brain here as we've been covering different incidences, looking at what happened here in brussels. what is protocol when people are responding to this kind of thing? >> clear the area, first of all.
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there will be a manhunt on the way. scanning tv footage. if the man detonated some kind of device, hopefully he'll be picked up, they'll get a physical description of him. there are reports and rumors floating around social media, some attributed to belgian news outlets that there might have been shots fired. none of that can be confirmed at the moment. if there is an active situation, it appears it has been neutralized because the belgium police are not in high alert mode. >> belgium saying the individual has been neutralized at the brussels train station. >> we don't know if that means he was shot and killed, or wrestled to the ground and arrested. >> the situation is under control, in other words. >> if the situation is under control, belgium does not believe this is many-man endeavor. this was a one-man operation.
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>> you went back to paris and brussels, you know, you talk about the significance of the role of isis in belgium, but also the potential for copycats? >> potential for copycats, potential for just crazy people who want to cause chaos and harm. remember after 9/11, people calling in bomb scares and anthrax scares. they thrived on the anarchy of the situation. again, we saw yesterday in the u.k. an instance that at first blush might have seemed like an isis-inspired attack, vehicular manslaughter slamming into a crowd, except that by all accounts, it appears to have been perpetrated by an individual who shouted, i want to kill all the muslims. he turned into a multi-nationalist and xenophobe. people give the media a lot of
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grief saying, why don't you come out and say this is terrorism? the data doesn't always allow us to say that. who wants to get ahead of themselves and claim something that in 24 hours time might not be the case? if you're asking my gut in this instance, because it's brussels, because it's a transportation hub, and because this is ground zero for isis' most significant and well-stocked network of european jihadists, i would be lying to you if i told you my spotty sense didn't -- >> that's where it goes. >> yeah. >> these are pictures outside of brussels, belgium just outside one of the biggest train stations in town. there was reports of an explosion. talking to eyewitnesses, he described hearing multi explosions. now the individual responsible for this has been neutralized at this train station. anthony may is still with us. erin mclaughlin is still with
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us. so individual neutralized, erin. do we know what that means? >> reporter: not at present, brooke. belgian crisis center just tweeting out that soldiers inside the station neutralized this individual and not giving much more information as to why they neutralized him. we do know from eyewitnesses, though, that this incident was preceded by two small explosions. so, again, that being tweeted by the belgian crisis center, in terms of what they mean by neutralize, unclear. we also know from early eyewitness reports on twitter that shots were fired. not sure if they neutralized this individual by shooting him. that, again, is unclear, unconfirmed by authorities. but the situation does seem to be under control at the train station. >> erin, thank you. anthony may, same question for you just from a retired atf
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perspective working scenes like this. when you hear the term neutralized, what do you think? >> they've taken the perpetrator out, either in a gun battle. it didn't sound like it was something where he took his own self out. typically when we use the term neutralized, it means law enforcement has done their job and taken the individual out. >> just on the police response, it seemed to be incredibly quick, and just given the climate in europe right now, do you just have thoughts on that? >> well, i'm sure that what's happening all over europe, and this is not belgium's first rodeo on this, i'm sure they've gotten to where their rapid response teams are ready to go on a moment's notice, and it sounds like that has happened here to where they can gain control of what is typically an uncontrollable event. >> okay. again, according to belgian media, the individual
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responsible for these explosions at this train station in brussels has been neutralized, reporting that the situation is under control. but still, obviously scary for anyone trying to hop on a train at just about 10:00 at night in brussels in relatively the city center. i'm talking to eyewitnesses, one reporting, or at least two, talking about a mid-explosion. police have the whole area cordoned off. no one is coming or going in that train station for the foreseeable future. i'm talking to michael weiss in europe. this is from one of the eyewitnesses, the fire there , and again, the individual neutralized. >> if it's just one guy, and you're looking at this situation that didn't seem all that fo foreboding, scary as it may be,
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it didn't succeed in killing lots of people. if i had to guess at this point, i might say this could an amateur who was acting -- the cliche lone wolf needs to be retired, but let's just say a single individual who didn't quite know what he was doing, possibly connected to a european netwo network, possibly not. possibly just wanting to write his name is the stars and pledge whatever jihadi outfit he's pledging allegiance to. why weren't there other people involved? why wasn't there a multi-man team? if it was a suicide bomber, why did the explosion happen inside the train station and then he was neutralized somewhere else? did he chicken out? did he not detonate it inside a vest? did he detonate it and run away? >> your read on all of this in brussels. >> brooke, i'm actually here in
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brussels right now. belgian authorities saying they're following some kind of explosion in the central station, that they had to neutralize one suspect. the fire started here in belgium, also saying the explosion did not create any victims. good news, it's an early stage in terms of the idea that nobody seems to have been killed or injured in whatever this incident was at the central station in brussels tonight. but i can tell you there is significant concern about this given the uptick in attacks throughout europe in recent days during the ramadan period. but no word yet on motivation here, who could be behind this. details are still coming in about what exactly happened just a little while ago in one of brussels' main train stations.
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>> you're in brussels, you're feeling it in europe. we talked a lot about what happened in paris and london. people are on edge. >> they are on edge. and the public is on edge, and i can tell you that the security and the police here in brussels are on edge here as well. in march of last year, there was a major isis terrorist attack in the city, the same cell that was responsible for the paris terrorist attack. now, there has not been a major terrorist attack in belgium since then. part of that is to the hard work of law enforcement here following the attack. they went after the people responsible after the attack, managed to arrest a lot of people involved in that. but there has been significant concern for some time that more might be coming, that there might be other terrorist cells here at present in the capital. people start to come back from isis territory in syria and
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iraq. that all being said, this is very, very early stages. we don't yet have full details about what happened at the central station. we don't yet have full details in terms of this being an actual attack. >> we're working on getting them. i'm up against a wall, paul. thanks so much for calling in from brussels. we're going to let jake tapper take over. special live coverage happens right now. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we'll begin with breaking news in to cnn. you're looking at live shots of brussels there amid gunfire, after people in the city center ran in panic. that's a scene from inside the train station. we're seeing heavy police presence right there right now. belgian media is reporting that a possible suspect has been