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tv   Squawk Alley  CNBC  March 22, 2017 11:00am-12:01pm EDT

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>> wilf, we'll look for you to keep us honest on details. this is just breaking in the past few minutes. wilfred frost back at hq. if you're just joining us, welcome to "squawk alley," carl quintanilla with jon fortt, kelly evans at post 9. watching the markets, which have been in the red most of the day, actually closer to session highs right now, down 35. a lot's on the agenda -- trump's tax policies, china, oil and health care, all weighing on sentiment as we see another down day for stocks. weighing in on those cracks in the so-called teflon rally is byron wien. byron, good to have you back. welcome. >> it's good to be here. >> i guess let's just take your temperature at large regarding anything you think is most important right now. we're going to watch details out of the uk, so forgive me if i have to interrupt. >> sure. >> but is the locust of activity in your view, on capitol hill? >> well, my view is that the market was due for a correction. the market had gone up almost every day since the election,
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carl. and it was based on trump being able to implement his pro growth agenda. now, the components of that were a tax cut, dismantling regulation, and infrastructure spending. the affordable care act was not a part of that, but it was assumed as a given that he would be able to revise or replace the affordable care act. the fact that he's run into some trouble there has jeopardized the tax cut program. trump campaigned on increasing growth. he said he could get growth from 2%, where it's been since the recession ended, to 4%. it now looks like he won't get to 3%. and 3% was what the market was counting on. and so, that's why the market is
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correcting. it's correcting because maybe trump won't be as successful in implementing legislation as he promised. >> now, byron, saying he won't get to 3% 60 days in, you don't think it's too early to make calls like that? >> well, no. that's 3% for the year, you know. in other words, we aren't going to get to 3% unless we have a tax cut and the dismantling of regulation. and anything that jeopardizes the tax cut puts the 3% in danger. >> byron, we were arguably due for some kind of a breather or correction, even if everything was on pace in congress, so how big of a correction would you think we're due for, if thursday does -- tomorrow, i guess it is now -- doesn't go smoothly when it comes to health care and that puts into question even more so the tax cuts and other elements
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of the republican agenda? >> look, my target for the year is 2,500 on the s&p 500. i don't think this jeopardizes it. he may have trouble with the affordable care act, but eventually, something will pass. he may not get everything he wants in terms of tax cuts, and it may be delayed, but something will pass. so, i think the market is headed to higher highs. i just think that this glitch in washington is going to be the catalyst that will cause the inevitable correction that you single out. >> byron, if that's the case, then how do we tell whether it's a glitch, as you referred to, if it's just a delay in a plan that's ultimately going to be carried out, if he's not going to get growth up? you know, in other words, how do we know if we're going from a stall to something more serious? and how much more focus does the market need to be on it? >> well, you never know, kelly,
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but my view is that the program that he has, the pro growth program, is what america wants, and the republicans have control of both houses of congress. they may not get everybody on board at the beginning, but eventually, with a compromise program, they will get enough votes to pass the tax cut. it may not be in the form it's initially introduced, but they will get that through. they definitely will dismantle regulation, and that will free up companies and give them more flexibility. and so, earnings, i think, for the year will be better than expected, and that will drive the market higher. but right now, the market is digesting the gains that have already been made. >> byron, i'm thinking back to your surprises as we entered this year, something, a list that we keep close throughout the year. and as i recall, one of them was that the president would wind up
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being a much more efficient administrator on policy than people gave him credit for at the time. so, is that narrative happening, according to what you thought would happen? >> i would say it's not happening, but it will happen. i'm saying that it's on-the-job training for donald trump, and he's learning that he wasn't elected king, he was elected president, and he has to work with congress to get his program through. >> would it surprise you if they shelved health care and did what a lot of -- well, some conservatives argued, namely larry kudlow on our show, and focused on tax reform first? do you believe that they put tax reform too far deep in the pile? >> well, i definitely think that focusing on the affordable care act first was a mistake. obama made the same mistake. he focused on health care, and
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he should have been focusing on job creation after the recession of 2008-'09. trump should have focused on his economic program and put the affordable care act on the back burner, but maybe circumstances dictated that he couldn't set the priorities that way. i definitely think it was a mistake, but it's been made, and now he those deal with it. >> byron, how do you factor in the white house's budget blueprint and the reaction to that on both sides of the aisle, as you look at whether this scenario of president trump becoming more efficient, as you look for that to play out? is this just more of a negotiating stance in an opening round, or do you see something different? >> no, i don't think it -- i mean, i think he really wanted the program as is, but i think the program that will finally be enacted will be one that won't
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meet one of his important objectives, which was revenue neutrality, i.e., not increasing the budget deficit. it is unlikely to me that he'll be able to get a tax cut program for individuals and incorporations that won't increase the budget deficit somewhat, but the budget deficit has been brought down from 10% of gdp to less than 3%. we can afford some increase of the budget deficit, so i don't view that as a devastating disappointment. >> all right, looking at the level of interest rates there this morning, this plays back into one of the major themes of this market. the ten-year's down below 2.4% from a recent high of 2.6% and upwards. byron it just feels like, you know, these markets move quickly. a week or so ago, everything was great. you know, you look at the way things are playing out today and feel very differently about it, but has anything really changed? >> no, i don't think anything has really changed. i just think that the market
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thought that trump would be able to implement his pro growth program seamlessly, and that's not the way the world or washington works. >> byron, we value your insight all the time. it's good to have you on the program. we'll talk to you soon. >> good to be here. >> byron wien. >> thank you, carl. and we're continuing to follow a developing story out of the uk right now. wilfred frost has more on shots fired near partical maernt. >> just to add to the details we had earlier, this is of course an ongoing, developing situation, but the leader of the house of commons, david liddington, just announced in the chamber of the house of commons on parliamentary tv that a police officer was stabbed, and then the alleged assailant was immediately shot by police. he also confirmed that parliament remains under lockdown, so those members that were still in the chamber are being held there. and within that, transport for london has confirmed that the
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police asked transport for london to shut down westminster underground station. just listening to sky news coverage, the reporter there was pushed back to the east a significant distance away from parliament. and you can see in that shot those cars not moving. so, the whole area in lockdown to quite a significant distance. housebury road around a quarter of a mile to the east, so a decent area they've cleared and are not allowing cars into that particular area. sky news also reported that the prime minister was in the divisional lobby when this happened and that they believe she was evacuated from the area in the usual prime minister motorcade, that coming from sky news in the last couple of moments. but the leader of the house of commons, david liddington, confirming a police officer was stabbed. the alleged assailant was shot almost immediately. >> wilf, no comments from police on reports of a vehicle being part of this whole equation? >> reporter: not that i've seen so far. scotland yard says it was called
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to a "firearms incident." the head of the metropolitan police, saying it was called to the incident on westminster bridge areports of several people injured. that's the official statement from the police. i would say in terms of sky news has had a significant interview with an eyewitness, where they agreed with what you just said, carl, in terms of a four-by-four crashing into barriers, but that's not been confirmed by scotland yard. we do have a bite in terms of some of these details being confirmed. let's listen in to that. >> what i am able to say to the house is that there has been a serious incident within the estate. it seems that a police officer has been stabbed, that the alleged assailant was shot by armed police. an ambulance is currently
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attending the scene to remove the casualties. there are also reports of further violent incidents in the vicinity of the palace of westminster, but i hope colleagues on all sides will appreciate that it will be wrong of me here to go into further details until we have confirmation from the police and from the house security. >> reporter: that was the leader of the house of commons, david lidington. i should point out, that is a member of the cabinet, a sort of superficial role, somebody included in the cabinet with that kind of title without having a clear brief themselves, but a member of theresa may, the prime minister's cabinet. and clearly, a lot of members of parliament were there at the time. they're being kept in lockdown, those that are still there. we believe from reports from sky news that the prime minister was in the general building but not in the chamber at the time, and they believe, although have not confirmed, that her motorcade was evacuated with her in it.
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that was the leader of the house of commons, of course, saying a police officer was stabbed, an alleged assailant shot. just seeing now the bbc's political editor, laura coombsburg, has said that they believe three or four gunshots in total, that coming just now from the bbc's political editor. guys? >> wilf, we'll come back to you. obviously, house of commons being cautious with details, and we will do the same. market reaction has been muted, i would argue. stocks remain lower, down about 49 points. s&p down about a point. we'll get more on the details out of central london and the markets after a short break. [pony neighing] what? hey gary. oh. what's with the dog-sized horse? i'm crazy stressed trying to figure out this complex trade so i brought in my comfort pony, warren, to help me deal. isn't that right warren? well, you could get support from thinkorswim's in-app chat. it lets you chat and share your screen directly with a live person right from the app, so you don't need a comfort pony. oh, so what about my motivational meerkat?
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is apple due for a correction? the dow heavyweight's gained over 20% this year, still trading near record highs in a market that's increasingly nervous, but there may be caution ahead. joining us this morning with insights, tom mcclellan, top-ranked market timer, editor of "the mcclellan market report." tom, always good to see you. good morning. >> good morning, carl. >> you've done some good work on charts this week, on qqq volume, but specifically on apple. you're looking at whether it's diverging from the 100 and whether that means a correction's in place. what'd you find? >> well, when you see the nasdaq 100, of which apple's a component, doing the same things that apple share price is doing, that's generally a good sign. when you see a disagreement between them, you should pay attention on what apple's chart
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is saying. if there were a lower high in apple and a higher high in the ndx, that's a big sign of trouble. we're not seeing that right now, so we can still have an ordinary, garden-variety correction at any time, and i think that we're in one. but apple's strength is saying that we shouldn't expect great carnage for the overall nasdaq market. >> and tom, how does apple's size and influence over the nasdaq 100 influence that? i mean, you're going to be much better at explaining that than i would be at sessing it out. >> nasdaq 100 is capitalization-weighted, so the bigger companies have a bigger voice. it's not exactly proportional, so the hugest companies get taken down a little bit from what their share would be if it was purely capitalization weighted. and so, i think apple is, off the top of my head, it's about 3% or 4% of the nasdaq 100. apple's a big thing, though, because it's bigger than the entire market capitalization of entire countries, bigger than
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mexico's stock market. so, 2s worth watching and a lot of wealth tied up in apple. the key point is we're not seeing the sort of warning from apple, making a lower high versus the nasdaq 100's higher high that would tell us big trouble's coming. we did see that, though, in the dow. its big bellwether is ge's share price, and when you see these two disagree, that's a sign of trouble. ge has made its high back in december, has been making lower highs, and that's been warning us of the correction that we're finally now getting. but it's not going to be that huge of a correction, according to the message from apple. >> tom, why is ge and not goldman so important to the dow, if goldman has the biggest price weighting? >> fascinate nating question. i don't know why it works. i just know it has been working since i first learned about it from the late larry katz back in 2005, and it had been working for years before then when he shared it. it's just, for some reason, ge seems to have the great mojo. and most of the time, they do the same exact thing. it's only when they do something different then you get the good
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message. and we saw a similar message about the market needing to have a correction from looking at crude oil prices. crude oil and the dow are very closely linked together, but crude oil prices did not confirm the higher highs that we saw in the stock prices this year, and crude oil has been what's really leading the stock market lower and is going to continue leading the market lower during this corrective period, probably until about the second week of april and then we can start a new phase again. >> yeah, we're looking at the relationship between crude and the dow right now. by the bay, the may contract hit a low of $47.01, taking you back to the end of november. so, tom, does that -- i mean, can we extrapolate and argue that you're safer in the naz than the dow right now? >> no. when stock markets go up and down, they go together. the message to take from apple and the nasdaq is that the correction that we are due for and that we are getting right now isn't going to be a horrendous one. we have the same sort of message
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from seeing the strength in the advanced decline line for the nyse. when that makes a new all-time high, you're pretty much immunized from having anything worse than a 10% correction. i don't think we'll see that big a correction. it will feel like that and by april people will be panicking and saying the highs are high for the year and it's time to stop being an investor and go to the hills and live off canned food and shotgun shells. when we hear that by april, it will be time to buy back in again. they'll say one day down, a little dip, we didn't even have a big bump in the put-call ratio yesterday, so that tells me the correction's not over, there's more work to do, but it's not going to be a horrendous correction, and there are going to be gains to see later this year. >> is it even going to come? we remember calling for sell-off in inauguration, sell-off in february, now a sell-off in april. is it perhaps that the dynamics of this market aren't even allowing that to happen, that the moment we get these dips, buyers really come to the floor? >> there is a lot of liquidity out there, and that can paper
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over a bunch of problems the market could have. when you have liquidity problems, those are harder to get through, but when you have momentary problems like oil going down or is the health care bill going to get passed, people get worried and keep their wallet on their hip and don't buy, and that's an ordinary and healthy thick and i think we're in for that for the next two weeks. but then the week before the tax deadline, i think we'll see the climax of the selling. part of that is because people who got a gain last year, they have a big tax bill to pay and won't write the check now, they'll wait until the april 18th deadline this year to write that check, but they have to do selling in advance of it so there is money to back that check and will probably climax the selling around april 11th to 13th, when the bottom comes, and we can go up after that. >> tom, you look at a lot of interesting relationships, commercial trading of euro-dollar. you look at lumber futures with time shift. of all of those things, what is the most concerning to you right now?
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>> well, two to three weeks ago, we saw record, all-time record highs in the commercial traders net share position in crude oil, and that said the decline that's now under way was due to be a significant one. they've backed off that just slightly, if they were at this level three weeks ago, this would still be a record. it's above everything else in the entire 31-year history of the commitment of traders data. so, the commercial traders, the big-money, smart-money guys, they're saying there's a lot more down movement to come for oil. i think it gets concentrated into the next two weeks and then oil can take a pause and we'll see what happens the rest of the year. and that will help push the market down as the smart money traders know what's a good price to try to harvest for their future production. >> well, for chart lovers, this was crack, i would argue, tom. it's always good to have you. thanks so much. see you next time. >> thank you, carl. >> tom mcclellan. when we come back, a first on cnbc interview with adobe ceo
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shantanu narayen on the cloud and big tech. and the s&p breaking even, the nasdaq doing a bit better. we'll have more when "squawk alley" comes right back. ♪ approaching medicare eligibility? you may think you can put off checking out your medicare options until you're sixty-five, but now is a good time to get the ball rolling. keep in mind, medicare only covers about eighty percent
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we continue to watch for details out of central london. let's get to wilfred frost at hq. >> carl, thanks very much. first i'll have the latest headlines, then we'll recap. the leader of the house of commons, david lidington, confirmed that the house of commons has been adjourned for the day but the house remains on lockdown with no one to leave. one person we know is safe and is not in the building is prime minister theresa may, the government spokesperson confirming that, and that she is safe. in terms of some of the other details, an air ambulance has arrived and the london ambulance service confirming that a number of other ambulances had been sent to the scene. you can see in those yellow van-type buildings in that
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shot -- van-type shapes in that shot there. parliament haey square has been cleared of all traffic. you can see parliamentary square there. and what would be 500 to 1,000 typical people walking through there, tourists and others at this time, they have been cleared of the area. westminster tube station has been shut. now, to recap what we believe has happened based on reuters, sky news, and other sources, is that an suv drove along the pavement of westminster bridge, that a number of people were injured during that process. that is the shot of the suv that crashed into the barrier outside of parliament. there have been a number of separate shots that show ambulances and people being treated on the pavement of westminster bridge. this, of course, the separate shot of where it crashed and ended its journey. a man wielding a knife then stepped out of -- a human, sorry, wielding a knife. not sure of the sex of the assaila assailant. the assailant wielding a knife
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stepped out. a police officer was stabbed, and the alleged assailant was shot on scene by police officers. those final details in terms of a policeman being stabbed and the assailant being shot on scene have been confirmed by the leader of the house of commons, david lidington. guys? >> wilf, for those who don't know london well, maybe you can just describe the geography for us here. this is a highly concentrated, urban part of the city, yes? >> absolutely right. the houses of parliament, parliament square, westminster bridge, which we're looking at at the moment, is right in the heart of town. it's in zone one of the tube area, if you will. and of course, a central area both for workers, for lawmakers, and for tourists as well because of its proximity to the houses of parliament. what we're looking at at the moment is westminster bridge, and in particular, which goes across the bridge and links then to the parliament building. the parliament building in terms of connects essentially directly
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with westminster bridge. it's where the car traveled across, and of course, the stabbing of the police officer taking place just outside of parliament in terms of the state. those split shots showing -- well, now the same shot at the moment in terms of where the car ended its journey, just by the barrier outside of the palace of westminster, which remains in lockdown, albeit adjourned for the day. >> will you just explain one more time the sequence of events here? there's just the one vehicle connected to the one assailant, is that right? just explain again how this went down as far as we know? >> reporter: that hasn't been confirmed to me based on a sufficient number of sources. what we know is that a vehicle drove down the pavement of westminster bridge and injured a number of people, people we have seen being treated based on a separate shot, and that also a vehicle hit into that barrier. someone stepped out of it with a knife and stabbed a police officer. we can assume it was the same vehicle. i haven't had that confirmed by
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sources yet, but it seems highly likely that that would be the same vehicle involved with both incidents. >> wilf, how unusual is this type of violent incident in a location like this, around a landmark in london, for people who maybe aren't familiar with the state of crime or terrorism? we don't know which this might be yet over there. >> yeah, absolutely, jon. listen, very, very rare, i would say, and very, very disturbing because of it for all people concerned at the scene or involved with britain. and of course, the most notable attack britain has faced was in 2005. we're not really describing this as an attack yet. i shouldn't suggest that. could be a completely separate, individual incident. but the most famous attack london faced was in 2005, the london bombings, july 2005. of course, since then, london has been relatively speaking safe and free from these types of attacks.
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when you compare that to the last two years of things that have taken place in continental europe, whether we talk about paris or brussels or attacks in the south of france. so, in that sense, it comes as a big, fresh surprise to the people of london, and the houses of parliament, given, of course, the concentration of lawmakers, 10 downing street, where the prime minister lives, just a stone's throw away from parliament, of course, has an elevated security presence, which i suppose you could argue makes it more of a target for these types of things but also more protected than other areas. and of course, police on the scene acting very quickly, locking down a significant amount of the surrounding area, including westminster tube station. the bridge and square are normally empty of what would now be very busy with tourists and business alike. >> don't go too far away. we have colonel jack jacobs on the phone with us today, nbc military analyst. colonel, good to talk to you. i wish it were under different circumstances, but good morning.
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>> good morning. >> so much we don't know at this point, but to the degree we can exorcise some pattern of recognition, what do these pictures say to you? >> well, you have to keep in mind that sometime ago, isis suggested to supporters around the world that they conduct these kinds of operations and incidents, and several have occurred around the world, most notably in europe. so, anything is possible, and probably shouldn't read too much into it until we know more about it, but this follows the pattern of suggestions from isis to its supporters, particularly in europe. >> colonel, i know people have been on edge, especially since the white house announced this ban about larger devices coming into this country from certain other countries. is there a sense out there about isis having provoked people to commit more acts of terrorism against the u.s., against the
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uk, against whomever lately, or are these all just disparate events? >> well, they may be disparate events, but also they follow a pattern, and there is clearly no loss of animosity between supporters of isis on the one hand and everybody else on the other. there's one thing to keep in mind here, too, because we see these kinds of incidents much more frequently in continental europe than we do in the united states and even in great britain. and one of the explanations is that there's less support in places like great britain and the united states for isis, and one possible explanation for that is that the united states and great britain, middle eastern immigrants are far more integrated into the social and
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political fabric of those countries than they are on continental europe, and i've spoken to a large number of people who agree with that notion, that while you're not going to have no incidents like this in great britain and the united states, you're far more likely to have the kind of attitudes by immigrants on continental europe that will give rise to these kinds of incidents. >> and of course, we want to point out at this point, we don't know what the nature of this incident was, we don't know the gender of the assailant what the motive might have been, whether this is garden-variety crime, just albeit at a time of heightened alarm, or whether this might be a terrorist motive. but i'm wondering, this seems to be a knife attack, at least from the details that we have at this point, preceded by a vehicle that was also running at people. what kind of difference is there at trying to mitigate that sort
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of an issue, aside from doing something to divert traffic across the westminster bridge, which seems from my view of it not to be a simple thing to do. how do you stop this sort of thing from happening? >> well, it's very, very difficult to stop. we see even in washington where not too many years ago, you could drive right up to the white house, you could drive down pennsylvania avenue. now you can't do that, and it's very difficult even to walk past the white house now. and even that has not stopped incidents from occurring. we just had one -- we had several, actually, three this past week. so, in a place like london where there's a great deal of traffic across the thames -- the thames more or less divides the city in half -- it's impossible to restrict vehicular traffic. i mean, you could do it, but it wouldn't be a very good idea, and certainly not pedestrian traffic, either. so, you're not going to be able to eliminate this sort of thing from happening entirely.
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>> we're getting a tweet now from the metropolitan police in the uk regarding this incident in westminster. "we are treating this as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise," kelly. >> and we're going to go to eamon javers, who is at the white house now with some more color from the capitol. the president has been briefed. e eamon? >> reporter: the president has been in a meeting on a different topic here at the white house this morning, but he was just talking to reporters. he told them that he's just gotten an update on london. he says some big news having to do with london has just happened. then he went in with his preplanned remarks on a different topic here at the white house, but clearly, this president has been briefed. this meeting started about a half an hour late, i would say, so clearly, they took some time out of the president's schedule here to update him. we'll see that tape of the president talking about this in a few moments, guys. >> eamon, thank you. kernel jack jacobs is still with us. you know, you were just discussing some of the
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logistical issues at hand here as we try to figure out exactly what just happened on that scene. >> say it again. i missed that. sorry. >> we're talking a little bit about the logistical challenges of handling an issue like this, not only the density of the population, but obviously, westminster bridge and police trying to not only have access to the area to figure out what happened so that we can all figure out as well, but then keeping the public safe. >> yeah. it's extremely difficult logistically to control traffic in a place like the center city in london, but think about this. it's late in winter and early in spring, and there are not nearly as many people, particularly tourists, in london as there would be in just a couple of months. so, not to put too fine a point on it, but this could have been very much worse, had this been at the height of the tourist season. anybody who's been in london would know that the place is
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actually jam packed, particularly this area, jam packed with tourists at that time. so, there's something going to be said for this happening at this time. but controlling traffic in london, it certainly is extremely difficult because of the multiplicity of roads in that area. one good thing is that they have extremely good mass transit, and so, the large majority of people who worked in london, live outside of london, use mass transit, and so, the number of people actually walking across any of the bridges across the thames is relatively low. in a place like a large city in the united states, where you don't have as much, as good a mass transit, it would have been very much more crowded than it is in london. >> colonel, not looking to connect dots by any means, but this is happening on a week when we got that new electronics ban
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on certain airlines coming inbound to the u.s. the uk, of course, joined the u.s. in that ban. does it point to overall a rise of activity with relates to security concerns and alerts? >> well, we haven't -- i mean, i haven't spoken to anybody, and i haven't seen myself. i haven't spoken to anybody who's said that there's been an increase in chatter or traffic or encouragement to conduct these kind of operations among the enemies of the west. and so, it may just be a coincidence. and indeed, those people who are disaffected, whether they're disaffected about this kind of ban of laptops and so on, or they're just annoyed with brexit, they don't need any encouragement from anybody to do something silly. >> and here's the metropolitan police tweeting, "incident in westminster. we are treating this as a terrorist incident until we know otherwise." mp sir gerald howard said the house was in the middle of a vote when it was suspended.
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members were locked in. he said it appears to be very serious. the leader of the house told them it's been confirmed, one police officer was stabbed. it appeared a car was coming toward the house of commons, mowing down pedestrians, to borrow their phrase, on the way and the attacker got access to the parliamentary estate, stabbed a police officer and was shot. we can now hear what the president had to say about this. >> having some big news having to do with london that just happened. well, thank you very much. appreciate you being here. it's a great honor. very great honor. i want to thank vice president pence, secretary tom price, and administrator -- [ inaudible ] >> i guess we're not going to listen to the president making comments -- i'm told that was the president's only reference
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to the london attack. he'll continue to make comments about the ahca, of course, as that vote looms in the house tomorrow night. so, colonel, i assume we can count on the president being well briefed, first or foremost, but as we go forward, i wonder how you would rate the quality of the interaction between u.s. and uk law enforcement at this stage? >> ah, well, you raise a significant point here. the fact of the matter is no matter what the relationship is between the head of one state and the head of another, the military establishments operate extremely closely, not just between the united states and great britain, the united states and most other countries, certainly all the countries with whom we are allied, operate continuously exchange information regularly, if not continuously.
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and they have a large number of potential operations for which we have plans in various areas of the world where we have planned to operate in conjunction with other militaries in those countries. and we practice these plans all the time. so, we're talking right now to everybody who might have a concern about this and with whom we might operate, and that includes great britain and those countries on continental europe as well. >> our eamon javers is standing by in washington. eamon, we've played that tape from the president. he very, very briefly addressed this issue. i wonder if he -- i guess he has to wait like the rest of us, hear more about what's happened and we might hear more from him later on. >> our understanding is that he did get briefed. he said in that statement that he had been getting some information about what had been going on in london.
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not exactly clear what he's been told, but you saw what white house's need to do all the time, handling multiple high-interest, high-impact items of news at the same time. and the president here is holding a meeting dealing with health care. he's got a number of conservatives coming in to meet with him here shortly to talk about their votes on this dramatic vote on his health care bill tomorrow. at the same time, he's got to get this briefing on what's going on in london and deal with our allies there, our military alliance, and figure out what's happened in london and whether there's any implications for the united states based on what's happened. and you just talked about the idea that the u.s. government took steps this week to impose a ban on certain electronic equipment being included on airplanes coming from about ten different airports throughout the middle east. that was an indication that u.s. intelligence saw something that they didn't like and felt they needed to step up their security posture. not clear whether that has any
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relation to what's happened now in london, but we did see the uk follow suit with the united states after that ban was announced earlier this week. so, clearly, u.s. intelligence, british intelligence work very, very closely together, and we'll see what they can piece together about what's happened here and what might be next. >> eamon, you speak with security experts all time. it strikes me that this sort of incident or attack is one of the most low-tech, low coordination. we're talking about a vehicle here and a knife. from what we know thus far, no firearms necessarily involved in the alleged assailant, and no necessarily large group of people involved. what sort of reaction, political and otherwise, should we expect to this sort of an incident, which is different from some kind of coordinated attack involving a number of people, perhaps something that we might have picked up signals about
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from electronic communication? >> reporter: well, i think the political reaction is going to depend more on the details of what's happened here. as we learn those, you might see the tenor of the reaction start to shift. but clearly, you make a good point, jon, that if this kind of attack just involved vehicles and knives and a couple of people, maybe or one two, as few as that, this is one of the hardest types of attacks for officials to prevent. it doesn't require a wide circle of people involved in planning. it doesn't require a lot of advanced logistics and credential doesn't require the movement of large amounts of money. all of those things are things that intelligence agencies can spot in advance and take steps to intervene when they see them. in this case, this is simply outside of a security perimeter, an unsecured area in a major global city. that is very, very difficult to do anything at all to stop. the so-called lone wolf attacks are the ones that intelligence
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officials fear the most, because they're the most difficult to isolate, predict and do anything about. and in response, law enforcement and intelligence have to do exactly what you're seeing right here, which is immediately tend to the people who have been victimized by this, but also secure the area and figure out in realtime what they're dealing with and who else might be involved, whether there's a second wave, whether this is a distraction from something else that might be planned or whether this is the end of it right now. all those things are things that they have to deal with in realtime in what is apparently a very dangerous situation here in london. >> indeed. everything you're saying, eamon about soft targets, about the playbook that isis has given its followers, using an suv to plow into pedestrians. i mean, we've seen it in nice and some other high-profile cases, and we ask this question every time, but it does make you wonder to what degree either the u.s. or uk or other cities at
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risk have to fortify areas they never thought they had to fortify. >> reporter: well, you can't fortify everything. ultimately, we live in a free society, the people of london live in a free society. you have to have vehicles, you have to have movement, you have to have businesses able to do business. at the end of the day, you can move the security perimeter around, but there's always going to be some area that's outside the security perimeter, and you have to have that in order to have a free society. so, there's only so much you can do to secure everything. and the answer to this when you talk to the intelligence experts is aggressive intelligence, finding out where the people are who might be sympathetic to the isis call for attacks. finding those people, putting them under surveillance and trying to make sure they don't have the opportunity to do something like this, but it's very, very difficult. it's a very big world out there. there are a lot of people, there are a lot of leads. you can't follow everybody all the time, and you can't shut down traffic in the center of a
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major city. you can't stop people from buying knives. you can't monitor everybody who's walking on a sidewalk. all of those things would be impossible to do. so, for law enforcement and intelligence, this puts them in a difficult position of playing defense. and what they tell you when they talk about this is they'd rather play offense. they would rather be conducting surveillance, going after people they think might have contacts with isis, and that sort of thing, carl. >> eamon, don't go too far. we continue to watch this. by the way, we're keeping our eye on the markets. minimal movement here, but the s&p has gone positive. we want to check in with cnbc cnbc'svilcnbc's william marks on the scene. -to-el us what you're seeing? [ inaudible ] >> all right, we'll come back to him after we can get the audio
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worked out. obviously, it's a very difficult area. i can't imagine the chaos right now regarding law enforcement just trying to -- there's reports on social media about subway disruptions, as pedestrian traffic's being blocked a lot of places. >> and there's a major tube stop right there in this very location. just two months ago, again, talking about january, this is only march, it's not even the high season. it is packed. there is pedestrians everywhere. it's one of the busiest thoroughfares in all of london. it's the center of activity for the government, for tourism, and i think we can hear villam marks now, so let's try him again, on the scene for us. >> reporter: you're absolutely right, this is a very popular tourist destination. westminster bridge behind me leading over to the palace of westminster, the houses of parliament, that iconic image of big ben, seemingly the scene of tragedy this afternoon in london. we've seen a number of people pulled off the bridge on stretchers. you can see a huge number of ambulances, a significant police presence, helicopters above us,
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and a large number of armed policemen, both on this bridge and then closer to the palace of westminster where there was this incident as well. seems to be two separate events that have taken place, one involving a vehicle going across the bridge, trying to mow people down. essentially, that's why we've had a huge number of casualties on the bridge. we've also seen this incident where an intruder got inside the security perimeter of westminster and was dealt with by police. the metropolitan police here in london are saying this is being dealt with as a terrorist incident. >> willem, your reporting then suggests these are two separate things that happened at the same time? does that suggest a coordination between two separate individuals? >> reporter: not clear at this point whether there's one individual involved in the vehicle attack as well as the stabbing or whether those are two separate people involved in that. we'll have to learn more over the next few minutes and hours as that unfolds. but certainly, the impact here in central london, i cannot emphasize the police presence here. i've never seen anything like it in my years living and growing
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up in london. >> how common is it to have a lockdown like this in parliament, willem? >> reporter: pretty rare. and you know, there's a huge amount going on in our legislature at the moment, as you can imagine, involving brexit. of hearings that have been suspended. the commons was in session when they said they heard shots fired. the leader of the house saying that this attack has taken place inside the security perimeter. policeman has been involved and assailant dealt with. it's unclear with parliament on lockdown what will happen to mps. there are reports that prime minister was hustled into a car and video emerging of that with eight undercovered officers helping her get into a vehicle. >> we know that a spokesman said they would trigger article 50 by the 29th. we know nothing at this point. i can't imagine many would be surprised if in fact this were related to at least the
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hearings. >> at the same time i look at this and wonder now we've seen this in france. we've seen in in germany. is it the uk's turn now to seerns what it's like when somebody targets a heavily crowded pedestrian area and on a bridge no less where there is nowhere to go. >> let's get some additional perspective. well, we're trying to continue getting additional perspective. we'll continue to effort that. as you said, these incidents involving vehicles on the street, they're becoming more and more common. we saw it in nice. we are seeing it here. interesting that there can be such broad impact from an incident we don't know if there was more than one person involved. there doesn't appear to be -- >> you only need one person involved sometimes for the number of -- dozens of casualties in that situation. unfortunately the inspiration copycat attacks we've seen since. >> from what we've seen so far,
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there's the hope at least that this is not on the scale of nice. we do continue to watch these developments. >> eamon javers, are you still with us? >> i'm here, carl. one of the things that we're trying to effort right now and figure out is whether or not we're going to hear from president trump about all of this. you would imagine that they will have the best possible information here at the white house about what's going on and whether or not there's any threat related to this incident here in the united states. we're waiting to see whether the white house suggests that the president will make a statement on this at some point today. >> we would expect so. i just wonder -- it's way too early to think about policy ramifications. you can't ignore how this might move the needle or the appetite to see various security measures put in place either on a broader scale or on a faster scale. >> the interesting thing i mention -- >> that's right. >> i was there two months ago. one of the things happening at that time were massive protests and demonstrations against
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president trump for his first go at the so-called muslim ban. so i believe, carl, the right question to ask is absolutely how this affects the politics in the uk and u.s. and worldwide. earlier the house of commons leader made remarks about what they knew at that point. let's take a listen. >> what i am able to say to the house is there has been a serious incident within the estate. it seems that a police officer has been stabbed, that the alleged assailant was shot by armed police. an air ambulance is currently attending the scene to remove the casualties. there are also reports of further violent incidents in the vicinity of the palace of
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westminster but i hope colleagues on all sides will appreciate that it will be wrong of me here to go into further details until we have confirmation from the police and from the house security authorities about what is going on. i shall endeavor to do the very best i can, both the dispatch box and by communicating with my opposite numbers in other political parties to ensure that members are kept aware of what is happening but at the moment the very clear advice from the police and the director of security in the house is that we should remain under suspension and that the chamber should remain in lockdown until we receive advice that it is safe to go back to normal procedures. >> joining us on the phone right now, elizabeth piper, reuter's correspondent inside parliament. we appreciate your time. thank you very much for joining
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you us. can you tell us what you know at this point where you are? >> as you can imagine it's been confusing as to what happened. we're in the oldest wing where we can see the exits where the incident happened. it was a normal day and then there was a loud crash followed by several loud bangs and then a lot of movement. we saw two people on the ground. one was receiving cpr. the other was covered in blankets. they have both been taken off in ambulances. >> elizabeth, you're inside parliament right now. part of this lockdown presumably. what are they telling you? >> we're in lockdown basically. large group of armed officers entered the parliamentary estate shortly after the incident and went inside, so i haven't got this confirmed, but we think they are just checking that there are no assailants in the
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building. we are not allowed to move and all of the doors have been locked. >> elizabeth, what is the likely conversation on the street that was going on before this that is likely to continue after? of course we don't know details yet about the extent of the casualties and injuries involved here, but give us a sense of the political climate that this has happened in. >> as you know, lastbritain vot european union. it's been a time of immense change even though the negotiations haven't even started and in terms of security, britain on its second highest level of severe for quite some time. in 2013, a soldier was stabbed to death. this is not something that we've been accustomed to but is part of contemporary life.
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>> finally, elizabeth, where are you physically right now? where within the building do they have you or the press? >> all of the press are in the reuters office overlooking parliamentary square where the incident happened. >> we were talking to one of our correspondents outside who was referencing how busy the schedule was in commons this week. i rela related to hearings. i'm assume some was part of article 50 and brexit. was there something on the agenda today that might have provoked something like this from someone with malicious intent? >> no. the only events of note really in parliament today was what's called prime minister's question time. that's when the opposition and other lawmakers ask the prime minister personal questions of the day, but i don't think there was anything specific on the
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agenda th agenda. >> is it true that uk police officers aren't often carrying weapons? >> they do carry weapons on the parliamentary estate but most policemen and women do not normally carry weapons, yeah. >> it's been suggested by another colleague who is there on the ground that one of the first things the public is going to look at and think about is why not? why don't they all have weapons? is there some political debate there that's kept them from doing so? >> it's not really a debate like the one you have in america really. i think there's a lot of resistance for police to have weapons. many people suggest that that might escalate these kind of problems. i'm sure it will be debated again. i'm not sure there will be much change. >> have you spoken to any members of parliament since this happened? >> no. i've been manning the story.
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>> i'm sure access is limited. obviously your vantage point is limited because of where you are and your lack of freedom to move. from what you can tell, from what you can tell, how does this security apparatus that's been put in place compare with past events in london? >> in terms of what? sorry? >> in terms of the security that's been deployed around the area. >> well, it was pretty immediate and it was pretty substantial. there were lots of armed officers, you know, basically guarding and they moved in very quickly. >> elizabeth piper with reuters, we know it's a busy day for you. we appreciate your time. thanks so much. >> thank you. >> scott wapner is going to take over coverage here as we approach noon on the east coast. if you're just joining us. this incident treated as terror by london police. gunfire outside the uk parliament. a car hitting pedestrians on
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westminster bridge. prime minister may is safe. the assailant reportedly shot by police. and an incident that as of yet hasn't rocked markets. s&p pretty steady. >> indeed, carl. we maybe saw a slight move lower in the pound but in terms of market reaction, that was really it as we continue. thank you very much. we look at these live pictures from london. our breaking news continues this hour. welcome to "the halftime report." i'm scott wapner. we're following the latest developments on the incident in london near parliament. let's go right to the scene. what do you see? >> we're about 400 yards from the palace of westminster across westminster bridge. that's a very popular tourist destination. people come walk across this bridge and get a photo of the iconic big ben tower attached to the palace of westminster and behind me you can probably see just a huge number of emergency

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