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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  October 24, 2018 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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locations throughout the united states. this is a shared fate that everybody has to come together. law enforcement, the community, has to, you know, solve for this problem. >> all right. jonathan and josh and phil mudd in studio, thank you so much. you can follow me on facebook and twitter at jake tapper or tweet the show at the lead on cnn. our coverage on cnn continues right now. this is cnn breaking news. >> we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we're following breaking news. the investigation into home made bombs sent to cnn, the clintons, the obamas and other political figures in what new york city's mayor is now calling an act of terror. none of the devices exploded, but there is fear, serious fear, that there may be more out there. president trump called the
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attempted attacks despicable, even as critic noted the intended targets were frequent objects of his contempt. i'll talk about the breaking news with senator jeff flake and our correspondents, analysts and specialists are also standing by. first, let's go to shimon prokupecz. what are you learning? >> reporter: six devices that investigators are looking at. the manhunt for the people or the person who is responsible for this is still under way. the fbi just releasing photos, new photos of one of the projects that this bomb came in. we believe that's the one that was addressed to hillary clinton, wolf. and clearly, investigators are not saying much about where they are in terms of trying to find the person or the people behind this whole series of bombs. but certainly, a lot of concern across the country now. the fbi's joint terrorism task force is running this
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investigation. they have increased the size of investigators, assigned to the investigation. remember, this all began monday night when one of the first pipe bombs was sent to george soros' home in new york, and from there, the fbi certainly has expanded the investigation with the discovery of new devices sent to hillary clinton, barack obama and, of course, now the one at cnn, which now investigators are reviewing. they have that device in their possession and they're hoping they can get lots of clues from that device, wolf. >> simone, i want you to stand by. our chief national security correspondent, jim sciutto, is over in our new york bureau right now at the time warner center. he was evacuated as he was anchoring with poppy harlow earlier this morning. once the bomb fear was discovered in new york. first of all, tell us more about the evacuation and what's going on now. >> well, wolf, we were one target in what has proven to be a multitarget attack, spread out
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over a number of states today. told that this device that made it into the building here at cnn, into the mail room, was an active, explosive device, spotted by the mail room team as they were scanning it. they immediately called 911. that call went through a few minutes past 10:00 in the morning while we were on the air. we heard that alarm and we evacuated. and it was because of the quick reaction from the new york police department. they were here immediately. the bomb squad was here. members of the police, the fire department, they got us all safely, as well as dozens of other people working on this street here, closed off for a number of hours while they confirmed that it was safe. first the explosive device, then there was a concern about a secondary attack. white powder found in that device, as well. no hard answer yet on what that white powder was. again, with that as with the explosive device, exercising an abundance of caution throughout. and it was that kind of day. and you can still hear the
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security services in and around our offices, because the state of alert remains very high. that was the day today we had here at cnn. >> we will turn over every rock, we will turn every corner. we will talk to everybody that we have to in order to mitigate this threat. >> reporter: tonight, the fbi is actively investigating the explosive device sent to cnn's new york offices. this after a string of devices were sent to the homes and offices of prominent public figures, including two former presidents. authorities are now calling these attempted attacks acts of terror. >> we will take every precaution we can. but we will not let terrorism win. not today, not ever. >> reporter: the device sent to cnn, which was addressed to former cia director, john brennan, contained a suspicious white powder, as well. it was removed from cnn's offices and taken to an nypd facility in the bronx to be
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analyzed. this according to a law enforcement official. this is the moment a fire alarm went off in our new york offices at 10:09:00 a.m. eastern time. >> explosive devices. and to have projectiles -- that's a -- excuse me. that sounds like a fire alarm here. we'll keep you posted on that. >> reporter: one minute later, my colleague, poppy harlow and i joined our colleagues in evacuating the time warner center in new york. >> there is a fire alarm here. >> you might have heard in the background. we're going to find out what the latest is. >> we'll be right back. >> reporter: the package delivered to cnn was among a series of bombs sent this week to distinguished democratic leaders, including the d.c. home of former president barack obama and the new york home of former president bill clinton and former secretary of state hillary clinton. >> we are fine, thanks to the men and women of the secret service, who intercepted the package addressed to us long before it made its way to our home. >> reporter: another suspicious package intercepted at a mail sorting facility for capitol
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hill. addressed to democratic congresswoman, maxine waters, a frequent target of president trump. >> yes, she is a low i.q. individual. maxine waters. >> reporter: earlier this week on monday, a bomb was sent to the upstate new york home of wealthy democratic donor, george soros, another favorite target of trump and right wing conspiracy theorists. because of an incorrect address, another package, which was intended for former attorney general, eric holder, was sent back to the return address. the same return address on the packages intended for brennan, clinton and obama. an office of democratic congresswoman, debbie wasserman schultz in florida. today president trump spoke out against the threats. >> in these times, we have to unify. we have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the united states of america. >> reporter: however, the
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president has often inflamed the political rhetoric. his crowd in houston on monday broke into a cnn sucks chant. >> i don't like 'em either. >> reporter: tonight officials are urging members of the public and politicians to stop the hateful rhetoric for the sake of safety. >> to all public officials of all partisan affiliations, don't encourage violence. don't encourage hatred. don't encourage attacks on media. you could disagree, but you have to show respect for people. and air your disagreements peacefully. >> reporter: the fbi, the new york police department, the joint terrorism task force, they are all continuing the investigation as we speak. the primary concern is, will the person or persons behind these multiple explosive devices, do they have more to send? do they have more targets? that is a real concern. they have an advantage now, though, that including that device found at cnn, they did not have to detonate it.
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they have it intact. that provides the possibility of gleaning intelligence from the device, including the possibility of fingerprints, other telltale signs that it could help identify the person or persons behind sending these multiple devices, wolf. >> jim sciutto, i want you to stand by. shimon prokupecz is with us. you're getting new information on the manhunt right now. they're looking for a suspect or suspects. >> that's right. and a lot of this now will go quiet and go dark from the fbi. because this is what they do now. now there's a hunt. they're on sort of this mission to find the person or people behind this. they have some clues. they have some major clues now that jim was describing. they have a device that was live, that is intact. they will be able to perhaps lift fingerprints off of that device, dna, other information that can allow them to try and circle in on where this person is. the other thing is they're going to look to see where some of these parts that were used to
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make this device, where was it purchased? and wherever that may be, you better believe that the fbi will be there. the other thing is that we have been told that a courier delivered this -- messenger, courier. it was delivered to the cnn building. so that is a major clue also for the fbi and certainly the nypd. the concern is, if this was a courier, was this mailed to a courier and then delivered to cnn or did someone actually bring this to the courier and say, hey, deliver this to this location? so we don't know the answer to that yet. the key there is they could have someone in new york who is doing this. who is the person behind this. so obviously, this is what the nypd is on the big search for now, is who is behind this. and certainly the fbi. and also the fbi joint terrorism task force has added resources, added investigators to this. that really is the big thing now. they don't want any more devices out there, obviously. and they need to find out where this person is. >> and so just to be precise on this whole notion, there's a
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major manhunt under way for the suspect or suspects. this package was hand-delivered, a courier delivered it to the cnn new york bureau at the time warner from, columbus center. what about the other bombs? were they hand-delivered, as well to the obamas, clintons, eric holder, george soros? >> the george soros, we've been told, was delivered. they believe it was brought there by somebody and placed in the mailbox. they don't believe that went through the mail. it's not clear the other devices. we know at least one of the devices that was meant for eric holder was sent to the wrong address and was returned. that device is believed to have been sent through the mail. we don't know about the hillary clinton device or the barack obama device. whether or not that was delivered by courier. but the courier here changes the dynamic, certainly. because there is going to be interaction. there's going to be additional information that investigators will be able to learn. because of that. but having that device, having it fully intact, that's going to
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bring a lot of clues to investigators. >> what about the suspicious package that was sent to the congressional office of congresswoman maxine waters, who has often been lambasted by the president? >> that too we're told is now linked. they believe that is connected to the other five. so authorities now investigating a total of six devices, six -- might as well call them bombs that have been sent to various places across the country. now the key is really to find out who is behind this, and also i think authorities are really concerned that obviously there could be other devices out there. that is why you're seeing the fbi send out information and you also saw the police department in washington. they have tweeted out a photo of the packaging. the envelope that some of these devices were delivered in. because they want to make sure that mail rooms and homes and people's places of businesses are aware of what to look for, should they get something like this in the mail or should something like this be delivered. so clearly, authorities very concerned here that there could
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be other devices out there. >> clearly, it's a connection between all of the john miller counter terror official in new york city said the package that was delivered to the obamas was nearly identical to the package delivered to the clintons and then he went on to say that there were multiple similar packages with what you're describing as a live bomb inside. fortunately, none went off. >> we are lucky none went off. certainly for our colleagues in cnn. people who live in the building and work in the building, we are very, very lucky. because this certainly was built in a way to cause damage. why it didn't go off, i'm sure authorities will explain. the other thing is, we're going to know how much damage this could have caused, because what happens in these kinds of situations, the nypd will test this. they will take everything, the ingredients inside this bomb and do their own bomb and then show just how much damage something like this could have created. and then we'll see. the idea that this was perhaps maybe you cannot cause as much damage, was rudimentary. this was meant to cause damage. >> certainly was. could have killed potentially a lot of people. i know you're working your law enforcement counterterrorism
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sources. we'll get back to you, simone. president trump condemned the attempted bombings as despicable and called for unity, rejecting political violence. let's go to our white house correspondent, kaitlan collins. she is in wisconsin right now. the president going to wisconsin tonight to hold another political rally. kaitlan, these rallies are where the president frequently goes after his political opponents, including many of those who were targeted by these bombs today. what else did the president say today? >> reporter: that's right, wolf. these rallies are typically where we hear the president's most divisive rhetoric. but that's not what he was saying today when he condemned these attacks. he called for unity in the country. now, this is at a bill-signing at the white house, and the first lady, melania trump, came out first. she condemned these attacks and then premp gsident trump got up the mike phone and this is what he had to say. >> the full weight of our government is being deployed to conduct this investigation and bring those responsible for these despicable acts to
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justice. we will spare no resources or expense in this effort. and i just want to tell you that in these times, we have to unify. we have to come together. and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message. that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the united states of america. it's a very bipartisan statement. i can tell you from both sides, we both agree on that. this egregious conduct is abhorrent to everything we hold dear and sacred as americans. my administration will provide additional updates as they become available, and i just want to thank everybody for their understanding.
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we will get to the bottom of it. >> reporter: wolf, a lot of people who watched the president's remarks noticed he didn't name the people these packages were addressed to. a lot of them aren his favorite political targets, especially here in wisconsin, maxine waters, john brennan, who he stripped of his security clearance recently. and he also did not note that that package that was addressed to the former cia director was sent to cnn. a news outlet he regularly criticizes and encourages his crowd to go and chant "cnn sucks" multiple times a week. he didn't note any of that in his remarks at the white house today. >> did the president at all suggest he was going to tone down his comments in terms of -- especially these political rallies where he goes after the news media specifically cnn, among others? >> reporter: wolf, he didn't mention that at all. he actually did not draw a connection between the fact that those packages were sent to people he regularly criticizes.
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and that's the typical stuff you hear at rallies like this. this is the most divisive rhetoric we get, and ahead of the midterm elections, happening three or four times a week. it's often a lot of things like this. >> was there -- >> if you want the fake news to finally investigate hillary clinton, we'll just have -- [ cheers and applause ] don't worry, i don't like them either. maxine, low i.q. individual. >> reporter: going after maxine waters, be one of the people a package was sent to. and we should note last week, praised a congressman for assaulting a reporter, something he later pleaded guilty to.
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so wolf, the question on everyone's mind tonight is the president going to come to wisconsin, and is he going to tone down the rhetoric. is he going to cool temperatures here and to see and echo what he said in the east room of the white house earlier, when he was calling for unity and did he announci denouncing these attacks. encouraging the "cnn sucks" chant or going after his perceived political enemies. those are the questions we're looking at tonight. wolf, with other politicians, as we have seen in the past, john mccain comes to mind. when their supporters would make comments like that, they would stop in, either correct them or tell them publicly they disagreed with that divisive rhetoric they were mentioning. the question is whether or not president trump is going to take that opportunity when he comes to wisconsin tonight. >> we'll see if he goes after the cnn and the news media tonight. we'll see what he says. we'll see if the crowd starts chanting as they often do at these trump political rallies, "lock her up," referring to hillary clinton, who is a target of this terror earlier in the
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day, as well. kaitlan, we'll get back to you in wisconsin. kaitlan collins reporting for us. joining us now, republican senator, jeff flake of arizona. he's a member of both the foreign relations and judiciary committees. do you see the various bomb incidents today were politically motivated terrorism? >> well, obviously, when you have a lot of politicians attacked and also a news organization that covers politics, it's obviously politically motivated. so i think that that's pretty clear. >> let me read to you, senator, what jeff zucker, the president of cnn, said. he just issued a statement, and it's very, very strong. there is a total and complete lack of understanding at the white house about the seriousness of their continued attacks on the media, the president and especially the white house press secretary should understand their words matter. thus far, they have shown no comprehension of that.
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as t has the president's let rick, calli rhetoric, calling us fake news, has that stoked these violent tendencies, at least in some people? >> i think that that's obvious. i've been concerned about this for a long time. i spoke about it at length in the senate, starting in january about the president's rhetoric. we have a record number of journalists that have been detained internationally, record number that have been murdered. and to use a phrase that has such a horrible pedigree, like "enemy of the people," continually, and to ridicule and to encourage chants against the media at events, just stokes this. so i hope that the president will follow the very good words that he said today. and actually at the rally, if people start chanting, "lock her
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up," or things against the media, he'll quiet them. that's what john mccain did during the campaign. he actively looked to lessen the rhetoric and to tone it down. i hope that this president will do the same. >> you know, because it is so disturbing, and i know this for a fact, so many people, including some of the president's close friends and advisers over the past year-plus have gone to him quietly, behind the scenes, and have appealed to him to stop all the condemnation of the news media, warning him that this could lead potentially to violence. he has refused to do so. why do you think he refuses to tone it down? >> well, it's a good applause line at rallies. that's what's concerning. you know, what is most concerning about this is not as much what the president says at those rallies. you can expect that now. it's tough to believe that he'll change. but the people behind him.
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and to hear them continue and go on and follow the president's lead here. that's really disturbing. because long after this president is gone, you know, i hope that we can change this. but anyway, that's what's really disturbing, is not just what the president is saying, but -- to have people follow it. i hope that people will stop at these rallies. one, the president has an obligation as the president of the united states not to encourage this. but certainly those behind him and those around him shouldn't participate in this kind of thing. >> because the president -- >> and i should say, on the other side -- >> go ahead. >> i should say, people on all sides need to tone it down, as well. the statement that we should be civil after the election, that's not a statement that should be made. or people encouraging people to go and heckle politicians in restaurants or whatever else.
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that's out of line, as well. so we could all do a little better here. but it certainly needs to start with the president of the united states. >> as you know, senator, the president often, as we pointed out, attacks cnn and other news organizations as fake news and said that awful phrase, the news media is the enemy of the american people. and he's often -- also tweeted out these memes, depicting cnn being violently attacked. given that history, do you believe the president has a unique responsibility, including tonight, in his speech in wisconsin to specifically mention cnn by name when he condemns this attempted bomb attack? >> i think the president has a responsibility to tone down the rhetoric. i think he has a responsibility to be the most adult among us here. and given what has been said, given the celebration of someone who attacked the media, who
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actually pled guilty to attacking the media and to praise that, that's simply out of line. for the president to stand next to duterte of the philippines when he refers to the media as spies and for the president to laugh along with it. that simply is unseemly. and words like this matter. that's why you have presidents and despots around the world using the term "fake news" to silence legitimate opposition. so words matter, and i think the president has a unique responsibility to tone down the rhetoric and actually act responsibly here. >> any chance he'll do the right thing and say tonight, you know, i apologize for some of the words i've said, and i promise not to do it again? >> i would hope so. but that hasn't been the record. so i don't expect that as much. but i hope that people around him that we don't hear the chants that we typically do at these rallies.
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that just -- that doesn't say good things about where we are right now. and so i hope that if the president won't, that at least those around him and other elected officials i think have a responsibility. no, we can't respond to every tweet that the president tweets or every thing that he says. but when he goes so far out of line on these basic things that are simply unamerican to say, like enemy of the people, we have a responsibility as elected officials to stand up and say that's not right. >> these suspected packages, these bombs, were delivered to the homes of two former presidents, a former secretary of state, a former attorney general of the united states, a former cia director, a sitting u.s. congresswoman. they were delivered. and some have suggested maybe this is not the best night for the president to be going to a political rally in wisconsin. do you believe he should have cancelled that rally?
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>> well, i think that he ought to use this rally as a way to actually make things better. and if he'll follow on the words that he said earlier today and actually commit to do better and to lead us in a better direction as president, then that will help. so i don't begrudge him going to the rally. i just hope he makes better use of it than he has in the past. >> by the way, we've got some live pictures, senator, of the president. he's heading over to air force one. he's going to make the flight to wisconsin. he just got off of marine one. he'll make that flight to wisconsin, attend that political rally. we're less than two weeks away from the midterm elections, as you know. in the past, senator, you've blamed both sides for the current awful, ugly political climate that exists here in the united states. but the president, as you note, is the most powerful politician in the united states. he's the leader of the free
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world. his words carry enormous weight. is there anyone in a comparable position among the democrats, for example, that uses this kind of awful, angry rhetoric? >> no. there's not, frankly. like i said, i think all of us share some blame here. certainly both sides can do better. but the president is in a unique position as president of the united states, republicans control both chambers. the house and the senate and the white house. and we can do better. and the president is the head of the party. and he's the head of the country. >> all right. senator jeff flake, thank you so much for joining us. senator jeff flake with arizona. our reporters and analysts have been working their stories and shimon, i know you're getting more information right now. let's start once again with you. first of all, update our viewers here in the united states and around the world on the very latest as far as the manhunt is concerned, the search for a suspect or suspects.
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>> right. so up with of the biggest clues for investigators is this courier that delivered the package to the cnn building in new york. that's going to be key here. they know who the courier is, they're obviously interviewing the company. it's a company there in new york. they're talking to them. so that's where investigators are. they're also probably already have started trying to pick the forensics apart from the device. they have an entirely intact device, which is going to prove very fruitful, i'm sure, for investigators. they're going to be able to figure out where some of the components used to make this bomb, where they were purchased. and one thing, you know, that investigators are stressing to us that we have been talking to is this thing was a bomb. this thing was meant to go off. why it didn't go off, we just don't know. but certainly that is something that is going to be part of the investigation. and there is. the fbi's joint terrorism task force have added investigators. the task force has grown. there is a 24-hour command
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center that's just dealing with this investigation. and they're spreading out probably all over the country, a., trying to make sure there are no more packages and b., really trying to find this person or people behind this. >> yeah, whoever did this clearly was hoping to kill all of these former officials, former presidents and others. it's an awful situation. laura, the president earlier today said that the full weight of our government is being deployed to conduct this investigation. so walk us through the full weight of the u.s. government. >> i think it's really about information-sharing at this point, as shimon said. the joint terrorism task force is taking the lead on this. but they're obviously getting full support from the nypd, from the atf, from the postal inspector service, and at this point, all about piecing it together to figure out, get to the bottom of who did this, whether it's one person, whether it's more than one person, trying to do as much information-sharing and open communication as possible. but it's also interesting, the fbi is really calling on the public for help in this. they have blasted out, tweeted
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out a picture of what one of the packages looks like. they are asking for the public to alert them as soon as they see anything that looks like this. obviously, there are multiple states involved here. which requires an enormous amount of coordination, wolf. >> they have a lot of clues right now. and presumably, they're implementing -- they're working on those clues. >> one thing we haven't discussed, you look at the number of devices, the number of devices increases risk to the public and also increases risk to whoever did this. every one of those devices, you've got to look inside, you've got to look outside. every bomb has a signature. how did this individual wire these things, how did he tape them? i suspect they know already whether these were made by a common individual. simple questions. are there fingerprints on them, are there serial numbers on anything within those devices. and then you're looking outside. did he touch anything with a fingerprint? i want to know, even minor stuff. stamps. did he lick a stamp? that's dna. so you look at the number of devices and the multiple number of times this individual might have left anything from a fingerprint to dna. they must know something already, at least. >> and jeffrey, if you look at
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the targets of these various bomb plots, that gives some clues to the investigators, as well. >> i'll say. there are all people that donald trump hates. they are all people that he has used violent, ugly, incendiary rhetoric against, whether it's journalists like cnn, where the john brennan letter was addressed or hillary -- hillary clinton, from the "lock her up" chants. this is not -- there is a lot of false equivalence that goes on in these discussions. when we say both sides need to tone down their rhetoric. this is not a both sides issue. this is a donald trump issue. donald trump is the only one who has been using violent rhetoric that suggests and endorses violence like he endorsed the congressman for criminally assaulting a reporter last week in montana. i mean, this is all on -- now, i don't know about the legal responsibility, we'll see who --
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you know, who did this. but in terms of who is using this kind of rhetoric, it's only donald trump. it's not anyone else. >> you know, it's interesting. if you take a look at who is receiving these suspected packages, these bombs, george soros. who is a very rich guy. a billionaire. supports a lot of democratic, progressive, liberal causes. former secretary of state, hillary clinton. former president barack obama. former cia director, john brennan. his package was delivered care of cnn in new york at the time warner center. former attorney general, eric holder. debbie wasserman schultz, congresswoman from florida, her name was on the return address, and the package that was supposed to go to eric holder actually was delivered to her, because it was her name on the return. >> right. it was meant for eric holder and then that went back to her. the thing is, since the first pipe bomb was discovered, george soros' home in new york, the fbi knew that they were dealing with a pretty serious situation.
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they certainly expected -- they took every precaution. and if you listen to the nypd talk today, they were expecting other similar devices. the fbi's joint terrorism tank for task force started sharing information with their partners, with the nypd, other people, and also they stepped up security. and they started sharing information about this device. and that's why the nypd, as soon as they got the call about what they found this morning, they knew exactly that this was going to be a problem and that this was something much more serious. and really since monday, the fbi has been going at this and knew they were dealing with something that was politically motivated. obviously, they had not said so publicly, but when i was talking to officials in new york about this, they said that they knew they had something more serious here. and that this was at least the first indications to george soros' home was that this was being done for political reaches. >> the first of the bomb packages that was fortunately intercepted.
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the most recent one, laura, we learned about, congresswoman maxine waters, had a suspicious package sent to her congressional office, but that was intercepted successfully at a clearing center that the u.s. congress has where they x-ray these kinds of packages. >> that's exactly right. and we don't know yet quite why she's not on the list of officials that the fbi sent out just a short time ago. they provided a variety of different names of people whose packages look similar. and we're trying to get to the bottom of exactly why she is not on that list? we were told that the device that was sent, the package, i should say, had bore some similarities to the others. so we're trying to get to the bottom of that. but maxine waters, a frequent target. president's ires. we've heard him call her low iq ultpe multiple times. she's been the subject of threats, not just from the president, from others in the congressional office. she's had a target. she's been pretty outspoken, i would say, in response to it, and saying she's not going to be intimidated by this, wolf. >> what does this say that a lot
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of the addresses and return addresses on these packages clearly had misspelled words? florida was misspelled. john brennan's last name was misspelled. debbie wasserman schultz's last name was misspelled. what does that say, if anything, to investigators? >> i would tell you what it would tell me on the inside. but i would be cautious on this one. until it's a fact, i'm not going to believe it. what i would be drawing from the initial stage of this is the first question, are there other people involved in this? going out a step, did someone inspire this individual, train this individual? if you look at the nature of the devices as you're talking about packaging that included misspellings, i would be looking saying the likelihood this is a large conspiracy that potentially stretches overseas looks pretty low to me. >> jeffrey, what did you make of the president's statement today when he spoke about this? >> i thought it was ridiculous. i thought the idea that he is calling for national unity when he just last week was
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celebrating a congressman for assaulting -- criminally assaulting a reporter. i mean, he is the worst messenger there. the idea that he has any standing to claim that the waters should be calm is completely bogus. i mean, he had to say what the speech writers put in front of him. but he has absolutely no credibility on this subject. absolutely no moral authority. and he is reaping what he sowed. >> phil, what do you think? >> let me give a different way to look at this. the president is taking a risk that we cannot withstand. i'm an analyst. it's a numbers game. every time he speaks, including encouraging politicians to body slam journalists, as jeffrey said, as he did recently. every time he speaks, if it's 10 or 20 or 30 million people listening, the risk he's taking is that not a single one of them will look at that and say, that's the president, that's what i'm going to do. >> it's not just the environment which is inappropriate in this country. it's the analytic question that
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says, mr. president, do you want to take the risk that nobody is going to take you seriously? and this person evidently did. >> the bomb that was delivered to cnn, shimon, was -- they described it as live. clearly capable of detonating. do they have any clue yet? and they are working on this bomb and will be sending it eventually over to quantico for the fbi to investigate. the specialist there. do they have any clue how damaging, how destructive, how deadly this bomb could have been? >> at this point, they probably have some clue, because they'll know some of the components inside. some of the explosive material, the powder, and exactly how explosive it is. and i think what's going to happen and what normally happens in these cases is the nypd -- it could be the fbi as well in this case, because they're working together on this -- will recreate the bomb. and they'll show just how potent it was and how much damage it could have caused. we have seen these in other kinds of cases like the times square bombing where they recreated to show the public just how dangerous this could be. they have a lot of clues already. there's no doubt that the bomb squad in new york between the fbi and the nypd are some of the
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best. they're working on this in the bronx. they were able to transport this safely so obviously they think they have enough there to work with, where they don't need to detonate it, and they can pull it apart and look at all the different evidence. and they probably have a lot of clues. we're not going to know about it until obviously they make an arrest. but i bet they're working off a lot of clues already, just because they have that device. they know a lot already. >> everybody stand by. there's more information coming into "the situation room" right now. our law enforcement analyst, former fbi supervisory special agent josh campbell, getting new information. >>. jim sciutto is getting more in new york. josh, what are you hearing from your sources? >> hi, wolf. we're hearing our cnn colleagues here that officers from the new york city police department are fanning out in multiple locations and attempting to gather evidence, gather surveillance footage, cctv footage. obviously, this is a critical step where law enforcement officers want to meet with businesses, the city officials
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in order to gather and then capture this surveillance footage, again try to determine if they're working their way back from the scene of a crime to help determine who may have been responsible. now, to take you quickly inside, wolf, inside the command center at the fbi office in manhattan and fbi headquarters, these are operations that work 24/7. they have people there staffed all of the time. but in a major incident like this, they flip a switch and they surge personnel to them. they'll be actually different teams set out in the command center. you'll have a forensics team, you'll have a communications team. there will be a staff getting leads and generating tips from the public. and then there's also a section that will be tasking out new orders to include what we see here. gathering this evidence from businesses, from government officials. there will be agencies there, again all hands on deck approach. that information is gathered in, brought into that central nerve center, the command center and tasked out to other investigators in order to continue to gather leads and build that case. it's a major operation, wolf and continuing as we speak. >> jim, new york city, as we
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know, they have a web of cameras, closed-circuit cameras all over the place, especially following the 9/11 terror attacks. and investigators certainly could use those to try to find some more information about who may have been responsible for these bombs. >> reporter: listen, wolf. what we saw put into action today were a whole host of measures and capabilities that the new york police department put into effect, much of it after 9/11. that includes cameras in high-traffic areas here. areas that they consider potential terror targets. and certainly this neighborhood that we're in here on the southwest corner of central park is one of those areas. so those cameras, one asset that they're taking advantage of now. the other is that in effect quick reaction force. they train all of the time to get to a site within minutes. they do drills oftentimes, every few days, to prove that capability and keep that capability sharp. and we at cnn saw it in action here today. they got here quickly.
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the bomb squad, the fire department. investigators, state troopers. ambulances. we saw them all here within minutes. and, again, using lessons learned after 9/11, so that they could mitigate if need be, respond to and find out who is responsible. and i'll tell you, it reminds me -- it was two years ago around the same time of year when we had those bombs go off in chelsea, and down lower in manhattan. and they used similar resources. cameras, et cetera, to find. and it wasn't long after those bombs went off that they had their suspect in custody in new jersey. doesn't mean they'll be able to move that quickly. this time it appears these devices were sent remotely, although a courier was used here at cnn. so not as easy, perhaps, as finding a device that might have been placed and positioned by someone as opposed to scent. but still, they have a lot of clues. and as josh was mentioning there, to have the complete, undetonated devices, that helps as well. because they can look and investigators have told us, they
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can look for signatures, fingerprints, both literal fingerprints, but also fingerprints in terms of the way this bomb was put together to help perhaps lead them to whether it's one individual or several individuals who sent these devices. and just to highlight the point, they believe the devices sent here and to other two former presidents, a congresswoman, et cetera, they believe those are linked. so possibly looking for one or multiple suspects responsible for all these attacks, wolf. >> yeah. there is certainly a lot of clues. and we'll see how quickly they can find the suspect or suspects. jim and josh, guys, you're doing great reporting for us. we're going to get back to you. i know you're both working your sources. there are certainly major political implications falling out from this development today from the story. let's talk about it with our political experts. and gloria, let's begin with the president of the united states, speaking out at an earlier event, and he said this. among other things, he said, i'd
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like to begin today's remarks by providing an update on the suspicious packages and devices mailed to current and former high-ranking government officials. the safety of the american government is my highest and absolute priority. he said the full weight of the government is being deployed to conduct this investigation and bring those responsible for these despicable acts to justice. and then he added this. in these times, we have to unify. we have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the united states of america. what did you make of that statement? >> i think it's completely ludicrous, wolf. i think that if the president ever listened to himself at one of his rallies, as i did last week, he was in migh missuooula
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lock her up chants. is that a threat of violence for hillary clinton? what about praising gianforte for body-slamming a reporter? what about calling the press the enemy of the people? i mean, words matter. they have consequences. and it's remarkable to me, it's clear to me the president was reading this statement. because this says, acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the united states of america. well, maybe he ought to think about that a little bit. because actions have consequences. >> right. i just read what he said. but let's hear precisely -- watch his body language as he reads from the teleprompter. >> okay. >> i'd like to begin today's remarks by providing an update on the suspicious packages and devices mailed to current and former high-ranking government officials. the safety of the american people is my highest and absolute priority.
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the full weight of our government is being deployed to conduct this investigation and bring those responsible for these despicable acts to justice. in these times, we have to unify. we have to come together. and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message. that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the united states of america. >> what did you think? >> i'm going to sound a lot like gloria here. we don't know who did this. >> yes, that is -- >> we don't know the motive, okay? here's what we do know. cnn, barack obama, michelle obama, hillary clinton, bill clinton, maxine waters, you go -- you go to any trump speech, you -- you read any transcript of a trump address, those topics come up a lot. so that's a common thread. i don't think donald trump created the political environment that we live in. i don't think any of us would suggest it. but there's no question -- it is
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impossible, genuinely impossible to say he has not weaponized this sort of political intolerance. when you say enemy of the people repeatedly, when you say enemy of the people who oppose brett kavanaugh's confirmation, both sides say nasty things about one another in a political context. you are talking about moral judgments. and a reminder, i heard this in the last panel. donald trump can say all he wants. you know, i'm giving a speech. people understand that. does he know that? does he know that everyone who hears when he says the press of the enemy of the people, these are bad people, he's pointing -- people are booing, i'm not going to repeat what people chant. everyone knows. does he know that everyone who is hearing his message knows, well, in some ways, in a lot of ways, i would say, this is really a political gamut. look, folks, if you think donald trump hates the media or the "new york times" or cnn, ask yourself why he listens to it
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and reads it so much. it doesn't make any sense. but the problem is who he is talking to. whether it's on twitter, at a rally. do they know that? and the concern is they don't. and there's no way he can know whether they do or not. and that's what worries me broadly speaking. for journalism and just for society. >> that's why it's so dangerous. kaitlan collins is in wisconsin, covering the president. he's getting ready -- flying off to wisconsin for this political rally tonight. i understand, kaitlan, you're getting some new information. >> reporter: that's right, wofrl. the president is on his way. he's on air force one. headed over for a rally and he's been doing a lot of these rallies throughout the weeks ahead of the midterm elections. he's wanted to get out to support these republicans that are running ahead of the elections coming up. and tonight is just more of that. but tonight there is a different focus on this rally, because of what happened today, what's going to be said. now before the president left, he got a little delayed from what was on the schedule when he was supposed to depart the white house.
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and as white house reporters were waiting for the president to leave the oval office, you could see he was in there meeting with several officials, including ivanka trump and jared kushner, both senior advisers to the president and jared kushner is traveling with the president, according to reporters who saw him get on air force one. wolf, this morning as we watched these events unfold and as we learned more and more throughout the hours of who exactly it was these packages have been addressed to and how all of this unfolded, we saw the white house respond to this. at first through press secretary, sarah sanders, issuing a statement, saying they condemn any kind of violence, whether it's against people like george soros, who she did not name, the liberal donor. or other -- as we saw, hillary clinton, barack obama, and what not. and then later she came out and included cnn in that, as well. one really strong statement we saw was from ivanka trump, the president's daughter, who issued a statement. and i'm going to read it to you now. she said on twitter, i strongly
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condemn the attempted acts of violence against president obama, the clinton family, cnn and others. ivanka trump wrote on twitter, there is no excuse. america is better than this. and then she went on to thank the secret service who played a large role in intercepting some of these packages that were sent to people like barack obama and like hillary clinton. then the president, people were waiting on his tweet. his response. sarah sanders had put out a statement, and of course, she speaks for the president, she's his paid press secretary. and quoted mike pence who issued a strong statement condemning these acts, as well, including labelling cnn and people specifically in his statement. we saw the president quote him, saying he wholeheartedly agreed. and we heard from the president in person at 2:00 p.m. of course, you just played that clip there, wolf, of the president saying he strongly condemns these acts, denounces them and called for unity. some pretty strong words from the president about these acts. one thing that people who watch
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did notice, he didn't name the people who these packages were sent to. and he didn't name that one was sent to cnn. a lot of people drew the conclusion that some of those people that these were sent to were people that are the president's favorite political targets. some people he often goes after at rallies like the one he's going to be at tonight. so we're seeing a new focus on this rally tonight. on the things that the president's supporters often say. and while it's certainly not everyone who supports the president or everyone here at this rally who echos that sentiment, we do often see the "lock her up" chants, referring to hillary clinton, who was an intended recipient of one of those packages today, and maxine waters is another favorite of his. he often goes after her, labelling her a, quote, low i.q. individual. that is really something that he has ramped up since we have been here in the midterms season, as the president has been coming out, rooting for republicans, trying to gin up some support for them.
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he has gone after maxine waters a lot, saying that is essentially what the democratic party is going to look like and what washington overall is going to look like if the democrats do do well next tuesday when voters go to the polls. of course, cnn is a big part of that, too. it's hard to ignore. the crowd at the trump rally in texas this week noted that it was particularly loud at that one. so wolf, the question of course tonight is going to be does the president take this opportunity to try to tamp down the rhetoric to say, you know, we've said this before but in light of these events that happened today, this is a really serious issue. that's really what people are going to be looking to see what it is the president says when it comes out to this rally tonight. we spoke with some of the people in line, people waiting hours for these rallies. we spoke to some of the people and we asked them, would you feel comfortable participating in those chants, what do you think of all this, and one woman said, yes, she did feel fine
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participating in it. we'll see what happens tonight. >> the president is on his way, aboard air force one right now heading to that political rally in wisconsin. you know, sabrina, the president in his comments today didn't specifically name the targets by name, the targets of these bomb attacks that included all these, in these packages, but as caitlan points out, he's never shy mentioning these individuals by name at these political rallies, going after them in very ugly ways. watch this. >> fake as hell, cnn, the worst. hillary is a very dishonest person. if you look at the things she says, they're so dishonest. . i think brennan is a very bad guy. a lot of bad things happened under his watch. he's a very bad person. and of course the legendary low iq maxine waters.
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low iq person. >> it was very polarized under president obama, unbelievably polarized under president obama. he'll go to a person holding a sign who gets paid by soros or somebody. >> so he goes after them often. he didn't today at his event mention them and say it's awful what happened to the former president of the united states, president obama, the former secretary of state, hillary clinton, former attorney general, former cia director, he didn't have the courtesy to do that. >> the president today did the bare minimum that he could do in reading from prepared remarks that simply condemned the attempted attacks without actually, certainly what i didn't hear was denouncing specifically efforts to attack or target the media or some of his political opponents. what i didn't hear from the president was defending the importance of the freedom of the press and the role that it plays in a functional democracy. i didn't hear from the president
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saying that even if you disagree with someone's politics, the obamas, the clintons, these are former public servants and they are patriots, we're talking about the former president of the united states, and the former first lady, and i think that we, to do so would have perhaps been to acknowledge the role that he has played in terms of the rhetoric both at his rallies, in tweets that give a cue to people out there who believe that they perhaps could take that as a reason to justify retaliating against some of these individuals, and the sad part is one day of calling on americans to come together, that's not going to undo the damage that has been done over the last couple of years, and so the real question, and i think many of us would be skeptical to think that this will prompt some sort of change in the president, if you look at his history, but the real question is this the moment where the attacks end. >> no. >> we have an election coming up. >> let me get bianna to answer
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that question, what do you think, you've watched this president on a day-to-day basis. >> reporter: one can always hope, wolf, i mean, it's another reminder of how isolated this president is from his predecessors as well. you didn't hear him mention them by name. i'm not sure if there were phone calls behind the scenes to the previous presidents, and if there were, i believe now would have been a good time to make that known. at this point in a presidency, you typically at least see a few opportunities where predecessor and, or a president and their predecessor have photo ops together, they attend events. it's a show of unity. it's a very special club. only 45 people have been in this club before, and it would do a lot, i think, for the country to see them together as it always does when you see presidents of different parties together at events, when you see them laughing together, you're reminded that their one mission
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is to protect the country that they love, whether they had different policies when they were in office, you know, that wasn't the most important thing in those circumstances. so again, like sabrina said, these are previous presidents who were attacked and obviously the media as well. it's always uncomfortable to cover the media, you know, i'm so proud of how cnn has handled this, and it's been nonstop for the network as it always is, and it continues to go on, but luckily no one was hurt this time. you're reminded of how important leadership is in a moment like that, and why it matters that you're the president of the country as a whole and not your base. so whether or not we hear different from him tonight, we'll see. >> that's going to be interesting. >> this is a critical moment for the country and for the president of the united states. tonight he has an opportunity to do the right thing before this huge crowd that has gathered in wisconsin, let's see if he does. everybody stand by.
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we're going to take a very very quick break. much more on the breaking news right after this. it's not just easy. it's-being-a-master-of-hypnotism easy. hey, i got your text- sleep! doug, when i snap my fingers you're going to clean my gutters. ooh i should clean your gutters! great idea. it's not just easy. it's geico easy. todd, you will go make me a frittata.
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kaitlan collins. kaitl kaitlan.
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