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tv   MSNBC Live With Craig Melvin  MSNBC  May 18, 2017 10:00am-11:01am PDT

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>> was everybody doing that? >> yeah, a lot of people running. >> you on on the west side? >> west side. yeah. west side of 7th avenue and sidewalk. >> and did you see it come to rest here? >> no, no. we are member of media, so i was helping them. >> are you a journalist? >> yeah, researcher. happened to be there. >> but you saw people falling on which the hood of the car? >> yeah. >> and that dramatic eyewitness account of people jumping out of the way as the c barreli down the west side of 7th avenue with kristen dadahlgren, that researcher seeing people falling off the hood of the car. that does it for ugs for this edition of breaking news on andrea mitchell melvin is up ne continuing our coverage.
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>> we'll pick things up there. good afternoon. coming to you from msnbc headquarters roughly nine blocks if that from the scene that you see on the left side of your screen. we continue our breaking news coverage here in new york city, one person dead, 12 others hurt after a car -- actually now we can tell you according to the fire department 19 people now, 19 people are hurt, one dead. 19 others injured after a car plowed into peds in busy times square, an area of the city always teaming with tourists. police on the scene, took the driver of the car into custody. preliminary information from law enforcement sources indicate that this was an accident, it was an accident, not a deliberate act. at this point investigators say that is the case. security officials in new york and elsewhere in the united states have been on alert after a number of terror incidents in europe where cars and trucks have been used to deliberately
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kill civilians. kristen dahlgren remains on duty for us there in times square. and kristen, you were just talking to on an eyewitness there. we caught the back end of that conversation. are we do understand that the driver of that car hit people and then carried a number of them for several blocks? >> reporter: yeah,t's just a chilling scene she described. shs a researcher for a japanese television station. happened to be in the area. she was about three blocks south of here on 7th avenue and she saw the car coming through wondering why wasn't it slowing down. it had hit people. she said she saw five or six people on the hood of that car and then as it progressed and didn't slow down and kept going through these busy streets, she said people were falling off the hood of the car. she saw people with cuts, people with neck injuries, she didn't see the car finally come to rest
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here at 45th and broadway in times square, but she said she was shocked it was the worst thing she had ever witnessed just seeing this car barreling through pedestrians. she said it was going faster than the rest of the traffic around, it didn't slow down at all. there was no sound at all of braking. the car finally came to rest here. on top of a metal stand shon put outs from going into buildings and the sidewalk. and that is where it came to re rest. we know 12 injured, one person killed. the driver of that vehicle is now in custody. we're being told it's a 26-year-old man from some of our investigative teams reporting. he has a history of dwi and so police at this point
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investigating and looking to see if possibly that had anything to do with it. but really just a scene of horror out here. >> kristen dahlgren for us just a few blocks away. we'll let you try get more eyewitnesses if you can. folks who saw this unfold here a short time ago. again, 19 hurt, we can tell you that of the 19 people who were injured when that car went plowing in to the crowd, four are either in critical or serious condition. four of the 19 in serious or critical condition. malcolm nance former counterterrorism officer is here. and sean henry is also here, now president and chief security officer at crown strike, a firm that specializes in cybersecurity. sean also an msnbc contributor. and jim cavanaugh is a law
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enforcement analyst. sean, you first called my attention to this about 20 minutes ago. you needily knew what it was. these steel beams that pop up from the ground here in new york city. >> yeah, those are placed strategically in the high pedestrian traffic areas specifically to stop vehicles from coming up on to the sidewalk into that area. and looking at this particular vehicle, there is one of two ways that car is up on that stand shon, either it catapulted somehow or it may have been activated, somebody perhaps saw something occurring and actually activated it while the car was passing over it. not clear exactly how it happened. but certainly stopped the vehicle there going any further one way or the other from either if it was propelled through the air, stopping it from continuing to roll, or if it was actually traveling and the stand shon popped up incapacitating the
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vehicle. >> we continue to learn more about how this precisely all went down. it was shortly before noon when fire officials got a call about an accident at 4 3rd and 7th avenue. police initially knew there were multiple reports of injuries. an eyewitness says that she saw the driver of in car actually dragging a number of people after he initially hit them, dragging them essentially a few blocks. one person is dead, 19 others hurt. four of them are in critical or serious condition. we are told that we will be hearing from new york's governor andrew cuomo who is on the scene there. the governor expected to make some comments here any moment now. but the top line at this point, again, be earearly signs pointi this appears to be just the worst kind of accident in a part new york city that is always bustling with tourists, especially on days like this, just about 90 degrees outside.
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on the way in i was struck by the number of people outside this building, a lot of folks outside. this again a sight that has become unfortunately a bit too familiar to a lot of folks. not so much in this country, but the reason that the emergency response was what it was is because of what we've seen play out overseas. >> sure. absolutely right. you know, being near by that location, when i first got notified of what had happened, my first thought was the emergency response in the city will just you barrel down on 42nd place and place it into lock down. you can't tell the difference between a drunk driver or a person who might have diabetes and has gone in to shock or something like that. and a person who is passed out. and a terrorist. you can't tell until you figure
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out the intent. fortunately for us the ballards may have prevented even bigger incident. but for the most part right now, so long as new york city police has determined that it's an accident, we should all feel lucky. however tomorrow new york city police is not going to be looking for an accident, they will be looking for someone who might consider doing a follow on to this. and create another sdwiincidentt because they have seen the media response to an accident like this. so this is the sort of thing that people in the counterterrorism community go on standby for after you have a critical incident that has gotten this much media attention. we prepare for the next attack. >> a possible copycat. >> there is always the possibility of copycats. and often the are copycat attacks. but, you know, in about this particular instance, we see that it's a car accident. or at least that's what we think it is at this point. and you can see the amount of devastation that can be done.
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and someone may have thought about this, someone may have actually planned do this and this may be the precipitating event watching the u.s. media coverage that may bring them to carry out an act. >> mike summers is on the phone with us now, he was in the area. he saw all of this go down a short time ago. mike, where are you now, what do you see right now? >> so i'm in midtown right now, i'm inside now. but at the time, i was at 46th and broadway in one of the pedestrian seating areas that they have set up. and we were sitting out there enjoying the beautiful and warm day here in new york. and all of a sudden we heard a loud crash and of course immediately looked over to 45th street and the car was on its side. and soon after that, a ton ever smo smoke started to bill low out. and there was a immediate police and fire department response.of smoke started to bill low out. and there was a immediate police and fire department response. a we kept a safe distance because
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we didn't know if it was intentional or an accident, and then of course people started to evacuate people from the area not knowing what it was for sure. and also to be sure that whatever the smoke contained wasn't in any way toxic or that we shouldn't be breathing it in. a lot of people were snapping some pictures and videos which hopefully people will send in so they can piece together what might have happened. and then of course after that, they moved people further backing and closed the street in times square are from as far north as around 48th street i couldn't tell as f south and east and wegs with because i couldn west because i xoonts see pacout the accident site. but a terrifying probably about 20 or 30 minutes not sure what was going on. but there was absolutely a quick response and it was chaos for a while. but quickly brought under
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control and i'm sure to hear that one person has passed around and others got hurt. but it was a very dramatic accident. >> mike, there were reports that the driver panicked and got out of the car and immediately ran. >> i did not see that. >> hang on, mike. a reporter from wnbc is providing new details. let's listen in. >> according to law enforcement sources and again he was arrested in times square taken to the midtown south precinct. in part he appeared to be under the influence according to police officials who saw him at the scene and took him away and now they are doing alcohol and drug testing or plan to to see if that confirms his condition at the time he was operating this vehicle. unclear again exactly what happened or exactly the cause of the accident, but dui a leading
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possibility, a leading theory at this time according to law enforcement officials. again, the mayor, the governor, the police commissioner all in times square, we're expecting a news conference from them shortly to provide us with a briefing, but the latest information, multiple law enforcement officials confirming to nbc that richard rojas 26 of the bronx was operator of the vehicle, he is in custody at the midtown south precinct, he has two past arrests for driving under the influence including one where he was going 99 miles an hour in a 50 that according to law enforcement officials familiar with with this investigation and that mr. rojas is being questioned that the hour at the midtown south precinct, he apparently making a wrong turn on to or towards 7th avenue and jumped the sidewalk,ing jumped the curb, striking 20 people. one dead, 19 injured.
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four of those injuries serious or critical according to fire department officials. so that is the very latest. richard rojas in custody at this hour. and there you have it urks jo, jonathan dietz quite well sourced in the law enforcement here providing new details on the driver of that vehicle, 26-year-old richard rojas from the bronx, he has a history of driving under the influence of alcohol here in the city, apparently made a wrong turn on 7th avenue and the result at this point, one gdead, 19 hurt, four either in serious or critical condition. the mayor, the governor,olice commissioner all of them just a few bckswayn times square. we are expecting se sort of official response any moment now. but again, be and we just heard jonathan mention this as well, again at this point, this does
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not appear to be anything more sinister than that. this does not appear to be terror-related at this point. i believe we still have mike summers on the phone with us. mike, were you able to on hehea of that? >> yes, i was. and that sounds from what i saw it sounds -- seems like it would match up. the accident occurred just a bit west of 7th avenue. but it would make sense because that is kind of where broadway and 7th avenue come together as they kind of cross each other. and, you know, i believe that those stanchion is caused the car probably to flip over on its side. to your earlier question, i did not see him get out of the vehicle, the smoke was so thick. and there was just so many emergency response vehicles coming around. i did not see that. but i wouldn't be surprised if
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that is what has been reported that that might have happened. >> mike, were you close enough to gauge theity of any of the folks who were hit? >> i was toobl sable to see peot were injured, but i wasn't willing to go close because there were already a number of police officers. there is always a police presence in times square. and it didn't make sense for me to go any cloir. but i w closer. but you i was able to see injured people. but when the smoke started to get thick and they started pushing people back, that was really the end of what you could see aside from getting photos of the emergency vehicle and the vehicle on its side. >> and you mentioned smoke pouring out. we had video earlier of the car on fire, this was some instragram video that we got in a short time ago showing there in the upper right hand portion of the screen. guys, can we make that large?
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there you can see the car was actually on fire at one point. you saw the smoke billowing. the crash that you heard, mike, how off putting was it? was it something that snks you hea as soon as you heard it, you knew what it was or did it take time to figure out what you were hearing? >> it took a second to figure out what caused it, but it was definitely a loud and noticeable crash. for those viewers who haven't been in times square, it's a loud place anyway. so to hear it and people focus on that in times square where are there are news of people milling about and talking and eating lunch and horns honking, it was definitely noticeable. it wasn't obvious that it was a crash versus some other thing like as an example an explosion.
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we couldn't quite tell. but it was definitely a significant noise. >> we just saw in that video there folks, scores of them running immediately. were you in that hoard of people that took off as soon as you saw what it was? >> well, being about a block away, i wasn't in the crowd that had to run. i mean those are folks that are probably right up near where the accident happened. i was luckily a block away. they are short blocks of course going north to south. not long blocks look going cross town. so i was close, but i didn't need to run away. my first instinct was to get some about photos, get some video. this is something that doesn't happen every day luckily. and then of course like i say, i know the importance now that they always stress when they are trying to investigate people who do have are photos or videos to submit them because it helps pea togeth piece together what might have happened. and then of course i moved back a safer distance and of course we were forced back by police as
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well. and that was about two blocks away at a minimum. and at time it was three to four blocks away at a minimum. >> mike summers on the phone with me. i appreciate your time. glad you're okay. thank you so much for trying to shed 1some light on what went down. again, you can see the car on the left side of your screen, two wheel on the ground, two wheels in the air. and you saw frequently the case so many of us doing what we do when things like this happened, running away. and you saw new york's finest running straight toward the wreckage, straight toward the fire. of ifs, police officers still there are on the scene as you see on the left side of your screen we are expecting may de blasio and governor cuomo and the police commissioner all have assembled there in times square. we are told there will be an official statement any moment now. but again, one person dead, 19
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others hurt after this maroon sedan made a wrong turn on 7th avenue, the 26-year-old driver richard rojas who has a history of driving under the influence of alcohol. jonathan dietz saying he was ticketed for doing 99 in a 50 at bon point. we'll take a quick break. beveras have come together to bring you more ways to help reduce calories from sugar. with more great tasting beverages with less sugar or no sugar at all, smaller portion sizes, clear calorie labels, and signs reminding everyone to think balance before choosing their beverages. we know you care about reducing the sugar in your family's diet, and we're working to support your efforts. more beverage choices. smaller portions. less sugar. balanceus.org. oscar mawe went back toig the drawing board... and the cutting board. we removed the added nitrates and nitrites, by-products,
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i was trying to look down that way, but after like five minutes rn minutes, cops started pushing us back so 240u we'now we're here. >> what do you think of all this? >> my mom actually texted me because i was walking down after school and she texted me something is going on here. so i walked here. and there was a crowd in the middle of the day, like immediatelyhinking like terrorist or something. >> and he thought what soany here in the neighborhood thought when we first heard word roughly 45 minutes ago, if that, closer to 30 minutes ago that there was a car that made a wrong turn on 7th avenue. at this point one person is dead, 19 others hurt. you see the maroon sedan on the left side of your screen.
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two wheels on the ground, two wheels in the air. the man who was driving that car police say he is in custody and his name is richard rojas, a 26-year-old man from the bronx who has quite the history of driving under the influence of alcohol. officials also saying at this point thoo there is no indication that this was anything other than that. they do not suspect that it was terror. nonetheless out of an abundance of caution, a number of blocks in and around the scene have been shut down. this is going to create quite the traffic nightmare as you might imagine in new york city. clint watts is joining us, former fbi agent. clint, there are a lot of folks who are watching and listening who do not live in new york city.
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may not have even ever been to new york city. and wonder why we might be spending so much time talking about this. help us understand why this is so important, why this had so many people nervous for such a long period of time. >> this is a standard location for what you might perceive to be a terrorist attack. as you per we had a vehicle which had propane tanks in it, be an attempted plot that was stopped by informed citizen, concerned citizen who detected that and located it for police. and that really stopped a potential terrorist attack there. so we have a natural ten depends city when tendency when we see something happen like this, we have seen it throughout europe on several different occasions in terms of isis-inspired terrorist attacks that would seem like a logical conclusion. and it sounds like we have been lucky in .sense ththe sense tha not a terrorist campaign, are but unfortunate incident in
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itself. >> bill bratton is joining us. he's ran major police departments. commissioner, always good to have your insight. as you are watching what is playing out here especially on the left side of the screen, we've seen the police response here, one would imagine this is something that your guys train extensively for, situations just like this. >> exactly. times square rec are negligence of t recognition of the expanding terrorist threat especially since isis came on the scene in 2013. in 2014, we created a 100 person unit assigned specifically to times square are because becaus terrorist threat to that particular location. it remains one of the most likely and most significant terrorist targets in the world. so we have a special unit down there that receives all the additional training. additionally, we created a 550
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person counterterrorism unit city wide. those are the people you see armed with the long guns, a significant number of them are assigned in the times square area routinely. immediately upon this it incident being reported, immediately, there are officers pulling the individual out of the car, he fought with them, they apprehended them, they started disbursing throughout times square. these additional officers using the dogs to check parked vehicles, make sure there was not a potential secondary action. they closed off the traffic into the square for a 7 block area, they literally locked down traffic in the 7 block perimeter around the square. and at the same time, once they were able to quickly verify that this appeared to be an accident situation,ing an individual why quickly identified who had a drunk driving history apparently, that they quickly put out to the media both through social media and through the national and local media information that this appeared
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to be a traffic accident and not a terrorist incident. in my office, my office is wall to wall television screens, we're spantly mondconstantly mo the office was mesmerized by watching what was happening. as you see the audible sigh of relief when the first reports came out that this did not appear to be a terrorist incident. so in new york being city, we li live with the reality that it may occur again here and the first thought in an incident like this is terrorist related. >> why are would that be the first thought, just because of the location? >> location, new yorcity, thewould that be the first thought, just because of the location? >> location, new york city, also the vehicle attacks, encouraging vehicle attention. and we've seen how that relatively low tech type of attack can take horrendous number of lives. so it's understandable that a first thought almost anywhere in
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the world to an accident scene such as this would give a thought to terrorism. but particularly here in new york, i think we're more hype are alert to it. >> those investigators on the scene right now, commissioner, now that the suspect is in custody, what is the next step? >> a number of things. one is in fact the individual is in custody. two, there will be intel gerngs counterterrorism, task forces, despite this appearing to be an accident, be they will be double checking. they will be checking sources, et cetera, they will try to get into the individual's social media, his computer, phone if he has one, to understand is this individual as they believe operating der t operating under the influence. and that would be preliminary. or is there possibly an alternative motive which may be disclosed as they get a little more into visiting his home, talking to family, talking to go friends, get into his social
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media. twlaus possib was there possibly any tine of type of linkage to terrorist cell didn't appear likely, but first story is never the last story. >> malcolm nance, again with, this appears to be an accident. what we've seen overseas owe a number of occasions have been deliberate terrorist attacks just like this. what is to stop someone from engaging in this kind of terror more often in this country? it would seem that if you are trying to wreak havoc on a major metropolitan area, this would be the easiest cheapest way do it. >> we call them vehicle as weapon systems attacks. europe isn't the first one to see this. israel is. there have been over 49 attacks like this where people just take the vehicles or truck and they use it. and as we saw in nice and in other parts of europe, they are
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no dollar attention. they cost literally nothing more than the vehicle themselves and again in nice it was zero dollar because they stole the truck. hopefully this is not a trend that we will see come to the united states. >> you may recall when i was chief of police in los angeles back in 2002, 2003, santa monica had an incident where an elderly gentleman plowed his car in toe to a street fair ten individuals individuals. initially thinking he was elderly, lost control. but as i recall as it unfolded the investigation first story never the last story that turned out that he was very upset about stock losses or something was going on in the stock market the. and literally it turned out to effectively be an atck one out of frustration. on so terrorism, no, but we've had our own experience with a vehicle being used as a weapon. and the real concern today and something in law enforcement
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whether at the federal level, local level, we've never understood is why we don't have more of these. in a sense of why you don't have -- so many guns in this country, why don't you have people standing in the middle of any crowded location. and we have them from time to time, but we've never quite understood why there were not more of them. >> as we wait for this news conference to start here, again, you probably saw upper right hand portion of the screen a number of officials there appearing to get the ready to gather at that podium. commissioner bratton here onset. commissioner, i would be remiss if i didn't ask you about the news of the day. i hope you will not be saved by the bell because there is an opening at the fbi we've been told -- >> not happening. >> on the record, no chance? >> no disrespect to the gentlemen at a this table, but i've masked to avoid federal ser are advice for all of my career and not likeikely. >> mayor de blasio getting ready
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to make some comments. let's listen in. >> okay. i want to give you an update, we had a very serious incident today here in times square. we will provide you with information. i want to emphasize up front this is preliminary information. obviously the investigation are der way, there is a lot we will learn in the coming hours. but we'll give you the information that we have at this point. i'll start and then you will hear from our police commissioner and our fire commission commissioner. so far what we know, 23 individuals were injured in this incident. and that includes tragically one young woman who has passed away. the perpetrator is in custody. he is a united states citizen and former member ever of the armed forces.
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[ inaudible ] >> we're clearly having trouble with the audio there at this news conference. guys in the control room, let me know when we have the mayor back. we certainly don't want to miss what he's saying. but what he had said before the audio dropped out is that there was one young woman who is dead, 23 hurt now. we thought it was 19. ly apparently that number has gone up. and the 26-year-old responsible is also a former member of the armed services. that is what we have so far. again, we are work feverishly
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i'm to get the audio back. and as i say that, it appears as if we're also having video trouble as we would. this is mayor de blasio briefing reporters on precisely what transpired here a short time ago on 7th avenue. again, the mayor reiterating that this in no way shape or form looks like terror. no indication this was an act of terrorism. it appears at this point to be just the worst sort of accident. again, we were told it was richard rojas from the bronx who was driving the car that you see on its side there at the top of your screen. he is from the bronx, made the wrong turn on 7th avenue and plowed into a crowd of people. had it not been for that steel
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shan stanchi stanchion that you see there, certainly the number of injured might be a bit higher, clint watts. for folks who aren't familiar with those steel barricades, ae they automatic, do they sense when a vehicle is approaching and do they pop up automatically? never mind, clint. the audio is much better now. let's listen in. >> how about now, peter, do you want to take a look at it? all right. ready to roll? we're good. thank you. so as the mayor said, this is preliminary information. this incident happened about an hour and a half ago, so it's all subject to change and this is what we talk about at every press conference, we try to get as much information out to you as possible as soon as possible. so at approximately 11:55 m, 2009 honda accord mounted the sidewalk you on the west side of 7th avenue at west 42nd street
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in times squared. the vehicle occupied by a male driver proceeded to drive at a high rate of speed along the sidewalk from 42nd street to 45th street, striking a number of pedestrians on the way. honda eventually came to a stop on the northwest corner of west 45th street where it collided with a metal stanchion. along the route, the subject's vehicle struck 23 pedestrians causing multiple injuries and one fatality. 22 victims were removed to local hospitals. the driver, a 26-year-old male, identified as richard rojas, a residence of the bronx, was taken n. to custody at the scene. preliminary investigation reveals that roj a jchltrojas h arrest respect and two are for dwi. >> are so there you have it, confirmation again that this is
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not terror related. the suspect in custody has a criminal record, he's a former member of the armed forces. he plowed into a crowd of 23 people, one of those people died, the other 22 were with taken to area hospitals. commissioner bratton, ittaken to area hospitals. commissioner bratton, it seems this is a situation that could have been, could have been, far, far worse. >> exactly. times square noontime, those sidewalks are wall to wall people. and also aiding this investigation will be probably the most heavily photographed area in the world. a number of cameras they will have very significant video from multiple angles to determine exactly what occurred as far as being able to investigate the circumstances. as i've indicated, they will be doing significant research into
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this individual as to previous incidents of driving while under the influence. was it an intentional act, was he under the influence. and the fact that this has been reported so quickly is reflective of the fact that the department in this era wants to get out information very quickly to dispel if they believe it is not a terrorism incident because as we talked about the concern that immediately comes to mind particularly in areas such as times square and for such an abhorrent act as something like this, they want to very quick withly pu ll ll lly push back o. because circumstance respect may change. he might have been motivated. we don't know at this state. but right now it appears a singular accident that is contained, suspect under arrest. that individuals now being notified of the deceased and injured. >> thank you, commissioner.
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we will continue to bring you develops on that deadly car crash, but now we turn to president trump's scontroversy r as he called it today a witch hunt. in less than an hour, there will be a senate briefing from rod rosenstein behind closed doors. he will be answering questions about his role in the firing of james comey as well as the decision to appoint a special counsel bob be mueller, former fbi director under the bush administration and obama administrationor a while. the move giving the white house less power over the justice department investigation of the russian/trump ties. that as a flurry of new stories painten an awful picture. lawyers saying there were more contacts with the russians than previously known. and more about michael flynn, as
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well. "new york times" reporting that the team knew flynn was under investigation before he was sworn in as as in a national s are advisory and also that flynn refused to sign off on a milt taker plan that turkey opposed even as his firm was being paid by a business associate of turkey's president. let's start with kelly o'donnell at the white house, mike viqueira on capitol hill for us. tell us more about the meeting next hour. >> reporter: with the sequence of events that we've seen, it's hard to believe that this began just last tuesday with the sudden firing by president trump of jim comey, the fbi director. and rod rosenstein, the newly installed deputy attorney general what his role in it exactly was. remember, many democrats vilified rosenstein in the immediate wake of that firing. this a man that had been confirmed by the senate just weeks earlier by a stroke ofvot
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#-are 6. the day after the comey firing, chuck schumer took to the senate floor in a somber session demanding that rosenstein come bere t united states senate in a classified session and give his account of the tick tock, hugh it all we how it all went with down. many of those questions have been answered since then and sort lost in all the events that happened since then involving the trump campaign and their ties to russia, purported ties to russia. but rosenstein will be here in this about 45 minutes time to brief all senators in a closed session. he will do the same for the house of representatives tomorrow. one other wrinkle to this, democrats many who have vilified rosenstein, that has been taken off the table because their demand was spoke a special prosecutor, something they now have are. >> and rosenstein in this closed
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door meeting, how real is the possibility that even though it's closed door we'll get details out of this thing? >> well, it's classified and most senators and house members are sort ever very respeof veryl of those yearrules, but we shou get some strong hints. >> president trump supposed to be focused on this first trip being a bro abroad as president, flying overseas tomorrow. instead he is once again defending himself on twitter. >> and it is striking to see how different the personal response coming through his twitter feed is than the official written statement on white house letter head last night where they expressed that this is a step to see robert mueller brought in as something that they hope will bring about a speedy closure to an investigation that they would like to see conducted properly.
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today a different tone from the president. he says this is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in american history with the explanation point. and i goes on to say with all the illegal acts that took place in the clinton campaign and obama administration, there was never a special counsel appointed. so clearly the frustration even anger of the president coming through in this way, commenting in sort of real time as washington is adjusting to this new dynamic with the investigation, and there is an argument to be made for the trump white house that while having a special counsel involved is in some ways a dire sign, it is also an opportunity to sort of put off to the side all issues that relate to the russia investigation under the heading of there is now a counsel, an investigation under way, can't comment on it here. that kind of thing. which would be able to give the trump white house a chance to sort of turn down the volume on some of the day by day criticism
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especially from lawmakers who were concerned that this step was needed. so a president going from a more predictable response on paper to more what is familiar to us response using his twitter feed. >> kelly o'donnell, thank you. as for what all of this means for the republican agenda, house speaker paul ryan made the case today it's business as usual. others however not so sure. >> are sure drama is not help l helpful, but we're still get things done and that is the important point. >> there is a sense of drift and distraction. and that is not good. >> david french is senior writer at national review, david jolly former republican congressman from florida, and josh borrow at business insider. gentlemen, thanks for being with me. both "washington post" and politico have stories today that suggest that robert mueller's
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appointment is something that is going to take some time in terms of the investigation, looking at an investigation that will quote, years. is this the beginning of a very long process? about. >> i don't know. this is the reputation that these special counsel things have. remember ken starr started investigating whitewater and meandered his way to years until we ended up with the monica lewinsky case and they had the ability to go out on tangents and look for what was most proce prosecutable. but that fwhauswas in a scandal you had to hunt to find the scandal. given the annumount of bombshel that have dropped, i wonder if this will be as long and slow. >> so easy and short work for the former director? >> i think there is a lot of material that can go on, but you i'm not convinced that we will have to wait a long time for
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some significant results to come out of this. >> david french, let's go over the time line here. this is the time line as reported by the new yorking on times in the "washington post".department of justice notifies flynn of the investigation in november. he speaks with the russian ambassador the next month. in january, he notifies the transition team that he's under investigation. tells the transition team, hey, guys, they are looking at me. and yet despite about all that, he's sworn in january 22nd. how does that happen? >> i'll tell you, it's a simple answer because he's fiercely loyal to donald trump,ing and had been fiercely loyal to donald trump throughout the campaign. and donald trump reready withway at least until someone is not useful to him anymore. so that is the issue here is what we had was, you know, these assurances that donald trump was
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going to surrounds himself with the best people in spite of his lack of experience as a politician. and yet michael flynn has got to be one of the worst national security adviser hires ever. and now we really have to get to the bottom of this report that came out last night that he refused to sign off on a faster takeover, faster assault on raqqah in syria athe same time that he was on this payrollr had just recently come off the payroll of allies to the turkish president and turkey was oppose to the plan. this is the kind of thing that you have to get to the bottom of. there might be an innocent explanation, the reporting might be wrong or there might be something nefarious, but this is what we have to know. >> if that is true, if sounds treasonness, no? >> it sounds horrible. there is high bar for treason, but it is unjustifiable.
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>> i want to put that graphic back up because i didn't finish it because if you look at the last two dates, you will see on january 2 2, he was sworn in. on the 26th, sally yates warns that he could be blackmailed. and then it was on the 13th that he actually resigned. still no warning bells at any juncture. what does that tell you about this administration and this white house? >> carelessness. and this is actually i think what we will see from this investigation is that drip, drip, drip. josh is right to compare to ken starr. what can he be stken starr star isn't exactly what he ended up with. but the order giving mueller responsibility for this said you can go after anything that arises out of the russia investigation. that means the president's firing of comey. what it also says is you can look at what the vice president knew, which has not really received scrutiny right now. and the last part of the order from rosenstein and mueller says you have the power to prosecute
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federal crimes. so i don't know how long this will last, but we can expect last iteration won't be like the first. >> you menoned mike nce. and that is a part of the story today that a lot of folks are starti to turn the attention to. precisely what did the vice president know,s when d when diw it roiters reporting on sources who say that the trump campaign had at least 18 undisclosed contacts with with russians. you might remember back in january the vice president was asked about that on cbs's "face the nation." hear is that exchange. >> did any adviser or anybody in the trump campaign have any contact with the russians trying to meddle in the election? >> of course not. and i think to suggest that is to give drve credence to some o these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy.
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>> aof course not. is he out of the loop now? >> if i was part of a administration that was basically corrupt, i would try to claim that i had been out of the loop on a wide variety ever things. mike pence was running the presidential transition. so given that they had been warned of this investigation of mike flynn, if mike pence didn't know, inthat means he wasn't paying very good attention. but i think there is something important that david french pointed out which is you asked is this treasonness. one problem is that the worsts things that happened here may not have been crimes that were committed. if we had an agent in the turkish government in the situation room are delaying a plan to take back the city of raqqah from isis to protect ourselves from isis because of the interests of the turkish government, the most important question isn't whether that was a crime, that was a terrible
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nonamerica first thing do and the remedies to this principally will be political remedies, not legal remedies. the most important question isn't who goes to jail. >> all right. we have to take a break. we'll be right back. will your business be ready when growth presents itself? american express open cards can help you take on a new job, or fill a big order or expand your office
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that will do it for this hour of msnbc live. katy tur picking things up. >> and it is 2:00 p.m. and we're following breaking news. at least one person dead and 23
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more are injured after a car drove into a group of pedestrians. the driver of the car is cuss dwi. authorities say he has two previous arrests for dwi. we'll keep an eye on that story and will bring you updates as we get them. but first in the news dominating washington and the word of the day. well, actually two words today. "witch hunt." >> looks like president trump may want to go to war with robert mueller. >> that is a nonstarter. robert mueller has a rep pew ta reputation going back to vietnam. >> couldn't be a better choice. >> he will put his country first about that t . the president is his own worst enemy. he will basically hang himself with 140 characters at a time. >> we'll tell you why witch hunt is the word, but that was the hill reacting to the appointment of

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