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THE SITUATION ROOM
Interview With New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries; Charges Filed in New York Terror Attack; Source: Trump Didn't Dismiss Adviser's Idea of Putin Meeting; Federal Charges Filed Against New York Terror Suspect. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired November 1, 2017 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOON KIM, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Two were Americans, and the rest were foreigners visiting New York City.
It has been reported that five of the victims were childhood friends from Argentina celebrating a high school reunion. Those Argentinean men came here, like the millions of other visitors, to see the sights and spend some time in the greatest city on earth.
For the same reasons that millions visit this city and find it so special, alleged terrorists like Saipov view the city as a prime target for their hate-filled crimes.
The thing is, for the alleged terrorists, like Saipov, they will find in New York City something else, justice. They will find and have found that law enforcement and everyday people in the city are not afraid of their evil. They see through their false, hateful rhetoric, and are committed to bringing them to justice.
And that is what we intend to do with Sayfullo Saipov.
I would like to bring to the stand now Bill Sweeney, assistant director in charge of the FBI.
BILL SWEENEY, FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Thanks, Joon.
For the past 24 hours, hundreds of personnel from the Joint Terrorism Task Force both on this side of the river and in New Jersey have been working around the clock, developing and tracking leads and executing searches, as we dig deeper into the life and motivations of Saipov.
The charges announced this evening, while significant, should be taken as no indication that our work here is over. We will continue to employ all investigative techniques necessary to fully understand his social network and unearth his motivations.
Rest assured, we will not stop until every last lead has been covered.
I do have one recent update I would like to make you aware of. Earlier, as we came in this evening, we were seeking information about an individual. Many of you in this room received that alert. We are no longer seeking that individual. We believed he had information related to yesterday, but we are not looking for that individual any longer.
I would encourage anybody who believes they knew Mr. Saipov or has information about yesterday to proactively contact law enforcement. A reminder to the public, the tip line is 1-800-CALL-FBI with information that may help us in any way.
We also have a link set up where you can upload any photos, any videos you may think are relevant. That link is FBI.gov/nyctribeca. The NYPD has also their tip line set up at 1-800-577-TIPS.
Following the Chelsea attacks in September of last year, I highlighted the importance of an engaged public. Today is no different. I cannot overstate the critical role the public plays in combating these threats.
Please remain engaged. Be aware and immediately report suspicious activity to the authorities.
In closing, I would like to thank the partners, especially the hundreds of men and women working on the JTTF, represented by at least 50 agencies on this side of the river alone. Your work has been exceptional. I would like the thank the U.S. attorney's office, Joon, your team, and Commissioner O'Neill, John Miller, Fire Commissioner Dan Nigro, and George Beach from the State Police.
The work your men and women has done has been absolutely extraordinary.
KIM: Thanks, Bill.
Now I would to the podium First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker.
BENJAMIN TUCKER, NYPD FIRST DEPUTY COMMISSIONER: Good evening.
Today's announcement of an indictment of Sayfullo Saipov on federal charges sends the strongest message to those who seek to commit acts of terror in our country. The swift and decisive charges demonstrate the resolve of our local and federal law enforcement, whose work so closely -- who worked so closely to both prevent terror, as well as bring those who commit acts of terror to justice.
The NYPD wishes to thank our close law enforcement partners in the FBI, especially FBI Assistant Director Bill Sweeney, and our federal prosecutors in the Southern District, led by acting assistant U.S. attorney, United States attorney for the southern district Joon Kim.
KIM: Thank you, Deputy Commissioner.
We will take a few questions.
SWEENEY: We are no longer looking for the person the information went out about. That's all I want to say. There's no reason for me to seek a name anymore.
We have found him and I will leave it at that.
KIM: I believe the complaint says that he began planning the attack two months ago, but I'm not going to go beyond what's in the complaint.
KIM: I'm not going to get into any other statements that he made, other than what's set forth in the complaint.
But the complaint does include an admission that he had done a practice run on October 22 with his truck. So, beyond what's in the complaint for now, I'm not going to go into other statements he may have made.
KIM: The second charge is death-eligible, correct. And the material support charge is life is the maximum.
As you know, the process by which -- whether the department decides to seek the death penalty or not, it goes through a process in the department. And it's also worth noting that this is a complaint. At some point, we will be indicting Mr. Saipov, and that -- as we know, we're 24 hours away from the attack. The investigation is very active and ongoing, and the indictment -- we will see what counts are charged ultimately in the indictment.
And some of them may be death-eligible. Some of them may have life prison as the maximum. But the process by which the determination is made for counts that do have life -- death as a maximum penalty, that goes through the process.
KIM: Beyond what's in the complaint and his statements, I don't -- I'm not -- I don't think there's anything else that I can get into.
QUESTION: The White House says they would consider him an enemy combatant. Is it possible that he would be sent to Gitmo? (OFF-MIKE)
KIM: As I understand the determination of someone being declared an enemy combatant is one that gets made way above my pay grade. We are -- this is an office of federal prosecutors. There was a
number of federal crimes committed as set forth in the complaint that we were able to prove, and we brought the charges and we intend to proceed with them.
Whether or not someone will be designated as an enemy combatant or not, that's a determination that would be made elsewhere.
KIM: I believe, in the history, if you look through precedents, there can be federal charges in place, and then someone can be declared an enemy combatant, but, as I said, those are determinations that other people make.
KIM: I believe the complaint alleges that the cell phones that we obtained the search warrant for and that had these images were in a bag that he was allegedly carrying at the time of his attack. Correct.
QUESTION: What you have seen as far as the social media (OFF-MIKE) is this a case where (OFF-MIKE) who radicalized himself domestically? (OFF-MIKE)
JOHN MILLER, NYPD DEPUTY COMMISSIONER: We don't know his path of radicalization yet. The exploitation of these telephones pursuant to search warrants is a process, because of the volume of material in there, that is still in progress and will go on for a while.
I think, if you examine the component pieces of his attack, obtaining the vehicle, as outlined in the complaint, testing the vehicle for the high-speed attack, learning to use it properly, having secondary weapons inside, multiple knives, and trying to achieve maximum lethality, certainly is indicative, along with the amount of material in his telephone, that he was a follower of ISIS propaganda, of social media and, frankly, of tactical instruction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will take one more question.
QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) planning and carrying out this attack?
KIM: At this time, all we have are the charges in the complaint, and the charges against this one individual.
Thank you, everyone.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so there you have it. We're going to follow up on precisely what we learned.
I'm Wolf Blitzer here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Once again, we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and
around the world.
We have been watching this extraordinary news conference by the prosecutors, law enforcement, the FBI, unveiling the charges against this New York terror suspect.
And there are several significant details we did learn. First of all, we learned that this individual, Mukhammadzoir Kadirov, that the FBI is seeking information. They say: "We have found him. We will leave it at that."
That was the acting FBI assistant director in New York, telling us they have found this individual, no longer any need to look for him. "We found him, and we will leave it at that."
We have got our specialists, our analysts here ready to assess everything we just learned.
One thing, Shimon, that we did learn is that all the information that the suspect Sayfullo Saipov is providing in his hospital room has been provided following their reading his Miranda rights to him. We just learned that from the police.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and that suggests that they really -- he was probably pretty cooperative from the beginning and it was probably a legal decision from the prosecutors because they want to use some of the stuff that he's saying in court.
So no doubt that that's probably the reason why they did it. They also probably, since there maybe was no concern of a safety risk, sometimes in these situations, during these kind of terror acts, there's interview people, there's an exception for public safety, and they can interview suspects that way.
But here, it appears that that was not the case and that they read him his Miranda. And clearly he gave them a lot of information, likely spent hours with them, and essentially they have now brought charges against him as a result of that.
BLITZER: In the charging document, it says he planned to use the truck, the rental truck got from the Home Depot, to strike pedestrians on the West Side Highway and had planned to continue all the way up to the Brooklyn Bridge to continue to strike pedestrians.
Phil Mudd, what stood out to you from what we just heard?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: A couple things.
The most significant, that they located this second individual so quickly. Remember, they're not just talking to an individual. Look at the information they acquired via digital means from the initial suspect, that is, the number of videos, for example, he was looking at, all the information on his cell phone. When they picked up the second individual, I want to know as well, did
he have digital media on him, did he have a laptop, did he have a cell phone? So you're talking to him about not only his relationship with the suspect. Right now, the Joint Terrorism Task Force is exploiting that digital media to start putting together a three-dimensional picture of the lives of these guys.
Did they have e-mail? Did they have contact via, for example, chat rooms that included other individuals? The amount of information in this case, when you multiply one person into two people, is going to explode overnight, Wolf, and that is because partly they might be acquiring other information from the second guy.
BLITZER: Peter, they said the cell phone they found with him had approximately 3,800 images of ISIS propaganda, pictures of the ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, an image of an ISIS somebody standing next to someone who appears to have been shot.
There's a lot of information they found on his cell phone.
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, it's not atypical that you find this kind of material in this kind of volume.
But I want to -- Joon Kim, the acting U.S. attorney, said something I think very interesting. He talked about a number of high-profile cases of leading people in al Qaeda and other jihadi groups that have been tried successfully in the Southern District of New York, and everybody involved got long sentences.
And I took that as something of a response to President Trump this morning saying that our justice system isn't strong enough, this guy needs to maybe go to Guantanamo.
And clearly the acting U.S. district attorney in Southern District of New York making the case that, hey, we can handle this, and we have handled it many times before, and we have got very long sentences when we take these things to trial.
BLITZER: Yes, this follows what the president, Susan Hennessey -- you're a former National Security Agency attorney.
But the president suggested earlier he's open to maybe labeling him an enemy combatant and sending him to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
SUSAN HENNESSEY, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Right.
This is an example of a White House that once again is pretty careless with words that actually have significant meaning. It really means something for the White House to designate someone as a enemy combatant. That's a modification of their rights.
Certainly, remember, Sarah Sanders said that from the podium today that they deemed him an enemy combatant. That sort of set the legal world, it probably set the DOD general counsel's office sort of off and running. It's not clear that sort of the legal authorities would even extend that far. [18:15:01]
Now, sort of after that afternoon of kind of sound and furry, we find, no, he's going to be charged in a federal court, in a civilian court, so this is sort of a lot of nothing.
It's not clear whether or not the president legitimately did plan on making sort of this novel or really quite dramatic legal argument or he if he just didn't understand what the words enemy combatant meant and what the ramifications of that kind of designation would mean here.
BLITZER: But from your analysis, enemy combatant has to be someone who is found on the battlefield outside of the United States?
HENNESSEY: Well, in this situation, it would have to be someone who was covered by the authorization for the use of military force. So there's questions about whether or not ISIS or ISIL is even covered by the 2001 AUMF.
There's also questions about whether or not this person who we know that he had -- he was inspired by ISIS, sort of looking at media, self-radicalized, he would have to sort of be part of the group. It would have to meet a different standard in terms of his participation and ties to that organization. We just haven't seen evidence of that yet.
BLITZER: Paul Cruickshank, they say they found a note right near him when they found him, a note in Arabic saying the Islamic will endure forever.
And in the charging documents, they say they found other notes from him saying no god but God and Mohammed is his prophet, and Islamic supplication, it will endure.
Tell our viewers what all that suggests.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: It suggests that he was animated by ISIS propaganda.
In fact, a year ago ISIS put out a how-to instruction for how to do these kind of attacks, these truck attacks, in the United States. And they suggested to their followers in the United States that they should put out exactly that language in claiming that attack, a handwritten note with exactly that language.
That's why this charging document has said he almost certainly read this manual put out by ISIS a year ago before Thanksgiving last year, Wolf.
BLITZER: Very interesting.
I quickly want to bring in a member of the New York delegation, Democratic Congress Hakeem Jeffries. He's from New York City. He's a member of the Judiciary Committee. Pretty shocking information when you hear all of this, Congressman,
the ISIS propaganda, how he was influenced, inspired and may actually have been directed by ISIS. What are you hearing about this investigation?
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D), NEW YORK: This has been a very shocking set of developments, obviously, the tragedy yesterday and then the additional information that we're hearing about the process of radicalization.
One of the reasons why I think we're all so thankful for the heroic actions of the New York Police Department is that they stopped further carnage, but also were able to apprehend this individual.
And hopefully through the work of the NYPD, the FBI, the United States attorney's office, the Justice Department, we will be able to get additional information that can be useful in uncovering whether there are additional dangers that are in New York City or throughout the United States and also how we can better prepare ourselves to stop this act moving forward.
BLITZER: How concerned are you, Congressman, how concerned are New Yorkers about possible copycat attacks?
JEFFRIES: New Yorkers are tough, we're resilient. We're the city that never sleeps.
We demonstrated our resilience once again by people coming out in large numbers for the Halloween day parade last evening. We're going to continue to have each other's back. We're not going to let the terrorist be successful in intimidating us.
But that said, Wolf, it's also important for us to remain vigilant. If you see something, say something, and be observant of the conditions that are around, because obviously, as was demonstrated yesterday, New York City is, has been, and will remain a target for individuals around the world to strike out at us because of our significance as a tremendous city.
BLITZER: Do you think, Congressman, President Trump's proposal for what he calls extreme vetting of people coming into the United States could prevent future attacks?
JEFFRIES: In times like this, we need deliberate leadership, compassion, and empathy.
And it doesn't appear that the president's initial instincts and responses comport with that. There will be a time and place for a policy discussion. The vetting that is already in place, particularly as it relates to recipients of the diverse city visa lotteries, as this individual had received, have to go through an extensive process of vetting.
But I'm open, as I think members of Congress are open, to making sure that we can do everything necessary to take a look at our laws. We do need comprehensive immigration reform in totality here in America. And whether additional security and vetting procedures can be enhanced can be reasonably put on the table.
BLITZER: You serve on the House Judiciary Committee.
What message does it send, Congressman, about the American judicial system when the president of the United States calls it a joke, a laughingstock, what's going on right now, the way the judicial system treats these terror suspects?
JEFFRIES: Well, it's another unfortunate statement.
And, by the way, Wolf, this is the president's Department of Justice, including his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who would be charged with overseeing the prosecution of this individual or anyone else who was associated.
We have the greatest system of justice in the world, equal protection under the law, liberty and justice for all, but it also holds individuals who have engaged in criminal or terroristic acts accountable. That's happened before out of prosecutions from the Southern District of New York. It can happen again.
BLITZER: President Trump says he's considering sending this suspect to the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. The White House says it considers the suspect already an enemy combatant. What's your reaction? How realistic is that?
JEFFRIES: Well, words matter. And it seems like that conclusion, Wolf, was very premature in nature.
My grandmother used to say, think before you speak. I think, as it relates to President Trump, he needs to think and pause on the significance of his words before he tweets things out, and then that's then echoed by his representatives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
There are implications connected with labeling someone an enemy combatant. It's not even clear that this particular individual, who was a legal permanent resident, can fall within that particular description. There are lawyers who can look at this.
The most important thing right now, Wolf, is that we are there for the families of the victims who were killed, as well as those who are recovering, and we continue to support the NYPD and the first- responders, and that we come together as a nation.
That's what will be important in terms of presidential leadership at this particular point in time. In the aftermath of September 11, we saw that from President George W. Bush. We can only hope that we see a course correction and we see some unifying leadership from Donald Trump.
BLITZER: Congressman Hakeem Jeffries of New York, thanks for joining us.
JEFFRIES: Thank you, Wolf. BLITZER: The breaking news continues here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
We're going to much more on the charge filed in the New York terror attack.
Also, the former Trump campaign chairman now under house arrest, as we learn how candidate Donald Trump reacted to the idea of a meeting with Vladimir Putin.
BLITZER: Breaking tonight, federal prosecutors have just filed the first terrorism charges against the suspect in the deadly New York City truck attack, accusing him of providing material support for ISIS and violence and destruction of motor vehicles.
Let's bring in our senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta.
Jim, we heard from the president shortly before the charges were announced. It's only one day after the actual terror attack, but the president clearly is not holding back.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Not holding back, Wolf.
And the White House is defending President Trump's decision to quickly inject politics into the aftermath of the terror attack in New York. The president is calling for sweeping changes to the nation's immigration system. He called the U.S. justice system a joke.
Contrast that with the caution he displayed after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, where he called on the country to hold off on gun control.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Less than one day after the terror attack in New York, President Trump described the U.S. justice system, a cornerstone of American democracy, as a farce.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We also have to come up with punishment that's far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now.
They will go through court for years. At the end, they will be -- who knows what happens. We need quick justice, and we need strong justice, much quicker and much stronger than we have right now, because what we have right now is a joke, and it's a laughingstock. And no wonder so much of this stuff takes place.
ACOSTA: Questioned about that, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders asked the public to ignore the words coming out of the president's mouth.
(on camera): Why did the president call the U.S. justice system a joke and a laughingstock during his comments (OFF-MIKE) SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That's not what
ACOSTA: He said that the system of justice in this country...
HUCKABEE SANDERS: He said that process. He said the process has people calling us a joke and calling us a laughingstock.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Noting the Manhattan attack suspect came to the U.S. from Uzbekistan, the president also called for swift changes to the nation's immigration laws.
TRUMP: So, we want to immediately work with Congress on the diversity lottery program, on terminating it, getting rid of it. We want a merit-based program, where people come into our country based on merit.
And we want to get rid of chain migration. This man that came in, or whatever you want to call him, brought in with him other people, and he was a point -- he was the point of contact, the primary point of contact, for -- and this is preliminarily -- 23 people that came in or potentially came in with him.
ACOSTA: Administration officials say the suspect in New York entered the country using that diversity lottery immigration system seven years ago.
The president was seizing on the program earlier in the day, dubbing it on Twitter as a "Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit-based."
Mr. Trump neglected to mention the program was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush and, while Senator Schumer supported the program, he later tried to eliminate it. So says GOP Senator Jeff Flake, who tweeted, "Actually, the Gang of Eight, including Senator Schumer did away with the diversity visa program as part of broader reforms. I know. I was there."
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: The president ought to stop tweeting and start leading.
ACOSTA: Schumer said the president would be better off emulating former president George W. Bush...
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people -- and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.
ACOSTA: ... who rallied the U.S. shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
SCHUMER: New Yorkers and all of us compare President Bush right after 9/11 and President Trump right after this horrible terrorist attack. President Bush united us. He had us in the White House the next day, saying, "How can we work together?"
All President Trump does is take advantage, horrible advantage of a tragedy and try to politicize and divide.
ACOSTA: The president's swift demands for new laws after this week's attack in New York stand in contrast with his reaction after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, where he suggested the public wait to talk about gun control.
TRUMP: Look, we have a tragedy. We're going to do -- and what happened in Las Vegas is in many ways a miracle. The police department has done such an incredible job. And we'll be talking about gun laws as time goes by.
ACOSTA: Now, as for that lottery system, it should be noted, the program does include something of a merit system for applicants, who have to go through a screening process.
The president also said he would consider sending the terror suspect in the New York City case to the detention center at Guantanamo. That appears to be contrary to the plans carried out just in the last hour by federal law enforcement officials. The president also speculated that the suspect's relatives may pose a threat to national security but, Wolf, like so many other assertions made by the president, he did not offer any information to back that up.
BLITZER: He certainly did not. All right. Jim Acosta at the White House, thanks very much.
The breaking news tonight: federal terror charges filed against the suspect in the New York truck attack. Let's get some more from our reporters and our analysts.
And Phil Mudd, I just want to get your reaction. When the president of the United States says that the criminal justice system is now a joke and a laughingstock, and then he adds, "No wonder so much of this," meaning terrorism, takes place. What's your reaction when you hear the president say that?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Well, first, as a former government official before I answer your question, I want to thank all those attorneys here in Manhattan. Within a day of the attack they're already talking about charges. We just heard that in the news conference just minutes ago. They worked overnight to do this. And they talked about charges -- let's remember -- that lead to a life sentence and potentially a death penalty. Despite what the president says, those are pretty serious charges.
Let me get to the president's points about the president's questions about the justice system. That man deals with facts like most of us deal with the Ebola virus. Let me give you a couple facts. There are hundreds of people who have been tried in federal courts for terrorism charges, including members of bin Laden's inner circle. The success rate by federal prosecutors in those cases is extremely high. I'm not aware of any significant threat by terrorists to any one of those cases when they were being held in court; and the speed with which those cases take place is vastly faster than what happens in Guantanamo Bay. So let's look at the contrasts.
And by the way, if you don't believe this, just Google it. Look at the contrast with what happens at Guantanamo Bay, which the president seems to think is just and fast. Very few prosecutions, fewer than 20. They take forever, and some of them will never happen. And they're extremely expensive. That's your tax dollars.
So if the president bothered to read a fact before he put out a tweet, he might realize that the answer, if you want to be tough on terrorism, is throw them in a federal prison, and the federal prosecutors will get them there. They are great.
BLITZER: Let me get Susan Hennessey to react, our national security and legal analyst, former lawyer, attorney over at the National Security Agency. When you hear the president utter those words, what was your reaction?
SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY AND LEGAL ANALYST: It was similar to Phil. I think he's spot on right. This was sort of yet again an assault on the Department of Justice, on the men and woman that work for President Trump himself.
Sort of the assertion that Guantanamo Bay is somehow a better option here, there's a lot of controversy over the use of the military commissions. But you don't have to object to Guantanamo Bay in general to think that it's just an absurd idea in this specific case. We've seen it again and again. Civilian courts are well-equipped, in lots of cases better equipped, to have these kinds of prosecutions, are able to impose justice far more swiftly.
[18:35:07] And so this is really a president who's speaking without any kind of sort of expertise or facts underlying his assertions. Not unusual, unfortunately, for this White House.
BLITZER: Peter Bergen, you studied terrorism for a long time. When the president says you've got to get rid of -- the United States has to get rid of the diversity visa lottery program that lets up to 50,000 individuals come into the United States, when he says that you need extreme vetting, do away with these programs, only have merit- based immigration, people who are talented, speak English, have money, educated, only allow them to come in, is that going to stop terrorism?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I don't know. I point out, Mohammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 attacks, had a Ph.D. from a German university and came from an upper middle-class background in Egypt. So if we're looking at merit based -- I mean, really, the question already, if you're an ISIS terrorist, the last thing you would do, trying to get into this country, is pose as a Syrian refugee. They get the most attention of any group. Refugees get a very, very great deal of attention. Two years of extreme vetting.
So I'm an agnostic about this diversity program. I don't know enough about it to know what kind of vetting there is, but I presume there is some vetting for anybody who comes in. Does that vetting need to be more intense? Maybe. But the fact is that citizens coming from certain countries spend
years trying to get in. You know, if you're coming from Afghanistan, you're not going to see your family for four years while your visa is processed, if you're here in this country already. You know, people are -- there is a pretty robust program in place already.
BLITZER: Paul Cruickshank, if there were -- the president says more extreme vetting before someone could come into the United States, would that stop a terror attack that occurred yesterday in New York?
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, Uzbekistan wasn't on the travel ban list, and so that's a very relevant point here.
But most counterterrorism professionals believe that the system that was in place before was extremely rigorous, with extremely rigorous vetting of all sorts of people coming into the United States, and that these additional measures really haven't made much difference. Maybe they've made a political difference, but they haven't made a security difference.
In fact, there's a lot of concern from officials they could make a negative security difference, because the United States is going to be perceived as being hostile to Islam around the world. And, of course, there are national security implications from that.
BLITZER: And I should point out that under the diversity visa lottery program that was enacted, signed into law by the first President Bush back in 1990, up to 50,000 people could enter the United States. If you do the math, more than a million people have come into the United States under this program, and I suspect the terrorists among them you can count, what, on a hand.
PROKUPECZ: Yes, I just wanted to get back to Susan's point and what we've been talking about here, about the president and what he said about Guantanamo.
It's important to know that Joon Kim, the person who is prosecuting this case right now, is an acting U.S. attorney in the southern district of New York, which is the office that Preet Bharara used to run, who was fired by the president. So that message was done. He didn't -- Joon Kim did not need to say that. That was a direct message coming from that office. And it was an important message not only for the prosecutors but FBI agents and the NYPD, the police officers who are spending time working these cases, and the FBI agents who not only work this case but other cases that they're working on.
BLITZER: It was seen as a clear slap by the president of the United States against law enforcement...
PROKUPECZ: That's exactly right.
BLITZER: ... to the criminal justice system here in the United States.
Everybody stand by. There are new details also emerging right now in the Russia investigation, including multiple passports used by the president's former campaign chairman and the foreign policy advisor who suggested a Trump-Putin meeting.
[18:43:41] BLITZER: The indicted former Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has been deemed a flight risk by prosecutors in the special counsel's Russia investigation, citing his multiple passports and his use of a fake name. Our justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider, is joining us right now.
Jessica, Manafort is now under house arrest.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. And one of the reasons prosecutors pressed for house arrest was because of Manafort's multiple passports and his extensive travel around the world in the past year. The government argued Manafort was a flight risk, and the judge agreed.
Now both he and Rick Gates surrendered their passports. They're both confined to their homes. And prosecutors revealed in the latest court filings there are looming questions about their finances.
SCHNEIDER: Three passports, a fake name, and dozens of bank accounts, all revealed in court documents. Special Counsel Robert Mueller calling it all "a history of deceptive and misleading contact" on the part of Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and former Manafort deputy Rick Gates. The two are under house arrest after a federal court judge agreed with the government that both men are flight risks.
Manafort currently has three U.S. passports, each of them under a different number. This alone, however, is not illegal.
The prosecutor said he has submitted ten passport applications in roughly the last ten years. This year, Manafort has travelled to Mexico, Ecuador and China, with a phone and e-mail account registered under a fake name. Also over the past year he travelled to Tokyo, Shanghai, Dubai, Madrid, Havana, Grand Cayman Island, Cancun, Panama City.
And both Manafort and Gates were frequent travelers to Cyprus. Manafort wrote in financial documents that his assets were worth between $19 million in April 2012, and $136 million in May 2016. But in some months, like when he was serving as Trump's national campaign chairman in August 2016, Manafort said his assets were worth $28 million, but then wrote he had $63 million in assets on a different application.
Meanwhile, Gates frequently changed banks and open and close bank accounts prosecutors said. In all, Gates had 55 accounts with 13 different financial institutions. Some accounts were in England and Cyprus, where he held more than $10 million from 2010 to 2013.
CNN spotted Manafort coming home to his Alexandria, Virginia, condo Tuesday. Manafort and Gates can only leave their home to go to court, meet lawyers or medical or religious reasons. And they must check in with authorities daily.
The new details are prompting some to question if the Trump campaign properly vetted Manafort in the first place.
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Paul Manafort has a long reputation working on campaigns, on presidential campaigns States. But to the fact he's been an outlaw to the extent that he's been disclosed so far is deeply concerning I think to all of us. I'm beginning to wonder if he wasn't an agent to Russia.
SCHNEIDER: Manafort's attorneys told reporters on Monday his client was not guilty. Gates has also pleaded not guilty.
KEVIN DOWNING, ATTORNEY FOR PAUL MANAFORT: There's no evidence that Mr. Manafort or the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government.
SCHNEIDER: There's also new information tonight about that Trump campaign meeting in March 2016, where George Papadopoulos sat just feet from then-candidate Donald Trump. A source in the room says that Trump did not dismiss Papadopoulos' idea of arranging a meeting with Vladimir Putin. An official telling CNN, quote, he didn't say yes, and he didn't say no.
But then-Senator Jeff Sessions shut the idea down. And while the White House said it was the only meeting that Papadopoulos attended --
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUS PRESS SECRETARY: It was a brief meeting that took place sometime ago. It's the one time that group ever met.
SCHNEIDER: CNN is told he attended another campaign policy meeting. Trump was not in attendance, but Sessions was and sat next to Papadopoulos.
SCHNEIDER: And more of the details surrounding Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, they could be revealed at their next court appearance. That's scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Both men do face sentences of up to 10 years if convicted on all charges -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right. Jessica, thanks very much. Jessica Schneider reporting.
Let's get some more on the potential meeting with the Russian President Vladimir Putin during the campaign, a meeting suggested to then-candidate Donald Trump.
How damaging is all of this, Gloria, to the president right now, the Papadopoulos involvement?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, I think that Papadopoulos is clearly somebody who wanted to make a name for himself and when he went to all of the people in the campaign, we know that he went to and suggested setting up these meetings, he was not completely rebuffed. Now, at the meeting that Jessica was just talking about, when the question of should the president meet with Putin, the president was noncommittal.
Don't forget, during this campaign, we know that Putin went out of his way to say nice things about Donald Trump and Donald Trump likes people who say nice things about him and returns the compliment. So, he's not a politician, going through his mind -- maybe I should meet with Putin. Who knows? And Sessions shuts it down and said, of course, you shouldn't. Let's move on.
So, it's an unclear picture. At least that meeting, it's an unclear picture, because, you know, you have somebody with government foreign policy experience in Jeff Sessions who is a top advisor to Donald Trump saying, no, this is completely out of line. But we know how the president felt about Putin.
BLITZER: Rebecca, how do you read these developments involving this George Papadopoulos?
REBECCA BERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, even by themselves, Wolf, and, of course, we don't have the full picture yet and many questions still to be answered by Mueller's investigation. But even on their own, these revelations, if you pull back the camera a little bit, show us a question that we've had for months now, which was, did anyone on the Trump campaign knowingly try to collude with Russia against Hillary Clinton in this campaign and did anyone else on the campaign know about it?
And now we know that at least one person in the campaign was trying to collude with the Russians for information on Hillary Clinton, George Papadopoulos, that some others on the campaign at least knew that he was making these connections with Russians, we don't know what extent he was freelancing.
[18:50:03] And then that he lied about it to federal investigators. So, clearly was trying -- we don't know how hard he was trying -- but trying in some capacity to cover this up. And so, this is one of the central questions that Mueller is trying to answer, a huge piece of information when we're looking at where this investigation is headed.
BLITZER: David, let me weigh in as well.
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure, I think even if we don't know yet whether Papadopoulos' activities get us to collusion on the part of the president, or someone else closer to the president, at a minimum I think as time goes on, based on what we now know, it's going to be pretty hard for the president and for members for his inner circle to act if he was just this sort of minor figure, person who had nothing to do with them because he's someone that the president mentioned when he sat down with the editorial board at "The Washington Post" because as Gloria said, the president didn't specifically bat away the notion that Papadopoulos suggested of meeting or sitting down.
BLITZER: An energy expert and an excellent guy. Hold your thought. Hold your thought. There's more breaking news we're following. We'll be right back.
[18:55:44] BLITZER: All right. Breaking news: federal prosecutors have just filed the first terrorism charges against the suspect in the deadly New York City truck attack. At a news conference just a little while ago, authorities said one of the suspect's cell phone contained 90 videos, many of them ISIS-related.
Earlier, the New York governor said the suspect self-radicalized while he was here in the United States over the past seven years.
Let's bring in our own Brian Todd.
Tell us more, Brian, about this process of self-radicalization.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Wolf.
You know, terrorism experts say this kind of attack takes almost no skill. It just takes someone radicalized to procure a vehicle as a weapon. So, tonight, we're investigating a critical piece in this -- how the New York attacker and others like him became radicalized.
TODD (voice-over): Before he slaughtered eight people and got out of his rented truck yelling "Allahu Akbar", Sayfullo Saipov was not on any terror watch list, officials say, and not the direct subject of any New York police or FBI investigations. But they say Saipov was likely connected to individuals who were the subjects of investigations. And they offer another clue.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: He was associated with ISIS. And he was radicalized domestically.
TODD: Officials say Saipov has lived in Ohio, Florida, and Paterson, New Jersey. They aren't yet saying how or when Saipov was radicalized in the U.S.
(on camera): What's your best take on it, how he was radicalized?
LORENZO VIDINO, PROGRAM ON EXTREMISM, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: In many cases, it's a combination of online and offline. People start hanging out with like minded individuals. People who embrace ISIS ideology and they go online to reinforce their nascent jihadist views.
Many cases, people radicalized because they have some personal issues. Whether it could be family problems or, you know, job problems.
TODD (voice-over): Expert Lorenzo Vidino says the process of becoming radicalized means spending a lot of time online.
VIDINO: Now, it's apps like Telegram, like others that are very easy to download on your phone. They're mostly encrypted and you can get all sorts of information. You can interact with other people. You can reinforce your ideological commitment to ISIS. You can get operational instructions.
TODD: And officials believe Saipov had close familiarity with operational instructions.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER JOHN MILLER, NEW YORK POLICE: He appears to have followed almost exactly to a T the instructions that ISIS has put out in its social media channels before with instructions to their followers on how to carry out such an attack.
TODD: One of the most popular instruction manuals Saipov might have read online, this one, in the ISIS magazine "Rumiyah" last year. It discusses how to use rental trucks to attack crowds and inflict maximum casualties. Quote: vehicles are like knives, it says, and it urges attackers to announce their allegiance to the terror group. Quote, an example of such would be simply writing on dozens of sheets of paper, the Islamic State will remain.
Very similar to a note officials say Saipov left in his vehicle.
MILLER: The jest was that the Islamic state would endure forever.
TODD: For ISIS, experts say, lone wolves offer an easier way to strike at soft targets without the extensive planning and skill used in attacks like Paris.
NADA BARKOS, FORMER CIA ANALYST: It doesn't have multiple pieces. You're not dealing with multiple cells or multiple people, that you have to coordinate with. You just have to make sure that your target is one that is penetrable.
TODD: A key question, how can authorities stop people from becoming radicalized? Terrorism experts say that's incredibly difficult. They say it requires police and intelligence agencies to get into communities, develop networks of families and neighborhood leaders to watch for signs of young people being radicalized and to get to them before they are, but most law enforcement agencies experts say, simply don't have the resources to move that deeply into communities -- Wolf.
BLITZER: In the charging documents, Brian, they've just been released. There's a more specific indication of what likely motivated this attacker.
TODD: Very interesting one, Wolf. The charging document says Sayfullo Saipov was inspired to carry out this attack by videos he had watched on his cell phone, specifically a video of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, questioning what Muslims in the U.S. and elsewhere were doing to respond to the killing of Muslims in Iraq. That particular video might have inspired him.
BLITZER: Yes, certainly. We're staying on top of the breaking news.
Brian Todd, thanks very much.
That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.