tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN October 26, 2018 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
significant that christopher wray kept referring to these packages, bombs, as i.e.d.s, 13 sent in total. and listening to the attorney general, jeff sessions, calling this utterly unacceptable and referring to as political violence. i'm brooke baldwin. thanks for being with me. "the lead" starts now. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we begin with the breaking news. authorities charging 56-year-old cesar sayoc of florida with five federal crimes in connection to the 13 explosive packages discovered this week. law enforcement tracked him down from a fingerprint and dna found on the packages. the director of the fbi, christopher wray, confirming those i.e.d.s were real, they were not a hoax. among the charges, threats against former presidents, the criminal charging document
accusing sayoc transporting a an explosive, knowingly and willfully threatened to kill and inflict bodily harm. he threatened to blow up a utility company, saying it would be worse than 9/11. the van had disparaging images president trump's perceived enemies, including a "cnn sucks" sticker on the side of the van. a list of intended recipients that entirely made up of individuals whom president trump has attacked and demonized
repeat repeatedly, including hillary clinton, billionaire george soros, robert de niro. drew, authorities just minutes ago underlining again these are not hoax devices, these are real. >> reporter: absolutely not, containing all the components or most of the components of a real bomb, including potentially explosive material. unknown at this point is if they could have detonated. we do know that the fbi brought this person in for questioning, sayoc. we believe he was questioned here at least briefly. cooperative initially, telling investigators he didn't intend to blow up anybody or hurt anybody. he's sin gce gotten a lawyer, jake, and the questioning has stopped. tonight authorities believe they
have the person responsible for at least a dozen package bombs discovered all across the u.s. >> each device consisted of roughly six inches of pvc pipe, a small clock, a battery, some wiring and what is known as energetic material, which is essentially potential explosives and material that give off heat and energy through a reaction to heat, shock or friction. >> reporter: 56-year-old cesar sayoc is in federal custody, arrested in south florida. authorities also impounding this white van, taking every precauti precaution, unaware of what may be inside. >> we just took him into custody. we want the road shut down and then we'll start evacuating. >> reporter: that van covered in political stickers with images of president donald trump, targets on president obama and others as well as a sticker saying "cnn sucks."
here he is at a trump campaign rally last year holding a sign saying the same thing. his accounts feature numerous posting from trump rallies and countless more about politics. he trolls president obama tweeting about bobby kennedy with photos disparaging the kennedy family. he mocks vice president biden's 9/11 message with photos of his delaware home and pictures of firebombing it. he blames eric holder for the murder of agent brian terry, even threat threatening death. he vilifies congresswoman maxine waters, encouraging like-minded followers to attend an event with her in california.
sigho and public records showed sayoc had an extensive criminal record dating back as far as 1991. the most notable offense, a 2002 charge of threatening to discharge a destructive device at a florida utility company, just recently a package and earlier today one intended for former director of national intelligence james clapper, addressed to cnn in new york, was intercepted a at new york facility and another addressed to new jersey senator cory booker found in florida. and, jake, sayoc was apparently living in his van, kicked out of the home of his parents. authorities found him living in that van on the streets in south florida. >> that ban with the carnage collage. let's discuss this with our law enforcement experts. these are improvised explosive
devices. they were described in detail. not hoaxes? >> that's right. not only not hoaxes. if you look at the number of them and the potential if any one of them would have gone off, individual targets, if that's in in a mail room, multiple people are at risk here. the other thing i would point out, if the subject weren't caught in terms of the fact these weren't hoaxes and that individual is watching the news and deciding i want to amp this up, you cannot guarantee me over time someone who has the intent to hurt people as witnessed by sending 14, 15 devices wouldn't have transitioned over time. okay, now as you threatened to do in florida before, he might have amped it up and changed his game and the devices would get more lethal. thank god they got him now because once he switched on, this could have gone ugly. >> uglier, absolutely. all of the individuals targeted are democratic leaders or high-profile critics of the president, packages to clapper and brennan were sent to them care of cnn, which the president
has singled out for particular criticism. we saw what's believed to be his van covered with images of donald trump in a secelebratory fashion, political stickers. it seems as the attorney general said this was politically motivated in all likelihood? >> it seems that way, jake. we have been saying from the beginning, noting commonalities and the targets. you have democrats, progressives, people who received a lot of ire from the president in rallies and on twitter. there are a lot of commonalities there. until we know fully the motive or the person actually admits to what was going through his mind or investigators have a comfort level to say this is our assessment, we won't know for sure. it was interesting actually from that press conference today. the fact that the fbi director was saying this is not a hoax, which kind of blasts past the idea, this notion that this is some type of false flag or other theories out there, but the second part is what attorney general sessions said. as you mentioned, he said this person appears to be a partisan.
that's an incredible thing to say. that's him saying he is confirming what a lot of us have been suspecting. as you mentioned, lastly, that van is going to be a lot of -- there is a lot of key evidence there when you try to get into the mindset. look at those images. we can't draw a line through all of these data points, but they seem to be leading in one direction. >> this isn't necessarily over. he was charged with 13 ied packages. christopher wray acknowledged there could be more in transit right now? >> yes, absolutely correct. everyone is going to be on the look out. people are on edge. people who are actually out there and vocal about how they feel politically. so there is concern. so u.s. postal service will be out there looking for these. i think also celebrities and people who have been vocal, they will be concerned about their mail as well. it will be a collective effort. as far as the secret service and the protectees they have, being thorough in what is coming into the mail.
politicians, capitol police, a collective effort from law enforcement to work effectively to make sure we are able to detect any devices coming in. this is not over yet. >> phil, the criminal complaint lays out how similar the packages were. same spellings. same number of stamps. there was a clear pattern? >> there was. i mean, i want to hold off for a moment here. when you look at that kind of information, you will draw back and say, especially given the number of clues this person left behind, maybe they weren't that sophisticated. until i see everything from a cell phone, a laptop, social media accounts, even whether this person participated in sort of clubs, i can't guarantee you that the simplicity of the packages, the fact that they all look like they are made by the same person, i wouldn't guarantee yet, maybe tomorrow, that nobody else knew about that. we have to make sure for a few more hours we are confident that there is no more out there, but also that nobody else knew about that. i wouldn't guarantee that yet. >> this man had a prior criminal
background. the secret service had never heard of him before. miami police did. there was a 2002 arrest, he threatened to blow up a utility company, said it would be worse than september 11th. that's significant. >> absolutely. it's someone who is troubled, had run-ins with law enforcement. and how advanced law enforcement has come. if you read through the criminal complaint, there was dna that was taken from one of the devices compared to the fbi's repository of criminal history. his dna was actually collected back when he was arrested in the past and that was one of the ways they were able to identify this match. obviously, a trucked person who had a run in with law enforcement, it tells us what we are dealing with here. one thing that's interesting, at the press conference we did not hear the t word, terrorism. as of this point we don't have officials say this is domestic terrorism. that could change. again, this appears to be someone, at least based on the totality of what we know in the public domain who was acting on some type of political motivation, which that's the
definition of terrorism, if the justice department moves forward along those lines. >> we are told this man was not known to the secret service where you used to work. is that unusual? >> no. that's not unusual because you have to make an actual threat or show some type of unusual interest in someone we are protecting. if he has never tdone that in te pass, he wouldn't come up in the secret service radar. that is to occur for the u.s. secret service to know about an individual. of course, you can bet they will be looking through video footage and data, want to know has this person been around or protectees in the past? how many rallies has he come to? can we, you know, multiple sightings in different areas or events? has he been following our protectees around? they will look into this to see historically if this is somebody that sclilipped through the cra or they didn't notice. another thing to be concerned about, is this something that
people will get the idea like maybe i should be doing this, you know, the copycats and that so i think everybody will be looking at something like this. historically, u.s. secret service is always looking at packages for the protectees we have. >> jake, on this issue of copycats, that is the first thing that sprung to mind for me. i remember being at the white house on the anthrax letters time period in the fall of 2001. i shifted to the bureau four years later, and they were still receiving and responding to copycat anthrax letters four years later. most of it or none of it, as i recall, was anthrax. people just got white powder. we saw with one of these devices there might have been powder associated with it. my point is there are energized people who will look at this, people who are a little bit mentally unbalanced and said he had the courage do it. maybe i should have the courage as well. we are not out of the woods yet here. >> let's hope not.
it's not courageous to send anonymous packages to people you don't like. new information about the troubling past of the suspect including multiple arrests. one involving a threat to blow up something making it worse than 9/11. plus we will talk to the former director of national intelligence general james clapper who was one of the intended targets of the bomber as we found out this morning. stay with us. ♪ that's amore. ♪ when the world seems... ♪ applebee's new neighborhood pastas. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. applebee's new neighborhood pastas. ♪ ♪ if it feels like you live in the bathroom with recurring constipation and belly pain, talk to your doctor and say yesss! to linzess. yesss! linzess treats adults with ibs with constipation or chronic constipation. linzess can help relieve your belly pain, and lets you have more frequent and complete bowel movements. linzess is not a laxative. it helps you get ahead of your recurring constipation.
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we are back with the breaking news. you are looking at new video showing the suspect, cesar sayoc, holding a sign that says cnn sucks as well as other nonsense in there. he was at a trump rally in february 2017. the 56-year-old florida resident was arrested and charged with sending a series of explosive devices, 13 ieds to prominent critics of president trump this week. sayoc has been arrested at least
eight times. cnn's rene marsh has been digging into his background. his twitter account is filled with attacks on a lot of the same people he sent the packages to, including cnn? >> exactly. extremely political social media account. and to your point, jake, he has negative tweets pretty much for every target that was sent one of those packages. we do want to warn you, some of these tweets are highly offensive, but we are showing them simply because we want to give you a sense of what we are learning about the suspect. so here are some of his tweets. he goes after former president obama posting a meme with obama's head on his wife's body. a meme of hillary clinton being arrested by the president and the vice president with the caption "law and order" in the middle. even accuses democratic fundraiser george soros of working with hitler. i mean, it goes on and on. again, cnn is tweeted as well. you know, when you go through, you can see he certainly does have a political leaning.
the criminal complaint even points out his use of social media and just a couple of days after that package, suspicious package was discovered and recovered from george soros' house, he was also tweeting. tweeting negative tweets about soros, obama, and others. we do know he also had a facebook presence as well. and facebook confirms to cnn that users complained about some of those posts and they actually removed some of those posts. but they say it didn't rise to the level of calling authorities. but we know that he registered for the first time in florida to vote in 2016. he voted in the 2016 election, and he registered as a republican. but, again, jake, on his twitter you can see he is a strong supporter of president trump. he tweets him several times. >> he was trying to get approval in some of those tweets to the
president. two twitter accounts and on facebook he had a police record. one of his arrests in 2002 was for threatening to blow up to cnn and said he grew frustrated with this electric company, because they turned off his power. when he got so frustrated they wouldn't turn it back on, he threatened to blow them up. and i'm quoting his attorney now. he says that cesar sayoc said, quote, i bet if i threatened to blow up your office you would turn it back on. his attorney says he didn't believe there was any teeth --
there was no -- he didn't plan or have any intention to pull that off. nevertheless, the attorney says he said that. other things show up in his criminal history, everything from grand theft, battery, fraud and drug possession. >> wido we know anything about s financial situation or where he lived? >> we know in 2012 he did file for bankruptcy. and in going through those filings, it lists that he lived with his mom, and he owns no furniture. it seems like he was in financial straits because it also says that ---he owed $17,0 debt. that's all the information we have in his bankruptcy filing. but, again, i mean, we see how everything unfolded today. but to your point earlier, authorities in florida were familiar with him, because this man had many run-ins with them. >> rene marsh, thank you so much. joining me now is the former director of national
intelligence under president obama, retired general james clapper, who was one of the intended recipients of an explosive device, one of the ones found this morning, care of cnn, which was not delivered. general, thanks for joining us. as put on your director of national intelligence hat for a second. what are the most pressing questions you have right now? >> well, i think the first thing is, are there any other packages out there. i'm sure that's what he's being asked about. and is there anyone else involved or was he a lone actor. to me, those would be the two key questions i would want to pursue. and i am sure they are being pursued. >> so given that he was arrested, really, just a few hours ago, we know a lot about him, partly because of his social media footprint, partly because of his bankruptcy filing, his criminal record. given all that we have learned, what sticks out to you the most?
>> well, what sticks out to me is the phenomenal work done by our law enforcement community, most prominently, the fbi, who, you know, has taken some hits, unfairly so. and once again, they have shown, demonstrated their tremendous dedication and professionalism. as well as the great new york police department, secret service, and some unsung heroes and hero wins in the united states postal service. >> sources tell cnn that when the suspect was arrested, he told investigators that the pipe bombs wouldn't have hurt anyone, and that he didn't want to hurt anyone. do you buy it? what does it tell you about his
motives? >> well, as one of the potential recipients, let me tell you, it is not a fun thing to turn on the television and see a pipe bomb, whether it's functional or not, addressed to you. so i have taken a cue from director wray's press conference, that these devices were not hoaxes and that they could have been activated. >> you said you weren't surprised when a package intended for you was discovered this morning. was that just because your colleague, former cia director, john brennan, had been sent one? what was the reason? >> that was principally the reason. i figured that if john got one, i wouldn't be far behind. >> in light of these packages, we know federal agencies are now reviewing the security protocols involving former cabinet level and other high-profile officials. do you think the level of security around you and others like you needs to change? do you need secret service protection, 24/7?
>> well, neither john nor i got our protection from secret service. but i'm sure that's something that will be under review. i'll be candid. i don't feel particularly threatened right now. i have engaged with my former protected detail, and i think the actions they took are sensible and prudent. whether there should be something more elaborate, that will be up to them to judge. and, of course, when you do these things, this has huge resource implications that will have to be considered, as well. >> now that we know who the suspect is, and we know that from all appearances and from what attorney general sessions says, he's a partisan, a strong supporter of president trump, you see his social media profile, you see the stickers and the signs that he's held that are hostile to people who are in the obama administration, hostile to cnn, hostile to george soros and others, do you
hold president trump and his rhetoric accountable in any way -- in any way for this threat? >> well, first, jake, i think i have to say that you cannot relate anything that the president has said or done directly to the actions that this guy took. and we won't -- you know, maybe will come out later in just exactly what his motivations were, and what inspired him to take these extraordinary actions. i do think, though, that all politicians are responsible for toning town the rhetoric, where possible. and first among those politicians is the president of the united states, who occupies the most influential bully pulpit, not only in this country, but in the world.
and you can accuse other people of saying extreme things. but really, the leadership for this starts with the president of the united states. he has to set the tone. >> all right. retired general, former director of national intelligence, james clapper, thanks so much for your time. we're glad you're safe, sir. thanks for joining us. >> thanks, jake. a closer look at what was on the outside of the suspect's van and what that might be telling investigators about the suspect's motives. stay with us.
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breaking news. new video into cnn, giving us our first look at the mail bombing suspect, cesar sayoc, since his arrest. it's a perp walk, being he is kor escorted in miramar, florida. he has eight arrests dating back to the 1990s, faces 48 years in prison for the five federal crimes charged today. we're back with this breaking news story and a major piece of evidence. this van where we now know cesar
sayoc was living. it was adorned with stickers and posters supporting president trump and vice president pence and democratic opponents with targets over their faces. cnn's tom foreman is at the magic wall. tom, the van is quite conspicuous and might actually be important when it comes to the law enforcement investigation as to motive. >> yeah. and it's certainly attracted the attention of people who may not have noticed him on social media, but right down the road, you could see them, any time you went by. and some people were so interested in this, they actually stopped and took photographs of it and put it online, saying, look at this. i've seen this truck here. let's look at this front window and some of the details of that window. if you see it here, you can see the top is basically support for mike pence and donald trump. that whole team there. the second line, sort of inexplicably is mainly about sports, although there is some reference to trump in there, but has to do with a boxing match. then when you get to the bottom part, jake, that's when you get into the nasty stuff. this corner down here where you see the crosshairs on hillary
clinton, on a picture of barack obama on a tricycle. on the film maker, michael moore, jill stein from the green party, van jones here at cnn. and other images that have a very sharp sense that somehow these people need to be targeted in some manner. and then beyond that, if you go to the other image in this other window down here, you can see, again, a whole amalgam of things. support for the president up here and then some motions over here about abortion rights. the seminole tribe is mentioned numerous times by this man. and then there are religious references, support the military. and down here, again, general support for america. and a series of country music singers there. it's very interesting to look at this, jake, because clearly, even if you look in the van windshield, you can see this tremendous amount of clutter up here. this is the sort of thing that was drawing attention of passers-by even before all of this began, enough that some of them -- the moment they saw it, said, yeah, i've seen that
vehicle. >> thanks so much. one law enforcement official telling cnn the suspect was telling investigators he didn't want to hurt anyone. evan, is the suspect still cooperating, and what else have you learned? >> reporter: jake, he is no longer cooperating. he has retained an attorney. so he's no longer talking to the fbi. but initially he did talk to them a little bit and said he did not -- he didn't believe that these devices would have hurt anyone. he didn't intend, certainly, to hurt anyone. but obviously, that's not the way law enforcement is taking this. they worked very hard over the last 24, 36 hours, and some of the key things, according to the criminal complaint that we now see, confirmed some of the reporting we earlier today, which includes that at least two of the ieds, two of these bombs, the fbi was able to recover dna that they believe belonged to sayoc. so that was very key in this investigation. that's something the fbi had in its possession. another thing was a fingerprint from one of the packages, one of
the bombs that was sent to maxine waters. the congresswoman. that was also very key, according to this criminal complaint that the justice department has filed. so a lot more investigative work. this case is not over for the agents still working this, because obviously they want to know a little bit more about what was his motivation, whether or not there's still any more packages out there. we know there was one being investigated today that was addressed to tom steyer, a democratic fund-raiser, donor. so a lot more work for the investigation to come, jake. >> evan perez, thanks so much. phil, let me bring back my law enforcement panel. phil, let me start with you. cesar sayoc also threatened you and your family on twitter. >> he did. you know, let me be analytic here. the last hour is tough. i had to call my family and tell them this was going to break today. this man threatened me with death on twitter. i was not aware of that. you know, we are correct and general clapper is correct. let me repeat it so we ensure we
understand what question we're asking. the question is not whether the president of the united states is responsible for a disturbed human being who threatens an act of murder. that is not on the table. of course, the president is not. i'm an analyst, though, so instead of getting emotional, let me go cold. when 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 people go to rallies, when millions of people watch you on the screen, if you threaten people, some of those individuals, maybe 1,000th of 1%, are going to take you seriously. the question is whether the president takes risk off the table by stopping threats on social media. it's not whether we hold him responsible for the acts of a deranged person. stop threatening people because the implications are, people like me have to call their family and say, thank god, he's in prison, because otherwise maybe he shows up at my house. >> josh, what are the biggest clues as an investigator you would take away when looking at that van? >> so, you know, we've talked about the commonalities so far
and the targets set. and obviously now we have these disturbing messages on social media. but the van itself, there's what we can see from the outside, obviously a lot of the messaging that we see there on the pictures, a lot of political paraphernalia on the side. the cnn sucks -- again, it's painting this portrait of someone whose views appear, at least in line with some of the invective we have seen from the president and others going after our network, going after, you know, other politicians. so that seems to be in line. the question, jake, is going to be what's inside. and that is if investigators actually find evidence that, you know, the bombs were either transported or perhaps assembled in that vehicle, there's some question as far as whether the subject actually lived inside the vehicle. one question i had is we see the s.w.a.t. officers there, transporting it. i find it difficult to believe they would quickly transport a vehicle that contained evidence of explosives in it. so, again, there's a lot we don't know that will be processed. but there is a looming question as far as where the devices were actually assembled, and then where the mailing was actually
done. and the last question, jake, which may come from an interview with the subject and may come from other evidence, are there other devices out there. and there will be a number of ways investigators will be able to determine that. until that final determination is made, they're not going to give the all-clear. >> i was wondering that, too. and evie, how concerned would law enforcement be about explosive material in the van but the van could be rigged with explosives? >> i would think before they decided to transport the van, they would check the van, make sure there is nothing in there that could detonate. that is just standard protocol. you're going to make sure before you move anything, or even before you enter a house or a residence, you're going to make sure everything is rendered safe, that there is nothing there that could go off. i'm sure they followed that protocol before they decided to transport the van. >> you probably are right. phil, what do you think law enforcement is doing right now to determine how long this has been planned, his operational capability, whether others are involved? >> well, we had the first indication that he was speaking initially. those questions aren't about
what happened. i'm guessing those questions are about imminent threat. are there other bombs out there, are there people who participated in this. we heard he lawyered up, so i presume he's not speaking any more. as soon as they gain access to van -- we had a report on a cell phone, his cell phone pinging, which helped identify his location. i want to know every contact on that list. i want to know text messaging records. i want to talk to his family. i want to look at his social media posts. not only to look at who he communicated with, jake, but to see if he participated in a community of people that not only might have encouraged him, but might be encouraging other people. you can build, in short, a network of understanding around someone's life using that digital profile, really quickly. >> josh, a lawyer who represented sayoc told cnn he wasn't surprised that the devices suspected and accused of assembling and mailing did not explode. he questioned his former client's ability to successfully device and execute such a scheme. obviously, sayoc initially told law enforcement they were never intended to go off. does it matter whether these
devices were capable of detonating? >> it doesn't in the long run, because it's still terrorism. a lot of people -- we've heard folks trying to analyze this over the last 72 hours, and there seemed to be a narrative, either he has a master bomb maker or complete dolt. i would argue somewhere in between is possible. he could be someone who has researches and has sophistication, but doesn't take it all the way to creating a device that's going to explode and kill. the reason i say it doesn't matter in the long run here, and obviously we're grateful there were no injuries or loss of life. but this is still terrorism. his goal appears to have been to instill fear, to, you know, cause anxiety for political reasons. that is terrorism. so whether it went off or not, he is still facing potential serious charges in the long run, jake. >> so we've been digging into the suspect's social media accounts, filled with political attacks, many directed at those he eventually allegedly targeted with these devices. i want to focus on just a couple of one of them is a reply to
president trump. president trump criticizing the media and on august 30th, and president trump tweeted, i just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest the media is, truth doesn't matter to them, they only have their hatred and agenda, this includes fake books and are pure fiction. enemy of the people. now, to that, the suspect, cesar sayoc, replied, directly to that tweet from the president, saying, cnn sucks, holding up a posted photograph of him saying cnn sucks. in another tweet, the suspect replied to a cnn tweet. the cnn tweet shows cnn's chief white house correspondent, jim acosta in the briefing room, asking sarah sanders, please say that the press isn't the enemy of the american people. and sayoc seems to -- replies to that tweet and seems to threaten acosta, writing, quote, see you at the next rally. evie, let me ask you. i'm not a law enforcement official. and obviously, as has been said
by plenty of other people, the bomber is responsible for his actions, no one else is responsible for his actions. but that really does seem like somebody who really wants to take cues from the president, wants the president's approval. and that, i assume, is something that people are considering when trying to figure out motive. >> you know, we've been talking about this, and i've been with the various presidents, both formers and current president barack obama. and when you go to these rallies and there's sometimes tens of thousands of people. and people get revved up. this is a very influential position, person. and when somebody of that level speaks, sometimes people take that and listen to it. like they take it to heart. and you can see people getting obsessed with the individual. and that's where -- you know, as an agent, we would get individuals who would show up to the white house, write letters. this is something very common for us in our line of work, because people almost think like, yes, he is speaking to me.
he's addressing me. and so, you know, yes, your words do matter. you do affect other individuals in the way you speak. and it's something that you have to be very careful with when you are on that level. and then also, jake, you also don't know how everybody is going to receive that message. we have individuals with a lot of mental health issues who can hear that message. and we don't know the current state of the suspect we have. we don't know his mental health. we do know he has a criminal record. but then there is concern there, because we see this -- there's nothing really -- he wasn't very quiet about what he did. you see his van. it's very ostentatious with all these stickers out there. his previous history. his threats about making a bomb. so it would be really, really interesting to find out what his mental health stance is, what he's done in the past. and what the people around him -- interviews will be really, really possibility. even though he may not be talking, interviewing family, friends, previous co-workers, anybody like that, to get as much information on him as possible. >> jake, can i just quickly add a caveat, just very quickly to
what you were saying as far as the bomber is responsible solely for his actions. let me add one caveat there, if i can. that is -- we should hold elected leaders to a different standard. if you look at this as any other type of crime, you don't just go after the crime itself. you go after the underlying cause. and if that is an elected official spewing invective, they bear some responsibility. >> okay, josh and evie and phil, thanks so much. president trump just spoke about the mail bomb suspect. more on his reaction, next. are we there yet? you don't always use your smartphone for directions... hey guys, up there.
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breaking news now. president trump jest spoust spo the south lawn of the white house, on his way to a rally in charlotte, north carolina, this evening. he spoke about the suspect charged with five federal crimes for mailing at least 13 ieds. we will bring you those remarks as soon as they come in. cnn's kaitlan collins joins me now from the white house. and kaitlan, what do we know about what the president said? >> reporter: well, he came out there, of course, jake, the first subject on this was the development in this case. now, the suspect has been apprehended. we know president trump praised law enforcement while speaking to reporters out there. he asked -- also made a few remarks about his own rhetoric. he told reporters out there that he believes he has already toned down his rhetoric. likely a reference to that rally we saw in wisconsin whenever he was saying much different things than we typically hear from his rallies in light of the focus on what he has said, now that all of had is coming out. he was asked about whether or not he has anything to say about this person, clearly identifying themselves with president trump being a supporter of his and
appearing at his rallies. it's unclear exactly what he said. it's really hard to hear out there with marine one, choppering in the background. we'll likely hear that soon. one interesting thing he brought up was the baseball shooting where the house majority whip, steve ascalise was shot. clearly something he's been talking about lately, about the division in the country, something he has not taken any responsibility for. but instead blamed reporters for. but clearly, he brought that up, essentially saying there is violence also against republicans, as well. i think we've got the remarks now. >> i'm going to interrupt you. we have that sound from the president. let's listen in. >> i just want to compliment law enforcement for having done an incredible job. the fbi, secret service. so many. they just got together and did a fantastic job. like finding a needle in a haystack. so i want to congratulate them.
as you know, i think everybody wants to congratulate them. but they did a fantastic job. i'm going to north carolina right now. it's raining, so if you don't mind, i'll step out of the rain. but i really am very proud of law enforcement. >> [ inaudible question ]. >> i did not. i did not see my face on the van. i don't know. i heard he was a person that preferred me over others. but i did not see that. >> [ inaudible question ]. >> no, not at all. not at all. no. there's no blame. there's no anything. if you look at what happened to steve scalise, that was from a supporter of a different party. if you look at what happened -- i'm just really proud of law enforcement. i think they did an incredible job. and i will see you in north carolina.
>> [ inaudible question ]. >> no, i don't think so. i think that we're running a great campaign. people love what we're doing. they love what we're saying. the republicans had tremendous momentum, and, of course, this happened where all you people talk about was that. and rightfully so. it was a big thing. rightfully so. but now we have to start the momentum again. i think the republicans have tremendous momentum. when you think of judge kavanaugh, when you think of all of the things that have happened. and hopefully we're going to go on to a great victory. we have a lot of senate races where we're leading, races that, frankly, are going to be uncontested. looks like we're leading a lot of those races. the house is -- there are a lot of people in the house. we're going to see how that goes. but i think we're doing very well in the house. >> [ inaudible question ]. >> if they wanted me to. but i think we'll probably pass. thank you very much. >> [ inaudible question ].
>> well, i think i've been toned down, if you want to know the truth. i could really tone it up. because, as you know, the media has been extremely unfair to me and to the republican party. >> how? >> i think the media has been very, very unfair. in terms of the republican party. and the way it's been covered. and they understand that. they write articles about that. many of them admit that. but the media has been unbelievably unfair to republicans, conservatives, and certainly to me. but with all of that being said, we're winning. so i like that. thank you very much. thank you. all right. let's talk about this with our panel, amanda carpenter. you heard the president yet again, an opportunity to take some ownership for the rhetoric. and passing on the opportunity. >> i no longer care what he has to say about this. i think after all these incidents, we always ask, was the perpetrator mentally ill or
what happened? i think in this scenario, we need to ask, was he just unstable enough to believe the things that the president says, and then act on it? because if that's the case, if you believe the press is the enemy of the people, hillary clinton is evil, and there's a deep state undermining the country, pipe bombs become your weapon of choice, rather than words. so he's on his way to another rally and i want republicans to ask themselves, if you're in that crowd and you see a sign like that, targets, is this the atmosphere that makes america great again? because i think it clearly has made us less safe. >> and you heard a secret service agent was on the show earlier, talking about when you cover these rallies how seriously people in the audience, be many of them, take the words coming from the politician. it's such a powerful position. you can inspire, you can stoke fear. you can do anything, really, if you're that -- if there's that much adulation. >> exactly. i was on the president's campaign swing throughout the western states over the weekend. and there's always that moment in the rallies where he turns to us sitting in the back, taking notes. and says, look at the fake news media back there.
and the entire crowd just boos at you. this is a crowd that adores trump. listens to what he says. so the president's words really do matter. and it will be really interesting to see how he approaches that rhetoric in charlotte later tonight. >> weird statement by the president. he started off as he often does with something that sounded prepared, right? something we don't often hear the president say, praising the fbi. what he didn't include in that sort of prepared section was a further condemnation, now that we have a suspect. condemnation of the suspect, of the alleged acts. and what's -- you know, what happens next. look his statement compared to the law enforcement officials that spoke earlier in the day. and then as the conversation continues with the press, what does he do? he sort of circles to his real target. which is, unfortunately, the news media. so by the end of that gaggle, he was right back to the media needs to take more responsibility. and look, i don't think -- nobody is responsible for sending bombs except the person
who sent the bombs, right? but he does not -- he just will not get wrapped around his head that his rhetoric can help create an atmosphere where someone thinks it's okay. >> it's interesting. he spoke earlier today, condemned it, didn't mention cnn or the individuals who had been sent the devices. and then in that same event, after he called for unity, somebody yelled out, cnn sucks. he was talking about polls. cnn sucks. and then he talked about globalists, somebody yelled out george soros. somebody yelled lock 'em up. there's allusions to three of the people who were sent bombs. >> he's trying to compare this to the congressional shooting. and it's not the same thing. and the reason it's not the same thing is that this was just a who's who list of enemies of donald trump. so this is where this person got these ideas. i'm sorry. there's no other person that is obsessed with hating cnn than donald trump. like, predonald trump, that just wasn't a thing. i guess people had feelings about cnn.
but it wasn't an obsession. and so that this person was so focused on cnn and so focused on all of the people that he complains about, does make him complicit. and he needs to own that, and he needs to tone down the rhetoric. >> you think he's complicit, though. >> yes. >> because that's a strong thing to say. and clapper and mudd, who were threatened by this person. but you're -- okay. standing by that. thank you so much. our coverage on this breaking news story continues. stay with us. come on dad! higher!
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proposition 11 "proposition 11 is a vote to protect patient safety." it ensures the closest ambulance remains on-call during paid breaks "so that they can respond immediately when needed." vote yes on 11. not a hoax! we're learning disturbing new information about the bombs which experts are analyzing. the fbi says they are not hoax devices, and warns more of them could be in the mail right now. anger and hate. the suspect revealed to be an avid trump
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