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CNN SUNDAY MORNING
Suspect And Mom Talked Jihad; Defending the Decision To Mirandize; New Arrest in Ricin Case; Security Added for Madrid Race; President Obama at the White House Correspondents Dinner
Aired April 28, 2013 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I am Poppy Harlow. Welcome to our continuing coverage of the Boston bombings. It is 6:00 out here in the east. Thanks for joining us, starting your Sunday with us.
We have news that federal investigators will be back at work today here in Boston looking for more clues in the bombing. They wrapped up their search of a nearby landfill yesterday. The FBI is now, at this point, saying what, if anything, they found. But we do know what they were looking for, and that is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's laptop. That computer could have important information on the planning of the Boston attack.
Meanwhile, there is new information coming in from Russia about the suspect's mother. Joining me now from Moscow is our Phil Black.
Phil, hello to you. First off, what are we learning about the mother at this hour?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, good morning. CNN is being told that Russian authorities intercepted a communication between the bombing suspect's mother and what was believed to be one of the bomb suspects, in which they were said to be discussing jihad. We have been told this, not by Russian authorities, but by a U.S. official who says the intercept was made back in 2011, but made available to U.S. authorities only in the last few days.
Now, we know that back in 2011 the Russians asked the FBI to investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev because they were worried he had become radicalized. The FBI looked into him, found no evidence that he was a threat and they say they went back to the Russians with some more questions, but never heard anything after that.
Now, it is difficult to determine the significance of this communication -- this intercepted communication, but it raises a key question, and that is, had the FBI known of its existence sooner, would that investigation have been conducted differently? Would its ultimate conclusions have been different as well.
HARLOW: That is absolutely the key question. We also don't know, Phil, whether or not Russia intercepted those calls before or after they warned the United States about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Russian President Vladimir Putin is stressing, and has been stressing all week, that the United States and Russia should work much more closely together to prevent tragedies like this, but House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said that he thinks Russians, quote, "have more information here than they are sharing." And now, after he says that, we find out about this communication. How open is the Russian government being at this point?
BLACK: Well, in terms of public openness, Poppy, there is almost none whatever. We have submitted questions to the FSB, this is the Russian security intelligence service, their internal secret police, if you like, about precisely what did they know about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, how did he show up on their radar, why were they worried about him enough to ask the FBI to look into him. We haven't heard anything back on this and that's not entirely a surprise because this is a highly secretive organization. It is the successor to the notorious Soviet era secret police, the KGB.
And from the government, we haven't heard a lot either. As you say, Vladimir Putin has promised greater cooperation, whatever the United States needs in investigating this. And in reference to what Russia knew at the time back in 2011, he has only said that it is with great regret that they weren't able to provided information that was of operational significance.
So there are still some pretty important questions about the cooperation that went on around that 2011 period. But, since the bombings, both American and Russian officials are very keen to stress that they are working very closely together.
HARLOW: Absolutely, that is the official message.
Phil Black joining us live from Moscow this morning. Thank you, Phil.
We know that Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother were both on the TIDE list. TIDE stands for Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment. It's basically a clearing house for all international terrorist identities. Basically, it's a watch list. There are about a half a million names on the database. So not all terrorists, of course, but people that may have any terrorist connections.
Now, the percent of the people that are on the list are U.S. citizens or legal, permanent residents. Congress established this list back in 2004. And less than 5 percent are U.S. citizens or legal, permanent residents.
The administration is talking about its decision to read Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights. That is a decision that has faced a lot of criticism from some in Washington and elsewhere. Our Pamela Brown is live this morning for us in Devon, Massachusetts. She is standing outside of the prison hospital where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is being held.
Pamela, good morning. What can you tell us? PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, good morning to you.
There has been a lot of focus about whether the Miranda rights were administered too soon to the suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Well, last night, at the White House Correspondents Dinner, our Brianna Keilar asked Attorney General Eric Holder for a comment, and for the first time he responded to this issue. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Are you familiar with this report that Russian authorities wiretapped one of the bombing suspects and that he was speaking with his mother about jihad 2011? Can you say anything about that?
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: No. It's an ongoing matter. I can't comment on that.
KEILAR: Can you comment on the suspect being Mirandize and whether that was appropriate?
HOLDER: Well, I mean the decision to Mirandize him was one that the magistrate (ph) made, and that was totally consistent with the laws that we have. We had a two-day period where we were able to question him under the public safety exception (ph), so I think everything was done appropriately and we got - we got good leads.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: He talked about the two days there basically by law, under the public exception rule, authorities only have 48 hours to interview a suspect. After the 48 hours, then the Miranda rights can be administered. So that's what happened in this case.
However, we're hearing from the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers, and he's saying that he believes those -- the Miranda rights were administered to soon and he thinks that authorities might have been able to gain more valuable information from the suspect had they had more time with him. As we've learned, Poppy, he hasn't been communicating anything substantive to authorities since he was Mirandized. But also you have to remember that he also has an attorney now who may be advising him not to speak.
HARLOW: We're also learning more, Pamela, about the arrest of two of Tsarnaev's friends. What do we know on that front?
BROWN: Yes, there's been a lot of talk about these two students from UMass Dartmouth that were arrested shortly after everything went down last Friday. And what we have learned here, Poppy, is that essentially these two students were friend with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, that they knew him, but in no way are they related to the plot, the bombings at the Boston Marathon. We're told by sources at the Department of Homeland Security, essentially they're being held on administrative visa issues. They are students here from Kazakhstan. They're here in visas. Authorities are holding them on that, but also they're using this as an opportunity to gain valuable information about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, trying to gain a clearer picture of who he is and why he allegedly carried out the attacks.
HARLOW: Buying time, is a way - is a way you could look at it.
Pamela, the search of the landfill, that is over, that has concluded. Did authorities find anything significant?
BROWN: Well, Poppy, I've been communicating with the FBI and essentially now that this search has ended, they're telling us that they're not publicly speak about whether anything was found at that landfill. They were searching for what was believed to be a laptop belonging to the suspect. And they were led there by the suspect himself and from others who have been questioned in this investigation who may have actually played a role in disposing the laptop after the April 15th attacks. But at this point authorities are not saying whether they found anything, but you have to think, Poppy, that they really wanted to find this. They believe they could have found some critical evidence here to help in this investigation and they probably aren't going to give up until they find something.
HARLOW: Yes, I was just going to say, they're probably not going to wrap up after that amount of time.
Pamela Brown, thank you very much.
Well, tonight on CNN, follow the trail of terror from Boston to the suburbs of the war-torn caucuses. Who were the two bombers and, critically, what influenced them. Don't miss Anderson Cooper's special report, "Boston Terror, Behind the Boston Bombings," at 10:00 Eastern tonight.
We'll get back to our special coverage of Boston in a moment. But first, just days after an Elvis impersonator was cleared, a new suspect has been charged with sending poison letters to President Obama and other officials. We're going to tell you who he is and what other crimes he's accused of.
Plus, thousands of runners are taking part in this morning's Madrid Marathon. Why security is even tighter and this is not just because of Boston.
HARLOW: A beautiful look on - a beautiful look at the memorial that has grown day by day here on Boylston Street in Boston. You're looking at the four crosses honoring four victims of the tragic attack here. Sean Collier, the officer, Krystle Campbell, the 29-year-old, the exchange student Lingzi Lu, and also the 8-year-old boy Martin Richard.
Good morning to everyone.
In other news, a new arrest has been made in the case of those ricin letters that were sent to President Obama, to a Senate Republican and to a Mississippi judge. This comes just days after prosecutors dropped charges against another man. Our Alina Machado is following this story from Tupelo, Mississippi.
ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, the son of a judge here in Lee County, who received one of those ricin letters, say he is hoping the arrest is a step towards justice for his family.
MACHADO (voice-over): This is the man federal authorities now believe mailed three ricin-laced letters earlier this month to President Obama, Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, and County Court Judge Sadie Holland. Federal prosecutors have charged James Everett Dutschke. He's accused of, quote, "knowingly developing, producing, stockpiling, possessing a biological agent for use as a weapon." That agent, according to the U.S. attorney's office, was ricin.
STEVE HOLLAND, VICTIM'S SON: This could have been devastating, very devastating. I mean mom could have died.
MACHADO: Steve Holland's mother is the Mississippi judge who received one of the letters. Dutschke ran against him for a seat in the Mississippi state house in 2007.
HOLLAND: He was a mad personality. He was a vicious kind of guy. He attacked me personally and even my entire family. That was his MO during the campaign.
MACHADO: Last week, charge as were dropped against the first suspect in the case, an Elvis impersonator named Paul Kevin Curtis. Curtis said he had been framed and pointed to Dutschke as a possible suspect. Not long after, FBI agents searched the martial arts studio Dutschke used to run, as well as his home in Tupelo.
In this YouTube video posted last week, Dutschke talked about the investigation.
JAMES EVERETT DUTSCHKE: I met with the FBI. I consulted to a search. Signed a piece of paper saying, go ahead and search the house. I don't have anything at all to do with this.
MACHADO: An attorney representing the 41-year-old on a separate case said the martial arts studio closed after Dutschke was charged with child molestation earlier this year. Dutschke has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
MACHADO: Dutschke is expected to be in federal court tomorrow morning. We are hoping to learn more about the arrests and also about what it was that led authorities to him.
Poppy. HARLOW: Alina Machado for us in Tupelo, Mississippi. Alina, thank you.
Well, thousands of people are hitting the pavement for another marathon this morning. And, as you can imagine, security is tight for the race which is being held in Madrid. We're going to take you there live, next.
HARLOW: Just another sign of the strength in this wonderful city, "Boston strong" written on sneaker upon sneaker piled up at this makeshift memorial here on Boylston Street that has grown by the day. It has been an honor to report here, meet the people. You know, yesterday afternoon, as the crowds grew, there was actually a line that stretched for quite a ways for people to get in and pay their respects to Boston. Boston strong.
Well, the spirit of marathon runners still undaunted after the Boston terror attacks. After a moment of silence for Boston victims, more than 30,000 runners participated in this weekend's Country Music Marathon in Nashville. It is the biggest race in the United States since the Boston attack. Runners we spoke to said they felt safe. Hundreds of law enforcement officers and security personnel were, of course, on hand.
About 26,000 people in Spain are running in today's marathon in Madrid. Spanish authorities increased security following the attack here in Boston and last week they actually arrested two terror suspects. Both of those men are accused of having connections to an al Qaeda group and Islamic extremists. Spain's interior minister says the two men have a profile similar to the two Boston bombing suspects in that they were allegedly radicalized over the Internet. Our Al Goodman is live from Madrid this morning.
Hello, Al. Tell me first about the atmosphere there at the marathon.
AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Poppy.
Well, thankfully this is just a thrilling, competitive marathon. As you can see behind me, we're near the finish line. But clearly the Boston marathon bombings seemingly on everyone's minds. All 26,000 runners in these races, marathon, half marathon and (INAUDIBLE) race, paused for a moment of silence before they started the race this day in honor of the Boston victims. And, also, many of them had on black ribbons, black arm bands. They said it was very much on their minds.
HARLOW: And when you look at security preparations there, Al, since those arrests were made last week, how has security been increased there at the marathon? And in talking to runners, were any of them worried? Did they not feel safe?
GOODMAN: We talked to a lot of runners in recent days and didn't find anyone who said they felt the slightest concern. Now, security, Spain has had a lot of security experience dating back to the Madrid train bombings in 2004. Security for this event was beefed up basically with a lot more, hundreds more national police officers backing up the local police officers and the private security guards. And one official telling us they didn't want to just make the race safe, they wanted to convey the message to everyone, spectators and runners, that it is safe. And so for that's what we have.
HARLOW: Al Goodman live for us in Madrid.
Al, thank you.
President Obama took a break from it all last night and became comedian in chief at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For example, this whole controversy about Jay-z going to Cuba. It's unbelievable. I've got 99 problems and now Jay-z's one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Who knew Jay-z would make it into the president's speech. A big, big night last night across the board. We're going to have the entire speech from President Obama for you, next.
HARLOW: Welcome back. Well, mortgage rates fell to another record low this week. Take a look.
HARLOW: A phrase that has really defined this city in the past few weeks, "Boston strong." You see it there on a painting of the American flag and the American flag itself. Many of them sprinkled around this makeshift memorial right in Copley Square on Boylston Street in Boston that has grown by the day.
As the day progressed yesterday, we saw a line of people, a very long line, just to get in here and pay their respects, writing messages on boards that are then taken to city hall. Messages of hope, messages of strength and messages of support for this wonderful city.
Welcome back and thank you for starting your Sunday morning with us. I'm Poppy Harlow.
It has been a very rough few weeks for President Obama and, frankly, for the entire country. The president has been visiting memorials for people here in Boston and, of course, in West, Texas, after that tragic explosion. But last night it was an opportunity to lighten the mood. The president joked about being Muslim, shooting guns and growing out his bangs. Who knew the president had bangs. That's right. It was all at the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner, the yearly red carpet event for Washington's elite celebrities and some of us, the press. The president walked on stage to a rap song "all I do is win."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to introduce the president of the United States.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. Thank you, everybody. How do you like my new entrance music? Rush Limbaugh warned you about this, second term, baby. We're changing things around here a little bit. Actually, my advisors were a little worried about the new rap entrance music. They are a little more traditional. They suggested that I should start with some jokes at my own expense. Just take myself down a peg. I was like, guys, after four and a half years, how many pegs are there left?
I want to thank the White House correspondents. Ed, you're doing an outstanding job. We are grateful for the great work you've done. And to all the dignitaries were are here, everybody on the dais, I especially want to say thank you to Ray Odierno, who does outstanding service on behalf of our country and all our men and women in uniform every single day.
And, of course, our extraordinary first lady, Michelle Obama. Everybody loves Michelle. She's on the cover of "Vogue," high poll numbers. But don't worry, I recently got my own magazine cover. Look, I get it. These days I look in the mirror and I have to admit, I'm not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be.
Time passes. Get a little gray. And, yet, even after all this time, I still make rookie mistakes. Like, I'm out in California. We're at a fund-raiser having a nice time. I happened to mention that Kamala Harris is the best-looking attorney general in the country. As you might imagine, I got in trouble when I got back home. Who knew Eric Holder was so sensitive?
And then there's the Easter Egg Roll, which is supposed to be just a nice, fun event with the kids. I go out on the basketball court, took 22 shots, made two of them. That's right, two hits, 20 misses. The executives at NBC asked, what's your secret? So, yes, maybe I have lost a step.
But some things are beyond my control. For example, this is whole controversy about Jay-z going to Cuba. It's unbelievable. I've got 99 problems and now Jay-Z's one.
OBAMA: That's another rap reference.
OBAMA: The ...
OBAMA: Of course, everybody's got plenty of advice. Maureen Dowd said I could solve all my problems if I were just more like Michael Douglas in "The American President." And I know Michael's here tonight. Michael, what's your secret, man?
Could it be that you were an actor in an Aaron Sorkin liberal fantasy?
OBAMA: My bet it has something to do with it.
OBAMA: I don't know. Check in with me. Maybe it's something else. Anyway, I recognize that this job can take a toll on you. I understand second term you need a burst of new energy. Try some new things and then my team and I talked about it, we're willing to try anything. So, we borrowed one of Michelle's tricks.
OBAMA: I thought this looked pretty good.
OBAMA: But, no bounce. Anyway. I want to give a shout out to our headliner Conan O'Brien.
OBAMA: I was just talking to Ed and I understand that when the correspondents' association was considering Conan for this gig, they were faced with that age-old dilemma. Do you offer it to him now or wait for five years and then give it to Jimmy Fallon?
OBAMA: That was a little harsh.
OBAMA: I love Conan. And, of course, the White House press corps is here. I know CNN has taken some knocks lately, but the fact is, I admire their commitment to cover all sides of the story, just in case one of them happens to be accurate.
OBAMA: Some of my former advisers have switched over to the dark side. For example, David Axelrod now works for MSNBC, which is a nice change of pace since MSNBC used to work for David Axelrod.
OBAMA: The history channel is not here. I guess they were embarrassed about the whole Obama is a devil thing.
OBAMA: Of course, that never kept Fox News from showing up.
OBAMA: They actually thought the comparison was not fair to Satan.
OBAMA: But the problem is that the media landscape is changing so rapidly. You can't keep up with it. I remember when buzz feed was just something I did in college around 2:00 A.M.
OBAMA: It's true.
OBAMA: Recently, though, I found a new favorite source for political news. These guys are great. I think everybody here should check it out. They tell it like it is. It's called whitehouse.gov. I cannot get enough of it. The fact is, I really do respect the press. I recognize that the press and I have different jobs to do. My job is to be president. Your job is to keep me humble. Frankly, I think I'm doing my job better.
OBAMA: But part of the problem is everybody is so cynical. I mean we're constantly feeding cynicism, suspicion, conspiracies. You remember a few months ago my administration put out a photograph of me going skeet shooting at Camp David. Do you remember that? And quite a number of people insisted that this had been photo-shopped. But tonight I have something to confess. You were right. Guys, can we show them the actual photo?
(LAUGHTER) OBAMA: We were just trying to tone it down a little bit. That was an awesome day.
OBAMA: There are other new players in the media landscape, as well. Like super PACs. Did you know that Sheldon Adelson spent $100 million of his own money last year on negative ads. You've got to really dislike me ...
OBAMA: to spend that kind of money. I mean that is Oprah money.
OBAMA: You could buy an island and call it Nobama for that kind of money.
OBAMA: Sheldon would have been better off offering me $100 million to drop out of the race.
OBAMA: I probably wouldn't have taken it. But I thought about it.
OBAMA: Michelle would have taken it. You think I'm joking. I know Republicans are still sorting out what happened in 2012. But one thing they all agree on is they need to do a better job reaching out to minorities. And, look, call me self-centered, but I can think of one minority they could start with. Hello.
OBAMA: Think of me - think of me as a trial run, you know.
OBAMA: See how it goes. If they won't come to me, I will come to them.. Recently I had dinner, it's been well publicized. I had dinner with a number of the Republican senators. And I'll admit it wasn't easy. I proposed a toast, it died in committee. Of course, even after I've done all this, some folks still don't think I spend enough time with Congress. Why don't you get a drink with Mitch McConnell, they ask. Really?
OBAMA: Why don't you get a drink with Mitch McConnell? (LAUGHTER)
BOLDUAN: the president did not stop there, much more of his speech to come, including who would play President Obama in a movie about his life. You're watching "CNN SUNDAY MORNING" live from Boston. Thanks for waking up with us.
BOLDUAN: Live pictures of the -- you're looking at live pictures of the memorial here on Boylston Street in Boston for the victims of the Boston marathon. This is the city that was hit hard, knocked to its knees, but not knocked out. This is the city that is getting back up and is stronger by the day. You see the resilience in the people here every single day.
Good morning to you, welcome to CNN SUNDAY MORNING. I want to take you back to the White House correspondents' dinner where President Barack Obama is talking about his charm offensive in Washington
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I am not giving up. In fact, I'm taking my charm offensive on the road. A Texas barbecue with Ted Cruz. Kentucky blue grass concert with Rand Paul. And a book burning with Michele Bachmann.
OBAMA: My charm offensive has helped me learn some interesting things about what's going on in Congress. It turns out, absolutely nothing.
OBAMA: But the point of my charm offensive is simple. We need to make progress on some important issues. Take the sequester. Republicans fell in love with this thing and now they can't stop talking about how much they hate it. It's like we're trapped in a Taylor Swift album.
OBAMA: One senator who has reached across the aisle recently is Marco Rubio. But I don't know about 2016. I mean, the guy has not even finished a single term in the Senate and he thinks he's ready to be president.
OBAMA: Kids these days. I, on the other hand, have run my last campaign. On Thursday, as Ed mentioned, I went to the opening of the Bush Presidential Library in Dallas. It was a wonderful event and that inspired me to get started on my own legacy, which will actually begin by building another edifice right next to the Bush library. Can we show that, please?
OBAMA: I'm also hard at work on plans for the Obama library. And some have suggested that we put it in my birthplace, but I'd rather keep it in the United States.
OBAMA: Did anybody not see that joke coming?
Show of hands. Only Gallup.
Maybe Dick Morris?
OBAMA: Now, speaking of presidents and their legacies. I want to acknowledge a wonderful friend, Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day Lewis, who are here tonight.
OBAMA: We had a screening of their most recent film "Lincoln," which was an extraordinary film. I am a little nervous, though, about Steven's next project. I saw him behind the scenes look on HBO. Well, let's just check it out. Roll the tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVEN SPIELBERG: Well, I was thrilled that Lincoln was a success and as I was thinking about what to do next, in the middle of the night I woke up and it hit me. Obama. I mean the guy is already a lame duck. So why wait? Picking the right actor to play Obama, that was the challenge. I mean who is Obama really? We don't know. We never got his transcripts and they say, he's kind of aloof. So I needed someone who could dive in and really become Barack Obama. As it turns out, the answer was right in front of me all along. Daniel Day-Lewis.
SPIELBERG: He becomes his characters. Hawkeye from "Last of the Mohicans - he was Bill the Butcher in "Gangs of New York," and Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln. You know what? He nailed it.
OBAMA: Was it hard playing Obama? I'll be honest, yes, it was. His accent took a while. Hello, Ohio. Hello, Ohio. I love you back.
Look, look, let me be clear about this. The cosmetics were challenging. You would not believe how long it takes to put these ears on. (LAUGHTER)
OBAMA: I don't know how he walks around with these.
SPIELBERG: But once we had Daniel to play Obama, we had to cast the rest of his team, and I think we've got some pretty terrific performances.
TRACY MORGAN, ACTOR: Working with a legend like Daniel is intimidating, but he makes everyone better. Now without him, I never could have played Joe Biden.
MORGAN: Literally. I am (ph) Joe Biden.
OBAMA: The hardest part, trying to understand his motivations. Why did he pursue health care first? What makes him tick? Why doesn't he get mad? If I were him, I would be mad all the time. But I'm not. I'm Daniel Day-Lewis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: It's a remarkable transformation. Do I really sound like that, by the way? Well, Groucho Marx once said -- and Senator Cruz that's Groucho Marx, not Karl, that's the other guy.
OBAMA: Groucho Marx once told an audience, before I speak, I have something important to say. And along those same lines, I want to close on a more serious note. Obviously, there's been no shortage of news to cover over these past few weeks and these have been some very hard days for too many of our citizens. Even as we gather here tonight, our thoughts are not far from the people of Boston and the people of West, Texas. There are families in the Midwest who are coping with some terrible floods. So, we've had some difficult days. But even when the day seemed darkest, we have seen humanity shine at its brightest. We've seen first responders and National Guardsmen who dashed into danger. Law enforcement officers who lived their oath to serve and to protect. And everyday Americans who are opening their homes and their hearts to perfect strangers. And we also saw journalists at their best. Especially those who took the time to wade upstream through the torrent of digital rumors to chase down leads and verify facts and painstakingly put the pieces together to inform and to educate and to tell stories that demanded to be told. If anyone wonders, for example, whether newspapers are a thing of the past, all you needed to do was to pick up or log on to papers like "The Boston Globe."
OBAMA: It's when their ...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
OBAMA: .. when their communities and the wider world needed them most, they were there. Making sense of events that might at first blush seem beyond our comprehension. And that's what great journalism is and that's what great journalists do. And that's why, for example, Pete Williams new nickname around the NBC newsroom is Big Papi.
OBAMA: And in these past few weeks, as I've gotten a chance to meet many of the first responders and the police officers and volunteers who raced to help when hardship hits, I was reminded, as I'm always reminded when I meet our men and women in uniform whether they're in war theater or here back home or at Walter Reed, Bethesda, I'm reminded that all these folks - they don't do it to be honored. They don't do it to be celebrated. They do it because they love their families and they love their neighborhoods and they love their country.
And, so, these men and women should inspire all of us in this room. To live up to those same standards. To be worthy of their trust. To do our jobs with the same fidelity and the same integrity and the same sense of purpose. And the same love of country. Because if we're only focused on profits or ratings or polls, then we're contributing to the cynicism that so many people feel right now.
OBAMA: And, so ...
OBAMA: ... those of us in this room tonight, we're incredibly lucky. And the fact is, we can do better. All of us. Those of us in public office, those of us in the press, those who produce entertainment for our kids, those with power, those with influence. All of us, including myself, we can strive to value those things that I suspect let most of us to do the work that we do in the first place. Because we believed in something that was true. And we believed in service and the idea that we can have a lasting, positive impact on the lives of the people around us. And that's our obligation. That's a task we should gladly embrace on behalf of all those folks who are counting on us. On behalf of this country that has given us so much. So, thank you, all, to the White House correspondents for the great work that you do. God bless you all. My god bless the United States of America.
BOLDUAN: We will have much more coming up on "CNN EARLY START WEEKEND," including surprising and troubling information about the Boston bombing suspect's mother. I'm Poppy Harlow. We're coming to you live from Boston this morning. Stay with us.
BOLDUAN: Honoring the victims of the Boston bombing, this memorial in - on Boylston Street people are starting to come out and spend their Sunday morning here, writing messages, paying tribute to all of the victims in (inaudible), even assigned them here (ph) symbol stands with Boston. So, people from all around the world coming here. One of my favorite things here at the memorial, is right over here: all of these Boston Red Sox hats and Boston Strong hats in memory of those lost and showing the strength of this wonderful city. We'll be right back.
HARLOW: Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow. It is 7:00 out here on the East Coast. Thanks for starting your morning with us.
We are coming to you live, again, this morning from Boston with the latest on the bombing investigation. The FBI has finished searching a nearby landfill. They were looking for a laptop supposedly used by bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. But investigators are not saying what they did or didn't find there.
And from Russia, the FBI has gotten new information on the suspect's mother.
Our Phil Black is live from Moscow for us this morning.
Hello, Phil. What are we learning?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, good morning.
We have been told that Russian authorities intercepted a communication between the bombing suspect's mother and one of the bombing suspects. And we've been told this not by Russian authorities but a U.S. official who says the intercepted communication showed them to be discussing jihad. This communication was intercepted back in 2011, but only made available to the FBI in the last few days.
Now, the context here: we know back in 2011, Russian authorities asked the FBI to investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother because of concerns of radicalization. The authorities did, the FBI didn't find any evidence to suggest they were a threat. So, they said they went back to the Russians to ask more questions, to ask them more information and they say they didn't hear anything back.
But now, we know this interceptor communication was recorded at roughly that same time frame. It is difficult to assess the absolute significance of this at the moment, but it does, at the very least, raise an interesting question. That is, had the FBI known about this intercept at the time, could it have altered the way that investigation was handled, could it have altered its ultimate outcome? Poppy?
HARLOW: And, Phil, are we getting any indication as to why it took until three days ago for Russia to turn over this information or even tell U.S. authorities about this wiretap? It -- they waited days even after the suspects were apprehended. Do we know why?
BLACK: No, we don't know why. In fact, Russian authorities have generally been very tight-lipped on precisely what they knew back in 2011. Why they were concerned about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, how he showed up on their radar, why they thought he was potentially a threat and why they were so concerned, they ultimately asked the FBI to help. We have been asking all the authorities, this -- the government, the FSP, the internal police here, and the only response so far has been silent.
The Russian President Vladimir Putin in his only public statement on this specific point has said it was to his regret that Russian authorities were not able to provide any information that was operational significance. But since the bombing, both the Russian and U.S. governments are very keen to stress that they are working very closely together, despite that there was still some big questions about to what extent that cooperation was taking place back around that 2011 period when people were first concerned -- Poppy.
HARLOW: Phil Black for us live in Moscow, thank you.
We are also getting a response at this hour from the Obama administration over the controversial decision on when to read Tsarnaev his Miranda rights.
Our Pamela Brown is live from Devens, Massachusetts. She is right outside the prison hospital where the suspect is being held.
Pamela, good morning.
What did the administration have to say?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning to you, Poppy.
My colleague Brianna Keilar spoke to Attorney General Eric Holder last night at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in Washington and for the first time he commented publicly about whether Miranda rights were administered too soon to the suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Can you comment on whether the suspect being Mirandized and whether that was appropriate?
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, I mean, the decision to mirandize him was one that the magistrate made and that was totally consistent with the laws that we have. We have a two-day period that we are able to question him under the public safety exception. So, I think everything was done appropriately and we got good leads.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So, by law, the public safety exception may only happen within 48 hours and then the initial appearance has to happen without unnecessary delay, that's according to the Justice Department official I spoke with and the official tells us that essentially, the judge was just following the rules in this case.
However, we have been hearing from Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who was criticizing the timing of the initial appearance, saying that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hasn't been giving anything substantive to officials since he was read his Miranda rights. But you have to remember, he has representation now, his attorney may be advising him not to communicate with authorities now -- Poppy.
HARLOW: And, Pamela, we're also learning more information about the arrest of two of Tsarnaev's friends. What do we know on that front?
BROWN: Well, here's what we know. These are two students from Kazakhstan that were attending UMass-Dartmouth. And essentially, they were friends with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
I spoke to a U.S. law enforcement official that has been involved with this investigation and at this point we're told that these students -- there's no evidence to point to the fact that they were in any way involved with the plot, with the attack on April 15th. However, they're being held on administrative visa issues for violating their student visa.
Now, authorities are using this as an opportunity to essentially buy time and to speak to these students, to ask them questions about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, to try to get a clearer picture why he was allegedly involved with the attack and what they knew about him and perhaps if they aided him in any way.
But at this point, no charges have been filed and there is no evidence to point to the fact that they were involved with the attack -- Poppy.
HARLOW: Pamela, thank you.
Well, a new arrest has been made in the case of those ricin-laced letters that were sent to President Obama to a Senate Republican and to a Mississippi judge. Forty-one-year-old James Everett Dutschke is charged with possession and use of a biological agent as a weapon. His arrest comes just days after prosecutors dropped charges against another man. Dutschke is expected in federal court in Mississippi tomorrow.
Washington took a break from the heavy news last night and kicked back for a couple of laughs or a lot of laughs. It was the White House annual correspondents' dinner. Conan O'Brien was front and center. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONAN O'BRIEN, COMEDIAN: As you all know, the president is hard at work creating jobs. Since he was elected, the number of popes has doubled. And the number of "Tonight Show" hosts has tripled. Congratulations!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: We are live this morning in Boston, a place that is near and dear to both President Obama and Conan O'Brien's heart. Both of them went to Harvard. Conan's hilarious speech at the correspondents' dinner, we'll have that for you, next
HARLOW: Welcome back to our continuing live coverage from Boston. We're glad you're with us this Sunday morning. We are here in the memorial that is growing by the hour on Boylston Street.
Something that stood out to me, this beautiful painted sign. It says, "These people tried to make life bad for the people of Boston, but all they can ever do is just show how good the people are," Stephen Colbert. Just one of the messages of strength and inspiration and show that this city will, indeed, not forget but they will certainly move on.
We'll be right back.
HARLOW: Our continuing live coverage from Boston this morning as the sun comes up on this beautiful city. "Boston strong" is a message that has been resonating here since the attacks and it continues to.
On to a little bit lighter news, the White House Correspondents' Dinner where President Obama is usually the headliner, but not at the so-called nerd prom. That's when you call Team Coco.
Last night, Conan O'Brien closed out the dinner where Hollywood meets Washington for a night of laughs. But it was Conan's -- really, the question is, was Conan's routine as funny as the others we've seen recently, like Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers? Here are some highlights.
O'BRIEN: Ladies and gentlemen, let's get going. Right here at the start -- I'm going to share something with you people and this doesn't leave this room. I say this with absolute confidence because we're on C-Span. Who doesn't love C-Span, seriously? C-Span, it's an entire channel shot with the backup camera on a Ford Explorer.
Congratulations to C-Span for winning the bid to broadcast this event. They narrowly beat out HDTV 2, QVC South America, and the Hilton Hotel how to check out channel. That's right. The Hilton. It's great to be here at the Hilton. Is it just me or time to stop using Priceline to book this event? No, I love the Hilton. I love the Hilton's motto: sorry, the Radisson was booked.
You know, I was worried because of the sequester, we would be forced to hold this event at a less prestigious hotel than the D.C. Hilton, then I was told that's not possible. But I do want to thank the Hilton for accommodating us. They were kind enough to reschedule a Cash for Gold seminar.
By the way, for those of you here for the Cash for Gold seminar, that's been moved to salon B, and if Joe Biden asks, there are no extra tickets for that either.
Quick announcements before we really get going, before we continue. If any of you are live-tweeting this event, please use hashtag, incapable of living in the moment. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
Also to any U.S. senators here tonight, if you'd like to switch your dessert or your position on gay marriage, please, signal a waiter.
By the way, speaking of dinner. Tonight's entrees were halibut or filet mignon. Or as CNN's John King reported it, lasagna and couscous.
There's a gavel here and I don't know why.
Here's a fun fact about tonight's food: everything you ate this evening was personally shot by Wayne LaPierre. Don't worry. It was during a home invasion, though. The fish came in through the window. It wasn't peppercorn that was buck shot, ladies and gentlemen.
Incidentally, you may not know this, but Wayne LaPierre is merely the executive vice president of the NRA. Which begs the question: how freaking crazy do you have to be to be the actual president of the NRA? He's not even at the top.
Also, I'd like to acknowledge that earlier this evening, there was some confusion with the seating charts. For a moment, someone accidentally sat Governor Chris Christie with the Republicans. That was awkward and I apologize. Very awkward.
But speaking of tables, before dinner I had a chance to mingle. You probably saw me. I work the crowd. I shook some hands, and sold my Twitter account to al Jazeera for $500 million. They'll buy anything.
But it is an absolute joy to be here at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Last year, Tom Brokaw criticized this event for having too many superstars and A-list celebrities. When I told Tom I would be attending this year, he said, that's more like it. That shouldn't be funny to you.
But this is really a star-studded event. This year you've taken it to new heights. I have to congratulate you -- new heights -- because you've got some of the guys from "Duck Dynasty" here. Yeah. The guys from "Duck Dynasty" are here which only means one thing, the guys from "Storage Wars" said no.
No, I love "Duck Dynasty," don't get me wrong, but, guys, I don't really think your Streisand whistles going to -- oh my God, it works! He's here. It's incredible.
I always hated that one.
Hey, now some of you know this is my second time speaking at this event. Last year, 18 years ago back in 1995. A lot has changed since then. Today, you can get real-time information on world events from something small enough to fit in the palm of your hands. Back in '95, we called that George Stephanopoulos.
I can't see if George is here because there is a crouton in the way.
It's amazing to think how much our country has changed in 18 years. Think about it. If in 1995 you told me that in 2013, we'd have an African-American president with a middle name "Hussein" who was just re-elected to a second term in a sluggish economy, I would have said, "Oh, he must have run against Mitt Romney."
By the way, no offense, Mr. President. I do congratulate you on your victory, but as a late-night comedian, I was kind of pulling for the rich guy whose horse danced in the Olympics.
The demographics of this country have been rapidly changing over the past two decades and I look forward to hosting this event 18 years from now. Then my opening line will be: Buenas noches es un honor poder hablar en esta cena de los corresponsales de la Clasa Blanca. Si, especialmente al president Mario Lopez.
But my prior experience has taught me how these dinners work. If the president laughs, everyone laughs. And if the FOX News table laughs, a little girl just fell off her bike.
How you doing, Bill?
Yes, all the Washington news media here tonight, including the stars of online journalism, I see "The Huffington Post" has a table. Yes, which has me wondering if you're here, who is covering Miley Cyrus' latest nip slip? Who is assembling today's top 25-yogurt related tweets? Seven mistakes you're making with bacon? That's a real one, and you should be ashamed of yourself.
By the way, before dinner I tried to say a quick hello to Arianna Huffington. She made me watch a 30-second ad first.
President has a lot on his plate right now. He's now at that very nice stage where there are no more secrets left to come out about him. We all know that as a child, he lived in Indonesia. He studied at a Muslim seminary and occasionally ate dog.
So, clearly, from the beginning, he was a kid who had his eye set on the U.S. presidency. Check, check and check. Here I come.
Now, I know the relationship between the president and the press can seem a bit strained at time. Some in this room accused the president of being distant. When I asked the president about it earlier he said, oh, and then walked away.
Of course, it's only natural, but, Mr. President, your re- election was less exciting in 2008. On election night in 2008, you celebrated with hundreds of thousands of people in Chicago's Grant Park. It was fascinating. This time around you split a char dog with David Axelrod at the Wiener Circle. It just didn't have the same buzz.
And, by the way, I have a question and I think some of you also have this question, it's been several months since you were re- elected, sir. So, I'm curious, why are you still sending everyone five e-mails a day asking for more money? You won! Do you have a gambling problem we don't know about? Did you put it all on Gonzaga? You did, didn't you? He did.
President Obama has already made a lot of changes in his second term. Sir, you recently appointed John Kerry and Chuck Hagel. Very smart move. You will point to the only two people in the United States who look even more tired than you. It's a great strategy.
Mr. President, you're going to leave office as a young man and, yet, the presidency has taken its toll. I don't want to alarm you, sir, but you're starting to look like a judge on "Law & Order." Just say you're on Thin Ice counselor. You could have that part right away.
Seriously, Mr. President, your hair is so white, it could be a member of your cabinet. He can handle it.
Speaking of the cabinet, the president recently picked his new treasury secretary, Jack Lew. It's a great joy to know that if the president ever has to let him go, he'll get to say, "It's not Lew, it's me."
But the quote I heard the most about the president is that he's always the coolest guy in the room. That's what everyone says. He's the coolest guy in the room.
All right. Here's my question, who else is in that room? It's not hard to be the cool one when the other guys in the room are Biden, Hagel and Kerry. I'd be cool, too, if I was stuck in a room where Tom Vilsack is showing Steven Chu how to do the "Harlem Shake".
Now I made some jokes about the president this evening and I'm looking forward to my audit. It's coming. I know, sir. It's coming.
But I would like to take a moment here and change gears and say something to the president regarding the events of the past few weeks. Some of you may not know this, I grew up in Boston. My parents still live there and my brother, Luke, raised his family in Watertown. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you, Mr. President, for visiting that great city and helping its people begin to heal with your inspiring words that made a huge difference.
It's been said recently that you don't mess with Boston. As someone who grew up there, I would like to echo that sentiment. It's really simple, if you're going to pick on a city, don't choose one where nine out of 10 people are related to a cop.
Don't do it. It's stupid. And that includes myself.
I have one more thing to mention before I go. Everyone's obsessed with Washington these days. You all saw how you went crazy for "House of Cards", "Homeland", and, of course, this event tonight. Hollywood can't get enough of your world.
Well, tonight, I'm excited to announce that Turner Broadcasting is going to make a major television mini-series about the big power players here in Washington. They just finished the casting and I would like to announce who is going to play who.
Vice President Joe Biden is going to be played by Bob Barker.
Former White House adviser, David Axelrod, will be played by Higgins from Magnum PI. This was also produced by Steven Spielberg, by the way.
Representative Paul Ryan will be played by Mr. Bean.
Senator Chuck Schumer will be played by Grandpa Munster.
Senator Harry Reid will be played by the old man from the "American Gothic" painting.
FOX News CEO Roger Ailes will be played by Boss Hogg. We signed a deal.
Speaker of the House John Boehner will be played by tan mom.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will be played by Paul Giamatti.
Former White House chief of staff and Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel, will be played by Stewie from "Family Guy."
Secretary of State John Kerry will be played by an Easter Island head. I cannot tell those two apart.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will be played by Buzz Lightyear.
Senator Mitch McConnell will be played by Dame Edna.
CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer will be played by a furby. RNC executive vice president Wayne LaPierre will be played by the face melt guy from "Raiders of the Lost Ark".
And, finally, White House Press Jay Carney will be played by Ralphie from "A Christmas Story."
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a huge honor. Thank you very much.
HARLOW: One of the best, Conan O'Brien.
I will see you back here at the top of the hour at 8:00 Eastern.
"SANJAY GUPTA, M.D." is up next after the short break.
And we're going to leave you with this image on Boylston Street. It is one of the explosion sites, Marathon Sports you see boarded up still. But I will tell you, I was walking around here yesterday afternoon, it was filled with people out to eat at restaurants to enjoy this great city, to show their support that Boston is, indeed, strong.