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CNN NEWSROOM

Report: ISIS Claims Concert Attack, Bomber Identified; 22 Killed and Dozens Hurt in Terror Attack at Manchester Concert; Ex-CIA Chief Says Trump Team Had Contact with Russia. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 23, 2017 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: We're back here live in Manchester, England. I'm Brooke Baldwin. ISIS claiming responsibility for this bombing that killed 22 people, injured dozens and dozens more including young girls. We are learning more about this attacker. Let's bring in our senior international correspondent, Clarissa Ward, who has more on the investigation. What do we know about him?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Remarkably little so far. That's pretty standard in this case when authorities want to just de just disseminate little bits of information. He is 22 years old. His name is Salman Abedi. In a home that is believed to be connected to him or to his family was the site of one of those two raids that Manchester police carried out today. During the course of that raid, there was actually a controlled detonation, a controlled explosion. Unclear if they found some type of explosive device or were concerned with something they found in that house.

[15:35:00] We are still waiting to get more information about the really crucial element of all this. Did he act alone? Did he get help? This is the real question. Was there a network. We've seen a lot loan wolves in the past especially in Europe but to make a bomb requires a certain level of sophistication that could potentially implicate a larger network.

BALDWIN: Do we know? I was talking to a mother and daughter who went to the hospital who were inside. They showed me their injuries and described nails, or nuts and bolts. Have police said what kind of crude device it was?

WARD: What they haven't said was what type of explosive was used. We know what type of explosives ISIS has used in previous attacks like the Paris attack. We have seen from the description of injuries, it appears to be crudely made device with lots of shrapnel, nuts and bolts, those kind of ingredients for lack of a better word, really just designed to create the maximum injury, the worst carnage that you can imagine. Crucially, they haven't said yet what kind of explosive was used if it is this explosive, TATP, that may be an indication that ISIS was behind it. That was the explosive used in the terrorist attacks. ISIS often likes to claim responsibility for attacks it didn't carry out simply because they are opportunistic.

BALDWIN: Thank you so much. We are back in Washington, D.C. in a matter of moments. The director of the National Security Agency, Mike Rogers, is set to testify any moment now on Capitol Hill. This after reports that President Trump asked him to say publicly that there was no evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. What that means for the investigation next.

[15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. I am Brianna Keilar. We are going to get you right back to Brooke in Manchester, England for the latest in the deadly terror attack. But first, NSA director Michael Rogers testified on the Hill right now. Previous scheduled testimony coming on the heels of a blockbuster report that President Trump asked Rogers and the Director of National Intelligence to publicly deny any evidence of cooperation between his campaign and Russia. I want to bring in a former special agent with the FBI. Currently, she is associate dean at Yale law school and Bill Clinton's former White House counsel, Jack Quinn. First, to you, Asha, what is your reaction that Donald Trump approached these two top intelligence chiefs asking essentially for cover?

ASHA RANGAPPA, FORMER SPECIAL AGENT, FBI: Well, there is a pattern emerging of continual effort to try to make this investigation stop and it is not looking good for the president. It also just emphasizes this lack of distance between the White House and the intelligence community and the law enforcement community, which has always been respected and which should cause a lot of concern and could be the basis of a pretty strong case moving forward.

KEILAR: Jack, as former White House counsel, what is the situation like right now with the challenges and trying to contain President Trump?

JACK QUINN, BILL CLINTON'S FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: The challenges from the outside seem to be just overwhelming. The president has certainly behaved in ways that can fairly be characterized as inappropriate. He has breached protocols. He shouldn't be behaving the way he has toward the intelligence community, law enforcement or the military. That said, I don't think we have a prima facie clear case of obstruction of justice.

In order to have obstruction of justice, the president has to act corruptly. It is not clear he is acting corruptly. There is a pretty powerful suggestion here that not only the president but some of his senior staff are acting in some ignorance of the protocols and do's and don'ts. It is a little bit surprising. We are bordering on a defense here of ignorance being an excuse.

KEILAR: Ignorance as a defense, the White House saying the president just didn't know. This is not someone who has been in government. What do you think of that?

ASHA: I think I will leave the legal standard to the prosecutors. It seems to me that if the intent is to create an unlawful end, which is to stop an ongoing investigation, I think that could really -- a case could be built around in. It strains credulity to believe that people in the White House, his advisers and lawyers would not understand that trying to interfere in an ongoing investigation by the FBI, counter intelligence, law enforcement would be against the law.

[15:45:00] QUINN: I don't disagree with that at all. That said, we have reports that when Admiral Rogers and Director Coats were approached, it seemed as though the people from the White House who were asking them to get involved asked them, would it be appropriate for you to push back on the FBI? So, there is at least some evidence here that these folks were confessing ignorance of the protocols.

KEILAR: At a certain point, though, they have to learn. That will no longer be a defense?

QUINN: Of course.

KEILAR: Thank you so much. We do appreciate you being with us today.

Next, hundreds of people gathering outside a Manchester city hall remembering the victims of the concert bombing. What we know about the young people that lost their lives.

[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: We're back here live in Manchester, England. I'm Brooke Baldwin. It's nearly 9:00 at night. This time last evening the Ariana Grande concert was happening before the fatal blasts, and we're telling the stories of these victims here, as young as 8, 8 years old. That is the age of the youngest victim who has been identified as Saffie Rose Roussos out for a night for a pop concert that turned into tragedy and we're learning about 18-year-old Georgina Callander, an Ariana Grande super fan. She met Ariana Grande two years ago. Also, John Atkinson, another one of the innocent leaves lost. A student at Berry College. Hundreds of people are coming to the scene and also a scene not too far from the vigil today just to pay respects to the victims. Here's a glimpse what happened 24 hours ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED CONCERTGOER: Oh, my god.

UNIDENTIFIED CONCERTGOER: What just happened?

UNIDENTIFIED CONCERTGOER: Oh, my god.

UNIDENTIFIED CONCERTGOER: What's going on? Oh, my god

SEBASTIAN, DIAZ, WITNESS AT CONCERT: Just sort of leaving after the last song, we heard the explosion and walked out to the fire doors and looked behind us, and there was chaos. We ran and people were screaming around us and people were falling down. Girls were crying and we saw this woman being treated by paramedics, had open wounds in the legs. No shoes, it was just chaos,

KIERA DAWBER, CONCERTGOER: Everyone was just screaming and saying that it could be a bomb, and those people shout into the kids and as we went out and to the phone call, like get out, we saw the bodies scattered about everywhere. There was a guy, and what it looked like his wife and she wasn't in a good state.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: I'm joined now by Coral Long. Her 10-year-old daughter Robin was at the concert this, Ariana Grande concert. Coral, first of all, how is your daughter doing?

CORAL LONG, MOTHER OF CONCERTGOER: In total shock. She's just petrified that whoever did this would come to the house or would go to her school. She's just -- she's devastated. 10 years old to witness something like that it's just horrific. There were children in there as young as 5. There was a little girl who was that small. She had to stand on her seat to watch the concert, and -- and for people to see their idols, for children to see their idols and then have this then impacting the rest of the lives and these people are cowards. It's just sick cowards.

BALDWIN: You know, Manchester's local paper started a crowdfunding campaign just to help some of these victims and the families and so far, they have raised more than $700,000. We'll be right back.

[15:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: While President Trump is traveling to Rome to meet the pope, his administration is under veiling a new budget proposal, and it includes massive cuts to programs like food stamps and Medicaid. Overall the president's budget would reduce spending by $3.6 trillion over the next ten years, according to projections coming from the administration. It does boost spending on things like defense, border security, infrastructure, and Donald Trump wants to create the first ever federal paid family leave program. House Speaker Paul Ryan responded to critics of the spending cuts this way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL RYAN, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Here's what I'm happy about. We finally have a president who is willing to actually even willing to balance the budget. The last president never proposed let alone tried to balance the budget so we have a president that's giving us an actual balanced budget plan, a plan to boost economic growth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: With me now to discuss is CNN political director David Chalian. Let's talk about looking at these cuts works this affects because it's a little ironic, right?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: It is sort astonishing to look at. Any president who proposes their budget, it's the beginning of a process, that's right.

KEILAR: This is not what's really going to happen. It's not going anywhere in congress, we should make that clear. Who is being impacted?

CHALIAN: A lot of people are being impacted but some of core trump supporters, his core constituencies. Agriculture, rural America voted big for trump, right? $800 billion cuts in Medicaid. Those Medicaid people, people that are on Medicaid, that's not all Hillary Clinton supporters. There are some Donald Trump supporters there. He's cutting programs that no doubt go to some of his core, white, blue collar non-college educated base that rely on some of these programs. Some of the suburbs outside of Philly, blue collar areas where people have been very motivated by the opioid epidemic. It's hard in those areas to find someone who has not lost a friend or loved one to it and according to Republicans there could be cuts in that area.

KEILAR: Right.

CHALIAN: That was one of the things that Donald Trump talked about on the campaign trail.

KEILAR: Big promise.

CHALIAN: It was a major issue in New Hampshire. He made big promises about this. It's not backed up entirely by this budget. You're right that some Republicans are calling that into question, that there just isn't enough funding for it. Again, something going to the core of what he said and also, I mention the Medicaid cuts. His promise on day one of the campaign when he came down the escalator and gave the speech, no cuts to Medicaid. Already in the broken promise category.

[16:00:00] KEILAR: What about the math here because it does not seem to add up, the numbers that he's use, and also where Paul Ryan said we didn't have a president who would even attempt to do this. It sort of seems like the White House is pretending to balance the budget.

CHALIAN: Well, they are using very rosy projections to get there. They are assuming 3 percent growth year over year over year to get to a balanced budget in ten years. There's not an economic analyst worth their weight out there who is projecting that kind of growth. Now, if the tax cuts get through, there are things that could perhaps spur the economy and I'm not saying economic growth won't grow. The White House is the only shop in town projecting this kind of growth that gets them to a balanced budget and when Paul Ryan was pressed on that point, Brianna, he wasn't as clear. Kind of shied away from answering about those projections. He's very happy about the end result of a balanced budget.

KEILAR: Of course, who wouldn't want to be. Pretty antithetical where they are doing cuts, what republicans are talking about.

CHALIAN: It's been a Republican cause to deal with entitlement reform, that that's the way -- that's not happening here. He's -- Medicare untouched. Social security, core social security is untouched and entitlement reform is not happening. That's been a big calling card to Paul Ryan and other Republicans. Thanks so much. "The Lead" with Jake Tapper starts right now.

BALDWIN: Thanks, Brianna. The search is on for a possible is terror cell. "The Lead" starts right now. Is claiming responsibility