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CNN NEWSROOM

Joining Dots of Bomber Connections; Unexpected Win after Allege Assault; A Royal Visit to Manchester Victims; Family Drag in Russia Probe. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired May 26, 2017 - 03:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[03:00:00] GEORGE HOWELL, CNN HOST: We'll, welcome our viewers around the world. This is CNN Newsroom. I'm George Howell live in Atlanta, Georgia.

HALA GORANI, HOST, CNN: I'm Hala Gorani live in Manchester, England, with the latest on the investigation.

Police in the U.K. remain on the hunt today, searching for clues in Monday's terrorist attack. We've learned authorities arrested another man in connection to the bombing just a few hours ago in the moss site area of Manchester, not far from our broadcasting position here.

So in total, ten people have been arrested and eight remain in custody. Now, this comes as the U.S. and U.K. seem to be mending fences after claims that sensitive information including the name of the attacker, Salman Abedi, was leaked by U.S. officials before British officials could confirm it.

Let's get more on those leaks and that special intelligence relationship with our Barbara Starr.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: British authorities continuing raids, arrests, and looking for clues about the Manchester bombing. But, British Prime Minister Theresa May obviously annoyed at the U.S. for leaking British-gathered intelligence, particularly these photos of bomb fragments appearing in the New York Times and the U.S. naming attacker Salman Abedi before the British were ready.

The British prime minister promising she had plenty to say to President Trump later in the day in Brussels about sharing information with the U.S.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Of course that partnership is built on trust, and part of that trust is knowing that intelligence can be shared confidently, and I will be making clear to President Trump today that intelligence that is shared between law enforcement agencies must remain secure.

(END VIDEO CLIP) STARR: Long thought of as a special relationship, nobody believes the

damage between Washington and London is permanent. But President Trump, no fan of leaks himself, is trying to preempt the controversy with his own promise, saying, "I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to launch a complete review of this matter and, if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

The president ignoring the controversy at NATO headquarters in Brussels. British police worried leaks could allow others in the terrorist network to go on the run. Leads could be lost. Manchester's mayor had had enough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDY BURNHAM, MAYOR, GREATER MANCHESTER: The decision has been taken is not to, I think suspend any sharing of information. It's just information related to this particular information because, you know, we quite frankly can't afford to risk it anymore.

CHRISTOPHER MEYER, FORMER BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: It's quite unusual. I can't actually remember in my entire career a moment when a U.K. agency said, we're not going to cooperate with the United States anymore because they're leaking like a sieve on the other side of the Atlantic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: Late Thursday, the U.K. saying it's received fresh assurances and is now sharing information with their partners, including the U.S.

All indications are both the U.S. and the U.K. will continue to cooperate on intelligence sharing for one very practical reason. They have to in terror investigations.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

GORANI: Well, let's get more on the Manchester attack. Our Nina Dos Santos joins me now from 10 Downing Street. And we're expecting Rex Tillerson, the U.S. Secretary of State, to visit 10 Downing today. What is the expectation in terms of the conversation that he'll have with officials there?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CORRESPPONDENT, CNN: Well, he's going to be meeting with the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, and in fact the foreign office is just adjacent to number 10 Downing Street. He'll probably start out there and then head over here.

Remember that Theresa May isn't actually in the country for the next couple of days because she is now at the G7 meeting to go to in Sicily. So it will be the Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, who will be hosting Rex Tillerson, the objective here is to try and reinforce the solidarity and the cooperation between the U.K. and the United States, especially on issues like the key issue of security. This country still facing a third day of a critical security alert,

which is having significant ramifications for the way how people go about their daily business in this country. It means that we are potentially seeing an imminent threat of attack across the British Isles.

[03:04:54] So, the issue of information sharing is likely to come up immediately here. Remember that the U.K. and the United States are part of a very tight knit community, one of the most powerful communities of intelligence sharing which is, under the terms of what's called the Five Eyes alliance. That also includes countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

So this issue of sharing information and the fact that in this case it was unprecedentedly withheld with regards to the Manchester bombing information that was coming out yesterday, although temporarily withheld, that has significant ramifications for other countries that are part of this Five Eyes alliance, as well as other countries around the world that rely on these five countries to have this secure line of communication.

So, their focus of that conversation is likely to be very fixed on that, but I'm sure that they'll also have a chance to talk about other issues around the world including one of the ones that's keeping number 10 busy after this, Brexit.

Remember that we're of course in the midst of a general election. General election campaigning nationally is going to restart today and the issue of Brexit is probably going to come up too. Brexit key also for security sharing, because remember that the U.K. they share information with these other U.K. partners for now before it left the U.K. Hala?

GORANI: All right. Nina Dos Santos, live at 10 Downing Street. Thanks very much. And we'll follow as well, obviously as Nina mentioned, the prime minister's visit with her G7 counterparts in Sicily.

It will be interesting there to see after Brussels and the NATO meeting, Donald Trump and his conversations with European and G7 leaders as well.

We'll have a lot more from here in Manchester in a moment. But for now, back to George Howell in Atlanta. George?

HOWELL: Hala, just to ask you, though, I see the memorial there behind you, the flowers, the mementos, things that people remembering the victims in this case. I'm just curious to ask you the mood there days after. How are people coping with what happened there? How are people doing and dealing with it?

GORANI: Well, obviously we're five days in now pretty much, so people have had an opportunity to process a little bit what happened. There was a lot of shock on Monday. The U.K. hadn't seen a terrorist attack such as this one since 2005. So it had been 12 years since the suicide bomber have struck this country. Manchester felt that it was kind of out of that loop. I heard a lot of people here tell me we didn't think Manchester would ever be in the news for anything like this. Their big news is usually surrounding big sporting events because they have football clubs here like Manchester United.

And obviously, this is a city that's passionate about that. They didn't think that this would happen to them, that they'd be in the news for such a terrible reason.

But five days out, what I'm seeing still here is a lot of unity. There's a makeshift memorial here behind me at Saint Ann's Square. It's only grown. Even yesterday we were seeing people standing in line, you know, to drop off flowers and notes and cards.

So, people here have come together. We haven't really heard any hate speech. We haven't really heard any people maybe finger pointing, which you might expect quite the contrary. This is a city I'd never been to before, and what struck me most of all is how unified they are and how much they helped each other after the attack as well.

There were free taxi roads, free lodging and housing and food distributed. So this is something that struck me a lot. It's a very unified city, and you're feeling it even today on day five. George?

HOWELL: I heard that in a previous interview that you had there, Hala, a city that is a united, diverse city that comes together. Even people giving water to the journalists there who have been covering this tragedy for so long.

Hala Gorani, thank you so much. And of course we'll stay in touch with you to get more with your anchoring this major important story for us here on CNN. Thank you.

Here in the United States, U.S. officials tell CNN a senior adviser to President Trump, his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is under scrutiny by the FBI. That means the investigation into Russian election meddling now touches the president's family.

Mr. Kushner has not been accused of any wrongdoing. Important to point out he's not a suspect. But to explain why the FBI is interested in Kushner, CNN's Evan Perez has this report.

EVAN PEREZ, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: There are many tentacles in this ongoing Russia election meddling investigation, and increasingly they all connect to Jared Kushner and the multiple roles that he played in the campaign and the transition.

The president's son-in-law and senior adviser help build the campaign data operation, which Kushner have said helped micro targets certain voters in key states that have helped win the White House.

The FBI is interested in finding out whether Russian spies, somehow either through witting or unwitting help were able to piggyback on that operation to push negative information about Hillary Clinton through social media in certain parts of the country.

Now investigators are also trying to look at his relationship with Michael Flynn. The president's fired national security adviser. Kushner was in charge of the transition's foreign policy operation, and he had his own meetings with Russians, including the head of a Russian state-owned bank that is under sanctions by the U.S. government.

[03:09:56] Now, there's no indication at this point that Kushner is the target of any investigation, and there's no allegation of any wrongdoing.

Jamie Gorelick, his attorney, says, quote, "Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry."

Now, the importance of these developments is that it brings the FBI investigation inside the White House and to the president's family.

HOWELL: Joining me now to talk more about this is CNN political director, David Chalian. David, it's good to have you with us this hour. So, it's very important to point out that Jared Kushner is not a suspect in any case but rather the subject of FBI scrutiny. Explain what that very important distinction means to our viewers.

DAVID CHALIAN, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, CNN: Well, to be a subject or a target of an investigation is a very legal term. Here, Jared Kushner may simply be a witness. As you said, he is under scrutiny. It means that the FBI wants to collect evidence related to him, collect information related to his meetings.

In fact, if you look at the statement that his lawyer put out, Jamie Gorelick, she said Jared Kushner has in the past said he would go to Congress and reveal any information they wanted to hear about these meetings with the Russian ambassador or this banker with whom he met back in December, and now she says he will do the same for any inquiry or investigation, meaning if the FBI wants to talk to him about these meetings, he'll be happy to do so.

HOWELL: All right. Well, let's talk more about Kushner's role in the Trump White House and also before that, in the Trump campaign. Exactly what did he oversee, and what information could be important to these investigators?

CHALIAN: Well, he certainly oversaw a wide portfolio and a growing portfolio throughout the course of the campaign. But when we got to the point of the transition, that is where he really started being a primary point of contact for foreign governments who were seeking to start building relationships with the Trump team in anticipation of the January 20th inaugural.

We know now inside the White House of course, George, that portfolio has grown extensively. Middle East peace, reinventing the way government conducts its business, Mexico, Canada. Jared Kushner's portfolio seems to have no end to it currently in the White House. He is not only the president's son-in-law, but as you noted, he is a very close adviser.

HOWELL: I want to talk just a bit about that as well. So, the president's close adviser absolutely. He's also family. How does that complicate things for the president when it comes to doing everyday business given this new situation for Mr. Kushner?

CHALIAN: Yes. Well, I think that this is going to be a real moment to watch how Donald Trump reacts to this new phase of the Russia investigation, this phase that now includes Jared Kushner because we know that there is nothing more important to Donald Trump than Ivanka Trump and obviously therefore, Jared and that relationship.

And so I wonder if we're going to start seeing Donald Trump respond differently in some way. Perhaps Jared being under scrutiny might have the impact -- we'll see if President Trump will really heed counsel's advice more and start being more responsive when needed to authorities on this and less emotional responses on Twitter or what have you.

I don't know. We've said this a lot about President Trump in the past. He hasn't proven at this, you know, age in his life to change his behavior. But now that Jared Kushner is at the center of this, I think it's incumbent upon us to watch if Donald Trump is reacting to the revelations differently than when it was people he had fired like Michael Flynn or distance himself from the campaign like Paul Manafort, Carter Page and others.

HOWELL: Could Mr. Kushner, in fact, claim executive privilege when asked questions under oath, and does that extend before he, you know, got into the White House, or is it only for that time when he was the campaign? Which is it?

CHALIAN: You know, executive privilege is only covering the time that President Trump was president, post-January 20th, the business and the relationship, any information discussed between President Trump and his senior adviser Jared Kushner could claim executive privilege.

I'm not at all suggesting they might do that because it's sort of like taking the fifth, and there are complications there as well politically, optically, but no, executive privilege is not covered during the campaign or the transition.

HOWELL: CNN political director, David Chalian, thank you so much for the insight. We'll stay in touch with you.

CHALIAN: Thank you.

HOWELL: A Montana republican punches his ticket to Congress one day after he's accused of body slamming a reporter. What he's saying about that confrontation as Newsroom continues.

[03:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORT REPORTER: Hi there. I'm Patrick Snell with your CNN world sport headlines.

Manchester United and Manchester City jointly pledging 1 million pounds to an emergency fund set up to support the victims of Monday's terror attack. United, who won the Europa League final on Wednesday night have now teamed up with their rivals.

"It is right that we present a United response to this tragedy." The words of United's executive vice chairman, Ed Woodward.

Meantime, city chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak saying we've been humbled by the strength and solidarity shown by Manchester.

Sebastian Vettel with an impressive pace in second practice at the Monaco Grand Prix. Watch more the German clocking the fastest lap ever around the famed street circuit in Thursday practice. The four time world champion topping the time sheet for the best effort of a minute, 12.720 seconds.

And as the countdown continues to the French Open which starts on Sunday, everyone surely in the worldwide tennis community fervently hoping we'll get to see Petra Kvitova return to the sport, this more than half a year after that horrific knife attack she suffered in her very own home.

The 26-year-old underwent several hours of surgery. As a result, Kvitova, who is a two-time Wimbledon champion, she's due to host a press conference at Roland Garros with what looks like it's a last minute decision being taken on whether she will or won't compete.

That's a look at your world sport headlines. I'm Patrick Snell.

HOWELL: Welcome back to CNN Newsroom. I'm George Howell.

In the U.S. State of Montana, republican Greg Gianforte is now headed to Congress after winning a special election in that state one day after allegedly assaulting a reporter.

CNN projects Gianforte will win the race for the U.S. House seat. He's leading democrat Rob Quist 50 percent to 43 percent. Almost all the votes are counted at this point.

The Guardian reporter, Ben Jacobs, explained to CNN what happened during the interview Wednesday night when Gianforte allegedly body slammed him, and Gianforte responded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN JACOBS, REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN: It all happened very suddenly. That he grabbed my recorder and I suddenly looked on I was confused while he was grabbing my recorder and thinking how unprecedented and unusual for a politician to start grabbing a reporter's recorder, which doesn't -- you know, this is having reported, you know, on campaign like I kind of help.

And as I noticed that, I noticed how weird it was, I suddenly went from being vertical to horizontal and had Mr. Gianforte on top of me.

GREG GIANFORTE, (R) UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Last night, I made a mistake, and I took an action that I can't take back, and I'm not proud of what happened. I should not have responded in the way that I did, and for that I'm sorry.

[03:19:57] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you're forgiven.

(APPLAUSE)

GIANFORTE: I should not have treated that reporter that way, and for that I'm sorry, Mr. Ben Jacobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Let's bring in Darrell Ehrlick. He is the editor of the Billings Gazette, joining live from Montana. It's good to have you with us this hour, sir.

So, look, two really big stories coming out of your state that election there. First the win by Gianforte, but also the apology that he just offered for allegedly body slamming a news reporter for asking him a question.

DARRELL EHRLICK, EDITOR, BILLINGS GAZETTE: Yes. Huge stories for us and, you know, there's been varying reaction by Montana media and political parties. So it feels like in the last 36 a lot -- 36 hours, a lot has happened.

HOWELL: How has that apology been received so far?

EHRLICK: It's hard to tell. The apology came after 10 o'clock at night. Gianforte had not been seen or heard from all day, and of course national leaders and state leaders were all calling for him to apologize.

And so that was -- we didn't hear from him all day, and then he made one appearance. And so it's pretty hard to tell what the reaction has been so far. He not only apologized for his actions, but he also apologized to reporter Ben Jacobs.

HOWELL: Let's talk also about the win itself, especially for the democratic candidate, Quist. A lot of money was poured into this race. Obviously his opponent took the job, but given that the state is such a republican stronghold, how did Quist fare for a democrat running in that state.

EHRLICK: He fared better, if you look at how the democrat appeared against Ryan Zinke, Denise Juneau did not fare well. If you look at the returns are not final right now. In fact, when I checked right before I came on, it was about 98 percent.

He ran within six points, so that's fairly respectable, but it was expected to be a close race too. In the end, I'm not sure that last night's incident really made a lot of difference, and that's hard to tell whether that was just political belief or it happened so late given Montana's mail ballot.

HOWELL: It's important to point out with that incident the allegation of body slamming a reporter, Gianforte did apologize. That's really, really important. But let's talk for a minute, Darrel, just about this anti-media

sentiment that's out there. You and I have never met before this interview, but I'm sure that as a fellow journalist, you'll understand, you'll appreciate, you know, for me, if I share the story.

I got into journalism because I wanted to do this since I was a kid. You know, it's just the honest pursuit of getting information, of sharing that information with people so they can have the information to make decisions. That's why I love the job, and that's I'm sure why you love the job.

But now there is this new sentiment that has been put out there by some who call journalism the enemy of the people, which is just absolutely ridiculous. Have you seen an uptick of animosity toward journalists as well since this ridiculous new trend has started?

EHRLICK: Yes. Well, I can't say that we -- thankfully I haven't been threatened. I haven't been assaulted, nor have my reporters. But I can say that even tonight as we were seeing the election returns, I had someone tweet at me, now do you get how much people hate you?

And so it's things like that, and it's somewhat the anonymity of social media that -- but it's very, very difficult to fathom that 21 years ago when I got into the business. I mean, certainly we got angry letters. Certainly we got people who would call in, you know, to our phones.

But just that kind of immediate and kind of baseless -- I didn't know this person. I didn't have a relationship. So something has definitely changed, and what that is, I don't know.

I certainly think calling people enemies, talking about us being -- the administration being at war, that's very disturbing language because if you're talking war and enemies, you're talking -- you can do certain things to those who are enemies or those who you're in combat with. And I think the language precedes the action.

HOWELL: It just doesn't make sense. Darrell Ehrlich, it's good to have you with us in Billings, Montana. Thank you so much for the reporting and we'll of course continue to monitor the results there from that very important election.

EHRLICK: Yes, thank you so much.

HOWELL: Pleasure to have you.

[03:24:58] Still ahead here on CNN Newsroom, the latest on the Manchester bombing. What we know about his ties to Libya and possible links to ISIS as Newsroom continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Welcome back. I'm Hala Gorani. We're live in Manchester.

There is growing evidence that the attacker did not act alone on Monday here. British authorities say they've arrested ten people now in the case. Two have since been released. Eight remain detained. Now, a U.S. Official tells CNN the bomber likely trained with is in Syria.

Here is more with our Atika Shubert.

ATIKA SHUBERT, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Police raids and searches spread across Manchester, a city on edge as investigators now believe that the man behind the arena bombing was not acting alone.

Just weeks ago, Salman Abedi was in Libya, taken out by his family to get him out of trouble at home in England. The family, according to a friend, was concerned that he was involved with gangs. Two months ago, Abdullah Muhsin Norris found Abedi hiding out in his mosque. He thought Abedi was homeless.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABDULLAH MUHSIN NORRIS, CHAIRMAN, SALAAM COMMUNITY CENTRE: He was just coming out, and he's got his shoes and coming from the tally (Ph) area with his. Where are you going, he said, (Inaudible). So I was very angry with him, and I shouted, and I said you have no right to be wearing your shoes coming from the tally (Ph) area.

And furthermore, what are you doing in the building at this time? He said he was reading upstairs, and he come down to use the toilet and to refresh. I said, then you have to go. But anyway, I quarreled with him. And the way he behaved, he said you shouldn't shout at me. I said, I shout at you because you behave like a child.

(END VIDEO CLIP)