U.S. Official: Taliban Leader Likely Killed in Drone Strike; First Images Show Life Vest, Wreckage, Jet Seats; Egypt Mourns Lives

NEWSROOM-09

09

First Images Show Life Vest, Wreckage, Jet Seats; Egypt Mourns Lives

Lost in Egyptair Plane Crash; Clinton to Target Trump, NRA in Speech;

Taliban Leader Likely Killed in Strike. Aired 7-8p ET - Part 2>

So you have one, the Muslim Brotherhood. No, number one, of course, is ISIS, because this is the place internationally everyone would be thinking of. Two is the Muslim Brotherhood. People are thinking about that. And the third possibility, whether it's a technical problem, or someone has come out of the blue, a new organization, maybe, decided to emerge and play terrorist attack in Egypt. Some people are also saying it might be a foreign country doing that but this is like very minorities, very slight percent. And I don't think it's getting any momentum.

SCIUTTO: I'm familiar with those conspiracy theories you often hear.

AWADALLA: Exactly.

SCIUTTO: Kareem Adwadala, Egptian talk show host, thanks for giving us the view from the ground.

AWADALLA: My pleasure, any time.

SCIUTTO: Any moment now, Hillary Clinton is expected to take the stage in Florida, ready to take aim at Donald Trump for his recent criticism of her over guns and gun rights and of course, his endorsement just on Friday by the NRA. We're going to take you there live as soon as she begins speaking.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:37:25]

SCIUTTO: Welcome back. I'm Jim Sciutto, in Washington. And CNN today is working multiple breaking news stories.

Our top story, U.S. officials confirm a drone strike was carried out against the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Mansour. The strike happened early this morning, U.S. time, in a remote southern region along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. U.S. officials saying that it is not clear Mansour is dead but they believe he was likely killed in this strike.

Also, in the Mediterranean Sea, an intense search continues for the wreckage of Egyptair flight 804. Officials are desperate to find the plane's black boxes. Meantime, more than plane debris and personal belongings of the victims were spotted.

We're also following news from Florida where Hillary Clinton is awaiting to give a speech, striking back at Donald Trump attacking her own stance on gun control. This is a live picture from Florida, where she will be speaking any minute now. She'll give a criminal justice speech at the Circles of Mothers Conference hosted by the Trayvon Martin Foundation.

Speaking for the NRA, Trump told members that Clinton wants to, he claims, abolish the second amendment.

Let's go now to Florida. We have CNN's Dan Merica at the event in Fort Lauderdale, he joins me now. Dan, you're hearing that Clinton in this speech coming up, will call out both Donald Trump and the NRA, is that right?

DAN MERICA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jim. Hillary Clinton has vowed not to take his comments yesterday in Florida lying down. An aide tells me that Hillary Clinton is going to respond to Donald Trump and NRA today at this Trayvon Martin Foundation fund-raiser, a $1500 a plate fundraiser for the Trayvon Martin Foundation.

And I'm told Hillary Clinton will say she's not going to be silenced by Donald Trump or the NRA on the issue of guns.

Now, Donald Trump spoke, as you mentioned, to the National Rifle Association annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday. And the speech was, quite frankly, lambasted Hillary Clinton, saying she wanted to abolish the second amendment and take away people's guns. Let's take a listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Crooked Hillary Clinton is the most anti-gun, anti-second amendment candidate ever to run for office. And as I said before, she wants to abolish the second amendment. She wants to take your guns away. She wants to abolish it. Just remember that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MERICA: Now, Hillary Clinton has never said she wants to abolish the second amendment. She has said she wants tougher gun laws. She's run on this issue throughout the campaign, against Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and it's expected, Jim, that she will continue running on this issue when she - if she faces, Donald Trump in the fall and into November.

[19:40:15]

SCIUTTO: Dan, is Clinton going to focus more on guns moving forward now that Trump has been endorsed by the NRA? Is this -- does she consider this a winning issue for her?

MERICA: I think she has had to campaign on guns more than she would have expected, maybe, two years ago. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has a more conservative record on guns than most of the democratic party. He says that's because he's from Vermont. So he has used the issue against Senator Sanders a number of times. And I think the campaign feels that if the NRA would have endorsed whatever Republican who have up topped the ticket, whether that would be Donald Trump or Texas Senator Ted Cruz, or the hosts of other Republicans who ran and Hillary Clinton would have used the issue of guns against that Republican.

Now, as I said, I think it's going to take a more center, you know, it's going to be a more center to her campaign against Donald Trump, because of his comments, because he's using it against her. So it remains to b seen how forceful she is on that. And that's what we're waiting to see tonight in Ft. Lauderdale.

SCIUTTO: Dan Merica in Ft. Lauderdale, awaiting a speech by Hillary Clinton there.

Hotel, golf courses, a winery, even an ice skating rink. Donald Trump owns all of them. What newly released financial forms reveal about the businesses of the man who wants to become president.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCIUTTO: Donald Trump, as you may know, is not afraid to tell you that he's rich. But exactly how rich? He may tell you one story while his records tell another. This week, the presumptive Republican nominee released the required financial disclosure forms, but as "CNN Money" correspondent Christina Alesci reports, they are meant to show conflicts of interest, not exactly how much the Donald is worth.

[19:45:00]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's Donald Trump's pitch to the American people. "I've built a fortune for myself and I can do it for the country, too."

TRUMP: I built a great, great company. Trump steaks. Where are the steaks? Do we have the steaks? The winery. See the wine? I've done great, and that's the kind of thinking you're going to have to need.

ALESCI: But just how great has Trump done.

The financial disclosures he's filed with the Federal Election Commission may be long, but they're short on specifics.

ROBERT KELLNER, COVINGTON & BURLING, PARTNER: The form doesn't call for a great deal of detail. It allows you to report, for example, ranges of income, rather than exact amounts, which is a little different than a tax return that you might file with the IRS.

ALESCI: But the government doesn't require Trump to release his tax records. The long disclosure document, which candidates must file, is the only official window into Trump's wealth.

The most recent filing lists assets of at least $1.4 billion, from January 2015 through May of 2016. Excluding investments, it also includes at least $611 million in income according to our tally. But it's hard to tell whether that income is actually flowing into Trump's pockets or into his company's coffers.

KELLNER: He lists revenues rather than income. He has, for example, for his golf courses, golf-related revenue. And so it makes it a little bit difficult to know, is that just the gross revenue of his golf course, or is that actually an income he got to pay for all the expenses in running the golf course?

ALESCI: In the end, the distinction may not matter, at least not to the government. The financial disclosure form is supposed to find potential conflicts of interest. It's not a check on the candidate's math. And Trump's math has always been hard to verify, says author Tim O'Brien. Trump sue d him, claiming that O'Brien lowballed his net worth. The case was dismissed.

TIM O'BRIEN, AUTHOR "TRUMPNATION": Any time he estimates his net worth, he adds in this humongous figure for goodwill and branding. He says the Trump brand is worth x many billions. And that's just Donald sitting around eating a cheeseburger saying I'm worth "x" billions of dollars.

ALESCI: Trump claims a net worth in excess of $10 billion.

"Forbes" put his wealth closer to $4 billion. We reached out to the Trump campaign but didn't get a comment.

Short of an independent audit, all we really know for sure is this.

TRUMP: I'm really rich.

ALESCI: Christina Alesci, CNN Money.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: So the question is how much? We are keeping an eye on an event in Florida. It is where Hillary Clinton is expected to speak out against Donald Trump specifically his endorsement by the NRA. Stay with us. We're going to go there as soon as she takes the stage.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:51:10]

SCIUTTO: Breaking news this hour, a major U.S. drone strike has likely killed the Taliban's number one leader. That is Mullah Mansour. Two U.S. officials telling CNN, Mansour likely killed in today's air strike. It took place in a remote area of Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan. One official telling CNN there is no collateral damage from today's operation. It happened about 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

We do know the drone strike targeted two men, both of whom the Pentagon believe were likely killed in the strike. Let's talk it over with CNN political commentator, Buck Sexton. He's a former CIA terrorism analyst as well. Buck, how will, what is expected to be, at least the Pentagon believes was the killing of the Taliban leader impact its effectiveness as a terror organization. What do we know from our experience when other terror leaders have been killed in strikes like this?

BUCK SEXTON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, one of the immediate benefits is that there will likely be disruptions of major plots. And we've seen some mass casualty attacks plotted by the Taliban in Kabul, for example, and attacking city senders, over running checkpoints, over running military installations. This may keep them off balance for a short while, and it should be noted that we're entering the fighting, we're in the fighting season in Afghanistan and so anything that disrupts our operational tempo is going to be very helpful for the purposes of stability, and it will help the Afghan national security forces perhaps get a stronger footing in some areas.

All of that said, there is certainly a succession plan in place. We've seen leadership before killed or just die of natural causes that are at the heads of insurgencies or terrorist groups like the Taliban, without really much of a long term change. In fact, things sometimes things get worse afterwards.

So right now, I think there will be a bit of a pause or there will be a pause in some operations, perhaps, because of this strike. You can also expect senior leadership to probably keep their heads down a little bit more in the Af-Pak border area, but we still have a very long, protracted insurgency, counterinsurgency campaign to wage.

SCIUTTO: So place this in the political debate for us, does this fight the narrative that the U.S. war on terror is failing? We know that there is a recent CNN poll that shows that most Americans feel the fight against ISIS, for instance, is not working. Does a strike like this on the heels of other successful strikes against terror leaders in Iraq and Syria, Yemen, you name it, does it change that narrative?

SEXTON: I don't think it will really affect perception, Jim, because not that many people, quite honestly know Mullah Mansour is or was, depending on whether he was actually killed in this strike. Isn't somebody who is thought of, for example, having direct ties to 911. Mullah Omar, for example, is someone who is generally better known, obviously, Osama Bin Laden. I mean some of the names that have become more prominent in terrorist lexicon that have taken out in the past, quite affect perception but Mullah Mansour will be replaced with Mullah such and such in a very short period of time.

And so I don't think it will really make much of a difference to how the public views this. I think what does matter is that we still have close to 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. We've been that war for 15 years and there's no change in strategy. There's no reason to believe we're doing anything differently that would put the Taliban back on their heels. We're still hoping for political reconciliation. We've been hoping for that for a long time.

The Taliban is resurgent this year. The Taliban has actually been taking back territory, so it's really, piece by piece in a very large war, and this is a good day for U.S. special operations, a good day in the counterinsurgency campaign against the Taliban but not a sea change.

SCIUTTO: Well, as we know, remind our viewers, there are still American forces on the ground in Afghanistan facing real danger.

Buck Sexton, thanks for joining us.

SEXTON: Thanks, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Please stay with us. We're still following a number of stories, including waiting for Hillary Clinton to take the stage at Ft. Lauderdale with a major speech targeting Donald Trump. That speech taking place in Florida. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:58:10]

SCIUTTO: Welcome back to our breaking news here on CNN.

A Taliban leader and an architect of mass killings across Afghanistan, including the killing of U.S. soldiers have likely just been killed in a U.S. drone strike. U.S. officials trying to confirm now that drones got their target. He is Mullah Mansour, likely killed, U.S. officials tell CNN in an air strike, in a remote area in Pakistan, this morning.

We're also following a major development in the hunt for Egyptair flight 804. Seearchers finding this. You are looking at the first images of wreckage pulled so far from the eastern Meditteranean. You see there mangled plane seats, suitcases, shoes, even an unwrapped life vest there. The cause of the crash, however, still very much a mystery.

The French have just confirmed the detection of smoke inside the cabin triggering an alarm system moments before the plane vanished from radar and plummeted into the sea.

We'll keep you updated on that story throughout the coming hours.

Coming up tonight, on CNN, a "United Shades of America" marathon. At 9:00, "Protect and Serve," at 10:00, "The New KKK," at11:00, "Behind the Walls." And tomorrow night, Anthony Bourdain is in Georgia, a fomer Soviet Republic where you don't want to mess with tradition in all new "Parts Unknown." That is Sunday night at 9:00 p.m.

I'm Jim Sciutto, thanks for joining us today. I will be back tomorrow night at 5:00 Eastern time, "THE EIGHTIES: GREED IS GOOD" is next.

(Byline: Jim Sciutto, Bob Baer, Cedric Leighton, Buck Sexton, Rick Francona, Becky Anderson, Max Foster, Les Abend, Dan Merica, Christina Alesci, Buck Sexton )

(Guest: Kareem Awadalla)

(High: The U.S. says that a drone strike conducted in the remote area, the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, killed the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour. He replaced Mullah Omar, who was the leader of the Taliban at the time of the 9/11 attacks. Officials are not ruling out any potential causes as they begin to pull debris of EgyptAir Flight 804 and human remains from the Mediterranean Sea. U.S. officials confirm a drone strike was carried out against the leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Mansour. The strike happened early this morning, U.S. time, in a remote southern region along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. In Florida, Hillary Clinton is awaiting to give a speech, striking back at Donald Trump attacking her own stance on gun control. )

(Spec: Mullah Mansour; Taliban; Death; Defense; Military; World Affairs; EgyptAir; Egypt; Paris; Aviation; Transportation; Terrorism; Al Qaeda; Taliban; Drones; Pakistan; Mullah Mansour; ISIS; Hillary Clinton; NRA; Donald Trump )

More