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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

U.S. General: ISIS Growing Faster Than Anticipated; Police: Examining If Gunman's Mom Bears Any Responsibility; Rubio on Defense Amid Bush, Trump Criticism. Aired 7-8:00p ET

Aired October 6, 2015 - 19:00   ET

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


[19:00:19] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT, the top U.S. general says the U.S. needs a new plan to stay and fight in Afghanistan saying al Qaeda and ISIS are on the rise.

Plus, the Oregon shooter and his mother bonded over a love of guns. Should she be held responsible for his massacre?

And new details on what happened to the missing cargo ship. Twenty eight Americans on board. Why did it sail into the path of a massive hurricane? We have the answers tonight. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, a dire warning about ISIS. The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan says ISIS and al Qaeda are growing stronger and the U.S. needs a new plan. General John Campbell saying, U.S. troops need to stay and fight. In testimony before Congress today, General Campbell warning there are as many as 3,000 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan and that al Qaeda forces are surging. This as the U.S. Secretary of Defense says he deeply regrets what he says was a mistaken attack on an Afghan hospital. Doctors without borders, which runs that hospital today saying there was no mistake. The U.S. forces knew exactly what they were doing, killing innocent civilians.

Barbara Starr is OUTFRONT. Barbara, did the U.S. know it was bombing a hospital?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Erin, clearly a mistake, but no excuse. The U.S. does not bomb hospitals, mosques and schools. The question now is how could this have happened?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STARR (voice-over): In the aftermath of the attack on the doctors without borders hospital, a stunning military order from the top U.S. commander.

GEN. JOHN CAMPBELL, COMMANDER OF U.S. FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN: I've directed the entire force to undergo in-depth training in order to review all our operational authorities in rules of engagement.

STARR: That order and acknowledgement that something went wrong. And the secretary of defense minced no words saying in a statement, when we make mistakes, we own up to them. That's exactly what we are doing now. Rules of engagement spell out when and how the U.S. military can conduct air strikes like the AC-130 gun ship that hit the hospital. Doctors Without Borders says the U.S. knew it was a hospital. They were under attack for 30 minutes. It could not have been a mistake.

JASON CONE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS: Until we are told otherwise and until we see an independent investigation, we presume that this was in fact a war crime.

STARR: Did this violate U.S. military rules?

CAMPBELL: Even though the Afghan's requested support it has to go through a rigorous U.S. procedure to enable fires to go on the ground.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: There was no forward air controllers, American's forward air controllers on the ground.

CAMPBELL: We had a special operations unit was in close vicinity that was talking to the aircraft who delivered those fires.

STARR: It comes as the U.S. military is reconsidering troop levels as it seeks to fulfill President Obama's desire to draw down almost all troops by the end of 2016. General Campbell said with the overall security situation in Afghanistan still so uncertain, he needs to revise his recommendations about reducing troop levels.

CAMPBELL: We have to provide our senior leadership options different with the current plan that we are going with.

STARR: A key concern, al Qaeda regaining a foothold and ISIS growing with some Taliban changing sides to take advantage of growing ISIS capabilities.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

STARR: ISIS in Afghanistan growing stronger, faster than the U.S. anticipated -- Erin.

BURNETT: Barbara Starr, thank you very much. A pretty damning report.

I want to go straight to Nic Robertson, he is in Kabul for us tonight. Nic, just heard Barbara reporting. The top U.S. commander says, ISIS now spreading throughout the country where you are tonight. (audio gap) How powerful ISIS?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, in the past couple of days they've just executed 20 people, 11 of them were soldiers for the Afghan National Army. One of them they accused of being a spy. The other eight were Taliban fighters. Yes, ISIS trying to -- he's having infighting battles with the Taliban here. This is in the east of the country. They are getting a bigger footprint in parts of the east of the country, particularly close to Pakistan. And it is a growing concern here. BURNETT: And Nic, you talk about ISIS and al Qaeda, what about

al Qaeda? President Obama as you know has said al Qaeda is on the run again and again. Now though his top commander is saying the opposite.

ROBERTSON: Yes. Multiple times. I mean, pretty much if you go back a decade or so, we were being told that al Qaeda had been run out of Afghanistan, they weren't coming back that they had been defeated. This is the core of Afghanistan, the core of al Qaeda, rather, and they were on the back foot out of the country. But now we hear them as being a threat. One of the reasons fighters are coming over from Pakistan where they've been hiding out in Pakistan, the Pakistan army is clearing out some of the areas with militants. You have some of the groups in Pakistan splitting up, becoming more radical. Some of them coming over and joining ISIS. So, these threats, part of them are coming over from the border. Part of them are beginning to exist here because they've got more space to exist because the Afghan government without the support of all the U.S. forces here on the ground have seated territory that these groups are now taking advantage of to grow -- Erin.

[19:05:38] BURNETT: All right. Nic Robertson, thank you very much in Kabul tonight.

OUTFRONT now, the former CIA operative Bob Baer and retired brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, both has extensive experience in Afghanistan. Bob, let me start with you. You say, you have not been this alarmed since you entered the CIA decades ago. And you warn we are about to have a conflict, a war perhaps like we've never seen.

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OPERATIVE: Oh, absolutely. You look at Syria with Russian so-called volunteers coming in. It's the first time there's been a Russian invasion of the Middle East, if you like. They are siding with the Iranians, with Bashar al-Assad. The Alawites in Damascus. These division are getting deeper and more violent. Saudi Arabia will react to the Russian moves by supporting groups like the Islamic State, if indirectly. You've got Afghanistan, you have the Islamic State rising there, you have the Taliban to move, they attacked Kunduz again today. They are not stopping. And then you have Iraq, at the same time, is there is a movement to expel us among the Shia militias. I don't know it's going to go that far. But I only see things getting worse and of course you have Yemen which is getting worse too.

BURNETT: You talked about a conflict like we've never seen. General Kimmitt, the war on terror has been going on for nearly 15 years. Thousands of Americans have died. And yet here we are, with countries in greater turmoil than they were before. With more terrorists than there were before. But you're not surprised that ISIS is growing so powerful.

BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT, U.S. ARMY (RET): I'm not really. We've said for a long time that this is going to be a long war, possibly a generational war. Nobody ever expected that soon after 9/11 that this strain of radicalism and terrorism was going to be wiped off the battlefield any time soon. We had said -- said, inside of Afghanistan, inside of Iraq that we ought to be prepared for years and years of struggle. And walking away from it is not an option.

BURNETT: Not an option, but staying in also has proven to be a very tough option. I mean, Bob, General Campbell says keeping American troops in Afghanistan is necessary. Right? He is changing the view. Right? This president says he is going to take the troops out. Campbell is now saying he needs troops to stay in. You think though to fight this war which you view as a regional war, and General Kimmitt is saying, it's a generational war. You think it could take a million or more Americans?

BAER: I do. I mean, I think we have to bring back the draft to occupy Afghanistan and completely suppress Islamic fundamentalism would take a lot of troops. I mean, we didn't -- this wasn't a military defeat in Afghanistan in any sense. It was a political defeat because these people have defaulted to Islam. And the same goes for Syria, Iraq and Yemen. We are having al Qaeda in Yemen. Can the United States sustain a presence in the Middle East to this degree? And I do think it would take a million troops. And I don't think the American people would stand for it. And how long would it go on? It would be several generations to try and do anything about this part of the world.

BURNETT: General Kimmitt, a million troops?

KIMMITT: First of all, I agree with Bob's analysis, but I don't agree with his conclusions. I think our best option is to build a partnership capacity in the region. Let these countries fight for themselves. It will take American troops providing counterterrorism support, training support and advisors on the ground, but I think the Americans would not stand for a million troops on the ground and quite frankly I don't think it will take that much. It may take a million local forces doing the fighting. And we need to support them, but I don't think it will take a million Americans to help with that.

BURNETT: Final word, Bob.

BAER: The problem is the locals. I don't trust them. I don't trust the Afghans. It was the Afghans that caused that raid in Kunduz against the hospitals, bad information. We have no allies in Iraq that we can trust. The Shia government we can't. Same way with Yemen and Syria. We train what four or five people, locals? And they will be wiped off the field by the Islamic State. We have no allies in that part of the world we can trust.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to both of you, a very sobering conversation.

Next, we're learning new details about the Oregon shooter including that much like the Sandy Hook shooter, he and his mother knew a whole lot about guns.

Plus, Marco Rubio with one of the worse voting records in the Senate. Now his good friend Jeb Bush is calling him on it.

And Joe Biden reportedly running for president, getting close to running? But is he the source behind leaks and rumors? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:13:20] BURNETT: Breaking news into the investigation into the massacre at the Community College in Oregon. Police telling CNN they are aware of social media posts made by the gunman's mother. They're now looking into whether she bears any responsibility for her son's evil act.

Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT live in Roseburg, Oregon. Sara, what are you learning tonight?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, we spoke with police here and they told us that they were, indeed, aware of what the shooter's mother had been posting. That they are looking into her as they would anyone who was close to someone who did something like this. They also are aware of what the son was posting.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SIDNER (voice-over): Hours after the Umpqua Community College massacre, the mother of the 26-year-old gunman shown here talking to police broke down.

BRONTE HART, NEIGHBOR: She was bawling. And she was really upset. And I mean, I can't blame her. I mean, this is insane.

SIDNER: Now, there are new details about what she knew about her son's mental health and access to guns before he went on a rampage killing eight students and a teacher. A series of online posts linked to his mother Laurel Harper reveals he had a developmental disorder on the autism spectrum and there were plenty of guns of all types in the house. In a post for at least three years ago, Harper boasted about her arsenal of weapons on a Yahoo answers discussion thread about state gun laws saying, "I keep two full mags in my block case and the AR's and AK's all have loaded mags. No one will dropping by my house uninvited without acknowledgement."

Police say, they found eight guns at the home she shared with her son and six at the crime scene. She made clear her son was familiar with gun laws. In an answers.com postings where someone asked a hypothetical question about who police would charge if ten people shot simultaneously at one person killing that person? She posted in part, "At the very least they would be charged with accessory to murder. At the worst, they would be charged with felony murder." Citing, quote, "my son who has much knowledge in this field."

She and her son shared more than a knowledge of guns and gun laws. They also shared a developmental disorder, Asperger's according to post linked to her email. "My son has Asperger's, he is no battling idiot, nor is his life worthless. He is very intelligent and he's working on a carrier on filmmaking. My 18 years worth of experience with a knowledge about Asperger's syndrome is paying off. I'm a nurse." In another post, she says in part, "I have Asperger's and I didn't do so bad, wasn't easy, understatement but it can be done." This case bears striking similarities to Sandy Hook gunman Adam Lanza who killed 27 people before taking his own life. Both live with their mother, had a deep interest in guns and were believed to have Asperger's. CNN's multiple attempts to reach Laurel Harper have been unsuccessful. But the shooter's father told CNN he was surprised his son had access to guns.

IAN MERCER, OREGON'S GUNMAN FATHER: I had no idea that he had any guns whatsoever. And I'm a great believer that you don't buy guns, don't buy guns, you don't buy guns.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SIDNER: Now, to be clear, his father lives all the way in California. His mother lives here in Oregon. So, the two of them may not have been speaking about their son. And we also want to mention that Asperger's syndrome, there is no link between having Asperger's and violence, but there are a lot of people talking about all the details of this case, those details coming out surprising quite a few people -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you very much.

And now, criminologist Casey Jordan, our legal analyst Paul Callan. Let my start with you, Paul. Now, you heard the breaking news. Police are now looking at these online postings from the mother. They are not only looking at her, they're looking at other things but they are looking. Does that surprise you? Does that mean that they are looking into whether she bears responsibility?

PAUL CALLAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think they are certainly examining that. I doubt very much that they'll develop a criminal case against her. Because you would have to show that she had some sort of conscious awareness that her son was going to engage in this specific act. Now, a civil case is a different matter. She might be accused of knowing that he suffered from mental illness and allowing him access to so many weapons. There were 14 five arms found in the apartment that she resided in with him a large amount of the time. So, that might create a civil theory for a lawsuit against the mother.

BURNETT: So, Casey, on this point about what she knew. She boasted about her guns on line.

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: Right.

BURNETT: Took her son to shooting ranges. It seems that they shared a love of guns when I see things like that. But -- a serious problem. When he was younger, she had actually put him in a psychiatric institution, she has put him in a hospital because he was aggressive.

JORDAN: And not taking his meds.

[19:18:08] BURNETT: A child that she put into a hospital because he was aggressive, she then encourages a love of guns. How does that happen?

JORDAN: Where have we seen this before? That's the most shocking thing about this. The details of this case are almost a carbon copy parallel to that of the Lanza case.

BURNETT: That is the Sandy Hook shooting.

JORDAN: Sandy Hook shooting. And Nancy Lanza paid with her life. That this mother, an LPN, a nurse, someone who prides herself being and being an expert on Asperger's didn't learn from the Sandy Hook case. Where Adam Lanza had the exact same situation. And the mother bought guns and went to the shooting range. And this is where you have to, you know, Paul is correct. There is probably no criminal liability. And civilly was it foreseeable? They can only base that on Sandy Hook. But the key is common sense. If you have a mentally ill or emotionally disturbed child in your house, you don't also have 14 guns. So, there is a level of denial here, parental blinders on. And I think the only forgiving thing that is if she had Asperger's, too, her baseline for normal was off keel.

BURNETT: So, perhaps. But Paul, I mean, you know, do you think she watched the coverage of the Sandy Hook massacre, she saw that mother, they had guns in the house. The mother and son went to the shooting ranges together. That's what they did. The son had Asperger's. She saw all of those things and she didn't see herself?

CALLAN: How could she not have watched it? She would have been drawn into it. And, you know, people who unfortunately have to deal with problems with Asperger's they say this is being unfair. Asperger's doesn't cause violence. And people with Asperger's can have normal lives. But one thing about Asperger's, you have obsessive conduct. And if you are going to have an obsession about something, please don't let it be guns or bombs or fire. Redirect the obsession someplace else. Here she really fed the obsession by telling him it was a great thing that he played with guns.

BURNETT: I mean, Casey, there are a lot of people hear this, they are angry. They are angry because they say, if there was one person, I mean, he lived with his mother --

JORDAN: Yes.

BURNETT: -- if there was one person other than the shooter himself who is responsible for his act, that could have stopped this, it was her. It was her.

JORDAN: Absolutely his mother. And where is her voice now? In every other case, if you think back even Dylann Roof's family, Abdulazeez the Chattanooga shooter, those parents obviously bereft at the loss of their child and arrest of their child still put out statements expressing shock, disbelief and sympathy for the victims. We are on day five and six and we have not heard from Laurel Harper. And you really have to ask, is that denial? Is she still in shock? Where is her sympathy for the victims? I'm afraid she still has parental blinders on and still doesn't think that her son, this was foreseeable that her son should bear any responsibility.

CALLAN: And you know, the one thing that really just to tune in on this --

BURNETT: Yes.

CALLAN: Given the political unlikeliness that we are going to see major changes in gun control legislation in the United States, it's a real uphill battle, the only way we can protect against this is if family members see somebody, see a child, see a nephew, see a husband or wife who has access to a gun and shouldn't. They've got to act to protect society. Otherwise these tragedies will continue.

JORDAN: You can't get mental illness out of your loved one overnight and you can't change the gun laws overnight, but you can get the guns out of your house if you have a mentally ill person there. Everyone can do that today. Stop the denial.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much to both of you as we await to learn much more about the shooter's mother and her silence. OUTFRONT next, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. Donald Trump says they literally hate each other. Is it true?

And Joe Biden slamming a report today about using his son's death for political gain. Our report.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:25:50] BURNETT: Happening right now, we want to show you some live pictures in Iowa. This is Jeb Bush is going to be taking that stage momentarily. The headline, an annual Ronald Reagan dinner. This as his former protege Marco Rubio just wrapped up a campaign event of his own after spending the day fiercely defending his record from attacks by Bush and the frontrunner Donald Trump.

Joe Johns is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Republican Marco Rubio has missed many Senate votes and spends more and more time on the presidential campaign trail.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Rubio.

JOHNS: A point the Florida senator says comes with the territory.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Everyone that's run for president in the past has faced this. There are times when you are not going to be there.

JOHNS: But now Rubio is getting called out on his job attendance by his friend and mentor Jeb Bush.

GOV. JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A bill to dock the pay of absentee members might not pass the House or Senate. I don't know. Maybe it could. But at least it would get them all there for a vote.

JOHNS: A far cry from years past when Bush and Rubio heaped praise on each other.

BUSH: The most principled -- leader I know, Marco Rubio.

RUBIO: And many of us were here today -- in the legislature grew up politically in the era of Jeb Bush which was an era of politics where you learned the purpose of public service was to make a difference.

JOHNS: Now the party's front-runner is openly mocking their relationship.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They hate each other. They hate. Trust me, I know. They hate so much. They hate more than anybody in this room hates their neighbor. Any. But it's political (bleep), you understand? It's true. It's true.

JOHNS: And even as both candidates maintain they are friends, compliments are just as likely to be replaced by zingers. Rubio dismissing political dynasties like the one Bush hails from.

RUBIO: And we cannot simply promote the next person in line or the most familiar name.

JOHNS: Bush meanwhile jabbing at his protege by comparing Rubio's level of experience to President Obama's.

BUSH: Look, we've had a president who came in and said the same kind of thing, new and improved, hope and change. And he didn't have the leadership skills to fix things.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: Political insiders say the gloves were bound to come off in a contest like this, especially because Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio as republican establishment candidates are competing for some of the same political space in the polls and the primaries -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Joe Johns, thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT now, the editor of "The Weekly Standard" Bill Kristol and our political commentator Ana Navarro, she's a Jeb Bush supporter, friend of Marco Rubio between --

ANA NAVARRO, JEB BUSH SUPPORTER AND FRIEND OF MARCO RUBIO: Which means that, yes, that I have multiple personality disorder.

(LAUGHTER)

BURNETT: All right. Bill, let me start with you. You just heard Marco Rubio today spending the day fiercely defending his voting record or lack thereof. Do you buy it?

BILL KRISTOL, EDITOR, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Yes. He's running for president of the United States. He hasn't missed any votes that would have made a difference in terms of getting cloture or passing or defeating legislature. So, I don't think that issue Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton missed a lot of votes in 2007 when they were senators running for president. I don't think it matters.

BURNETT: Okay. You don't think it matters. Let me as you this though. Bernie Sanders is running for president and doing better than Hillary Clinton in a lot of polls. He only missed nine votes this year. Eighty three since he was sworn in in 2007. So, in his entire tenure, he's missed as many as Marco Rubio this year. But he's doing really on all the polls. So, that seems to take the wind out of Rubio's argument, Bill's argument.

NAVARRO: Well, the thing is, Marco can miss all these votes because unlike Bernie Sanders, unlike all the other senators that are running for president this year, he doesn't have a plan B which is staying in the Senate. He's done with the Senate. His only challenge will be, frankly, that he's got constituents in Florida that at some point start paying attention might and will be bothered by this and will vote in what's going to be a very tightly-fought primary come March.

KRISTOL: That is important. Look, maybe we will have little price, maybe they should settle it more time in Washington. I think this campaign is getting obsessed with you've got to spend three days in Nevada in early state.

BURNETT: Yes.

KRISTOL: They lose the fact that you could make a lot of news and get a lot of media coverage if you're on the floor of the Senate addressing issues. You know, so I think as a tactical matter, it might be a little bit of a mistake. On the other hand, as Ana says, he's not running for re-election. I mean, you have to just give him credit for putting it all on the line. And in that respect, you know, I think he is sort of entitled to say, okay, I'm running for president in that sense.

NAVARRO: Well, the difference is, you are not a Florida voter.

KRISTOL: That's true.

NAVARRO: You didn't vote for him, you know, four-and-a-half years ago and support him like I did.

KRISTOL: Yes. Fair enough. Yes.

NAVARRO: And you know, folks from Florida expect their senator to be there and be strong.

KRISTOL: Yes.

NAVARRO: Now, I will tell you --

[19:30:13] BURNETT: We would you like to think you vote for someone who wants the job.

KRISTOL: Yes.

BURNETT: You voted for them to take, right? Not the next job. Isn't that the whole criticism Barack Obama gets?

KRISTOL: Bush's criticism of Barack Obama is revealing and silly. I mean, the problem with Barack Obama is not that he was inexperienced, doesn't have leadership skills. That is a wonderful Bush line. The problem with Barack Obama from a Republican point of view, he is a liberal and he's taken the country in the wrong direction.

He's been a pretty effective president. Barack Obama is a pretty determined guy. He shaped policy in the way he wanted to do it. I would be happy if Marco Rubio was as effective in a conservative direction as Barack Obama.

BURNETT: That's an interesting statement.

KRISTOL: It's not he doesn't have leadership skills.

NAVARRO: Look, first of all, leadership skills are important, and crisis management skills are important. And I think one of the reasons I chose to support Jeb is because I lived in Florida for the 14-month period when he had to face something like eight named storms and hurricanes. When you saw that Jeb Bush with his sleeves rolled up behind the podium manning emergency management services, you felt there was an adult in charge and your government was doing everything it could to keep you safe. That's guy I want in the Situation Room.

BURNETT: And that guy is saying, going after Marco Rubio now, saying Rubio not ready to lead as president, right? He's saying all of these things. And yet, you know, they say they're friends. I thought the Donald Trump comment was funny when he said that's bull, they hate each other, because it's very different.

Here is what Bush said about Rubio back in the last election. He said he should be vice president. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLIE ROSE, PBS: He has enough preparation to be one heart beat away from the president?

JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I believe so. He has more experience than Barack Obama had when he ran and more practical experience and got the intellectual acumen and the fortitude to be a good president. And I have a special place in the heart for him. It's hard to describe the pride I feel from his incredible success.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: That seems like it's from the heart. So, how can Bush now say Marco Rubio is not ready?

NAVARRO: Well, that was then, this is now.

KRISTOL: Jeb will feel pride when Marco accepts the nomination. In Cleveland in July.

NAVARRO: I know these two guys personally. I do believe they like each other. They have a long history.

You know, this is different. This is a difficult, awkward situation. It's awkward for people like me. There are a lot of us in Florida who are friends with the two of them because they are friends. They are mentor and mentee, but they're also competing with each other.

I hate this. I hate it. I complained to Marco about it at times. I complained to Jeb about it at times. I come to the acceptance it is part of the process.

And let me tell you something, we are just getting started.

KRISTOL: It's pretty light, honestly so far.

BURNETT: You don't think Donald Trump is right when he says the truth is they hate each other?

NAVARRO: He doesn't know Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush from Adam.

KRISTOL: Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton going after each other who served on the same administration, think about that, for four years, vice President and Secretary State. That's going to be more just saying, and I think they will be tougher on each other than Jeb and Marco are being.

BURNETT: So, let's talk about Donald Trump, because Rubio is rising in the polls, right? Because Rubio is rising in the polls, right? And that has put some heat on Donald Trump who has dropped in the polls. Still a frontrunner, but he's dropped.

I did interview him. He told me Rubio is a light weight. We know he's been saying that. Then he tweeted out that he is a kid. He is going after Marco Rubio and even sent a case to Marco Rubio to mock that he is a sweater. You know, he sweat so much in a debate and in speeches.

Does Rubio have a better chance of beating Trump than Bush?

NAVARRO: I don't know. I think it's too early to tell. I do think that this is part of Donald Trump's persona and shtick he's got to continue feeding. He has got to continue creating headlines, causing controversy that we talk about. This is one of the ways of doing it and trolling people, including his opponents. I think it's a testament to Marco's rise in the polls, you know? Donald Trump doesn't bother with asterisks.

BURNETT: Bill, does Jeb Bush stay in this until the end?

NAVARRO: Hell, yes.

BURNETT: Hell yes?

KRISTOL: He stays for quite a while. If you're the Bush campaign, you're worried. Rubio is ahead of Bush in the polls.

BURNETT: Jeb Bush has the money.

KRISTOL: He has money and they are putting money on the air, super PAC ads on the air if they don't push Bush's numbers in the next month, if he doesn't do well in the next debate, I think they'll worry. But he's a fighter.

At the end of the day, we have actual votes, caucus February 1st in Iowa. Let's see what happens there. But I would say, we cannot underestimate how shocking it is that Bush is doing so poorly right now.

NAVARRO: It's still quite early. I saw Jeb Bush on Sunday. I can tell you that there is a lot of patience and fight in that man. You know, you can tell when a candidate is deflated.

[19:35:01] The Jeb Bush I saw Sunday is anything but deflated. Yes, he is going to stay on this. He's got conviction. He's got money. He's got structure and he's got a plan.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to both of you.

And OUTFRONT next, Joe Biden, you mentioned him, the vice president firing back.

NAVARRO: Run, Joe, run.

BURNETT: He says this is an offensive report. We have a story.

And outrage over the cargo ship lost with 28 Americans onboard. We now know why the ship stayed on its deadly force into the face of a category 4 hurricane. That report coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, Vice President Joe Biden fighting back against a report he leaked the story about his son's dying wish that he run for president in order to test the waters for a campaign. Pretty horrible report. According to "Politico", Biden told Maureen Dowd that his dying son told him he had to run because the White House, quote, "should not revert to the Clintons."

CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.

Jeff, this is a harsh report, incredibly harsh report. But this conversation between Biden and his son, would that be enough to get Biden to run?

[19:40:03] JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Erin, it's a great question. I mean, the conversation between the vice president and his son would be the most personal of moments. And we know how close this vice president was to Beau Biden and we know that Beau Biden and his brother Hunter Biden want the vice president to run. They think that he should be serving in the White House.

It is only one part of the equation though, I'm told. Friends and allies of the vice president said this is just one piece of the picture. You can't run on the sympathy vote. You can't run on something like this directly and only on this. So, it is one piece of the puzzle. It is not enough to make a candidacy out of that just entirely.

BURNETT: Well, especially now I've got allegations like this reporting. Some people, Jeff, this is the bottom line, they say, look, if Joe Biden really wanted to run, we would know, this isn't something you hem and haw about. You reach the decision as president of the United States.

What would be the strategy, though, if he knew he wanted to run but was purposefully waiting, waiting this long, missing the first debate. What would be the strategy?

ZELENY: The strategy is in part, I'm told, seeing how this race develops. If this race was, if Hillary Clinton was the far and away front-runner in this campaign, I don't think we would be having this conversation. But in fact, there is an opening. We see that in our polls, we see that in other polls. Voters we talk to in Iowa today say more competition would be better this could strengthen her candidacy.

But the vice president I think in this case, we have to take him at his word that he is working through this. This has been a struggle. He's waiting to see if his family is ready for this. So, it doesn't fit neatly into the box that we saw often pack things in strategically in Washington. No question about that. But I do believe that he is waiting for all these things to come together. Now, we'll find out in the next week or so if his family has actually signed off on this.

BURNETT: We shall see. Everyone will be watching. It will be the elephant in the room, although I guess that's not the animal to use for the Democratic debate.

ZELENY: The donkey in the room.

BURNETT: Yes, the donkey in the room. Somehow, I think Joe Biden would laugh about that. OK, thanks to you.

OUTFRONT now, CNN political commentator and former senior adviser of President Obama, Dan Pfeiffer.

All right. Dan, you know this vice president incredibly well. What's your reaction to this report, the report the came out from "Politico" saying that he leaked the story about his son's dying wish for political -- you know, to test the waters, political gain?

DAN PFEIFFER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, when I read that report, that sounded nothing like the Joe Biden I've known for a long time and worked closely with. He is the least calculating politician I've ever been around. He is incredibly authentic. He sort of campaigns by gut.

And so, this idea that he is some sort of Machiavellian guy behind the scenes sharing personal anecdotes to leak stories is just not how Joe Biden operates.

BURNETT: All right. So, you don't buy it.

PFEIFFER: Nope.

BURNETT: The Democratic debate is next week. It's already October. And this question I was talking to Jeff about. You know, some people say it is too late for Biden to get in and run aggressively, credibly with all the ground troops he would need and all the states, the whole logistical operation. But, you know, just say, Hillary Clinton has a bad debate. She has to testify on Benghazi.

Is he waiting to see how those two things go to make his final choice?

PFEIFFER: I don't know he is waiting how those two things go. I think, look, this is a very -- in the best of circumstances, this is a hard decision for anyone to make. It's a nuanced decision about your personal life, what can work.

And he is in a very unique situation begin his tragic family circumstances. So, I think it takes time to do it.

To your question of timing, it is late. It is not -- it is too late for any person to get in this race except for Joe Biden, but everyday he waits, Hillary Clinton's start gets a little bit big deeper. And the mountain gets a little bit steeper. So, if he is going to do it, he's got to do it soon, but the widow is still there, but it's narrow.

BURNETT: He had lunch with President Obama today. Would the president endorse Joe Biden? Would he stay neutral between Clinton and Biden? What would he do, Dan?

PFEIFFER: I think that would be I would be surprised if he were to get directly involved in the race between two people he is very close to personally and people who served him very loyally. People he considers friends. Two people who I think he believes would be excellent presidents and excellent nominees. So, my guess is he would not get involved. But we'll see how the race plays itself out.

BURNETT: Yes, it sure will be interesting to see. Everyone would be reading the tea leaves there.

All right. Dan, thank you so much.

PFEIFFER: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And the first Democratic debate, you see it on the screen is next week right here on CNN. Be sure to watch next Tuesday night. It begins at 8:30.

And OUTFRONT next, 28 Americans lost at sea. Their ship sank at 50-foot waves in a category 4 hurricane. Why, though, did that ship ever leave port? We have new details right after this. And on a lighter note, Jeanne Moos with Jennifer Aniston's latest

commercial. You'll never want to fly another airline.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:49:00] BURNETT: Tonight, new pictures of debris from the missing cargo ship that vanished after sailing straight into the eye of Hurricane Joaquin at a category 4 level. The Coast Guard is scouring the waters off the Bahamas for the 28 missing Americans onboard, hoping for a miracle.

They just released these images. The ship was ripped apart by the category 4 storm. And tonight, rescue crews are holding out hope for survivors. The NTSB is now on the scene investigating why this happened. Why was that ship even in that water to begin with?

Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are just some of the missing -- crew members of the container ship El Faro, sinking after its engines failed, (INAUDIBLE) of the powerful Hurricane Joaquin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so afraid she's lost to the sea.

MARQUEZ: Thirty-three souls on board, including 28 Americans. The search still going strong from the sea and air after one unidentified victim wearing a cold water emergency suit was found.

[19:50:02] Mary Shevory's daughter Mariette Wright among the missing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will scream and cry and pray.

MARQUEZ: Questions now growing, why did the El Faro set out at 8:00 p.m. last Tuesday from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico? The company says at the time it set out, Joaquin was only a tropical storm.

But CNN had reported hours earlier, Joaquin was forecasted to become a full-on hurricane and would cross El Faro's intended path.

Still, TOTE Maritime says the next day, last Wednesday, they got an e-mail from the ship's captain indicating everything was OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He understood the weather condition that was out in front of him, the location that he had been monitoring the track and that he had a sound plan that the crew was well-prepared and briefed and that the weather conditions looked very favorable.

MARQUEZ: Seven-twenty a.m. Thursday was the last communication the company had with the ship, the captain reported the ship had lost power, was listing 15 degrees, had taken on some water and by this point, the full power of Hurricane Joaquin was bearing down. In those conditions, a cargo ship without power would be at the

mercy of up to 50-foot waves. What started as a research trip for CNN's Derek Van Dam turned into a search and rescue.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We're directly in the middle of Hurricane Joaquin's eye.

MARQUEZ: They found nothing last Thursday, but by Saturday, an enormous debris field was located, including one of two lifeboats on the ship heavily damaged and no one on board. Today, and even more debris from "El Faro" found.

But still, no sign of life as the excruciating wait for the families of the missing goes on.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: So, Miguel, I just don't understand, if they are saying the forecast was for it to become a category 4 hurricane, the ship sailed, a whole day went by, the forecast got worse and worse. Why continue on that path?

MARQUEZ: The captain clearly thought he could get beyond it. Turning back was an option. I spoke to one experienced maritimer today and he said, look, it sounds like because they were listing at about 15 degrees, as the captain said, they had taken on water, they have lost propulsion, to be middle of those waves, he said it would be impossible to keep that ship going, especially a cargo ship. Once that cargo starts to move, that ship probably would have rolled over.

BURNETT: The ship would have rolled over.

And in terms of survivors, obviously, the Coast Guard said to me yesterday, five days would be what they would be looking at in good conditions. This, obviously when it began, was anything but.

MARQUEZ: One of the big lifeboats holds 43 people, could take everybody on that ship is still out there somewhere. They have not found that. So, I think there is hope of that. They clearly deployed some of the emergency suits as well because the one body -- unidentified body they've seen so far was in an emergency water suit. So, it is hoped that they will find somebody.

BURNETT: Hope and pray that they find that other lifeboat. Thank you very much, Miguel.

Next, Jeanne Moos with the airline that offers you, well, pretty much everything, including a shower and a bar and maybe even a seat next to Jennifer Aniston. So what's the catch?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:57:58] BURNETT: Jennifer Aniston, America's sweetheart. You know, she always seems to have the right things, the haircut, the clothes, and now the airline seat that you didn't even know you wanted until she had it. Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's not easy to find a place to take a shower eight miles up, even when you're Jennifer Aniston.

JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: I'm looking for a shower.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's no showers here, ma'am.

ANISTON: I'm going to look pretty silly dressed like this going to the bar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's no bar here, but we do have hot towels and a bag of peanuts.

MOOS: And with this dig at domestic airlines, America's sweetheart begins her gig advertising Emirates Airlines.

ANISTON: There's no shower?

(LAUGHTER)

MOOS: Next thing you know, Jen wakes up in her Emirates flap bed. It was such a nightmare. I was on a plane and it was nothing like this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry to hear that.

MOOS: Emirate is the only airline to offer showers in first class.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you go inside, it's actually pretty spacious. You get five total minutes.

MOOS: Showering at cruising altitude is so heady, it's hard to resist a little show and tell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was pretty fantastic.

MOOS: The only bad news about the in-flight shower is that you'll take a bath when it comes to paying the ticket price. Round trip first class between New York and Dubai, just over $30,000. But you do get your own little suite to sleep in.

Gulf based airlines are using stars like Nicole Kidman to expands into the U.S. market while big three American airlines pushed back, saying their rivals have an unfair advantage because they are subsidized by their governments.

ANISTON: Is there someone that we can talk to about flying this around a little longer?

MOOS: You never know, the real Jen suffers from fear of flying.

ANISTON: Still, flying to me, it was just terrifying. I struggle with it.

MOOS: But it's less of a struggle when you're in the shower, a shower at 40,000 feet makes you feel less psycho. Unless you hit turbulence -- then, fasten your shower cap.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: And thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" begins now.