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Mass Shooting Investigation; Trump Under Fire. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired December 8, 2015 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Chilling. I mean, that's the one word, chilling.
And when you -- you hear his -- his voice and you hear him describe the murder and what he was thinking and why he did it and how he planned it, and, also, in these tapes, he changes personalities. He goes from the repentant Christian, and then the devil worshiper, and then the egotistical monster.
And it is -- it really puts into perspective a lot of things, and I will let it be revealed in the hour, that we didn't know decades ago.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And the calendar showed you?
PHILLIPS: Oh, we access to his calendar and his journal.
And in his journal, he wrote schematics of these committees of little people that ruled his mind and ruled his head. And he wrote down three vices, which I thought were sort of odd, after he killed John Lennon.
His three vices, taking vitamin C, eating junk food and sexual deviant pleasures.
And, as you note, this is a man who died advocating peace by someone who represented pure evil.
PHILLIPS: We can't forget what John Lennon represented.
HARLOW: No, what he brought to all of us.
HARLOW: Kyra, thank you. I cannot wait to see it.
PHILLIPS: You bet.
HARLOW: Good to be with you. Appreciate it.
PHILLIPS: Thanks, Poppy.
HARLOW: Don't miss this special report, "Killing John Lennon," tonight 9:00 p.m. Eastern only right here on CNN.
Top of the hour. I'm Poppy Harlow. Thank you for being with me, in today for my friend Brooke Baldwin.
Was it a step too far? Donald Trump saying, until the United States and our government officials can -- quote -- "figure out what the hell is going on," he wants a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. And to be clear, this was not just a remark he made. This was in a prepared statement e-mailed to everyone in the media, a policy proposal.
And today he called into CNN. He doubled down on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You are going to have many more World Trade Centers if you don't solve it, many, many more, and probably beyond the World Trade Center.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I don't see the point of scaring people with the possible, when the reality is we haven't had.
TRUMP: You look at what's going on in the Middle East. They are chopping off heads. They are looking to come over to other places, too, and they want the jihad. It's very simple. They want the jihad.
CUOMO: What does that mean, "They want the jihad?" Well, you can't just throw out notions without any kind of checking on them. This is what got you wound up on "The Philadelphia Inquirer" front page like Hitler.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Right. Take a look at that front page. The controversial "Philadelphia Daily News" cover has him there. It has him there. It says "The New Furor."
Just one small piece of a massive fire storm. Critics condemning it as un-American, unhinged, downright unconstitutional. But you know what? A lot of people were cheering it last night at that rally, the Republican Party leading the torrent of insults.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Normally, I don't comment on what's going on in the presidential election. I will take an exception today.
This is not conservatism. What was proposed yesterday is not what this party stands for and, more importantly, it not what this country stands for. CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump always plays
on everyone's worst instincts and fears. And saying we're not going to let a single Muslim into this country is a dangerous overreaction.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the kind of thing that people say when they have no experience and don't know what they are talking about. You do not need to be banning Muslims from the country. That's -- in my view, that's a ridiculous position and one that won't even be productive.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's a race- baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot. He doesn't represent my party. He doesn't represent the values that the men and women who wear the uniform are fighting for. You know how you make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: That was Lindsey Graham this morning.
Joining me now, Gloria Borger, CNN chief political analyst, Nia-Malika Henderson, CNN senior political reporter.
Nia, let's start with you. Trump appears -- look, he is doubling down, not apologizing for anything. He notes all the supporters he has. And I know you have a new poll that says a lot.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. E we just got a new poll out of "USA Today." And this basically confirms what we have seen before, which is that Trump is in the lead.
He's at 27 percent of GOP voters there. And you have got Cruz coming in second at 17 percent, Rubio basically tied at 16 percent, and then Carson taking a tumble there at 10 percent. So this is what we have seen.
Going back to the summer, he has been dominating these polls, not only the national polls, but also the state to state polls as well.
HARLOW: I just want to read -- we just got a tweet from Donald Trump that came in.
And it says -- let me read it here. "A new poll indicates that 68 percent of my supporters would vote for me if I departed the GOP and ran as an independent" -- Gloria.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that's a not-so- veiled threat.
Look, I think Donald Trump has been under a huge amount of criticism today from the leaders of his own party, from the people he's running against in his own party. And I think this is his way of saying it. But he's always said, if you don't treat me well, I could run as an
independent. Of course, if he ran as an independent, he would take a following with him. There's absolutely no doubt about it. And that would defeat Republican chances for victory.
HARLOW: Nia, I have heard increasing chatter among Republicans about the real possibility of something we haven't seen in this country in decades and decades. That is the possibility of a brokered GOP convention. Can you walk us through what that would look like and the likelihood of it?
HENDERSON: Well, it's more likely than ever, but it's still highly unlikely.
HENDERSON: The reason that it's at least a little likely is because of the way this is set up.
We have got a front-loaded calendar here where the delegates are going to be allocated proportionately until March 15. And we have got this crowded field of people. If you just look at those top four people in that latest poll, they are flush with cash, which means that they can go state to state and pick up delegates, even if they don't win outright these states, if they come in second or third, although they will get -- pull away with some delegates. And you don't get the winner-take-all system that kicks in, in until March 15.
So this would be sort of a nightmare for the Republican Party. Ironically, it's one they tried to prevent with this new calendar, but now at this point, it seems like it could be more likely than ever, but, still, again, probably pretty unlikely.
HARLOW: Right. Right. It's certainly been a long time.
Gloria, you have this fantastic, fascinating new op-ed on CNN.com this afternoon. I want to read a little bit from it. You say: "This particular election-year story has all of the following: disaffected and frustrated voters. Ineffective president. A level of public fear that has been rising steadily for at least a handful of years. Throw in anger at the collapsing political system, the establishment and the media, and Trump appears onstage like a vision emerging out of the clouds, the dark knight of our politics."
And you say, in response, the other candidates, and these are your words, are -- quote -- "punching Jell-O."
BORGER: Right. They are.
Look, I think the more they attack Donald Trump, the more his support coalesces. And I think what we have learned this year is that it's not like any other year. Usually, Republicans behave. They kind of flirt with newer candidates, with outsiders. And then they always run back to the establishment candidate whose turn it is to get the nomination. And so far, this time, the Republican primary voters are saying, we're
not going to do that anymore, because we're afraid of another terror attack in this country. We don't trust our institutions. We think our political leaders, including Republican political leaders, have failed us. And so if you think we're going back to the same old same old, think again. We're not going to do that.
And that's what we're hearing from Republican voters so far and it is, I think, a sea change in our politics, particularly in the way Republicans have behaved in primary fights.
HARLOW: And of course we're going to hear from all of them firsthand in the GOP debate next Tuesday night. You will be there hosted by our Wolf Blitzer. Thank you very much, Nia, Gloria. Appreciate it.
HARLOW: As Donald Trump stood in front of hundreds of his supporters in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, he read his statement aloud and as he declared the words a shutdown of Muslims, many in the crowd jumped to their feet cheering and clapping, proving one thing is certain. He knows what his supporters want to hear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's a very prudent idea. And I think that he's done due diligence when he makes that statement. We have to protect our American citizens first.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want them here. Who knows what they are going to bring in this country, bombs, ISIS or what. They need to go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody just needs to go in there and take control of this. I just think it's going rampant. And I'm worried about America, worried about our safety. They are getting in. They need to be stopped.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Joining me now is Saba Ahmed, founder of the Republican Muslim Coalition. Also with me, Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, also an attorney.
I'm very interested in, and there's been a lot of talk in the wake of his comments, about the constitutionality of what Donald Trump is proposing here. Is it constitutional? What would it take on the part of Congress?
BRIAN LEVIN, THE CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF HATE AND EXTREMISM: Well, it's not constitutional.
Now, here's the thing. We have not had a definitive Supreme Court case specifically on this issue, but let me just say that religious tests have been frowned upon in case after case. And in addition, the United States Supreme Court consistently held that even non-citizens have rights, particularly those that have been deemed fundamental rights that apply to the people, as opposed to citizens.
And in that respect, the First Amendment's fundamental guarantee of freedom of religion and freedom of speech would certainly block that with regard to some Supreme Court challenge.
HARLOW: And this isn't the first sort of constitutional challenge we have heard from him. We heard him a few months challenging the 14th Amendment. Right? This isn't the first time that we have seen him say, look, that isn't the way it is and this can be changed.
Saba, I'm interested in your take, because I know that you were a supporter in the past. You're no longer a supporter of Donald Trump. Was it this moment that changed your mind? Because he called Mexicans -- Mexicans coming into this country rapists and murderers. What's different this time for you?
SABA AHMED, FOUNDER, REPUBLICAN MUSLIM COALITION: Well, I'm deeply disappointed in Donald Trump about his unconstitutional policy suggestions.
He needs to go back and study the basics about religious liberties. When he says a blanket ban on all Muslims traveling to and from the United States, I'm a Muslim-American. I have a U.S. passport. Under his plan, if I go outside of the country, I can't come back in, which is not fair.
And I don't think you can -- it's unconstitutional, first of all, because there's religious liberties and due process of law and where -- when do I get a hearing? When do I -- he is making absolutely ridiculous policy suggestions.
HARLOW: Was this the moment for you, Saba? You were a supporter before.
AHMED: I was really looking forward to his economic policies and hoping he would bring his business skills to revise the economy, but he's been making so absurd comments about one group after another, I just feel like he just is -- I don't know what he's going through.
But he's had dealings with Muslims all his life. He has so many properties all over the Middle East and now he's complaining, oh, the Middle East is all full of jihadists. Like, I don't know what -- it's like hypocritical comments coming out of him. And I'm very disappointed.
HARLOW: Brian, Trump critics are pointing to his words here and calling them hate speech. Can you talk us through legally the line there?
LEVIN: Sure. And let me just clarify one thing. I was responding in the last question with respect to non-citizens.
Obviously, if someone is a citizen who is overseas, they can't be excluded. The First Amendment is strong with regard to that. With regard to even non-citizens, they possess fundamental rights to a certain degree, including such things as due process and how the law applies.
With regard to hate speech, here's the thing. In the United States, speech, as long as it's not threatening or part of a traditional crime like a conspiracy, people can say hateful things.
AHMED: But he's inciting violence.
LEVIN: No, he's not.
Excuse me. Excuse me. If I may continue, the U.S. Supreme Court in a case in the 1960s involving a Klansman put something forth called the incitement test. And what it says is, abstract advocacy, even hate -- even hate speech is constitutionally protected.
The fact that some miscreant might act on this speech does not mean it's immediate and does not mean it's a call to imminent criminality. And that is a test that we have with regard to the Supreme Court and the Constitution. There's a case out of the 1960s involving a Ku Klux Klansman.
It certainly may inspire people to do terrible things. And I loathe Donald Trump and what he says. But abstract advocacy, even hateful advocacy, is protected, rightfully so, by our U.S. Constitution. And while I loathe him, I support his right to be an unrepentant bigot.
HARLOW: All right, Saba, a quick 30 seconds.
AHMED: Well, I disagree with that.
I think it's totally unconstitutional. He's inciting violence. If there was Muslims sitting in front of him and at that rally, and people decided to act on them, we're the ones who get to suffer the hate crimes coming out of his bigotry and all of his nonsense comments. This is unconstitutional.
LEVIN: That's the cost of a free society. It's not unconstitutional.
HARLOW: Saba Ahmed, thank you very much. Brian Levin, thank you very much. Important conversation. Appreciate you both being on.
LEVIN: Thank you.
HARLOW: We are now just one week to the day away from the last GOP debate of the year. It will be only right here on CNN. Our very own Wolf Blitzer moderates Tuesday, December the 15th, starting at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
Next, I will speak with a Muslim-American veteran serving this country about whether he would serve with Donald Trump as a commander in chief. Also, breaking new details about the killer couple in San Bernardino.
We're learning when they were radicalized and how proficient she was with the rifle. Stay with us.
HARLOW: Donald Trump saying less than 24 hours ago he wants to put a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the United States.
With me now, American Muslim Mohammed Shaker. He served in Iraq as a combat medic with the 82nd Airborne. After four years in the service, he was honorably discharged in 2012 and he is now a student and a member of the Young Republicans in Pinellas County, Florida. He backs, I should note, Rand Paul for president.
Thank you for being here.
MOHAMMED SHAKER, U.S. VETERAN: Thank you for bringing me on.
HARLOW: So, Donald Trump saying in the interview on CNN this morning with Chris Cuomo this would be a temporary ban.
I'm interested, though, from your perspective, as someone who served this country in the military, would you fight under Donald Trump as your commander in chief?
SHAKER: Well, I believe that your moral convictions our duty does not change with whoever the commander in chief is.
So, as a veteran and as a service member of the United States military, yes, I would serve under Donald Trump. The mission does not change. And it's all about protecting America and our liberties.
HARLOW: Some have said that rhetoric like this plays right in the hands of to what ISIS wants, that we cannot have more division in our nation, or they win. Do you believe that these words and rhetoric impacts the safety of American troops overseas?
SHAKER: I mean, I would say so.
ISIS actually wants to see this sort of rhetoric. They play on the same fears in Iraq and Syria with their same divisive tactics of separating Muslims and Christians with different styles of treatment. And they persecute the Christians over there and they persecute different kinds of Muslims over there.
So, this sort of rhetoric does definitely does play into that sort of mentality. So, I would say that it is dangerous to our troops. It's also dangerous that we're even there in the first place. I think we have been in the Middle East for a little bit too long now, and it might be time to bring the troops back.
HARLOW: I want to read you a tweet from Democrat -- Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.
Let's pull this up. He tweeted today: "Racism has long been prevalent in Republican politics. Only difference now is that Trump is saying out loud what other R's merely suggest."
As a Republican, what's your response to that?
SHAKER: I would say that that is definitely not true.
I would say we should judge people based on their individual merits perhaps and not based on a group. It's the same thing that Donald Trump does when he says we should ban a all Muslims from coming in the country because there may be Muslim terrorists, with the same fact being that, as a Republican Muslim, I have been welcomed and felt a very welcoming sensation from the liberty movement that I'm a part of and the Republicans both in my hometown and abroad.
SHAKER: We have all sorts of -- say that again, ma'am.
HARLOW: Go ahead. No, go ahead.
SHAKER: We have all sorts of people, religions, colors. The Republican Party is very, very diverse, and I think people need to really make note of that.
HARLOW: Mohammed Shaker, thank you very much for being with us. Thank you for your service to this country. We appreciate it.
SHAKER: Thank you, ma'am.
HARLOW: Up next, new details about when the San Bernardino shooters were radicalized. I will speak live with the terror expert on how this happens and also about his report with stunning statistics about the rise in foreign fighters joining ISIS and other terror groups.
Stay with us for that.
HARLOW: New details emerging today about the killer couple in San Bernardino in those horrific attacks last week.
The FBI is trying to figure out if the killers had any unusual financial transactions that may be relevant leading up to this attack. Reuters today reporting from law enforcement sources, saying that an online lender recently issued a nearly $30,000 loan to the male shooter you see there.
Law enforcement officials that CNN spoke with could not verify that loan. But officials do say there's no indication at this point in time that any money the killers may have received came from an outside financer backing the plot. But FBI investigators say they are looking into all of the finances of
the couple. They are also looking at the finances of their families. The FBI also revealing both of the killers had been radicalized for -- quote -- "some time." Sources tell CNN they believe the wife had been radicalized at least two years ago, long before she arrived in the United States on that fiancee visa.
Sources in Pakistan also tell CNN authorities raided a home in Central Pakistan that was owned by her father before the family did move to Saudi Arabia. And police there reportedly confiscated religious books and documents.
Here to talk about all of this and the broader, broader terrorism fight, former FBI counterterrorism agent Ali Soufan. He served on the Joint Terrorism Task Force. He's author of "The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda."
Thank you very much for being here.
ALI SOUFAN, FORMER FBI INTERROGATOR: Hi, Poppy. Thank you. Thank you for having me.
HARLOW: You have a stunning report that frankly everyone is talking about today, showing how much the number of fighters, foreign fighters going and fighting inside Syria and Iraq has increased in just the last 18 months. Walk me through it.
SOUFAN: Well, we first studied the phenomenon of foreign fighters a long time before even ISIS became a caliphate back in May 2014.
And the number at the time of foreign fighters who traveled from around the world to the conflict zones specifically in Syria and in Iraq was about 12,000.
SOUFAN: So we decided to do another study and update our numbers.
And, stunningly, we found out that the number after 18 month of trying to contain that threat of foreign fighters went up between 27,000 to 31,000 foreign fighters.
SOUFAN: And we see significant increases in places, for example, like Western Europe. The number literally doubled.
If you look at the former Soviet republics, the number went up 300 percent, the United States, not much change.
HARLOW: You're former FBI counterterrorism. The latest number that we got yesterday, our Barbara Starr at the Pentagon reporting this number, that coalition airstrikes have killed more than 23,000 ISIS fighters since the war began.