Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Donald Trump Threatens To Sue Ted Cruz; Questions Over Whether Sit-In Photo Shows Sanders; Sanders To Clinton: "You're Not In The White House Yet"; Sanders, Clinton Spar Over Foreign Policy Advisers; Can Sanders Win The Black Vote in S.C.?; African-American Vote Could Be Key To S.C. Primary Win; Flint, Michigan Whistleblower Breaks Silence; Lone Wolf Terror Attack? Aired 8-9p ET
Aired February 12, 2016 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:15] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN GUEST HOST: Good evening. I'm Jim Sciutto filling in for Anderson tonight.
And tonight, we have unprecedented new chapters in so what some would call the already bizarre story of the 2016 presidential campaign.
New today, one Republican candidate threatening to sue another candidate and a political ad that was taken off the air because it features a former soft porn actress. Politics make string bedfellow indeed. We will get to that in a moment and we will hear from her firsthand later in the program.
But first, the considerably less steamy development, today's threat of litigation. That comes to you from you guessed it, Donald Trump, who was in Tampa, Florida tonight at a rally. On twitter today, Trump issued something of an ultimatum to his rival Ted Cruz.
Jim Acosta joins me now live from (INAUDIBLE).
So Jim, what is the mood like there so far? Because Trump promising a shift in tone to be more positive and yet today more attacks including this lawsuit threat.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Jim. You know, just a few moments ago, Donald Trump on stage here at this rally in Tampa, Florida said that his campaign is really a message about love and that he is the messenger. But there hasn't been a whole lot of love being found on the campaign trail today. As you mentioned there's the tweet that Trump sent out earlier this afternoon in which he threatens to take Ted Cruz to court if the Texas senator does not cease negative attack ads and other sorts of dirty tricks he's accusing Ted Cruz of carrying out in South Carolina.
The GOP front-runner has also been retweeting his supporters all day long questioning the Texas senator's Canadian birth. So far at this point, Jim, Donald Trump has not mentioned Ted Cruz yet. He has gone after Jeb Bush at one point saying he's asleep at the wheel calling him gutless. And this is Florida. Remember, Jeb Bush was the governor of Florida. So you know, this is not Trump holding back by any stretch of the imagination. The other thing that we are listening for at this rally tonight, which
has got started a little while ago, last night in Louisiana, Trump vowed to clean up his rhetoric no more foul language. That's what Trump was saying down in Louisiana.
Jeb Bush earlier today said Trump's language is a sign of his insecurities. Marco Rubio is saying he can't explain Trump's vulgarities to his kids. So far we have not heard coarse language from Donald Trump that this campaign rally here in Tampa, but he is letting loose and he is going off on Jeb Bush as you might be able to hear right now, talking about all the money that Jeb Bush raised during the course of his campaign, how much he spent and how it is not amounting to very much at the polls. So we are watching and listening to Donald Trump. We will see if he perhaps brings up Ted Cruz, this feud that they are having, but so far he hasn't done it yet. He is dogging it now, Jim, actually.
SCIUTTO: Well, speaking of Ted Cruz and then you hear the boos in the background. Listen to what he had to say.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Evangelicals in the United States. I won in New Hampshire. I won with the evangelicals, we won. So find out. You know, yesterday, I just heard, you know, we always talk about China and the president of China, our trading partner, our wonderful partner. They copy the F-35 plane. Right? You know about that? Did you hear about that?
You can't tell the difference. You look at it. They copied our plans. And they did more than copy our plans that. I guarantee you they have everything that they need right down to the most complicated mathematical solutions, all done, 100 percent, stolen off our web. And they -- that's right, Hillary gave it. The guy says Hillary did it. Yes, maybe it was stolen from the emails.
SCIUTTO: So no new jab at Cruz there yet. But speaking, Jim Acosta, of Cruz, his campaign pulling that new ad today because it featured a previous adult film actress. You expect Trump to seize on that as an opportunity tonight?
ACOSTA: Well, it's certainly an opportunity for Donald Trump, but he hasn't done it yet. We talked to his campaign earlier today. They didn't bring it up. But it does sort of runs counter. It wasn't inadvertent casting of that actress in that ad for Ted Cruz. We should point that out. But it does run counter to some of Ted Cruz's strategy today which is to call attention to some of Donald Trump's coarse language. He was saying that earlier today. There is a little ridiculous for Donald Trump to be coming after me and asking about negative attacks when he can't even control the language he uses on the campaign trail. Obviously there's an ad out there that is a little risque that may be something that Ted Cruz is being asked about in South Carolina. And my understanding is that did come up earlier today when he was talking with reporters.
But you know, his is vintage Donald Trump tonight, Jim. We are inside an arena on the campus of the University of South Florida that is packed all the way to the rafters. It has to be roughly 10,000 people in here. And Donald Trump is just going through attack line after attack line, mentioning building a wall on the border with Mexico. These are the lines that his supporters come out to hear every night. Every one of these events he delivers them and the crowd eats it up. So it is vintage Donald Trump here tonight in Tampa, Jim.
[20:05:35] SCIUTTO: Yes. And we can hear that energy behind you, Jim Acosta.
As we were mentioning not only does Ted Cruz has have this threat from Donald Trump of a lawsuit hanging over his head, but also he took one of those campaign ads off the air after discovering it featured a former adult film actress. She will join us on the program later tonight. And she also spoke out to earlier today as the Cruz camp reacted to the latest attacks from Trump.
Politics and porn, all in a day's work. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty reports.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I voted for a guy who was the tea party hero on the campaign trail.
SUNLEN SERFATY, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This campaign ad is backfiring on Ted Cruz.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe you should vote for more than a pretty face next time.
SERFATY: On the air waves in South Carolina less than 24 hours then abruptly yanked off the air by the Cruz campaign after it was revealed this actress in the ad is also an adult film star. Amy Lindsay has appeared in (INAUDIBLE) movies with racy titles, "Private Sex Club," "Carnal Wishes," and "insatiable Desires." Lindsay landed a spot in an ad after auditioning in an open casting call and says she is extremely disappointed in the Cruz campaign for pulling it off the air.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was pretty shocking to be honest with you. It was just like what?
SERFATY: Ted Cruz responded for the first time today putting blame on the casting company.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because we would not have cast her had we known that history. It was inadvertence in terms of the casting agency that we brought in to hire the actors. And given that we didn't know them, we decided to pull it down.
SERFATY: The controversy as the Cruz campaign in South Carolina is making a big play for evangelical voters. Cruz trying to move past the episode while appearing today at a conservative Christian university Bob Jones.
CRUZ: We decided that prudence dictated pulling the ads now. So we did.
SERFATY: Amy Lindsay is a Christian conservative and says she is still an undecided voter herself, deciding between Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. Today, Lindsay telling CNN's Jake Tapper she thinks the campaign was too skittish in pulling the ad to save face among evangelicals.
AMY LINDSAY, ACTRESS: I have gotten a lot of support on the right from a lot of people that the Ted Cruz campaign may have acted hastily.
SERFATY: Cruz's team also facing fresh scrutiny from Donald Trump who tweeted today quote "If Ted Cruz doesn't clean up his act, stop cheating and negative ads, I have standing to sue him for not being a natural born citizen.
Cruz today down played the threat, calling it amusing.
CRUZ: There is more than a little irony in Donald accusing anyone of being nasty given the amazing torrents of insults, of insanities and vulgarities what comes out of his mouth.
SERFATY: Sunlen Serfaty, CNN, Greenville, South Carolina.
SCIUTTO: Joining me to talk more about this, CNN political commentator and Washington correspondent for the "New Yorker," Ryan Lizza, CNN political analyst and "New York Times" presidential campaign correspondent, Maggie Haberman and CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Good to have you all on tonight.
Ryan, you know, we have seen a lot in this campaign. We haven't yet seen the porn actress and now we have it. I mean, is this a story of the day? Does it have a staying power?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it this has staying power because Cruz took the ad down and he turned it in to a bigger deal than it had to be. I mean, what do you think Donald Trump would have done if he ran an ad and they found out this actress had some, you know, some racy movies? He would have said, no way I'm taking that down. He would look --.
SCIUTTO: He would play it more times, right?
LIZZA: He would play it more times. And frankly, people -- his supporters would have cheered. I think Cruz made a bit of a mistake here. He acted defensive and, you know, why can't this woman star in an ad that has absolutely no -- nothing to do with sex or anything in her past? I think it is completely ridiculous.
SCIUTTO: Well, Maggie, let me ask you because in terms of senator Cruz's voting base, particularly in South Carolina, heavy reliance on evangelicals, I can imagine his thinking. Do you think this was a mistake, or makes sense in terms of who he is aiming for, particularly in the next primary?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think he is very worried about making sure he has every evangelical voter possible. Donald Trump is leading in every poll handedly in some of them. And so, Ted Cruz needs a very perfect storm of votes. So I think that what was in his mind when he did that. And his language has been purely absolute on certain topics, you know, and being sort of a purist in terms of the eyes of evangelical voters is one of them.
I agree with Ryan, though, I think it made it a much bigger story. I don't think that we would have been talking about it all day if he had not pulled the ad. That was a pretty uncomfortable seeming press conference that he just had. And as always happens with Donald Trump, you know, he senses weakness and he just moves in for the kill. And that's what you saw with that tweet.
[20:10:21] SCIUTTO: So Jeff, let's talk about another weakness that Donald Trump is sensing here. This tweet we saw today, let's show it, Donald Trump tweeting if Ted Cruz doesn't clean up his acts, stop cheating and doing negative ads I have standing to sue him for not being a natural born citizen.
So let's start out legally. Does Trump have legal ground to stand here on this on a potential lawsuit?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think he does, Jim. What is clear is that a citizen, a voter does not have standing. You can't just walk in to court and say Ted Cruz is not eligible, excuse me, to run for president because he is not a natural born citizen. The courts are clear about that. But in other similar circumstances like in state legislatures where one candidate maybe doesn't live in the district, the courts have said the opposing candidate does have standing to challenge him. So I think Trump does probably have standing.
Now, I do think that on the merits Trump would lose the case that I do think that Ted Cruz is eligible to be president. But if he were to file a lawsuit that would probably bring Ted Cruz's campaign to a virtual standstill because, you know, federal courts don't deal with these issues overnight. It would take at least a month and probably longer than that. And you know, here we are. We are in the middle of February. The delegates are going to be decided in the next few weeks. So I think this is a threat that has some teeth.
SCIUTTO: I mean, Ryan, that's -- you know Jeffrey is a smart guy. He knows the law saying that, one, he has legal standing on this and two it could drag out, you know, of course considering the next month we are coming in to with Super Tuesday coming up. It is also interesting because Trump had been laying off of this for a while. He talked about Cruz's citizenship in the past leading up dialing and kind of dropped it for a bit. How serious do you think the prospect is for this Cruz candidacy?
LIZZA: Well, the lawsuits that are out there right now, there's one I think in Alabama and there are couple of others and they are just by voters. So if Trump wants this - I mean, I think part of Trump's strategy early on may have been to encourage some lawsuits by others to see if he could get traction. And I refer to Jeff's analysis that those voters don't have standing so it has to actually be a candidate who would lose something to do it.
You know, Trump is unpredictable. I don't know if he will do it or not. He is at 35 percent in the polls in South Carolina. He is close second place in Iowa, smashing victory in New Hampshire. He is sitting in a pretty good shape right now. He is the most likely Republican to win the nomination. I don't know if he necessarily needs to file a lawsuit to beat Ted Cruz. He seems to be dealing on his own.
SCIUTTO: Maggie, you look at the tweet from Trump. It's essentially a threat, right? I mean, you know, saying if he doesn't clean up his act he is going to sue him. Do you think it's a sign that the Trump campaign is getting more and more concerned about going up against Cruz in South Carolina? We talk about Trump sensing weakness here, is this, in a way, a sign of weakness from the Trump side? That they feel the need to do this.
HABERMAN: No. I think Trump is basically sensing that Cruz is concerned and he is trying to keep the pressure on. I think that Trump is also trying to make himself seem like the victim here. Cruz has been going after me. He is throwing negative ads against me. He did this thing against Ben Carson which caused me votes in Iowa which is what the whole stance for him has been for a while.
You know, his campaign went up with the negative ads against Cruz on Tuesday. They pulled it on Wednesday and said we are going for a positive message. Tonight, they are up with a new really, really tough ad. But it is not against any other candidate. It is about undocumented immigrants and about a case where an undocumented immigrant killed a teenager in Los Angeles in 2008.
It's a pretty tough ad. This is where Trump is trying to make that others are going after him. He's a victim of the establishment. I would be pretty surprised, candidly, if a lawsuit is ever filed. I mean, Ryan is right that he is unpredictable. But what he is predictable in that he doesn't like to spend his own money in great amounts as he tells us and that would be costly.
SCIUTTO: One final thought.
TOOBIN: I don't think it would be that costly. One thing that Donald Trump values is aggression. And you know, he files a lawsuit, let Ted Cruz try to explain. You know, let him try to defend that he is a natural born citizen. That will occupy a lot of his time and energy and that would be a good thing for Donald Trump.
HABERMAN: I'll believe it when I see it.
SCIUTTO: The legal aspect, it is about soaking up a lot of oxygen.
Ryan Lizza, Maggie Haberman, Jeff Toobin, great to have you on, as always. Coming up, the actress who was in that Ted Cruz ad who also has some
adult films on her resume. I will speak with Amy Lindsay about what he thinks of the fallout from the campaign ad.
And next, questions about a photo that Bernie Sanders uses in his campaign. He says it shows him at a civil rights sit in but it may not be him after all.
[20:18:38] SCIUTTO: This already has been quite a battle for the White House to say the at least. And now, there's another moment that has a lot of people talking. As we mentioned earlier, Ted Cruz had to pull this attack ad against Marco Rubio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that make you angry?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Angry? Makes me feel dumb for trusting him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe you should vote more than just a pretty face next time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: The problem for the Cruz campaign, the woman on the right is a soft-core porn veteran who starred in such movies as "Forbidden Sins" and "Indecent Disclosure." To be fair she has appeared in less sexy roles such as "Star Trek" episode.
Today, Ted Cruz blamed the production company that did the ad for not vetting her properly and told reporters that she had quote "more colorful film history" than he in his campaign were aware of. Cruz said they would not have cast her in the role if they had been aware of her history.
The actress at the center of the controversy Amy Lindsay is joins me now.
Amy, we appreciate you joining me for this.
LINDSAY: Thank you for having me.
SCIUTTO: I just want to make clear right at the top for our viewers here, the kind of adult entertainment that you were involved in, it was considered soft-core adult entertainment to be clear. That said, I do wonder what went through your mind when you first heard that this ad was taken off the air.
LINDSAY: Well, thank you. Everything I have done as been rated "R" and nothing besides that. I was pretty shocked. The ad, I had never seen it come out. And I got apparently, as soon as it was out, it was down and I was getting media calls right away. So I was pretty shocked to be honest with you, yes. [20:20:16] SCIUTTO: When you took the job initially for this ad, was
there any indication that you know that the role of this was an ad for the Cruz campaign?
LINDSAY: I knew at the audition that it was an ad for a Republican candidate. That much was clear from the writing. Obviously you saw the commercial. So like I said it was clear this was going to be a Republican and conservative, which is who I am and what I stand for and believe in the message. So I was very excited to be doing a commercial for a Republican candidate.
SCIUTTO: And that's -- I do want to get to that because that's something our viewers should know. That you are a conservative Republican. But in doing an ad like, this was there any screening process at all? I mean, did they ask you about your background, about the types of movies that you had done in the past or they just sort of pick you for the role and slot you right in?
LINDSAY: Well, you come in and you audition and there are many, many people that are trying out for this role. And they were handed my head shot and resume on the back. I don't know if anyone read it or if anyone looked at it. Someone recognized me from the commercial in about 30 seconds. So I wasn't hiding anything and they did not ask me.
SCIUTTO: Understood. And to be fair, and again to our viewers, you have a long background in acting and we want to be clear that's not the only kind of films and roles you have done. But I want to play for you a little bit about what Ted Cruz said regarding this. Let's have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: It happened that one of the actresses, who was there, had a more colorful film history than we were aware. We had a casting call. She came and auditioned and we did not realize her film history when we did. We decided prudence dictated pulling the ads so we did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: And again, just to remind our viewers you describe yourself as a conservative Republican. You are evaluating these candidates, including Ted Cruz as this happens. Do you think his campaign had a legitimate reason to take this ad down so quickly?
LINDSAY: Kudos to Ted Cruz for labeling it colorful. Clearly in the media the last couple of days I have been called different things. So I will take it as a compliment. And you know, Ted Cruz is a politician. He has handlers and media experts and they have every right to do what they feel is right to win this campaign. He has a job to do. I had a job to do. I have no beef or no hard feelings toward the campaign, to be honest with you.
But at the same time I think it is an interesting slant that people would look at, this is also someone who could be a Ted Cruz voter. And that's not what you are hearing. You are hearing they are all white males over the age of, you know, whatever and Christian fanatics and gun toting. I mean, I'm a pretty liberal, socially leaning person, but I do have my fiscally conservative views. And I think that should be very interesting, you know. Like this is the face of the new Republicans. And that is what I would personally do with this whole attention.
SCIUTTO: Before I let you go, do you have in a favorite candidate in this race at this point?
LINDSAY: I do.
SCIUTTO: Are you going to tell us?
LINDSAY: Not today.
SCIUTTO: OK. That's your right.
Amy Lindsay, we appreciate your taking time to answer our questions tonight.
LINDSAY: Thank you so much for having me. Appreciate it.
SCIUTTO: And coming up, questions about a photo that Bernie Sanders uses in his campaign. He says that it shows him in a civil rights sit in but it may not be him after all. We are going to talk about that right after this break.
[20:27:56] SCIUTTO: It's a picture you may have seen before the race. It shows a young Bernie Sanders in a civil rights sit in back in the early 1960s. He has it in a campaign video. He has talked about it on television. There is just one problem, it may not be him in that photo. No one is disputing the fact that Sanders was at this particular sit-in, but in a campaign where securing the African- American vote will be crucial, a mistake about a decades old photo may not be as simple as black and white.
Tom Foreman reports tonight.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In one explosive moment, Bernie Sanders long claims about defending minority rights, especially in the 1960s came in to question when civil rights icon John Lewis said --
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: Well, to be very frank, I don't want to touch you off but I never saw him. I never met him.
FOREMAN: Sanders from largely white Vermont has heard such critiques before. Despite ample evidence he was already a civil rights activist way back in college, organizing protests, getting arrested.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is you in 1962.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Who's that handsome young guy?
FOREMAN: He told MSNBC he demanded his own university change racist policies.
SANDERS: Stop keeping your housing that you own segregated. Stop segregated housing at the University of Chicago and later I got involve with segregated schools in the city of Chicago.
FOREMAN: But even that photograph is complicated. Although it is in his campaign did he and Sanders lead us to believe that is him taking charges of the demonstration, a caption on the university's archive identifies the handsome guy as another student.
Still, Sanders has undeniably taken up issues many times that matter to African-Americans, health care, judicial reform is maintained ties to leading black activist like Al Sharpton. He helped Jesse Jackson win Vermont when he ran for president and Jackson's rainbow coalition helped Sanders campaign for the Senate. The NAACP has given Sanders extremely high marks.
[20:30:01] president will fight hard to end the same of racism in this country and reform our criminal justice systems.
FOREMAN: One member of the congressional black caucus is saying John Lewis never saw Sanders at the high of the 1960s struggles because Lewis lived in the southeast. "No matter how good your eyesight is," Congressman Keith Ellison, says, "if you are standing in Alabama you can't see people in Chicago."
Strangely, Lewis his comments may not help Hillary Clinton much either. After he slammed Sanders, he said he did meet Bill and Hillary Clinton but it appears that meeting took place some 20 years after the heyday of the civil rights movement.
SANDERS: The human spirit, May it never be extinguished.
FOREMAN: By then, Bernie Sanders had recorded a musical tribute to the civil rights era. But for critics in this fierce political battle, none of that seems to matter as they insist his record is little more than a song and dance. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: So what is the campaign's take on this? Joining me now is Bernie Sanders campaign manager. Jeff Weaver. Jeff, we appreciate you taking the questions tonight. So, I want to give you a chance to respond directly to all of this is that Senator Sanders in this photo? And we're going to show it again at the sit-in at the University of Chicago in 1962.
JEFF WEAVER, BERNIE SANDERS CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Look, today the photographer of that photo and another photo which is also Bernie with the University College President which is featured in our advertising came forward and said he took those photos and that is in fact Bernie Sanders in those photos.
SCIUTTO: So the campaign confident despite the fact you have this research done that showed a different name in the caption that this is indeed him?
WEAVER: I think there was some confusion at one point by some relatives of somebody else. But the photographer himself, has said who took the picture the actual picture said that is Bernie Sanders. I was there. He named some other people in the room. We're 100 percent confident given that that if that's him.
SCIUTTO: OK. You stand by the ad. I want to ask you about another topic. This is something that Senator Sanders said in the debate last night and it has gotten a lot of attention. When he told Secretary Clinton, quote, "You're not in the White House yet." Now there are some are comparing it to candidate Obama and you will remember in 2008, you are likable enough Hillary comment. Back then he took criticism then for it being a bit caustic. Does Senator Sanders regret saying that line last night?
WEAVER: Well, I haven't spoken to him about it. I would note given your comparison then Senator Obama became President Obama. So it may end up being here attempt us in a teapot. But, look, that debate last night was an excellent exchange on the issues and the differences between the candidates on the issues.
I thought by and large until the last, you know, minute and a half or so it was substantive and the democratic voters deserve a substantive and, you know, sharp contrast between the candidates on the issues. I think that's completely appropriate in this process. So that voters have the information they need to make a decision.
So, you know, that being said, at the end of the debate, you know, you may recall Secretary Clinton then resorted to taking personal shots of Senator Sanders on the way out of the debate but that aside, the debate I thought, other than that, was a really great contrast between the way the Democrats are debating in the race opposed to Republicans who were engaged in sort of food fight and mud slinging politics on their side.
SCIUTTO: Well, let me ask you about another moment in last night's debate. Secretary Clinton she argued that people really don't know who Senator Sanders advisers are on foreign policy. On that question, can you say tonight who are senator's -- the senator's foreign policy advisers other than for instances Lawrence Core who was assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan?
WEAVER: OK. That's a good one, right? One he has been a senator since 2006 who's in the house for many years before that. He is been the 50 different foreign countries, he is met presidents, prime ministers, kings and princes all over this world. You know he has strong background in foreign policy and will be getting a list out all of you a carry spokes in the media very soon on the list of foreign policy advisers. I do want to say though ...
SCIUTTO: Just tonight give us some point and your very close to too. Give as a couple of names that you said, Henry Kissinger is not among them.
WEAVER: Yeah. That's for sure. And Mother Jones today exposed not only does Secretary Clinton rely on former Secretary Kissinger for advice on foreign policy but also vacation together and what have you. So, I think last night you saw a different approach to foreign policy. I think democratic voters are not interested in this sort of interventionist type of regime change foreign policy that we have seen from Secretary Clinton and Henry Kissinger frankly.
[20:35:01] SCIUTTO: Well, Jeff, we'll look for the list of advisers when the campaign is ready to share. Jeff Weaver, thanks for joining us tonight.
WEAVER: You got it. Thanks for having me.
SCIUTTO: A quick programming note, in case you missed it, CNN will replay the democratic debate between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. That is tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. And just ahead, we're going to talk with our panel about the Bernie Sanders photo flap. How big of a deal is it for his campaign and his credibility in particular among African-American voters.
SCIUTTO: And before the break, we talked about new questions over this picture, young Bernie Sanders in civil right sit-in back in the early 1960's.
He has it in a campaign video, he's talked about it on television, but there have been questions about whether that is indeed him in the photo.
Joining me now, Angela Rye, she's a political strategist and former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus, also CNN political commentator and host of BET News, Mark Lamont Hill.
Mark, just before the break, you heard the campaign manager for Sanders, Jeff Weaver, say that they are confident, they stand by this photo that it was Sanders there.
There are researchers that disagree. They turned up a caption that says a different name.
[20:40:01] Jeff Weaver, the campaign manager says that the photographer says that was indeed Bernie Sanders.
I mean, do you believe that that answer we heard from the campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, does that put an end to the question about this photo?
MARC LAMONT HILL, HOST, BET NEWS: No, it doesn't put an end to it. There are people who say that's not Bernie Sanders. There are people who were there, who were at the school and at the event who say that wasn't Bernie Sanders. I'm not convinced that it was.
And the campaign is just actually said, one of the cameraman says it was. So, they don't confirm that it was but much should they say with someone else confirms that it was. At the end of the day it doesn't matter.
My bigger concern is not whether Bernie is in that photo is whether or not Bernie Sanders has an agenda for African-American people that is stronger than Hillary Clinton.
SCIUTTO: I want to ask your -- what your position is on that? Do you believe that he has enough of the background and I'll ask you as well, Angela, but Marc, while you bring that up, does he have credibility with African-American voters?
HILL: That's an interesting question. I think his economic plan, his vision for America is inclusive of black people and I think that it has a significant amount of teeth it to.
But, Bernie Sanders has not done an effective job of talking about targeted policy for African-Americans. He hasn't done an effective for of talking to African-American communities up until very recently about race-specific issues.
And so, to that extent I'm worried that he's a little bit tone deaf. But, it doesn't mean that he's not the right guy or that he is the right guy, it just means its a little tone deaf right now.
SCIUTTO: So, Angela, watching the debate last night, Bernie Sanders when he was asked about if race relations would be better under his presidency than they've been under Barack Obama, he replied absolutely.
Is it possible he got a little over his skis there to say that he would be better than the nation's first black president?
ANGELA RYE, POLITICAL STRATEGIST: I think it's very possible. I think the bigger question I have and it describe exactly what Marc was talking about is what he's going do specifically to heal the divide in this country on race relations.
I know there are folks on the conservative side of the aisle that have certainly blamed President Barack Obama for the worsening of race relations and conditions amongst black and white people and brown people in this country, but they are blaming him because he is a black president and not because of the racial issues that exist in this country because he is a black president.
And so, I think the other thing that we really have to ask Bernie Sanders in the campaign is who is in the room that is going to help you set the policy agenda for people because you don't want to do it for people without involving their voices.
Bernie sanders, who in your kitchen cabinet looks like the face of America that would help you not only set an agenda for black America but for brown America, too?
I think these are the kinds of questions that we need, so not only be asking Bernie Sanders but also Hillary Clinton. I know of some of her top senior policy advisers, I know someone Sanders on his campaign, but I want to know if she is in the room and helping in helping in the state policy agenda.
SCIUTTO: But Marc, let's first -- first on the Sanders campaign, I do want to get to the Hillary Clinton campaign on this question, but some have noted that the interesting timing that really just now and the run up to South Carolina, you have Bernie Sanders now doing things like stopping in Harlem, meeting with Al Sharpton.
From the perspective of the black community, are these efforts to connect with black voters a little staged, too little too late?
HILL: Well, I don't purport to speak for the entire black community, but what I can say is that black voters have long memories. Studies and report show that black voters think of our -- that candidates will be there the whole time and those who have not.
And Bernie Sanders had done a struggle fourth quarter push here that has some people raising their eyebrows and I've spoken too on to work out.
Now, the flip about is that Hillary Clinton has been a long distance runner but some of the race Hillary Clinton has run has been very troublesome. Again, Hillary Clinton was supportive of the Crime Bill.
She supported of the three strikes, support of welfare reform, support of a prison litigation reformat. So, being a long distance runner having a long connection to black people is insufficient if the connection itself is flawed.
SCIUTTO: Angela, in that vein, Michelle Alexander wrote a very powerful piece for "The Nation" this week entitled, "Why Hillary Clinton Doesn't Deserve the Black Vote?" She writes quote that, "Hillary Clinton believes that she can win this game in 2016 because this time she's got us." The black vote in her back pocket in effect.
Is there a sense among and I don't expect you or Marc to speak for all African-Americans, but just to give your sense of the view here that she and her campaign are taking their votes for granted.
RYE: I don't think that they are taking votes for granted. I would say that to Marc's point, Hillary Clinton is a shrewd politician and she is effectively played this game very well.
You saw of course yesterday, the CBC PAC endorsement of Hillary Clinton. That is impart because of relationships that exist and for -- and have existed for a long time.
That's not about taking votes for granted. That is about being smart about where the next election will be held. Right after that you are going to South Carolina for Democrats.
She need these votes and to Michelle Alexander point -- her point, 100 percent she does not deserve the black vote, but she better earn the black vote. Just like Bernie Sanders, just like Donald Trump, just like Ted Cruz and the rest of them. [20:45:02] SCIUTTO: We're going to see big indication of that in South Carolina, certainly.
Angela Rye, Marc Lamont Hill, thanks very much. Great to have you on.
Just ahead, a CNN Exclusive, new allegations to night that state officials failed to act quickly to find the source of a deadly legionnaires' outbreak in Flint, Michigan. An outbreak that began shortly after the city switched its water supply to save money.
SCIUTTO: People trying to enjoy dinner at an Ohio restaurant were attacked by a man with a machete. Authorities are now investigating this. This is a potential lone wolf terror attack. CNN's Deborah Feyerick has more on the bloody and brutal crime.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The attack happened at the Nazareth Middle Eastern restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, 911 CALLER: Some guy pulled out a machete and started stabbing people. I ran out with my kids.
FEYERICK: A man with a machete attacked and injured four people, one of them critically.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, 911 CALLER: It was the table in front of me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, 911 CALLER: He's just started to attack people.
KAREN BASS, WITNESS: I thought it was a personal thing and then he just started down the road hitting everybody with something, I don't know. It was -- people are bleeding.
FEYERICK: Official say, the attacker is 30-year-old Mohamed Barry. He's at Somali origin and has a drug-related criminal record.
The FBI is looking into Barry's recent travel and then the potential links to Jihad. The restaurant is own by an Israeli-Arab Christian.
Hany Baransi tells the Columbus dispatched the attacker was apparently inside the restaurant asking an employee about him.
[20:50:03] HANY BARANSI, RESTAURANT OWNER: I understood that he left, came back 30 minutes later and then attacked a person and then starts slicing up people down the booths.
FEYERICK: People inside the restaurant fought back. Some of them, throwing chairs, another, confronting the suspect.
SGT. RICHARD WEINER, COLUMBUS POLICE: Nobody inside, from the people that we spoken to, whether it be some of the patrons or the employees, nobody said that they knew him.
FEYERICK: The suspect fled driving off with multiple police cruisers chasing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, DISPATCH: He's trying to get out of the vehicle. He's getting ready to go again. He's moving in.
FEYERICK: Police say, they got the suspect to stop. He tried escaping out of the passenger door with his weapons.
WEINER: He had a machete and another knife in his hand and he lunged across the hood at the officers. Another officer in a cruiser fired a couple of shots at him. And put him down.
FEYERICK: One person initially critical, was rushed into surgery and is now listed in stable condition.
Deborah Feyerick, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: On March 6, CNN will host a Democratic presidential debate in Flint, Michigan. A city that is back in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Flint's poisoned water system has sparked national outrage. We've been reporting for weeks now on this man-made disaster. A switch in the city's water supply to save money exposed thousands of people, including children, to lead and other toxins.
Concerns were raised almost immediately but officials waited 18 months to take action. And in the meantime, lead levels in some of Flint's children doubled even tripled.
But that's not all. Not even close. Shortly after the water supply was switched, people started getting sick and dieing from legionnaires' disease. 87 people fell ill, nine people died.
Tonight in an exclusive CNN interview, a county worker says "Those deaths could have been prevented. Officials had not dragged their feet in identifying the source of the outbreak.
Here's CNN's Sara Ganim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARA GANIM, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: In the summer of 2014, people in Flint started dying in what would be come one of the worst outbreak of legionnaires' disease in U.S. history.
JIM HENRY, GENESEE COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR: We were suspecting it was City of Flint water supply.
GANIM: After the city began to drawing from the highly corrosive Flint River, brown water started flowing from taps.
HENRY: That was the big red flag.
GANIM: Eventually, toxic lead would be discovered. But that summer, the county health director hadn't found the source of the legionnaires' disease, which by that point was already killing people. So he got in touch with the CDC.
When you reached out, what did you expect to happen?
HENRY: We expected that we'd have a team of people that would help us identify the source of these bacteria, the source of this illness to stop it.
GANIM: But that didn't happen. The Centers for Disease Control, the federal agency tasked with the investigating outbreaks, didn't show up. And the county health director Jim Henry says, "Michigan State officials purposely kept them away.''
HENRY: Our whole team was angry. It was -- you could see that it was an intentional, deliberate method to prevent us from doing our job.
GANIM: According to CDC protocol, a state must invite the CDC to investigate an outbreak and Michigan did not do that.
HENRY: The state stopped our investigation by prohibiting us to communicate. They prohibited communication between the Centers for Disease Control and Genesee County Health Department. They prevented their team to come here and help us find the source.
GANIM: Legionella thrives in warm weather and Henry said he was racing against the clock, trying to prevent another outbreak from happening the following summer. Still hoping the CDC would come and pinpoint the cause.
HENRY: It was infuriating.
GANIM: Michigan State officials did provide assistance but never found the cause of the outbreak. The state would not agree to an interview, saying only this, "We were able to meet the epidemiological case investigation need in the county. CDC was a part of these conversations, as they were involved in many aspects of the investigation."
But the CDC tells CNN that "It felt a comprehensive investigation was warranted and offered to further assist Michigan. In this case, Michigan felt that they had the skills and resources needed to perform the investigations themselves.''
As the weather warmed in 2015, just as Henry had feared, there was a second wave of cases but to Henry's astonishment, the state had already declared the legionnaires' outbreak over.
When you read that, what did you think?
HENRY: There must be a mistake. We had two new cases in June. We had multiple cases and to determine the outbreak over must have been some sort of mistake.
[20:55:05] GANIM: That's what you thought at the time?
HENRY: That's what I thought at the time
GANIM: What do you think now?
HENRY: It was intentional to stop the investigation that would implicate the Flint water system in this outbreak.
GANIM: By summers end, four more people would die, including 58-year- old Deborah Kidd.
Her son, Troy says, "She got sick after visiting the E.R. from migraine. She didn't know there were high levels of legionella in the hospital water supply."
He's family is now suing the hospital and the state.
TROY KID, MOTHER DIED OF LEGIONNAIRES' DISEASE: I think it's a cover up. I think its stinks. I think they knew there was something more going on with the -- wanted to really let on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Sara, every time I learn more about the story, it's just alarming. I understand though, the CDC did finally make it to Flint.
GANIM: Yes, Jim. They were finally invited by the state. They were there last week. But experts tells us, it's likely too late to make any kind of scientific link. So to this day, they still do not know the exact cause of this outbreak and they may never know, Jim.
SCIUTTO: Incredible. Still don't know.
Sara Ganim, thanks very much.
We'll be right back.
SCIUTTO: The CNN quiz show is back on Monday. CNN anchors and political commentators compete in a battle of presidential trivia with Anderson Cooper hosting.
That is Monday at 9 p.m. That does it for us tonight.
[21:00:00] I'm Jim Sciutto.
CNN TONIGHT with Don Lemon starts right now.