tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN September 30, 2015 11:00am-1:01pm PDT
secretary of defense ash carter will be speaking from the pentagon, live pictures from the upper right corner of your screen as the world is watching what he could say in the wake of these dramatic torn of events in this u.s.-led war on isis. russia claiming it is going after the terror group inside of syria unleashing its very first round of air strikes in and around the city of homs, but all is not as it seems. a u.s. official telling cnn these bombs being dropped by russian war planes are not intended for isis at all but instead could be be targeting rebel fighters. enemies of syrian president bashar al assad, a very close ally of president vladimir putin of russia and a man known to the united states for barrel-bombing his own citizens, something that president obama brought up to the u.n. general assembly days ago. russia even admitting these strikes were ordered by assad.
i have elise labott and major general james spider marks cnn military analyst. great to have you both on. we're waiting in anticipation of what the sec def might say. what isn't being said specifically is who are what the russians are targeting. what are your sources telling you? >> well, they're telling me that this is not a target for strategic enforcement if you were toing going after isis. if you look where the strikes started in homs, this is not an area that isis is really on the ground. these are more areas for the free syrian army, even al nuthra, which to be fair is considered a terrorist group by the united states. again, these are groups against bashar al assad. this is not an isis campaign. this is to shore up the syrian military which has been very weakened over the last many months on the battlefield. >> let's call it what it is. >> let's do that.
>> the russians have inserted themselves in this conflict. when they deploy aircraft, they're going to have ground to air weapon systems to protect those aircraft. they're going after anti-regime forces to bolster assad. end of sentence. >> not isis. >> end of sentence. they have the capability to go after isis but what they're doing initially is making a very strong statement to both the united states as coalition partners and assad, we're with assad. we're going to help bolster this up. and by the way, the united states said, we got your message, we don't want us to fly. we can continue to fly our missions but there can be natural deconfliction so the u.s. and russian aircraft aren't going to -- >> everybody is using this word "deconfliction". this is not deconfliction. this is russia trying to ground the u.s. it's creating this new reality on the ground which is basically not to go after bashar al assad. and let's be fair.
i don't think this u.s. wants assad to fall right away. they are definitely concerned that there is some element of the russian military that will go against the opposition, but if they're there to make sure the syrian regime doesn't fall and there's not a vacuum, i don't think that's really at otds with what they're looking at. and that's in effect what secretary kerry told me yesterday in an interview i did with him. he said, yes, we are concerned about their intentions on the ground, but there is actually an opportunity here if he could use his military -- if putin could use his military influence, his strategic and political influence with bashar al assad -- >> but that's a huge if. >> huge if. >> hang on. two days ago putin and obama met 90 minutes behind closed doors. >> and said they would cooperate. >> and look what's happening right now. >> this is checkmate. this is putin saying, yes, i understand what you want in
syria. this is what i want in syria. and i'm going to make it happen. >> look what putin did in ukraine, with crimecrimea. he talked on a 60 minutes interview, once kgb, always kgb. how can he be trusted? >> i can't be. the elise, i understand what you're saying. i don't know that we need to be fair with russia here. it has done nothing to engender itself toward a peaceful solution or acknowledging there really is a challenge with isis and we need to collectively go after it. but we have no experience coordinating with the russians in any type of a cooperative manner. and we've never had a hot war against russia. so we are really tipping the scale right now. >> this is true. but barbara starr made a very good point earlier today. this is not the way militaries cooperate. >> absolutely not. >> you can have opposite aims especially in the wake of the meeting where president obama and president putin said, our militaries are going to talk this week. this is not the way to communicate. >> let me come back to you two in a second. i also have as we anticipate the
secretary of defense ash carter speaking from the pentagon any moment now on what's happened to senior. let me go to arwa damon who is live in i believe istanbul. talk to me what about you're hearing on the ground from syria from where these bombs have landed. >> reporter: well, the activist networks are basically saying that these were not isis strongholds that were targeted. in fact -- >> here he is, secretary of defense ash carter. >> today let me begin with syria. last week i observed from this podium, as i had observed privately to russian minister of defense the week prior, that there is a logical contradiction in the russian position and now its actions in syria. russia states an intent to fight isil on the one hand and to
support bashar al assad and his regime on the other. fighting isil without pursuing a parallel political transition only risks escalating the civil war in syria. and with it the very extremism and instability that moscow claims to be concerned about and aspire to fighting. so this approach -- that approach is tantamount as i said then to pouring gasoline on the fire. in contrast, our position is clear, that a lasting defeat of isil and extremism in syria can only be achieved in parallel with the political transition in syria. and we will continue to insist on the importance of simultaneously pursuing these
two objectives. now, i would hope that russia would join us in pursuing these objectives, which they claim to share, in parallel rather than in a sequence that cannot succeed. during my phone call with theñi minister, i also told him i was prepared to send a dod team to meet with russian defense counterparts at a location to be agreed upon to ensure that we would avoid any inadvertent incidents over syrian air space. and yesterday i directedly team to proceed with exactly such a meeting as soon as possible, that is, in the next few days. now, our goals for this meeting are the following, to facilitate the flow of information between coalition forces and russian elements that will help us maintain the safety of our personnel in the region, which is critical. to ensure that any additional russian actions do not interview
with our coalition's efforts to degrade and defeat isil. and to clarify that broader u.s. security commitments in the region remain unchanged. as i've said before, we will deliver a lasting defeat to isil. with a global coalition of over 60 nations, we're taking the fight to isil across the physical, virtual and ideological battle space. the coalition has conducted over 7100 air strikes, hampering isil's movement and operations and systematically targeting this terrorist group's leadership. and the coalition will continue to fly missions over iraq and syria as planned, as we did today, in support of our international mission to degrade and destroy isil. as we pursue the defense level talks with russia on syria, i want to be absolutely clear that these talks will not in any way
diminish our strong condemntion of russian aggression in ukraine or change our sanctions or security support in response to those destabilizing actions. on that subject, the facts remain. if russia wants to end its international isolation and be considered a global power, it must stop its aggression in eastern ukraine and its occupation and attempted annexation of crimea and live up to its commitments under the minsk agreement. next, let me say a few words about the immediate budget impasse that we find ourselves facing here in washington today. it appears at this hour at least that we will avoid the trauma of a government shutdown for now. but that's not enough. it's not enough for our troops, not enough for the defense of our country. because this is about more than just the short-term damage of a
temporary shutdown. it's also about the accumulating and lasting damage that comes from a paycheck to paycheck approach to budgeting for the defense of our country. we need to innovate. we need to continue to attract the best people, to develop the next generation of capabilities, and to meet a current generation of threats. yet again we face the real risk that political gridlock will hold us back. without a negotiated budget solution in which everyone comes together at last, we will again return to sequestration level funding, reducing discretionary spending to its lowest real level in a decade, despite the fact that members of both parties agree that this result will harm national security. the alternative to a budget deal, a long-term continuing
resolution, is merely sequester-level funding under a different name. and the longer the continuing resolution is, the worse it becomes. eventually resulting in a $38 billion deficit in resources for our military if congress chooses to pursue this path for the full year. now, the department of defense has done its best to manage through this prolonged period of budget uncertainty, seven years in a row of continuing resolutions, making painful choices and trade-offs between size, capabilities and readiness of the joint force. but the world has not stood still. russia and china have advanced their new capabilities and new imperatives such as ensuring a lasting defeat of isil have emerged. in this kind of security environment, we need to be dynamic and responsive. what we have under sequestration are long-term continuing resolution is a straightjacket.
we would be be forced to make irresponsible reductions when our choices should be considered carefully and strategic aalstra. making these kind of indiscriminate cuts is managerial inefficient and transfer wasteful. it's dangerous for our strategy and frankly it's embarrassing in front of the world. most importantly, most importantly to me, for our men and women serving our national defense and their families, it adds an absolutely undeserved element of uncertainty about their future. and, finally, as we plan for the force of the future, he note the reports that will be submitted by service leaders today to the chairman with their recommendations on positions they plan to open to women as well as any exceptions to opening all combat specialties to women. when i myself review these reports over coming months, i
will be focused on the quality of information and the analysis behind the recommendations. i want to hear from everyone, but i'm less interested in who said what but why they are saying it. and to be clear, i will carefully review the analysis from all four services and special operations command to make my final determination. as secretary of defense, i'm committed to seeing this through because attracting the best and staying the best means that wherever possible we must open ourselves to the talents and strengths of all americans who can contribute with excellence to our force. as i've said before, everyone who is able and willing to serve and can meet the standards we require should have the full opportunity to do so. thank you. i look forward to your questions on this or any other topics. >> mr. secretary, do you believe
based on what you have seen and heard today that russia has been targeting isil in the strike that they took overnight, or do you believe instead that they attacked perhaps some other opposition forces that have been waging war against assad? and can you give us -- >> we have been observing russian activities, and i don't want to go into detail about that at this time. but the reason -- wuchbt reason reasons why the russian position is contradictory is exactly the potential for them to strike as they may well have in places where, in fact, isil is not present. others are present. and this is one of the reasons why the result of this kind of action will inevitably simply be
to inflame the civil war in syria. and why, therefore, it's ill-advised to take this kind of action in support of assad only without pursuing a political transition there. that's why we're trying to get them to that same position. but your question exposes exactly what is the fallacy in the russian approach and why it's doomed to failure. >> i just want to make sure i understood your answer. are you saying, then, that the strikes were in a place where you believe there were no isil fighters and therefore leads you to that? >> again, i want to be careful about confirming information, but it does appear that they were in areas where there probably were not isil forces,
and that is precisely one of the problems with this whole approach. >> mr. secretary, you've been dealing yourself with the russians for years. so a russian general shows up this morning at the embassy in baghdad and apparently reads your people a note saying air strikes are going to begin in ne hour. what do you make of that? is that as secretary of defense acceptable military to military relations with you? and where does this leave you if you sit down and talk to the russian military about a way ahead? is this not a little bizarre? >> well, you're right. i have been dealing with them for a long time, and this is not the kind of behavior that we should expect professionally from the russian military, and that's one reason why i think it's a good thing to have an avenue of communication that is less unprofessional than a drop-in where we can talk about
professional defense matters. but i think also -- and this is something that will occur in diplomatic channels -- it's important to see if we can get russians in a position where they are coming to understand the contradiction in the position that they now have and the possibility that by seeing a political transition and defeating extremism as something you have to pursue in parallel to succeed in syria, maybe they could make a constructive contribution. but they're not on the path to doing that in the way they are acting now. >> what are your concerns for u.s. military pilots right now flying over syria? >> we're always concerned about the possibility of inadvertent incidents and lack of communication and so forth. that's why it's important to have communication in the air. that's the reason for the talks. >> secretary, have you spoken again with your -- why haven't
you spoken again with your russian counterpart, even as all this is happening and as secretary kerry has spoken with his counterpart? and getting back to barbara's question, given the fact there's a considerable greater risk to u.s. pilots carrying out these missions in syria without direct coordinati coordination, are you taking any action for potential mishaps? >> the next step and the next dialogue will be in the professional defense to defense channel. that's precisely our next step. that's the next step that defense minister and i discussed when we talked. it's one that our president and president putin a couple of days ago -- i do understand that secretary kerry is speaking to the foreign minister, and i think these discussions are % good. it doesn't mean you're going to agree, but it does mean you have the opportunity to try to clarify in this case for the russians where i think they're making a mistake in how they're
thinking this through. >> will you personally speak again to your counterpart? >> i don't rule that out, of course not. i think that these kind of contacts are good. i've done it for many years in the course of my career. that's not the next step, though. the next step is going to be these talks which are going to be -- >> secretary, quick question. i wanted to ask you about women in combat, what you had to say about the reports. there are indications that the marines have asked for an exemption, a waiver, barring some women from some ground combat units, infantry units. is that true? >> let me just back up. i really don't want to characterize recommendations. there are no recommendations made to me yet. remember the process here, which is the services are doing analysis. what they owe to first the chairman and ultimately to me by the end of the year is their
analysis, their studies and their thoughts both about which specialties, if any, should be left closed to women and, importantly, how they intend to make any adaptations that are required. so there are many different aspects to this. it's all important. and the only point i want to make at this juncture since it will be some months before these things make their way to me and i do want to give the chairman the time as has been planned for him to look at the them, the only point i wanted to make is i am going to be very facts based and analysis based. i want to see the grounds upon which any actions that we take the first of the year are going to be made. that's the framework which i'm looking at. >> in their summary, women are less lethal -- >> i'm really not going to
characterize, tom. these things haven't come to me. >> mr. secretary, back to syria. as the secretary of defense, were you notified in advance that russia was conducting air strikes in syria? did you have the intelligence that the russians are moving towards that target? >> well, we've been watching their -- i think it's been widely reported -- deployment of aircraft. certainly both in the conversations with our president and our secretary of state and in my conversations with minist minist minister shoi gu, they indicated a desire and intention to conduct operations. and you heard about a communication this very morning about the specific activities that happened today. so that's the way that we have learned. >> quick follow-up.
>> thank you, mr. secretary. back to the deconfliction issue, is it equally important now that we inform the russians when we're conducting air strikes over syria, for instance, i understand we conducted air strikes over aleppo today. did we tell them? does that go both ways? >> let's see what aconvenievent from these conversations. the type of conversations. that's the purpose of the talks, to decide exactly what kinds of information it is important to exchange to avoid incidents. >> yesterday secretary kerry said that russia's involvement in syria could be an opportunity for the united states. do you agree? >> well, what i said, it could be if -- but not in the form in which they now conceive it, at least as they state it and have described it to me.
and i tried to distill that into the convict ra indication between on the one hand saying we want to fight extremism and on the other hand supporting assad. we believe that those are in contradiction with one another and that a position that would sustain perhaps two of russia's objectives in a different way, but they'd have to change their position, is one in which they fought extremism, which we believe also obviously must be fought, but they backed simultaneously a transition from assad to a government that can end the civil war and preserve some level of decency and good order in the state of syria. but those things cannot occur in sequence. now, if they came to the position of trying to achieve those two objectives, a
political transition and a fight against extremism in parallel, then i think our interests would have some overlap. and whenever you have overlapping interests, you have the possibility of cooperating. so i hope we get to that point, but that would require a change from this current position, which is, as i said, just not logical. the two pieces of it don't match up. >> mr. secretary, do you see -- >> mr. secretary, going back to the timing really quickly, since you just announced that the military to military talks were going to begin, just announced it yesterday, were you not surprised that the russians began their air strikes before the talks even started? and secondly, when the talks do start, how can that not slow down the u.s.-led campaign against isis, if you've got to deconflict? >> that gets back to the previous question. they have indicated now for quite some time they were going to begin to conduct air operations, and we have agreed for quite some time that we were going to get these talks under
way just as soon as we could agree on a mutually on a place and time. we've agreed on that now. those will get under way within days, and i think they'll be very constructive. to the second part of your question, we intend to continue to conduct the air operations, the entire coalition does, to combat isil and other extremists in syria as we have been doing. we don't intend to make any changes in our air operations. >> mr. secretary, you said that the russian strikes today were not in an area where isis is present but where others were present. so if those others are syrian opposition, as we should assume from what you're saying, u.s. and coalition-backed syrian opposition, what responsibility does the coalition have to protect those opposition forces, fighters, from air strikes from russia? >> your question points up the whole contradiction here in the
russian position, which is that by taking on -- by supporting assad and thereby seemingly taking on everybody who is fighting assad, you're taking on the whole rest of the country of syria. that is not our position. we believe that at least some parts of the anti-assad opposition belong as part of the political transition going forward. so that's one of the reasons why -- in fact, it is the central reason why the russian approach here is doomed to fail. and i hope that they come over to a point of view where they try to pursue their objectives in a different way that makes more sense, first of all, and second of all one in which we can share to some extent and therefore work in a common way.
but we're not at that point yet. i think it's worth trying to get to that point. >> whose responsibility is it to protect them? we've heard in the past, i believe you testified on the hill, the coalition has a responsibility to protect the opposition forces, specifically the ones trained by the u.s. but the larger opposition forces, what is the coalition responsibility if they're coming under air strikes by the russians? >> we have conducted air operations against isil, al nusra and other targets. it is not our practice to conduct air operations against all those who are fighting assad for the reason that i've now -- i keep coming back to, which is that to simply defend assad and not to pursue a political transition is only going to fuel
the opposition and therefore the extremism and the violence. >> get you on the record on the national defense authorizations. you laid out the budget consequences of sequestration in the cr. are you going to recommend to the president he vetoes the bill that will go up to the floor tomorrow? >> i and other advisers already have, and he's already indicated that if it were presented to him in the form in which it now appears it will be presented to him it is going to be vetoed. this is the national defense authorization act. so yes, that is unchanged. that's the same position. >> the message to the country who is listening to you and the world is basically -- yet you're recommending vetoing the defense policy bill. isn't that somewhat of a contradiction here? >> no. what we need first of all is an appropriations bill that funds the department. the authorization bill contains some of the authorities.
at the moment, the authorization bill makes no appropriations at all, as you well know, number one. number two, it attempts to evade the question of overall fiscal responsibility with the so-called oko gimmick, which is objectionable to me and to others in other agencies. and i think ought to be to the taxpayer and certainly to the war fighter. and then finally it contains other provisions also objectionable to me. and i'll give you some examples. we have proposed for several years now changes -- reforms that extend from health care to force structure to better spend the defense dollar in areas where better national security benefit is obtained.
in the national defense authorization act, some of those reforms are key reforms, billions of dollars of years worth of reforms, are disallowed, not authorized. that's not okay with me because that is taking dollars which i already regard as short for national defense and using them in a way which we the department's leadership has for several years determined is not in the national interest. so i need to be be able to say to the taxpayer both that we need every dollar we're given and that we're using it in the best possible way. and the national defense authorization act, several provisions of it -- and this isn't a new thing. this is longstanding -- do not take into account what has been the judgment of the department about reforms that we think are needed. so there's actually several reasons why this is not a good bill. these are not mysteries.
we have been very clear right along about all of these things. so i don't think there's any doubt about what our position is with respect to a veto. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i have two quick questions on syria. the syrian opposition groups are saying that civilians were killed in the attacks, strikes by russia today, and the syrian national coalition president is encouraging now more than ever a no-fly zone to protect civilians. is that being discussed here at the pentagon? and then also, you had mentioned that the talks were going to be to avoid incidents and avoid actions that would interfere in the fight against isil. but isn't the fact that a russian general would come and ask the united states to stay out of the syrian air space already interfering with the fight against isil? >> let's see. you've got several things there. to get to the last part, i'll just say it again. we intend to continue our air
operations unimpeded. i think you're asking about the possibility that the russian air strikes may have hit civilians. i cannot confirm that. you know, that would be yet again a reason why this action by the russians is ill-vised and will back fire. we are on the contrary as you know being very careful to make sure those we're targeting are isil, al nusra and other extremists of that kind and furthermore we are exceptionally careful about trying to avoid civilian casualties. that's something we work hard at. all the coalition partners do. and it's something that requires a lot of care and practice and experience. so this is -- again, i can't confirm that that occurred, but
if it occurred it's yet another reason why this kind of russian action can and will backfire very badly on russia. i'd like to get them in a different place, a more sensible place. >> on the no fly zone? >> are you confident the russians are acting in good faith, or do you think perhaps they might be messing with you? >> i take the russians at their word. there's no -- they're exceptionally clear about what they're saying and their actions now seem to reflect what they said they were going to do. so my problem isn't that i don't understand what they're doing. my problem is i think what they're doing is going to backfire and is counter productive. >> i thought they said they were going to fight isil. do you believe they're fighting isil? >> you were next.
>> mr. secretary, aside from the sequencing aspect you've talked about, the bombing of isil and then working on a political transition away from assad, putting that aside for a moment, would you and other u.s. leaders welcome russian bombing not only of isil but of al nusra and of the other groups that the united states-led coalition has bombed? would that also be a good thing? >> i think the president has made it clear. it ought to be clear to anybody that if anybody who wants to join in the fight against isil or join the coalition of 60 countries that have made that same determination, this is something -- an evil that must be defeated. >> excuse me. i just meant -- >> you're right. it's isil and other extremist groups of the same ilk, yes.
those are the ones that we and the coalition are combating and obviously we welcome contributions to that. and again, if the russians change their approach to one that is -- that doesn't have the contradictions that this one does, that would be a basis -- actually a welcome basis of cooperation because it's very easy to understand why the russians are concerned about isil. they have experience with islamist extremism also, satd and bitter experience. i can well understand. on the other hand, i think that this kind of action is only going to exacerbate that tendency for them to find themselves in the bull's eye. >> secretary, back when you were acquisition chief, you had predicted there would be a lot more mergers and acquisitions
among top defense companies or mid-tier defense companies in the coming years. we've seen many of them. there have been a lot of concerns that deals like this will eliminate competition. i was wondering your assessment of these mergers and are they starting to go too far? >> i can't comment on a particular case that's being determined at this time. i do remember back then. what i said then and still believe is that it was important to avoid excessive consolidation in the defense industry to the point where we did not have multiple vendors who could compete with one another on many programs and to the point where we had so-called vertical integration in companies to an extent that made competition among some contractors for work
on primes less competitive. so we do need a competitive marketplace to the extent that's possible within the defense industry. we thought that then. i think that now. and at the time i indicated that i at that time in that role, but i feel the same way now, didn't welcome further consolidation among the very large prime contractors. i didn't think it was good for our defense marketplace and therefore for the taxpayer and the war fighter in the long run. >> thanks, everyone. >> can we get a follow-up? >> just to be clear, you're saying that you trust russia with -- i'm giving him an opportunity to clarify. i just want to make sure we understand. that you believe the russians are being true to their word at this point with their strikes in syria, that they're being honest? >> they have said -- let me just
be very clear with you. there's no contradiction there. they have said quite clearly that they intend to deploy forces in syria and conduct strikes there. and they have done that. if you're asking me whether i was surprised at that, i'm not because they've been saying now for a couple of weeks they're going to do that and as many in this room have reported, they have been accumulating the where with all to do it. >> thank you all very much. >> you've been listening to secretary of defense ash carter answering a lot of questions on the breaking piece of the day, the fact that these russian war planes have now up and been dropping bombs on part of syria, specifically homs, the area north of homs, not necessarily known as an islamic state stronghold. that's the issue. we've now heard really the worst fears confirmed from the secretary of defense, that russia hit not isis but the opposition that's been waging war against the president of
syria, bashar al assad. let me be precise. in his language, he was asked to clarify eshgs said, quote, it does appear that they, russia, were in areas where there probably were not isis forces which is precisely what the problem is with this approach. he went on, russia, his word, is acting unprofessionally. i have christiane amanpour first up to react to the secretary of defense's words here from the united nations. kriflt yawn, you and i were talking about this before, i mean, the fact that john kerry, secretary of state john kerry, told elise labott that he believes there could be conversations with russia, that there could be an opportunity with russia on the ground, that obama and putin met two days ago and now you have these bombs being dropped. your reaction? >> well, reaction here from the u.n. and i've just spoken to the foreign minister of france who delivered a scathing and blistering condemnation about what russia has been up to, but also i think it's very interesting that ash carter said, russia is doing exactly
what it said it was going to do so i'm not surprised. i'm not sure that's entirely accurate. russia said it was going to fight isis, that's what we were assured by the president of the united states, by the secretary of state, by other leaders who followed russia's lead, that they were going in to attack isis, not to attack others, civilians or the anti-assad opponents who have been trying to dislodge assad. so this is a very interesting development. on day one, right out of the gate, russia goes and attacks elements that most observers, including the united states, do not believe is a stated intention and that was isis. so i've been talking to part of the coalition who's trying to strike isis. he said this is unacceptable. if russia keep s doing that, it will drive more people into the arms of isis. furthermore, he said france has a very clear attitude toward this, that russia can only be allowed to do what it's doing if it makes assad cease and desist
its barrel bombing of civilians and other opposition groups, which remember includes those who the u.s. and its allies have been trying to equip and train. so this is a very bad beginning for what russia seems to be doing, at least vis-a-vis what the united states and others have told us that russia says it's going to do, and that is to join the fight against isis while at the same time trying to prop up assad. >> christiane, stand by. i want to come back to you. i want to get reaction from arwa damon who's on the ground in istanbul. syria, next door to where you are, you're talking to people on the ground there in syria as far as the question. christiane pointed out the inaccuracy in what we just heard, russia says it's targeting isis and obviously that's not the case. >> reporter: it's not according to a number of activists we have been speaking to. in fact, a lot of these areas especially those that were targeted north of homs, right
along the north/south, very strategic highway where areas that the assad regime itself in the last month has been pounding fairly intensely as well. and russia's involvement in all of this at this stage really does shift the dynamics. christiane was pointing it out as well. and it also in a sense could possibly push more people toward isis but it's also going to be very critical how the u.s. is going to react to these moves by russia if they are in fact able to 100% determine, ascertain that russia was not bombing isis targets. what is america's reaction going to be? and can it actually do anything? the u.s. has already been struggling when it comes to its own pretty much let's face it failed policy of trying to train up these moderate syrian rebels, have a force on the ground that it can fully back up. that has failed. the u.s. has, yes, been going after isis targets in syria, but it hasn't really started to shift the dynamics. so a lot of these other rebel
factions, even the more moderate rebel factions, are sitting back and asking themselves, what kind of an ally do we have in the united states? especially when it seems at this stage that the syrian regime has a much more powerful and decisive ally in russia, which is a very precarious situation in terms of how these broader dynamics do play out both in the syrian and iraqi battleground. >> arwa, stand by. i want to bring in my panel on set. we've been watching this together. major general james spider marks and elise labott. i see you nodding when you hear failed policy when it comes to training rebels. is this a notion of the u.s. just has to essentially swallow the fact that now moscow is in there bolstering the assad regime, accept that he's not going anywhere for a while, and then essentially fight isis together? is that the inevitable? >> we heard secretary carter say, if russia wants to fight extremism with us, we welcome
that. i'm paraphrasing. so we know we're looking for some type of solution where we can conflate and go against isis together. but the challenge that i see is that typical of russia, they've come in in a very ham-handed way. >> surprise! >> pushed the pendulum all the way over. now they can be good guys and back off and create something that might be a little bit amenable. but they have this incredible predominant place at the table now. they're dictating terms. we are in response to this. sends a very strong message to those moderate arabs, anti-assad regime arabs, that are trying to get trained up, irrespective of how well we've done that. we're telling them, you guys are now expendable. that's a shame. >> i thought it was really remarkable when secretary carter laid out some of the goals for these talks that he wants to have with the russians, facilitate the flow of information, make sure that russian air strikes don't interfere with the u.s.-led
coalition against isis. he did not once say, ensure that russian air strikes are not targeting the opposition. i think this is one ever the horrible things that's really been the biggest victim of all of this, is the syrian people. you know, when we talk about -- >> so glad you said that. thank you. >> when we talk about the train and equip program, it's not really to go against assad anymore. the administration was quite clear, it was to go against isis. and barbara starr has been reporting for the last 24 hours that that program has been put on pause while the u.s. reassesses what it want tosz do with the program. and that's probably in relation, maybe not the only reason, but it's all related right now. is what is the u.s. going to do in terms of its coalition against isis? is it going to join the russian coalition against isis? !ysrñ holy moly. >> right? >> but really the russians have the air right now. they basically told the united
states, stand down. i think kerry made a point today to say, we're still launching describes. but they're not going anywhere near the russian planes. there's a lot of discussion that needs to be had about rules of the road. >> there is so much to discuss. how does the u.s. respond? what about the syrian people, the civilians? we heard from senator john mccain on that today. we have a lot to discuss. i also have waiting in the wings a man who wants to be president of the united states, one of the republican candidates here. let's get his response. what would he do if he were in the oval office? that's next. why do so many people choose aleve? it's the brand more doctors recommend for minor arthritis pain. plus, just two aleve can last all day. you'd need 6 tylenol arthritis to do that. aleve. all day strong.
back to our breaking news. russia initiating air strikes in syria, telling the united states to stay out of syrian air space. this is not what president obama wanted obviously at all when he met face-to-face just two days ago with the president of russia, vladimir putin, behind closed doors. that's when the two leaders agreed to coordinate some of their operations in syria. my next guest is one std folks who would like to become president who says it's high time we, quote, get tough with russians. former senator rick santorum. thank you for rolling back through. what a day of news for you to come back. i know you were watching the secretary of defense like the rest of us there. is this in syria russia's war now? >> well, you know, it's becoming a multinational war right now, and the fact that we would sit down with the russian president and show that amount of dis disrespect for this president to move forward as he did after meeting with him tells us the low standing america has around
the world. i mean, we're considered someone you don't even have to consult with in dealing with these very sensitive matters. you know, it's -- the president has put america in a very difficult situation because of his feckless foreign policy. we have no weight to throw around, if you will. there's no respect given to us. it's because of the way we've dealt with the situation cnñ syria. we have a chemical weapons treaty in syria. and there are chemical weapons being used by assad in syria right now and the president has simply ignored the reality. >> there have been barrel bombs. the president acknowledged that in his address. obviously speaking to the unga days ago. pointing that out that assad has been doing this to his people. >> he's been violating this treaty that he said was the best and toughest treaty that would get the chemical weapons out, protect the syrian people. and he isn't calling syria on it, not doing anything. so russia feels they can do pretty much anything they want
and president obama won't do anything. >> if you were in the oval office right now and these are pictures we're just getting in from the russian defense ministry of the aftermath of these bombs being dropped outside of homs, what would you do in the next couple of hours? >> if the objective is to degrade and destroy isis, then we have an opportunity to do that in iraq where we have a very direct national security interest andability to be able to stabilize a country that was stabilized before isis came into it. >> what about syria/. >> well, i would argue our fight is in iraq not syria. i don't think we have good options in syria. do we join with assad and putin? is that the next plan? according to ash carter, that's what the suggestion is. >> so you would agree with donald trump who says let the russians fight isis? >> i would say let the americans fight isis in iraq. that's where we should be fighting isis.
that's where we say we are fighting isis but are doing nothing. we have 3500 troops on the ground. we're flying air missions in iraq. and we're not doing anything. >> but you would say, yes, let russia fight isis if they so choose to do so in addition to those waging war against assad in syria. >> i have no problem with the russians protecting their security. vladimir putin is acting very rationally. assad andñr the assad regime -- >> how is that rational when he's met with the president two days ago and turned around and surprised the world and did this? >> because vladimir putin doesn't believe he has to contend with barack obama or has to tell him the truth because there's no consequence to lying to this president. and there will be. the president will do nothing. it's a sad state of affairs, but that's where we are. so putin is acting rationally in his own security interests in protecting an ally in the region, syria, and assad and his regime. so i completely understand why he's doing what he's dog. we are not acting rationally in iraq. we have a similar situation in
iraq where isis controls large portions of iraq, has for quite some time. we have said that we are going to fight them, and we're doing nothing to win. that is a policy to strengthen isis, to make it more difficult for us to drive them out, and we need to get back -- we have to get serious about putting sufficient boots on the ground in iraq and begin to drive isis. and i think it would be actually quite compelling to have russia and assad on one side pushing on isis and having the iraqis the kurds,ed jordanians and the united states from the iraqi side. >> general marks was just referring to that. let me hold you over a break. i have more for you. we'll talk politics with senator rick santorum off a quick break. m and i've got the solution. well, we have 30 years of customer records. our cloud can keep them safe and accessible anywhere. my drivers don't have time to fill out forms. tablets. keep it all digital. we're looking to double our deliveries. our fleet apps will find
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thanks so much. great to see you. we've talked russia and what's happening in syria. let's talk about politics. you don't like poll numbers. we've been over this before. but we have to. >> you don't have to. >> we have to. >> no, you don't. >> this is from suffolk university and "usa today." rand paul is still ranking low at 2%. he has recently said that he will outlast trump. you were there, sir, with a goose egg. tell me how you will. >> well, the most important thing you have to do is remember that national polls are meaningless. four years ago i was at 1% in the national polls and i ended up winning 11 states. >> didn't scott walker just drop out though because of them? >> scott walker was running a very different campaign. he was spending as much per day as i spend per month. so it's a little easier to run a campaign when you have a strong grass roots effort and you can be patient. four years ago i learned patience is indeed a virtue. >> yes. >> and in politics and running for president it's probably the greatest virtue. you're going to get your
opportunity. carly fiorina two months ago was at 1% and 2%. >> i see your point. >> just wait your time. there will be more -- i hate to say this, but there will be more scott walkers. more people will rise up and they will find that they can't maintain their support for one reason or another, and there will be opportunities for others as time goes on. >> speaking of opportunities, this upcoming debate at the end of october, they've told us there will be no undercard debate. you see where you're poling. they play by the polls. if that's not an opportunity for you to show americans, hey, here's why i would be a great president, what is your opportunity other than spending time with me today? >> spending time with you is always a wonderful opportunity to do that. the first race is in iowa, and one of the things we did last time around is -- and we're doing this time -- go to every county in iowa. i'm continuing to work hard there. here's the great thing about iowans. they don't look at national polls. i bet you asked the people, how many folks in the poll are
absolutely committed to their candidate? you probably would get less than 10%. i encourage pollsters to ask them, how many republican presidential candidates they can name. my guess is they can't name more than two or three. yet we're looking at this as a valid determination of who's going to be president. it's not. what's going to happen is the people of iowa are going to vote first. i think we're going to do exceptionally well there. it will be off to the races once the real polls come in. that's what we're planning on. >> let me pivot and talk kim davis. in the news we've just learned that kim davis, the kentucky clerk who didn't want to sign the same sex marriage licenses. she went to the detention center. she's been out. we have confirmed she met with pope francis. it only took until the pope returned home to rome before the nation really learned about what happened. i think there have only been scant photos of the meeting. i'm curious, why do you think we haven't heard much about that meeting? >> well -- >> i imagine you support the meeting. >> i do. i will tell you the pope did some off-the-record things, and
the one off-the-record stop that he made was to the little sisters of the poor, little sisters of the poor are the ones who are right at the center of the obama administration pushing obamacare to deny them their religious liberty when it comes to insurance. so he came here to talk about a lot of issues, not just the ones that the press likes to focus on. he came here for the world meeting of the families and made a strong message on that. an he talked even in front of the president and the white house about the importance of religious liberty. meeting with the little sisters of the poor, privately meeting -- i think he probably knew it would be a distraction if it was a public meeting. i think he played it very wisely. he's a lot more savvy with the american media than i think a lot of people in politics here in america are. >> final question, just quickly. i just wanted to mention your daughter bella. he blessed her. >> yeah, he did. it was an amazing thing. we got an invitation actually
last minute a couple of days before he came to philadelphia to be at the departure ceremony at the airport where he met with joe biden. you may remember that. i was out of town, but even if i hadn't i was going -- my wife who is such a strong and great believer and our kids, we wanted the opportunity to have the pope bless bella, who's our little girl who struggles with health issues. so we had tickets and we were -- i guess they were there for four or five hours before, and a couple noticed karen and bella and said, no, you have to get up in the front row so the holy father can meet bella. he held her and kissed her and blessed her, and we have some just amazing memories and pictures as a result of that. it's something that we feel incredibly blessed to have had that opportunity. >> how phenomenal. >> yeah. >> sna senator, thank you so much. we'll catch you next time.
>> you bet. let's continue on. we are back with our breaking news here at the top of the hour. i'm brooke baldwin. this dramatic turn of events in the u.s.-led war on isis, russia claiming it is going after the terror group inside of syria unleashing its first round of air strikes in the city of homs. but all is not as it seems. a u.s. official telling cnn these bombs being dropped from russian war planes are not intended for isis at all but instead could be targeting rebel fighters, enemies of the syrian president bashar al assad, a close ally to the president of russia vladimir putin, and a man being assad known to the united states for barrel bombing his own citizens. russia even admitting the strikes were ordered by assad himself. the u.s. secretary of defense ash carter speaking just in the last hour from the pentagon. >> this is one of the reasons why the result of this kind of
action will inevitably simply be to inflame the civil war in syria and why, therefore, it's ill-advised to take this kind of action in support of assad only. fighting isil without pursuing a parallel political transition only risks escalating the civil war in syria. and with it the very extremism and instability that moscow claims to be concerned about and aspire to fighting. so that approach is tantamount, as i said then, to pouring gasoline on the fire. >> these are locations where bombs were dropped today here. you see on the map of syria, most of them north of the city of homs. the question is, how close are these strikes really to the
isis-controlled areas? i want to begin with tom foreman to show us obviously the question, this is what ash carter was sort of addressing, are the russian strikes anywhere near the rebel-controlled areas, tom? >> what's a real clue here? we see video of the bombs being dropped, we see the reaction. how do you know in the chaos that is syria today who is being hit by it? and the real first clue has to come from basic geography. if you look at the russian presence in the country, where they're largely operating from over here, you can also see all of this sort of purple-pinkish area. that is under control of the assad regime. you know as long as you get over toward the far western edge, that's where they're in control. out here is where you see the other control. if you wanted to look where isis really has a lot of support, it's going to be out in this area. they have a lot of influence throughout, but here they're quite strong out in here. so you might expect the bombing to be over here. but when i say look at the g geograp geography, look at this. here's where the bombings are.
the map sort of shifts here. but look at this. the bombing are largely over here in that area we first described. this is the purple sort of pink area over here, and most of this is actually happening in the areas that assad already controls. only a little bit out over here and nothing up in this region where you would expect a lot of pressure. so simply put, brooke, the minute these bombs were dropped, even if we knew nothing else, that's one of the reasons that officials would have said, this looks like it may as well be hitting the al neusra front or the free syrian army or other groups other than isis. >> thanks so much for walking us through that. i can tell you senator john mccain saying today that what's happening in syria is because of failed leadership by the obama administration. >> it's a time that president obama woke up to the realities in the world and reassert american leadership. and that does not mean that we're going to send thousands of ground troops back into iraq or
syria. but it does mean that we develop a policy. in the case of -- i am told that these bombings that the american government has said that american planes should not fly and that we have somehow approved of these air strikes. i do not know if that's true or not. i hope that it's not true. what we should be saying to vladimir putin is that you fly, but we fly anywhere we want to when and how we want to, and you'd better stay out of the way. >> want to go straight to christiane amanpour. she is standing by at the united nations. also, elise labott is with me as well who spoke with john mccain about this yesterday. christiane, you heard the secretary of defense speak last hour. you're getting reaction from the u.n. what is your read on all of this? >> well, we've got reaction coming in fast and furious. it's turned chilly here, perhaps
matching the cold, hard reality of what has just been unleashed in syria. now, the head of nato has told reporters that he is very concerned that what russia has done is not targeting isis so far but especially, he said, no real effort by russia to deconflict its operations with those of the rest of the coalition. that means no real attempt or effort by russia to make sure nothing goesñi catastrophically wrong between russian planes and missiles and the strikes that other aircraft, u.s.-led coalition, are doing. so that is a real concern. not to mention the very real tragedy of russia who said it was going to fight isis. nobody believes it's fighting isis in the first round of air strikes. we also know the syrian opposition have said that their own people are being hit and they feel that they are under increased attack now, not just
from bashar al assad but from the russians as well, and we have also -- i just spoke to the french foreign minister who's also taking part in the strikes against isis in syria. and he was just scathing about the reports of what russia has hit today. >> if it is the case, this dash attack is a pretense and in reality the only aim is to support mr. bashar al assad. and we have a very precise position about it. we think that supporting bashar al assad and presenting him as the solution for the future not only for moral point of view is not acceptable because he's a criminal against humanity. >> reporter: so, as he was saying, morally, they consider assad a criminal, has committed crimes against humanity. but from an efficiency point of view he also said any more
strikes on civilians or the more moderate opposition or the opponents of bashar al assad will simply drive more people into the arms of isis. so on day one after russia told president obama and all the assembled leaders here that they were going to fight isis, on day one of their military operations, we see where they are going. brooke? >> i have one more for you, christia christiane. let me turn on that point to elise. you know, one day, two days after. did president obama get played by putin? >> well, certainly president putin was holding his cards close to his chest. but this is what secretary carter was basically saying. this is the russian military acting very unprofessionally. look, putin is the commander in chief of that military. to not -- >> they spoke for 90 minutes behind closed doors. >> there's a lot of talk about deconflicting. the russians are not only not trying to deconflict.
they are trying to ground the u.s.-led coalition. they told them an hour before, get out of syrian air space. didn't tell them where they were going and unless the u.s. wants some kind of confrontation, they had to be very careful. i mean, russia has control of the battle space right now, and it's pretty obvious that the u.s. is going to have to find some accommodation with russia. they certainly have the momentum. they have created this new facts and new realities on the ground. i think one of the things that really struck me about secretary carter's address is when he was talking about what he wanted to talk to the russians about. none of those thingsxd -- it wa about sharing information, making sure it doesn't interfere with u.s. operations against isis. >> what didn't he say? >> what he did not say is more important. he did not say, we want to make sure they're not going after opposition targets, which really -- you know, these opposition are supposed to be the opposition not only fighting
assad but to be going after isis. now he's basically left them to say, what we're really concerned about is our operations of isis and what the russians could do to that. >> quickly just to follow up to christiane. as i'm hearing all of this, the people of syria. we've seen the streams of refugees fleeing, risking life and limb to leave syria, christiane. i'm just wondering, this will get worse. >> reporter: well, it will. i mean, it's obviously going to get worse. and, as you know, for years now and even today they are calling for some kind of buffer zone, some kind of safe haven to protect themselves from now the multiple assaults, the assaults by assad and his barrel bombings that have gone on unstopped since there was a so-called deal between the united states and russia to end chemical war and to end the chemical weapons. well, assad moved his chemical weapons into barrel bombs, i.e., chlorine gas and the like and is still using them against the people. you've got that and the isis
attacks in certain civilian areas, now the russian attacks. where are these people meant to do? there's no buffer zone. they have crammed and filled to the gills all the refugee camps in turkey, lebanon, jordan. and at the same time international funding for those camps is slowing down, in some cases drying up. so then the spillover comes to europe, across the sea, on to greece, into italy, through the balkans, through europe and creating mayhem and an unmanageable situation there. so this is all inexorable development from allowing assad to carry on for 4 1/2 years. and now to watch him being bolstered by president putin. and we've heard today from all sorts of officials who want to remind us, including president obama and john kerry, the secretary of state, that the bulk of the atrocities committed against the people of syria have been committed by the president and the government of syria of bashar al assad.
this must not be forgotten. the russians are trying to twist it saying it's all isis. no. for 4 1/2 years it's been assad. that's what it's been. and the americans are trying to say, well, you know, we tried to set up a few fighters, but we couldn't and therefore all of you who said we should equip and train are all wrong, all fantasies. our critics were wrong. the fact of the matter is they didn't and they weren't able too do it, a, they didn't do it soon enough and, b, when they started they have been putting in impossible conditions. we will allow you to equip and train but only in if you fight isis. for people fighting for their lives against bashar assad, they're not going to say, we're just going to fight isis. we're going to fight whoever fights us, including bashar assad. that's what they're telling us. the fight is on the ground. >> christiane amanpour, thank you very much. elise labott, thank you. we are getting more breaking news. we're getting whether the white house's message seems to be a bit different from the pentagon. you're watching cnn special live
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communicate military to military on what they were going to do against isis in syria, talking about how putin's priorities did seem to be against isis and on communication with the u.s. if not full-on joining that coaliti coalition. but there was some optimism after that. now this seems to have come to some degree of surprise, although the white house and the pentagon don't want to say that. they insist that this is not surprising, given that russia has backed assad in syria for a long time, and given that russia has moved its equipment in. so they've seen air strikes coming. two days ago when we heard from the white house it seemed like putin really was focused on isis. now we hear from the pentagon that he seems to be striking in areas where isis is not. the white house, though, doesn't want to weigh in with too much detail. they say let's wait and see what all the analysis shows before we jump to conclusions as to what
putin's goal really is there. they don't want to criticize too much or say, you know, we know what the intention is. as for the communication, too, obviously no coordination coming with russia before these air strikes began, but again, the white house is saying they've set up the means of communicating now with russia, that there has been contact of, okay, let's talk about this. but it didn't happen before the air strikes started. so they're saying, let's wait and see what that communication does show before we really start questioning what russia's intentions are going to be moving forward, brooke. >> michelle kosinski, thank you. i want to stay on this, bring in another voice, daniel dres ner, an international politics professor at tufts university and a contributing editor for "the washington post." so, daniel, thank you so much for being with me. >> thank you, brooke. >> you essentially say from what i've read vladimir putin wants russia to engage in the middle
east. good luck with that. that there is, quote, no need to get worked up about russia's syria policy. after today, do you still believe that? >> i still believe it with the caveat that i am somewhat worried about the fact that russia gave such a short time window to u.s. forces in the u.s.-led coalition to get out of syrian air space. i think the biggest risk that comes from russia's operations in syria is an accidental conflict or accidental skirmish with the u.s.-led isis coalition. but it's worth remembering that a year ago we were talking about barack obama and his decision to actually decide to use air power in syria as a way to somehow combat isis and it's a year later and at the time it looked like it was an aggressive show of force. we know a year later it didn't work out terribly well. i'd say that the question about whether or not putin's actions in syria will actually lead to what he wants it to lead to is
unclear now. and my hunch is a year from now he's probably going to wish he hadn't gotten involved. >> that's interesting. let me follow up with, you also were sort of grading the relationship with obama. you say the obama administration gets an "f" for its handling of syria and a "d" for its handling of vladimir putin. i'm wondering why you didn't give that an "f" as well. >> because, as much as vladimir putin has been a thorn in the side of the united states, it's also worth pointing out that russia has paid a significant price for some of its actions with respect to ukraine specifically. >> you mean sanctions? >> three or four years ago vladimir putin had a loyal ally in charge in terms of ukraine. now while he successfully annexed crimea and has sources in eastern ukraine, he has an opposed ukrainian government based in kiev that very much wants to be part of urpd and nato. furthermore, the russian economy has paid a deep price over the last year for its actions in ukraine.
and you can ard argue that what putin is doing in syria is potentially to distract the russian population of its worsening economy and the fact its forces are bogged down in eastern ukraine. >> professor, thank you so much. ahead, we're staying on this. this major development here, the fact that russia has apparently targeted syrian rebels, not isis, in these new air strikes today. we'll speak live with a former u.s. ambassador to syria about what it means for those on the ground. before earning enough cash back from bank of america to take their act to the next level... before earning 1% cash back everywhere, every time... 2% back at the grocery store... and 3% back on gas... vince of the flying branzinos got a bankamericard cash rewards credit card, because he may earn his living jumping through hoops, but he'd rather not earn cash back that way. that's the spectacle of rewarding connections. apply online or at a bank of america near you.
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>> joaquin is just to the east of the balm haws. they should be feeling the effects in the next 24 hours or so. winds of 85 miles per hour with gusts up to 100, moving to the southwest at six miles per hour, still a lot of question marks as to where this storm is going to go. it is expected to meander right around the bahamas for a day or two, intentisify and could possibly become a major storm in the next 72 hours or so and then lose a little bit of strength as it travels to the north. this cone is very, very wide. this cone of uncertainty. so you have to be on guard if you're anywhere from the carolinas all the way up through north of new york into portions of connecticut, rhode island, and you have to keep in mind that this storm may miss the u.s. completely. so that's why you have to be aware but yet stay tuned to the forecast because a lot of changes in this over the coming days. here's where mostñi of the mode agree. over the next 24 to 48 hours
they do agree that it is going to stay just to the east of the bahamas, travel to the north and then beyond that a lot of them are starting to take it a little bit more of that western track, even impacting portions of south carolina, north carolina, and then we have a couple of outliers that are taking it straight out to sea. so that is why there's still a lot of question marks involved in this forecast. we're also looking at a lot of rain. we could see anywhere from 10 to 12 additional inches of rain. we have seen a lot of rain already across the mid-atlantic and the northeast over the past couple of days. and if the storm does take that western track, brooke, a lot more rain is going to come. >> jennifer, thank you so much. we'll stay in close contact with you as joaquin develops. meantime, i want to get back to our breaking news here. russian air strikes hitting within syria today. u.s. officials we just heard from secretary of defense ash carter now saying they are not targeting isis at all, rather syrian rebel strongholds, those who have been waging war against the president of syria, bashar
al assad. for perspective, let me bringçón former u.s. ambassador to syria and algeria and also a retired colonel and author of "game changers: going local to defeat xrie lent extremists." thank you, gentlemen, for joining me. mr. ambassador, first to you. what do you think russia's short game and long game here is strategically speaking? >> i'm not sure the russians have a long game. i think their short term is to bolster the assad government, which has been retreating on the ground throughout calendar year 2015. his forces are losing slowly but surely a war of attrition and the russians are there to bolster him to prevent his fall. >> white house says this wasn't a total surprise. we've seen the russian presence ramping up in syria. what do you say? >> i think what's interesting is that the russians suddenly hurried their forces in, really in the space of just a couple of
weeks. it wasn't a long, slow, steady buildup. they rushed them in. that tells me that the assad regime must have been weakening very quickly and they needed to act fast. >> lieutenant colonel, i had major general spider mashged ma little while ago. he says a potential -- the u.s. joining up with russia together fighting isis. is that even within the realm of possibility for you? >> nothing seems to surprise me any more on this. i'm not a fan of partnering with russia on something like this, even though we have a common enemy, brooke, just because of some of their behavior in other places like ukraine and other aspects of the middle evaluate like iran. but the bottom line is, when we just bomb marginalized groups in syria and iraq, whether it's russia or the u.s.,xd that strategy doesn't work. we can't bomb our way to victory
against isis or any other marginalized group that's out there. we're going to have to workçó ts thing at the ground level. whether it's russia or us doing it, it doesn't matter. it's ineffective. and frankly partnering with russia just strengthens the isis narrative globally that islam is under attack. i don't think it helps our cause at all. >> what dow think about that? >> i completely agree with that. i think that's spot-on analysis. i would just add it should not be foreign ground forces that fight the islamic state in syria or iraq. they need to be local, indigenous syrian or iraqi forces. and we need a new national government in syria that can mobilize many, many more syrians to fight extremists and bar sha al assad has been able to mobilize. bashar al assad has had four years to mobilize syrians. >> and the people have been fleeing from him. >> exactly. that is precisely my point. and so the russian idea that you could join up with bashar
al assad whoñr caused this probm in the first place, his brew talty, i think the russian analysis is completely flawed and i think they know it. i think they are perfectly prepared to leave bashar al assad in control of the western quarter of syria and if the islamic state remains entrenched in the eastern and central half of syria, the russians don't particularry care. they didn't hit the islamic state today. they hit the people fighting both the islamic state and the assad government. >> and apparently civilians. >> civilians take a brunt of a lot of the bombing. mr. ambassador, thank you so much. lieutenant colonel, thank you as well. thank you both. just in to cnn, a new poll shows donald trump is opening up his lead among republicans. hear who has now taken the latest dip. plus, minutes from now, a man is scheduled to be executed and so many people coming
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all right, even more new numbers today, although dropping in popularity, donald trump still has a huge lead in a new poll released today. these are numbers from suffolk university and "usa today." trump is ten full points ahead of ben carson, carly fiorina and a little farther down you see jeb bush in fifth place. he told cnn's dana bash he never thought he would be a front-runner at first. he is in new hampshire talking about the national increases in heroin overdoses and prescription drug addictions.
dana bash is in manchester as well. you spoke with jeb bush. how does he feel about fifth place right shnow? >> reporter: as you can imagine, he is trying to brush it aside. but, you know, brooke, i talked to governor bush in the context of a lot of people kind of looking at his numbers, seeing that he has dropped sort of nationwide more than 50% in just three months since he was at least by polling standards the front-runner when he first got into the race in june. you know, he said to me in this interview a lot of what we have heard behind the scenes from his aides, insisting that they have a plan, they are building a very large organization, they of course have raised a lot of money for his campaign, not to mention the super pac. and the plan is initially he was talking about slow and steady, it being a marathon. today he said it's a triathlon. and of course i said, what part of the triathlon are we in? he said, well, we're swimming.
he really is trying to calm everybody down, particularly when you look at the calendar today. it's september 30th, the last day of the fiscal quarter. my inbox, i'm sure a lot of people's who are on political mail lists, are blowing up with people asking for money to make sure that they get high enough numbers because that matters a lot. it probably matters most to jeb bush because he did so well in the first quarter. he's going to have to show that he can continue to do so. >> well, back to his triathlon metaphor and the swimming section. you always know going into it you're going to get kicked. that's the swimming. >> i will definitely take your word for it, brooke. i wouldn't know. >> i have a friend who did an ironman and this is what she says. my point is, let me ask about his protege, really, marco rubio, who's been dishing it back a little bit to donald trump this week. how is their relationship since they are obviously competitors at this point? >> reporter: not only
competitors but what jeb bush said to me about marco rubio i thought was telling on a bunch of levels. he went after him, and you can see more of it, see him talk about it on "the situation room" at 5:00. talking to republicans, again, donors and sort of republican leaders as i've done to prepare for this trip here and for the interview, i talked to a lot of people who are kind of on the fence between marco rubio and jeb bush. so i asked, what do you tell these people? why should they go for jeb bush? he went after senator rubio in a way i've never heard him do before when it comes to his experience or from his perspective lack thereof. it was fascinating. >> dana bash, we'll look for more of your interview on "the situation room" 5:00 eastern here on cnn. thank you so much. also, here's another heads-up, donald trump sitting down today with don lemon. don't miss that interview 10:00 eastern on cnn tonight.
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tell your doctor if you've been someplace where fungal infections are common, or if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores, have had hepatitis b, have been treated for heart failure, or if you have persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, or paleness. don't start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. joint pain and damage... can go side by side. ask how enbrel can help relieve joint pain and help stop joint damage. enbrel, the number one rheumatologist-prescribed biologic. a scheduled execution of a convicted killer is now on hold in the state of oklahoma where the department of corrections spoekzperson is waiting on the supreme court. it was set to happen 13 minutes from now. if it does ultimately move
forward today, oklahoma will be the second state within 24 hours to put to death an inmate who did not physically commit the murder. we reported on a story in georgia. just after midnight, kelly gissendaner who got her lover to kill her husband in 1997. but unlike that case in the state of georgia, gissendaner who never denied her role there, this man in oklahoma, richard gloss ip, said he did not take out a hit on his former boss and he was set up. and supporters including billionaire richard branson have one fear, that branson just articulated in a letter in the oklahoma newspaper. let me read this for you. richard branson saying, quote, oklahoma is about to kill a man who may well be completely innocent. cnn's victor blackwell joins me now. we know this was supposed to happen at 4:00 eastern. now what, it's up to the supreme court? >> yeah. the state officials are waiting for the decision from two last-minute appeals submitted to
the supreme court late last night. and collectively they're asking for a stay, just block this execution while this new information is considered. we'll get to that new information in a moment. but we've got to take you back to 1997 to give you the context. back then, a 19 year eeld handyman at a motel killed the owner of the hotel. now, he was arrested. his story changed several times but eventually he told investigators, yes, he killed the owner of the hotel only because the manager richard gloss up, the man who's now on death row, told him to do so. now, there was an exchange for the testimony in court against glossup. that handyman received a life sentence. so while the man who actually killed this owner is sentenced to life, glossup faces death. it's that information the attorney says is the reason that his client faces death, that there was a quid pro quo. the new information, a former cell meat of that handyman says
they discussed it several times. there was never any discussion of being coerced or told to kill the owner of the hotel and in fact hefact, he only did it bec he wanted to get the life sentence instead of the death sentence. >> so then -- all right. now that you've explained the back story. also new piece of information as we reported in this situation in the state of georgia and now here in oklahoma, the pope through a papal representative has also tried to intervene in this case. >> yeah, that's not uncommon. we've heard that several cases that an emissary, likely the archbishop in a certain area will submit a letter asking for clemency on the pope's behalf. as we saw in the case in georgia in the gissendaner case it was not adhered to. but we know back in 1999 then-pope now-st. john paul ii face-to-face with the governor of missouri asked for a commutation from the death sentence to life sentence and the governor when he commuted
that sentence said he did it because the pope asked him to. in these cases it's not uncommon for a letter to come on behalf of the pope. >> victor blackwell, thank you very much. >> sure. >> next, lisaling. lisa ling will join me live with her explosive interview with two of warren jeffs children making massive accusation. before earning 1% cash back everywhere, every time... 2% back at the grocery store... and 3% back on gas... vince of the flying branzinos got a bankamericard cash rewards credit card, because he may earn his living jumping through hoops, but he'd rather not earn cash back that way. that's the spectacle of rewarding connections. apply online or at a bank of america near you. you totalled your brand new car. nobody's hurt,but there will still be pain. it comes when your insurance company says they'll only pay three-quarters of what it takes to replace it. what are you supposed to do, drive three-quarters of a car?
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my psoriatic arthritis i'm caused joint pain.o golfer. just like my moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. and i was worried about joint damage. my doctor said joint pain from ra can be a sign of existing joint damage that could only get worse. he prescribed enbrel to help relieve pain and help stop further damage. enbrel may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal, events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers, nervous system and blood disorders and allergic reactions have occurred. tell your doctor if you've been someplace where fungal infections are common, or if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores, have had hepatitis b, have been treated for heart failure,
or if you have persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, or paleness. don't start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. joint pain and damage... can go side by side. ask how enbrel can help relieve joint pain and help stop joint damage. enbrel, the number one rheumatologist-prescribed biologic. he was one of the fbi's ten most wanted. he is now serving life in prison. yet warren jeffs is still largely controlling his fundamentalist mormon church known as the fdls community. his crimes, lies and abuse against underage girls many of them are his own children, that's well known. tonight in the season premiere of "this is life" with lisa ling, she talks with two of jeff's kids. she learns shocking details never before revealed along with
jeff's daughter tries to get inside this secretive community. >> when you're in there you feel like you can't live your life freely without being watched all the time. >> i'm noticing all the windows are closed. >> yeah. it seems like they would be on red code lockdown right now. that means everybody shut your blinds, lock the doors, stay quiet, stay secluded. don't be seen. i bet that's a security vehicle coming to check on us. hi. >> you think all these trucks are monitoring what we're doing? >> i think that people have called each other and security's out watching just to monitor the situation. they don't know what's up. >> lisa ling, so you were being followed you think. >> we were. and it is pretty astounding that even though he is years into a life sentence in prison, warren jeffs still is able to control this community. and it wasn't until just a couple of years ago that his own kids were inside.
i mean, this is the life -- the only life they'd known. and once they came out, they started talking along with a couple of other siblings who came out. only four have come out. and they all realize they had something in common, which is what their father did to them when they were kids. and so one of the reasons why they were so intent on getting their story out is there are so many people still inside the flds who believe warren jeffs is the hand of god including their own family members. and they're hoping to be able to convey messages to the people but also to their father. they desperately want their father to tell the people the truth. because he really is the only person who can change things for people inside the flds. >> what did they share they never really shared before? >> well, they shared insights before what warren jeffs was before he became the prophet. the reason why they did that is they want people to understand he wasn't the man that everyone thought he was. he wasn't this magnanimous hand of god. he was a very flawed and very sick person who in a sense
weaseled himself into this supreme position of authority and continued to exact abuse onto so many people since assuming that office. >> so that is the first episode. >> yeah. >> i wanted to ask you about this virginia prison. >> yeah. yeah. >> for dads. >> so it's an episode called fatherless towns. there are so many households in america where fathers are missing. and in many cases a lot of fathers are incarcerated. we have more people locked up behind bars in america than anywhere else in the world. and this jail in virginia has this incredible fatherhood program because so many inmates are in fact fathers. that culminates in a father-daughter dance inside the jail. and the idea is to try and make these guys -- incentivize these guys to do right when they get out by giving them an opportunity to spend this incredible time with their daughters. and it's such a beautiful episode. i hope you'll watch it. it's a bit of a tear jerker. >> so you have the dad and daughter dance at this jail.
the warren jeff children. you've told a lot of stories in your day. >> yeah. >> we hope you keep doing it for a long time. >> thanks. >> but from this season we're about to see just in the last 60 seconds that i have you, what as a journalist i always walk away surprised. you walk into situations and you think you know how the story will go and the best part is when it doesn't. what surprised you most about the shows you've shot? >> what surprised me most? i think we all are guilty of having preconceived ideas about any culture that may be marginalized or have a reputation. inevitably once you hit the ground and engage, you realize no story is black and white. so i learned something pretty extraordinary from every single episode. and i think viewers will as well. >> lisa ling, always a pleasure to see you in person. >> thanks for having me. >> make sure you watch the big season pre premier "this is lif with lisa ling.
9:00 pacific here on cnn. that does it for me here in new york. i'm brooke baldwin. obviously keeping with cnn as we follow this potentially escalating situation here involving russian war planes in syria. "the lead" with jake tapper starts now. russian war planes in the air. whose side are they on? i'm jake tapper. this is "the lead." the world lead, russia is the one who knocks. a general in baghdad telling u.s. officials russian fighter jets bombing drops inside syria and giving the pentagon just an hour's notice to get safe. what is president obama's next move? the national lead, was a state about to execute an innocent man? oklahoma put an execution on hold but now the supreme court denying a request to put the execution on hold about the fate of an inmate who wasn't even there when the murder took place. there are serious questions