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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  October 15, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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and back here live at the hospital, last word is lamar odom still on life support. back to you now, jake. >> all right. paul vercammen, thaing so much. don't forget to tune in tomorrow for my interview with the democratic front runner hillary clinton. that's it for "the lead." i turn you over to one mr. wolf blitzer who is in "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now, fragile fight. president obama delays the withdrawal of u.s. troops to afghanistan after acknowledging the shaky security there following the taliban recently capturing a major city. is putin winning? the russian leader outmaneuvers the u.s. and shows off his global reach as his jets and missiles pound targets in syria. but will syria soon turn into a quagmire for vladimir putin? out to get clinton. another republican lawmaker says the benghazi committee was designed to hurt hillary clinton and the democratic front runner now turn this to her advantage. and jihadi tan goe.
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a former isis hostage gives shocking new details of his torture by the terror group's most notorious murder. he says he was even made to dance the tang goe with the killer known as jihadi john. i'm wolf bliter. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> the breaking news in a major turnarou turnaround. president obama now says he's delaying the withdrawal of u.s. troops from afghanistan calling the situation there very fragile with a resurgence in al qaeda, the president now says 9,800 troops will stay through most of next year with a drawdown of 5,500 after that. and there are also now some chilling new threats from iran which has shown extraordinary images of an underground missile base carved into a mountain. iran says its missiles are ready to launch if its supreme leader gives the order and declares all
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u.s. bases in the region are now within range. congressman ed rois and our correspondents, analysts and guests will have full coverage of the day's top stories. let's begin with afghanistan. let's go live to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. barbara, what's the reasoning behind the president's decision now to delay the withdrawal of u.s. troops. >> pure and simple, wolf. it is a very fragile security situation in afghanistan. the taliban, al qaeda, now isis on the rise. making the president take another look at what the plan was and make that decision based on recommendations from his military commanders. 10,000 troops in afghanistan right now. most of them supposed to be out by the end of next year. now it will look like most of them will stay and it will be cut in half perhaps in 2017. have a listen to some of what the president had to say about all of this earlier today at the white house. >> pressure from pakistan has resulted more al qaeda coming
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into afghanistan. and we've seen the emergence of an isil presence. the bottom line is in key areas of the country the security situation is still very fragile. and in some places there's risk of deterioration. >> and so this nation's longest war now some 14 years will go on. of course it began less than one month after the 9/11 attacks. 14 years later still struggling to get some kind of stability, some kind of security in afghanistan, wolf. >> 14 years, hundreds of billions of dollars, u.s. taxpayer dollars. now the pentagon, the white house they're both saying that to keep these troops in afgh afghanistan longer it's going to be, what, another $15 billion a year, is that right? >> well, that is one estimate. you know, it comes down obviously as you have less troops. to say the least. but this is a very costly proposition. there's no question about it. >> $15 billion a year.
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is this the number that military planners at the pentagon were asking for? because you hear some of president obama's critics like lindsey graham for example, john mccain, saying they really want more. this is a scaled down number. what do we know about the recommendations from the president's military commanders 9,800 still there through most of next year, 5,500 through 2017. do we know what the pentagon really want sns. >> we don't. these are very closely held recommendations. general john campbell, the top commander in afghanistan had been looking at all of this for several weeks. when he testified in front of congress several days ago, he made very clear it was his feeling that the security situation had changed, the threat had grown, afghan forces in some areas of the country were really struggling to keep ahold on things. and he made very clear at that time he was going to recommend that more u.s. troops stay, wolf. >> all right, barbara, thanks very much. on another front the skies over syria they are getting crowded
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right now. russia's stepping up its air strikes. those strikes have little to do with isis. let's go to our global affairs correspondent elise labott. she's working this story for us. some are suggesting that vladimir putin is really outmaneuvering the president on this whole syria issue. >> well, wolf, the russian president is using a combination of military prowess and global deal making to gain the upper hand in syria. and he may look like he's winning now, but the u.s. is warning him these are early days and russia will soon find itself on the losing end. russian fighter jets continue to pound targets in syria with 32 air strikes in the last 24 hours against what moscow called terrorists. but those targets largely in rebel held areas in northwest syria. another sign the u.s. says russia's stated campaign against isis is more about propping up syrian leader bashar al assad. >> the vast majority of targets
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continue to be opposition groups and not in fact isil. >> in russia's first overseas military campaign since the fall of the soviet union putin is showcasing his global reach with new aircraft and sea based cruise missiles. russian air strikes supporting the advance of syrian ground troops and a reported new iranian-led offensive designed to shore up the regime's strongholds teetering towards the rebels. in neighboring israel, putin struck an agreement with prime minister benjamin netanyahu to avoid clashes with israeli jets flying over syria. all attempts to paint a picture of russia's global dominance. in kazakhstan for talks, he contrasted u.s. policy as feckless. >> translator: the weakness of the american position in this case comes from the lack of any agenda. i do not quite understand how our american partners could criticize russia's actions to fight terrorism in syria when
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they reject direct dialogue on a major issue of political settlement. >> but washington is only interested in pilot safety talks, or plans to defeat isis. not cooperation that could bolster assad. >> they can join in supporting a plan to drive daesh back and create room for more unified set of syrian leaders, or they can invest their arms and prestige on behalf of a dictator -- >> reporter: while putin may seem to have the advantage now, u.s. officials predict moscow will soon find itself bogged down in syria. >> it means that the u.s. is basically saying, okay, you know what, russia, iran, they want a proxy war, we'll give them a proxy war. and we're going to bleed them. >> now, president obama's view is that sooner rather than later russia will see the error of its ways and engage in talks with the u.s. on a political process that phases assad out. now, some of the administration like secretary kerry believe to hasten that day, the u.s. must flex military muscle in syria and not let putin dominate the
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skies. that includes, wolf, a no-fly zone. a lot of people pushing for that. >> the president is reluctant. he sees hillary clinton may support a no-fly zone but the president points out she's running for office, he's the president of the united states. he has responsibilities as president which she doesn't have. the president very pointed on that the other day. eli elise, thank you very much. joining us, republican congressman ed royce of california. thanks very much for joining us. three years ago vice president said in 2014 we are leaving, period. with the exception of leaving a few protecting the u.s. embassy in kabul would be out by 2016. today he says not so fast they have to remain almost 10,000 next year and then 5,500 the year after. is he doing the right thing?
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>> yes, he is, wolf. it would not behoove us in the west for al qaeda to establish bases of operation. al qaeda it means the base, when they can get that caliphate, they use it to launch attacks like they did on 9/11. so it is worthwhile to make certain that the afghan forces can prevent the most radical elements from taking over the stage. >> you know, the counterargument you hear it's been 14 years, the u.s. has been training, arming all of these afghan troops, hundreds of thousands of afghan military and police forces. and they still aren't capable of getting the job done. the critics say spend another 14 years, hundreds of billions of u.s. dollars they're still not going to be able to do it then. your response to that? >> we've got 5,500 u.s. troops slated to assist to make certain that the country does not fall to this radical element. and i would just say that when we pulled all of the u.s. forces
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out of baghdad and out of the theater the result was that isis, isis, was able to establish its caliphate. and now we see the impact that isis can have in creating total implosion, total chaos, the flight of millions of human beings out of that region. i would say that it's better to have a strategy to prevent the fall of these states to caliphates chr caliphates, which are then used to expand a wider war that will be far more costly, far more consequential to the west than anything we can do now to keep their opponents in power. >> i spoke with republican senator rand paul today. he opposes keeping u.s. troops in afghanistan. >> i understand that. >> he said spending $15 billion a year. just think what the u.s. could be doing with $15 billion a year whether in your district in california or elsewhere around the country for other domestic purposes, that's a lot of money. how do you explain to your
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constituents that it's worth it to the united states to keep spending this money in afghanistan? >> do a quick calculation on an envelope of what it cost us on 9/11 on the attacks on our homeland. on the attacks on the pentagon, on the impact of our lives, that is what happens when a terrorist organization is able to take over a state and use resources to plot an attack on our homeland. so it is better t a better alternative for us to help the existing governments stave off an overthrow by al qaeda elements and by groups like isis. >> but you know, the reaction i'm getting from some folks out there whether social media or elsewhere on a day social security says they're not going to provide an increase for cost of living this year, the u.s. is spending all this money over there for what so many critics say is just throwing more money down the drain. i'm sure you've heard those
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complaints. >> but think this through. people should think this through. we had this discussion on your show when myself and my democratic colleague elliot engel had called for hitting isis early on and taking it out when it was still in syria on the road, on the road, to begin to take these cities. and at that time, at that time, we could have used our air force to hit them out on the open highway. had we done so then how much better off we would be today because today we have a situation where they're recruiting here in the united states. we talked to one young yazidi woman who testified before our committee she was taken captive by an american who had been converted four years ago to isis who believed that isis could not be defeated and because she was an infidel felt he could buy her and treat her as a -- this is the reality of the mindset. so if we allow these radicals to run up these types of victories
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without being defeated or without being challenged, the perception becomes around the world among young men of a certain persuasion that they can join a cause where fate will put them in a position where they can subjugate others and including back here in the united states. it's a tough decision, but we have to make a decision. putting off the decision is itself a decision in that we did not take out isis when we had the air power to do it. we're still not arming the kurds who are fighting isis so that they can help take them out. we don't want to see u.s. marines on the ground fighting isis. we want the kurds to do it, but we've got to arm them and we've got to give them air support to do it. >> mr. chairman, we have more to discuss including iran now boasting of an until now secret tunnel, secret dee poe if you will for ballistic missiles. they're showing off their capabilities. much more on this other important breaking developments right after this quick word.
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the house foreign affairs committee congressman ed royce still with us. we'll get back to him in a moment. first, we're dealing with chilling threats from iran.
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revealing images of a secret underground missile base saying ready to launch on the orders of supreme leader. that follows the test firing of a new long-range missile. but iran has now also approved nuclear deal reached with the united states and other world powers. our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto is here. jim, what do you make of these late breaking developments? >> wolf, we've seen a number of provocative moves in recent days. this video broadcast on iranian state television showing a hidden arsenal. these are rockets on there launching vehicles here, dozens of them. you see dozens of soldiers from the iranian revolutionary guards as well. 500 meters understood ground. that's 650 feet underground. not too subtle message that this is out of the range of u.s. armaments. it's so deep down there that it would be protected. and you see an iranian revolutionary guards commander congratulating the troops as you see just a massive arsenal stretching underneath there. keep in mind there is also --
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there are also underground nuclear facilities and of course this happens just weeks after the u.s. and iran and the west signed this nuclear deal. this video released broadcast on iranian state television keep in mind they say it's one of many underground facilities, comes just a few days after iran did a missile test of a new generation long-range ballistic missile, which the u.s. says and here's the missile here going up, broadcast as well on iranian state tv. they wanted the world to know this. the u.s. says that this missile violates an existing u.n. security council resolution banning iran from ballistic missile testing. the u.s. is now referring this matter to the u.n. so yet another step by iran. that is iran expanding its military operations inside syria. the u.s. says that right now there are 1,000 iranian fighters who have joined the fight on the ground. this is in addition to thousands more fighters from the iranian-backed militia hezbollah. the white house saying though that this is tehran acting in effect out of desperation. here's the white house press secretary josh earnest.
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>> well, the fact they're having to ramp up their support and to do it in a more public and conspicuous way is an indication what they've been doing so far hasn't worked. >> but neither iran nor russian backing down. delegation of iranian officials arrived in syria on wednesday to discuss a new pact with russia aimed at propping up the regime of bashar al assad saying they'd back a political solution but the terrorists, that's how they describe them, only understand the language of force. the trouble of course, wolf, is that russia in addition to iran seem to categorize any group that is fighting the regime of assad as a terrorist. and that includes forces backed by the u.s. the u.s. has said repeatedly, wolf, that it would welcome moves by russian, iran if they are fighting isis there. but really these air strikes we're seeing they are striking all sorts of groups and the focus very much protecting the regime and protecting areas controlled by bashar al assad. >> yeah, the russians and iranians have something very much in common. main goal in syria is to make sure bashar al assad remains in
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power. good explanation for that, jim sciutto. we're back with the chairman of the house foreign affairs committee congressman ed royce of california. what is based on broadcasting these new images of ballistic missiles, ballistic missile tests which the u.s. now suspects is a violation of the u.n. security council resolutions. what are they up to? >> at the moment they're testing the united states. during the debate some of the talking points for the agreement with iran was that there was going to be a prohibition on arms embargo actually as well as a prohibition on targeting for their ballistic missiles. and this was supposed to be a five-year and an eight-year prohibition. the iranians shortly after it was rowhani made the announcement their head of state said we don't recognize that part of the agreement. we don't recognize that as part of the agreement we signed onto. so they're going to go forward
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not just with their testing but also with their transfer of these capabilitiecapabilities. they're going to transfer this to hezbollah according to the latest reports. and they're going to transfer this capability for missiles to hamas so these two entities can do precision strikes on israel. and at the same time they're moving forward with their three-stage icbm program. i think what should be concerning to us is that the rhetoric is still death to america, death to israel. and we haven't seen any indication that they're changing their attitudes or that they intend to comply with the talking points that we heard that this deal was going to curtail their commitment to their ballistic missile program. it's quite the opposite. >> let me wrap it up. one quick question on afghanistan. as we discussed earlier, disturbing report out today from intercept, the leaked intelligence documents they've
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obtained suggesting that 90%, this assessment for these leaked intelligence documents, 90% of the deaths during a five-month long u.s. drone strike campaign in afghanistan were unintended targets. have you heard this? can you confirm this? >> no. i have not heard this. but i have heard some of the reports coming out of syria about how many of the attacks that are committed by the syrian regime are actually on civilian targets. and that number was, yeah, 90% of all of the attacks had been on markets, on hospitals and on schools. but i had not heard any reports on collateral damage in terms of u.s. drone strikes. i will try to get to the bottom of it now that you've raised it with respect to afghanistan. >> in afghanistan the argument, the point is that this leaked report is that u.s. drone strikes were killing -- were going after terrorist targets
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but 90% of the targets turned out to be not those they were going after. that's what is in this report. i know you haven't seen it. you haven't checked it out. we'll get your -- >> we'll check that out. i did ask for a report on how many of the russian attacks were on isis. and the answer to that so far has been 7%. the first four attacks were on the u.s. trained free syrian army. it's hard to believe that that was accidental. so you right now in aleppo have those who are fighting isis are simultaneously being bombarded by russian bombs. and it looks very clear to me the case here is that russia is not carrying out strikes against isis to any -- in any manner, shape nor form. they are carrying out attacks, more attacks in one day than u.s. forces are carrying out in
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one month. with our attacks on isis. but their attacks are on the free syrian army. >> ed royce chairman of the house foreign affairs committee. thanks, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, wolf. coming up, the cruel mind games of a notorious isis killer. a former hostage says the man known as jihadi john forced him to dance the tango with him. plus, jeb bush wading into the controversy over the name the washington redskins should have. this time with a joke. big day? ah, the usual. moved some new cars. hauled a bunch of steel. kept the supermarket shelves stocked. made sure everyone got their latest gadgets. what's up for the next shift? ah, nothing much. just keeping the lights on. (laugh) nice. doing the big things that move an economy. see you tomorrow, mac. see you tomorrow, sam. just another day at norfolk southern.
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there are some positive new numbers for republican presidential hopeful jeb bush, but they're not in the polls. his campaign now reporting fund raising all of more than $13 million over the summer. cnn's athena jones joining us with more. athena, how does that compare with the other gop candidates? >> hi, wolf. well, that number puts him in second place behind ben carson. it's a pretty solid fund raising figure for the quarter. the question is now will he begin to post more solid poll numbers. >> you can't expect washington to be the solution. they should be a partner. >> jeb bush on the trail in new hampshire as his campaign announced he raised $13.4 million in the third quarter. a figure that puts him in second place in the gop in fund raising behind ben carson who brought in some $20 million. but bush beat ted cruz who
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raised $12 million and carly fiorina who raked in $6.8 million. and also marco rubio, his former protege, who posted a $6 million haul. front-runner donald trump is mostly self-funding his campaign. and while trump tweeted a picture of himself signing his tax return today, bush was set to release his 2014 tax returns and his medical records. a document dump that comes as the former florida governor lags in national and early state polls. >> we're in first place everywhere. >> the latest cnn/orc poll shows trump with a big lead in nevada and south carolina. bush barely making it into the top five. and the latest national poll from fox news also shows bush in the single digits. way behind trump and carson. >> appreciate you coming. >> this as the campaign faces donors growing increasingly anxious about his poll position.
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bush telling dana bash the race is a triathlon, not a sprint. >> look, the fact is we've got a plan, we're executing on the plan. i'm convinced i'm going to win the republican nomination. i'm going to do it in a way that will actually make it possible to win the general election as well. >> now, the bush campaign just released those medical records, also his tax filings. and a top list of fundraisers a few minutes ago. we're going through those documents, but i can tell you bush's doctor reports he is healthy and like a lot of americans he's taking a cholesterol lowering drug known as statins. one more bit of news, trump and carson are now threatening to bow out of the next debate on cnbc at the end of the month unless certain demands are met. both candidates want guarantees the debate won't last more than two hours. and that they'll be able to deliver opening statements and closing statements. wolf. >> athena, thanks very much. let's get some more from our political kmcommentators, s.e.cupp, ana navarro, a friend
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of marco rue e rub yore and peter binart. ana, these fund raising numbers okay. the poll numbers for jeb bush, the man you support, you're working for, very disappointing. why is he doing so poorly right now? >> because there's 15 people running for president. and i think that, you know, it's a hard field because we are still kind of in the reality show topic. but, you know, i think, wolf, that these numbers are very good. i can tell you that his donors and supporters are very happy with these numbers. out of the 15 running donald trump is not raising any money and ben carson raised 20, other than that jeb bush beat everybody else. and i do know that he's spending some of that money on building a ground root and ground troop operation in the early states. he's got staff there. he's got offices there. and, you know, look his strategy is i'm going to build a structure, i'm going to wait this out, i have the financial
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resources to do it. >> peter, in releasing the numbers the bush campaign noted that bush's fund raising was comparable to what mitt romney raised in the third quarter in 2011. but romney was the gop front runner at the time. in the latest cnn poll bush nationally among republicans in fifth place. also not doing well specifically in nevada, south carolina as we pointed out. so what is he doing wrong? >> jeb bush is a terrific fundraiser. he can draw on the network of his entire family. but unfortunately for him there are still some democratic aspects to the way we choose presidents, which is to say we don't simply choose by who can raise the most money. what he's finding on the stump is that republicans are in an anti-establishment mood. and no matter what he says he epitomizes the republican establishment. his brother was president. his father was president. republicans want someone who is an outsider. and he will never be that. >> what do you think, s.e.? why is jeb bush -- he's raising
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the money. obviously he's got some major political backers out there, but when it translates into numbers in the national polls as well as in these first four states, iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, nevada, he's down there in single digits. >> yeah. but i will point out that within the margin of error he's actually just tied for third. so if you take trump and carson and use conventional wisdom and project that maybe they won't be standing in the end, actually jeb is poised to be in a pretty good position toward the general. >> let me put numbers back up on the screen. here are the numbers in our cnn/orc poll. for nevada trump 38%, carson 22%. take a look at this. bush, he's down at 6%. >> right, but he's right next to carly and marco. and within the margin of error. he's essentially tied for third place. >> but he's not even close to the number one or number two. >> no one is. no one is. and you have to anticipate that over the course of the next few weeks and months the ben
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carson-trump bubbles might deflate a bit. in which case someone like jeb and marco and carly will be well poised. >> it's not just nevada. south carolina the third state look at the numbers. >> but listen -- but wolf -- >> hold on, ana. 36% for trump. 18% for carson. rubio 9%, fiorina 7%, jeb bush 6%. it's not just one state. it's all four of these states plus nationally. he's raising a ton of money, but it's not generating into support in all of these statewide and national polls. >> it is for no one if you are not named trump or carson. that is what peter referred to this anti-establishment interest. and we'll have to see. i mean, whether the other candidates including jeb bush can remind voters that you have to be electable in a general or not. you know, jeb bush actually is i think poised pretty well considering no one has been able to crack the trump-carson -- >> hold on, ana. we're going to continue this
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conversation. everyone's working under the assumption or at least a lot of republicans are working under the assumption that donald trump, dr. ben carson they're not going to be the nominees. guess what, for the past several months they have been doing really well. we'll see what happens. stay with us. we have much more to assess right after this.
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republican presidential front runners donald trump and ben carson, they want to see some changes in the next
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republican presidential debate. and they're threatening right now to actually boycott that debate if their demands aren't met. trump and carson want the debate to include opening and closing statements and run no longer than two hours. we're back with our political commentators. ana, what's your reaction when you hear that threat from donald trump and ben carson? >> i hope they follow through on it. i hope that, you know, first of all it's amusing to me that the guy, donald trump who calls jeb bush and others low energy, is saying if you make me stand up for two hours or more than two hours god forbid one more minute than 120 minutes i'm going to pull out. look, if they want to play that game, fine. i think they can't afford to. one of the things that keeps donald trump alive is being in the headlines and being part of these debates. the same goes for ben carson. neither of them are paying for paid media. so i think they have as much to lose as any network does or payty does from them not
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participating. >> i assume there might be some fewer candidates the next time around, s.e., there were 11 candidates on the main stage at the gop debate the last time. maybe the next time they'll be one or two less? >> i don't know. i mean, the person that most republicans are looking at to drop out soon would be rand paul. and he is just sort of explained why he is not going anywhere. so i'm not really sure that this early anyone's going to drop out in time for the next debate. maybe the next debate will sort of set the table. >> is it a matter of expectation? there's a lot of republicans now who fear that donald trump might actually get the republican presidential nomination. and maybe that's going to happen given his numbers. >> yeah. >> what are you hearing from your republican friends? >> it could. i mean, every prediction made about trump is a losing game because he has defied predictions from the beginning. carson i think as more people are getting to know him they're getting to see how frightening some of his policies and his
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ideas are and how un well thought out they are. trump seems to have staying power in almost everything he says. yes, i think the job of the other candidates and they've tried to do this is remind republican voters that you have to win in a general election. and trump just doesn't match up next to hillary, who is probably going to be the no, ma'aminee i general election. >> a lot of people talking about the possibility. >> it's possibility. >> peter binart, hillary clinton's campaign now saying benghazi select committee inquiry has in their words zero credibility left after another republican congressman richard hannah of new york has added his voice to those saying that the committee was designed, set up largely to damage hillary clinton politically. what does this mean for the former secretary? >> it's terrific for her. you know, this is actually really page out of the clinton's playbook. if you go back to the 1990s and impeachment, the clintons best
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friend has always been the republicans who were out to get them. and they have always focused on their republican tormenters to discredit them. and that's been a very effective strategy to suggest to people that these so-called scandals are not real scandals. hillary has had a lot of problems with e-mails by her own admission she made a big mistake by having that private server. but by focusing on the republicans who were doing this in a partisan way, she riles up democrats and she changes the focus. >> peter beinart, ana navarro, s.e. cupp, thanks very much. coming up, a notorious executioner forcing to dance. it's hard to believe you can book over
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a former isis hostage is giving shocking new details of his torture. he says at one point he was made to dance the tango with a killer. brian todd has been looking at this. >> wolf, we're learning details of the bizarre and cruel treatment prisoners receive. daniel ry from denmark is believed to be the last western hostage to have gotten out alive before isis started beheading. he says he not only was made to dance the tango but beat him.
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isis' best known killer providing over the head of james folly and western hostages. with each video he's trashed talk enemies. >> obama, you have started your arab bombardment that keeps striking our people so it's only right we continue to strike the next of your people. >> tonight, a new and bizarre account of the cruelty handed out by jihad john, the militant identified by western officials as british national mohammed. daniel ry says one day quote he picked me up and i had to dance the tango, john and i. >> it's not really that surprising he would have this kind of clock work orange sense of sinister humor. a lot of isis trolls on twitter were laughing about this. they think it's hilarious. >> in an interview with danish tv, ry said when jihad john was
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tan going, he kept his eyes on the ground looking jihad john in the eyes he said would bring a beating. he says he was beaten anyway after the dance. then ry says they finished by threatening to cut my nose off with pliers and things like that where i was thinking what the f. >> the guys that run this organization, a lot of guys that control hostages. >> rye says he was held alongside james foley and was released in june of last year several weeks before foley's execution. rye's family paid a large ransom which the u.s. government discouraged them from doing. >> the survivors of american victims of isis, james folly's family, there is resentment toward the obama administration for simply not taking to isis directly or indirectly as many countries have done. >> president obama changed u.s.
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policy agreeing to communicate with terror hostage takers but no payments. for jihad john, they won't say where they think he is. >> he's a valued target. we know the british government is looking to strike him in a big way because he's done so much damage to u.s. and uk re x relations and terrible things. >> jihad john has not been seen in a video since january of this year and his fate remains a mystery. there were reports he might have fled from isis and his value was diminished but one says his lack of visibility recently could be because isis might be running low on western hostages to murder. >> this former hostage daniel rye passed along an important message to james folly's parents. >> daniel rye says he was held with james folly for eight
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months. rye says before he was released, folly asked him to commit a memory, a letter from james folly to his parents and did that and conveyed it. rye told reporters quote, it was terrible, a death letter, a farewell to his family. rye says if he would think about that letter every day, he would be a wreck emotionally. >> brian todd reporting. fear and furry in israel where citizens are being told to arm themselves after a wave of random attacks by palestinians as clashes continue. can leaders put a lid on violence? i'll speak with an official and a whole lot more when we come back.
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happening now, president obama throws out his plan for withdrawing troops as isis and enemy forces make gains on the ground. will the conflict he promised to end out last his time in office? israel on edge, weeks of terror and now israeli citizens are being urged to grab guns. i'll ask a top palestinian official how the cycle of violence can be stopped. secret bunker revealed. an under ground missile facility in a sinister looking video to enemies. the dangerous tounaunt. trump's threat, he may boycott the next gop presidential debate. he has a list of demands to participate. we want to welcome viewers in the united states and around
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the world. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room". this is cnn breaking news. >> breaking news tonight, a major reversal in president obama's strategy that will make america's longest war even longer. the president announcing today he's abandoning the plan to withdraw most u.s. forces from afghanistan by the end of next year. he says thousands of troops to need to stay under ground to keep america safe. also breaking, clashes exploding between israeli forces and palestinians with tear gas and molotov cocktails flying after a series of knife attacks and deadly violence, israel is recruiting civilians to help security encouraging those who legally own guns to carry them. we have correspondents, analysts and news makers standing by as we cover the news breaking right now. up first, our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. the president effectively
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handing off this afghanistan war which has been going on for 14 years to his successor. >> good evening, wolf, that is correct. in afghanistan, it's about preserving security and the problem of preserving security may be a problem. >> as the taliban showed their win, taking over a city in northern afghanistan, isis and al qaeda continue expanding ranks across afghanistan, president obama says the situation is still too dangerous to cut the size of u.s. forces still fighting in the country's longest war. >> the bottom line is in key areas of the country, the security situation is still very fragile and in some cases, risk of at tdeterioration. >> they sought to end the war that began less than one month after the 9/11 attacks.
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the plan to cut dramatically the number of troops next year. now, the 9800 troops will remain through most or all of 2016 dropping to 5500 in 2017. >> the afghan security force uneven performance under scores that short falls will persist. >> reporter: the country remaining fragile, the taliban in a surprise attack last month seized a major city in afghanistan in the fight to push the taliban back, a u.s. air strike hit a hospital killing doctors and patients. and just last weekend, u.s. forces participated in a huge raid on an al qaeda training site while to theed as a success and shows extremists are still operating there. the four-star commander of u.s. forces in afghanistan had made clear he was not ready for a quick draw down. >> in your professional military judgment, conditions on the
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ground at the present time would require some revision of the withdrawal plan. >> i'll stomp my foot. >> reporter: some republican presidential candidates want more troops, president obama's decision not the final word. >> i suspect that we will continue to evaluate this going forward as will the next president and as conditions improve, we'll be in a position to make tufurther adjustments. >> the longest war not over yet and a lot of concern that isis now is digging in in afghanistan. wolf? >> thanks very much. also tonight, the united states keeping very close watch on iran's missile arsenal after a video revealing until now secret under ground military bunker. jim sciutto is with us. is iran muscle flexing now and is that scene as dangerous by the u.s.? >> there is certainly a message for the domestic audience here. the time and key all this coming as the iranian parliament
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approved a nuclear deal with the west but show real military capabilities, as well. the latest missile battery seems designed to be protected from u.s. air strikes. 16 00 feet deep under a mountainside a hidden arsenal, islamic revelationry guard soldiers at attention and dozens of missiles on lunch vehicles set to dramatic music, iranian state tv broadcast it boasting it is one of many protected sites around the country. >> translator: the missiles in various ranges are mounted on launchers on all bases ready to be launched, that is if our enemies make a mistake. >> reporter: the release comes days after iran launched a new generation long-range ballistic missile, which the u.s. says violates an existing u.n. security counsel resolution
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banning ballistic missile testing. >> nobody will turn a blind eye to the destabilizing activities that iran continues to prove capable of. >> reporter: now iran is expanding military operations inside syria. the u.s. believes as many as 1,000 iranian troops are on the ground. joining thousands more fighters from the iranian backed lebanese militia. the white house says tehran is acting out of desperation. >> to ramp up their support in a public and conspeckous way is an indication it has not worked. >> reporter: officials arrived in syria wednesday to decide a new pact with russia aimed at propping up the assad regime. >> translator: the russians, too, are backing a political situation to end the crisis in syria but at the same time because terrorists do not understand anything but force, naturally that same language has to be spoken to them.
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>> u.s. officials said consistently that they would welcome military action by countries like russia or iran but it is the u.s. assessment russia and iran are intent on one goal propping up the regime and wolf, this has many potential consequences lengthening the war, setting up a proxy war between russia, iran and the u.s. it is not seen as a good development here in washington. >> jim sciutto reporting, thanks very much. let's bring in our analyst peter and cnn military analyst retired lieutenant general mark hurtling. what do you make of the footage released? >> goes together with the missile test they did which was a ballistic missile precision guided they also advertised and is a way of saying hey, we may have done this agreement with the united states, but we still have these, you know, ambitions regionally and these capacity military to exercise them and
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shows that the iranian regime is not a unit regime, hard liners and people who are, you know, more simple threatympathetic ton position and this is hard liners speaking. >> from a military standpoint, how well equipped is iran right now in achieving what it wants to achieve? >> well, wolf, you got to understand there is basically two armies within iran. there is the normal army about 400,000 strong and then you have your iranian republican guards. that's about 100 thousand plus or minus strong. the regular army not well equipped. the kuds force is well equipped and well trained. they have a budget of about 14 to $17 billion a year we estimate. they don't have very good equipment but trying to improve their rockets and missiles and artillery. it's going to be tough to build
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that force very quickly although russia is now certainly having a hand in giving them equipment. >> let's talk about the president's reversal as far as troops staying in afghanistan today. he said almost 10,000 will continue being there, 5500 the following year. a couple years ago he said all u.s. troops with the exception of those protecting the u.s. embassy in kabul will be out. is the decision part of the result what is happening in neighboring iraq as a result of the withdraw of u.s. forces a few years ago from iraq. >> when you have isis establishing control in eastern afghanistan, when you have the fall of a major city to the taliban for two weeks, you know, not only this looks good, fact is it wasn't a good idea in the first place to withdraw troops. the government is begging the united states to say the afghan people are in favor of a long-term international troop
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presence and see american troops as a guarantee of stability and bull work against other countries interfering in outside affairs. >> do you agree general it was a mistake for the president ever to say he would withdraw u.s. troops from afghanistan? >> being familiar with campaigning, this was the best estimate about 18 months ago when you talk about a long-term plan. at the time situations on the ground were very different. the enemy was different and the enemy always gets a vote. things have changed in terms of the enemy and the capability of a nation afghan security force to address that enemy. so i think it's a good move and it's not an unexpected move to have general campbell come in with this request for more forces. >> you see a time and you've studied this, peter, for a long time afghanistan where the u.s. could actually make a clean break, leave afghanistan, leave the security work the military work there in the hands of afghan security and police
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forces and not have to worry about a resure -- >> the u.s. will have to stay for decades. >> one thing is the way we signal these things. afghans don't care if it's 10,000 troops or 5,000. they want to say we have a commitment there and plan to be there for a long time. there is a difference between 10,000 and 5,000 but mostly about building confidence with the afghan people and government that we have a long-term commitment. we have negotiated, wolf, a partnership agreement with afghanistan until 2024. the architecture is in place for us to be there for some significant length of time. >> frustration, though, is that the u.s. has been there for 14 years, the longest war in u.s. history having spent hundreds of billions of dollars training the afghan troops and still can't get the job done and they have been fighting in afghanistan among themselves for hundreds of years. what's the u.s. think it can stop the fighting even if the
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u.s. spends a few more decades. that's the criticism you hear about this decision by the president to keep forces in afghanistan and they are going to be spending $15 billion a year next year to keep those forces there. a lot of people say bring those troops home, stop spending the money over there but i know you disagree with that and general hurtley does, as well. >> just ahead, how far will the palestinians go to end a wave of terror and escalating clashes with israeli forces? i'll ask the top palestinian negotiator and breaking news about vice president joe biden and possible white house run. we're learning new information right now from our sources and we'll share it. hold the phone.
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let's go to jerusalem and the senior international correspondent ben wedeman. >> this violence has gone on for almost two weeks and already it has dramatically changed the daily habits of many israelis. almost two weeks of loan woune attacks, daily is tresidents wis scenes like this or see on tv. there is a sense of deja vu. >> i remember riding on the buses then and it's a similar feeling as now. it's almost like we're looking like this around us more not knowing if that really would help but just more conscious of what we're walking, talking like right now i'm more aware with per ref yell vision. >> company and trained for
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security. >> the civilians that come over here with pressure, people feel, they cannot walk without a weapon in the streets because the attack can coal from anywhere. >> the israeli government made it easier to obtains weapon's license, less lethal means defense is available but selling out. do you have any pepper spray? >> no, doesn't have. empty. >> reporter: all soldout? >> sold out. maybe next week, maybe. you can open it and you can -- >> reporter: spike? >> it's a self-defense tool. it's good for a woman, for girls, it's very easy to use with this. >> reporter: such things may help adults but the sense of
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vulnerability for the young is more difficult to address. >> yes, acre acre knowledge -- acknowledge it is scary. >> reporter: this psychologist has been treating trama victims for 20 years. her advice to parents. >> keep routine, regular meal times, regular bedtimes, reading books, do everything you do with your children within your level of comfort. >> reporter: a level of comfort that falls with every new attack. and the longer this violence continues, many are asking is this the new normal? wolf? >> ben wedeman in jerusalem for us. benjamin netanyahu is open to meeting with the palestinian president to end the current wave of terror and tension but he's also questioning the palestinian leader's commitment to peace in very strong words. listen to what he said today.
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>> i think we should stop immediately this wave, this wave of insightment against israel and attacks. murder attacks against jews. i'm willing to meet him, he's not willing to me me and you ask me about the resumption of negotiatio negotiations? come on, get with the program. these people don't want negotiations and are insighting for violence. >> let's ask the top palestinian negotiator about that. he's joining us on the phone from the west bank. thanks very much for joining us. will the president meet with the prime minister in jordan, let's say, without preconditions? is that a possibility? >> well, it seems to me the prime minister of israel is doing everything, arming his people, attacking, killing, four palestinians have been killed in the last three weeks. very sat situation, very unfortunate situation and you recall, wolf, the unemployed a
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few months ago at negotiation was benjamin netanyahu. now benjamin netanyahu is arming his people and the only thing no one is talking about is that if this prime minister stands tall and reach out to the palestinian neighbor and say i hear you, i feel you, you want independence, freedom, dignity. we'll make a two-step solution. wolf, we have to recognize israel and the only way out for us and israelis is not through more military solution and violence. it's through the two-state solution, through a palestinian state living side by side in peace and security. if it's nettanyahu that destroyd
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me, activities supposed to be land of activities by 22% since 2009 when he came to office and president obama called upon him to seize activities. and closures and seize and military solution and the only thing he forgot is that undermining the two-step solution will provide israelis and palestinians with no peace and no security and provide us with this situation. i hope and pray that this man benjamin netanyahu instead of continuing with his campaign against us is smearing us and saying peace and negotiations will reach out to palestinians and tell them i feel you and hear you about your independence and freedom and you'll have your say. >> because netanyahu says he's ready to meet with president abbas. there is another development.
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i want the explain what's going on and address he delivered on television to the palestinian people. he put up a picture of a 13-year-old alleging he had been killed by israeli police. that video went viral showing him bleeding on the ground. the israeli government later relea release two vid shows, running with a knife moments before taken down and the other video showing the boy is alive being treated in a hospital by israeli doctors now. did president abbas know the boy was alive and hadn't been killed in the violence? >> there were two cousins. they were both 13 years old. one was killed immediately, the other was wounded and he's being hospitalized and the name was used as a mistake that was made, a mixup. that's not the point. the point is the killing
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13-year-old kids are dying, being killed. that's the point. we need a political solution and israeli government that will understand keeping this occupation, they claim they enact jerusalem and make jer s jerusalem the cabinet. he's dividing it today. he's got that with road blocks. wolf, we need a political solution. hey has president obama's effort. no one has done more to achieve the two-step solution more than john kerry, secretary of state. he foiled him. he foiled all of us. he had done nothing but destroy the palestinians. >> why not -- why not take this awful situation right now and use it as an opportunity to try to calm things down and have this meeting between netanyahu and president abbas? >> the point is we met with mr.
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netanyahu. the question is not whether we meet or not. the question what do we meet him about? he has said, if you recall last march, he said a palestinian said not on my watch and i told you on that program that night, i told them this message would destroy palestinian minds and take home from the palestinian mine and push us towards more blood and that's what is happening now. let him declare that activity. let hem declare the state of palestine and living side by side in the state of israel. look, i'm no match to the israel and american congress and senate with 3,000 tanks, 3 thousand planes, nuclear weapons but if they want peace and security, they must understand it's my peace and security. i'm their neighbor. we have recognized the step to exist in 78% and yes, hope and
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pray this prime minister stands tall to say i recognize the state of palestine. this is the key to hope. this is how you end violence and provide peace and security. >> in the meantime, the violence is obviously going to continue. let's hope it doesn't. thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. just ahead as joe biden weighs whether it's a jump into the presidential race, we have details how his family feels about that possibility. and democratic presidential candidate bernie sanders takes a break to show off his dance moves on "ellen" lightning it up to the sounds of "disco inferno." ♪ ♪ burn baby burn ♪ ♪
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breaking news in the presidential campaign. joe biden's family is on board for him to jump into the presidential race. let's go to jim acosta. tell us what we're learning about the biden and whether or not he should run for president? >> another indication vice president is biden is getting close to a decision. my colleague says biden is reaching out to supporters in early states saying yes his family is on board and to discuss an entry into the presidential race.
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biden dodged this question today when reporters asked about it and hillary clinton meanwhile she's been out on the campaign trail all day long cording latino voters. >> reporter: feeling post debate confidence, hillary clinton looked like she was testing riding mates with democratic star and possible housing pick, castro. >> i love being la hillary. >> reporter: earlier in the day clinton accused republicans of parroting donald trump on a crucial issue for latino voters, immigration. >> they all to a degree or so sound like him. they just don't have the pizazz and the hair. >> reporter: her campaign is hammering the gop over comments made by richard hanna after kevin mccarthy seemed to suggest the committee investigating benghazi was to damage clinton and major bradley's claims to
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jack tapper that the committee is out to get her. >> i think there is a big part of this investigation designed to go after people and an individual, hillary clinton. >> reporter: the clinton campaign fired back saying the benghazi inquiry has zero credibility left aiming for a different kind of credibility, clinton's rival bernie sanders showed off dance moves on the "ellen degenerous" show. >> have you ever been in handcuffs? >> yes, i don't know exactly what you mean by that. >> joe biden was doing tap dancing of his own avoiding questions once again about whether he'll run for president. >> have you made your decision yet? is there still an opening for you in the race, sir? >> i'm here to talk to y'all about that later. >> reporter: the conventional wisdom in washington, the window of opportunity is closing. >> the las vegas debate cnn
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moderated is a historic moment for hillary clinton. it reminded people why she is good and i think it lessons the chances that biden could enter. >> reporter: but biden supporters argue there is still space for the vice president to join the race. >> with a stature he would bring the minute he got in the race the entire narrative would change and we talk about the first debate in iowa in november. >> reporter: three senior democratic officials say biden is in a holding pattern and one of the sources says biden is leaning towards a no on this decision on whether to run for president. we should caution that biden's office says he is yet to make a decision whether he's running and wolf, as for the tidbit about his family being on board, it's important to note dr. jill biden said through a spokesperson that yeah, she's very much on board with whatever her husband decides. >> we'll see what he decides. it will probably come in the next few days. let's bring in sarah murray and john king and our political
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commentator ryan l izzy. and our senior political reporter manu raju. >> he's the sitting popular vice president. is there a lane? yes. is there a wide lane? absolutely not. he doesn't want to be to the left of bernie sanders that put in a passionate performance and energized supporters and introduced himself to millions of liberals across the country that know who bernie sanders is. they only heard about him before. hillary clinton essentially frozen the establishment democratic slot in this race. i'm told as the vice president makes these calls, wolf, he's been making for them months and has regional calls. i'm told the reaction today is much colder, much more sour, with you if you go but talk to my friends here in iowa, talk to my friends in new hampshire and there is lot of buzz hillary clinton had a good strong debate performance and if you want to do it, do it but recognize the
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hill is very steep. >> what are you hearing? >> not a lot but politically, the lane that john talks about has never really been there absent some dramatic collapse of hillary clinton. if she wins this nomination, we'll look back at the spring and 2014 as the point at which she won because she scared everyone else out of the race. i mean, you watch that debate the other night, bernie sanders did fine but the reason hillary clinton dominated is because let's be honest, she does not have strong competitors, right and that's a great way to win a primary is make sure you clear the field. biden's play has always been if the benghazi scandal heated up, if the e-mail scandal did something, if there were questions about finances in the clinton foundation and general buzz of scandals that seems to always swirl around the clintons, he was the insurance policy for the democratic party if she collapses. maybe he'll still run but i'd have to say politically, it doesn't look promising for him.
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>> she's scheduled to testify next week before the select committee on benghazi and she's been getting help from republicans as we just heard from jim acosta and a congressman saying that committee was set up to hurt her. won of her top aides going to testify tomorrow. what do we expect to unfold? >> the testimony will happen behind closed doors, wolf. there will be mostly staff members there interviewing her, probably not going to get a lot of information about what she said. it will be transcribed and what the committee is trying to do is figure out what she knew before, during and after those attacks. i'm told they won't dive deep. questions about the e-mails really are not going to be a big subject of that interview but it will be a big subject next week when hillary goes before the committee. this will be a very long hearing. there will be four rounds of
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questioning, at least, 12 members will get ten minutes each to question her. republicans will have to push her hard but tread carefully because of the issue. looks like a partisan investigation, yes, they want to trip her up. it's kind of a -- >> congressman hanna suggesting basically there was a political effort to hurt hillary clinton. that will help her going into this hearing. >> she's getting help now from republicans. she's getting help from bernie sanders going on the debate stage saying america is sick of hearing about your e-mail. the challenge questioning hillary clinton is to sort of explain again to the public why they are doing this. this is about figuring out how innocent people were killed. this is about getting to the bottom of this and making sure it never happens again and feels like that part of the conversation is lost and the committee is not pointing out here is what we found and prevent something like this from happening and if they stand firm
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and say we are doing this for a reason, i think they need to get back to the point. >> stand by, much more to discuss including donald trump riding high in the latest polls and turning his attention from fellow republicans targeting democrats and calling bernie sanders a maniac. donald trump is threatening a boycott. could he have company if he really decides to sit this one out? you're not confident your company's data is secure, the possibility of a breach can quickly become the only thing you think about. that's where at&t can help. at at&t we monitor our network traffic so we can see things others can't. mitigating risks across your business. leaving you free to focus on what matters most.
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donald trump is issuing a new threat and says he'll boycott the next republican presidential debate unless some demands he has are met. ben carson also now threatening to be a no show. sarah murray has the latest on the gop race. is this debate really, really in jeopardy? >> donald trump looks like he's ready to go to battle with cnbc and threatening to pull out of the debate if they don't agree to limit it to two hours and allow opening and closing statements for the candidate and while trump may have a big lead in the polls, tonight the money race is heating up. tonight new fundraising numbers show the bush campaign isn't going anywhere. >> it's an amount that's, will be competitive for shush. >> reporter: he raised $13 million, a haul that puts him near the top but dr. ben carson
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besting bush with $20 million last quarter. and texas season tonator ted crt that far behind. it should calm concerns from donors. we watched the candidate fall behind in key early states as donald trump surges. trump still sits atop the gop field and now trying out general election style attacks. >> if i don't win, i consider it to be a massive failure. that means primaries, win the election because otherwise, hey, we've had a lot of fun but nothing is going to happen. i watched hillary last night, we'll give this and that and the poor woman will have to give everything away because this maniac standing on her right is giving everything away so she follows him. i call him a socialist, communist. >> the front runner hedging bets taking on hillary clinton and bernie sanders in the same breath. so why go after bernie sanders if you think hillary clinton was
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the stronger candidate and you think she's winning? >> you never know what's going to happen. i may think she did better. i thought she probably won last night. some people might have thought he did. i have no idea who the candidate will be. >> reporter: meanwhile, one of trump's sharpest critics, carly fiorina fielding a question that stumped trump. >> they want us to change our country to suit them. if they don't like the united states, get out of here. take your camel and beat it. >> well, you know, people are so frustrated and angry with the immigration situation. let me say that one of the most important things about this nation is that we judge people as individuals. so i'm not willing to condemn any group of people. i'm willing to judge each individual. >> so now we see bush has respectable fundraising numbers, if she wants to pass fie he needs to prove the war chest can make a difference and move him
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higher in the polls, wolf? >> let's discuss what is going on, john king. donald trump ahead in the polls consistently f lly for months, new hampshire, south carolina, nevada, has anyone not received the presidential nomination for being ahead this long in the four first states. >> this deep, this close. we're 100 plus days from iowa voting is the significant question. we'll go back and looking at hillary clinton being ahead for a long time in 2007 but by this point we were seeing obama was starting to move and the race was different. we can go back with 40 something days rick perry was the leader. ru rudy julian, never happened. for this long period of time in the national polls and state polls, you cannot find someone whose been ahead for the republican nomination that long and history of the republican party is when you get this close to the voting, never mind the
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bachmann effect, that's a good sign. trump is here to stay. does that mean he's going to be the nominee? most republicans think no. you had his friend ted cruz in recent days say i don't think so. you'll see spending against donald trump soon because other campaigns realized he's not going away. maybe he plateaued but still leading nationally in the first four nominating states. look at the history of nominating. you start winning in the early states, there is a steam roll effect. >> you almost certainly are going to be the nominee. a lot of republicans and you know this, ryan, they are beginning to think it is really possible that donald trump will be the nominee and will face-off against hillary clinton in presidential debates. >> i think i disagree a little bit with john in terms of what the polls mean. i think the number that, two numbers that strike me, one, the non-trump number in this race is two thirds to three quarters of the republican primary saying we want someone else besides donald
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trump. number two, if you look at his approval rating, right? he does not much growth. there are a lot of republicans who say they would never vote for him. and if you look at the candidates that have gone on to win the nomination, they have combined favorability rating and approval rating with that lead in the polls. so, look, there aren't that many case studies, right? there haven't been that many nomination fights, so something new could happen anytime. and we're definitely in a new universe with him. >> you're actually right, but the point is, he benefits from the big field. if everyone -- >> because a lot of these states are -- >> if everybody stays in, if everybody stays in, trump is a lot more real than people thought he was. and if you get into a one on one, a two, or three-man race, that's a different thing. >> some of these things are winner take all. if he gets 40%, that's all. >> that's a great point. and there was a lot of scoffing at the donald trump operation early on, saying they weren't really building a ground game. i've been traveling with him and i can tell you, that's not the case. i was at his event in virginia last night, they had people
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standing outside, getting signatures, getting people on the ballot, getting those signatures notarized right there. they're not messing around when it comes to the ground game, and that could put trump in a position where he snaps up these delegates, and maybe if he can't win, he gets to play some kind of kingmaker. >> so not jeb bush, not somebody else, kasich, but marco rubio might eventually emerge as the main threat to donald trump. what do you think? >> and he's also the threat to jeb bush. bush all along has recognized that, that rubio occupies a similar lane in this republican field that he does. and jeb, all along, has tried to position himself as the trump alternative, and that has had some effect, but not the total effect, that it's actually affected the rest of the down ticket republican field. the question for rubio, can emerge as the true trump alternative. we've seen kmpb kmpb struggle in the polls. once the money starts being spent on the air war, we'll see
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this race really take shape. >> what's also clear is that trump has a lot of money. he doesn't spend a lot of money, because he doesn't need to spend a whole lot of money. all right, guys, thanks very much. just ahead, donald trump has made very harsh comments about women. but in a cnn exclusive, his daughter, ivanka, insists he's an equal opportunity soldier. >> he's very direct, he's not gender specific in his criticism of people.
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don't let your neighbor enjoy all the savings. take the free home energy checkup. honey, we need a new refrigerator. visit pge.com/checkup and get started today. tonight, in defense of donald trump's treatment of women from his daughter, ivanka trump sat down with cnn's poppy
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harlow for an exclusive interview. she was asked about some of her father's most controversial comments. listen to this. >> your father points to you telling him that he has been on the campaign trail, quote, really misunderstood on his views about women. he has said some things about women that have shocked many people, about carly fiorina. he said, look at that face, would anyone vote for that? about megyn kelly's questioning him in the first debate, "there was blood coming out of her wherever." ivanka, what was your reaction to that? >> well, i think a lot of the sensationalism around this was orchestrated largely by the media. look, my father is very blunt. he's very direct. he is not gender specific in his criticism of people and people that he doesn't particularly like or people that he does like, but thinks they're wrong on a particular issue. so, you know, i don't think that he's gender-targeted at all, like i said. i wouldn't be the person i am
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today, i wouldn't be a high-level executive within his organization if he felt that way. so, he's always supported and encouraged women and truthfully, he's proven that, over decades, through his employment practices, through his hiring practices. >> ivanka trump also gave her take on the first democratic presidential debate and her personal connection to the clinton family. >> you are very good friends with chelsea clinton. and she gave a recent interview, and she said, quote, i love ivanka. and she said that both of your parents, running, potentially against each other in a general election, has not asked your friendship. how do you guys navigate that? do you not talk politics? do you talk kids? >> it has not been an issue for us. i have great respect for her. she's been a great friend to me. i've been a great friend to her. so the politics of our parents is not relevant to our friendship. >> i asked a lot of the women here at the fortune 500 most powerful women summit and sat down with a group of them after
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the democratic debate last night. i know you watched. what do you make of the debate and who do you think would be the most formidable candidate against your father who is leading still in all of the republican polls? >> i thought the debate was excellent. i thought the debate was interesting to watch. so, i enjoyed watching. like i said, i'm a businessperson, not a politician, so i'll leave politics to other members of the family and the many, many people who are involved in the race on both sides. so, we'll see who emerges. >> thanks to poppy harlow for that interview. ivanka trump, clearly, clearly a very polished woman. she could be a huge, huge political asset for her father, who's doing remarkably well, as we've pointed out in all the national polls among republicans, as well as the early states. he's ahead decisively in all those states. we'll be hearing more from ivanka trump down the road. remember, you can always follow us on twitter. please tweet me @wolfblitzer.
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tweet the show @cnnsitroom. be sure to join us right here in "the situation room" once again tomorrow. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer right here in washington. aaron burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, president obama's about-face. instead of ending the u.s.' longest war, the president says he's keeping thousands of troops on the ground. plus, donald trump's kids out to try to sell their dad. we have a special report. and we're learning more about nba star lamar odom's wild days and nights at a nevada brothel. the sheriff investigating the case is my guest tonight. let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, a major reversal for president obama in afghanistan. the president who came into office vowing to end that war, announcing today he is keeping more american troops in the

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