tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN October 20, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT
information. you get an e-mail, not sure whether it's legitimate, the government advises you to call the number on the back of your card. don't just give your information to yahoos on the other end. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. turn it over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, secret deal, the u.s. and russia sign an agreement on air safety over syria, as vladimir putin's warplanes step up attacks resulting in close calls with american aircraft. why does the deal specify how close is too close and why does russia want details kept secret? i'll ask a key member, gabert. hacking the cia director's e-mail account, threatening to release more information, including personal data. cnn's made contact with the alleged cybercriminals. has the u.s. government managed to do the same? under ground testing, disturbing report says north
korea's kim jong-un may be preparing for another nuclear test. planning an atopic strike or jealous sabre rattling designed to steal the spotlight from russia's vladimir putin? riding high, new poll numbers show donald trump firmly in the lead of the republican race for the white house. as war of words with jeb bush over 9/11 heats up, why is trump changing his position on the war in afghanistan? i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." russia's reporting 60 new air strikes on various targets in syria, and now after a series of close calls with american military planes, the pentagon and the russian defense ministry reach an agreement designed to avoid a midair collision. the two sides have signed a deal on air safety over syria, but we're learning that some critical issues aren't even addressed. and russia wants details of the agreement kept secret. we're also following the investigation into claims of a
cyberattack on the cia chief, john brennan. the alleged hackers are now threatening to release his personal data, and in an vint interview with cnn, one says accessing brennan's personal e-mail account was incredibly easy. covering that much more with democratic congresswoman telsi gabb rechlt t. analysts standing by. let's begin with our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr. more on the new agreement between russia and the u.s., on avoiding close calls between warplanes. barbara what's in the memorandum of understanding. >> reporter: the problem may be what is not in the agreement. the pentagon agreed to russia's demand not to make public details of the joint agreement on how to prevent u.s. and russian pilots from crashing
into each other in skies over syria. the u.s. is not revealing how vague the agreement is. >> our crews know what a safe distance is and the obligation is upon the russians to maintain that safe distance. >> reporter: but cnn has learned, it does not even specify how far away u.s. and russian aircraft have to stay from each other. >> these protocols include maintaining professional airmanship at all times, use of specific communication freque y frequencies and the establishment of a communication line on the ground. >> reporter: if there is an incide incident, u.s. pilot will have to call the american command center in qatar, u.s. will call russian counterparts in syria. in reality there may not be time to call. russian pilots have come as close as 500 feet to american jets in recent days. on thursday a russian aircraft flew within 1500 feet of two u.s. jets, the american pilots
tried calling the russians on the radio, no answer. the russians continuing with air strikes. the skies getting more crowded. the russians may not be hostile to american pilots, but an air force official tells cnn, the last thing any of us wants is a in air collision, and that is the biggest concern. >> if there's a close approach between any type of aircraft in another aircraft, sometimes it's too late for those aircraft to identify each other and move apart. >> reporter: now, u.s. officials continue to emphasize they do not see a hostile intent from russia, they don't believe the russians want to shoot down any u.s. planes. but this is a very difficult situation. few details about how all of it will work and a lot of concern about the possibility of an accident. >> a lot of concern, indeed. thank you. also getting new information right now about the cyberattack on the heads of the cia and the department of homeland security. cnn has talked to the hackers
who say they're behind it and now threatening to release more sensitive information including the social security number of the cia director, john brennan. our justice reporter, evan perez, working the story for us. hackers are communicating. today released new, sensitive information from top u.s. government officials? >> well, wolf they keep making that threat but have not yet released any of that information that they say they have. really, they're playing catch me if you can with the fbi, secret service. i'm told investigators have some ideas of where these people are and who they might be, but they're not ready yet to make these arrests. we hope to see maybe some action on that in the next couple of days, wolf. >> laurie segall, cnn reporter, she spoke to this alleged hacker, recording the conversation. let me play a little clip. listen to this. >> we have most of his personal information, like his name, address, phone number, social security number, and other
things, and when we saw it we manipulated it, aol, password reset on the account, it was that easy i could have done it with one hand. >> what's the latest you're hearing from your law enforcement sources, evan? have authorities identified, found this individual? >> they haven't yet, wolf. they're working on this. but you know the thing is, this is not a case where they believe it might be russians or perhaps chinese hackers. it's not a state actor, as far as we know. this could be a teenager working out of his basement or a couple of teen averages indeed. they would be anywhere in the world. these people have a good way of hiding. and they keep taunting the fbi. i'm sure that makes them only more determined to figure out who they are and where they are. >> how do we know it's not a state actor pretending to be some young people here in the united states who are smoking pot? >> well, you know, that is actually one of the things that the fbi has checked out.
and they know usual suspects, where things come from when there is a chinese hack or a russian hack or something suspected perhaps from russian organized crime. they haven't seen any of those signs with this. what we're seeing with this hack is somebody calling up aol or verizon and tricking them into resetting their account. now that's something that's almost hard -- impossible to defend against because you can make as good a pass wore as you want, if these employees of these companies are not trained to not fall for these tricks, there's nothing anybody can do. >> evan perez, thanks very much. let's talk about this with tulsi gabbert of hawaii, an iraq war combat veteran. what do you think, this report from evan perez, hackers told laurie segall on a scale of one to ten, how difficult was it to
hack into private e-mail account of the cia director, john brennan. this guy says it was a one, obviously pretty easy. here's the question, should top u.s. officials have private e-mail accounts? >> well they shouldn't be using them for anything related to classified information or government information, information related to their work. people have personal lives and i get that, but the important thing here is that, in if you are a position you should not be sending classified information, not sending information related to your work and your job on your personal e-mail account. we're seeing here now, yet, another reason why this is critical and so important. >> yeah. because everybody was a top official seems to have g-mail or aol or some other personal account. i assume you have one as well. >> i do. i've got a personal account and a work account and i do my work, business on work e-mail account like so many other people do, both those who work in government and those who work in the private sector. especially those who are working in government who are handling
sensitive and classified information on a daily basis, this is why it's so important, because there are so many vulnerabilities in the private e-mail servers, and unfortunately there are vulner ables in the government servers that need fixed the personal account has been shut down. and i suspect a lot of other senior officials are taking a closer look at personal e-mail accounts now as well. let's talk about this deal, this agreement that was worked out between the united states and russia to avoid accidental head-on collision between fighter jets over syria. the secrecy of the deal, not making it public, does that concern you? >> it doesn't. the pentagon knows and understands how important it is to make sure our troops are not put into harm's way and we're not put into a situationer you have accidental military conflict with russia in the air. making this deal with russia to deconflict that is an important thing. there's a bigger issue here, that i'm concerned with the fact that the u.s. and the cia are
working to overthrow the syrian government of assad while russia, alongtime ally of assad for decades now, working to defend or uphold this syrian government of assad. and this puts us in a position of a possible, direct head-to-head conflict with russia, as long as the u.s. and cia continue down this path. >> how does the u.s. and russia avoid the head-on contact? the u.s. wants to get rid of al assad. the russians want to protect him with the iranians, leb ba neez hezbollah group. how do you avoid that collision. >> the u.s. and cia should stop this war to overthrow the syrian government of assad and stay focused on fighting against who our enemy is, the islamic extremist groups. we're seeing why this is counterproductive by working towards that end, by working towards overthrowing the syrian government of assad, we are not
only strengthening our enemy, the islamic extremist whose will walk in and take over all of syria. right now they have half of the country under their control, but it also puts us in that position of a potential direct head to head conflict with russia, which brings us to the brink of a potential, large conflict of world war iii situation. >> why is the u.s. effort to get rid of assad's regime counterproductive and illegal? >> first, there's not a vote in congress to authorize use of force to, this authorize a war to overthrow a cov earn government. for as long as i've been there, it hasn't happened. it didn't happen before i got there the american people haven't had a choice to speak their voice, approve or disapprove such a war. therefore, it's illegal. secondly, it's counterproductive because right now, u.s. arms are getting into the hands of our enemy, al qaeda, al nusra, islamic extremist group whose are our sworn enemy who attacked
us 0en 9/11 and trying to defee at the same time supporting them with arms to overthrow the syrian government. >> you don't want the u.s. government to provide arms to the rebels. >> i don't want the u.s. government to provide weapons to al qaeda, to islamic extremists, our enemy. it's a simple concept in my mind you can't defeat your enemy if you're arming them and helping them at the same time. makes so neense. >> have you told this to officials. >> it's important for the american people to stand up and say, look, we don't want to go and do what happened in iraq with saddam hussein. do what happened in libya with gadhafi. these are countries that have fallen into chaos and taken over because of actions the united states and others took. >> any candidate who supports safe no-fly zone in syria must admit u.s. coalition ground air troops are needed to enforce. yes. >> that's a statement directed
at hillary clinton who now supports no-fly zone. the president opposes a no-fly zone for now. >> a statement directed to presidential candidates because as they are asked questions and are taking positions on them, i think it's important for the american people to understand exactly what those positions mean. people are calling them different thing, no-fly zone or safe zone, but for those pushing for this, they've got to be held accountable for the decision they're making that this will require u.s. air assets to enforce it, it will require u.s. air assets to take out anti-aircraft missile defense systems, for example, that the syrian government has and, again that puts us in a direct head-to-head conflict with sovereign government, government of syria, russia, and their allies, and will also require a very large amount of ground troops on the ground to enforce this. there are a slew of other issues with this and why i think no-fly zone would be a terrible mistake. >> i know you're concerned about
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air war na syria, 60 air strikes report last 24 hours alone. the u.s. believes they're primarily targeting rebel forces fighting government of al assad. back with tulsi gabbard, member of the armed services and foreign affairs committee, iraq combat war veteran, at the same time. getting information from the prime minister of iraq, received a letter from russian president vladimir putin asking for greater cooperation between iraq and russia in the fight against isis, greater cooperation a host of areas, the iraqi prime minister is open to. is this good? >> i think it is. i think that, as we deal with the situation and this continued and growing threat from islamic extremist groups like sis, al qaeda, al nusra and others we've got it see where we can build alliances to defeat them wherever they are. we're seeing them sprout up in
many different regions. >> does it not concern you al assad's regime has been brutal killing at least 200,000, 300,000 people with barrel bombs and reports of hundreds of thousands of people who have been left homeless, billions in fact, refugees, and the u.s. is obviously, so many other international powers upset about that and want to get rid of him as a result of what he's been doing to his own people over the past four years? >> yeah, wolf it concerns me deeply to see this tremendous and tragic human suffering. i think it's important for leader of the world, leaders here in the united states, to look at this issue, though, and say, okay, if you do, in syria, what happened in libya, what happened in iraq because the same things that are being said about assad right now were said about gadhafi, said about saddam hussein by those advocating for the u.s. to go in and intervene, overthrow those regimes and dictators, the fact is, that if that happens here in syria, as
u.s. leaders and others are advocating for, we will end up with a situation far worse than we're seeing today, end up in a situation with far greater human suffering, far greater persecution of religious minorities and christians in syria and enemy will be far stronger. they will take over the entire country of syria, they will have greater weapons and capabilities and present a greater threat, not only to people in the region but to the world. >> the russian military involvement on the air, in the ground, iranian involvement in syria right now, hezbollah involvement, they're actually doing the u.s. a favor? >> they are working towards defeating our common enemy. when you look at groups on the ground there, the most effective fighting groups who are fighting to overthrow this government, the syrian government of assad, they are predominantly isis, al qaeda, al nusra and other islamic extremist groups. they make up the vast majority of the so-called syrian rebels. they are the most effective force who have -- who has gained
the most territory. so the people who they're attacking in the russians are dropping bombs are al qaeda people who are our enemy. people who attacked us on 9/11. >> you're saying you don't want fellow soldiers and you're a member of the hawaii national guard, promoted from captain to major, you served in iraq, you don't want the men and women of the u.s. military on the ground in any of those areas, is that what i'm hearing? >> no, there's no reason for them to go be deployed to the situations. i think it's important for us to recognize, a who our enemy is and, b what our mission is. our mission is to defeat our enemy, not take action counterproductive to the mission and help our enemy get stronger. it's a simple premise and it's important to focus on that. >> let's talk about politics. you know another vice chair of the democratic national committee, former mayor over minneapolis, he agrees with you the chair, debbie wasserman
schultz lied when she says she consult with you about the number of debates, six, and when she didn't disinvite you to the last democratic debate in las vegas, has there been any progress in reconciling with her? have you spoken to her? anything happening na we should know about? >> i've had conversations but the whole thing has been laid out, facts have been laid out in public, and the truth is there, new yo"new york times," bloombe media sources have laid that out. so i think it's important to not continue to keep talking about and focus on issues that are very important, like ones we're talking about now. >> stay on as vice chair, not resigning. >> as of now. >> that leaves it open thinking resigning? >> i don't want to talk about that right now, wolf. i think there's a lot of other issues that we've got to be focusing on here, like the ones we're talking about, like making sure that we don't bring the united states back into -- rather continuing this illegal war in syria. >> you want her to step down,
debbie wasserman schultz? >> i'm not going to comment. >> you have lost confidence in her leadership. >> there's a lot of issues in there and we've talked about it over the last week and it's important for us to move on and focus on issues that are actually important, issues that mat tort american people as we go forward. >> if she leaves, you'll stay? >> you're not hearing that, wolf. >> all right. trying to pin you down but you don't want to be pinned down you want to leave options open for yourself. i understand, the interview -- i was concerned when you mentioned to me the other day you were surfing in hawaii and you got hit by the surfboard. what happened? >> i was out surfing and one of my favorite spots early in the morning and there was a guy who had a big long board and he wasn't wearing a leash, he caught a set wave, bailed on the wave and the board came flying in my direction and got a little bloody. nothing broken. >> you look like you're okay. >> permanent injury. >> tender. >> you look good. >> thanks for asking. >> glad you're okay.
>> thanks. >> thanks very much, congresswoman tulsi gabbard of hawaii. >> new warning, north korea preparing to test a weaponen. donald trump's strength and toughest challenge. people don't have to think about where their electricity comes from. they flip the switch-- and the light comes on. it's our job to make sure that it does. using natural gas this power plant can produce enough energy for about 600,000 homes. generating electricity that's cleaner
numbers for two front-runners. >> it sure is. when it comes to donald trump, the kind of misstep that and remark that can typically troy a political career, so far only seems to make donald trump stronger. and our new poll shows it only cements his status as teflon don. >> reporter: it may be a crowded republican presidential field, but only two men are firmly on top, donald trump and ben carson. a combined two-third of gop voters now say trump and carson are their first and second choice according to cnn/orc's poll. >> we hit a chord, both resonating, no question about it. >> reporter: it's not just that trump and carson have support. supporters are excited about them which makes them more likely to go out and vote. 30% of trump supporters are very enthusiastic. 25% of carson's. only 3% of jeb bush voters are enthusiastic about him. as he steps up criticism of
trump as commander in chief. we need to be much more forceful, both here to protect the homeland, as well as overseas to create a strategy to unite the world against this grave threat and i don't believe donald trump has the capability of doing that. >> reporter: trump is sending mixed signals on foreign policy. in an interview this morning with cnn's "new day" he said, invading afghanistan after 9/11 was the right move. >> we were safe, in a sense but we went into iraq a disaster decision. a disastrous zipgs ndecision. not afghanistan. >> reporter: two weeks ago, on the same cnn program he said the opposite. >> we made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place. we had real brilliant thinkers that didn't know what the hell they were doing. >> reporter: reminded of that trump denied flip-flopping. >> i haven't said. look, afghanistan is a different thing. it's next to pakistan, and pakistan has nuclear weapon. >> reporter: trump confusion and controversy has not hurt him in
the past. for example, despite questionable remarks about women appearing to make fun of carly fiorina's face, trump is tied for first place with female republican voters. >> i think women all over this country heard very clearly what mr. trump said. >> reporter: for fiorina, the only female candidate in the republican race, her surge after a strong debate showing last month has ended. she dropped 11 points with women alone, registering now at just 4%. new poll has good news overall for republicans, 68%, more than two thirds of gop voters are safred and excited with options in the presidenting field. you see that is ten points higher how democratic voters feel about their candidate option. >> if they can keep it up in a general election, republicans will be enthusiastic. we'll see if numbers change. stay with us. i want to bring in our cnn political commentators, s.e. cupp and ryan lizza, "new
yorker" magazine's corner, peter bynart. ryan, trump is the front-runner in the national polls statewide polls driving the conversation for the other candidates as well. >> it's been now more than three months that donald trump has been at the top of the polls, right, with everyone including my own prediction that this would fade and this was a summer fad. i think the other candidates, especially the jeb bush campaign, ones that have sat back and said, don't worry, think is not going to last, they have to start treating him like a front-runner, right? the elected officials in the race, trump, rubio, kasich, they have to realize they are now the insurgents, they are underdogs and view the campaign totally different when they started and act accordingly. i see mike murphy, head of the super pac -- >> jeb bush's super pac. >> he is still saying that this trump thing will fade and they'll eventually -- he's not
worried -- called him a zombie front-runner, someone who can't last. >> we'll see if that happens. so far it hasn't happened. numbers have steadlely gone up. peter, you wrote an article, pointing out donald trump has a point when suggested george w. bush as president could have done more, done more to prevent 9/11 from happening. and all of this is becoming a vulnerability potentially for jeb bush. i know you don't agree with donald trump on a lot but in this in area you think he has a point? >> absolutely. it's not just me, it's the men many former counterterrorism advisers from the bush administration themselves. we've forgotten a lot of this richard clark, counterterrorism czar under bush wrote a book in which he talked about how despondent he was in summer 2001 because of frantic efforts to get the bush administration focused on the bin laden threat didn't pan out for him at all. he asked to be reassigned. he took -- it took until
september 2001 for clark to be able to get the cabinet to sit down and talk about the issue of terrorism. so, yes, i think trump here is actually making a very important point. this is one of the strange things about trump. the fact he doesn't pay attention to what's considered respectable discourse leads him to say awful things but leads him to say uncomfortable truths like the fact that politicians get bought by rich donors and the fact that bush should have done more to try to stop 9/11. >> you know, dana, jeb bush responded, published op-ed, a little while ago. he says, let's be clear, donald trump simply doesn't know what he's talking about. and his bluster overcomp pensay for a shocking lack of floj on the national security challenges that will confront the next president of the u.s. >> he's certainly trying and he has no choice but to try. you talked about the fact others have to start treating him like a front-runner. this is the bush campaign's
attempt to do that in that they're trying to obviously bring him down several notches on the issue of national security, that he doesn't -- not just that he's not ready for prime time, but also in that op-ed published today compares him to the liberal filmmaker, michael moore, suggesting that he is just, you know, too far to the left on foreign policy. that is the kind of thing that they're hoping inside the bush campaign appeals to conservatives and you know, again, an open question whether it will. we've been talking about the more controversial thing his says, the more he seems to be a favorite among republican voters. >> republicans at least in the polls. s.e., he seems to be a master finding achille's heel of potential presidential rivals. he goes after them, he scores points. his numbers go up, their numbers go down. >> yeah, it's really tough to do battle with donald trump and win. for one thing, i think what a lot of his supporters are responding to, not necessarily substance of what he says but
the fact he doesn't apologize for any of the wacky or irresponsible or if you're with peter, irresponsible, uncomfortable truths that he says, he doesn't apologize for it. he might tweak it down the road to come um with the most palatable version of what he said. but he won't apologize. i think we live in a culture of apologizers and people are just kind of sick of it. and it's sort of seen as a weak impotent person that takes what would normally be the appropriate step i didn't mean to say that. donald trump is really exploiting that. so i don't think, like peter suggests, that this was an important policy, you know, conversation. he meant to have. he stumbled into a conversation and said the first thank came to mind. i think we should have that conversation. i don't think donald trump has any interest in really getting into a substantive debate. he said something, he's not going to apologize for it, it happens to be working for him,
the vice president, joe biden, isn't saying whether he will run for president but today made surprising claims about clout he has inside the white house at a forum with the former vice president walter mondale. biden said he privately advised president obama to go ahead with the risky military raid that killed bin laden, that differs from the stories other insiders
have told. let's bring back chief political correspondent dana bash and commentators, s.e. cup, peter lizza. listen to what the vice president said at george washington university in washington today about the effort to go either to capture or kill bin laden. >> only two people who are definitive, and were absolutely certain, leon panetta said go, and bob gates, who already publicly said this, said don't go. and others were 59/41. others said go, it was a close call. i joked and said you all sound like 17 larry summers, economists, on one hand and on the other hand. and he said, joe, what would you do? there's a third option that i didn't think we should do. i said, well, i said i think we should make one more pass with another uav to see if it's -- if it is him.
and the reason i did that is, i didn't want to take a position to go if that was not where he was going to go. so as we walked out of the room and walked upstairs, i said, i told him my opinion, that i thought he should go but follow his own instinct. >> ryan that seems to be a revised story there from what the president earlier said suggesting biden was opposed to the operation, others have made that same claim, including biden himself. >> very clear, biden used the phrase, he said, don't go, when he was recounting that meeting he said he told the president don't go. today of course he's saying he privately, after the meeting said, trust your instincts, which means go. so he went from don't go to go. he and hillary clinton have a lot of foreign policy battles in the administration. he was always on the more dovish side, she was on the hawkish side of the debates. i think democratic primary, his position on syria, on
afghanistan, on iraq, on libya is probably the sweet spot. he was on the dovish side of all of the debates, less interventionist. this one, telling obama to do the raid, he's maybe on the wrong side of history and he's trying to change the story. i think he's putting obama in a tough box because the question is going to be to the president, es this true? did joe biden -- >> the president publicly suggested biden wasn't on board, one of those resistant. >> also trying to say he had this private access to the president that other advisers, maybe hillary clinton, didn't have. >> you know, maybe in retrospect we'll look back and say we were reading too much into this. but to me, that is the best indy indicator yet that joe biden is running for president. he doesn't want to be seen as weak on one of the best, most successful national security missions in the obama administration altogether. particularly when he's running potentially against hillary clinton who, as you said, was on the right side, because she
supported the raid. so i think there's no question about that. he's being made passive/aggressive about it, to say the least. but i think that's what he's doing. >> you know, peter, it's a strategy of trying to she he's completely on the same page with the president of the united states, a strategy that's different than hillary clinton who is showing she's got different viewpoints than president obama. it's another indication at least to me that he really is going to run for this presidency. >> maybe. although the issues on which hillary has broken with president obama, for instance, like tpp, for instance, the trade deal, actually issues where -- put her on the same side as most democrats. i think the problem with what biden did here, people have said hillary clinton is too buttoned up. but i think what they've forgotten that people don't think joe biden is buttoned up enough. that is to say he has a history of somewhat dubious statements, statements that don't comport
with reality as other people have seen them. this is going to play into their narrative and the closer he comes to running the more people are going to start remembering that. >> certainly look like he's about to run. what do you think, s.e.? >> as dana mentioned, there's one reason to bring that up and clarify it, if you're expecting, say in a presidential debate, that you might get a question about it. he's getting in front of it. i actually think, marrying himself to president obama is probably pretty smart strategy. during the height of the biden rumors you can go on twitter and find people asking if president obama could be vice president joe biden's running mate, legally and constitutionally, that's how much democrats still like president obama. as he's watching hillary clinton's favor abilities drop and her likability come into question, joe is putting his likability out front saying i don't say that republicans are my enemies. i've got lots of friends on capitol hill. so i think that is his strategy. it's probably a smart one. >> he said today, once again,
republicans are my friends. >> yeah. >> in contrast to what hillary clinton said at the debate last week when she listed republicans, iranians, others as her enemies in response to that question. stay with us. coming up, move on to north korea, said to be preparing now for a nuclear test. what do new satellite images reveal about kim jong-un's atomic plans? hey, tom. small job? no, doing the whole living room. hey you guys should come over later. the exclusive one-coat color collection
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story. is there any indication when this nuclear test might actually happen? >> there's really no indication of that, wolf, tonight. and south korean lawmakers are saying that tonight -- these are lawmakers who are briefed by their country's intelligence agencies -- they're saying tonight they do not believe a nuclear test is eminent. still, south korean intelligence believes kim jong-un's regime is preparing for a nuclear test, which would be their fourth. we have recent pictures from the group 38 north. this group tracks north korean nuclear missile activity through satellite imagery. we have before-and-after pictures of the nuclear test facility at pong gi-ri, northeast of pyongyang ya, and y do show activity. see how the pictures change from december 7th to after, december 18th. first, the west portal entrance. this is what that portal entrance looks like on september 7th. here's the after picture on september 8th -- excuse me, 18th. you've got camouflage netting at the entrance, you've got
vehicles parked here in this area. now we're going to take you to the west portal guard house. you've got new buildings here, september 7th. now here's the after picture from september 18th. more vehicles are in place here, a van here, vehicles here and here. going to take you to the south portal entrance here. you see that grading has begun on the ground on september 7th. and again, as the picture changes to the after picture on september 18th, there is a newly graded area in the ground here, and again, the presence of vehicles right about there. and again, we'll take you to the main support area at this nuclear test facility. again, it's called pong ga-ri. this is on september 7th. this is a vehicle shown here at the main support area on september 7th and on september 18th. and you have vehicles here and trailers back in place here. now, the experts at 38 north tell us this activity could be in preparation for a nuclear test, or it could be routine
maintenance. but wolf, one thing you have to keep in mind, much of the activity here is hidden from view, very hard to tell from this satellite imagery. >> brian, why would they conduct a fourth nuclear test? >> well, wolf, you know, it's interesting. analysts say it could be to show that they've mastered the technology to build a nuclear warhead small enough to put on an intercontinental ballistic missile like this one. now, north koreans claim they already have that know-how, but weapons experts we have spoken to say they have not flight-tested long-range missiles enough to ensure that they won't break up upon re-entering the atmosphere. another key reason, though, wolf, could be that kim jong-un may need to recapture the spotlight. he knows, he watches cnn, he knows that vladimir putin's been getting a lot of attention lately because of his activities in syria. kim is always cognizant of these things. he may need to rattle his saber to leverage some concessions either out of the west or out of south korea or china, wolf. >> brian todd reporting for us. thank you. coming up, a crucial deadline approaching for vice president joe biden, if he decides to run for president.
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alleged cyber criminals tell cnn they're ready to go public with information stolen from the cia director's private e-mail. are the feds any closer to nabbing the hackers? fugitive spotted. we have new details about the manhunt for the drug lord known as el chapo after his daring prison break. mexican authorities had him in their sights until he made another harrowing escape. and bad blood? joe biden appears to take swipes at hillary clinton as the vice president keeps america guessing about his presidential plans. tonight, taylor swift's anthem about soured friendships is making a mark on the democratic race. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." tonight, we're breaking through the secrecy surrounding a just-reached deal to prevent russian warplanes from colliding with u.s. military jets over the battlefields of syria.
cnn is learning about surprising gaffes in the agreement that are raising new questions about whether it will actually make u.s. pilots any safer. also this hour, we have dramatic, new details about the latest escape of one of the world's most wanted and dangerous fugitives. cnn has learned that the drug lord known as el chapo was spotted by mexican special forces but managed to dodge capture after falling off a cliff. i'll ask congressman peter king about those stories and more. he's a top member of both the intelligence and homeland security committees. and our correspondents and analysts are also standing by as we cover all of the news that's breaking right now. first, let's go to our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr. barbara, the u.s. agreed to russia's demand to keep the details of this new agreement under wraps. what's going on over here? because it's obviously very sensitive. >> reporter: wolf, three rounds of negotiations with the russian military and the pentagon. today the pentagon announcing the agreement has been reached
but also saying that the u.s. agreed to the russian demand not to make any of the details public. what we are learning tonight is there is a good deal of vagueness in this agreement, perhaps. there are, we are told by u.s. officials, no specific details about how far away russian and u.s. warplanes must remain over the very dangerous skies of syria. this is all about keeping an accident from happening. u.s. officials say they don't think the russians have hostile intent, they do not anticipate some attempted shootdown or some catastrophic event like that, but the big worry, a catastrophic event like an air accident, because the russians in the last several days have flown very close over those skies of syria to u.s. warplanes, in one instance about 500 feet and another instance about 1,500 feet. when you are flying fast at high altitudes and you are that close, there is very little margin for error. that is the concern, we are told
by u.s. military officials, that there not be an accident. so, this secret agreement, apparently, by all accounts, actually has very few details in it. if there is an incident, if a u.s. pilot perhaps feels threatened, they call to their command center in the middle east. that middle east command center calls to the russians in syria, and hopefully, there would be enough time to work it all out. wolf? >> key word, hopefully. all right, barbara, thank you. let's go to the escalating violence now between israelis and palestinians as new attacks played out today. the united nations secretary-general ban ki-moon, he was in the region pleading for calm. cnn's oren liebermann is live from jerusalem. are there new diplomatic moves under way right now, because so far, the bloodshed continues? >> reporter: international efforts now focusing on israelis and palestinians trying to bring these two sides together. those efforts not having any effect, at least not today, where we have seen three attacks. the violence now no longer in jerusalem, which has a tense
quiet now shifting to the west bank city of hebron. israeli soldiers on the scene of another attack in the west bank, this one near the city of hebron, now becoming the focal point of violence. the israeli military says a palestinian driver rammed his car into a bus station, hitting an israeli soldier and civilian. forces on the scene shooting and killing the alleged attacker. earlier in the day, a hit-and-run that left an israeli man dead. emergency services say the israeli was driving when palestinians threw rocks at his car. a.p. photos show the israeli emerging from his car, wielding a wooden club in the street just moments before he was hit and killed. the driver is under investigation. the idf telling cnn it's uncertain it was intentional. meanwhile, clashes breaking out in bethlehem and ramallah in the west bank as palestinian protesters face off against israeli forces. southwest of ramallah, israel
arresting hasan yusef, the highest profile arrest so far in this latest round of violence, the idf saying he was inciting terrorism and encouraging attacks against israels. on the diplomatic front, u.n.'s secretary-general ban ki-moon visiting the region to try to ease the tensions and stop the violence. >> i believe it's time -- >> reporter: prime minister netanyahu blaming palestinian leadership for incitement. >> it's not the settlements. it's not the peace process. it's the desire to destroy the state of israel, pure and simple. president abbas, unfortunately, has been fanning the flames. he said on september 16th, just a few days ago, that he welcomes "every drop of blood spilled in jerusalem." [ shots ] >> reporter: but palestinian leaders blame israel for that incitement and for using too much force in trying to maintain security. the international community trying to play a bigger role to calm tensions that show no signs
of easing. now it will be u.s. secretary of state john kerry stepping in, trying to bring these two sides together, try to create some dialogue. right now, these two sides, israelis and palestinians, not talking to each other. he's scheduled to meet prime minister netanyahu, scheduled to meet palestinian president mahmoud abbas. nobody here is hopeful. >> oren liebermann in jerusalem, thank you. here in the united states, a new leak of the cia director's personal information could happen at any time. alleged cyber criminals are threatening to go public with details from john brennan's e-mails. they're also revealing how they apparently hacked into brennan's private account, opening up in an interview with cnn. our justice reporter, evan perez, has been watching this story. he's got the latest on the unfolding developments. they're still communicating today. is there any indication law enforcement authorities are getting closer to finding out who these individuals are? >> wolf, they're daring the fbi to come and get them. they're communicating with us, with other news organizations. they've told the "new york post" that they're going to post
information from a top official at the pentagon. they've also told similar things to other news organizations about other officials. we have yet to see, actually, any additional sensitive information being released, other than things that they've sent us to prove that they have what they have. >> cnn's laurie segall actually spoke with one of these alleged hackers. i want to play you a clip from that conversation. >> what we have most of is personal information, like his name, address, phone number, social security number and other things. when we socially engineered, we manipulated aol to do the password reset on that account. >> it was that easy. i could have done it with one hand. >> all right, so, you've been checking in with law enforcement authorities. as far as you know, they haven't identified or apprehended this individual on this recording. >> right. they do believe that this is not any state actor, this is not the russians or the chinese. they don't believe it's a foreign intelligence service that did this.
they do believe it's a group of, perhaps, young kids who have nothing better to do with their time, wolf. i mean, this is something that's so unsophisticated that it has defeated, really, all of the sophisticated things we do to protect our information. these are people who simply called up and prank people using little bits of information. that's what's scary about this, little bits of information that we all have about ourselves on the internet can be used to put together enough to trick people into providing this kind of access. >> because it clearly was not, apparently, a very sophisticated operation. so, what are they doing to prevent down the road other top officials having their personal private e-mail accounts hacked? >> there's really very little they can do. i talked to officials today who said, well, you know, you can have the security from the various agencies come to your house and check the security of your networks. that doesn't work in this case. this is simply some kid calling up verizon or some other service provider and tricking them into providing access to your private accounts. that you really can't defend against. >> all right, evan, thanks very
much. joining us now is a top member of the house intelligence and homeland security committees, republican congressman peter king of new york. congressman, thanks for joining us. let me get your response to this. the only information we know about this mysterious actor is what he's actually told us, told us here at cnn. are you concerned that this might not necessarily be some punk out there, some american teenager smoking pot, but could be a cover for some more nefarious attack by a government? >> wolf, we have to run everything down. it's bad enough if it is just some young punk, as you said, but again, we can't rule anything else out. and i can assure you that the fbi right now is doing everything it possibly can. but again, it's a big mistake to rule anything out. and also, i think there are several lessons from this. one, the government officials have to learn not to put anything at all on their personal account or private account that in any way involves the government, any type of classified information, but not only classified information, anything at all involving the government should not be put on
a personal account. it's just -- you know, it's too dangerous. secondly, i hope -- in fact, i know that the fbi will be doing all it can to -- >> go ahead. >> it will do all it can to find and prosecute to the fullest extent these hackers. this is not a joke. this is serious business. this is the real deal. and so, for anyone to think this is somehow lighthearted or humorous, no, this is serious business. and the example has to be made, if and when they are found, these individuals will be prosecuted and, if found guilty, should get to me a maximum sentence on this. this is serious business. >> all right, congressman, i want to stand by. we have a lot more to discuss what's going on, much more with peter king when we come back.
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♪ it's the final countdown! ♪ ♪ the final countdown! if you're the band europe, you love a final countdown. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. we're back with congressman peter king of new york, a member of the homeland intelligence and security committees. are you going to ask that cia
director john brennan testify before your committee as a result of the hacking of his personal e-mail account? >> i would leave that up to the chairman, devon nunez, but i would certainly urge that we have director brennan come in and give us a full scope and explanation as to what happened, because this goes far beyond john brennan. it goes, could any secrets have been compromised, and what steps are going to be taken in the future to prevent this from happening? and also, is there anyone else at the cia who's using, you know, private e-mail, and whether or not any government documents go on those personal accounts. >> are you using private e-mail? >> i use it for totally -- nongovernmental. i use it for personal and political. >> for personal and political reasons, because you can't use government e-mail for political reasons, fund-raising, stuff like that. you saw the reports from barbara starr at the pentagon, oren liebermann in jerusalem. it looks like that whole region now is on fire, the violence erupting not only in syria, elsewhere in the region, afghanistan, iraq, libya, but
now it's going on in israel and the west bank. it looks like this region has become a tinder box just waiting to explode. is that going too far? >> i think you're pretty close to the mark, wolf, and i think part of the reason -- i'm trying not to be partisan here -- but the fact is, as the u.s. has vacillated, as the u.s. has withdrawn its influence, that vacuum is being filled. it's being filled by the russians in syria. i believe it encourages the palestinians, who see wavering support for israel, and certainly, the animosity between president obama and prime minister netanyahu. so, yeah, i say indecisive policies by the u.s. are causing others to move to take advantage of it, to fill those vacuums, and the violence we're seeing -- now, not all of it, but a good part of it is attributable to that. >> let's talk about politics a little bit. donald trump, as you know, ha been in a battle with jeb bush about whether president george w. bush could have done more in the months leading up to 9/11 to prevent that horrible terror attack. donald trump says, yes, he could
have done more. jeb bush says that donald trump is completely wrong. i know you like donald trump, but in this particular case, you say he sounds like michael moore. but there have been indications, there have been reports saying more could have been done. you've seen the 9/11 commission reports, for example. >> wolf, i almost entirely disagree with that. yes, there were reports that al qaeda may try to attack the united states. that went back to 1998, 1999, 2000. but president bush was briefed extensively, and every one of those briefings, including the august 6th briefing from mike morell, saying there was no indication whatsoever that there was any planned attack against the united states. the attacks they were concerned about were in europe, and the president specifically asked, is there any evidence at all -- any specific evidence at all of an attack on the united states. the answer was no. in his memoirs, george tenant, director of the cia, said they had no knowledge that an attack
was planned against the united states. so, was it a general warning? yes. that's why the president asked to be briefed. that's why he asked for the briefing august 6th on his ranch in texas. if there was real fear or a threat of an attack coming, wouldn't george tenant be going to the oval office? wouldn't the cia be going to the oval office? the fact is, they did not because they did not have the intelligence. after 9/11, president bush set up the counterterrorism infrastructure, which has prevented any major attack against the homeland since september 11th. but donald trump is wrong. he's really echoing michael moore, and it's no wonder that so many democrats are jumping on board, because really, donald trump is sounding more like a very liberal democrat than a republican, and he's really distorting history. i think it's all because jeb bush got so much applause at the last debate when he said that his brother had kept the country safe. >> but congressman king, with all due respect, some analysts who are not michael moore, like our peter bergen, says trump has a point. they say trump in this case -- they both say they don't agree with him on a lot of other
stuff, but they say he's right and refer to the presidential daily briefing of august 6th, 2001. the headline was "bin laden determined to strike in the u.s.," then said "fbi information since 1998 indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in new york," in new york. >> right. >> and at the time, richard clark, the top counterterrorism adviser to the president, said he begged for meetings, for cabinet-level meetings, he wanted to get more done, and condoleezza rice and the president basically put him off, and he was asking -- >> no. >> -- for more to be done. if you read the book by richard clark -- >> i have read richard clark's book, and it seems to me as it's someone who was squeezed out of power and was jealous and angry about it. i respect them, but they're wrong here. at this august 6th briefing, they specifically said there was no specific evidence of an attack planned against the
united states. obviously, they knew al qaeda wanted to attack the u.s. and that's why the president said, is there a threat now? is is everything being done? he was told there was no threat to the u.s. >> well, there's another point that donald trump makes. people who knew what was going on in the months leading up to 9/11 say he's got a good point, that there really wasn't, and the 9/11 commission report concluded, there wasn't a good dialogue with various branches of the u.s. government. the fbi was not coordinating with the cia, they were not coordinating with the nsa, with the national security council. only after 9/11 did they start working together. and what trump says, it's the president, the buck stops with him. why weren't these national security agencies working together to find these terrorists in the united states? >> well, first of all, there was a wall set up between the nsa and the fbi which began during the clinton administration. secondly, the president was eight months into office. this was a system which was intact for a good 10 or 15 years before that. so, to blame president bush for something that was in place when
he came into office and when the head of the cia, who, again, is the leading intelligence person in the country, when he tells the president and his memoirs specifically says that there was no intelligence regarding any threats. so me, to be blaming president bush for that is totally wrong. i mean, that is totally misguided. it was after 9/11 that the president did reform all that and said in the counterterrorism infrastructure. if you want to point fingers, we could certainly go back into the clinton administration. to be eight months into office and to have inherited a system and to say that system didn't work and to blame president bush for that, the fact is, he was the one who was going to the cia, he was the one who asked for the briefing from mike morell in august, august 6th, at his ranch in texas, and morell and tenant in their memoirs both say they told the president is there was no evidence at all of any specific attack against the united states, no intelligence. that's the reality. >> all right. i suspect this debate is going to continue. >> absolutely. >> congressman peter king, thanks very much for sharing your perspective on what's going on. >> thank you, wolf. >> appreciate it very much.
meanwhile, we're getting new information about the manhunt for notorious mexican drug lord who broke out of prison. i want to bring back cnn's brian todd. brian, you have new details about el chapo's latest escape. what are you learning? >> we do, wolf, new information coming in tonight about el chapo's encounter with mexican special forces in recent days. a source tells us they had a visual glimpse of him, there was a harrowing foot chase through the mountains and a narrow escape. sources say the fugitive kingpin of the sinaloa drug cartel, joaquin "el chapo" guzman, was nearly captured in a scene taken straight from the movie "the fugitive." a mexican official with knowledge of the manhunt telling cnn mexican special forces had spotted the ruthless drug lord earlier this month near the town of cosala in the mexican mountains. guzman was with a child, a young girl, possibly his daughter, the source says, and authorities were reluctant to close in and start a firefight. later, when el chapo was spotted without the child, mexican marines gave chase.
that's when el chapo jumped or fell off a small cliff, injuring his face and possibly breaking his leg. at that point, the official says guzman's bodyguards rushed to the bottom of the cliff, carried him out and got away through the dense forest. >> they have him pinned in, if you will, right in his area, his backyard. >> reporter: one source says mexican marines weren't able to catch el chapo at that moment because they were on foot as well. cnn has also learned three days before that chase, the drug kingpin known for killing thousands of people was spotted in a nearby town on a motorcycle and in a ferrari with his sons. weeks earlier, one son allegedly tweeted this photo, supposedly showing el chapo brazenly eating at a restaurant. tonight, however, he may no longer be as bold because of his injuries falling from that cliff. >> this involves bringing in people that weren't in the normal ring. so, now they've got to find a medical person or a nurse or someone like that, that can actually tend to his injuries, and it slows him down, puts him in one particular spot that he wasn't planning on being in
before. >> reporter: el chapo is known as a master of high-stakes escapes. he broke out of a high-security mexican prison in july through this elaborate tunnel. previously, he eluded police through a trap door hidden under his bathtub. authorities could be tracking him through his wife, emma coronel, a former beauty queen believed to be seen in these photos posted online. >> i would imagine that u.s. authorities, intelligence services and mexican authorities are tracking her very, very closely, and they have good ways of doing that. so, i would have thought that it's most likely that they are separate for the time being. >> and even though authorities may be closing the ring around el chapo, officials caution, do not discount the network of support he has in his home state, in his hometown here and cosala, where the encounter occurred. residents here, we're told, consider el chapo a robin hood figure. he's built roads and schools for him. in return, analysts say if residents there see anything out
of the ordinary anywhere in this region, a helicopter, vehicles, people they haven't seen before, they will call el chapo immediately and tip him off. wolf? >> brian todd, thanks very much. just ahead, osama bin laden and presidential politics. is joe biden trying to rewrite history as the guessing game over his 2016 plans continues. and mixed signals from donald trump as he wages a war of words over 9/11 and rides high in the polls. just might be the one.
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our senior washington correspondent, jeff zeleny, has been working this story. what are you finding out? >> wolf, it sure sounds like he is leaning in that direction. everyone we talk to say they're left with the impression that he is definitely running. but the vice president went to great lengths today that shows that he is the president's top adviser, a confidante above all other. if he runs, he knows that he would need that obama coalition of supporters. that's why he seems so eager to show that he's different from that other democrat who's still the overwhelming front-runner in the presidential race. >> hey, folks, how are you? >> reporter: joe biden spent the day reminding people he's one heartbeat away from the presidency. >> the best decision of my political career was to join the president. >> reporter: flexing his vice presidential muscles like rarely before, even invoking the killing of osama bin laden. >> everybody went around the room, and there were only two people who were definitive and were absolutely certain. leon panetta said, "go," and bob
gates, who's already publicly said this, said "don't go." >> reporter: old disagreements from the situation room could flair up in a potential democratic presidential race. >> as we walked out of the room and walked upstairs, i said, i told them my opinion, that i thought he should go, but follow his instincts. >> reporter: he's trying to clear up criticism from his unknown opposition to the bin laden raid, also making clear, he had the last word with the president, not secretary of state hillary clinton, who's long said she advised the president to authorize the high-stakes raid. >> i was one who recommended to the president that he go ahead, and his advisers were split, because it was a very risky operation. >> so help me god. >> reporter: biden didn't stop there. he said he had a hand in every decision, even choosing clinton as secretary of state. >> the president at the outset said you have veto right on anybody in this cabinet. if you think we should not move. and sure enough, he asked my opinion on every cabinet member, and we were in total agreement. >> reporter: for biden, time is running short. he has nine days to qualify for
the ballot in georgia, followed by deadlines in alabama and texas. even his new polls show biden in a distant third and more democrats say he shouldn't run. his campaign in waiting roars on. >> that's the healthy part -- >> reporter: he said again today he doesn't believe republicans are always the bad guys. >> i don't think my chief enemy is the republican party. they're -- you know, this is a matter of, you know, making things work. >> reporter: a not-so-subtle jab at this moment from last week's democratic debate, when hillary clinton was asked to name her enemies. >> well, in addition to the nra, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the irani s iranians, probably the republicans. >> reporter: of course, biden and clinton agree on many things, but their styles are different. biden believes he is more electible because of this unscripted authenticity. but if he decides to get into
the race, he will start well behind. one of his friends said toid, wolf, he can't let this go on much longer. >> stand by. i bring in rebecca berg, national political reporter for real clear politics. dana bash and jamal buoy for slate. dana, was today sort of a preview of what we could expect if joe biden decides to run for president? >> it certainly sounded like a test drive, there's no question about it. just to echo what you were just saying about what you heard from one of his friends, i mean, i've been hearing from democrats inside the administration, those who have long loved joe biden, saying, enough already, just get with it. there's brewing frustration that this has just been going on too long and that it's sort of taking away from the discussion of other things that, never mind the candidates on the 2016 campaign trail want to talk about, but the obama administration wants to talk about. so, there's frustration. i just want to borrow a line from one of my favorite shonda rhimes programs, which is, there's a planet called
passive-aggressiva, and joe biden's its king. >> and some democrats say that he could be, if he runs for the presidency, he could be his own worst enemy, given the history that he has just sort of speaking, shooting from the hip. >> right now, joe biden's authenticity and unscriptedness is fun. as soon as he's a serious presidential candidate, it becomes something to be scrutinized. every little thing he does, from the odd touching of women to sort of his comments and remarks, becomes grist for the mill. and my view on this is that joe biden has a chance right now to retire in a great place, beloved vice president. but if he jumps into the race, everything about his behavior and his ticks and his past record from the war on drugs and the crime bill to his foreign policy decisions and choices becomes, you know, an open field for clinton, for whoever. >> but this is really his last chance, jeff, to be president of the united states, a position he's wanted for decades. he's run twice before, did not do well either time. but we did some research, by the
way. take a look at sitting vice presidents who have actually become president of the united states. pretty small group, if you take a look at the sitting vice presidents who eventually became president of the united states, were elected president of the united states. others became president after a president was assassinated, but these are elected presidents. so, there aren't a whole lot. >> incredibly, incredibly small group. i mean, look, he -- one of his challenges here is that, what lane is he going to run in? is he going to run to the left of bernie sanders? no, that's not who he is. is he going to run to the right of hillary clinton? probably not either. so, there are -- when you really start to think about this, there are some issues. that's why this has been taking so long. his heart wants to do it. he wants to be president. he wants to run for president. but practically speaking, it's a little bit more difficult. and democrats overall -- i did some, since it's our history lesson tonight -- have only twice succeeded -- if a democrat is in office for two terms, only two times has the party won another term after that. so, it is very, very difficult to do this. but look, he could say he's
running as a one-term, trying to build this obama coalition, if he decides to run. >> al gore came close in 2000 -- >> he did come very close. >> he had more popular votes but not enough electoral votes after the supreme court ruled what it did. rebecca, take a look at this question that was asked in this nbc news/"wall street journal" poll. 38% of democrats don't want biden to run. 30% of them do want the vice president to run. so, he's got a lot of work to do, if he decides to run. >> he does. this is one of the big challenges for joe biden and one of the reasons why many democrats are urging him not to run, because we're not seeing this massive ground swell for joe biden in the democratic party. there are some people who would be happy if he ran. there would be some people who would certainly support him if he ran, but there is no clamoring for him to run. there is no empty space, necessarily, that he would fill in this field or be able to fill. and so, that's part of his calculation right now -- is there a place for him and is there any energy behind his bid, if he does get in? >> in all the national polls,
he's number three behind hillary clinton, bernie sanders, so he's got a lot of work to do, if, if he decides to run. he hasn't announced, but maybe we'll hear from him fairly soon. just ahead, has donald trump done a foreign policy flip-flop? and if he has, will his supporters even care? and a struggling presidential candidate venlting his frustration with his fellow democrats in song. ♪ 'cause, baby, now we got bad blood ♪ ♪ you know it used to be mad love ♪ ♪ so take a look at what you've done ♪ ♪ that baby now we've got bad blood ♪ >> hey!
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we're back with our political team, and there's now fresh evidence that just two candidates are dominating the crowded republican presidential race. our new cnn/orc nationwide poll shows donald trump at the top of the pack with 27% support. his closest rival, dr. ben carson, has 22%. there's a huge drop-off after that with jeb bush and marco rubio tied with 8%. take a look. farther down in the field, carly fiorina, who had soared after her early debate performance now is just 4% support. our chief political correspondent, dana bash, is covering the republican race for us. trump's numbers are still very,
very strong. >> they are very strong, and it's not just that he's got support, it's that supporters he has are very excited about him, they're very enthusiastic about him. and that actually is critically important because that means that they're more likely to actually go out and cast their votes in these early contest states. but today, trump stumbled a bit on cnn about the war in afghanistan. here's what he said on cnn's "new day" this morning. >> we were safe in a sense, but we went into iraq, which was a disaster decision, just a disastrous decision. not afghanistan, because that's probably where we should have gone in the first place. >> so, today he said he supports the war in afghanistan, or did back then, but just two weeks ago on the very same cnn program, he said he opposed it. >> we made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place. we had real brilliant thinkers that didn't know what the hell they were doing. >> now, our cnn colleague alisyn camerota immediately reminded trump of that, and he denied flip-flopping. he said afghanistan is a
"different kettle" from iraq, saying pakistan is next to afghanistan. that country has nuclear weapons. so, it's aif he was trying to explain his position now, but there's no question that he said something different two weeks ago. as far as jeb bush and his campaign are concerned, this is exhibit "a" of what they've been trying to push for the past five days or so, that donald trump is not ready for prime time on foreign policy. not just that, it's they're trying to paint him as liberal, even akin to the liberal filmmaker michael moore. >> yeah, and they're going further than that. but jeff, for his supporters among republicans, it doesn't really seem to matter, does it? >> it hasn't up until this point. i mean, we could string together a series of examples. remember that hugh hewitt radio interview before the cnn presidential debate, he was unable to sort of identify, you know, things right geographically and leaders. that didn't hurt him at all. he's still the leader in the polls. but what's happening now is i
feel like it's a different moment. i know we've said this before, but there's a sense of, if not panic, urgent concern setting in among republicans. keep your eye on other super pacs, like the bush super pac and others that are really going to try and remind republicans that he may not be ready for prime time. we'll see. but he has defied all types of gravity things before. i have no reason to believe he wouldn't survive something like this in afghanistan as well. >> but there's no downtowubt, j that over the past four months since he got into the race, when he attacks and is attacked and attacks back, the guy, or woman in carly fiorina's case, that's attacked usually loses. >> maybe it takes a while. fiorina had her comeback and then she's pretty much plunged in the polls. this is what we've seen with jeb bush. i see no reason to expect this will be any different, even if it's coming from super pacs. for whatever reason, trump seems to be invulnerable to attacks from his rivals, which is very unusual, and we'll see how it plays out. >> i'm wondering how he's going
to respond, rebecca, to the jeb bush op ed article that was just posted, and i'll read you a line from it. "let's be clear," this is jeb bush, "donald trump simply doesn't know what he's talking about. in his bluster overcompensates for his shocking lack of knowledge at the national security challenges that will confront the next president of the united states." he's really going after donald trump, but donald trump, i suspect, is going to fire right back. >> i mean, what we've seen to this point, when jeb bush tries to get in an argument with donald trump, or when he tries to put a dent in his lead, is that donald trump has ended up winning many of these arguments. and the problem for republicans, really, wolf, is that right now, jeb bush is the only republican candidate who's consistently taking on donald trump. and to jeff's point, there really is a growing urgency in the republican party. i spoke with a republican, senior republican today, who said the republican campaigns have about 90 days, if that, to take trump out, or else he is winning the nomination. >> the key thing, i think, is --
and i talked to a lot of republicans who just are kind of resigned to this notion -- is that if you look at donald trump's support, it is the highest right now, and he's been there for months, but it's in a field of 11 people, that it might be the case that you're going to have to get one alternative to donald trump, many, many others are going to have to drop out to see a real challenge to him, because right now all the others are splitting the vote. >> is there a republican, jamelle, who can fight back and succeed against donald trump? >> i don't know. even if you take one of the most gifted people in the field, marco rubio, and give him the support of bush, christie, marco rubio, everybody in the mainstream, it doesn't come close to where trump is and certainly doesn't come close to trump with carson and ted cruz combined. i think it's likely that trump falls away and carson falls away and somebody like cruz takes his support. >> but every cycle, as november comes into december, when it comes time to pick a president, if you will, things have changed
in other early states. we don't know if it will this time, but historically, it has. so, that's one thing to keep an eye on. >> but we have heard the same thing from republicans, that after labor day, people would start to look at this race more seriously. >> that's true. >> and they keep pushing back the deadline, and it >> every cycle i covered, this is my fifth presidential campaign, it's changed every time. hermain cain was alive and well this point four years ago. some voters are tuning in. he's been superman. >> started covering presidential campaigns when you were 6, right? >> i wish. >> there is going to be another republican debate next week. there will be plenty of opportunities for some of these other candidates to score points. it's not over with by any means. >> not at all. we have to take time for people to start paying attention. as enthusiastic as donald trump supporters are, ben carson, as well, there are voters who are
undecided or not fully committed. >> you suspect there will be a clash between the two front runners, donald trump and ben carson? >> maybe it would be -- i've tried to imagine what this clash would look like. ben carson is very sleepy. he moves slowly. >> low key. >> low energy candidate. >> immigration, though both returned to their sides intentionally, i think. >> donald trump was so complementary of ben carson on cnn this morning. >> he suggested they could be running mates. stranger things have happened. >> exactly. usually when somebody is nipping at his heels, he turns around and shoots. >> stand by. when we come back, why did democratic presidential candidate martin o'malley take a page out of taylor swift's song? >> baby now we've got bad blood.
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and our environment, and if me driving a that truck means that somebody gets to go home safer, then i'll drive it every day of the week. together, we're building a better california. tonight, democratic presidential candidate martin o'malley appears to be sending a musical message to hillary clinton and the other democratic presidential rivals. listen to o'malley on "the view"
grabbing his guitar, putting his spin on taylor swift's latest hit. ♪ cause baby now we got bad blood ♪ you know it used to be mad blood ♪ so take a look at what you've done ♪ and maybe now we've got bad blood ♪ >> rebecca? what do you think? >> i think i'll stick with the ryan adams' cover, actually. i guess martin o'malley is at the point in his campaign where there is nowhere to go but up so maybe he is hoping to appeal to some of taylor swift's vast fan base with this. "the view" is a good venue to do something lighthearted. for someone who brags about his singing and his guitar playing, that was the not the most impressive performance i've seen. >> i would suggest he stick to a different musical genre. >> or get backup singers.
>> i've seen him perform on st. patrick's day when he was governor of maryland, mayor of baltimore. he's got pretty good stuff on that. this particular song was not necessarily his strongest. >> he's taking the show on the road in iowa this weekend at the jefferson jackson dinner. >> a lot of people thought he would be doing better than he's actually. he's doing not that well in these polls. >> on paper he would seem like the candidate democrats want an alternative to hillary clinton, but didn't want a left wing candidate like bernie sanders. for whatever reason, he isn't catching fire, whether that's the fact that hillary clinton has crowded out the space of modern democrats so much or if there is some deficiency with his campaign. >> joe biden decides to run, does that further undermine his chances? >> absolutely. martin o'malley doesn't have the same national brand that joe biden does. if he was looking for any space in the democratic primary, i was probably in that lane joe biden
would choose. i don't see much of a future for him if biden gets in the race or frankly even if biden stays out. >> jim webb dropped out, the former virginia senator. >> he wasn't even campaigning. that's what was comical about this. he barely campaigned or made any stops in iowa or new hampshire. then just complained he wasn't getting all the time and attention he thought he deserved. i'm sorry, if you want that time and attention, you need to campaign. >> thanks very much. tonight our justice correspondent pamela brown brings you a cnn special report, the d.c. mansion murders. it was a nightmare end to a charmed life. a father, a mother, their son and family housekeeper murdered in cold blood. the gruesome crime scene. the