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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  November 2, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PST

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problem because you're going to have trouble getting the fuel for emergency generators if you're using diesel. we're on natural gas, but natural gas has to be powered through the lines ultimately by pumps that are run by electricity. >> ted koppel, thanks so much. the book is "lights out kwt, a r attack, a nation unprepared surviving the aftermath." that's it for me jake tapper and "the lead." turning over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, airliner down. the mystery surrounding the crash of a russian passenger jet in egypt's sinai peninsula deepening tonight. all 224 people onboard killed, the black boxes now in the hands of investigators. will they reveal what caused this plane to break apart in midair? terror claims. egyptian militants with ties to isis say they're responsible for the plane disaster. but officials in moscow and washington aren't necessarily buying it. was the doomed flight downed by a terrorist missile or a bomb?
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isis attack. terrorist behead two activists who work to expose isis brutality. the brutal murders happening in their own apartment in turkey far from isis territory. is isis strengthening its network of terror? trying to fix. jeb bush attempting to retool with a new slogan and bus tour. but his numbers in a key early voting state are stagnant in a brand new poll while rival marco rubio is surging. will the reboot give bush the boost he needs? i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." we're following the investigation into the crash of that jet liner in egypt's sinai peninsula. remarks by an airline official are only deepening the mystery. he's blaming, quote, a certain
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impact for breaking the airbus a320 apart in midair. islamic militants affiliated with isis are claiming responsibility which killed 224 people. officials in both russia and the u.s. are downplaying that questioning whether the group has the ability to down a jet at high altitude. but they also aren't ruling out a missile or bomb as a possible cause of the crash with russia's air transport agency saying it's too soon to speculate. the plane's black boxes have been recovered and are awaiting analysis. at least 175 bodies have also been recovered from the crash site. most of them in tact according to a source. recovering all of that and much more this hour with our correspondents and our expert analysts and our guests. let's begin with the crash investigation. cnn's brian todd is working the story for us. brian, no one at least right now is ruling out terrorism, i take it at this point. >> even america's top
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intelligence official is not ruling out terrorism. investigators are facing a daunting challenge tonight. there's a menacing terror group operating in the sinai which wants to bring down planes and but experts are also telling us there are mechanical and faulty repair issues which could cause a passenger plane to break up at that altitude. in the air for 23 minutes flying at cruising altitude flight 9268 was at a point where planes rarely break apart. >> the vast majority of airliner accidents occur on takeoff and landing. and cruise flight is really the safest portion typically. >> reporter: but tonight 224 people are dead. the plane's wreckage is scattered across eight square miles of the sinai desert, and serious questions are being asked. what about the claim from isis that it's responsible? >> we don't have any direct evidence of any terrorist involvement yet. it's unlikely, but i wouldn't rule it out. >> analysts say the isis
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affiliate in sinai has the intent to attack commercial aircraft. they've stockpiled shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles as seen in these training videos. but experts say those missiles can't reach that high. >> we're talking maximum between 10,000 and 15,000 feet. maybe if you stretch on a really good hail mary maybe 20,000 feet. but 30,000 feet is not practical. >> this military analyst says the russian made buk missile system which brought down the malaysia's plane last year. but requires more manpower and training than that isis affiliate likely has. >> you have a control vehicle and another vehicle which controls extra missiles. >> wub theory investigators will likely pursue, did a terrorist sneak a bomb onboard? airline safety experts say there are ways other than terrorism that a passenger plane can break up at altitude. >> improper maintenance including a failure to detect and correct corrosion or an improperly done repair, or we've
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had one-off events fuel tank explosions, cargo door failures, things like that. >> there are horrific examples. crash of twa flight 800 in 1996 believed initially to be terrorism was later determined to have been an explosion of flammable vapors in a fuel tank. japan airlines flight 123, the 1985 crash considered the single deadliest accident in aviation history, more than 500 killed. it was determined that a previous tail strike had damaged the plane's rear pressure bulkhead and the repair was faul faulty. a similar thing happened to this russian aircraft. in 2001 this plane's tail struck a runway while landing. it was repaired and an official of the airline says the plane had been checked thoroughly for cracks. but safety experts are telling us tonight it is possible that a defect in the repair was simply not visible and a crack could have spread very rapidly during the time this plane might have been dissdisintegrating, wolf.
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>> what about the possibility terrorists could have fired from the plane from some of those mountains in the sinai region? those mountains are pretty high. you've been checking into that. >> we have, wolf. there's no definitive answer to that tonight. military analysts say the mountains here in the southern region of the sinai could potentially give a boost to someone launch ago shoulder fired missile. those mountains extend up to about 8,000 feet above sea level. but experts say it's still likely not enough height to strike a plane at that altitude. plus, wolf, these mountains are about 100 miles away from where the plane came down. it's probably too far to fire a shoulder fired missile and hit it from that distance. again, the height not quite high enough. again, they're examining all these possibilities tonight, wolf. >> brian todd, thanks very much. vague statements by russian officials early adding to the mystery of this airline disaster. our senior international correspondent matthew chance is in st. petersburg, russia, right now for us. matthew, an airline executive seemed to suggest an impact of some sort on the plane, an
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external impact may have caused this plane to go down whachlt are you learning? >> reporter: yeah. well, it's very difficult, isn't it? because he was using deliberately vague terminology to sort of explain that he didn't believe it was a maintenance issue or a pilot error issue. in other words not a company issue. that could have been responsible for death of these 224 people. trying to shift the emphasis to this theory that it was something external that caused the catastrophe being marked not just here in st. petersburg but all across russia as well. but the trouble is is that those vague statements as you call them are intention with perhaps what the kremlin is trying to push this idea that it wasn't terrorism that it could have been some maintenance problem. it could have been some technical failing that led to this. either way, it's not looking particularly good for the kremlin because they either depending on which way the investigation goes and it really is up to the investigators now to try and answer some of these questions, if it's a technical error the government will be
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accused of not doing enough to protect its passengers on these civil aviation flights. if it's terrorism, in some ways it's even worse because then the government is open to the accusation that this is blowback, this is retaliation for their policy in syria where they've been carrying out air strikes for the past several weeks, wolf. >> matthew chance, we'll stay in close touch with you. thanks very much. i want to bring in our senior international correspondent arwa damon. she's joining us from cairo. arwa, egyptian investigators they're also working this crash investigation. what are they saying? >> reporter: well, wolf, you have egyptian and russian investigators on site as well as a team from airbus. now, this is what we're being told from a number of different sources. at this stage according to an egyptian military source none of the militant groups that operate in the sinai actually have the necessary technology to bring down a plane at 31,000 feet, at best, according to this source. the shoulder fire surface-to-air
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missiles that they have could hit an aircraft at about 15,000 or 16,000 feet. according to one of the russian state agencies they reported quoting a russian source of theirs on the ground who's part of this investigation as saying that initially the debris, the remnants that they have been testing for explosives have not tested positive. bearing in mind this is initial and the debris is spread out over an expanse of eight square miles. we also spoke to a medical source who had seen around 175 of the bodies. he's been helping out with processing and recovering them. he said that about 60% to 70% of the bodies were in tact. and none of them had significant burn marks. of course everyone is hoping that those two black boxes that were recovered fairly quickly on saturday the same day as the crash took place will be holding some of these answers. we don't know at this stage though exactly when that vital data is going to be recovered, wolf. >> all right, arwa, thanks very
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much. i want to dig deeper on all of this. joining us the former ntsb managing director our cnn aviation analyst peter goelz, our law enforcement analyst tom fuent fuentes, our aviation consultant former pilot alister and richard quest. richard, you've been doing a lot of reporting on what's going on. what is the leading theory at least at this point on the investigation? >> there isn't one, wolf. i mean, we can pretty much start to discount missile. i haven't heard one security expert suggest a missile could have reached at all or that isis has those missiles. but now you're talking about some form of in-flight breakup. and whether that comes from an onboard explosive, a bomb for a better word, or a breakup because of a previous bad repair, or other reason, there is no favored theory at the
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moment. and frankly those who, you know, say with great certainty it had to be this, that or the other, really are not necessarily being fully frank. >> tom fuentes, how soon will we be able to rule out if there was in fact a bomb inside the plane? remember pan am 103 there was a bomb inside that plane. how soon will they know if there was a bomb? >> well, i think, wolf, it could be a long time. and one of the problems is if you'll remember the twa800 when that plane crashed it was about three years before they determined that it wasn't terrorism, that it was a center fuel tank and vapors in it with an electric spark that exploded. it could take a long time to determine that. but the bigger problem here from my perspective is that both sides, the russians and the egyptians, are not going to be completely reliable. for the russians sake they're not going to admit that they had a horrible maintenance record with that aircraft. and from the egyptians side they're never going to want to
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admit that it was a terrorist act because sharm el sheikh is one of their leading tourist destinations. and they don't want people to be afraid to fly there. >> we're told, tom, isis at least the terrorists who were operating in sinai don't have the capability of shooting down a plane that's flying at 30,000 feet with a shoulder fired missile. but how can they be certain that they don't have other more sophisticated surface-to-air missiles that could shoot down a plane flying at that altitude? >> i don't think they can be certain of it. you know, as richard said, these are all theories. none of these have been proven yet. even a good indication yet of what may have happened. so it is premature to say, but again, you know, we're going to have to question the investigation until we have a good reason to accept that it is credible. >> peter, what else could cause a plane to break apart like this in midair at 30,000 or 33,000 feet? >> well, wolf, there's a variety of things that could have
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occurred. one is that the repairs done after the tail strike might have been done inexpertly or had not been monitored correctly over the intervening years and fatigue cracks had grown and it simply let go as it reached altitude. another could have been a cargo door or a rear passenger door that had not been latched securely that that let go. or it could have been something in the cargo hold of the plane. you know, there's a great deal of speculation about lithium batteries these days. we'll want to get a look at exactly what was put in the cargo hole and whether there are any bad actors there. so the key though, wolf, is to go back along the flight path of the plane and get the debris that came off first. that will tell you where it started and might give you the solution. >> i assume they're doing that. here's the question a lot of
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people are asking the egyptians and the russians they're the lead investigators right now. can they be trusted to get to the truth? >> well, i have to say i share tom's skepticism. i've worked with both russian -- the russian investigators and with the egyptians after egypt air. they allow politics, national political interests to get in the way of safety investigations. so i share tom's skepticism. >> as far as you know have they invited the ntsb or the fbi or any americans for that matter to come in and help in the investigation? >> they have not. even though these were u.s. engines that were on this plane, the ntsb has not sent any investigators. and they might in part because this is a war zone. and the investigators really would prefer not to function in but the french are there and the
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germans. and they have a good investigative team if they follow the iko standards. >> allister, we're told the flight data recorder is apparently in good condition. how useful will that be in this investigation? >> well, it will be vital. it will show whether or not all systems were running normally or whether they were faulty. it will also show the altitude of the aircraft, its speed. there are a number of parameters all of which will show an abnormal or normal situation. if it's a perfectly normal situation up until the point at which the aircraft started to descend rapidly, then it would suggest that something sudden had happened. you know, i think it's going to be very difficult to hide the facts of this having the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder. those two pieces along with the wreckage which is all going to be recovered, i don't think they'll be any, you know,
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thought this might be covered up. i'm sure we'll find out in due course what caused this accident. >> let's hope. all right. i want all of you to standby because we're getting more information that's coming into "the situation room" right now. stay with us. we'll have much more on this mystery when we come back. technology empowers us to achieve more. it pushes us to go further. special olympics has almost five million athletes in 170 countries.
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advisor and team who understand where you come from. we didn't really have anything, you know. but, we made do. vo: know you can craft an investment plan as strong as your values.
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al, how you doing. hey, mr. hamilton. vo: know that together you can establish a meaningful legacy. with the guidance and support of your dedicated pnc wealth management team. 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. we're back with the experts discussing the crash of the russian airliner in egypt that killed all 224 people onboard.
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one airline official blames what he calls a certain impact for breaking the plane apart in midair. peter goelz, i want to show you some pictures, some photos comparing the debris field in the mh-17 commercial airliner that was downed over ukraine not that long ago, last year. take a look. that's on the left part of the screen. on the right part of the screen you see the wreckage from this particular crash in sinai. it looks very similar both of that. what if anything can we make of the similarity of these two images? >> well, i think it indicates, wolf, that there was a separation at altitude in both cases. something catastrophic happened to this airline at altitude. we know in mh-17 it was hit by a missile and came apart. in this accident or incident we don't know yet what happened. >> richard, back in 2001 this plane, this airbus commercial airliner struck the runway during landing. the tail was damaged.
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there have been two instances in aviation history where planes broke apart midair years after they had incured damage to this area of the plane, potentially could that have happened this time? >> yes, it could. and if it did it's nothing short of a disgrace since the incident you're talking about particularly the ci one are very well known. look, the repair -- the plane at that time was being operated by mea, so metrojet and its predecessor had nothing to do with it. it was many, many years before they took over the aircraft it was owned by a leasing company. but everybody who touched, owned or operated that aircraft will have known about that tail strike. and therefore firstly should have always as been ensuring that that repair remained good. metal fatigue is another issue. it shouldn't be a problem with a plane of only 18 years old, but
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what you're coming to here, wolf, is maintenance. was this plane being -- assuming we can put aside nefarious, was this plane being properly maintained? >> and the fact, richard, that there was no distress call from the cockpit, no mayday, mayday, mayday, apparently none of those indications. what does that say? >> well, some people will say it means nothing because, you know, they're too busy flying the plane to get a mayday out. i don't necessarily buy it in this particular case. i think it is significant. and i think it's significant because of not on its own but if you look at the trajectory of the aircraft, wolf, this thing fell out the sky. and its speed just disappeared. it went almost like it had hit a wall. and if you put that together, the instantaneous destructive catastrophic nature of what took place, i think, prevented any sort of mayday or any form of
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activity. >> tom fuentes, you're a former assistant director of the fbi. based on what you know, will the fbi have any role in this investigation? >> wolf, i don't think so. i think even though the engines are u.s. made, i think the other authorities involved in this, the egyptians, the russians, the french, the germans, are going to feel that they can have ample opportunity and expertise to deal with this. >> alastaire, since this happened several airlines since the crash they've announced they will no longer will fly over sinai. you were a commercial pilot, how dangerous is it right now to fly not only over sinai but some of these other conflict zones in the region? >> well, generally airliners do fly over conflict zones. but certainly they shouldn't be doing so over any area where aircraft have or are likely to be shot down. and that means do the warning parties have missiles capable of reaching high altitude?
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nobody's mentioned this but there are a number of air forces operating generally in the area as well. so one can't discount the fact that it might have been shot down by another aircraft. i mean, i'm not saying that was the case, but, you know, clearly when an aircraft comes down suddenly like this it's either going to be an explosive device or mechanical -- some mechanical destruction on the aircraft. people have mentioned the tail strike. that's clearly worth looking at. but it could also have been an explosive device planted on the aircraft. sharm el sheikh has had a number of incidents, put it that way, in the past. and how safe is it in terms of how easy is it to get devices on board, should airlines be flying in that area? i would say to play safe no, they shouldn't. but it really is up to the case of the british airlines, foreign office, americans look at your own security services to advise you on whether or not you should fly over that area. the fact that some airlines are
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flying over it and some aren't is an indication that all is not really well in the aviation world. it really should be the international civil aviation authority or other organizations should indeed give proper solid advice to airlines either have air space open or have it closed. >> we're going to have much more on this coming up. so everyone standby. there's other important news we're following right now as well including some gruesome new evidence that isis is extending its reach. standby for new information about the latest savage killings in a nato ally. we're also following new developments in the 2016 presidential race including a new slogan from the struggling jeb bush campaign. [ male announcer ] eligible for medicare?
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a new poll of republicans in a first of the nation primary state points to volatility and change but only for second-tier candidates. further back senator marco rubio's numbers have tripled since september. he's closing in on dr. ben carson for second place. john kasich and ted cruz both leading jeb bush now running sixth place in new hampshire. bush in his home state of florida today trying out a brand new message. cnn's athena jones is joibing us from tampa.
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what's he telling voters today, athena? >> reporter: hi, wolf. well, bush isn't so much making a new argument to voters with his jeb can fix it tour this week as he is introducing a new slogan. the central question of course is whether this new rhetorical shift will be enough to move his poll numbers. >> our story is about action, doing, not just talk iing. >> reporter: new slogan today in florida, jeb can fix it. >> as your president i will fight every day with a reformist heart. >> reporter: his fix-it tour will also take him to south carolina and new hampshire this week. but it may be his campaign that needs fixing. he's hoping a renewed focus on what he calls his proven conservative record will give him a much needed boost in the midst of consistently weak poll numbers, worried donors. >> i've got a lot of advice lately myself. more than enough, thank you. >> reporter: and a weak debate performance. >> you should be showing up to
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work. >> someone has convinced you attacking me is going to help you. >> i know that i got to get better at doing the debate. and i'm a grinder. i mean, when i see i'm not doing something well, then i reset and i get better. >> reporter: bush's speech today included jabs at front runner donald trump and surging protege marco rubio. >> the answer isn't sending someone from one side of the capital city to the other, and you can't just tell congress you're fired and go to commercial break. >> reporter: the fix it tour comes as bush releases a 730-page e-book full of e-mails he sent and received during his two terms as governor. >> they used to call me the e-governor. >> reporter: the book includes revealing moments like an angry e-mail bush received during the florida recount in 2000. and one from a constituent who complained bush was spending too much time campaigning for his brother and not enough time doing his day job. an attack line bush has struggled to use against rubio. also included, some gentle ribbing from george h.w. bush
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about his son's swearing in photo. the former president saying, i love the photo of your swearing in, it's so good of you that i have gotten over my being cropped out by the photographer. the big question for the man hoping to become the third president bush is whether this latest push will resonate with republican voters. bush argued today that this election is not about personalities but about leadership. he also said he's not going to play the angry agitator role because it's not what's in his heart and it's not the kind of attitude that will win the general election. wolf. >> all right. athena, thank you. joining us now in "the situation room" our cnn political commentator ana navarro who supports jeb bush and also a friend of marco rubio's and senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin. guys, standby for a moment. we have a lot to assess right now. we've got to take a quick break. much more right after this. ♪ just look at those two.
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jeb bush's presidential campaign has a new slogan, jeb can fix it. he's taking his message across his home state of florida. and will campaign in south carolina and new hampshire later in the week. we're back with our analysts, ana navarro and jeffrey toobin. ana, what can we expect to see from jeb bush in this so-called new phase of his campaign? >> well, i hope that what we see is that jeb can fix it. he can fix not only the dysfunction in washington but that he can also fix the campaign. the truth is that the structures of the campaign are pretty
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solid. and he has done the necessary changes and tweaks to the campaign. he has cut off the bureaucracy. he's made it more nimble battalion of hungry loyalists, but at the end of the day jeb has to improve as a candidate. he himself knows that. i saw him yesterday, wolf, we were laughing at his debate performance. we were joking he was saying to me, you know, thank god for the cnbc moderators who were so bad that at least i wasn't the worst performer in that debate. >> how long does he have, jeffrey, to turn things around for his campaign? >> well, i think given his name and given the amount of money he has he's certainly going to be in the campaign through iowa and new hampshire. the problem is he's in sixth and seventh place. and, you know, the slogan doesn't matter. but he is not going to change who he is. if republican party voters want an outsider, he's going to lose period. it doesn't matter what his slogan is. but if trump and carson start to
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fade, he's got to be in a position to pick them up. at the moment they haven't been fading and they haven't been fading for months. >> and you mention what place -- look at this new poll from new hampshire. among republicans it shows jeb bush in sixth place right now, not just behind carson and trump but rubio, also behind ted cruz and john kasich. both are ahead of him at least hampshire.rticular poll in new i can understand not necessarily doing well, jeffrey, in iowa. but new hampshire supposedly was the place he's really going to crush him. >> well, perhaps. but think about the history of the bushes in new hampshire. it's not a very pretty picture. 1980 ronald reagan beat up on george bush after bush won iowa. 1992 pat buchanan did very well against george herbert waublker bush. 2000 john mccain beat george walker bush in new hampshire. so it's not necessarily a very
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promising territory to start with. and, you know, he's obviously not doing very well there now. >> ana, you know him well. is he determined to go on even if he's sixth, seventh place in a lot of these critical early state polls? >> oh, yes. there's no question in my mind that jeb bush is going on. he's got a fightig spirit. he's got a backbone of steel. he's committed to doing this. and he's a fierce competitor. look, the polls are very volatile right now. jeffrey's right. jeb is not going to change the core of who he is, but he understands that he needs to be more forceful. that he can't be constantly answering the question of whether he's got the fire in the belly or not. he's got to show that he does. but definitely jeb has got the discipline, the patience, the humility and the commitment to stay in this. and the money. the money and the structures and the teams on the ground to continue doing this. i fully expect to see jeb bush
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in florida in the primary in march. >> can i say that i actually think the polls have not been volatile. i think that's really the story here is that donald trump's been ahead for months. ben carson has been in second place for some time now. and jeb bush has been in single digits basically everywhere for months. and i think that's really the story here. is that the dynamic has not changed. >> jeffrey, you know, iowa and new hampshire are break late traditionally. and we have seen that the debates have had a large influence on the polls. we saw for example in the previous debate that carly fiorina shot up after the cnn debate, she then came down again. i think we are seeing now the polls shoot up for rubio and cruz because they had a very good debate performance. jeb bush needs to perform better at those debates. he knows that. he's got nine days to get it together to do a good performance. and i'll tell you, if he goes out there and performs strongly,
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it will change the media narrative and the ecochamber immediately. >> ana, how upset was jeb bush that marco rubio got the endo e endorsement from that billionaire fundraiser paul singer over the weekend? i know bush really wanted that endorsement. >> everybody wanted that endorsement. paul singer is an important endorsement. he not only gives, he also raises. and everybody competed for his endorsement. chris christie, you know, so many others. so, look, you know, you win some, you lose some. i don't think that jeb is hurting for a shortage of big donors. that's not the problem. he's got to improve atd the debates. >> ana navarro, jeffrey toobin, thanks very much. coming up, they work to expose isis brutality. now their its latest victims. is anyone safe? also, a new inspector generals report exposes a huge waste of u.s. taxpayers money. why did a gas station, get this, a gas station in afghanistan
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we're following a new isis atrocity. two activists who work to expose the terror group's brutality were murdered in their own apartment. according to "new york times" the organization they worked for says one of them was stabbed 50 times and then beheaded. this happened in turkey outside of isis control territory. let's bring in our counterterrorism analyst phil mudd, former cia official, our terrorism analyst paul crook
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shank along with paul hertling. what are you hear sng. >> isis has claimed responsibility for this for murdering these two anti-isis activists in southern turkey. their their bodies were found on friday. this is the first time isis has claimed responsibility for an attack inside turkey, but there have been five attacks linked to the group where investigators have believed the group was responsible. that includes the ankara bombings on october 10, when more than 100 were killed. who trained in syria who carried out that attack. >> phil, are these killings the evidence of strengthening. >> i think i see a broader problem here, though, wolf. that is in the internet age, and isis is the first extort of terror group to effectively use that, facebook, twitter, et cetera. i can see them identifying,
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whether it's north america, europe, in this case turkey, simply tells sympathizers to take out activists. if you're an activist, you have to look at this as not only an indicator that you're in isis sights, but local sympathizers who nay not have ever traveled for training, can identify you, and be inspired and might take you out of. >> general, the violence clearly carried out it turkey, an ally of the united states, what will the u.s. have to do, or what can it do as isis steps up its terror activities inside this nato ally? >> if turkey goss to machine anz and says weft to invoke an article 5, that would be the first time anything like this has occurred as a result of an internal threat, something that an internal security threat. in order to join nato, countries have to be able to handle that
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on their own. even though it is considered a terrorist activity, it's also a criminal activity inside the country of turkey, they should be able to handle it themselves. the better question might be what is turkey going to do about this? with mr. erdogan winning an unbelievable victory just last sunday, where he has the majority of people in turkey behind him, will he continue to be a very authoritarian leader, or will he look for some democratic reform? it's all part of the mix. i even think, you know, with the kurdish population, that he has cracked down on recently, that has been fighting isis, what do you do about that? all of these things mr. kerry, as our secretary of state is, for internal security, but that all remains to be seen. >> phil, i said your idea, and hurt ling as well, the inspector general, special inspector general for afghanistan
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reconstruction, he says the u.s. spent, get this, nearly $43 million building a compressed natural gas filling station in afghanistan. it should have cost about $3 or 400,000. they spent $43 million, a lot going for corruption. it's outrageous how how much taxpayer money is being -- >> i hesitate to say this, wolf, but back when we escalated the war in 2001, going to the war in iraq, 2003 and beyond, if you look at what we got in terms of speed and size, we sacrificed the efficiency. we told the intelligence service, the military surge on the war on terror, surge in afghanistan, surge in iraq, there is a cost, wolf, when you start to say we're going to start moving masses of forces around the planet and spending trillions. we want you to move quickly. my experience in government is when you tell people to move big and move quickly, you're going to lose in efficiency and you're going to lose in accountability.
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that's what we have seen in this case. >> general, it's certainly shocking when you think of the billions that the inspector general has said, another 43 million might not sound like a lot of money, but to waste all that money, that is outrageous right now. >> it absolutely is. i it tell you having been a recipient of something was cerp funds, you can allocate it to help the governance and economy as part of the strategy. we watched that very closely. i had people watching what we were spending very closely. what was the return on the investment? that the investigation on this is well timed and well placed. these kind of things have to stop. we got carried away, and a lot of commanders approved these kinds of things when they shouldn't have, so the investigation is a good thing. >> the investigation is very good. the waste of money is awful. thanks very much. coming up, we're getting new details of the investigation into the crash of that russian
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passenger plane in egypt. we're awaiting analysis of the flight voice, the data recorders. what will they reveal about this disaster? it's more than a network and the cloud. it's reliable uptime. and multi-layered security. it's how you stay connected to each other and to your customers. with centurylink you get advanced technology solutions, including an industry leading broadband network, and cloud and hosting services - all with dedicated, responsive support. with centurylink as your trusted technology partner, you're free to focus on growing your business. centurylink. your link to what's next.
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it's gotten squarer. over the years. brighter. bigger. thinner. even curvier. but what's next? for all binge watchers. movie geeks. sports freaks. x1 from xfinity will change the way you experience tv. happening now, crash confusion. conflicting statements and uncertainty tonight surrounding a russian jet that brock to pieces during the safest part of the flight. terror battlefield. the plane went down in an area where isis affiliates are waging holy war. el they capable of shooting down
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a commercial aircraft. expanding mission, as special forces said to syria, the pentagon is now considering even more manpower and firepower against isis. stand by for new details. warn to obama, as the president works to free thousands of prisoners, and help them build new lives. a top official sell the reforms could backfire. i'm wolf blitzer you're in "the situation room." tonight aviation and intelligence officials say they can't rule out the possibility that a russian passenger plane was brought down by terrorists. so far there's no evidence to support an isis affiliate's claim of responsibility. the russian airliner was headed from an egyptian resort touj to st. petering burg on saturday when it broke into pieces about 20 minutes into the flight and crashed on the sinai peninsula.
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all 224 people aboard were killed. we're now awaiting information from the plane's black boxes. they've been found and sent to die rho for analysis. also tonight we have new details about the u.s. military strategy against isis. just days after the pentagon confirmed deployment of the first ground troops in syria, we're learning about discussions to further expand the u.s. military mission there. i'll ask congresswoman actualsi gab art about that. and our correspondents and analysts are standing by. up first, rene marsh, what are you learning about this disaster over sinai. >> an aggressive chapter is operating in the sigh nine peninsula where this passenger plane disintegrated. tonight investigator cannot rule out terrorism, but they don't have evidence of it, either. so if the midair breakup was not
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the work of explosives, then what? that's the very question investigators are hoping data from the plane's recorders will reveal. so suddenly plunge from the sky with 224 people on board. 20 minutes after takeoff from egypt saturday morning, the airbus 321 reached a cruising altitude of about 33,500 family. then almost immediately plummeted, disappearing from radar, with no distress call from the pilot. as the victims' bodies are recovered and flown to russia, airline officials quickly seem to rule out human error or technical problems with the plane. >> the airlines are blaming anything except them. so when at the talk about outside influences it could be either a technical problem not caused by them, by the manufacturer, or what they are
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implying here is terror. >> but russian investigators say it's too early to draw any conclusions. >> we have the company speaking i think out of line saying their aircraft was in perfect condition and there were no problems. then you have the egyptians are saying, it broke up in flight, but there's absolutely no sign of terrorism. i think all those statements are inappropriate. >> isis is active in this part of the sinai peninsula. a group has claimed responsibility. >> does isis have the ability to shoot down an airliner? >> it's unlikely, but i wouldn't rule it out. >> reporter: but based on initial reading of radar/satellite information, and photos from the crash site, u.s. intelligence sources say there is so far no evidence of terrorism or the plane being hit by something like a missile. investigators will also explore whether an accident 14 years ago
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involving this exact aircraft played a role. the tail hit the runway during landing causing substantial damage. it was repaired and has shin flown hundreds of flight. >> you want to see whether that repair was done right and whether the maintenance over the years was done correctly. >> u.s. investigators point to this crash of a flight in the 1980s. the tail struck a runway on landing. also despite repairs of the plane, it crashed seven years later. it was later determined improper repairs caused metal fatigue and cracking. that compromised the aircraft. metrojet says the aircraft passed a full inspection in may. while we wait for a readout of the black boxes, investigators will also inspected the wreckage for bomb residue and examine the tear marks for a better understanding of what caused the crash. wolf?
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>> they have a lot of work to do. rene, thanks. there are conflicting claims about what may have caused this horrible crash. our senior international correspondent matthew chance joins us from st. petering burg. the russian airline already dismissed what they call technical or human error. why are they declaring this so early on, especially when the kremlin isn't ruling out terrorism? >> reporter: well, i think they're using that vague language that they have used, trying to distance themselves as much as possible from the catastrophe that has cost 224 lives. all over this country there's been a national day of mourning. you can see behind me hundreds, if not thousands of people have been turning out to pay respects, to lay flowering, light candles and put children's toys out here out of a show of respect, something that's deeply affected russian people. the company officials, of course, some of whom may face
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criminal charges if it's found maintenance or technical errors were to blame, are trying to put as much distance as possible from this catastrophe and itself. we have the -- it's not ruling out terrorism, but it doesn't want toss any connection with its actions in syria. require russia started air strikes against isis and other rebel groups, and this incident -- as blowback or retaliation for its policy in syria. so it's really down to the investigation now to tell the people of russia and the government which is most likely, is it terrorism or mechanical failure, but someone is you willy going to pay the price for this. >> matthew, you're there at the memorial. the remains have arrived back in russia today, at least some. how difficult are all of these conflicting stories, the mystery of this for the families of those who are on board?
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>> reporter: well, i think it must be very difficult. we're not managing to speak to the families very much here. they're in the same hotel we're in, but they're kept very closely sort of under guard or in a secure situation, where they're being given counseling. you mentioned the 144 of the bold why is or remains have already been transported back from the sigh nine peninsula to petersburg to tmorgue. another aircraft is carries more bodies. the priority is to fix -- before the real focus comes on what caused this. but already questions are being asked. what it terrorism? was it a technical malfunction? these are the questions that everybody in russia now wants antsed. >> matthew, the co-pilot's ex-wife went on russian tv
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saying he had told his daughter he was concerned about the condition of the plane just before the flight. tell us about this. >> reporter: interesting. yesterday the ex-wife i think it was of the co-pilot of the ill-fated airliner went on russian state television channel, or at least state-controlled channel, saying that he had spoken to their daughter, saying that the technical situation, the maintenance issues with the plane left much to be desired. i think that's sort of a paraphrase of what he said. it's not conclusive proof in itself, but it does lend weight to this idea that there was some technical problems with this aircraft. we've heard from your previous reporter that it had a crash 15 years ago or so. it was an old plane. it was 18 years old. i mean, the airline metro jet is not a big airline. it had financial problems, as all airlines have at the moment
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because of the economic crisis here, so that all stacks up to circumstantial evidence that it could have been a maintenance problem that was at the root of this, but again we just don't have the evidence at our fingertips at the moment. it's a strong possibility, but it's not the only possibility when it comes to learning about the face of the 224 people who were killed on that metro jet plane. >> it certainly isn't. matthew, thank you very much. matthew chance reporting for us live. we're joined by actualtulsi gabbard. thanks for joining us. james clapper says he wouldn't rule out the possibility that isis shot down this airliner, to which you say? >> it's a very real possibility that either isis or al qaeda or one of these other extremist groups could be responsible for
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this horrible, horrible tragedy. i think it gives us pause to look at really the threat that russia faces from islamic extremism. i think we forget sometimes really how close russia is and the former soviet union states to bordering these middle eastern states and the chaos that exists there. we also see directly why putin, why russia is so concerned about keeping assad in power in syria. they recognize directly that if assad and the syrian government of assad is overthrown, then these islamic extremist groups like isis and al qaeda will step in and will take over all of syria, presenting a direct and existential threat to russia. >> is it possible these terrorists, they militants could have gotten their hands on a surface-to-air missile, may not go up to range of 30,000, but soming to actually shoot this plane down?
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>> i think we have to look at all possibility right now. there's a lot of changing dynami dynamics. unfortunately what we have seen, a lot of weapons are being co-opted by these islamic extremist group, and frankly some of them -- and i'm not making assumptions about this situation, but in others parts of syria, some of the weapons that the u.s. has provided have gotten into the hands of the islamic extremist group. the point is the situation on the ground is changing. we can't rule out the possibility of these islamic extremist groups as having targeted the aircraft, but we have to see the results. >> we can't rule out the possibility of a bomb could have been placed inside that plane and blown it up along the lines of the pan am flight over lockerbie. >> that's exactly right. you've had experts talking about all the different possibilities, if we look at what's happening on the ground and the
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investigation that's being conducted, it would become clear. my point here is the threat that russia seeings directly from these groups, directly as it relates to what's happening in syria, and frankly the united states needs to recognize the same threat that also poses to us. >> one quick question, there's still about 750 american troops in sinai right now. they go in for about a six-month rotation, since 1979, the signing of the israeli/egyptian peace treaty. this is a dangerous area. we don't hear a lot about -- we know four of them were severely injured back in september when they were the victim of an improvised explosive device. are you concerned about the presence of these american troops in sinai right now? >> i think if we look at egypt, i think it's important that the united states maintain its support as egypt continues to i
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think move in the right direction, as they -- we've seen groups like isis take charge of certain territories within the sinai, and within other parts of the country, so i think it's important that the united states continue to support egypt as it takes the strong stand against these slam you can extremist group. >> a dangerous assignment they have there, clearly the targets of these terrorists who are roaming around sinai. stay with us, congresswoman. we have much more to discuss with tulsi gabbard when we come back. our disciplined investment approach remains. we ask questions here. look for risks there. and search for opportunity everywhere. global markets may be uncertain. but you can feel confident in our investment experience... ... around the world. call a t. rowe price investment specialist, or your advisor... ...and see how we can help you find global opportunity.
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we're back with congress democrat won tulsi gabbard. stand by for a moment. we're getting new information about the first u.s. ground troops being deployed to syria in the war against isis. >> the first troops aren't even on the ground.
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>> u.s. special operations forces prepares for a new assignment on the ground in northern syria, arrives within weeks. working with local fight e. the pentagon says. fresh air strikes on the syrian racki border. >> they're trained, mand and eequipped to do certains functionings it is, but winning a war by themselves is asking too much. the way you win wars is you commit the nation. >> reporter: the ultimate goal -- get u.s. fighters as star south as raqqa. the pentagon has yesterday to provide heavy wells. >> they do have small arms and
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trucks, but they also have more tars, and overwhelming forces coming in in the air. when you're talking about combines a-10s and f-15s with ground forces in a desert environment, you have a significant advantage over isis, which doesn't have those aircraft. >> reporter: the pentagon considering further expansion, including more special operations forces for raids in syria and iraq against isis leadership, more apache helicopter gunships for low-eight attitude attacks and possibly u.s. forward air controllers on the ground to help pick out targets. u.s. troops in iraq may in and out be based with smaller iraqi units closer to the front lines. a u.s. official tells cnn the russians are also expanding their now now flying from a third air base just as the
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administration is tries to keep up the pressure on moscow. >> we've been saying they have a strategy that is doomed to fail. >> >> reporter: still no one is even suggesting these new options will be a game changer. this will, they say, be a very long road ahead. wolf? >> certainly will be. all right. barbara, thank you. tulsi gabbard is still with us. you think, congresswoman -- it's a good idea to keep troops on the ground, but it's important to make clear exactly what their mission is. do you understand what their mission is in syria? >> that's exactly the point. first and foremost, we need to make sure that we, our troops, our resources, are not doing anything to help these islamic extremist groups further their goal, to reach their objective of overthrowing the syrian government of assad. unless and until the united states changes its position of conducting this illegal and counterproductive war to reach
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that end, to overthrow the syrian government of assad. my concern of having u.s. troops on the ground there in syria, providing weapons, providing support, my concern is that they will be directly or indirectly used towards that end, to reach that same objective that the islamic extremists are trying to accomplish. >> as you know, a very small number of u.s. ground combat troops for the first time being send into syria. but already as you know, some are draws comparisons going into syria, the initial strong number of troops that went into vietnam. that number grew and grew. do you feel concerns about what haz called mission creep? >> what i'm concerned about is people are clear about what's actually happening in syria. there are two wars that are happening right now there. the first is the war that we should by focused on, the war against isis, al qaeda, and these other islamic extremist
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groups that attacked us on 9/11. days after 9/11, congress authorized this war to occur. the other war is the civil war where you have two sides, the opposition forces, whose most effective forces ocean are al qaeda, and a whole slew of other extremist groups. and on the other hand you have the syrian government of assad that's trying to defend and stay in power. my concern here is twofold with that second war, the civil war that's being conducted right now, is that it is a counterproductive and illegal war that the united states has taken a position in, in trying to overthrow this government, and second of all, it goes directly against our first and foremost mission, the mission that congress authorized. congress has not dollar war against the syrian government of asat. patrols are scheduled for about
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twice a quarter following the comments made by china's naval commander that u.s. provocative acts in their words could potential spark war. do you support the continued u.s. naval presence in the south china sea, areas, waters that china claim are their territorial waters? the u.s. continues to conduct they freedom of passage controls in international waters, making sure the passages are open for commerce and for everyone. the dangerous thing that i see about not only what china is trying to do and create these artificial islands, is that it creates other potential countries to do the same. you can see how that could be a problem not only in the south china sea, but around the world. at the cede a whole new dynamic. i think the critical thing for us in the united states, the
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asean nations, to find stability in the region, which i think ultimately is what all these countries would like to achieve. >> thanks very much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. just ahead, donald trump, is they trying to bigfoot hi rivals and negotiate new rules? and president obama's push for criminal justice reform gets personal. what he's been doing today and why he's getting pushback from new york's police commissioner. prepare for challenges specific to your business by working with trusted advisors who help turn obstacles into opportunities. experience the power of being understood. rsm.
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tonight donald trump isn't impressed with marco rubio's rise in the polls. if he was asked, he said most likely not. we're following all any wrangling in the republican raise and the fallout. sarah murray is joining us. sarah tell us about the new poll. >> it shows donald trump is still on top in new hampshire, but it's marco rubio surging, proof that these debates really do matter. donald trump holding on to a big lead in new hampshire. a new monmouth university poll shows trump with 126%, a ten-point lead over dr. ben carson in second. after a strong debate
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performance, marco rubio surging to third, tripling his support since september. today he also picked up an endorse friend from cory gardner. now the republican field is tackling a new challenge, reforming the structure of their presidential debates. >> is this a comic book verse? >> no, it's not, and that's not a very nicely asked question the way you say that. after last week's debate, several represent activities met on sunday to determine exactly how the candidates can exert control over how the debates are run. >> find out if we can reach consensus on what the debates should look like. >> now they have drafted a letter with their demands, like keeping debates until two hours, and given candidates there is 30 seconds for opening and close statements. we may not get everything in one big bite, but we are making progress. >> reporter: while there's consensus on a few issues, each campaign is using the moments to
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downplay their weaknesses. candidates like john kasich and jeb bush want more speaking time. >> whatever the rules are, they should keep to them. that's all i think the candidates want. the rules were established, and they lost control over the entire pros last time. >> i know that harry truman couldn't get elected president with explaining the united states of america health care plan in 30 seconds. >> reporter: while coals comp e competing want to see different motte raters. >> if you have never voted in a republican primary in your life, you don't get to moderate a republican primarily debate. >> reporter: some are already sick of the grumblings, saying they think the format is just fine. >> we're in iowa talking to voters instead of in d.c. talking about debates. we've had no trouble goevting with the networks and my policy remains, i'll debate anyone anytime anywhere. >> stop complaining. do me a favor.
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put podiums up there and let's just go. >> this moment of agreement between the campaigns was short-lived. chris christie and john kasich say they will not be signing the joint letter. as for dump, he will also be going it alone and will negotiate directly with the network. >> sara, stand by, i want to bring in gloria borger and jeff zeleny. how significantly potentially could the debates be changed? >> i think they could change around the edges, but not in many ways that some networks haven't already done. if you look at the letter penned by attorney ben ginsberg, which, you know, not all the candidates have signed on to as sarah says, it asks for things like you can't ask yes or no questions without allowing for substantive follow-ups, you can't make us raise our hands in answer to a question, you have to give us opening statements and final statements. you know, i think that changes
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debates around the edges, but the problems the candidates have if they want a united front against networks is that they don't have a united front. you have 14 or 15 campaigns who have different aend assist here. chris christie doesn't want to sign on to any letter, because he doesn't want to look whiney, wants to look like a fighter. same with kasich, saying i'm used to getting tough questions. trump doesn't want to be attacked by the other candidates. carson wants to be able to just deliver a statement of what he believes, and so if you want to fight the networks or people who are asking you questions, you ought toe united, and they're not. >> jeff, donald trump is always doing it his way, wanting to negotiate directly with television executives. for example, this according to "the washington post," is not businessman donald trump doing what he does so well, negotiate these deals, or is there something else going on? >> sure. why would he want to be part of this group?
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he does himself a good bit of good by going it alone here. why did she want to associate himself with they other candidates. as he would say he's a winner. but what it has done, as gloria just said. it's helped undercut in the leverage. the only way they have leverage is if they stand together. if they would have come out with a unified front, we're in lockstep on this, that might have been one thing, but they certainly have not. i think we're sort of at square one here, but by donald trump negotiating alone on this, it, a, shows that he's in a position of strength, and b, it doesn't associate him with anyone else. he's not going to be tied up with these other people some of whom he might call losers. >> that's absolutely right. sara, you reported the new monmouth poll showing trump with a healthy lead among republicans
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in new hampshire. do these numbers, though, speaking to his strength nationwide? >> i think that donald trump is still the leader. even in the nationwide polls that have shown him neck and neck with ben carsing, it's clear he's a top tier candidate here. we've seen him struggle. that's all part of the back and forth and the fun of a primary. you don't necessarily win all of the first states, but i don't think anybody anyone is looking at the polls and saying, hmm, he's fallen from graces, even after that debate. >> rubio is also emerging doing well, tripled his support since september. he's now at 13%, that's up from only 4%. i assume it's largely the result of his impressive performance in that debate. >> it is, but his numbers were going up before that. that debate hugely helped him. the thing to look at with marco
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rubio is he consistent is one of the most favorably rated republican candidates next to dr. carson. people like marco rubio. if marco rubio is not their first choice, they always say they could see him as their first choice if their first choice goes away. so being a lot of people's second choice is a very good place to be right now, and that debate helped get him notice. it showed he was a fighter, showed the generation at difference between rubio and a jeb bush, for example. i think you pointed out in an earlier piece, donald trump said i don't think i would ever see him on the ticket. it shows that donald trump is a bit nervous about marco rubio. >> you know, jeff, we're just getting this in, and i'm just reading it "wall street journal" and nbc news, they have a new poll that has just come out nationwide among republicans. look at this. dr. ben carson is at 29%.
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a second poll that shows carson ahead of donald trump nationwide. it has rubio and cruz third and fourth with 11% and 10%, 8% with jeb bush. but this is -- it does show a trent at least right now, ben carson emerging ahead of donald trump in the second major national poll. >> it sure does. it shows a trend here that ben carson is, you know, replacing donald trump in some respect. i think you have to ask yourself, why is that? i think it's the demeanor of ben carson. it's certainly not his policies position, but it is interesting that the electorate seemed to like the rough edges of donald trump throughout the summer, but ben carson is a lot quieter than donald trump, so the electoral is now saying, gosh, we sort of like him. what it shows more than anything, wolf, is volatility in
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this republican field. the field is very much unsettled. for anyone who says jeb bush is done, we don't know how this is working out yet. this is a fluid rep field. this national poll shows that donald trump has lost a lot of his summer flair. he has not run any television ads. he's not spent any money pushing his own message. we'll see if he starts doing that. >> we'll talk more about what this poll shows. stand by. gloria has a special report coming up. when we come back, more on that deadly russian airliner crash and whether terrorists, mechanical failure or something else may be to blame. >> and why the commissioner is worried about obama ace latest moves to reform the criminal justice system. hi i'm heather cox
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president obama just announced new measures aimed at helps prisoners build new lives by making it easier to find jobs. he's making the push for criminal justice reform very personal, but he's getting pushback from the new york city police commissioner. jim acosta joins us with more. the president spoke just moments ago in new jersey. >> reporter: that's right, just as the obama administration is speeding up the relief of
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federal prisoners serving harsh sentencing, the president wants companies to start hiring many of these former inmates and not hold their past crimes against them. >> it's an image of a president that's regardly seen, visiting a halfway house in new jersey, shine a light on program -- >> part of our goal here today is to highlight what is working. >> in the fourth quarter of his time in office, he's making criminal justice reform a top priority. >> there but for the grace of god. >> and it's personal. earlier this year at a federal prchblgs mr. obama candidly admitted he could have ended up behind bars after using drugs in his youth. >> these are young people who made mistakes that aren't that different than the mistakes i made. >> reporter: now the president wants to make it easy for ex-inmates. he's calling on congress to ban the box in federal hiring, as in eliminate that job, that asks about criminal records,
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encouraging employers to seek that information later on. former prisoner samuel hamilton says the box is a barrier to a better life. >> it's been my experience, and individuals who i know that you find yourself not getting the job just because of your criminal history. >> that change could be crucial to thousands of federal prisoners just released over the weekend after many -- >> we've got to make sure that americans who paid their debt to society can earn their second chance. >> reporter: but some top law enforcement officials warn that quick feel-good prison releases to backfire. >> somebody that is in jail that seems they're nonviolent drug offender may in fact have crimes of violence in their record. so we have to be very concerned about who were letting out. >> reporter: still criminal justice reform is all of a sudden in vogue in both parties. >> incarceration in new jersey
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has fallen by nearly so%. >> reporter: chris christie says he's done it in new jersey while respecting law infers muppet. >> the police officers know the governor supports him. this president has not supported law enforcement in this country. >> reporter: the white house has responded to christie's swipe by saying the governor is desperately trying to boost his poll numbers when politicians are fighting over an issue like this, it usually has some staying power. >> jim acosta, thanks very much. let's talk about this with our cnn sank ovr don 4re78en and former federal prosecutor sunny hosten. you heard the new york city police commissioner, bill bratton says they could pose a danger, do you agree? >> i don't great. i think that's a pretty irresponsible characterization of this program. we know that the sentencing commission recommended these reductions -- the reduction in sentencing in 2014, and federal
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judges, wolf, have to carefully examine all of the petitions before them. in fact, in that christmas, about 26% of those pet tigds by inmates have been denied by federal judges, so there's definitely a built-in system of checks and balances. they aren't violent offenders. these are nonviolent drug offenders that were incarcerated for really long periods of time under the federal sentencing guidelines. i know this. as a federal prosecutor, elves beholding to sort of those federal sentencing guidelines. so i think that the real question is, rather than be worried about the recidivism rates, which is about 40% of people that are released, we've got to who irabout whether or not they have treatment for a lot of their addictions. we've got to worry about training. we've got to worry about certainly sort of this ban the box so there are job opportunities, and we should be worried about housing. so those are the real issues. this other issue that the
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commissioner is talking about is really a red herring. and i think it's really irresponsible to sort of panic the public like that. >> don, the president spoke to nbc news today about shaping his legacy, what he wants to see from the next president. watch this. >> i'm very proud that my presidency can help to galvanize and mobilize america on behalf of issues of racial disparity and racial justice, but i do so, hoping that my successor, who's not african-american, if he or she is not, that they'll be just as concerned as i am, because this is part of what it means to perfect our union. >> it's interesting, he speaks just as this new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll comes out showing that among republicans
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nationwide dr. ben carson has taken the lead, donald trump in second place. very interesting a very interesting take and, of course, dr. ben carson is african-american. >> yeah. and at this rate, he could end up being the nominee. if that does happen, there will be a general election. there's still a long way to go until then. it's interesting because i remember back to the beginning of this presidency, wolf, both of you and covered this. we covered both inaugurations together and when people would say president obama is not doing enough to help african-americans, some people still say that, he's not doing enough, i think the president said i represent all americans. but now i think he is concerned with legacy and i think he is, as he said, a new person and he's more competent in his second administration and i think part of his legacy, he wants to deal with riacial
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injustice. when you talk about the people being released from prison, many are black and won't be able to vote and get a job and i think he's right to be concerned about that at this point in his presidency. >> don will have a lot more tonight at 10:00 p.m. just ahead, we'll get back to the plane crash history. stand by for new information coming in to cnn about the possible cause.
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tonight as jeb bush tries to reboot his struggling campaign, cnn is focusing on one of the
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most controversial showdowns in the republican history. many democrats question whether george w. bush would have won the white house if his brother hadn't been florida governor at the time. our chief political analyst gloria borger has been digging on this for a cnn special report that airs tonight, bush versus gore, the endless election. watch this. >> reporter: in presidential politics, it doesn't get crazier than this. a too close to call election, a battleground in florida where the governor is the little brother of the republican candidate. >> we thought it would be close. never in my wildest dreams did i ever imagine it would be this close. >> reporter: you own the system, which the governor at the time, bush, owned. you generally will win. they didn't do anything criminally wrong or inappropriate. as i said, the democrats controlled the state and no
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doubt in my mind those calls would have been made for the democrats. >> jeb was sort of the wizard? >> well, he's the governor of the state. >> reporter: yeah. >> and there was chaos as a result of an election in had is state and he was going to try and get control. >> it's between a rock and a hard spot. obviously he wants his brother to win but he can show no favoritism in his role as governor of the state. and we weren't asking him. i don't believe he pulled any levers. >> reporter: or maybe he didn't have to. maybe it was just understood. >> no major law firm in florida would work for al gore. >> reporter: even democratic? >> even democratic-oriented law firms because everyone was afraid of antagonizing the bush family, the governor, and losing an important state business. >> reporter: did you have any evidence that they had been called? >> no evidence that anyone said anything to anybody.
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stuff didn't have to be said, right? it was just all obvious. it turned up that the name of the governor of the state of florida was the same name as the name of the person we were running against. and so nothing had to be said. i'm not saying that governor bush did anything wrong. i don't believe he did. i want to be clear about that. but it wasn't a fair process. it wasn't a neutral process. it was a process that was rigged against us. >> gloria is joining us now. an amazing documentary put together. take a look at the current election cycle right now. how much have republicans seized on jeb bush's connection to his brother? >> they've ceased on his connection to his brother in regards to the politics of the family, being part of the establishment, how they really feel on the war in iraq. none have said, what about the time there was a contest in florida, did you lose your power to get george w. bush elected
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because that would be a positive thing for them to say and they are not doing it. but as we point out in this documentary, jeb bush is powerful in the state of florida. but not one democrat came to me and said, we can prove that he did anything that was wrong. as bill daily said in that clip and ron klain said in that clip, he was powerful, used the levers of government the way anybody, who is in charge of a state, would have used it to get his candidate elected only this time, wolf, the candidate happened to be his brother. >> yegloria, you've done amazin work. >> thank you. it's my hobby. >> i've seen it. i know it's excellent. >> thank you. >> our viewers will learn from it. it airs later tonight, "bush versus gore," airs 9:00 p.m. eastern tonight on cnn. i hope everyone listens.
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gloria, thanks for doing this. >> sure. that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. i hope you join us right here tomorrow in "the situation room." erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. >> reporter: "outfront" next, a plane mysteriously falls out of the sky. was it a terror attack? plus, the plane's tail. an "outfront" special report tonight. and breaking news, ben carson surging leading donald trump by six points in the new national poll released moments ago. let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight, terror or catastrophic malfunction? investigators are pouring over the wreckage of flight 268 and the plane's black boxes. they arein

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