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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  November 3, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PST

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accepting of homosexuality. >> that's none n-o-n-e-s, not the other kind. i turn you over to wolf blitzer next door in "the situation room." >> happening now, midair explosion, cnn is learning a satellite detected a heat flash moments before a russian airliner broke apart and crashed on the sinai peninsula. with a missile all but ruled out, was it on board? was a bomb on board that brought down the plane. terror connection? threats against russia by the head of al qaeda calling for attacks in an ominous new message. was the plane disaster a terror attack? backing assad, russia insisting tonight its position on syrian dictator al assad has not changed but earlier a foreign ministry spokeswoman said keeping him in power isn't
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a fundamental issue for putin. jeb bush unplugged, the candidate goes one-on-one with cnn for a candid conversation about his struggling campaign and why he believes he ask win the white house. how does he plan to turn the gop race upside down. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." we're following the investigation into the crash of the russian airliner in egypt and potentially significant, new clue. a u.s. official is tilling cnn that a midair heat flash, possibly explosion, was detected by an american military satellite just before the plane broke apart 23 minutes after take-off. but russian state media's now reporting that investigators haven't found any sign of explosive impact on the victims' bodies. at the same time, there's new concern tonight of possible ties to terrorism. head of al qaeda, i man al zawahiri, is urging islamic
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militants to unite in attacks against the west and also singling out russia. he made the call in an undated recording released one day after the russian airliner disaster. we're covering all that and much more this hour with our guest, including republican congressman, adam kinsinger, veteran of the wars in iraq and afghanistan and correspondent and expert analysts also standing by. let's begin with cnn's brian todd, on the very latest on the crash investigation. brian there are some potentially major, new developments. >> potentially very significant, wolf. new information about a burst of heat detected just about at moment the plane broke apart. there was clearly a catastrophic event in the air and tonight, investigators are scrambling to determine if this was mechanical or if it was terrorism. >> reporter: tonight, a u.s. official tells cnn, a military satellite picked up what the pentagon calls a heat flash in mida midair, before the plane crashed. perhaps the signature of an
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explosion. starkly contrasting a report from a russian state news agency saying none of the recovered bodies of passengers show evidence of explosive impact. tonight, cnn has learned, despite that report, u.s. government experts still aren't ruling out the possibility of a bomb on board. even as they weigh other scenarios. >> what could cause a catastrophic event. >> many things. history of fatigue cracks discovered after maintenance repairs have been done, planes where the skin has disintegrated flying over oceanic routes than catastrophic failure, issues about cargo hold, issues on engines. >> reporter: experts say the security at sharm el sheikh airport has to be investigated. how rigorous is security. >> the airport has multiple layers of security, initially upon arriving at the airport driveway, and then prior to check-in and upon check-in in t. self-. as any airport in the world, there are a number of ways to get a bomb aboard and whether
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it's through a person entering, through check-in process or the baggage process. >> reporter: if a bomb did bring down this plane, there's no shortage of groups sworn to launch attacks. the isis affiliate in sinai claimed responsibility. but analysts say that group likely doesn't have the capability to get a bomb on to a passenger plane. two terrorist organizations could pull it off, the group tied to al qaeda's bran inch syria, developing bomb making capability and would be motivated to strike at a russian commercial plane because the russians are bombing them in syria. and al qaeda in yemen, which has twice gotten sophisticated bombs on to u.s.-bound planes. >> they have a master bombmaker al aserry constantly coming up with more sophisticated devices trying to beat airport security, devices made out of ptn difficult explosive with nonmetallic explosives, new
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generations of shoe bombs, new generations of underwear bombs. >> reporter: also tonight, al qaeda's leader, i man al zawahiri in a recording we believe released sunday after the crash called on jihadists to fight the west and russia. no claim of responsibility from al qaeda in the sinai crash. analysts say, given that this would have been a huge terrorist success for al qaeda, their silence suggests they may not be responseible for this incident. >> investigators are looking at abnormal sounds around the time the plane disappeared. >> yes. russia's interfax news agency cites unnamed source saying the voice recorder captured uncharacteristic sounds the moment before the flight disappeared from radar. it's not clear what those sounds were. one analyst says it could reflect whatever catastrophic event was occurring. that's got to be a point of the investigation as well. >> let's go to our pentagon
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correspondent barbara starr. heat signature doesn't necessarily prove it's a bomb but it is setting off alarm bells. >> it is setting off a good deal of concern, wolf, across the security agency's hearing in washington. let's try to unpack it and explain why. you basically have two scenarios here. was there some type of mechanical structural failure on the plane or was it a terrorist attack. egyptian investigators are finishing up work in the field. now turn attention to voice and data recorders and any forensic evidence they can gather from the wreckage. they will look at voice and data recorders to try to determine how the explosion happened, how hot, how fast, velocity? can they determine where it began on the aircraft what can that tell them about this event? but, intelligence services are also looking at any threat streams, any indication that there might have been a group out there that could have pulled this off. how did they do that? they looked at passenger lists,
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the cargo hole, what kind of cargo was on the plane. was there any possibility that someone could have got. to the plane and tampered with it. very complex. and it's why you're seeing a lot of conflicting reportsing some news reports saying no explosives, no evidence of blast injuries and yet the spokesman for the airlines saying there's absolutely no evidence of mechanical failure that could have led this plane to break apart. the bottom line, we have to wait. investigation is -- the investigation is likely to take a very long time, and it is going to get a lot of scrutiny around the world how the egyptians and russians are going to handle this. >> thank you. at the same time, the russian state media citing unnamed source close to the investigation that says investigators haven't found any sign of explosive impact on bodies of the victims, 224 people aboard the plane.
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senior international corner matthew chance is in st. petersburg, russia. how is this reported in russia? what kind of safety record do the airlines have to begin with? >> reporter: well, first of all, i think it's fair to say the kremlin is trying to play down any links between the catastrophe and terrorism the spokesman said it would be wrong to draw a linkage between the intervention in syria and the bomb attack. sorry, aircraft disaster implying it was a bomb attack. he said that would be a wrong conclusion to draw. but you know, it's going to look bad for the government, whichever way it goes, if it does turn out to be a terrorist attack, then the government is open to the accusation that its intersflengs syria perhaps made the russian people vulnerable. it's a technical failure, government is also likely to be criticized because it hasn't done enough, people would say to
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protect air travelers in the skies on russian aircraft. it's a lose-lose situation. russia does have a check of history when it comes to airline safety, affected by poor maintenance and technical issues. people are saying this is the latest in a long line of air disasters to affect this country. >> certainly have been. i want you to stand by. we'll get back to you. i want to dig deeper into all of this with the former ntsb managing director, peter golds and richard quest is joining us. talk about the russian news agent circumstance interfax, reporting that there were unusual sounds heard on the cockpit voice recorder before the flight disappeared. richard, what does that suggest? >> without knowing what the sounds were this is not unusual. it happened with mh-17, talking about sometimes just in that case, milliseconds before the
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recording stopped. they were able to detect the pressure wave and sound of the missile. and again, on twa 800, again, they can always hear any noise, any external noise. and the flight data recorders will show tremendous changes in sudden shifts in parameters, just literally before the explosion cuts the power. but what of course, causes the explosion, it won't tell them that. >> peter, can the analysts who are listening to that voice recorder looking at flight data recorder, can they make a distinction between the sound that a bomb would have caused as opposed to mechanical failure? >> yes, in some cases you company as richard mentioned twashg 800, we had just a millisecond of sound but we had scientists compare that sound to the sounds from pan am 103, which was a bomb.
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and we saw that there were distinct differences between the signatures. even though it was just a millisecond. so if there is a little bit of sound, we can figure it out. >> so basically, even a millisecond could make a difference listening to that? >> you can tell whether its a high order explosion or a more low order event like a decompression and a tearing apart of the aircraft. >> richard, we know that the credibility of the russians. what they're going to say, the credibility for that matter of the egyptians, they have a lot of motives, if you will, to put various spin on what may be coming out. what kind of trust, what kind of credibility do they have in providing this kind of information to the world right now? >> reporter: the basically they are on trial and tested. i spoke this afternoon, wolf, to the egyptian tourism minister, he first of all said that he
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believed everything in terms of security at shar mel shake, he said it was fully compatible with international regulations and i asked him, can you promise us a free, fair, independent investigation? and he said, yes. i followed it up. i said, but what if it proves that egypt was deficient in some way? and he says, we'll have to live with that. he said you can't -- his exact words, you can't hide the facts from what he says -- of course we can as if by saying if the egyptians and russian have a tussle between the two sides -- but at the moment, the egyptians are saying, everything is on the board and will be revealed. >> richard, peter, both stand by for a moment. i want to bring in the former government and military accident investigator, allen deal. egyptians announced the field investigation in sinai is expected to finish as early as today maybe tomorrow. that is typical for all of that
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work to complete ld thad that q >> no, this went down into the desert and it makes it easier to locate critical pieces. that is very quick, if they can do that and get the forensic wreckage evidence into the labs, that will be great. good news. >> they basically have ruled out, correct me if i'm wrong, surface to air missile bringing this plane down or shoulder-fired missile bringing it down because the launch of the missiles would have been detected by u.s. satellites and certainly israelis right next door, israel's next door to sinai, they got their air defense systems, they've got their iron dome, patriot systems. they would have detected and they didn't detect any missile going up to shoot a plane down. >> it sounds like that door is not totally closed but it doesn't look like that is likely one of the avenues. obviously, when doing investigations, you go about it
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very methodically. i don't think they are ready to totally discount that yet, wolf, i've worked on military as well as civilian crash investigations, as you know, and you keep all of the doors open until you have sufficient evidence to discount that. >> midair explosions would be pretty rare. but peter, the engines of this plane were manufactured in the united states. so you would think the egyptians would invite representatives of the ntsb or the fbi to come over and participate in the investigation. as far as we know they haven't done so yet, right. >> that's my understanding. there's been no invitation offered. in addition the u.s. embassy in cairo has indicated this is a high danger area and that civil employees really are taking some risk in going there. but there is still hard feelings between the ntsb and civil aviation authorities in egypt over the investigation of egypt air in 1999.
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>> you participated in that investigation, peter, right. >> i did. >> egyptians never accepted publicly the u.s. conclusion that it was pilot suicide that brought that plane down, right. >> officially, their position is, that it was some sort of mechanical failure with the elevator which we thought the ntsb thought that was foolishness, it was clear what was happening to the aircraft. >> you used to work for the ntsb. there still bad blood, you think, between the u.s. and egypt as far as aviation investigations are concerned? >> i think there may be some residual resentment over that for all of the reasons peter mentioned. of course, but we have other european countries that are there, french are very reliable, they'll be looking over everybody's shoulder, irish are good. i don't think either egypt or the russians would pull the
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cover up. i'd like to see the ntsb and fbi invited in. hopefully egyptians will allow us to participate. >> richard, i know you want to weigh in. go ahead. >> sure. the fascinating part about this is what peter was just saying, wolf. you know, you can't hide anything in an investigation. the russians and the egyptians may wish to, i don't know whether they would, but what egypt air proved is that because you've got the french and the irish and you've got the germans and probably the truth will out. even if a report is put forward that is a load of hogwash and whitewash, somebody else will see the details and append their views on what really happened to that report. >> we're getting more information. i want all of you to stand by. we'll continue to develop this story and of course let's not forget, 224 people aboard the plane. much more after this.
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new developments into the investigation of the crash of the russian airliners in egypt, killing all 224 people on board. a source telling cnn that a heat flash, possibly an explosion, was detected by a u.s. military satellite just before the plane
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broke up in midair over the sinai peninsula. russian state media report the victims' bodies, however, don't show signs of an explosive impact. let's get more with adam kinsinger of illinois veteran of wars if iraq and afghanistan, serves in the reserves, the u.s. air force. you've flown commercial aircraft and planes as well. what's your latest information, your latest assessment of what might have happened? >> i'm hearing what you all are, which is there was some kind of a heat signature detected. now the question i've heard conflicting reports, was it prior to the impact or actual impact of the aircraft itself? that's going to be very important. plus, the fact of if this plane broke up in midair, say it was a structural failure, which has happened before on planes like this, maybe that caused an explosion or led to any kind of fire. but i think it's very important, obviously to find out if this is any kind of a bomb, as was mentioned in your earlier
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segment, it's not any kind of missile. but looking when this is said and done, the fact we're considering this as a possibility shows terrorism is avery real threat and something we need to be on the offensive against. >> new drone footage of the crash site released by the russians. it's sort of spread out over several kilometers over there, wreckage, pieces all over the place. inspection on the ground is going to wrap up today or tomorrow. sounds quick for an investigation of this nature to be. >> yeah. but if you think about it, the terrain there, it's desert, flat, easier to find pieces to put them together to reconstruct this accident. you're going to have the best folks on the jobben i guarantee you if this is a terrorist attack we'll know shortly. it sent, it may take us time to find out what in fact caused it. there have been times in the past a tail has come off or structural failure's happened. that's why in the united states we have great inspection
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processes to show it was good aircraft. >> to get a bomb on a plane like that, target 23 minutes after take-off to explode, you've got to have sophistication. the information we're getting, you heard brian todd's report, isis probably doesn't have that capability but aqap, al qaeda in the ararian peninsula have bomb makes and other al qaeda affiliated groups would like put bombs on these aircraft and sometimes bombs that could go through metal detectors. >> that's right. think about isis, for instance, evil group, terrible group but focus is in building a state, once they have the state, the caliphate they'll project external violence, mainly against the united states, western allies. al qaeda has always existed on inflicting violence on different targets. if this is a terrorist attack my suspicious al qaeda or somebody leaked to that. it very hard to smeek a bomb
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through airport security. was there somebody on the inside, a mechanic, somebody that worked for the airline and this is what investigators are pouring through. >> al zawahiri releases this statement sunday night, the crash occurred saturday, saying they're going after anyone who bombs their supporters in syria or iraq, meaning whether it's the u.s., russia, for that matter. that's sounded ominous to me. >> it is ominous. whether it's related or not it's something to take seriously. al qaeda doesn't seem like on the ropes. these jihadist movements, kind of coming under one big terror umbrella now and that's something we ought to be very worried about the russians, confused -- maybe conflicting signals. how that they're willing to go to protect al assad in damascus. they say it's up to the syrian people to decide who's going to be in charge of syria right now.
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do you understand what russia's up to. >> if it was up to the syrian people, it will not be al assad. that's why there's violence against his regime that he started they don't want to live under the dictatorship of. my guess what you have is russia's determined to keep assad except may be seeing despite their best efforts he's losing grip on power. some people suggest they came in at the very end because they feel he's going to lose power. maybe if they see assad is not going to survive they're starting to hedge with other options. there can be no future for syria that's peaceful with al assad in power. >> you serve the air force national guard. >> yes. >> a test between russian planes and u.s. planes over syria today to make sure there's no miscommunication, no accidents, no cruise missiles going into a u.s. plane or whatever. and it seemed to have worked, at least talking to each other, u.s. and russian air force. that's somewhat encouraging,
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right. >> somewhat encouraging. the problem i have with it is, we're accepting the russian presence. by the way, the russians are not bombing isis there. if they do, it's window dressing. they're bombing moderatesing people that want to live in a free syria. by us coordinating with them and accepting them we're allowing strong combat. by the way, they're bombing hospitals and medical facilities, innocent people. we're accepting there's an air power against the freedom loving people of syria and it's tragic. >> thanks for coming in. coming up, there's breaking political news following. a within on one conversation with cnn's jamie gangel. jeb bush responding to donald trump's call for him to drop out of the presidential race. but it is not the device that is mobile, it is you. real madrid have about 450 million fans. we're trying to give them all the feeling of being at the stadium.
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we'll credit your account $20. it's our promise to you. we're doing everything we can to give you the best experience possible. because we should fit into your life. not the other way around. break politicking news, jeb bush tells cnn, he won't follow donald trump'sed advice to quit presidential race. bush sat down with jamie gangel for a frank discussion how he intends to fix his campaign's problems. >> i have some good news for you. you are working with lowered expectations. >> yes. >> no way to go. does that in some way free you up? >> to a certain extent. i always knew it was go toll be hard. i never felt like a
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front-runner, we hadn't earned it, starting out on the journey, you've got earn it. i've got to get better at debating or performing, whatever it's called, and i will. i'm a grinder. i'm competitive. >> what is -- you keep saying i'm a grinder. what does that mean? >> that means i described it as i eat nails before vie breakfast, i'm focussed, competitive. i set high expectations on myself. i knew this was going to be hard. >> donald trump is tweeting out every two seconds, this morning he said, you should quit. he said, all of the candidates should quit except -- >> except him. >> except for him. do you think an old fashioned guy who wants to be a doer, who wants to be a fixer, is really what people are looking for? >> desperate for it. this is the real world. now, in the pundit world it's all about this bizarre tweeting
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out things that aren't relevant to anybody's real life, that's another subject. i'm not going to win over the punditry class for sure but i aspire to a better life for hat- themselves and family. as it related to donald, he's run for president twice and quit and i've run for governor in the biggest swing state and won twice. i know how to win. i've done. i actually know how to govern which is an attribute when we get closer to the election. >> for the record, for donald trump, you're not quitting? >> no. i mean, do we have to talk about donald trump? no. i'm not quitting. he's entertaining. he's fun. he says really funny things in the breaks, in the debate. but i'm running for president of the united states, and it's a serious endeavor. i do it with joy. there's a lot of fun parts of it for sure. >> marco rubio, he is now rising in the polls. your former protege. in the debate you went after him
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for missing votes but he hit back and some people think he got the better of the moment. was it a mistake to attack him on that? >> here's my point. people that are serving need to show up and work, period, over and out. >> it wasn't a mistake? >> i just think people need to show up and work. >> i understand. but this is a campaign, you've got to beat these other guys. do you keep attacking -- >> imnot attacking to say someone should show up and work? do you get paid when you don't show up. >> no. >> come on, does anybody in the room get paid when they decide, i'm going to do something else? you know, rand paul is -- got a pretty good attendance record, you can make acomebation. the people of florida expect him to show up and work. it's a simple fact. >> but you're going to keep saying it. >> that people ought to show up and work. >> that marco rubio -- >> it's not a criticism. >> okay. donald trump, you have to get
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back to him one more time, he just called marco rubio a lightweight and he said, vladimir putin would eat him for lunch. you think that's fair? >> no, it's not fair. look, marco's a capable guy, talented politician. here what happens i think. i think i'm the best qualified to be president. >> but is marco rubio ready? >> i'm the best qualified guy to be president. >> you're not going to answer the question. >> if you're comparing knee donald trump, i'm better qualified to be president. >> are you -- is marco -- >> i'm better qualified than anybody else running for president and it's not -- i'm not pushing people down when i say that. and if it makes you feel better, everybody on the republican stage is better than hillary clinton. that's a low bar, though. >> you have said you have grave concerns about donald trump. you watched firsthand your brother, your father be commander in chief. are you comfortable with donald trump as commander in chief? >> i'm not comfortable with some
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of the thing his says particularly about syria where he one week says that let isis take out assad and then the russians come in and praises putin and so let russia take care of isis. it's a reactive kind of mode that somehow i'm the big guy in the room, i'll figure it out as i go along. foreign policy needs to be with a set of principles. i think he's going to have to learn, if he's serious about this, to be able to get your foreign policy advice from the shows is probably not the best way to be ready to be president. >> we'll have more from jamie's interview with jeb bush coming up in our next hour, including bush's feelings about possibly letting down his family if he doesn't win. political experts are standing by. next, can jeb bush grind out a comeback? much more on the russian airliner mystery, do the latest clues point to an in-flight explosion?
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this is cnn breaking news. >> breaking news about the russian airliner crash, all of a sudden, just now, the united states embassy in cairo has instructed all u.s. employees of the embassy not to travel anywhere in the sinai peninsula pending the outcome of the investigation, to what happened to the russian airliner. embassy will issue another
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message when the measure is lifted. much more on breaking news shortly. but let me read what the u.s. embassy in cairo has just said. as a preindication area measure, the united states embassy's instructed its employees, meaning all diplomats, civilian, military, not to travel anywhere in the sinai peninsula pending the outcome of the investigation into the tragic crash of a russian passenger jet in egypt on october 31st. once again, the embassy says it will issue another message when the measure is lifted. this would seem to suggest there are deep concerns of the potential for terror attacks in sinai unfolding right now. all american officials are staying out of sinai. they've been ordered to do so by the u.s. embassy. much more coming up. stand by for that. we're also following this hour's breaking political news, jeb bush formally pub luckily, you heard it, rejecting donald trump's call for him to drop out of the presidential race. i want to bring in our chief political correspondent, dana
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bash, cnn political commentator, ryan lizza, "new york" magazine's washington corner and senior legal analyst, jeffrey toobin. you know, ryan, it looks like he's partially fired up right now, jeb bush. he's going on the attack but he still restranded. >> till restrained, sounds leak the same jeb bush. he's not chaining his strategy, his message. and you know,s that a little bit of a gamble because it hasn't work. one thing he has adjusted he's adjusted to the reality of the race, that he's no longer the front-runner, if he ever was, and he's treating carson and trump to a certain extent as the front-runners and himself as the sort of scrappy underdog that needs to perform as an underdog new york longer act like this is, you know, just going to be given to him. one thing he's talking a lot of process in interviews, not talking a lot of policy and vision for the country. >> still basically not engaging donald trump, donald trump
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let's -- he's still holding back, is that the right strategy? >> probably, because he actually did try to engage donald trump one of his earlier reboots, trying to go after somebody who's not conservative enough and it didn't get him anywhere. what's the point? and i agree with you, wholeheartedly, ryan, that this isn't a fired-up jeb bush because the point of the big speech yesterday was kind of a popeye speech, he is who he is and he's not going to be somebody he's not and you know if like you said, if you want somebody who is going to be able to just throw thing as way by tossing to a commercial break after the apprentice, that's not a president. so, this is what he's gaming, you know, gaming out that he just has to be who he his because look in the debate he tried to be fiery tried to go after marco rubio and it backfired. >> all politicians have to perform. >> absolutely. he's burdened with something most politicians would like, which is 100% name recognition,
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his father was president, his brother was president. if people want an outsider they are not going to pick jeb bush no matter what he does with his campaign. he's got to be who he is and i think he is sort of a nerdy policy oriented person, and he can't pretend that he's a brain surgeon who has never run for office. that's not who he is. and he's going to, win or lose, being jeb bush. >> the latest poll numbers just coming in. stand by for a moment. much more with our political panel. we're following all of the breaking news, much more right after this. ♪ (woman) one year ago today mom started searching for her words.
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the latest national poll of republicans shows dr. ben carson opening up a pretty significant lead over donald trump right now. carson has 29% to trump's 23% among republicans nationwide. marco rubio, ted cruz, jeb bush, they're bunched up, but they're way, way behind. rebecca, dana bash. why is dr. ben carson doing this well? >> because, you know, in a year where people want an outsider, he is the anti-trump outsider. if people want somebody who is not as in-your-face as donald trump is, they like somebody like ben carson. i mean, that's just the bottom line. but it also speaks to what we were talking about before the break, about the charisma thing. he's fascinating. he has a really interesting story, but i wouldn't call him charismatic, like, at all. i mean, he doesn't perform the way, you know, donald trump does or others. so, it just kind of goes to show that the electorate is finicky
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and is fickle and is looking for something specific this year that really is different from anything that we've seen before. >> the national polls, as you know, ryan, we've all studied them, they're very important. i don't want to belittle the national polls among republicans or democrats, for that matter. they generate funds, fund-raising and all that kind of stuff. but the statewide polls in the early states are more important. in iowa, carson's ahead. but if you take a look at new hampshire, south carolina, nevada, florida, so many of the earlier states, trump remains significantly ahead right now. >> yeah. the new hampshire polls this week were very positive for trump. look, at this point, most of the campaigns don't even do national polls. they're just polling in the states. it's a sequential process. whoever wins iowa, that's going to affect everyone going into new hampshire, that's going to affect everyone going into south carolina. so, you're right. and look, the national polls are famously all over the place at this period of time. they're not really predictive of who ends up being the nominee or who wins in the early states. so, we're getting into that part, you know, november, december, january, where you want to pay a lot more attention
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to those early states. >> even winning in iowa has not been a predictor of much of anything. >> that's exactly right. >> we go back to pat robinson or rick santorum four years ago. >> mike huckabee. >> mike huckabee. iowa is such a distinctive group of voters -- caucusgoers, not even voters -- that leading doesn't at least historically get you a lot. being in the top group is important. >> but it can kill a lot of candidates. >> yes. >> and nobody -- >> people drop out if they really do poorly in iowa. some people drop out. >> no republican has won the nomination without winning either iowa or new hampshire, so it weeds the process. >> that's right. and new hampshire this time is even more of a weeder, for lack of a better way to say it. tomorrow is going to be the day when people can actually file. donald trump will be there bright and early tomorrow morning, and i'm going to actually be there with him because -- >> in new hampshire. >> in new hampshire, because this is the place where you've got donald trump, you've got jeb bush, you've got chris christie, you've got john kasich. i mean, probably one of them is going to, you know, actually get
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out of that state and continue on. >> and if you add up the two outsiders, trump and carson, that's more than 50% right there in these national polls and in some of the earlier states as well. >> it is now, but you know, we've been saying this for months, but it is still two months away from voting. and the idea that, you know, there are 50% of republican voters who are going to vote for these two people who have never run for office, i still will believe it when i see it. >> but these two states have sort of segmented the party. >> iowa and new hampshire. >> yeah. you've got iowa, it's more populist, it's more religious, and you've got new hampshire where independents play a bigger role, and-of-g you've got more >> more mainstream moderate. >> so you have the moderate lane and the conservative lane and see the two groups going more one towards iowa, one more towards new hampshire. >> all right, guys. so, stand by. we're going to continue our coverage of all the breaking political news. we're also getting new clues right now into "the situation room" about what may have brought down that russian
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happening now, warning to americans. as investigators explore the possibility that terrorists may have brought down a russian airliner, the u.s. has issued a new alert. stand by for details. terrorists to blame? isis supporters are cheering the plane disaster. they're calling vladimir putin a
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pig. al qaeda's leader also making new threats against russia. could the crash be a form of payback? trumped again. with another national poll showing he's no longer the leader, the donald lashing out at the new frontrunner, ben carson, and urging his other rivals, many of them, he wants them to quit. and the son stumbled. in a new interview, jeb bush opens up about fears that he's letting his parents down as he struggles to jump-start his presidential campaign and distance himself from his brother's legacy. 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, conflicting evidence about whether a bomb blast or some other type of explosion ripped apart a russian airliner in flight. a u.s. official tells cnn a military satellite detected a midair heat flash before the jet
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went down, suggesting a possible explosion. but there's also a new report out of russia that crash victims' bodies showed no sign of blast-related trauma. the u.s. embassy in cairo is warning all american employees not to travel to the sinai peninsula where the plane went down as investigators try to determine if this was an act of terror, mechanical failure or something else. and tonight, isis is repeating its claim of responsibility for the crash and warning vladimir putin he'll pay a high price for russia's military action in syria. we have our correspondents, our analysts and newsmakers standing by as we cover all the news that's breaking right now. first, let's get the very latest from our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr. >> reporter: wolf, just a short time ago, the u.s. embassy in cairo issuing an advisory, warning all embassy employees not to travel to the sinai peninsula until further notice, pending the outcome of the investigation.
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now investigators there are beginning to wrap up their field work and are looking at the data recorders to try and figure out what happened. investigators examined the wreckage of the russian metrojet airbus, looking for clues about what brought the plane down, killing all 224 on board. before the plane crashed, a u.s. military satellite detected a burst of heat consistent with an explosion. the satellite detected the heat flash while the plane was still in flight, raising a number of possibilities about what may have happened, ranging from mechanical failure to a bomb on board. >> we're interested in understanding exactly what happened in this terribly tragic incident. and so, we've offered them our advice and any resources that they would find useful in conducting that investigation. >> reporter: the airline denying it could have been caused by mechanical failure. >> translator: there are no such faults, like engine failure or
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system failure. there is no combination of systems failure that could lead to a plane breaking up in the air. >> reporter: russia's privately owned interfax news agency citing an unnamed source says the cockpit voice recorder reveals a nonstandard emergency that happened instantly. investigators are now looking closely at the passenger manifest, what was in the cargo hold, and the identities of anyone who had access to the aircraft and could have tampered with it or planted a bomb. >> this would be the classic airport insider threat. they would come in, they would either pay off or subvert the ground crews that maintain the airplanes and use them or put their own people in place and move a device, potentially, on to an airplane. >> reporter: but mechanical or structural failure also possible. aviation experts say it's just too soon to jump to conclusions. >> in pan-am 103, which was
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brought down by a terrorist bomb, it took weeks to find the pieces that had the plastic explosive residue on it, and it took many months to test it out. so, it's too early to say it can't be terrorism, but at this point, taking a lesson from tw 800, it looks mechanical until proven otherwise. >> reporter: of course, the reason the u.s. wants to know very quickly about what really happened here is they need to determine what measures need to be taken to continue to keep american skies and american airliners safe. wolf? >> and getting back to this u.s. embassy in cairo advisory telling all u.s. embassy employees, civilian and military, not to go to sinai right now, what is the impact? what about those 750 american troops who are based in sinai right now? they've been there since 1979 and the signing of the israeli/egyptian peace treaty. they're still there right now. it's a very dangerous environment. are they staying in sinai or getting out? >> reporter: tonight, wolf, there is no indication, we are told, of any change in their status. they are continuing with their
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mission. and of course, as everyone will recall, security for them was recently beefed up after several weeks ago they found a suspected explosive device and four of them were injured. so, they're already at a very high state of security and alert. wolf? >> let's not forget those 750 american troops in sinai right now, a very, very dangerous environment. all sorts of terror groups roaming around there. barbara, thanks very much. meanwhile, in russia tonight, the bodies of 19 crash victims have been identified as investigators try to figure out how they were killed. let's check in with our senior international correspondent, matthew chance. he's joining us live from st. petersburg. matthew, russian state news agencies putting out a preliminary conclusion that there were no signs of an explosion, while the russian airline metrojet, as it's called, ruled out technical problems or humor error. it seems that there are a lot of conflicting assessments coming out of russia right now.
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>> reporter: yes, certainly a conflict between what the company, metrojet, is saying, saying it wasn't anything mechanical, and the emphasis the kremlin is trying to put on this. they're trying to distance themselves, and of course, this crash from any kind of act of terrorism, saying it's premature to even talk about that, and certainly not to draw any parallel between this crash and any linkage between this crash and the intervention in syria. but the fact is, it's going to look bad for the kremlin either way, because if it does turn out to be terrorism, then they're going to be open to the allegation that the intervention in syria, where they've been bombing for the last month or so, has exposed russian citizens to that kind of danger. but if it's a technical failure, they're equally going to be accused of not doing enough to insure the safety of air travelers in this country. there have been so many accidents here over the past 20 years that, you know, people just really want it to stop. >> russian officials, matthew, have joined the egyptians at the crash site in sinai. explain russia's role in this investigation. where do we expect it to go from
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here? >> reporter: well, i mean, russia alongside egypt, who's invited by egypt to take part in the investigation, obviously, it's a disaster which affects russia more than anyone else. all the citizens, all the people on board the plane were russian with a few other nationalities as well, a handful. but it's a big national tragedy for this country. the russian experts along with the egyptians and representatives from airbus in france are also going to be looking at the black boxes to try and glean what information they can from those cockpit voice recorder and the data recorder to see what the circumstances were in this crash. at the moment, we're sort of leaning towards, with all the reporting we've been seeing about the heat flash and about the various other things that have been coming out on the russian news agencies, leaning towards the idea that this was some kind of a terrorist attack. but of course, no one's ruling out mechanical failure at this stage either. at this point, the focus, though, in russia, very much on the human catastrophe.
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it's been announced tonight that on sunday there will be a big memorial service here in st. petersburg at a cathedral here, and the process is under way of identifying the bodies. only 19 have been identified so far. they've got a long way to go, wolf. >> they certainly do, matthew. thank you very much. meanwhile, terrorists are celebrating the russian plane crash tonight. they're making new threats against the russian president, vladimir putin. what would it mean for putin if this disaster is proven to be a terror attack? our global affairs correspondent lisa laboratory yacht is here situation room." questions that this could be the payback for putin's strikes against targets in syria. >> that's right. russian president vladimir putin sold his military intervention as necessary to make the russian people safer, but speculation terrorists could have brought down the plane and fresh threats by extremist groups are raising fears putin's actions could spark a new way of terrorist attacks against russia. tonight in this new propaganda
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video, isis is again claiming credit for downing the commercial airliner, calling russian leader vladimir putin a pig and warning he will pay a "high price for his actions in syria." the group offered no proof, and intelligence analysts tell cnn they don't find the claim credible, but sources say the u.s. has not ruled out the possibility of terror. several competing groups had threatened putin since russian troops began pouring into syria, something secretary of state john kerry warned in a recent interview with cnn might happen. >> if he's going to side with assad and with iran and hezbollah, he's going to have a very serious problem with the and that means that he could , - even become a target for those sunni jihadis. >> reporter: two weeks after kerry's warning, russia's security service claimed it foiled a terrorist attack linked to isis on moscow's subway system. days later, both isis and al
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qaeda syrian affiliate al nusra front, called for jihad against russia for a spate of air strikes aimed at anti-assad groups. and while he didn't mention the crash in the sinai, overnight, al qaeda leader ayman al zawahiri issued this call to arms, ordering lone wolves to attack all countries fighting muslims, including russia. >> the russian intervention in syria has turbo-charged the global jihadi movement. historically, nothing has unified this movement more than their shared confrontation with russia. >> reporter: and tonight, despite u.s. sources saying there is satellite evidence suggesting an explosion could have brought down the plane, russian state media, controlled by putin, said russian experts have found no trace of explosives or any kind of evidence that a bomb went off. now, if terrorists did have a hand in bringing that plane down, how would putin respond? if the war in chechnya is any
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guide, analysts say he will double down in syria, intensif intensifying his bottmbing campaign, and they say a grieving russian public will likely support him for trying to neutralize the terrorist threat before it reaches the homeland, wolf. >> if they can confirm it was, indeed, terrorists responsible for the downing of the plane. 224 people on board. elise, thanks very much. joining us, senator tim kaine of virginia, leading democrat on the armed services committee as well as the foreign relations committee. senator, thanks very much for joining us. >> absolutely, wolf. glad to be with you. >> it's pretty alarming to me. the u.s. embassy issuing this advisory, telling all american employees at the embassy, all diplomats, don't go into sinai right now, pending the outcome of this investigation into the tragic crash. it suggests that they fear that the terrorist rampage, if it's going on in sinai, potentially could have been responsible for this plane crash. >> wolf, it really is too early to tell. and you know, we hope that that's not the case. but there has been an ongoing
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battle between sunni extremists in the sinai and the egyptian government and others. and so, it's a possibility, and we just have to do our best to get to the bottom of it. so, i think the caution is warranted. but again, i hope that it's not the case. but what it demonstrates is, you know, the challenge. russia getting into the theater in syria. you know, hezbollah decided to go from lebanon into syria to back up the regime of bashar al assad a few years ago, and then sunni extremists started to bomb hezbollah-connected and shia-connected sites in lebanon as payback for it. so, the threat that sunni extremists will take it out on you if you go into syria to buck up bashar al assad is a very real threat. >> it certainly is. and let's not forget -- you know this, you're a member of the armed services committee -- there are still 750 american troops right in the middle of sinai right now. they've been there since 1979.
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but this is an extremely dangerous environment. and as barbara starr just reported, four of them were injured in september when an improvised explosive device hit them. are you comfortable with all those american troops in sinai right now? >> wolf, i'm really glad you brought this up. the multinational force of observers that was put in force in the sinai to help guard the egyptian/israeli border has actually been quite successful as a multinational peacekeeping operation. i went and visited them in february of 2014, saw a lot of american army troops, but also working in tandem with colombians and troops from fiji and troops from all around the world. but you were already seeing at that point a spike-up in sunni extremism in that area. there had been a bombing of a tourist bus near sharm el sheik that killed a number of japanese tourists at that time. and then, of course, you've seen other activities like this one that raise significant concerns.
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i do believe that the american troops that are there have the ability and the material to take care of themselves and defend themselves, but we don't want to see that area destabilized, so we've got to work with our partners in egypt and elsewhere to see that we protect our folks but also do what we can to continue this peacekeeping mission that for 35 years has been pretty successful. >> it's been very successful. let's hope they do have the proper force protection, as it's called to make sure that those 750 americans and the other international observers from fiji and some of the other countries, are protected as well. senator, we have much more to discuss. you're up on capitol hill. stand by. we'll continue our conversation with senator tim kaine in a moment.
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you believe the president should seek formal congressional authorization to upgrade, to move to this new phase in the war. he says he has that authorization based on the votes back in 2001. why isn't that good enough? >> you know, wolf, if you look at the 2001 authorization, it's very specific. it allows the president the ability to go after the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks. isil was formed two years after 9/11. isil is actually engaged in a battle with al qaeda now in syria and elsewhere. so, to claim that the authorization that allowed us to go after al qaeda also covers isil basically would turn the authorization into a carte blanche for the president to wage executive war without ever coming to congress. i think that is highly, highly troubling. and since the president started the war against isil in august of 2014, i have been urging congress to do the job we're supposed to do under article 1. remember, the president is
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actually given us an authorization, hasn't done it since february, but it's been crickets up here since he did that. it's time for us to have the debate and shape an authorization for what is a growing and mutating war that i now encompassing not just iraq and syria, but many other nations as well. >> do you support his decision to send 50 ground combat special operation forces to syria? >> wolf, to the extent that we've had the briefing about why he is proposing it, i could certainly see myself voting for it as part of a strategy, but i don't think the president should be doing this without a vote. you probably noticed, about ten days before, the president deployed 300 forces to cameroon and sent us a war powers notification. these are forces to battle boko haram, and boko haram has pledged allegiance to isil. so, now what we have is isil in iraq and syria, afghanistan,
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yemen, libya, somalia, and an affiliate in cameroon. we're stretching ourselves thin, and congress still won't have a debate. >> the russian role in all of this potentially very dangerous right now with russian warplanes flying around over syria, u.s. warplanes flying around over syria. they coordinate, but they're potentially, there could be a disaster up over the skies of syria. >> there could be a disaster, wolf, you're right. and again, it's just an indication of how complicated this is. it's not just the growing number of nations, the growing number of troops. we've spent $4.75 billion. but you have russia coming into the theater. you have the syrian refugee crisis that has become the worst displaced persons crisis since world war ii. there is one aspect, though, of russia being on the ground in syria that we need to really explore. they're there because assad was getting ready to topple, and they want to try to promote some stability. at least that is one overlap we have with russia. we don't overlap with them on
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much, and even we would define stability a little bit differently. but remember, russia has been in syria for 50 years, the only military base they have outside the former soviet union is in syria on the mediterranean. so, they have an interest in stability and so do we, and hopefully, in that small overlap of our goals, we might be able to help promote more stability there. >> i spoke with senator rand paul earlier today. he's with you. he says the administration needs formal congressional authorization to go to this, to escalate this war against isis right now. and he goes one step further. he says, what the president is doing is basically illegal, it goes counter to the constitution. do you go that far? >> i would say this, wolf, i do not think there is a legal authorization for this war, but i put more of the blame on congress's shoulders than the president's, because it's congress that has an article 1 responsibility. whether or not you like what the president is doing, that doesn't change our responsibility. and the congressional
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leadership, both parties, both houses have been kind of sending this weird message to the president -- don't trouble us with this because we don't want to get our hands dirty. it's politically challenging. and so, what you have in congress is we're the branch that's supposed to authorize war, but what congress has decided to do is it wants to criticize, but it neither wants to authorize nor stop what the president is doing. i'm faulting the president for not articulating a clear syria strategy, but the blame for the unauthorized war is squarely on congress's shoulders because it's congress's job under article 1 to do this. >> yeah, it's not exactly a profile encouraged right now. >> absolutely not. >> these members are worried about a vote that could be controversial going into the next election, so they'd rather not have to raise their hand or vote yea or nay, for that matter. i know you're taking a leadership on this. go ahead. >> but wolf, the thing that's so important is, yeah, people are afraid of a vote, but we're making people risk their lives. since we started this war, there have been american hostages
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executed, then american service members killed, not in direct combat, but who were deployed in the theater. and now we have the first combat death. if we're going to ask people to risk their lives, we ought to be willing to have a debate and a vote about whether this mission is worth it. and if we're not willing to do that, we shouldn't force 3,700 people and growing to be over there thousands of miles from home risking their lives every day. >> yeah, 3,700 u.s. troops in iraq right now. all right, senator, thanks very much for joining us. >> absolutely. glad to be with you. up next, an ominous warning from al qaeda. an isis threat of payback. was the crash of that russian airliner actually a terror attack? and donald trump slips to second place in a new gop presidential poll, and now he's taking new swipes at the new front-runner, dr. ben carson.
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there are new developments tonight into the investigation of the crash of that russian airliner in egypt. a source telling cnn that a heat flash, possibly an explosion, was detected by a u.s. military satellite just before the plane broke up in midair over the sinai peninsula, but russian state media are reporting that the victims' bodies don't show signs of an explosive impact. let's get some more. joining us, "the new york times" washington correspondent charlie savage. he's got a brand-new, very important book that's just come out, entitled "power wars:
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inside obama's post 9/11 presidency." we're also joined by cnn terrorism analyst. thanks for joining us. charlie, i want your take on the plane crash. isis, al qaeda, they're warning of retaliation against the russians for air strikes in syria. you've covered this region extensively. how likely do you believe it could be that some terror group, whether al qaeda or isis or some other terror group, specifically attacked this plane for retaliation against the russians? >> well, you know, wolf, i don't want to speculate without more evidence. we want to see what on those black boxes, but obviously, the coincidence in timing with russia starting to escalate its campaign against isis and now this makes one very suspicious that this could be just the latest sign of how bad things are getting in that part of the world and that, in fact, they're going to get worse before they get better. >> paul, you've studied this region at the same time. it might not be isis, but al qaeda, the arabian peninsula, aqap as it's called, or another al qaeda group, al shabaab, they
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do have capabilities to put a bomb on a plane, don't they? >> absolutely right, wolf. al qaeda in yemen, as we know, have that capability. we saw that with the underwear bombing attempt over detroit in 2009, and since then, their master bombmaker, ibrahim al asiri, has been trying to develop new generations of explosive devices, the kind you might be able to get through security at sharm el sheik airport. also worries about the al qaeda affiliate in syria developing these same kind of capabilities. and of course, russia is hitting al qaeda in syria. but what we haven't seen so far is any al qaeda claim whatsoever. and in this age of social media, that's very, very surprising, if they, indeed, carried out this attack. you'd expect them to get the claim out by now, especially because this isis affiliate in sinai has already put out a claim. so, the fact that al qaeda has not put out a claim so far suggests that perhaps it's not them responsible. i think there's a lot of
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skepticism at this point that this is any kind of terrorist event whatsoever. the isis organization in syria and in iraq, they have not really got massively behind this claim of their affiliate. it seems more like they hope that their affiliates in egypt carry this out more than they know they carried it out. this would be the biggest terrorist win since 9/11. the fact these terrorist groups are not having a full court press right now i think is quite suggestive, wolf. >> charlie in your new book, "power wars," you say this, you say "the president is the most lawyerly of american presidents in his approach to these policies." you heard senator tim kaine say he should get congressional authorization to start sending u.s. troops to sinai for these air strikes. does he need authorization, formal authorization? you've studied this extensively. >> i have. you know, so, this book is based on 150 interviews, or interviews with 150 current and former obama officials and documents. and i'm tracing these behind-the-scenes legal policy debates as national security
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dilemmas arise in the world, and these officials are arguing with each other and they can't figure out what the rules are even, because so much is different about the 21st century. the rules were not written for these situations. and one of the most interesting arcs of it has to do with this very issue, how obama evolves and then evolves back in some ways on his war powers. as a senator in 2007, he said the president does not have the authority to bomb another country without prior congressional authorization, absent imminent threat. in 2011, he does just that in libya. and the reason he does is because congress can't get its act together. this is right after the tea party takeover of the house. the government is about to shut down and they just don't have time to move when the u.n. authorizes force to protect benghazi against gadhafi. by 2013, when he's thinking about attacking assad over crossing the red line for chemical weapons, everyone thinks he's going to do it again without congress, and all of a sudden, he changes course and he says to his advisers, it's because he said that in 2007, he still agrees with that guy. he wants to go to congress this
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time. obviously, that ended up not happening. he goes to congress, but they don't bomb. and then in 2014, when he decides to attack isis in first iraq and then syria as well, he could either say that's a new war, in which case he would need authorization from congress eventually, or he could say this is the existing war, this is the 9/11 war, splintering al qaeda. a faction of it has become this entity, but the old authority still applies. and because you can't trust congress to move, he decides he's just going to make this sort of strained theory. senator kaine before the break was talking about why it's strained, because he thinks congress is dysfunctional this time. it seems senator kaine also thinks congress is not capable right now of doing its constitutional function. >> you write in the book, "surveying obama's policies, a range of people across the ideological spectrum would voice with escalating intensity what became a defining accusation, not just of the moment, but of the entire presidency. obama was acting like bush."
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certainly words the president and his supporters don't necessarily want to be able to read in your book. >> right. well, obviously -- but they're quite used to it. this is a common refrain. in some ways, the central mystery i'm trying to explore with all the behind-the-scenes reporting for the book. why is it obama who is running to bring change from bush's global war on terror continues surveillance and drone strikes and indefinite detention without trial and military commissions and secrecy and so much more? and one of the great insights that arises from all these stories of these behind-the-scenes fights and dilemmas and wrestling that this very lawyerly administration has over how they're going to deal with the world as it is, not as they might like it to be, is the insight that what is clearer to us now than it was during the bush years was there were two criticisms of bush among the democrats, mostly who were criticizing his post-9/11 policies. there was a civil liberty critique, saying the policies like warrantless surveillance
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are inherently wrong with individual rights and there was a rule of law critique, saying whether or not that's right, you need to get authority from congress. you can't just violate a statute because you're commander in chief. and obama with his lawyerly mindset and his advisers overwhelmingly thought the problem with bush was the legal problem with the policies. so, once congress fixed them, the policies could continue and they felt they weren't acting like bush. that's where the difference comes between his campaign rhetoric and how he governs. >> it's entitled "power wars: inside obama's post-9/11 presidency." author charlie savage, thanks for joining us. paul, thank you as well. we'll have more on the russian plane crash and also the evidence suggesting a bomb may have been to blame. and as donald trump tries to sell his new book, his opponents aren't buying his call for them to drop out of the race.
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tonight, donald trump is calling on several of his republican rivals to simply drop out of the race. he says the candidates who are doing poorly in the polls, who are getting 1% or 2%, they are simply, he says, wasting their time, this as trump's own poll numbers are softening a little bit. dr. ben carson is emerging as the new front-runner in at least two national polls among republicans. our political reporter, sarah
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murray, is covering the republican race for us. you were there at trump's news conference today. tell our viewers how it went. >> i was. demand addition to touting his new book out today, donald trump had sharp words for his rivals, everyone from marco rubio, jeb bush and even ben carson, the latest republican front-runner. ben carson tightening his grip on his front-runner status. 29% of gop voters nationwide support carson in the latest nbc news/"wall street journal" poll. a six-point lead over donald trump. >> our strength is in our unity, and we need to stop listening to the purveyors of division who are trying to make us think that there's a war going on with everything. >> reporter: taken together, the two outsiders dominate the field, drawing 52% support. >> if you add ben and myself, we're beating everybody by a lot. that seems to be the big story. >> i've continued to do what i've been doing. >> reporter: carson's gains coming as he travels the country promoting his book. not to be outdone, trump celebrated his own book release
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today and took a swipe at the man on top of the polls. >> and he's a different kind of a person. my book is very hard-hitting. you look at ben, he's very weak on immigration and he wants to get rid of medicare. >> reporter: training on another rival, trump suggested jeb bush doesn't have what it takes to win the white house. >> can jeb make a comeback? i think it's going to be very hard. >> reporter: and said it's time for some of his gop opponents to give up the fight. do you think it's time for some of the republicans in the field to drop out? >> if a person's been campaigning for four or five months and they're at zero or 1% or 2%, they should get out. >> i'm going to go back, if i can -- >> reporter: with the candidates now at odds with each other over how to move forward with their debates, president obama is mocking the entire field. >> if you can't handle those gu guys? you know, then i don't think the chinese and the russians are going to be too worried about you. >> reporter: while trump complains, it's the democrats
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that have it easy. >> hillary clinton, no tough questions. i mean, why didn't they ask about bill. why didn't they ask about all of the different things? hillary had only softballs all night long. it was like this. here, hillary, hit this one over the park. >> reporter: now, it's worth remembering that in 2007, president obama, hillary clinton and john edwards all decided to skip a debate that was hosted by fox news, so it's clear that complaints about debates really do work across the aisle. wolf? >> thanks very much, sara, for that report. let's bring in senior political reporter nia-malika henderson, our republican stralt gist and commentator ana navarro, a jeb bush supporter, also a friend, by the way, of marco rubio, and our cnn senior political analyst ron brownstein, editorial direct your of "the national journal." sara was right, we remember president obama back in 2007 when he was running for the democratic nomination, he didn't want to do a debate on fox news either. >> yeah, and in fact, there was
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a big push from a liberal group in the democratic coalition to kind of ostracize fox. it was much about kind of separating fox as it was keeping the candidates away from the fox anchors. look, what the president said was a little unfair in that sense, but equally unfair was the underlying accusation that he was responding to, the idea that if we had a president with more backbone, that that by itself would change the way putin behaves. republicans think george w. bush has a lot of backbone, but putin invaded georgia during his presidency. so, i think, you know, there's a little bit of a back-and-forth here. the larger point, though, i think, wolf, is that this president has a lot at stake in the 2016 election. every outgoing president has a big stake in the elections that succeed him, but if you think how obama has been pursuing his goals in the second term, he's largy given up on working through congress and has pushed the boundaries on executive authority on climate, immigration, education and health care reform, and that means that all that he's -- much of what he's accomplished is pretty easy to reverse through the stroke of a pen of the next
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president. he wants to make sure a democrat is controlling that pen in 2017. >> and donald trump came out swinging today against several of his rivals, including dr. ben carson, for that matter. i think he sensed the fact that the "wall street journal" poll nationally among republicans, trump is number two. he doesn't like that. >> that's right. >> presumably, he's going to get tougher. >> that's right. and he's had trouble sort of figuring out what line of attack to launch against ben carson. today it was immigration reform. in the past, it's been the low energy. he's also talked about his faisst. he's a seventh day adventist. the attack especially on religion didn't work, so he needs to figure out what to do. part of the problem is that donald trump has lower approval ratings than ben carson. so, i think that affects what he's going to do. he doesn't want to come across as sort of mr. mean guy when it comes to attacking ben carson, because a lot of people see him as mr. nice guy.
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so, i think this is a problem for donald trump. he's not used to being in second place. he's in second place not onl nationally, but in iowa as well, which matters more at this point than the national polls. >> and ana, your guy, jeb bush, in the nbc/"wall street journal" poll, he's not doing that great. carson, we had him at 29%, trump at 23%, marco rubio 11%, ted cruz 10%, jeb bush only 8% in this poll. for a guy who was once a front-runner, he's got a lot of work to do now, doesn't he? >> he's got a lot of work to do. i think he's got to reset, rebrand, reboot, refocus, re-everything. and i saw john mccain rise from the ashes of a campaign and defy the political bibtryes that were written about him and go on to win the nonomination. i know jeb is committed to it, has the humility and the discipline and the backbone to do it. now he just has to do it. i think, wolf, the expectations on him right now are so low
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that, frankly, if he goes out on the debate stage in a week and shows a pulse, hits a triple, it but he has got to do it. he can't have another lackluster debate performance. and i think jeb understands that. jeb has got the, you know, wherewithal to hear the chatter around him, to hear those writing him, e-mailing him, talking to him. and i think he understands that he has got to project more forcefully than he has been doing in the past. >> he certainly does. and he knows that as he himself says. thanks very much, ana, for that. nia, ron, guys, appreciate it. donald trump will be interviewed on "new day" tomorrow. tune in during the 7:00 a.m. eastern hour. donald trump on cnn's "new day." just ahead, the newest information coming in to cnn about that russian plane crash and the possible cause. plus, does jeb bush feel as though he's disappointing his famous family as his presidential campaign stalls? stand by for more of his
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tonight jeb bush is talking about some sensitive subjects his brother's presidency, his familily political legacy and the possibility he is letting his parents down. our special correspondent jamie gangel sat down with bush for a one-on-one interview about his struggling presidential campaign, his new book and more. >> reporter: the book. here it is. 700 pages. this book is jeb bush, the policy wonk, good night who
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likes to talk about budgets, fix things, but i know you say it's the polls, i know you say it's going to change, but do you think you waited too long? >> this book is not about policy. this is a book about a leader. meaning that there are people hurting in our country. there are politicians that say i'm the big guy in the room. people that have a servant's heart that work on behalf of people to give them a chance to have prosperity for their children to live a life of purpose and meaning. i move the needle. i fixed things broken in my state. >> there are e-mails in there. in one e-mail you talk about a word the bush family hates, the d-word, dynasty.
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you talk about your dad skydiving, which you say you you talk about how much you love him. how are your parents handling this campaign? >> well, i'm making a contribution for my dad. i think he stopped watching reruns of "csi." he's back watching the cable news shows so he can get -- he gets fired up. i love him more than he loves me because he's the greatest man alive. i'm taking credit for getting him back in the game a little bit. mom, who you may remember, talk about being neutral was neutral on the subject of my candidacy is fully onboard. they're all in for jeb. >> is your dad still throwing things at the tv? >> i think he is. you know him. he's the most loving guy in the
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world. this isn't about policy for him. this is about his boy that he loves. >> when they see you struggling, is that hard or do they keep that away from you? >> i don't know. i feel i never want to let them down, for sure. i don't get a sense that they're disappointed in my in any way. they know, if anybody knows about the long haul nature of primary campaigns and campaigns in general it's george and barbara bush. they've got the right perspective on this. so does my brother. he, of all people, knows about this because he's, by the way, the last republican and second to last republican to win elections. he knows how it's done. >> let me ask you about your brother. i'm guessing that somewhere along the line, he said to you, don't worry about me. go out there, say whatever you need to say. do whatever you need to do. and he does understand this better than anyone else. >> yeah, he does.
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>> you were just with him in houston. does he give you advice? >> i struggle with him. i don't want to say anything bad about my brother. he's my brother. the blood sport is where do you differ, how you're this, blah, blah, blah. i stumbled in the beginning because i had a hard time saying i spent six years being governor of the state where i never was critical of my brother even when i was striving to get the best deal i could get for my state. it was a discipline i was proud of. i haven't cast it aside. my bad, not his. you're right. he'd say, do what you need to do. his advice is to be patient, stick with it. at the end of the day, people are going to start figuring out who is going to be present, who is going to sit behind the big desk to why his terminology. it's encouraging to hear him say that. he knows. he's been through ups and downs. >> in the bush family, there is
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a great sense of responsibility about public service. so when you took this on, that goes with the last name. do you worry about letting your parents down? >> i have thousands and thousands of people that i want to do well. i want to win though, too. this is not about disappointing people. this is about fixing some really complex things i know i can do. i just know it in my heart that i can draw people together to unify the country around a few really big things. if we did it, income would grow for the middle class. people would be lifted out of poverty and we would be safe and secure. that's what i focus on. the hardest critic of jeb bush is jeb bush. >> good jeb bush interview with jamie gangel. more coming up later on "anderson cooper 360. "more with jeb bush. you can follow us on
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twitter. tweet me @wolf blitzer. thanks for watching. erin burnett "out front" starts right now. mid-air mystery. could there have been a bomb onboard? >> aviation investigators see similarities between this disaster and other deadly crashes. ben carson now the front-runner. donald trump on the attack tonight. our special report on the people battling to keep carson number one. let's go "out front." good evening, i'm erin burnett "out front" tonight, mid-air explosion. a u.s. official telling cnn a military satellite detected a mid-air heat flash


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