tv CNN Newsroom With Carol Costello CNN December 9, 2015 6:00am-8:01am PST
responding officers hear the story. what do they do? pool their money and get a new bike. >> thank you. and i'll be sure to pay it forward because that is what they did for me. >> officers say they didn't want to see carter go through the holidays without it. they found the car, severely damaged and the original bike still missing. >> what a great story. that is true holiday spirit right there. right guys? >> indeed. >> chris, hope you're feeling better by the way. >> thank you pamela. >> you're sick? >> she cares. you don't care. pamela cares. >> i'll take it from here. newsroom starts now. >> they knocked down the world trade center. they tried doing it twice. other things have happened. they have a lot of -- there are people that have tremendously bad intentions. we have to be tough. we have to be smart and have to
be vigilant. >> trump triggers a political earthquake with his call to ban muslims from entering america. and trump claims he's the best candidate to take out isis saying the president isn't doing enough. in just 30 minutes we're going to hear from defense secretary ash carter testifying on capitol hill. and next hour the fbi chief speaks. should our isis strategy shift. let's talk live in the cnn "newsroom." good morning. i'm pamela brown. thanks for being here with me on this very busy wednesday morning. beginning with the race for white house and what appears to be growing concern about the man currently leading the pack. donald trump of course. his call to temporarily ban muslims from entering the use sparking a swift response in fellow republicans, some of whom denounced the comments as contrary to both the parties and america's values.
trump shrugging off the criticism. and they could soon share his views. >> i'm the worst thing that's ever happened to isis. the people in my party fully understand that. they are running fens me. for the most part they have no poll numbers. i'm leading by a lot. they get it. you know when i came out against illegal immigration, everybody fought it. same thing. two week later, everybody was on my side. including the members of my own party. >> sara murray joins me now. there is a lot going on. >> there is a lot going on. and trump was certainly right about one of those things. and that is he is lead being alot. our new poll in new hampshire shows he gets 32% support from republican voters there. far ahead from his nearest rival which is marco rubio at 14%. that gives you an idea of how difficult it is for the republican party to topple him and really bring anyone else. but we're now hearing more
criticism from more leaderers of the gop who have waited until this point to weigh in on 2016. now they are condemning donald trump's proposal. >> even in the face of fierce condemnation from his party elders. >> this is not conservative. >> gop presidential hopeful donald trump refusing to back down on his proposal banning muslims from entering the u.s. >> who was proposed yesterday is not what this party stansds for. and more importantly, it is not what this country stands for. >> the chairman of the republican national committee joining the chorus, telling the washington examiner, i don't agree. we need to aggressively take on radical islamic terrorism but not at the expense of our american values. one gop lawmaker issuing a call from the house floor for the billionaire to drop out. >> it is time for donald trump to withdraw from the race. >> trump unfazed by comparisons to hitler on the front page of
the philadelphia daily news. >> i'm talking about a temporary situation until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on. >> the implication of what he said is that if we were enforcing our immigration laws appropriately at this point in time we might have a better handle on this. >> on tuesday, wide spread rejection from his gop rivals. >> he's a race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot. he doesn't represent my party. he doesn't represent the values that the men and women who wear the uniform are fighting for. you know how you make america great again? tell donald trump to go o hell. >> it is not about the blow hards out there just saying stuff. that is not a program. that is not a plan. this is serious business. >> trump's proposal so widely panned that even hillary clinton and dick cheney are united in opposition. >> this is both a shameless and a dangerous idea. >> the whole notion that somehow
we can just say no more muslims and ban a whole religion goes against everything we stand for and believe in. >> and the white house also issues sharp criticism. >> and the fact is that what donald trump said yesterday disqualifies him from serving as president. the question now is about the rest of the republican party. and whether or not they are going to be dragged into the dust bin of history with him. >> now pam, just to give you a sense of what a bind the republican party is in on this, donald trump took to social media pointing to a poll that shows the majority of his supporters would stick with him even if he decided to run as an independent. so he's still kind of holding out that threat. >> yeah. exactly. >> all right. sara murray, thank you so much. and to that point sara just mentioned, donald trump seems to be sending this message to republican whose may want to nudge him out u saying if i leave i'm taking a lot of votes with him. and that facebook post, trump quoted a u.s.a. today headline sh shows the paper's latest poll
shows strong support for a trump third party bid. such a move would go against that very public loyalty pledge trump took just three months ago. >> the best way for the republicans to win is if i win the nomination and go directly against whoever they happen to put up. and for that reason, i have signed the pledge. so i will be totally pledging my allegiance to the republican party and the conservative principles for which it stand. and we will go out and we will fight hard. and we will win. >> so that was on september 3rd. and here to discuss all of this, e ril louis.
and andi smith. thank you both for coming on. the "wall street journal" saves that trump has triggered a republican party brawl between party leaders and grassroots supporters. what's your take? there seems to be a bit of a quandary here. >> i don't know if i would define trump's backers as grass root supporters simply. he's got a number of peopling telling pollsters they like him. and keep in mind it is nowhere near a majority of the republican voters in any given state or the national polls even. the leadership however they are fighting a different fight. and that is really about the moderate versus the extremes. the center versus the extremes. the notion that you can go out and say anything you want, even if it is racist, bigoted, unconstitutional, violates treaties even if it's a war crime some of what donald trump is talking about saying we'll kill the families of suspected
isis member, that stuff really doesn't have a comfortable place in our politics and really hard in our society to simply exclude people. so it puts the party leadership in a quandary but it is about them fighting extremism and trying to figure out in a modern digital age how you make that work. >> we've seen this big gop backlash but there have been some conservative radio hosts who are saying if you think trump is going to lose votes here, then you don't know the temperature of the american people. is that right? >> i think what we're seeing is a battle within the republican party. but two elite groups within the republican party. certainly the old establishment. but there is also a very important new establishment within the republican party. and that is talk radio. in our most recent poll up here in new hampshire. if you look at just those regular listeners, 77% of them
have a favorable opinion of donald trump. the highest for any candidate. also 44% say they are supporting donald trump. the highest percentage for any candidate, of any demographic group that support trump. so that anti establishment bullwork within the republican party which is represented by the hosts on talk radio is really where the fight is going and really where a lot of the support for donald trump is coming from. not saying they are necessarily going to support him but they are giving him a different message a different platform, than the narcottional party is. >> what's interesting about that poll that your center did andy was that more than 50% say they are still deciding whom to support. what is the disconnect here? >> that's a hugely important point to make in primaries. primary cycles people make up their mind very late. in new hampshire historically voters have told us in exit polls 35 to 45% say they have made up their mind in the last
three days and 15-20 say they make up tear minds on election day. so the polls coming out right now are nowhere indicative of where the voters are actually going to be on february 9th here in new hampshire. a lot of things can happen between now and then. and certainly what happens in iowa is going to impact new hampshire and that is going to impact south carolina. so i think we have to cautious about using polls right now to predict what's going to happen. >> and what is your sense? do you think trump is just going to toss that pledge and run as an independent. >> oh yeah. i don't think he ever really intended. it is not enforceable. that is what this is all about. if people want get their ideas or want to put proposals out that were not approved by party leadership quote unquote, there is really nothing you can do about it. and if he wants to ignore the pledge and go back to what he's done before. people should reremember this is
not his first flirtation with the third party candidacy. >> and is he really going to stay true to the pledge? thank you very much. and a quick programming note. donald trump will join don lemon this evening at 10:00 eastern right here on cnn. and we're less than a week away from the last gop debate of 2015. the stage is being set for iowa. so who makes it to ours? find out as wolf blitzer moderates next tuesday at 6:00 and 8:30 p.m. and we're following new details this morning in the san bernardino shooting. investigators learn farook may have been plotting an earlier attack in california with somebody else. the two conspired in 2012 and a specific target was even considered according to this new evidence that's been uncovered in the investigation. right now investigators still trying to corroborate that.
but the evidence now suggests that the pair got spooked following a round of terror-related arrests in that area and decided not to go through it. authorities also examining farook's bank account. in it he took out a loan for 28,500. what more do we know about that money and what it was used for? >> that is really the question. what did he use that money for? authorities are still investigating. half of it aerpt apparently went t to his mother. the ultimate question is did it go for any weapons? he was compiling a stockpile of weapons. perhaps he was running short on cash because he was buying weapons. ultimately i think authorities have to hone in on that money and see what it went for. >> and police are also putting a spot on a former neighbor of farook, enrique mark quiz.
what are we learning about him? >> he apparently was a very close friend of the couple. and apparently grew up with syed farook and converted to the islamic faith. he bought the two assault rifles apparently a few years ago. and then either gave them or transferred them to farook, which may be illegal in california, the fact that he didn't report the transfer. the connection to him is pretty significant. and authorities at this point aren't releasing a whole lot of information about it. but the fact they grew up together, lived next door to each other and that he bought these weapons certainly, you know, could be a very important connection. >> interesting he checked himself himself into a mental health facility after the attack. authorities still interviewing him. meanwhile some of the first responders are now telling their stories. among those speaking out is the officer seen in a video reassuring survivors with these words.
>> try o relax everyone. try to relax. i'll take the bullet before you do. that's for damn sure. >> his name is jorge, and here is what he had to say about that moment. >> there was a female there. with a small child, a 8-year-old little boy that was just terrified. shaking line a life. and i said what i said. i meant what i said. i said it for them just to kind of calm down and relax, that we were going to do everything we can do get them out of that building safely. i don't feel like a hero whatsoever. anyone behind me or any one of the people, 300 people that were there, would have said the same thing. >> detective lozano was one of more than 300 local, county and state officer whose responded to the inland resource center. and the house has passed legislation that would over haul a federal visa waiver program.
this bill would bar those from iraq, syria iran and sudan from traveling to the u.s. without a visa and would also impact those who have traveled to those countries in the last five years. the proposal calls for greater sharing among the 38 countries that participate in the program with the u.s. and also seeks to beef up efforts to detect fraud by those traveling with electronic passports. the senate pay soon take up the bill. and still to come. we now know the identity of another attacker from paris. why he represents a nightmare scenario for investigators. came out today thousands of people to run the race for retirement. so we asked them... are you completely prepared for retirement? okay, mostly prepared? could you save 1% more of your income? it doesn't sound like much, but saving an additional 1% now, could make a big difference over time. i'm going to be even better about saving. you can do it, it helps in the long run.
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inspired shooting in california. let's get right to cnn pentagon correspondent barbara starr. >> good morning pamela, perhaps the most important thing is to know who carter is facing. the republican-led services complete. chairman senator john mccain of arizona, one of the administration's strongest critics about military policy. mccain wants to see the administration do more. carter will hold the line. he will stick to what the president has talked about. more special force, air strikes all of that. behind the scenes, the chairman of the chief of staff, general joe bun ferd, who will not be at the hearing has said that the u.s. is talking to numb of other countries about trying to get
them to also send in special operations forces, commandos on the ground in small units. u.s. military officials have indicated that this is true, that they are talking to them. britain and france may be the countries that may be most able to send in those types of forces we are told. this is going to be carter's first appearance though of course since the san bernardino attacks and since donald trump's statement about banning people of the islamic faith from coming into the united states. so i think everyone is going to be watching what carter has to say about all of that. the defense chief is going to talk about how the campaign that he is running is helping regain territory in iraq and syria. but san bernardino shows isis still has a very strong global reach, still able to inspire militants so far away. >> which is what's reflected in that isis intelligence report you recently reported on.
quick, what can you tell us about ramadi. there is some new information, right is this. >> yes the iraqi government indicated it thought its forces had breached into the city against isis and that it were now controlling about 60% of it and that ramadi no longer under full isis control but is looking under way. the u.s. believe the iraqis are making progress and they are now challenging isis fighters for control of ramadi. maybe not 60% but they are making an effort and it does appear finally the effort to retake ramadi is on the move. it is just far from done. >> thank you so much. and this morning new revelations about the paris terror attack. french police are now identifying the third attacker at the bataclan night cluclunig.
23-year-old fouad mohamed aggad. he joined two others in the killing of 90 people in that concert hall. jim bitterman is live in paris with the latest. >> reporter: one of the things we're hearing is that in fact it was the parents of mohamed aggad who may have helped authorities identify him. basically his mother says that she received a text message from syria just saying simply that her son had died as a martyr in paris. she went to authorities with that information. they had the dna from mohamed aggad's body from the bat clan theater. he blew himself up. and with the dna from the mother there was enough similarities to know that was the identity of the third person at the bataclan theater, where ninety people were killed. so now it's been confirmed that all three gunmen at that theater
who killed ninety people were in fact french born and killed their own countrymen. >> thank you so much jim bitterman, appreciate it. >> and prosecutors rest their case in a trial of a baltimore police officer charged in gray's death. now what will the defense do? it's the little things in life that make me smile. spending the day with my niece. i don't use super poligrip for hold, because my dentures fit well. before those little pieces would get in between my dentures and my gum and it was uncomfortable. even well fitting dentures let in food particles. just a few dabs of super poligrip free is clinically proven to seal out more food particles so you're more comfortable and confident while you eat. so it's not about keeping my dentures in, it's about keeping the food particles out.
the defense begins its case this morning in baltimore for the first of six officers on trial for freddy gray's death. officer porter is expected to take the stand in his own defense, this after the judge denied a defense motion to dismiss the case entirely. the response from prosecutors, he did nothing when he could have saved a man's life. jane casarez is outside the courtroom with more. >> the defense is going to start their case today.
the prosecution rested yesterday and they really laid out a very basic case for the jurors. that the defendant in this case, william porter, learned at the police academy that there are exceptions but you are supposed to seat belt somebody in when you are transporting them and you are not supposed to transport someone who needs medical attention. and there are six so stops along the way. at the fourth stop is what they are honing in on is when the reporter saw freddy gray and asked if he needed help. gray say yes. asked if he needed a medic. he said yes. and porter helps him up and according to the prosecution freddy gray also said i can't breathe. right then and there is when the prosecution said he was criminally negligent. if he had been taken to a hospital right then this would not have been a homicide. and the jury also saw in the prosecution's case an hour long videotaped statement that porter gave. in a sense it helped in part the
defense though pause he was very human. he was very real. he was very down to earth. he was very likable. and he also said that every time freddy gray was arrested there was always a very dramatic situation. he talked about the van going back and forth. and gray pounding the sides ovulate the van at several of the stops. the defendant promised the jury the defendant would take the stand in his own defense. so they have to make him likable here. they also are going to bring in a document, nobody knew about this. last saturday night the defense says they were able to get a document that was prepared by the baltimore city police detective in march of this year. so that is one month before anything happened to freddy gray. this detective was talking to, interviewing in some way, writing something up with freddy gray. freddie gray talked about the
back or spinal column injury that he had. and he was leaning to the left as the detective was talking with him in march. prosecutors have admitted that at least one member on their team knew about this. they didn't have the document they say. but they had been orally told about this one month prior. they did not tell the defense. the judge was not happy about that. he did decide it was a violation of discovery. and the defense will now be able to use it in their case. how significant is it? we don't know. but it is obviously something that the defense will use to show reasonable doubt that the defendant william porter caused the death of freddie gray. >> very interesting development there. gene casarez, appreciate it. and good morning everybody. i'm pam ra brown in for carol costello.ela brown in for carol costello. my in a moment ash carter will take the stage and lay out to
the senate the fight against isis. this comes as the new report reveals the terrorist group is fighting with stockpiles of u.s. made weapons obtained from forces. and back home, many complain they are not doing enough to combat the threat. >> the threat is real but we will overcome it. we will destroy isil and any other organization that tries to harm us. our success won't depend on tough talk or abandoning our values or giving into fear. that is what groups like ois ie isil are hoping for. instead we will prevail by being strong and smart. resilient and relentless and by drawing upon every aspect of american power. >> so what does the pentagon chief need to say this morning to convince lawmakers the u.s. is on the right track? let's ask former aid to general
petraeus. thank you for being here with us. i'm curious, do you think the president's strategy is tough enough? and if not. what would you strategy be? >> i have to give the administration credit. they are doubling down on their chosen strategy. they are not not backing away from it. and they are saying if we just do more of it and explain it louder that it will work. you know, i they that everyone agrees there has to be a ground component to the fight against isis. the disagreement is over who should provide it. the administration says we can develop it over time and they can assist us. but the key adjective there is eventually. and eventually may be ten years. and the new normal is a massive terror attack in the west. once a month. and i just county think the
american people or even the people of western europe are going to put up for that if that becomes like i said the new normal. so i think eventually we're going to see the introduction of western ground forces into this conflict in substantial numbers. and then the development of an international alliance along with arab partners to make sure that this is not islam versus the west. >> interesting. and on that note, a new poll this week revealed that a majority of americans don't think the u.s. strategy is tough enough and also showed 53% of the people think the u.s. should send ground troops. if not ground troops, in your view are air strikes enough to knock out isis's stronghold s there? >> you can fly over a country forever. you can bomb it into to smith reens but you cannot control land from the air. according to the pentagon's own statistics we've killed about 12 thousand militants over the past year with air strikes.
but then according to another recent report out, 30,000 have come in from 80 different countries to join the islamic state the past year. so we're not even mowing the grass. the grass is getting taller and islamic state is getting stronger. i don't think the president's strategy is working but i have to give him credit for sticking with it. >> also, you know, there is this isis sbelgtd report that just came out recently. saying isis is broadening its reach. we saw that recently. we saw it in paris. we saw this isis-inspired attack in the u.s. what do you say about this notion that even if you make a dent in their safe hichb in iraq and syria, people are still going to do their bidding in western countries? >> well i would turn that on its head. isis is growing and developing affiliates around the world because it appears to be successful in its homeland.
it has an aura of inevitability about it to a certain segment of islamic people. so if you destroy its caliphate and take away its aura of invincibility, then i think the number of people around the world who are entranced by whether it is doing in syria and iraq will be reduced. you know you have to stop the lure of the islamic state. and the only way to do it is to destroy it. >> but what about the fact that as we've other other officials say they are metastasizing. now we know that isis is growing in libya, in sinai peninsula, perhaps elsewhere. what do you do about that? >> well also, pakistan, afghanistan, yemen, the north k
caucusus. it cannot be simply a strategy of destroying isis in iraq and syria and then allowing the rest of the world to collapse. so this is going to be a long war. i think everyone admits that. but i think one of the major pieces of it has to be the crushing of isis in its homeland. >> conditional peter mansoor, thank you very much for that perspective and he'll be back next hour to discuss the evolving strategy against isis. so stick around. still to come, under pressure to resign, chicago's mayor is minutes from speaking about the city's troubled police force. owning a property is that you can create wealth through capital appreciation, and this has been denied to many south africans for generations. this is an opportunity to right that wrong.
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allegations of police misconduct piling up in chicago. next hour, embattled mayor rahm emanuel speaks before the city council under pressure to resign involving a series of unfavorable shootings between police. another video of a fatal shooting will be made public today. cnn's rosa flores has the disturbing details. >> reporter: first there was the shocking video of laquan mcdonald. and then ronald johnson. both shot and killed by chicago police. cases that have caused outrage. but there is a third police shooting and video that few have seen. we've talked to two men who have seen it. and they say it shows in detail the killing of black teen cedric
chapman by a chicago police officer in 2013. >> he is running as fast as he possibly can away from the police and he is shot. >> he's been fighting for the release of the video. >> approximately 3 to 4 seconds elapses and the first bullet is fired and he is dead within 8 seconds of getting out of his car and running. >> saw the commotion and herd the gunshot. >> lorenzo davis analyzed the video second by second and says this case cost him his job. >> we felt it was unjustified shooting. >> davis said the city agency that investigates all officer-involved shootings, called the independent police review authority, iprra. chatman was running a way when a police officer opened fire. >> chatman was running along here and when he got to roughly
this location i would say there was a gunshot. >> chatman was carrying a black iphone box in his hand. the shooting officer would later say he thought it was a gun. >> he did not shout a warning. he did not use his radio to give direction of flight. he simply pointed his gun until he had a clear shot. >> lorenzo davis says that when he deemed the shooting unjustified, his boss said iprra asked him to change it to justified. when he refused he was fired. calling the report, and saying there was a discrepancy. the officer who shot chatman was exonerated. >> they don't want to say that the shooting was wrong. >> why? >> because then it makes it look like some police officers are
killers. and they don't want it to look that way. >> cnn chicago. >> and mayor emanuel is expected to address police misconduct soon in a special meeting. we'll bring you the developments. still to come. donald trump wants to ban muslims from coming to the u.s. and in fact he just spoke to michael and kelley and we're going to bring you what his reaction has been to all the controversy surrounding those comments after the break. stay with us.
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let's go straight to capitol hill where pentagon defense secretary ash carter is testifying about the isis strategy. >> -- since i appeared before you last time and i'm happy to be here today to describe what we're doing. it is very much along the lines of what you just described. that is forces to accompany to call an air strike to conduct counterterrorism strikes. and train and equip. so i'll describe those actions which we're taking. because the attacks in paris and san bernardino were an assault upon the civilization that we defend. isil requires, and it will
receive a lasting defeat. the president has directed us to intensify and adapt the military campaign -- i'm sorry, had directed us to intensify the military campaign before the paris attacks. and the necessity f accelerating our efforts, as we're doing, has only been made more plain by the recent attacks. we're urging others in the region and around the world to do the sap. because those attacks highlighted the stakes not just that the united states but the world has in this fight. the defense of the homeland must be strengthened, to be sure. but it is absolutely necessary to defeat isil in its parent tumor in syria and iraq. and also to take necessary action wherever else in the world this evil organization metastasizes. achieving these objectives means leveraging all of the components
of our nation's might, as the chairman noted. diplomatic, military andmilitar security, intelligence, economic informational. that's the right overall approach for three principal reasons. first, the strategy takes the fight to the enemy where they are, which we must do. second, it seeks to develop capable, motivated, local ground forces as the only force that can assure a lasting victory. u.s. and international coalition forces can and will do more to enable them. but we cannot substitute for them. and third, it seeks to set the conditions for a political solution to the civil war in syria and for inclusive governance in iraq, both of which are essential because they're the only durable ways to prevent a future isil-like organization from reemerging there.
and that's why the diplomatic work led by secretary kerry is the first and absolutely critical line of effort. the defense department, of course, is centrally responsible for the military campaign, which is the focus of my statement today. through our and our coalition partners' actions, the military campaign must and will deny isil any safe territorial haven, kill or capture its leadership and forces, and destroy its organization. all while we seek to identify and then enable motivated local forces on the ground who can expel isil from the territory it now controls, hold it, and govern it, and ensure that victory sticks. militarily, we're taking new steps each week to gather momentum on the battlefield in syria and iraq. i'll take a few extra minutes this morning to give as much detail as possible about the new things we're doing. applying multiple pressures on multiple fronts simultaneously
to accelerate isil's defeat. the reality is we're at war. that's how our troops feel about it. because they're taking the fight to isil every day. applying the might of the finest fighting force the world has ever known. in northern syria, local forces with our support are fighting along the line, engaging isil in the last remaining pocket of access into turkey. mean whi meanwhile, our fighting along forces and have recaptured important terrain most recently pushing isil out of a town and at least 900 square kilometers of surrounding territory. they're now focused on moving south to isolate isil's so-called capital of raqqah. with the ultimate objective of
collapsing its control over the city. to build on that, president obama, on my and chairman dunford's advice, ordered special operations forces to go into syria to support the fight against isil. american special operators bring a unique set of capabilities that make them force multipliers such as intelligence gathering, targeting, and enabling local forces. where we find further opportunity to leverage such capability, we will not hesitate to expand it. next, in the south of syria, we're also taking advantage of opportunities to enable indigenous fighters, trained and equipped by us and other coalition partners. to conduct strikes inside syria. we're also enhancing jordan's border control and defenses with additional military assets and planning assistance.
turning to northern iraq, peshmerga units with the help of u.s. power, air power, and advisers have retaken the town of sinjar, cutting the main line of communication between raqqah and mosul which are the two largest cities under isil's control. to move people and supplies, isil must now rely on back roads where we will locate and destroy them. elsewhere in iraq, we have about 3,500 troops at 6 locations in support of iraqi security forces. there, we've been providing increased lethal fire and augmenting the existing training, advising and assisting program. and we're prepared to do more as iraq shows capability and motivation in the counter-isil fight and in resolving its political divisions. after a frustratingly long time, we are starting to see some
movement in the operation to recapture ramadi. over the past several months, the coalition has provided specialized training and equipment including combat engineering techniques like in-stride breaching and bulldozing and munitions like shoulder-fired missiles to stop truck bombs. to the iraqi army and its counterterrorism service units that are now beginning to enter ramadi neighborhoods from multiple directions. in fact, in the last 24 hours, the isf retook the anbar operations center on the northern bank of the euphrates river across from ramadi's city center. this is an important step, but there's still tough fighting ahead. isil has counterattacked several times, but thus far the isf has shown resilience. the united states is prepared to assist the iraqi army with additional unique capabilities to help them finish the job including attack helicopters and
accompanying advisers if circumstances dictate and if requested by prime minister abadi. i mention all this because it represents how we've adapted in the way we support our iraqi partners. and it shows that training, advising and assisting helps. and works. we will do more of what works going forward. while we're focused on making additional tactical gains, the overall progress in the sunni-populated areas of iraq has been slow, much to prime minister abadi's and our frustration. indeed, with respect to sunni tribal forces, we are urging the iraqi government to do more to recruit, train, arm, mobilize, and pay sunni popular mobilization fighters in their communities. we continue to engage the iraqi government at all levels to move forward on this critically important aspect of the count
counter-isil campaign including working with local police to ensure that there's an iraqi hold force to sustain future gains. next, in full coordination, again, with the government of iraq, we're deploying a specialized expeditionary targeting force to assist the isf and kurdish peshmerga forces and put even more pressure on isil through a variety of raids and intelligence-gathering missions. this force will also be in a position to conduct unilateral operations in syria. in iraq, the force will operate at the invitation of the iraqi government and focus on defending its borders and building the isf's ability to conduct similar operations. we will not be discussing specifics of this expeditionary targeting force or its operations in unclassified settings both to protect our forces and to preserve the element of surprise. we want this expeditionary targeting force to make isil and
its leaders wonder when they go to bed at night, who's going to be coming in the window. chairman dunford and i recognize that in principle, there are alternatives to the strategic approach we have adopted to drive isil from syrian and iraqi territory including the introduction of a significant foreign ground force. hypothetically international but including u.s. forces. even in the absence of capable motivated local ground forces. while we certainly have the capability to furnish a u.s. component to such a ground force, we have not recommended this course of action for several reasons. in the near term, it would be a significant undertaking that much as we may wish otherwise, realistically, we would embark upon largely by ourselves. and it would be ceding our comparative advantage of special forces, mobility and firepower, instead fighting on the enemy's terms.
in the medium term, by seeming to americanize the conflicts in iraq and syria, we could well turn those fighting isil or inclined to resist their rule into fighting us instead. as chairman dunford testified last week, quote, isil would love nothing more than a large presence of u.s. forces on the ground in iraq and syria so that they could have a call to jihad. and lastly, in the long term, there would still remain the problem of securing and governing the territory. these must be done by local forces. so in the end, while we can enable them, we cannot substitute for them. next, momentum on the ground, as i've described, in both syria and iraq has been enabled by greatly increased coalition airstrikes. additional strike aircraft we've put into turkey along with improved intelligence allowed us in november to significantly
increase our airstrikes against isil. to the highest level since the start of our operations in august 2014. moreover, because of improved intelligence and understanding of isil's operations, we've intensified the air campaign against isil's war-sustaining oil enterprise, a critical pillar of isil's financial infrastructure. in addition to destroying fixed facilities like wells and processing facilities, we've destroyed nearly 400 of isil's oil tanker trucks, reducing a major source of its daily revenues. there's more to come, too. we're also improving our capability to eliminate isil's leadership. since i last appeared before this committee in late october, we have removed two more key isil figures from the battlefield, namely jihadi john, an isil executioner, and abu
nabil, in libya. like previous actions, these strikes serve notice to isil that no target is beyond our reach. and as our military campaign intensifies on the ground and in the air, the defense department is also developing more strategic options in the cyber domain. these, then, are just nine areas of the adaptations we've made over the past six weeks to accelerate this campaign. and to see momentum build. president obama is committed to doing what it takes as opportunities arise as we see what works and as the enemy adapts until isil is defeated in a lasting way. the president has consistently supported the recommendations from me and general dunford. and we know he is prepared for us to bring him more. we will. at the same time that we're constantly looking to do more in the fight -- in this fight, the
world must do the same. the international community including our allies and partners has to step up before another attack like paris. france was galvanized by the attack on its capital and intensified its role. britain has now expanded its air campaign to strike isil in syria. italy has deployed its most elite police units to assist in iraq. germany is now making additional contributions. and the netherlands is actively considering doing more as well. but we all -- let me repeat that -- all must do more. turkey must do more to control its often-porous border. saudi arabia and the gulf states joined the air portion of the campaign in the early days, only the air part. but have since been preoccupied by the conflict in yemen, both in the air and on the ground.
and just this past week, i personally reached out to my counterparts in 40 countries around the world, in the coalition, and asked them to contribute more, in many cases contribute much more to enhancing the fight against isil. the types of things i've requested from our partners include special operations forces, strike and reconnaissance aircraft, weapons and munitions, training assistance, and other items. meanwhile, as the chairman noted, russia, which has publicly committed to defeating isil, has instead largely attacked opposition forces. it's time for russia to focus on the right side of this fight. before i conclude, i'd like to respectfully request the committee's attention to matters that bear upon our security and its responsibilities. first, over a month ago, i
submitted a request to the four congressional defense committees including this one to release holds on the final tranche of funds in the syria equipping program. that is, some $116 million. we need these funds to provide and transport ammunition, weapons and other equipment to further enable the progress being made against isil in syria by partners like the syrian arab coalition. all four committees have failed to act on that request. and i ask you to release these holds urgently. we should not be impeding the very momentum we are trying to build. next is the necessity to fill key vacancies in the defense department's critical leadership positions. i have appeared before this committee, as noted, six times over the last ten months. four times on the middle east, and twice in just the last six weeks on isil. while this committee has held 58
full hearings over the last year, only three have been confirmation hearings for d.o.d. civilian leaders. d.o.d. currently has 16 nominees awaiting the constitutional advice and consent of the senate. 12 of these 16 are still awaiting even a hearing. including our nominees to be secretary of the army, the undersecretaries of each of our three military departments, army, navy, and air force, and the undersecretaries of both intelligence and personnel and readiness. these positions should be filled by confirmed nominees, especially in a time of conflict. so i welcome that the process is now moving, and i urge is to move quickly for all of our civilian nominees and also for our senior military nominations that will be made early next year. finally, as i conclude, i want to commend this committee on last month's budget deal, which is the kind of deal i called for
back in march. it was a consequential agreement for the nation's security. as current funding for the government is set to expire, it is vital that the two houses now conclude work on funding all of the government consistent with the budget deal. now is not the time for more gridlock. i thank this committee in advance for your efforts because funding this budget deal is what our national security demands. and it sends the right message to our troops, our allies, and our enemies in this time of broad, global national security challenges and especially in this war. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in response, mr. secretary, in response to your last two points, one on the funding, we just received that request last week, but you know very well it's the result of the absolute
failure of the expenditure of what was judged then to be $43 million and four or five people were trained. we don't want to approve of something like that again. we want to -- if you want that kind of funding to train and equip, we want to know what the plan is, and we don't want to see a repetition of testimony by the head of central command who said, well, we have four or five less, and we've spent $43 million. we have an obligation to the taxpayers on the nominees. there's four pending before the united states senate today. and there is four more who will be having hearings this afternoon, which takes care of half of yours. and i'm not going to waste the time of the committee to go back and forth about threats of vetoes that -- in the view of the majority of this committee were totally unjustified on the part of the president including the failure still -- still despite your appearance in my office with the president's counterterrorism person that you were going to send me a plan.
you were going to send this committee a plan on the closure of guantanamo. we still haven't gotten that plan, mr. secretary. so if you're a little bit concerned about a lack of movement, i've been a little concerned about a lack of movement on guantanamo for the last seven years. >> right. >> so i will do what i can to get the four that are pending before the senate today, confirmed by the senate, and i will -- we will be having a hearing this afternoon on the four additional ones. >> thank you, mr. chairman. appreciate that. >> mr. secretary, on the 1st of december before the house armed services committee, congressman forbes asked general dunford, quote, have we currently contained isil? general dunford. we have not contained isil. mr. secretary, do you agree with general dunford? >> i agree with what general dunford said, yes. >> so if we have not contained
isil, how are we to believe that we are succeeding against isil? >> i think that we are building momentum against isil. i'm going to be very careful about describing -- i've described the trajectory of that success all around iraq and syria. some actions we're taking in libya. it's not my principal responsibility, but i met yesterday with the secretary of homeland security, the director of the fbi, the director of national intelligence and other officials to talk about what we could do more to strengthen the defense of the homeland as the department of defense. but in our principal responsibility, which is to take the fight to syria and iraq, i've described the actions that we've taken just since i appeared last time, and i think they are building momentum. >> thank you. how long do you think it will be before we retake mosul or raqqah?
>> with respect to mosul, mr. chairman, it is hard to say because that depends much on the progress of the iraqi security forces which i described in building themselves into a more capable combat force. with respect to ramadi -- >> raqqah, raqqah. >> oh, raqqah. well, raqqah, there the -- and you noted this yourself, mr. chairman -- the syrian kurds to the north have done an excellent job of clearing their territory. >> we're not going to go into raqqah, and you and i know that. >> they're not going to go into raqqah, no, no, no. it would be the syrian arabs. >> i guess the point is, mr. secretary, here we are with attacks on the homeland of the united states of america. we have not contained isil, and we have no time line -- the time line i was given when senator graham and i went over there was at least the end of next year before mosul, and there is no
plan, no strategy to retake raqqah. and i think it's pretty obvious to all that as long as they have the caliphate base, then they are able to orchestrate attacks such as they've successfully achieved in the last several weeks, whether it be ankara or russian airliner, southern beirut, paris or san bernardino. so here we are with -- and you described some measures that are probably very helpful. but with no time line of which to take out the caliphate from which there are many things happening including, according to news reports, developing chemical weapons. so -- and this is why i'm really puzzled. this morning, by the way, on one of the news shows, former head of the united states army, chief of staff of the united states army, general odierno, said we ought to have american contingent of troops on the
ground. and i frankly do not understand the logic in your statement about -- he said well, we certainly have the capability to furnish a u.s. component in such a ground force. we have not recommended because it would be a significant undertaking. i agree. we would have to do it largely by ourselves. i do not agree. it would be ceding our comparative advantage? we'd be -- and the -- in the medium term, it would seem to americanize the conflicts? does somehow -- does anybody really believe that if the united states struck back against the people that just slaughtered some americans in san bernardino that somehow that would encourage them? what encourages them, mr. secretary, is success. and they have a pretty serious record here of success just in the last couple of months since you were here. so i do not understand why in the world you wouldn't want, as
general king, the architect of the surge, the successful surge, and other military leaders including this morning, former chief of staff of the united states army, a small component of american forces with an international force which could be, if the united states had the credibility, could be gathered and then go in and take out this caliphate. as long as the caliphate, i know of no expert who doesn't believe that as long as this caliphate exists in raqqah, they're going to be able to orchestrate attacks and metastasize and maybe even move to libya. so maybe you can help the committee out again that this would somehow cede a comparative advantage, if we went in with a large arab force, the turks and egyptians, even, and other sunni nations and go in there and take those people out? there's 20,000 to 30,000 of them. they are not giants. so -- but -- finally, someone's
going to have to convince me that air power alone and special operations forces are going to succeed in the short term in order to prevent further things such as san bernardino. i'd love to hear your response. >> a couple of things, mr. chairman. first of all, to your main point about more american forces -- and i would say special forces, but others as well that train, advise, assist and accompany that are not special forces. i was talking about a multinational force. >> well, there, mr. chairman, as i indicated, i, too, wish that particularly the sunni arab nations of the gulf would do more. and going way back to -- >> they are willing to do so. if there's a united states commitment. >> i've had lengthy conversations. >> and so have i. >> with representatives there. well, i have to say that i have consistently emphasized to them
that they have a unique role here. and also, insofar as they're concerned about iran, which is another concern they have and, by the way, that we have also, totally different but serious subject also, that what i've emphasized to them is that we don't like it. but the iranians are in the game on the ground. and i very much would like, and we would very much welcome, we've repeatedly said this, working with those countries on the ground because we believe, as you noted, that they would have a distinctive advantage in a ground fight. with respect to the europeans, the europeans have, generally speaking, offered to do more within their capabilities and capacities. i will note here -- and this is
uneven across europe -- but in general, i am quite concerned with the level of investment that europe is making in its militaries and its alliance and partnership, therefore, with the united states. there's much more that their economies would enable them to do and that their history, as standing up for the civilized values that we stand up with really require of them. and so while we're getting more from the europeans and i've indicated i've asked for more, i'd like for there to still be more. so in that sense, i'm completely -- i'm with you. i simply, on the basis of my urgent and persistent consultations with them, unless have less high hopes perhaps
than you that they would assemble such a force, we would certainly welcome that. with that, i also don't want to -- >> could i just say that i urgently and fervently ask you for a strategy that you can tell us when we're going to take mosul, when we're going to take raqqah, and when we're going to wipe out this caliphate? and frankly, i have not seen that. general, did you want to add anything? >> sir, i would add three points. first, i agree completely that defending the homeland is our top priority. second, taking the fight -- >> that's helpful. >> taking the fight to the caliphate is what is going on today in iraq and syria. the combination of increasing the momentum with the movements in iraq in baiji as well as in ramadi and partnering with syria -- >> and again, general, there's no time line for mosul and raqqah which is the basis of the caliphate. >> sir, the fight on the ground defines the progress we will make against the caliphate. we have put significant pressure
on northern syria. we have taken, with syrian and arab coalition partners have taken significant ground in the north and the east of syria. they are using the equipment that we have provided to put pressure on isil's main lines of communication between raqqah and mosul to provide a time line would deny the fact that the enemy on the ground gets a vote, but they do not have freedom of maneuver. they do not have operational freedom of maneuver. they do not have tactical freedom of maneuver. >> general, they were just able to orchestrate an attack in san bernardino, california. my time has long ago expired. senator reed. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, we've all come to the conclusion we need american forces on the ground. the question, very generically, is how many and what are they going to do? this is a unique situation, but
we've got some analogies or at least examples. one in enduring freedom, we sent in specialized teams of u.s. personnel and air power together with local forces were able to disrupt and then ultimately defeat the taliban. in "iraqi freedom," we september in conventional forces. we won a very swift and brilliant conventional victory and then were confronted with instability and counterinsurgency. it would seem to me that you're tending to favor the former model, which would be to have specialized troops in there with our air power, et cetera, and that the constraining factor right now is the local indigenous forces on the ground, particularly arab forces, not kurdish forces, but arab forces. and i was told there's about 100 new syrian fighters that have been trained that are on the ground that are the potential. can you elaborate on those comments? >> i can.
first of all, with respect to the afghan experience, i agree with your general analysis of the history of those two instances. that was a circumstance in 2001 and 2002 where we were able, very rapidly and extremely effectively, to leverage a preexisting indigenous force, namely largely the northern alliance which we had, over the previous decade or so, built up in order to fight the soviets. and they actually succeeded in expelling the soviets from afghanistan. that force, that organization and other organizations of the so-called mujahadin in those days, we could quickly link up with again. and by providing them, enabling exactly in this manner, they would -- they would advance. that would cause the taliban to expose their positions, and we could cream them from the air. and so that was a perfect
example, ideal. we'd like to replicate that, of course, in this current circumstances in syria and iraq, we're having to build those forces. and they don't exist in the same way that they did in the northern alliance. with respect to the new syrian forces -- and it gets back to the funding issue -- we did change our approach to training and equipping syrian forces. our early experience there was disappointing. i've said that. i always told you i'm going to be very honest about things. that didn't work out very well because we were trying to build units from scratch. and the new approach -- and by the one we're asking you to fund, and we are providing -- i'm willing to send up a team today to brief you further on what we're looking for, but we really need this agility if we're going to fight a war. so i plead with you to take the briefings or whatever. we have a reason for requesting this money. it's different from the old program. we learned our lesson. we're doing something different, which is this.
we're taking units that have already formed and have undertaken to combat isil. the syrian arab coalition's an example of that. and instead of making -- trying to create a brand-new force or recruit a brand-new force and then put them, including by being on the ground with them, but especially equipping them and providing them with air power, amplifying their power, and we hope -- and this gets to the chairman's question about a time line for raqqah -- that if we make them successful as they move further south -- remember now, these are syrian arabs, not kurds, as the chairman rightly noted, wouldn't be appropriate for us to attack largely arab raqqah -- that they and their success will build, so to speak, a snowball that accumulates more fighters as they go. as that accumulates and there are more of them, we'll do more.
and to fall in behind them with the objective, then, of them taking raqqah, which would be a very important victory in the heart of isil territory. >> thank you. general, quickly, the command arrangements, general mcfarland is now the joint commander with operational control both in iraq and syria, i understand. are you satisfied, is general dunford satisfied that you have the best framework for command now to integrate all of the d.o.d. elements and ancillary elements you need? >> yes, sir. the joint task force command structure in baghdad that covers both iraq and syria is more than adequate to cover the military maneuver that's required and to orchestrate the forces that are required and has the support of central command's headquarters as an oversight and supporting headquarters. >> and they have the flexibility to make critical decisions in a
timely way without sort of second-guessing up and down the line? >> yes, sir. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator sessions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate your remarks. there's a great deal of frustration, secretary carter, and concern that we're drifting and reacting and don't have the kind of plan that will lead to success, number one. number two, i understand now the president says he wants an authorization of force. but because of the difficulties and bungling, i think that we've seen so far, we're going to have to know what you're going to do, how you're going to do it, how it's going to be successful. that is not clear. it's not clear to the american people. it's not clear to congress. it's not clear to our european allies, our allies in the middle east, or our enemies. that's the problem we've got. it's just very real.
secondly, i think that secretary gates was correct to say we need an overarching strategy for this whole deal with islamic extremism in maybe 20, 30, 50 years. and we've used the word "containment" to deal with that. however, that does not mean that in a long-term strategy of containment of extremism that we don't have to act decisively and militarily now. and i just think -- and i shared with you that we're -- i believe the defense department is underestimating the significance of the refugee crisis, the impact it's having in europe, the impact it's having in the united states, what's happening from all of this disorder and the flee of human beings and the deaths being caused and humanitarian disaster that's out there. so it seems to me, does it not to you, that a prompt, decisive
action to create safe zones in syria where people don't have to flee their home country can be kept safe there, would be positive, as a matter of humanity and as a military possibility? >> thank you, senator. i'll begin, and including on the safe zones and then perhaps ask the vice chairman to add any. he's done a lot of work on that as well. i'll just note with respect to the amf that we have the -- i'm not a lawyer, but i'm told, and i'm glad, otherwise it would be a problem, we have the authority -- legal authority to do what we want to do. and the amf, as i've testified, that the president submitted would also allow us to do everything we need to do in this campaign. >> just don't blame congress for not rubber-stamping it immediately. >> no, i understand. i think it's okay.
in fact, i didn't even mention it for just that reason. you're right. and i associate myself with you about acting decisively. i do recognize that there may be decades of combatting radicalism, in general. but we need to go after isil and its parent tumor in iraq, in syria now and urgently. and so i associate myself with that point of view. refugees is a tragic matter. and by the way, a reminder that only about half of the refugees are actually from syria. and they're also importantly from libya, from afghanistan, from throughout africa. while there are women and children caught up in this circumstance, the great bulk of them are young people, mostly
male, and professionally oriented who are looking for work. that's why german companies are at the train station recruiting them off the trains for their companies. that's the reality. but what does that mean for the countries from which they come? it's a tremendous talent drain as well as a humanitarian issue. so all the more reason why particularly in syria, to the extent that's a major part of the refugee crisis, we have to get an end to the civil war there and get a government that can govern decently, and assad's government is not that. with respect to safe zones. we have thought about that. i've certainly thought about that a great deal. i'll begin and describe the concept of a safe zone would be to create a patch of syria that wherein people who are inclined to go there could go there and be protected. they would need to be protected because you can foresee that at
least isil and other radical groups -- and quite possibly elements of the assad regime would undertake to prove that it wasn't safe. and so it would have to be made safe. and that takes us back to the question of what's an appropriate force of that size to protect a zone of that size? in our estimates, it's substantial. and again, i don't see -- much as i wish otherwise -- anybody offering to furnish that for us. i also think we have thought about who might want to reside in such a zone. i think it would be undesirable if it became a place into which people were pushed. say from turkey or europe, expelled, so to speak, into this zone. i don't know what the people who now live in the zone would think about other people coming into the zone. that would have to be taken into account and whether other people want to live there.
so we have thought about it. it's complicated. we have not recommended that because it's an undertaking of substantial scale where my judgment the costs outweigh the benefits. let me ask general that. >> before you answer -- >> all right. you're listening there to defense secretary ash carter testifying on the hill in the wake of the terrorist attacks in paris and san bernardino. he talked about the u.s. strategy against isis, saying that isis is not contained. of course, in stark contrast from what we heard from president obama several weeks ago. i want to bring in cnn military analyst peter mansour, phil mudd and barbara starr. barbara, first to you, ash carter made some news in his testimony saying that the u.s. would be providing additional capabilities to the iraqi army. what will that look like? >> well, what he was talking about, pamela, was ramadi. as you'll remember, several months ago at the low point of
all of this, really, iraqi forces basically ran from ramadi, the isis fighters took it over, and it's been under their grip ever since. the iraqis struggling to get it back. it's a real showcase of what isis's capability is to terrorize people. now the iraqis making some progress. and today carter saying we believe for the first time that the u.s. is willing to put apache gunships, apache attack helicopters into the ramadi fight to support the iraqis as they try and get it back, and perhaps even more important, u.s. military advisers on the ground. they would not go as far as the very front lines into ramadi, but they would be on the ground there, helping, advising and assisting iraqi forces as they struggle to retake ramadi. ramadi, mosul in northern iraq, raqqah in syria, these are the cities that are really the sort of global earmarks of isis's
power on the ground. these are the cities that the u.s. wants to be able to say isis has been booted out of. pamela? >> and what's interesting, just in the wake of what you're saying, barbara, he basically said, look the u.s. is doing our part. we're escalating the attacks against isis. now other countries they'd to do the same. and he singled out countries, peter. he said, you know, russia, saudi arabia, turkey. they need to step up to the plate. what do you make of that? >> you know, but what he's calling for is the reintroduction of arab air forces into the fight. again, that's reinforcing a strategy that chairman mccain and senator sessions rightly said has no time line. there's no end state in terms of when they're going to be able to retake raqqah or retake mosul. and what the secretary said is, well, we want to develop an indigenous sunni arab force to do this, it would be much easier to actually assemble an international coalition to
destroy isis and then assemble the sunni arab force to hold the ground once it's cleared of the grip of isis. and so i think he has it really reversed, and i think that's exactly what the chairman was pointing out in his questioning. >> phil, what do you think? do the arab countries in the region there need to do more? >> i think they do. >> well, they do -- >> i'm sorry. >> go ahead. peter? >> go ahead, peter. >> they absolutely do need to do more, but it's going to require american leadership. you know, we assembled an international coalition to fight the gulf war in 1991 that included all sorts of arab nations because we showed firm, decisive leadership and the willingness to put american boots on the ground. and if we did that again, i'm sure that we would have our arab allies and partners with us. but absent any sort of decisiveness on the president's part, they're going to stay on the sidelines. >> phil? >> i think the conversation is backward. i agree with peter that we do
have to have an international coaliti coalition, but we're focused on the application of unilateral military force in syria. there are two questions mostly on secretary kerry's plate that need to be answered first. number one, how do we assemble the coalition that will go in with u.s. forces into syria? because i think most people would agree, we do not want a yew new lateral american force governing syrian cities. the second question is if you are going to assemble that coalition, what government in damascus are they going to hand power over to? so the questions to me are what is the secretary of state doing to accelerate the process to bring governance to syria potentially including the russians and a conversation about the future of assad, and how do u.s. forces come behind that? most of the conversation now is focused on u.s. forces without considering what they're going in there to do. i think it's backwards. >> and barbara, we heard from ash carter saying, look, in order to succeed here, we need to defeat isil and its parent tumor of syria and iraq.
but as we've seen, isis fighters are spreading all over the world in other countries. why is that so important? why so much of a focus there? >> well, you know, i think senator mccain was making this point repeatedly. that, you know, he wanted to see a time line, an effort, a proposal to go and get isis out of raqqah. that, of course, is their stronghold in syria. not likely that any fighters on the ground, arab fighters, kurdish fighters, anybody is really going to be able to take on raqqah any time soon. but one of the big reasons you want to be able to show progress against that is isis's appeal around the world to fighters, to a large extent, is that it's invincible that it has this apocalyptic version of the future, and it will achieve it, that it is victorious, and it's invincible. if you can show vulnerability in places like raqqah and mosul, iraq, where they still do have an iron grip, that begins to chip away at their aura.
that's one of the things the u.s. wants to try and do. but look, the reality is on the ground is they are a long ways from doing that any time soon. >> right. and phil, to that point, you know, the military is just one component of all of this. what else needs to be done to defeat isis, as the president has said he will do and as the defense secretary has said that he will do? >> there's some issues you they'd to address on the ground in syria. the first is -- and the president hasn't talked about this much -- if we want leverage to get assad out so you can have some sort of political process, you're going to have to talk to the russians. and right now we're sideways with the russians on what to do about the future of assad. we don't want military forces in there unilaterally, i don't think, without a plan for what the end game is. on the periphery and the conversation about winning partly is some confusion about how isis is expanding out of syria and iraq where they're gaining, and how they're expanding in syria and iraq where they're losing, in my judgment. the conversation's going to have
to expand to places like libya and yemen. when we see isis go to other areas, how do we engage the u.s. military to bring capability to areas where there's not much military capability, and do we want to continue killing people on the battlefield in places we're not at war like libya? i think the answer is yes, but overall, that's going to take 20, 30 years to execute that enabling local forces while we continue to kill isis leaders who have moved out of places like syria and iraq. >> all right. phil mudd, we'll leave it there. peter mansoor, barbara starr, appreciate it. i'll be right back. yes. you know, that reminds me of geico's 97% customer satisfaction rating. 97%? helped by geico's fast and friendly claims service. huh... oh yeah, baby. geico's as fast and friendly as it gets.
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as backlash grows over donald trump's call for a temporary ban on muslims entering the u.s. "the wall street journal" saying trump's remarks have triggered a brawl between his supporters and party leaders. and it comes as a gnaw poll shows that more than two-thirds of trump's supporters would follow the republican front-runner if he left the party and mounted a third-party bid. and trump speaking out this morning on the possibility of that bid. cnn's sara murray has more. so what is he saying, sara? >> right, pam. even though so many republicans and even democrats have been outraged by trump's proposal, he does have his own trump card. and that's holding out this idea of a third-party bid. take a listen to what he had to say about that today. >> well, the republican party has been -- the people have been phenomenal. the party, i'll let you know about that. and if i don't get treated fairly i would certainly consider that. in fact, they did a poll in one of the -- i think it was "usa today" where they said 68% of the people that were republicans would follow trump if he went independent.
>> right. >> now, that poll he was referring to is relatively small sample size, but it does give you an idea of the bind that the republican party is in. even though they really don't agree with trump's rhetoric on this specific issue of banning muslims, they definitely don't want to inspire him to mount a third-party challenge. when you talk to republicans, a lot of them feel like that would be a guarantee for hillary clinton to walk away with a presidential win come november. a few other republican and independent donald trump and hillary clinton all pitted against one another. pam? >> yeah. and it sounded like trump was sort of leaving open the possibility that he could run as an independent, saying if i'm not treated fairly, that's what i'm going to do. there's been such widespread gop backlash, but not everyone is criticizing those remarks, including conservative radio hosts, right, sara? >> yeah, that's absolutely right. there are a number of conservative radio hosts, particularly in places like iowa, and that's really, you know, who trump is trying to appeal to when he makes comments
like this, are these core conservatives in iowa. and look, that's also the reason that ted cruz hasn't been very critical of trump's comments. he said i disagree with them, but i'm not going to take on trump because i want to win over his supporters and ben carson's supporters and marco rubio's supporters. and so that's sort of the situation we're in right now. you know, even though we might have republican party leaders here in washington and even in some of the early states saying this does not reflect what our party or country is about, there are a lot of conservative voters who feel differently. >> all right, sara murray, thank you very much. and a quick programming note. donald trump will join don lemon this evening on "cnn tonight." it all begins at 10:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. and we're less than a week away from the last gop debate of 2015. the stage is being set for iowa. who makes it to ours? find out as wolf blitzer moderates the next republican national committee debate next tuesday at 6:00 and 8:30 p.m. and still ahead, the fbi chief on the hot seat. lawmakers want to know, is the
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right now to the war on terror. the director of the fbi, james comey, is testifying on capitol hill. his focus, of course, the threat of foreign fighters, isis recruitment, and the u.s. strategy against the terrorist group. let's get straight to cnn justice correspondent evan perez. evan, director comey just made news about the san bernardino attacks and when the couple was radicalized, right? >> that's right, pamela. this is along the lines of what you and i have been reporting over the last couple of days, that really the radicalization of these two san bernardino killers began much earlier than even when she came to this country when she emigrated under a fiancee visa in 2014.
they've found this goes all the way back to 2013. take a listen to what he had to say today. >> -- investigation to date which i can only say so much about at this point vats that they were actually radicalized before they started courting or dating each other online and online as early as the end of 2013, they were talking to each other about jihad and martyrdom before they became engaged and then married and lived together in the united states. we also believe they were inspired by foreign terrorist organizations. we're working very hard to understand exactly their association and the source of their inspiration. >> and pamela, that one part of his comments there, i think, really point to a key part of this investigation, which is as much as we know on the day of the attack, they posted this posting on facebook saying that they were doing this in the name of the leader of isis.
the fbi is still trying to figure out what else might have inspired them because clearly if they're talking about jihad in 2013, that's even before isis really becomes known to everyone. and especially for these two people. so clearly there was other influences at work well before isis came on the scene. >> and what's so interesting, too, is he's saying they were in communication talking about jihad before tashfeen malik, his wife, was aproproved to get a va to come to the u.s. how concerning is that? >> right, exactly. and how do you catch that? you can do all the monitoring you can, you want, and if someone is really not showing up on your radar, then how are you supposed to catch these online chats where you're talking about jihad? again, that stuff, even if you're just talking about it, it's protected speech until you actually try to do something. and also a key part of jim comey's testimony today is talking about trying to figure out whether they had other plans, bigger plans, either that day or perhaps at other times.
and so that's another part of the mystery that the fbi is trying to unravel, pamela. >> yeah, because we know he had a cache of bombs and other weapons in his house. evan perez, thank you very much. coming up in the "newsroom," he's owning it. rahm emanuel facing city council and the growing controversy surrounding the city's police department. i brto get us moving.tein i'm new ensure active high protein. i help you recharge with nutritious energy and strength. i'll take that. yeeeeeah! new ensure active high protein. 16 grams of protein and 23 vitamins and minerals. ensure. take life in. rightabreva can heal itold sore, in as few as two and a half days when used at the first sign. without it the virus spreads from cell to cell. only abreva penetrates deep
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wow! chicago mayor rahm emanuel says he owns it when it comes to the misconduct in the city's police department. the embattled mayor just went before the city council in a special session to talk about the problems in the city's police force. he says the police department failed laquan mcdonald and other victims. >> what happened on october
20th, 2014, should never have happened. supervision and leadership in the police department and the oversight agencies that were in place failed. and that has to change. i am the mayor. as i said the other day, i own it. i take responsibility for what happened because it happened on my watch. and if we're going to fix it, i want you to understand it's my responsibility with you. but if we're also going to begin the healing process, the first step in that journey is my step, and i'm sorry. >> ryan young joins us from chicago by phone. ryan, this seems like a pretty big admission. was it expected?
>> reporter: i don't know if anyone expected what we just heard, pamela. honestly, there was a lot of emotion here in this city council chambers. there were some people who obviously were agreeing with the mayor. there were some people who were in step with some of the things he had to say. you actually hear some protesters screaming outside as he was talking. so i think there was a moment of reflection when he was talking about how police officers treat people. and one young man who used to be a gang member asked if he thought the mayor was accused and the mayor gave the honest answer saying i don't think i can take it the way you are. and i think there was a bit of silence here in the hallway and in the room when he said that. you could actually see him get pretty emotional during parts of the speech. open moments of reflection, quite honestly. there's been a lot of people looking to see what changes would happen over the next few
weeks after the mcdonald video was released. but they were asking for more. and when you hear what he had to say, this has to be the most open and honest, a lot of what you heard in chambers since this whole thing started, the idea of trying to regain people's trust and making sure that communities feel like the police department is here for them is something that a lot of people were looking to hear. conversely, talking about the fact that there are young men who are joining gangs. he thought that's their only option and that has to change. you know, to be honest, you think about a city like this that's facing so many challenges over 2,000 shootings, almost 400 murders. so obviously, there's a gun violence issue here. i'm sorry if you hear that noise in the background. city council is getting ready to get started again. but we are in the back of the chamber, and people are essentially sort of giving their reactions to what the mayor had to say. it's been kind of astounding to see people's clap, some people
stood afterwards. you heard people in the background talking about they want to hear more about what could change, and they want to hear barometers for what we'll see a month, two months from now. but guys, i'm going to step out of this hallway and just wanted to give you this quick update as we get ready for city council to start again. >> ryan young, thank you so much. thank you for being with me today. i'm pamela brown in for carol costello. " "at this hour" with berman and bolduan" starts now. >> just moments ago, donald trump with a new veiled threat to run as an independent. this morning, is that what republicans want, or is that what republicans dread? and just in, the san bernardino terrorists, they were radicalized long before they started dating. hear what the fbi has discovered about their past to jihad. and moments from now, president obama will address the nation as america's first black president to mark 150 years since the u.s.