tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN January 3, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
government-owned wildlife refuge. it all started because two oregon ranchers are set to go to prison tomorrow for arson. cnn's polo sandoval is following the story. who are these occupiers, and what do they hope to accomplish? >> reporter: they call themselves patriots, constitutionalists and by their own account militias. they are hoping to stand behind the hammond family, those two individuals scheduled to report to prison tomorrow. also this is part of a wider issue, this building conflict between some ranchers and the federal government over the use of public land. they're armed and staying put, a group of protesters broke into an unoccupied building at an oregon federal wildlife refuge saturday. they claimed to be taking a stand against the federal government's control and use of the land. the armed occupation broke off from a peaceful rally earlier in
the dwa to support dwight and steven hammond, expected to report to prison monday. >> it didn't my decision, obviously. it's a sentence. >> reporter: hammond and his son were convicted of arson, setting at least 130 acres of federal land on fire. the hammonds maintain it was a controlled blaze that accidentally got out of hand. prosecutors, however, argue the flames were meant to cover up poaching. >> it's sort of frightening when there's people making threats and people touting guns. >> people are afraid. >> reporter: among the armed protesters the son of nevada rancher cliven bundy. he was at the center of a similar standoff with the federal government last year over grazing fees. >> this is not a time to stand down. it is a time to stand up. >> reporter: the younger bundy called on militia groups to descend on the county and demand the government restore, quote, the people's constitutional right, part of a vague and vocal anti-government message. >> the people have been abused long enough, really.
their lands and their resources have been taken from them to the point where it's putting them literally in poverty. >> reporter: the hammonds, however, are distancing themselves from this latest face-off. their attorney communicating in a short but clear statement to the county sheriff's office says, "neither ammon bundy more anyone within this group or organization speak for the hammond family." those protesters, however, say their demonstration is peaceful but if provoked they will defend themselves. so both dwight and steve hammond making it very clear they do not agree with this occupation of this federal facility. the lingering question, why five years for them? that is actually federal law that requires the convictions for arson on federal property carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. they had initially appealed that back in 2012 when they were convicted. that trial court agreed to actually lower the sentence but prosecutors later turned to another appellate court who said
no, federal law applies here. they have to serve five years. that's what's fueling these frustrations that are playing out on that property right now. >> polo sandoval, thank you so much. let's talk more about this with our cnn justice correspondent evan perez. he's joining us on the phone from washington. evan, how are federal law enforcement authorities handling this group? >> well, one of the interesting things that's happening right now, fred, is that the fbi, which has jurisdiction because this is a federal building that has been taken over by an armed group, they're keeping a very low low profile on this and it's a very unusual situation, obviously. they seem to be wanting to lower the temperature. they don't want to make a confrontation, which is what this group appears to want. they seem to want some kind of confrontation that perhaps would draw even more support from the wider militia movement. it's important to note that even members of the militia groups
around the country, a lot of them seem to be distancing themselves. they're not quite sure that this is the right way to go, to go in and take over a federal building. so the fbi and other groups -- other law enforcement agencies seem to be trying to lower the temperature. they're not rushing in there. the atf, the fbi, the martial service all arms of the justice department would normally be expected to go in there and restore order. at this point, they're sort of holding back, waiting for the local authorities to give them a chance to see if they can resolve the situation. it also brings to mind a little bit of a broader problem that the fbi and federal law enforcement has had with some of these groups. if you remember the standoff at the bundy ranch last year, in that case, a rancher basically was standing up to the federal government which wanted to perhaps detain him for refusing
to pay fees, grazing fees. in that case, the federal government backed down, and that has only emboldened these militia groups because they believe they have the upper hand, that they can stand up to the federal government, and they can win. it will be interesting to see how they manage to resolve this because these militia groups are only emboldened by the federal government trying to hold back on its response. >> and earlier reports indicated there were no federal employees, workers, staff, whatsoever in that building. does that remain the case? and then you mentioned federal authorities want to see how local authorities, you know, handle the situation, but if this is a federal building on federal land, isn't it federal law enforcement that has the jurisdiction? not local? >> absolutely. it is the federal jurisdiction. and that's what -- which really begs the question of what the federal government is going to do about this, because you're right, this is their
responsibility to secure this building. and it remains true that there are no federal employees in that building. it was the christmas and new year's break. it is winter in this fish and wildlife refuge. so the hours are more limited. there's fewer staff there. normally at this time of year. so that's one reason why there was nobody there and why there was no confrontation from the initial get-go. but it does beg the question, as you said, it is federal responsibility, this is the fbi's responsibility. and the longer they allow a grandparent of armed individuals to take over a federal building and they don't do anything about it, it really perhaps would seem to encourage more of this to happen. by the way, these groups are all over the country. there's a lot of these folks who believe that the federal government has no jurisdiction over them, that they have no power over them, that -- they
call themselves sovereign citizens a lot of them, and believe their rights are more important than government rights. for instance, if they get pulled over for a speeding ticket they are known to use confrontation to get out of that, so you've had a bunch of these incidents around the country. it will be interesting to see what the federal government can do on this because these guys want a confrontation so you can understand why some officials don't want to give it -- >> all right. it looks like we lost that signal with evan perez. but i think you get the gist. he's got his fingers on the pulse there and has a clear understanding of what he says are being classify as sovereign citizens and how federal authorities are hoping that local authorities can get the upper hand on this situation as these occupiers have taken control of a federal building on federal land in that wildlife refuge. more on that when we get it. to our other top story. president barack obama arriving afternoon.shington this
he will begin his 2016 agenda by tackling the, quote, unfinished business of his presidency, the epidemic of gun violence. monday he plans to meet with attorney general loretta lynch to discuss his options in expanding background checks for gun sales. this furz the president joins anderson cooper for a live town hall on guns in america. cnn investigations correspondent chris frates joins us now. the timing of this town hall should be noted. the same month of the state of the union address and possibly within days of any more detail on this executive action? >> reporter: that's right. the president is kicking off this new year with an aggressive push for tighter gun control. sources say expanding background checks will be a keystone of the president's actions.
>> a few weeks i directed staff to come up with any actions i can take. on monday i meet with loretta lynch to discuss our options. i get too many letters from parents and teachers and kids to sit around and do nothing. >> reporter: sources say president obama's expected to announce new executive action soon expanding background checks on gun sales aimed at closing the so-called gun show loophole which allows some gun sellers to avoid conducting a background check. gun control advocates have also pushed the white house to tighten regulations on the report of lost and stolen guns and want the president to prevent more alleged domestic abusers and passengers on no fly list from buying guns. but before the president has even announced the details of his actions, republicans running to replace him were seemingly competing on who would undo them faster. >> so he's going to sign another executive order having to do with the second amendment, having to do with guns. i will veto that. i will unsign that so fast.
so fast. >> all these executive orders he'll come out with tomorrow that will undermine our second amendment rights on my first day in office, they're gone. >> reporter: jeb bush argued there was no need to expand background checks. >> the so-called gun show loophole doesn't exist. people that want to sell guns ought to have the right to do so without being impaired by the federal government. >> reporter: democrats have applauded obama's efforts. sunday bernie sanders, whose democratic rivals have called him weak on gun control, endorsed increased background checks. >> i think most gun owners in this country understand that people who should not own guns should not be able to buy them. and we do need to expand the instant background check. i don't think that's an onerous burden on anybody. >> reporter: so measuring americans' attitudes on guns seems to depend on how you ask the question. in a recent cnn poll, a majority said they don't support stricter gun control laws or the
president's handling of guns but in a quinnipiac survey an overwhelming majority, 89%, said they support requiring background checks for all gun buyers. fred? >> all right. chris frates, thank you so much. don't miss the live exclusive town hall about guns in america this thursday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. president barack obama joining anderson cooper. among other things he will discuss the executive action on guns that he is expected to announce at any point this month. and the president will also be taking questions from a live studio audience. when we come back, we'll talk to one gun advocate who says background checks won't fix everything.
president barack obama wants to, panhandle background checks and many are saying it violates the second amendment. jerry, good to see you. just to be a little more clear, the executive action hasn't happened yet. we haven't seen all the language involved. reportedly it would mean that the sellers would have to be licensed and it might mean that if you're going to a gun shop to
purchase a gun you wouldn't be -- you would have to endure a background check. are you on board with that or not? >> thanks for having me, number one. two, we already have a definition in the federal law of what gun sellers and dealers are. so i don't know why putting it into an executive order would do anything. the other thing is if you go to a gun store right now to buy a gun, you have to go through a background check so i don't understand what that's going to do. if you look at san bernardino, for instance, the most recent mass murders, that happened in state, california, which has more restrictive gun control than anybody else. they have waiting systems, they have waiting times, they have extended background checks.
and it didn't do any good to stop those people from killing 14 people out there. >> what you say and you help underscore that a number of the mass shootings have taken place in recent years, even by our own research, it was difficult to make a connection between these who carried out these shootings and anyone purchasing their weapons at a gun shop because apparently this executive -- gun show, rather -- this executive order would be extending background checks as it pertains to gun shows. do you see there would be some value in that kind of provision that would mean that all sellers of firearms would have to be licensed? >> we already have background checks at gun shows. anybody who buys a gun from a federally firearms licensed dealer, no matter where they are, even if it's in their own personal home, they have to go through a personal background check.
that changes nothing. what they're trying to stop is private sales between me and you or someone else that knows that i have a firearm that i want to sell. >> do you think there needs to be intervention in that respect? >> no, i don't, because if you do that -- the only way you c can -- they tried that in oregon and got that in california. the only way you can make that law work is if you have universal gun registration, which we are totally against, and anybody that has anything to do with the second amendment is going to be against registration of all firearms in the united states. >> if you had an opportunity to work with the president on some sort of measure that would change laws on the books as it pertains to gun ownership and gun use, what would you recommend to the president, or what would be the areas that you believe still need to be fixed or worked on? >> we have plenty of gun laws.
we need to enforce the gun laws that we have. we need to remove the revolving doors from the prisons and put people in jail who commit these crimes and let them stay there for a while. we don't need them to be able to plea-bargain out after six months for shooting someone or for whatever reason they were doing it. we have enough gun laws. we just need to enforce the ones we have. >> what would be a measure in your view, a recommendation in response to the mass shootings where of the gunmen there wasn't a record of them leaving jail and suddenly getting firearms, there wasn't necessarily a record of many of them or any of them that we could find getting a gun at a gun show? what would be your recommendation to help, prevent, stop stand in the way of these mass shootings? >> what you just said explained why background checks don't
work. you're not going to stop anybody from getting a gun because criminals will do whatever they need to do to get a gun. i forget what else you asked me. >> what's your recommendation to stop, to prevent another mass shooting? >> i think the main thing we need to do is do away with gun-free zones. every place these mass murders occur is a gun-free zone. if they don't know that somebody's in there or if they know that somebody's in there or might be in there with a gun or two or three or five people or whatever, they're going to be less likely to go into those places and commit these crimes. >> online gun sales, are they regulated enough in your view? >> anytime you have an online gun sale if it goes across the state line it has to be accompanied with a background check. you can't just ship a firearm, pistol, especially, but even the hand -- or the long guns, you can't just ship them across
state lines. you have to ship them from one federally firearm place dealer to another one. anyone who is doing that is not following the law right now. passing another law isn't going to do any good to stop that. >> before i let you go, president obama will be on the air on cnn live thursday evening for this town hall. hosted by anderson cooper. yo hawed a an opportunity to ask him a question, because he will be fielding questions from those in a live audience, what would your question to the president be as it pertains to gun safety in america? >> i don't know what he'll propose with executive orders, and that would have a lot to do with what i would ask him, but i would remind him that what he's doing right now and what we've been doing and what he did with the 23 executive orders after sandy hook has not done anything to stop this. he needs to quit worrying about disarming the american people and start passing laws tat will hurt the criminal and not the
checking our top stories, san bernardino, california, hundreds of employees at the inland regional center are expected to return to work tomorrow with tighter security in place including a new fence around the property. it has been closed since that mass shooting one month ago killing 14 people. the facility provides services for disabled people. employees have been working from home. day three in a maunt for the gunman who killed two people and wounded eight others in a new year's day attack in tel aviv. police are looking for 31-year-old nishad malang from northern israel. his dad called police after recognizing him on security video and finding a gun missing from his home. right now specialized police units are searching house to house. his uncle told cnn that he is suffering from psychological disorders. a suicide attack by isis fighters have killed nine iraqi police officers. the suicide bombers tried to
attack an iraqi military base this morning but did not get past the front gate. iraqi forces still sweeping neighborhoods in ramadi where many isis fighters are suspected of hiding. iraqi troops are ve taken the city from isis but the terror group still has control of some areas. a firestorm of protests against saudi arabia. protesters angry after the saudis executed 47 people accused of terrorism. and among those executed a prominent shiite cleric. just in the last few minutes saudi state tv reported the saudi is cutting ties with the regime in iran. becky anderson has more on the protests. >> a measure of the fury that
erupted in parts of the middle east after the execution of the sheikh al nimr. rouhani blamed it on extremists. he also condemned the killing of the shiite cleric saying it violated human rights and islamic values and labeled it another example of, quote, sectarian policies that he says are destabilizing the region. it's aiew echoed by shiite leaders in iraq, lebanon, and in other parts of the middle east. >> i fear that the execution of sheikh nimr would most likely pour gasoline on raging fires in syria and iraq and yemen, in lebanon, in bahrain, and in saudi arabia itself. >> reporter: from bahrain to iraq to lebanon, shiites protested the killing of one of their most holy men. even the shiite minority
protested, a rare act. >> the decision to execute sheikh nimr will have major repercussions on political and social stability in the kingdom itself. it will polarize relations between the dominant sunni community and the shia community, a community that feels marginalized and it feels that basically it's not fully integrated into saudi arabia. >> reporter: sunni-led gulf states like ua eshgts and bahrain, were quick to come out in support of the monarchy. the wider region is starting the new year with a collapsing cease-fire in already devastated yemen. the prospect of a long and bitter road ahead to any prospective peace in syria. an escalation in saudi/iranian tensions has the potential to impact so many key issues in this region. so the execution that ended the
life of one man could affect the life of many others in the weeks to come. becky anderson, cnn, abu dhabi. >> let's talk more about this. joined by bobby gauche, a cnn global affairs analyst. good to see you. this latest news now that saudi arabia is severing ties with iran and telling the iranians in saudi arabia that they have 48 hours in which to get out of the country, how do you dissect that information? >> well, i think that was coming after the attack on the saudi embassy yesterday. it was almost inevitable that this would follow. especially since the response from iran completely unexpectedly was full of rage and iran's supreme leader essentially summoned the wrath of god against saudi arabia. so i think you're going to see a period of very harsh rhetoric
and cuttinging of diplomatic ties. it comes at a very bad time. only a few months ago it seemed like there was a possibility that ties between the two countries could have been on the mend. the saudi ambassador was sent to iran after a long break. it looked like there was just a little glimmer of hope that the two countries, although they are traditionally opposed to each other, might at least be having some kind of diplomatic conversation. now that door seems at least for the moment to be firmly shut. >> and talk about bad timing, saudi arabia is a key ally to the u.s., so how should the u.s. respond when at the same time the u.s. has high hopes in its iranian nuclear deal? >> i think the u.s. will have to look at those two things separately now. the deal with iran is almost certainly done. there will be arguing at the margins but for the most part that negotiation process is over. the u.s. has responded.
the state department put out a statement earlier today. in the mildest terms chastising saudi arabia for this execution of a shiite cleric warning that execution might increase sectarian tension in the region. i'm afraid at this point that ship has already sailed and it's a little unclear what the u.s. can do now that the execution has already happened, now that the tit for tat diplomatic sort of war of words has already begun. i think a certain amount of heat has to be allowed to escape before some kind of calm can be brought back. can the u.s. play a role in that? probably indirectly. it's much more likely that others in the region, like oman, other countries in the region, will have a bigger role to play. >> in your view, what does saudi arabia have to gain in this latest posture? >> well, the saudis are sending a message. most of it is domestic. it is sending a message to shiite -- the shiite population
in the east that they are a minority, that they are sort of under the thumb of the ruling sunni majority, and that is where they're going to remain, that they shouldn't get ideas about what the saudis would consider their station. there's also a great deal of -- and you hinted at this in your introduction. there's a lot of infighting going on within saudi arabia. there's a contest going on between a son and a nephew over the succession, and that plays into this as well. and more generally the saudi -- this is a sort of increase in the saudi sort of position against the shiites if you like, because the other thing that took place today that is lost in all of this is that the saudis ended the cease-fire in yemen and sort of ramped up their attacks in that country, and that is also essentially aimed against the shiite people. this is saudi arabia saying the gloves are off. >> bobby, thank you so much. always good to see you.
we're back. in his seven years in office, president obama has been unable to get congress to move on any gun control legislation. this is not the first time the president has resorted to using executive orders. notably in 2014 he unveiled executive action to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. and the same year he also used it to establish a $10 per hour minimum wage for contractor who is do work with the federal government. joining me right now on the phone cnn political analyst john avlon, also the editor in chief of "the daily beast." happy new year. >> happy new year. >> is this president obama's only recourse to try and get things done in his last year in office as it pertains to any and
all things gun related? >> well, certainly gun related. i mean, remember the situation is that republicans control both the senate and the house of representatives and especially in a presidential election year where the already rough relationships only going to get rougher a republicans try to play to their base, it's unlikely the president's ever going to find common ground with republicans on an issue like gun control. and that's why you see him sending signals that he's going to be proposing some unilateral actions, because really his efforts at a full-court press in the wake of the horrific slaut slaughter at newton run successful mass shootings continue, and this is an yair of deep philosophical divide between him and the republicans. there's possibility the president could find common ground with republicans on some issues but gun control will be at the bottom of that list. >> as it pertains to executive orders, while the president feels, you know, impowered by being able to use it, anyone
following him certainly could try to repeal it. already you're hearing from rubio and trump saying if elected they would repeal it right away. so explain the importance of exercising executive order. what great risk is the president doing this potentially? >> this is an enormous reality check that's needed right now around executive orders. first of all, president obama has actually had fewer executive orders, certainly on an annual basis than any of his immediate predecess predecessors. we can pull up those numbers -- okay, we don't have the numbers but i can reiterate some of those. president obama, 225 times he's used executive order. president george w. bush 291, bill clinton, 364 and reagan 384 times. so, yes, among those that i just mentioned, president obama having the least amount. >> exactly. and this is against a backdrop of, you know, the presidential candidates, you know, reacting to the announcement of these
possible executive order os on guns using language like the president wants to act like a king or dictator, well, you know, when republicans didn't have the same level of outrage when, you know, presidents -- republican presidents have many more executive orders whether it's w or reagan, i think that helps expose the politics behind some of the selected outrage. but as you said, one of the things about executive orders is that they can be reversed on day one by a president of an opposing party. an executive order has been used going back to president george washington. they've done great things like the integration of armed forces, the desegregation of public schools. they've been responsible for some terrible things like executive order that set up the context for internment camp s fr during world war ii. executive order itself is not an unconstitutional or abuse of power scenario, but it is subject to repeal by a president and in this heightened political environment you just know that the rhetoric's going to get
ratcheted up to 100. >> just to reiterate those numbers in case i didn't articulate them clearly, ronald reagan 381 times using executive order, bill clinton 364, george w. bush 291 and president obama thus far 225 times. so i wonder, john, do you see that this is going to, you know, i guess create a new momentum or a new type of push on the campaign trail as it pertains to the gop and even the dems? >> i think certainly this is an issue that really polarizes the two parties. i mean, the republicans are deeply in their marrow rally around defense of the second amendment and articulation of that whereas i think 89% of americans support closing gun show loopholes, which is one of the items under discussion as a possible executive order action by the president. you've got a real philosophical
divide between the two parties and as the presidential candidates are hitting the campaign trail hard, the rhetoric will get ratcheted it up. it is an area of deep philosophical divide but more importantly fuel to the fire when candidates are trying to appeal to their base. on the democratic side, the president is just preaching to the choir. there are differences between bernie sanders and hillary clinton and martin o'malley on the issue, but the president, this is bedrock value stuff for democrats. and they would argue not inconsistent with the second amendment. >> all right. john, thank you so much. of course big night thursday night cnn hosting a townal, "guns in america," president barack obama joining anderson cooper and of course taking live questions from the audience that evening, thursday night. straight ahead, bracing for floodwaters. we'll look at where people are fleeing their homes, which areas will be hit.
7 million people in 15 states are under flood warnings, this as floodwaters are peaking near parts of illinois but are starting to approach some structures in memphis, tennessee. let's bring meteorologist tom satyr into the equation here. which areas downstream are going to be hit likely next? >> well, south of st. louis is cape girardeau in the boot he'll. from there southward things will get interesting because there are so many rivers that continue to feed the mighty mississippi and one of those in particular is of course the arkansas river, which is flooding a number of areas. so as far as flood warnings, those river spots that we've been talking about in the last week, we have dropped the number in half. we were over 438 different spots of numerous rivers. but again the concern is the mississippi. president obama citing an emergency declaration for federal funds for those in missouri and that's good news, but cape girardeau, which has a 50-foot floodwall, just
underneath it, 48.9. 30 homes and businesses were destroyed by the flooding but anytime you have day after day of high water the amount of pressure poses a problem. in cairo, this is interesting because 56.1 feet, there are going to be and already have seen breaches of levees. in that cairo area, even though they eat hit 56, they'll be around 55 sfr five days. it's a slow flow of massive water. then it gets interesting. from memphis just moderate flooding but notice on the arkansas river, little rock's okay, they've bolstered defenses around the capital, but pine bluff, major flooding. when that water from the arkansas meets up with all of this flooding in the mississippi, this is where it's going to get a little hairy in the days to come, from greenville, vicksburg, natches. again, the pressure on the levees will be tremendous and all bets are off of which ones actually will hold and which
ones will not. many of these built many years ago could have a weak spot and so that's what we're going to watch. then in the next couple weeks it's going to be down from baton rouge to new orleans. so the story is not over with yet, and unfortunately i think we may have more bad news before we get good news. at least south of st. louis towns are below flood stage from union to pacific and the cutoff city of eureka. >> thanks for the warning, tom. coming up, if you thought the 2016 race was already wild, buckle up. the pace is about to get even faster. we'll explain next.
count them -- in just 309 days, we will be electing a new president. it seems like a long time away, but as cnn's chief congressional correspondent dana bash shows us, the pace of the race is already picking up. >> for some of us it's felt like 2016 for a while now. but the race for the white house is about to start moving fast. very fast. >> i'd like to have the election tomorrow. i don't want to wait. >> even before the first votes
are cast in iowa the january calendar's jam packed. first up -- an appearance by the guy currently occupying pennsylvania avenue, remember him? >> the state of the union is strong. >> president obama will give his final state of the union address in a few days. could his agenda mote have a republicans or divide the dems? more debates, january alone will see three more face-to-face confrontations republican party chairman rance priebus engineers the 2016 calendar to try to coalesce his party around a single candidate. here's what he said this time two years ago. >> i think we've got a six-month slice and dice festival that's destroying our party. and so the first thing i want to do is shrink that six months down to 60 or 70 days. >> reporter: february 1st is the critical day, the iowa caucuses. >> this is the big potato.
>> reporter: shaping up as a battle between donald trump and ted cruz. cruz might have the better ground game -- >> we have today over 500 volunteers, volunteered between now and february 1st, to come from all over the country to camp cruz, to relive life in a college dormitory. i'm told they're having a keg party next week. >> reporter: but trump could lure new voters, if they turn out for the complicated caucus process. >> if we win iowa, i think we're going to win everything after that. >> reporter: the winners and losers from iowa will face each other again for another debate, wedged in just before the next vote in new hampshire. >> i love new hampshire. >> i appreciate the men and women of new hampshire. >> it's great to be in beautiful new hampshire. >> reporter: a win by an establishment republican in new hampshire could set the stage for a south carolina showdown. the palmetto state's gop primary is just days later, february
20th. >> great to be back in south carolina, a place that believed in me. >> reporter: and don't forget the nevada caucuses for the gop just three days later. it's exhausting just thinking about it. but no rest for the political weary. one week later, the first day of march, super tuesday, when no fewer than 13 states will cast their primary votes. >> very good possibility that the republican primary will be decided by the end of march starting tomorrow morning, we are in a 90-day stretch to win this nomination. >> reporter: so put the pedal to the metal, the race to the white house is full speed ahead. >> and tomorrow, donald trump joins cnn's "new day" live at 6:00 a.m. eastern time. next -- working with a legend. what was it like to build computers with steve jobs? we'll talk with man who did just that.
the new cnn film "steve jobs, the man in machine" examines jobs' personal flaws. cnn's lori sigel talks to one of jobs' earliest collaborators during his time working with jobs. >> hey there. steve jobs, the man in the machine, a documentary that looks at steve jobs and why his presence, why who he was resonated so much with people around the world. now, i actually had the opportunity to sit down with someone who knew him quite well, before all of us knew him as steve jobs, the genius, the creator. take a listen. you used to do lsd with steve jobs. can you take me back to those college days? i mean, let's just rewind and go back there. >> let's see, were we playing sergeant pepper? >> what are you playing? how did this go down? >> it was pretty prosaic.
we were in portland, reed college, freshman college year a poignant time in life where you're very much trying to figure out what the world is about and what you're interested in. >> how did you guys meet? >> oh, well, at reed, reed was a pastoral environment so there was a lot of hanging out going on. but steve and i developed a friendship when we figured out that we had both read this amazing book called "be here now" which is about psychedelics and spirituality. steve was my best friend at the time of life when i was dis covering all of this huge current of eastern literature. all of a sudden, psychedelics were being introduced into the mix of traditional spirit actuality and i was just fascinated. >> do you remember the first time you did psychedelics together? >> no, not really. we were just kind of walking around. i think we used to go for hikes. i think we camped out on the
beach. i can't really remember building a campfire. i don't remember what we did when it got dark. i can tell you that the times that i was taking psychedelics with steve, we weren't really talking that much. we were more of in a meditative space. >> at some point you guys, you and steve jobs, you decided to go to india, right? >> yes. >> what was that trip like? >> i didn't have moneying i had to travel plans but steve started working at atari and had money, a couple thousand dollars. so he offered to buy my ticket, i said, absolutely okay, let's go. we were just traveling around, just hippies traveling around. we weren't even hippies. we shaved our heads. we were -- we were monks. we were monk wannabes. >> everybody in the garage working on the first prototype. >> when i heard he was starting this apple project, that was a big surprise to me.
and i volunteered to help, not having any qualifications whatsoever. but i was happy to help. most of what i was doing was testing these boards and hooking them up and testing -- i had to plug all of the chips in and test them. and steve was on the phone in the kitchen most of the time. so i was alone in the garage. did i -- did i even have a radio? no, i don't even think i had radio. >> once you were there, did you and steve jobs ever take lsd or continue to take psychedelics? >> once apple started steve was really focused with all of his energy on making apple successful. and you didn't need psychedelics for that. >> you can see steve jobs meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people. what this documentary does that's unique, it gives us a look who the man was beyond the technology. he was polarizing, complicated,
genius, and you get a sense of it all if you take a look at this film. back to you. >> thanks so much, lori sigel. that's tonight, cnn, story of apple computer founder "steve jobs, the man in the machine" here on cnn. next hour of "cnn newsroom" begins right now. hello, everyone, thanks for joining me. i'm fredricka whitfield. vacation over. president obama arriving back in washington. he'll begin his 2016 agenda tackling quote, unfinished business of his presidency, the epidemic of gun violence. monday he plans to meet with loretta lynch to discuss options and expanding background checks for gun sales. sources tell cnn he's preparing a new executive action on the issue. thursday, the president will join cnn's anderson cooper for an exclusive live town hall on guns in america. cnn