-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com i'm wolf blitz er and it is 12:00 p.m. noon at cedar rapids, iowa, and 1:00 p.m. in pyongyang, and welcome to wherever you are joining us. >> this is cnn breaking news. we begin with north korea ratcheting up the tensions around the world right now by claiming it has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb for the
very first time. if it is true, and that is a big "if" this is a major breakthrough in the rogue state the's request to build a nuclear arsenal. the u.n. security council is calling an emergency meeting to discuss how to handle kim jong-un. to compare the a-drom dropped on hiroshima packed the amount of 15 tons of dynamite, and the sars bomb developed by russia had the ability of 15 ton s 1 kilo tons of that bomb. and now, this is drawing a h
healthy dose of skepticism, and expla inwhy. >> well, worldwide condemnation of what state media has heralded as the h-bomb of justice. among the voices coming out the condemn north korea was the u.n. is secretary-general ban ki-moon. take a listen. >> i can condemn it unequivocally. i demand the dplk cease any further activities and meet the obligations for verifiable denuclearization. >> and the big question is if this is in fact a hydrogen bomb, h-bomb, and you have japan who has sent up two military planes to collect dust particles to then test it. and you have south korea very conce concerned trying to test and comes to it own conclusions, and you know, a -- south korean lawmaker who was briefed by top
south korean officials came out, and then told journalists, wolf, that according to their information, the explosion only had 0.10 of a power of the magnitude needed for it to have in fact have opinion a hydrogen bomb. so that it is voices like that coming out of south korea that is lending skepticism to north korea's claims which are very triumphant that it has in fact tested its first hydrogen bomb. wolf. >> in china, the main ally of north korea has condemned the test as we call it. could this further jeopardize the north korean and chinese relationsh relationship? it is very important to the watch right now. china not only condemned the nuclear test, but also announced that it did not get any advanced warning from pyongyang which it has had in some of the previous nuclear tests that north korea has carried out.
that is perhaps something that the obama administration is pinning its hopes on right now that a u.s. official has told cnn that washington now wants to impose some new u.n. security council resolutions, quote, unquote with teeth that would have some new sanctions against north korea, and also hoping that this new tough rhetoric that is coming from beijing against the north korean neighbor, it could prompt china in the future to impose some unilateral sanctions against north korea, but the problems here is that hard any anybody has any leverage over to thor hermit king dom, and perhaps the only country who does is china who enjoys a good economic relations with north korea. wolf? >> ivan watson, thank you very much. and as ivan just said, the reaction has been swift. japan's foreign minister says,
quoting, we see the announcement that a hydrogen bomb tested is a major threat to regional, and international peace and stability. south korea's president saying, quote, it is not only grave provocation of the national security, but also an act that threatens our lives and future. and from the white house national security council, we have consistently made clear that we will not accept north korea as a nuclear state. joining us is texas republican congressman max thornberri who is joining us now, and when you woke up to the news this morn morning, what was your immediate reaction? >> not really surprised. north korea always will do something to get attention for itself. that's been the method of operations historically. so there has been concern about a missile test, a nuclear test in the near few can chur, and they are always going to say, hey, don't forget about us, and
remember, you have to bargain with us, and try to get concessions from us, and from china and the south koreans, and others. >> i know that you have been well briefed from this, and already information is coming in, and do you believe it was in fact a hydrogen bomb test? >> we don't know. our intelligence community is still gathering evidence about exactly what it was. it seems clear it was some sort of manmade detonation that was significant. and it is important to know that pest we can if it was a hydrogen bomb or atomic bomb which they have detonated before, but in some ways what it tells us about north korea regardless of the sort of the nuclear weapon it was is that this is going to continue to be a dangerous state willing to go its own path, and we in the united states cannot afford to focus on isis or russia or iran that there are many dangers around the world,
and north korea is certainly one of them. >> and as you know, the u.n. security ko security council is meeting, and considering more sanctions against north korea, but in the past, they have not done a whole lot to stop north korea from developing the nuclear arsenal if you will. and what will it take to k convince the north koreans to move in the other directions? >> well, i'm not sure that you can. as your report a few moments ago pointed out, china has the most leverage over them, except that china is very concerned about instability in north korea, because that means a lot of refugees coming into china, and potentially a destabilizing force there, and so there is only so much that china has historically been willing to do in the way of pressure against north korea. otherwise, they are very isolated, and have very limited contact with the outside world, and unfortunately, we have limited information about what is going on inside of that country. so the key thing for us is to
have strong missile defense, and strengthen our own nuclear deterrent which has been allowed to deteriorate over 20 years. >> and the north korean peninsula is the spot on earth with nearly 20 million troops north of the the demilitarized zone, and dmz, and seoul is the capital 30 miles away, and 30,000 or so u.s. troops right along the demilemilitarized zon. should they stay there or time to pull the american troops out? >> well, no, i think it is important for us to standby our -- to stand by our south korean allies as much as it has been, and if there is one thing that can help to deter north korea from aggression, it is knowing that the united states is there with the allies with our nuclear deterrent. and this is why i say that we really need to make sure that we strengthen our own defenses to leave them and others no doubt
at all that we have the capability to do even more destruction than they do. >> mac thornberry is the chairman of the armed services committee. >> thank you. we will go ahead with the breaking news and i will be joined by bill richardson who has made several diplomatic visits to north e korea. >> and donald trump is now questioning ted cruz's citizenship, saying it is big issue if cruz is elected the president of the united states. a national spokesman there is standing by, and we will d discuss what is going on next. can you pick me up at 6:30? ah... (boy) i'm here! i'm here! (cop) too late. i was gone for five minutes! ugh! move it. you're killing me. you know what, dad? i'm good. (dad) it may be quite a while before he's ready, but our subaru legacy will be waiting for him.
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all right. let's get to the race for the white house. s senator ted cruz is brushing off questions about whether he is eligible to be president of the united states. no surprise that the questions are coming are from the rival candidate donald trump. he was a leader of the o-called birther campaign against president obama. and now, trump is warning the republicans to think twice about voting for senator cruz, because he says the fact that cruz was not born in the united states, and born in canada potentially could be a problem. >> a lot of people are talking about it. i hope it is not so, and i hope it does not come about, but people are worryied about if he was not born in the country, which he wasn't, but in canada, and if the democrats bring a lawsuit, it could take years to resolve, and you would have something over the head of the p party, and that individual. >> and senator cruz tweeted a link to "happy days" where fonzie jumps the shark which is a reference to something over the top, and gimmicky at a
campaign stop. a moment ago, senator cruz says as a legal matter, it is settled, and he is eligible to run for president of the united states, and to become president of the united states, and the first contest for the 2016 presidential race now than less than four weeks away. and senator ted cruz would be leading in the polls, and the first iowa caucus state, and donald trump is the frontrunner nationally as well for the republicans. and now, joining us from dallas is trump's campaign manager. and let's talk about the birther issue, and explain what mr. t m trump believes about the natural born citizenship status of senator cruz. why is this an issue all of the sudden? >> well, i'd be happy to explain this, wolf. it is not an issue brought up by mr. trump, but this issue was brought to mr. trump by a report, and he simply responded. the first part of the response is that he believes that
everything is fine with mr. cruz, and he feels like senator cruz put it to bed early on, but he also say ths that there is at of discussion about his naturalization, and it is not coming from mr. trump, but everyone else, and there are a ton of voters who are uncomfortable with voting from somebody outside of the country, and the fact that he has left it off of the issue has created some of the controversy, and yes, many legal scholars agree it should not be an issue for senator cruz, and however, it has not been decided by the supreme court, and talking about john mccain or mitt romney having similar issues, it is different, because john mccain and mitt romney were not threats to the democrats winning the white house. >> and donald trump points out accurately, he was born in canada and his father was cuban and his mother was born in the united states, a u.s. citizen. do you believe that ted cruz is a natural-born citizen? >> well, i have no reason to
believe he isn't, but again, that is not for myself or mr. trump to convince the voters of that, and it is up to senator cruz. >> well, are you saying that it is going to be ajude kate and o going before the courts? because the courts have never really adjudicated or described what exactly is a natural born citizen according to the constitution. >> well, you made the point, wolf, and that is what mr. trump is saying, he does not personally think it is an issue, and mr. cruz has addressed it, and trump is fine with that, but he is saying if he is a nominee, what are the democrats going to do? are they going to be bringing up the issue, and legal standing at this point, and just because it has not happened in the past, it does not mean it has not doing to not happen this time. >> and we have heard that senator cruz should do something preemptively to resolve it once and for all before the election, and what is he talking about? what could he do?
>> he could seek a court intervention to get a ruling of some sort. and we have heard the lower courts say, yes, this is correct, and that mr. cruz also brings up, like i said, john mccain and mitt romney, and however, it has not gone to the supreme court, and whether or not they would even her hear the case we don't know, but we know that hillary clinton will stop at nothing to win this election, and so if mr. cruz can get in front of it and put the issue to bed, great. mr. trump is saying that even though he personally does not have an issue with it, he knows that there are a lot of voters and not just democrats, but republicans who are taking issue with this >> john mccain was born in the panama canal zone on a air force base and his father was an admiral. and mitt romney was born in the united states, but his father, george romney was born outside of the united states, and so you are saying when he ran for president, nobody considered that an issue. is that what you are suggesting? >> no, every time it has been an issue, it has not been in a case where the race was going to be
extremely close. for example with john mccain, even when that came up as an issue, it was put to bed, but most cases no one was really afraid that the republican would beat the democrat, but in the case up against hillary clinton, there is a serious contention in the cycle a the and the country is in the position to do some historic moves right now today, and the question is if hillary clinton is going to be making it an i an issue, because there is not going to be a supreme court ruling, and is she going to be pushing it, and the candidate's eligibility is brought up, and can the candidate just put it to bed. >> thank you, katrina. >> thank you, wolf. >> and now, one of the topics for the political panel joining us in new york is our cnn political commentator sally cohen and tara setmayer, and now, let me get this latest issue that we just discussed with katrina.
and now, sally, why are we talking about that senator cruz was born in canada, and the mother was porn in the united states a u.s. citizen, and his mom, and why is this coming on? >> because she is is on the heels of donald trump, and poses a threat. the whole birth question, and eligibility question about ted cruz is ridiculous. it is discussed, and it is clear that he is eligible the be president, but it is a distraction that trump is using, because if he were to go toe to toe with cruz or rubio other than maybe carson on policy issues, he can't hold a candle about them, because he is not about the substance, but about this distraction, and i don't really believe that, but some are telling me that, and he is throwing it out there because he is a master of distraction, and buzz for things that we are now talking about this instead of what ted cruz is doing which is to gaining ground and beating trump in iowa, and gaining ground nationally on him. and that is what this is all about, and i think it is a brilliant move on trump's part
for the distraction part of it, but it is ridiculous, and everybody knows that ted cruz is eligible for president. >> and a sally, some democratic lawmakers saying they would go to court to challenge the senator cruz's eligibility to become president of the united states based on the u.s. constitution? >> and shame on them, and frankly, shame on them, and just as the republicans who want to repeal the 14th amendment, and deny the same rights and principle principles under the constitution to those who are born to immigrants in the united states, shame on all of them. >> two different issues. >> and sorry, i will uphold the constitution no matter who it applies to, so there you have it. >> and i want to play this clip. this is senator cruz talking about north -- and we want to switch gears to talk about north korea's test of the hydrogen bo bomb. listen to this. >> last night's nuclear test underscores why if i'm elected president on the very first day
in office, i will rip to shreds this catastrophic iranian nuclear deal, because if hillary clinton is elected president, we will see a nuclear test from iran, but sadly the test may not be underground. the test may be in the skies of a populated city. whether tel aviv or new york or los angeles, and we should not be risking that, and if i am elected president iran will not acquire nuclear weapon, because we will have a commander in chief focused on keeping this country safe. >> sally, i want your reaction because as you know, there is a lot of concern just as north korea signed a nuclear deal with the clinton administration back in 1994, and that is i was then cnn white house correspondent, and all of the optimism from president clinton of north korea giving up the nuclear ambition, and we see how that deal worked out, and now a new deal of the obama administration worked out
against food. >> yes, two things for the american people to know here, and one is that, look, when bush was president, he invaded ukraine, and the actions of the dictators abroad whether it is iran or how they will respond, and throwing the rhetoric of the war and threats here. but the thing that people need to pull the covers out, when voteer s a voteers are scared, it is going to vote republican, and is so it is in the interest to be scare and stop focusing on the economic policies that have hurt working class americans in this country, and plain and simple this is calculated to drum up fear. >> we have been eight years under obama, and the economic is situation in this country is not great, and particularly nor the middle-class, and we have record numbers on disability and welfare and food stamps, and that has nothing to do with the
republican policy, and that is a scare tall tick from the left. as far as what is going on from north korea, this is a failed foreign policy from the clinton admin strashgs and the bush administration did not do well on this the either, and no leadership from the obama administration on what is going on in north korea, and it is another example of where you don't exhibit leadership, this is what happens. north korea is a lunatic regime, and lunatic leader, and they need attention, and he is trying to the say that he is relevant in the nuclear race as well. >> what should they do? >> well, you have to get china involved, and sanction, and other countries and we have to take the lead. and it is not necessarily fear. the american people are not stupid, and they look around the world and see afghanistan falling apart under the president, and iraq falling apart under this president, and so that is not fear of not valid, but it is fear that is direct threat to the united
states, and it is all valid. >> the notion that it is not falling apart in iraq until we invaded it, and afghanistan, too. but there is a thing that tara mentioned, that you want diplomacy, and not boots on the ground, and so which party does the american people trust for diplomacy is the democrats. >> and that diplomacy has failed clearly. >> and so thank you, sally and ta tara. and so who will show up at the polls, and i will ask him when he shows up in the "situation room" later today. my interview with donald trump is 5:00 p.m. later on in "the situation room." the house republicans are trying to find out the best course of action, and response to the the executive's order when it comes to guns. they are expected to expand the background checks by gun
sellers, and house speaker paul ryan reacted to this at a weekly news conference, and asked if the house republicans would sue to stop the executive branch from implementing the new gun measures? >> look. we are looking at all of the measures. first of all, if you are buying and selling guns, you have to have a ffl, and whether you do so at a gun show or anywhere else. there is not a loophole. this is a distraction. the president clearly does not respect the second amendment rights for law abigd americans. it would be nice if he would focus on defeating isis, on calling the radical islamic terrorism on what it is, and instead of talking about how we can intimidate and frustrate the second amendment rights of law abiding it citizens. and we will look at this, but we won't take this distraction for any more than it, a distraction. >> and tomorrow night, president obama will join anderson cooper for a live town hall in fairfax, virginia at 8:00 p.m. eastern
obl six days into . only six days into the new year and a number of global conflicts on the stageb right now. let's discuss some of them with former republican presidential campaign and a senator on the armed services committee, lindsey graham. and now i want to get your reaction to is so-called birther issue.
questions about senator ted cruz born in canada, and is he a natural born citizen eligible to be president of the united states according to constitution? >> yes. i think that ted is qualified constitutionally, and i am not going to be voting for ted, but i think that he is decent enough fellow, and he is qualified to run for president, and when you talk to the donald this afternoon, i would ask one question of him and i'm dying to know the answer, are you satisfied that president obama was born in hawaii and not kenya? because i don't want any doubt that president obama was born in hawaii. >> and we will talk to him later today, and no issue about that. and let's talk about a subject that you know well, and what should the u.s. do now as a result of the reported and we don't know whether it was a hydrogen bomb tested or some other type of bomb tested, but it did cause some serious
results as a result of the potential earthquake over there is concerned. what do you nknow about it? >> i don't know a whole lot more about it than what i have been seeing on the news. we should deter it that what it means to sell the technology no the terrorist groups or to use it. it is possible to deter north e korea, because they are not religio religiously motivated, and the regime is crazy, but the nation is rogue with a big "r" and i'm not here to beat on president clinton or bush or obama. the whole world has failed this. they have decided it is better to have a weapon of matsz destruction than the do business with the whole world, and they are probably right about that. >> and is there something that the u.s. should be doing right now in the aftermath of the
test? >> well, you know, i reinforce, the the deterrence aspect, and let the north koreans know through the chinese that we won't be exporting that technology, and if any indication that if they try to use it, we will act e preemptively, and i don't have the answer, but the fact for them to have sanctions if they don't abandon their nuclear wish, it has not worked from the democratic policy or the republican policy or world policy. it wants a regime and bomb like iraq. >> and is there any evidence that they are trying to export any of the nuclear technology? >> well, we know that they have in the past a little it bit. and that is what i am worried about and not so much of them putting a bomb on the top of the icb on the way to the united
states. i nknow that from the american perspective, it is an aggressive act that is not going to be uncheck and we could consider that provocative and put the regime's survivability under risk. >> and i remember in 2007, the nuclear reactor back then is that the reactor was provided by north korea at the time. >> yes, that is correct. >> and is that your recollection as well? >> yeah, yeah, i worry that the regime has a history of selling every weapon they have is developed, and one of the greatest arm suppliers to the terrorist organizations in the world, and to the believe they would not share the nuclear technology is naive. you can deter them from doing that, and developing the technology the deliver the bomb to america and to our allies. i don't believe they are completely irrational, though they are pretty crazy. i think that iran wants a nuclear weapon for regime instability, and for them, they
are trying to carry out a regime that will destroy israel, and take over islam as a whole. so i u worry that iran is going to be emboldened by north korea. >> and so there was north korean cooperation against syria, and any indication that north korea has cooperated with iran on the nuclear front? >> well, not that i know of, and i will get back to you on that, but it is not farfetched to believe they would do that, and any time you have a cult of personality regime like you do in north korea where the military and one man are in charge, and it is not farfetcheded how a star of a cache nation like that, i would tell the chinese to please communicate with them. china basically owns them in terms of the economy, the fuel supply, and china is the key to changing north korea's behavior, but everybody on the show says the same thing. i'm not beating on president obama for north korea, because i don't know the answer myself other than the deter the nuclear
buildup of weapons by sanctions. >> are you ready to endorse one of the candidates even though you said that you would not vote for senator ted cruz. >> i am looking for the comma commander in chief, and somebody who can get 270 electoral votes. i don't dislike senator cruz, and he has run a very good campaign, but i don't believe he is the standard bearer. i will look long and hard and then make a decision. >> thank, you senator. >> thank you. >> and now we are joined by the managing editor of quartz bobby ghosh, and also mike weiss who is the author of "isis, inside of the army and the war on terror." and i am anxious to get your reaction to this nuclear test, or the purported testing
here. >> well sh, to me it is crucial hydrogen bomb, and if they have succeed ed to miniature bomb, ad whether it is hydrogen or nuclear, and to me, that is meaning it is a change for me, and it changes the threat perception of north korea. not suggesting they are going to be using it, but they do have long range missiles to hit not just american allies, but make landfall on the american territory and places like guam, and that is going to change the perception, and so it is not so much about the hydrogen, but the miniatureized. if they have miniatureized, that is dangerous. >> and michael, as you know the counter terrorism experts say that if the they get their hands on some crude nuclear device, isis has money, and they stole a lot of money from mosul, and gold and bouillon, and hundreds of millions of dollars, and is there serious concern that a
terror group like isis could get their hand on some sort of nuclear capability thanks to north kkorea? >> well, there is concern, but it is not serious. and so it is much like the dirty bomb of them trying to get their hands on the chemical bep weapon, and others a nand have used chemical weapons against the kurds and relying on the depleted stocks of the sarin gas in houses that assad had gotten rid of due to the u.n. resolution, and relying on the remnants of saddam hussein's chemical raids. and that is the wmd threats that people had access to, and the know-how and the capability to deploy. >> you agree with that, bobby? >> yes, not that the north koreans have suggested that they can work with rogue regime, and no look at working with isis for example, because they are loose cann cannons, in their minds, but
they want to work with other governments. so i would be surprised if they went that far. >> that would be a nightmare scenario nor the entire world. thank you, guys. >> and coming up the ambassador to the united nations, bill richardson, and i joined him on a diplomatic mission five years ago, and we will hear what he has to say about john un-- jong un's claims, and what they can do if anything to de-escalate the tensions in the area. >>yup... now, you would think your insurance company would cut you some slack, right? >>no. your insurance rates go through the roof. your perfect record doesn't get you anything. >>anything. perfect! for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident. and if you do have an accident,
kim jong un signed the order saying that the world would look up to their strong nuclear country. we should stress no independent confirmation that this is in fact a hydrogen bomb, but if verified, it would represent a dangerous escalation in north korea's nuclear capabilities, and virtually the entire u.n. community is condemn iing the testing. and now joining us is jim sciutto, our foreign correspondent. jim, do they believe that it is a hydrogen bomb? >> well, wolf, we have had the most definitive public statement from the administration on this, and they have been analyzing, and u.s. intelligence has been analyzing the test since the hours that north korea conducted it. and moments ago josh earnest says that the initial analysis indicates that it is not what north korea claims, and not a successful hydrogen bomb test.
this is what josh earnest had to say. >> this is a serious subject. the initial analysis that has been conducted of the events that were reported overnight is not consistent with the north korean claims of a successful hydrogen bomb test there. is nothing that has occurred in the last 24 hours for the united states government to change our technical and military capabilities. i hasten to add that we are continuing the work necessary to learn more about the nuclear test that north korea conducted last night. >> now, north krorea has been claiming for a number of weeks it is moving towards a hydrogen bomb capability, and when we have hear that doubt, we have heard doubts from the white house, and you are hearing them again. >> there is some disagreement here about what this constitutes, and there is is a school of thought there that north korea was able to conduct at least a step on the path towards a hydrogen bomb, and possibly a one-stage explosion
as opposed to the two-stage explosion, and neither of us with atomic scientists with pieces that go into that, and the white house saying that the u.s. initial intelligence ass s assessment is that it is not a successful, and completely successful hydrogen bomb test. >> still very, very worrisome whatever kind of test it is. and parts of it could be felt all of the way over in china. than you, jim sciutto. and now, joining us is the former u.s. ambassador to the united nations, governor bill richardson who has made several trips to north korea. and you have heard the latest information coming to jim sciutto from the white house, and your reaction in. >> well, i believe that the white house is correct, and that apparently it measured 6 killo
tons, and it is very worrying, because kim jong un is on the path to show his muscle, and to say that the nuclear development is not a bargaining trip, this is the first test they have had since 2006, and they are doing the ballistic missile test, and sign that also says to the world, hey, it is not just the middle east that you have to at the end to that is exploding, but it is the tinderbox of northeast asia, and we are here, and you have the deal with us. that is the message. >> is he simply crying out for attention, is that what you is saying, kim jong un the north korean leader? >> i think that he is trying to get attention number one, but i think that he is also sending a message that if you want to deal with me, if you want me to curb our nuclear weapons, it is going to be a high price. you have been there, wolf, when we were there, and it is a very
poor country, a they need the humanitarian assistance, and energy assistance, and they need all kinds of sanctions lifted. it could be that he is preparing for a e negotiation. i think that he is looking at what happened with iran, and he is saying, you know, maybe there is a deal that can be struck for me, although we don't know how this man thinks. he is very unpredictable, and i think that china is going to be the key. china can move the step forward by putting pressure on north korea. they give them food, fuel, energy, and they are probably the only ones who can step up, and the fact that the blast was very near china is going to be getting the chinese attention, and possibly kim jong un to the negotiating table. we need a new strategy to deal with north korea. >> as you know, there are a lot of reports that north korea provided nuclear technology to syria, and the israelis
destroyed that nuclear reactor in 2007 that they supposedly supplied nuclear technology to pakistan which now has a nuclear arsenal, and how worried are you, mr. ambassador, that he could sell some of the nuclear technology the rogue regimes or terrorist groups? >> well, that is another danger that north korea poses, the fact that for foreign exchange, because they are very poor, and the sanctions that they have enormous sanctions on them, and the only way they can get foreign exchange, and one of the few ways is is to sell their nuclear technology, and this is going to be on the black market, and this is going to beat the bad regime, and be for pakistan and iran and al qaeda, and hopefully not, but it is very worrisome. we need to find a way to deal with north korea, and the keys
are china, and united states and russia. russia has had some new relations with north korea, and again, we need some new di pl m diplomacy, and perhaps the pope, and perhaps the special enjoys, and perhaps some type of south korean reconciliation effort, and it is very tough inside of south korea, but they are an important player, and our ally, and it is important to us, wolf, because we have close to 30,000 american troop, and north korea has the ballistic missile, and ten nuclear weapons that are make them unpredictable, and testing the nuclear warheads. i don't believe they have a hydrogen bomb, but the that is true, they have a dramatic increase in the sophistication of the nuclear arsenal. >> certainly is. thank you, ambassador to the u.n., bill richardson. >> thank you, thank you. >> all right. we are break news coming out of alabama right now. the state's chief justice has just issued an order prohibiting
same-sex marriage in the state. probate judges have been told to no longer issue licenses for same-sex marriages. the order comes from the chief justice roy muir, and it state s that the probate judges have the ministerial duty to not issue any marriage licenses that are not in the sanctity of the alabama marriage act. we will follow up on this story in alabama, and major development right there. and also, coming up, tension s between saudi arabia, and iran, and now a threat to the syrian peace efforts under way. and why are the u.s. and the west not doing more to soothe relations? we will have more. >> and the former ambassador to saudi arabia is standing by, and we will discuss when we come k back.
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iranian protesters stormed the saudi embassy in tehran. saudi arabia have tied all ties with iran. other nations are following suit. let's bring in a former u.u.s. ambassador to saudi arabia. mr. ambassador, >> wolf, we have to remember that shaikh nimr was tried and convicted and sentenced in 2014.
everyone involved has had a lot of time to think about this. so i don't believe the reactions came as a surprise to the saudis. >> so do you think the saudis anticipated that the iranians would storm the saudi embassy in tehran, ransack it, burn it? did they think that would happen, do you think? >> i don't think they anticipated that, and, you know, it's worth pointing out that by treaty every country in the world is responsible for protecting the diplomatic missions in their countries. and the iranians have a pretty terrible record of doing that, going back to 1979 when our own embassy was stormed by iranians and our diplomats were held captive for over a year. so while the saudis wouldn't have anticipated this, i don't think they're terribly surprised that actions like this would have been taken. >> the iranian president hassan rouhani tweeted today, and i'll
read it, which country is exacerbated sunni/shia divide, bombing yemen and undermining governments by providing funds and arms to isis? he's alleging that saudi arraab is doing all of this. what should the u.s. do to try to calm things down? >> well, first off, i think it's a bit rich for the iranians to be pointing fingers at the saudis when the spread of iranian influence and the spread of the iranian revolution throughout the middle east is one of the objectives of the iranian regime. so, you know -- and we also need to see this in the context of the historical rivalry between saudi arabia and iran for power and influence in the region. and in the past, things have escalated and diplomatic relations have been severed, but these countries have been living in the same part of the world for thousands of years, and they generally figure out a way to get along. so i think you'll see some of
this rhetoric play down as both sides focus on some of the more important regional issues that they both have a stake in. >> the biggest problem saudi arabia has with iran is what? >> well, you know, as i said, it goes back to this historic rivalry, and the spread of iranian influence, you can see this in iraq, you have iranian revolutionary forces and kuds forces in iraq. same thing in hezbollah operated in lebanon. you have iranian support for upheaval and disruption in bahrain and yemen. so saudi arabia finds themselves in a position they feel to react and defend their interests. >> mr. ambassador, thank you very much for your expertise. >> pleasure. thank you, wolf. >> that's it for me.
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x1 from xfinity will change the way you experience tv. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. here we go, top of the hour. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. breaking news now. it appears the chief justice in the state of alabama essentially defying the united states supreme court telling judges there to stop issuing same sex marriage licenses. what does this mean? how is this even legally possible? let me bring in cnn legal analyst paul callan and our justice correspondent pamela brown. so pamela, let me just begin with you. talk to me about what has just happened. >> well, i have to be honest wu, brooke. we're reading through this administrative order and it's