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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  January 6, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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and i proceeded to continue to stand there and request an ambulance, assistance or some police assistance to assist my son because i know he's still alive. i see him moving, but no one would reply to help my son or ms. jones. >> his son's funeral will be held saturday. i'm brooke baldwin, thanks for being with me. "the lead" starts now. thanks, brooke. north korea shakes the ground and shocks the world. "the lead" starts right now. nuclear backlash, the world reacting in emergency fashion to north korea's claim that it has successfully tested the most powerful weapon every made, the hydrogen bomb. is the u.s. ready as long as this isn't another one of kim jong-un's ridiculous lies of course. blame canada. donald trump going back to his birther roots to attack senator ted cruz and question whether cruz is eligible to be president. today, cruz responds right here on "the lead." plus, anger and fear after
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gangs of young men, many described as appearing arab, are accused of raping, sexually assaulting and robbing women on new year's eve, dozens of them. was this a coordinated attack? hello and welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we're going to begin with the shocking development from north korea rattling the world literally and figuratively with the announcement that the rogue nation has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. if this claim is indeed true, if the communist regime now has its hands on something that is thousands of times more powerful and more destructive than an atomic bomb. [ speaking in a foreign language ] >> this was the announcement on north korean television in which the spokeswoman called the u.s. a brutal robber and quoted north korean leader, kim jong-un, saying he'll, quote, make the world look up to his strong nuclear country with the noise
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of the first hydrogen bomb. the white house this afternoon saying that the latest intelligence has not yet provided any evidence that this device was indeed an h-bomb. we have correspondents here in washington, d.c. as well as china and south korea tracking this alarming development. let's first bring in chief national security correspondent jim sciutto. jim, what do intelligence experts think? does north korea really have a hydrogen bomb, or are they just bluffing? >> much more likely the latter. that's what the white house says. initial analysis this was not a successful hydrogen bomb test. i've spoken to nuclear experts today who shared that assessment. this largely comes down to size. this nuclear test was nothing nearly as big as a successful hydrogen bomb test would be. it is still possible though that north korea took a step towards a hydrogen bomb or worse towards making a bomb small enough to put on top of a missile threatening the united states, but these are still unanswered questions. north koreans cheered in the
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streets following their government's bold announcement of a first for the isolated nation. a successful test of a hydrogen bomb, many times more powerful than the atomic bombs pyongyang has already developed. this man telling a reporter his heart is happy and he wants to dance. pyongyang believes photos of north korean leader kim jong-un signing the order for the test while international monitoring work to determine the exact power of the blast. >> signals were detected on numerous seismic stations. and these signals were immediately made available to all of our member states. >> reporter: but by this afternoon the white house was already undermining north korea's claim. >> the initial analysis that's been conducted of the events that were reported overnight is not consistent with north korean claims of hydrogen bomb test. there's nothing occurred in the last 24 hours that's caused the united states government to
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change our assessment of north korea's technical and military capabilities. >> reporter: still, the detonation at an underground facility is the fourth by north korea since 2006. all in gross violation of international law and prior nuclear agreements with the west. most nuclear analysts share the administration's doubt that north korea has developed an a-bomb. however, some are concerned that pyongyang appears to be making worrisome progress in its nuclear program including the possibility of advancements in building a device small enough to deploy on a missile. and north korea has developed a missile capable of reaching as far as the west coast of the u.s. >> if you can add a little hydrogen isotope to your basic atomic bomb, you can have less material in it, make it smaller and this would help north korea fit it on the warhead of a missile. that's what they're going for. it doesn't look like they got there. >> as always with north korean nuclear tests they are intended to send a message and this one to multiple audiences. one to a domestic audience, the
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north korean regime derives a lot of legitimacy from its military power, certainly a message to the u.s. one of defiance but also message to its old ally china that it is not going to listen to beijing as much as it has in the past. and, jake, that is truly worrisome for all involved because prospect today is that no one, no outside country has influence over that regime. and that's truly worse. >> jim sciutto, thank you so much. the test whatever it turns out to be brought condemnation from around the world. reaction in the region ranged from shock to surprise to fear. cnn's paula hancocks is in seoul, south korea. >> reporter: the condemnation is flying in from across the reg n region, across the world as you can imagine. south korea's president park geun-hye calling it a clear provocation saying it threatens peoples lives. she is calling on a very strong response from the international community, from the u.s., from the allies, but of course it is a question what can that response be given that the strong responses we've seen
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during the previous and after the previous three nuclear tests have not stopped pyongyang so far. but we know that japan has sent two aircraft into the area of the sea of japan, or the east sea, which is just east of north korea where they believe any radioactive material would have been blown given the wind direction. they're going to collect that dust. they're going to analyze it and find out if that gives any clues obviously that the amount of kilotons that have been used would suggest how big the explosion was. but of course they don't know what the underground casing is like. they don't know the format of this underground tunnel that it has been tested in. so that makes it very complicated as to whether or not they can ever definitively say, yes, this was or this was not a hydrogen bomb. but there are a number of ways they can try and test this. and if it is a hydrogen bomb, it is a huge jump in capability for north korea. >> paula hancocks reporting from seoul, south korea, thank you. north korea's alleged hydrogen bomb test is generating a global
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ripple effect of sort. japan unnerved by this latest move. that country of course is a frequent target of north korea's previous threats while some 50,000 american soldiers are stationed in japan, even closer to north korea of course is china. and china felt the shock from the test literally. cnn correspondent will ripley is in beijing. will, china obviously one of north korea's biggest allies. how is china reacting to this latest news from pyongyang? >> reporter: publicly they're condemning this. they're calling for high level talks. but this really puts the beijing leadership in a difficult spot. chinese president xi jinping sent a high level representative to north korea back in october. of course china provides a significant amount of economic aid. huge trading partner for north korea. there's going to be a lot of pressure from around the world for china to clamp down, to penalize the regime for conducting a test something aside from not vetoing previous u.n. sanctions china really
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hasn't done. they continue to stand up for north korea. but they're certainly furious about a test such as this. and unlike 2006, 2009 and 2013, the previous three nuclear tests when china was given a heads up by north korea, this time they were blindsided just like everybody else. very troubling for the leadership here wondering if they'll even be able to play their hand. >> very troubling indeed. will, you have personally spent a great deal of time reporting in north korea. what is your gut feeling tell you about north korea's alleged h-bomb test? >> reporter: during several visits last year, the impression i get, one, they're certainly very proud of the developments they've made not only in the miniaturization they claim of nuclear warheads, but also the development of missile technology launched from either submarines or launch sites throughout the country. despite millions going hungry, they continue to invest aggressively in that program. they have lots of raw uranium in
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mines in north korea ready to use. and so this test just two days by the way before kim jong-un's 33rd birthday, one projects power north koreans, rallies national pride, solidifies their leaders' strength, again as just 33 years old pushing the button of a growing nuclear arsenal, but also what the north koreans truly want. we hear this in pyongyang time and time again is to sit down at the table with the united states and talk about lifting sanctions and normalizing relations. >> will ripley, thank you so much. let's bring in senator ron johnson, the chairman of the senate homeland security committee. senator johnson, thank you so much for joining us. first, how credible are these claims that north korea tested specifically an h-bomb, a hydrogen bomb? >> well, i don't have any particulars or specific intel in terms of how credible, but i think we need to take very seriously this is alarming to say the least. particularly when you realize that north korea has
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relationships with another rogue regime, the number one state sponsor of terror, iran, who we also know have nuclear ambitions. if they've got an h-bomb, a hydrogen bomb now in their possession, combine that with ballistic missile technology and a lunatic for a leader, this is alarming. >> and what does it mean specifically, do you think, for the security of the united states? >> it threatens it. but again, this isn't our only security threat because of the feckless nature of president obama, united states secretary clinton's foreign policy, the reset with russia, that hasn't worked. we certainly see china pushing and pushing and building islands and certainly being, you know, engaging in provocative actions with its neighbors. and we see russia and iran gaining greater influence in the middle east. this is a less safe, less secure, more dangerous world seven years into president obama's administration. >> so we know now that president obama's white house spoke with
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china. our u.n. ambassador samantha power says that the u.s. will be pushing consequences. what else do you think president obama should be doing in response to today's news? >> well, why don't we heal our economy so that we can be strong economically so we can be strong militarily? we have to stop hallowing out our military. we've got to change our strategy from peace through withdrawal through peace through strength. that's going to be across the board strength, economically and militarily. but we'll probably need a new commander in chief. a commander in chief that actually does believe america's a phenomenal force for good in the world, won't apologize for america, will project our goodness and our strength to really keep the world a safer place rather than a more dangerous one. >> just to play devil's advocate here, sir, president bush, george w. bush, he took a much tougher tack with north korea. and all that resulted with that
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was their first detonation of a nuclear device in 2006. president clinton engaged with north korea, president obama's been pushing sanctions, what exactly works? you talk about there needs to be strength. i imagine you believe george w. bush projected strength. that ended up with north korea having a nuke. >> again, north korea's been a problem on a bipartisan basis for multiple administrations. what actually worked with north korea were the specific sanctions of top officials. we should probably reengage in those in a more robust fashion. but i'm talking about the threats around the world, whether it's russia's aggression or china's aggression or iran's aggression. all these things are brought about by appeasement, lack of strength, lack of resolve. let's face it, there's -- there are not countries that respect us that fear us anymore. our enemies don't fear us and our allies don't believe we can be relied on. that puts the world in a very
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dangerous place. it makes america less safe and secure. >> senator ron johnson coming to us from wisconsin. thank you so much, sir. >> have a good day. he's been called unstable. he's been called a lunatic. a megalo maniac, so why did kim jong-un launch this possible nuclear test now? and what could his next move be? we'll talk about that after this quick break. when i lay in my tempur pedic contour- the next thing i know it's morning. with tempur-flex you've got the spring and bounce of a traditional mattress then it also adjusts to my body. my cloud feels like somebody's hugging you. how can a bed to that? (vo) this year, change your life with tempur-pedic. rheumatoid arthritis like me... and you're talking to a rheumatologist about a biologic, this is humira.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. let's continue with our world
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lead. north korea claiming it successfully detonated a hydrogen bomb, potentially far more destructive than the atomic bomb, and of course we're familiar with what atomic bombs did in hiroshima and nagasaki. if confirmed this would be the fourth nuclear test by the hermit kingdom since 2006. and the most powerful to date. let's bring in a former member of president clinton's national security council and state department official. also with me is chris hail, former ambassador to south korea under president george w. bush and author of the book "outpost, life on the front lines of american diplomacy." mr. ambassador, let me start with you. you know this regime well. you've negotiated with them. you've been to pyongyang. how significant a step would this be for knot korea assuming this was true it was actually an h-bomb? >> well, if it were true and preliminary indications are it's not, but if it were true it would suggest they are much further along than anyone
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thought and that the next step would probably be some miniaturization of a warhead and putting it on top of the -- on top of a missile. i think the problem is sooner or later we are going to face a north korea with a deliverable nuclear weapon. and i think we're going to have a very serious problem. and i'd like to also say even if it's not successful, you know, a lot of tests -- i mean, the purpose of testing is to test. if it's unsuccessful they will have learned a lot. and they'll be back again the next day trying to perfect it. so we have a big problem here. >> precisely. jamie, let's talk about this test. you were just in north korea in october. people are trying to figure out what kim jong-un is thinking. he did not warn anyone about this test ahead of time. unlike the way he's done in the past. they apparently did not communicate any of this to china ahead of time. >> yep. >> what's going on? >> well, there's two audiences
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for this as i see it. first is domestically in north korea. kim jong-un doesn't need to convince anybody, but it's good to predict strength internally. the second thing is the north korean regime is inherently weak but projecting strength. everybody saw what happened in the first gulf war. and saddam hussein didn't have nuclear weapons, and kim jong-un's making a statement don't mess with me. but the interesting thing is that even if this is a hydrogen bomb, and i agree with chris hill that it's unlikely that it is, but we'll know more in the future. it doesn't really change in any massive way relations with the united states, japan or south korea. the relationship that it changes significantly is the relationship between north korea and china, because china has all of the cards of the international community and influencing north korea. and north korea is betting that china isn't going to put too much pressure on the dprk, on
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pyongyang, because china's strategic interests are more focused on countering the united states than dealing with any particular problems in north korea. >> mr. ambassador, you tried to work with kim jong-il, the father who detonated a nuke in 2006. do you think kim jong-un, the son, is more dangerous, more erratic than the father? >> yeah, i think he is. i don't think kim jong-il was ever particularly devoted to the negotiating process, but he certainly would hear it out and certainly valued his relations with the chinese and even the russians. i think today we're dealing with a very impetuous kid, essentially, who really doesn't understand these issues. and is no doubt as jamie suggests trying to project strength in north korea. even these hideous dictatorships have their own politics. but this is someone you can't rely on and rely to be wise when we have an issue like this. so i think there's much to be
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concerned about with this third generation kim. >> and you know we're in trouble when kim jong-il is the good old days. >> right. exactly. >> that's right. >> jamie, do you think north korea has the ability to directly hit the united states with a missile containing a nuclear payload? >> i don't think they have it now. i think it's quite likely that if things don't change, if things go along linearly from where they are now within a decade or so they very likely will. but i don't think that they're likely to launch an attack against the united states. what they're trying to do is change the strategic calculus of the region. and i think, again, having these nuclear weapons changes china's behavior perhaps more than anybody else's. >> jamie, ambassador, thank you so much. appreciate it. >> pleasure. in our politics lead today, donald trump dusting off one of his favorite lines of attack, questioning rival candidate ted cruz's citizenship, his eligibility to be president. and ted cruz just talked to cnn. his response to trump coming up. announcer: it's time to make room
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. our politics lead now. donald trump burst on to the modern political scene by questioning where president obama was born. the president of course was born in hawaii. but that did not stop trump from claiming otherwise, a suggestion not only that the president was other than an american but that he wasn't eligible constitutionally to be president. now the republican front-runner is reviving that molden oldie to question the eligibility of his closest republican rival senator ted cruz. just like the snow in iowa, cnn is blanketing the presidential
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race covering all the candidates. but i want to start right here in washington, d.c. with cnn national political reporter sara murray. cruz was born in canada to an american mother, but trump is making claims about possibility ineligibility and what democrats might use. he also once held a canadian passport, is that true? >> that is not true. the cruz campaign is saying he never had a canadian passport, never applied for a canadian passport. saying he was 4 when he left canada. but that hasn't stopped donald trump from fanning the flames. donald trump taking aim at ted cruz's citizenship. >> he was born in canada and actually had a canadian passport along with a u.s. passport until just recently, like within the last couple of years, the problem is that if the democrats bring a lawsuit, the lawsuit could take years to resolve.
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>> questioning whether his canadian roots disqualify him for the presidency. >> i hope that's not going to be a problem for him, but i've been hearing a lot about it. so it's certainly a concern i guess for the party. but i hope that's not the case. i'm not involved in that, but a lot of people are bringing it up. >> reporter: cruz responded tuesday with this clip on twitter, showing fonzi from "happy days" actually jumping the shark. a scene that gave rise to the pop culture expression for something has turned absurd to grab attention. >> oh, listen, from my end i'm not interested in getting into the circus sideshow in politics. these are serious times with serious challenges. >> reporter: cruz, whose father is cuban and mother was born in the united states, moved from canada to texas at age 4. he had dual citizenship in the u.s. and canada, but renounced his canadian citizenship in 2014 and posted the letter online. >> as a legal matter, the
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question is quite straightforward and settled law that the child of a u.s. citizen born abroad is a natural born citizen. >> reporter: most legal scholars agree. today, trump is claiming it's others who are raising the issue, but it's the billionaire businessman who has a history of birtherism. >> barack obama should give his birth certificate. >> reporter: and he's flip-flopped on cruz. in 2014 predicting the citizenship question would be an insurmountable barrier for the texas senator. >> well, i would say that he can't be president. if you're not born in this country, you can't be president. >> reporter: but saying this just a few months ago. >> i hear it was checked out by every attorney and every which way, and i understand ted is in fine shape. >> reporter: declaring it a nonissue as he and cruz were in something of a bromance on the campaign trail. that friendly embrace coming to an end as the iowa caucuses loom and cruz is on the rise. now, i think that democrats are kind of reveling in this moment. white house press secretary
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called it ironic that republicans are fighting over where ted cruz was born after they spent so many years talking about where the president was born. of course, jake, as you pointed out he was born in hawaii. >> he was born in hawaii. interesting. all right. sara murray, thank you so much. i want to go now to dana bash. she just today rode with cruz on his campaign bus. she's in spirit lake, iowa, right now. dana, you asked senator cruz directly about donald trump clearly raising these questions about his eligibility. what did ted cruz have to say? >> reporter: well, as you can imagine ted cruz is keeping with what he's done for the past weeks and months, trying to keep on his message, not take the bait when it comes to donald trump. and what he's trying to do to ted cruz. so he was no different today. listen to what happened. you may have heard that donald trump is bringing up the fact that you were born in canada. and saying that if you're the
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republican nominee, it could be held up in the court for two years. you're a constitutional scholar. you've argued before the supreme court. why do you think on the legal basis he's wrong? >> well, look, the legal issue is straightforward. the son of a u.s. citizen born abroad is a natural born citizen. >> reporter: but it's never been tested. >> the constitution and laws of the united states are straightforward. the very first congress defined the child of a u.s. citizen born abroad as a natural born citizen. by the way, many of those members of the first congress were framers at the constitutional convention. at the end of the day this is a nonissue, but, you know, my response is as you and i were talking about just a minute ago. i tweeted a link to a video of fo fonzi jumping a shark. you know, i'm not going to engage in this. and the reason is simple, there are far too many serious issues facing this country. last night north korea claims to have tested a hydrogen bomb.
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what the american people are looking for is who's prepared to be commander in chief, who has the seriousness, who has the judgment, who has the knowledge, who has the clarity of vision -- >> reporter: but button up on the issue of the passport. >> what passport? >> reporter: donald trump is suggesting, saying that you had -- >> it's not true. >> reporter: -- false? >> never. >> reporter: you asked your mother, you asked your dad, never had one. >> yes, i'm sure. >> reporter: so he's hoping to put that to rest for sure. i should tell you, jake, aboard his bus he certainly has a lot of top staffers that help him with a lot of these responses, but he told me that the response with fonzi jumping the shark, that was his tweet, that was his idea. >> ta da na bash, thank you so much. let's talk about senator cruz and thiss increasingly heated race with foreign policy adviser to senator cruz, victoria koets
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and also an art historian and author of book david sling. it is a fascinating read. we will get to it in a moment. but first, your foreign policy adviser for senator ted cruz. so i have to ask you some questions about foreign policy and senator ted cruz. senator cruz referred to this as settled law, but the term natural born citizen is at least ambiguous enough that when john mccain was the nominee for the republican party in 2008, john mccain born on a military base in panama to two american citizens, the senate passed a resolution to affirm that mccain was in fact a natural born citizen and eligible. isn't there some -- i'm not backing birtherism, but isn't it true this isn't settled law? there's some ambiguity. >> well, fortunately, i'm not a lawyer. which differentiates me from most of our staff. but i did read the harvard law review on this issue and declared the child of an
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american citizen, regardless of place of birth is an american citizen. this is no different i was very pregnant in both -- for both of my kids in florence and in amsterdam. if i'd happened to have them on those trips, they would be eligible to be president because i'm an american citizen. >> let me ask you as an add swriez er visor to ted cruz, this is an attack coming from donald trump who is also saying things that apparently are not true, like he had a canadian passport. why is senator cruz more forcefully going after the marco rubios of the world and kind of letting donald be donald. oh, that's my friend donald. he's a little silly. >> i think i'm going to follow his lead on this and say it's a nonissue. i think he's absolutely right that on the anniversary of the "charlie hebdo" attack and the day after the north koreans announced that they've possibly tested a hydrogen bomb that we have other things to talk about. >> let's talk about that hydrogen bomb -- possible hydrogen bomb although latest
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intelligence says it wasn't necessarily one. what would president cruz be doing right now with you by his side? >> well, what i would be advising him to do would be to make it very clear north koreans that there are ramifications for this behavior. the problem we have is that there have been no checks on them over the course of the last seven years, even perhaps longer than that. and so they've been testing, testing, testing. if nothing else, last night they signalled that they are going towards a hydrogen bomb. and this is intolerable. so the chinese should know that we will not stand for this behavior. and that if they can't corral them, there will be ramifications for them as well. and we should be reaching out to our very strong allies in the region, japan, south korea, taiwan, and really reassuring them that america's with them. >> what's so confounding about the problem of north korea is that you have in the last three administrations three very different approaches. and truly none of them seem to have worked.
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you had clinton engaging, the bush administration taking a tough line with them. they exploded their first nuke in 2006. and then of course president obama. nothing seems to work. >> well, i think the original problem was with the clinton approach, which unfortunately we've seen a very similar approach to iran, which is that you engage in negotiations, you enable a civilian nuclear program. and you relax sanctions allowing a flow of money into the country. and that's pretty much the deal we've just given iran. and i'm afraid we know how that plan ends. >> we have a little bit of time and i want to mention this art history book. david sling, a history of democracy in ten words of art as the subtitle explains, you look at how democracy got where it is by looking at ten distinct works of art. the one most relevant to us today is picasso's famous work that looks at the spanish civil war. now, you have said that you see a threat today on the scale of the fascism seen, musolini,
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hitler -- the fascists killed millions of people. how can you compare the two? >> well, i certainly think we're seeing a great deal of death in the middle east caused by sunni and shiite islamic supremism. the threat was an existential threat. it wasn't just coming to take over the florentine republic one state. it was a threat to the concept of liberty. and certainly what we see in this particular brand distortion of islamism is to do just that, distinguish liberty. and i wouldn't be too confident that those who espouse that wouldn't kill a whole lot of people to make that happen. >> well, it's very interesting to interview a foreign policy adviser who is also an art historian. >> i think it's unique. >> i think it's unique indeed.
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thank you so much. i appreciate it. thanks for coming in. on the other side of the campaign trail hillary clinton will have to share the spotlight this evening with bernie sanders at a special dinner. and with 26 days left before iowa, how can clinton get through? how can she worry about more than she's letting on? that story next. across america, people like basketball hall of famer dominique wilkins... ...are taking charge of their type 2 diabetes... ...with non-insulin victoza®. for a while, i took a pill to lower my blood sugar. but it didn't get me to my goal.
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welcome back to "the lead." going to stay with our politics lead now. could hillary clinton lose the new hampshire primary? the polls say that very well could happen. senator bernie sanders from neighboring vermont is clearly trying to feed any doubts voters might have about clinton's trustworthiness, which has of course been an issue for her throughout this campaign. >> can't be a moderate. you can't be a progressive. you can't be for the tpp and against the tpp, for the keystone pipeline, against the keystone pipeline. you know, i have been fairly consistent my entire political
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life. >> cnn's senior political correspondent brianna keilar is in henderson, nevada, where clinton was earlier today. brianna, clinton as you know will appear at the mgm grand in vegas in just a few short hours at a democratic party dinner. bernie sanders is going to be there too. both will speak. has her campaign given you any indication if she will directly address the charges coming from sanders? >> reporter: they're not ruling it out, but talking to sources, jake, it sounds like while she may be drawing some contrast with bernie sanders she's expecting he'll draw some contrast with her. whether it will be on this specific issue or not is still remaining to be seen. i understand remarks for tonight are still being worked out, but talking to a source they didn't seem to be very concerned about this specific charge that sanders is making that she is a flip-flopper. and the reasoning that i'm hearing is this, they believe that it is something that has been leveled at clinton before, especially on these issues of the transpacific partnership and on the keystone xl pipeline,
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that these are issues she's taken her position on here in recent months. they think it's something that's already been out there and adjudicated and it is where it is and not really going to erode support for hillary clinton. will she draw contrast with bernie sanders tonight? perhaps, i think we should look for that to happen, but today here in henderson, nevada, remarks she gave before this ballroom of people the contrast she was drawing was very much an alternative to donald trump and republicans. some of the things she said certainly raised eyebrows i think in addition to doubling down on the comment she made yesterday about not needing a tour of the white house come january 2017, she said that america needs a leader who will look squarely at problems, not create fear. and she also said that the u.s. needs muslim americans to stand with the united states not to be marginalized or offended, jake. >> brianna, to get into some of the politics, we mentioned things tight in new hampshire,
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bernie sanders from neighboring vermont, but there's also legitimate concern among clinton backers that she might be vulnerable in iowa. >> reporter: yeah. and here's what i'm hearing talking to sources on that. they believe that her lead is real in iowa. they say they're not taking it for granted, but they believe compared to 2008 the analytics, they think, they have faith in them. if you recall back in 2008 her campaign was completely blind sided by this over the top turnout that really were not expected, not in their projections and ultimately worked in then-senator obama's favor. they think that this lead is real. they are comfortable with that. certainly there's some concern when it comes to new hampshire, bernie sanders very much leading there, but they're down playing some of their concern there, jake. >> it wasn't just barack obama that beat her in iowa of course in 2008. >> that's right. john edwards. >> right. >> reporter: she came in third. >> brianna keilar, thanks so much. republicans controlling congress are vowing to block president
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obama's new plans to expand background checks for gun purchases. today house speaker paul ryan said he is considering a lawsuit against the president's executive actions with fellow gop leadership by his side. ryan led the charge calling the new measures a distraction that attacks the second amendment. >> i think it would be nice if he would actually focus on defeating isis, on calling radical islamic terrorism what it actually is instead of talking about how we can intimidate and frustrate the second amendment of law-abiding citizens. >> joining me congressman wip steve skalize back with us. >> good to be back with you, jake. >> you say it's an attempt to take away the protected rights of gun owners. as i understand it the controversial part of the proposal expands background checks. do you think there's something wrong with making sure that people who buy guns aren't
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criminals and don't have mental health problems? >> no, jake. he's really trying to change the definition of a licensed seller, of a licensed firearms dealer. we're talking about somebody that might have a few guns they want to sell to a friend or to their own kid and the president's going to say you have to register with the federal government. this is an attempt to try to bully and intimidate people from sells guns and buying guns and goes around the laws already on the books. the president's not even enforcing existing law. that's where he should focus, but frankly he's trying to change the subject and get away from the fact that he hasn't been able to defeat isis. he hasn't been able to keep them out of the united states. and instead of talking about that he wants to talk about gun control. >> well, many more americans die every year even if you remove suicides from the equation from gun violence than have been killed by terrorists. i mean, that's not even a question. but going back to your argument, as i understand it what the president's provision would do would change the definition of somebody selling guns, something that would be required to get a
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license, making it a requirement for those who sell competitively and to make a profit. so i don't know that that would impact the father/son scenario you just talked about. >> it would even apply to somebody that just sold a few guns. look, not only does this really go after people that are not even dealers, these are just people that might want to sell to a friend or, again, to a kid one of their own children. but the president's trying to impose $250,000 fines against people. look, these are law-abiding citizens we're talking about. these aren't criminals. the president won't even go after people who broke existing federal law. why doesn't he do that? why doesn't he focus on his job instead of trying to usurp the role of congress and trump the constitution and the second amendment that is so sacred to our nation's founding. >> what's wrong with making sure that the people who are buying guns are suitable for gun ownership? allowed to buy guns. >> you've already got a system that works. in fact, what the president is talking about wouldn't even go
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after some of these shootings that we all are denounced, we pray for the victims. the president tries to criticize people who pray for the victims. he just wants to talk about gun control in a broader sense. and he doesn't stop here by the way, jake. if you look at what he's proposed in the past, it goes far beyond this. so anybody that thinks this is where the president wants to end, this is just the beginning. he's had a history of wanting to take away the gun rights of law-abiding citizens. and we're not going to stand for it. >> we only have a few minutes and i want to get to some other topics. obviously today the world woke up to north korea claiming they had tested a hydrogen bomb. what do you think the response of the u.s. government should be? >> the response needs to be strong, but obviously we are still gathering the real facts, finding out what really went on. but look, this is a clear example of the president's failures internationally. i mean, you've got north korea continuing to run russia, you've got iran trying to get a nuclear weapon, the soviet union, russia's trying to go through eastern europe. they're already in the ukraine, undermining a lot of our allies
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around the world. and the president's had no response. i sure hope he comes up with a strong response to this. but look, this is one small example of the larger problem of the president's failed foreign policy. >> the first time they exploded a nuclear device, my understanding is in 2006 during the bush administration. >> well, if you look at what this president's done to try to curtail whether it's north korea -- again, iran, he's enabling iran's ability to get a nuclear weapon. according to not only american military experts but our best ally israel is very concerned about what's happening over there. and yet the president continues to go forward and almost ignore what our allies think of this. >> one quick question on politics if i can. republican front-runner donald trump is bringing up a new birther argument, this time against his chief competition senator ted cruz. trump now raising the issue of whether or not cruz born in canada to an american citizen whether he's eligible to be president is senator ted cruz eligible to be president? >> look, ultimately the voters are going to be making these
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decisions. he's a candidate. he's running. he's eligible by all the constitutional experts. but the voters and i we're going to start making that decision at the beginning of february. and then each other state follows after that. we're march 5th in louisiana. so i'm looking forward to the people of this country actually deciding it through elections. let's have the voters actually go and pick who the nominees are going to be both on the republican side and on the democrat side. and then we need to win the white house back to get republican president to get our country back on track. >> congressman steve scalise, thank you so much. >> thanks. great being with you, jake. and cnn will elevate the gun conversation tomorrow. president obama will join cnn's anderson cooper for a special town hall on guns in america. you can see it tomorrow night at 8:00 eastern right here on cnn. coming up, a shocking apparently coordinated crime wave on new year's eve. more than 100 reported attacks by gangs of men working together to sexually assault and rob women victims. that's next.
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plus, donald trump continuing to question ted cruz's eligibility to be president in a brand new cnn interview. and that interview is coming up.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. making headlines in our world lead today, a terrifying crime wave sweeping across germany on new year's eve. more than 150 women have filed criminal complaints in germany alleging they were raped, sexually assaulted and/or robbed. in cologne police say victims claim the alleged attackers appear to be of arab disseecent.
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cnn senior international correspondent fred pleitgen has been digging in on the story. >> reporter: a day after the allegations of mass sexual assaults were made public, cologne continues to search for the perpetrators and for answers. how could things get so out of hand? more victims are coming forward and describing their harrowing experienc experiences. >> translator: suddenly we were surrounded by a group of between 20 and 30 men. they were full of anger. and we had to make sure that no one of us was pulled away by them. they were grabbing us and we were trying to get away as quickly as possible. >> reporter: police and witnesses continue to speak of a group of up to 1,000 men groping and often robbing women at cologne's main railway station on new year's eve. more than 100 criminal complaints have already been filed. germany's interior minister
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criticized the police's slow response to the violence and said authorities must do better in the future. >> translator: we still do not have a clear picture as to who may be behind the crimes. all we have are some clues. the actions of the perpetrators are not acceptable. >> reporter: with germany now announcing the country took in about 1.1 million asylum seekers in 2015, the new year's eve incidents are causing many to criticize angela merkel's open arms policy. but authorities say there are no indications refugees were involved. meanwhile, cologne's mayor is under fire for suggesting women need to be more careful. >> translator: women would also be smart not to go and embrace everyone that you meet and who seems to be nice. such advances could be misunderstood, and that is something every woman and every girl should protect herself from. >> reporter: as the search for the perpetrators continues, questions still remain as to how
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this night of celebration turned sour so quickly. fred pleitgen, cnn, london. >> our thanks to fred pleitgen. now the money lead. we've all tried to cram that extra word or emoji or hash tag into a tweet but blocked by that pesky 140 character limit, until now. well, maybe. twitter now considering increasing its character limit to 10,000. so, ladies and gentlemen, feel free in this new world to go on that rant even though no one on the internet will get past line three anyway no matter how much they love you. let's get right to @laurie seagal, cnn. >> i would say the simple answer is jack dorsey. he's looking at the product and saying i think this is what people want. if you look, he actually tweeted out a screen shot and said people are getting around the 140 character limit anyway. they're doing it in screen shot. let's take advantage of that text. i want to read you a little bit of it. he said instead of what if text is that text that could be
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searched, highlighted, that's more utility and power. remember, jake, they actually already expanded the limit for d.m.s and a lot of folks are up in arms saying what is our timeline going to look like. but i spoke to the former director of platform and said they're very sensitive about changing the look and feel of that platform. no matter what if they change this, we might not see it. i do get concerned we'll see a lot of twitter novellas if this actually does happen, jake. >> concerned, i can't wait. laur laurie, thank you so much. coming up, a brand new sit-down interview with donald trump where he defends his latest attack questioning ted cruz's eligibility for the presidency. that's next. stay with us. is
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. happening now, breaking news. h-bomb, north korea sends out shock waves claiming it's tested a hydrogen bomb. experts are skeptical, but the world is outraged. and kim jong-un's regime may face harsh new punishment. one-on-one with trump. i asked the gop front-runner what he would do about the north korean nuclear threat, how he would handle america's plague of gun violence and the details of his plan to build a wall along america's southern border. and citizen cruz. donald trump is dusting off the so-called birther argument against his leading rival. but ted cruz says the fact that he was born in canada to an american mother does not disqualify him from the presidency. are they headed for a showdown? i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room".