tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN January 6, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm PST
. 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".
this is cnn breaking news. >> the breaking news in this earth shaking announcement from north korea that it's tested a hydrogen bomb potentially hundreds of times more powerful than the nuclear weapons it's tested before. earth did shake. seismic monitors picked up clear indications of a massive underground explosion, but the white house calls the data inconsistent with the h-bomb claim. still, there's a chorus of condemnation from around the world, urge at the united nations and push for new tough sanctions on kim jong-un's regime. in an interview with donald trump, i asked if he'd launch a preemptive strike or remove troops from the peninsula. we talk about immigration and gun control. and hear what the gop front-runner has to say about rivals including his hints ted cruz may not even be qualified to run for president, that he may not necessarily be a natural born citizen.
>> i hope that doesn't happen. and he's got this cloud over his head, i don't think it's going to be possible for him to do very well. >> i'll speak with ranking democrat on the house intention committee congressman adam schiff, and our correspondents, analysts and guests will have full coverage of all the day's top stories. but let's begin with north korea's stunning claim that it's tested a hydrogen bomb that's bringing worldwide condemnation and a threat of punishment. let's go to cnn's brian todd. brian, there's a lot of skepticism about this claim. but even if it's a normal nuclear test, why would kim jong-un take such a dangerous step right now? >> wolf, that is what intelligence agencies from washington to seoul, tokyo, beijing are all scrambling to find out tonight. analysts are telling us the north koreans likely did this now because they probably just cleared some technical hurdles. but kim jong-un is also trying to fend off some very powerful external and potentially internal rivals.
and experts believe that's why this violent, unpredictable young leader took this very dangerous step. with an explosion the size of a moderate earthquake and the uncontainable glee of a state news anchor, kim jong-un makes his rivals shudder and sends intelligence agencies scrambling. a senior u.s. official tells cnn north korea's nuclear test, whether it's a hydrogen bomb or not, is very concerning. analysts give a stark assessment of the danger. >> north korea's moving ever closer to a deliverable nuclear warhead that is miniaturized, that can hit japan, guam, perhaps hawaii or the west coast, that's where they're moving and they're doing it with impunity impunity. >> reporter: from seoul to washington officials are asse assessing kim's motives. one possibility he's signaling his enemies who he sees everywhere. >> kim jong-un is facing threats from all fronts. domestically, internally from his elites and so he has to be
able to manage and control all of that internally. but of course there's always the threat that north korea believes comes from its external environment. >> external rivals like south korea and the u.s. kim can't compete with them with his military and needs nuclear weapons to balance the field. but he's got another possible motive with his outside rivals. >> with nuclear weapons they can blackmail, intimidate and threaten the united states, japan, south korea, china, to get economic aid, sanctions relief and other things to preserve their regime. >> a u.s. official says this test could be an important ramp up to the highly anticipated congress of the korean workers party in may. north korea hasn't held such an event for 36 years. and at that gathering of the elites, kim is expected to consolidate his rule, shift more power from the military to himself. experts believe kim's flexing his nuclear muscles now because the internal threats he faces are constant. >> he has to be more fearful
every morning he wakes up that he won't get a bullet in his head. there are general officers inside north korea who can't mobilize against him, but if they had an opportunity to that i can him out in the future, i think he can't rest peacefully about that. >> now, a key question tonight, if kim finally develops a deliverable nuclear weapon, is he dangerous enough, unstable enough to actually use it? most analysts believe he would not launch a nuclear weapon just to provoke, but he could do it if he's desperate or if there's another standoff like the one he had with south korea last summer, he could miscalculate in an instance like that, wolf. that's what makes the situation so very dangerous tonight. >> brian, what would make a hydrogen bomb in the hands of the north koreans a lot more dangerous than an atomic bomb? >> hydrogen bombs, wolf, are much more powerful. perspective bombs dropped on hiroshima and nagasaki in 1945 killing more than 200,000 people, each of those bombs produced the equivalent of
13,000 tons of tnt, the first hydrogen bomb tests in the 1950s was 700 times more powerful than that. atomic bombs use fission splitting plutonium into smaller atoms, hydrogen bombs use fusion combining atoms creating two bombs in one. experts believe north korea is likely going to take more than five years to produce a hydrogen bomb, but the key thing, wolf, they have the desire, the technology, they are working on it. they can get there. >> they have the capability. brian, thank you. cnn's will ripley has been inside north korea now a number of times. he joins us live from beijing. will, will china, obviously a clear neighbor, something of a friend to north korea with a lot of influence over there, what's been the reaction so far in china? >> well, clie na certainly strongly condemning this action, wolf, just like so many other countries around the world, but unlike the previous nuclear test in 2006, 2009 and 2013, china was really blindsided here. they were not given a heads up as they were the past three nuclear tests.
and they're very concerned obviously they're going to get a lot of pressure from the international community to penalize the north korean regime. they provide a significant amount of aid, in many ways keep the north korean economy limping along. and they do that strategically because on the korean peninsula they need an alliance with north korea to counteract the united states' close relationship with south korea. so from the chinese perspective keeping the korean peninsula stable is of the utmost importance and that's why leaders here in beijing are calling for high level meetings. but stopping short, wolf, of saying they're going to penalize the regime led by kim jong-un. >> will, you've made several trips to pyongyang and north korea. why would the regime there claim a hydrogen bomb test? >> well, because the previous two nuclear tests during the obama administration didn't get a reaction from the united states. this policy of strategic patience is infuriating to the north koreans who want nothing more than to sit down with the united states and talk about lifting sanctions and
normalizing relations. so by claiming they have an h-bomb at a time when kim jong-un just gave a new year address talking about wanting to grow the economy. clearly they're hoping this will give them some leverage to force the world led by the u.s. to sit down with the north koreans and talk to them as they would with other countries. that's something the north koreans would desperately want. it's also noteworthy it's two days before kim jong-un's 33rd birthday. 33 years old. and really with his finger at the button of a growing nuclear arsenal in a country with a lot of raw uranium a very troubling development for the world that this nuclear program continues to develop. in spite of all the sanctions, unchecked, wolf. >> to put it mildly. all right, will, thank you very much. will ripley in beijing. while north korea's claim of an h-bomb test sent shock waves around the world, the united states and other nations are making it clear that any other kind of north korean nuclear test is unacceptable. let's go to elise labott. elise, has kim jong-un this time
gone too far? >> well, wolf, even as it poured water on north korea's claims it tested a hydrogen bomb, the u.s. asked the u.n. security council to consider new sanctions. it's all part of the obama administration's policy towards north korea dubbed strategic patience. but after four nuclear tests there are questions tonight about whether that policy has helped the north korean nuclear program grow. north korea's claim that it tested a hydrogen bomb shocked the world. >> translator: north korea's nuclear test is a serious threat to our nation's security and absolutely cannot be tolerated. >> reporter: even china, north korea's neighbor and closest ally, quickly denounced the test after downplaying the nuclear threat for years, growing concern in beijing over the program under north korea's erratic and unpredictable leader. u.s. officials hope north korea's largest benefactor will
finally put the squeeze on kim jong-un. and wants the u.n. security council to impose tough new sanctions. >> what we do want to see is a strong international response to this latest provocation. and ewe ewe anonymity. >> reporter: but decades of sanctions have failed to curb the nuclear ambitions of three generations of north korean leaders. the north given diplomatic cover to build a nuclear weapon. president bush came close to a deal where pyongyang would trade its nukes for aid in a peace treaty, but it didn't happen. president obama came to office promising not to overreact to north korea's nuclear antics, continuing sanctions until pyongyang agreed to negotiate an end to its program. instead the u.s. focused on a nuclear deal with iran, a more willing partner.
in april iran agreed to robust curbs on its program. meanwhile, three of north korea's four nuclear tests have been launched since obama took office. critics label obama's so-called strategic patience a recipe for diplomatic failure. >> some new diplomatic policy options need to be put on the table. and my view is that a deal like iran's similar like we had before in the bush administration in exchange for food, fuel, lifting of some sanctions, they curb their nuclear weapons. >> reporter: but u.s. officials say the north korean regime has shown no sign it is ready to talk. and that's why, wolf, it's unclear what it would take to bring them to the table. for starters, the north has demanded to be officially recognized as a nuclear state. today the white house and state department reaffirmed they will not and do not accept north korea as a nuclear power, wolf. >> elise labott reporting. thank you. i sat down with the gop presidential front-runner, donald trump, just a little while ago and asked him about
the shocking claim by north korea and how he'd handle a nuclear crisis with the communist regime. would you consider a preemptive strike to destroy north korea's nuclear capabilities? >> no, because china has total control over them and we have total control over china if we had people who knew what they were doing, we don't. we have no leadership in this country. we have china because of trade. they're sucking our money out of us, they're taking our money like candy from a baby. and china can come out and frankly they will, you know, they say they don't have that much control over north korea, they have total control because without china they wouldn't be able to eat. so china has to get involved. and china should solve that problem. and we should put pressure on china to solve the problem. >> because as you know there are almost a million north korean troops north of the demilitarized zone, almost a million south korean troops south of the demilitarized zone. >> and we have 28,000 soldiers in the middle. and we get paid peanuts. >> would you pull them out?
>> well, i would want south korea to pay us a lot of money. we're doing a lot of -- what are we doing? i just ordered 4,000 television sets. they come from south korea. south korea is a money machine. they pay us peanuts. we're defending them, and i have many friends from south korea, they buy my apartments, i do business with them. but south korea should pay us and pay us very substantially for protecting them. >> so you want china basically to handle the north korea problem. >> they can handle them so easily. now, they don't say that. they say, well, they're not that easy, they're not that easy. they're taunting us, okay. they're playing games with us. i do it all the time. that's the way i deal in business. they're playing games with us. china should solve that problem. and if they don't solve that problem, we should be very tough on them with trade. meaning start charging them tax or start cutting them off. you'd have china collapse in about two minutes. >> i've heard -- >> we have great power over china, we just don't know how to use it. >> all right. the full interview with donald trump coming up later here in "the situation room." but right now i want to bring in
the ranking member of the house intelligence committee, democratic congressman adam schiff of california. congressman, sthanks for joining us. i know you've been well briefed on what's going on. are north korea's claims to be believed? >> well, i share the skepticism that was expressed today by the administration given the public data about the size of that seismic movement following the explosion. we don't know for sure though, but i think we'll know fairly soon and that will give us good insight into just what kind of a bomb this was. did they use tritium to try to enhance the power of a fission bomb or was this a hydrogen bomb as they claim? but i would take north korean claims with a very big grain of salt. >> did the u.s. have any advance intelligence warning of the timing of this nuclear test? >> wolf, i can't go into the specifics of that of what, you know, we soerve or what we may have seen. i can tell you this is something obviously we have a lot of our intelligence assets directed to determine that is what's
happening in north korea's missile program, what's happening in their nuclear program, when are they likely to launch missiles, when are they likely to initiate nuclear tests. this is something we keep a very close eye on. >> you say there should be more economic sanctions on north korea. there already are a ton of sanctions. and so far they've been pretty much ineffective. what will it take to get the job done to stop north korea from being a nuclear power? >> well, i think the country that really has the leverage here is china. and right now china hasn't been willing to use that leverage to maximum extent as your commentators were pointing out earlier. china is very unhappy with these north korean tests, but at the same time doesn't want the regime to collapse, doesn't want to unify korean peninsula ally to the west right on its border. i think the way to change the calculus for china is to make it very clear that we're going to have to increase our military presence in the region. we're going to have to be talking to our allies in the region about what additional military assets to bring to bear
to defend ourselves and our allies from this growing threat that our strategic patience is wearing out. china doesn't want to see us do that. and that may be the kind of motivation china needs to really crackdown on sanctions that have a bite. >> congressman schiff, standby for a moment. we're going to have much more on what's going on in north korea, also the war against isis. and also coming up, my one-on-one interview today with donald trump. you're going to hear what he has to say about his rivals on the hot button issue of immigration. >> ted was in favor of amnesty. him and marco rubio have been fighting about who's weaker.
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. breaking news, north ckrece korea claiming it's tested a hydrogen bomb. congressman adam schiff, north korea hasn't been shy about it intentions. i want to play for you something that the former president of the united states bill clinton had to say about the deal he struck with north korea to end its nuclear weapons program back in 1994. listen to this.
>> before i take your questions, i'd like to say just a word about the framework with north korea that was signed this morning. this is a good deal for the united states. north korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program. south korea and our other allies will be better protected. the entire world will be safer as we slow the spread of nuclear weapons. south korea with support from japan and other nations will bear most of the cost of providing north korea with fuel to make up for the nuclear energy it is losing. and they will pay for an alternative power system for north korea that will allow them to produce electricity while making it much harder for them to produce nuclear weapons. the united states and international inspectors will carefully monitor north korea to make sure it keeps its commitments. only as it does so will north korea fully join the community of nations. >> clearly that has not worked out, congressman. president clinton's agreed upon
framework essentially wound up giving pyongyang diplomatic cover to build a nuclear weapon and a lot of people say the same thing potentially could happen with iran right now. you voted in favor of that iran nuclear deal. was that a mistake? >> no, it wasn't a mistake. and we have a very different kind of verification regime with iran. i think one of the most severe in history to make sure that iran doesn't cheat the way north korea did by pursuing a different pathway to the bomb. so i think we have a very different situation in iran than in north korea. and i'm not sure that you can really compare the two very well. >> did the clinton administration, the bush administration, the obama administration drop the ball as far as north korea and its nuclear program is concerned? >> i don't think they dropped the ball, but i think it's a recognition of a limited range of options. obviously because of the heavy military presence along that demilitarized zone as you point out, military action is a very
fraught kind of an option. so where you're really left is with economic pressure or some kind of negotiated outcome. negotiations did not work. north korea violated the spirit if not the letter of that agreement. and here i think we're going to have to try to once again gin up the sanctions on north korea, put pressure on china to do its part, be a stronger actor in the world stage in dealing with this growing menace. and one other tool i would encourage us to use much more extensively and that is we have seen the sensitivity of the north korean regime to information disseminated to its own people about the horrors of its own regime. and i would use this as an opportunity to fight back in the information wars by bombarding the north koreans with information about how their own ruler is feeding their nuclear program rather than feeding the starving people of north korea. so i think we ought to be aggressive in hitting north korea with what hurts them. >> north korea did provide nuclear technology to syria.
they built a nuclear reactor, the israelis destroyed that back in 2007. they provided nuclear technology to pakistan, which now has a nuclear arsenal. is there evidence right now north korea which is hard pressed for cash is about to sell nuclear related technology to others? >> i don't know that there's evidence that they're on the cusp of doing so, but i certainly wouldn't put it past them. and that's something that we watch vigilant ly. the only linkage i would say, wolf, between north korea and iran is the agreement with iran i think because of the vigorous inspection regime pretty well cuts off iran's pathway to a bomb through the clandestine enrichment capability. if i were iran and wanted to cheat to make a bomb, i would buy it elsewhere. and here we're going to have to really watch north korea and make sure that iran doesn't seek to cheat by going to a country like north korea to get the
finished product. >> congressman schiff, thanks very much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. today's breaking political news, i asked the republican presidential front-runner, donald trump, about the criticism he's getting from senator ted cruz who has -- says he has the best plans to stop illegal immigration. >> and i was watching ted the other day and it was very interesting. he said, and we must build a wall. okay. and my wife said, darling, he just said build a wall. that's the first person that said build a wall. i've been saying it for five years. but he said and we will build a wall. so now he's taking my idea for the wall.
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now to this evening's breaking political news. donald trump explaining how he'd get mexico to pay for a wall along the u.s. border. and defending his latest questions about whether his opponent, senator ted cruz, is a natural born u.s. citizen. i sat down with the republican presidential front-runner in his office at trump tower in new york. let's talk about another issue in the news right now. senator ted cruz, he's your main rival in iowa, according to all the polls right now. all of a sudden this whole issue the fact he was born in canada has come up whether or not he's a natural born citizen. you know the constitution says no person except a natural born citizen shall be eligible to the office of president. do you believe senator ted cruz is a natural born citizen? >> i don't know, to be honest. and i like him a lot. and i don't like the issue. i don't like even bringing it up. and, you know, it wasn't me that brought it up. it was "the washington post" doing an interview. >> they asked you the question. >> one of the questions they
asked me was this question and they went with it. and i wasn't very aggressive with the answer except one thing, you can't have somebody running if the democrats are going to at some point and one of them threatened to bring a suit a long time ago. but how can you have a nominee running, you know, against a democrat whoever it may be, probably hillary clinton because she'll probably escape the e-mail problem, which is disgusting that she's able to. because other people have doing far less have had very, very major consequences. it's been terrible. but it's probably going to be hillary. so how do you run against the democrat, whoever it may be, and you have this hanging over your head if they bring a lawsuit? a lawsuit would take two, three years -- >> he says he's a natural born citizen because his mother was u.s. born, a u.s. citizen. and as a result he's a natural born citizen. >> well, i hope he's right. you know, i want to win this thing fair and square. i don't want to win on this point. what the democrats are saying though is he had a passport. >> he says he didn't have a passport. >> he had a canadian passport. >> his aides say he didn't have a passport. he may have been eligible.
>> i think that's wonderful if he didn't. and i never understood how he did. but everybody told me he had a joint passport. >> he had a canadian birth certificate because he was born in canada. >> well, here's what i think i would do, i would go and seek a declaratory judgment. >> what does that mean? >> it means you go to court. >> which court? >> you go to federal court to ask for a declaratory judgment. you go in seeking the decision of the court without a court case. you go right in. you go before a judge, you do it quickly. it can go quickly. declaratory judgment. it's very good. i've used it on numerous occasions. so when there's a doubt -- because there's a doubt. what ted doesn't want to happen is he doesn't want to be in there -- i mean, i think i'm going to win. i'm leading in every poll by a lot. but i have a lot of friends in the republican party -- i have a lot of friends all over the place, all right. if ted should eke it out, and i hope that doesn't happen, and he's got this cloud over his head, i don't think it's going to be possible for him to do
very well. i don't think it's actually possible for the republicans to let it happen because he'll have this. so what you do is go in immediately like tomorrow, this afternoon, you go into federal court, you ask for a declaratory judgment. you want the court to rule. and once the court rules you have your decision. >> but that could take a long time -- >> no, i don't think -- >> the supreme court has never really ruled on what is a natural born citizen. >> that's the problem. there's this doubt. people have doubt. again, this was not my suggestion. i didn't bring this up. a reporter asked me the question. but the democrats have brought it up. and you had somebody, a congressman, say no matter what happens we're going to be suing on this matter. that's a tough matter for ted. again, i didn't bring it up, wolf. this is brought up and this was asked to me as a question. it's not the first time it's been asked, but it's being asked by a lot of different people to a lot of different people that are running. >> because you know your critics are saying you're doing to ted cruz what you tried to do to president obama where he was born, his birth certificate --
>> who knows about obama. >> his mother was a u.s. citizen born in kansas. was he a natural born citizen? >> who knows. who cares right now. we're talking about something else, okay. i mean, i have my own theory on obama. some day i'll write a book. i'll do another book and it will do very successfully. but look, ted, he should ask for a declaratory judgment because that would clear it all up. i'm doing this for the good of ted. i like him. he likes me. we have a good relationship. this would clear it up. you go into court, you ask for a declaratory judgment. the judge will rule. and once the judge rules that he's okay, then the democrats can't bring a lawsuit later on. >> he also says he's tougher on illegal immigration in the united states than you are. you say you will deport all the undocumented immigrants in the united states, 11 million or 12 million, as many as there are, but the good ones you say can come back to the united states. he says he's not letting any of the immigrants come back to the united states. >> ted was in favor of amnesty. him and marco rubio have been
fighting about who's weaker. now all of a sudden -- and i was watching ted the other day. it was very interesting. he said, and we must build a wall. and my wife said, darling, he just said build a wall. that's the first person, i've been saying it for five years. but he said, and we will build a wall. so now he's taking my idea for the wall. i'm glad he's taking it. i think it's the right thing to do. the problem is i'll build the wall, it will be the right wall, me these politicians don't know how to build a wall, they don't know how to build anything, but i'll build a wall and have mexico pay for it. but all of a sudden they're trying to come into my territory. no, we will get people out. and the people that come back will come back legally. they will come back legally. we'll have a country again. we're going to have strong borders. border patrol people are fantastic. i got to know them very well, but we're going to have a wall. now, i heard just the other day ted said he never said about wall before. all of a sudden he's talking about wall. and i don't blame him. >> he says he's not going to let
any of those illegal immigrants come back to the united states. >> well, i think you should let them come back if they're very good people you let them come back legally. i'm building a wall, but i want people to come in. i want immigrants to come in, but they have to come in legally. and i want a lot of people to come in. i want to have really smart people, really good people, really hard workers come back in. but they have to come in legally. so i want people to come back into the country. >> let's talk a little bit about the wall you want to build. how long would it take to build that wall? >> very quickly. >> how long? >> i would get the environmental impacts -- you know, part of the reason the wall wasn't built they couldn't get an environmental impact statement approved. can you believe it? the environmental impact statement for a wall where we're looking for -- you could almost say military purposes. and that way you avoid it. as an example, in the south china sea, china is building islands. massive islands that are being, you know, military bases. they're taking out and they're dredging the sea. they're dredging the ocean. >> are you saying mexico's going
to pay for the wall. are they going to put the money up front or how do you do that? >> they'll pay in one of three or four different ways including i'll charge them a tariff. i'm friendly with mexico. i employ thousands of people, mexicans are great people. they like me. i'm doing very well by the way with the hispanics. you saw in nevada i'm leading in the polls with hispanics because i create jobs. here's the thing, mexico's making a fortune. you look at the trade deficit that we have with mexico, they're making a fortune. ford's going to build a $2.5 billion plant in new mexico. na bis cois moving their big flant -- >> how do you get mexico to pay for a wall? >> simple. >> they say they won't. >> that's good. then we'll tax their goods come sboog this country and they'll pay. the wall is peanuts compared to the kind of money they're making. that's why they're going to pay. when i say that to politicians, they don't know what i'm talking about. i'm a business guy.
i'm a really good business guy. when i say to politicians mexicans are going to pay for the wall, they all smile. the reason they're going to pay is they're making a fortune of the united states far more than the cost of the wall. they'll pay. >> we're only getting started with donald trump. we have much more coming up from my extensive one-on-one interview with the republican presidential front-runner. and our political experts they are also standing by to assess what's changed, what's new and what donald trump has to say. ♪ while you're watching this, i'm hacking your company. grabbing your data. stealing your customers' secrets. there's an army of us. relentlessly unpicking your patchwork of security. think you'll spot us? ♪ you haven't so far. the next wave of the internet requires the next wave of security. we're ready. are you?
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breaking plilt kal news. in my one-on-one interview with donald trump, the republican front-runner went in depth on how if he were president he'd handle the dangerous problem of north korea's nuclear weapons. more on the interview coming up, but let's get some insight what we've just heard. joining us our cnn political reporter sara murray covered donald trump when he's on the road. our senior washington correspondent jeff zeleny and
our chief political analyst gloria borger. gloria, i asked trump whether he believes senator ted cruz is a natural born citizen, he told me he doesn't know. what's going on over here? why is he doing this? >> wolf, have you ever heard of the technical term called pot stirring? because that's exactly what donald trump is doing. obviously ted cruz is now ahead of him in iowa. he keeps protesting, you know, i like ted a lot, i'd like to see him get this issue settled. but in continuing to talk about this issue and say that it is not settled law, which by the way many people believe that it is, if you'll recall john mccain was born in panama and that didn't seem to be much of an issue then. by saying that he's got to settle this issue he is implying of course that it is not a settled issue. and we've heard ted cruz say today to dana bash that it is a settled issue. so he's just clearly trying to
raise questions about cruz. >> what he and his supporters point out, jeff zeleny, is that john mccain was born on a u.s. military base in the panama canal zone, which is different than simply being born in panama if you will. but why do you think, jeff, donald trump is doing this now? >> it's because those iowa caucuses, wolf, are 26 days away. and ted cruz is coming on strong there. i am struck by all our trips to iowa. i just got back from there a couple hours ago talking to republican voters. there are so many who are deciding ted cruz or donald trump. you know, they've liked donald trump sort of a strong anti-establishment views, but now they are sort of becoming more serious about their specific issues that each of these candidates hold. so i think donald trump realizes that ted cruz is taking some of his supporters away. i think donald trump is as gloria said trying to stir the pot here. i'm not sure if it works, because it doesn't sound credible. his mother was a united states
citizen here, i don't think on the margins perhaps if someone is not sure about ted cruz but i think what it does more than anything it gets donald trump some more attention and gives more attention to his immigration policy perhaps as well. more interestingly to me is where donald trump takes this from here. is he going to keep escalating this against ted cruz? and that will become very, very interesting. >> i'm sort of surprised, sara, and you've been on the road covering him for months and months now, why it's only been coming up now. i would have thought it would have been raised a while ago given the fact ted cruz was in fact born in canada. is it only because ted cruz potentially represents a serious threat to trump in iowa right now? >> yeah, i think that's exactly why. i think early on donald trump was happy to play nice with ted cruz, you know. there was a while where a spat was emerging after ted cruz talked about him at a closed door fundraiser, but they quickly made up. and the reality of that is because they're competing for a lot of these same voters in iowa. and so both of them want to be very careful not to alienate
anyone. i think trump is now making the calculation that the time for that is over, that he needs to be harsher with ted cruz when it comes to this issue. even when it comes to immigration you saw him going after ted cruz saying he wants to build a wall. you heard him say that ted cruz is pro amnesty. so i think we are starting to see an escalation of these attacks from donald trump. >> and, wolf, let me just say that what's interesting about cruz is that he's not really taking bait here. cruz is reacting to this with sort of humor. he's reacting to it kind of in sorrow, not in anger. because he doesn't want to get into a fight with donald trump to give donald trump an excuse to attack him even more. because he knows that's not going to really benefit him in any way, shape or form. so he's kind of backing off on this. and letting donald trump punch at him without really punching back because there would be no benefit in it for him. so i kind of applaud him for the
way he's reacted. >> jeff, what's your reaction to what trump had to say about the very dangerous situation in north korea right now? he's not in favor of any pree t preemptive strike but really wants clie na to get the job done, what do you think of that? >> wolf, he's clearly not an interventionist, but on this he may be voicing the view of potentially a lot of americans saying why is this our problem again, can you tell me exactly why we should be sort of taking the lead on this here? but i'm still not sure as a job interview as someone running for president here it's all that realistic. of course this is our problem. of course this is the world's problem. so i think that he's a little bit naive on some respect, but that's not to say that some of his language is not going to work. but he was actually incorrect in one thing he said. he said the u.s. is paying for all this. actually, south korea pays the u.s. government some $700
million to sort of help protect them here. so he was wrong on that front. there is an agreement that is signed every few years or so between both governments. so the u.s. is not footing this bill alone in its entirety. south korea is paying for a lot of that, wolf. >> it seems though, sara, and you've covered him as i say now for months, that there's almost a trump doctorate, let china take care of north korea. let russia take care of syria. let germany take care of ukraine. you see that kind of standoff foreign policy strategy emerging? >> yeah, i think this is really interesting because trump has rallied so many supporters by projecting this image of strength by saying that america is going to be the strongest country. but when you dig into his views on these specific issues, dealing with these specific world leaders and he's written about this many times before in his books, he actually is not very interventionist in his views. he has written before it needs to be -- if we're going to get involved in a conflict somewhere else, there needs to be a very clear threat to the u.s., a
clear threat that the american people understand. and i think we're seeing that reflected now when you see him talk about the situation in north korea. and when you see him talk about russian president vladimir putin while other candidates were on the stump this week bashing him, comparing him to a kgb member, donald trump was essentially thanking putin for complementing him. >> but he also says on the other hand let's bomb the hell out of the oil feeds in iraq. so which is it? is he saying let the chinese handle this north korea or is he going to be interventionist and bomb the hell out of the oil fields? >> right, tries to play both ways. >> more to be coming from this. >> exactly. >> everybody standby because we have much more of my one-on-one interview with donald trump coming up. among other things he talks about his wife's role in the campaign and possible role as first lady. >> she made a tremendous amount of money. she was a very, very successful
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navarro. you heard trump avoid to say whether he thinks cruz is a natural born citizen. i assume trump thinks this could be a winning strategy for him. what do you think? >> obviously, the bromance is over. donald trump said this is not an issue. that was before ted cruz started surging in iowa and he felt a threat from ted cruz. a few weeks ago we saw donald trump go after ted cruz and said he's a maniac and got backlash and so i think he's got to tread carefully. we've seen him in the last couple weeks try to poke holes on whether a cuban can be an evangelic evangelical, which is ridiculous, of course they can. >> kevin, your take? >> look, here is what trump is doing. a classic trump move is he's trying to create a distraction
that gets, that gets ted cruz off message and puts him on the defensive. ted cruz just put out an ad, a very strong ad, a very effective ad for those folks out in iowa who care about the issue of immigration and what we spent the last 48 hours not talking about immigration or ted cruz' message on it but instead, whether or not he was born in canada or whether or not he's eligible for the presidency. that has taken ted cruz off message. so that is where it's been effective. the other thing is got the media chasing the rabbit. if you've ever been to a dog race, they got the mechanical rabbit and dogs go round and round chasing it but a rabbit they never catch. the media is covering this in a way that's creating, putting where ted cruz has to answer a lot of questions that are not focused. in that way again, this is advantage trump.
>> s.e. what kind of options does senator cruz have in battling trump on this issue? >> yeah, i mean, i disagree slightly with kevin, i think, i think this could be advantage trump but if cruz stays on message and doesn't chase the rabbit with the media, i think he wins. this is a losing strategy both historically and currently as anna mentioned, trump tried to question ted cruz' e van gvange and iowa voters didn't take kindly to that and in the past the folks, remember in 2008, when donald trump and other republicans tried to challenge obama's citizenship. when they tried to challenge a democrat's citizen ship, that didn't mobilize enough republicans to come out and vote obama out. i don't think a republican challenging another republican citizenship is going to mobilize somehow even more republicans to come out. i just don't think it's a winning strategy. cruise needs to sit tight and let this pass.
>> let's talk about north korea and anna, i'll start with you. you heard what donald trump had to say basically an awful situation but china has enormous influence over north korea. let them get the job done. >> he's being actually very consistent. this is the trump doctrine when we have foreign policy turmoil foreign policy issues, he is striking at a nerve with the american people. he's very good at that, being able to tell the polls of the american people of the base of the republican party and say why do we have to be the policemen of the world and putting the burden on china. when it comes to syria, he puts the burden on russia. but i think he's on short details to the united states and what he as commander in chief would do and that's something where he's going to have to fill in the blanks. >> kevin, what do you think of this so-called trump doctrine? >> i don't make -- i think
doctrines are much more substanti substantive. doctrines have much more details. i think donald trump was short on both. look, he offers conflicting messages on so many issues and particularly on foreign policy and says we need to be tougher on china at the same time america needs to receive from the world a china to be stronger in a region of the world that's important strategically for the united states. the question for donald trump, which is it? you can't be both. the big frustration here for so many of donald trump's opponents is that he never seems to pay a price for the lack of substance, lack of details and hypocrisy. and that i think is really something that we're going to have to see if the campaigns believe that if they go at it more, if they offer more volume and offer more of a stronger, more of a stronger critique, it will persuade voters to understand a policy in even a
slight way. >> kevin madden, anna, s.e. cupp, guys, thanks very much. much more coming up on this, also coming up, north korea sends out shock waves with a claim it tested a hydrogen bomb. we'll also have much more of my one on one interview with donald trump as the republican presidential front runner weighs in on the very, very sensitive issue of guns in america. >> so many people believe in the gun control when we have these debates, they always lose the debate to me and i call them up the next day. how do you feel about it? i still haven't changed my mind. i don't know what it is. type 2 diabetes doesn't care who you are. man woman or where you're from. city country we're just everyday people fighting high blood sugar. ♪i am everyday people.
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the u.s.? trump talks. how he would handle north korea on a one on one interview with me. we discuss that, guns, immigration, his rivals, his wife and a wide range in-depth conversation. cruz controversy, trump puts his closest rival ted cruz on the defensive forcing him to defend his american citizen ship as trump questions whether cruz' birth in canada disqualifies him from being president. how will this new birther uproar impact the race? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're "the situation room." >> this is breaking news. north korea claiming a nuclear milestone, a successful test of a hydrogen bomb hundreds of times more powerful than a
standard atom make bomb. the news drawing global condemn mansion and skepticism. there is also breaking political news, republican presidential candidate ted cruz forced to defend his american citizen ship as rival donald trump questions whether cruz is actually eligible to run because he was born in canada. listen to this excerpt from my one on one interview with donald trump just a little while ago. do you believe senator ted cruz is a natural born citizen? >> i don't know to be honest. i like him a lot. i don't like bringing it up but how can you have a nominee running against a democrat, whoever it may be, probably hillary clinton because she'll probably escape the e-mail problem, which is disgusting she's able to. how do you run against the democrat, whoever it may be and you have this hanging over your head if they bring a lawsuit? >> we'll also hear from ted cruz this hour. he talks to cnn about this
entire controversy. we're covering all of that, much more with our guests including senator james risch of the senator relations committees and core sprespondents and expert analysts covering the breaking news on the race for the white house tonight. let's begin with north korea and the alleged test of a hydrogen bomb. jim sciutto is working the story. if it claims to be true, it would be an extremely dangerous development. >> no question. initial analysis shows this was not a successful hydrogen bomb test. nuclear experts agree with that. what is not known is did they take a step in the direction of hydrogen bomb technology or a step in the direction of being able to minute tourize the device. those questions still
unanswered. [speaking foreign language]. >> north koreans cheered in the streets following their government's bold announcement for a first for the isolated nation. a successful test of a hydrogen bomb, many times more powerful than the atomic bombs already developed. this man telling a reporter his heart is happy and he wants to dance. there are photos of north korean leader kim jong un signing the order for the test while international monitors 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 conducted of the events reported overnight is not consistent with north korea claims of a successful hydrogen bomb test. there is nothing that occurred that caused the united states
government to change our assessment of north korea's technical and military capabilities. >> reporter: still the detonation at an under ground facility is the fourth by north korea since 2006. all in gros violation of international law and prior new clear agreements with the west. most analysts share administration's doubt north korea developed an h bomb but some are concerned he is making worry some progress in the program including the possibility of advancements in building a device small enough to deploy on a missile and north corkorea 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 the bomb, you can haveless material and make it smaller and help fit on the war head of a missile. doesn't look like they got there. >> with north korea nuclear tests, there are messages to be
delivered. the regime's viability is based in part on the military power but also certainly external messages for the west led by the united states and a message of defiance but crucially a message for north korea's traditional ally china that china is no longer calling the shot there is and wolf, that is truly a worrisome development because if china doesn't have influence over the north korea regime, no one does and that's something officials are very concerned about. >> certainly are. thank you. china we noted has the most influence on north korea and strongly condemning the test. will ripley is joining us. the chinese government says it was not given any warning of this test in advance. what's the latest you're hearing, the reaction you're getting from the chinese? >> very troubling here in beijing because the past three new clear test were given advance warning and surprised just like everyone else infur
rating to say the least considering that the president hand delivered or set a high level official to hand deliver a letter to kim jong un in october for worker's day. this is a slap in the face for a country that provides aide, a country where trade relationship keeps the economy moving along. what it says to the leadership is this 33, about to turn 33 on friday, 33-year-old leader is truly unpredictable and even the leadership here in beijing doesn't know what his next move will be and when you have a country that is investing so aggressively and growing its nuclear arsenal. very alarmalarming. >> you made several trips to north korea. why would that claim a hydrogen bomb as part of the test? >> because they want the international community to sit down and talk. they want a lifting of sanctions
and normalization of relations with the united states. that's one aspect of it. for the domestic audience and worker's party, high level leadership, kim jong un wants to protect power so by claiming to successfully carry off an h bomb test, a weapon potentially hundreds of times more powerful than previous tests, just two days before his birthday, it's certainly showing that kim jong un is trying to say look, i'm the boss in control and even though our military equipment on one level is more outdated, we're building missiles and developing war heads and not afraid to show the world that we have this capability. wolf? >> will ripley in beijing for us. thank you very much. let's get more on the breaking news. joining us now, james risch of idaho. senator, what are you learning about north korea's claim they actually tested a hydrogen bomb? >> wolf, that's highly unlikely. this is their fourth test, as
you know, and the yield from all the seismic material that has been reviewed indicate it's about the same as what the previous tests were. there is no possible way it could be a hydrogen bomb under those, under that scenario. it's just highly unlikely at this point that they did do that test. >> did the u.s. have any advance intelligence warning that this test was about to take place? >> you know, wolf, without going into details, i can tell you this was no surprise to the intelligence community. in a general sense, we know that every year, two years, three, sometimes four years, the north koreans do something. they push the envelope and make a statement. they were way over due. so this did not come as a surprise, really, to those in the intelligence community or for that matter, to military people or anyone else who
follows these. >> what can the u.s. do about this potential threat of nuclear north korea, more economic sanctions, clearly on the table. they haven't done much at least so far. >> wolf, you know, they are already so heavily sanctioned, it's really hard to turn the screw much tighter but there are some things. i think what is going to happen is they are going to be banking sanctions that they can turn the screw a little tighter on with some of the banks that they are doing business with in asia. i have no doubt that that's going to be looked at. you know the most troubling thing about all this is the ad mission by the chinese they didn't have advanced notice of this. i mean, kim judng's father was much closer. nobody knows how his mind works but distancing himself from about the only friend they have on the planet and isn't a warm relationship at that is not a very smart move for anybody and
that looks like what's happening. what that tells you is, the rogueness, the disconnect, how they are just a part from the rest of the world and as was said in one of the earlier segments, if anybody can control them, it's the chinese where they provide as much food and aid as they do and if this is separating, it's troubling. it really is. >> the iranian president tweeted this morning and i'll read to you, senator, which country is exacerbating divide bombing yemen and undermining governments in iraq and syria by providing funds and arms to isis. he's of usually accusing audio arabia his rival of that but how could what is happening in north korea affect the middle east specifically that u.s. brokered international nuclear deal with iran? >> well, i think it may be the reverse of that, actually.
i think the north koreans are emboldened by how iran has acted over the last 18 months or so where they negotiated this agreement. the i think wasn't even dry on the agreement and they were violating the resolutions that the u.n. put out about testing icpms and that sort of thing so they are -- you know, they look and see that iran, not only is not having any difficulties as a result of it, it's actually having sanctions lifted. i think the message they are getting is that the world is weak and the stronger they show themselves, the better they are going to be treated and of course, nothing is further from the truth in the minds of most of us. >> senator risch stand by. i want to get to more of my interview with donald trump. we covered a lot of hot button issues on race for the white house today including the issue of gun control. >> we have to protect the second
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ultimate flora. more power to your gut. we're following two breaking stories claiming it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb and donald trump ruling out a preemptive strike saying that china should handle the nuclear threat from it's neighbor. much more on the one on one interview with donald trump coming up shortly. stand by for that. in the meantime, i want to get back to republican senator james risch of idaho. senator, let me get you take on the escalating conflict now between saudi arabia and iran. how do you think the u.s. needs to be working to try to ease or resolve this situation which is potentially explosive? >> well, wolf, it is potentially explosive and the difficulty is that this has been simmering for
a long time and gets worse and worse and fighting a proxy war isn't helping. they executed 47 people including, i believe three were shiite in that group including one very prominent cleric certainly is going to raise the stakes. then that was followed and a member of the sunni countries, the uae and qatar and others cut ties with iran. it is not a good situation. there is no question about it and iran can be very unpredictable country and it's cause for concern. no question about it. as you know and has been reported, there have been a lot of discussions between the u.s., the state department and saudis
regarding what's going on and everyone attempting to try to get people to ratchet back. >> yeah, the saudis severed diplomatic relations with iran after iranians burnt and ransacked in tehran and sunni arab states, sudan, kuwait, qatar. how does this affect the larger u.s. war against isis? >> that's always unpredictable because it's so hard to understand the relationship between shiite and sunnis and the iranians of course want to be the leader of the islamic world and particular the shiite world and in that regard, isis is a competitor for them. they don't like that particularly, that isis gained as quickly as it has and as much as it has, isis of course the main, one of the main claims
they have had to be able to rise is the fact that they are trying to establish a caliphate where it will be islamic land in the islamic country. the iranians claim they have that and in any event the rub between the sunnis and shiite have been going on for hundreds and hundreds of years and it's difficult to get your head around. >> certainly is. senator risch, thanks for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. glad to be with you. >> donald trump stirring up a birther controversy. this time questioning whether his rival ted cruz is really a natural-born citizen. >> critics are saying you're doing a ted cruz what you tried to do to president obama. >> no. >> he was born, his birth certificate. >> who knows about obama. >> his mother is a u.s. -- >> can i tell you what -- >> is his mother -- >> who knows. we're talking about something else.
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now more on my one on one interview. we sat down for a wide-ranging interview in his office at new york's trump tower. this just a little while ago. >> let's talk about another issue in the news. senator ted cruz is your rival in wa according to the polls right now. this issue of the fact he was born in canada has come up whether or not he's a natural born citizen. you know the constitution says no person except a natural born citizen shall be eligible to the office of president. do you believe senator ted cruz is a natural born citizen? >> i don't know, to be honest and i like him a lot and i don't like the issue. i don't like even bringing it up and you know, wasn't me that brought it up. "the washington post" doing an interview and one of the questions they asked me was this question and, you know, they went with it and i wasn't very aggressive with the answer except one thing, you can't have somebody running if the democrats are going to at some
point and one of them threatened to bring a suit but how can you have a nominee running against a democrat, whoever it may be, probably hillary clinton because she'll probably escape the e-mail problem, which is disgusting that she's able to because other people have -- are doing far less and that's a very major consequence that's been terrible but probably hillary. how do you run against the democrat, whoever it may be and you have this hanging over your head if they bring a lawsuit. a lawsuit would take two or three -- >> he says he's a natural born citizen because his mother was u.s. born, a u.s. citizen and as a result, he's a natural born citizen. >> i hope he's right. i want to win this fair and square and i don't want to win on this point. what the democrats are saying is he had a passport. >> he says he didn't have a passport. >> he had a canadian passport. >> he may have been eligible -- >> that's underful if he didn't and never understood how he did. >> he had a canadian birth certificate because he was born
in canada. >> here is what i think i would do. i would go and seek a declare tory judgment. >> what does that mean? >> you go to federal court to ask for what's called a declare judgment and go in seeking the decision of the court without a court case. you go right in. you go before a judge. you do it quickly. it can go quickly. declaretory judgment. i've used it numerous times. i've been good at it. what ted doesn't want to happen is he doesn't want to be in there. i mean, i think i'm going to win. i'm leading in every poll by a lot. but i have a lot of friends in the republican party. i have friends all over the place, all right? if ted should eke it out and i hope that doesn't happen and he's got this cloud over his head, i don't think it's going to be possible for him to do very well. i don't think it's actually possible for the republicans to let it happen because he'll have this left. what you do is go in immediately like tomorrow, this afternoon and go to federal court, ask for
declare tory judgment. you want the court to rule. and once the court rules, you have your decision. >> but that could take a long time. because i don't think the supreme court has ever really ruled on what is a natural born citizen. >> that's the problem. there is this doubt. people have doubt. again, this was not my suggestion. i didn't bring this up. a reporter asked me the question. but the democrats have brought it up and you had somebody, a congressman say no matter what happens, we're going to be suing on this matter. that's a tough matter for ted. again, i didn't bring it up, wolf. this is brought up and asked of me as a question. >> i've heard everything you said on foreign policy over the past several months. there seems to be and correct me if i'm wrong an emerging trump doctrine. you want china to take care of north korea and russia to take care of syria and germany to take care of ukraine. basically, you want to outsource these sensitive issues. >> i want help. the united states are like the policemen of the world. we're involved with ukraine but
germany doesn't care. germany should care more than us. why are we always out there? putin said nice things about me. he understands i get it. i get it. most people don't. you look at what is going on in the world. we're the policemen of the world. we owe $19 trillion. we just made a ridiculous budget, that just got aboved pp in about 15 seconds. who would believe a budget like that approved so quickly. the only thing obama negotiates well with are republicans. he only comes up on top with republicans. iran beats him. everybody beats him. we're the laughing stock all over the world. the republicans should be ashamed of themselves for allowing that budget to pass. we're at $19 trillion plus we're going to be at $21 trillion right now, so, yeah, i want other countries to get involved. >> let's talk about other
tensions. as bad as the middle east is, it's getting worse, texts between saudi arabia and iran. the execution, the ransacking and burning of the embassy in to man. would you condemn saudi arabia for the beheadings of collar i cans and terrorists. >> they are supposed to be a great ally. they executed all of these people, who knows. here if we execute like one person a year it's like a major event. they do it like routinely. nev neverthele nevertheless, i have very good friends from saudi arabia. they have to pay. if we are going to protect them from iran, we gave them $150 billion, we essentially gave them the right to make nukes and they will be doing -- >> the saudis hated this nuclear deal with iran. >> i hated it more than them.
>> you -- >> israel -- >> they all hated it. are you concerned the saudis given this tension with iran, saudi arabia may decide we'll by a nuclear bomb. the proliferation issue is really serious. >> i said that that deal and i said it to cnn, i said to anybody that would listen is going to lead to great nuclear proliferation and that's what is happening. that's what is going to happen and you can't blame them. >> the ambassador, he told me last year he wasn't ruling out the possibility that saudi arabia could go ahead and develop or maybe even buy a nuclear bomb. they have a lot of money. >> they have plenty of money, believe me, they have plenty of money. when i see yemen and the event with the in iran, which was caused in my opinion by the government of iran as an excuse because they want to take over saudi arabia and get the oil and
take over saudi arabia and the only reason they wanted yemen is they have a nice long border in. perfect feed. you know, at some point we have to be reimbursed. we pay rent in saudi arabia where we pay rent. we're protecting them. why are we paying rent? they have to pay up. south korea, germany. we protect germany, you know that, right? we protect so many countries and get nothing. >> 45,000 u.s. troops in germany. >> and they pay us practically nothing. they make mer seid mercedes. they have to help us. they have to help us economically. we're becoming a third world country, $19 trillion and the new very dumb budget that was approved by everybody two weeks ago, that's going to add at
least another $2 trillion. we're $21 trillion. >> you heard the president of the united states, 30,000 americans die each year from gun violence. about half suicides, what would you do right now to prevent that kind of slaughter? >> the first thing i do is protect the second amendment. the second thing i do is i wouldn't use executive orders to do this. you got to get people. our country was founded on the basis you're supposed to negotiate back and forth with different members of different parties and you come to a conclusion through negotiation and compromise. you don't go and just keep signing orders and all he's doing is taking chunks out of the second amendment. that won't happen. you know -- >> but you don't want convicted felons or mentally ill people to be able to go to a gun -- anyplace, online or -- >> when you say -- >> and get access to a gun. >> when you say anyplace, we have strong laws on the books -- >> gun shows for example.
you don't want -- >> that stops -- >> access to guns. >> i know. when you get into the gun show, that's a slippery slope. that stops a father from giving his child a gun. let me go a step further. >> because background checks make sense, right? >> we have to protect the second amendment. we have no choice. i believe in it. >> the president believes in the second amendment, too. >> i don't think he does. hillary is a disaster. hillary wants to take the guns away from everybody. hillary will be worse than obama. hillary, i can't imagine this, she wants to take the guns. it's interesting, in california when you had two people, these two horrible people shoot people that gave them a wedding party, these people that got killed gave them a wedding party. they went in and shot. if a couple people in that room had guns or if a couple people in paris had guns, you wouldn't have had 130 people or 14 people in california laying dead with more to follow because you have
so many people so badly wounded. if people in paris as an example, which is the toughest gun control place on earth, they say, paris and france, now if you're a bad guy you can't have a gun. if you're a good guy, they can. if they had guns right here on their ankle and those guys walked in and started shooting it would have been a different story. so, you know, it's very interesting. so many people that believe in the gun control when we have these debates, they always lose the debate to me and then i call them up the next day. how do you feel about it? i still haven't changed my mind. i don't know what it is. we need the second amendment. we can't have it chopped up. if it's changed it has to be done through a process, not executive orders. >> your wife melania, she's featured on "harper's." she going to be actively on the campaign and working for you? >> she will be and she has already been to a certain extend
ex we have a young boy we want to devote a lot of time to baron and he's doing well but she has been quite active very -- has a good political mind and really gets it and will start doing interviews very soon and amazing. she's got great heart and very smart and she made a tremendous amount of money. she was a very, very successful person as a model and i think she's going to be a fantastic first lady if it ever comes to that. >> thank you for joining us. >> thank you. we're going to dig deeper into what we just heard with our chief political analyst gloria borg borger, cnn anchor and commentator michael. guys, everybody stand by for a moment. there is a lot to dissect, a lot to review. we'll take a quick break. much more right after this.
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president obama of quote taking chunks out of the second amendment, and telling me that hillary clinton wants to take everyone's guns basically away. gloria, on the heels of the president's announcement yesterday on gun control, trump insisted he had no choice but to protect the second amendment. that is going to play well among conservative republicans. >> sure. absolutely. it will play well among conservative republicans. he understands that and look, i think what the argument he is making is the argument, the slippery slope argument that we've heard time and time again which is essentially if you do anything to expand a background checks in any way, shape or form, that would lead to some kind of gun registry and that in turn would lead to some kind of confiscation of your guns and he made the clear point about hillary clinton that she would be quote worse than president obama as he puts it and it's clear he's taking direct aim at her and saying that she would
take away your guns because this plays very, very well with republican primary voters. on the other hand, this also know plays very well for democrats to be progun control. they have been afraid of the issue since 2000. a lot of them believe it cost al gore the election but demographics in the country changed. they are looking at younger, more urban voters where gun control is a popular issue for them. >> ron, what is your take away from what donald trump said about saudi arabia, the conflict it's having with iran, what he had to say about north korea. did he sound presidential or on top of the sensitive issues? >> very interesting. broad point and narrow point about saudi arabia. the broad point, what he said encapsulates what i see as the consistent line in his foreign policy and more broadly his interaction with the world, which is what you call a
defensive national. very narrow definition of american self-interest in world events. on the one end, he says if someone threatens us, we'll go bomb oil fields if isis is a threat but rejects the broader roles for the u.s. of balancing regional, balance of power, providing kind of broad security without demanding more. so it's a very belligerent but narrow vision of america's oil on the world. the second point is saudi arabia, there is no doubt iran and saudi arabia are bitter rivals for dominance and also bitter rivals in terms of being the leader of the shiite and sunni blocks, i have not heard someone say iran physically wants to invite and occupy saudi arabia and take their oil. >> he was suggesting that that eventually moving up through the long border between yemen and
saudi arabia and clearly made that point. ryan, l lizza, your thoughts? >> see seems to want to outsource foreign policy to all of these other countries, right and constantly asking what the is the u.s. getting out of the deals and why can't china solve our problem with north korea, right? why can't germany solve the problem with russia and the ukraine and it sort of contradicts the sort of muscular nationalism that ron was describing, the other part of his foreign policy, which is he thinks that the president that we still live in a world where the president of the united states snaps his or her finger and the rest of the world just bends to our wishes. i think a lot of frankly the way he describes american foreign policy is simplistic. he can't tell china to solve the problem in north korea and he
can't just bomb isis and make this problem go away and that most of the foreign policy problems of the obama era are intractable because there are no easy solutions and there is a super official appeal to the kind of nationalism that he is putting forth but it's the -- the world is more complicated than donald trump would like to believe. >> you also heard, michael, donald trump say he's not backing away at all from building that wall along the u.s., mexico border and he's insisting, you know what? mexico will pay for it. >> right. and then when you asked him for specificity, he immediately dodged and moved on to another issue. i agree with ryan simplicity sells for donald trump and i will give him credit for this wolf. he has a great ear. his instincts are right in tune with the very popular appeal with the majority of americans but majority of the republican base thus far. what you're getting from him is what they most want to hear and they are not demanding any more
specificity. >> gloria, is this going to help him? this foreign policy talk, what he wants to do about north korea and syria and saudi arabia, ukraine and in iowa. >> the voter haves a broader package which is his slogan which is donald trump is the man that's going to make america great again. so if you like donald trump, you're going to like his foreign policy and you're not going to parse it and you're not going to pick it apart. you're going to say i like what he stands for. you like the fact that he's politically correct and calls out the chinese and that he says that putin likes him. you're not even going to be offended by that. because he's a bigger package than that, wolf. i think in terms of iowa voters
or new hampshire voters that kind of like what he represents, he hasn't spent his time on the campaign trail being specific in case you hadn't noticed and i don't think that's what his campaign is about, at least not yet. >> go ahead, wolf? >> i think there is a consistent line here. and over many decades. it's narrow definition of american interest in the world. when he basically comes back issue after issue, and not going to be responsible and pulled back in essence behind walls unless someone threatens us directly in which case we'll act with overwhelming force. that's the consistent line when you hear him talk about these different challenges. it's less and less threatens in which case we'll do more and the vision is the world is a
dangerous place. they are trying to take advantage of the u.s. we have to keep out foreign influences and when we are engaging with these foreign countries, often they take advantage of us. we need a narrow and ruthless vision of american self-interest. >> he told me what he's been saying for many, many years the u.s. intervention in iraq was a huge, huge blunder for the united states. all right. everyone stand by. we just heard donald trump questioning whether ted cruz can be president of the united states since he was born in canada. up next, cruz responds and talks to our own dana bash about his latest so-called birther controversy. stand by.
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. there is more breaking political news. ted cruz defending his citizen shift as donald trump questions whether cruz can be president of the united states because he was born in canada. cruz talked about it with our chief political correspondent dana bash. he's calling this a nonissue, dana. tell us what he told you.
>> reporter: you all know that ted cruz has made a point of not responding to donald trump every time he has tried to bait senator cruz into having a discussion about something that donald trump clearly thinks will hurt him as we head closer to the vote. it's clearly the strategy of senator cruz that he's not going to stop a good thing. that was clear in the conversation that we had about this particular issue. watch this. speaking of the constitution, 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 republican nominee, it could be held up in a 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? >> 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 in law of the united states is straightforward. the very first congress defined the child of the u.s. citizen born abroad and many members were framers of the constitution. at the end of the day, this is a nonissue but my response, as you and i were talking about a few minutes ago, i tweeted a link to a video of fonzie jumping a shark. 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. what the american people are looking for is who is prepared for commander in chief? who has the seriousness, the judgment, who has the knowledge, the clarity of vision -- >> let's button this up, though. just on the issue of the passport. >> what passport? >> donald trump is suggesting -- saying that you had a canadian passport. >> it's not true. >> false?
>> yes. >> you've never had one? >> yes, i'm sure i have never had one. >> so clearly trying to put that question to rest. unclear how successful he's going to be because donald trump, as we saw in your interview, wolf, is determined to keep this up. and as we get closer to the iowa caucuses, ted cruz and we're in a very rural part. he's reaching counties that a lot of people don't even bother going to because he's trying to get an insurance policy on winning the caucuses here. it's kind of an odd situation. expectations are pretty high for him to actually win here. so he's got to meet those expectations if he wants to continue in this contest to new hampshire and south carolina and beyond. but i had some interesting conversations with him aides and campaign staff about the team that they are building, which we can talk about in the days and
weeks to come. >> we certainly will. dana bash in iowa, thanks very much. we also heard donald trump tell me that ted cruz can resolve this relatively quickly and get a ruling from the federal judge whether into fact you are eligible to serve as president of the united states. gloria, what's your reaction to what we just heard from senator cruz? >> i think ted cruz is being smart about this. he's not going to take the bait from donald trump. he understands that there's nothing in it for him to get into an argument with donald trump about whether he has the citizenship rights to run for the presidency of the united states. he deflected the issue and answered it very firmly to dana and said, look, there are more important things out there that we should be talking about and i'm the serious person in this race. i'm not the posturer. i'm serious. and these are dangerous times and maybe we should talk about
north korea and the hydrogen bomb. so i think that he's playing this in a very smart way. he's the front runner right now in iowa and doesn't want to get off track. >> ryan lizza, how long do you expect trump to ride this issue? >> i think once he gets into an issue and sees people talking about it, he rides it as far as he can go. frankly, i think this is the first week that donald trump has been scared. he's done two things that has launched that. he's launched an ad campaign in iowa after bragging about free media and now he is attacking ted cruz on an issue that, frankly, is kind of silly. it's been pretty -- most legal scholars agree that ted cruz is legal to be president. it's true that the supreme court has never addressed this so
there's a very small shadow of a doubt. if trump wanted to resolved this, they would be damaged by the campaign and he could go to court potentially and sue cruz over this. i think that would be a sign that he thinks this is a real issue. what he's really trying to do is get us to talk about the fact that cruz is somehow foreign. before this issue, he talked about cruz being from cuba and not being a real evangelical because he's from cuba and trying to paint this guy as someone other than a real american. >> michael smerconish, donald trump was right when he said there are democratic lawmakers who want to go to court against ted cruz on this whole so-called birther issue. >> donald trump more than anyone else i can think of was instrumental in convincing 43% of republicans that barack obama is a muslim. and so now he's trying to do the exact same thing with regard to ted cruz as a canadian.
will it be successful? i'm listening to the conversation and there are such parallels of conversations passed relatively to president obama, the bigger picture here is how to paint ted cruz as an other and it's a very effective strategy with the gop pertaining to the president. will it work with regard to cruz? probably with some. i can't imagine that it will play well with too many but it doesn't need that many, does he? >> ron brownstein, let me switch gears. we heard from vice president biden in an interview. he expressed regrets for not throwing his hat into the presidential ring. i said, any regrets? he said i regret it every day but it was the right decision for me and my family. he said, you've got two good candidates. i guess he was not referring to
martin o'malley as the third candidate. what was your reaction to that, ron? >> wanting to be president is a bud that never entirely gets cured. what it takes by richard ben cramer is a great book and tom donlan says what it takes is everything and at that point joe biden was not in a position to give it everything in the race. i think he made the right decision for him and his family. >> i agree and i'm not surprised that he regrets it because he's the sitting vice president of the united states but, as ron says, this wasn't the right time for biden or for his family, which he's still grieving over the death of his son and i think he also thought that it would be very difficult for him to win getting in this late. so does he regret it? absolutely. every person who decides not to run, does at some point regret it. >> thank you very much, guys.
tomorrow night, president obama will join cnn's anderson cooper and a live audience for a cnn primetime event, "guns in america" airs at 8:00 p.m. eastern tomorrow night. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. next, north korea's nuclear threat. kim jong-un says his country has exploded a massive hydrogen bomb. is kim's claim even true? plus, cnn speaks with the republican front-runners donald trump and ted cruz. trump doubles down on the cruz birther issue and ted cruz fires back. and an exclusive "outfront" investigation. inside an active shooter situation. can an armed civilian stop a massacre? let's go "outfront." good evening. m