tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN January 7, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm PST
wolf blitzer. he's right next door to me in a place we like to call "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now, anniversary attack. man shot dead outside a paris police station exactly one year after the slaughter of the "charlie hebdo" magazine. new sanctions as pictures emerge of north korea's test site, congress planning to punish kim jong-un. we'll go live where the communist regime is celebrating what it calls a hydrogen bomb test. trumped up charge. donald trump keeps up the birther attack on ted cruz hinting his rival may not be qualified to be president of the united states because he was born in canada. will this have an impact on the iowa caucuses as they draw near? and guns in america. as he pushes for tighter controls, president obama is set to leave the white house for a
special town hall event on gun violence. you'll see it live only here on cnn. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." paris gets a new terror scare a year to the day after a bloody attack on the "charlie hebdo" magazine. french officials say a knife wielding man is shot dead as he tried to enter a police station. they say the assailant had a fake explosive device and carried an isis symbol. it's the latest in a wave of terror including the november 13th slaughter over 130 people and attacks claimed by isis. and we have new satellite images showing activity at the suspected test site where north korea set off some sort of nuclear blast. north is celebrating what it calls a hydrogen bomb test. the u.s. and its allies are skeptical, but are scrambling to try to learn exactly what kim jong-un's regime exploded. south korea plans to celebrate the north korean leader's birthday in the coming hours
with a propaganda barrage sent in booming into the dmz. and there are now moves in the u.s. congress and at the united nations to punish north korea. we'll go live to pyongyang. and i'll speak with the chairman of the house foreign affairs committee, congressman ed royce. our correspondents, analysts and guests will have full coverage of all the day's top stories. let's begin in paris with our senior national correspondent atika shubert. atika, what are you learning about this latest terror incident? >> well, just a short time ago the justice minister told our local affiliate here, bf mtv, that the man was known to authorities but as a petty criminal. and it's not clear at this point if he was acting alone or whether or not he had the help of any accomplices. they're still piecing together the investigation. police say the man approached the station brandishing a meat cleaver, yelling allahu akhbar,
god is great. >> translator: he had wires coming out of his coat. and then he backed off and came back at the police but with his hands in the air. they shouted, get back, get back, get back! and when he didn't, they shot three times. three shots at once. no hesitation. bam, bam, bam! >> reporter: a remote control device checked the body for what appeared to be a suicide vest. police now say that device was fake. also found a rambling note handwritten in arabic, stamped with the black flag of isis. >> translator: the person who committed this act of aggression and was killed when the police were forced to open fire is in the process of being identified. and it's possible that in the coming hours we will learn more about this person's plan and his motivation. [ gunfire ] >> reporter: this exactly one year after gunmen targeted the "charlie hebdo" office and a kosher market killing 17. and barely three months after
attackers with explosives belts and automatic rifles brutally murdered more than 100 people at a concert hall, cafes and a football match in paris. a grim reminder that paris remains on the highest terror alert. this is the sad reality in paris today. there was a school right around the corner from that police station, an elementary school and children were sheltering in place there for several hours. unfortunately parisians have just gotten used to the idea violence could strike at any time at anywhere, wolf. >> scary situation indeed. atika, thank you. people in north korea may have set itself up for harsh new punishment following its claimed h-bomb test. south korea ready to resume massive propaganda barrages. and new push for sanctions in congress and at the united nations as investigators try to scramble to learn just what it was north korea exploded.
we're getting new images of the apparent test site. jim sciutto is joining us now. jim, what is the very latest you're learning? >> wolf, this is as close as you'll get to a realtime image of north korea's claimed hydrogen bomb test. these are satellite images obtained by digiglobe taken about an hour after that seismic event was sensed underneath the ground here in central north korea. i want to take you in a bit closer here, this analyzed by experts. when you look here these are the entrances to the tunnel. this is an underground explosion, an area where all four of north korea's claimed nuclear tests have taken place. keep in mind this image taken just an hour after this seismic event went off is on these heavily used roads leading into the tunnel entrance there are what appear to be instrumentation vehicles, military vehicles carrying instrumentation equipment. over here as well. possible equipment as well. that would make sense, analysts say, for going into that tunnel
site just after a blast to measure exactly what went off, measure radiation, et cetera. so a fascinating look, just an hour after this test which looks like another indication that this was indeed an attempted nuclear explosion. whether it's an h-bomb test, hydrogen bomb test, that's not known at this point, what's happening now, the next step is to look what you sense up in the atmosphere. you have japanese military planes that have been traveling not over the site but close enough where the prevailing winds would take the air to try to sense radioactive isotopes in the air that would indicate a nuclear explosion. they have not sensed that yet, but we are told by u.s. military officials that a u.s. air force sniffer plane as it's known could be deployed soon to the area as well to make a similar judgment or at least attempt to make a similar judgment so they know exactly how big this explosion was and what the components were. key assessment going forward. >> key indeed. and ramifications enormous right now. jim, thanks very much.
it's already friday in north korea, which is about to celebrate kim jong-un's birthday as it also celebrates his claim of a hydrogen bomb test. in a cnn exclusive, our will ripley is the only american television correspondent inside north korea right now. he's joining us on the phone from pyongyang, the capital. will, there's very harsh worldwide reaction. are the north koreans worried about new sanctions that are about to be imposed? >> reporter: wolf, i met with some north korean officials last night who told me not only are they not worried but they are expecting additional sanctions as a result of this fourth nuclear test, a test they insist is a hydrogen bomb in spite of objections from a number of international experts. north koreans told me that they have lived under crippling sanctions for so many years that additional sanctions really won't have any impact on this country. i'm standing here by the way i'm talking on the phone because our live signal went down. we often have transmission
problems from this country, a country where most people can't make a phone call outside of the country and can't access the internet. but i'm watching signs of activity in this city just after 6:30 in the morning, people are waking up to mostly dark skyline. starting to light up a bit as people turn on their lights in their housing units and get ready to go to work for the day, which is as you said kim jong-un's birthday. so business as usual here in pyongyang, but really need to watch very closely wlast going to happen later today with the south korean loud speaker broadcasts that you mentioned. because over the summer when south korea turned on those propaganda loud speakers after two of their soldiers were injured in a land mine blast, north korea fired artillery across the border, considered it an act of war and became a very dangerous situation. given the fact that there was no prewarning even north korea's closest friend china about this fourth nuclear test, there's a lot of question right now about the unpredictability of this regime and what the now
33-year-old leader kim jong-un will do in response, wolf. >> will, donald trump told me that china now has in his words total control over north korea. he wants china to get involved and ease this crisis. what's the reaction to that from officials where you are in north korea? >> reporter: i asked them about those comments made during your interview and they scoffed at those remarks by donald trump saying that nobody has total control over north korea aside from the workers party led by kim jong-un. they compare their country to a hunter holding a loaded rifle. and they compare the rest of the world to a pack of wolves waiting to pounce. they say their hand's on the trigger and ready to open fire if provoked. that's why you continue to see this country invest so aggressively in their nuclear and missile programs. they feel it's the only way to defend their sovereignty, their society, a society ruled by a
family three generations now celebrating 70 years of the workers party which has been ruled by the same family, the grandfather, father and now kim jong-un. >> it's friday morning already in pyongyang. will ripley is on the scene for us. we'll stay in close touch, will. thank you very much. so what was kim jong-un thinking when he ordered a nuclear explosion practically china's doorstep and boasted it was a hydrogen bomb test? the north korean leader may have a personal grudge. brian todd is joining us here in "the situation room." you've been digging into this. brian, what are you learning? >> wolf, tonight intelligence agencies are going through all the possible scenarios to figure out what triggered this escalation. that personal grudge you referred to, wolf, is a real possibility. it has to do with of all things a wildly popular all-girl band from north korea. and an embarrassing snub they received from china. tonight, north koreans are cheering even as the chinese are smoldering over kim jong-un's nuclear test. >> it was a great insult. i think the chinese at least
believe that they were making some progress to keep north korea somewhat under control. >> reporter: analysts say the chinese have never liked kim jong-un, and the feeling is mutual. and tonight questions are raised about a north korean girl band and whether it could have had a strange connection to the nuclear test. ♪ the band, kim's hand picked troupe of young women in tight dresses who sing korean pop songs and patriotic tributes to their boss. >> this is a band kim jong-un created. it is something that really has his name attached to it. >> reporter: the band made a much anticipated trip to beijing last month to perform in front of top chinese communist party officials. it was seen as a crucial olive branch between traditionally close allies who'd had a falling out. but just hours before the concert, a curve ball from kim. >> he made an illusion in one of
his visits internally in north korea claiming that north korea not only had nuclear weapons but they could do thermonuclear weapons as well. >> the chinese were furious. and after a reported scramble in beijing's back rooms they decided on the ultimate snub. >> they made clear that they would not send their highest level representatives to this concert. they would downgrade its significance. >> reporter: then it was kim's turn to be furious, without singing a note -- >> the band goes home dressed in military uniforms, i might add. and at that point north korea proceeds ahead with what was probably the plan all along. >> reporter: most analysts believe the nuclear test had already been in the works, but could the snub of the band have been the tipping point? a u.s. intelligence official told the "new york times," quote, i know this sounds like a crazy reason to set off a nuclear test, but stranger things have provoked north korean action. >> is kim impetuous enough to take this girl band incident and
then order a nuclear test because of it? >> yes. yes. he is. i think. he's impetuous is the operative word. he is someone who seems to act often on impulse. >> yes, he can be swayed one way or another very quickly by emotions. >> chinese officials in beijing and here in washington are not commenting to us on any possible connection between the band's cancellation and the north korean nuclear test, but chinese officials are very clearly upset over the test. tonight they say they had no advance warning and they have called in north korea's ambassador to beijing to launch a protest, wolf. >> the other shoe could drop. what could china do to pun irk north korea? >> they are under tremendous pressure to punish kim jong-un. they could actually freeze kim jong-un's bank accounts he has in china. he has a few of those making him a very rich man.
they can crackdown on all the counterfeit viagra, drugs, cigarettes, cash, liquor the north koreans smuggle all over the world. but the chinese are deathly afraid of destabilizing north korea. that kind of economic retaliation could do that. >> because there could be swarms of people coming into china. >> that's right. >> thanks, brian, very much. joining us is chairman of the house foreign affairs committee republican congressman ed royce of california. i know you're sponsoring new house legislation to further sanction north korea, but all the sanctions -- they're already the most sanctioned country in the world. do you really think more sanctions can achieve anything? >> well, wolf, you eluded to one change. and that was the question of freezing those bank accounts, right? and that was something we tried in 2005 when we caught north korea counterfeiting $100 bank notes. when that was done we found out that as a consequence he could not pay his generals, and we found out later that the production lines for his missile program came to a halt.
it turns out that he needs that hard currency from outside the country in order to pay for his nuclear weapons program. that is the argument for doing this. and we passed my bill out of the foreign affairs committee this morning to do exactly that with strong bipartisan support. so we're going to bring this up next week before the congress and try to get it on to the president's desk as soon as possible. >> do you think china has the will or the ability to really get north koreans under control? because as you know they're the major ally of north korea. they have a lot of influence potentially there. >> this is true, but the last time we put these sanctions on in 2005, china decided to comply. and the reason they decided to comply was because their bank in macaw and the other ten banks dealing with north korea had a choice to make between dealing with the united states or only dealing with north korea.
they made the choice to freeze the north korean accounts and did not hand that money over to north korea. >> the republican -- i was going to say the republican presidential front-runner, mr. chairman, donald trump, he has suggested that the u.s. should start cutting off support to china to force their hand on north korea to make sure they do what the u.s. wants them to do. would you support putting that kind of economic pressure on china as well? >> well, the easy solution here is to go after the one place that they get the hard currency, which is the ten banks, you know, we know which banks. we know that this has worked in the past. so why not try what has worked? what has worked to shut down the ability of that regime to have any hard currency not just to pay the troops or the secret police, but to pay the generals. and if you're the dictator, it's a bad place to be when you cannot pay your generals. now, i think this approach, the legislation we're passing is exactly what should be done because it worked for a while in
the past until we lifted those sanctions under the thought that north korea might come back to the table. of course they cheated on that agreement. so we made the wrong move. what we should do now is shut down their ability to move forward with a thermonuclear program and their other weapons programs. >> does president obama support your initiative? >> we don't know yet, but i can tell you this, ranking member eng engel, democratic member on my committee and i are doing this jointly with the republicans and democrats in the foreign affairs committee. we have unanimous support. we believe we can get the administration to support this position, but we will see. >> all right. mr. chairman, i want you to standby because just when you think the situation in the middle east can't get much worse, all of a sudden it's dramatically getting worse even as we speak right now. much more with the chairman of the house foreign affairs committee when we come back.
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royce. saudi arabia accused of intentionally bombing the iranian embassy in yemen. the saudis deny this. how much more could this crisis between iran and saudi arabia now escalate? >> well, this is a difficult problem in the region because as you know the more it escalates the more it divides sunni and shia into separate blocks and it continues to spill over. one of the difficulties we've had, i believe, is with the perceived tilt by the u.s. administration towards iran it's left us with very little leverage to influence not just saudi arabia but some of the other sunni countries in the region. and a secondary problem we have right now is the perception that the united states keeps backing down in the face of pressure from iran. we really need a policy of more backdown rather than more -- of backbone rather than more backing down. and this is what we hear from
those in the region. the united states should say something about iran's attempts to overthrow the government in yemen, in bahrain and in saudi arabia. >> because i've been told the saudis -- the saudi government, the saudi monarchy has lost a lot of confidence in the united states going back to basically when president mubarak of egypt was removed. he was seen as a strong u.s. friend and ally even though there were a lot of problems within egypt. and since then the saudis have lost confidence in the u.s. have you seen any evidence of that? >> wolf, what we've perceived was in 2009 when people went to the streets in iran after a stolen election to protest against the ayatollah, what they perceived was that the u.s. administration did not speak out in favor of the people but instead during that time begin a policy of trying to engage the ayatollah, and with respect to
egypt, supported in their minds the muslim brotherhood rather than government of egypt. and from their standpoint it was iran putting money into the muslim brotherhood that was helping support that effort to undermine egypt. so this whole decision to tilt to iran becomes the issue for the jordanians, gulf state, for the egyptians, this is part of the critique you hear why doesn't the united states stand up when the iranians send a missile 1500 yards off of the bow of our aircraft carrier, they fire off missiles in violation of u.n. sanctions, they take another american hostage. why doesn't the united states take a strong stand? this is what you hear. >> the king abdullah of jordan by the way will be here in washington meeting with the president next week. we'll hear what he has to say. you also know isis has been
linked to this truck bombing to this training center in western libya killing at least 50 people, a lot of police officers. isis clearly spreading from syria and iraq now all the way into libya. is there anything the u.s. can do? >> well, this is the point, wolf, that we should have hit isis early on, should have hit them when they were coming out of raqqah, should have used our air power and not allowed them to take those cities. we did not begin to engage until after they had taken mosul. by that point in time they ramped up recruiting, they were training and sending those trained out into libya and other parts of the world to carry out attacks. this takes us back to the point we have to defeat isis on the ground. we should best do it by training the sunni tribes and arming them, by arming the kurdish forces, by arming the yazidis, by allowing our u.s. pilots to hit these targets the way the
french pilots were -- went in and hit all those training camps that we never hit. this is why we have to be on offense against isis now. >> ed royce is chairman of the house foreign affairs committee. thank you for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. we have breaking news about who may have been giving the orders pulling the strings for november's bloody terror attacks in paris that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more. and is the ted cruz birther issue gaining traction today? senator john mccain is the latest to question cruz's eligibility to be president of the united states. stay with us here in "the situation room." this is how banks used to see me. ever since i had a pretty bad accident three years ago. the medical bills - the credit card debt all piled up. i knew i had to get serious my credit. so i signed up for experian. they have real, live credit experts i can talk to. they helped educate me on how debt affected my fico score. so i could finally start managing my credit. now my credit and i - are both healing nicely.
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our top story on this the one-year anniversary of the bloody massacre of the "charlie hebdo" magazine, paris gets a new terror scare as police shoot dead a knife wielding assailant who had a fake explosive device and carried an isis symbol. all this coming as we get breaking news about who was behind the slaughter of 130 people in paris in november injuring hundreds more. joining us now our cnn terrorism analyst paul cruickshank, our cnn counterterrorism analyst phil mudd, former cia official, and cnn national security commentator, mike rogers. paul, you broke in the news in belgium where the high level terrorists are remain at large on the heels of that knife wielding man brought down in paris. what's the mood now? what do we know about who these terrorists might actually be? wooe shwe're showing drawings. >> well, the belgium
counterterrorism officials say they're close to establishing their real identities, wolf. back on december 4 they put out pictures to the public to try to identify these two individuals. those pictures were circulated. they also had some intelligence on some fake belgium identity cards that they were using, that they were using to travel to hungary with salah abdelsalam and transport them back to france also using those identity cards to wire money from a western union office of the attacks to the female cousin of abdelhamid abaaoud, the ringleader on the ground in paris. but before, during and after the attacks they were on the phone to the paris attackers giving orders. they were senior in this conspiracy to abdelhamid abaaoud. they are now the two most wanted
individuals in the whole of europe, wolf. >> phil, could these two terrorists actually be long gone by now maybe in syria? how can analysts track them down? tell us what kind of steps they might be taking. >> i don't think they could just be long gone. i think they are. there's a couple things we got to look at as we sketch out this web of conspiracy. when you look at cases like this, wolf, you got to go down a checklist. where did people get their money? where did they live? where did they travel? who were friends and family? who were co-conspirators. but as paul said until we identify the true names of these individuals, we can look at things like the cell phones they were using to call into paris, but the huge element of the investigation that still has to take place, things like what kind of apartments did they rent, where did they live, what passports did they use. that element of the investigation still has to be concluded. and you can't conclude that without coming up with their true names, wolf. we got a long ways to go here. >> is this, mike rogers, an
intelligence failure? that these two leaders if you will managed to escape, they remain at large now? >> i wouldn't call it an intelligence failure. this is a massive movement. we know there's a pipeline easier than most people want it to be to go from europe to syria and back again. so the fact that they don't know their true names makes that investigation more difficult. the fact that they can get false papers as easy as they can means they can change their identity five times before they even know their true identity. so this is a very difficult investigation. think about the fbi's most wanted list. some of those people on there are for years. whitey bulger was on that list for some 20 years before the fbi caught him. if you're really good about using all the modern techniques to circumvent investigative techniques, phones, e-mail tracking, digital footprints, moving money, all of that which they are, it just makes their job that much more difficult. and they're crossing jurisdictions, another big problem. >> very difficult indeed.
paul, you're also hearing about some new intelligence about the isis threat to europe right now. what are you learning? >> wolf, this comes from a senior european counterterrorism official. and they tell me there's very recent intelligence that european isis operatives in syria and iraq arin creasingly faking their own death over there. and the worry is that they're doing that so they can get back into europe and launch attacks, sneak back into europe because they wouldn't be so much on the radar screen of european security services believe that they are dead. and that the ringleader as you recall in the paris attacks, abdelhamid abaaoud, in late 2014 he did exactly that to try and slip back into europe. he managed to do that, get to greece. he coordinated that major plot that was thwarted in january of last year in eastern belgium. >> phil mudd, that's a pretty
intriguing development if true that these individuals, these terrorists might be faking their deaths. >> i think it is. but you have to look at this in a pretty short timeframe. europe and the united states are switching to biometric passports. over the next few years you can slip across borders either by paying people off or by using bad paper, that is fake passports. but over time you're not going to be able to get in without showing your fingerprints, without doing iris scans. so i think this is a phenomenon that isis can exploit in the short-term, but over the long-term this is a phenomenon i believe is going to disappear because of the rise of things like biometric passports. >> mike rogers, very quickly, how much of a problem for the united states is this proxy war that's escalating clearly between saudi arabia and iran? >> it's a huge problem. it's going to get worse. first of all, iran now has cash. that is ramping up their actions in yemen. >> you mean the start of the $150 billion or so -- >> right. >> the sanctions that are being
lifted. >> it's not just the sanctions. a lot of people focus on that. but all the commercial activity they couldn't do before they are doing now means a huge flow of cash going into iran. even the president said some of this money is going into terrorism. that involves this proxy war that is in baghdad, syria and yemen. this is a huge problem to get our arms around. >> we'll have to stay on top of this. lots of worrisome developments. important note to our viewers, don't forget we're now only about two hours or so away from president obama's live town hall with cnn's anderson cooper, a primetime cnn event. guns in america, remember, that airs 8:00 p.m. eastern, two and a half lao hours -- less than two and a half hours from now. coming up, more jabs at ted cruz about his citizenship. donald trump is at it again. so is senator john mccain and several democrats now weighing in. what's senator cruz saying? we'll tell you.
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in politics donald trump keeps jabbing senator cruz over whether he is qualified to be president of the united states being born in canada. just moments ago our chief political correspondent dana bash asked the senator about something trump suggested during my interview with him that cruz ask a federal judge for a decision on whether he's a citiz citizen. >> trump is trying to give you some legal advice. i'm not sure if you've heard. he said that you can give what is called i think a declaratory judgment or ask for a declaratory judgment in federal court. >> it's not anything that's going to happen. and i'm not going to be taking legal advice any time soon from donald trump. >> dana's joining us now live from iowa. so what else is senator cruz saying, dana? >> i should tell you i'm inside an airplane hangar where senator cruz just wrapped up a stump speech. it was the third of the day of
his fourth day in this bus tour he's giving across iowa. not one word about donald trump. not one word about this controversy. he is remarkably disciplined giving virtually the same stump speech all the time about why he should be president and nothing about the other candidates. ted cruz calls his eligibility to be president a nonissue. >> the legal issue is straightforward. the son of a u.s. citizen born abroad is a natural born citizen. >> reporter: good luck as long as donald trump keeps it churning with his 5.5 million twitter followers. tweeting today, ted, free legal advice on how to preempt the dems on citizen issue. go to court now and seek declaratory judgment. you will win. never mind the irony of trump giving the harvard law trained cruz who clerked for the supreme court legal advice. >> you go to federal court, you ask for a declaratory judgment. >> reporter: outside experts say what trump is suggesting isn't possible anyway. >> i respect --
>> reporter: but now a veteran republican is also asking if cruz meets the constitution's natural born citizen requirement for a president since he was born in canada. >> i think there is a question. >> reporter: john mccain, who faced similar questions when he was the 2008 republican presidential nominee because he was born on a military installation in panama is adding fuel to the fire. >> i am not a constitutional scholar on that. but i think it's worth looking into. i don't think it's illegitimate to look into it. >> reporter: mccain has had open disdain for cruz's fire brand tactics since the texas senator was first elected three years ago famously calling cruz a whacko bird. and mccain isn't the only senator to dislike senator cruz. many of his colleagues see his take no prisoners conservative tactics as mere grandstanding. on the campaign trail, cruz uses the fact that he hasn't made many friends in washington to
his advantage, proof he's an outsider. >> there is a reason that steve and i both need food tasters in the members dining room. [ laughter ] >> reporter: now, cruz also responded to senator john mccain questioning whether or not he really is eligible to be president of the united states. and cruz's response with reporters just a short while ago was, of course john mccain is going to say those things. it's clear from cruz's perspective that mccain is going to back cruz's opponent, marco rubio. so that is another way he's trying to brush this off, not engage in any kind of personal back and forth with anybody including john mccain, a man who he has not, as i mentioned, gotten along with all that well over the past few years. i should just mention at this event where ted cruz is just wrapping up some q and a with voters, no questions about whether or not he is eligible to be president as he told us in a gaggle. we didn't hear it today. didn't hear it at this stop.
didn't hear it at the first couple of stops. so as long as that continues, and he doesn't have to explain himself to voters, then maybe he'll continue to be on top here in iowa, which is where he is right now, wolf. >> according to the latest polls. we'll see what happens less than four weeks to go until the caucuses. dana, thank you very much. joining us now republican strategist ana navarro, democratic strategist donna brazile and scottie hughes. ana, so john mccain is actually siding with donald trump now on this whole so-called birther issue involving senator cruz. >> oh, i don't think so s, wolf. i spoke to john mccain about five minutes ago, asked him about this. he said, look, i got asked about it on a talk show. i'm not bringing it up. and i think that when you're running for president, everything is fair game. and everything gets looked at. he reminded me that in his case in 2008 there was a legal complaint filed in the gold water case there was a case that
happened that went to the supreme court. so he said, look, the likelihood that it actually becomes an issue is possible. therefore it is legitimate to look at it. but i don't think he's -- i can tell you john mccain does not side with donald trump. he may not like ted cruz much, but he's not siding with donald trump. >> donald trump is saying exactly the same thing basically. i interviewed donald trump yesterday. he said i don't know when i asked him is he a natural born citizen. and senator mccain is saying it's basically an open question as well. he says i'm not raising it. trump is saying i'm not raising it. i'm only responding to questions. >> but mccain is coming at it from the perspective of somebody that lived it, that had to answer these questions. there was a lot of talk about where he was born and whether he was eligible to run in 2008. now, let's remember it was a different case. john mccain was born in a u.s. territory, his father was in the navy and was serving there. >> he was serving in the u.s. panama canal zone. >> but i'm a naturalized citizen, i can tell you i think ted cruz is a natural born citizen because his mother was a
citizen. >> nancy pelosi, the democratic leader, donna, in the house of representatives today she also said i don't know. she's leaving this question open. she doesn't know if ted cruz is a natural born citizen according to the constitution's qualifications to become president. >> she also said it's inside baseball in terms of the republicans. if they want to revive the birther debate once again tear the country apart on who's a citizen, who's not a citizen, let the republicans do that. i think it's ironic that john mccain as you know, claire mccaskill and others came to his defense in 2008, put forward a resolution to clear up that craziness. i think we need to put this behind and start talking about real issues that impact the american people. >> let me get scottie into this conversation. you're a supporter of donald trump. as you know trump told abc news back in september that cruz at that time said he was in fine shape, yesterday when i discussed it with donald trump he says he doesn't know if ted cruz is really a natural born
citizen. so from your perspective, what is it? >> i think this is less about giving legal advice and more about giving pr advice. listen, donald trump is all about the preemptive strike, taking out the person's artillery he's about to fight. i think he's literally thinks he's going to make this conversation happen and regardless whoever's one and two this is something that will not be used against either one of them if they happen to become closer friends down the campaign trail. >> just to clarify that for a moment, scottie, what do you mean he wants this to come up now because he wants to help, are you saying, ted cruz? >> i actually think this might be a part of it because he knows this is something that whether the establishment republicans might use or the democrats eventually could use against ted cruz. he knows this is an issue. whether right or wrong this brings up a pr nightmare and distracts people from the issues whether it's something senator cruz is talking about or what the republican presidential or vice presidential nominee is
it had no arms, but it welcomed me. (crow cawing) it had no heart, but it was alive. (train wheels on tracks) it had no mouth, but it spoke to me. it said, "rocky mountaineer: all aboard amazing". we're back with our political experts as we await president obama's departure for tonight's cnn town tall. pushed back against the controversial graphic on the ted cruz campaign website showing the president as a storm trooper wants to take away people's guns. let's go to our senior white house correspondent jim acosta. what's the reaction? >> reporter: they are sounding
off and they insist president obama will hear from both sides. the president is ready to take on the critics aimed at expanding background checks and health care will take away the right to own guns. the white house is well aware of the sparks and firearm sells that happen every time the president starts talking about gun control. officials take issue with what gop contender senator ted cruz sent out to supporters that just showed the president dressed in military attire with the message obama wants your guns, white house press secretary josh earnest, i asked him. he accused cruz of trying to stir up fear. >> what do you make of ted cruz sending out e-mails saying obama wants your guns? >> a sinister looking portrayal of the president. >> i think he's appealing to people's anxieties and insecurities and even out right fears in attempts to win votes for his presidential campaign. that's unfortunate and in some
cases, it veers into the territory of being irresponsible. >> now as for other adversaries of the white house, aids are not surprised that the national rifle association will not be involved in tonight's town hall even though the headquarters are in fairfax, virginia. the white house and nra have been at odds. the president will once again reiterate support for the second amendment at this town hall later tonight and the president will likely push for gun control legislation, wolf, but the president acknowledges the reality on capitol hill, so do his aids that republicans are in no appetite for that measure with election year and with the president running out of time and office, he and his aids can see gun control laws will have to happen with the next president and congress. >> thanks very much. let's get back to our political guest, anna navarro.
the president with the helmet picture, wanting to take away guns, is ted cruz being irresponsible as the white house suggestions? >> no, he's being political. we're in the midst of a primary, everything is fair in love and war and in the event we haven't noticed we're in the middle of a primary war. not only are they running against each other but president obama and he's striking a nerve. there is a lot of people in the republican base that do feel and do fear that president obama wants to take away the second amendment rights and i think he's, you know, yeah, running with that and exploiting that theme. it's a republican primary and it's just beginning what do you think? >> first of all, i was holding my tongue because you can support the amendment. the overwhelming majority of americans support making sure there is no loophole. we could have stopped dylann roof from getting that gun, perhaps there would be nine people in charleston sleeping
better because their loved ones would be here. this is an emotional issue, but it's also an issue politicians need to be responsible and understand we want to solve problems, not just let problems fester. >> let me bring scottie into this. you're a trump supporter. is donald trump on the same page as ted cruz when it comes to the second amendment? >> absolutely. there was no bigger display and josh earnest sitting there accusing ted cruz of poll l litizing this. he used emotion and tears. nothing he proposed is new. if we would enforce the laws we have in this country, that -- and the things that president obama proposed wouldn't stop any shooters and these mass shootings that we've seen. in fact, they put more of hardness of the good people to protect themselves. >> hold on for a moment. we'll continue this conversation on guns but anna, i want to get
your reaction. your friend marco rubio is running for president of the united states.
he has an ad he released on faith. >> our goal is eternity. the ability to live alongside all time and accept the free gift of salvation offered by jesus christ. the struggle on a daily basis as a christian is to remind ourselves of this. the purpose of life is to cooperate with god's plan. >> the evangelical vote, especially in iowa is significant. >> i think it makes sense for him to release the ad and i've known marco for many years, my entire adult life. he's a religious spiritual perp. faith is a very important aspect of his life. he goes to a christian church in miami and catholic church, even though he is catholic. it makes sense because of the social value of voters in iowa because of the evangelicals with whom ted cruz made great
strides. >> guys, there is a lot more to come up but i want to end this part of the conversation now and quick reminder to our viewers. we're jus over tt over two hour president obama joining anderson cooper for a cnn prime time event. "guns in america" that begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern. coming up, a terror attack thorted and an isis symbol shot down exactly one year after the slaughter at the charlie hebdo magazine and allegations about bill clinton's sexual behavior going back decades. all of a sudden, they are surfacing in this year's presidential campaign. will they help? will they hurt? we'll tell you what is going on. what makes this simple salad the best simple salad ever?
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evidence as doubts of kim jong un's doubts and celebrating his birthday today, will he unleash provocations. live to the north korean capital. paris attack averted. police kill a knife-welding man trying to rush their station wearing a fake suicide vest and carrying an image of the isis flag. fresh fear gripping the french capital. the one-year anniversary of the magazine attack that killed 17 people. are other plots being hatched in paris right now? scandals past, a decade's old rape allegation against former president bill clinton resurfaces as he campaigns for his wife. donald trump seizing on the former president's scandals on social media. what impact will renew focus on bill clinton's alleged misconduct have on hillary clinton's campaign? guns in america. president obama tackling one of the most devisive issues as the
president orders stricter gun control, law enforcement trains to take on active shooters, will any of it reduce soaring numbers of gun massacres terrorizing the u.s.? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. we're "the situation room." it may or may not have been a hydrogen bomb but whether north korea -- whatever north korea detonated this week is sending shock waves right now of a different kind around the world. there is growing condemnation of the kim jong un regime tonight. growing fear of nuclear capabilities as so-called sniffer planes are testing the air run for signs of increased radiation. we'll get an exclusive live update in just a moment. we're also following developments in paris right now where a terror attack was averted today on this. the one-year anniversary of the
charlie hebdo magazine. police shot and killed a knife-welding man and he was later found to be wearing a fake suicide vest and carrying an image of the isis flag. we're covering this, much more with our guests including james langford of oklahoma, a member of the intelligence and homeland security committees and our reporters covering the race for the white house across the country tonight. our correspondents and expert analysts are also standing by. let's begin with north korea's ale alleged test of a hydrogen bomb. jim sciutto is working the story. lots of diplomatic fallout but no radio active fallout. who do we know? >> still no radiation detected in the atmosphere in and around north korea. doesn't mean they won't find it. it could take time. finger pointing. the u.s. blaming china for not pressuring north korea enough and china blaming the u.s. and all sides agree on is a larm at possible advances in north
korea's nuclear program. japanese military planes take off on a mission to test the air around north korea looking for clues on the country's claimed hydrogen bomb blast. this jet designed to stiff out radiation may soon join the search to discover exactly what kind of device they tested in the underground nuclear facility. >> we're using as many resources as we can to get a better picture what took place. >> reporter: japan and other countries have not detected a change in radiation levels in the atmosphere. that is done little to calm fears of further advances of north korea's program. >> they are bragging to be more powerful than they are. even though they probably didn't detonate an h-bomb, they are getting an h-bomb reaction.
>> reporter: protesters burning kim jong un and soul will ban the broadcast, a step that pung yang in the past has declared an act of war. >> our military is at a state of full readiness and if the military needs, we'll have punishment. >> reporter: suggestions that the nuclear deal with iran diverted administration's attention away from north korea. >> north korea has never been left unattended to, not for one day. >> reporter: secretary kerry and u.s. officials argue that china as north korea's long-time ally and economic lifeline must apply more pressure. >> now china had a particular approach that it wanted to make and we agreed and respected to give them space to be able to implement that but today in my conversation with the chinese, i made it very clear that has not
worked and we cannot continue business as usual. >> wolf, in the is the closest we will get to real-time images of north korea's claimed hygiene bomb test. these are satellite images obtained and assessed by the institute of science and international security taken one hour after that blast and here is what isis noticed in the photos. this is the entrance of the under ground tunnel where the blast took place under ground. they identify two possible instrumentation vehicles going in and four objects which they assess could be instrumentation equipment, which is exactly, they say what you would see after a nuclear blast and send that equipment, have it deployed outside, send it in afterwards to measure the yield in effect of this explosion. what they did not see is huge disturbances or noticeable disturbances among the snow or ground here, which they might have seen if this was a larger
blast. they are putting this in the category, the same size, rough size of previous north korea nuclear test that would indicate not a successful hydrogen bomb test but still testing the air for radio active signatures and more to learn about exactly what happened under ground here. >> we'll see what they learn. thank you. here in washington the house of representatives will vote next week on new sanctions against north korea but inside the country, there is defiance and celebration right now. will ripley is in the capital. will, it's friday there, friday morning and kim jong un's birthday. what's the latest over there? >> reporter: just after 7:30 in the morning here, wolf. behind me i can hear the city coming to life. we will be venturing out within the next few hours visiting a science center where we are told that we will meet with experts with close knowledge of what north korea claimed is a hydrogen bomb, despite all the
skepticism internationally. they will explain the science behind their test they say was conducted very deep in the launch site that jim was talking about to prevent radiation from screwing in skewing into the atmosphere which is why china and japan are not detecting higher radiation levels, which could take weeks. you talked about the sanctions and i met with north korea officials and asked them specifically about the possibility, real possibility of additional sanctions against this country. they said, frankly, they expect more sanctions from the united states and international community as a result of this fourth nuclear test and say they have lived under crippling sanctions for so many years as a nation they will collectively tighten their belt as they have in the past and continue to invest very aggressively in developing these nuclear weapons which they feel are their own defense against the threat of imminent invasion from the united states and its allies, wolf. >> as you know, will, donald
trump told me that in his assessment, china has total control over north korea. what's the reaction to that from officials in the north korean capital where you are? >> reporter: when i informed them about the comments made by donald trump, the response was very strong that nobody has total control over north korea except for the workers party, which is led by the supreme leader kim jong un and also told us they feel other countries, other entities including the u.s. are trying to drive a wedge between north korea and china because china is north korea's most important and most powerful friend. they provide economic assistance to this country and trade with china has essentially been partially fueling in a great part, fueling this country's economic growth and you do see some small signs of economic growth. there are more cars on the
streets here. people have electronics, people have smart phones and other goods, many of which are imported from china. the north koreans of course want to maintain that relationship but then again, the chinese government infuriated about this test. i was in beijing yesterday when officials said they received no advanced warning about this. another potentially volatile situation and we'll have to see how the regime here reacts would be if the south koreans turn on the loud speakers over the summer when that happened when there was propaganda m co-ing across the border and fired back and launched artillery and called it an act of war and assembled troops and given many people feel this regime is truly unpredictable, nobody knows what their move will be if the loud speakers are turned back on considering they will be turned on on the supreme leaders 33rd birthday, wolf? >> exclusive reporting, will, thank you very much. we're learning new details
tonight about a thwa arted atta. one year to the day when the attacks began on the charlie hebdo magazine. our terrorism analyst is there now. the man was wearing a suicide vest. what more can you tell us? >> reporter: wolf, it appears tonight that this may have been an isis-inspired attack that this man would have been inspired by all that isis propaganda with that flag. a picture of an isis flag that he had. he also appears to have pledged allegiance to abu bakr al-baghdadi, we've seen that in san bernardino, california last year and this attempted attack took place at exactly 11:30 a.m. this morning. why is that significant?
it's significant because the brothers exactly a year ago launched their attack against the charlie hebdo offices at exactly 11:30 in the morning and seems no coincidence likely there that this was perhaps an individual who wanted to attach himself to the cartoon's cause, these jihadists very angered by these cartoons that have been published, they believed that was a way to get to the after life. why a fake bomb? perhaps that was a way to make sure he was shot dead by police to get his wish. >> paul, you're also reporting on a very concerning development in the november attacks in paris that killed 130 people. police now hunting for two terrorists operatives. they say are armed and dangerous and still at large. what role do officials believe they played in the paris attacks? >> reporter: they have evidence, strong evidence that they were
playing a coordinating role in the paris attacks that they were in touch by phone before, during and after the paris attacks with the paris attackers issuing orders that they played a more senior role in this conspiracy and that in the months leading up to the attack they played a key role in preparations. they traveled in september with salah abdeslam to hungry to likely felike likely fetch attackers and wired money from a western union office in brussels and that's why we have images to the female cousin so he could get lodgings in paris. they also it is believed arranged for a safe house for the plotters. they arranged in the south of belgium in a place, they
actually rented a villa there where they prepared the attack. we're also learning that they made the bombs all of these plotters in a safe house and in an apartment right in the center of brussels, very near those european headquarters buildings and the police found a sewing machine used to stitch up the vests and transported to paris for the attacks. >> paul cruickshank. thank you. james langford of oklahoma a member of the intelligence and homeland security committees, senator, thanks for joining us. i want to get to the thw arted. intense situation in north korea, almost 1 million south korean troops along the dmz, nearly 30,000 u.s. soldiers in between. it's a very tense situation
right now. first of the all, what kind of nuclear test was this? >> yeah, we don't know fully what kind of nuclear test this was. north korea says it's a hydrogen bomb. the reason they brag about that is a more powerful weapon and smaller weapon they could carry a longer distance. we know they have done multiple missile tests of late. this is their third test of a nuclear device just in the past six years so they have ramped up their number of tests that they have done. it's very important that we actually know what type of weapon it is so we know the capability and missile that would be. that's why this becomes so provocative. >> the house of representatives expected to vote on new sanctions as early as next week but north korea already sanctioned brutally, if you will, tough sanctions. do you think even more sanctions will make much of a difference? >> you have to find the leverage point as mentioned multiple times. china does two-thirds of the
trade. it's incredibly important to work with china. north koreans are incredibly poor. their average total amount of income is about $1200 a year for north korean. it's an incredibly poor country and the reason they have great poverty is their leadership continues to make poor decisions not only in their economy but with their military activity and isolate them from the rest of the world. it's incredibly damaging to the korean people. the challenge is we can't allow a rogue nation to continue to develop nuclear weapons and be this provocative on the boarder of south korea and so many nations that are allies of ours in asia. you have to continue to use leverage of sanctions, work with china in coordination with them and to be able to shut off many things coming through north korea right now. >> and as tensions escalate in asia, they are dramatically escalating in the middle east between saudi arabia and iran. senator, stand by, we have more to assess.
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vest and carrying a knife. we're back with james langford of oklahoma. you've been well briefed on these terror threats. should we be bracing for more isis-inspired attacks? >> we should, actually, and that's one of the things that's the most challenging in this current environment is isis is trying to both inspire attacks telling people to join the caliphate and fight in syria and iraq and if you can't join us here, kill people where you are and say you're with us. that's the type of thing isis is trying to inspire around the world to say you don't have to be connected with us, be around us, take the isis logo, go kill someone and tell them you're with us because the goal is to create this terror and instability in the western part of the world. >> the fears here are significant. let's talk about the escalating tension in the middle east right
now. as bad as it is seems to be getting worse by the day and now there are these claims by the iranians that the saudis hit the iranian embassy in yemen. today the saudis are denying it. what can you tell us about that? >> there is a proxy war in syria and yemen right on the southern border where iran supported the over throw of the government there for a short period of time, the leader of the country was kicked out. now he's back in country. the saudis and uae are trying to support the return of that leader but this becomes a sunni shiite fight in yemen similar to what is happening in syria as iran is propping up and nations are trying to push back in that. it's been a giant mess and continues to get worse. we see it in north africa with isis attacking oil facilities trying to destabilize the very young government trying to be
formed in libya as well and seize fire that's occurring there. there are a lot of issues happening there but i tell your v viewers, it extremely important. they have not gotten along and have very different perspectives of the middle east and both want to be the key player in the middle east. the hard part for us is russia is stepping in due to their position in the middle east trying to broker the relationship and it's important the united states stays in the lead to be able to help in that area. >> senator, you're -- i want to switch gears and talk about guns for a moment while i have you. you're on the subcommittee of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives. what's your take on the president's recent propels to do something about the 30,000 americans who die because of gun violence in the united states every year? >> yeah, republicans and democrats alike, you don't have to be any party we're grieved about gun violence in the united states. the challenge is the things the president proposed at this point, even josh earnest said it
doesn't stop mass shootings. we have to deal with family issues. we have to deal with the influence of drugs in our society, which is a major driver of gun violence of every type. we focus a lot on the mass shootings that happened but the drug gangs and violence it's happen income many cities drives a lot of gun violence. that's incredibly important to refocus as a nation on drug use and the key family issues. there are key issues that we need to deal with, for instance, the national criminal background check. some of the states are not submitting their information fully. the federal government made it so difficult to submit that information that they just don't do it. that needs to be fixed. it doesn't matter if you do a background check if the states haven't submitted a full record of those who committed a felony. it is important some of those things to get resolved but this seems to be an issue just as a presidential politics type year issue to kind of distract from other things, this are ways to work to solve this but really
what's happening right now is every time the president talks about more gun control issues, more americans go buy guns. 24 million guns sold last year, 1 1 million were sold the year before the president took office. he's been a tremendous salesman for firearms in the united states because every time he talks about another executive action, there is an additional increase with gun sales, constitution is pretty clear on this issue. you cannot remove this basic second amendment right but we should be able to do criminal background checks in the law with full complete records. >> senator langford, thanks very much for joining us. >> you bet, glad to be able to do it. >> we're only about an hour and a half away from the cnn town hall with president obama addressing the issue with guns that area 8:00 p.m. eastern with anderson cooper live. 8:00 p.m. eastern tonight. just ahead, donald trump versus ted cruz in a birther battle launched by the billionaire businessman as cruz surges in iowa weeks out of the
caucuses and old scandals resurfacing as bill clinton campaigns for his wife including a decade's old allegation of rape. right now, you're not thinking about all the money you saved by booking your flight, rental car, and hotel together. all you're thinking about, is making sure your little animal, enjoys her first trip to the kingdom. expedia, technology connecting you to what matters.
the battle donald trump launched against ted cruz is raging tonight with more republicans weighing in on whether cruz is even eligible to be president of the united states because he was born in canada. our senior washington correspondent jeff zel knleny i joining us. jeff, this is bernie sanders territory in vermont, what's the latest there? >> reporter: wolf, we're in the heart of the bernie sanders territory. he was the mayor from 1981 to 1989. you may wonder why donald trump is here. vermont has a super tuesday primary. the voters will be coming out to cast their ballot in the republican race. hundreds and hundreds upon thousands of people are gathered here, somber knee sae bernie sa supporters are mixed in. today trump spent focussing on
ted cruz. donald trump isn't letting go. fanning the flames about ted cruz' citizen ship. >> he's got this cloud over his head, i don't think it's going to be possible for him to do very well. >> reporter: today trump sent a message to his rivals saying ted, free legal advice how to preempt the dems on citizen issue. >> i'm not going to take legal advice any time soon from donald trump. >> reporter: never mind democrats, it's republicans raising questions whether cruz could face a legal challenge. he was born in canada but his mother was a u.s. citizen. trump says cruz' birthplace raises constitutional concerns. >> there is this doubt. people have doubt. i want to win this fair and square. i don't want to win on this point. >> reporter: john mccain once calling him a whack bird. mccain was quick to distance his case from cruz' as cane was born on a u.s. military base.
>> i'm not a scholar but i think it's worth looking into. >> reporter: cruz bushed aside cane's comments. >> no surprise people supporting other candidates in this race are going to jump on with silly attacks that occur as we get closer and closer to election day. >> reporter: cruz emerged as one of trump's biggest threats said the talk was non-sense. >> the legal issue is straightforward. the season of a u.s. citizen born abroad is a u.s. citizen. he told dana bash he's done discussing it. >> i'm not going to engage in this. there are far too many serious issues in this country. >> reporter: the fault lines in the republican primary are becoming clear. watch who is feuding with whom. not only trump versus cruz but crist christie versus rubio. >> that's the kind of person we want to put on the stage against hillary clinton? i don't think so. we'll pat him on the head and
cut his heart out. >> reporter: rubio fired back comparing christie and his record to barack obama. >> chris has a very liberal record for republican. our next president will have to be someone to overturn the damage barack obama do to america, not continue it. >> reporter: now in the middle of this back and forth today, a spokesman for senator mccain said he is indeed not endorsing anyone at this point. he's not supporting marco rubio so an intense day. when donald trump takes the stage in just about less than an hour or so, we'll see if he has any words for these bernie sanders supporters, wolf. >> i'm sure he will. he's not a shy guy, jeff seleny. sara murray, our senior political reporter manu raj gu. john mccain weighing in, saying very similar things donald trump is saying about ted cruz and the birther issue now. >> okay. so how much does he dislike ted cruz to side with donald trump,
the man who said that as a former pow he wasn't a war hero. the answer is a lot. the enemy, my enemy is my friend and cruz and mccain have clashed consistently on capitol hill, lots of folks on capitol hill don't like ted cruz and while mccain protests a little bit and says well, i was just answering a question, it's clear he knew exactly what he was doing there. >> that's exactly what donald trump says, i was just asking a question from a reporter at the washington post that i gave my honest opinion. i don't know if he's a natural born citizen referring to senator cruz. >> he essentially has taken ted cruz off message for two straight days. even if donald trump says that's not what he intended to do is have the effect of really putting cruz in a negative light with the supporters. i'll be very interested to see when the next round of polls are coming up because we have not seen polls that have really tested the appetite of iowa
voters particularly over the holiday season. how much does this controversy affect ted cruz with voters in iowa, very interesting to see in the coming days, wolf. >> what is intriguing and you've been interesting, he does have to his credit a unique ability to change the subject to something he wants the public to focus on, at least the news media. >> no matter what you think of donald trump, he's a public relations master. a guy witha backgroundin television and when he was working on trump tower, he would call people up and pretend he was someone to work for donald trump to pitch stories to magazines about the amazing tower he was building. this is a guy who knows how to work the media and that's what we're seeing. every time you see donald trump throwing attacks out there and back away and say well, i was just answering a question about this and i'm not the one that thinks this, just other people are bringing it up, he knows what he's doing. he's an expert at public
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sexual misconduct allegations that dogged bill clinton during his presidency are resurfacing as he campaigns for his wife including a decade's old allegation of rape dating back to his time of the attorney general of arkansas. our senior political correspondent brianna keilar is live tonight where hillary clinton is campaigning tonight. the clintons aren't commenting on any of this, are they? >> reporter: the clinton campaign certainly is not, wolf, but bill clinton has been asked and asked about this this week. he is responded, though, not especially directly, today, actually when he answered a question from cnn might have been the most direct answer he said of these questions, they have all been answered. now hillary clinton is flat out not addressing this top pick. i actually asked her about it
three times here at her event in san gabrielle, california today and three times she ignored those questions. as bill clinton hits the campaign trail for his wife. >> you'll never have a chance to vote for a better candidate. >> reporter: acquisitions of sexual relations from years past, the former president trying to shut down a discussion earlier today. >> are you worried about those questions from today? >> reporter: also facing questions from an employee of the conservative website the daily column and the candidate herself also trying to avoid the top pick. >> what do you think of donald trump taking aim at you? >> that's great. >> reporter: now one of the subjects of those scandals is resurfacing, juanita said bill
clinton attacked her in 1978. he's she's a trump supporter and said i was 25 years old when bill clinton raped me and hillary clinton tried to silence me. i'm now 73. it never goes away. there was no physical evidence and no charges were filed. in 1999 bill clinton's attorney said any allegation president clinton assaulted mrs. broddrick more than 20 years ago is absolutely false. a state legislator asked hillary clinton about the allegations this week in new hampshire. >> you are very rude and i'm not going to ever call on you. >> reporter: critics say clinton set the stage for these questions with her words supporting victims of rape. >> secretary clinton, you recently came out to say all rape victims should be believed but would you say that about the women that accused your husband, should we believe them, as well? >> i would say everybody should
be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence. >> reporter: most of hillary clinton's opponents have stayed away from the scandals until now. >> the husband wants to come and she wants to accuse me of things and the husband is one of the great abusers of the world. give me a break. give me a break. [ applause ] >> reporter: donald trump has been hammering on bill clinton's past and calling hillary clinton an enabler since she accused him of a pension of sexism two years ago. >> it's not the first time he's demonstrated pension for sexism. >> reporter: today bill clinton answered questions at a campaign event this way. >> he's said a lot of things. >> reporter: trump not letting up. his campaign putting out this instagram video. >> women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights. once and for all. let's keep fighting for opportunity and dignity. >> reporter: now something that many republican presidential
candidates have kept in mind, hillary clinton's approval ratings were their highest, wolf, in the middle of the monica lewinsky scandal. that's why so many republican candidates think this is a terrible way to attack her. the question is is donald trump different? he talked to a radio station, w glo today and he said if he sees female voters are offended by this, him calling hillary clinton an enabler, he said i can certainly tone it down, there is no doubt about that. we shall see, wolf. >> brianna thanks so much. brianna keilar thank you. a lot of us that covered those scandals, the lewinsky scandal, impeachment scandal, we remember vividly bill clinton emerged with 60% job approval numbers, the highest of his presidency. it is a potential risk for republicans now. >> i think when you're talking about the base of the republican party who is very anti clinton, it's not that much of a risk.
when you talk about a general election, it is a risk because you can't blame hillary clinton voters would say for her husband's alleged indiscretions. i do think what is interesting about watching bill clinton today is that his exerting, never thought i'd say this, self-discipline in the way he is deflecting these questions, sticking on message, bill clinton goes off message all the time and he is not doing that in this campaign. we saw him do it when hillary clinton last ran for the presidency in 2008. he is not doing that this time and neither is she. he's sticking on message about hillary clinton and he's not getting angry about these questions and he's just going on with his campaign for his wife. >> i think gloria makes a good point, sarah, that in a republican contest, whether iowa or new hampshire, this might be a good vocal issue for
republican candidates but in a general election down the road, it might backfire. >> when you go to these trump events, there is certainly no love lost for the clintons there. people do not like hillary clinton. they do not like bill clinton. what i thought was interesting is when i was traveling with trump this week, i was traveling with voters in line about what they wanted to hear and a couple of them told me what they didn't want to hear and they said they didn't want to hear about the clinton scandals and said that opened the door to hear about the past. past clinton scandals and past trump scandals and didn't want to get into that. that wanted to hear trump talking about the wall and hear more about foreign policy philosophy. when you get down to early states, iowa and new hampshire where voters take this seriously, this might not be the kind of thing that moves republicans. it remains to be seen. >> manu, watch this trump instagram posted today on the clintons. >> women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights once and for all. let's keep fighting for
opportunity and dignity. >> he's the true defender of women's rights. that's the message he's trying to send out. the clintons are not. >> are not. i think the clintons will have to address this more fully. i don't think they can continue to ignore. i do agree with what sarah and gloria were saying. i talked to a lot of republicans very worried about the top of the ticket if trump or cruz become the republican nominee. how this will play in swing districts, swing states, purple and blue states whether you start talking about things like this, it takes them off message. the moderate republican of pennsylvania told me if one of those two are the nominee, i'll have to distance myself from them in largely because of side shows like this. >> they are afraid they will lose control of the senate and potentially the house if trump -- or lose a lot of seats if it's trump or cruz and they
will cut the candidate loose and run in their own direction. i've been told the same thing. >> but they are both -- they are both two republican front runners at least in iowa right now. let me just show you a little clip. bill clinton was giving a speech today on the campaign trail for his wife. watch this. >> keep americans up at night. and my phone is ringing. [ laughter ] >> i'll have to call hillary back and explain why i couldn't take it. [ laughter ] >> very candid moment from bill clinton. he can do that in a speech. >> remember when giuliani ran and his phone rang and he took it and it was his wife. >> i'll take it during come m h commercia commercials. thanks very much. important programming note, stay with us, we're counting down to a cnn prime time event. president obama joining anderson
cooper and live audience for guns in america town hall coming up 8:00 p.m. eastern, a little more than an hour from now. just ahead, law enforcement training for active shooters as the u.s. sees a surge in gun massacres, an up close look at tactics underway now. will they save lives? ♪ (cell phone rings) where are you? well the squirrels are back in the attic. mom? your dad won't call an exterminator... can i call you back, mom? he says it's personal this time... if you're a mom, you call at the worst time. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico.
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. president obama's clearly making gun violence a focus of his final year in office announce being executive orders to increase gun control. tonight, taking part in a live town hall on the issue right here in cnn. with the rise of mass shootings that we've seen in recent years has changed the way that law enforcement trains for active shooter situations. pamela brown is joining us with details. pamela, many police officials say it's not a matter of if but when they will be called on to respond to an active shooter. >> that's right, wolf. it's seem as inevitable to law enforcement and since president obama took office, there have been 112 active shooter situations, according to the fbi, and there's been an increasing focus on what
civilians could do to protect themselves, if law enforcement even arrives on the scene. a man in a hoodie pulls out a handgun and opens fire on a college campus. shots ring out as students flee. this is an fbi training video produced to help law enforcement nationwide learn how to confront and diffuse an active shooter situation. since 2008, the year president obama was elected to 2014, there have been, on average, 17 active shooter incidents every year. more than one a month. that's more than double the number from 2000 to 2007, when there was an average of a seven a year. they can happen anywhere, anytime. 13 people killed at ft. hood military base in texas. six gunned down at a rally in arizona. >> everyone was screaming that it was gabrielle giffords.
>> 26 people, including 20 children, shot dead in newtown, connecticut. >> we have bodies here. >> reporter: just last month in san bernardino, a radicalized husband and wife shot dead 14 innocent people. >> shots fired! >> reporter: there's an increased focus on training for active shooters in areas. this rapid response training at texas state university puts officers into the chaos in realtime. >> we hear the shots and know the problem is down here. again, if we're coming to try to stop the active shooter, we've got to get to the active shooter. >> reporter: authorities say it's up to civilians to run, hide or fight in those crucial first moments. >> law enforcement responds to these incidents and it's not instantaneous. citizens have to be thinking about what their response is going to be. if it's a protracted incident, if they hear sirens but no one is helping right now.
>> this was a very, very graphic shootout here. >> reporter: these series of shootings have struck a chord with president obama to bypass gun control during his last year in office. the mass shootings have been put in perspective. they all male shooters and only two involved more than one shooter 21 incidents ended after successfully restrained the shooter. wolf? >> pamela brown, thank you. let's dig deeper with the former fbi assistant director tom fuentes, former a-- sedrick
alexander. will they work if implemented? >> the problem is, wolf, many of the situations are different. you know, years ago the philosophy was to get your s.w.a.t. team organized and get ready before you go in to get an active shooter. now they have learned after columbine, try to find the shooter and neutralize them immediately. having training in active shooter situations is a good thing. >> they call for a much more active atf role. do they have the funds to get that done? and they move their resources around the country but it's something definitely needed and it's, without question, whatever the case may have to be, they will step up and make the necessary adjustments. >> matthew, you worked at the atf. do they have the capability to
do what the president wants them to do? i know you applaud the president's initiative. >> well, i think it would be irresponsible for us and the president to do nothing in this crisis situation. if you give the atf and fbi more resources to be able to execute, more vigorous enforcement, more vigorous prosecution and enhanced program, i don't think you can go wrong. you have to do something and the president's plan does something. >> but matthew, i spoke with the congressman trey gowdy who said there are 80,000 applications for gun purchases after background checks and a lot of them should be prosecuted, these individuals for lying on their applications and only a few hundred of them actually ever get prosecuted. why don't more people get prosecuted for lying on these gun applications? >> wolf, quite frankly, the prosecutorial guidelines are different in every district. it's always a frustrating thing as an atf agent to understand the strongest laws on the books for firearms trapping yielded
very small sentences. therefore, priorities do not align with the investigations. time after time, cases like that are denied. what has to happen is, the president has to make sure that every district prioritizes gum crimes and gun purchasing, illegal trafficking and get some of these people behind bars and off the street. >> does he make a good point, congressman trey gowdy when the president says he's not following the law, they are not prosecuting these individuals who lie in order to buy guns? >> well, i think that's one issue but there's many other drug crimes not being adequately prosecuted. if you remember back in the fourth of july weekend, they were talking about the number of fatal shootings in chicago and arrested weeks earlier with gun violations, having shot people, and they are back on the street within a couple of days. the enforcement aspect of that has to happen at the state level, the city level, all the
way up through federal government. >> you're law enforcement, cedric. are you frustrated as far as the alleged crimes are concerned? >> being a law enforcement official, one thing we do ourselves, we certainly support the second amendment and we understand the importance of it. who we want of those eligible and those who legally own firearms, those who are not, none of us want to be in the company of them and certainly want to do what is necessary to help bring them to justice. there are millions of people out there who are legal and very gun owners and very responsible and those are folks we want to line up with. >> tom fuentes, matthew, cedric, thank you very much. we're only about an hour away from a cnn primetime event. you're seeing live pictures coming in. president obama getting ready to join anderson cooper and a live audience for "guns in america."
that's coming up, one hour from now, 8:00 p.m. eastern. in the meantime, thanks very much for watching us. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. next, a very special edition of "outfront" tonight. we're counting down to an historic event. a cnn town hall with president obama. the president taking questions live on one of the most divisive issues of our time. guns in america. let's go "outfront." ♪ good evening. "guns in america," just one hour from now when president obama joins anderson cooper here on the campus of george mason university for an historic town hall event. we're going to show you live pictures