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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  January 25, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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like that nomination for president, martin o'malley, bernie sanders, hillary clinton tonight. the town hall is 9:00 eastern here on cnn. definitely tune in. thanks for being with me here on this monday afternoon. let's go to washington, "the lead" starts now. >> thanks, brooke. exactly one week from today we begin picking a president. "the lead" starts right now. a critical night in the 2016 race. it's the last time democratic candidates will be able to make their national pitch before the iowa caucus. tonight cnn's town hall, all of this as president obama gets surprisingly frank about who should replace him. uncivil war, the gop front-runners tearing each other to shreds with a week till iowa decides will a different billionaire businessman, mike bloomberg, be there to try to pick up the pieces. plus the big dig, a historic
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and deadly blizzard collapsing roofs, crippling the nation's capital, burying new york city. some mayors may end up doming snowballs in the aftermath. good afternoon, i'm jake tapper. welcome to "the lead." with just seven days until the iowa caucuses begin, we today begin with our politics lead. on the democratic side it could not be any closer. hillary clinton and bernie sanders making their closing pitches to voters while the winner of the last democratic caucuses, president obama, weighs in on his possible successor. senior washington correspondent jeff zellani joins me live from iowa where the democrats will participate in a cnn town hall this evening. i don't know if you're in dubuque, ames, iowa city, sioux city, but you have been following the candidates across the state. are you expecting fireworks this evening? >> jake, impressive iowa geography there. but we are at the point of a
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campaign where fireworks are a risky proposition. hillary clinton at this point is trying to win over bernie sanders' supporters, not turn them off. so i do not think tonight there will be many fireworks but there will be distinctions being drawn. the most precious commodity in iowa right now is that undecided voter and all candidates are targeting them. >> we need more respect, more tolerance, know love, more kindness. >> reporter: but that all may have to wait. the democratic race between hillary clinton and bernie sanders is deadlocked. today in iowa, clinton presented herself as a real iist, taking m at sanders' proposals, starting with free college tuition. >> i don't think it's right to give me and my husband free college for our child. i think that if you can afford to pay, you should pay. >> reporter: sanders is asking voters to join him in what he's calling a revolution, a political movement to bring real change. >> nothing that i have described to you today is utopian, it is
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not pie in the sky. in fact much of what i have talked to you about today exists today in other countries on earth. >> reporter: the candidates have been making their case for months. clinton's voice showing a strain today. >> you do talk a lot in this campaign. >> reporter: one week from tonight voters will finally start having their say. the outcome of the iowa caucuses will set the tone for the rest of the 2016 campaign. president obama weighed into the race far more than ever before in an interview with politico. >> bernie came in with the luxury of being a complete long shot and just letting loose. >> right. >> i think hillary came in with the both privilege and burden of being perceived as the front-runner. >> reporter: still staying neutral, but sounding favorable to clinton. he said he understood sanders' appeal but pushed back to any comparisons to 2008.
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>> you're always looking at the bligh bright, shiny object to people haven't seen before. that's a disadvantage to her. >> reporter: iowa is a test of organization. the real activity is taking place behind the scenes at campaign offices, with clinton aides shipping out boxes to precincts and team sanders trying to capture the late enthusiasm. the implications stretch far beyond iowa. >> i think it makes it a real horse race. and i think it will energize people all over the country who think, as i did in 2008, that obama can't win so let me go for somebody else. >> reporter: clinton supporters hope this campaign has a different ending. >> it is very similar, but this time hillary is going to come out on top. i'm confident of that. i love bernie sanders. i love a lot of things he says. but i think hillary is the one that's going to win. >> reporter: jake, that is the
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interesting dynamic in this race. the voter, sue right there summed it up pretty well. she is a hillary clinton supporter and likes bernie sanders just fine but hillary clinton is the one needed to get the job done. but the sanders campaign are asking their supporters to believe, so we'll see if president obama putting his thumb on the scale today influences any of the sanders' supporters decisions. >> jeff zeleny live, thanks so much. let's turn to the republican race, which is also as tight as a particular. ted cruz says it represents new york values. he pulls a knife, you pull a rhetorical gun. trump put out this spot last week painting cruz's pro-amnesty. today cruz's orbit pulled out its gun. watch this ad from a cruz super pac. >> does this sound conservative?
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>> i am pro choice in every respect. i am pro choice in every respect. i am pro choice in every respect. >> for partial birth abortion, not a conservative. >> sara murray is inankeny, iowa. has trump's campaign responded to that in that add, that pro-cruz super pac attack ad? >> i think we're seeing donald trump responding to the tougher tenor of this campaign. when he was speaking to wolf blitzer, he called ted cruz a nasty guy. what i think is even more interesting than this latest battery of attacks is the fact that like you said the race is head to head, neck in neck in iowa and the guy leading by just a little bit, donald trump, is nowhere to be found in iowa today. it's the final stretch in iowa, and republicans are scrambling to get ahead. >> 177 hours.
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that's how long we've got until the iowa caucus. >> you lose your wife, if you lose your husband, i don't care, go caucus. >> reporter: with a week of campaigning until the caucuses, trump leads the field, and the billionaire businessman is feeling confident. >> i could stand in the middle of fifth avenue and shoot somebody and i wouldn't lose any voters, okay? it's like incredible. >> reporter: so confident he's campaigning in new hampshire today and slamming the gop establishment. >> the establishment, the media, the special interests, the lobbyists, the donors, they're all against me. >> reporter: while other candidates hunker down in the hawkeye state. but this weekend trump took a shot at traditional campaigning. instead of taking his jet back to manhattan, he spent the night at a holiday inn and attended a local church. >> we talked about humility in church today. i don't know if that was aimed at me, perhaps. >> reporter: all as ted cruz tries to knock trump down a
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notch. today getting a boost. an endorsement from former texas governor rick perry. >> ted to the leader that we need to reignite the promise of america. >> reporter: and needling trump for botching a biblical reference when he referred to the new testament book second corinthians as 2 corinthians. >> well, you know, two corinthians walk into a bar. >> reporter: and cruz isn't the only one having fun at trump's expense as "saturday night live" revealed a skit with trump and his latest campaign surrogate, sarah palin. >> thank you, iowa. i wanted to take a break from my full-time career of writing things on facebook to fly down her and lend my support to the next president of the united states, don j. trump. >> hey, america, isn't she great? just the total package. smart, legs, yelling, everything. i haven't seen a woman this
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impressive since jeb bush. >> reporter: meanwhile marco rubio picked up his own high-profile endorsement from the des moines register editorial board, and hit the trail with iowa senator joni ernst. >> i've always felt real good about our work here, i have. every day that goes boy, we are very encouraged by the support we are building. we feel very positive about it. >> reporter: now, marco rubio is hoping this last sprint through iowa as well as appearances with local leaders could help him surprise here on caucus night. he'll also be campaigning with chuck grassley on saturday. on friday he will be hitting the trail with john kasich so all of the politicians out on the stump in iowa. >> it has been a wild and wacky campaign 2016, so unpredictable, and yet there could be another chaos agent added to this already volatile mix. former new york city mayor and
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billionaire michael bloomberg reportedly concerning a presidential bid, alarmed at the prospects of the democratic and republican nominees being in his view far too extreme, especially if they are bernie sanders on the left and ted cruz or donald trump on the right in his view. phil, bloomberg's first opponent is time. he'll have to make a decision before the democratic and republicans have likely chosen their nominees. >> yeah, that's right, jake. the reality is michael bloomberg's window to make this decision is small. he has a limited amount of time, according to his advisers, as they see the map right now, to get onto the ballot in all 50 states. right now they're pegging it as an early march decision. what will we be through, just about through super tuesday, same with the republican primary. the idea of what's going to actually tip the scales and send him into the race remains somewhat ambiguous amongst his team. it causes a lot of concern but also opens a lot of doors going forward onto what will actually
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make mike bloomberg decide whether or not he's going to get in. >> what separates mike bloomberg from other third-party candidates is he's a billionaire. how much could this cost and how much is he willing to spend? >> well, a nice round number that people on his team are tossing around is $1 billion. but the reality is this, jake. as i talked to people around him in his orbit, if he decides to go, there will be a cap on what he has to spend. mike bloomberg will not enter this race without the intention to win, so anything is on the table. $1 billion just the starter number here, jake. >> phil matting lomattingly, th much. president obama coming the closest he has come yet to endorsing a candidate in the democratic race, so what does team bernie think of his comments so far? that's next as our politics lead continues. stay with us.
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welcome back to "the lead." more on our politics lead. bernie sanders has gone from being the longest of shots of a candidate to running neck in neck with hillary clinton in iowa, if not ahead of her. tad devine, senior media advisor, joins me now. thanks for being here. i want to get your reaction to president obama was asked if senator sanders focuses too much on one issue, that being income inequality. take a listen to president obama. >> i will say that the longer you go in the process, the more you're going to have to pass a series of hurdles that the voters are going to put in front of you. because the one thing everybody understands is that this job right here, you don't have the luxury of just focusing on one
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thing. >> that kind of dovetails with a message we're hearing from the clinton campaign, which is this is a broad job, you need to be focused on more than one thing, the ability to do more than one thing. did you take that as a criticism, and does sanders need to broaden his message? >> i didn't take it as a criticism as all. i think the president is absolutely right. if you want to be president of the united states, you need to handle many, many, many responsibilities and bernie understands that and is prepared to do so. >> dan gross accused senator sanders of misleading voters when he said he stood up to the gun lobby. he said sanders continues to present himself as a crusader against special interests but failed to stand up to the corporate gun lobby, the most evil and harmful special interest in our nation today. your response. >> i disagree. bernie sanders has -- he lost his first race for the house in 1988 because he stood up and said, hey listen, if you send me to congress, i'm going to vote to ban assault weapons. he supported background checks since the early '90s.
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he supports the president's actions. he said recently he would support legislation, which has been drafted as long as there's some accommodation for small gun shops in some areas. so he earned his lifetime d minus rating and i think it's a fair representation for him to say so. >> he was put in an awkward position after it was announced that the lbgt rights organization and planned parenthood endorsed hillary clinton. he referred to them as they're part of the establishment. now, bernie sanders has been in office since 1981, almost continuously. "rolling stone" magazine ten years ago said he had more amendments passed in the previous decade than any other lawmaker. >> that's correct. >> that's a compliment, by the way. i don't mean this as an insult, but how is he not part of the establishment? >> well, i think he's not part of the establishment because he wants to change a rigged economy in america that's held in place by a corrupt system of campaign finance. the establishment is what's holding that in place. the establishment is satisfied
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with the campaign finance system and is participating in it. bernie has refused to participate in a rigged economic system. he's been against it and he's refused to participate in a corrupt system of campaign finance. so he's not part of the establishment because he's running so vigorously against it. >> the des moines register endorsed mcover the weekend partly because they don't see how sanders can transform washington and put his ideas into practice. if president obama couldn't transform washington, how is bernie sanders going to? >> he will have the luxury of being president without this country losing 800,000 jobs a month which was what was happening when president obama came into office. he had two very hot wars going on. president obama has done a great job but bernie sanders will be much better positioned to make the changes because he's going to inherit a much better situation than the president. >> all right, tad devine, we'll see you on the campaign trail, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> don't forget tonight an event
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you'll see only on cnn, bernie sanders, hillary clinton, martin o'malley go face to face with voters in iowa for a special town hall. cnn's chris cuomo will moderate this unique opportunity for iowans to ask questions. it all starts tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern only on cnn. coming up, they cut through steel bars and used bed sheets to descend five stories. three dangerous inmates on the run. new details about their plot ahead. buried by the blizzard. jennifer gray is live from atop a mountain of snow in washington, d.c. jennifer? >> reporter: jake, when you have almost 18 inches of snow in the district of columbia, where does it all go? well, it's being brought here. we'll talk about all of it coming up after the break. on the floor! everybody down! nobody move! on the floor!
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welcome back to "the lead."
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the national league now, a big digout happening after a devastating and in some cases deadly blizzard, from crashes on icy roads to medical emergencies shoveling snow, more than 25 lives have been lost as far south as georgia. strong winds knocked a tree onto a mail truck killing a postal worker. three days after the first flakes the federal government is still not operational. schools are shut down, airlines are running limited flights if any and huge mountains of snow block streets and sidewalks. some pedestrians are risking their very lives walking on icy streets as cars try to pass by. c nc cnn has teams positioned up and down the east coast. we'll start with jennifer gray here in d.c. the forecast now calling for rain and more snow. that sounds like it could make the situation even worse. >> reporter: yeah, it actually could, especially once that rain falls and gets that snow hard and compacted, it will be hard for crews. but believe it or not, they're
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actually loading up the snow in dump trucks and carrying it here, rfk stadium parking lot. it's where the redskins used to placement there is this huge mounld mound of snow. it's easier to take the snow out of the city versus moving it around the city so there has been a line of dump trucks one after another. let's talk about those totals because reagan came in at the fourth snowiest snowfall on record. new york city, though, one-tenth of an inch away from tying that record. we had almost 18 inches of snow here in washington, d.c., and then areas just outside of d.c., dulles airport, had almost twice that. so regardless of where you were and how much snow fell where you are, it's going to be a while before we can all dig out. millions of people are digging, plowing, and bull dozing their way out from under the blizzard that blasted the east coast over
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the weekend. the deadly winter storm caused roofs to collapse and was responsible for accidents like this one between a snow plow and a train in connecticut. more than two dozen people were killed, including a mother and baby who died in their car from carbon monoxide poisoning. it's paralyzed some places that were in its path, most notably washington, d.c. >> this was a historic storm. we're dealing with removing a lot of snow. it's not just plowing it off to the sides like you do in a suburban area. >> reporter: the nation's capital is closed for business on monday. the federal government told employees not to come to work and washington, d.c., closed public schools. even the metro remained partially closed for the morning commute. >> the roads are still dangerous. we are still in a snow emergency in washington, d.c. >> reporter: the district's slow cleanup is being compared to new york city, where schools are open despite the storm dumping more than 26 inches of snow in central park, the second largest snowfall in the city's history. >> i know other cities struggled
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and a lot of them are not blessed with the kind of public employees, the number and the quality and the highly trained public employees that we have. >> reporter: still new york is not without trouble. the school bus stuck in the borough of queens, a signal that pockets outside manhattan are still being dug out. and it wasn't all snow. flooding in new jersey hit residents that are still recovering from the devastation of superstorm sandy in 2012. despite the mess, some managed to have fun. in philadelphia residents were sledding down the famous rocky steps. and in washington, hundreds suited up for a snowball fight. this group even built a snow bar, complete with champagne. >> i was in d.c. for snowmageddon but didn't enjoy it in the same way i am now. >> i think this is a fantastic way to celebrate a snowstorm.
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>> reporter: all right, take a look at this graphic. look at dulles, look at baltimore. almost 30 inches of snow. now look at reagan, d.c., only 17.8. believe it or not, there's actually a little bit of a controversy surrounding the snowfall measurements taken at the airport and somehow either the snow measuring board got blown away or they couldn't find it underneath all the snow they were measuring, so there is an investigation going on to determine what exactly happened at reagan during the storm. it may sound funny, jake, but believe it or not it's actually very serious because you want to have that total correct because that's going to go down in history. not only that, it does have a domino effect when you're talking about funding coming in to help with recovery and things like that. but they're actually looking into it to see what happened with that snowfall total at reagan, jake. >> leave it to washington, d.c., to have a controversy and a cover-up when it comes to snowfall totals. jennifer gray, thanks so much. travel issues continue to be
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welcome back. more on the national lead. let's show you some stunning video that really illustrates how dangerous blizzard 2016 was and continues to be. look at this, the weight of the snow piled high on top of a church caused the roof to collapse. only outside walls are still standing. luckily no one was inside the church at the time but this is just one of many scenes like it throughout the u.s. today. we're checking conditions in the major cities and airports and we'll start with cnn's boris sanchez in new york city. the snow totals there are similar to d.c. and philly but those cities are at a stand still and new york city is up and running. >> reporter: up and running, jake. it seems like a regular day in the city. tourists are moving around but
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they are dealing with a lot of snow. this public safety officer has been helping people cross this nasty puddle of melted snow here, a thankless job. there's a lot of slush out on the street. it's really nasty out. other than that for the most part things are returning to normal. traffic is moving along. obviously there's a concern a lot of this slush will melt overnight as temperatures get back closer to freezing. in terms of the commute, the long island railroad, one of the longest commuter lines in the country, was delayed in opening this morning. part of that is the lines were clean but some of the ice froze that was cleaned overnight so they were operating at 80% capacity at last check. they're almost back to normal now. so as we watch this gentleman escort ladies over that puddle, we'll go to rene marsh in washington, d.c. keeping an eye on air traffic there. >> reporter: that's right, boris. if you're flying out of new york city, if you're flying out of washington, d.c., air travel is up and running but it is
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slow-going. passengers are still dealing with a massive number of cancellations and delays, more than 1600 cancellations today alone, more than 400 slated for tomorrow. i've been speaking with the airlines and they say that the majority of the passengers have been rebooked on brand new flights. however, it could take the rest of the week before they get everyone to their destination, jake. >> rene marsh and boris sanchez, thanks to both of you. we're just getting word that the death toll has gone up to 31. bad news when it comes to the storm. kwis fchristopher is head o d.c.'s emergency management agency. so d.c. got less snow than new york city but that city seems to be up and running, the subways are running, school is in session. why is that city able to recover more quickly. >> jake, new york has a
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different subway system than we do and, you know, they're just apples and oranges between the two cities, topography and everything else. so we're -- we're doing what we're doing here and we've got our crews focused, public safety in mind and we're keeping focused on what we're doing here. >> because i had to come here to the cnn d.c. bureau over the weekend to anchor, i was out and about in the middle of the snowfall, i didn't see a huge number of plows or salt trucks. maybe i was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but did you deploy everything you needed to get out there? >> oh, yeah, we deployed throughout the entire event all of the resources that we had on hand at the time. all of our traditional resources, plus some additional contract plows. and national highway system plows. we were out there throughout the storm keeping the roads as passable as possible for our emergency services and trying to reduce the volume along with
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that. >> are you satisfied with the response to the blizzard? is there anything that could be done better next time? >> you know, honestly, we are out there, we're working with our crews. the public is chipping in and shoveling their walks and their sidewalks and, you know, 24 inches of snow. we're in recovery mode right now, response mode, recovery mode. just a lot of volume and a lot of things to pick up. >> so a lot of people i see walking in the middle of these icy streets because the sidewalks haven't been cleared and drivers are trying to avoid hitting them, still not able to see around snow mounds blocking their view at intersections. when can we expect that the streets for pedestrians and for drivers will be at safer levels? >> you know, i just drove through the city myself and all of our major arterials, all of the major routes like 14th street, 16th street, 395, 295, that's separate from what we're talking about, but all of our
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major arterials mostly down to pavement, wet. when it comes to the sidewalks, we're relying on our businesses that have those sidewalks in front of them to clean them. that's our law. and residents to clean the sidewalks in front of their house. you know, again, we've asked folks as well when they're shoveling to take their time, make sure to drink plenty of water and don't go above the level as they can as they're shoveling so a lot of volume. we want to make sure people are safe. we do want the pedestrians off the road, but we need to get those sidewalks clear as well. >> best of luck with the rest of the snow clearing. appreciate it. >> thank you, sir. in our world lead, isis bragging about its deadly attack in paris, as the group issues a new warning for another one of the world superpowers. but first, three dangerous inmates now on the run after a daring jail break. the unbelievable way they escaped, coming up.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. these three dangerous and possibly armed criminals made a dramatic escape from a maximum security jail in california over the weekend. the orange county sheriff says they cut through steel bars and made their way through plumbing tunnels to the to the roof and then climbed down five stories using a makeshift rope. since disappearing last friday, these three inmates, one of whom has a previous homicide conviction and is accused of castrating a man, the others have reported vietnamese gang ties, authorities have no idea where the three are. let's bring in paul from los angeles. paul, how similar is this to the two convicted murderers who escaped from the state prison in new york last summer? >> well, jake, it's similar in this. it was very elaborate. it involved crawling and hacking through metal and somehow getting ahold of equipment that would allow them to cut this metal. it's different in these ways.
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basically there was a fight staged that delayed the head count at this jail which gave these inmates some lead time, a chance to get away. it's similar because these are all very dangerous inmates, but the concern is especially with the two vietnamese gang members alleged that they would just sort of blend into the community and unlike upstate new york where it's rural and you have rivers and wide open spaces, we've got a major urban area and that's their concern. let's listen. >> we feel that they may be embedded somewhere in the community, and that's why we're reaching out to the community and letting them know, we understand that you're in danger. we understand that you're fearful. we understand that you may be fearful about coming forward with information about where these individuals are located. we're telling the community it's an obligation for you to come out and let us know. we can keep you anonymous if you want to remain anonymous, but we need the information to help us go forward to find these people. >> there's a $50,000 reward out there. witnesses and victims have been
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warned by law enforcement and here's why. let's take a look at these individual rap sheets. they are absolutely staggering. jake, you alluded to the first of these men, nayeri, he is considered sadistic. the second, the man in the middle is 20 years old. went into the system when he was 15. he is an accused murderer. then you have bac tien duong, the last man, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, avoiding arrest and on and on and on. they are warning people in the public if they have any sight of these men, they are to call the authorities immediately and of course not try to confront them because they are considered armed at this point and they are clearly extremely dangerous. jake. >> paul, thank you so much. let's turn to our world lead now. isis terrorists releasing a new propaganda video purporting to show the final messages of the paris attackers. 130 people were killed during the deadly rampage that rocked the city of light in november. the 17-minute video concludes
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with an ominous terror warning to another european superpower, the u.k. let's get right to barbara starr live at the pentagon. barbara, does this propaganda video reveal anything useful to intelligence authorities? >> well, it does reveal some concerns because of that implication of a threat to the united kingdom, to britain, additional threats to france. this video, however, propaganda to say the least, it is so brutal, so sadistic that there is much of it we cannot show, it is too violent. several of the paris attackers shown in this very slickly produced video. several men we don't know who they are shown murdered by them. another effort by isis leadership to show they have strength, power, the ability to kill, the ability to intimidate and the ability now that this video is out to issue threats literally from beyond the grave. jake. >> is there any mention in this video or any appearance of the
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eighth terrorist from paris who survived, fled france and is still wanted and on the run? >> interestingly no. there appears to be an audio message attributed to him potentially but we don't really see him. why is the question. i'm not sure there's a really good answer to that just yet by the u.s. intelligence community and the french security services. now that his face is known and he's on the run he's of very limited value to isis, that may be one reason. there's another interesting tidbit. there is someone in the video who is blurred. that is not something isis typically does in these videos. who could that person be? could it be another operative not ready yet to show his face? jake. >> that's chilling. barbara, you're also getting new details about the u.s. potentially expanding operations in libya where isis has been gaining a greater foothold? >> you know, the chairman of the joint chiefs has just returned from paris talking to his military french counterparts about isis since the paris
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attacks. the general telling a small group of reporters on that trip that the u.s. and the allies, including france, are now looking towards what he's calling decisive military action against isis inside libya. there is growing concern by the kay that isis is really opening up a third front in libya, leaving syria, leaving iraq because of the air strikes there, moving to libya, setting up shop there, potentially going after libya's oil resources for cash, a new flow of cash, so the allies, led by the united states, clearly looking at some new options for new action against isis in libya. jake. >> barbara starr live at the pentagon for us. thanks so much. thousands of children forced to stay home from school, teachers refusing to do their jobs due to disgusting conditions in the classrooms like black mold and buckling floors. when will this end? we'll go there next.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. our money lead. it turns out all day hash browns haven't been a life saver for hangovers everywhere, they're also bringing mcdonald's back to life. their earnings topped predictions with a 6% jump in same-store sales in the u.s. mcdonald's ceo is saying all-day breakfast coupled with mild weather are behind the company's turn-around. the golden arches are now outperforming rivals like burger king and wendy's. in our national lead, michigan's top prosecutor warns water in flint is so toxic, so unsafe, parents should keep their children away from it. they're being told not to bathe
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their children in it. the michigan attorney general also announced today a former prosecutor and retired fbi investigator will lead an independent investigation into determine just what went wrong in flint. this could only be the beginning of the problem for michigan governor rick snyder who has been blaming the epa for causing the water crisis. cnn now obtained documents showing that the governor's office actually knew about the potential problem at least two years before providing toxic water to people in flint. back in 2012 flint's emergency manager warned against using the contaminated flint river as a water resource after consulting with the epa, but the governor's office dismissed that warning as first reported by "the daily beast" and gave the green light to providing lead-laced water to 100,000 people in flint. another serious problem continuing to brew in a different michigan city today, in detroit. teachers have been calling in sick and skipping school on occasion, attempting to bring national attention to deplorable conditions in their schools,
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such as black mold or even mushrooms growing in classrooms and a broken heating system while students are sitting in freezing and sometimes rodent-infested classrooms. a court ruling was issued today siding with the teachers, legally allowing more sickouts but are these protests helping or potentially even harming innocent students? let's bring in randy weingarden, the president of the american federation of teachers. you toured two public schools in detroit a couple of weeks ago. what did you see? >> so the conditions are deplorable, jake. i've frankly never seen conditions like this before and i taught in new york city in the 1990s where we had atrocious conditions, where we had to scavenge for chalk. it's not just buckling floors, it's not just black mold, it's not just that you can't breathe, it's not that you have windows
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open when it's 15 degrees outside because it's either too hot or there's no heat whatsoever, it's what signal it's sending to kids, that they don't matter. and frankly we toured with a cnn crew. i have asthma and my asthma was worse that day because of what we were breathing in. a technology school where they don't have the internet. so the conditions are terrible. and frankly, what teachers have been trying to do is they have been trying to say to people pay attention to this. and the governor and the emergency manager who was the emergency manager in flint just ignored and ignored and ignored, and out of frustration they have done some of these actions to get the attention to these schools. >> you visit schools all over the country. >> yes. >> some of them are pretty horrific. how does this compare to other places in the united states where the schools are in horrible condition? >> i would say that detroit is the worst. and this is a city that is on
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the rise again. you go to downtown detroit, you see the city on the rise again, and yet the schools are deplorable. they have been under state control for 15 out of 17 years when the state took over there was a surplus. now scores are down and the debt is up. >> so the detroit school district filed an injunction to basically ban the sickouts. a judge denied the request. i understand that the orchestrated sickouts aim to bring attention to this, but talk about those who are worried that this actually hurts kids, because those are days that kids aren't learning. >> look, today everybody is back in school except for the 28 teachers that the detroit public schools sued and had to be in court today, so that school was closed. teachers who, by the way, many of whom had never done any kind of sickout. one of whom because they wrote something in the newspaper, they were sued.
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one of whom has been on fmla because of cancer issues. but to your point, jake, our teachers want to be in school. you know, they want to shine the spotlight on these conditions. but if you've tried to shine it in every which way and you've been totally ignored, you totally understand the frustration. teachers want to teach. but remember, these folks as well for the last ten years hasn't had a raise. there are 200 vacancies, and this is after these teachers have given over a 10% pay cut about ten years ago to try to save detroit. what they're doing is they're trying to bring attention to the deplorable conditions in schools so that kids can learn. >> well, they have brought the attention. what now? >> so what now is that we are actually continuing to do the advocacy with the governor, with the emergency manager, with anybody who we can talk to to
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say fix these conditions. >> all right. >> and if we can't get that done, we'll do other things as well. >> thank you so much for your time. i'm turning you over now to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now, digging out. a crippling blizzard leaves dozens dead. now with roofs collapsing, 85 million people coping with a mess and roads refreezing overnight, could one or even two new storms be just over the horizon? digging in. donald trump sits down with me for a one-on-one interview. he's spoiling for a fight with michael bloomberg. said his critics got his latest joke all wrong. and savages his closest competitor, senator ted cruz. making their case. we're only hours away from the democratic presidential candidates squaring off with iowa voters, taking questions on the most important issues facing the country. with just one week to go until the iowa caucuses, how could cnn'