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tv   Legal View With Ashleigh Banfield  CNN  February 17, 2016 9:00am-10:01am PST

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. hello, everyone. i'm jim sciutto. ashleigh banfield is off today. and welcome to "legal view." we begin today with a court battle that has enormous implications for your personal privacy and security. your phone, your e-mail, your text messages, your identity in
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pictures. the places you go, the people you talk to. all the things that you expect or at least hope to be yours and yours alone. this story today pits the u.s. government against the first high-tech company to say no, we won't do what you want us to do. and that company is none other than apple. the fbi wants to crack into a dead terrorist's iphone. they cannot break its security protections. the apple says it cannot either. that's just the way it works. the federal judge, however, now demanding apple cooperate with the terror investigation and crack open that one particular iphone. apple's response, "no." but it's not nearly as simple as it sounds. because apple's ceo insists he's not being difficult, only that the iphone security is very tight for a reason. and it is impossible to compromise that one iphone without compromising the security of all iphones. more than 700 million of them in use worldwide today. our justice reporter, evan perez
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is following this story. evan, starting with this, when you look at this, just how much legal pressure is there on apple right now? >> this is a lot of legal pressure, jim. because the fbi is -- there is no -- there is no mistake here that the fbi chose this case to test this issue. this is an issue that's been boiling for some time. & they have chosen this issue, because we're talking about a terrorist attack that killed 14 people. we're talking about an attack that happened in the united states. and in this case, it's a cell phone owned by the san bernardino county health department which employed saeed, in entering. and what apple is saying they don't have right now the technical capability to break into cell phones. the fbi and this judge agrees, saying, look, you've got to figure it out. you've got to figure out software that you can load on to this phone to be able to bypass the security feature, the security feature basically is
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this. that if you enter a password more than ten times, the data on this cell phone automatically erases. the fbi director addressed this very issue in a congressional hearing recently. take a listen to what he had to say. >> it is a big problem for law enforcement armed with a search warrant when you find a device that can't be opened, even though the judge said there is probable cause to open it. as i said, it affects our counterterrorism work. san bernardino, very important investigation to us. we still have one of those killers' phones that we have not been able to open. >> and the big issue here for apple, they say what the fbi wants as a back door. you heard the fbi director there saying it's a front door. we're going to go into the front door and we want apple to bring this into their own labs. they're the ones that are able to do this. >> you're right they chose a perfect case. this is a terror attack that happened and many people are dead. in this case legally, can the justice department force apple's hand here? >> well, certainly. this case is -- we believe, will
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end up at the supreme court. they will not stop until they get a final say on this very important issue. and i think apple also feels that they have to go all the way to the supreme court to establish what is the limit of national security versus privacy. >> we'll see if there are nine justices by the time they make it to the supreme court. evan perez, thank you for covering the legal side of it. this is one very large company versus the government. i tech firms, cyber security experts are watching this very carefully. and you better believe that the lawyers on all sides are watching too. the ultimate decision here will set a powerful precedent. so i want to get to all of the implications. we have brian stelter, senior media correspondent, paul callan, legal analyst. and david kennedy, a computer security expert, so-called ethical hacker who runs a high-tech security company. brian, if i can start with you for historical context here. this is different, of course, from he had edward snowden and
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wiki leaks. you say we wouldn't be about this had we not had edward snowden. >> yes, because it's this balance between security and privacy. snowden frayed the revelation from the documents snow deny leaked. frayed those connections. apple and other companies have had to have a more tough stance against government attempts to get information from their customers. and apple has turned this into a selling point. not just in the u.s., but importantly, around the world. when apple talks about the privacy benefits of technology, it is selling customers and many other companies. that's one of the reasons why tim cook is taking such a strong hand here. and we heard from snowden on twitter saying this is the biggest tech case in the legal world of the last decade. >> and we know that following those edward snowden revelations, a lot of customers fled american security providers. they talk about tens of billions of dollars loss.
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certainly there is a business question here. david kennedy, i want to go to you with a very basic technical question that i imagine a lot of our viewers have. viewers at home are saying, why won't apple crack into a dead terrorist's cell phone, just one cell phone. why does it have to affect everyone else? but technically, if they do, whether you call it a back door or a front door, does this mean they in effect break security on everyone's iphones? >> that's exactly what it means. it essentially means they're giving a way for law enforcement, for the government to be able to actually crack those phones themselves, and for any other phone in the future. so this basically reduces the security over all iphone devices and platforms and wouldn't necessarily be the most secure platform out there today. >> okay. so paul callan, you have been around the law a little while. look at this case here. who has the advantage going in? >> well, you know, it's -- you are trying to balance the need for information about terrorists as against privacy rights of the american public. and i think we should be clear, the fbi is not asking for the
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password to this phone. what they're asking for is they have this thing, you know, ten times and you're out. you try it ten times, you can't get it. the phone erases everything. they're trying to disable that feature. but apple says that's a key feature that protects private information on the phone, and, in fact, the justice department had to go back to a 1977 case involving ancient technology to say, you know, this has been done in the past with phone registers and organized crime cases. but i don't think that really applies and i think that this is going to be a pitched battle in the u.s. supreme court. >> and apple is saying let's debate this in public. this is usually something happening in courthouses and mostly in private. most americans don't hear about these situations. what tim cook did overnight with his statement is say, let's talk about this in public. i think many people, you know -- i'm holding my iphone right now. i appreciate the fact that if i don't put in the pass code correctly ten times, it is going to wipe the phone. it usually means some criminal
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has it, it's been stolen or something. this, of course, is a very different case. but we all can kind of do that test in our own minds. and by the way, here's one other test. what if this was the chinese manufacturer that needed access to the technology and what it was the chinese government or not the u.s. government asking for access? i think people's feelings might be different. >> and david, if i could ask about this. i cover counterterrorism a lot. and this goes back to an argument that law enforcement, counter terror officials have been making for some time. that terrorists are going dark. they need a back door for encryption so for instance the paris attackers were using communications to prevent plots like this in the future. so, again, for folks back home, they'll think, well, why not? that will help keep us safe. i guess to brian's point, what apple will say, if the government gets a back door, that means it's only a matter of time before hackers, authoritarian governments, et cetera, get a back door. is that an accurate argument?
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>> it is. once that back door is actually out there, having other governments get access to that is an eventuality. in addition, the paris attackers, in a lot of cases, didn't use en krepgs as a key method for communication. that was actually a false pretense to get this encryption back door area started. so most of the terrorists still don't use encryption. there's other ways of identifying that communication. we have a lot of other intelligence ways of getting communication than back dooring our own privacy. and once you give the back doors into these types of technologies, it's a slippery slope for security and privacy. and one thing to mention on that, this is from an old apple 5c device, which basically doesn't have a lot of the newer security features like we call security enclave. so they would have to back door the new technology to allow the fbi or other law enforcement agencies to get access to this data. this isn't a one time off thing, this is a major case that i think was put well, probably the largest tech issue and decision that we have to make as a people
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in our generation. so this is something that's going to be really catastrophic to security privacy moving forward. >> it's a private company. it's not the government. it's a private company. a reminder of how powerful apple is. >> a private company that provides cell phones to 7, 800 million people. paul, quickly. we don't have a lot of time. i want to ask a point that drafd brought up there. is there any precedent for a company going against the government on an issue like this where you've got privacy up against national security in such a direct way? >> well, yes. in the lower courts, there have been many cases like this. and so far, private companies have won. and one of the reasons they have won is, think about what's going on here. the fbi is trying to compel essentially private citizens to assist them in a criminal investigation by disabling this decrip shun method. and john stevens said the only time this has happened before is when british troops occupied the u.s. in the 1700s and they had
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something called the writ of assistance which forced the colonialists to assist the british. and that's what he said the constitution is for, to prevent citizens to have to do this. so it's going to be a battle in the supreme court. >> and that might be a supreme court with just eight justices. we'll see. paul callan, brian stelter, dave kennedy, thank you for helping us break this complicated issue down. turning to another contentious battle. tonight, ben carson, ted cruz and marco rubio will answer tough questions from south carolina voters at the first of two back-to-back cnn town hall events. we'll take you on the campaign trail before saturday's next big primary.
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carolina. with hillary clinton topping bernie sanders by double digits there. in nevada, however, clinton in a dead heat with senator sanders, as for the gop side, trump is also up by a large margin in nevada. we'll take a deeper dive in just a few minutes. first let's take a closer look at the race in south carolina, especially with just hours before three of the gop candidates get ready to make their pitch to voters during a cnn town hall. cnn's phil mattingly is following one of those candidates set to take the stage, senator marco rubio. also joining us our own jim acosta on the trail with the trump campaign. senator rubio has had a heated back and forth with ted cruz and donald trump. what has he said today? >> well today the attacks have only grown sharper when it comes to ted cruz. look, what this all comes down to is really two-fold. first and foremost, marco rubio in his campaign see ted cruz voters as people they can bring over. if they want to come in second
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place in south carolina, or really make a move up, to cut into trump's lead, they need to grab the supporters of ted cruz. they're alleging dirty campaign tactics. this this is marco rubio told reporters today. >> when you say something outlandish and untrue every day, it i think it does reflect the campaign you're running. i've been saying for a while now that ted, unfortunately, has proven he's willing to say or do anything to get elected. i don't think that's a positive thing to see in a president. >> reporter: questioning ted cruz, questioning his campaign. and jim, what this goes down to is everything from fake facebook pages to robo calls that are accusing marco rubio of failures while in the senate. again, it's south carolina. we expect a lot of tactics like this. but marco rubio, what they're trying to do now is raise questions about what type of campaign ted cruz is running. again, hoping to cut into some of that support, jim. >> phil mattingly, thanks very much. and jim acosta, stand by. i want to get to a live event with ted cruz.
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he's in south carolina campaigning. let's have a listen right now. >> have you ever once in a republican presidential campaign seen a republican candidate for president praising planned parenthood on a national debate stage in mind you, he had just called me a liar for saying that was his record. and marco rubio does the same thing. marco rubio is behaving like donald trump with a smile. at the debate. i made three points about marco's record on immigration. number one that marco right now, currently, supports granting citizenship to the 12 million people. that is a fact. it is a fact he said just a couple of debates ago on the bbt stage that he currently supports it, and he acknowledged, this may not be the majority view in my party, but i, marco rubio,
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support it. and he said it on "meet the press." with chuck todd just a few weeks ago where he went further and said he would grant citizenship to illegal aliens with criminal convictions. the first point i made about immigration that marco currently supports, granting citizenship to the people here illegally is a fact. it is his own record. it is his own words. the second observation i made about him is that in florida, he supported granted in-state tuition to illegal immigrants. that, likewise, is a fact. there is no gray area. there is no interpretation. it is a legislative fact. and the third point i made is that marco went on univision in spanish and said that on his first day in office, he would not rescind president obama's
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illegal executive action. univision, you can go watch the video. he said this on national television. it is this bizarre notion that words said on national television somehow don't exist. and marco's response was exactly the same as donald's. it was to yell liar, liar, liar. and, indeed, to respond with a quip, how would ted know what i said on univision. he doesn't even speak spanish. that was another false statement for marco. although i will readily admit, my spanish is not great. but that's also a debater's trick marco was doing. notice, he didn't answer the substance of anything i said. because the facts were all true and accurate. and instead, both marco and donald, their strategy is simply to yell liar, liar, liar. but i will say, it has been even more unfortunate, both donald and marco, in addition to yelling liar whenever anyone
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points to their actual record, makes true statements about their policy positions, the second strategy that both donald and marco have relied upon is utter fabrications. yesterday, donald trump retweeted his own social media record, who claims that senator tom coburn had said that i was dishonest. now, i understand, this amplify the attack that donald is making. he's been screaming liar, liar, liar any time anyone points to donald's record so it is great for him to be able to point to someone else saying the same thing. there is just one minor detail. the quote was a complete fake. indeed, within a few hours, tom coburn went on the record and said that the quote was a,
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quote, utter fabrication. in response to that, donald deleted his tweet. his social media director deleted his tweet. but amazingly, a few hours later, donald went on a national tv broadcast and repeated the fabrication. after he had deleted the tweet, after tom coburn had said it was an utter fabrication, donald happily sat on national tv repeating things that are simply made up. that have no basis and truth that are complete fabrications. that is a new level for presidential politics. and i would note, the rubio campaign is doing the same thing. they are right now in the closing period of a campaign. not focused on any positive policy agenda. not focused on any substantive
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differentiation between his record and my record. not focused on any accomplishments that mr. rubio has. but steady voting all of their energy to number one screaming liar. and number two, focusing on two fabrications. number one, this fake facebook post. that was allegedly put up, retracting trey gowdy's endorseme endorsement. the facebook post is a fake. we didn't design it. we had nothing to do with it. and yet the rubio campaign over and over and over again is claiming that we did. with zero evidence. fal falsely attributing misconduct to us with no basis whatsoever other than it fits the narrative they would like to drive. and is then secondly, the rubio
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campaign is talking about these supposed push polls. that have been going out. now i have no idea if there have been push polls or not. but what i know, our campaign has had nothing to do with it. we have said that multiple times. now what is a push poll? a push poll is a poll that is not conducted to measure public opinion. not conducted to determine, okay, where are the candidates, which messages are resonating, which ones are not. that's a typical poll that every campaign is doing. a push poll is something different. a push poll is something that goes out very, very widely and is designed just to push negative messages to reach lots of voters. it's a means of voter communication. and often push polls are pushing information that is nasty and often false. now, i don't know whether there have been push polls or not in this campaign. but i know that our campaign had nothing to do with it, and yet
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marco, his campaign, sent out 500,000 robo calls with a major campaign surrogate of his, accusing our campaign of being behind the push polls. now, he was asked today, what evidence he had for that. he had no evidence. has no basis whatsoever. he simply -- his campaign -- look, it's unfortunate. his campaign has not gotten the traction he wanted. i recognize that the rubio campaign is disappointed with a third-place finish in iowa. disappointed with a fifth place finish in new hampshire. and the consultants are who running his campaign, apparently made the decision that their one hope of doing well is to make false attacks with no basis whatsoever. i will note, the one person we know has done a push poll is
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senator marco rubio. when you send 500,000 robocalls, you're not trying to measure public opinion. you're trying to drive a negative message. and what was the push poll the rubio campaign was pushing? that the cruz campaign was unethically driving these push polls. they have no basis for it. this is an entirely made up fabrication, just like the tom coburn quote that donald trump used. and let's be clear. how do we know it's marco rubio? well, because the robocall ends with -- "pa was paid for by marco rubio for president." that's actually how someone responsible points for evidence. how do i know they did those robo calls? because it's from their campaign directly. look, ethics matter. when you have donald trump and marco rubio repeatedly putting
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forth fabrications with no evidence, no basis whatsoever, just trying to throw mud and attack, i get that candidates want to tell the voters, listen, everyone is dirty. everyone is unethical. but if that's not true, and their strategy of screaming liar or whatever anyone points to their record, and relying on fabrications, is not indicative of candidates running honest campaigns. and with that, i'm happy to answer questions. [ inaudible question ] >> do you feel this is you stooping to their level in some way? >> from the beginning of this campaign, we have taken the high road. many of you all have been on the road with us now for nearly a year. you've seen attack after attack, personal attack after personal attack.
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and i don't respond in kind. and i'm not going to. i'm not insulting anybody here. i am responding with simple facts. mr. trump has sent me a legal cease and desist letter telling me stop telling the voters my record. now, that is objectively legally frivolous. i will make that point. i will point to substance and policy and record. that should be the bread and butter of politics. but the insults and the falsehoods and the fabrications have no business in politics. it is incumbent on all of us to speak the truth. i can't change what the others do. but i can change and impact what i do. and we are going to continue to focus on substance and issues. my record and the record of donald trump and marco rubio and the other candidates. >> yesterday the president singled out donald trump and essentially said in not so many
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words he wasn't serious enough to be president of the united states. that a reality tv show is not the presidency. do you agree with the president on that? >> i think a great many south carolina ians are concerned that donald trump is not prepared to be commander in chief. that he doesn't have the basic knowledge, understanding, judgment and temperament to keep this country safe. and as we have seen the rise of radical islamic terrorism, that has become the most determination the voters are making. i think when donald trump at one of the prior debates, evidence he did not know what the nuclear triad was. that is a real problem for someone who wants to be commander in chief to have no idea about the basic tools that defend ourselves from nuclear aggressi aggression.
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likewise, i think justice scalia's passing this weekend elevated the stakes of this election. that the people of south carolina are asking the very simple question, who do i trust to nominate principled constitutionalists, supreme court justices. there is a reason that donald trump is attacking this ad. because nobody looking at donald trump's record could believe for a moment that donald would appoint principled conservative justices. and i'll tell you why i know that. because if you look over the past decades, any time a republican nominates a judge with a proven conservative record on the bench, you have a nasty, knockdown, dragout battle. the democrats care about the court. they will invest all of their energy on defeating a proven conservative. it's why over and over again republican presidents have
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decided the court didn't matter to them that much and so they go with a stealth candidate with no record. because they're not willing to invest the political capital to confirm a proven conservative. by the way, the democrats are always willing to invest everything they have in confirming far left wing justices. so if donald ever became president, we know for a fact he would not invest any political capital in confirming a proven conservative justice. why? because for four decades he's been supporting left wing democrats, writing them checks, many of whose core mission was preventing conservatives from getting to the court. nobody who cares about conservative justices could write those checks. and i would note the stakes as that ad rightly says. we are one justice away, one liberal justice away from losing our fundamental rights. we're one justice away from losing our religious ability.
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and so for the people of south carolina, a vote for donald trump is a vote to erase the second amendment from the bill of rights. i would note, donald's response to this, to go through the iteration. his response to this, no one will be surprised, is to scream liar, because that's his response to everything. now in this instance, i'm not basing this on a specific statement he's made. i, donald trump, will appoint liberals. he claims he will not. but rather i am basing it on his lifelong record and reasonable inferences that anyone can draw from his lifelong record. and he says, well, gosh, i donald, support the second amendment. well, he didn't support the second amendment when he supported bill clinton's assault weapons ban. but even if you take donald at face value that he had a transformation on the second amendment like he claims he's had on any other issue.
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even if you believe him on that, there is no reason whatsoever to think he would spend the political capital needed to appoint a conservative. which means the only reasonable inference is donald would go for the stealth candidates other republican presidents have, and they have turned out to be disasters on the court over and over and over again. >> you mentioned affects but your rivals call yours into question, saying your campaign -- [ inaudible ] >> look, that is a result of the fact that both campaigns, the only thing they can do is engage in insults and attacks. with regard to iowa, a national cable news network reported on
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television that carson suspending campaigning. [ inaudible question ] but let's be clear. that's what they said on television. their national anchors said it was highly significant and highly unusual. now, their defense, and the news network's defense, they point to a tweet from an individual reporter that day. which was to the contrary. well, no offense to the many good reporters here. but on election day, our campaign was not sitting with bated breath following every tweet coming from every reporter. we did have the television on in the campaign office. and that's what we were watching was the tv news broadcast. nobody saw this tweet from the reporter that the news network is relying on to say they corrected it. what we saw is what they put on tv. and here's the important piece. what that network reported was
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true and accurate. in fact, mr. carson did not go on to south carolina, did not go home to new hampshire. he wept home to florida. the first public event he did either south carolina or new hampshire was the day before the new hampshire event. so what they reported was true and accurate and passing on a public news report that is true and accurate is not remotely unethical. and i would note, it is particularly rich that the rubio campaign is attacking us. given that there had been public reports that the rubio campaign was doing the exact same thing. now, you know what, it wasn't unethical of the rubio campaign to pass on the public news reports. anymore than it was for staffers on my campaign. all of this is the product of
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candidates who don't want to talk about their own records. if you are a republican candidate and you have a liberal record, if your record does not match the platform you are running on for president, then the last thing you want to talk about is your own record. so what you do instead is you try to change the topic. you try to engage in insults and attacks. you try to go to the mud. you try to make it personal, because actually talking about the record is precisely what you continent don't want to do. for example, one of mr. rubios supporters was asked on a tv news program, name anything marco has accomplished. he couldn't do so. now part of the reason he couldn't do so is the campaign didn't want to answer truthfully the biggest accomplishment marco rubio has had in his time in the senate is passing the rubi
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rubio-schumer amnesty bill in the senate. dwarfs everything he has done. i would note, in many ways the biggest accomplishment i've had in the senate is defeating the rubio-schumer amnesty bill in the house and preventing it from passing into law. now i understand why mr. rubio's surrogates don't want to talk about that. because his record of joining with barack obama and pushing for amnesty is inconsistent with what they're saying on the record and on the campaign. but campaigns ought to be about issues and substance and record. and that's what our campaign has been about, and it's what it will continue to be about. [ inaudible question ] >> i would not. i have been very clear. that the senate should not confirm any nominee in a lame
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duck session. the last -- it's been 80 years since the senate has confirmed a supreme court nominee who was nominated during an election year. and particularly when the court hangs in the balance, it makes no sense whatsoever to give barack obama the power to jam through a judge in the final election year. we need to make -- [ inaudible question ] >> voting for a candidate for the d.c. circuit is very different from confirming someone to the u.s. supreme court. and i believe we should make 2016 a referendum on the u.s. supreme court. if the democrats want to jam in a liberal judicial activist to undermine the first amendment, to undermine the second amendment, to take away our religious liberty, we should make that an issue for the american people. in just a few minutes, the american people are going to get to vote. and i'll tell you, katie, i cannot wait to stand on that debate stage with hillary
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clinton or bernie sanders. and make the case that their vision of the constitution is fundamentally inconsistent. >> it will be 11 months before they take office. >> mr. todd, it is the case that when the democrats -- chuck schumer said they shouldn't appoint justices for 18 months. >> what would your cutoff be? >> we should not confirm a justice nominated during an election year. particularly with a lawless president. who has undermined the constitution at every stage. and we have an election. let the people decide. that ought to be something folks in the press would stand for, is letting the people decide. [ inaudible question ] >> but the people also decided in 2007 they wanted a republican senate in large part because of the lawlessness of president obama. and elections have consequences.
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we have a republican senate and any republican senate would be foolish to confirm a left wing democratic nominee in an election year, which has not happened for a nomination made an election year in 80 years and now is no time to start. [ inaudible question ] >> we have been listening to senator ted cruz in seneca, south carolina, taking aim at donald trump, marco rubio, also in equal form, saying that rubio is, in fact, donald trump with a smile, on his preparation to be a commander in chief, saying he does not have the knowledge, judgment or temperament and attacking rubio on his immigration record. i want to bring in jim acosta, covering donald trump. jim, you were listening to that press conference there. ted cruz -- taking it to a new level, because every day it's almost a new level there. but certainly laying into donald
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trump. what do you think the trump reaction will be to the charges we heard from senator cruz? >> well, you know, so far this fight between donald trump and ted cruz has sort of been the main event. in this run up to the south carolina. no question about it. these candidates do not like each other. earlier this morning, donald trump was on the stage in bluffton, south carolina and raised this issue of ted cruz and this ad that is out there that recalls donald trump's statements in the past about being pro choice, being pro abortion rights. donald trump has said, like reagan, he's oevolved on that issue and other issues. and he said here, cruz said he's not pro life, talking about donald trump. i said i'm not. i'm pro life. you can't lie about people like that. it's just incredible. you know, this is -- this has been donald trump's defense all along. and what he's been saying about ted cruz has gotten quite heated over the last couple of days. he's even said how can ted cruz lie while he's holding a bible at the same time.
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so sort of going after those evangelical voters. i should point out, jim. ted cruz was saying during that press conference that the donald trump campaign has sent over a cease and desist order to stop airing that abortion ad aimed at donald trump. i can tell you at this point we have tried to contact the campaign through numerous sources. as of right now, they have not confirmed they have sent that cease and desist letter. but it's just an indication, this is going to be a roller coaster ride. and to some extent, it sounds like the candidates are getting under each other's skin. you heard donald trump at this event here in bluffton just going off on lindsay graham. you know, who -- the senator from the state of south carolina, saying that he's a nut job. that he's a disaster. that he shouldn't be elected dog catcher and so forth. so it's getting quite heated in this campaign. and i think, you heard ted cruz saying we should point out to our viewers he was blaming cnn once again for, you know, this
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word that went out to ted cruz supporters all over iowa that ben carson was dropping out of the race. cnn never reported that. so we should make that clear to our viewers. >> jim acosta, stay there. so our viewers know, we're going to be speaking to the trump campaign manager at the top of this hour for a chance to respond. we have a full slate of reporters and commentators. we have phil mattingly, covering marco rubio. also the chief political correspondent for usa radio networks and a donald trump supporter. so if i could begin with you, scottie, you heard ted cruz there, laying into donald trump on a number of levels. first on his qualifications to be commander in chief but also talking about this lawsuit that donald trump has threatened. he dares -- ted cruz dares donald trump to sue, equipping, he would like to depose him for the case. i wonder from the donald trump campaign perspective, from your perspective, how seriously is donald trump taking this threat to sue?
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how seriously is he going to care it forward and how does he think ted cruz will respond to it? >> that's one thing eve we've learned about mr. trump. he is a man of his word but if you listen to that press conference, i think imitation is the best form of flattering. he was taking a page from the trump playbook from yesterday. and nothing that ted cruz said today was new. nothing was mind-blowing or headlining, except what is headlining this morning is the fact that cruz has some major issues across the country, but in south carolina. and is losing in most polls. and when you sit there and go through all the points that ted cruz makes about him supporting democrats or that he's pro choice, well, one minor issue. that's not the truth. because mr. trump has supported democrats and republicans, including ted cruz back in 2014 when he contributed, maxed out $5500 to ted cruz's super pac for a senate campaign. it's amazing the details that ted cruz is choosing to point out that are convenient to his story. like i said, there was nothing new in that press conference
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that he has not tried to sell before. and people are calling out every fact for the falsehood and the truth of everything he said. >> one more reminder for our viewers that at the top of the hour, we're going to get a response to ted cruz from the trump campaign manager. i want to go to phil mattingly now. covering senator marco rubio and as you heard from senator cruz, the senator laying into him very hard. particularly on his positions on immigration. saying that marco rubio has been a supporter of plans to provide a legal path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. and then using that quip, phil, calling marco rubio trump with a smile in effect. putting them into the same category. how seriously does the rubio campaign take these attacks? >> well, very seriously. and i think that's why you have seen marco rubio and his campaign attack ted cruz on trustworthiness over the last couple days. they love that debate. they'll have that debate and that fight any day of the week. any day that ted cruz has to hold a press conference and
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defend himself from attacks of the type of -- on the type of campaign he's running. marco rubio's team feels like they're winning that debate. when ted cruz is not on offense, not attacking on immigration, that's ground that marco rubio and his team feel comfortable with. now it's an interesting thing, jim. we mentioned earlier we talked to marco rubio reporters did about an hour ago here in south carolina. and rubio acknowledging that his team, his campaign, does not have any evidence that the fake facebook page or the push polls or robo calls were from cruz's campaign. but marco rubio saying it's a quote, pattern. a pattern that his team has seen over and over again. and they're going to keep bringing up that pattern over and over, jim. and part of the reason, it means they're not talking about immigration. they're not being attacked when they're attacking and doing the attacking, jim. >> phil mattingly, jim acosta, scottienell hughes, thank you. i want to turn to the dean for the college of mass communication and information at the university of south carolina. charles, you have been a
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journalist for a long time. you're in south carolina. you're watching this race very closely previous races. you heard the vitriol from senator ted cruz, certainly not just from his side. we heard it from donald trump and others. and i think at so many points during the campaign, we have asked the question, are the candidates worried this will damage them with voters. i asked donald trump on monday, will it damage the eventual republican nominee in the fall. he said, yes, it probably will. and yet we see this bitter rhetoric going back and forth. has this become basically the standard of this campaign? we're just going to have to live with this? this is the way it's going to be? >> well, it does appear to be the standard for this campaign. not that we haven't had vitriol in previous campaigns. and some people tend to think that south carolina is a place that brings this out. i think it's just where we are in the calendar of events, that by the time you get through iowa and new hampshire and to south carolina, the campaign does get sharper edge. and if you listen to senator
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cruz as we have for the last 30 or 40 minutes or so, and very extensive, very defensive and at the same time attacking on his left and his right from the political perspective, that is to say trump and rubio, you would almost get the sense that it was a three-man race, leaving all the other aside. very keen in mr. cruz's -- senator cruz d's concern that he himself is being attacked by trump and rubio. you notice he doesn't mention anybody else and that may be the key to the south carolina primary. is who is the third man leaving south carolina after saturday's primary. right now, we still have this sort of four-headed, eight-legged rubio-bush-carson candidate which has to coalesce at some point. >> charles, let me ask you this, because cnn has town halls tonight and tomorrow night with
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all six republican candidates. and, of course, you have the vote on saturday. what do rubio and cruz have to do to break into what the polls show is still a significant lead by donald trump? >> well, that's when you would expect both rubio and cruz to be focusing their attention on trump. but what we are seeing is that trump has sustainability. his numbers tend to be in the mid to high 30s, almost consistently. seems to be going even higher in -- in nevada, i believe. this is no longer a flash in the pan campaign. this is no longer a whim. this is in for the long haul. and so cruz and rubio both have to determine that they are going to be the alternative to trump. it certainly explains why cruz and rubio are attacking each other, as much as they are. and certainly will continue
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going out of here. they would like to be rid of the others on this campaign, so that rubio can genuinely offer himself as the alternative to either trump or cruz. and as more of the moderate mainstream republican candidate. there are people in the republican party who are worried if their candidate -- if their nominee tends out to be cruz or trump. so rubio is -- for that purpose, the best alternative. >> and no signs yet of that republican field fitting out beyond those three. charles beer baro, thanks very much. and all of this is going to make things very interesting at cnn's republican presidential town halls. all six candidates face-to-face with the voters of south carolina. that is tonight and tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. eastern, only here on cnn. turning to nevada with the democratic caucuses three days away, hillary clinton and bernie sanders are in a dead heat.
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what was once a double digit gap in the nevada democratic caucus is now a statistical tie between hillary clinton and bernie sanders. but beyond this weekend's contest, hillary still has a commanding 18-point lead in south carolina. the foundation for that massive lead has been blacks, flocking to her by a more than two to one margin. joining me now to talk all
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things about the democratic race is robert zimmerman. he's a democratic strategist and also i should note, hillary clinton is a supporter. i wonder if i could begin on this note. if bernie wins nevada, does this make this a dead heat race nationally? >> well, i think it's important to understand. this is not a national election for the nomination. it's going to be a nomination decided by collecting delegates and doing it on a state by state, caucus by caucus, primary by primarily level. i don't think i'm breaking political ground when i tell you if hillary clinton wins in nevada, that's an advantage for her. bernie sanders wins, that gives him an advantage there. and it makes south carolina even more critical. numbers will tighten, because ultimately, these polls fluctuate based upon a whole series of events and trends that take place nationally. i wouldn't overoanalyze any one caucus or primary. >> no, and that's a fair point. there's always going to be
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another one, the storyline has the potential of changing. there is one thing about nevada that makes it something of a bellwether. people talk about this hillary clinton firewall among minorities. but let's look at nevada. hillary and bernie, neck and neck there now. in 2008, 30% of those who voted in the democratic primary were hispanic and black. if there is a firewall for hillary clinton, why is nevada a neck and neck race today? >> well, i never accepted the premise of a firewall. yes, hillary clinton does particularly well with people with diverse backgrounds and women in particular like she is doing in south carolina. but remember, in nevada, you've got a caucus environment. so we don't know what the turnout is going to be, how people are going to vote. and the rules change in a county by county basis. the bottom line here is, it's not really about a firewall. it's really about the fact that we have a real election going on in our party. and it's a great debate to have about how to build the economy, how to strengthen the middle class, how to reform our campaign process. and it's much more refreshing than watching the republican
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party engage in a suicide pact with the right thing. you've got donald trump and ted cruz doing alternate atlantic city lounge acts. but when they get to the main stage, where i think they're going to see a different type of response from the general public. >> robert, sticking to the democratic race, just for a moment, there are some worrisome trends that must be said with hillary clinton. her support among women, we saw the from a jillty of that in new hampshire, and now with minorities when you look at south carolina, she does maintain a lead, beating bernie sanders with black voters there. 65% to 28%. but this statistic also notable, only 34% of blacks there say they have definitely decided. they still have an open mind to bernie sanders. how much of a concern is that to the clinton campaign? >> well, jim, i would also point out to you, i'm not a spokesperson for the clinton campaign, but i would point out her lead amongst women is also 2 to 1 in south carolina. i'm not taking anything away
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from the sanders campaign. they have run a strong race, without question. when it comes down to looking at how the issues play out, when both candidates are carefully scrutinized on their positions, who can actually deliver the results, that's when people make their final decision, make their final analysis. obviously, i've got to believe that south carolina tightens up, because nobody wins by 30 or 40 percentage points. that's only natural. i wouldn't overread polling at this stage, especially when we only have three -- we only had two events take place, a caucus and a primary. we have got 48 more to go. >> robert, one final question very quickly. donald trump's lead in these primaries. just big. it's big again in nevada. it's big again in south carolina. you preparing for the democratic nominee to face donald trump as a republican nominee? just quickly. >> i think very clearly, it's looking more and more like a donald trump possibly ted cruz. but you know, when you've got a republican party where 44% believe the president is a secret muslim.
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and 45% don't believe he's legally the president, of course, a trump or a cruz is going to emerge. but ultimately, when you get into the general election, the rules are very different. and the standards are very different. >> robert zimmerman, thank you very much. thanks to all of you for watching "legal view" today. wolf starts right now. hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it's 10:00 a.m. in las vegas, 1:00 p.m. here in washington. 8:00 p.m. in acura, turkey. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us. we begin with a very dramatic escalation in the battle for the race for the white house. ted cruz is now calling out donald trump over a threatened lawsuit. cruz saying trump's threat stems from a cruz tv ad. the ad uses comments trump made to nbc back in 1999 when he said, he was, quote, very pro
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