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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  March 25, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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>> ignore them. these are the numbers you should be looking at. >> and be sure to tune in to "state of the union" on sunday at 9:00 a.m. eastern time. senator bernie sanders will be jake's guest. that's it for "the lead." i turn you over to brianna keilar in "the situation room." happening now, breaking news. terror raids, arrests in three countries and a shootout in the street as police hunt for suspects in the brussels massacres and try to foil more isis attacks that may be in the planning stages. mystery suspect. u.s. officials say they know the identity of the man in the hat who fled after the airport bombing. could it be the mastermind of the brussels attacks? takedown. the pentagon says u.s. forces have killed a top isis leader. experts say he was the second in commanding. if the aim was taking him alive, kid something go wrong? and tabloid smear. ted cruz calls a shocking
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tabloid story about him complete and utter lies saying it was planted by donald trump and his, quote, henchman. donald trump firing back claiming innocence but also adding innuendo. what does it say about the state of the gop race? wolf blitzer is off. i'm brianna keilar, and you're in "the situation room." breaking news. explosions and gunfire echoed today in brussels and there were raids in other european cities as police urgently try to head off more terror attacks, which officials say are in the planning stages. there have been multiple arrests in belgium and one man was arrested in the same district where taxi driver picked up the three brussels airport bombers and where an earlier raid turned up high explosives and information about isis plots. police in two german cities have arrested two men allegedly tied to the brussels terror cell. in a paris suburb, police seized explosives and arrested a man in
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what's being called an advanced plot there. he's been linked to the ring leader of last november's paris attacks. while isis poses a growing threat in europe, it's suffering setbacks in syria. the pentagon says u.s. forces have killed a top terror figure there, describing him as the isis finance minister. many analysts call him the terror group's number two overall leader. and a stunning turn of events in the republican presidential race after a feud involving their wives. ted cruz is now accusing donald trump an his henchmen of smearing him in a sensational and salacious story in the "national enquirer." he calls the tabloid story garbage. trump said he had nothing to do with it. i'm be speaking with a congressman from the armed service committedy and our correspondents, analysts and guests have full coverage of the day's sttop stories. we begin with the raids, arrests and the plots foiled in europe. >> there is serious urgency to all of this tonight.
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right now counterterror officials in belgium and france are scrambling to roll up anyone in tuesday's bombings but also to prevent the next attack. french president francois hollande says the cells behind the attacks are being wiped out but he also says their networks are still very dangerous. police work to take down alleged isis cells related to tuesday's attacks, arresting at least nine potential terrorists, including this suspect seen shot and wounded as a police robot moves in. moments later, police drag the man away. a witness says just before the shooting, the suspect had been sitting with a little girl at a bus stop. >> in one moment, two cars coming very speedily or three cars and shooting. i was watching him. it was very, very fast. and after, the robots come to take the bags.
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>> reporter: that man is in custody tonight, shot in the leg. since the bombs, the city is on edge as police continue major operations in the brussels district of schaerbeek. the same neighborhood where a taxi driver picked up three terrorists an brought them to the brussels airport on tuesday. two of them blew themselves up inside the terminal. this video obtained pby cnn shos the apartment where two of the suspects planned the attacks. inside police found tatp, the unstable explosive believed to have been used in the brussels and paris attacks, as well as chemicals and an isis flag. meantime overnight in a separate operation outside paris, french officials captured another man suspected of planning his own attack. >> translator: to foil an attack in france. the individual in question holding french nationality is suspected of being involved at a high level in this project. >> reporter: recovered in a related operation, a kalashnikov rifle and more tatp.
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and tonight german authorities say they arrested a 28-year-old moroccan man. a source briefed by german officials tells cnn the man allegedly received two text messages before tuesday's attacks in brussels. one text had the name of khalid el bakraoui, the man believed to have blown himself up at the brussels train station. later the source says there was another text, containing the french word for end. three minutes after that text, the source says, khalid el bakraoui detonated his bomb. also tonight a u.s. official tells cnn u.s. authorities believe they know the identity of this man, the man seen on surveillance footage at the brussels airport just before the bombings. he is, of course, wearing a hat and light-colored clothing. he allegedly left the bomb behind and took off. u.s. officials have shared the information on his identity with belgian authorities, according to our source. his name has not been made
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public. >> what about one of these suspects at the train station, the metro station attack that happened after the airport. do we know anything about him? >> the man appears in surveillance footage standing near the other bombing suspect at that location. that suspect khalid el bakraoui. the other suspect is seen holding a large bag but it is also possible that he, like el bakraoui, did not survive that subway explosion. >> thanks so much. new arrests in germany are being tied to the brussels attacks. i want to go live to brussels and cnn's senior international correspondent clarissa ward. clarissa, first tell us what else are you telling us about this suspect that is now in germany? >> reporter: well, as you just heard there from brian, police found these two text messages on his phone. one of them mentioning the name of the subway bomber, khalid el bakraoui, the other one saying simply end. that was three minutes, three minutes before the metro bombing
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attack. now, we're learning a little bit more about how police found this man, though. reportedly this was a random check at a train station in germany. the man aroused some suspicion with his behavior. when they went and looked at his passport, they found that there was a ban for him on traveling freely inside the sort of border-free area of europe because he was involved with a string of robberies previously. now, they also found a medical bill. that medical bill indicating that he had received treatment for injuries to his torso. one german investigator is telling cnn that they believe that he may have sustained these injuries in brussels, in one of the raids that took place last week. all of this really giving our viewers a sense of the difficulty that authorities are dealing with here in trying to contain this situation just within belgium. we sue seen now spreading to france and germany.
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even in cases like this one where there was a ban, this man was not allowed to travel freely, because there are not border controls within these countries, it is very easy still for people even who are on the radar to move freely between these different countries. so at this stage a manhunt still very much active here in brussels. nine people arrested in the last 24 hours. it appears that three of them have been released, but six of them still detained. again, as we said before, seeing this operation now fanning out to neighboring countries, to france, to germany. and authorities across this continent trying to drill down on the different nodes of this network before another attack can take place, brianna. >> all right, clarissa ward, thank you so much. joining me now to talk a little more about this, we have democratic congressman john
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garemendi. sir, thanks for being with us. so many people are looking at these attacks in brussels, the previous ones in november, and they're concerned about americans being targeted, especially now that we know two americans are dead. there's a bomb that went off near the delta counter. this was two hours before most flights to america were set to take off. do you think that americans were targeted? >> probably everybody at that airport was targeted and the americans were just part of the crowd that was there. i suspect that maybe delta airlines but in all pronlt they're going after innocent people wherever they may be. we saw the same thing in paris and we saw it years ago in madrid. what is happening now is finally the authorities are going on the offensive, gathering of information which has been slow to gather. the sharing of information even slower. all of that needs to be put together and do exactly what the authorities are doing now, and
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that is to play offense, no longer defense. play offense, go get them wherever they may be, round them up. and then from that, find the next step along the way. and probably it will head right back to syria and iraq. we had some good news there today. >> and i know as well that you were actually just in brussels on congressional business, so i do want to note that because certainly i think you have some insight there. but this man in france, we're learning that he was in this advanced stage of planning. police recovered the same kind of explosives that were used in brussels and paris, this tatp explosives. and you heard clarissa's report there. how many more people and how many more countries could be out there plotting these attacks? >> well, they're probably spread throughout europe. they certainly are in the middle east. they're certainly in turkey and surrounding regions of the middle east. so this is a network. but the good news is when you find one, usually you get clues to the next one.
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as you said earlier, they're beginning to roll them up. that's what we have to do, we have to be on the offensive. i know when i was at that airport in brussels a little over a month and a half ago, it was just a huge crowd. you know, here we go. so let's play offense. let's use the tools that are available to us, our various surveillance tools, some of which actually prove to be useful in the subway bombing in brussels as well as in paris. use those tools, capture one, get the information. it will lead to somebody else, just as is happening now. we've got to work across the countries. the various countries of the european union together with the united states and our neighbors here in the western hemisphere, all of us need to be sharing information. there's no good in holding information private. share it, it will be useful somewhere down the line, and probably we'll be able to prevent some other attacks, just as is happening in paris today.
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>> what kind of information are you talking specifically about? i've heard about people who have been turned away at the border at one country and because they may be a suspected terrorist and then that isn't communicated to a neighboring country. what else, do you think? >> well, certainly that. we do know that turkey gave a heads up to the european countries about these two of the bombers in brussels a couple of days ago, that they were being returned from turkey. so that was a piece of information that apparent low was not acted upon. so that's one kind of information. the other is we're listening. the united states and other countries are listening to various communication that's going back and forth. there was talk of this e-mail or text message that was out there. so use our appropriate listening technologies. sometimes you have to do that
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internationally. you don't need a court order. but if it's within this country, yes, you do need a court order. even so, we can use those pieces of information but they are of no value unless they are shared. so this becomes very, very important that the agreements, one just signed about three months ago between the united states and the european union, to share certain types of information. that is just now going into effect. my guess is it will be ramped up and much more quickly put into effect so that the flow of information from the united states to those countries in europe and back into the united states, that's really one of the things that's very, very important. the other thing is to work with the neighborhoods. don't wall these neighborhoods off. don't build a wall, don't bring them into the community so that you're able -- the police and others are able to work with the
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community. in most cases, at least in the united states -- not in my cases, but in many cases in the united states, information that is critical for law enforcement comes from members of the community. >> yeah, it's essential. all right, we have many more questions for you. we'll be right back in a moment with congressman john garamendi on the latest details in this investigation of the brussels terrorist attacks. understands company the life behind it. ♪ those who have served our nation have earned the very best service in return. ♪ usaa. we know what it means to serve. get an auto insurance quote and see why 92% of our members plan to stay for life. if you have allergy congestion muddling through your morning is nothing new. introducing rhinocort® allergy spray from the makers of zyrtec®. powerful relief from nasal allergy symptoms,
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[ pop, screech, doorbell rings ] boxed -- bulk-size shopping delivered easy with no membership fees. we are talking with congressman john garamendi but first we have more breaking news. the pentagon has announced that u.s. forces have killed one of the world's most wanted terrorists. the veteran isis leader nope as the finance minister but many view him as the terror group's number two leader. i want to go live to cnn
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pentagon correspondent barbara starr. how big of a deal is this, barbara? >> from the pentagon point of view, a very big deal. this guy's name is qaduli. he had a $7 million price tag on his head from the u.s. government. that's how bad they wanted to get him. now, there was a mission to go after him. what we do know is that u.s. special operations forces secretly moved in to syria. the idea was they were going to capture him, bring him back to iraq, interrogate him for everything he knew about isis, finances, operations, external attack planning, but we're not clear, the pentagon not exactly saying why it didn't go as planned. when they moved in by helicopters, the commandos were not able to get to him. he was in a vehicle. something happened, they weren't able to complete the mission, so the next step that appeared was they opened fire on the vehicle, killing him. that is what we now know, that these u.s. special operations
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forces went into syria, killed this man, not able to capture him, but nonetheless the pentagon today saying a very big get. the secretary of defense, ash carter, talking about dismantling the isis cabinet one by one. baghdadi, the number one of isis, still remains at large. >> that would be certainly the most important one. barbara starr at the pentagon, thanks so much. we're back now with democratic congressman john garamendi of california. he is a member of the armed services committee. obviously you know this number two isis leader taken out. >> right. >> how significant is this, or does someone else just fill his role? >> well, it's very significant. first of all, this has been a long-term strategy, frankly a very smart strategy. go after the head of the snake, snap that head off. there are going to be multiple snakes and multiple heads, but we're getting them one at a time. and that's very, very important
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because it disrupts the operation. also consider that there are military operations going on simultaneously. and when you knock out the leader, you degrade that military operation and quite possibly you can seriously disrupt it. and so all of this is very important. this fellow probably the financier. money is critical to them. if you can break that network or slow it down, that gives your military operations a better chance to succeed. keep in mind that it's the kurds, it's the iraqis, all of these pressing in on isis, with some success. we've taken 40% of the territory back. there are major cities that are going to go into play over the next several months. if you can eliminate the leadership, as we are doing successfully, it will make it that much more likely to be a successful military operation when that time comes. >> i want to ask you quickly before we let you go on your way this friday, you were just in
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belgium. we talked about that. i wonder if you think in a place like belgium and also here in the u.s. that there should be more security beyond that first security checkpoint at the airport. should there be a buffer zone even beyond that as people approach the airport? >> well, this is a tough question. this issue actually came up in los angeles when there was a shooting at one of the tsa check-in counters. they carefully analyzed it at l.a.x. and came to the conclusion that it would be virtually impossible to do that and still maintain any kind of a normal, even a subnormal operation at the airport. it is clearly a zone of risk. and i think here, one of the really important things is to watch carefully. and if you see something, say something. there's not much else that can be done. this taxi driver apparently was suspicious.
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could he have said something? well, i suspect next time he would say something and the rest of us should be just as aware. it might prove to be a little embarrassing, but not nearly the kind of consequences that would come from a devastating attack. so i don't believe we'll see much more. there may be some checkpoints, some random check points when the situation calls for it and we have some indication that something might be going on. you can certainly check the cars coming into the airport. it's a very, very difficult thing because you're moving tens of thousands of people every hour. >> it is a very difficult problem. all right, congressman garamendi, thank you so much. coming up, anti-terror raids across europe after the brussels bombings. did a man arrested in germany receive a text from one of the attackers? our experts are standing by. you're in "the situation room."
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uh, no thanks. i have x1 from xfinity so... don't fall for directv. xfinity lets you download your shows from anywhere. i used to like that song. i want to bring in cnn counterterrorism analyst phil mudd, wee cnn national security analyst peter bergen and cnn justice reporter evan perez. we look at this raid in france, phil, that apprehended this man. he was in an advanced stage of a plot. he had an ak-47. he had this tatp explosive material. is this one of many? when you see something like this, do you think there are so many more potential plots like this out there? >> i do. but we're using old-school terms for a new-school problem. when we faced the 9/11 plot, you had a closed cell of people trained and owned by al qaeda in
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afghanistan, directed against a single target. fast forward to these kinds of operations and you have loose confederations or clusters of people. they don't have to get into a highly secured area. they have access to a kalashnikov, a weapon or tatp. they're not getting into a plane, just rolling it into an airport. i would think of this as groups of people who can operate any time. not the kind of formal plots we've seen in the past. >> that is so alarming to hear that description. it's such a challenge for law enforcement beyond what we've seen before. or do you think it isn't? >> well, yes and no. after all on 9/11, 3,000 people were killed in one morning and in brussels while 31 people being killed, of course that's a tragedy, but it's not a national catastrophe on the scale of 9/11. so pick your poison. i mean neither are good, but an al qaeda-directed plot with very tight cell structure, that caused a huge amount of damage. here we're seeing a lot of these cells are being taken down. there are arrests in germany, in
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france, in belgium. there has some success even though there was a tragedy that was not averted. >> so it's the idea in the way of the terror of it, right, that people obviously think this could happen any place. we see this happening so frequently at this point. >> 51% of americans are very worried about terrorism, even though the likelihood of any one of them being killed by terrorists is infinitesimally small. that's why they attack at a restaurant or in these places where anybody can assemble. >> it seems the raids have accelerated some of these plots, obviously. it seems like there's so many more of them perhaps waiting in the wings. police, of course, are not going to stop pursuing these terrorists. but is there this concern that it has this domino effect on these plots that are waiting in the wings? >> i think that's one reason why you see the belgians acting a lot more quickly. they were accused of perhaps holding back a little bit, waiting for more evidence. i think what you're seeing is a lot more quick action. there is this concern. we saw the arrest of salah
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abdeslam they believe accelerated this plot to attack the airport and the metro. and so now what they're doing is they're not waiting. you get information and you try as quickly as possible to get the next raid to make sure you catch those guys before they go and do something. >> do you worry that when you're -- and you make a very important distinction. these attacks, while terrible, perhaps don't cause as much damage as an al qaeda-style contained attack. do you worry that this could lead to something like that or do you think that police will -- law enforcement will have the upper hand? >> 6900 westerners have gone for training in syria and 1900 have come back. we're looking at several hundred people who have come back. all of them are people who are trained. all of -- we could have a persistent paris/brussels style attack for the foreseeable
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furlfurl future, and i mean the next few years. they're cleary not tracking everybody that has come back. if you don't know who the foreign fighters are who have got the training, you literally don't know who they are, it's very hard to know when they come back and are plotting. >> and what about the people that they come back and are hanging out with and they're associating with, people who never went that are inspired and are thinking the same way. what about those people. those people are not even on the radar. >> that's a very good point. so the syrian veteran becomes a force multiplier for these people who haven't even gone. >> it's a really important point. so how do you contain a terror cell like this that is more dispersed? >> you've got to do what's never going to happen in europe. if you're dealing with a kaungt negligent of this size, counterterrorism business is a human hunti human hunt. i want to hunt people in one command center with multiple data streams not divided by national boundaries.
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i want one place where they're sitting there realtime saying we've got these guys in the netherlands, these guys in the u.k., but we've seen even in a country like belgium, they can't break down walls. i think information sharing is the key and it's not clear that will happen. >> even the belgians are admitting this is an area that they have a lot of trouble with, but there seemed to be some really obvious examples. we've been talking about potential suspected terrorists who are turned away at one border and that information isn't shared about the identity of that person. >> each european country has different laws. there's also privacy issues. this is not to excuse the lack of information sharing. >> but is there too much emphasis on privacy or is there a possibility there's a way to thread that needle? >> surely that has to change in the light of these events. >> you know, you've traveled to europe in the last few months. the thing that struck me certainly from being there this year has been that prior to the arrest of abdeslam and this attack in brussels, you didn't hear about him.
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he was at large, he was wanted. he was a wanted man after the paris attacks and it really didn't seem like there was much urgency. you know the officials, the intelligence officials, the law enforcement officials certainly were working hard at this, but certainly the leadership of the country, certainly in belgium, didn't seem like it was very much -- it was a top priority for them. they had other political issues. privacy is definitely one of the more controversial issues in europe. certainly in light of their knowledge of what the americans do. >> what do you think about that? even the interior minister in belgium sort of saying he would resign, ultimately did not, but there seems to be this admission now that maybe we didn't see before that we messed this up. >> boy, the brotherhood and sisterhood of security services, which is the world i came from, you do not criticize your colleague. that said, in conversations with my friends here in this country, four months after paris, it's not an unknown target. those are the ones you always worry about, people who weren't on the radar. these are people who are on the radar and have already conducted an operation, and you've got 120
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days? 120 days in my world is forever. so i think you do have to sit back and say the justice minister is on the hook. this can't happen. >> and the fact that you finding this guy, abdeslam, you find him a block away from his childhood home, from a neighborhood where you would think they would have been everywhere. >> right there all along. phil, evan, peter, thank you so much. we are getting new details and pictures from today's anti-terror raids and arrests. we're also following breaking news in the presidential campaign. tro ted cruz is furious about some newly published accusations and guess who he is blaming. >> it is a tabloid smear, and it is a smear that has come from donald trump an his henchmen.
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we continue watching the anti-terror raids in europe. officials now say a man picked up in germany received a text message from one of the brussels killers just before his suicide bombing. but there's also some breaking news in the presidential campaign. just when you thought it couldn't get more bizarre, senator ted cruz today slammed donald trump and his associates for a tabloid story that cruz calls a smear, garbage and completely false. trump is firing back, insisting he has nothing to do with it. let's bring in cnn senior political reporter manu raju to break all of that down. cruz brought up this himself today. he wanted to confront this and push it out of the way.
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>> indeed he did, brianna. this comes just 11 days from when the next contest is in the state of wisconsin. anti-trump forces are dumping a huge amount of money into the state to stop trump and today in wisconsin, the personal feud between the leading candidates got even uglier. >> donald trump may be a rat, but i have no desire to copulate with him. and this garbage does not belong in politics. >> reporter: ted cruz today accusing donald trump and his allies of planting a tabloid report to hurt his campaign and embarrass his family. but not offering any proof to back up his claim. >> let me be clear, this "national enquirer" story is garbage. it is complete and utter lies. it is a tabloid smear. and it is a smear that has come from donald trump and his henchmen. it's not surprising that donald
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trump's tweet occurs the day before the attack comes out. >> reporter: trump responding in a statement saying i had absolutely nothing to do with it. did not know about it and have not as yet read it, adding unlike lyin' ted cruz, i do not surround myself with political hacks and henchmen and then pretend total innocence. the feud even leading cruz for a second straight day to refuse to say if he's support trump as a nominee. >> i don't make a habit out of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my family. >> reporter: the nasty tone has been escalating for days. >> donald should stick with attacking me, because heidi is way out of donald trump's league. >> reporter: trump retweeted unflattering photo of cruz's wife, heidi. trump's response, cruz started the fight after an anti-trump super pac released an ad showing his wife, melania, posing nude for "gq" 16 years ago. the ad meant to turn off socially conservative voters was not affiliated with the cruz
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campaign, but trump supporters aren't buying it. >> i haven't heard anybody talk about all of the outrageous acts of the cruz campaign. >> reporter: while a new cnn/orc poll finds that 59% of republican women say they have a favorable view of trump, the survey also shows that an overwhelming 73% of all registered women voters view trump unfavorably. comments like these could be a big reason why. >> she wanted to breast pump in front of me, and i may have said that's disgusting. i may have said something else. >> i know where she went. it's disgusting. i don't want to talk about it. >> reporter: in oshkosh, wisconsin, today, cruz hitting trump for more than the personal attacks. blasting the gop front-runner on his lack of policy specifics. >> i'm going to wave a magic waun wand and it's going to be great. well, i'm sorry, donald, we don't love in wonderland. >> reporter: and on trump's refusal to debate. >> trump is scared. it ain't complicated. >> reporter: the ugly
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back-and-forth giving democrats hope they will win the white house, especially if trump is the nominee. >> if he's the nominee, i look forward to debating him, yes, absolutely. >> now, as we've seen that cruz-trump battle erupt, kasich is trying to get into the mix. his super pac updated an ad running statewide to question cruz's electability and saying a vote for the texas senator is the same as a vote for hillary clinton. tomorrow clinton herself has her own test as democratic voters in alaska, hawaii and washington could end up handing big wins to her rival, bernie sanders. joining us now in the situation room, scottie nell hughes of usa radio networks. i have many questions for you, scotty, but hang with us, we'll get to those after a quick break. duri performance sales event... [sportscaster vo] there's always a cause for celebration. [sportscaster vo] with extraordinary offers on our most exciting lineup of suvs ever.
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we are getting in some new details about the breaking news we're gling. antiterror raids including a man who sources say received a text message from one of the brussels suicide bombers just minutes before the attacks. right now we're back with donald trump supporter scottie nell hughes as we follow the latest accusations and denials between senator ted cruz and donald trump. cruz today accused trump and his associates of being behind a tabloid story that cruz denounced as a smear. trump said he has nothing to do with it. and scottie, as i read this, i am struck between these two stories that we're following, this very serious nature of these terror attacks in europe. a lot of americans concerned what that means for their safety
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abroad and here at home. and then this back and forth going on between ted cruz and donald trump putting out a statement riling up the situation. is this what we would see in a trump presidency if there's something very serious going on and then he also is going to indulge in this side show? >> well, i think you are correct. that's what the majority of americans are seeing. they're seeing this horrible thing that happened across seas n this horrible thing happening here domestically with the two front-runners of the gop sitting here and fighting like they are. this past 48 hours has been very disheartening. i've watched the actions of both sides, of both groups. we're not just talking about politicians involved. we're talking about families and people on these campaign staffs that will be affected forever by some of the accusations thrown back and forth. i don't like that. in january, 46% of republicans were very excited about the process and thought it was
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happening responsibly. as compared to today, we're only 30% of republicans felt this was a fair process in electing their next president. and that disheartment is what leads to disenfranchisement and what goes on forward. when i look at these accusations -- >> so do both of these candidates bear responsible for this discourse that seems to be leading to what you think it's leading to? >> honestly, i think they do. we've taken the drama we saw in these debate stages early on and brought it to the campaign trail for every day. i don't think it speaks well for either candidate in the long term. that said, i think senator cruz today poured kerosene on the fire when he threw the accusation that mr. trump was behind this. and produced no truth to that. produced no proof. if you're going to put out that kind of slander and build this grand canyon between the two groups who when you talk to the
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people that follow them are a lot alike. who is really behind this and causing the hatred between these two candidates and candidate groups. you can only think because we're headed more and more towards a brokered convention that these establishment folks are acting like a trojan horse and looking for senator ted cruz to ride them into cleveland in july. >> it sounds like you're still very much behind your candidate, your guy donald trump, but you are also not really liking the tone or where the discussion is and where he is sort of driving it as we're seeing these very serious issues overseas? >> absolutely. but i don't think he's driving it. i think he's responding to it. he's doing the same thing he's done the entire time. he is responding back to these accusations. this was started by a superpac who their whole goal is to create turmoil within the gop right now. and hatred for the front-runner. while ted cruz could have had a great chance of stopping this by not only condemning the ad that
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came against melania trump but also the actions of this pac. instead of saying y do you keep putting money into creating turmoil. put that same dollar and invest why people should vote for me, not vote for donald trump. it's why i look at jeb bush's endorsement, mitt romney's endorsements and i'm skeptical of them. they want ted cruz right now to win in these primaries but none of them have sworn their loyalty to him when they go to the convention. their whole goal is to create this negative sense within the gop and that people will turn against each other. i just don't think that's good for our party and it's definitely not good for our country. >> if you were talking to donald trump, if you were giving him advice or imploring him, i see what you're saying. you're definitely taking aim at ted cruz and those who have supported him and have endorsed him. but if you are talking to donald cruz who is your candidate -- sorry, donald trump, what do you say to him when it comes to this back and forth that we're
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seeing? >> what he's really good at is when he rises above the fray. don't take the bait. ted cruz is continuing to take the bait and get used by these anti-trump pacs who have no loyalty to him that just friar t -- prior to two weeks ago they were sitting there trashing him. i would say go back to what you are good at. this is a great opportunity right now with the unfortunate events that have happened across seas, let's talk about national security and why we need to secure our border, beef up funding within our military and bring our economy back here at home instead of encouraging companies to go across the border. that is why mr. trump is number one in so many polls and why folks on both sides of the aisle are going with an outsider as their nominee for president. >> does he need to show he's serious by giving a foreign policy address in the wake of these attacks? he spoke monday at aipac. that was before these attacks in brussels.
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hillary clinton spoke on wednesday, a lot of details in her speech. is that something he should do? >> i think he will, if given the opportunity. if we can get through these middle school, schoolgirl tactics -- >> what do you mean if given the opportunity. all we has to say is i'm giving a foreign policy speech. everybody shows up and he gives it. what do you mean if given the opportunity? >> he might just do that. with all of this brouhaha and black clouds that continue, we know the second mr. trump opened it up for questions, they're not going to ask him about his opinion of nato. they're going to ask him about his opinion about ted cruz or any of this other stuff. unfortunately we live in a time where it bleeds, it lead. these people are giving us lots of opportunities, giving "saturday night live" lots of material for their sketches and when they try to get to the serious stuff, many americans sometimes don't choose to pay attention. >> scottie, i'm going to leave it there. if he gives a speech, he does not even have to take questions. we would certainly cover it. we know where you stand on this, scottie hughes, thank you. coming up, more breaking
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news. terror raids and arrests across europe.
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most wanted men in europe. isis strike. u.s. force goes inside syria to take down a key isis figure believed by many to be the group's number two leader. now we're learning the initial plan was to capture him alive. why did american helicopters wind up firing on his vehicle and killing him instead? and dirty tricks? ted cruz accusing donald trump of planting a salacious story in a widely read tabloid. cruz calling it garbage and full of lies. tonight, donald trump is responding. is their increasingly personal war damaging the republican brand? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm brianna keilar. you're in "the situation room." we are following breaking news in the terror investigation unfolding in belgium, france and beyond. gunfire and explosions rocking
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the streets of brussels as police carried out a new terror raid. a suspect shot in the leg and arrested. at least nine people are in custody in a series of anti-terror operations in belgium and france with french officials saying a plot there was in an advanced stage of planning. also breaking, the pentagon announcing u.s. forces in syria have killed a top isis figure. a man many consider the terror group's number two leader. sources are telling cnn they intended to capture him alive but as helicopters closed in on his vehicle, something happened that caused them to decide to open fire instead. and breaking political news tonight. republican presidential candidate ted cruz blaming rival donald trump for what cruz is calling a tabloid smear that he says is full of, quote, complete and utter lies. tonight trump is responding and the war between the two men is more bitter and personal than ever. we're covering all angles with our guests, including
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congressman darrell issa, a member of the house foreign affairs committee and our correspondents and expert analysts are also standing by. let's begin with cnn justice correspondent pamela brown. there's still some active manhunts in connection with the brussels attacks. what do we know about them? >> that's right. police are moving swiftly across europe right now to arrest suspected terrorists. and as of right now, the second metro suicide bomber and the man who delivered one of the bombs at the airport are still believed to be alive and on the run. tonight, anti-terror raids across belgium and beyond. dramatic video shows one suspect believed to be linked to tuesday's attacks wounded on the ground in the brussels district of schaerbeek. police shot him in the leg and then the bomb squad moved in, using a robot to check his backpack for explosives before dragging him down the street. >> they're shooting behind me.
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i was watching him. it was very, very fast. and he looked back, and after, robots come to take the bags. >> reporter: at least six suspected terrorists were arrested overnight in belgium. and we're getting our first look inside this safehouse where the brussels terrorists allegedly plotted their attacks. another suspected terrorist was arrested near paris believed to be involved in an advance terror plot there. french police recovered two qilograms of tatp and the kalashnikov rifle following the arrest according to a source briefed on the investigation. >> translator: in brussels as well as in paris, we arrested a certain number of suspects, and we know other networks are still out there. although we can say the terrorist cell who committed the paris and brussels attack is being wiped out, we are still threatened. >> reporter: in germany, police captured two men with alleged ties to the brussels terror cells. one of them a 28-year-old morocc man who allegedly
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received two text messages before the attack. one with the name of the brussels metro bomber khalid el bakraoui and the other message with a french word for end. just three minutes before bakraoui detonated his bomb according to a source. and belgium prosecutors have now confirmed 24-year-old najim laachraoui, the alleged paris bombmaker is one of the two suicide bombers at the airport. american officials have exchanged information with belgian authorities aboutidenti the white outfit at the airport. one of the most wanted men in europe and beyond. so far investigators are trying to identify the second bomber at the metro stop. this as they try to round up others in their network to prevent further attacks. >> pamela brown, thank you. let's bring in cnn's senior international correspondent clarissa ward now. she is in brussels for us. what else are you hearing about this suspect who was nabbed in
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germany? >> it's interesting, brianna. essentially this was an accident. police in germany saw him lingering in a train station. they determined that his behavior was somewhat suspicious. when they checked his passport they found he had a ban. a ban had been issued preventing him from traveling freely in this border-free european area. that was because he was involved with a string of robberies. but they also found on him a medical bill. a medical bill that showed he had been treated for injuries sustained on his torso. and we're now hearing from a german investigator source that they believe possibly he was actually here in belgium and received treatment after being wounded in one of the raids that took place here last week. so, obviously, they also believe that they found documents that determine he did travel back and forth between germany and belgium. really illustrating for you how even with a ban, it is so easy
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for people to move freely between different countries here in europe. and the second man that they arrested in germany also has a tie to the bakraoui brothers. we're hearing that they believe he was deported from turkey with khalid el bakraoui last year and authorities believe that essentially they were trying to enter syria. he was deported with bakraoui to the netherlands. we're seeing this is stretching beyond belgium, beyond france. now to germany. really illustrating the difficulties that european authorities here are facing, brianna. >> these raids in france that have been going on. what else are you hearing about what's found there? >> they found a large amount of explosives. tatp. you are hearing this acronym again and again. this is the explosive that isis operatives appear to be using for these attacks, both in paris, here in brussels. it's relatively easy to buy.
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you can find it in hair bleach, nail polish removerer. and they said this man was in the advanced stages of planning this attack. again, we've learned he travelled to syria. we've learned he had ties to abdelhamid abaaoud, the ridgeleader of the paris attacks. you are seeing these networks are spilling across borders. that making it that much more difficult and highlighting the need, particularly with these returnees from syria for all intelligence officials, border officials across this continent to be sharing every single piece of information about any man coming back from that region. >> clarissa ward if brussels. thank you so much for that report. let's get more with republican congressman darrell issa of california. he's a member of the house foreign affairs, as well as the judiciary committee. congressman, thanks for being with us. and we now know that you have two americans who are dead. a bomb went off near the delta counter in brussels, two hours
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before most flights to america were set to take off. do you think americans were targeted here? >> i suspect that, in fact, americans are disproportionately a target in europe. they are a target of opportunity or a target of planning. in the case of going to a ticket counter of american flagged aircraft, that would be looking for targets of opportunity. and this goes right to the challenge that we're facing which is 15 years into what one might call a war on terror, we still don't seem to understand how to both take the war to the enemy and change the hearts and minds around the world to prevent new recruits. it's that twin problem that two administrations now have tried to deal with unsuccessfully. >> so what more do you want to see then in terms of moving forward? if you feel like not enough is being done to stem recruitment and the problem we're seeing in iraq and syria, isis still holds
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a lot of territory there. >> there's no question in syria, it's becoming a failed state. libya which is a failed state. and portions of iraq, we need to both be in there eliminating the strongholds and breeding and training grounds but the other part of it is what i think americans should focus on today is billions for defense, absolutely. we've spent over a trillion dollars on this war. but we have to come up with the next president, if you will, has to come up with a structured plan for probably almost 100 nations around the world to aggressively stem the tide of the recruitment. some of it is in the u.s. obviously, we've had a small share. but in europe and particularly in belgium, they have had a breeding ground for terrorists for decades. they've known about it and are only now trying to come to grips with it. >> what do you make of this state department bulletin
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warning americans of near-term attacks. how seriously do you take this warning? >> i try to always take these things seriously but let's be candid. the raising or lowering the threat probably has very little to do with anything other than current fear. we almost always, after an attack, remain on a high threat level while in fact, we're usually not on a high threat level just before an attack. and that tells us these so-called chatter is not, if you will, reliable predictor of the first attack. that happened in paris. it happens again in brussels where there was no elevated security just before a major attack. >> following 9/11, i think everyone remembers that one of the big issues was coordination between agencies here in the u.s. now what we're hearing about these attacks in europe is there's a failure to coordinate on intelligence between countries in europe. how much do you think needs to change between coordination between european countries and also between europe and the
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u.s.? >> well, that's a very good point. europe has never unified its -- it has no umbrella for its intelligence organizations, and brussels takes a lot of credit for going from 80 police to about one-tenth of that. and they are considering that an improvement. a city that had more police than you and i could possibly keep track of. europe does need to, in fact -- if it's going to have a free travel zone, as it does, it has to unify its intelligence. it has to streamline its communication. it has to harmonize some of the laws related to it. what you can do in britain in the way of surveillance is much better than some of the european countries. and after the french attack, both france and belgium began really looking at whether or not america was all wrong in how we've observed and combated the movement, if you will, of suspected terrorists in the united states. >> i do -- certainly i ask that
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because the brussels attackers were known to authorities there. but this moroccan man, now we jump over to germany. it shows you how wide, i guess, a stretch you see this cell. a man detained in germany. he had text messages that mention khalid el bakraoui. this was sent minutes before the blast. what does this tell you about the reach of the cell? >> you don't go through half a tank of gas going from brussels in to germany. they are close. you know, it's sort of rhode island to new york. i think we have to understand that much of these areas are very close and people constantly transit. so we have to assume that freedom is there. what i do see, though, is the association that's going on throughout europe is obviously closer than the europeans thought. they are less able to deal with it. i was in paris and in brussels after the attack, and that was one of the things they were coming to grips with is what
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goes on in brussels can quickly in a matters of hours turn into a terrorist attack in france and in many cases a return of those terrorists to belgium. that's part of what they have to deal with. but let's go further. these people disproportionately have associated themselves with if you will, the headquarters of isis. they've associated themselves with a growing ideology. and that's what we have to look at. decades before you and i were looking at politics and the world we had the growth of fascism. then we had the growth if you will, ideologically, of communism. these ideologies are always underestimated until way too late, until a lot of blood has been shed. we're in the same situation just as we didn't take the fascist serious enough and world war ii was the result or the 60-plus years of cold war because of
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communism. we have not taken -- the president just a matter of less than two years ago calling isis a jv team. what he was missing then and the world is still missing now is this is a powerful ideology. it's powerful in the sunni community and equally powerful in the shia community, although somewhat opposing. we need to look at these ideologies as seriously as we eventually looked at fascism. we need to fight the growth of this ideology the moderates in these regions in dozens of countries that are infested with this ideology have to get serious about realizing this will topple governments. this will destabilize the world for the rest of our lives if we don't treat it as seriously as we eventually treated, if you will, fascism. >> congressman issa, i have more questions for you ahead. stay with us. we'll be back after a break.
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we are back with republican congressman darrell issa. we want to talk to him about the breaking news out of syria. u.s. forces have killed a top isis leader there. barbara starr is working this story for us. this is a key figure in the isis network, barbara. >> a very key figure, brianna. the mission did not go exactly as planned but the pentagon today was still pretty happy with the result. u.s. special operations forces secretly sent into syria trying to capture this man alive. abu allaa al kaduli. ash carter briefly described the target. >> an isil leader serving as a
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finance minister and who also is responsible for some external affairs and plots. >> reporter: somebody the u.s. government put a high priority on grabbing, including a $7 million bounty on his head. >> we know that he was actively planning external attacks, presumably in the west or even in the united states. >> reporter: but even though the u.s. forces went in to capture him, they kills him in a highly dangerous mission about which little is being revealed. the troops were part of the pentagon's covert expeditionary targeting force, a team of 200 special operations forces with orders to kill or capture isis leaders. the unit had been tracking kaduli from helicopters overhead, they prepared to land and grab him from a vehicle on the road. helicopters overhead ready to act if the troops needed more firepower. sources tell cnn something went wrong. the commandos ended up having to
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open fire from their helicopters and kill kaduli. >> the removal of this isil leader will hamper the organization's ability to conduct operations both inside and outside of iraq and syria. >> reporter: kaduli who some call the number two in isis would have had crucial intelligence. >> this is somebody with significant credentials in global jihad. >> reporter: now if they had been able to capture him alive, the plan was to take him back to iraq, interrogate him in iraq and then turn him over to authorities there. brianna? >> barbara starr at the pentagon, thank you. let's bring in congressman issa to talk about this. number two isis leader taken out here. certainly they wanted some intel but they're still happy at the pentagon about this. is u.s. intelligence getting better on the ground that you're seeing something like this happen? >> once again cigit probably
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played a large part in this. that's something we can do with large standoff. our problem in syria is we go in, we bomb, we leave. what we've ultimately learned and learned inu rack is you have to take and hold if you want to ultimately win the war. this was a good day. no question at all. i don't want to take anything away from the risk our special forces took there, but we've learned the best intelligence is when you hold and make a community safe. suddenly then and only then do you start having people willing to give you the kinds of information that lets you round up the rest of them. taking out the number two can be very important. let's remember we took out osama bin laden. the president hopes that would be the end of islamic fundamentalism. it wasn't at all. these people are not unique. their teachings and well
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educated people rising through the ranks will continue for the rest of our lives if we don't begin to disrupt this. >> you cut off wop head and there's another one. you say intelligence is um portent here. what you need to do is clear and hold these communities and make them safe. what are you proposing to do that? that's a lot of resource s dedicated to this area. >> oh, it is. i don't think currently the united states is prepared to go back in. and one of the reasons is -- i'm not trying to be partisan in this case. this administration exited iraq and said mission accomplished. if we have to go back, the american people on a bipartisan basis need to understand that it's going to take certain things, well planned, well briefed for us to go back in with a plan to take and to hold to change the facts on the ground, to begin making syria
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and iraq not a safe haven for terrorists. and we've got to have a comprehensive plan that includes 25 or more nations doing the same thing behind their walls. so is this something that can happen overnight? no. it's exactly what should be being talked about by both republicans and democrats on the campaign trail. this is much more like if you will an eisenhower era where the cold war is well under way and you choose your next leader because he or she has what it takes to plan and execute a winning strategy. we're not hearing it from hillary clinton. we're also not hearing from republicans right now. >> all right. being skeptical. bipartisan skepticism. i see equal opportunity there. congressman issa, thank you for being with us. we have breaking news continuing next. we'll go back live to brussels where investigators have identified the second airport suicide bomber. what was his link to the paris
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massacre? and the breaking political news. ted cruz accusing donald trump of being a, quote -- of a tabloid smear. the race getting pretty personal, pretty ugly. n class v, and best in class v8 towing? chevy. i'm going with ram. definitely ford. the new 2016 chevy silverado offers best in class v8 fuel economy... holy smokes! horsepower, and towing. they're all chevy. it's truck month. get a total value of seventy five hundred dollars on this silverado all star with a 5.3 liter v8. plus, find your tag and get one thousand cash allowance on select silverado models in stock. find new roads at your local chevy dealer.
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this is cnn breaking news. >> major breaking news.
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developments in the brussels terror attacks, including a series of anti-terror raids and multiple new arrests as they listening this week's bombings with last week's raids. what are you learning, nick paton walsh. >> only 3 of the 9 have since been released. last night forensic searches of one house which didn't even lead to an arrest in itself. a large up tick in police activity here. some of it resulting in very tense scenes. gunfire explosions in the heart of brussels. we were at the scene of one of those raids just earlier on today. tonight dramatic video taken during a seizing of a man allegedly armed. shot in the leg by police as he laid on the ground, a robot was sent in to inspect his backpack before he was dragged away. all of this amid anti-terrorism
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raids across belgium and beyond. explosions and gunfire hitting the city of schaerbeek. six suspected terrorists arrested overnight. the second airport bomber is 24-year-old najim laachraoui, the alleged paris bombmaker. >> translator: we accept that we need to improve in the fight against terrorism in europe and belgium. >> reporter: u.s. authorities believe they know the name of this man seen wearing a hat and light coloredsurveillance video. they've shared this information with belgian authorities. german authorities captured two men with alleged ties to brussels terror cells. one of them a 28-year-old moroccan man who allegedly received two text messages
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before the attack. one from the name of brussels metro bomber khalid el bakraoui. the other saying french for "end." just three minutes before bakraoui detonated his bomb according to a source briefed by german officials. >> translator: in brussels, as well as in paris, we arrested a certain number of suspects and we know other networks are still out there. although we can say the terrorist cell who committed the paris and brussels attack is being wiped out, we are still threatened. >> reporter: french officials believe they foiled a planned attack after police raids in the outskirts of paris recovered tatp explosive and kalashnikov rifle and caused the arrest of terror plot suspect reda kriket. it's the pan continental nature of this threat. the fact these raids in brussels are listeninged to arrests in germany and france and can cause
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further raids here in belgium. it's an increasingly sprawling network here. just 72 hours ago we thought we were looking at the identity of four behind these. the leads grow. what does that tell you about the nature of the threat and how wide it is at this day? back to you. >> nick paton walsh, thank you. let's dig deeper. we have justice reporter evan perez, terrorism analyst paul cruickshank and former assistant fbi director and cnn law enforcement analyst tom fuentes. paul, to you first. we saw in nick's report there this suspect who was shot in the leg. do you -- are you hearing anything about who this guy is? >> no. belgian authorities are being very tight-lipped about who this individual is. they are not releasing that information to the media. they're not releasing the information to us at cnn. either they are being very careful about what they release to the media because there are a
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lot of ongoing operations right now. what has become clear today is that these operations that we saw play out in brussels a little bit earlier were related to that arrest in paris of reda kriket. a link between the operation in paris and the operations today in brussels, obviously operations during the course of the night last night. three of those people we understand are still in custody. one of them has been identified, but three of them have been released. >> evan, when you look at this, the two kilos of this tatp that paul referenced there. the ak rifle also found in this raid. does that tell you that this was a planned attack like what we saw in brussels and paris? >> it certainly looks like he
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was arrested. and the remarkable thing that's been found in the series of raids is the fact that these guys seem to have amassed a lot of supplies and certainly the weaponry in belgium, especially there's been a tremendous problem with smuggling of weapons. the belgians didn't seem to worry about it that much because a lot of it was being exported to africa and other places. now it's being used on their own people. you'll see more action to try to stem the flow not only of this but also these chemicals which are very common chemicals. in the united states if you go buy large supplies of beauty supplies, you get a call from the fbi. >> what is it, nail polish remover? >> acetone. >> you get a call immediately from the fbi if you buy large amounts of it. >> and that's not happening there? >> it's not happening there. >> you look at that. you look at the smuggling of weapons which only now are really you have belgian officials saying you need to do
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something about this. from your perspective -- >> i've been dealing with western europeans for more than 25, 30 years. they've been in denial about every major problem that was coming up in western europe. when i was running the organized crime program and warned them we have russian and eastern european groups spreading out through western europe. no, we don't. they are bringing weapons, narcotics, smuggling human beings, alcohol, you name it. no, they're not. they don't want to hear about it. then the terrorism investigation started and we're talking in the fbi about the need to have intelligence on these groups, to store that intelligence, to cross-reference it later. no, we don't need that. we don't believe in violating their privacy. so if we don't have new information on the subject and two years go by, we purge the file. are you kidding? yeah, we purge the file. we don't need it anymore. we said at the time back in the '90s, we said when john bugati
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is running the gambino industry, it matters who he ran around with when he was 18. they are like, no, we don't need that. a state of denial for the need for intelligence and aggressive outreach within their community. they don't do that either. so they don't get any information. it's not a question they won't share it. they won't collect it in the first place. >> many more questions ahead. we'll be back to talk more about this breaking news after a quick break. let me talk to you about retirement. a 401(k) is the most sound way to go. let's talk asset allocation. sure. you seem knowledgeable, professional. would you trust me as your financial advisor? i would. i would indeed. well, let's be clear here. i'm actually a dj. [ dance music plays ] [laughs] no way! i have no financial experience at all. that really is you? if they're not a cfp pro, you just don't know. find a certified financial planner professional who's thoroughly vetted at letsmakeaplan.org. cfp -- work with the highest standard.
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more on the breaking news. new terror arrests and a wave of raids in belgium, france and beyond. i'm going to bring back my panel. paul cruickshank to you, i think a lot of people look at what's going on in europe from an american standpoint and they wonder what can the u.s. learn from this at home? what do you think? >> well, they have to be on the watch out for isis-directed attacks. europe is much more in the crosshairs because so many more europeans have traveled in europe, so much closer to syria and iraq where isis has a safe haven. but they need to be on the watch out because some of these european extremists can travel to the united states on the visa waiver program if they aren't on the watch list. >> what do you think, evan, about something we've heard from secretary kerry.
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he says isis is losing ground. they still hold a lot of it in iraq and syria. aren't we just seeing the front expand into europe? >> i think a lot of people here in washington, people who certainly work in counterterrorism were a little in disbelief watching secretary kerry's interviews today and his comments on the fact that he believed isis was on the wane and retreat. it is true they are losing some territory in syria and iraq, but for the past year, they've been sending their foot soldiers back to europe. some of these foreign fighters who have gotten training, trained bombmakers a lot of them. and apparently so many of them they are expendable. they are willing to let them blow themselves up. the real concern people have is what we're seeing is isis really change and adapt with the times and really with the conditions that it's facing. and that's the big concern is now we're going to see a new face of isis. it's going to be not in raqqah,
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not in mosul, not in baghdad but in brussels and berlin and paris and london. >> what do you think? >> there's a difference between what isis accomplishes on the ground in iraq and syria and what they are able to now accomplish on the ground in europe. and the difference is that they've got all of these thousands of europeans to go to syria to learn how to shoot, learn how to make explosives. go back and now wage these attacks because of their propaganda machine. they were able to show whether it's true or not they were acquiring land. that the caliphate was growing. that they were strong. that they were brutal. they were horrible, torturing people, burning them alive, drowning them, whatever. and the people that watch this, the young psychopaths in europe that thought, wow, that's cool, i want to join, they bought into that. the only way they'll unbuy into that is if they think isis is losing. it's not going to be enough. i think kerry has a good strategy. eventually they will die of old age and they'll be gone. >> that's a long time. >> that's a long time. but in the meantime you have to
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show isis losing. it's got to be in videos they are losing. >> you are -- >> like this guy we kills today, show it. show their number two guy getting blown up. >> that is a discussion for another time as well. tom fuentes, evan perez, paul cruickshank. for information on what to do to help the victims of the brussels attacks go to cnn.com/impact. we have a breaking political news next. tabloid allegations against ted cruz. he says donald trump is behind it. an ugly turn in the republican presidential contest. donald trump speaking out tonight. ♪ i love to take pictures that engage people. and to connect us with the wonderment of nature. the detail on this surface book is amazing. with the tiger image, the saliva coming off and you got this turning. that's why i need this kind of resolution and computing power.
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the war between republican presidential rivals ted cruz and donald trump is growing more bitter and more personal tonight with cruz blaming trump for what cruz calls a tabloid smear. sunlen sis on the campaign trai. >> reporter: donald trump pushed back on this in a lengthy statement this afternoon saying basically he knows nothing of the story. this after ted cruz held a remarkably aggressive press conference today. >> donald is fond of giving people nicknames. with this pattern, he should not be surprised to see people
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calling him sleazy donald. >> reporter: ted cruz breathing fire at donald trump today. >> this garbage does not belong in politics. >> reporter: the texas senator bringing up unpan unprovoked tabloid story about him. >> this national enquirer story is garbage. it is complete and utter lies. it is a tabloid smear. and it is a smear that has come from donald trump and his henchman. it is attacking my family. and what is striking is donald's henchman roger stone had for months been foreshadowing that this attack was coming. it's not surprising that donald trump's tweet occurs the day before the attack comes out. >> reporter: trump responded today in a statement saying,
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quote, i had absolutely nothing to do with it. unlike lying ted cruz, i do not surround myself with political hacks and henchman and then pretend total innocence. cruz is evading the question of whether he could still support trump if he were the gop nominee. >> i don't make a habit out of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my family. >> reporter: this is as the gop rivals have been sparring in sharply personal attacks involving their spouses. >> and heidi, isn't she going to make an amazing first lady? >> reporter: campaigning side by sa side today, cruz calling out donald trump directly to the crowd. >> in the last few days, donald trump has taken to attacking heidi. >> reporter: part of trump's attacks, a tweet threatening to spill the beans on heidi cruz and a retweet of a split screen
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image of his wife melania and his wife with the caption that images are worth a thousand words. >> donald does seem to have an issue with women. donald doesn't like strong women. strong women scare donald. >> reporter: this isn't the first time trump has stirred up controversy with his comments about women. including fox news anchor megyn kelly. >> you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. blood coming out of her wherever. >> hillary who has become very shrill. you know the word shrill? >> reporter: 39% of an unfavorable view and his unfavorable mark jumps to 73% among registered women voters nationwide revealing how much of
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an uphill climb he could face in a general election if he emerges as the nominee. and cruz also blasted trump for being absent from the campaign trail this week. cruz saying trump is just hiding out in trump tower basically picking fights over twitter. brianna, donald trump returns to the campaign trail next week. >> all right, sunlen. stick around with me. joining me are my guests. you have ted cruz. he's addressed this. donald trump seems to be stoking the fire in this. one of the things republicans have prided themselves on, especially as we're watching this brussels attack, is to be very serious amongst the seriousness of events. does it damage the republican
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brand? >> i'm not sure it damages the republican brand anymore than donald trump being a part of the republican race. i'm sure ted cruz and his campaign would have preferred to focus the attention on something more serious like brussels because they think those more sober policy issues are where they can flourish against trump. not these petty back alley fights, so to speak. it probably doesn't damage the republican brand, but it's probably not good for ted cruz to overtake donald trump if they're distracted with these figh fights. >> good point. when you look at how women are relateing to donald trump, one out of every four registered voters approve of how -- approve of donald trump.
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that's a problem, isn't it? >> it certainly is. this is a very clear, a very measurable gap for donald trump and would be concerning to any republican going forward, looking ahead to expanding their base in a general election, but for donald trump that problem seems to be getting worse because if you look beneath those first poll numbers, if you look underneath them, you see month to month more women are taking on more negative views of him from time to time. this is a growing problem. we spent some time today talking to female republican voters in wisconsin. they said the same thing. these are tried and true republican voters. these women say this spat between him and donald trump over their spouses could be deciding that. this is a very clear, big red flag for the republican party. >> olivia, it is a problem for hillary clinton that she does
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significantly worse with men than donald trump? >> i don't think so. mitt romney won white men in 2012. obviously, we saw how that worked out. he did not become president of the yiunited states. i think it is a much bigger problem that donald trump does so poorly among women. that won't be a deciding factor if it gets to the two of them in the general election. >> i want you to weigh in on something. this is a jimmy kimmel bit with hillary clinton and it is about m mansplaining. >> you go up to that podium and do whatever it is you usually do. is that what you're going to wear to this? >> well, yeah, i think. >> i think you need to -- maybe something a little more fun next time, but not too fun. serious, but not too serious. you want to be stylish without looking like you're trying to be
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stylish. and also presidential. >> okay. i'm just going to wear this. >> okay. you wear that and we'll talk about the outcome later. >> so you just want me to talk? >> yeah, just talk. i'll correct you whenever i feel the need. >> well, thank you. it's wonderful to be here with all of you -- >> hold on one second. >> already? >> you're shouting. you're too loud. >> olivia, you listen to this. it's almost cringe worthy in a way. what do you think of this? >> i think it's smart for her to talk about that on television, but i don't think it's really going to have a difference in the end. people are very sure about how they feel about hillary clinton one why or tay or the other. she's been in the public eye for so long. >> you don't think it is going to make a whole lot of a difference. what do you think, rebecca? >> it's certainly fun that hillary clinton has been doing
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this sel this in her campaign. >> thank you so much for being with us. i'm brianna keilar. thank you for watching. outfront next, breaking news. a u.s. official confirms to cnn that the brussels suicide bombers were on a u.s. counterterrorism watch list. this news just breaking. our live report coming up. an outfront exclusive tonight. he was the world's most wanted man. you're going to go inside the alleged hideout of the suspected terrorist attacker salah abdeslam for the first time. ted cruz accuses donald trump of planting a tabloid story about him. let's go "outfront."

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