tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN September 9, 2016 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
conducting in syria. of course, many feel that war is going very badly, there are so many civilian casualties. but russians do say there are valuable lessons they've already learned and also intel that they are specifically trying to refine their effort in syria through this exercise that we saw here today, wolf. >> fred pleitken in crimea, thanks for that report. that's it for me. the news continues right now right here on cnn. hi there, i'm brooke baldwin. you are watching cnn on this friday afternoon. thank you so much for being with me. right now with 60 days to go until election day, swing state polls tightening to razor-thin margins. hillary clinton is trying to flex her commander in chief muscle. she is meeting as she has announced with a group of former and current national security leaders, including these high-profile individuals appointed, by the way, by both
parties. the main topic today, isis and as secretary clinton is focusing on taking down the defeating, destroying the terror group, her rival donald trump is getting a lot of flak for elevating a controversial world leader. i'm talking about the president of russia. vladimir putin. trump has praised putin before, but this time the republican nominee seemed to align, at least on certain issues, with putin in an interview that aired on russian television. campaign representatives say that if they had known the trump appearance would be seen on the kremlin-backed network, that he would not have done the interview. this is what trump has said about whether he believes russia launched a covert operation to disrupt the 2016 u.s. election. >> i think it's probably unlikely. i think maybe -- maybe the democrats are putting that out. who knows. but i think that it's pretty unlikely. but, who knows?
i hope that if they are doing something, i hope that somebody's going to be able to find out so that they can end it. because that would not be appropriate at all. >> trump also said he had "absolutely no opinion" on the fbi investigating whether russians hacked into democratic party e-mails. we will dive deeper into his appearance on rtv. but first to hillary clinton's national security meeting this afternoon, let's go to cnn's senior political correspondent, brianna keilar. first on the meeting, has it happened? what do we know? >> reporter: it hasn't happened. we expect it is going to happen here shortly, brooke. there is a lot of big names. you pointed out some of them and they are not all democrats. this is a bipartisan group. michael chertoff, who was homeland security secretary under george w. bush. general david petraeus who of course ousted cia director who also was in charge at one point of forces in afghanistan and
well beyond. so these are very big names. this is being billed as a working session, so they're trying to figure out solutions to problems. that's basically how this is being billed. the problem of course is isis and combating isis abroad, but also keeping americans safe at home. >> what about pivoting to putin and trump's embrace of putin. how has the clinton campaign responded to this? >> reporter: hillary clinton tackled this yesterday. she said it was scary and unpatriotic. then tim kaine sort of made the rounds on television today and he was saying that he was shocked. he found it shocking that mike pence -- who you know frequently has broken with his presidential candidate, donald trump. yet on this issue of putin, he really backed him up. so you had tim kaine taking aim at him for that. he said how is it leadership if there's persecution of the lgbt community, if there is running the economy into the ground or invading countries. and it seems like he has some agreement from republicans.
our manu raju did a lot of the footwork up on the hill to see what republicans there thought of donald trump's assessment of vladimir putin. they're not on board. here is what they said. >> there are things we should be aligned with him on, like the fight against terrorism. but he's been fairly ruthless. >> trump is making the mistake for the ages of thinking that putin is a good leader and a constructive force. >> vladimir putin is an aggressor that does not share our interests. that is an adversarial stance and he is acting like an adversary. >> the concern though of donald trump praising vladimir putin. >> i made my points about putin clear right there. >> i did not observe what happened. >> but you've obviously been very critical of putin. >> what's that? >> you've obviously been very critical of putin. >> of course i have been. he is a murderer and a thug. >> murderer and a thug. elevator door. >> that's right. that's sort of the fun of going up on -- i call it the zoo without the bars.
right? you actually get access to all of these lawmakers. but you'll notice especially with paul ryan, instead of really taking aim at donald trump, they take aim at vladimir putin. so they are making it clear they don't agree with donald trump but they aren't necessarily take him head on. it is important to note that all of this kind of blowing up for donald trump which is not a good thing for him comes on a day when north korea has done a nuclear test launch, and that's not really good politically for hillary clinton or for president obama because republicans say, look, you didn't deal with this problem very well. and yet you kind of have these competing story lines and it's very possible that this one with putin and trump gives hillary clinton some corps on this otver issue. >> brianna keilar, thank you in washington. on mike pence, a lot of people see the indiana governor, the running mate of mr. trump, as perhaps more mainstream, less radical candidate than trump himself. after all, mike pence is releasing his tax return. trump, as we all know, says he
won't release his until after the irs audit is complete. on the birther issue though -- here trump recently took a turn that we'll soon talk about. but donald trump for years fed in to this theory -- this nonsense really -- that president obama was not born in the united states. so pence said recently very plainly, "i believe barack obama was born in hawaii." but when it comes to vladimir putin, pence is in, as brianna just mentioned, lock-step with trump's praise for the russian president. >> i think it's inarguable that vladimir putin has been a stronger leader in his country than barack obama has been in this country. and that's going to change the day that donald trump becomes president of the united states of america. >> joining me now, steven cohen, author of "the man without a face," the unlikely rise you have vladimir putin. also an activist noted for her
opposition to putin, helping found the pink triangle campaign. she says she was at one time "probably the only publicly out gay person in all of russia." so thank you both for taking the time today. masha, beginning with you as you are extraordinarily critical of president putin on multiple fronts. you were born in russia. how do you feel about donald trump's embrace of putin? >> i think it's very telling, especially this phrase that he said the day before yesterday when he said that he's been a stronger leader in russia which we now saw mike pence has repeated. what kind of leader has putin been? he's been a leader who puts his opposition in jail, who murders his opponents. at this point this has been proven beyond any doubt by a british court. who monopolizes the media. who monopolizes the elections. basically destroys the electoral process.
who subjugates the court to the executive branch. that's how he's secured this personality that donald trump is so favorable of. in democratic countries leaders don't have those kinds of numbers. you need to start building an authoritarian society -- >> just so i'm clear, despite everything you just outlined, you agree there is no evidence he any sort of deep, dark friendship/relationship between donald trump and putin. correct? >> that's correct. there is no -- this idea that trump is a putin agent is a red herring. >> okay. then professor, how do you feel about what trump has said and how pence has agreed? >> i feel very differently about everything that's been said. i am not the author of the book, kwlt t "the man without a face."
that's masha gess in's book. >> i apologize. >> i think here we are facing the greatest national security threat at least since the cuban missile crisis and a great crisis of american democracy because that threat is not being discussed. we are in a new cold war with russia. it is much more dangerous than the 40-year cold war. there are three places at which we could be in military conflict with russia at any moment, all the way from the baltics and ukraine to syria. trump apparently -- i should say i'm not a supporter of trump or of clinton. trump seems to want what we used to call detent. he wants to ratchet down conflict and replace it with cooperation with be first and foremost against the islamic state and syria. every time he opens his mouth and says something about cooperation he is denounced as a putin puppet or kremlin client. it is not true. what we need, and especially in a presidential year, and what we
had in previous years, is a full debate about american policy toward russia, whether it has been wise or unwise. because we are in very grave danger. >> the fact that he said the other night at the forum that he believes, in mentioning the putin approval numbers, that putin is a better leader than the president of the united states, hillary clinton said that was unpatriotic. would you agree with hillary clinton or no? >> you know what? i'm a sports addict. that's like asking me if the world's greatest basketball player is a better athlete than the world's greatest baseball player. i mean putin obviously operates in a non-democratic system. he has much more freedom of power, though he is not a dictator and he is not an autocrat but he is a decider. the question is whether he's used his power wisely. and the question you would ask about president obama, has he used his more limbed power wisely. that's a debate we could have. you don't have time. historians will debate it. but i will say this, and it is
extremely important. masha sl mashagessen has no evidence, nor does anybody, that putin has killed any non-combat, journalist or opponents. the trial was a farce sponsored by those who hate putin. nobody who studied that takes that seriously. let me mention one other thing because you mentioned it. i think it was representative ryan who said something that is absolutely shocking. he said that we share no interest at all were putin's russia. no american president ever said that about the soviet union. eisenhower said we had vital common interests. kennedy said. nixon said it. and reagan in the end acted on it. the idea of common interests with soviet leader gorbachev to the point where they thought they ended the cold war. does that mean that we don't have a common interest in preventing nuclear war, nuclear proliferation, terrorism and dozens of other existential
threats in the world? i was shocked when the speaker of the house said that. >> masha, care to respond? >> yeah. i don't think it is a question of whether or not the united states and rsh aussia have comm interests. obviously it is in our common interests to fight terrorism. it is in our common interests to survive. these are two nuclear powers, one of which is already headed by a mentally unable aggressive saber rattling leader. and the other one might be headed by one if donald trump is elected. so we have a common interest in survival. the question is, is vladimir putin the kind of president, the kind of person who can be a partner in pursuing those common interests. and the answer is an unequivocal no simply because putin has been a bad faith partner in every negotiation in which he has ever participated with the united states and with other countries. >> but there is not true. we wouldn't have the iranian
nuclear deal if putin hadn't guaranteed it. we wouldn't have had the destruction of serious chemical weapons if putin had not guaranteed that deal. this is simply not the historical record. this is a kind of discussion of personality politics, not national security politics. >> i think the people of syria might beg to differ. >> masha, on how russia and putin as the professor pointed out, we're hearing the speaker of the house weighing in. obviously one of the republican nominees for president hearing talk about putin. how do you think that is falling among russians and at the kremlin? >> well, the kremlin would certainly much prefer to see donald trump be elected president than hillary clinton. biggest reason for that is not so much that putin likes trump. he doesn't seem to have any particular affection for him, contrary to what donald trump says. reason for that is that vladimir putin hates hillary clinton. he viscerally hates her. he has accused her of personally
having organized and funded the antiputin protests in 2011-2012. he can't conceive of having to deal with her as the president of the united states, especially p also because she is a woman. so he would much rather deal with donald trump. >> okay. thank you both. again, my apologieapologies, ms. the former mayor of new york and advisor, friend of donald trump, rudy giuliani. he says birther? what birther? trump denounced that a long time ago. he did? that's news to us. hear what the campaign is now saying about that. also ahead, senator elizabeth warren campaigning for hillary clinton as more stars get ready to hit the campaign trail. we'll take you there live. global outrage after north korea just says it carried out its bigger nuclear test yet. now president obama saying there will be serious consequences. you're watching cnn. i'm hillary clinton and i approve this message.
i know more about isis then the generals do. john mccain, a war hero. he's not a war hero, he's a war hero because he was captured. i like people that weren't captured ok. donald trump compared his sacrifices to the sacrifices of two parents who lost their son
in war. how would you answer that father? what sacrifice have you made for your country? i think i've made a lot of sacrifices, built great structures. i've had tremendous success, i think... those are sacrifices? perfect driving record. until one of you clips a food truck.
welcome back. you are awatching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. one of the loudest voices out and about campaigning for donald trump is making a surprise revelation. former new york mayor rudy giuliani says trump is not a birther and doesn't believe president obama was born outside the u.s. >> i want to know whether you believe that your candidate for president believes he would succeed a legitimate president or not. does he believe he would succeed a legitimate president? >> donald trump believes now that he was born in the united states. but that issue was raised -- >> when is he going to say that this president is legitimate? this is a fundamental question, mr. mayor. is the president of the united states legitimate or not? >> he -- >> do you believe it? if you believe it, why doesn't your candidate state it. >> i believe it, he believes it, we all believe it. >> so if trump does indeed
believe president obama was born in the u.s., he really hasn't said it himself. here's a look back at how trump has propelled this conspearly over the last five years. >> why -- look, she's smiling. why doesn't he show his birth certificate? and you know what? i wish he would because i think it is a terrible pall that's hanging over him. >> barack obama should end this and he should provide the public with a birth certificate. and if if he doesn't do it, he's doing a tremendous disservice to the public. >> what -- you know. perhaps it is going to say hawaii. perhaps it's going to say kenya. >> you know who questioned his birth certificate? one of the first? hillary clinton. >> there's something going on. look, there's something going on. and the words are not often -- >> what does that mean, there's something going on? >> there's just bad feeling. and a lot of bad feeling about him. >> so you think your birther position has hurt you among
african-americans. >> i don't know. i have no idea. i don't even talk about it anymore, bill. >> no, i know. but it is there, it is on the record. >> i don't know. i guess -- i guess with maybe some. i don't know why. i really don't know why. but i don't think -- very few people -- you're the first one that's brought that up in a while. >> let me bring in republican congressman lee zelden, also an iraq war veteran. and cnn commentator, peter barnhart. beginning with you there on capitol hill, why doesn't trump then, according to rudy giuliani, come out and just say i was wrong, president was born in the u.s., done. >> i certainly can't try to speak for him. if we're talking about it now, it is i guess a highlight of why it should just be addressed so he can move on to more important issues. so i can't really speak for him on that. >> would you like for him to put this to bed and come out publicly, get it over with so we can all move on? >> yeah, absolutely.
if that's true, then that gets rid of the distraction for him and he can focus on more important issues. >> peter, what do you think? >> he absolutely should. i mean let's put this in context. this was part of a larger effort by donald trump to impugn barack obama in a way that never would have happened with a white president. donald trump also said that barack obama, he wanted to see barack obama's transcript because he wanted to know whether barack obama really deserved to get into college. and he flogged this for a long period of time. he's part of the reason that so many republicans to this day don't believe that barack obama was born in the united states, don't think that -- think that muslim and that he is an ill legitimate president which has done so much damage to our politics. >> do you think, congressman, this is race related as in african-americans specifically when you look at how many or how few are supporting him? >> are you asking as far as why trump has believed -- go ahead. >> yeah. the birther issue. you talk to a lot of
african-american voters and one of the reasons ahead of time they have said they are not voting for him is because of how strongly he came out on this nonsense years ago. >> well, and again -- first off, i don't believe that it is a race issue as to why he took the position that he did. but if he would like to make that outreach to the african-american community over the course of the next couple months and beyond, again, in order to talk about economy and quality of life and educational opportunities, to get in to all the other substance, you need to eliminate these distractions along way in order to move on to the more important stuff. >> also today, congressman, a number of your republican colleagues are sort of running away from my colleagues, from reporters, is because they're being asked about trump's praise of vladimir putin. where do you stand on that? >> well, i think that as far as his remarks go towards putin, he
would need to clarify that if he believes putin is being a good leader, it is a good leader for his own country and not in any way showing characters -- character traits that he would want to emulate here at home. i think that as far as the russian people go, for many of the russians, they may look to their leader as a good leader for them. but for here at home in the united states, the fact is that russia's involvement in syria and iran, not just -- ukraine and elsewhere causes great concern. >> so you disagree with his proverbial embrace of putin. >> i think that the only way that there could potentially be any agreement is if there was any type of clarification provided that we're talking about his leadership for his own country. and i don't know if -- i can't speak for the context that he's been saying it, but as far as leadership traits for his own
country, it might be working for russians, but these aren't character traits that work for the united states or the free world. >> he started saying this at the forum the other night. he went on to say, i think he -- he being putin -- is a better leader than the united states. hillary clinton came out the next day in a news conference and said that's unpatriotic to say that. do you agree, peter if. >> putting aside whether it is unpatriotic, vladimir putin is a man who destroyed russian democracy. he's taken what was a fledgling, fragile, failing democracy and turned it into an authoritarian state. it is not a surprise that donald trump admires that because donald trump has many of the hallmarks of an authoritarian himself. he's attacked a sitting federal judge. he's banned reporters numerous times from entering into his rallies. he said -- he's called for changing the laws to make it much harder for journalists to operate. he's threatened "the washington post," he's threaten other media
outlets. he's suggested our military should torture. it is not surprising donald trumped a miers vladimir putin. he has authoritarian tendencies himself. >> congressman? >> i don't think that trump is necessarily comparing putin with admiration that he has towards our own president. this is coming from the context as you deal with a lot of important national security issues in order to take -- in order to ensure our country is safe, secure and free, to strengthen our relations with our allies, treat our enenemimis our enemies. he believes we could do a lot more at home within our country and immigration policy as far as it affects national security. i do look at the comparison in the context that he certainly has been a huge critic of our own president on substance and policy. >> thank you both. coming up next here, president obama calling it a
grave threat as north korea claims it has just conducted its most powerful nuclear test yet. the question now, will the next warhead be mounted on a missile. also ahead, first on cnn, new intelligence in europe indicates as many as 40 suspected isis terrorists linked to the paris attacks from last fall are still on the run. details on the hunt to find them. tokyo-style ramen noodles. freshly made in the japanese tradition, each batch is small. special. unique... every bowl blurring the line between food...and art. when you cook with incredible ingredients... you make incredible meals. fresh ingredients. step-by-step-recipes. delivered to your door, for less than $9 a meal. get $30 off your first delivery blueapron.com/cook.
supposedly even stronger than the last one it tested some nine months ago. south korean military officials say the underground explosion happened in northeastern north korea at the same site as those four other tests. president obama swiftly condemning the action calling it a "grave threat" to international peace and stability. cnn international correspondent will ripley is live for us in tokyo. he's been to this country many times. will, i know there's huge concern. what does this mean? >> reporter: well, what it means is that north korea is moving closer and closer to its goal of developing a miniaturized nuclear warhead that they can put on a missile that they can then lunch from a submarine or mobile missile launcher. these missiles could potentially -- i say potentially -- reach the mainland united states if north korea continues this development at the pace that they have been which has been breakneck, brooke. in the last two weeks four missiles were launched, in
addition now to this fifth nuclear test. these have all been successful by north korean and international experts that have been looking at these. people didn't expect that kim jong-un's regime would get this far this quickly, especially considering all of the sanctions that have been slapped on this country, some of the most strict sanctions ever. >> what about -- we know that -- well, president obama says he's spoken with japan's prime minister. he's talk to south korea's president. what are they doing about this? >> reporter: well, they were on the phone during the overnight hours. of course reiterating the strong alliance between the united states, japan and south korea. the u.s. is installing a thad missile defense system to protect the 50 million people and 25,000 u.s. troops on theeian peninsula. anti-missile defense systems are in place right here in tokyo a short distance from where i am standing in the event of a, innen attack. they are also trying to think what could work.
would diplomacy work? that hasn't worked in the past. more sanctions? that hasn't worked in the past. right now they continue to issue these strong condemnation, yet if you really think about it, there is not much leverage because they are already level sanctioning this country. >> will ripley in tokyo for us with be 3:30 in the morning, thank you so much. more than a year after 130 people were killed in that terror attack, coordinated terror attacks in paris last fall, as many as 40 of those terrorists involved in planning that attack are apparently still on the run and more plots are being hatched reportedly. more on that next. lalso ahead, another sign o how surreal this election is. new pictures surfacing showing bill and donald trump and a playboy bunny? yep. socializing many, many years ago. hear why the clinton library is releasing these photos now. your insurance company
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nearly a year after the terror attacks in paris that killed 130 people, european officials believe as many as 40 suspected isis terrorists who helped support the attacks are still on the run. as they work to try to hunt them down, the very same officials are also quite concerned that the presence of isis in europe is only set to grow. cnn's senior international correspondent clarissa ward joins me now with all of this sort of new detail. but the question is, why is it so hard, clarissa, to find these suspects? >> well, it really is so hard for european security services. quite frankly, brooke, i think they're just overwhelmed. we spent months working on this investigative piece looking at the paris attacks, combing through tens of thousands of pages of documents.
what became clear is that isis is really pretty sophisticated in terms of how it manages its network inside europe. what do i mean by that. well, what we see is that only a very small inner sanctum of people know what an attack plan will look like. those are the people in syria. people on the ground in europe usually are just given very small parcels of information on a need-to-know basis that will enable them to take care of whatever task it is that they have been assigned. it may be simply you need to be in charge of getting a couple of ak-47s. or you need to be in charge of finding a house where a brother can hide out for a few days but they don't have the entire picture of what the attack would look like. that means when it comes time
for european security services to drill down on these networks, they have a very difficult time proving exactly who was directly involved in planning a terrorist attack and who may just have inadvertently been involved in a terrorist attack without even knowing that they were facilitating it. we have heard as well in recent days, you mentioned there are dozens -- belgian sources telling me 30 to 40 people directly involved in facilitating the paris attacks are still at large. some may simply be off the grid and disappeared but some, you can be sure, are known to authorities but it is just not clear how exactly or what grounds they can be prosecuted. >> what are you hearing -- this is so fascinating. what are you hearing about any additional plots? >> well, today we are just hearing about a new plot in france, again in paris, that has been foiled. president hollande saying this was an imminent and violent
attack. three wrim wereomen were arreste outskirts of paris. one actually stabbed the police officer who was trying to arrest them. shots were fired. one of the women was injured. but essentially what happened was these women are tied to a car, a mysterious car, that was left abandoned outside the very famous cathedral of notre dame. inside the car a bunch of gas canisters. not clear exactly the purpose but french media reporting one of those women had reportedly sworn allegiance to siisis. >> clarissa ward, thank you. we'll talk again. coming up next, this just absolutely unimaginable farewell. a mother and father forced to say good-bye to their little son far too soon after a horrific act takes his little life. >> i am breaking. i am unraveling. my baby is gone. our baby is gone.
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two parents saying good-bye to their little boy. just 15 months old after an alleged drunk driver smashed into his stroller while he and his aunt were just out for an afternoon walk. this is an mma fighter and his partner and their son, liam. these were heartbreaking pictures of little liam's final moments as he was taken off of life support this week. marcus posted this photo showing him holding the little hand of his toddler.
her little boy's arm covered in bandages close by a favorite plush green toy. underneath the photo she wrote the pain is unbearable. after liam's death police upgraded charges against the suspect. this woman, 72-year-old donna marie higgins now accused of vehicular manslaughter. now liam's parents are making an emotional plea to help prevent other parents were experiencing such heart breaking loss. i spoke to marcus and michelle about how they are keeping liam's memory alive. >> i am so, from the depth of my heart, sorry for your loss and i just thank you so much for the time. >> thank you. >> thank you for having us. >> how are you holding up? how are you even able to put one foot in front of the other? >> it's because that's what he would have wanted. he was such a joyful little child, and we want to make sure
that, one, if we can stop one single person from getting behind the wheel and driving drunk and that would save one life, then his life and death wasn't in vain. but we're planning on going much further than that. we don't want to save just one life. it is a -- it is a thing that has to change in this country. .08 and the term "legally drunk" isn't acceptable. >> michelle, how row doing? >> i'm breaking. i am unraveling. my baby is gone. our baby is gone. because of a reckless act that somebody did. she was drunk at 4:15 in the afternoon. she has had her life to live. our son didn't have. he had so little time.
and this not only affected him, this affected our entire community and my sister. she thankfully will be okay. but the damages are everlasting. >> in his 15 months on earth, what are your favorite memories of liam? >> you know, over the last few days of being in the hospital and the support we received, and just having a bunch of professional ex-martial arts fighters next to his bed weeping says a lot. he was so loved. he was always happy. he loved people. he was at the gym every single day. just his smile. every picture that people are posting of him is with a smile. >> he loved to count in russian. he loved to say thank you in
swedish. he loved to use sign language and say he wanted more food. he loved to eat. he was a really good eater. he loved to play on the swings and he loved our dogs. he loved to chase our dogs around. >> and for us, for us, you know, he loved to share his toys and food. so we already started this legacy of his by donating his organs and he's already donated his little heart and his kidneys and his lungs are going to research. >> as marcus said, he loved to share. and though we never, ever wanted to make this decision, it was a natural one. if he can't use his body, if
he's gone, we can at least save somebody else. >> yes. yes. which you are, it sounds like several times over. just before i let you go, what do you want the world to know about liam? what will you miss the most? >> his laugh. his smile. everything. >> yeah. his laugh and his smile and just the person we wanted him to grow up and to be. we always said -- people said, oh, he's at the gym every day, he is going to be an amazing fighter one day. i said only if he wants to be a fighter. the most important thing is that he is a good human being and he grows up to be someone that cares. he is he showing that he is caring by donating his organs. and we are going to make sure that we set up a non-profit from
the donations that we've been receiving to continue the fight against drunk driving in this country. we are really going to push -- again, there's a lot of points that can be discussed regarding political issues, but .08, there is no excuse in today's society, there's no reason why you have to drink and drive. if you can afford to go out and drink, you can afford a taxi or one of the many opportunities and options you have to get home. if it's that difficult, at least sleep in your car. you don't have to drink and drive. >> yes. yes. and for everyone who's watching whose hearts are breaking along with you who would like to donate, there is a gofundme page dedicated to little liam. marcus and michelle, again, i am so sorry but thank you for shining a lot on something that is so important. thank you both. >> thank you. >> thank you.
new york city firefighter steven siller is being remembered for the ultimate sacrifice he made on 9/11. his heroic two-mile run through brooklyn battery tunnel to rescue victims is now memorialized by a foundation and an annual race. cnn's john berman spoke with siller's brother. >> we believe that he was in the south tower. he was never recovered. there's another great person that died that day. >> reporter: it was a near perfect september morning. firefighter steven sillers ju e finished his overnight shift with squad one. the elite unit trained to rescue other firefighters. he was headed to play golf with
his three brothers. >> we were pumped up. four brothers getting together to play golf. everybody very busy. steven already with five kids. you know, heard on the scanner what happened and turned his truck around. >> reporter: the golf date would never happen. steven who had dreamed of being a firefighter since he was a teen turned his truck towards the twin towers but could get only as far as the brooklyn battery tunnel. it was blocked. but that didn't stop him. >> came to a screeching halt. got out calmly, put his gear on, and started running through the tunnel. and that tunnel's nearly two miles long. >> reporter: that heroic run loaded down with more than 60 pounds of gear became the driving force of the foundation created by his family in steven's honor. >> want his kids to know that his dad was a hero. we didn't have any great lofty goals starting the foundation. but when a friend of his came up with the idea of running through the tunnel like he did, i said, oh, my god! please. you just know the right thing when you hear it. >> reporter: the race called
"tunnel to towers" is rt pa of the part of the nationally recognized steven sillers foundation and has raised more than $70 million. >> the whole day is just a great celebration of everybody's life that was lost that day. >> steven would be turning 50 in november? >> november 15th he would have been turning 50. yes. >> what kind of 50-year-old do you think steven would have made? >> i think he would have been a very young 50-year-old. loved being a firefighter so he'd still definitely be a firefighter. he would have had over 20 years already. he would have been able to retire. but he -- there is no way he would have retired. he loved the challenge of being able to save people. knowing steven, he probably liked the fear factor involved. he had guts! he loved that brotherhood. >> if you could talk to steven one more time, what would you tell him? >> i'm proud of you. all your siblings are. your kids are. your wife is. the whole community is. you really did something special, steve.