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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  May 6, 2013 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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you she never killed anyone? watch that tomorrow at 10:00 eastern. that's it for me. i'm jake tapper. i will now turn you over into the able hands of mr. wolf blitzer. he's right next door in "the situation room." mr. blitzer, take it away. happening now, a friend accused of covering up for one of the bombing suspects is freed on bond. investigators now believe the other bombing suspect accessed al qaeda bomb-making instructions on his home computer. a u.s. official confirms israel attacked missile storage facilities in syria. syria calls it a declaration of war. and you may be used to saving money by bying online. but a vote in congress could soon change that. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." a federal judge has released on bond one of the three friends
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accused of covering up for dzhokhar tsarnaev. robel phillipos is charged with lying to federal investigators. the deal to release him was reached today. joe johns was in the courtroom where it all went down. how did it go, joe? >> reporter: robel phillipos walked in here in an orange jail jumpsuit and shackles and handcuffs and he walked out in street clothes. he's not going back to jail tonight but neither is he a free man. the judge put him on lockdown at his mom he's house. he's accused of lying to authorities in a terrorism investigation at a time when they were looking for that backpack with the expended fireworks cartridges that authorities looked for for days to try to find. his lawyer successfully argued that phillipos was not a flight risk. listen. >> at no time did robel have any
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prior knowledge of this marathon bombing, nor did he participate in any of the planning done by the defendant in this case. he's not charged with nor is he alleged to have disposed with the backpack or had any role in what the two other individuals, the two students who are here on visas, did with the backpack. >> reporter: robel phillipos has a long list of bail conditions, the most important of which include $100,000 secured bond, electronic monitoring with a bracelet on his ankle and he has to stay in confinement 24 hours a day at his mother's home. wolf? >> here's the question i have, did robel phillipos know when he saw the pictures that the fbi distributed that thursday night, did he know that was his friend that was wanted by the fbi and if he did know, did he make a
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phone call to law enforcement to alert them who this individual was? >> reporter: this is a question i witnessed him being asked in the hallways here in the courthouse. his lawyers were also asked the very same question. and they did not respond. what they say is that the allegations against robel phillipos are refutable. what that means is anybody's guess. we do know according to fbi affidavits that he was questi s questioned four times before he came forward and told the truth about what he did know about the other two men that were present at the time. >> because the argument is -- this is the outrage that's going out there right now, that if he didn't make that phone call and knew that his friend was wanted by the fbi, maybe sean collier, that police officer at m.i.t., would still be alive right now. that's the outrage that's being leveled at this individual who was released on bail today. i assume his lawyers appreciate that? >> reporter: i think his lawyers do appreciate that.
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they say, of course, that -- as i said, the allegations are refutable. and they are looking forward to may 16th when there will be a probable cause hearing for the government to make its case at that time to show whether or not it's met the threshold of probable cause to continue going forward with this case. so we'll hear more about this real soon, wolf. >> joe, thanks very much. there's new information that tamerlan tsarnaev accessed bomb-making instructions on the computer in the cambridge apartment he shared with his wife. let's get the very latest from our national correspondent, susan candiotti. she's looking at this part of the story. susan? >> reporter: hi, wolf. as we now know, the fbi is looking at at least two laptops that we know of. one belonging to dzhokhar tsarnaev and this one we're talking about, that belonged to his older brother, tamerlan tsarnaev that was recovered from the older brother's apartment
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there in cambridge where he lived with his wife and young child. now a law enforcement official is telling us that they have discovered that there were materials on that laptop from "inspire" magazine that talks a lot about al qaeda, including bomb-making instructions. now, this law enforcement official also telling cnn that they believe that it was tamerlan who had accessed those bomb-making materials. as to whether he and his wife -- did they share the access to the computer? well, the fbi wouldn't comment on that. this law enforcement official. however, they are saying when we asked, is she cooperating, we are told that they won't say one way or another, although her lawyer says that she is continuing to talk with investigators about what she knows. wolf? >> let me ask you the same question i just asked joe. if she recognized her husband in those photos that were released that thursday night by the fbi, did she make a phone call to
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anyone saying, that's my husband? >> reporter: boy, isn't that what we would all like to know, wolf? we don't know the answer to that question. but we know that one of the things they're looking at is a phone call that our sources tell us was made from the wife to her husband, tamerlan. but we don't know the nature of it or whether there was also texting going on. this is also part of this very important investigation. >> susan candiotti on the scene in boston for us. thank you. let's dig a little deeper on these legal questions. joining us, jeffrey toobin. are you surprised that anyone linked to this terrorist bombing investigation has now been freed on bail? >> well, when you're talking about bail, there are always two questions a judge asks -- is the person a risk of flight and are they a danger to the community? here you had the u.s. attorney's office satisfied that this young man who is an american citizen was not a risk of flight and not
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a danger to the community. once you have the u.s. attorney on board, the judge almost always is going to follow their advice, thus he was released with these pretty strong bail conditions. >> what are the chances that these other two friends, the students from kazakhstan, might be given the same opportunity to go out of prison on bail? >> i think much more remote, for the reason you point out. they're not american citizens. and when deciding who is and who isn't a risk of flight, american citizenship is usually a huge factor to both the judge and the prosecutors. and you also have a situation where they are accused of actually disposing of the backpack which, regardless of how the precise charges play out at this early stage in the process, that's a more serious allegation. and i think the u.s. attorney's office, as well as the judge, may have a different view with regard to them.
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>> i have asked you this before but i wonder if you've thought about it a little bit more. i've been reading a lot about this, especially if you read what's going on in boston right now. with the prosecutors, the u.s. attorneys, in this particular case, would they go after any of these three as an accessory or the widow because they failed to make a phone call that potentially could have averted the death, the killing of that police officer at m.i.t.? >> i think the chances of that are really remote. the law finds that -- it's always been very difficult to punish people for failing to act. there have been a lot of cases, for example when bar owners don't stop people from driving drunk, from other people who don't stop other people from driving drunk, there are certain circumstances where you can make those charges stick. but it's very difficult.
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it's not a crime in most circumstances. and i think charges along those lines are very unlikely to be made. >> the argument could be made, though, that, yes, they filled to act. they didn't call law enforcement even though they recognized, they knew who these two guys were. they failed to act on that front. but they did act, if you believe the allegations, on other fronts. they either tried to destroy evidence or they lied to federal authorities. so there was an act of commission, if you will, not just an act of omission. >> well, federal prosecutors can only prosecute violations of federal law. it's a violation of federal law to lie to prosecutors. it's a violation of federal law to obstruct justice. it is not, as far as i'm aware, a violation of federal law to fail to call the authorities when you think you recognize someone on television. that's just not a crime, at
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least as i understand it or at least as i understand the facts here. so it's morally reprehensible. it's appalling to all of us who are following this story. but whether they can be prosecuted and jailed for it, at least at this stage in the process, i don't see it. >> we'll see if that changes over the next several weeks as this process goes forward. thanks very much, jeffrey, for that. up next, republican investigators have found another whistle-blower who now says the benghazi consulate attack seemed like a terrorist attack from the ghetto. and can disgraced former governor mark sanford complete an extraordinary comeback or is it past too much to overcome on election day? i'm a firefighter. i'm a carpenter. i'm an accountant. a mechanical engineer. and i shop at walmart. truth is, over sixty percent of america shops at walmart every month. i find what i need, at a great price. and the money i save goes to important things.
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the events before, during and after the attack on the u.s. consulate in benghazi, libya, last september 11th, remain under intense scrutiny.
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house republican investigators have found a new whistle-blower who's expected to offer some harshly critical testimony later this week. our chief congressional correspondent dana bash has been watching what's going on. lots of new developments. what's the latest? >> reporter: i just talked to a republican congressman who's on this committee who insisted they will have a blockbuster hearing this week with lots of surprises that they're saving for the big event. but the committee is strategically releasing teasers from their star witness, teasers that democrats call partisans but republicans call proof of the obama administration's misleading acts in this incidence. four military personnel were ready to board a plane from tripo tripoli, libya, to benghazi to help american citizens under fire at the consulate there. but were ordered by superiors not to go. that's what gregory hicks, chief of mission in libya at the time, told house republican investigators. >> the point that this plane was being loaded, it was between the first attack that killed two and
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the second attack that killed two more. they may not have arrived in time to save lives. but at the time the decision was made, the decision was wrong. >> reporter: who made that decision? >> we want to find out who made this decision. >> reporter: the pentagon has not yet responded to hicks' claim. house gop chairman darrell issa calls hicks a benghazi whistle-blower saying hicks will testify this week that he believes the pentagon made a mistake by not scrambling f-15s to fly over, arguing it would have scared the attackers and might very well have prevented some of the bad things that happened that night. hicks told gop investigators. leon panetta said by the time the fighters could have arrived, the attack would have been over. >> you can't call and expect within two minutes to have a team in place. >> reporter: hicks will also bolster gop claims that obama officials knew from the start it was not what they publicly suggested, a spontaneous demonstration.
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"i think everybody in the mission thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning," hicks told investigators saying slain ambassador chris stevens' final report to hicks was, greg, we are under attack. lat early this month, hillary clinton snapped about what happened at the attack. >> we had four dead americans. what difference at this point does it make? >> reporter: hicks says it made a big difference because u.n. ambassador susan rice called it a demonstration on television minutes after libya's leader called it an attack, offending libya and making it harder for the fbi to investigate. greg hicks' testimony that it is simply his opinion. >> weeks later in new york, the president of libya was still upset about being essentially called out as either misinformed or lying on national tv here in the u.s. so i think suffice it to say it had an effect on our diplomatic relations. >> reporter: the committee's top democratic said they were iced out of the investigation, saying
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the report was reckless and full of false accusations. how do you answer the charge that what you're doing is partisan? >> i think that changing the talking points from the truth to an untruth is certainly partisan and likely for political reasons. but i think the better question is, why are the democrats not just as upset that we didn't do all we could do to save american lives? >> reporter: now, issa's democratic counterpart, elijah cummings, says they are as interested as republicans in finding the facts but that what issa and his fellow republicans are doing are engaging in, quote, ninvestigation by press release. >> hovering over all of this, as you know, dana, is the assertion, the allegation, that those talking points that ambassador susan rice received that took out any reference to al qaeda, for example, or a planned terrorist operation as opposed to some sort of spontaneous protest demonstration which apparently occurred in cairo, that that was all part of the political
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objective of avoiding any references to al qaeda only weeks before the reelection of the president of the united states. that could have undermined his stature, if you will. and i suspect we'll be hearing a lot of those kinds of suggestions that this was done for political partisan reasons. >> reporter: no question about it. the republicans have been saying this really since maybe a few weeks after this attack that this is all part of an effort by the obama administration to sort of tamp down on the concept of terror threats being out there still. and that's the culture that led to what they say are some of the misleading comments that came from the obama administration. and there's no question that will be one of the themes that we've heard before but we'll hear a lot more of in wednesday's hearing. >> we'll have extensive coverage of that hearing on wednesday. thanks very much for that, dna. he left the governor's mansion in disgrace but on the eve of a special congressional election in south carolina, mark sanford still has a chance to complete an extraordinary comeback. our national political correspondent, jim acosta, is
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joining us now from charleston, south caroli south carolina, with the very latest. what is the latest? >> reporter: if you believe the polls, mark sanford just might pull off what was once considered an unthinkable political comeback. but then again, it's the former governor and his past that are making this race too close to predict. mark sanford has been to political hell and back after his extramarital affair became synonymous with the appalachian trail, the former south carolina governor knows redemption is in sight. >> i don't know whether i win or i would lose. but i'm at peace with where i am of that larger notion of you go out, try as best you can and then the final verdict is in the good lord's and the voters' hands. >> reporter: he argues voters are more interested in solutions than the salacious details of his argentinean mistress-turned-fiancee or his legal battles with his ex-wife. do you think the voters are over
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it when it comes to your past? >> i don't think the media will ever be over it. to a degree, that goes with your job. my personal failings are all well-chronicled. >> reporter: sanford's tried to change the subject, warning his loss would be a victory for house democratic leader, nancy pelosi. wasn't that goofy to be out there debating a cardboard cutout of nancy pelosi? >> no. people got it. it was totally serious. >> reporter: because of sanford's baggage, his opponent, elisabeth colbert-busch, has a shot at winning this conservative district. she insists she'll be an independent voice in washington. >> no one tells me what to do except the people of south carolina's first congressional district. >> reporter: she says that means she may vote against the president, even on obama care. >> well problematic. we need to look at it. when we're looking at -- >> reporter: would you vote to repeal it? >> we need to repair it. >> reporter: when asked about a
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recent vote on gun control, she appeared to draw blank on the senators backing the measure. would you have voted yes or no on the background checks? >> oh, my goodness. >> reporter: the amendment -- >> you're talking about the background checks. i am a defender of the second amendment. but we should expand background checks. >> reporter: democratic interests across the country have poured money into this race, endorsements have followed, from top house democrats to bouzer from a '70s band. ♪ vote for colbert-busch >> reporter: with a race this weird, it's no wonder sanford is cautious about his chances. are you the kind of politician who makes predictions in this business? >> no. i leave that up to you. >> reporter: that's a safe bet at this point. over the weekend, the local newspaper here in charleston endorsed elizabeth colbert-busch
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calling her the tonic for what it called sanford fatigue, how tired voters are of the former governor. >> usually these special elections, the voter turnout is not necessarily all that high. what do they expect this time? >> i asked mark sanford about that because this is the third time he's been in front of the voters over the last couple of months. there was that first primary with 15 other republican candidates. then the run-off. and then this general election. but because this race lab nationalized with so much money being poured in their ads everywhere, mark sanford believes the turnout could be higher tomorrow because the voters finally have a big contrast between the two final candidates in this race, wolf. >> we'll see how that winds up. thanks very much, jim acosta. he'll be hanging out there tomorrow as well. just ahead, syria says israeli air strikes on missile storage sites near damascus amount to a declaration of war and that anything is now possible. we'll have the latest. stay with us. you're in "the situation room."
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details on a senate vote just minutes from now that could affect the price you pay. and the pop star beyonce responding to critics who slammed her for her recent trip to communist cuba. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
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israel may be keeping mum. but an american source confirms the explosions that rocked areas near the syrian capital over the past couple of days did in fact come from israeli air strikes. the target said to be storage sites for missiles. syria's not keeping quiet at all. officials there saying the action amounts to what they call a declaration of war. let's go live to our pentagon correspondent, barbara starr. she's been on top of this story from the start. she's the first one who reported about these israeli actions. barbara, what's the latest? >> reporter: we now know indeed it was israeli war planes pounding targets inside syria from lebanon, flying over lebanese airspace. as you say, the question now is, could the u.s. be next to act? even after a damascus suburb was bombed, israel officially still isn't talking.
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>> we cannot confirm neither deny any activity in syria. >> reporter: but with the destruction so visible, a u.s. official confirms to cnn that israeli war planes bombed this weapons depot which syria claimed was a research facility. this was just 48 hours after an initial israeli strike at the damascus airport, another weapons storage area, according to u.s. officials. israel vows its red line is to strike at weapons it believes the assad regime is sending to hezbollah in lebanon. weapons that could directly threaten israel. >> we will not allow hezbollah to obtain the weapons from syria. >> reporter: intelligence showed the airport was housing fatah 110 missiles. israel's moves are ramping up pressure on the u.s. military to act, some calling for a no-fly
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zone to protect syrian civilians. >> we can't take on the air defenses of a country like syria, then we've wasted a lot of the taxpayers' dollars. >> reporter: but the pentagon insists syria's arraf defenses are a more serious threat than the u.s. faced in libya. >> it's five times more air defense systems, some of which are high-end air defense systems, higher altitude, longer range. >> as in the past, general dempsey is dead wrong. >> reporter: former air force intelligence officer says there's a big difference between israeli and u.s. military options. >> the israelis had the advantage of having basically two strikes that they were able to work very carefully. if you have a no-fly zone shgts you have to have a much more active of suppression enemy air defenses. >> reporter: but if president obama's red line is crossed and it's proven, the syrian regime used chemical weapons, the u.s. might have no choice but to get
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militarily involved. but a u.n. investigator suddenly says maybe the regime didn't do it. >> what appeared to our investigation that that was used by the openings by the rebels. and we have no indication at all that the government -- the authority of the syrian government have used chemical weapons. >> reporter: the u.n. later cast doubt on that statement. and u.s. officials say so far, there's no indication the rebels had or used chemical agents. and just how emboldened does the regime continue to be, wolf? consider this. we learned today that u.s. intelligence now shows the assad regime has fired ballistic missiles against its own people 250 times since december alone. wolf? >> about 80,000 syrians have died over the past two years,
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millions have been made refugees either internally or externally. what are the chances -- i know the u.s. is not going to send troops in on the ground -- probably they're not going to do a no-fly zone or anything along those lines. probably not even doing air strikes. but what about unmanned cruise missiles going in and knocking out some sites in syria, which is what the u.s. obviously did in libya to get rid of gadhafi? >> reporter: this is the big question, wolf. you're absolutely right. unmanned obviously. cruise missiles, precision-guided going right to the target that the u.s. picks. but here's the question. what would that target be? if you're going to bomb a chemical depot where there is chemical agent, very risky business that civilians in the area could get seriously hurt by that. if you're going to bomb downtown damascus, essentially, the palace, government ministries, what assad holds near and dear, you are upping the ante. but i have to tell you, wolf,
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around the pentagon hallways, every day, it's the question you keep hearing more and more about -- will the white house order the u.s. military to step into the action? >> we'll see. i suspect things are happening right now. we'll see where they wind up. barbara, good reporting. let's dig deeper with our chief political analyst gloria borger who's been doing some serious reporting on this as well. the israeli air strikes, what are you hearing? what impact will that have on president obama? >> obviously politically it puts some more pressure on this administration. israel had its own red line. and that was weapons being sent to hezbollah. so it's a different red line than we have. but they enforced their red line. so now the political question that's being asked is, okay, we had a red line. has it been crossed and if it's crossed, what do we do? the big question is the president keeps talking about establishing this chain of custody about the sarin gas. as barbara points out in her
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piece, there's a lot of confusion about that today, coming out from the united nations. and so we haven't really established a chain of custody. but what we saw from the israel strikes is, yes, they put a lot of pressure on assad. that puts pressure on us. >> i want you to listen to what senator john mccain said yesterday on fox as far as this red line that the president laid out a few months ago is concerned. >> the whole situation is becoming more and more expansive and unfortunately the red line that the president of the united states written was apparently written in disappearing ink. >> you saw that story sunday in "the new york times" saying that was a mistake, they didn't really want the president to refer to a red line. jay carney walked that back today at the white house, the press secretary. what are you hearing? >> but in one way or another, the administration has referred to that red line target "time"
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magazine about seven timtz. it's not like anybody's walking that back. jay carney did not walk that back. there's no doubt that the president put himself in a bit of a corner here. the what the israeli raids did, particularly on the safe zone argument is kind of undermine that argument that it would be too difficult for us to do that because of the syrian air forces. we now know that's probably not the case. so that's one argument that seems to be off the table now. i do believe that this has affected them inside the white house, as barbara's talking about at the pentagon, same way. >> given the horrible experience the united states has had over the past decade in iraq and afghanistan, it's totally understandable, this president doesn't want to get involved in syria. >> yeah. he's wound down one war, winding down another war. and i'm told that the president remains personally unconvinced that interfering in a civil war is going to do much good.
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that our military could actually do much good. you have that personal reluctance on the part of the president. don't forget, if you do something like try and arm the syrian rebels, there are some bad guys in there. and there's the possibility that those arms could get in the hands of, say, al qaeda, which you would not want. so nothing, nothing is really cut and dry here. >> no great options in syria. >> right, including the chemical weapons, who had them, who used them? still unclear. >> very murky. thanks very much for that. when we come back, it started out oas a routine traffc stop. the shocking police shootout that came next. thousands of spectators at an air show. they watch in who are as a plane plunges to the ground. that's coming up right here in "the situation room." ♪
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this just coming in to "the situation room" right now. mary snow has the story and some of the other top stories as well. what's happening?
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>> a federal judge has just sentenc sentenced lauryn hill to jail for failure to pay three years of income tax. hill has been directed to report to the department of corrections in july to begin her sentence. a shocking police shootout caught on tape, we first want to warn you the video you're about to see is graphic and violent. our affiliate reports it started out as a routine traffic stop back in march. this happened in middlefield, ohio. we're just seeing the video now. the two officers in the car quickly returned fire, killing the suspect. one of them was shot in the hand. the other was hit in the leg
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with shrapnel. both have been released from the hospital and were recently honored for their courage. in spain, horrifying video of a plane crash in front of thousands of spectators at an air show. the plane plunged into a building and exploded into a ball of flames. the pilot who was flying a vintage 1950s aircraft was an assistant to the spanish defense minister. the cause of the crash is under investigation. and this special programming note, tomorrow, chris cuomo sits down with amanda knox to talk about her fight against a new trial in her roommate's death to her new book. amanda knox, the unanswered questions, it airs tomorrow night, 10:00 p.m. eastern here on cnn. >> we'll be watching that. thanks very much, mary, for those reports. just ahead, the battle inside the gop over immigration reform. senator marco rubio gets some
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the florida senator marco rubio has proposed bipartisan immigration bill getting slammed inside his own republican party by a man he calls his mentor, the former senator jim demint who heads a prominent conservative think tank here in washington, argues the bill will only make matters worse and wind up costing taxpayers, in his words, trillions of dollars. >> i think if people read the
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bill, that it will be blocked because once you get into it, just like obama care, it is not the way it's being advertised. >> let's talk about it in our "strategy session." joining us, the former obama special adviser, van jones, and the republican strategist, ana navarro. this is a real battle between marco rubio on the one hand and jim demint on the other. >> i think it's a little exaggerated. if you take a look, so many of the other conservative groups have come out today in support of this bill, in support of senator rubio's position. you have cato institute, americans for tax reform. the way heritage scored this -- >> heritage is the think tank that he runs now, jim demint. >> yes. and this is washington mumbo jumbo. but the difference between scoring it in a static way versus dynamic makes all the different. they're only taking into account the costs not the benefit s of
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immigration. this is like a push-pull. >> here's the problem the president has. and these republicans and democrats, so-called gang of eight, who want, including marco rubio, a comprehensive immigration bill passed, probably could pass the senate. but when it gets to the house, republican majority, it's problematic, as you well know. if it doesn't pass the house, where does that leave this president? >> well, i don't think we even have to go that far. first of all, i think -- jim demint is going to really get a wake-up call here. you're exactly right. jim demint used to be the godfather and rubio was the little guy. marco rubio is uniting the conservative movement around him. i think they thought it was going to be 2007 all over again, heritage comes out with their report and everybody jumps on the heritage bandwagon. this isn't the left versus the right. this is heritage versus the world. i think rubio is going to come out on toop. it's torrent to notice the number that is this report are
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based on, they just don't add up. when you have both bad politics and bad math, you get a bad outcome for jim demint. >> rubio keeps saying during the 13 years, it would take for an illegal immigrant to wind his or her way through the process, go and eventually get u.s. citizenship, during those 13 years, he says they would not be eligible for any of these federal benefits. >> exactly. they're not eligible for means-based benefits. and it also does not take into account job growth or how it affects the rest of the economy and the benefits that it brings in. and most conservatives agree that when you are looking at the cost and benefits of a bill, you've got to look at both. i actually think on the house side, it looks a lot better than people think. i have spoken to speaker boehner about this. i think there is a growing consensus of republicans that are adults in the room and also of democrats, wanting to work together towards a good solution. >> if this gets passed under
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president obama's watch, that would be a major legacy item for him. >> it would be good for the president to get this done, obviously. it would be good for the republicans to get this issue behind them. it would be good for the country because what you are seeing every place you see a lot of immigrants, you see a lot of good economic activity going on. it's not like the immigrants are hurting the economy. they're helping the economy. >> and then they would be paying taxes -- let's talk a little bit about beyonce. she went with jay-z to cuba and is now speaking publicly about that trip. the treasury department gave her and jay-z to go for an educational experience. listen to what she said on "good morning america". >> it was such a beautiful trip. i met some incredible children, visited some incredible entrepreneurs. i learned so much about so many people in the country. it was actually quite shocking. >> she had an educational experience. anything wrong with that? >> i wish her educational experience would have also
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included meeting with sol dissidents, meeting with the wives of some of the political prisoners, meeting with some of the people who are the actual victims of a communist dictatorship. it's just last week when the u.s. government again put cuba in the state terrorist list -- state of terrorism list. so i think she wants to go, fine. but people also have to understand that there's a lot of victims of the cuban government, of the cuban regime in this country and those people have a right to feel offended by it. she has a right to go. >> what do you think, van? >> i think celebrities -- didn't dennis rodman just go to north korea? i think at a certain point, that starts to become a side show. in fact, i think a lot of the younger people who listen to jay-z, who listen to beyonce, aren't as well-informed as they need to be. this could be an opportunity to talk about what's going on in cuba. and also their differences of opinion.
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does more trade help to bring more freedom? does more trade hurt? that's the conversation we should be having. and we shouldn't have to wait for a rapper and a singer to go over there before we have these discussions. but what happens is, these befo we have these discussions. celebrities want to learn about the world, they should learn about the world. >> we have to leave it there, guys, thanks, see you soon. coming up, you may be used to saving money by buying online, but congress could soon be changing that. senate is acting this hour. we have details of what's happening. also, syria now warning those israeli air strikes amount to what they call a declaration of war. our own fred pliken, only reporter in damascus. we're going there live right at the top of the hour. weekend getaways just got better. well, enjoy your round! alright, thanks! save a ton on our best available rate when you book early and feel the hamptonality.
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fairness act. if it's approved, it will pave the way to require online retailers to collect sales taxes. it still needs to go to the house for a vote, and there's a heated campaign both for and against it with two major online retailers on opposite sides. paul silvay makes his living selling guitars on e-bay out of his home. if a new law is passed, he would have to collect a sales tax if he had at least $1 million in sales outside his home state. his sales aren't that high yet,
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but he says he doesn't want a new law hurting his potential. >> tisanother deter rant that would push me from being a small single person working from home commodity to becoming a medium to larger-sized private retailer. >> reporter: as it stands now, online retailers like amazon only have to collect taxes in states where they have a physical presence like a warehouse or store, but amazon is actually supporting the push for an online sales tax, as it expands its physical operations in more states. it joined the umbrella group for major retailers calling for a level playing field. >> a lot of times people will come into their stores, take a sales person's time, look for a diamond ring or piece of furniture, then go online and buy the exact same item and not pay the sales tax. >> reporter: online retailer e-bay sees things differently. it calls the proposed law wrong headed, fearing it will hurt small businesses.
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it argues that if a business is making less than $10 million in sales, it shouldn't be forced to collect taxes. only five states don't charge any sales tax, so most consumers will wind up paying more if the law goes through. while it may be new to consumers, the tax itself isn't. it's just not enforced. >> any time that you shop online without paying sales tax at checkout, you're supposed to pay what is called a use tax directly to the state, but very, very few people do that when they file their taxes. >> reporter: and where you live makes a big difference. taxes on a $1,000 television set, for example, would add up to $50 extra in maine, $60 in kentucky, and $70 in new jersey, where the sales tax is 7%. and wolf, last year alone it's estimated there were $225 billion in online sales. now, one group, the national conference of state legislators, which is in favor of the bill, estimates there was $23 billion in uncollected sales tax last
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year. wolf? >> a lot of money. mary, we'll see what happens in the senate. then it's got to go to the house of representatives where there will be greater opposition, i suspect, than in the senate. we'll see what happens. it's a long process that we're watching. just ahead, right at the top of the hour, our own christiane amanpour is going to talk about the growing crisis in syria and what it means for the united states. plus, president obama takes his outreach campaign with members of congress to the putting green today. he's playing golf. my interview with one of the republican senators he went golfing with, bob corker. it's coming up in the next hour, as well. [ female announcer ] what if the next big thing, isn't a thing at all?
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...and we inspected his brakes for free. -- captions by vitac -- off brake pads and shoes at meineke. -- captions by vitac -- happening now, growing fear of a new middle east war. the body of the boston bombing suspect tamerlan tsarnaev, untouchable. no cemetery will take him. and a limo burst into flames killing half the bachelorette party inside, including the bride. i'm wolf blitzer, we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. you're in "cnn newsroom."
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. a bloody fight raging for more than two years and now there's new concerns syria's civil war could explode beyond its borders into a broader middle eastern war. israeli officials won't confirm or deny this, but a u.s. official tells cnn it was definitely an israeli attack. the targets, iranian-made missiles, ground-to-ground missiles believe bound to hezbollah. huge explosions lit up the night's sky and the blast could be heard and felt for miles. we're on the story with resou e resources only cnn has. our reporters are in damascus, over at the white house, we also have christiane amanpour and fareed zakaria standing by working their stories, they have expert analysis of this
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increasingly tense situation. but let's begin right now with a rare report from inside the syrian capital. fred pleitgen is the only western journalist right now, he spoke excsively with the country's deputy foreign minister. fred, what are you seeing and hearing in damascus right now? >> reporter: well, the syrian regime is absolutely angry at what happened, and i can tell you, it was a massive blow right into the heart of this country's military power base. we basically felt this in the middle of the night as all of a sudden these massive explosions started going off and it was several big explosions to begin with and a lot of secondary explosions that went on for more than an hour. so, clearly something very big was hit. i want you to take a look at the video from last night when this happened. the explosions lit up the sky over damascus. nearby residents say they felt the pressure waves from the blasts more than a mile away.
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syria's government quickly pointed the finger at israel. in an exclusive interview with cnn, the deputy foreign minister accused israel of aiding radical islamists. >> this is an alliance between al qaeda and israel attacking together syria. it shows common interests, and what israel and its allies have tried to hide for a long time is more clear. >> is it a declaration of war? >> when they attack, this is a declaration of war. >> reporter: israel has neither confirmed or denied the allegations. there's little video of the aftermath to determine what might have been hit. a weapons depot and units of syria's elite military forces. the syrian government says it was a military research facility and is threatening revenge. >> we dealt with this, i mean, on several occasions, and we
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retaliated the way we want and the retaliation was always painful to israel. and they will suffer again. >> reporter: the strikes could also alter the momentum on the battlefield of syria's ongoing civil war, where rebel forces, some with an islamist agenda, are trying to topple the regime of bashar al-assad. the syrian government claims it was gaining ground against the opposition before the incident, but it acknowledges its military was weakened by the attack and that could eradicate any progress its forces were making. but many damascus residents, like the deeb family who witnessed the explosion, say they are simply in shock. >> it was really scary, because there's nothing we can do. it's like we're going to die right now or just stay scared. i'm sorry, but it was -- >> reporter: the incident has put this volatile region on the edge, but ordinary people in damascus say all they want is never to witness anything similar again.
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and, wolf, of course, this is something that makes the syrian regime absolutely furious. as i said, one of the things they were saying is they were making gains on the battlefield in the civil war, now all of that seems up for grabs again. one of the things to keep in mind was the place that was hit is an absolutely secretive military area in those mountains, and it's not just a research facility there. there are elite units of syria's republican guard there, as well. some of them headquarters there, so it goes straight to the heart of syria's military apparatus. >> pretty good intelligence on those kinds of matters. stand by for a moment, i'm going to come back to you, fred, for a moment, but i want to bring in sarah sidener. no stranger to hezbollah rocket attacks from southern lebanon. what are you picking up in haifa right now, sarah? >> reporter: well, we can tell you that the israeli military, after assessing the situation,
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has put a couple of iron dome systems in place. those are the antimissile systems that were used, as you remember, wolf, just in 2012 to a great fanfare, people saying they were able to knock out a lot of short-range missiles. those have been put in place here because the military deems this is where they are needed at this time on the northern border, both in this area and also the border with syria. what we can tell you is that for the most part, we're not hearing anything officially from the israeli government. they are not confirming or denying that they had anything to do with the strike, that the u.s. now has confirmed that they believe israel did perform that would be the third strike this year that israel's accused of hitting targets inside of syria. time and again, israel has said that it will not allow any kind of weaponry, whether it is dangerous conventional weapons or whether it is chemical
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weapons, weapons of mass destruction, to be moved from inside syria into the hands of its long-time enemy, hezbollah, which is backed by iran and exists in lebanon. what we can also tell you is that the mayor here in haifa, who is here in 2006 when the rockets became flying over this border and crashing into his city, he has taken another step and he's basically said, we want to make sure that everyone is prepared and we have put the city on high alert. >> 2006 the war started here, this was something which was very unexpected, because this city was never under war, never under shelf rockets, and during four months we were under shell of rockets, about 300 or 400 missiles were shot at us. the distance from lebanon to haifa is 15 miles, which is nothing, and actually i can see the citizens of lebanon from
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here. so, i decided that i'm not giving any chance to play around with me. >> reporter: now, while you're hearing his concern about the heightened tensions here, we did hear from a major general, who is the commander here in the northern part of the country, and he talked about the fact that you are not hearing the winds of war, and so trying to tamp down on some of those concerns about tensions rising. we do know, though, there have been two mortars that have come from syria that have landed in the golan heights area. we know that the israeli military have made complaints, as they normally would, to the u.n. about the mortars coming over, but we also know they do not believe israel was targeted with those mortars, but, indeed, it was because of the fighting going on between the rebels and the syrian regime, which is so close to the border that oftentimes you'll find that some
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of those mortars and missiles will spill over into israel. >> i remember when haifa was on lockdown during the month back in 2006 when those mortars were coming in, those rockets coming in from lebanon. let me go back to damascus right now. fred, as you know and all of our viewers probably know by now, back in 2007 the israelis did launch an air strike that destroyed what was then a syrian nuclear reactor and the israelis knocked that out. i assume the syrian military is bracing for more israeli strikes, if, in fact, the israelis determine that there are weapons being shipped from iran through syria to hezbollah, which could further threaten israel in the north, including haifa. are they bracing for more of this? >> reporter: well, they certainly are. they certainly expect that some of this could happen again. that's certainly one of the things the deputy foreign minister told me, as well, but the sense i got from my interview with him and talking with other officials, at this
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point in time, the syrians don't really want to pick a fight with the israelis, and certainly, the israeli government, if it is true they were targeting, for instance, iranian weapons that were in that facility, potentially were bound for hezbollah, they definitely sent a clear message to hezbollah, to the syrians, and to the iranians, as well, that they are not going to take any of this. and neither of those three sides, at this point in time, seem to be wanting to pick a fight with the israelis, because, of course, they have so much on their hands here in the syrian conflict itself. at the point in time that this big attack happened, the syrians believed they were making gains on the battlefield. there was a big offensive going on here last week by the syrian government against the opposition forces. they took back some areas here in damascus. they took back areas in homs, and now they say all of that is up for grabs again, because so much of their arsenal and a lot of the headquarters of their elite units were wiped out by this air strike and they need to regroup now. certainly, they are bracing for more of this, and it stands to
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believe that potentially they will alter their tactics to either if they are trafficking weapons to try and do that in a more secretive way or potentially stop that, at least for awhile. certainly, they seem to know that there is very little that they can do to stop the israelis from striking here in their country. and one of the things that, of course, is quite significant, is that when that strike was going on, the syrian air force did not launch any planes to try and prevent it, wolf. >> interesting. all right. stand by, both of you. excellent work, fred pleitgen in damascus, sarah sidner in haifa for us. my own suspicions were they were trying to send a message, not just to bashar al-assad, but probably more importantly to both iran and hezbollah in lebanon. the white house, of course, keeping an anxious eye on all of these developments. and the world is watching to see what president obama plans to do about all of this. let's go to the white house. our correspondent, dan lothian
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is working this part of the story. what are you picking up over there, dan? >> reporter: wolf, the white house is not backing off on the use of chemical weapons inside syria. in fact, jay carney today insisted the president never said if "x" happens, then "y" will happen, but it was widely viewed, that red line, as a military action that the u.s. would take. now there's a lot of pressure on this white house to respond. as president obama searches for common ground on his domestic agenda during a bipartisan golf game, a major foreign policy challenge looms in syria. >> i think it would be adequate for him to send a very firm message, perhaps in the form of a few cruise missiles. >> reporter: but republican senator john mccain labeled the white house response so far a tragedy. >> the president has avoided involvement in syria, much to the shame and disgrace of the united states of america. >> is this an accurate or inaccurate portrayal of how the president has been handling?
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>> we strongly disagree with those comments. the fact of the matter is, jumping to conclusions and acting before you have all the facts is not a good recipe for weighty policy decision making. >> reporter: and white house aides argue the administration has taken significant steps, including tens of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid to the syrian people and distance to the opposition, but what happens next, arm the rebels, a no-fly zone to protect them? the president won't rule anything out except, it seems, u.s. troops on the ground. >> i do not foresee a scenario in which boots on the ground in syria, american boots on the ground in syria, would not only be good for america, but also would be good for syria. >> reporter: now, russia will be a key player in all of this, whether it's in greater intervention in syria or also, perhaps, persuading assad to
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step aside. all of this will be on the agenda as secretary of state john kerry heads to moscow later this night. >> thanks very much. much more on this story coming up. the stakes for the u.s. enormous, christiane amanpour, fareed zakaria will tell us what all of this means for president obama, his administration, what are his options in syria? stand by for that. and cash payments. millions and millions of dollars in cash, bag fulls of cash continuing to go to the afghan president, hamid karzai. i'll talk to a u.s. senator who's very outraged by all of this. a republican senator who actually played golf with the president today, bob corker. he's here live this hour in "the situation room." to eat. then rest. to fuel the metabolic cycle they were born to have,
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♪ [ female announcer ] nothing gets you going quite like the power of quaker oats. today is going to be epic. quaker up. shortly to christiane amanpour and fareed zakaria on president obama's options in dealing with the escalating crisis in syria shortly.
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but right now, new developments in the boston marathon bombing probe, a law enforcement official telling cnn investigators believe the suspect tamerlan tsarnaev accessed al qaeda's english language web magazine "inspire" on a computer found in his home in cambridge. the website has instructions on bomb making. and the funeral director handling tsarnaev's body says he can't find a cemetery that will take the accused bomber's remains. also, one of the three friends accused of helping dzhokhar tsarnaev cover up the alleged crime has been released on bond. he's now in his mother's custody and will have electronic monitoring. meanwhile, the father of another young man accused of helping with the coverup is speaking out and spoke exclusively to cnn's national correspondent susan candiotti. >> reporter: to hear him tell
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it, his son is a scared teenager who never wanted to help a suspected bomber escape justice. we spoke with him through a cnn interpreter. >> translator: it's just my son happened to be at the wrong place and at the wrong time and with the young people. >> reporter: his father disclosed exclusively to cnn details of a 40-minute jailhouse meeting with his son, separated by glass, he demanded answers. did his son and dias kadyrbayev try to help a subpoenas suspected bomber? the fbi accuses them of grabbing backpacks, fireworks, and vaseline, and throwing them in a dumpster. >> translator: i said, you wanted to help dzhokhar? he said, dad, if we wanted to help him right now, then we would throw the laptop out, but we didn't want to throw anything out.
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it's just kadyrbayev got scared and he threw out just the bag. if we wanted to help him, then we would have thrown out the laptop, too, then we'd bury the bag in the ground. >> reporter: after his son and roommate first saw the images released by the fbi post-bombing, his father admits they texted dzhokhar asking whether he was the bomber, but thought dzhokhar was fooling around. >> translator: my son is telling me that it was said to him as a joke. >> reporter: the next morning, a friend called them in the presence of the fbi. >> translator: he goes, where are you running around, the fbi is looking for you. and my son told him, give the phone to an agent and said, we're here. this is our address. we didn't go anywhere. >> reporter: before long, an army of agents surrounded his
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son's apartment, looking for suspect dzhokhar and his friends. >> oh, my god, you think it's him? >> put your hands up and no one will get hurt. >> translator: it was like a movie. it was a shock that they surrounded our house in helmets and machine guns. they walked into the house and right away three lasers were on me. we got really scared. so, they said, here's the laptop. then the fbi asked them for their permission to take their laptops and their phones. >> reporter: azamat told his father the fbi questioned him for ten hours. he was released temporarily and called his dad. >> translator: i asked my son right away, son, are you involved in anything? he said, dad, absolutely not. i told him then, you need to fully cooperate with the fbi agents, answer all their
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questions. >> reporter: i asked azamat's father whether his son was naive. >> translator: he's a 19-year-old guy. i have a ph.d and cannot figure out your theory of conspiracy, but a 19 year old, how is he supposed to understand? >> reporter: now in jail and unable to watch the news, azamat tells his father he's not convinced dzhokhar is a killer. >> translator: he says to me, if he did that, he's a monster. >> reporter: well, azamat's father says his son loves america, wants to be an oil engineer like his father and go back home again. will he get that chance? well, the fbi does not buy his version of events and believes that he and his roommate both deliberately attempted to hide evidence in this case. of course, this all could come
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up in a trial. we'll have to wait and see, wolf. >> interesting stuff. all right, thanks very much, susan candiotti on the scene in boston. coming up, north korea has now taken a step, get this, in the other direction. new information coming in. and christiane amanpour and fareed zakaria, they will take a closer look at president obama's options right now in syria. a zip line in the jungle.son i'm really glad that girl stayed at home. vo: expedia helps 30 million travelers a month find what they're looking for. one traveler at a time. expedia. find yours. thto fight chronic. osteoarthritis pain. to fight chronic low back pain. to take action. to take the next step. today, you will know you did something for your pain. cymbalta can help. cymbalta is a pain reliever fda-approved to manage chronic musculoskeletal pain. one non-narcotic pill a day, every day,
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the one fund boston has raised more than $28 million. wolf? >> good cause. thanks very much, mary. fear of a new middle east war after israel bombs targets in syria. cnn's christiane amanpour and fareed zakaria are both here. plus, a bride celebration ends in tragedy. half of the bachelorette party,
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we're following a disturbing twist and the rising tensions in the middle east right now after israel bombed syrian missile depots allegedly containing iranian made weapons bound for hezbollah. christiane amanpour and fareed zakaria are once again joining us here in "the situation room." christiane, what's the likely
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impacts as these israeli air strikes against targets in syria on the u.s., on the obama administration, what will be the impact as far as the president is concerned? >> well, i think that two impacts here, israel laid down a red line and met it once it was crossed. in other words, israel's red line is the no advanced weaponry goes to hezbollah from iran through damascus. it's not the first time that it has launched strikes on military targets to make sure that doesn't happen. whether it has an impact on the obama administration remains to be seen, but clearly, people are worried about a wider war. i just spoke to a top former israeli security official who confirms what other israeli officials have said today, a, they needed to conduct these strikes against those weapons and against that military installation, b, they have no fight with the assad regime, and that is the message they are sending loud and clear. they are bending over backwards to do that, saying we're not trying to help the rebels, we're just trying to protect
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ourselves. and, c, they don't believe or at least they've calculated the risk they will not see any retaliation by the assad regime. >> in your sense, fareed, does it ease the pressure on the obama administration to intervene militariry or increases the pressure on them to follow, for example, what the israelis are now doing, these targeted air strikes? >> i suppose in some sense it increases the pressure because as christiane says, israelis set a red line and they met it. it would be unfortunate if that were the logic that drew us in, because what we now know from very good reporting is that the administration did not intend to set a kind of hard red line about chemical gas, they need to ask the broader question, what are american interests in this conflict? israel has very clear and legitimate concerns about a transfer of weapons to hezbollah, which is an organization they still fight with constantly. the united states has no such pressing national security interests, so the question
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becomes, what would be the trigger? why should we get involved in what is increasingly a deep and enduring sectarian war, and i would hope that we would ask that question carefully, without feeling that we fumble into the situation because the president perhaps somewhat carelessly used rhetoric about a red line. remember, nobody is going to remember that rhetoric three or six months into it if we have interve intervened. what we will remember is we're in the middle of a civil war. are we making things better, or are things deteriorating, and if we can figure out a plan for an american intervention that would actually resolve this, i'd be all in favor. i haven't seen one yet, and i would think the obama administration would be pretty disciplined about setting that as the test, not whether or not some imaginary red line has been crossed. >> red line as you know, christiane, was intended if the syrians were to use chemical weapons against their own people or transfer chemical weapons to
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hezbollah or another terrorist group, the u.s. would do something, but now united nations officials are suggesting it's the rebels who used the chemical weapons as opposed to the regime of the syrian president bashar al-assad, to which jay carney, the white house press secretary today, responded with this. listen. >> we are highly skeptical of suggestions that the opposition could have or did use chemical weapons. we find it highly likely that any chemical weapon use that has taken place in syria was done by the assad regime, and that remains our position. >> so, what do you make of the murkiness, christiane, of all of this? >> i think there's a lot of murkiness because nobody quite knows what to do, and i would say the reporting about whether the president meant or didn't mean the red line is, again, by jay carney being clarified today, and he said that wasn't off the cuff or ad libbed, that red line was something the president intended to set. having said that, obviously,
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there's all these caveats they need to be absolutely sure that they need proof, they need to make sure it was the assad regime and not some rogue assad militia or whatever it is. it appears that red line, according to jay carney, was an intentional marker. what to do, it's unclear. certainly, the waters are being muddied day by day and there's a massive, furious argument going on in the united states now about pro and con, should there be an intervention. i spoke to the first prime minister of the syrian exile groups, and he is basically said that, look, again, we don't want any boots on the ground, but you guys have to consider and calculate whether you want to shore us up the moderates or whether we want to just see the weapons keep going to the jihadis and this and that. so, once again, they are calling for certain things that have been floated that could possibly happen. give the opposition antitank
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weapons, give them stinger-like antiaircraft missiles, put up a no-fly zone. i know that's on the outside of the spectrum of intervention, but that's what they are asking for and keep saying no boots on the ground. >> i don't think anyone anticipates, fareed, the u.s. will send troops on the ground, but i think a lot of people would not be totally shocked if the u.s. were to do in syria what it did in libya, start sending cruise missiles in and going after certain targets, for example, not flying planes over and launching air-to-ground missiles, but sending some cruise missiles in, hitting some targets. would that shock you if the u.s. were to do that? >> it wouldn't shock me, because there is this pressure building, but i would point out, you know, it sounds very simple and antiseptic, but when sending cruise missiles in is another way of going to war with a country. you are actually going to war with the country, you are then responsible for what happens in two senses, one, what if the cruise missiles don't work, what
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do you do then, you then have to ratchet up the pressure. once engaged, you have to insure the outcome is going to come your way. i wouldn't draw an arbitrary line at that point between boots on ground or anything. if you are engaged to destroy u need to destroy and defeat the assad regime. but that's just the beginning. the assad regime will not give up like that. i don't think you can pretend you can surgically lob a few cruise missiles in and kind of hope and see what happens. we would be fully engaged and we would have to insure the right outcome. >> yep. good point, fareed. thanks very much, christiane, of course, thanks to you. we'll check back with both of you, hopefully, tomorrow. you can get much more from christiane amanpour monday through friday, 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. eastern. also, fareed zakaria airs here on cnn sundays 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. eastern. coming up, a powerful fire
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kills five people on a bachelorette party, including the bride-to-be. now the limo driver who escaped with his life is speaking to cnn. i work for 47 different companies. well, technically i work for one. that company, the united states postal service® works for thousands of home businesses. because at® you can pay, print and have your packages picked up for free. i can even drop off free boxes. i wear a lot of hats. well, technically i wear one. the u.s. postal service®, no business too small.
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now a very sad story. officials are trying to determine what caused a limousine to catch fire on a bridge over san francisco bay, killing fife members of a bachelorette party, including the bride-to-be. cnn's dan simon is on the scene. >> in this situation, you always would feel that you could do more, you know, you could have
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done more. i don't know, you know, it's just everything happened so fast. >> reporter: visibly tired and distraught, orville brown tries to explain the tragic circumstances behind the fire that killed five of his passengers saturday night. he had a total of nine women in the vehicle, including 31-year-old bride who was to travel to her night iphilippines last month to be married. and the group, all nurses, had come together for a bachelorette party. >> one of the ladies knocked on the partition, she said smoke, i figured she was asking to smoke a cigarette. >> reporter: then brown smells the smoke and hears the frantic call from the women. he stops his car in the middle of the san mateo hayward bridge. >> as soon as i pulled over, one of the ladies hopped through the partition. i unlocked the door, the lady hops through the partition, and at that point there's two cars, one in front of us, i believe, one in back of us, and these guys are trying to help.
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>> reporter: within seconds, he says, the entire car had burst into flames. brown can only guess what caused the fire. >> i'm really not sure. i know it wasn't gas related and the car didn't blow up, it just engulfed in flames. i smelled carpet, i smelled wiring, i smelled plastic. to me, in my opinion, it probably was electrical. >> reporter: investigators say it will take several days to determine the cause. mean while, the county coroner said this about the victims who were unable to get out. >> they were getting away from the fire and that's why they were in the front towards the partition. you could also probably say they were trying to get out, as well. >> reporter: brown says he doesn't know what he could have done differently. he had this message to the victims' families. >> i'm sorry, personally. and my heart goes out to you. i feel for you. i wish there was something that i could tell you, because i know you guys are grieving.
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as well as i am. >> reporter: now, brown had only been a limo driver for two months, but prior to that he said he drove commercial vehicles and was also an airport shuttle bus driver. one thing that's also noteworthy, wolf, this particular limousine was only authorized to carry eight or fewer passengers. we know, of course, it had nine and authorities haven't said whether or not that plays any significance or not into its investigation. wolf? >> i suspect that was not necessarily the factor, but we'll see. thanks very much, dan simon reporting. what a horrible tragedy, indeed. by the way, the limo driver will be a guest later tonight on "piers morgan live," that airs 9:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. president obama went after a pair of republican senators today. he took his swings out there on the golf course with them. republican senator bob corker standing by to join us. that's next.
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it was pretty nice seeing the president get the ball out of the hole and sand it to saxby, great day. it really was a lot of fun. of course, that energized the round, as you can imagine. >> let's get to some serious stuff. especially, i know you're outraged by the fact that the united states is still handing over bags full of cash, millions and millions of u.s. taxpayer dollars to hamid karzai so he can distribute it to whomever he wants. you wrote a letter to the president. you said, the alleged arrangements make accountability impossible, promote corruption at the top levels of the afghan government, as well as break trusts with the american taxpayer. did you have a chance to raise this issue with the president on the golf course today? >> you know, as i mentioned, wolf, we all agreed we weren't going to talk about what was talked about from the standpoint of policy and that kind of thing.
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i am awaiting an answer, and i want a written response. obviously, there are multiple agencies involved in dealing with karzai, and when you have the cia, which apparently alleg bags of cash, we have no accountability. we were talking a little bit off air, especially with this leader, especially with the corruption in afghanistan. and when you think about what us going into other countries, hopefully not with boots on the ground, but ate infects how we deal with countries like syria evener places when they know we have been dealing -- let me put it this way, allegedly, although it may well be true, be delivering cash to a leader like karzai, possibly to relatives throughout the country. i mean it's just no way for us to be dealing with other governments. so i'm disappointed. i do want to understand why. and i want to understand if even other agencies are aware that this taking place. i think you know the defense department does certain things. our state department does certain things. here the cia allegedly was
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delivering suitcases full of cash. and, again, how do you account for that? how do you no he that these are working towards an end that is actually in our national interest? so, yes, i would like to have an answer. i'm sure i will get one soon. >> i want to point out, based on everything i've heard, senator, and i'm sure you've heard the same thing this is not just the obama administration this goes back for years and years and years during the bush administration, the cia was handing out huge bags of cash, millions and millions of dollars going to karzai for him to do with what he wants with no accountability whatsoever. but that's just millions. maybe tens of millions, maybe a few hundred million dollars in cash. but here's the real issue. the u.s. is still shelling out even in the midst of all the forced budget cuts at home right now $2 billion a week to maintain 60,000 or 70,000 troops in afghanistan, to build roads, bridges, schools, hospitals there. can you justify $2 billion a
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week that u.s. taxpayers are spending in afghanistan? >> wolf, as you know, we're winding down. i raised questions two years ago when we really began this nation building effort. it was a very different policy. it was three years ago than what we had been carrying out. i think the nation building that we've conducted there is actually led to much of the corruption that has occurred there. even after we releave, even aft that, there will be a huge number of troops on the ground that will be afghany, will have police on the ground that will be afghany. our contribution to afghanistan will go on for years as it will from allies who helped us in this aefrt. again, we understand that. as part of transitioning, that's the kind of thing that is going to occur. but there's a accountability that goes with that. at least we try have some.
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bagfuls of cash, as you rightly mention for the last decade, there is no accountability. and, again, it breeds the kind of thing that we're really trying to keep from happening. there one of our big efforted, wolf, as you know, has been to try to get the government from being corrupt but yet it appears that we are participating in that process ourselves. >> and i wonder how much of those millions of u.s. taxpayer dollars are winding up in swiss bank, accounts or in dubai or ab u daby or some place else for the local guys. let us know when you get an answer from the white house, from the president on this issue because based on the tweets that i've been getting from my followers out there on twitter, senator, the folks are -- the blood is boiling when they hear about this kind of stuff, especially at a time of these forced budget cuts here at home. senator, thanks very much for coming in. >> thank you very much, i appreciate it. thank you. >> a 3-d plastic gun is fired. erin burnett is going "outfront" with that and a lot more at the
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top of the hour. set the scene. that, is similar to a lot of .38 handguns out there. and it turns out that chuck schumer thinks that will be banned. and also we'll have background checks passed by the end of the year. the expanded background checks that have been a failure for the administration. he's going to be our special guest at the top of the hour. plus, the radical jihady web sites, one of which was allegedly part of the radicalization of tamerlan tsarnaev, we're going to talk about the web sites and how they recruit terrorists and the most amazing part, how law enforcement can do so very little about who's on those sites. you can go on it and they can't seem to watch you. we have a special "outfront" investigation on that at the top of the hour. back to you. >> looking forward to it. thank you. governor chris christie criticized frequently comes with the territory when you're a politician. but what he's getting flack for now, hardly seems fair. ♪
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squishing that spider. he probably did it without thinking. some people put the spider outside. spiders are often scary to people and that can prevent them from pondering their worth. for what it's worth, governor christie called the spider smackdown a fun part about being governor. >> any bugs on your desk, you're allowed to kill them and i get in trouble. >> the governor isn't the first poef to perform a public execution. the president did it not with a swatter but with his bear hands. on camera during a cnbc interview. >> nice. >> now, where were we? >> before murdering a fly. peta said they sent the president a humane bug catcher. peta didn't have to send one to mahmoud ahmadinejad because he missed. actually, what the governor did was almost humane compared to what one of the kids suggested. listen closely as they crowd around the doomed spider. >> let's staple him. >> oh, no he didn't.
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>> let's staple him. >> whether you call him -- ♪ >> he ended up in bits thanks to the not so itsy bitsy governor of new jersey. jeannie moos, cnn, new york. >> that's it for me. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. >> "outfront" next. new allegations to night that u.s. military could have done more on the attacks on the american consulate in libya. plus, a man uses a 3-d printer to produce a handgun that can kill people. let's make it easier for terrorists to operate gun factories in their homes? the latest on the boston terror attack. what investigators are saying tonight about tamerlan tsarnaev's wife. you see her there, and his computer. let's go "outfront".