tv Legal View With Ashleigh Banfield CNN September 18, 2014 9:00am-10:01am PDT
this hour. keep up the great work. >> well done. >> that's it for us "at this hour." really. did you just beyonce? i've seen the song once. this much connection to popular culture. i had to bring it. "legal view with ashley banfield" starts right now. this is cnn breaking news. hello, everyone. i'm ashleigh banfield. welcome to "legal view." the breaking news in the fight against isis. secretary of defense chuck hagel just told congress moments ago that top military officials have now signed off on that plan for launching air strikes against isis targets inside syria. secretary hagel also said the president was briefed on those plans during his centcom visit on wednesday, but cnn's barbara starr is reporting the president has not yet signed off on those plans. stay tuned for that.
in the meantime we're also following a big story out of australia where a grisly terror plot in the country's biggest city was foiled in the nick of time. a sobering reminder that isis could attack anywhere at any time. but is anything similar here in the works? here in the u.s., the danger isis poses to the united states is top priority right now on capitol hill. if you need proof of that, pictures on your screen right now. these are live pictures, the secretary of defense chuck hagel and the secretary of state john kerry have been briefing two different house committees about this war against isis. it's their second day on the hill fest testifying about this extremist group. australia has raised its terror level, its alert at the highest level, after raids in sydney this morning stopped isis sympathizers from carrying out a demonstration killing. that's a quote, demonstration killing. effectively it means this, get
ready, they were planning to kidnap a random person and then behead that person in public. all the while videotaping it. all this as president obama is trying to convince congress his plan to take on isis is the right path. the house passed obama's plan to arm and train moderate syrian rebels on wednesday. that said, 71 democrats broke rank with the president and voted against that bill. some of them saying they just don't trust those rebels, moderate or not, and that they just don't think the plan will work. the senate is expected to vote on that measure a little later on today. it seems isis does pose a credible threat to europe, america and now australia. cnn's ivan watson begins our coverage of the terror plot that has put another continent on edge. >> reporter: predawn raids across australia's largest city. authorities are calling it the country's biggest ever
anti-terror operation. armed with dozens of search warrants, australian security forces detained at least 15 suspects. the australian media reporting disturbing details. the suspects allegedly planned to film the public beheading of a random individual and then drape the body in the black flag of isis. >> of serious concern right at the heart of our communities we have people that are planning to conduct random attacks and today, we've worked together to make sure that didn't happen. we have, in fact, disrupted that particular attack. >> reporter: among the suspects detained, a man named omar john azari who appeared briefly in a sydney court, charged with a terrorism-related offense. he did not enter a plea. his neighbors shocked a suspected terrorist lived next door. >> i never thought i would see anything like this. >> actually quite frightening. my heart is pounding. >> reporter: tony abbott
believes at least 60 australians are fighting alongside isis and other militant groups in the middle east. he's repeatedly voiced fear these australian jihadis could pose a threat if they come home. intelligence revealed isis was urging home grown sympathizers to carry out attacks in australia. >> quite direct exhortations were coming from an australian who is apparently quite senior in isil to networks of support back in australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country. last week, australia raised its threat level to high for the first time in the country's history. warning a terrorist attack is likely. ivan watson, cnn, hong kong. as we showed you earlier, secretary of defense chuck hagel is testifying right now in front of the house armed services committee about the threat that
isis poses. here is what he said a short time ago. >> assistance we initially provide would consist of small arms, vehicles, and basic equipment like communications, as well as tactical and more advanced training. as these forces prove their effectiveness on the battlefield, we would be prepared to provide increasingly sophisticated types of assistance to the most trusted commanders and capable forces. the goal is not to achieve numerical parody with isis, but to ensure moderate syrian forces are superior fighters. >> so is this the clue to how this vetting process is supposed to happen? is this the answer to the question so many people have been asking about these so-called moderate forces and how we could possibly vet these people to know that they're actually friendlies and might not turn those weapons against american forces in the future? is this maybe the answer?
joining me to talk about this threat is cnn's national security analyst peter bergen. i think it's the first time i've heard this strategy. we will doll out the goods in dribs and drabs. little bits of equipment first and when you prove yourself on the battlefield the big guns start coming afterwards. does that make sense to you? >> it does, but there's one i think, ashleigh, potential flaw which is, you know, some of these moderate groups have not been particularly good at fighting compared to isis and they may lose in a battle and their equipment may be taken by isis. i mean every time you put more arms into a conflict zone, there remains the possibility that isis can capture them and we saw, you know, when they took much of northern iraq, that they seized tanks and armored personnel carriers and the like with relative ease from the iraqi army. how you prevent against that, i don't know. >> and the secretary just actually listed out the kinds of things they would be prepared to start supplying. small arms, vehicles, basic equipment like communications,
as well as tactical and more advanced training, but then you heard the secretary just say on capitol hill, after that, when the forces prove their effectiveness, then perhaps they'd go on to provide the more sophisticated engagement. at the same time, peter, this is where i see the disconnect. if you have to fight a force like isis is communications and small arms going to help you do that? how will you be able to prove yourself on the battlefield unless you're dead by that point? >> the fact is, this is a plan and we can pick it apart. it's going to -- no plan is perfect. but i mean i think this is better than probably nothing in terms of the conflict. a lot of academic literature on how long civil wars go on for. typically they average about 10 to 15 years. and we've seen insurgencies the type in syria go on for 50 years, in colombia the farc go on for that period of time. this is not a short-term conflict. this is -- the viewers should
understand that the united states is probably going to be engaged in this long after president barack obama has left office. and, you know, this is the beginning of something. this is not the end of something. machiavelli said a long time, wars begin when you will, but they do not end at a time of your choosing. and we've seen that, you know, we're still in america's longest war in afghanistan. no one thought it would be going on now for 13 years. it's a beginning of a plan. it's not, you know -- there will be other dimensions of this going forward. >> i think we'll be wpsing a lot of the fine tuning day to day. good to see you. thank you, sir. >> thank you, ashleigh. another big story we're following domestic abuse cases in the nfl and there is yet another player who's been arrested. arizona's jonathan dwyer charged just last night and another day with no sign of the nfl commissioner roger goodell. what can he do? what should he do to deal with
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another day, another nfl player charged with domestic abuse. this time, arizona. it's the cardinals' running back jonathan dwrir arrested on domestic charges last night deactivated by that team. his alleged victims are a 27-year-old woman and an 18-month-old child. he joins three other big stars who have been banned from playing the field for off-field violence. in the meantime the ceo of
pepsico has released a very strong statement about the nfl's woes and we got our hands on it. our poppy harlow got her hands on it. this is what the quote says. i am a mother, a wife, and a passionate football fan. i am deeply disturbed that the repugnant behavior of a few players and the nfl's acknowledged mishandling of these issues is casting a cloud over the integrity of the league and the reputations of the majority of players who dedicated their lives to a career they love. when it comes to child abuse and dough mystic violence, there is no middle ground. goes on to say pepsico has a long-standing relationship with the nfl that will continue. she is confident, she says, nfl commissioner roger goodell will do the right thing. but she certainly stopped short of saying we're going to stop paying and start making bigger threats. instead she says he's a good
guy. my panel joining me is keith reid the former senior ed for for espn the magazine and sports business analyst, cnn legal analyst mel robins and paula cou hen. these strong statements have come out from other sponsors but no show me the money. this is terrible. chicken little. but they don't put the money where the mouths are. >> yes. >> does that matter? >> it does matter. radson pulled their sponsorship, individual corporate brands like nike have pulled their relationships with players, and it's great that you've got the ceo of pepsico coming out, but they're paying the nfl money. it's not like they're earning money from the nfl. you need to cut off the corporate dollars if you really want to send a message. >> the message isn't enough. the repugnant and awful and everything, all that sort of very strident language. i want to show you guys the front and rear pages, because they're sometimes just as important of some of the new york papers.
i've got my hand covering this one. hold on. eli manning, he's had it. he's had enough. he was vocal about it saying, you know, man to men, that's enough. players, we can't have this. i want to get your take on whether this is going to be the most powerful part in this fight, when fellow players stand up and start, you know, calling out the actions of their colleagues? as opposed to roger goodell who has been silent. >> yeah. i honestly think in this case, it's kind of easy for eli manning to do that. that's the easiest thing for a player of his statute, the starting quarterback, super bowl winning twice quarterback for the new york giants, to say hey, don't hit kids and women. that's pretty easy thing to say. under these circumstances. is it going to mean anything to the guys not in his locker room who don't play with him? i don't know that it will. there are guys -- >> but it's the first -- i mean really, we rarely hear this so it's sort of a first step, isn't it some plenty of winning players who had an easy shot and
didn't take it. >> there was a story that came out i think today on-line i think, "time" magazine, took a shot at tom brady the most famous quarterback in the league, refused to address the issue. i don't think it's tom brady's responsibility to address the issue. he can't dictate what other players -- >> but it's conduct. >> came out and supported good sol he's not going to step out of line. >> he es going to play the company line because that's who tom brady is and that new england patriots organization does. but you're right, it is his product but is it his responsibility to govern the off-the-field activities and the off-the-field behavior of every player, almost 2,000 guys in the nfl, is that tom brady's responsibility? i don't think that it is. >> except, keith, the one thing to keep in mind is that as a leader, the guys that are in trouble are casting a huge shadow over the nfl. if i'm in the nfl and i'm a super star, i absolutely would be like, this is ridiculous,
guys. >> knock it off. >> you're tarnishing the brand. >> you're taking it in quietly. >> i'm waiting for the legal angle. >> like roger goodell is doing. when i said he's been silent, he talked a little bit, days and days ago, but this juggernaut has been rolling out of control and he's barely coming out of his house. this is a problem, isn't it? if you're talking about leadership? >> well, yeah. i think it's a problem and i've said it from the beginning. he's been a problem but he's been so successful from a financial standpoint that early on, everybody was saying nobody is going to touch the guy. you know, the nfl is being struck by what hit other profession a long time ago. even the legal profession for that matter. i remember as a young prosecutor when i would stand up in court next to a woman who had been abused who wanted to drop the charges the next morning when her husband gets out of jail, in the early days they used to be dropped if the woman wanted to do that. times have changed now. we know that abused women go on to be abused again, go on to be killed, and i don't know where the nfl has been on this, but everybody else seems to have
caught up with this idea that it's no longer a slap on the wrist crime. >> unfortunately, i have to leave it there. i got so many other topics on the agenda today. by the way, full open invitation to eli manning and anyone else in the nfl, if you want to come on this platform i will give you a load of air time to say your peace and what you think your brothers in the league should and shouldn't be doing. keith, paul, mel, thank you very much. appreciate it. a new development in the shooting death of an unarmed teenager, michael brown. in an unusual move, the officer who shot and killed him in ferguson, missouri, has testified before the grand jury. the grand jury is deciding whether to indict officer darren wilson for a crime and typically defendants don't really do this. why do you suppose he did? legal view on that next. big day? ah, the usual. moved some new cars. hauled a bunch of steel.
it's fairly rare for a grand jury to hear from the target of an investigation, a defendant. but that is apparently what's happened in ferguson, missouri. the st. louis post dispatch is reporting that darren wilson, the police officer who shot and killed michael brown, testified just yesterday for almost four hours. now make no mistake, the officer didn't have to testify. he chose to. and the prosecutors in this case had to extend the invitation as well. i want to bring back our cnn legal analyst paul cou when and mel robbins. much ado being made about the notion the officer sat in the chair for four hours. what do you make of it? >> it is unusual for a defendant to appear in the grand jury. usually defense lawyers say hey,
he'll make his statement in front of a jury, because he's going to get indicted anyway, i'm not going to put him in front of a grand jury. the decision to put this officer in front of the grand jury was an important one because, obviously, the defense thinks he's a compelling witness and he's going to convince these jurors not to indict. the four hours says to me, that he was subjected to gruelling cross-examination. remember, there's no defense attorney. >> you don't know that it's gruelling. >> i'm speculating. nobody knows because the grand jury is secret. i can tell you with no judge in the room if the prosecutor wants to go after you aggressively he can and the grand jurors can ask questions as well. >> he's sitting outside the door. you're allowed -- >> a police officer probably also testified before grand juries before. >> never when he's the subject of the investigation and he can go out and ask his lawyer a question but looks bad to the grand jury. i would always say to a client, hey, don't come out to see me unless you really have to. >> unless you're desperate. the competing wisdom here it
could be that yes, perhaps the truth is so compelling and innocence he could carry it to the other grand jury. the other way of thinking these people are all in bed with one another, the two prosecutors are probably so friendly with the police officer that just with the tone of voice and way they ask their questions they can convince the jury -- >> i don't know. this is st. louis. they may not know this police officer personally. i don't know that they're necessarily going to be friendly to him. but when i think about why he's going in, the reason why is this case will hinge, ashleigh, on whether or not his claims of self-defense are credible. yes, there are seven eyewitnesses that we know of that all claim that they saw michael brown with his hands up and that's hugely compelling. however, in the state of missouri, a police officer can use deadly force to stop a fleeing felon if he has probable cause that he's fleeing the scene of a violent felony. and --
>> even if his hands are up and in surrender. >> i have a hard time with that. >> that is the law. and the fact is, if this police officer is credible and convincing, that he -- that the assault happened which would be a violent felony, then under the law he may be justified. >> let me just say this, though, about what's going on here. what's unusual about this is, if the prosecutor wants to get a conviction and i've presented many cases to the grand jury, all he had to do was present two or three witnesses who are -- >> two women are prosecuting this case by the way. >> present the three strongest eye witnesses and then submit the case to the grand jury. remember the prosecutor controls the submission of evidence. so he could have done that if he wanted a slam dunk indictment. instead, the prosecutor has chosen to do the politically safe thing which is, i'm going to present everything. okay. they have said we've put every witness in front of the grand jury who's come forward and he's going to throw it to the grand jury and say to them, it's up to you. >> what else he announced
yesterday, that if there's no indictment in this case, he will immediately release the transcripts and the audio which is hugely -- >> the grand jury is for. >> yes. >> the grand jury exists for this very reason so it's not up to the prosecutor, it's up to ordinary citizens to make this very, very important decision. i'm glad he's going this route and going to release the transcript and everybody can judge whether it was a fair presentation. >> just a fine point. sometimes it doesn't matter but i think in this case so much matters, the prosecutors are inside that grand jury room are two women, one white, one black, and then, of course, the makeup that we've already announced before, it's a mixed jury as well. both of you, clearly this is not over. three african-americans and nine caucasians on that grand jury and wouldn't be amazing if we got to read all the transcripts. thank you. back to one of our top stories the terror group isis uses bombs, guns, knives, you've seen all that, the slickry produced propaganda violence to instill fear, but there's
another weapon they use and it really doesn't get talked about much. but it is as devastating. that's coming up next. my motheit's delicious. toffee in the world. so now we've turned her toffee into a business. my goal was to take an idea and make it happen. i'm janet long and i formed my toffee company through legalzoom. i never really thought i would make money doing what i love. we created legalzoom to help people start their business and launch their dreams. go to legalzoom.com today and make your business dream a reality. at legalzoom.com we put the law on your side. this is charlie. his long day of doing it himself starts with back pain... and a choice. take 4 advil in a day or just 2 aleve for all day relief. honey, you did it! baby laughs!
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this is a disturbing development because in all likelihood the women and children in those villages now face an unspeakable nightmare as isis fighters routinely carry out wholesale rape against their victims. president obama said as much about this despicable tactic just one week ago. >> in the region that has known so much bloodshed these terrorists are unique in their brutality. they execute captured prisoners. they kill children. they enslave, rape, and force women into marriage. >> co-authored an article about this in policy magazine, both cia analysts deeply focused on the iraq insurgency a decade ago. thank you to both of you. tara, if i can start with you. there are so many stories that are sort of coming out of the
crisis zone. "the washington post" detailed the horrors of the mosul jail where women are rounded up and held there, forced to convert and if they don't they face daily rapes and murders. it is awful what we're hearing. what is the exes tent of what you're hearing from groups that are recognized who can go on the record and say definitively x, y and z, that's happening? >> well, actually, as we wrote in our piece, there have been scattered reports from the u.n. from amnesty international and media press reports on the ground about women and children being raped, having sexual violence carried out against them. one of the things we were struck by was that it seemed to be mentioned often times in the press and policymakers as an afterthought or passing in a speech. when we worked in government and in general it's not something systematically tracked that the same way vehicle born improvised explosive devices or car bombs are tracked or assassinations
are tracked or roadside bombs are tracked. we were wondering why and the genesis of the piece. why isn't this type of violence as a tactic being tracked or garnering the same place as a market place bomb that injures or wounds people in a baghdad marketplace. that's what caught our attention about the issue and wanted to write the piece. >> you're right. i mean the amount of coverage alone on these horrible, despicable beheadings dwarfs so much of the violence that is going on day after day after day against these children. some of them barely even teenage years being sold off for marriages, being raped many times beforehand. aki if you could speak to the negs there is this competing wisdom this is either a strategy, war time strategy, to in a way ethnically cleanse their ability to even marry or pro create in the future or like the spoils of war, i hate to say this, but the fun that isis
soldiers get to have after they have conquered a village? >> absolutely. sexual violence has been around since antiquity both as a -- i guess as you said a spoils of war situation but also a very good strategy. i think that's where the united states intelligence community should really start tracking this in a much better way. just like assassination, just like bombing, just like beheading videos it seeks to garner and push a larger strategy to show that isis is here, they're a terrifying organization, and if you don't submit, they will do eterrible things to you and your family. sexual violence and the threat causes people to flee, causes people to lose faith in their government and causes people to i guess convert to their -- the isis cause much more readily because they're terrified. that's why this is the kind of metric we want to pay attention to, much more so than when tara
and i were both working for the agency. >> it's great reading. i encourage everyone to stay on this. it's important and it shouldn't be forgetpen as one of the most critical crises and tragedies of what's going on. tara and aki thanks for being with us. >> thank you very much. thousands of people gathered to pay respects to a state trooper who was ambushed and shot dead. the man suspected of shooting them, still on the loose. authorities say he's a survivalist with very good shooting skills and a big grudge against law enforcement. details on the hunt for that man next. big day? ah, the usual. moved some new cars. hauled a bunch of steel. kept the supermarket shelves stocked. made sure everyone got their latest gadgets. what's up for the next shift? ah, nothing much. just keeping the lights on.
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freinfrein. in pennsylvania a fallen officer is laid to rest and the manhunt for his suspected killer is on the move. this was a large and moving tribute for slain state trooper bryon dickson at his funeral today in scranton. dickson was gunned down friday outside his barracks in the polk mountains. dickson was an ex-marine and seven-year veteran of the state police force. he is survived by his wife and two young sons. in the meantime dickson's suspected killer is still at large. take a look.
authorities are afraid he may strike again. this is eric matthew frein. he's talked openly about killing officers and committing acts of mass murder and now he's on the run somewhere out there. rosa flores is following the story in pennsylvania. what's the latest on what they're doing to find this person? >> you know, we've seen a lot of activity this morning, ashleigh, from atf, we've seen them with dogs, seen them scouring the woods. we can also hear the helicopter overhead and so there's a lot of activity in and out of all of these roads because you've got to know that this is a very wooded area, there is roads that lead into other little roads into a lot of different little cabins an that's what complicates this search. this is not hunting season. meaning that a lot of the cabins in these dense woods are empty which is a perfect place for a wanted man to hide.
>> but rosa, what about the cabins that are occupied? what about people who live in that area? how are they being kept safe and what are they being told to do? >> you know, i'm glad that you brought that point because a lot of people here are scared. they're afraid. and when we talk about schools, schools are closed today. as a matter of fact, it's on the front page of the local paper, the mention that schools are closed, here's what is significant about this. i talked to a local here who said, you know, this is a very rural area. when we talk mass murder and you think mass murder like this man has aspired to do, they think about school, there are no malls here, no mass gatherings. the only place you see a lot of people gathered is in schools and that's why they're afraid, ashleigh, that's why they're taking that precaution. >> it's sort of an unusual story about his background, too, how he enjoyed to play these war games with other people in the
war games community, but did the police think that he is all alone in this or do they think he might be getting some help? >> you know, they're tight lipped about that. they're not mentioning if they're searching for another suspect or anything, but here's what the d.a. made very clear yesterday. he said, doesn't matter if you're a friend or family of this man, if you are helping him, if you are harboring him in any way, you will be prosecuted and i think that's the message because they also mentioned that group that you just said, this military simulation group, he says, they said if you're part of this group, helping them, helping him because they have a history of trying to help each other, you will be prosecuted. that's the overall message. >> amazing video you were running earlier of the manhunt and the dogs and officers out there in the woods. keep us updated. rosa flores, appreciate that. the leader of the embattled ukraine is in washington today
seeking to drum up support for his government as it battles pro-russian separatists in eastern ukraine. ukraine is not a member of nato, prompting this plea from petro poroshenko as he addressed a joint meeting of congress. >> with this in mind, i strongly encourage the united states to give ukraine special security and defense status which should reflect the highest level of interaction with non-nato ally. >> the ukrainian president is going to be speaking with wolf blitzer this afternoon at 4:00 on wolf blitzer's program and expected to meet with president obama and vice president biden as well as secretary of state john kerry. toronto mayor rob ford is battling a rare and aggressive cancer. he recently announced he will not run for re-election and that
he'll start chemotherapy as early as tomorrow afternoon. the cancer has spread from the fatty tissue of ford's abdomen to other parts of had his body. doctors say while the cancer is rare, they are optimistic about fighting this tumor. well, he was once the top of the fbi's most wanted list, right alongside osama bin laden. but now the notorious gangstered james whitey bulger is blocked up behind bars and convicted of murder. and the government is now auctioning off his personal items. find out what's for sale and maybe more importantly, who's going to get the proceeds just ahead. tigers, both of you. tigers? don't be modest. i see how you've been investing. setting long term goals. diversifying. dip! you got our attention. we did? of course. you're type e* well, i have been researching retirement strategies.
without question, whitey bulger became one of america's most brutal and legendary crime bosses with his winter hill gang, bulger terrorsized south boston in a reign that lasted almost three decades. he didn't even seem to fear law enforcement. in fact, he manipulated it instead and for the longest time it really seemed like no one would ever catch him. but he was caught. here's a clip from the cnn film "whitey" airing tonight. >> prosecutors describe james whitey bulger as the center of mayhem and murder in boston for 30 years as the boss of boston's notorious winter hill gang. a man so dangerous he joined osama bin laden at the top of the fbi's most wanted list.
>> it was the gang that ran a k amok. you have people who were being extorted, talked about having is shotgun barrels stuck in their mouths, machine guns pointed at their groin. >> body bags shown before bulger shakes them down. it was absolute terror. >> back then, '70s, '80s, people were missing every day. didn't come home. he's a dead man. >> so they finally got him. three years ago. just last year he was put away. the whole time he had been living in plain sight in california and accumulating a whole bunch of stuff. stuff that the government is now putting up for sale. stephanie elam has more. >> reporter: a $48,000 ring, his personal library, and an man na can whitey bulger made it appear someone was always keeping watch. seized from his santa monica
apartment those are some of the items that will be auctioned by the government. proceeds will go to the victims of bulger and his gang. >> i'm just hoping that the steps we've taken has helped to bring them some degree of justice and some degree of comfort. >> reporter: while many families support the auction, steven davis calls it an insult. >> i would like to be there, you know, to have an individual destroy it. the guy destroyed all our lives. anything he touched and involved with should be destroyed. >> i can understand that position. this was not an easy decision for us to make because in many ways, we do not really want to take any kind of steps that wou would glamourize the conduct. >> reporter: that's why only big ticket items will be sold with smaller personal items of little value kept off the auction block. >> going to victim, $800,000 found in the walls of bulger's
former apartment here in santa monica. that stash of cash that also upped the intrigue in his former residents. what was the interest like in this apartment? >> the first three or four days it was crazy. talking 200, 300 calls a day. it was madness. and then what happened, three or four days later, the reports came out that there was money hidden in the walls and that's when things just went to another level. >> reporter: after a reported renovation, the unit went back on the market this summer. asking price? nearly $3,000 a month. famously the inspiration for jack nicholson's character in "the departed" bulger has long fascinated hollywood and that will only grow with johnny depp set to play bulger in the film "black mask" coming out in 2015. >> a subject that fascinates people and add on top of that the fact that this guy lived under the noses of all the hollywood studios in santa monica for years and nobody knew he was there. >> reporter: while the film will
surely add to the bulger intrigue the victims' families say it's still about one thing, a brutal man, his victims, and a long wait for justice. >> i cry inside that i can't get even. >> reporter: stephanie elam, cnn, los angeles. thank you, stephanie. i can attest i've seen this film, it's great. learn a whole lot more about whitey bulger. film airing tonight at 9:00 p.m. on cnn. right now, voters in scotland are deciding whether or not to split from the united kingdom. what? what would it mean if they broke up? i mean what would it mean for the news and the pound and future of the flag and all those scottish things. we're going to sort it out coming up next.
now you could have done it twice. this is awkward. go to comcastbusiness.com/ checkyourspeed. if we can't offer faster speeds or save you money we'll give you $150. comcast business built for business. so this is a very simple question. yes or no. scotland voters are heading to the polls today to decide on possibly splitting from the united kingdom and the turnout is expected to be one for the record books. even 16 and 17-year-olds are getting their say. imagine that for a moment. about a month ago it wasn't close. not many people were too worried about this. wow, the polls came real close in the last few days. but if the majority votes yes,
this split is going to be mighty tricky. and then there are all those practical implications which my colleague john berman can only explain in his way. >> if we learned one thing from "braveheart" it's -- >> they may take our lives but they'll never take our freedom! >> reporter: because if they do take it mel gibson might have added, we will probably vote to get it back in 307 years or so. ♪ >> reporter: this may be a classic relationship struggle over who wears the kilt in the family, but if there is a breakup, it could be the messiest divorce ever. what do you do with the flag if the blue part is st. andrew's cross, scotland's. what do you do with the pound? the u.k. says they keep that. the oil that's in scotland so you know who wants that. the bombs? >> know how to start a nuclear war. >> reporter: they seemed important to the queen, you can
bet the u.k. wants the arsenal that resides in scotlanded. what do you do with wales? that stays in the u.k., but maybe scotland can visit wednesday night's and every other weekend. as confusing as the arguments over the stuff might be, the logic behind the arguments might be even more so. >> both sides of this argument have valid points. the freedom loving years of the highland tradition and those who enjoy crawling like worms beneath british boots. >> reporter: those freedom loving heirs of the tradition as the groundskeeper calls them while they absolutely positively want their independence, they absolutely positively want to keep the queen. because nothing, i mean nothing, says freedom like a monarchy. ♪ >> reporter: and nothing says independence like the united states of america. which is why hillary clinton told the bbc.
>> i would hate to have you lose scotland. >> reporter: because what does the united states really know about splitting from the u.k.? that never works. in closing, no matter what happens to the flag the pound the nukes or oil, no matter what happens in the actual vote, scotland will always be part of great britain. it will never be part of england, the irish part of neither, northern ireland will still be part of the united kingdom which may no longer be as united but elizabeth will be queen of all of it. so keep calm, and carry on. john berman, cnn, new york. >> oh, that john ber nan. adorable. the polls will close about four hours from now but no exit polls in scotland so we can't tell you at this point which side is winning or doing well until the final vote is counted supposed to happen around midnight tonight. they're helicoptering in votes from remote places. this should be interesting. cnn will have live coverage so
we hope you'll stay with us tonight. thank you, everyone, for watching. my colleague wolf starts right now. hello, i'm wolf blitzer reporting from washington. capitol hill buzzing with an expected vote byes u.s. senate of the president's plan to train and arm syrian rebels in their effort to try to fight isis. the house approved a bill yesterday. several of the president's key advisors are on capitol hill right now answering questions about the plan. the strategy and the end game. that includes a second day of testimony from secretary of state john kerry. >> we believe that as this global coalition comes together, determined to take on isil, that the organizing principle of the region, which is success breeds success, you're going to begin to see more people say, we're on the side of the