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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  February 20, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PST

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ar impulses for the recipients. translation? that means $160,000 in so-called gifts if everything is used could mean more than $40,000 in taxes for the stars. those priceless career boosting gold statuettes? the irs lets you enjoy those for free. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper. turning you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." have a great weekend. happening now, war plan. the u.s. releases details of a new offensive against isis in iraq. why is the pentagon giving isis a heads up about what's coming? hurlured to syria. an international hunt is under way for three teenaged school girls who may be on the way to meet isis. we have disturbing details about a new twist in the terrorist recruiting tactics. also frozen. from niagara falls to the potomac river and beyond. with almost half of the country on ice, a new storm takes aim. we have the latest forecast for
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those in the danger zone. and rudy giuliani declares i am not a racist but now he says president obama was raised by socialists and he isn't backing off from his claim that the president doesn't love america. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." breaking now, new and detailed plans for an upcoming ground offensive against isis. this is not a leak. it's coming directly from the pentagon. the war plans call for iraqi and kurdish fighters to work together in a battle this spring to push isis out of iraq's second largest city. significantly, the plans leave open the possibility of u.s. boots on the ground in addition to jets in the skies. newly released propaganda videos show isis fighters preparing for house to house combat. why tell them even more? president obama's deputy national security advisor ben
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rhodes is over at the white house. he will answer our questions. our correspondents and analysts are also standing by. let's begin with the very latest. our pentagon correspondent barbara starr is working her sources. >> reporter: good evening. i think it's very important what you said. this is not a leak. this was, the information came to reporters in a briefing organized by the u.s. military. they said they were offering the details to show that the iraqis are serious about this. this will be 20,000 to 25,000 troops going to mosul in april or may if the iraqis are ready and that is the big if. iraqis are going to need some u.s. training some u.s. assistance. the big question how much u.s. assistance as they move towards mosul which is a densely populated area. isis is dug in. it's urban warfare. will the iraqi forces need u.s. troops to help them on the ground spot, find those isis targets.
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now, if president obama were to get a recommendation and he were to approve it the case he will have to make is that this is not putting troops into combat. he has ruled that out, that they will not have a combat task. but make no mistake, if you are on the ground with isis facing isis you are in a combat environment. wolf? >> as you know the pentagon has released a lot of details, a lot of information about the upcoming battle plan. kurdish forces for example, are supposed to block escape routes to the north and west of mosul, for instance. is that giving away too much information to the enemy, namely isis right now? >> reporter: well you know the pentagon insists that it's not. those escape routes already we have seen air strikes for several days in that area to try and cut off isis' access to mosul. it's a big area. isis is still moving around a good deal. the pentagon insists that no tactical information, that
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fine-tuned information about how forces will be arrayed on the battlefield, how they will move where they will move exactly when they will move that that information is not forthcoming. they claim, they say they didn't offer anything up that isis doesn't already know. as some people are pointing out, this will give civilians in the area a chance to at least try and get out of the way. wolf? >> thanks very much, barbara starr at the pentagon. voices in iraq are saying not so fast. the plan to retake mosul is not necessarily getting a warm reception from kurdish fighters already battling isis in northern iraq raising serious concerns about the plan's overall effectiveness. our senior international correspondent ben wedeman is joining us from the northern iraqi city of erbil. what are you hearing over there? >> reporter: we spent the day with one of the senior kurdish military commanders and when i asked him about this plan coming out of the pentagon he said it's unrealistic and it's
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impossible he said given that it's going to depend on the iraqi army. the iraqi army which despite years of training by the united states and billions of dollars in weaponry failed miserably to hold mosul back in june of last year. and of course he said -- he made another valid point. he said look the americans with all their power and weaponry had a very hard time keeping control of mosul so how will the iraqi army with such a dismal record how is it going to get control and maintain control of a city which is -- has a large sunni arab population which is going to be hostile to an iraqi army dominated by shiites and also hostile to kurds as well. >> you have also heard that the isis forces in mosul, they are already getting ready for some sort of invasion. they are planting ieds, im
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improvised explosive devices. this is a city of nearly two million people. there could be a lot of civilian casualties if there's a major u.s. organized, shall we say, offensive. >> reporter: certainly. if you look at the record of the towns and villages for example the peshmerga, the kurdish forces have been able to retake many of them they have never been able to allow the original inhabitants to move back because there are so many ieds left behind by isis. in fact yesterday, we were in nearby a town that was liberated months and months ago but we saw that they were still exploding. kurdish forces ieds left behind months and months ago. >> ben wedeman, be careful over there. an important u.s. ally is pointing out another potential problem with the u.s. plan to try to chase isis out of mosul. it has to do with the religious split among muslims. let's bring in our chief national security correspondent
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jim sciutto. he is working the story. >> this is a very powerful protest from a very key part of the coalition. that is the arab partners taking part. i spoke to a senior arab official today who said that these arab partners are concerned that the planned operation, because it depends on iraqi forces will in effect be led by shiite dominated iraqi forces and because of that it will be effectively a shiite militia operation to retake mosul as opposed to an iraqi operation and because of that it will further alienate the sunnis. when you talk about mosul you talk about an area that is principally sunnis. not just during this operation but afterwards you need this to be part -- to have ownership from all the various parties. they are concerned that the iraqi military despite the iraqi prime minister's efforts to make it more reflective of the broad collection of shias, sunnis and kurds, iraq is still a largely shia dominated force. to hear from that arab partners saying if you do this operation now, you will further split the coalition, you will further worsen the sectarian lines,
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that's a bold protest so close to this operation. >> you are also learning new information, disturbing information about new isis efforts if you will to recruit people in the west. >> that's right. a particular category of people and that is young women. i have heard this from senior european officials and we have another case of that today. a senior british diplomat telling me that the recruitment of women and girls is quote, a clear and disturbing trend and warns that girls involved in this particular case three young british school girls on their way to syria, it is believed are at risk of sexual and other exploitation if they make it to the isis war zone. these three young british school girls are believed to be the newest foreign recruits to isis. caught on surveillance cameras at london's gatwick airport with luggage in tow, london police fear they fled britain for syria to join jihad. >> we don't know how these three girls have come up with this plan.
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we don't know what has encouraged them to go out to syria but we obviously believe they are heading towards syria. but we just don't know how it's happened. the parents themselves are mystified. >> reporter: the girls have been missing since tuesday when they boarded a flight headed to istanbul turkey. this is the same airport that hayat boumeddiene used to enter syria right before her husband, amedy coulibaly, carried out the deadly shooting at a paris kosher market. she is still wanted by french police and now believed inside syria. turkey has been the key transit point into syria for recruits to isis and other extremist groups. turkish and european authorities are still struggling to stem the flow. dhs secretary jae johnson told wolf blitzer thursday that the u.s. is tracking these movements as best it can. >> we have systems in place to track these individuals as they come and go. it's difficult to pick up so-called broken travel. >> what does that mean broken travel?
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>> where you fly to country a and then you go to country b on the ground saying we don't know that fact. >> reporter: a senior british diplomat tells cnn that women are a new and growing target for isis recruiters. the terrorism research group track estimates that nearly one in six isis foreign recruits are women. and that isis recruiting network extends all the way to the u.s. homeland. in october, three teenaged girls from colorado were intercepted at frankfurt airport in germany as they were trying to make their way to syria to join isis. it was their parents who tipped off the fbi. another american a 19-year-old, shannon conley was arrested at denver international airport in april last year on her way to an isis camp near the turkish/syrian border. she was sentenced to four years in prison after confessing she had wanted to become an isis bride and wage holy war. the three british girls are friends with another british girl who traveled to syria in december.
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in fact police interviewed them at the time but did not consider them to be likely isis recruits. now, uk police are concerned that turkish airlines did not alert them when these three girls boarded the flight. this is a well-known path into syria. that airport in istanbul the fact they were three young girls traveling alone, uk police concerned that that should have been enough of a warning sign to get a warning from the airline. they didn't get it. now they are desperately searching for these girls. >> they don't know if they are still in turkey or made their way there. that's disturbing. thanks very much. joining us from the white house is ben rhodes president obama's deputy national security advisor. thanks very much for joining us. this is also apparently happening right here in the united states. we spoke to the assistant director of the fbi's counterterrorist division who said that children the fbi has seen children as young as 15 here in the united states who may have actually gotten into syria successfully to join up with isis. what can you tell us about this? >> well it's a problem that we
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are very focused on. in fact the summit the president had over the course of the last several days on combatting violent extremism was focused in large part on this issue. we want to make sure that our communities are resilient enough to recognize the threat of isis trying to reach into the united states and recruit and radicalize individuals. the good news is frankly, our communities have been far more resilient than communities for instance in europe where we have seen far more foreign fighters go down to iraq and syria. but we want to make sure people are aware of the tactics that isil is using and we want to make sure they are empowered to prevent that type of radicalization just as we also want to stem the flow of foreign fighters from anywhere in the world to iraq and syria. >> how worried are you about young girls, if you will 17 16 15-year-old girls in the united states being recruited to head over let's say to turkey and try to cross that border into syria and become those so-called isis brides? >> we are worried about anybody traveling to iraq and syria and being recruited by isil.
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we have seen them cast a very wide net. again, this is a dead end path. we believe that it's going to be rejected by our communities here in the united states. with respect to women and girls, it is very much a concern of ours that we have seen terrible treatment of women and girls living in areas controlled by isil. we have seen people enslaved for instance from iraq the yazidi population there, for instance has been in many cases enslaved by isil fighters. so we want to make clear that people know these risks but frankly, we want to stop any recruitment and radicalization that could lead people from the united states to go to areas controlled by isil. >> is turkey doing enough to protect its border and prevent these young kids from sneaking across it into syria? >> they are doing more. we have had a steady conversation with him. they have a very challenging border because of the refugee flow out of syria and into turkey. but they are doing more in terms of sharing information, working with the united states. the president gathered nations from around the world at the
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united nations security council in september and passed a resolution that will enable and has enabled greater information sharing and monitoring of individuals who are seeking to cross that border. so turkey has advanced its cooperation but it's something we will continue to work on with them. >> i want you to stand by ben rhodes deputy national security advisor to the president. we've got a lot more questions, including the latest u.s.-led plan to try to take over mosul. the real question that needs to be asked is "what is it that we can do that is impactful?" what the cloud enables is computing to empower cancer researchers. it used to take two weeks to sequence and analyze a genome; with the microsoft cloud we can analyze
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breaking now, the pentagon going public with detailed plans for this spring's ground offensive against isis. the plans call for iraq's army to push into the isis held city of mosul in late april, early
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may, while kurdish forces block an isis retreat to the north and west. the plan leaves open the question of u.s. troops on the ground to help the iraqis find isis targets. we are back with the white house deputy national security advisor, ben rhodes. ben, why detail all these plans? as you know the senate armed services committee chairman john mccain, member lindsay graham they said this risks the success of the mission. your response? >> well first of all, when it comes to operational briefings, that's a decision we leave up to the military. so the military makes their judgments about what information is shared about their operations whether it's their ongoing operations or prospective operations. the fact that mosul is going to be a key part of this campaign is known to everybody. we have said we want to reclaim the land that isil has taken. we want to push them essentially out of iraqi population centers. so clearly mosul was going to be a focus. there is nothing new about that. i think again, what they spoke to is the approach we have been taking which is the united
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states provides air power. we work with partners on the ground who are training and equipping and we are steadily going to push isil out of all these areas, not just mosul but the parts of iraq that they have moved into in the last several months. >> but the fact that the u.s. has now given isis a time line when to start getting ready, isn't that going to hurt this operation? >> well the bottom line is that this operation will be conducted when the time is ready. that's how the president has instructed the military to approach this challenge. we want to make sure we are setting the battlefield conditions right. that's including significant u.s. and coalition air strikes. what we have seen already in northern iraq is we have steadily retaken ground from isil. the kurdish forces the peshmerga, iraqi security forces with our air support have been able to push isil back out of a number of population centers, reclaim a lot of towns, but again, of course mosul is going to be a key part of this campaign. i think that that will go forward when the time is ready, when our military commanders make the judgment that this is ready to go forward.
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>> what will the u.s. role be in liberating mosul? >> well, i think there will be several elements. i think it's similar to what we have done in different parts of iraq. it's not just restricted to mosul. number one, we provide air support. our air power is unmatched. it's very targeted and precise and we are able to take out isil fighters isil vehicles isil heavy weaponry. we are also training and equipping iraqi forces in different parts of the country. we provide them with arms and training and advice and i think that will certainly apply to anything that we were going to do in mosul but the fighting on the ground is going to be carried out by the iraqi security forces as it has been across this entire theater. >> are you leaving open the possibility that u.s. ground combat troops will also be part of this operation? >> well no, wolf. the president has said that our troops are not going to be in a combat role inside of iraq. we are going to be supporting our partners on the ground. we do have personnel in iraq however, who are doing that training and equipping and
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advising helping for instance to deal with challenges like jim raised in his report making sure we have multi sectarian units in iraqi security forces are able to work with. the president has not received a recommendation to have u.s. troops play a different type of role in a particular operation. again, he always leaves open the door to military commanders making recommendations but the limiting principle that he's applied is that u.s. forces are not going to be in combat. that's going to be something left to our partners on the ground. >> as you know mosul is a city of almost two million people. there will be house to house, street to street combat. how worried are you about civilian casualties? >> we are always concerned about this particularly in dealing with a group like isil that values civilian life not at all. we think that they will resort to terrorist tactics as they have done in other places. there's one very important point i would make which is the people of mosul, we get from every report that we receive, is that they hate living under isil. that isil is not very good at governing.
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they are not keeping the electricity on. they are not picking up the trash. frankly, the people in mosul are going to want to get rid of isil. so this is not simply a situation where you would have forces moving in. i think you would see people from within the city who want to get rid of living under the yoke of this horrific organization that doesn't offer anything in terms of a better life. that will be an important dynamic as well. >> as you know last june when a few thousand isis militants went into mosul, what did the iraqi army do this is an army the u.s. tax payers spent billions and billions of dollars training an army they simply ran away dropped their armor, dropped their weapons and escaped mosul as quickly as possible. what makes you think they will do any better this time? >> well you're right, we were very disappointed in the performance of the iraqi army. i think two things are different. number one, there's a new iraqi government. part of the dynamic in iraq had been that you had an increasingly sectarian government. under prime minister maliki.
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the sunnis had become disaffected from that government. now you have a much more inclusive government that has reached out to sunni populations. that changed the dynamic across iraq. secondly we have been in there training and equipping the iraqii security forces and where we have been able to provide them with that support and the confidence that comes with u.s. and coalition air power, they have been able to go on the offensive and push back. we believe that the dynamic is very different than it was six months ago and that's because the president has put this strategy in place and we have been able to get a new iraqi government in baghdad. >> as you know probably the most effective military against isis right now is not the peshmerga even though they are courageous they have old artillery, bad weaponry as you know not the iraqi army. it's the shiite militias backed by iran the revolutionary guard from iran. there are tens of thousands of them. they are going after isis. is there any coordination that you are planning on using with them? are they part of your coalition shall we say? >> no, wolf. when we are engaging with the
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iraqi security forces it's professional iraqi security forces, multi sectarian units. that is certainly who we would be looking at for the type of partnerships we applied already in places like anbar province. an important point to make here too, is that while we have seen the shiite militia's active it's generally been in shia predominant areas like around baghdad. when you are talking about up in mosul that's a different part of iraq. i don't think we are expecting a scenario where you see shiite militias go up there. i heard this report about our air partners. we share the same concern and we frankly don't think that it will be shia militias operating in the north in predominantly sunni areas. it will be multi sectarian units and iraqi security forces and the peshmerga in kurdish areas. >> one final question before i let you go ben rhodes. the former new york city mayor rudy giuliani says he does not believe president obama loves america. you have been with president obama since the very beginning of his campaign to become president, now you have been working with him all of these years. what do you say to rudy giuliani
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when he utters these kind of words? >> well first of all, i like many americans first came to know barack obama in 2004. when he gave a speech at the democratic convention that was entirely about how much he loved america and the fact that his story was not possible anywhere else in the world. i like many people went to work for him in 2007 because he filled us with a belief in the possibility of america and he spoke to his love of country and he inspired many young people who shared that belief. so i think this is a president who is continually articulating a vision of this country that all of us love. frankly, it's just very disappointing that we are still seeing this kind of attack eight years later. we heard some of this type of nonsense back in 2007 back in 2008. you would hope and you would have expected frankly that all these years later, with how much this president has stood up for this country, how much he has spoken up for american values here and around the world, you
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would think this kind of rhetoric would be put aside. but unfortunately, it hasn't been. i think that rightly, we have seen very strong condemnation of these remarks because they don't reflect the president that we have all come to know all these years. you may not agree with all of his policies but you have to recognize this is someone who deeply loves this country. >> ben rhodes thanks very much for joining us. >> thanks wolf. coming up isis reaching into america's heartland. why are the biggest cities in minnesota right now turning out to be a serious source of possible terrorist recruits?
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is charging a 19-year-old minnesota man for allegedly trying to join isis. he's the latest in a long list of young men in the twin cities area who have been radicalized and have joined terror groups. it's a serious problem that has perplexed local community leaders now for years. cnn's brian todd is here in "the situation room." he has been investigating what's going on. what are you finding out? >> the 19-year-old is charged with providing material support to isis. we spoke to the u.s. attorney in minnesota who told us this case represents a very ominous pivot in terrorist recruitment in that area. where isis is now targeting young somali americans displacing a dangerous al qaeda affiliate. moments before takeoff at new york's jfk airport, he was grabbed by federal agents escorted from his plane. law enforcement officials say he had taken a bus all the way from minneapolis to catch a flight to turkey with a lethal goal in mind. >> he's charged with trying to join isil to fight with
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terrorists. >> reporter: his lawyer won't comment. a law enforcement source says the 19-year-old posted these tweets saying he wanted to become a jihadist and quote, be a martyr. he is a somali american from minneapolis. an attorney tells cnn they believe this represents a dangerous shift in terrorist recruitment. >> we think isil has pretty much picked up on the successes to use that phrase that al shabab had and improve upon it and try to recruit more young men and some young women from the somali community in minnesota to join isil. >> reporter: al shabab the vicious al qaeda affiliate in somalia, had previously recruited around two dozen somali americans in minnesota to fight with them inside somalia. young people who had shown so much promise like jamal, a handsome 21-year-old engineering student. after he left home mysteriously his parents saw a picture of him on the internet dead in the streets of mogadishu, a bullet
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wound to his head. cnn has investigated these cases for more than five years. somali community leaders are frustrated. >> we are still losing them. >> reporter: why? community leaders tell us it's a lack of opportunity and identity. >> most of these kids are torn between two cultures. they are americans but they are not necessarily, they don't feel totally accepted as americans. they know they have a somali history. many do not have a father. >> reporter: the fear? what happens if these young men with u.s. passports return to america. >> there is a concern that the minority of returnees who do come back become involved in terrorism, are also the most dangerous terrorists. >> u.s. attorney andrew luger denies that minneapolis is a terrorist hotbed saying he's fighting back with outreach programs getting these youngsters into sports competitions helping them get jobs but he and other officials
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may have to work through another problem. law enforcement sources and analysts tell us many people in the somali community don't trust each other. there are different rivalries between community leaders. establishing trust between them getting them to trust outsiders from the government those are huge challenges in trying to fend off terrorist recruitment in minneapolis. >> why did so many somalis pick minnesota as an area where they wanted to settle? >> interesting question. a community leader told me they first came in the early '90s as the civil war in their country was raging and that the first few of them came because they got jobs in a meat processing plant in marshall minnesota, west of minneapolis. then word got around there were job opportunities there but they also came because minnesota offered housing, social services that many other states didn't have and this leader told me that many of the people who first came were single mothers. >> brian todd thanks very much. let's get some more on this issue of domestic terrorism. our justice reporter is with us as is our cnn national security
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analyst, peter bergen. first of all, what can you tell us about this 19-year-old minnesota teen? >> well he was traveling with others. we don't know the names since there is still an fbi investigation ongoing. what's really concerning is the fbi has been looking to see whether or not there's perhaps a network here. minneapolis is the only place so far where law enforcement has seen these types of networks. they were mostly focused on recruiting for shabab previously. whether isis is doing that now, that would be a really big groundbreaking change from how they have been doing -- >> it certainly would be if all of a sudden these somali americans, these young teenagers were actually being recruited by isis to get into syria or iraq for that matter and join isis. >> if this is a group phenomenon we have seen other people who self-recruited to isis and have been contacted by isis recruiters over the internet. three teenagers in chicago,
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three in colorado. we have seen americans go over there and die. douglas mcarthur mccain, african-american born in minneapolis, grew up in colorado. it's not an isolated phenomenon. >> we will have much more on this part of the story. stand by. coming up also we have new details on the u.s.-led offensive against isis. what role will u.s. troops actually play on the ground in iraq. and deadly cold. 26 million americans now under winter weather advisories and there's more storms on the way. (vo) for eight straight years, purina pro plan has been the nutrition of choice that has fueled each westminster best in show winner. and this year, with her strong athletic build her fluid gait and her confidence in the ring the beagle by the name of miss p became the ninth. (judge) the best in show is the beagle! (vo) congrats, miss p, on winning the 139th westminster best in show. we're proud you're continuing the purina pro plan tradition. purina pro plan.
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the eastern half of the united states is facing bitter record-breaking cold with 26 million americans facing winter weather advisories and the threat of more storms along the way this weekend. we begin our coverage over at niagara falls where the waters around the historic waterfall, at least some of them are pretty much frozen. ryan young is joining us now from niagara falls. tell us what's going on. >> reporter: what a beautiful sight. in fact, if you look over at the american side you can see the chunks of ice but the water is still pushing through. but it looks frozen from a distance. you can see the large ice cubes that are filling this river. that we are told can reach ten stories high at some points. what people have been coming to see, we have to show this to you, is all the water that's pushing through. you can see it here in the distance. that is more than 20 million gallons of water that rushes over during the wintertime.
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in fact 40 million usually during the summertime. we are told this whole body of water hasn't frozen over in 150 years and tourists from all over are coming out to enjoy the sights. every time they post a picture it's going viral. it's a sight to see. >> ryan young, great assignment in niagara falls, thank you. here in washington the cold has frozen the potomac river. our senior washington correspondent joe johns is on the banks of the potomac right now. what's it like? >> reporter: well a beautiful sight here as well. this is something people in the washington, d.c. area just don't see every winter. the potomac river appearing to be fully frozen over. we set a record here in the d.c. area for this day. this record has stood for 120 years for cold. of course the last time it was this cold in washington, d.c. the washington monument in the distance there was essentially ten years old. but the ice is not safe. the fire department was just out trying to practice to make sure they could get people out of the
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ice. further out on the bay, there's a big problem. the chesapeake bay. tangier island about 475 people have been iced in now for just about a week and they have asked for help. the coast guard is bringing them supplies tomorrow and the maryland the maryland department of natural resources is bringing in an ice cutting vessel to try to get them out of here. so a big problem for tangier island and cold all over the midatlantic. >> good luck to all those folks. thank you. let's get the latest forecast from our cnn meteorologist jennifer gray. what does it look like, jennifer? >> well we broke over 150 records this morning. it was cold across much of the country. look at all these, these are all records that were broken this morning anywhere from marquette, grand rapids these are your actual temperatures. if it's outlined in red, that means you broke a record that held over a century. temperatures were six below in louisville this morning, 18 below in lexington, pittsburgh
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ten below, and then like joe said we did break a record down here in d.c. five degrees was your morning low. two in wilmington. zero in trenton. as we head down to the south, even raleigh, even down in macon, atlanta, 16 degrees this morning and even down in south florida, 42 degrees, tied a record in miami this morning. current temperatures 34 in atlanta, 25 in nashville, 37 in charleston. temperatures in the teens as we go up to the northeast. we will warm up just a little bit as we go through the weekend, but then another arctic blast on the way. here are all the winter storm watches and warnings in effect. nashville, a place that has had 18 deaths from this storm and the one before ice again in your region. should turn to rain by tomorrow. d.c. new york boston you could start with rain and then we will see a wintry mix in d.c. switching over to rain later in the afternoon. wolf? >> just be careful outside. jennifer, thanks very much. coming up rudy giuliani is doubling down on his comments that president obama does not love america.
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as the white house responds what are republican presidential hopefuls now saying? and the u.s.-led coalition is preparing to strike at the heart of isis in iraq. we have new information coming in from the pentagon. [engine revving] [engine revving] [engine revving] ♪ introducing the first-ever 306 horsepower lexus rc coupe with available all-wheel drive. once driven, there's no going back. lease the 2015 rc 350 for $449 a month for 36 months. see your lexus dealer. meet the world's newest energy superpower. surprised? in fact, america is now the world's number one natural gas producer... and we could soon become number one in oil. because hydraulic fracturing technology is safely recovering lots more
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rudy giuliani is doubling down on his controversial comments that president obama does not love america. refusing to apologize, arguing his comments were not racist because he was raised by his white mother and grandparents
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who he suggests were socialists. there has been pressure on republican presidential candidates to weigh in. let's discuss. joining us are esse cup and van jones. you have known the president for a long time. what is his likely reaction when he hears someone like the person who was called america's mayor after 9/11 say stuff like this? >> i think if you want to offend him, you would say something like that. the very first speech this president ever gave that brought him such attention around the world, he said my story is only possible in america, in no other country is my story even possible. this man's patriotism is so deep his version of american patriotism isn't cheap, putting other people down. it's a deep patriotism that says i love america. i love all americans. i love poor people. i love gay people. i love muslims. i love all people who are americans. i'm trying to figure out a way
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to bring us together and move us forward forward. to have someone like rudy giuliani who was an icon fall down the stairs down to donald trump level in such a short period of time i think is embarrassing. he owes not just the president but the country an apology. >> you think -- do you agree? you don't like what rudy giuliani said. >> i don't. i've been highly critical of the president and his rhetoric on terrorism. i understand rudy giuliani is offended by what the president says. i watched the speech yesterday. it sounded like very much like he was apologizing for american exceptionalism. i was offended by that as well. however, i don't think it's appropriate for someone of rudy giuliani's stature -- i am from new york city. i lived through 9/11. i admire his leadership. for someone of that stature to
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really go below the national discourse and suggest that the president doesn't love the country, the president wasn't raised like the rest of us i just think that that's really inappropriate and not the conversation we should be having, which is int hisabout his policies which are terrible. we should have that debate. to question his -- >> should republican presidential candidate distance themselves criticize rudy giuliani for suggesting the president does not love america? >> i think it's absurd to suggest that republicans, whether running for president or thinking about running for president or happen to just exist need to somehow explain or take responsibility for or denounce rudy giuliani. what he said has nothing do to do with them. we have a vice president who has a number of times on tape made racially incentive remarks. no one asks president obama to explain yo biden.
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i think it's -- that's more of a media exercise that we make these guys sort of exmroin rudy giuliani than anything else. >> you know -- >> there is one republican i think that has to say something more than he has and that's governor scott walker. he made these remarks in the presence of governor scott walker. scott walker is now really climbing i think, in the polls. he could wind up being president. he needs to be clear, listen does -- do i think people who say this kind of stuff in my presence are saying the right things setting the right tone? scott walker i don't think has said enough. the other thing i want to say is republicans should not apologize apologize. muslims feel the same way. they shouldn't have to apologize for the fringe groups do. lts have one standard for everyone. i want to say one more thing. >> very quickly.
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>> when rudy giuliani says that because obama has a white mom, nothing he says about obama can be racially offensive, that sits poorly in the mouth. a quarter of all the slaves had a white mother or -- a white parent or grandparent. they were still racially oppressed. he is playing fast and loose with some of these very sensitive racial topics. he is should back down. >> more on this in the next hour. don't go too far away. a major offensive meant to strike at the heart of isis' stronghold in iraq. new details including what role u.s. troops will play. what does an apron have to do with car insurance? an apron is hard work. an apron is pride in what you do. an apron is not quitting until you've made something a little better. what does an apron have to do with car insurance?
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happening now, boots on the ground. the pentagon reveals details of the operation to oust isis from iraq's second largest city. are they a ploy to trick the terrorists? a massive manhunt for three schoolgirls who police fear may have gone to join isis forces. how were they recruited? rudy america's mayor. he fuels controversy he started with new remarks. what is rudy giuliani saying about president obama and his family? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you are in "the situation room." breaking now, remarkable details of what be the largest single military offensive against isis so far. pentagon is revealing plans to
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drive terrorist fighters from iraq's second largest city in the coming months. there is concern about the role u.s. personnel will play in the military offensive and growing worries about among u.s. allies about the possible fallout. we're covering that this hour and a lot more. the former nato streamupreme commander is standing by along with our correspondents and guests. let's begin with barbara starr who is getting new information. what are you learning? >> reporter: good evening, wolf. it's now clear that the iraqi forces will indeed need u.s. military training advice and assistance. but the question is how far will that u.s. assistance really go? iraqi forces fled mosul last june when isis overran the city. for months isis militants have shown the world their iron grip of terror on iraq's second largest city sglt terrorists may scream from the rooftops that their crimes are god's will but you can't frame god for what
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thugs do. >> reporter: now with the represent of u.s. trainers and advisers iraqi forces are going to try to take the city back. the war plan according to a u.s. military official in late april or may 20,000 to 25,000 iraqi forces begin to converge on mosul. peshmerga forces will cut off escape routes north and west of the city. the unknown, whether president obama will order a small number of u.s. troops on the ground to help iraqis find isis targets in the densely populated city. questions about why the pentagon was signaling the coming battle at all. >> i certainly think it's a role of the dice. obviously, signaling your intentions to the enemy is unorthodox way of approaching this. >> reporter: a u.s. official insists, no that isis knows the coalition is aiming for mosul. >> there are a lot of civilians
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up there who don't want to get caught in this fight. allowing some time for those who want to get out of there, this can help the iraqis prevent collateral damage against civilians inside mosul by giving them a head start. >> reporter: as fighters continue their training what about iraqi forces? this time will they fight? >> they can handle things at small unit levels. when you bring in 25,000 forces into a city that's a division-size operation. i'm just not sure they have the leadership ability to control that type of operation. >> the iraqi army has not distinguished themselves as a fighting force. we did this once before. the finest fighting force in the world had a rough time retaking fallujah in iraq. >> reporter: the u.s. military insists it did not divulge any information in detail. no tactical details about the
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upcoming battle nothing it says that could help isis on the ground. wolf? >> barbara starr, thank you. one kurdish military commander is seriously questioning the entire operation. our senior international correspondent ben wedeman spoke with him in northern iraq. ben is joining us now. what did he tell you? >> reporter: this was one of the commanders of the front lines of the kurdish forces. when i asked him about these reports coming out of the u.s. about an impending offensive to take mosul in april and may, he scoffed at it. he said it's unrealistic. it's impossible. the reason he said that was because it's going to involve, in theory the iraqi army. he said that the iraqi army simply isn't up to the job. of course we saw how poorly they performed in mosul last june. basically, leaving almost all of their heavy weaponry behind to be left to isis.
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of course this kurdish commander also pointed out that even the united states had a hard time controlling mosul. the difference now is of course that isis has the sort of weaponry that the american forces had to face in mosul never had and never could have dreamt of having. wolf. >> good point. ben wedeman on the scene for us in ir . we are following the search for three missing schoolgirls believed to be heading toward syria. they may have been recruited by isis. jim skewciutto is working this. >> reporter: a diplomat telling me the recruitment of women and girls is a clear and disturbing trend and warns the girls involved are now at risk of sexual and other exploitation. police believe the three british schoolgirls were caught on surveillance tapes that they were attempting to travel to
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join jihad. police say their parents are mystified by this. the teenage girls flew to turkey the same airport that hayat boumeddiene used t. turkey the key transit point for recruits to isis and other extremist points. turkish authorities are struging to stem the flow. isis has managed to recruit american women as well. in october, three teenage girls from colorado were intercepted in germany. another american was sentenced to four years in prison after confessing that she was wanted to become an isis bride. it's a growing problem. they are specifically targeting young women. as many as one in six isis foreign recruits are young women today. >> that's shocking when you think about it. you are getting new information, jim, on new concerns involving this upcoming mosul military
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operation. >> that's right. we heard from ben wedeman the concerns from kurdish allies in the fight. a senior arab official tells me that arab coalition partners are concerned that the mosul operation will be largely led by shia dominated forces which as a result will alienate local sunnis and fuel instability after the operation. i asked ben rhodes after you interviewed him if the administration shares any of these concerns. he said no because the u.s. is working with multi-sectarian units. there are close arab partners in the coalition who don't share that confidence. they are concerned that the iraqi prime minister has still not made the forces truly representative of all the iraq's groups. that's going to be a problem with the operation. >> a lot of shiite militia there, not part of the regular iraqi army. let's get more on all of this. joining us, the former nato supreme allied commander.
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general, thanks for joining us. one of the friendly -- a very friendly country, the united arab emirates they are concerned that the shia dominated force may take mosul. but they are worried about what happens next. a lot of the shiite militias they are backed by iran closely aligned with iran. ir ir forces are there with them. >> whatever you commit to mosul must be successful. you've got to have a win here. what is it going to take to get a win? if that includes some of the better iraqi shiite units, fine. i was in mosul, and i saw an iraqi division commander, happened to be a sunni, with a very goody vision. that was in 2007. >> the united states was in iraq at that time. they were closely working with the iraqi military units.
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it was basically a different world at that point in 2007. i was in moss until 2005. it was a different world than it is now. >> but i think the challenge is going to be how do you create the condition for success? that includes the structure you are going to use. i would think the peshmerga should be included in what we're doing. because i think they are some of the best fighters we have in iraq. >> they are not well armed right now. the u.s. is still trying to provide arms to them through the central government in baghdad hoping it will eventually reach the kurdish peshmerga fighters. but they are complaining that they have artillery pieces from world war ii. >> then that's a hit on us. if we cannot dictate what arms should go to the best fighting force we have in iraq at this crucial time then something is wrong. i think what we need to do is create these conditions and a well-armed well-led force to
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include the peshmerga as well as sunni as well as shia is absolutely complete cal for success. >> the peshmerga with the most pro-u.s. forces. it's surprising that the u.s. doesn't directly provide weapons to them. they go through baghdad where some of the weapons reach them. they are bitterly upset about this -- mosul, you were there, a city of nearly two million people. isis they have -- they are well armed. supposedly they are planting ieds, trapping buildings and roads. this could be a really bloody battle if the iraqi army goes in there and tries to lynn rateiberate the city. >> that's why the intelligence preparation is essential. we have the means to be able to really understand even where the ieds have been planted. all that was can be done. as you lay all this out, where the enemy forces are, what is
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the maneuver we're going to make how do they maneuver we are their strike is going to be critical critical. >> the u.s. doesn't have that kind of intelligence on what's going on in mosul right now. i suspect the iraqi military doesn't either. do you trust the iraqi military given their horrible form answer in abandoning their positions last june and lettin a few thousand isis forces come in from syria and take over that city? >> if he with have put so much credibility on the line here with taking mosul, we have to trust the iraqi military. we have got to get them to the standard where we feel confident that they dpsh. >> you don't believe this can be done without u.s. combat troops on the ground do you? >> we need advisors on the ground. we need to have special forces involved to make sure that the air strikes are going where they can do the most damage and facilitate the maneuver. >> general, i want you to stand by. there's more to discuss. this potentially could be a
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pivotal moment in all of this war against isis. much more with the former nato supreme allied commander right after this. [ man ] i remember when i wouldn't give a little cut a second thought. ♪ ♪ when i didn't worry about the hepatitis c in my blood. ♪ ♪ when i didn't think twice about where i left my razor. [ male announcer ] hep c is a serious disease. take action now. go to hepc.com or call 1-844-444-hepc to find out how you and your doctor can take the next step towards a cure. because the
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the pentagon revealing details of a spring offensive against isis designed to recapture mosul from the terrorists. back with the former nato supreme allied commander. bottom line as far as the operation against mosul is concerned, was it a blunder, was it a mistake for the pentagon yesterday to basically spill all the beans that's going to take place in april or may, 25,000 troops get ready, here we are coming to alert the enemy what's
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going on? >> the operational security side of that i think it was a mistake. however, if they're looking at a way to get inside the head of isis here to make them do some things that may weaken what they have around mosul, maybe. but i think what you need to be able to do is have a plan. i used to say, if you are going to fire the bullet hit the target. if we're going to make this move i should say iraq is going to make this move they have got to secure and retain control of mosul. >> you have often told me general, because we have had these conversations many times over the years, if you are going into war, if you are going into battle you have to have clarity of mission and you have to have overwhelming force. you have to be guaranteed quick victory. i don't see any of that right now. >> i think it's to be developed here. i have great confidence in these
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young commanders. and but -- >> their hands are tied. if they can't -- they probably -- we could go into mosul and liberate that city. but you can't trust the iraqi military to do it. >> they owe it to the president of the united states and to the american people to give clear military advice to the president and the national command authority. they need to say, if we're going to do this this is what we need for success. they need to stand up and be counted. whether it's iraqi or peshmerga or u.s. forces they need to create these conditions for success. >> you know the american public doesn't want to get involved in another ground war ten years in iraq ten years in afghanistan thousands of casualties. the u.s. doesn't want to do that again. >> i have been through a smaller version of that in bosnia. there was no support back here in the congress the military the white house, anywhere to go into bosnia.
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when we went into bosnia, i came back and briefed clinton -- president clinton in the oval office this is the conditions i need for success. he stood up and said i approve. that's the sort of contact the commanders need to have with the president. >> i want to keep your hat on as the former nato supreme allied commander. i will show you video. this is russian defense ministry tv video. look at this. these are british royal air force jets intercepting a pair of russian bombers as they flew over international waters. nato has scrambled fighter jets more than 400 times this year alone, to intercept russian military flights close to the nato countries. what's going on here? >> this is putin's attempt to intimidate nato and nato countries and particularly the united states. we no longer have a deterrent strategy in europe. we pulled all our forces out.
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as i understand it not one permanently stationed u.s. tank in europe anymore. i had 500 in my corps. the deterrent factor isn't there. so i think what is happening, putin recognizes that and he is going to re-establish if he can, what was the former soviet union. >> you think he wants to try to do that? that he wanteds to go back to the cold war? >> he sees a weak u.s. and a weak nato. he will push as far as he can until he -- someone really says, if you go any more this is what's going to happen. whether we can even do an article 5 which is the nato attack attack, where a lot of russians also are there, i'm not sure. they tell me that i say, with what? >> article 5 says if one nato country is attacked all nato
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countries are attacked. what you are saying is you are not convinced that article 5 of the nato charter could be honored? >> we could honor it with words. whether we could honor it with the structure -- that's what i think putin understands. he knows that we have weakened ourself after the wall came down. we had 350,000 troops. i think we have 50,000 left there, u.s. forces. it's no longer a deterrent strategy that we're facing here. we don't have the forces to do it. >> ukraine is a disaster. you don't believe the cease-fire will hold. russians are not going to pull out? >> they have taken cry enn crimea. they have taken eastern ukraine. they will keep nibbling away. not just in ukraine but elsewhere. >> you think estonia -- >> they have a large russian population. i used to be there.
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they were stationed in those three countries. >> general, thanks for joining us. very worrisome stuff. much more on the anti-isis offensive. the pentagon is preparing. why the u.s. is announcing its plans months beforehand. the former new york city mayor rudy giuliani refusing to apologize for his controversial comments. tripling down and new remarks. we will tell you what he is saying now. he is not backing away from his assertion that the president of the united states does not love america. daughter: do you and mom still have money with that broker? dad: yeah, 20 something years now. thinking about what you want to do with your money? daughter: looking at options. what do you guys pay in fees? dad: i don't know exactly. daughter: if you're not happy do they have to pay you back? dad: it doesn't really work that way. daughter: you sure? vo: are you asking enough questions
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breaking now, remarkable details from the pentagon of the upcoming offensive to drive isis forces from mosul. that's iraq's second largest city nearly two million people. there are serious questions about the role u.s. forces will play why the pentagon is tipping its hand potentially to isis. let's get more. joining us peter bergen philip mudd general mark hertling and robert baer. phil are you surprised the u.s. is broadcasting the mosul offensive, the operational plans, if you will how many troops will be involved when
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they will go in? is there some reason to do this? it's surprising. >> i'm not surprised at all. i can't figure out what this debate is. i don't have much hair left but what i have i'm pulling out. the second largest city in iraq is in the isis heartland, the military -- iraqi military was surprised last summer. isis no longer has the opportunity of surprise. the iraqi military has air power superiority provided by the united states superior intelligence superior manpower. we're saying it's a surprise they are going to retake mosul? i don't get why we're thinking this is a huge surprise. this has been in debate for months. i think as you are suggesting there might be an advantage in talking about this target. i think the isis guys believe they are or daned by god to success. a lot of them untrained recruits might show up in a place like mosul to say, you want to fight, bring it on we will show up we will take the fight to mosul. they might provide an opportunity for the iraqi
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military. the only question is very simple simple -- does the iraqi military have the will and capability to win the fight? it's not whether we have the element of surprise. that was lost months ago. >> what do you think, general? >> i agree with phil. first of all, a couple things. we are not in a vacuum over there. the iraqi forces are in the area that surrounds mosul. you have militants and independent sunni tribes in that region. we can't look at the announcement from a western lens that we're violating op sec. i was furious that they gave up the operational security and announced they were going in. what i realized was they were actually trying to get support from people inside the city and also the other people -- the citizens.
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so they want the support to show that the iraqi government is actually doing something. one more thing that my friend phil said. we're talking about between two and three thousand isis fighters in the city. we're putting up about 25,000 iraqi forces with additional peshmerga and air fire and artillery. let's go after it. the only thing that concerns me is they have been there a while. there are going to be ieds. they have planted ieds in the houses they're occupying, which will take a lot of casualties within the iraqi security force. >> bob baer that has been raised now over the past 424 hours. people have said to me, the u.s. has told them when they are coming, the iraqis peshmerga. they have a lot of ieds. them a lot of booby traps. this is a big city. there will be house to house fighting.
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they there are going to be a lot of civilian casualties once this begins. that's a huge fear. >> wolf i would like to pick up -- that's a fear. i would like to pick up what you said before in the last segment. that is the local population. there are about two million sunni arab tribesmen. we have no connection with them. they have told me indirectly -- i emphasize indirectly that if shia militias -- with or without isis -- they will resist. i don't know what the iraqi government is going to do. so many of the arms we gave to the iraqi army have ended up with militias including abrams tanks. if they intend to drive those in, they will get serious resistance. it's not going to be just from isis. >> isn't most of the iraqi military the regular iraqi military shia? >> exactly. they are shia. you are not going to find any
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so-called loyalists sunnis fighting with the shia. these are hezbollah and in a group that executed five american soldiers in 2007. they are at the forefront of this offensive. the sunni arabs, they are a sectarian group will fight the shia arabs. there's no doubt in my mind. this has to be done very carefully going into mosul. if they do it the wrong way, it could go very wrong. >> peter, take us inside the leadership there. they have heard. they watch television. they know what's going on. the u.s. -- this military operation is going to take place in march or april. in the spring. what's their reaction? what are they saying now as they here this? >> i think they will say -- they will say, bring it on to quote a phrase that was used in the past. of course, from a narlry rymilitary point of view -- there's anned ed advantage
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to the civilians to leave. if you think about that many civilians, you want them to leave. you want to signal that a military operation is going to happen. >> phil mudd let me ask you about this 19-year-old minnesota young man. he was charged trying to travel to syria to join isis. here is the question. how powerful is this new recruitment machine that isis has? they are able to lure young americans to leave minnesota, get to turkey try to cross the border and join forces with isis in syria. >> wolf this is the most discouraging story i have heard this week. it's not because of the power of isis propaganda. 20 years ago if you wanted to join the jihadi world, when i was working at cia and i worked on the campaign to help some of the former jihadis fight the soviet union, would you have gone to afghanistan. ten years ago, you might still -- you might go to
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somalia. we lost our first american suicide bomber from minneapolis. now fast forward another ten years. it's 2015. where does that kid go? he doesn't go to afghanistan, somalia. he goes to iraq. what this tells me is it's not just about isis. it's about the endurance of jihadi message in the midst of the fight about where the heart of islam lies. it's not about isis today. it's about will it be nigeria tomorrow jordan? i don't know. i'm afraid what this suggests is that we're in this fight not for a couple years but for decades, because like it or not, we have been here for decades already. >> peter bergen what does it say to you? >> the somali americans, there are some that buy into the message. i don't think the community has magically prospered in the last several years.
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they are appealing to kids who don't have much of a future. we see kids from other places around the country. for them it's about the romance of something they consider to be heroic. >> a sad, sad situation. stand by. we will get more on what's going on the breaking news we're following. to find out more about the escalating battle against isis what you can do to help protect ir iraqi children visit cnn.com/impact. just ahead, we have more on the all important offensive against isis now being planned, including what role u.s. troops might play. plus rudy giuliani refusing to apologize as the criticism grows. you will find out what america's mayor, as he used to be called is saying and how other republicans are reacting.
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he sparked a hung con eded a huge controversy. rudy giuliani is adding fuel to the fire. he is tripling down with new remarks.
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jim acosta is working the story for us. jim, what is the very latest? >> reporter: president obama did not directly respond to the comments. he did talk about his love for country. the white house on the other hand definitely weighed in. president obama was feeling the love. >> it's about making this nation we love more perfect. >> reporter: the comment came as the white house slapped back at rudy gooiuliani. white house press second josh earnest suggested giuliani damaged his image. >> i can tell you that it's sad to see when somebody who has attained a certain level of public stature and admiration tarnishes that thoroughly. the truth is i don't take any joy or vindication or satisfaction from that. i think really the only thing
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that i feel is i feel sorry for rudy giuliani today. >> reporter: he touched off a firestorm when he said earlier this week i know this is a horrible thing to say, but i do not believe the president loves america. he doesn't love you and he doesn't love me. he wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and i was brought up through love of this country. the ex-mayor hasn't apologized. >> i don't feel this love of america. i believe his initial approach is to criticize this country and then afterwards to say a few nice things about us. >> reporter: giuliani defended the remark saying it has nothing to do with brace adding that the president was brought up by a white mother and white grandparents. because he made the comments at a private event, other possible candidates are on the spot. if >> the activists are going to say, no guts. i want a candidate with guts. >> reporter: walker is trying to dodge the issue.
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>> i love america. that's the only person i can comment on is what i think. i think america is a great country. >> reporter: others are seeking distance. >> democrats aren't asked to answer every time joe biden says something embarrassing. i don't know why i should every time a republican does. i will say i think the president loves america but i think his ideas are bad. >> this is not a man who sees america as you and i see america. >> reporter: mr. obama answered the charge repeatedly back in 2008. >> let me be clear. i will let no one question my love of this country. >> reporter: now as to that line from the president about loving his country from earlier today, a white house official said that remark was already in the speech text days before giuliani's comments. we should point out republicans here in washington some of them are furious with giuliani as one top gop source told me this was not helpful. >> it wasn't. thanks jim acosta. joining us gloria borger
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damaged chalion and don lemon why does rudy keep digging in on this instead of acknowledging, maybe i misspoke let's move on? >> i think you know his personality is to forth aheadge ahead. it seems there's struggle for relevance. rudy is not running for president. he was at a scott walker event. maybe he was throwing out some red meat to conservatives there behind closed doors. we heard that happen once before with mitt romney and the 47% during last campaign. but i think the problem here really is for the republican party, because you saw, as jim acosta said that scott walker walked away from it. you have jeb bush, marco rubio and lindsey graham disowning it. this is not the conversation republicans want to be having right now. they want to have a big tent.
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they want to change the public perception of the republican party as welcoming all demographics. and this kind of a statement just in the middle of this rebranding of the republican party hurts every single would-be candidate. because they have to take a stand on rudy giuliani. >> what about that david? all of the republican potential candidates there might be a dozen, two dozen, you know they will be asked to react. do you agree with giuliani or not? what should they say if they're smart? >> well gloria is right. it's not a conversation they want to have. but, wolf you are correct that it's a conversation they are going to have. because they are going to get this question. marco rubio probably was perfect right there in the clip we saw in the piece. because he is able to say, hey, i'm sure the president loves america, his policies are terrible for the country. he gets his message out there without attaching himself to what were over the line remarks.
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>> don lemon, when giuliani says his remarks weren't racist because he says that obama had a white mother white grandparents you say? >> i say, i'm not racist because i have a black friend or a white friend. that's sort of the same thing. i have to tell you, i'm embarrassed on three levels. as a new yorker. i'm embarrassed as an american. i'm embarrassed as an african-american. i believe we live in the greatest city in the world. mayor giuliani was the mayor and became the mayor of america after 9/11. i covered mayor giuliani's first day in office. there was so much promise. he had trouble in the middle. then he redeemed himself at 9/11. as an american i'm embarrassed because no one runs for president who does not like this country. there are better and more lucrative things to do. easier things to do than run for president and run the country.
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as an african-american -- we are people of color and are sited as other. what rudy is doing is citing the president as other. it's a dog whistle to certain people in the party and to certain types of people whether he wants to claim that racism or not. >> you know these candidates whether they are declared or not, and they are undeclared are still in the nfl right now and they have to realize that. this takes me back to 2008. remember when john mccain was asked at a town hall about barak obama being an arab or people were screaming out the words terrorist? john mccain said at that time to the town hall which was really getting going on obama, he said no he is a decent family man and citizen that i just happen to have disagreements with.
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there was no challenge to his love of country. >> don, i want to you weigh in. he went one step giuliani referring to barak obama's grandparents and mother who was white. he suggested the grandparents and mother may have been socialists or anti-colonialists, whatever that means. maybe that was a big movement in kansas or whatever where they were from. that was pretty weird, too, wasn't it? >> it is. it makes me wonder what's going on with rudy giuliani who is a bright man. i think the initial comment he thought he was in a room full of people and that there weren't reporters and it wouldn't get out. the same as romney's 47% comment. it's really sad to dig in deeper to try to make an excuse for what he said. there's no excuse for what he said. we're all americans. we all love our country. guess what? part of loving your country is being able to criticize your country openly. that's what america is all about. we have that freedom. you can love your country
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even -- and kritscriticize your country. i don't know what's behind the comments. i also -- i think where you are going, i agree with you, gloria. i was disappointed in scott walker because scott walker had a chance to step up and say, listen i don't know why rudy made those comments. they're offensive. i think that marco rubio's response was exactly right. it was almost a perfect response. >> we have invited rudy giuliani to join us. he has declined. he has an invitation. stand by. this is just coming in another story we're following. look at this. a major fire burning on several floors of one of the tallest apartment buildings in the world. in the united arab emirates in dubai. reports say the fire started on the 50th floor. the civil defense officialwefficials tell cnn it's unclear how many people are in the building. no deaths are reported so far. let's hope it stays like that. they don't know what caused the
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fire which started at 2:00 a.m. local time. we will stay on top of this story. an awful fire in dubai right now. we will take a quick break. more news right after this. how much money do you have in your pocket right now? i have $40 $21. could something that small make an impact on something as big as your retirement? i don't think so. well if you start putting that towards your retirement every week and let it grow over time, for twenty to thirty years that retirement challenge might not seem so big after all. ♪ ♪
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yard. why don't you switch to xfinity home? i get live video monitoring and 24/7 professional monitoring that i can arm and disarm from anywhere. hear ye! the awkward teenage one has arrived!!!! don't be old fashioned. xfinity customers add xfinity home for $29.95 a month for 12 months. plus for a limited time, get a free security camera call 1800 xfinity or visit comcast.com/xfinityhome. let's get to a cnn exclusive right now. possible 2016 candidate for the republican nomination saying he thinks the fight against isis will require american boots on the ground. we're talking about the ohio
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governor, john kasich. he said this is what happens when you raise the possibility of american combat forces going in on the ground. listen to this. >> at some point in dealing with isis you mark my words whether you ever hear from me again, it will require boots on the ground from the world to deal with this problem. i would rather deal with it sooner than later. you don't just go running over there. you have to have a battle plan and figure out what you're going to do. i would never suggest we engage in nation building or convert them to our way of life. we need stability and we need to stop this. >> it's interesting because he's pretty blunt there. >> he is. his main point is that the u.s. needs to do this in concert with other countries. we have heard the phrase of the coalition of the willing before. that's what kasich is talking about. he said people rule out boots on
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the ground. politicians rule out boots on the ground because they're sticking their finger in the air and looking at public opinion. he said we get elected to lead and sometimes we have to lead in an unpopular direction. >> he spoke about his home state of ohio. i believe no republican has ever been elected president of the united states without winning ohio. he said this to you. listen. >> if somebody comes into ohio and they're extreme, they're not going to win. we don't operate that way in ohio. >> john kasich won with 64% of the vote. he was re-elected. he won with 60% of women and 26% of african-american. >> his re-election? >> yeah. his point to me was the people in ohio aren't going to go for partisan partisanship on one side or the other. he was kind of a shot across the
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bow to other republican potential presidential candidates saying you know what if you run to the right during the primaries you're not going to win ohio and if you don't win ohio you're not going to win. >> president obama carried ohio a lot of times. here is what a lot of democrats say they are worried about if jeb bush gets the republican nomination, he's popular in florida. that's a critical battleground state. if he were to pick kasich say he's the democratic nominee, the republicans take texas. then it comes down to florida and ohio and the republicans could win, right? >> well you can't win the presidency these days if you don't have florida and ohio in your corner. that would be a really powerful ticket. as you know governors, former governors, current governors, tend to make good presidential candidates or vice presidential
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candidates. having jeb bush and john kasich would be powerful. i'm not sure that's where we'll end up and i'm not sure if john wants to be anybody's number two. >> i did ask him about it. what he said was hilarious. he said i don't know what vice presidents do other than stop traffic. he was in south carolina the same down joe biden was in south carolina zkand he got caught in a traffic jam. he didn't seem particularly interested. they never do. we should say there's senator rob portman of ohio who might be attracted to any republican on the top of the ticket. >> a lot of people say, a lot of potential presidential candidates democrats and republicans they often say they are not interested in being vice president but when it comes down to number two they're anxious to become the vice president of the united states. >> it's a hard thing know when the party nominee asks you to
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serve your country. >> let's talk about something totally different. it's pretty strange. the white house in a bunch of press releases misspelling the word february. it's getting a little business out there. they are missing one of the rs there. i guess it's just a typo but it's happened a few times. >> i think maybe spell check is not exactly working at the white house, wolf. i think somebody's going to get in a bit of trouble at that. there was that buzz feed video in which the president was making fun of himself saying the word february which has an r. >> maybe he knew something when he was doing that when he was making fun. >> i don't think he writes the press leases. >> wed-nes-day. >> february. >> february 15th. february 15. >> very cute. very cute. we all have spelling mistakes sometimes even the white house has a spelling mistake.
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gloria will have a lot more of her interview with john kasich this sunday. state of the union she's hosting 9:00 a.m. and noon eastern right here on cnn. thanks very much. that's it for me. thanks for watching. have a great weekend. erin burnett outfront starts right now. outfront tonight, deadly assault. a new isis video showing militants launching a new militant attack as suicide bombers kill 40. the road rage murder. one suspect still on the loose tonight and the victim's husband admitting he's known the suspect for a long time. why didn't he tell the police that that? one of the world's tallest residential buildings is on fire tonight. live pictures. are people still trapped inside 79 stories high? we'll have a live report. let's go outfront.

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