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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  February 18, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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thanks, poppy. hope the pope has a good lawyer. "the lead" starts right now. just two days until the critical south carolina republican primary and donald trump going off on his holiness. after pope francis suggests that he's not christian. but could this only help trump in the bible belt? senator marco rubio taking his new big-time endorsement out for a spin today as he responds to another trick, he says, by the ted cruz campaign. what did rubio tell me about this terrible photo shop? plus, it's nuclear, unpredictable and unstable and now intelligence officials are warning that north korea is plotting terrorist attacks. good afternoon, everyone, welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. it feels like every day i come to you and say you thought the
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race for president was crazy, wait until you hear what just happened today, and today is no exception. today i bring you a war of words between the republican front-runner and his holiness, the pope. our politics lead today. his holiness versus his trumpiness. pope francis suggesting that donald trump is not christian because trump wants to build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants out of the united states. trump called the pope's remarks disgraceful. let's go right to cnn chief political correspondent dana bash in south carolina where republican voters head to the polls in just two days. dana, donald trump a long time ago said that the pope's candor was refreshing. mr. trump striking a far different tone today. >> that is an understatement, jake. you and i have covered politics to know to expect the unexpected, especially when it comes to south carolina politics, especially when it is just 48 hours until the intense primary here. but this, this is a new one. just when you thought 2016 couldn't get weirder, donald
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trump got in a war of words with the pope. pope francis pontificating about trump. >> translator: a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be located, and not building bridges is not a christian. this man is not a christian if he has said things like that. >> he actually said that maybe i'm not a good christian or something. it's unbelievable. which is really not a nice thing to say. for a religious leader to question a person's faith is disgraceful. i'm proud to be a christian. >> reporter: as unusual as it is for the pope to question a presidential candidate's christianity, almost as unusual, that candidate's response. >> if and when the vatican is attacked b attacked by isis, which everyone knows is isis' ultimate trophy, i can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that donald trump would have been president because -- it's true.
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>> reporter: as for the pope's core criticism about trump's call to build a wall between the u.s. and mexico -- >> the mexican government and its leadership has made many disparaging remarks about me. see, the pope was in mexico. he doesn't see how mexican leadership is outsmarting our president and obama and our leadership has no clou as to the negotiation or anything else. >> reporter: in an instant this mano y mano between trump and the pope overshadowed everything on the campaign trail. jeb bush, a devout catholic and gop candidate most critical of dump in this case came to the billionaire's defense. >> i think his christianity is between him and his creator. as relating to policies with isis, he's not the right guy to be commander in chief. the swiss army guard is probably taking pretty good care of the pope, so i'm not worried about it. >> so you think the pope was wrong to question his christianity. >> i don't question anybody's
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christianity because i honestly believe that's a relationship that you have with your creator. it only enables bad behavior when someone from outside our country talks about donald trump. >> now, the other republican candidate who has really been getting into it with donald trump, of course, is ted cruz. he also declined to step into this one, jake. he said that's between donald and the pope, i'm not going to get into the middle of that. i'll leave it to the two of them to work out. jake. >> we'll talk with marco rubio with this in just a few minutes. dana, let's get down to brass tax here. the south carolina republican primary in just two days. how is this back and forth between donald trump and the pope, how might it play out among the south carolina electorate? >> you know, you never know but i have talked to some really grisled veterans about that question and most think it could not hurt donald trump and potentially help him because for
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lots of reasons, but first and foremost because there are a lot of republicans here who don't agree with the pope, this pope in particular, obviously, who is pretty aggressively political, as popes go. so they may like the idea that donald trump is standing up to the pope. i know it's kind of hard to wrap your head around that concept, just that we're having this conversation, but the sort of early analysis among republicans is that it could only help donald trump here. >> sure. and there are some anti-catholic people in south carolina as well, as we've seen in years past. dana bash, thanks so much. don't forget we are just hours away from part two of cnn's republican town hall. tonight south carolina voters will get to ask questions of john kasich, jeb bush and one mr. donald j. trump starting right here on cnn at 8:00 p.m. eastern. let's talk more about the back and forth between donald trump and his holiness, the pope. i'm joined by father timothy
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kasicke, president of the jesuit conference. pope francis is a jesuit. father, thank you for joining us. >> good to see you again, jake. >> i want to make sure we get the translation right. is it that the pope said that donald trump, if he believes what he believes in terms of building a wall is not a christian or is not christian, because there is a difference there. >> i would say is not a christian. i think we need to look at the entire statement. you have to look at the question that was asked of pope francis and how he framed his response. so he was asked if he was being a political pawn, a political pawn of mexico. he said, well, as to the political question, and he became very philosophical, he said aristotle teaches this all human beings are political animals, so i suppose, yes, i'm human, therefore i'm political. as to whether i'm a pawn, let the people sdodecide that. but then he did something in logic which said the gospel teaches us that anyone who
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builds walls and not bridges is not a christian. therefore, if one, and i would say a person, not this individual, if a person only builds walls and not bridges, therefore, he is not a christian. so that's how i read and interpret pope francis' answer. >> of course donald trump is the one pushing for this big wall to be built on the border, although other republicans have joined in that cry. how unusual is it for any pope to not only criticize a policy but specifically a politician promoting a policy? >> well, first of all, the pope's criticism of the policy is not necessarily his own. he always takes the lead from the local bishops. and in 2003, the bishops of mexico and the united states wrote a letter called strangers no more where amongst other things they said they wanted the abandonment of what they called a border blockade enforcement strategy. so he's getting the condemnation of the wall from the local
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bishops in mexico and the united states. to take on -- he rarely -- i don't know him ever to have attacked a person, but he will attack an individual's ideology or beliefs. and so i think he's attacking an issue more than a person, but i think it's hard for us not to equate the two and that's why we're seeing the reaction from the pope's statements. >> a senior advisor to trump responded on twitter. quote, the vatican is 100% surrounded by massive walls. that's the pushback from the trump campaign. basically, hey, the pope is perfectly safe and the people in texas are not. >> well, i think it's an interesting interpretation, but actually the vatican is completely open. you walk into sant. peter's square, the public is welcome and allowed in the basilica. so the public is allowed in the vatican every day. so i don't know that that wall analogy holds. and the pope comes out to the people twice a week, so i would
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question that analogy. >> this pope especially very accessible to the public. father, thank you very much. appreciate your honor time. sticking with our politics lead, what does the rest of the republican field think about donald trump calling the pope disgraceful? we'll ask trump rival marco rubio who's in south carolina. also they fought for our country but when they called for help, they got voice mail. a new report that dozens of veterans call the suicide crisis line and never speaking with a real person, they were told to leave a message, and that's just the beginning of the scandal. remember when you said men are superior drivers? yeah. yeah. then how'd i get this... [ voice of dennis ] ...allstate safe driving bonus check? what is that? [ normal voice ] so weird, right? my agent, tom, said... [ voice of dennis ] ...only allstate sends you a bonus check
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. for the republican establishment he is the great right hope. senator marco rubio. after his momentum short-circuited in new hampshire, rubio has rebuilt his stump speech and started to surge again, this time in south carolina where he is currently in the thick of a nasty back-and-forth with his rival, senator ted cruz. the charges and countercharges are flying. in the middle of all this rubio scored a huge endorsement in the state. senator rubio, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you. thanks for having me on. >> so, first off, i want to congratulate you on picking up governor nikki haley's
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endorsement. jeb bush before the endorsement was given called it the most powerful, most meaningful one in the state of south carolina, so you now have governor haley, senator tim scout and congressman trey gowdy all in your corner. ted cruz's campaign says with those endorsements you have to win south carolina and if you don't come in first it's a loss. >> well, we're going to do well here, obviously. this is a very unique election. we have six people out there competing. you know, donald has been consistently the leader in the polls here. unless something dramatic changes, that will be hard to change. but we feel about the momentum it gives us. we have to remember these are still states giving out delegate supports in an apportioned way, it's not winner take all. we have a great team. by the way, they're a great team for us not just in south carolina. trey gowdy, tim scott, governor haley, these are national leaders. they'll help us in other states as well. so we're excited about it. we're going to keep growing. our campaign has real momentum here. we'll see what that turns into
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on saturday and i believe it's going to help. >> governor haley had a lot of great things to say. she did have some choice words for you last month after she criticized donald trump and said that that criticism wasn't so out of the ordinary. here's what she had to say. >> i have disagreements with other presidential candidates. you know, jeb bush passed common core and marco rubio believes in amnesty, which i don't. >> governor haley walked that comment back a bit saying she was tired, she didn't mean to say you supported amnesty, but she did mean you supported the gang of eight bill and she did not. she did pick up on something a lot of conservatives don't like, gang of eight bill. what's your message to those conservatives. >> she's not new. a lot of people didn't support that effort. my message is we tried to do the best we could in a senate controlled by harry reid. they were going to do an immigration reform bill with or without me so my goal was to try to make it as conservative as possible so we could send it to the house andth house take it up and make it better. that's not something i'm saying
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now, that's something i said in that process. i repeatedly said this is not strong enough and the house will make those improvements. the senate bill is not going to be the law when i'm president. that's not going to be the way we address this issue. that's the best we could do in a harry reid-controlled senate. when i'm president, we'll do it our way and that means before we do anything, we are going to secure our border and enforce our laws. and until we do that first, we won't be able to do anything else on immigration. after we've done that, we'll see what the american people are willing to do with someone who's been here for a long time and passes a background check, learns english, pays a fine, starts paying taxes. we'll see what people are willing to support. but right now the priority has to be to secure our border. >> big campaign dispute in south carolina today. the cruz campaign pushing a flyer and a website that has a photoshopped pictur of you and president obama shaking hands. your campaign is objecting. why? >> because it's not real. i mean in essence it's called
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the real marco rubio or something like that. it's not real. it's a photoshopped picture of something that never happened which is now par for the course for the cruz campaign. they make things up. in this case they literally made up a picture. more importantly, they're criticizing me on an issue that ted cruz was a supporter of. they're attacking me for the fastrak authority for negotiating trade. ted cruz wrote an opinion piece with paul ryan in "the wall street journal" supporting tpa, supporting fast track authority and he only flip-flopped when he got a lot of pressure. he made up some excuse not to be for it. so look, this is now a pattern. every day there is something new that they are making up. and i think voters are beginning to notice. you do it once, it happened. you do it twice, disturbing. you do it every single day, it becomes a very disturbing pattern of misleading voters and saying things that just aren't true. >> on that subject, last night at the town hall, senator cruz
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had the following to say. take a listen. >> he went on univision and in spanish said that he would not rescind the president's illegal executive amnesty on his first day in office. if i am elected president, in the first day in office i intend to rescind every illegal executive action. now, in response to that marco followed the same strategy as donald. he just screamed liar, liar, lawyer. he didn't dispute any of the substance. >> i want to give you an opportunity to respond. >> that's not what univision says. they have consistently reported. in fact right after that enter view uni vision reported that i said doca has to go away and i will get rid of it because it's unconstitutional. i was against it when the president did it. i remain against it now. it cannot be a permanent policy and i've said that repeatedly. evened univision said that the interview was about me saying
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that it was going to go away. so another example of him misleading people. i understand in politics that there are shades and people push back and forth but when you do this every single day, it began in iowa with a robo call to supporters telling them to tell people at the caucus site that ben carson dropped out. it wasn't just a tweet. he's gotten into a dispute with cnn about what cnn said or didn't say. he is being untruthful about what cnn did. every day there's something new. i think it's incredibly disturbing that someone is going out every single day and making something up thinking no one will notice. >> can i ask you why you seem more focused on senator cruz than you are on the front-runner, donald trump? >> i'm not focused on senator cruz but i have to respond to the things he says. every single day he makes something up about me. if i don't respond, people might assume that it's true. you can't leave things that aren't true unchallenged.
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donald trump is not out there every day making stuff up about me. i have differences of opinion about donald trump. on saturday night donald trump said that 9/11 happened under george w. bush's watch and i challenged him on that. but donald trump is not out there every day making stuff up about me. ted cruz is. so we can't leave that unchallenged. if you do, then basically you're admitting that it's true in the eyes of some voters. this election is too important to allow that to happen. >> let's turn to the vacancy on the supreme court. 28 years ago this month, ronald reagan's last year in office, the u.s. senate voted to confirm his nominee, anthony kennedy. how is that significantly different from the timing of this nomination. president obama still has 11 months left in office. >> a couple of things. you talk about the reagan example, the nomination happened in the seventh year and the confirmation process went into the eighth year. this is a tradition that both parties have lived by for over 80 years where in the last year
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if there is a vacancy in the last year of a lame duck president, you don't move forward. the president can nominate someone but the senate has said we're not moving forward on it, that the next president should have the opportunity to fill this vacancy. we're going to have an election in november. this will be an issue in the election where the candidates will describe the kind of justice they would appointing. i think that will be one of the factors how they make their decision and then the new president can appoint someone and the senate should move forward on the confirmation process then. i don't think you should appoint someone to a lifetime appointment by a lame duck president who is no longer accountable to the electorate. there's a viral video showing employees of carrier air conditioning announcing the employees are being told that the company is moving 1400 jobs from indiana to mexico in 2017 because it will cut costs
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dramatically. do you think anything could have been done to keep those jobs in the u.s. or is this just reality because mexico is willing to pay the workers, say, $3 an hour? >> well, i think, first of all, i don't know if that's the only reason why that's happening. it's always disturbing to see jobs leaving our country. i think from a policy perspective, we need to look at the way we treat american companies. we have the highest combined corporate tax rate in the world. we have regulations that are incredibly burdensome. we have a health care law that puts burdens on business. we're not utilizing our energy resources. the cost of powering a carrier plant could be cheaper if we allowed you are utilities to fully utilize our energy resources. it's not just labor costs, it's all these other costs being imposed on american businesses and that's why american businesses leave. that's why you've seen all these inversions over the last few years. we are now in a globally competitive economy and this is going to continue to happen unless we pursue government policies that allow america to
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be a more affordable place to start a business, keep a business and grow an existing business. again, i think that's an example of that. >> senator, pope francis was at a border town by the texas-mexico border on the mexico side and today he was asked about donald trump. and the pope said, quote, a person who thinks only about building walls wherever they may be and not of building bridges is not christian. this is not the gospel, unquote. what do you make of those remarks? >> well, a couple things. number one, i think the holy father recognizes or should recognize and i believe he does how generous america is. we accept every year a million -- close to a million or over a million people every year as permanent residents of the united states. no other country in the world even comes close. so when it comes to accepting both refugees and immigrants, no nation on this planet is more welcoming, more open or more compassionate than the united states. we also have a right to have a
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system of laws by which we choose who gets to come in, when they get to come in and how they come in. sovereign countries have a right to do that. so there's a balance here between being compassionate but also being responsible, especially in a world where today radical jihadists are seeking to use the immigration laws of countries to infiltrate killers and fighters into foreign countries. so as a government in charge of protecting our people, we have a right to have immigration laws. no nation on earth is more compassionate. as far as building walls on the border, its wall is not just about immigrants, it's also about potential terrorists crossing that border, not to mention the drugs coming across that border and the human trafficking because people know they can get people across the border. here's what's not complicated. the united states is a sovereign country. it has a right to have immigration laws and it has a right to enforce immigration laws. and the united states remains the most compassionate and open country in the world on legal immigration. certainly a lot more welcoming
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in our laws than mexico is. >> senator marco rubio, stick around. when we come back, i'm going to ask you about the collapsing cease-fire plan in syria. that's next. (vo) ten years in a row. ten westminster best in show winners in a row. all fueled by purina pro plan... ...including the 2016 winner, cj. congratulations cj on taking home top honors. for champions in the ring. and the champion in your dog. purina pro plan. nutrition that performs. on the floor! everybody down! hey, do something!e floor!
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welcome back to "the lead." topping our world lead today, just hours after a deadly explosion that killed at least 28 people, including civilians and soldiers in the turkish capital city of ankara, another attack left six soldiers led already today and turkey is hitting back. they are blaming the attacks on a kurdish separatist group. that separatist group is affiliated with the syria-based
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kurdish ypg militia and that is america's main ally on the battlefield in the fight against isis in syria. the ypg for the record has denied any involvement in the terror attacks. turkey responded by launching air strikes in northern iraq, close to the turkish border, specifically targeting the kurdish fighting force. all of this illustrates just how complicated and messy the alliance is and animosities are in this war against isis and the syrian civil war in general. and we're back with senator marco rubio. senator, let's talk about syria. you say removing from power bashar al assad is a must. do you worry that will propel syria into even more chaos? >> as far as bashar al assad is in power in syria, you're going to have a civil war. he is now responsible for the death of a quarter million people and some agencies are saying it could be close to as high as 500,000 syrians that have lost their lives.
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so as long as he is in power, you are going to have a radical jihadist movement in syria. so bashar al asusad is an irritant in that region. as long as he is in power, there will be conflict there. there will be no peace in syria as long as he remains in power. that's the reality of it. >> talking about isis, your front-runner, donald trump, said torture works. what's your position on what donald trump had to say about torture? i know that you think that some of the enhanced interrogation techniques should be permitted. >> yeah. so i think we have to understand, number one, i'm not talking about torture. number two, i don't discuss interrogation methods because it allows terrorists to train. to evade interrogation methods. i believe we can gather actionable intelligence without doing anything to violate our
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nation with laws and a civilized people. by the same token we should not believe that interrogating a terrorist is the same as interrogating a criminal. in a criminal case when you're interrogating someone, what you're trying to do is gather information to be able to prosecute them. in a case of terrorism, when you're interrogating someone, you're trying to gather information to prevent something from happening, not to investigate it after the fact so the methods have to be a little different. i do think we have an obligation to gather actionable intelligence. today it's a moot point, we're not interrogating anybody. if we capture a terrorist today, we're no longer sending people to guantanamo. on the contrary, this president is emptying it out. i do believe they should be sent to guantanamo and subject to interrogation, including enhanced techniques that i won't discuss because we're not going to make it easier for them to prepare to evade it. i don't think it has to be done in a way that would violate our conscience. in fact a lot of things going on now have gone on in the past and are no longer in practice. but we can't act like this is
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some sort of criminal prosecution because we're not seeking to prosecute people here as much as we are trying to gather actionable intelligence to prevent a future attack. >> in terms of gathering actionable intelligence, i know you've talked about the difficult conflict that's going on right now between the united states government and apple when it comes to the u.s. government telling apple they want them to create a new operating system that would allow them to get into the cell phone used boy one of the san bernardino terrorists. apple says, hey, that operating system would really put at risk everyone's information because once it exists, who knows who's going to get it. at the end of the day would president rubio order apple to create a new operating system or no? >> well, first of all, presidents can't order that. what's happening here is a court has ordered them to do it and apple needs to follow a court order. whatever that court order is, they have a right to appeal it but eventually they'll have to comply with the laws. apple is not above the law.
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apple is not necessarily wrong here. if they create an opening in this operating system that could be found and exploited by criminal groups or even other terrorists. that said, you know, this encryption device and encryption software is available all over the world so even if american companies were forced to create openings in this encryption and back doors to encrypted devices, there's always going to be software available from other countries and other places that don't have those things and terrorists would just migrate to it. so simply requiring american companies to create back doors is not going to solve the problem because terrorists will simply continue to use either existing software that doesn't have back doors or new software around the world that isn't subject to u.s. law that has back doors. this is a real challenge. and i think there's going to have to be a serious coming together between the tech industry and the u.s. government to kind of figure out a way forward on this new challenge that we now face with encryption. >> senator marco rubio, you've been very generous with your time, we really appreciate it. good luck on saturday, we'll see you out there on the campaign
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trail. >> thank you. with so much vitriol on the campaign trail these days, it is easy to lose sight of just how deeply important this race is for so many americans. we saw a reminder just an hour ago in south carolina. take a look. >> like over a year ago, a man who is like my second dad, he killed himself. and then a few months later, my parents got a divorce. and then a few months later, my dad lost his job. and i was in a really dark place for a long time. i was pretty depressed. but i found hope and i found it in the lord and in my friends. and now i've found it in my presidential candidate that i support and i'd really appreciate one of those hugs you've been talking about.
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>> after that touching moment, governor kasich said he hears similar stories all the time on the campaign trail. he's launched missile tests and claims to have conducted a successful hydrogen bomb test. now kim jong-un may be preparing for his most terrifying stunt yet. stay with us. see see me. don't stare at me. see me. see me. see me to know that psoriasis is just something that i have. i'm not contagious. see me to know that i won't stop. until i find what works. discover cosentyx, a different kind of medicine for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. some shocking allegations in our world lead today, charges that north korea is preparing to launch terrorist attacks against its bitter enemy and neighbor, south korea. that dire warning coming from south korea's spy agency which claims north korea's erratic leader, kim jong-un personally gave the order to target subways, shopping malls and
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critical infrastructure as well as north korean officials. north korea claims to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb and of course launched a rocket into space a few days ago. what do we now at this point? >> right now the south koreans, the government, everybody there is on edge. subways, malls, power plants could be targeted by north korean security services but south korean intelligence telling us south korean government officials could be the targets of a terror attack from the north. that could include the south korean president. her own father, who was president in the 1960s and '70s was targeted for assassination at least twice by the north koreans. why is kim jong-un's regime planning such an attack right now? tensions between the two nations are at a very elevated level. you have the north koreans conducting their fourth nuclear bomb test last month and this month they tested a long-range ballistic missile under the guys of a satellite launch.
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south korea shut down the kasong industrial complex that makes a lot of money for north korea. that money -- that complex the two nations share operation of that. just yesterday also american f-22 stealth bombers flew low over south korea in a clear show of force so those tensions dating back to the summer where they had that land mine attack from the north koreans across the south korean border. >> it's there a response beyond the show of force from the united states? >> we have reached out all day to the white house and intelligence agencies. they are not commenting on this threat or what they would do in response to the threat. just a short time ago president obama signed new sanctions into law against north korea in response to the nuclear test. those would freeze assets of people doing business related to north korea's weapons programs or their human rights abuses, so that is a punitive measure for the tests earlier this winter. >> very disturbing. brian todd, thank you so much. more on our world lead. a desperate search is under way
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in iraq after highly dangerous radioactive material was stolen. let's bring in jim sciutto. jim, as if this news weren't bad enough, this highly dangerous material was stolen at least three months ago? >> that's right, from a facility in southern iraq. it was basically an industrial tool, something used in oil and gas facilities to test the pipes there but it does have radioactive material inside. it's categorized by the iaea as such that an investigation has been launched, a criminal investigation. they have not found elevated levels of radiation in and around that site. to this point at least iraqi authorities have no information that it ended up in the hands of a group such as isis. >> worst such scenario, could this be used for a dirty bomb? >> not easily. it is a radioactive material, category 2 as categorized by the iaea, one being the top but only
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has a half-life of 74 days. if you remember your high school physics, that means basically it loses half of its potency after just a couple of months. so you have to use it very quickly. the second thing is that it's in metal form, not in powder form. so it wouldn't be easily dispersed by an explosion. you would still have a radiological effect but it wouldn't be the easiest way to build a bomb. so in the category of radiological dangers, it's not high on the list. but any time something like this goes missing, there's concern. >> and it sounds alarming on its face. how alarmed are u.s. policy makers, the pentagon, the white house, et cetera. >> the short answer is not particularly alarmed. of course they would watch this but i've spoken to a couple of colleagues and barbara starr has as well and their reaction has been not particularly nervous about this but iraqi authorities are certainly investigating. >> all right, jim sciutto, thank you so much. imagine you're upset and distraught, possibly even contemplating suicide. you call a crisis hotline and
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then instead of getting a real person, you get voice mail. that's what happened to dozens of people, but that's not even the most outrageous part. stay with us. at peanuts can work for you? that's right. i'm talking full time delivery of 7 grams of protein and 6 essential nutrients. ever see a peanut take a day off? i don't think so. harness the hardworking power of the peanut. ♪ ♪ for your retirement, you want to celebrate the little things, because they're big to you.
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welcome back. this is today's buried lead. a frightening and regretful mistake putting the lives of u.s. service members at risk in their own country. the department of veterans affairs now admitting that instead of reaching a live person, several troubled veterans that called the suicide crisis hotline were sent to voice mail. sometimes no one got back to them. this shocking report comes from the va's own inspector general.
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dealing with times when the crisis center featured in the academy award-winning documentary, "veterans press one" were overwhelmed with calls from suicidal veterans. drew griffin joins me now with the findings. drew, this is so upsetting. what happened exactly when the crisis center had too many calls to handle? how did the ball get dropped here? >> the calls, jake, came into this overloaded crisis center. they were rerouted to contracted backup call centers and then in some cases, unbelievably, sent to voice mail. it's all in this inspector general report where the investigators found a significant number of these calls being handled by the backup centers and then going to voice mail or on hold or to music. as you alluded to, what's worse, the inspector general determined at one of these backup centers, 20 voice mails were never even returned because the workers there had no idea there was a voice mail system. the report found that callers
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were not always offered immediate assistance. social workers connected to the hotline were working without adequate training. it's really quite remarkable. >> it's so upsetting. now, the department of veterans affairs is trying to correct the problem, right? >> yeah. the va jumped on this even before the report came out. five veterans a day, jake, commit suicide. that's the estimate. this is very serious. the va taking it very seriously. they're hiring more workers. they have been at the call center trying to make sure the vets know they can get help. but it's just another fire that the va health system is trying to put out. another one erupted just this week in cincinnati. an investigative report citing that 34 doctors and nurses at this va facility alleging surgeries and specialty care for veterans are being cut to save money. that a top official there is double-dipping on salary and that there's an element of cover-up under way. here the va is forced to send in investigators, temporarily assigning administrators there,
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and generally deal with yet another medical center, jake, facing charges of treating our vets poorly. >> what's so frustrating for so many is that congress recently set aside a ton of money to help the va after the most recent va scandal that you broke, but even when congress spends all this money, so much of it seems to be wasted. >> it is, jake. an inspector general report came out this morning. tucson, arizona, the va had leased $1.8 million for equipment. what happened? it sat there. they didn't use it for five months. so the taxpayers lost $217,000 just tossed away in this kind of rental fee for the equipment, but worse, for five months these veterans that needed the equipment to be working for their urology exams, they didn't get that quality of care. and again these reports come out almost every week.
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like you say in this segment, it's a buried lead. nobody is paying attention to this. i don't know why. >> all right, drew. thanks for staying on top of it. we appreciate it. now, we should mention the crisis hotline is open. veterans affairs credits it for more than 50,000 rescues. if you are a veteran and you or someone you know needs that number, it will be answered. 800-273-8255. and press "1" for veterans services. in our money lead, potholes can damage your car, wreck your tires, turn you into the incredible hulk with rage. now there's a way to avoid them and you don't even have to do anything.
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welcome back to "the lead." in our money lead, yet another mass i've recall by toyota. they are recalling nearly 3 million suvs around the world. this one affects the rav-4 and van guard models, a third of which were sold in this country, the united states. toyota says there's a potential problem with their rear seat belts which could come apart during a crash. dealers will fix the problem at no cost to the customer. it's not clear whether there were any injuries or fatalities caused by the seat belt failure. come on, toyota, get it together. new technology could smooth out your bumpy ride, especially this time of the year with so many potholes in the road. the new ford sport allows the car's wheels to skip over those street craters. they tested it out with ping pong balls. sensors monitor what's ahead and
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when they detect a pothole, they send a message to the shocks. hopefully that will save you a trip to the repair shop, perhaps even a trip to the chiropractor. some luxury cars already use this technology but ford says the fusion is the first sedan in its price range to offer the suspension system. it's bond, james bond, that's what one superfan is saying after buying the spy's famous ride at auction for $3.5 million and it doesn't even avoid potholes. it was expected to go for anywhere between $1.4 million and $2.1. apparently the buyer, really, really, really wanted 007's ride. because the ride was made solely for the new bond film "specter" they can't guarantee that the vehicle is actually road worthy. do you expect me to drive? a reminder, we're just hours away from part two of cnn's
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republican town hall. tonight south carolina voters will get to ask john kasich, jeb bush and donald trump their questions. it all starts right here at 8:00 p.m. eastern. i turn you over now to one mr. wolf blitzer next door in "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now, holy war of words. the leader of a billion roman catholics slams the billionaire leader of the gop. pope francis suggesting that donald trump is not christian because of his plan to build an anti-immigration wall. trump calls the pope's comments disgraceful. will he escalate the conflict? we're standing by for a trump rally and tonight's cnn republican town hall. hand fake. marco rubio's campaign slams ted cruz tying him to a photo shopped image of rubio seemingly shaking hands with president obama. has their rivalry reached a new low? d