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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  March 23, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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multiple trips down there. congressman steve cohen, thank you for the time. >> you're real young, you can get a big bucket. >> i'm brooke baldwin. "the lead" with john berman starts right now. >> thanks, brooke. the alleged bomb maker blows himself up. "the lead" starts right now. breaking news in the brussels terror attacks. investigators now believe the alleged bomb maker behind the carnage in brussels and paris, and paris, is dead. but are other attacks still in the works? also, airports, subways, sports arenas, tourist traps, the state department warning americans in europe to avoid crowded places that could become the next war zone. plus naked anger. donald trump makes an ominous threat to spill the beans on mrs. ted cruz after an ad shows mrs. trump leaving little to the imagination.
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welcome to "the lead." i'm john berman in for jake today. breaking news in our world lead. a major development in the brussels terror attacks. the man suspected of building the bombs that tore through paris in november and brussels yesterday, he may in fact be dead. cnn has learned that najim laachraoui is believed to have been one of the two suicide bombers who blew themselves up at the brussels airport killing at least ten people, injuring dozens more. this comes as the search is intensifying for this unidentified third terror suspect who failed to detonate his suitcase bomb inside the airport terminal. cnn has people on the ground in the belgium capital. let's start with the development over the last few minutes, word from belgian officials that laachraoui, the bomb maker, may be dead. >> reporter: belgian and french
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officials are telling cnn that they believe najim laachraoui, the man implicated in building the bombs that were detonated in the paris attacks is dead. bell began counterterror officials are in the process of cross referencing his dna, but at the moment their working belief is that he is dead. identifying najim laachraoui at the scene, placing him at the airport bombing scene is key, because it closes that loop on bringing together the overlapping between the network that carried out the paris attack and carried out this attack. just to recap a little bit for our viewers how important, how dangerous this man was believed to be. his dna was found on the suicide belt of the paris attackers detonating in france. back in january belgian counterterror officials told us they intercepted phone calls between him and abaaoud, the paris attack leader, where he
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was giving instructions. they believe him to be a key conspirator. he studied electromechanical engineering and that has been a great value of isis. but it's really coming together. investigators are overlapping them to try and figure out who else is out there. >> stand by. that's the latest. najim laachraoui believed to be the bomb maker in brussels and paris, but what about that third man in that picture we were just looking at, the man in the light-colored jacket, the man believed to have left the bomb at the airport. clarissa ward is with us now. clarissa, what are you learning about the search for that person? >> reporter: well, john, earlier we heard from belgium's prosecutor that there are still a number of people at large. these people may be armed, they may be dangerous. among them, the primary focus of the manhunt is, as you said, the
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man on the right in that surveillance video. he is particularly distinctive because he is wearing a light jacket, he is wearing a cap an glasses. you also might notice he is the only one of the three of them who is not wearing one glove. authorities believe that glove may have been used to conceal a detonator. we know that in his suitcase, which did not explode, there was a particularly large bomb, larger than the explosives that were in the other two suitcases of the two suicide bombers. it's not clear yet did he get cold feet, did the bomb not go off? authorities arrived on the scene afterwards and were able to do a controlled detonation so the explosives did not actually harm anyone. but at this stage we still don't know where that man is. there are a lot of questions now, john. we are learning more and more. najim laachraoui was wanted by interpol, he was on a red alert. the two brothers who are also attackers in these vicious attacks also had extensive rap sheets. so a lot of questions here as to
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why all of these men who were well known to authorities were able to slip under the radar and go undetected and carry out these attacks when this country was already on a state of very high alert, john. >> indeed. a lot of questions, as you say, clarissa ward. thank you so much. stand by in brussels. we're also learning the identities, as clarissa said, of two of the bombers. they are brothers. one blew himself up at the airport, the other behind the attack on the subway. let's bring in pamela brown. pamela, what is the latest on the investigation? >> john, as clarissa alluded to, there were warning signs about both brothers. turn turkish authorities are saying one of them was deported back to belgium last year for his ties to terrorism and the other brother has an interpol red notice that was issued this year for terrorism charges, yet both of them were able to wreak havoc in brussels yesterday morning.
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new details are emerging about the brussels suicide bombers. brothers and belgian nationals, ibrahim and cla reed bakraoui. the suicide bomber on the left has not yet been publicly identified and the unidentified man on the right dropped off a large bag of explosives before fleeing. >> translator: his bag had the strongest explosives. a few moments after the bomb squad arrived at the scene, the bag exploded. fortunately, no one was hurt by that bomb. >> reporter: an hour after ibrahim el bakraoui said off his bomb at the airport, his brother, khalid, detonated his bomb at a metro station in brussels. the taxi driver who drove the three to the airport led police to the brussels residence where he picked them up. inside, investigators found bomb-making materials, including
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as tone and hydrogen peroxide, detonators, a suitcase full of nails and screws and 33 pounds of the explosive called tatp, enough to make multiple bombs. in a trash can on the street nearby investigators found a laptop. on it, messages from ibrahim before the attack stating he was, quote, in a rush and if he takes too long, he will end up with him in jail. belgian investigators believe he was referring to salah abdeslam, one of the ring leaders of the november paris attacks who was captured last week. investigators believe abdeslam was likely to take part in the brussels attack, and after his arrest, the cell accelerated their plans. as the manhunt continues for additional suspects, officials warn the threat is not over. >> a war has been waged against us and we must be totally determined in fighting this scourge. >> we've learned from sources
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there was chatter prior to these attacks indicating something was about to happen but there wasn't anything specific enough for authorities to prevent the attacks from happening. the concern now is that others in the men's network will try to launch more attacks in europe in the days to come. john. >> pamela brown, thanks so much. let's discuss this further. joining us now, our panel of terrorism experts. cnn national security analyst, julia, and former member of congress jane harmon from the house intelligence committee, also in charge of the wilson center. thank you all for being with us. julia, just over the last few minutes, so many more things have come to light. a lot of these threats starting to come together. the idea that the bomb maker, najim laachraoui blew himself up at the airport. the idea another one of the bombers left a will saying he was afraid of being caught and left behind 40 pounds of explosives unused in the apartment. what does this alltel y tell yo?
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>> it means last friday was significant, the arrest of abdeslam alive. he's not captured dead. and the suggestions throughout the weekend by brussels officials that he was not only cooperating but they were using the term collaboratingment as we saw in the suicide note that they felt that they were about to get caught. now, these are suicide bombers. they do not care if they die, they care if they are detained. so the arrest on friday sped everything up. and in particular, terrorist groups are organized in different ways but generally they have an operational wing and a technical and more sort of policy substantive wing. you never kill the bomb maker. it's a specialized skill. it must have been very clear to them that they did not have many moves left and he was willing to sacrifice himself. >> david, do you see it like that? you never kill the bomb maker. juliet was drawing a distinction between suicide bombers, the soldiers on the ground and the people behind the scenes
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developing the process to carry out the attacks. if this guy was behind the tatp bombs in paris and behind the bombs here, that is a sacrifice to that organization to lose him in these attacks. >> i agree with that. obviously he was a skilled bomb maker. his bombs worked in two major different terrorist attacks which not a whole lot of bomb makers out there can say that. the fact that he did die as a suicide bomber as far as we know seems to suggest that they felt the noose closing in on them just as soon as abdeslam was picked up by the sgloerts representative harmon, there is something else coming to light. the idea that the two brothers and now laachraoui will all know two officials. laachraoui and one of the bakraoui brothers had notices from interpol. one was deported from turkey to belgi belgium. so three guys were able to pull out a terror attack. what does that tell you? >> first, you never kill the bomb maker unless you have more bomb makers.
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possibly this guy who was, as i understand it, mentored by a brit in syria was one of a classroom of "a" students who can carry this on. there may be more waves of attack. but on your second point, that's very significant. retired general john allen, who was head of the coalition, the effort to form a coalition against the assad regime and others in isis and syria said that the criminal element has played a much bigger role in these attacks than we understand. these are not just trained terrorists, these are criminals. and the fact that these people weren't picked up, even though they apparently had rap sheets, as you just reported, shows me that we're not casting the net broadly enough. if we did, not we, but the belgians aren't. and if they had, we would have picked these guys up or certainly investigated these guys and found some really bad stuff. >> you never kill the bomb maker
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unless there are more bomb makers. i want to explore that in a little bit, so guys, stick around. plus coming up for us next, now that we know the suspected bomb maker for brussels and paris, the bomb maker may be dead. the question is what did u.s. intelligence know about this suspect and the other suspects beforehand? a member of the house intelligence committee who has been briefed, he joins us next. osteo bi-flex, g he's noticing a real difference in his joint comfort. as well as heightened levels of abject humiliation in his son. in just 7 days, your joint comfort can be your kid's discomfort. osteo bi-flex. made to move. (ricky gervais) verizon is the number one network in america. i know what you're thinking, they all claim stuff like that. yeah, but some of them stretch the truth. one said they were the fastest. we checked, it was fastest in kansas city
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welcome back to "the lead." belgian officials warning that other suspects in the deadly terror attacks could still be on the run and they could strike again. joining me now is republican congressman mike turner of ohio. he serves on the house intelligence committee. congressman, thank you very much for being with us. let me start with the breaking news, cnn learning over the halftime half hour that najim laachraoui, believed to be the bomb maker behind the paris attacks and making some of the bombs in the brussels attack as well, officials from belgium tell us that he is dead. are you hearing the same thing? >> certainly i'm hearing from your reports, but i think your previous panel and my good friend jane harman made an excellent point. you don't lose the bomb maker unless you have more bomb makers. and that really i think is the issue here. the united states needs to turn its attention to. there's been lots of criticism
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for the president's strategy as looking at isis as contained. they're clearly not contained. we need to take them out and make certain that their ability to attack the west is diminished. >> congressman, you're privy to information that we are not. do you believe there are other bomb makers on the loose right now in belgium poised to attack? >> i think absolutely. i think the public is aware of that. the thing that's important here is belgium is just not prepared to be able to undertake the type of investigative look at tracking down these terrorists and bringing them to justice. they are going to need our help and the help of their nato allies. we'll certainly be there to assist them and track these people down, track down these terrorist networks and eliminate their ability to execute terrorist attacks in belgium and the united states. >> there was an interpol red notice for laachraoui and one of for one of the bakraoui brothers and one of the bakraoui brothers was deported from turkey to belgium. these three people, were they
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known to u.s. law enforcement? >> i can't speak to that, but clearly by the rap sheet you read they were known by the belgian authorities. there's going to be a lot of second guessing as they look to what actions they have been taking to people they know is a threat and what they need to do tomorrow to continue to protect the citizens in belgium and brussels. >> so david nunez says he believes americans were the likely target given that the attack may have happened near a u.s. airlines ticket counter. do you think americans were targeted specifically in these attacks? >> certainly if they sought out a specific counter with the symbolism of the name american, it certainly shows they're looking to try to hurt us. i was just at that ticket counter on sunday morning and i can tell you my heart goes out to thinking of all the innocent people who work there that they have targeted. but this really goes to the viciousness of the terrorists and the immediate issue of why
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we need to take them down. people are at risk, they need to be stopped. >> you know what, i know everyone is hesitant to criticize in a situation like this when belgium is still very much involved in a manhunt right now, but do you think belgium based on what you know and your connections within the intelligence community, do you believe they're up to this task? >> not currently. i think with the united states help and others they can be. certainly we saw from the attacks perpendicultrated from in paris, it was chosen because of the difficulty authorities have of tracking them down and taking them down. we need to do this. certainly not just europe is at risk, the united states is at risk. we need to go further and get the president to get a full-scale strategy together to take down isis. we can find training camps, shut them down and prevent future bomb makers and future terrorists from going to europe and the united states. >> congressman mike turner, appreciate it, sir. >> thank you. coming up, a rare and frightening warning for
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americans following the brussels terror attacks. the state department issuing a travel alert for the entire continent of europe. then carpet bombing or banning syrians. what the 2016 presidential candidates have to say about fighting terror in the wake of the bombings. and one that's sweet. to satisfy the adult and kid - in all of us. ♪ nutritious wheat for the adult you've grown into and delicious sweet for the kid you'll never outgrow... feed your inner kidult with frosted mini-wheats®. try new kellogg's mini-wheats harvest delights with sweet drizzle and bits made with real fruit.
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i am a first responder tor and i'emergencies 24 hours a day, everyday of the year. my children and my family are on my mind when i'm working all the time. my neighbors are here, my friends and family live here, so it's important for me to respond as quickly as possible and get the power back on. it's an amazing feeling turning those lights back on. be informed about outages in your area. sign up for outage alerts at together, we're building a better california. new urgent warning for americans in europe in the wake of the terror attacks in brussels. the u.s. state department says isis and other terror groups are still planning attacks, especially in crowded places. the new travel alert comes as we learn more u.s. citizens were caught up in the carnage yesterday.
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let's go to elise leavitt. this fieleels maybe more significant. >> reporter: that's right, it's not unprecedented but it's rare. the state department does not issue a caution like this lightly, particularly ahead of the summer travel season. but with about a dozen americans injured in the brussels attack and many more missing, officials warning isis attacks could be coming in europe and americans need to be extremely vigilant. with officials warning isis is on the loose and a massive manhunt under way, the state department is taking the rare step of urging americans to think twice about traveling to europe, warning that terrorists, quote, continue to plan near term attacks throughout europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants and transportation. a dire assessment ahead of the summer travel season. a former house intelligence
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chair says such a dramatic warning is likely the result of alarming intel, point to the possibility of more terror. >> what they know is probably brussels was not the only target set, paris was not the only target set. there are likely other target sets in europe. >> reporter: isis fighters, many trained on the battlefields of syria, are returning home to carry out their jihad in the west, sometimes infiltrating the influx of migrants fleeing the violence. brussels has important symbolic value and has emerged as a hub to gjihadis planning european attacks. the paris attackers capitalizing on lax security crossed into france from brussels, and the weapons used in the "charlie hebdo" attack were smuggled across the border. >> europe is a europe without borders and brussels is
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centrally located. that means that it is perhaps a platform where people come, meet, arrange, plan and that kind of thing. >> reporter: intel experts say belgium remains ill equipped to tackle the problem. >> they have nine different police districts. some of them don't speak the same language, they have a hard time sharing. intelligence is very old. >> reporter: the european union with no common defense or intelligence body has failed to share vital intel with belgium and the u.s. >> we're likely to have more plots. that doesn't mean they will succeed. we need to scale up extremely quickly the european response. >> reporter: and the state department just announced that secretary of state john kerry will travel to brussels on friday. in addition to offering condolences for the belgian people, he will also meet with belgian and european union officials to talk about the investigation and efforts to fight isis, including how the
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u.s. and e.u. can better work together on these threats. >> thanks so much. i want to bring back our panel of experts. paul cruickshank, juliette and jane harman, of the wilson center. paul, you're new to our panel and also deeply sourced in the belgian intelligence community. the news coming in najim laachraoui, the suspected bomb maker in brussels and paris, may be dead. not 100% confirmed, but if it is confirmed, explain to me what you're hearing about the significance. >> well, it would certainly be significant and the belgians think he's probably being killed, that he probably died at the airport, but they're testing dna and so on and so forth to be 100% certain. they actually do have his dna on file because they were able to establish his dna was at that bomb factory in schaerbeek in belgium used by the paris
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attackers to use those devices. they aren't 100% sure yet that he was the bomb maker. they think he's possibly the bomb maker but haven't conclusively made that determination yet. but if they have got the bomb maker, that he's dead, that would be extremely significant because this is the most dangerous guy in a cell, the guy that can build these powerful tatp devices which can create so much carnage and equip people to use it. i think if he was indeed killed, it may have been him cornered with the rest of the cell because they felt that the dragnet was closing in and this was a sort of, quote unquote, glorious last stand for them. >> juliette i want to talk about the state department warning to americans traveling to europe, all of europe, warning americans to be careful. if you've got plans to go to europe for spring break coming up, how do you deal with this? >> the question i've been asked by every friend of mine, every cousin, everyone, and i'm sure all of us get that is what
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should i do? so the way to put it in perspective is there is always a level of risk when we travel. that's just the case because you're away from home, you're in airplanes and in places that are unfamiliar. the risk is slightly higher. it's not exceptional. it's not something we should run for but it's slight low higher. i'm telling people now in the next couple days cinsince we do know what's going on, just wait a couple days. if you have plans next week, you should go. be vigilant and we smart. part of what the state department advisory is about is each of us who goes abroad has the capacity to reduce the risk to ourselves, but the world is -- things happen in the world and we should just be aware of that. >> representative harman, we just heard from congressman mike turner and he said something pretty chilling at the end of our interview. i asked him if he thought belgium was currently up to the task of dealing with what's going on in that country. the city of brussels has become
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the hub of isis terror in continental europe right now. there are terrorists perhaps on the loose right now who can be planning other attacks. i asked a member of the intelligence committee if belgium was up to it and he said not currently. that's got to be frightening. >> yeah, it is frightening. i think the belgians are trying hard. i certainly gave them a shoutout on monday when they wrapped up the -- what we thought was the last guy connected to the paris bombing. oops, he wasn't the last guy. oops, they didn't predict and should have that the airport and subways were soft targets. there was an uptick in security i'm told in brussels over the weekend but not enough. belgium is a small country. 11 million people, nine intel agencies, three different languages and doing this alone makes no sense. europe does need to ramp up its cross europe intel capacity. we do have an intel representative in nato and that person is capable of helping to
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connect the dots across europe, but can't do it alone. so that's a worry. the other thing on this state department warning, let me say i think it's too general. there must be intelligence behind it, i agree with that. but someone just called me about his kid going to spain via an airport in paris tomorrow. it's a school trip. these school trips are hard to reschedule. and you can't be secure everywhere, but it sure would be nice to give more detailed granular guidance, especially to kids on school break. >> paul, quickly, what are your sources telling you about the current manhunt for others who may still be on the loose inside belgium. >> they're urgently looking for other people. there's great concern there could be more attacks in belgium, that this is not over. there's a significant number of belgians who went off and traveled and joined isis. there's a group of belgian and french isis operatives in raqqah
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who are talent spotting these young recruits coming in, giving them very fresh training, and then sending them back as quickly as possible to launch attacks. that is something that has come out in police interrogations over the last few months. police reports obtained by cnn. they are ramping up the accelerator and belgium is wearing the brunt of this right now. >> paul cruickshank, juliette, representative harman, thanks for being with us. a new feud brewing between donald trump and ted cruz, and this time you can call it the war of the wives shall as one candidate threatens to spill the beans. &t smaexpert? sure am. my staff could use your help staying in touch with customers. at&t can help you stay connected. am i seeing double? no ma'am. our at&t 'buy one get one free' makes it easier for your staff to send appointment reminders to your customers... ...and share promotions on social media? you know it! now i'm seeing dollar signs. you should probably get your eyes checked. good one babe. optometry humor. right now get up to $650 in credits to help you switch to at&t.
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ask your doctor about xifaxan for ibs-d. welcome back to "the lead." presidential candidates sharply disagreeing on how the united states should respond to the
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terror attacks in brussels. all that while the race between donald trump and senator ted cruz takes a bit of a nasty personal turn. cnn correspondent sunlen serfaty joins me now live from new york where ted cruz held a rally today. both ted cruz and donald trump have a little bit of a reason to celebrate after last night's voting. >> that's absolutely right, john. it was basically a split result. trump winning arizona, cruz winning utah. importantly there for cruz reaching that 50% threshold, so both walking away with all of the delegates in each of the states that they each won. as this campaign wages on, very clear that the terror attacks in brussels is going to continue to reshape their messages going forward. tonight, the terror attacks in brussels reverberating through the presidential campaign. >> we need unpredictability. >> gop front-runner, donald trump, saying he would potentially use nuclear weapons to stop isis. >> i'm never going to rule anything out and i wouldn't want to say.
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even if i felt it wasn't -- i wouldn't want to tell you that because at a minimum, i want them to think maybe we would use it. >> trump also telling cnn's wolf blitzer that he would support waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods. >> i think we have to change our law on, you know, the waterboarding thing where they can chop off heads and they can drown people in cages, in heavy steel cages, and we can't waterboard. so we have to change our laws and we have to be able to fight at least on an almost equal basis. >> democratic front-runner, hillary clinton, today outlining a contrasting counterterrorism agenda in california. >> we can't let fear stop us from doing what's necessary to keep us safe, nor can we let it push us into reckless actions that end up making us less safe. >> clinton taking aim not just at trump but ted cruz, who is calling for stepped-up policing of muslim communities in the u.s. >> it is that ostrich head in
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your sand political correctness that has made america so vulnerable. >> cruz earning a rebuke from new york city officials, including the police commissioner. >> he doesn't know what he's talking about. >> and the mayor. >> i just have to say it's reprehensible. his comments are not about safety and security, it's demagogue re. >> cruz pushing back today on new york soil. >> and the mayor's response is essentially who are these terrorists of which you speak? >> all this coming on the heels of a split decision in tuesday's western state contests. cruz also rolling out the endorsement of former rival jeb bush. >> what we're seeing all across the country is the momentum is with us. and i'll tell you one of the things that shows that is this morning, jeb bush endorsed our campaign. >> and as the trump-cruz feud intensifies, their wives are now being drawn into the fight,
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sparked by an anti-trump super pac facebook ad showing an old modeling photo of trump's wife, melania. trump tweeting cruz be careful or i will spill the beans on your wife. cruz denying that his campaign had anything to do with the ad. >> that should be beneath donald. >> reporter: heidi cruz also getting into the mix on the campaign trail in wisconsin. >> there are a lot of things that donald trump and his campaign say that have no basis in reality. >> reporter: while her husband borrows a line from the american president to punch back at his rival. >> you want a character to beat bob, you better stick with me because sydney ellen wade is way out of your league. >> if donald wants to get in a character fight, he better stick with me because heidi is way out of his league. >> and donald trump doubled down on this and even picked up on cruz channeling michael douglas saying lyin' ted cruz steals foreign policy from me and lines
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from michael douglas. just another dishonest politician. cruz calling this gutter politics he calls a new low even for donald trump. >> if he wins the white house, it turns out that ted cruz will have a flower garden, just to goat more from the american president. let's turn to our political panel. joining us kevin madden, kristen soltis anderson and hilary rosen. kevin, we are going to talk extensively about what the candidates are saying about the terror attacks in brussels which is crucially important and this spat about who said what about who's wife says a bit small. but it's because it seems that way it's so odd they have all spent so much time talking about it. let's talk about the super pac ad. what did you think of that? >> i think, first of all, it's a tasteless ad. i think that's one of the big problems with this, is that in a sense donald trump is right, but also ted cruz is. let me explain. ted cruz is right in the fact that he wants to make very clear
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to donald trump forces that this is not an ad that he is in way affiliated. this was by an anti-trump super pac that is not affiliated with his campaign. and donald trump is right to think that this is a tasteless ad. where they're wrong, where donald trump is wrong is trying to attach this to ted cruz. i think ted cruz felt -- it was very important to come out and refute what he said about his wife, heidi cruz, and that this is in any way tied to his campaign. so look, but the bigger issue here, the bigger problem for both campaigns is here we are 24 hours after a major international event and neither one of them are spending the majority of their time talking about national security. this is a tremendous distraction from what should be their core message to voters. >> quickly, donald trump knows or should know this was a super pac ad that ted cruz isn't connected to, so why do you think he hit back so hard? >> ted cruz's message is i am
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trusted. this is why lyin' ted is the moniker donald trump has thrown at him. he's pointed to things in iowa where there were allegations that ted cruz's campaign pushed this seedy narrative that maybe ben carson was dropping out of the race. that there was a mailer that seems not quite correct. there are all of these allegations that ted cruz is not campaigning on the up and up. this just gave donald trump one more i don't think fair but nonetheless it fit right into trump's narrative that ted cruz does not campaign in an honorable way. >> hilary, were you surprised to the extent ted cruz responded and the extent heidi cruz got involved in the response? >> no. the only thing you can do with donald trump really is push back and point out how tasteless he is. it will be interesting to see whether ted cruz takes the same view about attacks on bill clinton as he's taken about attacks on his wife. that's the first thing i thought about today. but look, spouses should be off limits, kids are off limits. run the campaign on the issues and every time donald trump does
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this, it just reinforces the worst narrative about him, which is that he wants this campaign to be about anything but the issues, particularly, as kevin said, in a day when people are taking the issues so seriously. >> guys, stick around because we're going to talk a lot more about that. ted cruz making an enemy of the nation's largest police force, the new york police department. will his comments about policing muslim communities in the united states, will they hurt him? then, new information about the second airport suicide bomber in belgium. we now know his identity. we're live on the ground in brussels with the latest. the gillette mach 3 turbo
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♪ you'll just have to miss it! ♪ yeah, you'll just have to miss it! ♪ ♪ we can't let you download... uh, no thanks. i have x1 from xfinity so... don't fall for directv. xfinity lets you download your shows from anywhere. i used to like that song. let's get right back to our political panel. kevin, i want to start with you. all the candidates now talking about obviously what happened in brussels. i live in a world where i like to believe that all five candidates care deeply about america and want to keep this country safe. there is also a political element to what they say as well. ted cruz came to new york city and got himself in a fight with the new york city police department and the new york city mayor. the new york police department
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says ted cruz doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. that's the commissioner when ted cruz says he wants to patrol muslim neighborhoods. why do you think ted cruz is picking this fight in new york city? and i'm asking you as a son of new york, a son of yonkers. how does that help him? >> right now the political element of tough talk resonating inside a gop primary, particularly in the space that we're in right now after a major international event, i think ted cruz is finding that extremely alluring. i think the problem here is that while mayor de blasio may look like an easy foil, you don't want to pick a fight with law enforcement on this. i don't think it's smart. i think the better response is to talk more to the fears and anxieties that so many americans have right now in a way that is unifying rather than a way that gets you into a back-and-forth with somebody like commissioner bratton. >> kristen, in new york state which has a primary in a month
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from now, is there an advantage to picking a fight with the liberal mayor of new york city? can you pick up republican votes perhaps around the city in the suburbs and upstate? >> i think another piece -- another element of why this is potentially advantageous for cruz is not just about picking fights with liberals but it's about the fears that americans have that kevin was just talking about. think about what happened after paris. we had this whole debate about what are we going to do about refugees and are we going to allow them in, are we going to increase screening. a lot of folks said republicans are going too far to the right on this and the polls wound up showing that americans thought, you know what, they took the politically incorrect position in the polls. so i think ted cruz is sort of betting that by coming out with really tough talk that may be divisive and may not be the sort of thing that you'd want in a general election, you'll certainly be gaining voters within the context of a primary. >> you saw what it did for donald trump when he said he wanted to ban muslims. people in state after state approved of that. hillary clinton gave a speech, much like she's given before.
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she took the opportunity to give a similar speech on national security and how she would fight terrorism. this on a day she won one out of three states. bernie sanders won two states handily by 75% or higher. what do you think hillary clinton is doing? >> right now hillary clinton feels incredibly responsible to be the grownup in the room. she is trying to give the american people the alternative they want to the rhetoric that trump and cruz are espousing. so, you know, in many respects it's important for her to play this role, to give these messages. what bernie sanders says about her isn't particularly relevanth now. what she wants to do is make sure people know that she is prepared to be commander in chief on day one, that she has put out a plan to defeat isis and that she understands that rhetoric that divides americans will not help the situation at all. >> kevin madden, kristen, hilary rosen, thanks so much for being with us. appreciate it. we're going back to brussels where officials are warning that
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the potential terror threat might not be over. our nick paton walsh is on the ground there. nick, what are you hearing? >> reporter: we know now the names of two most likely of the three men pictured inside the airport. two went to blow themselves rem questions about how safe the city of brussels can feel. stay with us. i know what you', they all claim stuff like that. yeah, but some of them stretch the truth a little bit. like this. faster, more reliable and better coverage than ever. and it shows the coverage there. uh, oh, hold on. oh! map is not a depiction of coverage! well, then what's the point? i'm speechless. only verizon has the largest 4g lte network in america. and now if you buy a samsung galaxy s7 edge, you get one free. the possibility of a flare was almost always on my mind. thinking about what to avoid,
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you're looking at live pictures right now of the place de la bourse in brussels. this is crowded of people out in defiance. the heightened security presence, the active investigation under way. nick patton walsh is there. there's new information unfolding every minute.
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police still don't know how many people they're looking for connected to all of this? >> reporter: absolutely. we do know they are looking certainly for two individuals. let's run through what we do know. the key image many have seen of those three men inside the terminal at the airport, we know the man in white is still on the run and they believe the two men in black are ibrahim el bakraoui and ma jetstrenajimlaachraoui. he is said to be linked to the paris attackers, the key bomb maker. the question people will be asking themselves is if that is him in the picture and he did blow himself up, why? he perhaps felt too much on the police radar. why did he take all his expertise in bomb making to his grave there. but also to one man who was with salah abdeslam, h is still on the run as well. questions really about how it was possible such a well-known
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fugitive like najim laachraoui could be involved in these attacks and how so many of the other individuals have not come across police radars at all at some stage. >> nick, you drove from brussels to paris today. given the manhunt under way and given all the security concerns, what was that drive like? was there an increased presence that you sensed on the road? >> reporter: well, it is remarkable, john, frankly, given the fact that paris and brussels have been subject to such awful terror attacks that there isn't a sense of increased security when you make that drive. the same drive that salah abdeslam did. that's the nature of the european state but when we drove through it ourselves it was remarkable to see the only real notion of changing country was the mobile phone provider changing on your phone. so a very tense situation here but not one where you feel there's an overwhelming security presence, john. >> that is the essence of the european union, but it is something that people are looking at right now as possibly
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something that might need to change in some ways to keep people safe. nick paton walsh from brussels, thanks so much. that's all for "the lead" today. i'm john berman in for jake. now turning you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, frantic manhunt. the search is on for a suspected bomber who escaped from the scene of the brussels airport attack. who is the man in the hat? what role did he play in the deadly terror strike? tracking the mastermind. who planned the massacres? is he still out there? and what about the isis bomb maker tied to both the paris and brussels attacks? did he design a powerful new explosive device that poses a much greater threat to soft targets? secretary of defense, our exclusive interview with ashton carter who says america will be stepping up the fight against isis. but is europe doing enough? and politics of fear. the presidential candidates weighing in on the terror attacks, suggesting everything from mass