tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN September 20, 2016 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
happening now, breaking news. the father of the suspect in the new york and new jersey bombings said he called the fbi in 2014 when his son was acting violently. an investigation found no ties extremists. why did his father allegedly call him a terrorist two years ago? terror ramblings. a notebook found on the bombing suspect contained rambling writings about a terrorist al qaeda leader. the boston marathon bombers are allegedly mentioned. did the bombing suspect self-radicalize? foundation trouble. a new report accuses donald trump of using his charities to benefit his businesses. the gop nominee has settled four
lawsuits with funds from his family foundation. is trump breaking the law and using other people's money? and donald trump jr. sparks an uproar comparing syrian ref zwrees skittles. his tweet is being widely rebuked not only by democrats and the clinton campaign but also the company that makes the candy. what is donald trump saying about the controversy tonight? we want to welcome our viewers from the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." there's breaking news into the new york and new jersey bombings. the father allegedly called rahami a terrorist at that time but investigators found no ties to extremism. there's new information about
rahami's wife who left the u.s. just before this weekend's bombing attacks. she is said to be cooperating with investigators and has spoken with u.s. officials in the unite arab emirates. and tonight, a leading explosives expert is telling cnn that the ingredients in the new york bomb device had the potential to produce an explosion significantly more powerful than the devices used in the boston marathon bombings. the expert says the use of the unstable explosive may foinl terror training overseas. we're following new report about donald trump's charitable foundation. the "washington post" says on at least four occasions the foundation paid to settle lawsuits against trump businesses. the foundation's funded primarily with other donors' money and using to it benefit trump businesses potentially could be illegal. we're covering all that and much more including our guest of the vice chair senate committee. diane feinstein of california
and our experts are also standing by. let's begin with the investigation into the new york and new jersey bombings. new information coming in. jim sciutto is working this story for us. what are you learning? >> reporter: a short time ago the fbi released a statement them today? 2014 they made an assessment. they conduct multiple interviews in and around rahami's family. they spoke to other law enforcement agencies. they checked the databases and found no evidence of terror ties. this in 2014. these are difficult judgment calls. as it turned out two years later, a few yards behind me, here rahami would carry out an action of terror. tonight u.s. officials tell cnn that the fbi interviewed the father of ahmed rahami after a violent domestic dispute. this led to a tip alleging the father was calling his son a terrorist. after the father then downplayed the accusation, the fbi
ultimately concluded it was a domestic matter. today rahami's father told more about the violent altercation. >> now he is a terrorist. >> why did you call them? >> doing bad. he said my son, he had my wife, and i put him to jail four years ago. >> investigators are now attempting to question ahmed rahami. though police say he is still not talking. one urgent question. did he have help in carrying out the attacks? do you still believe he acted alone with these attacks and attempted attacks? >> it is very early on in the investigation. as we move through this, we'll determine who his acquaintances were. go through social media to make a determination. >> reporter: pointing to possible inspiration for the attacks, a notebook that rahami was carrying when captured
referenced america aqap leader allawi killed in 2011 by a drone strike. it contained references to the boston marathon bombers. and they are scrutinizing his travels to afghanistan and pakistan where he married and had a child and spent time in areas a heavy taliban presence. this to determine if he was radicalized overseas. the afghan taliban has denied any involvement in the bombings. >> the officials are trying to determine if he had help in this endeavour, it would have taken some time to get all the materials to put these bombs together. >> the devices were made easy to obtain ingredients, recipes that are accessible online. but those materials considered by experts to be a high explosive had a potential explosive power. bigger than what was seen in the boston marathon bombings.
>> today i asked the new york commissioner james o'neal, what message dishave for new yorkers and for bherns the terror threat today. his answer was in his words, do not be governed by fearful i have to say as i'm standing here where the bombing took place, this is clear lay neighborhood not governed by fear. you get sense in new york as well. the commissioner said that people have to pay attention. this is a community effort to look out for the signs of terror. certainly a community effort in responding to this attack. that's part of his message to americans as well. >> all right. thank you very much. we're learning new information about the bombing suspect's wife. pamela brown is working this part of the story for us. she left just before the bombings. >> that's right. in fact the suspected bomber's wife is cooperating with federal authorities and has spoken to u.s. officials in the united arab emirates.
it is believed she was packing. she has not been accused of any wrongdoing. >> cnn has learned ahmad rahami player he had his wife in 2011. in 2014 he and his father seen here coming out of the family's home contacted a new jersey congressman's office for help bringing her to the u.s. >> the staff dwelt the father most times. mr. rahami only showed up once. he was a little abrupt and nasty with the staff. >> reporter: he claim his wife was having trouble with her passport and visa even though it was arranged. >> she needed a new passport. then they found out that she was 35 weeks pregnant and they were not given the entry visa and they said that they would give other visa once she had the baby. >> a u.s. official said she made it to the u.s. and described her relationship with ahmad as,
quote, distant. tonight, officials continue to speak with those who knew the suspect personally. >> cnn has learned rahami went to the this location. he went again in 2013 with his brother. when he returned to the u.s., he was taken into secondary screening. a u.s. official said he claimed he was visiting his wife. tonight officials want to know whether he may have been radicalized during his time overseas. >> law enforcement officials say they located the agencies including the fbi in 2014. a federal law enforcement official. his name was in a batch of people and this type of notification is common but it was issued before that august inquiry into him was opened up. the sources say that investigators looking into him would have seen this cdp notification as we know, rahami was never interviewed around that time. >> some intriguing development
indeed. all right. thank you very much. the senate intelligence committee, dianne feinstein, thank you for joining us. what's the latest? you're learning from the briefings on the investigation, what can you share with our viewers? >> well, what i'm learning is that this is a real problem case. he had that domestic violence incident, i believe he stabbed his brother in the leg. i think he hurt his sister. he did some time, i think, six months. i think going to quetta in this situation where the father was earned and said, whoa, my son may be a terrorist at one time. it is a hot bed of jihadis. also causes some concern. the other thing i think is what
was that about the explosives. who makes this bomb. my understanding is they were more sophisticated than other bombs. but here is someone who clearly was a problem but are the problem was never defined sufficiently to prevent him from coming back into the united states. so i think we've got to be more aware of this self-made radical lone wolf than we have been. and i would suspect that others may have conspired in making the bombs. >> let me interrupt you for a second. that's an intriguing point. others help him make those bombs? so he was not necessarily a lone wolf. he was part of some broader cell? is that what you're suggesting? >> what i'm suggesting is that we don't know that. we need to look at i. there were a number of bombs.
they were strangely placed. if showed thatted, they would have done a lot of damage. however there were places that were quiet at that time so this is kind of a problem and i think you need unravel it. and see. are there other fingerprints? what does this computer show? what does this diary show? i suspect that we will find that he is a jihadist and he carried out an act of jihad and it's a real problem in this country with lone wolves. as much as we suspected that it might become and it has. i want to say one other thing. i think new york city did us all proud. from the governor to the mayor to the police to the fbi, to everybody that was involved. the quickness and the solidity with which the city moved was truly impressive and the fact
the people are all together and strong and resilient came through loud and cheer all across america. >> i think i would add the law enforcement authorities in new jersey as well. they did an excellent job. there were bombing attempts in new jersey and new york. the diary that you referred to, supposedly there were references to the boston marathon bombing attack. we know one of the sites he went after was the seaside park in new jersey. there was a five kilometer race that was supposed to happen but it was delayed. that was before the, the bombs were to go off. >> i can't anxious it based on what i know right now. whether that's correct or not. of course, the pressure cooker was used. the pressure cooker bomb recipe is easily available. the chemicals may have been a little bit tiff.
but one of the things, too, is anwar al awlaki goes into this. every attack in america since 9/11 the attacker has read the sermons of awlaki. and as you know, he died in 2012. but his sermons are all over the internet. in my mine they perform a very strong recruitment tool and we ought to find a way to do something about it. >> the american born al qaeda of the arabian peninsula terrorist, killed in a u.n. drone strike years ago. we spoke to senator risch last hour. and he suggested it looks like this was at least an al qaeda-inspired attack as opposed to an isis inspired attack.
>> is that your sense? >> i can't answer that right now. i simply don't know. i think to a great extent, it was self-inspired. who raise that had inspiration in this man, i don't know. it could have been a number of things but i think we need to take a good look at his diary, his computer, the bombs, his associates. his wife if that becomes possible. and we have to look at the soundness of our immigration policies with respect to people going repeatedly, of this type to a place where jihadism abounds. >> you pointed out he spent almost a year in quetta in pakistan, a hot bed of activity. a lot of al qaeda remnants in pakistan as well. if he was trained to build these
bombs in pakistan, that will be hard to prove. unless he koomts in the investigation. >> we'll have to see. i think the ability of the fbi to trace elements is very strong. so we will see when the work is fully done how it was put together and hope any have some choo. i don't know what remains. sometimes they're finger prints. sometimes there's identification on the christmas tree lights that were used. who knows? but i think the investigation is really important in this one. >> it certainly is. we have a few more questions to ask you. i'll have you stand by. we'll take a quick break. we're getting new information this investigation. much more with senator feinstein right after this. h cigna to help save lives. by getting you to a real doctor for an annual check-up. so go, know, and take control of your health. doctor poses.
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federal prosecutors moments ago filed four criminal charges against new york-new jersey bombing suspect. it includes weapons of mass destruction, bombing, destruction of property and use of destructive device. sources telling cnn the fbi interviewed the father also of the suspect in this weekend's new york and new jersey bombings. that interview was back in 2014. the father called rahami a terrorist. that incident, he stabbed his brother. the fbi decided it was a domestic violence incident. we're back with dianne feinstein. was that a mistake in 2014 not to place him at least on some sort of terror watch list,
knowing what we know now, senator? >> gentlemen. absolutely. yes, absolutely. hindsight better than foresight. >> rahami's wife was traveling in reason days as the bombings unfolded over the weekend. is she -- we're told she is cooperating with the investigation. is that your understanding as well? >> no. i have no understanding. i know very little about her, candidly so i don't want to comment. >> trump criticized the entire screening process for people entering the united states. as you know, rahami got through secondary screening even after spent almost a year in pakistan and afghanistan, for that matter. is trump right that there is a problem right now on the screening process and potentially dangerous terrorists are slipping through?
>> i think in this case, the screening has to take place for people who are here. that go to places that teach terror, that teach fight, to pick them up and prevent them from coming back to this country. i think that's part of it. i think we can always improve our screening except it is very hard to do. the numbers are large. and it is very hard. and then we have programs that people can come in without a visa. like visa waiver program that brings in 23 million americans every year. this is not a simple system. tens of million of people go in and out of our nation every year. so can we do yes. can we try to catch guys like this? yes. will we succeed, some of the times, yes, and some of the times we won't. that doesn't mean we should not try on improve.
>> so four federal charges have been leveled against ahmad khan rahami and there are separate charges, new jersey criminal charges the other day leveled against him yesterday. i should say, here's the question. your republican colleague, lindsay graham said he should be identified as an enemy combatant and not given the legal rights, the protective rights of a u.s. citizen. >> i don't agree with him on this. this gets into detention and all of this. this man has now been charged under federal law. i think that makes lindsey graham's argument moot. he will be tried. and the federal prosecutors are very good. they get legitimate convictions and people go away for a very long time.
and our process of judgment is maintained. i think it is important to follow this course. four rngs channel against him. federal law violations. hopefully a speedy trial. and he will go to prison if he survives. >> one final question before i let you go on a totally different subject. the u.s. says all evidence points to russia being responsible for that air strike on a united nations humanitarian aid convoy in syria. it hit 18 trucks, delivering aid. in aleppo, killing civilians including, what is the proper u.s. response to that? >> well, the proper u.s. response i think is to be very transparent and point out, did we alert the russians before the attack what we were attack?
the russians knew before we attacked. if we're going to work together and one side is making a mistake and the other side knows it, they ought to say, be careful. this isn't what you think it is. you've had on your show is that distinguished senior commentators who have pointed out that the signature of the syrian army is very different from the air than the signature of isis. so there is a lot still to be known about how these attacks happened, why they happened and whether deconfliction will happen. >> it hit the syrian army convoy killing a whole bunch of syrian soldiers. the u.s. says that was a mistake. separately the u.s. is saying the russians have attacked an aid convoy killing humanitarian
workers trying bring in badly needed supplies to aleppo to the syrian refugees. that's a separate air strike or ground attack. whatever it was. we'll continue to watch that. >> it was quite terrible. thank you very much. >> thank you. quickly to our justice correspond evan perez, getting new information on the charges. the federal government has now leveled against ahmad khan rahami. tell us what you know. >> that's right. these charges were filed minutes ago here in manhattan by the u.s. attorney for manhattan. we're told that these are four charges now that have not filed including carrying out a use of weapons of mass destruction, this is the bomb that was carried out. the bombing that was carried out in manhattan. bombing charge as well as destruction of property and the use of a destructive device. these the first federal charges
that have been brought. we know in new jersey they brought out charges for the injuries made against the police officers. in that firefight during which he was arrested. those are state charges now. this brings the full force of the federal government in this case. we're going through papers that were filed in federal court just a few minutes ago in federal court here in manhattan and we'll bring more information as we get that. >> all right. thank you very much. i know the information is just beginning to come in. let's take a quick break. we'll be right back. to win, every millisecond matters. both on the track and thousands of miles away. with the help of at&t, red bull racing can share critical information about every inch of the car from virtually anywhere. brakes are getting warm. confirmed, daniel you need to cool your brakes. understood, brake bias back 2 clicks. giving them the agility to have speed & precision. because no one knows & like at&t.
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we're continuing to track the breaking news of the new york and new jersey bombing investigation. but also, we're just six days between first debate of donald trump and hillary clinton. the rhetoric may be a foreshadowing a searing showdown. especially sharp attacks, especially from donald trump. >> that's right. in fact, donald trump was goading hillary clinton today, insinuating that she is taking time off not for debate prep but to recover some more after her recent bout of pneumonia. he tries to convince voters that she is weak physically and when it comes to foreign policy.
>> donald trump out on the trail in north carolina today, slamming hillary clinton for quoting george w. bush's former cia director. michael heyden called trump a recruiting sergeant for isis. >> it demonstrates a level of i go norns threat that is really disqualifying for a person seeking the presidency. when she says my opposition to radical islamic terror provides aid and comfort to the enemy, we know that hillary clinton has once again demonstrated that she is really unfit for office. >> as clinton takes a break from the campaign trail to get ready for the first presidential debate, trump is taunting her about her health saying she is taking on have the day off again shelf needs the rest. sleep well, hillary. see you at the debate. with less than a week to go before they share the stage, we're getting a preview of his approach. >> i can talk about her record which is a disaster. i can talk about all she's done. >> i suspect you'll do that any
way. >> and i will be doing. that we'll go back ask for the. she has a lot of baggage. >> what about personal attacks? he wouldn't rule them out. >> if she treats me with respect, i will treat her with respectful. >> clinton is preparing for the debate to get contentious telling the steve harvey show, she's not worried about it. >> i've been at this. i understand it's a contact sport. but i'm not going to take what he says about everybody else, his attacks on african-americans andships and women and people with disabilities. it is just something we cannot tolerate. >> as the candidates gear up for the showdown, trump's son is having one of his won't a candy company. donald trump jr. tweeting this image of a bowl of skittles with the caption, if aid bowl of skittles and i told you just three would kill, would you take hand. >> that's our syria refugee
problem. it sparked outrage and a rebuke from mars usa, the parent company of skittles which tweet, they are candy. refugees people. we don't feel it is an appropriate analogy. and there was more scrutiny for trump's foundation. the "washington post" reporting the charitable organization spent more than a quarter million dollars to settle lawsuits against trump's business interests, a possible violation of the country's tax laws. that's something that builds on an issue, that donald trump has had. and partially that's because the trump foundation is something that donald trump himself has not donate money to. it is quite unusual where the name sake has not given money ask we've seen he's been fined previously by the irs for another violation, breaking the law when he gave a donation to pam bondi, the florida attorney
general. >> this is a subject, i assume the democrats, the clinton campaign will really be going after. >> they certainly are. they have had the liability on the clinton foundation and they feel this is much more of an issue. it doesn't at all stand up to donald trump's standards there foundation and that this is much worse. reporting that george h.w. bush saying, he will vote for hillary clinton. not donald trump. give us some perspective. sth we don't have confirmation but they haven't denied it. it is under precedented. i'm racking my brains in american history. i don't believe we have other a president of one party say they'll vote for a presidential candidate of another. it is an extraordinary moment. it is in some ways a culmination of what we have seen. the list of former republican
senior national security officials, starting with gates, ben scowcroft, who have said they won't vote for trump. does it matter in there will be vote here's say these the elites on have failed us. the fact is the voters are in the way between where donald trump is stuck in the low 40s and where he needs to be in the mid to high 40s are primarily the college educated white voters. this bombardment of messages from senior national securities saying this is not someone you can make commander in chief. it is hard to believe it is not having an impact. and 60% say he is not qualified and this reinforces that perception. >> important indeed. donald trump yesterday, the aftermath of the new york/new jersey terror attacks, he suggested for profiling people he considered to be us suspicio.
he did not say racial profiling but profiling. people are upset about it because they think it means racial or ethnic. >> after he was asked about it last night, he used words to the effect of, we have no choice. he was asked, muslims, will produce file muslims or arabs? and he said we have no choice. though this was a longer man isation. if you take race out of it. and police are just using behaviors. you don't call it profiling. you call it good police work. when people think of profiling, they think of race. one quick point. the trump campaign in the last few days has done a couple things where they've deny that had they ever put something on the table. it was like last week the birther issue. donald trump has been the main proponent for years. then he came out friday and said we did a public service with
that. nothing to see here. this feels similar. the idea that we put this on the table but we don't want to own it. you can have a debate but just admit it. he was explaining his reversal on the decision about the birther issue. >> the other issue that has come up, the whole issue of comparing syrian refugees the skittles. donald trump jr. tweeted, if aid bowl of skittles and i told you just three would kill, would you take handful? that's our syrian refugee problem. that tweet causing a lot of uproar. >> what is interesting is that this message is not entirely off message for the trump campaign. donald trump still thinks we should limit or totally ban syrian refugees from coming into the country because of kernels that some could be involved with
isis groups. what seems to be causing the controversy, especially among democrats and hillary clinton's campaign is the idea that you would demean these refugees by equating them with a candy. so donald trump saying there are concerns about this. it is creating a story that is ultimately a distraction for them. there was a way to send this message and make this point that wouldn't have created the controversy. >> the whole notion of these terror attacks, what just happened over the weekend, if there were more between now and november 8. how does that may out? >> it is really hard to say. i think on the one hand, first of all, the evidence is that the terror attacks of san bernardino, definitely boosted donald trump within the republican primary. there is no evidence that it affected polling between him and hillary clinton and the convenient people are somewhat conflicted. he draws good marks on strength,
generally who can handle terror. on who is more capable of handling foreign policy or commander in chief, she has a big lead. so to some extent you say the first thing if there is disruption you would want the strong hand about it also reinforces her advantages in steadiness and temperament and experience. it has been something of a wash i would be surprised if you see a decisive advantage for either. >> that og six days away from the big monday night debate. >> i assume both are getting ready for the debate on fighting terror. >> i think they want to reinforce the narrative. >> clinton, steady, experienced and thinking through these issues methodically. trump projecting strength, who are not that leads to a different policy conclusion is anybody's guess. >> you reported today that
trump, one of the latest tweets, fun of hillary clinton. she's probably sleeping. she doesn't have any energy. that kind of issue being revived. >> that's right. and she is doing debate prep. he was not doing that today. and i think, one, it is smart of her to do debate prep. this is a moment that so many people will not have been paying attention to what has been going on. we find it almost impossible to believe. they want to do a deep dive or they won't be well versed in the controversies and the areas of disagreement. this is so key to that. i thought it was interesting, trump talking about her 92 moan. i can't he was having a lighter touch with it. and this he is trying to keep it going with her health. he is trying to create this idea that hillary clinton is weak. not just on foreign policy with you even physically.
>> and he points out during republican debates, he did well and he is suggesting, i don't really need all this debate prep. i'm ready to go. >> certain highway style we've seen that he can be very successful. but the difference between, and this is a key difference between republican primary debates and this format with hillary clinton, you had nine other people on that stage along with donald trump, taking attention away from him. eating up time. this is going to be hillary clinton and donald trump for the entire program. so the focus is going to be on him constantly. >> i think to try to tattoo the other. that is not their problem. it is hard to mac that donald trump comes out of this debate. and hillary clinton has the same problem. she made the case against donald trump. she hand made the case. >> more coming up. also, the scandal had helped derail chris christie's bid
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scandal behind him. >> it is the storm cloud that won't stop pouring all over chris christie's political plans. the scandal launched by the now infamous text, time for should traffic problems in ft. lee. now once again looming large over chris christie's political future. as far as chris christie has fallen politically, there has always been one saving grace. no traffic exists to tie him to the 2013 closure of lanes on the george washington bridge. until now, prosecutors say. >> been investigated by three different entities. two of them led by partisan democrats. who all found that noticed involvement. >> during opening statements of the fraud trial involving top christie officials, prosecutors told jurors they would prove that christie was aware of their activities as the cloesh wrurs
happening. for christie, it is the scandal that helped turn a leading presidential contend entire an early primary drop-out. >> it is both the magic and the mystery of politics. you never quite know when which will happen. >> even as he maintained from the very beginning that noted knowledge of the alleged political retribution carried out by his aides. >> i was blind sided yesterday morning. that was the first time i knew about this. it was the first time i had seen any of the documents that were revealed yesterday. >> but questions about whether that is actually the case have long simmered. charges against his allies have moved from the court including the revelation uncovered in court documents in august of a december 2013 text from a campaign aide saying christie flat out lied about what he knew. yesterday even as his own presidential campaign fizzled and the trial loomed, his wroel the man he endorsed, donald
trump, >> there is no one better prepared to provide america with the strong leadership that it needs. >> but even there the scandal known as bridgegate helped cost cristie what said i say he desperately wanted, to be trump's running mate. >> how much would you say the trouble with bridgegate was a factor in you not getting picked for vice president. >> i'm sure it was a factor. >> played a role in costing christy in the republican nomination. will it now cost him a spot in the administration if trumps wins. >> trump values his loyalty. his advice and work at trump's transition chief but as one gop official told me. senate democrats people who
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we're following new developments in north korea. the country claims to have tested its most powerful rocket engine yet raising concern about nuclear missile prals. kim jong un personally supervised this test? >> he did and tonight this rocket test is reverberating all the way to washington. a state department official telling us they are calling on
north korea to stop these, quote, menacing actions. the fear is that kim's engineers are close to perfecting technology for a long range missile that could reach the united states. beaming with satisfaction, kim jong un watches from the top of a ridge as his commanders ignite a high powered rocket engine. this ground test was successful, with a thrust of 80 tons of force. >> if it was indeed 80 ton thrust, it is considerably larger than anything they have had before. >> the rocket engine they say will be used to lift satellites into the orbit. it means kim's engineers could soon launch another multi stage rocket like this one in february. experts say they could also be worksing on something more sinister. >> it can be used to acquire knowledge and information that is applicable to icbm development. >> kim's trying to perfect intercontinue nebl ballistic missiles which can reach the
united states with nuclear war heads mounted on them. analysts say it would be a game change for north korea can successfully flight test those missiles, they could be within only a few years of having that capability. kim's race to do that have given this young dictator a swagger we haven't seen before in a north korean leader. >> he's a very different person from his father. his father was quite introverted. he is not. >> a bravado on splay recently in pyongyang. a comedy which mocked president obama. >> i smacked my head on the bathroom floor. i was so shocked by north korea's hydrogen bomb detonation. >> in the comedy south korea's president is called a gorani. indicators of a.
>> what people fear is the possession of these capabilities as they do advance will mean he is no longer inhibited against various kinds of coercive actions because people would therefore -- others would be fearful that it could trigger even the use of nuclear weapons. >> and it appears tonight that kim also feels little pressure from inside north korea. most analyst we speak spo believe he's strengthened hold on power. could a disgruntled general move against him? possibly. but we're told top generals are the most closely surveilled people in north korea. wolf is this. >> after this engine test when could kim launch another long range miss of or rocket test. >> it is believed as early as next month. maybe on the anniversary of the founding of the ruling workers party on october 10th.
that means two nuclear bomb test, 15 or 16 missile tests and possibly two rocket launches just this year. >> thanks very much for that report. that is it for me. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer. erin burnett "outfront" start right snow. federal charges against rahami. was he radicalized in afghanistan and pakistan. and did donald trump use money in his foundation to settle his own business lawsuits? i'm going to ask his campaign busy manag manager. let's go "outfront." >> i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight the breaking news. federal charges filed moments ago against