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British Parliament Debates Joining U.S. Coalition against ISIS; Interview with State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki; World Leaders Meet for Strategies to Combat Infectious Diseases; Liberia Welcomes U.S. Command & Control to Battle Ebola; Eric Holder to Step Down

Aired September 27, 2013 - 07:00   ET


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Jason Carroll, thank you very much.

And right now, we'll show you some live pictures. British parliament debating whether or not to authorize air strikes against ISIS in Iraq. Prime Minister David Cameron, he is urging these MPs, these members of parliament, to vote yes no matter how long the mission may take.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long will the war last, and when will mission creep start?

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Well, let me answer that very directly. This is going to be a mission that will take not just months but years. But I believe we have to be prepared for that commitment. And the reason for that is I think, quite rightly, America, Britain and others are not contemplating putting combat troops on the ground. There will be troops on the ground, but they will be Iraqi troops, they will be Kurdish troops.


BALDWIN: So again, that is happening right now in London. Let's go to CNN's Erin McLaughlin. She is live with the latest, watching this along with us. Erin, good morning.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Brooke. That's right. British Prime Minister David Cameron opened the parliamentary session today as you heard there, stating the case for British participation in air strikes over Iraq, saying that they are necessary, that ISIS poses a direct threat to the safety of this country, pointing to some six ISIS related terror plots that he says were foiled by European intelligence services, that in addition to an ISIS inspired attack on a Jewish museum in Brussels earlier this year.

Now this motion is expected to pass today. It already has the support of all three of the major British political parties. That being said, we are seeing a very spirited debate on the floor today of the House of Commons. As you heard there, lawmakers wary of mission-creep. They have questions about the duration as well as the effectiveness of air strikes over Iraq, which is perhaps why the motion they are considering today is very carefully worded, restricted to Iraq.

As for the question of possible British involvement in air strikes over Syria, that will be or potentially be addressed during a separate parliamentary session. But British Prime Minister David Cameron saying there is a strong case for Britain to do more on the question of Syria as well. Brooke?

BALDWIN: OK, two separate sessions, again, this one focusing specifically on the campaign in Iraq. Erin McLaughlin, thank you, in London for us. Chris, to you.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Major stakes for the U.K., therefore big implications for the U.S. and the coalition in the war against ISIS. So what will happen there is and what will it mean to that bigger concern?

Let's bring in State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki. Jen, nice to have you on the set of NEW DAY.


CUOMO: Big development going on in the U.K. right now. We do understand that the major parties, all three of them, seem to favor the action at least in Iraq. Do you think David Cameron gets the votes he needs and gets the authorization?

PSAKI: I think that the U.K. has really felt the impact of ISIL, the impact of terrorism, just like the United States has. He's made a strong case. I was watching it this morning before I came here to join you. And I think they feel pretty good and we feel pretty good about the likelihood they'll get the votes.

CUOMO: If he does not get the votes, what would that mean for the coalition? How disastrous would that be?

PSAKI: Well, Chris, I wouldn't put it that way at all. This has been a very big week for the coalition. More than 50 countries have joined the coalition, more than 100 countries signed on to a resolution about foreign fighters. You had five Arab countries join the United States to do air strikes and take on the threat of ISIL in Syria. This has been a very important week. And the U.K. has already been contributing. We know that they're going to contribute more. They want to contribute more. But I would say the momentum and the growth of the coalition is moving in the right direction.

CUOMO: What do you need to have this become not the U.S.'s war but become the war of the region where the U.S. is helping them? Because that's not how it's perceived now, as you well know.

PSAKI: Well, you're right, it is the region's war. This threat from ISIL has an impact on countries in the region. It has an impact on people in the region. But let me make an important point here. This isn't just about air strikes. Air strikes can kill terrorists, but it's about a comprehensive approach to addressing the threat of ISIL. That's why taking on foreign fighters, cracking down on their financing, humanitarian assistance, delegitimizing ISIL, these are all components of this comprehensive strategy we're working on.

CUOMO: How does it complicate things or work on your objective that many who wind up being bad guys as perceived by some in the world, especially by their own people, and that's who ISIS recruits from is the oppressed and angry people. If you're getting into a coalition with bad guys, aren't you somehow inciting the bad reaction from the ISIS side?

PSAKI: Well, Chris, David Cameron said this this morning, this growth of terrorism, this growth of extremist ideology already exists around the world, and what we need to do is figure out how to take it on. There is a voice that individuals can play, who have a greater role, a greater impact on their people by saying ISIS is not Islam. You know, ISIS is one of the worst terrorist organizations we've seen. They are making it seem like Muslims in the world like Islam is an evil, terrorist group. It's not. So there's an important role for many different entities, many different voices to play.

CUOMO: Where is that big voice from them? The U.S. can't argue compellingly to the Muslim world that ISIS is or isn't anything when it comes to Islam. It has to come from that culture. Where is that motivation?

PSAKI: First, Chris, delegitimizing ISIL and having a range of voices out there doing it is such an important part of this comprehensive strategy that we're leading the effort on.

CUOMO: How do you stop the double-dealing?

PSAKI: It's important to note here, the Egyptian mufti, and the Saudi Arabia muftis, have spoken out about ISIL, the threat that it poses, the fact it that it does not represent Islam. But there's more that many countries in the Arab community need to do to get the message out there.

CUOMO: While you use the term mufti and it makes them sound purely religious, they're not. They work for the states there. And while that's a message coming out from the state, the bigger message of those states isn't coming out. Egypt, Saudi Arabia specifically, they are not putting their fighters in harm's way to fight a righteous war against Islam. Neither is Turkey. These are big names. Don't you need the big names to step up to make the compelling case?

PSAKI: First, all of those countries you mentioned are part of the coalition. A litmus test is not taking military action, that's not our litmus test here. Let's take Turkey, for example. Turkey has played an incredibly important role, and they'll do more, cracking down on foreign fighters. They're an important counterterrorism partner with the United States. But they've also played an important humanitarian role. I was in a meeting last night with General Allen and a lot of these same leaders you mentioned, and one of the things he said is after the guns silence, hammers and the hammering of nails needs to be the next sound, because we need to lift up these communities and show them there's a better choice and a different choice. And that's one of the roles that Turkey and other countries can play. CUOMO: It is a very complex situation. And that's why you point out

that air strikes are just one component. There are going to have to be many more. Do you think, given the complexity, that this really required a full and thorough debate like what we're seeing in the U.K. right now? Here in the U.S., obviously.

PSAKI: We would have welcomed it. One of the wonderful things about American democracy is that we have the debate, whether it's on television like we're having now or whether in the United States Congress. And we would have welcomed the support. We still would welcome the support of the action by Congress.

CUOMO: But you didn't ask. The president didn't say to Congress, come back, like David Cameron did, come back, debate it in full right now. He didn't do that. Why?

PSAKI: Well, the president has a responsibility to protect the security and the safety of the American people. And ISIL and Khorasan and these groups pose a threat to western interests. We would certainly welcome and encourage Congress to act, but we also need to act in a way that protects our interests.

CUOMO: Right, but the government is going out of its way right now. I don't need to teach you constitutional law. You know it better than I do. And so with all due deference, the government is going out of its way to say there is no specific threat to us right now from ISIS, but we have to be careful because they're bad over there. That is not what triggers the president's ability to use military action.

However, you could declare war, which functionally you have, if the Congress does so. So shouldn't the president have called them back? I know why politically he doesn't want to, because they've been very obstructionist. But shouldn't that have been done? Isn't that the right way to enter the entire country into a long-term war by your own admission?

PSAKI: Well, first of all, I think, one, the threat of ISIL is coming from safe havens in Syria. And it's not just limited by a geographical border. And that's the reason why we acted in Syria and why other countries acted in Syria. The Iraqis have asked to us help them, because they cannot defend themselves, they're not equipped at this point to defend themselves against this threat. And we've seen from the Syrian regime is that they're unwilling or unable to do that.

So it's not just about what is the immediate threat. It's what it could become and what's the potential. And I think the American people want to know that their commander-in-chief is going to take that on and prevent that from being a larger threat to their interests.

CUOMO: All strong points, which would have necessitated the president of the United States to say to Congress come back, I'm going to make this case, like David Cameron is. And we've got to get into this because it may not seem like they're on our doorstep now, but they may be, so you better do your job. And of course Congress needs the pushing, because they don't want to do it because of midterms and hundreds of other weak reasons. He didn't do that. Do you think it was a mistake? Do you think he should still do it?

PSAKI: Well, look, if Congress wants to come back, we would certainly welcome that.

CUOMO: Will he ask them to?

PSAKI: I think the president, we've been clear, the president has been clear that he acted because it's in the interests of the American people. Congress has the will and the ability to come back and take action, have a debate if they want to have that debate. We'd welcome that. But we're not going to stand by and wait for a terrorist threat to grow while Congress decides whether or not they're going to come back.

CUOMO: Jen Psaki, thank you very much for being on the set of NEW DAY. It's a pleasure to have you. We need your voice. It's good to have you.

PSAKI: My pleasure.

CUOMO: A lot of other news as well. Let's get to John Berman in for Michaela with those top stories. Hey, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. Jesse Matthew, suspected of abducting University of Virginia student Hannah Graham is being brought back to Charlottesville, Virginia. Matthew waived extradition following his arrest in Texas. Police are searching for Graham who was last seen with Matthew before she disappeared 13 days ago. We're learning that Jesse Matthew was investigated in a 2002 rape case but never charged because of lack of evidence.

We're learning about an apparent misstep that led investigators to close in on wanted fugitive Eric Frein. "The Philadelphia Enquirer" reporting Frein turned on his cellphone and started to call his parents a little over a week ago. This call reportedly lasted just seconds, but it was long enough for investigators to narrow their manhunt to a five square mile perimeter in the Poconos. Frein has been on the run for allegedly killing one trooper and injuring two other, another about two weeks ago.

So Apple dogged with problems with its iOS 8 update released another update that it says will fix the problem, but Australian users who have already installed it say they are still experiencing problems with their touch I.D. and cellular networking connectivity. Meanwhile, Apple is taking a beating over iPhone 6 bend-gate. Its main rival, Samsung, tweeted that the Galaxy note edge is curved, not bent.

Apparently there were like nine people on earth complaining of the bend problem.

BALDWIN: Well, the issue the other day it was skinny jeans, skinny jeans, iPhone.

CUOMO: You accused me of wearing skinny jeans --

BALDWIN: That's exactly right.

CUOMO: I don't understand the curve, not bend. Please explain?

BALDWIN: Berman?

BERMAN: I think the Galaxy, literally, it's curved.

CUOMO: It is curved.

BERMAN: It's got a curved lens and they think that's a big deal, the Samsung people do.

CUOMO: So it was like a veiled attack.


CUOMO: Thank you for clarifying.

BERMAN: Not so thinly veiled, I might add.

CUOMO: Unless you're wearing skinny jeans.

BERMAN: Which I hope is more than thinly veiled.

BALDWIN: Gentlemen.

CUOMO: Dozens of officials converging on the White House right now this morning to work on a truly emerging threat, Ebola. We are live in Liberia where the deadly outbreak is not slowing down. How bad is it? We're going to tell you.

BALDWIN: And stunning moments caught on video -- this South Carolina state trooper shoots this unarmed man during -- the guy was at a gas station. Was he in the right? Did this officer overreact? We'll have a big conversation about this coming up.


BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching NEW DAY here on CNN. A new push for global health security. You have leaders from four dozen countries meeting this morning at the White House to develop strategies to fight infectious disease threats like Ebola. This meeting comes one day after President Obama spoke at the United Nations about Ebola, saying the world has been really too slow to respond.

Elizabeth Cohen is on the ground for us Liberia. And, Elizabeth, we're coming to you in just a minute. But first to the White House, to Michelle Kosinski. Michelle, good morning.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: HI Brooke. We'll hear the president speak this morning at the Global Health Security Agenda. This is something he launched in February to try to deal with emerging global health threats. So of course, right now, the focus is firmly on Ebola. And we did hear him speak just yesterday about this at the U.N., calling it a global security issue and saying that everybody needs to pitch in to try to stop this.

And we've also heard the White House call it a national security priority. That's because the numbers that we've been hearing, even just this week, from global health officials, have been staggering. That we could see nearly a million and a half cases of Ebola by January. That the number of cases has been doubling about every three weeks. And the U.S. has led the effort in sending resources and now troops to the region to oversee the building of hospitals and training of new workers.

But we did hear from the CDC this week, too, saying yes, the global response has been slow. And gatherings like this one today are aiming to coordinate and hopefully speed up that response. Brooke.

BALDWIN: All right, a national security threat, so says the White House. Michelle, thank you very much.

But let's go to Africa. Our senior medical correspondent traveled all the way to Monrovia. Really she's now in the thick, in the heart of this Ebola outbreak. Elizabeth, you know, you're there on the ground, you're talking to people. What are they saying? I mean, this is huge and it's getting worse.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brooke. That's exactly what they say, that this is dire, it's getting worse, and it will continue to get worse until it gets better. There's a real presence here of aid workers and agencies from all around the world, but still haven't quite managed to turn that corner.

And let me show you one of the reasons why. Take a look at this Ebola center that we went to, it's in rural Liberia, in Bome County, and you can see there are patients on the floor on mattresses. This unit is supposed to house 12 people. They sometimes have nearly double that number. And in some ways these patients, I don't want to call them lucky, but they at least are in a center. There are people who are dying on the streets because they can't get into any kind of facility at all. Brooke?

BALDWIN: Perspective, gosh. And when you talk about people turning the corner, the question is, what did they need? But I think the better question is, what don't they need? They need so much.

COHEN: Right, they do need so much. First of all, there needs to be changes here in the culture. Too many people are still handling dead bodies, which is part of the culture here, to wash them in some of the groups here. That needs to stop. Number two, they need more beds, as I mentioned. And number three, they need what one aid, one doctor told me is command and control.

If you take a look at the pictures when we got when we arrived here on Sunday, this is an ambulance in front of a brand-new Ebola treatment unit. This one unit is increasing the number of Ebola beds in Liberia by 50 percent. So a big deal that this thing opened. But when it opened, there was nobody there to take patients out of the ambulance into the hospital. So patients who couldn't walk themselves laid around in these ambulances. And I'm not going to show you the pictures of where they tried to get

out and they fell out and laid on the ground, because it's just -- it's very disturbing. But we were there, saying, hey, what happened? You're open and you don't have anybody to carry anybody in?

So command and control is really important. And when I talk to Liberians, they say that's what they hope the American military will bring to this, is some sense of order rather than a bunch of different aid groups doing different things.

BALDWIN: I know -- just hearing these stories, it's staggering. And so many people here thinking it's happening so far away. But, again, just echoing what Michelle said at the White House, national security issue.

Elizabeth Cohen in Monrovia in Liberia for us, thank you so much, you and your crew, for being there. We'll keep an eye on that.

Also keeping an eye on another round of protests erupting in Ferguson, Missouri, just hours after the police chief issued this apology to Michael Brown's family. Tried marching with the group for a minute. You will see what happened after that.

Plus, on INSIDE POLITICS morning, one of the president's most trusted and controversial members of his administration resigns. So the big question: who will replace Attorney General Eric Holder? A look at the fight brewing on Capitol Hill ahead.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. There is much news this mornings, so let's get to John Berman, in for Michaela. John?

BERMAN: Thanks so much, Chris.

Breaking overnight, a new round of U.S. air strikes launched against ISIS inside Iraq and Syria. This, as U.S. intelligence officials insist there is no credible threat to mass transit in the U.S. They're dismissing a report raised at the United Nations by Iraq's new prime minister, who said Iraqi intelligence uncovered a plot to attack subways in the United States and Paris.

The FBI believe it has identified the masked militant who speaks in three videos of ISIS beheading Westerners, but, as of now, they are declining to name him.

Two California men have been found guilty of conspiring to support terrorists and kill Americans overseas. Sohiel Kabir and Ralph Deleon each face life sentences now for these convictions. Prosecutors said the men planned to train overseas as terrorists so they could target the U.S. military and its allies.

The FBI director raising concerns about Apple and Google's new privacy features on smartphones. James Comey accuses the two companies of marketing products that make data inaccessible to law enforcement. Both Google and Apple announced that their new operating systems will be encrypted by default and would require a passcode to access personal data.

Another pro athlete charged in a domestic violence case. Police say Charlotte Hornets forward Jeff Taylor was arrested after an incident at a hotel in Michigan this week. The third year NBA player is facing charges of domestic assault and malicious destruction of property. No other details released right now.

A league spokesman says they are aware of Taylor's arrest and they are investigating.

Will be interesting to see how the NBA responds after everything that's happened in the NFL.

CUOMO: It will, but more proof that domestic violence is everywhere. It's not just about sports.

BALDWIN: It's not new. This isn't new, guys.

CUOMO: It's not new. We just seem to care because now it's hitting one of the bold-faced names. But it's a conversation we need to have; it's a problem that is literally all over society.

All right, another thing that's all over the place with the politics involving what's going on with the war against ISIS and so many other pressing issues. So we take you INSIDE POLITICS on NEW DAY with Mr. John King. Happy Friday, my friend.


JOHN KING, CNN HOST, "INSIDE POLITICS": Happy Friday, Chris, Brooke and John. It is busy time -- the war against ISIS, the looming mid- term election, and now President Obama losing one of his closest friends and most trusted advisers in the cabinet.

With me to go INSIDE POLITICS and share their reporting and their insights, Julie Pace of the Associated Press, Maeve Preston of "The Los Angeles Times".

Eric Holder has been the Attorney General for the entire administration so far. We've known for some time he was thinking of leaving. Yesterday, the president announced Eric Holder will be leaving soon and the Attorney General on his way out striking a personal note.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We have been great colleagues, but the bonds between us are much deeper than that. In good times and in bad, in things personal and in things professional, you have been there for me. I'm proud to call you my friend.


KING: They have become close friends, Julie Pace, and now Eric Holder is leaving. He's been a lightning rod for Republicans. Democrats, especially the civil rights community, big fans of this Attorney General. Voting rights, civil rights, environmental regulations -- the president might take executive action on immigration after the election. There might be one, maybe even two Supreme Court picks in the last two years of the administration. This is a huge job. Who gets it?

JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS: It's a huge job, and Eric Holder, as you said, has been at the forefront of so many of these issues that the president cares about.

I think one of the questions that people will look at in terms of a replacement is does he go with someone who has a sort of similar approach to Eric Holder? Who, while he has been controversial, has been very forward-leaning on things like voting rights, LGBT rights, as well. Does he go for someone who maybe isn't as sort of bold personally but is more of a legal scholar? There's a lot of talk about Donald Verrilli, who's been Solicitor General, who has argued some big cases for the Obama administration before the Supreme Court. There are a couple of people floating around -- Kathy Ruemmler, the former White House counsel, she's now in private practice, but is close with the president.

So we'll see if he goes with more of the sort of straightforward legal scholar or someone who kind of he feels has the same kind of fire power that Holder had.

KING: And philosophically it's an important choice for the president, because in some cabinet departments -- forgive me, ladies and gentlemen -- you have the final two years of the administration, you think the policy is basically set. You know, you're just keeping the ship, the train on the tracks.

There are so many pressing issues for the Justice Department, plus the surprises that come up, things like Ferguson, other things that could happen. Huge, but do you want to take that job for two years in this political environment?

MAEVE PRESTON, "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES": Well, not only that, but I think the president's choices are going to be somewhat limited because of the climate in Congress. He's -- because Holder has been such a lightning rod, you're already hearing from all of these senators who are saying, "Hold on, take your time with this decision," because they're just waiting for a huge battle.

KING: Let's look at some of that, because here's the choice facing the president. You want to row place your Attorney General as soon as possible. Eric Holder says he'll stay until the replacement is confirmed. Congress is coming back after the election this year. We know the Democrats will be in charge of the Senate then, and they've changed the rules so if they could have the confirmation process then, they could get it through with a majority vote.

But what if the Republicans take the Senate majority in the November election? Those senators don't come in until January, so listen to this reaction from Republicans, as Maeve was noting..

Chuck Grassley from Iowa, he's the ranking Republican on the committee, meaning he would be the chairman in January if the Republicans get a net gain of six seats. He says, "Rather than rush a nominee through the Senate in a lame duck session, I hope the president will now take his time to nominate a qualified individual who can start fresh relationships with Congress so that we can solve the problems facing our country."

A little dig at Eric Holder on the way out.


KING: And Chuck Grassley, more of an establishment Republican figure, but then Ted Cruz, who has been known to make his points on the Senate floor and hold things up if necessary, he says the same thing. He says, "Allowing Democratic senators, many of whom likely will have been just defeated at the polls, to confirm Holder's successor will be an abuse of power that should not be countenanced."