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THE SITUATION ROOM
New ISIS Offensive; Interview With California Congressman Ed Royce; New Information in Ferguson Police Shooting; Sources: Brown's Blood on Cop's Car, Gun, Uniform; Obama Poses Midterm Dilemma for Democrats; Lewinsky: "I Fell In Love" With President Clinton
Aired October 20, 2014 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news, ISIS offensive. Militants launch multiple coordinated attacks in a brand-new push to expand their land grab, as U.S. forces help resupply Kurdish fighters defending Kobani. How much longer can they hold out against the terrorist forces?
Blood evidence. Leaked information shedding new light on the confrontation between Michael Brown and the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed him. CNN talks about it with the attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder, in an exclusive interview.
New mission: Monica Lewinsky steps back into the spotlight, announcing the cause to which she says she's dedicating her life, and what she's now saying about her notorious affair with President Bill Clinton.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following breaking news, a coordinated offensive by ISIS terrorists, launching 15 attacks within minutes of each other in Northern Iraq.
That's where ISIS is making a renewed push to seize even more Kurdish- controlled territory. It's continuing its assault on the city of Kobani right along the Syrian-Turkish border. But now Kurdish forces defending Kobani are getting some desperately needed supplies thanks to the United States.
We're covering all the news this hour with our correspondents, our guests, including the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congress Ed Royce. He's standing by live.
But let's begin with our coverage with our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto. He is following the breaking news for us.
What is the latest, Jim?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, these attacks show just how unique a threat that ISIS is, a combination of military-style assaults and suicide bombings. One of the main targets, the Mosul dam, which to this point has been one of the key victories of the U.S.-led coalition, taking that dam back, a key piece of infrastructure, from ISIS hands, this as there's been a renewed efforts to keep the Syrian city of Kobani from falling to ISIS.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): This small Syrian city has become central to the U.S.-led war on ISIS. With Kurdish fighters struggling to defend Kobani, today, U.S. warplanes dropping not just bombs, but ear- dropping weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish rebels, the first such airlift in Syria since the start of the campaign.
The effort follows dozens of airstrikes that have made Kobani the number one target in Syria or Iraq, justifying the focus on a town the administration once dismissed as inconsequential. U.S. officials say it is ISIS that's made Kobani a priority.
REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Kobani matters to us because it matters to them, because they keep throwing resources and effort to try to take that town. It matters to them.
SCIUTTO: Traveling in Indonesia, Secretary of State John Kerry said it is also a humanitarian mission.
JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It would be irresponsible of us as well as morally very difficult to turn your back on a community fighting ISIL as hard as it is.
SCIUTTO: The aid to Kurdish rebels defending Kobani is pitting NATO allies Turkey and the U.S. against each other. Hours after President Obama informed the Turkish president of the airdrop in a telephone conversation, the Turkish president called arming the Kurds there inappropriate. The Turkish government considers the rebels terrorists.
KERRY: We talked with Turkish authorities -- I did, the president said -- to make it very, very clear this is not a shift of policy by the United States. It is a crisis moment, an emergency.
SCIUTTO: Today, however, an opening, as Turkey's foreign minister announced that his country would let Kurdish militias from Iraq to cross Turkish territory in Syria to reinforce those fighters in Kobani.
MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): We want to eliminate all kinds of threats in the region. We see the military and medical aid outfitted by our Iraqi Kurdish brothers and airdropped by the United States to all groups defending Kobani from that perspective.
SCIUTTO: We have new satellite photos that show just how powerful, just how punishing the U.S.-led air campaign has been around Kobani. Here, you see some of the buildings destroyed by more than 140 airstrikes so far. One of these here, it shows you just the power of one of the
explosions, the effects spreading out a couple hundred yards in either direction, 140 airstrikes so far here, more than any other location in Syria or Iraq, but also the satellite images capturing this. Flying over Kobani over the way to Iran, this is a U.S. B-1B bomber, flies at top speed 900 miles an hour. That's faster than the speed of sound, but captured amazingly in one of these satellite photos.
This is something else that showed up which is really interesting. Here, you see a mass of what looks like -- it's hard to really tell what it looks like until you magnify it. These are hundreds, perhaps 1,000 cars. This is what happened when all the residents of Kobani fled. They came up to the Turkish border, crossed out, dumped their cars in the desert and went on their way to the many refugee camps that are now here. Just a sign of the fear the residents of that city felt when ISIS was advancing.
And now it's just a few hundred that have stayed behind as Kurdish fighters try to keep ISIS from taking that city over, Wolf.
BLITZER: I don't know if you have been briefed, but what are U.S. officials, Jim, saying? These are massive U.S. airstrikes and other airstrikes coming in from other coalition partners. What are they saying about civilian casualties? Because it looks like a lot of those buildings or those targets have been in pretty heavily populated urban areas.
SCIUTTO: They are. It's a good point, Wolf.
I will just bring those pictures back up when I offer it. You look at how tightly packed the buildings are in that city. They're saying a couple of things. One, we do know -- and you saw from all those cars fleeing the city that the vast majority of the residents fled. There were thousands, tens of thousands who fled, a few hundred who stayed behind.
Two, we also know now -- and U.S. officials have confirmed it -- that they're sharing intelligence with some of the Kurdish fighters on the ground, which presumably would give them better accuracy as to exactly where the ISIS fighters were separate from where civilians and the YPG, these are the Syrian Kurdish fighters there as well.
That said, U.S. officials grant this is a punishing campaign, it's a broad-based campaign. They acknowledge that some civilians will likely be killed in this, but say as always they do their best to avoid it.
BLITZER: All right, Jim Sciutto, thanks very much.
Let's get some more now on this new ISIS offensive in Northern Iraq that is under way right now.
Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, has got more details.
What else are you picking up over there, Barbara?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, CNN learned that the northern town in Iraq of Baiji in oil-rich Northern Iraq is next up.
That is the one the U.S. is trying to get the Iraqi forces to go after to retake the town. They have a oil refinery nearby, a massive oil refinery, under government control, but they want Iraqi forces to get moving and take that town back.
In fact, some Iraqi forces already on the march from Baghdad north to Baiji, and we have seen now in the last 24 hours the beginning of U.S. and coalition airstrikes in Baiji to soften up the ground there, to clear out some of the ISIS positions as Iraqi forces move in. But, Wolf, don't get too cheerful about all this just yet.
The move on Baiji was actually supposed to happen weeks ago. But they couldn't get Iraqi forces to really get it together to get moving and get up there. We are seeing the same story being told west of Baghdad, of course, in Anbar Province.
That is an area also getting a lot of attention by U.S. advisers and Iraqi forces. Right now, we're told the Iraqis holding their own in most of the areas they already have in Anbar. They are still holding on to the all-critical Al Asad Air Base there. But the bottom line, Wolf, is still they need to get Iraqi forces to roll back ISIS in a significant way across certain key areas of Iraq, and as Jim Sciutto just pointed out, ISIS back on the attack near Mosul dam, something the U.S. thought the Iraqis had fully under their control -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Barbara, thank you very much.
Kurdish fighters, meanwhile, backed up by U.S.-led airstrikes, have managed to keep Kobani, at least from now, from falling to ISIS, but at a very, very heavy cost.
Our senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh, is nearby along the Turkish-Syrian border.
What are you seeing and what are you hearing, Nick, from your vantage point?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Senior Kurdish officials inside Kobani are clear they still see regular attacks from mortars from ISIS, seemingly random against the city center, 200 they claimed in just three days.
They say they hold about 70 percent of the city, and that's a little less than they had said a few days ago, clearly, the fight not over. But we have been speaking to some of the younger people dragged into this conflict.
WALSH (voice-over): Allil's (ph) missing foot blown off by a grenade brings him into the tragic and traumatized crowd of Kobani's injured.
But two facts distinguish him. He's just 15 and already a fighter. "I want to go and continue my life where I left off," he says. "Your homeland is precious to you. I want to go back to Kobani as soon as possible. I will be a soldier. I will help people in need."
Arrested on a brief break from the fighting in Turkey, he was held in a sports stadium and expelled back to Syria by Turkey, he says. Glad to fight again, he was, however, quickly injured.
"Yes, I saw the first hand grenade, but it missed me," he says. "Then the second came in behind me. The third hit a wall in front of me. The last landed by my feet."
He boasts even then he didn't drop his gun. He first picked one up when he was 13, he ways. Now he's injured, Turkey will let him stay. His mother can only smile at his bravado. "ISIS came all of a sudden," she says, "obliged us to leave our houses. Do they have the right to do this to our city? I don't know where they came from. They took our food, our water, our houses. They tortured our young people."
At the border, a U.S. airdrop of medicine, guns and ammo near these new defenses to the west of Kobani, didn't some desperately trying to cross. They have always had to abandon their cars at the frontier, but these ones wouldn't.
The army pursued them and then moved to block the hole made in the fence. Vital U.S. airdrops overnight followed by Turkey saying it would left Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga in to help with the fight. Help has arrived and is on its way, but Kobani still burns.
WALSH: Now, potentially today, a seismic change in Kobani, and perhaps generally in the war against ISIS inside Syria, that move by Washington, directly arm the Syrian Kurds in Kobani, despite their native ally Turkey viewing them frankly as terrorists, a very stark choice made there, followed hours later by Turkey recalibrating perhaps its position, still calling the Kurds inside Kobani terrorists, but saying they will allow Peshmerga through their territory to assist the fight.
That could open another front against ISIS inside Syria, Washington always saying they haven't got the ground forces to back up the airstrikes they necessarily need. If the Peshmerga show up in force, hasn't happened yet, if they do, that really could change things on the ground -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, thanks very much, Nick Paton Walsh. Be careful over there on the border.
Let's get some more right now.
Joining us, Republican Congressman Ed Royce of California. He's the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Mr. Chairman, thanks very much for joining us. You've heard about these 15 simultaneous assaults by ISIS on various parts of northern Iraq, Kurdish territory. But they seem to be going after that Mosul Dam. Here's the question -- could that be lost? REP. ED ROYCE (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, I think the Kurds will probably
be able to hold along the line. But I think also the reason for the full-scale assault on the Kurds in Iraq is probably to try to pin them down so they can't come to the aid of the Syrian Kurdish forces up in Kobani. And now that announcement has been made, they know as well that the Kurdish Peshmerga are trying to come over the border, that Turkey will now let them fight with their brethren. And that could help prevent that town from falling to ISIS.
So I think that's going to be a firefight probably going all night long, along that line. We'll see if they can hold the dam or not.
BLITZER: Because you lose that dam, that's a huge, huge -- that would be a major gain for ISIS, right?
ROYCE: Downstream, it's a real problem. If you recall in the Second World War, what happened with respect to flooding and so forth as a military tactic with the fall of dams in Europe. If that dam falls, that's a big problem.
BLITZER: And the power shortages would be enormous if it were destroyed as well. What really worries me, and I wonder if it worries you, there are thousands of Americans in that so-called green zone in Baghdad right. How worried are you about the safety of the Iraqi capital?
ROYCE: Well, I think they'll hold outside the capital. But part of the problem is some of the ISIS forces have snuck in and carrying out terrorist attacks, of course, suicide bombing. So it's the suicide bombing attacks in the immediate future that are the problem. Clearly long-term what ISIS would like to do is cut off the town, surround it, sort of lay siege to it.
But again, I think part of the solution here is finding the one really competent force, which is the Kurdish Peshmerga, giving them the weapons, because they're such a large force, 190,000. Give them the armor and the artillery, you know, give them the mortars they need in order to carry out this fight. And I think that could turn the tide on ISIS.
BLITZER: I want you to stand by, Mr. Chairman. We have a lot more to discuss. I'm really worried, though. Right now, at least as of this moment, and I want you to explain it when we come back, the U.S. wants to supply weapons to the Kurds, the Peshmerga, but only through the central Iraqi government in Baghdad. The Kurds say that is not good enough.
Much more with the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee when we come back.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news. A violent new push by ISIS terrorists to grab more Kurdish-controlled land in northern Iraq. The new offensive including 15 near-simultaneous attacks.
We're back with the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Ed Royce of California.
Congressman, Turkey is a major -- obviously, a major, very important NATO ally. Here's the question -- why won't they allow Incirlik, other Turkish air bases to be used by U.S. warplanes to launch air strikes against ISIS targets from Turkey into either Syria or Iraq?
ROYCE: This has always been a frustration in dealing with the Turkish government, the lack of cooperation. They claim they're a NATO ally. But when push comes to shove, as you notice, it is very, very difficult to get them to take the steps that seem to be even in their own interest.
And so as a consequence, we're trying to work around this. And I would suggest at this point that the administration has been far too cautious on the subject of not arming the Kurds. I suspect one of the reasons they haven't done it is because Turkey doesn't want us to see the Peshmerga armed with the type of weaponry that would really help turn the tide of battle.
And the second point I would make in this regard is that whether Turkey allows us to use those air bases or not, we have to preposition enough in the way of air power to truly do the types of air strikes that have not yet been done, for example, in Anbar province. In other words, we've got to get up there with the support for, you know, those who are resisting ISIS. And we're awfully late in the game on that.
The reason ISIS made as much headway as they made is because, again, we didn't have a policy of being proactive. So we're allowing others, whether it's Baghdad or the government in Turkey, to sort of dictate our decisions here.
Our decisions have to be driven by what steps will help defeat ISIS. And that is arming the Kurds and much more in the way of air power and calling in those air strikes across the board on ISIS.
BLITZER: Is it still a fact -- you know more about this than I do. You're well briefed, Mr. Chairman -- that the U.S. arming of the Kurds in Iraq, all of those weapons that are eventually supplied -- and right now they're relatively modest -- still have to go through the central government in Baghdad and then shipped to the Kurds? There's no direct shipment from the U.S. to the Kurds?
ROYCE: And that's the mistake the administration is making on this. And I think there's bipartisan support right now in Congress, probably a majority of people would tell you, let's go forward and give them the equipment they need in order to defend themselves. You and I know if the Kurds had not stepped in, whether it's the Syrian Kurds or the Iraqi Kurds -- for example, if they had not stepped in with the massacre of the Yazidis, the remaining Yazidis would have never got off that mountain. And we know what's happened now. We've learned today what's happened to those women sold into slavery. The men were slaughtered.
So what's at stake is the ability really to end this jihadi advance, and to do it, we need a much more robust assault here. It can be provided by these Kurdish and other forces on the ground if we're willing to lead and arm them and if we're willing to give them the kind of air power they need.
BLITZER: One final question: do you have confidence in this new Iraqi government in Baghdad?
ROYCE: I am disappointed on many fronts that they still are blocking the weapons going into the Kurdish fighters who are the ones lifting -- doing the heavy lift here. They still haven't reconciled to the extent necessary with the Sunni minority population. This has been a very, very disappointing time. And again, I think it takes more leadership in terms of forcing Baghdad to do what's at this point in its own interest, which is defeat ISIS.
BLITZER: Ed Royce is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr. Chairman, thanks for joining us.
ROYCE: Thank you.
BLITZER: Just ahead, sources are now revealing new details of blood evidence in the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer. We will talk about the explosive case in an exclusive interview with the attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder.
BLITZER: Major new details about the police shooting death of the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri.
Sources, including a U.S. law enforcement official, are now telling CNN that Brown's blood was found on Officer Darren Wilson's gun, on his squad car's interior and Wilson's uniform, all of this raising serious new questions about the deadly confrontation.
Our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, is working the story for us. Pamela, what are you finding out?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, a source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation says one of the bullets that struck Michael Brown was at close range and is consistent with a struggle at Officer Wilson's car. New forensic evidence we just talked about, we're learning about, is backing up that narrative.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The police shot this boy outside my apartment.
BROWN (voice-over): CNN learned new forensic evidence shows Michael Brown's blood was found on Officer Darren Wilson's gun, uniform and inside the interior door panel of the officer's car.
RON HOSKO, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI CRIMINAL DIVISION: If, in fact, there is significant blood evidence inside the car, or gunshot residue inside the car, that tends to undergird the officer's assertion that Brown came in the car and they were fighting in the car; there was a struggle for his gun inside the car. BROWN: Officer Wilson told investigators he feared for his life after
struggling with Brown in his police car. Wilson says Brown tried to grab his gun.
But Dorian Johnson, who was with Brown at the time, claims the officer was the aggressor.
DORIAN JOHNSON, WITNESS: It was like the officer is pulling him inside the car and he's trying to pull away.
BROWN: The attorney for Michael Brown's family says what (AUDIO GAP) -- Officer Wilson fired the fatal shot at the unarmed Brown. Not what happened inside the car.
DARYL PARKS, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL BROWN'S FAMILY: That's not where Michael died. Michael died later after the officer got out of his car as Michael was running away from him and the officer decided to shoot at him as he ran away.
BROWN: As anticipation mounts for the grand jury's decision on whether Wilson should be tried for murder, questions remain about the new forensic evidence first reported by "The New York Times" was leaked in the first place.
HOSKO: It could be really for, in part, a beneficial purpose to start leading those community leaders and those leading the protests to believe that there won't be an indictment, and maybe over time that will have a beneficial effect of no riots, no battles in the streets again.
BROWN: Two months since Wilson killed Brown, an anger in Missouri still simmers. Overnight, Ferguson protesters and football fans brawled in the streets after the St. Louis Rams game.
BROWN: It's uncheer when the grand jury will release its decision, but officials say there's a good chance it will be mid-November -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Very far away. Pamela, thanks very much.
Let's bring in our justice reporter, Evan Perez. He's joining us right now. You had a chance to sit down with the outgoing attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder, and you spoke about what's going on in Ferguson.
PEREZ: Well, Wolf, yes. The attorney general, I think, wants to make sure that he manages some of the expectations that are on the streets there in Ferguson. Because you know, people are expecting an indictment, and there's a real possibility that will not happen. Here's some more of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLDER: My hope would be that people will understand that, certainly with regards to the federal government, that we looked at the facts, looked at the law, had to deal with that high standard and came to an appropriate conclusion when we -- when we do that.
PEREZ: If there isn't an indictment against this officer, would you feel that it was the right -- the right decision?
HOLDER: I think that we'll have to do as we always do in civil rights investigations, from the federal perspective is look at what the state has done and then make a determination as to whether or not the state investigation was adequate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: He really has taken a significant interest, Evan, in this whole Ferguson case.
PEREZ: Well, yes, he was. He basically went down to Ferguson to help calm some of the tensions. The president asked him to do that.
And Wolf, you know, that was one of the best moments of Eric Holder's tenure here in Washington. And I think one of the things that he's worried about is, you know, people will remember not that part of his tenure but perhaps what might happen on the streets later on.
BLITZER: Because if there's an angry reaction if there's no indictment, for example, he's clearly potentially worried about that, as well.
PEREZ: Right, exactly. And then the federal investigation, which is still ongoing.
BLITZER: That could be going on for a while. Because in these kind of conditions, we're never too sure. Evan, thank you very much. Good work.
Let's get some more on all of this. Joining us now, the community activist, John Gaskin; CNN anchor Don Lemon, who covered the violence in Ferguson for all of us all of you will remember his coverage there -- as well as CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin; and our law enforcement analyst, the former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes.
John, you're there. You're in Missouri. For the first time we're now hearing some very specific details of Officer Darren Wilson's testimony before the grand jury, before the investigators and according to this report in "The New York Times," Officer Wilson told investigators that he was pinned in his vehicle in fear of his life as he and Michael Brown struggled over that gun only moments before Brown's death. So are you surprised by all of this description what we're learning now about this struggle?
JOHN GASKIN, NAACP BOARD MEMBER: Well, you know, so much has been kept under wraps throughout this entire thing. Many people on the ground are even concerned how these details got out. Since these types of proceedings are highly confidential. So the questions really are, you know, how did this information get leaked to "The New York Times"? Who is giving them this kind of information?
People on the ground are not necessarily surprised with Officer Darren Wilson's alibi, because to be quite honest with you, many people figured he would say something along the lines of that.
But the real question is, you know, how is this officer going to justify shooting this unarmed teenager six times in the street? And so those are really a lot of questions that still are unanswered.
BLITZER: As you know, Tom Fuentes, the forensic tests do show that Michael Brown's blood was in the vehicle, was in the car, on Officer Wilson's gun, as well as his uniform. So what does that say to you?
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It says to me that, you know, we have to really take a close look at what Brown was doing that far into the car.
You know, it's hard to believe that a police officer is going to be on patrol and think, "I'm going to kill that guy. I'm going to have him come over and climb in my car so I can do it." So, you know, it's just that the struggle that happens there, it's hard to believe that that part of this event could be initiated by the officer.
Then what happens, as John mentions, what happens afterward on the street is a separate part. But the first part has to do with the officer's mindset. Is he fearful? Has Brown been aggressive to him and caused him to have a certain amount of fear on the street later?
BLITZER: Don Lemon, you covered this from day one. Seems like another one of these orchestrated leaks in this case, this new information, not just in "The New York Times," but CNN has been getting very similar information, as well. What does it say to you?
DON LEMON, CNN HOST, "CNN TONIGHT": Well, it says there are leaks. I'm not sure how orchestrated they are. But this information that is coming from the officer, you know, if is it true from "The New York Times," is the same information that you and I were going to report on last week before we had the breaking news about the Ebola, the patient being transferred to the hospital.
There was another witness, a witness who happens to be African- American, who gives me almost word for word, the same account as Officer Darren Wilson, this report in "The New York Times."
But all along, Wolf, there have been people who have been -- who have had differing accounts, who have been corroborating the side of Dorian Johnson, and there have been people all along corroborating the side of the officer, Darren Wilson. Many of those people we don't hear about, because they don't want media exposure. This has not been clear-cut from the very beginning.
And as every -- almost every single legal expert you speak with will tell you, when this first started, it is very hard to indict an officer under these circumstances, unless there is videotape of what happened. BLITZER: You know, Jeffrey, there is some videotape of what happened
shortly before the shooting of Michael Brown, and that's when only minutes before, he was in that convenience store, allegedly robbing some cigars with his friend over there. And then when the store clerk went over there and tried to stop him, asked him for the $30 or whatever it cost, he was sort of intimidated. He's a big guy, Michael Brown.
Just a legal question, that kind of video, is it relevant? Will it be shown to the grand jury?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it certainly would be shown to the grand jury. The grand jury has very wide definition of relevance.
But the interesting legal question is, if Officer Wilson is indicted, would it be used in his trial? And that's a much harder question, and it would turn, I think, at least in part, on whether Officer Wilson was aware or saw Mike Brown have this confrontation.
If Officer Wilson was unaware of any confrontation over these cigars and didn't know about it, I don't see how it would be relevant in the trial at all. But again, this is one of the many issues that we don't know all the facts yet, so we can't make a judgment about whether that would be admissible in the trial.
BLITZER: All right. I want all of you to stand by. We have a lot more to discuss. Much more on the Ferguson developments as they're coming in.
Also ahead, Monica Lewinsky now says she was one of its first victims. She says she's going to spend her life fighting against it. We have details of her major announcement today.
BLITZER: We're following new developments in the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. We're back with our panel, community activist John Gaskin; our CNN anchor, Don Lemon, who covered the violence in Ferguson for all of us; our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin; and our law enforcement analyst, the former assistant FBI director, Tom Fuentes.
Tom, you believe that video from the convenience store where Michael Brown was allegedly in there with his friend stealing some cigars, that could be pretty significant?
FUENTES: I think it is significant. You know, we heard the narrative for several days after the shooting that Michael Brown was a gentle giant. He's not aggressive. He wouldn't hurt anybody.
In the video, you see him take on a store clerk that's about half his size, after stealing the cigars. It's not shoplifting. He's confronted. He shoves that guy violently into the rack. Starts to leave the store. That's not good enough. He turns around and comes back in menacingly toward the clerk and then finally, he leaves. Now, that incident occurs about ten minutes before the encounter with
Officer Wilson on the street. So he could have, in his own mind, thought that Officer Wilson was going to arrest him for the incident at the store. And that would be a motive for being aggressive with the officer and Wilson being completely caught by surprise.
BLITZER: What do you make of that, Don?
LEMON: I think it -- I think it goes to state of mind. I think he's exactly right, because that's going to come up. And listen, you're dealing with -- you're dealing with a grand jury; you're dealing with people who are listening, and they're trying to be objective about it. You know, they're trying to be objective about it.
So if you look at that, they'll say -- they're going to want to know what precipitated this? What happened before?
And also, we have been saying there are two separate events. What happened at the car and then what happened once Michael Brown was shot and when he died.
But that's also going to go to state of mind. What happened inside of that car? And if you look at it logically, if you look at it logically, anything is possible.
But I don't think any police officer would want to pull a suspect in a car with him, because he's then trapped inside of the car. So the grand jury is going to look at that. They're going to say logically the officer would want to push the suspect off of him, get out of the car and fight him in an open place where he has access to his gun and weapons, not pull him into the car where the officer is trapped.
BLITZER: John Gaskin, there were protests, as you know, over the weekend in front of the Ferguson Police Department. Last night the Rams fans clashed with some of Michael Brown's protesters after the game. What are you hearing from the community there? You're very -- you're in pretty close touch with the folks on the ground.
GASKIN: Right. Many people are wanting answers, as mentioned. They are looking for an indictment, and they want answers as to what happened. There are a lot of questions, and patience is running thin. And as many have said, we're really on borrowed time with this particular situation.
The prosecutor said mid-October. Now they're saying mid-November. So, people want an indictment, and they want answers regarding this investigation and what actually took place.
BLITZER: So, Jeffrey Toobin, just quickly wrap this up for us. If all that videotape evidence, let's say that is evidence from that convenience store, the conflicting testimony we're hearing, it is possible when all is said and done they won't indict this cop.
TOOBIN: Sure. It's possible.
But remember how much evidence we still don't know. We have not seen all the forensic tests. We don't know how far away Officer Wilson was from Mike Brown. That's such a critical point.
I don't care what his state of mind is. You can't shoot someone who is far away from you and not a threat. So, you know, that is something to keep in mind and it's important to remember the facts about this case we don't know, because many of those facts are very important to determining whether a crime was committed here.
BLITZER: Well said, guys. Thanks very much, Jeffrey Toobin, Don Lemon, Tom Fuentes, John Gaskin.
Don is going to have more on this later tonight. At two hours, CNN Tonight, at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Don will be watching, of course, as we do all of the time.
Just ahead: why President Obama is posing a midterm dilemma for Democrats as election day draws near two weeks from tomorrow.
And Monica Lewinsky goes public. What the former White House is now saying about the former President Bill Clinton.
BLITZER: With just two weeks until Election Day here in the United States and Congress up for grabs, President Obama cast his early vote today. But can he get others to vote for Democratic candidates?
Let's bring in our senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta. He's watching the story for us.
What's the latest over there, Jim?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, President Obama is in Chicago trying to motivate Democrats for the midterms. White House officials insist the president has a winning message but aides acknowledge between Ebola and ISIS, there isn't much time for election sales pitches.
ACOSTA (voice-over): It's a midterm dilemma for Democrats. What to do with an unpopular president?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The way we win any election is making sure we turn out.
ACOSTA: Cue President Obama's home town of Chicago, where he reminded voters they aren't while about Republicans either.
OBAMA: It is not like they've change their tune. They're still peddling the same thing.
ACOSTA: In Maryland, the president suggested GOP candidates are exploiting Americans' worries about terrorism and Ebola.
OBAMA: You deserve leaders who don't root for failure, don't try to refight the old battles, don't try to peddle fear. ACOSTA: But his party is also afraid. That's why with roughly two
weeks until the midterms decide the fate of the Senate, the president is appearing mostly with candidates for governor, and the more popular Michelle Obama is the campaigner of choice in close Senate races.
Only two years since he was riding high after winning reelection, 2014 is a humbling experience.
OBAMA: These policies are on the ballot, every single one of them.
ACOSTA: In states Mr. Obama won twice, like Florida, he is now a liability.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love Barack Obama.
ACOSTA: Add to that the Ebola scare --
OBAMA: I don't have a philosophical objection necessarily to a travel ban.
ACOSTA: And endangered Democrats aren't just keeping their distance, they're breaking from him.
SEN. KAY HAGAN (D), NORTH CAROLINA: We need to have a temporary travel ban on non-U.S. citizens coming from the affected countries of West Africa.
ACOSTA: Leaving to it another president to soothe fears.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I don't think this is time to blame. We need to save every life we can and keep this thing from coming to America.
ACOSTA: All of which explains why top Republicans are sounding confident.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Nothing is certain in politics, but I think it is far more likely than not that we'll retake the Senate and retire Harry Reid.
ACOSTA: Now, as for the president's event yesterday in Maryland, the White House is trying to explain why some in the crowd were leaving even as Mr. Obama was still speaking. Maryland Democratic Party leaders say those audience members were in an overflow room, but our producer who was there, she saw people leaving from inside that rally. Something Democrats are not used to seeing.
I remember back in 2008, when he had 70,000, 80,000 people on hand, they were not leaving early in those days, Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, that was pretty amazing when you think about it.
Thanks very much, Jim Acosta. Let's dig deeper right now with our chief political analyst Gloria Borger and our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. He's still with us.
What do you make of that? It is pretty unusual. He goes to a blue state like Maryland.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure.
BLITZER: Speaks for the lieutenant governor who's running to become the governor. And all of a sudden, folks are leaving when the president --
BORGER: Yes. It's hard -- it's hard to know why, as Jim points out. It was -- it was unusual, although folks there were in a Democratic rally. You'd presume they're going to hear the president, you know, of the United States. I think the larger issue here, Wolf, is just how Democrats can run on the Obama brand and turn out the base voters, the African-American voters that are so unpopular to them, important to them without running with President Obama, because he is unpopular to some of those independent voters that they need. That's the challenge they face right now.
So, they can use the president for fundraising to turn out the base. But the problem they had is that Republicans are being quite successful in nationalizing these midterm elections into elections about Barack Obama, rather than local issues and he's so unpopular with so many states with important Senate races.
BLITZER: Let me shift to another political story that we're watching today, Jeffrey. Monica Lewinsky, she joined the Twitter verse today. She is up on Twitter. She has a lot of followers already.
She was speaking at a summit, 30 Under 30, Philadelphia. It's one of her first public speaking engagements, at least in the past, in a while. The former White House intern introducing herself to the crowd.
Let me play you a little clip of what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONICA LEWINSKY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE INTERN: Allow me to briefly recap my story. Sixteen years ago, fresh out of college, a 22-year-old intern in the White House -- and more than averagely romantic -- I fell in love with my boss, in a 22-year-old sort of way. It happens. But my boss was the president of the United States. That probably happens less often.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Jeffrey, you and I, we covered, and, Gloria, we covered the whole Monica Lewinsky affair with the president. Why is this resurfacing right now?
TOOBIN: Well, Monica has had a rough time. She has not found a place in the world. And she just turned 40 years old, which certainly makes all of us feel old, I think.
What I don't understand frankly is why she persists in doing things in public which are just -- it's just going to attract unflattering attention. I wish nothing but good things for her, but I think she'd be better off working for her causes in private, rather than in public.
BLITZER: If she's going to work to good causes, don't start rehashing all of that painful past. Move on.
GLORIA: You know, I think it is a problem for her. Why does anyone want to hear from Monica Lewinsky in a speech? Because they want to hear about her past. She's made bullying kind of an issue.
BLITZER: Which is a legitimate issue, anti-bullying.
GLORIA: It's a legitimate issue. And she sort of says, you know, she was the pre-social media person who experienced bullying as a result of what happened to her.
Look, I feel badly for Monica Lewinsky. I think she wants to rejoin the national conversation. So, she has to find a way into it. I think this is her way into the conversation, and to make what happened to her relevant to what's going on in the world today. And bullying is, of course, a big issue and a big problem.
TOOBIN: I mean, why shouldn't she be part of the national conversation? I mean, she is not an evil person.
TOOBIN: She made a mistake that a lot of young people make a long time ago. But I don't understand why that entitles you or gives you any sort of special expertise that the public needs to know about.
BORGER: So, she wants to make some good out of what happened to her. She clearly wants to talk about bullying. Someone wanted her to give a speech because she's Monica Lewinsky. She has to figure out how to get on with her life and this is who she is. I don't know how you kind of escape it, right?
BLITZER: Let me shift gears dramatically right now, Jeffrey. You got a major article in the new issue of "The New Yorker" magazine about the kind of judicial legacy President Obama wants to leave behind. Give us a couple of the little nuggets, because you spend a little time talking about this as well.
TOOBIN: I did. I think what a lot of people don't realize is what a big impact President Obama has had. He has named one-third of all the federal judges who were sitting today.
And -- but he doesn't have a very distinct judicial philosophy. And I asked him a question. He gave me one very surprising answer. I said, what's your favorite Supreme Court decision of the past six years? And I thought he would say the Affordable Care Act, or the decision striking down DOMA. No. He said I thought the best thing the Supreme Court did was two
weeks ago, staying out of same sex marriage, leaving it to the political branches of government. And I thought that was revealing in how he really thinks political change in this country comes from politics and legislators, not from judges.
BLITZER: DOMA being the defense of marriage act which the Supreme Court ruled was unconstitutional. I don't know if you had a chance to read his article. But the president, he spent a lot of time teaching constitutional law.
BORGER: But he has. And, you know, every Republicans would accuse him of being a judicial activist. And here he's saying, you know, let's leave this to the states because it's happening any way, and I'm glad the Supreme Court didn't decide to take it up. So --
BLITZER: By not taking it up, that was a major victory for same sex marriage in the United States.
BORGER: Exactly, exactly.
BLITZER: Opened up the doors to a lot of states. I think 35 or 36 states, plus the District of Columbia, will soon have same sex marriage.
Guys, thanks very much. A good article, recommend it to our viewers. Remember, you can always follow me on Twitter. You can tweet me @WolfBlitzer. You can tweet the show @CNNSitroom.
Please be sure to join us again tomorrow right here on THE SITUATION ROOM. You can always watch us live or DVR the show, so you won't miss a moment. Thanks for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.