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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Dr. Oz Under Fire; ISIS Attack; Deputy Regrets Shooting Unarmed Man; Two Officers Accused of Groping Passengers. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired April 17, 2015 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: ISIS tries to blow up a U.S. Consulate.
I'm Jake Tapper. This is THE LEAD.
The word lead, Americans in Iraq forced to duck and cover as a car bomb explodes just outside the U.S. Consulate in Irbil. ISIS claims responsibility. Is this the closest the terrorist group has come to taking out an American target like this one?
The national lead. We watched as Ferguson burned. Now documents discovered by CNN reveal that the National Guardsmen brought in to keep the peace referred to protesters as enemy forces.
And the pop culture lead. Dr. Oz subjected to a very uncomfortable examination, as top doctors across country call him a charlatan and ask Columbia University's medical school to have him expelled.
Good afternoon, everyone. I'm Jake Tapper. Welcome to THE LEAD.
We're going to begin right off the bat with some breaking news in our money lead in what's being described as a market bloodbath, the Dow falling more than 275 points. At one point today, it was off nearly a whole 2 percent, 350 points.
Let's get right to Alison Kosik live in New York.
Alison, what on earth happened?
ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The head-scratcher with this one is, Jake, that these issues that have plagued investors today, they have been actually hanging around for a while. But for some reason, investors got up this morning, woke up and decided they wanted to hit the sell button.
Three reasons for this big sell-off. The biggest culprit, Greece. We have heard this before. It's kind of like a broken record. But this time it could be real. See, Greece owes a lot of money to its creditors, to its international creditors, I'm talking to the tune of billions of dollars.
Now, the question is, will it be able to pay back that money? The deadline is coming up next Friday and at this point Greece isn't making any headway with that payment. So it could default on what it owes on these loans and possibly exit the Eurozone, so the uncertainty rattled Wall Street today.
Second reason, China. It installed some new trading rules. It's clamping down on the practice of lending to buy stock, also known as margin requirements. And so those Asian markets are closed. You're seeing Wall Street actually making a preemptive strike, because the expectation is Asian markets will sharply sell off on Monday.
The third reason, U.S. investors not happy about how first-quarter earnings season is going, all of that leading to that big sell-off today -- Jake.
TAPPER: Alison Kosik in New York, thanks so much.
Some other breaking news in our world lead today. A deadly ISIS suicide attack on a U.S. Consulate in Iraq killing at least three and wounding several more, including, according to Iraqi police, an American teacher.
The car bomb blast occurred outside a cafe popular with Westerners in the northern city of Irbil about 200 miles from Iraq's capital, Baghdad. Billowing smoke filled the sky as Kurdish security forces arrived on the scene. It was an explosion so powerful that according to one eyewitness it shook a hotel and knocked items off the shelves in the hotel half-a-mile away.
The State Department says all U.S. personnel are accounted for, but this latest attack serves as a stark reminder that ISIS is an unrelenting enemy determined to create a very violent Islamic caliphate.
Let's get right to CNN's chief security national correspondent, Jim Sciutto, joins us live with the latest.
Jim, the Kurdish areas have been considered safe in general, so safe that the U.S. moved many of its diplomats out of Baghdad to Irbil. How concerned about American officials after today's attack?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Listen, they're extremely concerned tonight. This was a bold attack on one of the most secure facilities in one of the most secure areas of one of the most secure cities in Iraq and there's evidence tonight that this was a complex operation, a small explosion, perhaps a diversion, followed by a car bomb, followed by an armed assault.
Eyewitnesses reporting an hour-long gun battle in the streets.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): A blast in Northern Iraq, the target, America. A car bomb exploding near the gates of the U.S. Consulate in Irbil, sending U.S. personnel running for cover.
MARIE HARF, SPOKESWOMAN, STATE DEPARTMENT: At 10:44 a.m. Eastern, the duck and cover protocol was activated at the U.S. Consulate. All chief of mission personnel have been accounted for. There are no reports of injuries to chief of mission personnel or to the local guards.
SCIUTTO: On Twitter, ISIS quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, confirming the target was the Irbil consulate.
And in Western Iraq, ISIS still in a pitched battle for Ramadi, sending residents out of the city by the tens of thousands, blocking roads. Iraqi forces are still holding positions in the center of Ramadi as they await reinforcements from Baghdad. With civilians having fled the city, Iraqi forces hope to have an easier time targeting ISIS militants in Ramadi, one battle in a long war to take back Iraq from the terror group.
SAMANTHA POWER, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: We're in a much stronger position than we were in a year ago. ISIL now controls 25 percent fewer, or 25 percent less territory than they did back then. So there will be back and forth and there will be incidents.
SCIUTTO: Still, America's top general, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey, dismissed Ramadi as strategically insignificant.
GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF CHAIRMAN: The city itself it's not symbolic in any way. It's not been declared, you know, part of the caliphate on one hand or central to the future of Iraq.
SCIUTTO: Today, Senator John McCain fired back, calling General Dempsey's remarks a -- quote -- "gross mischaracterization and a denial of reality."
What is not in dispute is the importance of the Baiji oil refinery in Central Iraq, also under assault by ISIS.
DEMPSEY: Once the Iraqis have full control of Baiji, they will control all of their oil infrastructure, both north and south, and deny ISIL the ability to generate revenue through oil.
SCIUTTO: With all eyes on the terror group, a nearly forgotten enemy killed in an Iraqi operation, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, Saddam Hussein's former number two, known as the king of clubs in the U.S. most-wanted deck of cards, aced out of the picture.
SCIUTTO: Tonight, the Pentagon tells us that Ramadi is still contested, that is Iraqi forces haven't lost it, the prospect General Dempsey conceded yesterday was very possible and Iraqi security forces continue to push against ISIS fighters there.
In Baiji, we're told the refinery itself remains under Iraqi control, but ISIS has penetrated the perimeter. This is the kind of back and forth war you're coming into now. Yes, they got back Tikrit, but that took a long battle. Ramadi has been contested for months. Just as ISIS hasn't been able to control it, it's not like Iraqi security forces have been able to control it either. It's a constant back and forth. TAPPER: And now this news from Irbil. Horrifying stuff. Jim
Sciutto, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Let's turn to the politics lead now, where foreign policy, especially ISIS, is set to play a rather dramatic role for the 2016 candidates. Right now, New Hampshire voters are getting their first listen to Republicans who want to win the White House. No fewer than 19 Republican potential hopefuls are making their way through the Granite State, 19, for the National Republican Leadership Summit.
Mike Huckabee has not strummed into Nashua yet, but the former Arkansas governor is making announcement tonight about his plans for 2016. Another former governor, Jeb Bush from Florida, is already up there doing the best he can to avoid questions how he might be different from his brother, the former president.
Our Athena Jones in Nashua, New Hampshire.
Athena, what did Governor Bush have to say when you asked about his brother, former President George W. Bush's approach when it comes to foreign policy?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jake.
As you know, Jeb Bush has been asked over and over again how he would distinguish himself from past President Bushes, particularly his brother George W. Today, he praised the program his brother started to fight AIDS in Africa, PEPFAR, and while he says mistakes were made in Iraq when it comes to weapons of mass destruction, he's also called W.'s troop surge there a heroic act.
Today, I pressed him more today on that issue. Here what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Are there any other problems you have with your brother's foreign policy, any place he made a mistake?
JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I'm not going to get into that. Look, that's not particularly relevant in a world of completely insecurity. Focusing on the past is not really relevant. What is relevant is what's the role of America going forward?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So, there you have it. He is focused on the future and also he says the world is very different now than it was when his brother was president and certainly when his father was president. That's his answer so far to this question -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Athena Jones in New Hampshire, thank you so much.
The only declared candidate on the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, makes her way to the Live Free or Die State on Monday. It's a trip that will mirror her three-day swing through Iowa filled with roundtables and listening sessions and scheduled spontaneity.
Clinton's would-be opponents on her left, especially former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, will no doubt keep hitting the former secretary of state for her shifting views on some progressive issues. Clinton has been trying to shore up her progressive flank. One of the populist voices Clinton dined with the other night is former Iowa Senator Tom Harkin.
Listen to what he had to say about Secretary Clinton back in September.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Some progressives, a little unease with Hillary Clinton. Is she going to be too hawkish on foreign policy? Is she going to too moderate on economic issues?
TOM HARKIN (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: We're always nervous about people moving too far to the right.
QUESTION: Where's Hillary on that?
HARKIN: I don't know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And joining me now is former Iowa Senator Tom Harkin.
Sir, thanks so much for joining us. Great to see you.
You heard that clip from you and Jon Carl back in the day. Now that Hillary Clinton has declared, do you have a better idea of where Secretary Clinton is on the spectrum? Is she progressive enough for Iowans?
HARKIN: Oh, I think Hillary has always been a good progressive.
And what I mean by that is, thinking ahead, what's the future going to require us to do today? And that's why I think she's doing it exactly right this time in her campaign. She's coming out here to Iowa. She's going to small towns and communities, meeting with small groups and really listening, and absorbing all of this.
That's what she's really good at.
TAPPER: Some progressives, of course, have been raising questions about Secretary Clinton, how she appears to, in their view, appears to be trying to gloss over some parts of her record, reversing or revising or evolving on particular issues.
Just today, former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley released a video touching on some of the topics, topics that he says he's been behind from day one, such as same-sex marriage being a human right, not something that should be tackled state by state. Do progressives in Iowa want to see O'Malley or some other more progressive person challenge Clinton?
HARKIN: Well, look, I would just put it this way, that our caucus system is wide open. We encourage everyone to come out and throw their hats in the ring, do whatever they want to do. We want a wide- open caucus system.
I personally am involved in trying to get more people to go to the caucus, both Republicans and Democrats, through the Harkin Institute at Drake University. So that's what I'm about more than anything is getting people to go to the caucuses.
So, again, these things will all kind of ferret themselves out over the next several months, but I can say this about Hillary Clinton. She is just so smart, but she has an empathy with people that is real, that is genuine, and is really coming across this time in a way that perhaps never had been before.
And that's why what she's doing in terms of meeting with small groups and having these sort of small group meetings and listening to people, that's her forte. That's what she excels at, and as she listens more and more to Iowans, I think that she will respond to our needs and to the opinions that she hears from Iowans.
TAPPER: Take a listen to what Secretary Clinton said earlier this week in Iowa when she was discussing income inequality.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And there's something wrong when hedge fund managers pay lower tax rates than nurses or the truckers that I saw on I-80 as I was driving here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: You served with Secretary Clinton in the Senate. When she was there, do you recall her trying to do anything to fix that specific thing, that specific tax on hedge fund managers, or do you recall her doing anything to try to address income inequality?
HARKIN: Well, quite frankly, during the time that I served with Hillary in the Senate, that just wasn't much of an issue. It hadn't bubbled up yet.
This all came to a head because of the economic crisis beginning in 2008. And, of course, she had moved on from the Senate by that time. I'm sure if she'd been in the Senate it would have been one of her major topics and one of her major interests, and that is making sure that we have more income equality in America to make sure that the wealthy and the hedge fund managers pay their fair share of taxes.
I have no doubt where she stands on that issue, absolutely no doubt whatsoever.
TAPPER: Today in New Hampshire, sorry to even mention New Hampshire to an Iowan, but today in New Hampshire, Governor Jeb Bush said that his brother's foreign policy and Iraq is "not particularly relevant." How relevant is the Iraq war, do you think, for a Bush campaign or for a Clinton campaign for that matter? She voted to go to war in Iraq.
HARKIN: I think it's relevant in this way, that we should learn from our mistakes.
Going to war in Iraq was a terrible mistake, terrible mistake. Not only did it cost us maybe upwards of close to $1 trillion, who knows, but destabilized the whole area, is continuing to fester as a sore, causing us even more involvement.
We have to learn from those mistakes. We can't just dismiss it say it doesn't matter, it's not relevant. Of course it's relevant. It's relevant, so that we don't make those same mistakes again.
TAPPER: Former Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, thank you so much. We will see you out there in Iowa over the next few months.
HARKIN: I will be here. Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: The national lead, the reserve sheriff's deputy who says he accidentally killed a man when he mistook his own gun for his Taser is speaking out about what happened that day. He says it could have happened to anyone. He also has a message for the victim's family and for those who say he threw his money around to play cop, and that story is next.
[16:19:15] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
The national lead now: the Tulsa County volunteer sheriff's deputy who shot and killed a man in a sting operation is now trying to explain how he mistakenly grabbed his gun instead of his taser. Reserve deputy Roberts Bates told Matt Lauer he was only at that undercover scene as backup, but when the man they were trying to arrest took off running, Bates says he had to react. Deputies tried to cuff Eric Harris, Bates didn't realize he fired his gun instead of his taser until after the fact. Bates is now also fending allegations that his supervisors forged his training background.
CNN's Ryan Young joins me now.
Ryan, you're going to try to explain this, because Deputy Bates is insisting this accidental shooting could have happened to anyone.
[16:20:02] Is that right?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake.
In fact, we watched that video over and over. Across the country, tasers and guns are usually separated on officers, and we watched that video, and he showed one of bullet-proof vest, usually have his taser up here on his chest and his gun either here on the side or somewhere in the back.
But he said in the heat of the moment, he grabbed here and not up here.
YOUNG (voice-over): After intense scrutiny, Reserve Sheriff Deputy Robert Bates finally talks about the split-second act where he pulled his gun instead of pulling his taser. The shot he fired led to a man's death.
ROBERT GATES, TULSA COUNTY RESERVE DEPUTY: Oh, my god. What has happened? The laser light is the same on each weapon. I saw the light and I squeezed the trigger, and then realized I had dropped the gun. This was not an intentional thing. I have no desire to ever take anyone's life.
YOUNG: In this video, watched by millions, you can see the final run of Eric Harris. Tulsa's share itch deputies running an undercover operation tried to arrest Harris for selling them a gun but he takes off. You can hear Bates yell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now! Now!
BATES: Oh, I shot him. I'm sorry.
YOUNG: The mix-up is something the 73-year-old part-time deputy, an insurance executive, tried explaining during his "Today" show interview.
GATES: My taser right here, on the front, tucked in a protective vest. My gun itself is on my side, normally to the rear.
YOUNG: Over the years, Bates has had a close relationship with the sheriff's office, donating five cars and equipment and money to the sheriff's re-election campaign. Now there are explosive allegations being reported by the "Tulsa World" newspaper.
The paper details, three supervisors reassigned after not going along with the plan to falsify Bates' training records. A claim Bates and deputies strongly deny.
MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS: You did the training and you can prove you are certified.
BATES: That is absolutely the truth. I have it in writing.
YOUNG: Charged with second-degree manslaughter, Robert Bates a longtime supporter of the sheriff's department now faces the same system he was sworn to protect and serve, as well as a possible four- year prison term, and the Harris family contends fairness and justice is something they desperately want.
ANDRE HARRIS, ERIC HARRIS' BROTHER: So, as the world stands up to speak, for Mr. Eric Harris, we say to the sheriff's department, look out. Look out, because here we come.
BATES: Let me apologize to the family of Eric Harris. You know, this is the second worst thing that's ever happened to me, or first, ever happened to me in my life.
YOUNG: Jake, a lot of times I've watched officers go through their training when it comes to tasers. They make a great effort to make sure the gun and taser are separated, just in this case, here on the chest or here on the side. There's a reason for that, because they want to make sure the officer has to reach for one or the other. That's something that's something that has to come up now in court after all the questions are laid form.
TAPPER: All right. Ryan Young, thank you so much.
Up next, it turns out a disturbing story about two TSA workers allegedly plotting to grope passenger -- well, that just might be the tip of the iceberg. A former screener has come forward and is now making cringe-worthy claims about what's really happening at airport security checkpoints.
And he's one of the top prospects in the upcoming NFL draft, but could a new lawsuit tank Heisman trophy winner Jameis Winston's career before it even begins?
[16:27:38] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
As if you needed more reasons to dread going through the airport security line. In national news today, a former Transportation Security Administration worker now saying he's not surprised at all by the news we told you about earlier in the week about two officers singled out for groping passengers purposefully in Denver International Airport. In fact, this new former TSA officer says this type of stuff happens all the time. He detailed sly tactics often used in "TIME" magazine.
And CNN's Tom Foreman joins me now.
Tom, this ex-TSA officer says body scanners are useless.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is salacious and alarming stuff if it's all true. This former officer is saying loudly and clearly this scheme to grope airline passengers, alleged scheme, is not limited to Colorado, and it is not unusual, indeed insisted airports all over the country, things like it are commonplace.
FOREMAN: TSA officers using their high-tech scanners to identify, pull aside and grope attractive male passengers. That's what authorities say was going on at Denver International until the two officers involved, a man and woman, were caught and left their jobs.
And if that's not enough to horrify many fliers, now comes this from "TIME" magazine. "The bigger issue here is a systemic one. There are far too many federal hands on people's private parts in airports." The writer is Jason Edward Harrington, a former TSA agent who insists this sort of thing happens all the time in airports everywhere. He writes, "The agent running his or her hands over you after you pass through the scanner is almost never doing it for good reason. What's more," he adds, "victims will likely never even know they were assaulted, since so many passengers have their private parts fondled."
To be sure, Harrington has written fiery critiques of the TSA before. Notably this one called "Dear America, I Saw You Naked." he argues that full body scanners are routinely used to let officers leer at passengers and yet they find few actual security threats.
The TSA steadily pushed back against such notions and suggests the Denver incident is an oddity.
Former administrator defends officers conducting by the book pat-downs as well.
CHAD WOLF, FORMER TSA ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR: Individual passengers may still object to that, and how they do that, as long as they're doing that correctly they're doing their job.