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Sources: Walker Dropping Out of 2016 Race; Ben Carson: A Muslim Should Not Be President; Prosecutor: Accused Killer Thought Girl 'Possessed'. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired September 21, 2015 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:21] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news. Campaign casualty. He was once an early leader in the polls, but now Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker shows up as just an asterisk. Sources say he's about to announce an end to his presidential bid. We're standing by.
Offending voters. Will the GOP's efforts to expand its tent collapse as Ben Carson and Donald Trump step up their attacks on Muslims? I'll speak with one of the two Muslim members of the United States Congress.
Possessed by demons. An outburst in court as prosecutors say the man accused of killing Baby Doe viewed her as possessed. Why did no one who knew the child report her missing?
And maximum security. U.S. cities are turned into fortresses as a massive security cordon will surround the pope wherever he goes. Why are officials so concerned about the papal visit?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Let's get to the breaking news. Sources say the Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, about to drop out of the race for the White House. We're standing by for a news conference. We'll have live coverage.
Walker has gone from an early leader to an also-ran in the GOP presidential campaign. He shows up at less than half of 1 percent in our latest poll.
All this comes as the issue of religion throws the Republican race a bit into turmoil right now. Ben Carson is doubling down on his controversial comment that a Muslim should not be president. And now he says any U.S. president should be sworn in on a stack of Bibles and not a Koran. A leading Muslim American group says Carson is unfit to lead the country.
Our latest CNN/ORC poll, taken before these remarks, shows Carson has slipped into third place, with Carly Fiorina surging into second after a very strong debate performance.
Donald Trump, who triggered the controversy, is still dodging questions about President Obama's religion and place of birth. Trump has also slipped in our poll but still leading, down eight points.
I'll speak with Andre Carson. He's one of only two Muslim members of the U.S. Congress. And our correspondents, analysts and guests, they'll have full coverage of all the day's top stories.
Let's begin with the breaking news. Our chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, is standing by -- Dana.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this is certainly a surprise to a lot of people in the political world, but the bottom line is that, according to a source close to Walker, the money dried up after Scott Walker's -- what this source called his poor performances, first in the FOX Cleveland debate and then in CNN's debate last week. And they could not raise the money that they needed,, certainly to sustain the operations and the apparatus that they had built in his home state of Wisconsin.
And Wolf, beyond the money it, of course, was popularity. You were talking about the fact that he was just an asterisk in the national poll that CNN released yesterday. Just think about the dramatic fall.
In March, six months ago, Scott Walker was atop the national poll, the Quinnipiac poll. He went from leading to an asterisk in six months. That is a very, very tough fall. But it was also Iowa in particular.
John King was talking to a -- another strategist close to the Walker campaign, talking about the fact that Iowa, of course, was his launch pad. Walker has always admitted wholeheartedly that he felt like he needed to win Iowa to go anywhere; and he was doing very, very poorly there. A number of reasons lately, primarily Donald Trump.
And I think that is another factor that you cannot discount here. Is the whole idea that Republican voters have been wanting somebody who is not cautious, who throws caution to the wind. That's what Scott Walker is the opposite of.
He is a very pragmatic guy. He was too pragmatic, even to some sources I've been talking to close to him just in the last hour for his own good. And that got him into a lot of trouble. It made him look like he was flip-flopping on a lot of issues, talking about having a wall with the border in Canada, for example. A lot of people said what was that about? Not even getting issues like birthright citizenship clear for his supporters. So all of those things made it very hard for him, he thought, to get involved -- or to keep going, I should say.
And one other bit of color I can tell you. I was told that this was -- the news was given to some of his long-time advisors and confidants this morning at the governor's mansion in Wisconsin, and that was an invitation his wife the first lady of Wisconsin gave to all of these confidants.
BLITZER: It's interesting. And he's from Wisconsin, a neighboring state of Iowa. He was actually born in Iowa. He was doing really well in Iowa, and all of that support quickly collapsed. [17:05:07] A two-term governor of Wisconsin. Rick Perry was a three-
term popular governor of Texas. He dropped out in recent days. Now Scott Walker has dropped out. People are already wondering who's next. This pretty crowded Republican field. They anticipate more to come, probably sooner rather than later.
BASH: That's right. And I mean, if you kind of take a step back and you look at what we have on our screen right now, it is a bit surprising that Scott Walker was the second to drop out, because there are others who have been asterisks on the polls, in the polls nationally in Iowa and New Hampshire since the beginning.
I think the big difference is that Scott Walker built a pretty big campaign which cost a lot of money. And it was hard for him to sustain it. And he saw no way to come back from that. And so when you're kind of the little engine that could it's easier to keep going than when you start out big, like Scott Walker did, and you have this big bloated staff. It's hard to sustain that when you don't have the money coming in.
BLITZER: Yes. Popular governors, they drop out, but the three top people in the Republican campaign right now, if you will, none of them have been -- ever been elected to any political office.
BASH: And that was his big thing.
BLITZER: And they're doing really well.
BASH: And that was his big thing. Scott Walker is a young man, but he has only had a job in elected office. He is a lifelong elected politician. That is not what Republican voters have...
BLITZER: All right. We're going to have more on this, Dana. Stand by.
But I want to get to other political news we're following. The new calls for Ben Carson to drop out of the GOP race after anti-Muslim remarks. Let's go to our senior Washington correspondent Joe Johns, he's, he's looking into the story for us. What's the latest, Joe?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Democrats are piling on. Most Americans are expressing outrage, and even some conservatives are distancing themselves from Ben Carson's remarks. But so far no apologies from the candidate himself. He's not walking it back.
The Carson campaign says this is what the candidate believes, and tonight he's standing by it.
JOHNS (voice-over): Tonight new fallout from the political firestorm sparked by Ben Carson. The Council on American-Islamic Relations today calling on him to drop out of the presidential race.
NIHAD AWAD, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS: So whether you're Christian; you're Jewish; you're Muslim; you're Catholic; you're black; you're brown; you're white, if you are born in this country; if you uphold the Constitution; if you have religion; if you're fit to lead, you can lead irrespective of your faith tradition.
JOHNS: The outrage comes after Carson was asked if he believed Islam was consistent with the Constitution.
DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I don't. I do not. I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.
JOHNS: Carson loyalists say the political outsider will not retract his remarks.
ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS, BEN CARSON'S BUSINESS MANAGER: Everything is not about winning the White House for him. It's about standing up for what he believes in, telling the truth.
JOHNS: Other Republican candidates are weighing in carefully.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, the Constitution provides that there should be no religious test for public office. And I'm a Constitutionalist.
JOHNS: And Donald Trump, asked if he would be comfortable with a Muslim becoming president, continues stoking false claims that President Obama is not a Christian.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via phone): Would I be comfortable? I don't know if we have to address it right now, but I think it is certainly something that could happen. Some people have said it already happened, frankly.
JOHNS: The back and forth coming as outsiders continue to dominate the Republican presidential race, grabbing more than half the votes. Donald Trump still in first place at 24 percent, although his support dipping since before last week's debate.
Carly Fiorina surging to 15 percent, edging Ben Carson at 14 percent. Trump taking note, launching a fresh attack on Fiorina's business record.
TRUMP: When people see her record, I don't see how she can possibly win.
JOHNS: And still swinging at his favorite target, Jeb Bush, in a new Instagram video.
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And frankly, it's more related to Asian people.
So 40 years ago I smoked marijuana.
GRAPHIC: Are we sure it was only forty years ago?
(END VIDEOTAPE) JOHNS: But instead of Trump, this time it's the normally soft-spoken Ben Carson's comments that have generated the most attention the last 24 hours.
Republican candidate Lindsey Graham tweeted that Carson should apologize for his remarks and called it bigotry. The Carson campaign has said he was merely expressing a personal opinion -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Joe, thank you.
Joining us now, Democratic Congressman Andre Carson of Indiana. He's a member of the House Intelligence Committee. He's one of just two Muslim members of the United States Congress.
Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.
REP. ANDRE CARSON (D), INDIANA: Thank you for having us.
BLITZER: I'm going to get your reaction to what's happening among the Republicans. Scott Walker announcing shortly he's going to -- about to announce he's dropping out.
But let's talk about what Dr. Ben Carson is now saying. You're a member of Congress. You took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. You serve this country. You're also a key member to the House Intelligence Committee. You're privy to the most secret information the United States government has.
When you hear Dr. Carson say he wouldn't agree, he wouldn't like to see a Muslim as president of the United States in charge of this nation, what's your response?
A. CARSON: Well, Dr. Carson has an esteemed track record as having been a successful neurosurgeon, but that is asinine. It's almost like saying that a neurosurgeon could never become the president of the United States of America.
[17:10:13] Listen, the Founding Fathers, as imperfect as they were, as imperfect as we all are, were very visionary in that they established in Article VI of the U.S. Constitution. that there shall not be a religious test to hold public office.
And any person seeking the highest office in the land as commander in chief, as CEO of this great nation, has to understand that he or she will represent all people. Kudos to Hillary Clinton for her tweet earlier saying the same.
BLITZER: Do you agree with CAIR, the Council of American-Islamic Relations, that Dr. Carson should now drop out of this presidential race as a result of his comments?
A. CARSON: I appreciate CAIR for their boldness in this regard. If he does not drop out, he should certainly recalibrate and get new staffers and perhaps get a history lesson of what it means and what the Constitution means and what it really means to lead this nation. I think he has to understand that he is living in the 21st Century.
We're a holistic (ph) society. We have a multicultural society, multiracial society and multi-religious society. And if he really is serious about becoming the president of the United States, he should understand that fact.
BLITZER: Representative Carson, I want you to stand by. We're only just getting started. A lot more to discuss. We've got to take a quick break. Much more with all the news right after this.
[17:16:17] BLITZER: We're back with Democratic Congressman Andre Carson of Indiana. He's a member of the House Intelligence Committee. He's one of only two Muslim members of the United States Congress.
Congressman, as you know, all this latest commotion over Islam and politics started when Donald Trump didn't challenge a questioner the other night at a town hall who stated that the president is a Muslim, that there's a problem with Muslims in America. Were you, by the way, surprised at the way Trump handled that situation and the comments he's had since then?
A. CARSON: Well, you know, it -- I saw where he recently said that he loves Muslims. And I know that he has done business with Muslims. He's had Muslims work for his organization.
For me, I think we're living in a time where politicians are poll- obsessed and focus-group-obsessed. And whoever can say the most provocative thing or inflammatory thing gets the most media attention.
And falling into that kind of trap or temptation can become detrimental and dangerous when you're talking about representing the American population that exceeds over 300 million and has over 8 million Muslims as a part of that population.
BLITZER: And these Muslims, almost all of them, are patriotic, wonderful citizens of the United States. And you know this firsthand. You've been involved in law enforcement. You're now a member of the intelligence committee. When the U.S. thwarts some sort of ISIS- related, for example, terror attacks, very often it's the result of Muslim-Americans notifying law enforcement that there's a problem, right?
A. CARSON: You're absolutely right, Wolf. There are thousands of Muslims serving in our intelligence communities. There are thousands of Muslims serving as police officers. I was one of them. I think I'm still the only member of Congress to have worked in an intelligence fusion center. And there are numerous reports weekly, as you know, of attempted terrorist attacks that have been thwarted, because Muslims are not only reporting; but they're working to help keep our communities safer.
BLITZER: What does Ben Carson and Donald Trump, for that matter, need to do right now to fix this? A. CARSON: Well, I think it would be wise for their staffers to
arrange meetings with Muslim leaders, with regular Muslims, average everyday Muslims spanning across the spectrum.
You know, we are a monotheistic, but we are not monolithic. There are South Asian Muslims, Arab Muslims, certainly African-American Muslims have been here since the inception of your country. There are white Muslims and so on and so forth. I think they would be wise to sit and hear what Muslims have to say.
And by the way, these Muslims are not wedded to any particular political party. There are Republican Muslims, independent Muslims and, of course, Democratic Muslims.
BLITZER: As there should be in our country. Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.
A. CARSON: What an honor. Thank you for having us.
BLITZER: Thank you, Representative Andre Carson of Indiana.
Coming up, as we await Governor Scott Walker's announcement that he's suspending his presidential campaign, our political experts will join us to take a closer look at all of today's dramatic news in this race for the White House.
And later, a prosecutor reveals shocking new details about the death of a little girl whose identity remained a mystery for months, including allegations her killer believed she was possessed by demons.
[17:24:13] BLITZER: We're following the breaking news in the presidential race. Sources now telling CNN that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is about to suspend his campaign. We're standing by for his news conference. We'll have some live coverage of that.
All this comes amid new calls for Dr. Ben Carson to drop out of the race, because he said a Muslim shouldn't be elected president of the United States.
Let's bring in our guests, Rebecca Berg of Real Clear Politics, along with CNN political commentators S.E. Cupp and Ryan Lizza. He's the Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker" magazine.
Also joining us, Peter Beinart, contributor -- contributing editor for Atlantic Media.
Guys, thanks very much.
Ryan, your reaction to the news Governor Walker now is the second Republican after Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, to drop out.
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He's the second casualty of this summer of Donald Trump. He could not get any acts -- oxygen this summer. I think it's a little surprising. I think most people thought he would last a little bit longer. But obviously, he must have had some financial problems.
[17:25:10] The old cliche is campaigns don't end, right; they run out of money. And I wouldn't be surprised if this is strictly a financial situation. Doesn't want to go into personal debt, just like Tim Pawlenty in 2012 ended his campaign really early, because he did not want to go into personal debt.
BLITZER: He and his supporters, his aides, they looked at our CNN/ORC poll, which had him in this most recent poll not at 1 percent, not at 2 percent, but an asterisk...
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
BLITZER: ... meaning getting less than one-half of 1 percent. After coming in a few weeks ago in pretty good shape.
CUPP: Yes. I mean, he's a guy, you know -- you've interviewed him. I've interviewed him a bunch. He likes to say that he's aggressively normal. And unfortunately, that just isn't working in today's climate. In the summer of Trump with personalities like Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, it's just not working.
And I don't think the campaign was willing to make adjustments for Trump, Carson, you know, and Carly. They really stuck to their plan, which was to introduce Scott Walker, stick to his record, ignore the, you know, Trump mania. And it just wasn't breaking through.
It's really unfortunate, because he's got a great record, and he's a great leader. But I think he's actually a candidate the country just doesn't deserve right now.
BLITZER: He didn't come through in those debates, debate No. 1 or debate No. 2. And on some sensitive issues, he was either waffling or refusing to answer, and voters don't like that.
REBECCA BERG, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: He was. That was part of the problem, Wolf. They were looking for someone who was a strong candidate. Look at Donald Trump. He certainly doesn't waffle, at least not during this campaign.
And Scott Walker came off as someone who looked like he was a poll- tested candidate. Like he was sticking his finger up to see which way the wind was blowing, and that bothered some people, because it ran contrary to the message he was trying to represent. That he was unintimidated, that he was a strong conservative who had fought off the unions in Wisconsin.
But another problem for Walker was that he didn't really establish a lane for himself. He wasn't a, you know, conservative candidate. He wasn't necessarily in the moderate lane. He was somewhere in between. Went back and forth depending on the issue. That made it very difficult for him.
BLITZER: In the beginning people thought that would be an advantage for him, that he could straddle both camps of the Republican Party. That didn't work out.
Peter, does Walker getting out of the race make it easier for the so- called outsiders like Trump or Dr. Carson or Carly Fiorina to score even more points?
PETER BEINART, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, ATLANTIC MEDIA: No, I don't think so, actually. I think what we've seen in the last few weeks is that the outsider space has become more crowded. First Carson rose after Trump and now Fiorina has run.
I think the big winner is probably someone like Marco Rubio, because it takes one candidate out of the more establish camp. You still have Jeb there, but after Jeb you have Rubio -- you had Rubio and Walker.
Now Walker is gone. And Rubio -- and Bush is also still, I think, losing oxygen while Rubio is gaining some. So I would say Rubio, I think, as an establishment candidate is the big winner here.
BLITZER: Let's talk a little about the controversy that Dr. Ben Carson has right now by saying that a Muslim should not be the president of the United States. He's not backing away from this at all, even though we haven't heard much from him. We have heard his supporters, his advisers speaking out; Armstrong Williams, his business manager saying, defending basically what he said.
LIZZA: I don't see how it's defensible in any way. We -- there's -- as Ted Cruz, to his credit, points out -- and I hope the other Republican candidates point this out -- we don't have a religious test in this country.
The first thing that needs to be said is: A, there's nothing wrong with actually being a Muslim. And, two, it's outrageous and, you know, beyond disappointing that someone who's actually leading in the polls for one of the parties' nomination actually thinks that someone of a major faith can't be president in the United States.
BLITZER: S.E., there are some who say, and it's hard to believe, but some say this will actually help Dr. Ben Carson within Republican elections, whether a caucus in Iowa or a primary in New Hampshire, because there are a lot of voters out there, Republican voters, conservative voters, who happen to agree with him.
CUPP: Well, and there are some Democrats, as well. But this has nothing, to me, to do with conservatism. There's nothing conservative about ignoring or showing total disdain for the Constitution. I just can't -- I can't equate it. I can't put it in a box.
Again, this doesn't surprise me. I've been saying for quite some time that Ben Carson has shown a willingness to overlook the Constitution and the importance of our founding documents and the intentions of our Founding Fathers. He's done that on gun control. He's done it now on this.
He is constantly talking about his preference for the way the country should work; and it's really out of line with what the Constitution says very overtly. So I'm hoping the conservatives who want a conservative in office and
a strict Constitutionalist in office, or at least someone who's familiar with the founding documents, really take a hard look at Ben Carson and start questioning their support.
BLITZER: Rebecca, hold on for a moment. I want you to talk about Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, a little back and forth they're having. But Peter, weigh in on this latest controversy about Dr. Ben Carson and what he said about Muslims not wanting a Muslim to be president.
BEINART: Look, S.E. can say this doesn't have anything to do with conservatives, but this is not the first time. In 2012, Herman Cain, who was at one point doing well in the Republican race, said that he didn't want a Republican [SIC] to be in his cabinet. Mike Huckabee had...
BLITZER: You mean a Muslim.
BEINART: Yes. Mike Huckabee said the only group, religious group that Obama cares about is Muslims.
Donald Trump, of course, didn't swat down that question about when someone said we need to get rid of Muslims.
And if you look at the polling, very, very large percentage of Muslims [SIC], in fact I think a majority of Muslims [SIC], a majority of Republicans in 2014 said they would not vote for a Muslim for president.
So there is a widespread anti-Muslim bigotry here. Yes, it exists in the Democratic Party, but considerably larger among conservative Republicans.
BLITZER: All right.
BEINART: It is really an epidemic of bigotry that needs to be confronted.
BLITZER: Let me let S.E. go -- respond. Go ahead.
CUPP: Well, first, I'd point out that Hillary Clinton, of course, first floated this notion that Obama was a president [SIC] back in 2008, something that the Obama campaign said was disgusting and bigoted and completely...
BLITZER: It wasn't Hillary herself but some of her supporters.
CUPP: The campaign. The campaign, right.
So it's not just relegated to Republican circles to spread this sort of fear-mongering narrative.
I would also just say that, as Ryan said, Ted Cruz has immediately distanced himself, Ted Cruz of all people, has distanced himself from Ben Carson and pointed out how stupid this was to say. So look, I mean, there are Democrats who believe this. There are
Republicans who believe this. By the way, it's not bigoted to say that you wouldn't vote for a Muslim president.
BEINART: It's not?
CUPP: That's not what Ben Carson is saying. No. You can say, "I wouldn't vote for a Muslim. I wouldn't vote for an atheist. They're not in line with my ideas." That's not bigoted. But that's not what Ben Carson said.
BEINART: Just based on religion?
CUPP: That's not what Ben Carson said.
BEINART: Just based on the religion, it's not bigoted? I think it is.
CUPP: No, I think based on religion, where you have a doctrine of very clear ideas that you might disagree with, I think it's completely appropriate for a voter to judge someone on their ideas, on their faith and on their world view.
BEINART: So if you said you wouldn't vote for a Jew for president or a Christian for president, that would be OK?
CUPP: No. All the same thing. He wasn't saying, "I wouldn't vote for a Muslim." He was saying, "We shouldn't have a Muslim president." That's completely different. And voters are allowed to have those opinions. But you're not allowed -- what you should not be allowed to say is that Muslims shouldn't run this country.
BLITZER: Hold on. Very quickly, Rebecca. Button this up for us. Where do we go from here?
BERG: Where do we go from here? Well, that's a great question. With Scott Walker out of the race, it gives more oxygen, even to Trump, to continue on his path. Trump is the frontrunner in Iowa now. And Scott Walker dropping out of the race right now proves that. Iowa was his path to the presidency.
BLITZER: So you think this is going to help Trump in Iowa?
BERG: It will help Trump in Iowa. It will help someone like Ben Carson, who is doing very well in Iowa.
Incidentally, it also helps Jeb Bush, because Scott Walker was seen as one of his top competitors starting this race, to Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, also the top-tier Republicans. Now he's out. Donald Trump is really doing Jeb Bush's job for him.
BLITZER: All right, guys, thanks to all of you. Rebecca Berg, S.E. Cupp, Ryan Lizza and Peter Beinart.
Coming up, prosecutor says the man accused of killing a Boston area toddler thought the girl was possessed. Also, preparing to welcome a pilgrim for peace amid what's being
called the most intense security measures ever -- ever -- for a visiting head of state.
[17:38:08] BLITZER: Prosecutors today revealed horrifying new details about a girl whose mysterious death attracted nationwide attention. The man accused of killing the toddler thought she was possessed by demons and allegedly said it was her time to die.
Let's bring in our correspondent, Jean Casarez. She has the very latest for us.
Jean, what an awful, awful story this is.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It truly is. And we learned so much today.
You know, in regard to that boyfriend, Michael McCarthy, saying it was her time to die, if true, that could be used as a form of confession in context. He's saying, "I didn't do it at all."
The mother of Bella, also a defendant, is saying completely a different story. She told that to prosecutors, we learned, in court today. And they believe they have their case.
CASAREZ (voice-over): Rachelle Bond, the mother of Bella Bond, and her boyfriend, Michael McCarthy, listened from behind glass as the prosecutor described in graphic detail what they believed happened during the final moments of Bella's short life.
DAVID DEAKIN, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Bella was unwilling to go to bed and was unruly. Mr. McCarthy said that he would go into her back bedroom and try to calm her down.
She found Mr. McCarthy standing over Bella. And when Ms. Bond looked at Bella, her head appeared to her to be swollen and her face was gray.
CASAREZ: Bond told police she knew then her daughter was dead, but it was McCarthy, she said, who put the body in a trash bag and stored it in the refrigerator, trying to justify the toddler's death.
DEAKIN: He said she was a demon anyway. It was her time to die.
CASAREZ: It was too much for some in court to hear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
CASAREZ: Prosecutors said in court a long-time friend of McCarthy, who had stayed with the couple while Bella was alive, witnessed appalling treatment -- yelling and being locked into a room for up to an hour -- because the couple believed she was possessed. Later the couple allegedly went to Boston Harbor, where McCarthy put
weights in the bag and deposited the child in the water. Bond now facing the charge of accessory after the fact and McCarthy facing murder. Both pleaded not guilty.
[18:40:14] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy birthday!
CASAREZ: Bella was born in 2012 to a mother who had spent years homeless and has a criminal history, including multiple arrests for drugs and prostitution. Two of her older children were taken away by the state.
The year Bella was born, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families opened up an investigation into her neglect, telling CNN, "DCF determined neglect was involved. Services were provided, and we eventually closed the case."
The following year, 2013, another DCF investigation into the neglect of Bella. It, too, was closed. Bella's biological father not only blames McCarthy but also the state.
JOE AMOROSO, BIOLOGICAL FATHER OF BELLA BOND: Cases were opened up and then they were closed. I hold a lot of this, you know, DCF responsible.
CASAREZ: In April of 2014, but in unrelated matters, the head of Massachusetts DCF resigned, a year after stepping into the position and after three children died.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My confidence in that whole organization has been rattled.
CASAREZ: About one year later, Bella was dead.
Attorneys for her mother and boyfriend telling different stories after court.
JONATHAN SHAPIRO, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL MCCARTHY: He is shocked and saddened by the death of Bella Bond, but he did not kill her.
JANICE BASSIL, ATTORNEY FOR RACHELLE BOND: She wants to see Mr. McCarthy pay for what he did.
CASAREZ: And it actually was a good friend of Michael McCarthy, the boyfriend defendant, who had stayed with the couple for a while, that realized Bella wasn't there and said to the mother, "You know, I'm so glad you've quit your drug use, because now you can get Bella back."
She said, "I can't. Bella is dead."
And he had believed Michael McCarthy that the child was with Department of Child and Family Services.
The next hearing is October 20. And, Wolf, they still have not determined a cause of death of this little girl.
BLITZER: All right, Jean, thanks very, very much. Jean Casarez reporting.
Joining us on the phone is John Walsh. He's the host of CNN's original series "The Hunt." We're also joined by our legal analyst, Sunny Hostin, who's a former federal prosecutor. Joey Jackson is a criminal defense attorney.
John, first to you. What went wrong here?
JOHN WALSH, HOST, "THE HUNT" (via phone): Well, Wolf, what went wrong was DCF closed the case. I mean, I don't know how many times we have to listen to news outlets talking about children that should have been removed from abusing families that wind up murdered.
Every state has their problems. Every state doesn't take children out when they should be taken out.
Look at the track report of this family. Look at the track record of this woman. How could this child drop off the radar? How could she not be under constant scrutiny by DCF in Massachusetts?
And both of these people disguised as coward McCarthy and the wife, whether he's crazy, as he's trying to portray himself. Probably not. Probably knows that that would be a good defense so that he wouldn't go through hard time. But both of them, in my opinion, need to spend the rest of their life in jail.
It's really -- I know she's a drug addict. I know she needs help. And I'd love to have that empathy for her, but that little girl is dead because of those people.
BLITZER: And two of her other children were removed from her custody. So you would have thought that would raise all sorts of alarm bells.
Bigger picture, John -- and no one has studied these issues more closely than you have -- there are a lot of these children out there right now, even as we speak, who are in unsafe homes, right?
WALSH: Thousands. Thousands across this country. I do not know why Department of Child Family Services aren't funded properly. It should be on the top of every legislature, state legislature, as they go into session and say, "How did we do last year?"
Oh, my God, I remember when Florida had 100-plus children in one year years ago that were murdered during the course of the year, because social services didn't get them out of the house.
We all want to see these kids go back to their families, but Wolf, you and I, and so does the public watching this show, know that lots of people aren't qualified to be parents. They just got pregnant and had a child, abused that child. And then there are literally tens of thousands of people in this country that would adopt these children if they're taken from their families.
They drop the ball repeatedly, state after state, year after year. And children are the victims.
BLITZER: John Walsh, the host of CNN's "The Hunt." John, thank you very, very much. I want to bring Sunny Hostin into this conversation.
Sunny, as you know, Bella, this sweet little girl allegedly killed by the mother's boyfriend because he thought she was supposedly possessed. That according to the prosecutor; was her time to die. That was the quote.
So does this sound like there were mental health issues here? If so, how might that legally play out as far as the defense of these two people are concerned?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it certainly sounds like that's how they're teeing it up, right? So we would hear about an insanity defense. They're very difficult to prove. They're generally unwinnable defenses. But I will say this also sounds like a case of drug abuse. We're hearing that this mother may have suffered from bipolar disorder, that she took heroin after her daughter's death with this boyfriend and that he also, Wolf, had a drug problem. So I think we are going to hear a lot about drugs and probably mental illness.
BLITZER: Joey, the mother, this women, Rachelle Bond, has been charged as an accessory to the murder after the fact. Might she face upgraded charges?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The answer, Wolf, is that the investigation certainly will continue. It doesn't end with the arrest. At this point the prosecution is comfortable in the notion that she did not have any involvement with the death but merely concealed and otherwise hid after the fact and aided the person who did, that being her boyfriend. However, in the event that the investigation reveals that she had anything she aided, abetted in any way, shape or form, you don't have to be the one who kills. You merely have to be the one who assists the person in doing that.
So if information should come out, Wolf, certainly we could expect an upgrading of charges. I should also say that I think we may see a defense predicated upon coercion. That being that, you know what, she was helpless, the boyfriend threatened and said if you go anywhere or do anything or say anything, we're going to have a problem. And so her attorney certainly is going to be focusing on that aspect of the case as well.
BLITZER: And, Sunny, if two of her other children were removed from the home because she wasn't a stable mother or whatever they felt the kids were endangered, why would she maintain custody of little Bella?
HOSTIN: Well, that's the question. You know, and I think John Walsh hit the nail on the head. We are hearing these stories over and over and over again. I mean, just recently we've heard that there are 700 outstanding cases of unidentified children that have been killed. I think that's probably on the low end. I think the number is probably a lot higher. So we know that DCF likely dropped the ball here. DCF, while they want to do a good job, they're, you know, undertrained, I think they're understaffed, they're overworked, they're underpaid. But this is a discussion that we need to be having all over our
legislatures, all over the country because the bottom line is this is where the money needs to go. We need to be able to protect those that are most vulnerable in our society. And those would be small children. So the fact that no risk assessment or the improper risk assessment was done in this case is just criminal in my view. Because if you have a mother who's had two other children removed from her care and you have an infant, too, 1 year old still in her care and she hasn't been checked on for two years that is shocking.
That means there was an improper risk assessment done and somebody really, really dropped the ball here. But for that I think this little girl would be alive.
BLITZER: Yes, that's a good point. Sunny Hostin, Joey Jackson, guys, thank you.
Coming up, we're awaiting a news conference by the Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Sources say he's getting ready to announce he's dropping out of the presidential race. And there are also calls for Dr. Ben Carson to drop out after his latest harsh remarks about Muslims.
Plus, U.S. cities turned into fortresses right now as massive security is put into place for the Pope's visit. Why are U.S. officials so concerned?
[17:52:56] BLITZER: Pope Francis arrives here in Washington, D.C. tomorrow afternoon and security measures for his visit may be the most intense in U.S. history. As a former Homeland Security official puts it, Washington, Philadelphia and New York City will be turned into fortresses.
Let's bring in our justice reporter Evan Perez who's watching what's going on. Why this massive security presence? What are you hearing?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this is a Pope that doesn't want to be in a security bubble. He resists the idea that he can't have contact with pilgrims, with people who are coming to see him. The -- Jim Clancy, the head of the -- Secret Service traveled to the Vatican personally to try to work on these arrangements that they were going to be making. And one of the messages that he came back with is that this is going to be a bigger undertaking than any other foreign dignitary, any other president simply because this Pope wants to have spontaneous interactions with people who are coming from all over the world to see him here in Washington or in New York or Philadelphia.
BLITZER: What is the biggest concern?
PEREZ: Well, the biggest concern is what they don't know. They know -- they're keeping an eye on people who've been making threats against this papal visit for several months but those people are not necessarily the likely ones to worry them. The bigger concerns is whether somebody who's a lone wolf perhaps could get through the security cordon and be able to get close to the Pope.
The Secret Service is the lead organization that is there to protect him but he also comes with his own security detail, and so the question is whether or not they can make sure nobody gets close enough to be able to do anything.
BLITZER: Because I don't remember, and I've been in Washington for a long time, a lot of visits by heads of state, world leaders, I don't remember whole areas of D.C. effectively being shut down.
PEREZ: Right. This is a lot more like a presidential inauguration where you have entire sections, for instance, by the National Mall will be gated and you have to use -- you have to go through security to be able to get in there. This Pope, though, wants to have contact with the people, and so that's the real problem.
BLITZER: All right. Well, hopefully everything will be smooth and quiet. We'll see what happens. Thanks very much. I'm glad they're taking tight security measures.
Coming up, defectors from ISIS. They're telling horror stories about just how brutal life is in areas controlled by the terror group.
[17:55:07] And our breaking news, sources say the Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, he is about to drop out of the GOP race. We're awaiting a news conference. All this coming as there are now call for Dr. Ben Carson to drop out of the race after his anti-Muslim remarks.
BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news. Walker -- sources tell CNN Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is dropping his bid for the White House. We're standing by for his official announcement only moments from now.
Carson's controversy. GOP candidate Ben Carson is facing calls to abandon his campaign after making some shocking anti-Muslim remarks. Could he survive the backlash as he slips in the polls? We're going to talk to a top veteran Republican operative.