Return to Transcripts main page

AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Insults Fly as Bush, Trump Argue over 9/11; Pastor Defends Bush against Trump's "Ridiculous Remark"; CNN POLL: Clinton Ruled the Debate; Deadly Shootout at Israeli Bus Station; Mexico: El Chapo Narrowly Escaped Capture. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired October 19, 2015 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:00:04] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Is Donald Trump crazy to fight with Jeb Bush about September 11th? Is Bush crazy to fight back? How do Trump's comments line up with the actual 9/11 Commission? You might be surprised.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's a game of cops and robbers that became a tragedy. A 6-year-old boy shoots his little brother and now their father is behind bars. You'll hear why.

BERMAN: Cars on fire, secret hideouts, dramatic face-off. The Mexican government says it just missed nabbing one of the most dangerous fugitives on earth. Given this is the same government that literally let this guy escape under their nose, should we believe them?

Hello, everyone, I'm John Berman.

BOLDUAN: Hello, I'm Kate Bolduan.

George W. Bush might have left the Oval Office seven years ago now, but he's suddenly become a focal point in the Republican race for 2016. Donald Trump sticking by his claim that the former president did not keep the country safe from terrorists and also slamming his brother, Jeb Bush, for saying otherwise.

BERMAN: Trump also says that if he were president at the time, his policies might have prevented the attacks.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: I'm not blaming anybody, but the World Trade Center came down. So when he said we were safe, that's not safe. We lost 3,000 people.

JEB BUSH, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Across the spectrum of foreign policy, Mr. Trump talks about things as though he's still on "The Apprentice".

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Want to talk about this with the executive editor of "CNN Politics."

Mark, 2002, 2004, elections -- Republicans ran on George Bush, Bush's response to 9/11 as a positive, now you have the front-runner in the Republican primary essentially questioning it. Really interesting.

MARK PRESTON, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, CNN POLITICS: Yeah. This is an ongoing attack by Donald Trump on Jeb Bush, which leads you to believe, certainly as we're heading into the winter and the Iowa caucuses, he looks at Jeb Bush as his main rival. If you look at the polling, Donald Trump is the front-runner. Ben Carson, a doctor who never served in office, is number two. Jeb Bush is way down. This is a continual attack on Jeb Bush by Donald Trump.

BOLDUAN: What's the political strategy, Mark, on Jeb Bush's part? He came out and that was a big applause moment in the last debate, was when he said his brother kept the country safe. What do you think is the strategy or do you think it's smart that Jeb Bush is taking him on?

PRESTON: Well, you know, until just a few months ago, Jeb Bush allowed these attacks to go on and go on and go on. Many of his supporters were upset by it. The Jeb Bush we've seen in the past month or so since that debate has decided to take Donald Trump on and just because of these comments made by his brother, we've seen a video put out on Saturday that questions Donald Trump as a leader. Also they put a fund-raising e-mail out to try to raise money off this. We also saw Jeb Bush on "State of the Union" question whether Donald Trump is the person you want in charge of the nuclear code. It's getting really nasty at this time.

BERMAN: Mark Preston, thank you so much.

This dispute was a focal point last night, Jeb Bush and several other Republican candidates were speaking at the Faith and Freedom Summit near Dallas. Trump was not there.

BOLDUAN: One of the bigger moments came when the pastor of the mega church hosting the event weighed in on this back and forth of this feud. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. JACK GRAHAM, PRESTONWOOD BAPTIST CHURCH: By the way, George W. Bush did keep us safe, no matter what anybody says.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: That got a lot of applause. Brought people to their feet. Jeb Bush didn't say anything. He kind of let the reaction of the crowd speak for itself.

That pastor, Jack Graham, of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Texas is with us.

Pastor, great to have you. Thank you for coming in.

GRAHAM: Thank you. Glad to be with you. BOLDUAN: Of course. You have half a dozen Republican candidates that

come to the stage, thousands of people in the audience, a day-long event. Trump is not even mentioned throughout the day. Then you weighed in with that moment that brought the crowd to its feet. Why did you want to weigh in on Donald Trump?

GRAHAM: I thought the statement was unfair. We appreciate -- this is Bush county in Dallas, Texas, the area. We appreciate President Bush, both President Bushes, and I believe President Bush 41 is one of the greatest living Americans. I thought it was unfair. It came as a natural response as Jeb Bush was sitting there. Yeah, there was a great reaction. There's a tremendous amount of support for George W. Bush.

BERMAN: What was unfair exactly? Donald Trump doesn't need me to defend him. Lord knows, the guy talks plenty on his own. But he didn't say George Bush caused the 9/11 attacks. He didn't criticize his response to the 9/11 attack, which is mostly what Jeb Bush is talking about. All he talked about was the fact that he was president when they happened.

Let me read you a line from the 9/11 Commission report. It says, "The 9/11 attacks were shock but should not have come as a surprise."

Isn't that especially what Trump is saying here?

[11:05:15] GRAHAM: Certainly, we were not prepared as a nation, and the Clinton administration before that. But the question is --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Or the George W. Bush administration by that logic. And isn't that all Trump's saying?

GRAHAM: No. I think Trump made a statement without accountability. Look, what we're interested in today is the country safe now, eight years later, seven years later, after President Bush was in? We believe the country was safe and he kept it safe. It's reality that he kept the country safe after we were hit. So now we're concerned about going forward. Is the country safe? Is the country safer? That was the whole point of the conversation because I was asking Jeb Bush, what will you do to keep the country safe?

BOLDUAN: Also, I want to get your take. A lot of folks think this is, with Donald Trump, it's his strategy in who he takes on. He says he's a counter-puncher and there's always a reason he takes someone on. Is this smart strategy for Jeb Bush to be fighting back? We've seen Donald Trump hit him on Twitter. And I thought this comment was interesting, pastor. Donald Trump wrote this, "Jeb Bush should stop trying to defend his brother and focus on his own shortcomings and how to fix them."

So, is Jeb Bush just playing into Donald Trump's hands?

GRAHAM: No. Jeb Bush is showing leadership. That's what I saw on the stage last evening with all the candidates. We had six candidates there from Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Jeb Bush and Dr. Ben Carson, and they all demonstrated incredible leadership. So you know, the fact that Donald Trump got mentioned, it was a small part of the conversation. We spent about three hours together talking about what really -- what we really care about as Christians in America, the religious freedom and the sanctity of life and sacredness of marriage and health and wealth and poverty issues and global terrorism and all those issues came up. So, you know, the fact that Donald Trump made a statement regarding Jeb Bush and George Bush before him, that's a small part of what we talked about.

BERMAN: You know who actually talks about immigration policies before September 11th? Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush has talked about -- Donald Trump says if he was president on September 11th, the immigration policy would be different. Maybe the hijackers wouldn't have come into the country. Jeb Bush has criticized the immigration system prior to September 11th. This is in his 2013 book "Immigration Wars." He writes, "In addition to the Mexican drug cartels, the fact several 9/11 terrorists entered the country unlawfully under a leaky immigration system has heightened national security concerns so much that immigration enforcement has been placed on the Department of Homeland Security."

And the reason I bring this up again is I'm not sure -- Rick Santorum at your forum said the same thing. He said, "I'm not so sure the controversy over what Trump said is accurately portraying what Trump said."

GRAHAM: Well, Donald Trump needs to speak for himself and clarify exactly what he said. Because I believe Jeb Bush did that or the other candidates. Again, we're talking about the 2016 election, who's best prepared to be president. We had six people on the stage that are very prepared to lead the nation.

BOLDUAN: Pastor, you were talking about -- you hit on lots of topics, you had lots of candidates on the stage and you are talking about a large evangelical crowd in Texas, talking about the issues they care about. When I was looking back although some of the national polls as well as key early primary states, Donald Trump, he's either leading with evangelicals or in a close second with evangelicals. Why do you think that is?

GRAHAM: That is because evangelical Christians and Catholics and people of faith all over this country care about the nation and who can best lead the nation. We're looking for a leader, someone who has character, someone who is committed to faith. America is increasingly secular. And --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: So, do you think Donald Trump represents that?

GRAHAM: Well, he may. That's up to him as a candidate to demonstrate whether he represents that or not. So, people are interested. They're open to the ideas of all the candidates right now. And I believe the right candidate will surface to the top.

BERMAN: You backing anyone yet, Pastor?

GRAHAM: No, I'm not endorsing anyone. But I was very encouraged, from my perspective as an evangelical Christian and pastor. When I walked out of the room, I thought, you know what, America has a great future in store for us if we select the right person, and any person on that stage along with others who weren't on that stage, could do a great job. We're encouraged. Evangelical Christians are definitely going to be engaged in the system and letting our voice and our views be heard during the next 18 months or so.

BOLDUAN: Pastor Jack Graham, it's great to have you here. Thank you.

GRAHAM: My pleasure.

[11:10:07] BOLDUAN: And a special note to all of you, you'll hear from the Republican front-runner. Donald Trump will be joining "New Day" tomorrow morning. Don't want to miss that one.

The first national poll since CNN's record-breaking Democratic debate is out and shows Hillary Clinton was the clear winner. Nearly two- thirds of Democrats polled, they say Clinton ruled the stage.

BERMAN: But what happened in Vegas, stayed in Vegas. I have been waiting so long to say that.

(LAUGHTER)

Overall in the polls, Hillary Clinton gained just three points among Democrats. Sanders picked up five points in the month, though he's still a distant second. Really, not any significant movement. That's the headline after the debate.

Our senior political correspondent, Brianna Keilar, joins us live from Washington to break down the numbers -- Brianna?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, guys. The big question mark right now is whether Joe Biden, the vice president, is going it get into the race or not. Take a look at what this poll shows us. If he is in the race or if he isn't, Hillary Clinton at 45 percent of support from Democrats and Democratic and Democratic- leaning voters. If Biden decides not to run, she gets bumped up 11 points. That's quite a hop right there. Bernie Sanders at 29 percent. He only bumps up 4 percent if Joe Biden is not in the race. The advantage really to Hillary Clinton there. Now, take a look at -- take a look at whether voters even want Joe Biden to get into the race. This is pretty fascinating, especially in light of the fact that Hillary Clinton didn't get that big bump from her solid debate performance. You have less Democratic voters, check this out, saying they want Joe Biden to run for president, than you have saying you don't. He's sort of under water on this desire to get into the race. This is something that has changed just here in the last couple of months looking at all of those who were polled. So, this is not Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters. This is everybody. Hillary Clinton has a favorability of 46 percent. That is up from 44 percent in August. Her unfavorable, though, 50, though it's down 3 percent from August. The good news here, she's going in the right direction. But here's certainly some bad news, John and Kate, and that is she's under water here. Her favorable rating there, 46, still less than her unfavorable, at 50.

BERMAN: She has a big week ahead. Testifying at the Benghazi Committee.

(CROSSTALK)

KEILAR: Right.

BERMAN: What will Joe Biden do?

Brianna Keilar, thank you so much.

KEILAR: Thanks, John.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

BERMAN: How about this question, who does a better Bernie Sanders, Larry David or Bernie Sanders? It's an open question. As is this, does the new focus on Sanders' underwear actually help his candidacy?

BOLDUAN: I don't know how to answer that.

Plus, the entire society on edge after a new terror attack inside a bus station in Israel. We'll take you there live for the very latest.

Also, there is this, a deadly game of cops and robbers. A 6-year-old shoots his little brother, now their father is facing charges.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:17:07] BERMAN: A brazen shooting at an Israeli bus stop. And in the panic and chaos, police say an innocent bystander was mistaken for the gunman, shot and beaten by an angry crowd.

BOLDUAN: They also say the actual gunman shot and killed a 19-year- old Israeli soldier and used the soldier's rifle to open fire. 10 people were wounded in that shooting spree before the suspect was shot and killed by police.

Oren Liebermann is following the very latest in what has become a bloody, month-long wave of violence. He's live from Jerusalem right now.

Oren, what is the latest you're hearing?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These two separate stories have gown clear themselves out from the chaos that ensued in the central bus station in Tel Aviv. This is about 7:00 last night when police say he went into the central bus station, took a gun and killed an Israeli soldier and took that soldier's M-16, sending nearly a dozen people to the hospital. Police shot and killed the attacker but the story didn't end there. That's when the second part begins moments afterwards.

Warning, we're about to show you video from that scene. It's quite graphic.

Police say a security guard mistook another man for a suspect, an attacker, and shot him. That man was an African migrant. Then the crowd surrounds the migrant, who's already on the ground, kicking him, beating him, shouting at him. The migrant was then taken to the hospital where he died.

So shock here at both first another attack in what has been pushing into its third week of these attacks and violent clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli and the Israeli military and second this shock about an innocent bystander killed. John and Kate, one of the morning newspapers here had a headline and picture of the migrant saying, "Killed because of his skin color."

BERMAN: Oren, what an awful thing to see and have happen there. There was an Israeli soldier killed. This just speaks to the fear right now, the fear and anger that has to be pervasive on the streets.

LIEBERMANN: Fear and anger, two emotions being felt very much here. Tension, everyone on edge, Israelis and Palestinians, because this has gone on now into its third week. It feels much longer than that because even before the attacks and the violence started, it was already a tense atmosphere.

In response to these attacks and violence, Israel has put in very severe and strict security measures in and around the old city of Jerusalem, especially in the Palestinian neighborhoods of east Jerusalem, making it very difficult for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to move around. Israel says these are necessary for security reasons to keep the security here, but Palestinians say this is, frankly, dehumanizing to them and it's Israel using too much force, which they say escalates the situation.

The question they're asking, when will this end? There seems to be absolutely no answer to that as Israeli and Palestinian leaders spend plenty of time talking to us, talking to the media, spending no time talking to each other.

[11:20:12] BOLDUAN: What will calm it down, because clearly nothing's worked so far.

Oren, thank you so much.

Coming up for us, a dramatic standoff in the hunt for one of the world's most-wanted fugitives. Did el Chapo narrowly escape capture? Hear what happened when Mexican authorities tracked him to his home turf.

BERMAN: According to them.

BOLDUAN: According to them.

BERMAN: Plus, a heartbreaking tragedy. A 6-year-old boy shoots and kills his little brother during a game of cops and robbers. Now the father is behind bars. Hear why. It's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:25:01] BOLDUAN: A manhunt turns bloody. Authorities may be closing in on one of the world's most-wanted men, escaped drug lord, Joaquin "el Chapo" Guzman. They reportedly came close enough that he was injured in the rush to getaway.

BERMAN: This is according to Mexican officials, and one could ask, should we believe them since el Chapo tunneled out right under their noses in the first place. Officials have not released details on the date or exact location of the alleged operation or how he was injured. They claim he suffered injuries on his face and one leg and his injuries were not the result of a direct confrontation. Guzman has been on the run since escaping through a shower into a tunnel of this allegedly maximum security prison where he was being held.

BOLDUAN: There's a lot of allegedly going on here.

BERMAN: Well, I think it's called for, given the fact the dude escaped from a tunnel under this prison.

(LAUGHTER)

Joining us is Sylvia Longmire, a former special agent with the U.S. Air Force and the author of the book "Cartel: The Coming Invasion of the Mexican Drug Wars."

Let's ask you, without my bias, what do you make of the news from Mexican officials saying they're getting very, very close to el Chapo?

SYLVIA LONGMIRE, AUTHOR & FORMER SPECIAL AGENT, U.S. AIR FORCE: I think it makes for a better possibility of finding somebody that might lead him to where he is. If he injured, they'll come across a doctor tending to his injury. Like we got lucky with Osama bin Laden and we were able to come across a courier delivering information to him. So, any time something unexpected happens to somebody on the run, like el Chapo, that opens up some possibilities.

BOLDUAN: So, if this is true, they did have this close call, does that increase the chances of the Mexican authorities are going to catch him, or do you think a near miss is almost a worst thing that could happen and push him further, further away into hiding?

LONGMIRE: That's a really good point. Obviously, the first time -- not necessarily the first time, but when authorities caught him the last time in Mazatlan, that was combined intelligence, but where he's hiding now is a real stronghold. He has a lot of money to pay people off. If it's police looking for him, those are human beings that can be paid off. So, just because he's cornered in a place doesn't mean he can't buy out of his way -- he can't buy his way out of that corner.

BERMAN: He's probably -- you know, he could be cornered in comfort right now in a place with heavy security. Humor my conspiracy theories for a second. Look, this guy tunneled out in tunnel with a motorcycle under this prison. Hard to believe that it was done without some inside knowledge there. I know it's an embarrassment to some in the Mexican government, but can they be trusted here when they make comments about the search for him?

LONGMIRE: I'm always skeptical any time the Mexican government or Mexican agencies make some kind of statement. But it's not that different than whenever the U.S. government or any other government makes some sort of official statement when it comes to a very sensitive or delicate issue. We're hoping they're trying to be more transparent and provide the Mexican people and the international community that's keeping an eye on this escape, and hopefully an imminent capture. Hopefully, they're trying to be transparent but you have to take everything with a grain of salt.

BOLDUAN: If they do capture him, can they do it without U.S. intelligence help, without U.S. help? Do you think it's possible?

LONGMIRE: I'm going to say it's always possible, but unlikely. That's a sore subject for President Nieto, to have to rely on the U.S. government for that sort of help. But take a look at the latest extradition controversy. 13 people extradited to the U.S. in light of el Chapo's escape that probably would have stayed in Mexico if he hadn't escaped. That's going to be the next controversy. If they're able to capture him in the next several days or weeks, is he going to go ahead and make the decision to send him to the U.S. in light of the controversy and the scandal that happened a few weeks ago?

BERMAN: Quickly, how much force do you think it would require at the end to get this guy into custody?

LONGMIRE: Well, as far as force, it's going to take a lot of firepower, depending on who's protecting him, where he's staying. When they caught him the last time, he was in a condo with his family and he didn't have that much protection, so it really depends on the situation of who's protecting him and where he is.

BERMAN: Sylvia Longmire, great to have you with us. Thank you so much.

LONGMIRE: Thank you.

BERMAN: We have breaking news just in involving the director of the CIA. The government now investigating whether his personal e-mail, the director of the CIA, whether his personal e-mail was hacked.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead for us, "sit down and shut up," that's essentially what one leading Republican is telling his colleagues about the congressional investigation into the Benghazi attacks. This, just before Hillary Clinton prepares to testify before them about her role.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)