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Will Ryan Be Speaker?; Hillary Clinton Prepares for Benghazi Committee Testimony. Aired 10-11:00p ET

Aired October 21, 2015 - 22:00   ET



[22:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: Breaking news in the battle for the heart and the soul of the Republican Party.

Congressman Paul Ryan gets support from a key group of conservative lawmakers, but it falls short of what he demands to be the speaker of the house. Is it enough?

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Brooke Baldwin in for Don Lemon. The Trump juggernaut pulls into Iowa. Can you tell?


DONALD Trump, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If I become president, we're going to be saying Merry Christmas at every store.


BALDWIN: And Hillary Clinton gets a big old gift from Joe Biden.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Unfortunately, I believe we're out of time, the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination.


BALDWIN: But tomorrow, she goes into the lion's den when House republicans grill Clinton about the Benghazi attack.

But let's begin with our breaking news. In the battle to choose the next Speaker of the House of Representatives, to Dana Bash we go, our chief political correspondent.

Dana bash, you've been racing around Capitol Hill through the evening. The House Freedom Caucus just wrapped this meeting. I know that, you know, Paul Ryan got their supports but not their endorsement. Tell me the difference.

DANA BASH, CNN'S CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point, Brooke, it's really a difference without a distinction because the headline here tonight is that Paul Ryan does have the votes to be Speaker of the House.

And that was determined in a vote, the reason I'm standing here in this empty hall ways, because not that long ago this evening, it was pretty full. This room was full of those Freedom Caucus members.

And they came out saying that they did vote -- a super majority, meaning almost 70 percent of them voted, yes, he should be the next speaker, but not the 80 that the rules of the caucus determine for an endorsement.

Listen to what one of the members said to me afterwards.


BASH: Do you support him?


BASH: Do you think he should be speaker; do you think he should take this two-thirds majority of your caucus and run with it?

MULVANEY: I do. I think he should undertake now to change the way the House does business. We met with him for an hour and a half today; I think he satisfied many of us that he was willing to change business as usual in Washington, D.C.


BASH: And, Brooke, shortly after that, after they actually called Paul Ryan privately to tell them what they decided, he did release a statement via Twitter. And here is what Paul Ryan said.

He said, "I'm grateful for the support of the super majority of the House Freedom Caucus. I look forward to hearing from the other two caucuses by the end of the week. But I believe this is a positive step towards a unified republican team."

The translation there is that he appears to be moving forward with his bid to be speaker. You remember it was just last night, hard to believe, it was just last night, that Ryan said that he would do this, reluctantly, he doesn't want the job, but he would do it if the three major caucuses within the house republican conference decided to endorse him.

So, this is one. The other two, though, are not so hard. They're all but expected to do so, probably as early as tomorrow, which means that the reluctant speaker probably will end up being just that.

BALDWIN: But, I hear your translation on moving forward, but back to his demands. I mean, are they accepting those? Because the line on their statement, let me read this, this is pretty key, "While no consensus exists among members of House Freedom Caucus regarding Chairman Ryan's preconditions for serving, we believe that these issues can be resolved within our conference in due time." What's your translation on that? BASH: That he didn't meet all of their demands, but that they're kind

of giving him a pass on some. And the demands that the -- that the Freedom Caucus that they were asking for, for lots of changes in the rules, which, you know, are kind of arcane, but what they mean in layman's terms is that they want more power.

And they want to have a voice. And they want to have a seat at the table. And it clearly was after a meeting that Paul Ryan had with these, about 40 or so, members earlier this evening, before they met here, that they came away feeling pretty confident that even though there weren't specific promises made necessarily, that he is somebody who is willing to listen and willing to move forward, at least enough of them, feel that way, that Ryan, you know, he set up these conditions, which, in some ways, he thought might be pretty tough for them to meet. It looks like they met them.

BALDWIN: How about that? Just 24 hours later. Dana Bash, thank you so much. We're going to talk a lot more about this with Hugh Hewitt in a matter of minutes.

But let's get to the republican front-runner Donald Trump running roughshod over his republican rivals. He tops the new ABC News Washington Post poll, you see it there 32 percent, Ben Carson in second with 22, and Jeb Bush is down in the single digits at 7 percent.

[22:05:00] Now, Trump just wrapped up this rally this evening in Burlington, Iowa. And CNN's Sara Murray is there for us with the day in Trump.

All right. So, what did Trump say about the big news out of Washington today, Joe Biden, not running?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Trump had plenty of news to offer up, some red meat for his conservative fans, but first, he had to deal with the other side of the aisle. Take a listen to what he said about Biden's decision not to run.


TRUMP: We had some news today that Biden is not running.


TRUMP: And I think he did the smart thing because frankly, I don't know that he would have won. He wouldn't have gotten the nomination. I don't think he probably would have. And frankly, I really want to run against Hillary. I really do.



MURRAY: Now, Trump has good reason to want to run against Hillary. The latest polls and the fictional matchups between Trump and Hillary and Trump and Biden show he would have faced a much tougher fight up against Joe Biden. Brooke?

BALDWIN: Back to the red meat you alluded to. He talked about what he would want as far as military leadership style goes, what did he say?

MURRAY: Well, Trump is pretty light on specifics when it comes to his plans for foreign policy, even for dealing with the military. One thing he has made clear, he plans to be tough.


TRUMP: I watch the other night a general being interviewed. Sad. He's leaving. He's retiring. What do you think of ISIS? Oh, it's very tough. It's very tough. Very tough. ISIS is very tough, 50,000 people, very, very tough.

I said, boy, that's sad. Even if it was tough, he shouldn't be saying that, besides that, what is the general doing on television being interviewed? Why is the general being interviewed?

I don't want my generals being interviewed. I want my generals kicking ass. I mean, go shoot. I don't want them being interviewed.


MURRAY: And, Brooke, that is exactly the kind of unscripted comment that people come to these Trump events to see. A number of people who are in attendance tonight came out afterwards talking about that and saying that is just the kind of thing they expect to see from Trump as president. It's part of the reason they like him, they believe that he won't take crap from anyone.

BALDWIN: You hear the cheers. Listen, today is day 100 of him being top on those polls.

Sara Murray, thank you. Let's get back to our big story, the breaking news. Paul Ryan get support from the House Freedom Caucus if he wants to be become the next speaker.

Hugh Hewitt is joining me now, host of Radio's Hugh Hewitt show and the author of "The Queen: The Epic Ambition of Hillary Clinton and the Coming of the second Clinton Era."

Hugh Hewitt, great to have you on. We have lots to get through tonight.

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO HUGH HEWITT SHOW HOST: Thank you, Brooke. Good to be here.

BALDWIN: You heard Dana Bash's translation of the Paul Ryan tweet, She said, listen, it looks like all signs point go, this is moving forward.

Here is my question to you. How can Paul Ryan, with everything on Capitol Hill in such a disarray and they say, yes, we like you, we'll support you, we won't necessarily go with your conditions and we don't endorse you officially, I mean, he's lost this first stand -- this drawing line in the stand, to stand off with him, what kind of position does that put him in from to get?

HEWITT: Well, the loser tonight is the Freedom Caucus.

BALDWIN: Oh, yes?

HEWITT: It's been embarrassed, the members are trying to run away from it. People like Marlin Stutzman who want to run for Senate in Indiana have been deeply damaged by their association with the Freedom Caucus.

When Paul Ryan's name goes up for Speaker at the day that the Speaker -- the outgoing Speaker calls the vote, he'll get between 235 and 240 republican votes out of 247. And this very small minority that held not only the House, but now the Freedom Caucus House, has been so extreme in their demands that I think they killed the Freedom Caucus reputation.

I would not be surprised to see more republican congressman, like Paul McClintock, who quit the Freedom Caucus last month now fleeing from the Freedom Caucus because they have been so outrageous in their demands.

And that 80 percent rule is just plain stupid. I wouldn't belong to any homeowners association that required an 80 percent vote to act, Brooke. Would you?

BALDWIN: I don't know. I don't know.


BALDWIN: I mean, no, of course not. But, you know, I don't know, I hear you saying the House Freedom Caucus is the loser, but I'm also sitting here wondering what does Paul Ryan win. You talked to someone today about all of this.

HEWITT: Yes, I talk to Mike Pompeo in great length. And Mike Pompeo was going to stand for speaker if Paul Ryan failed to collect the necessary supermajority support in the house republican conference.

And Representative Pompeo, West Point grad, Harvard Law grad, would have been a great speaker. But he immediately said he wanted Ryan. And I have actually not been able to find one anti-Ryan person who would come on the air, nor I do think I want them on my radio show to tell you the truth.

[22:10:02] Ryan is going to win overwhelmingly, and he's probably going to be the strongest speaker that the House has had since going back to the 80's.

And that's because he's smart and can communicate and can talk to people like you, Brooke, and everyone on CNN about the policy goals. And, for example, tomorrow when the hearing is held with Mrs. Clinton and the former Secretary of State...


BALDWIN: We're going to get there, we're going to get there.

HEWITT: I think he'll be able to reinterpret whatever happens...


HEWITT: ... in a way that John Boehner simply lacks the skill set to do.

BALDWIN: Yes. I know. I know in the opinion piece, you called Paul Ryan a talent. I understand, you know, why you're saying that. Not everyone agrees with you, you know that.

You know, right after he announced last night you have fellow conservative radio host, Laura Ingraham calling that -- he's basically despotic and taking issue with his demand for more family time.

Let me show you some of what was said on Twitter. "George Washington left no luxury and beauty of Mt. Vermont for valley forger. He even worked weekends and missed morning workouts for his people. Americans who work weekends away from family military first responders, construction, restaurant, retail workers, nurses, salesman. One more, this is what's wrong with Washington, you work four days a week and want a medal for it."

Hugh Hewitt, what do you make of it?

HEWITT: I just reject that. I think Paul Ryan works harder than pretty much everyone I know in the Republican Party. He spends the hours and days necessary to think through constructive, conservative solutions.

And when he ran for president, he began in Warren, Ohio, Brooke. You know, at hotdog shops so he's got back on for...


BALDWIN: There you go.

HEWITT: And he is actually one of the smartest, hardest working republicans up there. Anyone can say what they want on Twitter. I'm a big free speech person. But when it comes down to it, when that vote is held, Ryan is going to have 235 out of 247 votes.

And so, he's going to make those people who were so antagonistic towards him appear more marginal than they perhaps, wanted to appear in folks like me, more mainstream conservative.

I've been a conservative since working for Ronald Reagan in 1984. I don't apologize anyone for my credentials. Mainstream conservatism supports Paul Ryan.

BALDWIN: Let's talk Hillary Clinton quickly. She had a couple of big obstacles in a way this week. One, got out of the way this afternoon, Joe Biden no longer running or saying he will not run for president.

She obviously, is facing this big Benghazi hearing tomorrow. You know, she's in the hot seat. I know you have been anxiously awaiting this day. Hugh, tell me why.

HEWITT: Well, I want a couple of points made to the American people. One, a document or an e-mail does not have to be marked classified to be classified.

I hope we'll elicit that admission from the Secretary of State tomorrow. Anyone who's ever had a secret clearance and I have or top secret clearance or an SCI and I have known that it's not what it's marked, it's what it says.

I also hope to elicit from her the admission or to have Trey Gowdy or Mike Pompeo or Pete Roskam or Susan Brooks elicit from her the admission that the Accountability Review Board and all the previous investigations of the Benghazi massacre were flawed because she held back, she concealed, she secreted, she deceived those committees, as to important information that was on her secret server.

So, I don't think -- I don't expect dramatics tomorrow or fireworks, I expect patient prosecutorial question from Trey Gowdy and Susan Brooks who are very experienced prosecutors that establish for the American people that the Secretary -- former Secretary of State has been lying to them. And that's why her trustworthy number is below 50 percent.

BALDWIN: You're right, absolutely, on that number, but then let's talk about another number. This is the Monmouth University poll, 52 percent of Americans believe this committee is more interested in going after Clinton.

Add to that, I talked to a good Hillary Clinton friend today on my show, Senator Barbara Boxer, you know, she's calling this, this committee hearing a witch-hunt, she's pointing to Kevin McCarthy and other, you know, republicans who say this is absolutely politically motivated. Here is Senator Boxer.


BARBARA BOXER, CALIFORNIA SENATOR: For goodness sakes, this lasted longer than Watergate, this investigation of Benghazi. Iran/Contra, hurricane Katrina and the Warren Commission which looked into the assassination of JFK, this has been ridiculous. They are in a difficult spot.

Because if they go after her, everyone is going to say, we thought that was the case. And if they're so soft and they don't really ask anything much, people are going to say, why have you spent more than $4 million of taxpayer money.

Frankly, you know, I agree with my leadership, I think that the republican national committee ought to pay taxpayers back.


BALDWIN: How would you respond to the senator there?

HEWITT: Well, give her a cable channel. Senator Boxer does more for the republican credibility every time she comes on the republicans do for themselves.

The reason that the committee has taken so long is that the e-mail server and the documents were hidden by a secretary of State Clinton and her aides for so long. The cover-up was successful until very recently.

And so, the response to Senator Boxer is it's taken longer than Watergate because Nixon turned over his tapes, Secretary Clinton did not turn over her server. And then she tried to destroy it, then it had to be reconstructed. And the FBI is looking very carefully into it.

[22:14:56] Now, Senator Boxer is a good reliable liberal democrat who will say whatever she's asked to say in her waning months in Congress. But tomorrow, I think we'll get these two admissions down, Brooke, and I go back to them.

A document doesn't have to be marked classified to be classified, 18USC-1924 makes it a felony to store classified material improperly. And 50USC-421 makes it a felony for Sidney Blumenthal to reveal the secret names of secret agents.

There is a lot here. Mrs. Clinton is in deep trouble. It's going to hurt her campaign. Hopefully, she will change her tactics tomorrow, not attempt to make this a partisan occasion, not attempt to throw blame around, but just answer the questions.

She told the families of the victims of Benghazi that they -- their loved ones were killed because of a video. She's got to renounce that, she's got to set the record straight and she's got to tell the truth. It's hard for her, it's new for her, we'll see if she can do it tomorrow.

BALDWIN: Well, whatever your opinion, we'll all be watching. She's doing it publicly. We'll take it live. Hugh Hewitt, thank you. Thank you so much.

HEWITT: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: We will have much more on Hillary Clinton's Benghazi testimony tomorrow. Could it hurt her campaign? We'll get answers from our political experts.

Also we had Donald Trump charms his supporters while stumping tonight in Iowa.


TRUMP: I speak from the brain. But I speak from the heart. It's both. It has got to be both. Got to be both.



BALDWIN: Back with our breaking news tonight, the House Freedom Caucus votes to support Congressman Paul Ryan if he runs for speaker.

Joining me now, Ryan Lizza, CNN political commentator and Washington correspondent for the New Yorker, democratic strategist, Angela Rye, republican political consultant, John Brabender; and Bob Cusack is back with us tonight, editor-in-chief of The Hill.

Great to have all of you on. And, Bob Cusack, my first question here out of the gate, is Paul Ryan going to be the next Speaker of the House?



CUSACK: This is a big night for him. He didn't get the formal endorsement, the 80 percent that you were talking about earlier with Hugh Hewitt. But he got enough support. He got a supermajority.

Paul Ryan is not going to be elected unanimously, but really there is no other choice for the house republicans. As a party, the House GOP or the House democrats or any really party with Senate or House you have to be unified.

The house republicans are not unified at all. Paul Ryan can do it. But it's going to be a tall task. He will be your next speaker.

BALDWIN: Ryan Lizza, let me just follow up to something Hugh Hewitt just said to me between Paul -- potential standup between Paul Ryan and the House Freedom Caucus, he says he believes the House Freedom Caucus would be the losers in the scenario. Do you agree?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I mean, look, Paul Ryan stared them down and he won. Now he did not get the formal endorsement of the Freedom Caucus, true, but have you ever seen a leader in a position like Paul Ryan, his entire party begging him to become Speaker of the House.

He, for effect, or because he really is reluctant playing this reluctant game, making them sort of beg him. Going before the Freedom Caucus and basically saying you do x, y, and z or you don't get me. I mean, John Boehner could never do that with these guys.

BALDWIN: But he didn't get what he wanted.

LIZZA: He didn't get the full endorsement, it's true. But, hey, you get two-thirds of these guys. This is the most, you know, sort of -- this is a pretty tough group.

They don't want to do anything that the establishment wants and he got two-thirds of them.

I agree with you, this is a loss for them and a win for Paul Ryan. He's going to, you know, he's going to get that gavel in a -- he's going to go into the speaker's chair with us with the wind at his back. BALDWIN: All right. Angela, Ii want you to weigh on something

specifically that Paul Ryan said last night, this is part of when he was announcing that he would run for Speaker of the House.


PAUL RYAN, WISCONSIN REPRESENTATIVE: I cannot and I will not give up my family time. I may not be on the road as often as previous speakers, but I pledge to try and make up for it with more time communicating our vision, our message.

What I told members is, if you can agree to these requests, and if I can truly be a unifying figure, then I will gladly serve.


BALDWIN: How realistic is that, Angela?

ANGRELA RYE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It is not realistic. One of the primary roles of the Speaker of the House is to go into his member districts and help them fund-raise. I don't know how he expects to do that and he's demonstrating already how hypocritical he is.

Paul Ryan has a record of not supporting paid family leave, but yet, he wants the country to get behind him there or the key protesters in politics, the Freedom Caucus, who already have demonstrated that they're going to draw a hard-line in the sand with him already tonight as well.

So, this is going to be really interesting for him to go in with demands that frankly, are not met. And then for him to get the support of the American people, this is going to be really interesting how this unfolds.

BALDWIN: OK. John, let's talk Trump. This is something Donald Trump said this evening in Iowa.


TRUMP: I guarantee, if I become president, we're going to be saying Merry Christmas at every store.


TRUMP: We're not going to be doing -- every store. Every store. The happy holiday, you can leave that over in the corner, happy holiday, everybody. Enjoy it. But I'm saying Merry Christmas to whoever hell wants to hear it.


BALDWIN: All right. So, Christmas, I mean, no accident, this is in Iowa audience, this is a man who knows his audience. Your reaction?

JOHN BRABENDER, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Look, every day it seems like he's running for cheerleader of the United States rather than President of the United States.

I mean, what the popularity of Donald Trump really has less to do with Donald Trump than it is the people who are supporting him. They feel very disenfranchised, they are very unhappy with Washington. And the paradox is, everything sort of crazy that we think Donald Trump does signals to them that he is a different type of candidate and maybe can believe him when he says that he's going to go change things.

[22:25:08] But I will tell you, he's very good at offering sort of these little themes, but he doesn't do very much in offering real substance. And I think in the long-term, we're going to find out if there is any there-there.

BALDWIN: OK. Any there-there. That was one theme. Angela, here is another theme.


TRUMP; You know what I love? A poll came out the other day that I'm winning 25 percent. Think of this. As a republican. As a republican. It's unheard of. Usually it is 7 percent, 5 percent, 4 percent, 9 percent, 25 percent.

You know what I'm going to say African-American. They say if you get 25 percent African-American, the election is over. You're going to win the election. No, it's true. It's true.


BALDWIN: Is that right, Angela?

RYE: I don't think that's right. I also don't think he's going to get 25 percent of the African-American vote. Donald Trump is having a hell of a time because he can decide which party he's going to be allegiance to each day.

He changes his mind so much. He sounds like an independent some days, some days he sounds like a democrat. They were very, very upset with him at the first debate for putting the health care plan that they long said it's not conservative enough.

So, I don't think that he's anywhere close to getting 25 percent of the African-American vote and he certainly is going to have a tough time if he continues to -- the type of racist rhetoric that he's been known for so far, both on immigration policy.

And he's also done something that I think has not been talked about yet, that full page ad he took out about the Central Park five calling them killers. That's going to get a lot of play if he were to make it to a general election. And African-Americans will not stand for that.

BALDWIN: Bob, can you weigh in on that?

CUSACK: Well, listen, I think democrats are relishing the chance to go after Donald Trump and the Democratic National Committee has gone after Trump and they've also gone after Jeb Bush a lot and Marco Rubio.

But you have to look at it. Donald Trump is approaching 100 days on top of the polls. That is unbelievable. And if Jeb Bush had done that, we would all be saying this race is over, Jeb Bush will get the nomination.

BALDWIN: But we're not, are we?


BALDWIN: We're not. Angela laughs. Stay with...

LIZZA: Just remember...


Three-quarters of the republicans are supporting someone else besides Donald Trump. So, you know, we know Trump has 25 percent, but 75 percent are not supporting had him.

RYE: There are a million people in that race that has something...

BALDWIN: All right, all of you. Stay with me. We're going to move off Trump. I want to talk about the big day tomorrow, of course, for Hillary Clinton, her public testimony in front of the House Benghazi committee. Will it hurt her or have republicans overplay their hand?


BALDWIN: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Brooke Baldwin and for Don Lemon. Hillary Clinton's testimony tomorrow on the Benghazi attack could be critical to her campaign, back with me again, Ryan Lizza, Angela Rye, John Brabender and Bob Cusack. Angela, I'm sure you heard Hugh Hewitt and his very strong thoughts on Hillary Clinton at the top of the show, incredibly tough on her. I want to respond to that and what do you think she has to do tomorrow?

ANGELA RYE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, let me start with what she has to do tomorrow. Hillary Clinton has to be very strong and sure in her answers and clear in her responses. She also cannot by any -- under any circumstances come across as defensive. We saw that in press conference and the nation frankly reacted. And she has to come across as, you know, being apologetic about what happened in Benghazi, but also being very clear about the fact that she cannot own that situation.

Now as for what Mr. Hewitt said, first of all, having -- also been someone that had -- is not active, but I had a top secret security clearance. I will also say that what he said was actually not true. You can have something in your inbox that is not classified and it be classified later. That does not make it top secret information. That means it would later classify. Hillary Clinton has been very clear throughout that that is exactly what happened. Any agency can later determine that there is something that is now worth preserving for national security interests. So I also want to clarify just that one point. BALDWIN: OK. I'm glad you did. I never had a top secret security clearance, so I don't know about that. That said -- here is another question is we'll be watching her testimony probably tomorrow. Can she have a moment like this? Take a look.


HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The fact is we have four dead Americans...


CLINTON: Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for walk they decided they go kill some Americans. What's difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happen and do everything we can to prevent from ever happening again, Senator.


BALDWIN: That was January of 2013. Bob Cusack, you think Hillary Clinton will do well tomorrow. Tell me why?

BOB CUSACK, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE HILL: Well, because she has testified before the House and the Senate on this. And she has been very defensive at various press conferences and interviews on the e-mail. She did shift amid bad poll numbers. So Hillary Clinton did well in the debate. She knows she's going to be attacked. She knows republicans at least a couple of them, at least, we'll going to try to touch her buttons. She has to be calm. She has to be clear. She has to acknowledge that she didn't handle this e-mail issue in the best way. But at the same time, this issue is not going to go away, the FBI is investigating it, but there is no doubt about it, republicans have to watch about overreach here. And I think they've got to have some news tomorrow. That's got to be the headline for them.

BALDWIN: Something to come out of this, some significant nugget...


BALDWIN: On the overreach point, John, as a republican, you say you are afraid. Republicans might have overplayed their hand here. Tell me. Tell me why. Tell me why it has become overly politicized.

[22:34:32] JOHN BRABENDER, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: I don't think they should overplay their hands because, I think that there are facts here that are very, very important. I mean, you understand this. Hillary Clinton is better than anybody in this country as playing the victim. And frankly, there were actual victims in Benghazi. They were heroic Americans who were killed because we didn't react the right way. Their families and frankly, all of America deserve answers on why we didn't respond. Why Hillary Clinton and her staff put out this phony story that it was due to a video that caused all this. And I think it's very important as republicans, we don't try to get too much rhetoric in the way and instead, concentrate on getting facts and answers that America never got. RYE: That's America right now.

BALDWIN: Angela, that I've been watching you with the face and shaking your head, but let me go to you, Ryan. I mean, has America really been waiting for answers? How much is it about that? How much is it about politics? What is your read?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well look, we do know that two republicans have on the record said that a lot of it was about politics. At least the change in emphasis from just figuring out what happened on September 12th in Benghazi to -- what I view as a little bit of an obsession about the e-mail issue which frankly so far is nothing in those e-mail has gotten us any closer to the truth in Benghazi. This thing has been pretty well investigated. We know that the State Department should have had more security on the ground, in the run-up to this event happening. I'm not so sure -- I think is happening is that there are some republicans up there who really believe that Hillary Clinton had some kind of devious role in this whole thing and they're out to get her. I think that's pretty clear. And frankly, from my perspective...


LIZZA: It is taken away from the bigger issue of what happened in Libya. And it's...

BALDWIN: You are not first person to say that, my friend.

LIZZA: It's got the Obama administration off the hook. Look, she pushed for this intervention. We bombed to the contrary and then left it in chaos. And that policy failure has been completely sidestepped over this obsession about trying to tag Hillary Clinton with somehow having, you know, been responsible for these Americans dying. And I think that's one of the tragedies here is we lost sight of that.

BALDWIN: Ryan Lizza, Angela Rye, John Brabender, Bob Cusack, I thank all of you very much. Again, we'll be taking it live here on CNN tomorrow. Please, definitely tune in for that. It is important.

Coming up, the Kennedys are the closest family America has to political royalty. Patrick Kennedy is here tonight with me. We'll talk about his thoughts on election 2016.

Good to see you, Congressman.

[22:37:04] PATRICK KENNEDY, AUTHOR, A COMMON STRUGGLE: Hey, good to see you, Brooke.


BALDWIN: Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy were close throughout their decades on Capitol Hill, they also both ran for president. And Senator Kennedy's son Patrick, served in the House, representing Rhode Island for 16 years. Patrick Kennedy, author of A Common Struggle, joins me now, Congressman, good to see you, Sir.

KENNEDY: Thanks so much for having me...

BALDWIN: Thanks for spending time with us. You know Joe Biden well. You saw the news like the rest of us today from the Rose Garden. Were you disappointed?

KENNEDY: I love Joe Biden. I think he's given so much to this country and as he said he still has more to give. I'm happy for Joe Biden.

BALDWIN: How? Why?

KENNEDY: Because -- I mean what a great life and the fact that he's still charging along, happy warrior, you know, everybody loves Joe. And there is good reason for it because he's been so nice to so many people, he's gracious. He's partisan, but people like him.

BALDWIN: You just got me to my next question which is, he is partisan, but he, you know, does reach over the aisle just as your own father...

KENNEDY: That's right.

BALDWIN: Known as a liberal lion, known very famously, though for being able to work with the other party. Yet, Joe Biden keeps bringing up this iteration of a quote about you know, republicans shouldn't be your enemies, a swipe at what Hillary Clinton said at her own debate. This is Joe Biden, earlier today.


JOE BIDEN, UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT: I don't believe, like some do, that it is naive to talk to republicans. I don't think we should look at republicans as our enemies. They are opposition. They're not our enemies. And for the sake of the country, we have to work together.


BALDWIN: Why does he keep saying that? Why do you think that comment, that Hillary Clinton made last week in Las Vegas, got under his skin?

KENNEDY: Well, I think that our whole democracy depends on our ability to be civil to one another. And ultimately, we all lose if we demonize one another. We're all Americans. We're all want the best for this country. Yes, we have the different political philosophies, but if we have to go at each other, we make ourselves weaker as a society. Plus, our democracy, all those who dedicated their lives and gave their lives to this country made the ultimate sacrifice. They gave it for democracy, so that they could save us from having the kind of regimes that is one party regime that you see in other parts of the world where they deny political expression. And they demonize one another. We don't have that. I mean, we have great political fighting...


KENNEDY: But we can't let it devolve and...

BALDWIN: He wants to remind everyone of that... KENNEDY: And he wants to remind because, you know, he's Joe. He's been around.


KENNEDY: He's seen it. And he -- I think he knows, like my dad did, that he has profound respect for the institution, both of the Senate and now as an executive branch of the whole system of democracy because he sees it being turned upside down. I mean, look at the Freedom Caucus, deciding who the next speaker is. What happened to majority rules? You know, that ought to be the governing principle in a democracy.

BALDWIN: Talking to people tonight, though, they do see the House Freedom Caucus as the losing party of their winners and losers in this whole thing, but I think, I think people hear your, hear your point. Let me move on and talk about a moment today. President Obama was in West Virginia and he announced some new steps to tackle prescription drug abuse, heroin use, addiction is something you have struggled with, you are nearly five years over?

KENNEDY: Four and a half.

BALDWIN: Four and a half. What do you think is the root cause of all this?

[22:44:41] KENNEDY: Well I think the root cause -- first of all, if these were cancer or HIV, I don't think it would have take the president have taken him so long to address it. Because I think the politics would have said, hey, this is a public health epidemic. More people are dying of this thing car accident. Guess what? Suicide is twice the rate of homicide. Maybe we should do something about it. I mean -- then he does an event in West Virginia and it's -- tragically, it was stepped on by the vice president's announcement. But even still, it was not front and center, he way we need the president to make this issue front and center.

Two, this is a medical issue. He needs to be treated like all other medical issues. And the president has the authority to tell insurance companies, they're obligated under the law to treat this like any other chronic illness, and by the way...


KENNEDY: He didn't do that. What he offered were some nice things, but what I'm more concerned about is what he didn't say. And that is we ought to enforce the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, because until insurance companies pay for screening, and until they pay for treatment, and until they're invested in this, they're never going to bother to make sure you're mentally healthy. Like they would make sure that you're not going to get cancer or you're not going to get diabetes, all the other things that they work on to protect us.

BALDWIN: This is important. I don't want this to go below the fold. I know you're incredibly passionate about this and I hear what you're saying about the president, but I do want to play one clip from what he said earlier today. It's definitely caught my attention.


BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: I thought about -- Malia and Sasha has not -- they're wonderful girls, but they're teenagers. They do some things.


OBAMA: And I remember, me being a teenager. And I have written about this. I did some stuff.


OBAMA: And I've been very honest about it. And so, what I think about is there, but for the grace of God.


BALDWIN: As watching you watch that, I mean you hear -- you hear the laughter, there are some lighter moments, it's incredibly serious, but his point being this can happen to anyone.

KENNEDY: Well, it is a brain illness. And some of us are more predisposed because of family history, and also environment. So if you have trauma in your life, as many people who are coming from different backgrounds, who have a parent who is been violent to another parent, domestic violence, or a parent without alcoholism or addiction, or mental illness, believe me, the children are higher risk. We know that from these studies called Adverse Childhood Experience studies. But then people have genetic risk too, so you compare it just like with any other illness, you have the genetic and then you have the environment to trigger the genetic, same with mental illness and addiction. What we need -- ultimately, just treat these as medical issues, it's that simple. And it needs to be integrated health. Meaning, the rest of the physician community needs also to be doing a checkup from the neck up for their patient.

BALDWIN: Congressman Kennedy, your new book is A Common struggle, thank you.

KENNEDY: Thank you.

BALDWIN: I really appreciate...

KENNEDY: I appreciate having me on.

BALDWIN: We'll be right back.


BALDWIN: I want to show you really special picture tonight, live. Look at the Empire State Building in New York, illuminated in blue to honor a New York police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty last evening. And with that, we have Breaking News tonight. In another tragic shooting, a man is in custody in connection with the New Mexico road rage incident, in which a 4-year-old little girl was shot and killed.

Joining me now, Harry Houck, retired New York City police detective and Neill Franklin, retired Maryland state police major. Gentlemen, thank you so much for being with me. When you start to hear about this road rage incident, I mean -- I'm almost speechless. This 4-year-old girl is in the back of her family's, you know, truck, 7-year-old brother sitting next to her, she is hit in the head. She dies. Harry Houck, I know police are describing this as classic road rage incident.


BALDWIN: I don't even know what to say. It is horrendous.

HOUCK: You know there is nothing to say here, Brooke. I mean, I worked the homicide similar like that, a couple of years ago. You know, and a lot of times these road rage incidents would happens is somebody gets so outraged about somebody being cut off, and we've gone through this. I've gone through this before. I've had people cut me off, chase me down, or I've cut them off by mistake, you know. And a lot of times, just even criminals that don't do this, the case that I worked on, where there is a guy just coming home from shooting at the range, who had never gotten involved in any kind of criminal activity at all. He was cut off. He got so mad, he killed the other driver. So this might have been what happened here. I don't know, but I'm very glad here that we finally got a person of interest...


HOUCK: In custody.

BALDWIN: Right. I mean, take a deep breath. Don't pull out a gun, Neill...

HOUCK: Exactly.

BALDWIN: We've heard from the police chief, said this.


CHIEF GORDEN EDEN JR. ALBUQUERQUE POLICE: Yeah. And again, we are begging for the community's help. This should have never happened. This is a complete disrespect of human life. And we're starting to see this throughout our nation and this is something that should not be happening.


BALDWIN: Neill, you've been in law enforcement a long time. Have you ever heard of something like this?

NEILL FRANKLIN, RETIRED MARYLAND STATE POLICE MAJOR: Unfortunately, Brooke, I have -- I work for the state police here in Maryland for 23 years, and that seems to be where we have a lot of this road rage on our interstate highways. And if we just get people to take a breath for a moment, you know. Unfortunately, you know, people make mistakes. They accidentally cut people off. And if -- on both parts, the person cutting someone off, when you realize it, just acknowledge it, you know. Give an indication that you're sorry, that you're apologizing, and the person who gets cut off -- just take a breath. Just take a breath, it's not worth it. Unfortunately, here we are again with another unfortunate tragedy.

BALDWIN: We'll stay on it again. Person of interest, not yet suspect, person of interest in custody. Harry, let me pivot to the story, you're excellent on this last night. The story we talked about the shooting of Corey Jones in Florida by this plainclothes officer, unmarked patrol car. We're learning more about the officer involved in the shooting Officer Nouman Raja. The New York Times has reported, according to an internal affairs documents, he failed to disclose in his job application that he had been reprimanded in a previous police job for failing to turn over morphine that he had recovered from a suspect. Would that have disqualified him from this job?

[22:55:04] HOUCK: It depends on the incident. Because I can tell you right now, back in the early '80s from my first became a New York City police officer. We didn't make a lot of drug arrest up in Harlem, you know because we weren't really allowed to. We were told not to. So we caught people with drugs, we threw the drugs in the sewer. I mean, did this happen? Is this what this police officer did? Maybe, maybe not, but it has no significance at all in this shooting.

BALDWIN: OK. And Neill, finally to you, you know, this New York police officer, let me name him, who was shot and killed in the line of duty, Randolph Holder. You know, knowing that -- shot by a fugitive drug offender, this was a bad guy. Is this, in a sense, why police are suspect of people they come across, especially in the case of Florida, in the middle of the night?

FRANKLIN: Of course. First, let me begin with giving my condolences to Officer Holder's family, to the men and women of the NYPD, Harry. I was with some of NYPD comrades here in Washington, D.C. earlier today. And yes, unfortunately, this is part of the job, the inherent danger of the job that we have in law enforcement. And yes, it does unfortunately contribute to how we, the police, do see people from time to time, especially when you engage yourself into a foot chase. You don't know what to expect on that chase and unfortunately, like in this incident here, we lose the life of another fellow officer in blue, and it's going to be a tough one for the NYPD and his family to get through, unfortunately.

HOUCK: You know Brooke, what is really important here.

BALDWIN: Quickly. Quick, Harry.

HOUCK: With all the rhetoric as anti-police rhetoric, Officer Holder still went after this armed suspect and gave his life...


HOUCK: For the people in that neighborhood, all right. Let's not forget that.

BALDWIN: Absolutely, 100 percent.

FRANKLIN: Absolutely. Thanks...

BALDWIN: Hearts and thoughts, absolutely going out to that family tonight. Harry and Neill, thank you so much. AC360 starts in just a couple of minutes.