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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Vets Without Homes; Plane Crash Horror; Republican Battle Lines. Aired 16-16:30p ET

Aired November 11, 2015 - 16:00   ET

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


[16:00:10]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Battle lines being drawn.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Donald Trump saying he would put together a deportation force to carry out his plans as president, as he and other Republicans clash over immigration, military might and more, the candidates now showing their hands and some deep divisions.

A plane falls from the sky, crashes into an apartment building and bursts into a fireball in the middle of America's heartland. Why did it miss the airport? How did this happen?

Plus, the men and women who fought, who've seen horrors they cannot unsee, so many, too many spending this Veterans Day living on the streets. Today, we're going to take a look at why the country they serve is still failing them.

Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We're going to start with the politics lead today, Republicans clashing again on stage last night, not with the media this time, however, with each other. We're seeing some real differences shaping in this race on immigration, on spending, on defense.

It made for some prickly exchanges and this morning another controversial statement from Donald Trump, the front-runner, on immigration.

Jeff Zeleny, fresh off the plane from New Hampshire, where he talked to Trump earlier this morning.

Jeff, Trump, he made his first big splash in this race talking about undocumented immigrants. And he's raising eyebrows again with talking about how he plans to carry out his plans to deport 11 or so million undocumented immigrants.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: He is, Jake. You're right.

This immigration debate has often offered more splash than specifics, but today in New Hampshire, Trump said two words that are gaining a lot of attention now, deportation force. That's how he said he would get 11 million undocumented immigrants out of the U.S.

But when we asked him a bit more about that, he said it would be very humane and he could pull it off with good management practices. This is just one of the many flash points underneath the big tent of the Republican Party.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY (voice-over): Donald Trump set off on a victory lap today in New Hampshire. Never mind a victory was hardly in hand.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We started off with 17. And one by one by one, they're disappearing. Disappearing. It's a beautiful thing to watch as they go out.

ZELENY: His Republican rivals did go out to the campaign trail fanning across the country on the day after the fourth Republican debate. Ben Carson arrived in Virginia, rallying young evangelicals at Liberty University.

BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will direct your path.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

ZELENY: Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie turned up in Iowa doing whatever it takes, even pouring coffee to win over Republicans. Bush picked up a Veterans Day endorsement from former Senator Bob Dole. He said Republicans need to win the White House.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to start thinking about how -- who's the person that can beat Hillary Clinton, rather than trying to get into small differences between each campaign.

ZELENY: Perhaps a not-so-subtle jab at Trump, who took part in a New Hampshire tradition, politics and eggs.

(on camera): You said it's a beautiful thing to watch these candidates drop out one by one.

TRUMP: I think you will see quite a few people starting to drop out.

ZELENY: Who's next?

TRUMP: Well, I don't want to predict. I think I know, but I don't want to predict. But there will be a lot of people dropping out. I mean, they have to drop out. They're not resonating.

ZELENY (voice-over): Trump kept above the fray on the debate stage, but told CNN he has no plans of softening his edge on the campaign trail.

TRUMP: No, well, it's not doing speeches, because I think people would be very disappointed if I was that way at a speech.

But I think during a speech, it's different. And during a debate, you have to give other people a chance to talk.

ZELENY: And talk, they did, often loudly, highlighting deep divisions in the party on foreign policy.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You cannot be a conservative if you're going to keep promoting new programs that you're not going to pay for.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can't even have an economy if we're not safe.

I know that the world is a safer and better place when America is the strongest military power in the world.

ZELENY: And on immigration.

TRUMP: We're a country of laws. We either have a country or we don't have a country.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We all know you can't pick them up and ship them across -- back across the border. It's a silly argument. It is not an adult argument. It makes no sense.

BUSH: Twelve million illegal immigrants, to send them back, 500,000 a month, is just not possible. And it's not embracing American values.

QUESTION: Tell me the how. Are you going to have a massive deportation force?

TRUMP: You're going to have a deportation force. And you're going to do it humanely.

ZELENY: Hundreds of people came to see Trump today, but some voters like Ellen Kolb simply wanted to see the show. She's looking for another candidate.

ELLEN KOLB, NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER: If you told me right now you have to pick, I wouldn't be able to. This is still wide open.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY: She is hardly alone. So many Republican voters we talked to in New Hampshire in the last couple days say they are still trying to make up their minds.

[16:05:00]

One question we heard again and again, who would be the most electable against Hillary Clinton or whoever the Democratic nominee might be? Debates have driven this presidential campaign more than previous election cycles, and it's 34 days until the next one. So this race could be frozen in time until then.

TAPPER: Only 81 days until Iowa. Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much. Joining us now to talk about the debate, Donald Trump's

performance and the state of his campaign, Michael Cohen, special counsel to Mr. Trump.

Michael, thanks so much for being here. Appreciate it.

MICHAEL COHEN, SPECIAL COUNSEL TO DONALD TRUMP: How are you?

TAPPER: Good. Good.

So let me find out more about this deportation force that Mr. Trump talked about on MSNBC earlier this morning to deport the millions of undocumented immigrants in this country.

(CROSSTALK)

COHEN: Can I jump in for a second?

TAPPER: Sure. Sure.

COHEN: You talk about them as undocumented aliens. They're not. They're illegal immigrants. Why is it that we have a problem in calling somebody exactly what they are?

They snuck across the border. They shouldn't be here in the first place. Now, that's not to say we don't want them, but they have to come into this country, as Mr. Trump will say again and again and again, legally.

We need to know exactly who's in this country. It's a -- it's national security. We want to know exactly who is in this country. And I'm actually confused, and I would love an answer even from you, as to why this question is still floating around. The bottom line is, if you sneak into the country, you don't belong here. That's an illegal act.

Mr. Trump's position is, you must leave. We want you to come back through this big beautiful door in this border that he's going to talk about.

TAPPER: Right.

COHEN: I am confused as to how anybody, any candidate, Republican or Democrat, can think otherwise.

TAPPER: Well, to answer your question as to why somebody might use the word undocumented immigrant, instead of illegal immigrant, is -- I think there are lots of reasons -- one of them is that some of the people in this country were brought here as children and therefore they didn't necessarily commit the illegal act. So, the more encompassing term would be undocumented.

But whatever you want to call them -- and by all means, call whatever you want to call them, Michael -- just to probe further on what Mr. Trump was talking about this morning, was he calling for a new government law enforcement agency to do these deportations? Or was he talking about Immigration and Customs Enforcement?

COHEN: I believe Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.

But like everything in this country that's broken, Mr. Trump is going to need to fix it. How he's going to fix it, I don't think anybody has the answer to that right now, simply because I don't think we really know, number one, how many people are here undocumented in this country. I don't think we have an exact number.

And I think that the number is not 11 or 12 million, as everybody says. It's probably substantially more. And the funny thing is that Mr. Trump gets a lot of slack in regard to his positions on immigration. And I think people forget the fact that his wife is an immigrant, that she went through the process, she went through the documentation process.

And that's really the way that we as Americans want -- we want our people to come to this country legally, to give them all the benefits and rights that are conferred upon U.S. citizens.

TAPPER: I believe his first wife was immigrant as well, a legal immigrant.

Turning to some politics, I want to ask you, Ben Carson's adviser, Armstrong Williams, yesterday on this show told me that Trump has not yet found a way to go after Carson effectively. And he called Trump -- quote -- "desperate."

Your response.

COHEN: I don't know how he's desperate. He was in the number one spot in the dead center of the -- you know, of the debate stage. Mr. Trump continues to do incredibly well. He's traveling the country to packed crowds.

And he's actually enjoying what he's doing. He's giving people answers, despite what people say. And, you know, there were six or seven polls that I saw early this morning, all of which had Mr. Trump winning the debate yesterday and doing exactly what he needed to do to stay the front-runner.

(CROSSTALK)

COHEN: You have the "TIME" poll. You have the "Wall Street Journal" poll. You had Drudge. You had Newsmax.

TAPPER: Right.

But, Michael, you would agree that Carson is giving him more of a competition than he thought he would give him. Do you disagree with the assessment...

COHEN: Jake, this is a presidential race.

TAPPER: Right. COHEN: You know, there's nobody, other than possibly Hillary,

right, on the other side that's running away with her party's nomination.

Mr. Trump's a fighter. Mr. Trump likes to win. And he's going to win.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Have you found an effective way to go after Carson yet? I guess that's the real question.

COHEN: I think Ben Carson has his own problems. I think his autobiography is just the beginning. They really haven't focused on him.

For the last five, six weeks, everybody has focused predominantly on Donald Trump, because, again, he's been the front-runner for just so long.

(CROSSTALK)

COHEN: I'm sorry?

TAPPER: What else besides the autobiography?

[16:10:00]

COHEN: Well, I think that they're doing their operative work and they're certainly going to be coming out very soon with information about Ben Carson. And then he's going to have to answer the tough questions, the same way that Donald Trump has been doing since the inception of this race.

TAPPER: Do you -- what do you think about Ted Cruz's comment to me the other day where he said he thought that it was very plausible that this race might come down to him vs. Marco Rubio, not even mentioning you, Donald Trump, or Dr. Carson?

COHEN: Yes, well, that's obviously one man's opinion. He's a nice man, Ted Cruz. I don't think Marco Rubio has sustaining power.

You know, these unfortunate stump speeches that he gives to every single answer, I didn't -- I was not impressed by his performance yesterday. I thought the back and forth with Rand Paul, Rand Paul actually got the better of him on that exchange.

I don't find Marco Rubio to be engaging. And I find his comments are predictable. We know your father was a bartender, your mom was a housekeeper. Nobody paid for your schooling. You did it all on your own, with the help of maybe individuals like Norman Braman and others. He is part of the establishment. He is the establishment.

American people are sick and tired of the establishment, and that's why they choose Donald Trump.

TAPPER: Michael Cohen, thanks so much. Always a pleasure to have you on.

COHEN: Oh, thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: Thank you so much.

It was an awkward moment last night, Marco Rubio seemingly dissed by Jeb Bush when he tried to shake his hand. We will look at that and the backstory next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:15:52] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

We're going to stay with the politics lead now. The candidates last night largely spoke to the moderators and to the audience but didn't much debate amongst themselves. A little bit but not a huge amount of it. But the absence of those contracts of attacks against each other, that doesn't mean you can't find evidence of attacks to come.

Listen in fact to here to Ted Cruz.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I mentioned that the 25 programs that I put out today that I would eliminate them, among them are corporate welfare like sugar subsidies. They give 40 percent of the lobbying money. That sort of corporate welfare is why we're bankrupting our kids and grandkids.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Hmm, sugar subsidies. Can you think of any, any Republican presidential candidate who might support sugar subsidies?

Let's talk about last night's debate with CNN political commentator Ana Navarro, and former deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney, Katie Packer.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: For the record, I'm doing low carb. So all I do is Splenda these days.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: So, you're not in the --

(CROSSTALK)

NAVARRO: So, I'm not in the pocket -- they're my friends, but I'm not in their pocket.

TAPPER: And sugar's not in your pocket is the point I guess.

But that seems to be a preview of something to come, a major difference between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Ted Cruz is opposed to the sugar subsidies and we should point out that Jeb Bush, despite being from Florida, has said that he's in favor of withdrawing -- winding them down.

NAVARRO: I think that you're very perceptive and you caught what's going to be a coming attack line against Marco Rubio from Ted Cruz. I think yesterday, we saw that the two of them are -- it's going to be the Cuban-American primary, cigarillos, cigars and rum, you know? I think that Ted Cruz is going to try this out. There's fertile soil there.

You know, Marco, sugar has been a very important part of the industry and the lobbying world in Florida. Marco has received a lot of support. And I think he now is forewarned that he's going to have to explain it, which I'm sure he'll be prepared for.

TAPPER: Katie, Cruz got a lot of praise from conservative outlets and the conservative circles for his debate performance last night. "The National Review's" Rich Lowry said he was the winner. But he had one moment that perhaps he wishes he could have a do-over. Let's play that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: Today, we rolled out a spending plan, $500 billion in specific cuts, five major agencies that I would eliminate -- the IRS, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce and HUD.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Five agencies, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Commerce -- so the other one is the Department of Education. But you know what's interesting he had kind of like an oops moment although he barreled through and listed one of these agencies twice. It's not sticking to him at all like it did to Rick Perry, why not?

KATIE PACKER, FORMER DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR MITT ROMNEY: Well, I think he showed Rick Perry how to do it. If you can't remember, you just push through. But I'm starting to wonder if in Texas, maybe they don't teach them all the cabinet agencies and maybe they can't grab them all when they're under pressure. I'm not sure.

TAPPER: Probably also because nobody doubts the wattage on Ted Cruz.

PACKER: Yes, I mean, I think with Rick Perry it was kind of playing into, you know, the concern that people had about him. It wasn't the first time, the oops moment was after a few oops moments along the way.

NAVARRO: It was so painful. I think a lot of Republicans think the Department of Commerce is such a boondoggle, we can get rid of it twice.

TAPPER: I need to get some insight from you, Ana.

NAVARRO: Oh, for the love of God. TAPPER: You're friends with Senator Rubio and Jeb Bush, you

support Jeb Bush, but I want you to watch during one of the breaks last night. What looks like the protege, Marco Rubio, approaching -- we slow-moed it, going over to Jeb, his former mentor. And Jeb gives him a Heisman, nods his head and Rubio turns away.

What was that? What happened?

NAVARRO: You know, Jake Tapper, all you're missing is the telenovela background music at this point. Frankly, I think folks are over-reading that moment. Both Marco and Jeb have said today that it was all right.

Look, I know these guys pretty well, OK? If they -- believe me. If they hated each other like Donald Trump said they would, they do, you could see it readily.

[16:20:01] TAPPER: But that looked tense. That moment looked tense. No? You disagree?

NAVARRO: You mean that darkened hard to see moment that you just played in slow motion and sped up during a presidential debate --

TAPPER: You should see what I wanted to do with the soundtrack.

(LAUGHTER)

NAVARRO: Listen, I think is it awkward that they're running against each other? Absolutely. Are there tense moments? Absolutely. Are these guys longtime friends, and there's a lot of good water under that bridge? Absolutely.

TAPPER: Quick moment. I want to play for you -- Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire. A, I believe Democrat, who does not like Carly Fiorina asking her a question about Carly Fiorina.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every time I see her on TV, I want to reach through and strangle her.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that doesn't sound very nice but --

(LAUGHTER)

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I wouldn't mess with you.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: I've heard from conservatives saying if this was a

Republican voter saying to someone else that they wanted to reach through the television and strangle Hillary Clinton and the Republican presidential candidate laughed it off, that there would be hell to pay and there wasn't in this case.

PACKER: Absolutely. The Hillary Clinton campaign, Podesta and Paul Begala and all their henchmen out there crying domestic violence, abuse against women, that they're basically condoning, you know, somebody being violent to women. The Secret Service would probably be on this guy's doorstep, you know, by proposing something like that.

I think that Republicans tend to be a little less politically correct and they don't get exercised as much. But absolutely, if this was something that was said about Hillary Clinton, people would be going nuts.

NAVARRO: You know, but she also missed a moment. One of the best moments John McCain had in 2008 was when he stood up to a questioner who made ad hominem attacks against Barack Obama and he pushed back against it.

Hillary Clinton is now leading by a wide margin. She's the presumptive nominee. Seriously, it's about time she started acting presidential and not laughing at moments like this.

TAPPER: Ana Navarro, Katie Packer, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

In our national lead, a fireball after a jet crashes into an apartment building with no warning. What investigators are now saying about that deadly crash.

Plus, we're just learning of a new video threat from an ISIS affiliate in the same area the Russian passenger plane crashed. Is ISIS plotting a new attack?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:26:41] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

Our national lead now. Authorities are investigating why a small plane fell out of the sky and crashed into an apartment building in Akron, Ohio, killing all nine people onboard. The charter flight in a fiery explosion was on a path to Akron but somehow missed the airport. Today, new details emerging about the victims including seven employees from a Florida company.

Boris Sanchez now joining us with more on the story.

Boris, what are you learning about what might have caused this crash?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, we're learning more about what NTSB investigators are looking at when it comes to figuring out how this plane went down. First, we learned they had surveillance video of the plane

shortly before it went down -- excuse me -- shortly before it went down. We've also learned that they have a flight data recorder that was onboard the plane that they've recovered they'll be looking at to try to gather some evidence from that. And lastly, they tell us that the plane apparently clipped some power lines and the left wing slammed into the ground. They're going to look at all these pieces to figure out exactly what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Flames, shock and confusion in a southeast Akron neighborhood Tuesday just before 3:00 p.m. Neighbors say they saw a plane falling fast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of a sudden, this plane just dropped out of the sky. It just like veered sideways and just plowed right into the duplexes there. And it was just instant boom and flames and smoke. It was horrific. It was terrible.

SANCHEZ: The twin engine Hawker 700, similar to the one shown here, taking down power lines before slamming into a brick apartment building and then sparking a fire.

The Ohio state highway patrol confirming that none of the nine people onboard survived. While the fuselage is mostly intact, officials say the fire has made the recovery effort difficult, with crews still working to positively identify the remains of those onboard.

LISA KOHLER, SUMMIT COUNTY MEDICAL EXAMINER: The medical examiner's office is currently involved in the recovery process. We are continuing to gather additional information about the souls that were on this plane so that we can make positive identification.

SANCHEZ: The plane was on a chartered trip run by ExecuFlight based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Their CEO, Augusto Lewkowicz, confirmed his pilot and co-pilot were well-seasoned fliers who'd been with the company for about a year. They were among those killed.

AUGUSTO LEWKOWICZ, CEO, EXECUFLIGHTS: The crew are people that we know. They're like family for us. And so, we're very, very sad to see them go. It was very hard for me to go and give that news to their loved ones, to their wife, parents.

SANCHEZ: Meantime, Pebb Enterprises, a real estate company based in Boca Raton confirmed the seven passengers onboard were employees.

The company posted a statement on their Web site writing in part, quote, "We are shocked and deeply saddened for the families, colleagues and friends of those who perished. Our first priority is to give our fullest support to the family members and loved ones of our co-workers." The families of those killed mostly live in Florida, with many

now arriving at the scene. On the ground, officials say they are lucky no one was inside the four-unit apartment building when it was hit. But after flames spread to two nearby buildings, up to a dozen families may have lost their homes.

LT. BILL HAYMAKER, OHIO STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: No one was injured on the ground from the crash itself. We are very fortunate of that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ: One more thing the NTSB is looking at, a flight that landed at that Akron airport shortly before this one was set to land, they've interviewed the pilot of that flight to try to get an idea of the conditions on the air.