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Trump Triples Down on Disputed 9/11 Claim; Chicago Cop Charged with 1st-Degree Murder; Obama/Hollande to Hold News Conference. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired November 24, 2015 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:11] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Fact-checkers have stamped it untrue, but Donald Trump is not backing down about what he says he saw on 9/11.


DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: During a speech recently, I said that I saw, in parts of New Jersey, Jersey City, but parts of New Jersey, I saw people getting together and in fairly large numbers, celebrating as the World Trade Center was coming down, killing thousands of people. And I saw people, and I saw them on television and I read about it on the Internet.


HARLOW: And in a new claim, the Republican front-runner says he watched people jump out of the Twin Towers from his apartment. His apartment at the time, four miles away, uptown, from the site the attacks. Trump also doubled down for surveillance of mosques and a database of all Muslims in the United States.

Here to discuss, Haroon Moghul, a fellow at the Institute for Social Policy, a senior correspondent at

Thank you for being with me.

I want you to listen to what Michael Cohen -- he works for the Trump organization as an adviser for Trump -- what he said this morning on "New Day."

Let's roll it.




COHEN: He's probably right.

CUOMO: No, he's probably wrong.

COHEN: No, he's probably right.

CUOMO: There is no way to substantiate thousands --


COHEN: And there's no way to say it wasn't.

It could be thousands and thousands. It could be a thousand. What the exact number was, I don't know. And I don't think it's relevant. I think what's really relevant is the point that there are really bad people among us.


HARLOW: That is about the claim that Trump, as you just heard him say, saw people celebrating in Jersey City after the towers came down. Trump's campaign is not backing down. They're dismissing any debate whether this was factual. What's your take?

HAROON MOGHUL, FELLOW, INSTITUTE FOR SOCIAL POLICY & SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, RELIGOUSDISPATCHES.COM: I have a serious take and a silly take. The silly take is Trump has brand new properties across the Middle East and he has new property coming up in Dubai with luxury villas and five-star and classy and his name all over it. I'm pretty sure it will have a mosque, too. The funny thing is while Trump is attacking Arabs and making things up, he's making a ton of money off the region. It's a case of a man who can't put his money where his mouth is.

On a more serious note, Martin O'Malley called Trump an immigrant- bashing carnival barker, and it got him a little spike on Twitter. But I think that lets Trump off the hook and us off the hook. I think Trump is not a side show. He's not a cartoonish figure. He's serious.


HARLOW: Not at all, right.

MOGHUL: And he's an extremist. I've studied extremism in Muslim communities. When I see happening on the far right is the same process. Years of incitement and rhetoric that builds up and then someone like him makes a claim, it's false, the mayor of Jersey city strikes it down and he's still sticking with it.

HARLOW: Fact-checkers across the board say this isn't the case. We checked the coverage.

But when you say he has to be taken seriously, absolutely. Let's look at the polling. Here's a new poll out this morning, Quinnipiac poll in the critical early state of Iowa, comparing October to this month. Trump at 25 percent to voters supporting him, despite claims that across the board have been deemed by many, many publications as not factual. What do you say to those supporters?

MOGHUL: Well, look at the last week and the things he said across the board, where they're going. He's refusing Syrian refugees all together. (CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: He's not the only GOP candidate to do that by a long shot.

MOGHUL: He's not the only one but he's taking it to another level, with a database, and surveilling mosques. Over this weekend, a Black Lives Matter protester being beaten at a Trump rally. When asked about it, he said maybe he deserved it. One of the tweets he's circulating is a graphic circulating now about crime and race. Researchers on the Internet linked it back to a neo-Nazi website.

HARLOW: This is 25 percent of likely caucus goers, a quarter in Iowa. What do you say to them? Because they are hearing what they want to hear, and they're believing that this man should be our next president. So --


MOGHUL: So, when someone says we should surveil mosques, the first thing I'd say is the NYPD did that for about seven years. They found nothing. Not a single plot. They had a massive surveillance system. It was very controversial. A lot of people in the Muslim community were upset. But they found nothing. Because as Muslims we support a zero-tolerance policy of extremism. Why would be in favor of something that attacks our country. I was in New York on 9/11. So, for him to say, oh, I saw thousands of Arabs or Muslims celebrating is nonsense. I was president of a Muslim Student Association in lower Manhattan. We saw the towers go down with our eyes. We were right there. People were not celebrating. People were horrified, disgusted. The thing I would like people to realize, American Muslims are Americans. To say we're using our mosques to turn into bases to target our own country is scary.

HARLOW: There are seven million Muslims living in America right now. When you talk to Muslim leaders, because they have to be part of the equation, you see it's a larger percent of the population in France, but here in America, seven million. What do you need to hear from Muslim leaders right now?

[11:35:18] MOGHUL: So, a lot of American Muslims have been condemning extremism. Unfortunately, people don't realize that. But we need to do more. Unfortunate about Trump is he's focusing on mosques. Radical recruitment doesn't happen in mosques. It happens online. For someone --


HARLOW: And also in prisons.

MOGHUL: It does. But the online space in the U.S. is bigger because it's a lot easier and as we've seen, it's harder to detect. We need more Americans to do -- American Muslims to do, and we're starting to do it now, is build tools online to fight back against religious propaganda. Law enforcement has the security responsibility. Obviously, that's their job. That's what they're good at. But our communities need to develop more resources to take those people who are on the edge and pull them back and find ways to pull them back and to take ownership of this problem.

HARLOW: So that that is much more effective than the ISIS propaganda, et cetera, that is out there.

MOGHUL: Definitely.

HARLOW: Haroon Moghul, thank you very much. Nice to have your perspective on the program today.

Also, we're monitoring this press conference about to begin at the White House any moment. President Obama, his French counterpart, Francois Hollande, will take to those podiums beginning a major widely anticipated news conference from the White House. What will they say about the fight against is, the refugee crisis, the manhunt for the eighth attacker, Salah Abdeslam, who is still on the run.

Also, more on our breaking news here in the United States. A Chicago police officer just charged with the shooting of an African-American teenager. Video no one has seen of that event expected to be released any moment. We will take you live to Chicago next.


[11:41:07] This is CNN breaking news.

HARLOW: At this hour, breaking news out of Chicago. An officer accused of shooting and killing a teenager last October, captured on dash cam video, has been charged with first-degree murder. He'll appear in court in just over an hour's time.

Our Ryan Young joins us from Chicago.

Ryan, for people not as familiar with this case, walk us through the events, what is known about that shooting in October of 2014.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A lot of people have questions about this. Police responded to a call of someone breaking into cars. They encountered a man named Laquan McDonald. He was 17 years old. Apparently, had a knife in his hand, a four-inch knife, and trying to get away from officers and maybe stabbed an officer's tire, flattening that out. They tried to surround him and wait for taser but that never happened. An officer said he felt in fear of his life and open fire. On this dash cam video we're told you'll see the officer shooting McDonald 16 times. The conversation has been going on in this community for quite some time. Just about what we'd see. There are reports that when Laquan McDonald was on the ground, the officer continued shooting.

This community for quite some time has had questions about what happened and now I can honestly tell you, people in this community are frustrated about how long this process has taken. The officer has now been charged. We saw him walk into the courtroom today. We know this court hearing, bond hearing will happen at noon in Chicago. Everyone is watching this, especially awaiting whether or not this video will be released. HARLOW: When you talk about the video, one of the reasons why it

hasn't been seen by anyone but authorities, and I'd assume his attorney, is that the family of Laquan McDonald settled with the city, a $5 million settlement. Now the judge has ordered the video must be released by this Thursday. Do we know when? Does it come today after he appears in court? Tomorrow? Any idea on the timing?

YOUNG: Poppy, I can tell you this felt like a shell game, trying to figure out exactly when this video would be released. We've been talking to everyone in terms of this. The Chicago Police Department did not want to release the video. Someone here in Chicago actually took them to court. The judge said it had to be out by Wednesday, until midnight. They have until midnight to release the video. What we've seen over the last few days is a concerted effort from Chicago leaders to talk with community members to try to calm everyone down because they understand people are going to be very upset about this.

Look, there's a community belief that Chicago Police Department does not treat certain people in the African-American community correctly. They believe this video will demonstrate this to the entire world that for years they've been dealing with this issue. They feel this is a powder keg because people could react violently once they see the video. They've been calling for peace and calm but we're not sure if it will be released today or tomorrow. Trying to get that confirmed has been hard. Even confirming the fact the officer would be in courts was something they didn't want to talk about out in the open. We now know this is happening. We'll see what happens today when the officer goes to court.

[11:44:12] HARLOW: Again, he'll be in court at 1:00 eastern time. That is just over an hour from now.

Ryan Young, live for us in Chicago, thank you very much.

Also want to take you to Washington, D.C. Any moment, President Obama and President Francois Hollande will speak live, holding a joint news conference, their first following the horrific attacks in Paris 11 days ago. We'll bring it to you live.

Of course, this is CNN special coverage. Stay with us.


HARLOW: Moments from now, French President Francois Hollande and President Obama set to hold a joint news conference.

CNN senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, with us.

Jim, this is the first time we'll see the two leaders together speaking since the horrific attacks in Paris 11 days ago. But for Hollande, this is a whirlwind tour, meeting with world leaders, yesterday, it was David Cameron of the United Kingdom; today, President Obama; tomorrow, Russian President Vladimir Putin; later in the week German Chancellor Angela Merkel. What is his goal?

[11:48:30] JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: This meeting between President Obama and President Hollande comes at a critical time in the fight against ISIS. President Hollande has been pressuring President Obama to step up the campaign against ISIS. You've had the president say, yes, there will an intensification in what the U.S. is doing and what the U.S.-led coalition is doing to take out that terrorist army.

But at the same time, we heard from Josh Earnest yesterday say that he believes that the White House believes the White House is doing more than its own weight, pulling more of its own weight. That's an indication that inside this White House they believe that the U.S. is doing certainly all it can at this point. It is also a bit of a pushback if anybody is making the case that ground troops should be injected into the battle against ISIS. And at the same time, the French president wants the U.S. to do more.

There is a complication in all of this and that is what happened earlier in Turkey, with Turkey shooting down the Russian warplane. The Russian president would like to form this grand alliance and grand coalition to take the battle against ISIS but, Poppy, having talked to senior officials in the foreign trip to Turkey and Asia, there is a lot of distrust for Vladimir Putin. And while the president and Vladimir Putin had the face-to-face conversation in front of the cameras in Turkey, they do feel that there should be no connection between what is happening in Syria right now, and perhaps Vladimir Putin wanting a get-out-of-jail-free card for what is happening in Crimea and Ukraine, and they don't want any linkage between Russian cooperation of Syria and what is happening in Ukraine.

So it is a delicate balancing act. And I am sure that the president with this meeting with President Francois Hollande over the last hour has explained it to President Hollande in no uncertain terms that there are a lot of balls in the air from a foreign policy standpoint. And so, while, yes, the French president would like to see things happen, President Obama is determine, and we saw it on his face over the last several days, not to ramp things up in a way that he feels overreacts to the threat against ISIS.

One other thing that we should point out this is basically the third press conference that the president has had over the last week. That is highly unusual, and it shows, Poppy, that the president has felt that he is needing to sort of recalibrate his message at times. And you know, the last press conference in Turkey, it was widely panned as too rhetorically soft when it comes to taking out ISIS. He bristled at some of the questions at times about the strategy. And then we saw at the end of the foreign trip, the president was speaking more from the gut, saying that ISIS is going to be destroyed, and it will be done, and ISIS is a bunch of killers with good social media. And so rhetorically, the president was stepping it up, and we will see it here in a few more minutes when he speaks with Francois Hollande.

But at the same time, there is a great deal of caution that is being infused in this president's policy when it comes to dealing with ISIS at this point. I would not expect any dramatic announcements of a huge military effort to go after ISIS. This president, I think, in talking with this administration, is taking a cautious and patient approach. But we will see what the French president's reaction is when he comes into the room. Is he going to be hearing what he wants to hear from the president of the United States -- Poppy?

HARLOW: Absolutely. And so perhaps no promises on the strategic changes from that vantage point from President Obama to Hollande, but what will the rhetoric doing to be.

Jim Acosta, stay with me as we await this news conference.

I want to go to our John King as well.

Let's talk about the rhetoric, John. You had the day of to attack, and Francois Hollande said, this is war, and you have President Obama who, as Jim Acosta just outlined, has been criticized by some for not using strong enough rhetoric when it comes to ISIS, stepping it up in his last press conference in Malaysia. Will we hear the same words and the two leaders on the same page rhetorically as they stand side by side?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a fascinating question in the sense that President Hollande used the term "radical jihad" or "radical Islamist terrorism," which is a term that President Obama has tried to avoid. He did call them killers and ramp up his language on the last foreign trip. Let's be honest about it, this is a difficult military consultations between the two leaders and policy and strategy consultations, and both of them are having the conversations in interesting political environments at home, President Hollande, in France, and President Obama, as the presidential campaign takes swing here in this country where he has been roundly criticized.

But as Jim noted, this president has made crystal clear he is in no mood and sees no reason, politically and from a policy perspective, he insists, that U.S. ground troops are not the answer here. Clearly, you have President Hollande, like George W. Bush, calling himself the wartime president, and making the rounds to build this coalition. It is going to be interesting to see if he gets something, gets something tangible and a public promise from the president of the United States to do more.

The presidents' critics will say that he is leading from behind again and here's the French taking the lead and it should be the United States taking the lead, but for the president, it is an opportunity here. The White House will give you a list of 60-something countries in the coalition of against ISIS. But it will be honest in private with you and tell you, and publicly voice some of the frustration lately, that Jim noted, that it is essentially carrying most of the water. So maybe from the Paris moment, more international cooperation, big international players, big international substance putting eggs in the basket, if you will, will come from this. That is why we are waiting to hear from the leaders.

[11:55:06] HARLOW: But how is it all complicated, right, John, by this Russian fighter jet being downed today in Turkey.


John King, thank you.

Jim Acosta, thank you.

We are monitoring this.

Quick break, and we are back on the other side live from the White House.


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. I'm Ashleigh Banfield, and welcome to LEGAL VIEW.

We are awaiting President Obama and the visiting president of France. They are on the verge of giving a live briefing with all of these reporters and the guests assembled after their urgent consultations on the terror attacks in France and on the war against ISIS in Syria.

New developments there added one more big crisis to the leaders' agenda, and it's this, Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian fighter jet that the Turks say violated the Turkish air space and ignored repeated warnings. Ethnic troops in Syria, known as Turkmen, then reportedly opened fire on the parachuting pilots as the drifted towards the ground after ejecting from their jet. The president of Russia is calling this, quote, "a stab in the back." And we'll have much more on all of this in a few moments.

But first, I want to go back to live back to the White House where my CNN colleague, Jim Acosta, is standing by.

We have a big group of CNN reporters watching all of the developments today.

But first and foremost, Jim, President Hollande came a long way to the United States in a series of diplomatic visits to a number of different countries. Let's talk about this country, and this president. What does Hollande want from Obama in this visit?

ACOSTA: We will find out in a few minutes, Ashleigh. We know from listening to the president of France over the last week of so, he would like to see a grand coalition between the U.S. and Russia to go after ISIS. The problem with the strategy is that things got a lot more complicated over the last 24 hours. A Russian war airplane was downed by Turkey. Turkey is now becoming a much more robust member of this U.S.-led coalition against ISIS. And so the question becomes, what does Vladimir Putin do in response to that and to make sense of that.

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States --

ACOSTA: President Putin has said in the recent days --

ANNOUNCER: -- and the President of French Republic.

ACOSTA: -- he wants a much more vigorous campaign against ISIS from President Obama --

BANFIELD: All right, Jim

ACOSTA: -- and we will see whether or not he will get it. And we'll hear that in just a few minutes -- Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: Let's jump in, watch the two as they take their podium.