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Chris Christie Endorsement by New Hampshire Union leader; Donald Trump Meeting with African-American Pastors; President Obama and Putin Meet in Paris

Aired November 30, 2015 - 23:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: It is 11 PM in the east coast this is CNN tonight, I am Don Lemon. Our GOP debate, just two weeks away, and for some Republican rivals it is maybe do or die, now it is no more "Mr. Nice Guy" for Chris Christie, taking on Donald Trump today over the frontrunner's claims about 9/11, CNN's Jamie Gangel sat down with Christie exclusively and asked him if he thinks Trump is being outrageous. You are going to hear the answer in just a minute. Plus, unlikely allies in the war on terror Presidents Obama and Putin meet in Paris but what can they do to stop ISIS? Let me go right now to CNN's Sara Murray with the Trump campaign in Georgia, Sara.

SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, tonight we heard Donald Trump go after a rival he does not usually target, Bernie Sanders, taking a jab at the democratic presidential candidate for an undergoing an elective hernia surgery today saying it is the result of his liberal policies.

DONALD TRUMP: The biggest crowds by far so much bigger than Bernie Sanders you know you always have Bernie Sanders our crowds - may he rest in peace - you know he had an operation today. I think it was a hernia operation. You know, you know why? Carrying along too much tax problems because he is going to tax you, let us not even talk -- tax problems, he wants to double and triple everyone's -- wants to bring you up to ninety percent.

MURRAY: Donald Trump was campaigning here in Macon, Georgia. That was an earlier meeting in New York City with African-American pastors. He said that meeting was an inspiration. The campaign invited a hundred pastors to meet with Trump but several of them said they were interceding meeting with him or supporting the GOP frontrunner. Still, Trump declared it a success.

TRUMP: We actually did not think we are going to be having a press conference but we all thought it was such as a good meeting we would do that and we have many, many endorsements that came out of the meeting.

MURRAY: Now, he may not have left that meeting with a hundred endorsements but he certainly met with a couple and he was joined here in Macon, Georgia with another big booster, 2012 presidential candidate Herman Cain got the crowd fired up before Trump took the stage, Don. LEMON: Sara thanks. Now, I want to turn to Chris Christie campaign getting a big boost with an endorsement today from the New Hampshire Union leader and CNN's Jamie Gangel sat down with the Governor today for an exclusive interview and she joins us now. Good to see you.


LEMON: Chris Christie and Donald Trump, they really had been sniping at each other but that all seems to be changing now.

GANGEL: They are long-time friends but I have two words to say to you, game on. What we are seeing now is Christie has received this much coveted endorsement from the New Hampshire Union Leader and this morning Trump took a rare swipe at Christie on twitter. Christie called out Trump saying his recent comments about Muslims celebrations at New Jersey were simply wrong but we started by asking Christie about his big endorsement.


GANGEL: Does this make you the comeback kid?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will see. You know that will be determined on February 9th. We will see how the votes come in. But, I think what it shows is that the work we been putting here in New Hampshire, the plans we have laid out, people are taking them seriously and taking them to heart and we are thrilled at the endorsement.

GANGEL: Prediction today, Chris Christie could win New Hampshire.

CHRISTIE: Of course I can win New Hampshire and anybody who is us here and watches any of it knows that I can.

GANGEL: Apparently, this endorsement is enough to worry your friend, Donald Trump. Up to now, he has stirred clear of criticizing you for the most part. But first thing this morning, he was on twitter. "How is Chris Christie running the state of New Jersey, which is deeply troubled, when he is spending all of his time in New Hampshire? New Jerseyans are not happy." You say?


CHRISTIE: I am just so glad to be noticed by Donald. And that is nice, it is great. And I am happy to take whatever input he wants to give in a one hundred forty characters or less which is apparently the way he communicates best, so fine.

GANGEL: Is this a compliment that he is now taking a punch at you?

CHRISTIE: Who knows, you know Jamie - I think I am not going to play into the business of spending the precious time you and I have together, you know talking about Donald Trump. -

GANGEL: Oh yes, we are.

CHRISTIE: I mean he is just one of the number of candidates for us to talk about and chew over and I am not worried about it-

GANGEL: Yes, but he is the frontrunner you have avoided criticizing him but he insists he is now doubled down and tripled down that he saw thousands of Muslims celebrating after 9/11 in Jersey City. Then he says from four miles away in his office, he could see people jumping from the World Trade Center. Do you believe that either of those things happened?

CHRISTIE: No. All I know are the facts. You know, what went on that day in New Jersey was not anything of what he said and there is no film or video of it to prove it, he said he saw it in TV. It did not happen.

GANGEL: But the first time you were asked about it, you said you did not think it is true but you did not recall it. And it is the former prosecutor you know when the witness says I do not recall that, it sounds as if they do not want to answer the question.

CHRISTIE: No, it was an honest answer. I was not focused on everything else that what was going on in New Jersey that day. My wife and my brother were both trapped in Laurel, Manhattan. I did not even know whether they were dead or alive. So I said I do not think it happened but I have to put that qualifier in there because I was not completely focused on what happened.

GANGEL: Did it happen?


GANGEL: Absolutely not? So why don't you call Donald Trump out on this? He has doubled down, tripled down.

CHRISTIE: Everybody knows it did not happen so what is the use? - Join the cacophony, I am about distinguishing myself and making myself different from everybody else in the fourteen person field, not the same.

GANGEL: Yes or no, is it outrageous to Donald Trump keep saying these things?

CHRISTIE: It is wrong. It is just wrong. It is factually wrong. Everybody else can determine what they think is outrageous or not outrageous. I mean in the context of Donald. Outrageous is a high bar.

GANGEL: His latest controversy is that he is mocking a New York Times reporter who has a physical disability. He now claims that he did not know that the reporter had a physical disability, but if you watched the video, it is pretty hard. Do you think he knew what he was doing?

CHRISTIE: Feels that way but you know, he has got to answer for himself - I think part of the folly of all this is that we are answering for him. He said what he said. Now the people who vote will judge him. He should not be making fun of people's disabilities. It is just not worthy of someone running for president of United States.

GANGEL: For someone who says to someone sit down and shut up, not to say what Donald Trump is doing is mean, outrageous, he is very un- Chris Christie.-

CHRISTIE: Pick whatever adjective you want. If I say something is not worthy of coming out of the mouth of the candidate for president of United States, when the person who is saying is the candidate for president of the United States, I think that is pretty strong.

GANGEL: You think that is his strongest sit down and shut up?

CHRISTIE: On a different context, yes. Sit down and shut up - screaming at you in the middle of a speech. If Donald start yelling and screaming at me in the middle of a speech, you can be sure that I will say , sit down and shut up.

GANGEL: Will you ever go after him?

CHRISTIE: I will do whatever I think is best to win this race. I am in it to be the next President of the United States because the stakes are too high to have a vanity exercise.


LEMON: Donald Trump is out Christie, Christie.

GANGEL: You know, he did steal his market share. On the other hand, coming off a bridge gate in Georgia - the GW Bridge Scandal, there is no question Christie has had a very rough year. He actually wants to talk about it. We are going to play that tomorrow on "New Day" but watch out in January, if Christie starts moving up, Trump and Christie are going to go New Jersey on each other.

LEMON: Well that would definitely be interesting to watch, New Jersey and New York. Did he talk about his strategy to win New Hampshire - he is only polling five percent that is still important.

GANGEL: Right. I said to him, what do you need to do now to get attraction - you have been working very hard, you have been trying, what do you need to do now? He turned to me he said, I do not know. If I knew, I would tell you. He is going to keep doing the same thing and hope that other people are going to fall away and maybe he will have his moment.


LEMON: Right. Jamie Gangel, always a pleasure. Thank you so much.

GANGEL: Thank you.

LEMON: And we come right back, one of President Obama's top advisers weighs in on the opposition. What he thinks of Donald Trump's frontrunner status plus President Obama and Putin on war and terror but can they defeat ISIS?


LEMON: Donald Trump still leading in the polls but what today's endorsement from New Hampshire's biggest newspaper, Governor Chris Christie says, he is confident that he will win the GOP race there. Joining me now is CNN's senior political commentator Mr. David Axelrod. So good to have you here David.-I want to ask you about Chris Christie. He told CNN's Jamie Gangel today that Muslims cheering in New Jersey on September 11th as Donald Trump continues to maintain is factually wrong and Trump is not backing down at all on any of this. What is your reaction?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I was surprised when the initial claim was made by Donald Trump that Chris Christie is Governor of the State did not show some righteous indignation on behalf of the people of the state and still not in this interview. He acknowledged that it probably was not true but he declined an invitation to characterize the remarks or the spirit behind them in any way. I think that is a mistake. If you want to be the roughest, toughest customer around then you got to be willing to take on all comers, not just civilians and the audience but Donald Trump too, especially when he is impugning the people of your state.


LEMON: I want you to take a listen to his Executive Vice President for the Trump Organization, Michael Cohen. He defended Trump to Jake Tapper. Take a listen to this.


MICHAEL COHEN, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: I work for Mr. Trump now for a long time and I can tell you that Mr. Trump's memory is fantastic and I have never come across a situation where Mr. Trump has said something that is not accurate.


LEMON: David, how does he continue to survive this when some people believe he is not telling the truth when facts does not seem to be there. Does he defy political gravity?

AXELROD: Well, I think only to a certain degree, to the people who are faithfully supporting him, those core supporters. I do not think that they care much about how the media or others depict his comments or whether they are deemed factual or not. It does not pay his ability to grow. And I think that is where the problem lies for Trump. He has been hanging around in the twenty to thirty point range now for many months. But he has not grown, his negatives are growing outside that core group and it raises the question about where his candidacy goes. He is a frontrunner now in a field of fourteen but when the field shrinks down, that twenty five percent is not going to look as formidable.

LEMON: I want to take to you about the accusations that - have you seen the video tape? You have seen him that he mocked this "New York Times" reporter rally last week. He continues to insist that he was not making of reporter's disability and that he does not remember meeting him. But Mr. Kovaleski, the reporter says they had been on a first name basis for years. What rings through to you with this one? AXELROD: Well look, he also said he was not commenting on Carly Fiorina's face after he commented on her face. He tends to withdraw from these things at times but never admitting culpability or blaming any way or taking responsibility for his remarks. So this is a familiar pattern of his but as you point out to his supporters it does not matter. It is not going to change anything. It is just he continues to kind of limit his ability to grow. And that ultimately is going to be a problem because I do not think Donald Trump is going to hang around to be number two or number three. He lives in a world of mine is bigger than yours. When his is bigger than the other guys, he is going to get out of this race, I think.

LEMON: Let us talk more about Chris Christie now. Picking up a key endorsement in New Hampshire today, stating that he has the range and the type of experience the nation desperately needs, the New Hampshire Union Leader endorsed him, how significant is this, you think?

AXELROD: Well I think it is significant. I do not think it is determinative. Newt Gingrich have the endorsement last time and they have endorsed plenty of losers before but it certainly should give him a boost. And I think the important thing to watch in the next couple of weeks are does this shows up in the post? Is he beginning to hit double digits? He has not yet and the other test for Chris Christie is he has been largely ignored, not just by Donald Trump but by everyone up until this point because he has not factored in the race. He was the frontrunner at the beginning of the race right after his re- election and he crashed when the Bridge Scandal broke in New Jersey and he was left on the side of that road for - in this race and now he is slowly coming back by working this New Hampshire avenue. And the question is when people start bringing those charges back, when the bridge investigation, New Jersey's fiscal morass and some of the other problems start getting thrown back at him, how does he react and how the voters react?

LEMON: And what about Iowa now, that is New Hampshire and Iowa now take Cruz that today that Trump would not be the nominee. The Iowa Caucuses February 1st, you think Cruz is right, who is your pick?

AXELROD: I think Cruz has always been the candidate to watch in Iowa. He has been very methodically appealing to that social conservative base and Iowa which is a very dominant force in the Iowa Caucuses-

LEMON: So no Carson, no Trump, no Christie there?

AXELROD: As Carson begins to fade, Trump - I mean Cruz has been the beneficiary of that and he is a very strong Iowa candidate because of his positions on issues that appeal the social conservatives. He has also got foot in the tea party base. His father, who is a minister, has been going from town to town talking to Evangelicals on his behalf throughout this period and he has been organizing methodically there. I think Cruz is the person to watch in Iowa and if he wins Iowa, he is to going to leverage his way into this race.

LEMON: I did not mention Rubio, but what about Rubio?

AXELROD: Well I think Rubio's issue - he is the guy unlike all the others who seems to appeal at every factions of the Republican Party. He is good with the Establishment Republicans, he is good with the Social Conservatives, and he is good with the Tea Party group. But the question is, can he maintain that or does he become everybody's sort of second choice.


He has to win somewhere and the question is where. His people will say well Nevada is the place that he could win, but I do not think he is going to win in Iowa and I do not this he is going to win in New Hampshire and the better Christie does if he actually does rise, it hurts Rubio in that race.

LEMON: I know you have been watching this closely, Donald Trump meeting today with more than a hundred African-American pastors. Let us take a listen.


TRUMP: Right now, you have Black youth if you look at African-American youth, where it is fifty one and fifty five and fifty seven percent unemployed you have African-American people of different ages where it is double and triple of their numbers. Black lives are very important, White lives are very important and to me all lives are very important, very, very important.


LEMON: He is speaking to an issue, number one that is very important African-American's talking about the jobs prospect and unemployment there. Him picking up a relatively small percentage of Black voters if he does that is not good for the Democratic nominee. How much of the Black vote would be enough to make a difference, if he does pick it up?

AXELROD: Well I do not think - Donald Trump necessarily is the guy who is going to pick up large percentage of the Black vote. This is a problem for the Republican Party as a whole. Of course, they got single digit in the race against Obama. They have to do better than that. Overall in the minority vote a Black, Hispanic and Asian that had to do twice as well as they did four years ago.

LEMON: Wouldn't he need just a small percentage though?

AXELROD: -- But Trump would need more because the way he has antagonized large numbers of Hispanic Americans, his numbers there are going to be very low in my estimation if you were to be the nominee. He has antagonized a lot of women in this race. You know the Republican Party said after the last election, they had to do better job of reaching out to Hispanics, to women and younger voters. Donald Trump has done a very good job of driving all of those constituencies away so he clearly would be a troubled candidate if you were the nominee of the Republican Party.

LEMON: David Axelrod, much appreciated, thank you.

AXELROD: Alright Don, nice to see you.

LEMON: And up next, the countdown is on to the next GOP debate right here on CNN. Can Trump maintain his lead and what are voters in Iowa saying?


LEMON: Donald Trump meets with Black Pastors in New York while Chris Christie picks a big endorsement. A lot to talk about with Republican Strategist Rick Wilson, Kayleigh McEnany Editor of Political Prospect and McKay Coppins, author of, I will take a deep breath, "The Wilderness." Deep inside the Republican Parties combative, contentious, chaotic quest to take back the White House. By the time your flight is over you just read the title in the book.

MCKAY COPPINS, AUTHOR "THE WILDERNESS": I am so grateful to you for reading that whole thing. Thank you.

LEMON: It is good to have you. In the break, by the way, we were talking about the Thanksgiving and what we all ate so surprising we could all fit in these boxes on the screen here. Anyway, it is good to have all of you. Rick, -- you saw my interview with David Axelrod. You saw his take on Donald Trump's campaign. You say Trump's campaign and this political season is going to change our political culture, how is that?

RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well look at me, we are in this post-narrative, post-fact culture right now and if you have got a fanatical of following, they will literally believe, anything you say. Trump is the only person in the field with that right now but we are going to start - I think in the next cycle we are going to end up - with people who are trying to become - to celebrify the entire political process, to turn it into a reality television program even more than Trump has and so I think it is going to change the political culture for a lot of fundamental ways and there is this big dynamic right now between folks who think they know what Donald Trump is because they know the character on television and folks who do elections. Folks who do elections are terrified right now of the future because you know sometimes you win, sometimes you lose but we have got a prospect here that can do damage to the Republican brand and for a decade or more -

LEMON: Celebrify is that like strategery? I mean, I like that word but fanatical Cailey? Fanatical, are they fanatics Donald Trump's supporters?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, EDITOR POLITICAL PROSPECT: No, they are not fanatical. And Rick's problem - what I just heard Rick say was the typical establishment talking point which is this is not your typical candidate, this is not your Jeb Bush, this is not your Mitt Romney, this is not your John McCain. What we see in Donald Trump, what we see in Ben Carson are outsiders, people who do not fit the political culture, the political profile of the perfect candidate. But voters do not want the perfect candidate, we have had the perfect candidate for years and years and we finally are at the point where we want someone who speaks the truth and emanates strength. - COPPINS: I actually think that the debate between Rick and Kayleigh right now is emblematic of a - of what the Republican Party is scrapping with right now which is that you know, Rick might not be the classic Republican - Establishment Republican but he is representing the traditional mode of campaigning and rules have govern politics forever which is the Republican Party establishment has kind of revolved around for decades, right? - What I want to say is that Kayleigh is giving voice to is not just kind of populous sentiment that Donald Trump has tapped into, she is also - I think that what Trump is blurring to do when I read about this in a book is that he has learned to operate the levers of this kind of new weaponized cash flush right wing counter establishments, right? -

LEMON: Like the Wizard of Oz, you think he is the man behind the curtains?

COPPINS: Well, yes. It is not just Trump himself there are all these organizations in this entire media ecosystem that is around him, that enables him to live in this, as we Rick called today, post-fact culture.

LEMON: Let me ask you this Kayleigh - Go ahead Rick, quickly.

WILSON: The reason that that is problematic is a lot of the scripts are incentivized, there are a lot of financial incentives for a lot of these groups that are pretending to be the purest and they are the toughest of all and the talk radio ecosystem, they would love to have Hillary Clinton as president, that is great for their bottom line. They would love that.


Wilson: That churns more e-mail. That churns more donations.

LEMON: So you think, they are stirring it up because it is ultimately good for them?

WILSON: Absolutely.

LEMON: OK, so Kayleigh let me ask you this. Is Donald Trump, is he tapping into a part of the Republican base that feels betrayed and let down by mainstream Republicans? - Are you concerned to that part of the base, that part of the electric, does it translate to a large number of voters in the general election?

MCENANY: Don, I am not concerned about that at all because I think Donald Trump is a candidate like we have never seen before. It is not just the very conservative voters, when you look at Ted Cruz's constituents for instance it is mainly very conservative voters who are supporting him and the Evangelicals but Trump is so unique because he not just reaching the very conservative voters, he is not just reaching the Evangelicals, he is reaching blue-collar workers, he is reaching moderates and states that the GOP has dreamed of -

LEMON: Some Black pastors - MCENANY: He is reaching and tapping, he is tapping into the same voters that Hillary Clinton is going after, workers and factories, no class voters, he is hitting -

LEMON: Go ahead Rick, you cut her off. Go ahead.

WILSON: What is the little math here though, he has got about twenty five percent of the Republicans base vote right now. OK, that is going to translate out in the general election somewhere under ten percent. Now, if you think you can vote a coalition that is written off every other part of the electorate out there in large degrees, if you think that is possible, then Math is not your friend because this is a guy who is going out of his way to go out and make this into a very narrow nationalist coalition - he has abandoned the traditional Republican coalition that is a limited government national security coalition and turned it into a single issue or narrow issue, nationalist coalition - that is a wonderful little eight percent of the vote that is not going to get you home in the general.

LEMON: OK Kayleigh, respond.

MCENANY: Rick, guys like you have been saying for months and months and months, Donald Trump is going to go down this week. This comment drowned him, this comment he has ousted, that is not the case. He is defying Math, he is defying numbers, he is defying the political consultant crowd and he is tapping in to the heart of the American people. He is setting something really powerful and the consultants do not get it. But it is working, he has been on top for more than a hundred days now and I do not see him going down anytime soon.

WILSON: OK. -- Kayleigh, why is that Donald Trump is the worst performing candidates against Hillary in almost every survey. Where you see Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, the rest of field performs marginally - markedly better than Donald Trump, who occasionally tops Hillary in these head to heads. I will tell you why, it is because Donald Trump is a narrow casting candidate, he is very powerful in effect with the very alienated group and the fact of the matter is in the general election, I am sorry you have to fight a general election too. You do not just get to have the rah-rah rallies of the Republican base only. Eventually, you have to come out and have a conservative, prospective, optimistic message unlike this kind of dark message of Donald Trump that were doomed as a failure on only he is the strong leader on the white horse -

COPPINS: Here is the problem that the Republican Party actually faces though, because - look whether or not - the problem is that if Donald Trump wins the nomination, he has all the problems that Rick just outlined, and those are going to be genuine problems. The real problem that they face is that Donald Trump has gone back now in recent weeks saying that if the Republicans do not treat him fairly, he will run as independent. I mean that is a huge problem for the Republicans and I do not know how the party navigates-

LEMON: OK, so everybody is talking about Math. OK. Kayleigh, I will give this to you. Let us look at the calendar now. This is between now and March 1st we are talking about Super Tuesday, CNN Debate is on December 15th, the Iowa Caucus' on February 1st, New Hampshire Primary February 9th, South Carolina is February 20th, Nevada is on the 23rd and you have Super Tuesday March 1st, which is my birthday by the way, Donald Trump wins Iowa and New Hampshire. Is it over Kayleigh?

MCENANY: I think so. If he was Iowa and New Hampshire, look, there is still a narrow path for others but typically, Iowa and New Hampshire defined the vying candidates. And if he is able to tackle both very different constituencies, that speaks very highly of Donald Trump and to quickly answer Rick's point, I find it so ironic that the same folks who have been touting the fact that polls do not matter now, Donald Trump being on top for so many months out - polls do not matter, all of a sudden the poll that shows that Trump is not doing as well as some of the other candidates against Hillary, that poll matters. The fact is the polls does not tell us a lot right now about the general election -

WILSON: Kayleigh, is it not relevant to you, don't you want a candidate who can post up strongly against Hillary? Don't you want a candidate who already shows that Hillary Clinton -

LEMON: Let her answer, Rick.

MCENANY: I do not see why you are so convinced that the polls right now shows that Trump will inevitably lose to Hillary Clinton when if you look, many months from now the polls change, the numbers change, they have not even had a general election debate, you are speculating, but we have tried it your way, we have tried McCain, we have tried Romney, it did not work.

WILSON: McCain was not my candidate, thanks very much. - Go ahead McKay, I am sorry.



COPPINS: All I am going to say is, this debate is the debate that the Republicans have it is purity versus electability. It is always what comes into contention in these primary races and generally, the electability argument ends up with it.-

LEMON: You put a bow on it into my next -- segue right into -- thank you guys, I appreciate it. CNN hosts the next Republican Presidential Debate Tuesday night, December 15th at 9:00 EST again. Thanks to all of my guests. We come right back chilling details of what else the Paris attackers plan President Barrack Obama joins world leaders in Paris. Can they defeat ISIS?


LEMON: President Barrack Obama joins international leaders in Paris less than three weeks after the deadly terror attacks that shocked the world. Let us talk about it now. Juliette Kayyem, CNN's National Security Analyst and Mr. Michael Weiss, co-author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror." That is a short name considering what you know the..



LEMON: President Obama, one hundred other fifty world leaders, they are now in Paris for this climate control summit. Are they safe? I mean this had too have been a major challenge for security services.

MICHAEL WEISS, CO-AUTHOR OF "ISIS: INSIDE THE ARMY OF TERROR": It is but look, Paris is a world capital - is President Obama any safer in Washington D.C. or in New York City, right? ISIS's intent is - not just ISIS, Al Qaeda, every terrorists' group intent is to strike wherever they can in the west. French counter-terrorism officials, police have done an admirable job in keeping the city secure since that grisly event November 13th does it seem like ISIS has the wherewithal or the ability to strike again so soon after? No. It seems like that the attacks that they had actually conceived of that we are looking to perpetrate were thankfully interrupted because of what they have managed to pull off and also the response to it. And as you have mentioned, the security details surrounding this conference and you know the leader - the free world it is hard to get to you. I do not think that they have that capability.

LEMON: All right, now Juliette, the Paris attackers they had other plots ready to go that is according to CNN sources, including those plots - including schools, Jewish areas, transportation networks, the Secretary of Homeland Security, J. Johnson, was on the lead earlier today, here is what he had to say.


J. JOHNSON, SECRETARY OF THE HOMELAND SECURITY: We are on the job. We are concerned about potential copycat attacks, the potential lone wolf actor, and the terrorist-inspired attack and so we are very much on the job. There is a heightened law enforcement presence, a heightened aviation security presence at a number of airports and we are continually evaluating where there more should be necessary.


LEMON: Juliette, what is the concern level? How concerned should we be?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Our people at the department are concerned and not just because of what happened in Paris but obviously a number of incidents have occurred in the last couple of months plus you have the recurring or persistent threat of a lone wolf which is almost impossible to stop. You can have much surveillance as you want but some guy wakes up, goes online and decides he is going to be the next ISIS fighter. It is very difficult to stop so the peace that - the Secretary Johnson did talk about later on in his conversation with Jake really was also about engaging communities, see something, say something people should be more aware because you can never get this risk or the threat down to zero. You are just going to try to stop it before it gets here. You are going to fortify places like airports and schools and train stations and then you are also going to need to engage the American public and that is - you know those are the tools we have to protect the homeland.

LEMON: Michael, I want to put this photo up, I want you to look at this. This is President Obama and Putin there looking past each other really, you know it just shows an instant. They still seem to be at odd on how to defeat ISIS. You see a potential here, it could be U.S. work with Putin?

WEISS: No. Let me tell you why. Putin's objective in Syria is not to defeat ISIS. Putin's objective in Syria is to rob the west of any credible alternative to ISIS or Bashar Al-Assad. That is why take your pick of the source here. Reuters, couple of weeks ago, 4/5 of Russians sorties based on an independent investigation they conducted are getting non-ISIS targets. The U.S. State Department upwards ninety percent of Russians sorties have been after non-ISIS targets. The Russian fighter jet that was shut down by Turkey flying across Turkish air space but in a location in Syria where guess what, there is no ISIS Latakia and Idlib it do not exist in those two provinces.

LEMON: So is this what you call a dirty double game that you said on how Russia fights terror?

WEISS: Look, the idea is you know pretend that you are solving the problem, present yourself to the west as the only - partner to solve that problem and then hope that the propaganda succeeds. President Obama I think got the full measure of Putin right after he met with President - alone at the White House, he came out and gave a press conference and he said, look it would be wonderful if Russia were actually going after ISIS but they are not. There was a lot of speculation after Paris. Very much like after the emulation of Musa Al Qasas (ph) with the Jordanian air men everyone thought you know the King of Jordan is ready to send Special Forces into Syria. President alone went to Moscow but he came back today in fact he said Putin has to prioritize fighting ISIS and not going after those rebel groups including the ones that are backed by the United States and the so- called friends of Syria coalition. These are the groups that Russia was bombing the very day the Turks shot the jets out of the sky. So you have completely markedly different objectives here.

LEMON: So Juliette, in what Michael calls a dirty double game Russia in fighting terror here. How does the U.S. deal with this if the U.S. Embassy in Kabul also receiving credible reports of an imminent attack on Americans there? What is going on behind the siege to protect the Americans abroad right now in again as Michael says dirty double game of fighting terror?

KAYYEM: Michael is exactly right - and just to touch on his point. No one thinks otherwise.


I mean everyone knows that this is just a game of everyone pretending like there is a common goal here which there is none. I would say I am slightly more optimistic that if we can tone down the anti-Assad message that there might be a solution. Maybe it is not as short term as all of us hope but that would require us, we, focusing our efforts against Assad, the leader of Syria has been - why we want the Syrian's war to end and more on stabilizing Syria and fighting ISIS. Now for diplomatic and other U.S. sites because they are not always just embassies, just think of a U.S. hotel, right? As we have seen in the past. The security is actually quite strong it is never going to be perfect and it is actually one of the challenges for diplomats says so huge debate in the State Department that the more that we isolate diplomats and ambassadors in these bunkers, you go to some of these countries, you have seen them, all of us have seen them, you know they are like prisons. The last that we are actually able to engage populations and leaders in a common dialogue which is the whole point of diplomacy, so it is always going to be this balance between the accessible diplomat, one who is engaged in populations and protecting them.

LEMON: All right. Juliette and Michael, stay with me when we come right back here was the Planned Parenthood attack homegrown terrorism? Will we see it differently if the government had been Muslim?


LEMON: Was the attack on Planned Parenthood a case of terrorism and is homegrown terror greater threat than ISIS? Back with me now is Juliette Kayyem and Michael Weiss. OK so Juliette, Robert Dear, he is the man accused of killing three people at the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, he made his first court appearance today it was via video link, presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was asked about the CNN's State of the Union, listen.


MIKE HUCKABEE, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Regardless of why he did it. What he did is domestic terrorism and what he did is absolutely abominable especially to of us in the pro-life movement because there is nothing in any of us that would condone or any way look the other way of something like this.


LEMON: Do you agree, Juliette? Is he a domestic terrorist?

KAYYEM: Yes. And he seems to satisfy all the legal requirements of domestic terrorism to intimidate or course use of violence as people assert to constitutional rights. I think it is helpful to explain why are we having this debate and the reason why is because prosecutors who bring cases love to bring cases that - where they have the evidence they can put someone behind bars for their life and we appear to have that with Robert Dear without getting into his motivations about whether he was trying to do with politically motivated, whether he hated Planned Parenthood, whether he hated President Obama. So it maybe for purposes of dialogue, we say it is domestic terrorism but we might see legal proceedings that dropped the war terrorism because there is a clear cut case and I want to remind people of the thirty charges against the Tsarnaev brother in the Boston Marathon case, none of them were about terrorism. They were about the use of a weapon of mass destruction, the use of explosives. It is easier to bring a case without getting into the mindset of someone even if looking at it from the outside we think it is domestic terrorism that is why there seems to be this debate.

LEMON: OK Michael, the Justice Department in the domestic terrorist, posts a greater threat to America than ISIS and Al Qaeda and this is on October the Assistant Attorney General, John Carlin said "Looking back over the past few years, it is clear that domestic terrorists and homegrown violent extremists remain a real and present danger to the United States. We recognize that over the past few years, more people have died in this country in attacks by domestic extremists than in attacks associated with international terrorist groups." Why do you think Americans and politician are not treating these shootings like a national security issue that it is?

WEISS: Well there is the awkwardness factor. It relates to domestic politics which I mean it can be quite embarrassing right? Here is a guy who wants to take out an institution funded by the Federal Government because he is fanatically pro-life or whatever his certain politics were. Recall in the 90's after Timothy McCauley the Oklahoma City bombing this was the real phenomenon that everyone, including the FBI was worried about. You know this sort of ultra-right wing Michigan militia type people who want to overthrow the U.S. government. Terrorism by definition is you know an attempt to affect political change to the use of mass violence against them, typically civilians. ISIS, Al Qaeda is really no different but we have got it - the whole category confused because we see them as messianic religious fundamentalists. In fact, there is also a political project that underlies both of their sort of world views or visions.

LEMON: When you think of domestic terror right and Juliette you can drop in here - instead of drip, drip, drip, it happens every once in a while you hear about a big event when you have something as huge as a 9/11 - when you look at this events it is easy to place the boogey man.

WEISS: That is another factor too, Don. It is the number of casualties and fatalities that are committed by Islamic Extremism so the frequency with which these domestic terrorists act is much higher right? I mean you are going to have this sort of lashing out whatever the political debate is going to be. With respect to Al Qaeda and ISIS, they look to kill as many people as indiscriminately as possible. Their targets are going to be much broader.

LEMON: Juliette, I have got ten seconds, what do you say?

KAYYEM: Well I think just picking up on that awkwardness issue, it ultimately comes down to access to weapons. So anyone who is in counter terrorism thinks about risks, you have to have an honest discussions about guns in this country because that is actually - you know terrorists need to use weapon so we divert that conversation and call it something else so we do not have to address some of the bigger issues related to gun control or to hear other's mental health.


LEMON: I have to get off here on time. Thank you. Appreciate it. We will be right back.


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