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Poll: Trump with Double-Digit Lead; Jury Selected in Freddie Gray Death Case; Stunning Charge From Former Obama Top Military Official; Trump Says Take Out ISIS Families. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired December 2, 2015 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Controversy sure doesn't hurt Donald Trump. So says the polls. But it sure is hurting his closest rival, it appears, in a brand-new race for number two.

Did the White House ignore warnings about ISIS because it did not fit their re-election narrative? The stunning accusation from President Obama's former military intelligence chief.

And moments ago, Rahm Emanuel firing back over accusations of a cover- up involving the shooting death of an African-American teenager. Hear what the mayor says and what happened when a reporter challenges him.

Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. John Berman is off today.

A new poll, a brand-new poll out just this morning shows that Donald Trump is leading by double digits nationally, and Ben Carson is dropping. And Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, they are on the rocks. The Quinnipiac University poll shows Trump right now stands at 27 percent. Senator Rubio at 17 percent. Dr. Carson sliding into a third place, now tied with Senator Cruz, and former Governor Jeb Bush sitting far behind at 5 percent. No other candidate in the Republican field is above 3 percent in this brand-new poll.

CNN's senior political reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson, is joining us now.

What's behind the polls? What do you see, Nia?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: It's almost deja vu all over again. Trump still leading. Carson taking that tumble, and you can tell that others are Benefiting there Carson's tumble, particularly Ted Cruz who has seen that surge as well as Marco Rubio. And now I think you have this situation where it's still Trump and everyone else. And everyone else is divided essentially between the Carson, Cruz and Rubio bracket. And then everyone else kind of down there in single digits including Bush. What a surprise that is after all the money he spent on this campaign so far, particularly in advertising.

BOLDUAN: What do you make, though, of then the head-to-head, these hypothetical head-to-heads, depending on what side of this people land on, they care about the head-to-heads or they don't care about the head-to-heads. In this latest poll, this is not moves that Donald Trump is going to be happy about. HENDERSON: That's right. You look at these polls over the last

couple of months, and sometimes, you're right, people dismiss the head-to-head numbers because it's such a hypothetical, right? Before you did see Trump in the lead in some of these hypotheticals against Hillary Clinton. And now it looks like she is doing much better in these hypotheticals. She's doing much better in winning these hypotheticals almost against everyone. For a time you had Carson doing better in terms of hypotheticals. But again, I do think those are some of the numbers that people don't pay much attention to. But I think the people who do pay attention to them are people like Bernie Sanders, who is doing well in some of these head-to-head matchups, too, against a Republican hypothetical Republican nominee.

BOLDUAN: And one of the groups that people definitely do pay attention to especially in some of the early states is evangelicals and where they stand right now. Where is their support?

HENDERSON: Well, the thing here -- this is the surprise. Donald Trump, again, is doing well with evangelicals. He's at 24 percent. You've got Cruz at 24 percent. And then Carson, who in many ways, had been the leader with evangelicals, he's in third. And that number, I think, tells you why he's doing poorly overall. So again, here is Trump who people don't necessarily think of as the evangelical candidate leading with this all-important bloc, and that tells you also why he's doing so well in Iowa.

BOLDUAN: Even among evangelical leaders that we speak with, there is a bit of befuddlement, but we continue to watch.

Nia, thank you so much. Great to see you.

HENDERSON: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Let's discuss. Joining me now is Republican consultant, Bruce Haynes; as well as former Obama administration official, Van Jones; and Scottie Hughes, chief political correspondent for USA Radio Networks, who has also spoken favorably of Mr. Trump in the past.

It's great to see you all.

A lot to get through in these polls, as always.

Scottie, first to you.

And the big headline that we're seeing here, Donald Trump, double digits. Ben Carson, he's falling from being neck and neck with Donald Trump just a month ago. The big change a lot of folks will point to is the fact that he's had controversy surrounding him that has dinged his number. Why do controversies impact Ben Carson's support but not Donald Trump? Because he's definitely a man who has controversy around him at every turn.

SCOTTIE HUGHES, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, USA RADIO NETWORKS: I think the key is -- and this is what, when you look at all four of the people that are leading -- is about weakness. And when you see Ben Carson, he surges when he shows strength. And when he starts to backtrack or apologize for some of his comments, you see his numbers start to fall. And that's one thing you don't see with Trump. Whether he's right or wrong, he still surges forward and does not apologize. I think the real message to the GOP looking at those numbers are they've always said that conservatives were the minority of the Republican Party. Well, right now if you look at all four of those leaders, those are the top four conservative Tea Party leaders. So obviously, I think the silent majority has awoken and has put the four at the top.

[11:05:09] BOLDUAN: Bruce, as Nia-Malika was talking about earlier, these head-to-heads, there's moves here that Donald Trump is not going to be happy about despite the fact that he has said over and over again that he is beating Hillary Clinton and beating her badly and would beat her badly. Her lead in these hypothetical head-to-heads, her lead is widening. This kind of goes to the fear that we're hearing more and more about from establishment Republicans. "The New York Times" writing an article saying it's not just fear, it's panic among establishment Republicans that Donald Trump will be, could be the nominee. Why -- but at the same time, no one's ready to take him on, at least amongst the establishment, they say. Why not?

BRUCE HAYNES, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: Well, don't count me among anybody in the establishment that's panicking about a poll that's a year away from the election. I think what really needs to happen in the Republican party is less of a focus on Donald Trump and more of a focus on how do you consolidate the vote around Donald Trump? If you look at the Quinnipiac poll, Bernie Sanders has almost the same amount of vote in the Democratic primary that Donald Trump has in the Republican primary. But we're not talking about Bernie Sanders because that other vote is consolidated around Hillary Clinton. So I think as you see Rubio and Cruz start to surge, Carson, because as Scottie said, he's kind of become an uncertain candidate, and uncertainty translates to weakness. As you see rube crow and Cruz begin to surge, we're going to find one or two of those candidates that begin to consolidate that vote, and then we'll have a real race and we'll see if Trump's candidacy is sustainable.

BOLDUAN: It's been sustainable despite people saying very similar to things you're saying all summer long, Bruce.

HAYNES: That's right.

BOLDUAN: Van, to you, let's talk about the front-runners and Hillary Clinton for a second. One of the things that doesn't add up in this poll -- and this goes to both on the Democratic side and on the Republican side -- is who is leading and who is liked? Both of the front-runners -- we'll put up the favorability numbers. Both of the front-runners have the highest unfavorable numbers. Explain this.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, part of the thing is what you have to remember is we all just came back there thanksgiving. When you get away from the political bubble, when you're at waffle house, you're at Walmart, you're in the Laundromat, you're talking to real people. The only people some people have heard of is Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They may not like them, but their name I.D. is still carrying forward a lot of this momentum. Another thing about Trump, he's bounced around inside the same numbers since he announced. He's always been somewhere between 22 percent, 23 percent, 26 percent, 27 percent, sometimes up to 30 percent, but he's not growing. He's just kind of bouncing around.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, but, Van, that is a number that people like Jeb Bush would dream of right now.

JONES: You can take a zero off that number, and he could dream to be bouncing around there. That's true. My point is you still have a bunch of Republicans out there who now they know Trump's in the race. They've got a bunch of weak candidates. They still have not gone to Trump. I think Trump may have a ceiling we're not talking about.

BOLDUAN: I want to get you -- I get really excited, Scottie, and you can weigh in on this, whenever we can throw up a pie chart on TV. I though that drives people crazy. Let's put this up and I'll get your take really, really quickly. This goes to the money spent by the campaigns on ads. I want everyone to squint at your television and find the slice of the pie that is Donald Trump. Yeah. You can't see it, actually. It's that small. But then look how much Jeb Bush has spent.

What is the deal here, Bruce? You've dealt with media strategy for the RNC. What is the deal here in this election where numbers -- the number of dollars spent towards ads is not equating to bumps to changing of the numbers in the polls?

HAYNES: Well, I think it's the value of the other kinds of media that Donald Trump has been able to generate that actually dwarfs what's been spent in ads by other candidates. You look at the debates, and 23 million viewers are tuning into CNN debates. We'll see if you guys can top that on December 15th when you have the next debate. You know, you look at Donald Trump, he gives live speeches places and cable networks carry them live for 30 minutes at a time which dwarfs the value of a 30-second television ad. And we're seeing the candidate deliver his message unfiltered, unscripted, sit-down interviews. This is much more valuable to a candidate than the presentation of a 30-second ad, and Donald Trump frankly has been a genius in obtaining that time and using it to his great benefit.


BOLDUAN: Scottie, I want to get your quick take. Another headline has to do with the second tier here. This new fight that we're seeing between Rubio and Ted Cruz. This is, I think, the fight to watch going forward. I think we can all agree on that. We're already kind of seeing that and been trying to make distinctions amongst each other. Cruz in a new interview trying to lump Marco Rubio with President Obama and Hillary Clinton in terms of their foreign policy approach. Cruz saying that he would not -- he would want to leave Bashar al Assad in Syria in place. Do you think that distinction can stick? Is that a good foreign policy place for Ted Cruz to be?

[11:10:10] HUGHES: I think that's a very good distinction because right now we sit there and Ted Cruz points out that over and over again, we take out these leaders and we don't have a plan. Like this administration does not have a plan in Assad comes in and groups like ISIS come in and take over. This is a good distinction for Cruz to make from Rubio because they do share a large part of the same base. The other distinction is going to be this immigration policy. The policy that put Trump on top, the policy that put Cruz on top is severely different from what Marco Rubio has. So I think this is a great distinction. However, I think the fight going forward is going to be Cruz -- the media or the establishment putting Cruz up against Trump. Because that right there, they're probably the one ones that share the closest base.

BOLDUAN: They haven't yet fought each other. We haven't seen that but I have a strange feeling we're going to see that fight start very soon. Maybe the next debate.

Great to see you, guys. Thank you so much.


BOLDUAN: Do not forget that the last GOP debate of the year is happening right here on CNN December 15th. Our good friend, Wolf Blitzer, will be moderating. Do not miss it. Again, December 15th starting at 9:00 p.m.

Moments ago, Donald Trump he said, if he's president, he's take out the families of terrorists. Why he says America is now fighting a politically correct war.

Plus, did the White House ignore warnings about ISIS so that it wouldn't hurt their re-election narrative? The stunning charge coming from President Obama's former military intelligence chief.

And for the first time, we are hearing directly from the officers involved in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice. Why their version of events may not match up with the investigation.


[11:15:49] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BOLDUAN: Breaking news just in. A jury has been selected in the trial of the Baltimore police officer, William Porter. He is one of, you'll remember, six officers that are charged in the April death of Freddie Gray. Besides the 12 jurors, four alternates have also been selected. This is very significant. There have been protests every day that they have been meeting in the courtroom. This has been the third day, day three of the meeting to select this jury.

Joining me now to discuss this is Laura Coates. She's a former assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.

This has been, you know, three days, a whole lot of scrutiny. Everyone's eyes on this process. What do you make of it?

LAURA COATES, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Well, it's a very quick turnaround for jury selection in a case of this stature. But you know, I'm not surprised they were able to find a jury pool in Baltimore because what people were trying to figure out was, was the universal knowledge of the settlement and of this case, based on the national media attention, going to be enough to allow all these jurors not to be able to be unbiased? And we find here that they actually have an impartial jury who may, in fact, be able to receive the evidence as it comes in with an objective mind. And so this is going to be just the very beginning.

This case will be the litmus test for all police excessive force cases go forward. And the William Porter case, in particular, will be very, very key for the prosecution going forward on the remaining five trials. William Porter, as you know, is one of six officers charged. And he is likely to become a key witness against the other officers in this case following this trial.

BOLDUAN: You mentioned it, the big question has been can they find an impartial jury? I mean, I think that's going to be -- regardless, that's going to linger. That's going to be a lingering question throughout this, yes?

COATES: Oh, absolutely. I mean, this is a case where people are saying, look, there's $6.4 million settlement that has to be paid from the Baltimore city taxpayers who also make up the Baltimore jury pool. And every single one of those jurors was aware of the facts in this case as it was reported. And every single one of those jurors was subject to the curfew and forced by the mayor following the Baltimore riots. It's very hard to find a jury pool who would have no information on this case.

However, moving it outside of Baltimore would likely not have alleviated or cured that particular knowledge because this is a case, Kate, as you know, that everybody in the country is watching. It's such a grasping and thought-provoking case to figure out what's going to happen and how will it be dealt with? It's like they couldn't have found an impartial jury who had any less knowledge they did anywhere across the country.

BOLDUAN: And to put an even finer point on it every day that they've been in there, those in the courtroom have said that you could hear the protests outside the courtroom from inside. So the jury not only, these jurors, they not only, as you said, were impacted because of all of the riots surrounding and the curfews surrounding the Freddie Gray death, but also they're hearing how much pressure and how heated this whole thing is right outside the courtroom.

COATES: Kate, you're so right. And this is an instance when although we had anonymity, right? Every one of these jurors will use their anonymous jury number. They won't give their actual fame, but come on. We live in a very wide-open information society. Each of these jurors who were selected are very well aware that their anonymity may be a fleeting -- fleeting expectation for themselves. And even more so, you can only imagine what the backlash will be if there is an unfavorable verdict to the Baltimore city residents. They will have to have some accountability.

And that's a very daunting prospect for any juror. Not only do most people want to go to jury duty because it can be boring for them, but now you have the added risk of having your anonymity compromised and having to be accountable for whatever your verdict ultimately becomes based on what they're seeing. And remember, Kate, no one is allowed inside of the courtroom for media coverage. Everyone has to come out of the courtroom to report. So those jurors are in a very unique situation where they alone are going to have all of the information that the public's not going to be able to see, but they'll be judged to a much different standard than most jurors.

[11:20:16] BOLDUAN: And this is a very first, yet very important first step in a very long process, not only in this trial, but as you said, this is going to kind of set the stage for the five other -- for the other trials of all the other officers that were involved that will be here.

Just to reiterate the news for our viewers, they have 12 jurors. They have been selected in the trial of the first officer, the first Baltimore police officer, who's going to be facing trial, Officer William Porter.

Laura, thank you so much. We'll talk to you a little bit later in the show. Thank you so much for jumping on with us.

We'll get back to that breaking news in just a moment.

But first to other big news that we learned this morning. A stunning charge coming from one of President Obama's former top military officials. Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, telling CNN's Jake Tapper that ISIS is not contained, and also saying that the White House ignored reports on the rise of the terror group back in 2011 and '12 because it did not fit the administration's re-election narrative.

Listen here.


LT. GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER DIRECTOR, DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: I think that they did not meet a particular narrative that the White House need. And I'll be very candid with you. I have said and I believe that the people that were around the president is sort of inner circle that were advising him, I think advised him incorrectly.


BOLDUAN: You hear him right there telling Jake Tapper that.

Joining me to discuss is Congressman Adam Schiff, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman, I appreciate you. Thank you so much for joining me.

So this is a former top military -- the former top military intelligence adviser really to the president, saying essentially politics drove the White House to ignore the rise of ISIS. What do you think of that? Do you agree? REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D), CALIFORNIA: I don't agree with that, and

frankly, this is not a new charge. It's been made by a number of the Republican candidates over the last year or so. What's unusual is it came from a former high-ranking military official, intelligence official.

BOLDUAN: And isn't that an important distinction, Congressman?

SCHIFF: Well, you know, Michael Flynn has been speaking out ever since he left the administration. And he would have to tell you best why he chose now to do that. He was in charge of the agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency that frankly was responsible for providing intelligence to the president. So if the implication is that somehow the intelligence were biased or, as you know, whistleblowers have claimed that the intelligence was politicized within CENTCOM.

That's an element of the Defense Department. That's an element under his supervision as basically the top of the intelligence tier for the military and presumably the former director isn't saying that he was aware of politicization of the intelligence at the time. If he wasn't aware of it then, because presumably he would have stopped it, what makes him aware of it now? So I'm not sure that I understand that he has any particular expertise as to what went on within the intelligence agencies that contradicts, you know, what the administration has been saying.

So I think largely, this is a political attack. Why he is choosing to make it, I can't tell you. But I can say that those of us that have been reviewing the intelligence on ISIS have long been aware of the threat that it poses. We've been getting frequent briefings over the extraordinary challenge that is presented by ISIS. I think the administration has been well aware of that. But this argument over whether the administration was downplaying the threat posed by either al Qaeda or ISIS for political reasons is essentially that, a political argument we've heard before.

BOLDUAN: What do you think his motivations would be, Congressman? You look back at some recent statements, he has been -- yes, obviously he's critical of President Obama, but he's also been critical of George W. Bush and the handling of the Iraq war, calling it a huge error I think is how he described it in a recent interview. He definitely has criticism in a bipartisan fashion. What do you think the motivation is, then, for him?

SCHIFF: You know, I don't know. I'm sure he generally feels the viewpoint that he's expressing. You know, certainly I would agree with him, and he's made some strong statements about how the removal of Saddam Hussein and the Iraq war has really strengthened Iran, how it gave, you know, causal effect to ultimately the rise of is. So I don't think really anybody can argue with that conclusion. You'd have to ask him his motivation for coming out now as forcefully as he has both against this administration and the last.

You know, he served the country with great honor and dedication, and I'll leave it to him to explain what his motivations are. [11:25:00] BOLDUAN: Another thing that he said -- and this is

definitely an area of expertise for you -- is he said that he thinks that it is just a matter of time that a Paris-style attack will happen here on U.S. soil. Saying that our luck will eventually run out. I mean, that's a pretty startling and scary thought. Do you -- is that the assessment that you're hearing?

SCHIFF: Well, I would say this. I think in the near term, we are a very hard target for is to reach with the kind of magnitude of the plot we saw in Paris. What we have to worry about here in the very immediate term is copy cats, that is people who are radicalized who lash out inspired by Paris. It wouldn't be the same scope but nevertheless could be deadly.

But I do agree with Mike Flynn on this. And that is if ISIS is allowed to maintain that large governing space in Iraq and Syria over the mid and long term, if they're allowed to generate resources from that territory, have the luxury in that territory to plot against us, then we are at grave risk of a Paris-style attack in the mid or long term. And that's the reason why we have to change the dynamic on the battlefield. We have to deprive them of that operating space.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, taking out the threat, as we're discussing right here, is not only a huge issue on your plate, on Capitol Hill, on Washington, but it also not surprisingly is a huge focus on the campaign trail as well. Just because it happened this morning, I want to get your take on this. Donald Trump said just this morning that to take out ISIS, the U.S. has to take out their families. He would do that if he was president. I think we have the sound.

Let's listen to it, and then we'll get your take.


DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION (voice-over): They're using them as shields, but we're fighting a very politically correct war.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): But we see that happening in Ramadi.

TRUMP: With the terrorists, you have to take out their families. When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don't kid yourself.



TRUMP: They say they don't care about their lives. You have to take out their families.


BOLDUAN: You have to take out their families. What do you think of that strategy? SCHIFF: Well, I'm not sure what Mr. Trump has in mind, whether he's

saying that we should kill the kids of ISIS members. You know, I will say this. ISIS is using people as human shields in areas in Iraq, for example, that are being encircled by Iraqi forces. They don't want the civilians to flee. They are threatening to kill civilians, trying to flee because they want these civilians as human shields. And it has been, I think, a very difficult dilemma for the administration to figure out just which targets to go after and what risk of civilian casualties to incur. It's not about being politically correct, though. And I strongly disagree with Mr. Trump about this.

It is, among other things, a matter of not wanting to create more enemies than you're destroying. And if you have indiscriminate civilian casualties, you're going to alienate the very population you hope to win over. For you, I'm not talking about ISIS here. I'm talking about civilians that are caught in the crossfire. So it's both a moral obligation to try to avoid civilian casualties as well as a strategic imperative. It's not just about some notion of political correctness. That may be a good political attack from Mr. Trump, but it's far from accurate.

BOLDUAN: And a good follow-up question for Mr. Trump the next time we have the opportunity.

Congressman Schiff, great to see you. Thank you so much for your time.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

We are following breaking news out of Baltimore. We're going to take us back there. A jury has been selected in the trial of the police officer, William Porter. He is one of the six officers charged in the April death of Freddie Gray. We've just learned the makeup of that jury pool, of the jury that has been seated from race to gender, we're going to take you there live and analyze and try to get a look at what that means for the trial ahead.

Also ahead for us, did police delete surveillance video showing a black teenager who was shot 16 times? That's what one Burger King manager says happened inside his restaurant.

We'll be right back.