Return to Transcripts main page
THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Interview With Idaho Senator James Risch; Interview With Kentucky Senator Rand Paul; Mass Shooting Investigation; Chicago Protests; Protesters Demand Chicago Mayor's Resignation; Will Trump Break Away from GOP? Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired December 9, 2015 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Breaking news on the San Bernardino shooting investigation, some new information on the neighbors' ties to terror.
THE LEAD starts right now.
A big development in this terrorist investigation, moments ago, U.S. officials telling CNN that the guy who bought the guns for the San Bernardino attack was involved in another plot to kill years ago.
Also, happening right now, Chicago's streets flooding with protesters after the mayor apologizes for police corruption and the Laquan McDonald shooting. Could this all cost Mayor Rahm Emanuel his job?
And, in politics, Jeb Bush suggesting Donald Trump is a Hillary Clinton plant, after Trump once again vaguely threatens to bolt the Republican Party and run as an independent.
Today, we will ask Republican Senator Rand Paul about Trump's plan to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. and how it's any different from his own plan, which essentially would do the same thing.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
TAPPER: Good afternoon everyone.
We begin THE LEAD with some breaking news in the investigation into the California terrorist attack at the holiday office party last week. U.S. officials telling CNN that the neighbor who gave the terrorist Syed Farook two AR-15 rifles used in last week's attack is in fact the same person, the accomplice, who helped Rizwan Farook in another attack plot back in 2012.
Let's get right to CNN justice correspondent Pamela Brown and justice reporter Evan Perez, who are breaking this story.
Pamela, let's start with you. What are your sources telling you?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, we reported last night for the first time about this 2012 plot, Jake. And now we can say that the other person involved with that plot was Syed Farook was in fact Enrique Marquez, a longtime friend and former neighbor of Farook. And they were plotting this back in 2011, 2012, apparently, according
to an interview he did with the FBI. They had scoped out a target. And they were going to launch an attack, but because of some other unrelated terror arrests in that area, they got spooked and aborted their plans.
Also, Enrique Marquez who has waived his Miranda rights, has been cooperating with the FBI, saying that he was radicalized with Farook back in 2011, which gives some sense of a timeline as far as radicalization for the San Bernardino attack.
We should point out, though he did give those rifles to Farook, we don't know whether he was aware of the plot, even though those guns were used. But he did buy those rifles around the time of this alleged plot that officials are still trying to corroborate -- Jake.
TAPPER: This is significant for so many reasons, Evan. But one of them is, it certainly undermines the idea that this radicalization took place just recently. This goes back all the way to 2011.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. Exactly. And it does really paint a picture of what Farook was up to by the time he goes and tries to find a wife overseas.
Was he shopping essentially for a jihadi bride? That's one of the things that the FBI is pursuing as part of this investigation. And keep in mind also what -- the FBI is getting all of this information. Marquez is just talking to the FBI and just giving them everything they want, but they have yet to do the work to corroborate any of this. They don't know whether he is simply trying to draw attention away from any other information he may have on the San Bernardino plot that took place last week.
What he may be doing is simply giving them a lot of information. Keep in mind, if this 2012 plot does exist, he can't be charged because it didn't actually take place.
BROWN: And how do you verify it?
PEREZ: Right. How do you verify it?
TAPPER: So the investigators first learn about Enrique Marquez because he was the one that supplied the weapons, the semiautomatic rifles to the shooters. And, apparently after the attack, he checked himself into the hospital of some sort?
BROWN: That's right.
So, right after the attack, he checked himself into a mental health facility. We don't really know the circumstances surrounding that, but following that point, we know that he was talking to the FBI starting a few days ago and has been continuously talking to the FBI. He has not been charged, I want to point out, Jake.
So even though -- investigators are trying to figure out did he know anything about the San Bernardino attack, was he involved in some way?
PEREZ: And he has told them that he bought these two rifles that were used in the attack, Jake. He bought them for Farook.
Now, part of the question there is why. Farook was clean enough to be able to pass a background check. He had three other guns. The question that investigators are now pursuing is, why was that? Was Farook simply trying to cover his tracks, trying to make sure he didn't draw any of the attention, again, plotting this attack as far back as then?
TAPPER: And, Pamela, let me ask you about the mother, Syed Rizwan Farook's mother, who lived in the house with the terrorist couple while they were stockpiling ammunition to a degree, while they were building bombs, a bomb lab in the garage. What are investigators saying about her?
BROWN: And we also know that part of the loan he got just a couple weeks before the attack, this $28,500, around half, we're told from sources, was handed to his mother.
BROWN: Now, we don't know if she was aware of why she was getting that money, because we know that he moved in with his wife to her home. So perhaps it was to pay for rent or perhaps something more sinister. We don't know that.
But of course investigators want to figure out what did she know, was she complicit in some way? But, at this point, we're being told that she is not exactly a person of interest. They're more focused right now on Marquez.
TAPPER: All right, thank you so much, great reporting, Pamela Brown, Evan Perez.
Let me turn right now to Senator James Risch, who is on the Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committee.
Thanks so much for joining us.
SEN. JAMES RISCH (R), IDAHO: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: Really appreciate it.
So we just learned moments ago that this neighbor, Enrique Marquez, who was the neighbor and longtime friend of one of the terrorists in San Bernardino...
RISCH: And a shirttail relative, we're told, too, by marriage to him.
TAPPER: Oh, is that right? OK.
RISCH: By some long stretch. But he is a shirttail relative and a friend and a roommate, former roommate, and neighbor.
And we had heard yesterday CNN breaking the story that Farook had planned in 2012, but didn't carry out a terrorist attack. Now we're learning that it was with Enrique Marquez and he's the one telling intelligence officials. What more can you tell us?
RISCH: Well, really not much more than that, other than that is breaking news, it's brand-new that he has admitted that in 2012 they had something in mind, and they didn't do it because there had been some immediate arrests by the counterterrorism people right there in the immediate area.
And, as a result of that, they got cold feet and didn't go ahead with it.
TAPPER: It spooked them to a degree.
Is Marquez in -- we had been told that he had checked himself into a hospital, mental or psychological treatment center of some sort, after the attacks. Is he in custody right now?
RISCH: You know, I'm told that he is not in custody. But I would suspect that's not going to last very long, unless he's got some kind of a deal cut, which is entirely possible if he's gotten a lawyer and gotten a deal cut. That's possible.
But just the admissions that he's made, plus the fact of the weapons, that he was responsible for originally obtaining these weapons, sounds like right around the time that they were planning the first attack. That's sufficient for conviction right there just with his admissions and the actual steps towards doing an attack. That would be purchasing the weapons.
TAPPER: We are told -- Pamela and Evan reported that he waived his Miranda rights. So he at least had been read them. Whether or not he is in custody, I don't know. Senator, do we have any idea what kind of plot this was in 2012?
RISCH: Really not much more than that. I think people are still trying to sort out whether or not it was detailed or whether it was a generality.
And, obviously, you have got a long spectrum there, where they were on the spectrum of actually doing that. But it was far enough that apparently he's admitted that this was a specific plot, that they were going to carry it out, and that they abandoned the plans because of arrests that took place in the area.
TAPPER: Obviously, as the intelligence community and the national security community remind us all the time, they have to be right 100 percent of the time.
RISCH: That's right.
TAPPER: And the bad guys only have to be...
RISCH: Be right once.
TAPPER: ... right once.
And, obviously, the only people responsible for this are the killers and those who gave them money or inspired them, but can you look at this situation and point to areas where the intelligence community could have done something better, could have caught this plot before it happened, the one that just took place last week?
RISCH: You know, Jake, that's actually one of the responsibilities we have on the Intelligence Committee is as oversight to do this sort of thing, look at it from the Monday-morning quarterback position.
Obviously, they do that themselves long before it comes to us. Having said that and having gone through this in detail, there is very little that they could have done differently in this case. A couple of the choke points that are being looked at is, first of all, something that struck me from the very beginning on this is the fact that both of these people -- and, by the way, there were a number of us that right after this suspected that wife was much more deeply involved than people were saying right at the beginning.
And, as it turns out, that was obviously correct. She came in on this visa, on the fiancee visa. And based on the information we have right now, she was probably radicalized at the time that she passed the tests in order to come in on that fiancee visa.
So that's a point that obviously we're going to look at. Having said that, it's hard to really blame people for that, in that she comes from Pakistan, an area where you can't just go to interview neighbors or go on the Internet or something like that. Now, it turns out apparently she attended the Red Mosque in Islamabad.
TAPPER: The infamous mosque.
RISCH: Which might raise a red flag, right.
RISCH: So that's something that's being looked at.
The broader concern and the deeper concern at this point is the fact that for those of us that do this all the time, it's really difficult to believe that they weren't getting conversation from someone who's much more experienced in this sort of thing than they were. And if that's the case, how were they doing it? Well, over the last
six to nine months, what's happened is the people who are doing this have turned more and more to encryption apps and what they call the dark Web, where they can actually do this sort of thing and nobody can -- at least at this point in time, nobody can pierce those methods of communication. Whether that lasts or not, we will see.
TAPPER: Very chilling and obviously it kind of undermines the idea that this was necessarily ISIS-inspired, because if they were radicalized in 2011 and 2012, ISIS was only beginning, didn't have near the outreach that it has today.
RISCH: Right. And, obviously, we're always interested in whether it was ISIS-inspired or ISIS-directed. Doesn't make a lot of difference to the victims. But it makes a lot of difference as you try to Monday-morning quarterback this thing.
TAPPER: And fend off further attacks.
TAPPER: All right, Senator Risch, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.
RISCH: Thank you. Glad to be here.
TAPPER: Streets shut down as protests erupt in Chicago.
Let's get right to Rosa Flores, who's there -- Rosa.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hundreds of people march through the streets of Chicago, asking for police accountability and transparency, and for Rahm Emanuel to resign, but could this be the end of his political career? Next.
[16:16:18] TAPPER: Welcome back. We're back with more breaking news.
Hundreds of protesters are marching through the streets of Chicago at this hour. They are demanding the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. This comes after the mayor apologized today for how the city of Chicago and its police department handled the shooting death of 17- year-old Laquan McDonald.
Chicago waited for more than a year, 400 days before releasing the dashcam video of that teen shot 16 times by a police officer. The video only made public after a judge's order.
Let's get right to CNN's Rosa Flores.
Rosa, what's happening where you are?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are with hundreds of protesters, Jake. You can see that these protesters have been marching for hours now. And they are marching through the streets of Chicago. And if we pan the camera here a little bit, I want to show you because at the back of this line you can see that there are police officers behind me.
But there's also two protesters that historically have protested in the city of Chicago. This is Magda and her husband.
She was telling me that until about a year ago -- you would actually march, but unfortunately, your leg was amputated. But you felt compelled to still come out on the streets of Chicago. Historically, you're an activist in this city. Why are you here today?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To bring about the issue of justice in the city, in the city streets to talk about what is unjust in the city, and to let other people know they must unite with us no matter what color, whatever you are. Injustice to one is injustice to all.
And we're here to take the mask off Mayor Rahm Emanuel. We want him to resign. What has occurred is not the usual. We cannot allow this to continue to happen in the city of Chicago.
FLORES: Are you talking about the Laquan McDonald, the Ronald Johnson video and most recently the Phillip Coleman video and what these videos capture?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It began with Laquan McDonald. And we realize that there's more in the history of Chicago. The Burge tortures, we're talking about Metcalf days. And this has been going on for years and years in Chicago.
FLORES: So historically.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Historically, Chicago does not have a good name with the treatment of the people, treatment of citizens. And I'm really proud of the young people that are here today because they're standing up to a legacy, a better legacy for the future. Less violence, more justice on the streets of Chicago.
FLORES: Thank you so much, Magda. I really appreciate it.
And, again, Jake, we should mention that in the past eight days, the mayor has asked for the superintendent of police to resign, the head of Independent Police Review Authority, that's the authority that investigates every single police-involved shooting, he asked the head there to resign, and then welcomed the DOJ.
And right now, there's a DOJ investigation going on. It's underway. One of the things they're investigating is of course police use of force -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Rosa Flores, thanks. We'll, of course, keep a close eye on the protests throughout the hour. We're going to come to you later in the show. And, of course, we will be reaching out to the office of Mayor Emanuel to talk to him about this as well.
Coming up, Donald Trump standing firm on his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. And while most of his Republican rivals have denounced the plan as unconstitutional, un- democratic, bigoted, Senator Rand Paul has not been as critical. Why not? We'll ask him next.
[16:24:16] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.
You're looking at live pictures out of Chicago where hundreds of protesters are marching, blocking traffic, demanding Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel resign for what many allege is a wide-ranging cover-up of police brutality in Chicago. We will continue to go live there throughout the hour.
But let's go to our politics lead right now. Banning Muslims from coming into the U.S., that's what Republican front-runner Donald Trump wants to do and what he says is necessary to guarantee this country's security. Trump's policy has his party declaring open season on him. He's been openly condemned as a demagogue, as not representing conservative values as devastating to Republicans down the ballot as unhinged, unconstitutional, a bigot and on and on.
[16:25:09] All that has Trump talking once again about something he says he doesn't want to do, abandon the Republican Party and make an independent bid for president. Insiders say Trump defecting could gift wrap Hillary Clinton the White House.
CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny is here.
Jeff, are Republican Party elders in panic mode? It's twice now that he's referenced an independent bid in the past couple of days.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Jake, I'm not sure they're in panic, but it certainly moved well beyond the heartburn stage. Not questions. I mean, it is that potential independent bid which Donald Trump has yet to rule out that's at the heart of all this Republican worry. Now, it is premature because for now, he is the solid front-runner in the Republican primary.
But the GOP is at a crossroads and many leaders fear it could be nearing a crisis if Trump's rhetoric divides the party and turns off voters.
ZELENY (voice-over): Donald Trump is on a roll. So far, an unstoppable one.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm leading every single poll. And nationwide, I'm leading in every one of them. So, obviously, I'm very happy where I am.
ZELENY: And that's precisely what worries many Republicans. The GOP ranks are rattled over Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country, afraid it could cost Republicans the White House and threaten their congressional majority.
Republican Nikki Haley, the first Indian-American governor of South Carolina said Trump's comments were damaging to the GOP.
GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: He's an embarrassment to the Republican Party. It is absolutely un-American. It's unconstitutional. It defies everything this country was based on. It's just wrong.
ZELENY: Trump pushed back, saying some of his fellow Republicans were grandstanding.
TRUMP: I'm leading by a lot. They get it. They're trying to get publicity for themselves.
You know, when I came out against illegal immigration, everybody thought the same thing. Two weeks later, everybody was on my side including the members of my own party.
ZELENY: The international outcry also intensified. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today he rejects Trump's plan to block Muslims.
Trump is said to meet with Netanyahu later this month in Jerusalem. The prime minister is now facing pressure to cancel the meeting.
On the campaign trail today rival Republicans hope the fallout will loosen Trump's grip on the race.
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mr. Trump's not a serious person. He's not a serious candidate. He's inflammatory. And he makes the task for the next president a lot harder.
ZELENY: Republican leaders across the country fear Trump at the top of the ticket could doom their party.
MATT BORGES, OHIO GOP CHAIRMAN: We're going to have to distance ourselves from this kind of messaging. It's not going to help us win the general election in November. We wouldn't win Ohio with that kind of message.
ZELENY: Yet some Republicans are also unwilling to agitate Trump, fearful of him running as a third party candidate, a possibility he raised again today.
TRUMP: If I don't get treated fairly, I would certainly consider that.
ZELENY: Trump can be a sore loser. He lost a different kind of contest today as "TIME" magazine's Person of the Year, awarded to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It prompted Trump to tweet this, "I told you 'TIME Magazine' would never pick me as person of the year, despite being the big favorite, they pick the person who is ruining Germany."
ZELENY: Now, that was classic Trump, hardly a gracious moment there. But when you talk to Republican leaders like we did the Ohio state chairman, they worry he could damage the party's chances of holding on to the Senate and even more winning the White House.
But at the same time, Trump supporters have been nothing but loyal and that loyalty could help him win a Republican primary. And it's still important to remember, it's 54 days before the Iowa caucuses. Those voters change their minds and decide very late -- Jake.
TAPPER: They've been in his camp for a long, long time.
ZELENY: They have.
TAPPER: All right. Thanks so much, Jeff Zeleny.
Fellow Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul says he has his own plan to keep Americans safe. It also involves banning certain international travelers from entering the U.S. He'll tell us all about it, coming up next.