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New Poll Numbers Have Cruz Closing In on Trump; Trump Fires at Clinton; Florida Activists Push Broward County Sheriff to Fire Muslim Deputy for Allegedly Supporting Terror; Deadly Vegas Crash: New Details on Woman Charged; Help, Not Handcuffs for Addicts in One New England Town. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired December 22, 2015 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:13] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Good evening. I'm John Berman in for Anderson.

We begin with new poll numbers showed Ted Cruz closing in on front- runner Donald Trump. In a new Quinnipiac national poll, they are now just four points apart, Trump at 28, Cruz at 24. Marco Rubio trailing at third place at 12. Ben Carson at 10. Chris Christi and Jeb Bush, single digits.

Senator Cruz is also been climbing in Iowa polls, even beating Trump in some. He spent today campaigning in Tennessee, part of the six-day swing through mostly southern state, the sweetest campaign is branding, the Cruz country Christmas tour. Tonight, his growing momentum and poll numbers are being celebrated inside the Cruz camp. But there is one place he does not poll well. That is the U.S. Senate, where he works. In fact, if Washington were who ville, many would cast him as the Grinch. Here is Dana Bash.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ted Cruz has a new prediction making establishment Republicans shutter.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it could easily end up being a two-man race between Donald Trump and me.

BASH: It's no secret that many mainstream Republicans recoil at the thought of Trump at the top of the ticket. But some Republicans also can't stand the idea of Cruz as their nominee, mostly because they can't stand Cruz in general.

REP. PETER KING, NEW YORK: To me, he's just a guy with a big mouth and no results.

BASH: Many of Cruz's own Republican congressional colleagues still haven't forgiven him for leading an unwinnable fight to defund Obamacare two years which led to a government shutdown.

Former house speaker John Boehner called him a jackass. He got pummeled by colleagues in private meetings but Cruz didn't seem to care. You are a human being. And you are sitting with people around you

who, I would think that you have some respect for. They are fellow senators in your own party. For them to be so mad at you, so mad at you, what's that like?

CRUZ: Listen. You know, what I try to keep an eye on is that I don't work for the party bosses in Washington.

God bless you!

BASH: Cruz may just be used to it. Multiple sources who worked with Cruz for George W. Bush's 2000 campaign say he was profoundly disliked there, too. Bush himself said at a fund-raiser this year he can't stand the guy.

CRUZ: Why am I so optimistic?

BASH: Even now he jokes about needing a food tester while lunching with colleagues. Alienating people is such a big issue for Cruz. It is a regular topic in our interviews over the years.

When you are president of the United States, you have to have at least some measure or level of likability in order to reach out and get things done. How will you get over that?

CRUZ: Well, you know, I will point out that there's almost an inverse relationship between being liked and appreciated in Washington, D.C. and reviled back home and being reviled in Washington and appreciated back home.

BASH: It is true that in his home state of Texas in the 2013 government shutdown, Cruz was greeted like a hero. Republican women at a convention there were thrilled he stood up to Washington like he said he would.

On the presidential trail now, Cruz does connect with Republican voters, both with fiery rhetoric, and fun moments, like his love for the movie "princess bride."

CRUZ: Do not say that name. What? I can't hear you!

BASH: And tries to endear himself with humor. When Trump called him a maniac, the senator himself responded on twitter with this.


BERMAN: And who doesn't appreciate Flash Dance? So, Dana, if Ted Cruz does get the nomination, which is a possibility, what does the establishment do? Do they fall in behind him?

BASH: Look. That is a question that a lot of people here in Washington don't even want to think about the answer to. But I think we should note, maybe underscore that the very reason he is disliked in Washington is the reason he is so liked among so many conservative grassroots voters. Because they are so fed up with Washington, he has been able to have this unbelievable feat in that he does have senator before his name but he has been able to kind of be an outsider while still being an insider, which has not been easy.

But, look, I think that it's going to be hard for them not to get behind him. I think at this point there's kind of the parlor game inside Washington is, you know, who would they dislike more or like more in the choice of, from their perspective, two evils, Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. They're not sure. But he is certainly is doing very well among the people who matter right now and those are the voters.

BERMAN: Dana Bash, thank you so much.

You heard from representative Peter King in Dana's piece, he is a 12- term member of Congress who represents New York's second district and serves on the homeland security committee. He joins me tonight.

Congressman King, you have called Ted Cruz everything from a carnival barker to a big mouth to a sideshow entertainer. So it begs the question, how do you really feel?

[20:05:18] KING: I would think he would give a chameleon a bad name. I think he would be bad for the Republican Party and bad for the country. The reason I say that is his claim to fame is when he led the government shutdown in 2013, it was all premised on a lie. That if somehow government was shutdown, Obamacare could be amended or repealed. The fact is the house, I don't know why they did it, it went ahead and shut the government down. It gets over the senate. And all Ted Cruz could do was go on the Senate floor and recite Dr. Seuss. And the fact is, he had 18 days of government shutdown. The economy lost $24 billion. You had all these workers who didn't work for 18 days but ended up getting paid anyway when it was all over. The government lost fees. It was a disaster.

To me, it was just a -- that's why I use the term carnival barker. Here he is reciting Dr. Seuss while the government is shut down. The tea has no purpose. He wants other examples, on immigration. I mean, I though Marco Rubio had him cold in the last debate. And he allied himself with Rand Paul, (INAUDIBLE) with the NSA and drones, which is extremely damaging the United States, his position on that. So he goes with being a neo-isolationist. That he is going to bomb Syria, or I guess back to the stone aged or you're going to see the sand burn or glow, whatever he said.

So I just think that I don't take him seriously as far as his views. I think that he will say whatever he has to say. He is a smart guy, I guess. He went to Harvard. But I just don't see the level of seriousness that's required in the commander in-chief.

BERMAN: How do you explain then -- you said he would give a chameleon a bad name. How do you explain that he is doing so well in the polls? He is leading in Iowa and he is sniffing at Donald Trump hills in national polls?

KING: Yes. OK. If you ask me to step back and be a political analyst, I would say that Donald Trump has created so much controversy that people want to go toward the more controversial person and that opens the field. And yet they feel maybe Donald Trump has now gotten too controversial. And by comparison, Ted Cruz seems reasonable. That's all I can say about that.

But I think once the focus is on him more, people will realize what he's all about. But again, this is a crazy season. I can give you my views on what I think should be done. But I would have told you Donald Trump was going to be out of the race back in July or August or September or October and he is still riding high. So, this is -- I would say it's based on the anger in the country. And that's what it is really all about. There is anger. And Cruz seems more reasonable to some people right now than Donald Trump.

BERMAN: Congressman, stay with us. I want to bring in CNN commentator Amanda Carpenter and Ana Navarro. Amanda is a former communication director Ted Cruz. Ana is a supporter of Jeb Bush, a friend of Marco Rubio.

And Amanda, you know, you heard what congressman King just said. And you know what, I know you have heard this before. I know Senator Cruz has heard this before. We just got back from Las Vegas. We were at the Republican debate. Everywhere you go, you could find people in the Republican Party, people connected with the Senate who would bash, you know, Ted Cruz pretty openly. Does this bother him? Does he care that he is not likable? And couldn't this hurt him eventually?

AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR SEN. TED CRUZ: Well, hey, number one, I respect the congressman's candor. We hear that from him. We respect it. And that's certainly his right to voice that opinion. And I don't buy that Ted Cruz isn't likable. He is not liked in Washington by powerful people. But this is the same phenomenon I saw when I was working for Senator Jim DeMint. A lot of powerful people in Washington didn't like him because of what he was doing to disrupt the status quo. But once he got outside of that beltway, he was treated like a rock star. And now, if you look at the Des Moines Register favorable ratings of Ted Cruz, he is at 73 percent, the highest one in the entire Republican field. So, as soon as he gets out that have beltway, I think these people are a lot happier to see him.

BERMAN: Ana, you know, your wing of the party, as it were, Jeb Bush wing, Je Bush's top priority is pushing Donald Trump out of the race. Would you be OK if you pushed Trump out and Ted Cruz emerged?

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You know, Ted Cruz would be a very bitter pill to swallow, frankly. I think he's very antagonistic. I think he is a demagogue. I think that the big difference between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, the one that I think he is trying to make, is that you know, Donald Trump is a demagogue but he doesn't know what he's talking about. He's pulling it out of thin air. Ted Cruz actually does know what he's talking about. He does know government and knows how government and agencies work. But he is, you know, willing to say anything.

I think he relishes the role of being the skunk in the Republican Party. He has made, you know, his entire reason for being -- he has made his entire persona on being the guy who is the obstructionist, who doesn't mind shaking up Washington. So it gives him the ability to sell himself as the insider/outsider. He has an insider in government.

He has been in government for decades in different roles, but he is an outsider from the establishment. And there's a lot of anti- establishment people who vote in Republican primaries in places like Iowa, in places like South Carolina and some of the southern states where he is concentrating. He is very calculating, very smart. He also has spent an enormous amount of time courting the evangelical vote, which I think is paying off big time for him. So I do not underestimate him. But likable? I think that's a stretch for many of us.

[20:10:41] BERMAN: Amanda, you know, you sat through this with a smile on your face. You heard Ted Cruz be called a chameleon and a skunk, you know. It does make you wonder. Is this exactly what you want? Is this exactly what Senator Cruz wants? Look. "Saturday Night Live," you know, had that guy playing Ted Cruz. He said doctors say I have what's called a punchable face. Is this all playing into your strategy?

CARPENTER: Here is the thing. There's a lot of people that want to, I think, say that Ted Cruz is calculating. He is only doing this for his own purpose. You know, he campaigned on this stuff when he ran for the Senate. If anything I think it's been about keeping his promises to voters and taxes. That's always been number one. And you know, the big fights that he has been active on, let's to say Obamacare, immigration, spending. I think those are the big three concerns on the presidential, national field as well. So to pretend this is some big strategy, he knew it was going to pay off. He's a brilliant guy, but I wouldn't give him that much credit. I think he is just being true to himself and what he promised voters in Texas.

BERMAN: Amanda Carpenter, Ana Navarro, Congressman Peter king, Happy Holidays, everyone. Thank you very much.

KING: Thank you. Very good.

NAVARRO: Thanks.

CARPENTER: Thank you.

KING: Peace to all.

BERMAN: Still to come, several of the presidential candidates campaigning again in New Hampshire today, a state where voters say drug abuse is their top concern. Tonight, Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows us an unconventional effort to stop heroin addiction.

And just when you may thought you have seen and heard it all in the battle for the White House, Donald Trump comes under fire for saying this about Hillary Clinton.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She was going to -- she was favored to win and she got slung. She lost.



[20:15:48] BERMAN: Donald Trump in first place in the latest polling, now aiming his most biting attacks not at another Republican contender for the White House. Instead, he is going after Hillary Clinton.

Last night at a rally in Michigan, he didn't hold much back. Not even a bathroom break at the debate this weekend was off limits.


TRUMP: I know where she went. It's disgusting. I don't want to talk about it. No. It's too disgusting. Don't say it. It's disgusting.


BERMAN: He didn't stop there. He also brought up the 2008 presidential race and used colorful language that would make grandma blush.


TRUMP: Even in her race to Obama, she was going to beat Obama. I don't know who would be worse. I don't know. How does it get worse? But she was going to beat -- she was favored to win and she got slung. She lost. I mean, she lost.


BERMAN: So today, the communications director for the Clinton campaign tweeted this. We are not responding to Trump. But everyone who understands the humiliation this degrading language inflicts on all women should. Trump versus Clinton. You can see it's on full force. But it wasn't always this way.

Jeff Zeleny looks it how they have gone from seemingly friends to foes.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the tale of two errors, pre and post candidate Trump. Before declaring he was running for president, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton seemed positively -- well, friendly. He contributed to her New York Senate campaigns and gave at least $100,000 to the Clinton foundation.

As for the Clintons, they attended his 2005 wedding. But it would be an understatement to say all that changed after Trump entered the race. Clinton rushed to clarify their relationship.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I didn't know him that well. I mean, I knew him. I knew him and I happened to be planning to be in Florida and I thought it would be fun to go to his wedding because it's always entertaining. Now that he's running for president it's a little more troubling.

TRUMP: I really was very friendly with all politicians. I had to get along with everybody. I got along with the Clintons.

ZELENY: Then the gloves came off.

TRUMP: You look at Hillary Clinton. And I've said she is the worst secretary of state in the history of this country.

CLINTON: He is great at innuendo and conspiracy theories and really defaming people. That's not what I want to do in my campaign and that's not how I'm going to conduct myself.

ZELENY: There are days of poking fun like this seemed to be over.

TRUMP: You're a loser.

She puts on her pant suit in the morning. She gets up. No. Nothing wrong with that.

CLINTON: Finally, a candidate whose hair gets more attention than mine.

ZELENY: For Trump, Clinton is now a target at nearly every campaign rally.

TRUMP: Hillary sure as hell is not going to make our country great. Not going to. Hillary is low energy, OK? She's low energy, in all fairness. I've said about Hillary, she doesn't have the strength and she doesn't have the stamina to be president. She doesn't.

ZELENY: Clinton's comments had been mostly defensive until this weekend. Now, tangling with Trump is a clear part of her strategy, calling out the GOP front-runner, who she believes is vulnerable in a general election match-up.

CLINTON: He is become ISIS' best recruiter. They are going to people, showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.

ZELENY: Her claim couldn't be verified. There's no evidence ISIS is using a video of Trump to recruit. And Trump was quickly on the offense.

TRUMP: She is terrible. Donald Trump is on video and ISIS is using him on the video to recruit! And it turned out to be a lie. She's a liar. And the last person that she wants to run against is me. Believe me.

ZELENY: But today in Iowa, Clinton tried turning Trump's words against him.

CLINTON: You're looking at somebody who has had a lot of things said about me and we shouldn't let anybody bully his way into the presidency.

ZELENY: As the actual voting grows closer, it is war of words that is likely to only escalate.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Washington.


[20:20:00] BERMAN: Thanks, Jeff.

Let's bring in two of our political commentators, Donald Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord who was a political director in the Reagan White House and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile.

Jeffrey, just so we are all on the same page from the beginning here, you occasionally you accuse the media of a double standard, treating Donald Trump differently. But we can agree, these were Donald Trump's own words, unprompted during a speech at length. He brought it up on his own, talking about Hillary Clinton's bathroom break during the debate and he repeatedly called it disgusting. You agree at least on that point, correct?


BERMAN: So, what do you think he meant?

LORD: Well, you know, John, I hate to say this. But I got an email from a woman today somewhere out there in America. I won't reveal her name. It's not anyone I know. But she said she roared with laughter when she heard this. I think Donald Trump is poking fun at his opponent, I mean. And I have to say, Carly Fiorina doesn't do this kind of thing. So it isn't about being a woman. This is, I suspect, about being Hillary. Somebody else in the bathroom with multiple stalls, according to the "Boston Globe," and she refused to go in. And this gets to the - Hugh Hewitt calls her the queen.

This gets to her personality here that is unattractive to Americans. Just one tiny glimpse here revealed in perhaps an unlikely fashion. Donald Trump zeroed in on it.


BERMAN: Go ahead, Donna.

BRAZILE: First of all, I was there. I was up in Manchester, New Hampshire. And in fact, I was in line. I was outside the bathroom stall. It was a hell of a walk from the stage area to the bathroom. I'm not saying that, you know some of us can go to the bathroom in three minutes or four minutes.

The point of it is that Donald Trump is the leading presidential candidate on the Republican side, and to even bring up bathroom and disgusting, the Republicans took a pause and complained about, you know, the bathroom, how far the men's bathroom was. And that was one of the complaints when they brought up these so-called new rules for the debate guys.

The bottom line is, a leading presidential candidate, a grownup should not be talking about women's bathroom behavior before a campaign. That was degrading. That was vulgar. And the words he used, poor choice of words.

BERMAN: Jeffrey, I want to read you a quote from the Republican Party autopsy that came out after the 2012 election. Again, this is a quote directly from party officials. It says women are the majority of voters. Our inability to win their votes is losing us elections. That's a quote from the RNC's so-called autopsy, again. So, how is Donald Trump helping the Republican Party with women?

LORD: Well, according to the lady I heard from today, he is helping a great deal. Because he identifies with the average man and woman blue collar America out there. You know, I find it very interesting that back in American history Harry Truman, of all people, was known as give them hell Harry and William Buckley said he was vulgar and the Bulgarian American people re-elected him in an upset. So I think that there's a bit of history here that regular folks at there see Donald Trump poking fun. It is not that they see as pompous and they laughed at it. And they laughed along with him.

BRAZILE: Talk about pompous. I mean, have you seen -- Donald Trump has his name everywhere. I mean, Trump, Trump, Trump. Look. I don't think this has anything to do with the insults that people, you know, shower each other with. And the insults Donald Trump has shown throughout this political season where there is Megyn Kelly, Rosie O'Donnell, the chair of the Democratic Party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and his colleague, Carly Fiorina.

Look. There is no place. Donald Trump should understand that little girls are watching, OK? Little girls who will grow up to run for president. They will vote. And, yes, women's votes matter.

BERMAN: Jeffrey, is there an appropriate way to give people hell? Jeb Bush says of Trump's comment there has to be a level of decorum to win. You know, he goes on to say it's not a sign of strength to insult people with profanity. These lines that you hear, the bathroom line, the disgusting -- the other word that I'm not even supposed to say on CNN that he said during the speech. You know, you're close to your mom. Would you say these things in front of your mother without blushing?

BRAZILE: No. I know you won't.

LORD: No, I would not. But I'm not Donald Trump.

BRAZILE: Jeffrey, I can say this, John. I have been with Jeffrey for the last six months, talking politics. He has been an honorable, a decent gentleman. I want your mother to hear that.

LORD: Thank you.

BRAZILE: You raised him right.

LORD: Ditto.

BRAZILE: And I don't know why he's with Donald Trump. But that's a whole other conversation. Give us more time in the New Year, John.

BERMAN: Happy New Year. Happy holidays.

BRAZILE: Happy Holidays. Merry Christmas, Jeffrey.

LORD: Merry Christmas. You, too, my friend.

LORD: Up next, the first look of the visa documents and let the female terrorist in San Bernardino into the U.S. Did officials miss something?

And the controversy over a Muslim's sheriff's deputy in South Florida, should he be fired or celebrate?


[20:28:40] BERMAN: There is news about San Bernardino tonight and controversy surrounding how the female terrorist got her visa application past homeland security. For the first time, we are getting a look at what Syed Rizwan Farook, the other terrorist and a U.S. citizen provided to prove the couple met in person and were planning to marry. Together, they killed 14 people on a deadliest terror attack in the U.S. since September 11th.

House Republican relive the applications say the evidence was not good enough to quality for a fiance visa. Homeland security officials say it met legal - homeland security officials, I should say, do say it met legal requirements.

Kyung Lah joins us with more.

Kyung, this is our first look of the visa application. What does it reveal?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a 21-page application. It is the application that Tashfeen Malik applied to enter to the United States on that fiance visa. And one thing that really caught our eyes was one of the last things filed, one of the last pages on that application is something that Syed Rizwan Farook wrote himself. You got to hear from him in his own words. He writes in something called intention to marry statement. Quoting from that quote "my fiance and I met through an online Web site. After several weeks of emailing we decided to meet each other." He continues to talk about how they met in Saudi Arabia. And then writes, my fiance and I intend to marry within the first month of her arriving in the United States.

Now, this is application, a document that was released by the House committee looking into alleged shortfalls.

[20:30:01] They point to one particular page. It is the page that shows the visa into Saudi Arabia by Tashfeen Malik. It is her visa into Saudi Arabia. And they point out that some of these dates - it's very, very difficult to read, but these dates were not -- the passport stamps were not accurately translated and when they were, the dates didn't prove that they actually met in person. So, the committee saying that all of this continues to raise questions about whether or not this entire process is problematic, John. BERMAN: As you say, there is so much scrutiny right now over this

process. Particularly the fiancee visa application process. Is it clear whether there was an actual mistake made here?

LAH: Well, homeland security says no. And they released a one-page document basically rebutting the entire contention by the committee. They released a statement. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services releasing this statement, saying that Tashfeen Malik was subjected to numerous background checks at all stages that the agency handled her case. And those background checks did not reveal any derogatory information about Malik. They're underscoring that there were no red flags, that the communication that happened between this couple was in private. It did not happen on social media. And security experts, John, do say that when you have this sort of setup, it is very difficult to catch them.

BERMAN: All right. Kyung Lah, thank you so much. The San Bernardino and Paris terror attacks have many Americans on edge. Maybe too on edge. A Muslim couple and their son, they were escorted out of the mall in Fort Smith, Arkansas over the weekend after they supposedly shot video of store entrances. Alan and Daphne Crawford say, they were just shopping. He added that he served in the U.S. military and is thinking he's moving - and thinking now of moving his family out of the area.

Another example of Muslims under scrutiny, this one is from South Florida's Broward County. Local activists have, for months, pushed the sheriff to fire one of his deputies. He's a Muslim. The activists say he has connections to an organization that they say supports terror. They even call him Deputy Hamas. The sheriff's department said he is a loyal American and a crusader against extremism. Randi Kaye has the story.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I do want to do, is get my questions answered. And when CAIR inserts itself ...

JOYCE KAUFMAN, HOST, "THE JOYCE KAUFMAN SHOW": I know that not every Muslim is a jihadist. But all the jihadists seem to be Muslims.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joyce Kaufman has been on talk radio in south Florida for more than 20 years. A hot topic these days is a man named Nezar Hamze, he's the regional director of CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations. He's also a sheriff's deputy of Broward County.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anybody in this country is afraid to have a conversation about Islam ...

KAYE: Kaufman says Deputy Hamze wasn't properly vetted given his convection to CAIR. And one seemed gone from the police department.

KAUFMAN: I've been called everything from racist, moron to Islamophobe, to one trick pony. And, you know, I refuse to bow down.

KAYE (voice over): Are you an Islamophob?

KAUFMAN: No, not at all.

KAYE (voice over): Neither Hamze nor the sheriff would speak with us, but a spokesperson for the Broward County Sheriff's Department told me Hamze has been with the department since 2011, a full-time deputy since 2014. The department considers him an excellent deputy and a loyal American.

Hamze travels the state, speaking out against extremism and trains Muslims in mosques how to escape an active shooter. Still, Kaufman wants him investigated and she's not alone. Activist David Rosenthal (ph) calls Deputy Hamze Deputy Hamas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hate Islam. Islam is evil.

KAYE: Rosenthal even held a rally protesting Hamze, but CAIR Florida's lawyer says critics have it all wrong.

WILFREDO RUIZ, CAR FLORIDA LEGAL COUNSEL: Whenever we're in an electoral year, there's a spike of this Islamophobic rhetoric. When we hear people like Trump it's definitely hate speech.

KAYE: Kaufman supports Donald Trump's idea to surveil mosques and ban some Muslims.

(on camera): Do you think you're contributing to the fear when you bring it up on the air?

KAUFMAN: I think the fear is there. I don't think I do anything to stoke it. I don't have to. It's there.

KAYE (voice over): The fact is, and Kaufman knows the numbers, only a very small fraction of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims endorse the violence of terror groups like ISIS and al Qaeda. Still, she wonders if Hamze would take action.

(on camera): As a sheriff's deputy his job is to uphold the law. And it sounds like you're concerned that maybe he would turn the other way if he heard some radical conversations taking place in a mosque. Right? Am I hearing you correctly?

KAUFMAN: That is correct. I don't know. I mean I can't say that that's a fact. But I can't say it's not a fact.


BERMAN: Randi is here with us now. Randi, what does Joyce Kaufman mean when she says she wants the deputy vetted? What does vetted mean here?

KAYE: She wants to be sure and she wants to see proof that he was cleared by the FBI, that he got FBI clearance, and I asked the lawyer for CAIR about this. And he said that Deputy Hamze was vigorously vetted, that he was cleared by the FBI.


And from what I am told, this is normal procedure for law enforcement. They get looked at very closely by local, state and federal agencies, but Joyce Kaufman and others still have questions. You saw that video of the deputy where he was training people how to escape an active shooter in that mosque. His critics are suggesting he was actually there giving weapons training, how to kill others, how to shoot others. If you look at that video closely, he's using toy guns. They're fake guns, plastic guns. If you listen to that local media report, he's actually telling them how to charge the shooter, how to get out of the building. But his critics still suggest you know what, there's something not right with this guy.

BERMAN: Randi Kaye, thank you so much.

Up next, the latest on the woman accused of mowing down pedestrians in Las Vegas. How she went from being an against-all-odds success story to homeless and charged with murder.


BERMAN: Today, Lakeisha Holloway, the young woman policy say intentionally drove onto a Las Vegas sidewalk killing one person and injuring 37 others. She was formally charged with murder, leaving the scene of an accident, and child abuse because her small daughter was in the car. Just three years ago, in Oregon, she was honored for turning her life around. She had gone from homelessness to college to a job with the U.S. Forest Service. But about a week ago, she showed up in Las Vegas, homeless again, living in her car with her daughter. Stephanie Elam with new details in her story.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to need a lot more cops to shut pretty much this whole place down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have multiple people that are not breathing.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Police say when Lakeisha Holloway plowed her car into a crowd of pedestrians on a busy Las Vegas strip Sunday evening, she killed 32-year-old Jessica Valenzuela and injured more than 30. Now she's being charged with one count of murder with a deadly weapon, one count of child abuse, neglect or endangerment, and one count of leaving the scene of an accident.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will also be filing additional charges as the information flows to our office.

ELAM: Three people are still in critical condition with life- threatening head injuries. According to the police report, Holloway would not explain why she drove onto the sidewalk, but remembered a body bouncing off of her windshield, breaking it. We're also learning more about the 24-year-old mother. Holloway legally changed her name to Paris Paradise Morton in October, according to a court judgment in Oregon. She also was part of the program at the Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center for at-risk youth. In 2012, she was honored for her achievements and even spoke about overcoming the odds.

LAKEISHA HOLLOWAY: Today I'm not the same scared girl I used to be. I'm a mature young woman who has broken many-generational cycle that those before me hadn't. Being homeless and on my own taught me how to stand on my own two feet.

ELAM: But police believe Holloway and her 3-year-old daughter were living out of her car since arriving in Las Vegas about a week before the hit and run. A test for alcohol came back negative, but police say she may have been on a stimulant.

MICHEL JACKSON, WITNESS: At first we were like she's probably drunk, because she was just likely slowly on the curb. But then when she accelerated, it seemed like there was a purpose to her actions.


BERMAN: Stephanie Elam is here. Stephanie, when is she expected to appear in court?

ELAM: Her first court appearance is expected to be 8:00 am local time tomorrow. Just one quick note. It's not clear yet why police have charged her under her former name and not under the name she just changed it to. John?

BERMAN: All right, Stephanie Elam in Las Vegas, thank you so much. A lot more happening tonight. Amara Walker has a 360 bulletin.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: John, Al Shabaab militants ambushed another packed bus in Kenya, a common and terrifying tactic, though this time a group of mostly Muslim women shielded the Christian passengers and told the Islamist terrorists to leave them alone, or they were prepared to die together. It worked. Two people died, a Christian who tried to run from the bus, and the driver of a truck that was behind them.

Iraqi forces are battling ISIS fighters and trying to retake the key city of Ramadi just 70 miles west of the capital. ISIS took over Ramadi back in May.

A Texas grand jury has decided not to indict anyone in connection with the death of Sandra Bland. Officials say she hanged herself. Her family disagrees. The African-American woman was arrested in July during this controversial traffic stop for allegedly failing to use a traffic signal. Three days later, she was found dead in her jail cell.

And take a look at this. A thief just hanging out, quite literally, in Siberia. Not by choice. He actually got stuck in the ceiling when trying to rob a store. That's humiliating. John?

BERMAN: At least he's got nice legs. Amara, thanks so much. Just ahead, a radical response to the heroin epidemic sweeping New

England and topping voter concerns there. One town is turning the war on drugs on its head by encouraging addicts to go to police for help, and the police delivering on that promise.



BERMAN: Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, all in New Hampshire focusing their energies on this battleground state. The first in the nation primary now less than two months away. And with surprising issue topping the list of voter concerns. According to a recent University of New Hampshire WMUR poll, what worries New Hampshire voters most isn't ISIS, or the economy or education, it's drug abuse, heroin to be exact. Heroin abuse and addiction are at epidemic levels across New England. It's become a potent political issue. Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been investigating. Tonight in part two of "Primary Concern Heroin" he shows us how one New England town is turning the war on drugs on its head.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a mystery. Why exactly in this tiny fishing community of Gloucester, Massachusetts, has heroin addiction become an epidemic? It could be the long and lonely winters. It could be the stigma of addiction and lack of resources for treatment. Whatever the exact cause is unclear. But one thing Gloucester has is pills. Lots and lots of pain pills.

CHIEF LEONARD CAMPANELLO, GLOUCESTER POLICE: A lot of this addiction came from a very legal and very accepted way of dealing with pain. That's a big problem.

GUPTA: Now, chief of police Leonard Campanello tells me we could leave the station, walk anywhere up the north shore, and come back with heroin in just ten minutes.

CAMPANELLO: We're finding it in teenagers. We're finding it all the way up to legislators, judges, police officers, sons, daughters. You know, family members. This has no boundary.

GUPTA: So the chief decided on a radical approach. Probably best described as the opposite of a war on drugs. He used Facebook to make an offer to the citizens of Gloucester.

CAMPANELLO: If you're a user of heroin or opiates, let us help you. We know you do not want this addiction. We have resources here in the city that can and will make a difference in your life. Do not become a statistic.

GUPTA: We won't arrest you. We will help you.

He had no idea if it would work. He had no idea if anyone would listen. He didn't even know if it was legal.

Did you hesitate? Did you have any concerns about this sort of strategy or putting it out there so boldly?

CAMPANELLO: I think the worst thing they could do was fire me.

GUPTA: Did you talk to your wife about it or anybody else before you hit send?

CAMPANELLO: No. This was, you know, plausible deniability for everybody is a good thing sometimes.

GUPTA: I want to give you an idea of how this remarkable program works. We're here at the Gloucester police department. If you're someone who is addicted to heroin, you would walk through these doors over here.


And right away, you would notice something is a little different. First of all, you pick up the phone and tell them that you're here because you're a heroin addict. This would start this whole process of getting an angel assigned to you. But also, take a look over here. Your needles, sharps container over here, your paraphernalia, your drugs go over here. When you start to walk through these doors now, you're not going into the police station to get arrested but to get help.

CAMPANELLO: When we first started this program, it was end of the war on drugs. And as we started thinking about it, was it really ever a war on drugs or was it a war on addiction? And I think that we made a statement, at least for our Gloucester residents, that seems to have resonated, in a lot of different places, that we are back to working for people who need help. So, they'll come in here.

GUPTA: And the people are showing up. So far this year, almost 300 people have come through the doors and are now in treatment. And the patients aren't just from Gloucester. Unable to get the help he needed in California, Steven Lesnoskoski (ph) got on a plane and came knocking at the chief's door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I showed up here at 3:30 in the morning, and the officers treated me with respect and dignity, like I was a normal human being, not any kind of stigma that society has attached to addicts. And I got the help that I needed.

GUPTA: The story that led Steven here was all too familiar. Pills.

Did you break your ankle?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I tore my Achilles heel.

GUPTA: Pretty painful I imagine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, very painful. I couldn't walk for a couple of weeks. I didn't have a cast but I had to prop my leg up. And that just kind of persistently got worse. I was prescribed Vicodin, painkillers for that.

GUPTA: How long after you first got that prescription for Vicodin when you hurt your ankle, before you were taking heroin?


GUPTA: 18 months.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give or take a month or two, 18 months. Less than two years.

GUPTA: I want to make a really important point. These are FDA- approved, doctor-prescribed pills. This is heroin. They both virtually have the same effect on the brain. The most typical course that someone starts with pills like this, they get cut off. They turn to heroin, which is an illegal drug, but it works fast. It gets you high and it is very, very cheap. We now know that 80 percent of heroin users started off with pills like these.

The question always arises I think with these sorts of programs, does it enable people to keep doing heroin?


GUPTA: They think look, I'm not going to be criminalized. I have got a safety net. I can keep doing this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody wants to keep doing it. They want to get better. They haven't had the help to get better. This is a chronic relapsing condition. People need help lots of times. We have, as the society told them, that if they relapsed, they failed. We send all the wrong messages. So people don't want to continue to suffer.

GUPTA: The chief knows this because he lives this.

You were a plainsclothed narcotics detective for some time. You saw these people. I mean, you still see these people, but you really saw them up close, people who were addicted to heroin, who were living that life.

CAMPANELLO: We had a mom that was a heroin addict for years. She had a 2-year-old son in her care. We would routinely do search warrants if we knew that she was selling out of the house. And we came in one night. And in the corner was a crib. And it was the 2-year-old, and walked over just to check if that kid was all right. And he immediately put his arms up, and he grabbed me around the neck and he would not let go. He stayed like that for three hours. And so here is this guy coming in, you know, back in the day when, you know, armed to the teeth, ready to go, ready to sniff out drugs with a team of law enforcement, who spent the night cradling a child. And that stuck with me for a very long time in terms of where is that child now, you know? The atmosphere that they grow up in. Can something be done to stop this next generation, and where do we start?


BERMAN: It's a battle. It's a battle that never stops. You can't let up. You see it right there. This program in Gloucester, this amazing program -- how much of the idea of it has spread? GUPTA: It's spreading. You heard from the police chief that he

didn't know if he was even allowed to do this, if it was legal. But 44 police stations now in nine states. And I think it's probably, John, having covered these sorts of stories for a long time, it's sort of the strongest grassroots, if you will, statement that the war on drugs is not working, has not worked. Is over, essentially.


45 years we've been doing this. It didn't work. The idea of criminalizing addicts is not going to be a successful thing. So instead of offering these people help, which is what Chief Campanello is saying has to be what we're doing now.

BERMAN: Chief Campanello, he's tried, he has tried the other way, too. He was out there as a narcotics cop.

GUPTA: And he saw his citizens dying. A mom -- you heard the story at the end. A mom of a 2-year-old. Everyone who hears heroin addicts tonight and watching has a conception of who they're thinking about, what that person looks like. A mom of a 2-year-old, they don't want that life. They don't choose that. That's why they need the help.

BERMAN: What about big Steven who we saw in there, the guy who hurt his Achilles heel, started with Vicodin, ended up as a heroin addict. How is he doing?

GUPTA: He's doing well. He was in California, moved to Massachusetts. He's still in treatment. And that could be a long- standing sort of thing for him. But he's doing well. He is somebody who's probably going to be one of these people who does not continue to relapse over time. It's a dangerous addiction. But Steven is an example of someone who actually succeeded.

BERMAN: Let's hope. Sanjay Gupta, thank you very much.

GUPTA: You got it, John. Happy holidays.

BERMAN: You too.

Tomorrow night, don't miss part three of Sanjay's report. He looks at how former users fight addiction for life. We'll be right back.


BERMAN: That's all the time we have. Before we go, a quick note. We picked what we feel are the top ten Ridiculist stories of 2015. So go to our website,, and vote for the one you like best. We'll air the top vote getters next week. "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" starts now.