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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Trump Slams Virginia GOP Over Voter Loyalty Oath; Trump Says Bill Clinton Is "Fair Game"; Trump Attacks Cilntons Over Sexism Charges; Fiorina: "Hillary Calls Everybody Sexist"; Rahm Emanuel Under Fire For Vacationing During Turmoil In Chicago; Police Shoot And Kill Unarmed Grandmother and Student; Four Soldiers Among Dead In Massive Storm. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired December 28, 2015 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:30:00] DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN GUEST HOST: So, CNN senior political reporter Nia-Mallika Henderson joins me now. So, tell us more about this new rule saying you have to take a note saying you're a Republican. And why Donald Trump sees it as an affront to his campaign that he's basically being slapped by members of his own party?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yeah, it's simply a nine-word pledge that you have to sign if you participate in Virginia's open primary which of course falls on March 1st, saying that your signature indicates that you're a Republican.

Donald Trump, who likes to really mix it up with any and everybody, is now saying that this is the RNC, the State party in Virginia, their move to block his voters who are more likely to be independent and maybe haven't really participated in the process before. So he is fighting mad at this. He's Tweeted out his discontent. And of course, we remember that Donald Trump has been in a fight with the larger RNC, the national RNC before he himself had to sign a pledge saying that he was a Republican and would support the eventual nominee and not have a third party bid.

Now, folks in Virginia have basically shot back at Donald Trump. We've got something from a delegate there. David Ramadan, who is from Loudoun. He has come back and said, "It's our party, our rules, your money and your bullying did not work in the commonwealth," and he had called him a "moron."

Also, that's what we got on our hands at this point. We of course know that Donald Trump loves to be in a political fight. And this is part of his brand, his idea that he is going up against the Republican party.

FEYERICK: And just quickly, by signing a pledge, an oath of loyalty or -- that you're a Republican, is this legally binding? Or is this -- Are they going to go and check to see whether in fact they register as a Republican?

HENDERSON: That's the thing. No. Right, it wouldn't really be legally binding. And one of the things that you would probably do is that we would provide the state party with essentially names of people that they could call back later in, you know, sort of a voter list of Republicans. And there's also a place in this where you can put your e-mail. So of course that would also build e-mail lists. But in terms of being legally binding, I don't think it would be.

FEYERICK: Right. All right, Nia-Malika Henderson. Thanks, we appreciate that.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

FERYERICK: And now, I want to bring in chief political correspondent, at USA Radio Networks and Trump's surrogate, Scottie Nell Hughes. CNN political commentator and former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz, that's Amanda Carpenter. And democratic strategist, and CNN political commentator, Hilary Rosen.

So Scottie Nell, I want to start with you. This is another example of Trump believing that certain members of the Republican establishment are out to sabotage him. Would Trump ever return to threatening a third-party run if the RNC continues with his pledge and doesn't support him?

SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, USA RADIO NETWORKS: Well, the thing is, I don't think this is the RNC. I think this is the Virginia GOP who's had an issue over the past few elections since going back between primaries and caucuses depending on what their chairman or what their elected board prefers for the candidate they're supporting.

I think it was -- I think this comes down to the fact that you have a very unprofessional chairman in Virginia that issued a Tweet like that. I mean, if you're acting like a child, don't respond by acting like a child. That doesn't help the situation. This is -- I would normally look at this as being a long discourse amongst the Virginia GOP, except you have a chairman that hasn't come out and specifically called one of the candidates, the front-runner of the GOP, a moron, which means he's already biased.

So therefore, that's why Donald Trump is having this type of reaction. I think if he would have shut up and not dicing (ph) on his Twitter account, then we could've said, OK, this is just how the Virginia did its course of the Virginia GOP.

FEYERICK: Well, Trump is coming out. So -- I see Hilary smiling there. And Trump is out coming hard against Hillary Clinton after she accused him of being sexist. But now, he is -- as we say, going there, calling out her husband, Bill Clinton. Listen to Donald Trump yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: "I think he is fair game because his presidency was really considered to be very troubled to put it mildly because of all of the things that she's talking to me about. I mean, she's mentioning sexism. I actually turned her exact words. I don't know if you saw the following tweet, but I turned her exact words against her from that standpoint."

(END VIDEOTAPE) FEYERICK: So he's referring to what Hillary Clinton said Trump has a penchant for sexism. Turning around and saying, look, it's your husband who has a history with women. First of all, could we set the record straight? Is Bill Clinton sexist or does he simply like women? That's what I'm trying to have. He had so many high-powered women in his cabinet. Everybody from, you know, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who he appointed to the Supreme Court. But then he had Attorney General Janet Reno, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Donna Shalala. So, is he sexist? Is that a fair criticism?

Let's go to you, Hilary.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first, I just want to stop the presses for a second there because I'm going to agree with Donald Trump and his team on the Virginia thing. I think you have an open primary or you don't. People get to vote how they want to or they don't in an open primary in changing the rules because you're afraid of a candidate of Scilly (ph).

[11:35:13] Having said that, you know, to build my Trump credibility here, I will say that this stuff about him attacking Bill Clinton for being sexist is completely ridiculous. There's no scenario on earth where Bill Clinton and Donald Trump can even be put in the same category when it comes to thoughtfulness around comments about women and how he behaves.

Bill-- And, you know, this just shows that Donald Trump will lash at anybody because if you're going to take on the best politician in the world, you'd better watch out. The idea that Bill Clinton really would be kind of fair game for Donald Trump is, you know, for the Clinton team, bring it on. They'll take that match-up any day.

FEYERICK: Amanda, do you see this as sort of preemptive that it's really not about sexism per se but about simply highlighting Bill Clinton's infidelities and does that make him a good campaigner on the trail especially with conservatives?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, here's the thing with Donald Trump. He says very provocative things in a very combustible way. But it also -- are things that people talk about amongst themselves. I think Bill Clinton, he's -- I mean Trump has something on something very delicate.

As someone who didn't live through the Clinton administration, you know, was in high school when this was happening just kind of thought was going on People Magazine. I do think some people are going to be shocked when they go back and relearn everything that happened because, you know, judging by the standards of 2015, standards in the workplace, how women expect to be treated, it does -- it doesn't match up to what we're used to today. And a lot of people, you know, they look at Bill Clinton now and see someone who ruined a young woman's life and it became a punch line. And I think that touches a lot of young women. And so, is Donald Trump handling this the best way? No. Is this something that people are talking about among themselves as voters? Absolutely. FEYERICK: So, Scottie, Carly Fiorina who essentially slapped down Trump during one of the debates. She actually agreed with Trump, saying that Hillary Clinton is actually playing the gender card. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARLY FIORINA, (R) PRESEDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hillary Clinton, first of all calls everybody a sexist. And that's not fair game. She called Bernie Sanders a sexist because he criticized her. She's going to play that card. We need to be realistic. And of course, she's going to talk about the republican war on women, which doesn't exist.

In fact, Hillary Clinton's policies are bad for women. But, yes, Bill Clinton is fair game. But my point is attacking Bill Clinton won't defeat Hillary Clinton. The only way to defeat Hillary Clinton is to attack Hillary Clinton's track record. Maybe Donald Trump has difficulty doing that because his positions on key issues like health care are so close to Hillary Clinton's.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: So, Scottie, your reaction. Is Donald Trump's track record a match against Hillary Clinton's track record?

HUGHES: It's completely different track record. I mean you actually want to look at the two organizations. Hillary Clinton, right now, her campaign, women earn 87 cents to every dollar of a male member on her campaign staff. Today, Donald Trump's organization, there are more females who are executive within his company than men.

So if you want to look at sexism, and let's define what sexism really is. It means the lack of respect. And therefore, I believe that Bill Clinton actually very much is sexist because he had a lack of respect, not for one women -- woman, but for several women. And Hillary Clinton continued to let them see this pattern of abuse. Whether you want to call it infidelity, it was a lack of respect for the women that he continued to use amongst his reign (ph). It's just basically sexual objects as we found that he did. So that is where that hole -- So that's why Bill Clinton is considered sexist. It's because he doesn't have respect for women. He used...

FEYERICK: Well, sexism is defined as discrimination, chauvinism, discrimination based on a person's gender. Hilary, you say that that's simply not true.

(CROSSTALK)

ROSEN: Well, first of all her facts about Hillary Clinton's campaign is simply not true. But here's where I found voters will -- well, a conservative right when I think time decides, big shock. Here's where I think voters are going to be, which is Hillary Clinton talking about economic policies that support women and families? And the answer will be, yes.

Did Bill Clinton's administration do well for American families, incomes were up, the economy was strong? People feel like that credibility is what's going to end up being most important. The second most important issue on people's minds is national security. Are people going to feel safer and better with Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump on that with their finger on that, you know, red button. There's no question that people are going to. So, you know, Donald Trump can do this whole sort of distraction thing with name calling. It's just not going to work in a general election. He's trying to appeal to his conservative -- to a conservative base by taking her on now. Every time he does, I think he embarrasses himself.

[11:40:00] FEYERICK: Let me bring in Amanda, as the last word, as the conservative here in the group, the woman in the middle. How do you think either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton play to that conservative days that Ted Cruz is going after?

CARPENTER: Well, both of them, I think it's about the three main themes, keeping America safe, free and strong. Those are the big three, it's economy, it's liberty, and it's keeping the nation safe.

Now, you know, I think Hillary Clinton has a lot of flaws. I don't think it's necessarily the person she's married to. But it is that she is forced to carry the baggage of two previous democratic administrations, the Clinton administration and the Obama administration. Certainly, you know, we can harken back to the days of the Clinton administration and think of a better economy. But the Obama administration has been so bad on the foreign policy side. And his secretary of state, the world has not been safer under her watch. And I think that is her single biggest vulnerability going into 2016.

FEYERICK: All right, so no (inaudible) on Trump, we'll leave it there. Scottie Nell Hughes, Amanda Carpenter, Hilary Rosen, thanks so much for the debate. We appreciate it. And Chicago police are under the microscope, as cops killed two people this weekend during a call.

(COMMECIAL BREAK)

FEYERICK: Chicago resident and families of the victims of the latest fatal police shootings are demanding answers this morning. Police shot and killed 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and his downstairs neighbor, 55-year-old Bettie Jones after LeGrier's father call the police reporting a domestic disturbance saying that his son was threatening him with a baseball bat. Chicago police acknowledged that Jones was shot by accident and announced that the officer was put on a 30-day administrative duty. But they've released few other details as they conduct this investigation.

[11:45:00] Joining me now to discuss the incident and its legal implications, CNN Legal Analyst Phillip Holloway, he's also a former police officer and police trainer. Also joining me is Laura Coates, she's a former assistant US Attorney for the District of Columbia and also the author of the new book, "You Have the Right, A Constitutional Guide to Policing the Police."

So first to you Philip. The shooting is renewing questions about police training and how they deal with mental health crisis. Do you think a taser would have been effective, as some neighbors are saying, given perhaps the speed with which LeGrier was traveling towards him with a bat, according to initial reports?

PHILIP HOLLOWAY, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, let me first of all start by saying that the criminal justice system in general is ill-equipped to deal with mental health issues. And this extends all the way to police. They get very little training in it at least nationwide, now, individual departments, of course, can expand upon that.

And we talked about less than legal options. That's always something that a police officer wants to wants to consider if possible. We don't know yet. There's really two legal questions. First, was the initial use of deadly force authorized under the law but the second question really has to be, if it was authorized, did they carry out their actions lawfully, or negligently?

You don't fire your weapon, basically, unless you know first off what the target is and more particularly what's behind it. That is basic fire on 101. And that is where my big problem is with this case at this point.

I don't yet know whether or not and just the shooting was justified, if their use a force to was justified. There's not just not enough evidence. But I'm troubled in the manner in which it was carried out.

FEYERICK: So Laura, do you think it would make a difference as Philip has said, you know, that you don't fire until you know not only what's in front of you, but what's behind of that. Do you think it will make a difference, Laura, that future legal action police have already said, you know, this was an accident. We didn't mean to shoot Bettie Jones. How does that help or hurt? So does it doesn't bring her back.

LAURA COATES, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: No, it's important to recognize. This is one of the first instances where you have the officers admitting to an accident and lead to an accidental shooting in a tragic event that occurred.

And the issue you have here, are there are two separate things to evaluate. One, is whether Quintonio LeGrier was provoking that particular attack. We don't yet know the incident. We have no 911 call from the father which describes loaded up (ph) and the son was actually in a volatile state or in an excited state in some way or dangerous.

And then you have the second issue of Bettie Jones, whether or not she was an innocent bystander who was shot through a door, face forward.

We just don't know the information but we do know and that the officers know the information have immediately acknowledged there was an error that was made that affect at least one of them.

It's a lot to show whether or not there remains to be seen or Mr. LeGrier was also somebody who was an unprovoked victim.

FEYERICK: You know, to watch this, the reaction of the community, how fast it was? How quick it was? They're clearly angry. There's a lot of rancor towards the mayor. What sort of changes? I'll ask you Philip, quickly, and then you Laura, have to be made to set this community right -- Philip?

HOLLOWAY: Well throughout the country, police are generally required only to fire 50 or so rounds a year with 70 percent to 80 percent accuracy. That is just woefully inadequate individual departments can and should focus more on judgmental shooting scenario-based training and that type of thing because that is what is going to take to prepare officers for real life encounters, like the ones that they found themselves in unfortunately this past weekend.

FEYERICK: And Laura -- I'm going to Laura for the final word, what do you think needs to happen to regain the trust of the community?

COATES: The DOJ investigation is currently under way. It needs to be expedited and people want answers. They want to know whether if this was a race-based motivator whether or not the actual urgency of actually shooting was based on more than simply, you know, recklessness by the officer. They have to have an expedited investigation by the Department as otherwise there will no resolution and peace in Chicago.

FEYERICK: All right Philip Holloway and Laura Coates, thank you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:52:26] FEYERICK: In these days of rampant social media use, current events can often be summed up in one pithy hashtag. Our Brooke Baldwin counts down the biggest trending stories of 2015.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Social media's role in breaking news is undeniable, but sometimes it is the hashtags that start a movement. Here are the top ten trending hashtags for 2015.

Number ten, #guacamolewithpeas. When the New York Times twitted recipe that included peas, the internet was skeptical, people jumped on twitter none exactly showing the love. Even the president of the United States jumped in. But I have to tell you, I did a taste test, and it was kind of delicious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really good, huh?

BALDWIN: Number nine, a little girl's body washed shore in the Boston Harbor and so the Massachusetts State Police jumped on social media, trying to get help in identifying this little #BabyDoe. More than 50 million people viewed this composite image of this little girl. After 85 days, she was identified as Bella Bond.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This child, whose very name means beauty, was murdered.

BALDWIN: Her mother was charged as an accessory to murder; her boyfriend charged with murder.

Number eight, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohammed was detained at school because his teacher thought his homemade clock was a bomb. Less than six hours later, the hashtag #istandwithahmed emerged.

Cue, the more than 370,000 tweets all focused on the discrimination of Muslim-Americans, including one from President Obama himself inviting Ahmed to the White House.

Number seven, #welcomeCaitlynJenner.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: "Call Me Caitlyn", Caitlyn Jenner's first public appearance as Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner.

BALDWIN: The reality TV star in June introducing herself on the cover of "Vanity Fair" and with a new Twitter handle. @caitlynjenner reached 1 million followers in Guinness World record time, four hours and three minutes.

Number six, a refugee crisis spread through Europe in 2015 as people from Syria and other countries fled war and persecution.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: People reach such a point where they physically, emotionally, mentally can't take it anymore. And so they eventually end up deciding to take matters into their own hands.

BALDWIN: Thousands of people used the hashtag #refugeeswelcome to call for European countries to grant them sanctuary.

Number five, Pluto may no longer be a full-size planet, but as NASA released these close-up images of the dwarf planet from its New Horizons spacecraft, Twitter users took notice. The hashtag #plutoflyby generated more than 1 million tweets on July 14, as the stunning images were transmitted back here to Earth.

[11:55:16] Number four, choose your answer wisely. What color is this dress? Is it #blueandblack or is it #whiteandgold? The great dress debate of 2015 all started when a woman posted this polarizing garment to Tumblr. The dispute raged on Twitter, with more than 4.4 million tweets in two days.

Number three, social media celebrated the national recognition of same-sex marriage with rainbow-colored profile picture and the #lovewins.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: No state can ban gay marriage after the decision cast today.

BALDWIN: Twitter registered more than 6.2 million tweets and counting.

Number two, the #blacklivesmatter started in 2014 but it became an equal rights movement in 2015. Other hashtags were used alongside #blacklivesmatter to bring other controversial race incidents to light, one being #assaultatspringvalleyhigh, where a video showed a school resource officer violently removing a student right out of her desk.

Number one, 2015 started and ended in the shadow of horrific attacks in Paris. After terrorists attacked the offices of the "Charlie Hebdo" magazine, the world showed support by using the #jesuischarlie.

COOPER: Tens of thousands of people wearing black, black stickers proclaiming, "Je suis Charlie," I am Charlie.

BALDWIN: Ten months later, people united on Twitter with the hashtag #prayforparis to show their solidarity for the City of Light.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK: And just ahead, breaking news, millions of Americans facing more monster storms after an outbreak of tornadoes and flooding rips to those level towns. Four soldiers are among those who died, we'll take you there, live.

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