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Security On The Brain In NYC As New Year's Approaches; Best and Worst of 2015; Another Republican Drops Out of Presidential Race; Discussion About the "Affluenza" Teen. Aired 10-11a ET.

Aired December 29, 2015 - 22:00   ET



[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: Take a look live now, that's Times Square you're looking at. Is it the safest place in the world? That's what the NYPD says. We're going to talk about it.

This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

In the wake of Paris and San Bernardino, what will it take to protect the crowd of one million on New Year's Eve in Times Square? I'm going to ask the NYPD's top counterterrorism official.

Plus, you just saw the best and the worst of 2015. But when it comes to politics, the best and the worst are all wrapped up in one huge package.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Who the hell is better at this stuff than me, OK? Nobody. Nobody.


LEMON: Donald Trump just keeps on giving and keeps getting Trumpier, how far can he take his campaign?

There is lots going on tonight, but I want to get it right to the security preparations in New York. Because the eyes of the world will be in New York City, especially Times Square for New Year's Eve.

Here with me now is the NYPD's top counterterrorism official and that's Mr. John Miller. We're looking -- there it is right there behind you. People are already starting to gather. You see the barricades up. You guys, the guards are out there. How do you plan to keep it safe in size to keep it open and safe in a crowd that big?

JOHN MILLER,, NYPD COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL: Well, I mean, the big advantage we have is this isn't the first time we do this. We do this every year. So, it's not like we have to build a plan or that we have to build the complex counterterrorism overlay for New Year's Eve.

What we do from year to year base on the threats being or other factors is we just make those adjustments. So, this year, you'll see between 600 and 800 more officers than you saw it last year because of the changes in the threat environment. But I want to say before we go too far, I don't want to pathologize Times Square, New Year's Eve, the event. It's not really a counterterrorism exercise, it's a celebration.

LEMON: Yes. But you must keep people safe.

MILLER: It's a place to honor the year going out and look forward to the year coming in. And you know, what we do is crowds and traffic. That's a normal police function, and the counterterrorism overlay is to make sure that in the threat environment of the world today, which New York is obviously not immune to in any way, that we provide all of those extras.

So, that means expect to be screened before you come into one of the so-called pens where we section off the crowds. Expect to be screened again somewhere between getting into the block and into that pen. Don't bring big backpacks or big packages or things like that. And there will be a lot of police there with a lot of equipment. That's going to be very visible and there is going to be a lot of you don't see, too.

LEMON: Yes. But you know -- you know, when I said the eyes of the world; really everyone is watching Times Square. This is where people -- where the most people watch, most people come to ring in the New Year. Probably more so than any other country. You're well aware of, is that -- that's added pressure, come on.

MILLER: So, it's added pressure. When you look at the world situation, and then you look at New York, so things we know. New York is a top terrorist target. Even we say that all the time. New Year's Eve is a symbolic event.

We've already seen our intelligence partners across the world unravel plots against New Year's Eve in Belgium and Indonesia in cases they brought. So, when you look at New York, one of the reasons that we have this layered approach and there are many layers to it, again, seen and unseen, that's from the vapor wake dogs to the teams with the long guns, the special weapons you'll see out in the open to the hundreds of cameras that are spread out that are being monitored.

The reason we have that layered approach is, so that people who are going don't need to worry about that.


MILLER: We don't spend time worrying. We spend time planning and we built a lot of plans.

LEMON: But a lot of it as what you don't see and then probably things that you cannot talk. But if you will - will you engage me on this. There are 46 states as the Paris attacks. The U.S. coalition announced that 10 senior ISIS leaders operating in Raqqah, Syria had been killed in air strikes including one closely linked to those November Paris attacks. Do you worry about retaliation going into this? MILLER" Don't worry about it. Spend time planning. And that is why --

you know, our planning at, Don, goes so far out, I went to Paris. I looked at the Charlie Hebdo attacks from January; I looked at the hostage situation in the Jewish supermarket.

Chief Tom Galati, whose the chief of intelligence went to Sydney, Australia. He went at the Lindt chocolate store hostage situation that ISIS claimed responsibility for. Our detective from Interpol went to Indonesia the Bardo Museum after that attack.

We look at each one of these things and excruciating detail and we bring it back to New York and say let's overlay those attacks against similar targets in New York and figure out what do the attacker's plan, how do they execute? What did they do wrong? What could we do better?

And all of that has come to fruition. So, the reason you see the critical response command, the new counterterrorism command that dedicated force of 527 officers, the reason you see the strategic response command, the citywide flying squad, the reason they're armed with special weapons and tactics like our emergency services unit, which is our go to SWAT team.

[22:05:08] The reason you see the expansion of all that is we've reacted to those attacks around the world that you referred to.


MILLER: And the idea is you need to have a quick response, an overwhelming response and one that reduces the bad guys time on target.

LEMON: If I'm at home I'm thinking, you know, I've seen some of these things and you think about San Bernardino where they say, you know, self-radicalized or lone wolf. And how does one -- how does a department protect against a lone wolf, someone who is just, you know, willing to die because of their ideology or something they believe in?

MILLER: So, Don, that's the most interesting question. You know, we have a complex counterterrorism organization that was built by Commissioner Ray Kelly over a period of years but it didn't really account for things that didn't exist to that time like the growth of ISIS, where you see an organization that has three levels directed attacks like Paris, command in control, enabled attacks.

Like we had nine arrests during May, between April and July 1st here in New York of attacks that were being enabled by ISIS or inspired attacks like San Bernardino where they have just taken the propaganda and decided to act on it, although we're still looking into that.

You have three levels of threat there. And we have multiple levels of intelligence collection, gathering and investigation to thwart that. But I think, you know, if you ask the question could it happen here? The answer is it could happen anywhere.

LEMON: Yes. MILLER: Is any place more prepared, has any place invested more resources, is any place more ready to respond? And the answer is probably no more than New York city.

LEMON: As I look at that, I mean, the people on Times Square every single night in New York City, you have to protect the citizens of New York city and all the people who are visiting including those fury people who are out there, you know, in their costumes.

But you were talking about this critical response command, 500 plus officers specifically chose and trained to work full-time on counterterrorism. How different is their training going to be in this program and, you know, now, and do you think other cities are prepare -- as prepared as New York City?

MILLER: I don't think many other cities. I mean, you've got to isolate, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York, maybe Chicago, but there aren't many other cities in the United States that have that level of proper training.


LEMON: This is a different type of training.

MILLER: It is. So, when you look at the CRC, what we inherited in the NYPD was the Critical Response Vehicle program. It was cops that were borrowed from every precinct and you wouldn't get the same cops two days in a row. You put them in front of a target and say sit here and, you know, be a deterrent.

But did they understand the threat where they equipped with the special weapons, do they have the active shooter training, do they understand their target and what the threat was to that specific target? And the answer was largely probably not.


MILLER: This is a dedicated force. They're not borrowed. They show up every day. They get their intelligence briefing every day. They have had the active shooter training. They've trained in the special weapons.

This is an elite force that is ready to respond to the type of attacks we've seen unfold in the world, the type of attacks we have not yet seen in New York and hope that we never will. But the type of attacks we want to be prepared for to put down as quickly and effectively as possible.

LEMON: You need more so in bigger and larger cities than in smaller cities. And so, bigger and larger cities seemed to be bigger targets.

MILLER: If you look statistically at New York City since 9/11, there have been 20 terrorist plots against New York City. That is more than any other city in the United States since 9/11.

So statistically, per capita, how are we going to do it, we are the top terrorist target. On the other hand, since 9/11, none of those plots have succeeded because of the investment that has been made and that we continue to up the ante on and being prepared and preventing.

LEMON: Yes. And the time we have left I want to put -- I want to put up two different polls for you. This one is a New York Times/CBS poll. It's early this month it shows Americans are more fearful about the likelihood of another terrorist attack than any points since September 11.

Many de Blasio spoke about the many plots that have been thwarted. And you just talked about that in the past 14 years. This is sort of the normal. And then I want to put this one up as well. This is a new CNN poll, it shows 45 percent of Americans are concerned that they or someone in their family will become a victim of terrorism.

What do you think to calm the public? Because this is a new normal. What do you say to calm the public over these concerns?

MILLER: I would say if you are in New York City and you think of coming to Times Square, come to Times Square and have a great time. You know, let us -- let us do the worrying about the threat. So far, we have detected, put down or otherwise avoided every plot against New York City and that's a record we're proud of. And we have invested more to continue to do that.

LEMON: Yes. I want to ask you this, and this, you know, this happens -- this is happening here in New York City. There is a back and forth between your former commissioner, Ray Kelly, whom you mentioned earlier. You said and talking about what he put in place and your boss, Bill Bratton about crime stats.

[22:10:05] Ray Kelly says there is a 20 percent increase in homicides by guns and claims that overall shootings are down from the mayor's office. What is your take on this, would this back and forth because one is saying, hey, look, it's up and the one is saying it's down.

MILLER: I'm actually not sure what Commissioner Kelly is talking about. There is a 20 percent increase in homicides by guns in one of the records low years for homicide in history, while there's a decrease in homicides by knives.

In a city of 8.5 million, where the difference of homicides is a tiny handful, those are the normal ebbs and flows. The more important point is no procedure, no way of counting, no way of categorizing is there any way from the way it was under Commissioner Kelly's regime.

So, these are the procedures that we invented back in the '90s when Commissioner Bratton instituted the policies that cause crime to go down faster than any other city in the nation. They are the same policies that Commissioner Kelly went by while he was in and the other policies we continue to use. So, it's hard to tell what he's talking about.

LEMON: Yes. And when I speak to him I will ask him what he is talking about. Thank you. Happy New Year.

MILLER: Good to see you. Happy New Year to you.

LEMON: We'll see you out there or, you know, you can watch us here on CNN. We'll be covering. Thank you, John Miller.

When we come right back, another republican drops out of the presidential race and, no, it is not Donald Trump. But he has a few things to say about his rivals tonight. Don't go anywhere.


LEMON: Donald Trump just wrapping up a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, just a little while ago and that brings us to the day in Trump.


[22:14:59] TRUMP: I'm going to be in the White House. You're in the White House. It's a limited period of time. It's this gorgeous place. Yes, smaller than some of my houses but these are minor details.


LEMON: That's pretty awesome, right? Yes. Joining me now is John Brabender, a the senior strategist for Rick Santorum, our political strategist, Angela Rye, and Boston Globe political reporter, James Pindell.

I mean, come on, guys, you can't beat that, right? So, James, you first. Let's begin with some breaking news, the former New York Governor George Pataki dropping out of the race. Let's listen.


GEORGE PATAKI, FORMER NEW YORK GOVERNOR: Well, tonight is the end of the journey for the White House as I suspend my campaign for president. I'm confident we can elect the right person, someone who would bring us together and who understands that politicians, including the president, must be the people's servant and not their master.


LEMON: So, what are your sources telling you, James?

JAMES PINDELL, BOSTON GLOBE POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. George Pataki made a series of calls into New Hampshire today, where he is really been basing his presidential campaign. You know, he actually frankly started off in late May with a lot of support, surprising support along the New Hampshire grassroots.

But his campaign was always seen as something of a long shot. He never really was able to raise money or get any publicity. The thing that hurt him I think was the way the debates were set up. Where he was never able -- there were so many candidates running. I think he was really counted on that.

So, he was always in the happy hour debate, never got the -- never really got the publicity of any momentum going. So, tonight, he had his 2-minute ad, because he had his deal with NBC where Donald Trump is on Saturday Night Live, so he was given some equal time, a couple of candidates a field for that. So, he used all two minutes to have the fireside chat with America, where his Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina that he will never ever, ever be able to happen for president.

LEMON: OK. So, John, I want to ask this and with all due respect from Mr. Pataki, he's a very nice man, but, I mean, does it really matter when he -- do people even remember that he is in the race?

JOHN BRABENDER, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Well, they don't remember a lot of people are in the race because we see Donald Trump everywhere. In fact, I think I saw that some place that about 78 percent of the news coverage has been about Donald Trump.

And you know, I think Trump has actually figured out a way to gain the political system like no one has everyone seen it before that you can do it without even spending money. So, in fairness, I do think Pataki was somebody who is a very honorable man, had a lot of great credentials but nobody knew who he was and it was very difficult to cut through in the environment that a lot of candidates are dealing with.

LEMON: When do you think will see other candidates drop out, John?

BRABENDER: I don't -- I'd be surprised before Iowa, quite frankly. I think that everybody else there has been to the rodeo recently in one way or another. You know, Santorum and Huckabee both won the last two Iowa caucuses. You know, people like John Kasich and others who have won, and Chris Christie top gubernatorial races recently. So, I would be surprise if you see anybody drop out before Iowa quite frankly. And I think there will be a lot of surprises coming out of Iowa.

LEMON: All right. Angela Rye, this one is for you because, you know, what John just said, who's been able to do with the media what Donald Trump has done. He's speaking tonight and he said something about Jeb Bush on his plane. Here it is.


TRUMP: So, I'll be spending a minimum of $2 million a week, and perhaps substantially more than that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jeb has spent $40 million.


TRUMP: He hasn't spent 40 million, he has wasted $40 million. There is a big difference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is he different for you?

TRUMP: Jeb has wasted $40 million. (END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, Angela, first your reaction what he said about Jeb Bush.

ANGELA RYE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: So, he is absolutely right. Unfortunately, Jeb Bush has not had any real traction in this campaign. You've seen him kind of on this up take where...


LEMON: Should Jeb Bush, Angela, be doing a Pataki right now?

RYE: I'm not sure, quite sure about that. I think that there is still room for Donald Trump to make an error possibly. And that thing is sticking to this guy who started jokingly calling him the Teflon, Don. I said earlier to someone, you know, Donald Trump has become the Donald sterling recording like in public.

It's the craziest thing. He can say whatever he wants and it does not stick to him. I don't think it's time for Jeb Bush to drop out. But I do think it's really unfortunate that we've seen this burst of energy as we know Donald Trump has called him the low-energy candidate, really way too late.

So, I'm interested to see what happens in Iowa. We know that Ted Cruz is certainly ahead of the polls and he's beating now Donald Trump with a 10-point lead. So, there is a lot of room for change here. You still don't know if he's going to be able to beat Donald Trump.

PINDELL: You know, Don...

LEMON: He said spending a minimum of $2 million -- hang on one second -- million of -- $2 million per week. Why do you think, Angela, this change in spending and ad strategy for Trump?

RYE: I think there are a couple of things. One is he knows that he has to get a lot more than just 30 percent of republican support. He is in the high 30's nationally. But he still has some work to do in New Hampshire. He's got a whole lot of work to do in Iowa. So, he's got to make up some of that up some way. Everybody is not buying the make America great again hat that he thought he would work out, so he's got to figure out a way to reach those voters.

LEMON: Who was that, John or James trying to get in? Sorry.

[22:20:01] PINDELL: It was me.

LEMON: Go ahead.

PINDELL: I was just going to say that there is actually a connection between what we saw with George Pataki and Jeb Bush, we want to do that, which is the fact that neither of them have been really in elected politics for about a decade or so.

And the Republican Party has dramatically changed. They have not been in the game. And we see a Republican Party today that does not look at all or in some ways a lot like the Republican Party that they were elected to when they both served as governors in their major states.

LEMON: Yes. John, you say, you know, we say, well, where is the civility. You say there is less what you call sensitivity on the campaign trail this year. How many times have you thought Donald Trump said something that, you know, he wasn't going to recover from and then he recovered then he went up in the polls?

BRABENDER: Well, that's the most amazing thing. The first was actually what he said about John McCain. I thought unconscionable that he would somebody, who, in my opinion is a great American hero and basically said that he failed, and most candidates say that they are out of the race in about 24 hours.

Donald Trump's numbers actually went up. And then it was Carly Fiorina and Megyn Kelly and, you know, recently, the Clintons. And so, it's amazing what he has found is that he can control the newsroom for about 48 hours every time he says something controversial. And what it does is that it takes all the air out of the room, all the oxygen out and none of the other candidates get to speak, and that's a strategy.

LEMON: OK. Speaking of the Clintons, take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are your own personal indiscretions fair game in this campaign?

TRUMP: Yes, they would be. And frankly, Hillary brought up the whole thing with sexist and all I did is reversed it on her. Because she's got a major problem that happens to be right in her house.

So, if she wants to do that, we're going to go right after the president, the ex-president and we'll see how it all comes out. And I feel very confident that it will come out very well for us. I will say this, the last person that Hillary wants to run against is me.


LEMON: I'm wondering, Angela, if this is a winning strategy from him. You know, by the way, Hillary Clinton was asked today about this from a reporter and she ignored the question. Everyone says they know she heard it, she just ignored it. Would you advise her to respond and do you think that this is a winning strategy for Donald Trump?

RYE: So, the first part with Hillary Clinton, I would advise her to respond but I would also advise her to say in this era where women are just as powerful and have equal access at this point to the White House. I would advise her to say his personal indiscretions were not mine. Just like they may have pain some women in this country. They've pained me.

I'm not accountable for my husband's actions. I have forgiven him, I'm ready to move on. It's time for the country to move on. I am not responsible for that. You will not hold me accountable for that and that's the end of it.

I think as it relates to Donald Trump and whether it's a winning strategy. Just like everything else he's done it certainly a red herring. I think that he's got to be accountable. He had an affair. That affair ended a marriage. He is on marriage number three.

Yes, we have had a divorced president with Ronald Reagan, but we'd not had one that's been divorced and remarried three times.

His mistress was several years his junior. So, he's also got to be accountable for his personal life and his decision. So, if I were Hillary, I'd say what do you have on me personally, Donald, because right now you're talking about a man in the White House in the '90s and not me who's going to the White House.


LEMON: I don't understand why his personal affairs and you know, his mistress. I don't understand why that's relevant.

RYE: He brought it up. If he's bringing up that Bill Clinton's marital affairs, Bill Clinton's abuse of women is what he called it, not sexual harassment charges, not an affair. If he's going to bring that up then he also need to be accountable for his as the reporter called it personal indiscretion. That was his choice and he even said it's fair game.

LEMON: I don't see why either one of them is relevant. Listen, everything is fair game here but I don't see why it is relevant. I don't see what it has to do with the governing for either one of those candidates.

But stick around, everyone. When we come right back, the Trump show it's the biggest hit in politics. But can he take it all the way to the White House? We'll talk about that.


LEMON: Donald Trump is certainly rewriting the rules of this campaign, but is that a good move or a bad thing, or a good thing or a bad thing?

back with me now, John Brabender, Angela Rye, and James Pindell. OK. Angela, Donald Trump holds nightly rallies. We've talked about this, he also does one-on-one interviews with the media - almost daily.

Tonight, he held a media availability, we've been playing sound bites on his plane and then a rally. No other candidate on either side does that. This strategy works for him. So, why aren't the other candidates trying to beat him at his own game?

RYE: I think because he is running this campaign like he's run his corporate affairs. The only thing that's different is again, I compared him to Donald Sterling earlier. And the point of that is, if he said have of the things he said on the campaign trail in his corporation he would have lawsuit after lawsuit, Don. Because there is board on sexual harassment, there certainly gender

discrimination at play, there is racial discrimination at play, and the issues that he have with several people from foreign countries. So, that is the one distinction. I would say that he is running this like he runs businesses and his corporate prowess is one that is hard to compete against with other candidates in the field.

LEMON: John, if other -- if another candidate, you know, started to take on Donald Trump's campaign strategy of maximum air time. Do you think that they would have the same success?

BRABENDER: No. Because I don't think they can be as outrageous, quite frankly. I don't think they are sort of bred that way.

LEMON: Do they even have the energy? I mean, it seems that boundless energy?

BRABENDER: Well, yes, but see the phenomenon of Donald Trump, everybody is missing this, it's not just Donald Trump, its understanding Donald Trump's supporters. These are people who feel they've been disenfranchised from the political party let down from republicans and the democrats.

And the irony is that it took a billionaire to basically galvanize what are a lot of blue collar middle-income people who feel like both parties let them down.

LEMON: James, are you agreeing with that?

PINDELL: Oh, absolutely. I mean, you have to separate the man from the supporters as John was saying. But we're talking about 40 years where the middle class has shrunk. Where they had a loss of faith in institutions from the government to us in the press, to the base, to unions.


LEMON: But isn't that what the same message that Bernie Sanders has?

PINDELL: Absolutely 100 percent. And Donald Trump has been able to deliver that red meat particularly really well for the republican base right now with the added -- with the added punch of this anger, particularly about the Obama administration in particular. And people just want something to believe in or they're willing to say you know what, we're going to throw out everyone and try something...


LEMON: So, James, then the question is the people who are watching the Trump show, these supporters as you, guys, you know, you said there is -- John said there is something different about the supporters. Do you think that they are going to turn out at Iowa, at the Iowa caucus or the New Hampshire primary?

[22:30:04] PINDELL: That's what it's all about. I do think they are going to show up in New Hampshire. He's likely to win the New Hampshire primary. We're now 43 days away, you have to tell me the reason why he...

[22:30:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: ... at the Iowa caucus or the New Hampshire primary?

JAMES PINDELL, BOSTON GLOBE POLITICAL REPORTER: That's what it's all about. I do think they are going to show up in New Hampshire. He's likely to win the New Hampshire primary. We're now 43 days away, you have to tell me the reason why he's not going to win.

He's been winning I think 27 straight polls in New Hampshire since August. He is going to win New Hampshire, Iowa obviously is a bigger question mark. Ted Cruz obviously has a better ground game there.

The question is, how does Donald Trump come back where right now New Hampshire is his fire wall. And then, look, the $2 million he said he's going to spend, we don't know where he is going to spend it. Is he going to spend to try to win Iowa, is he going to spend it to leapfrog and go to South Carolina, Nevada or some of these SEC primary dates? We don't know. We also don't know if he's actually going to do it.

LEMON: Yes. Can you answer the same question, John? I mean, you know, these people you mentioned, are they going to turn out to the primary and to the caucuses?

JOHN BRABENDER, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Well, some will, some won't. Some aren't even republican. And so, the party that probably makes me has a republican consultant the most nervous, is Trump's remarks at the one debate that says wages are too high.

If trump is the nominee we're going to see that line run over and over and over again into, you know, blue collar, middle class families and I'm very concerned about Trump taking that position.

LEMON: I -- that's perfect...



LEMON: ... perfect segue to you, Angela. Go ahead. Do you believe that they're saying he has support for democrats and republicans and probably libertarians, people who feel that they were left out by the current system and the current two parties?

RYE: A 100 percent, and he's also preying on their fear. These are folks who are not living their American reality. They're living materially through Donald Trump's American dream. The reason why Donald Trump can attack women... (CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Wait, wait, what do you mean by this, they're not living their reality? They would say that their life is very real, they're living it.

RYE: Meaning -- meaning, when we talk about wages are too high and John just referenced it as the ad that would play, it's not going to resonate. Because these folks would say, well, yes, if businesses were paying the minimum wage they would have to go out of business.

They are not realizing that they are the folks some of them making minimum wage. They are the ones, some of them, who won't be able to survive off social security if something happens to it. They are the folks on Medicaid they are living out their potential dreams, hoping for a better tomorrow like Donald Trump with more money in their pockets and not realizing that they are the folks.

I remember as CBC executive director we constantly went over this formula of the poorest congressional districts. Don, those issues are white. They are really white. And I think that we have to be very honest about why people are voting this way.

This isn't just about, you know, Donald Trump is the best candidate. He is preying on the fears of American people who are very concerned about what it may mean for a minority/majority country. And that is what this is about. He is preying on their American nightmare.

LEMON: James?

PINDELL: You know, Don, when I go to these Donald Trump rallies and you talk to supporters some do go as far as Angela is saying. But a lot of who don't go so far that they are happy with, and you hear this at Bernie Sanders rallies also, is they're happy that they see someone they believe is speaking truth to power.

It's not like they are living by curiously through Donald Trump. They're just happy that someone is telling the establishment however you define that, the elite, however you define that, that they feel has left them down is not, you know, helping them out or just getting out of their way, they are happy that someone is telling them no.


PINDELL: And having to someone is -- having fun with the Clintons that they are having fun with Chris Christie. And there is a -- the bare minimum level that's what a lot of this is going on.

LEMON: I have to say as someone -- because people see me and they say, you know, you've interviewed Donald Trump. They think I know him personally that well. I don't that well I have interviewed him a couple crimes.

But I have to tell you and people who are listening, and this is unscientific. But everywhere I go, people from all stations of life, republican, democrat, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, they will come up to me and say, they'll look over their shoulder and say, you know what, I actually like the guy.

I like that he says what he says. Some of the things I don't agree with him but I like that he has the ability to say what he wants. And some of them say they're going to vote for him. And it is surprising when you look at the demographics of people. You listen, Angela, do you think it's all, you know, angry white guys. It's not. It's not all angry white guys who are supporting Donald Trump.

RYE: Don, I have to disagree with you and that there is a broad swath of his base that is. I'm not saying that there aren't black or there aren't Latino people that support him.

What I am saying though, he is speaking -- the rhetoric that he's talking, when we go back to 2010 and the Tea Party rose, taking our country back was loaded and coded language. And we have to call it what it is. Even John saying earlier that he is speaking truth to power. Some of that is not true but it's powerful because Donald Trump is a brand not just a presidential candidate.

LEMON: Listen, I don't disagree with you on some of that. But I'm just giving you the reality of the people who support him. It's not just what you know, liberals may want to think like, hey, he's just appealing to this one sector. It's not true. He is not just appealing to that. Go ahead, John.


RYE: That's part of the base.

[22:35:04] BRABENDER: What I was going to say, you have to understand the anger that's out there and the real symptom is how upset people are with Washington.

Donald Trump doing some of the things he does we would think disqualify him in most normal situations. Instead, it just shows him as this authentic person who is not a traditional politician scripted, focus group tested. And there are a lot of people that say they want the real deal.


BRABENDER: Whether you like him or not, that is something that he is is authentic. The question is, should he be president?

LEMON: And the question, does that -- is that necessarily going to translate into votes when people go to the voting booth where they say, well, you know, is that, you know, are they going to vote for him even they do like that his ability to say what he wants.

Thank you. I appreciate it. Thank you, guys.

RYE: Thank you.

LEMON: Happy New Year.

Coming up, they say justice is blind. But is it really? All a matter of where you're born. We're going to talk about that.


LEMON: We talk a lot in this country about liberty and justice for all, but does the kind of justice do you get depend on where you were born. And if you grow up surrounded by violence, do you suffer permanent damage?

CNN's Sara Sidner has more.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of maniac, drug dealings, murder, poverty and gangster rap. Straight out of Compton, Hollywood's version of this Los Angeles neighborhood. Compton is still troubled. Its murder rate is five times that of the national average. And these two Compton teenagers say the film reflects their reality.


[22:40:06] VIRGIL, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: They are shooting, daytime, night times, kids, moms, parents, grandpas. They don't care.

SIDNER: He and his brother say they've seen the results of that violence in terrifying detail.

VIRGIL: I was coming home from school and a Hispanic guy had an African-American guy on his knees and he did blow his head off.

SIDNER: How did you react to it?

VIRGIL: I was down there for like three hours.

PHILLIP, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I've seen somebody get shot. I've seen somebody dragged across the field and got hit in the head with the back of the shotgun and then dragged into somebody else. It was a group of people outside and nobody did nothing.


SIDNER: After regularly witnessing such violence, the boy say they were expected to learn just like everyone else in school. That is impossible according to a first of its kind class action lawsuit they are a part of.


MARC ROSENBAUM, PUBLIC COUNSEL: These children are as a matter of brain science unable to learn.


SIDNER: The lawsuit says the students who experienced trauma should be classified as disabled, like children with autism. Its intent is to get Compton schools to provide more counselors and teacher training to recognize the damage trauma can do.

The lawsuit site study showing trauma can effectively rewire a child's brain making it hard for them to concentrate, memorize or rationalize causing them to overreact, have violent outbursts or withdraw so they are suspended and expelled more often than other students.

ROBERT ROSS, THE CALIFORNIA ENDOWMENT HEAD: There is a scientific case medical case to be made that children who are exposed to significant amount of adverse childhood experiences are disabled.

SIDNER: Dr. Robert Ross is the head of the California Endowment and a trained pediatrician.

ROSS: If you compare brain tests, for example, CAT scans of brains of two 3-years-old, one who has been exposed to a lot of trauma and abuse, or neglect, with a normal child the brains look different.

SIDNER: Five students and three teachers have joined the lawsuit. What does Compton Unified School District think about the lawsuit? We asked the president of the school board.

MICAH ALI, COMPTON UNIFIED SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT: The Compton Unified School District agrees that trauma within children must be addressed.

SIDNER: So you believe in the science behind it?

ALI: Unequivocally.

SIDNER: But he disagrees with using an expensive lawsuit to get to solutions.

ALI: These families are in need. These families are not interested in lawyers making a tremendous amount of money on the backs of poor, black, and brown people.

SIDNER: The district is well aware that this lawsuit didn't originate with students and teachers but lawyers and experts who are trying to bring attention and change to an issue they see as a public health and education crisis.

But the district says what they are asking for and the money they sued over could cripple this district.

ALI: It would decimate the school district and it would also adversely impact people, who, the individuals who filed the lawsuit are asserting they would like to help.

SIDNER: The district says it's already been working to deal with trauma in children. The two brothers who joined the lawsuit say they've been suspended for fighting and shuttled through three of Compton high schools.

PHILLIP: Schools don't take mental problems into considerations.

SIDNER: But when we asked if the teens would talk to mental health counselor at the school.

VIRGIL: I'm not going to talk to nobody. SIDNER: What if the school offers something?

VIRGIL: No, I'm not showing to any school.

SIDNER: The potential solution to the problem comes with problems of its own.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Compton, California.

LEMON: Very interesting. I want to talk about this now. Defense attorney Alan Dershowitz is here. His book is "Abraham, the World's First but Certainly not Last Jewish Lawyer," probably my favorite title for a book. And also, our New York Times op-ed columnist, Charles Blow whose book is...

CHARLES BLOW, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is the first time I have said it on the air. Wow.

LEMON: And I like that title as well. And I like the book as well. Thank you, gentlemen. That lawsuit is still going on. This is very interesting. What do you think of the lawsuit and these different approaches? Do you think there should be different approaches based on neighborhoods as to, you know, how students learn?

BLOW: Well, absolutely. I think the science is solid here. The only question, the only question is whether or not you pursue a solution through a lawsuit or whether or not you work with the school district to accomplish it.

Bankrupting the school district actually hurts more children. So, I think that that's a problem. But identifying that there is a problem and that this is a long-term problem, and that you know, that black and brown people did not wake up one day and decide to move into the poorest, most violent parts of our cities across this country.

That those ghettos are created by design, with red lining, and through the discretionary housing policies, through discriminatory economic policies and hiring policies. And so, this developed over a very long time, this is our baby.


LEMON: And to think that there wouldn't be an effect from that.

BLOW: Right. So, we have to fix it because this is America's creation.

[22:45:02] LEMON: Right. Go ahead.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Now I agree that we have to address the problem. What I'm worried about is creating a whole category of people based on race and calling them disabled. That could really, really cut the other way. It could be misunderstood. It could...

LEMON: How so? DERSHOWITZ: I mean, you're telling people that a whole group of

people are disabled, which means that maybe they can't get out of the situation that they're in. And we have seen historically that there are many, many people, not enough, who get out of it, who come out of it without being damaged, who don't want to be called disabled, who don't want to be treated in a patronizing way it. So, it has to be an individualized and less based on race, less base on neighborhood in general.

LEMON: OK. So, again, the lawsuit is ongoing. We will continue to talk about this. Especially when they figure out what's happening, when they figure what's happening with that lawsuit.

I want you both to stay with me. Because when we come right back, that "affluenza," that teen, Ethan Couch captured in Mexico. But will he get off easy again?


LEMON: So, we have some breaking news tonight. Ethan Couch, known as the "affluenza teen" expected to return to the U.S. tomorrow from Mexico. Couch allegedly fled probation after a fatal drunk driving accident. Of course, they caught down in Mexico, him and his mom. There they are right there.

[22:50:07] Back with me now are Alan Dershowitz and Charles Blow. Looking and considering the circumstances what happened here, you know, he basically got 10 years' probation. Do we have a two-tier system of justice here?

DERSHOWITZ: Oh, without a doubt. First of all, we have a broken system of justice. We elect judges and prosecutors which is a disgrace. We are the only democracy in the world that makes our criminal justice system political.

Secondly, we have a grand jury system that doesn't work. We have a criminal justice system that is not only two-tiered, it's multiply tiered. Rich people never get the death penalty. Rich people hardly ever get shot by the police. We have a broken system. When you is a system that's broken, the poor are the real losers.

LEMON: What does it say about our justice system?

BLOW: Well, I mean, I think we have two cases, right? I mean, you're going to talk about...


LEMON: We're going to talk about Tamir Rice, yes.

BLOW: So, but, you know...

LEMON: You can bring -- you can bring it in.

BLOW: ... there is a poetic traumatic symmetry that's happening that these things are playing out of the same time. LEMON: When you have these kids and you have to have right.

BLOW: When you have the system bending over backwards to be lenient to a kid who has killed four people and maimed and injured other people and bending over backwards to not charge officers who have shot a 12-year-old, who had a toy gun and they did it in two seconds.

And the fact that these things are happening at the same time, Alan Dershowitz exact what is Alan is talking about. We have a broken system. And it had -- and it's broken I believe by design.

I believe that it is working the way we have design -- set it up and tweaked it to work. That we have -- we had a flood the poor neighborhoods with cops and we insulate them from culpability as much as we can. And that does not happen in wealthier neighborhoods which more likely they're not or also not minority...


LEMON: And you just said similar, you just voiced sentiments as him. And when I have you on, we have Mark Gerago's son and you have most legal experts, and even Mark O'Mara, people who deal with the system every single day they'll say the system is broken. You know, minorities, poor people are treated way differently, they go to jail more. When you look at what happened in Ohio -- I've been wanting to talk to you about this, what do you make of this case?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, you know, it's interesting. There is nobody has faith in the system in Ohio, nobody has faith in the process which produced no indictment. Now I'm going to say something that will surprise you.

I think the result may have been correct. When you look at the video, when you look at the gun in his hand, when you know what the policemen were and weren't told, and when you take the seriousness of better doing guilty, go free, then one innocent be wrong we can find, it may have been the right decision not to indict this person and certainly not to convict him, even though in retrospect nobody can justify the shooting of this young man.

But the process is so broken that I don't blame the people for not trusting the result. And even though the result may be if we had a good system the result may be the right one.

LEMON: Charles?

BLOW: Well, I can't see how you do not apply some level of negligence from the moment that they get the call. Barreling across that playground with children in it is negligent.

Jumping out and saying that you told that kid three times in 1.5 seconds, which I cannot believe is true to put down that weapon and you shot him immediately without allowing him the time to comply is negligent.

Not administering aid to him after you realized that he now is a child because his sister says you shot my little brother, she's 14, and not trying -- not saying that we will administer any aid is negligent.

And you can't even apply the idea that this is a crime scene we don't want to serve it, because you didn't say anything to that FBI agent who came indeed administer aid to that child, but while EMS was on its way.

So, what I'm telling you is that maybe, there's a lot of miscues leading up to that shooting. But the negligent piece of it is indisputable to me.

DERSHOWITZ: Well, I think there is no question there is negligence and not informing the police that the 911 call said that it was probably a toy gun.

But imagine if the situation has been different, the police had with...


LEMON: Let's talk about that because, yes, that's remarkably similar to the one we put the...

DERSHOWITZ: Imagine if the police had withheld fire and this man in fact, had a gun and killed two or three of the children, we'd be looking at this very different. So, you have to look through the eyes of the police at the moment they had to make an instantaneous decision.

You know, I agree with you. I think they lied about what happened. I think there was negligence after the fact, but you still have to look at that one second where the police was saying to himself, here is a guy, he doesn't seems as a juvenile, he sees him as a man with a gun pointing at kids. Do you shoot or do you not shoot? That's a very, very difficult decision.

[22:54:51] BLOW: Right, it's a difficult decision. But I don't think we have to even imagine because what we do know is because there were kids in the playground at the moment that he was there and it took them minutes to get there, and when they arrived if they had taken at one moment to look and survey the scene, they would assume that none of the kids were running away from Tamir because none of them felt that they had -- they were in any danger.

So, there are moments when you just take a breath and realize before you shoot somebody. Because you cannot take a bullet back once it happened fire.


BLOW: Before you shoot somebody you need to take a breath to say let me assess the situation. Let me not jump out with my hand on the trigger and shoot somebody.

LEMON: When we talked this morning you about compassion. You're saying, you know, your compassion didn't just drain out of you at the moment when you came, why didn't you administer help even when once you realized like this is a toy gun.

BLOW: Right. Not only did you -- there were three waves of relatives that show up at that scene. One his sister, then his older brother, then his mother and you are still standing around not administering aid and all of them are telling you that this is a -- this is my baby.

DERSHOWITZ: That's all true. But it still doesn't get to the one instant when they had to make this decision. And remember, too, even if you're convincing that he is probably guilty, that they are probably guilty, probably isn't enough. It has to be beyond a reasonable doubt.

BLOW: No, you're talking about a child, we're talking about a great -- we're talking about indictment. We're talking about an indictment. And with an indictment they did not have to prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


DERSHOWITZ: I don't think you would indict somebody unless you think you can get a prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt.

LEMON: Thank you, gentlemen. We will be right back.


LEMON: See you tomorrow. Thanks for watching. Good night.