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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

N.Y. Rep. Peter King Responds to Cruz Remarks; Trump Stumps in Iowa Following Debate; Sean Penn Breaks Silence on El Chapo Meeting; GOP Debate Coach Grades Candidates. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired January 15, 2016 - 11:30   ET

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


[11:30:00] REP. PETER KING, (R), NEW YORK: It's multi, right to left Republican, Democrat, black, white, you name it, everyone was offended by that. Listen, we don't need anyone to feel sorry for us but we're not taking stuff from anybody like Ted Cruz.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: You mentioned values, and that's an important thing to discuss. You also mentioned him being self righteous. But in the political sense, you were not born yesterday, and you have been around politics for a long time. Republican voters in Iowa may have different values than Republican voters in New York. No?

KING: I think if he had said political issues, that's one thing. To say your values was wrong, to me, was way off, especially -- again, I think as an American the foremost value is patriotism and courage. That's what New York shows. If he wanted to say certain differences and go after Donald Trump, fine. That's fair game. I've been around Congress. I know what happened when we couldn't get the money we're entitled to. Meanwhile, Cruz is giving all the money he can to Texas when they have floods. He went way off and shot himself in the foot when he used the term value. That put it at a higher level and he's the last guy who belongs there.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I get the sense you're not voting for Ted Cruz. About two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, two weeks before the voting, who are you going to back?

KING: Two candidates most appealing to me are Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. Jeb Bush is having a hard time getting started. After Iowa and New Hampshire, depending on which of those two are left, I will support them. I think Marco Rubio has a great knowledge of foreign policy, homeland security, and has a level head. Talking about two young Senators, Cruz has totally out shown by Marco Rubio. Rubio got the best of him in there, head to head. I'll say Marco Rubio. But again, we have to see what happens in Iowa and New Hampshire.

BOLDUAN: Congressman Peter King, great to have you on. Great to see you. Thank you.

KING: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Interesting --

(CROSSTALK) KING: That was all off the record.

BERMAN: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Got it. No problem.

BERMAN: Absolutely. Just between us. Won't leave the room.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: I love that. Lay it off the record. See you, buddy.

KING: OK.

BOLDUAN: Another King, actually another comment from another King. Congressman Steve King, was on earlier, a supporter of Ted Cruz, from Iowa, he conceded after hearing Trump's response on stage that it would have been better for Cruz to not take part in that exchange. I found that interesting this morning.

Peter King never holds back for us.

Thanks so much, Congressman.

Any minute now, Donald Trump, we are going to get to him in one second. He's getting ready to take answers and starting to speak at a town hall in Iowa. His first event since the fiery debate. We'll see how he takes questions and responds to the crowd. We'll be right back.

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: And now, the enemy is waiting.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:36:53] BERMAN: You're looking at Donald Trump live in Urbandale, Iowa, his first event since the debate last night. He told the crowd he thought he did well in the debate and he thinks he'll win Iowa. Let's listen.

TRUMP: That's not going to happen with me. I love China and do great with China, they rent buildings of mine. I have the biggest bank in the world that's a Chinese bank. They pay me rent. They're in one of my buildings in New York. Frankly, it's all great. I sell condos to the people in China. They can't believe what they get away with. They tell me. They're friends of mine. In other words, they can't believe how stupid our leaders are. I don't hold that against China. I think they're great. If we could have a $500 billion surplus with China, I would love that. That would be great. That wouldn't happen because, if that ever happened, if it started getting out of control, boom, they would slice it off. We do this on a yearly basis. For years, we lose hundreds of billions of dollars. I'm not talking about millions. I'm talking about billions. We can't do it. We're going to change it around. We have the greatest business people in the world. Carl Icahn, many others have endorsed me and I'll get Carl involved. I'll say, Carl, watch over China trade. He'll do it. He'll do it because he loves the country and because it's fun for him. Believe me. Go and do your thing. We're going to come out just fine. That's what happens. We use political hacks and negotiate some of the biggest deals in the world.

Look at the deal with Iran. It's a disgrace. It's a disgrace. $150 billion we're giving them. Then they capture these sailors, these wonderful young sailors -- I don't blame them. But they capture these kids and have them on their knee in the begging position, hands up, guns to their head, and humiliation for our country and then they release the pictures and have a guy saying, I apologize, I apologize. And he didn't know. They might have asked him, told him to say it. Nobody knows that. It's too early to tell. But it's humiliation.

The only reason to let them back was because they're not stupid people. They're smart people and great negotiators. And in two days they get a check for $150 billion. They didn't want to take a chance. The difference is if they did that with me, I'd say, you're not getting your money back. You're in default for what you did. You're in default.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: The only thing I don't like, the only thing I don't like is that if I win, I will go and I will say the money is gone, folks, because that $150 billion has gone, and I can't get it back. Once it's gone, it's gone. What a shame. I actually said to people, based on what they did -- did everyone agree? They say, well, they let them out. I thought that was humiliating for the United States to have these peoples on their knees with their hands up and guns at their head, and then we have Kerry saying wasn't it wonderful that they let them go. I think it was disgraceful.

Remember this, if we weren't giving them a check in two or three days for $150 billion, they would never let him go, they would gave kept him. Don't forget this also, they have four hostages, OK. We have right now a minister, a pastor, a writer from "The Washington Post," we have a lot of people right now that and nobody mentions them. We're now talking about the sailors. They gave them back. I thought it was horrible. The whole scene was horrible. I think that the pictures taken, released by Iran, was horrible and a slap in the face. And our people don't know it was bad. But they have four other people that should have come back as part of that deal, as bad as that deal was. But they should have said, hey, before we give you anything, you have to let our prisoners back. And if they said no, you take a walk.

[11:41:02] BOLDUAN: All right. Donald Trump right there speaking to supporters in Urbandale, Iowa. He says he very much wants to win that state. No kidding, buddy.

Let's bring in political director, David Chalian, now to discuss.

He's talking China and Iran and he says he thinks he did well in the debate last night. David, what's the general sense from what you saw? Two and a half weeks out of Iowa, what does last night's debate do for Donald Trump?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think it was Donald Trump's best debate performance and I think it gets us to where we are in this moment right now, Kate. It's now really time for the voters to sort of validate this Trump movement as he calls it or just sort of pierce it. And he raised the central question now about where we are in the race for the Republican nomination. He said you know, there are those that say all these people show up in my rallies are not going to show up to vote. He said I don't know, I think so. They rate seven hours to get into a rally and I'm sure they'll come and vote. He understands that is the central question. Now we learned the debates aren't going to take down Donald Trump. No add campaign from some outside group is going the take down Donald Trump. It's now going to be whether the voters are going to continue to ride this Trump wave that has been dominating the entire race. He says he's going to be Iowa so much they're going to get sick of him and he doesn't want to set expectations. He clearly wants to win there. He knows that's the catapult for the nomination for him.

BERMAN: It's interesting you say that. It seems clear at this point that no intervening event is going to end this Trump phenomenon. Nothing singular will happen that will keep him from winning. It's just that maybe, maybe the polls are wrong. The polls everywhere but Iowa showing him way ahead are wrong. Iowa shows him neck and neck --

(CROSSTALK)

CHALIAN: Not that they're wrong, necessarily. Just that we don't know if he can convert. The polls may be capturing the right sentiment, but are all the fans going to be converted into voters?

BERMAN: David, I get the sense you hear from people on the inside now, they think there's a pretty good shot he can win this.

CHALIAN: Yeah, that is the big conversation happening in the hallways down here in South Carolina around the debate and meeting that the Republican National Committee held down here, John. This is the very establishment, this is the party structure that has been reluctant throughout 2015 to the Trump candidacy and now the conversation is this guy is in the driver's seat and may end up as the nominee and you can hear Republicans now thinking through what that means. If it's no longer sort of like wow, we're scared of him to be our nominee and be bad for the party, it's now you hear a conversation, listen, he may be our nominee and we need to start thinking how we move forward if that's the case. It's a shift in tone and acceptance of the political reality that's before them.

BERMAN: David Chalian, in South Carolina, great to have you with us today. Thanks so much, David.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, David.

CHALIAN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Coming up, the world's preeminent Republican debater -- the best there is -- he joins us live and he will grade the candidates' performances.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, Sean Penn accusations against the Mexican government in the wake of el Chapo's capture and why he says the Mexican government is now making him the next target of the cartel.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:48:49] BOLDUAN: Actor and activist, Sean Penn, is breaking his silence on the interview with the drug kingpin, el Chapo, and he is shooting down claims that the secret meeting was essential to el Chapo's capture, as Mexican authorities have suggested. And Penn tells CBS News he believes Mexican authorities have now made him a target of the cartel as payback for humiliating them. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN PENN, ACTOR & ACTIVIST: And we know that the Mexican government, they were clearly very humiliated by the notion that someone found him before they did. Well, nobody found him before they did. We didn't -- and we are not smarter than the DEA or the Mexican intelligence. We had a contact upon which we were able to facilitate an invitation.

CHARLIE ROSE, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Do you believe that the Mexican government released this in part because they wanted to see you blamed and to put you at risk?

PENN: Yes.

ROSE: They wanted to encourage the drug cartel to put you in their crosshairs?

PENN: Yes.

ROSE: Are you afraid for your life?

PENN: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[11:50:00] BERMAN: Wow, that's quite a charge. Penn says he does have one regret, that the article failed to expand the discussion on drug policy.

Joining us now to talk about this is a man who did a documentary on the search for el Chapo, Angus McQueen, and his documentary is entitled "In Search of Shorty."

Angus, do you believe that Sean Penn is in danger?

[11:50:19] ANGUS MCQUEEN, AUTHOR: No, I don't think Sean Penn is in danger. If I were Kate De Castillo, I would be more concerned as a Mexican citizen. But I'm not quite sure from which direction in her case. I'd almost worry about the authorities as much as the cartel.

BOLDUAN: What do you make of what Sean Penn says that the Mexican government was embarrassed how this played out, and they are trying to blame him?

MCQUEEN: Well, I think that the Mexican government has been clearly humiliated over a quite a long period, and they were humiliated by el Chapo's escape. And Sean Penn is absolutely right, the government didn't find Chapo, because Penn and Kate De Castillo did an interview with him, and they have known roughly where el Chapo was for years and years, before the first capture and the capture before this capture. They have been working hard over the last few months to get him, clearly, and essentially managed to drive him out of the mountains, out of the place where Sean Penn met him. They knew that he was roughly up there. Because where Penn met Chapo and where the authorities almost got him in October was exactly the same place that we had been and we had gotten close to him two years ago.

BERMAN: A lot of politicking on all sides here.

Angus McQueen --

MCQUEEN: I think a great deal of messages, yes, being passed out and excuses.

BOLDUAN: A dangerous game.

BERMAN: Yes, exactly, a dangerous game with the Mexican cartel.

Angus, great to have you here with us. Appreciate it.

MCQUEEN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Coming up, the world's pre-eminent Republican debate coach joins us live. Find out how he thinks that the candidates did.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:56:23] BOLDUAN: The first GOP debate of 2016 two and a half weeks out from the Iowa caucuses and the stakes can't be much higher, so how did they do?

BERMAN: Brett O'Donnell is a debate coach who has worked on a number of high-profile campaigns.

Brett, you told us that you think that Cruz won on the debating, strictly speaking, but Rubio and Trump actually won the debate. So I what to break that down into parts. What do you mean that Trump won on debate -- I mean, Cruz won on debating.

BRETT O'DONNELL, PRESIDENT O'DONNELL & ASSOCIATES: If you realize that you were a debate judge, you would say knowing that Ted Cruz was an accomplished debater, you would say that he had a good card, but the audiences don't have a scorecard and they are impressionistic, and from the debate itself Trump and Rubio had a good night, and particularly Donald Trump. Even though Cruz may have gotten the better of debating on Trump in the Canada exchange, certainly the fact that you are talking -- that they were talking about it for five or ten minutes is bad for Ted Cruz, because it is still keeping the issue alive. And Rubio clearly got the better of Cruz in the exchange at the end of the debate by dumping the op-o so to speak on Ted Cruz, and Rubio's response it is not the op-o, but the record was particularly poignant.

(CROSSTALK)

O'DONNELL: But impressionistically, you have to say those guys won.

BOLDUAN: We have that quick moment, Brett, and let's play for it the viewer when Rubio and Cruz went after each other on the record.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ, (R), TEXAS & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I appreciate your dumping op-o research folder on the debate stage.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R), FLORIDA & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, it is your record.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: It was a quick moment. But, Brett, why did that stick out so much to you?

O'DONNELL: Because Rubio did dump a lot of arguments, and it is what we would call a kitchen-sink approach to debating. He dumped a lot of arguments on Ted Cruz. And all Ted Cruz could come back with was that those are false, and that is your op-o work, and Rubio's response was brilliant.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: He didn't say all of those were false.

O'DONNELL: Right, exactly. And --

BERMAN: Brett it is interest -- go ahead.

O'DONNELL: Oh, go ahead. Go ahead.

BERMAN: Well, I was going to say that you thought that it was Donald Trump's best debate, and David Chalian, our political director, a lot of people saying this is Donald Trump's best debate so far, and what does that mean? Look, he is winning outright in the national polls, and if he is just getting to the point where he is getting good at this, what is that telling you going forward?

O'DONNELL: Well, I think that you are exactly right. I mean that the point is that, you know, to this point in the election, debates have not hurt Donald Trump, but they have is seemed to hem him, and now he has had the best debate of the debating season, and this is the debate right before the Iowa caucuses, and I can't imagine that this debate doesn't actually help Donald Trump. You know, he was engaged throughout the evening. And he got the better of Ted Cruz in the New York values exchange. And I just think that, you know, the other candidates on the stage didn't do anything to take him down. And Ted Cruz is the only one who challenged Donald Trump. The other candidates are not going to be challenging him, and that leaves him standing tall in that debate.

BOLDUAN: I mean, especially in the coverage afterwards and what other candidates, and that is what you are left with, when you look at who was really the focus last night between those two candidates and three maybe.

Brett, great to see you

BERMAN: Thank you all for joining us AT THIS HOUR.

BOLDUAN: "Legal View" with Ashleigh Banfield starts right now.

> Donald Trump in Iowa for his first event since the debate last night, and we're waiting for this town meeting to begin any minute at Living History Farms, an open-air museum in Urbandale, Iowa. Actor and activist, Sean Penn, is breaking his silence on the interview with the drug kingpin, el Chapo, and he is shooting down claims that the secret meeting was essential to el Chapo's capture, as Mexican authorities have suggested, and Penn tells CBS News he believes Mexican authorities have now made him a target of the cartel as payback for humiliating them. The first GOP debate of 2016 two and a half weeks out from the Iowa caucuses and the stakes can't be much higher, and preeminent GOP debate coach, Brett O'Donnell, who has worked on a number of high-profile campaigns, grades the candidates' performances, saying h e thinks Cruz won on the debating, strictly speaking, but Rubio and Trump actually won the debate.>