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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Paris Attack Suspect Captured Alive; Romney to Vote For Ted Cruz in Utah; Obama Slams Trump for "Vulgar & Divisive Rhetoric"; Trump Preparing for Major Speech to Pro-Israel Group. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired March 18, 2016 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:11] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Next, breaking news. Captured alive. The last Paris attacker at this hour. An operation still under way are live on the scene.
Plus, Mitt Romney saying he's voting for Ted Cruz. And Donald Trump is fighting back. We're live at the Trump rally tonight. And the attacks on Trump getting personal. White powder send to his son. Hackers allegedly releasing Trump's Social Security number. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. A dangerous situation unfolding at this hour in Belgium, the world's most wanted terrorist captured alive. Injured during a shootout, but alive. He is Salah Abdeslam, the sole surviving suspect from the Paris attacks in which 130 people were murdered. The sound of explosions and gunfire heard throughout the raid this afternoon in Brussels.
Abdeslam has been on the run for more than four months, evading capture multiple times. And hiding out we now know in Molenbeek in Belgium. A gritty neighborhood moments away from where he lived before the attacks. A neighborhood known as a breathing ground for extremists. Belgium police arrested him and four others. Some believe to be accomplices after storming their hideout today. You're looking at the scene of the arrest and the man in the image, it's not clear if that's Salah Abdeslam or an accomplice. President Obama was briefed on the arrest late today, he called the French President Francois Hollande and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel to congratulate them.
But the threat there is not over. Explosions have been going off throughout the day well into the night in Brussels days after the November attacks, I travelled to Molenbeek. I spoke to Salah Abdeslam's brother. I asked him if he had a message for him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MOHAMED ABDESLAM, BROTHER OF SUSPECTED PARIS ATTACKER (through a translator): I would tell him to surrender if he has something to do with it. He must face his responsibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Of course, he did not surrender, but he was taken alive. Nima Elbagir is OUTFRONT live in Molenbeek tonight. And Nima, they caught Abdeslam, but this operation appears to be far from over?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Both the Belgian and the French authorities have been very keen to stress that the operations, the investigations, the danger is not yet over, but it has been an extraordinary sequence of events that has led to Salah Abdeslam's capture here. Just a street away from his childhood home. We want to walk you through that. Take a look at this.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): Heavily armed Belgian police, a daring daytime raid in a Brussels's neighborhood. Their target, Salah Abdeslam, believed to be one of the last Paris attackers alive. The focus of the massive international manhunt. Abdeslam had been on the run for more than four months. Many believed he'd fled to Syria, but yet here he was, cornered in a small apartment just 200 miles from Paris. For French President Francois Hollande, mixed emotions.
PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, FRANCE (through a translator): I'm thinking of the victims right now of the attacks of the 13th of November in Paris and in Saint-Denis.
ELBAGIR: November 13th, Paris. Teams of attackers descend on the city armed with heavy weapons. Some with suicide belts strapped to their bodies targeting bars, restaurants, a concert hall, and a football stadium. After a bloodbath of terror. A hundred and thirty people lay dead. Most of the attackers French and Belgian citizens. Some with links to terror groups in Syria. Those not killed by police died in the suicide attacks. Investigators believe Abdeslam drove three attackers to the concert hall. Then they say he took off his suicide belt and fled.
His brother Abraham stayed behind, blowing himself up outside a Paris cafe. Hours later, Salah Abdeslam was stopped driving with friends towards Belgium. But not yet identified by police, the men were sent away. The next day, Abdeslam and a friend caught on a gas station surveillance camera. And then he vanished. The trail gone cold until Tuesday and a lucky break. That's when police went to this apartment in Brussels. A search for evidence only, thinking the home was empty. Police had no idea that Abdeslam or other terrorists were inside.
ERIC VAN DER SYPT, SPOKESMAN, BELGIAN FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: From the moment the door of the flat was opened, at least two persons armed with a riot gun and a Kalashnikov opened fire towards them. In a short but very intense shootout, three of the six officers suffered slight injuries.
[19:05:05] ELBAGIR: Police killed one of the gunmen but two others escaped. Inside Abdeslam's fingerprints and DNA officials say. The manhunt intensified, culminating in today's raid and Abdeslam's capture. One of the most wanted men in the world hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the leg. Elated authorities tweeted out, we have him. And now they say Abdeslam will finally face trial for the Paris attacks.
ELBAGIR: What has become clear though, Erin, is that although the capture after Abdeslam might provide some solace, some respite for the families of those victims caught in the Paris attack, the reality is that this network, it appears that was behind the attack is much wider, much bigger than anticipated, and so the investigations, the raids, they will continue here -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Nima live in Brussels tonight. And at this hour, terror officials have briefed President Obama about the ongoing operation.
Our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto is OUTFRONT. And Jim, I know the President is speaking with officials in Belgium and in France. Abdeslam may be caught, but the threat apparently far from over?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No question. In fact, as Nima said there, the French president said today that the network behind Paris attacks discovering bigger than expected. Beyond that, I met with the French interior minister last week. He said that the chances of a successful terror attack in 2016 is, in his words, likely. That is the threat they are facing. They have multiple of the number of terror suspects and suspected jihadist that we have here in the U.S. That's a threat they face and they get a lot of help from the U.S., but even with that help, they admit they feel overwhelmed.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jim Sciutto. Pretty sobering there when you hear after all of that they think it is was a deeper network than they thought and a very real risk of a successful terror attack this year.
OUTFRONT now, our terrorism analyst Paul Cruikshank and a former CIA operative Bob Baer. I spent a lot of time for both of you in Paris as we were covering these attacks. I want to just walk everyone through Paul, exactly what happened. Because I think there's something stunning here that isn't visible at first blush. Right? So, when you look at how this started that night in Paris, they fled across the border there to Brussels. Now, that's the last time Salah Abdeslam was seen. At that border he was apprehended. They didn't know they were looking for him, they let him go.
Last time he's seen he continues on to Brussels. In Brussels, here is what we know. Molenbeek up here, the heart of the Arabic district, right? Abdeslam's apartment, where he lived with his brother and family right here, where he was captured or not captured, where he escaped earlier this week right here on a force raid on Tuesday. And then in Molenbeek itself, where his family lived and where they caught him today an eight-minute walk. Eight minutes away from where he was in a small neighborhood and it took him four months to find him. PAUL CRUIKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Extraordinary, isn't it? But
he was presumably spending more time in that southwestern district of Brussels forest where he appears to have gone to ground. They found his fingerprints there, his DNA there, other indications that he had been there very recently. And they believed that he escaped from that apartment down in the forest in the southwestern part of Brussels whilst another of the terrorists in the apartment Mohamed Belkaid (ph) a senior part of the Paris conspiracy was providing covering fire. Escape with another suspect through the roofs and eventually, according to our colleagues, the Belgium state media, he put a phone call through to a radical associate who was living around this area in Molenbeek. They wanted shelter, but that guy was being monitored by Belgian security services.
BURNETT: So, that's they were able to find him.
CRUIKSHANK: And that's how they figure out he was there just very, very recently and of course, very, very near to where the family houses.
BURNETT: Which is stunning. I mean, Bob Baer, this is a crucial point. When you're thinking about this, you're looking at eight- minute walk between where he was captured today alive and the last place where he lived in Brussels. I mean, that means a lot of people would have seen him, known he was there. Helped. I mean, it was pretty stunning.
BOB BAER, FORMER CIA COOPERATIVE: Oh, Erin, it's stunning, I think it is, that he got away for four months. This is a huge manhunt. Cooperation all the way around the world. You know? The problem is, a lot of these North African communities in Europe are tight knit and they don't cooperate with authorities. I mean, if this has been the United States, a common criminal, he would have been found within in days probably. But the fact that these communities are willing to protect these people and the fact that they can arm with automatic weapons, Kalashnikovs and also you have the discipline that they stayed off the phone. And they finally made a mistake with that one call to a phone that was tapped. But, you know, that's when they were under attack themselves and on the run.
BAER: So, it's not a surprise they made a mistake. But just the four months that surprises me.
[19:10:04] BURNETT: I mean, Paul, it was incredible. You know, when I spoke to Mohamed Abdeslam, the third brother, two of them involved in the Paris attacks. One of them ostensibly not involved at all living in this apartment here in Brussels. I asked him about how close the brothers were. How it's possible he didn't know anything was happening. And here's a quick clip of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Many people find it hard to understand. They say you and your brothers are so close in age. You lived together. You're close. They say how could you not have known something?
ABDESLAM (through a translator): I think that people do not quite understand what we've been through. But my brother, who participated in this terrorist act, must have been probably psychologically ready to commit such an act. These are not regular people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, what fascinates me is, he said he was psychologically ready and then he continued in the conversation to say that he thought his brother Salah who was on the run could go out in a blaze of glory and yet Salah was captured alive. And they almost got him two days ago and he fled, he didn't want to die.
CRUIKSHANK: This is someone with a strong survival instinct. I mean, he was meant to be a suicide bomber that night in Paris on the 13th of November, maybe chickened out about it with the pair. Or maybe something went wrong with the device. He was very stressed, very emotional. When two friends picked him up, board him back to Brussels. He then went to ground. But then again on Tuesday, he's not the guy staying in the apartment. He's the one fleeing from the police. On to the roof, trying to getaway. And then today again, somebody who was caught alive by Belgian security service. A lot of these other guys, they really want to die. They want to go to where they think will be paradise.
BURNETT: Which is stunning. He doesn't fit with the profile at all. Now Bob Baer, you also heard what Jim Sciutto said. That they think that there's, you know, a lot more here in terms of the network, that there could be more planning, that they think it is very likely there could be another successful terrorist attack in 2016. That's a pretty terrifying thing for people here given the level of surveillance that now supposedly exists around the world in Western countries, but particularly in France and Belgium.
BAER: Oh, I think they're right. I think we'll see an attack in 2016. The American police are also afraid as is the FBI. There are a lot of networks out there. And the assumption is, we or the Europeans are going to be attacked if not both of us. And I think the police are prepared and I think they are absolutely right. We are the targets, especially with the Islamic State losing territory. Under constant attack, they're going to lash out against us in the west.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Bob Baier, Paul Cruikshank. And OUTFRONT next, Donald Trump speaking live tonight at a major rally in Utah as Mitt Romney reveals he's voting for Cruz.
Plus, President Obama slamming Donald Trump every single chance he gets. Does that actually help the frontrunner? And this is what Donald Trump said the last time he addressed a large Jewish audience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're not going to support me because I don't want your money. Isn't it crazy?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Yes, he said that. Will he be more politically correct in a major speech on Monday?
[19:17:05] BURNETT: Breaking news. Mitt Romney tonight saying he'll vote for Ted Cruz. The 2012 GOP nominee saying in his statement, he is, quote, "repulsed by Trump." And moments ago, Donald Trump firing back on Twitter saying, "Failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the man who choked and let us all down, is now endorsing lying Ted Cruz. This is good for me." He continued to say, "Going to Salt Lake City Utah for a big rally. Lying Ted Cruz should not be allowed to win there. Mormons don't like liars. I beat Hillary."
Romney of course is a Utah voter. That state caucuses on Tuesday. It's also where Trump is tonight. He will be speaking live in a short time from now. As he mentioned in his tweet, he is going to be in Salt Lake City.
Sara Murray is OUTFRONT traveling with the Trump campaign tonight. And Sara, Trump was off the trail yesterday but obviously back in full force today, fighting back against Mitt Romney.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. And it will be interesting to see how he navigates this issue when he is here in Salt Lake City speaking to this crowd. This is not a state where Donald Trump is favored to win. And part of that is because many of the Mormon large swath of the Mormon community doesn't have a very high opinion of him. So, if he does kind of come here, come out swinging against Mitt Romney like we saw him do on Twitter, it will be interesting to see how he reacts. Now, the other thing that's interesting about this Romney comment is really the person it is most damaging too here in this state is John Kasich.
John Kasich is trying to peel away support from Ted Cruz, trying to ensure Ted Cruz doesn't get over the 50 percent mark here in Utah. If Cruz does, that means he gets all of the delegates. You can see though, that is exactly why Romney is weighing in, he wants to block Trump. And by saying, he's going to vote for Ted Cruz even though he's saying, it's not an official endorsement, he is hoping that that will boost Cruz here in the state and get him over this 50 percent mark and sort of create another barrier to try to stop Trump.
BURNETT: All right. Sara Murray, thank you very much live in Salt Lake.
And OUTFRONT now, the co-chair of Donald Trump's campaign, Sam Clovis and the former communications director for Jeb Bush's presidential campaign Tim Miller. Sam, let me start with you. Mitt Romney announcing he's going to vote for Ted Cruz and going so far as to say, he is quote-unquote, "repulse" by Donald Trump. Could this hurt Trump?
SAM CLOVIS, NATIONAL CO-CHAIR, DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN: I don't think so. Maybe it might have some impact in Utah. It may have some there. We're out there campaigning. I think that we don't leave anything to chance. We want to do as much as we can. And I think, if you take a look at what, you know, Governor Romney has mentioned and what he's done, I can't tell you the literally the hundreds and hundreds of e- mails and phone messages and text messages all about how this is really galvanized the support for Donald Trump.
And in fact has brought more people. And I just got off the phone with someone you would know that wanted to let me know in no uncertain terms that this talk about -- what Romney is talking about and what people are proposing for the convention is not going to happen. And this is somebody that knows that for a fact. So, I think that this is really, what we have here is we have a bunch of sore losers and it really comes down to that.
BURNETT: So, can you tell us who you were talking to? Is it a political person?
CLOVIS: Nope. Nope. Not at all. I'm not going to tell you. And I just want to let you know that it's a person in the know. And I feel pretty good about it. They're a credible source.
BURNETT: A credible source --
CLOVIS: I'm not going to tell you. Not a chance.
BURNETT: But not be a contested convention is that what you're saying?
CLOVIS: That's correct.
BURNETT: So, Tim, what do you have to say to that? No chance of a contested convention.
TIM MILLER, FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, JEB BUSH CAMPAIGN: Well, look, I don't know who Sam's secret source is, so it is kind of hard to weigh in on that. But let me tell you this. Only half of the electorate at this point has voted. There are about half of the states left that need the opportunity to weigh in on who should represent this party. And I think what Mitt Romney has done and what I admire him for is make a moral case for why a conservative party, a Republican Party that believes in the constitution, that believes in freedom of speech and freedom of religion, should not support somebody like Donald Trump who has no respect for those founding principles that we've had in this country.
And I think that you'll see Donald Trump suffer another loss in Utah on Tuesday and then we'll move ahead to Wisconsin a few weeks from now, which is going to be another really tough state for Donald Trump. So, basically, we have a long fight ahead of us, and I think it remains to be seen exactly how that will shake out in Cleveland.
BURNETT: Sam, you talked earlier this morning on CNN.
BURNETT: And you said that the elites of the party -- you were referring to people like Mitt Romney although that was before he came out and said, he was voting for Ted Cruz. But we're treating Trump voters like they're, quote-unquote, "stupid." Why do you think that?
CLOVIS: Well, I think that every time you come out and say that your vote has been wasted that seven million 800,000 people have already voted for Donald Trump. This is to tell those people, all the people who voted for Donald Trump and all the people who are going to vote for Donald Trump, that your vote really is a bad idea because he's not a conservative. He's not going to represent the Republican Party.
BURNETT: That's true.
CLOVIS: I want to ask every Republican, every conservative out there -- I want you to understand. Go down, list down the principles of conservativism and tell me how well have you done. How well have you done in getting to a smaller government? You haven't. How well have you done with fiscal responsibility? Look at this last budget deal. You haven't. Look at what we've done to the military. Have you protected the military? No. Have you protected the cultural values of this country? No. So, I want to hear what the conservatives have to say about protecting conservative principles. I don't hear any of that.
[19:22:35] MILLER: I don't know what Sam is talking about here.
CLOVIS: No, you don't. You don't because you're not a conservative. And you don't represent yourself as one.
MILLER: Sam you actually say, you used to be a conservative.
CLOVIS: I am a conservative. I know all about it. You don't.
MILLER: And since then you have abandoned the conservatives.
CLOVIS: I have not. You're the one who do not acknowledge the principles of conservatives.
MILLER: Listen to Erick Erickson, Glenn Beck, one of the great conservatives --
MILLER: Hey, Sam, let's go through the issues.
CLOVIS: Acknowledge the principles of conservatism.
BURNETT: Go ahead, Tim.
MILLER: Let's go through the issues that you mentioned. When it comes to supporting people in Washington, D.C. who are big spenders, Donald Trump has supported all of them. Nancy Pelosi --
CLOVIS: What have conservative done about big government?
MILLER: Hey, when it comes to cultural values --
CLOVIS: Mitt Romney is a big government Republican.
MILLER: Donald Trump supported Planned Parenthood. He was for partial birth abortion up until --
CLOVIS: What have you done about it? What have you done about it? Nothing.
MILLER: I've been fighting for the conservative candidates my entire life.
CLOVIS: You've really been effective.
MILLER: I've been fighting --
CLOVIS: You've really been effective.
BURNETT: Tim, I am not so curious --
MILLER: Sam, we have a Republican House and a Republican Senate. We have 30-year Republican governors --
BURNETT: I will say this. I will say this. The government did get bigger under the last Republican administration in terms of the size of government and entitlements that were added. But Tim, let me ask you something about the Stop Trump movement. Right?
BURNETT: You don't want Donald Trump to win, so you think that people would be getting together. It seems like all they agree on is they don't want Donald Trump and they agree on nothing more. John Kasich, for example, putting out a statement about Mitt Romney's voting for Ted Cruz today. And Mitt Romney of course is campaigning with John Kasich. Kasich though slammed him and said, the fact is, the establishment has gotten it wrong this entire primary. It's unfortunate to see that Mitt Romney -- it's unfortunate to see that Mitt Romney is getting bad political advice. This is just the old establishment trying again to gain the political system. Okay. Romney and Kasich both want to stop trump Tim and this is what we get today. They're just slamming each other. Isn't that the whole problem with your argument?
MILLER: I don't really know what John Kasich's campaign is talking about there. I think that trying to stop Donald Trump and supporting a candidate who is best capable to do that in Utah, that's Ted Cruz. I think that makes sense. And, you know, if you want to look at what's happened to this party, we have about one-third of voters, even more in certain states on Tuesday, went out to vote and they were asked if the election is held between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, would you consider a third party? And they said yes. One- third to 40 percent of Republicans. This is not the establishment. This is not people in smoke-filled rooms in Washington. These are conservative ranking file voters who are disgusted that we might nominate somebody who is not a conservative and who has done nothing over the course of their lives to make you believe that he would be a president who would respect the constitution and respect Republican values.
BURNETT: Sam, on this point though, are you going to go ahead -- and you said that you have heard from a source that there will be no brokered contested open convention that you trust, but you are a co- chair of the Donald Trump campaign.
BURNETT: John Kasich is hiring lawyers to prepare for what he believes is going to be a contested convention. Are you going to go ahead, hire lawyers and prepare for that or you are not just going to --
CLOVIS: We'll be totally prepared. Because, you know, the rules are the rules. I said that this morning 13 hours ago when I was on this network. And I think that the rules are the rules. And as long as people follow the rules, everybody is going to be fine. But if people come in and start to change the rules and try to jimmy the rules and try to steal the nomination from someone who has legitimately gained 237 delegates when they go to the convention, that's not going to work. And I really think there are people in this party who truly are trying to figure out how to get the rules changed so no matter how many delegates we have, even if it is over the 1236 that we need, they will try to take to figure out a way to take this nomination away from Donald J. Trump. I really believe that.
BURNETT: Thank you both very much. I appreciate it. I appreciate it.
And now, OUTFRONT next, President Obama's attacks on Donald Trump, they are heating up. Are they only helping the frontrunner? And tonight, the attacks on Trump getting personal. His family a target. Our report.
[19:30:35] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, can President Obama stop Donald Trump? As Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump get closer to locking their party's nomination, the president is jumping into the fray. The stakes are high not only for the frontrunners, but for the president's legacy.
Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's not on the ballot, but his legacy is on the line.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hello, Austin!
ZELENY: And President Obama is gearing up for a campaign of his own against Donald Trump, feeling little sympathy for the plight of the GOP. OBAMA: This is the guy, remember, who was sure that I was born in
OBAMA: Who just wouldn't let it go. And all this same Republican establishment, they weren't saying nothing. As long as it was directed at me, they were fine with it.
ZELENY: The president is still officially on the sidelines of the Democratic primary fight, even though his preference for Hillary Clinton is one of the worst kept secrets in Washington, but he's all in to stop Trump.
OBAMA: I continue to believe Mr. Trump will not be president.
ZELENY: His tone is shifting from dismissive --
OBAMA: I think they recognize that being president is a serious job. It's not hosting a talk show or a reality show.
ZELENY: -- to dead serious.
OBAMA: So, I know I'm not the only one in this room who may be a little more than dismayed about what's happening on the campaign trail lately. We have heard vulgar and divisive rhetoric aimed at women and minorities and Americans who don't like us or pray like us or vote like we do.
ZELENY: In five years, Trump has gone from presidential punch line --
OBAMA: Say what you will about Mr. Trump. He would bring some change to the White House. See what we got up there.
ZELENY: And now within reach of the presidency, which Obama is increasingly working against.
OBAMA: During primaries, people vent and they express themselves. Seems like entertainment, but as you get closer, reality has a way of intruding.
ZELENY: The president is gradually expressing himself.
OBAMA: I think I will have a Democratic successor and I will campaign very hard to make that happen.
ZELENY: The question is whether voters are looking for change just as they were eight years ago when he swept into office.
ZELENY: The question here is now how helpful can he be. Not exactly the most popular sitting president.
But, Erin, this is how Democrats believe he can be helpful, building that Obama coalition, that diverse collection of young voters, Hispanic voters, African-American voters. They have to turn out in record numbers, you know, simply just like they did for him in '08 and 2012. That would help whoever the Democratic nominee, particularly for Hillary Clinton, who is not exactly been drawing huge crowds and enthusiastic supporters out there. So, building that Obama coalition is going to be absolutely essentially to Democrats holding the White House.
BURNETT: Jeff Zeleny, thank you.
And OUTFRONT now, our political commentator, Maria Cardona, a Hillary Clinton supporter. Her firm currently does work for a pro-Clinton super PAC. And the founder and senior pastor of New Spirit Revival Center, Darrell Scott, a Donald Trump supporter.
Pastor Scott, let me start with you. Right there at the end of Jeff Zeleny's report, you heard the cheers. It is a good thing to remind people that President Obama is the only other politician in modern times who can draw crowds and inspire voters like Donald Trump.
In 2008, President Obama won the independents, Trump is now courting. He got the crowds. He inspired and motivated millions. He's now slamming Donald Trump.
Could it hurt Trump?
PASTOR DARRELL SCOTT, ENDORSED DONALD TRUMP: I don't think it can necessarily hurt Trump. In 2008, President Obama was a worldwide cultural phenomena. He swept across the globe. He was handsome, charming, sophisticated, gracious.
And, you know, as we say in the African-American community, he was very, very cool. He was a cultural phenomena much like Michael Jackson's "Thriller" in 1982. Michael was a cultural phenomena.
But after that, after "Thriller", Michael could never achieve that pinnacle of success and the enthusiasm for President Obama has dissipated somewhat. He can't hurt Hillary Clinton's campaign, but he won't do much to enhance it. And Hillary herself is boring. She didn't arouse passion or she doesn't elicit excitement.
So, he will probably -- you know, it was a given. Everybody expected him to endorse her anyway. So --
SCOTT: So, it's no bit -- it's no big deal for him to come out on her behalf.
[19:35:02] And he's been -- you know, he said things I heard on the clip where he said that Mr. Trump used vulgarity and that he alluded to vulgarity.
But I remember them asking Mr. Obama, Mr. President, they said do you have a bucket list, since this is your last rodeo as president. Do you have a bucket list? He said, no, I don't have a bucket list, but I have a list that rhymes with bucket. Now, you use your imagination. And if Donald Trump has said that,
they would have been saying alluded to something vulgar or whatever. But Mr. Obama said it and we all heard it.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm sorry, but there's no comparison. First of all, President Obama said that at a White House dinner during a roast. Trump would never allude to anything. He would actually say it the way he has these past few months.
CARDONA: Pastor, let me finish. I didn't interrupt you. Pastor, I did not interrupt you.
BURNETT: Let Maria finish, Mr. Pastor.
SCOTT: My bad.
CARDONA: Let's remember our manners. Thank you.
Secondly, yes, Trump has been vulgar. He doesn't just allude to vulgarity. He says the words.
And, look, absolutely President Obama will help Hillary Clinton. We all talk about she needs, if she's going to be the nominee, she will need the Obama coalition to come out for her in record numbers. Well, who better to mobilize and energize and excite the Obama coalition than Obama himself?
He is incredibly popular with African-Americans, incredibly with Latinos, with women, with the LGBT unity, with everyone who knows that having Donald Trump at the helm of the president of the United States is an incredibly scary thought and they will do everything in their power to come out in droves. That's exactly what will happen.
BURNETT: Donald Trump is the one, let's just remember, who forced President Obama to release his birth certificate, right? This is personal for Barack Obama. Joke aside, he seriously and personally dislikes Donald Trump. He has been mocking Donald Trump ever sin started. Here's a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Just recently in an episode of "Celebrity Apprentice," you didn't blame Little John or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. These are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night.
I have a lot of faith in the American people, and I think they recognize that being president is a serious job. It's not hosting a talk show or a reality show.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Pastor, when you look at it this way, you look at his approval ratings, OK, they could be better, but it is 51 percent overall. That's Democrats and Republicans. It's the highest it's been for Barack Obama in three years. Do you believe he is a formidable adversary if he hit the campaign trail aggressively against Donald Trump?
SCOTT: If he was running for a third term, he would be a formidable adversary. But because it's Hillary Clinton, I mean, his influence to me will be minimal.
What people failed to realize is that Donald Trump did not introduce the birther issue. The introduction of the birther issue came from Hillary Clinton's camp when she was running against President Obama and she liberally played the race card when she was running against him as well.
Donald Trump simply picked up on what Hillary Clinton introduced in her 2008 and 2012 campaign against Mr. Obama. We selectively have amnesia as far as that is concerned. It doesn't matter. She introduced it.
CARDONA: No, she did not.
SCOTT: She introduced it and she never conceded it.
BURNETT: There is something about these two men, Maria, that's kind of amazing about how much they have in common. And both of them would say that is a horrible thing, how could you say it. But anyway, they both battled and are battling in the case of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, right? That was the chief adversary.
BURNETT: They love their crowds. They attract crowds. They know how to play to those crowds. Here they are.
CARDONA: Absolutely. Yes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: I hope you'll accept my apology. I just want to give you the opportunity. Is there anybody you would like to apologize to right now yourself?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, no.
COLBERT: No? No? No one to apologize at all.
TRUMP: Maybe the audience. How about the audience? No, no apology.
OBAMA: I don't text. I e-mail. I still have a BlackBerry because I -- the one old guy there.
Look at him. He's my age. He's my age.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Maria, there are moments where they both can be rather likable and they can both have a sense of humor. People gravitate towards them in a way that they don't to anyone else.
CARDONA: Well, I think if you compare likability between President Obama and Donald Trump, President Obama just wipes the floor with him.
But I will say this: If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, and Trump is the nominee, it is going to be an incredibly ugly, divisive. It will be utterly misogynistic. So, she's going to need all the help she can get. And I think having President Obama in her corner will be a formidable way to dampen and combat all that incredibly ugly divisive rhetoric.
[19:40:11] Plus, given the fact she is very popular with the Obama coalition right now, I think it will be a winning combination.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both very much.
And OUTFRONT next, Donald Trump preparing for a major foreign policy speech. Will he sound like a commander-in-chief?
And the FBI investigating tonight a suspicious letter with white powder sent to Donald Trump's son. The latest on that next.
BURNETT: Tonight, Donald Trump is preparing for a highly anticipated and very controversial speech. The Republican frontrunner going to address AIPAC. It's a very powerful, pro-Israel lobbying group. He's going to do that on Monday night. Rabbis and other top Jewish leaders, though, are banding together to protest Trump's speech.
And when Trump addressed the Republican Jewish coalition in December, he was much less serious and you might be shocked at what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I'm a negotiator like you folks. Is there anybody who doesn't negotiate deals in this room? This room negotiates. I want to renegotiate -- this room.
[19:45:02] Perhaps more than any room I've ever spoken to. You're not going to support me because I don't want your money. Isn't it crazy?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Will Trump strike a more serious tone on Monday?
Manu Raju is OUTFRONT.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Donald Trump facing his biggest test on Israel yet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a right to silence him.
RAJU: As he prepares to deliver a major speech, the powerful pro- Israel lobby AIPAC on Monday, the criticism of Trump is only intensifying.
One big issue: his posture on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Trump says it's best to be neutral.
TRUMP: If I go in, I'll say, I'm pro-Israel and I've told that to everybody, to anybody that would listen. But I would like to at least have the other side think I'm somewhat neutral as to them so we can maybe get a deal done. Maybe we can get a deal.
I think it's probably the toughest negotiation of all time, but maybe we can get a deal done.
RAJU: That has only give fodder to his rivals, mainly Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: On Israel, Donald has said he wants to be neutral between Israel and the Palestinians. As president, I will not be neutral. You know, we need a president who understands the national security interests of this country.
RAJU: In his speech Monday, Trump plans to make the case he is the most pro-Israel candidate seeking the GOP nomination.
TRUMP: I'm making a very major speech in front of a very important group of people.
RAJU: But some don't want to hear it. Some rabbis are organizing a coalition called "Come Together Against Hate", with at least 300 people expected to protest outside of AIPAC's meeting in Washington.
Their target -- Trump and what they believe is hateful rhetoric espoused by the bombastic businessman.
RABBI DAVID PASKIN, LEADER, COME TOGETHER AGAINST HATE: We have a right to not be a party to the ugliness and the hatred and the vitriol that he's been spewing and that he's made a cornerstone of his campaign.
RAJU: Trump allies are pushing back. In a tweet, senior adviser Michael Cohen said the criticism that Trump is a racist is unfair. "Shame on the protesting rabbis", he tweeted.
TRUMP: This is the Tree of Life, which is a very big award.
RAJU: Trump often points to the Tree of Life Award he received in 1983, from the Jewish National Fund's real estate committee.
In 2004, he marched in a salute to Israel parade in New York City and he likes to point out that his daughter Ivanka's husband is Jewish.
TRUMP: I have a tremendous love for Israel. I have a son-in-law and a daughter that are Jewish, OK? And two grandchildren that are Jewish.
RAJU: Now, Trump also boasts that he's been, quote, "a massive contributor" to pro-Israeli causes. In 2014, Trump donated $100,000 to an Israeli emergency first responder organization, according to a Jewish newspaper. But we really don't really know the full extent of his giving. One reason why; he has yet to release his tax returns -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Manu, thank you.
OUTFRONT next, the FBI investigating a suspicious letter with white powder sent to Donald Trump's son. That story next.
[19:51:33] BURNETT: Tonight, opposition to Donald Trump's presidential campaign leading to a threat against one of his closest family members, his son. His son Eric receiving a threatening letter with a suspicious powder inside. And now, the FBI is investigating, the Secret Service is investigating. It appears the powder could have been something like lemonade mix but obviously a pretty terrifying thing to happen.
Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT.
And, Miguel, this is -- this is pretty awful that something like this could have happened.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is awful. Mr. Trump is not saying a lot about it, uncharacteristically. Only saying that he's hoping law enforcement authorities can track not only who did this to his son, but also go after those who are trying to tap into his phone and personal information and arrest them.
TRUMP: I want to thank my family, my boy Eric.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Now, it's personal. Anger at the Republican front-runner aimed at his family.
A letter containing a threatening message and a suspicious substance mailed to Eric Trump's Manhattan home, a Donald Trump building right on Central Park.
The handwritten note postmarked March 7th from a Boston post office was picked up by Eric Trump's wife and the substance believed to be lemonade mix came out.
The threat follows this incident at an Ohio event last week as Trump speaks, Secret Service agents surround him after a man upset by Trump's rhetoric tried to rush the stage.
Trump received heightened security protecting virtually surrounding him after the Ohio incident. Last November, Trump and Ben Carson were the first two Republican candidates to get Secret Service protection.
ANONYMOUS: This is not a war. This is a declaration of total war. Operation Trump engaged.
MARQUEZ: And the computer hacking collective called Anonymous has declared its own war against Trump, his name and his business interests.
ANONYMOUS: To our fellow hack-vists throughout the world, this is a call to protect our future, our freedom and our very way of life. We need you to dismantle this campaign and sabotage his brand.
MARQUEZ: The group claims to have already released Donald Trump's personal cell phone number and Social Security number, a claim that CNN can't verify.
ANONYMOUS: Dear Donald Trump, we have been watching you for a long time. And what we see is deeply disturbing.
MARQUEZ: While some of the information appears to be incorrect, Anonymous also says it has posted telephone and home address information for those close to Trump, including campaign staff and family members.
MARQUEZ: Now, it is not clear if they actually got his actual cell phone number. They did release some messages early on like they hacked into his voice mail, but Anonymous said it's not over yet. April 1st they are promising a DDOs or denial of service attack against several Trump websites.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Miguel.
MARQUEZ: You got it.
BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, the president's historic trip to Cuba. I'll be there. A preview, next.
[19:58:16] BURNETT: This Sunday on CNN,"WONDER LIST" returns with Bill Weir traveling to Cuba. Here's a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL WEIR, THE WONDER LIST: It looks like a trendy boutique you might see in Soho or Melrose District of Los Angeles. And then right across the street, you have people raising chickens on their balcony.
How is life in Havana these days?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really hard, man.
WEIR: It's hard?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Some people think change. I hope so.
WEIR: You hope so. You don't think so?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe change for business, for government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But for the people, I don't know. More young people is better.
WEIR: Young people in government, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, (INAUDIBLE) revolution.
WEIR: New ideas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, new idea, we need that. Maybe a few years, good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, man.
WEIR (voice-over): I came here expecting to find that sentiment everywhere, but to my surprise, so many seemed proud of the Cuban system, warts and all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: "THE WONDER LIST" airs Sunday night at 10:00. You don't want to miss it.
And we will be live from Havana on Monday, as President Obama makes his visit. The first trip by an American president in nearly 90 years. It is a very big event. And we will be down in Cuba for that.
Thank you so much for joining us. Be sure to set your DVR to record OUTFRONT so you can watch us at any time. Have a wonderful weekend.
We'll see you back on Monday.
"AC360" starts right now.