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Terrorists Were Targeting Large Sporting Event; Afghanistan Warning Americans; Clinton Targets Trump Ahead of N.Y. Primary; Trump Blasts GOP Delegate Selection Process;. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired April 11, 2016 - 11:30   ET



[11:30:43] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: We have breaking news on a terror attack in Europe, the widening terror investigation. New developments about another plot that was in the works by the same ISIS cell behind the attacks in Brussels and Paris.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: CNN terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank, here with new details.

Paul, it seems like one of the biggest sporting events in the world was the target.

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Exactly right. Stunning new details. This comes from the interrogation of Mohamed Abrini, the suspect who was captured, the man in the hat, on Friday saying that they were looking to target these Euro 2016 soccer championships which are starting in France on the 10th of June. That was going to be their target. Investigators believe that when they arrested Salah Abdeslam, they accelerated their plans and chose another target, choosen targets in Brussels instead. Their bigger more ambitious target was France with the European soccer championships, and as you know, John, this is one of the biggest sports spectacles on the planet. It would have cut into the European psyche, grabbed headlines across Europe, and so a lot of concern moving forward about how do you protect this tournament starting in June in France given the number of ISIS fighters who are believed to have come back to Europe given the fact ISIS appears to be accelerating the attack planning against France.

BOLDUAN: Well, and a lot of question has been all along, who you extensive is the coordination with Syria when we talk about the cell and the attacks. You've been uncovering new information coming out from the computer that was found in the trash can. One of the brothers, there was an audio file of him speaking wan ISIS operative in Syria.

CRUICKSHANK: This is extraordinary. A source close to the investigation telling me from the computer that was recovered outside of the bomb factory in a trash bin, they've recovered an audio file several minutes long of a brainstorming session with a senior ISIS operative in Syria coordinating attacks in real time and discussing what targets to attack in Belgium and France and when to attack them, how to attack them, which operatives should move forward for those attacks, sacrifice themselves, which should hold back for future attacks. This is real-time coordination from Syria, and it would appear that every single Western intelligence service, including NSA, completely missed this.

BERMAN: Quickly, Abrini says he's the man in the hat at the airport, he was the third airport bomber. That's his claim. Do authorities believe him and think he's telling the truth?

CRUICKSHANK: At the moment, they believe he's likely telling the truth because they have other elements in the investigation pointing in that direction as well. There has been one Belgian analyst who has cast a little bit of doubt saying maybe he's covering for another ISIS operative who could have been the man in the hat. Why would he crumble and start cooperating so quickly? Why should we trust them? Investigators will be asking all those questions. But at the moment, they have other evidence which corroborates the notion that he was the man in the hat.

BOLDUAN: It's amazing. What happened after Salah Abdeslam was arrested and the information he was giving. We have to wonder what the concerns are when you look at Europe 2016 going forward now that Abrini has been taken.

Paul, thanks so much.

BERMAN: We have breaking news out of Afghanistan. The U.S. embassy in Kabul warning the Americans to avoid the city's Star Hotel and be vigilant at all other hotels. This, after receiving reports of a planned attack.

BOLDUAN: This, after Secretary of State John Kerry was targeted by the Taliban during his surprise visit to Kabul over the weekend. The Taliban said Kerry was the intended target of rocket strikes that hit within an hour of his departure.

CNN's senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh, joins us from Kabul with more exclusive reporting.

Nick, what are you picking up?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, a ghastly day for Afghans. 12 army recruits killed driving into the capitol by a bomb and two education ministry employees killed by a bomb. It's the southern province of Helmand that is the key focus right now. The Taliban so heavily on the advance and the disarray many consider to be at the heart of the Iraqi army. That's the force, we're told by U.S. officials, who did such a good job defending Afghanistan went they left. The Iraqi army struggling to hold them back.


[11:35:15] PATON WALSH (voice-over): You know a war's going badly when an enemy's right in front of you. This white flag is the Taliban's. They really are that close to these Afghans, defending one of the last government holdouts in Heldman Province. (GUNFIRE)

PATON WALSH: It used to be NATO that shot from these positions near the vulnerable city of Lashkar Gar.


PATON WALSH: Hundreds of Americans and British died, many in the town where these pictures show the Afghan army recently in heavy clashes.



PATON WALSH: But now Afghanistan is quite quickly watching Helmand fall.


PATON WALSH: The Taliban are winning partly because of men like these. This is a rare window into the Afghan government's worst nightmare. Soldiers from the Afghan Army, who America spent billions training, who say they've defected and joined the Taliban. They never dreamed they'd change sides.

UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER (through translation): I did 18 months of army training and took an oath to serve this country, but the situation changed. The army let us down, so we had to come to the Taliban. They treat us like guests.


PATON WALSH: Now I should say Afghan and U.S. officials reject the idea that Lashkar Gar, a key city, is so much under threat. In fact, the acting defense minister said he would quit if it fell to the Taliban. But really this amount of Taliban advance is occurring even before what is known as the summer fighting season, warmer temperatures, and increased violence begins. And many worry the losses and the disarray the Afghan army are experiencing may make the Taliban's job easier in the months ahead -- John? Kate?

BOLDUAN: Nick Paton Walsh reporting. Thank you, Nick. We appreciate it.

Coming up still for us, New York's primary is right around the corner and the fight is intensifying between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, both claiming home turf of some sort on this primary. So why is Hillary Clinton choosing to target Donald Trump instead of Sanders in a new ad a week before voters head to the polls? We'll be right back.


[11:41:42] BERMAN: Eight days away now from New York's crucial primary. Just three days until CNN's Democratic debate. Hillary Clinton setting her sights on a different target than Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump. Watch this.


ANNOUNCER: He says we should punish women who have abortions.

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: There has to be some form of punishment.

ANNOUNCER: That Mexicans who come to America are rapists.

TRUMP: They're rapists.

ANNOUNCER: And that we should ban Muslims from coming here at all.

TRUMP: Total and complete shutdown.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Donald Trump says we can solve America's problems by turning against each other. It's wrong.


BOLDUAN: There's Hillary Clinton right there in that ad.

Let's talk about this with CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist, Donna Brazile; and senior politics editor at "The Daily Beast" and a fellow at Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service, Jackie Kucinich.

Jackie, it was quite a week, a week where neither was qualified on the Democratic side. Now they qualified with some caveats. We'll get to that ad targeting Trump in a second. But between the Democrats, can you describe the level of discourse that changes moment by moment in the Democratic race?

JACKIE KUCINICH, SENIOR POLITICS EDITOR, THE DAILY BEAST & FELLOW, GEORGETOWN INSTITUTE OF POLITICS & PUBLIC SERVICE: It doesn't seem like there's a love loss right now, but I would note that Hillary Clinton seems to be dialing back her direct attacks on Bernie Sanders. We heard it on the Sunday shows this weekend where she was asked something about Bernie Sanders and she said, I'm not going to say anything negative about him. You're not hearing that from Sanders yet. I do wonder as the week goes on if he tries to dial it back as well.

Listen, both of the candidates are fighting for their political life in different ways in New York City. Hillary Clinton needs to win it, and probably needs to win it big. Where if Bernie Sanders pulls an upset, that's going to be a big deal for his campaign. If it does get back into the gutter, that also probably wouldn't be surprising.

BERMAN: Donna, looking back to last fall, every time that Hillary Clinton --




BERMAN: Every time Hillary Clinton tried to pivot and focus on the general election, it seems she's dragged back into the primary fight with Sanders. Now she wants to talk about Donald Trump, and she has an ad talking about Donald Trump, who may not be the Republican nominee anyway. But still, is it a mistake not to focus on Bernie Sanders? Every other time she's tried to pivot, it's come back to bite her.

BRAZILE: I was driving here this morning. It reminded me that when you drive you can look behind and ahead, to the sides, too. Just in case it's Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan or somebody else might win the Republican nomination. I believe you can do two things at once. I think it's important Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders focus on the threat that not just Donald Trump and his extremism but the Republican Party itself. It's not a mistake to put out an ad in New York that says we're stronger when we stick together, we're strong when we unite the country, we're stronger when we include and not exclude. I think that's the larger message she's trying to convey to New Yorkers, especially at a time like this.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk about this message and their immediate future of taking Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in this primary. Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton spent Sunday visiting a half a dozen churches in New York to try to shore up votes among African-American voters. These are voters that supported Hillary overwhelmingly in every state so far. Why, Donna, this effort a week out before the primary where she's got a healthy lead? What's the thought?

[11:45:] BRAZILE: Well, first of all, no one should ever sit on their lead in American politics, not with all the unpredictable events. Secondly, they have a relationship with the larger community of church goers, and to be able to go back into the church and to basically remind people of what's at stake in this election, that's important. People expect not just Secretary Clinton but Senator Sanders also to reach out to voters, especially voters that want to hear their plans for the future. They want to hear about their plans to expand and protect what President Obama has. I didn't make it to six churches. I barely made it to my one service. I am proud of them that they could go and do six churches. That's a lot of praising the Lord. Amen.


BERMAN: Jackie -- Jackie, you may have noticed we have a CNN debate coming up on Thursday night, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on the same stage in Brooklyn. You alluded to the fact that it's hard to tell where the temperature is in this race right now. Bernie Sanders still a little bit on the attack, maybe Hillary Clinton has pulled back a little bit. What do you think you'll see on stage Thursday night?

KUCINICH: Hillary Clinton has shown if someone throws a punch, she'll punch back, but I think it's about selling themselves as candidates. Hillary Clinton will remind New Yorkers who they elected twice side statewide, and Bernie Sanders has to give them a reason why she needs to be replaced, I guess. It is sort of like a granular campaign like that. But I would not be surprised if Hillary Clinton doesn't really go for the jugular with Bernie Sanders. She still needs his supporters if she wins the nomination to support her going forward.

BRAZILE: That's correct.

BOLDUAN: Jackie, Donna, great to see you. Thank you.

BRAZILE: And you know what, Bernie Sanders has an accent advantage over Hillary Clinton.


He sounds like he's still from New York. I love his voice.


BOLDUAN: We'll see. As presidential candidates go south, their accents change. Maybe Hillary Clinton will test out a new accent at the debate stage on Thursday.

BRAZILE: I'll try one myself.

BOLDUAN: I would love that, Donna.

Thanks, guys.

BRAZILE: I love New York. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

Coming up, just another reminder, if you need it. And you do. Thursday CNN hosts the Democratic presidential debate. Don't miss Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders facing off live from New York, Thursday night, 9:00 eastern, right here on CNN.

BERMAN: And what is Donald Trump doing right now on the Republican race? He scrapped the usual campaign book. Did that a long time ago. Never even brought it out. But have they worked and is it time now to pick up the more traditional campaign rule book?

BOLDUAN: Then a road rage murder, or is it something else? A Super Bowl champ is shot and killed after a car crash. His possible connection, though, to the suspect. We'll be right back.


[11:52:04] BOLDUAN: After a rough weekend in Colorado where he saw Ted Cruz sweep the delegates, Donald Trump and their campaign is blasting the nomination system itself, as a whole, calling it rigged, calling it corrupt. Listen here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: We've got a corrupt system. It's not running. We're supposed to be a democracy. We're supposed to be -- we're supposed to be --


BOLDUAN: Let's talk about this with Jonathan Martin, from "The New York Times."

Jonathan, great to see you.

Donald Trump tweeted about this, talking about the Colorado state convention, saying, "The people of Colorado had their vote taken from them by the phony politicians. It's the biggest story in politics. This will not be allowed."

Back in December, I recall, you were writing about the concerns and the risks that come with running such a non-traditional campaign. Ted Cruz says, and honestly the Trump campaign acknowledged, this is an organizational problem. They are working to fix it. But is that just what they are seeing? This is coming to fruition?

JONATHAN MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, you are kind to mention the story we did in December that basically said that Trump refuses to do the basics that are necessary in presidential campaigns. And really any high-level campaign. You have to create a serious organization and take steps to win delegates to get the nomination for president. And Trump was offering red meat there in the clip you played because it obviously works well with his supporters who feel he is being wronged. But Trump knows he has a problem here internally. That's why he made a change in his campaign to bring out a seasoned political operative that can honcho these states and delegates.

The issue is simple, some states, very few, have chose not to have primaries or caucuses but elect them through state conventions. This happens all the time in campaigns. And one was Colorado, and Cruz out organized Trump there. That is the issue. If Trump does fall short, this summer at the convention, it will be in large part because he was out organized by his opponents. And he had a tremendous following. His message resonated. But he was not able to, you know, do the sort of basic attack of politics.

BOLDUAN: It was funny, in the face of this, we now find Donald Trump a couple of times, last night and this morning, comparing himself to Bernie Sanders, saying they are both on the losing end. They are both having to fight against a system that is rigged against them. That seems like a dangerous game, comparing yourself to going up against one on the Democratic side. What do you make of that?

[11:54:57]MARTIN: Trump is not one who's scared of unconventional campaign rhetoric, as we have learned. He's not worried about that. There are different arguments that Sanders and Trump supporters are making. But there is a common thread there. That is you have campaign nomination contests that can be convoluted, can be confusing, and to some can seem undemocratic. In the Democratic race, it is more about a proportional contest in which Bernie Sanders can win states and not walk away with huge delegate troves. For Trump, it is an organizational problem or lack thereof. But, yes, these are two complicated nomination processes. The fact is it's not that straightforward. But there are no political parties in the Constitution, as you know. These rules are devised by the two parties.

BOLDUAN: And we are along for the ride.

Jonathan Martin, it's great to see you. Thank you.

MARTIN: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Talk to you soon.

Coming up, a former NFL star is murdered. Now investigators are turning to a 2006 lawsuit to try to find possible answers. We'll be right back.