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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
The New York Primary; FBI Paid Private Hackers to Access Locked San Bernardino Phone; Pentagon: American Airstrikes Have Killed Over 26,000 ISIS Terrorists Since 2014; Puerto Rico: A Hot Zone For Zika; Sex, Politics And Drama: HBO Relives Thomas Hearings. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired April 13, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:30:07] BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ken Fisher's family has been involved in New York Democratic politics for decades.
KEN FISHER, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PARTY OFFICIAL: It was an exciting race for both parties in '76, because it was an open seat, because the country had been traumatized.
GINGRAS: Scarred by the Watergate scandal.
RICHARD NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.
GINGRAS: The subsequent resignation of Richard Nixon, the U.S. pulling out of Vietnam and, like today, voters struggling after a recession.
FISHER: New York was a very different city in 1976. For one thing, it was broke. The economy was in the toilet. The streets were out of control.
GINGRAS: Among the Democratic candidates, Washington Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, Arizona Congressman Morris Udall and California Governor Jerry Brown.
FISHER: The political establishment was for Scoop Jackson. The so- called reform movement of the party was either for Udall or Brown.
GINGRAS: And then there was the young peanut farmer from Georgia. Jimmy Carter's novel strategy was to make every primary and caucus count, rather than target specific strongholds. Fisher's father served as Carter's election lawyer during the New York primary.
FISHER: He was raising money for Carter, and he was giving him advice on the local politics. But Carter got clobbered in New York in '76. It was really a blip on his way towards winning the nomination.
GINGRAS: On the Republican side, incumbent President Gerald Ford...
NARRATOR: We know we can depend on him.
GINGRAS: ... who never competed in a national campaign, was in a fight with Ronald Reagan.
ERROL LOUIS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Reagan campaigned actively in New York trying to sort of snatch the nomination away from Gerald Ford, the sitting president of the United States. It was a big fight. It was a big, big deal.
GINGRAS: Months later, their competition would boil at a contested convention, something we may see again now decades later.
GINGRAS: And, of course, Ford won the nomination after just one round of voting. And months later, Carter really built steam and beat Ford in the general election and became our 39th president -- Jake.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Brynn Gingras, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
The security on your cell phone vs. the safety of you and your family. It turns out the FBI actually paid hackers to crack a criminal's iPhone, and we have learned we could see a lot more of this in the future -- that story next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Our national lead today: a stunning admission this morning by the FBI. The feds paid private hackers to access critical data from the iPhone of Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the two San Bernardino terrorists.
Now, Apple, as you may recall, had refused to build software that would have enabled law enforcement to crack the device's privacy code. This created a pitched battle between the technology giant and the federal government.
Let's get right to CNN justice reporter Evan Perez.
Evan, how did the feds hire these hackers?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, these are hackers who uncovered a vulnerability in the iPhone, and the FBI paid them for the tool to crack the terrorist's iPhone.
Now, even though we don't -- this one fight is over for now, the solution really only works with one limited model of iPhone. So the FBI director, Jim Comey, says that the government will probably be tangling with Apple over other phones. And here's how he describes the coming issues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: I think there may be one in Massachusetts, may be one in New York. But there will be plenty, because the nature of things is that this -- the default encryption on devices is affecting all of our lives and all of our devices.
So, by definition, it's going to affect the work of law enforcement in a pretty significant way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEREZ: So, Jake, Comey says that he trusts the company or the people he hired to do this hacking. And he says so people should not be worried that this is a tool that is going to be in the hands of the wrong people and be used for malicious purposes.
TAPPER: Is the FBI going to tell Apple how the hackers accessed the phone?
PEREZ: That's the crux of the issue. The government policy is that the FBI, when they uncover a vulnerability, is supposed to tell a technology company, so that they can fix it.
However, there's a way for them to keep that from these companies. And Comey himself says the minute we tell Apple, they are going to fix it and we are going to be back to square one. Because this is a national security issue, they don't have to tell them.
TAPPER: Interesting. Evan Perez, thank you so much.
Turning to our world lead now, an astounding claim from the Pentagon. U.S. military officials claim that American airstrikes have killed more than 26,000 ISIS terrorists since 2014. Despite the apparent battlefield successes, there is growing concern about ISIS expanding throughout Europe, North Africa and Afghanistan.
Let's get right to CNN's chief national correspondent, Jim Sciutto.
Jim, 26,000 is a lot of dead bodies. How can the Pentagon claim that they know how many people they have killed and how can they be sure that every one of the 26,000 was an actual terrorist?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, the short answer on both is they can't be certain. These are estimates. They're based on intelligence and surveillance and neither is perfect.
The U.S. intelligence community is comfortable with the estimate. However, it's also becoming more comfortable with saying so in public, with the deputy defense secretary telling reporters just a couple of days ago -- and this is a quote -- "It sucks to be ISIS."
SCIUTTO (voice-over): Iraqi security forces fight house to house to retake the city of Hit northwest of Ramadi from ISIS control. As thousands of residents flee the violence, Iraqi forces expect to rid the city of the terror group within days, one victory against ISIS among many, the U.S.-led coalition is now claiming.
[16:40:05] COL. STEVE WARREN, U.S. SPOKESMAN FOR OPERATION AGAINST ISIS: A year-
and-a-half ago, we saw images of ISIL convoys moving freely into Mosul and throughout Iraq. Those days are gone. Our enemy has been weakened and we are now working to fracture him.
SCIUTTO: ISIS, says the U.S. military, has lost more than 40 percent of its territory in Iraq and Syria and millions of dollars in money blown up by coalition airstrikes.
The Pentagon also claims more than 26,000 fighters, including several senior leaders, have been killed. U.S. officials say that ISIS' fighting force is now at its smallest since monitoring began in 2014. Still, the terror group remains active.
In Syria Tuesday, ISIS fighters claim control of a Palestinian refugee camp, and there are growing fears that, as ISIS is pushed back in its strongholds in Iraq and Syria, the group will launch even more terror attacks abroad, following their recent strikes in Brussels and Paris.
TONY BLINKEN, U.S. DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: We must work to prevent the spread of violent extremism in the first place, to stop the recruitment, the radicalization and the mobilization of people, especially young people.
SCIUTTO: Attempting to rally its supporters, ISIS' propaganda magazine praising the cell responsible for the Brussels and Paris attacks.
Mohamed Belkaid, the alleged European ringleader, is showcased in combat gear holding a bloody knife. The magazine says Najim Laachraoui, who blew himself up the Brussels Airport, built the bombs for both attempts and gives credit to the El Bakraoui brothers for gathering the weapons and explosives, claims consistent with what investigators have told CNN.
SCIUTTO: Though "Dabiq" magazine's claim are consistent with CNN's reporting, there are concerns among U.S. and European intelligence officials that ISIS is showering praise on the terrorists already captured or killed.
So they may be attempting to cover for other cell members who are still on the run. European authorities believe they have largely dismantled this cell, but, as we have said many times before, what they do know is that there are many other cells out there.
TAPPER: And clearly a decision by the Pentagon to try to be more assertive in terms of denigrating by mouth ISIS and claiming more successes, even though as you and I have discussed in the past, generally the Pentagon doesn't like to give body counts.
SCIUTTO: No. Clearly, there's a perception in the administration that they haven't been getting credit for their successes and I'm sure you have heard that, so they're being more public. But in terms of those numbers, we have seen this go back and forth in
the military. In the Vietnam War, they were very big on body counts that proved to be militarily insignificant in terms of actually winning that war.
Then in Iraq, we saw them kind of go back and forth. Early on, they were into it, then they stopped doing it, and then they were doing it again. So, this is one of those decisions that they go back and forth on. But one thing that is consistent throughout history is -- military -- at least recent military history, is that a big body count doesn't necessarily equal victory and that's the risk.
TAPPER: And it's not necessarily a number that's accurate.
TAPPER: Jim Sciutto, thanks so much.
Congress passes a bill to find a cure for Zika, but the White House says this bill is barely a drop in a bucket. Are we prepared as a nation for a possibly massive Zika outbreak when one in five people in one U.S. territory is expected to be infected by the end of this year?
Plus, a super car so super you have to apply for the privilege to buy one. But wait until you hear the price tag.
[16:46:03] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Now our National Lead, President Obama is expected to sign legislation that provides financial incentives to companies developing treatments, potential treatments for Zika.
Congress approved that bill yesterday, but the White House said today that considering the fears that health officials have about a potentially massive Zika outbreak, this legislation they say falls way short of what's needed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Having an umbrella in a hurricane may in some situations come in handy, but it is insufficient to ensuring that our country is prepared for a situation that could have a significant impact.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: An umbrella in a hurricane, with crippling, devastating and heart-breaking side effects, better treatments could not come sooner for places like Puerto Rico when it comes to the Zika virus.
One in five Puerto Ricans could be infected with the virus raising threats to the rest of the United States and health officials warn it's going to be an uphill battle against Zika in the U.S. territory.
Joining me now is the governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro Garcia Padilla. Governor Garcia Padilla, thank you so much for joining us.
ALEJANDRO GARCIA PADILLA, GOVERNOR OF PUERTO RICO: Thank you for having me.
TAPPER: Appreciate it. So the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is saying there are more than 300 confirmed cases of the Zika virus in Puerto Rico, most of them locally transmitted. What are you doing to stop the spread of this horrific virus?
PADILLA: First, I want to thank the secretary of HHS here, they are helping us a lot. We are educating people -- it's a tropical island so we have mosquitos.
PADILLA: The main issue is with pregnant women or women willing to get pregnant, educate them is of key importance. They need to use deet (ph). They need to fumigate in their houses and neighborhood. Through the municipalities we are doing the same. In the streets we are trying to prevent. We are promoting the use of screens in the windows.
TAPPER: And now we know that Zika can cause more serious birth defects than previously thought. Here's what a CDC official said during the White House briefing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most of what we're learning is not reassuring. We have learned that the virus is linked to a broader set of complications in pregnancy, not just the microcephaly but also prematurely eye problems and some other conditions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[16:50:01]TAPPER: Obviously this is a big problem especially in Puerto Rico. Is part of your solution preventing pregnancies for women who are not planning on getting pregnant?
PADILLA: Yes. We are looking that too. We have been control on prophylactics and other measures of birth control.
TAPPER: Do you have enough money to deal with this problem?
TAPPER: You don't?
PADILLA: No. The person apply or request funds from Congress. They haven't act. Now he's redirecting Ebola funds to deal with Zika. I appreciate that from the president, but we do not have enough money. The answer is absolutely no.
TAPPER: All right, Governor, thank you so much.
PADILLA: Thank you so much. TAPPER: Best of luck.
Just one day until the battle in Brooklyn and something that's never happened before. Congress passes a bill to find a cure for Zika, but the White House says it's barely a drop in the bucket.
Meanwhile, it was the Supreme Court confirmation hearing that would change the way we look at a can of Coca-Cola forever. Now all the allegations of sexual misbehavior from the Clarence Thomas hearings are coming to life on film, 25 years later.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Our Money Lead now. Forget waiting in line for those Tesla preorders. You have to apply to buy the new luxury car. The company has officially began accepting applications to purchase its new supercar, the Ford GT and prices start at $450,000, making it the most expensive Ford ever.
Now if your application is selected, you'll be able to purchase one of the 500 cars that will be built during its first two years of production. Ford has not yet said if more will be made after that. Anyone who wants to buy the car can apply online.
Our Pop Culture Lead now. It was the first time many Americans ever heard the term "sexual harassment." The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee, Clarence Thomas. It had all the political drama of "House of Cards" with even more jaw-dropping R-rated content.
Now 25 years later, HBO, our corporate cousin, is bringing it all back with an all-star cast and some of the politicos depicted in the film, well, they don't appreciate it.
TAPPER (voice-over): To hear some tell it, HBO's docu-drama "Confirmation" is almost in itself as controversial as the actual Clarence Thomas hearings upon which the film is based.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as I'm concerned it's a high-tech lynching.
TAPPER: At its core, this debate, like that one, is about what is the truth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It happened to me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt that I had to tell the truth.
TAPPER: Anita Hill's 1991 testimony against her former boss, whom she alleged sexually harassed her, was a national moment then. And it's hitting a nerve today, as Washington, D.C., braces for yet another politically charged Supreme Court appointment in the midst of a presidential campaign.
HBO and Director Rick Famuyiwa faced pushback almost immediately from some of the Republican players.
RICK FAMUYIWA, DIRECTOR, "CONFIRMATION": These contentious nominations sort of help us examine who we are, and I felt like so many of the issues we were dealing with in terms of gender and class on the our politics we're still dealing with today.
SENATOR JOHN DANFORTH (R), MISSOURI: No political agenda, however, laudatory justifies the destruction of a human being.
TAPPER: Long-time Thomas supporter and friend, Senator John Danforth, Senator Alan Simpson and others were furious after reading an early draft of HBO's script saying it was an unfair and unflattering portrayal. HBO says the film has changed quite a bit since then, but that doesn't mean the critics were completely quelled.
FAMUYIWA: The people who were involved can look back on it with 20/20 hindsight and maybe go we didn't look so great. But I think we as filmmakers and I as a filmmaker was interested in just the truth of that moment.
TAPPER: Danforth recently told CNN, quote, "very little in this film reflects the devastating events as I lived them. Students of history, beware of docudramas."
(on camera): What do you think students of history should take from this film?
FAMUYIWA: They should see this film as an entry point. It's not necessarily up to Senator Danforth or anyone else to tell us how we should speak about that history. It's for all of us.
TAPPER: Former Senator Simpson says producers have made sweeping changes since his initial feedback, but he remains wary. It makes me sick, he said. What the hell is the purpose of pulling open a sore? It's the same as it was 25 years ago, someone's lying.
TAPPER: Someone indeed. You can catch "Confirmation" this Saturday at 8:00 p.m. on HBO, our corporate cousin.
Chasing a magic number and celebrating a remarkable career in our Sports Lead now. Tonight, the Golden State Warriors led by superstar, Steph Curry, will try to win their record 73rd regular season game, which would eclipse the mark said by the Chicago Bulls 20 years ago.
At the same time the Los Angeles Lakers will honor the end of an era, Kobe Bryant will play in his final NBA game concluding a legendary career. The five-time NBA champion has been league MVP four times and is third on the all-time scoring list.
Bryant was drafted straight out of Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania back in 1996 and at the time was the youngest player in NBA history. A courtside seat at Kobe's curtain call may cost you $20,000 tonight. Top notch tickets to see the Warriors chase basketball immortality are on the market for a mere $10,000. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jaketapper or tweet the show @theleadcnn. That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper turning you over to Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."