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NYC Terror Suspect Posted about Trump on Facebook; GOP Not Sure What to Do if Roy Moore Wins; Trump's Health in Focus after Fast Food Diet Revealed. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired December 12, 2017 - 11:30   ET


[11:31:06] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: There's breaking news coming in on the pipe bomb attack in one of New York's busiest transit hubs. Authorities are now saying the suspect posted on Facebook that morning, yesterday morning, posting, "Trump, you failed to protect your nation."

CNN's Brynn Gingras is joining me with much more detail, you've been picking up from your sources. Brynn, what have you learned?

GRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, not only sources, Kate, but from a criminal complaint filed in the southern district, and that is a big headline there. He made that Facebook post, according to this complaint, as he was on his way to doing this detonation yesterday morning. He even admitted, according to the complaint, to authorities that he did this at the rush hour because he wanted to cause a lot of damage. He picked that time specifically. You're right, on that Facebook post he said, "Trump, you failed to protect your nation."

Now also we know that authorities have been conducting a series of search warrants. One of those was to his home, where they found a number of bombmaking materials. What that bomb was made of, a pipe bomb with lights and multiple screws and bolts. Some of that was found in his home as well as his passports and some handwritten notes. Let me read you some of those": "Oh, America die in your rage."

We've been talking about a motive for some time now. We know he did pledge his allegiance to ISIS. Authorities say part of his radicalization happened on-line starting back a year ago. He started to research how he was going to carry out an attack. He was paying attention to videos, he was paying attention to ISIS propaganda, and that was the start of the radicalization.

A lot of information coming from this complaint. At this point, we're still learning when he will be arraigned. But this gives us a lot more information.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Some picture being -- some more of the picture of the puzzle being pieced together.

But, Brynn, you're learning more about the port authority officers, those men that ran towards the smoke as everyone was running away. What can you tell us? GINGRAS: This can't be underscored enough. There were four port

authority police officers credited for apprehending him within minutes of this bomb going off. And according to one of their spokespeople for their union, one is a Marine, a former Marine, one is a former soldier, and one of them even has bomb technician expertise. And they actually spotted, according to the spokesperson, wires from Ullah and spotted him reaping for a cell phone. We know from our coverage of this, many times, a cell phone can be used as a detonator. They jumped on him and were able to apprehend him within minutes of the bomb going off through the debris and all that smoke. Really, again, can't underscore the heroism from these four people.

BOLDUAN: Every turn, just the conversation of what a near miss this was and what great work they did to stop it from being what could be far, far worse.

Brynn, great to see you. Thanks so much.

GINGRAS: Thanks.

[11:34:04] BOLDUAN: Still ahead, the -- all eyes on Alabama. And the polls are open in Alabama. If Roy Moore wins, Republican leaders have been pretty iffy on whether he's going to get a seat on any Senate committee, which would be, to say the least, a little unusual. Now Roy Moore is firing back.


BOLDUAN: Republican Senators aren't sure what to do if Roy Moore wins today in Alabama. It seems, in an interview with CNN, Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, wouldn't even say -- he wouldn't say if he would give Moore a committee assignment. Senator McConnell telling CNN this, quote, "That's a good conversation for some time after tomorrow." Of course, he said that yesterday. That would be wild to say the least. Senators, especially one of the majority, not getting a committee assignment. Add to that McConnell wouldn't say if Republicans would welcome Moore to their weekly policy lunch. Seriously.

What does Moore have to say? Here's what he had to say about Republicans in Washington last night.


ROY MOORE, (R), ALABAMA SENATE CANDIDATE: Talk about draining the swamp, I don't know if you remember this, it's difficult to drain the swamp when you're up to your neck in alligators. We're up to the neck in people who don't want change in Washington, D.C. They want to keep it the same, keep their power, prestige, and keep their position. And we've got to change that.


BOLDUAN: Joining me now, Doug Hye, CNN political commentator and former communications director for the Republican National Committee. Eric Beach, co-chair of the pro-Trump Great America Alliance PAC, which is supporting Roy Moore in the Senate election. And Symone Sanders, CNN political commentator and former press secretary for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign.

Great to see you all.

So, Doug Hye, are you in the Lindsey camp right now, that no matter what, Republicans lose today? Listen to Lindsey Graham?


[11:40:21] SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA (voice-over): Roy Moore will be the gift that keeps on giving for Democrats. And it will define the 2018 election, at least 2018. And to think you can elect Roy Moore without getting the baggage of Roy Moore is pretty naive.


BOLDUAN: Can you paint, or do you see any rosier a picture?

DOUG HYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Not really. I think as we saw with Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock when they were Republican nominees and, obviously, Roy Moore if he were to become a Senator would be more prominent, that is something that will be hung around Republican candidates like an albatross. And if he loses, if Doug Jones wins, that could be similar to what we saw, the mere image of when Scott Brown won several years ago that heralded a Republican takeover for Congress. That's the real fear that Republicans have right now is we're in a lose/lose situation. And I'm reminded of, if you look at how Mitch McConnell and other folks reacted, the old Burt Bacharach song, "I Just Don't Know What to Do with Myself." That's Republicans in Washington right now. They don't know whether to seat him. That will probably happen him. They don't know whether to give him committee assignments or invite him to Tuesday lunches. It's a lose/lose situation and there aren't a lot of great answers for Republicans in Washington.

BOLDUAN: We're showing you video right now, guys. I'm seeing it for the first time. This is -- I'm told will be Candidate Roy Moore, Judge Roy Moore, arriving to vote at his polling station, though, just getting some really beautiful scenes. There, that might be Roy Moore. Because he has promised to arrive via horseback, as he has in past elections, all the elections he has won. We will keep an eye on this. I just personally do not want to miss this moment because I don't get very often to have animals join my -- other than you Doug --

HYE: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: -- have animals join my show.

HYE: Thumbs up.


BOLDUAN: I had to. I had to.

Let's watch this and continue the conversation but I want to keep this picture up, as we're watching.


BOLDUAN: Ride, Sassy, ride. So Roy Moore will be arriving on Sassy his horse. He always arriving on. Kayla Moore, his wife, will be arriving on horseback as well to the Gallant Fire Department to vote today.

I think, Eric Beach, in this moment, come up with your perfect horseback, your perfect horse metaphor for this moment is this.

ERIC BEACH, CO-CHAIR, GREAT AMERICA ALLIANCE PAC: Well, I own a couple horses, and I can tell you one thing, I never had an opportunity to take it to the voting booth, but if I did, it would be a great accomplishment.

Going back to something Doug said, you know, Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, also campaigned against Rand Paul when he ran and Ted Cruz when he ran. And I think their jobs should not be to try to protect Mitch McConnell's majority, but try to protect the Republican majority. I think that's the conundrum that, you know, McConnell and others face. I mean, they campaigned hard against Kelli Ward, who pushed Jeff Flake out in Arizona. What's wrong with trying to invite candidates to become elected officials who want to pass through the Trump agenda and coalition agenda? That's the conundrum they face. If they're not going to accept the will of the voters around the country, there will be a disconnect between Senate leadership and the rest of the country.

SANDERS: So, I think, Kate, there is a difference between accepting the will of the voters and Senate Republicans making a conscious decision not to embrace Roy Moore if he wins. I think it's an important distinction because it's an attempt for the Republicans to try to save themselves. Looks as though the establishment, from the president down to the RNC and local Republican Party --


BOLDUAN: I think --


SANDERS: -- has embraced --


BOLDUAN: I think we're watching -- listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry. Thank you. Appreciate it. Thanks, bro.


BOLDUAN: Hang on --


BOLDUAN: I don't hear a mic. I don't know if Roy Moore is talking. Welcome to live TV. We're following along as well as you are.

Symone, let me ask you this, as I'm going to cut you off, because I want to hear Roy Moore talk if he does.

But in the raw politics sense, if you follow Lindsey Graham's statement that it's a lose/lose for Republicans, in the raw politics sense, should I read that Democrats would love for Roy Moore to win?

SANDERS: No. I would like for Doug Jones to be sitting in that seat come tomorrow. But if Doug Jones does not come out victorious, it is a win/win for Democrats. You know what, the Republican Party, it means they have embraced an alleged pedophile, someone who believes Muslims should not be able to serve in the United States Congress, someone who is a segregationist, someone who holds views that are close to if not identical to those that fought on of the side of the Confederacy against the Union in this country. I don't think Republicans would like the ads that Democrats like myself and others would run in 2018. This is on them. I would hope Doug Jones comes out victorious. We don't know what's going to happen. In the event he does not, Republicans should not be rejoicing tonight when the polls close if Roy Moore is victorious.

[11:45:28] BOLDUAN: Symone, sounds like some Republicans won't be.

I mean, because I'll tell you, Doug, I was blown away by this reporting from Manu Raju and Ted Barron on the Hill when then speaking to Mitch McConnell, and Mitch McConnell noncommittal to say the least on giving Moore a committee assignment or inviting him to the weekly lunch. It's inside baseball, but in the sense that it's actually really important because committee assignments are where you have influence and where you can bring about change for your constituents. It's wild to me. You?

HYE: Absolutely. Roy Moore has said he would like to be on the Judiciary Committee but having been thrown off the bench may cause a problem or give an easy excuse for Mitch McConnell. One of the most startling things we saw was on Sunday when Richard Shelby, the senior Senator from Alabama, said that he wouldn't vote for or didn't vote for Roy Moore, he wouldn't support Roy Moore. And the way the Senate swearing in works is that the newly elected Senator is escorted by the senior Senator. It's, obviously, going to be an open question to Richard Shelby as to whether or not he will do that. That again suggests the problem that Roy Moore may have by being ostracized from his colleagues before he even starts.

BOLDUAN: Eric, if he gets to the Senate, and this is an if, of course, waiting to see -- let's first wait and see if we can get a shot of him voting. But let's see what happens tonight. If he wins, he goes to the Senate, he might be under investigation immediately and for months. He might not get a committee assignment and he might then be shunned from the Republicans that are sitting in the -- sitting in the chamber. Is it all worth it?

BEACH: Well, I mean, he was getting shunned prior to any of these allegations.


SANDERS: Because he is absolutely --


BEACH: They spent $30 million --

SANDERS: Unfit to serve, absolutely. Thank you for bringing that up.

BEACH: They spent $30 million -- they spent against him in Alabama, and so this idea that it's because of the allegations, the truth is it's a war against conservatives, a war against the Trump agenda which Mitch McConnell and others have been --



SANDERS: Please --


SANDERS: No, no, no. Eric.

BEACH: Symone, we're not going to give up --


SANDERS: Not going to give up the mantle to a pedophile, somebody that says --

BOLDUAN: Put politics aside, and the allegations aside, I don't -- I really do not see this, and I don't think anyone can say with a straight face, but you tried really hard, that this is a war against conservatism. There are so many conservatives in the Senate, there are so many conservatives I would not say that they -- those who -- conservatives who have come out to say they do not support what Roy Moore had said in the past, or the allegations against him, I would not say that that adds up to a war on conservatism.

BEACH: Kate --


SANDERS: And he's an extremist.

BEACH: They spent $30 million against a conservative.

BOLDUAN: They did.

BEACH: They've ride to push out a candidate like Kelli Ward. There's always an establishment war against conservatives.


BOLDUAN: Talk about that race in a second. (CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: We got to get over today.

SANDERS: Let me just be really clear, the problem --


# Hurry up.

SANDERS: These talking points are trash. Let me be clear, the problem with Roy Moore is on top of the fact that he is an accused pedophile and predator, sexual predator, he has had some big problematic things said about him in the past. He has done problematic things and removed from the bench twice.

BEACH: Well --


SANDERS: Again, he said that Muslims -- he doesn't believe Muslims people like Keith Ellison should be able to serve. He is beneath the office of the Senate, no decorum for the Senate. Don't spin this as a war on conservatism. This is a particular war against Roy Moore.


BOLDUAN: No matter what happens, what we say here, let's just see what Alabama does today.

And I'm still going to find that shot of him arriving on Sassy and I am going to bring that to my viewers, if it's the last thing I do.

Great to see you guys. Thanks so much.


[11:49:03] BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, he'll be weighing in on what to expect from the president's first medical exam. And what do a dozen Diet Cokes have to do with it?



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What do you want to say?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you prepared to face an Ethics Committee?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What about Senator Shelby?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Judge, what do you say to those who accused you of --

(CROSSTALK) UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Moore, one question. What do you say to them?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- Roy Moore. We are standing with you!


BOLDUAN: All right, so a couple of answers that we could pick up from Roy Moore, as I assume he was leaving probably the polling place after voting just now. He was asked about the allegations against him and he said we are done with that. Also asked about what we heard from Senator Cory Gardner, the head of the Senate Campaign Committee. He was saying he would like to see Roy Moore face expulsion as soon as he gets to the Senate. Roy Moore saying simply, we will take these issues up when we get to the Senate. That we will see what happens tonight. The voters decide. And polls close at 8:00 p.m. eastern.

We are now headed next to a big headline that was almost missed in the past week of news. The news that the public will get an accounting of the president's medical records. The White House announcing that the president will be getting a physical done after the first of the year. They are going to release it.

But it's also taken with his diet, which has become the new headline that everyone is talking about, and his apparent love for fast food. He will undergo a physical at Walter Reed Medical Center early next year.

And I spoke with chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, about what we might learn and what he is most interested in the report.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: When you get one of these physical exams at Walter Reed, it's a pretty exhausting process. I've seen this happen with President Clinton and President Bush and President Obama, three hours and lots of testing. They're looking at all kinds of things, focusing on things like heart disease and brain health.

The big question is, what is then released? You are dealing with medical information, and even if you are president, that is obviously all still protected. There are privacy protection laws in place. What we heard it he had this exam and he will go through the exhaustive set of testing. It won't be his personal doctor. It will be military doctors. And many are trained to do just this sort of work. The important second question is, Kate, what do we really learn about his overall health?

[11:55:09] BOLDUAN: It's a great point and a huge question. They haven't said yet. He is the oldest president ever to be elected. If they release a full report like what Obama released. What are you most interested in looking at? GUPTA: In his vascular and specifically his heart health. We know he

takes a cholesterol lowering medication and he this coronary calcium scan which is something that looks at plaque in your heart. He had moderate risk for heart disease a few years ago. That's the big question mark. From there, you can start to also look at the impact on cognitive testing and blood flow to the lane and on his other organs. All of that. It's pretty exhaustive testing, but that's where they'll be zeroing in, on heart health and brain health secondarily.

BOLDUAN: To the point of heart health, just in the past few days, the president's eating habits have been making headlines from the 12 Diet Cokes a day, from the "New York Times," to the two Big Macs and two Filet of Fish and a chocolate milkshake from McDonald's. What does that do to an adult male, Sanjay?

GUPTA: I have to say it doesn't take a doctor to tell you this is a horrible diet. It's a horrible diet. Everybody knows that. My 8- year-old was watching and said that's a terrible diet the president is eating. Take the 12 Diet Cokes, that's over four liters a day. You have the caffeine in these drinks. Over four liters of Diet Coke, and it makes you more irritable and makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. These are all things in you have a heart condition can make that worse as well. Talk about the food, that's not even real food he is eating. When you look at a sandwich from McDonald's, there are 121 ingredients in some of these sandwiches. Most of them chemicals you can't pronounce. It is fake food. If you are having a concern about heart disease, eating that much saturated fat and that many calories, no doctor and my 8-year-old would not recommend this diet for anybody, let alone someone of his age with concerns about heart disease.

BOLDUAN: But don't worry, his campaign manager said, when it comes to his diet and McDonald's, he didn't eat the bread, so it makes it all better.

GUPTA: That's right.


BOLDUAN: Sanjay, it's great to see you. Thanks so much.

GUPTA: You've got it, Kate, any time. Happy holidays.

BOLDUAN: Thanks.


BOLDUAN: From there, let's head back to Alabama. I promised, and I am delivering. Judge Roy Moore, this is him leaving via horseback on Sassy. I don't see Kayla Moore, but this is him on Sassy. Let's see what happens in the race today.

For a preview of what all matters tonight and what will decide it, "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts after this.