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THE SITUATION ROOM
National Protests; California Storms; Mysterious Glitch Snarls Airline Traffic; Ferocious Storms Triggers Mudslides, Floods
Aired December 12, 2014 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And buried in rocks and mud, torrential rains triggering flooding and landslides in Southern California. We will have the very latest on the weather emergency, including evacuations and dramatic rescues.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We begin with breaking news tonight, new protests against police brutality in New York City, kicking off a weekend of major demonstrations across the nation.
And new legal developments happening right now as well in the NYPD chokehold death case that helps fuel so much of the outrage. We have major players involved with these new protests standing by, along with correspondents, our analysts, as we cover the stories breaking this hour.
Up first, our justice reporter, Evan Perez.
Evan, you're getting new information. What are you learning?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf.
We're learning that a court in New York is going to have a hearing on whether or not to open up the deliberations that went on at the grand jury there in New York in the Staten Island grand jury that heard the Eric Garner case.
We know that the grand jury heard from 50 witnesses, Wolf. We know that they heard from 50 witnesses, including the officer, and watched four videotapes from the death of Eric Garner. What we don't know is what exactly went on in those testimonies.
And so what we're hoping to hear is whether or not a judge will allow us to hear all the transcripts of the hearing.
BLITZER: We might know fairly soon whether or not all that information, obviously very sensitive information, will be made available.
It's unusual for a grand jury's information to be made public in New York, right? PEREZ: Right. Exactly. And obviously, after Ferguson, there
was the release of the grand jury information in that case, so the question becomes, in the case of New York, is whether this will help alleviate some of the pressure that the prosecutors have been feeling about whether or not this a fair case, whether this case was handled fairly, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Evan Perez, we will stay in close touch with you. Thanks very, very much.
Tonight, we're watching -- we're waiting for these protests to see if they get under way. Meanwhile, thousands of people are gathering here in the nation's capital for a rally tomorrow called the Justice for All March, taking part in the rally, the mothers of four African-American men who are symbols of the protest movement, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice.
CNN's Anderson Cooper just sat down with the women for an exclusive interview. I want you to watch and listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you have confidence in the federal investigation that's going on now?
GWEN CARR, MOTHER OF ERIC GARNER: Oh, yes, I have much more confidence in the federal investigation than I did in the local prosecutor.
COOPER: You believe your son's local civil rights were violated?
CARR: Yes, they were. Yes, they definitely were, because if Eric Garner was a white man in Suffolk County doing the same thing that he was doing, even if he would have been caught selling cigarettes that day, they would have given him a summons and he wouldn't have lost his life that day. I believe that 100 percent.
COOPER: It's interesting, though, because you talk to, again, these polls, you see white people don't view it that way by and large.
SYBRINA FULTON, MOTHER OF TRAYVON MARTIN: Because it's not happening to them.
FULTON: So they don't quite get it. They don't quite understand. They think it's a small group of African-Americans that's complaining. Oh, what are they complaining about now?
COOPER: You hear that from people?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All the time. FULTON: People say that all the time. What are they complaining
about now? What are they protesting about now?
COOPER: What do you say to that person?
FULTON: To that person, until it happens to them and their family, then they will understand the walk.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't get it.
FULTON: They don't understand what we're going through. They don't understand the life and they don't understand what we're fighting against. I don't even think the government quite gets it.
COOPER: Until they have walked in your shoes on a daily basis.
FULTON: Well, I think that this is shedding light to what's going on. This is not something that's new. It's been happening. But it's just bringing light to what's been happening.
It's bringing it to the forefront and that's why there's so much conversation. That's why there's so many rallies and protests, because people are now realizing. If you look at those footage in New York, it's not just African-Americans.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's everybody.
FULTON: So, it's not just about African-American rights. It's about human rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: This important note. You can see Anderson's entire interview. And it really is extraordinary. You're going to want to tune in later tonight, "A.C. 360," 8:00 p.m. Eastern. You will hear and see the entire interview that Anderson just conducted.
Joining us now, the president and CEO of the NAACP, Cornell William Brooks.
Cornell, I want to show our viewers some pictures too. These are live pictures we're going to show our viewers coming in from Times Square in New York, as people are starting to protest. You have been seeing this over and over again. It's pretty emotional and pretty powerful. You hear those moms speaking out, and you hear that, what goes through your mind?
CORNELL WILLIAM BROOKS, PRESIDENT, NAACP: What goes through my mind is the anguish, the grief of parents who love their children, and they love their children the way mothers and fathers love their children all across the country.
The challenge is, this nation having an empathetic and a just response to that grief. In other words, when African-American young men are 21 times more likely to lose their lives at the hands to the police than their white counterparts, that's not just a race problem, it's a human problem. It's an American problem.
And we can't say to any mother or father that you should acquiesce to your child's life literally being snatched from you. That's not something we can live with.
BLITZER: You just heard Evan Perez, our justice reporter, report the news that an appellate court in New York is now considering whether or not all the testimony that was before that grand jury in the Staten Island case involving the death, the chokehold death of Eric Garner should be made public.
You're an attorney. You understand the law. You understand this would be pretty extraordinary if they were to do it. What do you think they should do?
BROOKS: In the same way that sunlight kills bacteria, I would like to believe that light can kill injustice.
It doesn't guarantee a just result. We saw that with Michael Brown. That is to say ,transparency is no guaranty of a just result, but it's important for the public to know. We need to understand this problem. The fact of the matter is, one of the best ways to make justice is by measuring injustice. To the extent we can shed light on the problem, it does that.
BLITZER: But it's still pretty extraordinary, even for the appellate judge to consider revealing all this information.
BROOKS: Yes. But we are in extraordinary times. When we have one out of three young people being arrested by the age of 23, so many whose lives have been taken away by police, we need this kind of a response.
BLITZER: I interviewed Josh Earnest just a little while ago, the White House press secretary. You have been tweeting. You have been urging the president to sign into law this legislation that would force local, state law enforcement to report all cases whereby someone who is in custody dies in the custody of police.
I don't know if you're going to be happy or sad. Do you want the president to sign this into law? They're considering it. He refused to say the president would sign it.
BROOKS: We think the president should sign it. Think about it this way. We have at least 1,000 people who die in the hands of the police in custody in any given year. It's important for us to understand why, how, and under what circumstance.
This law, this piece of legislation, is budget-neutral. It simply sheds light. Why then will we be afraid of learning more about how policing is being done in this country?
BLITZER: So your message to the president is, and you're speaking as the president and CEO of the NAACP, your message is? BROOKS: My something is, sign the piece of legislation, move it
BLITZER: Let's see if it does. I was surprised to hear Josh Earnest say he is considering it. He didn't rule it out by any means, but he didn't say he would do it. They're going to study legislation and see what else might be in it, which is understandable, right?
But this legislation is consistent with what the president has called for. He's called for reform in policing. He's created a task force. His attorney general is traveling around the country, assessing the problem, engaging people. We need facts, dated.
BLITZER: If the grand jury information were made public, what else would you learn? What else do you think is in there?
BROOKS: We might learn how well done the process was done. We might learn if there's any evidence that might shed light on how this grand jury reached the decision they reached.
The important point being here is, we are in the midst of a -- what appears to be a pandemic of police misconduct. We need facts. We need data. We need illumination. The people are in the streets because they want answers. It's up to policy-makers to deliver those answers.
BLITZER: So there's a big march that is coming here in Washington tomorrow. Also, when I spoke to Josh Earnest, the press secretary, in the last hour, I asked him if the president of the United States would participate in this march tomorrow. He said the president has no such plans to do this. Not on his schedule.
I assume you would like the president to show up.
BROOKS: We absolutely would like the president to show up. The president has done a lot. More can be done.
But I would simply say this. Anything we can do to signal, to sign, to demonstrate to the American public that we're taking this problem seriously is something that should be considered by seriously.
BLITZER: That picture we just showed the viewers of somebody lying down on the street, I want you to watch it. You see that. That's in Staten Island. That's the place where Eric Garner died from that chokehold.
This is his daughter there lying down. It's a very emotional setting as people can understand. You see that, you appreciate what's going on. I want you to stand by, Cornell, because we have a lot more to discuss.
Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the family, here he is. He is walking in. We will take a quick commercial break and we will continue our conversation with Cornell, Ben Crump. He's here as well. Stay with us. Lots to discuss. We will be right back.
BLITZER: We're back with the NAACP president and CEO Cornell William Brooks.
Also joining us, Benjamin Crump. He's the lawyer for the families of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin.
We were just showing viewers some live pictures, what is going on in Times Square right now.
Ben Crump, you won't be surprised that there are more protests developing not only there, but all over the country. And we're going to talk about what's expected here in Washington, D.C., tomorrow.
But I want both of you first to listen to the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton, speaking rather powerfully today about what's going on. He spoke out in an interview with CNN Espanol with our correspondent Juan Carlos Lopez. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The fundamental problem you have anywhere is when people think their lives and the lives of their children don't matter, that they're somehow disposable, just like a paper napkin after a lunch at a restaurant or something. It just doesn't matter.
And we have to -- if we want our freedom to be in deed as well as word in America, we have to make people feel that everybody matters again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Those are strong words, Ben Crump, from the former president of the United States. I know you totally agree with him.
BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF MICHAEL BROWN: I do, Wolf. As I have told you many, many times, it's about due process, this notion that it has to be equal for everybody, not just the police officers, but also the people in our communities.
That's all people want, just equal justice. They understand that the system is imperfect. But we want a chance at justice. When you don't even charge the police and we don't even get a trial by jury, then everybody says the system is just broken. It doesn't work for us.
BLITZER: You just came from this extraordinary interview that Anderson Cooper had with the mothers of some of these young men. We just played a little bit here. The whole interview is going to air tonight on "A.C. 360" later tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
What was it like? Because you were there inside that room. CRUMP: It was extremely powerful, Wolf, to hear those mothers
all trying to comfort one another, but more importantly speaking to the bigger issues.
This could be your child. If we don't do something about this, it's going to keep happening again. Tamir Rice's mother, the mother of the 12-year-old kid in Cleveland, Ohio, who was killed, you had Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother, trying to comfort her. You had Michael Brown's mother trying to comfort her. You Eric Garner's mother trying to comfort her, all in the same time still dealing with their struggle for justice for their children and their families.
BLITZER: And all these mothers trying to comfort each other, because you can only imagine, Cornell, what a mother goes through losing sons, a 12-year-old kid in Cleveland, who was playing with a gun, wasn't even a real gun, and all of a sudden the kid winds up dead.
BROOKS: That's exactly it.
The question I would have for every mother in the country, think about the child you held in your arms and losing that child senselessly, then having the criminal justice system not respond to your pain. That's unconscionable. It's unconscionable. It is certainly a violation of our constitutional values.
BLITZER: We reported at the top of the hour, our justice reporter, Evan Perez, that an appellate judge now, an appellate court in New York is considering allowing all the grand jury testimony in the Eric Garner case to be made public. I assume you would welcome that?
CRUMP: Absolutely. We want transparency, Wolf.
We have objected many times. I know attorney Jonathan Moore, a great lawyer with the Garner family, objects as well to these secret grand jury proceedings, where the community is looking for transparency, but you're going to have a secret proceeding and exonerate the police officer and tell the community, you just accept it.
That's not fair. When you watch this interview with mothers and them leading this march tomorrow with president Brooks and Reverend Sharpton, they speak to those issues about how the system has broken their heart just as bad as losing their children, because they get no justice, they get no peace.
BLITZER: Tell us about this Justice for All March rally, demonstration, whatever you want to call it, is going to be all about here in Washington tomorrow.
BROOKS: It is a rally that is being put on, a rally and a march being put on by a coalition of conscious, coalition of groups, meeting at Constitutional Plaza tomorrow, marching to the Capitol, beginning at 10:30, with a rally around noon. The point being here is, note this, Wolf. The president, the
governor of Missouri, the governor of New York, the mayor of New York, none of them have said these words. The grand jury has spoken, and you can have confidence in that decision. They can't, and they won't, because we can't have confidence.
This rally is about saying to the country, we need to have confidence in our justice system. And the way we do that is by demanding accountability. And we can have it.
BLITZER: You're going to go that rally?
CRUMP: I'm going to be there with the families of all my clients and the biggest thing, the National Bar Association is joining. And we're saying this is an opportunity to fix the system, to make people feel that America is America for everybody, not just a few.
BLITZER: I know you want the president of the United States to join tomorrow. I assume you would as well. The White House is saying there's no plans for the president to come. You're hoping he reconsiders?
BROOKS: Absolutely. It's not expected. But it would be a welcome surprise.
CRUMP: Yes, these parents are really wanting to know that people feel their pain and that their sons' deaths won't be in vain, that we will change America for the better.
BLITZER: All right. We will see what happens tomorrow.
Cornell, thanks very much for joining us. Benjamin, thanks for joining us as well.
BLITZER: Benjamin Crump is the attorney for Michael Brown's family, former attorney for the Trayvon Martin family. Cornell William Brooks is the president and CEO of the NAACP. Thanks very much.
CRUMP: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Just ahead, we're going to have more on the breaking news on the NYPD chokehold grand jury case and the impact of the protest movement that's growing louder and larger.
And millions of Americans drenched, facing dangerous conditions, homes swallowed by mud from a powerful and very rare California storm.
BLITZER: Let's get back to the breaking news in the NYPD chokehold death case.
We're learning that an appellate court in New York has now ordered a Staten Island court judge to hold an open hearing on whether to unseal the grand jury testimony.
We're joined now by our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, and Saint Louis Alderman Antonio French.
Jeff, tell us what this means, this appellate court decision.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: If you recall, Wolf, the trial court in Staten Island already released a portion of the grand jury testimony -- grand jury investigation, the number of witnesses, the kind of evidence that was presented, but nothing of any substance.
This reopens that question and may provide a much more useful picture of what the grand jury considered, somewhat like what we learned in Ferguson, where everything came out. The question now is, will they actually release the grand jury testimony, because that's the key evidence, as well as the other video tapes as well, as the one we're showing here on the screen, because there were other videos that the grand jury did consider? And we haven't seen those.
BLITZER: This whole decision by the appellate court is the result of someone petitioning the court, is that right?
TOOBIN: That's right.
The district attorney requested a limited disclosure, and the court originally granted that limited disclosure, the number of witnesses, the kind of evidence that was presented. It really wasn't very illuminating. But this was an additional effort to get more evidence before the public.
I think frankly it's going to be difficult because the grand jury secrecy law in New York, as I understand it, is very tight. But the judge has asked for a hearing and we will see what the judge does when presented with this case directly.
BLITZER: How significant, Antonio, is it that the families now have all united, they're all here in Washington? They will be participating in this march tomorrow. How significant is that?
ANTONIO FRENCH, SAINT LOUIS ALDERMAN: I think it's very significant and shows that we have a common problem across America right now.
These rallies you see, these actions you see, and what will happen tomorrow in Washington shows that we really have a national crisis. So many people have lost faith in the system and they think that the system does not value their lives equally. And so I think it's powerful to have those families come together and to stand together in our nation's capital.
BLITZER: Jeffrey, we learned that the death of the 12-year-old in Cleveland, Tamir Rice, has been ruled a homicide. He was killed by Cleveland police in a playground after his air gun was mistaken for a real firearm. What happens now that it's been ruled a homicide? TOOBIN: This case is now really very parallel to the Eric Garner
case in Staten Island, because, if you recall, the autopsy in the Eric Garner case also found that he died as a result of a homicide.
And that case went to a grand jury. What's going to happen in Cleveland is much the same thing. The grand jury will consider the case. As we all know, the grand juries in both Ferguson and Staten Island ultimately decided not to issue any charges against the police officers involved.
And the question now is whether the grand jury in Cleveland will say that some charges need to be filed -- need to be made against the police officer who filed the fatal shot or, again, no charges at all.
BLITZER: We know there's a lot going on, Antonio, right now, this big march scheduled for Washington, D.C., tomorrow, the march called Justice for All.
Yesterday, many congressional staffers, minorities, they staged a walkout, a demonstration up on Capitol Hill. It was highly unusual. As you take a look at the big picture in this movement, what's next? What do you anticipate going on to keep sort of this momentum going?
FRENCH: Well, I think you will continue to see actions across the country until we see action on the part of our leaders.
This is a national crisis that requires national leadership. People want to see real change, something that changes the culture of the police departments across the country and also changes the characteristics of our judicial system and our criminal justice system that results in these trial by grand juries, that people feel they're not given justice and treating citizens equally.
BLITZER: As you know, a Saint Louis police officer was disciplined for wearing what's called a Wilson badge on his right arm --
BLITZER: -- initially following the Michael Brown death officers created - "I am Darren Wilson" badges to show solidarity with that police officer. But now the Ferguson officer has resigned. Does it - what's your reaction to what's going on now?
FRENCH: Well I'm disappointed, especially in that St. Louis City officer. But what it highlights is a culture that we really need to change. This them versus us mentality which we see on the streets too often, we definitely saw back in August with this military-style response where it was them versus us. What we have to do is make the police and the community one again, that the police are part of our community. Our community is affected by crime need police and we have a long road ahead of us to rebuild that trust in order for police to be effective.
BLITZER: Antonio French, thanks very much for joining us. Jeffrey Toobin, thanks to you as well. Just ahead, is a liberal senator giving Senator Ted Cruz a run for his money? We're going to take a closer look at the Democratic senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren. She's making some waves. Speaking of waves, homes are being swallowed right now, a lot of rain, landslides. We're going live to Southern California. We'll have the latest on the storm emergency and find out when, when there will be some relief.
BLITZER: Tonight there's new pressure on Senator Elizabeth Warren to run for president in 2016, setting up a potential primary showdown with Hillary Clinton. Warren is getting even more scrutiny right now for revolting against the compromise budget bill. Some are even comparing the Massachusetts Democrat to the Republican rebel senator Ted Cruz. Let's bring in our senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar. She's working this story for us. A lot of drama going on.
BRIANNA KEILAR, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Elizabeth Warren very much right now charting her own course I guess you could say, Wolf. And it's a more liberal one than, you know, Hillary Clinton's. Remember back in 2008, then-Senator Obama ran to the left of Clinton and now you have a vocal group in the Democratic Party looking for Warren to do the same.
Female: An open letter for more than 300 former Obama campaign staffers urging Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren to run for president. Despite sustained efforts by the Ready for Warren super PAC and Moveon.org, Warren was adamant when asked by CNN's Gloria Borger she is not getting in the game.
ELIZABETH WARREN, SENATOR (D) MASSACHUSETTS: I'm not running for president.
GLORIA BORGER: OK -
WARREN: I am not running for president. I am not running for president. I am not running for president.
Female: Warren supporters certainly will, enamored of her persona as the best senator money can't buy. Just this week she led the charge of liberals in Congress.
WARREN: Who do you work for? Wall Street or the American people?
Female: As they revolted against a government funding bill because it includes a provision to undo a key part of Wall Street reform meant to stop another financial crisis, putting her at odds with the White House which supports the bill.
REPORTER: Does the President think that Elizabeth Warren is wrong about that?
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think it would be fair for you to observe that we might have a difference of opinion about this.
Female: Warren bringing to mind another politician.
TED CRUZ, SENATOR (R) TEXAS: Do you like green eggs and ham?
Female: Extremely popular with a subset of voters and a thorn in his party establishment's side.
MARK PRESTON, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, CNN POLITICS: So you have this fuel for Elizabeth Warren that comes from the grassroots. You have this fuel for Ted Cruz that comes from the grassroots. You know, they're not powered by the establishment necessarily.
Female: One big difference between Cruz and Warren - she seems to be genuinely ruling out a White House run.
POPPY HARLOW, JOURNALIST FOR CNN: But if Hillary didn't run, you might give it a shot?
WARREN: Poppy, I'm not running for president.
KEILAR: So there you go. But Warren's constituency, liberal Democrats - so important to the party and to President Obama. The White House today stressing areas of agreement with Warren after conceding that they were at odds yesterday. So that's pretty significant, Wolf, and it shows you just how important this niche in the Democratic Party is.
BLITZER: It certainly does. All right, stand by for a moment. I also want to bring in our chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash and our senior - our chief political analyst Gloria Borger -
BORGER: Call me what you want.
BLITZER: -- as well. We got a lot of chiefs over here. All right guys. Dana, first of all -
DANA BASH, CNN'S CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
BLITZER: -- the spending bill that passed narrowly by one vote, passed the House of Representatives yesterday. What's going to happen in the Senate? Because the deadline is Monday.
BASH: That's right. I literally just came here from Capitol Hill. And what's going on in the Senate is they believe on the Democratic side that they have convinced Elizabeth Warren that she kind of has won the battle but not the war. That she has made it clear that she's very much opposed to this and she's not going to hold up this bill much longer. The issue now is the other side of the spectrum - Ted Cruz and other Republicans - they are still giving their Republican leadership some heartburn over when this is going to get done. I think at this point the issue is when, not if. Will it be this
weekend? Will it be Monday? Will it be Tuesday? Again, I don't - there will not be a government shutdown. They will do what they need to do to keep the government running. The question is whether all this - this big bill, $1 trillion, is going to pass. And I -
BLITZER: Oh she'll vote against it, -- BASH: Yes.
BLITZER: But she's not going to do some - a rule maneuver to force a delay, if you will.
BASH: Exactly. I mean, look, there are tactics that any senator can use and that has been the question -
BORGER: She made her point.
BASH: She made her point. I asked her this question, other people have asked her this question. She wouldn't answer whether or not she would use the power of the senator - that one senator has to delay this, but now -
BLITZER: Gloria, is there a real split emerging in the Democratic Party between let's say Elizabeth Warren, Democrats versus the Hillary Clinton Democrats?
BORGER: Yes. Yes. I think you saw that on the campaign trail in the midterm elections. Elizabeth Warren was the person who was most in demand and because she represents the liberal base of the Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton has reached out to Elizabeth Warren as you all know, but Elizabeth Warren hasn't exactly reached out to Hillary Clinton. She wouldn't answer my question whether Hillary Clinton is actually the right person to represent her wing of the party or whether she would run if Hillary Clinton declined to run. So there's a lot of friction there.
BASH: And you know what's interesting is that what we have seen this week is the dynamic that was played out for the past four years on the Republican side happening on the Democratic side.
BASH: That the wing of the Democratic Party on the left is giving the leadership trouble, and that person is Elizabeth Warren and that is a direct result, I believe, of the elections in November.
BLITZER: And as you know, Brianna, all these Obama staffers are now coming out for Elizabeth Warren.
KEILAR: They are, but I think that Democrats take Elizabeth Warren at her word and they genuinely believe that she isn't going to run. And I think some people who back Hillary Clinton would be very concerned if she were to run. But at the same time, I mean, clearly Elizabeth Warren wants something. She's lukewarm, kind of tepid when it comes to what do you think about Hillary Clinton despite -
KEILAR: -- gushing about her. And it's very clear that she's flexing her muscles, the vocal folks behind her are flexing their muscles. And they're trying to push - I think she's trying to push whoever the nominee may be to the left.
BORGER: She's going to extract her pound of flesh one way or another, whether it's from President Obama during the rest of his presidency or whether it's - or whether it's from Hillary Clinton. In the end, I think that she considered somebody who's got to be reckoned with one way or another.
BASH: Yes, I totally agree. And the problem that Hillary Clinton has is that even if Elizabeth Warren doesn't run, which it doesn't look like she will, her presence - the fact that she can excite the base, that she can excite the young people in the Democratic Party in a way that so far Hillary Clinton hasn't, doesn't look great for Hillary Clinton.
KEILAR: And a former senator from New York Hillary Clinton is through the Clinton Foundation some criticism that perhaps she's been too cozy with Wall Street and that's the opposite of Elizabeth Warren.
BORGER: And more I'm afraid on the trail too.
BLITZER: Let's talk about something else now - people running. Mitt Romney. I think there's a report in "Politico" -
BORGER: He's running?
BORGER: I'm not sure about that, Wolf.
BLITZER: "Politico" is saying that earlier -
BLITZER: -- a definite no has become maybe. And I know you're doing a lot of reporting (inaudible).
BORGER: I am. If the party were to go to Mitt Romney and say, 'pretty please, we need to be saved.' Mitt Romney would just be really happy to do that. But I don't think that's likely to occur, and I think that's probably the only way Mitt Romney would run. He's not interested in getting involved in all the primaries again and doing all of that. I'm not saying he's out there throwing rose petals Jeb Bush's way, but I don't believe that he would do it unless really asked to do it. Which it - you know - it doesn't mean that he's not out there talking to funders and kind of leaving the door open. It never hurts a political figure to leave the door open for a potential presidential run. What's the downside of that?
BASH: And I've been talking to some Republicans who are also thinking about running for president. They say that they hear from Mitt Romney's former donors that he still is in touch with them and keeping the irons in the fire. If Jeb Bush runs, I just don't see Mitt Romney running.
BASH: I just can't see.
KEILAR: And I spoke with one big Republican donor about Mitt Romney and they brought up Jeb Bush's name.
BASH: Of course.
KEILAR: So there you go.
BORGER: Yes, and I think Jeb -
BLITZER: Right now it looks a whole lot more likely that Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, will run than Mitt Romney runs.
BORGER: Absolutely, and I think it looks more likely that Jeb Bush is going to run now than it did six months ago. Because he's clearly thinking about it, he's clearly out there talking to people. He hasn't asked people directly for money or directly to join his campaign staff, but people close to him have met with people who could join a campaign staff and say if we were to run, would you ever consider that possibility? So this is all - it's still speculative because he hasn't made the decision -
BASH: Finishing with the things he needs to do.
BLITZER: All right, Gloria, Dana, Brianna - guys thanks very much. Good discussion. Just ahead, a very different story we're following - dangerous rescues. Southern California drenched by the worst storm to hit the area in years. We're going there live. First though, this "Impact Your World."
Male: Anthony Carbajal got silly to draw attention to ALS. Then he got serious. ANTHONY CARBAJAL, ALS PATIENT: ALS runs in my family. My grandmother
had it, my mother was diagnosed when I was in high school and I was diagnosed at 26 years old. (AUDIO GAP) said he didn't know it yet.
Male: The average person survives only two to five years after being diagnosed.
CARBAJAL: An ALS diagnosis is really a death sentence. All of my muscles in my entire body will eventually atrophy away until I can't use them anymore. The later stages of the disease - a person is trapped in their own body. So you can still feel and hear and think clearly and see, but you can't speak or move or even breathe on your own.
Male: Carbajal hopes his progression will be as slow as his mom's. Amazingly she's lived with ALS for 13 years. But the disease has already taken away his wedding photography career.
CARBAJAL: Right now my hands are starting to atrophy away. They're getting weak. I'm having trouble turning my car, buttoning my shirts. ALS does not discriminate. It's typically understood as an old disease, but I'm trying to change that perspective.
Male: After Carbajal shared his ice bucket video, the charity he supports - ALS Therapy Development Institute - received about $4 million in donations. Now more patients like Carbajal can take part in a study to identify potential treatments.
CARBAJAL: Talking about this disease is so, so hard, but so necessary because it's empowering other people to share their stories as well.
BLITZER: Just ahead, very different story we're following. Dangerous rescues, Southern California drenched by the worst storm to hit the area in years. We're going there live.
First, though, this "Impact Your World."
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR, NEW DAY (voice-over): Anthony Carbajal got silly to draw attention to ALS, then he got serious.
ANTHONY CARBAJAL, ALS PATIENT: ALS runs in my family. My grandmother had it, my mother was diagnosed when I was in high school, and I was diagnosed at 26 years old. ALS is so scary, you have no idea.
CUOMO: The average person survives only two to five years after being diagnosed.
CARBAJAL: An ALS diagnosis is really a death sentence. All of my muscles will even eventually atrophy away, so I can't use them anymore. The later stages of the disease, the person is trapped in their own body. So, you can still hear, feel and think clearly and see, but you can't speak or move or breathe on your own.
CUOMO: Carbajal hopes his progression will be as slow as his moms. Amazingly, she's lived with ALS for 13 years, but the disease has already taken away his wedding photography career.
CARBAJAL: Right now, my hands are starting to atrophy away. They're getting weak. I having trouble starting my car, buttoning my shirt.
ALS does not discriminate. It's typically understood as an old disease, but I'm trying to change that perspective.
CUOMO: After Carbajal shared his ice bucket video, the charity he supports ALS Therapy Development Institute received about $4 million in donations.
Now, more patients like Carbajal can take part in a study to identify potential treatments.
CARBAJAL: Talking about this disease is so, so hard, but so necessary, because it's empowering other people to share their stories as well.
BLITZER: Thousands of airline travelers face delays today because of a mysterious problem in London's air traffic control system. Officials say it wasn't caused by a power outage or a computer attack.
Our aviation correspondent Rene Marsh is here in THE SITUATION ROOM with the very latest.
What are you learning?
RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this point, Wolf, if you are flying through London, chances are you will certainly be delayed and expect delays for hours to come. Just over 100 flights in and out of Heathrow, a major international hub canceled and even more delays. And then there is the ripple effect. Then, it's all because of a computer failure. A real life demonstration of how a downed computer system can cripple air travel for thousands and thousands of fliers.
MARSH (voice-over): London, Heathrow Airport one of the busiest international airport, at a stand-still on Friday, no flights going in or out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were waiting in the plane an hour. Well, so, we got -- the flight got canceled so we had to get out.
MARSH: The air base closed after the system that helps coordinate flight in the crowded airspace went down. Many planes diverted.
DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: The impact and the indications of a vulnerability certainly exists because of the fact there should not be one singular point of failure for any air traffic control system.
MARSH: After about an hour, the problem at Swanwick Air Traffic Control Center was fixed but the damage had been done. The ripple effect felt at airports across the U.K. Heathrow saying the flight disruptions could continue to Saturday. Delays also in Paris. U.S. carriers also experiencing some delays.
The question now, what caused the system failure? Officials have ruled out a hack and aviation security analysts agree.
SOUCIE: We certainly have no record of anyone being hacked into with the air traffic control system in the United States or in Europe. I don't believe that a hack is what caused this problem.
MARSH: There are back-up systems, but as we saw in Chicago this September, when wires were cut and a fire ignited inside an FAA facility, disrupting thousands of flights for days, those redundancies may not be enough to prevent disrupted travel on a major scale.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARSH: Well, the majority of problems are with the international carriers, we're talking about British Airways, Ryanair and some of the other British short-haul carriers. We can tell you there are some U.S. carriers experiencing some delays. But again, majority of the problems with those international carriers.
So, if you are flying in this region, call ahead and check with your carrier to find out if you will be impacted.
BLITZER: Yes. So, it's still a mystery. It's a worrisome development to be sure. And let's hope they figure it out.
Rene, thanks very much.
Other stories we're following -- mudslides, flooding, dramatic rescues, following the breaking news in California being battered by the most powerful storm to hit the state in years.
CNN's Paul Vercammen is at the scene of a storm-related disaster in Ventura County. That's northwest of Los Angeles.
What's the latest where you are? It looks awful, Paul.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, I'm in Camarillo Springs. It's almost unfathomable to think that I'm walking through here and I'm now at the height of a chimney.
A rock slide of devastating proportions roared through here. You've got at least 10 houses right in this area red-tagged, meaning they are uninhabitable. How did this happen, you wonder? It happened because the hills were already saturated with rain from earlier in the fall. And then last night, a lot of rain in a short time and you had an incident here where they put these K-rails, these barriers, concrete barriers, it blew them out. And even where I'm standing, the K-rails are now buried.
What was the key recipe in all of this? In the distant you can see the charred skeletons of trees. A fire burned through here a year and a half ago. You may recall talking to me about it, Wolf and that fire loosened up of the hillside and striped it of vegetation and made this area vulnerable to a rock slide and last night, after a year and a half of preparing, and fearing the worse and putting up these K- rails, we had this slide, this rock slide. Some people call it a mudslide. It's mainly just billions and billions and billions and many tons of rocks just like the one you see me standing on right now, Wolf.
BLITZER: So that house, you are standing there on those rocks right at the roof. What is inside? Is the house inside completely destroyed? Is that what you are seeing?
VERCAMMEN: If you go on the other side, yes. Many of these houses now filled with rocks, water and mud and almost everyone evacuated. There was one couple that didn't with their caregiver. They were 86 years old and you can see the house in the distance, they actually were pinned inside for a while last night, Wolf, and the debris was moved through there, furniture actually helping to pin inside, the fire department had to come on in here and take them out.
So, yes, the houses filled with stuff up to the roof level. These are all of those red-tagged homes that will not be habitable. The clean-up going to be so long, someone in the area telling me he's going to have to get in here with all sorts of bulldozers, dump trucks and some will have to be done by good old, you know, muscle flexing and picking stuff out by hand, Wolf.
BLITZER: Did they have any warning?
VERCAMMEN: They sure did. And that's why this ended up being a disaster that did not have fatalities or serious injuries, 125 homes in all evacuated. It was the rare instance when I told you of the couple that did not evacuate that someone didn't get out of here, especially anybody along this side of the hill exposed to these rocks above.
BLITZER: All right. Paul Vercammen, amazing, amazing pictures. Let's hope for the best out there. Thank you.
Let's got to the CNN severe weather center. Our meteorologist Jennifer Gray is tracking the storm.
So, what are you seeing, Jennifer?
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, Wolf, I want to say that there still is going to be that risk of mudslides over the next couple of days because the ground is so saturated, especially in those areas that were charred by those wildfires. They will be able to dry out for a couple of days. We have a dry forecast for Saturday and Sunday.
The bad news is, though, more rain is expected on Monday, as far as those mudslides go. That's why it's bad news. On the other hand, it's great news because California needs the rain. This is going to put a small dent in that drought.
I want to show you some of those rainfall totals. Over five inches in San Marcos Pass, Pasadena almost three inches of rain, Santa Barbara about two inches, Los Angeles received about an inch and a half.
Here's the radar right now. You can see San Francisco mainly dry, couple of showers off shore, moving from West to East. We go down the state and you can see Los Angeles finally starting to clear out a little bit.
This storm system is going to move east. However, we still have some of the flood watches and flood advisories in effect and the winter storm watch in effect. The rainfall totals moving forward, minimal. We're going to just see a little bit more rain as we go through the next couple of days, but that's because the system is moving east and could actually cause severe weather across the south by the end of the weekend.
Here is the next front, though, Wolf. We'll see more rain as we go through the beginning part of the workweek but like I said, we need many more systems like this to completely end the drought in California.
BLITZER: All right. Jennifer, thanks very much.
And I want to leave our viewers this hour. Take a look at these live pictures we're getting in from Harvard. This is Cambridge, Massachusetts. There is a -- what is called a die-in, a protest going on right now in the aftermath of the grand jury decisions of Ferguson, Staten Island. You see what's happening there in Cambridge at Harvard. They are blocking an intersection right there with these live pictures coming in from our affiliate WCVB.
We are watching what's going on and getting ready for a big protest march, a demonstration here in the nation's capitol. Tomorrow, a lot of people are coming to Washington, D.C. They're going to be protesting. It's called justice for all. We'll have coverage of that right here on CNN throughout the day tomorrow.
That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching.
Remember you can always follow us on Twitter. Go ahead and tweet me @wolfblitzer. You can always tweet the show @CNNSitroom. Please, be sure to join us again Monday right here in THE SITUATION ROOM. You can always watch us live or DVR the show so you won't miss a moment.
Thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.