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Car Bomb Explodes in Turkey, Kills 2; Poll: Pope Francis' Approval Rating Drops in U.S.; Caitlyn Jenner Reality Show Debuts Tonight. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired July 26, 2015 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:02] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Now, there's new violence in southern Turkey. This morning, a car bomb exploded, killing two Turkish security officers. The attack happened in a southern province right near the border with Syria. And four people were wounded, we understand.

CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon joining us now from Istanbul.

So, Arwa, I know this is coming obviously as Turkey stepped up its air strikes against Kurdish militants in Iraq against ISIS in Syria. Do authorities believe this car bombing is connected to that?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's connected to one of those bombing campaigns, carried out by the Turkish air force, not as a bombing campaign that was happening in northern Iraq, against the Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK that Turkey categorizes as a terrorist organization against whom for around the last decade or so, they have been launching something of a low- level war. The PKK, very much considered to be an insurgent organization by the Turks.

However, in 2013, there was a somewhat shaky cease-fire put into place. Yesterday, the PKK declaring that cease-fire effectively dead, and then less than 24 hours later, to have that ambush that took place against Turkish troops. So, it seems at this stage, that those two things are linked.

When it comes to Turkey's bombing campaign against ISIS targets in Syria, this is a new step for the Turks at this stage. They have been fairly reluctant to get directly involved in the fighting in Syria. But following the suicide bombing attack that took place this past Monday, they killed at least 32 people. The Turks it seems are taking a much more active role when it comes to going directly after ISIS targets in Syria. Doing all of this, they say under the umbrella of protecting the Turkish nation.

Also, launching over the last few days, wide scale operations, within Turkey's own borders, detaining around 600 individuals believed to be linked to both the PKK and is. But a lot of people at this stage, very worried about more retaliatory strikes taking place, whether it's strikes carried out by the PKK against the security forces or, perhaps, even other targets. And other strikes potentially carried out by ISIS or ISIS sympathizers, Christi. PAUL: All right. Arwa Damon, we appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Let's bring in CNN counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd. He was a counterterrorism official with the CIA.

So, Philip, I want to jump off of something she just said, that they are worried, folks there, concerned about more retaliation. Certainly, when you establish and go into a bombing or on air strike situation, as Turkey has done, you expect some sort of retaliation, do you not, and prepare for it?

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I think that's right. I think you'll see more in the coming weeks. The Turks have decided they want to participate after a lot of negotiations with Americans on strikes on the Islamic State in Syria. But what we're going after the umbrella is obviously, as Arwa said, going after Turkish targets. There's been uneasy truce since about 2013.

But when they started hitting the targets with air strikes in the past couple days, I think it's inevitable that the PKK, the Kurdish Workers' Party, was going to do, what we thought over the past days, which is to start retaliatory car bombings and other kinds of strikes.

PAUL: So, you know, just the other day, we had FBI Director James Comey saying that ISIS is a bigger threat than al Qaeda to the U.S. In Turkey, the PKK or ISIS? Is either one the bigger threat than the other?

MUDD: I think the Turks would view the PKK as a bigger threat and a growing threat for one simple reason, the instability in Syria, the instability in Iraq, both of which have significant Turkish populations, give those Turkish populations a chance to build up their own identity, to build up their own geographic space in the midst of this instability. And I think the Turks are worried that their own Turkish population sees this as an opportunity to sort of rise up.

So, I think there's been a big I.S. problem. There was a big al Qaeda problem in Turkey. But in terms of the Turkish identity and the concerns that there will be overtime a separate Kurdish enclave in Iraq and Syria and potentially in Turkey, I think the Turkish government would view that as a bigger problem.

PAUL: OK, getting back to the U.S. here. As we talk about the threat of ISIS, how concerned are government security organizations about cyber attacks from ISIS? And are they prepared for them here in the U.S.?

MUDD: Compared to what we see from the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, et cetera, the concerns about I.S. would be relatively modest, maybe even insignificant. There is an I.S., Islamic State, sort of effort to build up a cyber capability.

My concern would be not that ISIS comes after U.S. systems, but that someone self-recruits. I've seen this in the past. In other words, someone with the technical capability within the U.S. government or private sector raise their hand to ISIS and says, I have access to this kind of cyber target, do you want me to do something for you?

[07:35:04] So, I don't think ISIS has the capability, highly sort of sophisticated capability. But I worry about self-recruitment.

PAUL: Sure, sure. Very good point.

Philip Mudd, always good to have you here. Thank you.

MUDD: Thank you.

PAUL: Thank you, sir.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: A new identity and now, a new show. Caitlyn Jenner debuting on reality TV. How is the Olympic gold medalist adjusting to her new life. And what could we see? That conversation is next.

Also, the new poll says that the pope's popularity, we've got a new one, has dropped in the U.S. But are the views on capitalism and the climate contributing to this drop in numbers? Is it causing a divide among some Catholics?


BLACKWELL: Ahead of his first trip to the U.S., Pope Francis' approval ratings are dropping. A new Gallup poll shows that the pontiff's favorability among all Americans has dropped from 76 percent last year to 59 percent. And the drop-off has been especially sharp among conservatives.

These follow comments in recent weeks by the pope, where he has spoke out on economic justice, climate change and other issues, as well.

Let's talk about them with CNN religion commentator, Father Edward Beck.

Good to have you back.

So, some analysts say, they're calling Francis fatigue. It's displacing the Francis effect. He started off so high. What's your response to that?

[07:40:00] FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: Well, my first response is, Victor, that it's really not a popularity contest for him. I mean, it's not exactly an election that he sought, that he wanted. He's not looking to be reelected.

And so, I don't think that these polls matter certainly to him or to the Vatican. Having said that, you're going to start off high with a lot of popularity, and then, when you start to make decisions or some would say not make decisions, those polls are going to be impacted.

So, conservatives are kind of angry at him because of his views on capitalism, the environment, immigration. Liberals are saying, why isn't he saying more about same-sex marriage, married priests, women priests? And so, you're kind of damned if you do, damned if you don't -- if you can talk about being damned with the pope at all.

BLACKWELL: So, let me talk to you about something from an analyst, and active Catholic, Edward Morrissey. Here it is.

He said, "I'm not sure it's great idea for the pope to be involving himself in microeconomics, and the same with climate change. I think some of this is going outside the normal paradigm. But John Paul was very involved in geopolitics and conservatives loved that."

So, I wonder, why do you believe, if you have an opinion here, that conservatives are having such a hard time and such a black lash now?

BECK: I think because this pope has been so very outspoken about the economy and how the environmental issues are impacting the poor and the economic structure of the world. He's taken it further than John Paul II took it.

So, when he talks about equal distribution of wealth, conservatives get very nervous because it sounds to them like Marxism on communism, whereas from Pope Francis' perspective, he's simply preaching the gospel. He's talking about fair distribution as the gospel would talk about and as Jesus talked about it.

So, I think they get a little nervous because he seems to take the ball a little bit further.

BLACKWELL: You expect he will confront leaders here when he comes in the fall on some of these issues? I mean, they will be part of his public comments. But will there be direct confrontation is the best way to put it?

BECK: Well, confrontation in the sense that they will be sitting there, listening to what he is saying. And if you remember, all of the pictures we have seen about Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, liberals, sitting there, listening to speeches. They applaud or they don't. They smile or they don't.

I don't know how they're going to sit there and not applaud the pope. Not smile. They're not going to be in agreement with everything he says, because he's not going to temper for their likes. Remember, again, it's not a popularity contest for him.

So, I think, in some ways, yes, if they are, he's going to ruffle some feathers by what he says. They're not going to like it.

But even John Boehner, if you heard his comments recently. He's Catholic, of course. But he loves this pope. But a lot of what the pope says is not in line of what John Boehner says or thinks.

So, how will John Boehner react with the pope right there and the pope says stuff that John Boehner would say, I don't agree with that at all? Is he going to smile through it? Is he going to frown? It will be interesting to see those reactions, I think.

BLACKWELL: Yes, we've seen some interesting reactions from the 2016 candidates, to some of the comments made by the pope. But as you said, he's not gearing up for a re-election campaign. This is -- this is the position. And he believes what he believes.

Father Edward Beck, thank you so much.

BECK: Thank you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: And, of course, to you at home, we'd love to hear what you think about this. Hit us up on Facebook or Twitter. Has the pope's popularity decline, from your view, your perspective and why? Or has it increased?

PAUL: Well, a new reality show debuting tonight, Caitlyn Jenner, giving the world an inside look into her journey. What we can expect.

Also, Adrian Peterson returning to the Vikings, nearly nine months after being suspended on child injury charges. We're going to see the reception that the team's fans gave him.

Stay close.


[07:47:49] PAUL: You know, last month, the public reveal of Caitlyn Jenner, just had everybody talking obviously. Tonight, in what is sure to be a social media and ratings juggernaut, the cable channel E! premieres the much-anticipated reality show about her journey, "I Am Cait".


CAITLYN JENNER, "I AM CAIT": It's like 4:32 in the morning. And I can't sleep.

I look in the monitor, I look like crap. Anyway, I feel bad that these, especially young people, are going through such a difficult time in their life. We don't people dying over this. We don't want people murdered over this stuff.

What responsibility I have towards this community? Am I going to do everything right? Am I going to say the right things? Do I project the right image? Am I just spinning with thoughts? I just hope I get it right.


PAUL: CNN senior media correspondent Brian Stelter joining us now.

So, you know, Brian, there's been critics about this, that lead up to it -- and we see it there -- putting a lot of pressure on him and on the network to get these ratings. You have the ABC interview, the "Vanity Fair" cover, the ESPY Awards, the television show.

What are the thoughts that he -- she has into, you know, this first show?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA you described it as a series of public events. And it was carefully, you know, calculated, carefully choreographed. There's no shying away from that fact.

Before Caitlyn Jenner, back at the time, Bruce Jenner, even spoke to Diane Sawyer, there were discussions about this reality show, which will premiere tonight.

So, if you think about that interview, that, you know, big worldwide interview, they got 17 million viewers back in April, that was the beginning for Caitlyn Jenner. This is the end of her public announcement, so to speak, you know, sharing her story with the world.

This reality show, in some ways, is the climax of months of conversation and months of debate. And you're right. It has been controversial because whenever you see something that's carefully orchestrated like this, people sometimes roll their eyes at it and think, you know, she's profiting off of this, it seems all too perfect.

[07:50:05] But I have to say, if you put yourself into her shoes, you'd probably do something similar. If you probably want to roll out as carefully, knowing that, you know, you're going to become the most famous transgender person in the world. You'd want to roll it out carefully. You'd want to do it on your own terms. You'd want to control your own story -- and that's essentially what she's doing.

PAUL: And she is doing that, because she is executive producer of the show, as well.


PAUL: So, she has a lot of creative control over that. And it seems like, does it not -- and help me understand this -- that she genuinely is concerned about young people who are going through this same process and do not have the resources she had.

STELTER: Yes, that's certainly what we heard from her ESPY speech where she talked about transgender youth who have a very hard time sometimes through bullying and other things.

You know, E! is a channel known for "Keeping Up With the Kardashians", Bruce Jenner years ago and even recently within "Keeping Up With the Kardashians". So E! has tried to say this is not going to be your typical reality show.

Caitlyn Jenner identifying for the first time, talking about her experience, is not going to be spectacle.

Here's what the head of programming at E! said, Jeff Olde. He's openly gay and said he feels a real responsibility to tell Caitlyn's story. He said, "This is so far beyond television on a very personal level. If I get one thing right in my professional career, it will be this."

I think what we hear in that quote is E!, the executives of the channel knowing that they've got to do this right, not make it seem like some tabloid reality show but be respectful, and try to help the transgender community through this show. PAUL: Yes, it's going to be interesting.

So today on "RELIABLE SOURCES", Brian, I understand you've got quite a big guest talking Donald Trump.

STELTER: Yes. You know, Sean Spicer is the chief strategist for the Republican National Committee. He hasn't done any interviews ever since Donald Trump announced for president. Obviously, Trump has changed this entire race. So, we'll be talking to Sean Spicer about that.

I think the message is he wants the candidates to stop attacking each other. That's all we're hearing in the GOP, the candidates going after Trump, Trump insulting other candidates. So, we'll hear from him later this morning.

PAUL: All right. Looking forward to it.

Brian Stelter, good to see you this morning.

STELTER: Thank you. You too.

PAUL: Sure.

And don't forget to catch "RELIABLE SOURCES" with Brian today at 11:00 a.m. right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: NFL star Adrian Peterson back with his team nine months after being suspended. But now that he's back with the team, use the hashtag #NewDayCNN on Facebook and twitter and your answer to this question: should sports fans forgive and forget when sports stars mess up? We want to hear your answers.

Also at the top of the hour, we're covering this rare Sunday session for the Senate. It's a vote on a transportation bill but it's really the fight over an amendment that's causing so much controversy.


[07:56:16] BLACKWELL: All right. Coming up on the top of the hour now, take a look at stories making headlines now. Let's go to Illinois first where hundreds of people attended the funeral of Sandra Bland. Community members remember her as a courageous fighter for social justice.

PAUL: Bland was arrested July 10th in Texas after a traffic stop and found dead in her jail cell three days later.

BLACKWELL: In Massachusetts, a candle light vigil was held for the 4- year-old girl whose body was found wrapped in a trash bag a month ago. No one seems to know her name. Investigators are still trying to identify. She's being called "Baby Doe", and asking anyone with information to come forward. Worcester funeral director is offering to pay for her burial.

PAUL: NFL player Adrian Peterson is back with the team and look at the reception he got from fans -- cheering him on. This was yesterday at training camp. There was some question about how he'd be received, though, because he missed 15 games last year after being indicted on child injury charges. After that, there was a contract dispute, which was resolved just a few days ago.

BLACKWELL: So last hour we asked, should fans forgive and of course forget, hard to forget, that's the hard part, star athletes when they mess up?

PAUL: Oh, it's easy to forgive them, though, if they're playing well.

BLACKWELL: Yes, yes.

PAUL: Coy, do you think?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS: Some people resonated that sentiment.

You know, we have a lot of great insight from our viewers. A lot of people don't seem comfortable with living in a world where celebrity and status seem to trump morals, ethics, and sometimes just good old commonsense.

So, here we had Adrian Peterson who hit his son with a switch. That made many people highly upset. Peterson was originally charged with felony child abuse, but later charges were reduced to misdemeanor reckless assault and plea deal. He missed some time.

But now, he's being welcomed back, making millions, where many people would be fired from their jobs, never able to return. You know, we see this all the time in sports with star athletes, who made bad decisions but because they can really play, they can stay. That's what many people are unhappy about.

There seems to be a double standard for stars when it comes to wrongdoing and you let us know exactly how you feel about this on Twitter and Facebook.

Let's check some of your responses.

Melanie said, "I am completely disgusted with how players can commit crimes and provide horrible examples to children. I no longer watch."

Asterisk said, "I think he will be fine", talking of Peterson. "People do tend to forgive it all depends on his future behavior with his family."

Dave said, "Why? No one forgives my bad decisions."

Mother2 said, "We have no business judging people's personal lives. As a nation, we need to learn how to mind our business."

And Karl, finally said, "Players get away with it as long as there isn't video proof. Greg Hardy would be in jail if there was video of his crime."

So, really debatable topic here. A lot of people chiming in with some great insight.

Thank you so much as always. We see this all the time with entertainers. You know, Chris Brown in music world, Hulk Hogan making horrible decisions. But will someone give him a TV deal, welcome him back?

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you from a players' perspective, does the rest of the team forgive a player who is a star on the team?

WIRE: You know, I think publicly they do, Victor, it's a great question. But I think 95 percent of the guys in that locker room are good, kind, caring men, and they don't like it. They don't like it at all.

So I think it's something that's not often seen or heard because not many people are in the locker room. But publicly, they do the right thing. It's all about the team. It's the protocol, standard message that you have to give for the betterment of the team.

PAUL: But behind the scenes are there ever words?

WIRE: Absolutely.

PAUL: Between players?

WIRE: Oh, absolutely. There are people -- again, those good, kind caring men who know what's right, do what's right, they stand up.

And, you know, I know as a former team captain I would say, hey, listen, let's have a talk. You try to be there. That happens a lot. I think that gets overlooked too often in sports when we hear about all the negatives. There is a lot of positive that's at least trying to be done, tried to be done in locker rooms.