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THE SITUATION ROOM
Interview With California Congressman Ed Royce; North Carolina Police Trial; Republican Debate. Aired 18-19:00p ET
Aired August 6, 2015 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: They're pointing fingers tonight at Russia.
Fresh blood. ISIS is switching up its strategy to attract new kinds of recruits. Will they make the terror group even more brutal and dangerous?
And cop on trial. We're getting the first look at dash cam video in the deadly shooting of an unarmed African-American man. What the video doesn't show could be critical.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
KEILAR: Breaking news tonight. Round one of the first Republican presidential debate is wrapping up right now and Donald Trump was the elephant in the room even though he wasn't actually there. The second-tier candidates aiming some of their sharpest jabs at Trump, as well as at President Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Trump is gearing up for his turn on the debate stage in Cleveland, Ohio. The top 10 Republican contenders face off in just a few hours. And Trump is likely to be a leading target, given his front-runner status, and the controversial comments that tend to roll off of his tongue.
We have correspondents, analysts and newsmakers standing by as we cover all of the news that is breaking now.
Let's go first to CNN chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash. She is at the debate site in Cleveland -- Dana.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, the first round just wrapped up. This is the debate with the seven candidates who don't poll high enough to meet the standards by FOX News to be on the 10-person stage in prime-time. Some of the candidates, at least their campaigns, were calling this the kids table.
But there definitely was not a food fight. There actually was, God forbid, substance. Take a look.
BASH (voice-over): It may have been billed as the undercard. But that didn't stop it from feeling like a main event. Seven candidates with poll numbers too low to make it on stage with the top 10 trying to get some buzz from this so-called happy hour debate.
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R-LA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think our country is tired of the politicians who simply read the polls and fail to lead.
BASH: Using their moment in the spotlight to go after Hillary Clinton.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To all Americans who want a better life, don't vote for Hillary Clinton. You're not going to get it.
BASH: Donald Trump.
CARLY FIORINA (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I didn't get a phone call from Bill Clinton before I jumped in the race. Did any of you get a phone call from Bill Clinton? I didn't. Maybe it's because I hadn't given money to the foundation or donated to his wife's Senate campaign.
BASH: Lindsey Graham laying down a hawkish challenge for other candidates to get on a war footing.
GRAHAM: If you're running for president of the United States and you don't understand that we need more American ground forces in Iraq and that America has to be part of a regional ground force that will go into Syria and destroy ISIL in Syria, then you're not ready to be commander in chief.
BASH: After his 2012 oops moment, Rick Perry spent two-and-a- half years in debate prep hoping to be redeemed. Here, he took center stage.
RICK PERRY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: After I stood on the ramp in Dallas, Texas and looked the president of the United States in the eye and said, "Mr. President, if you won't secure the border, Texas will."
BASH: Now attention shifts to tonight's main attraction where Trump, who made a grand entrance just a few hours ago arriving on his personal jet, will be front and center.
QUESTION: Are we going to hear more about your immigration plans tonight, Mr. Trump?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think so. I would imagine.
BASH: To show how much attention the billionaire has stolen, social media sites like Google and Facebook released data showing Americans are searching for and talking about Trump at rates exponentially higher than everyone else.
GRAHAM: I take my new phone thanks to the Donald
BASH: It may be why so many attention-starved candidates were willing to take part in this parody video, showing how they are preparing for tonight.
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I normally call my mom to get advice. Hey, mom, I can't say that on television.
BASH: In all seriousness, Bri, these candidates have been preparing in various ways. We know Scott Walker, for example, he has had mock debates for probably a couple of months and more intensely in the last couple of weeks.
I learned today that Jeb Bush, he's doing this kind of sports- style, locker room-style in that his campaign gave him some clips of his opponents basically talking trash about him so that he could be prepared to hear what they have to say about him just in case it comes up tonight -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Reviewing the tape. Really interesting, Dana Bash. Stand by for us.
Donald Trump, he claims he doesn't plan to attack his opponents on the debate stage tonight. But will he be able to restrain himself if others come out swinging? Let's look ahead to the main event in just a few hours.
CNN senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny here with that -- Jeff.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brianna.
Donald Trump was the last Republican candidate to arrive in Cleveland today. That was by design. He was the talk of the town all day long. He's gone to great lengths to show he doesn't need to cram for the debate. He said when he landed, "I have been preparing all my life."
But Trump has been in this presidential race for only 52 days. But he's already upended the entire Republican primary fight and he will be at center stage tonight where he will almost certainly be asked whether he will pledge his loyalty to the Republican Party and vow to support the party's nominee and not run as a third-party candidate.
So far, much of this campaign has been essentially conducted long distance. But it's an entirely different dynamic when the candidates will stand side by side. The question is, what will they say to Trump's face? Will they say the same thing they have been saying on the campaign trail? Don't count on it.
Republican strategists I have talked to in each campaign said they believe that's a losing proposition simply to pick a fight with Trump. There are five current or former governors on stage. Jeb Bush intends to focus on his conservative record as the governor of Florida. But his aides pointed out the last time he debated was October 2002, nearly 13 years ago, perhaps an attempt to lower expectations.
But beyond Trump, Republicans are watching Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, the closest. In addition to these governs, there are three senators and one neurosurgeon all looking to break out and that billionaire businessman. The reason the debate has taken on such outsized importance is there are half as many debates as there were four years ago and twice as many candidates.
The person not on the stage who will be referenced again and again is Hillary Clinton. That's how many of these Republicans believe they can break out, by presenting a contrast to her.
KEILAR: It's almost like she's at the debate. Very good point, Jeff Zeleny.
I want to bring back Dana Bash from Cleveland. She's going to join us along with CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger and CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein, who is the editorial director of "The National Journal."
Trump did factor into this early hour, the undercard, the happy hour debate. Right?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The kids table.
He did because the moderators asked about Donald Trump. And it's very clear from the folks who answered, which were Rick Perry and Carly Fiorina, that the tack they were taking is the issues. OK? Rick Perry saying...
KEILAR: Actually, you know what? I think we have this sound bite. Let's roll this sound bite.
BORGER: Right. Perfect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: I have had my issues with Donald Trump. I talked about Donald Trump from the standpoint of being an individual who was using his celebrity rather than his conservatism.
How can you run for the Republican nomination and be for single- payer health care?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BORGER: Right, and Carly Fiorina pointed out he changed his mind on health care, amnesty and abortion. So they were taking the tack that says, look, on the issues, this
guy has been all over the place. He is not a true conservative. That could happen this evening. But the thing you have to remember is that the normal rules don't apply to Donald Trump. So if you attack him, he's going to attack you back and the audience could side with him.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: There are two vectors from which to attack Donald Trump.
The most controversial things he has said leave him to attack really center from the center or the left. But in fact as Gloria points out, his biggest vulnerability in the Republican primary, especially given the voters that he's attracting, are attacks from the right.
While Democrats would love to see Jeb Bush say, get up and say what you said about Mexico is inflammatory or racist, in fact, what might be more effective in a Republican context is to say, are you really a conservative? Why is Bill Clinton calling you? Why have you taken these positions in the past?
Given he is so dependent on conservative Tea Party-type voters, I'm betting few know those aspects of his history. They might not care, but they don't know today.
BASH: They will learn.
BROWNSTEIN: But they will learn.
ZELENY: I think that's one reason Rand Paul said this morning, I'm going to mix it up. Maybe this is what he's talking about. You're absolutely right. Hitting him from the right is a much more effective tack than the left.
KEILAR: Dana, I want to -- go on.
BASH: No, I was just going to say, I think that last point Jeff made is one that we should keep in mind, that obviously we are focused on those who are closest to the top of the polls, that will be kind of in the center of the stage around Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, and Scott Walker.
But it might be that kind of those on the outside flanks who might shoot at Trump, rhetorically, the most because they are the ones who have the most to lose because Trump is taking the kind of Tea Party classes -- voters away from them. I'm talking about Senator Rubio, Senator Cruz, Rand Paul.
They're the ones who are the most frustrated because they're saying, wait a minute, we were supposed to be the outsiders. Who is this guy to say he's an outsider? They're the ones who are going to hit him most.
(CROSSTALK) KEILAR: What did you think, Dana, when you heard Carly Fiorina,
she did go after Donald Trump when asked about the issues, but she also brought that up phone call. Oh, I didn't get a phone call from Bill Clinton when I was running. Do you think that she's going to get some blowback from the Donald on that?
BASH: She might, she might. But you know what?
Just big picture, Carly Fiorina was one of the winners in this debate, if there was one. She was kind of pitch perfect when talking about all of the issues, both in her performance and her style and substance. On this particular issue, clearly she was ready for that. She had that line ready to go.
And, you know, certainly anybody who goes after Donald Trump should be prepared for blowback. I think Lindsey Graham and Rick Perry learned that the hard way. But you know what? The more she's hit by Donald Trump, the more attention she gets. What does she care?
KEILAR: That's true. We have seen other candidates like Lindsey Graham do that. Speaking of him, let's take a listen to what he said about the Clintons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I get on stage with Hillary Clinton, we won't be debating about the science, we'll be debating about the solutions.
In her world, cap-and-trade would dominate, that we will destroy the economy in the name of helping the environment. In my world, we'll focus on energy independence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: What do you think about that, Gloria?
BORGER: And he continued to take on the Clintons. He -- throughout the debate.
At one point he said, when Hillary Clinton tells you I have given you all the e-mails you need, she hasn't. So he's ready to take on the Clintons. Somebody else who's ready to take on the Clintons who uses it as part of his campaign rhetoric we ought to watch tonight is Mike Huckabee. Let's not forget he was a great debater in 2007-2008.
He's the only one of those 10 people who's actually been on a presidential debate stage before. He knows how to take on the Clintons. He's from Arkansas. You're going to hear that same kind of rhetoric from Mike Huckabee tonight. Watch out for him because he can really rattle a debate.
KEILAR: The Clinton campaign, they say that Hillary Clinton is not watching this debate. You better believe they are, all of those close to her are, if she really indeed is not. What are they looking for as she is hit over and over again?
BROWNSTEIN: It's the same things we're talking about with Donald Trump. In the undercard debate, you saw the arguments that may emerge against Donald Trump and the Republicans I think are going to be rehearsing some of the arguments they will make against Hillary Clinton.
I thought climate change was an odd place for Lindsey Graham to start, because certainly he extensively negotiated with Democrats in 2013 on a cap-and-trade bill that he ultimately never signed on to, but sure came pretty close.
But I think for Clinton I think is a preview. And also I think it's an opportunity because to the extent Republicans get pulled to the right, particularly on immigration, you got to keep in mind there is that centrifugal pull on the party that Trump is accelerating that could be a problem in the general election and leave openings for her on the other side.
KEILAR: Let's take a look at a picture. This is from "The New York Times." It shows what's really nearly an empty arena. Dana, I mean, this is like no one went to see the movie. What is going on here?
BASH: I mean, I know. It makes you a little sad, right?
KEILAR: Dana's cringing.
BASH: Yes, it makes you sad, because these are the people who wanted to be with the big boys. They wanted to be at the main event, where the Republican National Committee, all the committeemen are invited, and other people from in and around the country, so forth.
And apparently, our Ashley Killough was told that they weren't even allowed in the room, meaning the members of the Republican National Committee, they were co-hosts of this debate with FOX, they weren't allowed in the room. It was just a couple of people from the spin room.
Look, can you imagine being on that stage and wanting to be president and looking out for your first debate and seeing empty chairs?
KEILAR: Let's hope the lights were really, really bright.
ZELENY: And it changes the dynamic when there's no applause. It changes what it all feels like.
But I'm told by a Republican who has a ticket for the 9:00 event, who is in Cleveland, he said he was actually going to go to this, but he was not allowed because the tickets were kept separate for security reasons, for security sweeps. I think that the empty room is not a sign these people have no support.
KEILAR: Not a lack of enthusiasm.
ZELENY: But it certainly changes the dynamic for have no applause in there at all.
BORGER: They could have allowed the 9,000 reporters who were there into the room. They would have been happy to be there.
BASH: Well, yes, exactly.
BASH: And you know what, I just want to add to that. I actually tried to get in, just even to eyeball the stage before it started.
And they wouldn't let me in even past the spin room. So, yes, there are 9,000 reporters here and we all would have been happy, although there wouldn't have been applause, so that wouldn't change that dynamic.
KEILAR: Even Donald Trump saying that one of the big issues in this debate is going to be immigration. We are waiting to see what he says about that. But this is what Rick Perry said about it just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: I stood on the ramp in Dallas, Texas and looked the president of the United States in the eye and said, "Mr. President, if you won't secure the border, Texas will."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Jeff, this is about -- what is the debate about? It's about seizing that moment to look strong, right? OK. So is this what we're talking about?
ZELENY: I think so. I think that is an improved Rick Perry over three years ago.
He had an unfortunate immigration moment during his first campaign about the DREAM Act and other things. It was one of his many unfortunate moments, not the oops moment. But on immigration here, it's been a flash point with Donald Trump and Rick Perry and that is why it's slightly unfortunate that he was not on the same stage as that.
But again immigration is going to come up, no question about it. What I'm looking for tonight is are we going to hear more of the Trump agenda? Is he going to flesh out his immigration plan? Because as Dana and others have interviewed him, he has left -- he said Mexico will pay for that wall, they will pay for that wall, I know it, they will do it. How will that happen? We will see if he puts any meat on those
BROWNSTEIN: Real quick, the Rick Perry moment is indicative again of a larger change. In 2012, he got in trouble because he had an inclusive approach to immigration that included in-state tuition for undocumented students. This time, he's emphasizing security first.
The entire party after 2012 said we have to reach out to Hispanics. There was some movement in that direction in 2013. They have snapped back to a very hard line on immigration. Keeping the long view in sight, whatever happens tonight also can reverberate all the way through November. Remember, self-deportation was uttered first at a Republican presidential debate in 2012.
KEILAR: Except for Lindsey Graham, who was in a bipartisan bill on immigration reform.
BROWNSTEIN: And Jeb Bush is in a different place too.
BORGER: And Jeb is different.
KEILAR: Ron, Gloria, Jeff, Dana, thank you to all of you for this.
The first Democratic presidential debate now is set. It's going to be hosted by CNN. Hillary Clinton and the other Democratic candidates will square off on Tuesday, October 13, in Nevada. You will see it live right here on CNN.
Just ahead, is Russia to blame for a cyber-attack on the Pentagon? Will the culprit pay a price? We're getting new information from U.S. officials.
And will just-released dash cam video help or hurt a police officer on trial in a racially charged shooting case? Stand by to see the graphic evidence for yourself.
KEILAR: Breaking tonight, new word on who was likely behind a very sophisticated cyber-attack on the Pentagon.
CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has more on this.
Barbara, who is responsible here?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Brianna.
Tonight at the Pentagon, a leading theory is it was the Russians. A very sophisticated attack two weeks ago into an unclassified Pentagon e-mail system, why are we talking about it now? Because that system taken offline and the Pentagon still two weeks later struggling to rebuild the whole thing.
A very sophisticated, stealthy spear-phishing attack, we are told, inserting malware into the system. They got inside, even though it's an unclassified e-mail server. Very serious. This is 4,000 people that work for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Marty Dempsey, the senior military adviser to the president.
It was the type of attack that had more of a profile of the Russians than the Chinese, officials say. They're still trying to sort it all out. But it was so sophisticated, they believe it could only have been essentially a so-called state actor, someone definitely targeting the Joint Staff, the chairman. Was this a message from Moscow? Hard to tell, but it is something that has got them very concerned -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Barbara, I know you have been talking to your sources about U.S.-trained Syrian rebels who are supposed to be taking on ISIS. What are you hearing?
STARR: You know, this is a situation also unfolding; 54 rebels trained by the U.S., Syrian rebels, inserted or tried to be inserted back into Northern Syria, this is the centerpiece of the U.S. effort to get a ground force fighting ISIS inside Syria. Not going to be U.S. boots on the ground, it was supposed to be these rebels.
The first group now essentially in tatters. Some of them, we have learned, never made it across the border into Turkey to where the fight was happening. Some haven't been seen since they finished training. No one know is what happened to them. Did they dessert? Were they somehow killed?
They came under attack at this compound in Northern Syria last week. Some have been taken captive. Some have basically scattered to the wind. The problem here is there are so few Syrian rebels being trained. They are being told that the U.S. is there to protect them with airstrikes if they come under attack. But U.S. officials are also saying, look, we're not responsible for them. If they scatter, if they can't make it to where they need to be, there's not much we can do about it.
It's hard to see right now where the confidence level will be for these Syrian rebels to sign up to work with the U.S. -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thank you.
I want to talk about all of this now with the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Republican Congressman Ed Royce of California.
Congressman, thank you so much for joining us.
And I want to ask you about the first item we saw Barbara reporting on, which was this hack of the Pentagon Joint Staff's e-mail system, they believe by Russia. What do you know about it? And what should the response be to it?
REP. ED ROYCE (R), CALIFORNIA: Well what we do know is that, in both China and Russia, they have stood up basically -- in Beijing, for example, it's the equivalent of the air force or their navy or their army -- a separate branch of government dedicated to this and carrying out offensive capabilities against the United States.
They have accessed some 20 million accounts here. In terms of Russia, these are several thousands accounts that Moscow have accessed. But, clearly, we in the United States have not stood up this kind of an operational capability. And we should be doing that.
And we should be doing more as a consequence of putting this as a first priority to defending our infrastructure. You can see if you go to a major corporation, they often have taken steps and put them in place that the bureaucracy is not putting in place.
So this has to become a much higher priority. We have legislation we put into the Senate to try to counter some of this hacking. We understand now the president has indicated he might sign the bill if it comes out of the Senate. That's a good step.
KEILAR: OK. I want to ask you about these U.S.-trained Syrian rebels. About 60 of them, we know five were captured, one killed. The rest seem to have scattered. Do you know of any U.S.-trained Syrian rebel that is ready to fight, that is fully trained and ready to fight?
ROYCE: Well, part of the problem with the way in which we have handled ISIS from the beginning was that we did not -- the administration did not take the advice of those who said, use airpower early to stop ISIS just as it was leaving its encampments in Syria.
It took 14 separate cities, each time without any airpower used, as ISIS was out on the open road, to degrade or destroy those ISIS troops. Now they're embedded. And so now we're in the process, having watched for years this training process, of finally seeing some Syrian -- Free Syrian Army forces that we have trained fighting alongside the Free Syrian Army that's holding out in Aleppo and elsewhere.
They need air support. And without close air support, I'm afraid they will be overrun by al Qaeda and ISIS units. So I think we also have an opportunity here with the Turks. For the first time, Turkey is saying, we would give air support if you're talking about a no-fly zone to protect Aleppo and other areas, if you can -- if you will work with us, we will put -- we will dispatch units, we will dispatch airpower. KEILAR: But what that? What about concerns we have heard, for,
instance from Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard that they're targeting Kurds over ISIS?
ROYCE: We have got to keep the pressure on the Turkish government not to get off the theme here of going after ISIS and carrying out their tit for tat with the Kurdish Syrian forces.
KEILAR: How do you do that?
ROYCE: That's going to be an -- you're going to have to put a lot of diplomatic power. You're going to have to explain to the Turks they have two million Syrians living inside their country right now. It's frankly helping to bankrupt local economies up there.
And if they want to get this thing solved, they have got to assist with airpower along with the United States and they have got to cut off the ISIS fighters that come through the airport up there in Istanbul. They're starting to help on that.
But we have got to keep the pressure on them, because they're part of the solution here if we can leverage our considerable pressure through NATO. They're NATO partners. It does not make sense for us not to be putting more pressure on Turkey to help solve this problem.
KEILAR: OK. I have many more questions for you. So, stay with me.
We will have more on ISIS with Chairman Ed Royce after a quick break.
KEILAR: We are back with the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Republican Congressman Ed Royce of California. We are going to talk with him in just a moment about some significant changes involving ISIS recruits.
[18:34:02] CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto has details on this. And what you've learned, Jim, is that the profile of an ISIS recruiter is really different today than when this war with ISIS began?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It's evolving and it's something that security services, both in Europe and here, have to keep up with. One, the recruits are getting younger. We're talking about kids in their teens that are coming in. We're talking about foreign fighters.
Also more girls. We've seen more young women. You might remember the case in February, the three British girls left East London without telling their parents and went there, and we've since learned that two of them have been married. What's interesting about it is that many of them they're seeing
are going for nation-building, for lack of a better phrase, not so much for terrorism. But they see themselves as taking part in this great cause of building an Islamic State. And that's a problem, because it shows how enduring the appeal is of ISIS. As you know, that appeal is extending to the U.S. homeland.
KEILAR: Is Europe doing a better job of stemming these recruits?
SCIUTTO: The general feeling is, yes. You hear from European officials, you hear from American officials, as well, Turkey in particular, Turkey is on the border, they are doing a better job of interdiction.
[18:35:06] But what's interesting is Turkey is saying, "Hey, it can't be all on our shoulders." They're saying to the Europeans, "Stop them before they leave your airports, right? We can't be catching them right before they go across the border."
And speaking to officials, for instance, in the U.K., they're doing things now like confiscating the passports of suspects who they think are going to travel there so that they can travel there. A difficult thing to do, though, because you're kind of in a pre-crime era here, right? Before they do something. You're trying to stop them.
KEILAR: And I do want to talk about this -- thank you, Jim Sciutto, for your report -- with Republican Congressman Ed Royce. He is the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
So give us that perspective, Congressman, of this strategy that ISIS is employing with recruits.
ROYCE: ISIS right now has about 21,000 English language followers, for example. And they're recruiting all over the world by -- with social media.
And a big part of this also is selling the idea that, when these young men come -- remember, one of the big human trafficking problems right now is that ISIS controls a population of 5 million people, primarily in Syria and part of Iraq, and they're taking young girls and basically offering them as concubines to these young men.
And so that, the nation-building, the idea that they can't be defeated -- that's why it was important to use air power early on and really, really show that they could be turned back.
So at this point, they're on a roll. And they've got 31,000 fighters on the front lines right now, as well. So it's a big problem.
KEILAR: While I have you here, Congressman, I want to ask you about this face-off between congressional Republicans and the State Department over some of Hillary Clinton's e-mails.
Senator Chuck Grassley is holding up 20 State Department nominees over what he says are unacceptable delays in getting Hillary Clinton's documents. Do you worry that Republicans could be overreaching here?
ROYCE: Well, let's -- let me give you an example. There are certain oversight responsibilities that the Senate and the House have. Now, we went through a period of five years without this administration appointing an inspector general at the State Department. Why did they not appoint one? It now looks as though they didn't want the oversight, right? And so when you're...
KEILAR: There was an interim -- there was an interim one, just -- jut to put that in there. I believe there was an interim one at some point. But you're right. But you're right.
ROYCE: At one point there was an interim one without the authority and the full responsibility. And once we got an actual inspector general, now we're finding out a lot of information we didn't know.
So what tools does the Senate have at its disposal, you know? And this is one of the tools, is to say, there's information we've asked you for, and so here's something you want, in terms of these political appointees or whatever. And before we move forward, let's get the answer to our questions.
If we hadn't gone through the experience that we did on the House side, trying to get an inspector general appointed and watching that take five years, as Democrats and Republicans in the House tried to get this administration to do that, I wouldn't be as sympathetic as I am right now to Senator Chuck Grassley. Because he's got questions that are not being answered, and he needs to find some leverage to get those answers.
KEILAR: Congressman Ed Royce, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
ROYCE: Thank you, Brianna.
KEILAR: All right. Just ahead, dramatic and disturbing police dash cam video. How will it impact the case of a white police officer on trial for killing an unarmed African-American man?
[18:43:13] KEILAR: Dramatic new video has emerged in the case of a white police officer charged with voluntary manslaughter for the shooting death of an unarmed African-American man.
CNN's Brian Todd is here with these disturbing images. Give us the latest on this case, Brian.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, tonight this racially charged case is at its most critical phase, with this police officer fighting for his life in court.
Now, this dash cam video, so critical in this case, does not actually show the unarmed man being shot. But a warning. What you hear is disturbing. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
TODD (voice-over): You see him walking. Suddenly, Taser lights flash on his chest, and he runs past the police car's dash camera. Out of frame, the officer yells.
OFFICER RANDALL KERIK, CHARGED WITH KILLING UNARMED MAN: Get on the ground! Get on the ground!
TODD: At least 12 shots later, Jonathan Farrell is dead; and tonight, the police officer who fired the weapon is on trial in Charlotte, North Carolina, where this video is a crucial piece of evidence.
Officer Randall Kerrick is charged with voluntary manslaughter in the 2013 shooting dead of Farrell, an unarmed black man. The case has drawn attention not only because Officer Kerrick is white, but also for the starkly different accounts of what happened.
Prosecutors and attorneys for Jonathan Farrell's family say it was the middle of the night, and Farrell was confused, knocking on a door, looking for help after wrecking his car.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's in the front yard yelling. Oh my God, please.
TODD: Police responded to this 911 call, thinking Farrell was breaking into a home.
Farrell's side says when police approached, he raised his hands as if to signal the officers to wait and that he ran out of fear for his life after the Taser was pointed at him. But the video never shows Farrell's hands up and another responding officer testified Farrell and Officer Kerrick were on the ground in a ditch, engaged in a struggle.
OFFICER ADAM NEAL SR., CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG POLICE: Jonathan was like, he was in a crawling motion, you know, trying to pull him up, Officer Kerrick.
TODD: Officer Kerrick's lawyers say Farrell was aggressive, that he pounded his thighs, and yelled, "Shoot me!"
Former FBI Assistant Director Ron Hosko says in those few moments, Officer Kerrick may have thought Ferrell was armed and threatening.
RON HOSKO, LAW ENFORCEMENT LEGAL DEFENSE FUND: The question is, what's Kerrick see? What does he perceive? What does he perceive in those milliseconds from somebody walking at me to somebody reaching for their waist and then coming into a full run?
TODD: Ferrell's side says of the 12 shots fired, eight were while Ferrell was on the ground and there was a critical pause between the first four shots and the rest.
KEITH WATTERS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think that's significant. Because I think the officer, it could be argued, realized that he just shot an unarmed man, thought about it, and figured, well, I better keep shooting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: This controversial case continues to play out with forensics and crime scene experts testifying today.
Now, Officer Kerrick's department, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police, did its own investigation immediately after this confrontation and it ruled that the shooting of Jonathan Ferrell was excessive and unlawful. Criminal Defense Attorney Keith Watters says it's unlikely that's going to be admitted in trial because the standard for proving excessive force in those administrative procedures is much looser -- Brianna.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And it's interesting, Brian. While the other responding officer seemed to help this accused officer in his testimony, he also may have hurt the officer's defense.
TODD: Absolutely. He could have, Brianna. Officer Neil, when asked to describe this confrontation, said that he never pulled his firearm and didn't even think of pulling it. Neil testified that when he saw Jonathan Ferrell running toward the officers, he was only thinking about possibly putting some kind of a sleep hold on him, like a head lock.
All right. Brian Todd, thanks so much.
Let's get more now with CNN anchor Don Lemon, former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin, and former FBI assistant director and CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes.
Sunny, give us your thoughts on what's really a complicated case.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It is a complicated case, because you have sort of two different narratives. You have the defense narrative, which is this officer feared for his life, and then you have the prosecution's narrative which is, no, this was an unarmed man who was seeking help after a car crash and this officer overreacted and used excessive force, deadly force, when he should not have.
I think this dash cam video is going to be absolutely critical. And that is because the Supreme Court's made it very clear that the standard is, what would a reasonable officer in that position, that evening, what would that officer have done?
You've got three other officers that were with him that night and they didn't pull their gun. You have the officer testify today saying, well, I didn't even think about pulling my gun. I think that is very, very strong, strong evidence for this prosecution, and very much so probably why we're even talking about it. Why the government decided to bring this case.
KEILAR: What do you think, Don, as you saw that?
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: I think it is terribly complicated. But when you look at the video, you see that he is not armed. At least he's not holding anything in his hands. I don't know if the video will be as clear as Sunny thinks it will be. She would know better, she's a former federal prosecutor. You don't actually see what happened.
But you certainly do, as Brian said, it was rough hearing that. You hear what happens. But you don't know what happened in those moments. If they're going to use what happened in the moments where you don't see it as some sort of defense to get the officer off, I don't know.
But, clearly, he was unarmed. If the other officers said they didn't think about pulling their guns, and this guy shot him, and he was shot 10 times, 12 shot, that's going to be tough for the officer to get off, and the department already saying that he was not justified in pulling his weapon and shooting using deadly force.
KEILAR: Let's take another look at that video. I do want to warn that it is disturbing. So give you that heads-up. Tom, what we're going to be looking for, and you can analyze this afterwards, is when the man starts to run after he sees these --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFFICER: Get on the ground! Get on the ground! Get on the ground!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: It's horrific to listen to. It's horrific to listen to even though you don't see it on tape. But you are seeing here, Tom, the lights from the taser. Walk us through from a law enforcement perspective what you see here.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: First of all, from a law enforcement perspective is what are the officer's dispatch to investigate. That matters. You have a woman home alone with a 1- year-old screaming to 911 that somebody is trying to break into her home. They admit later that the damage he did kicking and pounding on her front door, you know, at the time she calls, house alarms going off. So, she's frantic thinking someone is trying to break in.
So, when he is taking that stroll down the street that you first see in the dash cam, the officers have already been told that he may have been trying to do a home invasion.
[18:50:01] They don't know his mental situation. They don't know whether he's intoxicated or mentally ill or any of that. But they know -- they are responding to a violent crime in their mind, as the dispatch.
Now, when you see him walking there, if he was going to surrender, all he had to do was stop and surrender and he's alive today. But, no, at the last second, you see him charge at that officer. You hear the officers yelling, "Get down, get down, get down," which he doesn't.
KEILAR: Sunny, your response in.
HOSTIN: Yes, I think what's important -- we want to talk about the victim. We always want to talk about had the victim not done something that victim would still be alive today.
You know, that's not the standard here. The officer in this case is the professional. It's something that I say day in and day out. The officer is the one with the training that is supposed to respond appropriately.
The question is, did this officer respond appropriately to an unarmed man walking towards him and what we see, we don't know if he's charging at the officer. Perhaps he is charging away from the officer. We don't know that.
But we know that three other officers determined that they should not use deadly force, that they did not need to use deadly force. And I think -- I'm just really uncomfortable with people constantly saying, had this civilian with no training simply done something else, that person would be alive.
KEILAR: We are going to --
HOSTIN: Let's put the focus on the defendant for a change.
KEILAR: We're going to pick this up right after a quick break that I have to get in more on this shooting of an unarmed African- American man after a break.
KEILAR: More now on the trial of a white police officer charged with voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed African-American man in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jurors have now seen dash cam video. This is disturbing. I am warning you here.
It shows Jonathan Ferrell, who had been in a car accident, walking towards officers and then he appears to be running towards him. The defense says that Ferrell was approaching aggressively. Prosecutors say he was raising his hands in the air, non-threateningly when he was shot. None of this was caught on camera.
We're back now with Don Lemon, Sunny Hostin, and Tom Fuentes. And we should also mention that the police received a call ahead
of time from a woman who said that a man was trying to break into her home. It appears that this man Ferrell may have been trying to get some assistance. There could have been this misunderstanding.
Although, Don, there appears to have been this report that he had caused some sort of dent in the door. So, there's that as well. When you look at this case, do you see race playing a factor?
LEMON: As much as race plays a factor in anything. But just from the evidence that we have at the surface, I don't see it. I don't see it.
I do know that interactions between police officers and people of color are different when it is between police officers and people who are not of color. As much as that is a factor, yes.
But I'm going to shock everyone here today and say --
HOSTIN: That's a big factor.
LEMON: I'm about to absolutely agree with you, Sunny. Sunny, I'm about to agree with you. So, hold your horses.
I agree with Sunny, this is about training. This is about police ratcheting down the situation or deescalating the situation. If there were three officers there and they did not pull their guns and this one officer did, what is the disconnect between that officer and the other offices when it comes to training?
Tom is right, there was something that happened at the home. The 911 tape is very disturbing. You hear the alarm going off. You hear the woman screaming. She's saying, "I'm not near my baby. This guy is trying to get in the home." It's unclear if he said that he was in a car wreck and that he needed help.
But once he got to the scene, once he got to the scene, that situation should be judged on its own merit.
KEILAR: Tom, you say actually the officers -- both of them were following training.
FUENTES: I think they would be. You could make a reasonable argument. That's the problem.
To try to prove this beyond a reasonable doubt I think there's going to be doubt that what was in the mind of the officer when this gentleman at the last minute charges him. The fact that the other two officers or three officers didn't draw their guns -- by the time that charge happens and Kerrick and the subject were on the ground wrestling with each other, how are they going to pull their guns and shoot at that moment?
You had the second cop testify today that he would have tried to choke him. He would have put him in a chokehold. So, the fact that they didn't draw their guns in that situation could only mean that they were worried about friendly fire or it could not only, but it's one possibility that they were worried about shooting their own officer. It was too late.
I think that you see him walking toward the police officers. The police officers are probably ready to have a discussion. But he charges at them. And you can't say that he is unarmed. In the officer's mind they don't know that. He could have a gun under the loose shirt that he had outside his pants, he could have a gun or a knife in his back waistband. That happens.
So, all of these decisions in the cold light of day today are not the same as what an officer faced at 2:30 in the morning that night.
KEILAR: All right. Tom Fuentes, Sunny Hostin, Don Lemon, thank you so much.
That is it for me. I'm Brianna Keilar in THE SITUATION ROOM today for Wolf Blitzer.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.