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THE SITUATION ROOM
Polls Put Trump on Top in New Hampshire, Iowa; Police Release Surveillance Video in Teen's Shooting; New Delays Block Closing of Gitmo Prison; Satellite Pictures Raise New Fear About North Korean Nukes. Aired 5:00-6:00p ET
Aired August 11, 2015 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:07] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, no Trump slump. New polls show Donald Trump leading, Jeb Bush sliding and sizeable debate bumps for some of their struggling rivals. We're standing for Trump to take reporters' question about the latest controversy he's ignited.
Cities on edge. Fresh protests and new arrests overnight in Ferguson, Missouri, with police using pepper spray on some demonstrators. Tonight new questions about why heavily armed civilians are being allowed to walk among the crowds. We'll also talk to an activist who was arrested.
And unapologetic. New signs North Korea's Kim Jung-un is ramping up uranium enrichment and planting land mines in the Demilitarized Zone. Is Kim firing a shot across the bow, or is it all just a cry for attention?
Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
His serial controversies are stealing the spotlight in the Republican race for the White House, and drawing anger and condemnation from his rivals. Despite the near-daily uproars Donald Trump is igniting, he's the No. 1 pick of voters in two key states. New polls put Trump on top in New Hampshire, which holds the nation's first primary, and for the first time in Iowa, where closely-watched caucuses make or break a campaign.
You're standing by to hear from Donald Trump. He scheduled a news conference in Michigan in just about 90 minutes.
We're also following the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, and growing concern about heavily-armed members of the organization called the Oath Keepers who are milling among the crowds. They say they've been hired to protect reporters from a conservative website.
We're covering all of that and much more this hour with our correspondents, our analysts and our guests. We want to begin with CNN chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash. Dana, tell us more about Donald Trump and these new polls.
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Iowa is the place where Donald Trump should be most happy today, because it has been Scott Walker who has topped the polls, and in the past few months, it's really been by a big margin. Now, it is Donald Trump, who in this latest poll is winning there. That is despite, as you mentioned, the controversies out of last week's debate, including -- and maybe mostly the idea that he won't pledge allegiance to the Republican Party. He talked about that this morning with Chris Cuomo on "NEW DAY." Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to run as a Republican, I want to be the Republican candidate, I think that's absolutely the best chance for winning, the way it's going right now. I'm being treated very nicely. I just want to be treated fairly, and if I am treated fairly, that's the way it's going to be. But I want to keep that door open. I have to keep that door open. Because if something happens where I'm not treated fairly, I may very well use that door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Brianna, in Cleveland, where the debate took place last week, talked to a lot of members of the Republican National Committee. The thought that -- the fact that he didn't promise to run as a Republican was going to be the end of his campaign. But like many times before, Donald Trump is defying convention and doing exceedingly well.
And one other thing I should note in his interview with Chris Cuomo this morning, Bri, he talked about the fact that he is a whiner and says that he will whine until he wins -- Bri.
KEILAR: And you see polls shifting in New Hampshire, too, Dana.
BASH: That's right. New Hampshire is another place where the race has been turned on its head a little bit. And that is, Donald Trump is slightly ahead there in a new poll.
Jeb Bush is doing well also, but it is John Kasich, the Ohio governor, who barely announced before last week's debate, who really set up shop after he announced in New Hampshire. He's doing extraordinarily well. He's No. 3, but went from almost nothing, not even registering in the polls, to 12 percent. And he's not the only breakout star who's now doing better among Republican voters.
Carly Fiorina is doing much better in Iowa and New Hampshire. And the hope is that, from her campaign, is that this will propel her to the main stage in next month's debate, which, of course, CNN is hosting.
KEILAR: All right. We'll see. Dana Bash, thanks so much.
I want to go now to Bertrand, Michigan, where Donald Trump will be taking reporters' questions next hour. That's where we find CNN political reporter Sara Murray.
And Sara, Trump, he's going to be doing some more conventional- style campaigning in Michigan or is this kind of unconventional?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a little unconventional. I would say it's a little more festive than a lot of Republican events we've seen. There's a line of people outside waiting to get in. Inside, people are chowing down on popcorn and throwing back Bud Lights. A little bit more of a party than a lot of Republican events.
I think the big thing we're wondering, though, is how Donald Trump comes out tonight. It will be the first time he's back on the campaign trail, talking to reporters instead of just doing sort of phone interviews about his dustup with Megyn Kelly, about his comments about women. And as we saw this morning, journalists are pushing him to offer more policy specifics, so we're going to be keeping an eye out for any of that in his speech tonight, as well -- Brianna.
[17:05:08] KEILAR: Do we expect that he will lend some more policy specifics? It does seem, up until this moment, that it's really been working for him to not really put meat on the bones here.
MURRAY: And the interesting thing is, when I talk to his campaign operatives, they say they want to run a professional campaign, and you would think that with that would come policy platforms, policy proposals. But so far the campaign still will not say when they're going to put these plans out. And I think it's probably because their candidate is so unpredictable. Every time they thought he's finally going to pony up some specifics on a plan, he's held back, and we saw that again this morning.
So it still is an open question. If Donald Trump is ever going to reveal these policy proposals, that they say they're all written up and ready to go.
KEILAR: All right. Sara Murray in Michigan, we'll be following along with you. Thanks so much.
I want to get more now with Republican strategist and CNN political contributor Kevin Madden; CNN political director David Chalian; and Dana Bash back with us; as well as CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger.
So Kevin, Republican -- Let's say the Republican Party, if they look at these polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, what are they thinking?
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think the first thing they're thinking is how can we start talking about how Bernie Sanders is surging against Hillary Clinton?
They are -- they're numbers that, if you're looking at an electability argument, if you're looking to becoming a governing party, they become troubling for the party apparatus that's in charge of making that happen.
But I think they are sort of tempered. A lot of their criticism of Donald Trump is tempered by the fact that some of these voters right now are registering support for Trump, they do view as base voters. These are the people that go out and volunteer for phone banks. They're the people that put up lawn signs. So they're very wary about criticizing Donald Trump. They expect at some point Donald Trump will come down on his own. I think that's a little bit more of a hope being a strategy. A hope is not a good strategy.
KEILAR: That's really interesting.
So both these polls, Gloria, they're ultimately good news for Trump. The story line in Iowa is a little different for him than in New Hampshire. He's actually gone down in New Hampshire. What's behind that?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: By the way, Kevin, hope was a pretty good strategy for Barack Obama. Remember that. That was.
I think New Hampshire is a bit of a different story for Donald Trump. He's still leading in the polls, but he's down six points from where he was in late July.
And as Dana was pointing out earlier, his loss is the gain of John Kasich and Carly Fiorina. Both of them had kind of breakout performances at their respective debates. And I think they've taken a little oxygen out of the Trump balloon in New Hampshire.
New Hampshire's really different from Iowa. Couldn't be more different. You can have cross-over voters. Independents can vote in a Republican primary, so that may be why somebody like John Kasich may be given a second look or a woman like Carly Fiorina.
So you know, Trump really doing well, do not -- do not understate that. But again, there are others in the field in New Hampshire and Iowa. Let me point out one more thing. Twenty percent undecided in this poll in Iowa, so there's still a lot of thinking and changing of votes that needs to be done before we get to that caucus.
KEILAR: Dana, I think a lot of observers looked at this kerfuffle between Donald Trump and Megyn Kelly, over her question about how he as described certain women. And they thought, that is not going to play well with women.
Well, it's fine, right?
KEILAR: Tell us about what we're seeing.
BASH: It didn't play well enough with Erick Erickson, the head of Red State's wife, that she sort of convinced him to uninvite him or disinvite him.
KEILAR: Look at this poll. It's split there.
BASH: So -- but it doesn't matter when it comes to voters in Iowa. He is winning among women. And you look at the favorable to unfavorable, you would think that, given what happened, he would be completely under water, that most women would say, "Ugh, we don't even like him." Not so much.
MADDEN: If only I could make a quick point there. Polling is a nonevent. It's a process. I expect that inside those numbers, we'll start to see a trend. So he may not be paying a price just yet, but if this continues, then you will see that trend line go down.
The other thing that's missing is another campaign has to go jump in and start to take advantage of some of these missteps.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Nobody seems willing.
MADDEN: That has not happened.
KEILAR: In the absence -- in the absence of that, David, do you see Donald Trump just turning convention on its head?
CHALIAN: Listen, he's been doing nothing but turning convention on its head this entire campaign process, but we also have been talking about, not just since the debate, but even before. Donald Trump has some sort of ceiling somewhere of support. And when you're dealing with a candidate field of 17 people, he could keep a pretty healthy chunk of support in one out of every five voters for a little while here.
It's what Kevin is saying, though, about when do we see one of his opponents or one of the outright outside groups of one of his opponents start going to try to chip away at that support.
[17:10:10] BASH: Some are trying.
BORGER: They are. Yes, I agree with Dana. I would argue that they are already trying. You see Rand Paul coming out against him. You've seen Jeb Bush. I mean, now...
CHALIAN: We don't see it in the advertising yet. We don't see any...
BORGER: You will.
MADDEN: It hasn't been until this point.
BORGER: Their attack against him will be that he is really not a conservative. They will attack him from the right. They will say, "Look, he wants -- he said to Chris Cuomo today, he wants to fund Planned Parenthood." And this is the whole Rand Paul line of attack, which I think others will take, which is he isn't what you think he is.
CHALIAN: That's right.
BASH: You did see Scott Walker, pretty much for the first time today, go after Donald Trump as somebody who is sort of playing into the Democrats' hands.
I can tell you, in talking to the Scott Walker people for a very long time, as Trump has been doing better and better, they're hoping -- "Trump who? We're not going to deal with it."
MADDEN: Look, you can't embarrass Trump. He has no shame. Like, you're not going to -- you can't ignore him, right? I mean, that's -- he's going to get the attention.
What you have to do is one of these campaigns, is they have to expose him. They have to expose him for being a hypocrite on all of the issues that he's actually -- you know, tried to hit a nerve with voters on. And when they do that, in a broad and sustained way, one of these campaigns, there will be a benefit to that.
CHALIAN: However, as you know, when you try to go after him, there may be some spillover effect back on you in a multicandidate race. Right? When you try to be ahead of this negative (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
CHALIAN: And secondly, as you said, some of his voters are real base voters.
MADDEN: I know, but those voters -- those voters are out there about the...
KEILAR: Look at John Kasich. John Kasich during the debate, he doesn't hit Donald Trump. He says, in fact, quite the opposite. He says, "Look, there's something real going on here," and we are seeing that he's actually surging in the polls.
BASH: And Brianna, Jake Tapper this weekend really pressed Kasich very hard following up on the debate about Donald Trump, about women. And his answer to me was fascinating. He talked all about how he supports women, how he hires women, how women always make things better in his administration and his life. And he's not going to deal with Donald Trump.
And so, you know, maybe, you know, because everything -- convention is out the window. Maybe the idea of going after him personally, which is the way you generally do well politically, doesn't work.
BORGER: You know, to follow up on Dana's point, I think that you have to kind of navigate this very carefully, because while you want to distance yourself from Donald Trump, you don't want to distance yourself from his supporters, who one day you hope will actually be your supporters.
I think Ted Cruz has done that in a -- the least elegant way, and I think that Kasich, in a way, has done that in the most elegant way. Because Kasich has said, "You have to understand what these supporters are feeling and why they support Donald Trump. I get that: They don't like politics. They don't like Washington." So he's trying to walk a fine line, because he feels one day maybe he could get some of them. Let's vote for him.
KEILAR: Let's talk about Carly Fiorina. This is one of the other big story lines that we're seeing. She did well at the kiddie table, first debate that we saw. Kevin, what do you think about this? Ninety-three percent of people who watch the debate said they think Fiorina should be in the top tier in the next debate.
MADDEN: And look, she had an extraordinary performance, and I think a lot of the reasons that she had a -- she was the consensus winner of that debate was that she showed probably the most backbone up there. She showed the most policy chops. I think that's going to be rewarded. It will be interesting to see in the next debate, if she is onstage, whether or not she can begin to draw that contrast with Donald Trump, the way some of these other candidates have been able to.
KEILAR: Two things: How does she, on the issue of gender and the issue of specifics. What will that mean to Donald Trump?
CHALIAN: Well, as Kevin's describing, it could be a strong contrast on both counts. She also loves to draw the contrast with Hillary Clinton more acutely than many of her opponents have been doing. And so that does very well.
MADDEN: She's being rewarded for voters are did.
CHALIAN: She's in top five in Iowa and top five in New Hampshire. I am sure nationally, we're going to see her go up, too. She very well may make her way onto that main debate.
KEILAR: All right. We will leave you there. Thank you so much. Kevin, David, Dana, Gloria, appreciated it.
Next, pepper spray used on protesters and growing concern about heavily armed civilians. We'll go live to Ferguson, Missouri, for the latest on the unrest.
[17:19:26] KEILAR: We have breaking news, the St. Louis County Police Department just released surveillance video from the investigation of the officer-involved shooting of Tyrone Harris, the teenager who was shot Sunday night and remains hospitalized now in critical condition. A state of emergency remains in effect in Ferguson, Missouri, where they are bracing for another night of protests and possibly more arrests.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shooting mace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Ferguson's main streets overnight. The protesters began throwing objects, and all 85 people were arrested yesterday. A closer look shows that only 63 of those arrested are Missouri residents. Twenty-two others came from out of state. I want to get more now from CNN's Sara Sidner -- Sara. [17:20:12] SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, we just got new
video in from the St. Louis Police Department. And they say it shows very clearly that Tyrone Harris, the person who ended up being shot and killed -- shot and injured by police on West Florissant did, indeed, have a gun, as all of this was going on on overnight Sunday night into Monday morning.
I want to get to that video now. You take a look at that video, it's taken -- surveillance video by a business that is there on the side of the road where a lot of folks were hanging out away from the main protests, which was down the street a few hundred yards.
I mean, if you look, you'll see people scatter, and then suddenly, you will see someone run up and very quickly flash a gun as they're running towards where the shooting is coming from. While everyone else is trying to take cover, you can see a person with a gun running towards, very quickly, where the shooting is from.
Now, the video is in black and white. If it was in color, police are saying, you know, if you take a look at what he has on and then you look at the person who we also have video of that has on red pants and a white T-shirt, that that they have determined that is the same person that police say fired upon them, after the initial shooting happened. And that police fired back, striking him several times. He is still in critical condition in the hospital.
That's the latest in that particular part of the case.
And you were mentioning, there was plenty that went on overnight last night. But nothing like we saw the night before where shots rang out and where there was chaos. But we did see, you know, on the highway there was, you know, a civil disobedience that everyone expected. They were going to do certain things in the city. And we expected that the highways would be one thing that was targeted. They did go onto the highways targeting those. Police made a lot of the arrests that they made there, saying that there have been about 85 arrests in the past 24 hours.
KEILAR: And we do want to bring back that surveillance video, so that we can watch it, Sara. We'll see the shot of Tyrone Harris. You can see there he is running off to the left. This is who police have identified.
Can you tell us who -- not who, but can you tell us how people in the community, protesters, how initially they were responding to Tyrone Harris's arrest, to the fact that he was shot, his parents or his father cast doubt on whether or not he actually had a gun? How were protesters responding to that?
SIDNER: That's right. His father has cast doubt, saying that he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, that he had been in some trouble in the past, but that he was -- you know his life was moving forward; and he was, you know, becoming a better man.
We also heard from his aunt, who said that she did not believe that he was any way involved in any shooting. But if you look on his Facebook page, which we took a look at
before it was taken down, there are some statements on there, and there are some pictures that appear to be him holding lots of different guns, as well as a statement that he was going to be on west fluorescent where he ended up ultimately being shot, the very night in this which he was shot by police.
Police being adamant that he shot first at police. There are bullet holes in several -- two cruisers that were unmarked. And police saying, "Look, you know, we had to take care of ourselves. We had to take care of the people who are out there."
They've also said that they were not part of the protests. The protests were separate. They were up the road quite a bit, a couple hundred yards and that this was not protesters, but in police's words, criminals.
KEILAR: All right. Sara Sidner for us in Ferguson, stand by.
We actually have a guest coming up, an organizer of the Ferguson protests, the peaceful protest. Was arrested yesterday. He's now out of jail, and he will talk to us after a quick break.
[17:28:33] KEILAR: The St. Louis County Police Department just released surveillance video from the investigation of the officer- involved shooting of Tyrone Harris, the teenager who was shot Sunday night and remains hospitalized in critical condition.
And as you watch the people scatter in this video, you see people walking slowly. And then, as this altercation starts, you see that man there who's running forward to the left of your screen, carrying what appears to be a gun. You briefly see the silhouette of a gun there against the sidewalk.
Joining us now is one of the organizers of the peaceful protest in Ferguson, DeRay McKesson. We are going to take a closer look at this video with DeRay after a quick break.
KEILAR: We have breaking news. The St. Louis County Police Department just released surveillance video from the investigation of the officer-involved shooting of Tyrone Harris, the teenager who was shot Sunday night, who remains hospitalized in critical condition.
[17:34:04] As you watch people scatter here, you can see they're in that circle, a man who will then run to the left carrying what you can see appears to be a gun in that silhouette.
Joining us now is one of the organizers of the peaceful protesters -- peaceful protests, I should say, in Ferguson, DeRay McKesson. And DeRay, we're seeing new video. I know you've tried to look at this on your iPhone there. It shows Tyrone Harris, the gunman who allegedly shot at police Sunday night. What is your reaction to this shooting as we're getting more
DERAY MCKESSON, PROTESTOR: I want to be clear, I've seen the video less than two minutes ago. I have more questions than I have answers.
What I did see, I saw someone who had a gun. I'm reminded, too, last night I saw the Oath Keepers who had guns, and the police response to them was totally different.
So I'm interested in learning more about what was in front of him at the time. I'm interested in learning about the police's response to white men who were armed with rifles last night, and their response, and how it differed to the person that we seem to see in the video.
[17:35:10] KEILAR: OK, and I definitely do want to talk to you about the Oath Keepers. I know that is something that has concerned you.
I want to -- I want to look at some video of Oath Keepers that we see here. They are armed. They've come on scene, they say, to protect local homes and businesses from protesters. What does it mean to have them on the streets when tensions are high?
MCKESSON: They epitomize racially-motivated vigilantes in the spirit of Zimmerman. It is actually not their property; it is not their homes that they are planning to protect. But they are literally and explicitly saying that they are going to protect property from black people, right, and like that is their goal.
It is this idea that blackness has been weaponized. That the mere presence of black bodies means that there must be some militarized intervention, and these are by vigilantes.
KEILAR: When you see -- when you see the video that you just recently saw, and this is new video of a person who police say is Tyrone Harris, and you see someone running with a gun, do you doubt police -- do you doubt their story that they were being shot at? What are -- what are really the issues that you have, knowing that there is this video that appears to have someone with a gun?
MCKESSON: I'm just trying to be clear about what I see. What I see is a gun, and I see someone with it. What I don't see is what you just said, right? I don't see a shooting. And I think about seeing someone with a gun in that space. On West Florissant, I saw white men with guns last night, as well.
And the police response to them was wholly different. So I have not seen it. You have not seen a shooting, and neither have I. What you have is the words of the police who said that they were essentially in fear of their life, which is why they shot someone. That is not what you saw in that film, and that is not what I saw.
KEILAR: OK. We do have other videos of the -- what appears to be the shooting from a different perspective, but we -- I do want to move on and talk to you about what you went through yesterday.
You were arrested. You were in front of the courthouse, and this was a peaceful protest. We have -- we have video of this happening. And it seems to be that you were charged with what, blocking the use of an entrance, right?
MCKESSON: Yes, it was like unusual obstruction to a lawful entrance, I believe, was the official coding. You know, my partner Netta (ph), she was -- she was filming the police, and she started to get arrested, and I went over to challenge her arrest or to question her arrest. And I was subsequently arrested.
KEILAR: And just your -- just your reaction to that, because this did appear to be a peaceful protest.
MCKESSON: Yes, it's a reminder that just the presence of black bodies has become a threat to the state, especially in places like Missouri. There were about 50 people arrested for physically blocking the entrance of the DOJ.
So remember that the entrance of the DOJ was actually closed by the DOJ themselves. So it reminds me of being out last night, where you saw the police arrest people for standing in the street, a street that had actually been closed by them. So it's a provocation. It's a different way the police provoke people.
Again, the protest yesterday was about confronting the DOJ about their role in the larger movement. And specifically about the consent decree here in Ferguson. The Ferguson city council is distancing themselves from, and is not complying fully so far.
KEILAR: All right. DeRay McKesson, thanks so much. Appreciate you speaking with us from Ferguson.
There were four white men who were seen patrolling Ferguson's street last night. They were carrying military-style rifles and sidearms, they're members of a group called Oath Keepers, which the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as a militaristic anti- government group.
Oath Keepers describe themselves as a group of former law enforcement and military who are helping make sure that -- to protect the Constitution.
And joining me now on the phone to talk about this is the state director of the Missouri Oath Keepers, John Karriman.
What's your mission in Ferguson, John? Tell us why these men are there in the first place?
JOHN KARRIMAN, MISSOURI OATH KEEPERS: First I want to correct you. I'm just a point of contact. I am a member of Oath Keepers. I've been tasked with being able to visit with the media. But I'm not the state or national leader. I'm just a member of the group.
KEILAR: OK, OK. So you tell us, if you could answer my questions about that, what is the purpose here? Why are these men in Ferguson?
KARRIMAN: Why are Oath Keepers presently back in Ferguson?
KEILAR: Yes. I mean...
KARRIMAN: We were here back in -- last November when the verdicts came out. The first night, we stood down and allowed the authorities to do what they said they were going to do, which is protect people and property. And stepped down under the direction of DOJ, and people got hurt. Property was destroyed. Agitators from outside the area had come in. But we were here just to protect folks.
KEILAR: Who specifically? They said they were protecting reporters.
KARRIMAN: Last night? We were protecting reporters from InfoWars.com.
KEILAR: OK, which I believe is a conservative outlet.
Police ordered members of the Oath Keepers, who took two roofs in November, to leave, because they were operating security without a license. Why does it seem like...
KARRIMAN: That's a falsehood. That's -- that had to do -- the terminology had to do with paid personnel, and we were not paid. We were volunteers. We'd been asked. We were there at the behest of the shop owners.
KEILAR: OK. Do you see some of the concerns -- you did hear what we just heard from one of the protesters. Obviously, a lot of folks there -- and this includes the police chief, I should say -- feel like this ratchets up what's already a really tense situation. What do you say to that?
KARRIMAN: Well, I say that's a patent lie. When we came in last night, we walked over to where the officers were in numbers. We made ourselves known. They said, "Please don't, you know, walk through our midst."
And we said, "Not a problem. We'll stay over here with the reporters near the sidewalks." Outside of that, we have a calming presence on the crowd, because they remember us from last year. We were here for them, protecting people and property. And so there was hugs and high fives going around like there was last year.
KEILAR: Would you feel comfortable if you saw, for instance, people who are armed?
KARRIMAN: Well, let's be reasonable about the mere presence. When people that are protesting or throwing objects and shooting at the police officers, to see a group of them walking, armed, of course that would invite problems.
KEILAR: All right, John Karriman with the Oath Keepers. Thanks so much for joining us. Coming up, new fears that North Korea's Kim Jong-un may be
dramatically increasing his country's capacity to produce nuclear bombs.
We're also standing by to bring you Donald Trump's question-and- answer session with reporters. What will Trump say about the latest polls?
[17:46:40] KEILAR: We're learning new details about what's blocking President Obama from fulfilling promises he made back when he started running for president. That would be to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
Let's bring in CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto -- Jim.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Key challenge here has been where do you put these detainees once they're released on U.S. soil. Civilian prisons, off the table. The Pentagon considering military installations, including for instance the Naval Brig at the Joint Base Charleston, that's in South Carolina. But another question for successive Defense secretaries is their fear that if they release these detainees, and if the Defense secretary who signs those order that they will return to the fight and many have.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): When the U.S. swapped captured American soldier Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban members held at Guantanamo Bay just months later one had attempted to return to militant activity. That fear is behind continuing delays in fulfilling the president's promise to close the detention facility.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to be doing everything I can to close it.
SCIUTTO: The White House said it would share a plan with Congress before the summer recess but that date has passed.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This administration is working diligently to finish a plan, to safely and responsibly close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. And we've made a commitment to share that plan with Congress.
SCIUTTO: Of the 647 detainees released from Gitmo as of January, 116 have returned to the fight and a further 69 are suspected of returning. That's one out of every four freed. It's these numbers that have led successive Defense secretaries to be reluctant to sign off on releases. Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told CNN's Barbara Starr, he resisted pressure from the White House.
CHUCK HAGEL, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: Not everyone at the White House has agreed with how I handled some of this. I have made it very clear that I will not certify, sign anything to release a detainee as long as I'm secretary of Defense, unless I am convinced that it is in the best interest of this country.
SCIUTTO: A senior administration official tells CNN the president's National Security team is working together to fulfill his pledge.
ASH CASTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I'm honored by his trust.
SCIUTTO: But at his confirmation hearing, current Defense Secretary Ash Carter was compelled to make his own pledge.
SEN. KELLY AYOTTE (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: I would ask you to tell us and to make a commitment to this committee that you will not succumb to any pressure by this administration to increase the pace of transfers from Guantanamo. Will you commit to that?
SCIUTTO: Further complicating the closure plan is figuring out where to send detainees who are not released. Yemen, for instance, a destination for numerous form of detainees, is in a state of collapse. Congress has forbidden the creation of a new facility on U.S. soil or using civilian prisons. So the Pentagon is considering military facilities.
CARTER: We're working now on a proposal that will make the Congress -- that would allow those people who cannot be released to be placed in a facility in the United States rather than Guantanamo Bay. And then we can close Guantanamo Bay.
SCIUTTO: At his confirmation hearing, Secretary Carter was asked if he is confident that he will be successful reaching this plan, fulfilling the president's promise to close Guantanamo Bay. He said he's not confident. He's hopeful. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, not exactly a commitment. Still a lot of challenges -- Brianna.
[17:50:13] KEILAR: All right, Jim Sciutto, thanks so much.
I want to bring in CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen. He's been following this.
And you can explain to us, as I know you believe they are, that some of these people who would be released could really put U.S. citizens at risk.
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it was -- I mean, we've got to get back into this quick bit of history. Under the Bush administration there were a lot of releases and the government has said there's a 30 percent recidivism rate.
KEILAR: They go back to the battlefield.
BERGEN: Yes. Under the Obama administration, there's been a much more robust effort to actually work out who should be cleared for release and there are about 50 people who've been cleared for release. As we saw in Jim's piece, a number of them are from Yemen. Yemen is not a place we want to send them back to.
So I think the recidivism rate, you know, in the last several years has gone down significantly. They're much less of a risk than they were when we were releasing hundreds and hundreds without really a lot of due diligence.
KEILAR: But -- OK, but some may. I wonder when you look at the process here, is the Defense secretary really holding this up? It's his word, right? is that what it is?
BERGEN: Right. I mean, he's -- I think, you know, he's got to sign off. And apparently he is not moving very fast on this.
KEILAR: All right. Peter Bergen, thanks so much.
We are following now this troubling new -- troubling new signs that North Korea may be moving aggressively to expand its nuclear arsenal, at the same time taking aggressive action against arch rival South Korea.
CNN's Brian Todd is working this story for us.
Brian, what are you finding out?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, tonight, Kim Jong-Un is moving aggressively on two fronts. For the first time he has targeted people outside his own country and U.S. officials are telling us tonight they are very concerned about Kim's nuclear program. That comes as new analysis shows Kim may be doubling down on his bomb- making capacity.
TODD (voice-over): A key intelligence find. Satellite images of snowmelt on rooftops. It may seem benign but this could signify a major upgrade at North Korea's main nuclear facility, Yongbyon, about 50 miles north of Pyongyang.
Based on these pictures from early this year, the Defense analyst at IHS Jane's are saying tonight Kim Jong-Un's regime has started operating a second large haul of centrifuges there.
KARL DEWEY, PROLIFERATION EDITOR, IHS JANE'S: What this suggests is that North Korea has just begun to double its centrifuge enrichment capability.
TODD: Experts say those centrifuges could be working toward civilian nuclear energy but could also be used to enrich uranium for more nuclear bombs. U.S. intelligence officials say Kim is building his nuclear arsenal at a dangerous rate. According to weapons experts, he may have 10 to 15 bombs right now. Possibly 15 to 100 by the end of the 2020.
Kim is also being more aggressive on the ground. Tonight, South Korea vows retaliation for landmine blasts that wounded two of its soldiers. Each had to have parts of their legs amputated. It happened last week along the western sector of the Demilitarized Zone. The world's most heavily fortified border patrolled by a multi- national force.
The U.S.-led U.N. command says North Korean troops had to have crossed the demarcation line recently and planted the mines. It's not just South Korean troops who patrol that area.
PATRICK CRONIN, CENTER FOR A NEW AMERICAN SECURITY: There could be Americans who could be killed by these kinds of systems. And if that happened, the United States would be pressing for a more kinetic response.
TODD: Analysts say there are hundreds if not thousands of American soldiers along the DMZ. Kim Jong-Un has purged and executed dozens of top officials of his own regime but this is believed to be the first time he's targeted anyone outside his country since he took power in late 2011. Why is he lashing out now across his border?
CRONIN: The young general Kim Jong-Un is extraordinarily frustrated that he is not getting his way. That too many senior officials in the military and in the party are not showing adequate respect. Now it may be that they are showing respect but they're afraid to tell the emperor he has no clothes.
TODD: Meaning they don't want to tell Kim Jong-Un that his goal of achieving nuclear and economic success, a program he calls byungjin, isn't moving fast enough for his liking.
TODD: Now how will South Korea retaliate for the landmine blasts? South Korean officials say for the first time in a decade, they're going to resume psychological warfare across the border, sending messages over loud speakers to North Korean troops, telling them their leader is doing a bad job and there is a much better world outside -- Brianna.
KEILAR: These are loud speakers where the sound travels several miles.
TODD: That's right.
KEILAR: You would expect North Korea to respond back, right?
TODD: That's right. It's all but certain to infuriate Kim Jong- Un. In the past, North Korea has threatened to destroy those huge loud speakers that the South Koreans set up along the DMZ. We know that this North Korean leader is more combustible than his father and his grandfather were so he could very well respond.
KEILAR: All right, Brian Todd, thanks so much for that report.
Coming up, Ferguson on edge. Now heavily armed civilians are adding to the tension. Who do they claim to be protecting?
[17:55:04] And we're standing by for Donald Trump to take reporters' questions about the latest controversies he's ignited.
KEILAR: Happening now, terror honeymoon. A young couple accused of planning to get married so they could travel together to Syria and join up with ISIS. We have new details tonight on their arrest.
New airstrikes. American warplanes could start attacking ISIS at any time as the U.S. tries to salvage another operation against the terrorist that's been an embarrassment.
Trump talks. We are standing by for a live question and answer session with the Republican presidential frontrunner. He is leading in two new polls. But is there reason for him to feel threatened?