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Two New Polls Put Trump Out Front; Rick Perry Stops Paying Staff In Early States; Mississippi Couple Faces Terrorism Charges; Tense Night In Ferguson; Mississippi Couple Arrested; Trump Ahead in Polls. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired August 11, 2015 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brianna Keilar in for Wolf Blitzer. It is 1:00 p.m. here in Washington, 6:00 p.m. in London and 8:00 p.m. in Jerusalem. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks so much for joining us.
We begin with big breaking news out of the primary states. Two new polls out today have Donald Trump in the lead of the GOP pack even after his recent controversial comments about Fox News anchor, Megyn Kelly. An Iowa poll from Suffolk University puts Trump ahead of Scott Walker in that primary race, 17 percent to 12 percent. Huge numbers here. They're followed by Rubio, Ben Carson, Fiorina, Cruz, in that order.
A New Hampshire poll also has Trump in the lead but those results are still preliminary.
And I'm joined now by CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash. We also have Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger and Senior Political Reporter Nia-Malika Henderson.
So, Dana, I think one of the really surprising takeaways from this is Trump was behind Scott Walker, --
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right.
KEILAR: -- now you see they're in very different positions now. And maybe not surprisingly, Scott Walker is taking aim at Donald Trump.
BASH: Right. A little bit saying that Donald Trump is using the same tired talking points of the Democrats. I mean, this is really fascinating because I -- I mean, first of all, let's just back up. There's so many things to unpack in both of these polls. But starting with that, Scott Walker has been not just leading in Iowa but leading very comfortably for months.
KEILAR: He's been the one to target, right?
BASH: He's been the one to target. He has really put all his eggs in the Iowa basket, has been -- although he denies really aggressively moving to the right, it's pretty hard to say otherwise when you look at his positions on immigration, on abortion and so forth. He's been emphasizing his conservative positions because that really appeals to Iowa voters. Now, even -- and maybe even especially after this debate last week where Donald Trump caused so much controversy on lots of issues, women and not pledging to be Republican, he's now surpassed Scott Walker in Iowa.
KEILAR: I think the hope, Nia, for some Republicans, certainly in the establishment, was that Donald Trump would take a hit after this debate performance. Is it too soon to draw that conclusion that actually it's the reverse?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. I mean, it was a hope and, I mean, it was kind of like a prayer, right? I mean, this is what they want to see him finally sort of done in by his own bluster. If you do look sort of into the numbers, and I know we just got some of these, it does look like he took something of a hit among people who actually saw the debate.
BASH: That's right.
HENDERSON: It's more close, in terms of the margin between he and Walker. I think they're tied among people who actually saw the debate. But, listen, if you're Donald Trump, he's been trumpeting these polls. He was in Iowa before where he was sort of complaining -- he couldn't believe that Scott Walker was behind him and now I'm sure we'll hear from him now -- hear with a lot of bluster saying he's leaped ahead.
BASH: Can I add one quick thing to this while we're talking about Iowa? This actually surprised me. In this poll, he has not really taken a hit, it doesn't seem, among women. He still leads, among Republican caucus goers who are female and, you know, the basic favorable, unfavorable rating, he is actually pretty much the same. Women 39 percent say that they favor him and only 40 percent say unfavorable.
HENDERSON: Yes, and some people actually agree with him that he was targeted in that debate, something like 41 percent said they did feel like he was unfairly targeted by Megyn Kelly and the Fox gang.
KEILAR: Gloria, what is -- you looked at this poll. What is your takeaway?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: My take away is that the people who like Trump, men or women, are -- like him because of his -- precisely because of his bluster, precisely because he refuses to be politically correct as he uses his terminology. They see him as the insurgent right now in this field, and insurgent candidates have a certain appeal when you are an anti-establishment and even anti- Republican Party and anti-politician.
And I think if you look at these numbers, what's stunning to me is that Jeb Bush, in Iowa, is at 4.6 percent and that's very, very tough for him. And you see Trump not only taking away from Walker, as Dana points out, but taking away from, for example, Mike Huckabee, who one would expect to do well, is now at 2.4 percent. Carly Fiorina up to 7 percent which means that her debate performance really had an impact on these voters. One other thing I would point out is that the undecided number is still very high at 20 percent. So, you see a race that's very much in flux. People had an opportunity to look at the whole array of candidates. And they're kind of still figuring it out and the numbers are shifting and shifting and shifting. But Donald Trump's appeal, clearly, has not been diminished within the base of the Republican Party.
[13:05:05] KEILAR: And John Kasich is up as well, Gloria.
BORGER: Well, --
KEILAR: What do you make of that?
BORGER: -- I think we see Kasich up because he had a great debate performance. He is up in New Hampshire considerably. His team is going to be raising some money off of that. I think Kasich likes to think of himself as the tortoise in this race, although I know Jeb Bush calls himself the tortoise.
But Kasich is one of those candidates who had kind of a breakout debate and he's hoping that this would lead to a break out for him, particularly in the state of New Hampshire in which independent voters can cross over in the Republican Primary.
BASH: That's exactly right, if I can just add to that. First of all, not only is he going to ask for money, John Kasich's chief strategist, John Weaver, put out a note, an e-mail to fund-raising, potential fund-raisers in, like, a nanosecond asking for -- which is, like, the quickest I've ever seen. But a lot of these candidates have put their eggs in the New Hampshire basket. I talked about Scott Walker in Iowa.
But in New Hampshire, you have Chris Christie. It's kind of like he's all in in New Hampshire. You have John Kasich and others. Kasich, at this point, seems to be the one who is taking hold there because of his, you know, appeal to the live and let live. You heard him talk about gay marriage and the fact that he just attended a same-sex marriage wedding.
In Iowa, you know, that probably isn't going to play well because there are a lot of conservative voters. In the live and let live place of New Hampshire (INAUDIBLE.)
KEILAR: But in New Hampshire --
HENDERSON: He's blanketing the airwaves there, too, in New Hampshire. And he's got some top (INAUDIBLE) there, like (INAUDIBLE) are backing his campaign. He did do really well in the debate as well.
KEILAR: Can I ask you about -- we know -- so, Mike Huckabee is taking a dip but Rick Perry who, out today, we learned his campaign is having some serious problems. That might be an understatement.
HENDERSON: That's right.
KEILAR: He's down.
HENDERSON: Not paying his advisors, that's never a good sign when you're not able to pay your staff. It does look like someone has thrown him a life line, put in $100,000, sort of a sugar daddy after the reports his that his campaign was listening.
But where does he go forward from here, right? I mean, in a state like South Carolina, you would think he would do well, a state like Iowa, and he's just not able to perform, at this point. He wasn't able to get the Fiorina, you know, sort of -- sort of bump because he didn't do as well in the debate.
KEILAR: And I think we do have to leave it -- Gloria, I'm sorry, we do have to leave it there. Gloria Borger, Dana Bash, Nia-Malika Henderson, thanks so much, guys, really appreciate it.
For the latest in politics and all the presidential contenders head on over to CNNPolitics.com.
And coming up, a Mississippi couple is accused of trying to join ISIS. They plan to use their honeymoon as their cover story.
Also ahead, another tense night in Ferguson. Rocks and bottles thrown at police. More than 20 arrests. We will go there live.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
KEILAR: And now, some breaking news out of Mississippi where a young couple is accused of attempting to join ISIS. The unlikely suspects charged and denied bond today. The 19-year-old woman was a high school honor roll student, homecoming princess and the daughter of a police officer. The 22-year-old man is a Mississippi state grad. He's the son of a local imam. And authorities say they were heading to Syria when they were arrested.
Our Justice Correspondent Pamela Brown joining us now. Pamela, you've been going through the complaint that the Justice Department has against this couple. What can you tell us?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: I'll tell you, this is the kind of story that really gets parents' attention, Brianna. And this is what law enforcement has said is so concerning. This young couple, 20 and 22 years old. The 20-year-old woman, Jaelyn young, and 22- year-old Muhammad Oda Dakhalla, allegedly wanted to travel to Syria to join ISIS.
This investigation began back in May when they were on social media talking to undercover FBI agents and, at that time, Young, who was a recent Islam convert and also is the daughter of a police officer in Vicksburg, Mississippi, had allegedly expressed to the FBI agent that she wanted to pledge allegiance to ISIS overseas. And here's what it says in the complaint, Brianna. It says that her, at the time, boyfriend who later became her husband in June, she says that he wanted to help with the media group and really wants to correct the falsehoods heard here. This is what the complaint said.
KEILAR: Heard here in the U.S.?
BROWN: Heard here in the U.S. The complaint says she also talked about the fact that a lot of Muslims are caught on their doubts of ISIS because of what U.S. media says and he wants to assure them U.S. media is all lies. And also, really troubling here, Brianna, in the complaint, Young also allegedly stated, she talked about the attack in Tennessee against --
KEILAR: The Chattanooga attack.
BROWN: -- the Marines. The four Marines killed, yes. And she says, what makes me feel better after just watching the news is that Abdul Aziz carried out an attack against U.S. Marines in Tennessee, the numbers of supporters are growing better.
So, according to authorities, the 22-year-old, in this case, who we have a picture up right now, Dakhlalla, was a son of a local imam. They had recently gotten married back in June and were arrested on Saturday when they tried to board a flight, according to the FBI, from Mississippi to Turkey and then they were, then, going to allegedly go to Syria to fight with ISIS. And the feds say that they actually admitted to this, admitted to their plan.
So, again, this is really what is so concerning to authorities, the fact that these young people could be influenced online --
KEILAR: And that she --
BROWN: -- and take the steps to do this.
KEILAR: -- and that she had said online, she was looking forward to having small children who are part of the Islamic state.
KEILAR: It's -- it is really alarming, as you said, to any parent. Pamela Brown, thanks so much. Great report. We know you're pouring through these --
KEILAR: -- documents, as we speak so we'll be following that along with you. We have a lot to talk about.
I want to bring in CNN Counterterrorism Analyst Phil Mudd. He's formerly with the CIA. And we're also joined by our Military Analyst Colonel Rick Francona. We have details coming in, gentlemen, obviously, but I still want you both to comment on this case.
Phil, you look at this, former homecoming princess? Mississippi State grad. We see him in this photo. He's in what looks like a tuxedo. It looks like some sort of senior portrait or something. These look like all-American kids.
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Yes. If you contrast this to where we were after 9/11 15 years ago, I think the contrast is striking. Back then you had nearly 3,000 people dead. If you wanted to sign up to al Qaeda, you had to sign up to a secret organization that had just murdered almost 3,000.
You just used, Brianna, the phrase "Islamic State." If you want to sign up today, you can be in Mississippi. You don't have to communicate secretly. You can communicate online. And you're not communicating, in your mind at least, with a terror group. You're communicating with a group that is trying to create a state that lives by traditional Islamic values, or at least that's how they portray themselves.
This is a threat across America because the - because the transformation from the problem of al Qaeda terrorism to the problem of a state, that is the Islamic state, has declared a caliphate and is drawing kids in from North America and Europe who believe that they can have a better life overseas.
KEILAR: This is a couple, colonel, headed to Syria, that was their plan, that's when they were arrested, but obviously the top concern at this point of the FBI is the chance of lone wolf attacks. You have at least 55 Americans who have been arrested so far this year for trying to join ISIS or to provide support for ISIS or perhaps stage an attack here in the U.S. What more needs to be done?
LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, they need to continue what they're doing. These undercover FBI agents are doing a terrific job. Look at the number of arrests we've seen just since July 4th - just prior to July 4th. So they're doing an effective job. But it also underscores how effective this outreach campaign by ISIS is. They're reaching all the way into Mississippi to get very -- two very young people to convert to their way of thinking. Now, they're going to go to Syria. They want to be medics. But they're going to find out that once they get there, he'll be on the front lines, you know, doing some other things. So it underscores how effective ISIS is.
KEILAR: What do you think, Phil, when you look at this? These two who were heading over there, their impressions as you just heard the colonel say, their impressions about what was going to happen versus what might actually happen once they're over in Syria? And how does this affect, perhaps, other young people like them who might be considering this?
MUDD: I think there's a couple of things you've got to think about when you look at this case. First, when you talk about their considerations of joining, I think a lot of these folks - and we're not isolated here in North America. You see this in European cases. And I've talked to my friends in Middle Eastern security services. They have the same problem. Their view is they're joining an organization to build a better life. But as Colonel Francona suggested, there's an - there's an option that
when they go out there, somebody's going to take their passport, somebody's going to take their cell phone, somebody's going to put them on the front line. The transition from al Qaeda to ISIS means that you're not recruiting hard core terrorists. You're recruiting a 19 or 20-year-old who thinks idealistically that they're going to have a better life and being - and be able to live a pure Islam if they join a state that lives by the ideals that are sort of talked about by the Islamic state.
And I think it's a real transition in the terror fight and it makes the fight harder because as a family in a place like Mississippi, or as the federal government, you're not trying simply to persuade somebody not to join a terror group. What you're trying to persuade them is that this simple message that you can lead a better Islamic life outside the culture of America is false. That's a very difficult message to avoid if you're trying to fight against the message of ISIS.
KEILAR: It sure is. Phil Mudd, Colonel Francona, thanks so much to both of you. Really appreciate it.
FRANCONA: Thank you.
KEILAR: Let's talk now back about this race for the White House. Coming up, CNN's dramatic interview with Donald Trump. This includes this admission.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am a whiner and I'm a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: We'll hear how he says he'll win with women and also why Trump says it's too early to release concrete policy plans.
[13:23:40] KEILAR: To presidential politics now. Donald Trump defends his record on women's issues, as new polls show him leading in Iowa. An Iowa poll from Suffolk University puts Trump ahead of Scott Walker in that primary state 17 percent to 12 percent. They are followed by Rubio, Carson, Fiorina and Cruz. Trump also leads among women, followed by Rubio and Walker. In an in-depth interview with Chris Cuomo on CNN's "New Day," Trump got pressed on issues ranging from tax reform and abortion to the Iran deal and the war against ISIS. He says he supports the concept of equal pay for women but doesn't have a specific plan. And he says his so-called blood comment about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly was misconstrued.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (voice-over): There was a misinterpretation of what I said. And, look, what I said was obvious. There was nothing wrong, unless you're a deviant, you don't put those words in. I mean, you know, a couple of people, they tried to make a big issue out of it. That's not it.
CHRIS CUOMO, ANCHOR, CNN'S "NEW DAY": The reason that people were inclined to see it that way was because of the other things you've said in the past about women.
TRUMP: Hey, look, I went to the hardest school to get into, the best school in the world, I guess you could say, the Wharton School of Finance. It's like super genius stuff. I came out. I built a tremendous company. I had tremendous success. The art of the deal, "The Apprentice," everything. I've always been good to women. And there will nobody be better to women as a president because I'll talk care - when I talk about health issues, I will take care of women like nobody else can. I have tremendous numbers of women executive.
[13:25:07] I have a major company. A big company. I built a great company. It's got some of the great assets - some of the most iconic assets in the world. I have many women executives, and I've always had. You know, when I was back in the construction days, the big construction days, I had women in charge of big developments and I was the first to do that.
CUOMO: Do you pay them what you pay the men?
TRUMP: So I was very, very pro-woman many years ago. And I've found they're incredible executives.
CUOMO: Do you pay them the same as men?
TRUMP: They're absolutely incredible executives and, you know, so I get the picture better than anybody. It's something that I'm studying very closely and I'll make a decision on soon.
CUOMO: Do you pay them the same that you pay the men? Do you pay the women at the top of your organization the same way you pay the men?
TRUMP: Yes, I do. Absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Let's bring in our panel now for an in-depth look at Trump's take on the issues and on his Republican rivals. We have CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger joining us from New York, and CNN political director David Chalian in studio here with me in Washington.
So, let's take a listen to this first, David. This is Donald Trump refusing to rule out a third party candidacy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're leading all over the place. And 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)
KEILAR: I don't know, David, that sounds like a threat to me.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, there's no doubt, he called it leverage in the debate last Thursday.
CHALIAN: That's exactly what it is. And there's no indication that he's setting up an independent run, right? He's just holding out the possibility, refusing to take that pledge. And, obviously, that would be pretty much a disaster for the Republican Party if he did run as an independent. Every general election poll shows if he did that, it would basically be handing the White House to the Democrats.
KEILAR: He only has to get sort of a small piece of the pie, right?
CHALIAN: Right. And most of that piece would come from the Republican nominee, if it's not Donald Trump.
KEILAR: We see, Gloria, that Donald Trump is sort of - you know, he's having this issue when it comes to women, how he treated Megyn Kelly, who was asking him a tough question about women, and it seems like his strategy is to kind of say, hey, look at Jeb Bush over there. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, I think Jeb Bush owes women an apology because he made a terrible statement about women's health issues and it was a foolish statement and perhaps a stupid statement. It's a statement that should never have come up, it should never have been made, and I was shocked that he made it and I think that will prove to be his 47 percent. When Romney did his famous 47 percent, a lot of people said his election's over.
I think that when Jeb Bush made the statement on women's health issues, that, you know, he wouldn't fund them, you wouldn't need the kind of money - they were talking about $500 billion - you wouldn't need that kind of money. When that actually relatively speaking is peanuts compared to the kind of money spent on lots of other things, I think that was a terrible mistake that he made and I think he's the one that has to apologize to women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Gloria, how hurtful is it for Jeb Bush to be taking incoming from Hillary Clinton and Trump, both of the front runners here?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, it's obviously not helping him in the two key states, the early states, Iowa and New Hampshire. I think Trump said Jeb Bush owes women an apology? Jeb Bush came out immediately and said that he misspoke, so he did kind of come out and apologize. Donald Trump has not apologized for any of his language towards women, I might - I might add.
And I think that, you know, what Donald Trump is trying to do is what lots of politicians do, which is when they're attacked, you try and deflect. And what he's doing is saying, don't look at me. I'm not the one who said that you shouldn't spend $500 million on women. It's Jeb Bush. But Jeb did say that he - that he misspoke. But I think what Trump is trying to say is that, you know, don't look at those words that Megyn Kelly spoke about, look at my deeds. I've employed women in high numbers, I pay them equally and so I will be a great woman's president, but he didn't specifically say how.
CHALIAN: But, Gloria, I would - I would also note, it's not just deflecting, it's also attacking.
BORGER: Attacking, yes.
CHALIAN: I mean he has put Jeb Bush in his sites and that is again showing what a different kind of politician Donald Trump is in this race because normally if you're the front-runner in the race, you don't normally punch down, right?
CHALIAN: But there he is deflecting and yet keeping Jeb Bush very much in his sights.
BORGER: Can we just say protocol is gone? There - there is - there is no more protocol or this is what normally happens in a race because -
CHALIAN: That's right.
[13:29:53] BORGER: You've now got every other candidate attacking Trump because he's taking away from their numbers and then you've got Trump, as you put it, quite rightly, punching down, trying to keep them - keep them back in the pack. So there is no 11th Commandment, as Ronald Reagan used to say, do not speak ill of another Republican.