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France Honors U.S. Heroes Who Stopped Gunman on Train; Interview with Representative Mike McCaul; Biden Inching Close To 2016 Run?; Bush Takes Immigration Battle To Border. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired August 24, 2015 - 16:30   ET



[16:32:07] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. John Berman, live at the New York Stock Exchange. Not a happy place this afternoon. The Dow losing more than 500 points, this after it lost more than 500 points on Friday. This is now officially a market correction, down more than 10 percent off of the high, and the traders we've spoken to on the floor tonight, they're simply not sure that it's over just yet. So we're keeping our eye on that very closely.

Meanwhile more news in our "World Lead." New details emerging about the five heroes who stopped a terror attack on a crowded train in France. Now we're learning another man who jumped into action also has U.S. connections.

Today French President Francois Hollande honored the three Americans who tackled the gunman, U.S. Airmen Spencer Stone, National Guardsman Alex -- Skarlatos, I should say, and college student Anthony Sadler. Not only did they and a British man subdue the suspect, but Spencer Stone also helped save Mark -- helped saved Mark Moogalian, a French- American professor, who was shot in the neck during the ordeal.

French officials say the suspect had enough weapons to create carnage in a terror attack. Now they are digging into his past trying to determine whether he had links to terror groups such as ISIS.

CNN's Martin Savidge joins us now live from Paris with the latest -- Martin.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, it really was a remarkable day here in Paris. And it was one of those days that for three Americans, three days ago, they couldn't possibly have imagined.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): Dramatic cell phone video captures the heavily armed gunman, bloodied and restrained on the floor of the train.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guy had a lot of ammo. I mean, his intentions were pretty clear.

SAVIDGE: The three Americans, U.S. National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, Air Force Airman Spencer Stone and student Anthony Sadler, are credited with thwarting a deadly attack, along with British passenger Chris Norman. The group tackled and hogtied the gunman with neckties while other passengers took cover nearby.

SPENCER STONE, THWARTED TERROR ATTACK ON TRAIN: I was able to examine him and shook him unconscious.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I ducked under the seat and had the tray table over my head as well, and I thought, am I next?

SAVIDGE: Stone almost lost his thumb in the attack but his brother told affiliate KOVR it could have been much worse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude, I tried to shoot him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He should not be alive at all, and he saved every single person's life on that train, including the man who was shot in the neck.

SAVIDGE: According to French radio station Europe One, that man is French-American Mark Moogalian, an author and musician, seen here on social media, who was teaching English in Paris. In an interview, his wife told the station Moogalian helped wrestle the weapon from the attacker before collapsing, telling her, I'm hit, I'm hit.

Today the three Americans and the Brit were awarded France's highest honor by President Francois Hollande for their actions.

FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (Through Translator): You risked your lives to defend an idea, an idea of liberty and freedom.

[16:35:05] SAVIDGE: Moogalian will also receive a Legion of Honor.

The alleged attacker is 25-year-old Moroccan Ayoub el-Khazzani. European counterterrorism authorities say he is well known to hard- line Islamist groups. French investigators say he was heavily armed with an assault rifle, nine magazines, a pistol and a box cutter, all of which his attorney says he found in a park.

His attorney also told France's "Le Parisien" newspaper el-Khazzani only wanted to extort money from the passengers and nothing else, saying the suggestion of terrorism, quote, "makes him almost laugh."

For the passengers on board that train Friday, the risk was all too real.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At that time it was either do something or die.


SAVIDGE: Skarlatos and Stone, by the way, those are the two U.S. servicemen. They're expected to next go to Germany, where Stone is thought to undergo more medical treatment for the injuries that he suffered during the whole ordeal. That will take place at a U.S. military medical institution.

Meanwhile, the suspect tomorrow could have an appearance in court. Either way we are expecting to learn what charges will be filed against him. He's being held tonight by the intelligence services here in France -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Martin Savidge for us in France. Thanks so much, Martin.

Joining us now is Congress Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Mr. Chairman, thank you so much for being with us. The suspect in custody right now, counter-terrorism experts point out his name has come up in all sorts of databases. They had their eyes on him in France, at least, if not other countries as well. They're not sure yet if he had any connections to ISIS.

You are privy to U.S. intelligence. Is this someone that the U.S. knew about? And did they have any knowledge? Did the U.S. have any knowledge about possible ISIS connections?

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R), HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN: Well, I can't go into what we knew about. I will tell you that three of the European countries had intelligence flags on this individual as a potential terrorist. It's been identified after the fact that he flew from Berlin into Istanbul and then into Syria, presumably to train with ISIS, and then returned back into Europe.

This shows you how wide open and vulnerable Europe is to the foreign fighter travel going to the region, training and then coming back. The fact that three of these European countries had really flags on this individual, yet he was able to travel so freely without being impeded or being flagged or stopped or detained, I think it illustrates how dangerous it is in Europe right now, the threat of this foreign fighter traveling to ISIS and Syria, and coming back.

BERMAN: Well, a jammed gun, you know, and a half dozen American and other heroes are all that kept him, you know, between a terror attack in the lives of many people lost right there. What good is it having your eye on someone being on a list in these foreign countries if you can still get on a train with a lot of guns in an attempt to kill people?

MCCAUL: Well, I'm so proud of our American heroes and what they did to stop this terrorist event which could have been very lethal. I think the real problem, John, is the flights in and out of Istanbul. I was there in the Istanbul airport last April to do an inspection of the screening that's done. They will tell you they're either not notify by their European partners about travel of suspected terrorists into Istanbul and then into Syria, and then vice versa. There are return routes through Turkey back into Europe.

This guy should have had flags all over him in his flights, in his travel back and forth, and for some reason he fell through the cracks. And I think that's where, with good intelligence, you stop this type of event.

BERMAN: Are European allies -- are our European allies dropping the ball right now, Mr. Chairman? MCCAUL: I wouldn't say they're dropping the ball. I was over there

again last April after I went to the Middle East, the region, Istanbul. We talked about these security gaps, these vulnerabilities that they have, the idea that they don't screen every passenger, has a watch list, and we believe this individual was on a watch list, and yet for whatever -- you know, the EU parliament is now changing the law, they had told me, where EU citizens will now be screened against or vetted against a watch list, but they haven't passed that legislation yet.

And I think it's desperately needed. And if anything comes out of this event in a positive way, it will get to have the EU parliament, you know, pass this important legislation.

BERMAN: Right. But we're talking about trains in Europe right now and you and I know that millions and millions of people travel in France, in Germany, in the Netherlands, all over that continent on trains with no screening at all.

MCCAUL: Right.

BERMAN: The platforms and the trains are essentially wide open. You don't even need a ticket in some cases.

MCCAUL: Well, I think there's two issues. One, the security on the train itself, which is very hard. You need the vigilance of the passengers, what we saw in this case. The other one is the way -- how free it is to travel across Europe country to country, almost like within the United States, you don't get checked for documentation going from, say, you know, New York to Washington, D.C.

[16:40:15] Same thing in what they call the (INAUDIBLE) provinces, basically these European countries, you can travel very freely without any check of documentation, and I -- I think they're going to look at toughening up these standards over there.

BERMAN: Mr. Chairman, Mike McCaul, thank you so much for being with us as always, sir.

MCCAUL: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: All right. In our "Politics Lead," a secret meeting that may have many wondering, is Joe Biden about to jump into the 2016 race? A Democratic source is now telling us which way the vice president is leaning, and he is, according to our source, leaning. That's ahead.

Plus he's out on the border, walking the line, getting told about law and order. Jeb Bush hoping his excursion to the epicenter of the immigration debate can reverse his somewhat sagging political fortunes.


BERMAN: John Berman in for Jake Tapper. Today I'm down at the New York Stock Exchange, where we saw financial tremors, the market losing more than 580 points, but our Politics Lead today -- political tremors, big ones.

Over the weekend, Vice President Joe Biden sat down with Senator Elizabeth Warren. Now sources tell CNN that the Biden camp is leaning towards doing it, and by doing it, I mean making a go at the White House and challenging Hillary Clinton.

To borrow a phrase from the vice president, that would be a big blanking' deal. CNN's Joe Johns is at the White House -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It certainly would be a big deal, John. Look, the vice president's office saying officially no decision has been made, any speculation to the contrary is false.

But if he were to get in the race, he would certainly be an underdog. Still he got high praise today in the White House briefing room with no endorsement.


JOHNS (voice-over): Joe Biden arrived at the White House today with a lot on his mind, his weekly lunch with the president in the oval office taking on new meaning, with speculation swirling about whether he will run.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Everybody is pretty interested to find out, what decision the vice president will make. The president has indicated his view that the decision to add Joe Biden to the ticket as his running mate was the smartest decision he had ever made in politics.

JOHNS: A Democratic source in touch with Biden's associates tells CNN that the vice president is now leaning more towards running for president than against it. The buzz about a possible Biden candidacy has intensified after his secret meeting with influential liberal senator, Elizabeth Warren, this weekend.

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: She's a leading voice in our party, and I'm not surprised that Joe Biden and others would seek her counsel.

JOHNS: So as far the Massachusetts' senator has refused to endorse frontrunner, Hillary Clinton, saying this last week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think anybody's been anointed. I want to see all of the presidential candidates lay where they stand on key issues.

JOHNS: Biden associates see a possible opening because Clinton has been battling trust issues with voters over her e-mail controversy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you wipe the server?

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What, like with a cloth or something?

JOHNS: The latest CNN/ORC poll shows 53 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Clinton while 43 percent view Biden that way. Democratic candidate, Bernie Sanders, sees Clinton's numbers as helping him.

SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the evidence is pretty clear, we are gaining, and the polls seem to indicate that her support seems to be receding a bit.

JOHNS: Biden still would face major hurdles if he got into the race this late, raising enough money and quickly starting up an organization. In the last few weeks, he's been talking to advisers and supporters about whether a run is realistic. Biden has been told he needs to make a decision by October 1st. One plan would have him announce his intensions the first week of October.


JOHNS: As for Hillary Clinton, she is back on the road this week coming off of a short break expected to go out to Ohio and Minnesota. John, back to you.

BERMAN: Intrigue in August, Joe Johns, thank you so much.

Also in politics, look who is taking a page out of Donald Trump's playbook. Jeb Bush heads to the U.S./Mexico border. What did he have to say new about his Republican rival? That's next.



BERMAN: All right. John Berman in for Jake Tapper today. I'm down at the New York Stock Exchange, where it was a brutal day. The Dow lost more than 580 points, this after it lost 500 points on Friday. People down here shaking their heads. You can bet it will be a big political issue in the days and weeks ahead.

But up until this point, immigration has been really the largest issue in the Republican primary. Donald Trump went down to the Mexican border, and guess who went there today? Jeb Bush.

And our Polo Sandoval went there with him and Polo, Jeb Bush facing some questions from reporters?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. There were plenty of politics at play here in South Texas, with the last hour, Jeb Bush walked into the restaurant only about six miles from the U.S./Mexico border. He almost immediately started to do bash his opponent, Donald Trump's immigration policy, and he started pitching his own.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): Jeb Bush using his visit to South Texas to highlights the differences between his immigration plan and Donald Trump's.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: His proposal is unrealistic. It will cost hundreds of billions. It will violate people's civil liberties.

SANDOVAL: Last month, Trump flew his signature plane down to Laredo, Texas, toured the dividing line between the U.S. and Mexico in the midst of a media frenzy.

TRUMP: We have a tremendous danger on the border with the illegals coming in.

SANDOVAL: Trump is needling his fellow GOP candidate.

TRUMP: I was down on the border. It's rough, tough stuff. This is not love. This is other things going on. I think he'll probably be able to figure that out, maybe.

SANDOVAL: While they both Bush and Trump met with local officials, the similarities end there. Not on Bush's agenda, a look at the actual border approximately six miles south of his stop. Campaign officials say Bush has visited the border before and is familiar with the issues dominating the immigration debate.

Today's stop in South Texas coming amid rising tensions between the GOP rivals with Bush tweeting last week -- his massive inconsistency to side, Donald Trump's immigration plan is not conservative and does not reflect our nation's values. Trump later responded at his big Alabama rally.

TRUMP: Jeb Bush very weak on immigration wants to let people come in.

SANDOVAL: For all the back-and-forth, the two do have substantial differences on key issues such as birthright citizenship.

BUSH: I think that people born in this country ought to be American citizens.

[16:55:06] TRUMP: You don't walk over the border for one day and all of a sudden we have another American citizen. It doesn't work that way.

SANDOVAL: Or building a wall.

BUSH: I've talked to the southwest governors no one thinks that we should be building a fence as the solution to security.

TRUMP: I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall.

SANDOVAL: And how to deal with the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the United States.

BUSH: The simple fact is there is no plan to deport 11 million people. We should give them a path to legal status.

TRUMP: They came over illegally. Some are wonderful people, and they've been here for a while. They've got to go out.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SANDOVAL: I did continue to press Bush on his controversial use of the word "anchor baby" to describe children being born to undocumented immigrant parents in the United States.

He said that really what he was referring to was the fraudulent practice of certain individuals intentionally having their children in the united states so as to benefit from this issue here of birthright citizenship, John. Bush heads to Colorado for yet another campaign event.

BERMAN: All right, Polo Sandoval for us down on the border. Joining us now senior adviser to Donald Trump, former senior adviser, Roger Stone, and former campaign manager for Hillary Clinton back in 2008, Patty Solis Doyle.

Let me start with you, Roger. Look the Republican Party won 27 percent of the Latino vote back in 2012. Jeb Bush wants to get more than that.

He's been campaigning that way for a while. How is what Donald Trump is doing, by pushing this immigration plan, pushing this wall, pushing the mass deportation of 11 million people, how does that get more than 27 percent of the Latino vote?

ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP POLITICAL ADVISER: Most of the immigrants that are here legally are opposed to illegal immigration. Donald Trump will offer Hispanic voters, the same thing he offers all voters, economic opportunity, job growth, the chance to restore the wealth of the American dream.

In this particular case, Donald Trump is much closer to the politics of the Republican Party. Jeb has been all over the lot here, he's been for amnesty then he disavowed his own book. Let's face it his real proposal is the status quo.

Lastly, let me say Trump is a builder. When he says he will build a wall, he's quite serious. As Ronald Reagan says, a country that cannot secure its borders is not a country.

BERMAN: You know, Patty, you watch this from the Democratic side, and Donald Trump is giving Jeb Bush something of an opportunity at least when it comes to the general election, if he's lucky to get there. Jeb Bush can seem a lot friendlier to the middle on immigration than Donald Trump. Is this a risk for to the Democrats down the line?

PATTY SOLIS-DOYLE, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I think he's losing that opportunity. I think Jeb Bush went to the border to try to take back control of this immigration discussion. As you noted, for any Republican to within in a national election, they're going to have to peel away from that coalition that Barack Obama built in 2008 and really maximized in 2012.

Up until to now, Jeb Bush was the best shot as winning some of those Hispanic votes. Now that he's gotten down in the mud with Donald Trump, and the terms like anchor babies, he's kind of blowing that opportunity. BERMAN: I have about a minute and a half left. This subject is too important to ignore, Joe Biden meets with Elizabeth Warren. We are in a Biden moment right here, Patty. You think he's going to do it? You think he can?

SOLIS-DOYLE: I don't know if he's going to do it. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the lunch between President Obama and Joe Biden.

BERMAN: Roger Stone, let me ask you, you know optics. The president had lunch with Joe Biden today. His press secretary said very nice stuff from the podium about him. Is that kind of not quite an endorsement, but certainly not saying don't run?

STONE: I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall with the meeting with Senator Warren. She stands between Joe Biden and a bid, she would be a much stronger candidate. But the last time Joe Biden ran for president, he got 1 percent in the Iowa caucuses and had to drop out.

BERMAN: Roger Stone, Patty Solis-Doyle, thank you so much for being with me, despite what happened to both of your 401(k)s today. It was nice of you to give us the time.

Time for me to turn you over to Wolf Blitzer, who's in "THE SITUATION ROOM" -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news, stunning slide, the Dow drops 1,000 points at the start of the day, climbs back, but plunges again. Is China sending world markets into a tailspin? What does it mean for your money?