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THE SITUATION ROOM

U.S. Sends Killer Drones to Ease Allie's Fears of Russia; Officials: Russia Boosting Military Strength in Arctic; Poll: Trump Loses Edge in Iowa Upheaval; Kanye West for 2020 President?; Living Across North Korea. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired August 31, 2015 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[17:00:11] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN GUEST HOST: Happening now, deadly battle. As Ukraine capital erupts in violence over the status of pro- Russian separatists, the U.S. tries to ease the ears of Eastern European allies by deploying the same drones it uses to hunt and kill terrorists.

Flexing his muscles. As President Putin works out for the camera, has he already worked out a plan to outmuscle America in the fight for crucial resources in the Arctic?

In the lead. Ben Carson neck and neck with Donald Trump in Iowa as the expected favorites fall way behind the GOP outsiders. And Bernie Sanders is giving Hillary Clinton a run for her money on the Democratic side. Is this the new political reality?

And underground. a rare look at the world's most heavily militarized border where North Korean artillery sent South Korean villagers fleeing for shelters. Do their lives depend on an unstable dictator?

Wolf Blitzer is off. I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

New violence rages in Eastern Europe. Does Ukraine's new concession of pro-Russia separatists mean President Putin has already won. As NATO allies worry what Russia will do next, the U.S. tries to allay their fears by sending to Eastern Europe the same killer drones it uses against terrorists.

But Putin's next move may mean a direct challenge to the United States closer to home. I'll be speaking with a key national security voice. That's Congressman Peter King. And our correspondents, analysts and guests are standing by with full coverage of the day's top stories.

We will begin with the growing tensions in Europe and CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto -- Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, the Pentagon announcing just this morning that it is deploying two MQ-1 Predator drones to Latvia. This is a country that borders Russia. It's very nervous that it could be the next target for Russian President Vladimir Putin after Ukraine, and it comes as the violence in eastern Ukraine is growing, some 6,000 people killed since last April and concerns that efforts there at cease-fire are failing. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Violence on the streets of the Ukrainian capital Kiev now turning deadly. A grenade thrown from the crowd killing one soldier, injuring several others. These street battles pit Ukrainian nationalists against the Ukrainian parliament, giving greater autonomy to the eastern regions of the country now controlled by Russian troops and pro-Russian separatists. Ukraine's western- backed president scolded protesters for attacking Ukraine over Russia.

PETRO POROSHENKO, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): It is very sad that some members of the parliamentary coalition attacked the president and the supreme commander in chief of their own country instead of directing their burgeoning energy to counter the external enemy.

SCIUTTO: Russia has strengthened its hold on the east, and the war has raged on, with more than 6,000 killed since April last year. And two cease-fire agreements in tatters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We call on all Ukrainians, no matter their affiliation or organization to respect law and order.

SCIUTTO: NATO allies worry they could be Russia's next targets. The U.S. military is bolstering its forces in the region, sending Predator drones to Latvia over the weekend, F-22s to Germany late last week. All part of an effort to reassure European allies that the U.S. will deter further aggression by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

ASHTON CARTER, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: It seems that's the direction he wants to take them, one or more confrontation; and we're simply going to have to check that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: The Predator deployment is temporary. They will be there until September 15. Temporary as have most of the military deployments by NATO and the U.S. there. All of this intended to balance reassuring allies without antagonizing Russia. It's a tough thing to balance there, because they don't want escalation either.

By the way, those Raptors that have been in Germany, they're going to go to Poland next. Poland, another NATO ally is also very nervous about Russia.

KEILAR: All right, Jim, thanks for the report.

Instead of carving off another chunk of Europe, Vladimir Putin's next move may already be taking place, in a sparsely populated but vitally important region where Russia already holds a big advantage over the U.S.

CNN's Brian Todd has been looking into that -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, Putin's aggressive maneuvers have U.S. officials concerned tonight, not just in Ukraine but, of all places, in the Arctic. This was the setting for some legendary Cold War showdowns; and now it is back on the map as a key strategic battleground between the U.S. and Russia.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TODD (voice-over): A massive American submarine surfaces in the Arctic. Sailors chip ice off the USS Sea Wolf after spending two months below the ice cap. The U.S. commander says American forces are demonstrating they can operate a sub anywhere on Earth, but analysts say in the Arctic, America's fallen way behind the Russians.

[17:05:15] LT. COL. TONY SHAFFER (RET.), LONDON CENTER FOR POLICY STUDIES: The United States is lagging militarily, while overall numbers of capability are larger, the Russians have much more effective sea-going and military capability in the region because they live there.

TODD: U.S. officials and outside analysts tell CNN Russia has aggressively expanded its military capability in the Arctic, establishing and expanding a northern command, forming Arctic brigades. They even planted a titanium flag on the sea floor beneath the North Pole. The U.S. has two ice-breaker ships. The Russians have 41. Analysts say the Russians are in a much better position to dominate the region militarily and grab crucial natural resources.

What's at stake is huge. We're talking about this area here. Everything we're talking about here is largely completely untouched by man in any way. So this -- whoever can break the code and gain access to this region, and all the areas of economic development and resources will be a huge benefactor.

TODD: Vladimir Putin's not only flexing his muscles militarily in the Arctic but quite literally in the gym. Putin and his prime minister, Dimitri Medvedev, have just been videotaped working out together in the morning, grilling together and then having tea for breakfast.

JEFFREY MANKOFF, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: I think they're trying to show Putin in a positive light, that he hasn't lost it, that he's still in charge, that he's still this active, virile figure.

TODD: This comes on the heels of Putin proudly manning a submersible in the Black Sea. And who can forget the images of Putin shirtless hunting, fishing, riding horseback. He's done a judo demonstration. Analysts say this plays into Russia's sense of pride in a strong leader, an image Putin needs these days. His popularity ratings in one recent poll have dropped to about 72 percent, still at levels American politicians would kill for.

MASHA GESSEN, AUTHOR, "THE MAN WITHOUT A FACE": His approval ratings went through the roof as soon as Russia annexed Crimea. That's sort of totalitarian level approval ratings and he is addicted to them.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TODD: How do U.S. officials feel about Putin and Russia seemingly gaining the upper hand in the Arctic? Well, a senior administration official tells CNN the White House sees the Arctic region as kind of a global region where the U.S. and the Russians can cooperate on things like research and exploration, search-and-rescue operations. But this official says Vladimir Putin and his government just don't see it that way, Brianna.

KEILAR: Does Putin see an American threat in the Arctic? Or is this more a preemptive thing?

TODD: We're told that he does see it as a threat. An administration official says the Kremlin believes the U.S. is trying to undermine Russian interests in the Arctic. This official says the U.S. is not really doing that, but it does kind of tee up Vladimir Putin to justify some more aggressive maneuvers in that region.

KEILAR: Thanks, Brian, appreciate it. Joining me now is a member of both the intelligence and homeland security committees, Republican Congressman Peter King of New York.

Congressman, thanks for being with us.

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: So you have the chairman of the joint chiefs who has said that Russia is the top military threat to the U.S. Do you agree with that assessment?

KING: It certainly is a major threat. And again, it really shows the failure of the Obama/Clinton foreign policy. I mean, the main thing they did coming in was to reset with the Russians. And it's obvious they thought that reaching out to Putin, that there would be this hand of friendship returned.

Instead Putin has just consistently moved against U.S. interests, against European interests and obviously against the direct interests of Ukrainians.

I think they're definitely a threat. There's no reason why they've been doing these things unless they want to try to rebuild at least part of the old Soviet empire.

KEILAR: As clashes are erupting, U.S.-deployed drones are going to Latvia. There's F-22 raptors heading to Europe. Does NATO have enough military might to stand up against Russia?

KING: I don't believe they have the will right now and also as far as, you know, the drones going to Latvia, they're going to be only there for two weeks. I don't know what kind of a signal that sends, either reassurance of the allies or as a threat to Russia. To me it's another half-hearted step by the Obama administration.

As far as NATO, I would just say Europe overall has been very deficient on this. They really have been taken almost no action against Russia. The only significant action, really, has been the sanctions. That was pretty much forced by the U.S. So whether it's the foreign fighters going to Syria, whether it's

Russian aggression, Europeans don't seem to have the heart or the resources to get the job done.

KEILAR: President Obama will -- I would expect at some point he may run into Vladimir Putin when Putin visits New York in a month. Sometimes there may not be a completely official meeting, but we've seen that they actually can accomplish quite a bit, even in ten minutes of passing in a hallway.

KING: Right.

KEILAR: We later learn that actually they worked something out. Do you think that they should have some sort of interaction?

[17:10:05] KING: I think they should if the president knows what his agenda is. Listen, I'm a Republican, but if there's an encounter between President Obama and Putin, I want President Obama to come out on top.

But if he does have this meeting with Putin, whether it's casual or whether it's a serious one, or whatever happens to me, I hope the president has an agenda, knows what he wants and fights for it, and doesn't let Putin take advantage of the situation.

KEILAR: I do want to ask you about the message the president should send to him. But first, you've seen this video of Vladimir Putin and Dimitri Medvedev having tea for breakfast, working out, which seems kind of odd. What do you make of that?

KING: You know, it's hard to read Putin's mind, but I would say several things. One, his favorability ratings are dropping, 72 percent. The fact is, there is discontent in Russia. The ruble is declining. The economy is not growing with any kind of strength at all. And he wants to basically impress to people. He's appealing to the macho instincts of his people.

And he's also doing this at a time when we see do increased pressure in the Ukraine, we do see what's happening in the Arctic. I think, again, he's trying to put the country on a semi-military footing by lifting weights and working out with Medvedev.

KEILAR: If the president and Putin have some sort of interaction, what message do you think President Obama needs to send to Putin?

KING: Basically, he has to say the reset button is over and that the president will do whatever he can to provide leadership to the western alliance to stop Russian aggression. Warn him about the Baltic states, warn him about going any further in the Ukraine and say there will be serious economic measures.

And I think he should be -- there should be more U.S./NATO forces being deployed on maneuvers in, certainly, the Baltics and also I would say even in Poland and Czech Republic and talking to people from those countries, they are concerned about the expansion of Russia. We have to make it clear that, just as it was during the Cold War, that if we have to, the U.S. and the western alliance will come together to stop Soviet aggression.

And we're not going to keep backing away and let him keep chipping away at European interests, which are ultimately our interests.

KEILAR: Yes. Congressman King, stay with me. I have many more questions. I know you have seen this interview with the former vice president, Dick Cheney, raising questions about whether ISIS might use chemical weapons against the U.S.

We'll talking with the congressman after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: We're talking with Congressman Peter King. First as the presidential campaign heats up there are charges and counter charges about who lost Iraq and who opened the door to a new wave of terrorism.

Former vice president, Dick Cheney, is back. He's fanning those flames with a new book. It's co-written with his daughter, Liz, and it's titled "Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America." Dick Cheney spoke about it with CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: You in the book blame the spread of ISIS on President Obama. He says it's your fault, that Bush/Cheney left the region unstable.

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think he's wrong. Look at the record. We had a situation in which, by the time we got through the surge in '07 and '08, President Bush made a very courageous decision, very correct decision. And Iraq was in good shape when we left office, and Barack Obama said as much.

What happened, basically, was they failed to follow through. They withdrew as quickly as possible and left no stay-behind force there. They created a vacuum, and the vacuum was filled by ISIS.

GANGEL: How dangerous do you really think ISIS is now to homeland security? American soil?

CHENEY: I think extraordinarily dangerous, partly because of their ability to recruit from the United States. People become members of ISIS to go to Syria, Iraq and so forth.

I think the danger of having those people return, having trained, for example, over there or their ability to motivate people in the United States and elsewhere in other parts of the world to become hardened followers, if you will, of that etiology and sacrifice themselves in the name of killing infidels, I think that possibility is increasing. And I think ISIS is very dangerous indeed, especially if you think about the prospects of nuclear weapons being developed in the Middle East.

GANGEL: Do you think we could see another major 9/11-style attack on American soil?

CHENEY: You think we could see another 9/11-style attack with much deadlier weapons. I worry if they use chemicals or biological agents or nuclear weapons. Remember the weapon they used on 9/11, airline tickets and box cutters. That was a difficult, terrible day for us, 3,000 casualties. It will be a lot worse if they find deadlier weapons.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: And you can watch Jamie's full interview with former Vice President Cheney tomorrow night on "ANDERSON COOPER 360" at 8 Eastern.

I want to talk about this now with Republican Congressman Peter King. He's back with us. He's a member of the Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees.

So sir, I wonder, do you think there's any indication that ISIS could launch a chemical weapons attack inside the U.S., this concern that we heard from the vice president, from the former vice president?

[17:20:04] KING: I think everyone in the intelligence community and the law enforcement community is concerned that ISIS would do this. Now I'm not saying there's any evidence that they have chemical weapons now. I think we have to assume that any of these Islamist terrorist groups, if they get the capacity to get chemical, biological or radiological weapons, that they would definitely use them.

I mean, in New York we have a secure the cities program set up, a multi, multimillion-dollar operation to detect any type of radiation. So as far as chemicals and biologicals, I can assure you that, within the government itself for the last 15 years, you have various government agencies working on antidotes for these type of attacks, both preventative and also reactive measures could be taken.

So while I'm not aware of any evidence right now that ISIS has chemicals, we have to assume that they would try to use them if they get access to them.

KEILAR: Part of the blame game between Democrats and Republicans over Iraq, for instance, played out, I think, in this interview with the former vice president. He said he -- he refuted this idea that the invasion of Iraq by the Bush administration created instability in the region that gave ISIS and al Qaeda a toehold there. What was your reaction to that?

KING: I agree with the vice president. Obviously, it was instability in '04, '05 and '06. What with the surge in '07 and '08, by the time President Obama came to office, he himself said that Iraq was stable and secure, and that was the rationale that he gave for withdrawing our troops: that there was stability in Iraq, that it was a government capable of defending itself and capable of providing political leadership.

So I have -- to me, it's clear in my mind, if the president had not withdrawn the troops so vociferously and made it clear that he wanted to get out, that ISIS would not have the foothold that it has today.

KEILAR: But a lot of the critics of the Bush administration's war in Iraq, invasion of Iraq, will say if that hadn't begun, ISIS wouldn't have had this toehold. Is there any truth to that?

KING: Well, if the war in Iraq hadn't begun, Saddam Hussein would still be in power, and as far as the world would know, including the allies, they thought he had the chemical and biological weapons, as every leading Democrat in the Senate did and in the House and as did all the allies in the Middle East. And also, Libya would not have turned over its nuclear weapons.

The fact is, you take the world the way it's given to you. And as of the time, President Obama took other, there was stability in Iraq. Iraq was a stable country, and that's why he himself said he was going to withdraw the troops.

I was in Iraq both during the tough times in '04 -- '03 and '04 and then back there in '07 and '10. And the difference even in '07 and then in 2010 was a stable country. Now, it was not perfect, but it was nowhere near what it is today. And ISIS -- and back then it was known as al Qaeda in Iraq -- had basically been decimated.

KEILAR: Let me ask you specifically about ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi. Was held in a U.S. detention center for four years. This was during the U.S.-led invasion, and he emerged as an al Qaeda leader, now as head of ISIS.

The U.S. presence in Iraq, the war on terror, didn't it in a way -- I hear you saying that you deal with the world as you were given it, if you were president, but didn't that directly coalesce jihadists against the U.S.?

KING: Well, we can say that -- no, first of all, prior to 9/11 jihadists were coalesced against the U.S. already. So I mean -- and the only time the U.S. used troops during the 1990s was in defense of Muslims against orthodox Christians in Bosnia and in Serbia. And yet, we still had attacks by Islamists. So they were going to attack us no matter what. And to blame Iraq as to why Islamists coalesced against us is just a misreading of history.

The fact is that President Bush took the action he thought he had to take then. We could say that World War II led to communist expansion in Eastern Europe, but it also defeated Hitler. And yet then we had to meet that expansion in Eastern Europe.

That would be like Harry Truman saying in 1946 or 1947, "We're not going to do anything about Soviet expansion, because Roosevelt caused this by going to war against Hitler."

The fact is, there's always actions and reactions. And the fact is that as of 2007, 2008 Iraq was stable; and President Obama clearly dropped the ball in 2010 and 2011.

KEILAR: Congressman Peter King, thanks so much for being with us. Really appreciate it. KING: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: And coming up, Ben Carson is neck and neck with Donald Trump in Iowa as the GOP outsiders leave the mainstream candidates well behind them. Bernie Sanders, he's nipping at Hillary Clinton's heels. What's going on with the 2016 race? Our experts are standing by to tell us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:29:25] KEILAR: Donald Trump has spent much of the summer as the undisputed Republican presidential front-runner. But a new poll shows Trump losing his edge in Iowa, home of the first caucuses of the 2016 campaign. And as Trump's fortunes appear to be falling in that critical state, the same poll shows some of his rivals are surging.

CNN political reporter Sara Murray is following all of this for us. What's happening in Iowa, Sara?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, this is clearly the moment of the Washington outsiders. But for now even one of the outsiders is struggling. For the first time since Trump jumped in the race, he's facing some real competition from one of his GOP rivals.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY (voice-over): Ben Carson suddenly threatening to dethrone Donald Trump.

[17:30:10] DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We shouldn't let the professional class pick our presidents.

MURRAY: The retired neurosurgeon tied the bombastic billionaire with 23 percent support in Iowa, according to a new Monmouth University poll. Carly Fiorina follows at 10 percent, Ted Cruz at 9 percent.

Lately Trump offering only compliments for Carson.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's a nice guy. I can't hit him. He's been so nice to me. It's true. I cannot hit him.

MURRAY: Will an emerging Carson threat turn Trump's praises into attacks?

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you all.

MURRAY: The Trump effect already damaging other Republicans who once sat atop the polls.

TRUMP: He's drifted very much to the middle of the pack, and he's rapidly disappearing, so we're going to have to start looking at somebody else.

MURRAY: Despite Carson's surge, Trump still seems focused on hammering Jeb Bush in a new Instagram video.

BUSH: Yes, they broke the law, but it's not a felony. It's kind of, it's a -- it's an act of love.

MURRAY: The Monmouth poll showing Jeb Bush now at just 5 percent in the Hawkeye State.

Meanwhile Scott Walker, once the man to beat in Iowa, pulling just 7 percent support there, despite adopting tougher immigration stances that could hurt in a general election. Even calling a wall along the border with Canada a legitimate idea.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R-WI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some have people asked about that in New Hampshire. That is a legitimate issue for us to look at.

MURRAY: Trump also directing his fire toward a top aide to Hillary Clinton, calling Huma Abedin a major security risk because of her husband, a former congressman, Anthony Weiner, who resigned amid a sensational sexting scandal.

TRUMP: Who is Huma married to? One of the great sleazebags of our time, Anthony Weiner. Did you know that?

MURRAY: An attack Clinton spokesman calls disgraceful, tweeting "There is no place for patently false personal attacks towards a staff member."

Trump's latest swipe at Clinton comes as she struggles to keep hold of her supporters while Bernie Sanders surges. A "Des Moines Register"/Bloomberg Politics poll showing Clinton at 37 percent support in Iowa, now just seven points ahead of Sanders.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY: Now if you dig into some of these numbers on the Republican side, you can start to see where Trump's weaknesses with women and evangelical voters are really starting to hurt him. Carson leads him with both of those groups in the latest Iowa poll -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Sara Murray, thank you so much.

I want to get more now on all of this with former Obama senior adviser and CNN political commentator Dan Pfeiffer; CNN political contributor and Republican strategist Kevin Madden; and CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp.

And as you can see from Sara's report there, we have so much to talk about. Right? But I want to -- I want to start first with this newest Iowa poll that we're seeing. And when you look at the cross sections of caucus goers in this, I thought it was pretty interesting that Ben Carson is actually doing better than Trump with women, and with evangelical Christians. How significant is that?

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it is significant. I think that's the key to his rise right now is if you talk to the Carson people they'll tell you that they're very quietly building a network of support amongst those voters in Iowa, and that this -- these new numbers are a reflection of that. And he does, he -- Ben Carson does appeal to a lot of those

evangelical value voters that Donald Trump is not necessarily going to be able to consolidate in the end. So that's the key to his success here in these new numbers.

KEILAR: Let's look at this Instagram sort of vine ad that Donald Trump has put out against Jeb Bush. We saw it once, but I do want to play it again when we -- so we can show the reaction from the Jeb Bush camp.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Yes, they broke the law, but it's not a felony. It's kind of the -- it's a -- it's a, it's an act of love.

GRAPHIC: Love? Forget love, it's time to get tough! Trump, Make America Great Again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: OK, so strong response pretty quick coming out from the Jeb camp, saying, "Jeb Bush has a record of cracking down on violent criminals as governor of Florida, while Donald Trump has, up until it was convenient, supported liberals, soft-on-crime politicians. His immigration plan is not conservative, would violate the Constitution and cost hundreds of billions of dollars."

I think you could say, S.E., what the Bush campaign thinks about that ad from their gut, there's -- we couldn't even probably put that on air. And when I listened to it, one of the first things that it kind of evoked for me and I think some other people was, it was sort of a Willy Horton-esque ad, q famously below the belt political ad.

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.

KEILAR: What do you think of this kind of debate going on?

CUPP: You know, that's an ugly ad but I have to say pretty effective.

KEILAR: Totally, definitely.

CUPP: And Jeb -- Jeb needed to be prepared for this kind of line of attack, if not that dirty. But he has to be prepared for -- to answer questions about that.

[17:35:00] But while everything that Jeb said about Trump's immigration plan is right, Trump supporters don't care. They don't care that he's not conservative. They don't care that it's costly. They don't care that he's inconsistent.

I think where Jeb needs to go on immigration and everything else with Trump is to point out he's not actually anti-establishment. I mean, this is a guy who has voted for Democrats. He has voted for establishment candidates. He has donated to establishment candidates. If I'm Jeb Bush...

KEILAR: Including Hillary Clinton.

CUPP: Including Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi. If I'm Jeb Bush I say, "How is his administration going to look any different from Hillary's? I'm going to be more anti-establishment than Donald Trump is."

KEILAR: You saw the attack that Trump made on Huma Abedin, really the right hand of Hillary Clinton, and also on her husband, some pretty harsh words there. What do you -- what do you think about those attacks?

DAN PFEIFFER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it probably is a little bit of a metaphor for our polarized politics, because it's going to help Trump, and it's probably going to help Hillary at the same time.

Because it's going to be seen by voters that Hillary needs, people who may be, you know, either looking at other candidates or struggling through the summer Hillary has been having and sort of reinforce her support. So it's going to probably help both of them at the exact same time. I still don't think it's going to hurt him. Donald Trump attacking Huma is not going to hurt Hillary with Democrats. And that's what she needs to worry about right now.

KEILAR: It must bother the campaign, though. I mean, it really does certainly seem, on a visceral level, it very much bothers them.

PFEIFFER: Of course, when candidates attack staff members, particularly ones who are as close to the candidate as Huma, that is always upsetting to the campaign. And then when they go so far as to attack a staff member and do it in such a personal way, I think almost everyone in politics other than Donald Trump thinks that's out of bounds, and it should be.

KEILAR: Let's talk about Scott Walker and immigration. You have Donald Trump facing a lot of criticism for saying, "Let's build a fence on the southern border with Mexico. We'll make Mexico pay for it." That's what he said.

You have Scott Walker saying, "Look it's not -- you know, we could consider a wall on the northern border with Canada."

He seemed to be trying to appeal to some New Hampshire voters? But what do you think about that?

MADDEN: I don't know. I don't know. They're already trying to walk it back, saying that words were being put in his mouth. So I don't expect that this was a tactical move by the Walker folks to stir up anti-Canada sentiment in New Hampshire.

KEILAR: Just trying to squash or not squash the idea that was suggested to him?

MADDEN: Here's the problem. Here's the problem with all those other candidates right now, and this, even if you look at the Instagram video, they're all reacting to Donald Trump. Donald Trump is setting the tone, the tenor and the issue matrix for this campaign, and they're all being forced to respond.

These campaigns have to get back on offense. They have to start driving the issue debate on more favorable terms for their candidates; and right now they're not.

KEILAR: All right. You guys are going to hang around with me. We're going to get a quick break in, because we'll be talking about, really, I think the candidacy that is on all of our minds. Could it be Kanye West 2020? We'll have that, after a few minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:42:33] KEILAR: We are back now with Dan Pfeiffer, Kevin Madden and S.E. Cupp.

And I want to ask you, Dan, about the State Department today. They're -- they said that 150 previously unclassified Hillary Clinton e-mails have now been classified. And then you have this Monmouth University poll that shows us where Iowa Democrats are. And Bernie Sanders is really creeping up on Hillary Clinton -- sorry, "Des Moines Register" poll, I should say. Seven points shy of Hillary Clinton. I mean, that is nothing to sneeze at. That's pretty close.

What is it that caucus goers are looking at? Is it the e-mails or is it just that they want someone who's kind of an outsider, because he is this self-proclaimed Democratic socialist?

PFEIFFER: There's a long tradition in Iowa of outsider, antiestablishmentcandidates being able to do well. Barack Obama played that role in 2008. And what Bernie Sanders has done very well is consolidate the entire anti-Clinton vote. Everyone else is polling, you know, under 1 or 2 percent. And so he's combined all that together, and that's helped him.

I think the e-mails hurt Hillary in the sense that they reinforce Bernie Sanders' message about we need something new and time for a change. And it does that. She is -- she is working -- they know that. I've seen them from last week or so beginning to pivot to a stronger response on the e-mails. They have a ground game that is incredibly impressive. A lot of the people who worked with us in 2008 are involved in helping them put that together. And so they have work to do, but I think they know what they're doing.

KEILAR: OK. And then last -- last night the official Twitter account of the Democratic Party tweeted this: "Last night Kanye West declared his candidacy for president in 2020. Welcome to the race, Mr. West. Glad to have you."

And last month you had Kanye and his wife, of course, Kim Kardashian, they were at a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. They actually put out a photo on, I think, Twitter and Instagram. I don't even quite know what to say. Someone said earlier it would be the first first lady with a sex tape.

CUPP: Whoa.

KEILAR: I just put it out there.

CUPP: The news here is Kanye West seems to think that either a Republican is winning this season, this cycle or Hillary is going to be a one-termer? Is that right?

KEILAR: I wonder if he's thinking that far ahead. Let's actually listen to what he said last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KANYE WEST, MUSICIAN: And yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[17:45:04] KEILAR: All right, did you guess by that moment, Kevin? Had you guessed?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You're excited. You're going to work on his campaign, aren't you?

DAN PFEIFFER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I am -- look, as long as he's not primaryng an incumbent Democratic president, I am there. I'm taking this like Kanye, rested and ready. Let me at it.

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What worries me now is that everybody sees presidential campaigns as the way to get your own reality show. I mean, Donald Trump is turning it into a reality show, now Kanye wants to turn it into his own story.

(CROSSTALK)

PFEIFFER: Well, it used to be, you run for president and then you get a reality show.

MADDEN: Yes. Yes.

PFEIFFER: Now you run a reality show then you run for president.

MADDEN: Running a losing radio show, now it becomes a reality show.

KEILAR: That's right. But let me say this, I would say -- I would laugh at this idea, but at the same time watching the appeal to many Americans when it comes to having been on a reality show, we know he was on, what, "I am Kate," he's on "The Kardashians." Would you completely rule it out, even though he prefaced this by saying he'd smoked weed?

CUPP: Would I rule out a President Kanye? Yes, I'll rule it out.

PFEIFFER: I wouldn't rule out a presidential run from Kanye.

CUPP: Yes.

PFEIFFER: He is the most unpredictable person, I've -- nothing would surprise me. I could not be more excited about this. This is going to be so much fun.

KEILAR: OK. Speaking of ruling things out, Joe Biden, right now you're looking at polls where 14 percent in this poll, if his number -- I don't know, if he got in do you think his numbers would change passively or negatively?

MADDEN: Well, I think like all campaigns they would probably go up very briefly and then the concept of a Joe Biden campaign starts to meet the reality of one, and Hillary Clinton has so much more of an advantage as far as time and money being prepared, put into her infrastructure. So, you know, his best day will be today before he gets in.

KEILAR: Final word, real quick.

PFEIFFER: I think if he decides to run he will be a formidable candidate. I think he more than likely would make a case for himself, not a case against either the other candidates. If he can steal some of the Sanders support and even take some away from Hillary, he's going to shop. But it's a hard road for him coming in this late.

KEILAR: All right. Kevin, Dan, SE, thank you guys so much.

And we are just over two weeks away from the second Republican presidential debate. It's featuring Donald Trump, of course, and his rivals. They'll be live from the Reagan Library in California and you can see it right here on CNN on September 16th.

Coming up, a near constant threat of war for residents of a village just miles from the North Korean border. We'll get a rare look inside.

Plus a deputy ambushed and shot execution style. Now the accused killer appears in court. Was race a motive?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:51:52] KEILAR: We're about to get a rare look inside a village where the tension between North and South Korea dominates everyday life. Just miles from the Demilitarized Zone and the North Korean border the residents live under constant fear of attack by Kim Jong- Un's regime.

CNN's Kyung Lah visited this village and she joins us live now from Seoul.

Kyung, what did you see on your visit?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you certainly got a sense of how close these two Koreas nearly got to blows and how quickly it can happen again. We visited this community, a very small community that lives right next to the DMZ under the threat of the shadow of Kim Jong-Un.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) LAH (voice-over): At the very end of South Korea sits Jung Myeon village, a tiny farm town on the edge of the world's most heavily militarized border. North Korea is only a few miles away. Its threat of war becoming an act of war. A North Korean artillery shell launched across the DMZ last week, landing so close to this village the government ordered the 210 residents into underground bunkers.

South Korea's military usually hidden in their hills, readied for attack. Two Koreas at the brink of battle.

Days later, a temporary truce in place between the Koreas, Park Chum- se and wife Kim Shin-je returned to life at their store. It's a hard life. Their shelves don't need to be stocked because no one's buying. The young, tired of life here, left.

"I hear boom, boom all the time," she says. "You become immune to it."

(On camera): You don't think that North Korea will hurt you?

(Voice-over): "This last time was different," she explains. We've done the evacuation drills again and again but this is the first time we've actually had to evacuate."

LAH (on camera): This bomb shelter has a giant blast door. It is solid steel. You can see how thick it is. We're a couple dozen feet underground and it's solid concrete right above us. The government says that this could withstand a direct hit from most North Korean artillery. 100 people can fit in here. And the last time this town evacuated they were in here five days.

(Voice-over): "I heard the North Korean gunfire that day," says Park Yong-ho. He led his town's evacuation.

(On camera): Why stay here? Why stay in this town?

(Voice-over): "I'm not anxious and I've never thought of leaving," he says calmly. "I'm determined to protect my town."

"People in Seoul ask me, how do you live here? If they're going to hit anything, it's going to be Seoul."

If there really is another Korean war, she says, we'll all die. Seoul sits with the North Korea's artillery range as well, they just ignore how close that threat is. This border town can't.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAH: Now the people we met say they have to move far into the peninsula, far south in order to escape the threat of Kim Jong-Un. They say they face the exact same threat as the millions of people who live here in Seoul. So they say they might as well stay, just like the people who live here -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Kyung Lah for us in Seoul, South Korea, thanks so much for that report. [17:55:02] Coming up, the GOP outsiders take the lead. Ben Carson is

now neck-and-neck with Donald Trump in Iowa as the expected favorites fall way behind. What is behind this?

And prosecutors release new information on the murder of a Texas sheriff's deputy as the suspect appears in court.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: Happening now, insiders out. The anti-establishment move that's driving Donald Trump's campaign is lifting other candidates. Tonight Trump has serious competition in the first presidential contest, neck and neck with a GOP rival.

Execution-style murder. A black man is charged with killing a white officer. Was it an act of retaliation fueled by anti-police protests across the nation?