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Clinton Hits New Low As Biden Surges Nationally; Clinton on Email: "That Was a Mistake, I'm Sorry"; Jeb Bush To Be One Of Stephen Colbert's First Guests; Clerk Who Withheld Same-Sex Licenses Freed From Jail. Aired 7-8:00p ET

Aired September 8, 2015 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:04] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, Hillary Clinton in a startling reversal apologizing in calling her private e-mail accounts a mistake and says, she hits the reset button on the campaign in the face of falling poll numbers.

Plus, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis released from Jill but will she now issue marriage licenses to gay couples or go back behind bars?

And the disturbing 911 call, a mother crying out for help telling the dispatcher, my children are trying to kill me. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Jim Sciutto in tonight for Erin Burnett and OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news, Hillary Clinton for the first time apologizing for using private e-mail while she was secretary of state. The -- both part of a campaign reboots in a face of sinking poll numbers. In a new nationwide poll out today, Clinton down a whopping 10 points in just one month. Just yesterday, Clinton said she didn't need to apologize for the e-mail controversy calling it quote, "a distraction." But take a listen to what she said just moments ago in an interview with ABC News.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do think I could have and should have done a better job answering questions earlier. I really didn't perhaps appreciate the need to do that. What I had done was allowed. It was above board but in retrospect certainly as I look back at it now, even though it was allowed, I should have used two accounts, one for personal, one for work-related e-mails. That was a mistake. I'm sorry about that. I take responsibility. And I'm trying to be as transparent as I possibly can.


SCIUTTO: This as her advisors admit some critics say belatedly that her campaign needs changes. While her poll numbers steadily drop, Vice President Joe Biden's are soaring. The latest poll shows Biden moving into second place gaining ten points since August. Without having even entered the race. His favorability rating 71 percent.

Brianna Keilar is OUTFRONT tonight. Brianna, pretty remarkable turnaround for Clinton in just a span of 24 hours on this email issue. BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It sure is

Jim but the constant drip, drip, drip release of the emails has just been killing her campaign's attempts to cut through with a message that really resonates with voters. Clinton as you can see here is trying to put the issue behind her now by finally after months of resistant very directly saying, she's sorry.


KEILAR (voice-over): Hillary Clinton's number haves taken a dive down ten points nationwide as she tries to turn a corner. Tonight for the first time, she directly apologized for her use of a private e- mail server while Secretary of State telling ABC News.

CLINTON: That was a mistake. I'm sorry about that. I take responsibility.

KEILAR: According to the New York Times, aids are crafting a strategy for her to show more spontaneity, heart and humor.

CLINTON: I do kind of know what Donald is going through, and if anyone wonders if mine is real, here is the answer, the hair is real, the color isn't.


KEILAR: But President Obama's former Advisor David Axelrod is poking fun at the reboot, tweeting report, read more like the onion. Her detailed plan show more authenticity and spontaneity, just do it. In Iowa this weekend, Clinton tried to shore up her shrinking lead in the polls.

CLINTON: I believe I've got the vision, the policies, the skill, the tenacity and determination to get us back on the right track.

KEILAR: Her loss is Joe Biden's gain. New poll numbers out today show a swell of support for the Vice President, he's up ten points since last month and he is still deciding whether to get in the race. Dodging questions about a possible run.

VICE PRES. JOE BIDEN (D), UNITED STATES: You have to talk to my wife about that.


I've got to talk to my wife about that.

KEILAR: Nationwide, Biden is running neck and neck in the polls with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders who is beating Clinton in a new poll of New Hampshire primary voters.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Don't tell anybody. I think they are getting nervous.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KEILAR: But while this summer has been all about the Sanders

surge, it really is the Biden bump that is dominating headlines here going into the fall. Clinton campaign sources say that if Biden enters the race, they actually think those numbers won't hold but that certainly, Jim, isn't stopping Clinton from calling in a major reinforcement, her husband Bill Clinton, he will fill in for her at a very large donor fundraiser this month so that she can hit the trail in New Hampshire instead of spending her time raising money.

SCIUTTO: Brianna Keilar in Washington, thanks very much.

OUTFRONT tonight, former senior spokesman for Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign Mo Elleithee. Also, Dan Pfeiffer, he's former senior advisor to President Obama. And Jonathan Allen, chief political correspondent of Vox. Also, co-author of "HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton."

Mo, I'd like to start with you. You now have this apology, the most explicit apology from Hillary Clinton on the email issues so far. You have the sinking poll numbers and you have Joe Biden generating the kind of excitement, frankly, that she is not. Is Hillary Clinton's campaign in trouble?

[19:05:27] MO ELLEITHEE, FORMER SENIOR SPOKESMAN FOR CLINTON'S 2008 CAMPAIGN: I think trouble is maybe a little strong of a word at this point. I think there are definitely some warning signs and some red flags that are going up around campaign headquarters in Brooklyn right now. But look, anyone that thought that she was going to coast to this nomination actually doesn't understand democratic primary politics. She was going to have to work for it. I think the most alarming thing is not necessarily the head-to-head numbers but the erosion of trust numbers in some of these polls and so that's what they have to focus on.

SCIUTTO: And those trust numbers go right to that e-mail issue there. Dan, lots of echoes here of 2008. You have this insular campaign staff, you have difficulty connecting personally and warmly with voters, you were on the Obama campaign in 2008. In your view, is Hillary Clinton repeating the same mistakes of eight years ago?

DAN PFEIFFER, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Look, I think she is. You know, this is been a tough summer for her. This has taken several attempts to get the right tone on the response, the emails. I think she probably did it tonight in this interview but I don't think she's making the fundamental mistake of 2008. The fundamental mistake of 2008 was they took their eye off the ball, they weren't doing the blocking and tackling of campaigns, organizing voters, building feud organizations. One thing I think her campaign is doing very, very well in this summer if focusing on building this sorts of organizations that will win you Iowa and New Hampshire in a tough fight and she now has a tough fight on her hands. So, they've hired the right people. They're hired the smart people, I think they can get out of this. They have work to do but I think they have the right long-term strategy and plan here.

SCIUTTO: John, let's talk about a candidate who doesn't have an organization yet on the ground but is doing pretty well in those polls, that's Joe Biden, he is not even in the race gaining ground on Clinton. Polls showing in part because he has a quality that voters don't appear to see in Clinton, that' honesty, sincerity, directness. Does it in your view, does the Democratic Party need Joe Biden to run? Are they getting a bit getting nervous with Clinton at the point where they want Biden in the race, almost as a plan B?

JONATHAN ALLEN, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, VOX: Well, that's exactly right. Plan B is what Joe Biden is for the Democratic Party. In any normal year, the Vice President of the United States running to succeed a two-term president would be the prohibited favorite to win a party's nomination. That's not in the case for Biden. People have thought Clinton was going to be the strong frontrunner all along. But right now, Democrats have to worry a little bit about the question of whether Hillary Clinton might implode. And if she does that on the campaign trail, either on the primary or in the general election, well, before the general election, they're going to need somebody waiting in the wings and I think Biden looks attractive to some Democrats.

SCIUTTO: Might implode. Mo, I have to ask you, I mean, you do see the campaign rebooting here and you see some of that reflected, in this apology, stronger words going further than the candidate has gone to this point. Is there genuine worry inside Clinton's circle that they really got to get a handle on this and turn things around?

ELLEITHEE: Yes, I think Jonathan's point that, you know, their Democrats are worried about an implosion is probably a little over stated. But, you know, I was there in 2000 working for Bill Bradley when he challenged Al Gore. Bill Bradley started to surge in the polls. The Gore people realized and meant they had to do things a little bit differently. They changed their strategy a little bit and Gore came back, won and a much stronger candidate. In 2008, Hillary Clinton had her back up against the wall against Barack Obama, changed the strategy a little bit and actually came on at the end very strong, Dan will remember this. We won more states and more delegates and more votes in the homestretch of that campaign. It was a little late. So, the fact that they are seeing some of these signals now and making some changes and making some adjustments and focusing on the ground game that Dan just mentioned, I think that is, this is the right time to do it.

SCIUTTO: To be fair, it is early. Dan, I do want to ask you, though. Bill Clinton asked to fill in in the fact for Hillary Clinton at this fundraiser in Chicago to give her more time to get down on the campaign trail in New Hampshire, but we know from experience that there are dangers in that. You'll hear from a lot of Democratic Party operatives that yes, you want them involved but you want them scripted. He has in the past said some things that have been damaging including during the 2008 campaign. In your view, Dan, is this the right move at this point to kind of call him in in this role?

PFEIFFER: Look, there is no more valuable resource than the campaigning candidate time. But Hillary Clinton cannot be in -- she cannot be in Iowa and raising money in Chicago. So, if you have an incredible valuable asset like Bill Clinton, you should absolutely deploy them. The challenge is, I think what you raise is right, they have to find the right balance. If this is Hillary Clinton running on her agenda for the kind of president she would be and not simply as she would say, not Bill Clinton's third term. And so, they have to find the right balance. But if Hillary Clinton can go to Iowa and Bill Clinton can go to Chicago and raise money at the same time, that's an advantage for the campaign, what she has over a lot of her opponents both in the primary and essentially in the general.

[19:10:20] SCIUTTO: Jonathan, easier said than done, right? Finding that balance because Bill Clinton is shall we say, a strong personality, a strong character. How do you keep him in effect in that box for the next, you know, 14 months going forward and a long hard-fought campaign assuming that Secretary Clinton is the nominee?

ALLEN: Well, you know, Dan won't brag about how brilliantly the Obama campaign used Bill Clinton in 2008 and 2012 but in fact, they figured out the right measurement. In 2000 Al Gore distanced himself from Bill Clinton and that was a mistake. In 2008, Bill Clinton did everything for Hillary Clinton, that turned out to be a mistake. But in 2008, in the general election and 2012 in the general election for Obama, Bill Clinton was a great surrogate. And as long as he was on script, as long as he was on message and not talking to reporters, he turned out to be huge asset for the Obama campaign. So, if Hillary Clinton can figure out how to get her husband to do that and to stay on script I think is a big asset.

SCIUTTO: We'll be watching. Jonathan, Dan and Mo, thanks very much for joining us tonight.

ELLEITHEE: Take care.

SCIUTTO: And OUTFRONT next, Donald Trump was a new add ridiculing Jeb Bush even as Bush appears on late night television. Can he jumpstart his sagging poll numbers?

Plus, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis freed from jail today to a huge political rally. But is she going back behind bars?

And just released, a chilling 911 call, a mother begging for help in revealing what may have been the ultimate betrayal by her children.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They tried to attack us. They beat me up. They beat him up. They're trying to kill us. Please, please, please hurry.


[19:15:14] SCIUTTO: Welcome back tonight. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush seeking to jumpstart his flagging campaign. Here he is arriving for perhaps the most coveted late-night invitation, one of the first guest on the very first late show with Stephen Colbert. As Bush he fights back against relentless attacks from Donald Trump. The latest this biting new tramp campaign video.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Having trouble sleeping at night? Too much energy? Need some low energy?

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They have an HSA in some companies, some companies don't. But I think the norm ought to be "Jeb, for all your sleeping needs."


SCIUTTO: Ouch. So will Bush's appearance on Colbert help his campaign or could his late night jaunt hurt him as it has for some presidential candidates in the past?

Brian Stelter is OUTFRONT.


STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: My guess will be George Clooney and Jeb Bush or as the tabloids have cloned them Jeborge Clush.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Late Night TV, the news Sunday morning for politicians as Stephen Colbert takes over the late show, the buzzes isn't just about George Clooney, it's about presidential contender Jeb Bush.

COLBERT: And I'm not the only one excited, so is Jeb which given his logo is really his only option.

STELTER: Late night couches are increasingly a place for political Q and A. Colbert invited Hillary Clinton for his premier too but she's doing "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon next week instead. Fallon also beat Colbert to Donald Trump. The GOP frontrunner and ratings gold will be on the tonight show this Friday.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was fantastic. The ratings were huge.

STELTER: This booking battle shows the symbiosis between candidates and the late-night comics that make fun of them.

PETE DOMINICK, HOST, SIRIUS XM'S "STAND UP": Comedians will ask questions that aren't so serious. They won't talk about economic policy, as much as what your favorite midnight snack, what about your family? Things about your childhood. Things that wouldn't be asked by the journalists. Wouldn't be important necessarily to a voter and they get to show their personality, hopefully.

STELTER: Hopefuls use the guest coach to humanize themselves like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie eating a donut on "Letterman." John McCain around his run for president on Letterman show in 2007. And Mitt Romney did a top ten list.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Isn't it time for a president who looks like a 1970s game show host.


STELTER: Late night is become a rite of passage for presidential candidates, one that actually dates back five decades. Then Senator John F. Kennedy went on Jack Parsh (ph) show in 1960. And 1968, Richard Nixon did Laugh In (ph).


STELTER: And who could forget Bill Clinton playing the sax on Arsenio Hall. But there is also the risk of an awkward moment or just coming off dull. Many critics thought John Kerry bombed on The Daily Show in 2004.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you or have you ever flip-flopped?


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: I've flip-flopped, flopped, flipped.

STELTER: Tonight viewers will be watching Stephen Colbert's debut waiting to see if Jeb is a big hit or another political miss.


STELTER: Now Jeb Bush is still inside taping with Stephen Colbert right now. You know, these comedians are not journalist but sometimes they do perform acts of journalism, they do reveal new information about the candidates so it will be interesting to see what we hear on Colbert's show tonight. Later in the week, he actually has Vice President Joe Biden and there is a lot of speculation about what Biden might say about his presidential ambitions. And next week Colbert has Bernie Sanders. But there are two candidates Colbert could not get, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, they will be going on Jimmy Fallon's tonight show instead. It's a new era of late night TV booking wars and the candidates are perhaps the hottest commodities -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: No question. Can Bush still turned on this poll numbers?

Brian Stelter in New York. Joining me now is Katrina Pierson, spokeswoman for the Tea Party Leadership Fund. And Mike Shields, former chief of staff for the RNC that worked in the Bush administration.

Mike, I'd like to start with you. This is a big night for Jeb Bush. It's not just any late show. The premiere of Stephen Colbert, is this a risky way to turn around a low energy image that Trump has been really successfully promoting?

MIKE SHIELDS, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: No, I don't think so. I think it's a good strategy and I think this really shows that what Jeb has been doing recently has worked. He started off as what was considered to be the front runner by everyone in the campaign and then we saw the Trump surge and then Bush wanted to take him on. I mean, the media loves a fight. Jeb Bush's campaign decided, we're going to fight Donald Trump and show we really are someone that's still a leader in the campaign and I think being the first guest on Colbert's first show I think is a sign that that's kind of worked and he's now out in front of the republican pact and that's a good sign for him.

SCIUTTO: But Mike, to be fair, I mean, you say it works. That's certainly not reflected in the poll numbers yet. Jeb's numbers are not moving up. I mean, some on the polls are moving down.

SHIELDS: No, but what I'm saying is that this is a good strategy for him to work with the media. To try and increase where he's been. I mean, first of all, the polling is very, very early as it is but I think this is a sign that Jeb's strategy that they initiated we're going to take Donald Trump on and we're going to establish ourselves as the anti-Trump in the campaign is something that is working as a strategy because now he's getting invited to do shows like Stephen Colbert. So, you have Trump and Bush getting on the shows and there are 15 other candidates that are not on there.

[19:20:25] SCIUTTO: Katrina, from the Trump point of view, is the Jeb strategy working?

KATRINA PIERSON, SPOKESWOMAN, TEA PARTY LEADERSHIP FUND: Well, the Jeb strategy isn't working because even when Jeb tries to be excited or look compassionate, it looks forced and fake. I do think however, it's good for any republican to get on a main stream program just so that other people can hear what Republicans have to say. Whether I agree with them or not. However, I hope everyone took their B-12 injection earlier today because it is "The Late Show" or many have set their DVRs because everyone knows what happens when Jeb Bush starts talking, people start to get very sleepy.

SCIUTTO: So, Mike, Katrina of course they are referring to this internet ad. I do want to ask you though, Jeb Bush, he made a $500,000 ad buy today in New Hampshire, Keeves, early primary state, Trump puts out essentially a free web video and that's all anybody is talking about today. How does Jeb Bush beat Trump at this game?

SHIELDS: Well, again, you know, I'm neutral in the campaign, I'm just saying, I agree with the strategies. I think this is the right thing for the Jeb Bush campaign to do. Look, every candidate brings different strengths and weaknesses. I think we know what Donald Trump's strength is. He can get media when he just lost down the street. The strength that Jeb Bush has is raising money. He has more money than the rest of the candidates in this campaign and so he needs to start playing that card. We haven't really begun the paid media portion of the campaign where there is ads being run, there is mail going out to contact voters. Jeb has a strength over a lot of these candidates in that he's raised more money than them, so he's playing that strength. I think it's the right strategy for him to kind of jumpstart him back into where he was before.

SCIUTTO: Katrina, not all of the attention that Trump attracts is positive. He told the author of an upcoming biography that his experience at a military boarding school gave him quote more training military than a lot of guys that go into the military. Now, I've spoken to members of the military serving or who have served and they are openly offended by that comparison. Is Trump disrespecting the military?

PIERSON: No, but I mean, it's understood why some military members would take that the wrong way but I think we've already established that Donald Trump is a larger than life individual. He takes everything that's come across in his life as something bigger than most and that's how he projects everything and that's part of the reasons why he's so successful. But I do think it's a mistake for Jeb Bush to try to compete with Donald Trump in Donald Trump's element. It would be wiser for Mr. Bush to have a more positive campaign and be himself and stop trying to force himself to be someone he's not because it's not coming across well to voters.

SCIUTTO: We'll see what he has to say tonight. Katrina Pierson, Mike Shields, thank you for joining us.

And OUTFRONT next, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis released from jail today. She says, she is standing by her believes. Will she be headed back to prison for those believes?

And it's a call even experienced 911 operators don't often hear.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please send someone to my house. My children are trying to kill me.


SCIUTTO: Ahead, why did two brothers allegedly drag and brutally attack their own mother and father?


[19:27:25] SCIUTTO: Tonight, the Kentucky clerk who defied the Supreme Court by refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses is now free. Kim Davis was released from jail this afternoon greeted by hundreds of cheering supporters. And not one but two presidential candidates, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz both rallying around her. David claimed that her religious believes prevented her from signing the marriage licenses. Tonight, she insists that God is on her side. Martin Savidge is OUTFRONT.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a stage bet for a presidential candidate but it was embattled Rowan County clerk Kim Davis who stole the show fresh out of jail and welcomed by cheers from hundreds of supporters.

KIM DAVIS, ROWAN COUNTY CLERK: I just wanted to give God the glory, you are strong, people!


SAVIDGE: Davis went to jail for contempt of court after refusing to authorize all marriage licenses following the June Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. She said she was religiously opposed to having her name appear on a document for same-sex couples. She spent five days behind bars while support from Christian conservatives grew.

The effort to free her drew two republican candidates to her jail cell, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz, this despite the fact that Davis is a democrat but even before they arrived, the judge that sent her to jail suddenly freed her on one very big condition. That she shall not interfere in any way with the efforts of her deputy clerks who are issuing marriage licenses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here is your license. Congratulations.

SAVIDGE: Some of them to same-sex couples. Davis' attorney says, she hasn't changed her position on same-sex marriage and hinted another legal showdown could be brewing.

MAT STAVER, FOUNDER, LIBERTY COUNSEL: She'll do her job good. She'll serve the people as they want her to serve and she was elected, and she'll also be loyal to God and she's not going to violate her conscience.

SAVIDGE: To many, this small town Kentucky clerk has become a hero of her faith.

MIKE HUCKABEE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I feel like she's shown more courage than most any politician I know and most every pastor I know because she's not only said something, she's been willing to put her life at risk.

SAVIDGE: But as Davis goes home after spending nearly a week in jail, many of her followers and her detractors wonder, how long that freedom will last?


SAVIDGE: It's not easy to upstage two presidential candidates, yes, that's what Kim Davis did simply by walking out the door of that detention center. And now tonight, she's at home with her husband and clearly trying to recover from everything that she has seen and been through but the question remains, what will she do when she shows up back on the job and there could be a lot of pressure on her because you see, Kim Davis is not just a clerk anymore, she's a cause for religious freedom -- Jim. *


Davis did simply by walking out the door of that detention center.

[19:30:04] And now tonight, she's at home with her husband and clearly, trying to recover from everything that she has seen and been through.

But the question remains, what will she do when she shows up back on the job, and there could be a lot of pressure on her because you see, Kim Davis is not just a clerk anymore, she's a cause for religious freedom -- Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: No question that cause very much part of the 2016 race. Martin Savidge in Kentucky.

OUTFRONT now, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.

Newsom issued same sex marriage licenses in defiance of California state law when he was San Francisco's mayor this year before the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of same sex marriage.

Lieutenant Governor Newsom, thanks very much for joining us tonight.

LT. GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D), CALIFORNIA: Good to be here. Thank you.

SCIUTTO: So, as you're very much aware, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, he took aim at you front and center tonight in today's rally, leveling attacks saying that no one went to jail when you ordered city clerks to issue same-sex marriage licenses in direct disobedience at the time to California.

For the sake of our viewers, explain why Davis should be jailed and you were not.

NEWSOM: She was an agent of the state. That was a contempt of court. We were never in contempt of court which we went through the judicial process, the Supreme Court of California ultimately adjudicated one month after we married 4,046 couples from 46 states and six nations. And when the court order came back, we stopped.

It's in direct contrast to Kim Davis and the candidate Michael Huckabee knows better. And if he doesn't know better, he's obfuscating the facts and he should do better.

SCIUTTO: But let me -- help me understand this. I'm not a lawyer. But help me understand this. In effect, you were defying California law, not the courts but California law at the time as a matter of conscience. Kim Davis says she's defying the court in this case as a matter of conscience.

Isn't there an equivalent there?

NEWSOM: No, no, because the law is settled or constitutional democracy, not a popular democracy, as was in the set up. And nor we're a theocracy. We're not Vatican City.

She's an agent of the state. The Constitution has now been settled, the constitutional question. What we did in 2004 wasn't settled until the California Supreme Court ultimately adjudicated. When they did, we stopped. And that's the significant difference between the two cases, and Mike Huckabee is just simply blatantly wrong on the facts and the law. SCIUTTO: There is one thing different in Kentucky. Kentucky has

something that many of our viewers might not be aware of. It's called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the RFRA, which states that it requires government agencies to exempt religious objectors from generally applicable laws unless denying the exceptions is the restrictive means.

She argues, her lawyer argues that because of that, she had a right to challenge this but based on the law.

NEWSOM: Yes, look, she's an agent of the state. She's been accommodated. Five out of six of her deputy clerks went for it without her name attached to this. She can simply step aside and allow the operation of the clerk's office to go forward. She can maintain her religious liberties as an individual but not as an agent of the state.

The United States Supreme Court has made that crystal clear. As they have in case after case in the past from Loving versus the State of Virginia, just imagine it took 33 years before Alabama codified the interracial marriage decision in 2000. I hear pundits all the time, particularly on the religious right, saying, we'll let the states ultimately decide by women majority.

Just consider the interracial marriage question. They could have done that in the basis of conscience of faith. In fact, the lower court decision in that decision that ultimately went to the Supreme Court in 1967, it was based on religious grounds. The judge said God put different races on different continents for a reason, God never wanted the races to mix.

It was an absurd decision then. The Supreme Court overturned that. But we have anarchy if people like Mike Huckabee were in charge, making a determination based on this fiat or that fiat, I agree or disagree.

When the court ultimately makes a determination, we have to abide by it. That's what the constitutional democracy is all about.

SCIUTTO: All right. Gavin Newsom, lieutenant governor of California, we appreciate you taking the time tonight.

NEWSOM: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT next, Jonathan Turley. He is a constitutional law professor at Georgia Washington University.

Great to have you on tonight, because we are getting the constitutional questions here, the ones we want to boil down so people understand that.

I mean, you heard Lieutenant Governor Newsom there insisting that in 2004 when he issued same-sex marriage licenses at the time, in defiance of California law, that he was acting on the right moral ground.

Does Kim Davis today have any legal standing by essentially saying she's doing the same thing?

[19:35:05] JONATHAN TURLEY, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: No, I'm afraid she doesn't. She does have a moral claim and I think no one is doubting that she sincerely believes that this is wrong, but those are believes held by her as an individual, not as a public official. No matter how far they take this case, even to the Supreme Court, I doubt they will get any relief.

The court actually in 2006 made clear in the Garcetti decision that officials don't have the same First Amendment rights as other people, that they are agents of the state. She has ministerial duties she agreed to perform.

And those people who feel that she should be allowed to bring in her faith, you have to ask, what if the next clerk is Muslim? What if the next clerk is Muslim? What if the next clerk is atheist? Will you feel the same way if you have to pass that person's individual test of faith to get a public license or permit?

SCIUTTO: You know, Gavin Newsom, he made the argument, it would be anarchy, the situation you're describing there.

But I wonder if -- you know, don't we in this country have a history of people, you know, acting on their conscience, right? I mean, even the civil rights movement, you had a history of civil disobedience, right, standing up to laws that you did not believe in. And, of course, when we look back in retrospect, we say, well, that was perfectly justified.

What was the difference just so folks who aren't legal experts know? What's the difference -- is the difference really just being right? You know, in the course of history?

TURLEY: No, I think it's more than that. It's true that part of our social icons are people who stand up in defiance, who bravely go to jail, and you have to respect this clerk who stood by principles and went to jail in that respect.

But that's where the comparisons end, I think. You're right, in the civil rights movement, you had people like Martin Luther King who was willing to defy public authority in places like Selma to protect equal rights of people, including himself.

And then you also had Wallace, Governor Wallace who stood in front of a schoolhouse door, both were acts of defiance, but Wallace has been rightfully vilified for what he did. Why? Because he was a public official trying to deny rights, to impose his personal view regardless of what the law said.

The problem with Ms. Davis is she took a job and she's a county clerk and her job is to issue licenses to people who are legally justified to have them. She doesn't decide whether they are legally justified. She decides whether they meet the criteria, and that criteria comes from the law and not from her and not from her faith. And this creates a terrible problem for her, but it will not be

resolved in the courts because it's already been resolved. So, either she must resign or I'm afraid she may be heading back to prison.

SCIUTTO: That's the key question. The judge made that clear today when he released her. If she doesn't issue those licenses, that's where she will be going.

Jonathan Turley, thank you for helping us sort this out.

OUTFRONT next, among Donald Trump's family, a sister who is a pro-choice federal judge and brother who died of alcoholism. Ahead, our report on Trump's siblings.

And to Atlanta area, brothers described as polite young men under arrest for allegedly trying to kill their parents and burn down their home. We have the mother's terrified call to 911.

And breaking news, a British Airways plane just caught fire in Las Vegas. You can see the picture there. The black smoke rising, passengers forced to evacuate on emergency slides. A witness will join us right after this.


[19:42:33] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

SCIUTTO: Breaking news, a huge fire engulfing a plane on a runway at Las Vegas's McCarran Airport just a short time ago. This is a British Airways flight.

Our Vegas affiliate reports the plane was leaving Vegas for a scheduled flight to London's Gatwick Airport. The emergency chutes were deployed and all 159 passengers onboard, we are told, were evacuated. Two people reportedly suffered minor injuries, incredible as you look at that scene there.

At this time, there is no word however on how that fire started.

Joining me now on the phone is Bradley Hampton. He was a passenger on another plane that just landed nearby. He took that dramatic picture of the plane on fire.

Bradley, thank you for joining us. Tell us what you saw.


We landed from Denver and as we pulled off the active runway, we pulled to a stop and we heard a lot of screaming on the plane as far as being off the right-hand side and looking out the right hand side, it was the left engine that was completely on fire, a lot of black smoke engulfing the plane.

SCIUTTO: An engine fire. And how quickly did you see the people able to evacuate the plane? HAMPTON: At first, we didn't know if there were actually people

in it or if the people had already evacuated and then, all of a sudden, we saw the doors fly open and slides inflate and at that time we saw droves of people jumping out of a slide and running across the runway away from the plane.

SCIUTTO: Did it look ordinarily? We all wonder how people cannot panic in that situation, but did it look like it was happening the way it should happen?

HAMPTON: Looked like the emergency systems deployed as they were designed to do. Obviously, the first thing I thought of is how would you react in that scenario? But definitely, the people were running fast and looked like a lot of people came out at once. So, I imagine everyone was trying to get out of the plane as quickly as possible.

SCIUTTO: And your plane was landing at that time. Did your flight did anything different? Did they get you to the gate quickly? How did the airport, I imagine the airport shutdown very quickly.

HAMPTON: Well, obviously, our plane was stopped immediately, in my mind, to allow the emergency responders to get to the plane as fast as possibly, which I have to give credit to the emergency responders.

[19:45:03] They were -- arrived on scene very quickly after those inflatable slides came out, and they were very, very quick to put out the fire.

SCIUTTO: Just incredible thing to witness, frightening to witness I imagine.

Bradley Hampton, eye witness who took this photo you were looking at right now of a British Airways jet in flames. He says the plane went in flames after the engine was engulfed, emergency services responding, as what we know now, is that all those passengers able to get off the plane, incredible, two injuries, we are told right now.

We will continue to monitor the story. Please stay with us.

And OUTFRONT next: Donald Trump is the second youngest of five Trump children. Ahead: how the death of one brother and advice of his federal judge older sister have shaped his views.


SCIUTTO: We are following breaking news out of Las Vegas.

[19:50:00] This is new video of a huge fire that engulfed a plane on the runway at Las Vegas' McCarran Airport just a short time ago.

Our Vegas affiliate reports that all 159 passengers on board were evacuated with two minor injuries. We spoke to an eyewitness a short time ago who described the fire starting with an engine fire, those flames quickly engulfing it, but also those passengers quickly getting off that plane. You can see those evacuation slides deployed there. But an

incredible sight and incredible to hear that all survived this. Again, 159 passengers, 13 crew onboard. That is a Boeing 777 aircraft with British Airways. We will continue to follow this story going forward.

In other news tonight, for the first time, the frantic 911 call of a mother desperately telling the operator that her two children were trying to kill her and her husband. She was holed up in her bedroom telling a frightening story of her own sons allegedly drugging, strangling and beating their parents.

Tonight, investigators are reviewing that tape as they search for a motive.

Alina Machado is OUTFRONT.


DISPATCHER: Gwinnett County 911, what's the location of your emergency?

YVONNE ERVIN: Yes, please send someone to my house. My children are trying to kill me.

ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a frantic call for help from a mother who says she and her husband were attacked by their own sons.

ERVIN: They're trying to strangle us and shoot us and they put Xanax in our food, and they thought we would sleep.

MACHADO: Police say Yvonne and Zachary Ervin were beaten inside this home near Atlanta Saturday morning.

ERVIN: They tried to attack us. They beat me up, they beat him up. They're trying to kill us. Please, please, please hurry.

DISPATCHER: OK, your children are 17 and 22?

ERVIN: And 22, yes.

DISPATCHER: Yvonne tells the dispatcher she was able to escape upstairs to her bedroom after her husband distracted their two sons, Cameron and Christopher Ervin.

ERVIN: They're in the house there trying to attack my husband. He's made it to the garage and he's just trying to blow the horn to distract the -- to get our neighbor's attention. I was able to get up to the phone and call you.

DISPATCHER: Are you in your room?

ERVIN: Yes, I am, but I don't know if they're going to find me.

DISPATCHER: What room are you in? ERVIN: I'm in my top upstairs bedroom.

DISPATCHER: And the children are still in the garage?

ERVIN: Yes, they are trying to attack my husband.

DISPATCHER: Do you hear what's going on?

ERVIN: They have a shotgun.

MACHADO: Zachary Ervin told police his 17-year-old son, Cameron, hit him in the head with a shotgun. An officer later found a bloody shotgun on a bed in a basement bedroom.

According to police documents, Cameron Ervin told an officer, quote, "Just kill me now." Adding, "I tried to kill my F-ing parents. Who does that?"

In the 911 call, Cameron's mother hints at a possible motive for the attack.

ERVIN: I don't know why they have done this, I really don't. I guess they have some -- they want the insurance money, I'm not sure.

MACHADO: The call lasts about five minutes and ends with chilling silence.

DISPATCHER: I want you to lock your door, OK?

ERVIN: They just -- I just heard them say, where did mom go? They're headed upstairs now.


ERVIN: The police are on their way. They're on their way.

DISPATCHER: Hello? Hello? Hello, ma'am?


MACHADO: Yvonne Ervin is back home tonight. Her husband, Zachary, who suffered the brunt of the attack, is still in the hospital. He is listed in fair condition. Authorities say the motive behind the attack is still unclear, though they do believe both brothers intended to kill their parents -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Just an alarming story. Alina Machado, thanks very much.

Joining us now, CNN legal analyst Paul Callan.

Paul, you listened to that -- have you ever heard anything like this, a case like this?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, I haven't. It's a totally bizarre tape and filled with all kinds of things defense attorneys will use. How I'm not entirely sure.

Number one, the mother at some point said that she was drugged by them with Xanax, which maybe is why she sounds so subdued and so strange in the call. But how would she even know that she had been drugged unless they told her at some point? And when did that happen?

The two young men, one 17 and one 22 have no prior criminal record. Wouldn't you expect a criminal record for somebody engaging in an act of this level of violence? So I want to see the toxicology report on the mother, how much Xanax does she have in her?

And if they really wanted to kill the parents, there's a shotgun in the house. Why didn't they use the shotgun?

So, something just doesn't sound right in this entire story.

[19:55:02] You know, even the police at this point haven't announced what the true motive was.

SCIUTTO: Well, it's just shocking to listen to that.

Paul Callan, thanks very much, as always.

CALLAN: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: We'll be right back.


SCIUTTO: Thanks so much for joining us tonight. I'm Jim Sciutto.

We will see you again right here tomorrow night. And our breaking news coverage of the plane fire in Las Vegas continues right now with "AC360."