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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Kasich: Clinton Calling Republicans Enemies A "Disgrace"; Tensions Rising In Israel Amid Violence; New Report Blasts Pentagon Drone Program; Ex-NBA Star Found Unresponsive At Nevada Brothel. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired October 15, 2015 - 16:30   ET

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


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: She said Republicans, and that's, you know, half the country or 40 percent of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, I think these are one of these moments that are quickly explained within the course of the news cycle. I'm sure that the Clinton campaign is doing that. But I ultimately see the broader point that she's willing to stand up to and take on the Republican agenda.

AMANDA CARPENTER, FORMER COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR FOR SENATOR TED CRUZ: That's a good point, but I want to pay your former boss a compliment. Barack Obama never would have said anything like that on the campaign trail. And I think there's a huge difference between candidate, Hillary Clinton, and Candidate Obama.

She is attempting to follow kind of the mold that President Obama did, but he was so much more charismatic, so much more appealing. And she's trying to go after, you know, follow Bernie Sanders voters on Wall Street issues, saying odd things about Republicans.

That's not how Obama won and she is going to continue to alienate Republican voters, gun owners and all competing to see who is most hated by the NRA. This isn't a path towards uniting the country. And if that's the way they're going to go, they're going to lose tremendously.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've won over Amanda Carpenter.

CARPENTER: No, no, I just said Obama's a better candidate that Hillary.

TAPPER: Thank you so much, Ben Labolt (ph) and Amanda Carpenter, appreciate it.

In our World Lead, Israel on edge now urging citizens to carry guns in response to several stabbings and terrorist attacks, those leaders are now being accused of making already tense situation even worse. Our own Phil Black is live in Jerusalem. That story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:35:49] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Making headlines in our World Lead today, tensions running high in Israel and the Palestinian territories after a wave of terrorist stabbings by Palestinians have Israelis on edge while the crackdown by Israeli forces is being accused of feeding further unrest.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of declaring open season on Palestinians. Israeli officials fired back saying Abbas has done nothing to quell the deadly violence and in some cases has incited it.

Let's get right to CNN international correspondent, Phil Black, live in Jerusalem. Phil, what's the mood on the ground there tonight?

PHIL BLACKWELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, on the streets there is real fear. It is tense and from the Israeli government today great anger that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke forcefully, rejecting, hitting back at a U.S. State Department statement saying Israel may be using excessive force.

He says that's absurd and unfair. But he's really angry with the leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who said that Israeli forces are executing children. He says that that is the sort of statement that is inciting these attacks and only going to cause more of them -- Jake.

TAPPER: And what type of additional security measures have been taken by Israel?

BLACK: There's a really visible security presence on the streets. It is everywhere. In East Jerusalem, the Palestinian settlements, sorry, communities there, they are respectively locked down. We've had fortified checkpoints put in that are really restricting who can come in and who can leave.

The locals there are pretty angry about that, but the government believes it is a necessary and reasonable step to take. And Israeli citizens themselves, those who legally own weapons, are being encouraged to carry them in the streets.

Now, the government makes the point that because of compulsory military service here Israelis know how to handle weapons safely and when necessary effectively too.

But it really shows what a challenge it is here to police and to stop these very sudden random attacks against people in the streets involving knives and other cutting implements -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Phil Black in Israel, thank you so much. Joining me now is Israeli ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer. Ambassador Dermer, thanks so much for being here.

RON DERMER, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: Thank you.

TAPPER: We were talking about Israeli officials and Palestinian officials trading accusations, but specifically saying Mahmoud Abbas ahead of the Palestinian Authority is inciting violence. You brought some posters that Prime Minister Netanyahu also held up at a press conference. What are they?

DERMER: This is a poster of one of the people who stabbed -- this particular person stabbed three Israelis. And the point that I want to make is that this is a poster that is being spread all over Palestinian areas.

And it's -- the president of the Palestinian Authority and Arafat. They're glorifying these people as heroes. Until today President Abbas has not actually condemned a single terror attack.

TAPPER: How are you sure that that's from the Palestinian Authority and not just somebody who made a poster?

DERMER: No, no, this -- look. The head of the Palestinian Authority went on television yesterday. He accused Israel of executing an innocent boy. First of all, the person is not dead. The boy is actually in an Israeli hospital.

Second of all, it's not an innocent person. What you're talking about is somebody who was stabbing another -- a 13-year-old Jewish boy in Jerusalem stabbing him multiple times. You had a 15-year-old and 13- year-old, two teenagers with knives going around stabbing people.

These are not innocent civilians that all of a sudden Israel is opening fire against. These are people who are trying to kill. Fortunately we've been able to stop a lot of those attacks. We haven't been perfect and that's why we have eight Israelis who have died.

TAPPER: The U.S. State Department spokesman had this to say about Israel yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KIRBY, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: We've certainly seen some reports of what many would consider excessive use of force. Obviously we don't like to see that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Excessive force. Now, Kirby tried to walk that back today.

DERMER: I think he did more than try. I think he made it clear that we're not suggesting that Israelis use excessive force. I don't know specifically what he was talking about yesterday and today you'd have to ask him. But we're not using excessive force. We have a major problem.

[16:40:07] We have attacks throughout the country. We have eight Israelis who've been murdered. Unfortunately, we have had some success in preventing some of these attacks, but not enough and we have to continue to be vigilant.

TAPPER: These seem to be lone wolf attacks not perpetrated by Hamas or Islamic Jihad terrorist groups. Now, I would never do anything to excuse violence, but how do you respond to those who say these young people are hopeless and the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority could do something more to erase that hopelessness. Again, just to underline I'm not excusing any violence.

DERMER: I understand. People have to understand those people who think that it's despair that drives terror. Hopelessness are clueless. They actually don't understand what drives terrorism. There are a lot of conflicts around the world, a lot of political social national conflict.

Why in this conflict you have people taking guns and knives and killing civilians. That doesn't happen in many places around the world. You know, you've had an occupation of cypress for over 40 years. Why would you have them going around taking knives and killing people in the streets?

I'll tell you why. Because when they're raised from 2, 3, 4 years old, they're not put in an education system where they celebrate and glorify killers. That is what's happening in Palestinian society.

They're creating a Palestinian generation level after level in their education system, through their media through kindergarten camps where they teach people to wear suicide vests and glorify killers.

They have public squares in Palestinian areas named after mass murders. Who are the heroes of Palestinian society? In America who are the heroes? People want to grow up to be a doctor, a firefighter, an athlete, and maybe they want to be in Hollywood.

In Palestinian areas the heroes are killers. Who is responsible for that? The leadership of the Palestinians has to take a clear stand against terrorism. And instead of actually dousing the flames, they're pouring more and more fuel on the fire.

TAPPER: Very quickly, sir, if you would. Are you not at all concerned that by encouraging Israeli civilians to carry firearms -- and I understand there's conscription in Israel and they're better trained with firearms than just the average population in the average country.

But are you not at all concerned this could enflame tensions and make things worse? I cite for you an example of an Israeli stabbing another Israeli this week thinking that that Israeli was an Arab, not that that would have excused it. And that's the kind of thing that might happen except with guns.

DERMER: No, no, I'm not concerned. Look, I think there's a mistake here people are trying to project issues in the United States on Israel. Look, we have never, Jake, had a situation like you've had in these terrible incidents you had in Sandy Hook or in Oregon recently or Aurora, that to my knowledge has never happened in the Israel.

Not everyone in Israel can get a gun. You have to have a license. There are people who were trained and we have a citizen's army. There are a lot of people carrying guns. You know when you go on the streets there are a lot of people carrying guns.

TAPPER: They're often in uniform.

DERMER: In the United States you don't have it. We have saved hundreds and hundreds of lives because we have that citizen army because people are on reserves and are armed. When a terrorist goes and stabs one or two people, they don't get to kill a third and fourth because by that time there's somebody there able to take action and stop them.

TAPPER: All right, Ambassador Dermer, thanks so much for being here. Hope there's peace in the region soon.

When we come back, a shocking report that says U.S. drone strikes may be based on shaky intelligence and killing the wrong people most of the time.

Plus Lamar Odom is clinging to life. Today, new details on the potentially drug fueled minutes and hours before he was found. And why the Kardashians may have the final say when it comes to his fate.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:47:44]

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. In the World Lead also a new report says the Pentagon's top secret drone program is almost 100 percent accurate when it comes to killing the wrong people.

An intelligence source, who is now being called the second coming up of Edward Snowden claims the public has no idea of the number of bystanders killed by these aircraft.

This person leaked classified documents to "The Intercept," that news organization co-founded by Glen Greenwald, who is part of a team awarded the Pulitzer Prize for publishing the Snowden documents.

This new source claims close to nine out of every ten people killed in drone strikes by the U.S. are not the intended target, a death toll that includes scores of civilians.

Intercept co-founder, Jeremy Scahill, joins me now. He wrote two of the stories published today about drones for the "Intercept." Jeremy, thanks for being here. Appreciate it.

JEREMY SCAHILL, CO-FOUNDER, "THE INTERCEPT": Thank you.

TAPPER: So "The Intercept" reporting that in a five-year period the drone program killed 35 intended targets and 219 others in the story by Ryan Devrow he asserts, quote, "The vast majority of those killed in the air strikes were not the direct targets, nor did the campaign succeed in significantly degrading al Qaeda's operations in the region."

So is it your opinion that these strikes are not just immoral because bystanders are killed, they're ineffective. SCAHILL: Jake, it wasn't a five-year period. It was a five-month period they killed a couple hundred people and nearly 90 percent of the people they killed were not the intended target. You know, I've spoken with several people who worked on the drone program including our source, who said that oftentimes they have no idea who they're killing.

And that they're actually in fact targeting cell phones and not actually people. And in the stories that we reported, you know, we quote and we interviewed Lieutenant General Michael Flynn who was the head of JSOC, the elite commando unit that killed Osama Bin Laden, their intelligence unit.

He basically said drone strikes are counterproductive making a martyr out of these people. We've just encouraged them to fight even harder. I think what these documents show is first of all this bureaucracy of assassination and the cold corporate language that the military uses to describe what is actually hunting human beings.

And, Jake, I think the clearest thing that we want people to take away from this is that these tactics are not only counterproductive, they are resulting in killing innocent people and making new enemies for the United States.

[16:50:05] And I think everyone who is concerned about democracy should celebrate the fact that someone very brave came forward and made these documents available to the public.

TAPPER: Jeremy, you write in one of your stories that, quote, "The Obama administration masks the true number of civilians killed by drone strikes by categorizing unidentified people as enemies even if they were not the intended targets."

Do you have evidence that these individuals killed were clearly innocent or is it just that the U.S. government has no idea who they were?

SCAHILL: Well, Jake, you know, what we do know is that the first covert air strike that President Obama personally authorized in Yemen killed more than 40 people roughly half of them women and children in a cluster bombing.

In Afghanistan, which is the specific case that you're talking about, we know that 90 percent of the people they don't know their identities. And the way that the White House set this up and this was really John Brennan, his brainchild, is that they created a mathematical equation for determining civilians killed that would almost always result in zero.

In other words, if you can prove posthumously that someone was not a militant or a terrorist then it's an oops, and we'll pay them money, but it's sort of a reverse judicial process except there's no trial and no verdict. You're just assassinated.

TAPPER: Jeremy, we asked the Pentagon about the series and the Pentagon would only say, quote, "The report you reference is internal classified document. As a matter of policy, we do not comment on the details of classified reports."

You also did not get an on the record response from the Pentagon or anyone in the Obama administration. Has anyone from the administration other than your source weighed in on your reporting in background in any way?

SCAHILL: Let me say this. I was on the conference call today that the White House had with anonymous senior officials that were not allowed to name. And the first question from the press was, how does Obama's Afghanistan policy effect the election of 2016?

I mean, look, the reality here is that this administration is drunk on secrecy except when it's convenient. John Brennan leaked like a sieve in the aftermath of the Osama Bin Laden raid and almost everything turns out he said not true.

When they discuss classified information and when they don't. They're waging a war on whistleblowers and independent journalism trying to hold them accountable.

TAPPER: Jeremy Scahill, thank you as always.

SCAHILL: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: Coming up next, she filed for divorce two years ago, but Khloe Kardashian is still making medical decisions for her husband, Lamar Odom. We'll explain why and have an update on his condition next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:56:34]

TAPPER: We got some new technology to tell you about in the Money Lead today. In a new model car on the road that can apparently drive itself. Starting today Tesla owners can download an autopilot software upgrade.

This lets the Model S travel without a driver touching the gas, the brake or even the steering wheel. Ultrasonic sensors can see 16 feet around the car supposed to keep it from bumping into other traffic.

Although this technology may look tempting, Tesla Motors CEO, Elon Musk, says this autopilot car is still in an early testing stage. He encourages drivers to keep both hands on the wheel for now. Yes, I encourage you to do that as well.

The Pop Lead, the Kardashian family is waiting for answers in a Las Vegas hospital hoping two-time NBA champion, Lamar Odom, pulls through. It's been two days since he was found unconscious at a Nevada brothel.

Employees who called 911 say Odom had cocaine in his system. It took more than three hours after that call to get him from the site in the Nevada desert to a hospital. CNN's Paul Vercammen joins me now live at that hospital. Paul, Odom and Khloe Kardashian are in the midst of a divorce I am told, but they are still technically married, and because of that apparently, she can determine what happens next.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is exactly right, Jake. In fact, Khloe would have any final important medical decisions right now. She has gone out through representatives saying she does not want the owner of this brothel talking anymore.

But he dropped a bombshell on Nancy Grace just a short time ago saying basically Lamar Odom gave him a credit card and spent $75,000 for two girls, all of this in that ill-fated trip to Nye County.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: OK, they just add this to it. They just told me -- somebody just came up to me and said he apparently had some cocaine on him that he finished -- he did this on Saturday.

VERCAMMEN (voice-over): That call came from the Love Ranch, a brothel in unincorporated Crystal, Nevada. But one of Lamar Odom's wild world led this two-time NBA champion, reality star, Khloe Kardashian's estranged husband to this remote place?

Love Ranch employee, T.J. Moore says she picked up Odom in Las Vegas, drove him out to Crystal and got a sense he wanted to completely escape.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did not indicate what he was getting away from, but he was very adamant about no phone calls, don't acknowledge that he was here. He just wanted some rest and relaxation.

VERCAMMEN: Apparently Odom's escape plan included popping pills, sexual performance enhancing drugs. Love Ranch owner, Dennis Hoff, is a reality TV star of sorts too from HBO's Cat House.

DENNIS HOF, OWNER, THE LOVE RANCH: The girl said he had taken eight or ten of them. I don't know whether that means in a short period of time or since Saturday when he got there. You know, one of the speculations is he had been doing coke before he got there.

VERCAMMEN: And so the sheriff got a search warrant and obtained Odom's blood to determine what if any drugs were in his system. Friends, relatives, teammates, all describe Odom as a 6'10" gentle giant, easy going but perhaps uneasy about reality TV. His grandmother told CNN, being on the show in the spotlight could have gotten to him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VERCAMMEN: And back here live at the hospital, last word is Lamar Odom still on life support. Back to you now, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Paul Vercammen, thank you so much. Don't forget to tune in tomorrow at 4 p.m. Eastern for my interview with the Democratic frontrunner, Hillary Clinton.

That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I turn you over to one Mr. Wolf Blitzer who is in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.