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Clinton's Big Week; ISIS in America; Hurricane Horrors; What's Next for Clinton?; Trump Falls Behind Carson in Second Iowa Poll. Aired 18-19:00p ET

Aired October 23, 2015 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And it's now barrelling toward land, packing winds near 200 miles per hour, threatening millions of people right now. CNN is live right in the storm zone.

ISIS in America. The FBI chief reveals the surprisingly huge number of investigations on U.S. soil that are linked to the brutal terrorist group. Is the ISIS threat exploding?

Hunt for El Chapo. We're getting new information about the dangerous fugitive drug lord, as the manhunt widens beyond Mexico. Could he actually be here right in United States?

And Clinton's best week. The Democratic front-runner has new spring in her step after a series of fortunate events and a showdown with Republicans over Benghazi. Can she maintain the new momentum? I will ask her campaign spokesman what is next.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're THE SITUATION ROOM.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BLITZER: Breaking news this hour, one on the planet ever seen a hurricane as strong and dangerous as the one that's lashing Southwestern Mexico right now. Emergency officials are fearing massive death and destruction from this Category 5 storm, and its winds near 200 miles an hour.

Millions of North Americans are at risk from Hurricane Patricia, and we're now told that 15,000 tourist have just been evacuated, the threat extending into Texas, where heavy rains and flooding are likely to get even worse in the hours ahead.

Also breaking, CNN has learned that the manhunt for the fugitive drug lord known as El Chapo has expanded into the United States, where he has a very personal connection. His wife is a U.S. citizen. We have correspondents, analysts and newsmakers. They're standing by as we cover all news that is breaking right now.

First, let's go to Martin Savidge. He's in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, where the storm is moving toward.

This could be devastating, right, Martin?


This is the city that they have so much feared a storm like this, not only one with incredible intensity, but also one where they had so little warning to get ready and to get people out of harm's way. It's raining and it's increasingly raining harder. So far, no sign of those heavy winds, no sign of any storm surge coming.

Remember, this storm, as powerful as it is, is very compact. It seems to be going to the south of this community, which may spare a lot of it, but I'm not going to make a prediction like that. It's way too early. Right now, I can only tell you things are intensifying, but it's not to the point where you have to hang on in any kind of wind.

Still, the fear is that the rains and what may come overnight could be devastating for this community. It could be devastating to the tourism industry and we know this storm is going somewhere and wherever it goes -- Jennifer Gray can attest to this -- it is going to be destruction, the likes of which is seldom seen with a hurricane. And so they are trying and waiting to see what comes next -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Martin, have the tourists managed basically to get out or are they hunkered down in secure locations? There are a lot of tourists there. I understand the airport is now shut down.

SAVIDGE: Well, what they have done, Wolf, is that they have wanted to move people, not just into shelter. They wanted to get them out of town.

The airport wasn't a way of doing it, so they quickly tried to commander a lot of tourism buses and they moved people to Guadalajara. That gets them away from the coast. It also gets them out of the main path of the storm. So, incredibly, given the short amount of warning they have had, they have been able to move a lot of people.

Those that couldn't move in time have sought either more structural -- or sturdier structures like we have or gone to maybe schools in the hills that have been opened as evacuation centers. Nobody is taking this storm lightly, Wolf.

BLITZER: They shouldn't. This is so potentially deadly, indeed. Martin, thanks very much. We will stay in touch with you. Be careful.



BLITZER: Also in the storm zone right now is David Alire Garcia. He's a Reuters correspondent. He's joining us on the phone.

Where exactly are you, David?

DAVID ALIRE GARCIA, REUTERS: Well, I'm in one of the shelters in the hills, you know, not too far from the beach that Martin mentioned just a second ago, maybe about five miles from the beach.

It's a university campus where at latest count there is about 500 people taking shelter here, a mix of tourists that have been evacuated from nearby hotels, plus local residents.

BLITZER: How secure is that shelter?

GARCIA: Well, it looks like a sturdy, you know, relatively modern college campus. It's a three-story -- three different three- story buildings, classrooms and that's where people are inside. It's cement-type walls, very little large windows or glass, so I guess that's a good thing in terms of potential injuries from breaking glass.

It looks relatively safe, but I guess time will tell. It's just too soon to know how safe this spot really is.

BLITZER: And emergency personnel, are they there with you? What advice are they giving you?

GARCIA: The advice has simply been to come in, make yourself comfortable. There really aren't great accommodations here. They really are bare-bones classrooms and many of the tourists, for example, come in with their pillows and suitcases in tow and very little else.

But other than that, there is not much police presence here or federal or military. You know, most people are simply just hunkering down and kind of waiting for the rain and winds to intensify. Right now, it's relatively calm.

BLITZER: We understand about 15,000 tourists already have been evacuated. Do you have any idea how many are stranded there?

GARCIA: Earlier today, I was just a couple hours ago driving through the main tourist part of the town and it looked really deserted. The only thing you really saw was workers, you know, boarding up windows, laying down sandbags, you know, to try to prevent some of the damage that could happen from flooding.

But aside from that, it was very much a ghost town. On the beach, I saw one very hardy Canadian tourist and that was about it.

BLITZER: We know that 24 hours ago, this Patricia was just a tropical storm and all of a sudden it became a Category 5 hurricane with winds nearly 200 miles an hour. That's the highest recorded number ever by the U.S. National Weather Service, which means people there where you are in Puerto Vallarta, they haven't had much time to prepare for this. Give us a little sense of the mood there.

GARCIA: I mean, I think most people here are in relatively good spirits.

The folks I have talked to, both tourists and locals, this is not entirely uncommon to this region. There is an annual hurricane season. And not too long ago, another major hurricane that many residents here remember hit, Hurricane Kenna, not as strong as what we're likely to see here soon.

But this isn't completely unheard of. I think folks are relatively in good spirits, the people that I have talked to, but there is a lot of worry. There's a lot of fear just because of the unknown, but I think most folks are heeding the warnings that have been blared on loudspeakers, in the streets in terms of trucks and, of course, radio, TV. All those kinds of messages have gotten out for folks to seek shelter, and as far as I can tell, almost everyone has done so.


BLITZER: Well, good luck.

David Alire Garcia, he's a Reuters correspondent in Mexico. He's in a shelter now in Puerto Vallarta.

David, good luck to you. Good luck to all the folks over there.

We will stay on top of this hurricane. We will see when it makes landfall, much more on that coming up.

But let's get to the presidential race right now.

Tonight, Hillary Clinton is capping what's being called her best week yet of this, the 2016 presidential campaign. The Democratic front-runner, she's back on the campaign trail today. She's doing something of a victory lap after enduring the marathon Benghazi hearing and appearing to come out unscathed, largely unscathed.

Our CNN Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, is joining us now.

Jeff, Hillary Clinton has quite a few reasons to celebrate, doesn't she?


And one thing she's celebrating tonight, the campaign had its biggest online fund-raising hour ever last night from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. right after the hearing after she emerged unscathed from that grueling campaign hearing. But after slogging through one controversy after another for months this summer, this is the campaign she's been waiting for.


ZELENY (voice-over): Hillary Clinton is back on her feet.


ZELENY: And confident after the strongest 10-day stretch of her campaign.

CLINTON: I can't tell you how great it feels to be here on this beautiful day out in the sunshine.

ZELENY: A commanding debate performance, escaping a Joe Biden challenge and emerging unscathed from a grilling Benghazi hearing.

Today, a victory lap in Virginia.


ZELENY: A summertime controversy becoming a fall triumph.

GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA: You want to talk about a fighter, how about those 11 hours of testimony yesterday?


ZELENY: Virginia governor and long-time Clinton confidant Terry McAuliffe leading the cheers.

MCAULIFFE: This is why she needs to be our commander in chief.

ZELENY: The Benghazi campaign has hung over Clinton's campaign like a dark cloud. But she stood her ground and kept her cool during a session that lasted 11 hours, knowing not everyone is not on her side.

CLINTON: I really don't care what you all say about me. It doesn't bother me a bit.

ZELENY: Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy conceded he learned nothing new.

REP. TREY GOWDY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don't know that she testified that much differently today than she has previous time she's testified.

ZELENY: With the testimony behind her, Clinton is trying to build on her momentum.

CLINTON: You know, a lot of things have been said about me, but quitter is not one of them.

ZELENY: Today, she basked in the glow of her adoring supporters.

She's on the rise in Iowa. A new Quinnipiac poll today shows her at 51 percent, up 11 points from a month ago, Bernie Sanders holding steady at 40 percent.

The Democratic field is now down to three. Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, the latest candidate to drop out.

LINCOLN CHAFEE (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Obviously, it's a good week for Secretary Clinton.

ZELENY: And Clinton extended a hand to Joe Biden as she tries to fire up the Obama coalition. CLINTON: So, I agree with what vice president said the other day

in the Rose Garden. Democrats should be proud of that record of achievement. And we should defend it.


ZELENY: Now, Clinton also won the endorsement today from the largest public employee labor union, AFSCME, another step in trying to consolidate this Democratic base.

Now, with Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee out of the race, it's down to three candidates. She's heading to Iowa tomorrow with her husband at her side. It's more the start of something we're going to be seeing a lot more of, Bill Clinton back on the campaign trail. They're trying to capitalize on his momentum.

BLITZER: On his momentum and her momentum as well.

ZELENY: Right.

BLITZER: All right, thanks very much.

Let's get some more now.

The Hillary campaign spokesman Brian Fallon is with me here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Brian, thanks very much for coming in.


BLITZER: Just to note that one point. Bill Clinton, he is going to be spending a lot more time with her, I take it, in the coming weeks and months out on the campaign trail, is that right?

FALLON: I think you will be seeing him more and more.

This is part of a natural evolution of the campaign. We always said that come the fall, you would start to see President Clinton hitting the stump on behalf of his wife. We're only 100 days out from Iowa. It's sort of a natural point in the calender for him to become more involved.

BLITZER: You will be at that big Democratic dinner in Iowa this weekend. And he's still a very popular figure, especially among Democrats, and so I assume she thinks he's an asset more than a deficit in terms of campaigning.

FALLON: Oh, he's a tremendous asset.

BLITZER: Because, eight years, wasn't sure how much she wanted to use him. Now she really wants to use him?

FALLON: I think you will be seeing plenty of President Clinton and he can only help our campaign. BLITZER: Take us inside a little bit today, this day after the

11 hours of testimony. Was she all pumped up? I assume she was because she did very well.

FALLON: She was very solemn about the whole thing, Wolf, and appropriately so.

For her, the whole reason to attend -- and, in fact, we got a lot of questions for the weeks leading up to the hearing, in light of all the admissions you were hearing from people like Kevin McCarthy that this was really just a partisan exercise. A lot of people asked her, are you thinking of bailing on the hearing altogether?

People thought that she would have adequate basis to do so. And for her, it was never a question that she would still show up, because if even 1 percent of the time was going to be devoted to figuring out how we could improve diplomatic security and learn the lessons from Benghazi, she wanted to be there for that.


So, appropriately enough, she was focused how we can improve diplomatic security and she was focused on the victims, talked in very deep terms, deeply personal terms about Chris Stevens and what he meant to her. And it was unfortunate that we didn't see similar focus on the victims of the attack from the Republicans.

BLITZER: She answered all the questions over the course of 11 hours. That was a lot more than I thought. I thought it might be eight hours. It went on for a total of 11 hours.

There was a dinner -- a lunch break in between. Is she done now? Does she have to go back? If they call her, does she have to go back? Has she stopped answering their questions?

FALLON: I think that was the longest appearance, by our count, in 20 years by a single witness in a congressional investigation.

I can't imagine what they left on the table yesterday in terms of topics or ground that they might want to cover. I don't see any basis for them to call her back. I think she -- all the questions that they asked had been asked in previous investigations by the different congressional committees. So, as it was, they were already covering well-trodden ground.

I can't imagine there would be any basis to even contemplate bringing her back.

BLITZER: I assume she's getting a lot more fund-raising today,money is pouring in, is that right?

FALLON: Well, actually, yesterday, in a nod to the solemnity of the hearing, we did not send out a single fund-raising solicitation to our list.

And yet, as Jeff mentioned in the report just now, between 9:00 and 10:00 last night, it was the highest performing hour just based on spontaneous people going to the Web site and contributing.

BLITZER: All right, Brian, stand by. We have more to discuss, including what's happening next in this race for the White House. We will take a quick break. We will be right back.



BLITZER: We're back with Hillary Clinton's campaign spokesman Brian Fallon. We're talking about her surge in momentum that began with the Democratic debate, continues after her testimony on the Benghazi attacks.

Having said all of that, Senator Bernie Sanders, her main rival right now, he has got a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of energy out there. Has anything fundamentally changed in this race between her and him?

FALLON: I think since the debate last night that public polls have pretty consistently shown a bump in her support levels.

Now, saying that, we know that the polls will rise and fall. And we're very clear-headed about the fact that even though it's pretty indisputable that Hillary Clinton has had a pretty good month of October, we know that headwinds will return at some point soon in the campaign.

But I think that what you have seen over the last couple weeks is that even as the headwinds come, when Hillary Clinton is tested, she rises to the challenge and I think that will hold her in good stead as the weeks go forward.

BLITZER: It's interesting you call it a debate last night.

FALLON: Oh, last week, last week.


FALLON: I'm talking about the Democratic debate last week. Sorry. I said last night.

BLITZER: Since the debate last week.


BLITZER: It's obviously a lot going on.

Does she regret at that debate wrapping it up by calling the Republicans her enemies?

FALLON: Oh, I think she was making a joke.

But, look, I think that there is no doubt about it that when it comes to governing, no one is more capable of reaching across the aisle than Hillary Clinton. When she was in the Senate, she did that. She was secretary of state. There is a whole long list of Republicans that had positive things to say about her tenure at the State Department.

But Lindsey Graham, working on Tricare when she was in the Senate -- she has a list of accomplishments when she was the first lady working on CHIP, to get CHIP after the larger health care reform bill didn't pass. No one can get things done like Hillary Clinton can when it comes to reaching across the aisle.

But I don't think there is any doubt it's campaign season and the Republicans to a person on the Republican side, all the candidates seem to have her in their sights. And I think if you look at how the Republicans convened a hearing yesterday, it's clear that this is an effort to damage her campaign.

I think she was making a lighthearted reference to that fact.

BLITZER: Because Vice President Biden, he kept over and over and over again referring to enemies, Republicans are not our enemies, he kept saying.

And today she was very nice to the vice president in her speech, saying she agrees with him. He dropped out. He never really got into the race, but he announced he wasn't running. She must have been relieved to see that.

FALLON: Well, I think she has great, tremendous personal respect for the vice president.

He would have been a formidable challenger in this campaign if he had gotten into the race. That said, we realize it was a tremendously difficult decision for him, but as Hillary Clinton has said, he's going to remain a fighter on middle-class issues for years to come and she looks forward to working with him on that.

BLITZER: Dr. Ben Carson, he is now ahead of Donald Trump in the polls in Iowa. He had this exchange on FOX News Radio. I'm going to play it to you. It involves Hillary Clinton.


BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, Hillary could well be in jail, and it's hard to run from there.

QUESTION: So, you think that some indictable offense is going to come out of the Benghazi hearings or the FBI investigation?

CARSON: Or the computer server problems. I think she may not be actually in jail, but I think the controversy swirling around that will have an extremely damaging effect.



BLITZER: Yes, the beginning of that exchange, she could well be in jail.

Your reaction?

FALLON: Well, that's ridiculous.

And I think that that is an example of the Trump effect on the Republican primary, where it's a competition to say the most ridiculous things and get attention and garner headlines based on saying absurd things. And so he's clearly made a determination that he wants to go toe to toe with Donald Trump in insulting people and saying ridiculous things.

And I think all this shows is that that is what is at work in the Republican primary.

BLITZER: Brian Fallon, thanks very much for joining us.

FALLON: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Who would she prefer to challenge, by the way, Donald Trump or Dr. Ben Carson?

FALLON: She will take any of them on. She's a fighter. You saw it yesterday.

BLITZER: I did. Thanks very much.

Let's bring in our political team, but up first, our CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein.

Your thoughts right now on what is going on? Because you heard what Brian Fallon, the campaign spokesman, just said.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, well, I thought the most important thing he said in the interview was that really none of the questions she was asked are questions she had not been asked before.

It was an impressive performance by Hillary Clinton yesterday, but I think even more important than her performance was removing this big cloud of uncertainty. This committee has been investigating for a very long time and Benghazi.

And I think all of us sitting here would have trouble identifying one major new fact about the attack or her response that they unearthed to confront her with. Obviously she's taken on a lot of water. She's been damaged by the revelation about her e-mail, her numbers on honesty and integrity, her overall favorability.

But the big cloud that there was some further new revelation that was going to present a new problem, I think on the Benghazi side, leaving aside the FBI investigation and the e-mail, on the Benghazi side, it's largely been lifted. The committee really did not have anything new, not only in their dialogue yesterday, but to show for all of these months of investigation.

Now, obviously, they found the e-mails, but in terms of Benghazi itself, that big cloud I think has been lifted. BLITZER: Dana Bash is with us as well.

Dana, you were up there at the hearing all day yesterday. A lot of people are saying, you know what? Hillary Clinton, she's an A- league player, if you will, and she's been around for a long time. But the Republicans on this panel, they say they were sort of lesser. They weren't up to her standards. That's why they couldn't keep up with her.

What are they saying up on the Hill?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These Republicans were picked because they are by and large very good lawyers, very good prosecutors. Trey Gowdy was and is a fantastic lawyer. And I think even Democrats on Capitol Hill will say that.

And the other thing is, sort of going back to the concept of trying to make this look as apolitical as possible, that's the other reason the seven Republicans who were picked were picked, because they are not heavy hitters politically, they're not household names as real partisan Republicans.

So that was intentional. Now, did it really matter at the end of the day, because Hillary Clinton seemed to, as one Republican said to me, sort of wipe the floor with them? No, probably not. But, you know, the only other thing I will say to Ron's point about nothing significant coming out, nothing that will change the arc of this story.

But there were some important pieces of information that came out, contact with the Egyptian prime minister, saying it was an attack, not a video, her e-mail to Chelsea Clinton, things that, you know, frankly for people who already were against her and thought that she was responsible for this or had responsibility, it's more evidence of that.

BLITZER: Well, what a lot of people, though, Gloria Borger, who is with us as well, are saying is that she kept her cool during those 11 hours.


BLITZER: She answered all the questions. The Republicans, several of them were badgering her, interrupting her, occasionally screaming at her, not necessarily looking all that good.

BORGER: Well, as Dana points out, they are prosecutors, but they're also politicians, some of whom could and some of whom are potentially facing challenges from the right.

So it's not bad if you're playing local politics to be seen really hammering away at Hillary Clinton. And I think, however, in doing so, Hillary did a good job and you can't take away from that, but they made it easy for her in a way. So long as she kept her cool -- there are a couple of moments I thought she was looking like bored or you guys fight amongst yourselves while I just sit here, as she did.

But in the end, they did her work for her, because in looking so bad, she looked better. She just did.

BLITZER: She has certainly got a new element of excitement, Jeff, right now around her campaign.

ZELENY: I think that's right.

I think it reminded them of the candidate that she can be. It reminded them that she's presidential. She's been in more of these settings than anyone else up there on the stage. And it -- you know, they have had a tough summer, and by all means, we have to keep this in perspective here. Things are not over. There is still an FBI investigation.


BASH: Exactly.

ZELENY: And Dana is right. There was information that came out, that she did not ever reach out or talk to Ambassador Stevens.

But the reality is, it puts things into perspective, the fact that this campaign is going on regardless of this Benghazi Committee, and she is driving this campaign. But I think that it boosted her confidence...

BASH: Uh-huh.

ZELENY: ... in some respects, and it -- it reminds Democrats that, look, she is your likely nominee, that Bernie Sanders aside, she's probably it.

BASH: Jeff, you just said something that reminds people she's a good candidate and she looks presidential. But those are obviously two very different things, especially for Hillary Clinton. And what I was hearing -- I'm sure you were, too -- is she just looked presidential.

She may not be the greatest candidate in the world. She may not be the greatest campaigner in the world, but when it comes to being able to do the job of president, that's where she looks the part.

BORGER: Oddly enough, for most of us, we would be less comfortable in front of a congressional committee than we would glad- handing out in Iowa.

BASH: Exactly.

BORGER: I think Hillary Clinton is not like most of us. She is actually more comfortable in front of a congressional committee than she is riding around...

BLITZER: She's had a lot of experience in the congressional committees. BORGER: ... in a van in Iowa.


BASH: Except for Watergate.

BORGER: You know, this is her terra firma. Right there.

BLITZER: Even when she was first lady, she testified in various committees.

Ron, the chairman of the select committee, Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, he went to great lengths to insist this was not a partisan investigation. He even didn't swear her in to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in public. It was done privately outside of the cameras. This was, after all, a hearing involving why four Americans were killed in Benghazi, Libya.

But people were noticing he was doing some -- posing pictures with people who were there, signing autographs. How is that supposed to be interpreted?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I mean, you know, Trey Gowdy, as Dana said, I mean, he -- I've been in his district. He was never -- never seen as the most hyper-partisan choice they could have made.

But the way this has unfolded I think, in many ways, has gotten away from him. And yesterday during the hearing itself, you know, some of the most memorable moments were his heated exchanges with Democrats, which kind of fueled the narrative of this being a fundamentally partisan conflict.

And I think in the end, as I said, I think the biggest challenge they face in terms of justifying this as a true fact-finding mission, was not withstanding the e-mail to Egypt. There were not facts that fundamentally changed the story that we have heard before.

And as even Trey Gowdy said, there was very little that she testified that added to where the record had been already.

In the end, I think, that is the fundamental challenge they face in this being seen as a legitimate inquiry. It simply has not advanced or changed the story much. And so leads back to that conclusion that this is fundamentally about damaging her politically, and I think that threat has enormously lifted at this point.

BLITZER: Yes, she got a huge gift from Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader, when he suggested that look at her poll numbers since the creation of the select committee. That was a big, big win for her.

Everyone stand by. Much more coming up on the race for the White House right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [18:37:48] BLITZER: We're back with our political team. We're

awaiting a Donald Trump campaign rally in Florida tonight. Trump may be feeling a 1-2 punch that's bruising his status as the Republican presidential frontrunner.

A second poll out of Iowa now shows Ben Carson has surged ahead of Trump by a significant margin.

Our CNN political reporter, Sara Murray, is standing by over at the Trump event outside Miami. Sara, what do we expect to hear from Trump tonight?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can see here people are already filing in, chanting, waiting for Trump. But I think what we really want to know is how he reacts to not one but two polls showing him slipping behind in Iowa.

This is really the first credible threat he's faced since his total dominance of the Republican field jumping in the race. The new "Des Moines Register"/Bloomberg Politics poll shows Trump behind Ben Carson by a pretty significant margin, 9 percentage points. Now, after the first poll showed that, here is what Trump had to say.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via phone): I was very, very surprised to see it, because I think we're doing well in Iowa. I have a feeling we're doing much better in Iowa than the polls are showing, if you want to know the truth. But we had an amazing crowd. I'm sure you saw it...


TRUMP: ... because it was all on television.


MURRAY: You can see there Trump, who loves talking about the polls seems almost stunned to find himself behind, behind in Iowa. We're waiting for him here, and his campaign says it's going to be a different kind of speech tonight.

Now we're here on the home turf of Jeb Bush, of Marco Rubio, in Florida, so we'll have to see if this different kind of speech means going harder against him or, perhaps, coming out hard against Ben Carson -- Wolf.

BLITZER: We'll see what happens. We'll stand by with you, Sara, thank you.

Ron Brownstein, you said, and you've written that the blue-color wing of the Republican Party electorate has consolidated around one candidate. The party's white-collar wing, you say, remains fragmented. So given the loss of his lead in Iowa, what does all this portend for Donald Trump? BROWNSTEIN: There is a remarkably consistent pattern so far in

the polling, Wolf, on the Republican race, and it almost reduces the race to two sentences.

Donald Trump has consolidated the blue-collar wing of the Republican Party to a remarkable extent in a 15-person field. Meanwhile, the white-collar wing -- and the two wings are about equal in size -- remains fragmented. They haven't consolidated behind any candidate.

[18:40:4] If you look at the most recent ABC/"Washington Post" national poll, Donald Trump is at 38 percent among non-college Republicans. Your most recent CNN polls in South Carolina and Nevada, he's over 40 percent among non-college Republicans, about 35 percent in New Hampshire in the last CNN poll and a third in Florida where he is tonight, all among the non-college Republicans.

Meanwhile, Trump usually runs, 12, 13, 15 points less well among college Republicans, and no one is really doing better. Usually, no one is above 20 percent. And, really, the long-run question is whether anybody can consolidate that side of the party against him.

Iowa, in some ways, is the ghost of Christmas future here. It's one of the few places where an actual campaign is being run, where the Club for Growth, for example, a conservative group, is spending money in the race. And they have taken a bite out of Donald Trump. It is worth noting that Ben Carson's lead there is primarily on the back of evangelical Christian voters.

That's the way Rick Santorum won it. That's the way Mike Huckabee won it in 2008. But neither of them, when they were unable to expand beyond that beachhead, they really couldn't emerge into full-scale challengers. So that will be the challenge for Carson, even if he can maintain his support. Can he reach beyond those evangelical Christians that are buoying him right now in Iowa?

BLITZER: Good point. Gloria, amidst all of this, the Jeb Bush campaign today announced major cutbacks, salaries, staff. They've got some serious problems over there.

BORGER: They do. I mean, you know, the fundraisers are getting a little bit nervous. You know, not to the point of saying, "We're not with you," but they made $100 million investment in Jeb Bush, and he's at, what, 5 percent in Iowa.

The person that -- we were talking about this earlier, the person to watch in Iowa, I think, is Ted Cruz, who plays to those evangelicals that right now Carson is appealing to. I think there is an opportunity for him there, but I also remember, getting back to Jeb, the John McCain campaign, which in July, before the election was at zero. Remember that?

And they had to fire their staff. And he changed, and he -- and it was a nightmare, and of course, McCain came back.

So you never say never in politics, but it's always a sign. We saw it with Rick Perry. When you're slashing salaries...

BLITZER: We saw with Scott Walker, too. So how much of a problem is this for Jeb Bush?

BASH: It's a huge problem. I mean, if you think about it, so much of his campaign has been riding on the idea that he's got a lot of money in the bank and that he can take this the long haul.

And right now, when it comes to cash on hand, he's behind Ben Carson. He's behind Ted Cruz. People who have -- don't have the kind of sort of juggernaut that he was supposed to have. So it's a big problem.

The whole Bush operation is going to Houston this weekend for a big donor retreat. It's a big reason why they made this announcement today ahead of time because of those nervous donors, but it's certainly not good.

ZELENY: And the thing is, for Bush, he's been spending money on ads in Iowa and New Hampshire, spending a lot of money. It's not working.

BASH: Exactly.

BLITZER: He's doing not well at all in Iowa.

All right, guys. Thank you.

Just ahead, a surprise from the FBI director. He says the number of ISIS-related investigations in the United States has reached an astounding new level. Stand by for that.

And can one of the most wanted men in the world be here in the United States? We have new information on the hunt for the escaped drug lord "El Chapo."


[18:47:52] BLITZER: We have breaking news tonight in the battle against ISIS. A new revelation about the rapidly expanding number of ISIS-related investigations now underway right here in the United States.

Let's bring in our justice reporter Evan Perez.

Evan, what did the FBI Director James Comey reveal about the amount of homegrown terror cases in the U.S. that are ISIS-related?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Wolf, this is the first time we heard a number like this. The FBI Director Jim Comey said there were 900 investigations and the vast majority are ISIS related and it really goes to show you how much ISIS has come to dominate extremist world, including here in the United States. These are people who might be plotting attacks here in the United States or they could simply be consuming some of this poisonous propaganda, that the FBI talks a lot about, stuff that is coming into everyone's phones and they're consuming it every day, Wolf.

BLITZER: Are they able to keep track of all of these individuals?

PEREZ: Well, he says that they are now. There was a period during June and July, a period when you and I talked a lot about this issue, when he said they were really having trouble keeping up. They were moving agents to do 24/7 monitoring of suspects that they were really, really worried about. He says that has gone down since then.

He also mentioned, Wolf, that the number of people who are traveling overseas to join ISIS, seems to be dissipating right now. For a period, there was about nine a month that they were noticing, people were going overseas to join ISIS. He said that there were about six over the last three and a half months. So, that's a good sign. He says he doesn't know whether this is a permanent trend, whether this is just a blip, but it is something that they're keeping an eye on, Wolf.

BLITZER: Evan Perez reporting for us, thank you.

Just ahead, could the fugitive drug lord El Chapo be lured by love to hide out right here in the United States? We're getting new information on the manhunt.

But first, this "Impact Your World."


CAITLIN CROSBY, ACTRESS AND SINGER (singing): Giving yourself away and save that pillow --

[18:50:03] MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Actress and singer Caitlin Crosby says she just wants to help others.

CROSBY: I just am obsessed with people and wanting to spread hope and encouragement, whether it be through a song or an Instagram post. Like whatever it is.

PEREIRA: Like sharing inspiring words on old keys.

CROSBY: I had an old hotel key from New York that I thought was cool. And then I went to a locksmith and asked him to engrave inspiring words like love, hope, fearless. At first it was just -- I wanted to create a cool, inspiring product that -- that different people could buy on tour. And these stories started pouring in like, so and so had cancer, so I gave them my "fight" key. So I thought to myself, I need to make a website where the stories are being shown. And then I started

PEREIRA: Crosby had no idea this would be the key to opening doors for those without a home.

CROSBY: We now hire people that are trying to transition out of homelessness to engrave keys. We've partnered up with Chrysalis. They screen the people for us to make sure we're hiring people that are really trying to change their lives and make sure that they're ready for this change.

PEREIRA: And giving people like Javani (ph) a new beginning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for not judging me based on my past, but where I'm striving to go in my life.

CROSBY: High five.



[18:56:09] BLITZER: There is breaking news. CNN has learned that while the hunt for one of the world's most wanted criminals, the Mexican drug lord who broke out of a Mexican prison earlier this year, now includes efforts to find him right here in the United States.

Brian Todd is working the story and has new information from his sources.

What are they telling you?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, they're telling us this search is intensifying to a great degree. There is enormous pressure on the Mexican government tonight to recapture El Chapo. We're told a key focus of the manhunt right now is his beauty queen wife, who's a U.S. citizen.


TODD (voice-over): He came close to being captured in recent days and now CNN has learned the search for fugitive drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has been expanded into the United States.

A Mexican official with knowledge of the investigation tells CNN, authorities are looking for his wife, Emma Coronel, believed to be seen in these photos posted online. Authorities believe there's a chance Coronel is with El Chapo. Coronel is a U.S. citizen and the couple have property in the L.A. area, our source says.

One analyst says it would be risky for her to be with her husband, but their ties run deep.

DUNCAN WOOD, THE WOODROW WILSON CENTER: What we should know about this woman is that she seems to be completely committed to El Chapo. This is a relationship that's been going on for a while. And it's not like she is ever going to sell him out in any way.

TODD: Authorities are not looking to arrest or detain Emma Coronel, according to our source, but they are tracking her to see where she is. Coronel is a former beauty queen who gave birth to El Chapo's twin daughters near Los Angeles in 2011.

A Mexican official says her phone was one of the leads used in El Chapo's capture in Mazatlan last year. Mexican marines had a visual sighting of him on October 9th, according to our source, chased him through the forest in his home state of Sinaloa, then he fell down a small cliff, injured his face, might have broken a leg, and his bodyguards carried him and got away.

El Chapo escaped through this elaborate tunnel from a high- security prison in July. Previously, he had eluded police through a trap door hidden under his bathtub.

(on camera): If they ever close in on El Chapo, do you think he'll be taken alive?

ARTHUR RODERICK, FORMER U.S. MARSHAL: Well, if he's in Mexico and the Mexican military closes in on him, I think there's going to be a fight and I'm pretty sure he'll end up like Pablo Escobar. He'll be shot in the exchange of gunfire there.


TODD: The DEA would not comment on the information that the search for El Chapo has been expanded boo the U.S. the circle around the fugitive drug lord is tightening.

Authorities have detained his brother-in-law, who they say supervised the building of the tunnel for his escape in July. And they've detained two pilots who helped him get away, including one pilot who flew a decoy plane while El Chapo was in another very similar aircraft, Wolf.

BLITZER: And you have new details, also, on how his main private pilot may have actually led authorities to nearly capture him, not that long ago.

TODD: Not long ago, wolf. A Mexican official tells us they've been tracking the private pilot for a little while. Recently, they observed him fly off to pick up supplies and other things for El Chapo. He would always come back to the same airstrip. That led them to a visual sighting of Guzman on October 9th, in Sinaloa state in Mexico.

They chased him, he fell off a small cliff. He might have hurt himself, but he got away. His bodyguards took him out of the bottom of that canyon and they got away.

BLITZER: So, the question is, if they do find him, whether in Mexico or here in the United States, is he going to be alive or dead in the course of trying to capture him?

TODD: It will be very interesting to find out. The experts are divided over that. One gentleman we just talked, a former marshal, says he thinks he may go out with guns blazing and he may be killed in exchanging gunfire because he doesn't want to be extradited to the U.S.

BLITZER: People think it would be risky for him to come to the United States.

TODD: It would be incredibly risky. It's unlikely he's in the United States, but they have to expand that net.

BLITZER: Brian Todd on that story, thanks very much.

Remember, you can always follow us on Twitter. Please tweet me @wolfblitzer, tweet the show @CNNSitroom, and please be sure to join us Monday right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.