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Poll: Carson Knocks Trump From Top Spot Nationally; Trump Downplays Polls As He Falls Behind Carson; FBI Investigating Student's Violent Arrest; New Video Shows Student's Violent Arrest; Carter: U.S. Weighing "Direct Action on the Ground" Against ISIS. Aired 7-8:00p ET

Aired October 27, 2015 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:07] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, Ben Carson is number one for the first time knocking Trump from the top spot in a nationwide poll. Donald Trump speaking live this hour. We'll going to hear his reaction.

Plus, about-face. The defense secretary says America won't pull back from ground combat in Syria even though President Obama said combat was off the table. We have an exclusive report from the front lines. You'll see who is actually telling American war planes where to strike and you will be stunned.

And does it depend on the angle? New video tonight of the school officer yanking a female student from her desk. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, Ben Carson number one trumping the Donald in the latest nationwide poll for the first time. Now, Donald Trump is going to be speaking live any moment now at an Iowa rally. And all eyes and ears are on him tonight and what he will say about Ben Carson and the poll. The CBS/"New York Times" poll and the GOP voters putting Carson ahead of Trump by four points. Now, that is within the margin of error but it is a major reversal from a lead of six points in the same poll two weeks ago. Now, this poll is the latest to show Trump hitting a polling speed bump. Three other polls showing Carson leading Trump in Iowa specifically. Now, Trump is now downplaying the polls that he once spoke so highly of.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The things with these polls, they are also different. They are coming from all over the lot. Where one guy is up here, and somebody else is up there. You see swings of 10 and 12 points. And, you know, like immediately even the same day. So right now, it's not very scientific. I think it's very hard when you have this many.


BURNETT: Sara Murray is live at the Trump Rally in Sioux City. Obviously looks like it's filling up behind you, Sara. Is Donald Trump slip in the polls causing any changes in enthusiasm that you're seeing among voters there? SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, certainly not among the

voters I talked to tonight. They are plenty pumped to see Trump. And I will say, if you look at the crowd behind me, this is the kind of crowd that any other republican in the field would be envious off with love to see in a place like Iowa. It's part of the reasons Donald Trump seems so stunned to find out that he is no longer number one in the polls.


MURRAY (voice-over): Dr. Ben Carson is going toe to toe with the entire republican field. And he's winning the latest round.

DR. BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the right color. If you get blood on it, you can't tell.

MURRAY: First time since taking the lead months ago, Donald Trump is no longer on top nationwide. Leaving the businessman struggling to explain the shift.

TRUMP: Well, I don't get it. You know, to be honest with you. I'm a little bit surprised.

MURRAY: Carson ekes past Trump with Republicans 26 percent to 22 percent nationwide in a new CBS/"New York Times" poll. Today Carson picking up an endorsement from an MMA fighter.

CARSON: That is a good picture right there.

MURRAY: The fight to lead the field increasingly looks like a two-way race. As every other republican remains stuck in single digits.

CARSON: It's a marathon, it's not a sprint. Polls will go up and down over the next year. No one should be terribly alarmed and no one should be terribly excited.

MURRAY: A corner stone in Carson, the field like Trump he too is a Washington outsider at a time of growing frustration with the political class. It's an image he embraces in his latest campaign ad.

CARSON: I'm Ben Carson. I'm running for president and I'm very much outside the box.

MURRAY: Meantime, as Trump loses the lead, he's lashing out, claiming Carson wants to do away with Medicare.

TRUMP: He wants to abolish Medicare. And I think, you know, abolishing Medicare, I don't think you are going to get away with that one. And it's actually a program that's worked.

MURRAY: A claim Carson denies.

CARSON: I would never get rid of the program.

MURRAY: As recently as Sunday, Trump said he was open to Medicare alternatives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you agree with Ben Carson when he says Medicare probably won't be necessary?

TRUMP: What's possible, you are going to have to look at that.


MURRAY: Now, the Donald Trump we see at this event here tonight should give us a little bit of a preview of what we can expect to see from him on the debate stage tomorrow. This is another state where he is now trailing Ben Carson in a number of the recent polls. And I should point out Erin, not everyone is happy to see Trump here in Iowa tonight. There are more than 100 protesters lined up outside protesting his appearance at this school.

BURNETT: All right. Sara, thank you as always.

And OUTFRONT now, I want to go to Boulder, Colorado, and our Dana Bash. Dana, just about 24 hours away from the next republican debate there. All eyes on that. And the pressure now. I mean, how much pressure is on Donald Trump now because he is behind in the polls?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No question a lot. The question though is whether or not he is going to change tactic, whether he is going to change his demeanor, if it's going to be much different than it's been in the last two debates. My guess is probably not much. I mean, you know, Erin, you have covered Donald Trump for a long time. He's kind of a Popeye. He is who he is. And he definitely is somebody who likes to kind of continue with his showmanship. You know, I have heard some suggestions that maybe he needs to be more policy-oriented. We'll see if that happens. This is going to be a different kind of debate. CNBC says that they are going to focus more on the economy, on fiscal policy, things like that. So, you know, in some ways it may be his wheel house, but they might get it down into the weeds on some of this policy that he might be expected to really answer on.

[19:05:40] BURNETT: And Dana, what does this mean for Carson? Right? All of a sudden he's the front-runner, something Donald Trump has said great, enjoy it, because you get all the focus. And now he is going to be the focus. Right? No one has really gone after Ben Carson in the past two debates. Are we going to see that change?

BASH: Not much. No one is going after him and he hasn't really made much of an impact. And that is just fine with him. He's sort of intentionally stayed in the background except for maybe his final speech in the first debate which really got a lot of buzz online and helped him raise some money. I think that certainly he is going to be in the line of fire. Not just from Donald Trump though. You heard John Kasich today talk in a way that he's never talked before. He's been reluctant to say anything about any other candidate. He just wanted to talk about his policies. And he went off on Carson, on Trump. So, I think that big picture all these candidates are going to be on this stage, they get that this is a crucial, crucial time. They've got to really come to play, and that is going to mean going after the front-runners.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Dana. And OUTFRONT now, the executive vice president of the Trump Organization and special counsel to Donald Trump Michael Cohen. Here with me tonight in New York, obviously we're waiting for Donald Trump to be speaking live in Sioux City, Iowa. But let's talk about this. Trump has led nearly every poll since July 14th. I mean, it's been pretty --


BURNETT: Until now. Four polls in less than a week putting Ben Carson on top. In Iowa now, we have this nationwide poll. Are you worried this could be a turning point?

COHEN: No. And I'm going to tell you why. As you know Erin, because you've known Mr. Trump a long time, Donald Trump never quits ever. And all that this means, whether it's Iowa -- and they talk about the polls as if they are talking nationally. He is still winning in New Hampshire, he's still winning in South Carolina. If you look at the aggregate, if you look at the aggregate of the states, Donald Trump is not just winning, he's winning by a significant margin. So, we'll see what happens as far as other polls in time. But let me tell you why Donald Trump is going to be the, not only Republican candidate, but he is going to also be the president, Donald Trump wants to cut taxes. Donald Trump wants to save Social Security. Donald Trump wants to make America energy independent. He wants to negotiate better trade deals. He wants to stop illegal immigration. He wants to get Americans back to work and he also wants to make America respected again in the world. These are qualifications that only Donald Trump has. And not just the republican side, on the democrat side as well.

BURNETT: You talk about America being respected in the world. That is something people have liked about him that he is a winner. Right? That he's perceived that he's going to make America win again. But back to this point of polls, he has made it also I'm number one in the polls, I'm number one in the polls.

COHEN: And he still is.

BURNETT: Well, let me just play for you his most recent rally which he is about to start talking again, what he usually says about the polls.

COHEN: Another sellout. Right.

BURNETT: Here he is.


TRUMP: But we are really winning. We're winning everything. Everything. Every state. We are winning everything. I'm leading every poll nationwide. Right. And I'm leading every state. Today is the 100th day that we've been number one. And every single poll. And you know, we are winning very importantly in Iowa, we're winning and we're winning big.


BURNETT: All right. Look, the point here is very clear. We are winning big in Iowa, winning 100 days, we're winning and everything, everything, everything. That's not true anymore. Are you worried that a view a lot of people might have of, I want to back a winner. Donald Trump himself is taking that away by emphasizing the polls too much in his own stump speeches.

COHEN: Donald Trump will just work harder. And again you know Donald Trump. If in fact that that's the way that the polls are, he'll go to Iowa more. He'll work harder.

BURNETT: So, he is going to double down and work harder?

COHEN: Of course he will. And Donald Trump is not going to lose. He is going to double down on all his efforts and he's going to do what's necessary, not just to win Iowa but he is going to win all the states.

BURNETT: So, Trump has avoided criticizing Carson a lot. Right? Now, Ben Carson is obviously leading in the polls. And that is change. And he is hitting Ben Carson on a few areas. But one of them is abortion. Here is Donald Trump.


TRUMP: Ben was, he was pro-abortion not so long ago as everybody has told me. I don't know it personally, but that's what I'm told. I've been told. And all of a sudden he's so hard on abortion, under no circumstances virtually, can there be exceptions.

BURNETT: All right. Even if that's true, Ben Carson is not the only one who would have had a change of heart. Here is Donald Trump.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would President Trump ban partial birth abortion?

[19:10:04] TRUMP: Look, I'm very pro-choice. I hate the concept of abortion. I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. I cringe when I listen to people debating the subject, but you still I just believe in choice.


BURNETT: Donald Trump says he is pro-life. How is that any different that Ben Carson?

COHEN: Look, what Mr. Trump's policies are as far as abortion or any of the other important social issues that are of course important to the folks not just in Iowa but in all the states, that's not what Americans right now are even looking for. They are looking for leadership. They are looking for somebody that can actually do for America what only Donald Trump can do.

BURNETT: Right. Are they looking for consistency though? A moral compass, I'm consistent in what I believe in?

COHEN: You're talking about a video of Donald Trump 20 plus years ago. We all have changed over the years.

BURNETT: 1999.

COHEN: Look at what happened with --

BURNETT: He sounded like he was talking from the heart though to Tim Russert there.

COHEN: In 1999, I'm sure he was speaking from the heart. You're talking about a substantial number of years later. There is of course grandchildren that are now involved. There's friends, and he talks about the story about a friend decided to have the child. So, Donald Trump is consistent for Donald Trump. Meaning that this is how he believes. And it's not that he is believing it today. He's been believing this now for a significant period of time. That's the contrast with Ben Carson who it appears is saying things simply to say them because that's what he needs to say.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, Michael. I appreciate it. As we said, executive vice president of the Trump Organization.

And OUTFRONT next, we are awaiting Donald Trump to be speaking live in Iowa at this rally in Sioux City. We'll going to be going there.

Plus, breaking news of a new video. The sheriff says, the student is actually strikes the police officer before he dragged her across the classroom. Does it justify his use of force?

And rare access to the frontlines of the war against ISIS tonight. Our Clarissa Ward going to show you who is telling the United States where to bomb? And this is an exclusive report that you need to watch.


[19:15:19] BURNETT: You're looking live at a Donald Trump campaign rally. This is in Sioux City, Iowa. Trump is about to speak to his supporters there being introduced right now. This is his first time in Iowa since multiple polls have showed him trailing Ben Carson in that state. One voter bloc delivering the good to Carson is evangelicals.

Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ben Carson's surge is being powered in part by his faith. CARSON: When I pick up my Bible, you know what I see? I see the

fairest individual in the universe God.

SERFATY: His support among evangelical is on the rise now leading Trump by more than 20 points among this very powerful voting group.

RANDALL BALMER, PROFESSOR OF RELIGION, DARTMOUTH COLLEGE: For a while, you had that flirtation with Donald Trump and his plain spokenness, I suppose. And now what we see is kind of a settling back to somebody who is more quiet and who seems to be articulating their interests and their concerns.

SERFATY: Carson talks a lot about his faith, but little about his specific denomination. Telling CNN that many evangelicals see his religion as out of mainstream. Quote, "People tend to ascribe to Adventism, any weird thing they have about religion because they really don't know." Carson is a Seventh Day Adventist but prefers to be called a Christian-American. Adventist worship on Saturday, not Sunday, don't believe in hell, believe that Jesus' second coming is imminent and like Carson most are vegetarians, don't smoke or drink alcohol.

BALMER: Some Americans and even many evangelicals don't regard the Seventh Day Adventist as part of the mainstream of American religious culture. So, I think he's tried to soften some of the edges somewhat.

SERFATY: Trump falling behind Carson in Iowa in the latest national poll tried to sew that doubt himself.

TRUMP: I'm Presbyterian. Boy, that's down the middle of the road, folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh Day Adventist, I don't know about. I just don't know about.

SERFATY: Trump's own faith has been under the microscope among evangelicals, too.

TRUMP: People are so shocked when they find this out. I'm protestant, I'm Presbyterian. And I go to church, and I love God and I love my church.

SERFATY: He says, he now attends this church in Manhattan.

TRUMP: I go to Marlboro Collegiate Church.

SERFATY: But the church tells CNN he is not an active member. And when asked, he admits he never asked God for forgiveness.

TRUMP: When we go in church and when I drink my little wine which is about the only wine I drink and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness.


SERFATY: And Ben Carson in the past has really called into question the authenticity of Donald Trump's faith. He says that this is the biggest difference between them both as candidates -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Sunlen, thank you very much. And now, the former Reagan White House Political Director Jeffrey Lord, a Donald Trump supporter. And our political commentator and host of "The Ben Ferguson Show" Ben Ferguson. All right. I'm still chuckling a little bit as I do every time I hear that little cracker comment from Donald Trump.


Jeff, Jeff, all right, the latest polls shows Carson being --




LORD: Since he doesn't drink.

BURNETT: More important points with evangelicals. It's a really important voting bloc. And of course Trump now also -- Carson with female voters according to this same poll. Isn't this a major problem when you look at those two demographics?

LORD: No. I will tell you why I don't think it is. And I think we need to broaden out to Iowa in context with everything else that's going on.


LORD: In 1980, Ronald Reagan lost the Iowa caucuses to George H.W. Bush and went on to win both New Hampshire and South Carolina and then the two of them battle on until May with Reagan winning the majority. But Bush occasionally winning other states like here in Pennsylvania in 19, I'm sorry, in 2008 and 2012. Evangelicals swarmed to Governor Huckabee and then to Senator Santorum. Neither of them got much further than Iowa. So, I think we need to keep this in context. Donald Trump does not only have a lot of support in Iowa, but I think he's got a good ground game there which I discussed myself with some with folks in Iowa. So, again, you've got to deliver this vote. And I think, you know, he is well prepared to do that. What the state of the Carson campaign is on that, I honestly don't know.

BURNETT: Ben, when you like at the "Des Moines Register" poll, the people seem to agree when they broke it down on issue, a lot of them agree with Ben Carson. Seventy seven percent like what he had to say about Hitler and how if Jewish people had guns, that Hitler would have been less likely to succeed. Seventy three percent like that he raised questions about a Muslim being president. Eighty one percent like that he likened ObamaCare to slavery.

BEN FERGUSON, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST, "THE BEN FERGUSON SHOW": Yes. I think Ben Carson is a guy that connects well with the voters there. And I also think they like the fact they feel like he is authentic and original. I also think that one of the big issues here is arrogant candidates do not do very well in Iowa. They just don't. This is a group of people that are highly, I think, educated when it comes to politics and what's going on. Because they take pride in realizing that their vote really does matter. Caucusing matters. And they like being the first.


[19:20:28] FERGUSON: And I think there is part of this is the arrogance factor that's gotten Trump in trouble. I also think though Donald Trump and the way he's attacking Ben Carson has turned up a lot of evangelicals. When you kind of mock someone's faith or religion and say, I don't know about this weird Seventh Day Adventist thing. I don't know about it. It's awkward.


FERGUSON: My religion however is perfect and middle of the road. That does not go very well with these voters.

BURNETT: Not with evangelicals, that's for sure. All right. Trump and Carson have both been heavily criticized for some of their comments. And I wanted to play this. Jeff, you've heard all of these things but we put it together very specifically. Here you go.

LORD: Sure.


TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They are bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

CARSON: A lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight and when they come out they're gay.

TRUMP: He's a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured.

CARSON: I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.

TRUMP: When you talk about George Bush, I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time.

CARSON: I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed.


BURNETT: Now, Jeff, Governor John Kasich obviously arrival to them doing poorly in the polls. Said he is sick and tired of listening to this nonsense referring to that, getting a lot of attention for that today. Are both Trump and Carson going too far with comments that we just saw? LORD: No, I don't think so. One of the things that I think

Governor Kasich with all due respect to him, he is a terrific guy. But I do think the mistake he's making is not understanding how fed up the American people are with the quote-unquote, "republican establishment" or perhaps the media establishment, et cetera. So that when they hear these controversial comments, and I put that in quote, as played back by the media sort of being urged to think that these are terrible things to say or somebody get out of the race, et cetera, et cetera --

BURNETT: Now, you are saying they backlash.

LORD: There is a backlash to this. And I think Governor Kasich just simply, you know, doesn't get the drift. And I also think in all candor, he is way down in the polls. He's got to do something as to a lot of these other candidates. And there is a little bit of desperation here.

BURNETT: Ben, quick final word.

FERGUSON: It's a new strategy. No, I think it is a new strategy. I think whether the Kasich or anybody else that's in this, they are trying to get together and all rally behind. We must go after Carson and we must go after Donald Trump. And if we don't, I mean, look at Jeb Bush when he says, if you want someone like that, you know, I don't even care about the job. Vote for Donald Trump if you want someone arrogant. He is trying to remind people, do you really want a guy that acts like Donald Trump in the White House? Whether that will work or not or connect, I don't know. But I will say this. Right now the outside is still the one connecting the best to the voters and they better pay attention to that.

BURNETT: That's for sure.

LORD: That's right.

BURNETT: Thanks to both.

LORD: We agree.

BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, new video tonight, the key moment that might change how you see the story of a police officer slam a 16- year-old girl into the ground. We'll going to go frame by frame and show you two crucial things in this video.

Plus, we have new learned new details about the officer tonight. And we have a special report next.


[19:27:30] BURNETT: Breaking news. Parents and students now demanding answers at a school board meeting after a South Carolina sheriff's deputy took down a female high school student yesterday. It was apparently all over a cell phone. Police say the student was being disruptive, refusing to hand over the device, didn't leave the classroom when repeatedly asked to. And here is what happened next. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me your hands. Give me your hands.


BURNETT: Tonight the FBI and U.S. attorney's office had launched a civil rights investigation.

Miguel Marquez begins our coverage OUTFRONT.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The video disturbing, a 16-year-old female high school student being forcefully ripped from her chair, handcuffed and removed from class.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me your hands.

MARQUEZ: The school resource officer Ben Fields, a deputy with Richland County Sheriff's Department since 2004 has for now been removed from his duties at Spring Valley High School.

SHERIFF LEON LOTT, RICHLAND COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA: Want to throw up. It just makes you sick to your stomach when you see that initial video.

MARQUEZ: More of the disturbing encounter can be heard on a second video clip.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't know me? Are you going to come with me or am I going to make you? Come on, I'm going to get you up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me your hands.

MARQUEZ: A video shows the young woman striking the officer as he begins to remove her from the room.

LOTT: The video shows that when an officer puts his hands on her initially, she reaches up and pop stops with his fist. But again, does that justify the means? Is that justified what we did. And that is what I have to look at.

MARQUEZ: But what happened before the video started recording, why would a deputy who received the district's highest honor last year use such force? One student in the room writes on social media, "The officer in this is a cool dude. He is not racist. Girl was asked to put her phone away but told teacher no and administrator was called, asked her to come to his office. She told him know. And then called the resource officer. When he got there, he asked her nicely to get up, over and over. He did nothing wrong." The incident has caused anger and revived long-held concerns about the treatment of young African-Americans in the school district here.

REVEREND NELSON RIVERS, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: And what about the school resource officers -- school resources offices? We really have to take a look at this. Because they are arresting more people in school than they are in the streets. That cannot be.

MARQUEZ: The local ACLU Chapter notes school discipline everything from arrests to expulsions and suspensions is disproportionate. Sixty one percent of African-Americans receiving such discipline compared with 29 percent of white students.


BURNETT: Miguel, what more are you learning about the officer here? We haven't much about his background, Deputy Ben Fields.

MARQUEZ: Well, look, there's been a lot of talk about this being a racist incident. The board meeting behind me right now, somebody got up to talk about this very thing, as just as it actually got started this evening.

One thing the sheriff said today that was very interesting, that this is an individual who's had a long-term relationship with an African-American woman. The sheriff said we've never seen any racist attitude or racist behavior out of him. It comes as a complete surprise. He's mounting his investigation. We'll have an answer in 24 hours to whether or not he will stay.

The other thing about Deputy Fields is that he has been named in two federal civil rights complaints. One dismissed outright by a jury in his favor. The other is still pending. So, I think the idea that this person is simply a racist, you know, even the sheriff here is saying it just doesn't add up -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Miguel, thank you.

And OUTFRONT now, Chip Jackson. He is a school board member.

Chip, appreciate you being with us tonight. I know you're having multiple meetings this evening.

What have you learned so far?

CHIP JACKSON, SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER, RICHLAND COUNTY DISTRICT TWO: Well, we've learned this tragedy that happened in our school yesterday is one that is so provokingly horrible that it has required us to take a very serious look at everything we do and put in practice any measure we can to prevent this from ever happening again in the future.

BURNETT: In terms of the meetings that you're having, have you heard from other students in that classroom, heard any versions of this story that have made you question the videos that you've seen?

JACKSON: No, I have not heard personally from any students. However, looking at the video that once we get facts in, that I want there to be maximum charges employed, based upon every avenue we have under the law, number one. And that this individual, if found guilty of what clearly seems to be beyond comprehension, acts of violence, once that has been determined officially by the legal system, that that individual never be allowed to any of our schools.

BURNETT: And, Chip, the sheriff said today he is going to make a decision in the next 24 hours about whether this officer keeps his job, whether he goes back into a classroom again. Obviously, it sounds like you want that never to happen, right?

JACKSON: We made it perfectly clear that this officer is no longer going to be coming back into the schools of Richmond School District Two. Now, there are resource officer all over the state of South Carolina in many of our schools -- in our 85 school districts. But in Richland School District Two, this individual, we made it clear that we do not want him back on our school grounds and in our schools. That is a permanent request we made.

BURNETT: You just heard our Miguel Marquez just reported, 61 percent of black students are disciplined in this school, only 29 percent of white students. When you see this video, and you have a black teenage girl, a white officer, I have to ask you the question -- is it about race, do you think?

JACKSON: That is a tough question. I'll say this to you candidly. When I saw the video as an African-American male, I saw my daughter who graduated from the school district several years ago, I saw my niece who is currently in the seventh grade in the school district right now, and even I saw my wife who currently works in the school district.

Now, I'm an African-American male and I saw an African-American female. That's what I saw. So, the question I beg you to answer is, if the white officer looked into the face of that young girl, who did he see? I don't think he saw his daughter, because it wouldn't look like him, or his niece, or his wife.

And so, you can draw your own conclusions, and all those candidates well. So, that's the perspective that I see when I see those video that I take.

BURNETT: All right. Chip Jackson, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much, sir.

JACKSON: Thank you so much.

BURNETT: And many share Chip's outrage at this video. Is there any way the officer's actions could be justified? The two crucial frames that you need to see after this. We're going to show you in slow motion exactly what we're talking about.

Plus, U.S. combat boots on the ground. A major about-face for the Obama administration. Our Clarissa Ward exclusively on the frontlines in Syria. Her stunning report of who is calling the shots where U.S. warplanes drop bombs. You need to see this for yourself.


[19:38:42] BURNETT: And breaking news, a South Carolina sheriff revealing tonight that a third video has emerged of a police officer taking down a teenage girl in a high school classroom. Officials are looking at that video for new evidence at this hour.

Now, we also have new video tonight that might make you think twice about what actually happened. It might not. But we want to go frame by frame here.

Our legal analyst, Danny Cevallos, is OUTFRONT.

And, Danny, a lot of people are outraged at the officer's actions, right? They saw this. They said this is completely unjustified. You just heard the school board member saying completely unjustified.

We want to look at a couple of frames, though, that might make people see things and ask different questions. Let's play this and tell me what you see.

DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Take a look here. You see her right arm. It's blurred out. You can see a strike right there. We didn't see strikes beforehand, but that tends to show us the situation has escalated, not under just the law but this particular county school board policy, which tiers its infractions from merely from being disorderly in class to actually fighting or even assaulting arguably an employee.

BURNETT: So, let's show this play again. So, what we can show, OK, this is playing. And then her arm is going to come up right --

CEVALLOS: There it is right there on his neck.

BURNETT: She hit him on the neck.

CEVALLOS: Exactly.

BURNETT: That is a punch that happens here. She punches him.

OK. Let's look at -- there is another one you want to show me as well.

[19:40:01] This is a little bit later on in the incident.

CEVALLOS: Now, this is post-punch. You see her leg appears to be caught in the desk here. And she's flailing about. That can really generate some force, which is why you see the officers sort of struggling to drag her away.

But if this is, and it is post strike as we saw, in the officer's mind, he may be thinking --

BURNETT: Here it is again. Her leg gets stuck there.

CEVALLOS: Gets caught in the desk. And her body is caught in the desk.

The officer is pulling a student and desk along. But by this point, the officer may have made the determination, I've been hit, this has now been escalated. If I wasn't going to arrest before, I am going to arrest now. This will end with her in handcuffs.

BURNETT: OK. Now, we've seen two specific parts of this. Let's go to the full video and play this whole full video out. This is where it starts. You see the punch. Chair goes back. Her legs get caught. At this point, now, he is going to arrest her, so he pulls her and the desk --

CEVALLOS: Pulling her out, which originally she was sent out of the classroom. That was his original mission when he was called after two other administrators could not achieve this.

BURNETT: OK. We were all under the impression when you have cell phone video or helmet cameras, or whatever it might, all of a sudden, you are going to know what happened. We see this start and end. There is already an altercation happening. You see her punch him. You see him pull her away. But the altercation already started.

Is there something that could have happened before this that could have justified this action or not?

CEVALLOS: Absolutely. What we want to know, what was going on beforehand? How disruptive was the student, because not only does it matter under South Carolina law, which makes a misdemeanor if you're disrupting a classroom, but also under this county's policy which tiers its infractions.

And if a student is just merely disruptive in a class, that alone can get the student in trouble. Did it warrant calling the police officer in? Well, that depends whether the teacher ordered her out of the classroom. And that's where the escalation begins.

BURNETT: All right. Danny, thank you very much.

And next, our Clarissa Ward on the front lines in the war against ISIS. This is a report you cannot miss. This is -- you're going to actually see who is calling the shots, who is telling American warplanes where to strike. Who is calling the shots?

This is a shocking report. You want to see it exclusively, next.

And on a lighter note, Jeanne Moos on cats.


[19:46:34] BURNETT: Tonight, boots on the ground -- an about- face in the ISIS war. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter saying the United States, quote, "won't hold back from direct action on the ground in Iraq and Syria." Now, this comes just days after the first American soldier was killed in combat fighting ISIS.

Barbara Starr is OUTFRONT. And, Barbara, you know, the president seems so categorical on

this. He will not put combat boots on the ground. This seems like a major about-face.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Why is that happening, Erin? I have to tell you. Some officials here at the Pentagon have two suggestions why we saw this today when Carter testified on Capitol Hill. One is White House legacy, President Obama down to the last many months in office. Not satisfied with the progress in the war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. He wants to see faster action.

And the new wrinkle in the mix is the presence of Russia. A lot of chatter that Russia and Iraq may be getting closer, so again having to show more progress in Iraq to convince the Iraqi government to hang in there with the United States.

But make no mistake: we are talking Carter raised, the notion of more air strikes and direct action on the ground. He specifically pointed out Raqqa in Syria and Ramadi in Iraq, two ISIS strongholds as areas he wanted to focus on. There seems to be no way around it. If it gets approved by the White House, it at some point will put U.S. troops much closer to that front line, much more in direct combat -- Erin.

BURNETT: Barbara, thank you very much.

And much of the U.S. efforts in this fight are now centered in Raqqa, the headquarters in many ways for ISIS. Our own Clarissa Ward got rare access, incredibly rare access to fighters right there.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These men are at the core of America's latest strategy to defeat ISIS. Manning positions along a vast and desolate front line with ISIS entrenched in villages just through the haze. Their fighters with the YPG, a force of roughly 30,000 Syrian Kurds which backed by coalition air power has dealt decisive blows to Islamic State militants across northern Syria.

Commander Bahos (ph) is in charge of this front line position in the city of Hasakah, which the YPG took from ISIS in August after months of fierce clashes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They tried to attack us again ten days ago. We were prepared, so they didn't reach their target.

WARD: But they keep trying.

(on camera): ISIS has control of the next village along, which is just over a mile in that direction. But the men at this base tell us the ISIS fighters often go at night to that building just over there, so they can launch attacks on these positions.

(voice-over): The U.S. hopes the YPG will soon move from defense to offense, taking the fight to is' stronghold in Raqqa, but at makeshift bases across the front line, the fighters we saw were lightly armed, poorly equipped and exhausted by months of fighting.

And senior commander Lawand knows the battles ahead will be even tougher.

(on camera): Can you take Raqqa without heavier weapons from the coalition?

COMMANDER LAWAND, YPG (through translator): The weapons we have are not high-quality. So this campaign will need new, heavy weapons.

WARD (voice-over): The most important weapon they do have but don't want to talk about is this device, which helps the YPG get exact coordinates for enemy positions.

[19:50:05] Those coordinates are sent to a joint U.S.-Kurdish operations room and minutes later, fighter jets come screaming in.

Rezwan told us he was given a week of training before using the device.

(on camera): Who trained you how to use this?

REZWAN, YPG FIGHTER (through translator): Believe me, I can't say. When you finish the training, it's a secret, but they weren't speaking Kurdish.

WARD (voice-over): A mystery, as is so much of the unfolding U.S. strategy in this critical corner of Syria.


BURNETT: Our report from Clarissa Ward. And Clarissa joins us from Erbil, Iraq, tonight.

Clarissa, that fighter that you just had there in your piece told you he had one week of training, and now he's using a Garmin device, as you showed, calling in airstrikes? I mean, that is pretty stunning.

WARD: It is pretty stunning, but you know, the U.S. has been desperately looking for good partners on the ground inside Syria for years now, and the main criteria that the U.S. really has in that search is trying to find moderate fighting groups that don't have any ties to more extremist groups.

And the reality is, in other parts of the country, even if you find moderate groups, it's a much more fluid situation. People move from group to group. They may have a brother who fights with al Qaeda or Jabhat al Nusra in Syria, even if they're with a moderate group. The Kurds are far more insular. You don't have that fluidity and you don't have that extremism.

So, in a sense, it's a marriage of convenience. BURNETT: Now, the United States says today, as you know, that

more boots could be coming on the ground. The U.S. defense secretary saying that. President Obama had been, you know, very categorical that would not happen.

Obviously, things are changing. You saw those fighters on the ground. Are American troops welcome?

WARD: The fighters that we spoke to, Erin, are asking for a lot from America. They want to see more military support. They would like to have heavier weapons. They want armor-piercing weapons. They rely heavily on American air support and American technology, as we saw in my report.

But the one thing they are not asking for is to have American troops on the front lines with them, fighting with them. Part of that may indeed just be pride, but I think there's also a sense that they feel the U.S. presence in the region, especially a visible presence, is so polarizing that it could almost do more harm than good.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much. As we said, an incredible report.

And if you were stunned by seeing the fighters, America's allies fighting in sandals or after one week of training, calling in where the United States is dropping bombs, you can ask more questions. Clarissa has a lot of answers. She is answering your questions about this report tonight. You can submit your questions on our Facebook page right now.

And next, shelter cats getting star treatment. This segment is good for your health.


[19:57:35] BURNETT: More than 2 million cat videos were posted to YouTube last year, wracking up 26 billion views, according to a recent study. Now, did you know that watching those videos was probably good for your health?

So, here's to your health and here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: First, there was shake. Glorious photos of dogs shaking. Then came the sequel, "Shake Puppies." And now, the sequel to the sequel, "Shake Cats."

From fur ball to hairless, 61 shaking cats, most from shelters, shot by a photographer who let animals get under her skin.

CARLI DAVIDSON, PET PHOTOGRAPHER: The saber tooth tiger, three- headed dog here.

MOOS: Carli Davidson was inspired by her beloved, slobbering mastiff, Norbert, since departed. DAVIDSON: I would be on a little stepladder, like cleaning his

drool off the walls.

MOOS: She took Norbert's photo shaking.

DAVIDSON: Face everywhere. There was, like tongue over here, there was some drool over there.

MOOS: And when humans drooled over her photos, she'd found her niche.

So, how do you get cats to shake? Well, they did not squirt them.

DAVIDSON: We captured the shake when we would clean their ears.

MOOS: Adding a drop or two of special ear cleaner --

DAVIDSON: Or just itch their ears. You know when you rub your cat's ears and they do that thing.

MOOS: For many furry mammals, shaking is an incredible drying mechanism. Rats shake about 18 times a second versus four times a second for dogs.

DAVIDSON: The secret is, my camera shoots, you know, ten frames per second. So, I'm just laying down on the shutter. The second I see the cat start to think about shaking.

MOOS: Carly couldn't resist showing off her own pet.

DAVIDSON: Under that cover is my cat, Yushi. Look at that, Yushi.

MOOS: But this is one tail we couldn't end --


MOOS: Without tongues, the only celebrity cat in the book is Little Bob, famous for a tongue that perpetually sticks out due to a genetic defect.

Did you see that one cat kind of lick his eye?



How crazy was that?

MOOS: The owner had predicted it.

DAVIDSON: And they were like, wah!

MOOS: This is a book that will have eyes rolling and tongues wagging. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: And tonight on CNN, the story behind the most-watched videos. "Videos Gone Viral 2" airs tonight at 9:00 Eastern and Pacific. Until then, it's not good whether you can touch your nose with your tongue, now try to touch your eyeball.

Thanks for joining us. Be sure to set your DVR to record OUTFRONT to watch us any time.

Anderson's next.