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New U.S. Forces Heading To Iraq; Paris Ringleader Sought Goods For Future Attack; Justice Department, Asked To Investigate Chicago Police Department; Trump Leads GOP Field Despite Controversial Remarks. Aired 7-8:00p ET

Aired December 1, 2015 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:10] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Next, warnings about a Paris-style attack in the United States as the President puts combat troops in the fight against ISIS.

Plus, breaking news, a call for the Justice Department to investigate Chicago's Police Department. As the mayor fires Chicago's top cop. Charges of a cover-up growing in the shooting death of a black teen.

And could Donald Trump be his party's nominee? Why Republicans are in a panic tonight over the very real possibility. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, I'm Erin Burnett. And OUTFRONT tonight, U.S. troops going to war. President Obama putting combat boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria. The Defense Secretary Ash Carter announcing today that American troops will now be leading missions, including conducting raids and directly fighting ISIS leaders. Carter refusing to say exactly how many troops will be fighting. And in a crucial moment before Congress, he couldn't answer the most crucial question.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we winning, Mr. Secretary?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are we winning now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to win.


BURNETT: Going to win, but not saying the U.S. is winning now. This comes as we are learning now details about additional terror attacks planned by ISIS. Earlier today, President Obama said that the U.S. will never be able to eliminate the threat of a terrorist attack and his former intelligence chief agreed with that chilling assessment.


LT. GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN (RET.), FORMER DIRECTOR, DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: I really do believe it's a matter of time. I believe there is going to be where our luck is going to run out and they're going to be able to achieve something along the lines of what we saw in Paris.


BURNETT: Much more on that in just a moment. I want to begin though with Jim Sciutto. And Jim, let's talk about this issue of U.S. troops going to war. President Obama has said again and again there isn't going to be a combat role for U.S. troops. But these troops are unquestionably in a combat role.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's just an impossible argument to make at this point. And the kinds of missions they are going to be involved in are some of the most dangerous missions. They are going to go after high-valued targets, leaders of ISIS, they're going to be going on hostage rescue missions gathering intelligence, carrying out raids. We've seen even just in the last month that these kinds of missions have been deadly for U.S. forces. The U.S. Delta Force operator killed in a similar raid last month. These troops very much in the fight and there are going to be more so in the coming months.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): After frequent White House denials that U.S. troops would face combat in Iraq and Syria, today the President is ordering dozens of U.S. Special Forces into combat roles involving direct action against ISIS.

ASH CARTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: These special operators will over time be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture ISIL leaders.

SCIUTTO: The new expeditionary force will number in the dozens, does support forces will expand its total footprint to about 200.

GEN. JOSEPH DUNFORD, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: This force and the operations, this force will conduct, will provide us additional intelligence that will make our operations much more effective.

SCIUTTO: Part of their mission, raids like this one in Northern Iraq in October, a daring joint operation involving Kurdish commandos and the U.S. Army's Delta Force to free these ISIS-held prisoners. Demonstrating the added danger of direction action one Delta Force operate Master Sergeant Joshua Wheeler was killed. This new deployment to Iraq, it is in addition to the 50 Special Forces the U.S. is already deploying on the ground in Syria.

CARTER: It puts everybody on notice in Syria. You don't know at night who is going to be coming in the window. And that's the sensation that we want all of ISIL's leadership and followers to have. So, it's an important capability.

SCIUTTO: The expanded U.S. combat role comes in the aftermath of Paris. And as progress against ISIS on the battlefield has been halting. President Obama declared the group contained in an interview two weeks ago.

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: From the start, our goal has been first to contain, and we have contained them.

SCIUTTO: Today however, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dunford appeared to contradict his commander in chief.

REP. RANDY FORBES (R), VIRGINIA: Have we currently contained ISIL?

DUNFORD: We have not contained ISIL.

FORBES: Have they been contained at any time since 2010?

DUNFORD: Tactically in areas they have been. Strategically they have spread since 2010.


SCIUTTO: As the role of U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria has expanded, so have their numbers. We've seen them go from just a couple of hundred troops and little more than a year ago, largely to protect embassies in Baghdad, consulate, in Erbil, that numbers increased more than ten-fold since then. And with his additional deployment to Iraq, it's going to go above the current authorization Erin of 3,500 troops the President allowed. He has going to have to raise that bar again for these troops to go in there. And the people I talk to do not believe this will be the last deployment to Iraq and Syria.

[19:05:12] BURNETT: Certainly it doesn't seem that way as a couple of weeks. Obviously they put in troops and now we are adding already this quickly. Thank you very much to Jim Sciutto.

Obviously the fear is here adding to the President saying that it would be impossible to prevent a terror attack in the U.S. This as former intelligence chief saying, one is inevitable. This comes as we're learning new information about additional terror attacks that were in the works in Paris.

Fred Pleitgen is on the ground there tonight. And Fred, what are you learning?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Erin. And some of these terror attacks apparently were ready to go. And it was interesting because we were reporting just a couple of hours ago that the ringleader of the Paris attacks Abdelhamid Abaaoud have put up some $5,000 to his female cousin to buy him flashy suits and some shoes. So that he could blend in for a possible terror attack on a commercial district here in Paris called La Defense. We are now learning that he actually wanted her to buy two suits and two pairs of shoes for himself and an accomplice for those further terror attacks. This really is something that apparently fits into the kind of pattern that he shows in the past.

In January when the "Charlie Hebdo" attacks happened, another plot was busted in Belgium where apparently he was the ringleader of a group trying to acquire police uniforms that were also supposed to be used for terror attacks as well. His cell also apparently planning attacks against Jewish installations here against schools as well as transport network. And I can tell you, Erin, I was in the Jewish quarter here in Paris earlier today. And there's a lot of people who were very concerned about this new information coming out. In fact, there was one woman visited in her home who said she is packing her bags and actually moving to Israel from France -- Erin.

BURNETT: Pretty awful outcome. All right. Thank you very much, Fred. And OUTFRONT now, Dan Senor served as the Bush administration spokesman for the Coalition in Iraq. And the former NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Wesley Clark. Good to have both of you with me. Dan, let me start with you. These troops, combat troops, we can just get rid of the rhetorical whatever it is of saying they are not combat troops. They are combat troops fighting with top ISIS players, conducting raids. Is this the plan, the strategy?

DAN SENOR, FORMER SPOKESMAN AND FORMER ADVISER TO COALITION IN IRAQ: It's the beginning of a plan but it doesn't seem like a real strategy. So, putting some pressure on ISIS on the ground is helpful to chase them around. But the reality is, ISIS has a massive sanctuary in the eastern part of northeastern Syria and western Iraq, a massive sanctuary. And there's been no real effort to win over the local populations in our fight against ISIS. The Sunni population. Five million Sunnis in Iraq, 60 million Sunnis in Syria. Many of them are gravitating to ISIS because it is their only source of protection. And what are we doing to win over those cities --

BURNETT: You're pointing out ISIS is not just an ideology at this point that it is successfully becoming in your view a country.

SENOR: A self-sustaining political entity, self-sustaining economically and militarily. And until we address in a meaningful comprehensive way how are we going to shutdown that sanctuary, I think everything else we're dealing is just symptoms. And so, just sending in a little more, you know, special operations capability, again, not a bad thing. But what is the long-term strategic goal? What do we do by the way once we chase ISIS out of Mosul? We change ISIS out of Raqqa?


SENOR: What replaces ISIS? These are big issues to the transitions in these areas that haven't been articulated.

BURNETT: Yes. And General Clark, I mean, this is, we have started to see a dribble-drabble. Special ops here, 50 there. You know, your comment before the segment started was I've been there, I've done that.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Sure. That was Vietnam. This is not Vietnam and this is not Iraq and this is not Afghanistan. What we've got to do is we've got to get a some kind of political consensus that bridges the gap between Iran's objectives supported by Russia and Saudi Arabia and Turkey. So that we can then turn our attention on ISIS. If we can't do that, then the alternative is, we just mass against ISIS coming out of Iraq and going into Syria. But when do you that, ISIS is not a regular army. When they start to lose, they'll feed right back into the population, they'll disappear and will be an occupying force. So, we are looking at this to the --

BURNETT: So, you are saying, if you were just to throw in ground troops, as some are saying, go ahead, no one else is going to do it, the world is looking to the United States to lead. Only the United States can do it. Put in the ground troops why. That's the argument. Why not?

CLARK: Go back to the way we did it in Bosnia in the 1990s. We put together a plan, we brought the parties together and we said, we would put ground troops in under certain conditions. We could do the exact same move here, tougher situation, but you could set up conditions in such that you bring Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey together.


CLARK: And everybody then works against ISIS. Now, that means you've got to compromise with Russia on how long Assad stays. That means Russia is going to demand some kind of residual base in Latakia. That means you've got to have some kind of peace keeping force afterwards. That means you've got to deal with recalcitrant Jihadists who aren't ISIS. It's hard.

[19:10:10] BURNETT: But here's the thing. That might maybe true but is it delineate until you have some sort of a bad terrorist attack in the United States as the President just said, he's not able to prevent, and as former chief of intelligence just said, it's all but inevitable. Until that happens, it doesn't seem like any of these other things are going to happen.

SENOR: Well, let me just say, one of the reasons ISIS has so much purchase in Syria and Iraq is because there is a sense that Russia is protecting Assad, Assad is slaughtering the Sunnis. We are cutting deals with Iran.

CLARK: That's right.

SENOR: Iran has Hezbollah's proxy army. So, any deal with Russia that says, we are going to ignore Putin, we are going to -- sorry, we're going to ignore Assad. It's only going to feed this Sunni push to ISIS. So, cutting some kind of deal with Russia saying, we're going to ignore Assad -- the big problem we have right now is, Putin just cares about protecting Assad. The Saudis just care about confronting Iran. Israel cares about confronting Iran and Hezbollah -- cares about the Muslim brotherhood.

CLARK: Right.

SENOR: Turkey cares about -- Kurds in Syria and protecting the Turkey --

(CROSSTALK) The U.S. and France seem right -- are the only ones --

CLARK: It's not about terrorism. This is about the future of the Middle East as seen in the shape of Syria. So, if you've got to cut a deal, what you've got to do is you've got to look at how to protect the various elements of the population. And nobody gets what they want. Iran doesn't get its land bridge to the Mediterranean, Saudi Arabia doesn't get an exclusively Sunni Syria towards -- there's got to be some give on this. Now, when we did this in Bosnia, we carved out a Republika Srpska. And that took care of the Serbs. Issa Begovich (ph) didn't like it, the Muslim leader. He hated it, but everybody was sick of the war. In this case, we've got to get this arranged --

SENOR: So, what about printing a quasi-Sunni political state carved out from what our failed state in Syria and becoming a failed state in Iraq and have that Sunni entity be the place where Sunnis being slaughtered, whether it's by ISIS or by Assad can go.

CLARK: Sure.

SENOR: Whether or not they have the security capability to take on ISIS.

BURNETT: The problem is, of course, there's so many of the Sunni powers are willing to look the other way on this.

CLARK: You've got to protect the Alawites --

SENOR: Right.

CLARK: So, you've got of series of on play, you could put them together in a federal state.


CLARKS: You could have some kind of U.N. umbrella over it. You've got to put people on there on the ground. But you've got to do this as a way of then focusing on getting rid of ISIS and replacing it with something. Simply putting 40,000 or 100,000 troops and doesn't solve the problem. Got to replace.

BURNETT: All right.

SENOR: To your earlier question. The conditions that existed in Paris that enabled the ISIS attack to occur in Paris, many of them exist here. Permissive environment, access to weapons and bomb-making materials and an intelligence system that seems to be overwhelmed. All those conditions existed in Paris and they exist here in the United States. So, we have reason to be concerned. What is happening in places like Mosul in Raqqa that many Americans haven't heard of, actually matters to our security.

BURNETT: It certainly does. Thank you very much. Let's hope it doesn't take some sort of an awful thing to have this situation better strategized. OUTFRONT next, charges of a major cover-up in the shooting death

of a Chicago black teen. The police chief is out. Is Rahm Emanuel the mayor of Chicago, next?

Plus, Donald Trump, is he unstoppable? Why Republican insiders are so afraid tonight?

And then Ted Cruz, is he for real?


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, listen, here is the simple and undeniable fact, the overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats.



[19:16:52] BURNETT: Breaking news. Bring in the Fed. The Illinois attorney general asking the Department of Justice to investigate the Chicago Police Department. This in the wake of a video showing a white police officer shooting a black teen 16 times. The mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel today firing the city's top cop. And now protesters are calling for Emanuel himself to lose his job as cries of a major cover-up grow louder and louder.

Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since the chilling video of the shooting death of Laquan McDonald was released last week, Rahm Emanuel stood by the city's top cop Superintendent Garry McCarthy. Even on Tuesday morning, McCarthy claimed to have the mayor support.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you still feel the mayor has your back as you said many times?

GARRY MCCARTHY, SUPERINTENDENT, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, as recently as yesterday, he said the same thing. So, I'm going to say yes.

LAVANDERA: But just a few hours later, a very different message from Emanuel.

MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL (D), CHICAGO: This morning, I formally asked for his resignation.

LAVANDERA: The mayor applauded his tenure as leader of the city's police force but argued a change at the top was needed.

EMANUEL: Given what we are working on, he has become an issue rather than dealing with the issue. And a distraction.

LAVANDERA: This was the scene outside the mayor's office inside city hall. A growing chorus of critics calling for Emanuel to step down and allegations that top officials are covering up key details in the shooting of Laquan McDonald. The dash cam video was only released after freelance journalist Brandon Smith filed a lawsuit forcing the city of Chicago to make it public.

(on camera): There's a lot of talk and a lot of accusations that there's been a cover-up in this story. Do you agree with that?

BRANDON SMITH, FREELANCE JOURNALIST WHO REQUESTED VIDEO: I do. It's hard to paint it any other way, what with all we still don't know about Laquan's case.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Critics of the investigation are asking why audio is missing from the police dash cameras and an employee at a nearby Burger King alleges police deleted nearly 90 minutes of surveillance video from the time of the shooting. The city's top prosecutor says, the videos were not tampered with, but the alleged gap does raise questions. Then there is a fact it took more than a year to charge Officer Jason Van Dyke with first degree murder. Emanuel says he is committed to regaining the trust of the community.

EMANUEL: I'm responsible. I don't shirk that responsibility. I have taken certain steps prior to this date. I'm taking steps today. As I told you, this is a work in progress and finding a solution. It's not the end of the problem. It's the beginning of the solution towards the problem.


LAVANDERA: And Erin, you know, when you go to these protests around the city that have taken place over the course of the last week, one of the chants you hear over and over again, 16 shots and a cover-up. So, clearly, those protests and those chants having a great deal of effect and what we saw unfold here today in the city of Chicago as the Mayor Rahm Emanuel tries to get a handle on the crisis surrounding him -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Ed, thank you very much. No doubt hoping that getting rid of his top cop will be enough. Obviously others are calling for Rahm Emanuel to step aside.

OUTFRONT now, Brian Warner, a former Chicago police officer. He was shot in line of duty. He is now chairman of Chicago Police Survivors. And Clarence Page, a nationally syndicated columnist.

All right. Thanks very much to both of you. Brian, let me start with you. The charges of a cover-up are growing louder and louder. Several reasons for that. But one of the -- you heard in this piece, just a moment ago, a missing surveillance video. Burger King Manager says, police deleted 86 minutes of video from his store. Eighty six minutes of he says cover the crucial moments before, after and during the shooting. How is that not suspicious?

BRIAN WARNER, FORMER CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER: Let me start by saying that a police-involved shooting is one of the most difficult investigations in law enforcement. It affects everyone. The officer involved in the shooting, the family members of the officer, the department, the alleged victim or offender that had been shot by the police. So, it's a very difficult investigation. So, when we get people throwing things out there for their own self-interest and agitators, trying to get their own message out there, it's unfortunate. I think the FBI has already evaluated that tape. "The Sun-Times" reported that they evaluated that tape and there is nothing amiss with it. They have the technologies to look at that. It's a low-level security camera system. Anybody in law enforcement that's ever gone to investigate a crime will tell you that a lot of those systems are basically useless.

[19:21:25] BURNETT: So, you say it's just a coincidence that those 86 minutes are missing? You don't find that problematic?

WARNER: I don't know if anybody said it, I'm not certain that anybody said 86 minutes are missing. It's just --

BURNETT: The manager of the Burger King has said it.

WARNER: OK. Well, the manager of the Burger King is not an expert that the FBI and the technology, the FBI has. So, I would probably put my faith in the FBI's technology not in the manager of the Burger King.

BURNETT: Clarence, I mean, what do you think about the tapes and more broadly. You heard Ed saying, protesters chanting "16 shots and a cover-up." Can you explain away? Could anyone explain away things like that Burger King tape?

CLARENCE PAGE, COLUMNIST, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: I think the gap in the tape is just as suspicious as the similar gap was in the Watergate tape. We know they've got a full explanation of that except that it was an accident by Secretary Rose Mary Woods. But it's not just that Burger King video. There are also witnesses who say that police shooed civilians away from the scene when they should have been taking names like a normal investigation would proceed. Witnesses say that police tried to get them to change their stories. A lot needs to be investigated here. That looks a lot like the sort of traditional cover-up we are accustomed to. All too often with Chicago police. Let me say, I used to cover Chicago police. I have a great deal of respect for anybody who wears a police officer's uniform and does his or her job.


PAGE: But at the same time, I know we have a terrible problem with a culture of corruption in the city, recently disclosed rundowns on complaints against officers showed that more than 10 percent have more than 10 complaints against them on their record. That includes Van Dyke who had 18 accounts against them.


PAGE: Including a very large settlement in one case. And yet he was never disciplined. Most of them don't get disciplined. This is a sort of thing that needs investigation and more than that it needs action. BURNETT: So, Brian, let me ask you. Because to this point that

Clarence just made, 18 complaints against this officer, he's out on bail. Charged with first degree murder, out on bail. Something in and of itself that has outraged some of the protesters. The video that so many feel is so damning, you don't see the same way. Why not?

WARNER: I don't. Because the video shows, the primary part of the video shows seven seconds of the shooting. It does not have audio. If you put yourself in officer Van Dyke's position of why he did what he did, I'm certain that when this goes to court and he has his day, his trial, he will be found not guilty. And then a lot of people won't like that outcome. But if you look at the case in its totality, the shooting in its totality, you have an armed offender. And the hierarchy of the use of force model in the Chicago Police Department, he is an armed assailant. He has a knife. There's been numerous 911 calls saying this guy is dangerous, we need help.

The police arrive. The police are telling the dispatcher, yep, this guy is on drugs or something, he is swinging a knife, he stabs the tire of a police car. He's heading towards a strip mall where there are other citizens that are going to be in danger. Adjacent. Officer Van Dykes decides -- if he does not act at this point, something awful was going to happen here. He is an armed assailant with a knife refusing police orders to drop that knife.

BURNETT: All right. Final words to you Clarence. Could this go all the way to the top, as you mention Watergate? Briefly, could it go to Rahm Emanuel?

PAGE: Well, Rahm seems to be pretty safely re-elected right now. I think Anita Alvarez, the prosecutor is in much more difficult straits because she is facing a primary in March as a good opponent. And this tape is damning. Look at the cases around the country like this. And you find that judges and juries find in favor of -- rather find against police officers when you've got a videotape to back it up. If we don't have a tape, that's when Michael Brown out there in Ferguson and the police officer gets the benefit of the doubt.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks very much to both of you. A lot more to come on this story as it's heating up.

OUTFRONT next, Donald Trump live in New Hampshire doing something totally unexpected actually. He is taking questions. He was not anticipated to do that from the crowd. We are listening to them. Can he win the nomination? There is only one person Republicans insiders tonight seem to fear more than Donald Trump. Special OUTFRONT report coming up.


[19:29:42] BURNETT: You're looking at live pictures out of Waterville, Valley, New Hampshire. Donald Trump holding a campaign rally in the nation's first primary state. Tonight marks exactly nine weeks until the Iowa caucuses. And after six months of being in the race and a lot of controversy, Trump is still leading in both of those states. He is the front-runner. Jeff Zeleny is in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. And Jeff,

you know, some are saying, oh, could Donald Trump be feeling the heat, people have been coming after him, now there might be up for cuss with Ted Cruz. Trump is doing something tonight unexpected. He's going to be taking questions at the event you're at. Is he feeling the heat?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Erin, he is going to be taking questions here. Just behind me, you can see him talking here. It is a full house on an icy night in New Hampshire.

But I don't know he's feeling the heat. He is feeling a different moment from what voters want. He said at the very beginning, Erin. He said, look, I know you have questions for me, so I'm here to answer your questions. So, we'll find out what kind of questions they have for him, Erin.

BURNETT: That's going to be fascinating. Obviously, Jeff is going to be there for us monitoring it.

Jeff, thank you very much.

We'll bring Jeff in as we get more information to what people do ask Donald Trump. You know, one of the most known things he did in relation to a question about Muslims happened in an unscripted event.

OUTFRONT now, national spokeswoman for the Donald Trump campaign, Katrina Pierson. Also, joining me, the political commentator here for CNN, and host of "The Ben Ferguson Show", Ben Ferguson.

Katrina, let me start with you. Donald Trump going to be taking audience questions. Does that make you nervous? These unscripted moments are often where he, frankly, purposefully, decides to throw bombs.

KATRINA PIERSON, SPOKESWOMAN, DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN: That's a great question, Erin. No, it doesn't make me nervous. Donald Trump is Donald Trump. He's the same guy he was in the beginning. He has taken questions from audience members before, and after and during an event.

So, I'm just really excited he is engaging with the voters. He's in his element when he's with the people. So, I'm really excited he is doing this.

BURNETT: Ben, "The New York Times" reporting tonight Republicans are panicking. They are panicking. They are running around scared like chickens with their heads cut off because they are realizing Donald Trump could go all the way.

You have not been a Trump fan. Is there anyone that can stop him? There's only been one candidate who has proven they can get on top and stay on top and that is Donald Trump.

BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure. Other candidates will be able to challenge him, especially in the ground game of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and other primary states. Most campaigns are focusing on that while Donald Trump is leading in the national polls, there are still issues that continue to haunt him, like saying that there were thousands of people I saw on TV celebrating the twin towers coming down in New Jersey.

Well, there wasn't thousands of people there. There were some, but those little comments come down to an issue of trustworthy. And it also comes down to an issue of humility.

Do you want someone who will never apologize ever for anything, even when he is blatantly wrong? And I think that's where it gets him in trouble in Iowa and New Hampshire. You have a very thoughtful group of voters there. They're not easily tricked. They are not easily people that jump on bandwagons either.

So, national polls are national polls. What really matters is when it comes down to it. I think there are other candidates that have a really good ground game.

BURNETT: So, Katrina, the editor and publisher of 'The Cook Political Report", Charlie Cook, says he is willing to bet Donald Trump will not be the nominee, and neither will Ben Carson. Here is what he wrote today, I wanted to quote it to you. He said, "If Republicans gather at their mid-July convention in Cleveland and end up nominating either Trump or Carson, I will dine on crow, most likely deep-fried crow, and I don't expect to be reaching for the Pepto- Bismol."


PIERSON: Well, I think we'll have to hold him to that. I mean, Donald Trump has proven, Erin, since he's been in the race, everyone has said he is not going to file, he's not going to put out his financials, he's not going to get ahead. Everybody has been wrong. I see no difference in today than the very first day of the campaign.

But to Ben's point -- the people in Iowa are very smart. There have been millions of dollars spent in Iowa and Donald Trump continues to climb.

What the Republicans are missing is that Donald Trump isn't just some politician that nobody knows. He has 100 percent name recognition. People know his family and have seen him in the limelight for decades. You can't convince people Donald Trump is something he isn't to them.

BURNETT: Katrina, what happens, though, if he loses the first stage in the race, right? Because polls in Iowa obviously show Ted Cruz within a margin of error. When you look to South Carolina, you start to see Carson. Now, all these numbers could move all over the place. You could go from Donald Trump looking great in national polls, to losing the first few states and thus being out of the race, right?

PIERSON: Well, absolutely. But we've also seen is CNBC just released an article today saying Donald Trump turns out the most voters up against Hillary Clinton. Other Republicans aren't bringing in Democrats, aren't bringing in independents, aren't bringing in new voters like Donald Trump. There's going to be a lot more caucus-goers in Iowa this time than there were last time.

BURNETT: Ben, would you get in line behind Donald Trump?

FERGUSON: No. Not at this point. I think just because you have 00 percent name recognition doesn't mean that is going to allow your gaffes to somehow not matter. I mean, look, the Kardashians probably have 100 percent name recognition, too. It doesn't mean they are going to win.

And I think Donald Trump gets himself in trouble by assuming that because everyone knows him as a reality TV show host, that they're going to trust him when it comes to national security.

[19:35:05] And there is another big key factor here that I think they overestimated, the Trump campaign -- when it comes down to plans and sitting down with these voters in small little rooms and actually answering questions of voters, you better have better answers than "I'm always right and I did see something on TV you didn't see." Those aren't going to fly with those voters, with caucus-goers early on. It just never works that way.

BURNETT: Thanks to both of you.

PIERSON: Well, Ben, you did Mayor Giuliani today on TV. So, you might want to check that out.

FERGUSON: Giuliani said he did not see thousands of people in the streets in New Jersey.

PIERSON: He corroborated that Paterson was a --


PIERSON: And he encouraged not to attack Muslims in New Jersey.

FERGUSON: This is where your campaign gets in trouble. The facts are there were not thousands of people in New Jersey. That's a lie.

PIERSON: Jeb Bush's campaign in trouble. Ben, Jeb Bush's campaign is in trouble. Not Donald Trump.

BURNETT: Ben, finish your point.

FERGUSON: It's a lie when you say it and Giuliani did not back you up today. He did not say there were thousands of people. This is when you insult voters in primary states by telling them a story that everyone knows is not true or real. There were not thousands of people.

And as a serious candidate, you should be able to admit when you're wrong.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks to both of you. And don't miss the next GOP debate right here on CNN. That will come up, of course, along with much else. It's Tuesday, December 15th starting at 9:00 Eastern.

OUTFRONT next -- Ted Cruz closing in on Donald Trump in that crucial state of Iowa. Does Cruz have what it takes to go the distance?

And new and disturbing details on the crash of Air Asia 8501, all 162 onboard dead. What brought down one of the most popular planes flying in the sky?


[19:40:49] BURNETT: Tonight, Ted Cruz rising. The Texas senator within striking distance of Donald Trump in Iowa. Can Cruz sustain this new momentum and make it to next November?

Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't believe Donald Trump will be our nominee.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ted Cruz ascending, now within striking distance of Donald Trump in Iowa.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: At some point, he's going to have to hit me, right? It's going to be a sad day. But we will hit back, I promise.

CRUZ: We rise up as we the people.

SERFATY: Known as a fire brand who seems to revel in stirring the pot. His approach less speaks softly, more speak provocatively.

On the ground in Iowa, more evidence of that fact in the last 48 hours alone. Cruz' answer to a voter's question about access to birth control.

CRUZ: What do you do? You go aha! The condom police. I'm going to make up a completely made up threat and try to scare a bunch of folks that are not paying a lot of attention into thinking someone is going to steal their birth control.

What nonsense. Last I checked, we don't have a rubber shortage in America.

SERFATY: Cruz criticizing the media around its coverage of the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooter.

CRUZ: It also reported that he was registered as an independent and as a woman and transgender leftist activist if that's what he is. I don't think it's fair to blame on the rhetoric on the left. This is a murderer. SERFATY: Cruz's aides say he was trying to make a point against

rushing to judgment and in a radio interview, charging that most felons are Democrats.

CRUZ: Now, listen, here's the simple and undeniable fact. The overwhelming majority of violent criminals are Democrats.

SERFATY: When ask for proof, the Cruz campaign citing a 2014 study of three states finding that ex-felons who register to vote do so overwhelmingly as Democrats.

Such incendiary flourishes injecting urgency and drama in his campaign are nothing new to Cruz who regularly takes his attacks on President Obama to the next level.

CRUZ: The Obama administration will become quite literally the world's leading financier of radical Islamic terrorists.


SERFATY: And two months from today, the first votes will be cast in Iowa. A lot, of course, can and will change before then. But Ted Cruz, he also has the added threat. He's invested a lot of time out in Iowa. He laid ground work in the southern states which, of course, could go a long way for him going forward, Erin, especially if he makes a strong show in Iowa.

BURNETT: Sunlen, thank you.

OUTFRONT now, CNN senior political analyst and former presidential adviser to Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Clinton -- David Gergen.

All right. David, so, you know, a lot of people are asking the question right now, is the Ted Cruz surge for real?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it is. I think he could be a real threat to Donald Trump and Carson and the rest.

First of all, Erin, he's very smart and crafty. This fellow, you know, he did clerk for the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, Bill Rehnquist. He and his wife is a partner at Goldman Sachs. Strong couple, very smart people, and he understands politics.

Secondly, he's raised a lot of money. He's raised twice as much money between him and his PACs, as have Marco Rubio. And he's got to beat Rubio first before he can make this a one-on-one against Trump.

BURNETT: And you have some who will be terrified of Ted Cruz, absolutely terrified. More terrified of Ted Cruz than they are of Donald Trump who they have been trying to crush for months now.

GERGEN: Well, he has not been a team player in the Senate. He's essentially been a bomb-thrower. And, you know, they blame him for shutting down the government and forcing the government to shut down. A lot of Republicans got hurt over there calm of years ago. But, very, very importantly here, there are a lot of Republicans

in the Senate, Republicans control the Senate today, but worried if Ted Cruz is on the top of the ticket, he could not only lose the White House big time and but he could also lose the Senate for Republicans. And that's why you see three have come out in the Senate now for Marco Rubio.

[19:45:01] And I think more will break his way should Cruz continue to be this growing threat, especially in Iowa.

BURNETT: Now, here's the thing -- let's say he wins the nomination, that the whole question is it's possible to win the nomination, someone who perhaps would not be electable in the general. What about Ted Cruz? Could Ted Cruz defeat Hillary Clinton, presumptive Democratic nominee?

GERGEN: Well, the early polls that are not worth very much show that, in fact, he could beat Hillary Clinton. he runs ahead of her three or four points, within a margin error. But so could Trump, so could Rubio.

You know, so I don't think they are very reliable. But there are Republicans who do think Cruz would lose more votes than Trump would. They see Trump at least as someone who has a magnetic quality. They see Cruz as mean and tough, and, you know, who is sort of in it for his own. That alienates a lot of Republicans.

BURNETT: All right. David Gergen, thank you very much.

GERGEN: Erin, thank you.

BURNETT: OUTFRONT next -- disturbing new details why an Airbus plunged from the sky during a storm. Investigators tonight have answers on why Air Asia 8501 crashed mid-flight.

And on a lighter note, Jeanne Moos on the newest must-see video from the man who brought us Gangnam style.


[19:50:02] BURNETT: Tonight, disturbing new details about why an Airbus A320 crashed, killing all 162 onboard. Air Asia Flight 8501 plunged into the sea less than an hour after takeoff, during a heavy thunderstorm. Other planes in the sky around it were fine. So what went wrong?

Rene Marsh is OUTFRONT.


RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The AirAsia Flight 8501 fell out of the sky and plummeted into the depths of the Java Sea last December because of a faulty part on the plane and pilot error, that's according to a final accident report. All 162 people onboard were killed. The problem started with a crack in part of the plane's rudder. Maintenance records reveal the same piece of equipment had failed 23 times in 12 months.

PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: The rudder, you know, located in the tail of the aircraft, was an essential component to safe flight. But it's used rarely. But it failed 23 times over the previous 12 months is unacceptable. And it shows a lack of oversight by the air carrier.

MARSH: The Airbus A320 from Surabaya, Indonesia, was at cruising altitude when the plane made a sudden steep climb up to more than 37,000 feet. It tilted 45 degrees, stalled, and the pilots lost control. The plane rolled sharply to the left, before plunging into the Java Sea.

The report shows the pilot had no training in how to recover from such a scenario.

GOELZ: Pilots really are not fully competent to handle upsets at cruise altitude.

MARSH (on camera): Even in the U.S.?

GOELZ: Even in the U.S., there's not enough training taking place there.

MARSH: The pilots pulled a circuit breaker in an effort to reset the plane's computers. That disengaged the autopilot, causing the plane to lose control. The cockpit voice recorder also revealed miscommunication between the pilots. The captain told the co-pilot, who was controlling the plane, to pull down. But he raised the plane's nose instead of lowering it.

GOELZ: The miscommunication is simply a lack of training. That's all it reflects back on. You train for crises.


MARSH: Well, the Airbus A320 is a workhorse in aviation, with more than 6,000 of the aircraft in service worldwide. Now, this accident really is a disturbing reminder that these aircraft are so highly automated, some pilots rely so heavily on the autopilot to fly the plane for them, so when the systems fail, the pilots are forced to fly the plane manually, and they just don't know what to do.

That's what we saw here with AirAsia Flight 8501. Erin, we know the airline, they say they plan on changing their training so that pilots are better prepared for this sort of scenario.

BURNETT: Terrifying. Especially that that lack of training would happen even here in the U.S.

Rene Marsh, thank you very much.

And OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos, with the answer to the question, how do you follow up with the most watched video of all time?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:57:40] BURNETT: The science of Psy. So he's the pop star

behind the most watched YouTube history, nearly 2.5 billion views. And now, Psy is back, trying to top his own record with a new video.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He came riding that invisible horse on to the world stage three years ago.

Now, the question is, can he lasso the success of "Gangnam Style" with "Daddy"?

He's back, playing the part of baby and kid, daddy and grandpa all at once.

And while media may say, "We're so sorry you had to see this horrifying brilliant video full of coordinated flailing", what matters is whether young people flail along with it.

He introduced himself back in 2012.

PSY: I'm Psy from Korea. How are you?

MOOS: Ended up being impersonated. And playing himself on "SNL." Psy taught the horsey dance to everyone from Britney Spears and Ellen, to the gang on the "Today" show.

Lassoing for dear life, Psy even handed the reins to the secretary-general of the United Nations.


MOOS: And then there's the psychology of Psy, who told reporters what a struggle it's been, how much pressure he's been under to come up with a song that's equal to his first mega hit.

Practically mission impossible, even for daddy. "Daddy," by the way, is part homage to the song.

"Daddy" is racking up millions of views.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not going to lie. I enjoyed it.

MOOS: The favorite lyric, "you be my curry, I'll be your rice."

Psy is hoping it's a dish the whole family will like.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BURNETT: Thank you so much for joining us. Be sure to set your DVR to report OUTFRONT so you can watch the show any time. I'll see you back here tomorrow night, same time. "AC360" starts right now.