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Trump Dominates GOP Field in New CNN/ORC Poll; Shooters' Family's Attorneys Speak. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired December 4, 2015 - 06:30   ET


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Egyptian media reports say that masked assailants hit the club with Molotov cocktails.

[06:30:05] Authorities believe the motive was criminal, not terrorism.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: A senior European counterterrorism official says the trail for the eighth Paris attacker, Saleh Abdeslam, has gone cold. No trace of him since the day after the attack. We were also learning the U.K. could be ISIS's next target. European intelligence suggesting several senior ISIS figures involved in the Paris plot were also involved in the U.K. plot. This, of course, is not the first time ISIS has threatened the U.K.

CAMEROTA: German lawmakers voting to join the military campaign against ISIS in Syria. The country says it will not engage in combat or launch strikes. But it would help with reconnaissance missions and supply 1,200 support troops. This week, Britain carried out its first airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria.

PEREIRA: The Senate approved the budget bill repealing core provisions of Obamacare and also stripping federal funding from Planned Parenthood. It passed largely along party lines with a 52-47 vote. That measure must still be approved by the House which passed a different version in October. The White House said this week, Obama will veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

CAMEROTA: OK. So, obviously, we'll have more coverage out of California all morning but we will also have more of Chris's fascinating conversation with the attorneys for the family of the killers.

But up next, we have some big political news to tell you about. There's a new CNN poll out just this morning. It reveals Donald Trump hitting a new high. Pundits who predicted that he had a 30 percent ceiling were wrong. Our panel will discuss.


[06:35:17] CAMEROTA: A brand new CNN/ORC poll just released has bombshell finding findings. Not only is Donald Trump still in the lead, he's leading by a stunning amount. Take a look, Trump is now at 36 percent. This is his all-time

high. It's 20 points above his closest competition, that the is now Senator Ted Cruz while Dr. Ben Carson has slipped to third at 14 percent.

Let's discuss all of this. We want to bring in David Chalian. He's CNN political director. And Matt Lewis, he's our senior contributor with "The Daily Caller". He's also a conservative commentator.

Gentlemen, great to see you.

David, let me start with you. Pundits got it wrong. First, they said that he was going to hit 20 percent with his ceiling. He would never get higher than 20 percent, then he hit 25 percent. Well, that was going to be his ceiling.

Then, it was 30 percent. He won't get any more. Last week, it was 32 percent. Today, it's 36 percent.

What's going on?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: What's going on is total Donald Trump dominance over the Republican field. Alisyn, inside this poll where you're right, this lead is larger than we have seen all cycle long, he's dominating on every issue, right? On commander in chief, on the economy, on how to deal with ISIS.

You name the issue, especially an issue like immigration, he is the dominant force inside the field right now. And so, yes, it bears out in these horse race numbers but it's even almost more impressive when you look under the hood at all those issues driving it.

CAMEROTA: OK, let's do that. Let's look at some of the issues. Let's just start with ISIS, this is the issue we're dealing with today as we have been for weeks and months. So, who would be the best choice to handle ISIS the poll asked?

In August, 32 percent of respondents thought it was Donald Trump. He was still winning. Today after all of these crises, it's 46 percent, Matt. The closest competitors are far back, Ted Cruz at 15 percent.

How has Donald Trump convinced Republicans that he's the best to deal with terrorism and ISIS, Matt?

MATT LEWIS, THE DAILY CALLER: The old Bill Clinton, it's better to be strong and wrong than right and weak. I think the one huge thing Donald Trump has going for him is the perception that he's strong. And even though he's at -- frankly, he's been back and forth over this issue, you know, we should stay out of Syria, let the Russians do it or we should bomb the bleep out of them, that really doesn't matter.

I mean, I think the bottom line is, the perception is that Trump is strong. Now, compare that to Ben Carson, the other outsider who has tanked in the wake of the Paris attacks, for example. So, I think, there, the perception this is a strong man right now. I use that term, the strong man of politics. That's really helping Donald Trump.

CAMEROTA: And, David, I mean, this despite his controversial comments or maybe because of his controversial comments, in terms of Syrian refugees, in terms of immigrants.

Let me put up the next part of the poll. This is the best choice to handle immigration. He has been dominant since September. He is now at 48 percent of Republican respondents believe that he is the best to handle immigration, though obviously he has said things that people consider inflammatory.

So, how do you explain it, David?

CHALIAN: Well, Alisyn, he may have said things that were inflammatory. Some people thought it was inflammatory or controversial when he pushed for mass deportation, take the 11 million undocumented already here, and send them home, deport them. Well, if you look inside our poll on that issue, 53 percent of Republicans agree with that position.

So, a slim majority of Republicans join Donald Trump in the push for mass deportation. It's not controversial. That's a majority opinion inside the Republican Party. So, Donald Trump's able to ride that to what you just saw there, which is some 30-point lead in best to handle that issue.

CAMEROTA: Hey, Matt, I read the note. I know you predict when the smoke clears that you actually believe that it is Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio who will be dominant. But I don't know what you're smoking, because here is what Republicans believe, OK?


CAMEROTA: This is the best -- who they believe has the best chance of winning the general election: 52 percent believe that Donald Trump -- not Marco Rubio at 15 percent who you predict or Ted Cruz at 11 percent, who you predict, Donald Trump at 52 percent.

What do you see that they don't?

LEWIS: Look, it's not just me. Nate Silver, the guy who gets it right a lot of times, I think he thinks that Trump has like, I don't know, a 5 percent or 7 percent chance of winning or something.

So, I'm not alone here. I think there's really two theories of looking at this. One theory says Trump is going to run away with it, he's ahead by huge margin. He's been ahead for months. Why would it change?

The other theory says, this is sort of like -- think of sports.

[06:40:01] You have a regular season and you can go undefeated in that regular season. But once the playoffs begin, the rules change. The game changes, OK?

So and this theory, what happens -- this poll we're showing is a national poll. Guess what? We don't have a national primary.

So what happens if Cruz edges out Trump in Iowa and Chris Christie or Marco Rubio wins in New Hampshire? All of a sudden, now we have a scenario where Trump is 0 for 2. What happens to his numbers? Do they collapse? Is it a, you know, Potemkin village-type situation?

I think it's entirely possible that Trump looks great until the actual voting begins. Maybe that's wishful thinking. A lot of us, I think, adhere to that theory for now.

CAMEROTA: Matt, thank you for a sports reference even I could understand. I appreciate that. Matt, David, great to talk to both of you. Thank you, guys. We'll have John King coming up with more analysis of these new polls as well.

Let's get to Michaela.

PEREIRA: Back to our top story, where were warning signs missed by the families of the two San Bernardino shooters? Their attorney says no. In fact, the family is not ready to completely accept everything that they have heard from investigators about their loved ones. We'll have more of Chris's compelling interview with their lawyers, next.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: We are live from San Bernardino, California. We do have new information this morning. Let's get right to the breaking news.

Attorneys for the shooters family are speaking out. The family saying that Farook and Malik, the male and female suspect, gave them no indication that they would do something like this. They say they are in shock like everybody else.

But there is more information and context about what they're going through right now, what it means to the investigation. Here's more of the interview.


CUOMO: How does the family explain the developments about their son and brother, the activities in the house, the activities with the murders? How do they explain what's been learned about him?

DAVID S. CHELSEY, SHOOTERS' FAMILY'S ATTORNEY: It's really challenging, because they never saw any warning signs or any real characteristics that would let them know that any of this was going to take place.

So, for them, they've alluded to the fact that sometimes co- workers have done silly things, made fun of Syed's beard, for example. It's like there's so little there to understand or explain what happened or why it happened. And that's kind of what makes this fascinating. There's no -- there's no connection to anything having to do with religion, although that's tried to have been connected to. It's just -- there's no evidence of anything, really.

CUOMO: You know, federal authorities are saying they believe there is proof that he had become radicalized. You say that's not true?

CHELSEY: We haven't seen anything. Believe me, we've met with the FBI and, you know, someone has alluded to the fact that they found something on the his computer that he may have talked to somebody who talked to -- or spoken with somebody on the computer who viewed something about ISIS but it's like, it's so tenuous, there's nothing really there. No one has been able to find anything.

We were in interviews with the FBI for three hours today. And there was -- there was nothing found. As much as they asked the family, they couldn't pinpoint any warning signs, any aggressiveness on the part of them.

CUOMO: They're also flagging the travel abroad. Does the family have any insight into the trips to Saudi Arabia and who he met there and what he was doing there. Clearly, it's raised the suspicions of the authorities.

MOHAMMAD ABUERSHAD, SHOOTERS' FAMILY'S ATTORNEY: Well, Syed Farook traveled to Saudi as part of his pilgrimage. He went to Hajj. That was the first time he went there. The next time he went there was to get married. He met his wife online through an online dating Web site, and he traveled over there to get married to her.

He never travelled to Pakistan. He travelled to Saudi.

CUOMO: You say Pakistan, because that's where his wife was born.

ABUERSHAD: His wife was born in Pakistan. She was born and raised in Pakistan. At the age of 18 to 20, she moved to Riyadh.

CUOMO: What do they know about her? This is highly unusual for a woman not just be involved in the planning but the actual execution of these kinds of murders.

ABUERSHAD: Well, they don't know that anybody was involved and that she was involved in the planning of this. She was very conservative. She was a stay-at-home mom. She was helping to raise the children. She helped take care of the mother at the house.

They were a very close-knit family. Not too many people knew anything about them.

And back to your original question, the family was in shock, as everybody else was when they heard out about this. This wasn't something that they saw overtime developing or occurring.

CUOMO: The nature of the relationship with him and his wife, it is always hard in a tight-knit family to not understand how you don't know everything about each other. You're saying that is the case, that there was a loner aspect to him, there was a change with him when he got married.

How so?

ABUERSHAD: He was always conservative. He always kept to himself. His wife, compared to the rest of the family, she was -- they were on their own little planet. They weren't married that long. They were kind of like newlyweds. They kind of kept themselves in the whole situation.

The families, the sisters would talk to her and they see her once in a while. It wasn't something they would be getting together every single day, every single week. It was just -- they see her at family events, they talk to her, that would be it.

CUOMO: Was she known to have different views on faith or on the world than they did?

ABUERSHAD: She was Muslim and so are they. It's the same view.


CAMEROTA: I don't know, Chris. I mean, it's just hard to digest what the attorneys are saying where they're saying, you know, how can they be connected when authorities say that their house was like a bomb-making factory. I mean, why -- is this willful blindness that these attorneys are exercising?

CUOMO: Well, two things. One, he says that once the guy got married, they didn't see him as often. They saw him at family meetings, not necessarily at the house. Second, it has to be noted, the family is not under any umbrella of suspicion so far as we know from the investigators. All of their dealings with them have been voluntary. That is since the mother was first detained by authorities. And that was a little bit of a difficult process.

So, we don't have any reason to point finger beyond what we're hearing right now, certainly the investigators haven't given any proof for it.

PEREIRA: Fascinating to hear from them. We'll hear more of that coming up, Chris.

Meanwhile, two mass shootings in the U.S. in less than a week. Why does the United States have a bigger gun problem than the rest of the world?

[06:50:01] We're going to look at that, ahead.



REPORTER: Just another day in the United States of America, another day of gunfire, panic and fear.


PEREIRA: That was a BBC explaining to its viewers how common gun violence has become in the United States.

Let's show you a recent poll. It found that Americans are more worried about being a victim of gun violence than a terror attack. So, why is gun violence such a big problem in the United States?

We put the question to Bobby Ghosh. He is our CNN global affairs analyst, managing editor of "Quartz". He's here to look at some of these facts and figures.

We've got a whole lot of statistics, Bobby, to look through. One of the things we have to look at is gun ownership. Let's take a look at what we know about gun ownership in the United States.

About a third of households own a gun in America. If you exclude the number of people who own over 25 guns, the average gun owner has an average of 5 guns. How does that line up with the rest of the world in terms of gun ownership?

BOBBY GHOSH, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, most countries where people do own guns they tend to own fewer guns per person than in the United States. But that is a function of a couple of things. One is, the United States is a rich country, people can afford to buy more guns. But perhaps more importantly, it's easier to buy a gun in the United States than most countries, most comparable guns.

PEREIRA: Are laws are more lax about gun ownership.

GHOSH: Absolutely. Most developed countries to own a gun you have to go through many hoops, lots of restrictions, lots of registration requirements, which in many parts of the United States is just simply not true. So, a person cannot only buy a gun but buy multiple number of guns and have them at home.

PEREIRA: Let's take a look at how the United States stacks up, the countries with the most guns per capita, the United States is number one. It ranks number one in gun ownership. After that, Yemen and Switzerland.

What is more interesting, though, is how you see that in view of the gap between number when and number two. This is really significant and kind of startling. Analyze this for us: 88.8 guns in the United States per 100 people.

[06:55:03] For second place Yemen, that drops down to 54.

GHOSH: Again, you have -- this two, the second and third place, sort of tell the story of ease of access and the cost of owning a weapon. Yemen's one of the poorest countries in the world. So, people who own guns are not going to be able to afford very many of them. And, therefore, you're much more likely to have one gun per family or for several people. Whereas in the United States, being a much richer country, people can afford more.

PEREIRA: I think people might be surprised by Switzerland.

GHOSH: Switzerland is richer I think per capita.

PEREIRA: We don't think of it as a violent nation.

GHOSH: We don't think of them as violent, but there is a correlation. Switzerland has the highest number of guns per capita in Western Europe. Switzerland also has the highest proportion of gun violence, deaths due to gun violence in Western Europe.

They don't compare themselves to us because they're off the charts. But they do compare themselves with Germany, with France, with Britain. And Switzerland is off the charts compare with them.

And there's a lot of anxiety in Switzerland, we don't hear of it. But in Switzerland, there's a lot of anxiety. There's a lot of debate about whether they should allow this many guns. But again in Switzerland, part of the reason why ownership is low, is access. It's not easy to buy a gun if you're Swiss.

PEREIRA: Well, I want to look to gun violence. And we're going to compare apples to apples, because we have to compare the United States with a country like the United States that compares with life expectancy, education and income.

So, we're using the U.K. as an example here. The United States has 90 guns for every 100 people. Nine deaths per 100,000 people. While in the U.K., six guns for every 100,000 people and less than one death per 100,000 people.

What does that tell you?

GHOSH: Well, there is something to be said about a gun culture and how common guns are and how commonly guns are used. In the U.K., it's worth remembering that even the police, very few policemen --

PEREIRA: They carry guns, right.

GHOSH: -- in Britain carry guns. Even a lot of criminal gangs, in their criminal activity don't use assault weapons. The people can own guns, but the difference between owning a shooting rifle or hunting rifle and being able to buy a semiautomatic, never mind an automatic, there's a huge gap there. There are not a lot of people in the U.K. or in Europe in general that can have easy access to automatic weapons.

This talks a little bit to a gun culture.

PEREIRA: Well, that's what I was going to ask you. That is the part that I think so many are struggling with, is that we see the numbers, we see the data. We understand there are many people who believe they have a right to -- we have a right to have -- to bear arms in this nation. What is the idea of what the cause is for all of this violence? GHOSH: Well, it's a large country and different people buy guns

for different reasons. But there's a large number of Americans who own weapons out of a sense of fear. They own it because they're worried that somebody might come and try to take away, bearing arms themselves, from them what is precious and dear to them, their life, their liberty, their possessions, their family. A lot of people own guns out of a sense of fear and for security reasons.

In many of these countries, in Switzerland, for instance, target shooting is a very, very popular activity. People own guns for that reason.

PEREIRA: For that reason, not for protection.

GHOSH: That's right.

PEREIRA: The fear is the concern because right now there's certainly a whole lot of that.

Bobby, thanks for crunching through some of these numbers with us. We appreciate it.

All right. We have a lot of news to get to. Let's start with it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seventy-six rounds, killing 14 people.

CUOMO: The deadliest mass shooting since Newtown, Connecticut.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was unspeakable. The carnage that we were seeing.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is possible that this was terrorist related.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be irresponsible and premature of me to call this terrorism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've never seen the terrorists go to their workplace and kill their colleagues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He spoke with sympathizers online, jihadi forums, et cetera.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the San Bernardino shooters may have been radicalized.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mother of a 6-month-old child with Farook, she came to the U.S. on what's known as a fiancee visa.

CHELSEY: It doesn't make sense for these two to be able to act like some kind of Bonnie and Clyde or something. It's just ridiculous.


CUOMO: To our viewers in the United States and around the world, this is NEW DAY. Alisyn and Michaela are in New York.

We are in San Bernardino, California -- where more indications point to Wednesday's shooting massacre as terrorism on American soil. Sources say the male shooter was apparently radicalized, pointing to his contact with terror subjects overseas.

Officials point out there could have been other factors in the attack as well. So, they are still measured in their findings. They also say they recovered two smashed cell phones in a garbage can near the massacre scene and a computer at the shooter's home was missing its hard drive. Disturbing items also inside the attackers' home, an arsenal of weapons, over a dozen pipe bombs and other materials showing there could have been other attacks and more carnage planned.

Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Victor Blackwell. He is live in Redlands, California, outside that home -- Victor.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good morning. And we've learned from law enforcement forces that the FBI is now interviewing relatives of these two and they are cooperating.