Return to Transcripts main page

WOLF

Landlord Invites Media Into Killers' Home; Investigators Find ISIS Connection to Shooters; Families: No Warning from Shooters Prior to Attack; Polls on Who Tops Democrats, Republicans, Who Americans Trust to Handle ISIS. Aired 1:30-2p ET.

Aired December 4, 2015 - 13:30   ET

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


[13:30:00] VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, an official statement or response received by us stopping the people as you can see behind me, the people are still going into the home. And you can tell that some the people by what they are wearing. These are no longer solely member of the media. There is a woman with a dog walking through the house.

(CROSSTALK)

BLACKWELL: So it is now, just neighbors, walking in, just because they are curious. But no response. I can see a police car across the street.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I saw some FBI agents here after the fact.

BLACKWELL: FBI agents, but nobody has made any effort to shutdown the scene or shut off access or to move anybody off of the property. And probably 10 feet from me is Doyle Miller, who is the owner of the unit, and he is answering questions, and conducted interviews inside of the home. So as I said earlier to Anderson, if there is any law enforcement officer who wanted us off of the property they could turn on any television in the world and see that we are here.

ELAM: He said that he was not given any directive to stop people from going in there either -- Wolf?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And it is amazing. And if the landlord has a moment to come over to the camera and explain his decision to allow everyone in, we would love to hear from him, if you can get a hold of him after he is done with the other interviews. We'd be very anxious to hear about that.

And standby, both of you, if you will, Victor and Stephanie.

I want to bring in the CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan; and law enforcement analyst, Jonathan Gilliam.

Paul, first, have you ever seen anything like this before, a major crime, 21 people injured and 14 people murder, and now within a couple of days the home is exposed to the news media as it has been? PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, I have never seen anything

like this, and I think it indicates the shocking degree of negligence and really recklessness by law enforcement authorities here. Apparently, they have decided because both of the suspects in this mass murder are dead, the investigation, the criminal investigation is over. But let's say hypothetically that maybe there is another person who was involved who was involved in bomb making in that apartment, you have a contaminated crime scene now. And any criminal defense lawyer or any criminal prosecutor can tell you this that it is not unusual when you go back to the crime scene months later to find additional evidence, and that is why where you have a mass murder, the crime scene is locked down so that forensics can get in and thoroughly examine it, and find evidence as it becomes available. To see this crime scene rummaged as it is, I am shocked by this.

BLITZER: Yeah, a lot of people are.

How about you, Jonathan?

JONATHAN GILLIAM, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, I agree with Paul. This is the biggest visible screw-up in history that has occurred, that a terrorist incident just happened and the reporters are going through and looking at I.D.s and pictures. All of that should be evidentiary. It is all evidentiary. And the carpet. How do we know if there is any DNA in the carpet? I don't see any fingerprint powder anywhere in the apartment.

Wolf, if these people were really bent on killing, they could have bombs implanted in the walls for goodness sakes. I just -- I have never -- I was talking to Harry Houck a second ago, and he was shaking watching this. I've never seen anything like it. I'm speechless.

CALLAN: You know, Wolf --

BLITZER: It is pretty amazing.

Go ahead, Paul.

CALLAN: I have tried numerous murder cases as a prosecutor and defense attorney, and I can tell you, never have I seen something like this. And of course, if it turns out that there are other people involved in this crime, this is the absolute destruction of any case that they would have against them. But I am more concerned about leads that might be hidden in that debris that will now be destroyed as a result of the contamination. It is a really a shocking abandonment of responsibility by the law enforcement here.

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: And as you know, Jonathan, they are concerned, law enforcement, that these two individuals, the husband and the wife, may not have necessarily acted alone. And they could have been part of the larger cell. And normally, after an incident, a mass murder like this, that house would be sealed off for a long, long time.

GILLIAM: Wolf --

CALLAN: Absolutely. And --

(CROSSTALK)

GILLIAM: Wolf, when a cell exists, look at how many pipe bombs were in the bags. I would almost guarantee you that the people, who were going to be carrying out the attacks, they didn't buy the parts for the bombs, and that is telling me that the potential for somebody else involved is there. I -- this, is it is not just destruction of the crime scene, it is the elimination of pieces of the puzzle that could have potentially led to other people involved. It is just eliminated.

CALLAN: And you know, Wolf, what they have done here is to turn a crime scene in a terrorist mass murder into a garage sale. That is what it looks like as the cameras are going through the house.

[13:35:14] BLITZER: It is very shocking. I have certainly never seen anything like this in the years I have been covering the horrible crimes and terror incidents and the mass murders.

But we will continue the follow the latest development, and I assume that the law enforcement authorities, local, county, state or federal -- and the FBI is now the lead investigatory agency in the terror attack -- and I assume they are not happy about that decision to allow the landlord, or for whatever, reason to a landlord to allow all of the media in. We will hope to speak to the landlord and we hope that he comes over to our cameras.

Guys, thanks very much.

Still ahead, the ISIS link to this massacre in California. Our panel coming up will talk about the so-called pledge of allegiance by the female attacker, Farook's wife, Tashfeen Malik.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We are continuing to follow the breaking news. What people have feared is possible and now confirmed. One of the brazen mass murders in the spree killing in San Bernardino had a connection to ISIS.

And now joining us is CNN global affairs analyst, Bobby Ghosh, from New York. Here is Washington, Lorenzo Vidino, director of the George Washington University Program on Extremism. Also joining us, our national security analyst, Peter Bergen.

And let's talk about the link, this so-called pledge of allegiance by the female, Tashfeen Malik, 27 years old, and around the time of this mass murder, through an anonymous name on Facebook, pledged allegiance to ISIS leader, Abu Bakr Baghdadi. What can you say about that?

[13:40:22] PAUL BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it is the most lethal act of terrorism on U.S. soil that has now taken place since 9/11. That wasn't clear until about an hour ago. And those acts now speak for themselves.

BLITZER: This was, in your view, an ISIS-inspired attack as opposed to is-directed or the organized attack. Is that your analysis?

BERGEN: Yes, and looking at the two assault rifles, and the fact that they destroyed the hard drive and the cell phones, and they planned some kind of campaign, but luckily, they were stopped before they could get much further than they did.

BLITZER: And we also heard from a neighbor, Lorenzo of the couple, Syed Farook, Tashfeen Malik, the wife, and the neighbor believed that she was the instigator, and she was more of the terrorist, if you will, and he was follower, and inspired and directed more by her. How unusual would that be?

LORENZO VIDINO, PROGRAM ON EXTREMISM, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Not completely unusual actually. It is a misconception that men are the radical one, and women are not. And it runs the gamut. And I remember the cases of a woman who studied here at MIT, and she was one of the most prominent jihadi leaders and recruiters in the U.S. So we have quite a few women. And if we look at the social media, and the women who are inspired by ISIS, and one-third of the people active are women, and they are the most prolific and radical online.

BLITZER: And he was U.S. born, and is she was from Pakistan, and met in Saudi Arabia and came here on a fiance visa, and had a child, which they left with the grandparent before this killing spree.

Bobby, the sister of Farook says the family are shocked over what happened. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAIRA KHAN, SISTER OF FAROOK: I cannot ever imagine my brother and sister-in-law doing something like this, because they were happily married and 6-month-old daughter, and it is mind boggling because of this.

We can't imagine the loss and the people who are injured or hurt badly. Our thoughts and prayers are going out to them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: And the couple had thousands of rounds of ammunition in that home, and 12 improvised explosive devices they were working on in the garage. Is it a fair to assume that no one had a clue what these two people were up to?

BOBBY GHOSH, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it is that we have seen over and over again that it is actually possible. Remarkable as it may seem, that we have seen it with the families who have turned out to be terrorists not having a clue at all, and people sort of withdraw into EMS this, and sort of only interact with the outside world inside of the home. And the fact of the preparations the garage and away from the main house, and away from the world, it is possible, and sounds unlikely, but it is true. We have seen it happen over and over again, and people of close friends and close family were completely, completely in the dark.

BLITZER: And you believe it is possible as well that the wife was the lead in this as opposed to the husband?

GHOSH: Yes, absolutely. There is no reason to suggest that this is only, this sort of thing only happens when a man persuades a woman to participate. We have seen the women being radicalized across the world not only in Islamic causes, but plenty of other terrorist groups and other cases of criminal activity, and it is entirely possible, and plausible that it was the wife that did it. This is does feel and I should be careful, because it is still day two and a half of the investigation, and always feels like there is one more shoe to drop, but based on what we know so far, absolutely, it is entirely possible to say that the wife was the main instigator in this.

[13:44:18] BLITZER: And now that the FBI has formally taken the lead in the investigation, it seems to suggest that it is, in fact, a terror investigation as opposed to some sort of workplace violence that may have been going on there in San Bernardino.

All right. Guys, thank you very much.

And law enforcement in San Bernardino say that there were no warning signs or red flags that the couple was planning this deadly rampage, and yet new court documents reveal a troubling glimpse into the past of the male gunman's family. We will explain when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Updating the breaking news this hour, investigators are finding a connection between the killers in San Bernardino, California, and ISIS. The woman, Tashfeen Malik, it's believed that she pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, as the attack was under way. That according to multiple officials familiar with the investigation.

And we are also learning more about the other attack, Malik's husband, Syed Rezwan Farook.

Senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin, has been digging into this part of the story for us. He joins us now live.

What are you learning more, Drew Griffin, about the family's history of domestic violence?

[13:49:54] DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: As we are looking into the backgrounds of these people to find out what went wrong, Wolf, we are finding that there was trouble in the Farook home in 2008. This is when Farook would have been 20 years old, going to college. His mother was filing for a temporary restraining order against the father. In her petition to the court, she wrote some very troubling stuff about his father saying he threatened to kill himself. They put him in a county hospital for 72 hours of observation. Also there was some violence, "pushed me towards my car and choked me." Threw a TV on that day. Finally, she says her husband is mentally ill and on medication but also alcoholic, drinks along with medicine, constantly threatens to kill himself. She was granted that restraining order, Wolf. The married separated and wasn't officially dissolved until just this year, but it appears in his early adulthood, his parents were going through some very significant marital problems.

BLITZER: Any indication, Drew, that the troubled family history played a role in this radicalization?

GRIFFIN: Like everything else, the answer would have to be no. He finished college. He got a job. He seemed to assimilate like any other American kid growing up in southern California into the community. Nothing that would indicate either, through him or his sister, who talked to CBS News, that any of the domestic violence let to any problems that spurred this kind of terrorist attack.

BLITZER: Drew Griffin reporting for us. Thank you.

Coming up, there's other news we're following, including two new polls just released today by CNN that overwhelmingly show which candidates they trust the most to handle ISIS. The results could surprise you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:56:01] BLITZER: New poll numbers just released moments ago showing Hillary Clinton securing a nearly two to one lead over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic race for president. The new CNN/ORC poll shows Clinton topping Bernie Sanders 58 percent to 30 percent. Martin O'Malley coming in with just 2 percent of the vote.

Let's take a closer look at all of this with our CNN political director, David Chalian.

She was at 45 percent in October. Now she's up to 58 percent. He's basically stayed the same, Bernie Sanders. But Biden was at 18 percent in October. He's not running so she's gotten almost all of that support.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Which we predicted that it would. We asked that if people said a second choice if Biden doesn't get in and they would go to Hillary Clinton. So she Benefits from Biden being in the race from the news environment because with ISIS and terror front and center, those are big, strong points for Hillary Clinton.

BLITZER: 59 percent of the Democrats in this poll say she is best qualified to handle ISIS.

Let's take a look at the Republican side in our brand new poll. Donald Trump does amazingly well. He's way ahead right now. Let's put those numbers on the screen, and also the numbers up on the screen, which shows who is best to handle ISIS among the Republicans. Trump at 46 percent among Republicans think he is best qualified to handle is. Everybody much, much lower. He's way ahead in the general national election among Republicans.

CHALIAN: He has a 20-point lead in the national horse race. But part of that big lead is because of numbers like that that you just showed about ISIS, about how to handle ISIS, immigration, all those issues are driving that number, that 20-point lead in the Republican field.

BLITZER: He's really gone up over the past couple weeks. A lot of his supporters say he's going to go up more as a result of what's happened in San Bernardino.

CHALIAN: A lot of people do say that. He himself said yesterday to CNN that when there's a crisis moment, his numbers tend to go up because he displays this position of strength. He's constantly trying to display strength and his supporters respond to that.

BLITZER: Those that thought his front runner status was going to be brief, it is not brief. He's doing amazingly well right now, way ahead of the Republican candidates nationally in this poll.

Jeb Bush not doing so well. Let's put those numbers up. He was the front runner not that long ago, but he's now down 3 percent.

CHALIAN: Which is really astonishing for Jeb Bush. This is a precipitous fall for the last several months. He has a real problem on his hands. When you have a number like 3 percent, the donors start getting worried whether or not there's going to be the money coming in to sustain a long delegate battle throughout 2016. Jeb Bush has not been able to show signs of life requester quite some time and this is some of the worst news in terms of polling that the Bush m campaign has received.

BLITZER: They have spent millions and millions of dollars on advertising. Trump has spent virtually nothing on advertising. The disparity is amazing.

CHALIAN: The super PAC announced they are going to go out with these longer ads, documentary style of Jeb Bush's career. I'm not sure that's going to move the numbers. We have not seen that yesterday yet.

BLITZER: The big headline in all of these polls is Donald Trump way ahead nationally right now. His lead even growing.

Thank you very much, David.

This important note. We're only less than two weeks from the next Republican presidential debate. That will be the last Republican presidential debate of this year. I will be moderating the debate on Tuesday night, December 15th, 9:00 p.m. eastern only here on CNN.

That's it for me. I'll be back at 5:00 p.m. eastern in "The Situation Room."

NEWSROOM with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.

[14:00:14] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Wolf. Thank you so much.