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Trump: Shooters' Relatives Knew What Was Going On; Obama to Speak on Terror at 8PM ET; Cop's Manslaughter Trial to Resume. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired December 6, 2015 - 07:30   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, new details on that deadly California massacre in San Bernardino.

[07:30:04] The FBI raided this house there. It's the home of a man who bought two of the rifles used by the two California killers. The warrant application that was filed is under seal but the FBI is looking at phone, travel, computer and other records to find out why Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook killed 14 people.

Donald Trump is set to talk later this morning with Jake Tapper on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION." And, of course, this comes after a stop in Iowa where he is talking tough on how he would handle U.S. terrorists.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Now, the GOP front-runner suggests that the families of the San Bernardino shooters knew the killer's plans and he also addressed his stance on fiancee visas.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty was there and has more this morning.

Good morning.



While making the point that he believes the U.S. government should be monitor the families of suspected terrorists, Donald Trump went after the mother and sister of the California shooters using much stronger language than he has in the past, insinuating that he believes they knew the plans and the intentions of the shooters ahead of time.

Here is what he said over the weekend in Iowa.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe the sister of the killer, I watched her interviewed. I think she knew what was going on. I think -- excuse me. I think his mother knew what was going on. She went into the apartment.

Anybody that went into that house or that apartment knew what was going on. They didn't tell the authorities. They knew what was going on. The mother knew. I think the sister interviewed, I think she knew.

We better get a little tough and a little smart or we're in trouble.

SERFATY: Trump has also been trying to gain a little traction on the issue of K-1 or fiancee visa. This visa program which has been under more intense scrutiny since the shootings. The female shooter, of course, coming originally to the United States on that fiancee visa.

Trump telling the audience here in Iowa over the weekend that he is not against eliminating that visa program altogether and something he intends to make a comment on in the coming weeks -- Christi and Victor.


PAUL: Sunlen, thank you so much.

You know, Jerry Falwell, Jr. also made some remarks that people are questioning. Some Islamic American activists have deemed them toxic. Listen to this.


JERRY FALWELL, JR., PRESIDENT, LIBERTY UNIVERSITY: If more good people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walk in and kill us. So I just -- I just want to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to get your permit. We offer a free course. And let's teach them a lesson if they ever show up here.


PAUL: Falwell spoke with CNN about those comments claiming he was not talking about all Muslims but those who perpetrated the attacks.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk about this with the senior editor for "Islamic Monthly Magazine", Arsalan Iftikhar.

Good to have you this morning.

And, first, I just want your reaction to what you heard from Jerry Falwell, Jr.

ARSALAN IFTIKHAR, SENIOR EDITOR, ISLAMIC MONTHLY MAGAZINE: Well, Victor, you know, I think if he had said anything about Jewish or black people or Latinos or any group of people, I think that the national outrage would pretty much be unanimous. I find it pretty hysterical that he didn't talk about the Planned Parenthood shooter who a week prior, you know, (INAUDIBLE) he had a radical Christian ideology, you that people in Planned Parenthood were packing heat, you know, that we could have taken out these Christians. But sadly, Islamophobia an accepted form of xenophobia and racism in America today.

BLACKWELL: So, he clarified he was talking about the Muslims who perpetrated this attack in San Bernardino. But the crowd there, thousands of people, they didn't have that clarification and they cheered.

IFTIKHAR: They were cheering and whooping along. You know, what we are starting to see here especially in the Republican presidential campaign, Victor, you know, Donald Trump has called for a special database of Muslims that we need to register in a database. I wonder if Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Mohammad Ali, Dave Chappelle, all Muslims, would need to register in that database. He said we need special IDs for Muslims in America. I wonder if those would be similar to the yellow stars of David. That Jewish people had to wear during Nazi Germany.

We are talking about fascistic talk from Donald Trump especially when it comes to Muslim in the United States.

BLACKWELL: So, let me ask you, is this something from your perspective that is growing or we're just hearing more of it due to social media and one tweet is sent around a thousand times?

IFTIKHAR: No. Actually, Victor, you know, in Iowa recently, they had a public opinion poll amongst registered Republicans and this poll found that 33 percent of registered Republicans in Iowa believe that Islam should be illegal in the United States today. I mean, it's hard to believe that one-third of registered Republicans in a Midwestern state think that a religion should be outlawed even though 7 million of us again, people Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mohammad Ali, two members of Congress, you know, freely and peacefully practice this religion on a daily basis.

[07:35:16] BLACKWELL: So, we have sound bite of Muslims demonstrating, trying to make this point that Islam is not a religion of terror, it is a religion of peace. Let's listen to one of the persons there.


BILAL DABAYA, ACTIVIST: It's very hurtful for us as Muslims. Why? Because our aim is being tarnished by these individuals and they are trying to clean the narrative about Islam. We are saying no. That narrative is incorrect narrative. Islam is a religion that promotes tolerance, promotes peace, promotes justice, promotes -- stands against terrorism.


BLACKWELL: Now, we hear that. But there are some and a small number, but some who are radicalized. We are seeing now, as we saw in San Bernardino, it's not obvious when this happens. But we've heard from the Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, he said that at meeting with Muslim groups across the country, that DHS is offering to assist to, quote, "amplify the counter-message to the ISIS message."

What is that counter-message and are we seeing anything that the U.S. is making good on that offer?

IFTIKHAR: Well, I think, Victor, it's important to offer a little bit of perspective, right? This year, thus far in 2015, there have been over 350 mass shootings here in the United States and 99 percent of them were not committed by Muslims. You know?

And I think that that is important to keep in mind that just like terrorism is an Islamic, Islamophobia is un-American. And, you know, just like we don't, you know, blame all Christians for the Planned Parenthood shooting, we tend to forget six months ago in South Carolina, we had Dylann Roof and a white supremacist with a race war ideology and walked into an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, and assassinated nine --

BLACKWELL: That's accurate.

IFTIKHAR: Including a state senator for whom he had asked for by name and we never called that terrorism in our media zeitgeist. All I'm saying we need to have a uniform standard definition and apply uniformly across the board.

BLACKWELL: What then is the countermessage? Because we know through self-radicalization, most of that happens through social media, it happens online and through the messages sent from ISIS, but what is the message that is strong enough to counteract that self- radicalization?

IFTIKHAR: Well, you know, I think it's the message that the mainstream Muslim community organizations, mosques around the country have been doing.

People tend to forget that, for example, the Boston marathon bombers were actually killed out of Boston mosques by the Muslim communities themselves. The community policing, you know, even Republican presidential candidates Chris Christie said that we have actually gotten more intelligence out of mosques in America and mainstream Muslim communities than anywhere else.

So, again, it's about, you know, groups like ISIS, Victor, they are trying to destroy this gray zone of existence between the West and the Muslim in the society. So, it's important for Western societies to further embrace their Muslim communities so we do not, you know, create more lone wolves like we saw in San Bernardino.

BLACKWELL: All right. Arsalan Iftikhar, good to have you as part of the conversation.

IFTIKHAR: My pleasure. Any time, man.



PAUL: Here in the United States, a person with legally obtain as many assault rifles and all the ammo that they desire. Wondering how that's possible. We're going to take a look at that.

BLACKWELL: And Freddie Gray's mother sobbing as witnesses testified in the trial of the first officer to stand trial in her son's shooting death. We've got details of what we can expect from the courtroom tomorrow. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:42:09] PAUL: So this morning, we have been talking about the fact that the president is set to speak from the Oval Office tonight, addressing terrorism and the deadly attack in California last week.

BLACKWELL: But what will he discuss? Will this be a discussion about military strategy? Will be it a discussion of the visa program? Maybe gun control?

Just yesterday, in his weekly radio address, the president said this. He said, and let's put it up. "It's another tragic reminder that here in America, it's way too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun."

Well, now, CNN's Drew Griffin shows us exactly how easy it is to get whatever weapon you need without ever showing your face.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Four guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition and tactical gear and pipe bombs, building a terrorist arsenal in the U.S., it's easy, cheap, and it's been done before.

By CNN's calculation, everything the killers used to kill 14 people could have been purchased easily and legally for less than $5,000. And according to a family attorney, the use of guns was nothing alarming, not even when you add up 6,000 rounds of ammunition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When people have guns and they have ammo, a lot of times they go to shooting and firing ranges, they do waste a lot of ammo at these ranges.

GRIFFIN: It was the Colorado theater shooting that exposed to the public just how easy to assemble an arsenal. The shooter amassed his arsenal over the Internet, all shipped anonymously, through online purchases. He bought tear gas canisters, tactical gear, multi-round magazine holders, and 4,300 rounds of ammunition from a company called

Quentin Caldwell was on the other end of that purchase in Colorado, barely escaping death.

QUENTIN CALDWELL, AURORA SHOOTING SURVIVOR: That is disturbing. If can I go in and fully equip myself that easily, it's ridiculous.

GRIFFIN: In most states, you can buy as much as you want. In 1986, Congress passed and President Reagan signed the Firearms Owners Protection Act, which restricted sales of fully automatic weapons but also pretty much removed any rules about buying ammunition. It made it legal to buy ammo through the mail and dealers don't have to keep track of anyone who buys ammo, no matter how much.

MIKE BOUCHARD, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF ATF: Ammunition sales is not regulated. To sell ammunition, you don't have to have a license. No one knows who is selling ammunition. And to buy ammunition, you don't have to provide any identification, at least since 1986.


GRIFFIN: The ease of buying ammunition is literally celebrated on YouTube's videos called unboxing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you can see here, this is a thousand rounds of nine millimeter Luger.

GRIFFIN: It's almost as easy to buy components and build a pipe bomb. Police in California say the killers had 12 of them, simple bombs with pipe components bought in hardware stores.

[07:45:05] Black or smokeless powder you can buy by the pound. And a terrorist magazine that takes you through a step-by-step process that promises a bomb from materials in your mom's kitchen. The bombs in California didn't work. Similar, cheaply made bombs in Boston did. Cheap, easy, and everything needed purchased legally.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


PAUL: The president is speaking at 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. We are covering it live. Then, at 9:00 p.m., that all-star tribute celebration of CNN Heroes.

The first Baltimore police officer being tried for the death of Freddie Gray is back in court tomorrow. A lot of people are saying, this trial is moving quickly. We have some experts weighing in.

BLACKWELL: Also, a plane carrying actor Morgan Freeman makes an emergency landing. We are going to have the details on what led to that close call.


PAUL: Court resumes Monday in the first trial of the Freddie Gray death incident and charged with manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment.

[07:50:00] William Porter is the first of six Baltimore police officers standing trial for their alleged roles in killing the 25- year-old. This is an incident remember, it sparked protests and rioting.

CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson joining us now.

We're expected to hear more from the medical examiner tomorrow. How does his testimony how does it move the case forward? Because we know that people say it may be science, but it doesn't mean it's exact.


You know, it's always significant to have a medical examiner testify. There's a couple of things, I think, that are important. The first, of course, is that the jury wants to know the specific cause of death. Of course, she's been outlining that for the jury, the severing of the spine, the fact that ultimately he couldn't breathe as a result of the spinal sever, a vertebrae on top of another compressed as if he would have dived into a shallow pool. So, that on the sense, it gives the jury an understanding of how he died.

The second thing, we can't sell this short at all, and that's the emotional component. Whenever you have a medical examiner who was laying out the causes of injury, that has a very gripping effect. And, of course, juries are not supposed to consider emotion at all. When you have something this significant, juries want to know how did it happen and who do we look to, to find accountability?

PAUL: What do you think is the biggest obstacle for the prosecution and then for the defense?

JACKSON: You know, Christi, I think they both have the same obstacle but in a different way. If you're from the prosecution standpoint, what you're looking to do is find someone accountable for something they did not do.

And what did Porter not do? Two critical things: number one, why did he not seek medical attention immediately? Number two, why did he not seat belt him into the van as protocol required?

At the same time, if you're the defense, what you have to overcome were those actions reasonable? So, how can you beholding my client accountable not for something he affirmatively did, Christi, but something he didn't do. And then, of course, the defense had to explain he didn't know because he was feigning. A lot of prisoners feign injury not to go to jail.

And from the defense perspective, as soon as he knew that Porter, the gravity of the injuries, he called immediately. So, that really is the playing field that both sides are going to be operating under. Was the omission to act reasonable? And if the jury believes it was, there was one outcome. If the jury believes he should have acted, then, of course, that leads to another outcome in that --

PAUL: I can't imagine they're going to put Porter on the stand. But there are statements of his that are coming in.

JACKSON: You know, Christi, he very well may testify, because in some sense, he's testifying already. And that is, he was interviewed about five days after this occurred. And, of course, he gave his full interview to an lead investigator by the name of Syreeta Teel. He explained exactly that.

Look, I didn't know. He was feigning injury. And a lot of people feign injuries. I know who Freddie Gray is. He's a difficult person to begin with.

So, he in essence has been testifying, not physically on the stand, but through his reporting. He's been allowed to get out his explanation, but, of course, he's pressed upon it and pressed upon the reasonableness or unreasonableness of his actions. So, he may very well take the stand so as to explain further exactly what happened and what he did specifically and why he didn't seat belt him in, which he explained because he was dealing with another prisoner at the time.

PAUL: All right. Joey Jackson, always appreciate the insight. Thank you, sir.

JACKSON: Thank you, Christi.

BLACKWELL: There's a close call this weekend for actor Morgan Freeman's after his plane skidded off the runway during an emergency landing. We'll talk about how that happened.

And billions of dollars worth of lost treasure found at the bottom of the ocean. Now two countries are fighting over who gets it.


[07:58:33] BLACKWELL: All right. Coming up to the top of the hour now.

Let's talk about the close call for Morgan Freeman. The Oscar winner's private plane was forced to make a landing. This happened after his tires blew out while en route to Houston. Freeman's lawyer says the plane skidded off a runway as it landed in Mississippi. Good news here: no reports of injuries.

PAUL: Police are investigating a robbery at the Cleveland museum of natural history. Investigators were called after a number of gems were found missing. The museum has not given a value of those items yet.

BLACKWELL: All right. Colombia says it has found a Spanish ship sunk 300 years ago in the Caribbean. On the ship is a treasure estimated as high as $17 billion in gold, silver, and other gems. The Colombian government says the treasure there should be theirs, but a group of U.S. investigators engaged in marine salvaging claim that their company found it in 1981 and the treasures should be divided 50/50.

PAUL: You knew people would fight over that.

BLACKWELL: Certainly.

PAUL: NASA releasing the clearest close ups of Pluto's surface. Look at these images taken by NASA's New Horizon spacecraft showing craters, mountains, glacial terrain along this strip of 50 miles wide. New Horizons sped past Pluto in July and researchers expect more images to come over the next week or so. It is fascinating.


PAUL: Thank you for starting your morning with us. We always appreciate you.

BLACKWELL: Your NEW DAY continues right now.