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Geneva Ramping Up Security; Secret Vatican Pact. Aired 06:30- 07:00 ET

Aired December 13, 2015 - 06:30   ET


CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning from Switzerland. Investigators are saying the traces of explosives found in the car of two Syrian men arrested yesterday came from materials used to make homemade bombs. Now, Geneva is ramping up security after a tip from U.S. intelligence that terrorists were discussing plans to attack that city. Let's bring in CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson here. Nic, wondering first of all, what else you can tell us or what you've learned about these two men?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, the police are investigating for possible connections to a terrorist organization. They are not saying which terrorist organization. But all of the indications are that it seems to be ISIS at the moment because of the current ISIS threats against Geneva. This is a weekend of huge celebrations in Geneva. This is the last time they were at war in 1602. You have people here dressed up in the national costume here. This is part of the celebration. The square that ran here right in the center of Geneva in the old town, there would have been drums, drums playing here and men with muskets commemorating that war. But the police here have decided for the celebrations in this area were filled with tourist and with citizens of Geneva through the afternoon, the police have decided to allow this celebration to go ahead, despite the terror threats here.

The cafes here are full like normal people and not hiding off the streets because of the heightened terror threat. And you look at the newspaper billboards here, L'Escalade, that's a celebration here goes ahead amid high surveillance. The two Syrians caught because their car had a punctured tire. What the police haven't said so far is if these two men with the Syrian passports had Schengen Visa that is a visa that allows them to be here legally and to pass through Europe's borders legally. The investigation continues, the police say to expect more arrests and, of course, a high level of vigilance during the celebrations here today.

PAUL: Nic Robertson, thank you so much.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Just two days now until the CNN GOP presidential debate. Terror and U.S. security will be top of the agenda. This is coming, of course, as many wonder, which of the candidates is best suited to keep the country safe. CNN politics reporter Eric Bradner joins us now. Eric, I want to get to this - this poll, this CBS/"New York Times" poll that shows that as many as 79 percent of Americans believe that a terror attack is likely in the coming months. And just to put this into perspective, 78 percent of Americans thought the same thing just after 9/11. How has this shaped this race? A lot of these candidates thought this was going to be about the economy and jobs. It's quickly shifted to terror, ISIS and national security.

ERIC BRADNER, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: A lot of Republican candidates have been hoping sort of a season where Donald Trump insults other candidates and rises in the polls would end.


And this poll shows that the sobriety, the seriousness of this race has really come at this moment just a few weeks from the first votes being cast in Iowa and New Hampshire.

So it's definitely injected a level of seriousness and changed the focus of this race. Now, because we are getting so close to those first caucuses and primaries, that means it's going to be time for candidates to take some bigger swings. It's sort of moving day, if you will, right? We know that for a few candidates like Marco Rubio or perhaps Chris Christie and former U.S. Attorney they feel a level of comfort with national security that could allow them to sort of take advantage of this opening, this shift in emphasis. But there is no doubt we will see all of the candidates taking some bigger swings, perhaps some bigger risks as they are trying to gain a little bit of momentum, as they are running out of time to get that momentum going before the first votes are cast.

BLACKWELL: All right so - Marco Rubio, you mentioned Chris Christie. Here is what they have had to say as we head into this debate on Tuesday about the threat of terror. We have heard this from them over just the last few days. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to get our arms around this or -- we don't want people coming in and knocking down World Trade Centers and having what happened last week in California, with these two people that radical, crazy, horrible people.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What we know is most effective, is the use of intense intelligence surveillance and law enforcement techniques to spot the people who really mean to do this country harm. Whether you are within the Muslim American community or any other community in this country. If you mean to do this country harm, we need to intercept you before you do it. It's a difference between having experience in doing this and having no experience and doing it. You have no experience you paint with a broad brush and say ban all Muslims.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Think about it this way. We allow 10,000 refuges to come into the U.S. And 9,999 of them are just poor souls seeking a better life and to avoid violence and war, but one of them is an ISIS killer. You have a problem. You have to be 100 percent right. And no matter how often you run them through the database you won't find many anything in many cases. We don't have a database. These killers in San Bernardino, they weren't on any database. It's a very complicated issue.


BLACKWELL: So we hear from Marco Rubio a discussion of a database, we hear surveillance from Chris Christie. And in general, general statements from Donald Trump, and few specifics. However, 46 percent of GOP voters trust Donald Trump to handle ISIS. Are voters looking for specifics at this point?

BRADNER: Well, what the Trump numbers show you is that rather than specifics, what they are really attracted to, is a show of strength and leadership. Those are the areas where Trump polls really well. His sort of bombast, his willingness to throw both, you know, President Obama and the establishment Republicans under the bus really helps him in that regard. But you definitely heard some of the key lines, key debates within the party, surveillance and this is a security versus privacy is definitely one of them. Republicans will also be debating how to handle Syrian refuges and then President Obama's intention to allow 10,000 of them into the United States next year.

But, no, the Trump numbers definitely show an electorate that is valuing strength and leadership. That sort of feeling that the United States can stand up to the terror threat over perhaps any specific approach at this point.

BLACKWELL: All right. Eric Bradner, thank you so much. We'll look forward to the debate. Coming up, the last debate for the Republicans of 2015 right here on CNN. Tuesday night at 6:00 and 8:30 p.m. Eastern. CNN is partnering with Salem Radio Network. To find the debate on radio in your area, go to

Also staying in politics, Will Ferrell back to "SNL" on "Saturday Night Live" playing former president George W. Bush and taking shots at essentially every GOP presidential candidate. Here is part of it. Watch.


WILL FERRELL: The field of Republicans out there is so messed up, I figured it makes you miss me, doesn't it?


FARRELL: Yeah. And that is saying a lot. I've already got my campaign song. Ready or not, here I come. You can't hide. Going to find you and make you love me. It's a little something from the Fugees! I'm telling you, I can beat these guys.



BLACKWELL: Here's George W. Bush, could put Daryl Hammond's Donald Trump in the same sketch?

PAUL: Oh, my goodness.

BLACKWELL: That, I want to see.

PAUL: It's too good. We have more for you coming up in the next hour. That as well. We are not going to let you hang on just that.

Listen. Still to come, a rare look deep inside the Vatican catacombs. A secret pact signed there decades ago could be the blueprint for Pope Francis's agenda today.

BLACKWELL: Plus, this morning, a hospital in California is trying to track down hundreds of newborns and their parents potentially exposed to tuberculosis.


BLACKWELL: At the Vatican today, Pope Francis opened the holy doors of St. John Lateran to complete the inauguration of the jubilee year of mercy. Catholic churches around the world have been opening their own holy doors ever since the pope began the celebration by opening the holy doors of last Tuesday at St. Peter's basilica.

PAUL: It's also come to light that the pope's emphasis on ministering to the poor is enshrined on a secret document that goes back 50 years. CNN Vatican correspondent Delia Gallagher explains the origins of the Pact of the Catacombs.


DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 92-year-old Father Luigi Bettazzi is the last known survivor of a secret pact that experts say may have influenced Pope Francis. Signed 50 years ago at the time of Vatican two by catholic bishops in this underground church in Rome. Called the Pact of the Catacombs, it vowed to create a poor church for the poor. The same church Pope Francis says he wants today.

BISHOP LUIGI BETTAZZI, ORIGINAL SIGNER OF CATACOMBS PACT (through translator): I always say that Pope Francis is the new catacombs pact.

GALLAGHER: Now, this pact had 13 points, and in it these bishops vowed to avoid wealth or the appearance of wealth, including in what they wore. Not wearing rich vestments or loud colors. Avoiding gold and silver. They also said they wouldn't accept invitations to extravagant dinners. They also vowed to put pressure on international organizations to help change the economic structures, which they said exploit the poor. These are all points that are remarkably similar to Pope Francis's agenda for the church today. Father Bettazzi says the bishops made the pact because they were disappointed that Vatican II did not talk enough about the poor.

BETTAZZI: We were a bit disappointed that the council had not spoken.

GALLAGHER: The signers sent a letter to the pope at the time, Paul VI, but Bettazzi says the Vatican was too afraid of the political, especially Marxist, connections, of aligning themselves too much with the struggles of the poor.

This pact is mysterious. Because after it was signed, it essentially went under ground, and the promises it made were kept alive only by a few. And what we know about it today is based on letters and the testimony of those who signed it. American nun Sister Sally Hogden recently addressed the Vatican conference on the Pact of the Catacombs. She says knowledge of the pact was kept alive mostly in Latin America and became a foundational document for the Latin American churches focused on the poor.

SALLY HOGDGEN: There were 500 bishops who signed it later, most of them from Latin America. So my guess is that Pope Francis did know about it, as he grew up in the church in Latin America.

GALLAGHER: Pope Francis has said that reaching out to the poor is what Jesus did, but like the pact, he also wants a church that is poor, one without extravagant clothing, fancy titles or apartments, especially at the Vatican.

HOGDEN: Even before Pope Francis, all of us were trying to live this, without referring to the Pact of the Catacombs. So it isn't that when we had different popes, we haven't tried to live gospel poverty. But it's just easier now.

GALLAGHER: A secret pact for a poor church that has languished under ground for 50 years, now resurrected through the work of Pope Francis.

Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.


BLACKWELL: Thanks to Delia for that story.

Let's get to these jury deliberations starting tomorrow in the trial for the first officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray. And the city of Baltimore is preparing for what could be a day of really heated emotions.

PAUL: Plus a tuberculosis scare at a California hospital has health officials scrambling to contact hundreds of newborn babies and their parents.



PAUL: 51 minutes past of the hour. Baltimore is ramping up security precautions as the first of six Freddie Gray manslaughter trials nears an end. The police commissioner even canceled leave for next week for all officers to make sure enough men and women are on duty ahead of the jury's ruling on the fate of Officer William Porter. CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson is joining us now. So Joey, we know, at this point, they are heading into closing arguments. You're an attorney. What are they doing right now to prepare and what do you think both sides are going to really hone in on? JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good morning, Christi. Both sides

are really taking the testimony and reviewing it and using this as an opportunity to put forth their most persuasive theory to that jury. Remember, there are two professors in a courtroom at all times, one the prosecution; the other the defense, to rebut anything they say is what are they talking about? And so from a prosecution's perspective, I think you're going to see a theory that is continually advanced that this was an unreasonable, callous officer who couldn't care less. And as a result of that, there was a death. Why? Because he knew that Freddie Gray was in dire straits and didn't do something as simple as call a medic. That is unreasonable, ladies and gentlemen, and there are directives and policies that require that he be belted in, seat belted in, in that transport van. He didn't do it, Freddie Gray's dead.

The defense. You know what? My client went above and beyond the call of duty here. How did he do that? He did that because Freddie Gray was showing no signs of distress, but immediately upon him knowing that he was, he notified that van transport driver, Goodson, he notified his supervisor, the sergeant. And in terms of seat belting him, that is advisory. It's not mandatory. He did all he could. He's not guilty. I think that is what we will see. And of course, in a lot of elongated fashion, but that is the essence of it.

PAUL: You know, Joey, a lot of people are watching this and they might be thinking, okay, so the defense is blaming the transport officer. That transport officer, is he not going to come up for trial himself, and depending on what happens in this one, could it affect his trial in some way, or at least public perception of him?

JACKSON: Absolutely right. And you're always concerned about public perception because you have a jury pool. Now, remember, every trial is separate and distinct, and every conduct or lack of conduct as it is in this case is distinct. So in terms of the transport driver, Goodson, he is up next. And of course he has the most responsibility here, based upon what he is being charged with, and the fact is he is involved in the care, custody, and control. What should he have done? He should have acted immediately upon knowing that there needed to be medical attention. So, sure, that will come up thereafter. We will start that trial in January. But I think this trial will stand on the merits of its own, and, remember, Christi, we are talking about what an officer failed to do and we will be talking about that in Goodson too.

PAUL: All right. Joey Jackson, good to see you this morning. Thank you.

JACKSON: Thank you, Christi..

BLACKWELL: We are coming up to the top of the hour on "New Day." And Ted Cruz knocked down Donald Trump, at least to second place. The latest Iowa poll showing Cruz with a ten-point lead over the former front-runner. We have a look at how the candidates will have to make their case for their plans on terrorism and keeping America safe during Tuesday's CNN GOP debate.

Also up next, details on babies potentially exposed to tuberculosis, and the hunt now for their parents in California.



BLACKWELL: Let's talk politics.

PAUL: Yes. Let's.

BLACKWELL: We will start with Donald Trump and if he will go after Ted Cruz after getting the latest now on these new polls.

PAUL: We want to talk to you, though, about some of the other stories making headlines. There is a woman who has been elected to the city council in Mecca, this is for the first time in Saudi Arabia's history. Never before have Saudi women even been allowed to run for office or vote until yesterday's election. You think about this. Getting to the polls, it was a challenge because Saudi women can't drive.


Northern California now. More than 300 infants born since August reportedly will have to be tested for tuberculosis. According to the Associated Press, the babies and their mothers may have been exposed to the disease by an infected nurse at Valley Medical Center in San Jose. Those who test positive will be treated with antibiotics.

PAUL: (inaudible), the North Korean girl band hand-picked by leader Kim Jong-un abruptly canceled a week of concerts in Beijing and left the country. No reason was given. The cancellation came just hours, though, before the band was supposed to perform last night. The women were seen leading their Beijing hotel with the North Korean ambassador and going to the airport.

BLACKWELL: University of Alabama junior Derrick Henry is the winner of this year's Heisman Trophy. Runningback rushed a total of 1,986 yards, breaking the Southeastern Conference record set by Hershell Walker back in '81. Henry is only the second Alabama player to win the prestigious college award.