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Kerry at Meeting to Discuss Rise of ISIS in Libya; New Video of Violent Fight that Killed 9; Baltimore Police on Trial: Jury Deliberations Begin Monday. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired December 13, 2015 - 07:30   ET



[07:30:17] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: "The New York Times" is reporting the female San Bernardino killer posted her support for violent jihad online before entering the U.S.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: "The Times" doesn't mention exactly what Tashfeen Malik said in those posts but they were missed during three background checks. Had they been found, authorities might have kept her out of the country. And you'll remember, of course, that Malik and her husband killed 14 people and wounded 21 others.

PAUL: In the meantime, the FBI has wrapped up their search near the lake near the site of the attack. Investigators pulled several items from the water yesterday, but FBI officials aren't saying exactly what those items, or are they saying whether they have anything to do with the case.

BLACKWELL: A verdict is expected soon for the first of six Freddie Gray manslaughter trials. Closing arguments start tomorrow and the jury is expected to make a ruling on the fate of Officer William Porter by sometime mid to late week.

PAUL: And happening right now, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meeting with his Italian counterpart and U.N. special representative for Libya, after growing concern that ISIS is getting stronger there in Libya.

U.S. and coalition forces, of course, bombing ISIS strongholds in Syria and as doing so, it appears Libya has become the new safe haven for that terror group.

I want to bring in CNN's Sara Sidner.

Sara, first of all, I'm wondering what's on the table for the discussion today? But also wondering how embedded ISIS is and Libya? Do we have a good gauge?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's start with your first question. What is going to happen? What is this all about really?

Just to explain quickly, there are two different parliaments have emerged and rivals. One is the Islamist party, the other is more liberal, more moderate, and they are at odds. This is supposed to bring those two groups together, representatives from both groups, the general national Congress and the council of representatives. And they are supposed to come together and try and form an agreement that would bring them into a unity government, thereby giving Libya one solid government. That is the hope.

It really is a failed state by most accounts. If you look at what is happening in the country, you have militias that are sort of taking control of different cities and you have the situation where it is quite lawless and there is a huge concern. Not just from Europe but from surrounding countries that ISIS has made its way into the country and not only that, taken over parts of the country.

There is also word from ISIS, they are making statements such as this could be their de facto state if, for example, they fail to keep hold of places like Raqqa. So, you are really seeing a great deal of concern and repercussions. There are states, for example, Tunisia where I was just visiting that are putting up fences, trying to fence people out and to keep their own people to train in Libya, which has really become an open-air weapons depot, along with that ISIS militancy that growing there -- Christi.

PAUL: So, Sara, do we know if any sort of military action is part of the discussion today?

SIDNER: I don't think you're going to hear about that. Really what they are trying to do is bring these two groups together. The country needs some kind of governance, but there have been, behind the scenes over the past few weeks and months, people talking about it. You hear France saying we have to crush ISIS. They mention the fact that ISIS is in Libya.

You hear from the Brits. They've been talking about, the British are saying, you know, we need to start looking at this and need to take action there because this is a growing threat. And you have to remember this, Libya and its shores are about 400 kilometers from Italy, so extremely close to Europe as well, never mind its surrounding countries in North Africa.

That is too close for comfort. And you will likely see some kind of action over the next years and months. There is a great deal of concern that ISIS is making a real stronghold there in Libya -- Christi.

PAUL: All right. Sara Sidner, so appreciate it. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's bring in CNN politics executive editor Mark Preston and CNN contributor Michael Weiss, co-author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror."

Good to have both of you.

With this CBS/"New York Times" poll, a striking number -- 79 percent of Americans believe that a terror attack is likely in the coming months, that's higher than it was right after 9/11. How has this shift for concern over terror changed the GOP primary race?

MARK PRESTON, CNN POLITICS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Well, certainly, we are hearing a lot more about how the candidates would protect the U.S. here at home and what they would do abroad to try to keep terrorists from coming here into the U.S.

[07:35:05] Now, of course, we have seen what happened out in San Bernardino. A lot of discussion right now about how that has been a terror attack and what could happen next.

Now, there are differing opinions, Victor, on what to do over in Syria and Iraq and the whole Middle East situation. We'll ill see tomorrow or rather Tuesday night, not one debate, but two debates with such a large Republican field for four hours basically talking about their plans for the future and how they are going to deal with this ISIS threat, Victor.

BLACKWELL: Michael, to you. The latest CNN poll, it shows that GOP voters, by a wide margin, trust Donald Trump to best handle ISIS specifically. When you examine his proposals, is there anything specifically that you can attribute that to? And do you see anything that he is pointing out that would likely work?

MICHAEL WEISS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, Trump is trafficking in this dangerous and populist rhetoric that essentially Muslims are the problem, if we build a wall or keep them out or put them in a national registry, ISIS would go away. In fact, I've been making the case that what ISIS is doing. So, in the sense, Trump is sort of underwriting their propaganda for them.

The other proposals he has suggested such as endorsing the Russian intervention in Syria which really has nothing to do with defeating ISIS but everything to do with propping up the regime of Bashar al Assad and fighting the rebels most committed to his elimination, also a great victory for ISIS because it's essentially leaving ISIS alone. ISIS has been able to take more territory in Aleppo as a result of Russia's bombardment campaigns against other rebel groups there.

Donald Trump doesn't know what he is talking about when it comes to the Middle East. I want to put that out there as boldly as I can and he's throwing everything he can at the American electorate at a time of high anxiety and fear, justifiably so. I mean, you know, most Americans think a terrorist attack is coming because they saw a terrorist attack, you know, a little over a week ago in California.

But we have to be level-headed about this and we have to understand the nature of the threat and how best to combat it. Not just in the battlefield or in terms of national security policy but also in this war of ideas. I mean, rhetoric matters. What we say, how we live our lives in this country and the inclusiveness what we bring to bear in sort of domestic political questions, that is very integral to this strategy to defeat ISIS.

BLACKWELL: Michael, let me have you fill out something you just mentioned. Of course, rhetoric matters, you talked about how what you're hearing how Donald Trump plays into the hands of ISIS, could you fill that out for us just a bit? How likely, since you literally wrote the book on ISIS, do you see this playing into this larger propaganda as it relates to their propaganda?

WEISS: Well, let me give you an example, a week or more ago, Le Front National, which is the fascist party in France campaigned on a very anti-immigration, anti-Muslim platform. They got 30 percent of the vote in the regional elections there, shocking all the French commentators who thought that Marine Le Pen, the leader of this party, was a clown and a buffoon, someone not to be taken seriously, don't worry about that, there is sort of an outlier player.

ISIS supporters on social media cheered this victory because they said this is exactly what we want, we want an extremist party to rise in the West and make this dichotomy all Muslims versus the West, because then it will force Muslims into a position to choose ISIS as their only custodian or defenders of their rights. That's how ISIS portrays themselves as you know, the last line of defense for all Sunni Muslims.

So, again, when you have these ignoramuses coming out saying all Muslims are the problem, I mean, forgetting the fact that Muslims are the first to be targeted by jihadi organizations and jihadi terror groups, it's music to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi's ears. That's as candidly as I can put it.

BLACKWELL: And, Mark, of course, everyone will be watching the front runners. You got Donald Trump, of course, center stage as he has been for every Republican debate now and you've got Ted Cruz surging there in Iowa in these two latest polls. But who else is your team focusing on and which of these candidates says that this will be, of course, a game-changer night for them? We know that Jeb Bush has languished into the low to single digits for months now.

PRESTON: Right. In many ways, I think, victor, that everybody has to have a good night on Tuesday night, and the reason being that we are heading into the Christmas holiday. This campaign is going to be frozen in many ways for a few weeks. Then we are right into the final stretch into Iowa in January. The Iowa caucus is going to be on February 1st.

Whoever comes out of this debate tonight is really going to be helped by the fact that public opinion certainly start to sway their way. Will they be able to continue with it? In terms of foreign policy, there are going to be differences about how you deal with ISIS, how do you deal with the Syrian regime and what do you do with Iran and other world hot spots around the globe?

[07:40:03] What is going to happen in North Korea? There are some issues, of course, down in Africa. There's just whole issue now down in Central American that that we are dealing with trade and regimes down there.

So, when you talk about what issues are they going to talk about? This is our fifth Republican debate at this point. They've talked a lot about the economy. We've heard about them on social issues.

This debate right now couldn't really come at a better time. So, when it comes to national security, I think that's going to be the crutch of the debate. We've been very clear about that and talking about it with the campaigns, and we'll have to see how they all handle it.

To your point about George -- rather, Jeb Bush, he has to have a breakout moment at this point. He has slowly slipped into the polls. He at one point was considered the front runner. Donald Trump will continue to go after him and I think a flash point we'll see on Tuesday night, Victor.

BLACKWELL: And you certainly you make a good point, the debate on keeping America safe extends beyond terror, extends beyond ISIS.

Mark Preston and Michael Weiss, thank you both.

PAUL: And stay with us. Shocking new video that shows how that deadly biker shoot-out started last May in Texas.


PAUL: Forty-four minutes past the hour right now.

And CNN has stained new surveillance video of the deadly biker brawl last may in Waco, Texas, nine people were killed. No murder charges have been filed.

Until now, we have only seen video from inside the restaurant and people watched the mayhem outside and later ducked for cover. This is the first time we see the actual fight in the parking lot.

[07:45:00] And, please, I want to forewarn you here, parts of this video are violent and hard to watch. I just don't want you to be caught off guard.

But here is our Nick Valencia with the details.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is a violent showdown. A newly obtained footage by CNN, video shows the moments that led to the bloody shootout between rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas, last May.

The video picks up with an argument in the parking lot already in progress. You can see members from the Cossacks and Scimitars, two allied motorcycle clubs huddled left of the camera.

Just off camera, bikers from the Bandidos and Cossacks, two archrivals, argue after one is nearly hit by motorcycle, according to witnesses.

In police interviews, the rivals point the finger at each other as to who started the fight and then chaos. You don't have to hear the gunshots to feel the intensity erupt outside the Twin Peaks Restaurant. Some bikers duck for cover. In the background, you can see others run from the slaughter.

In perhaps the most graphic portion of the surveillance tape, a man in a red bandana sneaks up on another biker and appears to strike him in the throat. The two wrestle on the ground before a third biker joins in. The man in the red bandana is struck several times in the head while on the ground. He's stomped at least once. He lies motionless as the men he was fighting walk off screen.

In the foreground, more bikers run from what seems to be the epicenter of the violence. One man checks the blood dripping from his arm, another falls to the ground after appearing to be shot. The agony is all around.

(on camera): According to a document passed on to CNN by a source close to the case, four of the nine bikers who died were hit by two three caliber ammunition. What started this all? It's up for debate. We mentioned the argument in the parking lot but others have told police the feud between the two groups were brewing way before the day of the shooting.

In interviews with police, bikers said it was over a longstanding dispute about fees that the Bandidos wanted to collect from the Cossacks. Other put it more simply. They say the fight was all about respect.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.


BLACKWELL: Nick, thank you.

We have been following this case from the very start. Jury deliberations begin tomorrow in a trial for the first of six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, and the city of Baltimore, police, especially, preparing for the verdict.


[07:51:21] BLACKWELL: Baltimore is ramping up security as the first of six Freddie Gray manslaughter trials is coming to an end. Now, the police commissioner even canceled leave next week, you know we're getting close to Christmas, for all the cops, to ensure that enough men and women are on duty ahead of the jury's ruling on the fate of Officer William Porter.

CNN's Miguel Marquez has the latest.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After eight days of testimony, 16 witnesses for the prosecution and 12 witnesses for the defense, this first trial in the death of Freddie Gray, that of Officer William Porter, will soon be in the hands of the jury. The defense arguing very strongly that it wasn't Officer Porter's responsibility to put Freddie Gray into seat belts. They're also arguing using experts, medical experts, that Officer Porter dealt with Freddie Gray only before he was critically injured.

The prosecution hitting back very hard, saying it was Officer Porter's responsibility all along and that it was he, himself, who acknowledged that Mr. Gray was having trouble breathing, that he was clearly ill, and still did not get him a medic.

On Monday, they will go to closing arguments very quickly, and then the jury will have it. We expect that the jury could come back with a verdict by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Baltimore.


PAUL: CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson joining us now.

Joey, based on what you know so far about this case and what you've seen, who is going into closing arguments a little bit stronger?


Always difficult to say, it depends upon the jury's perceptions. What are the jurors thinking at this time? Remember, this case is really based on the failure of action by a police officer. In other cases, Christi, that involve police shootings, it's an affirmative act that an officer did.

Here, the prosecution's arguing that if he only got medical attention, that's right him, Officer Porter, if he only got Freddie Gray medical attention, would he be alive today, if he only seat belt buckled. This is gross deviation from standard of care we expect from law enforcement.

The defense is saying, my client had no reason to believe he was in dire straits. And immediately upon him knowing, what did he do? He notified the van transport officer, Caesar Goodson and also Sergeant Alicia White. And in terms of buckling him, that was an advisory guideline, it wasn't mandatory.

And so, those would be the arguments before that jury, who has the stronger argument is going to be up to those 12 people who are sitting in that box who have listened so intently over eight days of testimony.

PAUL: Joey, we know that one of the things jurors want to see and hear is they want the defendant on the stand. They got it in this case, which is quite rare. Did it do him any favors?

JACKSON: You know, it certainly could have, because, remember, not only did they hear from the defendant in the defense case, of course they heard from him in the prosecution's case, because he was interviewed and they allowed the jury to hear that interview.

But they also heard from character witnesses, including his mom that talked about him as being such a good guy. A truthful guy, a peaceful person and not the type of person, is the implication, who would ever do something like this, which is not to give care and concern to someone in need and not to follow protocol and procedures.

So, I think it very well could have helped him, but it's always, as you know so well, Christi, a question of credibility. Was he believable to that jury?

PAUL: All righty. Hey, and last but not least, what do you think is going to happen tomorrow?

JACKSON: You know, I think you're going to hear some forceful arguments.

[07:55:01] It's the last opportunity for the prosecution to advance that theory that this officer did not act and had he acted, Freddie Gray would be alive. And, of course, for the defense to advance their theory, that he was absolutely reasonable under this circumstance, do not hold him accountable, it wasn't his fault.

PAUL: All righty. Joey Jackson, we know you'll be with us through it all. Thank you so much, sir.

JACKSON: Thank you, Christi. Have a great day.

PAUL: You too.

BLACKWELL: All right. Coming up, Ted Cruz knocks Donald Trump down to second place in the latest Iowa poll. We'll go live to Las Vegas, the site of the CNN GOP debate. That's coming up on Tuesday. We'll get some analysis.


PAUL: Coming up on 8:00 here on a Sunday morning. How lucky are we to have you with us? So grateful. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: Certainly are.

I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

PAUL: Yes, let's talk about the new developments in the GOP race for the White House. A new Iowa poll showing this morning, Ted Cruz has soared ahead of Donald Trump, double digits here. A ten-point lead has opened up in the pivotal first in the nation voting state. This, of course, comes just a couple of days before Cruz and Trump face off in Las Vegas at the next presidential debate.

And that's where we find CNN's Athena Jones.

Athena, wondering if you've gotten reaction from either of these camps about these new numbers we're seeing?


Both sides have reacted. Of course, one side is happier than the other. The Cruz campaign sees this big surge as a result of a lot of hard work. The campaign has spent months on the ground there in Iowa, building relationships with the evangelical community.