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Sanders, DNC Reach Deal On Crucial Voter File; New Poll: Trump Dominates GOP Field; Obama Meets With Shooting Victims' Families; President Obama Says ISIS Losing Ground In Iraq; DNC, Sanders Campaign Reach Agreement Over Access to Crucial Voter Database; Displaced Syrians; $5,000 Reward for Whereabouts of Ethan Couch. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired December 19, 2015 - 06:00   ET




AMARA WALKER, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Amara Walker in for Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's always good to be with you on a Saturday morning.

We are starting this morning with breaking news overnight. This deal that has been reached between Bernie Sanders and the DNC over access to a crucial voter database, this comes after tensions, we saw them, on live television Friday, it started when DNC cut off Sanders from the internal voter file.

Saying his staffers wrongly accessed information belonging to rival Hillary Clinton and then the Sanders campaign filed a lawsuit in federal court against the DNC.

Early this morning, the two sides come to an agreement. This is an uneasy one admittedly. The DNC says the Sanders campaign met their demands for the information regarding the data breach.

But in a statement the DNC says they will continue to investigate to ensure that the data that was inappropriately accessed has been deleted and is no longer in possession of the Sanders campaign.

Now for their part, the Sanders campaign had a different interpretation. They say the DNC capitulated and reversed the outrageous decision. A lot of developments overnight, let's break them down.

We have CNN Politics senior reporter, Stephen Collinson. Stephen, good morning to you. Reading those two statements, are we to believe that this is over?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: I don't think it's over. I think as you say an uneasy truce has been reached. Remember just hours before the next Democratic debate, this issue would have overshadowed that debate. At least this agreement I think allows the parties to get pass this and move onto the issues, but I think this dispute was very interesting because it showed us something that has been boiling for a long time.

There is a lot of resentment among the supporters of Bernie Sanders towards the leadership of the Democratic National Committee. They believe that the committee has cooked the books in this campaign.

They've allowed Hillary Clinton. They've organized it in such a way that Hillary Clinton could have a nomination. For example, there are only five Democratic debates, less than half the number of Republican debates.

They're angry about the scheduling of the debates. Saturday night, the week before Christmas is not a big TV audience day. There are real tensions between the Sanders campaign and the Democratic leadership.

BLACKWELL: So we heard late yesterday from Hillary Clinton's campaign, the press secretary, Brian Fallon said this yesterday. Listen.


BRIAN FALLON, NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY, HILLARY FOR AMERICA (via telephone): It was an egregious breach, a violation of the rules, and for someone like Senator Sanders, who said he was going to run a different campaign, this is below the belt as it goes.

He should discipline his other staffers beyond the one that they fired today and that we can resolve this and we can move forward and we can have a fairly waged campaign.

Until that happens, I don't understand what all these distractions are about, about lawsuits. Senator Sanders can resolve this matter today by coming clean about what his staffers took from the Clinton campaign's million dollars' worth of investment in the data that we have gained through sweat equity of our thousands of volunteers in Iowa and New Hampshire.

By knocking on doors, making calls, and at 24 different occasions, they downloaded that data and tried to get an upper hand over the Clinton campaign through nefarious means. It's unacceptable.

For somebody that said they would run a different campaign, I just don't imagine what Senator Sanders is letting his campaign turn into.


BLACKWELL: So some strong words there and it's interesting that Fallon puts a value on the information that was accessed. Do we expect that the Clinton campaign will try to recoup that money or if they're going to call for greater sanctions?

COLLINSON: I think that is very interesting comment. I think we may see the campaign coming down very hard on Bernie Sanders to allow Hillary Clinton to perhaps take a more and more high ground later on in the debate.

I think what the Clinton campaign was doing was reacting to the very strong push from the Sanders campaign to make this a political issue in the primary.

[06:05:06]You saw the Sanders campaign come out and try and use this issue to fire up those grassroots supporters that made Bernie Sanders such a powerful force in this campaign. I think what the Clinton campaign's strong response shows that they were worried that could happen.

Hillary Clinton has been quite successful in stomping that momentum from Bernie Sanders as we saw earlier on in the summer and I think that they didn't want this to build into a strong ground surge behind Sanders. Let's face it now a few weeks away from the Iowa caucuses.

BLACKWELL: And a few hours away from the next Democratic primary debate. Stephen Collinson, thanks for your insight on that. We'll take a moment here, but we want to stay with you for another discussion. Stay with us.

WALKER: In the meantime, support for Donald Trump continues to surge, a new Fox News poll, the first national poll since Tuesday's debate here on CNN, has the billionaire businessman dominating the Republican field with 39 percent support from likely voters. That's an 11-point climb from last month.

Trump's closest competitor, Ted Cruz, is at just 18 percent, Marco Rubio at 11 percent, and Ben Carson has 9 percent. And the rest of the Republican field stuck in the low single digits all with 3 percent support or less.

Trump is also still defending his controversial remarks about banning Muslims. In a new interview with WABC's Rita Cosby, the Republican frontrunner said his campaign would do well with everybody in a general election.


RITA COSBY, WABC: Do you think that you will be able bring Muslim- Americans and what will you do to bring a big group of Muslim- Americans in? Obviously, it's important should you make it to the general election?

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think I'm going to do well with everybody and I think I'm going to win. The recent Fox poll has me beating Hillary easily and I think I'm going to win and I'm going to bring jobs back to our country.

I'm going to take the jobs that have been taken away, many of those jobs are just -- it should have never happen. I'll be bringing back jobs and I will be building up the military.

We will take care of our vets and get proper health care, not Obamacare, which has turned out to be a disaster, with premiums going up 35 to 45 percent. We will do a great job.


BLACKWELL: We have Stephen Collinson, let's look through these new numbers from the Fox polls. Stephen, there is this common expectation that this will come down possibly to a three-man race, Trump, Cruz, Rubio.

Inside the numbers of this poll, they draw it down to four candidates. Right now, he's got 41 percent of the voters, if this goes down to a two-person race, I don't know if this is the right graphic, but the latest numbers if this goes down to down is Trump at 41, Cruz at 25, Rubio at 17, and Carson at 12.

Even Stephen, if you were to give all of Carson's votes to Cruz, that brings him to 37 percent. Is this common wisdom the Trump doesn't win a three-man race? Is that hold him strong in these numbers?

COLLINSON: So far it is, Victor. What's interesting for me about these numbers as well is that Donald Trump appears to be expanding his base. There has been a question whether he could get above this ceiling of 25 to 30 percent that we've seen in many of the polls.

It looks now that he's -- in the last few polls that we've seen in the national race at least, he's starting to nudge 40 percent, which would suggest that as we get closer to the real voting in this race.

The conventional wisdom that Trump would fade and that one of the other candidates, perhaps Rubio, would consolidate establishment support and start to close that gap is not really being borne out.

You are right. I think you suggested that. We could see Ben Carson's vote go to Ted Cruz. I think that's right. If we do have a three-man race that is a scenario that gets us to a position when no candidate can possibly win enough delegates to win the nomination.

That's where we get really interesting scenarios about a possibly deadlocked convention next summer.

BLACKWELL: And of course, what is most important to GOP primary voters is who can beat Hillary Clinton in the fall? The Fox News poll that just came out now has his him down 11 points behind Clinton. A month ago, he was up by 5. What are we learning from that?

COLLINSON: That's right, Victor. That's a poll which really worries Republican leaders. They're very worried that Donald Trump could not only win the Republican nomination, but almost make it impossible for a Republicans to win the presidency.

His remarks about barring Muslims from entry onto U.S. soil that's a stance that's popular with a certain segment of the Republican base, and may be actually increasing his support. It's not a stance as popular in the country as a whole.

So that's a real microcosm there of this race and how Donald Trump could really hurt the Republican Party going forward. As we've seen, he's confounded conventional wisdom all the way through this race.

[06:10:05]Is it possible that Donald Trump could expand his support among more moderate voters and even some Democrats? It's possible. We just don't know, but it's very interesting as we are getting close to Iowa right now.

BLACKWELL: Forty three days and counting. Stephen Collinson, thank you so much.

WALKER: All right, a Canadian general says his soldiers played an integral role in a recent battle against ISIS, a look at the importance of Canada's involvement in the fight against the terror group.

New this morning, President Obama emotional after talking with victims' loved one of the San Bernardino terrorist attacks.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Despite the pain and the heartache that they're feeling, they could not have been more inspired and more proud of their loved ones.


WALKER: And a police officer in Florida punched and shot during a traffic stop. It's all caught on his cruiser's dash cam.



BLACKWELL: Well, just a few hours ago, President Obama met privately with the families of the San Bernardino victims.

WALKER: This visit comes two and a half weeks after 14 people were murdered and 17 others injured. The president says he was moved by the strength of those families.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: As difficult as this time is for them and for the entire community, they're also representatives of the strength and the unity and the love that exists in this community and in this country.

And as we go into the holiday season, even as we are vigilant about preventing terrorist attacks from happening, even as we insist that we can't accept the notion of mass shootings in public places or places of work and worship.

We have to remind ourselves of the overwhelming good that exists out there.

[06:15:06]And if you met some of these folks, despite the pain and the heartache that they're feeling, they could not have been more inspiring.


WALKER: The president spent nearly three hours with victims and their families. Ryan Reyes lost his partner in the attack. He is now joining us. Ryan, first off, we are very sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what the last few weeks have been like for you. Can you tell us a little about what the president and the first lady said to you, and how you felt?

RYAN REYES, BOYFRIEND KILLED IN ATTACK: I actually felt very good about what they were saying. Basically we were just told that, you know, the nation stand behind us and mourns with us and of course, they are there for us for whatever we may need.

And he did discuss that, you know, he is going to do his best to try to put a stop to all of this from happening and you know, take care of business, bring everything back to form am again.

After that, it was pretty much like a Q & A. We were allowed to ask him some questions and have him respond to, you know, our concerns. I, personally, did not have any questions for him.

That was Mark Daniel's uncle who raised him. He had some questions for him. And unfortunately, I'm not at liberty to discuss what those questions were.

WALKER: I would imagine some of the concerns are staying safe after these kinds of attacks and during President Obama's end of the year news conference yesterday, we heard him say, it will be very difficult to prevent these kinds of lone wolf attacks especially when you have these kinds of people self-radicalizing.

Do you feel like the government is doing enough? Do you trust the president when he tells you we are doing everything we can to keep you safe?

REYES: I absolutely trust the president when it comes to that aspect. Obviously, we value a lot of our freedoms here in this country. I know some of the families were quite upset that this was not caught in advance.

But at the same time, there was no reason to be looking at these two specific people because they were self-radicalized. So there was no communications between them and terrorist groups. It was just amongst themselves.

So it wasn't caught in time to have warrants to look at them. So you know, that's where this situation kind of fell through the cracks. But I do trust that our government is going to help us in any way possible to prevent these from happening in the future.

WALKER: Did the issue of gun control come up at all? As you know, President Obama is preparing an executive order to tighten access to guns especially when it comes to the gun show loophole. Where are your thoughts on that and did that come up at all on the conversations with the president?

REYES: He did not bring it up specifically. It was kind of in the roundabout way of, you know, we are looking into ways of preventing this from happening again. Personally, even though I do believe everyone has the right to own a weapon.

I think there need to be different laws and different classification for certain things because obviously, you do not need an assault rifle for personal protection. So stuff like that should not necessarily be able to be legal to own in this country because have you no reason to have an assault rifle.

You know, that is not something you would want to be using. I guess, you shouldn't be using it for hunting and you definitely don't need it for protection, you know, a revolver or a handgun work just as good.

WALKER: Ryan Reyes, we really appreciate your time and we are really sorry for your loss. We thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and your experiences yesterday with us. Appreciate it.

REYES: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, Canadian forces striking back against ISIS on the ground. It's the biggest defensive in Iraq since western troops arrived in the region 18 months ago. We'll talk about how they are working to get the upper hand.

Look at this, the teenager, he is wanted by county law enforcement, the sheriff's office there, state law enforcement, U.S. Marshals, and now the FBI. He is the 18-year-old who used the spoiled teen defense after being charged in the deadly dui crash. The latest in the search for the affluenza teen.



BLACKWELL: It's 22 minutes after the hour. New this morning, Canadian ground forces now taking the fight to ISIS after the terror group attacked Kurdish forces. The Canadian Special Forces say they are training local forces and they've provided supporting fire only to back up the Kurdish fighters.

They emphasized that they were not the principal combatants in this fights, but their role to train, advice, and assist sometimes involves active fighting.

WALKER: Let's talk more about this with CNN military analyst, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. Great seeing you as always. This is sounding very familiar, rhetoric, that we heard that followed after the U.S. special ops hostage raid in Iraq several weeks ago.

Obviously, this debate is raging in Canada as well after this uptown offense happened. When does the role of assisting and advising turn into combat? What constitutes combat? LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: This is an advice- and-assist attribution, as you know, Amara, but it's helpful in targeting. When we are talking about that, more of this term of boots on the ground, I think people are confused by that.

There will always be fighters. There will always be some from different countries. What I think we are trying to avoid is a large Western maneuvered presence, a group of individuals who acts as a unit conducting these operations.

But when you put Special Forces along with either Kurdish or Arab fighters to assist with intelligence gathering or spotting aircraft, that's a critically important role, but it's not a large number of boots on the ground.

That's what we're trying to avoid, a large western presence to fight this global Islamic Jihad movement.

WALKER: I'm curious to know what you thought about President Obama's end of the year news conference yesterday. He talked about the fight against ISIS. He did admit it will be difficult if not impossible to prevent a lot of these lone wolf attacks and he also mentioned that ISIS has lost 40 percent of the area it once held in Iraq.

[06:25:02]Are you concerned about this new strategy that seems to be playing out with ISIS when it comes to simply inspiring attacks as opposed to directing these kinds of attacks?

HERTLING: There are a lot of people studying this movement and have been so for a long time, especially those in the military and in the diplomatic core because they realized as the pope said interestingly, this is a global Islamic Jihad. It's a movement.

Unless we counter it in multiple ways not only on the battlefield, but in the ideology and assisting in a somewhat counter-insurgency campaign, it will be difficult to stop.

Now when you are talking about the lone wolf attacks, you will see individuals in all countries, not just the United States, who believed in this because they have been separated from the rest of society.

They feel like they're put upon by those who are biased towards Muslims. So that only a draws more people into the movement. So we've got to be very careful in terms of not only how we fight on the battlefield, but how we counter this ideology within the culture.

WALKER: It's a very strong point that has been made many times. You got to fight ISIS militarily but also ideologically as well. Lt. General Mark Hertling, great having you as always. Thank you.

HERTLING: Thank you, Amara.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk politics now and the deal that's breaking overnight, reached between Bernie Sanders and the DNC over access to this crucial voter database. What impact could this have on tonight's Democratic debate? Also look at this young man, the most wanted teen in America, the FBI, U.S. Marshals, joining the fight for the 18-year-olds who used the spoiled rich kid defense after being charged in a deadly dui crash.

WALKER: First, the critically acclaimed Chef Renee has been at the forefront of the new Nordic movement. Here's a look at how his innovative dishes turned his fine dining establishments into one of the world's best.


UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Copenhagen, the Danish capital often held as the standard bearer of green living is also at the forefront of the new Nordic cuisine. The undisputed king of the local culinary scene is Noma and has created by Chef Renee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me walking into Noma is stepping into a universe of our own, where people are pushing. Having this energy, working towards food, better plates, to understand how to cook in this region exploring the seasonality, trying to find new flavors, trying to build a new tradition.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: By pioneering the notion of (inaudible), he has revolutionized Nordic cuisine, using raw seasonal ingredients that are plucked directly from the wild landscapes of the north.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was really an amazing discovery to actually see the food stuff that's around you and connect yourselves to every single root and berry and tree in figuring out how does this taste, how do you cook with it?

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Pushing the boundaries of cooking the chef encourages creativity, experimenting with flavors that are distilled into unique, seemingly simple creations.


WALKER: And watch the full show at


WALKER: Breaking overnight, the Democratic National Committee and the Bernie Sanders' campaign have reached an agreement over access to a crucial voting database. The Sanders' campaign says access should be restored this morning. It comes after they filed a lawsuit against the DNC on Friday after the party cut off Sanders from internal voter files, saying his staffers wrongly accessed information belonging to his rival Hillary Clinton.

BLACKWELL: All this controversy happening as the Democratic candidates meet in New Hampshire for their third debate tonight. Let's look ahead with CNN political commentators Errol Louis and Maria Cardona, also, a Democratic strategist. I want to start with you, Errol, and the question of this deal, do we expect that this is the end of this, I don't know even what to call it, this conflict between the Sanders' campaign and the DNC? ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, in the short term, Victor, the issue at hand, whether or not the Sanders' campaign can get access to the voter files, that is absolutely resolved, then frankly, it was probably always going to be resolved in their flavor. The lawsuit that they filed, if you look through it, it was this very specific breach of contract suit. Because the deal called for the DNC to terminate on 10 days' notice, if there was a problem, not on ten minutes notice. So, I think they were always going to win that side of it. The larger issue, though, that you suggest, is really kind of important, which is that the Sanders' campaign feels it's been treated unfairly. And if that gets worse, if that continues, then the specter of a third party candidacy, which could really harm the Clinton campaign, if she becomes the Democratic nominee. That sort of looms off in the horizon, and that is something worth keeping an eye on.

BLACKWELL: So, Maria, let me come to you. I mean it was the information that was collected by the Clinton campaign that was accessed here. The Sanders' campaign used the term stolen. But we will use access for the purpose of our conversation. And Brian Fallon, the press secretary, put a dollar amount on that, a million dollars. Do you expect that the campaign will try to recoup that money? As for some sanctions, I mean it was interesting that he put a dollar amount on it?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm not really sure what the Clinton campaign is going to do specifically about. That I sort of doubt, Victor, that they are going to try to do anything about that right now. Look, the reality is that Hillary Clinton is ahead, and when you go into a debate or a when you are in a situation where you are ahead, you really don't have the need to whack the other guy, if you will. And she's not ahead by one or two points. She's ahead by 20 points, by 25 points in some of these national polls.

BLACKWELL: 31 in the latest ABC News poll.

CARDONA: Exactly. And so, I think what that she is going to do from here on out, and I think what the Clinton campaign is going to do from here and out, is what they've been doing up until now, which is to focus on her policy proposals.


What she is going to do about the critical issues that are facing the country, national security, economic security. That is her strength. And I think that's what she is going to focus on in the debate. Brian Fallon's response I think was an appropriate one. Because it was a very egregious breach by the Sanders' campaign, and admittedly so on their part, because they fired the staffer who did it. So, I think he got it out there. They were very upset about this as they should have been, but I think now they are going to focus on what's at hand, which is to continue to underscore how they believe she is going to be the best fighter for Americans in this campaign moving forward.

BLACKWELL: So, it's very clear in the Tuesday night CNN debate amongst the Republicans, who their Democratic target was? Hillary Clinton, her name was mentioned so many times, I think some counted, above 30. Who does she focus on on the other side? Does she focus on Trump? Is it Rubio, is it Cruz? Has she identified that primary opponent?

LOUIS: Well, gee, what we've heard from her, Victor, is that she'll a kind of blasts all of them. And usually, what she does is takes the worst statements by Donald Trump and then attributes them to the rest of the field to the extent that the other candidates have that distanced themselves from Donald Trump. That's fair game, actually. Because when Donald Trump, you know, who is leading by a sizable margin in the national polls, comes down and says things like, you know, we want to ban all Muslims from immigrating to the United States and the other candidates say, well, I don't quite want to do that. Or there's an easier way to do it other than a ban, it starts to make the entire party look as if they're being pulled to the Donald Trump extreme. And so, Hillary Clinton is going to try and tar all of them with the same brush and it has the added advantage of responding to some of the attacks. Because as you suggest, during their debates, they come after her over and over, and over again by name. She can't let that go on, but so far without really affecting her chances.

BLACKWELL: Maria, finally to you, and quickly, this week, Bernie Sanders told "Huffington Post" that he is already working on his inauguration speech. He is behind by 31 points. I had to watch the video to determine if it was said in tongue and cheek, you know, even a front runner wouldn't say that they're working on the inauguration speech. Is his campaign seeing something that isn't obvious in the numbers?

CARDONA: I think, you know, hope springs eternal, Victor, and good for him for being that optimistic. I think it's one of the things that he brings to the campaign. He's always focused on the possibilities. And it is politics, anything can happen. I don't think that that is going to be something that is going to be a reality any time soon. But you know what, let him do that, let him focus on what he would like to happen. And in the meantime, Hillary Clinton will focus on what she wants to do for the American people and to focus on the issues that they care about every single day.

BLACKWELL: All Right, Maria Cardona, Errol Louis, we'll talk next hour.

CARDONA: Thank you so much.

LOUIS: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Be sure to tune into CNN post-debate coverage and analysis, it starts at 10:30 Eastern hosted by Wolf Blitzer.

WALKER: For months, Syrian refugees have been trying to escape the war that's taken over their homelands. Still to come, CNN gets rare access to a refugee camp and we'll show you how Russia is helping people displaced by rebel forces.

Also, a cop punched and shot during a traffic stop. And it's all caught on his cruiser's dash cam.



WALKER: Well, millions of Syrians have fled their war-ravaged country to seek refuge, many uprooting their entire families to escape bombs that continue to drop. But there are many Syrians who have left their homes and stayed in their country. CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance joining me now from Russia. He was embedded with a Russian military at an airbase in Latakia, Syria this past weekend. And Matthew, you were taken to meet displaced Syrians living near Russian airbase. What did they tell you and what did you see?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, well, they are living in a refugee camp or a displaced persons' camp in Latakia, which is a city in Syria, which is under the control of the Syrian government. And look, I mean the Russians took us there, I think, because they wanted to illustrate the complex nature of the situation on the ground in Syria. Not everyone wants to see an end to the Assad regime. The Kremlin certainly doesn't. But there are also many Syrians that fear what will come if the Assad leadership comes to an end. Take a look.


CHANCE: In the game for Syria, Russia's Putin and Bashar al-Assad are on the same side. This is thanks to Russia, the poster reads. We were brought to this city camp in Latakia to see how the Syrian government and their Kremlin backers say they give refuge. One government sanctioned aid worker told me how and why these people are here.

(on camera): What have these people been through to drive them to become refugees?

ZEN HASAN, FOUNDATION: These people just don't have any homes, don't have any family. It's so hard - kids here. I hear stuff from kids about killing, about death, about, you know, it's really hard. They live - they just feel safe here. They don't want to leave the land, and didn't have the money to pay for the trip to Europe, which anybody can do it. It's not the other side.

CHANCE: Is that why these refugees are here being protected essentially by President Assad because they couldn't afford to go to Europe?

HASAN: No, no, I'm not saying they want to stay here - they're with - President Assad, but they just didn't want to leave.

CHANCE (voice over): Well, the authorities tell us that housing at least five or 6,000 people, in this camp, just a fraction, of course, of the millions made refugees by Syria's brutal civil war. One of the reasons we've been brought hear, is to illustrate that not every Syrian, wants to escape the clutches of the Syrian government and its President Bashar al-Assad. Some feel much safer under his control.

(on camera): Salam Aleikum UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Salam Aleikum

CHANCE (voice over): Some like Aisha Abdul Rahim (ph) and her family who fled Aleppo earlier this year. Her husband is in the Syrian army, she told me, rebels behead family members of Syrian soldiers, she says. For some the choice between the evils of Bashar al-Assad and the rebels who oppose him is simple to make.


CHANCE: That's pretty much the message the Kremlin wants to put across by taking us there with the Defense Ministry escorts that we had. But you know, Bashar al-Assad has supporters as well as opponents in Syria, and their interest must also be taken into consideration in any future peace deal.


Back to you.

WALKER: Yeah, it was very interesting to hear that other side of the story. That some actually feel safer under Assad. Matthew Chance, great having you, thanks so much.

BLACKWELL: A teenager is now one of America's most wanted. The latest on the search for the teen who used a spoiled child defense in a deadly DUI case. Also, watch this video. A police officer in Florida punched and then shot, during a traffic stop. It's all caught on the cruiser's dash cam. .


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands on the hood.



BLACKWELL: 12 minutes to the top of the hour now. And developing this morning, a manhunt happening right now for the teen sentenced to probation after he killed four people in a drunk driving crash. You probably first heard the name Ethan Couch about two years ago after his attorney claimed that he suffered from so-called affluenza meaning that he was a rich kid, and was just inherently less culpable, because his parents did not set limits for him. Well, fast forward to today. He is on the run. Authorities believe he's with his mother. CNN's Nick Valencia has the latest.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, if authorities know anything about the whereabouts of 18-year-old Ethan Couch, they aren't making it known publicly. U.S. marshals now offering up to a $5,000 reward for information leading to Couch's capture. But for now, Couch and presumably his mother are on the run.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) VALENCIA: It's this video that eventually led to the manhunt, posted on social media this month. The clip seems to show a group of college-age kids partying and playing beer pong. Among them appears to be Texas teen Ethan Couch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need some ambulances, it's bad. We flipped and -- oh god.

VALENCIA: Two years ago, Couch, then just 16-years old, was sentenced to ten years probation after killing four people while drunk driving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I lost my wife and daughter.

VALENCIA: His blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit. As part of a deal, Couch agreed to stay away from alcohol or end up going to jail. In a bizarre defense, Couch's attorney convinced the judge that Couch was a victim of affluenza, the product of wealth and privilege, with parents that never taught him the difference between right and wrong. Listen to what Couch's mother said during the deposition in one of the victims' civil suits against her son.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When is the last time you recall disciplining Ethan for anything?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't remember.

VALENCIA: Now the teen and his mother have gone missing. Couch apparently fled shortly after this video was made public. Apparently to avoid violating the probation deal. According to Reuters, the teen's father told law enforcement the passports of both Couch and his mother are also gone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hate to say I told you so, but I told you so.

VALENCIA: County Sheriff Dee Andersen tried to lock up Couch two years ago.

DEE ANDERSON, SHERIFF: I think this was planned. I believe they planned to get away. I believe they will run far and try to hide.


VALENCIA: Authorities believe Couch and his mother may have left the country. And as it seems, the 18-year-old will do just about anything to avoid any time behind bars. Victor.

BLACKWELL: Nick Valencia, thank you very much. Let's bring in CNN legal analyst, Joey Jackson. Joey, I first want to say good morning to you. But When Ethan Couch was given probation, he was a minor. He's a man now. If he's caught, does he go to jail?

JACKSON: Oh, absolutely he does. But you know, look, he is entitled to due process, and good morning, Victor. And due process means that he will be brought before a judge, and at that time he will be given an opportunity to indicate what may have happened, why he may be on the lam, what was his role? What was his mother's role? But it's likely that he will initially be detained, brought before the judge, and as you mentioned, he is 18 years old and he will be dealt with accordingly, since he's an adult.

BLACKWELL: How about mom? If she's with him, what does she face?

JACKSON: It's problematic for mom too, because remember, what she is doing now are a few things. Number one, she is hindering his apprehension by providing support. Number two, she is harboring him. Make no mistake about it, he is a fugitive from justice, and that, of course, to what extent did she aid and otherwise abet his taking off and leaving. So she's in a world of trouble, too. All of the items I mentioned are felonies and all of them carry significant time in jail.

BLACKWELL: Joey, one thing Nick just reported here, it's believed he is out of the country, and, of course, it depends upon an extradition treaty, if he's sent back, when or if he is caught. But how typical is it for someone on probation for the crime of killing four people to keep the passport?

JACKSON: It's not typical at all. What happens is, it's not even at the point of conviction, generally speaking, at the moment of bail, when there is an accusation against you initially and they are determining that is the prosecution, the judge, your defense attorney are making the arguments concerning what the conditions of your release will be. Oftentimes, oftentimes, depending upon the gravity and severity of what happened there. Four people dead here, let's not forget. Two critically injured, one of which can't even speak anymore. So at that point you surrender the passports, initially in the process. You are not even adjudicated or convicted. But I think based on him being a minor, it may not have been anticipated that this would happen, but goes to show, you need to anticipate it, particularly when the prosecutor was asking for 24 years in jail, which of course we know they never got.

BLACKWELL: U.S. Marshals and the FBI joining this search for him. This is, of course, a state charge. Is this something that's expected? That's customary when you have a person who is believed to have left the state or maybe the country? Or is this attributed to this being such a high profile case?

JACKSON: I think to be fair, what happens is the states of course are independent sovereigns, they act independently, but the federal resources are always there and available for a state in the event that it's warranted. And here, when you have someone who could potentially cross state lines, federal, and then not only crossing state lines, potentially, we don't know where he is. It's of course we are believing or they believe he may have left the country. Now it elevates it even more. And of course, the federal involvement is welcome because they have the resources. U.S. Marshals, very good at this, Victor. FBI, very good at this, and so it's important to get their assistance when their assistance is called upon, and I think that's what we are seeing here.

BLACKWELL: Joey, thank you. We'll see you a little later in the show.

JACKSON: Thank you, Victor.

WALKER: Coming up next hour, new video from the night a man was shot by an officer after wrecking his car. The man says he has been shot and the officer denies it.



BLACKWELL: Coming up towards the top of the hour. A shootout between a police officer and a driver caught on camera. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the problem?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands on the wheel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the problem?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what, turn off the engine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no, no, no. I don't want a problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands on the hood.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired, shots fired!


BLACKWELL: That's in a little town in Giffords, Florida. Indian River County Sheriff's Deputy Christopher Lester was shot in the leg there. He was treated and released from the hospital last night. The suspect, Andrew Coffie (ph), still in the hospital, wounds in his legs and his torso.

WALKER: And today kicks off college football bowl season. And if you are wondering if your alma mater is in, is one this year? The chances are, yes, 80 out of the 128 teams are in a bowl game. 80. Wow.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and some of them have losing seasons and they're playing in bowl games. Any bowl, I could sponsor a bowl and we'll get any old team in there. Coy? Coy Wire is with us, guys.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS: What's up, guys? My producer Brian said it best. Bowl games are kind of becoming like the participation trophy version of college football. It's supposed to be an exciting time of the football season, but I really don't know how I feel about it. There are 40 bowl games this year. That's a record. That means 80 teams. It's tough to even find quality teams to play in al these bowl games.

When I was playing in college, it was an honor, a privilege, you had to fight to go to a bowl game. Now there are three teams this year with losing records, that are playing in a bowl. Nebraska, Minnesota and you have San Jose State. They're 5 and 7. They're playing tonight against Georgia State, go Panthers, 16 and 6 (ph). That's in Auto Nation Cure Bowl that's in Orlando. So it's another one of these bowls that popped up this year. Questions I have are, is the sanctity of the bowl system ruined, and are there too many teams playing in bowl games? Are there too many bowl games? We want to know what you think, so tweet us and use the hashtag newdaycnn. Let us know what you think and why. Put it on our Facebook page. We'd love to hear your responses. You're always great at getting back to us, but I guess holiday season, Christmas is special, if we celebrated Christmas and all the other holidays once a month.


WIRE: We want to know what you think. Let us know, guys.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Coy.

WIRE: You're welcome.

WALKER: And we'll be back after this.

BLACKWELL: Next hour starts right now.