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Trump Escalates War of Words With Clinton; ISIS Loses Ground In Iraq and Syria; Pope Emphasizes Family in Last Mass of Year; Peyton Manning Denies HGH Allegations. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired December 27, 2015 - 07:30   ET


ERROL BARNETT, CNN ANCHOR: And just to play devil's advocate here, I mean, considering what happened in the wake of the Paris attacks, you got all these European nations sharing more intelligence, you know, looking through terror watch list names and connecting dots where they perhaps wouldn't have before.

[07:30:09] Considering that, ISIS knows that. Will they plan something so soon again in Europe?

DAVID TAFURI, FORMER OBAMA CAMPAIGN FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER: Well, ISIS is very clever. So, they will -- whatever their next attack will be, they will do it in a way, in an attempt to evade detection. So, the surprise is a big element of their attack, so perhaps they will try to attack a country that, you know, forces and authorities don't expect will be attacked. Perhaps they will attack somewhere else, not in Europe or in the U.S., but against European or U.S. interests.

They will probably be wise and clever to the ways that they're surveilled, and they're doing everything they can to evade detection through surveillance, meaning maybe not using electronics as much many time, and they'll be some aspect of surprise to the attack and that's likely why it will be successful, if it is successful.

BARNETT: All right. Again, this news that there is information coming from a friendly source that there may be an attack in Europe sometime between now and New Year's.

David Tafuri, thanks for your insight on that. The message here is that people should still enjoy themselves and have some fun before the New Year. We'll follow this story. David, thanks a lot.

TAFURI: Thank you.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: So, coming up on NEW DAY, these deadly tornadoes killed eight people in Texas. Entire neighborhoods are leveled. Look at the pictures coming in here. And there is a threat for more of this today.

BARNETT: There is also scandal this morning for one of the NFL's biggest names. Peyton Manning, an explosive report accuses the superstar quarterback of doping. He is pushing back hard and denying those claims. We will bring the story to you next. > PAUL: We are seeing it now. Donald Trump versus the Clintons. Overnight, Trump slams Hillary Clinton by citing her husband's history of marriage infidelity and alleged sexual misconduct. We will have the latest on this escalating feud.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God. It's huge.


PAUL: Look at that massive funnel cloud ripping through the Dallas, Texas, area. This was last night. It killed eight people and left destruction all over the place.

BARNETT: Just frightening to watch. A gas station was nearly leveled, as other homes were completely destroyed. One man said all he could hear was the roar of the winds. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I actually looked at the twister. I was looking at it.

REPORTER: OK, describe it for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just a dark -- it was a dark funnel and it was just a big roar.

[07:35:01] It was really scary. It scared me! I mean, I don't scare that easy but I was scared.


PAUL: And search and rescue operations scheduled to begin at day break just to make sure everyone is accounted for. Right now, there are no tornado watches or warnings in the area. But we do understand severe weather is on the way today. So we will keep you informed, obviously.


PAUL: New this morning in the race for the White House, Donald Trump slamming Hillary Clinton by citing her husband's history of marital infidelity and alleged sexual conduct. Overnight, Trump tweeted, quote, "Hillary Clinton has announced that she is letting her husband out to campaign, but he's demonstrated a penchant for sexism, so inappropriate."

This feud between Trump and the Clintons, it's been building all week, starting when Trump made this vulgar swipe about Hillary's failed 2008 presidential run.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everything that's been involved in Hillary Clinton has been losses. You take a look at. Even the race for Obama, she was going to beat Obama. I don't know who would be worse. I don't know. How does it get worse? But she was going to beat -- she was favored to win and she got schlonged, she lost.


PAUL: In response, Clinton told "The Des Moines Register" it's not the first time he has demonstrated a penchant for sexism so you get where his comment came from.

Let's talk about this with CNN political commentators Ben Ferguson and Errol Louis.

Thank you, gentlemen, so much and good to have you with us.


PAUL: Good morning to you, too.

Ben, what do you make of Trump's language in this tweet? Essentially the fact I don't know if you noticed it, but he said, she is letting her husband out.


PAUL: There is some hidden verbiage here, I think with some swipes attached. Do you agree?

FERGUSON: Donald Trump going for, you know, the nice shot behind the knee. Not surprising here. This is his campaign. This is how he is. He is not going to change.

And he, obviously, is going to go after any vulnerability that he sees. I think when you see Hillary Clinton attack him for being sexist, he says, hey, you might want to look at your own husband, for goodness sakes, Hillary.

And let me tell you this. He is going to keep this up. This is not going away. He does not think this is out of bounds in any way and if you come after Donald Trump hard, whether you're Republican or Democrat, he will go after you in any way possible and any vulnerable and this is just another example of that.

PAUL: All right. But Errol Louis, is Bill Clinton a vulnerability to her?

ERROL: Well, it's just important -- I think Ben is right. You're going to see Donald Trump attack and attack and attack. But on this point, I think it's a little misguided because the actions of a candidate like Donald Trump, if he is accused of sexism, there is a record there, not only in his hiring practices but in the words to come out of his mouth. For Hillary Clinton to say, well, you're married to a guy who did

certain things in private that, you know, some people didn't like, that some people think were disrespectful to women is not really the same thing at all. I think Trump may end up regretting going down that path.

I think some of this is coming from, Christi, some advisers, Roger Stone in particular, an adviser to Donald Trump who wrote a book called "The Clintons War on Women." This has been a conservative talking point and sore point for many, many years, and people think that what Bill Clinton did in the 1990s amounted to disrespect for women and that he has not properly been held accountable for it.

PAUL: All right. Let's go -- Trump's spokeswoman Katrina Pierson, she suggested on CNN that they do intend to make Mr. Clinton's history a real issue here.

Listen to this.


KATRINA PIERSON, TRUMP SPOKESWOMAN: Hillary Clinton has some nerve to talk about the war on women and the bigotry towards women when she has a serious problem in her husband. I could think of quite a few women that had been bullied by Hillary Clinton to hide her husband's misogynist, sexist secrets. So, we could actually go there, but the thing about Hillary is, she does need to be very careful.


PAUL: Ben, what's your reaction?

FERGUSON: Again, I'm not surprised at all. I think what you're seeing from Donald Trump's campaign, what you heard there from Katrina is very simple -- if you're going to go out there and you're going to act like you're some warrior for women and you're going to go after Donald Trump and claim that he's got some sexism problem, yet you're going to also, at the very same time, put your husband out there with his record with women and with people that were interns at the White House, Monica Lewinsky, this is not a campaign you want to go after. You might want to do something else.

I think Donald Trump will probably play the entire campaign because Bill Clinton is probably the best surrogate you could have on the Democratic side. He is loved by Democratic voters and they are going to try to take away part of that love fest. Some people say people who love Bill Clinton more than Hillary Clinton.

And so, if that is your biggest asset, they're going to try to tear him down as much as they possibly can to make it more of a -- hey, who do you think you are kind of campaign.

[07:40:00] PAUL: All right. So, Errol, if spouses are fair game, do Trump's three marriages do you think ever come into play here?

(LAUGHTER) PAUL: I'm curious. I'm not pointing fingers. I'm just curious.

LOUIS: Well, no, it's interesting. I laugh because Bill and Hillary Clinton, in fact, were honored guests at Donald Trump's third wedding.

FERGUSON: It's a complicated relationship, isn't it? They are best friends and come to each other's wedding and now they're going after each other and infidelity and going after each other.

PAUL: It turned nasty. I mean, they're really going at each other, yes, Errol?

LOUIS: Yes, they're really going to go at each other. I don't see how either gets any advantage from any of this. It is, in fact, one of the sadder parts of American politics, one of the things that turns people off, because with the problems we are facing with beheadings by ISIS, with faltering economy for so many people, with the Black Lives Matter movement, for all of the different issues that are out there, if this is what the campaign turns into it, it will be a very sad day for us.

PAUL: It will be sad and interesting to see how many people stick with it at that point too.

Ben Ferguson and Errol Louis, we always appreciate you. Thank you both.

FERGUSON: Thanks, guys.

LOUIS: Thank you, Christi.

PAUL: Listen, we have new images of intense fighting in Ramadi. Take a look at this. Iraqi forces making gains to try to take back this city from ISIS.

BARNETT: And later this hour, Peyton Manning is the subject of a new documentary that claims he is part of a human growth doping ring. He is denying that, but we'll bring you more of his reaction, next.


BARNETT: Forty-four minutes past of the hour.

And new to CNN this morning, ISIS is being batted in both Iraq and in Syria. From Iraq, we have new video to show you of the deadly street fighting in Ramadi. Government forces are just 550 yards away from an ISIS-held government compound there. They hope to retake the key city within the next few days.

[07:45:01] Plus, we are getting these images out of Syria where U.S.- backed rebel groups have seized a strategic dam. This is north of Raqqa, an ISIS stronghold.

Meanwhile, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi recently released a new audio message that seemed to focus on the boosting of moral of ISIS fighters. He tells them to be patient, quote, "Because God is with you." CNN cannot verify the authenticity of that message.

Let's bring in CNN military analyst, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, a regular here on CNN NEW DAY and other CNN programs.

General, great to see you this morning.

What is your general assessment of the overall U.S.-led anti-ISIS effort? Where are we in the plan to bring them down here?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I think, first of all, Errol, you have to consider the advances in the Iraqi- led anti-ISIS campaign. That is growing in momentum over the last several months. They have trained a new group of fighters and replaced some of the Iraqi security force leaders which is causing some tactical victories, truthfully.

You're seeing in Iraq, the cutting of supply lines to Mosul by Kurdish forces and Iraqi security forces with the recent victories in Sinjar and Talafar. You now see what is a growing capability of in Anbar with the enlistment of the Sunni tribal members, both into the security forces and into local militias.

You're seeing the government actually reaching out to both of the Sunnis and the Kurds, something that Mr. Maliki didn't do in the past.

At the same time, in Syria you're seeing advances by both the Free Syrian Army and YPG, the north Kurdish elements of Syria.

So, all of that is affecting ISIS on the ground, while the air campaign is being actually achieving some momentum as well. There is more targeting coming in through better intelligence. So, all of those things are pointing to a little bit of a momentum. I won't say we are about to spike the ball. It's still a long fight in front of us, but it's looking relatively better in the last several weeks.

BARNETT: And the U.S. had always said the airstrikes only provide a little bit of breathing room for the forces on the ground to do their thing. So, positive developments with the Iraqi forces and rebels in Syria.

Talk to us more about the Tishrin Dam that is 14 miles north of Raqqa, a place is has declared as its called capital. Why is that significant now that it's under rebel control?

HERTLING: Yes, for two reasons, first of all, that it is so close to the town of Raqqa and it has been seized by both the Kurdish and the Arab forces.

But also because of what it affects in the city of Raqqa. It's not only going to affect the water supply but, most importantly, the electricity. When you're in a situation you can cut off power to a town and you can control the amount of power in a government source, that causes an uprising in the citizens as we saw so frequently in Iraq when I was there in combat operations.

So, the very fact they can shut that down to the power of the town means they can affect the transfer of oil supplies, gasoline, the pumping of gas, heating, cooking, all of those sorts of things. So, it's going to make the citizens of that town rise up even faster against ISIS and cause them to have problems with their governing capabilities.

BARNETT: All right. As you mentioned, forces are about to spike the ball on ISIS but after so many disappointing events this year, it's certainly positive developments.

Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, thanks for your insight this morning. We really appreciate it.

HERTLING: Thank you, Errol.

PAUL: Well, a very busy year for Pope Francis who just celebrated his last mass of the year. What can we expect from him in 2016? We will talk about that.

Also, torrential rain has parts of England under states of emergency this morning.


[07:51:39] PAUL: Fifty-one minutes past the hour. And new this morning, thousands gather to hear Pope Francis speak at St. Peters Basilica in Vatican City. The feast of the Holy Family is his last mass of 2015 and the pope spoke of the importance of keeping the family together and the joy of forgiveness.

Let's bring in CNN Vatican analyst John Allen.

John, wondering, what stood out to you?


Well, you know, the family has been an extraordinarily important theme for Francis throughout this year. In October, he presided over a tumultuous synod, that's a summit of Catholic bishops that debated issues like communion for divorced and civilly married Catholics, the right kind of language to use about gay and lesbian relationships and so on.

He's expected sometime next year in early 2016 to bring out a major document drawing conclusions. What we saw today was another exclamation point from the pope just how important he feels the family is. He said, "Let's not lose faith in the family." He told those families gathered with him at St. Peter's Basilica that the church and world need you more now than ever.

So, another indication, Christi, that this is a pope who's got the family on his mind.

PAUL: And wondering, is there particular significance to the pope's last mass of the year?

ALLEN: Well, technically, this isn't his last mass because the pope says mass every day. But it's his last Sunday mass.

Of course, this was devoted to the family because this is the church's traditional feast of the holy family meaning Joseph, Mary and Jesus.

But it's kind of a happy accident because if you have to pick the single issue that was more important than any other to Francis in 2015, and that it's likely to continue to be at top of his to-do list in 2016, it's certainly would be the family.

PAUL: You know, when we talk about what's happening around the world and these new terror threats across Europe, wondering if you noticed any difference in security measures at the Vatican?

ALLEN: Oh, absolutely. I mean in particular in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks the Vatican certainly stepped up security. You notice far more Vatican officials, security officials and Vatican police patrolling the area around the Vatican, particularly St. Peter's Square.

The scanning process to get into the basilica has become much more stringent, which has had the effect to lengthen the lines to get into major papal events. On the other hand, Vatican officials say that while they are willing to take reasonable precautions, the pope is not going to be slowed down or paralyzed by fear, and we've seen evidence of that in recent days.

At the end of November, Christi, the pope took a trip in Africa that took a stop in central republic of Africa, the first time in a recent memory, that a pope set foot in a war zone. He told the pilot that, look, if you don't feel it's safe to land, just give me a parachute, because one way or the other I'm getting there.

So, you know, this is a pope that's aware of the realities in the world and is willing to try to take steps to keep him and the people around him safe. But this is also a pope, Christi, who has made it clear he is not going to be slowed down.

PAUL: Obviously. All righty. John Allen, appreciate it very much. Thank you.

BARNETT: Coming up next hour, amazing new images of a raging wildfire in southern California.

[07:55:01] You'll see a news crew right in the middle of all of this.

Plus, a new documentary claims NFL star Peyton Manning is part of a human growth doping ring. Manning is speaking up and denying this. We'll bring you that report straight ahead.


PAUL: Flooding is a major problem right now across Northern England. That's what you're looking at. A month's worth of rain has fallen in just days. So, rivers are bursting, severely flooding and damaging several villages as you can see. And hundreds of people have been evacuated. Thousands don't have power. Forecasters say the rain should ease in the next few days.

BARNETT: The earth seems pretty calm from a distance. Take a look at this. NASA releasing a stunning image showing the earth rising over the moon. The images is composed of a series of shots taken by NASA spacecraft in November.

PAUL: Well, Bronco's quarterback Peyton Manning strongly denying what some are saying are a bombshell report.

BARNETT: Yes, because it alleges his involvement in using a performance-enhancing drug.

Andy Scholes joins us here with more on that.

He completely denies it.


Peyton has already come out and said this report is actually a complete garbage. He's one of several athletes named in an al Jazeera documentary set to air tonight.

According to the report, Manning was allegedly given a supply of human growth in 2011 while he was recovering from his neck surgery. A former employee at an Indianapolis anti-aging clinic claims the HGH was sent to the future Hall of Famer under his wife's name, Ashley Manning. The pharmacist later recanted his story to al Jazeera and ESPN saying he made it all up.

Now, CNN Sports received a statement from Manning released by Denver Broncos. It reads, quote, "The allegation that I would do something like that is complete garbage and is totally made up. It never happened. Never. I really can't believe somebody would put something like this on air. Whoever said this is making stuff up."

NFL did not begin testing for HGH until last year. So far, guys, no players have ever tested positive for it.

PAUL: All righty. Andy Scholes, always good to see you. Thank you.

SCHOLES: Good to see you, guys, too.

BARNETT: Thanks a lot.

PAUL: All righty. And thank you so much for starting your morning with us.