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THE SITUATION ROOM
Fire Engulfs Luxury High-Rise Hotel; New York Man Accused of New year's Eve Terror Plot; Flood Water Cresting Near St. Louis; Bill Cosby Charged with Sexual Assault; Trump Defies Warning "You Can't Say That"; Big Shake-up in Ben Carson Campaign. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired December 31, 2015 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:29] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now:
Breaking news: explosions and flames. Fire consumes a luxury high- rise hotel in a major Middle Eastern city, lighting up the night sky as the New Year arrives. What sparked this fiery disaster?
Terror arrest. A New York man accused of plotting a New Year's Eve massacre, an attack on a crowded restaurant and bar. Was he following orders from ISIS?
Rising rivers, effecting millions of people. A potentially historic flood disaster unfolding. The Mississippi River cresting now near St. Louis. The water possibly reaching record levels with levees in some areas threatening to fail. Will they give way?
And Cosby's defense. Lawyers for Bill Cosby vowing a vigorous defense against sexual assault charges they call unjustified. The 78-year-old comedian possibly facing up to 10 years in prison. Will he take a plea agreement? I'll be asking one of his lawyers.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Brianna Keilar. And you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
KEILAR: We are following breaking news.
Dramatic images from Dubai. It's a fire that swept through a luxury high-rise hotel, massive flames leaping up the sides of the 63-story building lighting up the night sky as the New Year arrived. At least 14 people are injured. And while there's no word yet on the cause, witnesses say they heard an explosion before the flames erupted.
We're also following the arrest of a New York man who federal officials say was planning a New Year's Eve terror attack in the name of ISIS. The Justice Department says he was plotting a massacre at a restaurant and bar tonight and that he was given instructions by an overseas ISIS member.
We're covering that and more this hour our correspondents, our experts and our analysts and guests.
We want to begin with that spectacular fire that consumed the 63-story luxury hotel in Dubai.
CNN's Becky Anderson is there.
Becky, give us the latest. Do we know what the cause could be?
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, this is absolutely remarkable. At this point we don't know what the cause is specifically. One source telling us it may have been curtains in a flat on the 20th floor of this five-star hotel and residential complex.
We're also hearing from officials here that it may have been that the fire started outside of the hotel. Certainly this fire is now 90 percent or more contained, and officials telling us that most of the damage has been to the outside of the building. They believe the integrity of the inside of the building actually not as bad as it might look from these images.
Look, this was four and a half hours ago. I was having a New Year's Eve dinner with just -- a quiet dinner with some friends in the hotel, which is about three miles away but has a very good view of the Address Hotel downtown in Dubai because it also sits right next to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, which is where the fireworks display that Dubai puts on every New Year's Eve starts, and many people taking different positions around Dubai in order to see that. We were certainly at a hotel which had a very good vision.
So, this is four and a half hours ago at about 9:35 local time. We are told that it was a very orderly evacuation and that some 16 people have in cured injuries, one person slightly worse injured and apparently somebody had a heart attack as a result of smoke inhalation all sort of problems that were incurred as people tried to get out of the hotel. But, as I say, we are told it was a very, very orderly evacuation.
And, Brianna, some two and a half hours later the fireworks display actually did go on. The show went on. It was very unclear until about ten past 11:00 local time whether the display would actually happen given the juxtaposition of this hotel to the Burj Khalifa, the biggest building in the world.
But Dubai decided that they would go on with the show, which is about 25 minutes long and the fireworks did happen at midnight. There are about a million people in Dubai, or thereabouts, watching the display from as I say various different locations.
[17:05:02] The roads had already been blocked off in order to accommodate the people.
So, again, the emergency crews, and there were four large fire fighting crews we are told, were able to gain relatively easy access. And somewhat two and a half to three hours later you have what is now a smoldering hotel. The fire is as I say 90 percent contained, and Dubai sort of getting back to normal as it were. People have moved away and they're going home.
It's five past 2:00 in the morning but really quite a spectacular close to the end of 2015 here in Dubai -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Becky Anderson for us in the UAE, thank you so much.
More breaking news that we're following. An alleged New Year's Eve terror plot thwarted with the arrest of a New York man who federal prosecutors say was taking directions from ISIS.
CNN justice reporter Evan Perez is working this story for us.
Evan, it does sort of stand out that officials say this was supposed to happen tonight this attack on a bar and a restaurant.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: That's right, Brianna. It was supposed to happen tonight in Rochester, New York. The suspect's name is Emanuel Lutchman. He's 25 years old. According to the FBI he was planning this attack buying -- from Walmart, buying knives and zip ties, ski masks, duct tape.
The plan was to use bombs, perhaps a pressure cooker bomb and knives to kill people at this gathering for New Year's Eve. The FBI says this is a man who has a criminal history in New York serving five years for a robbery arrest, and also has mental health problems.
You know, they arrested him yesterday after he recorded a video, Brianna, pledging allegiance to ISIS and claiming responsibility for an attack that was supposed to happen tonight. They say that he was in touch or he claimed to be in touch with an ISIS operative overseas who was ordering him or directing him to carry out this attack.
KEILAR: And how did they -- these authorities, how did they manage to stop him from doing this?
PEREZ: Well, they were working -- he was working, Brianna, with a couple of FBI informants. One of them was paid $19,000, the other one was paid $7,000 for their help with the FBI and it appears that they'd been keeping an eye on this guy for a while and they decided to orchestrate this sting operation with these two informants in order to do this, to try to make sure they take him off the streets before anything could happen.
KEILAR: All right. Evan Perez, thanks so much for following this story.
Terror concerns are certainly stretching at this point from Los Angeles to Washington to New York tonight. And sources are telling CNN of an overseas threat to those cities this holiday week.
I want to go now to CNN's Miguel Marquez.
Miguel, I know you're there in Times Square. Some of the 1 million people who are expected to attend and celebrate New Year's Eve tonight are already there behind you. Tell us about the security situation there. Is it obviously heightened? MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, it is always very big
security here. And I do happen to be with several thousand of my very good friends.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Happy New Year.
CROWD: Happy New Year!
MARQUEZ: It hasn't stopped people from coming out here. You can see this is just a few thousands of the probably million they're expecting here tonight, all the way up there to the Toshiba sign if you can see it is where the ball will actually come down, 6,000 police officers.
The overall contingent is about 800 police officers bigger than normal, so not enormously bigger, but there are a few things that they are using to go around that make it different -- bomb sniffing dogs in big numbers, radiation detectors, chemical detectors, cameras, about 1,000 cameras across this area.
Across the entire city tens of thousands of police officers keeping venues safe, things that used to be just celebrations and venues are now considered possible soft targets because of those attacks in both Paris and San Bernardino. But the people here ready for a good time.
MARQUEZ: And I hope you don't need the restroom soon. You're going to be here until midnight. Good luck. Happy New Year. And happy New Year to you.
KEILAR: They've been training perhaps.
All right. Miguel Marquez, thank you so much for that report.
I want to get more on this now with CNN contributor Michael Weiss. He's senior editor of "The Daily Beast" and also co-author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror." We have former FBI assistant director and CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes, and CNN military analyst, retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.
Tom, to you first. We know that the president has been briefed on this possible threat that is targeting three major cities. What are officials doing now to address this?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think that threat came in from overseas a while back even before the president left to go on his trip to Hawaii. You know, they're doing what they would have been doing anyway.
[17:10:00] They've got 6,000 New York City police officers, hundreds of federal agents, state and local from other jurisdictions helping as well.
So, you know, they're covering New York and these cities as they would have anyway. The threat is so vague. I don't think it results in any increase that they wouldn't have done any way to secure those zones.
I might add I think that part of New York City is probably going to be the safest real estate on the planet tonight.
KEILAR: What do you think, Michael? You're there in New York. I'm sure that you've walked around a little bit. Maybe you've avoided Times Square, but certainly you've been there in the area. Anything that you're noticing, a stepped up presence perhaps?
MICHAEL WEISS, SENIOR EDITOR, THE DAILY BEAST: I mean, there's about according to reports 600 to 800 more cops on the street than as per usual. But I mean, again, as tom was saying, this has happened every year since 9/11. There's always a heightened state of awareness and vigilance in New York City in particular because this is sort of the number one target for global terrorists from al Qaeda to ISIS.
The threats have been vague. I mean, I've seen no chatter, nothing out of the ordinary to suggest any kind of specific target in mind. But, yes -- I mean, you know, most New Yorkers attend to avoid Times Square for reasons other than terrorism, which is dissension of tourists into that area, a million people all gathered into one spot.
But New Yorkers are tough. I mean, we always tend to see something, say something. That's the kind of attitude that's predominant in the city for over 15 years now.
KEILAR: Yes. And I know that that is what officials are certainly counting on there.
General Hertling, you look at a crowd this size. This is huge. A million people, they're there to celebrate. They're probably thinking about what could be going on around them. They've got their eyes peeled.
But this is about celebrating. What are the challenges for authorities when they're dealing with a crowd of this size?
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, this is a headache for the operations centers, for the joint interagency task force, for the people who are sharing information because there are not only the potential for terrorists but there's also just the loony tunes out there, Brianna, you know that.
There are a million people in New York, and as the reports say there's about 6,000 police officers and that's generous. So, you're talking about them being in pair. Every two pairs of police officers have to watch, if you do the math, about 400 or 500 people.
They've been there for hours. Your report just now shows them walking around. That's a tough, tough situation to be in when you're providing security.
I've had to provide security like that in a combat arena for a march one time. And you just don't know when something bad is going to happen. It's difficult. KEILAR: What do you think, Michael, about this announcement today by
the Justice Department, this arrest of a New York man who was planning to kill New Year's Eve revelers in the name of ISIS? He was planning to do this at a bar and restaurant. What's your take on that arrest?
WEISS: Well, two main points. One, it's very dispositive of ISIS. It's rather hilarious if you read the complaint. This guy is very keen to go to Syria and make hegira, the immigration to the land of the caliphate and the ISIS guy talking like, yes, yes, you can come here but first go and kill thousands of kufar over there.
This is what they do. They seize upon losers, these sort of lump elements in society who have nothing really to live for. They say, why don't you go out with a bang, quite literally?
The other point I have to make is this -- Evan mentioned that these guys including one FBI informant managed to buy -- I wrote this down because this is extraordinary, two black ski masks, zip ties, two knives, a machete, duct tape, ammonia and latex gloves. And they got away with it at Walmart.
Whoever runs that Walmart --
KEILAR: I know!
WEISS: -- in Rochester should be fired.
KEILAR: I know, Michael.
WEISS: What kind of imbecile cashier allows two men to buy this kind of equipment so close to the New Year? This is extraordinary.
KEILAR: I totally agree with you on that.
Tom, what do you think about that? If I'm a cashier and someone's coming through my line with zip ties and a ski mask, I am doing a double take.
FUENTES: No, absolutely. Even if a guy's a complete loser and already been in the criminal justice system and all of that, it doesn't mean he won't do it. And that's the problem. That's really where that lone wolf fear comes from are guys just like this that are crazy enough, possibly mentally ill, definitely psychopathic and going to go out and kill somebody. How do you stop it?
You know, that's exactly right. He should have been stopped at Walmart.
KEILAR: Yes. All -- keep your eyes peeled, right? That's what they're saying. See something, say something. Maybe that needs to be stressed more.
FUENTES: Should be see something, sell something.
KEILAR: That's what it was.
All right. Tom Fuentes, Michael Weiss, General Hertling, thank you guys so much.
Next, we're talking breaking news. Under water, millions of people are affected by cresting flood waters along the Mississippi river. We'll have a live update from the emergency zone.
And then also, Bill Cosby's attorney will join us. She says that her client is not guilty of criminal sex charges. How is she planning to keep him out of jail?
[17:17:43] KEILAR: We have breaking news. Flooding that may be reaching historic levels. The rain-swollen Mississippi River cresting right now near St. Louis and affecting millions of people.
CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray is near St. Louis.
Jennifer, give us a sense here. The Mississippi River is cresting near where you are, but how much worse could this get?
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, the big problem is going to be all the towns downstream along the Mississippi River. This water has a long way to go before it reaches the Gulf of Mexico. Imagine the slowest wave you can think of taking several days to rise in each city and taking several days to lower.
We're talking several feet above flood stage and major flood stage in a lot of cases. In fact, St. Louis like you said is cresting right now, the Mississippi river there. It is not going to break a record, but we are seeing it very, very high.
In fact, the Meramec River where I'm standing in front of actually the river is north of us, this is actually Highway 141, it is very high. It actually broke a record. It is now falling. It has fallen more than a foot since this morning, which is good. But it has a long way to go, about 12 or 13 more feet to make this area look a little more normal.
Interstate 44 right there, the bridge right over Highway 141. You can see, Interstate 44 is shut down and will be so most likely through tomorrow. But Highway 141 could possibly be shut down until Monday or Tuesday.
Not to mention, Brianna, we've been talking about the water treatment facility that was flooded. So, we have untreated sewage that is flowing into this river.
And so, as this water goes down, they are going to have a lot of cleanup. There's going to be sewage, we also have seen a lot of trash dumps floating by, not to mention roofs, parts of houses floating by. And also just the mud and silt from the river itself is going to be left behind.
So, neighborhoods are going to have a lot of work ahead of them. And not to mention like we talked about earlier, all the towns and cities that are south of us, Memphis will be hard hit, and we're also looking at a lot of towns along the Mississippi River where Louisiana and Mississippi are. And then it has a long way to go before it reaches the Gulf of Mexico.
So, for several, several more days.
KEILAR: And this area is just immobilized right there behind you, Jennifer. Those are traffic lights that are submerged.
[17:20:01] GRAY: Yes. You're exactly right. You know, we talked to a lot of residents. They remember the Great Flood of 1993. They say this area is worse than it was then.
People have told us they have family members that are basically in their home or in their condo, and they're cut off from the rest of the community because roads are flooded to get out. Luckily, they say they have power and all of that, so they're OK. And they know the water's going to go down by this weekend. But just imagine being in your home or your condo knowing that there's really no way to get out if you needed to.
And that's why they did those evacuations around this area because that's the worst case scenario. You don't want people trapped in their homes and neighborhoods.
KEILAR: Certainly don't. Jennifer Gray for us in Valley Park, Missouri. Thank you so much.
CNN meteorologist Tom Sater is monitoring the situation from the CNN severe weather center.
And, Tom, I know parts of the Mississippi are cresting now. But this river could crest in other areas even into the weekend, right? What is ahead for this area?
TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We could see this, Brianna, for the next two and a half weeks if it takes this long just to clear the Meramec River.
Good news is no rain for the next seven days, from the Ohio Valley, Missouri Valley down to the delta.
Now, what we're talking about here is we're losing a lot of green. That means we're losing some warnings, although evacuations still took place in southwest Missouri, Branson, a tourist area. But it's all about the rivers.
Now, the Missouri river five feet under the record at St. Charles is receding. And now, it's all heading down to the south where the Meramec River, which by the way hard to get a crest, the waters were higher in Arnold, as they expected and as it move through area specific, Eureka still cut off.
Now, it's reaching the Mississippi River we're going to really start to talk about what's going to happen to the south. Rain coming in from the Ohio River, rainfall from the Missouri River, up north of the Mississippi and now we're going to toss in the Arkansas. That's where it's going to get a little hairy.
The good news is that we're not going to break the record from the Great Flood of '93 in St. Louis, but where the Meramec reaches the Mississippi, points to the south, Chester, St. Genevieve, historic readings, some of the records on the Mississippi go back to the late 1700s and early 1800s.
Cape Gerardo, a big town, college town, Southeast Missouri State University, a record will be felt there. Cairo, Illinois, 59 feet. If they get to 60, they got to blast a waterway to release the pressure.
Then we have to come down to where the river is really bad on the Arkansas River, flooding north and south of Little Rock, Pine Bluff major flooding. Once that enters the picture, it's really going to be hard to find a crest. Massive amounts of water from the north meeting this river as well.
Greenville all the way down to the state of emergencies now for Mississippi and Louisiana, Baton Rouge 44 feet. They may have to open spillways which could cost millions and millions of dollars. They're watching this close. They know how to handle it but that won't happen for another week and a half.
KEILAR: All right, Tom Sater, thank you so much.
We are looking live at some pictures. You can see this area is really immobilized by -- this is a road going underneath a highway, immobilized by these flood waters.
Republican Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri is joining us now on the phone. He represents parts of the flood zone.
Congressman, I know that you've talked to FEMA. Give us the latest. How bad is the damage there?
REP. BLAINE LUETKEMEYER (R), MISSOURI (via telephone): Well, they anticipate that we're probably going to have a disaster that will qualify for some federal funding, which means it's minimum $8 million worth of loss.
So, I think they're working very diligently with our local county officials and emergency management officials. I know our governor has been on top of this, working with emergency people as well as getting ahold of the president and giving him a heads up to let him know the magnitude of this situation so that there can be an anticipatory response made whenever it's necessary.
So, really all of the different folks whether it's the governor's office, the National Guard, the FEMA folks, high patrol, local emergency management people have all been working very well together. And with the Army corps advice on where to look for the problem areas, they've been working very well together. And it's minimized a lot of the damage, although it's still going to be very impactful, no doubt about it.
KEILAR: What are -- what are you expecting in the days ahead?
LUETKEMEYER: Well, as the water recedes as your reporter and meteorologist indicate, we were cresting today on the Missouri and Meramec in our area, the Mississippi is cresting today and will go on down to the coast over the next few days and weeks here.
But as soon as the waters recede, the local folks will begin assessing the damage whether it's the folks along the rivers or whether it's the folks in counties, I got one county that's got 40 county roads closed right now. So, you can imagine the county roads and county bridges that are damaged in these flood waters. That's a lot of the local impact here. The river it goes down -- as waters go down the Mississippi River, of course, is impactful.
[17:25:03] But when you talk about all of the local folks, you get back into counties, whenever those folks don't have ways to get out either.
You're seeing pictures along the major rivers, we've still got people behind water in some of these areas that are flooded because of the creeks and rivers being backed up as well. So, it's a widespread problem.
And over the next few weeks, we'll get assessment and go to work and clean it up. That's what we do. We fix up our problems and move on.
KEILAR: All right. Congressman, thank you so much for the update. We appreciate it. We wish you luck certainly today and in the days ahead.
And coming up, we are standing by to speak with Bill Cosby's attorney. She says that her client is not guilty of sex crimes and there will not be a plea deal.
Also, Donald Trump proves the doubters wrong. Remember when everyone thought this criticism of Senator John McCain would be the end of the line? Well, it certainly wasn't.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured, OK. I hate to tell you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: We are following reaction to entertainer Bill Cosby's indictment on sex charges. He is facing three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault as a result of accusations about a 2004 incident when a woman visited him at his home in Pennsylvania.
Cosby right now out on bail, $1 million bond. He's due back in court in two weeks. We're about to speak with his attorney who says that her client is not guilty and there will be no consideration of a plea deal.
[17:30:00] But first, let's get more on this now on this case from CNN's Jean Casarez.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, Bill Cosby out on $1 million bail. His legal team vowing to mount a vigorous defense after Cosby was arraigned on criminal sexual assault charges.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Cosby, anything to say?
KEVIN STEELE, FIRST ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA: These charges stem from a sexual assault that took place on an evening in early 2004 at Mr. Cosby's home, Montgomery County.
CASAREZ: The 78-year-old comedian charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault with Andrea Constand. Constand worked at Temple University's athletic program is considered Cosby, 37 years her senior and a Temple alum, a friend and mentor. She accuses Cosby of drugging then assaulting her when she visited his Pennsylvania home.
STEELE: Mr. Cosby made two sexual advances at her that were rejected. On the evening in question, Mr. Cosby urged her to take pills that he provided to her and to drink wine.
CASAREZ: According to the criminal complaint, the pills and wine left Constand feeling dizzy, nauseous, frozen and paralyzed, but aware of Cosby fondling her breasts and putting his hands into her pants. Constand went to the police about a year later, but the district attorney did not file charges citing lack of evidence. She filed a civil suit against Cosby forcing him to be deposed. He settled the suit with her, the terms of which were sealed. That deposition was unsealed in July. In it Cosby admits to giving women Quaaludes but never without their knowledge.
Constand is the first of at least 50 women to have come forward with similar allegations over four decades. Some of those women now sharing their reactions to the news.
VICTORIA VALENTINO, COSBY ACCUSER: When I saw the mugshot, I started to cry. It was -- it was -- it just hit me so hard. And I really didn't anticipate that I was going to react that way.
CASAREZ: An attorney representing some of the accusers says she believes other alleged victims may be called to testify against Cosby at the trial.
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR 29 BILL COSBY ACCUSERS: They're going to demonstrate that kind of courage. They're going to tell what they say is their truth.
CASAREZ: The comedian has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and even filed a countersuit against seven women earlier this month. He has yet to directly answer questions about the allegations. In interviews last November, Cosby refused to comment.
SCOTT SIMON, NPR: Shaking your head no.
BILL COSBY, CHARGED WITH INDECENT ASSAULT: There's no response.
CASAREZ: In a statement, his attorneys called the charges, quote, "unjustified," and vowed that he'll be, quote, "exonerated by a court of law."
Jean Casarez, CNN, New York.
KEILAR: With us now here in THE SITUATION ROOM is Bill Cosby's attorney, Monique Pressley.
Thank you so much for being with us to talk about this. Why isn't your client asserting his innocence?
MONIQUE PRESSLEY, ATTORNEY FOR BILL COSBY: That's exactly what I'm here to do. What do you mean?
KEILAR: I said, why isn't he?
PRESSLEY: Because he does that through attorneys and I know that you know, because you've been in the business a long time, that people who are charged with crimes have a right to remain silent. And they don't have an obligation to prove their innocence. It's the people who are charging them that have an obligation to prove beyond a reasonable doubt their guilt. And if every time Mr. Cosby opens up his mouth he gets sued by another person with false allegations who's looking to make some money then it becomes risky to say anything at all. So under the good advice of counsel, he's letting me do the talking for him. And that's why I'm here tonight.
KEILAR: You say he's completely innocent? You say that he's not going to go for a plea deal. You say that he's going to duke this out in court.
PRESSLEY: We say that we're going to let the courts do their job. And I don't know how long it will take for the justice system to function properly and do what's necessary in this particular case, but what I do know is that in the real eleventh and a half hour that a D.A. who ran on promises to bring this case and bring this charge fulfilled a campaign promise by charging Bill Cosby with this crime. And so --
KEILAR: But he's using his own words against him. I mean, in this criminal complaint which quotes this deposition, it's Bill Cosby who tells police that he went to his room, he came down with pills for Andrea Constand to take and that he touched her bare breasts and her private parts. He recounts a phone call that he had with Andrea Constand's mother where he says -- he says, I think I gave the victim some pills. And he told Mrs. Constand that he touched the victim's breasts and vagina, but guaranteed her that there was no penile penetration.
So this idea of giving a woman pills and then having sexual contact with her, this is his idea of a consensual sexual experience?
[17:35:02] PRESSLEY: But you didn't say what the pills were. And I understand that people want them to be Quaaludes because in another part --
KEILAR: I didn't -- no, no, no. Don't put words in my mouth. He says Benadryl here.
KEILAR: And I did not say Quaaludes.
PRESSLEY: These are words coming out of my mouth.
PRESSLEY: I say people, not you, want for those to be Quaaludes and are trying to conflate issues. But what the deposition revealed, the parts that are already out there that I can actually talk about because I'm still constrained by a confidentiality agreement, says that it was Sustinex and that the complainant in this took it willingly after complaining of being unable to sleep and complaining a pain to the head.
So the incident that you described, the actions that you describe from the deposition, I know you know are not criminal. So the fact that someone took some medication that is legal and over-the-counter --
KEILAR: You're not -- you've said that I know that that --
PRESSLEY: Consensual sexual contact is not illegal.
KEILAR: You said that I know it's not consensual, I did not say that.
PRESSLEY: Because you're an experienced reporter. You know --
KEILAR: No, I'm asking you --
PRESSLEY: -- described that is not a crime.
KEILAR: No, I'm asking you if giving pills which he asserts at different points are different kinds of things, whether that is consensual. He also did testify in that deposition that he obtained seven prescriptions for Quaaludes to give to other people, not to take himself. That's something that he considers acceptable.
PRESSLEY: That's something that was going on in the '70s. And this is an allegation about 2004.
KEILAR: OK. That -- sure. Sure, sure. But doesn't something that he did in the '70s show that he consider it acceptable?
PRESSLEY: Well, I don't know. Do people do things 40 years earlier that they consider acceptable and then no longer consider them acceptable when it's 40 years later? Certainly. I've done things 30 years ago, I'm just 45 now, so when I was a young teen or a young adult that I wouldn't consider acceptable behavior for someone of my age. And I'd like to think that the American people who are watching would feel the same way, but where Quaaludes are concerned, that's not even a substance that was available on the market 40 years later.
So the fact that he willingly was deposed and gave that information has nothing to do with what even this complainant said herself. It's not just his testimony. It's hers. And her testimony was not that she was slipped a drug. Her testimony was not that she was forced to take anything. Her testimony was not that she's forced --
KEILAR: Her testimony was that she thought it was herbal. But I do want you to listen to something that Bill Cosby said on CNN in 1991.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COSBY: There's a thing about Spanish fly. You know anything about Spanish fly?
LARRY KING, FORMER CNN HOST: When we were kids, we used to --
COSBY: There you go. There you go. That's all. I just wanted a recognition.
COSBY: Spanish fly.
KING: We knew what it was.
COSBY: Spanish fly was the thing that all boys from age 11 on up to death we will still be searching for Spanish fly.
KING: That's right.
COSBY: And what was the old story? The old story was if you took a little drop -- no, it was on the head of a --
COSBY: Pin. And you put it in a drink.
KING: Drop it in a Coca-Cola. It doesn't matter.
COSBY: It doesn't make -- and the girl would drink it and --
KING: She's yours.
COSBY: Hello, America. And there's a story in there about Spanish fly. So I think that everybody, any guy picking it up will just have a ball reading it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: So he was flip then about this concept of giving a woman a drug that was notorious for being used in sexual contact. Are you saying that he has changed his opinion on that? That he doesn't -- you said that was some time ago. He doesn't believe that anymore?
PRESSLEY: You asked me a question about whether what someone thinks three decades sooner informs upon or is the same as what they think now. But what I'm saying to you is that what Mr. Cosby thinks about giving drugs or what Mr. Cosby thinks about administering them is not what this charge is about and is not the facts of this case. And what the district attorney has to do in Montgomery County, which is what I'm here to discuss, the charge of yesterday, is prove of the facts of this case.
Prove that what happened on whatever day they can actually figure out if they can prove what date it happened and prove that the statute of limitations hasn't already expired, they've got to prove then the facts that belong with this one charge. There are three counts under it, but it is a single charge. And that is not the obligation of me on behalf of Mr. Cosby. That's the obligation of the prosecution.
KEILAR: There are more than 50 women now accusing him of improprieties at this point in time. And I think what we're expecting from what legal analysts are saying, they're expecting that the prosecution is going to bring a number of those women forward to try to establish a pattern of behavior in Bill Cosby. In his defense, is his wife going to testify?
PRESSLEY: I think that what they'll try to do is get a judge to agree to what's called 404-B evidence.
[17:40:04] I'm sure that that will be one of the hotly contested issues. And I don't know that this will even make it to a trial and who our witnesses will be at that time.
KEILAR: Will his wife back him up on the stand?
PRESSLEY: Like I just said, I don't even know if this is going to make it to a trial. We have some big hurdles to cross and so do they. And I'm not certainly at this time going to give you the witness list for who will or will not testify if these allegations that are now a charge go all the way to a trial stage. I don't know if we'll even get there.
KEILAR: All right.
PRESSLEY: I certainly don't think it will be justified.
KEILAR: All right. Monique Pressley, thank you so much for being with us. We do appreciate it.
PRESSLEY: Thank you for having me.
KEILAR: We are following some deadly floods as the Mississippi River crests near St. Louis. Millions of people down river begin preparing for the worst.
KEILAR: In politics Donald Trump returns to the campaign trail Saturday, but he's been tweeting today among other things more insults aimed at Jeb Bush.
Trump defied expectations this year making and surviving controversial pronouncements about, well, pretty much everyone and everything.
CNN political reporter Sara Murray covered many of Trump's rallies. I think you even made it into a speech yourself. She also talked a lot about his controversies.
Tell us more, Sara.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brianna. Donald Trump ends 2015 as the undisputed Republican frontrunner. In the six months since he got in the race he's incited controversy after controversy. None of those seem to be slowing his rise in the polls.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm really rich. I will show you that in a second.
MURRAY (voice-over): Donald Trump isn't talking like a traditional candidate. Or drawing a typical campaign crowd.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am wearing Trump. I have my Trump purse. All about Trump.
MURRAY: From the moment he entered the presidential race it was clear the billionaire businessman was playing by his own rules.
TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some I assume are good people.
[17:45:06] MURRAY: Trump hurdled through 2015 sparking controversy and rampant speculation that his presidential bid could end at any moment. He insulted party leaders, like former prisoner of war John McCain.
TRUMP: He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured, OK. I hate to tell you.
MURRAY: Even insinuating former president George W. Bush carries some responsibility for 9/11.
TRUMP: When you talk about George Bush, I mean, say what you want, the World Trade Center came down during his time.
MURRAY: And Trump went to war with the media.
TRUMP: You haven't been called --
JORGE RAMOS, REPORTER, UNIVISION: I have the right to ask a question.
TRUMP: Go back to Univision.
MURRAY: Making crude comments about FOX host Megyn Kelly.
TRUMP: You know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.
MURRAY: And apparently mocking a "New York Times" reporter's physical disability.
TRUMP: But now the poor the guy, you got to see this guy, I don't know what I said, I don't remember. He's going like, I don't remember. Maybe that's what I said.
MURRAY: But instead of going down in flames, Trump blazed a path to the head of the GOP field. Using current events like the terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino to appeal to anxious voters and launch contentious policy proposals.
TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.
MURRAY: And rallying crowds with his signature call to build a wall along the southern border.
TRUMP: Build a wall. We're going to build a wall. We're going to build a wall.
MURRAY: Trump was no less controversial when it came to his political rivals.
TRUMP: And I found the card --
MURRAY: Releasing Senator Lindsey Graham's personal cell phone number.
TRUMP: 202-228-0292. So I don't know, give it a shot.