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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Deadly Attack in nTel Aviv; Second Levee Threatened by Rising River; Changes to Carson's Campaign; Vladimir Putin Says Expansion of NATO Is a Threat to His Country; Militants Attack Iraqi Military Base near Ramadi; Donald Trump Featured in Jihadi Video. Aired 6-7 ET
Aired January 2, 2016 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Your NEW DAY starts right now.
ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning everyone and Happy New Year. I'm Alison Kosik, in for Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. It is good to have you here for our first show of 2016. Good to start it with you and we're beginning this morning in Israel where there is a manhunt underway right now following a deadly New Year's day shooting that left two people dead, seven others injured. The gunman is on surveillance camera. You'll see him pop there in that circle at a moment, pulling out a weapon, firing into crowds, gathered on a popular road there, so the bars, the restaurants that are on that street.
KOSIK: And the shooter is reportedly a 29-year-old Israeli Arab. But according to local media, it was his father who identified him from security footage. His name is not being released publicly. Right now though, police are scouring the city and putting up road blocks trying to find the killer.
Ian Lee is following the story live in Jerusalem. Ian, have the police announced any more details at this point?
IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning Alison and Victor. The police are still very much on this manhunt. As you said, they have those road blocks up. They are searching for this person who they consider a very much still dangerous. He -- they believe he is possibly in the Tel Aviv area, but there's really not much more the police are saying right now. They have issued a gag order. This is a halt to all new details of this investigation being released by the media to the public. But what -- from what we heard last night, they still are unsure whether this is a criminal act or a terrorist act, although the policemen -- the police spokesman of the Israeli police have said that they are leaning towards a terrorist attack.
KOSIK: Okay. So, if there is a manhunt going on and this all-out push to find this guy, why this gag order? Isn't that going to hinder the effort to find him?
LEE: We may remember a little while ago, late last year when the Belgium police asked people to not tweet the details of their movements, of their investigation as -- in order not to tip off the suspect, this is something similar that we see here as well where they don't want the suspect to hear media reports, speculating where the police are searching, what they are searching for, really to put this investigation into darkness so that the suspect doesn't learn anything, and so that they can hopefully capture him quicker. But they still very much see this person as a threat. But despite that, they are telling people in the Tel Aviv area to go about your -- their normal lives but to be a bit more cautious.
KOSIK: For them to be on the lookout, of course. Ian lee, live from Jerusalem, thanks for that update.
BLACKWELL: All right. So, police have not yet determined as you heard there from Ian's report, the motive for this attack, but they have not ruled out terrorism.
Let's talk now with terrorism expert, International Security Director for the Asia Pacific Foundation, Sajjan Gohel. And CNN Law Enforcement Analyst and former FBI System Director, Tom Fuentes. Good to have both of you.
And Sajjan, I want to start with you. There have been several attacks on Israeli citizens. There have been several Palestinians who have been killed. This, in the past couple of months, but this has been described as, quote unquote, "bizarre". Does this fall into the profile, the mold of the other attacks we've seen recently? What are your impressions of what we have seen in the past 24 hours?
SAJJAN GOHEL, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY DIRECTOR, ASIA PACIFIC FOUNDATION: Well Victor, in terms of tactic, that's not unusual. We've seen targeting of Israeli citizens before. What is strange in this is that the Israeli authorities themselves have not been able to establish clearly a motive. The other thing was that the gunman, after firing several rounds, then suddenly stopped and then disappeared from the state. Again, that's seen as unusual compared to previous types of incidents.
So, more investigations are required. The Israelis themselves are being very cautious which, again, illustrates that perhaps there could be another motivation for it.
[06:05:00] It could still be ideological. Keep in mind that the head of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi recently mentioned Israel for the first time and we've seen lot more (ph) plots emanate when ISIS leaders talk.
BLACKWELL: And Tom, to you now. What's your impression of this gag order that's in place regarding the shooting?
TOM FUENTES, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: I find that to be a little unusual compared to what we do in the U.S. I think if we, you know, in most of these cases, if we have someone that's been identified in the interest of public safety, you put that name out. We put the description out. You give the public something to be aware of and it enables people who know the subject to possibly phone in leads as to where he may go.
So, I find it unusual to not do it. I know many countries do operate that way, Israel. I know the United Kingdom does the same thing. They're very reluctant to put out any description or any identifying details of a suspect. It's just a little bit different than how we do it here in the United States.
BLACKWELL: Sajjan, back to you. Ian's reporting is that the security in Tel Aviv is not that much different, hasn't been accelerated in any major way. Are you surprised by that?
GOHEL: It's not unusual for Israel, unfortunately, it's normal for them to experience spikes in violence on occasion. It's the normal dynamic for them in the region. Even though acts of terrorism do occur, the Israelis seem to be able to adjust to it and get on with their lives. It's perhaps strange for us in the West that these incidents seem to be occur so frequently. But unfortunately, terrorism, wherever it is, is something that is now beginning to raid this ugly heavy (ph). Within 2016, there will be so many plots in New Year's Eve in Europe and in North America. So unfortunately, it's becoming the new normal.
BLACKWELL: Tom, what's this work that's happening now to determine if this is either a criminal act or an act of terror? What does that look like as they try to get an answer to that question?
FUENTES: Well, I think if they have identified who this person is through the father, that should come pretty quickly to them, what the motive might have been. You know, they'll know if they are dealing with somebody that has mental illness problems and is a garden variety psychopath as compared to an ideological purpose that the individual may have expressed anti-Israel or other sentiments that indicate that he would be toward -- leaning towards a terrorist act.
BLACKWELL: All right, Sajjan Gohel, Tom Fuentes, thank you both. We'll continue to discuss this throughout the morning. Next hour, we'll have you back to talk about what likely will Israel's response be moving forward if we'll see any escalation and the response from authorities there. Thank you, both.
FUENTES: Thank you.
KOSIK: Flood warnings now in effect for 8 million people of -- in Missouri, just beginning to recover after neighborhoods, highways, and schools, and shopping centers, they were all flooded this week.
Let's go to CNN's Allison Chinchar joining us live now. You know, you look at these pictures coming out of there and you think, "Gosh, you know, that water has got to flow somewhere and you hope everybody's going to be getting out of the way."
ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METERIOLOGIST: That's right. Yeah, we're trying to keep a close eye on where the water is going. But the problem is there is just so much of it that's out there, and again, that's causing so many problems for a lot of the folks that are in those areas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You live in the water, you can expect anything than I'd never once ever expected it to be that high.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHINCHAR: Sever interstates are now back open in the St. Louis area. The recovery just beginning from flooding triggered by a downpour last week, up to 10 inches of rain falling in some areas of Missouri. Water levels have fallen several feet but many homes are still far from drying out. Those who live here say they've never seen this before in December.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not in my lifetime here, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHINCHAR: As they watched the flooding in Missouri, those downriver began stacking sandbags knowing it's only a matter of time before they get hit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, we get to deal with it once it hits Illinois.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHINCHAR: Rivers in Illinois are running 15 to 20 feet above normal levels, with more still to come. Two teens were swept away. Their abandoned struck found in 17 feet of water. One body has been found. The search continues for the other teen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY GOODALL, TAYLORIVLLE ASSISTAND FIRE CHIEF: Our best guess is they both swam out and the water was too high and moving to fast for them to battle that current for very long.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHINCHAR: As Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner tours the damage, the people who live here know it isn't over yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just keeps coming higher then I thought it would come.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CHINCHAR: That's right. And we're keeping an eye on the water because even the problem has finally hit its peak in St. Louis, that's not the case for the folks downstream. Look at all of the rain that we had over that 10-day stretch. A lot of areas picking up just under 20 inches of rain, that's too much.
[06:10:04] Now, this highlights the entire basin that sits here. So, all the rain you see here has to flow down into the Mississippi eventually. It can come from various different places, the Ohio River, the Missouri River, the Arkansas River, but they all, at some point, go back down into the Mississippi.
St. Louis crested yesterday, so they are no longer going to rise which is great news. They can really finally start to their recovery knowing that that water will continue to go down. But downstream, it's a different story. Again, near Cape Girardeau, they have yet to crest.
Cape Girardeau by the way has already broken its record and its not even at its highest point yet. Farther south, we're continuing to watch because the problem here for places like Memphis and Pine Bluff, not only is the crest expected several days out. But again, they may have to start opening up some of the spillways to be able to help alleviate some of the pressure. Then you get down to places like Greenville, Vicksburg, and, Natchez.
The problem here is we're at least 10 to 14 days before we hit the crest. Any rain that you would experience in the next 10 to 14 days could cause these crest numbers to skyrocket if we end up getting, say, more than two or three inches of rain in that event.
Then we go further down, we're talking Baton Rouge and New Orleans. You mentioned flooding in New Orleans, it's not something they like to hear. Now, Baton Rouge is expected to get up to44 feet all the way on January 19th. Notice, however, that New Orleans is only action stage. The reason for that is they have the spillway that's here, the Bonnet Carre Spillway. Tat if it starts getting really bad coming through Baton Rouge, they do have some way of alleviating the pressure. But even still, Allison, they have to watch it very closely because any rain we get in the next 14 days could make or break whether or not that spillway even is able to help improve it even the slightest.
KOSIK: It's the weather event that has those every lasting effects that everyone wants just to go away. All right, Allison Chinchar, thanks so much.
BLACKWELL: All right. We're just getting started here on your NEW DAY.
Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson, he is open for a fresh start in 2016 after losing three top campaign managers and directors, I should say. Now, dropping 3rd in the polls. Here, how his new campaign manager plans to boost those numbers.
KOSIK: Plus, contaminated Blue Bell ice cream, it was a big story in 2015. Well now, the Feds are involved, investigating the company's handling of the listeria outbreak.
BLACKWELL: And singer Natalie Cole has died, leaving behind a legacy of unforgettable music.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATALIE COLE, SINGER: I think it was the only thing I had left, Larry, my voice. God didn't take my voice. He took my health for a minute, you know, but my voice was still there.
I miss you like crazy. I miss you like crazy. No matter what I say or do, there's just no getting over you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[06:15:53] BEN CARSON, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Everything's on the table. We're constantly looking at everything, looking to see if there are ways to improve things, you know, if there are personnel changes that need to be made, everything is on the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KOSIK: Well, it's 2016 and that means we are officially in an election year, and presidential hopefuls are kicking their campaigns into overdrive e this weekend because the all important Iowa caucuses, just weeks away. February 1st, right?
BLACKWELL: Yes, just 29 days now. Candidates, making the most of the precious time left. Some reinforcing their message, others starting 2016 with new strategies to attract more voters, others seemingly having total new campaigns. Now, CNN's Chris Frates has the latest.
CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning Victor and Alison and welcome to the first political day of a presidential election year. After a range of a campaign year in 2015, the political world took time off, New Year's Day to recover. But with the first voting only weeks away, a number of republican presidential candidates are back on the trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to have a great time next year. It's going to be an amazing year. We're gong to make America great again. And we're going to do everything in our power to make sure that happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRATES: And Donald Trump has been off the campaign trail the last few days, but that hasn't stopped him from going after his rivals on twitter. "I would feel sorry for Jeb Bush in how badly he is doing with his campaign. Other than for the fact, he took millions of dollars of hit ads on me." Hoping to regain some mojo in the New Year, Jeb Bush changed things up this week, cancelling advice in Iowa and South Carolina and moving dozens of staffers to key early states to try to cut into Trump's momentum.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's not a serious candidate. He has a broad appeal but it may not be as deep as people imagine. So, we're going to put together a ground game, if you will, in Iowa and New Hampshire and here in South Carolina that I think will be second to none. And that's how we will do -- we'll win and both going to do well, so I'm excited about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRATES: Trump leads by wide margins in national polls, but his lead in Iowa is more disputed. With the Iowa caucuses less than a month away, Ted Cruz is gaining on the billionaire.
The republican senator is up with an ad they are selling his conservative credentials and he starts a six-day Iowa bus tour on Monday. To help blunk Cruz's rise and stay on top, Trump says, he'll soon start spending at least $2 million a week on his own advertising.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, I'm going to be doing ads in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and they're going to be very substantial. And I think they're very well done. I've seen the first two or three of them. We're very proud of them. And we're going to be talking about a lot of things, including the border, including trade, including ISIS and security for the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRATES: And Ben Carson, ranking the new year with a new cast of cast of advisers as the three top aides resigned on New Year's eve. The struggling contender promised to reinvigorate his campaign ahead of Iowa's February 1st caucuses.
Democrats are also getting back on the campaign trail. Bernie Sanders is in Massachusetts today. And over the next two days, New Hampshire gets a double dose of Clinton. On Sunday, Hillary Clinton makes several stops in the Granite State. And on Monday, former President Bill Clinton makes his first solo appearance of the campaign on his wife's behalf, Victor, Alison.
BLACKWELL: All right Chris, thank you so much.
CNN Political Commentator, Errol Louis is with us live in Des Moines, Iowa. Errol, good morning to you and let's start with Ben Carson's campaign shakeup. Campaign Manager, Deputy Campaign Manager, Communications Director, among others are out, bailed on the retired neurosurgeon. He's been struggling in the polls. Latest CNN/ORC poll has at one time frontrunner, sitting in a distant 3rd place here now tied with Marco Rubio.
Twenty nine days until Iowa, can he turn it around?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, that's what we're going to find out, Victor. But, you know, the conventional wisdom holds there are three tickets out of Iowa. Meaning, the top three finishers are considered viable to go on to New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, and of course the big main event, super Tuesday on march 1st.
[06:20:05] So, Ben Carson's campaign is really trying to make sure he's in that top three. And what that means is they don't have to sort of get back to where they were in November when they were leading everybody including Donald Trump, but they do have to make it into the top three. And I think that's what the campaign shakeup is really about. That's what the reorganization of both the campaign and the strategy is going to focus on.
BLACKWELL: So let's talk about strategy because we know that from Armstrong Williams who is Dr. Carson's business manager, close friend for a long time, says, and this is a quote here, "That there will be more fire in Carson's belly because some people confuse soft spokenness with not being strong enough." However, what a lot of voters liked about Dr. Carson was his demeanor. There's the, I guess, gamble with the idea of being seen as inauthentic and that in jeopardy.
LOUIS: Well, I don't know about authenticity, Victor. It's a good point though. I mean, his stylist got to change. And I sort of make the points, you know, piece that's going to pop up on CCN.com any minute now. That he's really doing what a lot of outsiders have to do which is decide whether or not they want to stay outsiders where you sort of play by your own rules and you sort of ignore all of the basics of politics. Or, do you do a little bit of gravitating towards the center.
I mean, Donald Trump's rise has made clear that voters are looking for some fire in their belly. They're looking for a little of bluster, a little bit of tough talk. Ben Carson, his new campaign, you know, sort of 2.0 is signaling that, okay, he's going to play that game. He's going to talk to people in the way that they want to sort of see. They want to see some passion.
You know, the way it works though, Victor, is you spend all of your time on organization, for the caucuses. You try to get everything together and then you hope to catch fire in the closing weeks. That's really what this last four weeks sprint is going to signify.
So, what Ben Carson is trying to do is sort of catch fire and you don't do that by being soft spoken. So, he's going to have to sort of make a change. And he's signaling, "Yeah, I want to win this thing. I don't just want to be the guy that everybody likes. I want to be one of those three tickets out of Iowa."
BLACKWELL: So, the question has been strategy. And you know, if you're going to allow Ben Carson to be a little more aggressive than he has been. I mean, we just saw that tweet, joke from Rand Paul that he doesn't have anything negative to say about Ben Carson because he hasn't heard anything he anything in the last several debates.
Is the question here the problem of the campaign or the candidate? I mean, who was making the mistakes up to this point that caused the doctor to drop down to 3rd place?
LOUIS: Well, you know the way it works is the candidate always has to take the responsibility. And to the extent that this is sort of an administration in embryo, you want that to be the case. You want the leader to sort of take the responsibilities. I think they've had some bad breaks, and the Carson campaign themselves have acknowledged that with the terror attacks in San Bernardino and in Paris, he was caught a little flat footed in an area that even he, I think, has acknowledge is not his main strength and experience which is foreign policy and defense policy.
So, I mean, part of the shakeup that really matters is not so much the new campaign manager, but the new campaign chair, Bob D., the retired major general who was one of the leaders. I think he was like the number two or number three, running the 101st airborne division. I mean, a major important guy who is then a defensive adviser to Carson for many years is going to be the guy who is the chair of the campaign. You know, forward looking public face of the campaign. So, this is his way of saying, "Yeah, I've got to do this a little bit differently. I've got to make up some lost ground."
BLACKWELL: Twenty nine days, we'll see if he can do it. Errol Louis, thank you so much.
LOUIS: Thank you.
KOSIK: And the Blue Bell ice cream coming back on the shelves in many states this month after a deadly listeria outbreak. But find out why a criminal investigation has now been launched against the company that was involved in that outbreak.
BLACKWELL: Plus, Russian President Vladmir Putin says, "NATO is a huge threat to his country." We've got details on this. Putin is taking to protect Russia against this, quote unquote, "enemy".
[06:22:07] BLACKWELL: Beautiful voice that will be missed. Funeral services have not yet been announced. The singer, Natalie Cole died of heart failure on New Year's Eve. Now, death has touched off an outpouring of sympathy and condolences from fans all over the world.
The daughter of Nat King Cole, one of her biggest hits you'll remember was 1991, the duet with her father, "Unforgettable".
KOSIK: She will be remembered. CNN has learned that a devastating hotel fire in Dubai on New Year's Eve apparently began on the 20th floor when curtains caught fire. Flammable material on the outside of The Address luxury high rise allow the flames to quickly spread up the side of the building. About 16 people were treated for minor injuries but no deaths were reported.
BLACKWELL: And we're getting our first look this morning at the Mexican resort where the so-called affluenza teen, Ethan Couch and his mother were hiding out. His mother is back in the U.S. and is charged with hindering and apprehension of a felon. Couch, who fled the U.S. after an alleged probation violation is still in Mexico fighting deportation. Two years ago, he killed four people in a dunk and driving accident but was given probation.
KOSIK: The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into an outbreak of listeria at Blue Bell Creameries that caused a huge recall last April. Three deaths are blamed on the contamination. Now, the CDC found the deadly bacteria may have been lurking in the factory for five years. Federal prosecutors are now looking into the actions that the company executives at how that contamination was handled.
BLACKWELL: Taking back Ramadi from ISIS, Iraqi forces sweeping through, evacuating civilians, tracking down militants. We'll go live to Baghdad next.
KOSIK: Plus, what is the greatest threat to Russia? Well, I guess, Vladimir Putin, he'll tell you it's not ISIS. Find out what the Russian president is expanding his military to protect against.
KOSIK: New this morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin says the expansion of NATO is a threat to his country.
BLACKWELL: Putin assigned a new security strategy outlining the national interests and strategic priorities for Russia. CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance has details for us this morning. Matthew.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this isn't necessarily a changing strategy. But it's making formal what Russian officials have really been spending the years, which is that NATO and the expansion of the military alliance. They seem very much here as a threat to Russia's national security. Russia and the West have been all - NATO expansion after several years. It was the prospect of Ukraine being absorbed into the alliance that was one of the reasons that Russia annexed Crimea back in 2015 where it's got an important Naval base on the Black Sea.
The new national security paper, which is updated every six years in Russia by law, says that Russia's independent and domestic foreign policy had triggered what it calls a time to action on the part of the United States and the allies. Well, the paper is only the latest in a series of Russian statements that puts Moscow and NATO at logger heads. Back in 2014, Russia updated its former military doctrine. Its official preparations to defend Russia with its weapons to take into account NATO's grown presence within Europe.
At the time, Russian defense official said that NATO's enlargement meant the alliance was getting closer to Russia's borders and presented an external threat to the country. It's still the case apparently, that is what's believed is still true here in Russia. Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.
KOSIK: Okay. Matthew, thanks for that.
And let's go ahead and bring in CNN military analyst Lieutenant General Mark Hertling for more on this.
Good morning, General.
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Good morning, Allison.
KOSIK: So, what do you think, does this new Russian document impact any other countries beyond Russia? Does it impact NATO in anyway?
HERTLING: Oh, absolutely. And it's an interesting statement that's been formerly put on paper as Matthew said, but it's not unexpected. It's a continuing war of words. We have done some of that as well, the United States has when some of our testimony, you remember General Dunford saying that Russia was the primary threat that we face. So, it's back and force. But Putin is seeing NATO pull together more since the Ukrainian invasion. He has seen the economic sanctions that Western Europe and the United States have placed on him. He is being very hurtful, he has heard that many of the Eastern Block countries in NATO are saying, hey, we want more NATO bases in our country. Countries like Estonia, Poland, Romania. So that's concerning him a little bit. But the fact that he now is bringing this to his public is just another way that he shores up his image and continues the propaganda to support his actions in Ukraine.
KOSIK: And Vladimir Putin has always pretty much been critical of NATO. But we've really seen the relationship of Russia with NATO deteriorating since the crisis in Ukraine in 2014.
Do you think that this document is another attempt by Putin to kind of push Russia's place to the center in world politics? Global politics?
HERTLING: Oh, absolutely. And I would even say, contrary to what Matthew said just a minute ago, I think this all began much earlier than the actions in Ukraine.
This also occurred in 2008 during the Russian invasion of Georgia and the retaking the territories of Ossetia in South - Abkhazia and South Ossetia. So, this is an ongoing war of words, as was said earlier. The 28 NATO members are very concerned from different standpoints. They are not solid in their approach to this right now. There are some that are looking for more sanctions, some that are looking to arm the Ukrainians, some that are looking to pull back. Others to be more firm.
So, this is causing NATO to pull together a little bit more in Brussels to determine what they're going to do.
KOSIK: And - what NATO is doing is expanding Montenegro on the cusp of joining NATO. Is this making Russia feel even more threatened?
HERTLING: Well, what I'd say, yes, number one to answer your question. But number two, it's also causing a little bit of divide in NATO. As the president Hollande of France came back with a recent conversation with Mr. Putin. He said, we may be better put this military action plan the so-called map on Montenegro on the table for a while longer. We should not expand NATO into 29 nations. This expanded from the original 12 to 16 to 22, now it's 28 and any more might be seen as Mr. Putin as being more inflammatory. But there are other NATO countries saying, hey, this should not be a concern because countries can pick, which organizations they should be able to join based on their own national security.
And Montenegro and other countries have been wanting to join NATO for a very long time. And there is a very long process to get in that concerns both economic development and military development. Montenegro is now on the cusp. They want to join. It's going to be an interesting debate in a few months.
KOSIK: It certainly will. General Mark Hertling, thanks so much for your time.
HERTLING: Thank you, Allison.
KOSIK: And next hour, we are going to be discussing the fight against ISIS and the battle for Ramadi.
BLACKWELL: Let's set the table for that conversation now by going into some of the details that are coming out of Ramadi this morning. Militants have attacked an Iraqi army base near Ramadi. Three Iraqi soldiers have been killed. 17 wounded. Iraqi officials say ten suicide bombers driving explosives-laden vehicles attacked that base.
Of course, this is happening as Iraqi forces are evacuating. Civilians still looking for ISIS fighters, holding on to parts of that city, hiding out there. CNN's senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir is live from Baghdad. First, Nima, give us an idea of this attack and how it went down.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We understand this was yesterday evening, Victor. A complex attack. Multiple suicide vehicles, coming towards this army base only 35 kilometers from that crucial central government district right in the center of Ramadi. We understand that the civilian - the impact on civilians was minimal, but as you said, three so far in terms of the casualty count amongst Iraqi forces and an injury count that we still are waiting to confirm. It really gives you a sense of even though it's now almost a week since the Iraqi government announced the liberation of Ramadi with the prime minister, very much jubilant and re-raising the Iraqi flag in that central government is doubling down on the sense of momentum in this fight against ISIS. That this is incredibly complex. It's an extraordinary difficult thinking to not only take, but to keep. This is street by street fighting. And it's not conventional warfare. And as they continue to carry out what they are calling a purge of the remaining ISIS elements inside the city, trying to avoid the IEDs, the booby traps, they are going to continue to see these waves of attacks coming towards them, Victor.
BLACKWELL: All right, Nima Elbagir there, for us in Baghdad. Of course, the difficulty is not only taking the city, but holding onto it for the long term. We'll have that conversation throughout the morning. Nima, thanks so much.
KOSIK: The terror group Al Shabab releasing a new recruitment video, warning Muslims in America about racism and discrimination. Their poster child Donald Trump.
BLACKWELL: And the best player in college football. Coy Wire has the name and details in sports.
KOSIK: Disturbing new images from the terror group Al Shabab, the Al Qaeda affiliate releasing a new recruitment video proclaiming America as racist and featuring Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. Look at this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yesterday, America was the land of slavery, segregation, lynching and Ku Klux Klan. And tomorrow it will be a land of religious discrimination and concentration camps.
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To remember this. So, listen, Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States ...
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
TRUMP: Until our country's representatives can figure out what [EXPLETIVE DELETED] is going on.
BLACKWELL: All right. So this new video comes on the heels of the earlier declaration by Secretary Hillary Clinton - that a different group, ISIS, al-Qaeda's competitor in many respects, was using Trump as a recruiting tool. Remember this, watch.
HILLARY CLINTON (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We also need to make sure that the really discriminatory messages that Trump is sending around the world don't fall on receptive ears. He is becoming ISIS' best recruiter. They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.
BLACKWELL: So far, there has been no response from the Trump campaign to the Al Shabab video. Let's bring back terrorism expert and international security director for the Age of Pacific Foundation Sajjan Gohel. I want to talk first about Trump's inclusion in this video and then the video and strategy as a whole. Is there any evidence here? I mean this is a 50-plus video that Trump's words in that call are as potent as Secretary Clinton says they are?
GOHEL: Well, suddenly as we get closer to the presidential elections, you will find the terrorist groups around the world will be also following it. They will try and seize whatever opportunity they can for propaganda purposes. And keep in mind that any individual that's prominent in the American political process is going to feature in their propaganda videos. Barack Obama, President Obama has appeared in a lot of the ISIS material. Especially the online magazine "Dobik" (ph). That doesn't mean that he's been saying anything that's attracted attention. It's just designed to elicit the cycle of political reaction amongst supporters of terrorism.
BLACKWELL: In that last debate, Secretary Clinton said that ISIS was using this video as part of a recruitment strategy. No evidence ISIS is, but now we see this from the Somalian arm of al Qaeda. How much of this decision to include Donald Trump is part of this ongoing competition, this one upmanship for supremacy in global jihad between al Qaeda and ISIS?
GOHEL: It's really important point that you make, Victor, because al Qaeda is a rival to ISIS. And over the last two years, ISIS brand has been taking over al Qaeda. Now, Al Shabab has traditionally been an affiliate to al Qaeda. But it's become more ambiguous in the last few months. It seems to be - trying to stay neutral with ISIS. And Al Shabab itself has tried to recruit from America Somali community, especially those in Minnesota. So, in many ways, the video is designed to recruit from within the United States. It's a propaganda, they've also brought in the American cleric in the video American Yemeni cleric Anwar Awlaki who was behind the recruitment of Major Nidal Hassan in the Fort Hood shooting and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underpants bomber. So, there is a lot of different facets in that video. Donald Trump plays a small role in that.
BLACKWELL: You mentioned, the recruitment angle. And I don't want to talk specifically about recruiting Muslims to engage in jihad, but one of the angles, if not the primary angle in this video is to recruit African-Americans who may be Christian to convert to Islam and then engage in jihad. What do you make of that strategy to go after the African-American community specifically, the non-Muslim African- American community?
GOHEL: It's a very common tactic now that they have been using for the last year. They have tried to seize and exploit certain internal issues in the United States to do with the recent tensions with the police in certain cities in the United States. We have to keep in mind that the goal is to constantly spread this information and tailor to vex the situation is very much the tactic and the propaganda tool that terrorism is trying to use. It's important also that people are aware of how terrorist groups are trying to manipulate the situation and it's important not to fall into their trap.
BLACKWELL: All right. Sajjan Gohel, with Asia Pacific Foundation, thank you so much.
KOSIK: New information in the case against Baltimore police officers, did Freddie Gray have a previous back injury and did prosecutors hide that information from the defense, we're going to discuss that next.
KOSIK: New information coming out in the Freddie Gray case. The case in Baltimore is getting close to a very crucial phase.
BLACKWELL: The new questions about Gray's health are being raised just ten days before the trial begins for the police officer who drove the van in which Gray was fatally injured. Defense attorneys for Officer Cesar Goodson say that Freddie Gray complained about back problems weeks before he got into the police van and suffered a spinal cord injury on April 12 of last year. Officer Goodson is charged with second degree depraved heart murder. That's him on the far right there. The defense cites a police document, which states that Gray mentioned his back pain when he met with Baltimore police fewer than two weeks before his April arrest.
KOSIK: Let's get more into this now and discuss how these records could affect the case. And bring in the CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson. Hey, Joey, thanks for coming on today.
JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: A pleasure, good morning to you.
KOSIK: What do you think? How big of a bombshell is this?
JACKSON: Let's start here, as an initial matter in any trial the defense, of course, is entitled to the universe of information that's out there. No matter how relevant or irrelevant the prosecutor may deem it to be. It's not the prosecution's decision. We do have to remember, however, that information like this was turned over to the defense team in the Porter case, and the judge viewed it as a discovery violation. The defense asked for a mistrial. However, the judge said no mistrial, let the trial proceed. So ultimately, it depends upon how the defense is going to use this in their trial and what exactly their theory of the case is going to be. So at this point you know, is it significant? Yes, you know, is it overwhelmingly significant? No.
KOSIK: Okay. So if medical records from Freddie Gray show that he had a big history of back problems, let's say by chance, let's say he had a car accident or something like that, that shows he's had these issues, you are not really feeling it, that it's really going to impact the case?
JACKSON: Here's the point. If you are the prosecutor, what you are arguing here is that this is not relevant. We are talking about a back problem. What does that have to do with a catastrophic spinal injury, that was, according to their examiner, the prosecutor's examiner, Dr. Carol Allen, suffered in the back of that van? So tell me if are you the prosecutor, how on earth does a back condition have anything to do with a spinal injury?
However, Alison, if you're the defense, you are arguing, we have a right to know if he had a back problem, the extent of the back problem, was it connected to the spine in anyway? It appears as though the defense is setting up from their other filing, which is to get information on whether he tried, Freddie Gray, to harm himself while in police custody on a prior arrest, it seems the defense is setting up that this was self-inflicted. In their motion, they are also arguing that there are witnesses that suggest that Freddie Gray was thrashing around and banging around in the back of the van, and so he may have caused it himself. And therefore, if he had a previous back injury and it was significant, as medical records would show, then it would be more likely says the defense that it was self-inflicted and having nothing to do with Officer Goodson, who stands trial for second degree murder. So those are the competing arguments that are setting up to be on full display during the trial.
KOSIK: So apparently the judge scolded the prosecution for not providing this account from police to the defense. What do you think? Can this lead maybe to an adjustment of the charges against the six police officers who are charged in Freddie Gray's death?
JACKSON: Alison, I don't see that, because of course the prosecution had knowledge of this information. Remember, this stems from apparently a sergeant. Sergeant Herzog, having interviewed Freddie Gray allegedly on a prior occasion centering around some robberies. He was sitting, Freddie Gray was, in an awkward manner, and therefore the sergeant said, what's the problem? And Freddie Gray says, well, my back is hurting. I'm not too comfortable based upon that. And so this is a sergeant's allegations.
What really would be significant is in the event the judge allows the defense to explore these medical records, if they do exist, showing the extent of the back problems, whether we find out whether or not there was a significant back problem that Freddie Gray had, when did he get it? What was the nature of it? Was it connected to the spine? Does it make it more likely that these injuries were self-inflicted? We have to stay tuned as to whether the judge allows the defense to get this information. And how the judge allows them to use the information. And then we'll have a better sense of knowing how significant it will be. But I would not suspect that the prosecution would be adjusting the charges based upon the sergeant suggesting that Freddie Gray was sitting awkwardly and may have had a back problem at this point.
KOSIK: Joey Jackson, thank you so much. Next hour you're actually coming back to discuss the Cosby case and Cosby's wife Camille now being subpoenaed to testify in his defamation suit. So we'll see you in a little bit.
JACKSON: Look forward it to. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: And of course, coming up we got more on the developing story out of Israel, that massive manhunt for a gunman who opened fire at a cafe killing two people. Ian Lee is there live, we've got a report from him at the top of the hour.
KOSIK: And social media is buzzing over what many are calling the best player in college football. All the details coming up in sports.
BLACKWELL: So many people are watching college bowl games.
KOSIK: Even you.
BLACKWELL: Even me, which is new. And there are a lot of people talking about Stanford's Christian McCaffrey, how he dominated the Rose Bowl.
KOSIK: So now this morning, everybody is talking about his performance, and whether or not he is college football's best player. Coy Wire, best player ever? What?
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS: I don't know, maybe, we'll see. This guy is still young. 16 years ago yesterday, I had the great fortune of playing in the 2000 Rose Bowl. They call it the granddaddy of them all for a reason. Incredible memories I'll never forget. One player yesterday, Rose Bowl performance, a granddaddy of a performance. Stanford's Christian McCaffrey. Let's check it out. More than 94,000 people at the 102ND Rose Bowl witnessed Stanford taking on number five Iowa, it's one of college football's great traditions. They also witnessed Christian McCaffrey, the very first play of the game, cutting through the Iowa defense like a hot knife through butter. 75 yard touchdown. He ended up cranking out a Rose Bowl record, 368 all purpose yards, including this, a 68 yard punt return touchdown.
Sanford would roll Iowa 45:16, and while McCaffrey finished second in the Heisman race, the award to the nation's best player, voters who didn't pick him, they might be second-guessing themselves this morning. One guy after the game was there to poke the proverbial bear. Check this out, guys.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We worry about the next player, what we can do the team to be successful.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heisman. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just knew that we could be extremely good -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heisman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- when we focus on what we are doing and executing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Heisman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our offensive plays and so --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: This guy was going crazy, social media was blowing up with people questioning why McCaffrey wasn't voted as the best player in college football. We want to pose you the question this morning, if there were a Heisman revote, would you have picked McCaffrey, why or why not? Use the #newdaycnn, or post on our Facebook page, and we're going to share some of your insight later in the show. We always love having you.