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Trump Vows to Veto Executive Action on Guns; Trump: Clinton, Obama "Created ISIS"; "Affluenza" Teen Hires Mexican Attorney; Unarmed Aviation Officers Trained to Run and Hide. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired January 3, 2016 - 06:30   ET



[06:30:40] ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Mortgage rates remain the same this week. Have a look.




KOSIK: Dozens of people fire bombed and ransacked the Saudi embassy in Iran after Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shiite cleric. Nimr Al-Nimr was convicted of sedition and inciting sectarian strike. Leaders around the world are concerned this may lead to sectarian violence in the region.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Seven million people in 15 states now under flood warnings in the Midwest. The Mississippi River set to crest in Arkansas and Tennessee over the coming days.

Now Missouri was the first state hit. The river there running 15 to 20 feet above average. They're now cleaning up as the water recedes. State of emergency has been declared to allow federal help to move forward. It was signed by the president yesterday.

KOSIK: Donald Trump is not happy about President Obama's plan to tighten gun control laws.

BLACKWELL: The Republican presidential front-runner promised to pack crowds Saturday that he would veto any executive action Obama takes.

CNN's Phil Mattingly has the latest from Mississippi for us.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor and Alison. Donald Trump is pledging to undo President Obama's executive actions on guns before they are even released. In front of a capacity crowd Saturday night in Biloxi, Donald Trump said the president is leading an assault on the Second Amendment and he also said this.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So he is going to sign another executive order having to do with the Second Amendment, having to do with guns. I will veto that. I will unsign that so fast. So fast.


MATTINGLY: Donald Trump not mincing any words on his plans for President Obama's executive actions even before they are released. Now the Obama administration is expected to release those plans in the coming days.

Trump also targeted his usual list of suspects. Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, criticizing all of them and making sure everybody knew how good his poll numbers actually were.

One interesting element, guys, he noted that Democrats have a, quote, "Structural advantage," when it comes to the electorate on national elections. Saying that maybe he is the one the Republican Party needs to expand the states, that they can actually win when it comes to a presidential race.

Alison and Victor, back to you.

BLACKWELL: All right, Phil, thanks so much.

CNN political commentator Errol Louis joins us now.

Errol, Trump regularly oppose stricter gun laws in the wake of several mass shootings, but here he says he will undo -- he used the word unsign the executive order that the president will likely sign soon.

Any surprise there or will he find it difficult to navigate the majority of Republican voters who would support stronger background checks for people who guns online or gun shows?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, no surprise there at all, Victor. What happens is despite the polls, which can be a little bit, I think, misleading on this point, lots of people say that they want background checks, but when you actually get to a real proposal and a real politician who is supposed to push for it, whether its the president, a senator, a member of Congress, it all starts to change.

And that really just reflects the issue of gun control as one that is largely emotional. Kind of disconnected from the particular facts of the actual proposal.

So Trump can, with a great deal of approval from his Republican base, say that he is going to, quote, "unsign" this proposal that he has never even seen, you know?

It's -- you know, everybody likes the idea in theory, but the minute you try and do something, whether it's an executive action, whether its legislation that goes before the Congress, it all starts to change.

BLACKWELL: We know that President Obama will meet tomorrow with Attorney General Loretta Lynch to go over options for that potential executive order.

But let's talk about this video from Al-Shabaab that was released which included Donald Trump. Al-Shabaab, being the Somalian arm of al Qaeda, and they use that segment in which he called for a complete and total shutdown of Non-American Muslims coming into the country.

He did not mention that at this rally in Biloxi. I wonder, from your perspective, why?

LOUIS: Well, this is not something he can possibly be proud of. First of all, it confirms something that Hillary Clinton had said. I don't know if this was produced before or after she made those controversial comments about a week and a half ago saying that you have radicals who are using Donald Trump's words and proposals in order to recruit terrorists.

[06:35:09] You know, it was an explosive charge for which we were all asking for some proof. I was asking for some proof. You know, wondering whether this was Clinton just kind of letting her words get away from her. And, you know, lo and behold here is the video. It's troubling. I'd like to hear from some experts, frankly. And I think Donald Trump would probably need to check with some experts and see is this real. Does this actually lead to recruitment or is this just a lot of words being thrown around?

BLACKWELL: And, you know, there was one tweet that actually -- a top aide re-tweeted a pair of posts suggesting that Hillary Clinton and an aide were behind these. I think we have and we can put them up.

One tweet says, Mr. Cohen, "I would not be surprised if Hillary is somehow behind this. Clinton's play dirty tricks when desperate."

Another one reads that, "Huma," speaking of Huma Abedin, her assistant, "putting order for video the second Hillary Clinton lied to debate. Yet another video here." Huma Abedin being a close confidant who is Muslim. And he has gone after Huma Abedin before.

LOUIS: Well, Mr. Cohen, I have to say is a bit of a bully and a bit of a buffoon. He is the one who went around threatening reporters, misstating the law all over the place. He's often using his Twitter feed to sort of rile up the base and throw out a little red meat to his base.

So I'm not sure anything that comes from Mr. Cohen needs to be taken all that seriously. We should, though, I think, look at the substance of it and the substance which is what presidential campaigns are supposed to be about. It would really be to look at where does recruitment happen?

This is a sort of an elusive and an important topic about how people will end up looking at something on the Internet, looking at a video and then changing their life, putting their life and other lives in danger. This is serious stuff. And we need somebody a lot more serious than Mr. Cohen, I think, to try and figure out where that's coming from and what it all means. BLACKWELL: So let's go back to the candidate then. Trump took shots at Obama and Clinton telling this quite at Biloxi, I think it was -- 13,000 was the number, that Obama and Clinton created ISIS. We have portion of it. Watch this.


TRUMP: They have created ISIS. Hillary Clinton created ISIS with Obama. Created with Obama.



BLACKWELL: Huge applause. I mean, that works for the room. But what will be the impact if he does get the nomination?

LOUIS: Well, you know, this is a problem, I think, for the Republican leadership. And it is why, I think, a lot of members of the Republican leadership and certainly the other candidates for president are very worried about Mr. Trump, because stuff gets made up.

And stuff gets made up that, you know, a lot of people who are listening may or may not realize that they are being fed a diet of complete misinformation on a really important topic.

You know, this is what, I think, both the media, the candidates, all of us really have to sort of try and buckle down on is to sort of catch the misstatements, correct the facts, push the information out there, and, you know, by and large, there's not a whole lot more we can do than that, you know?

I mean, free speech means free speech for everybody, even people who want to sort of make up stuff and kind of throw it out there.

BLACKWELL: All right, Errol Louis, thanks so much.

LOUIS: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: And a couple of things we want you at home to know about. Later this morning, you can hear from two of the top presidential candidates on CNN's "State of the Union."

Bernie Sanders and Carly Fiorina will be on at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. But on Monday morning, Donald Trump will be live on CNN's "New Day" beginning at 6:00 a.m. eastern, of course, only here on CNN.

KOSIK: I'm sure some interesting nuggets will come out of that.

Much more ahead on your NEW DAY.

New information surfacing on "Affluenza" teen Ethan Couch. His high- profile Mexican lawyer is speaking out.

Plus, details on a CNN investigation of aviation officers that reveal some of the weakest security requirements at one of the busiest U.S. airports.


[06:42:02] BLACKWELL: Fugitive Ethan Couch, the so-called "Affluenza" teen, remains locked up in Mexico. He's fighting deportation back to the U.S. The Couches now hired an attorney and a bid to avoid or at least delay of returning to the U.S. to face possible probation violation charges. He was convicted of killing four people in a drunken driving accident two years ago.

Then Couch disappeared for about two weeks after a video surface, this video -- well, the video saw -- here it is -- that may have violated his probation.

KOSIK: His mother has returned to the U.S. Actually, she returned last week to face charges she hindered her son's apprehension by law enforcement. Couch's new attorney says his client hasn't done anything wrong.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want an eye for an eye. And that's human nature, but the reality is he has not committed a crime in Mexico. There is no formal extradition request by the U.S. State Department filed.


KOSIK: All right. Let's bring in CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson on this.

Good morning, Joey.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So in any even, so here is what occurs. There is no formal proceeding that's filed. But I think this is delaying the inevitable, Alison, and here is why.

What happens is that you have proceedings in Mexico and you have what's called a Writ of Amparo. That's the writ that was filed on behalf of Ethan Couch and that writ provides for a stay of your deportation.

And I would never begrudge any person for making full use of what is available to them within any legal system that they are. And so certainly what that writ provides is a writ of protection. Establish why I should be leaving this country? Establish what, if any crimes, I committed here that would make me eligible for deportation. I do, however, believe that once a formal extradition writ is filed on behalf of the government, that certainly he'll be returned. So I think it's a delay, justice delayed, but I don't think there will be justice denied.

KOSIK: So this is prolonging the inevitable. You know, whether his return to the U.S. is delayed days or weeks or months. I mean, in the end, it really doesn't make a difference, does it? JACKSON: I don't think so. I mean, you know, look, you have the writ that was filed on his behalf. It's a writ that's available to ensure that the human rights are protected of people who are in Mexico. It's a writ that his attorney should have filed. And in the event that they can establish that the writ is, you know, sustainable and he did nothing wrong, that's fine.

But I think once he comes before a judge in the system of Mexico, what will ultimately happen is he'll be returned. No, he didn't commit any offense -- and I should say, you know, in Mexico, itself. That he has committed offenses here for which they are extraditable.

And what I should really say is that there's a major distinction between deportation, which is a civil proceeding, which pertains to whether you violated any type of laws in the country that you're residing in, there being Mexico and extradition which pertains to laws that you violated outside of that country, that make you eligible and otherwise qualify you for return to that country, which would be the United States.

[06:45:04] And in saying so, it should also be noted, we've got great relations, not that the extradition is something that the Mexican judge will be hearing now, but ultimately when it gets down to the issue of extradition, the fact is that United States did have jurisdiction over him. He was in Texas. The other issue is that it's an extraditable offense when you violate probation and has probable cause to believe he violated probation based on that video.

So ultimately when those things converge, I think we'll see him here. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but ultimately justice will be done and he'll have to answer for his probation violation or alleged probation violation. Everyone, Alison, is entitled to due process.

KOSIK: Let's talk about his mother for a moment. It didn't take long for her to come back to the U.S. and she's in a heap of trouble, isn't she?

JACKSON: She is. And remember that was technical reason. Apparently, the writ that was filed for Amparo, again protection for her, didn't get to the judge in time. She, of course, is charged with apprehension, hindering apprehension, that is the apprehension of her son, knowing that he was charged with a felony thereby fleeing, harbouring him, aiding and assisting him. And so she is eligible for up to ten years jail.

I don't know that she will get that. It depends upon her prior criminal history, if any. It depends upon what other mitigating circumstances, that means less circumstances she can show. Of course, she is going to argue this is her son, her pride and joy.

What mother, Alison, wouldn't do anything and everything for their son? And so while she is eligible for ten years in jail, I certainly don't suspect she will get that, but she will face significant punishment here in the United States.

KOSIK: All right. CNN legal analyst, Joey Jackson, thanks for your expertise today.

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

KOSIK: You, too.

BLACKWELL: So consider this, a new twist on law enforcement. Officers who are not allowed to carry guns, but at the sign of an attack, are trained to run and hide. Yes, we are going to dig into this one. It's a CNN investigation.

And, of course, our coverage continues on the violent protests in Iran over the execution of a Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia. We've got live reports and analysis at the top of the hour.


[06:50:05] BLACKWELL: Ten minutes to the top of the hour now. And this morning, we got new pictures from Ramadi where Iraqi forces are sweeping neighborhoods where they suspect ISIS fighters are still hiding.

Now, Iraqi troops have retaken the city center from ISIS, but the terror group still has control of some pockets of the city. Now this is happening as ISIS suicide bombers have attacked Iraqi forces at a military base near Ramadi on New Year's Day.

KOSIK: Plus, refugees are still streaming into Europe. A 2-year-old boy drowned after the crowded dingy he was traveling in slammed into rocks off a Greek island. He's the first known migrant casualty of the year. The other 39 passengers were rescued and some of them are taken to a hospital and treated for hypothermia. The rubber vessel had set off from Turkey in windy weather.

Here in the U.S., it's a busy travel weekend with a lot of people heading home after the holidays. O'Hare is one of the nation's busiest airports. And along with another Chicago airport, Midway, it is the focus of a new CNN investigation.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Think about this.

We wanted to know why some of the officers assigned to protect both airports are not allowed to carry weapons. That's first. They work alongside armed police officers, but there's one major difference. If there is an attack at any terminal, these aviation police officers say that they are trained and told to run away. And now those officers are speaking out.

Here's CNN senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Take a look around the passenger terminals at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports, and you will see what appear to be police officers, but take a closer look. Not one of them is carrying a gun. In the event of an active shooter or a terrorist strike here, you might be surprised to hear how they've been told to react. Not fight back, not try to neutralize the threat, but instead to run.

(on-camera) You guys are police officers, but you don't have guns. You're unarmed. Do you feel safe when you're working?



GRIFFIN: Do you feel almost as if you're a sitting target?


GRIFFIN (voice-over): It's not for lack of training or licensing or experience. Aviation police officers are all sworn officers in the state of Illinois. They get the same training as Chicago police, and many are military veterans or have second jobs in suburban police departments. These two officers, speaking in silhouette for fear of being fired, say all they want is to carry a gun like any other law enforcement officer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the floor! On the floor, now! On the floor!

GRIFFIN: Just two years ago at Los Angeles International Airport, a man with an assault rifle killed a TSA officer, wounded several others, before being shot and wounded by an armed police officer. If the same event took place in Chicago's two airports, the nearly 300 unarmed aviation police would be defenseless to stop it.

(on-camera) So in the event of a terrorist attack, let's say it's a shooter, what are you supposed to do?






GRIFFIN (voice-over): This internal Chicago Aviation Department document obtained from aviation department sources outlines the policy. If evacuation is not possible, hide. We must also ensure that unarmed security personnel do not attempt to become part of the response. Here's the training video officers say they were instructed to watch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If evacuation is not possible, you should find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely to find you. Block entry to your hiding place and lock the doors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE AVIATION POLICE OFFICER: We're nothing but casualties if you tell us to run and hide. And how can the public look at us if they see police officers running and hiding. That goes against the very oath that we were sworn to -- that we took.

GRIFFIN: It's the Chicago police that carry guns at both airports since they are the primary law enforcement agency. If there's a major incident or an arrest, aviation police tell us they must wait for Chicago police to show up, a unique arrangement among major U.S. airports.


GRIFFIN: Matt Brandon is an official with the union that represents aviation police officers

(on-camera) So basically, they're just -- I mean, no disrespect to those officers, but as their role at the airport, they're glorified security guards?

BRANDON: That's exactly right. And my question to the city is, you send these men and women to the Chicago Police Academy to be trained as police officers, to be able to respond as police officers, to be able to act as police officers.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The Chicago police department has 231 armed officers assigned to O'Hare and Midway, and the city says that's enough. So, too, does the Chicago Aviation Department about its unarmed force. And the staffing level of armed police is for the most part similar to other major U.S. airports.

[06:55:04] If you compare the top three busiest airports in the U.S., Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson has 178 armed police, Los Angeles, 572, while O'Hare has budgeted 175. The numbers do not include additional security, such as private security personnel.

In an e-mail to CNN, the aviation department says the multi-level security has proven effective in stopping and preventing crime and that violent crime incidents are extremely low. But there's been no explanation why the nearly 300 aviation police officers here are unarmed. The department is declining to discuss security measures.

CNN has surveyed large U.S. airports and found Chicago's use of unarmed aviation police officers is unique, and according to Miami's security expert Wayne Black, absurd.

WAYNE BLACK, PRESIDENT, WAYNE BLACK & ASSOCIATES: You've got sworn law enforcement officers at a U.S. airport that are trained to hide if there's an attack. That's crazy. Airports are targets of terror activity. What are they going to do if somebody runs in with a gun and there's no law enforcement officer there?

GRIFFIN: In October, a man caught with these knives attempted to get on the airfield and actually told the officers he knew they were not even armed. The gun issue has been part of an ongoing dispute between the officers and their chief, Richard Edgeworth. Chicago's aviation police recently took a no-confidence vote against Edgeworth, calling him incompetent, and someone who exerts control through intimidation and fear.

Despite the vote, Edgeworth's boss says he has the full confidence and trust of the aviation department. Edgeworth has repeatedly refused to even answer numerous phone calls from CNN, and when we approached him to ask our questions, he did what his officers are supposed to do if anyone approaches them armed.

GRIFFIN: Excuse me? Hi, Chief Edgeworth? Drew Griffin with CNN.

RICHARD EDGEWORTH: Oh, how are you?

GRIFFIN: Good to see you. We wanted to ask you why your officers aren't armed? Why that the only aviation police officers in the United States that apparently are not armed? Wouldn't the public be better protected if they were armed and were able to engage a threat instead of -- sir? Instead of having to run and hide?


KOSIK: You know, they wind up being sitting ducks. And they had -- they are wearing uniforms and they become targets and sitting ducks. It's unfortunate.

OK, that was Drew Griffin reporting. And there's a lot of news to tell you about this morning.

BLACKWELL: The next hour of your NEW DAY comes up right after this short break. Stay with us.