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Trump Questions Cruz's Citizenship; Cruz Holds Iowa Rally As He Closes in on Trump; Emotional Obama Calls For Gun Safety Action; Emotional Obama Calls for Gun Safety Action; Armed Activists Threaten Violence If Provoked; FBI: Need Help With San Bernardino Shooters' Timeline. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired January 5, 2016 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:09] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Next and new tonight, Donald Trump on the attack and raising questions about Ted Cruz's citizenship. Trump versus Cruz. Both candidates are speaking live this hour. We'll going to take you there.

Plus, a rare show of emotion for President Obama crying at the White House. Will his executive actions on guns make a difference?

And armed protesters take over federal building. Why some of them are citing their Mormon faith as a reason for the takeover. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone, I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, it is on. Donald Trump on the attack against Ted Cruz. Tonight raising questions about whether Cruz can even run for president. In an interview with "The Washington Post," Trump raised the issue of Cruz being born in Canada and called it a, quote, "big problem." He went on to say, it would be a very precarious one for Republicans because he would be running and the courts may take a long time to make a decision. You don't want to be running and have that kind of thing hanging over your head.

Cruz quickly responded in a very interesting way. His tweet featuring a clip yes, from the sitcom "Happy Days" when Ponzi literally jumped the shark. We're standing by in Sioux City, Iowa where Cruz is about to kicked off a town hall meeting. We'll bring you there. Trump is across the country in another key state about to rally supporters in Claremont, New Hampshire. This all comes as several Republican candidates launched attack ads. Ads that curiously failed to take aim at the leader of the Pac, Mr. Trump.

Sara Murray is OUTFRONT tonight with the Trump campaign in New Hampshire. So, Sara, first, what is behind this new line of attack?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is interesting to see Donald Trump going after Ted Cruz like this, questioning whether he actually can be president because he was born in Canada. When Donald Trump was asked about this just a few months ago he said a number of lawyers have looked into this and he thinks that Ted Cruz is fine. So, I think what you are seeing right now is a new political reality. We're seeing Ted Cruz challenging Donald Trump, closing in on him in the polls, even leading in some polls in Iowa, the first nominating state. And the really interesting thing about this, this is Donald Trump throwing the first punch. This isn't a response to Ted Cruz, this isn't a counterattack. This is very much Donald Trump going after Cruz. And that could be a sign that he is worried about his footing in some of these early states.

BOLDUAN: Sara Murray with the Trump campaign. We're waiting for that rally to begin live. Sara, thank you so much.

So, as for the other candidates, they are flooding the campaign trail and the air waves today, attacking just about everyone and everything except the Republican front-runner.

Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT in New Hampshire tonight.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The political air war kicking into high gear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want someone to read one hell of a bedtime story? Ted Cruz is your guys.

MATTINGLY: Across televisions in Iowa and New Hampshire, the Republican primary has gotten tough, tough on the issues.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I will say, the politics of it would be very, very different if a bunch of lawyers or bankers were crossing the Rio Grande.

MATTINGLY: On Democrats.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's the one Hillary doesn't want to run against.

MATTINGLY: And on each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But unlike some, his day is now booming.

MATTINGLY: The only one escaping the onslaught? The frontrunner, Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's calling for a temporary shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.

MATTINGLY: As Trump's new ad formally hit the airwaves in Iowa today, it's the other candidates who are hoping these ads will make, not break, their campaigns. The ad spending millions of piece from the top tier candidates underscores the urgency of the moment. Just weeks remain before voters' caucus in Iowa. Thirty six days until the New Hampshire primary. And while the other candidates seem to be duking it out among each other --

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Isn't this more fun than a regular boring rally?

MATTINGLY: Trump is focused on another dust stop, this time with actor Samuel L. Jackson -- SAMUEL L. JACKSON, ACTOR: Well, allow me to retort.

MATTINGLY: -- who told Golf Magazine that he is a better golfer than the billionaire because Jackson doesn't cheat. Trump tweeted that he doesn't know Jackson, and thinks he, quote, "does too many TV commercials." Boring. Not a fan.


MATTINGLY: Well, Kate, obviously Donald Trump in the last or so shifting his sights slightly to Ted Cruz. But look, what this is all really underscoring now is we are now in the race. Less than a month until the first votes are cast. The attack ads are going to be coming fast and furious, the personal attacks appear to as well. Here in New Hampshire especially important, as many as five candidates almost entirely reliant on a good finish in this state. So, Kate, it's starting and it's not going to stop any time soon.

BOLDUAN: No, and it's only going to get wilder, crazier and now Samuel Jackson is part of it.

Phil, thank you so much. Great to see you.

[19:05:05] OUTFRONT for us now, Donald Trump's supporter Jeffrey Lord, he served as political director to President Ronald Reagan. And Doug Heye, he's a former communications director for the Republican National Committee.

Great to see you both as always.



BOLDUAN: There's too much to discussion, not enough time. Doug, let's get to the -- in a second. First, the birther argument has reentered the presidential race. What do you make of it?

HEYE: I think we are all stupid or for it. To be honest Kate. I wasn't a fan of it when it was used against Barack Obama because it just wasn't true. I'm not a fan of it being used against Ted Cruz because it's just not true. It's not productive. It doesn't do anything to further the debate that we need to have is, Republicans or as Americans. And I'll tell you, I'm glad that Ted Cruz responded the way he has. Laugh it off. Use the fonzie, use "Happy Days" whatever because if Donald Trump is not a serious person, he's not going to talk about things seriously, maybe we should just treat him like that, as well.

BOLDUAN: Well, and Jeff, Trump himself back in September said that this was not an issue for Ted Cruz. What has changed?

LORD: Well, I think, what he's saying, well, first of all, just the general primaries are always very intense. There is nothing abnormal about this at all. They are going to go at each other. That's the way it works. It's always done that way in both parties. Back in March of last year --

BOLDUAN: But is it OK?

LORD: Donald Trump said --

BOLDUAN: But is it OK? You are a Trump supporter. Are you comfortable having him take on this birther issue with Ted Cruz?

LORD: My point is, what he is saying is not that he's not eligible. He is saying that someone will raise the question of eligibility in the courts. I like Senator Cruz. I think he's perfectly eligible to be president. But the CNN story from last says, comes to the conclusion that if Senator Cruz makes progress that there would be a legal challenge by somebody out there in this litigious society. That is not hard to imagine. So, I mean, that's -- what Donald Trump is saying now is what he said months and months and months ago and CNN itself thought that that was suddenly a logical conclusion.


HEYE: -- Barack Obama eight years ago. It was ugly racism eight years ago and we shouldn't stand for it in the Republican Party today.

LORD: Doug, Doug, Doug, Doug, I don't understand why it's ugly racism when it's Barack Obama and when they did it with Chester Allen Arthur in 1880 --

HEYE: I wasn't alive in 1880. I was opposed to racism then, too.

LORD: Well, Doug, I know --

HEYE: It's not the kind of thing that we need to be talking about, Jeffrey. It's not what we need to be talking about -- to grow jobs, build the economy and do the things that get America actually great again.

LORD: Doug, Doug, Doug --

BOLDUAN: Respond, Jeff.

LORD: Doug, all I'm saying is, there is history. There is history. Hundred-year-old history. Plus, there is nothing unique to Barack Obama or Ted Cruz with this argument. George Romney, Mitt's father was said by many not to be eligible because he was born in Mexico to Mormon missionaries. This is a very old argument.

HEYE: Hey, I'm not willing to excuse racism by saying that it's happened for a long time. If it's racist, we should call it out. We shouldn't excuse racism by saying it's gone on forever.

BOLDUAN: Go ahead, Doug.

HEYE: We shouldn't excuse racism to say that, by saying that it's going on forever. We know that there is a racial problem in this country. Unfortunately, Donald Trump is exploiting it yet again. We've never seen Donald Trump ever appeal to our better natures just as we've never seen him appeal to anything aspirational or anything to create jobs, grow the economy or have the kind of conversation that American voters need to. Ultimately Kate, here is why it's important. Because Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are watching this and laughing.

They want Donald Trump to be the nominee because they know that is a sure path for Hillary to go to the White House. And it's a sure path for Chuck Schumer to become the Senate Majority Leader. Jeff -- in Pennsylvania. Pat Toomey has been a fantastic senator for the state of Pennsylvania. But if Donald Trump is our nominee, Pat Toomey is going to have a real tough time getting re-elected and these things matter.

BOLDUAN: Jeff, let me ask you this. Do you really think that Donald Trump, the man who kind of led the charge on the birther question with Barack Obama, do you really think that Donald Trump doesn't know what he is doing when he raises the issue with Ted Cruz, with "The Washington Post" reporter?

LORD: Again, to be clear, all he is saying is that somebody out there could make a legal challenge. Your CNN reporter a year ago came to the exact same conclusion. There is nothing new or startling about that. Having toast for breakfast is under legal challenge somewhere, I'm sure. There is nothing -- I might add, Doug, nothing is racist here. All these previous challenges and questions raised about George Romney, Chester Allen Arthur, they were white guys. This is an old, old issue.

HEYE: Let's keep in mind that it's also --


LORD: And it's history, Doug. History. And we also know --


BOLDUAN: Hang on, hang on, Doug.

HEYE: He attacked people on every possible way, possible. And again, he's attacked Ted Cruz's religion. I'll stand up for Ted Cruz all day long on this. It's terrible to call out of its nationality, it's terrible to call out any other candidate's religion and what a shock. There is one candidate who consistently does this. And again, politically Kate, here is why it matters.

LORD: Doug --

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you this --

HEYE: -- sure path for Hillary Clinton in the White House and Chuck Schumer in the Senate.

LORD: Doug, you are playing the identity politics card and it's unacceptable.

HEYE: I think Donald Trump is the one who plays that consistently. Thank you.

LORD: I don't think so.

[19:10:10] BOLDUAN: Doug, give me your take on Ted Cruz's response. You think it's a great response, the Fonzie Jumps the Shark not talking Donald Trump's seriously. But does he do that at his own risk? Not taking something that might not be true but could hurt him in just about -- with just 20 plus days left to go to Iowa?

HEYE: One, I don't think it will hurt him. When you're the candidate you're being attacked, a good way to do it is just to laugh it off. We all watched the video, all laugh at it. You can never go wrong using the Fonzie here. But ultimately, I would love to see Republican candidates, all of them go more systemically and more specific on Donald Trump and treat him as a serious candidate. Point out that the emperor doesn't have any clothes, he doesn't have any answers and he is not able to talk about serious issues and serious plans about defeating ISIS, about growing jobs, fixing our schools and all the actual problems America really faces.

BOLDUAN: I did find what Sara Murray pointed out very interesting. That this might be the first time that Donald Trump punched, not counterpunched. That's got to mean something. We'll discuss it more though, guys. Jeff, it's great to see you.

Doug, thank you. Great to see you too.

LORD: Thanks, Kate. Thank you, Doug.

HEYE: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, we're waiting Ted Cruz, we've been talking about him obviously. He is about to speak live to supporters in Iowa. Will he respond now to this new attack from Donald Trump?

Plus, President Obama cries on stage at the White House. Why the issue of gun violence is emotional and personal to him.

And armed activist holding a government building hold up in a government building refusing to leave until the federal authorities give into their demands. Who will blink first?


[19:15:09] BOLDUAN: Tonight Ted Cruz barnstorming through Iowa as Donald Trump launches his latest attack against the senator. Ted Cruz is about to hold a rally there. And we just heard, he did speak to reporters, the video -- there were some technical glitches, but he did say when asked about this attack from Donald Trump, he said I'm going to let my response stick with my tweet, Fonzie Jumping the Shark. Ted Cruz not going after Donald Trump tonight.

We'll see if that changes. And we're talking about Iowa though, folks. And it is a state that Cruz hopes leads him to the Republican nomination. But is Ted Cruz Christian enough for GOP voters?

Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It looks like a campaign event.

CRUZ: We have to awaken and energize the body of Christ.

SERFATY: But it sounds like a Sunday sermon.

CRUZ: And I was looking up and seeing Joshua 24:15 on the wall. Choose to this day, whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the lord.

SERFATY: In Iowa, they tweet, Ted Cruz has a clear message.

CRUZ: Let this campaign reflect your love, your glory.

SERFATY: Campaigning through the most conservative parts of the state in small towns, Christian bookstores, steak houses and sports pubs, Ted Cruz is amplifying his faith, making big outward displays of his devotion.

CRUZ: Just one minute each day to lift up in prayer this country, that the awakening, that the spirit of revival sweeping this country that it continue and in particularly conservatives continue to unite.

SERFATY: It is now a new strategy for the candidate, it is an intensified message ramped up four weeks before the first votes are cast. For it meant specifically for Evangelicals, one of the most coveted and largest voting blocks for Republicans in Iowa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason I am voting for Ted Cruz over Donald Trump is he is a person of faith.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want a godly man to be our president. And Senator Cruz appears to be that man.

SERFATY: Cruz's flaunting of its religious bonafides comes as the authenticity of his faith has become ground zero. His rivals looking for any opening to stop his momentum are now trying to plant seeds of doubt, alleging that Cruz's faith is not genuine.

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What Iowans have proven to do over the past is really get serious about who is the right person on the issue. Who has the experience? Who is someone we can trust? Who is someone who is authentic?

SERFATY: Even Trump is now openly questioning how true a Christian Cruz really is.

TRUMP: Cuba generally speaking is a Catholic country. And you don't equate evangelicals with Cuba. I don't.

SERFATY: A charge which Cruz today quipped back on for the first time. CRUZ: I would be more than happy to invite Donald to come to church

with me any time he'd like.


SERFATY: And Ted Cruz has not answered his critics any more directly than that. But he's really trying to brush aside all these questions, all these attacks on his faith. But he has started to suggest that these sort of attacks mean that many of his opponents are starting to panic, Kate especially here as he has the momentum here in Iowa.

BOLDUAN: He definitely has. The attention on him right now. Sunlen, thank you so much. Sunlen out there for us right now.

OUTFRONT now from the New Spirit Revival Center in Ohio, Pastor James Davis. He has endorsed Donald Trump for president. And Tony Perkins, he's the President of the Family Research Council who has been supportive of Ted Cruz.

Gentlemen, it's great to see you. Thank you so much. Tony, let me ask you this, we've got a lot to talk about about faith. But I do want to get your take as someone who has spoken supportively of Ted Cruz of what you make of these questions that Donald Trump has just raised about Ted Cruz's citizenship and Ted Cruz's response. What do you make of it?

TONY PERKINS, PRESIDENT, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Well, I think what Ted is doing, he is turning the other political cheek. He is not taking the bait, he is not getting into an argument with Donald Trump. The two of them have kind of had an unwritten truce it appears through this whole process. And they both benefited from it. Both of them together dominate the polling. I mean, nearly 60 percent of voters support them. And I think the reason is because they refused to be restrained by the chains of political correctness. Now I think Ted Cruz in Iowa is beginning to make one of those NASCAR moves. He's been there neck and neck with Donald Trump. And he does connect with voters through his evangelical roots. And I think that's what he is doing there in Iowa. I think it's to the benefit of Donald Trump for both of them to not attack one another. Because they share a very common base.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And Pastor Davis, I want to get your take, as a man -- as someone who is a supporter, has endorsed Donald Trump, do you like that he is raising these questions about Ted Cruz?

JAMES DAVIS, ENDORSED DONALD TRUMP AFTER CLERGY MEETING: Well, I believe he's answering the question, I don't know if he is raising the birther issue, has been raised by others, even when you go back to Barack Obama, President Obama's election. The birther question was a fact raised by a hardcore group of Hillary Clinton supporters. And so, Mr. Trump simply hijacked that after it was already in the media. And I believe he is doing the same thing here. He is just saying that there will be questions. There are probably lawsuits with this. And that it will be a distraction to the campaign. We live in a litigious society. And he's probably correct in saying that someone is going to raise this question. But as far as him going after this as the issue that voters want to talk about right now, I believe that it will subside in the next 24 hour news cycle.

[19:20:33] BOLDUAN: Now, we will definitely see about that. Now, let's turn to this question, this whisper campaign some folks are calling it about Ted Cruz's faith. And faith in general between these two candidates.

Tony, you heard in Sunlen's piece, Ted Cruz responding to Donald Trump who has suggested possibly he's not a true evangelical. Be it wrong or right, how concerned are you that a whisper campaign like this could stick though for Ted Cruz?

PERKINS: I'm not. I think voters -- first off, you have to realize why are they raising this issue? Number one is because voters are very concerned about religious liberty. And they know those who are religious are going to be more protective of religious liberty. An AP poll out last week says, 82 percent of Americans are concerned about religious liberty. In fact, their comfort level in the government protecting that fundamental freedom is declining, vanishing very rapidly. So, I don't think that's going to stick. And I think part of it is, who Ted Cruz is. He connects very well with evangelicals. But look, Donald Trump is connecting with them.


PERKINS: The polling shows that because he is speaking clearly. And voters aren't looking for evangelical voters, primarily are not looking to vote for a pastor. It was evangelical voters that were very instrumental back in 1980 in booting a Baptist Sunday school teacher out of the White House replacing them with a Hollywood actor. They were looking for a bold, courageous leader. One was that leader Ronald Reagan. Jimmy Carter was not.

BOLDUAN: Pastor Davis, you also heard that Iowa voters, a couple of Iowa voters in that piece of Sunlen said that he is picking Ted Cruz because he is a man of faith over Donald Trump. I've also heard from evangelical leaders speaking out against Trump saying that for an evangelical to support him, they would have to repudiate everything that they believe. Is this a conversation that you think Donald Trump wants to be having so close to the Iowa caucuses where evangelicals are so important?

DAVIS: Well, I believe that he's still resonating in the evangelical community. I'll say this that your reputation is what others say about you. Your character is what you do in private. And there was a meeting amongst a moderate as you call him Republican where his conversation was recorded and him saying that now same-sex marriage is now off the table, where before he called it with the Supreme Court's decision tantamount to tyranny. And so, that was a bit of a backpedal, and so yes, there is a bit of this whisper campaign against him because we've seen it before as pastors and I'm sure, most would agree with me that they come to the churches every four years, every two years and we hear this politicians tell us that they are going to do this and that.

And that we don't see them again for another two to four years when they need to be re-elected again. It's classic pandering. And I believe that yes, he can quote scripture. He can go out there, sounds like a revival while he's on the campaign trail. And I don't disdain that, but what I am saying is that I believe that many evangelicals right now are more concerned about being able to practice their faith in safety and they are looking at someone that is a hard nose, someone that can engage security as a priority of the nation so that we can practice our faith like we have in years past.

BOLDUAN: Pastor James Davis, Tony Perkins, always great to see you. Thank you so much.

PERKINS: Good to see you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

DAVIS: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, the Oregon protesters occupying a government building, they say they're in it for the long haul. And that they are doing God's will.

Also, an emotional President Obama remembering the children killed in the Sandy Hook massacre.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad. And by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every day.




[19:27:55] BOLDUAN: And in a rare show of emotions, the President of the United States today crying on a stage filled with victims of gun violence and their families in a passionate speech he rolled out new executive actions on gun control. President Obama speaking to opponents of stricter gun laws said during his remarks, Second Amendment Rights are important, but other rights are at stake as well.


OBAMA: Our unalienable right to life and liberty in The Pursuit of Happiness, those rights were stripped from college kids in Blacksburg in Santa Barbara and from high schoolers at Columbine. And from first graders in Newtown. First graders. And from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun. Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad.


BOLDUAN: The President also lashed out at the gun lobby and at Congress for blocking tougher measures before announcing the new measures that he says will help reduce gun violence. The new measures include expanding background checks for gun sales online and at gun shows, adding more than 400 new agents and staff at the FBI and ATF and making it easier for states to share mental health records.

Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A military base in Texas, as Congress members rally in Arizona.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone screaming that it was Gabrielle Giffords.

FOREMAN: A temple in Wisconsin. A movie theater in Colorado. All saw mass shootings during Barack Obama's first term.

[19:30:03] BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Such violence, such evil is senseless.

FOREMAN: But in late 2012 came the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

OBAMA: Beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old.

FOREMAN: That spurred the president to action like nothing before.

OBAMA: And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this regardless of the politics.

FOREMAN: The president launched a task force to limit access to weapons and ammunition, public support for stricter gun control which had declined for a half dozen years rose rapidly to 58 percent.

But the gun lobby pushed back. Congress hesitated and virtually all of it faded, leaving the president clearly frustrated as the shootings went on.

A university in California. A theater in Louisiana. A college in Oregon.

OBAMA: Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine.

FOREMAN: And, of course, an office gathering in San Bernardino, California.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One guy down. One guy in the back.

OBAMA: It's another tragic reminder that here in America, it's way too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun.

FOREMAN: After killings at a church prayer meeting in South Carolina, the president even saying of his sadness --

OBAMA: Amazing grace -- FOREMAN: It was a remarkable moment politically, but in practical

terms, like everything else he's tried to limit gun violence, it changed nothing.

OBAMA: That saved --


FOREMAN: So, with just over a year left in office, what the president is doing this week could represent his last significant stand on this issue, but without strong polls and politics to back his passion, the matter of gun violence could well remain the great unfinished business of his presidency -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Tom Foreman, thanks so much. Tom, you're absolutely right.

OUTFRONT with us now to discuss, Ben Ferguson, CNN political commentator and conservative radio talk show host, and CNN political commentator Van Jones, a former special advisor to President Obama.

Gentlemen, it's great to see you.

Ben --


BOLDUAN: -- in response to the president's remarks today and officially rolling out these measures, we were hearing mixed messages from gun rights supporters.

On one side, this is a vast overreach. Paul Ryan called it a form of intimidation that undermines liberty. But also, others are saying these measures really aren't that big of a deal.

So, which is it?

FERGUSON: Well, I think there's two things that were in this executive order that are very concerning. One is the fact that now doctors will be turning over information which many people are going to be concerned with HIPAA issues when it comes to mental health. The question is if a doctor says that you're mentally unstable, how do you get your name off that list if they report you to the background check system?

There are many Americans that do need help. And they ask for help from doctors every day with mental health. Those tht are bipolar and others. When they get it under control, do you lose your right to protect yourself, and your family and your home?

The White House was not able to answer that question today and they have not explained it.

The second big issue is the fact now, the Social Security Administration is going to be turning over people's names to the FBI who they say cannot handle or manage their personal affairs. If you're older, there are many older people that may not do their finances correctly, so they have family members or others help them. Does that mean they should not be able to have a gun in their home to protect themselves at the age of 75, 80 or 85, if someone kicks in that back door, all because someone at the Social Security Administration turned their name in?

If it is wrong, how do you get your name off this record where you would be denied a weapon when you go in to buy one? Because someone at Social Security Administration said you might not do your taxes the right way so therefore you're incompetent.

BOLDUAN: So, Van, Ben is clearly squarely in the, this is the vast overreach and undermine liberty category.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, listen, good try. Good effort.

This is what happened -- the conservatives got so far over their skis saying this is going to be this horrible thing that when the actual rules and regulations came out, actually Republicans should be saying, let's take yes for an answer.

What conservatives said was, we don't want this president going out there making new laws. They want this president focused on mental health. They said we don't -- we want this president to come to us for any new laws.

That's exactly what the president has done. He has not made any new law. What he's done is he has clarified and is now doubling down on existing law. And where he wants new law made, he is going to Congress, especially on mental health.

[19:35:04] So, now, what you're seeing is people who got so far over their skis saying this is going to be tyranny having to scrape and find little things -- everything that Ben talked about can be easily remedied and will be remedied. It's not the apocalypse they said it was going to be. It's just not. It's just not.


FERGUSON: Van just said -- Van just said they did not make it a new law. Why is all this starting next month and the White House saying in their own executive action that for the first time ever, doctors are going to be able to not worry about HIPAA violations and hand over mental health issues?

If I am someone that's dealing with a mental health issue, I am going to be very concerned now that my name may be put on a list if I say something wrong to a doctor, if I'm asking and seeking help. That is a new law.

For the Social Security Administration to be able to turn a name over of someone who's elderly, that is a new law. You can say nice try, but if I'm an elderly person, this is something very that's very concerning to me. BOLDUAN: Let me add this into the conversation quick, Van. The

president ran through a list of the mass shootings today when he was unveiling this announcement. He's talked about mass shootings quite often.

I'm hearing from a lot of Republicans throughout the day, they're pointing out that these actions that he's rolled out, they would not have prevented these mass shootings from happening. The president himself acknowledged that these actions are not going to prevent mass shootings from happening today in unveiling it.

So, with that in mind, if he's couching it as he's announcing it, is this more about optics than action on some level?

JONES: You know, I don't think so. I couldn't have been prouder of this president today. I think people across this country want something to be done.

Obviously, the president can't do everything but somebody should do something. I could not have been prouder of him today to step forward as he did, to speak both as rationally and emotionally as he did about an issue that affects so many people. So, I don't think it's just about optics.

You can't have it both ways. You can't say that you want the president to do something that is going to have this big effect but you won't vote for anything, you won't support anything he does, you won't let legislation come to the floor. And also, Republicans have continued to say they agree with him on mentality health. Well, just in December, they shot down a mental health option.

And so, here is an opportunity now. If what Republicans say is true, their main concern is mentality health, the president is now saying I'm going to ask for 500 million. If Republicans want to do something, they don't like what he did, they want to do something, there is a door open now. Let's see if they go through it.

BOLDUAN: I'll say.


BOLDUAN: At least in the short term, I have not seen any movement on positions from the left or the right on this issue as this was unveiled.

Guy, we're going to leave it there tonight, though. I really appreciate it. Ben, great to see you. Van, you as well.

A reminder to all of you, an important programming note. Thursday night, President Obama is going to be joining Anderson Cooper in a live audience at a town hall to talk about this issue, "Guns in America". That is 8:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

OUTFRONT for us next, authorities refusing to confront the armed protester whose took over a government building. What can they do to end the takeover? And the San Bernardino shooters, the attackers, the FBI still doesn't

know all of their movements on the day of the massacre. Now, they are asking for help. Where were they and what were they doing?


[19:42:01] BOLDUAN: The armed activists who seized a federal building in Oregon, they are vowing they will not back down, tonight, saying they will only leave if the government relinquishes control of federal land. And while the group maintains they want peace, they have also made it very clear that if provoked, they're not afraid to use force.

So, what are officials saying tonight?

Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Authorities say the armed protesters at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge need to leave. But protesters say they aren't going anywhere.

(on camera): Can you give us some sense of exactly how long you might be here?

LAVOY FINICUM, PROTESTER AND RANCHER: This is a lot of work. Definitely it's going to take some months.

SIDNER (voice-over): Months that some local residents in Burns, Oregon, worry could turn into much longer.

SHELLY DAUGHTERY, PRINT SHOPT OWNER: I feel like they lied to us. I feel like the whole protest march was a ruse so that they could do what they're doing right now.

SIDNER (on camera): There are some people that aren't ranchers that are saying, "They came into our community and they took over and this is our community. Why are they coming from outside into our community?"

FINICUM: I understand that concern.

SIDNER: The group that calls themselves the Citizens for Constitutional Freedom are still here. It's now day four. We don't see any local, state or federal police out here.

It is in the middle of nowhere. We are about 35 miles from the closest town.

(voice-over): The lack of police presence is a stark contrast to the deadly siege and confrontation at Ruby Ridge in Idaho that left three dead, including a U.S. marshal in 1992.

Less than a year later, there was the deadly raid in Waco, Texas, that left at least 75 people dead, including women and children, and four federal agents. (on camera): The word "Waco" comes up quite often when they start

hearing words like take over. Are you worried this is going to end that way?

JASON PATRICK, PROTESTER: Nope. America isn't going to tolerate another Waco.

SIDNER: But you're the only ones here. America is at home.

PATRICK: Yes, well, there's a neat quote from World War II that said we can't do that because there will be a rifle behind every blade of grass.

SIDNER (voice-over): The armed group says the federal government is illegally grabbing land and they want to give it back to local ranchers and farmers.

CLINT SIEGNER, FORMER BURNS RESIDENT: I think it's time for people to be talking about these issues. I think they can do it in a nonviolent way, it will be worthwhile.

SIDNER: The group's leader, Ammon Bundy, is a Nevada rancher who comes from a long line of Mormons. But in a statement, the Mormon Church says they are "deeply troubled by the reports that those who seized the facility suggest they are doing so based on scriptural principles. This armed occupation can in no way be justified on a scriptural basis."

The group is made up of men and women mostly from Nevada and Arizona. And while they do not call themselves anti-government, they are opposed to the Bureau of Land Management, a federal agency.


[19:45:00] SIDNER: The federal government, they say, does have a place like securing the borders. As it turns out, Ammon Bundy actually took a loan through the federal government loan program through the Small Business Administration, took a loan of about $500,000 -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Sara Sidner out there for us still. Sara, thank you so very much.

And OUTFRONT with us now, former U.S. Marshal Art Roderick. He has been involved in multiple operations like this, including the showdown in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992.

Art, it's great to see you.


BOLDUAN: Take me inside discussions amongst law enforcement as this drags on day by day. Why does it seem they are waiting this out?

RODERICK: Well, I mean, that has been probably the plan from the very beginning. We learned a lot over the years since Ruby Ridge, since Waco, since the 2001 seizure of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple. Also in 2008, the Brown case from New Hampshire.

And the main difference between those four cases and this particular instance is that there was fugitive warrants or some type of seizure warrant to be executed. At Ruby Ridge, you had fugitive warrant. At Waco, you had the execution of a search warrant and an arrest warrant. At the Indianapolis Baptist Temple, seizure of property. And in the Brown case in New Hampshire, you had not only a fugitive warrant but also a seizure of property.

You don't have that instance here. So, what we learned is if you just back off, let them sit there in self-imposed exile, and once the press goes away, they are going to get bored, they're going to get tired and they're going to get cold. They are going to eventually go home. That is exactly what's happened in these other cases.

BOLDUAN: Real quick, Art, other than waiting them out, what are the nonlethal ways to force them out? I mean, do they cut the power to the building where they are holed up?

RODERICK: Yes, that is one plan. Also do some surveillance. They can do drone surveillance to identify all the individuals that are there. They can get with the U.S. attorney's office to figure out what charges can be brought.

Right now, it only seems like possibly destruction of government property or federal trespassing would be the main thing to come to mind right now. But there are things that can make them uncomfortable. But really, once the press goes away, this thing is going to fade into another distant dream.

BOLDUAN: Take the mega phone away and they don't have a lot more to say maybe.

RODERICK: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: Art, great to see you. Thank you so much.

RODERICK: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, the FBI trying to solve the mystery of where the San Bernardino shooters were during a crucial 18 minutes after the attack. A live report coming up.

And Jeanne Moos with men behaving badly on live TV.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't blush, baby.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not blushing.



[19:51:37] BOLDUAN: Tonight, 18 minutes. That's the gap in the timeline following the San Bernardino attack that remains a mystery still to the FBI.

Tonight, the FBI is asking the public for help. Investigators are looking for any information that might reveal critical clues as to why Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik were doing at the time between the horrific massacre and the shootout with police that killed them both.

Evan Perez is OUTFRONT with us now with more information.

So, Evan, why is this 18-minute gap so critical?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Kate, it's because they don't know what they were doing during those 18 minutes. Did they talk to someone? Did they meet anybody? Did they dispose of evidence during those 18 minutes?

They've done a good job of piecing about four hours after the shooting at the Inland Regional Center, and then between that and the time that they had a shootout with police, they've been able to use surveillance cameras, traffic cameras, even cell phone tracking to be able to figure out, for instance, they stopped at a lake and that's one reason why the FBI did a search of that lake. They didn't find any evidence.

But, again, it's very important for them to know every single piece of this, because they want to make sure nobody else was involved.

BOLDUAN: That in mind, Evan, how close are officials, are you hearing, to completing the investigation?

PEREZ: They are still a ways away. It's remarkable how much of a piece of investigation they need to do here. They've talked about 500 witnesses already but there's a couple of pieces of a puzzle that they still are missing.

For instance, they don't have this missing hard drive that they still would like to recover. They haven't been able to recover or retrieve data from two smashed cell phones. They did have another phone that they used and that's one way they've been able to figure out some of their movements.

But, you know, big mystery here remains, Kate, why that day? Why that location? Why did they attack a holiday gathering like they did? And they had these weapons, they had the black powder. They could have done this at any time other time. A lot more that the FBI wants to know about this.

BURNETT: Evan Perez, thanks so much, Evan. We really appreciate it.

PEREZ: Sure.

BURNETT: OUTFRONT for us next, Jeanne Moos with famous flirts caught on tape.


JOE NAMATH: I want to kiss you. (END VIDEO CLIP)


[19:57:34] BOLDUAN: So there is, yes, a time and a place for flirting, my friends. But it turns out for one famous athlete, the field, an on live TV, is not one of them. And now, it's costing him big time.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: "Don't blush, baby," turns out not to be a good answer to a sports reporter's question about cricket.

REPORTER: We'll leave on that note. Well done, thanks.

MOOS: Star batsman Chris Gayle got a little too lost in the eyes of Australian Channel 10 reporter Mel McLaughlin.

CHRIS GAYLE, WEST INDIAN CRICKETER: I want to come and have an interview with you as well. That's the reason why I'm here, just to see your eyes for the first time. It's nice. Hopefully win this game and have a drink after. Don't blush, baby.

REPORTER: I'm not blushing.

MOOS: But some saw red, "Not clever, not funny, not original. How about just like a fine broadcaster do her job?" tweeted a fellow reporter.

Gayle's club called his behavior inappropriate.

MOOS: It ended up being an expensive flirtation. Gayle's team fined him 10,000 Australian dollars, which works out to about $7,000 U.S.

Gayle called it a simple joke, no disrespect intended.

GAYLE: If she (INAUDIBLE), you know, then I'm really sorry for that.

REPORTER: He issued an apology and I accept that. I just want to move on.

MOOS: It moved us back, back to the time on plaster Joe Namath got over-amorous.

NAMATH: I want to kiss you. I couldn't care less about the team struggling.

MOOS: And the time FOX sportscaster Erin Andrews had to take evasive action at the Daytona 500.

ERIN ANDREWS, FOX SPORTSCASTER: Of course, 50 Cent here. I've got to talk to Danica Patrick. Good to see you.

MOOS: Maybe it's good to see that occasionally a female interviewee flirts.

Tennis star Maria Sharapova seems sweet on an Australian reporter.

MARIA SHARAPOVA, FIVE-TIME GRAND SLAM TENNIS CHAMPION: You have so much good self-esteem when you speak. It's really nice.


SHARAPOVA: What was the question? I was just admiring your form?

MOOS: Next thing you know, the reporter was broadcasting a message in Russian to Sharapova.

LACHLAN WILLS, SPORTS REPORTER: Maria, you are really beautiful. I'd love you to give me your number in English.

MOOS: Maybe he should be blushing.

Jeanne Moos, CNN --

GAYLE: Don't blush, baby.

MOOS: -- New York.

REPORTER: I'm not blushing.


BOLDUAN: I am blushing. Can we just play that Joe Namath video again? Over and over again? Dear Lord.

Thank you all so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts right now.