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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Rape Allegations Against Bill Clinton; McCain Questions Cruz Citizenship; Syrian Conflict Update; Preview of Obama Guns Townhall; Active Shooter Situation Training. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired January 7, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:30:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Decades ago comes forward once again claiming Bill Clinton raped her. That story next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to "The Lead." I'm Jake Tapper. Let's stay with our politics lead. Hillary Clinton says unequivocally, "Every survivor of sexual assault deserves to be heard, believed and supported." This is something she's tweeted and said on the campaign trail. She even made a television ad on the subject to hammer home the point.
But there is at least one woman who says she was raped, and her story is now dogging the Clintons on the campaign trail.
CNN's Brianna Keilar is traveling with Hillary Clinton in California. Brianna, explosive allegations from years ago in former President Bill Clinton was just peppered by reporters with questions about the allegations.
Our own Sunlen Serfaty asked Bill Clinton on a rope line about this rape allegation. Now, you can't hear it in the video we're showing right now, but he says, point blank any questions, "They have all been answered." unquote. Brianna, what's going on here?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right. And that's actually the most directly that he has answered questions about these allegations that have come back to life as he campaigns this week alone for the first time for his wife Hillary Clinton. He's really the only one who is even responding in any way to this. The Clinton campaign is not, nor is the candidate.
I just asked Hillary Clinton here, just a few moments ago with this event here in San Gabriel, California, about Donald Trump taking aim at her over her husband's past. And she just ignored the questions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: As Bill Clinton hits the campaign trail for his wife.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: You will never have a chance to vote for a better candidate.
KEILAR: Accusations of sexual improprieties from years past are reemerging in Hillary Clinton's race for the White House.
[16:35:00] Now, one of the subjects of those scandals is resurfacing. Juanita Broaddrick who is longed claimed that Bill Clinton attacked her in 1978 when she was working on his governance royal campaign.
She's now a Trump supporter and she tweeted, "I was 35 years old when Bill Clinton, Arkansas attorney general, raped me and Hillary tried to silence me. I am now 73. It never goes away". There was no physical evidence and no charges were ever filed. The attorney for Bill Clinton in 1999 says, "Any allegation that the president assaulted Mrs. Broaddrick more than 20 years ago is absolutely false."
On the campaign trail, a Republican state legislator asked Hillary Clinton about the revived allegations this week in New Hampshire.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You are very rude. And I'm not going to ever call on you.
KEILAR: Critics say Hillary Clinton set the stage for these questions with her words supporting victims of rape.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Secretary Clinton, you recently came out to say that all raped victims should be believed. But would you say that about Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and or Paula Jones, should we believe them as well?
H. CLINTON: Well, I would say that everybody should be believed at first until they are disbelieved based on evidence.
KEILAR: Most of Hillary Clinton's opponents have stayed away from the scandals until now.
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The husband wants to come and she wants to accuse me of things and the husband is one of the great abusers of the world? Give me a break. Give me a break.
KEILAR: Donald Trump is been hammering on Bill Clinton's past and calling Hillary Clinton an enabler since she accused him of a penchant for sexism.
CLINTON: It's not the first time he's demonstrated, you know, a penchant for sexism.
KEILAR: Today, the former president answered questions at a campaign event this way.
B. CLINTON: He said a lot of things. I have no response.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's you're reaction to that?
KEILAR: Trump not letting up his campaign putting out this Instagram video today.
H. CLINTON: Women's rights, our human rights and human rights are women's rights once and for all. Let's keep fighting for opportunity and dignity. (END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Now, a reminder that Hillary Clinton's highest approval ratings actually came during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. And that's why many Republican candidates think that this may not be the best strategy for attacking her. Donald Trump today telling a radio station he can tone it down. He's able to tone it down if he sees that it's offending female voters.
TAPPER: Brianna Keilar, thank you so much. Let's talk about the Clintons and much more about the 2016 race with CNN Political Commentator Donna Brazile and editor for the "Weekly Standard" Will Kristol.
Donna, let me read this to you from Michelle Goldberg a feminist writer writing in the liberal website Slate. She says, "Feminists have repeatedly and convincingly made the case that when women say they've been sexually assaulted, we should assume they're telling the truth. Particularly when it comes to the story of Juanita Broaddrick, it's not easy to square the arguments against believing her with the dominant progressive consensus on trusting victims". What do you think?
DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, in the context of Donald Trump who has built his campaign on mocking women, attacking immigrants, of course, and smearing Muslims. I'm not surprised that Donald Trump has decided to go into what I call the sleaze basket, to try to bring up anything that would keep them from having a real conversation about issues that matters to the American people.
When it comes to sexual assault, violence against women, I think Democrats and liberals and progressives have a good history on ensuring that women are able to tell the truth and to ensure that there are laws properly on the books to allow victims of these crimes and abuses to have their day.
So I don't think there's any contradiction there. Now, Donald Trump believed that this is one way to silence Hillary Clinton when she brings up his misogyny and his attacks on women, I don't think that's going to work either.
Now, I'm a feminist, Jake. I mean, and I know Bill Clinton. And I have a great deal of respect for Bill Clinton. During that time, we all condemned his misconduct. I mean, I'm not married to Bill Clinton. I'm sure as a husband and wife issue, there were marital issues they had to resolve. But Donald Trump is using this, politics so that he can gain the support of conservatives and others who might not be embracing his campaign.
TAPPER: And that's the thing, Bill. I mean, so many Republicans shy away from discussing this for any number of reasons including the fact that nothing has been proven in terms of the Juanita Broaddrick allegation but also because it might in gender sympathy for Hillary Clinton. It makes a lot of people just uncomfortable. I'm uncomfortable sitting here right now, you two probably are as well. Is it smart politics?
WILLIAM KRISTOL, EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, I don't know if it's smart politics. This is wise (ph) more politics for Donald Trump. When one is able to be anti Trump and anti Hillary Clinton at the same time. I'm not in that inviable position, I'm like, I don't have to defend either one.
But here's just a fact, Bill Clinton lied in 1992 about Jennifer Flowers when he's running for president. He lied under oath about Paula Jones.
[16:40:01] He lied about Monica Lewinsky.
Hillary Clinton defended him in each of those cases. No one and I think maybe in some of those cases that her husband was lying defending him because she thought it was the right thing to do. It is legitimate I think for someone to say, "Is that really the record of someone who stands up for women in all cases?" Is that settles the record of someone? And she in fact had people going out and attacking Monica Lewinsky and calling her crazy and delusional.
BRAZILE: I don't know if everything you're saying is true, Bill, but I can tell you this. Hillary Clinton has a lifetime commitment of supporting women and girls whether it's in through legislation or as an advocate for women and girls. And the notion that for some reason she cannot be an, you know, can run a campaign and talk about these issues without somebody bringing up the misconduct of her husband. I mean, that is in my judgment that is real misogyny, it was it...
KRISTOL: She was part -- she was part of the average effort discredit women who were telling the truth. Monica Lewinsky was telling the truth, Paula Jones was telling the truth. That's just a fact.
BRAZILE: I was there. She was not part of any effort to smear women...
TAPPER: We just have a couple of more minutes and I do want to move onto some other issues especially Donald Trump raising questions about the constitutional eligibility to be president of Senator Ted Cruz. Take a listen to John McCain who was asked about this. Of course, he was born in Panama. He was explaining why his case was different than Cruz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MCCAIN, SENATOR, ARIZONA: It's a U.S. military base.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.
MCCAIN: That's different from being born on foreign soil. So, I think there is a question. I am not a constitutional scholar on that, but I think it's worth looking into. I don't think it's illegitimate to look into it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: I got to say, I was kind of surprise what McCain went through. I know he's not the biggest Ted Cruz fan. Is this a serious issue for Cruz?
BRAZILE: I don't think so. He's running a textbook campaign in Iowa. And this is the best that Donald Trump once again can do is to, you know, take a child who was born of American mother, yes in Canada, but, you know, I'm not a lawyer but I don't see a problem. But this is Donald Trump again going back into the trash can. He's just trying to win, that's all.
KRISTOL: I do think it shows that Donald Trump is very worried about Ted Cruz. So I think he's probably leading him in Iowa. This bus story he's been on has had big crowds. He has momentum. And Trump has the sense if you run second in Iowa, maybe closer to Marco Rubio in third and to Ted Cruz in first. Suddenly maybe that lead in New Hampshire becomes vulnerable and suddenly the inevitability of Donald Trump is kind of fantastic. I'm ahead, I'm winning, I'm ahead in every poll, but there's a real vote and doesn't end up first in Iowa, it's a problem.
TAPPER: Were you surprised with McCain's comments?
KRISTOL: A little bit. He does dislike Ted Cruz a little bit. I love John McCain. But McCain lets us dislikes occasionally color, some of the things he says. But I don't think it's a serious issue. But I do think it still shows that I mean there are things that Trump could criticize Cruz on his own way. I can't believe this one is going to be effective. But, you know what, I thought a lot of him things he said weren't going to be effective and we're going to backfire it before...
KRISTOL: Amazingly enough I've occasionally been wrong about that.
BRAZILE: So easy.
TAPPER: Bill Kristol, Donna Brazile, thank you so much. I appreciate for both of you being in here.
And our worldly today, Syria's president, reportedly using a new tactic against his own people, there are horrific photos that local say, "Prove it."
Plus, an inside and look at how law enforcement trains for active shooter situations. That's ahead.
[16:46:40] TAPPER: Welcome back to "The Lead", I'm Jake Tapper. Making headlines in our world lead cries for help today about a desperate humanitarian crisis ravaging Syria. The country's deadly civil war has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions. And now, more evidence in besieged cities and villages, innocent men, women and children are being starved to death intentionally by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and those loyal to him.
Today, the Syrian government under pressure from the United Nations announced that it will allow much needed aid into the village of Madaya, a Damascus suburb where more than 40,000 people are reportedly in danger of dying from starvation.
A word of caution now, this story includes some disturbing images, images provided by activists that CNN cannot independently verify and ones that might be upsetting especially to small children.
Let's go to CNN Senior International Correspondent, Arwa Damon. Arwa, you've traveled through Syria extensively. Give us a sense of what's happening on the ground there.
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Jake, as you just mentioned these are hardly images that anyone thought they would necessarily be seeing emerging from modern day Syria. They're more reminiscence of the horrors and the images that we saw coming out from World War II at death camps. You have a photograph of a little emaciated baby. You have adult's pictures that were also posted online, peoples ribs sticking out, their eyes bulging out of their sockets.
There's one video where you see a man he's holding a baby towards the camera and just begging, saying the children of Madaya are starving. And this little baby's eyes are just bulging it seems out of its head, echoing that desperate plea.
There's also an additional video that shows a little boy speaking to the camera. And there he's saying that he has not had a real meal in a week and that he just wants to be able to taste meat again.
To give you an idea of what these people have really been suffering through, this area has been under siege since July of 2015.
Back in October, that was the last time that humanitarian aid was actually able to reach the residents of Madaya. And even back then the ICRC said that they could easily see hunger in the eyes of the people. And let's fast forward to today. That hunger has resulted in death.
According to doctors without borders, Jake, since December 1st in one of the field clinics that they support 23 patients have died. And among them six of those patients were babies. They were under a year old.
Residents and activists have been warning that this would happen, but the sad reality is that when it comes to Syria, yes, the situation has to get this dire for help to arrive.
The U.N. finally announcing that aid would be arriving. The World Food Program hopes to have those trucks into these areas soon, but Jake, this is not the only area in Syria undergoing situations like this. And this most certainly is not the only atrocity transpiring in that war torn country.
TAPPER: Arwa Damon, thank you so much.
Coming up, how do police officers prepare for active shooting situations?
[16:49:59] We get an inside look at the training they go through. Coming up.
TAPPER: Welcome back to "The Lead." Let's do the national lead now. We're nearing three hours until CNN hosts on exclusive Town Hall on guns in America with President Obama.
Tonight's event is at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. It will bring together a passionate audience. The attempt has been to make it evenly divided on this heated issue.
The discussion will focus on how to curb the nation's countless deadly shootings yet simultaneously not threatening the rights of legal gun owners. One influential group will not be represented tonight. The National Rifle Association declined CNN's invitation even though, of course, CNN's, I mean the NRA's headquarters is less than five miles away from tonight's venue.
CNN's Jim Acosta joins me now live at the White House where President Obama is getting ready for this discussion. Jim, what's the White House response to the NRA declining the invitation to participate this evening?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Jake, each of the president are not surprised that the National Rifle Association will not be making that short drive over to George based on later on this evening that they won't be involved in tonight's Town Hall meeting.
The White House and the NRA, they've been at odds over this issue of gun control for years. But the White House insists President Obama will hear from all sides in tonight's Town Hall meeting. The president will no doubt hear from critics who argue his executive actions aimed at expanding background checks and mental health care will take away their constitutional right to own guns. The president is ready for that question.
And the White House is also well aware of these spikes in gun sales that seem to happen every time the president starts talking about gun control. I asked Press Secretary Josh Earnest about that he blamed that on the gun industry and not the president's views. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There's a profit motive on the part of the industry to try to convince their customers that the government wants to take away their guns.
[16:55:04] Or will somehow limit their ability to buy guns because you guys have all documented the fact that every time they say that it works. People go out and buy record numbers of guns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Now, Josh Earnest also said the president will once again reiterate his support for the Second Amendment at the Town Hall meeting later on this evening, Jake. It's not clear whether or not that will persuade people in the audience who definitely believe that the president does not really support their second amendment rights.
TAPPER: All right. Jim Acosta, thank you so much.
This Town Hall comes at a time when active shooter situations have become a new normal in this country for law enforcement. You have the office gathering in San Bernardino, the Community College shooting in Umpqua, Oregon. And, of course, who could forget the EAME church in Charleston, South Carolina.
We live in a day and age where training for these scenarios has also become common. CNN Justice Correspondent Pamela Brown joins me now. Pamela, these so called, "Survival Guides" started happening practically every day under President Obama's time in office.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. In fact, since President Obama took office there have been at least 112 active shooter situations according to the FBI. And there's has been an increasing focus on what civilians can do to protect themselves before law enforcement even arrives on scene.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: It can happen anywhere, any time. Thirteen people killed at Fort Hood Military base in Texas. Six gunned down at a congressman Drills rally in Arizona.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone screaming that it was Gabrielle Giffords.
BROWN: Twenty-six people including 20 children shot dead in the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got all bodies here.
BROWN: One of the deadliest massacres just last month in San Bernardino where radicalized husband and wife shot dead 14 innocent people. The chaotic scenes of mass shootings have become almost routine.
RON HOSKO, FMR. FBI ASSITANT DIRECTOR: Well, today's reality is we cannot be passive. We cannot be passive as a citizen and certainly the police cannot be passive.
BROWN: Since 2008, the year President Obama was elected to 2014, there have been on average 17 active shooter incidents every year more than one a month. That's more than double the number from 2000 to 2007 when there was an average of seven a year.
Active shooter training is just as common place for law enforcement and civilians across the country. The FBI recently released this slickly produced video named, "The Coming Storm," showing a fictional active shooter scenario on a college campus.
It teaches law enforcement the tactics to confront and diffuse the situation. This rapid response training at Texas State University puts officers in real time active shooter training.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We hear the shots. We know the problem is down here. So we start -- I'm kind of pushing you let's go, let's go because again, if we're coming to try to stop the active shooter, we've got to get to the active shooter.
BROWN: But authorities say it's often up to the victims to either run, hide or fight in those crucial first minutes.
HOSKO: The law enforcement response to these incidents is not instantaneous. So citizens need to thinking about what their response is going to be. If it is a protracted incident, if they hear sirens but there's no one helping right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was a very, very graphic shootout here all the way.
BROWN: These series of active shootings have struck accord with the president fueling his decision to bypass congress on gun control during his last year in office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And part of what the president announces is encouraging more people who sell guns to get licenses and for people buying guns to get background checks, Jake.
TAPPER: What specifically does the FBI study have to say about the shooters themselves?
BROWN: Well, it really puts things into perspective, Jake. Because as you know when these shootings unfold, oftentimes there is question about whether or not there are more than one shooter. What it says is all but six of 160 shooting incidents the FBI looked at in a recent study involved male shooters and only two involved more than one shooter.
Also, more than half of the incidents ended with the shooter either committing suicide or fleeing while 21, Jake, of these incidents ended after unarmed citizens successfully restrained the shooter, Jake.
TAPPER: Pamela Brown, thank you so much. You can watch the discussion as President Obama joins Anderson Cooper for a Town Hall on guns in America. That's coming up in just about three hours tonight at 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 Pacific, right here on CNN.
Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jaketapper. You can tweet the show at The Lead CNN. We actually read them. That's it for "The Lead." I'm Jake Tapper. I now turn you over to one Mr. Wolf Blitzer. He's right next door to me in a place we like to call "The Situation Room." Thanks for watching.
[16:60:04] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, anniversary attack, Europe on the edge of the man with the knife take explosives. And an ISIS symbol (ph) are shot dead.