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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Officials Investigate Possible Lone Wolf Attack in Ohio; Flynn: Clinton Should Withdraw from Presidential Race; Brazil Works To Contain Zika Before Olympics; Clinton Campaign Responds to Email Allegations; President's Budget Running Up The Tab. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired February 12, 2016 - 16:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A man with a machete attacked and injured four people, one of them critically.

[16:30:03] 911 CALLER: It the table right in front of me. He just started attacking people.

KAREN BASS, WITNESS: I thought it was a personal thing and then he just started down the row hitting everybody with something. I don't know. People were bleeding.

FEYERICK: Officials say the attacker is 30-year-old Mohamed Barry. He's of Somali origin and has a drug-related criminal record. The FBI is looking into Barry's recent travel and any potential links to jihad.

The restaurant is owned by an Israeli Arab Christian. Hany Baransi tells the "Columbus Dispatch" the attacker was apparently inside the restaurant asking an employee about him.

HANY BARANSI, OWNER OF RESTAURANT: I understood that he left, came back 30 minutes later and attacked a person and then started slicing up people down the booths.

FEYERICK: People inside the restaurant fought back. Some of them throwing chairs. Another confronting the suspect.

SGT. RICHARD WEINER, COLUMBUS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Nobody inside from the people that we've spoken to, whether it be some of the patrons or the employees, nobody said that they knew him.

FEYERICK: The suspect fled, driving off with multiple police cruisers chasing.

DISPATCH: He is trying to get out of the vehicle. He's getting ready to go again. He's moving in.

FEYERICK: Police say they got the suspect to stop. He tried escaping out the passenger door with his weapons.

WEINER: He had a machete and another knife in his hands and he lunged across the hood at the officers. Another officer fired a couple of shots at him and put him down.

FEYERICK: One person was rushed into surgery and is now listed in stable condition.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FEYERICK: And, Jake, the Columbus police called the FBI so quickly is really because of what they call the nature of the attack and the flags that were raised -- specifically a lone individual, machete that's been used in other terror attacks, public place, random people.

The FBI now investigating this not only as possible terrorism but also as a possible hate crime -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Deb Feyerick, thanks so much.

Returning to our politics lead, presently, Hillary Clinton is fending off attacks from Bernie Sanders, but it's her use of a private e-mail server that may put a cloud over her campaign. Our next guest says Hillary Clinton should suspend her campaign for president while the FBI investigates her server.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:36:28] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

More now on our politics lead. The State Department recently was told boy the FBI's general counsel that the bureau's investigation into Hillary Clinton's home brew e-mail server is, quote, "ongoing". Then, "The Washington Post" reported that the Clinton Foundation got hit with a subpoena about the group's projects and that might have crossed the secretary's desk while she was the nation's top diplomat.

And now, a former top intelligence official under President Obama is saying Clinton needs to step down and stop running for president until the FBI clears her.

Joining me is that top intelligence official, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, retired.

Sir, good to see you again.

LT. GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY DIRECTOR: Thanks.

TAPPER: Before I ask you about your call for her to step aside, it's been reported that you're advising Donald Trump, is that true?

FLYNN: I am advising any candidate that has asked me for advice on a range of issues, national security, foreign policy. But he is one of the candidates that I have advised.

But all the others that I have spoken to, you know, I've basically let them know that I'm open to providing advice to anybody that asks.

TAPPER: But theoretically if Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton called you -- FLYNN: Absolutely. If it has to do with the areas that I feel very

strongly about and I feel I'm an expert in, I would absolutely offer my advice.

TAPPER: Now, we don't know what the FBI is going to turn up or the State Department in their investigation. We don't know what the conclusion is going to be. Why call for Hillary Clinton to step out of the race for the time being?

FLYNN: Yes. You know, I feel very strongly about this, number one. There's really two reasons why I believe this. Number one, the severity of the leaks of the classified material, so this special access program, the top secret, just the incredible level of classification that has been leaked through the use of a private server --

TAPPER: What do you mean by leaked? You mean like --

FLYNN: I mean leaked in terms of just being passed --

TAPPER: OK, you don't mean getting out to the public. But you mean --

FLYNN: It's in the public now. It's in the public domain now because it was on a private server -- it was on a private server that's available to China, Russia and now what we're seeing in the open domain. So, that severity --

TAPPER: Just to clarify, you don't have any evidence that the Chinese or the Russians hacked her server.

FLYNN: No, but we know the kinds of targets that they go after on a routine basis. You know, I could give you an hour's worth of targets that we know that they have already hit that have been very publicly discussed. So, I mean, from the joint staff to central command to the army, they have hit a bunch of these things. So Hillary Clinton as the secretary of state is a target of those two adversaries.

TAPPER: But no evidence yet --

FLYNN: And the other point, Jake, is -- and the other thing that I think this is really important, it's been stated that there are 100 FBI agents that are on this case, and yet we have the FBI director that has told us that in all 50 states, we have Islamic State cases ongoing. And I know the FBI is just overwhelmed with white collar crime, child pornography cases, transnational organized criminal cases, as well as the Islamic State. And now, we have to put another 100 agents on this case?

TAPPER: But isn't that a question of the FBI's priorities?

(CROSSTALK)

FLYNN: It is.

So, imagine that. So if they -- if she were to step down and the -- TAPPER: They would keep investigating.

FLYNN: The nation would allow itself to back down a little bit and let this investigation run its course with her not in the limelight and making this such a big, big deal, I really do believe that the severity and the number of resources that are applied, despite what the outcome is, I just think the lack of accountability frankly in a person who should have been much more responsible in her actions as the secretary of state of the United States of America, this is not --

[16:40:15] TAPPER: No, I get that.

FLYNN: If it were me, I would have been out the door and probably in jail.

TAPPER: But she and her supporters say this is an issue of overclassification.

FLYNN: No.

TAPPER: There are things that are classified now but were not at the time or, and you know this --

FLYNN: Yes, sure.

TAPPER: It's part of this tug of war over, for instance, if I were to e-mail -- if I were an intelligence official and I were to e-mail a WikiLeak that was published in "The New York Times" that is top secret even if it was in "The New York Times."

FLYNN: Overclassification or not, if it's classified, it's classified. And she knows better. She knew better in the roles that she has had both as a senator, both as a -- even back when she's married to the president of the United States and she's going to have privileged information in that regard, not only as the secretary of state which is part of the National Security Council, so she should know better.

This overclassification excuse is not an excuse. If it's classified, it's classified.

TAPPER: Right. You said in your interview with "The Daily Caller" that Clinton or someone working for Clinton transferred a special access document off the classified server. Now, our understanding is that the classified and unclassified computer systems are completely separate that you can theoretically take information off the classified server and pass it on but not the document itself.

Do you have any evidence someone took something off the classified server and sent it on the unclassified one?

FLYNN: Only from what I have seen in the news reporting about this particular case. But the issue is if you are going to have SAP or special access program material on a private -- on your BlackBerry or your iPhone, somebody has to physically take that information off of a highly classified system physically and put it onto that unclassified public device.

TAPPER: Right. But you don't have evidence that that happened.

FLYNN: I don't have any personal evidence, but it's obvious from the I.G. of the national intelligence committee, as well as some of the other very senior people that have reported about this in government.

TAPPER: Right. We'll have you come back and talk about ISIS sometime soon. I hope.

FLYNN: Absolutely, absolutely.

TAPPER: Good to see you, General Flynn. Thank you so much.

In our world lead, the Zika virus already being called a pandemic. And for the first time, it's now being blamed for three deaths. That story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Our World Lead now, it's been found in Brazil and cases have been identified in the United States, and now Venezuela says three people have died from complications linked to the Zika virus.

And that raises new fears about a virus that experts estimate could infect three to four million people across the Americas in the next year.

CNN reporters are covering this troubling story from all angles. First, we're going to go to CNN senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen.

Elizabeth, the World Health Organization is not ready to join Venezuela in officially blaming these three deaths on the Zika virus. Why the disagreement and how worried should Americans be?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, it's doesn't surprise that the WHO isn't ready to attribute these deaths to Zika. When you have an outbreak of an emerging virus like this sometimes deaths are attributed to the infection when really it might be something else.

It can get very confusing and so I think they really want to look at these deaths and say did these people die of Zika. For how concerned people should be, Zika is not known to have a very high mortality rate at all.

As a matter of fact, usually in adults, the disease is very, very mild and children as well. The real concern has been with microcephaly, that a pregnant woman could have a child with that horrible birth defect. As far as people dying, that really has not been a great concern with Zika.

TAPPER: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much. Let's turn to CNN senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh, who is in Rio de Janeiro, where officials are trying to combat Zika before the summer Olympics begin this August.

Nick, what is the government of Brazil saying that they will do to contain this threat before the Olympics?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are talking to the U.S. about a vaccine, but that is at least 18 months to two years away. We've got nine months until the Olympics are upon us, less in fact.

At this stage tomorrow, we will see the Brazilian military deployed onto the streets, 220,000 of them in 350 different cities, a nationwide deployment.

Their message, to try and get rid of any sense of ignorance people might still have about the disease, Zika, but also remind people they're deploying the military on such a wide level means this is a serious problem.

They're supposed to be trying to also combat what large pools of stagnant water they can find, but frankly in some of (inaudible), the Brazilian suburbs, the poorer areas, we saw still water is so present and hard to combat.

It's going to take a nationwide effort to combat this disease. The real issue here, Jake, is uncertainty and fear. We don't know the full medical impact of this disease just yet. We simply don't know where it could be in eight months from now.

That's got people worried about the Olympics, debating their attendance or not. The military, though, on the streets tomorrow to give a clear message of confidence, state involvement, and the desire to do whatever it takes to combat this outbreak right now -- Jake.

TAPPER: Nick Paton Walsh, Elizabeth Cohen, thanks to both of you.

It's no surprise the Republican Party doesn't like President Obama's latest budget proposal, but find out why they think so little of it. They didn't even invite his budget secretary to talk about it at Congress. That story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:54:12]

TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. A few minutes ago, I spoke with Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama.

Flynn, as you heard, called for Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race because of the FBI investigation into her server, her e-mail server, a stark and unusual call.

He admitted that he didn't have any evidence of wrongdoing, but the fact that the investigation into her server is tying down the FBI and that Clinton should have known better. Originally we had national press secretary for Hillary Clinton, Brian Fallon, scheduled to appear right after him to respond, but Brian got caught in traffic.

But now he's with us and I want to give hip tm the opportunity right now. Brian, your response. What do you make of what General Flynn has said and is saying?

BRIAN FALLON, NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON, CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Well, that's just silly. I respect the general, but that's not going to happen. Look, this investigation, this review into the security of the e-mails should be allowed to continue without political interference and without side commentary from people that don't have an understanding of the fundamental facts.

[16:55:14]And just last week you saw the same situation unfurl with former Secretary Colin Powell as well as former aides to Secretary Condoleezza Rice.

In both of those two cases, you now have the same agency looking at their e-mails, personal e-mails and saying that there is information that in retrospect they think should be treated as classified.

The exact same situation playing out in the two previous secretaries before Secretary Clinton. So I think that tells you everything about the relative seriousness of this.

It is a matter of common disagreement between agencies where the intelligence community is taking a stricter definition what's classified than the State Department did.

And if -- I'd just refer back to Colin Powell's own words where he said if this is going to be the standard, if diplomats cannot communicate amongst each other and share information, we might as well shutter the State Department.

TAPPER: So when people make suggestions like she did something clearly wrong and the FBI conclusion is going to be that she did something wrong, whatever that means, you just think that that's not true?

FALLON: That's right. I think that when this review plays itself out, at the end they'll find that what we have said is true. Nothing was marked classified at the time it was sent.

That all of this suggestion that there was sensitive material is a judgment that's being made in hindsight based on the fact that these e-mails are being prepared for public release.

We should let that process play itself out. We're confident that we'll be vindicated in the end. But what's happening here is you have a lot of people trying to take advantage of the fact that this ongoing review.

And provide commentary in the meantime because there isn't a judgment being rendered fast enough and they're trying to air these charges out there and make it sound more egregious than it is.

TAPPER: All right, Brian Fallon, thanks for joining us.

FALLON: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: You know that wish list you have of all the things you would buy if you didn't have bills to pay? President Obama submitted his to Congress this week and even proposes how to pay with them with $3 billion in tax hikes, ones that Congress will probably never pass.

The debt added to our $19 trillion in IOUs would only go up $500 billion. Welcome to Washington. That's all part of our weekly "America's Debt Crisis" series.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The budget that we're releasing today reflects my priorities.

TAPPER (voice-over): President Obama's $4.1 trillion wish list hit the halls of Congress this week and Republicans swiftly kicked much of it to the curb.

SENATOR DAN COATS (R), INDIANA: I look at this as something that is totally disconnected with the reality of where we are.

TAPPER: That reality is a $19 trillion national debt that the president's farewell budget will only add to.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There's some priorities that we have that are deeply held that Republicans in Congress do not share.

TAPPER: This is normal in Washington. Both parties committing to budgets where the nation spends more than it takes in, sending those IOUs to future generations. An attitude summed up by former Vice President Danick Cheney, who said deficits don't matter.

President Obama to his credit here proposes ways to pay with some of his new proposals with $3 trillion in tax hikes, but Republicans in Congress will never pass these into law.

He suggests $320 billion for investments in high-tech transportation, self-driving cars, low-emission mass transit, all paid for by a $10.25 a barrel tax on oil but Republicans will never go for that.

Most of Obama's spending proposals are traditional deficit spending, not offset by spending cuts or tax hikes.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Let's make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.

TAPPER: That's not to say they're bad programs, $1 billion, for instance, to go to the cancer eliminating effort headed up by Vice President Biden, $19 billion to defend the country against cyber- attacks, a 35 percent increase. PRESIDENT OBAMA: One of the biggest gaps between the public sector and the private sector is in our I.T. space and it makes everybody's information vulnerable.

TAPPER: The president's budget offers to try to slow the growth of annual deficits for the next decade by limiting discretionary spending, but as Americans age, increasing mandatory spending like Medicare will continue to add to the national debt.

This year $200 billion will go towards the interest on that debt, just the interest, and that amount is expected to more than triple by 2026. It's Washington, D.C.'s game of kicking the can, and your kids are going to be it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. Don't forget to tune in Sunday morning at 9 a.m. Eastern for "STATE OF THE UNION." The guests, presidential candidates, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. Turning you over now to Brianna Keilar in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Happening now --