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George W. on the Campaign Trail for Jeb; Political Battle Over Justice Scalia's Supreme Court Seat; CNN Money to Expand; Possible Replacement for Justice Scalia; Flight Aborted Due to Laser Beam Injuring a Pilot; Kanye West Broke?. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired February 15, 2016 - 15:00:00   ET


[15:00:08] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Tonight, hospitals under attack again. Dozens are killed after air strikes hit two medical facilities and a school

in Syria. We are live in Damascus.

Plus, a major political fight is brewing after the death of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. CNN's Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who literally

wrote the book on the Supreme Court, will join me.

Also this hour, Pope Francis visits Mexico's poorest state with a message of hope and inclusion.

And later Kanye West takes to Twitter in an epic and sometimes difficult to understand rant and claims to be millions of dollars in debt or is he?

Hello everyone. I'm Hala Gorani. We are live at CNN London. Thanks for being with us. This is "The World Right Now".

We begin with devastating scenes in Northern Syria where several hospitals and a school have come under attack from the air. At least 22 people were

killed, including children.


GORANI: Here you see what's left of a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Idlib province. The humanitarian group says the building was

hit four times. One of the strikes was filmed by a civil defense medic. Watch this terrifying moment.


GORANI: Again, the same medical facility was hit four times. Doctors without borders says the strikes were deliberate, blaming the Syrian

government coalition. Other attacks took place in Azaz near the Turkish border.

A women and children's hospital was hit as well as a school sheltering people displaced by war. The United Nations says the death toll from

today's attacks could be much higher. It is condemning the strikes as blatant violations of international law.


Let's bring in Frederik Pleitgen. He is live inside of Syria in Damascus. Is the regime saying anything about these strikes on hospitals, Fred?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, they certainly are, Hala. There was a statement that was put out by the SANA

News Network which, of course, the government-run news agency here of the Syrian Government. And they are blaming the U.S. and its allies for that

air strike in Idlib. Of course, that's very different than what we're hearing from activists group.

What we're hearing from some government as well of the Turkish Government brings (ph) part for instance. Say, in that strike in Azaz, he's saying

that it holds the Russians responsible for it. They say and they believed that it was possibly a cruise missile launched from the Caspian Sea that

hit that hospital there in Azaz.

It's interesting because so far we've not heard anything from the Russians yet. There's neither been confirmation nor denial about whether or not

their forces were responsible for any of these air strikes. Of course, we do know that there was a big Russian presence in the skies over the area

North of Aleppo but also in Idlib province as well. But again, at this point in time, there is no confirmation as to who might be behind these air

strikes that happened. We also know Hala, that both of these hospitals were in area that in the past couple of days have seen some very, very

hefty fighting, Hala.

GORANI: Well, the anti-ISIS coalition head for the United States and Iraq Clonel Warren did tweet out saying, "We did not have operations over Idlib

today, only over Raqqah." So he's saying essentially this is not us.

Step on the mistura, the U.N. envoy to Syria made a surprise visit to Damascus. What's on his schedule?

PLEITGEN: Well, one of the things that we believe he is going to do is that tomorrow he's probably going to meet with the foreign minister, with

Walid Muallem to discuss what was said in the big meeting of world powers that happened in Munich at the end of last week. Of course, the parties

there saying that at this point in time it's absolutely imperative that aid here in this country needs in which all the besieged areas and, of course,

also saying that some sort of cessation of hostilities needs to happen as well.

Of course, one of parties that is not going to be part of any of that is ISIS. I was actually able to get to the front line between the Syrian

Government and ISIS over the past couple of days. And here's what we saw there.


PLEITGEN: In the Eastern Syrian desert on the fringe of ISIS' self- declared caliphate, the Syrian army readies its artillery cannons, tanks and armored personnel carriers have dug in.

We are right on the front line in the Syrian military battle against ISIS.

[15:05:01] The soldiers here tell us that ISIS positions are literally only a few miles away from this position.

The top commander for this area tells CNN his forces constantly clash with ISIS here. He didn't want to appear on camera because of Syrian military

rules and instead, designated a civilian working with him to speak on his behalf.

"Over there is the village of Hirbat." he says. It's considered to be the alternative capital of ISIS.

The Syrian military recently launched a major offensive in the North of the country, winning back some territory but also causing tens of thousands to

flee toward the Turkish border.

The U.S. says Syrian forces mostly combat moderate rebels and put very little effort into fighting ISIS. But the troops here say that is not


"For three months now, ISIS has not been advancing.", he says. "They've only been retreating."

And Assad's army acknowledges that Russian airpower has had a big impact.

"Everything is much better since our Russian friends came in." he says. "They gave us the capability to conduct preemptive strikes and also aerial

surveillance to warn us in advance about ISIS attacks." And they vowed to continue their push eastward deeper into ISIS heart land.

The commanders here say that they are on the move forward and one of their predictions is that if nothing else goes wrong, they think they can be in

Raqqah by the end of the year.

But they still are far away from achieving that goal and in the past, ISIS has shown it can rebound after being pushed back.


PLEITGEN: And one of the things, Hala, that the Syrian Government says it definitely wants to do is it wants to try the militarily seal the border

with Turkey to try and stop the rebels from being able to resupply themselves with weapons. But of course, trying to seal that border is the

main thing that is caused that massive offensive in the North of the country with all of the devastating consequences for the civilians like

some of the ones we've seen today, Hala.

GORANI: All right Fred Pleitgen live in Damascus. Thanks very much.

Now, to news out of the United States, that will have important repercussions politically for the country. The death of Justice Antonin

Scalia on Saturday came as a shock to the United States.

The 79-year-old had served on the Supreme Court for three decades. His passing leaves vacant one nine most influential seats in the world of court

justice. That power vacuum is prompting a political battle, upping the anti for an already tense election cycle. Who will get to nominate the

next Supreme Court Justice? Joe Johns has that story.


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: The body of Justice Antonin Scalia returning home to Virginia this morning. The 79-year-old

died here in his sleep at a Texas resort over the weekend.

Funeral plans for the Supreme Court's strident conservative voice are under way. And so is the epic political battle for his replacement.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama in my view should make that nomination. I hope he does it as soon as


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is no way the Senate should confirm anyone that Barack Obama tries to appoint in his last

year in office to a lifetime appointment.

JOHNS: The republicans fear another liberal nominee would tip the scales on some of the defining debates of our time. In the coming months as

Supreme Court Justices are expected to take on several hot-button issues including an Obamacare mandate requiring most employers to pay for birth

control, abortion, and the President's actions on immigration.

BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor. And there will be plenty of time

for me to do so.

JOHNS: Top Democrat Harry Reid called for the seat to be filled right away. As for a timeline, a senior Obama Administration Official, points to

the President's previous Supreme Court nominations both taking about a month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has every right to do it and the Senate has every right not to confirm that person.

JOHNS: But Senate Republicans are pledging to stall, demanding that Mr. Obama allow the next president to make the choice, nearly a year from now.

The GOP hoping this could rally conservatives against the potential liberal shift on the high court driving voters to the polls come November.

The problem with only eight Justices, their only options are to leave the Lower Courts' decisions intact if they're divided on a case or to hold the

case over until a replacement is confirmed.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: If the Republican leadership refuses even to hold a hearing, I think that is going to guarantee they lose control of

the Senate.


GORANI: Joe Johns reporting. Now, this promises to be an epic fight between President Obama and Senate Republicans. The outcome will determine

the future director of the -- director and the -- sorry, the direction of the United States' Supreme Court and possibly control of the U.S. senate.

[15:10:05] Our Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue joins me now. She's in our Washington Bureau. So Ariane, the Republicans are saying -- some

Republicans are saying, they wouldn't even consider hearing -- they wouldn't even consider holding hearing sessions for a nominee that is named

by President Obama. Can they do that? I mean, politically is it feasible?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Well, the reason this has been such a fierce debate is there were five Justices on the court that

were nominated by the Republican President, four by Democratic President. That doesn't often happen. And now, Obama's got this chance, which doesn't

come often, to replace a conservative icon with one of his choices. Usually the President does the -- makes the announcement and it's usually

about 67 days between the time of the announcement and the confirmation.

But this climate has changed everything because the President nominates but he's got to be confirmed by the Senates. And right now, they seem to be

holding the power and the President has to decide how big a fight he wants to make and what kind of candidate he'll put up there. Is it going to be a

consensus candidate or maybe he'll just say, "I'm going to put somebody up there with liberal credentials and let this fight play out." But after he

makes this announcement, it's up to the Senate to move.

GORANI: But is it up to the Senates to say, the Republican-controlled Senate to say we're just going to refuse to even hear this?

DE VOGUE: Well, they'll have -- they'll -- what happens is the Judiciary Committee will have -- can vet the candidate and can have hearings on it.

The candidate will then have to do all the visits. And then, it goes to the vote. But that can play out and that can be delayed.

GORANI: So is the -- because President Obama has said that he will go ahead and in due time, nominate someone.

DE VOGUE: Well he said he's going to do it in due order and it probably wouldn't come before we've had the funeral of Justice Scalia, which would

probably be sometime later this week. But he said he's anxious to move forward on it because that's his right to be able to nominate this justice.

And keep in mind, this had always been a fear. We've been writing stories saying "Look, this Supreme Court is really important for the next

election." But that became really much more evident when we had this totally sudden and unexpected death.

And keep in mind, this is a big term. There's affirmative action, abortion. These are really big cases. And if the President were to wait

and if this were to go to the next President, we could go not only this term but next term without a nominee, without nine members on the bench.

And that really in a lot of ways it hobbles their work.

GORANI: All right. Ariane de Vogue in Washington, thanks so much for joining us. We really appreciate it. A lot more to come this evening.

The court, as we just mentioned has a massive responsibility interpreting the U.S. Constitution. CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin will join me with

a closer look at what impact the next Justice could have on the United States.

So do stay tuned for that in about 15 minutes.

Also coming up, Pope Francis is in the middle of another busy day in Mexico. He's been saying mass to the indigenous population in the

country's South. A significant trip. We'll be live in a few minutes Chiapas in a few minutes stay with us.


[15:15:45] GORANI: Another busy day today for Pope Francis in Mexico. He's in the country's poorest state Chiapas where he's been celebrating

mass with indigenous communities there denouncing what he called the destruction of Native American land and culture. The Pope has been taking

on some tough issues during his trip calling on political and religious leaders to combat drug crime, put an end to corruption.

Let's cross live to Rosa Flores she's been traveling with the pontiff and joins me now live from Chiapas with more and more on the reception in

Mexico by Mexicans. Some of whom I've seen have been very emotional, Rosa.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a very emotional trip for a lot people here in Mexico. As you might imagine there are a lot of ills in

Mexico talking about violence, drug cartels, poverty. And so, this is one of the poorest states in Mexico. And it also has a large indigenous

population about 75 percent of the people in this diocese is indigenous. And so as you might imagine it's very near and dear to Pope Francis' heart.

Today in speaking with the masses, he focused on the environment quoting his encyclical on the environment, saying that among the poorest of the

poor is mother earth. And then, he also looked at the indigenous and said that he knows that they have been abused and used for a very, very long


Take a listen.

POPE FRANCIS (through translation): Some have considered your values, culture, and traditions to be inferior. Others intoxicated by power,

money, and markets' trends have stolen your lands or done things which contaminated them. How sad this is.

FLORES: And as we take another live look here, you can see that that is the altar where Pope Francis will be today. He will be having a message

for all of the families. That's what this event here today is all about. And Hala, one more thing that he mentioned to the indigenous was that, "We

are so wasteful. We are just so wasteful on earth that we have a lot to learn from the indigenous communities and how they treat mother earth."


GORANI: OK. Rosa Flores in Chiapas, thanks very much.

Well, the background music made it a little difficult to understand Rosa but essentially we got a sense of sort of the emotional reception that

pontiff is getting and we'll more on the visit in Mexico of Pope Francis a little later on CNN.

The republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush. He has kept his rather well-known family out of the election spotlight so far. But with his

campaign struggling, that is about to change in a pretty significant way. George W. Bush will stump for his younger brother in South Carolina in a

few hours. It is a state that has served the family well in the past so it makes sense politically to send George W. Bush there.

But the Former President's reemergence has brought added scrutiny. Jeb Bush and Donald Trump sparred over the issue during the Republican debate

over the weekend. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been

in Iraq. They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction. There were none. And they knew there were none.

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I could care less about the insults that Donald Trump gives to me. It's blood sport for him, he enjoys it, and

I'm glad he's happy about it. I am sick and tired of him going after my family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world Trade Center came down...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on. Let me finish.


GORANI: So it looks like the audience was siding with Jeb Bush there. The boos were directed at Donald Trump.

[15:19:58] Let's get more now on the story from someone who knows George W. Bush well, David Frum is a Senior Editor at the Atlantic and was a speech

writer to the 43rd President and he joins me now live. David Frum, thanks for being with us.


GORANI: What do you think of Jeb Bush saying essentially stop picking on my mom, stop picking on my brother. Some of observers have said, "Well,

that's just making him look a little thin skinned at this point if he's running for President." What do you make of it?

FRUM: Well, it's human of course, and real, and that's what we often say we want from our politicians. The risk is that elections are, of course,

about the future not about the past. And they're about the voters not about the candidates. So it's dangerous to be dragged into an argument

that is so personal and (inaudible).

GORANI: But shouldn't at this point, Jeb Bush have a better answer than "stop picking on me" whenever his brother is brought up?

FRUM: Well, he could pick on -- I think when you deal with somebody like Trump, you have to hit back as hard as you can. And Jeb Bush who's a very

gentlemanly person and has been running a restrained campaign, there are things that Donald Trump past. Like people say, they look at Wayne

Barrett's look that alleges all kinds of Mafia connections, for example. If you want to hit back, hit back as hard as you can. Don't -- if you

don't deal with someone like this gently.

The real danger here is not just -- this is about Jeb Bush versus Donald Trump.


FRUM: Is that we're all looking for to say we're electing a war leader of the United States. And the world is full of irrational, domineering

bullies. How do you deal with them? We've brought one to the stage and we'll have a little test. How do you deal with this irrational domineering

bully? That will tell us about how you will deal with others.

GORANI: But he's leading in the polls and Donald Trump has been tweeting about Jeb and George W. Bush saying, "Essentially now that George W. Bush

is campaigning for Jeb -- I'm having to squint because I'm not -- is he fair game for questions about the World Trade Center, Iraq war, and the

economic collapse? Be careful." So he's tweeting that out. But does he not have a point now that George W. Bush is campaigning for his brother?

Should all those questions now be open to scrutiny?

FRUM: Well, all those questions always have been and they have been there and one of the thing. If you're Jeb Bush and you're going to run for

President, you inevitably take on both the benefits and the burdens of your famous name. And Jeb Bush should have had a plan for that. But when you

say Donald Trump is leading in the polls, Russia is the world's largest land mass it also run by a domineering bully. A domineering bullies

unfortunately, often have considerable resources behind them. And it is a test. How do you deal with them?

GORANI: Now, let's talk a little bit about South Carolina. Because if George W. Bush, I mean, potentially strategically can help Jeb in South

Carolina, he could hurt him later down the line, right? Because, I mean, they're relying on voters sort of having to put to one side a big giant

mistake, which was the Iraq war. I mean, is it a risky move here for Jeb Bush?

FRUM: It will be interesting question on how much George W. Bush helps Jeb Bush in South Carolina. South Carolina was historically a fire wall for

the Bush family. It saved the father in 1998, it saved George W. in 2000. But South Carolina is also a State that receives the second most in

migration from other States of any State in the United States. This is not the same State as it was 16 years ago. I mean it's a State full of

newcomers, many of them retirees, many of the veterans who live in South Carolina are not South Carolinian natives.

Their State isn't as Southern as it used to be as a result, and it's not as loyal. And one more thing, it's not as susceptible to patronage networks.

Back in 1998 special, the way you made a case with the Bush family was "Hey, you don't want a job with the State government?" That kind of

argument doesn't work so well now.

GORANI: So what needs -- what does Jeb Bush need to do here strategically? Because if he doesn't change something pretty drastically, he's not going

to make it.

FRUM: What -- he needs to make deals. And what the -- two-thirds of Republicans won't vote for Donald Trump. If they had one agreed

alternatives, Donald Trump would be -- the candidacy would be over. Donald Trump is benefiting by having so many opponents dividing the ranks for him.

And I think that's one reason by the way he's been hitting Jeb Bush so hard. The one Donald Trump we have to worry about is that if Jeb Bush

drops out, Donald Trump will probably lose a one-on-one race against Marco Rubio, one-on-one race against Ted Cruz and possibly even one-on-one race

against John Kasich. So as long as he can keep the field divided he has this opportunity.

GORANI: David Frum, really appreciate it. Thanks for joining us on CNN.

GORANI: There's much more U.S. election campaign coverage on CNN this week, of course, this Wednesday and Thursday all six Republican candidates

will answer South Carolina voters' questions in a live Town Hall moderated by Anderson Cooper.

The first one is on at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, 1:00 a.m. Thursday here in London only on CNN, and the second one will be the following day.

So, you will have an opportunity to hear directly and not in the debate format in a Town Hall format from all six remaining Republican Presidential


[15:24:58] Coming up, a special project that's been years in the making has been launched here on CNN. Our Richard Quest is live in Mumbai to explain

how the global expansion of CNN money can work for you. We'll be right back.


GORANI: It is a big day here at CNN. We want to share some exciting news from our financial experts. CNN money is expanding into a new, global,

multi-platform brand that will bring you the latest in business news. CNN, money's new editor-at-large, our own Richard Quest is currently in Mumbai

covering India's economic growth story.

So Richard, I don't know how many more titles. So host of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS," aviation correspondent, business correspondent, editor-at-large

-- I don't know. Is that all on one single business card or do you just have several now? How does it work?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No, no, Miss Gorani. You pick and choose. It's a potpourri. It is a smorgasbord depending on the event

and the story. But, look, as a business expert yourself, you're well aware that the resources, the formidable resources that CNN has and the trick and

the art is to maximize leverage whatever business phrase you want to use, and that's just what we have done today, announcing the new global

expansion of CNN money. Whether it's Defterios in the Gulfs, Stevens in Asia, Dos Santos in London, Lake in New York or myself. Editor-at-large I

think it means like a bumblebee. I just sort of go along and pick out which I like. And whichever it is we or by joining it with our digital

colleagues and creating an international version of CNN Money, the respected U.S. brand, we are going to be bigger, bolder, and badder than

ever before.

GORANI: And so is there more of a digital presence? How will things change for viewers and consumers?

QUEST: For the viewer, you will get a chance -- I mean, there's no sort of block bluster change in the sense that you're going to see new faces and

over time on air. You're going to obviously see much deeper journalism as we pull on the resources of people -- more like people like Heather Long,

Paula Monica. You're going to basically see an integrated operation and you're also, as you see now, if you go to, you will see -- and

you're outside the United States, you will see the writing of people like myself and others.

And Hala, the current financial crisis is a perfect opportunity to explain why it is important that we integrate, that we are -- I'm trying not to use

jargon and buzzwords. What I'm basically saying is this is going to do the trick. It's going to explain what's happening. It will give it

perspective, and it will give it analysis.

GORANI: All right. Good luck and we'll see you on "Quest Means Business" at the top of the hour and we'll also have more of your coverage from India

on pretty outstanding economic growth in India, but is it sustainable? All those questions answered in about half an hour. We'll see you then,


Coming up, the ideological makeup of the highest court in the U.S. could change dramatically. When we come back, I'll speak to the man who

literally wrote the book on the Supreme Court, Jeffrey Toobin.

[15:30:01] He explains what impact the next justice could have.

And later, how lasers like this one are causing big problems for pilots. One plane had to turn back after one of the pilots reported feeling unwell.

We'll have the full story coming up.



GORANI: Welcome back. A look at our top stories this hour. Several hospitals and a school have come under aerial attack in northern Syria

killing at least 22 people.


GORANI: One target was a medical center run by Doctors Without Borders in Idlib Province. The charity called the attack deliberate and blames the

Syrian government-led coalition.


GORANI: Pope Francis celebrated mass in Chiapas, Mexico, just a short time ago.


GORANI: It's a poor and troubled region home to many indigenous people. The Pope denounced the European destruction of native lands and culture there,

and he asked the crowd for forgiveness.


GORANI: Also former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is beginning an 18- month prison sentence.


GORANI: He reported to prison in central Israel today. He was found guilty of taking bribes when he was Jerusalem's Mayor before he became Prime



GORANI: And the British Prime Minister David Cameron is in Paris meeting French President Francois Holland hoping to shore up support for a

renegotiation deal ahead of a very crucial European summit this week.


GORANI: Now, ahead of that meeting the E.U. Chief Donald Tusk warned there was a real danger of the bloc breaking up if Britain left, saying, "handle

with care, what is broken cannot be mended."


GORANI: Let's return now to one of our top stories, the vacancy left on the U.S. Supreme court by the death of justice Antonin Scalia.


GORANI: You can see Scalia here in 2010 with the other eight member who make up the court. Scalia was effectively the tie breaker between four

justices appointed by Republican Presidents and four appointed by Democrats.


GORANI: From guns to discrimination, the Supreme Court rules on fundamental cases for America. That's why the conservative/liberal breakdown on the

court matters so much.


GORANI: Just last year the court issued a landmark decision on gay rights, ruling states cannot ban same-sex marriage. That allowed gay couples to

marry all over the country. In 2012 the court ruled that ObamaCare is constitutional. The majority of justices upheld the law's requirement that

all people should get health insurance. And in '73, in a case known as Roe v. Wade, the court affirmed a woman's legal right to have an abortion.


GORANI: Joining me now to discuss this is CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. You wrote the book on this subject, The Nine Inside the Secret

World of the Supreme Court, and he's live in New York.

Jeffrey, good to see you. So obviously this is an extremely significant seat to fill on the Supreme Court.


JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It is because the court has been evenly -- almost evenly divided for really a generation or even more with

five conservatives and four liberals. Justice Scalia has been the leader of the conservative wing for virtually his entire tenure.


TOOBIN: So President Obama, being more on the liberal side, will certainly try to put someone with his stamp on the court, meaning the balance would

shift to five liberals. With that, but the Senate, which has the right to approve or reject appointments to the supreme court, is now under the

control of the Republicans. And Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republicans, has said we are simply not going to consider anyone Obama

appoints and we are going to run out the clock on his presidency which ends next January.

GORANI: And the Republicans are saying Obama should not nominate a candidate to fill this vacancy that it's an election year that it's not

done, that it's an 80-year tradition that you do not nominate candidates to the supreme court during election years. Is that the case?


TOOBIN: No. That's just preposterous. We elect Presidents for four years. They're not elected for three years and then you lose all your power. Now,

the constitution certainly gives the President the power to make this appointment. However, the constitution also gives the Senate the right to

accept or reject that suggestion. So, you know, there can be various posturing about what you should do under the circumstances.


TOOBIN: But what's quite clear is that the Senate has the power to stop anything President Obama does in this area and by all indications that's

precisely what they're going to do.

GORANI: So what's the strategy for Barack Obama? He said he's going to in due time or due course nominate someone to fill that seat.


GORANI: What's his strategy in this case?

TOOBIN: Well, the strategy is to nominate someone who has impeccable credentials, who very likely has been approved by the Senate before for a

lower court judgeship, and embarrassed the Republicans into at least allowing hearings on this nominee and then use it as a political weapon in

the 2016 elections. But in terms of what practically can Obama do to force a vote on his nominee, the answer is really nothing.

GORANI: Because Republican Senators can refuse to vote. Is that correct?

TOOBIN: They can refuse to vote. They can vote no. I mean, this is one of the core functions of the United States Senate. Now, traditionally, the

Senate has given all nominees a hearing and an opportunity to be heard and make his or her case to the Senate. What the Republicans seem to indicate

is they're not even going to allow whoever this nominee is to have a hearing, which means that there could be a political price to pay for the


But, you know, these seats are so important, especially this seat right in the middle on the pivot on the court that I think the Republicans are more

than happy to take a bit of a political hit when it means not having an Obama justice on the court for the next 30 years. Because remember,

American Supreme Court Justices have no fixed terms. They serve for life. So Supreme Court vacancies don't come up all that often, and when they do,

the impact is just enormous.


GORANI: Could we - could we talk about potential nominees? One man you've mentioned by name before, a D.C. Circuit judge who was approved as well

with very good numbers I believe unanimously, correct? Sri Srinivasan.

TOOBIN: Sri Srinivasan, yes.

GORANI: Is this someone - yes, -- is this someone that Barack Obama could potentially -- he's very young I believe 47/48 years old.

TOOBIN: 48, that's one of the things I love about the Supreme Court is 48 sounds so young. You know in the rest of life 48 doesn't --

GORANI: I know, I like - I like when I say anyone who is 48 is young, it makes me feel very good as well. But by Supreme Court standards he's a


TOOBIN: Yes indeed.

GORANI: Is there a chance he might be the one Barack Obama could go for because he was popular at a lower level?

TOOBIN: Yes. And you know Supreme Court appointments have a political ramification too. Sonia Sotomayor was the first Hispanic ever on the court

nominated earlier in President Obama's first term.

Sri Srinivasan would be the first Indian American on the Supreme Court and that would lend a historic air. But I don't think anything the President

can do will move the Republicans on this issue.



TOOBIN: It's simply too important to the base of the party. And when you think about the kind of issues that the Supreme Court deals with, gay

rights, abortion rights, campaign finance rules, these are the most controversial issues in American politics and that's why these seats are so


GORANI: So very briefly, so we're left with eight justices. So what happens? They don't hear cases? What goes on?

TOOBIN: Well, most cases are not decided 5-4. So the court functions normally when -- and most cases are unanimous or close to unanimous. So

those cases will proceed. There certainly will be cases that are 4-4 and in those cases the lower court decision stands, but there's no precedent for

the whole country.


TOOBIN: It's a problem, it's not a - it's not a problem that brings the whole court to a halt, but it is still a problem because the court was

designed to have nine justices.


GORANI: Jeffrey Toobin, thanks very much. Joining us live from New York, appreciate it.


GORANI: And don't forget you can check out our interviews and analysis as well on our Facebook page. Go to We'll see you

online but we'll see you after the break. Stay with us, this is "The World Right Now," coming up, I'll be speaking to an aviation analyst about the

danger of lasers.


GORANI: I hadn't heard about this before, but apparently there was an incident that forced one plane to head back to London.

Plus, Kanye West is flooding twitter with his latest rant including a confession he's millions of dollars in debt. We'll have that as well coming




GORANI: A flight from London to New York had to turn back after a laser was pointed at the cockpit. One of the pilots complained of not feeling well

after the incident. Now, the plane landed safely back at Heathrow airport, but as Kellie Morgan reports, incidents like this are on the rise.


KELLIE MORGAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is one of the most critical moments in a flight -- the takeoff. It's also one of the most

vulnerable times for a laser attack, which is what happened to a New York- bound Virgin Atlantic flight on Sunday.

PILOT: We're going to have to declare a pan and go back to Heathrow, we have a medical issue with one of the pilots.

MORGAN: A pan is a pilot call, one level below May Day that announces an urgent but not immediately life-threatening incident.

PILOT: Pan, pan, pan, Virgin 335B pan. We have a medical issue with one of the pilots after a laser incident after takeoff and we're going to return

to Heathrow.

MORGAN: The plane left Heathrow at 8:30 p.m. And was struck five minutes later. One of the pilots hit in the eye as the flight climbed with 252

passengers and 15 crew on board.


TOM WHITFIELD, PASSENGER: I'm quite a nervous flier enough as it is, so once we were midflight and I was settling into myself a vodka and coke,

once the pilot made the announcement, then you could tell that something ominous was going on because of the tone in his voice.

MORGAN: This simulation shows what happens in the cockpit during a laser attack. The pilots can be temporarily blinded. In the past, some have even

been hospitalized with burnt corneas.

CAPTAIN DAVE SMITH, BRITISH AIRLINE PILOT ASSOCIATION: These attacks happen at the critical phases of flight of takeoff and landing and that could mean

the aircraft going off the side of the runway, there could be a death or a crash, pilots, crew, passengers are injured.

MORGAN: There haven't been any crashes to date, but the pilots association says it's only a matter of time given the huge spike in incidents the past

decade. In the U.K. in 2009, 746 laser attacks were reported. By 2014, the number had almost doubled. The figures are even more staggering in the

United States with 283 incidents in 2005 rising to 7,703 last year.

The dramatic spike is blamed on the accessibility of high-powered lasers which are relatively cheap and readily available online. The British Pilots

Union wants them declared offensive weapons.

SMITH: They are just the same as carrying a knife. There is no practical application that a member of the public can use these lasers for.

MORGAN: Other than creating a spectacle or in this case a nuisance with potentially dire consequences.

Kellie Morgan, CNN, London.


GORANI: Let's get more now from Peter Goelz, he's a CNN aviation analyst and he's in Washington. So Peter, how much of a concern is this?

PETER GOELZ, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, it is a growing concern worldwide. As the numbers showed, the number of reports is expanding.


GOELZ: In 2014 there were just about 4,000 laser events in the U.S., last year over 7,000. So it's a big issue worldwide and growing.

GORANI: And who is responsible for this?

GOELZ: Well, I mean we've not seen any direct connections to terrorism yet, but there is -- the prosecutions that have taken place and in the U.S.

there's vigorous prosecution once they catch people, but it seems as though it's just hobbyist for people, you know, not thinking through what they're

doing, flashing planes, particularly on takeoff and landing at the end of runways. And it's very dangerous.

GORANI: But so they're flashing this laser light into the cockpit and in some cases it's forcing planes as we saw in the case of that flight from

London to New York to turn back why? Because the pilots -- somehow it affected their eyesight or -- how is it dangerous exactly if.

GOELZ: What happens is two things, Hala. One is the laser beam expands as it moves out so that that 3,000 to 4,000 feet the band of light from the

laser might be three or four feet wide. So it's more likely than not that you could hit the front of a plane. And what happens is you get dazzled if

you're flying it. And particularly at night, the lights come in from an angle, usually the side coming up, and pilots can lose orientation. They

can -- they can be injured. It's a very serious problem. And right now there's really only two approaches being considered to remediate it.

One is

GORANI: And what are the -- go ahead.

GOELZ: One is -- Airbus is thinking of trying to develop a laminate that goes on the inside of the windscreens that would prevent the lasers from

entering, but it's a very challenging issue.


GOELZ: It's going to be very expensive, and it is many years off. There are glasses, eyeglasses, eyewear on the market that are just coming on the

market. They can ban all three lasers -- red, green, and blue. And they can be worn by pilots on takeoff and landing and most critically you can see

the avionics in front of you. The challenge with some eyeglasses is that you don't get a true reading of your avionics colors, and you have to have

that if you're a pilot.

GORANI: It's remarkable. This is all happening because of pranksters with laser beams they can just buy in stores? I mean maybe - is it a question of

-- is that the case? Because I mean is it then of a question of making people aware of just how dangerous this is to a plane load of travelers


GOELZ: Well, these are lasers that up until recently in the United States could be bought in stores or online. And the very powerful lasers, they've

tried to put restrictions on them. But those can be easily bypassed. And it is a really growing issue. And it's only a matter of time until those who

have terrorist instincts start to use these.


GORANI: All right. Peter Goelz, CNN aviation analyst, thanks very much for joining us with that from Washington, we appreciate it.


GORANI: A lot more ahead. Whether you love to hate him or are a fan, Kanye West sure knows how to grab our attention.


GORANI: Now he's making an outlandish request to help get him out of some deep debt that he says he has. But is that even true? Try reading his

twitter feed, by the way. I dare you. More on that coming up next.



GORANI: Rapper Kanye West is begging for help to deal with his alleged financial crisis.


GORANI: On Saturday he tweeted, "I write this to you, my brothers, while still $53 million in personal debt. Please pray we overcome. This is my

true heart." Now that was part of a flood of bizarre tweets he's posted since his new album released over the weekend. West then tweeted that

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg should invest $1 billion into his ideas and then just one day later had this tweet for those in Silicon Valley,

saying, "All you dudes in San Fran play rap music in your homes but never help the real artists. You'd rather open up one school in Africa like you

really helped the country. If you want to help, help me."


GORANI: To help us better put Kanye West's latest twitter confession into context, CNN Money business correspondent, Samuel Burke joins us from New


So Samuel first I want to ask you this, is he really in debt? He's not living like he is. He's successful with his albums and his music. Is it

just a prank?

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN MONEY BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's difficult to know what's falling down harder, the snow behind me in central park or the

amount of inconsistent tweets that Kanye West is sending out.

Since you've come to air, Hala, he's tweeted something else that very much contradicts the claim of the $53 million of debt.


BURKE: Take a look at this. Not too long ago, Kanye West tweeting, "yes, I am personally rich and i can buy furs and houses for my family." presumably

somebody with $53 million of debt would not be bragging about that.


BURKE: Last week there were lots of inconsistencies in his tweets, in his spat with Taylor Swift. He said that he had her permission to talk about

her in the song, then he said he wasn't talking about her.


BURKE: At the end of the day, don't worry, Hala, Kanye West was number 20 on Forbes' wealthiest celebrities just two years ago. He made $22 million

last year and Kim Kardashian made $52 million. He has a new album that's out exclusively on title. He probably was paid a premium for that. He's a

part owner in Title. He has a fashion line out. And he even has a video game out. I think his kids, North West and Saint West, will be just all


GORANI: Right. I'm sure they will be. And by the way, (Si Todd), I know you're watching us because I just read your tweet, "please don't encourage

people to waste their time by trying to read Kanye West's twitter feed."


GORANI: I've heard that before. For people - I mean essentially are we just -- are we just falling into this trap of promoting his album that's out now

by talking about him because of these really bizarre, strange tweets he's been putting out? Is that what this is?


BURKE: It would seem so, but listen, it's fascinating to see people like Donald Trump and Kanye West put out these live kind of free-for-alls with

their tweets. They're fascinating sometimes. And at the end of the day, have to hand it to Kanye because not only is he selling his albums but he's

getting people to sign up for the Title music service which he's a part- owner of.


BURKE: Usually you never see Title in the top app store in the store with the top app chart. Right now you're seeing number-one (inaudible). So it's

only available this for one week. So he's using social media to his advantage just in the way that Donald Trump does in this election season. I

never thought I would be comparing Kanye West and Donald Trump on CNN, but they're doing it rather effectively.


GORANI: There are some similarities in their twitter strategies. But he's saying to the Silicon Valley millionaires and billionaires, you know,

basically, don't open schools in Africa. Help me instead. I mean, this is - - I don't know how that's going to go down. I mean, that is just -- that's just completely preposterous, right? How are people reacting to those very

strange tweets then?

BURKE: Well, people are fascinated by -- I love the tweet where he says "all you dudes in San Francisco play rap music in your homes but you never

help the real artists." Listen, people are absolutely fascinated because he is a really talented artist on top of being really talented at pulling in

the publicity so people are listening to the song, they're talking about it on twitter and a lot of people think that it's a bunch of baloney. And

there's no evidence so far to show that he's in debt.


BURKE: Usually when a celebrity like this is in debt it's because someone has filed a lawsuit against them, a manager, a record label saying pay up.

I don't see any of that no matter who I've contacted today.


GORANI: All right. Well, we gave him five minutes on the show. Samuel Burke, it is the big talker, though, I've got to say so many people


BURKE: For sure.

GORANI: Thank you very much and we'll see you in the coming hours on CNN. CNN's Money Business coverage is bigger and better than ever with Samuel

and the rest of the team.


GORANI: Check out the website. and you'll find all the latest on oil prices, stock markets, the big tech trends, and Kanye West and much



GORANI: Some of the biggest names in music will take the stage in Los Angeles Monday night. Singer Taylor Swift and rapper Kendrick Lamar are

some of the artists to perform at the 58th Grammy awards, and they're both looking to take in a big haul of the awards. Lamar leads the pack with 11

nominations and Swift has seven. The show will also feature tributes to David Bowie and Glenn Fry of the Eagles.


GORANI: This has been "The World Right Now," I'm Hala Gorani. Thanks for watching. A special edition of "Quest Means Business" live from Mumbai is

coming up next. I'll see you same place, same time on CNN tomorrow.