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THE SITUATION ROOM
Trump Calls for Boycott of Apple; Cruz Faced with Presidential Eligibility Lawsuit; Trump on Defensive for Iraq War Support; Democratic Rivals Running Close Race in Nevada; U.S. Warplanes Strike ISIS Training Camp in Libya; FBI Raids Home of San Bernardino Terrorist's Brother. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired February 19, 2016 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:19] WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, liar, liar. Donald Trump goes for the jugular in the final hours before the South Carolina primaries, singling out rival Ted Cruz for scorn as he defends his own comments on the Iraq War.
Cruz suit. A court hears a legal challenge to Ted Cruz's eligibility to serve as president. Will a judge determine if the Canadian-born Cruz is in fact a, quote, "natural-born citizen" of the United States?
ISIS camp hit. U.S. warplanes attack an ISIS training facility in Libya where officials now say foreign fighters may have been preparing for an attack in Europe. Dozens are dead. Is a targeted ISIS leader among them?
And terrorist brother. Months after the San Bernardino massacre, the FBI now raiding the home of a relative of one of the killers, hauling away piles and piles of possible evidence. And the FBI asks a court to force Apple to unlock the shooter's iPhone.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We've got the breaking news. We're counting down to two more presidential contests just hours away. The Republican candidates are in a frantic whirlwind of activity right now, jockeying for position as they cast about for critical votes in South Carolina.
Donald Trump is going for a knockout, saving his best punches for his closest rival, Ted Cruz. And the breaking news tonight, he's now going on the offensive against Apple, calling for a boycott until the tech giant agrees to an FBI demand that it unlock a phone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, they're neck in neck in Nevada. Both are appealing to minority voters, and Clinton today gained the endorsement of a powerful African-American lawmaker. I'll speak with another lawmaker, Congressman Adam Kinzinger. He's a backer of Jeb Bush. And our correspondents, analysts and guests, they will have full coverage of all the day's top stories.
Let's begin our coverage this hour with the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
Our political reporter, Sara Murray, is following the Trump campaign in North Charleston, South Carolina, right now.
Sara, what's the latest?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, last night at our CNN town hall, we heard a Donald Trump that sounded a little bit more conciliatory, but all of that is out the window today. Donald Trump is back on the war path, and it's Apple that's in his sights today.
MURRAY (voice-over): Twenty-four hours after taking on the pope, tonight Donald Trump is taking on one of America's biggest companies.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: First of all, Apple ought to give the security for that phone, OK? What I think you ought to do is boycott Apple until such time as they give that security number.
MURRAY: His suggestion to blacklist the tech giant coming as the company refuses to unlock an iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino killers.
TRUMP: How do you like -- I just got it.
MURRAY: Trump's latest move, a signal he has no plans to water down his bombastic style after a blistering week on the trail in South Carolina.
TRUMP: This guy Ted Cruz is really a liar. I'll tell you what.
MURRAY: In fact, he's using his final hours before Saturday's primary to go for the jugular.
TRUMP: I'll tell you what was good. Even Marco Rubio said, "He's a liar." And when a politician says another politician is a liar, I never heard that before. I felt so good.
MURRAY: But he's also left explaining why he voiced support for the Iraq invasion in 2002 after spending months claiming he was an early opponent.
TRUMP: The first guy that ever asked me about Iraq was Howard Stern. I said, "I don't know. Yes, I guess it's all right." Then I started looking at it. Before the war started, I was against that war. I was against that war.
MURRAY: Meanwhile, Ted Cruz is fighting his own two-front war, trying to gain on Trump and fend off Marco Rubio.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I need your support tomorrow, so I'm asking for your help.
MURRAY: Cruz swiping at Rubio over national security... SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, two debates
ago, when I stood on the stage and saw three Republican candidates, including Marco Rubio, standing up there and saying, "Sure, we should draft women," I remember thinking, are you guys nuts?
MURRAY: ... and casting him as a shapeshifter on immigration.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marco Rubio burned us once. He shouldn't get the chance to sell us out again.
MURRAY: While the top tier goes to battle, others are looking to land their closing arguments with a softer touch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd really appreciate one of those hugs you've been talking about.
MURRAY: Jeb Bush even welcoming his family on the campaign trail for his closing argument.
[17:05:02] BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: Jeb has been a great son, great father, great husband, married well. And is one of my four favorite sons.
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I swear to God when we were on the bus, when we were walking down, she whispered in my ear, "You really are my favorite."
MURRAY: Now, Wolf, Donald Trump's wild proposals have, of course, captured our attention, but there is a lot on the line here tomorrow night for Jeb Bush. He is in a fierce fight with John Kasich and with Marco Rubio in the establishment lane here. And he is going to need a strong showing if he hopes his donors will continue to support his campaign going forward.
Back to you.
BLITZER: And we'll stand by to hear what Donald Trump has to say. All right, Sara, thanks very much.
Senator Ted Cruz is battling some legal headwinds tonight after a judge agreed to hear a case challenging his eligibility to even run for president. Cruz is also campaigning hard in South Carolina today. He's hoping to capitalize on the state's large evangelical population, which propelled him to victory in Iowa.
Our correspondent, Sunlen Serfaty, is following the Cruz campaign for us.
Sunlen, what's the latest on that front?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, it's almost like in these final hours Ted Cruz has made it his personal mission to peel back the layers of Donald Trump. The Cruz campaign very much thinking that this will reveal to voters here in South Carolina, they hope, that he's not a true conservative.
So we've seen Ted Cruz in these final days, in these final moments on the campaign trail, really look for any opening to make the case against Donald Trump.
And today he brought a new line of attack on the campaign trail. Earlier today in Myrtle Beach, he seized on comments that Donald Trump made at a town hall this week in which he said he would remain neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Here's Ted Cruz earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUZ: The other day Donald Trump went on TV and said he would be neutral between Israel and the Palestinians. Well, let me be very clear. If I'm president, I have no intention of being neutral. America will stand unapologetically with the nation of Israel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SERFATY: Now, after a full day of campaigning today, Ted Cruz will take a little break from the campaign trail briefly tomorrow morning. He will return to Washington to attend the funeral of Justice Scalia. At first the campaign said that he was too busy to attend, but then they changed course last night and announced that he would indeed go. But Wolf, he will return right here back to South Carolina for tomorrow night's primary -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Sunlen, any reaction today from the Cruz campaign to this judge's decision to let this case go forward questioning his eligibility under the Constitution to be president of the United States?
SERFATY: No reaction straight from the Cruz campaign yet, but Senator Cruz this week has received a few questions about this. Usually, they're trying to cast this aside. They think they've put this issue to bed, but clearly, this is a big factor, people with these lawsuits. People ask Ted Cruz it from time to time on the campaign trail, so this is very much part of the discussion here. Whether it hurts him or not remains to be seen -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Sunlen, thanks very much. Sunlen Serfaty covering the Cruz campaign for us today.
Let's get some more on all the day's political news. Joining us is Congressman Adam Kinzinger. He's a Republican. He's also a supporter of the Jeb Bush campaign.
Congressman, thanks very much for joining us. A couple of quick questions. Do you think that he is -- Cruz is eligible to be president, given the fact that he was born in Canada?
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R), ILLINOIS: Yes, I think so. I've never really bought into the whole birther idea whether it was with President Obama or Ted Cruz. I think he's eligible. You know, with this court case, we'll probably be able to put that to bed.
Now, I wish Ted Cruz wouldn't run for president, but that's completely different than whether or not he's eligible, and I think he is.
BLITZER: Where do you stand on this escalation and this fight with Apple right now with Donald Trump suggesting that the country -- the people should boycott Apple until it agrees to cooperate with the FBI into this investigation on that iPhone from that San Bernardino terrorist?
KINZINGER: Trump will say anything he needs to say to get headlines, and this is something that'd going to get him headlines. You know, boycotting Apple.
Now, I disagree with Apple's decision, and I disagree with it very intensely. They need to allow the FBI to get into this phone. It's the right thing for the country, for terrorism, for defeating this evil.
But you know, look, Donald Trump to say we need to boycott the entire company of Apple, I mean, where are people going to go? They'll buy Samsung. Samsung is not an American company; Apple is. So, you know, Donald Trump has made a big deal about buying American and bringing jobs back, and for him just to make this is -- again, he's just trying to get headlines. That's what he does. That's how he runs for president.
BLITZER: Finally, a quick comment from you on Trump the other night saying he would be neutral as far as deciding whether he's with the Palestinians or with the Israelis in negotiations for some Israeli- Palestinian peace agreement. He wants to take a neutral stance as of now. He wants to work to achieve it. But right now he says he's neutral. Your reaction?
[17:10:05] KINZINGER: Again, Donald Trump, when you really listen to what he has to say, in foreign policy he doesn't know what he's talking about. I mean, he really doesn't. When he says his response to ISIS is to just knock the blank out of them, that's not a mature discussion of foreign policy.
And it's obviously not an understanding of foreign policy when you say you're going to be neutral between the Palestinians and the Israelis. When you show daylight between the United States and Israel, that has ramifications all over the Middle East, not just in that specific conflict.
So again, you know, look, Donald Trump, if he becomes our nominee, God forbid, if he becomes president, really needs to surround himself with people that actually understand how the world works and actually understands foreign policy.
BLITZER: When you say, "God forbid if he becomes the Republican nominee," if he were the Republican nominee, Congressman, could you support him?
KINZINGER: I don't know. I can't answer that yet. You know, I had come to a point where I said maybe, and then I saw him in the last debate, you know, literally a couple of people boo him in the audience, and he gets all thin-skinned about it and freaks out. When he says George W. Bush is responsible for 9/11, didn't do enough
to protect our country, and then he praises Vladimir Putin and falls right into Putin's honey trap, basically, of saying, "I'm going to compliment Trump, and Trump is going to compliment me back," again, I don't know if that's who we need as commander in chief.
I don't think he's going to be the nominee, but if he does, I'd have a long, hard decision to make, personally. I'd put my country above my party any day.
BLITZER: There are a lot of voters out there. Certainly, we saw it in New Hampshire. Presumably, we're going to see it in South Carolina, later maybe in Nevada. He potentially could get a lot of momentum out of these next few contests, right?
KINZINGER: Yes, it's true. I mean, look, there are people that are understandably very angry, and he reflects that anger. The difference is a leader needs to show anger on behalf of people. The middle class has lost $2,300 in the last seven years. I'm angry about that.
A leader doesn't have to be angry on behalf of himself. And that's what you see in Donald Trump. When he gets mad, it's because he's personally offended. That's not the traits of a leader.
So, look, he's got a strong 35 percent. He very well may win South Carolina, but I think that's pretty much the top of Republicans that are going to support him. Those that aren't supporting him now, I don't see coming around on the Trump bandwagon. I've talked to a lot of them. They're not -- they're not in on the Trump thing.
BLITZER: If Michael Bloomberg were to run as a third-party candidate, let's say Trump were the Republican nominee, would you be more inclined to -- I assume you're not going to vote for the Democratic nominee, whether it is Bernie Sanders of Hillary Clinton, but would you be more inclined to vote for Michael Bloomberg? Because a lot of people are looking at that possibility.
KINZINGER: Well, if Michael Bloomberg runs, he's going to help the Republicans, so I hope it's not Donald Trump as our nominee. That's a good thing.
No, I don't know if I can support Trump. I definitely won't support the Democrats, and I'm not intending to support Michael Bloomberg. So, you know, look, that's a lot of "what ifs" at this point. We have a lot of primary season to get through. And I don't think Donald Trump's frankly going to be our nominee.
I think, you know, Republican voters, they're understandably very upset, but I think when you look beyond just the, I guess, tone of Donald Trump and into the words or, frankly, lack thereof on the very great town hall you guys had last night, he didn't say a lot. He just said it with an interesting tone. And so I don't think he's going to be our nominee. I'm not overly worried about it.
BLITZER: All right. We'll see what happens in South Carolina tomorrow, then Nevada, then obviously, Super Tuesday. We've got a lot more questions to ask you, Congressman. Don't go
away. We're going to continue our assessment of what's going on right now in this race for the White House. Much more with Congressman Adam Kinzinger when we come back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [17:18:07] BLITZER: The South Carolina Republican primary now just a few hours away. CNN is tracking all of the latest developments. We're back with our guest, Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. He's a Jeb Bush supporter.
Congressman, he declined to jump into the middle of this war that Jeb Bush -- the war of words yesterday between Trump and the pope, saying he personally wouldn't question anyone's Christianity, for that matter. What's your take on that exchange between Trump and the pope yesterday?
KINZINGER: I've seen it all now. I mean, I've seen it all. You know, look, I do think -- and I'm not a Catholic. I'm Protestant, so I'm sensitive in saying this. I do think the pope, you know, overstepped a little bit by getting involved in American politics.
I think his point about, you know, people who are Christians need to have a softer tone, it doesn't mean you have to have softer politics. But it means we have to understand and have compassion for people that are in tough positions. I agree with that.
And I think as a Republican Party, we need to understand that there are people in very tough situations that are desperate; and we need to be the party that's able to reach out to them and bring them up.
So look, there's no doubt in my mind that Donald Trump's tone hasn't been great at all. We spent the last segment talking about that, but the pope probably shouldn't have gotten involved in the politics here, and I think he's since kind of rectified that.
BLITZER: Jeb Bush said last night he'd want U.S. troops to embed with the Iraqi army. You've told us in the past you don't think putting U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq right now is necessarily a good idea. I know you're a veteran of both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Do you agree with Jeb Bush's position about embedding U.S. troops with the Iraqi army right now?
KINZINGER: Yes, absolutely. In fact, I do think we need to have a ground presence there. Nobody is asking for 200 or 300,000 troops, you know, now. We need to destroy ISIS, whatever force that takes.
But there is a fact that, when you put American troops in with Iraqi military, even with Kurdish military, Sunni tribesmen, any of these kinds of groups, it stiffens their spine. They see American leadership. This is what our guys are trained to do very well. And they're inspired, because we're the best warriors out there.
And so I think this is a key piece of pushing back and destroying this cancer that we're seeing as spreading to Libya, Tunisia, Afghanistan, all over the world. We've got to destroy these folks, and whatever it takes to do it we've got to use.
BLITZER: Speaking of Libya, we're learning that U.S. F-15s struck an ISIS training camp in Libya. Is this an expansion of U.S. military action against ISIS? And does the president have the authorization now to escalate this war against ISIS into Libya?
KINZINGER: Yes, first off this probably is an expansion, and it's a necessary expansion. We have to destroy ISIS where they exist.
We've done this basically before, when this was al Qaeda in Iraq. We pushed them back. We rolled them back. Even the president in his re- election said al Qaeda is on the ropes.
Since then, this new al Qaeda, ISIS, has grown and metastasized all over the place. This needs to be expanded.
In terms of does the president have the authorization, I believe he does under what happened after 9/11, but at the end of the day, I think Congress should come and give him a use-of-force authorization without limitations, though. That's the key.
We're not going to tie the hands of the next president with what this president has requested. He's requested a time limit and a prohibition on the use of ground troops.
I will give -- I have an authorization for the use of military force that I wrote that says the president has the authority to destroy ISIS wherever they exist by whatever means necessary, basically. That's what Congress should give him. And unfortunately, I don't know if we can get to 218 on an unlimited AUMF.
BLITZER: Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.
KINZINGER: You bet, Wolf, thanks. Thanks. Take care.
BLITZER: All right. Thank you.
There are lots of other developments happening right now in the race for the White House, including on the Democratic side. A fierce battle right now between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton unfolding in the Nevada caucuses. We'll update you on that when we come back.
[17:26:29] BLITZER: With the South Carolina Republican primary just hours away, Donald Trump is causing a last-minute stir with calls for a boycott against Apple, as the tech company refuses to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists.
Let's dig deeper with our political experts. We're joined now by our political commentator, S.E. Cupp; our political director, David Chalian; and our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.
S.E., the tweet he put out, he said, Donald Trump -- and I'll read it -- I [SIC] said, "I use both iPhone and Samsung. If Apple doesn't give us -- give info to authorities on the terrorists, I'll only be using Samsung until they give info."
Yesterday he goes on this little fight with the pope. Today Apple.
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There are no sacred cows.
BLITZER: I don't know what's next.
CUPP: Well, I don't either. But this is -- this makes sense for Donald Trump. It's real simplistic. It doesn't address any of the nuance behind the complexity of this problem. Of course, if you unlock one Apple iPhone, you can unlock all the Apple iPhones. That's a little too complicated for Trump, so he's just saying, "Let's boycott them." And I think that resonates with -- with his supporters.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I actually think that's a little unfair to Trump. This -- I mean, here's where the -- I'm a federal -- former federal prosecutor. This is information that exists that is highly relevant to a very serious criminal investigation. I think Apple should be obliged to figure out a way to turn it over. They can devise a way to do it under limited circumstances only under court order, but...
CUPP: They say they can't. They actually say they cannot and that's a greater national security risk for the rest of the world. If you can hack your way into any iPhone, because developing this technology that doesn't currently exist makes it available, that's a big deal.
TOOBIN: It is a bigger deal to tell the world that, if you get an iPhone, you're never going to be able to have the government investigate you. That's a bigger security risk.
CUPP: Well, the point that we're proving now is that it's a very complicated, nuanced issue, and so Donald Trump simply saying, "Boycott Apple" probably isn't doing the issue...
BLITZER: Well, the point -- the point that S.E., I think is making is that, if this technology is developed where there's a back door to get all the information from your iPhone, the government can obviously use that information in criminal cases, but hackers potentially could get that information and invade your privacy.
TOOBIN: But every electronic device in history before the new iPhone had a way of getting -- getting information. So it's not like this has never been true before. What's been true is that the government has the right to get information that exists...
BLITZER: I think it's fair to say, David, politically, Donald Trump is taking a very popular position right now, right?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Right. I think it's not very -- it's certainly in the context of the Republican nominating electorate. Although, if you look at how Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz answered this question in our town halls this week, it's different than Donald Trump. They -- they believe that Apple should, of course, turn over this specific circumstance and be able to solve it, but they are aware of the libertarian privacy streak inside the party that they're playing to also by understanding what Apple is saying, that they don't want to create a back door that can then open up all of these things S.E. is talking about.
But politically, why I think it's working for Donald Trump, not only the position he's taking is probably where a swath of the Republican electorate is. It also is a day before the primary, Wolf. He gets to own another news cycle.
He owned the news cycle yesterday on the pope. He owned the news cycle today on Apple. So that Nikki Haley endorsement of Marco Rubio, whatever the other things the candidates are trying to do, Donald Trump once again consuming the oxygen in a way right before voters are going to the polls.
BLITZER: What do you make of the -
[17:30:01] back in the, I guess it must have been middle of 2002, the war in Iraq started in March, 2003, he told Howard Stern that, you know, maybe he does in fact support going to war after all these months he's been saying he always opposed going to war against Saddam Hussein in 2003?
CUPP: Ordinarily this would be a huge deal. This would be a huge flip-flop, a smoking gun, a look, he lied. But this is not an ordinary election and he's not an ordinary candidate.
Look, we've uncovered, I don't know, dozens of instances where he's changed his mind. He's said things that are completely contradictory. His supporters don't seem to care. They justify it as he does, which is that he's changed his mind or he never said that, even though we can prove that he said it. So, I mean, you know, we can't apply conventional wisdom to this. But it would be a big deal.
CHALIAN: It's another perfect example of how the political laws of gravity do not apply to Donald Trump.
CHALIAN: Think about how much the Iraq war, this issue, whether you were for it or against it, has dominated our politics for 10 years now if not longer as the issue. He makes a huge stand on this issue and then completely is presented with evidence that it's not as he said it was. And hey, I wasn't a politician at the time. I agree his supporters will not be at all fazed by this, but anybody else, this would be a shocking development. And for Donald Trump, he is simply able to say, yes, I think I may have said that and I wasn't a politician at the time. But when the war started I was opposed.
BLITZER: Yes. He was -- months earlier he may have said that but when the war started he realized it was a bad war. They used to say Ronald Reagan was a Teflon president. He seems like a Teflon candidate.
TOOBIN: Well, how many times have we sat here at this table, and said, well, you know, Donald Trump, he said this thing, it's going to be really bad, about John McCain or about Megyn Kelly and now the Pope. But he does seem immune from the laws of political gravity. And I just -- I don't -- I mean, I just don't think this is going to make much of an impact.
CUPP: Donald Trump is not going to take Donald Trump out, right? There's nothing he's going to say or do that's going to take Donald Trump down. I think that's pretty clear. I think as long as there are five other people running, Donald Trump really eats up most of the oxygen. And I think the only thing that takes Donald Trump down is if voters coalesce around another candidate and that can really only happen when there are fewer of them.
BLITZER: Legally speaking, does this case that's now been put forward in Illinois questioning the eligibility of Ted Cruz to be president of the United States because he was born in Canada, does it have standing? Is it going to go anywhere? You've studied this.
TOOBIN: No. No, this case is not going to go anywhere because the courts --
BLITZER: This specific case or any case?
TOOBIN: No, that's very different. This case, voters, the courts have been very clear that voters don't have standing to challenge the eligibility of candidates. But one of Trump's recent threats has been that, I'm going to sue you, Ted Cruz, to say that you don't have standing, and that might be a case that would -- a judge would get to the merits. Now if the judge got to the merits, I think actually Cruz was likely to win, but the threat that matters is the one from Trump. These voter lawsuits, they're all going to be thrown out.
BLITZER: Has this whole issue been damaging to Ted Cruz, raising the questions of his eligibility under the Constitution to be president?
CHALIAN: No question about it. First of all, it threw him off for a little while until he developed a response. I don't think it is permanent damage that will be the thing that keeps Ted Cruz from the nomination if it comes to that, but Donald Trump doesn't let it go so it is inserted -- wherever the contest goes, the next state, the next state, there's Ted Cruz doing local interviews, getting exposed in the local media, once again having to answer questions about his eligibility. That is no doubt damaging because he's not talking about all the time what he wants to talk about.
TOOBIN: And if -- and if Cruz really does catch up to Trump, it seems likely to me that Trump actually will file that lawsuit because that will throw all the chips in the air.
BLITZER: Cruz says he would like nothing better than to depose Donald Trump under oath if he were to file a lawsuit.
CUPP: Where are we?
CHALIAN: If cameras were allowed into that deposition.
TOOBIN: They are, they are, in civil lawsuits. BLITZER: Yes. All right. There will be cameras. All right, guys,
stand by. We have a lot more.
Also very dramatic developments unfolding right now in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. We'll update you on that when we come back.
BLITZER: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, they're running neck in neck in Nevada right now going into tomorrow's caucuses. Both candidates are targeting minorities and ahead of next week's South Carolina primary, Hillary Clinton has picked up the endorsement of a top African-American lawmaker.
Our senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny is joining us now live from Nevada.
So, Jeff, how are things shaping up right now?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Nevada was once seen by Hillary Clinton supporters as the place where she could get her campaign back on track again and rebound but it's increasingly looking like that she will need a lifeline in South Carolina. That's exactly what she got today from Jim Clyburn.
ZELENY (voice-over): It's shaping up as the Vegas prize fight of politics. On the eve of the Nevada caucuses, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in a deadlocked Democratic race. The Clinton campaign is hoping an endorsement today from influential South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn reverberates to Nevada and beyond.
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: The future of the Democratic Party and the United States of America will be best served with the experiences and know-how of Hillary Clinton as our 45th president.
[17:40:02] ZELENY: Eight years ago, Clyburn declined to endorse. A decision that enraged Bill Clinton. Clyburn recounted the anger in his 2014 memoir. He said the former president called him in the middle of the night, saying, if you bastards want a fight, you damn well will get one. But today Clyburn set fears of a long Democratic fight prompted him to weigh in.
CLYBURN: My head and my heart are in the same place.
ZELENY: In Nevada, Clinton drew jeers when she suggested Sanders is a Democrat come lately.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Maybe it's that Senator Sanders wasn't really a Democrat until he decided to run for president. He doesn't know what the -- you know, last two Democratic presidents did. And I'm -- you know, I'm -- well, it's true. It's true.
ZELENY: Sanders, a lifelong independent, argues he's the Democratic candidate for change.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The status quo is not acceptable. We have got to change it.
ZELENY: Flying across Nevada today, Sanders said he's counting on one win at a time.
SANDERS: But I hope we have a very large, very, very large voter turnout tomorrow. Show the world that democracy is alive and well here in Nevada.
ZELENY: The candidates are trying to break through the distractions of Las Vegas.
CLINTON: You've got to get there at 11:00 a.m. You can't sleep in. Sleep in, you know, the next day.
ZELENY: Working to get out the vote for Saturday's caucuses, particularly targeting Latino voters. The air waves are flooded with ads, including the latest Clinton spot narrated by the familiar baritone voice of Morgan Freeman.
MORGAN FREEMAN, ACTOR: Her life's work has been about breaking barriers and so would her presidency.
ZELENY: Freeman told CNN's Don Lemon he's been with Clinton since day one.
FREEMAN: Whoever is going to be part of the world leadership is going to have to have some serious knowledge and smarts.
ZELENY: Sanders is asking voters to dream bigger and demand more.
SANDERS: And the issue is not just who wins the Democratic nomination, the issue is whether Nevada will play a leading role in moving this country toward a political revolution.
ZELENY: And that is happening all across Nevada here. The Sanders campaign has descended a few hundred staffers here, Wolf, trying to get out the vote. The Clinton campaign has brought in all of their workers from Colorado. They are trying to get out their vote as well here. But the thing to look for tomorrow, Wolf, tomorrow morning are casinos all along the strip. Six casinos have a voting and that is where those key hotel workers will be coming out to vote. Who they choose is going to determine who wins the Nevada caucuses -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. A key race coming up. Thanks very much for that.
Also coming up, the FBI raids the home of a relative of one of the San Bernardino terrorists as the U.S. Justice Department asks the court to force Apple to unlock the shooter's iPhone.
[17:47:32] BLITZER: U.S. warplanes today struck an ISIS camp in Libya near the Tunisian border. A U.S. official says foreign fighters were training there possibly for an attack in Europe. Dozens of people reported dead. The raid targeted an ISIS operative linked to massacres of tourists in Tunisia.
Our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto is working the story for us. You're getting more information. What are you learning?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf , the president has said that he would strike in Libya against ISIS if -- there was one or two things the president wanted. If there was a senior leader that the U.S. had intelligence on or that there was evidence that they were planning a terror attack. This looks to be that both things taking place right here now.
This is the site in Libya, as Wolf said, along the border with Tunisia where the strike took place. And the intelligence that the U.S. was acting on was that they were training for some sort of attack, possibly in the West or possibly against Western targets in North Africa described as special advanced training, a multi-attacker situation similar to things we've seen, for instance, in Paris before and elsewhere.
ISIS M.O., and this got them very concerned. This is the man that they believe was targeted and believe killed in this attack. His name is Noureddine Chouchane. He's a known ISIS leader in North Africa and he is responsible for this attack on a beach in Tunisia that took place a number of weeks ago. You're seeing it, this is the attacker, the gunman as he fled the scene. 38 people killed in this attack, many of them British tourists.
He's also believed responsible for another attack on a museum in the capital of Tunisia and, Wolf, when they saw the evidence of this training taking place there, of course they're thinking about these attacks that this man had carried out before and the signatures of those attacks and the U.S. acted upon that.
BLITZER: So basically the Obama administration, the president of the United States, he's going to continue this policy of what they used to call targeted assassinations. They get word of a terrorist, they're going to send a drone or an aircraft trying to kill them.
SCIUTTO: That's right. They get word of a terrorist, a senior leader or of advanced planning for some sort of plot. Of course the open question is, do they expand military action in Libya like we've seen, for instance, in Iraq and Syria, a sustained campaign because this is one of eight countries now outside of Iraq and Libya that you have ISIS -- outside of Iraq and Syria, rather, that you have ISIS -- with a presence now.
BLITZER: Libya clearly a failed state right now with an opening for ISIS. That's right.
All right. Thanks very much, Jim Sciutto, for that.
Let's bring in our terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank. He's been looking into the Tunisia connection.
Paul, what more can you tell us about the investigation into those horrific museum and beach attacks that we -- we saw the video. It was awful.
[17:50:02] PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, Wolf, according to a senior Western counterterrorism source, it was the same ISIS-linked cell they have now established that carried out that attack on the Bardo museum in March of last year and also the beach in June where 30 British tourists were killed. This was the same ISIS cell, a cell that was in touch with ISIS operatives in Syria and Iraq. This was a cell with some significant trade craft.
I'm also told that they were plotting an attack, a third attack on the French consulate in Tunis. Now that attack was thwarted when Tunisian security services rounded up the cell. But the gunman in the beach attack you're seeing on the screen right now and also the attack on the museum, the gunman in all those cases trained near Sabratha, in Libya where those U.S. strikes took place today, Wolf.
BLITZER: Paul Cruickshank, thank you very much.
Two and a half months after the San Bernardino massacre in California, and the shootout which killed the husband and wife terrorist, there's now been a surge of sudden activity. The FBI has raided the home of a relative hauling off piles and piles of possible evidence.
Brian Todd has been looking into this development for us. What are you learning, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight we have learned that there are still some very important clues the FBI is looking for about the two shooters. Where is their hard drive? What were they doing in a stretch of 18 minutes after the shootings that the FBI still can't account for? And what is on shooter Syed Farook's iPhone? The search for that evidence prompted federal agents to make another run at Farook's brother.
TODD (voice-over): A surprising search. Federal agents combed through this home in Corona, California, associated with the brother of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. Agents seen searching the trunks of two vehicles. One of which, according to CNN affiliate KABC is registered to Farook's mother. Neighbors say the house has been searched several times since the December terror attack.
STACY MEZER, NEIGHBOR: We've had numerous swarms of FBI agents and Homeland Security and police.
TODD: Tonight the FBI won't say what investigators were hoping to find but experts say to get another search warrant, investigators would have to show a judge they have good reason to return.
RON HOSKO, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: This would be new evidence that they have just recently learned about.
TODD (on camera): What could that be?
HOSKO: That could be documentary evidence. That could be written communications.
TODD (voice-over): There were no arrests made and no one has been charged. The FBI would not say if the brother, Raheel Farook, is a suspect in the shootings or any other crime. Tonight the family's lawyers could not be reached for comment but the search is one of several signs that the FBI is still investigating whether there were others involved in the shooting that left 14 people dead or if there were any other targets. The FBI has made clear it is still looking for the shooter's hard drive.
And tonight they say they still can't entirely rule out that there was a third shooter at the site. Something at least one witness told CBS she saw on the day of the attacks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We saw three men dressed in all black military attire with vests on. They are holding assault rifles.
TODD: While an FBI spokeswoman says they've confirmed only two guns were used, she says in the absence of video, they can't rule out if there could have been another attacker.
HOSKO: The FBI is not going to let that alone. They're not going to say, hey, we got two. We're comfortable that all there is, is two because what if that third shooter is now brewing the next terrorism plot?
TODD: Meanwhile, the FBI is still trying to pin down where the two attackers went for a stretch of 18 minutes after the shooting. A mystery the FBI believes might be solved if Apple would agree to help investigators unlock Syed Farook's iPhone.
TODD: But, Wolf, it's not clear tonight if that's going to happen. Apple is of course fighting a judge's order for the company to help unlock the iPhone. And tonight the Justice Department is doubling down in its fight with Apple over Syed Farook's iPhone. Filing a request to compel Apple to go along with the judge's order for Apple to help the FBI break into that iPhone. The move is intended to show that the feds do not want to wait for Apple to litigate this whole thing and to show that the San Bernardino case is still very much an active investigation -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Certainly is. Brian, you've also gotten some new details from the FBI tonight on that stretch of, what, about 18 minutes in the two shooters' movements that the bureau supposedly can't account for, right? TODD: That's right, Wolf. An FBI official told me the bureau has
gotten some leads from the public about those missing 18 minutes but no firm evidence of where the couple went, who they might have interacted with, whether they stopped anywhere. Possibly even a storage facility. The FBI official says it was a very small area of San Bernardino that Syed Farook and Tashfin Malik drove around in for quite a while following the shootings, and they are still hoping that someone saw something in that stretch of about 18 minutes.
BLITZER: Yes. Lots of questions still out there, including if there's any other people who were involved.
[17:55:03] All right, Brian, thank you very much.
Coming up, Donald Trump calls for a boycott of Apple until the tech giant agrees to an FBI demand that it unlock a phone used by one of those San Bernardino terrorists.
BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news. Trump versus Apple. Donald Trump calling for a boycott of the tech giant for refusing to unlock the phone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists. This on the eve of the South Carolina primary. Trump and his rivals are barnstorming the state right now. We're standing by to hear from the Republican frontrunner.
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