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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Jonathan Capehart Interviews Loretta Lynch on Clinton Controversy; Mastermind of Turkey Attack is Russian; Security Stepped Up at Airports Ahead of July 4th Weekend. Aired 11:30-12p ET
Aired July 1, 2016 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: In terms of timing, I actually don't know that. Again, I don't have that insight into this -- I would say the nuts and bolts of the investigation at this point in time. They're working on it. They're working on it very hard. They're working on it to make sure that they're thorough as they can be, that they have covered at every angle, that they've looked at every issue. They're doing the work that the people in the Department of Justice do every single day and I could not be more proud of that work, and I could not be more proud to present that work to the American people when this matter is resolved, and we can let people know the outcome of this investigation.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Moving on.
Keep in mind, this sit-down --
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Fascinating conversation and discussion going on right there by "Washington Post" columnist, Jonathan Capehart and the attorney general, Loretta Lynch. And we heard very clearly, and maybe not so clearly, what the attorney general has said her role in the investigation, the criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state. She said, at one point, she fully expects to accept the recommendations of the career prosecutors and the FBI. And later saying I don't have a role in the findings, I have been briefed and I will be accepting their findings.
We'll continue to discuss that.
Let me bring in our panel.
Let's go to Dana Bash on this.
Dana, I also found quite fascinating, as Jonathan was asking her, what were you thinking when Bill Clinton got on your plane, and don't you think, after your relationship with him, you can ask him to remove himself from the premises, and she said, I certainly wouldn't do it again.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, right, and the answer should have been get off my plane, with all due respect. And she obviously realizes now that it was a mistake. Having said that, when you are somebody who has had a relationship with him, you know, as Jonathan mentioned in he was -- part of launching her career, it's hard to do that, especially hen he's sitting there and it allegedly is all just social discussion. However perception is everything. In general, especially in politics, especially when it's the Clintons. And add to that this whole question of indictment. And so I think what we were talking got at the beginning of the hour, leading into this, still holds true. She gets it. She is not political, but she certainly gets that this is being viewed through a very, intention political lens. D that no matter what she says about promising to take the recommendations of the FBI director and to just kind of pass them along, it completely feeds into the Republican narrative that the system is rigged, the Clintons think they're above the law and that Bill Clinton, look what he did here, even if it wasn't overt, it was a mistake in judgment and what it's going to happen if they're back in the White House, so that still stands, even given what she just said about how she's going to handle this case going forward.
BOLDUAN: You actually bring up something, that it is same thing, kind of the review of how the attorney general is handling things and what this all means for Hillary Clinton.
Let's bring in our CNN political director, David Chalian.
What do you think, David? If the attorney general herself says I get it, I get these questions, I certainly wouldn't do it again, doesn't quiet as Dana was getting to, how much do you think this quiets the political storm for Hillary Clinton.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: The attorney general of the United States just admitted that her actions and Bill Clinton's actions on Monday in Phoenix on the tarmac cast a shadow over this e- mail probe. That's a pretty big thing to say. And, yes, you know, I noticed as you did too, Kate, she said she fully expects to accept the recommendations, not quite as Shermanesque, that she will be accepting. But let's think about the practicality here now, she says she wouldn't have done it, she wouldn't do this again, kind of like what Hillary Clinton said about having an e-mail server at home and a private e-mail address, that she wouldn't have done that again either. But does Loretta Lynch now, even if this is as she says was always her plan to accept the work of the career prosecutors, accept the work of the FBI director, did the fact that she cast a shadow is now cleaning it up and coming out and saying she will publicly say I am accepting the recommendation, as she removed a relief valve if the prosecutors are feeling a little more zealous on this. She sort of really has put herself from this equation. She was already -- she was already pretty much in a lose-lose situation politically. But she has really botched herself on this -- Kate.
[11:35:14]BOLDUAN: Let's bring in Doug Heye.
Doug, what's your view?
DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think has Loretta Lynch said it races a lot of questions, it's one thing they to have, what you're talking about the Department of Justice or you're talking about the Clinton campaign. I can't believe I'm saying this, but Trump is 100 percent right here. (CROSSTALK)
BOLDUAN: That does not come out of your mouth ever.
HEYE: I don't think it has ever. They have been in a very good situation, I think the primary directive that they have over the next five or six months is not to make any stakes, whether you're talking about the campaign itself, or the principles, this is a big mistake, it was an unforced error, it's going to raise questions in judgment and it's going to raise questions about the outcome if Hillary Clinton is not indicted. That's why Donald Trump is 100 percent right, the questions have been raised, this is bad news for the Clinton campaign.
BOLDUAN: Paul, Loretta Lynch says she understands that the appearance of this has cast a shadow on the Justice Department. How she talked it through, how she explained her case, but does it help to remove that?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, I think she's gotten herself in Deeper with this statement. She sounds like Donald Trump when he goes off script with this stream of consciousness. She started out by saying I expect to take myself out of the process. She then changes that and says I will accept their recommendations and then she changes her wording and says I will accept their findings. And findings are different from recommendations.
BOLDUAN: Are we reading too much into this?
CALLAN: She's a lawyer and her job is to be specific about how she's handling things. When she was given an opportunity to say why did you let him on the plane, and presumably a security person came to her and said the former president is outside, she should have said please tell him I can't meet with him. She can't do that, why? Because she has a personal relationship with him. He appointed her as U.S. attorney for the eastern district of New York, he's personally responsible for her success and her career, what she's really saying is because of my personal relationship I couldn't tell him not to come on the plane.
CALLAN: Why would she be agreeing to go into the findings if she has that close personal relationship? DOJ has a personal relationship with somebody under investigation, they're supposed to recuse themselves. It's one of the regulations that apply to all assistant U.S. attorneys.
BOLDUAN: Scottie, I gather you're not going to think that the attorney general our mind at all?
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, POLITICAL EDITOR, RIGHTALERT.COM & TRUMP SUPPORTER: No, I don't think it helped the case. I'll let my colleague focus on the attorney general. Bill Clinton should have known better that she was actually seen doing this.
BOLDUAN: Bill Clinton wrong doing, does that mean Hillary Clinton wrong doing? HUGHES: They're married, number one. But at the same time, it wasn't
simply about going on to a plane and catching about golf and grand children. Bill Clinton himself is also a part of this investigation. I can imagine the FBI is not happy right now, because a part of this e-mail is also a projection of the Clinton Foundation. That's a big question right now that Bill Clinton is a large part of. The Department of Justice on Wednesday actually filed for a 27-month delay in e-mails pertaining to the Clinton Foundation, on Wednesday. This happened on Thursday.
HUGHES: But we're realizing all of this is happening for a reason. It's all coming out in public. They're all in some small little world.
BOLDUAN: If it isn't all connected, Angela, the point is, we're kind of hearing over and over again, we hear heard from the attorney general. Did she clear it up for you?
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What I want to first say that Bill Clinton is not personally responsible for the successes of Loretta Lynch. That is ridiculous. He is the person who appointed her to the position that led to her becoming attorney general.
This woman is very accomplished. She's a person who's based her career on by partisan prosecution of political corruption. She cleared this up to me today. She, to me, sounded poised. She is the reason, I think, something like this should be deemed trust worthy. She's done a very good job of running the Department. To me, when you talk about the Clintons, particularly when you're talking about Millennials and younger folks, they don't understand why they're not as transparent as the Barack Obama administration has been. And Loretta Lynch falls right into someone as very transparent. It's the best thing that could have happened to the Clinton campaign after something that was such a terrible mistake.
And it's also not fair to attribute Bill Clinton's actions to his wife. They are two different people. Billy Jeff is going to be Billy Jeff. And unfortunately, this situation was not at all helpful.
[11:40:40] BOLDUAN: Quite an important moment. But the fallout and the conversation of where the waves go from here.
Thank you all very, very much, as we see Jonathan Capehart continue his conversation with the U.S. attorney general.
A lot more to discuss.
Ahead, we're learning new details about the man officials believe was the mastermind of the terrorist attacks in Turkey. A one-armed ISIS commander who traveled to Syria many times. What we're learning about him and his role.
Plus, a U.S. airport are ramping up security as we head into the July 4th weekend. But Airport police in Chicago say they don't have what they need to fight off a potential terrorist if it came to that. That's next.
[11:45:47] BOLDUAN: New details this morning on the terror attack in Turkey. With now know the name of the possible mastermind. Congressman Mike McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says U.S. intelligence believes Akhmed Chatayev is the master mind of the attack. His nickname, Akhmed One Arm. He's from the Russian Caucasus region. It's believed he's traveled to Syria many times and he's a top ISIS lieutenant. There's also a new picture that Turkish officials believe are of the attackers and police are showing this photo to local residents in hopes of finding out more about these attackers.
Let's get to CNN's Brooke Baldwin, live at the Istanbul airport.
Brooke, we're hearing a lot of new and interesting stuff from people in the neighborhood where the terrorists were staying.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, we sent crew to this neighborhood, just about a half an hour away here from where I'm standing here at the airport. And what they have found is that within this very building where these three would be suicide bombers were holed out for the better part of this last month. Our senior international correspondent, Nima Elbagir, talked to the land lord and said, yes, I rented the apartment to these three. And I also talked politic. Nima talked to a woman who lives in the building who actually said in the previous days that she smelled something odd. She actually smelled what she described as something chemical. She was worried potentially it was a gas leak, so there was that. Another guy she talked to in this apartment, apparently, saw some guys stick their heads out of the windows, most of the time it was dark, the curtains were closed, and occasionally seeing someone popping their head out and smoking a cigarette.
Back to this believed organizer of this attack here at the Istanbul airport. You mentioned his name, and we have his photo, Akhmed Chatayev, nicknamed Akhmed One Arm, because he's missing an arm. And we have learned that this was very much on purpose that this attack happened as the monthly holy month of Ramadan was winding down.
We see the Turkish President Erdogan opening two different mosques today. He did speak. He addressed the atrocities here at the airport. He says he believes this is probably the result of Daesh, or ISIS, and says, "The attackers will end up in hell. If you kill even one person in this world, it is equal to killing the whole population of the world." Erdogan a little while ago -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: That investigation continues.
Thank you so much, Brooke, in Istanbul. Great to see you.
So the ripple effects after such a horrible attack will be felt by millions of Americans here heading to airports this holiday weekend. Security is being ramped up at international hubs.
For more on what that means, let's get to Chris Frates at the Washington's Reagan International Airport with more.
What are you seeing there, Chris?
CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As you can see behind me, the security lines so far, looking pretty clear, that's a much different story than what we saw this morning as people kicked off their holiday weekend and really came here to Reagan International Airport to get moving, in fact we're expecting record crowds, 43 million Americans are going to come through our nation's airport and that's got security firms across the country really ramping up security. Here at Reagan, we're seeing things like dogs working the lines, we're seeing law enforcement with long guns, also seeing some plain clothed police officers working this area as well. And in Atlanta, they're beefing up those soft target areas. In fact I'm standing in a soft target area. Anywhere before that security checkpoint is considered a soft target. So that's something they're very much concerned about.
But it's also important to point out here, Kate, that officials make the point -- a Homeland Security official telling us that there's no specific threat at this point. This is a precaution. They are not on heightened alert here. They are hoping these security lines continue to move like this, very quickly, very efficiently. They have spent millions of dollars to help the TSA keep these lines moving. If the afternoon rush comes and it looks anything like that morning rush, it is going to be a much different picture in a few hours.
[11:50:40] BOLDUAN: Chris, thank you so much.
Let's discuss the security situation at home and the investigation into the terror attack in Istanbul with Juliette Kayyem, CNN national security analyst; David Katz, a former DEA official; and Bob Baer, CNN intelligence and security analyst, all with me.
Juliette, if you are sitting at DHS, how is it different than last week? We are heading into the July 4th holiday. What's different?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: We are right now dealing with the House head of Homeland Security releasing a name based on his own sources about how this investigation is unfolding. This is a name coming on the U.S. side for an attack that did not happen here. How dangerous that is for an investigation. He is a House Homeland Committee head, McCaul.
BOLDUAN: Mike McCaul.
KAYYEM: Mike McCaul. People need to understand, this name and the investigation, we shouldn't know that. I don't blame CNN for reporting it. How outrageous and dangerous this is. It impacts the homeland. The homeland now is ratcheted up because of July 4th. Phone calls going on hourly about the threat assessment. Each airport is deploying massive amounts of resources from dogs to roving patrols to undercover cops. In doing that, to protect the American public but to ensure that the weight time is under 20 minutes. 92 percent of people going through airports are going to wait less than 20 minutes. They are going to constantly balance those two factors over the course of the weekend. BOLDUAN: Bob, what do you think? Is it dangerous this man's name is
out there now?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE & SECURITY ANALYST: I think they are letting the police know. People from the Caucasus made in threat. The Chechen threat is very clear. It is very clear the two young men did not wire that. There may be other people out there. We know very little about the Chechens. It is a new threat for us. It is not like the Palestinian or ISIS. It's entirely new. This is an insulated community. We have to take it seriously.
BOLDUAN: David, it seems like a conflicting picture is being painted. You have residents saying they smelled chemicals from the apartment. You have Turkish officials saying they believe that the suicide vests were created outside of the country and brought in. Can these two things be right?
DAVID KATZ, FORMER DEA AGENT & FIREARMS & HOMELAND SECURITY EXPERT: Yes. You can bring some components, the final assembly in the apartment. I don't think they are inconsistent. I think the name of the guy is irrelevant. The speed at which people are processed through TSA is irrelevant. These guys are not interested in getting on the plane. What they are interested in doing is going to the airport where there are large numbers of unsecured area, wherever you cue up. It could be Times Square, 34th Street Macy's at Christmastime. What we know about the Chechens, 385 dead in the school. Half are children. We have to have a whole different mind- set. We are going to be hearing this where Islamic radical terrorists are making this here, abroad, our allies. It doesn't matter. They are looking for soft targets and undefended, unprotected people. That's what we are not prepared for.
BOLDUAN: We'll see if it's now a renewed or knew focus on these Caucuses and the Caucuses regions.
Thank you so much.
[11:55:16] Soon, we are going to hear from Donald Trump. He is live in Denver. He will be speaking, as you see right there, before a big crowd of conservatives. Will he continue to call out his Republican rivals as he has in the past or will we see a change in tone? Scripted Trump or off-the-cuff Trump? We'll bring it to you live.
BOLDUAN: This week's "CNN Hero" has helped more than 800 refugee children adapt and rebuild their lives after fleeing war-torn countries. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: There are so many things stacked against them. You're competing against people that are 10 steps ahead of you. How are you going to catch up, stand out, and contribute successfully? We are getting people from all over the world from all different faiths to come together to do something great. (SHOUTING)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: For more on this story, you can go to CNNheroes.com and nominate someone you think should join the ranks of 2016 "CNN Hero."
Thank you so much for joining us AT THIS HOUR.
"Legal View" with Ashleigh Banfield starts right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
[12:00:06] ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. Welcome to "Legal View."
The breaking news this hour, all about the United States attorney general. And --