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At This Hour

Lindsey Graham Comments on Jeb Bush "Anchor Babies" Comment, Donald Trump; Attempted Murder Investigation Against Paris Train Attacker; ISIS Destroys Ancient Temple in Syria; NY Prison Escape Seen from Prison Point of View. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired August 25, 2015 - 11:30   ET



[11:32:22] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning, Jeb Bush, he may have dug himself a little deeper. He tried to explain his use of the term "anchor babies" during a border visit yesterday. It's a term considered offensive to many Hispanics and it's used to describe children born in the United States to parents who are here illegally. But in defending his comments, he may have offended a whole different group. Listen here.


JEB BUSH, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I was talking about was the specific case of fraud being committed where there's organized efforts and, frankly, it's more related to Asian people coming into our country, having children in that organized efforts, taking advantage of a noble concept which is birth-right citizenship. I support the 14th Amendment. Nothing about what I have said is -- should be viewed as derogatory towards immigrants at all.


BOLDUAN: That's one of the issues grabbing headlines on the campaign trail right now and remember, if you need a reminder, we're just a few short weeks away from the next GOP debate hosted here right on CNN.

One of the candidates who will be there, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. He's joining me now.

Senator, it's great to see you.


BOLDUAN: Thanks for coming in.

So on this bit about Jeb Bush and what he said, this "anchor babies" controversy, Donald Trump jumped all over this on Twitter calling Jeb Bush's comments "a mess, clumsy," really going after him. What do you call it?

GRAHAM: Well, I think Donald Trump's pretty much an idiot on policy and Jeb Bush is a good man. And what Jeb was talking about is birth right tourism. Millionaires from China and other Asian nations as well as the Middle East buy tourist visas for the express purpose of having their wife deliver a baby in the United States. There are people who market to rich people in Asia and the Middle East. Come here for your vacation, we'll get you a tourist visa with a maternity ward. I think that cheapens citizenship. I'd like to change that one day after we clean up this mess. That's all Jeb was talking about.

BOLDUAN: That actually gets to the point that Jeb did try to make in bringing this up yesterday. He blames a lot of this on especially the Democratic attacks coming at him, saying this is a lot of P.C., this is a P.C. problem, political correctness problem, he shouldn't have to apologize every time you say something. Do you think it's a political correctness problem?

GRAHAM: When he said Asian people, he wasn't being derogatory. Birth-right tourism is an industry that's created to take advantage --


BOLDUAN: Especially from China though, not all Asians.

GRAHAM: Oh, yeah, China. But I don't think Jeb Bush is a mean guy at all. I think he's a wonderful guy. So people literally do buy tourist visas. They're marketed where you can come here, have the child, a maternity ward in the resort. I think most Americans think that's not a good way to give out citizenship. At least I think that.

BOLDUAN: Let's talk about Donald Trump if we could.


BOLDUAN: He's obviously criticizing Jeb Bush for his remarks, but he also is on Twitter yet again for a second time last night attacking FOX News host, Megyn Kelly. And in attacking her, he re-tweeted a comment -- re-tweeted a message that called her a bimbo. How can any candidate, Senator, be leading in the polls, saying something like that, even leading among women?

GRAHAM: All I can say is that he's not leading among women in general. That he has a 65 percent disapproval rating among Hispanics according to a poll last night. Why? Because he says most illegal immigrants are rapists and drug dealers. His plan to deal with illegal immigration is constitutionally unsound. You can't implement it. It won't work, and he said last night on television that he would take American citizen children born here, whose parents are illegal, and send them all back. You can't do that. I think that's ridiculous. I think it's illegal.

As to Megyn Kelly, we've got two problems in our party, with Hispanics and young women and the leader of our party has come up with a deportation plan that is Joseph McCarthy-like. And he is saying things about Megyn Kelly and other women that are digging a big hole. And the chairman of our party said he thought Donald Trump was a net positive. Let me tell you, I think he's hurting our party. I want to be on record, no matter how well I do, as opposing Mr. Trump's concept of what he would do with illegal -- who they are and how he would solve the problem. I want to be the other side of history when he talks about Megyn Kelly.

[11:35:42] BOLDUAN: On both of those things, a lot of folks would agree with you, but clearly a lot of folks either aren't hearing you or disagree with you.

GRAHAM: They're frustrated.

BOLDUAN: But then -- frustration, though, isn't dissipated. Look at the latest polls.

GRAHAM: Can I be honest? Can I just be honest with you?

BOLDUAN: Of course, you can.

GRAHAM: There's 25 percent of our party who thinks Obama was born in Kenya, 25 percent of the party wants him to be a Muslim, because they hate him so much. So there's a dark side of politics that Mr. Trump is appealing to. Demagoguing immigrants -- he's not the first guy to do this, and he won't be the last. And there's always a market for it, but it's not sustainable. It will ruin our party. If he becomes the nominee, we'll get killed.

BOLDUAN: You may say it's not sustainable, but it surely has sustained. Just look at the latest poll. This one coming out from Monmouth University. I know you saw this one. He not only has a sizable lead -- we'll throw it up there -- 30 percent. It's not just a lead anywhere, it's in South Carolina. It's in your home state.

GRAHAM: I won 56 percent of my primary against six opponents. There's 30 percent of my primary electorate that believes that Obama is a Muslim, that he was born in Kenya, and that would deport everybody. They're frustrated. I'm just saying that the policies that Mr. Trump is proposing are demagoguery. His approach to describing Illinois legal immigrants are hurting us with Hispanics. The way he attacks women is going to be a death blow to the future of the party.

Come to South Carolina and I'll beat his brains out. I know my state. This is a silly season in politics.

To say that you're going to go to Iraq and Syria and take their oil and use it for our benefit as a way to destroy ISIL is insanely dangerous. You're going to turn everybody into the Middle East against America if you do that. You won't destroy ISIL. That will be his undoing.

BOLDUAN: Can you win the nomination -- in your strategy, can you win the nomination without winning South Carolina?

GRAHAM: No, I'm going to win South Carolina. I have to do well in New Hampshire.


GRAHAM: I got to do well in New Hampshire. If I do well in New Hampshire, I'll win my state. Here is what will not happen. Donald Trump is not going to be the

nominee of the Republican Party. If he is, that's the end of the Republican Party because what he is doing is --


BOLDUAN: So if he is, what do you do?

GRAHAM: Well, then we'll lose. We'll lose, and we should lose. 60 percent of the Hispanic community in this country, legal Hispanics, find Mr. Trump offensive. I find him offensive. When he attacks Megyn Kelly, a lot of young women think, well, why would you do that? I find that offensive? Where is the party leadership?

BOLDUAN: Not only is the party leadership, my question to you is --

GRAHAM: Where are the other candidates?

BOLDUAN: Where are the other candidates? Why isn't your message connecting?

GRAHAM: I think it will over time. We're about to get attacked. There's more likelihood of a 9/11, anytime before 9/11, there's more terrorist safe havens, a series of perfect platforms to attack us. Mr. Trump's strategy to destroy ISIL is worse than Obama, believe it or not. Obama's strategy is not working but the idea to take Iraq and Syrian oil as a way to destroy ISIL and use it for your benefit would be the greatest boom for recruiting for ISIL in the history of the organization. So his policy positions are complete gibberish. Over time, we're going to get serious. Who is ready to be commander-in- chief? He is shallow. He's ill prepared to be commander-in-chief. He doesn't know what he's talking about in terms of how our laws work. He says the worst things possible about immigrants and women, and he's a complete idiot when it comes to Middle East policy. So I think over time common sense will prevail. He's a showman. He's really good at that.


GRAHAM: But the idea that he would be the commander-in-chief of the finest fighting force in history suggesting that they're going to go back to Iraq and Syria and say, hey, I'm here from the United States, I'd like to take your oil, do you mind, and use it for our benefit. He would turn everybody in the Middle East against us who wants to help us fight ISIL. So all I can say is our soldiers deserve better, our party deserves better.

To the Hispanic community, if you're watching this broadcast, he doesn't represent us. Just a small portion of us. To young women out there, we don't believe what Mr. Trump says about Megyn Kelly.

BOLDUAN: Very strong, Senator Lindsey Graham. "Jackass" was what made your cell phone go public last time. "Idiot." Hold that cell phone close, Senator.


BOLDUAN: Great to see.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thanks so much for coming in.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

[11:40:02] BOLDUAN: We'll be following it closely.

Coming up for us, the man who might have carried out a massacre, he remains locked up in France. What charges might he face? We'll have a live report coming out from Paris, coming up.

And a temple that stood for 2,000 years in Syria stands no longer and once again ISIS is to blame. More on that ahead.


BOLDUAN: Some breaking news. New developments in the foiled train attack in France. The man was trying to kill a train full of people, that's the chilling allegation coming just moments ago from a French prosecutor against the heavily armed Moroccan man who was tackled by fellow passengers on that high-speed train. French authorities just announced that they are opening an attempted murder investigation now against the suspect.

Let's get much more on this. Martin Savidge is joining me live from Paris.

Martin, you were listening in to this. There was a detailed press conference from the French prosecutor. What are the charges el Khazzani is now facing?

[11:44:44] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it appears, as you point out, there is a preliminary investigation that's been opened. That's the way the French refer to this, and saying that's a preliminary investigation for attempted murder under French terrorism law. Also attempting to murder a train full of people, which is an astounding charge, you can imagine, and then being a member of a terrorist organization, although the prosecutor did not specifically mention who or what that terrorist organization was.

But there was also a tremendous amount of detail going into the attack itself and what transpired and where the suspect had been in both the hours and the months leading up to this attack.

And a number of things that are interesting is, we talk about Mark Moogalian, this is the other Franco American, they refer to him as American, but with French citizenship. He was wounded in the neck. It was believed he was originally wounded, being the first to confront the gunman on the train. The investigators are saying it was during the takedown struggle that apparently a gun goes off, a .9 millimeter, and the only .9 millimeter we know of was in the hands of the suspect, but being struggled with by the Americans, somehow that gun goes off and that's how Moogalian was wounded. So that was new information to us.

And we also understand they've been looking into the travel pattern of the suspect, where he was. He was clearly drifting about Europe, and at one point, went to Germany and from Germany into Turkey. There was some question as to did he go into Syria. If he went to Syria, it raises the issue of ISIS.

On top of that, one last thing, a cell phone that he had on him apparently authorities were able to check what he was looking at. He was going online, going to apparently jihadi websites. That may have been his inspiration just moments before he started the attack.

BOLDUAN: And that very much goes against what his attorney had said in speaking out saying that what he wanted -- he only found the weapons and then wanted to only commit an armed robbery on that train. That's also why that's a very important detail to come out.

Martin, on it for us. Martin, thank you so very much.

Still ahead for us, it stood for thousands of years. Now a temple in Syria reduced to a pile of rubble after ISIS allegedly destroys it. Details on this ahead.


[11:50:38] BOLDUAN: New this morning, we have pictures that appear to show how is destroyed an ancient landmark in Syria, the Baal the Shamin Temple in Palmyra was nearly 2,000 years old. It's being called a war crime. ISIS supporters showed photos of men taking explosives into the temple. The exPLOsion shows the rubble left behind.

Joining me with more on this is senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman.

Ben, we've seen what ISIS can do when it comes to antiquities but why are they destroying such precious antiquities?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The reason why they're going about this is really twofold, Kate. On the one hand, this is part of their shock-and-awe approach to the media where they not only show us the destruction of the ancient temples, mosques, monasteries, churches, and whatnot -- and proudly -- but also we see them executing decapitating, murdering people quite graphically on videos. This is really their way to get their message across that they are willing to do just about anything.

But for ordinary Syrians, what is shocking to us with the suburban sensibilities is really just a sideshow. Syria has in the last four and a half years been destroyed. More than 250,000 people have been killed. Then after ISIS released those pictures, we got a press release from UNICEF saying as many as five million Syrians -- about one in four -- are suffering from a severe water shortage. Also we heard from Doctors without Borders that 11 medical facilities in Aleppo have been hit by regime barrel bombs. For Syrians, yes, it's upsetting to see ruins like this destroyed but they have more to be upset about these days -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Ben, such important perspective. The loss of these precious antiquities, of course, a tragedy, but nothing when you compare to the beheadings and loss of life and the horrible situation that Syrians and many others are facing at the hands of ISIS. It's just more insult to injury in what they're facing right now.

Thank you so much, Ben.

Still ahead for us, for the very first time, we are getting a look inside the tunnel two killers used to break out of prison. We'll take you through the dark, very narrow corridors and how they made their escape, ahead.


[11:57:04] BOLDUAN: Now for a look inside the tunnels two convicted killers used in their escape from an upstate New York prison this summer. David Sweat and Richard Matt escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility if June.

Randi Kaye has the story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need a flashlight so we can get decent camera footage.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two state investigators armed with supplies and two GOPro cameras showing us how inmates David Sweat and Richard Matt shimmied and snaked their way to freedom.

The video, given to us by an official source, is about 20 minutes long, as long as it takes for these investigators to wind their way through the belly of Clinton Correctional Facility, just like the escapees did back in June.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the end of E block.

KAYE: We're not showing the investigators' faces, but their point of view is eye opening.

They begin at the very spot where Sweat and Matt cut holes in their cells, then follow the same six-story high catwalk before jumping down to take on an elaborate maze of pipes and the prison's tunnel system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Approaching the first significantly tight squeeze, the end of B block leading into the C block area.

KAYE: About halfway through the tape --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost nine, almost 10 minutes in.

KAYE: -- our first glimpse of the hole that takes them from one prison building to the next. Investigators squeeze themselves through it to reach the other side.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bunch of lanes.

KAYE: They push forward, retracing the prisoners' steps, and just like them, dealing with unbearable heat.


KAYE: At 14 minutes, they're underneath the asphalt yard between buildings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've entered into the block area and entered into the pipe-chased tunnels adjacent to B block and C block.

KAYE: It's a maze that even these investigators have trouble mastering. There's piping hot steam. At times, it's hard to breathe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're basically southbound from that tunnel.

KAYE: About 17 minutes in, they reach the now legendary steam pipe used by the escapees. This is where it gets tricky. Sweat had told investigators he spent nearly a month cutting holes in this steam pipe, all part of his secret nightly trips spent mapping out their elaborate escape.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to get in this pipe. It's going to lead to the exit. And attempting to extricate myself from the steam pipe, which is not easy.

KAYE: And then, the homestretch, passing one chained-up manhole cover and making their way to the next one, the very same manhole Richard Matt and David Sweat emerged from, kicking off a three-week manhunt.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


[12:00:14] BOLDUAN: Just amazing.