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American Beheaded by ISIS; Hostage Standoff Underway; Violence in Gaza After Ceasefire Fails; Attorney General Heading to Ferguson

Aired August 20, 2014 - 07:30   ET


PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: By the way, I think that's probably one reason why you have a native English speaker on the video. This is not by accident. We've got more than 1,000 Europeans going to places like Syria and Iraq to fight. This is a message to extremists in Europe that you can penetrate the core of the Islamic State even if you have a British accent.

MCHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: You think that this is not just a fringe group that is going to have a hard time sort of rallying the base of Muslim followers and believers. You think that this -- these guys have a stronghold then?

MUDD: No, I think they will have difficulties rallying across the Islamic world. You'll have a lot of Islamic leaders come out against this. This in fact I think over the long term will undercut the Islamic state. We've seen this repeatedly over decades with Islamic groups.

Once they gain power, they can't contain themselves. They feel compelled to go out and prove how extreme they are, but in the short term I think there's a subculture within the Islamic state, like what we've seen in Al Shabab in Somalia, for example.

Like what we've seen with the abduction of those Nigerian girls in Northern Nigeria, a subculture that says the more extreme we are, the more likely it is we can draw recruits from places like Europe and elsewhere in the Middle East.

PEREIRA: So counterterrorism officials need to be keeping a close eye on this because we know, you know, you look back to Osama Bin Laden, he was very vocal about his hatred for America and maybe it was not taken as seriously as it could because look what happened to us on 9/11. We were essentially caught off guard. What can we learn here? What can we learn and go forward with?

MUDD: Well, in the short term, I think we have to worry about this group because if you've got that many Europeans, again, people talk about 1,000 plus. You had the director of the FBI within the past few weeks saying we've got maybe more than 100 Americans in this battlefield that is in Syria and Iraq, maybe more than 100, maybe more than 300, we don't know.

The message here to me if I were sitting back in the threat room, we used to sit there every day at 7:15 in the morning at the FBI, would be if you've got a European or an American, who is willing to cut somebody's head off in Syria.

What's the likelihood that some segment of this cell is also trying to send people home to places like New York or London to blow up subways? I think the likelihood of that is high.

PEREIRA: That's where we have to be very concerned about and should be worried about obviously. So we look at situation in Iraq. We know there are airstrikes going on. Americans carrying out airstrikes there.

We hear about this threat. We have essentially another American's life being held in the balance. How does that affect or does it affect America's policy on the ground and in terms of military action there in Iraq?

MUDD: I don't think it can affect American policy. If I'm sitting there in the situation room today, I'm saying, look, the core of this group's ideology is not dissimilar from al Qaeda. They have tremendous, by the way, differences, between this group and al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda views these guys as too extreme, that's another story, but my point is this group is already violently anti-American, whether or not they say it or not, whether or not they talk about Obama and the air strikes in Iraq or not, so whether we choose to bomb to my mind will not affect their ideology.

They will come out against us regardless of what happens, despite the tragedy of this, you can't let this distract us from the overall mission, which is defending Iraq against the rise of people who are at their core anti-American.

PEREIRA: Maybe we can pick up that other conversation about al Qaeda saying these guys are too extreme for them another time. Philip Mudd, we appreciate you getting up early to talk through this, albeit horrifying development out of Iraq. Thanks so much.

Next up on NEW DAY, we are following some breaking news here at home, a hostage standoff under way right now in a Chicago suburb. Children among those being held by gunmen. We are going to take you live to the scene.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news this morning, a hostage standoff is under way in a Chicago suburb. A pair of gunmen took two adults and six children hostage in a Harvey, Illinois home Tuesday afternoon.

Let's get right to Ted Rowlands who is live in Harvey, Illinois near the scene. What do you know, Ted?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, it's a very tense standoff that has now been going on for an incredible 15 hours. There are still two children and two adults in a home behind me and over a few blocks. This entire area, as you can imagine, has been cordoned off. Police have been negotiating non-stop with the two suspect inside of this house. Now, this started about 15 hours ago with a robbery inside the home, and when police first arrived, the suspects engaged with police hitting two officers. One was hit in the arm, broke his arm, other was grazed.

At that point the negotiations started. They originally, as you mentioned, had six children inside the house with them. Over this time period, they have been releasing the children one by one, and now they are down to two children, two adults, but the standoff continues.

BOLDUAN: Ted, I mean, it is good news that some have been released, some of the hostages have been released, but how serious is police taking this? How serious is the threat to their lives? As you said, two children and two adults are still in there.

ROWLANDS: Yes, they are taking it very seriously and time is on their side. They are not trying to push these individuals. They don't obviously want anybody to get hurt, and their main focus here is the two children and the two adults still inside this home with these two suspects who are obviously armed and who have already shown that they are willing to go down with a fight.

They immediately engaged police with a gun battle, so it's a very tense situation. Schools have been closed in this area today because of what's going on here, and streets have been -- have been closed down, as I said earlier, giving negotiators time and space.

And again, they say time is on their side. If it takes all day, two days, whatever it takes, they just don't want these individuals hurt.

BOLDUAN: As we mentioned, this has been going on for quite some time now, 15 hours has been going on, as you mentioned. What do you know about the sirens that police are using to try to keep the hostage takers awake?

ROWLANDS: Yes, well, we've been hearing them all morning. Originally the hostage takers and the police were negotiating through an open window. Now they are doing it over a cell phone, and whatever they perceived that the hostage takers aren't engaging in the negotiation process, they are blasting sirens.

These guys have been up all night and now into the morning. We've heard the sirens periodically every 15, 20 minutes. They will start going off. Just literally blasting the sirens outside the house to make sure that the suspects are awake.

BOLDUAN: All right, Ted Rowlands is on the scene. The hostage situation still under way in a Chicago suburb in Harvey, Illinois. We'll be getting back to Ted throughout the morning. Of course, Ted, thanks so much.

PEREIRA: Want to turn now to the Middle East where chances of a long- term peace agreement appear quite dim. Overnight violence erupting once again in Gaza. Israeli air strikes reportedly killing 14 people, wounding at least 100 more after Hamas launched dozens of rockets into densely populated areas in Israel claiming the Israelis had opened a, quote, "Gateway to hell."

CNN's John Vause is live in Jerusalem with more on this -- John.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Michaela, since that temporary cease-fire was violated, the Israeli military says there's been more than 80 rockets fired from Gaza. In fact, there have been multiple warnings, almost every hour especially for the southern part of Israel, there's been some damage reported, but so far no one has been seriously hurt. And in the early hours of this morning, there was this.

In Jerusalem, there were warning sirens. There was an incoming rocket. People took cover next to their cars. They huddled up against walls. Hamas also fired long range rockets towards Tel Aviv. Among their targets, they say, was Israel's airport, the Ben Gurion Airport.

We also understand according to the Israelis that a barrage of about 20 rockets were fired in quick succession overnight and that could have been retaliation after what appears to be an Israeli targeted strike on the military commander of Hamas.

His wife and son were killed when a five-story building was flattened. There's no word if he survived that. Israelis are not commenting if they were specifically targeting him.

We've also been told from the Israeli point of view that is just one of 80 strikes, which the military here has carried out killing at least 19 Palestinians, according to officials in Gaza since that cease-fire collapsed on Tuesday because the three rockets, which were fired from Gaza -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: Obviously putting talks of a long-term deal for any sort of cease-fire on hold for now, but they do continue in Egypt. John Vause, thank you so much for that concerning the scene that the violence has stemmed and picked up again.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. It is also money time this morning. Chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, is here. What should we be paying attention to?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Watching stocks approaching record highs here. Futures barely moving this morning, guys, but it's almost impossible to keep the stocks down lately. The Nasdaq now at a 14-year high. The Dow and the S&P 500 are nearing records as well.

Also, Apple, look at this, the stock closed just above $100 a share yesterday, the highest ever for Apple taking into account a recent stock split. Shares have nearly doubled. Apple shares have doubled since last year. IPhone sales are strong. The iPhone 6 is expect later this year.

And David Plouffe taking charge of a new campaign against big tax interests. President Obama's former campaign manager is joining Uber. He'll be selling policy makers on the benefits of the car service. Uber have angered taxi drivers and they say they need a campaign manager and he's their man.

BOLDUAN: They got a good one.

ROMANS: Surprising move. Isn't it?

BOLDUAN: They all make some interesting moves though.

ROMANS: Usually they go to banks, think tanks.

BOLDUAN: There's been talk though that Robert Gibbs would go to Google at one point I think.

ROMANS: A lot of energy in tech.

BOLDUAN: That's right.

ROMANS: Maybe that's where they go.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Christine.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, Attorney General Eric Holder heading to Ferguson, Missouri, today to look into the Michael Brown investigation. We're going to talk with Holder's spokesman about the case and the attorney general's role.


CUOMO: Welcome back. We are live in Ferguson, Missouri, this morning. Overnight, protests took a heated turn. Police and crowds did face off after police say water bottles were thrown at officers. This happened hours before the arrival of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Now he is looking into the Justice Department civil rights investigation into Michael Brown's death, but as the investigation begin to take form many are wondering where is the president and what will really happen in this investigation? Is it more show or go?

With us we have CNN "CROSSFIRE" host Van Jones and former spokesman and top aide to Attorney General Eric Holder, Matthew Miller. I'll start with you, Van.


CUOMO: You're here on the ground and hear what the community leaders say that they want and what this community seems to need. Do you believe that Eric Holder coming here is important symbolically or important substantively?

JONES: More important symbolically. They already have 40 feds on the ground. Interviewing lots of people, but this is the top law enforcement agent in the country showing up in Ferguson. That sends a big signal. However, people on the ground say that's not enough. They actually want President Obama to come.

This is a traumatized community. You have people who saw a dead d laying in the street for hours and hours uncovered. You have grandmas that have been tear gassed. If they can go to Newtown they can come here.

CUOMO: What do you say?

JONES: I would love to see the president come and elevate this issue. This is a president on the campaign trail who spoke to the issues of race. Spoke to the families of Newtown. Spoke to that issue in a powerful way.

We've had a summer of slaughter and change in the black community both from police violence. The president needs to talk to this community and talk about how we go from the sensationalism to real solutions.

CUOMO: Where is he?

JONES: I hope he comes? Holder coming here is a very, very big deal. I think it's a down payment. We've got a big, big problem in the black community. You have the unemployment rate, a double the white rate. You have police and street violence out of control.

If you had a white president, a purple president, a Smurf president, any president needs to step forward and say how can we come together as a country and move the needle on these problems.

CUOMO: Matt Miller, the attorney general comes here. That will signal to people that there will be action to look forward ahead. Is that a little bit of a false expectation?

MATTHEW MILLER, FORMER SPOKESMAN TO ERIC HOLDER: It depends what you think action. When you launch an investigation like this, you never promise outcomes. You promise a full, fair independent review of the facts and that's something clearly people in the community in Ferguson didn't think they were going to get from the local police, from local prosecutors.

There's a long history of grievances there, and so what Eric Holder can do is promise no matter what you think of the local authorities, we are going to fairly and independently review what happened here.

And if there's a basis for charges to be brought, and that is a high bar, it's a very high bar to bring federal charges, but what he'll say is if there's a basis to bring charges we won't hesitate to do so. We'll do it aggressively.

CUOMO: But isn't the truth that the prosecutors hear that the people supposedly don't have faith or trust in, have a much more likely chance of bringing charges against this officer than the attorney general of the United States?

MILLER: Yes, absolutely and that's why both investigations need to continue. The local investigation needs to continue, and the community and the media need to pay attention to how it's being conducted and hold their feet to the fire, make sure it is being conducted aggressively. But at the same time, why Eric Holder hasn't launched a civil rights investigation so while the local investigation with all the tools and all the statutes available to local prosecutors is being conducted, there is a federal investigation.

At the same time looking into where there's the possibility for bringing federal charges and sometimes, don't forget sometimes there can be a spill over effect. It's not by launching a federal investigation, obviously you have the chance to bring charges.

But it does send a signal to local prosecutors and local investigators that they need to be on their best behavior, too, and need to be aggressive.

CUOMO: Right. Quick take on this, Trayvon Martin, we heard the same thing then, big investigation launched, nothing since. Set the people up for disappointment.

MILLER: You know, as I said earlier, you can never promise outcomes before you launch investigations, and justice is served not by promising outcomes, but by launching full, fair investigations.

And they don't always go where you want them to, but they go where you think you can prove a case to a jury and the Justice Department didn't believe there was a chance there and that may be the outcome here. We don't know yet.

CUOMO: Van, let's look at the actual case here. There's a lot of analysis going on of the officer, right, we just heard Darrel Parks, the attorney for the family saying we discovered some things about him you'll find important. He's dangling, part of his job, right? Is the character of this police officer, how he conducted himself in the past, other scenarios, relevant?

JONES: I think it's relevant. Look in this situation everything is relevant.

CUOMO: Everything is relevant. So we've been told that the deceased, Michael Brown, only 18 years old, had no criminal record. His criminal record as an adult would only be able to start at 18.

Darrel Parks when asked did he have a juvenile record doesn't say no. He says whatever it was, wasn't relevant. Does that mean no record wasn't exactly true and is that relevant?

JONES: Well first of all, I think that if in fact there's something in the juvenile record that is not good from a political point of view, from a media point of view and as a responsible agent, they should get that out there early. I don't think this should be a litigation of whether this kid was perfect an angel. If it becomes that and later on turns out that he wasn't that's bad.

CUOMO: You're blaming the victim just for asking the question.

JONES: Listen, I think, my mom used to say the truth will stand up by itself. The reality is get any bad facts out there early but the question is, did that officer, when he shot this young man, six times unarmed, know anything about his juvenile record. No, he didn't.

So from my point of view ultimately it's not dispositive. Is it relevant, yes, but ultimately I don't think it's dispositive and I this I that any time you've got an unarmed person who is shot six times including once in the head and the officer didn't know that young man from anybody else, some of the juvenile questions are going to become less relevant.

CUOMO: So that's why the investigation is so important as Matt Miller says it means that everybody will be on their best behavior, getting the most information so we know the most and Van Jones pointed out local leaders stepping up their game as well, organizing so that this investigation becomes as much about change as it does about truth.

Matt Miller, Van Jones, thank you very much. This conversation has to continue as we learn more. Right now, let's take a break. Coming up on NEW DAY, much more on the protests in Ferguson overnight. We'll tell you what happened, and we'll speak with the police chief, Tom Jackson coming up.


CUOMO: Breaking overnight, a night of peace in Missouri, but not without some clashes. Protesters taking on police, more than 40 arrested, but no tear gas, no scenes of large scale violence. We're live in Ferguson as the community takes a step toward peace.

BOLDUAN: Happening today, Attorney General Eric Holder arriving in Ferguson, Missouri, promising a fair and impartial investigation. A grand jury could also take up the case today.

PEREIRA: Terror threat, a gruesome development on the war on ISIS, the terror group beheading an American and vowing to do more if U.S. air strikes against them don't stop. We have the latest.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.

Good morning, welcome to NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, August 20th, tensions remain here in Ferguson, but the protests, they stayed largely peaceful overnight here and that's important to note. You got to take progress where we find it, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely right, Chris. There are new developments we'll be following in the investigation. For now let's talk about more of the protests overnight with Chris.

CUOMO: They really are what we're using to take the temperature of how this community is dealing with the situation, and despite the fact that protests did get heated, there was no tear gas, no smoke canisters, no shots fired.