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Donald Trump Defends Statements on Banning Muslims from U.S.; Interview with Presidential Candidate Lindsey Graham; GOP Rivals Denounce Trump's Muslim Travel Ban. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired December 08, 2015 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: -- leaders and candidates roundly reject him. Still he's made gains by bucking the norm in the past. Will it happen this time?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Now, interestingly Trump's comments are drawing scorn from both sides of the political aisle with foes from Clinton to even Dick Cheney banning together to put a dent in Trump. They are following comments that many believe could put a dent in his frontrunner Secret Service, though that remains to be seen. Trump was steadfast in his belief that the ban is needed. Let's listen to what he told Chris.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have no doubt that we have no choice but to do exactly what I said until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on, because we have a problem in this country. You look at Paris. You look at the carnage that took place in Paris. But look at Paris beyond that. Paris is no longer the beautiful, gorgeous city. Paris has a tremendous lot of problems. They have areas in Paris that have been radicalized where the police refuse to go in and look at it.

CUOMO: We are well aware.

TRUMP: You look at London. You look at other places.

CUOMO: We are well aware. But Mr. Trump here is the point.

TRUMP: Wait a minute Chris. You're well aware, you say that so routinely, you're well aware.

CUOMO: Because I've been on the ground. I've been in those communities. I've talked to the French authorities.

TRUMP: -- total out of control, it's so dangerous.

CUOMO: That's what you say. The police all over that country right now and they're doing a lot of policing. But more importantly to your point, I would say it is the opposite reality. You see the French being more embracing of people around them. You see them living their lives. You see them refusing to accept fear as a basis for behavior. Whereas here what you are doing in a country that is known as a symbol of freedom is saying we are too afraid to be inclusive. We are going to reject the promise of America and ban an entire religion even though we need to do things on a case-by-case basis. And it seems as though you are acting out of fear, not making us look strong, and rejecting what America is all about.

TRUMP: I'm talking about a temporary situation until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.

CUOMO: The timing is irrelevant.

TRUMP: Listen, we had the World Trade Center number one. We had World Trade Center number two. We had many other things happen. Then the other day the California attack where these two animals, they're total animals that became radicalized, and they wanted to do far more damage than that.

What's even more disturbing in terms of looking into the future is other people knew what they were doing. There were bombs, pipe bombs laying all over the floor. There were other people who knew what was going on, Chris, and nobody reported it. They used the excuse they didn't want to be racial profilers. They wanted to be politically correct. By the way, the people that said that, I think in their own way they're guilty. But the mother knew. The parents knew. Everybody knew. Now even the father is under watch.

CUOMO: You just used politically correct. This isn't about being politically correct.

TRUMP: -- and we should solve it because you can have many more World Trade Centers if you don't solve it, many, many more, and probably beyond the World Trade Center.

CUOMO: I don't see the point of scaring people with the possible when the reality is we haven't had another World Trade Center. You and I both lived through it. We both lost people there. We know what the real deal is. We know who celebrated and we didn't. We know what's scaring people and what the reality is. We haven't had those kinds of attacks. The security network has held up.

And one of the reasons is our unity as a people. And I don't understand how you can see banning an entire religion as a way of saying anything other than we are what ISIS says we are. We want a war against Islam. That is who America is. And as you know, or you should know, that is not who America is Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Chris, we are at war with radical Islamic terrorism.

CUOMO: Right, not all Islam.

TRUMP: Whether you like it or whether you don't like it.

CUOMO: No all Islam.

TRUMP: We have a president that made a fool out of himself the other night. He doesn't even mention the term. He refuses to use the term. Nobody understands why. Hillary Clinton because she's afraid of the president because of her e-mail scandal, Hillary Clinton refuses to use the term. If you are not going to even use the term you are not going to solve the problem.

CUOMO: I don't get how you connect these dots --


TRUMP: Get it through your head, they are looking to do great damage. You look at what's going on in the Middle East. They are chopping off heads. They are looking to come over to other places, too, and they want the jihad. It's very simple. They want the jihad.

CUOMO: What does that mean, "they want the jihad?" You can't just throw out notions without any kind of checking on them. This is what got you wound up on "The Philadelphia Inquirer" front page like Hitler. They've got you in a personage of Hitler right now, a characterization of that --

TRUMP: "The Philadelphia Inquirer," another newspaper going out of business.

CUOMO: I know you're going to disparage them and criticize them. I'm waiting for that as well. But here the point --

TRUMP: The Center for Security Policy released data showing 25 percent of those polls agree, now, these are Muslims living in the United States, 25 percent of the Muslims living in the United States agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as part of the global jihad.

[08:05:15] CUOMO: Donald, we wouldn't even put that poll on the air. It's a hack organization with a guy who was dismissed from the conservative circles for conspiracy theories. You know that.


CAMEROTA: And joining us for reaction to that interview, Republican presidential candidate Senator Lindsey Graham. Senator, great to have you're here in studio.


CAMEROTA: I know you're bemused and amused and annoyed, and what is your reaction to what Donald Trump says?

GRAHAM: Disgusted. I want to talk to the Trump supporters for a minute. I don't know who you are, and I don't know what you like about this. I think what you like about him is he appears to be strong when the rest of us weak. He's a very successful businessman and he is going to make everything great. He's going to take all the problems of the world and put them in a box and make them better. That's what he's selling.

Here is what you are buying. He's a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot. He doesn't represent my party. He doesn't represent the values that the men and women who wear the uniform are fighting for. I've been in the Air Force for 33 years. I retired this June. He's the ISIL man of the year by the way. I just got back from Iraq a week ago this Monday.

CAMEROTA: I know. We interviewed you live from this there. You were with Senator John McCain and you were going into Iraq to get a status report. What were they saying there about all of this?

GRAHAM: The military leadership and the diplomatic corps. We have young men and women in harm's way all over the world, particularly in the Mideast. They were concerned about this rhetoric because the enemy will use it against us. So what was a concern last week has to be DEFCON four this week, because what Mr. Trump is doing, and I don't think he has a clue about anything. He's just trying to get his numbers up and get the biggest reaction he can, he's putting our soldiers and diplomats at risk. He's empowering the enemy. And this ban, if it's actually enacted, would take people who have been interpreters who came to our side in Iraq and Afghanistan who are under siege in their own countries and basically becomes a death sentence for them.

CAMEROTA: You're saying he's empowering the enemy. You draw a direct line between his rhetoric and what? Recruitment for ISIS?

GRAHAM: Yes, they use that to turn the region against us. Our diplomats and military commanders were very worried when the guy was going to burn the Quran. Remember that, the guy in Florida? I've been there 36 times. I can tell you most Muslims, most people in the faith reject this radical ideology. The reason we'll win is because very few fathers and mothers want to turn their daughters over the ISIL.

The way you win the war, just don't kill terrorists. You invest in the lives of others. Young people in the Mideast are less sectarian. What's what we should be investing, giving a young women a voice about her children in the Mideast is the ultimate antidote to terrorism. That is how you win the war, a hopeful life versus a glorious death.

And what Mr. Trump is doing is undercutting everything we stand for. He's undercutting how you win the war. He's empowering the enemy and he's putting people at risk who are serving our country.

Now, he's never served. Going to a military high school, Donald, is really not military service. You have never worn the uniform. You have never been on a forward operating base. You have never been at a PRT as a member of the Department of Justice or the Department of State. You've never been a USAID worker going into some devastated, poor area in Iraq and Afghanistan trying to help our country by helping others. So knock out off. You're putting people at risk.

CAMEROTA: You say Donald Trump doesn't represent your party, but in fact he represents 36 percent of the people who plan to vote in your party. How do you explain if he is the frontrunner? If what you are saying is true and you have used the strongest language yet, and so if he is race-baiting, as you've said, xenophobic, as you've said, how do you explain it?

GRAHAM: A religious bigot. CAMEROTA: A religious bigot, as you've said, how do you explain

that 36 percent of your party are interested.

GRAHAM: Look at our history. Look at the history of America. There's always been a market for this. This is the dirty little secret. No Irish need apply. Cut their pony tails off. Put them all in jail after Pearl Harbor. We're not a perfect people but we're a good people. And the president of the United States needs to bring this together. The president of the United States needs to win a war that we can't afford to lose. He needs to understand the war, or she does. So what I'm saying, there is always a market for this.

But I've never been more proud than I am right now of what my party chairman said in the deep, deep south. And I know there are people clapping when he says this kind of stuff, but if you are on the front lines of this war you are not clapping. You are ducking.

CAMEROTA: What does your party chairman say?

GRAHAM: He just renounced this as being un-American. I'd rather lose without Donald Trump than try to win with him. I wish he would leave the party. I don't care if he runs as an independent. If we lose the 2016 election, so be it.

[08:10:00] This is not about an election. This is about the future of the country and our party. And they will write the history of these times. And I want to be in a category of one percent who said, BS. This is not who we are as a party, who we are as a nation. And I'm calling on Ted Cruz. You're trying to have it both ways here.

CAMEROTA: Let me play for you what Ted Cruz did say about this, because so many people from Dick Cheney, as we've said, to Marco Rubio to you, you have used the strongest language against what Donald Trump has said in terms of the Muslim ban. Let me play for you what Ted Cruz has said and you can tell me if it goes far enough. Listen to this.


SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, that is not my policy. I've introduced legislation in the Senate that would put in place a three year moratorium on refugees coming from countries where ISIS or Al Qaeda control a substantial amount of territory. I think that is the approach we should take. And we need a commander in chief who is focused on keeping this nation safe.


GRAHAM: This is not a policy debate, Ted. We need a commander in chief that would honor the 3,500 American-Muslims in uniform. When I was in Afghanistan in the second election I was escorted by a young sergeant in the army who grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan, became an American citizen. He took me to their old high school where they were voting. He was crying like a baby. All of us were crying like a baby because he was so proud of his new country and his old country.

So what Ted Cruz did is ignore the moral imperative here to speak out. He's trying to get all the Trump people when Trump falls. He's trying to get all the Carson people when they fall. What I'm trying to do is be a president worthy of a great nation and a great party. So this doesn't cut it for me. This is not a policy debate, Ted. This is about you and us and our character as a party. Up your game. Condemn it because it needs to be condemned.

CAMEROTA: You feel so strongly about this, is there anything that you as the Republican candidate can do with your rivals so, I don't know, ban together? What is your suggestion for what you plan to do?

GRAHAM: To speak out not in a policy way but condemn this rhetoric as being un-American, not who we are as a party. And I want you to understand something. I go to the Mideast a lot, 36 times. Nobody is talking about this. He is helping the enemy of this nation. He is empowering radical Islam. And if he knew anything about the world at all, he would know that most Muslims reject this ideology and they have died in -- by the thousands trying to combat this radical ideology. You are undercutting their efforts. You're slanting their sacrifice. You are marginalizing what they are trying to do to make the world a better place.

You know how you win this war? You side with people in the faith who reject this ideology, which is 99 percent. And do you know how you make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go hell.

CAMEROTA: Senator Lindsey Graham, we appreciate being on NEW DAY. Thanks so much for coming in here. Let's get over to Michaela.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, let's look at some other headlines for you're here. FBI investigators say the massacre of 14 in San Bernardino last week was well planned and that those attackers were well trained. The husband and wife killers honed their skills at nearby gun ranges even just days before that attack. Dan Simon is live in San Bernardino with a lot to get to, Dan.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Michaela, investigators say both of these shooters were radicalized. In the days before the shooting they went to a shooting range and practiced their aim. We also know that when authorities when to the home they found 19 pipes used to make bombs. That's up from the original number we were given, which was 12. We are also being told that in terms of the way this investigation is being carried out that hundreds of pieces of evidence have been collected, hundreds of interviews have taken place. This is how the FBI is characterizing the suspects, the shooters.


DAVID BOWDITCH, FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR IN CHARGE: As the investigation has progressed, we have learned and believe that both subjects were radicalized and have been for quite some time. Now how did that happen? The question we're trying to get at is, how did that happen, and by whom and where did that happen? And I will tell you right now we don't know those answers at this point. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SIMON: Well the FBI is working with their foreign counterparts to build out extensive profiles. One question that has emerged is whether or not this couple has received financing. And finally, in a very chilling twist, we know that county workers underwent active shooter training in the very same building where the shooting took place one year ago. We're not sure if the shooter Syed Farook took place or was part of that training. Chris, we'll send it back to you.

CUOMO: Dan Simon, thank you very much.

This morning, testimony resuming in the trial of William Porter. He's one six Baltimore officers on trial in the death of Freddie Gray. The state medical examiner testifying that Gray could have survived his spinal injury if he were given medical help when he asked for it.

[08:15:02] The judge also blasting the prosecution for failing to reveal Gray mentioned back problems to police after an earlier incident a month before his death.

PEREIRA: For the first time ever, China has declared an air pollution red alert. That's the highest possible level. It will remain in effect until Thursday.

The air quality is said to be so unhealthy in Beijing. Schools are closed. Outdoor construction projects are being halted. Limits are now being forced on car use and even some factories are being ordered to shut down.

CAMEROTA: We have to tell you about this very emotional moment. It was for the California rock band Eagles of Death Metal. It happened less than just a moment after their show in France was cut short by terror. They returned to the stage in Paris Monday night.


BONO, U2: They were robbed of their stage three weeks ago. And we would like to offer them ours tonight. Would you welcome the Eagles of Death Metal.



CAMEROTA: That was Bono introducing the group. And together, they played Patty Smith's "People Have the Power" alongside U2. Of course, this is the first time the Eagles of Death Metal has performed since the terror attack. Listen to this.


CUOMO: A lot more than a song going on on that stage. Really big moment. Gracious of U2 but also a metaphor for the Parisians there. We were talking about it earlier. They are refusing to live in fear. They are getting back to their lives.

PEREIRA: And music is such a powerful tool for healing it, right? That is -- it always has been. It can soothe the soul in ways that the other things can.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. And you know how much I love lyrics. I sing unfortunately all the time.

PEREIRA: She does a lot.

CAMEROTA: And I looked up the lyrics to Patty Smith's song. It says the people have the power to redeem the work of fools. It's so -- it makes me so emotional actually that they made it back on stage. It's so great.

CUOMO: And with that, we'll take a little break and then get back to Donald Trump's stunning proposal -- keep the Muslims out of the U.S. He was here defending on NEW DAY defending it. And now, we're going to test it as an idea and as an argument, ahead.



[08:20:55] SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You win this war, you side with people in the faith who reject this ideology, which is 99 percent. And do you know how you make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.


CUOMO: Direct language, not the most friendly. Lindsey Graham reacting to Donald Trump after suggesting that all Muslims should be kept out of the country.

We just interviewed Donald Trump. He made the case for why he believes, at least temporarily all Muslims must be kept out of America. The question is, will this help him? He's been helped in the polls by going outside the norm before, but is this too far? Depends on who you ask?

We ask "Daily Beast" contributor and host of the Dean Obeidallah show, Dean Obediallah, to come on and CNN political commentator and former Reagan White House political director, Jeffrey Lord, friend of show and friend of Donald Trump.

Good to have you both, gentlemen.



CUOMO: Dean, how are you feeling about that? You're a Muslim.

OBEIDALLAH: I'm just happy to be in the country to be honest. Thank God I was born here. Or who knows what would have happened.

I think that -- this is not surprising. Donald Trump starting the campaign demonizing Latinos, saying Mexicans are sending their rapist, he defended a black activist being beaten up at his event, he mocked the disabled reporter, he's attacked Muslims now.

Don't forget, not just Muslims coming out of the country, he said Muslim Americans, we should have warrantless surveillance, meaning we should have less rights because of our faith. And now, he's out there reading a poll by as an Islamophobe and saying Muslims want, 25 percent of Americans want to kill other Americans in this country.

It's like about the poll about the Klan would have done about African-Americans going, this is what it's about. This is how ridiculous Donald Trump is. It's irresponsible and it's dangerous and it's truly un-American.

I have to thank Senator Lindsey Graham for just saying, and numerous state GOP chairs, New Hampshire, South Carolina saying the same thing. It's un-American. That's what Donald Trump is about.

CUOMO: Jeffrey, what can make this proposal OK?

LORD: Chris, I just hear this business about it being un- American. We talked about Franklin Roosevelt. Franklin Roosevelt got his authority to do this from what is called the Alien Enemies Act from, Chris, 1798, written into law, signed into law by John Adams. It is, Chris, still on the book this is minute.

Senator Graham has been in Congress for how many decades? Why hasn't he repealed the law?

According to Senator Graham, because the law is on the book and was used first against French immigrants and then British immigrants, then eventually German, Italian and Japanese immigrants. He Senator Graham is a xenophobe and a racist and a bigot because he lets this thing sit here and it is sitting there in the presidency of Barack Obama, 217 years later.

I mean, this is just mind-boggling, the hypocrisy.

CUOMO: Jeffrey, you have my head spinning around right know. If it was a bad idea then, it was a bad idea now to exclude an entire group of people.

LORD: Chris, you were saying and Senator Graham is saying that this is not who we are. I am telling you this law is on the books now. It is who we are.


CUOMO: There are a lot of funky laws on the books.

LORD: It has nothing to do with Muslims. Nothing.

CUOMO: But you know that there are a lot of funky laws on the books. That's not what you want to pin this, too. You want to pin this --


LORD: I don't make things up. No, no, we're not -- Chris, I love you but I'm not going let you get away with this. This is on the books this minute. If this is so objectionable, get it off now. Senator Graham has had all these decades in Congress, he's done not one thing --


CUOMO: All right. I got you.

Jeffrey Lord is saying the law is there, so this is all OK. Is that OK with you? Is this a straw man?

OBEIDALLAH: No, it's not. I think the hypocrisy of Donald Trump, I've written an article of "Daily Beast" out today showing in the Middle East, he loves Muslims. He's got his multimillion dollar business partners, he was in Dubai last year, palling around with Muslims. But in America, he says something else.

And I want to know about his business partners there. In the Middle East and UAE, you can give money to Hamas. They are not considered a terrorist group. Has Donald Trump's partners given money to Hamas? We need him to answer that. Has Donald Trump's partners cheered for 9/11? Because Donald Trump said, worldwide, Muslim cheered for 9/11.

I want to know his business, and Donald Trump said now, he's looking at hotels in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Saudi Arabia where 15 of the 19 hijackers came from? Donald Trump is now going to do business with them.

[08:25:01] Qatar, which publicly funds Hamas, and the leaders of Hamas has been there.

These are the people Donald Trump has no problem doing business with because in the Middle East, he has Muslim friends, because this is about Muslim money. Here in America, the GOP base doesn't like that. I wonder if they're going to pause now when they see Donald Trump in pictures palling around with Muslims over there. Maybe not. We will see.

CUOMO: Jeffrey, the business of Donald Trump aside, when we're looking at political implications of this. You do have a galvanized force against you. It does raise a specter of whether or not he's be hoisted on his own petard within the GOP, that they will use this as an excuse to distance themselves for him.

How do you think that plays out?

LORD: I really do think this kind of thing will help, because when he talks about common sense, people out there understand what he's saying. We're not anti-Muslim for heaven sakes. We're simply saying if somebody suggested to me this morning on 9/11, we grounded every airplane in the sky until we could figure out what was going on, and then things resumed.

All this is, is the human version of that. Figure out what's going on. It is not anti-Muslim. I mean, that is just ridiculous. That is a straw man that people set up to pound away.

And I think therefore there is a lot of common sense and people will respond to this because they get it.

CUOMO: Jeffrey, let me ask you something.

LORD: Yes, sir?

CUOMO: If it's not about Muslims and not liking Muslims, or having some negativity towards Muslims, I don't know what it's about, doing the ban. And what I can't understand is if it makes so much good sense, why am I so sad about this? Why am I embarrassed by this? Why do I feel that this is not the country as we understand it to be at its best?

LORD: The country as we understand it is as I said, this other thing is part of the law right now and it has always been part of the law, all except for nine years of the existence of this country under the Constitution.

Chris, there is evil in the world. It doesn't matter whether it's coming from a radical Muslim or a German Nazi or a French revolutionary who was into beheading people back in the late 1700s. There is evil in the world. And you stand up to evil.

And there are plenty of good Muslims. And as a matter of fact I've met Dean. I think he's terrific. I just think he's into these straw man things. This is crazy.

OBEIDALLAH: Donald Trump is saying no Muslims coming in. And it sounds like Donald Trump is scared. We need a leader that is not scared. That's not fearful and won't do a knee jerk reaction saying, all of one race, all of one minority has to be banned or suffered. What if he was president?


LORD: Dean, you have the liberal zealotry over minority groups. This is not about, quote/unquote, "minorities". This is about people --

OBEIDALLAH: Let's look at the big picture, 65 percent of the mass shooters in the last 30 years have been white men. We're not going to hear Donald Trump men.

LORD: Are they on a mission for white society? Are they on a mission for a white society?


OBEIDALLAH: Every day, 30 people killed by gun violence. Donald Trump won't talk about that. Why? It doesn't play with the GOP base.

CUOMO: It's all apples and oranges.

OBEIDALLAH: He doesn't talk about it at all.

CUOMO: You have the extreme Islamists who are wanting to come and cut off American heads. That's the thing. You do have that group, but it is extending that definition to all Muslims that creates the problem, Jeff.

OBEIDALLAH: And it isn't a backlash. And, Jeffrey, what you are doing is creating, furthering the narrative that Muslims in America are not like every other American. Somehow we're a threat.

CUOMO: No, no, no.

OBEIDALLAH: Donald Trump is on a campaign, Jeffrey, Donald Trump is reading a poll from Frank Gaffney, who's the despicable, notorious, anti Islamophobe. And that is not my words, that's the words of the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center. And ADL came out very harshly against Trump's words yesterday saying we know what it means as Jews to be scapegoated by someone in the quest for power.

LORD: The Anti-Defamation League --

CUOMO: Last point, Jeffrey.

LORD: The Anti-Defamation League praised Donald Trump for opening up Mar-A-Largo to Jews and blacks.

OBEIDALLAH: That was the past. That's today. This is different. Things have changed.

LORD: No, no, it's not different. Human beings are human beings, Dean. They can be evil. It doesn't make any difference whether they're Muslims or congregationist or anything else.

CUOMO: You just want to act at your best at all times. And that is what this raises the questions about.

Jeffrey Lord, thank you for the historical context and legal context. Love having you on the show.

LORD: Yes, sir. And thank, Dean.

CUOMO: And, Dean, as always. Appreciate the conversation. Tough one today. Tough one today.


PEREIRA: Well, Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, is refusing to take Donald Trump's talk. In fact, the two billionaires have been trading jabs on Twitter. We'll tell you who got the last word.