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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
ISIS Making Gains in Iraq; Hillary Clinton: "I Want Those Emails Out." Aired 7-8:00p ET
Aired May 19, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:10] ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, breaking news, the White House tonight under fire over its strategy to defeat ISIS. The President and his National Security team met today. My guest, former CIA Director General Michael Hayden, plus 170 men charged in the deadly biker gang shootout in Texas. Police say they're not cooperating. We have new details about the massacre.
OUTFRONT tonight, the former leader of hell's angels. And we'll take you on one man's controversial hunt for the endangered black rhino. Because the story you'll see only here. We went on that hunt, and saw that kill. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. I begin tonight OUTFRONT with the breaking news. The White House tonight under fire for its ISIS strategy as the terror group is pushing ever closer to Baghdad. The President meeting with his National Security team today. We're just learning the details of that meeting. We'll going to have much more on that ahead. I want to show you though these significant gains ISIS is making at these hours. The terrorists who already control crucial towns on this map, including Fallujah and Ramadi are now moving even closer to Baghdad. They have caught Ramadi after a bloody year-long battle. A significant victory for the terror group. Many questions tonight about how the United States could let this happen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: We know that hope is not a strategy. The President's plan isn't working.
ROBERT GATES, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: A lot of American blood was shed over Ramadi, and to have it in the hands of ISIS is hard to characterize as other than a major setback.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Jim Acosta is OUTFRONT tonight. And Jim, how is the White House responding to this heavy criticism? Because it is heavy criticism.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And it's coming in from all sides, Erin. The President responded by meeting with his National Security team today on the battle against ISIS. That meeting was only scheduled to include Defense Secretary Ash Carter but end of that involving every National Security official you can think of from the vice president to the Secretary of State to the CIA director, the director of National Intelligence, and even though the White House is calling the terrorist group's capture of Ramadi over the weekend a, quote, "setback," officials say they're not conducting a formal review over the strategy for defeating ISIS, but aides for the President say, they are looking for actions for supporting what they're calling an Iraqi-led mission to retake Ramadi and pressed repeatedly on the mounting bipartisan criticism that you mentioned Erin of the president's strategy. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, he lashed out at all the second guessing. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Are we going to let our hair on fire every time there is a setback in the campaign against ISIL or are we going to take very seriously our responsibility to evaluate those areas where we succeed and evaluate where steps are necessary for us to change the strategy where we sustained setbacks?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Now, the White House is not indicating that any U.S. Ground Forces will be going into Anbar Province instead White House officials say the assistance will come in the form of more air strikes on ISIS positions in Ramadi. Earnest did point out that there have been past battles in Kobani and Mount Sinjar where the U.S.-led coalition racked up successes only after questions were raised about the President's strategy. But Erin, no question about it, with all these questions about the President's strategy, keep in mind Susan Rice said in an interview with "USA Today," that she thinks it will be a long slog in Iraq. That conjured up memories of when Donald Rumsfeld said that the war in Iraq back in 2003 was going to be a long, hard slog. The White House was also tripping on its message today -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Jim Acosta.
The White House is tripping on its message, ISIS is forging ahead, making gains in Iraq and of course beyond those borders. Barbara Starr is OUTFRONT from the Pentagon.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): ISIS gaining ground. Not only in the key city of Ramadi just miles from Baghdad, but in Libya, Tunisia, and Syria.
Tens of thousands are now on the run in Iraq. Fleeing Ramadi from ISIS' brutal takeover. Hundreds may have already been killed.
REP. ED ROYCE (R), FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: One of the most horrific aspects of this, of course, is as these is fighters went through the town, they massacred children, wives of the townspeople.
STARR: Less than 70 miles from Baghdad, Ramadi extends ISIS' influence. Former Defense Secretary Bob Gates.
GATES: I think that it is a serious loss.
STARR: Some Iraqi troops had to be air lifted out of the city.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN (through a translator): Police are abandoned positions one area after another.
STARR: In the end, there was no help from the central government in Baghdad.
COL. PETER MONSOOR (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: The Iraqi army didn't have a good sense of what was happening in the city. Clearly, the Islamic State had been making inroads over the proceeding weeks and months, and Ramadi was a foundation rotting from within.
STARR: Shia militiamen are gathering outside of Ramadi for a possible counterattack. Sunni tribes are asking for arms. Despite Ramadi, the White House is insisting they are making progress.
[19:05:25] EARNEST: As with any military effort, there will be days of progress and there are going to be periods of setback.
STARR: Trending in the wrong direction, Libya. Which ISIS continues to use as a safe haven, and where there is no reliable partner to help fight ISIS on the ground.
STARR: There's no word yet if any fresh intelligence that was gained during that weekend raid in Syria against that ISIS commander and his wife. The U.S. clearly hoping to find out more about what ISIS up to, but right now, it's pretty evident ISIS is moving ahead and as you have pointed out, Erin, in places far beyond Iraq and Syria.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Barbara Starr.
And OUTFRONT tonight, retired General Michael Hayden, the former director of both the CIA and the NSA. General, great to have you with us, as always.
GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN (RET.), FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: You have this criticism coming from every corner as now everybody is hearing the White House is scrambling, having these meetings. The Secretary of State John Kerry, you know, he said he's, quote, "absolutely confident the ISIS victory in Ramadi will be reversed in the days ahead." Again, his words. You have accused this administration before of not recognizing ISIS for what they are. Is the White House doing that again with the John Kerry saying, I'm absolutely confident, don't worry, we'll take it back in the coming days?
HAYDEN: I actually think the Secretary of State's comments have no foundation in reality. I don't think the Iraqi government will be able to mount a force anytime in the foreseeable future to recapture the town, but Erin, it gets even worse than that. If they do recapture the town, we're almost certainly going to use Shia militia as the spearhead, as the bulk of the force they used to take over an overwhelmingly Sunni town. That's not a solution. That's actually part of the problem. And will make the situation even worse over the long-term, so I agree with Secretary Gates. Politically, psychically and militarily, it's a very serious thing.
BURNETT: Well, you mentioned Secretary Gates. And he was one of those accusing the White House of not having a strategy. There were a lot of accusations, as you know, today, and it wasn't just the former defense secretary. It was the top democrat and it was the top republican in Congress. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: We know that hope is not a strategy. The President's plan isn't working.
GATES: We don't have a strategy at all. We're basically sort of playing this day to day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And I'll quote the top democrat in the House Intelligence Committee Congressman Adam Schiff. This morning he said, quote, "I don't think we're making tremendous progress." And he continued to say, when you hear the administration's description of progress, in his words, quote, "alarm bells should be going off." Do you agree with John Boehner and Secretary Gates that this administration does not have a strategy?
HAYDEN: Well, first of all, I think Secretary Gates' comment was there's no strategy against ISIS overall. I agree with that. There's absolutely no strategy that I can recognize in Syria. There's an outline of a coherent strategy in Iraq, but Erin, it's been under resourced and overregulated. We have not committed enough power to this. And the forces we have in the theater are so constrained, what power they have, they can't bring to bear.
BURNETT: So when you say the United States hasn't committed enough power in Iraq, what are you saying? Are you saying -- basically, I mean, what I'm reading into it is training Iraqi security forces or relying on them doesn't work. Special Forces isn't enough. Are you going so far as to say the U.S. needs more combat troops on the ground?
HAYDEN: I'm certainly not calling for large maneuver units back into the western Iraqi desert again or retaking Anbar Province. But there are a lot of things we can do, Erin. First of all, we have an artificial ceiling on the number of American troops that we can have in Iraq, around 3,000. It is a level of effort rather than a strategy or an operational plan based upon the effects we want to create. So we artificially limit the number of troops, and then we don't allow those troops to do things that actually would help. Number one, be in Iraqi units to stiffen them. Be with the forward line of Iraqi troops to call in precise air attacks. Use special operations forces more often than we have. Like the raid against Abu Sayyaf last weekend. BURNETT: So, what, and I know you know, you probably don't want to be
asked a specific number of troops. It's not a number of, maybe no exact number, but when you say there's an artificial ceiling of 3,000, how many more do you think are needed? Obviously, you were looking at 100 plus thousand during the peak of the Iraq war.
HAYDEN: Oh, sure.
[19:10:04] BURNETT: But now, I mean, what are you talking? Ten, 20? I mean, what is the number that this country needs to consider putting in?
HAYDEN: About six months ago, Erin, I was trying to game out where we would be, and I was basing it not on an artificial political cap but what my sense would be. And believe me, I'm not privy to any of the planning, but what my sense would be is to what an American force would look like to have enough to actually make a difference. The number I hit was in the range of 5,000 to 10,000. But more important than that, it's what they're allowed to do. And right now, they're not allowed to do a whole lot.
BURNETT: And 5,000 to 10,000. All right, which would be, you know, at the low end double what the President has said he would put in. I want to ask you one other crucial question because this talks about ISIS, its threat to the American homeland as well as other threats from terror to the United States. The White House said today, letting surveillance legislation lapse in Congress would pose a risk to National Security. And 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul told CNN today about the Patriot Act, which of course the NSA, which you used to run, uses to authorize the collection of data. Here's Senator Paul.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I plan on doing everything humanely possible to try to stop the Patriot Act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Of course, you've endorsed Jeb Bush for president. If he runs, so I want to be clear on that. But I would imagine on this one, General Hayden, you agree with the White House. We need the surveillance.
HAYDEN: We definitely need the surveillance. Now, the differences between me and the White House, the White House is currently supporting the USA Freedom Act that would, I think, significantly curtail the kind of surveillance that NSA is allowed to do right now. But in any event, the White House is saying for God's sake, don't let it lapse. What a time, Erin, to kind of on an act of faith, give up a program after the kind of things we've seen ISIS do, not just in the Middle East, but motivate people to do here in the homeland.
BURNETT: All right, General Hayden, thank you very much. And as always, we appreciate your time tonight, sir.
HAYDEN: Thank you.
BURNETT: All right, former head of the CIA and the NSA with some tough words for the White House, as you just heard him saying John Kerry's views had no foundation in reality.
OUTFRONT next, Hillary Clinton finally answering reporters' questions after a month of photo ops. So, how did she handle questions about e- mails and the Iraq war?
Plus, as Texas police are struggling with 170 uncooperative prisoners, we have new details tonight about the deadly shootout between rival biker gangs, and our cameras were there when an American went on the hunt to kill an endangered black rhino in Africa. He says he did it to save the species. You're going to see this hunt and you're going to see it only here.
[19:16:32] BURNETT: Under mounting pressure, Hillary Clinton breaking her silence. She finally answered a few questions from the media today after dodging for literally just about a month. That man addressing the private e-mail account she used while secretary of state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I have said repeatedly, I want those e-mails out. Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do. I want them out as soon as they can get out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The State Department initially said it could take until next January to release all 55,000 pages of e-mail we should note, of course, for the Secretary of State submitted work related e-mails. She chose to delete other e-mails which she said classified as personal.
Senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny is OUTFRONT from Cedar Falls, Iowa. And Jeff, let's start with this issue. She said she wants these e-mails to be released, but obviously it's her team that selected them. Right? These are e-mails that they think are relevant. So, of course she would want them released.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: No question, Erin. She does want them released. They did select them and they printed them out. That's where there are some 55,000 pages of e-mails the State Department is going through, trying to catalog them. But of course she wants them out because they decided that these were the ones that were relevant.
But she also wants them out for a political reason. She wants to move this issue off the table so it's not dogging her everywhere she goes. And if the e-mails were not released until January of 2016, just two weeks before the Iowa caucuses launch the presidential process, that would certainly not be good for her. But the reality here is this is just one of the batches of e-mails. There are going to be a few hundred Benghazi-related e-mails released, soon, I'm told, but there are so many other e-mails she deemed private that will never be released. So, this issue is going to hang over her campaign for the foreseeable future.
BURNETT: And she finally broke her silence, Jeff, where you are, to the press. I mean, that's kind of what's incredible here. She hasn't spoken in what, 27, this is the 28th day. Did she put this issue to rest?
ZELENY: She's not taking questions from reporters in 28 days. She is taking questions from voters and these private settings, but they're not unscripted questions and answers. So I think for the short term, she did put the issue to a rest. You know, she answered questions about the Clinton Foundation, about the, you know, the contributions for that, about the e-mails, about her speaking fees, a few other things. But look, Erin, this is just the beginning of the process of answering questions. It's not the end of the process. She knows that more than anyone else. She has run for president before. So, the reason she answered the questions today, it was just threatening to overtake her message entirely, so she popped the balloon a little bit. But this is hardly the end, and she knows that better than almost anyone. So, I suspect that we'll see her answering a lot more questions. I'm not sure if it will be tomorrow if she's in Chicago or Friday if she's in New Hampshire. But she can't run for president and not answer questions.
BURNETT: No, no, especially when you have everyone else answering them much to their detriment recently. But they are answering them. All right. Thanks very much, Jeff.
And OUTFRONT now, chief strategist and communications director for the Republican National Committee Sean Spicer, and Brad Woodhouse, the president of Correct The Record which is a pro-Hillary Clinton Super PAC. Okay, you are well matched. Brad, let me start with you.
BRAD WOODHOUSE, PRESIDENT, CORRECT THE RECORD: Sure.
BURNETT: You just heard Jeff Zeleny reporting. Right? He said after about a month, he said this is the 28th day, Clinton was under pressure to take questions from the media. You know, the Washington Post had a clock counting the minutes since she'd answers the press question, the network morning shows all covered it. Let me just play their leads today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The other big question seems to be when Hillary Clinton will take questions from the press.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Clinton is keeping her distance from the press. Avoiding questions for the past three weeks.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: She actually hasn't answered a question from a reporter in 28 days now. Despite the fact that she is followed by a pack of journalists everywhere she goes. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Brad, why did she have to be pressured? Why not take reporter questions for a month?
WOODHOUSE: Well, first of all, I don't think she was pressured into doing it. I think she made a strategic decision to do it. The interesting thing about the package you just showed Erin, is that it was just reporters that were carping about her not taking questions. I haven't seen a single voter interviewed saying, oh, my God, she's not taking questions from the press. She's out there talking to real people. I saw a column yesterday by a journalist here in Washington who said who cares if she's talking to real people? I was amazed, Erin, that there's this sense that a politician is only accountable to the press and not to the voters. I have been very impressed with her campaign, very impressed with her ability to go out in there and engage with the voters. And by the way, the countdown clocks or the count up clocks can be cut off now because she did take questions from the press today.
[19:21:22] BURNETT: She did take a few. Sean, do you buy that answer? You must at least respect it. I am sure you would be giving the same answer if it was your candidate.
WOODHOUSE: Of course he would.
SEAN SPICER, CHIEF STRATEGIST, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: No, I don't think I would feel a little embarrassed, to be honest with you. I think frankly the idea of answering questions from the press becomes breaking news that people have to stop and interrupt this kind of sad when it looks at what their campaign is. Further, I take issue with the idea that he's talking to real voters. As Jeff pointed out in the piece that he did before, there's no real interaction. Everything down to the, you know, to the crudite that she has to have and the water is all scripted. It's a made for Hollywood campaign where every interaction she has is with people who were pre-chosen with questions that were pre-asked and answers that have been gutted. And so, I think this is the fakest thing that's going on.
BURNETT: So, Brad, let me ask you this point about the e-mails. Because one of the reasons that the press had a lot of questions was because there are a lot of questions that she needs to answer, which she acknowledged today, right? She says, I want those e-mails out there. But let me put this fundamental question to you Brad which I still don't think has been answered. Which is, she wants the e-mails out, but these are e-mails that she and her team self-selected. Right? She's admitted she deleted a whole bunch of other ones, and it is sort of a trust me, they were about yoga and my daughter's wedding. But how is anyone ever going to know?
WOODHOUSE: Well, I mean, But Erin, you could ask the same question of every person who has ever been in the federal government. Every person who archives e-mails in the federal government gets to decide what they archive and what they don't archive.
SPICER: That not true. That's not true. WOODHOUSE: Sean, it is absolutely true.
SPICER: I have worked in the federal government, Brad, and that's not true.
WOODHOUSE: It is been fact checked over and over again. She had an obligation to turn over what she believed were work related e-mails. She turned over 55,000 e-mails. And by the way, she's the one saying, release them, release them, release them. What is the Benghazi committee doing? They're politicizing this issue. They want to drag it out all the way up to the election because they want to do what the terrible and awful clown show of republican candidates can't do on their side. They want to try to defeat her.
BURNETT: Go ahead, Sean.
SPICER: The reality is she personally chose the e-mails that she wanted and then printed them out on paper. There's no electronic trail. There's no forensic accountability to this and she deleted the server. I mean, this is unbelievable that she's basically saying, of course she wants them out.
WOODHOUSE: Erin, Erin --
SPICER: They're the hand-picked e-mails that she printed on paper and handed over, 55,000 pages of them and said, just read these. Trust me, there's nothing in them.
BURNETT: Okay. What's your response?
WOODHOUSE: Just a news flash for Sean. What he just described is exactly what Jeb Bush did as governor of the state of Florida. He had a private e-mail server in his office. He decided which e-mails he turned over to archives. He did it years after he was required do by law, and the rest of the e-mails he classified as personal and he did not turn over. This is not -- look --
SPICER: I like the fact --
WOODHOUSE: You may want to argue about the issue.
SPICER: Don't bring up the issue. First, you talk about her being honest and open.
BURNETT: Go ahead, Sean. Finish your question then Brad will reply.
SPICER: It's about being transparent. I think the idea that she's out there talking about how transparent she is and the Brad shifts the subject. They can't answer the question. Where is the server, why isn't it turned over? Where are the rest of the e-mails? There's a lot of questions. The idea that Brad uses the phrase. News flash when she won't talk to the press is a little ironic by the way. You're talking about news flash, talk to the news. WOODHOUSE: Sean, she has met the obligation that she had under the
law. Look, you want to change the laws? She met the obligation to turn over --
SPICER: The reason people don't trust the Clintons is because they set their own standard. They can't be trusted. They decide what rules.
WOODHOUSE: You know, republican, Erin, republican secretaries --
BURNETT: Hold on, Sean, finish, and then Brad gets the last word. Go ahead, Sean.
SPICER: Right. I just think the bottom-line is this. The Clintons decide what rules they're going to follow, how they're going to follow them, and then tell everyone else, that's all you get. The reality is that we're a nation of laws. We have rules that everybody follows. Nobody is a problem. And the reason that people don't trust Hillary Clinton is because she picks and chooses what she will follow, not what the rules are for everyone else.
BURNETT: Okay, Brad. Final word.
WOODHOUSE: Erin, here's the problem for Sean in that last comment. Is that they have gone after this for six weeks or a month. The Benghazi committee has consistent, the republicans and the Benghazi committee have consistently leaked this information. It hasn't damaged her in the polls. She's in good shape in the primaries. She's in good shape in the general election, and before it's over with, republicans are going to have 20 republican candidates all at five percent in the polls. That's what's going on on their side. And that's why they want to focus on Hillary Clinton.
BURNETT: All right. I will leave it there. Thank you both very much.
SPICER: Yes, and we will not have a coronation, that's true.
[19:26:02] BURNETT: I'll look forward to a rematch. Thanks to both. And OUTFRONT next, the biker gang massacre. We're looking right now, showing you live picture of police removing weapons right now, including guns and bullet proof vests which were in the cars in the parking lot where the shootout happened. These people literally had bullet proof vests with them. My guest, the former leader of the hell's angels.
Plus, one man's controversial hunt for an endangered animal. Our reporter went on this hunt, had to dodge a charging rhino. It's an OUTFRONT exclusive.
[19:30:30] BURNETT: Breaking news tonight. We have chilling new pictures coming in at this hour, revealing the deadly massacre in Waco, and how it could have been so much worse.
As we speak, police are going car to car right now in the parking lot of that restaurant where this massacre happened. They are removing guns. They're removing bulletproof vests. They are removing other weapons.
They're finding all of this in the cars some of the bikers drove to this restaurant, Twin Peaks, on Sunday.
Police also tell CNN that they're close to arresting one of the bikers who is at the deadly shootout in Waco. Now, that suspect was first arrested Sunday, along with about 170 other bikers, but he was released essentially by an administrative error with two other men. Those two other suspects have turned themselves into police.
Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT in Waco with more on the investigation.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There are so many bikers arrested, we can't possibly show you all of them, 170 of them. Sheriff Parnell McNamara says they're charged with engaging in organized crime connected to capital murder.
(on camera): This is a lot of people.
SHERIFF PARNELL MCNAMARA, MCLENNAN COUNTY, TEXAS: Yes, it is. This is just a small portion of the ones we have in jail. They're lined up. You know, but we're bringing them out of the cells individually, sometimes maybe two at a time.
LAH (voice-over): It's a logistical charge. Each of the suspects now held on $1 million bond, $170 million in bail money just from this one scene.
(on camera): A million dollar --
MCNAMARA: I like it.
LAH: You like the $1 million bond?
MCNAMARA: I like the $1 million bond. I sure do. It's like a revolving door. We deal with them over and over and over.
LAH (voice-over): Sheriff McNamara is a third generation Texas lawman. He wears that history in his cowboy hat, his Western guns and his swagger. A former U.S. marshal, he, like other officers in Waco, have spent their decades long careers chasing the notorious Bandido bike gang. This latest brawl, police say, may have begun over a parking spot, or with a biker getting his foot run over by a rival gang member.
That escalated to a shootout with police, leaving nine dead.
JIMMY GRAVES, BANDIDO MOTORCYCLE: We're not going to be brought down.
LAH: Jimmy Graves, a high up in the Bandido biker clubs argues many of his bikers at the bloody brawl weren't involved in the fight.
GRAVES: They're upset. They're detained for meeting for criminal intent or something when that wasn't what they were there for.
LAH (on camera): But none of you guys pulled out weapons against the police?
GRAVES: Never. My guys have never pulled out weapons against the police. None of them.
LAH (voice-over): But the county hopes these arrests and the prosecution will change this long and tiresome battle with an old foe.
(on camera): Is this a message to the other biker gangs from this county?
MCNAMARA: Very definitely. You know, you want to cause this kind of trouble, you want to come into McLennan County and stab people, shoot people, beat them up -- you need to think twice. You need to do it somewhere else.
LAH: Now, a preliminary autopsy report was released. The Waco police department has asked CNN to refrain from reporting the names, but we can tell you that the nine people who were killed in the parking lot outside this restaurant, they all died from gunshot wounds and their ages vary from 27 to 65 -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Kyung Lah, thank you very much. OUTFRONT, as we said, live in Waco.
Now, OUTFRONT, George Christie, a former leader of the Hells Angels, one of the original outlaw motorcycle groups, and Steve Cook, an undercover officer who was able to infiltrate the Bandidos, one of the gangs involved in this massacre.
OK. Good to have both of you with us.
And, George, let me start with you. You know, you have been a member of a motorcycle gang. We've got a guy, you know, they're trying to get one last guy in that they had released by mistake. But you're looking at a new pictures we have of they're going through their cars, finding bulletproof vests, all sorts of weapons.
It does seem pretty shocking to the average person how armed and dangerous these guys are.
GEORGE CHRISTIE, FORMER HELLS ANGELS LEADER: Well, thanks for having me here. But you know, we need to find out if those weapons are illegal. I don't know what the statutes are in Texas, if bullet' proof vests are inappropriate to have. I don't know if they're legal or illegal.
But, you know, I'm not sure what transpire transpired. Everything seems to be hazy. We're getting different reports as to what happened. And I think we're going to have to wait and it's going to be adjudicated in a court of law. I think that jumping the gun is not appropriate.
BURNETT: The reality, George, is though, of course, there was a shootout here.
[19:35:02] Multiple people were murdered. This isn't even the first scene of violence between these groups. You know, back in March, these two groups were involved again. The Cossacks attacked a Bandido member with chains, batons, and metal pipes. I mean, it's hard to see these groups as anything other than criminal gangs when you hear about things like this.
CHRISTIE: Well, you know, you can call them criminal gangs, but they're not criminal gangs. They're motorcycle clubs. But there are criminals in them. I can't, you know, defend that. The record speaks for itself.
There are individuals that have criminal records, but the idea of the club is not about committing criminal acts.
BURNETT: Steve, you believe these groups are dangerous.
STEVE COOK, MIDWEST OUTLAW MOTORCYCLE GANG INVESTIGATORS ASSOCIATION: Absolutely.
BURNETT: And -- and why? I mean, I know George is saying there are some criminal elements, right? He's not denying it altogether. But I mean, again, the impression that's being given to the country is it's not just a few people.
COOK: Well, when you look at these organizations on the whole -- you know, take them just separate it down piece by piece. Look at the process that people go through to join. Look at some of the things that are expected of them as members, and if you look charter to charter, and I don't care if you pick the banditos or the outlaws or the hell's angels, you're going to find the majority have been involved in some kind of felonious activity while they have been a member of the organization.
BURNETT: The majority?
CHRISTIE: I'm not sure I believe that the majority has been involved in criminal activity. I think that individuals have, and the record speaks for itself. If you were to take the actual records of the individuals, I think that you would find that what you're saying, Steve, is not completely correct.
BURNETT: Steve, what's your response?
COOK: Well, you know, my response to that would be, you know, again, if I could just pick a chapter to chapter, let's take San Diego, for instance, if we want to talk about the angels. I can't tell you how many times that the clubhouse has been entered, how many times multiple members of the charter have been, you know, indicted federally on criminal investigations.
And you can go through state to state, location to location, and you're going to find by and large that although yes, there are individual circumstances where members get arrested and prosecuted, there's also a great deal of situations where multiple members, members of the same organization, the same charters, are all being brought in on conspiratorial charges as a group. And it's not because of who they are as individuals. It's who they are as an organization.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate both of your taking the time tonight. And obviously, you differ strongly in terms of whether a majority of them are criminals or only a minority.
Next, biker clubs, they like to point to toy drives and charity events as to who they really are, but is Waco the real face of motorcycle gangs in America? Our report on the two very different faces of biker clubs.
And an OUTFRONT exclusive. We're going to take you to Africa as an American hunter tracks down and killed an endangered black rhino. Our reporter literally on the run as the animal charges. That exclusive ahead.
[19:42:17] BURNETT: Breaking news, new images coming in tonight. Police in Waco seizing rifles, other weapons, bulletproof vests from these cars in the parking lot of the twin peaks restaurant parking lot where the nine bikers were killed on Sunday in a battle. Perhaps indicates this could have been much, much worse.
Here are just some of the 170 bikers who are right now locked up in connection with the massacre. Waco police say some bikers in custody are not cooperating as they're trying to figure out exactly who was responsible for the killings. Among the suspects are some of the most feared motorcycle gangs in America.
Alexandra Field is OUTFRONT.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hells Angels in high places and helping out at the queens jubilee, even feeding the homeless. Images that can fuel legends.
JULIAN SHER, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: You have this easy rider myth of this troublesome, somewhat dangerous but somehow likable biker. I'm always amazed alt how Americans still cling to this myth of the outlaw. You know, the Harley has replaced the horse.
FIELD: Big and friendly to the outsider, there are motorcycle clubs across the country. But feds call more than 300 of them outlaw motorcycle gangs, OMGs. Not just born to be wild, a serious national domestic threat, according to the Department of Justice, which says these gangs are known for violent crimes, as well as weapons and drug trafficking. At least five motorcycle gangs were involved in the deadly Waco brawl,
including the Bandidos, which is considered one of the biggest and baddest outlaw bike gangs with up to 2,500 members in the U.S. and 13 other countries.
The notorious gang formed in Texas in the '60s. State officials say they typically conduct illegal activities as covertly as possible.
But on the flipside, they seek to turn public sentiment in their favor by organizing frequent charity runs. In Easter party in Germany, a toy drive in France, both highlighted on their website.
SHER: They're the gang that will help little old ladies cross the street. They'll fix your car if you're stuck on the highway, and that plays into the myth.
The point is, what do you do when one of your members has been convicted of murder? Or has been convicted of rape? Do you stand up?
FIELD: Organized into chapters, the gangs are fiercely loyal. Members wear their gang logos like uniforms and many seem to share a belief in brotherhood, bonded not by blood but bloodshed.
FIELD: So, Erin, authorities say the bike gangs and street gangs have the same kind of criminal pursuits. Of course, we hear more about street gangs because the bike gang population is relatively small, just 2.5 percent of the total gang population worldwide.
[19:45:05] But these gangs do become a problem, according to law enforcement, in areas where there are disputes over territory, turf wars.
BURNETT: Wow. Incredible. I mean, it's incredible how much we're learning, 2.5 percent of gangs around the country.
FIELD: You don't heard about much.
BURNETT: Alexandra Field, thank you very much.
And next, OUTFRONT was there when an American hunter tracked and shot an endangered black rhino. It's an incredibly controversial hunt. We told you about the story and went with him to Africa. You'll see that exclusive, next.
And we'll say good-bye to David Letterman who proved that even turkeys can fly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID LETTERMAN: A turkey is a flightless bird. I don't think so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BURNETT: Tonight, an OUTFRONT exclusive. A endanger rhino has been killed by an American big game hunter who paid $300,000 for a license to shot. Our crew went on this hunt in Namibia, and you'll see exactly what happened. In the shocking event during the hunt in just a moment.
Now, this kill is entirely legal but obviously extremely controversial because there are only about 5,000 Africa black rhinos left on the planet. The hunter, Corey Knowlton, is from Texas. We first told you about him last month when he told us he was going to donate that money, spent on the hunt where it was going was to help younger black rhinos.
Our Ed Lavandera was the only reporter to go on this controversial hunt, so you could make up your own money about whether it's a good way to save animals.
[19:50:04] Ed was actually charged by a rhino he's OUTFRONT.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three days of hunting a black rhino through the unforgiving desert brush of northern Namibia, ended here.
And Corey Knowlton has no regrets.
COREY KNOWLTON, HUNTER: I'm pretty emotionally right now.
LAVANDERA (on camera): You've been heavily criticized for doing what you just did.
LAVANDERA: Do you feel like what you just did will benefit the black rhino?
KNOWLTON: A hundred percent, 100 percent. And I felt from day one, it was going to benefit the black rhino, and I feel like that until, you know, the day I die.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Knowlton granted CNN exclusive access into this controversial hunt for the black rhinos, one of the most endangered species in the world. He won the access to hunt the rhino in an auction last year.
(on camera): There are so many people who think that what you're doing out here is barbaric, and that you don't care about this black rhino.
KNOWLTON: Nobody with this situation with this particular black rhino put more value on it than I did.
I'm actually hell bent on protecting the (INAUDIBLE).
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Knowlton received death threats and scathing criticism, some animal welfare groups call conservation hunting a horrific idea.
AZZEDINE DOWNES, INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR ANIMAL WELFARE: These are incredibly majestic creators and they're worth to life is far more greater than they are dead.
LAVANDERA: In Namibia, the biggest threats to the black rhino are poachers and often the rhinos themselves.
KNOWLTON: I'm Corey. Nice to meet you.
LAVANDERA: Knowlton is told by Namibian government observers to target four specific rhinos considered a high priority threat to the herd, that's a story of this rhino spotted by cameras at a watering hole just before sunrise. Last year, it killed another rhino in a gruesome fight.
The hunt begins. The African brush is dense. Knowlton will have a submit second on whether to decide whether or not to pull the trigger.
(on camera): It would be catastrophic mistake for Corey if he would shoot the wrong rhino, one that is not on the list of eligible rhinos to be taken out of herd.
(voice-over): Local trackers picked up the rhinos foot steps and walked deeper into the brush.
KNOWLTON: This is the angry one that already killed another bull so he's likely just going to get up and come and so we need to be ready.
LAVANDERA: Silence is crucial. Trackers direct Knowlton and his Namibian hunting guide with hand signals. We get closer. And in an instant, the rhino flashed before us.
(on camera): It is a rhino. It jumped up and darted right toward us.
(voice-over): The rhino moves around us but he is invisible, silent. A nearly 3,000 pound beast that can move like a ghost in the brush until he decides to charge. We don't see him until he is 30 feet away and charging right at us, and I have to dive below Knowlton's high powered rifle.
A short while later, the rhino is dead.
(on camera): As we sit here at this moment and take it all in and think about what the biggest threat to these rhinos are around the world, and it's poachers, people who kill these animals and leave them to rot in these fields of Africa just for this horn. These horns that you see here will sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars on the black market.
(voice-over): Corey Knowlton knows this isn't easy to watch, but he vows to take the abuse of his critics to convince the world that conservation hunting can help save the black rhino.
(END VIDEOTAPE) LAVANDERA: And, Erin, to put this in context, these types of hunts are extremely rare. The Namibian government has only been issuing these permits to hunt black rhinos since 2009, and they've never issue the full amount, usually about two to three per year.
And to put it in context on why conservationists -- hunting conservationists, the rhino that Corey Knowlton shot and killed was actually a deterrent to the Namibian government bringing other. In that area where that black rhino was, there were three male black rhinos and no females, no chance of reproduction and it was that rhino was prohibiting that. So, now, the Namibian government says it can start consider perhaps bringing in females and increasing the chances, of course, of production and increasing the numbers of the black rhino population.
So, a very complex issue, very emotional issue as many people try to comprehend exactly what is going on. Poaching is just a monumental threat here in the country of Namibia for these black rhinos -- Erin.
[19:55:02] BURNETT: An incredible report there from Ed Lavandera.
An incredibly complex and nuance issue, we're curious as to what all of you think about it, whether Corey's views and what Ed was just explaining change your minds if you were against this hunt or not. Please let us know. You can always reach me @ErinBurnett on Twitter.
And OUTFRONT next, saying goodbye to Dave Letterman.
BURNETT: David Letterman has headlined more than 6,000 late shows, hosting nearly 20,000 guests, pretty stunning. And tomorrow night, he's going to host his final show.
Here is a look at some of his most memorable moments.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now a man who thinks yodelers should have their own museum, David Letterman.
LETTERMAN: Ladies and gentlemen, Bill Murray.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: David Letterman, come on, everybody out.
LETTERMAN: Now this wall is again covered with the other half --
I feel like a jerk playing tennis with you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why?
LETTERMAN: Because 90 percent of the day I feel like I jerk.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought I would never want to do this show you with?
LETTERMAN: Now, why? Now, let's explore this a little. Why? Because you thought I was --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hole.
LETTERMAN: Oh, my god.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: The top ten changes I'll make in the White House. Are you ready?
LETTERMAN: Here you go, right up your alley.
LETTERMAN: And the season I like being an actor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get to read well-crafted dialogue like get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of here.
LETTERMAN: Yes, exactly.
It is so hot, I'm driving home last night, and the navigation lady says to me -- do you want to stop for a beer?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Read that.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You look sharp.
LETTERMAN: You haven't seen me naked.
OBAMA: We're going to keep it that way.
BURNETT: "David Letterman Says Good Night", special tonight at 9:00 on CNN. Thanks for joining us.
Anderson is next.