Return to Transcripts main page


Jim Webb Drops Out of Presidential Race; Republicans Excited about Trump; What Happened to Carly Fiorina; Interview with Hackers of CIA, Homeland Security E-mails; Feud Between Trump, Bush on 9/11 Attacks. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired October 20, 2015 - 11:30   ET



[11:31:19] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Our breaking news. CNN has confirmed former Virginia Senator Jim Webb will announce he's dropping out of the Democratic presidential race. He will make that announcement at a 1:00 p.m. news conference. Jim Webb, we hardly knew ye.

Our senior political correspondent, Brianna Keilar, is with us.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: His campaign at this point is not confirming he's definitely dropping out but they're not really pouring cold water on this idea that he could consider an independent bid. So it's important to realize there's a context here, and that is that Jim Webb has expressed a lot of frustration with the Democratic Party and also with the support that it provided to him, or in his words, that it did not provide to him.

Jim Webb, former Virginia Senator, he's someone who ran an insurgent campaign to win that seat from a Republican incumbent. And he is certainly someone, I think, who thought maybe he could do that this time around, although his campaign never really got off the ground. He campaigned in New Hampshire for four days. He campaigned in Iowa for 20 days this cycle.

That is far less than other candidates and it was July he posted in a blog post he was going to run after a prolonged exploration of a candidacy. This was something I think people thought that was pretty odd because, of course, Hillary Clinton had a video and the other candidates were announcing, even Lincoln Chafee, who was negligible in the polls, like Jim Webb, had an announcement press conference, and it was just a blog post for Jim Webb. At this point, we're noting from two sources in the campaign, not confirming, that Jim Webb -- two sources familiar with this decision that Jim Webb is getting out of the Democratic race.

BERMAN: All right.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That announcement in a couple hours. We'll be there with you.

Brianna, thank you so much. So, let's stay now with the Republican side of this race. New proof

that many Republicans -- the majority of Republicans would rather have a billionaire businessman or retired neurosurgeon in the Oval Office than any kind of a politician. A brand new CNN poll out showing Donald Trump and Ben Carson are running away with the 2016 GOP race at this point. Take a look. No one is even close when you look at these numbers. Carson gained eight points since September.

BERMAN: Also new in these polls, Republicans excited about the choices they now have in this race. Three-quarters say they're very satisfied with the field. There are reports this morning that establishment types, some Republicans considering some massive anti- Trump action. He's making them nervous. Something that could make them even more nervous? The idea of a Trump/Carson ticket.

CNN asked the front-runner about that possibility earlier.


DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION (voice-over): I like him. He likes me. Stranger things have happened. It's too early to think about that. It certainly is interesting. So many people have suggested it because we seem to be doing awfully well.


BERMAN: Noah Rothman, in commentary, said, "Stranger things have happened." Not so sure about that.


Joining us now, Scottie Hughes, director of the Tea Party News Network; Amanda Carpenter, CNN political commentator and served as Ted Cruz's communication director.

Scottie, these polls, the CNN poll, a "Wall Street Journal" poll, an ABC News/"Washington Post" poll, Trump is out in front by a lot in some of these polls. Not to mention, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, everywhere you go. At what point do people take a step back and say, he is running away with this, at least right now.

SCOTTIE HUGHES, NEWS DIRECTOR, TEA PARTY NEWS NETWORK: And it's shocking, but only to those that live within the Beltway of Washington, D.C. The rest of Main Street's going, yeah, of course he's out front. The same reason Ben Carson is out front. The same reason you see Bernie Sanders doing so well on the Democratic side. It's called honesty. It's called they trust. Even if I don't agree with the position you have, at least you're being honest about it and you're not trying to receive me when your actions don't back up when your words are saying. I think that's why people believe in Trump, Carson, and why Sanders is seeing the popularity on the other side.

[11:35:21] BOLDUAN: So, you've got the popularity. A lot of people understand the brand, why a lot of folks like the brand, but now a lot of Republicans are wondering the why. Really, where is the support for Donald Trump? Ron Brownstein, of the "National Journal," wrote an interesting commentary today, Amanda, and he says Trump has built a very strong blue-collar support base while the white-collared voters haven't unified around one candidate yet. If that's the reality, what do other Republicans need to do about it?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Here's the thing. Trump has done a really good job in embracing the can-do-it-ness of the American spirit. I don't think any other candidate has done it on the scale he's done. At the same time, he's shown a willingness to take on the establishment. And I think a huge part of the appeal is that he's willing to go African dates like a Jeb Bush. I am very curious to see what the dynamics in the race would be if Jeb Bush were to drop out. I can see a scenario where Trump and Carson are inadvertent stalking horses for a Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. I think more establishment candidates dropping out of the race will change the dynamic, cause Trump to fall in the polls a little bit. I think we're in for a long, wild ride. You can't dismiss Trump. He's been leading for a long time. He speaks bluntly, clearly, honestly, and other candidates should take note.

BERMAN: What happened to Carly Fiorina, then? We're talking about the not part of the establishment, the outsiders. There's Donald Trump, Ben Carson. Our poll she's down to 4 percent right now. She was at 15 percent. That's a drop of 11 points since the last time we checked that. What went wrong, Scottie?

HUGHES: She gave a great debate performance, like Hillary Clinton did in hers. People know it's not just about speaking. What happened is people start looking into her record, her business record. The fact that shares dropped 60 percent under her watch. Twenty thousand people were laid off at the same time she's buying a brand new jet. People say, your words are not matching up with how you ruled. The truth comes out.

The other issue with Carly had to deal with the Planned Parenthood videos. Those pro-life were getting traction, until she took it on a national scale and talked about it and caused the whole storm. People say, if she doesn't know the truth when she goes on stage, how is she going to know the truth when she's actually president.

BOLDUAN: That's an interesting take. A Carly surrogate will say she's still dealing with a lack of name recognition on the national stage.

Regardless of that, I do want to get your final take, Amanda, on this. Byron York of the "Washington Examiner," in the face of Donald Trump leading and running away with a nomination at this point, at least at this point, the Republican establishment, they're not only worried, they're now planning a counterattack. He wrote that, "Some are preparing to do whatever it takes to bring him down, which could lead to an extraordinary scenario in which GOP stalwarts go to war to destroy their own party's likely nominee."

What do you think of that?

CARPENTER: I think about that, what would that be? Could any more D.C. --


HUGHES: Negative ads, negative ads.

CARPENTER: And every time they hit Donald Trump with that kind of stuff, he embraces it and makes him more popular with the base, who is so fed up with the D.C. establishment. I think it's the wrong move. The only way to beat Trump is to out-campaign him, outwork him, and out-message him to voters. People like Jeb Bush, I watched his interview with Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" Sunday, he could barely respond. He was halting and faulting at every response. That's not going to cut it in this election against Hillary Clinton. Voters know that. They want a winner. Donald Trump looks like a winner, although that could change.

HUGHES: Maybe we need to get them to sign a loyalty pledge. Maybe that's what we need.



BERMAN: Scottie Hughes, Amanda Carpenter, great to have you here with us. Thanks so much.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, you guys.

Coming up for us, the CIA director's personal e-mail allegedly hacked. Up next, you'll hear exclusively from the hackers who say they did it and how not so difficult they say it was.

BERMAN: Plus, it is the biggest movie since -- ever. "The Force Awakens."


BERMAN: The trailer broke the Internet.


[11:43:57] BERMAN: A CNN exclusive. Hackers who claim they broke into the personal e-mail account of CIA Director John Brennan and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, they are speaking to CNN and telling us how they did or at least how they claim they did it.

BOLDUAN: The FBI and Secret Service are investigating and trying to determine whether any sensitive data was compromised.

Laurie Segall spoke with the self-proclaimed hacker, one of them, and joins us.

A fascinating interview, Laurie. What did they tell you?

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN TECH CORRESPONDENT: It was actually very compelling. I reached out to the hackers on Twitter, the Twitter account they allegedly posted all this leaked information, was able to get them on the phone.

I will say this. They disguised their voice so it sounds a little weird. But they spoke to me about how they allegedly did this and why they did this. Take a listen.


SEGALL: You claim you were able to hack the private e-mail account of the CIA director. How did you do that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we have most of his personal information, like his name, address, phone number, social security number and other things. And when we socially engineered we like manipulated AOL to, like, do the password, reset the account. We socially engineered Verizon. And then we socially engineered to get his last four digits on his bank account.

[11:45:18] SEGALL: If this is true, how difficult would you say it is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mean out of 10?

SEGALL: Sure, out of 10.




SEGALL: You guys say you were able to hack into his personal inbox. What did you find?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Social Security numbers, plans talking about Iraq and Syria. There was a lot of private information. It's pretty stupid, really. He's supposed to be so high in the government, like head of CIA. He should be more clever.

SEGALL: What was your motivation for doing this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Free Palestine. The U.S. government funds and in Israel and killing innocent people.

SEGALL: Anything you can tell me about yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, I'm about the age of 20 years old. I smoke pot. And I live in America.

SEGALL: You smoke pot?


SEGALL: You might have hacked the director of the CIA while you were high?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably. SEGALL: Are you sophisticated hackers?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would kind of put us like in the middle maybe. We're not like stupid, but we're not really smart. There's a lot of really, really smart people.

SEGALL: Do you guys worry about retribution?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to go to Russia and get with Snowden because I know the government are pretty mad about this. I'm probably going to get tortured. I'm actually a pretty fast runner.

SEGALL: You plan to leak more information. Is there any specific target?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, the government and the police, the White House people. They're losers.


SEGALL: And I'll say, sources have confirmed both accounts actually were hacked. We can't independently verify the leaked documents. And the investigations are ongoing.

Guys, I'll say this, from covering cyber security for a very long time and talking to a lot of very sophisticated hackers, I didn't get the sense these guys are that sophisticated. They said that themselves. They said they were easily, easily able to get into that personal inbox, which, if, in fact, that is true, that is very, very troubling.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely very troubling. The one e-mail account that shouldn't be able to be hacked is the e-mail account of the CIA director.

Great to see you. Thanks so much, Laurie. Good job.

Donald Trump said if he had been president, 9/11 may not have happened. The Republican presidential candidate, the front-runner claims his policies could have kept the hijackers from coming into the country in the first place.

BERMAN: This is all part of the back and forth with Jeb Bush about whether President George W. Bush kept the country safe before September 11th. That's what Trump says he's talking about.

Joining us to discuss, CNN national security analysts, Juliette Kayyem; and Peter Bergen.

Trump is talking about this again today. He's saying George W. Bush, the White House had some warnings before September 11th that something could happen.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: CIA Director George Tenet met with Condoleezza Rice on July 10th and also met with a number of senior counterterrorism officials who said, we think there is an attack coming in the next following weeks. They didn't know where it was going to happen. They didn't know when it was going to happen. But it was one of a series of multiple warnings from the CIA, which actually did quite a good job, main role is strategic warning. It did a good job of constantly warning in the summer of 2001 that something might well be afoot. On that part of the equation, I think Donald Trump has a very reasonable point. The Bush administration was preoccupied by Iraq and Russia and China, but not by al Qaeda in the months before the attack.

BOLDUAN: So, on that point, Juliette, Peter says that Donald Trump is right, but you also say Donald Trump's -- basically, his assertions here are way too simplistic, including his take that his immigration policy could have stopped them all from coming into the country in the first place. Explain.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Right. So, I don't disagree with Peter. In fact, I -- everyone should read Peter's piece on because it's irrefutable that there was sufficient evidence and lack of attention by the Bush administration leading into September 2001. What's not clear to me, though, is why Donald Trump's immigration policies that we have come to understand as being tough at the border, in particular Mexican/U.S. Border, and a sort of no tolerance attitude about immigration would have stopped the 9/11 hijackers.

I want everyone to remember, most of them got there -- all of them got here on lawful immigration status, because we have legal immigration in this country. We actually want legal immigration. They weren't climbing over borders. They weren't sneaking under walls or into tunnels. And only some of them overstayed those visas. He's mixing apples and oranges and sort of making history and what we know about the 9/11 hijackers. It's just basically incorrect. So, we just need to clarify that being tougher at the borders is not the solution.

[11:50:39] BERMAN: Peter, quickly, Osama bin Laden, in the Democratic race, suddenly, today. Joe Biden just a few minutes ago was talking about what he did or did not advise the president, and too, Joe Biden said that he was against the raid killing Osama bin Laden. Hillary Clinton, reported, before, was in favor of it, though Joe Biden failed to mention her all in. You know the truth about that situation room and what was the truth?

BERGEN: Well, I spoke to everyone in the final meeting to make the decision to capture or kill bin Laden. It was kind of universally held that Hillary Clinton gave a long and loyal view of the pros and the cons and came down to do the raid. And it is also held that Joe Biden held against the raid because of all of the possible complications if something went wrong.

BERMAN: Peter Bergen, you have done extensive report on this and thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: Exactly right.

BERMAN: And, Juliette Kayyem, thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, guys. KAYYEM: Thank you.

BERMAN: 10 minutes before the hour. And "The Force Awakened." And it did so in "Monday Night Football," and it broke the Internet.

BOLDUAN: Where's the breaking news banner now?

BERMAN: What are the global implications? There are many. We'll be right back.


[11:56:21] BERMAN: So, was it good for you? I am talking about the full-length "Star Wars" trailer that trailed in "Monday Night Football."

BOLDUAN: Awkward.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: And I was born the do one thing. I have nothing to fight for.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Nothing will stand in our way. I will finish what you started.


BOLDUAN: Ooh. Ah, yes. It caused a disturbance in the force and the inter-webs literally crashing two movie ticket web sites.

And you are not listening, because you are watching the trailer.

And here with the frenzy, Erik Davis, contributing editor with the movie ticket website, Fandango.

And, Erik, great to see you.

What happened? It crashed the Internet?

ERIK DAVIS, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, FANDANGO: Yes, what we saw was unprecedented demand in tickets here, and not just here in the states, but in Europe. And "Star Wars "The Force Awakened" is voted the most anticipated movie of the year in the Fandango poll, and so now we can see why. And if you have not gotten your tickets, then keep trying.


BOLDUAN: Have you seen anything like this before?

DAVIS: I haven't seen it before. No, I mean, with the apps. I grew up seeing "Star Wars" movies on the big screen. I remember going to "Star Wars" and standing in costumes and sometimes in the cold weather to see this movie.

(CROSSTALK) BERMAN: And if it did happen, it would be along time ago in a galaxy far, far away.


BERMAN: He gets it, but you don't.

And you are not just a Star Wars' ticket seller, but a member, and clearly a fan.


DAVIS: I am.

BERMAN: And so my question is this, I watched the trailer five, 10, 15, 30 times, and where is Luke?

DAVIS: And everybody is wondering where Luke is, and the rumor is that they are holding him. They're keeping him --


BERMAN: Luke is on ice.

DAVIS: They are holding him for --


BERMAN: Frozen like Hans Solo in "Empire Strikes Back."


DAVIS: And maybe until the movie comes out which is going to be kind of cool if we did not see Luke Skywalker if we did not see him until the movie theater for the first time.

What is so cool about the trailers is they keep showing us the same scenes over and over again, but from the different angles, and not only revealing more information about the film, but they are not showing anything new in the film.

BERMAN: And mixing the old and the new, and I'm a little older in the 40s and so I care a lot about the "Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back," and "Star Wars" all of them.

BOLDUAN: He has a CP3 on the couch.


BOLDUAN: He does.

DAVIS: It speaks to that. He speaks to fans, especially if you have kids. And if you get the older fans, you will get the whole family. That is what is happening, because the 3-year-old this morning all he wanted the do was to watch the trailer with me.

BERMAN: Because you made him.

DAVIS: No, he asked me, I want to watch the trailer and he said afterwards, daddy, that was so cool.

BOLDUAN: Dude, that was cool. Can this live up to the expectations you're setting for it?

DAVIS: It depends on what your expectations are. I think it will be --


BOLDUAN: World domination?

DAVIS: I just want to see a cool "Star Wars" movie. So far, that's I have seen it in the trailers. They've given the franchise when George Lucas stepped out to people who grew up with the franchise, and makes it special. J.J. Abrams knows that.

BERMAN: So far, better the "Phantom of the Menace," that is a low bar.

All right. Great to see you, Erik Davis.

BOLDUAN: You lost me on that.

Great to see you, Erik. Thanks so much.

Thank you all for joining us AT THIS HOUR.

BERMAN: "Legal View" with Ashleigh Banfield starts now.