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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Did ISIS Bring Down Russian Jet; Egyptian President Meets with British Prime Minster; Trump Starts Radio Ads, Attacks Rubio Finances. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired November 5, 2015 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning, an ISIS bomb attack or bad intelligence? U.S. and British sources say it was likely terrorists that took out a passenger jet. Russia and Egypt say, not so fast. So who is right?
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Donald Trump taking to the air waves, paying for press for the first time as he launches new attacks against Marco Rubio and Rubio hits back.
BERMAN: The father, son dispute that involves one war, one defense secretary and two presidents. Bush versus Bush, like you have never heard them before. The new book that has Washington buzzing.
BOLDUAN: Hello, I'm Kate Bolduan.
BERMAN: I'm John Berman.
New this morning, was it an ISIS bomb attack that killed more than 200 people? To hear it from U.S. and British officials, it is highly likely that a bomb plant by ISIS or one of its affiliates destroyed that Russian jet over the Sinai Peninsula. Intelligence suggests the bombers may have received assistance from inside the airport. But Russian and Egyptian officials reject those theories. They say they're speculative, premature. They urge caution. They say there's no evidence to support any conclusions.
BOLDUAN: Britain is taking no chances, though. It has suspended all flights in and out of Sharm el Sheikh Airport where, of course, the doomed flight originated.
Right now, Egypt's president is in London for meetings with the British prime minister.
Let's get over to senior international correspondent, Clarissa Ward. She's in London. She's watching this meeting as this meeting has been taking place.
Clarissa, what has been coming out of it?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, the Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el Sisi left 10 Downing Street just about half an hour ago after he sat down with the British prime minister for two hours. In a statement afterwards, he said the Egyptians would do anything they can to cooperate with British authorities and British security officials on the ground in Sharm el Sheikh, who are essentially trying to comb through the security processes that are going on in that airport and to improve them to get to a point where those flights can resume back and forth, to and from Sharm el Sheikh.
Now earlier in the day, the Prime Minister David Cameron met with his cabinet. He held an emergency meeting. And, afterwards, he made a statement, saying, while it's not certain that it was a bomb that brought down this passenger jet, it was, quote, "more likely than not." So still couching his language. He also wouldn't be drawn on the issue of whether or not ISIS is responsible for this attack, if, indeed, this was an attack. He also said that he had a conversation with President Putin of Russia to try to explain some of the intelligence that has led the British government to take this fairly drastic measure.
Now the focus here in the U.K., Kate, is on really trying to get some of those roughly 20,000 British citizens. who are stranded in Sharm el Sheikh, back to the United Kingdom. That effort is expected to be under way tomorrow.
BERMAN: We're hearing, the Egyptian leader, al Sisi, is saying the British have been asking us to look at our airports for 10 months, which is natural, but what's not natural is shutting down flights to this region. Something the British would not be doing, something these independent airlines would not be doing unless they had real reason to worry. So far, at least, from where you're standing, Egypt and the Egyptian leader haven't been offering real explanation.
WARD: No, he hasn't really offered any explanation. We know the Egyptians feel that the U.S. and the U.K. have been too quick to come out with this warning. What the prime minister here said was we can't take any risks when it comes to the lives of British citizens. We'll take any preemptive actions we think are necessary.
Obviously, this is a sticky issue. Tourism is a huge source of revenue for the Egyptian government. President Sisi was here on what was supposed to be a three-day state visit where they would discuss trade and security, and that has been marred by this issue, which obviously is now topping the agenda.
BERMAN: Clarissa Ward for us outside 10 Downing Street in London, where British leaders have been meeting with the Egyptian leaders.
So much to discuss there. And not broad agreement at this point.
BOLDUAN: It's not.
Let's bring in our CNN terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank; and CNN intelligence and security analyst, Bob Baer.
It's great to see you both.
Paul, I know you've been looking into this. The significance, essentially, if this is an ISIS affiliate putting a bomb on a plane, the significance of it can't be missed. [11:05:00] PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: The most
significant terrorist attack since 9/11, second-deadliest since 9/11. But this would turbo charge ISIS's popularity in the global jihadi movement, increase their standing. There's so much anger right now in the Sunni Muslim world against the Russians. It's also targeting an aircraft, so it's a spectacular attack, which will hurt the Egyptian economy, lead to more unemployment, lead to more fertile environment for terrorist recruitment. All sorts of reasons why this is a significant event and may lead to geopolitical reverberations. Russia may play a bigger role in the Syria intervention, may pivot towards striking ISIS. That could play into ISIS's hands, help its recruitment. You can see even more foreign fighters going to Syria.
BERMAN: So, Bob Baer, the United States and Britain say it was likely an ISIS bomb attack. That's where they're leaning right now. Egypt and Russia say, no, not, so fast, we don't buy it. Is this a case of not believing that it was a bomb attack or not wanting to admit it?
BOB BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE & SECURITY ANALYST: They don't want to admit it Moscow nor Cairo have good credibility, especially on terrorism. They are both in denying. Putin is personally tied to this policy in Syria. Claiming he can suppress this movement, the Islamic movement in Syria. This is a huge setback for Putin. It's something he doesn't want to readily admit. He'd like to put some time between a finding on this airplane, so I would definitely go with Cameron in London, their assessment. Let's not forget, we're not seeing the intelligence. There's a lot of chatter, probably chatter before the attack as well as after. You look at the context, shrapnel wounds to some of the passengers, you look at the flash right before the plane went down and the rest of it. I think Cameron's probably got good reason to suspect this was a bomb that brought that airplane down.
BOLDUAN: So, Paul, if ISIS is planting bombs on planes in Sharm el Sheikh, can they plant bombs on other planes? What are the capabilities?
CRUICKSHANK: The key thing here may have been an insider at the airport.
BOLDUAN: Why is that so key?
CRUICKSHANK: If you have an insider at the airplane, you don't have to put the bomb through airport security scanners.
BOLDUAN: It doesn't seem to be --
CRUICKSHANK: You can put it directly on the plane. All that expensive technology, not much point if someone's working at the airport, can smuggle a bomb on a plane. The worry is they'll have other recruits in other airports elsewhere in the Middle East. The worry also is that potentially this mole hasn't been arrested yet. I think that may be one reason they're being so coy in all their statements, not giving detail, saying it's up to investigators. We're not going to tell you.
BOLDUAN: ISIS themselves.
CRUICKSHANK: That could mean to protect someone working at the airport for them.
BERMAN: Bob, talk to me about the Sinai Peninsula. What's going on there? Is this a hot bed of activity, like we know Syria, Libya, we know Iraq right now. Is Sinai now the latest hot spot?
BAER: It is. The Islamic State calls it the Sinai Province. It claims loyalty to Islamic State, a lot of groups there. It's an ongoing battle between the Egyptian army and fundamentalists. Places like Sharm el Sheikh, you'll see a lot of sympathy for the Islamic State. As Paul was saying, even in the airport, airport workers. This is a real war going on in Egypt. And that's the reason there are all these cautions from Washington and London. Don't go there. Don't fly over there. And now don't even fly out of there because this battle is very much ongoing. And right now, the Egyptians may be winning, the Egyptian military, but we're going to wait to see how this untangles, whether they can suppress this movement or not.
BOLDUAN: You touched on it earlier, Paul, but how does Russia respond? If ISIS has been able to plant a bomb on this Russian jet, passengers were Russian, what is the impact?
CRUICKSHANK: If Russia comes to the conclusion that is was, indeed, in some way behind this, all bets may be off in terms of their response, both in Syria and Iraq potentially against ISIS, but also in the Sinai Peninsula itself. It's not impossible that Russia itself could launch air strikes against the ISIS affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula.
BOLDUAN: You think that plays into ISIS's hands?
CRUICKSHANK: It may, because there will be more anger about Russians targeting Muslims on the ground, potentially, collateral damage to civilians being killed. As Bob was saying, this is a very powerful insurgency. This group is believed to have more than 500 fighters over the last couple years. They killed more than 700 Egyptian security forces. They killed an American, an oil worker in 2014. They beheaded a Croatian, who was in Cairo, who was abducted just recently. This is a very powerful ISIS affiliate in Sinai.
BERMAN: Bob, does this speak to a new capability within ISIS or just a new logistical capability by them?
[11:10:00] BAER: I have a theory on this. A lot of these sophisticated airplane bombs are -- technology is old. It goes back to the '70s, but the technology was being held by Damascus in Baghdad with the breakup of those two states. A lot of this technology, presumably, has gone to people like the Islamic State. Now, we obviously don't know, as Paul was saying, whether someone put this on or came through the luggage check or not. But this technology is out there. And in the last couple of days, I've been asking people, the experts on this, and they keep on saying, this stuff can get through European security checks, these sophisticated bombs, and American. And I said, what percentage? They said, 65 percent. I said this on TV the other day and I got a text from a senior official in the administration saying, right on.
BAER: And so I think that's the estimate in Washington as well.
BOLDUAN: That's unsettling.
BERMAN: That's reason for concern right there.
BOLDUAN: Paul, Bob, great to see you guys. Thanks so much.
Coming up for us, Donald Trump, for the first time, launching ads in Iowa and New Hampshire. What he's promising and who he's attacking now. That's up next.
BERMAN: Father versus son, president versus president. The elder George Bush like you have never heard him before. He says his son didn't have very good help while he was in the White House. A surprising new book about to hit Washington.
[11:15:32] BOLDUAN: New this morning, don't touch that dial. Donald Trump hitting the air waves. For the very first time, the billionaire is spending a little bit of his money on campaign ads, not TV, but radio, in early voting states. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION (voice-over): My opponents have no experience in creating jobs or making deals. The fact is I'm going to make the greatest trade deals we've ever made in our country. And I'm going to bring jobs and money back to the United States. I'll take care of our veterans and make our military so strong that nobody will mess with us. I'll secure our borders and, yes, we will have a wall.
If the people of Iowa vote for me, you'll never be disappointed. I don't disappoint people. I produce.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: There you go.
Trump in New Hampshire is also hitting Marco Rubio over Rubio's personal finances, his use of a GOP party credit card back in Florida. But Rubio, he's not taking it. He's hitting back as well.
CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, is there, has been talking to them.
Dana, you almost had two different responses from Marco Rubio in the two days you've spoken to him.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I did. I found it very interesting and perhaps telling about the impact that Donald Trump's pounding on Marco Rubio now for the past 24, 48 hours and his credit card use or charge card use, as Marco Rubio would put it. Last night, when I asked him about it, he kind of blew it off. Today, he went after Trump. Watch the difference.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R), FLORIDA & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's Donald being Donald. Whenever there's a bad poll he gets weird and does these sorts of things. He doesn't know what he's talking about.
I find it ironic the only person rubbing for president that's every declared bankruptcy four times in the last 25 years is attacking anyone on finances.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: But both times Senator Rubio did go on to explain what's at issue here, which is the fact that he had a party credit card, charge card, back in Florida when he was in the State House, which he did use for personal expenses. And he explains it was not a bad thing because he paid it -- his personal expenses -- straight to the credit card company.
You know what, this is playing into a narrative Trump and other opponents have been trying to hit Rubio on, which is whether it's this or the fact that he was part of a foreclosure on a house he had in Tallahassee or the fact that he doesn't have a lot of money personally and had personal debt, all wrapped into a narrative that shows he's not ready to handle the economy and finances of this country. So, that's the reason why he's pushing back pretty hard on this.
BERMAN: He's getting pushed pretty hard on it and will, I think, in the coming days.
Dana Bash, in Concord, New Hampshire, thanks so much.
I want to bring in Hilary Rosen, CNN political commentator, Democratic strategist; Amanda Carpenter, CNN political commentator and former communications director for Senator Ted Cruz, who is a Republican, in case you didn't know.
BOLDUAN: I missed the memo on purple. What the --
BOLDUAN: Hi, guys.
BERMAN: Amanda, for those have been asking for months, why isn't Donald Trump advertising, when will he put a little money into this campaign? Well, we're getting the first taste of it today. He has a couple radio spots. People know are cheaper than division. It's $300,000 buy as opposed to putting $10 million in TV ads in a few states. Still, what's the significance of him going on the air?
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think this is a smart move by Donald Trump. Jeb Bush has been pouring $10 million into TV ads and his poll numbers are going down, not up. Talk radio is a powerful medium for conservatives, particularly Republican primary voters. And I think Donald Trump is putting money there, Ted Cruz is also putting money into radio before TV. I think that's where the smart money is and it moves the needle for GOP voters. This ad is full of buzz words. Repeal and replace Obamacare. We have no idea what his position is. Beef up the military. I'm all for that. If this is an invitation for Donald Trump to talk about the issues and his plans, I think that's a good thing.
BOLDUAN: But to this point, his supporters haven't needed much more detail than those buzz words. They accept the trust me tag line. To Dana's reporting, Trump is hitting Rubio over the past 24, 48 hours on his personal finances, his use of this GOP credit card. Rubio says it is much ado about nothing. But have asked this about Hillary Clinton and her e-mails. Do you think this issue for Rubio, like Hillary and her e-mails, will resonate with voters? Is this something that's going to stick with folks?
[11:20:19] HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think Rubio's issue goes to his broader problem. It sort of fits into this, is he experienced enough to manage the presidency, manage the economy. It's a smart way to go after him. He has never been very clear on why he's had so many personal financial problems. It's not just about sort of the scandal and the improper use of the credit cards. It's, you know, his personal bankruptcy and things like that. He's right to hit Donald Trump back, but eventually he's going to have to answer this stuff for himself. And I think Rubio's got to get ahead of this.
BOLDUAN: What do you think of his answer -- what do you think about his answer -- we talked about this earlier -- about some of his personal finance issues? He's like, I'm not a rich guy. That's his answer.
BERMAN: People can relate to that. People struggle with money.
CARPENTER: Particularly, when he's answering Donald Trump. Listen, he never got a million dollar loan from his dad. One point that's important to raise when we talk about these financial issues there was a state ethics investigation into it and they cleared him. They said there was some negligence, but he has been cleared. This came from Charlie Crist. He won a tough race in Florida by -- it didn't stick to him. So, I don't think they're too worried about it. I like his response. Like Donald Trump is down in the polls, he's going to come at me. But you think his team has done pretty good ground in making it a relatable issue to people about finances. It's a really strong move.
ROSEN: But the larger question for him, though, isn't about the primary. It's really about what he says going forward and how he responds to Democratic charges about this.
ROSEN: He got cleared, meaning he didn't get, you know, indicted or anything in Florida, but that doesn't mean that, you know, being negligent about your finances --
CARPENTER: I will say --
BERMAN: Hang on. Hang on, guys.
Because I want to turn a corner here because we'll hear a lot more about this in the coming days and weeks. Rubio's own people say he'll release more paper.
BOLDUAN: I want to take a look at the latest FOX News poll that came out late yesterday, which shows Donald Trump on top 26 to 23. What's interesting about this to me, Donald Trump, for all the talk about Ben Carson taking over, Donald Trump dropping, he hasn't dropped at all. I mean, you know, this poll has him going up. So he stayed remarkably consistent for months and months now.
Does that mean at this point, Amanda, he has a solid base of support?
CARPENTER: I think everyone should be worried about the fact that consistently in the polls over the past few months f you look at Donald Trump and Carson put together, it's over 50 percent. You see other people potentially being dropped off the debate stage like Chris Christie or Bobby Jindal. Donald Trump and Ben Carson organically have it. Other candidates are working to cultivate it like Cruz or Rubio. Guys that don't have it, don't understand it, like a Jeb Bush. They're not going to be able to break through to the, you know, Trump/Carson stranglehold they have over primary voters at this moment.
BOLDUAN: You remember -- to remind all our viewers, you remember this moment from CNN's Democratic debate with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I), VERMONT & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e- mails!
HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE Thank you. Me, too! Me, too.
CLINTON: Thank you, Bernie! Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: So, Hillary, Bernie Sanders gives an interview to the "Wall Street Journal" and he says, even though he's sick of talking about the e-mails, it doesn't mean he doesn't think it's an important issue. So, why is he taking that turn now? If he wants to make that point and make that distinction with Hillary Clinton, why not during the debate?
ROSEN: I think a little debater's remorse set in. Just on polling in general, and Sanders is going through this with Clinton, right now, for momentum in the primary, national polls don't mean that much. What means more is how you're doing in Iowa, how you're doing in New Hampshire, how you're doing until South Carolina and Nevada. And Hillary Clinton has overtaken Bernie Sanders in Iowa and even in New Hampshire, which was his stronger home turf. So, Sanders, I think, is trying to scramble back, look at issues to hit at Hillary Clinton's negatives. It's a national phase of the campaign. There's three months left to go right now before the first Iowa caucuses. He's got to regain some momentum. Hitting Hillary's negatives are really his only shot because Iowa voters like Hillary Clinton. New Hampshire Democrats like Hillary Clinton. He's got to find a way to sort of push back on that.
BERMAN: Debaters are more like something Sigmund Freud wrote about great deal about.
BERMAN: Hilary Rosen, Amanda Carpenter, thanks so much for being with us.
Amanda, your former boss, Ted Cruz, is going to be on today with Jake Tapper. That's at 4:00 p.m. eastern only on CNN.
[11:25:08] BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, more fallout this morning from an Illinois police officer's, quote, "carefully staged suicide." Now people who donated money to his family, they say they want it back. Ahead, what led to the downfall of a police officer who investigators say was laundering money from a police program for young adults.
BERMAN: And Senator and presidential candidate, Lindsey Graham, joins us live. Yes, he's running for president. But he is also a key member of the Armed Services Committee. We'll ask him about this plane that crashed in the Sinai Peninsula and new information that possible, some officials say likely, that ISIS took this plane out.
[02:30:04] BOLDUAN: New this morning, a group that gave $15,000 to the family of Lieutenant Gliniewicz, they want it back.