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Obama Awards Medal of Honor to Florent Groberg; Trump's 2 Big Immigration Ideas; Family Sues After Virginia Man Tasered; Immigration Divides GOP Presidential Candidates. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired November 12, 2015 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Captain Florent Groberg, retired Army captain, choking back tears as he's awarded the military's highest distinction, the Medal of Honor, for tackling a would-be bomber in Afghanistan in 2012, saving the lives of countless people. This captain, this hero, insisted, asked the president to remember those who did die that day and also remember the others who acted so bravely that day.

These are always poignant ceremonies but this was particularly touching.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I couldn't agree with you more. He has a remarkable story. And it is a remarkable day to watch him have this honor bestowed to him from the president. As the president said, a Captain Groberg said this was the worst day of his life. And the president well noted that on the very worst day of his life, he summoned his best and he is a hero. Something we can all agree we're very proud to call a true American hero. An amazing day. A wonderful, wonderful ceremony to watch.

BERMAN: He said, we are free because of people like him.

Some other news now. This morning a huge wall, a deportation force to help move 11 million people out of this country -- two big immigration ideas from the front-runner in the Republican race for president, Donald Trump. He is taking a lot of criticism from his rivals, but he's not backing down.


DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & CEO, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: You're going to have a deportation force and you're going to do it humanely and bring the country -- and, frankly, the people -- because have you some excellent, wonderful people. Some fantastic people that have been here for a long period of time. Don't forget, Mika, that you have millions of people waiting online to come into this country and they're waiting to come in legally.


BOLDUAN: A deportation force. Is that feasible? How would that work?

Let's ask a man who would know, the commissioner U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske.

Commissioner, thank you for being with us today.

A huge topic in the debate was immigration and this is very important now in politics and far beyond, a deportation force. You, your agency, would necessarily have to be part of an operation like this. Is it possible?

GIL KERLIKOWSKE, COMMISSIONER, U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION: Well, Kate, before I answer that, I have to tell you, as a veteran, having had the privilege to just watch that Medal of Honor ceremony, that's one of the most moving ceremonies and I really applaud you, CNN, for doing that.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

KERLIKOWSKE: We have 60,000 employees in Customs and Border Protection. We are accountable to the public. Our borders are safer now than they have ever been. We have had fewer apprehensions in this last fiscal year than over many decades, so things have improved dramatically. I have often been asked questions about this, but I just have to tell you about the things that have gone on to really make this country much safer, particularly on all our borders.

BOLDUAN: Is it possible, a massive deportation, a deportation force, having to be used, a massive deportation of some 11 million people. From your perch, how challenging would that be? What would it require? What kind of manpower would it require?

KERLIKOWSKE: From my perch, I would tell you whenever somebody gives you a simplistic answer to an incredibly complex problem like this, that answer is usually wrong. There is one answer. It would be very helpful if Congress passed comprehensive immigration reform.

BERMAN: One of the things Donald Trump talks about, and talked about in the debate, is this operation that took place in the Eisenhower administration. The name was actually Operation Wetback. It's offensive now but that's what they called it then. It was the forced relocation of perhaps a million immigrants in this country. Do you think that is a model for what could happen now?

KERLIKOWSKE: I think we have a model that is already in existence right now. That is that people can apply for asylum. Last summer, we dealt with well over 60,000 unaccompanied children. We have a process in place. We have more, essentially, Border Security and infrastructure and technology than we have ever had before.

The important part that goes back to the Eisenhower administration, though, was that, you know, we need to be accountable. We need to be transparent in Customs and Border Protection.

In just about one hour I'm going to make an important press announcement on how we're going to improve, through the use of body- worn cameras and other technology, an organization that can be even more accountable to the public so that we can deal with these concerns. BOLDUAN: Commissioner, at the core of Donald Trump's immigration

policy that he would like to put in place, his plan, he talks about this deportation force but we have heard him over and over again talk about this wall. Even him saying with a big, beautiful door in it to bring people back in, but first they all have to leave and then they're going to build this big wall. You're the man in charge of the border.



BOLDUAN: What would the wall do? Because I ask you this because I know you've said it seems simplistic in the past, but this is a man who was a front-runner. This is an idea resonating with Americans. What do you say to that?

[11:35:10] KERLIKOWSKE: Kate, let me move away from the politics and tell you what I know about the border security.


KERLIKOWSKE: And that is that we have lines of fencing now. They are placed very strategically so that we can put our people where they need to be. Anyone who has ever visited one part of the border has only really seen one part of the border. We have deserts, we have mountains, a large city like San Diego, and we have the Rio Grande Valley, a river that can be a trickle or a river that can be a flood. And the idea or the ability to build a wall is one that would not be helpful. Again, I'd go back to probably the most meaningful part of this would be comprehensive immigration reform.

BERMAN: So, the wall wouldn't work is what you're saying? The wall would not be helpful?

KERLIKOWSKE: We know that walls have not worked in many locations. We know we place our fencing, not only different types of fencing, but very strategically so that we can place our personnel, our finite number of personnel, we can put them exactly where they need to be. That's why when you look at the number of apprehensions, you look at the safety and security in border cities, from El Paso to San Diego to Tucson, things are greatly significantly and definitely improved.

BERMAN: Gil Kerlikowske, thank you for being with us.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Commissioner.


BERMAN: So, what more will Donald Trump have to say about immigration? Will he be pressed on what the commissioner just said, that the wall won't work? Find out. You can see him tonight on "OutFront" with Erin Burnett" at 7:00 p.m. eastern on CNN.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, a Virginia man in police custody outside a mental health clinic, tasered while in handcuffs. We have new video from the night he died.


[11:41:00] BOLDUAN: Disturbing new video this morning of a man who died in police custody. This happened after an incident with police where he was repeatedly hit with a taser. This happened back in 2013, but the video is just now being released after his family filed a $25 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Virginia police department involved.

BERMAN: The hearing begins in just a couple of hours. CNN received the video through the attorney involved with the lawsuit. It shows the man dying while in police custody after he was taken away from the hospital.

CNN justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, has the details.



PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This police video shows three officers in South Boston, Virginia, tasing a man right outside a hospital emergency room. Shortly after, that man, 46- year-old Linwood Lambert, died in police custody.




BROWN: The video begins with officers picking Lambert up at a motel early one morning in May of 2013 at a hotel after several 911 calls about noise. In court records, police say because of how Lambert was acting they took him to the hospital for a mental health evaluation. They say he made comments about murdering two people and hiding their bodies in the ceiling.


UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: We're going to take you to the emergency room and make sure you're good to go.


BROWN: Inside the patrol car, police say he kicked out the window.

Then the video shows Lambert running straight into the hospital doors while handcuffed.



(END VIDEO CLIP) BROWN: He falls to the ground and the officers repeatedly ask him to roll over onto his stomach while threatening to tase him.


UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: On your stomach. On your stomach. On your stomach.

BROWN: Lambert then admits he was on drugs.




BROWN: But instead of taking him inside the emergency room, the officers take him to the police station.




BROWN: The officers tase Lambert multiple times. He's bleeding, apparently, from breaking the squad car window. By the time they reach the police station, he appears unconscious in the backseat. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital after going into cardiac arrest, according to the medical examiner's report.




BROWN: The report ruled the cause of death as acute cocaine intoxication. But the family blames the police and they filed a $25 million wrongful death lawsuit, alleging, quote, "The officers' callous disregard for Linwood Lambert in tasering him multiple times and depriving him of the desperate medical care he needed violated his constitutional rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment."

Police have denied the allegations, saying Lambert's erratic actions required the use of force.

Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.


BERMAN: The South Boston Police Department released a statement saying, quote, "We are vigorously defending the case. Our position is affirmed by the reports of two independent well-qualified experts in the field." CNN has attempted to reach South Boston police but we have not heard back. The medical examiner's report said, while cocaine was the cause of

death, there were three puncture wounds that look like they were from a taser. CNN was not able to independently verify how many times Lambert was tasered.

BOLDUAN: Still ahead for us, Rubio says, let them stay. Trump says, kick them out. Ted Cruz is somewhere in between. The immigration divide emerging within the GOP, ahead.


[11:48:52] BOLDUAN: The immigration debate, it has become a huge issue, a point of contention in the Republican race for the White House. This is an issue that has become a dividing line, really separating the candidates within the Republican race.

BERMAN: Donald Trump is talking about a wall and deportation force, and perhaps, more interesting, Ted Cruz is now talking about Marco Rubio. Maybe not mentioning his name, but, man, oh, man, is he talking about him.

Let's discuss with Brad Woodhouse, the former communications director for the Democratic National Committee; and Mercedes Schlapp, a Republican strategist who is also the Spanish language spokesperson for President George W. Bush.

Thank you both so much for being with us.



BERMAN: Mercedes, I think the most interesting development over the last 36 hours in this race is Ted Cruz moving in ever so slowly on Rubio. Now it seems any chance he gets, he says, look at my record on immigration. I was against the Gang of Eight in the Senate when they were pushing for immigration reform. He doesn't mention Marco Rubio but you know he's talking about him because Rubio was part of that group which supported what many people in the Republican Party considered amnesty, letting 11 million undocumented immigrants stay in this country. So Cruz versus Rubio, how big is this fight now?

[11:50:05] SCHLAPP: I think it's obviously a very important fight because this is what's happening. You're seeing both Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio, both obviously doing very well in the debate. They are trying to appeal to that conservative base. Obviously, for Senator Ted Cruz, one of the things he's done, his PAC released an ad against Rubio on this particular issue and why, because this issue of immigration has become an incredibly important issue for the conservative GOP voters out there. This is one of the issues that's driving their emotional state and so I think for Senator Ted Cruz, look, he sees Marco Rubio as probably his biggest competition. One of the issues where they differentiate, on this issue, on immigration.

BERMAN: And it's a big difference. It's no small difference. This is a crucial difference.

SCHLAPP: That's right. When you look at the Gang of Eight, for example, it was the one area where conservatives have, time and time again, criticized Senator Marco Rubio. It was very interesting in this last debate that Senator Rubio decided to stay very quiet in the debate and not even talk about immigration. Why? Because every time he's talked about this issue, we don't really quite know where he stands. He's gone from supporting the Gang of Eight bill to saying, well, maybe we want the green cards in there for illegal immigrants. It's kind of a shifting position. Senator ted cruise is taking advantage of this.

BOLDUAN: Senator Cruz definitely has not equivocated on that issue at all.

Speaking of Marco Rubio, Brad Woodhouse --


BOLDUAN: -- there's a new ad by a perfectly named super PAC, called Baby Got PAC. In the ad, they raise the question, they say the candidate the Democrats are most concerned about, Marco Rubio. Take a look at a little bit of the ad.


ANNOUNCER: They admitted there's one candidate who scares Hillary Clinton and that's Senator Marco Rubio. Democrats say he's the one they don't want to face. Bill Clinton even calls him the biggest threat.


BOLDUAN: So it's true.


BOLDUAN: If Bill Clinton says it, then it's true, Brad.

WOODHOUSE: Look, I'll tell you this, we're not -- I'll be honest, we're not really concerned about anyone in this field in particular, in part, because Donald Trump and Ted Cruz now on the issue of immigration. This is a place where after the last election where Reince Priebus said they need to get right, they needed to go to this community and they needed to be able to --


BOLDUAN: Right, but Rubio, that is not an area where Hillary Clinton can attack him on.

WOODHOUSE: That is absolutely not true. Marco Rubio has turned his back on the path to citizenship. Marco Rubio is against the dream act. Marco Rubio's against the president's immigration executive action. I mean, he has -- you know, he's only less extreme because of where Donald Trump has led -- led the party. Marco Rubio at this point is where Mitt Romney was in 2012 and that wasn't a good place to be for Mitt Romney.

BERMAN: Mitt Romney was --


WOODHOUSE: Mitt Romney was against the path to citizenship. Marco Rubio is against the path to citizenship. I believe Marco Rubio -- Marco Rubio's home state paper has said he'll basically do anything on immigration that helps him politically. I believe, in the end, if he has to go more towards Trump and Cruz to get the nomination, he will.

BERMAN: Mercedes, 20 seconds.

SCHLAPP: Right, I think for Marco Rubio, his biggest challenge will be he will need to clarify his position. He knows quite well that we need immigration, real immigration reform in this country. I think he needs to stick by that and make sure he makes the statements clear.

BERMAN: Someone could ask at the debate. The next one on CNN.

BOLDUAN: That's right.


BERMAN: Mercedes, Brad Woodhouse --


BOLDUAN: Can you talk in unison, too, next time?

BERMAN: We appreciate it. Come back any time.

SCHLAPP: Thank you.

WOODHOUSE: Thank you.

BERMAN: We have more news coming up. A small plane flies into an apartment complex. What caused the crash is still unknown, but we are now getting a look at the moment right before impact. Stunning video next.


[11:58:32] BOLDUAN: New this morning, police now have in custody a second person suspected of making racially charged threats on social media. The Northwest Missouri State University student allegedly made a threat on Yikyak to harm others. This comes after rising racial turmoil at the University of Missouri. Mizzou campus police in Columbia, Missouri, made an earlier arrest after reports of an online threat. The suspect in that case not a student though.

BERMAN: Stunning new images a small corporate jet crashing into an apartment building. Investigators say this surveillance video from a nearby construction site could provide valuable clues about why the plane fell short of an airport in Akron, Ohio. The crash killed all nine people on board. The NTSB is now also looking into weather might have played a role in this accident.

BOLDUAN: New information this hour in the reported laser strikes on aircrafts. The FAA says crews of at least 20 aircraft in New York, Dallas, California, Michigan and Puerto Rico, they reported being hit by lasers last night alone. In New York City, several news helicopters were actually targets. A pilot of one was able to tell police where he thought the laser was coming from because, as you can see, they caught it on video. Two men are now in custody in that incident.

Really is amazing they caught that on video.

Thank you all so much for joining us AT THIS HOUR.

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

[12:00:13] ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.