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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Families: No Warning from Shooters Prior to Attack; Investigators Find ISIS Connection to Shooters; First Responder: Shooting Scene "Unspeakable"; New Poll Shows Trump with Huge Lead. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired December 4, 2015 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:30:00] HUSSAM AYLOUSH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN ISLAMIC RELATIONS, GREATER AMERICAN CHAPTER: It completely took them by surprise because there were no signs, no warnings that Syed Farook and his wife were taking that path. There were absolutely no warnings. It seems like they had a double life or they were really good at hiding their -- you know, what seems to be their new ideology or their intentions.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You said taking that path. We're getting a sense of what that path may have been. Breaking news, Tashfeen Malik, pledged allegiance to ISIS as the attack was under way. Now, officials tell us they believe this couple was self- radicalized, maybe social media connections over time. How do we as a society, not just Muslim-Americans, but how do we as American fight back on in ideology that seems attractive to enough people to cause so much death.

AYLOUSH: Regardless if the reports are true or not, I have not seen any confirmation. I did see it on CNN. If that is true, that is really alarming. This is like joining a gang, a cult. People have reasons for such appeal to gang. Normal people do not get attracted to these guys. On a daily basis, hundreds of millions of people are subjected to the propaganda of ISIS and others. And we don't flip. There is some weakness within that person that makes them susceptible to such a thing.

BERMAN: I thin what' so scary, by all accounts of the family, people who knew them in the community, they did seem like normal people.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And we have heard, we often do hear, that it seems that if it becomes -- you do call them terrorists. If you do, if comes to that, the terrorist's families are often the last to know they've been radicalized. That's often the most surprising question for any right-minded human being is, how does someone go about living this double life or really good at hiding it, as you said? How as a society do we go about making sure that doesn't happen?

AYLOUSH: Honestly, there are no scientific indicators when a person snaps. Whether joining a terrorist group or a consultant. The more cunning ones are able to hide this. This is a reminder for all of us called ISIS. There is a psychotic person named Abu Bakr al Baghdadi who runs ISIS or Daesh and it needs to be addressed. There are people in Syria as we speak the regime who are actually fighting ISIS, the Syrian people. We cannot sit and watch and complain about what can we do about Daesh or ISIS, we need to support those picking up the fight with ISIS.

BERMAN: How do you fight that fight here? That fight does appear to be in the United States now.

AYLOUSH: Let's put things in perspective. If this case is true, it would be one of many -- one of a handful of cases. Out of six million American Muslims, I'm not worried about it. There's no appeal for ISIS and its destructive ideology within the American Muslim communities. American Muslims --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: The federal government is concerned about it, the FBI is concerned about, the CIA, our intelligence officials are concerned about it.

AYLOUSH: And it is their job to be concerned. One case is too many, no doubt about it. One case is too many. But I'm putting things in the whole perspective of things. For the American-Muslim community who are active, aware of their community, their children, their mosques, their imams. If the reports are true of Farook and his wife being influenced by ISIS, they would have done that outside of the Muslim community. They had to isolate themselves from their family, from the Muslim community in order to hide that because there's no acceptance for such behavior or such ideology.

BERMAN: Hussam Ayloush, thank you for being with us. As you say, one case is too much.

BOLDUAN: We'll have to see if that isolation occurred. That's why two things don't add up. The family's attorney said, they're a close-knit family. So hard to believe.

Thanks so much.

[11:35:] BERMAN: Much more on this breaking news. This ISIS connection. New details on why investigators say the terror group is now part of this investigation. The female attacker pledging allegiance to the ISIS leader while the attack was under way.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Breaking news out of California. Investigators have found an ISIS connection.

BERMAN: I want to bring back our CNN chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, who broke the story; our CNN terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank.

Jim, gives us the details.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: John, here's what we know. Multiple officials telling CNN that as this attack was under way, the wife of the shooter, Tashfeen Malik, she posted to a Facebook account, a pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. They believe it was an account linked to her under a different name. To be clear, investigators looking at this as an ISIS-inspired attack. They have not established this was directed by an ISIS leader. In other words, that ISIS reached out and said, attack this target on this date. It looks more like something in terms pursuing their radicalization.

[11:40:09] In addition to that, they are still looking to see whether the workplace -- a dispute at the workplace, particularly over religion, may have played an additional role. But this firming up the idea that this was an act of terrorism with a direct link to ISIS.

I should say this, posting a pledge of allegiance has precedence. You may remember the Garland, Texas, shooters. They as the same time or just prior to the attack posted allegiance, pledge of allegiance to the ISIS leader as well -- John and Kate?

BOLDUAN: And, Paul, the fact the fee maim attacker posted this. Also this on top of -- we even heard from a coworker of Farook's, he raised possibility to CBS News that he thought it was the wife who helped radicalize Farook. What do you make of that?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, again, there's been some precedent for that. We all remember in January those that carried out their attack on the kosher market, some allegations she helped in some degree, radicalized him. There have been other cases of husband/wife teams carrying out Islam terror attacks. We saw a case of a Belgian couple in Iraq carrying out suicide bombings on the same day. In Holland, around that time, a husband and wife went to assassinate a Dutch politician that the Dutch actually thwarted that attack. Not unheard of, but not where you would -- there have been some where the female has been more radicalized, playing the Lady Macbeth role. I've seen that in cases I've studied over the years. I've interviewed some of these women over the years who have been encouraging their husbands to be, quote/unquote, "men" when it comes to jihad.

BOLDUAN: Scary regardless.

Paul, thanks so much.

Jim, that's a huge line of questioning. I'm sure investigators are looking into the all digital, electronic evidence they're trying to gather and work though at this point. Jim, we'll look for you on more on that.

Thanks, guys. Thanks so much.

Coming up next for us, "unspeakable carnage," that's how one of the officers first to the scene describes what he saw. In his own words, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [11:47:23] BOLDUAN: The pictures and the videos coming out from the horrific attack in San Bernardino paint such a tragic scene. In minutes, 14 people were killed, 21 others injured.

BERMAN: And now for the first time, we are hearing from one of the first officers to arrive on site. He calls what he saw "unspeakable." This is Lieutenant Mike Madden.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. MIKE MADDEN, SAN BERNARDINO POLICE DEPARTMENT: The situation was surreal. It was something that I don't think that, again, we prepare for and they try to an active shooter, and talk about the sensory overload and try to throw everything at you to prepare you for dealing with that, but what you are seeing, what you are hearing, what you are smelling, and it was all of that and more. It was unspeakable the carnage that we were seeing. The number of people who were injured and unfortunately already dead, the pure panic on the face of those individuals that were still in need, and needing to be safe. The initial 50 people did not want to come to us. They were fearful. They were in the back hallway area, and that is actually heightened my concern that, and my fear that potentially the suspects were in that hallway holding them hostage, and waiting for us to enter into the hallway. We had to tell them several times, come to us, and come to us, and ultimately they did. Once that first person took the motions forward, it opened up the floodgates and everybody wanted to come and get away from that as quickly as possible. You know, we have taken a lot of hits lately, some justified, much of it not justified. And it takes a toll. It takes a toll on all cops, because it is hard being, it hard being label and branded as being rogue or, you know, and I guarantee you that no cop comes into this job with the mindset that, oh, great, now I have ultimate power to be corrupt and to violate people's rights, and there are cops that go astray. But overwhelmingly, the vast majority of officers and vast majority, 99.5 percent of the officers go out to do the job to protect the public. And yesterday just reminded me of that and solidified it in my heart and mindset, and for that, I'm thankful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: By all accounts, all of the officers involved, they all deserve such a huge salute for how they respond and preventing this tragedy even being worse.

[11:50:00] BERMAN: And given the arsenal, they saved countless lives.

The shooting now a big topic on the campaign trail, and we will look at how the candidates as are talking about the attack, and brand- new CNN poll that is showing the Republican race changing.

BOLDUAN: First, on a much more uplifting note, and very much need these days, "CNN Heroes, An All-Star Tribute" is going to be saluting people who do extraordinary work to make everyday people's lives better every single day. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is a night of glitz, glamour and giving. "CNN Heroes, An All-Star Tribute," hosted by Anderson Cooper, puts 10 everyday people in the spotlight to salute them for their work for helping others.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, A.C. 360 & CNN HOST, CNN HEROES, AN ALL-STAR TRIBUTE: It is a great night and nice for people who ordinarily don't get this kind of attention get this kind of attention.

PEREIRA: On this special night, the stars turn out to ho honor them.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: And when we can celebrate heroes and heroic actions, that is what we need to do.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: It is a real honor.

PEREIRA: And this year, there is a surgeon who serves Chicago's poorest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the biggest, and the boldest and the bad ass doctor.

PEREIRA: And a woman who turned her home into a sanctuary for sloths.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And a woman who proves that sloth is a virtue.

PEREIRA: It is a night of passion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the work that I do and it is like the air that I breathe and so I can't stop.

PEREIRA: Laughter.

(LAUGHTER)

KATHY GRIFFIN, COMEDIENNE & CO-HOST, CNN HEROES, AN ALL-STAR TRIBUTE: Were you afraid of Sharon Stone. I felt like you were scared of her.

COOPER: I love Sharon Stone.

GRIFFIN: I know, but I felt like you were afraid.

PEREIRA: And a night of music.

(SINGING)

PEREIRA: It's a celebration of humanity with a little help from a special guest which ends in one life-changing moment. COOPER: The 2015 CNN Hero of the year --

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: Watch the entire show "CNN Heroes, An All-Star Tribute" this Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Tune in and be inspired.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:55:44] BERMAN: Brand-new CNN/ORC poll shows that Donald Trump is what he would call a huge lead over the rest of the GOP field. He is standing at an all-time high of 36 percent among the Republican voters, which is 20 points ahead of the second place, Ted Cruz. Cruz is seeing a 12-point rise since October. And Ben Carson is losing the most ground. He dropping eight points and is at 14 now. And also in a freefall is Jeb Bush at sixth place at 3 percent.

BOLDUAN: Joining us now to discuss the Republican strategist, Mercedes Schlapp; and CNN political commentator and former senior advisor to President Obama, Dan Pfeiffer.

Great to see you both.

And, Mercedes, take on this on. Why is Trump leading and running away with it and why is he running away with it now?

MERCEDES SCHLAPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR; Well, this tough talk, and the escalation on the rhetoric is working for him in groups like the evangelical Christian and the blue collar voters, and those are the two groups that seem to be attracted to this Trump candidacy. And so I think that also when you have seen the fall of Ben Carson, because of the media scrutiny, and because of the fact that he struggles in the area of foreign policy, and n in a sense, it is, I think Benefited candidates like Trump and like Cruz, and so for like these individuals, the Republicans, they are being, and there is a sense of rebellion right now of saying that we won't go with the typical politician. And this Trump guy is giving the sort of the leadership tough talk, regardless of what he is saying, and regardless of the people and he is upsetting and you have a percentage of the Republicans voting for him, but will he be the president in the end, that is yet to be seen.

BERMAN: Not a typical politician like you see when you're dealing with domestic issues. Not sure it translates to foreign policy or security. But on the security issues, Dan, Trump is not ahead, but way ahead. Who best handles foreign policy, Trump is way out in front. Who would be the best commander-in-chief, Trump is way out in front. Who is best to handle ISIS, Trump way out in front. And, trust me, on the rest of them, he is way out ahead of them.

BOLDUAN: It will get there. 21 points on the commander-in- chief.

BERMAN: And, 21 points on commander-in-chief. On the ISIS, as Kate just said, 31 points he is out in front of handling ISIS. How do you explain that? DAN PFEIFFER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it is all about

strength. Trump's entire candidacy is projecting the strength and the tough talk, and he is criticized and he does not back down and he does not apologize if he is attacking immigrants or Megyn Kelly or whoever it is, and that is translated that people are not making a nuanced position of who has the best policy, but they want the strongest candidate, and Trump is winning by the huge way in that policy.

BOLDUAN: And, Mercedes, a lot of folks who don't want Trump to win, they say this is a national poll, and you don't win a national poll presidency, but it is state by state.

Correct me, if I'm wrong, and you go that he is up ahead of California and --

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: South Carolina.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: Nevada. Everywhere.

BOLDUAN: And do you expect in two months, for him to implode so much?

SCHLAPP: Here's the deal. He is untouchable quite frankly and with the comment s that he has made, there is the sense of the loyal Trump voter, and that is fine, but still, we are 60 days to Iowa and a lot can happen. We won't have a nominee until March. I am sure that Dan is happy about this, because the Hillary camp is going, that is great, you guys just keep fighting.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: And, Dan, you have 30 seconds left.

(CROSSTALK)

PFEIFFER: I put on the Christmas list, Trump, Carson, Cruz.

SCHLAPP: You are worried about Rubio, huh?

PFEIFFER: Little bit.

BERMAN: And 10 seconds, Dan.

(CROSSTALK)

BERMAN: 10 seconds, about Jeb Bush.

PFEIFFER: I would say it is an amazing thing in politics that Jeb Bush is trailing Donald Trump by 33 percent.

BERMAN: On that note --

SCHLAPP: That is huge, just huge.

BERMAN: Dan Pfeiffer, Mercedes Schlepp -- just huge.

Thanks so much for being with us, guys.

SCHLAPP: Thank you.

BERMAN: Talking about the polls on a day with a lot of breaking news.

BOLDUAN: That is exactly right.

And thank you all for joining us AT THIS HOUR.

BERMAN: More to breaking news coverage of the shooting of San Bernardino. Anderson Cooper picks up right now.

ANNOUNCER: this is CNN breaking news.

[12:00:07] COOPER: And that's very much for joining us. I'm Anderson Cooper, live in San Bernardino, California. I want to welcome our viewers in the United States and --