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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Investigators believe Syed Farook along with someone else may have been plotting an earlier attack in California; Donald Trump does not back away from his plan to keep any and all Muslims out of the United States; Trump: No Regrets for Muslim Comments; Investigation on the San Bernardino Shooter's Money Trail; Shooting First Responders Speak. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired December 8, 2015 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carly cut his (bleep) off by --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What did you just say?
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Donald wanted an apology for using such foul language unheard of. Well, un-hear this. The mayor of Philadelphia just said this about you, Donald.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is an (bleep).
MOOS: And if you go profane, the crowd might go insane.
Jeanne Moos, CNN.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would bomb the (bleep) out of them.
MOOS: New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, OUTFRONT: And on the note, AC 360 starts right now.
[20:00:41] JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Good evening. John Berman here sitting in for Anderson.
We begin with breaking news in the San Bernardino investigation starting with a major new development about the male shooter and another attack that investigators say he was planning.
Our justice correspondent Pamela Brown joins me now.
Pamela, you're hearing alarming new information about Syed Farook. What are your sources telling you?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We are learning from sources, John, that investigators believe Syed Farook along with someone else may have been plotting an earlier attack in California. This is according to two U.S. figures we have been speaking with. One of these officials saying the two conspired back in 2012 and a specific target was even considered. They scoped out the area, picked out a target but neither of the officials could say how serious this plotting got. In other words, how far along they were in launching the attack.
The officials said the two decided not to go through with this after a round of terror-related arrests in that area, saying they simply got spooked at the time. And this is bolstering the belief, John, that law enforcement has been saying publicly, the FBI saying that Farook was radicalized for a period of time before the San Bernardino attacks.
And we are also learning from officials that the two, Farook and his friend, had been conspiring to do bad things, that's a direct quote from the officials. And they have discovered the extent of these plans following the San Bernardino attacks, as we have been hearing, John. Farook was not on the radar of law enforcement. So this is something, of course, that they're going back to look at and say, look, did we miss something along the way -- John.
BERMAN: Another attack with another person on a different target back in 2012. Any word on who this other person is? Is this someone the FBI has spoken to?
BROWN: This is someone that the FBI has spoken to. But we should point no other arrests have been made in the case. So what's really interesting here, John, is that this is before - this was 2012, before ISIS had established their caliphate. We have been reporting that it's believed both of them, that the husband and wife, Tashfeen Malik and Farook have been radicalized before ISIS. And this is just yet another indication that indeed he was radicalized and had planned to launched another attack.
Now, I will say, John, you know, as a justice correspondent, I cover several cases where, you know, people talk about things all the time that they want to do things. They want to launch an attack here or there. It's again unclear how far they were in the planning stage, but it's alarming nonetheless, especially considering what my colleague, Evan Perez, has been reporting, that Farook had guns at the time. He was given guns in 2011 and 2012, around the time they had expected out this target and apparently were planning to launch an attack -- John.
BERMAN: Pamela, stay with us. I want to bring in former FBI counterterrorism special agent Tim Clemente.
You know, Tim, the reporting that Farook had planned an earlier attack, the question now is, you know, how does a guy like this stay off the radar?
TIM CLEMENTE, FORMER FBI COUNTERTERRORISM AGENT: Well John, unfortunately, it's only that attack that put him on the radar in the last couple of weeks. So the fact that he was owning weapons and planning an attack is not something that would be indicative of his personality that others would see. Only those closest to him. Whatever this friend or other associate is, that's going to be very important to find out.
And as we see in the case of, you know, him marrying Malik and those two in their pillow talk could have been discussing conducting an attack. It may have been her that gave him the spine to finally go through with an attack. Without a substantial step, John -- I'm sorry.
BERMAN: No. I mean, tonight, all of the sudden for the first time we are hearing about this other person that Farook had been planning this earlier attack in 2012. Now, we don't know how far along they got. We don't know if it was just discussions. But the existence of this other person that Farook had discussed terrorist ideas with at a minimum, this has to be something of an intelligence gold mine right now for investigators.
CLEMENTE: Absolutely. The FBI and ATF and local authorities are all coming through everything in Farook's life, everything in his electronic life, his digital life. And all of that is going to reveal clues. And I'm sure there were communications that date back to this type period three years ago that are very revealing right now which contemporaneously to others around him may not have meant much. But now looking back I'm sure there are other associates who say, yes, they were spending a lot of time with this guy. They were doing, you know, a lot of things in the garage, whatever it would be. They were going out to the begun range together. So I'm sure we are going to see more and more reveal in this subject will come to light very, very soon, I'm sure.
[20:05:19] BERMAN: And Pamela, any more details on the nature of the FBI contacts with this associate, with this friend as you put it, that Farook had been planning this attack with?
BROWN: Well, this is someone that Farook had known for years. And we know that the FBI has interviewed more than 300 people. This person is one of the 300 people or so that they have talked to and they're very interested in and continue to talk to this person. But, you know, you have to have the probable cause and you have to have enough evidence to back up an arrest.
So this is still a very active case, John, and they're only five, six days into it. So there could be a lot of developments in the coming days. We will have to see. But of course, this is something, this bit of information that has come to light after the San Bernardino attacks is, of course, of interest to investigators.
BERMAN: And Pamela, it is interesting because 2012, the timeline here is fascinating. It predates, obviously, his meeting his wife. It also predates that the existence or the creation of ISIS, this Islamic state. I mean, it was around in other forms but it certainly want declared until last year essentially. But you have new information tonight as well about the couple, this terrorist couple, pledging allegiance to ISIS.
BROWN: That's right. So we've been -- CNN was first to report that the wife, Tashfeen Malik, had posted on a Facebook page associated with her just before the attack. And so, we are learning more about that post. She basically said we pledge allegiance and then went on to say pledge allegiance to Caliph al-Baghdadi.
But what is interesting here is, first of all, it says "we." So assuming, presumably both of them, that the two of them were in this together. They were both pledging allegiance to al -Baghdadi. But also that there was a lot of errors and misspellings, apparently it was garbled, John, which to officials it is a little bit strange because if you really had this planned out and put a lot into it you would think you would leave more than a garbled Facebook message. As we see in the past, people make videos or leave behind a manifesto. But this is seemingly all they left behind to pledge their allegiance to ISIS before they launch the attack - John.
BERMAN: I want to bring in former FBI assistant director Chris Swecker.
You know, Chris, this is a lot of new information right now that we are just getting for the first time a few minutes ago, the existence of a plot, a different plot. Syed Farook planning a different attack in 2012 with a different person. What does this now do for this investigation?
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, it starts to look like more and more that this was a very experienced terrorist here who had been radicalized well before we thought in 2012. ISIS didn't even exists as you pointed out.
However, ISIS did scoop up a lot of al-Qaeda's followers and a lot of sub-organization. So he could very well have been radicalized for quite a while and went looking for a bribe. Again, it's looking like his wife was a contributor but maybe not the catalyst as we thought before.
BERMAN: It is certainly calls into question the time line of how they met and whether or not he was seeking someone with similar views. There were a lot of people saying was it the wife who radicalized him? Well, no. I mean, it appears that he has been plotting an attack years before he even he reached out to this woman. True?
SWECKER: True. You know, this whole case is featuring quite a few interesting loopholes here, a loophole in financing, you know, the nontraditional target, if you will. A lot of things in this case are going to be studied in the future as -- or the visa waiver program, the sort of the fiancee exception, if you will, where you can go to a terrorist breeding ground and find yourself a mail order bride and bring her back to the United States fairly easily. I think this is going to be a case that they will study for quite a while because it has just about everything in it.
BERMAN: Well, Tim, as you were saying, this also now provides years to them they have to look back at. If it was planning an attack in 2012, more than three years ago, they're going to have to look at contacts dating back to last three years, not just this new friend who has appear on the scene tonight, but also potentially anyone both of those men have come in contact with over the last three years.
CLEMENTE: Absolutely. They are going to have to dig deep, not just looking into Malik and Farook's relationship and when that began, but predating that not just a period of time. We are talking about in 2013 or 2012. We have got to go back a long, long time and look at what the support structure for this individual when he came to America or when he got this job. Was this planned years in advance? And were there other people that were supporting him in some way?
You now, this investigation, as the assistant director just said, is in the very, very far from over. It is the beginning stages. And this will be a long-term FBI investigation for the next several years I would imagine.
[20:10:03] BERMAN: All right, Chris Swecker, Tim Clemente and Pamela Brown, thank you all so much.
Pamela, excellent reporting. Appreciate it.
BROWN: Thank you.
BERMAN: Late details on another aspect of the investigation. We are working to bring that to you ahead in this hour tonight.
Next, will Donald Trump back away from his plan to keep any and all Muslims out of the United States as he taking heat from all sides and would just offer the chance to back down. We will see if he took it.
[20:13:45] BERMAN: Barely a day after calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States and taking heat of it across all political spectrums, Donald Trump had a chance today to dial it back. Instead, talking to ABC's Barbara Walters on "World News Tonight," he kept the rhetoric right where it has been from the start and turned it up to 11.
BARBARA WALTERS, WORLD NEWS TONIGHT: Do you regret your ban on Muslims, which some people think is un-American?
TRUMP: Not at all. We have to do the right thing. Somebody in this country has to say what is right. I have great respect and love, I have people that I have tremendous relationships with. They are Muslims. And Barbra, they agree with me 100 percent. It's short term. Let our country get us act together. They knocked down the world trade center. They tried doing it twice. Other things that happened. They have a lot of -- there are people that have tremendously bad intentions. We have to be tough. We have to be smart and we have to be vigilant.
WALTERS: What is short term?
TRUMP: It could be very quickly if our country could get its act together. We don't know what's happening. We have a president that doesn't have a clue. We don't know what's happening. We need toughness and smartness and we have to do it quickly.
WALTERS: There are many even in your own party who think that ISIS is going to like your rhetoric, that your word are putting us in danger.
[20:15:05] TRUMP: I'm the worst thing that's ever happened to ISIS. The people in my party fully understand that.
BERMAN: Donald Trump not backing down, which means there will be more fallout, more ramifications, more implications, for Trump the candidate, for his party, as who they are as a political force and for who we are as a country. One it will not mean, if history is any guide, it will probably not mean a dip for him in the polls.
More on that from "360's" Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Donald Trump first announced his run for president, he made it memorable. Remember this comment about Mexican immigrants?
TRUMP: They are bringing crime, they are bringing crime, they are rapists and some I assume are good people.
KAYE: The blowback was fierce, some in the Latino community calling him a racist. Major corporations breaking ties with him. Political insiders saying he was a doomed candidate.
But they were wrong. Trump jumped seven points to second place in a FOX News poll, the first poll done completely after his presidential announcement. And it quickly became clear he was just getting started. In July he said this about Senator John McCain, a former POW.
TRUMP: He is not a war hero. He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured, OK? I hate to tell you. He is a war hero because he was captured.
KAYE: Again, the blowback was intense and Trump did take a hit in the polls, dropping six points from an ABC/"Washington Post" poll to 18 percent support in a CNN/ORC poll. But still he held on to the top spot among all the Republican candidates. And his numbers quickly rebounded. The next month Trump had women up in arms with this bizarre comment about FOX debate moderator Megyn Kelly.
TRUMP: She starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions. And, you know, you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.
KAYE: Trump later denied he was referring to me menstruation. Potential voters must have believed him because he held steady with support for about a quarter of GOP voters before and after the remarks according to FOX News polls.
In September, Mr. Trump made disparaging comments about Carly Fiorina, his only female Republican opponent telling "Rolling Stone" magazine, "look at that face, could anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that the face of our next president?"
A CBS/"New York Times" poll showed he dropped six points after that, but was still in the lead. And while we don't know yet how Donald Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. will play out, we do know what happened after the Paris attacks when Trump told MSNBC he would strongly consider shutting down U.S. mosques.
TRUMP: Some of the hatred, the absolute hatred is coming from these area. The hatred is incredible. It's embedded. The hatred is beyond belief. The hatred is greater than anybody understand.
KAYE: He escaped again, jumping in the polls by four points according to a FOX pole and eight points in an ABC/"Washington Post" poll.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
BERMAN: So where would this take his numbers there's the larger question of where his word take the party and the country. Some have even asked is this language, is this persona from, is this presentation from Trump out and out fascism. In a recent column for "the New York Times" Ross Douthat, it takes up the question. He knows that classic hallmarks of fascism including a cult of action, a celebration of aggressive masculinity, an intolerance of cynicism, a fear of difference in outsiders, a pitch to the frustrations of the lower middle class, an intention nationalism, a resentment at national humiliation and popular elitism that promises every citizen they're part of the best people of the world.
Does that sound likes Trump? Well, yes, it rather does. Douthat includes, however, that Donald Trump is not a true fascist but warns that Trump movement could and could turn into something close to it.
Ross Douthat joins us now as well as CNN political commentator and Trump supporter Jeffrey Lord. He served as Whitehouse political director during the Reagan administration. Also joining us senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Ross, I want to start with you after that dramatic lean in and read-in of your column over the weekend.
ROSS DOUTHAT, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: You read it well. I have to say.
BERMAN: I appreciate it.
You note that Donald Trump could be pro-fascist or something close to it. The question is, how much of a concern should that be to the Republican Party? Today, we saw Paul Ryan, the senior Republican in Congress condemn the statements about banning Muslims from the United States from Trump, but he wouldn't rule out voting for him - Ross?
DOUTHAT: Right. So this is -- sorry, I thought we were going to Ryan. So this is -- the problem for Republicans is that if they just say Trump is a fascist, it doesn't actually get them anywhere because the reality is that Trump is tilting in this direction but also succeeding bus he is speaking to people's valid, reasonable, legitimate fears. And so the trick for Republicans is to be able to say on the one hand, you know, Trump's gone too far, this is outrageous, this is un-American but here's what we're going to do about immigration, about terrorism, about ISIS, that will make you trust us again. And they haven't found a way to do that. They sort of swam back and forth between being outrage to Trump and rightly so in many cases, but never actually addressing the deeper concerns and motivating Trump voters.
And you know, this is the core reality. This is where I tried to end the column. You can't beat a proto-fascist just by saying you sound like a fascist. The only way to do it is to actually address the grievances motivating his supporters and driving his campaign.
[20:21:02] BERMAN: Jeffrey Lord, do you think that Donald Trump is a proto-fascist and sounds like and is a fascist?
JEFFREY LORD, FORMER REAGAN WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think it is silly. And of course, and I have to say I did work for Ronald Reagan. And Ronald Reagan was frequently accused of being a fascist. So, you know, we sort of bend here and done that when there is a candidate who comes along from outside the Reagan political arena who is not part of the political elite as it were. He or she can be subject to all kinds of charges.
As I said, Ronald Reagan was certainly accused of this. Donald Trump is accused of this. It's silly. I think Ross has got a point, though. There is an incredible gulf between the base of the Republican Party and the quote-unquote "political elites." And I mean, it just is amazing to me. They are continually out there trying to insult the people that they're asking to vote for them. I just don't think that instead of listening, paying attention to their very real concerns about whether it's terrorism or the economy or what have you and I just think that's not, you know, a good recipe for success.
BERMAN: Jeffrey Toobin, do you think Donald Trump knows what he is doing here? Do you think he knows the strings he is pulling and the bull buttons he is pushing?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. And you know, I don't know whether if he is a fascist or not. But I do know that we are talking about proposals that without president history, the idea that you could take a religion and say that all the people in that religion cannot come back into the United States, even if they are American citizens, nothing remotely like that has ever been proposed as far as I know, at least in respectable company in American history. It's clearly unconstitutional. It is never going to happen. But I think it is indicative of how far Donald Trump has gone from what is normally considered reasonable politics.
BERMAN: Is it unconstitutional, never going to happen? No legal basis for banning all Muslims?
TOOBIN: Yes. You know, 9-0 in the Supreme Court if it ever got that far. DOUTHAT: Actually, I mean, Jeffrey is the legal analyst and I'm not.
But I mean, the reality is that the U.S. has had exclusionary immigration policies had many times in the past. We had something that will literally called the Chinese exclusion act in the 19th century. And immigration policy from the 1920 was based on racial and ethnic quotas.
I agree that Trump's proposal is deplorable. I'm not so sure that it would be unconstitutional. I think it's more of an open question.
LORD: I have to say and I would bow to Jeffrey on this. But I didn't know that if you are not an American citizens and you are outside the country that you have a constitutional right to come into the country.
TOOBIN: The proposal as I understand it and I appreciate you bowing to me. But it is not just for noncitizens. It's for citizens as well. It's Muslims. And the people inside the country have the right to associate with people outside the country.
LORD: He wasn't talking about Muslims in the country as I understand it. I don't believe that's correct.
BERMAN: But he is talking about a religious test for each and every human being that does enter into the United States.
And Ross, as a conservative columnist and someone who thinks about the party and thinks an awful lot about the Republican Party, can you believe there's a discussion within the Republican Party about applying a religious test for everyone that comes into the U.S.?
DOUTHAT: But there isn't really a discussion within the Republican Party.
BERMAN: But hang on. He is leading in the polls.
DOUTHAT: He is leading in the polls, right. But I would dispute that he is the front-runner. I think that he is in the polls but I don't think that makes him the front-runner. I don't think he is the most likely nominee. I think most people watching his campaign don't think he is the most likely nominee. And there isn't a discussion about it in the party. Every major Republican office holder who has weighed in on it has disagreed with the proposal. Most of them have condemned it strongly.
What Trump is doing is getting us to talk about him. This is where he does have something in common with Benito Mussolini who, you know, when Mussolini started out, he was making it up as he goes along. And that's what Trump is doing. He is playing - it is reality television. He is starring in his own reality television show.
[20:25:15] BERMAN: Ross, I think that sells Trump very short. I think he is proposing ideas that he thinks people will support period.
DOUTHAT: I just compared him to Benito Mussolini. How can I be selling him short?
LORD: I think he is discussing things that people have on their mind and they're afraid to say.
DOUTHAT: Yes. No, but I agree - right. This is back where I started out. That this is the problem with Trump for the party is that he is both saying outrageous, deplorable, vaguely fascistic things and putting his finger on real anxieties and concerns and his Republican rivals haven't figured out a way to deal with that combination.
BERMAN: And Jeffrey, you take him at his word. I mean, you are taking Donald Trump at his word that he is wants to ban all Muslims from entering the United States and you think there's a precedence here, Jeffrey?
LORD: First of all, he is talking about a temporary situation. I mean, I said that this is a human version of what was done on the original 9/11 itself in terms of the planes. If you'll recall, the FAA grounded every single plane flying over America until they could figure out what was going on. He is trying to say here we have a stateless threat. How do we deal with a stateless threat? Let's talk about it. Let's get into this issue. Instead of shying from it and saying, there's no problem here. There evidently is a problem here.
TOOBIN: But, come on, he is not saying anything like what you are pretending he is saying. He is saying let's stop Muslim immigration until - and quoting him word for word - until we get our act together. Now, when do you think that is going to be?
TOOBIN: I mean, you are talking about a extended period of time.
LORD: Jeff, this is nowhere close to what Franklin Roosevelt did for heaven sake.
TOOBIN: Yes, which was one of the most discredited --
LORD: Franklin Roosevelt was Donald Trump one steroids.
TOOBIN: You know what? You're talking about the internment --
LORD: No, no, no. Not the interment, no.
BERMAN: What are you talking about?
LORD: I was talking about his alien emergency act, things where he was suspended the naturalization process for every German, every Italian and every Japanese who is in this country as an immigrant waiting to be naturalized. I'm not talking about the internment.
DOUTHAT: Trump's theory is once he becomes president, 24 hours later he will have everything figured out. We are giving him too much credit if we assume that there is any kind of detailed policy blue print, FDR like or not. Trump's answer to every problem America faces is let's not do anything until we elect Donald Trump and then it will all be fine. BERMAN: Ross Douthat, you have the last word here. Jeffrey Lord,
Jeffrey Toobin, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
Next more on Donald Trump's justification for stripping immigration. It is factual flame that the system is broken. We will put those claims to the test.
[20:31:33] BERMAN: We're talking about Donald Trump's plan to bar Muslims, any Muslims from entering the U.S., whether it's immigrants or even just visiting. As for the immigration part, he suggests that he's only doing what has to be done because the system for screening people entering the country is dysfunctional.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have to do the right thing. I am talking about a measure. It's a measure that ends. It's not a measure that's, you know, in stone. We have to find out what we're doing. We're letting people into our country. We don't know who they are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: We don't know who they are, he says. The question tonight is, what do the facts say?
Tom Foreman has been looking into the process and joins us now.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. You know, there are many different visas under which somebody could come to this country. They could come here for business reasons. They could come here for tourism. They could come here for medical treatment, for educational purposes, but let's consider just someone who is trying to be an immigrant, to immigrate here because they want to permanently live in the U.S.
And there are numerous steps that really are in placed here. And it starts off with that person submitting a petition that would be called to the U.S. citizenship and immigration service which would say basically, yes, we can move ahead with this process. If so they're going to send it over here to the U.S. visa, the National Visa Center, where they will consider, OK, how many people are applying from that part of the country? Where is this person in the lineup? Are they so far back that there's no reason to move forward?
But if they say OK, then they're going to pay fees and it gets to nitty-gritty here. This is the part that Trump says isn't working. But, basically, at this point, you're going to have a councillor office or an embassy have a face-to-face meeting with this person, consider all the information they provide, look at who this person knows, who they are related to, what they've been up to. Are they coming here for a job? Are they coming here for a family? Basically, John, find out everything they can about why this person wants to be an American.
BERMAN: And, Tom, a list of potential disqualifiers is big.
FOREMAN: Yes, it really is. I mean, maybe there are flaws in it. I'm sure there are flaws in every system, but take a look at all the different ways that you can be disqualified.
If our immigrant reaches this point, he could be kicked out for having a criminal record, for having a communicable disease, for being suspected of spying, for being unemployable, if they think they can't pay his way or even if they find that he's lying or in any way misrepresented himself on all of these forms.
All of that can kick him right out of the process. Only if he gets through all of that, does he then have a chance to join about a million people a year who are told as immigrants, whether they're living here initially under some provision or coming from another country -- yes, you can call the United States home.
But I do want to make one point here, John. We've been talking a lot about Syria in all of this, this idea of Syrian refugees. The process that we're describing here is much more intense for Syrian refugees.
Officials here say it's actually the most intense screening with biometrics and fingerprinting and all sorts of things, of any immigrants in the world. So, yes, can there be flaws in the system, there are flaws in every system, but the idea that the system itself is broken, there are many people in the government who would say that is flat out not true.
BERMAN: Tom Foreman, thanks so much.
Before he unveiled his plan, Donald Trump enjoyed strong support among evangelical Christians. The question now, will this proposal change any minds?
Joining us tonight, David Brody, chief political correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network.
Also, Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics Commission and author of "Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel."
So, David, you found yourself in the middle of this whole thing a little bit when you tweeted "Here is the truth, whether you like it or not Donald Trump is the only candidate to have the bravery to put out that statement on Muslims."
Now, since the first tweet came out, you said maybe a better word would have been moxie rather than bravery. But, nevertheless, the thrust of your tweet, what did you mean by that? [20:35:24] DAVID BRODY, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CHRISTIAN BROADCASTING NETWORK: That it was a bold move and what a shock that Donald Trump actually has any bold move up his sleeve. He does it all the time.
So, look, I mean, the reality is this, John, there are so many things unpack here, but let's just think about this for a moment.
Would there be any other candidate that would ever say something like this, or do something like -- or even propose something like this? And of course we know the answer is no. And so it's bold, it's got some guts, it's got moxie. The question is, is it politically stupid or not? And we're about to find out.
BERMAN: I want to talk about the political prospects in a second.
But, first, Dr. Moore, David brought up the point, you know, is Donald Trump the only one who would say something about this? A different question the way you're looking at it is -- is this the type of thing that anyone should say? You call the comments reckless and demigod. You say that anyone who cares about religious liberty should denounce what he's saying.
RUSSELL MOORE, PRESIDENT, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION ETHICS COMMISSION: Absolutely. I mean, we have been as evangelicals talking about and fighting for religious freedom for 200 years and had been emphasizing it as it's been under attack greatly in the past several years.
In order to be consistent, we have to stand up for religious liberty for everyone, because it's not a government grant. It's something that belongs to people as endowed by God. And so not to condemn these remarks would be horrifically hypocritical for anyone who claims to believe not only in religious freedom, but also in the dignity of human beings as created in the image of God. This is a really ugly and reckless line of rhetoric that we're hearing from Donald Trump.
BERMAN: Now, David, with the politics here, no one covers evangelical voters in my mind as closely as you do. You put out another tweet yesterday where you said you think this could give him a boost among evangelical voters.
BRODY: I do. And I think it's a crucial, pivotal moment for Donald Trump and, literally, he'll need to pivot. And what I mean by that is if he's going to go for the cheap applause line where 20,000 people love what he says about banning Muslims at his rallies and all of that, well, I mean, that's short sighted.
What he needs to really look at is talking more about Sharia Law, talking more about the abuses of women as it relates to Sharia Law. Look, he's not the only one to say this, John.
Marco Rubio has talked about it. Ted Cruz has, too. If he can pivot and somehow talk about that, talk about jihad, talk about some of the concerns that many evangelicals and others have about the Islamic teachings, then I think evangelicals will be very receptive to listen to that.
But, look, he will be the first to admit that he's not going to be the one to wax poetic about this. Instead, he's going to need to arm himself with a team of experts around him on this issue and there are plenty out there.
BERMAN: But in and of themselves, David, these comments with everyone gasping about them right now, you do not think they necessarily hurt him -- today, tomorrow, next week, two weeks from now in Iowa?
BRODY: Well, I think it depends on the timeline. I think, short term, no. I think if you're looking at a longer term and this is still around for a while and he continues to harp on it, then he hasn't pivoted and then he has all of a sudden played into this narrative that's out there right now.
BERMAN: So, you know, do you agree with that comment, Russell? Do you think this could be a political Boone, even though you disagree with those comments. Do you think, Dr. Moore that this could actually help Donald Trump?
MOORE: I have more faith in the American people than that. I think that Donald Trump has to do more than just pivot. He has to repent. And that means to turn away from this sort of blanket denigration of people that is constant. It's not just right now with Muslims. It has to do with everyone.
And then he has to offer a plan to deal with the very real problem that we have of global terrorism, coming from radical Islamic Jihadist and also with the situation in the Middle East. What we need is a serious proposal to deal with that, not someone who is giving these easy and cheap lines that are inconsistent with our First Amendment freedoms. You don't come against a repressive regime by seeking to mimic one.
BERMAN: David Brody, Russell Moore, thanks so much, guys.
MOORE: Thank you.
BERMAN: Just ahead, more late developments in the San Bernardino killings. We have new information just in on the money trail that leads from the internet to the killer and possibly to his mother.
[20:40:00] BERMAN: Tonight's breaking news, a major and alarming development in the San Bernardino investigation.
Two U.S. officials telling CNN's Pamela Brown that investigators believe the male shooter may have been planning another attack in California in 2012 before he met his wife. They say he worked on the plot with someone else. We do not know who the other person is. They even considered a target, but did not go through with their plan. There are also new details tonight about $29,000 that made its way into the male shooter's bank account not long before the San Bernardino attack. Plus, new information about the time that both shooters -- husband and wife spent at a shooting range and late details about the guns they used in the attack.
Justice reporter Evan Perez joins us now with the latest on all of this.
Evan, you're learning more about some money that Farook borrowed prior to the attack. What can you tell us?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: That's right, John. This loan for $28,500 was made in November, just apparently over from a lender over the internet. And the question that arises obviously from this is what happened to that money?
Well, so far investigators believe that about half of it ended up with Farook's mother, that perhaps this was money that he was providing knowing the end of his life was coming, perhaps to provide for his daughter, his 6-month-old daughter that they were leaving behind.
[19:45:00] But this money is also, you know, interesting because authorities want to know whether or not this played any role in financing this terrorist attack, whether or not this came, whether this means that perhaps there might be some other financing measure that played a role in this attack.
So far what we're told, John, is that the FBI has found no indication that there is any foreign financing for this plot, for this terrorist attack and they also believe that he and his wife already had what they needed. They bought guns in 2011 and 2012. They didn't really need any of this money to help finance this attack. The bulk of this money, again, was sort of end of life to provide for their daughter and his mother after they were killed in this terrorist attack.
BERMAN: We're getting new information on the guns as well?
PEREZ: That's right. And we've learned from sources that Farook showed up last -- just over a week ago, on Sunday and Monday to target practice with this AR-15. He brought his own in Riverside, California. This is a magnum shooting range in Riverside, California.
The FBI has shown up there and has gotten the tapes, surveillance tapes -- video to see, you know, that he was there practicing his shooting. Again, this is days before the Wednesday terrorist attack. And so the question is also where was the wife at that point. We know that she and he, according to the FBI, both took target practice in preparation for this terrorist attack.
BERMAN: Evan, back to the money for a second. If half the money that he had borrowed went to his mother, doesn't that raise new questions about what she knew, how much she knew? Is she still being questioned? Is she a suspect at all? PEREZ: Well, you know, that is a great question. And I think that's what the FBI still has on their mind. Those questions are not yet answered. I think they want to talk to members of the family again about what they knew. One of the things that the FBI director Jim Comey said to us last week, John, on Friday, was that, you know, this idea of seeing something, saying something, he's very concerned that members of this family knew stuff that they did not tell anyone about.
And so the concern that they do have is that this mother or someone else could have seen something suspicious. After all, she was living in a house with a bomb lab in her garage and she didn't say anything. So that's a question that they have.
BERMAN: Evan Perez, thank you so much. A lot of new information there.
Back with our panel.
Former FBI assistant Chris Swecker and former FBI counter-terrorism special agent, Tim Clemente.
So, Chris, $29,000 this guy borrowed. That in and of itself, you know, who knows if that is suspicious, but his mother gets half of it. Does that raise red flags to you?
CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Yes, it does. I mean, the evidence is sort of mounting against the mother here. As it was just mentioned -- I mean, basically, a bomb making factory, ordering ammunition, stockpiling ammunition, all the accoutrements of making bombs right there in the house with her living there, now taking possession of at least three incremental payments of $5,000.
What it reminds me of is the Boston marathon bombing investigation where I think at least three individuals, if not four, were charged with aiding and abetting. One of them wasn't charged until about a year after the event.
I know the FBI is looking at this very, very carefully. They are building their case. I think time is on their side with respect to her. So I think it's going to get very interesting to see if she's indicted in the next weeks or even months.
BERMAN: Tim, there's been a lot of talk about this money, this $29,000 over the last 24 hours. There was some talk, well, who gave it to them? But you can get that kind of money on your own.
Is it possible to get that kind of loan and establish that kind of financing without a wider terror network?
TIM CLEMENTE, FORMER FBI COUNTERTERRORISM AGENT: Yes, absolutely, John. And it looks to me like this individual, apparently, from what I've seen online about his income was earning about $72,000 or $73,000 a year. Now at his job, he'd been there for five years so he had a reasonable income to debt ratio probably. He may have seen this advertised online or somewhere. And what it indicates is that he was financing this operation, or his life, or his afterlife for his child and mother using what is now wire fraud and bank fraud. So it's just two more additional charges that the FBI will be looking at and the proceeds from those crimes, the wire fraud or bank fraud, if they can prove that he borrowed this money without any intention of ever paying it back because he knew he would be dying in the coming days, then clearly the mother would not be able to keep those proceeds. And I believe as Chris tells us that this mother will be looked at very closely.
And I don't think she's a flight risk right now obviously because she's under the microscope. So leaving her out there while this investigation continues is to the FBI's advantage until they need to arrest her.
BERMAN: Chris, as a mother, there's also the neighbor who apparently bought the AR-15s. Again, you know, he bought them some years ago apparently without any knowledge of what they might be used for. But still what kind of questions would you want to ask the neighbor?
[20:50:10] SWECKER: Well, I'm not sure that we know that he didn't have knowledge. I'm looking at him really as a straw purchaser, which either makes him an aider and abettor or puts him in some hot water in terms of making a false statement on federal firearms application.
We don't know that. I'll caution you, but as a commentator, I think the evidence is mounting against him as well. And then go back to that peer-to-peer lending site, I think that's an interesting avenue for the FBI because that's a very lightly regulated industry. They're sort of quasi financial -- they may be banks, they may not be. It sort of -- they've become sort of the Uber of the financial world. And I think that we're looking at an interesting new terrorist financing angle that's going to be explored and you may see that get very heavily regulated in the near future.
BERMAN: Chris Swecker, Tim Clemente, thanks so much.
Up next, we'll hear from San Bernardino first responders, including the police officers who led survivors out of the building. He showed enormous courage that day and humility now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DET. JORGE LOZANO, SAN BERNARDINO SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: I don't feel like a hero, whatsoever. Anyone behind me or any one of the people, 300 people that were there would have said the same thing. That's our job to put ourselves on the line of danger to protect the community.
BERMAN: Tonight in San Bernardino, an emotional police chief remember the victims, reading their names as a host of first responders stood behind him. And then those same men and women including the very earliest to arrive shared their stories of rushing into that building, seeing the dead and wounded and worry about confronting the killers.
And we heard from the police officer wounded in the shoot-out with the killers.
Ana Cabrera is in San Bernardino. She joins us right now.
Ana, quite an event tonight.
ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. It was an emotional event. That officer you mentioned, who was actually wounded in the shoot-out with the killers was Officer Nicholas Koahou and he showed up on crutches.
He was shot in the leg and he described that moment feeling like he had been punched in the leg, going down, seeing he had been shot and yet telling himself I have to keep fighting, something he said he learned in the Marine Corps.
Another officer we heard from was Detective Jorge Lozano. And he is somebody who you may have already heard from and seen on video, cell phone video. The dramatic scene inside the building as officers were escorting some of the survivors, the victims to safety. It was a very chilling scene and he described those moments when he said "I'll take a bullet for you."
Listen to both of these men in their own words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOZANO: I was responsible for watching a hallway that some people came down the hallway and actually that scared me because they opened the door and they didn't announce themselves so it kind of scared me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go, go, go.
LOZANO: At that time I decided to walk them out. When they were passing me, there was a female there with a small child, an 8-year-old little boy that was just terrified, just shivering almost to the point of like shaking like a leaf. And I said what I said.
I'll take the bullet for you, that's for damn sure. Just be cool, OK?
I meant what I said. I said it for them just to kind of calm down and relax, that we were going to do everything we can to get them out of that building safely. That's our job to put ourselves on the line of danger to protect the community.
[20:55:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's one guy down. There's one guy, in the back of a car.
OFC. NICHOLAS KOAHOU, SAN BERNARDINO POLICE DEPT.: Had exchanging gunfire with the male. As I war riding up to the corner, I was struck in all that fight. At that time, when I was running, when I was hit, the male was already down in the street. So I did not know who is in the back of that car shooting at us, but I could hear rifle fire coming out of the back of that car.
I could also hear my team mates that I was with at that time, as well as the officers and deputies that are up here returning fire at that vehicle. They did an amazing job trying to keep that person inside that vehicle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Courageous and horrific moments for so many of those first responders.
Ana Cabrera, thank you so much.
BERMAN: There's a lot more happening tonight. Randi Kaye has a 360 news in business bulletin.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, Harold Henthorn will spend the rest of his life behind bars. He's the Denver man convicted of murder for pushing his second wife over a cliff in Rocky Mountain National Park three years ago. Prosecutors say he wanted to collect $4.7 million in life insurance. Investigators are still looking into the death of his first wife.
Now if you're in the market for a 747 or two or maybe three, boy, have we got a deal for you. Malaysia is looking for the owners of three jumbo jets abandoned at Kuala Lumpur Airport. If no one claims them, the planes will be sold to pay expenses.
And, today, music fans gathered in New York Central Park, in the strawberry field there, near where John Lennon was killed 35 years ago. Mark David Chapman, the man who shot The Beatle and music legend, is still in prison.
BERMAN: Thanks, Randi.
And, coming up, a CNN special report, "Killing John Lennon." Kyra Phillips takes us inside the mind of his killer with exclusive recordings that he made in prison. Tonight, 9:00 Eastern Time.
Randi, thanks. We'll be right back.
BERMAN: That does it for us. It has been a big news day and perhaps has been lost in all the coverage. So many of us remember the moment 35 years ago when we learned of John Lennon's death. Just up the street from here. We remember where we were, how we heard, how we felt. Watching Monday night football of all things.
We'll see you again at 11 p.m. Eastern Time for another edition of "360." The CNN special report "KILLING JOHN LENNON" starts right now.