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AT THIS HOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA

Manhunt for Suspects Connected to Paris; New Details on San Bernardino Shooting Investigation; Trump Has Biggest Lead Yet; Obama Signs Every Student Succeeds Act; Interview with Rep. David Jolly. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired December 10, 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] PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, thank you so much for joining me. I'm Pamela Brown.

AT THIS HOUR with Berman and Bolduan starts now.

(HEADLINES)

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. I'm Kate Bolduan. John Berman has the morning off.

We'll begin this hour with breaking news out of Geneva, Switzerland, where security officials say they have gone from a vague threat to a precise threat. The city on high alert as the police search for five suspects possibly tied to the Paris terror attacks.

Let's get straight to CNN terrorism analyst, Paul Cruickshank, with the latest.

Paul, what are you picking up? Who are they looking for?

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: We have fresh information, from sources close to the information into the Paris attacks. In Geneva, they are looking for five individuals at this point. Five individuals that they believe with created to a network linked to the Paris attacks, and specifically linked to somebody called Mourad Farez (ph), who's been a recruiter for jihad in Syria, and was the person French authorities believed actually recruited one of the Bataclan attackers, who was identified yesterday for the first time as being one of the attackers, recruited him to go to Syria in the first place. There's an indirect link at this point to the Paris attacks.

A little more information. According to French media reports over the years, he's believed to have been an important recruiter for French nationals, for Swiss going off to fight in Syria. Very active over Facebook. Somebody that actually managed himself to get over to Syria at a certain point. Here's where it gets interesting because at a certain point in interviews that he gave to a variety of media organizations, he said that he defected from is to al Qaeda in Syria, so his affiliations are a little unclear. But it appears he has more of a link to al Qaeda. He was arrested coming back at a certain point, now in French custody.

A lot of concern in Geneva. There's also a key meeting at the U.N. tomorrow linked to Syria. American and Russians were going to get together. Local media now reporting that event is going to be moved to some other location because of this potential threat -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Huge U.N. facility there. It's clear that obviously following the Paris attacks and the investigation -- in the investigation, the net they're casting is getting much wider, broader, if you will. What we're hearing is that the threat has gone from vague to precise threat. What does that mean to you?

CRUICKSHANK: Well, I think the precise part of it is the fact that they're looking for these five individuals linked to this network, in turn linked to the Paris attacks. I think that's the precise part of it. The imprecise part of it is they clearly don't know where these individuals are, otherwise you can bet they wouldn't put this alert out because they wouldn't want to tip them off they're about to be arrested. They clearly do not have a handle on where these people are. That, of course, makes them much more concerned there, stepping up security at airports in Geneva, all the international organizations. Clearly, a lot of concern all over Europe in the wake of the Paris attacks. We could see more of that style of terrorism play out on the street of terrorism -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: From France to Belgium now to Switzerland.

Paul, thank you so much.

Paul Cruickshank, he's all over it. Thanks so much.

We turn now to the terror investigation here at home. It's the game- changing question surround the San Bernardino shooters. Was the marriage between the two shooters specific for terror? That's one thing the FBI director, James Comey, addressed on Capitol Hill yesterday. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Is there any evidence this marriage was arranged by a terrorist organization or a terrorist operative, or was it just a meeting on the Internet?

JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: I don't know the answer to that yet.

GRAHAM: Do you agree with me if it was arranged by a terrorist organization, that's a game-changer?

COMEY: It would be a very, very important thing to know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[11:05:11] BOLDUAN: Comey also says the attackers were talking about jihad even before the female terrorist, Malik, even before they came to the United States. So, how was that all missed?

Also new with the investigation, their friend and neighbor, Enrique Marquez, he says he and Farook plotted another attack back in 2012 but never went through with it. His own marriage now under the microscope.

A lot going on in this investigation. Let's get over to Ana Cabrera, in San Bernardino.

Ana, Tashfeen Malik made it through multiple checks before getting into the United States. How were her true intentions missed? What are you hearing?

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is the big question this morning. And that's what intelligence officials are trying to determine as they're digging into the past and trying to put together a timeline of radical radicalization for Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Rezwan Farook. She was never asked about her jihadist views or any jihadist leanings during her consular interview last summer. She was interviewed in Pakistan as one of the last steps of the visa applications. She came to the U.S. on a fiancee visa in July. This was back in may. She had already passed some security clearances and background checks with the Department of homeland security. And when that happened, there weren't any big flags that were raised. As a result, the consular interview was really focused on asking questions to see if her relationship with Syed Farook to be married or to become married was legitimate. She apparently was able to verify that. When she did get her visa and come to the U.S., she ended up getting married to Farook about a month later, which satisfied -- kind of closed the loop on that visa. Now, the question is, how did there not be any red flags to be raised when now the director of the FBI is telling all of us that they have uncovered communication with her and her husband online that was prior to them coming to the U.S. together that apparently spoke of jihad, spoke of martyrdom? Clearly, there are intelligence failures that need to be fix now -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

Ana, a lot there and a lot to discuss. Thanks so much.

Let's discuss more of this with CNN national security analyst, Peter Bergen, joining me here.

Peter, when you hear that Tashfeen Malik, she made it through several layers of investigation before she came to the United States, the background checks she go through with this fiancee visa, and then there was communication online before they were engaged, before she came, talking about jihad, talking about martyrdom. Is that surprising that wasn't picked up?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I find it quite surprising violent jihadist weren't on the radar at all. If you look at the big attacks, the Ft. Hood shooter was known to the FBI because he was communicating with one of the leaders of al Qaeda in Yemen. Carlos Bledsoe, who killed a soldier in Arkansas in 2009, was known. What's quite unusual, when we see these kind of attacks, they're in the system. They had no profile at all. That's very unusual.

BOLDUAN: It's so unusual. The one thing I don't find unusual is the fact that even if she wasn't asked about her jihadist leanings. It's not like she would have answered that honestly.

BERGEN: She wouldn't have been volunteered. She would have been allowed in the United States if she said her true views.

BOLDUAN: What are your views in that interview with the FBI Director Comey, the idea of this arranged marriage? He says they don't know the answer to that yet, but why would that be so game-changing?

BERGEN: Well, I mean, let's -- we don't know the answer, but let's start with the fact that ISIS didn't exist when they were in communication.

BOLDUAN: Right.

BERGEN: Although its precursor did exist. It is still quite possible these were two people who shared a common interest, in this case, jihad, who weren't part of any organization, who may have tried to reach out and just did this together. There's no reason to think that that isn't what happened here either.

BOLDUAN: The FBI is looking into whether other people are involved, financially or inspiring them to pull this off. What you see happening there, the picture of these two people that is beginning to emerge, do you think they can pull this off alone? Do you think they would?

BERGEN: In the Boston Marathon case, there were quite a lot of people on the peripheries who were later charged by the FBI as being accessories to the crime, who may not have had the details of it but who covered up for them. Obviously, they're going to look at the mother, who was living with them. They're going to look at the childhood friend. There are other people they're going to look at very carefully.

[11:10:16] BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Peter.

BERGEN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: It's been a long time since we've been in studio together. Great to see you. Thank you.

Coming up, Donald Trump dominating the GOP race. A new poll shows him with his biggest lead yet. But one Republican Congressman is demanding Donald Trump quit. He will join me live.

Plus, Bowe Bergdahl is speaking out for the very first time. Hear why the movie character Jason Bourne inspired Bergdahl to leave his Army outpost.

I'll speak with an Illinois lawmaker who just introduced a bill that could set the stage for the ousting of Chicago Mayor Emanuel.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:15:01] BOLDUAN: Another political earthquake in the Republican presidential race. Donald Trump dominating the field in a new CBS/"New York Times" poll. His support nationally now stands at 35 percent among likely Republican voters. His closest rival is Senator Ted Cruz, standing at 16 percent. That's a huge bump for Ted Cruz, as well, from his standing in October.

An important note on this poll, this was taken largely before Donald Trump laid out his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States, which has obviously brought widespread condemnation.

Donald Trump this morning is not backing down on that. Here is his conversation with our Don Lemon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDAT: But I'm leading in every poll by a lot. It looks like I'm going to win. My whole life has been about winning. I'm not, like, so many other people you talk to that are essentially losers, OK?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Are you --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: I am the least racist person that you have ever met. I am the least racist person. You know I have many friends who are Muslims. They are phenomenal people. They are very happy with what I'm doing. I was called by three people called, very big, they said, are you doing a tremendous service.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Trump's proposal has been condemned from the left and right. One Republican Congressman took to the House floor and said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DAVID JOLLY, (R), FLORIDA: We must always insist on a security test, but we must never require a religious test. It is time that my side of the aisle has one less candidate in the race for the White House. It is time for Donald Trump to withdraw from the race.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: We're going to get to this conversation in just one second.

But I want to take us quickly to the White House where President Obama is signing the Every Student Succeeds Act. This is an overhaul to the No Child Left Behind Act, the signature piece under George W. Bush, an overhaul now being signed into law by President Obama. Let's listen to him.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It often fell short. It didn't always consider the specific needs of each community. It led to too much testing during classroom time. It often forced schools and school districts into cookie cutter reforms that didn't always produce the kind of results we wanted to see. And that's OK. Sometimes reform efforts require you try something, it doesn't work. You learn some lessons and you make modifications.

So, my administration, when we came into office, tried some different things. We tried a race to the top. That's why we acted to give states willing to embrace reforms that they formulate more flexibility in how to improve student achievement. They were receiving waivers from some of the requirements of No Child Left Behind. The truth is that could only do so much. And that's why for years I have called on Congress to come together and get a bipartisan effort to fix No Child Left Behind. It took a lot of time. It required a lot of work. But thanks to the tireless efforts of many of the people on this stage and some people who are in attendance here today, we finally reached that deal.

There are some people that I especially want to thank. First of all, Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray on the Senate side, and Representatives John Kline and Bobby Scott on the House side, as well as their dedicated staffs.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: This would not have happened without them.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: I just want to point out that it's not as if there weren't some significant ideological differences on some of these issues.

(LAUGHTER)

No, there were. But I think that this is an example of how bipartisanship can work. People did not agree on everything at the outset, but they were willing to listen to each other in a civil, constructive way. And to work through these issues, compromises were necessary while still keeping their eye on the ball. And I think it's really a testament of the four leaders of the respective committees that they set that kind of tone, and that's something we don't always see here in Washington. There wasn't a lot of grandstanding, not a lot of posturing. Just a lot of good, hard work. I just want to thank them for outstanding work that they did.

(APPLAUSE)

[11:20:10] OBAMA: I also want to thank my outgoing secretary of education, Arne Duncan. Arne has dedicated his life to the cause of education. And sometimes, in the nicest possible way, he's gotten on people's nerves because he's pushed them and prodded them and tried to make sure that we set high expectations and that we are holding ourselves accountable for children's performance -- or the school's performance and how they were delivering for our kids. And had he not been, I believe, as tenacious as he was, I think that we would not have as good of a product as we do here today. So, I could not be prouder of Arne Duncan.

(APPLAUSE)

BOLDUAN: Right there you're hearing President Obama as he is offering a lot of praise as bipartisan support and a big effort in this overhaul to the No Child Left Behind program he is signing into law, the Every Student Succeeds Act. Bipartisan support, in the Senate at least. It passed with the support of 85 to 12. That's happening in one part of Washington.

Let's get to the other side of Washington on Capitol Hill because I want to get back to this conversation we had just before we went to that live event about politics. Despite the fact Donald Trump is looking at his biggest lead in the polls yet, 35 percent nationally support in the latest polls coming out, there are calls still for him to quit.

Calls -- very strong calls from one congressman, in particular, a Republican from Florida, Congressman David Jolly, and he is joining me now.

I should mention, Congressman, you have thrown your support behind and endorsed Jeb Bush for president. Sorry for that brief interlude before we could get to you.

JOLLY: That's OK.

BOLDUAN: But we wanted to get that in.

So let's discuss. You take to the House floor and you say it is time for Donald Trump to quit. It's time for this Republican field to be smaller. And he's the one that needs to go. In this regard, you're siding with the Obama White House. Josh Earnest said the same thing. Why did you do it?

JOLLY: I'm siding with Paul Ryan. I did this as a nation we should be hyper focused on a security platform that be successful. To increase our special operators overseas and destroy is on their own soil. Let's secure or borders, strengthen the vetting process of those who want to come here legally, increase surveillance of homegrown terror. What Donald Trump has proposed is a religious registry which harkens back to a very dark chapter in history. I think it's a sad thing Donald Trump did. That's why I spoke out. Not because of politics.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, to be clear, Paul Ryan did not call on Donald Trump to step down, to quit this race. He says, this is not who we are as a party. This is not who we are as conservatives. You've gone further than anybody. Why call on him to quit? He's the front- runner?

JOLLY: Because I don't think he reflects American ideals, conservative ideals, Republican ideals. Someone said, are you fighting for the soul of the party? No. I'm fighting for the dignity of the party.

Donald Trump and I have something in common, believe it or not. We both call it like I say. I called him out. I see it differently. I want to secure the nation through a responsible and successful security platform. A religious registry does nothing to accomplish that. Donald Trump is wrong and I wish he would get out of the race. BOLDUAN: Congressman, what do you say, then, to the 35 percent in

this latest poll who have thrown their support behind Donald Trump and a majority of Donald Trump supporters say they are firm in their decision.

JOLLY: I think this issue is bigger than Donald Trump. I would ask people currently supporting Donald Trump to seriously look at what is his plan to destroy is. He was asked that at a town hall and he said, you don't want to know my plan. Yes, we do. We should know the plan of every candidate. That's why I mention those four things. Defeat ISIS on their soil, strengthen the borders, strengthen the vetting process, Donald Trump wants to talk about religion. I'm a born-again Christian. I'm proud I can say that on national TV. I worry about the religious freedom of our churches, our home schools, our church schools to teach what they believe. In a Donald Trump America, he is suggesting a religious registry by which the government would now be able to control what we teach. I worry about it from the left. Now we have a candidate on the right that is suggesting it. I think it's wrong.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Well, from the left, are you worried about becoming a general election ad against the nominee Trump?

JOLLY: Listen, sometimes you have to put politics aside. I didn't get into politics simply to make safe decisions, not to speak out for my own re-election. I got into politics because I believe people want to hear Independent voice. That's why I spoke out against the dangerous rhetoric that Donald Trump continues to engage in.

[11:25:17] BOLDUAN: Congressman, you have put your support behind Jeb Bush for president. In this latest poll, I've been talking about where Trump is at 35 percent, you see right there, Jeb Bush is at 3 percent. What happened to your guy?

JOLLY: Listen, we still have a long way to go. I think John Kerry was at 5 percent or 6 percent in November, December of -- preceding the Iowa caucuses in New Hampshire and he ended up getting the nomination. Jeb Bush --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Do you think he has no chance of winning Iowa caucuses?

JOLLY: I don't worry about specific states. I can tell you this. I think Jeb Bush has a pathway to become the nominee. I hope he is. He is the most qualified in the race. We have a lot of great candidates in the race for the White House. I'm proud of so many of them on our side of the aisle. I wish we had one less in Donald Trump.

BOLDUAN: We'll wait and see because Donald Trump is known to lash out once he's challenged. We'll wait to see what response you'll get for your calls.

JOLLY: As I say, we both call it like I see it. I respect that in Donald. We just see it very, very differently.

BOLDUAN: That is very clear.

(LAUGHTER)

Congressman, thank you very much. Thanks for joining me.

JOLLY: All right. Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: A reminder to all of you. We are just days away from the next major test for front-runner Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, who the Congressman supports, and all of the Republican candidates. The last Republican presidential debate of the year only on CNN, that is Tuesday, December 15th.

Ahead for us, Bowe Bergdahl speaking out for the very first time. Ahead, why he says he left his Army outpost. What it was like those years in captivity, and why he compares himself to a movie character.

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