Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Accuses Hillary of Playing 'The Woman Card'; Another Police Shooting in Chicago; 'Affluenza Teen' Arrested. Aired 22:00- 23:00
Aired December 28, 2015 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: This holiday season, there is just one gift that just keeps on giving.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Donald Trump, (R) U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The polls have been fantastic. You've seen the polls that just came out. And today, one came out, Rasmussen where I'm tied with Hillary, but don't worry, that's going to end. We're good. We're going to be -- we're going to be far ahead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.
Donald Trump getting the crowd fired up tonight in New Hampshire and accusing Hillary Clinton of playing, quote, "the woman card." But it's all fair in love in politics. And what about Bill Clinton, could he be the key to this campaign?
Plus, the fiesta ends early for Rahm Emanuel. Chicago's mayor cut short his Cuban vacation in the wake of yet, another police shooting, this time leaving a grandmother and a teenager dead. What will it take to fix Chicago? I'm going to talk to the artist who some say invented the term "Chiraq." He was caught in the crossfire of gun violence himself just this weekend.
But I want to begin with some breaking news tonight, the so-called 'affluenza teen,' remember him, he is on the custody tonight. He was on the lamb, if you remember. Mexican authorities nabbed Ethan Couch and his mother near a popular beach resort.
He was wanted in Texas for allegedly violating probation after an alleged drunk driving cash that killed four people and injured two others seriously.
CNN's Evan Perez is on the phone with more now, also CNN's legal analyst Sunny Hostin joins me as well. Evan, I'm going to start with you. What are your sources telling you about Ethan Couch's arrest?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Don, Ethan Couch and his mother were caught by Mexican authorities. They were detained earlier today, earlier this afternoon, and we expect that Couch is going to be on his way back to the United States in the custody of the U.S. Marshals.
Now, this happened down near Puerto Vallarta which is the popular beach resort town on the West Coast of Mexico, the Pacific Coast. And apparently, the U.S. was aware of his presence there, was able to do some investigation with the Mexican authorities and finally being moved in and arrested him earlier today.
We expect the mother's case to be a little bit more complicated because, as you know, Don, you know, she's been suspected by Tarrant County, Texas authorities of helping her son, but they don't know that for sure. So, they only listed her as missing.
So, we'll see whether or not she is sent back immediately or whether there's going to be some further court activities that the U.S. will have to do to get her back here.
LEMON: All right. Sunny, you know, he has been missing since December 11th, he and his mother. And he was not -- his probation officer was unable to find him. And that's how they figured out that they were both on the lamb. What does this mean now because people were outraged, that he got 10 years for killing four people because of some 'affluenza' he was too wealthy and didn't understand. What does this mean for him now?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, he was -- the prosecutors wanted 20 years in prison and instead he was given 10 years' probation and rehab at a cost of about $500,000 for his family. And so, now that he's been caught, now that he obviously sort of fled the jurisdiction, it is very possible that he would be looking at a long period of time in jail.
And I think that's appropriate in this case. I mean, a condition of his probation was that he had to stay away from alcohol and that he couldn't drive. Remember, this kid was 16 when he killed four people. He's only 18 now. So, he's still under the legal limit for consuming alcohol.
So, the fact that he was caught playing beer pong, believe it or not, on tape, on video and that was posted on social media, many are believing that that is why he fled along with his mother to Mexico. Because you can be rest assured that any probation officer that saw a game of beer pong in this case would likely revoke that probation and exposing him to many, many years in prison.
LEMON: Again, I know it's close to do top of the hour, but if you're just joining us, the 'affluenza' teen Ethan Couch, who turns 19, by the way, in April, he was 17 when this happened, he's of killing four people, actually was convicted of killing four people, right?
HOSTIN: That's right.
LEMON: In a drunk driving accident and injuring two others very seriously. He was -- he and his mother are now in custody. We're told by Mexican authorities in a popular Mexican Pacific beach resort town near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. That happened just a short time ago. Remind people of what happened that got him into this.
HOSTIN: Well, he was found drunk, also on drugs on the side of the road and he had plowed into four pedestrians and killed four people. Also maiming others. And as far as I recall, Don, one of the problems was he showed zero remorse.
He was actually sort of agitated to have to participate in the court system. But his family is wealthy. They hired the best of attorneys. And this defense expert came out with something I've never even heard of, which is this 'affluenza.'
[22:04:58] LEMON: So, what happens to the mom who's accused of helping him?
HOSTIN: Well, she's a fugitive now as well because there was a warrant out. And so, she is now also facing jail time. And really what we talked about from the very beginning is that this family that there was terrible parenting here. Because he was living alone in a house funded by his parents just drinking and drugging and partying, as opposed to being a productive member of society.
And so now you have a mother who continues to enable her child, runs away to a beach resort in Mexico thwarting authorities. This is a mother that needs to be held accountable for her actions as well.
LEMON: I don't know if you're one of the legal experts but a lot of legal experts said that this wouldn't be last time that we would hear from him, the one that happened.
HOSTIN: I was one of those.
LEMON: And you believed that he would be in trouble again.
LEMON: And that will hear you. Sunny Hostin, thank you. Sunny is going to be back with us in the broadcast to talk about the Tamir Rice case and also what's happening in Chicago. So, Sunny, please stick around. Sunny with our breaking news tonight.
Also this weekend, Americans were talking about two things as they gathered around the table, the weather and the Donald, Donald Trump. So, let's turn now to the day in Trump.
The candidate in New Hampshire tonight, and not backing down from his attacks on Hillary Clinton. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Obviously, they didn't trust her because Obama -- her. Can I say the word? Obama -- I won't. By the way, that word, that's a common word in New York and it means to be beaten badly. I won't give the press any more fun with it. And by the way, also, NPR, OK, National Public Radio, one of the most
revered emcees, political people, one of the most revered used it and he used the exact same word. Even the e-d at the end. For him, it was OK. For Trump, it's horrible. But what it means is to be beaten badly. I mean, that's what I mean. I guess it has other meanings. But what it means and what I meant is to be beaten badly
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: All right. So, I want to bring in now Hugh Hewitt. There he is. How was your Christmas?
HUGH HEWITT, RADIO HUGH HEWITT SHOW HOST: It was wonderful, Don. I hope you had a merry one yourself.
LEMON: I did. We spent the entire time talking about you and Donald Trump. I -- Jeb -- I'm all -- but let's talk about that because he is Hillary -- hitting Hillary Clinton, he's also hitting Chris Christie in New Hampshire tonight. But, you know, we're also seeing Christie target Marco Rubio, as well. Rubio is knocking Ted Cruz, Jeb is attacking Christie and Trump.
This is all in New Hampshire. Any of this. Is that going to knock Trump out of the top spot, do you think?
HEWITT: I think it is certainly to his advantage that the so-called republican establishment lane, I heard Kevin Madden earlier saying the so-called establishment with Matt Lewis. And that has got Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush in it and John Kasich. And so that's a crowded field that needs that will probably split up a center right vote.
That's between 40 and 50 percent of the primary, which allows Donald an opportunity to win there, and also it allows Ted Cruz an opportunity to have a strong second.
But I want to point out one thing, Don. I looked this up tonight to get ready to talk to you. Donald Trump's Twitter account has 5.4 million followers. The New York Times daily circulation is 1,375,000 circulation.
So, every time Donald Trump tweets something out, he has four times the impact of a New York Times headlines. And so, if he chooses to go back and re-equate the American public, especially the millennials who will not know who neither Broaddrick is or Paula Jones or Kathleen Willey or any of these people. If he chooses to use his Trump account, that's like using the front page of the New York Times and then people re-tweet it.
If he -- I think Hillary Clinton and this is point out to me by my law partner today, Robert O'Brien, who was in the Walker campaign, they would never have gone this route - Scott Walker.
HEWITT: And I don't think any other republican would go this route. But Donald Trump has a certain freedom that no one else has and those 5.4 million followers makes him sort of the nuclear arsenal of Twitter. He is trying to...
LEMON: Well, let's talk more about that because there is a Gallup poll that just released the most admired man in America, in the world, the most admired, Barack Obama. Guess who is number two? He ties with Pope Francis. Can you believe that?
HEWITT: Well, he is admired. Today I had a caller, a Manhattan businessman dropped out of high owns eight when he called mom and pop pharmacists. He loves Donald Trump. He complete -- competes with Dwayne Reed there in Manhattan and all over the place, and he said Dwayne Reed got dropped off at one of the pharmaceuticals.
He gave me a long story about himself in the radio show and he concluded by saying Donald Trump is an innovator, an entrepreneur, and he appeals to me and I'm not political. He does engage and activates new people. And I mean, those 5.4 million Twitter followers they may include you and me because we got to know the news but he has reach an appeal that 11 years on "Celebrity Apprentice" doesn't, no one else can match.
LEMON: Well, I have to tell you though, your big fact check in real time. Because the New York Times says 22.7 million followers, just so you know.
[22:10:00] HEWITT: All right. I just looked it up, so not followers, circulation.
HEWITT: Not followers.
LEMON: I'm clear. All right. Followers is important in the conversation. You're comparing followers to followers. If you compare followers to followers, his followers is 22 million.
HEWITT: Yes, you're right. And that's good. That's a very good...
LEMON: Yes, 22.5, I'm looking the polls.
HEWITT: So, what I'm saying is a Donald -- a Donald Trump tweet will have four times the impact of a New York Times headline. Now, followers...
LEMON: People read, who actually read the paper. Right.
HEWITT: Right. And who actually subscribe to it.
LEMON: OK. HEWITT: And so, when Trump decides to bring Clinton and says to
Hillary, hey, don't start calling me an abuser of women. And I was reminded again by O'Brien today, that CNN ran recently a great documentary called "The Hunting Ground" about campus sexual predators.
Bill Clinton's history, whether or not contested or acknowledged or hidden away or put under the rug, whatever, is going to be news to the millennials who have a very different view of that behavior than the generation that Bill Clinton...
LEMON: Well, I think, though, Hugh, that -- I think that lots of millennials, including my nieces learned about Hillary Clintons and they are all millennials, they learned about it in history and civics class. So, they -- they already know about that. But let's move on. Let's talk now about Dr. Ben Carson.
HEWITT: Do you really think that? I mean...
LEMON: Yes. But my next segment, Hugh, is devoted entirely to this subject. I would like to stick with the republicans in this one, OK?
HEWITT: OK. But one last question. Do you really think your nieces know who Juanita Broaddrick is or Kathleen Willey?
LEMON: I don't know if they know who Juanita Broaddrick is but they know in general what happened with Bill Clinton in the Oval Office and they already know all that and they think it's politics, as well. And they -- look, we're not -- they're not actually big supporters of Hillary Clinton either but they understand the history of it.
HEWITT: That was consensual. It's the other stuff.
LEMON: But anyway, I want to talk more -- I want to talk...
HEWITT: My point is the difference consensual versus nonconsensual. And this generation's view of nonconsensual advances is much different than 20 years ago. Go ahead.
LEMON: I think that's a different talking point. I think young people are smarter than you think and I think they learn about these things in school. But listen, Senator Ted Cruz still leading in Iowa. Could we still see a new front-runner in this case?
HEWITT: I think actually Ted Cruz as I've been saying for months is the only one who could run the board. He can win Iowa, he can come in second in New Hampshire, he can win South Carolina, he could win Nevada. Now there are also a different scenario where you've got Marco Rubio winning in Nevada and someone other, maybe Donald Trump winning in South Carolina and Chris Christie winning in New Hampshire which means that the march primaries become the second phase of the campaign.
So, it could go in one of two very massive directions. The only one, though, who can run away with the race is Ted Cruz because he has got a fire wall built up. On March 1, in Oklahoma, he's going to win. He's going to win in Texas.
Mike Huckabee, if he's still in the race -- and Mike Huckabee told me in the air he's dropping out if he doesn't finish one, two or three in Iowa. Right now I don't think he's going to finish one or two or three in Iowa. Things change quickly in Iowa. You know that, I know that.
But you could see Ted Cruz actually winning four or five states on March 1, which will make him a prohibitive front-runner. Not a favorite for the nomination, but he's the only one that can get to that status between now and March 1, the only one.
LEMON: All right. Thank you, sir. Guess what I'm going to talk about next?
HEWITT: Always a pleasure.
LEMON: Guess what I'm talking about next, when we come right back, how Donald Trump is rewriting the rules of the campaign and why he says taking shots at Bill Clinton is fair game. We'll be right back.
[22:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: Donald Trump taking aim at Hillary Clinton tonight as only Trump can. Listen to what he just said in New Hampshire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We haven't started on her. You know, she says, oh, we'd love to run against Trump. It's her worst nightmare.
These people -- these people back here, they said, well, the Hillary campaign said they'd love to run -- yes, she wants to run against me instead of somebody else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Joining me now democratic strategist, Hilary Rosen, CNN's Dylan Byers, and republican strategist, Cheri Jacobus.
Thank you all for joining us. So, closely after Christmas during this holiday season. Hilary, to you first. Trump ratcheting up his attacks against Hillary Clinton warning her against using the, quote, "woman's card on him." This comes after Hillary Clinton said that Trump has a quote "tension for sexism." Here is how Trump responded today in an interview with Radio Island.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: With all of her past and her past dealings and, frankly, she's been involved in it with her husband as much as anybody, for her to be discussing that I think is out of bounds and I've let them know that. I think we have to have fair fights here and fair dialogue and we have to do what's right for the country and she shouldn't be discussing it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, the former president is joining her on the campaign trail next week. Trump says it's fair game. Hilary, what do you think?
HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, the more Donald Trump talks about Bill Clinton, the more democrats and independents are going to like Hillary Clinton. He's -- let's just remember that Donald Trump is actually not running against Hillary Clinton now. He's running for the republican nomination and doing this do throw red meat to conservative republicans who, you know...
But isn't it everything fair game in a presidential campaign, Hilary?
ROSEN: No, everything is not fair game in a presidential election, although, really, what fair game is seems to be decided by the voters, not by pundits and not by the media. The voters are going to reject it or not.
You know, we've seen candidates' spouses in other elections not be fair game. If Donald Trump wants to take on Bill Clinton, you know, I think voters will react just fine with that. I don't -- I just don't see this helping him over the long-term.
LEMON: Cheri, they had to know that this would come up.
CHERI JACOBUS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Sure. Of course they knew this was going to come up at some point. I don't know if any other republican would have brought it up, certainly not in a primary.
LEMON: Do you think Hugh is right, that no other republican. Do you think he's done...
JACOBUS: I think it is something that wouldn't have come up in a general election because it simply has to, wouldn't come up in the primary. So, maybe Donald Trump did -- whoever at is the eventual nominee. I don't think it will be him, did him a favor. But look, even if...
LEMON: I think by bringing him into this ...
JACOBUS: Help getting it out of the way and bringing it up and just seeing how it plays out or maybe it's a favorite of the Clintons to get it out of the way during the primary, the general election. But it's sort of the elephant in the room. Hillary Clinton is someone we know because of her husband. But even if every political journalist voted that spouses are off
limits, whether it's Donald Trump's wife or Bill Clinton or everybody else, you still have to deal with the fact that Hillary Clinton is putting herself out there as a champion of women.
And when she's been asked, you know, what about if a woman accuses somebody or says she's been sexually harassed or assaulted or abused, should they be believed if she said, yes. But then when she was asked specifically about the several cases with her own husband, she kind of stepped back and say, well, it's not credible or they were discredited. They weren't discredited.
[22:20:08] And that will come up and that's where -- it's a very different thing when you're talking about the affairs, that's different for women who did not want to come forward.
LEMON: That's what I was going to talk about. Do you think there's a difference between...
JACOBUS: Absolutely, no woman, especially in the '70s, in the '80s or even the '90s, who has been harassed or abused or assaulted by a superior and they're threatened, you don't want to come forward because you know what's going to happen. And you saw what happened with these women, how they were smeared.
So, I think that you were mentioning your nieces and how they might -- how their generation might look at this. They might be appalled that a woman who's been in public life is basically exercising this double standard when it comes to these situations with her husband.
LEMON: You know what Trump last tweeted. Here's what he tweeted, "If Hillary thinks she can unleash her husband with this terrible record of women abuse -- of women abuse while playing the woman's card on me, she is wrong." So, do you -- is it all about playing to the base? Is that the strategy here?
JACOBUS: I don't think that Donald Trump has a strategy when he tweets. I'm sorry. I mean, there's no evidence that he does. And if he thinks that he's going to go after Bill Clinton for the extramarital stuff, not the -- not the separate more abusive things, but the ones that were consensual, we have to remember that Donald Trump kept the tabloids, you know, alive. If tabloid newspapers alive through several of his marriages and divorces and all of that. So, he's probably not the best one to be taking that shot.
LEMON: With that said, Dylan...
ROSEN: Well, he's also, Don, let's not forget, he also has a lot of history and a lot of quotes and, you know, speeches where he's complemented Bill Clinton...
JACOBUS: True. ROSEN: ... where he's dismissed the fact that those issues were relevant.
LEMON: We're going to play -- all right.
ROSEN: He himself, said he doesn't think those issues were relevant in relation to his buddy.
LEMON: Let's play it right now. Let's listen to that. Let's listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, he lied. He got us into the war with lies. And, I mean, look at the trouble Bill Clinton got into with something that was totally unimportant and they tried to impeach him, which was nonsense. And yet, Bush got us into this horrible war with lies, by lying, by saying they had weapons of mass destruction, by saying all sorts of things that turned out not to be true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He's saying that Nancy Pelosi had the opportunity to get George Bush and did not do it. So, that's what -- that's the context of that quote. But, Dylan, you know, he didn't bring up Clinton tonight, despite going after the Clintons on Twitter. We've seen this before, he'll bring something up a new line of attack; and then, you know, he'll sort of leave it hanging. Why keep going with this?
DYLAN BYERS, CNN SENIOR MEDIA AND POLITICS REPORTER: Well, I think that's right. And I think part of the reason for that, Don, is that he has many lines of attack he's working on. Tonight, he was in New Hampshire and of course, he's going against Chris Christie and the New Hampshire union leader while he's there.
One point I would disagree with Cheri on is, I do think Trump is very strategic in his tweets. I think he knows when he's throwing red meat to his base. I think he knows when he's throwing Hillary Clinton, when he's trolling the left, when he's trolling the establishment.
I think this was very targeted both as a means to go after Bill Clinton early, because Bill Clinton is going to be more of a force on the campaign and sort of to get under Hillary Clinton's skin a little bit.
And, you know, going back to what Trump said in 2008, I just point out, it sort of seems to me that the media should have picked up on something in August, and it hasn't picked up on it yet, which it doesn't matter what sort of quotes you can pull out from what Trump have said from years' passed. He's above that, that doesn't, you know, that sort of hypocrisy, accusing him of hypocrisy that just doesn't work with him because he's sort of an exceptional candidate.
LEMON: Yes. Because you did, I mean, you looked at all the media coverage of Trump over the past six months. And as you put it, he owned the 2015 news cycle and you described this two-step dance that he does with the media. Explain to us what you mean by that.
BYERS: Sure. Well, you know, often, we'll see headlines that say Donald Trump dominated the media or dominates -- dominated the debate. He dominates the media in more than one way. It's not just that, you know, he he gets more coverage than any other candidate. He is able to redefine the terms of the debate, he's able to totally up end every pundit's expectations for, you know, that last thing he said is going to ruin him.
Well, guess what? It didn't ruin him. This happens time and time again and he does it well sort of sticking his finger in the media of the eye calling them dishonest scam tonight. He called them sleaze bags.
But the sort of two-step that he does, is he goes out and he rails against the media, while at the same time using the media to fuel his campaign. I mean, he's -- the entirety of his campaign has been a media-driven campaign. It hasn't been a ground campaign or a door to door campaign like the other candidates.
LEMON: That's going to have...
ROSEN: He did it again. You know, Dylan is exactly right. He did it today and we're all falling for it, again, where Ted Cruz over the last few days has pulled ahead of him in Iowa and has got significant momentum.
[22:25:05] And you know, what happens then he throws out some bombs that he knows is going to get coverage, that he knows is going to get some energy behind it. And what have we been talking about all day? Donald Trump's comments about, you know, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton.
LEMON: Yes. And we're going to be talking about this...
ROSEN: You know, when really, that's not incredibly relevant to what's going on in Donald Trump's campaign right now.
LEMON: We'll be talking about this for the time to come. Thank you, all. I'm out of time. We cut it short for the breaking news. Thank you very much.
When we come right back, Rahm Emanuel under siege in Chicago. The mayor facing calls to resign after another deadly police shooting this weekend. Will he step down and would that solve anything?
LEMON: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel cutting his Cuban vacation short in the wake of a police shooting this weekend that killed 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier, and 55-year-old Bettie Jones. Police say Jones was shot accidentally. Joining me now to talk about this is the man who knows Mayor Rahm Emanuel well, and that's David Axelrod. David, thank you for joining us. You know, the mayor announced that he's going to cut his trip short to Cuba, and he's going to be back in Chicago to tomorrow afternoon. Should he have come back sooner?
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think he came back, as I understand it, as quickly as he could. There were some logistical issues involved, but there is no doubt he's doing the right thing by coming back. There were some big issues that have to be confronted here and those have been accelerated by the events of the weekend.
LEMON: He is taking a lot of heat. A lot of people are asking him to step down. Do you think that he should step down?
[22:29:58] AXELROD: I don't, Don. And I don't think it's really productive. He was just re-elected. And my focus, as a Chicagoan, you know, 42 years ago, I wrote my first newspaper column. I know as boyish as I look that it's hard to believe. But 42 years ago, I wrote my first newspaper column and the subject was that -- the then Mayor Richard Daley, the Congressman Ralph Metcalfe who was an African- American Congressman in south side clashing over this very issue. And Metcalfe's demand for a more intensive investigation of police shootings and police complaints.
This has been something that's been with us for generations. And now these incidents should be the inflexion point that allows us to confront these issues. So, and I think Mayor Emanuel is the guy who is going to -- who is going to have the greatest impetus to confront them.
He understands that his legacy very much is going to be can he solve a problem that's been with us all these many decades and can he do it in a way that moves the city forward? And he seems determined, to me, to do it.
DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT SHOW HOST: As someone who knows the issues, as someone who is a long time Chicagoan, and given what you said, there are people who says that the popular was among people who want him to resign is that he should have known better, he's a Chicagoan, he knows these problems.
AXELROD: Well, first of all, I would say that, you know, a number of the people who are -- and I'm not -- I don't want to impugn people's motives. There a lot of folks who are calling for his resignation who are working very hard to defeat him when he ran. So, there's a little bit of politics involved here.
But, look, I think that everyone in the city should have been more aware of these problems. As I said, they've been with us for a very long time. The city has done some things in the last four and a half years in terms of training and procedures to try and address this.
But, obviously, not nearly enough. He recognizes that, as well. He made a speech to that effect. And just from my personal conversations with him, my sense is that he understands that there's a lot more that has to be done here. These incidents over the weekend really point to it.
There has to be a very, very deep dive on the use of force when it's appropriate and certainly the use of lethal force. Why haven't these police officers been equipped with tasers to have a less lethal approach to some of these confrontations? That would have been relevant in a couple of these cases that we've just seen.
So, there are a whole range and how these cases are investigating and how disciplined is needed out.
LEMON: Let's talk about that because let's talk about that and what he's doing. Because last night, the mayor ordered changes in how city police officers are trained to handle calls involving people who may have mental health problems.
Earlier this month, he fired the police superintendent Gary McCarthy and announced the task force led by a former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. He has welcomed a DOJ investigation into Chicago PD, says the city needs federal assistance to make changes.
So, do you think that he is feeling this responsibility now? Is he feeling possibly that his administration has failed in this respect?
AXELROD: Well, I think he very clearly has indicated and, to me, and I think to the public, that there were failures here. Everyone, I think, is acknowledging that there were breakdowns in the system. And that, there's a long standing problem of culture that has to be dealt with.
At the same time, Don, it's important to recognize that Chicago has had an enormous problem with gang crime, with shootings, not police shootings of people, but people shooting people.
And, you know, a few months ago, the hue and cry was the city going to do more to stop that. These communities that have been victimized by these incidents are also heavily victimized by crime itself. And what's needed is a union between the police and the community, a sense of cooperation to try and confront these problems in a way that promotes trust instead of distrust. And that's a big task.
Again, this is something that's been plaguing this city. When I covered it back in the '70s, that was with Richard J. Daley. There have been six mayors since. And every single mayor has confronted this and no one has solved this problem, but we may have the impetus to do that now.
LEMON: Do you -- you said that you have spoken to him personally. I know that you have spoken to him personally, I know that you have known him for a long time. How is this -- you're friends. How is this impacted him personally?
AXELROD: I think very much. I mean, there is a -- you know, a sense of having let people down and there's a sense of determination about doing better. I mean, there's no question, anyone who knows him knows that he's a very focused person and he sees these now as a principal challenge.
[22:34:54] Again, I think -- I don't know that he would say this. I think that he was very much focused on the issue of crime in the communities and how to confront that, maybe less focused on this aspect of policing. And this is very important.
I think you actually have to do one -- you can't do one, you have to do both. Because if the community is going to give the cooperation to the police that's necessary to deal with crime in the community, there has to be a level of trust and that trust has to be built.
So, you need to confront both things at once and I think he now recognizes that and is determined to move forward on it.
The other thing that's important to point out is that this isn't just a problem plaguing Chicago. This is a problem that we've seen in urban areas throughout the country. We saw today the verdict in Cleveland that's going to cause a great deal of this consternation among people there.
We've seen the problems in Baltimore and elsewhere. This is a national problem. Now Chicago has its own unique problems that have to be confronted. But it's really something that we've seen all over the country. So, people will be watching Chicago to see how he approaches this, to see what he can do and what they can learn from it.
LEMON: David Axelrod, thank you, sir.
AXELROD: All right, Don, good to be with you.
LEMON: And coming up, why the officers who shot and killed 12-year- old Tamir Rice won't face criminal charges.
[22:40:00] No criminal charges in the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice in Cleveland. One year ago, the 12-year-old was shot and killed by a police officer because he was armed with a toy gun who prosecutors say looked real.
So, joining me now to discuss is Henry Hilow, he's the attorney of Officer Timothy Loehmann. Thank you so much for joining us, attorney. You know, you're Mr. Officer Loehmann's attorney and he hasn't spoken publicly since that day. What does he want people to know?
HENRY HILOW, TIMOTHY LOEHMANN'S ATTORNEY: Well, I think he wants people to know exactly what the grand jury, our citizens of Cuyahoga County to review the evidence of the facts to that case that he was not criminally responsible for the tragedy that took place that day. And I think that's the important thing he wants people to know.
LEMON: Were you ever worried that he would be indicted? HILOW: Anytime a case is presented to a grand jury, because I don't
know what goes on in the grand jury, you always have some concerns, but I also have faith in the judicial system and the system of justice as to what takes place at a grand jury and those responsible to carry justice out.
I don't think we should be motivated by individuals that constantly are talking on the outside, which is their right to do, but then relying on that to be the reason and be all end all as to someone should be charged or not.
LEMON: We are seeing pockets of protests around the country tonight. Does that level of distrust between the public and the police concern you at all? Are you worried about your client's safety?
HILOW: We saw what happened in New York right after similar incidents, two policemen were assassinated in their car. I am worried in the sense that as a society, as a people, solutions come when people come together to discuss something.
They don't come when there's rhetoric on the outside to fire people up and compare every situation like it's the same. We're not Ferguson, we're not Baltimore. We're Cleveland, Ohio and we're very good city like any city we have issues and there's places to discuss it.
But as public officials, as attorneys, as people in the community, we also have a responsibility to promote the right message and the message isn't destruction. The message is to have discussion between people that come to a conclusion that we can come together. Not have violence to separate people even more.
LEMON: Attorney Henry Hilow, thank you very much for joining us here on CNN.
HILOW: Thank you.
LEMON: I want to bring in now Bernard Kerik, who is a former New York City police commissioner, and also Sunny Hostin, former federal prosecutor. Sunny is back with us, she joined us earlier with the breaking news. My first question to you, Sunny, do you know the family, right?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes.
LEMON: And the family released a statement today and I've been keeping up with this and we've been talking about it on television. They said that they weren't surprised. But you were. Why were you surprised?
HOSTIN: I was surprised because I'm a former prosecutor and I know that prosecutors control the grand jury. You control the flow of the information. You control who goes in front of the grand jury. You control which charges are presented.
And so, if you want an indictment as a prosecutor, you get an indictment. This prosecutor, however, McGinty said during the press conference that his recommendation was not to press charges, to file charges. So, he had no interest in filing charges.
And I'm surprised at that because, as a prosecutor, and reviewing the facts of this case, I think it's very clear that at the very least, there was probable cause. That is the lowest legal standard in our system. So, the suggestion somehow that there wasn't enough probable cause to file charges when you have a police officer get out of his car and in two seconds, two seconds, Don...
HOSTIN: ... shoot a 12-year-old, that's ludicrous.
LEMON: And he wasn't -- he wasn't on the job for long, right? He was an officer in training. What would an officer, a seasoned officer -- would he have done things differently, Commissioner?
BERNARD KERIK, FORMER NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: You know what, Don? Every shooting, every cop shooting, you know, long-term cop, you know, guy right out of the academy, everybody is going to handle it differently.
In this case, the one issue I have with this, you know, I saw the toy gun. I have to tell you, you know, I'd be looking at these companies that make these things because that gun looked extremely real. The kid was pulling it out of his waistband from my understanding.
You know, and you don't know. This guy, in fear of his life took the shot or several -- I don't know how many shots there were. But, you know, it happens.
HOSTIN: Can I say something?
HOSTIN: I mean, we're all talking about these toy guns. Look, boys and guns have been playing together since the beginning of time. Do I allow my son to play with toy guns? No. But the suggestion somehow that because a kid was playing in a park with a toy gun that that's why this is tragic, I think is ridiculous.
And I think we also need to look at this particular officer, Officer Timothy Loehmann. When you look at his history, Don, it is clear that he had a troubled history. He was released or at least withdrew from his last position as a police officer because he was found to be emotionally immature, also found to be -- have a dangerous loss of composure during firearms training.
And get this, his police supervisor said "I do not believe time nor training will be able to change or correct these deficiencies." That was in 2012. And the Cleveland Police Department did not review his personal file before they hired him with. Would you have done that...
LEMON: All right.
HOSTIN: ... as a police commissioner?
LEMON: Point taken, point taken but we have to move on.
HOSTIN: Of course not.
LEMON: I got to ask this so we have to move on. Because this is, you know, again, the family is going to file a lawsuit.
[22:45:02] HOSTIN: Sure.
LEMON: They're hoping that the federal government will jump in. OK. So, listen, I have to ask you this. The father of the young man who was killed in Chicago this weekend has filed a lawsuit, right, against the police department claiming excessive force and is reasonable, of course, his 55-year-old neighbor also killed as well, a grandmother of 10.
What do you make of what happened this weekend in Chicago and the lawsuit?
KERIK: Well, I think it's premature to say. You know, who is responsible, what is, you know, was it justified or not. Evidently, the father from what I understand, even the father this afternoon said that the cop made statements that he knew he did something wrong right after the shooting.
You know, I wasn't there, but it's a tragic -- I mean, extreme tragedy and I think it's -- you know, there will be a grand jury investigation and we'll see.
LEMON: Considering everything that we have seen in Chicago, the calls for the mayor to resign, is the Chicago Police Department out of control? He is even asking for help with the police department, for someone else to come in. Are they out of control?
KERIK: Well, you know...
LEMON: Come on, be honest with me.
KERIK: I'm going to be honest. Here is the problem. You're talking about an area where they have 82 shootings in a 48-hour period. You know, we're not talking about some non-crime ridden area. This is a heavy crime ridden area. The cops are used to this kind of stuff. They're going into these combat zones. That's where they're going, you know, and stuff like this happens. Unfortunately, in this circumstance by all accounts, this shooting shouldn't have happened.
LEMON: Is there anything that can be done to fix this department, Sunny?
HOSTIN: Well, I think so. You know, departments are reviewed by the Justice Department all the time, consent decrees are entered into and there can be real change. But let's be clear. Yes, you know, Chicago has been crime ridden for a long time. There is a lot of gang violence. But we need to hold our police officers to a higher standard. We
cannot compare a gang banger with a -- a gang banger using a gun and a police officer using a gun. Our officers are there to serve and protect. Our officers are the trained professionals. And I don't understand how a trained professional within moments of entering into a Chicago building shoots not one, but two people. That shows me there is a crisis at the very least incompetence, but training -- and there is a real problem there.
LEMON: There is something going on with Chicago police and many people said that I have been tough on Chicago police. I have lived there, I've seen it. I've worked as a reporter there.
HOSTIN: That's right.
LEMON: I've done investigations on the Chicago Police Department. There is something different about the Chicago Police Department that people around the country don't understand. And maybe the city is too myopic they don't get it either. But it's something different about that department and it needs to be overhauled.
HOSTIN: There seems to be a cultural problem there within the department.
LEMON: And it needs to be -- yes. Someone needs to come in from the outside and fix it.
KERIK: And I think Rahm is called for that, as well.
LEMON: Rahm Emanuel has been there. He's a Chicagoan, he should know that.
LEMON: OK. Coming up, the artist who some say invented the term "Chiraq" and was recently caught in the crossfire of gun violence himself. There he is, he's going to join us.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: A lot of people say the rapper King Louie, invented the term "Chiraq." But he was caught in the crossfire of gun violence when he was shot in the head while sitting in his car. He's recovering tonight and he joins me now. Not only you were shot in the head, you were shot in several places.
Thank you for joining us. This was just last week and you were just released from the hospital yesterday on your birthday. How do you feel?
KING LOUIE, CHICAGO RAPPER WHO WAS SHOT IN THE HEAD: I feel blessed.
LEMON: And you're feeling recovered? I guess well enough to come in and do an interview. What happened?
LOUIE: Well, I was in my car. I was going to leave a friend's house and someone started shooting at my car. And I think they say they shot like 22 shots or whatever and I was hit seven times. Three of the slogs are still with me today. Two in my chest and one in my head.
LEMON: Kill Louie, what's going on in Chicago?
LOUIE: The devil is working overtime. That's what's going on in Chicago.
LEMON: What do you mean?
LOUIE: The devil is working overtime. Evil.
LEMON: You have been working with...
LOUIE: Yes, for Chicago.
LEMON: Yes. You have been working with part of Chicago's Put the Guns Down project that's aimed at harnessing the power of music to take a stand against gun violence in Chicago. Let's take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, this is part of the campaign. You're trying to get people to put the guns down. Listen, I know you know that the problem in Chicago is deeper than guns. Guns are a big problem. And when I asked you what's going on, you said, you know...
LEMON: ... yes, the devil is working overtime. Do you think that there is hope for Chicago? And what is that hope?
LOUIE: Yes. I think it's hope for Chicago. And like I said, prayer. I don't think I would be here today if it wasn't for prayer, so I deeply appreciate all the prayers that people had made for me, everybody that prayed for me and the prayers that my family and everything because that got me through -- it kept me strong and got me through my situation.
So, I say we just have to be strong and pray for our city and the right people that just do the right things.
LEMON: Which means actively trying to help the community, which you're doing. I want to talk to you about what happened in Chicago over the weekend. LOUIE: Yes.
LEMON: Because, you know, the mayor is cutting his vacation short, coming back from Cuba over the holidays because of what happened there, the 55-year-old grandmother and them the young college student who were killed this weekend. What do you make of that situation with the police?
LOUIE: Well, the police are just as crooked as the people they lock up, so we need to pray for that, too. You know, somebody to come in and change all that. Because they just as crooked as the guy -- like the gang members and all that, they're a gang, as well, to me.
[22:55:03] You know, you have your good cops and you have your bad cops.
LOUIE: So, they're just as worse as the guys they put crimes on or that really did the crimes.
LEMON: So, you know, the movie "Chiraq" came out recently. And Spike Lee used that title, but you are credited with coining that. What did you -- what di that word "Chiraq" what does that mean to you?
LOUIE: Yes. It means -- it just -- it's -- the term came from, I think I started it in 2011, came out with a mixed tape it was called Chiraq, Illinois.
LOUIE: The term drill is something that John real music, that my brother, who is deceased are actually the man came up with. I just went along with it, you know, just like to take the good from the bad. It was a genre of music, you know, and people with kids saw me rapping with what I live and what I came up and witnessed in my life, which was the -- you know, it was like Iraq, so I said Chiraq, Illinois. And it was like the music thing and I do the music to uplift the people. And it just went from that, is that the violence has been crazy since then, so.
LEMON: Well, King Louie...
LOUIE: The term, I guess.
LEMON: ... came from that. So, King Louie, listen, we're short on time. We're so glad that you joined us and we're glad that you're OK. And thank you for your effort. We appreciate you.
LOUIE: All right.
LEMON: We'll be right back.
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: That's it for us tonight. I'll see you back here tomorrow night. AC360 starts now.