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Sanders Ahead of Clinton in New Hampshire; Report: Clinton E- Mail Home Server Contained Above Top-Secret Messages; Widow of U.S. Army Veteran Sues Twitter after ISIS Death. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired January 20, 2016 - 11:30   ET



[11:30:00] SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I), VERMONT & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So what we have to explain is that poll after poll has me further ahead of Donald Trump and other Republicans than Secretary Clinton. That, in fact, for us to win and retain the White House and regain the Senate, we need a large voter turnout. And to get a large voter turnout, there has to be excitement, enthusiasm at the grass-roots level. I think that is our campaign.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Now, Bernie Sanders talks about getting a large turnout out, turning out people, but other Democrats we talked to, John and Kate, are highly worried about the prospect of a Bernie Sanders, as a person leading their party. He is, of course, a Democratic Socialist. And that word, they fear, could be a branding mechanism for the rest of the party here.

Now, one of the reasons he is leading Donald Trump in these polls is Bernie Sanders hasn't yet been defined. No ads have been run against him. Hillary Clinton, of course, is perhaps one of the most defined politicians that we know. So I think if Bernie Sanders would be moving forward as, you know, the party's nominee, he certainly would be in a different position now.

But I can tell you, on the ground here in Iowa, and certainly in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders has the energy and the excitement. It's the burden on Hillary Clinton right now to drum up some of that and to change the dynamic, some 12 days before the Iowa caucuses -- John and Kate?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Energy and excitement is exactly what you want in these days leading up to the caucuses.

Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.

Democratic strategist, Brad Woodhouse, is back with us. Also joining us, senior political reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson.

Brad, you see the numbers. Bernie Sanders up by 27 percent in New Hampshire, but wait, there's more. When you ask New Hampshire voters about favorable and unfavorable views of the candidates, Bernie Sanders is at 91 percent favorable, just 7 percent unfavorable. Hillary Clinton at 65 percent favorable, 26 percent unfavorable. That's a huge difference. But wait, there's more.



BERMAN: When you ask voters which candidate you trust the least, who is the least honest candidate, Hillary Clinton out in front with 55 percent.

BOLDUAN: That's not a lead you want.

BERMAN: Is not even close. And this is before this latest round of questions about her e-mails which we're going to get to in our next segment. But, Brad, this is tough.

WOODHOUSE: Well, look, it is tough on the surface. But let's talk about those numbers a little bit. First of all, no one believes Bernie Sanders is up 27 percent in New Hampshire. We've seen in the last few weeks, we've seen polls ranging from Hillary Clinton being up 3 percent to Bernie Sanders being up 27 percent. What that tells you is there's a lot of public polls out there. You should take them all with a grain of salt.

But let's look at that 91 percent figure in terms of favorable rating. That tells you exactly what Jeff Zeleny just said. Bernie Sanders hasn't been vetted. I don't think most voters know about the Socialist positions that he's taken over the course of his -- over the course of his career. Some of the out-of-the-mainstream positions that he took before he entered federal -- you know, federal politics, running for Congress and that's the type of things -- there was a "New York Times" story about this today. Those are the types of things that Republicans would seize on if Bernie Sanders was the nominee. Now, that explains why Republicans are running the campaign to get Bernie Sanders to be the Democratic nominee. They fact-check on his side of the Democratic debate the other night. Karl Rove has an ad running against Hillary Clinton that parrots Bernie Sanders' talking points. They're doing that because they don't want to run against Hillary Clinton, and they do want to run against Bernie Sanders.

BOLDUAN: Now, Nia, Brad says it's because Bernie Sanders has not been vetted enough, and that's why voters have such a favorable view about him and that's why he is so ahead in certain places. Regardless if it's vetted or for another reason, can Hillary Clinton dig out of this in time?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, I think at some point you might see the Clinton campaign sort of quietly tiptoe out of New Hampshire because these polls, I mean, most of them have him up double digits, you know, whether or not Brad wants to quibble with how much he's up, it looks like he's up there, and he should be up, right? I mean, this is a next-door state to him. Some people say he's sort of the third Senator from New Hampshire. You know that, for instance, Bill Clinton is going to be in Nevada in the upcoming days. That's probably a place where they want to spend more of their time, keep in close in Iowa, try to win that state. And then, of course, the map changes quite a bit. And one of the things that's also happening, I think, now with Bernie

Sanders, is the vetting really is starting. These are people who are liberal writers who are really coming out and really dissecting his plans.

BERMAN: So, Brad, in the world of Brad Woodhouse, everything's great in the Clinton campaign.

BOLDUAN: I wish I lived in the Brad Woodhouse world.

BERMAN: How does she then turn around this great campaign that's being run right now, according to you? How do they right the ship, or how does she make things better even though in your world they're already great?

WOODHOUSE: First of all, I'm not saying they're already great. I will say this. You have never had me or any Clinton campaign surrogate come on your program and not tell you anything but the fact that this would be a close race. Iowa and New Hampshire line up very well for a candidate like Bernie Sanders. South Carolina does not.

BOLDUAN: It doesn't look close.



WOODHOUSE: But look, you know, so there was one poll yesterday that had him up 27 points. There was also a poll yesterday that had him up 6 points. You know, pick your poll.

[11:35:13] BOLDUAN: I gotcha.

WOODHOUSE: Obviously, New Hampshire is a state, as Nia said, that favors a neighboring state candidate. But this is not so much about the Hillary Clinton campaign needing to right the ship. What they have to do is be in this for the long haul. As we found out in 2008, and as they found out in 2008, these nomination battles are a delegate hunt. They are a hunt for delegates all across the country in caucuses and primaries. And that, I think, as Nia said, the map changes dramatically in Hillary's favor as you get into later in February and then into March. And, look, it's a delegate hunt. And I think that the Clinton campaign is prepared for that and I think they'll win that.

BOLDUAN: She said as much to CNN. 2008 all over again.

BERMAN: Brad Woodhouse, thanks so much.

Guys, appreciate it.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, guys.

We do want to let you know about a big CNN event that is coming up this Monday night in Iowa. Exactly one week before Iowa chooses Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton or Martin O'Malley, well, they're going to go face to face with voters in Iowa. In a CNN Democratic presidential town hall live on Des Moines. Chris Cuomo will be moderating. That is next Monday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern only here on CNN.

BERMAN: All right. Happening now, a pretty interesting moment in Washington. This is the scene at the mayors' conference, which Chicago's Rahm Emanuel is attending. A woman holding up a sign calling on Mayor Emanuel to resign. They're not making her leave or move. She's been up there for minutes. More on this in a moment.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead for us, ISIS took responsibility for her husband's death. Well, now she is suing Twitter. We're going to tell you why.


[11:40:58] BERMAN: All right. Moments ago, Bill Clinton on the stump. He was in Concord, New Hampshire. He just finished speaking at this organizing event at a community center. It does seem like there might be some organizing they might need to do there. Hillary Clinton is trailing Bernie Sanders by 27 percent. 27 points in the latest New Hampshire poll. There's that.

Plus, the e-mail controversy has resurfaced.

BOLDUAN: A new report that says that the Clintons' private home server contained highly classified information from some of the government's most secretive programs.

So let's get the latest on where this all stands. Let's talk about this with CNN justice reporter, Evan Perez. And CNN senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, is here.

Evan, first to you.

What are you learning about this latest report?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, what we are talking about is a letter from Charles McCullough, who is the inspector general for the intelligence community. And he says that one intelligence agency has basically declared to him that there were several dozen e-mails that they've looked at that were found on the Clintons' server that contained very highly sensitive information including information that is classified at special access programs. Now, this is above top-secret information. And so this creates a new problem, really, for Hillary Clinton because, you know, all along, they've maintained -- and again today, Brian Fallon, Clinton's spokesperson, today said as far as they know none of these e-mails that were sent were classified at the time they were sent.

There's a lot we don't know, obviously. We don't know what the content of these e-mails really are. We don't know what specific programs might have been discussed. We know that there have been previously four e-mails that were flagged. And what the inspector general is saying now is that there were several dozen additional e- mails that he says at least one intelligence agencies flagged as containing highly sensitive information, SAP-level information, which is among the most-sensitive, the most-secret information in the U.S. government.

This is a big problem for Hillary Clinton simply because this is going to keep happening over the next few months. The FBI is investigating this. And this is a controversy that won't go away. And there's really nothing for her to cure the problem, right? Because the biggest problem here is that she should never have set up this private server to handle all of her government business. She now admits that. And there's really nothing else that she can do to fix this problem.

BERMAN: All right. Evan Perez, stand by for a moment here.

Jeffrey Toobin, I want to bring you into this.

More sensitive than top secret.


BERMAN: Those are tough words --

TOOBIN: Yes, it is.

BERMAN: -- which have some political baggage with them just weeks before Iowa and New Hampshire. Where is the line between this being a political problem and a legal problem?

TOOBIN: Well, the Clinton campaign and her representatives have said all along that she has never mishandled information that was marked, that she was told was classified. Now, if you take classified information and put it in an e-mail and send it to someone, it's not marked classified, but it's still classified. You get the distinction?


TOOBIN: Her problem now is that if this information is so highly classified, the government, the FBI, may say, well, you should have known, even though it wasn't marked. If someone hands you a diagram for how to make a nuclear weapon and it's not marked classified, you should know that.

Now, the question is, is this information so obviously classified that she should have known and treated it as classified and not handled it on the server?

BOLDUAN: And that question almost depends on who you're talking to. Because when you talk to the Hillary Clinton campaign, they point out that this kind of gets to the heart of where this has been, dispute between the State Department and the intelligence community over what was classified and what should have been classified at what point. I mean, this really gets into the weeds. At the end of the day, I'm left wondering, who's going to decide? Who gets to decide?

TOOBIN: Well, the FBI's going to decide if she's prosecuted. Ultimately, that's the decision I think everybody cares about.

But one of the minor but real scandals in the U.S. government has been for decades is that people over-classify things, is that a lot of information that is not all that sensitive is treated as classified. She is now suffering from that because people are saying there's all this classified information she's dealing with. But there is not a bright line between classified and unclassified, and you can see, at least to a certain extent, why she was not clear on what was what.

[11:45:31] BOLDUAN: Even if it's not legally clear, we'll see what the political ramifications are --

TOOBIN: Right. Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: -- with all of this coming out. And definitely the campaign has been pointing out they believe this is an inspector general with an ax to grind is kind of the way they're pointing to it.

Evan, thank you so much.

Jeffrey, thank you.

BERMAN: Coming up for us, the widow of a U.S. Army veteran is now suing Twitter after ISIS took responsibility for his death.


[11:50:06] BOLDUAN: A new lawsuit is filed against Twitter accusing the social media company for giving is a loud speaker for propaganda and platform to attract recruits. The lawsuit was filed by a Florida woman, Tamara Fields, whose husband was killed in a shooting last year at a police training center in Jordan.

BOLDUAN: The exact motives for the shooting are unclear, but the complaint says ISIS claims responsibility. The lawsuit accuses Twitter for providing materiel support for terrorism, and saying this as well, "Without Twitter, the explosive growth of ISIS into the most- feared terrorist group into the world would not have been possible"

Joining us to discuss is Josh Arisohn, who is the attorney representing Tamara Fields in her lawsuit against Twitter.

And, Josh, thank you for coming in.


BOLDUAN: You stated you believe it is the first lawsuit of its kind. Tell us more about it. Why take it on? Why --

ARISOHN: Well, for years Twitter has knowingly permitted ISIS to knowingly use the ISIS network for a tool to spread its extremist propaganda and raising funds and attracting new recruits. And the role of Twitter, and the rise of ISIS really can't be exaggerated. Without Twitter, ISIS' dramatic emergence into one of the most-feared dangerous groups in the world would not have been possible. And Twitter was not an innocent bystander in all this. Twitter has long known that ISIS was using the network to terrorize, but they have done little to stop it.

BERMAN: And you say "knowingly allowed," but doesn't Twitter shut down sites that make terrorist threats?

ARISOHN: Well, they only shut down Twitter accounts that support ISIS once they are brought to their attention, but they don't actively monitor the accounts as far as we know. And despite the fact that they have known about these accounts on the network, and that critics from are the White House and members of Congress and the FBI and politicians like Hillary Clinton have been urging Twitter to do more to keep ISIS off of the social network, it is largely refusing to act. So if you go on Twitter today, it is easy to find the ISIS accounts and the tweet and the hash tags supporting ISIS. And Twitter also permits terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah to maintain official Twitter accounts. And it is shameful that an American company would provide materiel support to a terrorist organization like ISIS that openly advocates for the killing of American citizens and other innocent civilians.


ARISOHN: And Ms. Fields --


BERMAN: But they shut them down. When it is brought to your their attention, they do shut down them down.

HARRRISON: Well, experts in the field agree that Twitter should and could be doing so much more. And the technology is there to kick ISIS off of Twitter and to keep them off but for whatever reason Twitter has not used that technology.

BOLDUAN: Do you acknowledge, do you believe it is an uphill battle to directly linking the death of Tamara Field's husband to Twitter. Because some people say that Twitter is in between here, and Twitter is not responsible.

ARISOHN: Well, Twitter provided materiel support to ISIS, a terrorist organization. It gave them a powerful communications tool knowing they could use it to raise money which would fund terrorist attacks, and raise recruits who go out to commit terrorist attacks. And when you do that, you are responsible for the attacks that they eventually carry out. We believe that the facts of the law are on our side in this case, and we are confident going forward.

BERMAN: Josh, stand by.

I want to bring in our legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, here.

Jeffrey, what's your take on this? Is there a case here?

TOOBIN: Well, it is interesting issue, and no court has really settled it yet. Twitter's response is in two parts. First, they say, look, we have a big security department, and we trying our best to get rid of anything affiliated with terrorism off of Twitter. The more interesting argument they make is that they say we are what's called a common carrier, like the telephone. And many, many crimes as we all know are used -- are conducted involving the telephone. You can't sue a phone company for helping for facilitating the crime, because the law has designated the phone as common carriers and they are just an intermediary. Twitter and Facebook want to be common carriers for this purpose as well. It is a complicated argument, but it is not yet been resolved by any court about whether Twitter is a common carrier like a phone company.

BOLDUAN: And, Jeffrey, you have often said and often do say rightfully that technology outpaces the law, and the law often has to catch up with how quickly technology changes. Twitter in their statement in the e-mail said that they believe that the lawsuit is without merit, that violence and from terrorism has no place on Twitter, and like other social networks, are ruled, make that clear. Is that enough though?

[11:55:05:] TOOBIN: Well, that is what the cases will resolve, and lot of it will involve investigating just what Twitter does. This lawsuit is based on the idea that Twitter does not do enough. And Twitter says they have a big elaborate security department, and they cooperate extensively with the FBI. So it is something that a court or the jury is going to have to decide, this factual question of does Twitter do enough? The legal question of whether Twitter is like a phone company, a common carrier, that has to go to a judge and ultimately to the appeals courts, and that is a hard and important question for lawsuits like this, because it could insulate Twitter completely from any liability.

BOLDUAN: Twitter, and Facebook, and a lot of other social media facing this as well.

Thank you, Jeffrey Toobin.

Josh, thank you as well.

ARISOHN: Thank you for having me.

BERMAN: More on our breaking news. First, look at the Dow Jones right there. Down 455 point, and dropping. Much more on that coming up.

Plus, a brand-new national poll shows Donald Trump dominating the race, but his newest, and Sarah Palin didn't show up at an event this morning, and so will she appear at the next one? Find out moments from now.