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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  November 10, 2014 2:00pm-4:01pm PST

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lines, american troops return to iraq's bloody anbar province. their job is not to fight against isis but can they avoid it? and the fate of the top isis leader reportedly wounded. we'll have details. eliminate israel, that chilling declaration from iran's top leader, as a new wave of attacks takes the lives of two more israelis. behind the hostage release, stunning new information on north korea's freeing of two more americans and new insight on the brutal regime that let them go. plus, the suspect in the uva abduction case will be back in court. but why will he face a new judge? i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." let's get to the breaking news. the first u.s. troops iraq's anbar province, now at the center of a relentless isis onslaught.
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new details on the fate of the top isis leader. u.s. officials say abark al baghdadi was wounded this weekend in an air strike. if he's out of action, how big of a blow would that be to isis? and iran is claiming credit for blocking isis attempts to reach baghdad. they say a top revolutionary guard commander led forces against the terror group in iraq. we go live to tehran. and our correspondents, our analysts, our newsmakers are standing by. the first american troops have now arrived in the very dangerous anbar province. u.s. forces faced years of bloody combat during the insurgency and anbar is on the front line of the brutal isis assault. let's go to barbara starr with the latest. >> reporter: u.s. boots back on the ground in anbar province, i don't think most military personnel thought that would ever happen but here we are. about 50 troops landed at al
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assad air base in anbar, one of the sites of some of the bloodiest fighting for u.s. troops during the iraq war. why are the 50 troops there? basically they're doing something very technical, a site survey. but a site survey so more u.s. troops and u.s. advisers can go in and start training the iraqi forces to go on the offense. this is the goal now, get iraqi forces back out in the field on the offense in key areas, especially anbar province. this is an isis stronghold. it is the western approach to baghdad. it is becoming a matter of some urgency to push isis back -- further back towards syria. and president obama making very clear this is the strategy now. get the iraqis to go on the offense, get them to push isis away from the key crucial areas, the capital and other areas in iraq. >> why is it so tough to pin down the fate of the isis leader
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abu bakr al baghdadi? officials say he was wounded in the weekend coalition air strike. >> reporter: there have been a number of different rumors coming out of iraq, one that he was wounded in a coalition air strike in mosul. that appears to be much less likely now. it appears now that the iraqis had intelligence he was 250 miles away to the southwest in al qa'im. the iraqis kukked an air strike there. the iraqis believe that he was possibly wounded based on the intelligence they had. the u.s. says it's not really sure what iraq's intelligence was in that air strike. and as for their own air strike back up in mosul, they struck a convoy of ten vehicles not really knowing who was inside. but they had reason to believe a bunch of isis leaders were there. so it's been a bit confusing to sort out. but it's beginning to look more likely that these rumors emanate from iraqi intelligence on a border town with syria over the
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weekend where the iraqis conducted an air strike. >> barbara, thanks very much. if abu bakr al baghdadi was a casualty of that air strike, how big of a blow would that be to isis? arwa damon is joining us, she's near the turkish/syrian border. what are you hearing, arwa? >> reporter: well, wolf, if in fact he has been injured or even killed, one has to take this into consideration. yes, it would be something of a victory for the coalition, for all those who want to see the isis leaders' demise. but when it comes to the demise of the organization in and of itself, well, that's not likely to actually be impacted. it's just look at isis's evoluti evolution. it came out of the ashes of the iraqi state of iraq, i.e., al qaeda of iraq, that the u.s. believed it had largely defeated. yet it emerged and became an
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even more powerful entity than it has in the past. and let's look at how al baghdadi has structured isis. he has a number of deputies. he has a cabinet. he has a war office. in some areas like in the stronghold of raqqa, they have ministries. it's established as an organization that could continue to function if its top-tier leadership has been removed. >> arwa damon on the scene for us, thanks very much. be careful over there. if the senior leader of isis was killed or incapacitated, who would replace him? our brian todd is joining us. what are you learning, brian? >> the top contenders to replace abu bakr al baghdadi have carved their own reputations for brutality in saddam hussein's military. they'd have the challenge of following a mythical figure who
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has a $10 million bounty on his head. he runs the terror group like a ceo, with spreadsheets on killings. he's cultivated a reputation for violence. he emerged from the shadows and flashing an expensive watch, exhorting his followers. >> translator: you should take of jihad to please got and fight in his name. >> reporter: tonight, u.s. officials can't confirm whether abu bakr al baghdadi was killed or wounded in coalition air strikes over the weekend. how much trouble would they be in without him? >> isis likely has a clear chain of command. either they have baghdadi has signed off on a line of succession himself or the council has agreed to one. >> reporter: according to terrorism researchers, baghdadi has two principal deputies.
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turkmani oversees operations in iraq. anbari fulfills the role in syria. >> these people previously su l served in saddam hussein's army. they inherited the disciplines and the military skills that are now benefiting isis in its campaign against its enemies. >> reporter: analysts say turkmani could take the reins of isis if baghdadi is taken out. >> and he would have had to have had a lot of outstanding qualities either in the military or political field. and that certainly makes him a potential contender. >> reporter: there's also 37-year-old al adnani who issued a call for isis supporters to launch lone wolf attacks. some of baghdadi's top deputies were encamped with him in iraq where baghdadi was held for at least four years. >> he was able to trust these
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individuals as sharing his ideology, sharing his hatred for the west. >> if or when baghdadi is killed, look for a raetaliatory strike against the west. >> brian, if baghdadi was in that convoy struck over the weekend, that would be a departure from how he normally operates, right? >> from all indications, absolutely, wolf. analysts say he is are obsessed with secrecy, obsessed with his own security. he is said to have covered his own face when meeting with members of his own inner circle. if he's taking a risk like he might have taken over the weekend, that really is a departure. >> brian, thank you for that information. joining us is senator angus king of maine. thanks very much for joining us. have you heard anything? do you know if they at least
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wounded this guy? is he alive? is he dead? >> i've checked what intelligence sources i have. and i hate to tell you, no confirmation either way. i think it's very unclear. i think most of the intelligence that we have now is coming from iraqi sources. and there's no confirmation from our side as to what the impact of the strikes were. >> those iraqi sources sometimes can be good. but very often, they can be pretty bad. >> they have their own motives motivations. you can't take it to the bank. >> if he were injured, how big of a deal would that be? there are a bunch of others waiting in the wings to step up. >> you have to remember the president's strategy here started out, degrade and destroy. part of degrade is weapons, tanks, trucks, all of these kinds of things. but it's also leadership. i think it would be a blow. baghdadi traces his lineage back to the prophet. he's not only a military leader but he's a symbolic religious leader. and i think whenever you degrade the leadership of any
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organization, it's going to have an impact. now, as your correspondent said, there's a bench. and there will be changes. but i think it could be an important step. >> because isis -- you have to remember -- is not just a bunch of terrorists. many of the top leaders are military guys. they were generals, majors, colonels in saddam hussein's military. for whatever reason, they bolted and now joined isis. so they're pretty disciplined and experienced. >> that's right. this is not a ragtag group. i think it's significant they really have stalled. this business in anbar, as you mentioned, is critically important. that's the approach to baghdad. we've stalled them. we and the coalition have stalled them throughout iraq. but whether they're able to mount an offensive toward baghdad is really the great unanswered question. >> 80% of the anbar province -- it's not far from baghdad, the capital -- is now controlled by isis. and all of a sudden the pentagon today, as you heard barbara
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starr report, 50 u.s. troops. they are now there at an air base in the anbar province. this is a dangerous area. >> it's a very dangerous area. that's why the crucial -- there are two crucial pieces of this other than our airpower. that is whether this is a real coalition and whether we have the support of arab states in the region. i think we do. but secondly whether the new government in baghdad is inclusive and can reach out to the sunni majority in those regions in northern and western iraq. if they can't, this is a fool's errand. it's not going to happen because it's going to take the -- retaking these sunni areas and that's only going to happen if the indigenous population changes their loyalty. >> the u.s. taxpayers from 2003 until the u.s. pulled out of iraq at the end of 2011, spent tens of billions of dollars arming, training, equipping the iraqi military. isis comes in, they leave those
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weapons. they run away. what makes the u.s. believe that the training, equipping and arming of the iraqi military now and the deployment of all these u.s. military, quote, advisers starting with 200, then 500, then 1,500, now 23,000, not just in baghdad or mosul, but now in anbar, what makes the u.s. believe the outcome is going to be any different this time? >> the only basis for it is we have no other options. we have to work with this army. and they have to step forward. and there are units -- remember when the president sent about 1,000 troops over there four or five months ago, that was centrally an intelligence operation to determine the capacity of what was left of the iraqi army. the other piece of this is the peshmerga, the kurds' army, which is holding its own and which is a powerful force. this war cannot be won by airpower. no war ever is. it's got to be won on the ground. but i think i speak for the
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congress and many people in america, they're not going to be american boots on the ground. these have to be iraqi boots. >> when americans hear that and you know this, there aren't going to be 3,000 american troops in iraq, these are all going to be on the ground and they're all going to be wearing boots. and this is a pretty dangerous area. they're going to need protection. they're going to go out there and they're going to be fully armed. and i hate to think about this, but there are going to be casualties probably sooner rather than later. is the american public ready for that? >> well, i think it's going to be a problem. i think there has been representations this was going to be sort of clean and people hear what they want to hear as airpower is going to take care of it. it's not going to take care of it. the real question is, how much in harm's way are these troops in and what is going to be their mission if it is in fact, train and do intelligence, then the brunt of the fighting, the door-to-door work is going to have to be done by the iraqi
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army. >> when the critics say, this is mission creep and draw parallels to vietnam, you say? >> it's a valid question. that's why congress has to debate it and talk about what the authorization is that the president has to wage this war. >> congress has been on vacation for the last two weeks. >> you're right. we should have done it in september. i'm hoping we're going to do it in the next two months. i heard today they said, maybe it will happen in january. that's too late. my view is that this is the responsibility of the congress to define what our mission is, to define what our exit strategy is and to limit what the president's authorized to do. otherwise we've simply turned over that power to the president and i think that's wrong. >> the fact that the republicans will be in the majority the next u.s. senate, john mccain presumab presumably, chairman of the armed services committee. he's a hawk. what impact will that have on the overall effort in iraq and
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syria? >> that's the question. we can have broad agreement that there should be new authorization that defines the mission. the question is, you'll have some who will say, it should be broadly defined with a lot of authority. tim kaine of virginia and others will say, it should be more narrowly limited in time and scope. it's one thing to say we have an authorization. the next hard question is, what does it consist of? i think it's up to the president to step forward and say, this is the authorization that i think i need and then we will do our constitutional duty to analyze -- >> you know, senator, the president says he doesn't need any more authorization, he says he has it? >> he changed that over the weekend. it was interesting. he's been saying, i don't need it but i would welcome it. over the weekend, he said, i want it and i need it and so i think there's a slight difference in the white house position. we're going to end up hopefully with a serious debate about this. >> i want you to stand by. we have more questions, senator. including iran's role in what's
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we're continuing to follow the breaking news. iraqi state television is now
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reporting an aide to the isis leader, abu bakr al baghdadi, has been killed in that air strike near the city of fallujah in the anbar province. and an air strike wounded al baghdadi. u.s. officials say they have no confirmation of that. they're continuing to investigate. we're back with senator angus king, the independent senator from the state of maine, who serves on the intelligence and armed service committee. this whole iranian connection to this government in baghdad, it worries a lot of u.s. officials because they think this new government in baghdad is so closely aligned with iran, it doesn't make any difference how much the u.s. gets involved, in the end, the shiite-led government in baghdad will be partners with the shiite-led government in iran. >> if they're not inclusive of the sunnis, it's lost. that's one of the preconditions for anything working over there. one of the -- the seeds of this
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problem were sown by maliki who exincludcluded the sunnis, discriminated against the sunnis. so when isis came to town, they joined their forces. if it's going to turn around, that government has to be inclusive. it's not in their nature. this is a 600, 800-year-old fight going on. but they have to open up, they have to channel their inner mandela here to make this work. >> you think this new government in baghdad is ready to end 600 to 800 years of hatred between sunnis and shiites in iraq, that they can deal with them? >> they have to find a way to make it work. i don't think they're going to be able to settle the dispute by any manner of means. but they have to find a way to live together. it may be some kind of federal system where the areas of the country -- where the kurds are, where the sunnis are, have more rights, more autonomy. and then you don't have this kind of creation of an artificial country.
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that's one of the problems. iraq was created at the end of world war i but a british diplomat drawing a line on a map. it doesn't represent a natural inclusion of peoples. i think some kind of federal system is what is going to end up as the result. >> joe biden when he was a u.s. senator supported that a while ago. but obviously it's come back. right now given the problems going on. senator king, thanks very much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. we're going to get back to the conflicting and confusing reports coming out of iraq that the top isis leader abu bakr al baghdadi may have been killed or at least wounded in a coalition air strike. the pentagon -- pentagon officials say only that the u.s.-led air strikes this weekend targeted what was assessed to be a gathering of isis leaders. reuters now reporting that a top aide to al baghdadi was killed. we're working that story. let's get more now on what's going on. joining us, our national
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security analyst peter bergen and a senior adviser to the syrian opposition coalition, the moderate coalition that is working with the u.s. thanks, guys, very much for joining us. is that a big deal if the u.s. or some other coalition aircraft or the iraqis manage to injure, wound or kill al baghdadi? >> i've been debating this question. there have been other leaders of this group that have been killed in the past. when we saw al zarqawi who founded the group under a different name, he was killed -- that didn't end the group. the group's gotten stronger since then. but there is a caveat. this guy presents himself as a major religious figure and claims to have a degree from college in iraq. it will be hard for them to find somebody who could claim descent from the prophet muhammad. the people that are deputies are hard military guys who fought under saddam hussein.
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they're not going to be able to say, i'm a major religious figure. >> this is part of a much longer fight. you need a network-sen trick strategy to dismantle isis. picking apart leaders one by one help in the short run. but in the long run, you need local community support, you need a bottom-up strategy. replicate what worked before when the predecessor of isis grew out from. you need sunni communities to support the united states and modern arab allies in this fight to not just take out baghdadi but the whole network that he represents. >> by and large, i don't know if you agree, sunnis -- iraqi sunnis don't trust the government in baghdad. >> not at all. that's why the iraqi army -- they don't trust the government at all. but i'm going to agree with uba. you look back at what the u.s. military did in '07-'08, they
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destroyed al qaeda, they had joint special operations command which said, we're going to take out all the middle managers. to destroy this, you have to take out -- it's a bureaucratic network and we have to take out a lot of people, a lot of nodes. >> you're an adviser to the moderate syrian opposition. your main goal is not necessarily isis. your main goal is to get rid of the regime of bashar al assad, right? >> the regime of bashar al assad is really part of the same problem as isis. >> but isis is fighting bashar al assad? >> they only recently started fighting the regime of bashar al assad. for months up until the summer, isis was given free reign.
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it was the opposition forces that took the burden upon themselves to launch this campaign against isis which began in january of this year. >> is the syrian opposition, the military that will now be trained, the moderate opposition, they're going to go to saudi arabia, spend several months there, the u.s. is financing this operation, is it realistic to really assume that oubai and his friends over there can really destroy isis and the -- on the ground, the ground troops -- they presumably would be the ground troops the u.s. is looking for and the bashar al assad military? >> oubai and i have been friends for many years. what i will say is this, the numbers we're talking about are 5,000 being trained. the estimates of isis is 30,000 today. >> and the estimate of the syrian military is hundreds of thousands. >> right. do the math. it certainly will be helpful. will it be something that will change the situation in a very dramatic way? the numbers suggest no. >> you agree? >> here's what you need.
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you need the united states to go all-in in the fight against isis in syria. right now, the overwhelming concentration of forces and american resources is in iraq. but look at where al baghdadi's convoy was struck in al qa'im where isis has its command and control. isis doesn't recognize the borders between syria and iraq. the syrian opposition forces are there. they're still on their heels in the fight against assad and isis. but they can win if the u.s. invests the necessary resources in syria. >> thank you both for joining us. coming up, we're following the talks to end iran's quest for some sort of nuclear weapon just as iran's top ayatollah is threatening to annihilate israel. and north korea's military elite go through rigorous training.
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big day? ah, the usual. moved some new cars. hauled a bunch of steel. kept the supermarket shelves stocked. made sure everyone got their latest gadgets. what's up for the next shift? ah, nothing much. just keeping the lights on. (laugh) nice. doing the big things that move an economy. see you tomorrow, mac. see you tomorrow, sam. just another day at norfolk southern.
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following breaking news in the latest u.s. effort to head off a major crisis in the middle east. the secretary of state john kerry is negotiating in person on a deal to stop iran from producing nuclear weapons. now just as a deal may be within reach, iran's top ayatollah
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unleashed a stream of new threats to annihilate israel. let's get the latest from elise labott. >> secretary kerry just wrapped up ten hours of talks with the iranian foreign minister. you have that november 24th deadline looming. officials say there's still time for progress. but the signals coming from iran, at least publicly, on whether a nuclear deal could present on opening for the u.s. and iran to work together in the region are not encouraging. with the deadline two weeks away, secretary of state john kerry headed to amman to kick nuclear negotiations into overdrive with iran's foreign minister, deciding to add a second day of talks monday. back home, vice president joe biden speaking to jewish leaders laid out the u.s. red line. >> in bidenesque way, we will not let iran acquire a nuclear weapon, period! period!
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period! and i would not put my 42-year reputation on the line were i not certain when i say it. we mean it. >> reporter: in between tweets on iran's nuclear diplomacy, the country's supreme leader took aim at israel tweeting, quote, this barbaric, wolfelike, infanticidal regime of israel which spares no crime has no cure. comments about israel by iran's leaders are nothing new. but coming on heels of news president obama sent a letter to the supreme leader, it dashes administration hopes a nuclear deal could pave the way for greater cooperation against isis and ending syria's civil war. >> the supreme leader's been in power since 1989. he's expressed this hostility
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and vitriol towards the united states, towards israel and made it fairly clear he's not interested in an agreement with the united states. but if you're president obama, you're also not interested in conflict with iran. >> reporter: after being kept in the dark about the president's letter, diplomats say the overture only deepens israel's fears president obama is naive on iran and will soften its stance on the nuclear program in exchange for a grander regional bargain with tehran. the vice president tried to smooth over tensions aggravated over a recent magazine article in which an unnamed obama administration official called prime minister netanyahu a chicken [ bleep ]. >> we will never, ever, ever abandon israel out of our own self-interest. >> state department officials say they understand that comments like that to annihilate israel are very concerning and that's why they say the best thing they can do is make sure that iran does not acquire a
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nuclear weapon. that's what they're trying to do in these negotiations. >> they have a few days left, deadline is november 24th. they could probably extend the deadline if they want to. we're also learning new details about a shadowy commander who seems to have engineered several victories over isis in iraq. turns out that commander is from iran. let's go to reza sayah who's on the scene for us in the iranian capital. what are you hearing over there? >> reporter: yeah, wolf, when's the last time an iranian military leader gave a boost to u.s. military strategy in the middle east? it's been a while. but it's so confusing and chaotic, it's happening, two enemies and iran seemingly fighting for the same cause, an
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iranian general playing a role over the past few weeks, iraqi military troops have managed to push back islamic state forces in key areas in iraq and much of the credit's gone to the leader in iran. a couple of weeks ago when isis troops were approaching a key city in northern iraq, it was him who was credited with devising strategy to push these groups back. he's credited with pushing back islamic state troops from villages surrounding baghdad. cnn's not verified these claims. he continues to deny they have boots on the ground. but these reports continue to show the increasing role iran is playing in iraq. it's a glimpse at what the u.s. can do in that it improves relations with iran. obviously these two countries have not come out and said, we're working together. but an iranian general seemingly helping the u.s. cause in iraq.
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>> strange group of folks out there, this coalition being put together against isis. thanks so much, reza sayah. one of the few western reporters, the only american tv reporter on the scene in the iranian capital of tehran. thank you. up next, vehicle attacks, now multiple stabbings, what's behind the series of assaults taking the lives of more israelis? and behind the secret mission to north korea, we have some stunning new information. turn the trips you have to take, into one you'll never forget. earn triple points when you book with the expedia app. expedia plus rewards.
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breaking news out of the middle east right now.
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very disturbing images as two more israelis are dead in new stabbing attacks, the latest in a spiraling upsurge of violence. let's go live to our senior international correspondent nic robertson who's joining us from jerusalem. what's the latest, nic? >> reporter: the very latest is two people involved in these attacks today have been killed. the first attack happening in tel aviv around the middle of the day. a young israeli soldier is lifted aboard a stretcher. it is noon in downtown tel aviv. he was waiting for a bus when he was stabbed. this paramedic, one of the first responders. one stab wound or multiple stab wounds? >> he had few in the legs and in the upper part of the body. >> reporter: not long after, this video appears on youtube, the attacker, an arab, still holding a knife, appears to cut his own wrist. the security services move to
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arrest him. what has security services here concerned is the question, is this stabbing an isolated incident or is it part of a growing trend of attacks that transport hubs over the past few weeks? within hours, this in the west bank at sunset, a van driver deliberately drives into someone at a bus stop, knocks them down, all caught on security camera video. seconds later, the van driver comes back, finds the person he knocked down, starts stabbing them. then he crosses the road, chases then attacks another victim before he is interrupted. a third man appears to spray something on the attacker. he crosses the road again and returns to his first victim. police say three people were injured in this stabbing attack. one of them a 24-year-old woman, dying at the scene. the attacker, whom police describe as a terrorist, shot at
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the scene by a guard. hours later, the radical islamist group praises both the west bank and tel aviv attackers. tensions and concerns here are rising. what we're hearing now from the prime minister's office, prime minister netanyahu, is that there will be an increase in security. and there's also call for an acceleration in the destruction of the homes -- the houses of people who perpetrate these terrorists, who perpetrate these attacks. >> nic robertson in jerusalem, clearly an escalating situation over there. thanks very much. up next, we have new details on some dna evidence that could link the university of virginia kidnapping suspect to yet another crime. also ahead, high stakes diplomacy grounded. new information about the jet breakdown that delayed a secret u.s. mission to north korea. you can't breathe through your nose,
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the suspect in the kidnapping of the university of virginia student hannah graham is due before a judge this week, but a different judge may be getting involved. and new dna evidence could link the suspect jesse matthew to yet another case. let's get the latest from investigative journalist coy barefoot and cnn law enforcement analyst, tom fuentes, former assistant director of the fbi. coy, we're going to see jesse matthew in court once again by video this friday, a second court appearance on charges that he's facing relating to a 2005 case in fairfax, virginia, where he's accused of raping a woman. what can we expect at this
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hearing, the status of this hearing? >> wolf, that would be a status hearing this friday morning. we can expect a number of motions on both sides, prosecution and defense. we also believe that a new judge might be named for the trial. judge dennis smith, circuit judge in fairfax has been presiding over this case thus far. but he may not be the judge that will hear the case. that could come -- word about a new judge could come as early as friday. i want to let you know just moments ago on my way to the studio, i got word that two members of the defender's office from fairfax county were in charlottesville today at the jail where 32-year-old jesse matthew is being held. they met with him for several hours and his charlottesville attorney was not present until after they left. so i believe that that's the first time jesse matthew has met
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privately with his defenders, his lead counsel in the fairfax case, which that's very interesting. first time he meets with a lawyer that's not his attorney in charlottesville. >> so tom, that new dna fingernail evidence that allegedly links matthew to the victim in 2005, that's pretty strong evidence, right? >> it's extremely strong, wolf. it comes from under the fingernails of the victim, and in a situation like that, how would that dna get there other than if the victim was clawing at her attacker? this is not just dna that fell on the body or a piece of hair on the clothing. this is significant when you have defensively obtained dna such as that. >> coy, i know you've been doing a lot of reporting on this investigating. tell us the latest on the cases involving jesse matthew where you are, you're in charlottesville and central virginia, where are the
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investigations concerning morgan harrington? >> morgan harrington, 20-year-old virginia tech student, went missing october 17, 2009. her remains were found about 100 days later in the same area where we found hannah graham's remains just a few weeks ago. it is likely, wolf, that jesse matthew will be charged in both cases. we have his dna on morgan's shirt that she was wearing that night. but the fairfax case moving forward at this point buys the prosecutor here in the charlottesville's area, buys them a lot of time. and the sources who are close to that tell me that time is on their side. we can expect charges. exactly when that will happen we're not quite sure. but we are expect more charges and more trials for jesse matthew here in central virginia. >> and we'll see what happens later this week. that video appearance by him in court in northern virginia just outside of washington.
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coy, thank you very much. tom, thanks to you, as well. coming up, new information on north korea's freeing of two more americans. also, ferguson, missouri once again on edge right now. there are fears of violence as that violence torn community awaits a grand jury decision in the michael brown shooting. (receptionist) gunderman group. gunderman group is growing. getting in a groove. growth is gratifying. goal is to grow. gotta get greater growth. i just talked to ups. they got expert advise, special discounts, new technologies. like smart pick ups. they'll only show up when you print a label and it's automatic. we save time and money. time? money? time and money. awesome. awesome! awesome! awesome! awesome! (all) awesome! i love logistics.
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happening now.
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flight to freedom. new details are emerging about the behind the scenes drama that led to north korea's freeing two american captives. i'll talk to a key figure that was in north korea a few weeks ago appealing for their release. isis casualties. new reports of high level injuries and deaths, including the terror group's leader and a top leader. were they among the victims of an air strike by the u.s.-led coalition? day of protests. demonstrations announced in dozens of american cities to coincide with the grand jury announcement in the shooting death of michael brown. will they turn violent? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." >> this is cnn breaking news. >> and we're following the breaking news. reports that the leader of isis has been wounded and a top deputy killed if an air strike as the first u.s. troops arrive in isis held territory. we're learning new details of north korea's surprise release
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of two american captives, and two mechanical failures that delayed the mission by the united states' top spy to bring those americans home. we're covering those stories and a lot more this hour with our correspondents and guests. let's begin with jim sciutto with surprising new details about the americans released by north korea. >> reporter: we learned today that this lofty diplomatic mission ran into a flight delay. a jet, military version of the 737, delayed twice on the way to pyongyang. once? honolu honolulu, the second time in guam. they may have been home by friday, but regardless, a remarkable moment in the long troubled u.s.-north korea relationship. the mission to bring the americans home was the result of elaborate behind the scenes planning and ultimately a risk.
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north korea approached the u.s. two weeks ago asking for a high level u.s. envoy. >> we had an indication there was the possibility of the release of these two hostages, prisoners, and we pursued it. >> reporter: the u.s. responded with jiames clapper, the nations top spy, but not a diplomat. he carried a letter addressed to kim jong-un stating he was traveling as the president's envoy solely to bring the two americans home. clapper, who did not meet with kim himself, did not know he would succeed in his mission until he, bae and miller were on their way back. >> it's been an amazing two years. i grew a lot, learned a lot, lost a lot of weight, in a good way. but i stayed strong because of you. >> reporter: so why now? for one, north korea is under
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enormous international pressure following a damning u.n. report on human rights violations in its prison system. an effort is under way through the international criminal court to charge senior north korean officials with crimes, including kim himself. and the world's leaders, including president obama, are gathered in china, north korea's neighbor and sole ally, with a growing census that north korea's growing nuclear program must be dealt with firmly. >> it's going to take a broader understanding. all the countries in the region consider this to be their number one security priority, making sure that we do not have a nuclearized korean peninsula. >> reporter: north korea's leader is under pressure at home, as well. following a month-long disappearance explained only after the fact as a result of an operation on his foot. >> north korea is always looking for something, and they use that to show that kim jong-un and
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north korea itself is such an important player. >> reporter: receiving america's top spy would likely give north korean leaders respect at home. if north korea was expecting a reward for the release as world leaders gather for the apec summit in beijing, that is unlikely. one u.s. diplomat telling me a very tough week for pyongyang. wolf? >> jim sciutto, thank you very much. the release of those two americans caught the world off guard, but there may be some specific reasons why the north korean regime decided now is a good time to free these two men. for more information, some new information we're getting, we're joined by elise lavin. what are you learning about why kim jong-un released these two americans? >> u.s. officials have a myriad of thoughts, just like jim
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mentioned. first of all, that damning u.n. rights report, starvation, torture, execution. kind of kindler, gentler face. that's why u.s. officials and many experts believe. that's why also he has been facing a lot of pressure at home by getting a top cabinet official, that's what the north koreans asked for, a cabinet level official. this could show north korean leader kim jong-un is in charge and he's the one making those decisions and he's meeting with this -- of course, the north korean people don't know he didn't meet with james clapper. they just know he came at the request of kim jong-un. and u.s. officials and experts say kim jong-un is not a -- north korea looks very closely at the u.s. political calendar. they know in the last two years of the bush administration, of the clinton administration, they
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did a lot better with a deal with the united states nuclear talks and perhaps this is how they want to have an opening. they know that president obama has two years left and he's trying to make a legacy. you can't ignore that president obama is in china right now and the chinese are very frustrated with kim jong-un. >> it's a strained relationship between china and north korea right now. thank you very much. let's dig deep we are two guests. guys, thank you very much for joining us. tony, you and i were there together. you were an adviser to bill richardson when he made that visit to north korea four years ago, december of 2010. i was on that visit. you were just there a few weeks ago, and i know you appealed for the release of these americans. what were you told?
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>> well, i made a direct appeal for the early release explaining that this had become a major irritant in u.s.-north korean relations. the sooner we got rid of this, given the fact that the president only has two years left in his term, the better for both sides. i believe that we were able to reach an understanding with respect to a lower bar -- lowering of the bar for the release of these three individuals. >> were you as surprised as most of us that these three americans, one a couple weeks ago, now two more where are released as quickly as they were following your visit there? >> no, i expected this would take place before the end of the year. i was surprised how quickly it evolved since my visit. i should point out, i don't want to take credit for being the primary driver of this. i know that many others notably
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the state department itself, has been talking about the need for their release for many months and years. but it came as something of a surprise, but i did expect that it would happen before the end of the year, as i explained to a number of people on my return. >> i remember. you said that to me, and the time i remember hearing it, you thought they would be out before the end of the year, i thought you were a little optimistic, but obviously you were right. victor, let's talk about the timing of this, why the north korean regime wants to do it, what they get out of it. is it a big enough deal for them that the head of the u.s. intelligence community, the director of national intelligence, went over there on a u.s. jet to bring these americans home, was that a powerful signal to kim jong-un? >> i think it's what they wanted. they had wanted a senior cabinet level official. they did want anymore former presidents or former basketball
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stars or anything like that. they wanted someone in this administration. i think the administration chose to send the top intelligence official as opposed to a policy guide to keep these two lanes separate, the humanitarian lane and the nuclear talks lane. so it certainly accomplished the task and give the north koreans a bit of face, and they were able to accomplish in advance to the.'strip to apec to put pressure on the president, saying basically the north koreans had done you a good deed, so maybe you can return it. but i think all the statements coming out of the administration have said clearly these are two separate lanes and i suspect that's going to be the case going forward. >> i assume, tony, you looked at the pictures of the individual with whom that general clapper met over there, and the photos are top leaders. he didn't meet with kim jong-un as you know, but are these people familiar to you? >> no, they're not.
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except for one individual. i believe they are members of the ministry for state security, which would be the equivalent of dni in the intelligence apparatus in our case. so they brought out the people who would match, as it were, the level and rank of the visitors from the u.s. >> how sophisticated are the north koreans and i'll ask this to both of you, about the political calendar about what's going on? this happens right after the midterm elections, the final two years of the obama administration. tony, first to you. >> oh, very sophisticated. they do their homework all the time. in some respects, they are much more careful about the political calendar in the u.s. than other countries with which we deal in the region. and i believe that within the end of the obama administration now in sight, very much like the last two years of the second
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bush term when ambassador hill carried out an active round of diplomacy. i think they're hoping we'll see something similar. i need to point out that the u.s. has not been sitting still here, despite the fact that we put these two issues on separate tracks, humanitarian and political or policy. the u.s. has not been sitting still. it's been making some -- dropping some hints and making some noises about possibly lowering the bar itself for a resumption of nuclear talks. so this helped a great deal and helped also to know that the president would be sending a letter with general clapper. so there are a number of factors that figure into this situation. >> it's a complicated and sensitive situation. victor, i'll have you weigh in, in a moment. we have much more to discuss. when we come back, more on the behind the scenes drama that led to the release of the two americans, kenneth bae and ma mu
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sign me up. so you can commit to your education with confidence. get started at dramatic new details about the surprise release of two american men held by north korea. we're back with our two north korean experts. victor, i know the north koreans want attention, they're on the so-called charm offensive. but do you believe they might make any substantive changes in their nuclear program to get better relations with the u.s. and the west? >> i certainly think, wolf, that's been the hope in the last two agreements, the 1994 agreement with the u.s. and the 2005 agreement in which i participated as the white house rep. the problem is under this new
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leadership, the north koreans have declared this strategy which says they want economic benefits and political benefits and they want to keep their nuclear weapons. so the basic core quid pro quo the past 25 years, nuclear diplomacy has now been thrown out the window. i don't think the united states is going to lower the bar in terms of negotiations just because of the release of these three americans, though i think the president appreciates it. and the notion that north korea thinks they can get an easy win because president obama got thumped in the last midterm elections is ludicrous. there's no one in this white house or any white house that believes that the north korea issue is going to win them political points at home. i think the real thing driving all this, wolf, is what's happening in new york, in the u.n., with regard to this resolution that's being drafted by the european union and 50 other members that would refer north korea to the international court for human rights abuses.
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the north koreans have never seen anything like this before. it's really freaking them out, and i think they're quite concerned and that explains the timing of why they reached out in humanitarian ways to the united states, to south korea with regard to family reunions and with the japanese in regard to kidnappings that happened in the 1970s. >> tony, you made the point that pyongyang has changed rather dramatically since you were there with bill richardson and i was there in december of 2010. what's going on in north korea right now? >> well, the so-called line of pursuing both economic growth and nuclear weapons is very much alive, as victor has just pointed out. and on the economic side, one
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could fairly say that the city of pyongyang today is jumping. there's construction boom under way. 3 million cell phones, cars, vehicles all over the place, people rushing, bustling, busy doing this and that in ways that i've not seen in my 25 years of travel to north korea. clearly the standard of living has gone up, and there's a greater air of freedom, one might say. i was startled one morning in my hotel to hear an american christian group of about ten people singing loudly so that everybody in the hotel could hear, "what a friend we have? jesus," both in english and korean, obviously for the benefit of the korean staff. that i submit is an example of the greater openness that we're seeing in north korea today. >> here's what worries me, tony. i'm anxious for you both to weigh in. the north koreans got something
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out of holding these three americans. they got the director of national intelligence to fly over there, deliver a letter from the president of the united states, they got a lot of publicity. what's to stop them from picking up some other american in the weeks to come, and squeeze some more, i don't know if you want to call it concessions or movement from the u.s., what is to stop them from doing that? >> that's entirely possible, of course, especially as tourism rates have increased and many more americans are visiting north korea today than ever. we're likely to see a continuation of these starry eyed individuals who think they can change the world through their single visit to this very closed and secluded country. i think that the state department, in issuing a travel advisory, should also state that it's very important to remember that they have their own laws. we may not agree with their laws, but they are their laws and we should be very careful
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about violating them. that's about all you can do, and these incidents will continue to occur. but once the diplomatic process gets under way, these things will not be the irritants that they have been. >> unfortunately, we have to leave it there, but a good conversation with who guys smart about north korea. victor, thank you very much. and tony, thanks to you, as well. there's other breaking news we're following here in "the situation room." we have new details of isis casualties, including the terror group's leader wounded in an air strike. and new details in the shoots of michael brown and what protesters have planned once it's released. ♪
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[ male announcer ] you wouldn't ignore signs of damage in your home. are you sure you're not ignoring them in your body? even if you're treating your crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, an occasional flare may be a sign of damaging inflammation. and if you ignore the signs, the more debilitating your symptoms could become. learn more about the role damaging inflammation may be playing in your symptoms with the expert advice tool at and then speak with your gastroenterologist. with the expert advice tool at big day? ah, the usual. moved some new cars. hauled a bunch of steel. kept the supermarket shelves stocked.
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made sure everyone got their latest gadgets. what's up for the next shift? ah, nothing much. just keeping the lights on. (laugh) nice. doing the big things that move an economy. see you tomorrow, mac. see you tomorrow, sam. just another day at norfolk southern.
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we're following breaking news. the arrival of some 50 u.s. troops in isis territory in iraq's anbar province to advise and assist iraqi forces. we're following reports that the isis leader may have been wounded in a u.s.-led air strike. barbara starr is working the story for us. what are you picking up? >> reporter: those 50 troops back in anbar province some three plus years after u.s. troops left there, one of the deadliest sites for u.s. troops during the iraq war. now they have setting things up
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so even more u.s. troops can go there as advisers. even as that is happening, wolf, there is confusion and uncertainly. the pentagon trying to sort out what happened with some air strikes over the weekend. confusion about the fate of the elusive leader of isis. iraqi tv broadcast a statement that the head of isis was wounded in an iraqi air strike on saturday at the town on the border with syria. a senior u.s. official tells cnn that the iraqis did have intelligence that he was in that border town. u.s. officials now believe it's less likely that he was wounded or killed 250 miles away in mosul, where coalition warplanes hit a convoy of ten isis armed trucks. rumors surfaced soon after that, that he was there. the u.s. said the strike targeted a meeting of isis
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leaders, but the outcome was unclear. >> we cannot confirm if the isil leaders were amonghose present. >> reporter: the u.s. is scouring phone intercepts, reports from locals on the ground, anything to confirm he may have been killed or wounded. even if the coalition wounded or killed him, the war against isis is still far from over. >> it will morph and new leaders will emerge. bear in mind that isis leadership originated from saddam's military. these were conventionally trained, very professional leaders. >> reporter: president obama says his decision to send 1500 more troops to iraq to train iraqi forces is about getting them on the offense against isis. >> now what we need is ground troops, iraqi ground troops that can start pushing them back. >> reporter: but even some of the president's own democrats, skeptical the iraqi government is up to the essential challenge
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of winning back sunnis who have turned to isis out of distrust with baghdad. >> these 1500 troops are ultimately just going to be a temporary band-aid if there isn't a fully inclusive government inside baghdad. >> reporter: defense secretary chuck hagel and the chairman of the joint chiefs will appear before the house armed services committee, a republican panel, on thursday. expect to see lots of questions about all of this. wolf? >> barbara starr at the pentagon, thank you very much. let's dig deeper now with cnn terrorism analyst paul krugchek and the form e cia operative bob baird. paul, you've been looking into the iraqi coverage. you've seen self-inconsistencies and raise doubts that el baghdadi was even struck. are the iraqis, the iraqi regime in baghdad credible? >> i think there's significant
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skepticism about these claims. different parts of the iraqi government have said that this strike occurred in different parts of iraq, wolf. so there's a lot of skepticism about this at this point. you'll recall that back in september that the prime minister of iraq was in new york and made a claim about an isis plot against new york. that turned out to not be credible. >> bob, if we were taken out, and we don't believe he was taken out at least right now, explain how it functions, isis, through these cells, the demise of isis, that wouldn't occur, would it? >> absolutely not. the leadership would regenerate and very quickly. we would get some lieutenant that would step up immediately. whether he would go public or not we don't know. but you would have to hit isis over many, many years to truly decapitate this organization.
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so one assassination is not going to do it. >> general, you know that the top military commanders of isis, these are not just a bunch of terrorists. these are trained military officers who served in saddam hussein's military. they're sunnis, they hate the shiite-led regime in baghdad. this is a pretty sophisticated army structure that isis has, right? >> very different from what we saw in al qaeda. it's a combination of -- in fact, when we had the fight in northern iraq, we classified it into sunni rejectionists and sunni extremists. i think that he's taken both of those groups together. the rejectionists are the former baath party officials and generals are there. they're older generation folks but they do have military training and knowledge to be sure. >> they certainly do. bob baird, i want you to comment on what rand paul wrote in the daily beast. he said this, the senator from
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kentucky, obama's again diering of congress' powers from making war to remaking our health care system has to stop. taking military action against isis is justified. the president acting without congress is not. does the president need new military authorization from congress to continue this war in iraq and syria against isis? >> i think rand paul is right. we're going to be going in, in a big way. it's starting to look like mission creep. sending troops into anbar province, it's going to be a long war. it's not going to be settled in even a year or two. if we are going to truly engage in iraq, the american people need to talk about this and congress needs to vote on it, no question about it. >> as you know, paul, the administration's argument, the president's argument is he has the authority going back to 2001 after 9/11 to go after al qaeda,
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isis is an offshoot of al qaeda. if the congress wants to give him more authority that's fine but he says he doesn't need that right now, to which you say? >> isis is not technically an al qaeda affiliate. al qaeda threw isis out of the global network in february for insubordination and because of their brutality. so the fact is, it's not part of al qaeda anymore. in fact, the al qaeda affiliate in syria spent much of the last year fighting isis, wolf. >> so you don't believe that necessarily is isis, even though a lot of people believe isis is the option of al qaeda in iraq, and just changed its name to isis and found itself in a split with the core al qaeda, if you will. but that's a discussion we could have. let me pick your brain, general. our reza sayah, our correspondent in tehran right now says that iran's shadow commander inside iraq is there, he's had a lot of -- he's going
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after isis, as well. this is a guy who fought u.s. troops in iraq. what do you make of what's going on right now? >> well, that's troublesome, wolf. he's been there for a while. we've had reports of him leading qods forces in the northern part of iraq. the sunni tribes saw a central baghdad government as being almost inextricably linked with the iranian government. you see the defense minister of iraq saying he will not put up with interference from the iranian forces. certainly iran has interest in what's going on in iraq, but to send forces into iraqi territory is not a good thing. >> there are iranian forces in iraq as we speak right now. i know the u.s. is not happy about that. thank you very much. just ahead, new information from prosecutors about the release of that grand jury report of the michael brown
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shooting in ferguson, missouri. plus, multiple challenges facing president obama as he arrives in asia. we're live in his first stop in beijing. save your coffee from the artificial stuff. switch to truvia. great tasting, zero-calorie sweetness from the stevia leaf. when you think aarp, then you don't know "aarp." life reimagined gives you tools and support to get the career you'll love. find more real possibilities at
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and with speculations swirling about the timing of the st. louis county prosecutor said just a little while ago, his office will notify the public and the news media before the report is released. let's get some more now with cnn's don lemon, john gaskin and tom fuentes, who is here with us. john, the grand jury decision could come down any day now. michael brown's parents heading to switzerland to present the report to a united nations committee against torture about their son's death. what might the parents say to the united nations? >> well, i think they are going to say what many have said already, is that this has become a human rights issue. they're probably going to talk about the increase in killings of young black men at the hands of law enforcement. they're going to put before them
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an issue that many are seeing not just a human rights issue, but a civil rights issue, and an issue that obviously needs some global attention as we've seen with the media coverage. so i believe that their message is going to be very firm about what their stance is on this issue, as well as shedding some light on what people within this community are dealing with. there's a good possibility that they may mention how the various police departments here have dealt with peaceful protesters and what the reaction has been to the unrest. >> what do you think about this, don? what is your reaction to the parent's decision to address this u.n. committee in switzerland and talk about what happened to their son and the aftermath? >> listen, any time that you have the ability to bring light to a situation, that needs to be talked about and i think you should do it. they're going to speak about accountability for police departments, less militarization
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of police departments. i know they're going to talk about that, and they're going to talk about racial profiling, as well. and they're concerned that once the announcement comes about an indictment or no indictment, that the protester's rights may be violated they feel a second time, if there are demonstrations and if there is unrest. listen, again, any time you have the platform to do it, to bring light to the situation, i think they should do it. >> tom fuentes, you're just back from europe. you were at an interpol conference over there. what is your reaction when you heard the parents deciding to make this statement before the u.n. committee in switzerland? >> i have a couple issues with that. one is, we don't know that we have a human rights violation. everybody is jumping to the conclusion that's what happened, and that's three investigations still pending and the grand jury still meeting. so we don't know for sure that's what happened here. secondly, to talk about militarization of the police, there's no country in the world
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that has to contend with the public with 300 million guns. we've militarized our public. if we had the gun laws europe has, we might have a different issue. >> tom, i understand what you're saying and in some aspect i agree with you on both. we should wait for due process, absolutely agree with that. but they're also talking about trayvon martin and other people who they believe have been killed by people in authority. so this goes beyond michael brown. yes, we don't know that yet, it has to play out. but i think even if you don't agree with them, if they have the opportunity and they are invited to go there, why not listen to what they have to say? that's all i'm saying. >> let's move on, john. this decision to give the public some notice before the grand jury is announced. do you think it's a good idea and whatever the grand jury
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decides it will avoid violence, angry protests? >> right. personally, i think the announcement will not come until after the 15th of november. the prosecutor has said repeatedly mid to late november. that's a good possibility that's when it will come. but giving the community an opportunity to get a heads up on this, this puts, you know, public safety as a top priority. this allows business owners and community leaders, this allows people that live within this community and the surrounding neighborhoods to gear up for potential unrest. it allows community leaders to communicate with their coalitions, and with protesters so people can begin to organize and protest in a peaceful way. it allows law enforcement what they're doing right now is having several leaders with community leaders. this is precious time. it allows them to reach out and to potentially share their
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strategy and develop some relationships so there's not the same tension or more of the same tension that we saw back in august. i think it's a great thing to potentially let the community know, at least community leaders and people in authority ahead of time of the announcement. >> i think you're right. it's a good decision. don, the st. louis county prosecuting attorney issued another statement today addressing these rumors surrounding the grand jury announcements. lots of speculation going on. among other things, he says i realize that this is a much anticipated decision and there is daily, if not hourly speculation about when the announcement will be released. that's a strong statement from the prosecuting attorney. >> and he's right on, because that's so many rumors and there's so much speculation out
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there that it's ridiculous. so everyone should just take a breath, wait for the prosecutor to make the official announcement before jumping to conclusions. it doesn't do anyone any good to spread rumors to say this is going to happen, that's going to happen. let's let the process play out and see what goes from there. i agree with john. it should be peaceful protesting, if anything happens. if there is no indictment or there is an indictment and you don't like that there's an indictment, whatever side you're on, the protests should be peaceful. >> one of the problems we'll discuss this down the road, there will be outside agitators. that's what everybody anticipates, who may not necessarily want to see this peaceful. let's hope to see this peaceful. thank you very much for that conversation. just ahead, big challenges for president obama in asia. we're going live to beijing. that's the president's first stop. he's there on the ground right now. stand by.
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a week after democrats took a pougd at the poll, sproeb in china right now. the first stop on an asia trip that poses some big challenges for his leadership. let go live to our senior white house correspondent traveling with the president. knees beijing right now. how did this day go?
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>> reporter: wolf, after a bruising week in washington, president obama is back on the road, traveling for the second time this year where he is finding his influence on the world stage challenged once again. with china staging a dazzling summit to showcase its economic might, sproeb eager to prove for a lame duck in washington, all is not fowl on the world stage. >> there should be no doubt the united states remains entirely committed when it come to asia. >> reporter: he is walking a diplomatic tight rope, competing for business and challenging china for its human rights record in places lake hong kong. >> we believe in freedom have association. we believe in free speech. we believe in openness in government. >> reporter: mr. obama started this three-nation journey with a new foreign policy on his belt. the release of prisoners from
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north korea. they said it was the cleans control the timing. >> we have an indication there was the possibility of a release of these two hostages, prisoners. and we've pursued it. >> reporter: flexing his own muscle in asia, president putin is cutting deal with china after sanctions stemming from the crisis in ukraine. but putin was a little more than a distraction for obama who was lining up more support. >> we are recognizing the need for us to ramp up iraqi cape bills. >> reporter: the key question for the president on this trip is whether his standing on the world stage is diminished by his shrinking status in washington. as one chinese newspaper said, the lame duck president will be further kripled by the mid
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terms. a political defeat the president concedes on him. >> i think we have not been successful in goi out there and letting people know what it is that we're trying to do and why this is the right direction. so there is a failure of politics there that we have to -- >> reporter: the president and pouliot did meet briefly here according to senior administration officials but they didn't have much time to talk. they'll try once again at the g-20 summit. the president did announce some loosened travel restrictions for chinese tourists and business leaders going to the united states. that's a modest accomplishment for a trip that may be well remembered as getting the president out of washington. >> thank you very much. the president will certainly face a changed political landscape when he gets back home. joining us to discuss our chief political analyst, gloria borger. he has a future piece on politics in the new issue article i recommend highly. once he gets back, there is a
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stand-off rate now on immigration. the president says if the republicans and the congress and the house and senate don't pass legislation before the end of this area, changing the status, if you will, of immigrants, he will take unilateral action. >> i think you're headed for a showdown. it is pretty obvious what it will be. mitch mcconnell, the new majority leader in the senate has said that he is going to use the power of the purse as a way to stop what the president wants tad on immigration and washingtoneds that's defund whatever it costs to implement the executive action in real life. that means that congress will refuse to pay for it. so you're kind of headed toward a showdown on that. the question is, can these people who mate disagree on one thing become adults and say, we disagree on that but maybe we can agree on some kind of tax
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reform. >> the president makes the point, the senate long ago, they passed bipartisan legislation for comprehensive immigration. the house can take it up on a vote between now and the end of the sgraer it would be over. >> we know that it won't happen. they want tad security first. the senate version is security. and boehner's caucus has already ruled that out. this is what happens when congress is dysfunctional wh congress and the white house can't agree. i think the critics of what obama is about to do have a really valid point. democrats should tread carefully. what happens when a republican comes in and he decides he will change the enforcement of a major law. so i think obama is pushing the envelope. >> i think what we're going to see over and over again is
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republicans trying to use the budget, attaching things to the budget which only needs 51 votes, not 60 votes, tray to get things done or stop things in that way. and i think you're going to have an awful lot of showdowns over all kinds of things. >> he does this and then they tray to be funny. pushes them into not just legislation but actively taking away something from a community which is very important to their fought. >> in your article on the inevitability of hillary clinton as the democrat iic no, ma'am a, is she going to face -- >> we have to assume she is very lakely to run. the dominant front runner always gets challenged. it will be howard dean had a challenges and then loses? or is it a barack obama who overthrows her? and i don't think we know that right now. i don't think any of us see the
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obama-like figure who can actually eat into her constituencies. she is going to be challenged. it happens every time. >> and i think she will. the question is whether it is like a gary hart that could really challenge walter mondale. i don't think, having spent some time with joe baden. i don't think that is lakely to occur. although he says, he told you he is thinking about it. and he said it didn't make any difference. >> and he said all of that, daldal duly noted. she has such a fundraising advantage in he have way, shape or form. however, do i think she would benefit as a candidate from having a challenger? absolutely. >> the two ways to challenge her are one, ideologically from the left, or two, as a new versus old. throws two ways that joe biden cannot challenge her.
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>> if you want a change candidate, it won't be joe biden. she can make the case that she's changed. even though she's been around for a while. >> the last time we had these dominant front run erkss mondale, al gore. we didn't necessarily know the name of the challenge they are far out. we didn't know gary hart would gave challenge in 200 found. we didn't know about the senator from new jersey. >> elizabeth warren. >> that's why people are talking about elizabeth warren. who by the way, is less than two years younger than hillary clinton. so it is not like she represents a new generation. >> but she has a different message. >> he's 73. >> he is thinking about running. >> all this raises the question, if it weren't for hillary clinton, where is the young blood in the democratic party?
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>> we have to go. >> okay. >> that's it for me. thanks very much for watching. you can always tweet me @wolf blitzer. join us tomorrow or dvr the show. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. next, breaking news. the prime minister have israel warning the united states against a nuclear deal with iran as the ayatollah tweets about eliminating israel. plus, bringing back american prisoners from north korea. mechanical problems at the last hour changed the whole plan. and the problem with race in america is pathetic defeating self-underclass. that story tonight. let go "outfront." >> good evening. "outfront," the