tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN September 19, 2015 11:00am-11:31am PDT
i'm jim sciutto in today for fredricka whitfield. we are following new details on a major political story today. donald trump breaking his silence with a series of tweets for the first time since he failed to correct a supporter who called president obama a muslim, seemed to insult other muslims in america. trump tweeting this morning, "am i morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? i don't think so!" he is scheduled to speak tonight in iowa. cnn's sunlen serfaty is at the michigan republican leadership conference on mackinaw island. sunlen, trump sent out a series of tweets. it's what he said, but also what he didn't say, isn't it? >> reporter: absolutely, jim. that's absolutely right. it's what he didn't say that really is the important part, you know, i should note first, that his defense today where he's pushing back for the first time since that moment on thursday in new hampshire, it's a very different pushback than what his campaign originally said. his campaign originally saying he didn't hear the question, and that's why he didn't necessarily correct it in the moment.
but now in these tweets, donald trump sending out a series of them this morning. first one saying, quote, this is the first time in my life that i have caused controversy by not saying something. next, "if someone made a nasty or controversial statement about me to the president, do you really think he would come to my rescue?" and this next one seems to me the closest to an explanation that trump gives as to why he handled that moment the way he did saying, "if i would have challenged the man, the media would have accused me of interfering with that man's right of free speech. a no-win situation," he says. and lastly, the tweet saying, "christians need support in our country and around the world. their religious liberty is at stake. obama has been horrible. i will be great." it's important to note, again, exactly what he didn't say. he's not disputing these allegations by the man, that new hampshire voter, alleging that president obama's a muslim, alleging that president obama is not an american, and certainly definitely not speaking the to the sensitivity among muslim
americans and the anger that his comment, by not correcting that comment, has really caused in the time between. jim? >> no question. of course, the comment began with a statement that muslims are a problem in america. what are other republican candidates saying or not saying about trump today as well? >> reporter: well, it's really interesting. this is all the buzz here at this conference. full of many republican candidates who made the trek out here to mackinaw island. and it really goes down the middle. there's a group of candidates who are really chastising donald trump, saying that it should take -- a good leader should really interject and correct the record. chris christie saying that, senator lindsey graham saying that. but there are some other people who really want to stay away from this. really tiptoeing around this, making sure not to condemn donald trump. i want to play for you a little bit of what senator ted cruz told us moments ago. >> i think the focus should be on substance. but let me say, i'm very glad donald trump is in this election.
i like donald trump. there are other candidates in the race who have bent over backwards to attack trump, to take a 2 x 4 to trump. i have not been one of them. i have not done so and i do not intend to do so. donald being in the campaign has focused the issues on illegal immigration. the other major value to donald being in the race, is if there's one thing donald knows how to do, it's attract a lot of attention. 24 million people watched the first debate. 22 million people watched the second debate. >> reporter: and this really is a pattern of senator ted cruz taking pains to not criticize donald trump. we just got out of a briefing with ohio governor john kasich. and i asked him about donald trump's comments. and he really said, i'm focused on me, i'm focused on me, you just heard my speech, really playing up to the party base. so clearly some people, jim, do not want to touch this controversy.
jim? >> sunlen miller -- sunlen serfaty, great to have you there. miller's your maiden name. donald trump will be a guest on cnn's "state of the union" with jake tapper tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. eastern. democrats are responding very strongly to trumpl's non-apology. >> over the last four weeks, we have witnessed not one but two unanswered rounds of nationally televised republican presidential debates. led by that racist, anti-immigrant, carnival barker, donald trump. >> carnival barker. suzanne malveaux is inside that event in manchester, new hampshire. hillary clinton and bernie sanders, also speaking there. suzanne, are they leveling a similar kind of criticism? >> reporter: it's interesting what's happening here. because either you totally go
one way or simply ignore it. what governor lincoln chafee behind me, not playing up to the whole trump debacle or the controversy. barely registering it, 1%, i should say. earlier, we just heard from senator bernie sanders, and he very disciplined, sticking with his message and ideas. did not mention trump at all. but earlier, we saw hillary clinton taking him on, head-on. this is something that she talked about when it came to female voters, saying donald trump, quit cherishing women and starting respecting women. she took on his slogan about making america great again, saying that america is already great. it just needs to work for everybody. and then, jim, of course, again she weighed into this controversy about the town hall participant who went after muslims and the fact that donald trump did not correct that man and did not correct him on misspeaking about the president. here's what she said. >> when you hear mr. trump
saying he wants to make america great again, respond, america is great, we just need to make it work for all the people in our country again! >> reporter: so that was one of those fiery moments, jim. it was something that really got this crowd going. this is about 4,200 people who are here, earlier in the audience, about 1,000 delegates. it's very important who actually comes out on top here. new hampshire, a very, very competitive and bernie sanders is the one to beat here, in four different polls. but all of them coming out here, making their best case and their best effort, because they are running out of time and they realize that, jim. >> suzanne malveaux with the democrats in new hampshire. coming up next, disturbing new details on the death of boston's baby doe. a live update from boston, next. at&t and directv are now one. which means you can watch movies while you're on the move. sitcoms, while you sit on those.
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details in the death of bella bond, who until yesterday was known as simply baby doe. police are now saying that the boyfriend of bond's mother michael mccarthy, is responsible for her death. the toddler's mother, rachelle bond, charged with accessory to murder after the fact. bella's remains were found on a boston shoreline, back in june. our sara ganim joins me now from outside the home where baby bella lived. sara, tell me what police sources are telling you today. >> reporter: definitely disturbing new details, jim, we're learning that little baby bella was punched by her mother's boyfriend, mike mccarthy, who believed that she was possessed by demons. he's now been charged with her murder. a law enforcement source also telling us that the tip that came into police that led to these arrests came from someone who lived with bella's mother, rachelle. she had asked -- this tipster had asked the mother, where's bella, and her mother had responded that bella was dead. >> her name was bella.
>> reporter: after nearly three months of investigation, baby doe finally has a name. bella bond. >> bella! happy 2nd birthday, monkey! yay! happy 2nd birthday! whoo! >> reporter: this is bella at her 2nd birthday. friday, authorities revealed she's the mystery toddler whose composite picture captivated millions when she was found wrapped in a trash bag on a boston shore in june. >> and the tragedy of her death is compounded by the fact that her short life ended not by illness or accident, but we believe, by an act of violence, in the very place where she should have felt safest. in her home. >> reporter: authorities had determined earlier this year from pollen on her polka dot pants that baby doe was likely from the boston area. according to officials, it was a tip this week that led them on an intense 24-hour search, resulting in the arrest of
bella's mother, rachelle bond, and her boyfriend, michael mccarthy. mccarthy charged with murder and bond charged with accessory after the fact. >> we allege that mccarthy caused bella's death. that he did so intentionally. that he and bond took specific steps to keep bella's death a secret and to avoid prosecution. >> reporter: neighbors say they remember a troubled household. according to cnn affiliates, whdh and wcvb, court documents show rachelle bond had an arrest record that included drugs and prostitution. >> it's shocking and it's sad, because she was so young for that to happen. i feel sorry for that little girl. she should have been in better hands. >> reporter: an official from the department of children and families tells cnn that between 2001 and 2006, rachelle bond had her parental rights terminated for her two other children. the agency also said they had been in contact with bella twice
in response to neglect. the agency did not say why she was not removed from her mother's custody. neither mccarthy nor bond have issued any statements since their arrest. officials say they are blaming each other for the child's death. it's still unclear exactly when or how she died. jim, you can see this growing memorial outside of the home where baby bella lived. both mccarthy and bond expected monday in court for their first hearing and there officials say we may learn more details about when and how she died. jim? >> disturbing story, sara ganim on it live in boston. still to come, as pope francis is about to land in havana, cuba, we'll look ahead to his visit to the united states and why controversy is erupting now over a man who is about to become a saint. some say his work in california's missions was anything but saintly.
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and getting into trouble. talk. read. sing. your words have the power to shape their world. learn more at first5california.com/parents in less than two hours, pope francis is expected to arrive in havana, kicking off his historic trip to cuba and the united states. he will meet with president raul castro at the airport, and tomorrow, the pope gives mass to thousands in havana's revolutionary square. cnn correspondent, patrick oppmann is live from havana. the two previous popes, patrick, as we know, both visited cuba. this is a little different. he's a spanish speaker. seems like there's extra excitement here. how is the country preparing for the visit? >> reporter: absolutely. well, they're preparing to the
last minute here in revolutionary square. but in a few minutes time, the pope will land at the international airport and will go down one of the main roads into havana. we expect lots of people by the side of those roads cheering him on. this pope, of course, the first latin pope, the first pope from this hemisphere, but also the first pope who's played the biggest role in improving u.s./cuban relations. so it seems like a bit of a victory lap. but the pope is not the kind of person to rest on his laurels. he'll continue pushing for the church to have a stronger role. during three different masses, he will be next to cuban president raul castro. that's something that's never happened. that cuban president -- it's certainly a sign of both respect and friendship that raul castro says he feels towards this pope, jim. >> an odd one, you might say. raul castro, an atheist. the pope, of course, the head of the catholic church. patrick oppmann, thanks very much. we look forward to watching this
visit through your eyes in the coming days. the pope will arrive in the united states, following cuba-on tuesday. he will stop here in washington and head to new york and philadelphia. we'll follow him all along the way. and during this trip to the u.s., the pope will name a new saint. but that choice is creating controversy. cnn's sara sidner has the details. >> reporter: they stand as beacons to catholicism across california's coast. the very first missions, the first nine, founded in the 1700s by one man, spanish-born franciscan friar, unaperra sierra. to millions, he's viewed as a founding father of what would become california. now for the very first time on american soil, pope francis will turn a man into a saint when he canonizes sierra, for his tireless work converting indigenous people into catholics.
>> he wanted to found as many missions as quickly as he possibly could. he also was someone who deep in his heart believed that he loved the indians. he thought they were like children. >> reporter: sierra's canonization was not welcomed by everyone. there was a backlash from the ancestors of those native tribes who found themselves under spanish rule. >> i can think of nothing good that came from the mission times. they totally destroyed our culture. they destroyed our people. they destroyed our environment. and they stole our land. what good can come of that. >> reporter: valuentine lopez is a tribal leader for one of the many tribes attached by serra's work. >> he's going to be the patron saint of brutality. the patron saint of domination. and the patron saint of death. >> historians say the indigenous people looked at serra and the missions with suspicion and curiosity. this drawing shows the first attempted baptism, which went awry when the native people
changed their minds and fled. but over time, some were drawn in. >> people came to the missions for a lot of reasons, including drought, famine, and a whole host of other things that inflicted itself on the peoples of california. >> but once they entered the mission life, they were not allowed to leave. the soldiers that came along with serra during the colonization effort were known to flog those who ran away. they were rapes and battles with native tribes. but historians say serra saw himself as a father figure, who tried to protect the native people, even from his own country's soldier. >> i think serra so loved these people that he would be mortified to know that the descendents of those he cared about the most now condemn him of this evil monster of the missions. >> reporter: more than 250 years after his feverish work to uphold the catholic faith, the church will grant serra the
highest honor. but for some tribes, he will always be seen as more of a sinner than a saint. sara sidner, cnn, los angeles. and we'll be right back. quicker smarter earlier fresher harder and yeah, even on sundays. if that's not what you think of when you think of the united states postal service, watch us deliver. rudy and i have a lot of daily rituals. namaste. stay.
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with soft dual leak guard barriers and a discreet fit that hugs your curves. so bladder leaks can feel like no big deal. get your free pair and valuable coupons at always discreet.com breaking news. a man accused of shooting at cars along i-10 in phoenix is being held on $1 million bond. leslie allen merritt jr. was in court today after being arrested late last night. he told a judge, quote, i'm the wrong guy. our affiliate, knxv says the judge approved the high bond because of the intense nature of the crime. police say merritt's gun was linked to at least four of 11 of those shootings. family and business owners in kansas are cleaning up today after at least one tornado ripped through an area southwest of kansas city. the twister damaged homes and a high school. it also hit a campground. people there say they just heard a roar moments before the tornado overturned their campers. nobody was killed, though there were some minor injuries.
and a gay man could become the next secretary of the army. president obama has nominated eric fanning to the post, which is a civilian position. it would make him the army's first openly gay leader. but it's not a done deal yet. the senate must confirm fanning. fanning has served as acting undersecretary of the army since june. before that, he was chief of staff to secretary of defense, ashton carter. and the epa is accusing some top carmakers of cheating. the environmental protection agency says diesel
cars from volkswagen and audi included software that made the cars' emissions look cleaner than they actually were. there are nearly 500,000 of those diesel vehicles on the road. the epa says owners do not face any health risks, but the epa has ordered vw to recall the cars and fix the problem. thank you for spending part of your weekend with us today. i'm jim sciutto. next, we have an inside look at the refugee crisis in europe with our arwa damon.
it's a fascinating story. "a desperate crossing" starts right now. >> your country is in chaos. you have a choice. stay and face war. or leave and take your chances. pay a smuggler, follow the crowd, or go it alone. unsure
if you've made the right decision, wondering if you'll survive. unwanted, exhausted, afraid. this is the story of a desperate crossing, through the eyes of those determined to find a better future, one that no longer exists back home.