tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN December 17, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PST
opening weekend projected sales are far, far away. some say it could bring in $240 million. that's just domestically. "jurassic world" holds the top so far with $209 million. that's it for "the lead" today. i'm jim sciutto in today for jake tapper. i turn you over now to the very capable hands of wolf blitzer. he as always in "the situation room." happening now, breaking news. under arrest. he once built pipe bombs with one of the san bernardino attackers. now officials say enrique marquez has been arrested and taken in for arraignment. isis assault just days after president obama declares that isis has launched this movement, the terror group launches deadly strikes on a key u.s. ally. how can the u.s. help its new partners on the ground? cruz versus rubio. they have all scores to settle and now the battle for second place in the republican campaign
is turning into an all-out war between the two senators. and putin's pick. russia's president is full of praise for republican front-runner donald trump who's also tossed some compliments putin's way. do the two share similar views on leadership? i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. the breaking news more than two weeks after the san bernardino attack and just days after the bodies of the husband and wife terrorists were buried, the childhood friend of one of the killers is now under arrest on multiple charges including material support for terrorism. officials say enrique marquez has admitted to building pipe bombs in the past with syed farook and giving him the rifles later used in the massacre. meantime, investigators probing the terror attacks now believe the terrorists used encrypted apps to hide their plot.
and we're learning two of the attackers and mastermind passed through a greek island apparently posing as refugees. all that comes as president obama says there's no specific and credible terror threat to the united states homeland right now. he's urging americans not to give in to fear. but a new poll shows the americans doubt the government's ability to stop lone wolf terror attacks. all of this on the same day that disney announces it's added metal detectors at its theme parks and is barring costumes and guests 14 years and older. i'll speak with congressman adam kinzinger and our correspondents, analysts and guest wills have full coverage of the day's top stories. let's begin with our national correspondent kyung lah. she has the latest on the san bernardino investigation whachlt are you learning, kyung? >> wolf, we're getting this information via pam brown and evan perez in washington, d.c. we're also getting our first look at the criminal complaint that has just been filed against enrique marquez.
we anticipated that he would be facing weapons charges. that is one of the charges, making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of firearms. this is the big one, conspireing to provide material support to terrorists. in this charge he is being charged by the federal government with supporting the terrorist act. the two semiautomatic rifles used to unleash terror in san berpd no killing 14 people and injuring 22 others were purchased by this man, enrique marquez years before farook and his wife would murder in san bernardino, farook was stockpiling. he'd already purchased guns and wanted to avoid questions buying more. he turned to his childhood neighbor and friend marquez who in 2011 and 2012 bought farook the two ar-15 type rifles. but law enforcement experts believe marquez's role in the investigation may be bigger.
>> at this point in the investigation marquez can supply a lot of information. that's a critical thing is that he can fill in a lot of blanks about a time period that electronically the fbi may not be able to recover at this point. >> reporter: the terror plot stunned marquez's family, remain out of public view telling reporters only that he was, quote, a good boy. those who know marquez call him goofy, always outwardly, light hearted as seen in this local news feature story. >> i'm really out of shape, but i'm sore now. >> that's the enrique marquez jerry morgan remembers. he hired him to work door security at his bar. >> he couldn't fight his way out of a wet paper bag. >> reporter: he says marquez worked at the bar for three years. marquez never mentioned he was married to farook's relative or that he and farook planned then abandoned a terror plot in 2012. he never talked about the hobby he would tell investigators building pipe bombs with farook
or the guns he bought that would murder and terrorize this community. >> that's what makes him so spooky is because he's just a normal everyday joe blow that you don't give the time of day to. and the next thing you know -- >> now, marquez did appear -- he did just show up at the federal courthouse in riverside. we anticipate that there will be a hearing later today. we don't have an exact time on when that hearing will be. and looking through this criminal complaint, wolf, something's very clear. it isn't this attack that the federal government is charging him with material support, it is some of the statements he made about a prior plan back in 20 2012 -- 2011-2012. something we should also mention, wolf, that is approximately the time that he did convert to islam and he became much more entrenched with the farook family. >> all right. a major, major development. thanks very much for that, kyung
lah, out in california reporting on the latest developments. for more on these charges let's go to our justice reporter evan perez. what does it mean to be charged with conspireing to provide material support to terrorism? >> well, wolf, it means that he now faces 15 years in prison for that charge alone. and really this centers on the 2012 plot that they ended up not carrying out. marquez according to this criminal affidavit he backed away from the plan after an unrelated arrest of people trying to go back to afghanistan. if you read through this complaint it describes this harrowing plan where they were going to attack the community college where farook and marquez attended and also perhaps attack a highway with pipe bombs and using some of those same firearms that marquez helped farook obtain. this is the big charge frankly overnight we had heard from sources that prosecutors were weighing whether or not they wanted to bring this charge immediately or perhaps just charge him with the gun charge
and then add these other charges later on. they ended up deciding that they were going to work all day to try to get the warrant to be able to bring these charges, wolf. and that's exactly what they did. >> and as you've reported he has been cooperating. he has been talking. he waived his miranda rights, right? >> that's right. he waived his miranda rights. but later in the week he ended upbringing a lawyer in and they continued to cooperate with the fbi. it does appear that the fbi believes that this 2012 plot was something that was real. that was one of the things they were trying to corroborate and one reason why they thought they might wait a little while to be able to bring that charge, wolf. >> evan perez reporting, thank you. as defense secretary ashton carter is continuing his efforts to make sure that the united states stops terrorism -- isis terrorism specifically, america's kurdish allies in northern iraq they are putting some boots on the ground. they're trying to make sure that they take some steps to defeat isis. let's go to our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto. what are you learning about this
latest kurdish assault on isis? >> well, this isis assault was one of the biggest, the most expansive operations by them in a number of weeks. the intention appears to be to push back kurdish forces to prevent them from massing to help retake the city of mosul, the second largest city in iraq, a stronghold of isis right now. to this point appears the kurds have successful repulsed the isis advance. hundreds of isis militants launch a barrage of rockets during a coordinated attack on a kurdish base in northern iraq. a chilling moment in the aftermath. kurdish peshmerga forces find an isis truck with the label in arabic, suicide bomber section. wednesday's assault was the largest isis attack of its kind in months and came just days after president obama touted this fact. >> since this summer isil has not had a single successful major offensive operation on the ground in either syria or iraq.
>> reporter: the kurds thwarted the attack with help from coalition air support. what was behind the latest offensive? isis fighting to defend its stronghold in mosul, iraq's second largest city. >> they're basically willing to do whatever it takes to prevent the kurds from affecting their operations. they want to keep mosul at all costs. this is one way in which they're trying to ensure that. >> reporter: likewise the u.s. sees the kurds as the coalition's most capable ally on the ground. and today defense secretary ash carter visiting the kurdish stronghold of irbil in northern iraq praise the kurds' resolve. >> the kurdish peshmerga have been exactly what we've been looking for in this whole fight in iraq and syria namely capable and motivated force that we can enable. >> reporter: now the u.s. is attempting to fortify partners on the ground inside syria, sending a fresh shipment of
ammunition to arab rebels there. the u.s. hopes the new supplies will aid the rebels' advance on the capital of isis' self-proclaimed caliphate, the syrian city of raqqah. delivered over land from northern iraq, this is the third shipment since the u.s. shifted away from training rebel forces outside the country. >> the feeling right now in d.o.d. is that these types of operations are actually working. so the re-supply efforts are not only being repeated, they're being intensified. >> reporter: that re-supply effort part of a broader change in strategy. remember the initial strategy was to train these fighters outside the country. that strategy failed. you were left with just 50 or so, many of them captured. now the focus is on arming moderate rebels, if you can find them on the ground and make that in effect, wolf, the fighting force on the ground in syria. >> that's a tough mission finding those moderate syrian rebels will go fight isis as opposed to bashar al assad's
regime. jim sciutto, thank you. joining us now republican congressman adam kinzinger of illinois. he served in both iraq and afghanistan. congressman, thanks very much for coming in. >> thanks for having me. >> you watched the debate, the one i moderated. >> it was a great debate. >> there's a clear split among these republican candidates about whether or not the kurds can get the job done on the ground. the u.s. needs someone willing to go and provide ground forces. almost everyone's reluctant to do so. could the kurds technically get the job done, defeat isis in their capital of raqqah? >> yeah, i think the kurds can be part of the solution. i don't think they can be the only answer. keep in mind they're monitoring a border right now with isis that's over 600 miles long. it's basically from d.c. to chicago that they have to, you know, even defend. so to think they can be the lynch pin, the ground force, i think is overestimated. they're great fighters, great allies by the way they're muslim, we need to be careful with our language in this fight
that's important as anything, but they can be the ground force destroying isis i think overestimating even though very capable. >> you're a jeb bush supporter. >> i am. >> i want to make sure our viewers know that. but will these kurds get the cooperation from the iraqi military to get the job done? hundreds of thousands of troops in iraq and the u.s. has trained them, provided them with weapons. are they going to finally show up and destroy isis whether in raqqah -- they're not going to go into syria but let's say the second largest city in iraq that would be mosul. >> they have to. >> but they're not doing it yet. >> well, and that's the problem. so the leadership of the iraqi military melted away when basically it became they threw out all the sunni muslims and the shia in essence took over. we're having to rebuild that from the ground up. the question is are they going to be capable. they've had some very, very slight gains, they've shown some ability to do something, but taking mosul, mosul is a huge city and to say that they're going to do it in the near future i think is wrong. when i was in iraq about a year and a half ago they had hoped to
already be in mosul by now. i don't think we're anywhere near that. >> yeah, they were in control of mosul, but a few thousand isis terrorists come in they ran away and left their weapons. >> melted away. >> their tanks, armored personnel carriers behind, it was a sad moment in iraq military history. congressman, standby. we have a lot more to talk about including donald trump and vladimir putin. they're both exchanging some words. we'll update you on that a whole lot more when we come back. the markets change, at t. rowe price, our disciplined investment approach remains. we ask questions here. look for risks there. and search for opportunity everywhere. global markets may be uncertain. but you can feel confident in our investment experience... ... around the world. call a t. rowe price investment specialist,
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ware of public compliments from vladimir putin, he could be playing you. for about three hours he wouldn't comment on the american presidential race, but after an exhaustive news conference, vladimir putin got a question he couldn't resist. what do you think of donald trump? >> translator: he's a very flamboyant man. very talented. no doubt about that. he is an absolute leader of the president rial race as we see i today. he says he wants to move to another level of relations to a closer deeper level of relations with russia. how can we not welcome that? >> is the feeling mutual? donald trump has both praised and criticized the russian leader. >> putin is a nicer person than i am. putin is a nastier guy than me. >> reporter: either way trump seems to think he's the right person to speak directly with putin. >> i think i'd get along very well with vladimir putin. i just think so. people would say what do you mean? i think i'd get along well with him. obama and him -- he hates obama. >> reporter: but analysts have a
warning for donald trump, reminding him putin once managed kgb agents. >> he reads trump and he says this is a his ego, i want to make him feel like he actually can achieve the unrealistically big things he says he can achieve and then i want to use him in doing that. >> reporter: experts say by praising trump putin probably was taking a jab at president obama. but they say putin and trump also have similar perspectives on leadership. >> they're both focused on this image of action and strength and the individual's ability to bend global forces that you really need the great man atop of the apex of the nation to defend it against these shadowy forces at home and abroad. >> reporter: but there's one shadowy force who vladimir putin who happens to respect, a man like donald trump is an antagonist, iran's top commander in syria. u.s. fishlgs have classified him as a terrorist who helped target u.s. troops in iraq. iranian media reports he met
with putin in moscow last week. the russians deny it. but if they did meet, it was very likely to talk about their common client, syrian president bashar al assad. analysts say both are worried that assad may fall and may have wanted to assess just how much staying power the syrian president has left, wolf. >> brian todd reporting, thank you. thanks very much. what do you make, congressman, of the relationship that seems to be developing between donald trump and vladimir putin? i'll remind our viewers you're a supporter of jeb bush. >> it's a nice little bromance that's brewing. the reality is trump has thin skin, we know that. he also is very susceptible to compliments. and i think it's pretty obvious that putd iputin is playing him. in that segment i think it's correct. i think vladimir putin is taking a swipe at barack obama with this. i would caution trump though he's not going to listen to me is be careful about that. everyone though we can be critical of our leaders here and we should in a public debate,
but i'm bleefr believer in old school politics end at the water's edge. >> you heard him say he would carpet bomb isis. you're a former air force pilot, would that work, a? >> maybe there's a place at some point, but we have precision weapons for a reason now. precision guided munitions are way more effective than carpet bombing. we haven't carpet bombed since -- it's been quite a while. it's really flying over, taking dumb bombs unguided and just opening up the bay doors. it's what we did in world war ii. with the technology we have today, i think saying things like carpet bombing and making the sand glow does not build into the good healthy debate like what we saw you guys put on and that we should be having in this very serious moment in a very serious presidential election. >> the department of defense u.s. military confirmed there are pictures of d.o.d. personnel, department of defense personnel, in libya right now. as you know gadhafi is gone, isis seems to be taking over
huge chunks of libya right now. what if anything can you tell us about u.s. military personnel in libya right now? special ops i assume. >> well, there's not much i can say about it here, but i'll tell you this, wherever isis exists we need to stamp them out. they are a state with statish institutions. they have courts. but they are also reaching out. it's a volcano. actually it's like an apartment fire in an apartment building and it spreads. it's not just the apartment that goes down, but it spreads to the next one. so we're seeing it in libya. we're seeing it all over the place. we have to worry about jordan and some of our allies in the middle east. i think anywhere isis exists or terrorism exists the united states with our arab and our western allies need to stamp this out and do it pretty intensely. we don't have to talk about every aspect of what we're doing. >> congressman adam kinzinger, thank you very much for joining us. >> thanks. coming up, dramatic new details coming in on the breaking news we're following. a new arrest in the deadly san bernardino terror attacks. all: milk! milk! milk! milk! milk!
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our breaking news, the childhood friend of one of the san bernardino terrorists is now under arrest. officials say enrique marquez faces multiple charges including material support for terrorism. sources say marquez has admitted to building pipe bombs in the past with his friend syed rizwan farook as well as giving him the rifles later used in the
massacre. our justice reporter evan perez has been digging into all of this for us. fill us in. >> wolf, this is a dramatic plan that these two men allegedly were planning to carry out in 2011 and 2012 while they were plotting this according to this affidavit filed there in federal court there in southern california. they plan to carry out a firearms and explosives attack at a library or at the cafeteria at riverside community college. this is a community college where both of these guys attended. marquez and farook attended. they said that this according to the fbi was designed to maximize the number of casualties, wolf. the plan was to throw pipe bombs into the cafeteria or the library and then shoot people with guns as they tried to flee. a second plan that they had was to attack state route 91, a busy highway there, during the afternoon rush hour. the plan was to attack a section of the highway with no exits. and farook would throw bombs to disabled cars and then he would
start moving around the cars shooting at people while marquez would position himself on a highway to be able to shoot law enforcement and rescuers as they came to the rescue of people there who were trapped. according to this federal affidavit marquez bought two rifles for $750. and the plan was for him to buy the rifles so that farook would not draw attention simply because of his appearance, because of his middle eastern appearance according to this affidavit. one reason why he's now charged with straw purchase of these two firearms,ed third charge that he's now facing, wolf, is for marrying a russian woman who's related to farook's brother he was getting paid $200 a month in order to carry out this sham marriage in order for her to immigrate to this country, wolf. >> he's only 24 years old. do we know when he converted to islam? >> he converted to islam around that time, around 2011, according to this federal
affidavit. farook helped radicalize him, showed him videos of an war awlaki and the things we see in these types of cases. so these are the things that motivated him to try to plan this attack. in the end according to this affidavit marquez decided he was going to distance himself from farook. he wasn't going to carry it out because of an unrelated arrest of a group of men who were trying to travel overseas to join al qaeda. that apparently spooked marquez. and he was very surprised, wolf, when this attack was carried out in san bernardino, according to this affidavit. >> all right. evan, thank you. let's bring in our intelligence and security analyst bob baer, he's a former cia operative, our national security analyst peter bergen and cnn law enforcement analyst tom fuentes, former fbi assistant director. bob, this arrest does not charge marquez with being involved directly in the san bernardino shooting, as you just heard evan report. but saying he bought the rifles
and purchased the explosives used in those pipe bombs that the couple built, that could have -- could this have -- could this couple have carried out this whole thing, this whole operation with just the two of them, or did they really need enrique marquez? >> i think they probably could have bought weapons themselves, wolf. but i think this is part of a larger network and clearly material support to terrorism. i'll tell you what disturbs me and disturbed the fbi for two years. i know for certain. is this conversion of latinos to islam and interest in the islamic state in joining these groups, which is a new phenomenon. and it's very difficult for the fbi to watch these conversions. i dprafrankly didn't believe itt now after this attack in san bernardino, i think it's a real problem and i'm quite sure they're looking very hard at it now. >> tom, why did id take so long to file these charges? >> well, i think they're trying
to be diligent in the investigation and he was cooperating all this time. so i think the more opportunity they had to keep questioning him before they arrest him and he gets his attorney and decides to stop talking, the better. >> cnn is now reporting, peter you've heard this, that the paris killers, the terrorists in paris, they used encryption apps. how is isis so good at learning how to use these encryption communications techniques so that no one can really monitor what's going on? >> well, don't forget the average age of the western foreign fighters going to isis who many of the leaders of the group, you know, they're in their mid-20s and they come from the west. they're educated and very familiar with these technologies. so they're using telegram, which is a german based technology application and being discontinued but also for private communication. there's no way for the united states government to decrypt what is going on on this application.
>> so the fbi really has a problem here, tom, right? >> oh, they have a problem. and a lot of people use these. i use whatsapp, if you have friends around the world if you have wi-fi you can talk for free, send messages for free, e-mail for free, stay in constant contact with each other. it's very easy to use. the encryption just comes along with it. whether you know it has encryption or not, it's convenient. >> so just automatic. bob, cnn is also reporting authorities now believe abdelhamid abaaoud returned to paris ahead of the attacks through the greek island of valeros. it's unclear whether he entered as a syrian refugee, but what does it say about security in these parts of europe that he was able to enter back into the continent after he was already on a wanted list? >> he was a wanted man. and he knew that going through laros was the best way to get in. he could mingle in with the refugees whether he bought a blank syrian passport and altered it or a stolen one. but there's no place to check these passports now that there's not really a central government
in syria. you can't go to the syrian government because they don't know what happened to these passports. and if i were an isis operative and wanted to get into europe or even the united states, that's exactly the way i'd come in and avoid the major airports. >> peter, as you know, disney world, disney land, they now say there are going to be metal detectors to go into the theme parks. you were just there with your family on a family vacation. what does that say that disneyland, disney world now going to have metal detectors going in? >> well, look, i think they're being -- i mean, they're taking sensible precautions. when i was there recently they just were searching handbags and backpacks. and, you know, if you want to kill a lot of people, you know -- it's one of many potential targets. i think they're doing actually i think the right thing because the security they had previously was really more sort of performance art than real security. >> disney that would be a target potenti
potentially, tom, for these terrorist sns. >> there are so many targets like that. universal studios and other major theme parks are doing the same thing. i know some of the theme parks right here in northern virginia have the same type of, you know, going through some type of security check before you go in. so practically anywhere now where you have a large crowd that's going to be in tens of thousands of people at one time, it's going to be tried to make it into a harder target. >> when i go to washington wizards game here in washington at verizon center you have to go through metal detectors now. that's routine. i assume it's like that all over the country. guys, thanks very much. coming up, our top political story, marco rubio and ted cruz they're taking their debate feud to the campaign trail. why is a failed immigration bill front and center right now in the fight for the republican presidential nomination? >> well, he's going to have a hard time because he's not told the truth about his position in the past. >> just stop making silly assertions that their records and my records on immigration are the same. it is demonstrably false.
presidential candidates marco rubio and ted cruz repeatedly clashed over the issue of immigration reform at cnn's republican debate. and both candidates seem eager to continue their feud out there on the campaign trail. our sunlen serfaty is following the republican campaign. she's joining us live from las vegas with the very latest. sunlen. >> reporter: wolf, today for ted cruz the focus was really supposed to all be about this big kickoff of his super tuesday state fly over tour with the focus being on the head but tonight ted cruz finds himself on the defense over his past. tonight, the battle between ted cruz and marco rubio intensifying into an all-out war. >> they're trying to blur the record. >> ted's the one that chose to attack me personally in a very strong way. >> reporter: the two first-term senators bringing new heat to old fights. sparring over their roles in the 2013 debate over comprehensive
immigration reform. rubio, a co-sponsor of the failed bill, trying to turn his biggest vulnerability with republican voters into a liability for cruz. >> he's going to have a hard time because he's not told the truth about his position in the past on legalization. and even there at the debate he said he didn't intend to legalize people in the future. again, i think very crafty language. >> reporter: cruz rejecting rubio's charge that he supported granting legal status to undocumented immigrants. >> i oppose amnesty. i oppose citizenship. i oppose legalization for illegal aliens. i always have. and i always will. and i challenge every other republican candidate to say the same thing, or if not then to stop making silly assertions that their records and my records on immigration are the same. it is demonstrably false. >> reporter: cruz did offer an amendment to the bill that would
grant legal status, but he claims that it was designed to be a poison pill to kill the legislation. >> by calling their bluff, we won. we defeated amnesty. we beat it. >> reporter: but that quite different than the senator's own stated intention in an interview in 2013. >> -- it was to amend the gang of eight bill so it actually solves the problem rather than making the problem worse. >> reporter: the cruz-rubio duel allowing the front-runner, donald trump, to coast along largely unchallenged, appearing for laughs on late-night showing a rare moment of self-reflection. >> i would like to see the republican party come together. and i've been a little by divisive in the sense that i've been hitting people pretty hard. >> a little bit, yeah. >> reporter: but in almost the next breathtaking a shot at rival jeb bush. >> do you think jeb bush is scared of you or just scared in general? >> i think he's scared. >> reporter: bush keeping up the attack on trump following tuesday night's debate.
>> look, the guy's a gifted politician but he's not a serious candidate. donald trump doesn't talk about anything serious. >> and this was for both marco rubio and ted cruz their most aggressive move yet to really blunt the other's rise. also though to position themselves as an alternative to donald trump. wolf. >> sunlen, thank you. for more on this story and all the latest political news turn to jeff zeleny, our senior politics digital correspondent chris moody and chief political correspondent dana bash. jeff, they're going after each other, cruz and rubio, but why aren't they going after the front-runner right now donald trump? >> wolf, a couple reasons. one, it's difficult to go after donald trump. we've seen example after example this year of republican rivals who have tried and failed. but more importantly they really are as sunlen said turning out to be this alternative to him. most republicans still think there will be a moment when voters will really reflect on this race and wonder if donald trump is actually the serious candidate for this job.
so both rubio and cruz want to be in that position. and they're sort of occupying the same space here. they're so similar in background and biography. and in politics really until these few differences that we're seeing now. that's why they're going after each other to sort of block one another. we don't know how this is going to turn out. that's what's so interesting. >> two 44-year-old freshmen senators, both cuban americans, cruz and rubio, they're going after each other flood gates have been opened right now. but it's been brewing for a while, right? >> it has been brewing for a wli while, but particularly on this issue. the issue of immigration and specifically what to do about the undocumented imgranmigrants this country. conservatives were incredibly frustrated as you know, wolf, as i know, that in the four debates leading up to ours rubio was never asked specifically about the fact that he had this bipartisan bill two years ago to allow undocumented immigrants to become citizens. because he is different from everybody else in the field on that issue.
so everybody is waiting to pounce at what was the most fascinating and i'm still kind of baffled by it is the way marco rubio, because obviously he's been prepared for this, was able to take that and turn it around on ted cruz in a way that is remarkable actually. because there's nobody who has been perceived as stronger and more kind of against keeping undocumented immigrants in this country than ted cruz. he's gotten all of the backing of all of the leaders on that particularly in the state of iowa. i think that's why this is such a huge issue right now because it's for iowa. >> in the battle for republican nomination, for republican support, who is more vulnerable on this issue? >> certainly as of today it's got to be marco rubio. the meat of his argument against ted cruz is based on an amendment in committee of bill and that amendment never passed, the one that ted cruz put forth. whereas with marco rubio he didn't just vote for that immigration reform bill, his name was on it.
and when you're talking to a mass audience certain policy things in politics often gets lost in the weeds. and i think that ted cruz will have a much easier time making the case against rubio especially on a mass scale. >> because you hear cruz all the time now, jeff, saying that it was rubio who co-sponsored legislation that president obama like with chuck schumer, a liberal democratic senator from new york, obama, schumer, rubio, that coalition, if you will, cruz is pointing it out repeatedly. >> repeatedly. and also something of a scarlet letter, amnesty. ted cruz can say the word amnesty. marco rubio, amnesty. that's all he needs to say. you can be sure there are tv ads coming on this. ted cruz has a lot of money coming through on super pacs. this is where this argument is going here. i think you're right about this, it is more of a legislative discussion here. but i've been surprised how sort of unsteady ted cruz has been on this. >> yes. >> he's done a few interviews that he has not prepared for this either. that's why i said we don't know
how this is going to go. ted cruz has run a pretty good campaign throughout, but this has rattled him and i'm not sure how this is going to go. >> i'm not so sure, sure it's a very clean kill when you're a conservative saying my opponent supports amnesty, but ted cruz's calling card is he's an outsider. he doesn't sound like a politician. his problem is he's really smart and understands the ways to play legislative chess. and two years ago this was one of them, but explaining that to the mass public is not so easy. and it makes him sound potentially like a slippery politician chrks is exactly the opposite of the image he's been able to put forward. >> marco rubio is using this as a pivot to some of his very specific votes on surveillance and things. that's the thing that's a bigger vulnerability for ted cruz. but as dana said, this reminds people, he's a politician. he's not an outsider. he's a politician. >> why is ted cruz willing to say negative things about marco rubio in private at a fundraiser that he's not necessarily
willing to spell out in public? that's the criticism he's been getting lately because of that reporting of the private fundraiser came out. he was saying stuff about donald trump, i should say. donald trump, but he's not willing to say about donald trump in public. >> of course as we learn most famously in 2012 politicians often say things behind closed doors they don't say to the public at a mass rally. reporters have almost had a game of the past couple years of trying to get ted cruz to criticize another competitor on the republican side and he's been very careful not to. so i don't think there's any surprise he does it behind the scenes. he doesn't want to alienate supporters especially of donald trump whose support he so wants later on. >> if something were to happen to donald trump's lead he would want all those supporters and there are a lot of sborters out there right now. these politicians don't they know that in this day and age almost everything you say closed door fundraiser in some new york hotel or whatever it's going to get out. >> it is going to get out. there are so many examples of this. and perhaps we've not heard the last of this. i mean, this is what happens in
a month before the voting begins. but i think that you're absolutely right why he's not willing to take on trump. he still thinks that a lot of those voters will be up for grabs. and you do talk to voters i was at a rally yesterday in mesa, arizona, a lot of voters said i'm still deciding between trump and cruz. cruz is the alternative he believes to donald trump. >> and that's why i pressed cruz one more time to try to get him to clarify his stance because a lot of conservatives have seen those private comments, those who are trying to decide. >> trump made that bromance. >> he definitely made nice. >> thanks very much. coming up, for years the obama administration has repeatedly called for the ouster of the syrian president bashar al assad. but that position seems to be changing a bit. how are terror concerns shaping the president's policy and the battle for the republican nomination? i absolutely love my new but the rent is outrageous. good thing geico offers affordable renters insurance.
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agree that assad's bloody crack down on the syrian people created the space for isis to rise. they say regime change would only allow the terror group to grow further. >> welcome these republican candidates -- >> reporter: making their pitch to be the next commander in chief the republican candidates show cased their strategy to defeat isis. one by one they argued syrian president assad, long viewed as the cause for isis growth is now key to its defeat. >> we have to do one thing at a time. we can't fight isis and fight assad. >> there will be chaos. i think isis will then be in charge. >> assad is a bad man. gadhafi was a bad man. mubarak had a terrible human rights record. but they were assisting us in fighting radical islamic terrorists. >> one candidate made the case that keeping assad in power would only fuel extremism in the region. >> he must go.
it will be a blow to iran and russia. >> reporter: it's a position once shared by the obama administration, which after four years of saying assad must go now agrees with the majority of republicans that he should stay. at least for the time being. >> united states and our partners are not seeking so-called regime change as it is known in syria. >> reporter: after marathon talks in moscow secretary of state john kerry accepted president putin's long-standing demand that the syrian people decide assad's fate. >> translator: we think that syrian people alone should determine who they want to rule them, under which standards, and which rules. >> reporter: kerry said he still believed assad's bloody crackdown makes him unfit to lead syria in the future. but. >> we focus today not on our differences about what can or can't be done immediately about assad. >> reporter: it's a far cry from
september when john kerry told cnn assad's ouster was the key to ending the civil war and defeating isis. >> as long as assad is there, you simply can't make peace. period. assad has done so many terrible things to his own citizens that that fighting won't stop, and we can't stop it. >> reporter: tomorrow in new york secretary kerry will hold a fresh round of talks on syria and hopes to get a u.n. security council resolution endorsing this peace process. the obama administration hopes that, if it can get a cease-fire going between regime forces and syrian rebels the u.s. coalition can team up with russia to focus on fighting isis, wolf. >> elise, thank you very much. coming up. much more on the breaking news. the childhood friend of one of the san bernardino killers now under arrest on multiple charges, including material support for terrorism. we're getting new information on alleged terror conspiracy. it's been going on between these two men going back several years. hi i'm heather cox
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news. terror arrests. the friend and former neighbor of the san bernardino killers just arrested. now facing multiple charges and revealing chilling new details of previous plots. what were their earlier targets. holiday threats. president obama briefed on potential dangers during a rare visit to the u.s. counter-terrorism headquarters. his latest high-profile attempt to reassure anxious americans. are his efforts easing terror fears? the high-tech menace. top terror officials warning of the danger of encrypted messaging, readily available apps that allow terrorists to plot and order attacks undetected. are smartphones the ter rick santor santorum. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we're following the breaking news this hour. the arrest of a close friend of
the san bernardino terrorist syed farook. 24-year-old enrique marquez chasing charges for providing assault weapons used in the attack. according to the affidavit marquez told investigators he and farook had earlier plotted attacks on a community college and a busy freeway at rush hour. we're also following the political battle that first erupted between marco rubio and ted cruz during a cnn republican presidential debate. the two cuban-american senators now locked in an increasingly fierce battle over immigration while each try to position themselves as the alternative candidate to the frontrunner, donald trump. we're covering that and much more in this hour with our guests, including the top democrat in the house intelligence committee adam schiff. our correspondents are also standing by. beginning with pamela brown our justice correspondent.
you have new details on the latest arrest in connection with the san bernardino terror attack. >> reporter: we know farook's friend enrique marquez was arrested today. he was arraigned for multiple charges. authorities say not only did he buy the guns that were used in the san bernardino attacks, but that he plotted with farook back in 2011 and 2012 to throw pipe bombs at innocent people in school cafeterias as well as a busy highway. the complaint says that the attacks were designed to inflict maximum damage. 24-year-old enrique marquez is under arrest and now in federal custody, facing charges of providing material support to terrorists and making false statements to purchase firearms. those charges are centered on the two ar-15s used in the san bernardino terrorist attack and aborted plots that marquez and syed farook planned in 2012. marquez allegedly told fbi investigators he bought the two guns for syed farook to help his friend from this redlands
neighborhood avoid scrutiny, a violation of federal and state law. in a twist, according to the complaint prosecutors say marquez called 911 after the shootings earlier this month to report his friend. he was the shooter, marquez told the operator, adding, farook, quote, used my gun in the shooting. marquez is also facing charges of visa and marriage fraud stemming from his marriage with a member of farook's family, which authorities say is a sham. marquez has told investigators he knew nothing about the san bernardino attacks that farook launched with his wife tashfeen malik. she came to the u.s. under a fiancé visa in the summer of 2014 from pakistan. >> how did we miss the lady in san bernardino? >> reporter: today on capitol hill law makers pressed obama officials for answers as to how malik got into the u.s. missing signs that she was already radicalized. the fbi says her thoughts about jihad were contained in private messages shared with farook.
>> there was nothing in the system that we used that would pick that up. there was no data that we would turn into actionable information to deny admission. >> reporter: how well the u.s. government tracked the more than 9,000 people who have visas revoked for possible ties to terrorism. >> how many of those people are still in the united states? >> i don't know. >> doesn't that scare you? >> many of the people whose visas are revoked were not in the united states when we revoked the visa. >> you have no idea how many of those people are in the united states. >> reporter: according to this complaint that just came out, it says that syed farook actually wanted to enlist in the military back in 2009, wolf, and then two years later it says he expressed to marquez that he wanted to join aqap in yemen, another indication that terrorist groups beyond isis influenced him. >> pamela, stand by. we also have the ranking democrat from the house intelligence committee with us.
congressman adam schiff. first to our justice reporter, evan perez. you have disturbing new information about other attacks marquez says he planned with farook? >> reporter: that's right. this is the plot that we have mentioned a lot on our air. this is in 2011 and 2012. they had a couple of different plans, including the plan to attack the community college that pamela just mentioned. and also a second plan was to attack the state route 91 during the afternoon rush hour. apparently they chose, according to the criminal complaint, they chose a section of highway specifically because it didn't have exits. in other words, they wanted to make sure that people were trapped. the plan, according to the fbi, was for them to throw pipe bombs to disabled cars and farook would move among the cars shooting at people while his friend marquez would stay on a hillside shooting down at some of those people as well as targeting rescuers and law enforcement as they arrived to try to help out.
it's a harrowing tale as the way the fbi describes, because now you can see why there was so much concern about what really they were up to in 2012. they never went through with it, but it's a remarkable plan that they were coming up with. >> pamela, what else are you learning? >> reporter: it's interesting reading through the complaint that marquez actually called 911 after the san bernardino shootings saying, look, my friend who i gave guns to, he did this shooting. and it details how the operator is saying you how do you know he used your gun? and he said, i gave it to him for safe storage. marquez claims that he knew nothing about the san bernardino attack. but in fact, in light of the fact that he had plotted with farook to plan these other tr t terrorist attacks in 2011 and 2012, clearly officials are concerned what he might be capable of. >> let's get more on all of this. joining me now the ranking democrat on the house intelligence committee,
congressman adam schiff of california. your reaction to this new development, the arrest of enrique marquez? >> i think we could all see the arrest coming. to me it says that investigators have gotten as much information from marquez as they were likely to get and it was time to move forward with charges. i was struck by something i saw in the complaint, that they've charged marquez with obtaining some of the explosive powder that they believed may have been in the pipe bomb placed at the regional center right during the attack. so these are some pretty damning charges. and also to learn the details of these prior plots is very chilling. >> one of the prior plots we're looking at it right now, to attack a community college in california. you are from california. a state highway during rush hour. as we reported back in 2011. i assume this information came directly from marquez, what waived his miranda rights and was talking to law enforcement. >> i think that's exactly right. and i think what the bureau has been doing since he began to
cooperate is trying to chase down the leads that he has been providing, trying to substantiate what he says, trying to identify if there were other conspirators in the prior plot or the attacks this month and there have been public reports about whether authorities fully believed everything marquez was saying, and i think the bureau probably spent a bit of time trying to find out just how true what marquez was reporting turned out to be. >> the affidavit says that farook, the killer, introduced marquez to radical islam, convinced him or inspired him to convert to islam. they read the articles online of anwar al awlaki. the terrorist. do you have information on how close farook, the killer, actually might have been to joining aqap? >> i don't. but i think that probably the public is getting the first sense now in reading this complaint what the director was talking about earlier when he
said that some of the social media, the electronic media, some of the investigation was revealing that it was a complicated picture about when they became associated with isis, the fact that on the day of the attack malik, the female shooter, expressed her allegiance to al baghdadi, was complicated by other evidence they were getting. and i think we're seeing some of that other evidence in the complaint. >> do you know specifically what the motive was of these two terrorists who killed these 14 people in california? >> well, i think they bought into the radicalized teaching. obviously not just of isis because even pre-isis you can see that farook was becoming radicalized, gave thought to joining aqap or al shabaab. so plainly those kind of violent, extremist instructions that he was getting or -- not direction but nonetheless propaganda online was moving him to want to commit violence against americans, against the west.
against the military, against first responders. something set him off. and it's, i think, still an unknown as to why he chose his workplace as the place he would attack the west effectively. >> so he clearly was motivated long before he got married to this woman, who came over on this fiancé visa. she was radicalized in pakistan. and was this a marriage of terror convenience? >> well, it certainly turned out that way. now, i think there are a lot of unanswered questions still about how these two got together. because there have been some public reports that the parents put them together. it's just too convenient that you would have two people who were radicalized individually getting together this way. and i think it begs the question of whether there was some online channel, some other mechanism or some third party who knew both and understood both were radicalized that helped putting them together. >> here is what is so chilling. and i'll get your reaction. this has been going on for years, at least going back to
2011 when they were radicalized. so it's at least four years before this mass murder in california, and no one was paying attention. they weren't on anybody's fbi watch list. no-fly list or anything like that. they were just going about their daily activities. nobody had a clue in law enforcement, whether local, state or federal, that these individuals were suspicious. >> it's remarkable. what's striking to people is the fact that you could have a co-worker who you work with every day, who you have a baby shower for when they have a child and they could come into work the next day motivated by this hatred, this radicalization. bring guns and mow down their co-workers. that's shocking. >> what about family members and close friends? i can understand maybe co-workers not having a clue. but if he was willing to share his ideological views with enrique marquez, who was just a
friend of his, you would think he was trying to recruit maybe others, but no one tipped off the fbi or law enforcement that there was a problem here. >> it is striking. i think there certainly were people in his close circle, marquez chief among them obviously, who could have said something. but marquez was a co-conspirator according to this complaint, so he's not about to go forward. we do see situations where even family members of people radicalized express and i think quite genuinely shock when they learn that their child has been engaged in radicalization. i think parents understand how you would be completely unaware of many things your child does but you hope you would be aware of that. >> you anticipate more arrests? >> i don't know. certainly the fbi is exploring these prior allegations to determine just how far they went, were there other co-conspirators involved. if there were, this will be other arrests. at this point i don't know whether that will take place.
>> the a the debate that i moderated the other night, i want to play you a clip from senator ted cruz on what he spoke about, and then the reaction we got immediately from senator marco rubio. >> what he knows is that the old program covered 20% to 30% of phone numbers to search for terrorists. the new program covers nearly 100%. that gives us greater ability to stop acts of terrorism. and he knows that that's the case. >> dana, my i interject? let me be careful in answering this because i don't think national television in front of 50 million people is the place to discuss classified information. >> senator james risch was here yesterday. he suggested that he had never heard the stuff that senator cruz was saying outside of a classified briefing up on capitol hill. he seemed to suggest that maybe there was some classified information from senator cruz released. you are the ranking democrat on the house intelligence
committee. what do you believe? the challenge is, even when things are in the public domain, even when things are reported and obviously the press does a very complete job in ferreting out information, we're not able to confirm that information publicly. it's not enough just to say i can point to a public source. in terms of the merits of the debate that they were having, there is unfairness on both sides. for mr. rubio to make suggestions about the program that, in classified form he may know are incomplete or misleading, is a problem. it's equally a problem for mr. cruz to go in public and state things that may be very close-hold if not classified. so it's treacherous ground either way. >> should there be an investigation? >> i wouldn't say at this point that i can say that without, you know, examining just what was confirmed by intelligence sources, what has been stated publicly, what has been declassified, in effect. but i would be wary of opening an investigation in a political environment like this.
there may be a lot of motivations for wanting to do that that have more about the presidential race than they do with the protection of classified information. stand by. more to talk about including what president obama said today that the u.s. is entering a new phase in the war on terrorism. we'll be right back. you can't predict... the market. but at t. rowe price, we can help guide your investments through good times and bad. for over 75 years, our clients have relied on us to bring our best thinking to their investments so in a variety of market conditions... you can feel confident... ...in our experience. call a t. rowe price retirement specialist or your advisor ...to see how we can help make the most of your retirement savings. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. ♪ santa has a magic snow globe for every family... ♪ ...and whatever he puts in our snow globe, shows up at our house.
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we're back with congressman adam schiff of california, he is a democrat. following breaking news, the arrest of enrique marquez, friend and former neighbor of syed farook. marquez is facing multiple charges tonight including material support for terrorism. let's go to jim acosta. jim, terrorism was certainly once again very high on president obama's agenda today. >> reporter: absolutely, wolf. with the holiday season here, president obama received his usual end of the year update from his top counter-terrorism officials on security threats facing the u.s. homeland. the president travelled this year to one of the nation's intelligence nerve centers to find out if americans are truly safe. it was one more attempted show of strength from president obama as he vowed to keep the nation safe from isis terrorists and
there so-called lone wolf followers during the holidays. >> when terrorists pull off an act like what happened in san bernardino, it tears at our hearts, but it also stiffens our resolve. >> reporter: after a rare briefing at the national counter-terrorism center, the president said there is no current specific or credible threat to the u.s. homeland. with that intelligence in hand he urged americans to remain calm. >> anyone trying to harm americans need to know, they need to know that we're strong and that we're resilient. that we will not be terrorized. >> reporter: under discussion at the president's meeting, the growing high-tech menace of terrorists concealing intentions through social media. encrypted messaging on smartphones. >> we're concerned about the way so some terrorists are using encrypted technology to make their plots harder to disrupt. >> reporter: after the attack in
san bernardino the white house amped up the president's use of the bully pulpit. the administration has unveiled changes to the terror alert system and a review of travel visas to spouses entering the u.s. from abroad, the same opening apparently exploited by the california terrorists. the president is still facing major doubts, a new "washington post"s/abc news poll shows only 22% of americans are confident that government can prevent a lone wolf attack. a "wall street journal" nbc news poll shows the terror attacks are viewed as the top events the year and 71% of americans see mass shootings in the u.s. as a permanent part of american life. >> we saw too many dark days in 2015. it didn't have to be this way. >> reporter: republican senator john mccain argued the president won't be able to stamp out the isis threat without taking out the terror army's capital of raqqa in syria. >> there is no plan by this
administration to retake raqqa. there is no strategy. and that is indeed shameful. >> reporter: president obama will pay a visit to the families of the victims of the terrorist attack in san bernardino tomorrow en route to his family vacation in hawaii, an annual trip that's been interrupted by threats to the homeland before. he'll have one more chance to talk about protecting americans at home in his annual end of the year news conference at the white house tomorrow, wolf. the officials say the president is planning a, quote, non-traditional state of the union speech. >> thanks very much, jim acosta at the white house. congress schiff, is senator mccain right, there is no strategy to get rid of isis in iraq and syria? >> i don't think that's right. he doesn't like the strategy. i think he is concerned the strategy is taking too long. i share the concern about how long it will take to defeat isis
on the battlefield. presently the president's strategy is one of strangulation. it takes time. it's a military and political strategy. i think we need to explore ways to change the dynamic on the battlefield to take the fight more quickly to isis. the caliphate is the primary -- >> you need ground troops. who is doing the strangulation? >> we're trying to get the kurds as well as some of the arabs in syria better armed and equipped to fight isis. we're trying to work with the sunnis in iraq and the iraqi government to increase the fight there and intensifying the bombing campaign. wolf, i think you're right. more will have to be done. it's, i think, a reluctant conclusion, because we don't want to get sucked in the way we did to a massive deployment as we had earlier in iraq and afghanistan. >> when the president said today there is no specific and credible information about a planned terror attack on the u.s. homeland.
he said something similar after paris and before san bernardino. we know what happened in san bernardino. trying to reassure, but people are nervous right now. >> they are. i think it accounts for the statistic that you just played that people don't think we have the capacity to stop a home-grown attack. the president is factually correct. there was no evidence that the paris plot had a connection, had a cell here. similarly, there is no evidence the director has said that the cell in san bernardino was larger than those two or three people. but that doesn't mean that we can stop every home-grown attack if people radicalize in private. they don't share. and people who see something don't say something, then these are going to be very hard to prevent. >> congressman schiff. thank you for coming in. the breaking news continues as we learn new details about the latest arrest in the san bernardino terror attack. vladimir putin praising donald trump after jeb bush warned the presidential frontrunner about the russian president. >> do you think this is tough and you're not being treated
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breaking news this hour, the arrest of 24-year-old enrique marquez, a close friend of the san bernardino terrorist syed rizwan farook. tonight, marquez is facing charges including material support for terrorism, according to the affidavit marquez told investigators that in the 2011 time period he and farook plotted attacks on a community college out in california and a busy freeway as well at rush hour. let's bring back our justice reporter, evan perez, along with retired lieutenant general mark hurt ling. and cnn counter-terrorism analyst fill mudd. evan, what are you learning about enrique marquez and the specific charges he is facing? >> wolf, the big one here is the
material support charge, which goes to the 2011, 2012 plot, part of which you just described, the idea that they were going to attack riverside community college where marquez and farook both attended. that carries a 15-year sentence. the 10-year sentences are for the two -- the weapons charges, the charge that he essentially straw purchased these two rifles which the -- which farook and his wife used to carry out the deadly attack in san bernardino. and then finally, the ten years for marriage and visa fraud. he married a russian woman who is related to the farook family to farook's brother, and so, you know, clearly the biggest part of this last week that he has been talking to the fbi, the biggest part of this has been this incredible revelation of this harrowing plan they had to kill a lot of people back in 2011 and 2012 until marquez apparently decided that he was going to back away from this idea. >> phil, the complaint spells
out detailed plans to attack a community college, a busy state highway back in 2011. how close could these two guys have been to actually carrying out such terror attacks? >> pretty close, i would say, wolf. let's go through quickly a mental checklist that you would look at if you're conducting this investigation and looking at the intelligence. the hardest thing to figure out is intent. clearly they were already radicalized which suggests they had an intent to attack a target and they had discussed targets already. both intent and targeting are checked. the second is capability. do they have access to weapons and explosives? clearly they did. marquez supplied the weapons. we're talking about the acquisition of explosives already. if you put the two together, did they have a mindset that indicated that they might attack and the capability and target to attack? i don't know what else you have to check. they would have been ready to go. >> general, farook told marquez he wanted to join aqap and yemen
in 2011. what does that tell you about the motivation behind the terror attack? >> it tells me exactly what we're seeing today, the increase in the amount of home-grown terror and potential connections on the internet. when you're talking about joining aqap. al qaeda in the arab peninsula, that tells me he was interested in being the extreme range of the jihadi network a long time ago. isis has provided some opportunity for those who were in other organizations, aqap. aqim. boko haram, to consolidate in one organization. and that's an interesting dynamic. >> is the wife, evan, malik, mentioned in the criminal complaint? >> not as much, wolf. because frankly they just don't know anything very much about her. she is a bit of a ghost. she arrives in the country. she really didn't mix with a lot of people. reading this 36-page criminal complaint, one thing really,
really fascinates she and stands out, this call marquez makes a few hours after the san bernardino attack. and he begins by telling 911, the 911 operator, that he is thinking of committing suicide. he is very upset. he says he knows who carried out the shooting in san bernardino and describes how farook used a gun -- he describes it in the 911 call, that farook used a gun that he had given to farook for storage. now, in later testimony and later interviews with the fbi, he describes perhaps a little different version of this. another thing that really fascinates me about marquez here is the fact that he was radicalized to the point, wolf, in 2012, that they plotted this attack and then he backs weigh. from all indications he is really no longer radicalized. he's turned away from islam and turned away from the radicalization. fbi profilers, people, behavioral specialists will study this guy. they want to know a lot about
what makes someone like this tick, what makes him turn away from something that he was clearly ready to die for back in 2012, today. >> they also, phil, they have to go back. this is four years. these two guys allegedly were plotting, reading in the aqap magazine online. if you read this affidavit, they were talking about videos produced aal shabaab. aqap. marquez convinced farook to convert to islam. and no one paid any attention to these guys, even though they were online reading all this stuff. apparently a lot. what does that say to you? >> it says to me volume. if you look at the amount of radicalization in cities -- we have seen this obviously in paris and brussels and in cities in the united kingdom. we're starting to see this more in the united states, the volume of people looking at that information is higher than you would anticipate, wolf. we saw this years ago in the fort hood shooting when there was communication between that shooter and anwar al awlaki in
yemen. if you think the feds can follow everybody who is looking at this kind of literature, look at one statistic. the number of people who are following isis on twitter and compare the united states to other countries internationally. the united states is way up there. what we're learning is the fbi has a huge volume problem that we didn't have in this country ten years ago. >> it's a real chilling moment, i must say. guys, thank you very much. there is breaking news we're following as we learn more about the new arrest in connection with the san bernardino terror attack. also, donald trump's late-night tv attack on jeb bush. >> i defined him. i gave him this term, low energy. he said he is a low-energy individual.
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we're following the breaking news. new arrest in the san bernardino terror attacks. officials have charged a friend and former neighbor of the gunman, syed farook, with conspiring to provide material support to terrorism. we're keeping an eye on this story as details come in. stand by. we're also following
important political news with his lead in the polls higher than ever. republican presidential frontrunner donald trump is briefly hopping off the campaign trail and onto the late-night tv trail. that's clearing the stage for his closest rivals, ted cruz and marco rubio, to wage their intensifying battle over regressio immigration. dana bash is watching it outline for us. the fight between rubio and cruz heating up tonight. >> the duel between the two 44-year-old candidates is now white hot. it is trump and his trump-isms that are nuggets of gold for comedians. last night trump heard trump jokes in person. while there, the republican frontrunner test-drove some of his own lines in his new role as a party leader. >> winners aren't losers. by donald j. trump. >> a light-night version of what a donald trump children's book would look like. >> winners do deals and winners get rich while sad little losers
sit there and bitch. >> on jimmy kimmel trump struck a serious tone. >> i like to see the republican party come together. i have been a little bit divisive in the sense that i've been hitting people pretty hard. >> a little bit, yeah. huh? >> ultimately we have to come together. >> in practically the next breath talking about jeb bush, he was vintage trump. >> i defined him. i gave him this term low energy. he said he is a low-energy individual. >> that after bush put his cnn at cnn's debate after repeatedly going after trump. >> you think this is tough and you're not being treated fairly. imagine what it will be like dealing with president putin or president xi. >> today putin himself weighed in on trump. saying he is a very flamboyant man, very talented, no doubt about that. meanwhile, another debate clash is getting even hotter on the campaign trail. >> do you rule it out?
>> marco rubio and ted cruz going at it over immigration. in iowa where cruz is ahead in several polls, rubio blasted him for backing legal status for undocumented immigrants. something many iowa republicans oppose. >> he never brings up his support of legalization in iowa or in his stump speeches but he supports legalization. i think his hope was, once he got into the general election, to then start talking about legalization as a way to attract more voters. >> it is demonstrably false. >> cruz argues he only backed legal status as a legislative maneuver two years ago to kill rubio's bipartisan bill which gave undocumented immigrants even more rights, a path to citizenship. >> let's have a moment of simple clarity. i oppose amnesty. i oppose citizenship. i oppose legalization. for illegal aliens. i always have. and i always will. >> cruz is trying to keep the focus on rubio admitting for the first time in a debate, he
stands by his plan allowing undocumented immigrants to become citizens. >> senator, you have not answered the question. you just described a very long path, but does that path end at citizenship? >> oh, but i answered that question repeatedly. i personally am open to allowing people to apply for a green card. >> today cruz amplified an attack he debuted against rubio at cnn's debate that rubio supported barack obama and chuck schumer's amnesty bill, he called it. cruz was hoping that would be the immigration story line out of the debate that really we were all talking about, but rubio successfully deflected that or at least muddied it, wolf. tried to make cruz look like somebody who did one thing legislatively but another thing. >> i want to bring in gloria borger and the washington correspondent for the new yorker magazine. why are the two senators going after each other, gloria,
instead of going after the frontrunner, donald trump? >> because they figure that at some point one of them is going to get trump supporters. they're in the same lane. and they believe that one has to knock the other one out. and so it's kind of like mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the most conservative of us all. that's what the fight is about over immigration. the word "amnesty" when cruz uses that word against rubio, that's a buzz word for conservatives. and they're opposed to amnesty. and, you know, rubio has tried to muddy the waters a little bit when it comes to where cruz is. but it's very difficult for him to do that. i think this is a big hurdle for him with conservative voters. >> ryan, cruz clearly needs trump's supporters but rubio is running in what some call the more establishment lane of the republican party. does he also need trump's supporters? >> yeah. look, there are probably four big groups in the republican
electorate. you want to draw a bit from each if you can. overall, i think they are actually -- they're drawing from separate demographics. ted cruz is much more popular with republicans who describe themselves as very conservative and who self-identify as evangelicals. rubio is doing better with self-described moderates, which are still a big chunk in the republican primaries. and what conservatives. a lot of pollsters out there will tell you somewhat conservatives are the key to winning the republican primary. but if trump falls, as these other candidates are all hoping he will, they'll want to pick at least a piece of the trump base. >> he hasn't fallen yet. and we'll see what happens. >> that's right. >> dana, you covered congress for years. the feud between these two 44-year-old freshman senators, has it been long-standing or relatively recent? there was always tension
simmering because from the moment each of them stepped foot in the capital it was an open secret that they had higher ambitions and that they would have to swhomehow battle one another to get there. i think, look, that ryan is exactly right. rubio rode the tea party wave to get into the senate in 2010, but he is not a tea partier. he did it because that was kind of a way to topple the establishment guy who then was chris christie -- not chris christie. i'm sorry. charlie crist. when he was a republican. look, the bottom line is the two of them might be similar in their backgrounds and their' both conservatives but they're very much going after different lanes within the republican party. >> but it's all conservatives. >> that's true. >> different kinds of conservatives within the republican party. and trump draws from both of those groups as well. >> no question. >> it is a substantive debate,
gloria. also on immigration, how far do you go in dealing with the 11 million undocumented immigrants? >> this is a debate that helps republicans in republican primaries, okay, because they're competing for who is the most conservative, as i was saying before. the problem, and you only have to go back to 2012. look at mitt romney. talked about self-deportation in the primaries. by the time he got to the general election it came back to haunt him. so the problem here is how far do they go, how far right does rubio actually tack in order to try and win a primary somewhere, because he is not number one anywhere yet, in any of the polls. and if cruz should be the nominee, how far can he tack back in a general election? >> i think you're exactly right, getting to the point of this is way beyond politics. this is an incredibly important substantive issue that we're talking about here, however you count it. there are millions of undocumented immigrants in this country. at some point a president or a congress is going to have to
deal with it, and how these candidates, either republicans or democrats, frame that and what their positions are is important. >> ryan, vladimir putin today spoke highly of donald trump. he called him bright and talented. is that good or bad for the trump campaign. >> i just read before we came on that trump took the compliment and paid putin a compliment back. he didn't distance himself from it, which i found interesting. as you guys have seen, out on the campaign trail, the only foreign entity that is more unpopular than isis among republican voters is vladimir putin. i mean, he is a punching bag. >> yes. >> and a boogie man for all the republican candidates. so i do not see how being embraced by putin or embracing him back is a good thing. >> gloria, let me read the trump statement that was just released from donald trump about putin. it is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his
own country and beyond. i have always felt that russia and the united states should be able to work well with each other towards defeating terrorism and restoring world peace not to mention trade and the other benefits derived from mutual respect. donald j. trump statement. >> i don't think winning the putin primary here is going to really help donald trump. >> it's his first endorsement of the campaign from a prominent politician. >> from an elected official, or so-called elected official. i don't think it's going to do him any good with conservative republicans. >> he's going to be huge, huge in moscow. >> he'll be able to look -- it came back to haunt george w. bush when he said i looked into putin's eyes and i could see his soul. that didn't turn out to be a great statement either. >> if you have a second, wolf, one serious point on this. it is true that we do have common interests with russia and putin on terrorism. and that point that trump made is accurate. it goes a little bit against some of the conventional wisdom in the republican party.
but look at what's happening right now in syria and the negotiations to get some kind of peace deal. we do see the obama administration, you know, trying to work in some ways with putin. so maybe a little bit of statesmanship here from putin. . >> from trump and putin, for that matter. >> bromance. >> up next, more breaking news. a new arrest in the san bernardino terror attack. disturbing new details of previous plots targeting a school and a freeway. ♪ and then santa's workers zapped it, right to our house.
an arrest in connection with the san bernardino terror attack that left 14 people dead. a friend of one of the killers, syed farook, enrique marquez, is facing three charges, including material support for terrorism and providing the assault weapons used in the attack. let's get some more from our senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin and former prosecutor, sunny hostin. you're aware of the charges that marquez is now facing? >> i'm surprised that they didn't arrest him earlier in the week. and the case against him has been known publicly given how serious they are. he certainly arrested now and, as far as i can tell, he's probably not going anywhere ever again. >> the only explanation that i have, sunny, is that he was
cooperating, he waived his miranda rights, he was talking and most of the information in this affidavit actually came from him. >> to be sure, wolf, i think that's going to be helpful. when you talk about material terrorism, that statute is very broad. since 9/11, 92 cases have been brought. it's an incredible tool to really criminalize this kind of support for terrorism and so i suspect, like jeff, that he will be going to prison notwithstanding the fact that he cooperated with prosecutors. he's going to go to prison for quite some time, even at his age. because in this day in age, we have to take these kinds of cases seriously, especially in combination with the purchase for the guns that were used in the terrorist attack.
some people say perhaps they could have gotten the guns anyway but for marquez providing these weapons, perhaps we wouldn't be talking about this case. and so i think the government is going to take this very, very seriously. even though he was cooperating. >> jeffrey, i assume he has lawyers, talking about guilty plea in exchange for a lighter sentence. right? >> yes. but remember, the only person he can cooperate against is dead. >> what if there are others still at large who may have been part of a broader plot? >> well, yes. that would be the best thing he could offer. look at that weapon on the screen right now. the question is, why is that even for sale at all?
look at that. why is that the kind of weapon that anyone, much less an alleged terrorist can go and buy? the second amendment protects the right to have a handgun in the home. it has said nothing about the right to have a weapon like that and that's a question worth asking. >> that's a whole different issue, sunny. as we know, it's been debated a long time. the whole notion, though, that, you know, he provided these two rifles to the killer, that's a pretty significant charge. >> i think it's very significant. i mean, we know that there are these three charges and the material support for terrorism is the top charge but i don't think we can estimate the purchase charge and underestimate the visa and marriage fraud charges. but to jeff's point, i think it is significant, quite frankly, that he purchased assault weapons. assault weapons. >> but it was legal.
law enforcement said they did everything in getting those weapons was legal. he has a right to buy those two guns. >> i think we can all agree that you don't need an assault weapon of this size, of this magnitude that can cause this kind of harm to protect your home, to protect your person or to hunt and so, you know. >> there is kinsley law. the scandal isn't what is illegal. the scandal is what is legal. maybe the scandal is that it is legal to buy those weapons. >> well said, my friend. >> i assume they are looking to see if there's a broader conspiracy here. >> that's what i would be looking at. especially since he's being coop cooperative. i want to know who these terrorists spoke to, what they looked like, whether or not there were any things -- other
plots that they talked about, who those participants may have been. there could be this treasure trove of information that he has, if he has it. but i agree with jeff, if he doesn't have it, he's going away for quite some time because he doesn't have anything to offer. >> that's it for me. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. the fbi making a major arrest in the san bernardino terror attack. plus, vladimir putin calling trump brave, talented, the absolute leader in the race. chelsea clinton headlining a campaign for her mother. good evening to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm erin burn