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tv   Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  March 18, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT

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take you all over the island sunday night. it blew my mind. i think it will blow yours as well. >> don't miss it, the debut of "wonder list" season 2, sunday night, 10:00 p.m. right here on cnn. that's it for "the lead." i'll turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, two major breaking stories. captured alive, one of the world's most wanted terror suspects linked to the paris massacres is arrested after being wounded in a shootout in belgium. will he be the key to unlocking a terror network in europe? how many others are out there? romney repulsed. former republican nominee mitt romney says he's revolted by donald trump's statements. romney announces he's backing ted cruz and calls for an open convention to stop trump's march to the nomination. unconventional threat. as the stop trump movement intensifie intensifies, the trump campaign is warning of serious
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consequences if the front-runner is denied the nomination. and anonymous target. the hacker group known as anonymous declares total war on donald trump, calls on its followers to take down his campaign and begins releasing what it says is trump's most personal information. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we have two major breaking stories tonight. in an extraordinary announcement, 2012 republican presidential nominee mitt romney openly now joining the stop trump movement, saying trump has promoted in his words racism, bigotry, violence and much more. romney says he's backing ted cruz and an open convention. donald trump has just tweeted that romney, quote, doesn't have a clue and the trump campaign is warning of serious consequences
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for the republican party if the front-runner is denied the nomination. our other big story, a top suspect in the paris terrorist attacks is now in custody. salah abdeslam was captured during a police raid near brussels. belgian officials say he was wounded in a shootout but he is alive. abdeslam was tracked down to an apartment in molenbeek. gunfire and explosions have echoed there now for hours. abdeslam escaped another raid just days earlier. he had been on the run since last november massacres in paris which left 130 people dead. he's thought to have driven a car that dropped off three of the suicide bombers, including his brother. i'll speak this hour with trump supporter and former apprentice contestant amarosa. let's begin with breaking news right now. mitt romney, the 2012 presidential nominee has just
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dropped a bombshell, announcing he will vote for ted cruz in tuesday's utah republican caucuses as part of an effort to stop donald trump's march to the nomination. romney is calling for an open convention and he's slamming trump saying, and i'm quoting him now, through the calculated statements of its leader, trumpism has become associated with racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity and most recently threats and violence. i am repulsed by each and every one of these. that's mitt romney. as republican leaders look for ways to stop trump, there's a sharp warning from the trump campaign. let's go live to sunlen serfaty who's joining us from phoenix right now. sunlen, the cruz campaign must be very happy right now, right? >> reporter: absolutely, wolf. we saw ted cruz respond almost immediately on twitter saying very simply thank you, governor. this all wrapped up in this escalating showdown that's going on between donald trump and those desperate to stop him.
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>> hi there, how are you? >> reporter: tonight mitt romney announcing he's voting for ted cruz and endorsing an open convention. writing on facebook that, quote, a vote for governor kasich in future contests makes it extremely likely that trumpism would prevail. ted cruz is also stressing the urgency of the moment, framing the race at a pivotal crossroads. >> this primary i think is a critical moment where donald trump obviously has a lot of momentum, he's in the lead right now. and i think the only way to beat him is for us to come together and unite as one. >> reporter: but as the anti-trump movement intensifies, so does the pushback from the trump forces. >> if that's the path they want to go down, there will be consequences for that kind of thinking. >> reporter: the trump campaign ratcheting up its warnings of an all-out revolt if trump opponents block him from becoming the nominee at the convention. >> if the republican party comes
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into that convention and jimmys with the rules and takes away the rule of the people, the will of the republicans and democrats and independents who have voted for mr. trump, i will take off my credentials, i will leave the floor of that convention and i will leave the republican party forever. >> reporter: as the race turns to utah and arizona next week, cruz is making the case that a vote for john kasich is a vote for trump. >> if kasich manages to pull enough votes in utah to pull me below 50%, the effect of john kasich will be giving donald trump 20 more delegates, which i think would be a big, big mistake. >> reporter: all this comes as trump issues ominous warnings about a contested convention. >> i don't think that you can say we don't get it automatically. i think you'd have riots. i'm representing a tremendous -- many, many millions of people. >> reporter: and his rivals are scolding him for it. >> we might have a riot if i can't get the delegates at the
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convention? frankly, i don't think that's the way we ought to be conducting a campaign for president. >> no one should be surprised that donald trump is trying to stir up riots. i wish we had a presidential candidate that was bringing us together instead of encouraging such things. >> reporter: trump is not only facing political attacks, the hacking group anonymous also taking aim. >> donald trump has set his ambitions on the white house in order to promote an agenda fasism and xenophobia. >> reporter: they have posted what they allege to be trump's phone number and social security number. >> we do not forgive, we do not forget. donald trump, you should have expected us. >> reporter: the trump campaign says officials are seeking the arrest of people behind it. while in a separate incident, one of trump's sons, eric, received a threatening note at his manhattan apartment that contained a suspicious powder. the contents appear to have been a lemonade mix, but authorities are investigating. as donald trump heads to salt
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lake city, utah, tonight to hold a rally, he is out taunting ted cruz over twitter saying, quote, lyin' ted cruz should not be allowed to win there as in utah, mormons don't like liars. wolf. >> sunlen serfaty reporting. donald trump will be campaigning in salt lake city later tonight. our political reporter sara murray is already there for us. sara, is there any reaction to the news of mitt romney's announcing he will vote for ted cruz in next tuesday's western you saw caucuses? >> reporter: wolf, this is an unprecedented moment in politics to see the 2012 gop nominee come out and say i will vote for ted cruz and all of this in an effort to stop trump. i want to read a little bit more of that statement that mitt romney put out. he said the only path that remains to nominate a republican other than mr. trump is to have an open convention. at this stage, the only way we can reach an open convention is for senator cruz to be successful in as many remaining nominating elections as possible. this is really a double blow to
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john kasich because he continues on in this statement saying a vote for governor kasich in future contests makes it extremely likely that trumpism would prevail. so you get a sense of just how concerned mitt romney is of the idea that donald trump could continue snapping up these states and potentially pick up the nomination. now, as we know, donald trump never takes these jabs quietly. he has taken to twitter to defend himself and he tweeted that failed presidential candidate, mitt romney, the man who choked and let us all down is now endorsing lyin' ted cruz. this is good for me. now, woclf, we'll see if it is good for donald trump in utah. remember, mitt romney is still very popular in this state. there is a large mormon population. but there are a couple of people already in line waiting for donald trump who have signs slamming mitt romney, so at least a couple of people will be on trump's side tonight. >> sara, thanks very much. we'll stand by for that. joining us now in the situation room, amarosa, a
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former contestant on "the apprentice." thanks for joining us. i just want to read what mitt romney just put out this statement and i'll get your reaction. here is the key sentence or so. there is a contest between trumpism and republicanism through the calculated statements of its leader, trumpism has become associated with racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity and most recently threats and violence. i will vote for senator cruz and i encourage others to do as well so we can have an open convention and nominate a republican. those are incredibly strong words, as you see. what's your reaction? >> well, the one thing on that list that you can't call trump is a coward and i believe what mitt romney is doing right now is very cowardly. he decided not to endorse any of the candidates until now because the enemy of his enemy is now his friend. and we've got all these back room deals going on trying to
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stop trump. these anti-trump movements are trying to undermine the will of the people. we see right through mitt romney. you know what's repulsive, wolf, is the comment that he made about 47% of this country. he still has to deal with the fact that he has betrayed the voters that supported him by making comments like that and advancing the idea that people who back donald trump, their vote should not count and they're undermining the democracy that we fight so hard for in this country. >> omarosa, do you think if donald trump doesn't reach that magic number, the threshold, the majority of 1237 at the republican convention in cleveland, do you think the republican party effectively could still go ahead and block him from getting the nomination? >> they would be wise not to. first of all, there is a movement going on. wolf, this is not just a moment that donald trump is having. there are millions and millions of voters who believe in the vision that he has for this country. when he says that he wants to make america great, that's not just a campaign slogan, he means it passionately from his heart.
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if they try to steal this idea that these folks and their votes and what they stand for don't matter and that just a handful of people can actually choose who the republican nominee will be, then there will be a lot of pushback and the people will not stand for it, wolf. >> you've known him for several years and you've gotten to know him a lot better, obviously, than most of us. i guess the accusations from mitt romney racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity, threats of violence, have you seen any of that in all of the encounters that you personally have had with donald trump? >> i have known donald trump for thern years and i can tell you i have not. donald trump is a very kind person. he has a very good heart. i spent time with him and his children, his family. you can look at his familiy and see how close-knit they are and how wonderful they are. this is not a man being painted by mitt romney to be this monster. mitt romney is just a coward. and now he's standing on the
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side throwing rocks at donald trump's motorcades as it's going by. it's not going to work, it's not going to stop this movement that we have going. >> but some of his public comments you have to admit have gone beyond, shall we say, what would sometimes be appropriate. you would have rephrased -- you would have revised some of those comments, right? >> well, let's just acknowledge, wolf, donald trump is a businessman. he's not a politician like ted cruz who's been doing this for many, many, many years. donald trump is tough. and i believe that we need tough leadership for this country at this time. he's unapologetically aggressive in areas that he needs to be. fighting isis, fighting those who threaten the freedoms that we fight for in this country, standing up for those who don't have a voice. donald trump is tough and sometimes he is rough around the edges, but the things that mitt romney describe him to be are just not true. >> do you think there are two donald trumps as dr. ben carson suggested the other day, the public version that all of us see and the more private version? >> you know, donald trump is who
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he is. he's a very, very difficult person to get to know because all you see are these characters that people paint of him in the public. he seldomly gets to show his witty side or his generous side when he's interacting with veterans, when he's interacting with young people. i have gotten to see that because i have known him for so long. but i would love to see the public jget to see him instead f the videos i see over and over of these images of his rallies, of anything negative. they should show the positive things that donald trump does, specifically for the veterans of this country. >> omarosa, i want you to stand by. we have more to discuss. there's other information coming into the situation room right now. we'll take a quick break and we'll be right back. ving for re. then we asked some older people when they actually did start saving. this gap between when we should start saving and when we actually do is one of the reasons why too many of us aren't prepared for retirement.
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we're back with donald trump supporter omarosa. as we following breaking news, mitt romney announcing he will vote for senator ted cruz in next week's utah caucuses and also calling for an open convention to deny the nomination to donald trump. omarosa, tweet tweeted this about senator lindsey graham's support of ted cruz. let me read it to you. lindsey graham made horrible statements about senator ted cruz and then he endorsed him. no wonder nobody trusts politicians. but trump, he traded barbs, as you know, with ben carson when he was a candidate, with chris christie when he was a candidate, yet he later accepted their endorsement. so is this a bit hypocritical? >> you know, you can't let these comments go unchecked, wolf. he is taking attacks from every single different direction. he's taking attacks from the
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establishment, from the republican party, from all of these candidates, from people trying to undermine him. donald trump is a fighter and that's what we need right now. we need somebody that's tough, that's not going to stand by and let people say all these off-the-wall comments about him and then go into a back dark room and try to cut deals and have secret meetings in order to kind of steal this nomination from donald trump. i'm glad he spoke up because we need someone who's going to be a voice for us, and that's what donald trump will do. >> as you know, earlier this week here on cnn donald trump suggested there could be riots. he used the word "riots" twice. if he's close to the number needed to clinch the nomination but the party doesn't embrace him as the nominee. some have suggested this is a form off inciting violence with his comment. your thought? >> wolf, i've known you for a very long time and i know as a journalist you know that that was just a figure of speech. there's no way that he was trying to incite riots. but i will say this. if these folks who are trying to cut these back deals, this
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handful of people who are trying to undermine our democracy and they try to steal this from donald trump, you will see a tremendous outpouring of anger, disappointment and an implosion of the republican party. no doubt there will be a big blowback from them trying to steal this from donald trump. >> but you're not going so far as to worry about actually violent protests emerging, shall we say, at the republican convention in cleveland? >> no. that's a strategy from his competitors trying to paint him as somebody who would incite that. he was certainly not suggesting that. but he is speaking for the people. you cannot steal this nomination from donald trump. the people will not have it. their voice count, their vote count and our democracy stands for something, wolf. >> as you know, donald trump is already framing this as a race between himself and hillary clinton, the likely -- she's the front-runner right now, the democratic presidential nominee. he tweeted this.
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he said hillary clinton has been involved in corruption for most of her professional life. those are strong words as far as hillary, the former secretary of state, the former senator, former first lady. what does he mean by that, she's been involved in corruption most of her professional life? >> well, i'm assuming that he is referring to the investigations that are currently going on right now of the former secretary. and i would hope that they will be able to go head to head without the race getting ugly and nasty but he's stating some facts. she has been under investigation for a large part of her career. beyond that, just pivoting back to donald trump, he has a vision. he's focused on winning his nomination and that's what we have to do first before we can start thinking about the general. >> what do you believe her greatest vulnerability might be? >> i think she's going to have to really firm up women. we've seen in each of these primary states that women haven't significantly united behind her. i mean she is campaigning on the
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fact that she is going to make history by being the first woman getting this nomination, but if women don't back her, then it undermines the key support that she's counting on, and that's women. >> donald trump has a lot of trouble getting women's support. we did a look at some of the exit polls in florida, missouri, north carolina. take a look at these numbers. only 40% female voters in florida, 38% missouri, 36% north carolina, 35% in illinois, 32% in ohio. he clearly has a problem generating enough women supporters out there at the same time, right? >> you know, he has some work to do in that area, but i will tell you that there are some surprising gains. the areas that he's done very well where people said he wouldn't, he has a large hispanic support base and he has a large support in the african-american community. you will see that people will get behind him once he gets the nomination. the large number of democrats
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who have crossed over to vote for donald trump. you have to say, wolf, he's done significantly better than most people projected seven months ago. >> he certainly has. a lot of people didn't think he was going to go very far. he's the front-runner right now and seems to be well on his way to getting the nomination. when you say he has large support among african-americans, among women, you mean republican african-americans or generally? because the figures out there -- >> in general. i think you're going to be surprised. >> the figure the out there don't seem to back that up. >> i think you're going to be very surprised. i've been hearing that the democrats assume they have a lock on the african-american vote, that african-americans will support the democrat party wholesale and that's not the case. we have been seeing on the campaign trail african-americans who are speaking out and eager to support donald trump's vision for this country. and you have seen in each of the exit polls that african-american voters have come out for trump and have voted and supported him. so i think that these numbers where people said he wouldn't have that support are very surprising to some of his competitors. >> omarosa, thanks so much for
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joining us. >> thank you, wolf. this important note to our viewers. donald trump will join me here in "the situation room" this monday at 5:00 p.m. eastern. you'll want to see that interview. we'll take another quick break. much more news when we come back. oh remotes, you've had it tough.
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watching tvs get sharper, bigger, smugger. and you? rubbery buttons. enter the x1 voice remote. now when someone says... show me funny movies. watch discovery. record this. voila. remotes you are back. the x1 voice remote is here. x1 customers get your voice remote by visiting we're following the breaking political news ahead of next week's western tuesday contests. this afternoon 2012 republican presidential nominee mitt romney said he'll vote for ted cruz in tuesday's utah caucuses. romney called for an open convention. with us here in the situation room our cnn political
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commentator, the radio talk show host michael smerconish, brianna keilar is here and david chalian is here as well. so, david, mitt romney says he's going to vote for ted cruz in the utah caucuses. he said this. he said a vote for governor kasich in future contests makes it extremely likely that trumpism would prevail. what's your reaction? >> i know we have gotten used to all these constant crazy developments in this race but we have to step back and realize how astonishing it is to see the nominee of the party last time around speak this way about the party's front-runner and all but certain nominee at this point in the race. in addition he also said trumpism has become associated with racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity, violence. this is extraordinary. now, we watched that speech mitt romney gave a couple of weeks
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ago. it had no appreciable effect on actual donald trump's support. he was still able to win some contests. but it did start galvanizing this stop trump movement in some way. he's clearly trying to continue to contribute to that and give a shot in the arm to all those forces out there, those folks that want to donate to it. mitt romney is trying to give voice and say let's try to stop him. >> he also says this, michael, about trump. the only path that remains to nominate a republican rather than mr. trump is to have an open convention. at this stage the only way we can reach an open convention is for senator cruz to be successful in as many of the remaining nominating elections as possible. i will vote for senator cruz and i encourage others to do so as well so that we can have an open convention and nominate a republican. in your analysis, michael, how big of a deal is this? >> i think it's a very big deal. now notice he didn't say so that we can nominate a republican, ted cruz. in other words, wolf, he's
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engaged in strategic voting. there's an awful lot of it taking place all across the country. i know that because on a day-to-day basis i get telephone calls from listeners all over and said i registered as a republican and i did it to vote for donald trump. or i registered as a republican to vote against donald trump. in my home state of pennsylvania, 50,000 democrats have become republicans just since the beginning of this year. so this is now the way in which individuals are getting involved and trying to head donald trump off at the path. is it too late? we'll find out. >> do you think it's going to have an impact, brianna? trumpest popularity has increased. >> it plays exactly into what trump supporters expect of the establishment so it's reinforcing this entrenched i guess frustration that they have with the establishment. i really -- i don't see it
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changing anything. in fact i actually see it exacerbating how they feel and reinforcing how they feel about donald trump. >> michael, in your sunday column in "the philadelphia inquirer" and i'm going to give you are viewers a sneak peek. you write this, quote, i'm thinking of rejoining the republican party. it's not exactly a homecoming worthy of celebration but more like joining a rundown country club just to throw out the golf pro. i can't stand the thought of sitting out the april 26 pennsylvania republican primary. you've always been very proud in noting that your identity is no affiliation, you're an independent, you have said so the last six years. do you think a lot of other independents are feeling the same pressure that you're feeling? >> i know that they are and, wolf, i can't take it anymore. i'm in a closed primary state. i talk about this each and every day on radio, every weekend here on cnn. i want to play a role. quite candidly, i'm doing in a different style what mitt romney is advocating people do, and i
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know because i shared this with my radio audience today. i know there are a whole host of folks all across the country who are not necessarily viewed as republicans, but who want to have a say in this process before the decision is down to two individuals. >> very strong column in "the philadelphia inquirer." i want to remind our viewers to catch your one-hour show saturday mornings, 9:00 a.m. eastern only here on cnn. all right, guys, stand by. we're following other breaking news. one of the world's most wanted terror suspects linked to the paris massacres is arrested after being wounded in a shootout in belgium. will he be the key to unlocking a terror network in europe? evey has a number. but not every insurance company understands the life behind it. for those who've served and the families that have supported them, we offer our best service in return.
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turning to our other big breaking news story, the capture of one of the world's most wanted terror suspects who allegedly played a key role in november's paris massacres which left 130 people dead. brian todd is here in "the situation room." brian, an extraordinary turn of events. what are you learning? >> belgian authorities are wrapping up a major assault on a safe house in brussels. a total of five people are in custody, but it is the capture of paris suspect salah abdeslam, this man, that's got the leaders of france and belgium and counterterrorism officials throughout europe declaring victory tonight. a dramatic shootout in a top european capital and a major
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victory tonight for counterterror forces. salah abdeslam, a chief suspect in the paris attacks is shot in the leg in brussels but captured alive. >> translator: it is a very intense work that has been undertaken today. >> the 26-year-old, who had once served jail time with abdul hamid abaaoud had almost been caught three days earlier. his fingerprints were found in a raid on another apartment earlier this week. during that operation a belgian sniper shot and killed a militant believed to have directed the november paris attacks by phone. they believe he helped abdeslam hide in brussels. with the capture one of the largest man hunts ends successfully. >> this was a very significant breakthrough for belgian security services. he's been on the run for months.
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there was concern he would carry out a follow-on attack somewhere in belgium or europe. >> reporter: just before 9:00 in paris, investigators believe at that moment salah abdeslam dropped off three suicide bombers. his brother was identified as another suicide bomber at another location in paris that night. officials say salah abdeslam likely had an order to attack himself and wore a suicide belt. although he's believed to have had a more volatile temperament than his brother, salah decided not to follow his orders. >> he did not go through with that operation for any combination of reasons. perhaps there was a malfunction with his device. authorities also suspect he may have chickened out, not wanting to go through with it. >> reporter: later that night salah abdeslam was whisked away from paris by two friends. near the belgian border they came through police checkpoints but because abdeslam was not yet identified as one of the paris
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suspects he was allowed to go on his way. then friends and fellow operatives helped him melt away in the belgian capital. his capture could help european counterterror forces in two ways. if he was part of another terror plot that threat could be neutralized and abdeslam could be a great source of intelligence on the wider network behind the paris attacks. experts say there are still suspects at large, some of them operating on european soil, wolf. they're eager to get them as well. >> here's a question, brian. could he lead investigators to one of the chief plotters of the paris attacks? >> that's a big question, wolf. experts say that may be unlikely because he is believed to be with isis in raqqah, syria. he could still be taken out in a drone strike if salah abdeslam has knowledge of his whereabouts or routine. it's possible he could give that information but not clear how close he was to him so may not have that information. let's bring in our counterterrorism analyst, paul
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cruickshank, tom fuentes, former fbi assistant director and chief national security correspondent jim sciutto. do you think salah abdeslam will speak to belgian authorities? under belgian law, he has the right to remain silent. >> he may say nothing at all, wolf, if he's a true believer. he may not cooperate. the belgians have been frustrated in past terrorism investigations, notably when they rounded up that cell after that operation last year, at the beginning of last year in belgium. at least one of the people they arrested wouldn't talk at all, wouldn't give any information. so they're going to have to use very skillful methods to try and build a relationship with him, try to get him talking. every indication, though, is he is still a true believer, he was still with this very senior isis operative, one of the masterminds behind the paris attacks, holed up in this safe house in brussels. so it may take a long while before they're able to get any
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information out of him at all, wolf. >> as you know, three suspects, including abdeslam, were apprehended. could there still be many others at large in connection to abdeslam? >> it's certainly possible that there are others still out there. one name to throw out for our viewers is mohammed abrini, a belgian moroccan who lived in molenbeek, was friends with all these attackers and helped ferry a lot of them over from brussels to paris to launch the attacks. his whereabouts still not known. there's another senior planner who was working with this algerian terrorist who was killed in the safe house earlier this week in brussels who is still believed to be at large. not clear whethe he was one of the two suspected terrorists arrested today in that operation. but a number of people both in europe connected to the paris attacks and then also back in syria, notably fabian, but they
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think this went all the way up to the senior leadership of isis, something that al baghdadi and his top deputies would have authorized. >> tom fuentes, how critical is his capture, abdeslam, to the entire counterterrorist effort right now? >> it's actually pretty critical for a number of reasons. one is that he's captured alive so he's denied the opportunity to be a martyr. secondly, when they come to interrogate him in the days an weeks ahead, one of the buttons they can push psychologically is you're not really a true believer, you're a coward. you were supposed to die in paris and you didn't. you could have died in the apartment and gone out in that gun battle and you didn't. this is twice now you saved yourself instead of fighting for the cause. so they have got a couple of levers that come out of having him captured alive. >> what are you hearing from u.s. sources about his value -- how valuable he might be to u.s. intelligence in this effort? >> he's only valuable to the extent that he gives anything to the belgian or french
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authorities. as tom has noted, they don't have the influence, the levers that america has even legally, for instance, plea bargains to get them to talk. and that's why you often see in countries such as france and britain, that these guys will be captured and they won't talk. that's of course an issue, whether they can use methods like tom is describing here to embarrass him publicly, perhaps make him worried about his own safety, right, because he didn't blow himself up. he didn't kill himself for jihad. that's a possibility. but it really the onus is on the belgians and the french to get that intel value out of him. >> there may be an opportunity, though, from his cell phone or his computer if they find that. they find cell phones, computers from some of the other suspects who were apprehended, that could have a treasure trove of information potentially, right? >> well, it could have. but if they have been doing like they have normally been doing and using the encrypted applications, that will make that very difficult. and again, you know, he's been hunted now for four months since
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the last paris attack and it almost looks like they tripped over him in this apartment. that they came up on him expecting that apartment to be vacant at 4:00 in the morning yesterday and suddenly they're in a major gun battle. so i don't think they have had quite the use of phones for lead purposes that we would have hoped they would have. >> we'll have a lot more on this breaking news coming up, stand by. also coming up, we have an exclusive report. cnn goes undercover inside syria. we're going to show you the danger faced by aid workers as they try desperately to accept civilians caught in the crossfire of a savage war. and can you explain why you recommend synthetic over cedar? "super food?" is that a real thing? it's a great school, but is it the right one for her? is this really any better than the one you got last year? if we consolidate suppliers, what's the savings there? so should we go with the 467 horsepower? ...or is a 423 enough? good question. you ask a lot of good questions... i think we should move you into our new fund. sure... ok. but are you asking enough about how your wealth is managed?
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now to an exclusive as cnn goes under cover in rebel-held syria. in her latest report, clarissa ward shows us the dangers faced by aide workers as they try to get help to civilians in the middle of a brutal war. >> reporter: it's a tuesday in syria. british aide worker sharif is making the dangerous drive to aleppo. >> it's really important that we drive with the windows open because any kind of explosions that land close to us, last thing we want is shrapnel of glass and so on and so forth landing in our face. >> reporter: he's traveling to the devastated city to deliver an ambulance. but it isn't long before he's diverted. four air strikes have hit. sharif runs into the wreckage to see what's needed. >> this was a house here. >> reporter: remarkably, no one
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has been injured or killed but the sound of another jet means its time to leave. >> they say the plane is in the sky. we can hear it. they say a tactic he uses when ambulances turn up, they'll hit the same place again. we have to try to get to a safer place. >> reporter: sharif is one of just a handful of western aid workers living in syria. >> they don't want to go into the line of fire in a sense. this is something we have to do. this is something that is a human response. if we don't do it, then who will. >> reporter: in the relative safety of an olive grove near the turkish border, he told us religious conviction played a big part in his decision to come here three years ago. >> we need to look at what do the people really want, and if the people are muslims, this is not me saying it.
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if the people are muslims and want some form of islamic governance, then it's important we help them establish that. >> is that what they want? >> in my opinion, that's what i believe. you can ask the people, what do you want. i don't think the people will settle for anything less especially after all this bloodshed. the right to self-determination. >> reporter: for many of the 6.5 million displaced people in syria, there are perhaps more immediate concerns. most live in sprawling tent cities along the border. conditions in the camps are brutal. there's a lack of food and clean water. and they become more crowded every day. >> we just recently done a survey of this camp. just this camp here alone, which is a conglomeration of about 40 camps. right around 80,000 people. >> there's another one not too far from here. maybe 65, 70,000 people.
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>> reporter: sharif's favorite project is this smaller camp that houses roughly 100 widows and their children. syria is now a country full of widows and orphans. some still too young to understand what has happened to their country. others who have seen too much. all of them dependent on the mercy of others. >> clarissa ward is joining us. it's particularly distressing to see all those kids caught in the middle of this war. how dire is it for the children inside syria? >> unfortunately, the reality is the situation is very dire indeed. according to unicef, 2.6 million children are not enrolled in school right now in syria. and 1 in 3 children under the age of 5 is under the age of 5. that means they have never known anything other than bloodshed and war in their entire lives. and you have to wonder, what are these kids going to do when they
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grow up. they are much more vulnerable to radicalizing forces which, as we know, do have a prominent position on the ground in syria. >> we really appreciate your reports all of this week. you risked your life together with your team to bring us this information. and we are grateful to you. clarissa ward doing an amazing job for all of us. thank you very much. coming up, a fugitive from the paris massacre is one of the world's most wanted terror suspects now captured alive after a shootout. can he lead authorities to others. mitt romney's bombshell. the 2012 republican nominee says he's repulsed by donald trump's statements. he's now backing ted cruz and pushing for an open republican convention.
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happening now, breaking news. terrorist takedown. the most wanted man in europe among five terror suspects arrested in belgium. salah abdeslam accused of playing a key role in the paris terror attacks wounded but captured alive. what does he know about other attacks being plotted right now? romney repulsed. mitt romney launching a new effort to stop donald trump, announcing he'll vote for ted cruz in the utah caucuses next tuesday and encouraging others to do the same thing. romney also calling for a contested -- trump and his millions of supporters to leave the gop. walkout. bernie sanders walks out of a tv interview suddenly apparently angered or a question about his wife. but he's forging ahead with his campaign even as he falls farther behind hillary clinton in the delegate count.
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with four prospects ahead, is he still planning to go all the way to the democratic convention? cuban wonder. an american president heading to cuba for the first time in almost a century. but ahead of the historic obama trip, cnn's wonder list visits this country at a crossroads. i'll talk with the host bill weir about his remarkable journey later this hour. >> we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> we're following breaking news. the capture of the man believed to be the only terrorist to survive the paris attacks. salah abdeslam, the most wanted man in europe wounded but taken alive in a massive anti-terror operation in brussels. he's believed to be the driver who dropped off suicide bombers at the french national stadium, one of multiple attacks that
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killed 130 people last november. and there's other breaking political news we're following tonight. mitt romney announcing he'll vote for ted cruz in next week's utah caucuses and encouraging republicans to do the same thing to stop donald trump from becoming the republican nominee. romney stopping short of a full endorsement of cruz but endorsing a brokered convention and slamming what he calls trumpism as racist, bigoted, vulgar and more. our correspondents and expert analysts are all standing by. let's begin with the breaking terror news right now. our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto is working the story for us. salah abdeslam, he had been on the run now for four months. give us the latest. >> until just 48 hours ago, the trail for salah abdeslam had gone completely cold. now tonight, he is in police custody. four other terror suspects as well. both french and belgian authorities declaring a major victory in their battle against
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terror. guns drawn, belgian police stream down a street in brussels searching for one of the most wanted men in the world. after an exchange of gunfire, salah abdeslam, the one surviving terrorist behind a deadly november paris attacks, is wounded but captured alive. >> an ambulance has just arrived because there are two people who are in the apartment who were shot by the police. and one apparently is salah abdeslam. >> reporter: one terror suspect seen taken down by police here. it is unclear whether this is abdeslam. the belgian prime minister and french president together keeping close tabs. a crucial moment in europe's fight against terror. >> translator: the belgium and french intelligence services are cooperating on the investigation. this is an important moment but we ought to let the belgian police do their work without disturbance. >> reporter: the arrest comes two days after abdeslam's
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fingserprints and dna were found in another apartment raided by police. a lucky break in a manhunt that had gone cold for months. in that raid, one suspect was killed, two others escaped. one possibly abdeslam himself. salah abdeslam is the tenth isis terrorist behind the paris attacks and the only one to escape alive from the deadliest terror attacks in europe in more than a decade. police nearly captured him during a traffic stop outside paris just hours after the shootings. realizing who he was only after they let him go. he then led authorities on a global hunt extending from belgium all the way to syria. multiple allies involved, including the u.s. >> the united states, obviously, has significant resources and capabilities. and we have used them to assist the french and belgians. >> tonight french and belgian authorities very careful to say the terror threat remains very high. we heard the french president say that one thing they
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discovered in these most recent raids is that the network behind the paris attacks was bigger, much bigger than they knew before these last 48 hours. and, wolf, i spoke with the french interior minister a few days ago. he said the chances of another terror attack in france this year in 2016 is very high. in fact, in his words, likely. >> pretty disturbing. u.s. intelligence officials have said they're worried about a terror attack here in the united states this year as well. let's bring in cnn's brian todd. he has more on abdeslam. >> it's not clear just how long salah abdeslam has been affiliated with isis. we know he's got a criminal history and knew one of the key plotters in paris for several years. abdeslam and paris attack leader abdelhamid abaaoud were convicted in the same crime in paris in 2010 and spent jailtime together the following year. salah abdeslam is 26 years old. born in belgium but is a french
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national. his brother brahim is believed to be one of the suicide bombers in paris on november 13th. but salah abdeslam, even though he believe issed to have worn a suicide belt that not is said to have had a more volatile temper than his brother. with all those things in consideration, he did not go through with an attack on november 13th. he dropped off three suicide bombers at the stade de france that night. he either had a technical problem or chickened out that evening. the night of the attacks he called two friends to pick him up. they whisked him away from paris where he got to brussels and was today a major breakthrough.s. >> there were two earlier occasions when abdeslam was almost caught? >> on the night of the paris attacks, just hours after the shootings, he and friends were driving back from paris toward brussels. they drove him from paris to
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brussels. in that drive they passed through at least two checkpoints. at that time, police had not established that he was a suspect in the paris attacks. they let him go on his way. just three days ago, there was another raid on another brussels apartment. authorities found abdeslam's fingerprints and dna in that apartment. but he had slipped away there. belgian sniper shot and killed another operative who was said to have helped him. that particular operative was said to have directed the paris attacks from a remote phone on the night of the paris attacks from belgium. so very significant operations this week to get abdeslam tonight and to kill that other operative on tuesday night. >> 26 years old. a true isis believer. will he now talk to law enforcement or will he remain silent? >> that's going to be a key thing. there is evidence that there are other plotters out there who were involved in the paris attacks and that they have a wider network throughout europe. there are operatives out there
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on european soil. you heard jim talk about possible attacks coming in paris this year. abdeslam could maybe have key information to help intercept those attacks. >> we'll have more on this story. breaking news coming up. there's other breaking news coming up. political news. a dramatic new effort by mitt romney to stop donald trump from winning the republican presidential nomination. in a facebook post, romney says he's voting for ted cruz in next tuesday's utah caucuses. and he's calling for others to do the same thing to prevent donald trump from getting the delegates he needs to win outright and forcing a brokered republican convention. romney goes on to write, and i'm quoting now, through the calculated statements of its leader, trumpism has become associated with racism, misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity and most recently threats and violence. romney adding, i am repulsed by each and every one of these. cnn's sunlen serfaty is joining us from phoenix with the latest. what can you tell us?
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>> reporter: the cruz campaign, wolf, obviously thrilled with this news that romney will vote for ted cruz. cruz campaign immediately tweeting out from its official account, thank you, governor. a cruz campaign official telling me, we agree with mitt romney. if people want a conservative republican to win the nomination, they should vote for ted cruz. cruz spent most of the morning today and the afternoon today in a town called douglas, arizona, right on the border with mexico. obviously talking about illegal immigration but he was pestered with questions about this statement from mitt romney today. he said i very much appreciate the fact that romney announced he will vote for me, and i'm really happy he encouraged others to do the same. he was pressed that mitt romney fell short of a full-fledged endorsement, almost endorsing the idea of strategically voting in utah and other states to prevent donald trump from going forward. endorsing the idea more so of a contested convention. ted cruz's response, when someone says i'm voting for you,
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that's pretty darn good. i'll take that. now cruz will be campaigning in mitt romney's state of utah tomorrow. unclear whether they will appear together. i asked the cruz campaign moments ago if that will happen. they say it still hasn't been decided yet. >> do they think the cruz campaign folks that cruz will win either utah or arizona on tuesday? >> well, they are really downplaying expectations in arizona, wolf. they say that donald trump is so far ahead in the early vote that they are -- but they are trying to make inroads there, spending a good amount of time investing. they think they could come from behind there. they liken that to what they saw in louisiana, the last-minute vote really turning towards them. in utah, they are going full-fledged. we heard ted cruz say he's got a good shot at winning all of the delegates in utah. of course, he made this pressured pitch for john kasich's supporters to come on his side saying every vote for john kasich in utah is a vote
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essentially for donald trump. >> sunlen, thanks very much. we'll continue to follow this story. a lot more on the breaking political news. much more on the terror news coming out of brussels, belgium as well. let's take a quick break. we'll be right back. may not always be clear. but at t. rowe price, we can help guide your retirement savings. for over 75 years, investors have relied on our disciplined approach to find long term value. so wherever your retirement journey takes you, we can help you reach your goals. call a t. rowe price retirement specialist or your advisor see how we can help make the most of your retirement savings. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. i've had moderate to severe plaque psoriasis most of my life. but that hasn't stopped me from modeling. my doctor told me about stelara® it helps keep my skin clearer. with only 4 doses a year after 2 starter doses... ...stelara® helps me be in season. stelara® may lower your ability to fight infections
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dead, many of them young children and teenagers. he was shot in the leg before being apprehended. we're back with democratic congressman adam schiff of california. thanks for joining us. he was captured alive. how key could he be to u.s. intelligence? how confident are you he will provide information rather than simply remaining silent? >> well, i'm very hopeful that he will. i think our experience has been pretty good in terms of suspects that are in terrorism cases that are captured often do cooperate. they do talk. so i'd be surprised, although it's certainly possible he clams up. ides be surprised if we don't get some very good information. there is no one alive that can probably shed more insights into how this plot came about, how it was executed, precisely what involvement you may have had back in raqqah syria in the organization of this plot or the
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financing of it. so we stand to learn a great deal. and france gets to bring to justice one of the terrible mass killers of our time. >> if the french or belgium authorities manage to get him to talk, do you believe that would help thwart future attacks, potential isis attacks here in the united states? >> well, it certainly will give us a lot of insights in how these external operations work. how they work logistically, what targets isis is putting their priority on. he may have information about plotting in the united states, but we'll certainly gain insights that will help us in combating attacks like in paris. i can't say definitively that it will prevent an attack in the u.s. because the threat continues to evolve. but nonetheless, there's probably no person alive that knows more about that particular plot in paris. and we stand to gain incredibly valuable intelligence from him. >> will he be questioned by u.s. interrogators as well?
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>> that's a good question. i would imagine that u.s. investigators will be able to participate in some degree. they may not be in the room while the questioning is happening but often they allowed to provide questions that can be asked. but certainly it's possible that they could be present. and i fully imagine that the french authorities and belgian authorities will share with us the intelligence that they gather. we will also help them to prepare their interrogation of this suspect by sharing information that we have about the plotters. so this will be a combined effort. >> how good is the intelligence cooperation that the united states has with belgium and france? >> i think it's very good. there are always ways to improve the relationship and improve the flow of information. i know there have been probably more frictions between the french and belgiums than between either of them and the united states. nonetheless, the flow of information can always improve. the biggest challenge i think
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frankly given the continuing threats that we see in belgium and france and germany and elsewhere in europe is to break down the barriers to the flow of good information throughout europe, about who is where, who is involved in what, what foreign fighters have returned. there's a real need if they'll continue to have this where people can move quite freely. they'll have to have information move even more freely. >> are there others still at large, based on all the information you have? you are the ranking member of the intelligence committee. you are well briefed. others still at large in connection with abdeslam, as far as the paris terror attacks are concerned? >> i think it certainly appears there are others involved in the sense of people that gave them shelter, people that may have provided logistical or other help. i don't know that there's information that they were more than ten of the people who actually participate in the attacks. he may very well be the last attacker, but i think there certainly are people that fled,
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i guess, the scene of one of the efforts yesterday in belgium. so there are others that were at a minimum, i think, involved in sheltering some of the people responsible. >> based on everything you know, congressman, was this simply an isis inspired terror attack in paris or an isis directed attack? did it go all the way up to abdel baqr al baghdadi, the leader of isis? >> this is one of the reasons it will be so important to interrogate abdeslam. i suspect that isis central gives general direction to these european plotters. may help suggest targets to them. but then they have varying degrees of autonomy once they get into europe. wouldn't be surprised if they got funding and other logistical help. once in europe, they were able to choose a very specific targets. they were able to figure out, where would they get the vehicles? where would they stay? how would they communicate using
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some of the operational security that maybe they got from isis central and from their how-to guides. but there's probably a degree of autonomy in all of these western attacks. >> it took four months to apprehend abdeslam. why did it take so long? a lot of people are wondering if it's very worrisome he was able to cross borders from france into belgium to hide for months at a time. >> well, it's a good question, and indeed abdeslam apparently was stopped at the border shortly after the paris attack, but he wasn't known to be an attacker at that point. so part of it is the flow of information, how long that takes. he also may have been holed up in this neighborhood that i visited just a couple of months ago and not ventured out very much. not exposed himself so even his immediate neighbors may not have known he was in that particular building. we'll know a lot more once the interrogation is done. but if you are trying to hide and you stay low and you don't
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use electronics, it's very easy to avoid detection, even when police are in your very neighborhood and looking. >> i'm sure they were looking. thanks congressman adam schiff of california. appreciate it. >> the other breaking political news, a dramatic new attempt by mitt romney to prevent donald trump from winning the republican presidential nomination. in a blistering attack on what he calls trumpism. and bernie sanders walking out of a tv interview suddenly. what was the question about his wife that apparently outraged the democratic candidate? here's the plan. you're a financial company that cares, but your logo is old and a little pointy. so you evolve. you simplify. you haven't changed. you still help people live their best lives. and finally your new logo is ready, and you decide the perfect time to show the world is right... now.
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more now on the breaking political news. mitt romney now saying he's voting for ted cruz and encouraging others to do the same to prevent donald trump from winning the gop presidential nomination. cnn political reporter sara murray is joining us now. what else is going on, sara. ing this is pretty dramatic. >> reporter: it is very dramatic. the statement that mitt romney put out is dramatic and ted cruz is already using this as an indication that republicans are lining up behind him, using it to nudge kasich aside. kasich and cruz say they are going to fight to the convention and donald trump is saying that spells pandemonium. tonight mitt romney is throwing his support behind ted cruz taking to social media to say he'll cast a ballot for cruz in
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utah in an effort to defeat donald trump. posting this on facebook. the only path that remains to nominate a republican rather than mr. trump is to have an open convention. at this stage, the only way we can reach an open convention is for senator cruz to be successful in as many of the remaining nominating elections as possible. trump swiftly retaliating on twitter saying failed presidential candidate mitt romney, the man who choked and let us all down is now endorsing lying ted cruz. this is good for me. all of this as cruz tries to clear the path for a one on one fight with trump. repeating his calls for john kasich to step aside. >> they vote for john kasich, it's a vote for donald trump. if kasich manages to pull enough votes in utah to pull me below 50%, the effect of john kasich will be giving donald trump 20 more delegates which i think would be a big, big mistake. >> romney is echoing the sentiment saying a vote for governor kasich in future contests makes it extremely
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likely the trumpism would prevail. >> mitt is fine. this is his view. he's entitled to it. frankly, i don't think anybody is going to have enough delegates to get to the convention. >> reporter: as talks of a contested convention reach a fever pitch, trump is warning chaos lies ahead. >> we love trump! >> we're way ahead of everybody. i don't think you can say that we don't get it automatically. i think you'd have riots. i'm representing a tremendous, many, many millions of people. >> reporter: his rivals panning the comment as more reckless talk from the gop front-runner. >> to even imply that there could be violence, if he doesn't get his way, he's not running for the presidency of the wwe. he's running for president of the united states. this kind of language is an outrage. >> reporter: kasich's allies are highlighting the violence around trump's events and highlighting the ohio governor as the only one to take on hillary clinton. >> there was a time prts were honorable, trustworthy.
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what's happened? >> reporter: trump is facing threats beyond the political realm. >> you are inconsistent and hateful -- >> members of anonymous taking aim at the gop front-runner. >> this is not a war. this is a declaration of total war. operation trump engaged. >> reporter: posting online what they allege to be trump's social security and cell phone number. trump's campaign says officials are seeking the arrest of the people behind it. one of trump's sons, eric trump, received a threatening note containing a suspicious powder. while it appears to be lemonade mix, authorities are investigating. now, wolf, we're expecting donald trump in salt lake city in just a couple of hours. this is not a state he's favored to win. mitt romney getting in on the race could be a blow more to kasich than it could be to trump. the kasich campaign is hitting back on that. a new ad that shows mitt romney campaigning for kasich in ohio and complementing the ohio
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governor, clearly trying to undo some of that damage for mitt romney coming out and saying he's voting for ted cruz. >> sara murray reporting from salt lake city. let's dig deeper. joining us, senior washington correspondent jeff zeleny, executive editor mark preston, national political reporter for real clear politics rebecca berg and senior editor of the atlantic, ron brownstein. mark, the stop trump campaign, mitt romney writing today through the calculated statemented of its leader, trumpism has been associated with misogyny, bigotry, xenophobia, vulgarity and i am repulsed by each and every one of these. >> one thing i've heard time and time again, the reason it's too late sthe folks that could have funded it and could have perhaps stopped donald trump saw ted cruz as the ultimate beneficiary. and two months ago, they didn't like that.
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they thought marco rubio was their candidate and cruz would be the person that could benefit the most from it. at this point it might be too late for them to get involved. it might not be too late to stop trump from getting the delegates he needs to get to cleveland. >> romney also said he likes kasich, the ohio governor but said a vote for him is a waste and would only help trump. >> i was more struck by the language that he used in his statement here. this is the former republican nominee. only four years ago here. so this whole revolt in the party is now becoming a side show. salt lake city and utah may be one of the places where mitt romney's words may matter. but so he may be able to mathematically block trump from getting those delegates, but we'll see. this will be the ultimate test if mitt romney has any weight any more at all. what mark said earlier hits the nail of o the head. ted cruz was never seen as an
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acceptable alternative. many establishment republicans used to be equally concerned about ted cruz. that shows you what point we've come to. i'm not sure it matters. >> ron, what do you think? he's calling for an open convention. what happens if donald trump fails to secure the majority, the 1,237 delegates he needs to win the nomination on the first round? >> if he does not get the majority in the first round we have a contested convention. a multiballot convention. to give you a sense as to how big into the unknown that is the last time the republicans had that was 194 9. the first conjoent where any portion was covered by television. nbc and life magazine of all people covered it for part of the convention. the combatants were tom dewey, robert taft and harold stassen. that was the last time republicans have been in precisely this situation. it gives you a sense of just how extraordinary a moment this is, particularly if trump continues in this pattern where he is well
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ahead of any of his rivals but still a plurality front-runner facing resistance from big portions of the leadership and electorate that does not seem to be dissolving, even as he advances to that nomination. >> how big of a deal is it for the immediate past republican presidential nominee to be calling for an open convention, strategic voting at this sensitive time? >> it's a huge deal because of the language that he is using to talk about the current front-runner. but also because, look at what this means for john kasich's candidacy and the immediate future. the whole case that john kasich can make for still being in this race is that his candidacy helps republicans get to an open convention. if more republicans start making the argument that mitt romney is making that it would hurt republicans' chances at making an open convention for case toich stay in the race, he'll have a big crisis on his hand. >> donald trump tweeted this
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reacting to the romney statement. failed presidential candidate mitt romney, the man who choked and let us all down is now endorsing lying ted cruz. this is good for me. is he right? >> he tweeted that among many other things. been very busy on twitter this afternoon. we'll see if he's right or not. utah may be the one place where he's not right. but going forward, i just don't think that mitt romney's voice, anyone who agrees with him already agrees with him and isn't voting for trump anyway. >> i would argue among gop leaders and elites, it does matter that he's suddenly pointing out that ted cruz is a practical option. >> most people were already there. lindsey graham was holding his nose yesterday during the same thing. the options are running out. >> look at mitch mcconnell, some of these other senators. there's a long way to go. >> you know there are a lot of republicans out there that don't want to vote for donald trump. but they say they don't want ted cruz even more than they don't oopt they don't like ted cruz either. >> the situation we're in is so
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bizarre. if you go back like eight, nine weeks ago to jeff's point earlier. there was talk about maybe ted. maybe donald trump would be better than ted cruz because the devil we know is better than the devil we know better. and they all thought ted cruz was somebody that, you know, as i was told by someone the other day to caps lies this. with ted cruz, nobody was upset about being a hard core conservative. they thought he just turned their backs on him in the capitol, that he wasn't a team player. he tried to shut down the government and did things that hurt the republican party. that's why they were so upset at ted cruz. >> ron, you wanted to weigh in? >> they also thought ted cruz was a likely loser in november. one of the reasons why you're seeing this shift is because of the short-term and long-term risk. it's entirely possible that donald trump is a more competitive candidate in the general election in 2016 than ted cruz. if ted cruz runs and loses as the nominee, he runs and loses
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and goes away. the risk with donald trump underscored by these remarkable words from mitt romney which are unprecedented for a former nominee to talk about a future nominee in those terms. the risk of donald trump is lastingly rebranding the republican party. you're talking about describing a nominee as xenophobic, racist, bigoted and misogynistic, that is the danger for the republican party, particularly as we're going through this historic demographic change with enormously diverse millennial generation. will he stamp the republican party as white racial backlash whatever happens in this election? even if he can squeeze out enough white support to win. that's the real risk many republicans are focused on. that he's a much longer term threat to the viability of the party than ted cruz. >> everyone stand by. more to assess. more information coming in. important programming note to our viewers as well. donald trump will join me here in "the situation room" on monday, 5:00 p.m. eastern. you'll want to see the interview. we'll be right back. courtyard, the official hotel of the nfl,
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bernie sanders and hillary clinton are increasingly turning their attention to donald trump as he moves closer to securing the republican presidential nomination. and concern about the millionaire businessman's controversial campaign extends all the way to the white house. brianna keilar. no one is dismissing trump at this point. >> including president obama.
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publicly he's tried to remain neutral about which democrat he supports. he's giving us a bit of a preview about how he'll rally democrats in the general election. president obama weighing in on the 2016 race as he looks to protect his legacy. telling npr today he thinks the republican-led senate's refusal to hold hearings on his supreme court nominee will motivate democratic voters. >> in part because of the circus that has been the presidential campaign season so far. once dismissive of trump in january -- >> talk to me if he wins. >> reporter: and february -- >> i continue to believe mr. trump will not be president. and the reason is because i have a lot of faith in the american people. it's not hosting a talk show or a reality show.
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>> reporter: now with trump, the clear front-runner in the republican field, the president is sounding a warning about the heightened rhetoric on the campaign trail. >> the longer that we allow the political rhetoric of late to continue and the longer that we tacitly accept it, we create a permission structure that allows the animosity in one corner of our politics to infect our broader society. >> reporter: obama has met with both hillary clinton and bernie sanders this primary season, speaking especially highly of his former secretary of state. but the white house is pushing back on a "new york times" report that obama told democratic donors to rally behind clinton. >> the president did not indicate a preference in the race. >> reporter: but obama has made a pick. josh earnest says he's just keeping it to himself. >> i didn't say he couldn't make up his mind. >> reporter: as hillary clinton fund raises today, bernie
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sanders is out west. >> what this campaign is about is urging the american people to think outside of the box. >> reporter: sanders is trailing clinton considerably in the delegate count. his patience wearing thin thursday as he abruptly cut off an interview with a phoenix television station. in a rather unusual move, bernie sanders who is the only jewish candidate in the race will not be addressing the apac preference, the pro-israel lobby on monday. the only candidate who isn't doing that, clearly trying to concentrate on the western states where he thinks he has an edge over hillary clinton. >> brianna keilar, thanks. let's talk about donald trump. he tweeted this about hillary clinton. he's been tweeting a lot about her lately. who should star in a reboot of "liar, liar." hillary clinton or ted cruz. let me know. obviously, he's beginning to think ahead. maybe ahead of a republican nomination. he's clearly devoting more of his attention to hillary clinton
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right now. >> clearly. and clearly it's going to be an elevated discussion we're going to have in the general election if donald trump is the nominee against hillary clinton. it's definitely a deliberate pivot for him because he sees this delegate lead at this point. he wants to stoke this idea of himself as the likely republican nominee, if not the prohibitive front-runner to become the republican nominee. the best way to do that is by skipping the debate this week to do another event of his choice and start talking about hillary clinton, measuring himself instead to her as opposed to his republican rivals. >> you've seen all these reports that the leadership would like bernie sanders to drop out so hillary clinton could focus all of her resources and attention on a general election. is that going to happen? >> no, and it shouldn't happen. it shouldn't be the leadership that tells bernie sanders it's time to get out of the race. as we just saw, when he goes out and does these rallies he's getting 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 people coming out for him. we only have to go back to 2007 and 2008 where we saw the barack
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obama political machine stay operational because he was in a tough battle with hillary clinton through about may and she got out in june. he was a stronger candidate going into the election. this is what gets people so upset about washington. is the insiders telling the voters that they know what's good for them. let bernie sanders stay in. that's why hillary clinton is very smart not to try to tell him to get out. >> the sanders campaign are going to try to secure more votes out in the west now. will they get enough delegates to make it competitive against hillary clinton? >> the short answer is no. they could do well in some of these western states. many of them are caucuses, smaller turnout. predominantly white electorates. actually she's won white voters in more states than he has. but the fundamental challenge he faces remains. on the democratic side, all of the big states are diverse states. every single one. every state with a big delegate trove tends to be diverse.
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washington state, idaho, utah, oregon maybe, vermont, obviously. you can compete there. unless you can improve your performance against african-americans, but also more consistently among latinos, when you look at the big states on the board out there, whether it's california, new york or new jersey, it gets much more difficult for bernie sanders, and in that competition, you know, i think there's no question about whether you trade a california for a utah. >> you've seen these reports that major pro-hillary clinton superpac has now decided to not spend any more money in this preliminary round but to save the money for a general election. they assume, i assume, that hillary clinton has it locked up. >> they do. and frankly it would agitate supporters of bernie sanders. and there are more than 6 million reasons not to do that because that's the number of votes he's gotten so far. he's going to have millions more by the time this process is over. that's one reason. >> she's going to need that support. >> they want to start trying to define donald trump.
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it's one thing the republican establishment could not do. that doesn't mean that he's been defined in a general election yet. he's been defined to a primary electorate. the democrats believe there's an opportunity here. and mitt romney's statement today, i guarantee that is going to be in an ad from the democrat. it's going to be out to every independence voter, every swing voter, suburban voter. that is what could ultimately hurt donald trump in the general election. >> could be more effective in the general election than primary. >> why waste your money on bernie sanders right now. >> just to amplify what jeff is saying. the ad, the principles back has put up of women reading donald trump quotes. you can run that ad in the general election and without changing a word in the suburbs of denver or northern virginia or i-4 corridor. you can see that exact ad and it would be more effective in a germ >> very quickly, you saw in brianna keilar's report at the end of that interview he was
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having, bernie sanders, he just walked out. what did that say to you? >> he walked off in response to a question about his wife. in fact, he walked off after a question about whether he would be hillary clinton's vice president, a question he's answered many times before. he was fed up that it took too much time and he was over it. >> stand by because we have more coming up. i want to give you an update on the flint water crisis. there's no proven link between legionnaire's disease and the water. he told a congressional hearing he was misled about the severity. to find out how you can help the victims of flint, visit c and you'll be able to impact your world.
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this sunday president obama will become the first sitting president of the united states in almost a century to visit cuba, marking the ongoing normalization of relations between washington and havana. sunday night the wonderless returns to cnn with a season premiere exploring cuba at a
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crossroads. >> it looks like a trendy boutique you might see in soho or melrose district of los angeles. and then right across the street you have people raising chickens on their balcony. ♪ how is life in havana these days? >> it's really hard, man. >> it's hard? >> yeah. some people think change. i hope so. >> you hope so. you don't think so? >> maybe change for business, for government. >> uh-huh. >> but for the people, i don't know. more young people is better. >> new ideas. >> yeah, we need that.
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maybe a few years good. >> i came here expecting to find that sentiment everywhere, but to my surprise so many seemed proud of the cuban system, warts and all. >> bill joins us live. what were the biggest surprises on your trip to cuba? >> i was taken aback by a lot of excitement for americans. they've been our unknown neighbors for so long. an incredibly open hearted, warm, generous, curious folks, but it was tinged with this apprehension about keeping their cuban soul, not seeing american corporations coming in and bulldoze what is precious to them and just how broken the country is. water, power, communications really is stuck in the 50s just like those old classic old
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detroit steel there. >> did you have government minders with you as you were roaming around havana and elsewhere? >> no, on the contrary. they said go everywhere. not just the pretty places. we want you to go into the more depressed places, talk, see how life truly is for the average cuban. i wondered how guarded they would be. one cuban man told me a joke that would have gotten him thrown in jail a long time ago. the three greatest failures, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. there was this old jaundiced eye
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towards their own government. all had criticism, harsher words than i expected to hear in a place like that. >> this season premiere is amazing coming at this historic moment in u.s.-cuban relations and the visit of the president. the first time in 88 years that an american president has visited. appreciate it very much. >> i'm chasing you, wolf. you're my role model. >> you can see the season premiere of the cnn original series, "the wonder list with bill weir." this coming monday, donald trump will join me here in "the situation room." the final five presidential candidates all make their cases to the voters on the same night. democrats and republicans. the final five.
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monday night at 8:00 p.m. here on cnn. anderson cooper and i will anchor that special three-hour program. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. next, breaking news. captured alive. the last paris attacker at this hour. an operation still under way. we are live on the scene. plus, mitt romney saying he's voting for ted cruz. donald trump is fighting back. white powder send to his son. hackers allegedly releasing trump's social security number. let's go "outfront." >> good evening, i'm erin burnett. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the world. outfront tonight, the breaking news. a dangerous situation unfolding at this hour in belgium, the world's most wanted terrorist


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