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tv   CNN Newsroom With Carol Costello  CNN  November 24, 2014 7:00am-8:01am PST

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call today to get your free guide and dvd. it explains how a government-insured reverse mortgage works. there's no obligation. one reverse mortgage is a quicken loans company. their licensed experts can answer all your questions. call to find out what a great solution this can be. don't wait, call now! good morning, i'm carol costello. we begin with breaking news in a major shakeup in the obama administration. defense secretary, chuck hagel, is stepping down. hagel, the only republican on the national security team, is expected to join the president next hour in making that
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official announcement. hagel and the president have been discussing his departure over the last several weeks. let's get to the pentagon and barbara starr. although the white house is saying it was a mutual decision, you say it's not? >> well, carol, good morning. the white house and officially here at the pentagon the sword it was a mutual decision between the president and secretary hagel for the secretary to go. but in reality, the political reality, several officials now tell us here at cnn is that hagel basically was forced out, pushed out, whatever you want to call it. the secretary and the president had been talking over the last several weeks about what the president wanted to see in the final two years of his administration in national security. they had been talking about it and, you know, once you start talking about the future, it opens the door to all of these issues of stay or go. there had been a lot of chatter about all of this, that the president wanted to make a change in personnel, that he
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wasn't happy with his national security team, and when you look at the three key players, you have susan rice, the national security advisor at the white house and obama intimate, she's not going anywhere, secretary of state john kerry in the middle of iran negotiations, very vocal, very high profile, he's not going anywhere. secretary hagel, perhaps publicly not always smooth and articula articulate. very much an implementer of the what the white house wanted so perhaps making himself a bit vulnerable on that point. there's no question about that. very much a respectable secretary of defense, didn't do anything wrong, did what the white house wanted them to to do. at the end the president wanted a change and hagel was the last man left standing. they are saying it's mutual. nobody wants to sort of make him appear to be lesser than he was. he was very competent as the
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secretary of defense, he had lot of initiatives. he was carrying out the white house strategy on the fight against isis but in raises the big question. if hagel goes -- which he will -- and he was carrying out the president's war strategy what is the strategy now? will it change? is this opening the door to potential changes in the fight against isis? we do know secretary hagel had written a memo to the white house saying he was very concerned that not enough attention was being paid to the syria part of the equation. hagel himself raising questions about the war strategy. so this now becomes the big open question. when a new nominee goes through the confirmation process before the republican senate arms services committee chaired by john mccain who very much wants to see a stronger military presence, what will happen? what will be the stated
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strategy, what will a new secretary of defense face and what will it mean for american forces on the ground in the middle east. i think these are the big questions now as the secretary prefires go. >> barbara starr, stay there. i want to check in with athena jones. athena, the president's foreign policy has been roundly criticized. is that the reason chuck hagel is being pushed snout. >> good morning, carol. this is being seen as a way to reassure the critics. but as barbara mentioned folks are saying hagel was not pushed out. you would expect that response from here. we also know sources telling a
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white house official is telling my colleague jim acosta on the short list are michelle foreigner, the former undersecretary of defense, senator jack reid, a democrat from rhode island and a former officer with the army's 82nd air bonn and also ashton carter who is a former deputy secretary of defense. so we don't expect to get the announcement today on who from that short list will be chosen but we do expect to hear the official resignation. texas senator ted cruz has suggest there had would be fights when it comes to nominations. he said the new republican led senate should block any nominations of officials that the administration puts forward in response to the president's move on executive action on immigration just last week. so a lot of fighting that we could see coming. carol? >> athena jones reporting live from white house, stay right there. i also have lieutenant colonel rick francona. is he on the phone? he's live, okay, hi colonel,
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francona, thanks for joining me. apparently there's a discord between the pentagon and the joint chiefs and the white house. chuck hagel is out, what does that tell you? >> you know, secretary hagel has never really fit in at the pentagon. he's had a lot of resistance from his top leadership there, especially among the general officers. over the last couple of months we've seen this distancing between hymn and 2 chairman of the joint chiefs, general dempsey. general dempsey has sort of taken the lead at the pentagon. i think it was just a matter of time before secretary hagel was forced out or resigned on his own. so this doesn't come as a surprise. the timing is a little interesting right after the election but/think the presidents needs a stronger voice at the pentagon and is probably looking for that. there's a lot of problems going on right now, as everybody knows. we have the talks with iran that are probably going to go into an
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extension, we have the ongoing for what isis which doesn't seem to have any real focus. so it was time for a shakeup at the pentagon and secretary hagel's head was on the block. >> he was quite critical of the obama administration strategy, especially in syria. remember he wrote that memo to national security advisor susan rice sharply criticizing the white house strategy. there was this two-page memo it detailed concern about the overall serious strategy and called for a more defined plan for handing the regime of syrian president bashar al assad. i could go on, but hagel did push back. wouldn't you want a member of your cabinet to do such things, colonel? >> that's his job. he's -- he and the chairman both are to provide that military advice to the president and give the president his options. evidentedly president didn't like those options but on that one particular point the secretary was right. but i think he was reflecting the views of the military leadership of the pentagon and going to the president.
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it was the generals who said "we have to address the syria part of this and we're not doing this. you have to look at isis as one target, not a target in iraq and a target in syria," which is what the administration wanted to do at the beginning. so it looks like the president is going to put somebody in who follows his thinking. >> i'm going head to vienna and check with nic robertson. word of this is leaking out. it's already hit vienna because jim sciutto mentioned it. how will the generals on the ground that i can news? >> well, of course, the fight against isis which chuck hagel has been significant part and force in is made up of several different nation, you have britain and france both involved in air strikes in the region swell, as well as the uae and the saudis as well. there has been a sense in these
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partners that there does need, particularly from the middle eastern partners, that there does need to be a refocusing. certainly you've got key players here in vienna like sergei lavrov, the russian foreign minister who, after the talks on iran, had a short meeting with secretary kerry. lavrov just on saturday in moscow meeting with the saudi foreign minister, they were talking mostly about the fight against isis in syria. that was the prime content of their conversation. both those men came here to vienna, both of them meeting with secretary kerry as well. so there is certainly an understanding here at least that the isis issue a big issue that isn't going away. the tackling of it needs to be reframed. how that gets affected by secretary hagel's departure obviously unclear. but the key allies in that fight, their part is unlikely to change in the short term, although they may now push for a sort of reframing of how it's
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all done. >> okay. i want to go to lieutenant colonel reese, another one of our military analysts. hi, colonel. a question for you, this definitely means a change in strategy. we don't know what the change in strategy will be but might it involve boots on the ground and more involvement in syria for american troops? >> well, carol, good morning. yes. the bottom line is this. the rick francona said it a couple minutes ago. i think secretary hagel has been trying to push the general officers, the joint chiefs, the centcom commanders, general austin's agenda, as he should have been as a secretary of defense to the civilian leadership and those are that we can't get locked into one way. we are looking at an asymmetric threat. what we can't do here 1 have a micromanagement type leadership. we need an intent based environment our commanders can work at and allow them to execute that intent. one of the issues that everyone keeps saying, we keep dancing around it, is the whole assad
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issue in syria. the turks want him out, the saudis want him out, everyone in the area wants him out and that becomes -- we have been been talking about this on cnn for over two months now, it's the the center of gravity of this whole issue. so unfortunately i think senator hagel, the joint chiefs, general dempsey has a great relationship, he's a great commander and i think when this is all broke out, you'll see secretary hagel became the man on the chopping block for the administration and it is what it is. >> lieutenant colonel reese, lieutenant colonel rick francona, nic robertson, barbara starr and athena jones, we veal more as the day goes on on cnn. i'll be back in a minute.
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opportunity. that's the real walmart. stunning breaking news to tell you about this morning. defense secretary chuck hagel stepping down. the obama administration saying it's a mutual decision but we hear chuck hagel was forced out. we'll see what the president himself has to say.
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he's expected to officially make the announcement at 11:10 a.m. eastern time. of course cnn will carry that live. in other news this morning, student leaders at the university of virginia are facing the media right now to address a rain scandal that's rocking their campus. all fraternities and sororities at the school have been suspended following an explosive report in "rolling stone" magazine. a student told the magazine she was gang rained by seven men at a frat house two years ago over a three-hour period. cnn's joe johns is in charlottesville. >> reporter: more protests over the weekend at the phi kappa psi fraternity house, the scene of an alleged gang rain of a female student alleged in a "rolling stone" magazine. no one has been charged in the incident which allegedly took
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place two years ago. the frat house was recent livan dahlized. uva's president took heat for her initial response that was called tepid by some but she did call on local police to investigate. then decisive action over the weekend including suspending activities of all uva's fraternities for the rest of the year. she showed outrage in a written statement. "rape is an abhorrent crime that has no place in the world, let alone on the campuses and grounds of our nation's colleges and universities." the school says last year 38 students went to the dean of students to talk about sexual assault allegations. nine filed complaints. no uva student has been expelled for sexual misconduct in the last decade. a friend of the accuser in the alleged gang rain tepe saying i welcome news. >> absolutely. and for as vulnerable as she's probably feeling, i'm sure she's
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also feeling very liberated. i know all survivors leer feeling almost that same feeling of, yes, finally, this is happening and this is big. >> reporter: it's not just a uva problem. 88 colleges and universities, including harvard and ohio state are under investigation by the u.s. department of education for the way they handle sexual assault allegations. one disturbing question -- >> all right, that was joe johns reporting. i'm sorry about that. before i get to you, mr. philbert, professor at oklahoma state and former professor at uva, the students are addressing the media on the campus of uva right now about the sexual assaults on campus and they want to make it clear it's not just a uva problem, it's a problem nationwide. let's listen. >> the amount of people that have reached out to us in the advocacy community who have not been involved before and have said "what can i do? how can i help? people who want to know how they can help in their daily lives
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and through other advocacy and activism outlets. how they can get involved in this issue. so that's been something that's very encouraging. >> there has been a bit of backlash, we've even seen it while we've been on campus people saying "they shouldn't be here" and posts online saying "this is hyperbolic, we don't believe this story." what has the reaction of the fraternities and do people believe it? did you believe it? >> absolutely. first and foremost i was inspired and really empowered by the fraternity community and my admiration that was shown to survivors who came forward with such a difficult story and to share in the such a public manner as to put this issue into the spotlight. one of the things that we talked about, this group behind me, because we've met quite frequently over the last year
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since we first were put into leadership in our organizations, one of the things that we talked about is that a lot of the students are really doing great work behind this and care deeply across organizations behind this. one of the issues that we've had is galvanizing individual change. so we want a collective community change and how we get that is by empowering every individual to get behind this issue and think about how they themselves can -- like ashley was saying, foster better environmentings for survivors. be promoters of bystander intervention to to prevent sexual violence from occurring. >> some of the allegations in this case are, quite frankly, shocking. and if this wasn't shocking enough to you to think maybe this isn't true, can you talk about how the culture at these frats has gotten to the point where this is a possibility?
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this is something you all seem to believe could happen at one of these part zbleez how has that happened. >> i think that when i first read "rolling stone," when i first heard about the article, it made me angry more than anything and it made me sad that this could happen in a community that we all value so highly. it was disorienting. but i think that what we're trying to do is harness this energy, harness this shock and this frustration into positive movement going forward, developing more sustainable and long-term actions. and i think brian said it really, really well in his statement. this story will fade from the news cycle in one two days but this story will not fade, this energy will not and cannot fade from uva from the students, from the administration moving forward. i think it's imperative that we harness it and make positive steps to eliminating problem of rape in our university community.
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the students at uva expressing their concerns over this article in "rolling stone." with me, john faubart, a former assistant dean at uva, now a professor at oklahoma state university. welco welcome, zblir thank you very much, carol. thank you for having me. >> the article in "rolling stone" was so chilling because the woman -- the article is about this woman named jackie, she was a freshman at uva, she had a date with an upper classman and a fraternity brother and it seemed so planned. the fraternity brother brought her to this fraternity party and then brought her up to a darkened room and she alleges seven men were in that darkened room and this person she had the date with was directing the action, so to speak. it's just -- it was such a chilling story and it's hard to believe that sort of thing goes on at fraternity houses, at uva. >> well, it goes on in
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fraternity houses at uva, but it also goes on at all the other 4, 500 colleges throughout the united states. i think this particular case, though, is an egregious one and, frankly, i don't find it too surprising. but when we put all of these t emphasis on one incident, one perpetrator, bill cosby or whomever, it takes us away from the issue that 5% of women on college campuses every year experience rain. one in four college women have experienced rain at sope in the lifetime. this is isn't a one campus issue, a one person issue. it's national. i'm pleased to hear so much coverage of the issue in general because that awareness can be a springboard to research-based prevention. >> i hope so. the president at uva suspended all fraternities. will that make a difference? >> from my own personal perspective, that's really an insult to the survivors of sexual violence at uva.
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what that does if you think about this time of year, that suspends their operations for the one week between thanksgiving and finals. so it looks likes a big move but in reality it says "don't have parties for a week." i really find it insulting. i think there needs to be much more serious change on this issue and it doesn't come with just shutting down for a week and, oh, by the way, over the holidays when no one else is around. >> also, the charlottesville police department is supposedly investigating this alleged gang rape that was detailed in the "rolling stone" article. uva is urging witnesses to come forward. does uva really think those witnesses will come forward? nobody knows where they are right now. >> well, i certainly don't know what uva thinks and whether they think the witnesses will come forward. but i think certainly with so many different women who have shared their stories of sexual violence that have happened in the recent past or the far past, they may be much more likely to
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come forward because there's a big barrier out there to reporting it all and that is that they won't be believed or it won't make a difference. well, it might this time. i can't say it will but we can certainly hope. >> one of the most disturbing revelations in my mind in that article, the victims' friends seemed clueless about what just happened her. she's standing there in a bloody dress, she's very upset and "rolling stone" is calling this woman "jackie." one of jackie's friends told her "she's going to be the girl who cried rain and we'll never be allowed into a frat party again." it's just, like, boggles the mind that that will be the respons response. >> it boggles the mind when you're thinking we live in a just world but unfortunately we don't and so those are common reactions of friends and that just points to why so many women and member who experience sexual violence don't report. and that really points to an opportunity for culture change and one of the things that we do
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with my nonprofit organization 1 in 4 is to apply research-based practices in order to prevent not only sexual violence from happening but galvanizing communitying to help encourage bystander intervention, better responses by friends after this has happened so we can work to solving this problem. john foubert, thank you so much for your insight. much appreciated? >> you're very welcome. >> i'll be right back. . hello... i'm an idaho potato farmer
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defense secretary chuck hagel stepping down. our sources say he's being forced out by president obama. president obama himself is going to talk about this 11:10 eastern time. let's talk about the decision the obama administration apparently made to force chuck hagel out of his cabinet position. joining me now, chris dickie, the foreign editor from the daily beast and david gergen, our political analyst. welcome to both of you. >> thank you. >> thank you. is that colonel reese, i thought it was going to be david gergen. colonel reese, welcome. is david gergen on the phone? >> yes, i'm here. >> david gergen is on the phone. that's why i was confused. chris, you're not so surprised by this. >> i don't think hagel was a very effective secretary of defense. i think he was brought in at a time when everybody thought the issues were going to be how to deal with sequestration,
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rearranging the army with less money. now we've got wars all over the place. all these things going on, reentry combat theater in afghanistan and i don't think hagel was the man to lead. i think really if you think about it when obama made that embarrassing remark about isis a few months ago where he says "we don't have a strategy" i think he was talking to chuck hagel and saying "why don't we have a strategy." >> david gergen, do you agree? most americans don't really love the president's foreign policy at this moment. >> i have a different perspective and that is i am shocked by not surprised. i'm not surprised in this sense that there's been continuous friction between the pentagon and this white house for a long period of time now especially in
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the war on isis and some of these recent crises. there's a distinct feeling at the pentagon that they're being micromanaged by the white house, the nsc staff, that they're being deluged for memos instead of being allowed to do their job. at the same time, in the white house, there's a lack of trust in the top military brass with some exceptions. the president has felt that way since way back when he decided to have a surge in afghanistan, he felt he got boxed in by some of the generals and there's not good blood between the two. what has shock med is i thought they were going try to hang in there and finish the term. i know hagel had been extremely frustrated and i'm sure they've been frustrated with him for some of the reasons chris just laid out but i thought he was going to hang in there for the final two years. so i'm shocked he's leaving. i'm not surprised given the underlying circumstances. >> lieutenant colonel reese is our cnn military analyst. colonel reese, how do you fix
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the problems david gergen just outlined? >> okay. i'll add dlaesz to you, chris dickie. how do you fix these problems? who can come in and take the reigns? whoever comes in they'll have a tough fight with confirmation, right? >> yeah. the confirmation fight which is going to be led on the republican side by john mccain, the new head of the arms services committee in the senate is going to be a really tough one no matter what. i think if president obama had his druthers he would probably name the first woman secretary of defense, michelle there are no know who is the number three at the pentagon in the first obama administration who is a strategic thinker. who is a policy planner who is all of those things that are needed in terms of crying to figure out a strategy to address these multiple wars that we're suddenly involved or revolved in. i think she would probably be a
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good choice and a lot of people are pointing toward her saying she will be the one who's named. whether she can get confirmed is another question. >> i was going to ask you. is john mccain hip to her? >> is john mccain, in fact, going try and pick the next secretary of defense? and knowing a little bit about john mccain i think he probably try to do that. >> colonel reese, do you have a name in mind who could possibly fix these problems between the white house and the joint chiefs and the pentagon? >> carol, let me go out on a limb here a little bit. today's world with this asymmetric threat, my concern is the old guard in the political side stays inside washington and they don't the foundational logic of what we're really fighting and trying to stabilize around the world. maybe this is the time we bring back a guy like general mcchrystal who has done this and has been very successful, understands these political
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ramifications also, even though he had t falling out with president obama he is a guy who is very well respected, understands the politics of it and it might be time to look at it from a perspective like this. i completely understand the civilian side with the policies and everything else but there's more than just policies with this and we need someone who can bridge the gap across all of the spectrum of these issues that are out there. and a guy like mcchrystal might be the guy. >> that's interesting, david gergen, because as you know general mcchrystal criticized the president and it ended up in a rolling stone argument. president obama essentially fired him. chuck hagel on the other hand has pushed back at the president. he's criticized the president's strategy in syria. is the president likely to hire back a guy who also criticizes him? >> i think that the -- in addition to michelle there are no know as chris brought up her
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name, there's ashton carter who is the deputy secretary of defense and he retired from that job or left that job and he's been under pressure to come back in the administration somewhere does the white house want somebody as strong as bob gates and somebody who can stand up to the various players there at the nsc and the oval office? that's important for a president to have somebody who's willing to say "i disagree." and work through. >> chris, a final we do you. president obama is going to come out and make the official announcement in just about 45 minutes to an hour. the country worried about this. they want strong leadership because there are a lot of balls in the air when it comes to the defense of our country. what must the president say to calm things down?
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>> the president has to do something he hasn't been terribly good at. he has to show leadership himself. he has to be convincing when he talks to the american people that this is a step forward and not a step further into confusion which is where we've been. what the president wants to know is what he wants to know from the pentagon, from the state department, from the cia is where are we going. he has a general idea, he doesn't want to occupy any more countries. he doesn't want to get involved in the kinds of wars we were involved in in the last decade but he doesn't know how to pursue those policies and move them forward. he's looking for somebody who can tell him. i am not sure ash carter can do that. maybe michelle flournoy can do that. if we talk about bringing back mcchrystal, maybe we should bring back david petraeus but i think, in fact, that's what we need right now a strong sense of the president's own leadership and we'll see in 45 minutes whether we get that. >> david, you were going to say
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that. >> the president is commander in chief. strategy is often determined at the white house level. it's up to the pentagon to carry out the strategy of the -- they're not supposed to be over there dreaming up the strategy. they can give up options but it's openly the president and this is the job of the nsc is to help to build strategy. ever since henry kissinger was there we've had presidents try to get national security advisors who were strategic in their thinking. i think the president needs to look at his own house as well as the pentagon. >> we'll discuss this a lot on cnn throughout the day. chris dickie, david gergen and colonel reese, thanks to all of you for your insight. i appreciate it. moving on now, he's the police officer at the sent over the -- actually, i have to take a break. i'll come back and talk about ferguson next.
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he is the police officer at the center of the controversial shooting in ferguson, missouri. in the 100 plus days since wilson's deadly encounter with michael brown he has largely been out of site. this weekend we got word that major news outlets -- including cnn -- are hoping officer wilson will come out of hiding and share his view of what happened with the public. that story brought to you first by brian stelter. >> reporter: some high-profile news anchors have met wilson. they've talked with him one on one in secret locations entirely off the record all in the hopes
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of landing his first television interview. now, because it was off the record, those anchors can't talk about the meetings and their networks can't even confirm the meetings happened but here are the anchor names i know with the caveat others may have met with wilson. matt lauer has met with him, abc's george stephanopoulos, cbs' scott pelley and anderson cooper and don lemon. >> interesting. joining me now from ferguson, dani dani danielishah and van jones. welcome, gentlemen. >> glad to be here. >> van, first to you, both anderson and lemon acknowledged their outreach saying it's journalistic procedure. anderson says wilson has declined his request but we heard from mike brown's attorneys and families numerous times. why is this sparking such a backlash? >> well, i think because he's
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such a controversial figure he has not been heard from, people want to see him. let's not forget, anderson cooper was here, don lemon was here the last time this was a big news issue, they were sweating through their shirts. now we're standing out here, it's freezing cold. you have literally 100 days, the seasons have reversed and we haven't heard from the officer, we don't have an answer from the grand jury. so people are just generally frustrated and people want answers from the officer, they haven't heard from him so that's why you see some of this backlash. >> dan, you're part of the ferguson commission. i just wondered, is that talked about? how officer wilson is going to -- at some point he's got to show his face, right? >> well, the ferguson commission is really concerned with much broader issues. we're taking this incident that happened in ferguson and looking at the entire area to see how we can make improvements not only in law enforcement but in
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economic conditions and education and so the ferguson commission will look at the entire landscape of this community. >> but in your mind, daniel, could -- go ahead, van, i'm sorry. >> listen, i was here before, i'm here again. you hear people on both sides of this controversy. they're just tired. the level of anxiety, the level of tension. you drive around the town. this should be the big shopping season. you don't see cars, you see buildings boarded up. people are very, very frustrated. and i think because you have some people who want to be defending the think as you go d day after day and people don't have answers, that's from where the frustration comes from and one of the great things about the ferguson commission is at least now people are talking, as you said, about the bigger issues, deeper issues. but until this officer comes forward and at least says his side of the story, until the grand jury finally says yes or no on the indictment, i think
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you'll have a continued level of frustration not just here but around the world. >> daniel, don't you think the people of ferguson need to hear from officer wilson, whatever the decision is from the grand jury? >> i think so. and i also think those of us who are in this business of public life and in this business of news, we understand a lot of times you have those pre-interviews, you have those outreaches, people trying to jockey for who will get that first interview. for us, business as usual. for other people, it adds to the sense of is there a conspiracy? what's going on behind the scenes? is he manipulating the process? you have a lot of anxiety, i think, that in the lack of having someone come forward, maybe apologize to the family, give their side, say something then it winds up being a situation where anyone who has had access is somehow suspicious to a lot of people. not fair to the journalists doing their jobs, but that's reality. >> daniel, do you agree with van? >> well, everyone here in st.
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louis is waiting for the decision to come out. we're hoping that the grand jury is doing their due diligence, they're reviewing all the information that's necessary. but it 1 a process and i know people are anxious and they're hoping that they get more information but we have to let the process play out. there is the possibility that there could be an indictment and if that's the case then there will be another process that goes forward and so the officer will have his day in court and so you would suspect that he would not give any statements with the possibility of a court case. >> daniel isom and van jones, thanks so much, i appreciate it. i'll be right back. android from, i can... order safety goggles. play music for seedlings. post science fair projects. schedule guinea pig feedings. video chemical reactions. take pics of mr. bones. time the next launch. calm down principal jones. i can do all that with my android from tracfone. 90-day plans start
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like aarp medicarecomplete. let's get you on the right path. call unitedhealthcare today. i'm carol costello. i'd like to welcome our viewers from around the world. more now on the breaking news of a major shakeup in the administration. defense secretary chuck hagel is stepping down. hagel is expected to join the president next hour in making that official announcement. hagel and the president have apparently been discussing his departure over the last several weeks. actually, we have representative peter king on the line right now, the republican from new york joining us. welcome, sir. >> carol, thank you very much. >> thank you for being here. first your reaction to the departure of chuck hagel. >> i'm not entirely surprised.
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it was becoming often over the last i'd say four to six weeks that there were differences between secretary hagel and the president regarding the use of ground troops, regarding what our policy should be against isis and i was struck by the defense secretary speaking publicly more at odds with the commander in chief than you would expect. so to me, again, it was not earth shattering, but it was pretty significant. you generally don't see that kind of a split of opinion and secretary hagel seems to me that he does not believe that the current policy is working or is going to work and he -- and that i think is part of it. also the fact that secretary hagel is not pleased with the sequestration that's going on. so with all of it i think that probably it was decided by the president and by secretary hagel that it was better for him to
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leave. i thought he did a better job than a lot of republicans thought he was going to do. i'm saying that, again, from a republican perspective. i think as secretary of defense secretary hagel, while i don't agree with a lot of the obama administration policies, i do believe secretary hagel tried to make them as effective as possible and i give him credit for that. >> what specifically does hagel's departure say about the president's foreign policy? >> i think it shows that the policy is confused. that they're still trying to find what the policy is. for instance, when president bush removed secretary rumsfeld, he had a -- he was going toward a surge. he was going toward a change in policy and also there had been a failure of confidence in secretary rumsfeld. fair or not, that was reality after three and a half years of the war in iraq.
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so president bush brought in a new secretary of defense, bob gates, with a new policy. right now i don't know what the new policy is going to be because i'm not even sure what the current policy is under president obama so i think that's -- it's going to be interesting to see if he's going to bring someone in who is in the wing of the obama -- >> who should he bring in, congressman zmiking? who should he bring in? >> i think general mcchrystal would be a real act of statesmanship by the president. whatever differences there were between president obama and senator mcchrystal in 2010, the fact is general mcchrystal was probably the most effective on-the-ground commander we had in iraq and afghanistan and he does have confidence from the military and i think it would also show that the president is willing to step out. that he's not going to be bound by past grievances. >> and i want to touch on the nomination process because nobody thinks that's going to be
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easy. in your mind, will there be cooperation? representative king, are you still there? oh, i think i lost him. you know, the technical gremlins are with me today so i'm going to bring in wolf blitzer right now. wolf, you heard what peter king had to say. general mcchrystal? do you think it's possible after general mcchrystal was essentially fired by the president after the article came out in "rolling stone"? >> i would be surprised if it were general mcchrystal. i think there will be serious confirmation hearings in the new senate and by all accounts john mccain is going to be the chairman of the senate arms services committee which will have to approve the nominee, whoever the nominee is. and there are a whole bunch of names already being floated out there. so general mcchrystal would be a huge, huge surprise given some of the history. but ashton carter, a former deputy secretary, number two secretary of defense michelle
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flournoy, undersecretary of defense number three or even senator jack reid, the democratic senator from rhode island, those names have been out there over the past hour or so since we got word that hagel was being pushed out. so it's going to be -- it will be a serious confirmation process and i suspect the new chairman of the senate arms services committee, if, in fact, it is john mccain when the republicans are in the majority they'll do a very serious job in making sure that that confirmation process goes smoothly. >> cnn political analyst -- actually, do we have jim acosta? he's at the white house, right? let's go to jim acosta at the white house. what might the president say, jim? >> well, no doubt about it, president obama has a lot of respect for chuck hagel. i think you'll hear glowing praise for the outgoing defense secretary but make no mistake, people inside the white house are uncomfortable with chuck hagel ever since he was confirmed. he had a rocky confirmation on capitol hill. that did not sit well with
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various officials inside the white house and chuck hagel from time to time had a gift for gaffe in the view of some people inside this white house. you'll recall over the summer when the defense secretary said that isis was way beyond anything we've ever seen before. that was in sharp contrast with president obama who had described isis and other like terrorist groups in the middle east as being sort of the jv team of al qaeda. so he wasn't always on the same page rhetorically as this administration. but the president does like chuck hagel, he has a lot of respect for him and we'll hear a lot about that coming up. we can tell you, carol, that we do expect the president to recommend a new secretary of defense in short order in the words of one senior administration official and as wolf just mentioned there are a few names already on the list. the former undersecretary of policy at the department, michelle flournoy. the former of defense deputy secretary ashton carter and jack reed, although a spokesman for
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senator reed has told cnn in the last several minutes that he wants to stay in the senate, he does not want this job. so that may narrow things down a bit. and we may be hearing something before the end of the week potentially if they're saying short order. i would imagine that might be coming soon. but carol, was chuck hagel forced out? barba barbara starr at the pentagon is hearing that. and it's interesting the way the white house is casting this. they say it's mutually agreeable but i talked to one president who said the president and defense secretary arrived at this decision together. we've seen other cabinet members who have tried to step down, like kathleen sebelius, like eric holder and the president said no, no, i want you to stay on. that appears to have not been the case with chuck hagel. >> jim acosta reporting live from from the white house. i want our analysts and reporters to stick around because i have to say good-bye. we'll have much more coverage in the next hour. thank you for joining me today. i'm carol costello. "@this hour with berman and michaela" after a break.
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i want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer reporting from washington. we're following breaking news out of washington right now. a key member of the president's administration is stepping down. we're talking about chuck hagel. he's leaving his post as the defense secretary of the united states. sources telling cnn hagel is being pushed out after less than two years on the job. the white house is insisting the decision is mutual. we're covering the story from all angles. our barbara starr has the latest information from the pentagon. jim acosta is joining us from the white house. our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto is joining us. he's in vienna, austria, right now covering the u.s./iranian nuclear talks. we're standing by for our chief international correspondent christiane amanpour. jim, you're working your sources over there. a lot of


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