tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN February 10, 2015 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
@wolfblitzer. join us tomorrow in "the situation room." you can watch us live or dvr the show so you won't miss a moment. thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room". breaking news. president obama vowing that isis will pay for the death of kayla mueller while defending his controversial policy of not paying ransom for hostages let's go outfront.
good evening. breaking news. new comments from president obama tonight. this is about the death of american hostage kayla mueller. they received the horrible news of their daughter's death in a private communication from her isis captors over the weekend. american intelligence officials later authenticated that message and confirm thad the 26-year-old aid worker was dead. late today president obama standing by a boil ofpolicy of not negotiating with deaths spoke about mourning the death of the first american woman held by isis. >> my immediate reaction is heartbreak. i've been in touch with the family. she was an outstanding young woman and a great spirit. i think that spirit will leave on. the more people learn about her the more they appreciate what she stood for and how it stands in contrast with the barbaric
organization that held her captive. i don't think it's accurate to say that the united states government hasn't done everything we could. we devoted enormous resources to freeing captives or hostages anywhere in the world. i deployed an entire oerms at significant risks. probably missed them by a day or two. the one thing we held to is a policy of not paying ransom with an organization like isil. once we start doing that not only are we financing their
slaughter of innocent people and strengthening their organization but we're making americans even greater targets for future kidnappings. >> jim acosta is at the white house. i thought that was a very genuine moment. he was adamant. he stands by that policy of not paying ransom. >> reporter: that's right. we should point out this policy is under review at the white house. that's something the president is not going to back off on. the president said during that interview with buzz feed that feeking ing speaking with the parents is as tough as anything he does. he is standing by the administration's policy of not paying for the release of hostage. we heard the concern from white house officials is they don't want to provide an incentive to isis or terrorist groups to take more hostages. those hostages and the financing of those releases from other
governments pay for isis operations and other operations of other terrorists groups. the president acknowledged that he did attempt that rescue mission last summer to free her and other hostages held inside syria. as the president said they were very close. they missed them by a day or two. >> think about how close that was with the lives that would have been saved. it's horrible to imagine how close. talking about 25 48 hours. this came on the same day as the president is getting ready to present congress with a long awaited request to authorize the use of military force against isis. this is big deal. this is 13 years since a request has gone in front of congress huge deal. there's a lot of concern about the details of this request. when it comes to the role of u.s. ground troops that's what this is all about. >> that's right. the president has been very cool to the idea of putting combat troops on the ground in iraq. what is president will be proposing does crack the door open to that.
i've been talking with sources familiar with this process of negotiating what's going to be in the authorization of force. we're hearing the white house will unveil tomorrow. it will get rid of the 2002 authorization for the war on iraq and replace it with a measure that will be isis specific. sources tell us the authorization will have no gee graphic boundaries. it will only last three years. that is where it gets interesting. the authorization will pribts something called quote, enduring of the offensive combat. it means the president can put boots on the ground but those cannot go on indefinitely. many democrats do not like that, but republicans may be able to live with it but the white house
will have to thread the needle on that. >> that's a crucial question. thank you very much. more breaking news. the chairman of the homeland security committee tonight warning that an unprecedented number of foreign fighters have going to syria and iraq to join isis. our chief national security kor correspondent is out front. >> reporter: the figure now more than 20,000 foreign fighters in iraq and syria. of that 20,000 more than 3400 believe to be coming from western countries of that 3400, about 150 from the u.s. who have gone or attempted to go. we're seeing a steady increase. teams to close that border isis is still managing to recruit. >> still managing to recruit. have you seen an uptick.
how up to date are these numbers numbers? have they seen an increase in recruiting since then? >> it's a direct correlation with the success on the ground. they know that. these figures are updated every month. they can't say this x number of figures came after the charlie"charlie hebdo" hebdo". these recruits are attracted by terrorism. the more they say, the more they want to join this group. >> thank you. these numbers are pretty stunning. when you think about in just one month it went from 19,000 to 20,000. you're looking at a very quick escalation in terms of number of people going. >> you have to draw a
correlation between what we've seen over the course of the last month and the number that we see in terms of isis population and engagement in syria and northern iraq. it has a tremendous appeal to those self-radicalized. they have been radicalized around the world, online. this becomes what they see what's happening in iraq and syria becomes a destination video. we've seen some successes in their eyes in terms of what took place in france and the correlation to that also is what has been happening in terms of successes on the ground. isis and there has been some set backs. there's an appeal to get involved. i think the emphasis is on these are self-radicalized folks that are out there. now have a place to go live this out.
>> buck in terms of what the president said today, in that message when he talked about the mueller family talked about the united states attempt to try to rescue her along with the other hostages, all the americans who have been beheaded. we don't know how kayla died, but the others were. he said enormous resources were spent. do you know how much was spent? >> they did everything they could. i believe the administration did everything they could. itd it seemed like the administration has a renewed seriousness about this now. they are saying they're not going to invade. there probably will be u.s. troops. there will be u.s. special forces and other elite, tip of the spear kind of troops that will be necessary to help our
iraqi allies. resources will become a lot larger in this fight against isis. >> general marx in terms of the attempted rescue which failed which was also for other american hostages, stephen sotloff, james foley. when the president says he won't pay ransoms, is he right? would they ever have taken that? would isis ever take money and give back an american? >> i would have to assume they wouldn't. we're trying to prove a negative here. we've not gone down this path. from all the reasons that have been described and the negatives against surrendering ransom money. there's no advantage to the united states to even test that. i think we need to put that to the side. >> you think the president is doing the right thing? >> yes. >> doing the right thing with
regard to? >> standing by the hostage policy and not entertaining the idea of ransom. >> the u.s. has negotiated with terrorists in the past. that's something people don't talk about. it's really more of a suggestion than a hard policy. we have done exchanges with north korea and hezbollah. they are holding to this policy but made exceptions in the past. the europeans are making exceptions because they are paying and getting their people released in some cases. >> even the letter that kayla wrote her message. will ground troops be required. the more and more i hear from arab sources they say yes, absolutely. off the record they are willing to say they're not going to put them in unless the united states
does. >> ground forces erin, are an absolute must if we're going to do what the president described which is destroy isis. if you want to contain isis if you want to degrade isis you can do it through air strikes. you'll need forces to destroy. >> that's been listed as a key part. degrade and destroy? next more breaking news because we are just learning a failed attempt to rescue kayla mueller, a specific one. someone posing as her husband. something specific went wrong. a suspect has been charged with the murder of uva student hannah graham. did he kill her and could he be a serial killer. brian williams can he will he ever return to his desk? more media news. we're just learning that jon stewart is going to leave the daily show. that's ahead.
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are different than the one the president of the united states just spoke about. the president talked about a raid last august that failed when they went to rescue kayla along with other american hostages. they missed them by a day or do. this has not ever been reported before. during one attempt a man arrived at the syrian terrorist camp where mueller was being held. he said he was her husband and demanded her release. she was not in on the plan and denied being married. >> reporter: kayla mueller's parents received word of their daughter's death in a message from isis. a message that included photos that confirmed the 26-year-old is dead. what is still not known is how she died. last today her aunt remembered
caring courageous young woman. >> kayla's calling was to help those suffering whether in her hometown or on the other side of the world. she has done more in her incredible 26 years than many people can ever imagine doing in their lifetime. >> reporter: while in captivity she sent a letter to her parents which they released today. it reads if you can say i have suffered at all throughout this whole experience social security only in knowing how much suffering i have put you all through. i'll never ask you to forgive me as i do not deserve forgiveness. she had worked with humanitarian groups in india, israel and the palestinian territories. she posted this in 2011. >> i reject the brutality and killing that the syrian authorities are committing against the syrian people. >> reporter: on august 3rd 2013 she entered syria. she travelled with a young man believed to be a syrian and
described as a colleague, boyfriend or fiance. he went there to fix the internet connection at a hospital. she joined him on a trip to a war zone off limits to americans. the two stayed overnight but the next day returning to turkey both were grabbed on the road. her family didn't hear from isis for nine months then in may 2014 their first message, proof that she was alive. two months later a ransom demand about $7 million or kayla would be killed. that deadline passed with no further word. in the letter to her parents she talks about how isis treated her. please know that i am in a safe location. completely unharm and healthy. put on weight in fact. i have been treated with the utmost respect and kindness. isis claims she was killed in this building by a jordanian air strike but a white house spokesman placed the blame
scarily onscare ly scare squarely on isis. >> there is the organization that was holding her. they were responsible for her safety and well being. therefore, they are responsible for her death. >> reporter: the president to spoke to her parents and sent condolences. he vowed to make sheer he would pursue those that had a hand in her death. he talked about the fact they will work to bring her body home so this community, her family can have closure and kayla can be surrounded by those who loved her as she rests. erin. >> thank you so much. ken bennett is the former secretary of state for arizona. he's been in close contact with the family since days after kayla was taken hostage. bob behr is a former cia operative. ken, i know you spoke with kayla's family a few hours ago.
you've spoken with them during this horrible ordeal as well. how did they sound today now that they've gotten the news their daughter is dead? >> her mom told me they are doing well. literally it's the first time i've heard in their voices, her dad or her mom a sense of peace i've not heard in their voices for over a year and a half. they sound and, her last words to me her mom, kayla's now free. i think they this will help begin to closure process but they're doing well she said. >> it's amazing that they are able to see this in -- see something beautiful in the horror they endured. >> you just heard the congressman who has talked to the family talking about other rescue attempts. one as the man posing as the husband trying to secure her release. do you think there were multiple
attempts to try to free her in addition to the failed raid the president spoke about? >> i think what we're dealing with her, we don't have the details, there's the failed raid, the special forces raid on that location and then you also had, she add a boyfriend, as i understand from these from the hostages she was held with a syrian who did try to get her out and there's some reports that these are from the other hostages that she converted to islam whether in turkey or captivity. i'm sure the syrian man had family connections or connections with the islamic state and it wouldn't surprise me that he tried to get her out but this is speculation at this point. >> it is. bob, kayla wrote a letter to her parents last spring. a letter that one of your pine hostages released from hostages they gave to kayla's parents. her parents released it today. this is a picture of the letter which, i read in her own
handwriting. it brings tears your eyes. one sentence says i'm in safe location, completely unharmed put on weight in fact. i have been treated with the upmost respect and kindness. isis had been cruel to other american hostages that were kept with kayla at one point, particularly james foley. some of the treatment include prolonged beatings mox executions repeated water boarding a teacup of food per day. no mattresses no blankets. is it possible she was being treated with kindness as a woman, as a young naive aid worker as opposed to the other americans? >> erin i think there's a good possibility. i've followed hostage taking in muslim countries for years. the hostage takers do tend to treat women differently. they wouldn't look at her, for instance. they recognized her as being
naive. a wonderful person. they could have treated her differently. they wouldn't look at her as an enemy combatant as they did the journalist. they wouldn't have looked at kayla that way as a christian. >> her family must pray that's the case and not something she only said because isis would read that letter before they allowed it to leave. obviously, she was taken captive in august 2013. her family got this letter this past spring. then they didn't hear much. i know just one communication saying give us money or else she will die. that was last summer. did they hold out hope until the very end that their daughter was alive? >> absolutely. i talked to the family friday night and saturday.
they were still talking in terms of believing and hoping she was alive and hoping that everybody else was thinking in that term as well. last night, which was unbelievable this a father upon getting the news that she was gone called me out of a courtesy and said we've lost kayla. something changed over the weekend because friday and saturday they were talking as though there was still hope. last night they called me and said she was gone. >> wonderful parents. they did hope until the very end. thanks very much to both you have. next lead suspect in the murder of the university of virginia student, hannah graham, today charged with first-degree murder. the prosecutor not seeking the death penalty. we'll tell you why. brian williams more bizarre stories from his past are surfacing. will he survive the calls to step down? after 18 years, this guy, we
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a county prosecutor announce announcing that jesse matthew is being charged on murder and abduction charges. hannah graham is the 18-year-old who disappeared back on september 13th. surveillance video captured matthew walking behind her the night she disappeared. that's the last video. there was no evidence about what happened after that. her body was later found near to jesse matthew's mother's home. >> reporter: it's been almost four months since the skeletal remains of hannah graham were found behind an abandoned home in virginia. today an indictment charging jesse matthew with first-degree
murder. >> the prosecution and abduction will bring mr. matthew to justice for these crimes. >> reporter: it was the largest missing person search in virginia history. >> it's about one thing and one thing only and that is finding hannah. >> reporter: surveillance cameras captured be 18-year-old the night she disappeared. desperate pleas from her parents captured the heart of the country. >> please please please help end this nightmare for all of us. >> reporter: it was the same surveillance video that led police to 33-year-old jess e matthew who grew up in charlotteville. eyewitnesss said they were seen at a local bar together shortly before she disappeared. as investigators zeroed in on
matthew as a suspect, matthew fled. police finding him nearly 1300 miles away on a beach near galveston, texas. he initially charged with the abduction of graham was soon linked to another unsoevered crime in virginia. he was charged in a 2005 case in attempted capital murder and sexual assault in fairfax county. the alleged victim survived. he's pleaded not guilty. dna from that case is linked to the 2009 murder of morgan harrington. a virginia tech coed who went missing after attending a concert at uva. her remains were found 2010 just miles from where graham was found. he's not been charged with the murder. >> the case involving hannah graham was ready to be charged first. >> reporter: the attorney for jesse matthew sent me a statement earlier today.
he said that last night, late yesterday he did get the indictments that were announce today. he has no further comment on the the charges. in regard to the death penalty it was brought up. he's not being charged with capital murder. virginia is a death penalty state. it was explained it was a very thoughtful decision on their part. they really looked at this case. they assessed and talked to the family. they looked at the right of the defendant in this case to a fair trial. erin. >> thank you very much. our senior legal analyst. you just heard jean say the prosecutor not seeking the death penalty at this time. that could change. why would they be doing that because they think he could be linked to these other murders and needed leverage? >> i think that's right. it's interesting that jean's
reporting that this was a thoughtful decision. prosecutors often time sort of hand this sort of death penalty threat almost as leverage. if he is connected to all of these other crimes you would have to have some jurisdictional cooperation but you may say to somebody listen you plead guilty to all of this and we're going to take the death penalty off the table. if you don't plead guilty this may become a death penalty case. that's not usualnusual. sounds like they are not there yet. >> there are other cases this has been linked to. linked to a number of other cases. the 2009 murder of two other virginia tech students another 23-year-old woman, a 19-year-old. those are the ones we know of at this time that could be linked. the you think they are using the death penalty to try to get leverage here?
>> i don't think so at this point. this legal and forensic investigation is at a fairly early stage. there's a lot for these prosecutors to figure out. also it's the most liberal part of virginia. it's not case where death penalty penalty cases have happened in many, many years. the death penalty is down all over the country. prosecutors are asking for it less. jurors are opposing it less and executions are down. the death penalty is not fallen off the table but it is certainly less of a tool than it used to be. the important point is this guy isn't going anywhere ever. >> let's get to that point. here is what we know. i want to know if whether you think they have enough evidence. you have her remains found close to a home where matthew once lived. surveillance video of him following her but then after that point they don't have anything. after this happened he did flee
vairginia virginia. they found him in texas. he ran away when they were looking for him. he is linked to another assault, a killing. when you put all that together is this a slam dunk case? >> it certainly isn't with what you've just outlined. this is still an active investigation as they always are. i don't know that we know everything about this case. i don't know that we know about all of the forensic evidence that may link him to this crime. what i will say is when you have a case where the remains have been outside in the elements for a very long time much like the casey anthony case it's very difficult to get forensics oftentimes from those remains. without that i do think it could be a difficult case and perhaps that went into why this isn't a death penalty case. if they think this is a difficult case to prove, first-degree murder, then it doesn't become a capital murder
case. there's no confession here as far as i know. you have no confession. we don't know about the forensic and remains outside in the elements for a long time. slam dunk case no way. >> we also have some breaking news in the case of a new york city police officer. he says he accidental shot and killed an unarmed black man in the stairwell of a housing project. this was back in november. the grand jury has been indicted in the death of that young man. we don't know the charges but again, he was indicted. this police officer in the killing of this young man here this unarmed black man in the stairwell. how significant is this? obviously, i guess put the question to you this way. if he had not been indicted would this case become a big national case to talk about? >> you bet. it would have been eric garner times ten because this does seem to be a very questionable shooting. it took place just as the eric garner situation was playing
itself out in new york. the district attorney in brooklyn is very different than the district attorney in staten island. he's been very aggressive against police misconduct. it would have been a big surprise if this case was not indicted. obviously we don't know what a trial jury will do. >> we don't flow the full charges, but we do know an indictment. thanks so much to you. jon stewart is leaving. he's stepping down. next when? why? this bombshell just dropped. brian williams. is there any way nbc and williams can recover? new developments in the aaron hernandez murder trial. the judge rules his fiancee can testify against him. will she turn on the father of her child who has 40 million dollar in the bank.
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nbc's internal investigation into williams as speculation continues over how long he'll stay away from the anchor chair. it's been six days since he apologized on air with a fab ri kats indicated story about being on a u.s. military helicopter in iraq. our senior media correspondent, host of reliable source and a washington post media critic. good to have you both with us. internal media investigation. this includes people who in their day jobs are rewarded with stories to brian williams to get onto his program. is this a real investigation? will the conclusions be the same as an external investigation? >> there's still doubts. the man in charge is not known for whitewashing. he digs and digs. kate snow is a part of the investigation as well. it seems like nbc is taking this
very seriously. >> when cbs news looked into dan rather's report. they had an independent external investigation. it was conducted by former attorney general. you didn't get better credentials of that. i guess the question is on some level is nbc news diminishing the brand of nbc news by investigating it this way? >> well i think so. there's no way it can be a serious as on outside investigation. commission the columbia journalist school to look at its work. you can't be in a good position. if you go too hard on williams perhaps you get shunted off of nbc nightly news. you went get as much air time. if you don't go hard enough you'll be derided as a shil.
is he going to get a peabody award or some great award for investigateing the story about his own anchor? no. >> to eric's point, there's this particular instance that everybody knows about but there's other instances that's been raised. his reporting against katrina. stories he might have told about christmas trees. whatever that might be out there. if you're the nbc news internal investigation the question is how far do you go? if you don't go far enough you're criticize and lampooned externally. >> some of these questions may be farfetched. this depose all the way to the top of nbc. they are reviewing this investigation as it goes forward. they reviewed it last night. there's another meeting at nbc about this. this consumed the entire news division and it's up to the head of comcast.
the owner of nbc. brian roberts will make the call on whether brian williams stays or goes or a suspension. >> there is such a thing being talked about. i have to ask each of you about the other breaking news which made my jaw drop. jon stewart is going. >> he's signing off. >> later this year. >> this is not over some sort of scandal. this is jon stewart saying -- >> he's been talking b about it for a while. now it's happening. i'm told it's unclear when this year. he may want to leave this summer. comedy central might want him to stay until fall. that's still in negotiations. >> what do you think? >> i think cable news anchors everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief. how do you feel about it? >> i mean that's right. it's like i love him except for when you're the subject of it. >> he really does. he's a great media critic even when it's painful.
>> how many segments can you do on fox news and cnn hall nrks nrksnn holograms. i think he's ran his course. >> thanks so much to both. next aaron hernandez, the former football star on trial for murder. prosecutors say his fiancee seen on video putting a gun in a garbage bag and leaving the house. what will she say on the stand. you can have man's best robotic friend. them in your body? even if you're treating your crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis an occasional flare may be a sign of damaging inflammation. and if you ignore the signs, the more debilitating your symptoms could become. learn more about the role damaging inflammation may be playing in your symptoms with the expert advice tool at crohnsandcolitis.com. and then speak with your gastroenterologist.
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all right. breaking news. we have just confirmed from nbc news that brian williams has been suspended as managing editor and network for six months not receiving pay. just receiving from nbc nightly news. suspension without pay, effective immediately. debra turnes said we let brian know of the decision earlier today. lester holt will continue. i have to read something crucial. the memo says while on nightly news friday january 30th misrepresented events occurred while covering the iraq war in 2003. this then i think is the crucial sentence. it then became clear that on other occasions brian had done the same thing while telling that story in other venues that
was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in brian's position. in addition, comments outside of nbc news while brian was talking about his experience in the field. this then continues to go on about what they're going to do but let me give this back to you. the memo literally reading off the iphone. >> we were talking before the break about the meeting inside nbc, the staff told around 7:30 and then announced around 7:45 and frankly, six months is about as severe a suspension you can possibly hand over. we know that this morning, brian williams met with the ceo of nbc universal, steve burke, a few blocks from here in manhattan. don't know what was talked about but clearly this was arranged in the meeting. >> the question what's the benefit? brian williams takes a big hit and lester a fill-in. how could he grow? nbc news with this over his head. what does a six month suspension do for anybody? >> clears the air, perhaps.
lets the storm clear and lets nbc figure out in six months from now whether brian williams can return. i don't think we can assume he'll be back in six months. >> of course suspended without pay, at least $5 million that brian williams will not receive during the six month suspension. breaking news coverage continues and next aaron hernandez, the former football star on trial. the latest on what could be the lynch pin testimony in this case. ugh... ...heartburn. did someone say burn? try alka seltzer reliefchews. they work just as fast and are proven to taste better than tums smoothies assorted fruit. mmm... amazing. yeah, i get that a lot. alka seltzer heartburn reliefchews. enjoy the relief.
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a bombshell development in the murder case of former new england patriot aaron hernandez. his fiance has just been granted immunity to testify against him. susan candiotti is outfront in fall river, massachusetts. >> reporter: every time she comes to court, shayanna jenkins sits behind her fiance on trial for murder. in earlier hearings and even now, aaron hernandez mouths i love you to her. how will her love show now that she's been granted immunity forcing her to testify as a prosecution witness against him. >> she's a fiance. normally a fiance is not going to testify adversely against her true love. so the very fact that she gets on the witness stand and provides evidence that may prove hernandez to be a murderer is highly unusual. >> reporter: will her testimony
hurt or help him? the former patriot tight end is accused of driving odin lloyd to an industrial park and orchestrating his execution in june 2013. lloyd was shot six times in the back and front. jenkins is suspected of ditching the 45 caliber murder weapon used to kill lloyd who was dating her sister. the day after his death, authorities say hernandez sends his fiance a coded message. going back in the screen and movie room when you get home and there's a box just in case you were looking for it. remember how you ruined the big tv? i was just thinking about that lol, wink wink love you. talk to you later, k? prosecutors say jenkins is on video before putting the gun behind the black trash bag and getting rid of the bag but not where. she's pleaded guilty to lying
before a grand jury. if she sticks to that story -- >> the very fact she tells the story about, oh, i picked up a garbage bag, oh by the way, don't remember where i jumped it and the bag prosecutors say has the murder weapon in it i think she's going to look part of the murder conspiracy and it's going to hurt the hernandez case. >> reporter: the defense is demanding to know what prosecutors might have promised her in return for immunity. but for now, there's no way of knowing what she'll say when she takes the stand. and legal experts say that granting her immunity really forces her, compels her to testify meaning she cannot take the fifth against self-incrimination. depending on what she says, her cross examination by defense should be interesting with aaron in front of her. no date yet, erin for when expected to take the stand. >> i'm fascinated by this.
he mouths back saying i love you hoping it will get her to say. this is fascinating. thank you so much. dvr the show every night and "ac360" starts right now. good evening. thanks for joining us. from the daily show to the nightly news there is breaking news up and down the television dial tonight. late word just breaking now that brian williams will be suspended for six months without pay. in a shocker on john stewart, he is stepping down from his popular nightly show. the williams news directly from nbc, a statement coming as i said just moments ago. quote, we have decided today to us suspend brian williams for six months. the suspension will be without pay and is effective immediately. we'll have a lot more on that shortly. is it really just a six month suspension or perhaps lead to him actually being terminated? we'll talk ahead. but we begin with other breaking news. the