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THE SITUATION ROOM
Netanyahu Addresses Congress; Interview With Washington Congressman Adam Smith; Evidence of Racism in Ferguson?; Lawyer: Snowden Ready to Return to U.S.; Petraeus Pleads Guilty to Federal Charge; Obama Slams Israeli Leader's Iran Speech to Congress; Feds: Ferguson Police Targeted African-Americans for Years
Aired March 3, 2015 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Evidence of racism. The U.S. Justice Department is about to reveal bombshell findings against the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department months after violence clashes in the streets.
And e-mail uproar. Did Hillary Clinton break the law or endanger national security by using her private account to e-mail sensitive information while she was serving as secretary of state?
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following major breaking stories tonight. New evidence from the Justice Department of racial bias by the police in Ferguson, Missouri, the city that reignited the national debate about police tactics and violence.
CNN has learned details of a federal investigation finding a pattern and practice of discrimination against African-Americans. Stand by for details.
Also breaking, President Obama is dismissing fierce criticism by the Israeli prime minister, saying there was nothing new in Benjamin Netanyahu's provocative speech before the U.S. Congress about the dangers of a nuclear deal with Iran.
If you thought U.S.-Israeli relations had sunk to a new low, they are even worse right now.
We're covering all of the breaking news with our correspondents and analysts in the United States and around the world.
First, let's get the very latest from CNN's global affairs correspondent, Elise Labott -- Elise.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, he opened with glowing praise for President Obama, but it wasn't long before Prime Minister Netanyahu began a blistering critique that has the White House fuming.
LABOTT (voice-over): He made a grand entrance usually reserved for American presidents. And then the Israeli prime minister delivered a blistering assault on President Obama's Iran policy and his attempt to strike a nuclear deal with Iran.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We've been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. This is a bad deal. It's a very bad deal. We're better off without it.
LABOTT: Tonight, President Obama is firing back.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Prime Minister Netanyahu has not offered any kind of viable alternative that would achieve the same verifiable mechanism to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.
LABOTT: There were a series of standing ovations, but some icy glares, as Netanyahu painted a picture of a militant Iranian regime extending its reach throughout the Middle East with what he calls Iran's tentacles of terror.
NETANYAHU: So, at a time when many hope that Iran will join the community of nations, Iran is busy gobbling up the nations.
LABOTT: With Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva meeting with Iran's foreign minister to hammer out the very deal he was criticizing, the prime minister portrayed the Obama administration as weak negotiators.
NETANYAHU: this deal has two major concessions, one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program, and, two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That's why this deal is so bad. It doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb. It paves Iran's path to the bomb.
LABOTT: Netanyahu portrayed the White House as naive to think it can work with Iran the U.S. to defeat ISIS.
NETANYAHU: When it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.
LABOTT: President Obama said he has no illusions about the Iranian regime, but he's focused on the more serious Iranian threat.
OBAMA: It's not whether Iran engages in destabilizing activities. Everybody agrees with that. The central question is, how can we stop them from getting a nuclear weapon?
LABOTT: And the prime minister warned the deal on the table would spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, turning an already dangerous region into a nuclear tinderbox. He said it's a nightmare waiting to happen -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Strong words on both sides. Elise, thank you.
Iran is accusing Prime Minister Netanyahu of telling lies to U.S. lawmakers about its nuclear program.
Let's go to our chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto. He's joining us live from Switzerland. He is covering Secretary of State John Kerry's nuclear negotiations with the Iranians.
Did the prime minister's speech, Jim, have any impact, as far as you can tell, on these talks?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: The short answer is no and you could see that in the blistering schedule and pace of negotiations that continued today, three two-hour-long meetings, five over the course of the past 24 hours.
And we took with note that that final meeting today, it started about a half-hour before the Israeli prime minister spoke and ended a good half-hour later. So when asked, State Department officials, if there was any effect or if the secretary of state watched or listened to the speech at Congress, they said, no, he was too busy conducting the talks here.
That's the singular message, that the president has in effect disregarded the prime minister's advice and given his instructions to the secretary of state to continue the negotiations here aggressively to try to find a deal.
BLITZER: Where does the deal now stand, Jim?
SCIUTTO: Hard to tell you, Wolf. As for all of the effort they are making today, and the Iranian foreign minister told us today that there's a seriousness of purpose in reaching an agreement, but when you look at the outstanding issues, a couple of them in public, one, Iran still hasn't fessed up to its past weaponization efforts -- that's required for a final deal -- they haven't done it.
Two, Iran has a very different schedule of sanctions relief than the U.S. does. They want it immediately at the start of a deal. The U.S. and the West want it to be meted out over time to confirm that Iran is continuing to comply and that's before you get to the very difficult array of restrictions that would be put on Iran's program, limiting the number of centrifuges, limiting the kind of R&D that Iran can do on more advanced centrifuges, accounting for the enriched uranium that Iran has in the country, shipping it out of the country, most likely to Russia, for conversion to fuel that can only be used in research or power reactors, not for weapons.
All of that has been described to me like a Rubik's Cube, it's so complicated. And so there are still many open questions on that. When you group that all together, you look at three weeks to a framework deal, that's the deadline. They have their work cut out for them in coming to that agreement.
BLITZER: They certainly do. All right, thanks very much, Jim Sciutto, in Israel tonight.
Benjamin Netanyahu's main political opponent in the upcoming elections two weeks from today says the prime minister's speech greatly undermined the relationship between Israel and the United States. That's a direct quote.
Our CNN anchor, Kate Bolduan, is joining us now live from Jerusalem with more reaction.
Kate, let's not forget, two weeks from today, the Israelis go to the polls.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: You're absolutely right, Wolf.
And that's kind of something you need to remember throughout all of this when you talk about what was the reaction here in Israel to the prime minister's speech. All of the networks covered it. Everyone watched with great interest here in Israel to hear what the prime minister said, what the message to the Congress, especially how it was received.
The reaction we saw is split. Generally speaking, almost everyone said the prime minister gave a good speech in terms of delivery. As you well, he's well known for doing just that. But beyond that, Wolf, that is where the divide is on opinion, especially when it comes to what impact the speech will have on the key issue of the Iran nuclear negotiations. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANNY DANON, FORMER ISRAELI DEPUTY DEFENSE MINISTER: I'm very proud of our prime minister who came and said exactly what we feel. It is a bad deal.
ISAAC HERZOG, ISRAELI OPPOSITION LEADER (through translator): There is no doubt that Prime Minister Netanyahu knows how to make good speeches. But let's face the truth. That speech we heard earlier this evening, as impressive as it may be, did not prevent the Iranian nuclear program. It will also have no impact on the agreement that is being formed nor on the schedule.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Now, that right there is Isaac Herzog. That is the man locked in a tight race right now with Benjamin Netanyahu in that election that you mentioned, Wolf, just two weeks from now.
And that election, you did hear a lot of folks talking about that they believe that maybe not the sole motivation for the speech, but they believe there was a large part of that speech being motivated as an attempt to woo voters back here at home to make it out to the polls in support of Netanyahu.
That's what many commentators were saying, that they very much are looking forward to seeing what the full -- the surveys are over the next couple days as they surveillance voters to see where they stand, to see how the message was received back here in Israel -- Wolf.
BLITZER: We will see if he gets a bump in the polls, the prime minister, because going into this speech, it was very, very close and there was a lot of speculation he could be in trouble, might not get himself reelected. Might get a little bump.
But they are really concerned, also, aren't they, Kate, about U.S./Israeli relations right now? They are worried that the prime minister may have hurt that relationship.
When you look at the headlines in all of the papers, you saw the headline coming from the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, in what she said in her reaction to the speech and that she said it insulted the intelligence of the American people.
You saw especially the headline coming from President Obama and saying that there was nothing new coming out of the prime minister's speech. How this is received in America, not just within the halls of Congress, because many noted how many standing ovations the prime minister received and the tears that he received in the House chamber, but what damage it does, if any long-lasting damage it has, on the relationship between the United States and Israel.
And that's something that you just don't know right now. That's going to be an important question. They are going to hear from Israeli voters and Israeli voters over the next days, Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes. All right, thanks very much, Kate Bolduan in Jerusalem.
While we heard the applause, even the cheers inside the House chamber today, Some Democrats were visibly disturbed by the prime minister's fierce criticism of President Obama's policies towards the Iran nuclear negotiations.
The House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, said she was almost in tears. More than 50 other Democrats actually boycotted the speech altogether.
Let's bring in our chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash. She is getting more reaction -- Dana.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf.
We have been reporting so much on the fact that so many Democrats boycotted the speech from the leader of one of this country's biggest allies, but it turns out that the leader of the Democratic Party in the House that actually went, her reaction spoke more volumes than the empty chairs, because she was so visibly agitated and annoyed when she was listening to the prime minister. You see there she even looked around at her colleagues, like, are
you kidding me when they stood up to applaud several times? Afterwards, she said that she was near tears because she felt that he was insulting the intelligence of the American people. And then she spoke to us afterwards. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I was near tears because I love Israel very much.
I value the importance of the relationship between Israel and the United States. The United States of America has, as one of the pillars of its national security and its foreign policy, to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. And that's what we do. And that's what the president is doing in the negotiations.
And if the deal isn't good enough, we won't accept it. I don't think we needed any lectures on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: She's not alone in feeling that way, that the prime minister was out of line, effectively, coming into their house and giving them a lecture.
Now, on the flip side, of course, you did see all those applause because many of those Republicans, a lot of those Republicans think that he did the right thing. That's why he was invited in the first place, because they think the Democratic president is going down the wrong path with these talks and they needed, wanted America's closest ally in the Middle East to come and explain why that was so important to do.
BLITZER: Dana, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, he already made a move to try to stop this Iran deal. What are you hearing?
BASH: Almost immediately after the speech was over, the Senate majority went to the Senate floor and made clear that he, as soon as next week, is going to allow a bill to come up, this -- it's a bipartisan bill -- to have Congress' imprint on any deal that does go down by the end of the month with Iran and the allies.
Right now, Congress doesn't really have an official role, but this is effectively putting Congress in the mix, saying that this bill would say that Congress would debate it and would either decide to vote it -- to approve it or even potentially to vote it down.
And there is bipartisan support for this. There is probably going to be a freeze on that legislation until after the deal is done, if it does get done at the end of the month, but after that it is possible that the Congress could tie the president's hands in a bipartisan way.
BLITZER: All right, we will see what happens. Dana, thank you. Let's get more insight right now. Joining us, a key member of
the House of Representatives, Democrat, Democratic Congressman Adam Smith. He's the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.
Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.
We know about 50 of your Democratic colleagues decided to boycott the speech. You didn't attend. Tell us why you decided not to listen to the prime minister.
REP. ADAM SMITH (D), WASHINGTON: Well, I listened to him.
I decided not to attend because I had hip surgery not long ago, and I have got back problems. And sitting for an extended period of time is not good for me. But I sat in a very comfortable chair in my office and watched the speech. So I did, did watch the speech. I just didn't go for health reasons, basically.
BLITZER: So you didn't want to make a statement, like your colleagues who decided to boycott? You went -- you didn't go for other reasons.
BLITZER: What is your reaction? What did you think of the speech?
SMITH: Well, first of all, I think the most important thing is the strong relationship between America and Israel.
And both the speaker's just unfathomable decision to invite Mr. Netanyahu here without telling the president, as clearly a partisan move, the efforts to boycott, all that gets in the way of the fact that we have a very strong relationship between America and Israel that we need to fight to protect.
I think the prime minister, Mr. Netanyahu, is wrong about several of the key aspects and what is being negotiated. But we will know that once the deal gets there, I mean if the deal gets there. As President Obama has pointed out, Iran's hard-liners are very reluctant to cut any deal with us. And it's quite likely that Iran will walk away from the table.
So I think the prime minister prejudged what is in the agreement. And we all need to wait and see, and then we can decide whether or not it's a good agreement.
BLITZER: What specifically -- where do you specifically disagree with the prime minister?
SMITH: Well, specifically, when he says that all sanctions will be lifted from Iran, well, it's not true.
We have sanctions on Iran for a variety of reasons, nuclear program one of them, but also as a state sponsor of terror, also because of a variety of other actions that they have taken. Those sanctions are not going to be lifted.
We are not in any way offering to lift all sanctions on Iran now or 10 years from now. So to say that, well, gosh, if we do this, we lift all sanctions, we lose our leverage, that is just flat wrong.
Second, I don't think anyone has decided that after 10 years everything is fine. We don't know what the timeline is for this agreement, but we will continue after that timeline expires to insist on inspectors. So, I think there are some key facts that he's just not -- he's not correct on at this point.
And, like I said, let's wait and see what the agreement is. And if it's a bad agreement, I will be first in line to reject it. But prejudging it does not seem fair.
BLITZER: And let's see if there is an agreement at all, because you're right. Even if there's an agreement that is negotiated there, the ayatollah may decide he doesn't like it and that ends it right there.
Congressman, stand by. We have much more to discuss. We're going to continue the breaking news coverage right after this.
BLITZER: We're back with Democratic Congressman Adam Smith.
We're talking about the breaking news, President Obama firing back at the Israeli prime minister after he, Prime Minister Netanyahu, blasted the administration's efforts to strike a nuclear deal with Iran.
Based on everything you know, Congressman -- you're the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee -- can the U.S. really trust Iran to implement this kind of a deal?
SMITH: Well, look, we cannot trust Iran. That's obvious, and that's clear.
There has to be inspectors. There has to be, in the words of Ronald Reagan, trust, but verify. Unless there are verifiable inspectors in Iran that can check and make sure that they are complying with the agreement, absolutely, there's no way we should trust Iran on this.
But the other interesting thing is, so what's plan B? So, we walk away from negotiations. And I actually -- I agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu. The best choice would be for Iran to discontinue their nuclear program. And if they want to have peaceful nuclear power, have their uranium enriched by some other country and shipped to them. That would be the best choice.
Iran refuses to do that. So then the question is, do we simply walk away from the negotiations? And if we walk away from the negotiations, what do our partners do? What does Russia and China and Europe do? Do they stick to the sanctions regime with Iran, or does it begin to unravel, and what does Iran do?
If Iran knows there's no way out from under the sanctions, isn't that an incentive to just go ahead and build the bomb, if they have got nothing to lose? So, I think this is a difficult situation. And if we can get an agreement that limits Iran's nuclear program to the point where we can be confident they will not develop a weapon, it may not be perfect, but I think that is certainly something we should pursue.
And, again, we will see what the actual text of the agreement is. But that goal, I think, is worth pursuing.
BLITZER: If there is an agreement. That's a key if, as we all know.
BLITZER: Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House, she issued a very tough statement, saying the Netanyahu speech, in her words, was an insult to the intelligence of the United States. She said she was saddened by the condescension towards the U.S. by the speech.
You agree with her?
SMITH: Well, I wouldn't use those exact words.
But, again, we have a very strong relationship between Israel and the United States. And Netanyahu basically said we're negotiating like a bunch of idiots. And, yes, that's a tough blow to take to maintain that relationship.
But, understand, this is an existential threat to Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu has every reason to be deeply concerned and express those concerns. Again, I disagree with them. And I don't believe that the United States would negotiate a bad deal and accept a bad deal. And we're prejudging it all.
Let's see what the deal is and determine whether or not it makes sense. But I will again say that the hope that somehow Iran walks away completely from their nuclear development program on even a peaceful enrichment for energy purposes, Iran has said that's a nonstarter.
If we insist on that, the negotiations break down, our partners walk away, and, like I said, arguably, the sanctions regime breaks down, because it's very dependent upon Russia and China and Europe sticking with us. If they start doing business with Iran, then that undercuts the sanctions regime.
BLITZER: All right, Adam Smith is the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee.
Congressman, thanks very much for joining us.
SMITH: Thanks, Wolf. I appreciate the chance. BLITZER: Thank you.
Just ahead: The infamous NSA leaker and fugitive, Edward Snowden, apparently ready to return home from Russia. Would the U.S. agree to some kind of deal with him?
And the breaking news we're following on the Justice Department's investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri, police force. We're going to tell you what we're learning about the targeting of African-Americans and what federal officials would do with the evidence.
BLITZER: We're following what could be the beginning of a new and dramatic chapter in the case of Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked thousands of classified government documents.
His lawyer now says he's ready to return to the United States from Russia and he's trying to negotiate terms for a trial.
Let's dig deeper with David Ignatius, the columnist and associate editor of "The Washington Post"; our CNN counterterrorism analyst Philip Mudd; and the former speaker of the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich.
Phil Mudd, what do you think should happen to Snowden? His lawyers are asking for a trial, saying that potentially could mean maybe he wouldn't necessarily have to go face charges of espionage, for example.
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I don't buy this. Look, one of the most prolific leakers of our time is trying to say he gets to negotiate the terms of the trial. In this country, you are guaranteed the right to a fair and speedy trial by a jury of your peers. I don't understand why somebody who was one of the most remarkable leakers we've ever seen gets to flee overseas and then talk to the Department of Justice about what he wants from his trial.
Come home, son, and spend your 30 years in jail. He's cooked.
BLITZER: What do you think, David Ignatius?
DAVID IGNATIUS, COLUMNIST/ASSOCIATE EDITOR, "THE WASHINGTON POST": We have plea negotiations all the time between people who are investigated, and this is a plea negotiation. It's been going on informally for a year or so. I think it must be very difficult to be Edward Snowden living in the Moscow of Vladimir Putin at a time when Putin's opposition is being murdered in the streets. So I can't help but think that Snowden wants out. And the fact he's willing to negotiate, which he's said before he wouldn't do, is interesting.
BLITZER: What do you think here, Mr. Speaker? He could spend the rest of his life in Moscow. It might be chilly there in the winter, but it's better, presumably, than jail? NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, look, I
think we can find a way to get him home and get the rest of the documents that he's not yet leaked and work out some kind of reasonable agreement, it's worth doing. But I think he would have to serve jail time, and it will probably be fairly lengthy. I don't think the country would tolerate this level of betrayal not having some very significant...
BLITZER: Jeffrey, what do you think?
GINGRICH: Well, I'm not an expert on this, but I would say more than ten years.
BLITZER: More than ten.
GINGRICH: That would be my guess.
BLITZER: Some people say 30 or 40.
IGNATIUS: I wouldn't guess about the length. And I'm sure that the recommendation the prosecutors make is going to be part of this bargain.
You do have to remember that a lot of Americans think that Snowden did the country a service in these leaks. And that's going to be a tough issue for the Justice Department.
BLITZER: Let's move on and talk about General David Petraeus. Phil Mudd, as you know, he pleaded guilty to one federal charge of removing and retaining classified information as part of a plea deal, a misdemeanor, if you will. They're going to recommend no jail time for him, I think a $40,000 fine.
The classified information included the identity of some covert officer's war strategy notes from national security meetings. Some are already saying there's a double standard here. One standard for him, a four-star general; other standard for others who've violated classified information.
MUDD: I don't buy that for a heartbeat. Look, find me something that the general told people that reached the public domain and that damaged national security. I don't think it's there. This is not the story of a leak, and it's not the story of a trial. This is a story of an American tragedy.
This guy is a legendary general. He designed counterinsurgency policy for Afghanistan and Iraq, remarkably successful. I think the penalty meets the crime. And I'd go a step further. We should see redemption in this case. This guy, like it or not, is an American hero who made a tragic mistake. There's no comparison between the cases.
BLITZER: That information was violated, he acknowledges now, with his girlfriend. What do you think, Mr. Speaker?
GINGRICH: Well, I think, look, I think it's -- I don't know all -- what all he did, but I do think it sets a bad precedent. I think that...
BLITZER: What sets a bad precedent?
GINGRICH: I think having only this kind of a fine. You know, you look at what people like Scooter Libby went through. You look at what we do to a lot of other people.
Again, on the other hand, General Petraeus has dedicated his entire life to the country and has done a remarkable job, literally 365 days a year for a very long time.
BLITZER: So one standard, David, for war heroes, another standard for lesser officials? Is that what you're saying -- what I'm hearing here?
IGNATIUS: Well, I -- you know, you can't have a double standard. The leverage that General Petraeus had in this negotiation through his lawyers is that bringing him to trial, bringing him before a jury, would have been a nightmare, I think, for the Justice Department prosecution. You almost were certain to lose. And so I think at the end of the day, they got him to plead guilty to a misdemeanor. You know, it -- the fact he had to be in some way accused of the leak.
BLITZER: Mr. Speaker, the president says he heard nothing new in Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech today, just a rehash of stuff he said before.
GINGRICH: Well, that could be true. The president's ability to ignore information is amazing.
What he should have heard was a very sobering end to the speech, where Prime Minister Netanyahu said people need to understand, if necessary, Israel will go alone.
I think the prime minister came here because he genuinely believes Israel's very survival is at stake. He has enormous fear of the Iranians, and he believes this administration is about to cut a very bad deal. His first goal is to defeat it in the Congress; but his second goal, I suspect, may be to take steps that would defeat...
BLITZER: I heard that, David. At the very end of the speech, as well, sort of a veiled threat. If this deal goes forward, if Israel thinks -- and if he's reelected in two weeks, which is obviously still a big "if" -- I heard that same sort of veiled threat that Israel would use military force.
IGNATIUS: I heard that. I heard that, too. I think after the speech the Obama administration and Netanyahu are on a collision course even more than before. I wrote today that this is a zero sum game. You know, either one wins or the other wins. And that's not a good situation.
BLITZER: Yes. All right, guys. Thanks very, very much.
More breaking news coming up. A damning new report on the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department. The civil rights investigation uncovers systematic discrimination against African-Americans, and we're also learning disturbing details from our own sources.
BLITZER: There is other breaking news from Ferguson, Missouri. The police there now accused by federal officials of a pattern and practice of discrimination against African-Americans. CNN has learned that's the finding of a U.S. Justice Department civil rights investigation launched in the wake of the shooting death of the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, by white police officer Darren Wilson.
Let's dig deeper. Joining us, our CNN justice reporter Evan Perez. He broke the story for all of us. Also joining us, Daryl Parks. He's attorney for the Michael Brown family. Our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin; the St. Louis city alderman Antonio French; and our law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes.
Evan, you've been talking to your sources. What are they telling you about this Justice Department report?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we expect that this report will be made public tomorrow. They met with -- the Justice Department met with officials from Ferguson this afternoon to tell them what they are about to publish.
And really this portrays a department that has deep, deep problems. I'll give you a few statistics from the report that's going to be revealed tomorrow.
Eighty-five percent of vehicle stops from 2012 to 2014, the Justice Department took a look at their books; 85 percent of those stops were of African-Americans. Ninety-three percent of arrests were of African-Americans. Ninety percent of citations were of African- Americans.
And again, going back to Michael Brown and the incident there, the killing of Michael Brown by a police officer, 88 percent of use of force, times the Ferguson department used -- use of force was against African-Americans. So you can see that what people were protesting there was something that there was an endemic problem with this police department.
BLITZER: Yes, only -- the city itself, Ferguson, about 67 percent African-American. The police force was about 60 police officers, only two of them African-American. The rest, white.
Daryl Parks, you represent the Michael Brown family. What's their reaction?
DARYL PARKS, ATTORNEY FOR MICHAEL BROWN'S FAMILY: Well, certainly, it's finally they get some sense of justice for what happened to Michael.
And think about it, Wolf. When Michael was killed back in August, you knew nothing about the background of this department. Now we know a lot more about what was going on in that department, especially when you think about how race played such a big role in the pattern, the practices of this department, as well as the extensive use of force issue, which certainly is something that we claim as it relates to Michael Brown's death from his death in August.
BLITZER: So Jeffrey, where do we go from here? The report comes out tomorrow. Then what?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: The Justice Department will go to the Ferguson officeholders and say, "Look, let's make a deal, an arrangement, a settlement known as a consent decree, where you will change your practices, your training, your policies, perhaps your leadership. And then we will put in monitors who will make sure that you keep to the deal."
Alternatively, if Ferguson doesn't go for that, the Justice Department will go to court and have a judge force those changes, they'll argue, on Ferguson. So those are the two options.
BLITZER: And Antonio French, you're active in the community, obviously. What changes would you like to see? Does this report, based on what we know right now, from your perspective, go far enough?
ANTONIO FRENCH, ST. LOUIS ALDERMAN: Well, I think this report confirms what a lot of us already knew, which is that Ferguson along with many other municipalities around Ferguson, engaged in this kind of behavior, which really targets African-Americans and wedges this divide between the community and the police department.
What I do want to see is not just a reform of the Ferguson Police Department but really reforming how we police in general in the St. Louis community. Ferguson is one of 90 municipalities, and at least a dozen other municipalities around Ferguson engage in identical, if not worse behavior.
BLITZER: Systemic racism, Tom Fuentes. How do you deal with a small police department like this, because I'm sure it's going on elsewhere around the country, as well.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: The biggest problem, Wolf, is if you hire police officers that are racist, once they're on the department, it's almost too late. The only thing you can hope for there is that the punishment when they behave as a racist is severe enough to discourage them from doing it and, even in spite of what they think, do the right thing on the street.
But if you're hiring bad police officers from the very beginning, it's the hiring; it's the training; it's the internal discipline. It's all of those things. And what this report is finding is systemic mismanagement of the police department and by the city officials.
TOOBIN: And policies, too. I mean, when you talk about a police department, Ferguson is not alone in this. Using arrests to make money for the municipality, that is a huge issue, not just in Ferguson, all over the country, where individuals, often African- Americans, are being essentially forced to subsidize the rest of the state. BLITZER: Daryl Parks, you represent the Michael Brown family.
What do you think, what is going to be the impact of this?
PARKS: Well, it's a big impact. I think for all of the people who have been in Ferguson fighting for justice and fighting for some type of action to take place, this is a big step in that direction, Wolf. For the racial bias that has taken place there, for the excessive use of force issues, for the policies and procedure issues that have existed there, now it gets a positive movement on behalf of the department of justice which his family welcomes.
BLITZER: And, Antonio French, what do you think should happen to the Ferguson police chief, Thomas Jackson?
FRENCH: Well, I said six months ago that I thought Mr. Jackson should resign, and now, I think he should just be fired. I think some of the facts laid out in this report clearly shows a pattern of mismanagement and this city cannot heal as long as he's in that position.
BLITZER: What do you think, Daryl?
PARKS: Without question, I think that certainly there should be some changes in the leadership of this department. That's up to the city to do. But clearly, this report clearly calls out for major change within the police department.
BLITZER: Tom Fuentes, they have to get more African-Americans on that force, too. They can't just have an almost exclusively white police force in a community that's 67 percent African-American.
FUENTES: That's true. Their whole selection process has to come under scrutiny, not only for the diversity and the hiring but character profile, not hire racist or brutal cops or crooked cops. And that starts right at the beginning before you train them, before you go through any part of their career, you have to hire the right people in the first place.
BLITZER: Evan, the attorney general, Eric Holder, he wanted this report out before he leaves. He's about to step down. He's got -- he's leaving in the next few days, right?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Right. He promised justice for Michael Brown and, sadly, for his family, you know, they are not going to get what they thought they wanted, which is charges against the officer, Darren Wilson. They are going to have to settle for this, which is reform of the police department.
You know, it goes beyond Ferguson, though, because I've been down there and you can see how the small towns up and down that road and they all basically impose a tax on black motorists as they go up and down that road, Wolf. So, it's not just Ferguson.
BLITZER: We're going to stay on top of the story, obviously, for our viewers.
Guys, gentlemen, thank you very much.
Just ahead, the White House reacting to Hillary Clinton's e-mail scandal. Did she put national security at risk by using a personal account during her four years as secretary of state?
BLITZER: There's growing fallout from revelations that Hillary Clinton relied on a personal e-mail account while she was secretary of the state. The chairman of the House subcommittee investigating Benghazi calls it troubling. But Clinton and the White House, they're insisting she did nothing wrong.
Our senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar is working the story for us.
So, Brianna, explain what's going on here.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, over the years, there's been a lot of wiggle room when talking about law in this area. But Hillary Clinton, she may not have broken the law here, but she certainly violated the spirit of it.
KEILAR (voice-over): It's the most iconic image of Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state. Checking her e-mail on a trip to Libya, her private e-mail, it appears. While heading the state department, Hillary Clinton relied solely on a personal account.
HILLARY CLINTON, THEN-SECRETARY OF THE STATE: Did you e-mail it to us?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
KEILAR: It's raising questions about whether Clinton skirted the Federal Records Act, designed to preserve emails for historic reference. Though the White House says Clinton followed the rules.
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The policy, as a general matter, allows individuals to use their personal e-mail address as long as those e-mails are maintained and sent to the State Department, which if you ask Secretary Clinton's team, that's what they completed in the last month or two.
KEILAR: In 2014, Clinton and her team turned over tens of thousands of pages of her e-mails to the State Department, after a White House request of former of secretary of state. "The New York Times" reports 300 emails were sent to the House Select Committee on Benghazi, investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Libya.
But revelations of Clinton's sole reliance on her personal account has political opponents hammering her. Jeb Bush tweeted, "Transparency matters. Unclassified Hillary Clinton emails should be released. You can see mine here." He recently released thousands of e-mails from his time as
governor of Florida. But like Clinton, he also used a personal e-mail address and he was able to choose which e-mails to release.
A Clinton spokesman says both the letter and spirit of the rules permitted State Department officials to use non-government e-mail as long as appropriate records were preserved, insisting they were.
But experts say there may be no way to verify it. David Kennedy, a cyber security expert who used to work with the marine cyber warfare unit, says personal email isn't backed up the way a government account would be.
DAVID KENNEDY, CYBERSECURITY EXPERT: When you delete that and you go to your trash box and you delete it out of there, it's gone. There's no more recovering it. All that information is now destroyed.
KEILAR: State Department spokeswoman says we're not talking about classified e-mails. These were not classified emails, Wolf, that Secretary Clinton was typing out on her personal e-mail account. But at the same time, there's a big security issue here. And you wouldn't want to breach a unclassified e-mails either.
BLITZER: Brianna, I want you to stand by. I want to bring in our chief political analyst Gloria Borger and our chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash.
Gloria, give us a perspective how big of a deal is this?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I think we don't really know yet. We don't know all the details. And I think this is really less a question of whether Secretary of State Clinton violated any specific laws when she violated them, if she did and all the rest of that gobbledygook.
I think what this is really about is answering the question why. Why did they decide to do this? Was it to protect her? Was it to be evasive? Was it more convenient?
I mean, we just don't know the answer to that question. Once they answer the question, maybe it will make sense.
BLITZER: How are Republicans acting?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Republicans are jumping on it. But I think maybe the more interesting and telling reaction that I'm hearing is from her fellow Democrats, particularly those in Congress desperate to keep the White House in Democratic hands in 2016, they're very concerned because they're not unaware of the Clinton baggage of -- you know, not wanting to put things forward of not being transparent.
And because she's so well-known and, unfortunately, for them, the Clinton name is known that way, that they're worried that this is like Mitt Romney 47 percent in that, because people already had in their mind a narrative of Mitt Romney a certain way, it's the same for Hillary Clinton. That this will feed the idea she's hiding something and they live by different standards and other people, different rules, which they're not -- they're worried about it.
BLITZER: A lot of experts have said to me and I'm sure to you, if these were private e-mail accounts that didn't necessarily have the security from hacking, cyber warfare. She's doing official State Department business than a government account might have.
KEILAR: From hacking, from encryption. And I think this is really one of the bigger concerns here. But to that question of why was she doing this. A Clinton aide told me that she was using this e- mail before she became secretary of state and she just continued to use it.
BORGER: But you changef jobs.
KEILAR: Exactly, you do change jobs. I think I lot of people might have issue with that argument. And, you know, I think she needs a reboot. She needs to show that she's not sort of pressing right up against the edge of these boundaries.
BORGER: But she hasn't booted yet.
BASH: That's part of the problem.
KEILAR: That's right. We're weeks now, perhaps, her campaign starting. But here is a for instance that I think is important to focus on. This was -- there was a 2009 regulation that she would have been falling under at this time. It said, if you're using private e- mail to do government business then it needs to go on the State Department recordkeeping system.
Here is the catch. There's no time line on when you need to do that. So, technically, you could wait 80 years before you do it.
KEILAR: Yes, she went to compliance, but in 2014. That's the spirit of the law.
BORGER: But also, how are all these e-mails -- you know, they say they turned over, what, 55,000 pages.
KEILAR: Fifty-five thousand pages.
BORGER: At CNN that would be one day of e-mails, I would say. But she turned over 55,000 pages of e-mails. Well, who curated those e-mails?
BASH: And to that point, just talking raw politics, I've talked to some Democrats who are big Hillary supporters and they're concern is their frustration has been that they didn't know the answers to those questions because her campaign hasn't started yet. She has a small official team around her. She doesn't have the apparatus around her to help dig forensically into this and then respond communications-wise to this kind of thing.
BLITZER: You know, this will reinforce, as you know, Gloria, his notion that the Clintons play by their own set of rules.
BORGER: Sure. Yes, I was talking to a staffer for Jeb Bush who made that exact point to me, saying this is just going to reiterate the narrative. I don't know that it changes anybody's minds because if you're disposed to believe this about the Clintons, that they play by their own set of rules, and that it reinforces, if you believe that this was innocent and you like Hillary Clinton and you believe this is innocent, OK. But there's that group in the middle which just wants answers about why not use State Department --
BASH: And that was the concern I'm hearing from Democrats.
BLITZER: We'll follow the story and see where it leads.
Guys, thanks very, very much.
Remember, you can always follow us on Twitter. Please tweet me @wolfblitzer. You can tweet the show @CNNsitroom. Please be sure to join us again tomorrow right here in THE SITUATION ROOM. You can always watch us live or DVR the show so you won't miss a moment.
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