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THE SITUATION ROOM
Diplomats: Nuclear Deal with Iran Imminent; Interview Interview with Senator Tom Cotton; Boston Cop's Son Accused of Plotting Terror Attack; Report: Two Senior ISIS Leader Killed in Airstrike; Mexican Drug Lord Escape Angers U.S.; Republicans Join Democrats in Denouncing Donald Trump; Hillary Clinton Lays out Economic Plans. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired July 13, 2015 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[17:00:06] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now:
Breaking news: imminent deal. U.S. and Western partners are on the verge of reaching a history agreement to contain Iran's nuclear program, overcoming 11th hour hurdles in the dramatic final round of negotiations. How are the sticking points being resolved?
College terror plot. A Massachusetts man accused of preparing an attack on behalf of ISIS, targeting dorms and cafeterias, possibly with pressure cooker bombs. How close was he to carrying it out?
Shocking escape. Mexico's most notorious drug lord breaks out a maximum security prison through a mile-long tunnel leading U.S. officials fuming. Can he be recaptured?
And "wrecking ball". Republicans pile on Donald Trump. They're accusing him of hijacking the debate with his controversial remarks about Mexican immigrants. Is Trump's presidential campaign a defining moment for the GOP?
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
We're following the breaking news, a final historic breakthrough in the nuclear talks in Iran now believe to be virtually imminent. CNN has just learned that the United States and its partners are closing in on a landmark agreement with Tehran to contain its nuclear programs, overcoming several last-minute sticking points that have been keeping the deal out of reach.
We're also following new disturbing details emerging right now about an alleged terror part targeting American college campuses. Law enforcement officials say the son of a Boston police captain was actually planning to attack dorms and cafeterias, possibly with pressure cooker bombs, and broadcast student executions online, all in the name of ISIS.
And then, at the same time, Iraq now says operations are under way to retake Anbar province from ISIS forces stripping them of their stronghold west of Baghdad. We're covering all of that, much more this hour with our
correspondents and our guest, including Senator Tom Cotton. He's a key member of the Intelligence and Armed Services Committee. He's standing by live.
But let's begin with the very latest. Our global affairs correspondent Elise Labott is learning new details of what appears to be an imminent nuclear agreement with Iran.
What are you hearing, Elise?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we expected a deal early this morning, but last-minute snags got in the way, particularly in U.N. arms embargo, Iran was demanding that the U.N. lift all of the arms embargo, particularly the United States very concerned about the lifting of a ban on ballistic missiles. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff warning that would be a red line throughout the day.
We're told that negotiators made a lot of progress. And we're being told within hours, that diplomats hope to announce a deal. Sources are telling me that the press on the ground is being prepped for a possible announcement within hours, Wolf.
BLITZER: So, Elise, let's talk about this supposedly imminent deal. How do they resolve this issue of this U.S. arms embargo against Iran? What's the formula for allowing Russia and China, for example, to start selling ballistic missiles, anti-defense missiles, other sophisticated hardware to Iran, which the U.S. regards as a state sponsor of terror.
LABOTT: Well, Wolf, they started out with very stark positions. Iran wanted the whole U.N. arms embargo lifted immediately and the United States didn't want any of the arms embargo lifted, but this arms embargo was imposed because of the nuclear U.N. Security Council resolutions on the nuclear issue.
So, as Iran begins to complete its compliance with the deal, begins to implement the deal, my understanding from sources is this will be lifted in phases. It won't be all at once, but as Iran shows, it's living up to its end of the bargain, those arms embargo will be lifted gradually.
Now, the ballistic missiles will obviously be towards the further end of the deal. We're talking about a 10 to 15-year duration of the deal. But, eventually, even those will be concerned. And that will definitely be a major concern.
We also have to note, Wolf, negotiators are still meeting at this hour after these 18 days, though, they're finally into the homestretch, putting the finishes touching on the deal and we expect to be done within hours.
BLITZER: The details will be critically, critically important, obviously. Elise, we'll stand by. I know you're working your sources. You're
getting more information and we'll learn more about these details. We're going to get much more on this breakthrough -- apparent breakthrough in this Iran's nuclear negotiation. That's coming up.
We're also following the rest of a Massachusetts man accused of plotting terror attacks on behalf of ISIS.
Our justice reporter Evan Perez has been working this story for us.
Evan, explain the plot to this Massachusetts man was allegedly planning. How close was he to an actual attack?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Wolf, it's close enough that the FBI felt they needed to make the arrest.
[17:05:01] The FBI describes a chilling plan to carry out terrorist attacks inspired by the Boston marathon bombings.
Alexander Ciccolo was arrested over the Fourth of July weekend after obtaining four firearms. The FBI says that he's a Muslim convert who had become obsessed with ISIS. And according to FBI, an undercover informant recorded conversation in which Ciccolo described various plans for attacks.
He wanted to use assault rifles and bombs to attack a university campus, targeting college dorms in the crowded cafeteria. And his plan included pressure cooker bombs like those used in Boston. They would be packed with nails and ball bearings. He also allegedly wanted to carry out executions of students and broadcast them on the Internet.
Now, according to the FBI, when they searched Ciccolo's apart, he already constructed several partially constructed Molotov cocktails, Wolf.
So, that's why the FBI felt that they had to take it down.
BLITZER: We know he was -- he's 23 years old. He went by the name of Ali al-Amriki, which means "Ali the American". He converted to Islam.
How was he radicalized?
PEREZ: Well, he says that -- according to the FBI, he was inspired by the marathon bombings, Boston marathon bombings. That's what drove him to try to make these plots. He's -- incidentally, Wolf, he's the son of a 27-year-old veteran of the Boston Police Department, somebody who was actually one of the responders, one of the first responders in -- after the bombing.
And we also should note that the FBI says that he has a history of mental illness, that he's been in and out of the mental institutions since he was a child. So, that is also going to play into these charges, Wolf.
BLITZER: And they decided to pick him up and stop him even though they had been watching him for a long time, to stop him after, what, he got these four guns. Is that right?
PEREZ: That's right, Wolf. And if you remember before the Fourth of July weekend we were getting all this is warnings about possible plots that they were looking as this is one of the ones they were thinking about.
And really, what concerned them is not the plots they had their eyes on, but possibly missing others they didn't know about.
BLITZER: Evan Perez, with that disturbing story. Thanks very much. We'll have more on that later as well.
We're following a report from Syrian monitors saying two senior ISIS leaders have now been killed in what are believed to be coalition airstrikes inside Syria. The news comes as Iraq now says it's begun operations to try to recapture Anbar province, that's the ISIS stronghold, west of Baghdad.
Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, is joining us now.
Barbara, what are you picking up?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, two key goals in Anbar province, the ISIS stronghold. Of course, Ramadi, the city that Iraqi forces fled two months ago, and Fallujah. The Iraqis saying that the battle is on, the U.S. saying not so fast. They're not seeing a lot of movement by forces on the ground.
Some militias have moved towards Fallujah, trying to freeze ISIS in place there to the east. But to the west, Ramadi, U.S. officials telling us they are not seeing Iraqi forces in action on the ground just yet.
Now, that having been said, in the last 24 hours or so, the U.S. conducting nearly 30 airstrikes around Ramadi to try and go after ISIS staging areas, places where they've been staging troops and equipment, that they want to get out of the way before the Iraqis go in. This takes us right back where we were two months ago.
Will the Iraqis move -- will the Iraqis fight, be able to take Ramadi back and be able to hold on to it? Wolf?
BLITZER: You know, Barbara, the -- also over the weekend, the Syrian warplanes conducted strikes on Raqqa, that's the ISIS stronghold there in Syria. What do we know about this Syrian attack against ISIS?
STARR: Really fascinating, Wolf, Raqqa in northern -- the self- declared capital, of course, in Syria.
Now, over the weekend, the U.S. was conducting a number of airstrikes around Raqqa. And now they say the Syrians were there at the same time. This is very unusual. U.S. officials telling me they believe it actually may be the first time that they shared airspace with the Syrians.
They do not coordinate with them. They have no means the really communicating with each other when they're up there on those bombing runs. So, there's a lot of concern that this air campaign over Syria may have just gotten a lot more dangerous.
If the Syrians are up there at the same time, the risk, of course is it could lead to miscalculation. Fascinating to figure out what the Syrians thought they were going after in Raqqa at the time, but all eyes on Raqqa. This is a place where air strikes have really picked up in the last couple weeks. It is a place where the working theory, at least, for the U.S. is that the leaders of ISIS may be holed up there -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Barbara, thanks very much.
I want to talk about all of this Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas.
[17:10:02] He's a member of the Intelligence and Armed Services Committees, an Iraq war veteran as well.
Senator, thanks very much for coming in.
SEN. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: Good afternoon.
BLITZER: Lots to discuss.
But let me get your thoughts first of all on this currently apparent imminent deal. Within the next few hours, the secretary of state of the United States, John Kerry, could announce, together with the Iranian leadership, the other members of the U.N. Security Council in Germany, that this historic deal is signed.
Don't you want to read the details, the 100-page document before forming a final conclusion? Because I know you hate this deal.
COTTON: Well, Wolf, as you know, I don't think we should have gone down this path to begin with. I think we've been repeatedly negotiating from the position of weakness, in particular by extending the deadline repeatedly over the last several months and over the last two weeks.
But what the president and John Kerry have already said is about to make this deal dangerous to the United States and dangerous to the world.
BLITZER: But why not look at the details, first --
COTTON: Well, look --
BLITZER: -- and then you'll have plenty of opportunity, you have 60 days. to review it, together with your colleague?
COTTON: Well, unfortunately, I think the details are only going to show that it's even worse than we had imagined.
BLITZER: Why do you say that? COTTON: Well, the president started these negotiations by saying,
very simply, that our goal is to end Iran's nuclear program. They dismantle the nuclear program, but since we have walked far away from that goal. We granted Iran the right to enrich uranium, which violates 40 years of U.S. policy. We'd granted them the right to keep their underground fortified bunker.
Now, there are reports that they're going to get a signing bonus of tens of billions of dollars, and that we might even lift the arms embargo at the time they're still destabilizing the Middle East. And they're still the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism.
BLITZER: You heard our Elise Labott just report that if they release, if they end that U.N. arms embargo, it would be phased out over presumably a long period of time, ballistic missiles, anti-defense missiles, stuff like that, might not be allowed to be sold by China or Russia, for example, anytime soon. Is that OK?
COTTON: No, Wolf, I don't think it's OK, because again, the president said at the beginning of these negotiations, we're going to end Iran's nuclear program and we weren't going to lift any of the sanctions, or have the embargos not related to their nuclear program, at a time when the Iran is destabilizing Iraq, and Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen, and when they're about to get tens of bills on, it would be the height of folly to even discuss the arms embargo.
So, I think Secretary Kerry and President Obama will have to reassure the American people in their words that there's no argument to lift the arms embargo, not even in the future, and that they will exercise their veto at the United Nations Security Council, if they want to hold the Congress on this deal.
BLITZER: You think you have the votes to stop it if the president goes forward?
COTTON: I can't imagine any members of Congress, even members in the Democratic Party, who have supported the negotiations at this point, voting for a deal that not only gives Iran a signing bonus of tens of billions of dollars, not only lets them preserve their nuclear capability, but also has the possibility of lifting a conventional arms embargo, because remember, Wolf, this is not like any old vote. This is not like say a vote for higher taxes, where you face some TV ads in the next campaign cycle, and it's behind you. Anyone who votes for this deal is living with the ayatollah's decision to go nuclear or not go nuclear for the rest of his or her time in public life, lets (ph) him to focus the mind of congressmen and senators.
BLITZER: Senator, stand by, we have more to discussion on this, other issues -- this new ISIS development, the arrest of an individual in Massachusetts today, allegedly conspiring to launch some sort of ISIS attack at university campuses in Massachusetts.
Much more with Senator Cotton right after this.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [17:17:56] BLITZER: The breaking news, potentially a final historic breakthrough in the nuclear talks with Iran now believed to be imminent. Western diplomats telling CNN the U.S. and its partners are closing in on a landmark agreement with Tehran to contain its nuclear program for several years.
We're back with Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas. He's a member of the Intelligence and Arms Services Committees.
So basically in the end, as Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, the majority leader, said over the weekend, to let this -- to stop this deal, if you hate this deal, you need 34 senators to block it. Will there be 34 senators you believe that will vote against this deal?
COTTON: Based on the direction of the negotiations have taken in the last three months and some of the reports we're hearing from the negotiations in the last two weeks, I believe there will be. I think you're going to see an open congressional rebellion on the concept of giving Iran $100 billion.
BLITZER: Let me be clear, you need 34 senators to support the president's deal with the John Kerry-led negotiations, 34 will have to vote yes in favor of this deal, and there are obviously more than 34 Democrats.
COTTON: I just can't imagine any United States senator or congressman voting to give Iran $100 billion or more in a signing bonus, and at the same time even opening the prospect of lifting the arms embargo.
BLITZER: But these frozen Iranian assets. This is Iran's money that has been frozen by the international community. That freeze will be lifted as a result of this deal, but it will be lifted over a period of time.
COTTON: Well, remember why Iran's money is frozen. That's because they are an outlaw regime. They killed hundreds of American troops in Iraq, to include soldiers and Marines that were just out patrolling. They are still a force for instability in Iraq and Lebanon and Syria, and Yemen. They're still the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism.
BLITZER: Well, the State Department agrees with you on that. The Obama administration still regards Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism.
COTTON: If Iran wants their money back and wants to be treated like a normal nation, they need to act like a normal nation.
BLITZER: Yes --
COTTON: But they're still not doing that.
BLITZER: No part of this deal will require Iran to release four American citizens who are being held prisoners in Iran right now including a former U.S. Marine, Amir Hekmati. [17:20:01] COTTON: That's correct. I think that should have been a
precondition for even starting these negotiations, that every American who is being held hostage by Iran should have been released. You know, the "Wall Street Journal" has reported that the United States released or helped release convicted Iranian arms dealers secretly in the early days of the Obama administration just to get Iran to the table. That's the exact opposite of how we should have been acting. We should have been putting so much pressure on them that they were pleading with us to come to the table.
BLITZER: What do you make of this arrest today of a 23-year-old Massachusetts man, Alexander Ciccolo -- Ciccolo, I should say, Ali Al Amriki is his Muslim name, his Arabic name, allegedly plotting to go to a college campus or campuses in Massachusetts and start killing people.
COTTON: Well, Wolf, it's breaking news, it's an ongoing investigation, so I don't want to do anything that would prejudice that investigation, but I do want to make two points. First, the FBI and our intelligence community deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the work they did. Not only to disrupt this plot, to disrupt plots all across America.
This happened on July 4th. When a lot of people were on the Arkansas River or down on the National Mall celebrating the Fourth of July, FBI and intelligence officers were working overtime to keep us safe.
And second, it demonstrates how serious the threat is to our homeland right here from the Islamic State. Oftentimes they are recruiting, they are recruiting potential adherents to attack American citizens without even going to Iraq and Syria. That's why we have to remain vigilant and we have to keep the pressure on the Islamic State.
BLITZER: You heard the Barbara Starr report from the Pentagon that the Iraqis now saying they're going to go after -- launch a military offensive to retake the Anbar Province, west of Baghdad from ISIS or ISIL as some call it. Do you have any confidence left in the Iraqi military or the Iraqi government?
COTTON: Wolf, it's unclear if they have the capability right now to defeat the Islamic State in Anbar. The United States is not providing them the level of support they need from the air, but we're also not providing them the level of support they need on the ground. We have about 4,000 troops in Iraq eight now acting mostly as trainers. Even some former Obama administration senior Defense officials have said we need to put air controllers or we need to put special operations forces with the Iraqi Army to give them the critical skills and capabilities they need on the front lines. So I'm hopeful that this offensive is successful. I can't say that I believe it will be.
BLITZER: One of the problems, though, is as much military equipment, hardware, sophisticated humvees or whatever the U.S. has given the Iraqi military, so much of it has been abandoned by retreating Iraqi forces, and that military equipment now in the hands of ISIS. Can you trust the Iraqi military? COTTON: You certainly trust a lot more if you had some American
special operations forces and air controllers down with them every day in a battalion level as senior Defense officials in both parties have called for. Because it'd be there to stiffen their spine and to give them some of the capabilities they simply lack right now.
BLITZER: It's a reminder, you served with the U.S. military in Iraq, so you know the situation over there as well.
All right, thanks very much, Senator, for coming in.
COTTON: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: Coming up, new details of a stunning prison break on Mexico's most notorious drug lord escaped from a maximum security lockup.
Plus Republicans now joining Democrats. They're piling in, piling on Donald Trump. The controversy sparked about his remarks about Mexican immigrants, it's taking over the race, at least seemingly for the White House at this stage.
[17:27:43] BLITZER: We're following breaking news, a historic nuclear agreement between the U.S. and its partners, Iran, now said to be imminent, maybe only hours away, Western nations, their diplomats are telling CNN the hope is to strike a final deal in these next few hours.
Let's dig deeper with our CNN national security commentator, the former congressman, Mike Rogers. He was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Also joining us the former congresswoman, Jane Harman, she's the leading intelligence experts who heads the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars right now.
Jane, we're hearing a deal is imminent. Here's the question. Under the rule, 60 days, Congress will have 60 days to consider it. They could pass resolutions and disapproval. If they do, the president can veto that, then you need two-thirds vote, two-thirds to override in both the House and the Senate otherwise the deal goes through. Does the president have the votes?
JANE HARMAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, WILSON INTERNATIONAL CENTER: Not this minute he doesn't. I think Senator Tom Cotton, who just was on this program, makes a good point that if there is relaxation of the U.N. conventional arms embargo, I think people are going to get very upset. No one is missing the optic that there are 100,000 Hezbollah rockets aimed at Israel along the Lebanese border, and those rockets were provided by, guess who, Iran. And so I think over this August recess, there's going to fast and furious lobbying. And I think we don't know whether there'll be 34 votes.
BLITZER: A lot of your fellow Republicans, Congressman, they're clearly going to vote against this deal. But what about the president? Will he have the support of his fellow Democrats in the House and Senate?
MIKE ROGERS (R), FORMER HOUSE INTELLIGENCE CHAIRMAN: I think it really depends on what has been negotiated in the last 72 hours, we really don't know. The framework I think was objected to by both Republicans and Democrats because it narrowly focused on enrichment. Only left off weaponization and it left off missiles. Both of those very concerning and important aspects of a nuclear weapon program. Iran is clearly trying to drive another wedge here with this U.N. weapons -- conventional weapons embargo. That is a serious problem.
BLITZER: Because they want -- let's say Russia or China or both, and other countries, maybe European countries, to start selling them weapons, they'll have a lot of cash once they have $100 billion in frozen assets released.
ROGERS: And the Russians want that, too. And the Russians are inside the meeting so that's always troublesome when you talk about where they're going to be and what troubles are ahead on that particular issue.
HARMAN: Well, it's going to be a complicated argument. One of the issue is whether this was in the interim deal, whether this is nuclear related, this U.N. resolution on conventional weapons. You know, commonsense would say it isn't, but the Iranians are arguing that this was in the deal and it's an issue of sovereignty and so forth, but politics does matter here.
BLITZER: Is it your understanding, Congressman, that everything that's included in this deal, all 100 pages, all the annexes, all -- everything else will be made public or will it be secret parts of this deal that the Congress might not necessarily know about, certainly the American public might not necessarily know about?
ROGERS: I think they're going to have to have pieces of this deal that are classified. But I think that they're going to --
BLITZER: Let me press you on that. Why should anything be classified if the Iranians know about it, the other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council including Russia and China know about it? Why shouldn't the American public and the Congress know about it?
ROGERS: Well, Congress should know about it, there's no doubt about that. I don't care what classification it is, but there might be some monitoring sections of that bill that would be classified for a whole host of reasons. A, they don't want to disclose that technology. B, they don't want to disclose the methods of which and how they will continue to monitor certain aspects of any deal. So I do believe that those portions would legitimately be classified, but they should be absolutely fully 100 percent briefed to Congress.
HARMAN: And you make a good point, Wolf, that they shouldn't be classified so that we can't see them when people in every other country can see them. I think there has to be equal treatment across all the countries. ROGERS: Sure. And --
HARMAN: But if the monitoring techniques are kept secret, I think that that is possibly a very good idea so that the Iranians won't game against them.
BLITZER: And we'll see how these inspections work out. These are snap inspections, anytime anyplace, at a moment's notice or will they have to wait 24 days before they can go in after they give notice.
ROGERS: And what sites they go in is critically important. If you want to lose Congress, they'll limit the number of places and sites with that 24 hours, you'll lose both Republicans and Democrats.
HARMAN: And military sites. I think Congress is primed for this debate. It's a good -- it's a good month for Congress. They're going to be real actor in a real problem.
BLITZER: Sixty days. The Congress -- once the deal is reached, 60 days to consider it.
BLITZER: Guys, thanks very much.
Coming up, U.S. anger over a brazen prison break as a Mexican drug lord goes from his cell's shower to a secret tunnel a mile long and to freedom.
Plus Republicans now joining Democrats in denouncing Donald Trump. He's refusing to back down and all he's saying a lot about undocumented immigrants.
[17:37:04] BLITZER: Developing now, anger and disbelief here in the United States and in Mexico over the brazen way one of the richest, most notorious drug kingpins broke out of prison.
Brian Todd is here. He's got new information. What are you learning, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, tonight there is so much fallout over this escape that I've spoken to U.S. and Mexican officials who've cursed over the phone out of pure frustration. Joaquin El Chapo Guzman was simply not supposed to be able to sneak out of a prison that was known as a fortress, but tonight he is gone, he is dangerous, and in Mexico City and Washington, officials are furious.
TODD (voice-over): One Mexican official says he is their bin Laden, the world's most powerful drug lord with the blood of countless people on his hands. Tonight the escape of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, head of Mexico's biggest drug cartel, has U.S. official fuming. MICHAEL VIGIL, FORMER DEA CHIEF OF INTERNATIONAL CORPORATIONS: While
DEA is very emotional about this. You know, they're disillusioned. You know, they're frustrated and there's a lot of anger, because obviously they wanted Chapo Guzman when he was captured in 2014 to be extradited to the United States.
TODD: Former top DEA official Michael Vigil says DEA insiders have been venting to him since Guzman's escape Saturday night from a shower inside his cell, but outside the view of security cameras Mexican officials say he crawled through a small opening down a ladder to a sophisticated tunnel about a mile long.
A Mexican official tells CNN more than 30 people are now under investigation for possible roles in the escape and says Guzman must have bribed several prison officials. Law enforcement veterans say those who took Guzman's bribes likely did it for more than just the money. A key motivation? Fear.
VIGIL: The plata or plomo offering to people, in other words you take my money, silver, or you take my lead, the bullets.
TODD: A U.S. law enforcement official says this escape the corruption it signifies, illustrates why they argued for Guzman's extradition when he was captured last year. A Mexican official calls that unfair and points out Mexico extradited another top deputy of El Chapo only to see him cut a deal in the U.S. The Justice Department hasn't responded to that claim.
Guzman's escape has even more lethal fallout on America's streets. Vigil says he makes legendary Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar look like a Girl Scout cookie salesman.
A U.S. official says Guzman's Sinaloa cartel has huge markets in Chicago, has a foothold in Los Angeles, a large network in Phoenix, and throughout the Midwest.
DON WINSLOW, AUTHOR, "THE CARTEL": They have dropped the price of heroin and increased the production. So what you see, you know, in the northeast and the northwest, particularly where there are these sort of knots of heroin addiction now, this big spike, is that people who were addicted to oxicodone and that kind of opioid derivative prescription pills are now buying the Sinaloa cartel's heroin because it's cheaper.
[17:40:03] TODD: Analyst Don Winslow says Americans along the California-Mexico border may also start to get jittery. But now that El Chapo is on the lose again, areas near San Diego, San Isidro, California, and Tijuana, Mexico could really feel the pinch. He says this is a key route that the Sinaloa cartel uses to get drugs into California.
Winslow says in recent weeks there have been more than 100 drug- related killings in and around Tijuana, and those likely involved Guzman's Sinaloa cartel. Now that Guzman's out, the cartel may push even harder for control of this area, Wolf. It may get ugly in the coming weeks.
BLITZER: Obviously very, very clearly it will. Thanks very much.
Joining us now in THE SITUATION ROOM, the former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes and our justice reporter Evan Perez.
Tom, this escape plan was very elaborate. Tell us what it entailed, really, when you think about how sophisticated that tunnel was, for example.
TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, first of all, Wolf, it required the blueprints of the prison so that when they did tunnel one mile on the ground and came up, that they would come up next to his cell or in his cell. So that was number one. But it also entails having a full construction company. This is a professional construction company, specializing in building tunnels, which he has many companies that he's tunneled under the Mexican-U.S. border many times, been caught many times.
But that's their primary way. So he brought a professional engineering company down there to actually do the construction of that tunnel.
BLITZER: Has Mexico asked the U.S. for help in trying to capture this guy?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: They have asked the Justice Department, and the Justice Department says that they are willing to do that, Wolf. And keep in mind that the 13 years that he was on the lam the last time, the Justice Department, DEA, Marshal Service, all were working towards trying to capture him.
And as a matter of fact, the DEA and the Marshals played a key role in his capture in Mazatlan that day. There was some -- they had managed to infiltrate some of his communications and that's -- that's the way in which they were able to get him last time. You can bet that this time he's going to be more careful about how he communicates.
BLITZER: If they capture him, the U.S. would love him to be extradited to the United States. They refused, the Mexicans, the last time to do so despite repeated U.S. request. Right?
FUENTES: Right. And I don't think Mexico is going to give him up no matter what. They wouldn't last time. I don't think they'll do it next time. And I think at a certain level the Mexican government is very afraid of him because of the extensiveness of the corruption in that country that supports him and the other cartels. I think they're afraid if he came to the U.S., and was in super max here, looking at life without parole, he might just give it up and do a lot of damage to the Mexican government.
BLITZER: How worried are the U.S. officials right now of the damage potentially he and the cartel could do while he's on the lam, while he's out there running around?
PEREZ: Well, they do believe that there's going to be -- as Brian just pointed out, there's going to be a lot more violence because since he's been gone, you know, there's been inroads by other cartels, and he's going to try to reassert his control not over -- not only over his territory, but primacy over the other drug routes.
And keep in mind, Wolf, that for now they believe -- officials I talked to think that he's actually probably not even in Mexico. He's probably laying low in one of the neighboring countries at least until the Mexican authorities get tired of looking for him and then he can go back in running his organization.
BLITZER: Clearly a very sophisticated operation. But when you got the millions and millions of dollars that he and the cartel -- maybe a billion.
BLITZER: That they have that they could get that done.
BLITZER: Thanks very much.
Coming up, we're getting more details now about the latest ISIS- related arrest here in the United States. The 23-year-old suspect allegedly planned to set off homemade bombs on college campuses, including cafeterias and dorms.
And up next, Donald Trump, he's sounding off, drawing huge crowds and even more criticism, though, from some of his fellow Republicans.
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DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And that I play golf with him, I'm with him all the time. I mean --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Developing now, law enforcement officials say Donald Trump's campaign contacted the FBI to report an alleged death threat. The Trump campaign says the threat comes from the family of the escaped Mexican drug lord. All this coming as we're hearing new denunciations of Trump's blistering attacks on undocumented immigrants.
CNN's Athena Jones reports.
TRUMP: The silent majority is back.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump, far from being silent, is getting louder. Drawing thousands in Phoenix, Arizona, over the weekend with his bold rhetoric and sharing an unusual proposal to stop illegal immigration.
TRUMP: We charge Mexico $100,000 for every person they send up.
JONES: Offering up more tough talk on the issue.
TRUMP: I respect Mexico. Greatly as a country. But the problem we have is that their leaders are much smarter, sharper, and more cunning than our leaders. And they're killing us at the border. And they're killing us in trade.
JONES: His speech interrupted by protesters.
TRUMP: I wonder if the Mexican government sent them over here, I think so.
JONES: Trump pointed to the recent prison break of Mexican cartel head Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, tweeting, "Kingpins like him use the border unimpeded for the drug trade."
Prominent conservatives challenging Trump's claims. Rupert Murdoch who owns FOX News tweeting, "Mexican immigrants, as with all immigrants, have much lower crime rates than native born. Trump wrong." And Republican presidential rivals saying he's hurting the party's chances in 2016.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think he's hijacked the debate. I think he's a wrecking ball for the future of the Republican Party with Hispanic community and we need to push back.
[17:50:04] JONES: With Democrats blasting his statements before the Hispanic group La Raza today.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That no one, not Donald Trump, not anyone else, will be successful in dividing us based on race or our country of origin.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have just one word for Mr. Trump. Basta. Enough.
JONES: A Trump adviser pushing back at the criticism.
MICHAEL COHEN, EXECUTIVE VP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: He sparked a conversation about really immigration reform. And that's something that I don't think the Republican Party was prepared at this time for.
JONES: Right now, that conversation is having an outsized impact on the race for the White House. Even providing fodder to comedians, prompting a joke from David Letterman, playing off the 1980s film "Three Amigos."
DAVID LETTERMAN, FORMER TV HOST: Donald Trump has pissed off so many Mexicans he's starring in a new movie entitled "No Amigos."
JONES: He's dismissed it before, sorry. BLITZER: Athena --
JONES: And one more thing, Wolf, about that exchange between El Chapo Guzman and Trump, we know that Donald Trump is an avid fan of Twitter and it looks as though El Chapo Guzman may be a big Twitter user, too. An account believed to be used by Guzman tweeted at Trump in Spanish, promising in rather colorful language to make him, quote, "swallow his words" about Guzman.
Trump's campaign alerted the FBI which is looking into it, though it's unclear at this point if that tweet constitutes a threat, legally speaking. Also not entirely certain who sent the tweet -- Wolf.
BLITZER: So they're just investigating, they're not necessarily starting a formal criminal investigation? They're just looking at this -- this alleged threat, is that right?
JONES: That's exactly right. A formal -- opening a formal investigation is a whole other process. They're looking into it as they would any time someone like Trump brings an alleged threat to them -- Wolf.
BLITZER: They should look into that, obviously, it's a serious issue. We'll take a look -- we'll take a look and see what else we can find out about it.
Athena, thanks very much.
Coming up, new details of an -- alleged ISIS-inspired plot to bomb U.S. college dorms and cafeterias. We're learning new information about the Massachusetts man now under arrest.
Plus the breaking news we're following, a nuclear deal with Iran. Now said to be imminent. But before we get to all of that, I want to take a closer look at what's going on in the Democratic side right now. The Hillary Clinton is getting more information -- releasing more information, I should say, about her economic policies.
Here's our Brianna Keilar.
CLINTON: Hard-working Americans --
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the first economic policy speech of her campaign, Hillary Clinton slammed Florida Senator Marco Rubio for his tax proposal.
CLINTON: Senator Rubio's would cut taxes for households making around $3 million a year by almost $240,000.
KEILAR: And Jeb Bush for saying this.
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People need to work longer hours and through their productivity gain more income for their families. KEILAR: Bush clarified he was talking about Americans who are working
part-time and want to work full-time, but Clinton seized on his comments.
CLINTON: Now you may have heard Governor Bush say last week that Americans just need to work longer hours. Well, he must not have met very many American workers.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CLINTON: Let him tell that to the nurse who stands on her feet all day, or the teacher who is in that classroom, or the trucker who drives all night. Let him tell that to the fast food workers marching in the streets for better pay. They don't need a lecture. They need a raise.
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today in Washington --
KEILAR: She targeted Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for taking on unions.
CLINTON: Republican governors like Scott Walker have made their names stomping on workers' rights. And practically all the Republican candidates hope to do the same as president.
KEILAR: As Clinton laid out a plan she said will increase take-home pay for the middle class, she said corporations should profit-share with employees.
CLINTON: Hard-working Americans deserve to benefit from the record corporate earnings they help produce.
KEILAR: She questioned the side effects of the so-called shared economy. Jobs created by companies with similar business models to Uber.
CLINTON: This on-demand or so-called gig economy is creating exciting opportunities and unleashing innovation. But it's also raising hard questions about workplace protections and what a good job will look like in the future.
KEILAR: The former senator from New York, whose family foundation is under fire in part for accepting corporate donations, embraced the economic proposals of populist darling, Elizabeth Warren, promising to take on Wall Street.
[17:55:05] CLINTON: We'll ensure that no firm is too complex to manage or oversee, and we will prosecute individuals as well as firms when they commit fraud or other criminal wrongdoing.
KEILAR: Reaction now from some of the Republicans Hillary Clinton called out today, the Bush campaign saying Hillary Clinton is proposing failed policies of the Obama economy and promising that his policies with spur economic growth. The Rubio campaign saying Clinton wants to take us back to yesterday, that's a quote, and slamming the economic policies of the Clinton years but also the Bush and Obama years -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brianna Keilar, reporting, thank you.
We're also following the breaking news, a final nuclear deal with Iran now said to be imminent. Stay with us.