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THE SITUATION ROOM
Republicans Debate; Interview With Idaho Senator James Risch; Plane Crash Investigation; Family Sues Police After Stun Gun Incident. Aired 18-19:00p ET
Aired November 11, 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: Happening now: ISIS clues.
U.S. intelligence officials are monitoring terrorist videos and cell phone intercepts for any hints at who might have brought down a Russian airliner. Tonight, the terrorists are threatening new attacks.
On the scene. As the U.S. prepares to join the plane investigation, Egypt's president insists his country has nothing to hide. Will the Americans get the access they need to help crack the case?
Death in custody. Surveillance video is made public in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against police officers who Tased a man multiple times. He later died, even though the confrontation happened outside the hospital. Stand by for details.
And Trump's force. He's unveiling a new twist in his immigration plan after drawing fire in the latest GOP debate. Did he come out a winner or did he lose? Trump is sharing his take with CNN.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're THE SITUATION ROOM.
Tonight, federal aviation officials are preparing to send a team to Egypt to join the investigation into the Russian plane disaster. Egypt has given the green light for the U.S. to get directly involved in the investigation, this for the first time.
The country's foreign minister accepted the United States' offer to help right here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Investigators are looking for any hard evidence that might support a working theory that an airport insider planted a bomb on board the plane possibly at the direction of ISIS killing all 224 people on board. U.S. intelligence officials are reviewing all the latest ISIS propaganda videos, as well as terrorist communications, looking for clues about who may have brought down that plane.
Tonight, one of those videos contains the threat of new attacks.
I will ask Senator James Risch what he's learning as a member of the Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committees and our correspondents and analysts, they are also standing by as we cover all the news that is breaking right now.
Up first, let's go to our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.
Barbara, U.S. investigators could get a lot of important information if they have direct access to parts of the plane, right?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Wolf. Good evening.
It is vital. They will be looking first and foremost for any evidence of explosive residue, any evidence of a bomb.
STARR (voice-over): Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi visited Sharm el-Sheikh Airport Wednesday, promising his government will hide nothing.
ABDEL FATTAH EL-SISI, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We will announce the results of the investigation with complete transparency and clarity.
STARR: For the first time, the U.S. has been asked to get directly involved in the investigation of what brought down Russian Metrojet Flight 9268.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators now on standby to go to Egypt. The first indication came from Egypt's foreign minister saying the government was willing to accept American personnel.
SAMEH SHOUKRY, EGYPTIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: They have to be given full access to the crash area site. And they will undertake the same and have the same accessibility to all of the international investigators.
STARR: Security still a question in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh. CNN has seen security personnel using handheld bomb detectors that British officials and security experts say just don't work.
ISIS in Sinai, believed to be behind the attack, released a new propaganda video. The speaker threatens attacks in Egypt and Israel, but no mention of the Metrojet crash.
The pressure is on Egypt to do more than just find the perpetrator, experts say, especially given the tourism industry that Egypt does not want to scare off.
MELISSA DALTON, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: They need to take stock of what could potentially be a growing threat in the Sinai potentially, with this franchise of the Islamic State growing in its capability and capacity.
(END VIDEOTAPE) STARR: All of which may explain the on going Egyptian
sensitivity to letting the outside world in to try and determine what happened in Sinai -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Barbara Starr reporting from the Pentagon, thanks very much.
We have more now on one of the ISIS propaganda videos under scrutiny. As Barbara just reported, it comes from the terror group's branch in Sinai where the Russian jet went down and it includes threats against Egypt and Israel.
Let's bring in our chief security national correspondent, Jim Sciutto, who is looking into all of this.
What do you make of the fact that there wasn't any specific mention of the Russian disaster?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: To be fair, this group ISIS in the Sinai releases audio, videos messages very regularly.
So, it's hard to say for sure because of that. And there was another message just before, about two weeks before this attack, in which this group threatened and called for attacks on Russians in particular.
But when you look at this particular one, you also see that it's possible they didn't want to be drawing more attention to themselves. U.S. intelligence has noticed that their social media accounts have gone somewhat quiet after the Metrojet, a possibility they don't want to attempt at retaliation.
And it's also notable, however, and a lot of intelligence officials have mentioned this to me, that this is a group that is not shy about advertising its successes. So it's unusual for it not to be sort of waving the flag and saying, hey, we did this and taking credit for it. That's one thing at least in open source intelligence that U.S. officials have noted.
BLITZER: Tell us more about the other threats on that video.
SCIUTTO: Well, when you look at it, this warning highlights this group's bread and butter, which is attacking Egyptian security forces.
They carry out attacks against Egyptian security forces every two or three days. That's showing remarkable capability and resources to operate. So far, as far as Israel is concerned, that's another target mentioned in this latest audio message. They have only fired rockets into Israel.
But it's interesting. If you speak to the Israeli military, they consider ISIS in the Sinai the group's most effective outlet in the region. And they know that their attacks are very professional. Sometimes, they involve more than 100 fighters. They use anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. They use car bombs.
It's a very capable and dangerous group. And you know the Israeli military. They don't lavish praise on groups without thinking about it. They have watched this group operate against the Egyptian military and they say they are very serious and they are very professional. They take them very seriously.
BLITZER: They certainly do. All right, Jim Sciutto, thanks very much.
Joining us now is Republican Senator James Risch of Idaho. He's a leading member of both the Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committees.
Senator, thanks very much for joining us.
I want to talk about Jim's reporting in a moment, but first the NTSB, the National Transportation Safety Board, supposedly, they're on standby to go to Egypt to get involved directly in this investigation and they haven't left yet. What is the U.S. able to do, for example, if they are not given direct access to the crash site?
SEN. JAMES RISCH (R), IDAHO: Probably not much, Wolf.
It is obviously land that's under a sovereign. And there's probably not much we can do about it. But, look, Egypt is an ally of ours. They have been a good friend of ours over the years. We have worked together on a lot of things.
And you have to give Egypt credit. They have been remarkably successful in keeping a lid on the Sinai for over 30 years, a very dangerous piece of ground between Israel and Egypt. And so we want to work with them.
I suspect they want to work with us. But, look, just like us, they have interests. And one of their interests is that they take in a lot of money from tourists that come to Egypt. And it's in their best interests to see that it wasn't a terrorist act that brought this plane down.
Look, it's really important that we put this facade aside. Everybody knows what brought this plane down. Everybody is saying, oh, let's take our time and what have you. There isn't a shred of evidence or a scintilla of evidence to point to anything except a terrorist attack and a bomb on that airplane.
And now why all I saying that we need to move this on? It's a dangerous situation if we don't admit that we have a soft "Spotlight", and we do have a soft spot and it's the backdoor. The people who are in the know on this know that this bomb was not brought through the front door of the airport.
And as a result of that, everyone needs to focus on the backdoor. In the United States, we have about -- in the hundreds of thousands of people that have access to the backdoor. That includes baggage handlers. It includes people that work in the concessions. It includes people who deliver supplies to the concessions.
And the U.S. isn't as much of a problem as when you go to countries that have large populations of radical Islamists who want to hurt people. And this needs to be -- people need to admit what happened here. We need to admit that we got a problem. We need to admit that there is a weak link in the chain. And we need to do something about it.
The front door has been closed. There is no question about it. But just closing the front door isn't good enough, as we have just learned.
BLITZER: When I spoke to the Egyptian foreign minister 24 hours ago, Sameh Shoukry, he seemed frustrated that the U.S. was not sharing intelligence with Egypt, at least not yet. Why would that be?
RISCH: Wolf, there are a number of intelligence agencies, as you know. There is a protocol for doing this. And I probably ought not go into
But I think it is important that there is some sharing here. Part of it has to do with how you come by information. When you share some information, sometimes, that discloses how you came by it and that can be compromising.
So we will get through this, I'm sure, but the Egyptians have a lot of information right now and it's time that they step forward and said that what all things point to. They can reserve some amount of uncertainty if they want, but, look, we need to move this thing forward and we need to all put our heads together and say we got to work on this soft spot.
BLITZER: Senator Richard Burr, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, a man you know well, he told me that he would expect Russia to retaliate for this attack maybe in the next day or two. What are you expecting to see from Russia?
RISCH: Well, you know, that's a really good observation from Richard. He and I and a lot of others have been talking about, what is Russia going to do?
Russia last night, as you know, suspended all flights into Egypt for six months. That tells you that they know what everybody else knows. And given that, and knowing Putin, I don't think he's going to back away from this. I think he's going to ratchet up, rather than ratchet down. And I think that those people in the Sinai who are responsible for this are probably thinking about where is the biggest rock they can get under.
BLITZER: Are you suggesting that the Russians are going to directly go after ISIS in Sinai or ISIS targets, let's say, in Syria?
RISCH: I would not be surprised to see the Russians retaliate in just about any fashion.
Obviously, they work with the Egyptians. And they wouldn't do anything, obviously, without coordination with the Egyptians. But should that happen, it's not going to surprise me. As we all know, Putin is ruthless. He doesn't dither. I suspect right now he's looking at what his options are together with the people that he trusts and the people who he takes advice from, and they are making some decisions as to what's going to go forward.
I think ISIS is -- ISIS has awoken the Russians to something that they haven't been awoken to before.
BLITZER: Yes, I suspect you're right. Richard Burr, the chairman of your Intelligence Committee, I think he totally agrees. Let's see what the Russians do in the next 24 to 48 hours.
Stand by, Senator. We have much more to discuss. We're getting more information on what is going on. We will take a quick break.
BLITZER: We're back with Senator James Risch. He's a leading member of the Intelligence and Foreign Relations Committee, as U.S. intelligence agents pore over possible clues about that Russian airline disaster.
Senator, as you know, the U.S., Russia, Iran, the Saudis, a whole bunch of countries, they met in Vienna last week to try to coordinate some strategy in dealing with the future of Syria.
Here is the question. Should the U.S. and Russia be directly coordinating their military strategy to try to destroy ISIS?
RISCH: Well, they probably should, but that really is unlikely.
At least, it was, until that Russian plane was brought down. The Russians may now come to the realization that ISIS is a really serious problem for them, particularly now that they have entangled themselves in the Syrian mess. They should. Whether they will or not, we do have understandings and there are protocols as far as what they call deconfliction with the aircraft flying there.
They are, I think, satisfactory as far as keeping the planes from each other. They are not satisfactory as far as what is happening on the ground, in my judgment.
BLITZER: Take a look at this graphic showing what you have called the tangled web in the fight for Syria's future. And it's very, very tangled.
How does this particular graphic show how complicated this fight really is?
RISCH: Well, first of all, credit where credit is due. We use this as a worksheet as we have in front of us when we talk about these various things.
This was produced by actually Senator Dan Coats and his staff as we all try to wrestle with this. You come away from these meetings and your head is just swimming over trying to get a handle when we're talking about one of these particular lines that's on this graphic. Sometimes, it's maybe two or three lines.
I know this doesn't sound right, but the graphic is really oversimplified. There are 16 entities on there. There should be another 200 or so on there that's a combination of ethnic, religious and tribal groups that are also involved one way or another with these entities and with each other.
In addition to that, what we use in front of us -- and I couldn't bring them along because they are top secret documents, but we get maps regularly, and it shows how fragmented the country is. And the maps are multicolored. And they show who controls what, either by themselves or together with somebody else.
And when you see all this, you walk away saying you can't solve this problem. It is insoluble. I think what we're going to have to continue to focus on, though, is ISIS, because we know ISIS is a group that is very dangerous to the United States. It can cause us great harm.
It's a group that can reach out and bring down airlines, as we have seen in recent days. And as a result of that, we have got to keep the pressure on. That's all done with the background of what we're trying to understand here.
Now, the Russians leaked today -- I think it was early this morning, maybe last evening -- they leaked this so-called plan that came out of Vienna last week that talks about bringing together all the groups and having elections in 18 months.
Wolf, that's delusional.
RISCH: When you look at this and you look at the fact that there are millions of people that have fled Syria and are living in refugee camps in Turkey and in Jordan and other places, you look at millions that have been displaced that are still in Syria, but displaced from their homes, and they're talking about elections?
RISCH: It is just flat delusional
BLITZER: Eleven million displaced -- 11 million, Senator, four million externally, seven million internally. Elections, that seems pretty farfetched, indeed. We're out of time. But, very quickly, I just want to button up
the headline I'm hearing from Senator Richard Burr, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, yesterday, from you, another member of the Intelligence Committee today, that you're bracing for a very tough Russian response against ISIS in the next day or two. Is that right?
RISCH: You know, Wolf, I'm not going to go so far as to say a day or two.
But I will be very surprised if Russia doesn't respond to this and respond very clearly and with great force.
BLITZER: I think you're right. I think they are getting ready to respond. And you're not ruling out that response could even be directly in Sinai?
RISCH: It could be.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Senator, for joining us, James Risch of Idaho.
Just ahead, Donald Trump and his Republican rivals make dueling claims of victory in the latest debate. He's talking to CNN about his performance and future plans to go on the attack.
And we will also tell you what we're learning about that surveillance video that shows police officers Tasing a man more than once right outside a hospital. He later died in custody. And now a multimillion-dollar lawsuit is making its way through the courts.
BLITZER: Tonight, Donald Trump says he will form what he is calling a deportation force if he's elected president to carry out his plans to boot 11 million undocumented immigrants from the United States.
It's a detail he left out of last night's Republican debate. The GOP candidates are back on the campaign trail today. They're playing up their performances on the debate stage.
Let's bring in our senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny.
You had a chance to catch up with Donald Trump this morning in New Hampshire. You got a little opportunity to speak with him.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we did.
We caught up with Donald Trump today in New Hampshire as he took a self-declared victory lap. He said it was a beautiful thing watching his Republican challenges drop one by one. But that may also be a bit of wishful thinking. Some of his rivals in fact are likely to climb after another Republican debate where Trump often receded into the background, as those deep policy divisions inside the party were front and center.
ZELENY (voice-over): Donald Trump set off on a victory lap today in New Hampshire. Never mind a victory was hardly in hand.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We started off with 17. And one by one by one, they're disappearing. Disappearing. It's a beautiful thing to watch as they go out.
ZELENY: His Republican rivals did go out to the campaign trail fanning across the country on the day after the fourth Republican debate. Ben Carson arrived in Virginia, rallying young evangelicals at Liberty University.
BEN CARSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In all your ways, acknowledge him and he will direct your path.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ZELENY: Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie turned up in Iowa doing whatever it takes, even pouring coffee to win over Republicans. Bush picked up a Veterans Day endorsement from former Senator Bob Dole. He said Republicans need to win the White House.
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to start thinking about how -- who's the person that can beat Hillary Clinton, rather than trying to get into small differences between each campaign.
ZELENY: Perhaps a not-so-subtle jab at Trump, who took part in a New Hampshire tradition, politics and eggs.
(on camera): You said it's a beautiful thing to watch these candidates drop out one by one.
TRUMP: I think you will see quite a few people starting to drop out.
ZELENY: Who's next?
TRUMP: Well, I don't want to predict. I think I know, but I don't want to predict. But there will be a lot of people dropping out. I mean, they have to drop out. They're not resonating.
ZELENY (voice-over): Trump kept above the fray on the debate stage, but told CNN he has no plans of softening his edge on the campaign trail.
TRUMP: No, well, it's not doing speeches, because I think people would be very disappointed if I was that way at a speech.
But I think during a speech, it's different. And during a debate, you have to give other people a chance to talk.
ZELENY: And talk, they did, often loudly, highlighting deep divisions in the party on foreign policy. SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You cannot be a
conservative if you're going to keep promoting new programs that you're not going to pay for.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can't even have an economy if we're not safe.
I know that the world is a safer and better place when America is the strongest military power on the -- in the world.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
ZELENY: And on immigration.
TRUMP: We're a country of laws. We either have a country or we don't have a country.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We all know you can't pick them up and ship them across -- back across the order. It's a silly argument. It's not an adult argument. It makes no sense.
TRUMP: All I can say...
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Twelve million legal immigrants, to send them back, 500,000 a month, is just not possible. And it's not embracing American values.
ZELENY: Today Trump took his plan one step further.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me the how. Are you going to have a massive deportation force?
TRUMP: You're going to have a deportation force, and you're going to do it humanely.
ZELENY: Later, Trump didn't say how a deportation force would work.
TRUMP: Very humanely done, very important.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How?
TRUMP: It's a whole management thing. It's called good management. Good management practices.
ZELENY: Humane and good management. That's what Donald Trump is promising, but many of his GOP rivals say his immigration plan isn't a real plan at all.
The Milwaukee debate highlighted deep divisions inside the GOP that are no closer to being resolved: over immigration, of course, but also foreign affairs and even spending. But Wolf, after spending a couple days talking to voters in New
Hampshire, I can tell you, one thing we heard again and again, who would be the most electable candidate against Hillary Clinton or whoever the Democratic nominee might be. And that's what Republicans are trying to make the argument on right now.
BLITZER: They certainly are. All right. Thanks very much. Don't go away.
We've got more to talk about. Our national political reporter, Maeve Reston, is joining us, as is our CNN political director, David Chalian. David, who are the big winners in the debate last night?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, listen, the front runners are frontrunners. I don't think anything happened last night...
BLITZER: Trump and Carson.
CHALIAN: ... that dislodged Donald Trump and Ben Carson from their front-running position. I think they didn't take any damage incoming, and I don't think they made any huge mistakes.
But I think the big winners, to answer your question, are the ascendant candidates, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. They are candidates on the rise, and I think their performances last night will propel that rise even more.
BLITZER: Did Jeb Bush get a boost out of this, because he did fine last night.
CHALIAN: He did, and there's no doubt he did a lot of work towards stopping the bleeding, right? He had a performance that he was able to then get on the phone with donors and say, "Guys, I am turning this around. Stick with me." There was nothing damaging last night.
But I don't think that debate performance alone is going to be the thing that is going to all of a sudden turn around the Jeb Bush campaign.
BLITZER: Let me ask -- let me ask Jeff and Maeve to respond, as well. Do you agree?
ZELENY: I do largely agree. And I think Jeb Bush had a good night. And I think it is -- it was Xanax for his donors. It was a good moment for this.
And look, I think it showed that his ultimate thing is Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton. So it put that in the mind that he is someone who can stand up to her.
But at the end of the day, he's not an ascendant candidate at the moment, but it is still early. It is still so early to know.
So I still think if you have to put an absolute winner on it, I would say Marco Rubio, followed by Ted Cruz. But, you know, David is right, Ben Carson and Donald Trump are still, you know, probably going to be at the top of the polls for now. They're not going to fall down all at once. This may be a bit by bit kind of thing, if they do.
BLITZER: It is impressive, Maeve, how resilient the two frontrunners have been, not just for a few weeks, but now for several months, and it looks like it's going to go on for a while.
MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. You know, I think that -- that last night in the debate, there -- Ben Carson had a fine performance. There were some questions, a little bit of confusion about some of his answers, but clearly, these guy haves a very strong core of support and, you know, that's going to stick with them, no matter what.
BLITZER: He's still got a problem, potentially, Maeve, and you've been doing a lot of reporting on this. Some of the new versions of his life story, which has been, obviously, so important. His dramatic rise as one of the frontrunners for the Republican presidential nomination.
BLITZER: The Daily Mail online now reporting that, according to his mother, she was the one who threatened him with a hammer, not the other way around. How do you reconcile all this?
RESTON: Well, it's interesting that this new version emerged of the hammer story, because that's actually the third version of the hammer story. And we had asked the campaign over the last couple of weeks to explain some of the differences in his earlier stories.
It's always that this argument over clothes. In one version there was no hammer. In a version that he told the Commonwealth Club he went after his mother with a hammer. And now there's this article mentioning his mother, where she's the one welding the hammer. So we're still trying to get clarification on that.
We've been continuing to talk to classmates who, trying to find eyewitnesses or friends and classmates who knew about these violent outbursts that he had as a youth before he says he found God and really learned how to control his temper.
As you note, in the attempted stabbing incident that he's talked about, that story has also shifted a number of times. At first, it was a friend that he was having an argument with over a radio station. Then that person was described as a classmate who pushed him too far, and now he's saying that that person is a close relative.
So these are all questions that we're trying to clear up. And of course, Dr. Carson has said, you know, that all of this is irrelevant, that it happened a long time ago. And you know, he said people who are asking him about things that happened in the tenth grade can go jump in a lake.
BLITZER: You know, Jeff, the Hillary Clinton campaign supposedly was pretty happy watching that debate, because in a general election, they think the position staked out by the Republicans on immigration, for example, that will help her.
ZELENY: They were. They were definitely pleased by any of this immigration discussion, you know. It is something that they believe the demographics of the country are changing. And they're right about that. And that's why Republicans who study these numbers a little bit more carefully are worried about this.
But, you know, it's still a little too bit early, you know, for the Clinton campaign to be high fiving entirely...
ZELENY: And no one knows that more than the Clinton campaign in Brooklyn.
BLITZER: What was important, David, in the debate last night? And Maeve you wanted to say something?
RESTON: I was just going to say that that's such an interesting part. I think what made Jeb Bush's performance stronger last night was that he really was making a more forceful case on the electability front. That the other guys on the stage who have been talking about deporting immigrants and all that, that they really were going to have a lot of problems when you get to a general election.
And that's really the strong suit that Bush has to play, but it just doesn't play well with primary voters. And he continues to try to walk that tight rope.
BLITZER: David, you wanted to say?
CHALIAN: And Jeb Bush has known this is his problem from the very beginning. I mean, a year ago, he told us, you've got to be willing to lose the primary to win the general. This is what he's talking about.
The question now that remains in these days between now and February 1, are Republican caucus-going -- caucus goers in Iowa and New Hampshire primary voters going to vote their anger and desire to send a message that they want an outsider who's never been involved in this before, or are they going to go and all of a sudden think, "No, no, no, I want to pick a winner who can be elected president"? That is what is going to be...
BLITZER: And that debate, that aspect, the fight that Marco Rubio and Rand Paul had on foreign policy, whether to intervene, whether you're a neocon, whether you're in isolation, as to all these labels out there, that was significant.
CHALIAN: It was significant. First of all, I think it's one of the real divides that we see inside the party. Rand Paul speaking to his core supporters with that more libertarian streak of the party; Marco Rubio speaking to his. I think that that exchange did them both well with their supporters. I don't know that either one of them won new supporters to their position.
BLITZER: I think you're absolutely right.
All right. David Chalian, thanks very much.
Jeff Zeleny, Maeve Reston, we're going to obviously stay on top of this story.
The next Republican candidates' debate, by the way, will be right here on CNN. I'll be the moderator. Please be sure to join us from Las Vegas. Mark your calendar right now: December 15 in Las Vegas.
Just ahead, a man dies in police custody after officers use a stun gun on him multiple times. Now the family is suing. They're demanding millions of dollars. We're going to tell you what we're learning about the case.
[18:42:56] BLITZER: We're learning more tonight about the surveillance video showing a man being Tased by police multiple times while in handcuffs. He later died in custody, even though the incident happened at the doors of the hospital emergency room. Now his family is suing police for $25 million.
Our justice correspondent, Pamela Brown, is here.
Pamela, tell us more about the video and the lawsuit.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the video that we received, Wolf, through the attorney involved with this lawsuit shows the man dying while in police custody after he was taken away from that hospital and Tased, raising questions about whether police should have done more to get him medical treatment sooner.
BROWN (voice-over): This police video shows three officers in South Boston, Virginia, Tasing a man outside a hospital emergency room. Shortly after, that man, 46-year-old Linwood Lambert, died in police custody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not locking you up.
BROWN: The video begins with officers picking Lambert up at a motel early one morning in May of 2013 after several 911 calls were made about noise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got you. I got you.
BROWN: In court records, police say because of the way Lambert was acting, they decided to take him to the hospital for a mental health evaluation. They say he made comments about murdering two people and hiding their bodies in the ceiling.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to take you to the emergency room. We're going to get you looked at and make sure you're good to go.
BROWN: Inside the patrol car, police say he kicked out the window. Then the video shows Lambert running straight into the hospital doors while handcuffed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get on your belly!
BROWN: He falls to the ground, and the officers repeatedly ask him to roll over onto his stomach while threatening to Tase him. Lambert then admits he was on drugs.
LINWOOD LAMBERT, DIED IN POLICE CUSTODY: I just did cocaine, man.
BROWN: But instead of taking him inside the emergency room, the officers take him to the police station.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're under arrest. Stand up.
BROWN: The officers Tase Lambert multiple times. He's bleeding, apparently from breaking the squad car window. By the time they reached the police station, Lambert appears unconscious in the back seat. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital after going into cardiac arrest, according to the medical examiner's report.
The report ruled the cause of death as acute cocaine intoxication, but the family blames the police. And they filed a $25 million wrongful death lawsuit alleging, quote, "The officers' callous disregard for Linwood Lambert in tasering him multiple times and depriving him of the desperate medical care he needed violated his constitutional rights to be free from cruel and unusual punishment."
Police denied the allegations saying Lambert's erratic actions required the use of force.
BROWN: And the South Boston police department released a statement saying, "We are vigorously defending the case. Our position is affirmed by the reports of two independent well-qualified experts in the field."
CNN attempted to reach both South Boston police as well as Virginia state police who picked up this investigation after his death, and we have not heard back. The medical examiner's report did say that while cocaine was a cause of death, there were three puncture wounds that looked like they were from a taser. CNN was not able to independently verify how many times Lambert was tasered -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Pamela, thanks very much.
I want to bring in our CNN anchor Don Lemon, and our legal analyst Sunny Hostin, she's a former federal prosecutor.
Don, let me play a little more of the video showing police using their stun guns on Lambert after he kicks out the police cruiser's window. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to tell my mama who the guy was and room number.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an emergency room. Calm down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. Okay, please. I'm not going to do nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please. OK. Good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's coming to you, Clint. It's coming to you, Clint.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: So, Don, pretty disturbing video. This is all happening at the entrance of the E.R. over there in plain view of nurses, doctors, taken down to the ground. You hear the moaning.
Instead of taking him in the hospital, they take him -- they put him back in the car and take him back to the police station to the jail, if you will. Does that make any sense?
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Boy, this is a tough one because this looks awful. I don't like to see this breaks my heart to see anything like this. Obviously, the man is in distress. He admitted that he had been doing drugs. He was acting erratically.
The officer said they didn't want to bring him in because they didn't want him -- insinuated that they didn't want him to harm other people. The question is and I think once Sunny weighs in is the use of the force at the time. And it just -- from this video, from this video, it looks awful and we know from the investigation there is much more to this video than there have been to others from that they tased him 20 times at least. They don't know if all of it got to him.
But tasing someone that many times appears to be excessive force. I don't know how they could have restrained him. I'm not a police officer. I don't know if he would have put other people in harm's way if he had gone into the ER. I don't know how many people were in there.
It looks like maybe doctors or something could have come outside to help the man but something could have been done where they -- since they were already at a hospital, to help this man out and to get someone out there to get him under control.
BLITZER: Sunny, in another part of the video, you hear the officer, the police officer, talking about how profusely Lambert is bleeding and one saying he's bloody as a hog, but he's not taken back to the hospital. The suit, the lawsuit claims wrongful death. You're a lawyer. What's your legal take?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, you know, I think this is such a clear case, quite frankly of excessive force. When you read the civil suit and the documents that are attached to it, it is very clear that he was tased over 20 times over the span of half an hour, Wolf. And it's also clear when you look at the federal guidelines for taser use that this is completely inappropriate and it is excessive force.
If you look at this police department, the South Boston Police Department's own guidelines, those guidelines say that taser use is no longer justified once the subject has been restrained.
Now, remember, he is running in handcuffs. He is clearly restrained when he is being tased over and over again. In fact, the female officer that you see tased him at least 15 times, including 10 times, Wolf, in a two-minute span. Each tase is about 50,000 electric volts.
So, there is no question in my mind when you look at the federal guidelines, when you look at this police department's own guidelines and when you look at this video that this is excessive force.
[18:50:02] What is horrifying to me is that this has been open, under investigation with the prosecutor's office since 2013. I don't understand why prosecutors across our country are afraid to call it what it is. And call it like they see it.
BLITZER: A quick question, the medical examiner, though, in the autopsy says the cause of death was cocaine overdose, if you will, cocaine intoxication, whatever the technical term. Not the taser.
HOSTIN: Sure. And I will tell you that oftentimes as a prosecutor, when you are trying murder cases and you have a cause of death that doesn't support your theory of the case, guess what, you get another expert in there to look at the autopsy report again or to continue the investigation. So, that's really not an excuse for the prosecutor's office not to act.
LEMON: It does look excessive. But my thing is -- and, you know, Sunny, you can weigh in on this, they were at the hospital and I think at the hospital, the video shows him shackling his feet. So, I have seen where people come out of the hospital, right, when there's an ambulance and someone who is acting erratically, they put them on a gurney and then they strap them down, right, and give them some sort of a shot or what have you.
So, my thing is, if they were there and they thought he was acting erratically and didn't want to put other people in harm's way of this person, they could have brought some medical person out and strapped him to a gurney and given him some sort of a sedative. So, I don't know why they would have taken him back to the police station when he was already at the hospital. HOSTIN: Yes, I agree. If you look at the civil suit, it's very
clear what the officer said. I think his name is Officer Clay. When he went in to the emergency room, the emergency room personnel said, are you going to bring him in here?
LEMON: Officer Mann. Officer Mann.
HOSTIN: Officer Mann rather. He said, we were. Now, he's going to jail. He's bleeding like a hog. We thought he was crazy and then he tells us he was on cocaine.
So, they made a decision about this person's character and they decided that because he had taken cocaine, he didn't warrant any sort of medical help, which is, I think, at the very least, just the most -- one of the most callous things that another human being can --
LEMON: The importance of body cameras, this illustrates that again.
BLITZER: Yes. There were other cameras as well.
All right. Guys, thanks very much. Don Lemon, Sunny Hostin.
And please be sure to join Don later tonight. He anchors "CNN TONIGHT" at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
Much more news coming up right after a quick break.
[18:57:11] BLITZER: On this Veterans Day, President Obama is urging all Americans to honor our current and former members of the U.S. military long after this holiday is over.
Take a look today's tribute to the U.S. troops at Arlington National Cemetery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, we gather once more to salute every patriot who has ever proudly worn the uniform of the United States of America.
This year, as we mark 70 years since our victory in the Second World War, we pay special tribute to a generation that literally saved the world. Tomorrow, after the parades and the ceremonies, we roll up the banners and sweep the veterans halls and go back to our daily lives for getting the bond between our veterans and our obligations as citizens that we will be doing a profound disservice to our veterans and the very cause for which they serve.
What has always made us exceptional is the patriots who generation after generation dedicate themselves to building a nation that is stronger, freer, a little more perfect.
On this day and every day, we thank you. God bless our veterans and your families, and God bless the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And on behalf of all of us here at CNN, we want to thank all of our veterans. We thank them every day for our service, especially on this day.
That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching. Please be sure to join us here tomorrow in THE SITUATION ROOM.
I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.