hello, i'm wolf blitzer. it's 1:00 p.m. here in washington. 7:00 p.m. in rome. 8:00 p.m. in annikaa, turkey. sometimes volatile issues, politics and religion. pope francis wading into u.s. presidential politics, suggesting that donald trump's immigration plans are not those of a christian. the pope was taking questions from reporters on a flight to rome after his visit to the
u.s./mexican border. he responded to trump's plan to build a wall along that border and trump's accusation of mexico using him as a political pawn. listen to this. >> translator: thank god, he said i was a politician. because aristotle defined the human person as that. at least i'm a person. as to whether i'm a pawn, well maybe. i don't know. i'll leave that up to your dutchmen and that of the people. and then a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be located, and not building bridges is not a christian. this is not in the gospel. as far as what you said about whether i would advise to vote or not vote, i am not going to get involved in that. i say only that this man is not a christian if he has said things like that. >> our correspondent, rosa flores, was on that flight where the pope made those comments.
she is joining us now from rome. rosa, help us get some context. what exactly was the question the pope was asked. give us the full context of this exchange. >> reporter:el wolf, you're absolutely right. context is very important in this case. here's how this question was worded. it was worded the following. pope francis, you've been in mexico, speaking very eloquently about immigration. but just across the border, there is a fight for the white house, and one of the front-runners is saying that he wants to build a wall, dividing the united states and mexico. and he also wants to deport 11 million undocumented back to mexico. and some are even saying that you're a pawn of the mexican government for coming at this particular time. and so pope francis responded by saying, you know, i can't tell someone what to do when it comes to voting in the united states, because that's not the role of the pope. but i will tell you that when
someone speaks about building walls, rather than bridges, that's not christian. and he did mention that twice, these questions and answers were all in italian, wolf. and i should mention this. pope francis did not mention donald trump's name. donald trump's name was in the question that was asked to the pope. >> yeah, and the pope said, as we just heard, rosa. the pope said, i say only that this man is not christian, if he has said things like that, and then he added, we must see if he said things in that way, and in this i give the benefit of the doubt. so he was suggesting that if, in fact, trump had said these things about building a wall, which, of course, he has, as all of our viewers know, that that would not be christian. those are pretty strong words, irrespective of the little caveat there at the end. >> reporter: definitely very strong words, wolf. in fact, a question was posed to the vatican spokesperson the day before this press conference.
and -- about donald trump and about his comments to fox news. and the spokesperson, father lombardi said, you know, pope francis is aware that there is a -- an election in the united states. he knows that there is a very colorful character that is part of this election, that is very expressive in the way that he speaks using those particular words, wolf. not saying the name, donald trump. but just, you know, alluding to the fact that pope francis is aware of this election, but never naming donald trump by name. >> it didn't take, rosa, donald trump very long to respond to the pope's comments. just a little while ago at a campaign stop
in south carolina, he said this. >> if and when the vatican is attacked by isis, which as everyone knows is isis' ultimate trophy, i can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that donald trump
would have been president. because -- it's true. it's true. because this would not have happened. isis would have been eradicateded, unlike what is happening now with our all-talk, no-action politicians. that's what's happening now. the mexican government and its leadership has made many disparaging remarks about me to the pope, because they want to continue to rip off the united states, both on trade and at the border. that's what they're doing. they're ripping us off. and they understand that i am totally wise to them, and if i'm president, we'll stop it immediately, okay? he doesn't see how mexican leadership and he doesn't understand it. he doesn't see how mexican leadership is outsmarting our president, and obama and our leadership has no clue as to the negotiation or anything else. in other words, we are being so
badly outnegotiated by mexico. mexico knows if i win, those days are gone. the pope is being told that donald trump is not a nice person, okay? donald trump is a very nice person. and i'm a very -- i am a very nice person. and i'm a very good christian. for a religious leader to question a person's faith is disgraceful. i'm proud to be a christian. and as president, i will not allow christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now with our current president. okay? believe me.
>> very strong response from donald trump, as you can see, to what the pope had said aboard that flight from mexico back to rome. let's get some perspective on all of this from mark burns, a donald trump supporter, he is also pastor of harvest praise and worship center in easley, south carolina. pastor, thanks very much for joining us. so what's your reaction to this exchange between the pope and
donald trump? >> well, you know, i want to piggyback on what mr. trump said. i really think it's sad for the mexican government to really use the holy father as a pawn. again, the pope only receiving one part of a conversation of the mexican government is consistently using propaganda, such as bringing in the holy father himself to outmaneuver, outrank -- outmaneuver the united states' government and the leadership that we currently have. i mean, the bible throughout the scriptures lists over and over again the building of walls. i'm a little perplexed for the pope to say one who is building walls would be unchristian when in reality, the vatican itself is 100% covered around a wall. the book chapter 2, verse 17, makes it clear that -- see the bad situation you're in, come and let us build a wall.
chapter 6, verse number 16. the bible of bible says that when enemies heard that a wall was being built, they were afraid. that the work was done by the lord. so for me to hear the pope declare that building a wall is -- anyone who builds walls is not a christian, i'm very perplexed and a little bit confused. remind you that the vatican itself is 100% surrounded around a wall. and i really want to be clear, because i don't want this to become a trump attack against catholics or the holy father or the pope. again, we recognize who the pope is. and i think the pope is really being used as a pawn by the mexican government to once again, outwit the united states' government and our current leadership. mr. trump has made it clear that we as christians will have a friend in the white house. and, again, i'm just perplexed and a little bit confused why the pope would make such statements. >> i just want to be precise what the pope said and i'll read his words to you, precisely,
pastor. >> he said a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not christian. so those were his exact words. >> sure. and i'm going to say this. i think the united states government has been and will continue to be a safe haven for those who are less fortunate. i really believe it is important that we continue to use the might of the united states government to help those who are in trouble, to help and protect those who are being destroyed and killed. but there is a way to do it, and also still protect the citizens of the united states of america. and that's exactly what mr. trump is proposing. it is christ-like, i believe, to first make sure that those whom you are assigned to protect, you take care first. my children, my wife, tamara burns, and my six beautiful children. my job as the father is to first protect my children. before i begin to protect anyone else.
even when a plane is going down in a crisis, they will tell you, please put the oxygen mask on your face first, before you put the oxygen mask on anyone else. and so it is important, i believe, that we first make sure that our borders are secure. then position ourselves to be a blessing to everyone else in the world. i think the united states and mr. trump will continue to strive to build bridges for those who are less fortunate. so let's make sure we don't confuse what the pope said and mr. trump's intentions on being a unifier and not a divider. >> as you know, the pope is the spiritual leader to about 1.2 billion catholics worldwide. does donald trump risk alienating catholics, specifically in south carolina, where you are, when he criticizes the pontiff as being political? >> well, you know, i think, again -- i think we really need to focus on the mexican government utilizing the pope as
a pawn. we can't be foolish or to believe that the pope does not carry such weight as he does. because he is, in fact, the pope. he is, in fact, the holy father and recognized by over a billion catholic believers as the point of contact to who we believe the lord jesus christ in heaven. the internally representation of our god, the god of abraham, isaac and jacob here on earth. and so we cannot be fooled and perplexed to think that the pope does not carry a political weight wherever he goes and whatever he says. and so we want to make sure that what mr. trump said is not taken out of context. and what mr. trump said is not to alienate the catholic body. and the holy father himself. but to criticize the mexican government for utilizing the pope himself, or just giving one side of the speech.
i'm sure the mexican government didn't tell you about the countless amount of drugs that are coming through our border from the mexican -- from mexico. i'm sure they don't tell you about the countless amount of rapes and the countless amount of murders that take place from illegal immigrants that are using the border of mexico to enter the united states illegally. i'm sure they don't discuss those conversations with the pope. it's all about building a wall and segregating and not unifying it. that's not the case at all. i do want to thank the pope, though, for recognizing the gop front-runner. because, again, millions of americans are doing just that. supporting donald trump, getting behind him. evangelicals, christians alike, are getting behind a person who will actually do what he said he's going to do. >> he's doing well among evangelical republican primary voters, certainly, according to the polls in south carolina where you are. pastor, thanks very much for joining us. >> god bless you.
thank you, wolf. >> thank you, pastor mark burns. joining us. the important programming note for our viewers, tune in tonight to see three of the gop presidential candidates make their pitch directly to south carolina voters. john kasich, jeb bush and donald trump. they will appear in a cnn town hall moderated by anderson cooper. our coverage begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. still ahead, the latest controversy about the pope and donald trump. surely on the minds of voters in south carolina. especiallyals. how could that impact tonight's town hall with these three republican candidates? and ted cruz versus marco rubio. the camp fight is getting ugly before saturday's primary. why the battle to overtake donald trump may only be hurting themselves. (vo) ten years in a row. ten westminster best in show winners in a row. all fueled by purina pro plan...
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donald trump takes the stage, takes questions tonight from south carolina voters in the second night of our cnn town hall. the pope's comments suggesting trump is not necessarily a christian. sure to be part of the conversation. the pope says someone who builds walls instead of bridges, the pope's words, is not christian. trump responded to the pope's remarks at a campaign stop last hour.
>> if and when the vatican is attacked by isis, which as everyone knows is isis' ultimate trophy, i can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that donald trump would have been president. because -- it's true. it's true. because this would not have happened. isis would have been eradicateded, unlike what is happening now, with our all-talk, no-action politicians. that's what's happening now. the pope isn't being told that. the pope is being told that donald trump is not a nice person. okay? donald trump is a very nice person. and i'm a very -- i am a very nice person. and i'm a very good christian. for a religious leader to question a person's faith is disgraceful. i'm proud to be a christian. and as president, i will not allow christianity to be
consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now with our current president. >> we're also watching for republican presidential candidate and a devout catholic himself, jeb bush, to address the media about the trump-pope development, the exchange that has occurred today. as soon as that happens, we'll go there live. you're looking at live pictures outside at his bus there in south carolina. let's bring in our cnn politics executive, editor, mark preston and gloria borger. gloria, what's your take on this -- the pope's comments and donald trump response. how is it likely to play into tonight's town hall? >> first of all, wolf, just when you thought this race couldn't get any crazier, here we have donald trump and the pope in an argument over building a wall, and immigration. the question is whether donald trump calling the pope disgraceful is going to have any impact on his voters, his hard-core supporters, which
include evangelical voters, is really unanswerable at this point. the pope is popular in this country. he's not universally popular. he's viewed as a more liberal pope. but i -- it's hard to say whether donald trump getting into a fight with the pope is going to have impact among his core 35, 30, 35% of supporters. it's -- what is clear is that his opponents, like jeb bush, who as you point out, is getting ready to have a session with reporters about this, that his opponents will clearly, clearly take on donald trump on this. >> i'm sure he will. and mark, as you know, as all of our viewers know, building this wall along the u.s./mexico border, that's been a cornerstone of trump's immigration policies from day one. i assume that just because he's getting criticized now by the pope, he's not going to back
away from that at all. >> reporter: no, it only emboldens him, in many ways. as you said, a cornerstone. it really is the base of his campaign. when he announced he was running in midsummer, he talked about illegal immigration, and talks about how he's the one who brought it to the forefront and no one else would talk about it. just talk about the scene from yesterday, where you have the pope on the border, literally, you know, just right across the way, you know, from the u.s. in mexico line. talking about how there needs to be more compassion and humanity about this. but to gloria's point, you know, i think we've come to the point right now, wolf, that we can't really come up with a prediction about how this is really going to play out, because every time donald trump has said something that's been very controversial, that we thought would kill his canned tease, it only solidifies with his supporters. we'll see how this plays out over the next couple days. but i don't know if this does affect donald trump. >> you know, i was at a rubio rally this morning.
and i went out into the crowd and spoke with a whole bunch of voters, and there were a bunch i spoke to who used to be trump supporters and who were a little bit turned off recently by his performances. and they were really giving rubio a serious look. so, you know, that's just completely anecdotal, wolf. clearly ahead by a large amount in this state. and there's a fight for second place that's playing out between cruz and rubio. so it's just kind of -- it's just kind of hard to say right now. i think this is so fluid, you don't really know. >> that's a good point. all right, guys, stand by. we're waiting to hear from jeb bush. he converted to catholicism back in the mid '90s, he's getting ready to spoke to react to what donald trump and the pope have said today. a live picture outside his bus in columbia, south carolina. once he gets to the microphones, we'll hear what he has to say.
meantime, our poll shows democratic presidential candidates bernie sanders and hillary clinton are neck and neck in south carolina. they'll need more than luck on saturday. meantime, that story coming up, but i think jeb bush is speaking right now. [ inaudible question ] >> first of all, if you listen to his plans on isis, it has gone from we don't have a dog in the fight to let russia deal with isis, which they have no interest in doing. let isis take out assad and then we're going to bomb the bleep out of isis. that's not a policy. >> let's just talk about -- >> let's talk about him being president. >> how about mr. trump going at it with the pope? as a devout catholic. >> the pope said apparently he might not be christian. i think his christianity is between he and his creator. i don't think we need to discuss that. his relation to his policies
regarding isis is not the right guy to be commander in chief. the swiss army guard is probably taking pretty good care of the pope. so i'm not worried about it. >> do you think the pope was wrong to question his christianity? >> i don't question anybody's christianity, because i honestly believe that's a relationship that you have with your creator. and it only enables bad behavior when someone from the outside of our country talks about donald trump. >> do you agree with the statement, then? what pope francis said is a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not christian. do you agree with that? >> i don't know what that means. >> you don't support a wall. >> i support walls where it's appropriate, sure. i also believe that we ought to have other parts of this, which is the border patrol, using their own technology. using gps technology. across the board, we ought to have a strategy to protect our border. and that is clear. but that is not -- that's not an unchristian thing to do.
to make sure that people don't come across our border illegally. that's a just thing. >> [ inaudible question ]. >> i would say away from that, in my own personal opinion, being someone who is the head of my church. my spiritual leader. and as we have said from other areas, whether it's global warming or other things, i think it's okay as a catholic to give my guidance as a catholic from the pope. but certainly not the economic policy or departmental policy. i respect the pope, his voice will be heard. but dealing with isis, we need someone who has a steady hand in the strategy. i'm the only guy who laid out a strategy prior to the attacks. and i'm going to stick with that. [ inaudible question ]
>> all right. there's jeb bush, the republican presidential candidate. he's a convert to catholicism in the 1990s, converted to catholicism, reacting to the exchange between the pope and donald trump. mark preston and gloria borger still with us. gloria, i don't know if you could hear what he was saying better than i could. i was having trouble hearing what he was saying. the audio wasn't that great. if you could summarize briefly what he was saying, i think that would be good for our viewers. >> yeah, it's a little difficult. mark and i were trying to parse it. it seems to me that he was low-keying his response to this, to a great degree, talking about the spiritual guidance he gets from the pope, but not his political guidance or economic guidance from the pope. and he believes, you know -- he doesn't judge other people's christianity. so i think bush was given an opportunity to kind of come down really hard on donald trump on
this. and i don't think he did. i don't think he did. >> i agree. >> you know, wolf, what's interesting about this is that jeb bush scheduled this news conference right after donald trump had made these remarks. and in many ways, we thought jeb bush would come out swinging hard on donald trump. and that's really been a criticism of his campaign is that he hasn't come out swinging. he's not a political animal. he's a policy wonk. so i think he has struggled with that, like when it gets down to the bare knuckle fighting. it doesn't mean he's not qualified, it doesn't mean he wouldn't be a good president. but on the campaign trail he's not a bare knuckle fighter with donald trump. i have to say, over the past few days, he seems to have got his moej owe back, a word we have been using for marco rubio on this. but i don't know if we saw it right then. >> it's interesting, because he's the one who has been out there saying i'm the only guy taking on donald trump. he's called him a jerk and other assorted names. during the campaign. wondering where all his colleagues were on taking on
trump. now cruz is taking on trump as well. and when given the opportunity today, he wasn't as forceful as i thought he might have been on this. and that's obviously because the pope, i think, is a bit controversial among republicans, because he's -- he's considered a liberal pope. >> right. >> yeah, and you've got to take a look at this exchange, what the pope said about donald trump. just to remind our viewers, the words were very specific. he said, "i say only that this man is not christian if he has said things like that," referring to building these walls. "we must see if he said things in that way, and in this i give the benefit of the doubt." that's what the pope said aboard the flight from mexico to rome. and then donald trump's response, a lengthy statement. you saw him reading it at that rally a little while ago. but he did say specifically for a religious leader to question a person's faith is disgraceful.
strong words from donald trump. go ahead, quickly. >> wolf, building a wall is a very popular position in the republican party. so the pope would be -- if he were in politics here, he would be on the wrong side of that issue if he were running in a republican primary in south carolina. >> all right, guys. stand by. because we're going to continue to watch what's going on. there is other news we're following, as well. the democratic contest in nevada, that's coming up this saturday. it's neck and neck right now between bernie sanders and hillary clinton. we'll update you on what's going on there when we come back. this is joanne. her long day as a hair stylist starts with shoulder pain when... hey joanne, want to trade the all day relief of 2 aleve with 6 tylenol? give up my 2 aleve for 6 tylenol?
in on south carolina, the two democratic presidential hopefuls, they're hoping to draw full houses in las vegas. the caucuses set for eight afternoon. right now they'll be -- they're in a tie for allel practical purposes, if you believe the polls, after hillary clinton won in iowa, barely. bernie sanders had a landslide win in new hampshire. joining us now, the mayor of las vegas, carolyn gooden. thanks very much for joining us. you haven't endorsed any candidates yet, have you? >> no, i have not. i'm just sitting watching and listening, and learning all of the time what's happening. >> are you going to endorse someone eventually? >> probably not. i'm a nonpartisan, and i believe my role is to try to work cross party lines, and not favor one or the other. parts of me are very, very republican, parts of me are very, very, very democratic. and so i think my function as an elected leader really is to pull people together, not separate them. >> bernie sanders supposedly is
banking on a big turnout in nevada on saturday. what's your guess? >> you know, i think he's right. evrywhere you go, you see bernie sanders signs. i think his grass roots growth out here has been phenomenal. i see a continuing endorsement of hillary, naturally. because she's been coming out here since the days that president clinton was elected. so my sense is, everything going forward -- i mean, i believe what's going to really be close. and tonight, you know, we have the town hall meeting at the cleveland clinic, the brain institute. the fabulous building. it's great, designed by frank gary, and it's the brain that looks all scrambled up. and so what a perfect place to have a town hall meeting, is in a brain center. i just love the idea of it. but i think it's going to be is he interesting how this plays out. and my biggest concern is the apathy of voters continuing to go on, and not getting to the polls. no matter how much money you
spend, it is getting your people to the polls. so that's what i'm looking to see what happens here, most definitely. >> we'll all be watching on sunday. carolyn gooden, thank you very much for joining us. >> thank you so much for having us. becoming the republican mantra of the 2016 election. why the "l" word is flying from the lynx of so many candidates. we'll discuss that more with our political panel. rnly): where do you think you're going? mr. mucus: to work, with you. it's taco tuesday. man: you're not coming. i took mucinex to help get rid of my mucusy congestion. i'm good all day. [announcer:] mucinex keeps working. not 4, not 6, but 12 hours. let's end this
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both rubio and cruz answered questions from south carolina voters at last night's cnn republican town hall. but they also took time on stage to attack each other. >> i said he's been lying, because if you say something that isn't true and you say it over and over again and you know that it's not true, there is no other word for it. and when it's about your record, you have to clear it up, because if you don't, people say it must be true. >> both donald trump and marco rubio are following this pattern that whenever anyone points to their actual record to what they have said, to what they voted on, to what they have done. they start screaming, liar, liar, liar. it is the oddest thing. >> let's bring in our republican political panel to discuss. amanda carpenter, cnn political commentator, former communications director for ted cruz. anna navarro, a friend of senator rubios, supporting jeb bush in this election. what was the best moment these two candidates, anna, had respect i didn't feel.
ted cruz and marco rubio? >> actually, i think it had nothing to do with policy. i think it had nothing to do with them attacking each other. i thought their best moments last night was when anderson got them to open up about their personal lives. about how they met their wives. we -- you know, we've been caught in this cycle of insults hurled between one side and the other in this republican cross fire. and i thought it was nice for a national audience to get to hear about jennette rubio. to get to hear about heidi cruz. two terrific women who are married to these men and who as first ladies would have a huge role to play in our national agenda. >> amanda, what do you think? >> i agree. it was nice to see the human element come out of these candidates when it was so caught up in the sound bites of day to day. you know, marco rubio talking about his kids. i was picturing him having these cute little dance parties with his adorable family. cruz, talking about how the torture that happened to his father influenced his
perspective as it relates to cuba. these are important things. they got to have a real, honest conversation on a stage with voters. and so it was just -- it was really refreshing. and part of that, to be honest, had to do with the fact that donald trump wasn't on the stage. it will be interesting tonight to see what happens between the dynamic where we've had these really thoughtful, provocative conversations, and then ending it with donald trump. because i -- i am very curious to see how he holds up to the standard that's been set by the other candidates. and i expect jeb bush to also have a thoughtful conversation. >> you believe, anna, this is a fight now between cruz and rubio for second place in south carolina, that donald trump will win on saturday? >> well, all the polls certainly indicate that donald trump is far, far ahead. we have seen the polls be wrong before. we saw it in iowa. it seems that in south carolina, his lead is insurmountable. we shall see. nothing is written in stone until the voters actually vote.
i think there is a very tight race for second and third place in south carolina between cruz, rubio, carson and bush. and we're going to see what voters turn out. and, you know, wolf, i think last night also there was a very poignant moment that same question was asked to both of them about cuba. and it's so significant. you know, these are two hispanic guys. ted cruz is half cuban, marco rubio is the child of two cuban parents. and they both were asked a question about obama, who president obama last night announced he's going to cuba in march. and you know, it was very nice to hear the passion with which they defended the victims of the castro dictatorship in cuba, and recognized that we should not be rewarding dictators that have ruled in that country for 56 years, oppressed people, tortured people, killed people, including americans, with a presidential visit. i was very proud of both of them
at that moment. >> on that issue, they both agreed as far as opposing president obama's decision next month to go to cuba. first time in more than half a century, the american president, almost a century, will actually have visited cuba. all right, ladies, thanks very much. next, the democratic battle for the minority vote. i'll speak with elijah cummings and where he stands. stay with us.
the endorsement game a major part of the primary fight. on the democratic side, both clinton and sanders met recently with african-american leaders in an attempt to get critical endorsements ahead of the primary starting with south carolina. joining us from baltimore is democratic congressman elijah cummings. thank you very much for join us. the black caucus congressional committee last week endorsed clinton. you weren't a part of that. tell our viewers why. >> i abstained because i'm the ranking member of the benghazi committee and i wanted to finish our investigation or at least get through it substantially
further than what we are before i made that decision. in fairness to hillary clinton and to the investigation. >> but you know trey gowdy, the chairman of your special committee, he's openly endorsing marco rubio. >> i know that. >> is that proper do you think? >> i think that says something about where trey gowdy stands but i think, you know, that's up to him. i just think we have to produce a credible report. there will come a time when i will make an endorsement, wolf, but, you know, i just want to get through a few more interviews. they've now spent $6 million on this benghazi investigation. they keep coming up with more and more interviews. at some point, with our election right here in maryland coming up at the end of april, i've got to make an endorsement. so i will -- it may come as soon as next week.
>> on benghazi, trey gowdy now says your committee has interviewed 75 witnesses. most recently, ben rhodes, the deputy national security adviser. without going into details, because i know these are all private interviews. are you learning new information that's going to be useful to the american public? >> no. it's the same rehashing of information we already know. period. i think the republicans are trying to draw this out into the election. i think they'll try to go probably until august or november if they can. this has been dragged out too long. again, $6 million we spent already and counting. it needs to be set down and we need to move on. >> strong words. what about the key issue right now for african-american voters? they make up more than half of the likely democratic primary voters in south carolina. what's the biggest issue you think right now on their minds? >> i think african-american
voters are looking for authenticity and looking for somebody they can truly believe in. you know, we have had a phenomenal jobless rate with regard to criminal reform, criminal justice reform. that's a very big issue for us. miss clinton, secretary clinton, just put forth a plan, $125 billion plan, to address joblessness in the criminal justice reform and trying to get people back to work and train. and certainly bernie sanders has put forth his feelings about it. i think people are looking for the person who is going to be providing a practical solution and the person who is going to be able to carry out those solutions. and so it's -- i think it's up in the air. i really do. >> elijah cummings, democratic congressman from maryland, thanks very much as usual for joining us. >> thank you. >> still ahead, turkey's response to an attack in anka,
straining its relationship with the united states right now. why that could severely affect the fight against isis at the same time. we'll go live to turkey. janet? cough if you can hear me. don't even think about it. i took mucinex dm for my phlegmy cough. yeah...but what about mike? it works on his cough too. cough! it works on his cough too. mucinex dm relieves wet and dry coughs for 12 hours. let's end this.
don't fall for directv. xfinity lets you download your shows from anywhere. i used to like that song. turkey says it's using air strikes to target leading kurdish militants in northern iraq. [ sirens ] this follows a blast in ankara that killed at least 28 people. turkish prime minister blaming a kurdish separatist group there called the wpg. then another attack in southeastern turkey, a roadside bomb that killed at least six turkish soldiers. the government is blaming the kurdistan workers party or the pkk. our senior international correspondent arwa damon is joining us now from ankara, turkey. arwa, give us perspective on these two turkish groups because
a lot of us originally thought isis may have been responsible for that bombing in ankara. >> well, at this stage, the turkish government is blaming both the wpg and the pkk. saying they worked together to carry out the ankara attack that claimed at least 28 lives. a bit of history on the two. the pkk is a kurdish separatist group that has been at war with the turkish state for about three decades now. it is a war that has cost tens of thousands of lives on both sides. over the summer, a cease-fire between the two fell apart and hundreds have been killed, while huge swaths of southeastern turkey have been turned into battlefields. now, let's go across the border to syria. the ypg is one of the main kurdish fighting forces enside syria. that is the force that america considers to be its strongest ally inside syria and it has received significant u.s. support in the forms of air
strikes at times that have allowed the ypg to make gains against isis in some areas. but also take over territory that was controlled by arab rebels that turkey supports. turkey views the ypg's presence along its border with syria as being a direct threat to its own national security, wolf, so turkey does not differentiate between the ypg and pkk. the u.s. considers pkk to be a terrorist entity but not the ypg. >> turkey of course is a nato ally and all of this is straining turkey/u.s. relations right now. can only imagine the response over these terror attacks. arwa damon, live for us from ankara, turkey. that's it for me. i'll be back at 5:00 p.m. in
"the situation room." for international viewers "amanpour" is next. for north america, "newsroom" with poppy harlow and erin burnett starts right now. all right, top of the hour. i'm poppy harlow. this is cnn special live coverage of a critical moment in the race for the white house. i'm joined by erin burnett in columbia, south carolina. hi, erin. >> hi, poppy. in columbia it is night two. tonight, kasich, bush and trump. if you woke up wondering who trump would fight with today, you probably did not bet on the pope. but on the way home to rome from his historic trip to mexico, the catholic leader had some incredibly strong words, frankly surprising many, aimed squarely at the republican front-runner. so let me play it