tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN February 19, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
>> no question. today, though, and tomorrow about the man and his legacy. jeffrey toobin, thank you so much. again, justice scalia's funeral is set for tomorrow. my colleagues wolf blitzer, jake tapper will be on hand for this historic event. you can see it all live at 10:00 a.m. right here on cnn. thanks for being with me today. "the lead with jake tapper" begins right now. >> thanks, poppy. if donald trump wins tomorrow, will anything be able to stop him on his way to the nomination? "the lead" starts right now. a full-on demolition derby with one day until the south carolina republican primary as all the candidates trade paint with trump. is there any way trump could blow a tire and not send the gop into full-on panic mode? >> on the other side the voters in nevada poised to make this the wildest race to victory as the clinton machine tries to slow the bern. plus dozens dead as u.s.
warplanes target isis a thousand miles away from the middle east in libya. was another terrorist attack on the way? hello, everyone, i'm jake tapper. welcome to "the lead." in our politics lead, members of the republican establishment, is donald trump about to become unstoppable in his quest for the nomination with this expected win in south carolina? the republican front-runner answering supporters questions at an event in pauley's island. earlier he served up a heaping helping of attacks on ted cruz. sunlen serfaty is in charleston, south carolina. last night "buzzfeed" published evidence that donald trump voiced support for the war in iraq back in 2002 despite his current and many claims that he was an early opponent of the
war. this is a major argument trump makes about how sound his judgment is. i haven't heard any of his republican opponents raise this on the trail today. am i wrong? >> reporter: no, that's absolutely right, jake. none of his rivals have brought this up at all today on the campaign trail yet. this is a claim that donald trump himself repeats so often standing in front of voters saying that he was opposed early on to the invasion and to the iraq war so tonight he is certainly struggling to explain this just one day before voters head to the polls. >> here in south carolina, these next 21 hours are going to decide a great deal. >> reporter: the urgent pitches -- >> i'm different because i have a chance to win new york, i have -- can you imagine, if you win new york -- >> reporter: in the final sprint in south carolina. >> you talk about people that lies, this ted cruz, this is the biggest liar i've ever seen. >> reporter: donald trump now trying to de-escalate his feud with the pope. >> they had him convinced that
illegal immigration is a wonderful thing. >> reporter: putting blame on the media instead. >> i don't like fighting with the pope. i don't think it's a fight. i think he said something much softer than was originally reported by the media. >> reporter: the vatican today clarifying that the pope's comment was not a, quote, personal attack or an indication in how to vote. but trump also on the defense struggling to explain his past stance on the iraq war. buzzfeed obtaining these comments trump made to howard stern in 2002 supporting the invasion for iraq. >> are you for invading iraq? >> yeah, i guess so. you know, i wish it was -- i wish the first time it was done correctly. >> reporter: that much different than what trump regularly tells voters on the campaign trail, that he opposed the invasion from the start. >> from 2002, 2003 said you shouldn't be doing it. >> reporter: at the cnn town hall, trump tried to explain. >> do you remember saying that? >> no. i could have said that. i wasn't a politician. it was probably the first time
anybody asked me that question. >> reporter: and today trying to clean it up. >> i was with howard stern before the war, before. like many months before. and the first guy to ever ask me about iraq was howard stern. i don't know, i guess it's all right. then i started looking at it. before the war started, i was against that war. i was against that war. >> reporter: meanwhile, the most intense south carolina showdown is the fierce battle between rubio and cruz. each fighting to leave south carolina with the upper hand as the alternative to trump. >> we have been through a wild, woolly election season. >> reporter: jeb bush under pressure to finish strong here, campaigning with his mom. >> jeb has been a great son, great father, great husband. >> reporter: and laying into nearly all of his rivals. >> donald trump has never shown any interest in anybody else other than himself. and the two candidates that are gifted speakers, marco rubio and ted cruz, have shown nothing in their past that would suggest they could make a tough
decision. >> reporter: and today jeb bush and his campaign are facing question after question. if you do not do well here, what is the path forward? bush for his part says he's only focused on today and tomorrow but certainly, jake, he has a lot of pressure riding here in south carolina. >> all right, sunlen serfaty, thank you so much. a historical first took place this week and it shows just how wild this presidential race has become that few people seem to even notice it. within the space of just a few hours, two american presidents went after the republican front-runner, donald trump. the first was the current president, barack obama, who asailed mr. trump directly. >> i continue to believe mr. trump will not be president. and the reason is because i have a lot of faith in the american people. and i think they recognize that being president is a serious job. it's not hosting a talk show or a reality show. it's not promotion.
it's not marketing. >> the second was mr. obama's predecess predecessor, george w. bush, campaigning for his brother, jeb. >> strength is not empty rhetoric, it is not bluster, it is not theatrics. real strength, strength of purpose, comes from integrity and character. and in my experience the strongest person usually isn't the loudest one in the room. >> and then just for good measure, none other than pope francis weighed in on mr. trump, suggesting that trump because he wants to build a wall at the u.s.-mexican border is not christian. we don't even notice these things anymore, but it has never happened in american history before, at least as far as we could find, that in one week two presidents from different parties and a pope all criticized a presidential candidate. it seemed worth noting. joining me now, cnn political commentator, s.e. cupp, and phil russer. phil, we've all speculated that
something donald trump said would ultimately ruin his chances and now you have opposition from barack obama, george w. bush, pope francis. if he wins tomorrow, is mr. trump unstoppable in his quest for the nomination? >> no, he's not unstoppable at that point in time because there's a long, long, long way to go. the nature of the process is such the delegates are going to be divided and really until march 1 or march 15 even more specifically you can't make that. but a good head of steam in south carolina, a big win in nevada caucus, which is a composition of a caucus that looks very different from the iowa caucuses, it would certainly be a healthy wind at his back. but this thing has a lot of turns. donald trump took on apple this afternoon. we'll see how that goes. so it's been a pretty amazing week in politics. >> before we get to apple, s.e., donald trump is out there on the stump talking about how he was an early opponent of the war in iraq. plenty of us when interviewing him have said and i've said it at least twice we can't find any
evidence that you opposed the war in 2003, 2004. now buzz feed found evidence that he supported the war in 2002. why aren't any of his opponents talking about this? >> to you and i this sounds like a smoking gun, but you and i don't think particularly understand the trump phenomenon the way other people seem to. this does nothing to hurt him and i think finally the other candidates seem to realize -- this isn't useful on the campaign trail to say donald trump kind of fibbed when he suggested he was the first to come out. i mean this just doesn't do anything to deflate trump support. so i think at this point we're all so used to the flip-flops and the -- you know, the sort of half truths and outright lies that we don't even bother kind of making them a big deal anymore. >> it's the issue that one of the concerns in the party if you look forward to the general, there's just a treasure trove of opposition research on donald trump. to be clear, i don't have a dog
in this fight but we want republicans to win and so one of the fears i've been hearing more and more and more is we really just scratched the tip of the iceberg relative to these kinds of things coming out. so to the degree that they matter, they traditionally have mattered a lot, mitt romney and the 47% four years ago but to s.e.'s point we're in completely uncharted waters with this political figure. >> to your point of what an amazing week this has been, when president obama, george w. bush and the pope are attacking donald trump, all good for donald trump. >> it only makes him look stronger. >> i want to talk about the apple thing. a court order told apple to build a back door to its software so that the fbi could get access to the san bernardino terrorist's iphone. this is something that donald trump said today that i think will be popular. take a listen. >> first of all, apple ought to give the security for that
phone, okay. what i think you ought to do is boycott apple until such time as they give that security number. >> i don't know if his boycott, his call for a boycott will work but that is an easily understandable argument for a crowd during appen election. >> it is, but it's a little bit of a dangerous one too. look, as a political consultant, i probably wouldn't advise by client to take on an iconic american brand when we started this race with a candidate that represented 20% of the republican party with a libertarian lane and that seems to have eased up. his foreign affairs pushed it down. but there are a lot of younger republicans that care about privacy and care about this issue that could be turned off by this message. look no further than nevada and i think you'd find more of those types of people as you go closer to the coast. so how it will play in the long term, i don't know. fighting with apple, i don't know. >> i mean it's a good gutteral response. >> national security, i want to be safe. >> but it really ignores the
conversation that conservatives have been having for years about privacy, the nsa, edward snowden, all of these issues i'm not sure donald trump was paying attention to, that i think remind some voters at least that this is not a cause for a black-and-white gutteral response. there's nuance here, it's complicated. you open this one apple iphone, you can open all iphones. >> when it becomes about you, the person, the individual, it's a very different prism than being a law and order national security question. >> but that also is a national security issue. it is both personal and national. so, again, i think trump gets the easy win with the sort of knockout black and white here's my response, but the nuanced answer is more appropriate and that's what you're hearing from some of the other candidates. >> quickly if you can, does jeb bush have to finish top three to continue credibly his campaign? >> no, he needs to finish top
four to move forward credibly. a fifth place would be disaster for jeb bush. he still has resources and has resources backing him up on the outside. the real thing people are looking for is the margin and he has to be right there between third and fourth. >> he's got tons of money and infrastructure. i think he can go as long as he wants to go and just be the last establishment man standing and then really put up a fight against cruz or trump. >> all right, great job, s.e., phil, thanks for coming up. after picking up a key endorsement, hillary clinton is about to roll the dice with voters in nevada but will bernie sanders' lucky streak continue? that's next. esponsible. you are saying "frog protection"? fraud. frog. fraud! i think we're on the same page. at discover, we treat you like you'd treat you. fraud protection. get it at discover.com.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. more on our politics lead now. hillary clinton tell nevadans that unlike a certain somebody she's not just promising voters free stuff. instead she said she wants to get things done. as she tries to fend off a bernie sanders' victory tomorrow in the nevada caucuses. bernie sanders, meanwhile, accusing clinton of cozying up to president obama just to get african-american support. brianna keilar is covering hillary clinton in las vegas. the polls have it very tight out there. is it possible that clinton could actually lose the nevada caucuses tomorrow?
>> reporter: it certainly is, jake. polls are tight and the clinton campaign is afraid that the caucus format here might favor bernie sanders even more than polls are indicating. this is part of the reason why she's battling so hard for south carolina and black support there. bernie sanders telling bet that she's just aligning herself with president obama to court the african-american vote. >> show the world that democracy is alive and well here in nevada. >> reporter: today bernie sanders is making a final pitch to nevada voters before saturday's caucuses. >> the issue is not just who wins the democratic nomination, the issue is whether nevada will play a leading role in moving this country toward a political revolution which transforms this country. >> reporter: as hillary clinton tries to tighten her grip on
south carolina eight days before the first in the south primary, scoring a big palmetto state endorsement from jim clyburn, a former civil rights activist and the highest ranking african-american in congress. >> my heart has always been with hillary clinton. >> reporter: clinton is also running a new biographical television ad, featuring the iconic voice of actor morgan freeman. >> her work has been about breaking barriers and so would her presidency. >> reporter: one day before nevada democrats caucus, clinton is still in search of potential supporters, courting all important union support in the silver state. >> i am no johnny or janie come lately to this. i did not just discover that unions were under pressure from the republicans and the right. >> reporter: suggesting that sanders is unrealistic in his promises. >> i'm not just making speeches
and not just promising free this and free that and free everything. >> reporter: clinton and sanders both facing fresh scrutiny at a nevada town hall last night. clinton on whether she would release transcripts of speeches she's given to financial institutions. >> i am happy to release anything i have when everybody else does the same, because every other candidate in this race has given speeches to private groups, including senator sanders. >> reporter: sanders was pressed to respond to comments he made in 2011, raising the possibility of a progressive primary challenge to president obama's re-election. >> overall, i think the president has done an outstanding job, and the idea that there can be a primary where different ideas get floated and debated, i don't think that that is terrible. >> reporter: meanwhile, bernie sanders' brother, larry, had some choice words for a former president, jake, specifically bill clinton. he said he was a terrible president for poor people but he actually said that bernie
sanders' brother respects hillary clinton, that they're not close friends but that they worked together and he does have respect for her. >> rather scathing edition of "the larry sanders show." thank you very much. joining me now is congressman james clyburn of south carolina, the dean of the congressional delegation and as the house assistant democratic leader the highest african-american in congress and today he endorsed hillary clinton after just saying a short time ago that his heart and head were in different places. congressman clyburn, hold on just a sec. we have to take a very quick break. we'll talk right after this. ...and everything autosyncs. those sales prove my sustainable designs are better for the environment and my bottom line. that's how i own it.
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welcome back to "the lead." we're back with congressman james clyburn who joins me just hours after announcing his endorsement of hillary clinton. congressman, thanks so much for being here. so you remained neutral in 2008 when it was between clinton and obama. what changed this time? why pick a side?
>> well, i always believed that south carolina, our party in this state, would be in much better shape so long as we could maintain our first in the south primary. and when south carolina was granted a position in the pre-primary window i promised them that i would not do anything that would jeopardize the credibility of the primary. and one of the things they asked me to do is to be very careful about getting involved in one campaign or the other. so i swore off getting involved in anybody's campaign to keep from jeopardizing that primary. this year i held off as long as i have held off simply because i did not want to get out too far in front of the primary day. but i decided after talking to family and friends last week that i held off long enough and i talked to jamie harrison, the
chair of the party, and he assured me that he did not think it would be harmful for me to do it today and so that's why i did it today. >> and obviously bernie sanders is very popular with a lot of younger voters. how do you think hillary clinton is going to do in south carolina and what do you say when and if younger people come over to you and say why not bernie? >> well, i'll be glad to tell them exactly why i selected secretary hillary clinton over senator bernie sanders. i know both of them very well. i have worked with them. this is my 24th year in the congress. i have worked with both of them throughout all of that time. and when you add up everything, taking a look at the resumes, a look at the set of experiences, it was just clear to me that
where we are in the country today, that hillary clinton as a former first lady of the country for eight years, secretary of state for four years, first lady of a state coming out of law school, coming to the south, working among those of us who were trying to find various -- mount challenges to the system, she has all that i think is required to make a very good president. now, i will tell that to young people because most of them may not be familiar with that history. they know what their parents went through, but they may not know that hillary clinton was standing side by side with their parents. >> in an interview with bet, senator sanders said that clinton is trying to embrace president obama, quote, as closely as she can so she can win support from the african-american community. what do you think of that
charge? >> well, i don't think that i ought to get in the back and forth between them. i think that their campaigns are good campaigns. they are free to do whatever they think is necessary to win favor. but i believe, as i said, that hillary clinton's resume speaks for itself. her involvement. i suspect that when she first came south to help those juveniles who were being jailed with adults, i doubt very seriously whether barack obama was being thought about at that time. so what motivated her then? what motivated her to line up with marian elderman to run the children's defense fund.
what motivated her as first lady to strike out and try to get universal access to health care and settling for the state children's health insurance plan. those are the kind of programs and priorities that are important to the african-american community and when they know about it, it wouldn't amount to much how tightly she might hug barack obama. >> obviously you think hillary clinton is more electable in november theoretically than bernie sanders would be. do you have concerns, however, about how electable bernie sanders might be if he does get the nomination? would that make it easier for the republicans to take the white house? >> well, you know, there's a theory that that's true. both of them have assets. bernie quite frankly has ignited a flame. he has the emotions with him across the board and that's a good thing. i think that as i said hillary has experiences and the resume.
those are good things. so both candidates bring strengths -- would bring strengths to the ticket. i just think that our chances to be successful are greater with hillary clinton by far. >> all right, congressman jim clyburn, thank you so much. appreciate your time. >> thank you. he's the mastermind of the deadly terror attack at a museum in tunisia that killed dozens of tourists and now the pentagon says they believe they killed him in an air strike. the frightening reason why the military said they could not wait to act any longer. stay with us, we're back after this. hey, i heard you guys dcan help med. with frog protection? sure, we help with fraud protection. if there are unauthorized purchases on your discover card, you're never held responsible. you are saying "frog protection"? fraud. frog. fraud!
welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. new details just coming in. the pentagon confirming u.s. aircraft destroyed an isis training camp in libya. the pentagon claims this action may have stopped plans for a future terrorist aattack. manned and unmanned aircraft were involved. two houses in the northwestern city of sabratha. libyan television aired images from the aftermath. nothing but rubble appears to remain. cnn cannot independently verify the video source. libya says the death toll stants stands at 41. the u.s. believes its top target was among the dead. u.s. officials believe he was behind two deadly massacres against westerners in tunisia last year. let's go to barbara starr in touch with her sources at the pentagon. what's the latest about this attack? >> jake, in fact this was indeed one of the deadliest attacks the
u.s. has conducted against isis ever, but a u.s. official tells me this was not a typical terrorist training camp. a suspected isis camp in libya now destroyed by u.s. warplanes on the orders of president obama. u.s. intelligence believes foreign fighters there were training to launch an attack possibly in europe or africa. it's only the second time the u.s. has gone after isis inside libya. this time just days after the president warned the u.s. would strike. >> we will continue to take actions where we've got a clear operation and a clear target in mind. >> with 5,000 isis operatives in libya, the threat of an attack from there is growing. >> the president will make good on his promise to continue to apply pressure to isil leaders who threaten the united states
and our interests. >> two u.s. f-15s and drones from italy flown to the north african coast of libya. this shows the aftermath of the u.s. dropping bombs on four buildings that the u.s. said housed 60 isis operatives. u.s. military and intelligence agencies had watched the camp for weeks. aerial reconnaissance flights saw advanced weapons and tactics training. a top isis operative at the camp was targeted and killed. he is said to be responsible for two deadly attacks over the border in tunisia last year. >> this individual is a known isil lord, a facilitator, and an individual who has facilitated the flow of foreign terrorist fighters across north africa. >> the u.s. concern now, libya
with no central government in control is a fully functioning third front for isis, along with iraq and syria, a place they may use to plot attacks against the west. and the u.s. is making it very clear it may have more targets in mind in libya. what they are looking for are specific isis targets. in this case they actually had a plan to strike twice, shoshan and also the training camp. when he suddenly showed up at the training camp, they were able to get both targets in one mission. >> barbara starr, thanks so much. let's bring in phil mudd. thanks for joining us. a u.s. official saying the strike was ordered just in case because of a possible terrorist attack that was being planned. what do you know about any potential plot and where these terrorists may have been looking to strike? >> look, the u.s. military, the president, the cia are not going to wait for a plot, jake. what they're looking at is the fact that they have already seen
capability. this is a leader and a group that went into tunisia, remember that attack on the beach resort that left so many british citizens dead. you couple that with the refugee problem. this is libya, a lot of people going across the mediterranean into europe, that is into italy. the fact that the group wants to strike european targets and the fact that they have access geographically to europe means the americans aren't going to wait for a specific plot. as soon as they see this leader, they're taking him out preemptively. >> is this going to be the new normal, preemptive strikes? >> i think it has to be the new normal with one asterisk. if you go back to the pre-9/11 plotting, people after that, my generation of cia officers are going to say we're not going to wait for a group that expresses an intent to attack the west to attack. we're going to take them out as soon as we get information, especially if you're dealing in all these areas like yemen and libya that don't have a local military that can deal with the problem themselves. what you've got to worry about in this case is making sure you
understand the environment well enough to ensure that there's actually plotting afoot. you don't want to go in too early and stir up the bee's nest and you don't want to go in and let them stage an arrest before you act. >> how much of an effect is this death of the senior operative when it comes to isis. >> i'd say step back before you make dramatic interpretations of this one event. this group has a few thousand people in libya. moammar gadhafi was ousted in 2011. if we count success as eliminating one leader, you miss one of the key lessons of the counterterrorism business, that is pace of operations. take them out every 60 days, every 90 days, every 120 days. my question for the operators would not be whether this operation was a success, it will be over the course of let's say a year or two or five years, do you maintain a pace of operations over the leaders who follow so that they cannot
replicate this leadership in the isis organization in libya. >> and, phil, you talk about isis controlling wide swaths of territory in libya, specifically in northwestern libya. this was just one isis training camp. how many others could be in that area? >> well, you've got to look at that term training camp. this is pretty significant. you're talking about potentially 40 plus people, pretty large in terms of training for terror facilities. if you look at training camps elsewhere in places like pakistan and places like yemen, you might just have a walled compound where six people are training with a local commander. those people, as i mentioned earlier, could enter the refugee flow into a place like italy. so if you just ask the question not where are 40 plus people congregating as we saw in this case but what's the likelihood in this swath of territory that isis controls that there's maybe walled houses where five people are training. there could be a lot of those, jake, because that's just too easy to to hide from western intelligence. >> phil mudd, thank you so much.
>> thank you. as family and friends say good-bye to justice scalia, and you're looking at live pictures there, the white house is starting to give the first real insights into where president obama stands on picking a nominee and when we could learn a name. then, she gave us the literary classic "to kill a mockingbird." we'll remember the great author harper lee who passed away, next. have my stomach feeling all knotted up. i've tried laxatives... but my symptoms keep returning. my constipation feels like a pile of bricks... that keeps coming back. linzess can help. once-daily linzess treats adults with ibs with constipation or chronic constipation. linzess is thought to help calm pain-sensing nerves and accelerate bowel movements. linzess helps you proactively manage your symptoms. do not give linzess to children under 6 and it should not be given to children 6 to 17. it may harm them. don't take linzess if you have a bowel blockage. get immediate help if you develop unusual
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obama and first lady michelle obama stopped by to pay their respects to the late justice. conservatives have jumped on the president for not planning on attending scalia's funeral tomorrow. the white house says president obama going to the supreme court today felt like a more personal way to pay his respects. also a rare and poignant moment today, all eight other justices not wearing their robes standing together saying good-bye to their friend and their colleague. pamela brown is outside the court where thousands of people have been streaming in and out to say farewell. pamela, obviously a very moving event today, justice scalia having obviously touched a lot of lives. maybe some of our viewers don't know his best friend on the court was liberal justice ruth bader ginsburg. >> that's right, jake, they were best buddies on the bench. scalia called them the odd couple because they had such different ideologies but they rode elephants together, they went parasailing together and
they were best of friends. what was interesting here today was that people showed up to pay their respects like the ones behind me in line and not all of them share scalia's conservative ideology but they wanted to come here and pay their respects because scalia was such an influential judge. he really changed the way people looked at the law and he dedicated 30 years of his life to service. on this somber afternoon at the high court, president obama and the first lady arrived to pay their respects to justice antonin scalia. the first couple paused at the flag-draped casket as scalia's former clerks stood guard. they'll be taking turns through the day and night. one of his clerks, jamison jones. >> it was a really touching ceremony this morning. justice scalia was a brilliant mentor but also a warm and find and generous person. >> reporter: this morning supreme court police officers carried the conservative icon on his final journey to the high
court. behind the casket, some of scalia's favorite law clerks. dozens more lined the marble steps waiting at the massive bronze doors of the court, scalia's children, grandchildren and his son, a catholic priest, father paul scalia led the casket into the great hall where the eight remaining justices said good-bye to their colleague and friend. >> my brothers and sisters, jesus says come to me all you who labor and are burdened and i will give you rest. >> reporter: when the private ceremony ended, the public filed in. two people of particular note, patty millette and sri srinivasan, considered top cup tenders to replace scalia. another striking moment, the actor who portrayed scalia in the play "the originalist" teared up as he stood at the casket. outside members of the public braved the cold for their turn. >> as attorneys, as officers of the court, i think we have an obligation to come pay our
respects. >> reporter: at a memorial outside, a jar of applesauce and broccoli, referencing his colorful comments hoe made during the affordable care cases. a tribute to the justice famous for his humor on the bench. >> it's a sad time for me personally and for the country. it's tough to imagine this court without him, without him sitting up there for the next argument. >> reporter: and you're looking at live pictures right now of people waiting to go inside to pay their respects. in fact people started lining up here as early as 6:50 this morning to have an opportunity to go inside. now the doors will stay open an extra hour later until 9:00 tonight. meantime we've learned the president will be working overtime this weekend reading materials about any potential nominees to fill scalia's vacancy. when we asked the white house how many people were on the short list, they basically said we don't have a short list but there are more that two names
we're looking at. back to you. the money lead now. with oil prices cratering, 2015 was a difficult year for the industry. it still pays to be the ceo. the head of slumber jay, the ceo received total compensation worth $18.3 million last year, all while the company hemorrhaged cash and cut 25,000 jobs. about 20% of its workforce. but it's not as if the ceo didn't suffer. he made $18.5 million the year before. think the walking dead is scary? you should see the zombies in washington. congress knows all about them and is doing nothing to stop them. we'll explain, next. hey, jesse. who are you? i'm vern, the orange money retirement rabbit from voya. vern from voya?
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here in washington, d.c., there are zombies living amongst us. the undead continuing to live on long after they were supposed to have vanished from this earth. but these zombies are government programs. we'll explain in our latest installment of america's debt and the economy. >> just a complete seen of carnage and desperation. >> reporter: the last time congress authorized funding for the national weather service was 12 years before hurricane katrina. >> so help me god. >> reporter: the last time funding for the federal election commission was authorized, ronald reagan was the one who had been elected. >> thank you. >> reporter: why does it matter that these programs and hundreds more are well past their expiration dates? well, those deadlines were built in to force congress to re-evaluate and improve the programs before reauthorizing them. >> this is one of those laws that congress sets up that only applies to itself, so when it
breaks its own law, who's going to punish them? >> with no real political consequences for congress skipping the re-evaluation process, the government allows these programs to operate kind of like zombies. they're well past their expiration date yet congress still lets them feast on government cash. >> skipping the authorization process means that government is mindlessly expanding programs that should be reviewed to see whether or not they're truly effective. >> the so-called zombie programs are the result of congress' broken spending machine. $310 billion will go to zombie programs this year alone, according to the congressional budget office. >> the failure to look at programs and be willing to unplug those that don't work is just contributing to the debt problem. >> the biggest zombie budget item is for expired veterans affairs bills. more than $61 billion worth going to health care programs. now, the last time that budget
was properly authorized was 1998. the same year some of our current service members were born. >> do you believe the va needs more funding? >> of course once congress heard of the va scandals, as broken by cnn in 2014, there was plenty of attention. >> the question is, is there enough resources for veterans health administration and we have to say we don't know. >> but those congressional hearings, like so many others, were only held after the damage was done. $611 billion worth of programs will join the ranks of the undead by october 1st. and in all likelihood, they'll continue running through the streets without being looked at again by congress. though, senate budget committee chairman reacted with a novel idea. quote, congress should re-examine what we're funding in order to improve or eliminate government programs not delivering results, he said. you think?
finally today we lost a literary legend. harper lee, the author of "to kill a mocking bird" has died. the family confirmed she passed away in her sleep. her pulitzer prize-winning book "to kill a mockingbird" is one of the most celebrated nozzles, selling more than 40 million copies worldwide and taught in high school for decades. it also inspired the classic film starring gregory peck as atticus peck. >> our courts are great levellers, and in our courts all men are created equal. i'm no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and in our jury system. >> a play version of "to kill a mockingbird" is also currently in the works. for many people, her inspiring
writing resonates more than ever in this divisive world in which we live, as lee wrote in the voice of scout, there's just one kind of folks, folks. rest in peace, harper lee. don't forget to watch "state of the union" at 9:00 a.m. this sunday. that's it for "the lead." i'm jake tapper, turning you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, liar, liar. donald trump goes for the jugular in the final hours before the south carolina primaries, singing out rival ted cruz to scorn as he defends his own comments on the iraq war. cruz suit. a court hears a legal challenge to ted cruz's eligibility to serve as president. will a judge determine if the canadian-born cruz is in fact a, quote, natural born citizen of the united states? isis camp hit. u.s. warplanes attack an isis training facility in libya where