tv Lockup Corcoran - Extended Stay MSNBC February 7, 2016 10:00pm-11:01pm PST
>> most of these people out on this yard could die right there and i would watch them die. i don't care about them. >> when it comes down to it, you miss one beat, you're going to miss the whole burrito. >> from old school prison gangs, to destructive street gangs, it's a dangerous mix. >> bulldogs are at war with everybody. >> officers who have known gang members into the shu where they have a choice, stay in the gang or drop out. >> you're going to have to die sometime. i might as well go out with a bang.
>> california state prison corcoran has the largest housing unit or shu in the state. split between two units, the shu houses some of the worst inmates in california. the majority of these are validated gang members or inmates too violent to be housed in the general population. shu inmates are kept in 8x12 foot cells and receive only 10 hours of rec time each week. when moved, they are shackled and escorted by two officers at all times. awareness is vital. >> we have to wear these hard shields for the purpose of the inmates on the tier like to shoot items such as pins, needles, any type of weapon. they like to soak it in feces, urine, shoot it at us. try to get us in the face.
we have a mexican mafia, we have the northern structure, the aryan brotherhood and nazi low rider. these guys are here because of their criminal activity. it's either drug related, assaults on staff assaults on other inmates. we do house the worst of the worst here, security is paramount. while you've been validated as a gang member, you're going to remain in shu. >> one of the most dangerous inmates in the shu is a child who was made to lead the mexican mafia. he is shackled by two officers, they insisted our staff wear puncture resistant protection. >> i'm german mexican, but my heart's always been brown.
i was in l.a. county jail for 3.5 years. they put me on trial for murder/robbery and possession of heroin. whether i was innocent or not, just by looking at me, i was guilty. and i was pissed. there was no way i was going to let the system give me life in prison unless i earned it. so -- oh, i owned it all right. >> we listened to tapes of a jailhouse admission to a murder christian committed. >> it was an individual from my area. he had put himself in the wrong position by -- if i'm going to
get life for a murder/robbery on the streets, and i'm in here. i'm sure going to make sure it's going to take me somewhere. a political hit like that, you know, that has juice behind it. at the same time, if i'm going to do something, i'm going to do it to the extreme. i invite the individual in, i have a pretense of hey, i want to get high. he came inside the pad, shot dope. i walk up to him, hook his leg. throw him in a bare naked choke hold, bring him down, choke him out and snap his neck. when his neck snapped you feel it here, pop. i pulled out my piece, stabbed him in the neck, let him have it in the chest and he started making noises. and i pulled out a pipe and bashed his head in, until a piece of his skull came out.
so the blood was everywhere, it was like this thick. went ahead and scooped it up, put it in the toilet, flush it, put him under the bunk. we get bleach in the county. we bleached down the whole cell. finish wrapping him up, i'm getting rid of everything. pretty soon it was time -- we were hungry, you know what i mean? this is kind of funky, but it is what it is. my tray, where we usually stack up trays, put a bomb. you can put a piece of blanket, light it, it gives you a nice blue flame. i took the bong, cooked grilled cheese sandwiches. used his body as a stand. there's a rumor in the state of
california, i was homeless, they're burning this dude. they ate his eyeballs. >> where were his eyeballs? >> no, one eyeball. >> we don't know. we have no clue. >> with this l.a. county jail murder, christian was now a made man in the mexican mafia, he could have been a free man many in an ironic twist, he was found not guilty of the murder/robbery that brought him to jail in the first place. >> back to the original case, 15 months later, all this is happening. long 15 months. now, i go to court. i'm loaded in court. christian, not guilty. not guilty? murder/robbery trial? this is unheard of.
now i got all these cases, i'm washed. coming up, christian does the unthinkable. >> believe me when i say, that was the hardest thing i've ever done in my life. >> a street gang terrorizes the yards of corcoran. what if one sit-up could prevent heart disease? one. wishful thinking, right? but there is one step you can take to help prevent another serious disease. pneumococcal pneumonia. if you are 50 or older, one dose of the prevnar 13® vaccine can help protect you from pneumococcal pneumonia, an illness that can cause coughing, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and may even put you in the hospital. even if you have already been vaccinated with another pneumonia vaccine, prevnar 13® may help provide additional protection. prevnar 13® is used in adults 50 and older to help prevent infections from 13 strains of the bacteria that cause pneumococcal pneumonia. you should not receive prevnar 13® if you have had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or its ingredients.
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it's gotten thinner. even curvier. but what's next? for all binge watchers. movie geeks. sports freaks. x1 from xfinity will change the way you experience tv. corcoran shu is home to the worst inmates in california. the level one yard is the polar opposite. >> we have a facility which provides support to this prison and the prison next door, as far as a workforce. >> the yard is free of any cages. there are no cells and more activities.
>> get up about 6:00 in the morning, go eat, get your lunch. come back, go to class until 3:00. you guys want to see my new home? come on in. welcome. right here, this is my new home. this is me right here. don't mind the mess. this is me. i gotta take this every day to chow or you don't get to eat. you gotta take your i.d. there's my clothes down there. yeah, this is it. basically waiting for laundry, you hang out here until they call your number. >> thank you, now i'll grab all in. as you can see, with laundry, it's kind of a pain. when we get here, we try to grab it all and bring it over here for these guys.
>> many of these inmates are serving shorter sentences for nonviolent crimes and parole violations. corcoran's gang population has grown so large that even a level one yard isn't free of politics. >> we received the information off an inmate on our northern image on here, how to behave and not cooperate with staff. in conjunction with my staff. we talked about the northern infraction on the yard. i've asked them to start searching these guys, and find out what's going on. it's really indicative of these inmates that they write this small so it's hard for you to read. >> you have to look in the smallest places to find these things. sometimes they're just in the most commonplaces. this one i can't get out. usually it's the code of conduct or hits they want taken care of on the yard. or background checks on other
northerner's that hit the facility. >> for a level one yard, we're hard on these guys. this is where we have all the workers for corcoran. our northern inmate population seems pretty active, we're trying to combat that right now. these are really hard to find. >> there's codes of conduct, it's like respect yourself and others. treat everyone equally. have a positive attitude, be well mannered. the last code of conduct is no fraternizing with the canine or enemy, which is us. >> these are handed over to the igi. it's up to this elite group of officers to monitor gang activity on all the yards in corcoran. >> we folk us on the prison gangs, you have seven, aryan brotherhood, low rider, texas
cindy cat and the mexican mafia among them. we monitor their mail, activity when they come out of cells. whatever they do, we're watching them. we get a lot of information from the building cops. we can't stress that enough. they help us out a lot, with a lot of kites they find, letters, weapons, dope, everything. >> i say it's never ending. every day we find something new. this letter just came on my desk this morning. we may find kites later on today. we have a lot of work to do as you can see our desk here, so we have a lot of work. >> this one right here, the guy who's writing this is a suspected nf member. i'm not on that gang crap, i'm
beyond all that. like i said, i'm a family man. if you have not figured it out yet, i mean, neustra familia. he puts it right out there, you can't just say that if you're not. >> they need three separate pieces of evidence to validate someone as a member of a gang. once they have this information the prisoner could end up in the shu. >> mexican mafia. >> you look carefully at this, you can see the three dots and two lines here. >> each line represents five and each dot represents one. you have 5, 10, and 13. m stands for mexican mafia. it just shows their loyalty. that's who they're loyal to.
at the drop of a dime, any time a certain request is done, they go ahead and handle what they're asked to do or what they're told to do. >> something like this is going to help us validate those inmates we take them off the active gp facilities, put them over in the shu where there's a more controlled setting for them. which protects staff and inmates. >> these are the heavy duty inmates that we want to get off the yard, because they're heavily involved in that criminal activity. >> in addition to the prison gangs, the officers in corcoran also have street gangs to deal with, the most violent and unpredictable of all, the bulldogs. >> the bulldog street gang originated in fresno, that group of hispanic population not being from southern california, not
being from northern california, they affiliated or they joined together with the intent of not being governed by any other prison gang. >> bulldogs they're not as organized as your other gangs. they don't have the leadership in their organization. their rule of thumb is, that majority rules. if there's issues on the yard they have to try to resolve, the bulldogs would get together and take a boat, if you will. and the majority rules to go with that, there's no set leader of bulldog. >> if a bulldog has a chance to attack a southern hispanic, it's on sight. if they can get away from staff during an escort, a door accidentally pops, anything. if there's another bulldog they're going to go at it, attack each other. >> we met robert galvan, a bulldog locked up in the shu, for numerous attacks on other inmates.
>> bulldogs are at war right now with everybody. we don't get along with the north, we don't get along with the south, the blacks, whites. before they get us, we get them. i was on the yard and i stabbed a white guy like 17 times or whatever. and from there they took me to ad seg, i stabbed another white guy. that's what got me here. >> one challenge for corcoran's officers dealing with the bulldogs is a lack of a figure head. needing no permission to start fights, violence is just their way of life. >> we don't have no bulldogs that are validated.
we're a street gang. they consider us a street gang. it's not structured, we're not considered, you know, like mafiawise -- we don't control the outside, money laundering and things like that, you know what i mean? they can't validate us. >> what do you want to do with the bulldogs? >> whatever it takes. this is my life now, there's no chance for me to get out. i'm going to have to die sometime. i might as well go out with a bang, you know? coming up, even in the shu, robert's always ready for battle. >> this is my shoe, i don't mess with my hands. i count, it's as close as we're going to get to pullups. >> and later a gang dropout struggles with life on the sensitive needs yard.
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we're headed over to c facility. it's a full programming yard. it's dropouts. people would have problems on the gp yard. mixture of some sex offenders. people who dropped out of gangs. no longer want to play in the politics of the gp yard. it's an interesting mixture, you'll get a lot of old time heavy duty gangsters who have gotten too old and don't want to be involved any more along with those sexual predators. >> the peculiar mix of inmates isn't celebrated by everyone. we ran into an inmate who dropped out of the aryan brotherhood gang who reluctantly calls this yard home. >> it's a cesspool of society on in yard. child killers and all of that.
if i had known it was like this before i came out here, i would have stayed on the main line. >> most of these people out on this yard, they could die right there, and i would watch them die. i don't care about them. when i came to this yard, i surrendered a lot of stuff. you know what i moon? my name is gone, i had a good name in prison. i was always respected. i lost all that. i don't care about that. what i care about now is me, timmy duncan. i don't like those people, but i don't have to associate with them. i can't tell you ten people's names, i've been in this building two years. i go to work 13 hours a day, i put the blinders on and i have to focus on me. think about $250 a month. i take care of the whole building as far as the electrical, the plumbing, keep all the machinery on line so the production can continue. mentally, it keeps me out of this world. >> prison jobs provide the
inmates with small paychecks. for tim duncan, this money affords him basic necessities. >> if i can't eat it right here in my cell, i won't eat it. one, the main liners probably made it. no telling what they do to the food. chop up some jalapenos with my raiser blade right here that i'm not supposed to have. i got some roast beef, bbq sauce, steam the buns and put it together and eat it. i get pretty extravagant with the recipes in here, this is me. if i was on the streets i'd be eating the same way. this is my home, this is my environment, my sanctuary, and i will not lay my head at night with a molester or a rapist in my house. i can't do it. >> tim's attitude is shared by many inmates.
and the inmates on this yard know they are targeted. we were able to talk to one such inmate. >> i'm 19. my sentence is 12 years, my crime was having sex with, allegedly two kids, 6 and 8. i have to live on this yard because of my crime. most gangsters, they don't just hate, they have hate crimes, would most likely try to stab me, try to kill me. i've seen one person already in the hospital because of the same crimes as mine. see if they found out who i am, they'd get really upset, try to -- most people here are trying to go home, do their time. you always have those people that have bad days and they're looking for somebody with a target. i'm always a target.
it is a little nervewracking to do next door. it can be cool one day, if you have to go out on a bad day, he found out about my charge, he'd go off on me. nervewracking. it keeps you on your toes every day. other than that, if no one finds out for 9 years, 3 months, i may be able to fool them, but i highly doubt that. next on lockup, extended stay. a rare glimpse into the process of dropping out of a gang, where an inmate risks his life by giving up vital information to officers. >> you learn which weapons to use to affect a kill and which ones not top effective kill in the yard, you'll get a piece. >> christian finds himself in a life threatening situation. >> it was either kill or die, that was it.
of your day to write me means a lot. i told her, be strong, and you'll get through this. it's a learning experience. i am being strong and trying to make the best out of the situation. she shot me a little glossy, i cuddle with it at night. no, i'm just kidding. once an inmate is validated as a gang member in corcoran, they have a choice, stay in the gang or drop out and debrief. our officers were allowed to follow officer garcia into the debrief process.
>> there's one building set aside for inmates who are requesting protective custody. the inmate has to notify us, he has to request to be placed in protective custody. from that point we ask him to go ahead and draw up or write his autobiography, detailing his involvement with the gangs from the street to the county jails to the prisons, and back out to the street. anything he's been involved in, anything he's witnessed. everything. right now there's quite a few inmates that are dropping out. you know, they're realizing there's no future in these gangs. >> because gang dropouts become immediate targets to the former gang, the debrief process must occur in secret. usually an inmate will pass a kite to the officers who will remove the inmate from their cell under the guise of something like a medical checkup. >> you want to disassociate yourself --
>> to be honest, i got tired of all the corruption. i seen a lot of bad calls and innocent people getting hurt. and seeing too many people doing things they didn't want to do, being forced to do. it's like the higher you go up, the more you see. >> the debrief process takes months, sometimes even years. because the igi must verify the truth of an inmate's autobiography. >> for myself, back in 2001, when i was in county jail, they ordered me to hit my own uncle because he was a dropout. and then after that, that's when i got my little points, what they call points. they train us to do all that. >> how were you trained? >> you got different educations. you got your street education,
your squad leaders, which they teach you how to do all your warfare tactics, your weaponry, then you got your kill squad. once you learn all that, you learn the pressure points on the body, where to hit them, how much inches to the heart, hit them in the jugular vein, the vital arteries. you learn all of them. the weapons, you learn which weapons to use to affect a kill. an effective kill in the yard you get a metal piece. then have you other weapons like speers, cross bows they don't really do no damage, but when you mix it with poison. when you get caca and pee and let it sit for a little bit, it turns white on top. take the white stuff on top, put it on your shoe somewhere.
you give it to the individual, it gives them gangrene. >> we're going to stop this interview, there's going to be several other interviews we conduct with you. >> the debriefing process means severing all ties with the gang member's affiliation. >> i'm a drug habit. whatever i have to do to support my drug habit. >> the sentence i'm on right now, three strike case. i'm doing life for a $20 bag of meth. it was like i had to establish myself in order to survive basically, and one aspect of doing that was to associate myself with a gang, a prison gang. a strong prison gang, which was the aryan brotherhood, it's something you don't just grab on
to, you have to earn that. you have to work your way into that. i did a lot of inmate assaults, stabbings. >> you're a drug addict who comes into prison. >> yeah. >> and becomes. >> a killer. i hate it. i hate life right now. i'm not only in prison now. i'm the scum of prison. that's what this is,the scum of prison. i reside in what's called the iyp, which is the shu integrated yard program. it's the second phase for inmates that are debriefing, disassociating themselves from the prison gang. nobody got no respect, you can't trust anybody. anybody you go around, all they want is information from you. some dirt on you so they can go tell. now i'm at a point in my life
write not only don't fit in with society, i don't fit in with the scum either, if that makes any sense. i'm really hating life right now, and -- to me, life doesn't have any meaning at all. >> in exchange for the opportunity to get out of the shu, kenneth smith had to give up the gang, a decision he regrets and one that robert would never make. instead of looking for a way out, robert finds ways to thrive in his environment. >> this is the only place we get to come out, program, rec, work out. >> this right here, this is my shoe sole. i put it up here so i don't mess up my hands. different people deal with their
time in different ways. me, myself, i'm just trying to come out here, get air, look at the sky. you know whey mean? this is about as free as we get. >> robert gave up his freedom on the streets when a kidnapping went sour, earning him a life sentence in prison and the nickname phantom. >> they say i'm fast. >> fast? >> well, what i do, you know, hurting people. they'll have holes in them, and i'll be gone. like a ghost. >> what got you into prison? >> kidnap for ransom. >> tell me how that works? >> you got the college kids out there. you know they got money, take one of them. grab them by the neck and put them in the car. take them to a motel or something, have them call their
parents, have them wire money to an account. and that's about it. after that, you let them go if they put the money in the bank. >> what if they don't? >> that's a different story. >> how does that story end? >> bad. >> how bad? >> i cut the guy's neck, that kind of bad. i had no reason to do that. >> why? >> honestly, i don't know. i guess i'm just a bad guy. coming up, robert puts his tough persona aside for a family visit. >> you know when i go to prison, i don't talk about this place here, you know what i mean? >> and later, one of the mexican mafia's most loyal has a shocking chat with the igi. >> anyway they can get you, they're going to get you.
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lieutenant rodriguez and his igi team hear lots of debriefs at corcoran, few bigger than the one they're about to hear. >> there's an individual who's validated as a mexican mafia member. >> the mexican mafia, go ahead and try to get someone in their cell and murder them. >> so he raised his hand and he asked for our assistance. so we're going to go there and talk to him about his knowledge and information and gang intelligence he has regarding the mexican mafia. >> the inmate debriefing is none other than notoriously dangerous gang member christian knighten. >> and you're validated as what? >> mexican mafia member. >> can you tell us why you've chose to leave that gang life behind you and debrief?
>> i found myself in a position to go ahead and get a cellie after nine years. and go ahead and have basically a normal program. i was put in the position to either i kill this individual or i come this way. >> according to christian, the mexican mafia wanted him to murder his new cellie, but the igi informed our producers that christian approached them, fearing his new cellie was going to kill him. either way, dropping out is something christian never thought he would do. >> the fact that it even entered my mind, i was defeated. i knew then -- because that was never an option. it was either kill or die. that was it. you know what? the first thing that popped in my head, i'm going to go ahead and do this dude. and after sitting there rotting by myself, it finally popped in my head that, third, but
unthinkable, you know, come this way as far as do the debriefing process. go out on program. >> and you feel comfortable with that decision? >> it's funny, i honestly i honestly believed that because the decision itself tore me up, it was tearing me up, and the few days that it was actually in my head and as i was writing the kite to the floor officer, it was tearing me up. i've been in some straight wars. i've been hit. i've been shot. i've been ran over, crowbarred. and i've done the exact same damage. and i can honestly say that that was the roughest thing i ever had to do. that was my life, my whole lifestyle. giving that up -- that's what that was on that piece of paper. throwing that away was crushing me. once they walked me off that
tier, a huge-ass weight was lifted off my shoulders, and i can say that honestly. you know it just -- it was just a huge relief and what i considered to be an honorable man, an honorable warrior all these years, i'm sitting here going [ bleep ] i'm not going to sit here and put down the next man. you know what? you going to do that, that's cool. don't try to tell me that i'm dishonorable because i choose not to do it anymore. >> being interviewed, as you are now, video and whatnot, is that going to have an effect on your safety? >> my safety is pretty much -- it wouldn't have any other effect than it already does. you know, you're going to get got in any way. and any way they can get you, they're going to get you. now, whether i do this or not, it doesn't matter. you know, so -- and it's my choice. and i look at it like this. i mean, everyone's got to go
sometime. if that does happen. so i'm not really sweating it. >> the fact that he chose to debrief is going to give us a wealth of information that is going to benefit us, not only in this facility but throughout the state. the eme has their hands in every institution as well as various neighborhoods out in the streets. by him coming forward, actually he's putting his life and safety in jeopardy. but he's well aware of that. this is a good, good debrief. >> it's sny for you? >> oh, yeah. i couldn't go on mainline. i mean, i could, but i wouldn't last long. i didn't suffer delusions of grandeur, some p-man. you know what i mean? you may be able to hold your own for long enough, but everyone gets got. coming up, robert, one of the most dangerous men in the
shu, gets a visit from his family. >> after my visit, i'm "phantom." during my visit, i'm robert. mor. more savings on car insurance? yeah bro-fessor, and more. like renters insurance. more ways to save. nice, bro-tato chip. that's not all, bro-tein shake. geico has motorcycle and rv insurance, too. oh, that's a lot more. oh yeah, i'm all about more, teddy brosevelt. geico. expect great savings and a whole lot more. spending the day with my niece. that make me smile.
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corcoran is known statewide for having one of the worst gang situations but it's rare that it spills over to its minimum security yard. however, it appears that a gang-related battle nearly took place on the level 1 yard. >> what happened this weekend, it was a -- it was between the whites and southerners. one of the whites called the southerners a snitch, so it's a big old standoff. the southerner and the whites, they were horseplaying. one of them got upset and they just started fighting. and the south siders, they'll jump in. >> miss one bean, you miss the whole burrito.
comes down to fighting the riot. i have to be part of it. >> why? >> if i'm not a part of it, then it's all mad for me. with my people. i'm a soldier. and if i don't do my duty, then it's up to them to take me out of the ball game. >> what does that mean? >> that's it no more. >> the white guy broke it up. he went to the shock collar for the south siders in the building and said you need to check your people. the south siders said, no, i am not going to check my people, you need to check yours. it got heated. the next thing you know, the dorm filled up with south siders and whites. the cops saw what was going on. she called for yard staff to go over there. they ended up cuffing up the shock collar for the whites and for the south siders, and they ended up patting everybody down, sending everybody home and bunk status for the rest of the night. >> clearly the gang problem is
so large, no part of the prison is safe from the politics. before officer garcia and the igi staff consider putting former gang members together on the sny, they must be convinced dropouts are sincere in their desire to leave the gang lifestyle behind. after the debriefing interviews have been conducted and the inmates have been approved, they move into the integrated yard program. >> this is phase two. what they have to do, is come over to this yard. it's an integrated yard program. they're going out to the yard with everybody that they used to, you know, consider their enemies. they all go out here. they all get along. they house them differently. you have blacks and whites together, hispanics and whites. >> it's basically our attempt to see how sincere they are in debriefing. if they're born and bred in this gang to know these guys are their enemies, don't associate them. here's the chance to see how sincere you are in debriefing and wanting to change your life.
>> for some inmates sny is freedom. the iyp is a small taste of what's to come. after over a decade in the shu, inmate angel chaves looks forward to a more interactive prison program. >> i feel like i got let down by the familia. the situation was, i was doing time for the familia. i've asked for assistance. i'm not going to specify what assistance. i asked for assistance to handle business for me because i was in the business for them. >> sure. >> and they never came through although they said they would. at that point, i felt like, what's the point of this? >> since you've entered the debriefing process, up until now you're getting ready to get endorsed to an sny, how has it been for your phase one, phase two? what have you been feeling? >> i feel like the world's been lifted off my shoulders. i had so much responsibility. i was always concerned about everybody else and what i had to
do following these rules and regulations and all that of the circle. >> you've had the opportunity to be out there on the yard with other inmates in the same type of situation. how's that feel being amongst other inmates? >> it's good. it's good. one of my -- one of my best friends is an ex-associated member and another is an ex-nlr member. those are two of my best friends. in the past, even though we're on a respectful level, we're all enemies. >> i want to thank you for coming in here and speaking with us. being open with us, whatnot. we all wish you good luck. >> because of my situation i haven't had contact with my family since i was on the streets in '94. >> physical contact. >> yeah. i've never touched anybody in my family since '94. that's going to be something to look forward to. >> for angel, the promise of contact visits is enough of a reason to drop out. for robert, not even family can break his loyalty to the gang.
>> you know, when i go to visiting, i don't talk about it this place here, you know what i mean? they don't need to be hearing about what's going on in here. it's about things out there. positive things. like i used to be when i was there, you know? >> are you very excited? >> it's only for an hour, you know, it's hard to see them go, you know? happy to see them, but it's hard to see them go. after my visit, i'm phantom. during my visit, i'm robert. i don't talk about what goes on in here to my kids. i let them know about the mistakes i made so they don't repeat them so they don't end up in here. do what i can for them moneywise.
you know, send them money and, you know, put it in the bank and hopefully they, you know, college, you know? that's what i want. i want them to accomplish things that i wish i had. i want my sons to be a better person than me, you know? >> how are you sending them money? >> i can't tell you that. i get an allowance and some of it goes to my kids. most of it. i got four kids, so i got four different bank accounts for them, you know? once i'm gone, they have that. they have something i left. you know, at least i did something.
new hampshire primary now just two days away. last night, the most bitter republican debate yet. >> there it is. >> he knows -- >> there it is. the memorized 25-second speech. >> at stake, can donald trump rebound from his disappointing iowa finish? can marco rubio keep his momentum going and surge in new hampshire? can bush, kasich or christie survive beyond tuesday? donald trump joins me face-to-face. plus, the democrats are going at each other, too. >>ue