'This Week' Transcript: Attorney General Eric Holder

Attorney General Eric Holder is interviewed on 'This Week'

ByABC News
January 11, 2015, 9:16 AM

— -- This is a rush transcript and may contain errors and will be updated.

ANNOUNCER: A special edition of ABC's This Week: terror in Paris. A country on edge after a week of terror. Security in major cities around the world stepped up. The U.S. on alert. One of the highest threat levels since 9/11. Are other sleeper cells waiting to strike? How did terrorists with ties to al Qaeda slipped through the cracks?

This morning, breaking details, insight and analysis from our team around the world.

Plus, Attorney General Eric Holder and the Senate intel committee chair are here.

As hundreds of thousands gather this morning in Paris refusing to be afraid.

From the global resources of ABC News, a special edition of This Week: Terror in Paris.

Here now, chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: And you are looking at the scene in Paris. Right now, marchers in the streets, up to a million, joined by political leaders from all over the world all gathering in solidarity against the worst attack by radical Islam that Paris has seen. Unprecedented security in place, the French prime minister now says his nation is at war.

And ABC's senior foreign correspondent Terry Moran is on the scene. Good morning, Terry.


It is an incredible moment here as this huge throng is just about to step off on this march of national unity, of solidarity and shared grief. Dozens of world leaders are going to be joining them later this evening. Security, as you say, is very tight.

The main feeling that you get in this crowd that was one of determination, as if the whole nation is rising up after being knocked down by the terrorist rampage this weekend declaring as one, no, we will not live in fear.


MORAN: With Paris still traumatized by terror, security is very tight. Thousands of troops and police, plain-clothed officers in the crowd; roads and streets blocked off.

There's acute concern about copy cat attacks. And overnight in Hamburg, Germany the offices of a newspaper that published some of Charlie Hebdo's cartoons firebombed.

But in the bright winter sunshine, this day really belongs to them, streaming into the streets, young and old, in silence and raising their voices.

Across Paris, you can see the shock and national grief in this spontaneous memorials at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, in prayer services at churches and everywhere Je suis Charlie, "I am Charlie."

But for France's 5 million Muslims, many marching here, too, there is a different emotion: fear of a backlash. Mosques have been attacked.

We spoke with Attaf Abdel Baqi (ph), a leader of the mosque frequented by one of the Kouachi brothers.

"I won't hide from you or fear for our religious cites," he says. "The president has tried to calm things down, but because our religion is physically manifest in how we dress, yes, there's a fear."

To face down fear for colleagues and loved ones left behind, it is their moment, too.

Chloe Virloc (ph), widow of the famous cartoonist Tignous who now must raise their four children, the youngest 5-years-old, alone, she told us.

"We have a duty. We owe it to them to stand up. Because I have lost the love of my life who is the father of my children. But the country has lost an amazing cartoonist. He didn't belong to us, he belongs to the people."


MORAN: So much emotion in the aftermath of these attacks.

But the investigation continues, and authorities now say that one of the main suspects Hayat Boumeddiene, she's the girlfriend of the man who took hostages in that kosher grocery, she has left France before these attacks, they believe, made her way to Turkey. And Turkish authorities are confirmed they believe she made it into Syria -- George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Terry, thanks very much.

So many questions remaining.

And now we're going to turn to one group claiming responsibility for the attacks al Qaeda in Yemen.

The terror group has been pummeled by U.S. air strikes. The group's American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a drone in 2011, but his followers continued to plot and inspire terror.

ABC's chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz has traveled to Yemen several times. She brings us this report.


MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: In the middle of Friday's dramatic siege on the two brothers who carried out their reign of terror in Paris this week, one of them, Cherif Kouachi, boasted to a French television station that the men had been directed by AQAP, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and that they had been financed by one of the group's top leaders American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

Soon after the deadly siege ended, a top leader of the Yemen-based AQAP praised the attacks, calling France a beacon of blasphemy.

A separate statement claiming AQAP directed the attack in revenge for the honor of the prophet Muhammed, who the French magazine had depicted in cartoons.

U.S. officials said at least one of the brothers had traveled to Yemen for terrorist training in 2011.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that he was in Yemen getting trained as a terrorist, working with terrorists, was grounds to arrest him.

RADDATZ: This week's deadly attacks by the French terror cell carries on AQAP's efforts to strike western targets with the group directly involved in previous attacks on the U.S., including the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner bound for Detroit on Christmas 2009 by so-called underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who had been trained by al Qaeda in Yemen.

I traveled to Yemen just days after the attempted bombing, visiting the school where Abdulmutallab came to study Arabic before being equipped with his explosives.

This is the third floor room where Abdulmutallab spent most of his time while he was at the institute here in Yemen, just a bed, a desk, a closet.

And even with the American-born Awlaki killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2011, the cleric continues to inspire attacks on Europe and the U.S.

REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: AQAP remains a lethal threat and a terrorist network that continue to threaten not just the region, but the west.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And Martha Raddatz joins us now.

Martha, we just heard Admiral Kirby right there say that AQAP remains a lethal threat despite what you've pointed out is about 100 airstrikes by the United States against AQAP.

What exactly are they capable of right now?

RADDATZ: Well, they've certainly been degraded over the years, but still considered very capable, very dangerous. There are still training camps operating in Yemen and clearly, as we said, Anwar al-Awlaki is viewed as a martyr by some in the group and they use him to inspire others to carry out attacks, but still the U.S. very concerned about AQAP and any kind of attack they could carry out. And they could do almost anything, George.


And we are joined now from Paris by the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Mr. Attorney General, thanks for joining us this morning.

We've heard about this concern, AQAP still a lethal threat -- good morning -- and we have also have this new video out this morning where Coulibaly appears to be pledging allegiance to ISIS.

What more do we know about which group may have been behind this attack?

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, at this point we don't have any credible information that would allow us to make a determination as to which organization was responsible. I think it's clear that both organizations pose a threat to the United States as well as to its allies.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Is there any evidence that any other sleeper cells have actually been activated?

HOLDER: Again, I don't think that we have any information that would indicate certainly with regard to the homeland that there is any ongoing threat or any threat that was activated by what we see so tragically here in France with regard to sleeper cells here in France, that is an investigation that is ongoing and being conducted by our French allies.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And the French have said that if they can determine who is behind this, they will retaliate. Will the United States join in that retaliation?

HOLDER: Well, we'll certainly have to see exactly who was responsible, determine what kind of retaliation would be appropriate. We have certainly worked together quite well with our French allies in a whole variety of ways bringing people to justice who are responsible for these actions, certainly something that would work together with our French counterparts. And to the extent that there is something more than that, we will certainly consider whatever it is that they would propose.

But we stand in solidarity with the French.

STEPHANOPOULOS: This -- Mr. Attorney General, do you understand how these gunmen slipped through the cracks? They had been arrested. They had been on the radar of the French, yet they fell off and were able to carry out his massacre?

HOLDER: Well, you know, these are the kinds of things that we have to do an after action report and try to make determinations about how these events actually unfolded. It is something -- you know, it is something we have done in the United States as well as we have had to deal with these kinds of incidents.

We exchange information with each other. We had a good meeting today with a number of interior ministers from around Europe. There's a meeting going on now with world leaders meeting with the president of France.

And one of the things that we have certainly gleaned from these interactions is there's a greater need for us to share information, to knock down these information sharing barriers so that we can always stay on top of these threats. One nation cannot buy itself hope to forestall the possibility of terrorism even within its own borders.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The head of British intelligence Andrew Parker of MI5 has been sounding the alarm about this threat. He said al Qaeda in Syria has been planning what he called mass casualty attacks in the west and added this, "my sharpest concern as director general of MI5 is the growing gap between the increasingly challenging threat and the decreasing availability of capabilities to address it."

Does the U.S. share that concern? Do we have what we need to defeat this threat?

HOLDER: Well, I certainly share the concern that he expressed about the continued viability and the threat capability that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula especially, ISIL growingly, poses to the United States.

I do think that we have adequate resources to detect these kinds of threats, to disrupt plots. But it will really entail a whole of government approach. It means that we have to have our intelligence community, we have to have the law enforcement community, we need to have our -- our state and local community counterparts, and we need to have American citizens be vigilant. We have that program of see something and -- and say something.

It will take the entirety of the American nation to try to keep us -- to keep us safe.

But I am confident that would have -- do have that ability.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You said you're not aware of any specific credible threats against the United States right now, but you told Pierre Thomas earlier this year that the entire threat environment is as dangerous as anything you've seen since 9/11.

Is that still the case?

HOLDER: Yes, I would say that that's true. Although there's not a specific credible threat that I can point to, I certainly think that the environment has changed over the years. We have decimated core Al Qaeda and I think we have de -- decreased if not eliminated their ability to do the kinds of things that they did on September the 11th.

On the other hand, when one looks at what happened here in France with a relatively small number of people, when we look at some incidents that have happened in other parts of the world, when we look at what's happened in the United States, we have a very small number of people, without huge amounts of planning, without huge amounts of resources, inflicting very severe damage.

That environment is the one that I was referring to. And that environment is still one that gives me great concern, especially -- especially those we identify as -- as lone wolves.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The French prime minister said yesterday that France is at war with radical Islam.

Is the U.S. At war with radical Islam?

HOLDER: Well, I certainly think that we are at war with those who would commit terrorist attacks and who would corrupt the Islamic faith in the way that they do, to try to justify their terrorist actions.

So that's who we are at -- at war with. And we are determined to take the fight to them to prevent them from engaging in these kinds of activities.

Our president has indicated that we will be calling, on February the 18th, a summit, so that we deal with better ways in which we can counter violent extremism and really get at the core, come up with ways in which we prevent people from adhering to, being attracted to this terrorist ideology.

We certainly have to work, I think, in a dual way. We need to confront people who engage in these acts, hold them accountable. But we also have to somehow come up with a counter-narrative that too many people, especially young men, find attractive.

And, as I said, February the 18th, the White House will host a summit that I announced at the meeting here today in Paris.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally -- finally, sir, on another subject. "The New York Times" reported yesterday that the prosecutors have recommended bringing charges against former CIA Director General David Petraeus for mishandling classified information. It's drawn a sharp response from Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. They say this leak is "a shameful continuation of a pattern in which leaks by unnamed sources have marred this investigation in contravention to fundamental fairness. No American deserves such callous treatment, let alone one of America's finest military leaders."

Your response?

HOLDER: Well, I can't really comment on what is an ongoing matter. But I will say that I share those concerns expressed by two senators who I have a great deal of respect for.

But I also want to assure them and the American people that any investigation that is ongoing will be done in a fair and a -- and an appropriate way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you have not received a recommendation?

HOLDER: As I said, I don't want to really comment on what is an ongoing investigation. But I will say that frequently, those things that we characterize as leaks -- they are frequently inaccurate. I'll just leave it at that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Attorney General, thanks very much for your time this morning.

HOLDER: All right, thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are joined now by the French ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud.

Mr. Ambassador, thank you for joining us this morning.

Our condolences for the loss of your French citizens.

We're at all feeling it here as well.

Several days out now, as those marchers gather in Paris, have -- has French intelligence been able to determine with any greater specificity if there were any direct terror links between the gunmen and AQAP or ISIS?


Now, first, I want to say that we have been overwhelmed by the expression of grief, of solidarity of all the Americans, you know, from the president of the United States, who came to the French Embassy, to the ordinary American. It's really the American people are a compassionate people, indeed.

What we, at this stage, you know, what we know is that actually the two killers on one side, the two brothers, on the other side, the guy who attacked the grocery, the kosher grocery shop, actually were linked, were friends, were linked. And one of them said that they had organized their attack, they synchronized their attack.

But at this stage of the investigation, it's too early to -- to go beyond that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And President Hollande has said that the French have actually thwarted several possible attacks in the last several weeks and months.

Are you now concerned that there are actually active sleeper cells being activated?

Is this threat level continuing?

ARAUD: You know, we have to consider the threats that we are facing. You have in Europe thousands of young radicals, thousands of them. And of course, we are democracies and you don't arrest somebody because of his ideas.

We have, in France, hundreds of young people who came to Syria or who came to Yemen and were getting their military training.

So it's a very, very specific threat, because we don't know when these people are coming back and whether they are coming back. And we don't know when they're -- when these radical people are going suddenly to become terrorists.

So for the moment, I don't -- you know, it's simply, it's very likely, unfortunately, that we are going to face other attempts of terrorist acts.

The (INAUDIBLE) of the French government, as said, we are not over with it.


ARAUD: And all of us, the Europeans, but also the Americans, when the president, Obama, came to the French Embassy, he told me, he said, we are all vulnerable.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what do you do as you -- as you pointed out, these thousands of young men, some women, potentially, as well, are woven into the fabric of your society?

Your prime minister says you are at war with radical Islam.

How do you prevent this war from being a war against Islam?

ARAUD: I think, you know, we need a global strategy. On one side, there is the military response in Iraq and Yemen. We need information sharing. Actually, the French and the Americans, we are working quite well. But I guess we can improve it.

We need working on law enforcement and eventually, we need to work with the -- the Muslim countries and the Muslim people, because they're on the front line of this crisis, the front line, because they are the first victims, and they are also the breeding ground of the crisis.

So I guess that the idea of having a summit in Washington in February which has been announced by the attorney general, is a very good idea, because, you know, in a sense, France was not attacked as France. France was attacked as a Western democracy.

And it could have happened everywhere in Europe, and, unfortunately, I guess, also in the US.

STEPHANOPOULOS: If AQAP in Yemen was tied to this attack, if ISIS in Syria was tied to this attack, will France attack those groups in those countries?

ARAUD: Well, as you know, we are already actually fighting with the Americans in Iraq against ISIS, you know. The French are also fighting in the Sahel region against Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. So we are doing our job. We and our Western friends. And we are -- we're U.S./France.

And as the prime minister said, if necessary, we'll strike back still more.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Ambassador, thanks very much for your time this morning.

ARAUD: Thank you very much.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And coming up, after that horror in Paris, more on the threat here at home.

Pierre Thomas and the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee with the latest on America's high alert.

We're back in just two minutes.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And you are looking live again at that massive unity rally in Paris this morning. World leaders there, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron. We just saw the U.S. attorney general as there, security extremely tight. We want to talk about that and the homeland threat right now.

Officials here already on edge after calls to action from ISIS, attacks in Ottawa, Sydney and now Paris shows that just a few armed men can paralyze an entire city. We're joined by our senior Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas and Ray Kelly, the longest serving commissioner of the New York Police Department.

I want to talk about the homeland threat in a second.

But Mr. Commissioner, start out first as we look at those pictures of the rally in Paris.

How do police officials think about providing security for that kind of a massive event?

RAY KELLY, FORMER NYPD COMMISSIONER: Yes, it's very challenging because obviously when heads of state are coming to any city, you have months to plan. Now this is just a few days of -- giving them time to plan. These heads of state, they're going to bring their own security details. You want to be able to at least sort of examine them to a certain extent. They have deployed police who are throughout the country in other locations so the resources available for Paris may be reduced. So there's a lot of -- a lot of challenges, a lot of moving parts. The French are very good at doing these sorts of major events.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And they were very good at ending those events on Wednesday as well.

Pierre, let me turn to you right now. We heard the attorney general saying no specific credible threat he's identified here right. But again, seeing the firemen, he repeated again this morning, the worth threat environment he's seen since 9/11.

PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS SR. JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: George, it's a witch's brew moment. You've got Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula planning to attack wherever they can. They're the masters of creative bomb making.

We have Al Qaeda operatives in Syria, who were behind that plot to hit the airplanes that we were concerned about over the summer.

Then you have ISIS, encouraging people online to attack wherever they can. This is a really scary moment, law enforcement officials are saying that they're going to have to be at the top of their game into the future.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And the White House now called this summit and that the attorney general spoke about as well. And it's laying out a strategy of really working deep into local communities.

THOMAS: The biggest thing that law enforcement has been struck by in recent months is the effectiveness of these social media online campaigns by the radicals. They're reaching to young people sitting in their basements in their pajamas.

And they're being effective. The FBI has caught 12 people trying to go to Syria this -- in the last year alone, even after they were chopping off people's heads. And people have been shocked by that. In one case, a young man was caught at the airport literally the weekend after one of the journalists had been killed.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Commissioner Kelly, of course New York has been seized by this threat even from before 9/11, developed its own intelligence capabilities. But you've got this difficulty right now; the threat is morphing from these focused on spectacular attacks to these one-offs.

KELLY: Right, exactly. And that -- these lone wolves or small groups are very, very difficult to detect. The French have been excellent, the intelligence service. In fact, after (INAUDIBLE) 10 years, you had a decade where France was relatively quiet. And much of that credit was given to the intelligence services. But you can't cover everyone.

There's probably hundreds if not over 1,000 people who fit the rough profile of these shooters in France. So of deploying resources to cover them is no easy task. It's very expensive to conduct the surveillance.

And these individuals apparently did nothing to raise concerns after four years of surveillance. So --


STEPHANOPOULOS: It had actually dropped off the radar because they had gone quiet. They had gone underground.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And once they do that, there's no way you can know what's going to happen.

KELLY: Exactly.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Gentlemen, thank you both very much.

We want to bring in now the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr.

Mr. Chairman, thank you for joining us. You've heard the French ambassador; you've heard the attorney general and our experts here right now from your perch, as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, what's the most important threat you're seeing coming in right now?

SEN. RICHARD BURR (R), N.C.; CHAIR, SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, George, I think that the thing that worries me the most right now is the buzz on social media, whether it comes from a specific brute like ISIS or whether it's just on the chatrooms.

The target is to just go out and kill law enforcement and other officials. And I think it's some of your guests have displaced for figure (ph) Ray Kelly. That's a very difficult thing to detect and I think that we're going to be spending weeks and months taking some of what we've learned from this attack in France and tracking down leads that hopefully get us in front of a terrorist act and we're able to thwart it, whether it's in Europe or whether it's here in the United States.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've actually warned that you're worried that these attacks in Europe could become a weekly event.

BURR: Well, I think certainly that's a tempo that could -- that we could reach given the number of folks who have gone in and out of Syria and now we're learning the extent of how much they went in to places like Yemen early on.

So I think we're going to learn a lot more as time goes on. This is an event that continues to unfold from a standpoint of intelligence. And I think what we've got to do is be vigilant at home to make sure we keep in place those tools that give us the ability to triage that data and --


BURR: -- that we can track down anybody here in the U.S.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's what I want to ask you about, because you heard that -- the chair of British intelligence, Andrew Parker, say he doesn't think they have the capabilities to match the threat; the attorney general said no, right now we do.

Your opinion?

BURR: Well, I think that we're stretched with the best in the world, both from an intelligence gathering capacity and from a standpoint of a law enforcement capacity.

But George, let's be realistic. The French have many more tools from a standpoint of law enforcement, how they can detain people, the interrogations they can put people through than we do in the United States. So to believe that this slipped through with the massive surveillance that they have and the ability to get inside of really the terrorist element in France, they were unable and this slipped through.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've also criticized the president, saying his language does not adequately convey how severe the threat is from terrorism.

What is he failing to say or do?

BURR: Well, listen, George, I give the attorney general credit. He used the word "war" this morning. I'm not sure he meant to.

But when you look around the world, whether it's in Yemen, whether it's in Syria, whether it's in Iraq, whether it's in Afghanistan or in North Africa with Boko Haram, we've got terrorist elements that are carrying out terrorist acts and if you put that collection together, what you've got is a war on Western civilization. It really doesn't matter which terrorist group we insert into the blank. The commitment is that they're out to kill innocent people. And whether it happens in Paris or London or New York, we've got to collectively do our best to make sure that we thwart those attacks.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, sir, let me ask you also about this potential prosecution of General David Petraeus, the former CIA director. Do you think he should be prosecuted for mishandling classified information?

BURR: Well, George, let me say this, I have tremendous trust in the FBI to do their investigation. I still reference back to the president's remarks when he announced Gen. Petraeus' resignation, where he said this did not reach a level that put national security in jeopardy.

And I think the statute of the law says it has to reach that for there to be a prosecution. I'll let the FBI and the Justice Department work through this. But I always will go back to what the president told us when he announced the resignation of David Petraeus.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you believe there was no harm to national security?

BURR: Well, I think it's -- the burden of proof is on the bureau and on the Justice Department. I think to present to American where it was and why the president was wrong.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Chairman, thanks very much for your time this morning.

Up next, freedom under fire: how cartoonists got to the heart of this week's massacre.

And later Mitt Romney throws a roadblock in front of Jeb Bush.

Will he follow through with a third run for the White House?

We're back in just two minutes.



STEPHANOPOULOS: Live scenes from Paris this morning.

World leaders joining with citizens of two million in the streets after the latest in a string of murderous assaults on free speech by jihadists.

The cartoonists at "Charlie Hebdo" knew that they were courting danger. And after their sacrifice, there's been a powerful response.

Check out where people Tweeted worldwide, Tweeting the hash tag, "Je suis Charlie!" "I Am Charlie."

And ABC's David Wright has more on a remarkable display of solidarity.


DAVID WRIGHT, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After a day in which comedy quite literally came under fire, comedians fired back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I know very few people go into comedy, you know, as an act of courage, mainly because it shouldn't have to be that.


WRIGHT: HBO's Bill Maher going further than most, blaming not just the fanatical fringe, but mainstream Muslims.

BILL MAHER, COMEDIAN: Hundreds of millions of them support an attack like this. They applaud an attack like this. What they say is, oh, we don't approve of violence, but you know what, when you make fun of the Prophet, all bets are off...


MAHER: -- well, then you...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hundreds of millions of Muslims support this?

MAHER: Absolutely.

WRIGHT: Jimmy Kimmel rightly called him on that. The exchange an example of free speech. People are free to say outrageous, offensive things. Others are free to voice their disapproval. That's what's so wildly out of whack in what happened in Paris, the idea that anyone would seek to prove the point in blood that the sword is mightier than the pen.

And it isn't the first time. Three years ago, after publishing a spoof issue guest-edited by the Prophet Muhammad, "Charlie Hebdo's" offices were firebombed. The editor, at the time, defiant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without freedom of speech, we are dead.

WRIGHT: Today, he is dead, satire under fire, and not just in Paris.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want us to kill the leader of North Korea?



WRIGHT: The idea that a Seth Rogan comedy could end up launching an international cyberwar sounds, well, like something out of a Seth Rogan script, but it happens.


WRIGHT: This week, cartoonists around the world got to the heart of it. Ruben Oppenheimer, with a plane barreling into the twin pencils; David Pope with this scene. He drew first. Tom Toles put a Kalashnikov next to a quill pen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll endure, but it's not a simple oh, the pen always wins. I mean that day, the cartoonists were killed and they will not be coming back.

WRIGHT: And the line will be drawn says the cartoonist's little alter ego. In France, pencils raised, weapons of mass expression.

For THIS WEEK, David Wright, ABC News, London.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are joined now by Danish journalist, Flemming Rose, the editor behind the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad back in 2005.

He's now written a book, "The Tyranny of Silence: How One Cartoon Ignited A Global Debate on the Future of Free Speech."

Mr. Rose, thank you for joining us.

What is that future after this attack?

ROSE: Well, I'm a little bit pessimistic, although I'm very happy to see the kind of solidarity that the world is showing with "Charlie Hebdo."

But my fear is, you know, when we have to go back to our daily work and how this is going to translate into day on day editorial line, I think I'm afraid that we will get back to, you know, where we were before. And I'm...

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you know we...

ROSE: -- I'm speaking from my own experience in...

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, you know, we've seen examples of...

ROSE: -- in 2008...

STEPHANOPOULOS: -- of that this week. You know, just this morning, a German publication attacked. You wrote an article saying this week, "We must all be "Charlie Hebdo" now." Yet your own nose -- newspaper chose not to rerun the cartoons.

In your mind, was that backing down or being responsible?

ROSE: It was both. It was backing down, but it was a consequence of the kind of situation we have found ourselves in over the past nine years. Several terrorist attacks against the newspaper have been foiled. In 2010, a cartoonist was nearly killed by a man who broke into his house with an ax.

So we have been in this situation for the past nine years, under huge pressure.

So, yes, we caved in, unfortunately. But we did it because a lot of people are afraid and people at the top of our -- of our organization were thinking about the security of its employees. And I perfectly understand that being in this situation,

Whether or not I would have welcomed the republication or not.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you've written that in the wake of these kinds of attacks, we need not only sensitivity training, but insensitivity training.

What does that mean?

ROSE: It means that in a democracy, you have many rights. You have the right to free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, the right to vote, but the only right you should not have in a democracy, and especially a multicultural democracy, is a right not to be offended, because in a multicultural society, we are all very different. And this difference in terms of culture, ethnicity and religion, means that was also have very different ways to express ourselves.

So it's -- we have to be clear that a multicultural society should not lead to less freedom of speech, but, in fact, to more freedom of speech, show more diverse ways of expressing ourselves.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Rose, thanks very much for your time this morning.

We're going to be back with all the week's politics.

Is Mitt Romney really back?

Elizabeth Warren's aggressive strategy.

And can Chris Christie laugh off that awkward hug?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was at the Cowboy football game yesterday. Chris Christie was spotted in the owner's box hugging Jerry Jones. Yes. It was right after Jones said let's get some hot wings.



STEPHANOPOULOS: Coming up, Mitt Romney shakes up the GOP with that surprise announcement, but will he really make run number three for the White House?

And Mitch McConnell makes a bold statement on the economy.

Is it a GOP recovery?

Our powerhouse roundtable weighs in.



STEPHANOPOULOS: In this week's politics buzz board, just days after Jeb Bush moves to Bigfoot the GOP field by picking for money in both English and Spanish.

Mitt Romney sends a thundercap across his bow, telling supporters he's looking hard at a third White House run.

So what happened to this Mitt?

MITT ROMNEY, 2012 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I'm not running. I'm not planning on running.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Then there was Elizabeth Warren's barely veiled shot at the Clinton legacy, telling the AFLCIO that too many Democrats have talked about the evils of big government.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: And it all sounded good, but what it was really about was tying the hands of regulators and turning loose big banks.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Who can forget that hug? Chris Christie reaching for Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, a field day for the late night comics.

JIMMY FALLON, TONIGHT SHOW HOST: You guys hear about the earthquake in Texas yesterday? Scientists say that it was aftershocks from Chris Christie celebrating at the Cowboys game.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Christie is doubling down, paying his own way to the Packers-Cowboys faceoff today.

But did the hug hurt his White House hopes?


STEPHANOPOULOS: This one question ahead for the roundtable.

We are joined by Republican strategist Ana Navarro, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich now at UC Berkeley, Nicole Wallace from The View also worked for both Jeb Bush and George W. Bush, and Democratic Strategist James Carville.

I sort of feel like just throwing the ball up. I'll start with you, Nicole Wallace. Mitt Romney, is it real?

NICOLE WALLACE, THE VIEW: I heard from his folks last night who knew that I'd be here talking to you and it's very real. And I think they will -- you will hear in the coming days you'll hear a lot of people say Ronald Reagan ran three times.

I think that what we have to keep in mind...



Well, what I think we have to keep in mind, though, is that while it matters very much at this moment to all of us what the donors are doing, it matters very little in the outcome of the Republican primary ultimately. It's just all we have right now to kibbitz about.

But the fact that he's hanging on to 30 or 40 donors, I don't think does anything to dampen what was a political firestorm on the Republican Party this week. Jeb's announcement generated more enthusiasm than I would guess Jeb even expected it to.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Ana Navarro, you worked for Jeb Bush as well. And this is kind of a fascinating dance between the two. It looks like Jeb Bush came out this week and the week before because he wanted to block Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney comes with these donors on Friday and says, no, you're not blocking me yet. I'm going to look at this.

I mean, I take Nicole's point on in the long run it may not determine the Republican nomination, but who locks up this money early does matter.

ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: George, what can I tell you? Mitt happens.

Look, I don't think Jeb was doing anything, frankly, to block Mitt Romney. I mean, I can tell you I was surprised by Romney's announcement, because I've heard him say a lot of times, particularly to donors in Florida and people in Florida that he would not run if Jeb was running.

Now I think Romney is a veteran. He's certainly got the experience. He's qualified. If he wants to run, he should look at it the same way that Jeb and everybody else is looking at it, as a personal decision where he weighs the considerations and decides whether this is something he has.

Now, if that's what it's about, him running to run, he's got all the right to do it. And he should do it if he's got that fire in the belly. If it's about holding on to the donors, if it's about having a hard time, which is natural, letting go of that center stage, going from being the prima ballerina absoluta (ph), to being the understudy, then that's a different thing and I think he needs to work through those issues. That to me is the question.

ROBERT REICH, FRM. LABOR SECRETARY: I think that the big issue here, George, is that the Republican establishment breathed a huge sigh of relief this past week. I mean, the last thing they wanted was somebody like Ted Cruz or Rand Paul or Huckabee. You know, Romney would be OK, but he already lost. They wanted Jeb Bush. They got Jeb Bush. They always get, ultimately in a presidential election, the candidate they want.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That's it -- but James Carville, if you have Mitt Romney versus Jeb Bush it's hard to know which one actually is the heir apparent, which one is the one that's going to...

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Oh, I think Jeb Bush closed -- might have closed a window on maybe some donors. He opened a giant door. Mitt is going to get in and go to the right. He...

STEPHANOPOULOS: You think he's getting in?

CARVILLE: Of course he's going to get in and he's going to run against Bush from the right. You know, if you look at Bush's positions...

WALLACE: I mean, I hope he does.

CARVILLE: ...yes, I mean I think he will. And I think he has now. I think he has a strategy that he didn't have before. And his strategy is he's the conservative alternative.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Why do you want him to run against Bush from the right?

WALLACE: ...no Republican has ever had a wider gap among white and non-white voters ever. And I think it puts -- I mean, Jeb Bush's issues, agenda and record draw more diverse base of support. And I hope -- and whether it's Romney or Chris, I hope people jump in and try to run to Jeb Bush's right. I think he'll laugh all the way to the nomination.

NAVARRO: I think Jeb Bush...

CARVILLE: The people that are going to decide this are not very diverse. And I think Mitt Romney has got that figured out. And I just think he's going to -- Jeb Bush will (inaudible) but he's created a big opening for Romney.

NAVARRO: Let me just say this, guys, you know I have observed Jeb Bush for the last several weeks. He is working in a -- in the most tireless focused, lasered way. I think that's what has led to a lot of this shifting that we've seen this week, whether it's from Chris Christie, you know, the reports that he's going to put his announcement, make it before he was going to do it. I think it's shifting Hillaryworld as well.

STEPHANOPOULOS: It's accelerating everything.

NAVARRO: I think it's accelerating, you know, Mike Huckabee's decisions because you know Jeb has shown that he's not thinking he's entitled to it. He's working hard for every donor and every...

STEPHANOPOULOS: I was struck by one report on what Mitt Romney told these donors, Bob Reich. And he sort of went at Bush saying that Bush's business background is going to be the problem after all the criticism that Mitt Romney took the last time around.

REICH: Well, look, you're going to have two big business candidates, candidates of Wall Street, candidates of big corporate board rooms. That does...

NAVARRO: Hillary who else?

REICH: Whoever is going to be the next president is going to have some very important decisions to make about big business.

You know, I do think it would be...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Did you just come for Elizabeth Warren?

REICH: It leaves a big opening in the Republican Party. And well, let's also talk about the Democratic Party with regard to the non-establishment, non-big business, non-Wall Street wing of both parties.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm glad you brought that up. And I want to bring this to you, James Carville, because there is a fascinating focus group this week run by Peter Hardin (ph) in Colorado. Dan Balz writes about it in the Washington Post -- 12 voters -- and it's just a small focus group, but 12 voters independents, Democrats and Republicans, the one thing they can seem to agree on is they don't -- they're not really excited about Bush or Clinton, about the establishment.

CARVILLE: Right. To be fair, they're less excited about Bush than they are about Hillary Clinton in any reading of that story. But they were and they were sort of more open to kind Elizabeth Warren thing.

I just -- I actually take Elizabeth Warren I think at her word that she's not running, but I think one day she will run for president I just don't think it's going to be now. But it's clear that there is -- and Professor Reich, right, and I'm sure that Secretary Clinton is aware of this, there are some real dissatisfaction with Wall Street out there, not just in the Democratic Party, but all across the country, everywhere.

And you have to recognize -- those that don't recognize it or address or do so at their own peril.

REICH: It's Wall Street, but it's also big business, big corporate America. I mean, we've never seen as much dominance by big business and by big corporations overall and Wall Street in terms of financing, in terms of lobbying. There is no countervailing power any longer in the United States...

And I think Elizabeth Warren -- you know, I agree with you, I don't think she's going to run, but I do think she is trying to change the debate in this country. So it's not simply about how big government should be, but who government should be for.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Who changes that debate on the Republican side? I guess Mike Huckabee?

WALLACE: Well, but I mean I think that the Republicans can't cede this ground to the Democrats, right. I mean, the base of the Republican Party has historically been largely made up of working class families who feel this -- you know, they hear their president saying the economy is getting better. They don't feel it. That's not a Republican problem or a Democratic problem, that's more something that divides us by class and by income.

So I don't think the Republicans should cede an inch.

And Jeb Bush's history in Florida is certainly putting the economy back together, of making it a business friendly place. So Jeb Bush understands the small business agenda, so does Mike Huckabee.

Frankly, Chris Christie has done a lot for New Jersey's economy.

So, I don't think the Republican field should cede an inch on making people feel like the economy is working for them.

REICH: Except you've got a huge economic problem. The economy is coming back, we all know it, and that's great. But wages are not growing...


REICH: ...or the labor participation rate...

NAVARRO: In the Republican field as it's shaping up I think you're going to see conversations about poverty. I think you're going to see conversations about prison reform. I think Republicans understand that they have to expand the core issues that they speak about and not cede not only an inch, not cede one demographic group, not cede one issue to the Democrats. And I think that's a good thing for the country.

CARVILLE: Look, I think what's going to happen is I think that Mitt Romney is going to say that Jeb Bush says in order to win we need to be more like Democrats. I disagree with that general formula. I think that we've got to be true to our values and who we are. That's why I'm running.

I think that you're looking at that's going to be the kind of macro debate underneath all of this. Is he has an opportunity to do something that he's never been able to do in the previous two times he's run for president, he can run as a conservative alternative.

NAVARRO: For me, the fact that James Carville is on TV encouraging Mitt Romney to run again should be all the warning that he needs.


CARVILLE: I don't think Mitt Romney needs my encouragement to run for president.


CARVILLE: I don't think he -- I've always said that I thought he was going to run. I don't think my opinion matters one wit to Mitt Romney whether he runs for president or not.

REICH: I agree with you, James, but I think the Democrats also have a challenge in terms of being more like Democrats. You know, there is the same problem of feeding at the same financial trough as the Republicans. And it's worse than ever.

I think that, you know, one of the big challenges that Hillary Clinton has is to respond to this anxiety that is still there in the middle class and the poor.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And there's no question people believe the system is rigged against the middle class. People believe the system is rigged against them. But let me bring this question to you, Nicole Wallace, that said, a lot of powerful economic progress in the last several weeks. A lot of job creation in the last year, 243,000 jobs in December. That does pose a challenge to Republicans trying to run against President Obama next time around.

WALLACE: Well, Republicans would be wise to make this about the future. And, you know, I don't recommend that any of them run against Obama. They should run against whoever their opponent is.

But that's problematic for Hillary or Elizabeth Warren, which it sounds like you may be heading up a cheering committee for her.

But you know running against progress, running against good news is a loser regardless of your party. So I think Republicans can take credit for maybe -- I saw McConnell this week was saying that between election day and now Republicans have added more certainty to the economy. It is -- you know, I don't condemn anyone that tries to spin things in their favor. I've made a career doing so, but you know it's a little audacious.

But I think Republicans have to put forward ideas to...

NAVARRO: I think Nicole is absolutely right. It's time for Republicans to talk to the country with an optimistic vision and message. That's what we have to offer America. The time for being the hell no party is over, that's not going to win 2016.

CARVILLE: Well, I thought McConnell said that, I thought it was out of the Onion or something.


CARVILLE: He cannot be that unaware -- I think (inaudible) embarrassed himself and I think he knows that. And we can sort of move on to the next thing here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Bob, you get the last word.

REICH: But it is an important question. I mean, Republicans have been running on a bad economy now for at least six years, eight years. And now the economy is not bad. It is bad in terms of wages, but it's going to get better.

And so what do they have to run on? What's the positive message here? There's no positive message. I haven't seen anything.

On oil prices -- oil prices are down. On the economy growth -- you know, everything is basically running in the right direction now.

NAVARRO: Bob, there's still...


NAVARRO: ...there's still some huge issues that this country needs to...


STEPHANOPOULOS: And you guys continue off camera.

WALLACE: People don't feel it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We're going to come back with a look ahead to tomorrow's historic college football showdown.


STEPHANOPOULOS: And we are back now with the roundtable. I want to bring in ESPN's Jesse Palmer for his take on that historic game tomorrow night, the first national championship playoff for college football, Buckeyes of Ohio State versus the Oregon Ducks. Jesse, not too many people predicted this matchup. But how do you think the playoffs went?

JESSE PALMER, ESPN: Thank god for the college football playoff, George.

You know, if we were still in the old BCS era it was predicted in this game Alabama would have played Florida State, and obviously that would have been the wrong matchup. I think in the very beginning when the college football playoff was created it was to give fans and give this sport a more clearly defined champion. And I think they've succeeded in that settling it on the field. The fans here all week have been extremely excited I think for the most part all year they have been as well.

And this game has a really big feel to it, almost feels like a Superbowl. This is obviously unprecedented. It's the first ever college football playoff national championship game, the first time two teams have to play 15 games. And you felt that energy here on the ground in Dallas and Ft. Worth all week.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you see the matchup?

PALMER: Well, two explosive offenses, high octane. You start with Oregon. They like to go fast. They get lined up quickly. They're balanced. They run. They throw the football. They've got a quarterback in Marcus Mariota who is the Heisman trophy winner.

Ohio State offensively, they score a lot of points also, but they really rely on a physical running game. They've got a great running back in Ezekiel Elliott. They've got a quarterback in Cardale Jones that's 6'5 250 pounds has unbelievable athleticism, but he's only making his third start. I think a huge key in tomorrow night's game is which team plays the best defense.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You going to make a prediction?

PALMER: You know, since I started in 2007 here at ESPN, George, this is the toughest game I've had to predict. But it's very rare in a game of this magnitude that you have the discrepancy at experience at the quarterback position. I talked about Cardale Jones at Ohio State. He's looked so good in his last two games, only making his third start. Marcus Mariota won the Heisman trophy. He's the best player in college football. I think he gives the Oregon Ducks the edge.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, there it is, OK, Oregon Ducks.

Real quick, anybody disagree?

REICH: Yes, I disagree, because the Oregon head coach earned $2 million this past year, the Ohio State head coach earned $4.5 million. On a theory that people are paid what they are worth...


NAVARRO: ...Anderson Cooper level in sports knowledge....

REICH: By the way, those are indefensible...


WALLACE: I'm a PAC 10 girl, I'll go with Oregon.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ...of course, we're going to cover it all tomorrow. And of course ESPN has the game at 8:30 eastern tomorrow night.

And before we go, some welcome news, no deaths of service members in Afghanistan or Iraq were announced this week.

That's all we have time for today. Have a great Sunday.

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