December 14, 2014 — -- Below is the rush transcript of "This Week" on December 14, 2014. It may contain errors.
ANNOUNCER: Now on ABC This Week. Developing this morning, stunner in the skies: a Russian military plane narrowly avoids a collision with a passenger jet. What has officials so alarmed?
The CIA and torture: shocking new details from the explosive investigation.
And Jeb Bush dropping his biggest hint yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH, FRM. GOV. OF FLORIDA: I'm going to make up my mind in short order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: And the pilgrimage: wounded American vets go overseas looking for a miracle.
From ABC News, This Week with George Stephanopoulos begins now.
MARTHA RADDATZ, HOST: Good morning. I'm Martha Raddatz. And we're tracking stories developing on several fronts, including nationwide protests against police brutality. Saturday, tens of thousands hit the streets in New York and Washington, the mother of Michael Brown taking part. Events were mostly peaceful, although 23 people were arrested in Boston.
But also breaking this morning, alarms raised after a mid-air scare involving a Russian military jet, a very close call putting a passenger plane at risk, the latest sign of that high stakes tension growing between Russia and the west.
ABC's Terry Moran on how it happened.
TERRY MORAN, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Russian military jets like these have been probing deeper and deeper into NATO airspace over Europe in recent months. And yesterday, a near disaster. About 11:15 a.m. local time, a Scandinavian Airlines flight over the Baltic Sea gets an urgent warning from Swedish air traffic control.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's 755, (inaudible) 22. So, 22 unidentified traffic in the area.
MORAN: That unidentified traffic, a Russian military jet flying with its transponder switched off, making it almost invisible to commercial traffic.
The Scandinavian Airlines pilots can't see the Russian in the haze. And seconds later a mid-air collision is just averted.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, it looks like you put behind him.
MORAN: Swedish officials reacted with fury, the defense minister declaring "this is serious. This is inappropriate. This is outright dangerous when you turn off the transponder."
And it's part of a grimly relentless pattern. These amazing pictures show a close encounter less than 100 feet between NATO interceptors and Russian jets over the Baltic Sea just last week.
And in October, this grainy photo and advanced sonar data sent the Swedish navy scrambling to scour the waters of Stockholm searching for a covert Russian sub. But it apparently slipped away.
The Russian deny everything, including yesterday's incident, but the Swedes and NATO aren't buying it. The Swedes say Russia even conducted a practice bombing run over Stockholm last year.
It's all part of Moscow's message to Europe and the U.S. We're back. And we can pierce your defenses -- Martha.
RADDATZ: Thanks, Terry, that does indeed sound dangerous.
Let's take this on now with our ABC contributor and former State Department official Steve Ganyard. Steve is also a former Marine Corps fighter pilot. So let's start from that vantage point, Steve.
How dangerous was this?
STEVE GANYARD, FRM. MARINE CORPS FIGHTER PILOT: It's very dangerous, Martha. Any time you're flying airplanes without the transponder on in very crowded commercial airspace it's dangerous, because air traffic controllers on the ground can't see heading, altitude, air speed. And you remember in the previous incident we came within 300 feet of a Russian airplane and another SAS aircraft. So it's very dangerous.
RADDATZ: And there have been a lot of these intercepts lately. There was a Dutch F-16 that intercepted Russian plane just a short time ago. Take us through that and what was happening there.
GANYARD: We're seeing an unprecedented number of sorties coming out of Russia. Really, it's back to the future. It's the same number of sorties we really saw during the Cold War.
And so you've got to launch airplanes out of NATO bases to go up, take a look at these airplanes, ID them, escort them out of...
RADDATZ: And they fly just right next to the airplane.
GANYARD: Fly right up next to the airplane. And we saw terrific video of that.
So, it's really back to the future.
RADDATZ: But all of this brings us back to the tension in Ukraine. So why do they send the jets there and what does this do to add to that tension?
GANYARD: Mr. Putin is doing the best he can in playing a weak hand. So by going up in the Baltics and creating tension up in the Baltics he does two things: he deflects public opinion up towards that part of the world, he pins down NATO air forces up in the Baltics while meantime he continues to build this greater Russia, build that land bridge to Crimea in the Ukraine.
RADDATZ: It also seems like an incredibly dangerous time going forward. It's a very bad time for Russia. They're in economic crisis. So what's your prediction going forward? What do we have to do?
GANYARD: It is a dangerous time. The ruble has tanked 40 percent. If the Russian economy isn't in a recession, it soon will be. The Russian economy is totally dependent for revenues on oil, which have dropped 40 percent. Sanctions are biting. And so this is a very dangerous time. Russia is wounded.
And we could to see Mr. Putin do something that would jack the price of oil up by manufacturing some sort of an incident somewhere else. And if he were going to do that, the Baltics would be a good place to start.
RADDATZ: Just one more thing to keep our eye on. Thanks very much for joining us, Steve.
RADDATZ: Now to the growing fallout from that explosive Senate torture report. The CIA under fire and firing back after the report blasted the spy agency for its interrogation tactics.
And this morning, new questions over whether that report will end up helping Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the terrorist behind the 9/11 attacks when he is sentenced. I spoke with his attorney David Nevin just before he went to Guantanamo to meet with his client.
RADDATZ: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, captured in March 2003 and immediately subjected to EITs, or enhanced interrogation techniques: stress positions, standing sleep deprivation, nudity and repeated waterboarding -- 183 times in the first month alone.
DAVID NEVIN, ATTORNEY: I found the report shocking. These kinds of details put flesh on the bones of a general statement like torture.
RADDATZ: The distended belly that they pushed on it and water would come out of his mouth, that's how full of water he was.
NEVIN: Right. The details are an affront.
RADDATZ: You are representing someone who I think Americans look at as an appalling person. And the CIA will certainly say that type of thing as well.
NEVIN: Well, you could ask Alexander Hamilton about it. He said that precisely in times like this when we're under amazing pressures and when we have people that we hate, that's who we -- that's where we let our values fly that right out the window for expediency purposes.
But in calm rational moments, we do things like signing the convention against torture where we agree that we won't behave in this way.
RADDATZ: But defenders of the program are unapologetic over the treatment of KSM and other detainees.
DICK CHENEY, FRM. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He is in our possession. We know he's the architect. And what are we supposed to do, kiss him on both cheeks?
RADDATZ: The CIA claims it gained valuable intelligence from enhanced interrogations, but CIA director John Brennan admitted Thursday it's unclear whether the same intel could have been obtained without using harsh techniques.
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: It's just an unknowable fact.
RADDATZ: While there are strong opinions on both sides as to whether terrorists like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed deserve what they got given the American lives lost, the report also exposed a stunning figure -- of the 119 in the detention program, 26 had been held by mistake, including Mohamed Bashmilah of Yemen, held in solitary confinement for 19 months in a secret CIA prison all because a new passport and a trip to Afghanistan raised suspicions. The Senate report providing the first ever acknowledgment of his case and others like it.
RADDATZ: And here now, Meg Satterthwaite, law professor at New York University. She represented Mohamed Bashmilah, and our ABC contributor, former FBI agent Brad Garrett who has decades of experience with terror suspects and interrogation.
Meg, tell us how this happened, how your client got mixed up in this.
MEG SATTERTHWAITE, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: So, what I think happened is there were some kind of suspicion based on his passport. We don't know. We've never been told why. He's pick up in Jordan. The Jordanians torture him quite severely -- classic torture techniques. He's then handed to the CIA rendition team. And he enters this black site system.
And I don't -- you know, I can't tell you more than that, except that...
RADDATZ: 19 months.
SATTERTHWAITE: That's right. That's exactly right.
RADDATZ: How was he eventually freed? Were you working on that then?
SATTERTHWAITE: Yes. No, I was not working on his case, because nobody knew about his case at that time.
What we know is that he experienced a team that came -- said they came from D.C. and that they were looking into who was in the different black sites and that he was going to be released. And a few months later indeed he was released.
RADDATZ: They realized the mistake, it sounds like.
Brad, what's your reaction to that?
BRAD GARRETT, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, my initial reaction is the following: when you have someone in custody with that sort of format -- in other words, it isn't like you have to take them in front of judge in six or eight hours, that you have plenty of time to figure out who they are, where they've been, who they associate with and is this somebody that we really need to maybe throw into this type of interrogation technique, for starters.
RADDATZ: What were they asking your client? What do you know they thought he might know? Was he interrogated?
SATTERTHWAITE: Yes. So, I don't know, of course, because we've never been told. We've never had any acknowledgment until this week...
RADDATZ: This is very first time....
SATTERTHWAITE: This is the very first time...
RADDATZ: ...the government has ever acknowledged him.
SATTERTHWAITE: What I do know is that the Jordanians forced him to sign a false confession. So, my suspicion is they asked him about whatever they had put into that confession. He was very distraught. They threatened him, they threatened his wife, etc.
So he was forced to do that. He was then thrown into this program. I don't know -- you know, I don't know why it took them so long.
RADDATZ: Brad, you have firsthand experience interviewing or interrogating Ramsey Yousef from the first World Trade Center bombing and Ahmel Kazi (ph), the man who stood outside the CIA in 1993 and fired randomly at CIA employees, killing two of them.
Tell us about that experience and -- and what you learned from that and how it differs from what you're reading now...
RADDATZ: -- about the CIA report.
GARRETT: You know, my approach to every interview is I don't really care what you've done, the idea is to get you to talk to me and tell me the truth. And it's certainly been my experience that how you do that is develop a relationship with the person, as sort of trite as that sounds based on what they have just done. But that's the real key.
Sometimes that takes a while, but if you walk into that room with knowledge about the person and where they are from and what their history might be and if you don't speak their language, you have a -- a linguist with you that speaks that dialect and that language, you're going to get somewhere.
I'm not suggesting that every person you're going to be successful with in doing that.
But there's no harm with that approach, in which you -- the most important thing, Martha, is you don't end up with a person that then hates you and his tribe doesn't hate you or the government, because my concern is that we have created a lot more terrorists because we've made people so angry because of some of the approaches we've used.
RADDATZ: OK, thanks very much to both of you.
And let's -- let's take that question to Michael Hayden, the former CIA director.
Let me have you react to what Brad just said, you create more terrorists.
MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I'm not -- I'm not so sure that applies to this CIA program. It may now after all these details that have been put out by the Senate Democrats, many of which the agency contests. But no one seems to have read the agency rebuttal or the Republican minority report on what CIA did.
HAYDEN: Actually, Martha, what we've found is what created terrorists, what's been used for jihadi recruitment has been Abu Ghraib, which was true criminal activity and, to a certain extent, Guantanamo.
RADDATZ: Let me -- let me talk about Abu Ghraib. This week there was an op-ed that ran by a man named Eric Fair, who was an interrogator at Abu Ghraib. He said, "I tortured and I can't be forgiven."
There were examples in the -- in the report released by the -- by the Senate -- of CIA interrogators who said they couldn't take it anymore, they were near tears.
What does that tell you?
HAYDEN: Well, first of all, with -- with this young man, I -- I know he was scheduled to be on, but can't because of illness. Deeply moving commentary, a very articulate young man. And -- and he's clear -- clearly carrying a burden -- a burden, perhaps, that all of us have put on him by putting him in that situation...
RADDATZ: An unfair burden?
HAYDEN: -- in war.
Well, Abu Ghraib, yes, because Abu Ghraib was, indeed, criminal activity. And I think it's really important to distinguish Abu Ghraib and what happened to the CIA detention facilities.
Abu Ghraib was investigated by General Taguba. It came across -- trials were held...
RADDATZ: Yes, it's -- yes, and -- and it is very different.
But I'm talking about the interrogators, what it does...
RADDATZ: -- and you put CIA...
RADDATZ: -- interrogators in that position...
HAYDEN: Yes, we did. Yes...
RADDATZ: -- as well.
HAYDEN: I would be very, very disappointed if this did not take a human toll on our CIA interrogators, because after all, although that person across the table from you was a terrorist, he's also a human being.
I would not want people in the room doing this who were not affected by this.
RADDATZ: But -- but you support all of this. You support those so-called enhanced interrogation techniques -- waterboarding, some of the other things in the report as well?
HAYDEN: Well, actually, Martha...
RADDATZ: You support them all and think they were successful?
HAYDEN: Well, there's a difference. Let me parse each of those parts of the sentence out. They were successful. That's historical fact.
Do I support them?
With regard to waterboarding, I've made it very clear that I thank God I didn't have to make that decision. I had easier circumstances when I was director.
By the way, Martha, I'm the one who...
RADDATZ: Yes, but could -- but would you have made that decision?
HAYDEN: I don't know and I -- and I -- have refused...
RADDATZ: So -- so that's a way to not say I fully support or not support.
HAYDEN: I -- I -- it depends on the totality of circumstances at the time. And by the way, don't...
RADDATZ: It doesn't depend on how...
HAYDEN: -- don't...
RADDATZ: -- a nation thinks about torture?
It doesn't depend on whether, as -- as -- as critics of this are saying, this defines the nation, this defines who you are.
It shouldn't depend on that?
HAYDEN: Well, three out of the last four attorneys general have defined this as not being torture. So let's get the legal definition off the table.
Now we're talking about a broader, perhaps, national consciousness and national sense of ethics.
And here, Martha, we're -- we're making a choice between two very bad, very difficult choices.
If we hadn't done this and a subsequent attack would have taken place, what would today's conversation be like?
RADDATZ: Tell me how you personally would define torture?
HAYDEN: Well, it's a legal term, all right?
RADDATZ: I -- I know it is...
HAYDEN: And I don't...
RADDATZ: -- but I -- I want personally and morally, is there something you wouldn't do?
HAYDEN: Well, yes. There are many things that I wouldn't do and...
RADDATZ: Would you waterboard?
HAYDEN: I've already answered the question, that I don't know. And it would depend on the totality of the circumstances...
RADDATZ: But you haven't defined what torture is in your mind?
RADDATZ: -- how far you should go?
HAYDEN: Well, there are certain things that are always off the table. There are certain things that are clearly permissible and then there are a bunch of things in the middle, and I would admit that waterboarding is near the edge of that window. I -- I would admit that are gray and would demand very compelling circumstances for anyone...
HAYDEN: -- to picture themselves...
RADDATZ: -- let me...
HAYDEN: -- doing.
RADDATZ: -- let me talk about what we also just heard from Meg Satterthwaite, whose -- whose client was among 26 of 119, one in five -- one in five who were wrongfully imprisoned.
HAYDEN: And what's your definition of wrongfully?
RADDATZ: How -- how does that happen?
They did not meet the legal standard. I'll go right back at you...
RADDATZ: -- on that.
HAYDEN: That's exactly right. Not that they weren't members of al Qaeda, but that they did not -- they did not meet the high legal bar...
RADDATZ: She had a...
HAYDEN: -- for this program.
RADDATZ: -- client in jail who was thrown in there because he had passport issues for 19 months.
How do you hold someone for 19 months?
HAYDEN: I don't know the details of that case. I would suggest, based upon the history we've just laid out here this morning, an awful lot of that falls on Jordan liaison service and what they told us about this -- this individual.
But the Senate report, the Democrat report says 26. The month before I arrived at the agency, the agency took their own look at the 97 people they had held up to that point and concluded that of that 97, five did not meet the high standard that was required to go into this program, not that they weren't dangers or they were not members of al Qaeda.
RADDATZ: Thank you very much for joining us, General Hayden.
HAYDEN: Thank you.
RADDATZ: I know you've -- you've had a long week...
HAYDEN: It's been a busy week.
RADDATZ: Thank you.
A very busy week.
Up next, inside ISIS -- what a senior commander is now revealing about the terror group.
Plus, Jeb Bush dropping major new hints about 2016 why a Bush v. Clinton showdown is looking much more likely this morning.
We're back in two minutes.
RADDATZ: Up next, inside ISIS -- what a senior commander is now revealing about the terror group.
Plus, Jeb Bush dropping major new hints about 2016 why a Bush v. Clinton showdown is looking much more likely this morning.
We're back in two minutes.
RADDATZ: Now our Closer Look -- a rare inside look at the terror group ISIS. Chilling new details from a top commander who says he was there when the group was formed.
ISIS began inside a U.S. military prison in Southern Iraq called Camp Bucca, a site I've reported from in the past, where the U.S. detained hundreds of extremists.
Reporter Martin Chulov interviewed that ISIS commander as part of an extraordinary article in "The Guardian."
He joins us now from Beirut.
Martin, tell us what that commander said.
MARTIN CHULOV, THE GUARDIAN: He is saying that he and jihadists like him were all within 100 meters of the entire al Qaeda leadership. He says it was the breeding ground for ISIS, as we know it know. They used that time in prison to sit, to network, to organize, and to plot for what might come.
That said, he didn't know that a decade down the track the man amongst them, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was very active in prison life, would emerge as the leader of this formidable terror organization.
RADDATZ: And what did he say about al-Baghdadi, the leader at the time when he was in that prison with him?
CHULOV: He said Baghdadi was a man who had clear leadership skills, who seemed to be plotting from the very beginning. He set himself up as an arbitrator for disputes within the camp. He conciliated and he was given more or less open access around the Sunni area of the prison by the American military. He was -- his jailers were enamored by him. They saw him as a calming influence and somebody whom they could trust. And he was released after nine months in late 2004.
RADDATZ: One of the things that's so extraordinary about your article is this ISIS commander seems to be having second thoughts, like he wants to get away from ISIS but can't.
CHULOV: Yeah, he said to me that in the early days in 2004 and even a bit beyond that shooting at American tanks in Fallujah or Ramadi was almost fun, it was almost an adventure. He was a young firebrand jihadist at that time. He was railing against an occupation.
This was a broad Sunni revolt in his mind as opposed to an Islamic theocracy in the making, a particularly brutal theocracy. He says a decade later with this organization having carved such a swathe out of the center of Arabia and imposing a very hardline interpretation of Shariah law across the region that he doesn't want to be a part of it anymore.
He says that some of what ISIS does he believes in, but most of it he doesn't. He thinks that they interpret the religion in a wrong way. He thinks that this brutal imposition is not the way forward. Yet, at the same time, he doesn't feel as though he can leave.
He's still very active within the very upper echelons of ISIS. And he thinks that if he does leave he'll be killed.
So, he feels trapped by his circumstances.
RADDATZ: As probably many others do as well. Thanks very much, Martin.
RADDATZ: Let's dig into this now with our experts, ABC contributor and former director of the National Counterterrorism Center Matthew Olsen and Tom Friedman, Pulitzer Prize winning author and foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times. Welcome gentleman.
I want to start with you, Tom, and your reaction to that report from Camp Bucca.
This is one quote from that piece, "ISIS can't be stopped now," this is the commander speaking, "this is out of the control of any man."
TOM FRIEDMAN, NEW YORK TIMES: Well, ISIS can be stopped now, Martha, but it can only be stopped by the Sunni Muslims under its rule. And I think that's really the question for American strategy going forward. What would induce the Sunni Muslims now under ISIS's rule, the tribes and the residents of big towns like Mosul, to actually rise up against them.
And I think we have to go back and look at the surge...
RADDATZ: As they've risen up in the past.
FRIEDMAN: As they did it in the Anbar uprising.
Well, then the strategy was clear, hold, build. We'll help you clear out, you know, the jihadis and you hold it and then you build it. I think we have to completely reverse that strategy. I think our strategy today has to be build, then clear and hold.
What do I mean by that? These Sunni Muslims under ISIS control are not going to take a promise from Baghdad anymore. I think we have to create a Sunnistan that is parallel to Kurdistan, that is a federally semi-autonomous Sunni region, promise the Sunnis there that if they rise up against Mosul they will not be under a pro-Iranian government in Baghdad. They will have their own autonomous rule.
RADDATZ: And Matt Olsen, you were heavily involved in looking into ISIS. I think you told me there were 20,000, 30,000 fighters. Does this kind of plan work?
MATT OLSEN, FRM. DIR. NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER: I agree with Tom on a general level. This -- yeah, the numbers are big, 20,000 to 30,000 fighters by some estimates. But the group is not invincible. And we've seen that recently with the airstrikes, over 1,000 U.S.-led coalition airstrikes over the past few months. And they've shown that this group is not invincible, turn back the momentum that ISIS had over the summer.
RADDATZ: Do you really think that means they're not invincible? I mean, the airstrikes, everybody in the military, everybody in the government will say that's not going to do it, you have to do something on the ground. And that really seemed to stop it and they moved in other places.
I mean look at Mosul, and there was a terrific New York Times story about that, the New York Times described Mosul as a life of deprivation, fear and confusion for the city's roughly 1 million remaining residents. Iraqi police officers, there are fears that they're training they will just sell their weapons to the jihadists or run, which the...
FRIEDMAN: They're building another failed state. There's no question about that in my mind, Martha. But there's one I think fundamental rule of the Middle East that one can draw from the last decade-and-a-half of our experience, that the Middle East only puts a smile on your face when it starts with them. When they own it, it is self-sustaining. When we own it, it is not self-sustaining. And we've got to create the political environment where they are going to want to own the overthrow of ISIS.
RADDATZ: And Matt Olsen, I just want to talk, because this is always on people's minds, the threat to the homeland. ISIS, I don't think either one of your believes, is a threat to the homeland yet. And yet we hear things.
OLSEN: Sure. You know at a strategic level, ISIS, their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has talked about the U.S. being a strategic enemy.
But right now it's really a potential threat to us here at home.
The most likely scenario of an attack would be someone here, an isolated individual whose inspired by their propaganda, perhaps a fighter who returns from Syria, a relatively small scale type attack.
Now it is a potential threat and left unchecked down the road. We could see ISIS posing a greater threat to us here in the United States.
RADDATZ: And I am still astonished by those numbers, 20,000 to 30,000 fighters, that's a huge group, much larger than al Qaeda in the old days there in Iraq. Thanks to both of you.
Up next, the latest on last night's big senate drama. Ted Cruz taking on Republicans, Democrats taking on the White House.
And Barbara Walters with reclusive billionaire David Koch. He funnels millions to Republicans, but calls himself a liberal. Find out why back in two minutes.
RADDATZ: Back now with our politics buzz board.
Is there a family feud brewing for Democrats?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FRM. SECRETARY OF STATE: Hello, Iowa.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: First, check out this headline -- Hillary will likely announce her 2016 run this spring. But not everyone is ready for Hillary. The liberal group MoveOn.org likes Elizabeth Warren and says they'll try to draft her into a 2016 run.
Also buzzing, brand new hints from Jeb Bush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I'm going to make up mind in short order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: He says he'll release thousands of emails from his time as governor along with an e-book. Could this be a hint about his upcoming decision?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: In spite of what appears to be the case here in this current environment in Washington, you can do big things if you set the stage in a campaign and then move forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
And the roundtable is ready to go. CNN commentator and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, syndicated radio host and ABC News contributor Laura Ingraham, and Michael Smerconish from CNN and SiriusXM Radio.
And I'm going to start with you, Speaker Gingrich. You heard what Jeb Bush said, e-books, emails, beating the opposition research. Do you think he's running?
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Probably. He'll be one of 10 or 12 people. And if we running folks, we're going to have lots of runners. We have no frontrunner. Jeb Bush is not a frontrunner. There are no frontrunners. This is going to be a wide open race, probably the most open on our side since 1940.
RADDATZ: OK, but he gets in and if he gets in, what happens immediately?
GINGRICH: I have no idea. I think an enormous amount of boredom.
RADDATZ: OK. That was a -- that was just scintillating.
Boredom, Laura Ingraham?
LAURA INGRAHAM, TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I -- I think -- I disagree with Newt in -- in this fashion. There's going to be one establishment candidate and then there are going to be all these conservatives running.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
INGRAHAM: And so if there's a number of conservatives running, just like happened last time, and there's one establishment candidate, the establishment almost always wins.
So it's nice to say we're going to have all these debates and there's going to be all these candidates, but if Jeb has all the money, if jab has the whole Bush network, which is massively powerful, I don't care what anyone says, it's going to take one conservative to challenge him.
Very difficult. You have to just look at the electoral map and it's very difficult.
RADDATZ: Let -- let's take a look at our Facebook Senti-Meter. Lots of talk about Jeb Bush -- 48 percent of it positive, 44 percent of it negative.
I want to go back to you on that.
GINGRICH: Well, that -- I don't agree generally with what Laura said for this reason.
First of all, there's not going to be an establishment candidate. I mean Chris Christie certainly is going to seek that title. You're going to have at least -- I think at least five governors running who can raise real money.
I think 2008 was a very interesting example. McCain was totally broke. McCain had no money. And everybody else kept failing and McCain emerged as the nominee.
So politics is a...
INGRAHAM: How did that work out?
GINGRICH: -- politics is a -- oh, I'm not talking about the general...
GINGRICH: -- I'm just saying politics is a world of its own.
RADDATZ: And -- and that's an issue, the primary and the general...
GINGRICH: But politics is a world of its ow...
GINGRICH: But politics is a world of its own. Lots of other things are going to happen between now and then, things like cyber warfare against Sony, things like ISIS. I mean go down the road...
RADDATZ: Well, let -- let's go onto the Democrats. A lot of -- a lot of things are definitely going to happen.
Representative Ellison, I want to put up your Tweet from this week. "America is built on bold ideas and Senator Warren, meaning Elizabeth Warren, is full of them -- exciting effort by MoveOn.org to elevate her progressive ideals. Hash tag runwarrenrun."
Would you support her candidacy over Hillary Clinton's?
REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA: Yes, I'm not prepared to say that yet, but I do think it's important that we have a robust discussion about how -- which candidate can carry the mantle of American working people the best?
Who can help close this dramatic income inequality that so many Americans are suffering from?
Who's going to be able to really get people to the polls and excite people?
And so I'm not signing up for any candidate yet. But I do think that Elizabeth Warren represents an exciting possibility.
RADDATZ: I want to go to Michael Smerconish.
We saw this week that more than 300 Obama campaign staffers are calling for Elizabeth Warren to get into the race.
What do you think?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I use a prize fighting analogy. I think that Secretary Clinton needs a tune-up, she doesn't need a main event. Senator Warren is a main event. Senator Warren, I think, poses a -- a lethal challenge to Secretary Clinton in a primary and caucus process. And what she needs, meaning Secretary Clinton, is a Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Warren is a real problem.
RADDATZ: OK, when we come back, Republicans turn on Ted Cruz. Democrats turn on the White House. We'll explain in just a moment.
But first, our Powerhouse Puzzler.
Last night, Marcus Mariota, from the University of Oregon, was awarded the Heisman Trophy and college football inspired our Puzzler this week.
Name the president who encouraged safety reforms to the game after his son was injured playing football at Harvard.
Back in 90 seconds with the answer.
RADDATZ: So which president had a son injured playing football at Harvard and encouraged safety reforms to the game?
Let's see those white boards.
GINGRICH: Theodore Roosevelt.
ELLISON: I know this is wrong, because Bush II played baseball, not football as I recall.
Eisenhower. Gerald Ford.
And the winner is...
INGRAHAM: I knew it.
INGRAHAM: I knew it.
RADDATZ: The answer is President Theodore Roosevelt...
ELLISON: I should have copied...
RADDATZ: -- who, in 1905 (INAUDIBLE) college football officials to the White House and according to "The New York Times," told them I demand that football change its rules or be abolished.
Back in two minutes to explain why Ted Cruz did not win many Republican friends this weekend.
RADDATZ: The Senate, in a rare last night Saturday session, approving a $1.1 trillion spending bill that averts a government shutdown.
But it's shining a light on some big splits within both parties.
ABC's Jeff Zeleny has been tracking it all on Capitol Hill and joins us now with the very latest -- good morning, Jeff.
Quite a night.
JEFF ZELENY, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Martha.
It was quite a night. Finally, after one of the least productive Congressional sessions in memory, senators came together to pass this spending bill, but not without significant trouble. Twenty-two Democrats in the president's own party defied him, voted against this bill,
Senator Elizabeth Warren leading the way.
She said that it did not do enough to protect Americans. She said it rolled back all those Wall Street regulations so many Democrats mad about that, with this populism coursing through their party.
But Republicans unhappy, too, because it did nothing to rescind President Obama's immigration order.
So plenty of discontent to go around.
But finally, it passed 56-40.
RADDATZ: And, Jeff, Republicans were especially frustrated, it seemed, with Senator Ted Cruz, who held up passage of the bill.
What's that about?
ZELENY: Martha, not only frustrated, but furious. So many Republicans I talked to were seething at Ted Cruz. He was saying that he wanted a point of order to question the constitutionality of the president's immigration order.
But as they sat around hour after hour, all these Democratic nominees got pushed through that -- that Harry Reid has been trying to do so.
Senator Lindsey Graham said Christmas came early for Democrats, because Ted Cruz demanded all these extra votes, so so much time was wasted, which helped Democrats yesterday.
RADDATZ: So very quickly, Jeff, the -- the spending bill now sets up a fight between the White House and Republicans in January, doesn't it?
ZELENY: No question about that, because immigration is the first fight on that horizon. The bill only funded the Department of Homeland Security through February 27th. So when Republicans come back and fully control congress in January, immigration is the first fight.
RADDATZ: OK, thanks very much, Jeff.
Now to one of the more controversial parts of that legislation. Provisions dramatically easing restrictions on the amount of cash individuals can donate to campaigns.
One of the biggest Republican donors, reclusive billionaire, David Koch. Democrats love to hate him. And he just sat down with Barbara Walters for her new special on the most fascinating people of the year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Do you think it's fair that just because you have billions of dollars, you can influence elections?
DAVID KOCH, KOCH INDUSTRIES: Well, I contribute to public candidate campaigns and there is a federal limit on how much you can contribute to each individual candidate. They have a law in that regard and I feel that I'm doing it properly.
WALTERS: You are not well liked primarily because of your very conservative politics. Describe your political point of view.
KOCH: Well, I'm basically a libertarian. And I'm a conservative on economic matters and I'm a social liberal.
WALTERS: You support gay rights. You support a woman's right to choose. But conservatives candidates you support, and many of them do not have those views.
KOCH: Well, that's their problem. I'm -- I do have those views.
But what I want these candidates to do is to support a balanced budget. And I'm very worried that if the budget is not balanced that inflation could occur and the economy of our country could suffer terribly.
WALTERS: So the candidates you support are because of their fiscal policies most important.
KOCH: That's exactly right, Barbara. I'm really focused intensely on economic and fiscal issues, because if those go bad the country as a whole suffers terribly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ: All right, thanks to Barbara.
Don't miss her special, "The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2014" tonight at 9:00 eastern.
Back now with the roundtable.
And Laura Ingraham, you were shaking your head through that entire...
INGRAHAM: I'm not sure why David Koch did that interview. I mean, look, if you can give money to the candidates they want. And there's limits, although those limits were busted.
RADDATZ: And talk about the provision, you're not happy...
INGRAHAM: This limit was busted in the cromnibus spending bill that everybody was like oh Ted Cruz is the problem. You know what the problem is, it's that we have two parties that agree with each other on too many issues. They agree on open borders. They agree on immigration amnesty. They agree on Common Core and apparently they agree that we should be able to -- and individuals should be able to give hundreds of thousands of dollars, now like ten-fold I think almost the number to the political parties.
Now, I am not in favor of anything that makes it easier for the incumbency in Washington, D.C. And this cromnibus bill makes it easier for the incumbents and the establishment in both parties to run amok. Most of these people didn't read this bill and most of these people don't know what's in this bill. How this is good for the people, ask me?
SMERCONISH: I'm a subject of campaign finance. It's a win for the parties. Their function has been usurped in recent years by independent actors. It's a loss, I think, for the country.
Post-Citizens United, the best that we can hope for at this stage, I think, is transparency. What I'm most offended by, Martha, is the idea that in the waning days of the mid-term, tens of millions of dollars were spent, people went and cast ballots not knowing who had just influenced their vote.
We've got to have real-time disclosure and names associated with the contributions.
RADDATZ: One of the things in looking at this, could it actually add more accountability because the donations have to be disclosed?
ELLISON: You know, I don't really think so. I think that's what the people who want this are going to say. But at the end of the day, whoever pays the piper calls the tune. And if you can pay the piper more than anybody else you're going to call more tunes. And so I think this was a real loss.
But the other thing about this bill is that it was paired with something really ugly in there and that was this swap push out thing, which was a roll back of accountability for big banks. I mean, we roll back a provision of protecting our economy from getting hit the same way it was in 2008 and in the same breathe ask for more money? It's kind of ugly...
RADDATZ: And you have said that rolling back the restrictions on how much money people can donate would turn our democracy into an auction house.
RADDATZ: And then you've sort of made that clear here. But that kind of puts you on the side of the Tea Party as well. Another strange alliance.
ELLISON: Look, you know, a stop clock is right twice a day, you know, I don't say that their wrong on everything, they're just wrong on most things. This is something that I think that there is a lot of grassroots agreement on that more money in politics is probably not a good thing. It has a corrosive effect on our democracy.
Look how our country is dedicated to the liberty and justice for all, not just the David Koch's of this world.
RADDATZ: And you heard Jeff Zeleny in that report saying many Republicans are upset with Ted Cruz, very upset. Even with the Republican majority next month, McConnell will have a big challenge keeping everybody together, right.
GINGRICH: That's the nature of a free society. Look, Democrats are going to have a hard time keeping Elizabeth Warren on board, Republicans have a hard time keeping Ted Cruz on board. That's part of the creativity.
But I want to go back to this funding thing. Once you had the Citizens United decision, the best election law you could have would allow anyone to give to candidates any amount as long as it's reported every night on the internet, because you're much safer right there.
But the last -- I just have to say this, to have Barbara Walters suggest that David Koch has a lot of influence. I'd like to know the value of Barbara Walters' opinion over her career on television unpaid for. I mean, this whole thing the elite media has of, oh look at these rich guys who are about to tell you something...
RADDATZ: I'm supposed to jump in here, right, and argue with you?
GINGRICH: Think about it, I'm just saying, think -- and this is actually something Gene McCarthy said to Walter Cronkite in 1968, you talk about politics and money, how about the power you guys have because what Koch represents is an effort by conservatives to offset the elite media.
RADDATZ: ...power on television?
SMERCONISH: I think that he's got a lot more power than Barbara Walters does in terms of electing folks at this stage?
INGRAHAM: What about Tom...
SMERCONISH: ...people on both sides of the question. But they have too much influence, too much power...
ELLISON: But if you want to balance, why not have one of these people who are striking for 15 in the union in these strikes all over this country that are going on all of the time. I mean, David Koch is one end of the spectrum, what about some balance? I mean these people have been marching and doing all kinds of things.
INGRAHAM: Martha, all I'd say is one thing if this was such a great provision to open up the money that goes to the campaigns, the only thing I care about that is that it makes incumbency, I think, protected more.
But if it's so great, why not campaign on this before the mid-term elections? Why not say, you know something, we're going to spend $1.1 trillion. We're going to put it all in one bill. You're going to be able to read it and now vote in the mid-term election cycle.
They didn't talk about it because they knew the people of the country are disgusted about what happening in Washington, that's why they didn't campaign on it.
RADDATZ: I want to turn to the torture report released this week on The Hill. I just want some very quick impressions of -- and I'm going to start with you, Laura.
INGRAHAM: I think we have to remember the way we felt after 9/11. I didn't like everything I saw in this report. I think it was a one-sided report, though, and I was here in Washington. I watched the Pentagon in flames. And people wanted anything done possible.
Now in the light of the day it looks really stark. But it...
RADDATZ: ...should not be done going forward?
INGRAHAM: Well, it's not going to be done going forward.
I think if someone kidnapped your kid and you know that he knows where your child is, you wouldn't probably give him a Big Mac, you'd probably push him up against the wall. We have to remember that.
SMERCONISH: I refuse to believe that there was this cabal of masochists within the CIA who were rubbing their hands together and seized upon September 11 as a day that they could re-purpose the agency. The mistake they made was not looking at data and science, which says that the efficacy is just not there.
RADDATZ: Very quickly.
ELLISON: You know, the question is what are going to do going forward. One, can we get President Obama's executive order put into law.
RADDATZ: Right. That's one.
Two, you know, criminal investigation. Really who did what, where.
RADDATZ: You don't get three, he gets three.
GINGRICH: Very quickly. This is not a Senate report, it's a Democratic partisan report. They did not interview a single person, not one person, at the CIA. Every CIA leader says they are factually false, that it in fact did work. And I'll just tell you, the morning any president finds out that there's a dirty bomb in an American city and we have found the person who knows where that bomb is, we're going to do anything necessary to stop the death of thousands of Americans.
The context of 2001 was a different world. This is war. It is not civil litigation, it is not criminal justice, it's war. And we need to have a debate in this country of whether or not we're prepared to fight people like ISIS in a war.
RADDATZ: Thanks very much to all of you. We'll be back.
And coming up, a dramatic change in congress after this.
RADDATZ: Back now with farewells of note. 64 members of congress are leaving Capitol Hill for good, some after decades in the House and Senate. This week, jokes and tears as some familiar faces said goodbye.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To find yourself in this place with a time that should be a time of sadness, but all I can feel is actual joy. It's quite amazing. These past six years have been extremely full of exciting milestones.
SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R), GA.: I'm often asked what I'll miss most about the Senate, and the answer is very easy: I'll miss my friends.
SEN. MARK PRYOR: What can I say about my colleagues that hasn't been said before? Or maybe I should say what can I say about my colleagues that they haven't said about themselves before.
REP. BUCK MCKEON, CHAIRMAN, HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: My personal staff -- I just have this problem. You know, thankfully, the Speaker has it a lot worse than I do and he gets all the attention.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINN.: The privilege that I have is one of being really a link on a chain that's gone on for hundreds of years. And I stand right here on the soil, in the square feet that are the freest square feet in the world.
SEN. TOM COBURN: The most important member in the Senate is one. One Senate: that's how it was set up. That's how our founders designed it. And with that comes tremendous amounts of responsibility.
SEN. TOM HARKIN: There's still no other place in America where one person can do big things, for good or for ill, for our people and our nation.
REP. MIKE ROGERS, CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Boy, this was going to be harder than maybe I imagined. To my family, Erin and John, thanks for weathering this storm for a member of Congress who is more often gone at times they should be home.
COBURN: And a thank you to each of you for the privilege of having been able to work for a better country for us all.
HARKIN: And with that, Mr. President, for the last time, I yield the floor.
RADDATZ: And back now with the roundtable.
Want to start with you, Speaker Gingrich, you have been there before, any reflections?
GINGRICH: It's always deeply personal and always emotional. I think Tom Coburn in particular has been a model. I'm glad that he's going to stay active in public life and the work he's doing with -- when you have been there, and (INAUDIBLE) and you're in the middle of it, it's a different experience than almost anything else you ever do. And I think they reflected that in those comments.
RADDATZ: And when you look back on this past session...?
ELLISON: You know, Harkin is somebody who I think who has just always been there in the fight for the working person, the average American who's serving coffee or wherever and just looking out for them and I think all of the speeches were moving. But his was particularly moving for me.
INGRAHAM: Michele Bachmann, Tom Coburn both real champions of fiscal accountability and truth telling on the budget, which I think we haven't seen in the recent days. And both of them I think deserve a lot of credit for standing up oftentimes against the establishment.
SMERCONISH: I think Mike Rogers is a good guy. But the fact that somebody would leave --
SMERCONISH: -- of the House Intelligence Committee and want to become a talk radio host speaks to the outsized power and influence of talk radio hosts. That he would choose to do that instead of what he's been doing --
RADDATZ: -- was talking about that as well. OK. Thanks to all of you, back in just a minute with our "Sunday Spotlight" after this from our ABC stations.
RADDATZ: Now, in this holiday season, our "Sunday Spotlight" on the growing phenomenon of the pilgrimage. It's a fascinating new trend in faith. Here's "NIGHTLINE" co-anchor, Dan Harris.
DAN HARRIS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR (voice-over): This has never been captured on video until now. Wounded warriors travel to a remote city in France called Lourdes, where, in 1858, a peasant girl claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary and where the waters are now believed to have holy, healing powers.
SGT. JAMES PIERCE, ARMY NATIONAL GUARD: I was hit by a suicide bomber. This trip maybe just helped me find solace in the deaths that happened.
HARRIS (voice-over): These Americans are joining soldiers from around the world on an annual pilgrimage; not all of them are believers. This is Cpl. Zachary Herrick, who had a grenade explode in his face in Afghanistan.
CPL. ZACHARY HERRICK, U.S. ARMY (RET.): I really mean -- I believe there's a higher power, obviously, I think -- I believe that. But I don't know what it is. So, I just keep an open mind.
HARRIS (voice-over): The best-selling author and TV host Bruce Feiler (ph) accompanied the veterans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They've had the best science. And they still have longed for something.
HARRIS (voice-over): The story is part of an upcoming PBS series called "Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler."
FEILER: We live in a time where it's sort of a DYI time for faith. You have to make your own decisions and decide for yourself what you believe and what gives your life meaning. So a pilgrimage, which at its core, is a gesture of action is a response to that.
HARRIS (voice-over): One by one, the wounded warriors, even Cpl. Herrick, enter these small grottos, where they're bathed in what is believed to be holy water.
HERRICK: The shock of the water wasn't as bad as my emotions. That in itself was something to grasp.
HARRIS (voice-over): Sgt. Chris Pizer (ph), who was blinded in Iraq, is on his third visit. After his first bath, he was disappointed not to be cured. But in the end, his wife says, he was healed in a different way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He wasn't cured visually but he was cured in another way. Our family was very broken. After we came last year, he started stepping up to the plate and being the man that he was before he went to Iraq.
HARRIS (voice-over): Ultimately these soldiers know the point of a pilgrimage is not to look for a specific outcome, but instead to step into the unknown and perhaps to learn something profound about yourself.
HERRICK: You all have been really great. Sorry. I love you guys. Like all you've been beautiful and watching you guys smile, that's my religion.
RADDATZ: Our thanks to Dan Harris. "Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler" airs Tuesday on PBS.
And finally, the Pentagon did not release any names of service members killed this week in Afghanistan or Iraq.
That's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT" and we'll see you back here next week. Have a great day.