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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Birthplace Facts, Not Birther Fiction; Trump Doubles Down on "Birtherism"; Misrata under Siege; Royal Wedding Dress Secrets
Aired April 25, 2011 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, the birther battle that keeps on building. Donald Trump is on the program tonight leveling surprising new claims about President Obama's birth certificate. Trump now saying he believes it's missing or doesn't even exist. As for proof? Well, as you'll hear, he has none.
Remember, Trump has said for weeks now that he has a team of investigators on the ground in Hawaii looking into the President's birth certificate. But he's offered no proof. We decided to send our own team to Hawaii to investigate as well. And over the next two nights you're going to see what they found. They were there for five days interviewing and talking to dozens of people. By the way, none of the people they talked to said that they'd been contacted by anyone working for Donald Trump.
We spoke exclusively to the health official who at the orders of the Republican governor actually went and examined Mr. Obama's original 1961 birth certificate. We spoke to the newspaper that ran his birth announcement and the people who knew his family and have known him since the day he was born almost 50 years ago in Honolulu.
Now, before we show you what we found, let's just quickly go over some of the basics. This is President Obama's certificate of live birth. This is the only document that Hawaii now considers to be official proof of birth in the state. This is the document the state gives you, any resident of Hawaii, anyone born in Hawaii, when you request proof of birth from the state.
It gets you a driver's license in Hawaii, and the U.S. State Department accepts it as valid proof for citizenship when you're applying for something like a passport. Now, this is the picture of the certificate of live birth that President Obama ordered from the state during the campaign.
Take a look up close. It's got an official stamp with a stamped signature and a raised seal. It's been examined by a number of news organizations and non-partisan groups. You and I can't get our own copy of this document even with the President's permission. And by law you or I could not go look at the President's original 1961 birth certificate, which is in the Department of Health in Honolulu, according to authorities there.
However, anyone can go to the Hawaii Vital Statistics Office and look at official birth information that's called Index Data. It's stored in a government binder. It's an alphabetized list of all the babies born in Hawaii. And in the book containing births from 1961 to 1964 you'll find a listing for Barack Hussein Obama II, gender male.
Here's also the local paper's birth announcement -- it's not an ad -- by the way, placed by the parents or the grandparents. These were official announcements just like sheriff sales and other public notices. The paper would get them straight from the Department of Health. That's how it works.
So you've got the official document the state sends out, recognized by the state and the federal government. You've got a birth announcement which officially provided information from back in the day. And you've got Republican state officials who said the original birth certificate is absolutely there.
Now, this information, as you all know, has been out there for years, but still the confusion; in some cases conspiracy theories exist. So we decided to send our team to Hawaii to try to clear up the confusion.
In a moment we'll talk to Donald Trump. But first part one of what we found in Hawaii. Here's Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The "Honolulu Star Bulletin" newspaper in August 1961 declares Mr. and Mrs. Barack H. Obama have given birth to a son, a simple birth announcement that has become part of a complex web of conspiracy theories with one question looming above all others.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was born in Hawaii.
TUCHMAN: Was President Obama really born in the United States? The answer? Yes.
(on camera): Have you seen Barack Obama's original birth certificate?
CHIYOME FUKINO, FORMER DIRECTOR, HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: Yes.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Dr. Chiyome Fukino is the former director of the Hawaii Department of Health and a devoted Republican. Until now she had not talked on camera about this topic.
(on camera): As a Republican member of the last Republican governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle's cabinet, do you have any doubt that Barack Obama was born in the United States?
FUKINO: Absolutely not. I have no doubt.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Dr. Fukino says she was asked last year by the governor's press secretary to make a statement about the birth certificate controversy. Under state law a public official can look at someone else's certificate if there is a quote, "direct and tangible interest." She indeed felt she had that interest because of the statement she had to make.
So she found the original Obama birth certificate, stored in a vault in the Department of Health building.
(on camera): And what did it tell you? Was it authentic? Was he born here in the state of Hawaii?
FUKINO: It was absolutely authentic. He was absolutely born here in the state of Hawaii.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): But Dr. Fukino says even if she hadn't seen the original certificate this document, the President's computer-generated certificate, which was made public three years ago, had already proven he was born in Hawaii.
(on camera): There's quite a bit of irony over this original birth certificate debate. And that is the original documents are no longer even certified by the state. The Health Department says President Obama or any other Hawaiian could still go through the process of getting one, but either way they're no longer supposed to be used for official purposes. Only the computer-generated ones will do.
(voice-over): We wanted to see what you get when you ask for your Hawaii birth certificate.
(on camera): Next door. Birth, death, marriage. Birth for us.
STIG VITALIC: Ok.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): We met 49-year-old Stig Vitalic and told him we'd pay $7 for a new birth certificate for him.
(on camera): I'm Gary Tuchman with CNN. We're here to get a birth certificate for Stig.
(voice-over): We asked Stig because we also saw his birth announcement in the Honolulu newspaper. In the same article, four names down, another newborn, born 13 hours earlier. Barack Obama.
(on camera): And do you give him his original certificate or the electronic copy?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a computerized birth certificate.
TUCHMAN: So this is Stig's certificate of live birth. It's the same form Barack Obama has. The very same form every Hawaiian now gets when they request their birth certificate. Has his name on it, his birth date, August 5th, 1961, the day after the President. It says it was filed August 8th, 1961. This is a raised seal to show its authenticity.
And on the bottom perhaps the most important line, "This copy serves as prima facie evidence of the fact of birth in any court proceeding."
(voice-over): Nobody we talked to doubts Stig's citizenship. But a CNN poll shows 25 percent of Americans doubt President Obama's.
Another part of the conspiracy theory is that the birth announcement in the paper is a fake, planted by his family or someone else who wanted to trick the world into believing the future president was born in the U.S.
Dan Nakaso is a long-time newspaper reporter in Honolulu.
(on camera): There are a number of people who believe that Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States, that his mother or grandmother called the newspaper and gave false information that he was born in the United States.
DAN NAKASO, ADVERTISER, "HONOLULU STAR": Right.
TUCHMAN: Is it possible that could have gotten in the newspaper like that?
NAKASO: No. That's not possible. Under the -- under the system that existed back then there was no avenue for people to submit information that way.
TUCHMAN: So how did the information get in the paper?
NAKASO: Information came directly from the State Department of Health.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): We confirmed that fact with the Health Department too. All birth announcements printed in the paper came directly from the birth records of the hospital.
(on camera): So why won't President Obama just release a copy of his original birth certificate? Well, there are some who say he won't do it because the word "Muslim" is on it. But we've taken a look at the original vault birth certificate of another man, and while there are extra spaces on it for hospital and for ages of the parents and for the occupation of the father, there is no space whatsoever for religion.
And the former director of the Health Department, who has seen Barack Obama's original birth certificate, confirms there is no mention whatsoever of religion. The White House says in part no matter what Barack Obama says or does there are many doubters who will still doubt.
(voice-over): Barack Obama not only has the same proof of birth as millions of other Hawaiians, he also has the current Hawaii governor's memories of him as a baby.
(on camera): You saw him when he was an infant?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, sure. Of course.
COOPER: Now, some people claim that no one remembers Barack Obama being born in Hawaii or in kindergarten there. Tomorrow in part two of this special investigation Gary talks to people who knew President Obama as an infant, as an American infant.
And as we mentioned all along, Gary and producer Susan Chun asked the people that they talked to wherever they went in Hawaii and the dozens of people they talked to, they asked whether they'd also talked to Donald Trump's investigators. The answer in every case was no.
In a number of interviews Mr. Trump has talked about his investigation, but in many of the interviews he refuses to say much about it. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, POTENTIAL PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have people that actually have been studying it, and they cannot believe what they're finding.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have people now down there --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- searching I mean, in Hawaii?
TRUMP: Absolutely. And they cannot believe what they're finding.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You say that you've sent investigators there. Have your investigators been able to unearth anything more that has given your argument credence?
TRUMP: I will let you know that at a future date.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When --
TRUMP: I'll let you know that at a future date.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: You sent investigators to Hawaii and you said, quote, "They cannot believe what they're finding." What have they found?
TRUMP: We're going to see what happens, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What have they found?
Trump: Well, it's none of your business right now. We're going to see what happens.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Have they found anything?
TRUMP: We're going to see what happens.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: What have you come up with your investigators?
TRUMP: Well, I don't want to say that now but it's going to be very interesting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, today I spoke with Donald Trump. He asked that we leave the conversation uncut, and we absolutely have. Because of time constraints, however, we're running it in installments; two tonight and one tomorrow. I started tonight by asking him about that investigation.
COOPER: Mr. Trump thanks for talking to us.
You've said repeatedly that you have investigators in Hawaii looking into the President's birth certificate. You said you're -- that you're looking into it very, very strongly. That's a quote. In another interview you said that your investigators quote, "can't believe what they're finding."
We've had a team in Hawaii talking to everyone from the state Health Department to the school where Obama's mother went to other families who were in the hospital at the same time as when he was born. None of them say they've been contacted by anyone working for you.
TRUMP (via telephone): Well, maybe they're not saying, and maybe they haven't contacted the same people, Anderson. There's a lot of people in Hawaii. And frankly, it's hard to believe that he doesn't just issue his birth certificate. It would be so easy to do if in fact he has one. And a birth certificate is not a certificate of live birth, which is a much, much lower standard, as you know.
COOPER: But I mean, to the investigation, we've -- there's not that many people in Hawaii who have knowledge of this birth certificate. We've interviewed the former director of the Hawaii Department of Health, a Republican, one of two state officials who's actually seen the original birth certificate that you're talking about in the Department of Health vault.
She says she hasn't been contacted by your people. I mean, isn't that somebody they should talk to if they're there?
TRUMP: Well, I've been told very recently, Anderson, that the birth certificate is missing. I've been told that it's not there and it doesn't exist. And if that's the case --
COOPER: Who told you that?
TRUMP: That's a big problem. I just heard that two days ago from somebody.
COOPER: From -- from your investigators or --
TRUMP: I don't want to say who. But I've been told that the birth certificate is not there. It's missing. And I feel badly about that because I'd love him to produce the birth certificate so that he can fight one on one. I mean, if you look at what he's doing as President with fuel prices and everything else, you can do a great fight one on one. You don't need this issue. But I've been told that the birth certificate is either missing or not there.
COOPER: Can you name even one person who your investigators have talked to? Just one --
TRUMP: I don't want to do that. It's not appropriate right now.
COOPER: You can't say anybody who --
TRUMP: Well, it's just not appropriate, Anderson. You wouldn't want to do that either if I asked you that same question. I mean, it just right now would not be appropriate. It's too soon.
COOPER: Do you actually, though, have investigators on the ground?
TRUMP: Anderson, I told you, and you made two statements at the beginning; 100 percent correct. It's 100 percent correct. Of course I do.
COOPER: Well, up next we go point by point with Trump over his claims about the President's birth certificate. As I said, we're not editing this interview at all.
Let us know what you think. You're on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I'll be tweeting tonight as well.
Also tonight: shocking developments in Misrata, Libya; brutal bombardment of civilians by Gadhafi forces. Remember on Friday the Gadhafi government was talking about withdrawing? We're going to talk to one of the few Western reporters risking her life right now in Misrata. She tells us they didn't withdraw, they got beaten back, and now they are just shelling the place relentlessly. She tells us a really stunning stuff of what she's seeing.
And later as William and Kate get ready for the big day comments made by a palace guard online have gotten him booted from the wedding. Details on that and more live from London.
COOPER: Well, Donald Trump says he's gone from believing President Obama was born here to doubting it to saying Mr. Obama's original birth certificate might show that he's a Muslim, and now tonight just for the first time suggesting the document might be missing or totally non-existent.
Republican presidential polling shows a big chunk of GOP voters are either agreeing with him or like what he's brought to the race. We wanted to talk with Trump in depth, though, about his claims regarding President Obama point by point.
COOPER: Michael Bloomberg said over the weekend that -- that he believes Obama was born in Hawaii and that -- that you and other Republicans who make this an issue are making a terrible mistake by pursuing this.
TRUMP: Well, I'm a big fan of his, and he was a big fan of mine on the same show. He was very nice. And he -- you know, he's like some people that think that they should forget this issue, and I wouldn't mind forgetting the issue but I'd like him to show that he has a birth certificate because a certificate of birth you can get -- a certificate of live birth you can get over a telephone. You can get it with a telephone call.
COOPER: But -- but that is the only form that the state hands out. I mean --
TRUMP: That's not right. They issue a birth certificate.
COOPER: That's not true.
TRUMP: And you know, the other amazing thing is if I go to your hospital where you were born or my hospital I can tell you the room number, I can tell you the nurse's name, I can tell you how much my parents had to pay to bring me into this world, a bad day for the world.
But I can do all of these things, Anderson. And nobody knows -- do you know his own family is fighting over which hospital he was born in. They have no records. They have nothing.
COOPER: What do you mean his family is fighting over this?
TRUMP: His family. His family in Hawaii was arguing over which hospital. They were disputing each other as to which hospital in Hawaii he was born in. And -- and you know, more importantly, his -- his grandmother was saying that he was born right down the road. And I'm not talking about this country. I'm talking about a totally different country called Kenya. That he was born in Kenya, down the road, in the hospital; 51 seconds go by, all of his handlers are in the room and all of a sudden they're all shouting and jumping up and down and then she sort of said "I mean Hawaii." After 51 seconds.
COOPER: Wait a minute.
TRUMP: And he was close to getting the nomination, Anderson, so you had plenty of handlers in that room. It was like bedlam for 51 seconds.
COOPER: You know -- that story that you're talking about originated with a doctored transcript of a trans-Atlantic phone call made by a pastor connected to a birther loyal -- I mean, the lawyer. This guy filed an edited transcript of the call --
TRUMP: Anderson, why did it take 51 seconds for her to change her mind --
COOPER: I've got -- I've got the tape. I'll play you -- let me play what you're talking about so our viewers know. This is part of a court case this birther guy was trying to make. It got thrown out of federal court, denied on appeal.
The caller was saying Obama was born in Kenya. The grandmother actually corrects him and says no, no --
TRUMP: No, no, and see that's not right. She acknowledged it and then all of a sudden 51 seconds later she changed her mind.
COOPER: Well, let me just play this for our --
TRUMP: Well, it doesn't -- let's talk about --
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was she present when he was born in Kenya?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. She says yes, she was. She was present when Obama was born.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whereabouts -- whereabouts was he born? I thought he was born in Kenya.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. He was born in America, not in Mombasa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know where he was born? I thought he was born in Kenya. I was going to go by and see where he was born.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. She said he was born in Hawaii.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: So I mean it's through a translator. I mean it's --
TRUMP: No, but the first time it was Kenya. Then all of a sudden it's Hawaii many, many seconds later. And the room was loaded up with his minions. So I mean, Anderson, look, you know cases could be made both ways. The way you solve it is let him produce the birth certificate, which I hear doesn't exist.
COOPER: But this is a document, though, that the state of Hawaii no longer even recognizes as a legal document. They don't use the document you're talking about. They --
TRUMP: Anderson, a birth --
COOPER: -- they recognize the certificate of live birth, which is what the passport office uses.
TRUMP: -- certificate, if you go to -- if you go to Hawaii and you should because you do a great job. I'm a fan. If you go to Hawaii you get a birth certificate. That's your primary form. A certificate of --
COOPER: That's not true. We just did this.
TRUMP: In many states you can't get a driver's license with a certificate of live birth --
COOPER: But you can get a U.S. passport.
TRUMP: You can't get a wedding license, a marriage license.
COOPER: The federal government accepts it. And we did that, Mr. Trump. We just went to Hawaii. We got a birth -- we asked for a birth certificate from a guy who was born the same day as Obama. We took him to the office. And we were given a certificate of live birth.
TRUMP: Are you talking about the twins? Are you talking about the twins?
COOPER: No. We're talking about this other guy.
TRUMP: Oh. Well, the twins were born and they -- you should find out. They know room numbers. They know all sorts of other things that aren't in any file for Obama.
COOPER: You can't get --
TRUMP: That's a real problem, Anderson look, --
COOPER: You -- you can't get a driver's license in Hawaii with a long form --
TRUMP: What I don't understand is why the press tries to justify it, why don't you find out what's going on because he should have a birth certificate.
Now, my strength is jobs. My strength is OPEC stopping ripping us off. My strength is China and the manipulation of their currency because they're taking our jobs away from us. That's my strength.
You wanted to start with this. I said it's ok. But Anderson, he can solve the problem. You know he spent millions of dollars on this problem with lawyers trying to stay away from it.
COOPER: But wait a minute. Wait.
TRUMP: Millions of dollars, I'm not talking about he spent $2. He spent millions of dollars --
COOPER: Wait. That's --
TRUMP: -- with top, top lawyers fighting this issue. Why doesn't he just give his birth certificate?
And I hear the birth certificate is either missing or doesn't exist. And don't forget, his governor, you know, who took a bullet for the party, his governor said he was there when he was born. I mean, give me a break. All right? He was there when he was born.
But the governor, the same man said he saw the birth certificate. So how could he see the birth certificate if now it's gone?
COOPER: Well, actually, the governor has not said he's seen the birth certificate. It's the former governor's health director who says she in fact has seen the birth certificate. We just interviewed her on camera.
TRUMP: Then why don't they show it, Anderson?
COOPER: Well, because they're not allowed to. Only the President --
TRUMP: Yes, they are.
TRUMP: Yes, they are.
COOPER: Only the President can -- can release it. TRUMP: They're not allowed unless the approval -- Anderson, they are not allowed to unless they have the approval of the subject. I'll give you an example. When this came up, I had to get my birth certificate. Ok? So I called the hospital. I then had the Department of Health called. And they -- it's totally private. They said I'm sorry, sir, it's totally private.
But you can give the approval to make it public. I said I so give the approval. And within 24 hours and a $38 check because I have to pay $38, it's a fee, they made it public. And it was all over the place. He can do the same thing. I agree --
COOPER: But why should he be held --
TRUMP: -- in private and it should be Anderson. But if Obama wanted to release it he could do that.
COOPER: Why should he be held, though, to a different standard as any other citizen of Hawaii --
TRUMP: He's not held to a different standard. It says you're supposed to show your birth certificate. Not a weak paper known as a certificate of live birth. Now, the only bad point is --
COOPER: So -- so if someone comes to work for you, Mr. Trump, with --
TRUMP: -- but the meaning is very different because a birth certificate is a much higher standard.
COOPER: You say it's a higher standard. But -- but it's released by the same people. I don't understand why you would believe another form --
TRUMP: Anderson, look, I know you're going to cut a lot of this out but if you leave this whole conversation --
COOPER: No, we're going. We're going with the whole --
TRUMP: -- a lot of people -- and I hope you leave the whole conversation without cutting and cutting and cutting.
COOPER: Of course.
TRUMP: Because that would be a great honor to me. Because the fact is a lot of people are troubled with this just like I am.
COOPER: Yes but a lot of people believe 9/11 didn't happen or --
TRUMP: The governor says and he sought the governor, the previous governor said that he saw the birth certificate. Now they're saying oh, it wasn't a birth certificate, it was a certificate of live birth. There was supposed to be a birth certificate. I don't think it exists, Anderson. I hope it exists, but I don't think it exists.
COOPER: As I said, this conversation went on for a long time. We didn't want to edit it. So we're going to have more tomorrow. You heard Donald Trump mention President Obama's legal fees. He said he spent more than $2 million or $2 million on legal fees. He said that in other interviews as well.
The facts don't bear that out. There's no way of actually knowing that. We'll have the details on that in our conversation tomorrow with Mr. Trump. I just pressed him on a lot of those issues; all that is tomorrow.
Tonight, though, joining me now is Gary Tuchman and senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. First off, Gary, Donald Trump is now alleging that President Obama's long form birth certificate is actually missing from the vault in the Hawaii Department of Health building. You've been there. You've talked to all those people. Is that -- what's your take on that?
TUCHMAN: My take is he's likely telling a tall tale. We have talked to the former director, a Republican, of the Health Department. The Health Department is in charge of the birth certificate. She says she's seen it from the vault. We talked to the Health Department today. The Health Department says it is in the vault.
When Donald Trump was talking to you, he was very casual and very ambiguous about this allegation. It doesn't add up.
COOPER: Gary, he's also said on numerous occasions that the certificate of live birth is a much lower standard for proof of birth than the long form birth certificate.
TUCHMAN: He is completely wrong about that. And he is completely wrong about the titles on these documents. The short form that Barack Obama has is called a "Certification of Live Birth". The original vault birth certificate is the "Certificate of Live Birth". The one that's given out today, the one that you saw we gave out to that guy who was born 13 hours after Obama, is the shorter version.
And according to the state of Hawaii the shorter version is the only certified version today. The original one, you can use your original one for a lot of purposes, but for official meanings, for official uses you need now to get the shorter version.
So if Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen based on his short version of his birth certificate that he's gotten, then there are millions of Hawaiians who are not U.S. citizens either.
COOPER: He also says you can just go and get your original birth certificate if you want. Is it that easy?
TUCHMAN: This is a complicated factor. To get the short version it takes five or ten minutes if there's no one in line. It takes $7. And it's official. It's what you can --
COOPER: And that's what you did with that guy Stig who was born on the same day as Obama.
TUCHMAN: Right. The reason it's complicated, though, is that you can technically get your original vault certificate but you have to file under the law in Hawaii a Freedom of Information request. It takes weeks. And to be very frank with you, the state of Hawaii doesn't want people getting that certificate because it takes a long time to find, it takes a lot of man-hours, and it's not as official as the short version Barack Obama has.
COOPER: Do a lot people file a Freedom of Information Act in order to get their original birth certificate in Hawaii?
TUCHMAN: We have been told in the last year the state of haw Hawaii has gotten one request for the original version and that came --
COOPER: Of somebody's birth certificate. Not Barack Obama's birth certificate --
TUCHMAN: No, not Barack Obama's. One man asked for his original vault certificate. He said according to the Health Department that he was a birther and he wanted to see what was on it.
COOPER: Jeff Toobin, what do you make of all this?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this is a conspiracy theory. And conspiracies are beliefs unmolested by facts. You can't argue with these people. I mean this is -- if -- if they -- if they -- if you assault -- if you confront them with one fact, they'll find other facts.
COOPER: But let me push back on this.
COOPER: And to Donald Trump's point, the President could file a Freedom of Information Act and make this whole thing go away, no? If he simply wanted to do that and show people his -- not that he's obligated to. There's no reason to. He's shown this -- this -- this short form that's a legal document. But couldn't he make this all go away?
TOOBIN: Well, he could file this Freedom of Information Act Request. One, it would not persuade these people. They'd find some problem with the birth certificate. Second, most of these people are crazy and/or bigots. I don't think that applies to Trump. I think he's just an opportunist. But I don't see why he should indulge this fantasy of people.
And third, it's just -- there -- there is no legal reason to do it. He has everything he needs to be President. And by the way, he is President now.
COOPER: Well, it's fascinating. We're going to have more of this tomorrow and more of the interview with Donald Trump. Jeffrey Toobin thanks; Gary Tuchman as well.
Again we'll have the rest of the interview with Trump tomorrow on 360.
Still ahead tonight, was it an attempt to kill Gadhafi? NATO air strikes, targeting his compound again, but Libyan government officials say he's alive and well. We'll also going to take you inside Misrata where you know, if you thought Friday there was talk about Gadhafi's troops withdrawing, dozens of people were killed this weekend and civilians most of them according to Marie Colvin who was there, describes the situation as hell. The bombardments now, now that Gadhafi troops have withdrawn, withdrawn because they got beaten back according to Marie Colvin by Gadhafi -- by opposition forces.
My conversation with her coming up.
And later, Isha Sesay is live in London with new details about one of the world's best-kept secrets, what she's learned about who Kate Middleton may be wearing when she marries Prince William on Friday. And also a controversy about some of the -- what one of the palace guards said about Kate that got this guy booted out of the parade. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Well, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's alive and well. That's the word from the regime after NATO launched what's believed to be some of its heaviest attacks in weeks in Tripoli. The air strikes leveled a building within Gadhafi's compound in Tripoli today.
Today government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim claimed the air strikes were an assassination attempt against Gadhafi and said it was further proof coalition forces were not seeking peace. Ibrahim took Western journalists on a tour of the leveled structure. CNN's Fred Pleitgen was there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Libyan government also claims that Moammar Gadhafi was not here when this building was targeted; that he's alive, that he is well and that he's still directing the daily affairs of this country, of course, leading the battle against the rebellion.
Now NATO, of course, has a very different take of what this building actually was. They say that this was, quote, "a command and control headquarters in the heart of Tripoli and that civilians were being attacked from this structure".
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, tonight we want to focus on what's happening 130 miles east of Tripoli; Misrata still under siege with some of the deadliest fighting yet, this, despite earlier reports that Gadhafi forces had withdrawn from the port city. There are new eyewitness accounts including reports from Western journalists on the scene that fighting rages on, dozens killed or injured this weekend alone.
Video purported to be from inside shows basically a city in ruins, burning buildings, destruction everywhere. I spoke with a very brave reporter, Marie Colvin, earlier today of the "Sunday Times of London" who's managed to get inside the city. She's been on the scene in Misrata for the past week.
Listen to what she has to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Marie, you're one of the few Western journalists reporting from Misrata right now. What is this situation like?
MARIE COLVIN, CORRESPONDENT, "SUNDAY TIMES" (via telephone): It's turned for the worst. Within the last 24 hours there's been a ferocious bombardment of civilians; heavy artillery, ground missiles. Every single person brought into this house today was a civilian. The youngest, eight years old.
COOPER: Publicly the Gadhafi regime the other day on Friday had talked about withdrawing from Misrata. It sounded like they were going to be stopping military operations. But from what you're saying basically they've made that public statement but what they're doing on the ground is the exact opposite of that and they've intensified the attack.
COLVIN: They -- yes. Well, first of all, they did not withdraw. They were forced out of the center of the city at a bloody cost to the rebels and to themselves. We are now still surrounded. The artillery and the pounding coming into Misrata is coming from outside the city.
What we're not seeing, and I don't understand, everyone here is asking me or any foreigner, we're not seeing any evidence of NATO stopping these artillery pieces, missiles being launched.
COOPER: Marie, does it seem like they are targeting anything in particular or does it seem like they're just firing randomly into the city?
COLVIN: It seems random. And I thought, well, maybe it's because I don't know Misrata. You know, you have -- I was in one neighborhood today, Ras Almar (ph), it is just a little neighborhood of two-story houses, it's kind of -- it's teachers and mechanics. There's nothing of any kind of -- you know, that could be any kind of military target.
Six missiles into a couple of houses; there was a family that lost four members there. That's where a little 8-year-old boy was killed, running out to the car. A bomb might come anywhere at any time. They come at 1:00 in the morning. Another neighborhood I was in they came at 3:00 in the afternoon today. So it's really terrorizing the population.
COOPER: What's fascinating about what's happening in Misrata is we're really seeing the opposition there fighting effectively whereas farther in the east obviously we've seen a much less effective fighting force, firing in the air and not really learning as we go. What do you think makes the difference in Misrata? Is it they are fighting for their lives, they're defending their homes?
COLVIN: Yes. There's a tremendous difference. The people here are fighting for their homes, for their family, for their city. Nobody here had a gun until two months ago. All the guns they have they basically got from the Libyan army, the government army's stores. They learned as they went.
They fought all the way up Tripoli Street, several miles long, from the east to the west. The last battle, which was yesterday, Gadhafi's men -- and this is why I say they categorically were not withdrawing -- they fought literally to the death.
The Misrata rebels have nowhere to go. They're learning how to fight. And they're just not going to give up because they believe that if Gadhafi forces come back in here he will kill them all.
COOPER: Tell us about the fighters who you've seen up close. I mean how is their morale?
COLVIN: Morale's very, very high. They are shockingly brave, is all I can say. You've got gunfire coming and blanketing the place. The battle for Tripoli Street was -- I wanted to say was building by building. But it was floor by floor, yard by yard. I mean they suffered heavy losses and they kept going. And they have now won back the center of their city.
There is a nervousness now that I haven't seen because they cannot combat these heavy missiles coming in and they don't know where they're going to land (ph). And they sort of suspect some kind of trick. It's hitting civilians. They're not going for rebel targets. What does Gadhafi have in store for us? So high morale, tinged with a bit of nervousness about what is the next step against them.
COOPER: Marie Colvin, I know you don't need me to tell you this, but please be as careful as you can. Thank you very much for talking with us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A new document dump from WikiLeaks revealing new details about where Osama bin Laden was the morning of the 9/11 attacks, where he watched on television as the Twin Towers fell.
COOPER: Tonight some new developments in the run-up to Britain's royal wedding just four days away. According to Reuters one of the most controversial people on the guest list the Crown Prince of Bahrain has RSVP'd he'll be a no-show at the Friday nuptials. In a letter to the prince's father Prince Charles, the Crown Prince said continuing unrest in his kingdom would prevent him from attending the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
As we have reported, thousands of Bahrainis took to the streets in mid-February demanding greater political and economic freedoms. Bahrain's government has launched a violent crackdown with the help of troops from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the United Arab Emirates.
Human rights groups are outraged over the Crown Prince's invitation. His decision to skip the wedding may tamp down that fire.
Meantime, a Buckingham Palace guard shown here has been pulled off royal duty -- royal wedding duty over posts he made on his Facebook page; Cameron Riley was his name. He used an offensive term to describe Pakistanis. CNN saw the comment before the page was removed. British media also reporting he called Kate Middleton a, quote, "stupid stuck-up cow" and used an obscenity to describe her.
A lot going on behind the scenes obviously; Isha Sesay joins me from London -- Isha?
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a lot going on.
But let's talk fashion. Like countless women and girls around the world, you've surely been scribbling your thoughts and expectations about Kate's dress in your journal, right? Well, the dress remains --
SESAY: -- a mystery and I thought it was my duty to -- I know you have. The dress is a mystery, and I thought it was my duty to go in search of answers for you.
So I teamed up with Hamish Bowles, "Vogue" magazine's European editor at large.
SESAY (voice-over): They are the best-guarded secrets in preparing for her big close-up. Who will design Kate Middleton's wedding dress? Will it compare to Princess Diana's?
To get the scoop I teamed up with this man. Bowles is crowned as an industry insider, open a world that's usually reserved only for top designers and celebrities.
(on camera): And this area that we're in is off limits to the public, is that correct?
HAMISH BOWLES, EUROPEAN EDITOR, "VOGUE" MAGAZINE: Yes, yes. This is absolutely the inner sanctum.
SESAY: It's incredible. (voice-over): We followed him through the prestigious halls of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, inside the executive meeting room and behind the doors of the acclaimed fashion closet at "Vogue" headquarters in Manhattan. Our mission, to gain answers about Kate's wedding dress.
(on camera): The dress is being made at Buckingham Palace is my understanding.
BOWLES: Yes. The buzz seems to be that the garment is actually being created there to really keep it far away from prying eyes.
SESAY: She's been able to keep the designer of her dress secret.
BOWLES: I actually think it's kind of wonderful in this age where nothing is private. You know, all it takes is a cell phone picture and something goes viral.
SESAY: Do you think the dress, the moment we see it, the moment the world lays eyes on it, people will be in factories reproducing it?
BOWLES: Yes. Yes. Absolutely. Diana's dress almost as she stepped out of the car, I mean, they were literally starting to sketch the moment the carriage appeared from Buckingham Palace.
SESAY (voice-over): Diana's dress designers were so careful about secrecy that they created a code name for Diana, calling her Debra. Every night they'd lock the dress in a metal safe and had two security guards to guard it. But will Kate's wedding dress look anything like Princess Diana's?
BOWLES: It had presence and romance and that 25-foot-long cathedral train.
SESAY: While Diana's designers paid attention to several royal wedding gowns, they particularly noted this one worn by Queen Victoria. Will Kate's designers look to 1947, the start of the most successful long marriage in royal history, The Queen and Prince Philip, or further back in world history to the American Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor?
(on camera); And this is the Duchess of Windsor's wedding dress?
BOWLES: Yes, it is indeed. It's a dress and a jacket. And it was created for her by Nan Bochet (ph), born Main Bocker (ph), of Chicago. And of course he dressed all the chicest American and indeed international ladies of the 1930s. She, of course, was a double divorcee so she wasn't really going to wear a fairy tale wedding dress.
SESAY: And wasn't it blue originally?
BOWLES: The dye has actually proved fugitive. It's incredibly unusual. So we're looking at a sort of gray dress. But actually, you have to imagine that it would have been the color blue of the shoes.
SESAY: Is there anything in it that you feel gives us some clue to Catherine Middleton?
BOWLES: She is also drawn to very simple tailored lines and solid color, clothes that discreetly reveal her wonderful body. Wallis was probably the bride whose choice most closely reflected her general wardrobe sense and taste. The Duchess of Windsor was high fashion, but Diana was fairy tale romance.
I think from Catherine Middleton we could probably expect something very stream-lined modernity; something unfussy and modern.
COOPER: Unfussy. I don't know what that means. Not a lot of frills? Is that not a lot of frills?
SESAY: Not a lot of frills.
COOPER: Are you wearing something fussy right now? It doesn't look -- is that fussy?
SESAY: No. This is understated glamour. That's what they call this.
COOPER: So is there a front-runner in terms of designer for this dress?
SESAY: funny you should ask. Many fashion insiders, Anderson, hoping that Kate goes for Sara Burton.
COOPER: Oh, me too.
SESAY: She's the successor to Alexander McQueen. I know. I know, you're at home at night biting your nails. Burton, however, I should say would be a daring choice. She's edgy. She's dressed the likes of Lady Gaga. Do you remember that slinky cat suit Lady Gaga wore?
COOPER: Sure. Who can forget?
SESAY: Probably not -- who can? Probably not the right look for the abbey behind me, though, I'm thinking. So we'll see.
COOPER: All right. Well, we'll see. All right. I'll be there Wednesday night. I'm looking forward to joining you.
And you can see more of our royal wedding coverage on our new and improved Web site at ac360.com. Do we have a picture of it? There it is in all its glory, all prettied up. We also teamed up with Get Glue, the leading social network for entertainment where users can check in and share what they're watching, listening to, and reading with friends. Go to AC360 for all of that.
Still ahead, a 360 follow-up: incredible video of the tornado ripping through the St. Louis Airport was captured on security cameras; the damage just incredible. The video, we'll show it to you ahead.
COOPER: Randi Kaye is following some other stories for us tonight. She's here with the "360 News and Business Bulletin -- hey, Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a new trove of documents from the U.S. Military prison at Guantanamo Bay published by the Web site WikiLeaks sheds new light on where al Qaeda's top leaders were during the 9/11 attacks.
According to CBS News, the documents reveal that Osama bin Laden watched the attacks on television in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the plot mastermind, watched the attacks unfold from Karachi, Pakistan. The information is from prisoner interrogations.
In southeastern Missouri the National Guard has joined the fight against rising flood waters. Black River is more than four feet above flood stage, and in Poplar Bluff hundreds of residents have begun evacuating. Officials there say a week of rain has weakened the city's levee.
Missouri has also been hit by tornadoes. Take a look at this amazing video, a tornado ripping through the Lambert-St. Louis international airport on Friday. Just look at that. The storm shattered windows and ripped off part of a roof.
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said he will not run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. He called it a difficult personal decision, saying he lacks, quote, "the absolute fire in the belly" required to pursue the presidency.
And a new milestone: Netflix now has more subscribers than the largest cable TV operator in the United States. The company's global subscriber base grew almost 70 percent over the past year --
KAYE: -- to 23.6 million users. Anderson, more than 7 percent of Americans now subscribe.
COOPER: Wow, that's amazing.
KAYE: More than 7 percent. I've never tried it.
COOPER: You've never tried it? Really?
KAYE: No. I don't know. I guess I'm missing out on something good.
COOPER: I used to be on it. I don't think I've done it in a while.
KAYE: You have no time to watch movies.
COOPER: That is true. But they've got this On Demand now so I'm watching that, HBO, the new "Game of thrones" or "Garden of Thrones". Are you watching that?
COOPER: I forgot what it's called. But it's very good.
All right. Time now for the RidicuList; tonight with great reluctance we're adding Sean Hannity to the list.
Now, before I go any further I just want to make it clear, this is not the start of some cheesy cable news feud. This is not an attempt to call another cable anchor some names so that he'll respond in kind and then we can go tit for tat in a mutually beneficial ratings-building brouhaha.
For the record I don't know Sean Hannity. I met him on the street once, seemed nice enough. The sole reason, the only reason I'm mentioning this that he's on the list tonight is for something he aired that I said, only I didn't say it the way he aired it.
Last Friday he hosted an hour-long special edition of "Hannity, Behind the Bias: the History of Liberal Media". It's all about blowing the lid off alleged liberal bias, which by the way I'm all for. I think bias is a problem both on the left and the right. There's also economic bias, geographic bias. Like have you noticed if it snows a lot in New York suddenly it's a big national news story but a huge snowstorm in the Midwest isn't even mentioned?
Anyway, there are all sorts of biases and we need to talk about them and address them in the news business. But you can make a great argument without editing video in a completely misleading way. And that's what happened. Here's what Hannity aired Friday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: When journalist Robert Novak wrote a column noting that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was an undercover CIA agent, the media cited the column as evidence of a smear campaign against Wilson and his family organized of course by the Bush White House.
COOPER: He is the victim of a Bush administration smear campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All right. Well, that looks pretty clear-cut, like I'm saying he's the victim of a Bush administration smear campaign. And without offering any proof, that probably would be liberal bias. But that's not actually what I said. Here's what I said in the original news report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A former U.S. diplomat who investigated Africa's suspected link to Iraq's nuclear weapons program now says he is the victim of a Bush administration smear campaign.
Administration officials say former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's report on Niger last year supported the now discredited claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa. Wilson says that is not true. He spoke exclusively to "Time" magazine today. He accuses the administration of twisting intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So see the difference? I was relaying what Valerie Plame's husband was now claiming. I wasn't saying it was true. Anyway, I try to choose my words very carefully, and I don't like it when someone cuts around them to make it seem like I'm saying something that I'm not.
I'm going to assume Mr. Hannity had no idea about what his editors were up to. I would hate to think he would knowingly falsely edit something to make a point. After all, that would be bias and that would put him squarely on tonight's RidicuList.
COOPER: That's it for 360.
Piers Morgan starts now.
I'll see you tomorrow.