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Anthony Weiner Admits Lying About Twitter Photo; How Many U.S. Troops in Afghanistan?

Aired June 6, 2011 - 18:00   ET



Happening now, breaking news: a stunning reversal from Congressman Anthony Weiner, who now admits he lied about that lewd photo sent to a young college student online. And Weiner admits to inappropriate contacts with other women as well. He's offering his apologies, but no resignation.

How many troops will stay in Afghanistan for how long? The White House weighing strategy and Congress weighing the costs, the defense secretary making a farewell visit to the war zone and making it clear where he stands.

And a couple who witnessed and recorded a police shooting in Miami beach say police tried to intimidate them and actually destroy their video. You are going to hear how they managed to hide the controversial recording and make it public.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world, breaking news, political headlines and Jeanne Moos all straight ahead.

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

After more than a week of vehement denials, Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York now admits that a lewd photo on his Twitter account is of him and was actually sent by him. Choking back tears, he went before reporters in a New York City hotel and confessed not only to that picture, but he revealed what he called inappropriate online communication with other women as well.

The House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, has just called for a House Ethics Committee investigation of Weiner.

We're covering all angles of this story this hour, but, first, his riveting statement and news conference. Here's Congressman Anthony Weiner in his own words.


REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: Thank you very much for being here and good afternoon.

I would like to take this time to clear up some of the questions that have been raised over the past 10 days or so and take full responsibility for my actions. At the outset, I would like to make it clear that I have made terrible mistakes, that have hurt the people I care about the most, and I am deeply sorry. I have not been honest with myself, my family, my constituents, my friends, and supporters and the media.

Last Friday night, I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle. Once I realized I had posted it to Twitter, I panicked, I took it down, and said that I had been hacked. I then continued with that story and to stick to that story which is a usually regrettable mistake.

This woman was unwittingly dragged into this and there's absolutely no responsibility. I'm so sorry to have disrupted her life on this way.

To be clear, the picture was of me and I sent it. I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused my wife Huma and our family and my constituents, my friends, supporters, and staff.

In addition, over the past few years, I have engaged in several inappropriate conversations conducted over Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, and occasionally on the phone with women I have met online. I have exchanged messages and photos of an explicit nature with about six women over the last three years.

For the most part, these relations -- these communications took place before my marriage, though some have sadly took place after. To be clear, I have never met any of these women or had physical relationships at any time.

I haven't told the truth and I have done things that I deeply regret. I have brought pain to people that I care about the most and the people who believe in me, and for that, I am deeply sorry.

I apologize to my wife and our families, as well as to our friends and supporters. I'm deeply ashamed of my terrible judgment and actions.

I would be glad to take any questions that you might have.

QUESTION: Congressman, should you go ahead and resign?

WEINER: I came here to accept the full responsibility for what I have done.


WEINER: I am deeply regretted and regretting what I have done and I am not resigning. I have made it clear that I accept responsibility for this and people who draw conclusions about me are free to do so. I have worked for the people of my district for 13 years and politics for 20 years, and I hope that they see fit to see in the light that it is, which is a deeply, regrettable mistake.


QUESTION: Congressman, why do you draw the distinction between (OFF-MIKE) before you were married and after you were married, and you were a member of Congress before then. (OFF-MIKE)

WEINER: I think it's more inappropriate the things that I have done since I have been married. My primary -- my primary sense of regret and my primary apology goes to my wife. I should not have done this. And I should not have done this particularly when I was married. That's why I make that distinction.

QUESTION: Why would you do this after you were married? The questions people, the constituents and a lot of us, that is, what were you thinking?

WEINER: You know, I don't know what I was thinking. This was a destructive thing to do and I'm apologetic for doing it. It was deeply, deeply hurtful to the people I care about the most. It was something that I did that was just wrong and I regret it.


QUESTION: -- for this kind of activity and is that a violation of the public trust?

WEINER: I did not.

QUESTION: Did you use the congressional phone, congressional e- mails and congressional --

WIENER: No, I didn't do -- listen, I'm going to try to tell you everything that I can remember. It was my BlackBerry is not a government BlackBerry. My home computer is usually where I did these things. I don't have the knowledge of every last communication but I don't believe that I used any government resources. BlackBerry is not a government BlackBerry. My home computer is usually where I did these things. I don't have the knowledge of every last communication but I don't believe that I used any government resources.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) not more than 20 minutes ago and claimed you had an X-rated photo of you. Can you say that that is not true?

WEINER: No, I cannot. I regret not being honest about this. This was a big mistake to -- I was embarrassed. I was humiliated. I'm still to this moment.

I was trying to protect my wife. I was trying to protect myself from shame. It was a mistake, and I really regret it.



WEINER: This was a mistake, and I'm very sorry for it and I take it seriously but I am -- and where I go from here and what steps I take, I take it seriously. This was a destructive thing to do that I deeply regret.

QUESTION: Congressman, your wife is not here. Are you going to split up with your wife because of this?

WEINER: I love my wife very much. I love my wife very much, and we have no intention of splitting up over this. We have been through a great deal together, and we will -- we will weather this. I love her very much, and she loves me.


BLITZER: A very emotional Congressman Anthony Weiner telling a very, very different story today than the one he told me and all of our viewers only last Wednesday in his office up on Capitol Hill.

Listen to what he said during our interview on Capitol Hill only five days ago.


BLITZER: Did you send that picture to that college student in Washington state?

WEINER: I did not. She says she never got it and doesn't know me; I don't -- certainly don't know her.

This seems like it's a prank to make fun of my name. You know, when your named Weiner, that happens a lot. Got 45,000-some odd Twitter followers, hundreds of people that I follow. This seems like a prank that has gotten an enormous amount of attention.

BLITZER: Have you ever taken a picture like this of yourself?

WEINER: I can tell you this, that there are -- I have photographs. I don't know what photographs are out there in the world of me. I don't know what things have been manipulated and doctored, and we're going to try to find out what happened.

But the most important reason I want to find out what happened is to make sure it doesn't happen again. Obviously, somebody got access to my account; that's bad. They sent a picture that makes fun of the name Weiner. I get it. You know, touche, Dr. Moriarty, you got me.

At the time it happened, I tweeted right away that I got the joke and I continued on with my life. And I think that, frankly, that's what I would encourage everyone to do. I don't believe that this is a big federal issue.

BLITZER: Are you protecting anyone?



WEINER: I'm protecting my wife, who every day is waking up to these insane stories that are getting so far from reality. You know, we've been married less than a year, to watch her watch these stories, get crazier and crazier about what essentially a prank, a hoax. You know, we went to bed that night not batting an eye. This was a goofy thing that happened.

She married a congressman. She knows a little something about living in public life. She knows with that goes a certain amount of, you know, aggravation. I don't think she imagined that it would be this, these bizarre stories about people who are connected to me by eight or nine rings of connection on social media. I'm protecting her the best I can.

I can handle myself. These poor people who are getting dragged into this with these more and more bizarre conspiracy theories who -- who are so offended when CNN puts this Breitbart guy on and says the most outlandish thing about complete innocent people.

I can take the flak, but, at some point, when I say, you know what, I'm not going to do any more questions about that, it is to some degree to protect a certain amount of integrity to all of us, that we aren't in this place that we're constantly having this conversation about something that was essentially a prank.


BLITZER: Let's assess what's going on with Democratic strategist and CNN political contributor Paul Begala, and our senior political analyst, David Gergen.

In this particular case, Andrew Breitbart, Paul, he was right, he was telling the truth, and Anthony Weiner was lying.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it certainly seems to be the case, doesn't it, Wolf?

And Mr. Breitbart is a controversial person, been wrong about a lot of things in the past. I didn't think he deserved the benefit of the doubt. I'm not sure that he still does going forward, but it sure looks like he was right about this.

And that is to his, I suppose, credit. I don't know why one would want to be right about something like this. But I guess that's how these guys want to cover politics. It's theirs Web site. They can do what they want with it.

But the bigger problem is that Anthony Weiner looked you in the eye and lied. And you just can't do it. Nothing wrong -- obviously, Congressman Weiner knew that it was true. He could have not done any interviews, which maybe would have been a good idea, or if he's going to do interview, he should have told the truth.

So, no comment is OK. None of your business is OK, but he looked right in your eyes and our viewers' eyes, by extension, and he lied. And that's something he's going to have to face constituents with. I think it's probably survivable, actually, if he does a good job going forward, if he doesn't tell any further lies, if he makes amends, but -- and if no new facts come out that are damaging, but it's an enormous problem.

BLITZER: David, he says he lied because he was embarrassed and he thought that was the best way to deal with it. He now admits that was a huge, huge blunder.

You saw him break down, start crying, apologize, especially to his wife, Huma. But give us some perspective. How big of a deal is this in the course of political scandals in Washington?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, the poor judgment he showed in getting involved with these electronic relationships I think was a mistake that he could have survived, and because we have so many people who are sexting now on the Internet and playing games on the Internet, that I imagine there would be a measure of forgiveness.

But once he was asked about it and once it broke, and then he lied about it, as he did, that breaks the sort of bond, as you would, between a congressman and members of his constituency, and within his own party causes enormous problems for Democrats.

And I think that's -- probably the hardest part of this is whether he can survive within his own caucus and whether the Democrats may not wish him gone. And that -- I just think it got a lot bigger once he lied. And this -- ABC is now reporting that there was a woman in Texas with whom he had a number of exchanges, and she was encouraged by others to go to Drudge, to go to Breitbart, and that's how this -- this forced him out today.

BLITZER: You know, I guess the question is, did he shame the House of Representatives? And is that enough for the House Ethics Committee, Paul, which is now going to investigate, going to look into this, according to Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader, is that enough to get rid of him from the House of Representatives?

BEGALA: Yes, I think you got to wait and let the process work its way through. It takes -- these things take a while.

He's got, I think, three concentric circles that he has to make right with. First and most importantly, frankly, is his wife. She's a friend of mine. She's a really remarkable person and did not deserve this. She certainly deserved the apology, but a lot more.

So, first, he's got to start with that. But then the next circle is his colleagues. David Gergen pointed out -- it's right -- it's Democratic and Republican colleagues. This does bring disrepute to the House of Representatives. It does, I think, damage the House.

And then he will have to go to the Ethics Committee and, by God, he better tell the truth there. He better come completely clean and not hide or falsely deny anything. But then the third ring is his constituents in Brooklyn. He's got 17 months to do that. And that is, in politics, a lifetime or more. But he's got to work through those -- all three of those things, the wife first, and then his colleagues, and then his constituents back home. BLITZER: Yes. My own feeling is that, if he was going to lie to all of us -- and he shouldn't have lied, obviously -- but if he was going to lie, he should have come to our studios CNN in Washington and lie in THE SITUATION ROOM, rather than inviting us into his Capitol Hill office, where U.S. taxpayers pay for that office.

BEGALA: Good point.

BLITZER: It may be a small point, but it's just something that resonates with me, for what it's worth.

All right, guys, we are going to continue our coverage of this, a lot more other news coming up as well.

Paul Begala, thank you.

Jack Cafferty is coming up with "The Cafferty File."

Also, a critical White House meeting on Afghanistan amid growing calls to bring more U.S. troops home and more quickly.

Then, very disturbing video of a police shooting. The man who took it says officers tried to destroy it, but he took very unusual action to save it.

Plus, the controversy over Sarah Palin's take on American history.


BLITZER: Jack's here. He's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: More than 100 conservatives, Wolf, sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor today setting out strict guidelines they need to be met in order to get their vote to support an increase in the debt ceiling.

These lawmakers are concerned that Boehner and Cantor aren't going to push hard enough for spending cuts when they meet with Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday. Specifically, they want discretionary and mandatory spending cuts that would cut the deficit in half next year. Good luck getting that.

For all the tough talk coming from Republican lawmakers about cutting spending and reducing the deficit, they refuse to give in on one issue, raising taxes, mostly on the rich. Such a move would of course raise revenue at a time when the country's facing a $14.3 trillion national debt.

But it would also anger wealthy Republican donors. And we can't have that now, can we? According to a new Gallup poll, Americans are split over whether or not to raise taxes for the rich; 47 percent of Americans think the government should redistribute wealth in this country by raising taxes on the wealthiest citizens; 49 percent disagree. If you break it down by party affiliation, there's not a lot of surprise. Percentage of Democrats who are for raising taxes on the wealthy is just about equal to the percentage of Republicans who are opposed to that; 71 percent of Democrats support redistributing wealth, 26 percent against it; 28 percent of Republicans support a plan to tax the wealthy more heavily; 69 percent do not.

And when it comes to independents, it's split pretty evenly; 43 percent support redistributing wealth through taxation, and 53 percent do not.

The question is this: Should American wealth be redistributed by taxing the rich?

Go to Post a comment on my blog -- Wolf.

BLITZER: The U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan 100,000 troops, that would save about $100 billion this year alone.

CAFFERTY: I saw something today that they may accelerate the pace of troop withdrawal over there.

BLITZER: Partially because of the money. It's so expensive.

CAFFERTY: And partially because there's an election coming up.

BLITZER: And Hamid Karzai is now accusing the U.S. and NATO allies of becoming military occupiers of their country.


CAFFERTY: Yes. We haven't done him any favors, right?

BLITZER: Yes. All right, Jack, thank you.


BLITZER: With an Afghanistan troop withdrawal due to begin soon, the White House is weighing its strategy on the war. And members of Congress are weighing the huge, huge cost.

Let's go to our White House correspondent, Brianna Keilar. She is working the story for us -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, July is the deadline for beginning to withdraw some of those so-called surge troops in Afghanistan.

And back in April, President Obama said this would be a significant drawdown, not just a token gesture. But it appears among some of the president's top advisers there are some at odds over just how many troops to pull out.


KEILAR (voice-over): With July 2011 just around the corner, it's decision time for President Obama. How many troops will leave Afghanistan? Just a few or a lot? He promised an announcement soon in an interview with Hearst Television Monday, but revealed no details.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: By us killing Osama bin Laden, getting al Qaeda back on its heels, stabilizing much of the country in Afghanistan, so the Taliban can't take it over, it's now time for us to recognize that we have accomplished a big chunk of our mission, and that it's time for the Afghans to take more responsibility.

KEILAR: The president has said his decision will reflect the reality on the ground. Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Afghanistan Monday said only a modest withdrawal should begin, and they should be troops in supporting roles.

ROBERT GATES, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I would try to maximize my combat capability as long as this process goes on.


GATES: Yes, I think that's a no-brainer.

KEILAR: But Gates leaves the Pentagon at the end of the month. And against his advice, a faster drawdown of troops is under consideration, administration sources anonymously tell "The New York Times."

On Capitol Hill, the president is facing growing opposition to the costly war from Democrats.

REP. JIM MCGOVERN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Now that bin Laden is dead and al Qaeda is scattered around the globe, does it really make sense to keep using over 100,000 U.S. troops to occupy Afghanistan and prop up a corrupt government? I don't think so.

KEILAR: And a majority of Americans want some or all U.S. troops to come home. Last month, a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll found only 42 percent of those surveyed favored the war; 52 percent opposed it.


KEILAR: And, today, President Obama had his monthly meeting with his national security team to discuss Afghanistan and Pakistan. But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says the troop withdrawal numbers were not discussed.

Wolf, what we do know from the White House is that beefing up Afghan security forces was discussed, which is obviously linked to the withdrawal of U.S. troops, but nothing on troop numbers.

BLITZER: Eventually, the president will address the nation on this. We will be anxious to hear what he says.

Brianna, thanks very much. And, to our viewers, check out our SITUATION ROOM blog. It has more on Afghanistan, including my latest blog posts,, if you want to go to there.

An extraordinary news conference by Congressman Anthony Weiner -- his confession was only part of the surreal event -- details of what else was going on.

And Weiner himself says he may need therapy. We will talk to a psychiatrist about why the congressman did what he did.


BLITZER: We're following the breaking news this hour here in the United States: Democratic New York Congressman Anthony Weiner now admitting he lied about that now-notorious lewd Twitter picture, confessing that it does in fact depict him and he's the one who sent to it that young college student in Seattle, Washington.

There were more startling realizations at a somewhat surreal news conference over two hours or so ago.

CNN's Mary Snow was over at the Sheraton Hotel here in Washington watching it unfold.

Take us inside that room, Mary. What was it like in New York, I should say.

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And it -- I have never really witnessed anything quite like this, Wolf.

We had less than two hours in advance notice of this press conference. Throughout the day, there had been photographs posted on, the conservative Web site, by Andrew Breitbart. And he did show up. And we will get to that in a minute, because it was really a circus-like atmosphere at the -- at the time.

But then Anthony -- Congressman Anthony Weiner took to the podium about 25 minutes late for this press conference. And, you know, at several times along the way, he almost started crying whenever he started mentioning his wife. He got very emotional. Take a listen.


WEINER: My wife is a -- my wife is a remarkable woman. She's not responsible for any of this. This was visited upon her. She's getting back -- getting back to work. And -- and I apologize to her very deeply.


SNOW: And he stood there for about 30 minutes fielding various questions coming from the press.

But what really was surreal, before it started, Andrew Breitbart, who is the conservative blogger who had been posting photos of Anthony Weiner on his Web site, he showed up about 15 minutes before this press conference was going to start.

And reporters started talking to him. And, at one point, he actually got up on the podium and started asking questions. He left. And then, when Anthony Weiner started talking, he came back again.

And one reporter was asking, are you going to apologize to Andrew Breitbart? And, at one point, Congressman Weiner did.

And what Andrew Breitbart was saying is that he wanted vindication because he said that left-wing blogs had been accusing him of hacking Anthony Weiner's Twitter account, and that he didn't do it, and that's why he wanted to get some vindication.

BLITZER: Because, only a few days ago, Weiner had insisted his account had been hacked; someone else sent this picture; he didn't know who the picture was; he couldn't say it was him or somebody else, but he flatly said he did not tweet that picture to that young college student in Washington state.

Now we know not only did he do that, but he was engaged in other inappropriate tweeting and e-mailing and Facebook with other young women.

SNOW: And we all remember your interview with him last week, a lengthy interview where he said repeatedly over and over again that he did not do this. And there was a lot of disbelief in his answers. And then for him to come out today and say, you know, it was all a lie, and that there were six women over a three-year period that he had been communicating with, either on Facebook, Twitter, also by phone over these past three years. So it was really a very emotional, dramatic news conference.

And the only reason, really, he stopped answering questions was someone stood up at one point, kind of a prankster, wasn't a reporter, started embarrassing him. And then he called it off. But he had -- he had been standing there fielding all kinds of questions: whether he had been drinking, whether he was on drugs, which he said he was not. But he was clearly prepared to stand there and answer a number of questions.

BLITZER: Yes, I'm sure one of the more bizarre news conferences you've covered in your career. All of us were watching on TV at the time. Mary, thanks very much.

Let's get more insight right now with psychiatrist Lise Van Susteren. She's joining us.

Lise, he's a smart, successful congressman married to a lovely young woman. Why would he do this?

LISE VAN SUSTEREN, PSYCHIATRIST (via phone): Wolf, I can't speak specifically about him, but we certainly have lots of other people who we know recently fall into this category. And if you were to ask them why they would do something like this, they would just look at you blankly. They don't know. But what we see is that there is a huge gap when we talk to people like this between their public persona, how the people around them perceive them, and how they feel about themselves inside, to the point where their inner life and their outer life have such a gap that it's almost become a secret walled-off place. And they allow themselves to do things they would never do in public in what they believe is private.

BLITZER: He says he thinks he's going to need some therapy. Probably from your perspective as a psychiatrist, that's an understatement. What does he need to do right now to try to, A, fix his own life but repair his marriage with his -- with his wife? They've been married for less than a year.

VAN SUSTEREN: What a professional would do in a case like this is sit down and begin to break down the walls that he has between his outer self and what he projects to people and what is really going on in his sort of secret parallel life; and why those were on separate tracks. Why were all the values that he espouses publicly, what he believes in publicly, why are those values so different with what he did privately.

And what the therapist will try to do in cases like this is break down those barriers so that that secret life now is something that becomes a very important part of his personal interactions with the people who are close to him and with whom he wants to build up trust. But it's going to take some time.

BLITZER: In this new age of social networking, how powerful is this instinct to get engaged in sexting, as you will, send sort of sexually provocative messages or photographs on these social network sites?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's an extremely powerful factor, because people like this, No. 1, have very poor impulse control. Their judgment is exceedingly poor. They have a sort of distorted view of themselves, and they believe that this can be done anonymously. So you -- it's just like road rage. No one knows I'm doing it.

And what they present to the public, again, is their personality, but character is something that we do in private. And that is something that, with social media, we really don't have to put into place the way we do in other instances when we know who we're talking to.

BLITZER: It's one thing to engage in this kind of sexting, if you will, but then to flatly go out on television and repeatedly lie, blatantly lie. You know you're telling a flat-out lie. Why -- he says he did it because he was embarrassed, and he thought he could overcome this problem. But dig deeper for us a little bit, Lise.

VAN SUSTEREN: He thought he would get away with it. And he knew he was cornered. He knew this is a bad thing. He knew all of the risks. And he knows full well what the implications are.

And now all of a sudden he's cornered. The light's on. And your first impulse, especially when you have someone with poor impulse control, who's shown such poor judgment, just like teenagers, the first thing they do is deny it.

BLITZER: Lise, thanks very much.

VAN SUSTEREN: Happy to help out.

BLITZER: Lise Van Susteren is a well known D.C.-are psychiatrist.

Witnesses to a police shooting say police tried to intimidate them and destroy video of the incident. You're not going to necessarily believe what it took to save that reporting.

And Sarah Palin manages to rally both her fans and her foes with a fungal (ph) history lesson.


BLITZER: We're just getting this in from our senior congressional correspondent, Dana Bash. She's quoting two Democratic sources as saying that Anthony Weiner, the Democratic congressman from New York, made it abundantly clear to the Democratic leader, the minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, in their phone conversation that he was not going to resign.

These sources do say that's why she called for an ethics investigation by the House Ethics Committee. This is a big deal. Democrats say it's rarely done. But there will be a full-scale House ethics investigation of Weiner right now.

One of the sources says that the two questions Weiner left unanswered in his news conference are, one, whether or not there might be violations involving whether he used any government resources like computers or phones or anything along those lines. And second, whether any of the women he was involved with over these social networking sites were underage. Both of those questions presumably will be investigated by the House Ethics Committee. We'll stay on top of this story for you.

Meanwhile, other news we're following, including Sarah Palin. She certainly managed to rally both her fans and her foes at her latest attempt at a history lesson. CNN's Jim Acosta is following this story for us -- Jim.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, for Sarah Palin's critics and defenders, she is the gift that keeps on giving. Take her comments on Paul Revere, which are traveling faster than the shot heard around the world.

(voice-over) It was during her bus tour paying tribute to American history when Sarah Palin appeared to misfire on one of this country's most revered patriots. SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: He who warned the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells.

ACOSTA: Palin seemed to miss the significance of Paul Revere's midnight ride in 1775, which was to warn American rebels the British were coming. After Palin's comments, it didn't take long before the comedians were coming, as well.

BILL MAHER, HOST, HBO'S "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": She should not be on vacation. She should be in summer school.

PALIN: You know what? I didn't mess up about Paul Revere.

ACOSTA: Over the weekend, Palin doubled down on her comments, noting that Revere did later warn the British about the American militias after he was captured. Then she blamed the whole misunderstanding on the media.

PALIN: And in a shout-out, gotcha type of question that was asked of me, I answered candidly.

ACOSTA: And what was that gotcha question?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What have you seen so far today and what are you going to take away from your visit?

ACOSTA: Still Palin's loyal supporters have rallied to her side, with the Conservatives for Palin Web site insisting she taught the media a history lesson.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first 90 days of Governor Palin's administration were insane.

ACOSTA: And her fans are far from finished. Later this month a conservative filmmaker plans to release "The Undefeated," a staunchly pro-Palin movie aimed at revving up her Tea Party base.

PALIN: You know, I just saw a rough cut of it, and it really blew me away.

ACOSTA: Palin told CNN she hopes the film will set the record straight about her time as governor that ended abruptly with her resignation.

(on camera) Is the movie your idea?

PALIN: No, I'm not that clever and not that creative to have thought of that.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But a former campaign adviser says that's what makes Palin the X-factor in 2012, a politician who can both energize her supporters and her enemies.

FORD O'CONNELL, FORMER MCCAIN/PALIN CAMPAIGN ADVISOR: You do have two Sarah Palins. And I think the key is she's a tremendous political talent. I don't think that she's quite yet realized her full potential. And part of that is because, you know, she has to get on message. She has to become more of a refined candidate.

ACOSTA (on camera): Steve Bannon, the man who directed "The Undefeated," says he wants to show what he considers the pathological, violent language used by critics to mock Palin. The movie is set to debut in Iowa later this month -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jim Acosta, thank you.

He used his phone to record a controversial police shooting and now says police went over the line to stop that video from becoming public.


BLITZER: Anthony Weiner, the Democratic congressman, has just issued a statement welcoming the House investigation, the House Ethics Committee investigation: "I welcome and will fully cooperate with an investigation by the House Ethics Committee." He adds, "I am deeply sorry to my family, staff and constituents."

A man who witnessed and recorded a police shooting in Miami Beach went to extraordinary lengths to save the video. Our own Brian Todd has been looking into this for us. Brian, what happened here?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, video of this incident was apparently taken from at least two different angles. The man who shot one of those videos says the police tried to intimidate him into giving it up.


TODD (voice-over): You're about to witness what appears to be a chaotic shooting scene in south Miami Beach. At just before 4 a.m. on Memorial Day, a car driven by a suspect comes to an abrupt stop on Collins Avenue. This video posted on YouTube apparently shows police surrounding the car, and then firing.

Police killed the suspect, Raymond Herisse. Miami Beach Police tell CNN Herisse had used his vehicle as a weapon that morning, that he'd struck and injured an officer with his car when the officer tried to stop him. But an eyewitness says police used intimidation to cover up their actions.

Here you'll see video from that eyewitness from street level.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God. He got to be dead now.

TODD: Then watch how police approach that eyewitness. One appears to have a gun drawn.

(on camera) We have that an eyewitness and his girlfriend who was with him at the time. They're at our Miami bureau. CNN has purchased the video from Narces Benoit and his girlfriend, Ericka Davis. Can you tell us what the Miami Beach Police said and did to you when they first approached you?

NARCES BENOIT, WITNESS: It was like "You get the 'F' away from here. Get away; get back to your car." Then that's what I did. I walked back to the car with my hands up. I turned around, the officer had a gun to the head.

TODD (voice-over): Benoit says the police got him out of the car at gunpoint, handcuffed him, made him lie face down on the ground, grabbed his cell phone, threw it on the ground and stomped on it, then placed it in his back pocket. He says they later uncuffed him, took him in for questioning and took his phone again, demanding the video. He told them the phone was broken.

(on camera) How were you able to hide the video and preserve it?

BENOIT: The video was saved to my sim card. I put it in my mouth.

ERICKA DAVIS, WITNESS: They just wanted the videos. That's all they were concerned about.

TODD: Contacted by CNN about the alleged incident with Benoit and Davis, Miami police officials said the department will not comment on anything that could be the possible subject of civil litigation.

DAVIS: They wanted the videos. That's all they were concerned about.

TODD: Contacted by CNN about the alleged incident with Benoit and Davis, a Miami Beach Police official said the department will not comment on anything that could be the possible subject of civil litigation or an internal police investigation. But the police official also said at the time this video was shot, this was an active crime scene and the police were looking for additional suspects.

Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega said this about the shooting incident involving Raymond Herisse.

CHIEF CARLOS NORIEGA, MIAMI BEACH POLICE: The officer responded to what I consider to be situations involving deadly force.

TODD: Ericka Davis says this as she looks back on the incident.

DAVIS: My mother is even an officer, you know. And I'm used to dealing with police. I've never had a view like that of an officer in my life. I mean, I'm shaking just thinking about it.


TODD: Narces Benoit and Ericka Davis say the police took other people's cell phones and smashed them, as well. A police official told us that's speculation, and he's not aware of any complaints about that.

When I asked if they're considering legal action against the Miami Beach Police, Benoit and Davis say they're considering their options -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian, thanks very much. Jack Cafferty is coming up next. Then Jeanne Moos on Congressman Weiner's especially bad day.


BLITZER: Let's go right back to Jack for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The question this hour is: "Should American wealth be redistributed by taxing the rich?" Gallup did a poll, and the results came back about 50-50.

Don writes, "A wealth tax is a bad idea and will simply drive monetary assets of the rich offshore. Increasing the tax rates for everybody, removing a lot of the deductions would help to get America back on its feet, but don't forget that reducing spending is even more important."

Ray in Tennessee writes, "Redistributing the wealth, Jack? Is that what you're calling it now? To answer your question, I do support raising taxes on the rich and undoing the past 30 years of the Republican assault on America."

H.J. in St. Paul: "Of course it should. But let's be clear. No one is saying that we should redistribute at all. Just enough to recover some common sense. They'll still be wealthy. It's simply not feasible to have an economy grow when you lower the relative value of the average person."

Dave in Washington writes, "Since 2/3 of government spending goes towards defense spending, you should reword the question. I'll bet the answers would be different if you asked should we increase taxes on the rich to help pay for the war in Afghanistan."

Ray in Georgia: "How do most people get rich? By working hard and applying themselves. Seems like a good formula to me. So-called rich people provide jobs for those that want to work and better themselves. So in a sense the wealth is being redistributed. I would disagree with government taking more money in taxes and handing it out in benefits that are not earned."

Curtis in Philadelphia: "Yes. Sorry if that's too wordy."

Carol in Massachusetts: "Does anybody care? Weiner's picture seems to be more important than the economy, but to answer your question the whole tax code needs to be revamped and simplified so that revenues can be fairly maximized."

And Cliff in New York writes, "American wealth has been redistributed over the past 30 years, which has resulted in the decimation of the middle class. Before you pose the question, you should have asked yourself, how many successful one-wage-earner blue collar families do you know?"

Pretty good question. There aren't many of those around anymore. You want to read more on the subject, go to my blog: Always a pleasure to have the Wolf man in the big city.

BLITZER: Good to be here with you, Jack. We'll do it again tomorrow.

CAFFERTY: All right.

BLITZER: Thank you.

A different take on Congressman Anthony Weiner from Jeanne Moos. That's next.


BLITZER: Congressman Anthony Weiner in a very hot spotlight. Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The cameras sounded like a firing squad. And must have felt like one to Anthony Weiner. He took a last drink, but the waterworks that mattered came out of his eyes and his sniffling nose.

REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: I've done things I deeply regret. One thing I particularly regret. I -- I am deeply regret -- regretting what I have done.

MOOS: Sorry to the media for all the stonewalling he did.

BLITZER: You would know if this is your underpants, correct?

WEINER: The question is -- I appreciate you continuing to flash that at me.

MOOS: But it was when pictures like this flashed out from the conservative Web site Big Government that Congressman Weiner's goose was cooked. Pictures exchanged consensually, he said, with women he met through Facebook.

WEINER: I don't know what I was thinking. This was a destructive thing to do.

MOOS: Some of the pictures were playful, flashing a sign saying, "Me," with his wedding ring fully visible, or posing with two cats behind him with the caption full of double meaning, according to the Big Government Web site.

And when he bared his torso, it was with what appeared to include family photos arrayed behind him.

The owner of says he didn't publish the worst photo.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's of an x-rated nature.

MOOS: The person Congressman Weiner apologized to the most was his wife.

WEINER: I love my wife very much, and we have no intention of splitting up over this.

MOOS: How things have changed since Congressman Weiner referred to his wife at the Congressional Correspondents' Dinner just over two months ago.

WEINER: And she's, you know, lovely and elegant and brilliant and widely respected throughout this town. So obviously, opposites attract.

MOOS: Back then he cracked.

WEINER: I do the Weiner jokes around here, guys.

MOOS: Now everyone's doing them, even a sausage restaurant in Brooklyn called Der Kommissar is advertising a special.

ALEX DARSEY, OWNER, DER KOMMISSAR: It's called Anthony's Weiners.

MOOS: Two hot dogs on French bread drizzled with olive oil, six bucks, while supplies laughs. Owner Alex Darsey says it's given the new restaurant a nice little boost.

DER KOMMISSAR: It's juicy and delicious.

MOOS: But no juicier than the scandal itself.

WEINER: This was a very dumb thing to do.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BLITZER: That does it for me. Thanks very much for watching.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"JOHN KING USA" starts right now.