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Interview With Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz; Sophisticated Cyber War against Iran; Interview with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz; Announcer's Bizarre On-Air Episode; Major Fire in San Francisco Pier; A Fight 70 Million Years in the Making; Mickey Mouse Planet

Aired June 20, 2012 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: You're in the SITUATION ROOM. Happening now, President Obama asserts his power of executive privilege for the first time with the House panel voting only moments ago to hold his attorney general in contempt. Just ahead, we get reaction from the head of the Democratic Party, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. She's here. I'll ask her if the administration has something to hide.

Plus, a baseball game takes a bizarre turn when the announcer's broadcast slips into some sort of gibberish. You're going to hear the whole episode as it happened.

And a federal dispute over dinosaur fossils some 70 million years old. Why this likely tyrannosaurus rex relative may be in the United States illegally?

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.



BLITZER: The House panel votes to hold President Obama's attorney general in contempt. The latest twist in a fiery standoff with the White House over "Operation Fast and Furious," a botched federal sting operation targeting Mexican drug cartels.

The top Republican watchdog in the House, Darrell Issa, has pounced on the attorney general, Eric Holder, for refusing to turn over documents. And Democrats on the panel are charging that Issa won't let anything stop him.


DARRELL ISSA, (R-CA) HOUSE OVERSIGHT/GOVT REFORM CHMN: The attorney general says that his offer is extraordinary. The only thing extraordinary about his offer is that he is asking the committee to close an investigation before the committee even gets to see the documents. He is pretending to offer. I can't accept that deal. No other committee chairman would. REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS, (D) OVERSIGHT & GOVT. REFORM CMTE.: Last night, you flatly rejected the attorney general's offer. You refused to even commit to working towards a mutually agreeable resolution. Instead, you rushed to a pre-arranged press conference to announce the failure of the meeting.

It seems clear that you had no interest in resolving this issue, and that the committee planned to go forward with contempt before we walked into the meeting with the attorney general.


BLITZER: We're going to get into the politics of all of this with the chair of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman- Schultz, in just a minute. But first, let's get some background, CNN's crime and justice crime correspondent, Joe Johns, is joining us. Joe, how did all of this come about to this very, very historic sensitive moment?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CRIME CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, as you mentioned, the political battle is likely headed to the courts now. But it's the policy question that could be with us for a long time, the idea of the government allegedly putting a couple thousand guns in criminal hands.

For many people, it's very hard to believe that somebody did not pull the plug on "Operation Fast and Furious" before it even started.


JOHNS (voice-over): In September of 2009, ATF agents started an investigation by allowing firearms to go walking into the hands of suspected criminals. ATF was tracking the guns, hoping to catch some big fish in the violent world of the crime cartels, especially south of the border.

Fast forward to December 2010, a little over a year later, one of the worst scenarios imaginable, a border agent, Brian Terry, gets killed in Arizona and firearms from the "Fast and Furious" operation are found on the scene. January of 2011, Congress is asking questions. Republican senator, Charles Grassley of Iowa, launches an investigation.

February 4th of 2011, the justice department wrote a letter to Congress asserting that nothing improper was done in the operation. A letter they later would have to acknowledge was misleading. And by May 2011, Republican congressman, Darrell Issa, confronts Attorney General Eric Holder about the operation at a hearing asking him when he first heard of it.

ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I'm not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about "Fast and Furious" for the first time over the last few weeks.

JOHNS: Memos that come out later seem to suggest Holder's office may have been put on notice of the operation much earlier. Holder later said what he didn't know about at first was the ATF's controversial tactics. From then on, a steady drumbeat of developments. Last June, whistleblowers and family members of Brian Terry appeared at a Congressional hearing.

JOSEPHINE TERRY, MOTHER OF BRIAN TERRY: I was just flabbergasted. I just -- I didn't believe it at first.

JOHNS: By August, heads started to roll as the top guy at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was reassigned. In October of 2011, in a letter, Holder said he never saw the memos about "Operation Fast and Furious." A month later, the story started changing just a bit.

Lanny Breuer, a top justice official, told Congress about an earlier program, which by the way had gone on during the administration of President George W. Bush. That program also allowed guns to go to Mexico. It was called "Operation Wide Receiver." Breuer pretty much apologized for not speaking up and calling out the ATF for questionable tactics way back then.

LANNY BREUER, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: I was involved in this exercise. And as all of this has come to light, that I am thinking about it realize that I should have, back in April of 2010, drawn that connection. I've expressed that regret for personally to the attorney general of the United States. And then, I determined that I should do it publicly as well.


JOHNS (on-camera): So not long after that appearing before the Senate, Eric Holder acknowledged the problems with the so-called gun- walking operation that happened on his watch.

Since then, Congressional committees have asked for thousands of documents claiming the justice department just was not up front about "Operation Fast and Furious" suggesting there's been some kind of a cover-up, which the justice department denies -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Joe Johns, thanks very much.

Joining us now is the chair of the Democratic National Committee, the Florida congresswoman, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

The argument is, congresswoman, as you well know, there must be something embarrassing, there must be something that the Obama administration wants to hide from this Congressional committee that does have legitimate oversight concerns. What's going on?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, CHAIRWOMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, let's look at some basic facts here. This is a field program in the Department of Justice begun in the Bush administration that was ended by the Obama administration. So, that's something that's an important to note. On top of that, we are ten days away from a million construction workers losing their jobs because the Republicans in Congress won't pass a transportation bill. We're 11 days away from seven million students having their student loan interest rates double. And yet, in spite of the fact that legal experts, independent legal experts like Jeffrey Toobin, have said there is no smoking gun here. There is clearly not anything that the Obama administration is hiding.

The Republicans in Congress pursue essentially a political witch hunt because they know that they don't want to focus on creating jobs and getting this economy turned around.

BLITZER: But isn't that the responsibility of the chair of the House Oversight Committee to investigate these kinds of things, especially when a U.S. border patrol agent, Brian Terry, was killed in an operation that apparently was linked to those guns gone missing?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I'm a member of Congress. It certainly is the responsibility of a committee chairman to do that. However -- and it's also the responsibility of an administration to respond, as the Obama administration has, with 7,600 documents. And the Department of Justice testifying at least 11 times on this very subject.

The documents that were -- that executive privilege was asserted over today were not related to "Fast and Furious." They were related to the investigation that Mr. Issa has conducted.

And all of the documents that have been asked for related to "Fast and Furious" have been produced, which is why it's clear that this is nothing more than a political witch hunt to distract from the fact that the Republicans in Congress have no interest in focusing on what we need to focus on, which is jobs and the economy.

BLITZER: In fairness, the Republicans led by Darrell Issa on this House Oversight Committee feel that there may have been a cover- up of this operation. What's wrong with seeking those extra documents? Why can't the administration share them?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: It's absolutely ludicrous to suggest, and independently (INAUDIBLE) have suggested that it's ludicrous to suggest that there is any kind of a cover-up.

President Obama has asserted -- the administration has asserted executive privilege in the same way that the Bush administration has, that George W. Bush's administration has when I was on the judiciary committee and he was president. President Clinton asserted the same kind of executive privilege dozens of time as did George Herbert Walker Bush.

BLITZER: You've been in Congress long enough to remember when the Republican president exerted executive privilege. You're unhappy about that. And then, Senator Barack Obama from Illinois, he wasn't happy about that when the -- when President Bush exerted executive privilege. I'll play a little clip. Here's then Senator Barack Obama expressing his frustration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, there's been a tendency on the part of this administration to try to hide behind executive privilege every time there's something a little shaky that's taking place. And I think, you know, the administration would be best served by coming clean on this.


BLITZER: It sort of sounds in that bite, in that sound bite like Darrell Issa.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, no, actually, I think then-Senator Obama was correct. And I think it's ironic that you have the same Republican members who defended then-President Bush's right to exert executive privilege over those same types of issues are now suggesting that President Obama doesn't have that same right.

And, we are three and a half years into President Obama's term, and this is the first time he has asserted executive privilege. The Bush Administration, at the same point in time, has asserted executive privilege, I think if you check, many times by then.

BLITZER: The Bush -- I think we have the number. I think maybe was three or four times that former President Bush exerted executive -- I'll double check that.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We're at once versus several times.

BLITZER: All right. But, you know, when there's a Democratic president does it, the Republicans hate it. When there's a Republican president, the Democrats like you hate it. That's the nature of these executive privileges.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Which is why it's clear --

BLITZER: -- executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Wolf, which is why it's clear this is nothing more than a witch hunt. The Obama administration has produced 7,600 documents in response to the committee's request on the "Fast and Furious" program.

And now, Mr. Issa is continuing to drag this out in spite of the fact that we have millions of people in the next 10 or 11 days that are going to be left twisting in the wind, unless, the Republicans in Congress decide to act to protect them.

BLITZER: Here's the actual number of times. You can see President George W. Bush, he did do it six times. President Obama, this is the first time. President Clinton 14. The first President Bush, once. Ronald Reagan did it three times.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Pretty significant difference.

BLITZER: Don't go away because we got a lot more to discuss -- WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: OK. I'll be here.

BLITZER: -- including political stuff as well. I have a lot more to talk about with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic Party, including what the Democrats will do if, if the U.S. Supreme Court in the coming days were to strike down the president's healthcare law.

Plus, a new report that the United States and Israel joined forces on a covert cyber attack. We're learning details of a highly sophisticated computer virus aimed at crippling Iran's nuclear program, a second cyber warfare attack.

Should Israel be concerned that Iran will retaliate? My interview with Israel's deputy prime minister about that, plus what he calls a, quote, "genocide unfolding in Syria right now" and the Muslim Brotherhood potentially taking over the presidency in Egypt.


BLITZER: Much more with Debbie Wasserman Schultz in a moment. Let's go to Jack for the "Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: There are growing signs, Wolf, that the troubled economy keeps taking its toll on Americans in ways both big and small. Nearly seven million homes gave up cable or satellite TV last year mostly due to the lingering recession.

A survey by GFK Media shows that younger Americans, minorities and poor people, dropped cable TV in the highest numbers opting for broadcast or free TV only. Industry insiders worried people would dump cable in favor of online TV options, but according to this survey, most people are cutting the cord or the cable, if you will, because they need to cut costs.

Of course, millions of Americans have been forced to cut much more than that, including homes, cars, vacations, grocery bills, medical care. It's no surprise when you consider the drastic collapse in Americans' net worth. A CNN money analysis of census bureau data shows that without including home equity, median household net worth fell 25 percent between 2005 and 2010.

And if you include housing, the loss was 35 percent. The great recession is wiped out nearly 30 years of net worth gains for the typical American household, 30 years. Once again, some groups hit harder than others. Asian, Black, Hispanic households lost about 60 percent of their net worth compared to 30 percent for Whites.

Young Americans also lost a bigger share of their wealth than their parents did. And lastly, more bad news about the struggling job market. Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, said today he expects the unemployment rate to remain above eight percent through the end of the year. That's not good news for President Obama.

And a labor department report shows the number of job openings fell in April. The drop means there are 3.7 unemployed people now looking for each and every job opening.

Here's the question, what has the economy forced you to give up? Go to and post a comment on my blog or go to our post on the SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page. I don't think any modern president's been re-elected, Wolf, with an unemployment rate above eight percent.

BLITZER: Yes. Reagan did it with about 7.2 percent or 7.3 percent, but you're absolutely right, Jack. Thanks very much.

Let's dig a little bit deeper right now on the economy and the race for the White House with Florida congresswoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, is still with us. You heard Jack. Those numbers are pretty set.

Ben Bernanke today, the Federal Reserve chairman, says he doesn't expect much economic growth over the next six months, the rest of this year. How worried are you that that bodes potentially very badly for the president's re-election?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, as a member of the budget committee, I had an opportunity to question Chairman Bernanke about the Republican proposals, particularly, the Ryan budget that Mitt Romney has embraced and asked him if we go with the Ryan plan and you cut as much as the Republicans want to cut too quickly, you're going to strangle what is already a fragile recovery.

And so, the last thing we need to do is embrace Romney economics and go in the direction that takes us back to the failed policies of the past that crashed the economy and got us into this mess, in the first place.

President Obama's taken us and the American people can see that that he's taken us from where we were bleeding 750,000 jobs a month, and now, three and a half years later, we've made slow but steady progress.

And we need to continue to make more progress. It would be helpful if the Republicans were focused on jobs and the economy instead of trying to make sure that they do everything they can to make it less likely that President Obama can succeed.

BLITZER: But assuming there's no legislative action between now and November, most people don't think there's going to be anything really significant in this --

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Certainly not under Republican-controlled.

BLITZER: -- in political environment, highly charged political environment. And there's let's say, two percent if that economic growth. That's not going to be translated into a whole lot of jobs. That will basically keep the jobs market steady but no real economic growth.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, I think you'll continue to see the president through his policies adding jobs each month. We've had 27 months straight of private sector job growth. We've had more jobs created in manufacturing than any time since the 1990s.

And as a result, I think you'll see voters get behind President Obama because in addition to being committed to moving the economy forward, he's also made sure that we can have an immigration policy that's fair and allows young people like the dreamers to be able to remain in the country and not face deportation.

Made sure that we have young Americans be able to attend college in greater numbers and make it more affordable.

BLITZER: Are you ready if the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow or Monday or next week, they have to do it by the end of next week, rules on the healthcare law and rules that it's unconstitutional? Are you ready to deal with that?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I'm confident as is President Obama that the Supreme Court is going to uphold the constitutionality.

BLITZER: What if they don't? Have you thought about that?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You know, we can't really deal in what-ifs. I am confident that they're going to uphold it. If for some reason they don't, we are committed and we need to make sure that we can continue to cover the Americans that would be left twisting in the wind.

It would be interesting to see what the Republicans will do, because they have shown zero interest in ensuring that all Americans are covered, zero interest in ensuring that insurance companies can't drop you or deny you coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Wolf, there are 149 million Americans like me, as a breast cancer survivor, who live in this country with a pre-existing condition. The Republicans have essentially said to them, we don't care about you. You're on your own. And so, I'd like to know what are the Republicans going to do if that happens?

BLITZER: Well, Romney says, if he were elected president, let's say the Supreme Court doesn't reject it, he says he would -- on day one, he would repeal what he calls Obamacare and then come up with new legislation to deal with --

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That's a lot of baloney. They say they repeal and replace. They have not proposed a single bill or try to even move in the direction of replacing -- what is their version of healthcare reform? What do they think should happen? Everything that they've proposed in the past has been tried and clearly not been successful at covering the 47 million Americans that would continue without health insurance in this country.

BLITZER: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, thanks very much for coming in.


BLITZER: The chair of the DNC. Congresswoman, appreciate it. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thank you.

BLITZER: A flight from Las Vegas to New York is being called, quote, "four hours of hell." We're going to find out what happened and why some passengers feared for their lives.

And a pitcher has ejected for cheating in major league baseball. We're going to show you what he did. Standby.


BLITZER: This just coming in to the SITUATION ROOM. A major fire unfolding in San Francisco right now. Mary Snow has the details. Mary, what's going on?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The San Francisco fire department, Wolf, is saying that this is a three-alarm fire right now. It's a warehouse on Pier 29 in San Francisco. As of now, you're looking at live pictures from our affiliate, KTVU. As of now, the fire department says there are no casualties reported.

Seventy-five firefighters right now are on the scene. Dozens more on the way. And the fire department saying it's not quite sure what that warehouse is used for. We'll keep you posted on that story.

In other news, in the headlines, a suicide bomber on a motorcycle possibly wearing an explosive vest targeted NATO and Afghan security forces. A western official says three American troops were killed. The U.S. embassy in Kabul says an Afghan interpreter and 17 Afghan civilians also died. A roadside bomb planted by the Taliban in a separate town killed eight people, including women and children.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating an emergency landing that left 155 people very shaken up. A passenger tells our affiliate, KTNV, it was, quote, "four hours of hell" as the plane violently lurched side-to-side causing many passengers to get sick.

As you can see the New York-bound flight circled for hours before returning to Las Vegas. JetBlue says it was a problem with a hydraulic system.

And a pitcher for baseball's Tampa Bay Rays is likely facing a multi-game suspension after pine tar was found in his glove. Joel Peralta (ph) was pulled from a game against Washington when the nationals manager alerted the umpires to check his glove. Peralta used to play for the nationals using any substance to improve the grip on the ball is illegal -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Including spit balls to be sure. Thanks very much for that.

Meanwhile, a real-life spy game involving the United States and Iran and a highly sophisticated computer virus. We're talking to an intelligence community about a stunning new report.

And Israel's deputy prime minister tells me the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, is committing in his own word, "genocide" against his own people. Highlights of my interview coming up.


BLITZER: It's no secret the United States and Israel are trying to stop Iran from dveloping nuclear material. But a report by "The Washington Post" is shining new light on the covert way they're doing it using a highly sophisticated virus designed to sabotage Iran's nuclear program. CNN intelligence correspondent Suzanne Kelly (ph) has been talking to intelligence community sources about this. Suzanne, what are you finding out?

SUZANNE KELLY, CNN INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: A loud round of no comment today, Wolf, on this which really comes as no surprise given the heightened sensitivity over leaks. But there are clues inside flame (ph) that give us a unique look at the new cyber battlefield.


KELLY (voice-over): It's the largest most extensive cyber espionage tool to date. Researchers say the computer virus dubbed Flame (ph) was stealing secrets on Iran's nuclear program likely for years discovered only after a cyber attack on Iran's oil infrastructure. Now "The Washington Post" cites western officials saying Flame (ph) was jointly developed between the United States and Israel.

The U.S. intelligence agencies at the top of what would be a list of usual suspects aren't talking. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, U.S. Cyber Command and Israeli officials all decline to comment. But researchers see similarities between the Flame (ph) spy ware and another cyber tool known as Stucks Net (ph). That actually caused Iran's nuclear enrichment centrifuges to spin out of control rendering them useless setting back their nuclear program.

LIAM O'MURCHU, SYMANTEX: We have found evidence that they are definitely associated and probably written by the same team. And the reason we know that is that elements of Flame (ph) have been found inside Stucks Net (ph), so there's no doubt that the two of them are definitely related.

KELLY: Flame (ph) can gather almost everything on a computer or an entire network and even has the ability to listen and watch what the user does via the computer's camera. It's all done remotely. No human spies are put at risk. Former director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair won't confirm the use of such a program, which would be highly classified. But he sees the strategic advantages.

DENNIS BLAIR, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: You try to say you create something that they can attribute to incompetence on their own part, to somebody, not the United States doing it --

KELLY (on camera): Stucks Net (ph), for example.

BLAIR: You try to -- you try to fuzz it up so that when they -- when something bad happens to them and they do the investigation in malice of what they -- of what happened, they come to some other conclusion then that we did it --

KELLY: That would be the perfect cyber attack.

BLAIR: Perfect -- that would be the perfect cyber attack.


KELLY: Well, if it's true, that U.S. intelligence has teamed up with Israel in a development of cyber warfare tools, why the partnership? One former senior intelligence official put it this way, it's sort of like the lion and the mouse. Every so often the mouse can pull out a thorn that the lion couldn't reach himself. And cyber in particular, Wolf, says that source is a very personal business and if the smartest person in the room happens to be from another country, you want them on your team.

BLITZER: Yes. There's a lot of movement on this front. Thanks very much, Suzanne for that report.

The Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz is here in Washington for high-level talks right now with the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other Obama administration officials. Iran's nuclear program certainly is atop their agenda. During an interview I asked Shaul Mofaz if Israel was concerned about Iranian retaliation for the reports that Israel and the United States have undertaken joint cyber warfare attacks against Iran's nuclear program.


SHAUL MOFAZ, ISRAELI DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: We have to be prepared for all kind of cyber attack against the state of Israel.

BLITZER (voice-over): He said Israeli military action was certainly on the table.

MOFAZ: We have to be prepared for all options, but at the same time I believe that there are other ways to stop the Iranian nuclear program.

BLITZER: He expressed hope that severe international sanctions that are supposed to begin next month will work.

MOFAZ: From my perspective a military option is the last option.

BLITZER (on camera): But it is an option. Would it be an Israeli option or a U.S. option or a joint military option?

MOFAZ: It is an option. The U.S. should prepare it. Israel should prepare it. And from my point of view, I believe that it should be by the leadership of the United States and I see the prevention of any Iranian nuclear program as the acid (ph) test of Obama administration.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (INAUDIBLE) BLITZER (voice-over): On Syria, Mofaz minced no words.

MOFAZ: I believe that Bashar Al-Assad is a dictator that leading genocide against his people. He's slaughtering his people. He's slaughtering innocent people in Syria and they -- he will not survive.

BLITZER: Eventually he said there will be massive desertions in the Syrian military.

MOFAZ: This is the end of Bashar.

BLITZER: On Egypt Mofaz expressed hope that the Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate, Mohammed Mursi (ph), would honor Egypt's peace treaty with Israel.

MOFAZ: He was very moderate during his campaign and I hope that he understands the importance of the relationship of Israel and the fact that we have to safeguard the peace agreement between us.


BLITZER: The Israeli deputy prime minister speaking with me here in Washington. Remember, the conversation always continues. You can follow me on Twitter @WolfBlitzer.

A baseball announcer starts speaking gibberish on air. It was certainly a bizarre moment for anyone watching the game, but could it be something much more serious for the announcer? CNN's medical team is looking into this story.

And it's a fight 70 million years in the making. A dinosaur skeleton goes on sale here in the United States, but did someone steal it all the way from Mongolia?


BLITZER: A rather bizarre moment for baseball fans during Monday night's San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers game when the Ranger's announcer began saying things on air that didn't make any sense.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This discussion involving a 2-1 game, with tying run at second, leadoff single by (INAUDIBLE), go ahead run is at fifth on what Adams is insisting on calling it a botched robbery. What actually happened was his henchman (ph) big piece literally out of --


BLITZER: Our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is joining us now with more on what may have happened. Elizabeth, the announcer Dave Barnett (ph), says he had a migraine. Why do some people worry though it might have been what's being described as a mini stroke. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know Wolf, what happens is that those two things can cause similar problems. Because what happens is that in a migraine, your vessels can dilate and constrict, so they can get smaller and then get bigger, which is kind of like what can happen during a stroke and so you get these effects on different parts of the brain.

Here obviously we saw it in the language part of the brain. But the doctors that we talked to said it sounded more like a migraine to them because if it were a stroke, he wouldn't have come back so quickly. I mean what we just saw happened in the eighth inning and he was back on air at the end of the game. If it had been a stroke, there probably would have been other things going on and he would have been sent to the hospital.

BLITZER: Is it possible he knew he was talking nonsense?

COHEN: You know the doctors we talked to said, yes, it is possible that he may have actually heard those words slip out of his mouth and realize that something was wrong and you kind of do hear some pausing there, so yes it is possible that he heard himself and knew that something was going terribly wrong.

BLITZER: Terribly wrong. Can he be treated so this doesn't happen again?

COHEN: Doctors tell us that the same medicines that you take to get rid of the pain in a migraine you can also take to treat this symptom. And you might have to, you know, see which medicine works best. But, yes that medicines can help this.

BLITZER: Elizabeth Cohen, thanks very much.

COHEN: Thanks.

BLITZER: We're just getting some new information on that fire you saw here in THE SITUATION ROOM in San Francisco. Let's go back to Mary. Mary, what are you seeing? Those pictures are very dramatic.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Yes, they are dramatic, Wolf. They're live pictures from our affiliate KTVU. It does appear though that the fire department is making progress in putting this fire out. It's pier 29 in San Francisco. New information we learned is that this is the future home of the America's Cup. It had been a restaurant. That restaurant shut down in January. What the fire department's been saying is that so far it has no reports of any casualties and that there are dozens of firefighters on the scene. This is a three-alarm fire.

BLITZER: In San Francisco, Mary, thanks very much.

A 70-million-year old dinosaur skeleton goes on sale here in the United States. There's one catch, it might be the property of Mongolia. How someone could have snuck dinosaur fossils all the way around the world.


BLITZER: A dinosaur skeleton goes on the auction block here in the United States, but there's one minor problem. Experts believe the skeleton was smuggled illegally out of Mongolia and may be 70 million years old. Joining us now once again, Mary Snow. Mary, what a bizarre international dispute. What's going on here?

SNOW: So bizarre, Wolf. You know and it's not every day you have paleontologists (ph), federal prosecutors and the Department of Homeland Security all working on a case involving a fossil. But a dinosaur skeleton became their focus after questions were raised about where it really came from and who really owns it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is our 5027 (ph) tranasorousrex (ph) specimen and it's the closest relative of the tarborzorous (ph) from Mongolia.

SNOW (voice-over): If anyone knows about dinosaurs it's Mark Norell. He heads the Paleontology Division (ph) at the American Museum of Natural History. For more than two decades he's been traveling to Mongolia, where the rule is any fossils excavated are the property of Mongolia. So when he saw this dinosaur skeleton in an auction house catalog, he suspected it was a tarborzorous (ph) dating back 70 million years.

MARK NORELL, AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY: In my mind at that point I could immediately tell that I thought it was eluded, so that sort of spurred me on and to start calling a few people on the phone and saying I'm going to write this letter and then I'm going to send it to you guys and you can do what you want with it.

SNOW: Word quickly reached the president of Mongolia who in turn contacted Texas attorney Robert Painter (ph) for help. Painter (ph) has experience in Mongolia and after finding out about it just two days before the auction, he raced to get a restraining order from a Texas judge and flew to New York.

ROBERT PAINTER, ATTORNEY: So as soon as they started the auction, I just stood up and I held up my phone and I said, I'm sorry to interrupt, but I have the judge on the phone. And I wanted to let you know that what you're doing is violating the court's order.

SNOW: But it was too late. A bidder had already bought the dinosaur skeleton for more than $1 million. The court order though put a hold on everything. Customs documents say authorities claimed the relics were valued at just $15,000. Painter believes the bones were looted from a desert in Mongolia, made their way through Japan to Great Britain, Florida, Texas, and finally ended up in New York where they now sit inside this storage space in Queens.

Federal prosecutors want a court order to seize them. Heritage Auctions believes its consignor purchased the fossils in good faith and says "we have cooperated in the investigation process for paleontologists to expeditiously examine the skeleton and we will continue to cooperate with authorities."

(on camera): If no one had stepped in what typically would happen?

NORELL: A variety of things. It may have been bought by a private individual, you know to decorate the foray (ph) of their corporate headquarters or even their own home in some cases. There are unscrupulous museums around the world unfortunately who don't really have a problem trading in wooded (ph) material, so it can really go all over the place.


SNOW: Now Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to seize the skeleton later this week and make sure it is returned safely to Mongolia. What's not clear is what happened to the person who brought the skeleton into the U.S. two years ago, whether they are even aware of what they possessed, if these were truly stolen and they were knowingly stolen, obviously charges could be brought. There would be a fine and someone could face prison time.

BLITZER: It is a real international incident, I should say. Thanks, Mary. Thanks very much. Let's go back to Jack for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: What a great story --


CAFFERTY: The question this hour is what has the economy forced you to give up?

Liz writes "eating out, weekends at the beach, steak, hair color, expensive cosmetics, name brand dog and cat food. Hey we cut back. They can too. Actually if we don't really need it, I don't buy it any more."

Randy writes "a job."

Pete writes "retirement."

Ruth in Indianapolis says "hope for the future and a belief in anything. It's all downhill now."

Allen in Houston writes "the bad economy has hurt many people just like me. My house now holds seven people. Before it was just me and my wife. Vacations are a fantasy. No more luxuries, just the basics. A new car is going to have to wait several more years."

Richard in South Dakota writes "since my income barely covers my bills, food and obligations and leaves nothing for recreation or luxury items, I consider myself to be a slave. The economy has cost me my freedom."

Dale in New Mexico writes "It has put a crimp in just about everything. Restaurants I like to go to. Things I like to eat. Places I like to travel to. I can't even go on short road trips anymore. Things have gotten really bad these days."

Gary in San Jose writes this. "The poor economy has encouraged me to give up the wasteful things that I didn't need like overpriced food, wine, cars, and toys. I find myself wanting to do things with the stuff I already have instead of wanting something new and I think that's a good thing. Happiness doesn't cost too much."

If you want to read more about this go to the blog or through our post on THE SITUATION ROOM's Facebook page -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jack thank you. Forget the man in the moon. How about Mickey Mouse on the planet Mercury? Jeanne Moos is next.


BLITZER: Here is a look at this hour's "Hotshots". In Afghanistan a shepherd and his son herd their sheep as U.S. Marines patrol nearby. In the Baltic Sea, sailors race off the coast of Germany during the largest sailing spectacle in the world. In Colorado, a smoky sunrise is captured during the ongoing High Park (ph) forest fires. And in England, a calf at a festival is a little too nosey with a local photographer. "Hotshots", pictures coming in from around the world.

Disney has theme parks around the globe, from Anaheim and Orlando to Paris, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, but is Mickey Mouse making a move on Mercury? Some people are seeing the mark of the mouse on the planet closest to the sun. Here is CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even other planets have mice or at least a certain mouse.

(on camera): What do you see?


MOOS (voice-over): It is a photo of Mercury.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it looks like Mickey Mouse with the ear --

MOOS: The planet closest to the sun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see Mickey Mouse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A Mickey Mouse with ears.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looks like Mickey Mouse.

MOOS (on camera): Maybe it is something else it could be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, a photo shop.

MOOS (voice-over): Definitely not. This is a NASA photograph taken by its messenger mission spacecraft showing --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three impact craters on Mercury's surface.

MOOS: The larger forming Mickey's face is 65 miles across.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The effect of the mouse ears is enhanced because of the shadows in the craters.


MOOS: Actually, it wasn't a leader, but a summer intern working on a messenger mission who first noticed Mickey's image in the craters. There's a name for seeing a pattern where none really exists.


MOOS (on camera): There's a man on the moon, a mouse on Mercury, and an elephant on Mars?

(voice-over): An elephant shape formed by lava flowing on the red planet. It is a stretch to us, but some saw this shape as a mermaid on mars. The most famous Martian face had the most believers until it was discredited by even better images. And check out Big Bird formed by dark spots in the sun's corona. NASA even put out a helpful side by side image. Remember when Mork the alien on the "Mork and Mindy" show offered interplanetary travel advice?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh don't ever go to Pluto, it is a Mickey Mouse planet.


MOOS: Turns out Mercury is the Mickey Mouse planet, inspiring (INAUDIBLE) headlines. "Mickey on Mercury? That's Goofy!"

(on camera): Do you think Disney is colonizing (ph) Mercury?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well they would if they could.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well Disney might want to claim copyright infringement on that.

MOOS (voice-over): But hey Disney might as well milk it.


MOOS: After all Disney bought Mickey Moo, a cow born with Mickey's silhouette on his side and this cow has Mickey on his head. So if you see Mickey on Mercury join the club.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --



BLITZER: Love Mickey Mouse. Before I go, this note. I was honored today to emcee a really special event up on Capitol Hill. It was the 2012 Congressional Award Gold Medal Ceremony, recognizing 276 young Americans from around the country. They were honored for showing a remarkable dedication and commitment to volunteer service and personal growth. I must say, I was truly inspired hearing their stories.

They represent the best of our young people. To all of them and to their parents and their mentors, congratulations. Thanks also to my good friend Paxton Baker (ph). He's the chairman of the Congressional Award Foundation's National Board for inviting me.

That's it for me. Thanks very much for joining us. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Remember, the conversation continues. You can follow me on Twitter @WolfBlitzer. The news continues next on CNN.