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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Not So Fast and Furious; Health Care Reform Hype; Interview with Congressman Mica
Aired June 27, 2012 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks.
We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with stunning, last-minute developments in the "Fast and Furious" story. Just hours away from tomorrow's House vote on whether to cite Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt of Congress, a heavily researched story suggests that the scandal at the center of tomorrow's vote may not have been a scandal at all, or at least not the scandal we've been led to believe it is.
Here's what we thought we knew about the ATF operation known as "Fast and Furious." So-called straw buyers from Mexican drug cartels were allowed to buy guns in the southwest, then those guns, thousands of them, were allowed to walk or be smuggled into Mexico with an eye toward tracing their way through the cartels.
Instead, as we, the House Oversight Committee and other news organizations were led to believe, the ATF lost track of those weapons. Some made it back into the country. Two were found at the scene where Border Agent Brian Terry was gunned down.
That was the story as we and nearly everyone thought we knew.
Now tonight, though, after six months of reporting, "Fortune" magazine's Katherine Eban reveals a very different "Fast and Furious." The bottom line, letting guns walk was not, I repeat not, part of the plan. She writes, "Five law enforcement agents directly involved in 'Fast and Furious' tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic."
She goes on to say, "They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. Just the opposite. They say they seized weapons whenever they could, but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn."
The House Oversight Committee is slamming the story. We're going to get to that in just a moment. However, committee chairman Darrell Issa declined to come on this program to elaborate. Committee member John Mica is going to join us in just a little bit.
"Fortune" contributor Catherine Evan joins us now.
It's nice to see you. The premise of your article is that there was no gun walking in "Fast and Furious," which completely contradicts really the central argument that we've seen in the political sphere now for months. KATHERINE EBAN, FORTUNE MAGAZINE: That's right. After six months of investigation, what became clear to me is that the things that Congress was holding up as centerpieces of proof that guns had been walked were, in fact, misconstrued, incorrect, resulted from other motives, other reasons, that there were alternate explanations and that really, this was a case of cherry picking, you know, small phrases, sentences, without any of the context really that you need in order to understand what actually happened in Phoenix Group Seven.
O'BRIEN: So why back in November of 2011 would the Attorney General Eric Holder say that, in fact, the tactic happen and it was unacceptable. Let me play a little bit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Instances of so-called gun walking is simply unacceptable. Regrettably this tactic was used as past of "Fast and Furious," which was launched to combat gun trafficking and violence on our southwest border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: It's that very testimony that many people, of course, have connected to and said he is admitting gun walking in "Fast and Furious." In fact that what he's saying there under oath completely contradicts what's in your article.
EBAN: Right. Well, this is where we get to a very murky place. Because the letter that the Justice Department ended up retracting was a letter which said ATF always attempts to interdict weapons. Well, that wasn't the case in the John Dodson investigation.
O'BRIEN: So the "always" was the issue there.
EBAN: So they retracted the letter. You know, in my article, I do say it appears that the Obama administration has basically caved or laid down on the railroad tracks in order to hold it at bay. You know, let's not let it come up and get the political appointees. Let's hold it down in Phoenix.
O'BRIEN: Republican lawmakers have been attacking the ATF for not seizing enough weapons, which when you look at, as you describe, the sort of weak possibility for prosecution has tremendous irony.
EBAN: Well, this really gets even stranger because I had law enforcement agents who spoke to me because they felt that Issa's inquiry, Representative Issa's inquiry is actually harming the Second Amendment. That he is out there bashing ATF agents for not seizing enough guns. And these are guns that were deemed to be legally possessed, legally purchased and legally transferred by prosecutors.
So what is the alternative? Should they be going out and illegally seizing guns? And this was a clash and a conflict that occurred repeatedly between the agents and the prosecutors.
O'BRIEN: You end your article with a look at who really was part of "Fast and Furious." The Sinaloa cartel and Mexican nationals using their money to sort of purchase those guns that ultimately were traced, you say, back to the FBI?
EBAN: That's right. The --
O'BRIEN: Funds -- they're being funded by the FBI. They were paying -- being paid by the FBI.
EBAN: That's right. That's right. I mean this is under the theory that there is nothing about this case that went as planned or expected. But the -- their top two targets did turn out to be on the FBI payroll.
O'BRIEN: Why has no one from the Department of Justice said in "Fast and Furious" there was no gun running? Gun walking, excuse me. Why has no one from the Department of Justice said in "Fast and Furious," there was no gun walking? Period. End of story. That's what your article says. But they have not said that. Why not?
EBAN: I don't know exactly why. One sense is that, you know, when this scandal first broke and Congress made these allegations, the Justice Department went to all their political folks to ask what happened. They never went to Dave Voth, the group supervisor and said sit us down and tell us exactly what happen. In fact he was never even questioned in any detail by ATF and to this day has not been.
So there's a sense that the Justice Department immediately wanted to deal with the potential political repercussions without necessarily grappling with the substantive question of what actually happened. Now I think they would say that they have turned to the inspector general to do a thorough investigation and they are withholding judgment pending the -- that review. But, in fact, I think anyone watching Eric Holder testifying would conclude that he believes that guns were walked.
O'BRIEN: The focus now, of course, as we look at the contempt hearings for the attorney general, the question is, well, why not turn over the documents? I mean that has become kind of the central question. In your research, can you answer that question?
EBAN: I can't answer that question because I don't know exactly what is in those documents. But what's interesting is that those documents are not about the substance of what occurred in Phoenix. Those documents are about the internal deliberations within the Justice Department about how to respond to the congressional inquiry.
So it's hard to say if those are politically damaging or what is actually in them. But in fact it's just yet another segment of this inquiry that doesn't have to do with what actually happened.
O'BRIEN: We have a statement from the Oversight Committee that weighed in on what they think of your article. And I don't know if you've had a chance to see this yet.
EBAN: I think I have. O'BRIEN: Here's what they say. "Fortune's story is a fantasy, made up almost entirely from the accounts of individuals involved in reckless tactics that took place in Operation Fast and Furious. It contains factual errors including the false statement that Chairman Issa has called for Attorney General Holder's resignation and multiple distortions. It hides critical information from readers including a report in 'The Wall Street Journal' indicating that its primary sources may be facing criminal charges.
"Congressional staff gave Fortune magazine numerous examples of false statements made by the story's primary source and the magazine did not dispute this information. It did not, however, explain this material to its readers."
Let's walk through some of this. They say it's a fantasy, it's made up of accounts of people who were involved in the recklessness that was "Fast and Furious."
EBAN: You know, that's certainly their claim. They've been repeating it for a year. Many of the things they brought to my attention are things that have already been reported by others. What I was trying to do is put aside everything that has been written so far about this claimed on television and just say what did actually happen using sources whose veracity I had to weigh carefully, all the documents that I was able to obtain, and to just take a sober look at what actually occurred.
So some of the things that they brought to my attention ultimately are not in the article because we felt that they were not germane or they were not true or they were not necessarily relevant.
O'BRIEN: And we should note that earlier this morning Chairman Issa told FOX News that the attorney general needs to either, quote, "lead or resign."
O'BRIEN: So that would seem to be an error as well.
Thank you for talking with us, Katherine Eban.
EBAN: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: Nice to have you.
EBAN: OK. Thank you. Pleasure.
O'BRIEN: A fascinating article. It's called "The Truth about the Fast and Furious Scandal." Appreciate your time.
EBAN: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: And a quick reminder. You can real Katherine's entire report at CNNMoney.com.
With us now from Washington, D.C. is Republican congressman, John Mica of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Nice to see you, sir. Thank you for your time.
REP. JOHN MICA (R), FLORIDA: Good to be with you.
O'BRIEN: I know you've had a chance to read this article --
MICA: I haven't had a chance to read the article.
O'BRIEN: Forgive me. Well --
MICA: Sometimes I -- I try not to read too many fiction or novels.
O'BRIEN: Well, we'll see how much fiction it is. She is standing certainly by her story. I know you had a chance to listen to the interview that we just did. She says that there are five people at the ATF who were involved in this -- you know, what was happening in Phoenix who say there was no policy of gun walking. It did not happen.
MICA: Well, first -- first of all, you just showed a clip of the attorney general saying that gun walking happened. Quite frankly, I'm a member of the investigative committee, one of the senior members of the panel. I don't take our investigative facts and information from a magazine or some article.
All we're interested in and all we're responsible for doing is finding out who did what, getting the pertinent documents. This is an investigative arm of the House of Representatives. There is no reason why we should be denied the documents to get to the truth of this.
O'BRIEN: But let's go --
MICA: We're not -- you know, this isn't some, we're going to make up fantasy stories or take parts of information from some writer. This is a serious investigation. People were killed --
O'BRIEN: Let's go back to what the writer is saying. Let's go back to what the writer is saying, where she's saying this is not her opinion. She's saying there are five people who were --
MICA: I don't care if there are five. I don't care if there are 10 or 20. First of all, we --
O'BRIEN: Who are ATF, who say it didn't happen. You don't care about they're -- what they're saying?
MICA: I -- we want all their information. If their testimony is pertinent, we'll bring them in. What we're asking for are the documents that are in possession of the government. And in this case, of the Department of Justice or any of its personnel that relate to this. We know that there are more than 100,000 documents. We've received about 7,000 or 8,000. That's about 7 or 8 percent. OK?
Why -- I mean this is almost a joke to say that we should rely on some article in some magazine as oppose to --
O'BRIEN: I don't think she -- I don't think she considers it a joke at all, sir.
MICA: I do. I do.
O'BRIEN: And let me ask you this.
MICA: Because I think -- I think this is making a farce out of the investigative process. Under the Constitution, under the laws of the United States, under our authority --
O'BRIEN: She is reporting for six-month --
MICA: I don't care what she -- I don't -- I really don't care what she is reporting.
O'BRIEN: Of her six-month investigations. So let me ask you another question. Let me ask --
MICA: She has nothing to do with our committee or our responsibilities under the Constitution and laws.
O'BRIEN: I would assume the committee --
MICA: I want the information as a member of this committee.
O'BRIEN: Sir, may I ask a question?
MICA: And if it's not turned over by tomorrow --
O'BRIEN: Can I ask a question?
MICA: -- we will hold in contempt, the House of Representatives, Eric Holder, the attorney general of the United States. That's close d open -- OK.
O'BRIEN: So she's saying she has spoken to people at the ATF who said gun walking did not happen. She has --
MICA: Well, you just showed me a tape --
O'BRIEN: Let me finish. Let me finish my question.
MICA: -- where the attorney general testified to --
O'BRIEN: Sir, if I may.
MICA: Go -- yes. OK.
O'BRIEN: Thank you. I appreciate that. Her article says that there is no gun walking. What evidence do you have that, in fact, there was gun walking. What's your evidence? MICA: Well, maybe I was watching a different program. I just saw Eric Holder on your -- on your television screen say that there was gun walking.
MICA: And then from --
O'BRIEN: What evidence do you have from the ATF that there was gun walking?
MICA: Well, just the attorney general. I guess we couldn't believe him. But we don't know what to believe. That's the whole point here. And we should be entitled, an investigative arm of the House of Representatives, this agency used taxpayer monies. It's authorized by the Congress of the United States and you're telling me I have to rely on some novelist or some writer? Or some information that is --
O'BRIEN: I'm telling you what the writer is raising here as some very interesting things.
Let me read to you a little bit from the article --
MICA: Well, you want to --
O'BRIEN: Let me leave you to --
MICA: We want to raise even more questions.
O'BRIEN: Let me read to you a little bit from her article.
MICA: I don't want to -- again, all I want are the facts. This is just like the old movie --
O'BRIEN: I just want to give you something from her article.
O'BRIEN: Let me read to you something from her article.
O'BRIEN: She said -- she mentions a guy who is on food stamps yet had plunked down $300,000 for 476 firearms over six months. The supervisor whose name is Dave Voth asked the ATF if they could arrest him and he was told that they could not. He could not be arrested because under the law in the state of Arizona you can buy massive numbers of guns, right? That is correct.
So his -- her argument is that there was no gun walking, that in fact it was prosecutors --
MICA: Well, again --
O'BRIEN: Let me finish my sentence. It was prosecutors, it was weak laws that, in fact, were the reason that those guns were able to get across the border.
MICA: Well, first of all, on February 4th, 2011, the Department of Justice sent us a letter that said they didn't know anything about what was going on. There was nothing. We actually know from an e- mail in March that they knew and they chose those to cover it up for another 10 months. Then they finally admitted that was -- something was going on. And just a few minutes ago, you played a tape, unless you -- unless you doctored the tape, that was the attorney general of the United States saying that he thought there was gun walking going on.
Now you're trying to tell me that a committee of Congress charged with specific jurisdiction for investigation over all of these agencies including the Department of Justice should just turn a blind eye when an agent is killed and others are murdered and we're using taxpayer hard-earned dollars to buy weapons?
O'BRIEN: Well, I would certainly never say that, sir. I would certainly never say that. But let's talk about that day you just mentioned.
MICA: And give them over to drug dealers that killed our agent.
O'BRIEN: Let's talk that date you just mentioned. February 4th, 2011.
O'BRIEN: That's a date you mentioned. Justice Department sends a letter to Senator Grassley. Grassley seems to come back with proof that the ATF had, in fact, walked guns. But he's talking actually about a different case. That there was a different case.
MICA: Well, how -- how would we know?
O'BRIEN: And that case, that case --
MICA: How would we know if we don't have the information?
O'BRIEN: According to this reporter's case, Agent John Dodson, who is the whistleblower in this did walk guns. Is it true or not the whistleblower in this case did walk guns in a totally different case? Is that true or not?
MICA: Well, again, again, this isn't rocket science. This is not complicated. We have an agency of the -- of the United States government. This is the prosecutorial arm. This is the Department of Justice buying weapons, we believe, because we don't know because we don't have the facts and they won't give us the information.
I mean I -- this is so indefensible.
O'BRIEN: But that's a yes or no question, sir.
MICA: It's beyond comprehension.
O'BRIEN: If it's a different -- if it's a different -- if it's not fast and furious, and the guy --
MICA: How would we -- how --
O'BRIEN: You're investigating it. This reporter has been doing it for six months.
MICA: How do we even separate the fact when you don't have the information and they try to keep the evidence from you? I --
O'BRIEN: This reporter has been investigating it for six months and you would be the --
MICA: I don't give a hill of beans about that reporter.
O'BRIEN: And you've been investigating it as well.
MICA: We have investigative staff who are charged by law and this committee under the Constitution of the United States has a responsibility, taxpayers' money, and an agency which we fund from the government, they bought weapons, we believe and we think that -- I don't know who did what. We're just trying to find out.
O'BRIEN: Yes, and she said done by the guy who's the whistleblower to you. That's what she says.
MICA: Well, she can say whatever she wants.
O'BRIEN: Her report said the only person who did gun walking --
MICA: She doesn't work for the committee. She wasn't elected to Congress and she isn't charged with investigating this under the laws and Constitution of the United States. She's probably a very nice lady, but that's not her responsibility. Our responsibility is to represent the citizens who are paying for this whole fiasco and seeing an agent killed.
You know, after -- we have to respond to the Terry family who came to our committee. And all I asked for was justice and a thorough investigation of the death of their loved one.
O'BRIEN: OK. Well, let's talk about that.
O'BRIEN: It seems to me that if you really wanted to keep the -- the guns, rather, going to Mexican cartels, why not advocate for stronger laws? Why not make it easier to prosecute someone who's buying 476 weapons who appears to be on food stamps at the same time?
O'BRIEN: Wouldn't that actually be a good step towards reform? MICA: That -- it could raise -- that could raise a good question. But the question at hand here is someone in the Department of Justice at whatever level devised a scheme --
O'BRIEN: But that's not my question. That's not my question.
MICA: -- to supply guns and at least one of those weapons was used in the death of a federal agent and hundreds of other -- as reported Mexican citizens.
O'BRIEN: And if you wanted to stop that from happening again, why not make the laws stronger?
MICA: Well, first --
O'BRIEN: Why not make the laws --
O'BRIEN: -- so that one person cannot buy 476 guns over six months, who, by the way, seems to be on food stamps and has no money?
MICA: Well, what we should do is first of all make certain that the Department of Justice isn't buying those weapons and supplying them to drug dealers and murderers, and those weapons are used against an agent. Find out what went wrong. Make certain that with an agency of the United States government, that this never happens again.
And furthermore that the people responsible for one of the most horrendous acts we've ever seen out of the Department of Justice, our chief prosecutorial office, that those people are held accountable. We're going to do that one way or the other.
O'BRIEN: There is -- why not a database, electric database that would be able to track gun sales in real time? Because according to this article, if you have that, the ATF agents wouldn't have to go by hand and try to backtrack weapons. The NRA does not support that. The NRA has --
MICA: Again --
O'BRIEN: Has been working against that. So why not support a gun sales database?
MICA: Well, again, a gun sale database is just trying to get the Department of Justice to keep track of the guns that they're purchasing and supplying to drug dealers and murderers. I mean, wow. Come on, let's get the government under control before we start restricting the rights of -- innocent citizens. Come on.
O'BRIEN: So a database -- a database that would track --
MICA: You have so many peripheral issues you're throwing out there.
(CROSSTALK) O'BRIEN: I'm not. I'm just actually trying to read the article --
MICA: I just want -- how about a database --
O'BRIEN: -- and ask the questions off of it.
MICA: How about -- how about a database in the Department of Justice just keep track of the mess you've created, the murder -- the murders that have been conducted with weapons paid by taxpayer dollars across the border. Now we see some of those weapons are in the United States, too.
This is a scheme that was cooked up by some people who don't want to -- the facts to come out in the Department of Justice.
O'BRIEN: You don't seem that interested in reading the article --
MICA: I don't know what --
O'BRIEN: You don't seem that interested talking to five ATF agents who say it didn't happen.
MICA: It could be Washington, it could be Atlanta, it could be Arizona.
O'BRIEN: You don't seem -- sir? You don't seem that interested in tracking down five ATF agents who said gun walking didn't happen.
MICA: I think we should track down everyone and hold everyone accountable. But that's part of our investigation. Right now, you have impeding that investigation, both the Department of Justice, now the president of the United States with his executive privilege he's invoked, and also with the attorney general who came before us and his agency provided us with an initial information that was not truthful. We just want to get the truth, the facts, and hold people accountable.
And in a responsible society --
O'BRIEN: I think a lot of people would --
MICA: -- with a responsible --
O'BRIEN: I think a lot of people would agree with you. They'd like the truth --
O'BRIEN: -- the facts and to hold people responsible as well.
MICA: And that's all I ask. I don't ask for one thing more and I think the people of the United States that we represent deserve that.
O'BRIEN: I'm going to agree with you on that, sir.
MICA: I'm going to do all I can in my power to see that they get that information.
O'BRIEN: And I would agree with you on that, too, sir.
Congressman Mica, thank you for talking with us.
MICA: I'm a persistent person. Thank you.
O'BRIEN: As am I, sir. No question about that.
So everybody who's watching, you can let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. You can certainly follow us on Twitter as well, @ac360. You can follow me as well, Soledad -- @soledad_o'brien.
We're also on the eve of what could be an epic ruling from the Supreme Court on health care reform. You'd probably been hearing a lot about the hype about the law and what the ruling could mean. We're going to try to counter all of that with the facts. We're "Keeping Them Honest." That's coming up next.
O'BRIEN: We are also "Keeping Them Honest" tonight with the truth about health care reform and the consequences of tomorrow's Supreme Court decision on it. You can see people already staking out their spots outside the court tonight. Many have already staked positions on the law. Some have stirred up a storm of hype like you've never seen before.
Tonight we're going to try to cut through all the noise and get to some of the facts. Because, "Keeping Them Honest," you're not getting them from supporters of the law or opponents. Instead, when it comes to the health care debate in America, you're getting this.
O'BRIEN: That's a liberal group's response to Republican Paul Ryan's plan to reform Medicare by changing it into a private voucher program. That was followed by an ad from a group called American Doctors for Truth. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But Mr. President, we're not just talking about my pain. We're talking about my life. No, no. The doctors they tried the pills and the pills just don't work. No, no, I need a pacemaker.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make no mistake about it. President Obama and the Democrats who supported Obamacare began throwing seniors off the cliff back on March 30th, 2010 when they voted to cut Medicare's budget by $575 billion. (END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Yes. Seniors off the cliff. You get the idea. This is what we're dealing with here. Tomorrow, though, we're going to know whether the Supreme Court will uphold or strike down parts or all of the law. So tonight, all the angles, starting with Tom Foreman, who's been looking at the competing claims about Obamacare, as it's called, that just aren't so.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, Soledad, Democrats and Republicans have vigorously debated a key question from the very start. How much money will health care reform save or cost taxpayers. Their comments have generally gone this way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: That means that children with pre-existing conditions can -- can get care, young people can stay on their parents' policy until they're 26. Pregnant women and breast and prostate cancer patients can no longer be thrown off their insurance. Our seniors are paying less for their medical prescriptions. Taken together it will save taxpayers $1.3 trillion.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), MAJORITY LEADER: And we are going to repeal it and we're going to do everything we can over the course of however long it takes to stop this because it will ruin the best health care system in the world. It'll bankrupt our nation and it will ruin our economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Massive, huge conflicting claims. Both sides say that their numbers come from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. And CBO has said over and over again that health care reform will cost more than $1 trillion over this next nine years, but it will be offset by savings to the government, meaning despite all of that spending, the deficit should actually get smaller under this plan.
So the Democrats are right? Hold on. The government may save money, but that does not necessarily mean that you, taxpayers, as Nancy Pelosi said, doesn't mean you will save money necessarily. Depending on how you and your family fit into this equation. You may pay additional taxes, additional fees. And here's one last important point to consider from the CBO director.
Because of the size and scope of this reform, he says, certainly projections of the effects of this legislation are quite uncertain. In other words, for either party to assert that they know that these numbers are going to add up to some particular thing in 10 or 20 years is absolutely misleading -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: There's also a debate over job killer or job creator. Which is it? FOREMAN: Yes, you know, it's a great question here. Both of them say that there's this whole big job thing going on out there that one of them is going to drive up the cost of -- they're going to be -- this costs to small businesses. They can't support jobs. Other people saying that there's going to be this growth of huge amount of jobs, the Democrats say that.
The simple truth is that this also is not a very clear thing. A lot of groups have looked at it. And by and large what they've said is it seems to be a sort of a negligible change here. That there will be some jobs lost, but some of that will be because people simply leave the work force. Because they hold jobs now because they want to keep the insurance and they may leave later on.
Again, the CBO director, when he's asked about this whole notion, he essentially says what it comes down to is the workforce could decrease by 1/2 of 1 percent. I think that makes the claims about jobs on both sides, if they'll all be wiped out or they'll growth enormously, fall somewhere between incomplete and misleading -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: All right, Tom Foreman, thank you.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, has lots of moving parts. That much is undeniable, whatever else you think of the law. Parts to make insurance more affordable, make sure people can't be denied coverage, and of course, the individual mandate. Making healthy people buy insurance, paying into the system and not just sick people taking money out.
So joining us to talk about how those parts all fit together and how the Supreme Court might take those parts apart, our 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta and also our senior legal analyst, Jeff Toobin who has been listening to oral arguments in the case and called them a disaster for the administration.
Jeff, let's start with you. Not only did you say a disaster, that's a quote, by the way, you said a train wreck, you said a plane wreck. You said the individual mandate is doomed, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Has anything changed your mind since then and now?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Nope. The only thing we know is the oral argument. The Supreme Court is the one leak-proof institution in Washington and there have been no leaks about deliberations in this case.
In my experience, this Supreme Court when you hear what they say at oral argument. That is a very, very good tip as to how they will vote in the case. I thought the conservatives were very hostile, more hostile than I expected.
And I still believe that there will be some sort of negative outcome whether it's just the individual mandate or the whole law. That I can't say I really have a clear view of.
O'BRIEN: All right, so Sanjay, let's say hypothetically that in fact the individual mandate is ruled unconstitutional. What does that literally mean for patients? What does that literally mean for insurance companies?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it means two things. First of all, you know, the basic premises of the people who are buying into the system help offset the cost of people who are sick and require more money to pay for their health care.
You get healthy people to pay in. They're actually sort of the cash, if you will, for the system. But, you know, it's something else -- this is more psychological.
If you're not going to be discriminated against based on a pre- existing condition, why would you buy health care insurance until you're already sick. It's like buying car insurance after you're already you're on the side of the road in a middle of a wreck.
So that sort of amplifies the problem. So this exact situation happened in Kentucky. They tried this at the state level when they said we're not going to have a mandate. We're also not going to allow insurance companies to discriminate based on, you know, pre-existing illness.
And what happened was the insurance premiums for everybody across the state went up about 40 percent. So, it affected people who were insured and really had, you know, nothing to do with this particular debate.
O'BRIEN: What if the whole entire thing is thrown out?
GUPTA: Well, then we're literally back to square one. I mean, you know, you have tens of millions of people who don't have health care insurance. You know, both sides of the party have said that they want to do something here.
I had a conversation with the health care policy adviser for Governor Romney. And that he said, you know, obviously Governor Romney had a mandate in the state of Massachusetts as governor.
He said look, we will continue to push for people not to be discriminated against based on pre-existing conditions and we will open up insurance across state lines.
So you can compete by buying insurance here versus there and that may drive down costs. They also want to incentivize healthy people to buy health insurance as opposed to penalizing them if they don't. But again, these are all things that are theoretical at this point.
O'BRIEN: Yes, all right, Jeff, let's give you the final question. So if the individual mandate or even if the entire law is thrown out, let's look at the implications of that.
You and I have talked before about people saying that the Supreme Court justices themselves seemed to be, you know, politically aligned.
TOOBIN: Well, you know, this court, the most significant fact you can know about this current Supreme Court is that there are five Republicans and four Democrats. Everything else is just conversation.
This is a politically divided institution, just as the Congress is across First Street so many of the important cases come out 5-4. Citizens United came out 5-4.
If this is a 5-4 decision with the five Republicans against the four Democrats and it overturns some significant part of the health care law. That will contribute to a certain cynicism about the work of the Supreme Court, but that cynicism might be justified.
O'BRIEN: We're watching it. It's going to happen tomorrow. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, yes, 10:00 a.m. Sanjay, thank you. Jeff Toobin, thank you. Appreciate it.
Coming up, tens of thousands of evacuations as a wildfire threatens more neighborhoods in and around Colorado Springs. I'm going to talk to a woman who literally to run to her apartment with her young son. That's coming up next.
O'BRIEN: President Obama is scheduled to go to Colorado on Friday to survey the damage from those devastating wildfires and thank firefighters for their hard and dangerous work.
There are more evacuations today as the giant wildfire threatens more neighborhoods in and around Colorado Springs. Take a look at some of these stunning pictures from the "Denver Post."
There are many photos at the denverpost.com. The Waldo Canyon fire has burned more than 15,000 acres. There are now 12 wildfires working across that state.
The FBI's Denver's office is working with other agencies to try to figure the cause of those fires. Mindy Levinson is one of the thousands of Colorado Springs residents forced to leave home because of the fire.
Last night, she was evacuated along with her young son and I spoke to her a short while ago.
O'BRIEN: So, Mindy, let's talk about what happened yesterday. I know you were heading back home and you were told suddenly to evacuate. What happened exactly?
MINDY LEVINSON, EVACUATED FROM HOME DUE TO FIRES: I got home, I stopped to drop stuff off at the high school. I got home, took a shower and I stepped out of the shower and smoke filled the apartment. The smell was awful and choking, and looked outside, I couldn't see anything else. It was time to get out of dodge.
O'BRIEN: My gosh, you must have been so afraid?
LEVINSON: Terrified. But I had to hold it together for my son. O'BRIEN: So you had thought that it might have come to this eventually where you're going to have to grab your stuff and get out. How much time did you have to get everything and why did you think it could come to this?
LEVINSON: I had my 72-hour kit prepared already in my car. Looking back, I wish I had prepared a little more. I would encourage other viewers who are in my situation to maybe pack a little more and consider what they are missing.
O'BRIEN: What are you missing? What do you wish you had brought?
LEVINSON: A lot of pictures, just mementos of the things I have gone through in my life. Things I would like to remember and have a physical remembrance of.
O'BRIEN: Any idea how your apartment is right now? I mean, has it been overtaken by fire?
LEVINSON: Right now, I have a friend who is a firefighter on the ground. I would like to thank very much for all his hard work, but he's trying to keeping an eye on my place as much as he can.
And as far as I know it's not been overtaken as of yet. The winds, however, are blowing in that direction. So I'm crossing my fingers and saying some prayers.
O'BRIEN: Gosh, we are too for you and everybody who's dealing with this. The pictures are just stunning honestly. They break your heart.
Describe for me what it's like. I mean, we're seeing it from a distance and it looks horrific and the smoke looks like it's choking. What was it like to be in the middle of that?
LEVINSON: It was like Armageddon. You couldn't see anything but smoke and glowing red all around you. You couldn't see where the fire was. You just knew it was close.
And then coming down where you could see a little through the smoke. You could see all the flames advancing down the mountain. You know, just so rapidly. It was amazing in such a tragic way.
O'BRIEN: Tell me about where you're staying now, Mindy, and how your son is doing now that you're out of the apartment.
LEVINSON: We are staying down with some wonderful friends in the Army that opened their doors to us. My son is in heaven right playing Xbox with a new best friend. So, you know, distraction is really great right now.
O'BRIEN: Yes, it is. It is certainly when you're 8 years old and I bet it is for you, too. Mindy Levinson, thank you for sharing your story with us. We wish you the best of luck and we'll keep updating on what's happening with your home. Appreciate it you joining us.
LEVINSON: Thank you, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: To find out ways that you can help those wildfire victims, you can go to cnn.com/impact.
Coming up next, a sexual predator with many faces but no name, he's known as the "Teardrop Rapist." And Los Angeles police are warning parents not to let their daughters walk alone until he's caught. We've got the full story coming up.
O'BRIEN: In "Crime and Punishment" tonight, a massive effort is under way by the Los Angeles Police Department to catch the so-called "Teardrop Rapist." And the city is offering a $50,000 reward for information that will help put him behind bars.
More now from Miguel Marquez who joins us with the very latest. Good evening.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good evening there, Soledad. This "Teardrop Rapist" has struck again. CNN has learned that 12 days ago, this man attempted to rape a young woman right in central Los Angeles. And now police are redoubling their efforts. It is a city wide man hunt.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): He's called the "Teardrop Rapist," gone for seven years, but now he's back, terrorizing the streets of Los Angeles.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're asking parents to ensure their young teenage daughters are accompanied.
MARQUEZ: Since 1996, police have linked him to attacks on 35 women, most of them young and then in 2005, he stopped, seemingly disappeared.
(on camera): This case was totally cold and then came back to life?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Detectives, Arlene Johnson and Jesse Alvarado, are leading a team of 20 investigators dedicated to catching one of the most notorious predators in Los Angeles history. His crimes commit committed along a 10-mile corridor running through the center of the city.
DETECTIVE JESSE ALVARADO, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT: But once you open that map up, you'll find that 4 or 5 miles stretches.
MARQUEZ (on camera): For the third time he hits many miles away, way up north. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then he jumps all the way down south where he hits very close to each other.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): The investigation -- massive, 700 boxes old and closed cases dating back to 1996 have been ordered up. Detectives comb through them, looking for missing clues, connected cases, even mislaid files, a pain staking re-examination of the entire case.
ALVARADO: We're starting from the beginning. We want to make sure we have everything to look at.
MARQUEZ: New clues discovered. Two sketches of the suspect buried in old case files. The drawings date back to 1996. Some of them spot on, in others, his face different.
Even the tear drop isn't consistent, at times on the right, then on the left. Sometimes two drops, others not there at all.
(on camera): Some of them look very much alike. Some look nothing alike. Is this typical in a case like this?
ALVARADO: Actually it is. I think what you're dealing with victims that range from 14 to 41 years of age.
DETECTIVE SHARLENE JOHNSON, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT: When someone is involved in a situation like this where it's very violent and it happens very quickly. There's a gun involved. There's a knife involved, some type of a weapon, every person focuses on something different.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): But they are the same man. Six of the stretches have been tied together by DNA evidence. Where there is no DNA, the predator is tied to crimes by his very specific method.
He strikes early in the morning, starts a friendly conversation, pulls out a knife or a gun and moves the women to a nearby secluded area.
(on camera): One thread running through many of these assaults is the women were either coming to or leaving a bus stop. In 2003, a young woman was grabbed here and taken around the corner. He then moved her down this very long alley here and this is where the assault occurred.
(voice-over): It is possible the rapist watches his victims for hours or days before striking, profiling the area and them.
(on camera): Why is it so hard to catch a guy like this?
JOHNSON: In one way, you could almost say, I don't know if he's smart or he's lucky about the areas he's chosen.
ALVARADO: And he blends in. He blends into the community so much that he can walk up and spark a conversation and the victim doesn't feel threatened until a weapon is seen. MARQUEZ: Alvarado, Johnson and other investigators are returning to every single crime scene, familiarizing themselves with every aspect of the case.
ALVARADO: It's going to be that one little thing where someone says, you know, what it looks like this guy I used to work with. His name was Joe Smith.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Investigators here are confident they'll get their man if they can force that one clue into the light, a clue that would put a serial rapist in prison. Miguel Marquez, CNN, Los Angeles.
O'BRIEN: So how do you stop a sexual predator who's so adept at blending in and so good at not getting caught?
Joining me now is former FBI profiler, Mary Ellen O'Toole. She is also the author of "Dangerous Instincts, How Gut Feelings Betray Us."
It's nice to see you. Explain to me what would make a predator like this go quiet for such a long time and then resurface?
MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well, we think he's gone can quiet, when in fact, the crime of rape is a very under reported crime. So there is a good possibility that there other rapes out there that just simply have never been reported.
At the same time, there are possibilities that he has been arrested, incarcerated. That he's relocated. But another consideration that I think is very important is that we know there are cases where the offender has had a life change.
In other words, he's gotten married or he's taken on a new, for example, family responsibility so he's not free to go out and follow and assault these women so all three of those possibilities could exist in this case.
O'BRIEN: He's been consistent in his M.O., the location and time of day. He's been inconsistent in the age of the victims, anywhere from 14 to 41. What are those things tell you?
O'TOOLE: The fact that his modus operandi or his M.O. is the same suggests that has worked for him in the past. And the M.O. for a behavioral standpoint, it indicates -- it's defined as behavior the offender engages in to keep from being arrested.
So he goes out early morning hours, he picks someone by themselves where is there's no witnesses around. So those are behaviors that really minimize his risk of being apprehended.
But his signature behaviors can involve more of the sexual, the sexual activity that he engages in. The fact that there's a range in your victim's age would suggest to me behaviorally that this is someone that really picks the opportunity.
And doesn't stay on a corner and wait for a specific looking person of a specific age, so he's very opportunistic when it comes to access of his victims.
O'BRIEN: Mary Ellen O'Toole, thanks for that insight. Appreciate it.
O'TOOLE: You're very welcome.
O'BRIEN: Coming up next, the Syrian government says a bombing at a pro-regime TV station has killed three journalists and at least four security guards, and says the massacre will not go unpunished. That's straight ahead.
O'BRIEN: The latest now on some of other stories we're following right now. Isha Sesay has a"360 News and Business Bulletin." Hi, Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Soledad. At least seven people were killed in the bombing of a pro regime television station. A state run news agency says three journalists and four security guards died in the station's headquarters near Damascus. Opposition groups say at least 83 people were killed in violence throughout Syria today.
Federal investigators are looking into whether stowaways are hidden inside a shipping container aboard a cargo ship docked in Newark, New Jersey. A Coast Guard team heard sounds from the inside a container during a routine security check. The ship started from India and made stops in Pakistan and Egypt.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Wednesday approved the medication Belvic for treatment of chronic weight problems in adults who have medical conditions caused by their obesity. Combined with reduced calorie diet and exercise, patients in trials lost up to 5 percent of their body weight.
And Soledad, cue the Jersey smells jokes. Trucks carrying billboards that smell like cotton candy will be cruising parking lots to advertise the New Jersey State Fair.
O'BRIEN: That sounds good. All right, Isha, thanks. Time now for "The Shot." Every bride and groom takes the plunge when they say I do. But a newly couple in Michigan literally took the plunge along with their entire wedding party.
They were posing on a pier for picture. They all took an unexpected swim. This is what you call a little glitch. Nobody was hurt, apparently. The groom, though, has some explaining to do.
Watch the slow mo version of the groom. Watch him carefully. What does he do? Does he check on his darling bride? No, you notice he saves himself. She's on her own. It's every man for himself? This one. Nobody was hurt fortunately, but he might want to work on that, you know, for better or worse, stick together.
SESAY: I'm just thinking just married and already in the doghouse.
O'BRIEN: Yes, he is. I like that. All right, Isha, thanks. We're going to be right back.
O'BRIEN: We'll be back with the "RidicuList" countdown tomorrow. We ran out of time tonight. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts right now.