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Deadly Lion Attack; Rand Paul's Filibuster Continues; The Furor Over Roger Ailes' Comments; Don King Describes Friendship with Deceased Former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

Aired March 6, 2013 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, when wild animals attack a woman is dead in a lion cage in the sanctuary for big cats. Jack Hanna tells me how it could happen and what we need to know.

CNN exclusive. Inside this country's illegal gun trade. Our interview with a confidential informant who says stricter laws simply won't help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about stronger gun laws?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That won't help.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because criminals don't care about the gun laws.

MORGAN: So the book of Ailes. The FOX News chief. Calls the president lazy, the vice president, quote, "as dumb as an ashtray", and Newt Gingrich a word I couldn't possibly repeat. And this is the authorized biography.

And the king and his court. From Mohammed Ali to Mike Tyson, to Hugo Chavez, to the one and only Don King, joins me exclusively to talk about his surprising connections.


Good evening. You're looking live at the Senate floor where an extraordinary filibuster has been going now for more than nine hours. We'll get to that in a few moments.

And also, lots more tonight on a CNN exclusive investigation of illegal gun trafficking and my sit-down with the one and only Don King. Perhaps the very last month you'd expect to have a personal connection to Hugo Chavez. He'll tell his story tonight.

We begin with breaking news on that deadly lion attack in California. A 26-year-old female intern was killed in a lion's case this afternoon at the Project Survival Cat Haven. The lion named Couscous was shot and killed. He'd been raised at that animal sanctuary from the age of eight weeks.

The organization is still investigating but there's no word yet about what might have led to the attack. Listen to the emotional founder of the sanctuary, Dale Anderson.


DALE ANDERSON, FOUNDER, PROJECT SURVIVAL CAT HAVEN: Our thoughts and prayers go out to the -- our friend and family -- and to our family at this time and this trying time.


MORGAN: I want to bring in a man who knows more about big cats as about anybody else. Jack Hannah, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. But first, a woman who worked with the sanctuary where the lion in today's deadly attack lived. Has even been in the cage with Couscous. Here's Jenny Michaels of the Jungle Jenny Foundation, and joins me via Skype.

Jenny, you have personal knowledge of both the sanctuary and indeed of the lion which was the center of the attack today who's sadly been put down. Tell me about your experience. Was there anything in your encounter with this particular cat which made you feel that there may be a problem down the line?

JENNY MICHAELS, THE JUNGLE JENNY FOUNDATION: No, there was no indication when I was in the case, in the enclosure with Couscous, you know, that -- you know, made me feel uncomfortable or -- you know, I didn't see any type of aggressive behavior or anything that I needed to be worried about while I was in with him.

MORGAN: We are looking at a exclusive here, I think of you with Couscous. When you were walking around the sanctuary itself, did he seem to you to be a very well ran sanctuary? Were there any issues about security, about perhaps the level of training for the staff there?

MICHAELS: Absolutely. They're very -- it was really well run, very professional, I can tell you that it's a wonderful beautiful place where -- you know, anyone can go and learn awesome things about all these wonderful cats.

MORGAN: Just going to take a listen here to some of the footage. This is actually you interacting with Couscous the lion, again, to remind viewers, the lion that killed this young female intern today.

Let's just take a listen to some of this.


MICHAELS: We are going over to the African lions and I'm going into the den.

ANDERSON: This is Cousy and Cousy is what's called in North African or Barbary lion. He's a youngster. He's still only 2 1/2 to almost -- he'll be 3 in November. So his mane takes about four years to come in. So he's still got a little mane to go here. And Cousy is about 500 pounds. The North Africans were killed off in the wild about the 1920s.


ANDERSON: So all of the ones you see here are in captivity.

MICHAELS: So, Dale, How much food does he eat every day?

ANDERSON: He eats about eight pounds of food a day. Always red meat and chicken. Do you have a lion by the tail?

MICHAELS: Just today.


MORGAN: I believe he was about 350 pounds. And obviously that was a pretty happy bit of video footage there of a apparently perfectly normal lion that looked to be in a normal habitat albeit in captivity obviously.

In terms of the intern who has died here, would you have expected somebody who was simply an intern to be inside the cage?

MICHAELS: You know, Piers, I really don't know the circumstances but I can tell you that my interaction over at Project Survival Cat Haven, they've been very professional and you know, they've always run their protocol very strictly. It did look like we were having a lot of -- a lot of fun, however, during that shoot, there were many people outside of the cage. If you can see in the video, the door was open and I was very close in proximity of that along with another area that I would have been protected.

So there were a lot of -- a lot of protocol and things that were going on behind the scenes even though it looks like a very fun video.

MORGAN: Let me bring in Jack Hanna now.

Jack, obviously a terrible tragedy today for the poor young woman who lost her life, for the lion that's had to be shot and killed. I did a bit of a research earlier about the number of animals in captivity that killed in the U.S. since 2007. There have been nine people killed by about -- a variety of animals, bears, tigers, elephants and painted dogs. Only one by a lion and that was the incident today. So it's very unusual. The first lion death in -- at least six years.

Were you shocked when you heard this? And from what have gleaned, what do you think may have happened here?

JACK HANNA, DIRECTOR EMERITUS, COLUMBIA ZOO AND AQUARIUM: Well, you know, Piers, obviously, it's a shock anytime someone loses a life like this. But I -- I've heard this place is quite a nice place. The point I guess, and I'm confused about, Piers, is the fact that, was there someone else there with her when this happened? As far as an intern or a volunteer, I can't see that happening in this place. There must have been somebody somewhere that had to see this. Because no one would go in with a full grown lion by themselves no matter what the attitude of the lion is.

I used to raise lions. I had to pick up the arm of a 3-year-old boy, Piers, that lost his arm in 1972 in Tennessee at the place I raised lions and animals for other zoos. So I know what these animals could do. When I feel a lion in the wild, they could take an animal out in less than 10 seconds. So this is a wild animal. And sanctuaries are very important in this country. And my understanding is this is a nice sanctuary. I've never been in the sanctuary but again, the question goes back to, as you just asked, would an intern be in there by herself? The lion -- I -- waiting to hear that answer.

MORGAN: I mean, Dale Anderson, the founder, said, "A female volunteer intern entered the lion's enclosure where she was attacked and fatally injured. The lion was shot and killed per our safety protocols." No real detail there about whether anybody else was there.

Tell me about lions in captivity generally, Jack. Are they, by nature -- when they're in captivity, would they be overtly aggressive in a situation like that? Or would it be a more defensive mechanism if they felt that somebody was intruding into their space?

HANNA: Well, depending on how long this girl had been there. You know, if the girl knew the lion, that type of thing. That's one thing. But, still, Piers, they're wild animals. No -- end of story. No matte what anyone says. They are wild animals. And we have great sanctuaries. We need some of these sanctuaries that are credited, United States Department of Agriculture, the state of California has strict laws. And all of that type of thing. But a lion is a very -- is called a king of beasts obviously for certain reasons. This is a male lion in the wild. Usually the female will do the kill or whatever it might be.

But in this situation, again, I'll try to read everything I read about this the last hour and I can't seem to find anything else out. What I need to know is, again, we go back to why it was there. A lion is a powerful animal. You've got to make -- they can take down a cape buffalo in less than 15 seconds or even less than that.

So you're dealing with something here that is -- you know, is dangerous. I'm not going to say like a loaded gun, you get letters on that. I'm just saying these animals are like -- let's say grenade or something going off. And that -- who knows what can turn an animal. We might have seen something, heard something. You never know with a wild animal what could happen.

But in our -- in our part of the Columbia Zoo, once we have the animals, and they had to be taken to their mom for some reason or another, we might raise them to three to six months and they're no longer -- we had baby tigers last year at six months. No one goes near with him unless a veterinarian is there. Unless they're put down for a physical, that type of thing. So it's just something we don't do that.

Now do I use a cheetah for some of my shows? I've been asked that question already this evening. Yes, I do. We have two people with it. With two different types of collars. The cheetah is a wild cat but is also a cat that's not a very powerful cat. But we try and educate folks, and that's why we try to do out best in the zoological world.

MORGAN: Well, you brought the cheetah on to my set, I remember. It was full grown cheetah.

HANNA: Right.

MORGAN: It was extremely powerful. And I was quite shocked actually to be that close up to a cat that size. First of being on such close proximity, I could sense real raw power and that wasn't a lion. So I can only imagine what a fully grown lion --


MORGAN: -- would feel like in close proximity.

Let me ask you this, Jack. I mean, what it will do, as all these incidents tend to do, it will raise the debate again about whether a fully grown lion like this beast Couscous should ever be in captivity in this way? Clearly it's an ongoing debate. What is your answer to people who say they shouldn't be in captivity (INAUDIBLE)?

HANNA: Well, the point is, Piers, in the zoological world, they're there. In 99.9 percent of them that are there, they come from other zoological parks, not the wild. And what we have done there, Piers, is a little bit over $42 million by the zoos in this country -- zoos. $42 million were sent to animals in the wild last year by the way. The research we have in the wild going on now, what we learn about lions in the zoological world is very important. The lion is an ambassador to their species. The zoological parks today, most animals live better than most people throughout the world.

So, you know, we debate -- continue to debate this and this isn't going to faze the Columbia Zoo or any other zoo in this country. We're going to continue to have our lions, we're going to continue to educate the public. And we're going to continue to tell them that this is a king of beast, this is a wild animal, it's an animal we don't want to lose in nature.

And by the way, lions could disappear, Piers, you need to know this. People say back in the wild. Lions have gone down the tubes. I was in Africa in 1978 we have lost over 60 percent of the lion population in Africa. Sixty percent. We cannot continue that. The lions will not be here anywhere in the wild the next 20 years. That's why we have the zoological parks today that teach us more about the lion and what we can do to help save the lion.

MORGAN: Jenny, final thought from you about this. It's obviously just a really sad day all around, isn't it? I mean, obviously for the poor woman who've been killed.

MICHAELS: This thing is sad.

MORGAN: But also for the lion and for everyone really involved.

HANNA: Right. The whole thing is sad, Piers. The family, the woman, the gentleman that owns that sanctuary. I guarantee you, he's suffering more just as much as the family is. And this is not something, you know, this is -- yes, we have these things happen, Piers. Yes, there are people that might be in a NASCAR race. But again, the analogy is very simple. We will continue our work with these animals in the zoological parks that are credited throughout this country as well as we credited the sanctuaries. Without them, we will not have any more lions in the wild. We will not have any more lions other than you see in a painting or a movie or somewhere.

MORGAN: Right. And, Jenny, final word from you?

MICHAELS: You know, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this young woman. And obviously she loved animals and, you know, a place like survival -- Project Survival Cat Haven is -- it's really important. It's important for people to go there and experience and see these animals. Because they can't see them in the wild.

And when you get that experience you really care about these animals and you want to make a difference. So, you know, my thought is, you know, support these types of educational places.

MORGAN: Jenny and Jack, thank you both very much for joining me.

HANNA: Thank you, Piers.

MICHAELS: Thank you.

MORGAN: Coming up next, Roger Ailes, uncensored. What the FOX News chief is saying about Obama, Gingrich and more. I'll my all-star panel about Ailes's stinging comments and the filibuster still going on the Senate floor, now into its 9th hour.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mr. President. I come to the floor of the Senate in great admiration of the senator from Kentucky and what he's doing to try to get information. All we are asked to do is give advice and consent.


MORGAN: Unfolding live as the Senate filibuster for the nomination of John Brennan, the CIA director. Senator Rand Paul's been leading that charge, and since noon today, he has been talking pretty much non-stop on the Senate floor. Just taking a very quick break. But he was there a few seconds ago, vowing to speak until he can no longer speak.

Well, let's bring in our all-star panel now. CNN contributor and New Yorker correspondent Ryan Lizza. And McKay Coppins, Buzzfeed political editor. And welcome to you both. It is a fascinating thing that is going down in the Senate. Very unusual. You don't have to do this anymore. But Rand Paul is making a big statement. And the statement he's making is he doesn't like what Mr. Holder is doing in relation to saying if I want to use a drone against an American citizen in America, than I can do that. I have the right to do that. He says that is wrong, unconstitutional. What is your reaction to what's happening?

MCKAY COPPINS, BUZZFEED POLITICAL EDITOR: It is an interesting moment because there has always been this contingent of civil libertarians in Congress that the military way overstretches their bounds and crosses boundaries in terms of what they can do. This is kind of a moment. This is where civil libertarians have arrived on the national stage. And you know, CNN is covering it wall to wall. All of the networks are -

MORGAN: I don't see -- I feel like I'm totally on Rand Paul's side to do what he is doing. I'm not necessarily agreeing with the whole argument, but Ryan, it's an interesting debate, isn't it Ryan? Because I think what he is doing is democracy at its best. And he is a courageous politician making a proper stand.

Here is the thing, though, about the debate itself. I can't decide -- I agree with him completely about transparency and the lack of transparency from the Obama administration about drones to me is completely unacceptable. But on the specific issue of whether a government should be able to use a drone against an American citizen in America is slightly muddier, that debate. Because the police, the military are authorized to use extremely powerful weaponry if they wish to against an American citizen in America. What is the difference really, other than drones sound scarier about the ability to use a drone?

RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that is a good point, Piers. And then sometimes we talk about drones - you know, on the battlefield, what is the difference between firing a mortar shell at an enemy versus a drone. And I think we are a little bit hung up on the technology itself rather than the specific instances when it's used.

And as you point out and lots of people have pointed out today, the government has the power to kill us, right, under certain circumstances.

But the very specific questions he is asking is the case of an al Qaeda sympathizer that was taken out, say, where the government says they have the right to take out in Pakistan, could they do the same thing? Could they essentially assassinate someone on American soil? And I think that is one of the questions he is trying to get some clarity about. And to the shock of a lot of people, the administration has been a little fuzzy on that --

MORGAN: Well, I'm not surprised, to be honest. I mean, let's come back to you, McKay. I mean, of course they're being fuzzy. Because if it is okay to assassinate American citizens in Pakistan for grievous offenses against the state, what is the difference really between doing it there or doing it in Texas? COPPINS: Right. Well, I think that the shocking moment that kind of brought this all to a head was when Rand Paul asked and Senator Ted Cruz has asked the same question: if there was an American citizen sitting at a cafe and the government felt for some reason that this person had to be assassinated, could they use a drone to take that person out at a cafe?

That's a very vivid image, right? And that's a question that I think Eric Holder actually hedged. He said, I don't think that would be appropriate. But I don't know that that would be unconstitutional. And that shocked a lot of people, right?

LIZZA: That's the issue here is the hedging on that very specific question that most people if you asked them will shake their head and think, my God, of course the government shouldn't be able to do that. And yet, maybe that's the authority that the administration is asserting for itself by being so vague.

And so I'm with you, Piers, on this. I don't care what your politics are. And Rand Paul's got some interesting views that I don't agree with. It's very easy to be cynical, but what he is doing is should be admired. He's making substantive arguments for going on eight hours now. And you know, this is the way a filibuster should work --

MORGAN: I agree. I think we should salute Rand Paul's right to do this, and the fact that he's doing it is commendable.

Let's move quickly to this Roger Ailes furor on display today. Books pouring out of every possible sphere. Authorized, unauthorized, you name it. Some very controversial stuff in the authorized one, which is written by Zev Chafetz. Official biography, Roger Ailes off-camera. He, of course is the head honcho of Fox News.

And he seems to be letting everybody have it. He calls Joe Biden - says, "I have a soft spot for Joe Biden. I like him, but he's as dumb as an ashtray." He calls the president, Barack Obama, "lazy." He calls Newt Gingrich - I wasn't going to use this word, but we're all grownups. He calls Newt Gingrich a prick. I mean, this is the stuff of tabloid lurid headlines for about a week. Which I'm sure you won't care about.

But Ryan, let's discuss for a moment Roger Ailes. A, is he worth all these biographies? B, what do you think his lasting legacy with Fox News will be?

LIZZA: Well, on the first question, he's definitely worth a biography or two. He has had incredible influence on the news media since the mid-90s when he started Fox News. So, no doubt about it, he's a worthy subject and has had impact.

The second question is the key here. I said I wasn't that cynical about what Rand Paul is doing. I'm a little bit more cynical about Roger Ailes is doing. I think what he's trying to do here, and has every right to do it is this is sort of legacy burnishing part of his life. If you look at the article that Vanity Fair posted today, most of the anecdotes were about Ailes and his -- besides the quotes that you quoted, Piers, the anecdotes were about him with his children, him not living to see his kids grow up because he's older than his kids.

And to me, this is Roger Ailes trying to get out of a much tougher biography that is going to be coming out later in the year by an author named Gabriel Sherman. And you know, there is probably room for both of these books.

MORGAN: Yes, let me bring in McKay. I mean, he's a fascinating character, Roger Ailes. I'm actually a big fan of his, because whether you agree with what he's done or not, he's a fantastic television producer. He has produced a cracking news network. It has a right- winged slant; everyone knows that. But you can't argue with the success. And my view has always if you don't like it, you don't have to watch Fox.

COPPINS: You can change the channel. And I would go even further than being a big media honcho. I mean, he's really probably one of a handful of the most influential Republicans in the country. I mean, you watch Fox News, that is the face of conservatism right now.

MORGAN: And if they turn on you, as Sarah Palin and others have found -

COPPINS: Exactly.

MORGAN: It is history.

COPPINS: Yes. Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum both complained that they lost the Republican primaries because Fox News favored Mitt Romney. Whether that's true or not, that's something that Republicans believe. And they know that Roger Ailes is the chief there. He's kind of the kingmaker.

MORGAN: Well, there's two great quotes I think we'll leave this with. One is, which is about Rupert Murdoch: "Does Rupert like me? I think so. But it doesn't matter. When I go up to the magic room in the sky every three months, if my numbers are right, I get to live. If not, I'm killed." Which having worked for Mr. Murdoch, I can testify is entirely accurate.


And on God's politics he says, "Well, hell, if God's a liberal, that's his business. But I doubt very much he is. He has a good heart."


MORGAN: I love the fact he says "he." Very sexist of you, Roger.

Anyway, gentlemen, thank you both very much.

COPPINS: Thanks, Piers.

LIZZA: Thanks.

MORGAN: When we come back, a CNN exclusive. Inside illegal gun trafficking. A confidential informant says tougher laws won't stop the sale of illegal guns.


MORGAN: Now to a CNN exclusive inside the illegal gun trade. CNN's Poppy Harlow had a rare opportunity to sit down with two men on opposite sides. One involved in illegal gun trafficking for years. He became a confidential informant. The other, and ATF agent who talks openly about just how easy it is for a criminal to get a gun.

Poppy joins me now. Poppy, tomorrow the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on a revised version of the Stop Illegal Trafficking Firearms Act. And there is some hope there will be action. You have met two people. One on the trafficking side, who is a reformed trafficker, if you like. Now an informant. The other, a guy from the ATF. Tell me first of all about the informant.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we wanted to hear firsthand from someone who is involved on a daily basis in the gun trade who has been a middleman, getting these guns from point A to point B. And we found that man. You will hear from a man in a moment. He stole his first gun at four years old from a gas station. He's been doing this for decades. He ended up actually buying guns from an ATF undercover agent, went to jail for 14 years. Came out and flipped and now is an informant for them. We concealed his voice; we altered his image to protect his life because he is on the street right now doing this.

So, I sat down. I talked to him about how it happens. But also, I started with the day that he got caught buying those guns from ATF. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I gave 10 ounces of cocaine and he gave me the guns.

HARLOW: He gave you the guns. Why did you want the guns? For what?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: They were automatic weapons, had silencers on them. And that's what I was looking for.

HARLOW: Did you ever kill anyone?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That I can't answer.

HARLOW: Right now, the people that are in your circle, are they illegally trafficking guns?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. The people I know in Florida, North Carolina. You can get guns anywhere.

HARLOW: How do they do it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have people that are elderly, husband and wife or husband and girlfriend or whatever, in a motor home. They have guns in the motor home and they drive it to New York.

HARLOW: In a motor home? An elderly husband and wife hide guns in their motor home, and drive them up from Florida to New York?


HARLOW: So what is an average load?


HARLOW: How much would they make?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They would make 5,000 dollars.

HARLOW: Five thousand bucks. And this happens all the time?


HARLOW: How do you communicate with one another to arrange the buy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's ways. People talk to people, text them. But they don't use the word gun. For instance, firecrackers.

HARLOW: So they call the guns firecrackers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, or firepower.

HARLOW: So what if your friends ask you to help them get guns. What do you say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I wanted to put them in jail, I would say yes.

HARLOW: Do you think the penalties out there are tough enough for gun trafficking?



HARLOW: What should they be?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. That will make people think about if I get caught with this gun, or I traffic guns, I'll go down for life.

HARLOW: Do you think that America, the government, is losing its war on guns?


If a criminal wants a gun, there's people there that supply them everywhere. So they can obtain a gun anytime.

HARLOW: What about stronger gun laws.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That won't help.

HARLOW: It won't help? Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because criminals don't care about the gun laws. There's three businesses that will never die, women, drugs and alcohol. And now there's guns.


HARLOW: He told me that the most he's made off of a tip is 5,000 dollars. And the ATF, Piers, tells me he has never given them a bad tip. We talked a lot about this iron pipeline.

MORGAN: Right.

HARLOW: In the south, gun laws are typically state laws, weaker than in the north. So the price is highest right here where we're sitting in New York. So it's this pipeline, back and forth, back and forth.

MORGAN: This is where I find it so frustrating trying to grasp how the American gun laws work. Because to me, it's obvious palpable nonsense that you can have some states which have completely relaxed gun laws and the states next to them have really tough ones. And as they said, old people can just carry a van and just bring them over.

To me, you've got to have federal laws. They have to apply everywhere, so that it is illegal to do this kind of thing.

HARLOW: And certain senators and congressmen and women will take big issue about that, because it is about state rights. And so the body in charge on a federal level is ATF. So, as you said, we sat down with an ATF agent in Washington to talk to them about why they simply cannot get in front of this. And they don't deny that.

So I want you to take a listen to our conversation with ATF.


HARLOW: How easy is it for a criminal to get a gun.


HARLOW: How are these guns run?

BOSHEK: Any means of transportation, conveyance, planes, trains, automobiles. Have you ever ridden a bus?


BOSHEK: Have you never been searched getting on a bus?


BOSHEK: For five dollars, you can get to New York City on a bus. And there's -- unfortunately there's not enough -- there's not as many ATF agents and DEA agents, everybody else out there, monitoring the transportation industry.

HARLOW (voice-over): ATF calls the private sale of guns through classified ads or online, for example, a huge problem.

BOSHEK: That is very illegal. Obviously the individual selling the firearm does not have the ability to run a criminal background check.

HARLOW: So how is that legal. Are you guys fighting that? I mean, is that something you would like to see become illegal?

BOSHEK: I can't comment on that.

HARLOW: Really? Why?

BOSHEK: We enforce the laws that are on the books.

HARLOW: You can't tell me what laws you think this country needs to make the streets safer?

BOSHEK: I would love to.

HARLOW: What is interesting to me is that this is the agency that is mandated with, you know, getting illegal guns off the streets. And yet you guys can't comment on what you think you need.

BOSHEK: I agree. I agree. I think the American public knows what we need. I think that the numbers are out there, the amount of agents that we have. We don't have many agents. We have just over 2,000 special agents that cover the entire country.

HARLOW: The informant told me that are guys running these guns aren't really afraid of you guys. They're not really afraid of law enforcement. Why is that?

BOSHEK: Because we are so few and far between out there. They just roll the dice.

HARLOW: Roll the dice.

BOSHEK: They just roll the dice.


HARLOW: So obviously I tried to nail down with him exactly what he needs. It really appears they don't want to get in front of the White House. They work for the administration. They told me, you know, we work for the administration. We can't lobby Congress on this. But people want answers. And these are the guys, federally, on the streets in charge of this.

MORGAN: Two fascinating interviews, Poppy. Congratulations on that. And keep going with it. I just found them both incredibly dispiriting. I mean, I think the guy -- the trafficker is right. You can now add guns to women, drugs, alcohol as a war that America is simply losing. HARLOW: But he did say life sentences. He thinks life sentences for trafficking would make a huge difference. Tomorrow, Congress will start debating a trafficking law. So we will possibly see a big change to that. They could have 25 years as a penalty for trafficking one gun. That is what we could see.

MORGAN: Poppy, thank you very much. Fascinating stuff.

When we come back, a man who thinks I want to take away his guns. We went toe to toe a few weeks ago. And now he has come back for round two.



GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN: Be bold. Be courageous. Please support background checks. Thank you very much.


MORGAN: Gabby Giffords today speaking out for gun control at the site in Tucson where she was critically injured in the mass shooting that killed six people. Like me, she believes there are just too many guns in America.

My next guess disagrees. Ben Ferguson is a conservative radio host who was a victim of a gun crime himself. He believes the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Ben, welcome back.


MORGAN: So I wanted to start with this story coming out of Nelson, in Georgia. Small town, but city councilors have given preliminary approval for something called the Family Protection Act, a proposal requiring -- requiring -- mandating the head of every household to own a firearm.

FERGUSON: I don't like it that much, mainly because I think if you don't want to have a gun, I don't want you to have a gun. I do think that when someone kicks in your backdoor, you better have more than 911 to protect your family.

MORGAN: You wouldn't agree with mandating it?

FERGUSON: No, absolutely not, because I don't -- like if you don't want to have a gun, lord knows I wouldn't want you to have a gun. I mean, why would I want a human being that's terrified of it, doesn't want to know how to learn how to use it, doesn't want to go practice with it, thinks that it's an object that's going to get up off the table and maybe kill somebody -- I don't want them to have a gun. I think it's a bad idea.

MORGAN: We have started well. We have started -- FERGUSON: We can go down hill from here though. Don't worry.

MORGAN: Let's talk about background checks.


MORGAN: He said a very disturbing thing to me. He said he had talked to Vice President Biden that very day quietly, who had indicated that they may not even get progress on universal background checks. Do you support universal background checks?

FERGUSON: Look, I think it is OK if you want to have background checks on people when they buy and sell a gun. I think it's a waste of time if it is a single shot 22 rifle, because I think the manpower that goes into that is -- could be used somewhere else.

And I also know this, the guy that you just had, the informant, he said background checks will not stop the bad guys from getting to the gun. I had a gun to my head, had two of them pointed at me and they were shot at me. Neither of those guns would have been affected any way if there was a background check.


MORGAN: But how do you know that?

FERGUSON: Because I know that they were already convicted criminals, who were already breaking the law by even owning a gun.

They are not allowed to own a gun by the laws that are obviously not working now.

MORGAN: OK, here's what I would say to that, is that you could almost use that argument for any criminal activity at all. You could say, look, criminals never obey the law. Of course they don't. They're criminals.


MORGAN: Let me finish my point. It doesn't mean you shouldn't try and make it as difficult as possible for criminals to get their hands on firearms.

FERGUSON: But this is where I am in favor of actually having a law that's going to make a real impact and keep people safe. That's what you ultimately want and that's what I want. I want there to be laws that actually go after the people that commit the crimes with the guns, and go after the people that do actually run those guns, because that is the core problem we have here.

Look at the background checks now. Look at the FBI numbers. One percent actually got denied. You want to know why? And people were shocked by that. Well, they say, maybe they're not working. No, because law-abiding citizens are the ones that want to have a background check. And if you're someone that's going to break the law, the last thing you want to do is go give your finger prints and go through a background check to get a gun.

MORGAN: I agree with that. But I would say it's worse than that. I think 80,000 actually did lie on their background check form.


MORGAN: Barely any of them got prosecuted.

FERGUSON: That is -- that is exactly my point that you are making for me tonight.

MORGAN: I agree with more law enforcement. So we are reaching some points of consensus here. Here is the sticking point where I come from on this, which is the assault weapons ban, as I said before, and the fact that at the moment politicians are telling me --

FERGUSON: It is not going to happen. That's my point, is it's --

MORGAN: Why are you so keen to maintain the availability of what many see as a military style assault weapon?

FERGUSON: Because --

MORGAN: For the civilian population?

FERGUSON: I don't see them as a military style. I see that as someone who doesn't understand a gun and fear mongering. I know what a bad guy looks like with a gun. And it doesn't matter which gun he has at that point. This is my other thing. You know the list that Diane Feinstein came out with, the wall behind her of all those guns. These are the ones. Why did they name those guns? They named them because they're hoping the next time something happens, they can go, we would have banned that exact gun.

MORGAN: Isn't that responsible politics?

FERGUSON: This is my point. This is my point. The guns that were used against me, they weren't on their special list. So what happens to all those crimes? If you have a law -- this is my main core


MORGAN: How many guns are currently banned, as it is? Do you know?

FERGUSON: How many in this country? It depends on if you have a pistol grip on there. It depends on --


MORGAN: There are over 50 types of gun control already in existence in America. Do you support all those?

FERGUSON: I don't know if I support all of them. And the reason why I say this is because I think some of them are repetitive. You look at Columbine. Columbine, 22 gun laws specifically. More than 100 laws were broken. But more than 22 gun laws were broken there. If you add another one on there, is it going to fix the problem? No.

MORGAN: How do you know?

FERGUSON: Because I think if you are not prosecuting the guys that are committing these crimes, if you're not having a background for mental health -- I mean, that is where I look at it and say, when they were dealing with mental health in Washington, D.C. right now, I'm all in favor of that, because there is a huge -- you want to talk about a loop hole, it is not the loop hole to buy guns on the black market that's a threat to this country. It is the loop hole of the mentally insane people, which, by the way, the gun that pulled the trigger at me was declared by the court mentally incompetent to stand trial.

He -- now would that law have fixed it? Probably not. He probably would have still shot at me. But I would rather have laws that actually have an impact right at this moment in time.

MORGAN: Well, I agree with what you said there again. So we agree about a number of things actually.

FERGUSON: You are coming around. I like this.

MORGAN: I haven't changed at all. I still feel very strongly that there are too many guns, period. And I would like to see that reduced. But I certainly think that this kind of debate is constructive. It worries me when I hear that Vice President Biden thinks that they may not even get background checks.

FERGUSON: And I think this is where Washington, if they're listening tonight, needs to pay attention. If Diane Feinstein would stop being so extreme, and if some other people on the other side would maybe stop being so extreme, and we'd actually look at the core of the problem, which is not having the prosecution -- you shoot somebody in this country today and you miss, do you know what the average time you spend in jail is? Four point three years. And that is if you are a second time offender for assault with a deadly weapon. You spend 4.3 years in jail.

You tell me if that is a threat to someone that is thinking about, I might shoot you. So you get rewarded for being a bad shot.

MORGAN: We are in a shocking situation here, Ben Ferguson, where you are actually beginning to make some sense. So I'm going to have to cut the interview off immediately, because that wasn't the game plan whatsoever. Good to see you.

FERGUSON: Good to see you.

MORGAN: Coming next, look who is here. The flag waiving Don King joins me live for an exclusive interview about his extraordinary friendship with Hugo Chavez. That's coming up next.





I'm going the talk to President Bush. And I'm going to make certain that he'll -- with you, so that we can straighten out a lot of things.


MORGAN: The surprising video of the week, perhaps, Don King with Hugo Chavez in 2004, long before Chavez became ruler of his country, was, believe it or not, a bodyguard for Don King. That's when they became good friends. And tonight, the boxing promoter joins me exclusively to talk about it all.

Welcome to you, Don.

KING: Thank you.

MORGAN: So I want to talk to you about your relationship with two evil dictators. One, Hugo Chavez. The other, Roger Ailes from Fox. So --

KING: Oh my God, I can --


MORGAN: Who do you want to start with?

KING: I love them both. So -- but Hugo Chavez, he's a great man because he helped the poor, the underprivileged, the downtrodden and denied. And the people in Venezuela, the great people of Venezuela, they love him. The poor people, they love him.

So he's one of the masses. And he can deal with the classes, but he was a guy that was the tried, true, tested representative of the people. And he loved the people he represented.

MORGAN: How did you feel about him attacking the president, the United States in the way that he did?

KING: I didn't think that that was a good thing to do, because I love George Walker Bush, as you have seen in the tape. But the thing is, you know, I gave that tape to the aides of George Walker Bush when he was trying to appeal to him, to let him know that he wanted to be friends with America.

This is a guy that comes right off the street. He was an army lieutenant and he works his way up acclimation to get to be president of the country. Goes to jail, comes back out of jail and gets re- elected by acclimation. You know what I mean? Because he's helping the people.

He took doctors to the hills to the proletariat, not bringing the poor to the clinic. He took the clinic to them. And he continued to rule and work with that type of a thing. So it's going to be a great loss to Venezuela, a great loss to the world. He's a wonderful guy, man. You know, everybody get to -- you know, the stereotype images, they play a great part in all of this thing. And this is what's happening. And I hear on your show some of the things you're going to say. And I'm going to segue it in, let you know just what it is. It's that image.

You said he talked to the Pope. He went to -- he's seen all the different leaders of the world. All they would do is talk about the ones that were doing wrong, that he was supplying drugs. He was trafficking with the terrorists, everything else. But when he's with the good guys, they don't ever say nothing. They just go with the stereotype image because of sensationalism.

MORGAN: Let's turn to the other evil dictator, Roger Ailes. You know him well. What do you make of the debate about the affect that Fox News has had on American politics and American society?

KING: Roger Ailes is a genius. He is a guy that knows how to manipulate the public, knows how to work. And he beat out CNN for about four or five months with the ratings and things in bringing the news. But he's a victim of the same thing that everyone is a victim of. It is the color barrier.

You know, if you've been embedded and talk with the competence game of black is bad and anyone non-white is bad, and it goes in there -- so the stereotype image of blacks in America, they're lazy.

MORGAN: He called the president, Barack Obama -- he said, never done a day's work in his life and he's lazy, which is pretty offensive.

KING: It's offensive, but it's normal. It really ain't no shock to me. This is something that -- you talk to many of the whites, they're the victim of the same thing, exploitation. You know? Nietzsche. Nietzsche said exploitation gets it off. They work you against me, me against you, and then they exploit us both, the guy with the money.

So there's a thing here that when you're working -- France Bernard (ph) (inaudible), come up and say the same thing. We got to knock that color barrier out because the color barrier says you're lazy, lethargic. You can't rise to the occasion. You all lie, cheat and steal. You're shiftless, worthless, no account.

This is what Colin Powell was saying when he went out on the news before the election. And he said the same thing. You know, what's the next word after shiftless? You know what I mean? Worthless and no account.

All these are deeply embedded propaganda things which I applaud them for being good at what they're doing. But as the time changes, you have to be able to relinquish that, move on. You can't be ruled from the grave.

MORGAN: Don, you speak so much sense sometimes. It's great to see you.

KING: It's just great to be here. MORGAN: I wish we could have had more time, actually. Come back for a longer interview.

KING: We have to do that.

MORGAN: You've had an amazing, fascinating life. You're 81 years old, incredibly. You look about 60. I want your secret of eternal youth next time. You're also in town for a boxing fight at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn this Saturday, airs on HBO. Forty eight year old Bernard "the Executioner" Hopkins faces the undefeated IBF light heavyweight champion, 31-year-old Tavoris "Thunder Cloud".

If Bernard Hopkins wins, he becomes the oldest champion in boxing history. Is it case of two hopes, no hope and Bob Hope?

KING: Yes. Well, if the bull frog had wings, he wouldn't bump his behind every time he hopped. So you have to understand that. You know what I mean? So now what we have here is a show -- by the way, I want you to come as my guest. You be the guest of me and Ken Hershalman (ph) and my --

MORGAN: Listen, I'm the same age as Bernard Hopkins. I should be fighting on the other card.

KING: We want you to be there ringside. We'll take you in the ring when they sing the national anthem. You're going to be right there and be a part of us.

But Bernard Hopkins is a great athlete.

MORGAN: Very quickly, though, Don. Can he win?

KING: Well, he can, but I don't think he will. I think he has two chances, slim and none. And slim is out of town.

MORGAN: Don, come back soon. Best of luck with the fight.

KING: -- you ever wave. I didn't get a chance --

MORGAN: Don King, he certainly didn't disappoint. We'll be right back.

KING: We got Panama and Russia. I'm bringing them together. We got Korea, one Korea.


MORGAN: Tomorrow night, Snoop Lion, the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg, with me to talk fame, family, music, guns, drugs and a spiritual transformation. A fascinating encounter. That's all for us tonight. Anderson Cooper starts now.