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Marines Killed in Training Accident; Chemical Attack In Syria; South Carolina Goes To the Polls; Famous Art Thieves ID'd; Justin Timberlake Pop Star

Aired March 19, 2013 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Tragedy in training. Seven Marines killed during an exercise and we're now learning what happened in those final moments.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. The news is now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some people will never forgive me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Today, voters are deciding whether to give the love guy a second chance. But Mark Sanford has some pretty tough competition.

Plus, Harrison Ford on the hot seat. Why Indiana Jones is testifying before Congress.

And --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: You pushed the envelope.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure it offends some people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: HBO's hit show "Girls," Lily Tomlin says it's too sexual. My hot topics panel faces off.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BALDWIN: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin, beginning here with breaking news on this afternoon. The first bit coming out of Indianapolis. Here's what we know. The Indiana University Purdue campus is on lockdown right now after a report of a gunman. The campus is in downtown Indianapolis. The school just sent out the tweet telling folks to seek shelter and specifically saying that this man with a long gun has been spotted. We're monitoring that situation for you out of Indianapolis.

But I have to pass this along, as well. Word of another shooting. Different state. Pennsylvania. This is at a hospital in Allentown. This is the Lehigh Valley Hospital. We're told this incident took place on the fourth floor, which is a hospice wing. No word yet on victims there. Police say this is not an active shooter situation.

So, of course, we're watching both of these stories, out of Indianapolis and out of Allentown. As soon as we get more information for you, I promise we'll pass it along.

Now, though, to a tragedy in the Nevada desert here at the Hawthorne Army Depot. This military base. This is just southeast of Reno. A group of U.S. Marines were taking part in a training exercise when there was an explosion. Seven of those Marines were killed. Eight others who were injured were taken to a Reno hospital.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, the president's thoughts and prayers go to the families of those who were lost and to those who were injured. We're obviously in the early stages of assessing the incident. It's a tragedy, clearly. And the president was briefed immediately -- and made aware of it immediately and briefed on it and we're monitoring the situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: CNN's Chris Lawrence is live for us at the Pentagon.

And, Chris, what more do you know? What caused the explosion?

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Basically, Brooke, officials are telling us that this 60 millimeter mortar shell detonated in the tube at the firing point. In other words, instead of the mortar flying out, the mortar exploded right in the tube with the Marines all gathered around it.

BALDWIN: Oh.

LAWRENCE: Now, normally it would take several Marines, a mortar crew so to speak, to operate this. But this was training, so you may have had support personnel also around this mortar firing. We're told that three of the Marines were killed immediately. Three were killed while waiting for the medevacs to come. And then the seventh probably died at the hospital or on route to the hospital.

Brooke.

BALDWIN: You talk about the mortar round. We know that this base is used by the military to store ammunition. Do we know what kind of training exercise they were doing when this happened?

LAWRENCE: Well, this was a ground combat team of Marines. And this particular base is used by the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, even special forces because it's got sort of a unique terrain. A high desert, lot of mountains. It looks a lot like Afghanistan. So a lot of troops go there to train to prepare themselves for the terrain in Afghanistan. Yes, I've got to tell you, even though we learned earlier this morning that even Secretary Hagel was talking about this in some of his meetings this morning and he recalled that when he was in the army, when he was a solider back in the army, he was present at a training accident. In his case, a grenade went off. So you do get these training exercises accidents at times, but they aren't all that common and certainly nothing to the extent where you have seven Marines killed in one.

BALDWIN: Seven lives. That is so sad. Chris Lawrence, thank you.

It is the red line that could mean U.S. boots on the ground in Syria. And today, the White House is now looking into reports that red line has been crossed. Syrian state media is now reporting chemical weapons have been strapped to a missile and fired in civilians in Aleppo province, killing at least 25 people, injuring dozens more. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is in Beirut.

And here's the thing, Nick. President Bashar al Assad, his regime, they're blaming the rebels. The rebels say that's ridiculous. This was a rebel held area. They're blaming the government. So who has the access to the chemical weapons? Who has the most to gain from this?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first off, Brooke, there is no definite proof that chemical weapons were used here, despite what either side is saying. What we do know is that in an area near Aleppo, both the regime and the rebels are saying that some sort of gas was given off which appeared to have a suffocating effect on people. And we've seen pictures taken from a regime held hospital showing some soldiers and civilians obviously suffering from the effects of that gas. This appears to have landed very close to rebel regime lines, but actually hit the regime more hard.

As you said earlier on, the rebels don't really have these chemical weapons. And if they did, that would suggest that the Assad stockpile has somehow fallen into their hands. A terrible thing for the regime to admit to. The regime is saying the rebels did have it. But what we do know historically, the Assad regime are the ones with the large chemical weapons stockpiles here. But, once again, no definitive proof they were used here at all, but an incredibly serious development.

Brooke.

BALDWIN: It's a serious development. It's one that the president had spoken about hypothetically back in August when he used the words red line. Here he was in August.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So, Nick, if the reports are true, and I know you're careful not to say -- that we don't know at this point in time. If they are, though, how might the U.S., how might the international community act in response?

WALSH: I think it's very unlikely you would see U.S. or western military boots on the ground. What we have seen and moved towards in the last few months is a suggestion of arming the rebels. John Kerry saying just yesterday that he wouldn't stand in the way if the U.K. and France want to do that. But we are still quite a distance from that.

I should bear in mind that Barack Obama, you've just seen, has had a groundswell of opinion around him in the Democratic Party and even in the Pentagon and State Department, pushing him towards arming rebels. He batted a plan (ph) down late last year from the State and Pentagon to do just that. He's very reluctant to get involved. But many people around him now are saying, because of the deteriorating situation there, they have to do something, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Nick Paton Walsh in Beirut. Nick, thank you.

The situation here in Syria is sure to come up tomorrow. President Obama makes his first trip to Israel since moving into the White House. In fact, the president will be just over 300 miles from where these chemical weapons might have been used in Syria when he arrives in Tel Aviv. Take a look at the map. You can see this is the proximity here. Despite a packed agenda, no major announcements are planned during this visit. Mideast leaders, Obama will immediate with include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, and King Abdullah of Jordan.

So you thought the election season was over. Huh-uh. It is primary day in South Carolina, folks. I'm talking low country. You see it right there. This state's first congressional district anchored by hoity toity (ph) and might I add beautiful Charleston. And what a cast of characters this little race for Congress. You've got a man communicably (ph) known as the former governor of the Appalachian Trail. You with me? You've got the son of a certain media mogul. Well, former media mogul. And you've also got the sister of a very famous funny man. And don't forget this, we're talking about South Carolina, home of kamikaze style politics. As one wag (ph) put it, "this is an old fashioned street fight in a state where the Tea Party, evangelicals and the new south all intersect."

Nice choice of words, my friend, John Avlon. John Avlon, CNN contributor and senior political columnist at the "Newsweek." And you have the same title at "The Daily Beast." Good to see you, sir.

JOHN AVLON, SR. POLITICAL COLUMNIST, "NEWSWEEK" & "THE DAILY BEAST": Hey, what's going on, Brooke?

BALDWIN: Let's begin -- jealous you had a trip to Charleston. Here's where we begin. We, of course, begin with Mark Sanford. Former Governor Mark Sanford. The guy who famously told reporters he was, you know, hiking on the App Tail but was actually having a bit of a tryst down in Argentina.

AVLON: Yes.

BALDWIN: Is it true, John Avlon, that he asked the woman who divorced him, Jenny Sanford, to run his campaign for this congressional seat?

AVLON: So that has indeed been reported. Awkward. And the answer was a big Heisman on that one.

BALDWIN: Awkward.

AVLON: But Mark Sanford is making a pretty credible comeback bid here. I mean he is widely expected to make the runoff. And it might shock some folks, but he's campaigned in this district for 20 years. He was a congressman before. So he's on a redemption tour here. A lot of humility. A lot of apology. But there's a strong chance he'll at least make the runoff at the end of the day.

BALDWIN: Hoping for redemption from voters. Then you have his top opponent, the Republican son of a famous progressive. A guy we know around here in these CNN parts as Ted. Let's listen to son Teddy. This is Teddy Turner on the subject of gun control.

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TEDDY TURNER (R), S.C. CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I realize, you know, we don't need bazookas. But I do realize that I need to be able to protect myself and my family, not only from offenders, you know, criminals, but from the biggest criminals there are, which is the government of the United States right now.

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BALDWIN: As we mentioned, Teddy Turner, this is Mark Sanford's top opponent. Not exactly his dad when it comes to politics.

AVLON: Oh, not during this campaign. But you've got to love it. I mean this is a classic southern move. He is running far to the right, trying to say everyone else in the race is a career politician. And he's got some negative ads going after him for that umbrage. But he is trying to distance himself from his dad as much as he can. The big question down south is, is he credible? Is that real? And you look at his history, there's some question marks around that, but he's put a lot of money into this race, so he's in that consideration set as well out of the 16 folks running for the Republican nomination.

BALDWIN: And, John Avlon, on the Democratic side, you have a woman who has earned the endorsement of a certain political humorist.

AVLON: Yes.

BALDWIN: A guy who just talked to our own Jake Tapper.

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JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: It is an irresistible comedy object running against your sister.

STEPHEN COLBERT, POLITICAL SATIRIST: Yes.

TAPPER: I mean, is there any --

COLBERT: Why can't I -- I will make jokes about him. I said, (INAUDIBLE), I said, if you do something funny, I'm making jokes about you.

TAPPER: But she won't.

COLBERT: Yes, sure she will. She's now a politician.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: John Avlon, you would almost think it was Stephen Colbert who was running. Alas, it is his sister, Elizabeth Colbert Busch. Tell her about too -- tell her about -- is she funny, as well?

AVLON: You know, she's actually running a pretty credible campaign. Normally a Democrat is DOA in this district. But she brings with it not just a famous brother whose helping her create a national fund-raising base, but she can expect, if she gets the nomination from the Democrats, as she's expected to, higher than normal turnout among youth and also women voters, especially if Sanford is the nominee. You go to her campaign headquarters in West Ashley, like I did yesterday, Brooke, and on their wall, volunteer wall, there's Stephen Colbert. That's a pretty powerful character witness. But she's a serious candidate in her own right down there. So this is shaping up to be one wild ride down in South Carolina for the special election.

BALDWIN: What a cast of characters. What a race to be covering. John Avlon, thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

AVLON: Love it.

BALDWIN: Want to get an update now on our breaking news.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BALDWIN: As we mentioned at the top of the show, we are watching two situations unfolding right now. The first out of Indianapolis. This is the Indiana University Purdue university campus. Here's video from our affiliate here. On lockdown right now after this report of a gunman. The school just sent out a tweet telling folks, two words here, "seek shelter." They're saying that a man has been spotted with a long gun. We're watching that situation for you out of Indianapolis. A lockdown there.

Also, another shooting this afternoon. This one at a hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania. If you know this neck of the woods, this is the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown. We're told an incident took place on the fourth floor of this hospital. Apparently that's a hospice wing. No word yet on the victims there. Police are clear in that situation, in Allentown, this is not an active shooter situation. As soon as we get anymore updates, we've got folks working the phones, we'll pass them along to you here on CNN.

Coming up next, a shocking scene inside a courtroom in Ohio. Moments before learning his fate, school shooter T.J. Lane reveals a killer t-shirt. You see what's scrolled on that white t-shirt? We're going to show you what happened.

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BALDWIN: Some of the hottest stories in a flash. Roll it.

The Swiss Guards looking on a little nervously here as the new pope waded through crowds at St. Peter's Square here in Rome for his official inauguration. In fact, he opted for an open air Popemobile, shaking hands, kissing some babies. While back at his home this Buenos Aires, his sister had a change of heart after a startling revelation about the last conclave back in 2005 when she prayed he wouldn't be elected.

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MARIA ELENA BERGOGLIO, POPE FRANCIS' SISTER (through translator): So I would pray that he wouldn't get elected. During this conclave, I was praying that the HOLY SPIRIT would intervene and not listen to my prayers. And it didn't listen to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: She said she wanted him home with her. This time around, she says, she's happy for him.

A startling scene in Ohio. Just before hearing he will spend the rest of his life behind bar, T.J. Lane, here he goes, unbuttoning his dress shirt to reveal a white t-shirt. Here it is. You see the word scratched on this. "Killer" written on his shirt. Lane opened fire in the cafeteria of his high school last year killing three students.

Oh, boy. When we see this video, we have to pass it along, folks. Politics getting a little personal. This is Ukraine's parliament. Fisticuffs (ph). Pushing and shoving erupted after a speech by the parliamentary leader from the president's party. He reportedly called deputies from a far right faction neo-fascists and clearly it went downhill from there.

Colorado's governor plans to sign three new gun control laws tomorrow. Here's a look at some of this new legislation. A fifteen ammunition limit on magazines and a universal background check for prospective gun buyers. Keep in mind, Colorado home to two of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. Last year's Aurora theater shooting and the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School.

Oh, boy, this is a crazy story. Thirteen pieces of art, $500 million, poof, gone in 81 seconds. You have these two men dressed as police, they target this Boston museum here, get away with one of the biggest thefts in history. This is a crime that's gone unsolved 23 years. Now the FBI is revealing new information today. We're going to talk to the museum's security director, next.

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BALDWIN: Let me take you back now to March 18, 1990, 23 years ago. Yesterday, one of the biggest art heists in American history in Boston. Eighty-one minutes. That's all it took. Thirteen masterpieces, stolen. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): The thieves entered the first floor and went to the blue room and stole a Monet painting. Then they went up to the second floor. In the Dutch room they stole six paintings. Some of them cut out of the frames. Among them, three Rembrandts, including the artist's only seascape.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So, yesterday, the FBI tells us they now know who the thieves are. They're mobsters. But they still don't know where these precious paintings are.

Joining me now from Brookline, Massachusetts, is Anthony Amore, security director at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. This is the gallery from which these priceless paintings were stolen.

So, Anthony, I assume you're breathing a sigh of relief kind of, but, I mean, do we know where the art is?

ANTHONY AMORE, ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER MUSEUM: Good afternoon. No. We know who did it and, yes, it is a sigh of relief. I've worked in this for seven and a half years, though. So it's been a long time coming.

BALDWIN: A long time coming. How did they figure out they were these mobsters?

AMORE: Well, we know they were members of an organized crime syndicate, not necessarily mobsters. But we did lots of research and in 2010 information came in from a citizen, much like we're appealing to yesterday, telling us that some people that they had known were involved and that has helped us to move forward since then.

BALDWIN: We mentioned 13 masterpieces in total stolen, but you, at this museum, still have these huge frames on the walls, four frames, nothing inside of them.

AMORE: Right.

BALDWIN: For the non-art aficionados, Anthony, help us understand how big a deal these pieces are.

AMORE: It cannot be overstated. This is not just the largest art theft in American history. This is the largest property theft that's ever occurred anywhere. You're talking about the word's most valuable stolen painting, which is Vermeer's "The Concert." The second most valuable stolen painting in the world, the Rembrandt seascape that you referred to earlier. Rembrandt only painted one seascape. Vermeer only has 36 pieces. These are priceless, irreplaceable, significant pieces for our cultural heritage, never mind just our museum.

BALDWIN: So just quickly, how hopeful are you that you're going to get these back in these frames?

AMORE: I am incredibly hopeful. I have all the optimism in the world. The work that we've done on this has been leading us in the right direction. I mentioned that we've been working on it for a long time. So when you get to a point where you can say, all right, we know who did it, that's incredibly encouraging. And we just have one more hurdle to pass.

BALDWIN: OK. Anthony Amore, we look forward to that happening for you. Co-author of the book "Steeling Rembrandt: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists." Thank you. Good luck.

AMORE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Now this. Justin Timberlake's new album coming out today. And one music critic calls him America's biggest male pop star. Two critics, though, are about to duke it out live. What do you think? Is he really this generation's Elvis?

Plus, is HBO's "Girls" too sexy? One legendary comedian says, you bet it is. My hot topics panel debates coming up.

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BALDWIN: You cannot turn on the television without running into Justin Timberlake somewhere. He's hosted "Saturday Night Live." He spent the entire "Justin Timber-week" on "Jimmy Fallon." And I'm not done. That Target ad, the one where JT surprises his fans. It's all over the place.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE, MUSICIAN: Yes, that sounds good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God. No. No.

Don't look at me.

TIMBERLAKE: Don't do it. Didn't you look at me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't look at me.

TIMBERLAKE: Don't look at me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: (INAUDIBLE) Justin Timberlake facetime, but you know it all has a reason leading up today's big release of his first album in almost seven years. It's called "The 20/20 Experience."

Kevin Fallon is a reporter with "The Newsweek" and "Daily Beast," and Tom Moon writes about music and is a contributor for NPR.

Gentlemen, welcome.

Tom Moon, I would like to begin with you. You're a music critic/contributor to NPR. And so listening to NPR, I heard you say this. Quote -- talking about the song "Suit and Tie" specifically. "This little bitty two note excuse for a melody sounds like something a preschooler might sing while playing with sock puppets at the kitchen table." Ouch, Tom. Why do you say that?

TOM MOON, CONTRIBUTOR, NPR: Well, he had a long time between records. He could have done kind of anything. And he came with something that really feels very lowest common denominator. You know, there's nothing wrong with the track, but in terms of a melody, in terms of something that's really going to stick with us, I think this is going to have a short shelf life.

BALDWIN: OK. Just quickly, was there anything redeeming on this album or is that thought sort of pervasive throughout the first half of this album that released?

MOON: No, there's a song actually called "Tunnel Vision" that does what he's always done really well. It's got beautiful plush vocal harmony and it's actual -- it does have an actual real melody that lasts more than two measures. It's very -- it's quite nice.

BALDWIN: An actual real melody you say. I hear you.