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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Amazon's Pilot Program; Barbara Walters Announced Retirement Plans On "The View"; Tiger Woods Haters Up In Arms
Aired May 13, 2013 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
More national news. As if being related to one of the most despised men in America wasn't bad enough, two Cleveland men are fearful they will forever be tied to his crimes. In an exclusive interview with CNN, the brothers of Ariel Castro say their lives have been turned upside down since they were arrested and then later cleared in the kidnappings of three women. Their brother, of course, is accused of holding the women hostage in his home for nearly a decade.
This is newly released video of the moment police raided the home in search of the kidnapping victims, one of them Amanda Berry had just escaped with their 6-year-old daughter. Police were back at the so- called "house of horrors" today, looking for more clues and possible ties between Castro and other missing people.
Let's go live to CNN's Martin Savidge outside the home in Cleveland.
Martin, give us the latest on that investigation. But before you do that, I want to ask you about the two men with whom you spoke exclusively. They were originally arrested along with Ariel Castro, brothers Pedro and Onil. They seem to be suggesting to you that they're just as angry as everyone else about all of this.
Is that a correct reading?
SAVIDGE: Yes, you're right. This was a very emotional kind of interview. And it fluctuated between the types of emotions. There was tremendous fear on their part. There was also anguish and then on top of that anger.
But that anger focused at a specific source, and that is their brother. Here is how they talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ONIL CASTRO, ARIEL CASTRO'S BROTHER: I want to wake up out of this nightmare.
PEDRO CASTRO, ARIEL CASTRO'S BROTHER: I want to -- I want to say that I don't want to be hunted down like a dog for a crime that I did not commit. I don't want to be locked up in my house because somebody out there is going to do harm to me. I want to be free like I was. Now I feel trapped for what somebody else did, and it's a family member. That shouldn't -- they should not take it out on the family. Threats of burning up the houses. Killing Pedro. That's not right. You already got your monster. Please give us our freedom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The anguish that they feel, they aren't directing that at anybody. They're not asking for sympathy here, Jake. They just -- they want to go home, and they have not been able to do that ever since they were set free because of the threats that have been made against them. And that is all they want. They just -- they are not angry at the police. They just want to go home. Jake?
TAPPER: Martin, police were back at the Castro home today. Any idea what they're looking for?
SAVIDGE: Yes. It was interesting because it was here this morning and they were telling us about how they were going to open the street back up and traffic was going to resume in a sort of sense of normalcy. Then they stopped, changed all of that.
Couple of things. There were agents, it appeared -- federal agents canvassing the neighborhood talking to neighbors. They appeared to have photos of other missing people they were showing. Then on top of that, the medical examiner's office had their own people that went back inside the house. We were told they were photographing, documenting and videoing the interior of the home one more time. They had done that already previous last week. So, that's what was happening.
TAPPER: All right. Martin Savidge in your hometown of Cleveland, thanks for joining us.
I want to return now to that IRS scandal that's been brewing since last Friday. The agency never really had a lot of friends, but right now it certainly is making a lot of new enemies as we told you earlier in the show. A report being released this week by an inspector general shows that the IRS intentionally targeted Tea Party organizations and other conservative groups, going so far as to flag organizations with the words Tea Party or patriot in their names or groups that listed education about the Bill of Rights in their objectives.
We're learning that the House Ways and Means committee will soon be holding a hearing as soon as Friday to try to figure out what happened.
Jenny Beth Martin is co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots Group and she knows firsthand about this scandal. Her group has been waiting years to get a response out of the IRS about their request for specific status. She joins me now.
First, Jenny Beth, please explain what happened. JENNY BETH MARTIN, NATIONAL COORDINATOR, TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: We've filed for a 501 (c) (4) and our 501 (c) (3) status several years ago, and the IRS has been stringing us along for years. In 2009, it would take maybe four to nine months to get approval for these statuses. Yet Tea Party groups, 912 groups, Patriot groups around the country have been waiting years now as the IRS continues to string us along.
TAPPER: How expensive and time-consuming was the process? I understand that they would ask you to respond to a number of questions and demands and it would take a long time. Is that right?
MARTIN: Well, they sent a letter asking for all sorts of questions including the names or the posts that were on our Facebook pages, all the comments on it, e-mails we had sent, names of senators and congressmen or supporters around the country had spoken to. Some of the information was impossible for us to collect. We're a voluntarily affiliated organization. We don't even know everyone who's affiliated with us. And some of it just really is none of the IRS' business.
TAPPER: You heard Senator Franken earlier in the broadcast. And to play devil's advocate and paraphrase what he said, obviously no particular ideology or partisan affiliation should be targeted at all. But there are legitimate questions about whether groups with a clear political agenda should get this special tax-exempt status. What is your argument for why your group should not have to pay taxes?
MARTIN: Well, with a 501 (c) (4) status, you're allowed to have an agenda. You're allowed to be concerned about issues. That that's what we're concerned about. We stand up for fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited governments and free markets. We've never even endorsed a candidate.
Our primary focus has always been on legislative issues. The health care law, the debt ceiling, cap and trade, the overspending, the stimulus. Our issues are focused on the legislation before Congress, and that's what a 501 (c) (4) is for.
TAPPER: When you had conversations with these IRS agents, these IRS officials, did you ever discern any anti-Tea Party or anti- conservative bias, or was it just bureaucratic demands that were just never hending?
MARTIN: You could tell from the questions they were asking and the fact that so many Tea Party groups and 912 groups and Patriot groups around the country were getting them that this was something very unusual happening systemwide to people who were applying for the status. So I could tell that that was happening, and it's obvious that they were trying to make the process as difficult as possible. And they -- they're still to this day stringing Tea Party Patriots along.
TAPPER: Jenny Beth Martin with Tea Party Patriots, thanks for your time.
MARTIN: Thank you.
TAPPER: The president says the e-mails are a sideshow. The talking points issue. But that's not how some of the families who lost loved ones in Benghazi feel about it. We'll talk about that in our politics lead, and that's next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. It's time for the politics lead.
It's been more than eight months since four Americans were killed during a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. And after all that time, we're still waiting for our government to give a clear explanation of what was happening on the ground in Libya and why requests for extra security were denied for months before the attack.
What we do know, according to e-mails made public just last week, is the State Department requested some substantial revisions to the intelligence community's talking points about the attack, including the removal of direct references to the possible involvement of a group with ties to al Qaeda. Today President Obama weighed in. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody understood exactly what was taking place during the course of those first few days. And the e-mails that you allude to were provided by us to congressional committees. They reviewed them several months ago, concluded that, in fact, there was nothing afoul in terms of the process that we had used. And suddenly, three days ago, this gets spun up as if there's something new to the story. There's no "there" there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: There's no "there" there, says the president. Here to talk about it, former senior adviser to the Romney campaign, Kevin Madden. Hilary Rosen, who is a CNN contributor and Democratic strategist. And of course, CNN contributor Ryan Lizza, who is Washington correspondent for "The New Yorker."
Kevin, Senator John McCain calls this whole thing a deliberate cover-up. Darrell Issa, the congressman from California who is leading the investigation on the House side, said that Hillary Clinton is not the focus of this. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I'd call it a cover-up. I would call it a cover-up in the extent that there was willful removal of information which was obvious. It was obvious.
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: Hillary Clinton is not a target. President Obama is not a target. The target is, how did we fail three different ways? Fail to heed the warnings of an impending attack, fail to respond properly during the attack, at least we certainly could have done better and I think everyone knows that, and then fail to get the truth to the American people in a timely fashion?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Kevin, here's the question. That all seems reasonable, even if you disagree with it, but there is --American Crossroads is running an ad against Hillary Clinton. Rand Paul, senator from Kentucky, going to run for president in 2016, is out there making this a big issue about Hillary Clinton. Isn't there a real disconnect between what the Republicans are saying and what some of them are doing?
KEVIN MADDEN, FORMER ROMNEY CAMPAIGN ADVISER: No. I think the words and the sentiments expressed by Chairman Issa are pretty consistent with what I think the larger public is watching here, which there's not a target politically, any particular politician. But the target here is the truth. The target is the level of accountability and oversight. That's essentially Congress' job. And that's what they're at.
Now, I think the truth and some levels of accountability may be inconvenient for some politicians in the end, as we go through this process, but the target here is finding out whether or not the American public was misled. And that is at the heart of, I think, what Chairman Issa and many folks on Capitol Hill are doing.
HILARY ROSEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think the truth is inconvenient for Chairman Issa who, if he was really seeking the truth would have actually invited the chairman, the well-respected, nonpartisan chairman of the review document --
TAPPER: Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mike Mullen.
ROSEN: -- and Admiral Mike Mullen, who no one has ever accused of being partisan. He would not let them testify in public. Instead, he chose to go another way.
TAPPER: You're talking about just this last week. Because he had invited them months before.
ROSEN: He had invited them to private meetings but obviously -- and then he never held those private meetings. If he wanted to hear the truth, if they wanted to hear the actual facts, the fact is that the State Department took all of the recommendations of that review board. And I'm sorry, you don't have a hearing where you mention Hillary Clinton's name over 30 times and then get to say, oh, well --
MADDEN: Half the time, though, the mentions came from Democrats who were singling out -
MADDEN: Let's step back.
There's two inconsistencies. First is what the president said. One inconsistency is the House committees actually pointed out that there was a massaging of those talking points. And the second is that Chairman Issa has invited Chairman Pickering up for deposition. So, there's inaccuracies.
ROSEN: He's done that now.
TAPPER: Let me get Ryan's take on this. Ryan, does the public care about this issue?
RYAN LIZZA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, we were talking about this before. It does seem like one of those issues that in our politics just becomes completely polarized where Republicans, especially conservatives, are hopping mad about this. They think this is a major issue. And a lot of Democrats are basically in a defensive crouch willing to defend the president on this and frankly don't care that much.
This could change now. We have new information. What the president alluded to there in terms of the talking points coming out to you, saying it was no big deal, yes the White House released that. Well, they released it under the pressure of an investigation by the House, right? That adds a whole new set of facts.
ROSEN: No. They released it at a confirmation hearing.
TAPPER: They released --
LIZZA: The White House did not -- when reporters knocked on the White House door asking for more information about Benghazi, the White House did not hand that over. It was released under the pressure of investigation.
TAPPER: Can you explain why President Obama took the tone he took today, which seemed to be meat for his base? Raw meat for his base.?
LIZZA: Well, look, they have two stances on two issues consuming them right now. On the IRS, he's absolutely saying what the IRS did is absolutely wrong --
TAPPER: Yes, yes. I mean on Benghazi.
LIZZA: But on Benghazi, I think they think the facts are on their side to a certain extent, and they think this is basically just a partisan football and they're defending their actions 100 percent.
ROSEN: The Republicans are clearly overplaying their hand here because there aren't enough new facts to justify this. We're going to see a Senate intelligence committee report come out, a bipartisan committee report come out, that Dianne Feinstein the chairman of the committee alluded to yesterday, that is going to say they reviewed the same documents and facts that the accountability review board did and found nothing. But over the last four days the Republican National Committee has blanketed the direct mail, e-mail, they are fundraising off of this to no end. That's an overplay of the Republican strategy --
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: For 15 seconds, Kevin, last word for Kevin.
KEVIN MADDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, JDA FRONTLINE: Always arguing about the politics are usually the ones losing the public debate. I think it was very clear from the president today and Democrats that they are terrified about the politics of this.
TAPPER: We have to move on. Kevin Madden, Hilary Rosen and Ryan Lizza, thank you so much.
Coming up, a lesson in cartooning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARRY TRUDEAU: This was my character in college so I had a college comic strip, and it was --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Garry Trudeau shows me the keys to be a successful cartoonist, 40 years and running.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. In our "Pop Culture Lead," TV networks announce their latest experiments in prime- time today. Did you miss the show "24"? Well, apparently, Fox did, too, because it's back on a limited run next year.
Michael J. Fox is also returning to television with a comedy on NBC, but the drama with TV may be coming online because there's a new player in the original content game, Amazon. They want to hear from you.
TAPPER (voice-over): It's a cast television network executives would dream about, John Goodman, Mark Consuelo cameos with Bill Murray and Steven Colbert, but "Alpha House," a comedy about four Republican senators sharing a Capitol Hill town house is not on next Thursday's night's must-see TV. It's one of 14 online pilots produced by Amazon Studios. Yes, the same Amazon where you bought that last-minute Mother's Day gift.
GARRY TRUDEAU, CREATOR, "ALPHA HOUSE": They were trying to put together a slate of pilots quickly. They wanted to get going and this was ready to go.
TAPPER: The show's creator is a familiar name, too, Garry Trudeau, better known as the creator of "Doonesbury." Trudeau says the new Amazon venture is a way to bring his signature Washington satire to the small screen on a fast track.
TRUDEAU: The Amazon Studio was so new, so few executives available to interfere, that we basically were given a lot of support and not that much guidance.
TAPPER (on camera): And the funding came from Amazon?
TRUDEAU: The funding came from Amazon. They wanted to get in the content business. Amazon's idea was that, if we can create high- end television comparable to good cable series that we can compete in that space.
TAPPER (on camera): It's basically what HBO had to convince people of 20 years ago.
(voice-over): HBO then, Netflix now. The online movie service recently launched the original online programming craze with shows like "House of Cards."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Power is a lot like real estate. It's all about location, location.
TAPPER: Or "Arrested Development," which Netflix is bringing back to life as seen in this brand-new preview.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Didn't say it was your cousin.
TAPPER: Amazon's twist on the digital content trend? Using viewer metrics and feedback to decide what shows stay alive, just like you can post a customer review on, say, a UFO detector. Amazon is getting realtime feedback by allowing customers to post user reviews of the pilots.
"Alpha House" has more than 2,000 to date and four stars. Soon Amazon will take the pilots offline and decide which shows will be picked up for a full season.
TRUDEAU: So instead of just a couple of executives in a tower deciding whether to pull the trigger on a series, it's -- their decisions will be more informed by what the public might actually like.
TAPPER: And while Garry Trudeau has TV experience writing the political mocumentary "Tanner 88" 25 years ago, his day job is still drawing "Doonesbury," the comic and characters made him a star and a hero to this once-fledgling cartoonist.
(on camera): So this was my character in college. I had a college comic strip.
TRUDEAU: He was a college student.
TAPPER: He was a college student, Garry was his name. Honestly. I wanted to be a cartoonist. I wanted to be the next Garry Trudeau.
(voice-over): Forty three years after its creation, the Pulitzer Prize winning comic strip is still going strong.
(on camera): Why are you also doing this other project? Isn't juggling 6,000 characters in "Doonesbury" and doing this incredibly popular comic strip enough?
TRUDEAU: This cartooning thing just kind of found me. It wasn't something I sought. I was recruited out of college my junior year.
TAPPER: So like whereas I'm a failed cartoonist who stumbled into journalism, you're a failed writer/director/author who stumbled into cartooning.
TAPPER: I guess sometime everyone will find where they're actually supposed to be.
TRUDEAU: Supposed to be, yes.
TAPPER (voice-over): For now, Trudeau is hoping Amazon is where "Alpha House" is supposed to be. Viewers and reviewers will soon decide.
TAPPER: And if you want to see more of the artist at work, you can watch some exclusive footage of Garry Trudeau drawing his favorite characters and schooling me in the process at cnn.com/thelead.
If you were paying attention to the last story, you may have noticed the bluj, the whole bluj and nothing but the bluj, as I mentioned the return of "Arrested Development" is still about two weeks away. In the meantime, hold yourself over with this, the very first trailer for the resurrected season four on Netflix.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lindsay.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George Michael?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: George?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lindsay.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Busted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: This is the first time we're seeing a lot of these characters back in action since the show was first canceled in 2006. Netflix will post all 15 new episodes at once on May 26th.
The rumors have been swirling for months, but today legendary TV personality and journalist, Barbara Walters made it official. This year marks the final chapter of her storied career. Walters made the announcement on her daytime talk show "The View."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARBARA WALTERS: I will come back. I'm not walking into the sunset. But I don't want to appear on another program. I don't want to climb another mountain. I want instead to sit in a sunny field and admire the very gifted women and, OK, some men, too, who will be taking my place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Walters will step down as co-host of the show in the summer 2014, but will continue to serve as executive producer. The award winning journalist got her start back in 1961. She's blazed trails for untold number of other journalists, women and men, not to mention her remarkable track record for landing the seemingly impossible interview. Walters suffered several health scares including a procedure to prepare a heart valve. Barbara, we'll miss you.
Coming up on "THE LEAD," another tournament, another drop controversy for Tiger Woods, did the number one golfer in the world get away with one on his road to victory in the players' championship?
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. A troubling story just in, the Associated Press is calling it a quote, "massive and unprecedented intrusion." The AP says the Justice Department secretly got a hold of two months of phone records of AP reporters and editors. According to this report, the government has not even said why it wanted the records.
But U.S. officials have said in the past that a U.S. attorney is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have leak information to the AP for a May 7, 2012, story about CIA operations one that foiled an al Qaeda plot to blow up a plane bound for the U.S. We will stay on top of the story.
The "Sports Lead," Tiger Woods haters couldn't get to Twitter fast enough after his players championship win not to give him props, but to accuse him of cheating. The golfer is in the middle of another ball drop controversy, this time it happened on the 14th hole.
One commentator said Tiger may have made his drop too far forward, setting off an internet frenzy, but Tiger's playing partner said he saw where the ball landed and the drop was legal. PGA was agreed. Tiger had an illegal ball drop in the masters, which cost him a shot at the win.
Prince Harry showed off some pretty impressive football moves during his recent trip to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and proved he's got skills off the field too. Check him out at the bottom of this cheerleading pyramid as well.
That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. I leave you now in the capable hands of one Mr. Wolf Blitzer. He's in "THE SITUATION ROOM."