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PIERS MORGAN LIVE
Ariel Castro's Daughter Speaks Out; O.J. Simpson on the Stand; Former Bush Administration Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld Criticizes Obama Administration For Not Being Transparent and Open
Aired May 15, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Tonight, breaking news. The Obama administration in turmoil. The scandal claims its first victim.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, Secretary Lew took the first step by requesting and accepting the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: This on the same day the White House released nearly 100 pages of Benghazi e-mails. Donald Rumsfeld says they're still trying to pass the buck. He's with me live on the grill tonight.
Plus, horrifying revelations of abuse and terror. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight hid in the van in the garage when Ariel Castro had visitors. Michelle Knight beaten with hand weights. Ariel Castro's common law wife apparently abused the same way.
There's also the encouraging news that Gina and Michelle have spoken by phone. And after all these years in captivity, one of the girls has just discovered what an iPhone is.
Also tonight, law and disorder. On the docket, Jodi Arias fighting for her life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUAN MARTINEZ, PROSECUTOR: The last thing that Mr. Alexander felt was this knife, this woman, and this blade coming towards him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The jury finds that she was extremely cruel. That means she is eligible for the death penalty. The question is, will she get it?
And the super sized O.J. Simpson, he never testified during his murder trial. Now finally he's taking the stand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that you were acting legally?
O.J. SIMPSON, FORMER NFL STAR: Yes, I did.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In what you were doing?
SIMPSON: Yes, I did.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And why is that?
SIMPSON: Well, it was my stuff. I followed what I thought the law --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Break down on the -- biggest legal issues of the day with Alan Dershowitz and Gloria Allred. But I want to begin with the latest news from Cleveland. Ariel Castro's daughter, Emily, is talking about what she saw inside her father's house. She was interviewed by an investigator in her prison cell where she is serving 25 years for the attempted murder of her own 11-month-old daughter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMILY CASTRO, ARIEL CASTRO'S DAUGHTER: The upstairs was blocked off with a big bass speaker. So I figured that since he lived there alone so long, that he didn't have any need for those -- what, there's four bedrooms upstairs. He didn't have any need for them. So, you know, I just kind of like -- I was like, can I, you know, sleep upstairs in my old bedroom? And he said no, because it's cold up there, it's blocked off, you know, it's dusty. And so I just was like, OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: We'll go straight to Cleveland where Ed Gallek of WOIO is live again for us.
Ed, every day there's new developments and new shocks. Today is no exception. Let's start with Ariel Castro's daughter there, who herself is serving a very lengthy prison sentence for trying to kill her baby. Tell me about this.
ED GALLEK, WOIO, CLEVELAND: Well, what stands out is her description of inside that house. Again, talking about a bass speaker blocking off some of the doors and in effect saying, dad, let me sleep in my old room and then him saying, well, you know, that room, the heat is not very good in there, it's kind of dusty in there. You don't want to go in there.
And that gets back to another point we've heard about how he was so secretive and able to conceal this because one story I've heard about the women is that they were put into a van, locked in the van, locked in the garage, to keep them out of sight when this guy knew he was going to have visitors come over.
MORGAN: And in terms of the daughter herself, I mean, many viewers probably don't know much about her case. Tell me what she did. Because she seemed to have some complete mental breakdown and tried to kill her baby.
GALLEK: Yes, she's doing up to 25 years for trying to kill her own baby, less than a year old. Cut about four times. And this apparently, according to her, stems from some kind of domestic problem she was having with the father of the child. But yet you wonder, some of the parallels are just chilling.
MORGAN: Right. Absolutely. Let's turn to -- talking of chilling, the statements made by Ariel Castro's legal team. And I want to play a little clip from this because it really was quite shocking, I thought. Let's listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So when the judge at the arraignment says, how do you plead to kidnapping, how do you plead to rape and whatever else, what are you going to say?
JAYE SCHLACHET, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It definitely is going to be two words, "not guilty." I can tell you that Mr. Castro is extremely committed to the well-being and positive future for his daughter, who he loves dearly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I don't know about you, Ed, but I found that pretty bizarre to be so categoric. This guy is no monster, he's a loving father, et cetera, et cetera. When the sheer welt of evidence against him to the contrary is right there in front of us.
GALLEK: Yes, a couple of things stand out there. Our newsroom talked to those attorneys just hours ago and they fully admit, they are getting some backlash. People saying, how can you represent an accused monster? You're not representing that guy. And their answer, of course, as attorneys, it's the American way, everybody gets a fair trial, that kind of thing. OK. But then again, consider this.
Again, this guy is talking about how much he loves his daughter. The daughter born in captivity, born to Amanda Berry. However, that child, it should be pointed out, never went to a doctor. That child hadn't been going to school. That child was born in the house in an inflatable pool, delivered by one of the other hostages.
So, again, consider, I love my daughter, but all of that? How can that be? Well, the response we got to that today was we'll have to wait and see what all of the circumstances are. And, again, that begs the question, well, what kind of circumstances could possibly justify all that, showing that you love your daughter?
MORGAN: Right. Ed Gallek, thank you very much indeed, as always. Now I want to turn to one of today's big stories. O.J. Simpson doing something he never did during his 1995 murder trial, taking the witness stand. Simpson is serving 33 years for robbery, kidnapping and assault, stemming from an incident in 2007. And now he wants a new trial.
CNN's George Howell is in Las Vegas where the case is being heard.
George, we finally get to hear from O.J. Simpson.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Piers, you know, and we saw an alert, O.J. Simpson, a person who seemed, you know, very comfortable, back in the spotlight, this time and for the first time telling his version of events leading up to and then during that confrontation with these two sports memorabilia dealers. But again, what did we see? We saw a 65-year-old who is heavier, who is visibly grayer.
And instead of wearing those suit and ties that we're used to seeing, this time O.J. Simpson sporting a blue prison jumpsuit -- Piers.
MORGAN: And in terms of where this is going to go, it's going to come down, presumably, to his word against his former attorney's word, right?
HOWELL: Right. You know, and there's a lot of ground work. There's a lot of foundation that he and his new attorney are laying down. But really, it goes to the heart of this matter. O.J. Simpson says that he got bad legal advice, but get this. Before the confrontation even happened, he says that he had a conversation with his attorney and the attorney told him that he could go back, Piers, and take back his belongings, legally. Listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, what was his advice to you regarding the entire plan?
SIMPSON: That if they didn't give me the stuff, you have to call the police.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
SIMPSON: And that's what I told everybody involved. That if they don't give it to me, I'm going to get the police in here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Did you have any understanding whether you could detain people or not?
SIMPSON: Not until the police came.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. So at this point your advice is no trespass on other people's property.
SIMPSON: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can use some force.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can demand your property?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And if they refuse to give it to you, you can detain them.
SIMPSON: Yes. But I had no doubt that they would give it to me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWELL: You know, Piers, there were also a couple of other big items that were mentioned. First of all, O.J. says that his attorney did not tell him about a plea deal that he could have taken to take two years in prison instead of a long prison sentence that he currently has. And he also says that his attorney told him, advised him, not to testify in court. The attorney basically saying that he would not be convicted. So he did not testify in court.
And Simpson's new attorney is basically making the case that O.J. Simpson did not get that opportunity to speak up for himself against the evidence that prosecutors had against his character and events of those several days.
MORGAN: And, George, there was also a rather fascinating insight into his relationship with alcohol. Tell me about that.
HOWELL: Right. And we learned about this. The day before the confrontation, even the day of the confrontation, O.J. Simpson said that, look, he was in Vegas for a wedding. There was a lot of drinking before the confrontation, during the confrontation. He even said, look, I wouldn't drive a car in my condition. Listen to how he explained it in court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, are you having any alcohol?
SIMPSON: Oh, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And how much were you drinking, if you can remember?
SIMPSON: Well, you know, I had a joke that my doctor says I should never have an empty glass is what I would tell the waitress. You know? So we were celebrating. It was, you know -- we were all celebrating.
(END VIDEO CLIP) HOWELL: So Simpson basically admitting that, you know, alcohol could have been, was a factor. And it's still unclear exactly how that could play out in the judge's mind.
MORGAN: Right. Pretty extraordinary to watch him finally giving evidence.
George Howell, thank you very much indeed.
Now it's time for tonight's "Law and Disorder." Here to break down all the cases Americans are talking from O.J. Simpson to Ariel Castro to the latest from Jodi Arias, our superstar attorneys, Gloria Allred and Alan Dershowitz, who I should point out acted as an appellate adviser to Simpson's defense team during his murder trial and later wrote a book about it.
Welcome to you both.
Let's start with you, Alan, come on. What do you make of seeing him finally give evidence?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, ATTORNEY: Well, he's not a bad witness. You know, I certainly advised and most of the people on the defense team advised him to stay off the witness stand at his murder trial. And that was the right advice at that time. He has no shot at all, I think, at winning on the issue of his lawyer telling him to stay off the witness stand. That's just tactical advice. He has a really good shot if he can prove that he wasn't told about an offer of two years.
MORGAN: But is that plausible? Is that likely?
DERSHOWITZ: Yes, yes. And it happens. It happens all the time. Lawyers want their chance to be on television. In this case, he argues that the lawyer may have had a conflict of interest.
I have seen many cases, and they have been reversed, when the lawyer fails to communicate an offer.
The third issue is, if the lawyer, in fact, gave him advice prior to his going into this room, saying this is what you can do, this is what you can't do, he clearly had a conflict of interest. He was then a witness, not a lawyer. So on two of the three issues, he has some chance of prevailing.
Now I think everybody out there ought to face one reality. If this were not O.J. Simpson, and if all Americans didn't believe --
DERSHOWITZ: -- that he had killed his wife and gotten away with it, no way is he going to get this kind of sentence for doing what he did. He is being punished for what many perceive as having gotten away with murder.
MORGAN: Would you agree with all that, Gloria? GLORIA ALLRED, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, I mean, first of all, I think that's insulting to the judge who is the one who sentenced him. Having said that, I would respectfully --
DERSHOWITZ: I mean to insult the judge. I mean to insult the judge.
ALLRED: I would respectfully disagree with Mr. Dershowitz in reference to his statement, oh, O.J. is not a bad witness. O.J. did testify in the civil case where the Goldman family and the estate of Nicole Brown Simpson were suing him for the killing of both of those individuals. And he did testify and the jury did not believe him. And they found that he was liable for the wrongful death of both Nicole and of Ron.
So he -- I actually at the time and said in my book, I said that he should have been investigated for perjury at that time. Because of what he testified to that he'd never hit, slapped, punched Nicole and that he said that, he testified to that, standing beside or sitting beside large blown-up photos of her with a black eye. And obviously that was not true.
So having said that, he actually has 19 grounds that the judge is allowing him to present evidence to as to why he should be granted a new trial. Out of the 22 that he wanted. And we'll see whether he is successful with any of them.
DERSHOWITZ: But you know the issue of whether he should be punished for what he was previously acquitted of, bears some resemblance to what's going on with the IRS now. You know, if you don't like somebody, you apply a double standard of justice to him. Whether it's auditing him or giving him a harsher sentence.
And Gloria, I would like you to look me in the eye and tell me he would get 33 years for trying to recover his own property if his name weren't O.J. Simpson.
ALLRED: Well, first of all, Alan, I will look you in the eye and tell you this, that he was convicted of robbery. And there were guns present. And although he denies knowing or having criminal intent and all of that, the jury didn't buy it, OK. So having been convicted of numerous counts --
DERSHOWITZ: That's right.
ALLRED: -- he was sentenced. I don't have any problem with those sentence. And, you know, now he's tried to reverse it. We'll see whether or not he is successful.
MORGAN: Tell me this, I mean, talking of behavior involving attorneys, I was pretty shocked by the tone that Ariel Castro's attorneys -- were you shocked?
DERSHOWITZ: I was shocked. Look, everybody is entitled to a defense. And if you have the unfortunate bad luck of being called to represent somebody who is genuinely a monster, you may have an obligation to do it. But you're not obligated to be a character witness. You're not obligated to go on television and tell the world that this is a commendable person.
You are obligated to present in court legal issues that will help him. So I too was very surprised at slipping over from being a defense lawyer to being a character witness.
ALLRED: Well, obviously, he's trying to affect the climate of opinion for the potential jury pool if there is such a trial.
ALLRED: I tend to doubt there'll ever be a trial.
MORGAN: I agree with you.
ALLRED: I think he's trying to position it for a deal so that his client doesn't get the death penalty.
MORGAN: Let's take a short break. I'm going to talk about Jodi Arias, she's one step nearer the death penalty now. And I also want to talk to you about other issues, including the fact I'm about to interview Donald Rumsfeld on the grill. I might get you two to pose a question for the great man. Looks a bit nervous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: State of Arizona versus Jodi Ann Arias, verdict, count one, aggravating factor, especially cruel. We the jury, duly impaneled and sworn in the above entitled action upon our oath, do find that the aggravating factor, especially cruel, has been proven. Signed foreperson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Jodi Arias listening as a jury says cruelty was an aggravating factor in her killing of ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander. That means she will face a possible death sentence when the jury reconvenes tomorrow.
Should she be executed for the murder? Back with me now for more law and disorder, attorneys Gloria Allred and Alan Dershowitz.
So, Gloria, yes or no? I mean, they've got to phase three now. They think she was guilty of cruelty. That means she can be executed. Should she should be?
GLORIA ALLRED, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Exceptional cruelty is what they found or special cruelty. It's hard to say, because we're now we're going to hear the leniency factors that are going to be presented by her defense. It's hard to imagine what they are except for her family saying she has been a good daughter and friend and so forth, which I think is going to be hard to outweigh the aggravating factor with that.
But it is not mandatory that the jury find the death penalty. It's going to have to be unanimous. And that may be more difficult, probably will be a lot more difficult than finding that what she did was exceptionally cruel.
MORGAN: It's looking -- if the jury goes this stage of saying, yes, we do think she is eligible for it, aren't they more likely to say we think she should have it?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, ATTORNEY: Oh, yes. If you're predicting the outcome, most likely she will get the death penalty. But she shouldn't. Because if she did, she wouldn't be getting the death penalty for what she did. Of course it was especially cruel. What kind of murder is not especially cruel? But in general, women don't get the death penalty for domestic murders. O.J. Simpson, the state didn't even seek the death penalty, although it was a double murder, and obviously whoever did it did it with extraordinary cruelty. So, whether you get the death penalty in Arizona or anywhere else is extremely random, and we should not be imposing the death penalty.
ALLRED: Well, there were political factors in that decision, not the same -
MORGAN: Very quickly, I had Donald Rumsfeld. He is sweating out there, worried about what you may have asked. If you had the chance, what would you ask him?
ALLRED: Well, if you think that the IRS commissioner should be fired, do you think that the president of the United States, George W. Bush, should have been fired for acting on faulty intelligence and sending troops to -- the Iraq War?
MORGAN: I like that. You should be one of my researchers. And Alan?
DERSHOWITZ: Similar question. Were you just as angry when Nixon had an enemies list and audited me several times during his administration and other liberals who he perceived as enemy? How do we make this not a political issue? How do we make sure the IRS is taken out of politics?
MORGAN: These are great questions. He's not going to like either of those. Thank you both very much indeed.
And out of Washington tonight, the resignation of the acting director of the IRS. But that's certainly not the end of the scandal. One of three that the White House is grappling with right now. CNN's Jessica Yellin and Dana Bash join us. And we begin with Jessica.
Jessica, just first off the top, can you ever remember a time when a White House has been battling through big scandals at the same time like this? JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Oh, I'm sure it happened during the Clinton administration at some point, don't you think? But I can't name exactly the day. But this is unusual for the Obama administration. One of the things this president has a problem with is quick response. They're really slow off the dime. But once they get into action, they're better at reeling it in. So, it looks like the Obama administration is finally in response mode, and you'll see if he's getting his footing. He's trying to start - he started today, Piers.
MORGAN: And in terms of the IRS, which many perceive to be arguably the biggest of the three scandals. Tell me this, why has the acting IRS commissioner, Steven Miller -- and by the way, why wasn't there a real one? Why has he had had to go, when from what I hear, he wasn't actually running the IRS when all this went one?
YELLIN: You ask the money question. Because that's what everyone is e-mailing me to ask. No, he wasn't in charge when this happened.
But, you know, the man on top is the guy who always takes the fall when something gets screwed up, bottom line, right? So he was -- this is -- he was not in charge when all this went down. But he is in charge now, and -- was in charge when there was misrepresentation of this problem to Congress. So he has to take some responsibility for that.
And this auditor's report also found there was shoddy management when he was on top. And so he has to attack responsibility for that, as well. And in a letter to his staff, he said, look, we need to sort of resteady the boat and this will help reset the team. I don't think it will end here, but it's a start, Piers.
MORGAN: Okay, Dana, we've also got the fallout from the A.P. scandal. This morning, the Obama administration asked Senator Chuck Schumer to reintroduce legislation that would help reporters protect the identity of their sources from federal officials. Where is that going?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's going further than it would have a couple of days ago. This is really interesting, Piers. Because this is an issue that has historically had bipartisan support. Just a few years ago, back in 2009, Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, an ally of the president, was trying to get this through. And suddenly it got stopped in its tracks. According to Schumer back then, it's because the Obama administration tried to water it town too much. They effectively didn't want it.
Well, guess what? They picked up the phone this morning, they called Chuck Schumer and said maybe it's time for you to reintroduce that reporter shield law bill. So that's exactly what he did. It's another example of -- on all of these fronts the Obama administration trying to do damage control. And this time legislatively.
MORGAN: And Jessica, the third scandal. Hard to keep up with all of this. But Benghazi. A massive e-mail dump. In our first look, it seemed like the White House was being vindicated. Many of the stuff that came out of the talking points seems to be backed up in the e- mails as being at the CIA's request.
But "The New York Times" tonight's done a piece suggesting that isn't entirely true. The State Department was also putting lots of pressure to remove stuff as well. So, where are we with this? The Republicans are saying, well, there's many more e-mails. We haven't seen them all.
YELLIN: No. Well, it depend -- well, look, administration officials say this is everything. They say we have seen all the e- mails now. So if they want more, if would only be notes about the e- mails. So, they say this is the complete set. Okay, that's that question.
Is this -- does this vindicate the White House? You will find whatever you're looking for in this. It does vindicate the argument that the intelligence community kept -- made the changes that seemed to be most controversial. It was the CIA that seemed to take out the word al Qaeda. It was the CIA that changed the word attack to demonstration.
But if you're looking for whether State Department pressed for changes, as well, there is evidence of that. For example, the State Department pressed to take out Ansar al Sharia, an al Qaeda affiliate, was behind the attacks. There is evidence that the State Department did press for that change. So there is enough for both sides to grab at in these e-mails to keep this alive as an issue for some time to come, Piers.
MORGAN: Okay. Very quickly, the pair of you, just tell me which one of the three you think is actually the most damaging. I'll start with you, Jessica.
YELLIN: I think the IRS because it hits Americans where they understand it.
MORGAN: Okay. Dana?
BASH: Absolutely agree. Look, we all are -- it sends a chill up our spine. The concept of the federal government taking all of our -- or the press corps' e-mail records or phone records, I should say. But I don't think the American people care as much as we do.
The IRS is something everybody gets, everybody has to pay their taxes. They completely understand that things they have to go through with regard to that. So that is absolutely the worst.
But I think if you take all of these together, big picture, the reason why they all kind of have a thread, a common thread, is because it is from the perspective of many people, big government run amuck. And that is exactly where, from the Republican point of view, they have been warning about for lots of years for the Obama administration. I think this is going to help them politically, big- time, going into the midterm election.
MORGAN: Yep. Dana Bash, Jessica Yellin, thank you both very much indeed. Coming up next, we'll ask former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld about Benghazi, the IRS, A.P., in fact, all of it. I'm going to throw every scandal at a man who has known a few in his own career.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've reviewed the Treasury Department watchdogs' report. And the misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable. It's inexcusable and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A heated President Obama this evening speaking out about the IRS scandal. It's already led to resignation of the acting commissioner, or rather he has been fired. But is this crisis just beginning for the White House?
Donald Rumsfeld has a lot to say about this and much more. The former defense secretary's new book is "Rumsfeld Rules" and he joins me now on the Grill. Welcome to you, sir.
DONALD RUMSFELD, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: Thank you very much.
MORGAN: How are you?
MORGAN: We'll try and change that.
RUMSFELD: Come on. Come on.
MORGAN: You've been in this position where you get hit with all sorts of stuff, and it all comes, like number nine buses, three at once. When you look at these three scandals in totality, are they real scandals or are they run of the mill issues that any White House has to deal with?
RUMSFELD: Well, one is bad. Two is four and three is ten. It -- the pressure is enormous in the White House when this happens. It's the perfect storm. And we all have watched enough of our history to know that big and bad things can start from very small things. And the old rule is that -- there are two rules in Washington. The first rule is, the cover-up is worse than the event. And the second rule is no one remembers the first rule.
MORGAN: Let's start with cover-up. Because I'm going to come to the IRS, which I think is arguably, as my two fellow correspondents said earlier, the most important at the moment to Americans, anyway. But Benghazi, the Republicans continue to say, was about a cover-up. It was about a deliberate attempt by the administration to avoid the American public hearing the truth. Do you believe that, given all of the e-mails that have come out today? RUMSFELD: I think the way to think of it is that, as I think Mark Twain said, trust leaves on horseback and returns on foot. Once -- the United States, the president leads through persuasion, not command. He has to be trusted to be persuasive. And the incremental loss of trust. I was -- came into the White House after the Nixon resignation, as chief of staff for General -- President Ford. And it was -- the reservoir of trust had been drained. And that's your leverage. That's how you lead.
And what's happening here is, incrementally, little by little, the press spokesman, the president, other people in the administration saying things, are contradictory. And they're confusing people. And then there's the second problem, and then there's the third problem.
And I quite agree with you. I think the IRS thing is something the American people worry about deeply. The idea that government, with all its money and all their tax dollars and all those people turning against the American people, is really something that's so fundamentally against what we believe in, that that is at the moment the one that will have the greatest impact.
MORGAN: We'll come to that in a moment. On Benghazi, when I said I was interviewing you on Twitter tonight -- I know that you have an active Twitter account -- a lot of people said, well put him on the rack, say who is he, along with the senior Republicans who took us into war in Iraq on what turned out to be a pack of lies, based on faulty intelligence about WMD -- who is Donald Rumsfeld to be lecturing Barack Obama on faulty intelligence, if that's what it was in Benghazi? What do you say to that?
RUMSFELD: Well, I would count them as kind of as undecided.
RUMSFELD: What you would say is, anyone who suggests that the president lied or that Colin Powell's presentation to the United States was a lie is wrong. These are honorable people. They made their best decisions. The U.K. government agreed with it.
MORGAN: What is the difference --
RUMSFELD: Just a minute.
RUMSFELD: Just a minute.
RUMSFELD: The Congress agreed with it. Hillary Clinton and Jay Rockefeller and John Kerry all agreed. There was a resolution passed by the Congress, passed by the U.N. And it's easy for someone to throw out that allegation, Bush lied, people died. But it's not fair. It's wrong. And it's inaccurate.
MORGAN: But what is --
RUMSFELD: That's what I would say about it.
MORGAN: So what is the difference then between that and Benghazi? Are you suggesting that people, either Hillary Clinton or President Obama, have lied about this?
RUMSFELD: No, I'm saying that what's happened is there have been different stories coming out. I mean, think of this. These people were well-armed. The British were so concerned that they took their people out of Benghazi. The people, the Americans, asked for security, and didn't get it. And four people were killed.
And how was it explained? It was explained by the president that it was a spontaneous demonstration that related to some sort of a Youtube video.
MORGAN: Right. But we now know --
RUMSFELD: Just a minute.
MORGAN: But we now know the CIA, from the e-mails released today -- it was the CIA who removed references to al Qaeda, a specific al Qaeda terrorists, removed those from their original talking points. It came from them.
RUMSFELD: Well, I don't know that. I think what we'll find is -- there will be hearings in the Congress. They'll go on. People will come up. And you'll find you're not quite right, probably, that there will be additional information.
MORGAN: We can only go on what's out there.
RUMSFELD: No, we can't. We don't have to go on what's out there.
MORGAN: Otherwise it's supposition, isn't it?
RUMSFELD: No. What we can say is we don't know enough yet. Take the A.P. story, on that issue. I know I don't know enough about that to know why they did it, or what they did or whether they did something that mitigated that.
MORGAN: But is it ever justified? On the A.P. thing, is it ever justified for any administration to basically order a hit on a reputable news organization, which may have targeted up to 100 journalists, getting records of all of their phone calls, possibly exposing a huge number of sources. Can that ever be justified under the First Amendment, never mind anything else?
RUMSFELD: I've been in and out of government since 1962, when I was elected to Congress. And I have been in the executive branch when a lot of bad things have happened. And I've never seen that done.
MORGAN: So it's wrong? RUMSFELD: I said -- one of my rules is, if you don't know, say you don't know. And I don't know. When the attorney general of the United States stands up there and says to the people, this ranks among the top one or two or three things -- most serious circumstances for our country, I say, well, gee, I'm not going to say much until I know what he's talking about. What is it? Is there something so bad that it might cause government to do something like that?
MORGAN: Or, as I suspect, is the potential person who leaked it so important and so high up the food chain, they've got to find out who it was.
RUMSFELD: I have no way to know. I just know I don't know. On that one --
MORGAN: You know you don't know. I like that answer.
RUMSFELD: I don't.
MORGAN: It has the benefit of being entirely honest. When we come back -- let's take a break. I want to come back and get your thoughts on the war on terror, attacks on American soil. And also, I want to get a Rumsfeld rule from Lynne Cheney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNNE CHENEY, WIFE OF DICK CHENEY: My rule, the one that Don put in his book, is that dogs don't bark at parked cars. It is a rule that gives you some comfort when you're a public figure, because a lot of barking goes on. But the point of it is that as long as you're trying to do something, that will happen. There will be critics. There will be people who object to what you're doing.
The only way you get peace, the only way you can avoid criticism all together, is if you don't do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Back with me now on the Grill is former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
RUMSFELD: Why do you call this the Grill?
MORGAN: Because I like to grill people on it. We were going to be nice to you, but I said, no, let's stick him on the Grill. Let me grill him for half an hour.
RUMSFELD: That's a little arrogant, isn't it, to suggest that you're grilling people, as opposed to having --
MORGAN: I don't think I'll take arrogant lectures from you, Donald Rumsfeld. Let's move on to the IRS, shall we?
(LAUGHTER) MORGAN: I got two questions from my weighty guests before about the IRS. Alan Dershowitz, over the IRS scandals, are you as angry about Nixon having had an enemies list?
RUMSFELD: Well, it is different to have -- for a politician to say these are the people I like and these are the people I don't like. And they're -- that's the enemies list. And I suppose politicians do that. It's not a very productive thing. Politics is addition. So it's not very smart to do that.
MORGAN: Any administration deliberately targeting people --
RUMSFELD: Not the IRS. No, indeed. That is a totally different thing. Once you -- people get a sense that they have turned the government of the United States, with all those employees and all those tax dollars, against the people or some of the people, nobody likes it. The people that aren't even targeted don't --
MORGAN: I think it's outrageous and I've got no great track for the Tea Party. I've been very critical of them. I still think it's outrageous --
RUMSFELD: It is.
MORGAN: -- that they have done this.
RUMSFELD: And it's also illegal.
RUMSFELD: And anti democratic, and inexcusable. And it should be dealt with in a very, very firm way.
MORGAN: Was he right, the president, to fire the acting chief of the IRS?
MORGAN: Should there be more heads rolling?
RUMSFELD: I think some people may end up going to jail.
MORGAN: Who do you think that will be? Do we know enough yet?
RUMSFELD: I don't. I know I don't.
MORGAN: Should Eric Holder --
RUMSFELD: And I know you don't either.
MORGAN: I don't. That's why I'm with you. Should Eric Holder consider his position, do you think? RUMSFELD: Oh, I have no idea about that. I just don't know. I think they need to have hearings. They need -- they may have to appoint a special prosecutor. And it has to play out over time. And the -- you know, when I was a Navy pilot, the thing you always remembered is if you're lost, you climb, conserve and confess. You get altitude, take a deep breath and say you're lost, and take your time. And don't put out partial information that turns out to be not quite right, even if it's well-intended, because then trust goes down. And that's the risk --
MORGAN: This, again, falls back to Benghazi, as well. President Obama, for two weeks, would not say this was an act of terrorism. He said it was a terror act.
RUMSFELD: He said that once.
MORGAN: But not terrorism.
RUMSFELD: And then he went around saying at the U.N. that it was a spontaneous demonstration, because of Youtube. And Secretary of State Clinton went to the families of the people who were killed and said we're going to find the man who did that Youtube video -- Youtube or whatever you call it. And they promoted that inaccurate narrative for days and days and days.
And it was wrong. And everyone knew it was wrong. And the people on the ground knew it was wrong. And they knew they were well- armed. And they knew there was no demonstration. And I think the hearings on that are going to be terribly damaging.
MORGAN: In terms of that and the IRS, and the A.P. situation, the real problem for Barack Obama, it seems to me, as the president, is that he promised to be different. He promised to be transparent. None of this looks very transparent, does it? The fact that we're having to pull these e-mails out of Benghazi nine months later, kicking and screaming out of the White House, even when they appear to be quite helpful to them, all of it looks like a lack of transparency.
RUMSFELD: It does. And trust gets eroded. The other thing that was wrong -- wrong is not the right word -- that was disturbing was the people in Benghazi were under attack, and then they were killed. And the president left town and went on campaigning in Las Vegas, as I recall. An executive doesn't do that. He calls the people into the White House.
And the secretary of defense, as I recall, Leon Panetta, said that he hadn't talked to him about it. I think that the American people expect more of a president. I think they expect him to care, and to be engaged and to call people in and say, what in the world is going on. Is there anything we can do?
MORGAN: If it turns out that the president has lied about Benghazi, or about the IRS, for example, if it turns out senior White House officials knew more than they're saying about what was going on and the original idea to target the Tea Party came from then -- these are pure hypotheticals, how serious would that be? RUMSFELD: I think that the currency a president or leader has is trust. And as it's incrementally eroded away, it hurts. I think I heard the president say that he learned about this from the press. And I think the press spokesman said that the White House had known about it for two weeks.
MORGAN: Eric Holder didn't know about what his department was doing at all, apparently. It's all a bit odd.
RUMSFELD: He said he recused himself. And I don't know why he did.
MORGAN: There is no apparent evidence that he did do that. They can't find the paperwork. It's all very murky. Let's take a short break. Let's come back and get deep, down and personal with you, Donald Rumsfeld, and get into this book, "Rumsfeld's Rules," which is, actually, a damn good book.
RUMSFELD: Why do you act surprised?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOYCE RUMSFELD, WIFE OF DONALD RUMSFELD: You should always have six months of your current salary in the bank. With that, you will have the ability to leave any job at any time and never feel pressured to do something you do not think is appropriate.
RUMSFELD: That's what her dad told me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Donald Rumsfeld's wife Joyce. You've been married for 58 years, you were telling me in the break there. Quite amazing. What did you make of the Rumsfeld rule that Joyce gave us there?
RUMSFELD: Well, her father told me that. He said, he never went to college. He came out of high school and started working, and -- in Montana. And then they moved to Fargo, North Dakota, and then Minneapolis and Milwaukee. He said, there may be a time in your life when you're asked to do something you shouldn't do. If you have six months salary in the bank, you can tell anyone you're working for to go to hell.
MORGAN: Have you ever had that moment?
RUMSFELD: That I felt that way?
RUMSFELD: There are plenty of times I've said no.
MORGAN: Like what? RUMSFELD: Like what?
MORGAN: Can you share one with me?
RUMSFELD: Well, sure, I've argued with presidents, I've argued with people. I've never been asked by a president to do something that I felt was illegal or immoral or wrong or that affected me that way.
MORGAN: When you look at it -- just on this briefly, but I saw a piece tonight about Iraq. There have been twice as many attacks in the first quarter of this year in Iraq as there were in the first quarter of 2011.
RUMSFELD: Insurgency type --
MORGAN: And they qualify as an attack. This has clearly not worked, has it? Whatever we tried to instill in Iraq, it hasn't worked. Do you have any regrets about the way Iraq is today?
RUMSFELD: You know, of course you do. You would like everything to be better. Of course, the road you didn't travel is always smoother. You look at the road you travel, it's always bumpy. That's the nature of things. You think of our country. The United States of America had slaves into the 1800s, had a civil war, 600,000 people dead. Women didn't vote into the 1900s. We've had a bumpy road. We've had some terrible depressions and recessions.
Every country has different circumstances. Now, are they better off today with the Butcher of Baghdad gone? Saddam Hussein? Yes.
MORGAN: Are they?
RUMSFELD: Oh, you bet your life. My goodness, he used chemical weapons against his own people. He used them against the Iranians. The killing fields were filled with bodies.
MORGAN: As many people are being killed on a daily basis in places like Baghdad as were when Saddam was around. In fact, more.
RUMSFELD: Have you looked at Chicago and Washington, D.C., the number of people being killed there? Human beings can do some God awful things to human beings. But the country has been given a chance. Will it be perfect? No. Will it be bumpy? You bet.
The same thing in Afghanistan. I mean, there are many more people being killed there now, the Americans. When we were in office, I think there were 23,000 Americans there. Now, except President Obama took it up to 100,000. And six times the number of people have been killed.
And is that bad? Well, no, I think they've been given a chance. And the people that have served there have done a good job. They have got tough neighbors. The Taliban is going to try to come back in. Is it going to be a smooth path for them? No. But they have had elections. They picked a president. And the country's vastly better off.
The Taliban we're using the soccer state stadiums to cut off people's heads instead of play soccer. Now, can someone say it's not perfect? Sure, it's not perfect? Nothing's perfect in our world. It's a tough world.
MORGAN: In "Rumsfeld's Rules," what rule would you have for me?
RUMSFELD: Well, I thought about that coming over here. And I put down that the art of listening is indispensable to the right use of the mind. It's also the most generous, the most open, and the most appealing of human habits. And you are in a position where you have to do that.
And that was from the dean of St. John's College, a man named Barr (ph), a great book school here in the United States. And it struck me that that -- that that is a hard thing to do, to learn to listen. And --
MORGAN: I have a lot of problem with it.
RUMSFELD: Do you?
MORGAN: No, I don't.
I enjoy listening to interesting people. It's been a fascinating half an hour. Donald Rumsfeld, leadership lessons in business, politics, war and life, "Rumsfeld's Rules," heartily recommended. It's a fascinating book. Very good to see you again.
RUMSFELD: Good to see you.
MORGAN: We'll be right back.
MORGAN: We're out of time, but just one Dear Piers Tweet. This one from Anthony, who writes, "as one of your avid critics, I'm utterly shocked to see you finally placing criticism where it belongs, the Obama administration," to which my answer is this: I criticize the president when he deserves it. And let's face it, he's having a very bad week at the office.
That's all for us tonight. Anderson Cooper starts right now.