Return to Transcripts main page
PIERS MORGAN LIVE
Tornadoes Kill Six; Scandals Rock White House; New Details from Castro's House; Inside the Criminal Mind
Aired May 16, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: The battle over Benghazi, the seizure of reporters' phone records and the scandal that simply won't go away. The IRS mess.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we're going to be able to figure out exactly what happened, who was involved, what went wrong, and we're going to be able to implement steps to fix it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: So how bad is all this for the president? I'll talk to White House press secretary Jay Carney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He spoke out about it, he made clear he thought it was an outrage and he had taken action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Also, a guy knows a thing or two about scandal, new congressman and Tea Party darling, Mark Sanford, on his first full day on the job.
Plus the hunt for justice. We go live to Cleveland for the latest on the Ariel Castro case and to Boston where the accused bomber's chilling message is scrawled inside his final hideout. I'll speak to the former FBI profiler who was the model for "The Silence of the Lambs" about both cases.
But I want to begin tonight with some extraordinarily violent weather. The National Weather Service said there could be tornadoes tonight from North Dakota to Texas. A total of 13 tornadoes hit north Texas last night and rescue crews searched today for seven missing people. At least six people are already declared dead.
Joining me now on the phone is Ronna Cotten. She hid in a closet with three of her four children as a twister ripped the roof off her home in Granbury, Texas.
Ronna Cotten, it sounds like you had a terrifying night last night. Tell me about what happened.
RONNA COTTEN, ROOF DAMAGED BY TORNADO: The wind was howling really bad and then it got worse. And next thing we know, we had over baseball size hail so I put the kids in the hall and I was watching out the front door, and then here's the tornado right there. So I ran to the closet, got the kids in the closet. Right as I'm setting the closet, then the alarms went off. We had no notice.
MORGAN: It sounds absolutely terrifying. And for those who've never been anywhere near a tornado, that moment the tornado struck and ripped the roof off your home, what was the power like? What did it feel like to you?
COTTEN: It sounded like a jet plane being on top of your roof and all your windows getting busted out. And things whipping through and just trying to hold the closet door because the wind is trying to get it open.
MORGAN: You are a single mother, Ronna, and you've got four children. Presumably you can't go back to the house tonight. So what are you doing for accommodation?
COTTEN: Right now, there was a lady that picked us up from the rescue center and he took us to her house last night. We stayed there and I'm trying to find hotels right now for us. They're saying that we are going to be out of power for three to four weeks and we might not be able to even go and check if we have any belongings left or anywhere from a week.
MORGAN: And despite how awful the state of your home is, do you feel lucky, Ronna, given that other people were killed last night and so much devastation?
COTTEN: I feel very lucky because we're alive.
MORGAN: Yes. Well, listen, I thank you so much for joining me. I can't imagine anything more terrifying and the fact that you were there on your own with your -- three of your four children must have made it even scarier for them and for you, and I'm just glad that you're OK. And hope you can get back to rebuilding your lives and your home very soon.
COTTEN: And the -- they had everybody going to the triage center at the American Legion and let me tell you, they were doing a great job.
COTTEN: You know, for the triage, they're trying to help as many people that they could, because there was a lot of injured.
MORGAN: That's great. It sounds like the authorities were very quick on the ball last night. Ronna Cotten, thank you very much for joining me.
I want to turn now to a very bad week for President Obama. It's been scandal upon scandal upon scandal. And there's no sign that things are calming down soon.
White house press secretary Jay Carney joins me now.
Jay Carney, thank you for joining me. Would you say this has been your toughest week personally in your job?
CARNEY: You know, Piers, I would say that it's been a challenging week, but in many ways, a week that I've enjoyed because I think that when a press secretary goes to the briefing room and there's a lot of intensity in the room and a lot of news, that, you know, it's inspiring reporters to ask hard questions. You know, that's what it's all about.
And I have no problem with that and I think that it's part of our democracy and part of what makes the process great. So I -- you know, some people have said oh -- you know, you've really been on the firing line and, you know, maybe it's just me, but I've kind of enjoyed it.
MORGAN: You may have enjoyed it, but the "New York Times" today said about the president that he's a bystander occupying the most powerful office in the world. Dana Milbank of the "Washington Post" said the president was like a, "bloke on a barstool getting his information from the evening news. In the phone snooping case, Obama didn't even stir from his stool. Instead he had his press secretary, former 'TIME' magazine journalist Jay Carney go before an incensed press corps Tuesday afternoon and explain why the president will not be involving himself in his Justice Department's trampling of press freedoms."
Now two very reputable papers, two pretty damning indictments, both suggesting the same thing which is the picture many are trying to lay at your feet now and that of your boss, but you're distancing yourself so much now from stuff your own administration is doing that you're almost finding out what's happening from watching the news.
CARNEY: Well, what's remarkable to me, Piers, is that those very fine journalists who wrote those stories would be writing something far worse if a president, this president or any other president, was directly involved in a criminal investigation that in part was looking at his own administration.
That would be -- there's a history to it and I assume the two people who wrote that know the history and understand that it is entirely inappropriate for a president or a White House to be engaged in or, you know, inappropriately knowledgeable about a criminal investigation the likes of which is under way as we understand it by the Justice Department.
So you know, those kind of narratives sound right but when you peel back the onion just a little bit, the facts just don't support it. What the president has done when it comes to the IRS situation is that when he found out based on the I.G.'s report that there had been inappropriate and wrong conduct by IRS personnel, he spoke out about it, he made clear he thought it was an outrage and he has taken action. He is the only person thus far who has taken action. His Treasury secretary has asked for and received the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS --
MORGAN: But let me -- but, Jay, let me stop you --
CARNEY: Well, let me just finish.
MORGAN: Yes, but on that point, though --
CARNEY: And we're moving forward -- we're moving forward on putting in a new acting commissioner and he has insisted that as we get the facts, people responsible for the failures at the IRS will be held accountable and we will make sure that this doesn't happen again.
MORGAN: Let's move on to Benghazi, because clearly a lot of what came out of the e-mails yesterday and it does beg the question why didn't you guys release it a long time ago because it may have helped you in many ways, it does seem to exonerate the White House from being too interfering in this process, but what it definitely shows is that the State Department were directly involved.
Many say a lot further than you had intimated before and that they had orchestrated the removal of some key information from the original CIA talking points, notably the referencing of al Qaeda, specific al Qaeda --
CARNEY: That's actually incorrect. But keep going.
MORGAN: OK. Well, let me ask you, based on your assessment from everything that's in the e-mails that were released, is the State Department more culpable than perhaps you personally first realized in terms of what they asked to be removed?
CARNEY: Culpable of what? What we saw from the beginning is the CIA took the lead in drafting talking points and the talking points that became the source of all this faux controversy stirred up by Republicans that were drafted by the CIA and the issue that drove this fake controversy from the beginning is that Ambassador Rice went on those Sunday shows and said that based on our best assessments now, our intelligence assessments, we believe that there was a spontaneous protest that evolved into the violent attack on the facility in Benghazi.
We said when this became an issue that that was information that was provided to us by the CIA, provided to Congress by the CIA, that this was an intelligence assessment. Republicans pounced and attacked and suggested that improperly the White House or others altered those talking points, changed the intelligence assessment, and what the release of these e-mails show is that Republicans are wrong.
They were wrong then and they're wrong now. And this has been a highly politicized affair about, you know, that totally misses the point about what happened in Benghazi. We should be focused on finding out who did it, who killed four Americans and bring them to justice. That's what the president's focused on. We should be focused on taking action to ensure that we have the appropriate security for our diplomats and our diplomatic facilities to make sure that this doesn't happen again.
And that's what this president's been focused on. And you heard him talk about that again today. When it comes to, you know, the issue of al Qaeda, as I said, I think if you look at the e-mails, the changes that you're talking about, some of them were made by the CIA internally and the other issues about warnings, I think you saw in the reports today that the CIA also believed that those -- that those matters should not be included in the talking points about what happened in Benghazi.
MORGAN: CNN's Barbara Starr is reporting tonight that you as an administration are readying yourselves for more action to go into Libya and track down the people responsible. Can you comment on that?
CARNEY: That's part of the investigation led by the FBI that the president ordered immediately in the aftermath of the attacks in Benghazi. And I think that whatever activity is being undertaken, and I can't confirm something like that, but whatever activity is being undertaken I think represents and elucidates the fact the president has made sure that we are continuing to focus on finding those responsible, as well as continuing to focus on upgrading and making changes to our security around our embassy facilities and around our personnel.
MORGAN: Let's turn to the third scandal of the week. Let me ask you, first of all, did you ever think you'd have to deal with three scandals like this at the same time?
CARNEY: Well, I -- I dismiss the premise, the idea that these were scandals. One is a total concoction by Republicans on the first hand, you know, and the other, I mean, it depends on the IRS issue, absolutely. Inappropriate behavior, wrong activity by personnel by the IRS, and action needs to be taken, is being taken and will be taken.
MORGAN: On the Associated Press, people are particularly exercised about you on this personally because you are a journalist at heart. You worked at "TIME" and very reputably for a long time. Aren't you outraged as many journalists are that the Justice Department effectively have gone after maybe 100 A.P. journalists, getting all their records, trying to expose their sources. Are you outraged by that as a journalist?
CARNEY: I very strongly believe, as does the president, in the need for the press to be able to pursue investigative journalism freely. I strongly believe as does the president in the First Amendment, in the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. These are core values of our democracy.
I also believe, as does the president, that we have to protect our national security secrets, our classified information, because the consequences of not protecting them can be severe and damaging to our national security, and they can endanger the lives of American men and women abroad.
And these are -- you know, the balance needs to be found there and the president believes we can find that balance. That's why he supported a media shield law that when he -- both as a senator and then in the fall of 2009, when we negotiated a bill with the Senate, it had the support of media organizations and it had the support of federal prosecutors. I think that proves that we can find this balance.
I can't comment on the reports about a specific under -- you know, criminal investigation that's ongoing, nor should I, because of the -- you know, the sensitivities of an ongoing criminal investigation into a leak that by definition, if it's a leak of classified information, involves potentially the administration.
But I can tell you, speaking broadly as opposed to about this specific case, what the president's principles are, why he believes he has to protect our classified information, because he has to protect our national security, but why he also believes we can take steps to further protect the media as it pursues, as it should, investigative journalism.
MORGAN: But are you concerned as many were yesterday that Eric Holder, who is the attorney general, it is his department, he doesn't seem to have a clue either about what's happened and when asked to provide the paperwork about recusing himself, he's been unable to do so. It does -- it doesn't lend a great air of authority or leadership to any of this process.
The A.P. can be targeted in this pretty shocking manner, many media people feel, and neither the president or the White House or the attorney general himself whose department it is seem to have a clue either that it was going on, or indeed, how far it goes now.
CARNEY: Well, I disagree with the idea, obviously the Department of Justice, obviously the people involved, obviously the deputy attorney general, were fully aware of the investigation and the activity of that investigation. We at the White House appropriately are not engaged in that activity. It would be wrong if we were.
You know, the attorney general as -- as you just mentioned recused himself for this. I would refer you to the Department of Justice for the reasons of his recusal. And obviously, the deputy attorney general then takes over on matters like this. But look, what I can tell you is that as a reporter for 21 years, I am extremely sympathetic to concerns about the ability of reporters to, you know, pursue journalism freely and so is the president.
And that's why we have to find this balance. But it is not OK, it is -- it is necessary for an administration, for a president, to ensure that the secrets that protect Americans abroad and that protect our national security do not -- are not leaked, because the consequences of that can be severe. And I don't have any special insight into this investigation, nor should I, but I can tell you what the attorney general said, that it is his belief that the leak involved in this case is particularly egregious, and by that I assume he means that the consequences of this leak, you know, were particularly bad, or could have been, and that's why we have to make sure that we're protecting our secrets.
MORGAN: Final question, Jay Carney. Obviously the president made a big deal when he came into office of being not like previous administrations and was going to be much more transparent. The charge today after this week is that you have had that reputation for transparency pretty heavily dented. Do you accept that and just on a general picture, how are you going to move on now and restore perhaps faith that some Americans have lost this week in your openness and honesty?
CARNEY: Well, I'm not sure, again, you're concocting scandals here that don't exist, especially with regard to the Benghazi affair that was contrived by Republicans and I think has fallen apart largely this week. The fact of the matter is that we -- that this administration has a record on transparency that outdoes any previous administrations, and we are committed to that. The president is committed to that.
MORGAN: Jay Carney, you've probably been the busiest man in Washington this week, and for that reason, if nothing else, I genuinely appreciate you taking the time to come and talk to me tonight.
CARNEY: Piers, I was glad to do it. Thank you for having me.
MORGAN: Appreciate it.
Still ahead, the Tea Party take on the IRS scandal. I'll talk to Mark Sanford. Also coming up, exclusive shocking new details from Cleveland in the Ariel Castro case. And in Boston, the accused bomber's chilling message. I'll talk to the former FBI profiler who was the model for "Silence of the Lambs."
MORGAN: We've got exclusive new details tonight from inside Ariel Castro's house. Neighbors tell CNN they never heard human screams, only barking dogs.
Ed Gallek of WOIO is live with us in Cleveland with more.
Ed, tell me about this new line about the dogs.
ED GALLEK, WOIO, CLEVELAND: Well, really, another amazing untold story out of this. This one, unnoticed for days until we found out about it today. Three dogs tied to this case, pets, really, a Chihuahua found in the car with Ariel Castro and his brother the night they got arrested, and then two other dogs found in the home with the hostages. Two other terrier-poodle mixes in the home with the women being held hostages. Now I am told that the dogs were in reasonably good health, the biggest problem seemed to be maintenance or grooming. Those poodles require some regular maintenance or grooming and the poodles were found with matted hair, tangled hair, very long hair. So now they've been cleaned up. The dogs have been spayed and neutered and now the question is what happens to them next. The FBI I'm told has asked the Cleveland dog warden to hang on to the dogs at least for a bit and see if any of the women who were hostages want any of the animals, and then they may be put up for public adoption or in the meantime, they may go to a dog foster home, a volunteer taking care of the dogs said they're not sitting there inside the kennel.
MORGAN: And what is the belief, Ed, about what he really wanted with these dogs? Because it's hard to imagine he's just some harmless dog lover, much more likely that he was using them as some kind of noise shield, if you like, from what he was really up to with these women he kidnapped.
GALLEK: Right. The role of these dogs is still unclear, although last week we reported about a -- we reported about an RIP writing on the wall in the basement. RIP, that is believed to be in reference to an animal, and then there's some talk in law enforcement circles in recent days about the dogs being pets for the women. That has not been confirmed, fleshed out. That is something we're still looking into but that is another possibility.
MORGAN: And Ed, tell me, in terms of the overall investigation, they have DNA tested him in the state and federally now. They've obviously had a week or so or more inside the house itself. Is the belief of the investigators and the police now that the more they dig into this, the more likely it is that he just had these three women, that was what he concentrated on, that there may not be other crimes outside of that?
GALLEK: That's what it looks like so far. The investigation, the lab tests have not even begun yet on the evidence taken out of the house. Investigators have also asked for phone records so they could see who he's called, who's called him, are there any text messages, still photos on those phones, any video on those phones. So at this point, there's still some investigating going on but at this point, it also looks like only those three women and only Ariel Castro involved.
MORGAN: And obviously the people who can answer so many questions remain the three young women who've finally found freedom after a decade in captivity. Are they likely to speak in public any time soon, do you think?
GALLEK: Well, we all want that and there has been talk a couple of times that they're going to speak, they're going to speak, they're going to say something, and it never happened. In fact, this past Sunday, an attorney came out and said the women are not going to speak until the trial's over, if there's a trial because there's a criminal case. That doesn't mean it won't happen. They might not be caught in public sometime, who knows. But as far as any formal statement, we may have to wait awhile for that.
MORGAN: And is Ariel Castro still cooperating with police, as he has been?
GALLEK: Well, they haven't questioned him in the last several days, although he is still in the same isolation in the cell, being watched 24/7 by the sheriff's department. So he is still in the same situation, although they haven't been talking to him.
MORGAN: What is the mood, Ed, in the area in Cleveland now? About all this? Is there a growing sense as there was in the first few days, maybe, that this should all have been solved a long time ago?
GALLEK: There is a piece of that. In fact, there's a growing sense of let's question the police and there's a lot of backlash from the police, even from the chief's office saying wait a minute, we did everything we could. You're always going to have that second guessing, people coming out of the woodwork and said well, I gave them a tip about such and such, I told them about such and such, and then the police say we looked back through our records and it never happened.
So that second guessing is still going on but as far as the community goes, we just found out today that these Cleveland Courage Fund, a fund for the women, has raised 480,000 bucks from all over the country for those three women, 480,000 bucks.
MORGAN: Amazing. As always with these things, the ghouls had come out as well. And I'm told there's now police guarding the house to prevent people stealing stuff from it to try and sell on eBay.
GALLEK: Yes, incredible. I checked with the city and there's now going to be city police car and a sheriff's department car at the scene 24/7. They already have a tall fence up. They already have the house boarded up. And they're still going to have police car and a sheriff's car out there. They did this once before.
We had a serial killer here a few years ago that did the exact same thing, big fence, board up the place, have a police car out there, because I talked to a city official, in this case, there's been some talk we ought to burn that place down. And they don't want something like that to happen.
After the Sowell case, the serial killer case, what they did in fact was they preserved the crime scene, then when there was a trial, there was in fact a trial for that, the prosecutors actually took the jury into that home that had been boarded up for so long, on a jury view so they could see it and even feel the eeriness.
MORGAN: Ed Gallek, I've got to say that every night for the last -- what seems to me a fortnight now, you've come on here and just revealed extraordinary new revelations. I thank you for that. You are obviously incredibly well sourced on the ground and I really appreciate it.
GALLEK: Thank you.
MORGAN: Ed Gallek. In Boston, a chilling message from surviving accused bomber, a note scrawled inside the boat where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hid before his capture. Police say the note describes the bombings as payback for U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tsarnaev takes credit for the bombings and says an attack on one Muslim is an attack on all Muslims. He also said he would not miss older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev who died in a shootout with police because he would soon be joining him.
Three people were killed and more than 260 more wounded in the twin bombings at the Boston marathon just over a month ago.
Well, joining me now is someone who has helped police catch some of the worst killers in the world, putting his own life on the line to do it. John Douglas is the former chief of the FBI's Behavioral Science Units and author of "Law and Disorder."
John, welcome back. First of all, looking at the Ariel Castro case since we last spoke, what is your assessment of where this investigation now is?
JOHN DOUGLAS, FORMER CHIEF, FBI'S BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE UNIT: The investigation -- well, really, I was watching your show last night, it's really from the defense side, it's damage control. They're trying to humanize the face who committed these sadistic horrors.
The FBI, the law enforcement side, it is making a case, it is gathering the evidence that they collected during the search from the computers, from any diaries or digests. Generally from my research in the past with other cases, they like to document, they like to document their cases, they like to embellish, sit back in the La-Z-Boy chair and drink a beer and relive the crime over and over again.
So they're gathering all this type of information. I'm looking at it, I was watching last night, I'm looking at it is damage control and where is it going to go with this. Insanity as a defense, are they going to go irresistible impulse, my client, he could not control himself. It is something that is beyond his control. Other cases I've had, they've come up with even so-called multiple personality.
So that's what's going to be interesting here. But the evidence really is looking good and when I hear the defense attorneys saying that, you know, he is -- he is not a monster, well, Mr. Defense Attorney, you've been fooled. You've been fooled just like family members, just like some of his associates in the past. He has two faces. It's a mask of sanity and he has the ability to blend in and compartmentalize and live really two lives like demonstrated the BTK strangler and other notorious offenders can do that. And it's hard sometimes for the American public to see that, to see that at all.
MORGAN: John, let's take a short break. When we come back, we'll talk more about Ariel Castro and also the interview I conducted with his former daughter-in-law which I thought was fascinating in revealing the kind of violence that he perpetrated before these kidnappings.
Also want to talk to you about the Tsarnaev case and what you make of the confession that appears to be found inside his hiding place.
MORGAN: Back with me now is John Douglas, former chief of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit and author of "Law and Disorder." The character Jack Crawford from "Silence of the Lambs" is based on him.
John, let's talk a little bit more about Ariel Castro. I interviewed his former daughter-in-law the other night. And she was really revealing, I thought actually one of the more revealing interviews so far since this story broke, because she detailed all the abuse that her former mother-in-law and her former husband had endured at the hands of Ariel Castro.
And it went way beyond the kind of -- and I don't use this word in any light way -- average domestic violence, if you like, that perhaps we all had been suckered into believing he had perpetrated. This was proper pretty vile abuse that was going on.
DOUGLAS: Yeah, there was -- I mean, I wrote a book once called "Obsession," had to do exactly with this subject matter. There are people who are in relationships today that are being abused and controlled by husbands. They have to tell them when they leave the house. They give them a certain amount of money, better not spend beyond this money. They check the odometer on their car.
But this is going way, way beyond, the extreme amount of violence exhibited on his -- you know, on his wife. And what was interesting is that people within this environment, or the children within the environment, will it impact them? Will it impact them in their lives? What we end up seeing is one of the daughters, in fact, nearly kills one of her children, an infant, years later.
And what always is a debate, is it a nature or nurture thing? I can tell you from the people I've interviewed. You can't really say that everyone who falls at the hands of someone who is extremely violent will turn into a violent anything. But I do say, from the people who I have interviewed, you know, on Death Row or in prisons around the country, most of them will have some type of violence, psychological, physical violence, sexual violence in their background.
However, I'm kind of tough on this, because I still don't believe it should be a mitigating factor. They still have the ability to make choices. And it's free will. And they're making these choices. And it's the wrong choices.
MORGAN: Let's just turn to the Boston Bombing suspect. This confession apparently has been found in the boat where he was hiding. How significant will that be to the case? On the face of it, it is his admission of guilt. And he details motive. Him and his brother were apparently avenging the killing of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan and so on. What would it mean legally, do you think?
DOUGLAS: Well, from a legal perspective, the problem, if I was a defense attorney -- and the problem for the prosecution is the whole business of Mirandizing. Why they were not Mirandizing, the brother, when he was immediately arrested. The prosecution will come back and argue that was for safety issues. We had to get right to him to see if there was any other terrorists in our country.
What really is good is what they found. I refer to this as a manifesto, kind of the manifesto that Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber wrote, a case again that I worked. You just covered a few weeks ago Chris Dornan, the rogue LAPD cop. Before he went out and did his things and the killings, he had a manifesto as well.
So it's a little different here. But he's writing the so-called manifesto within this boat. He wants to be a martyr. But this definitely will be held against him. It has the motive. It has his intention that he's going -- his brother is in paradise now, and hopefully, he can be joining his brother in paradise pretty soon, once I believe he will probably be convicted as well.
MORGAN: John Douglas, as always, fascinating. Thanks so much for joining me. >
DOUGLAS: Thanks a lot, Piers.
MORGAN: Coming next, he survived his own scandal. He has his own thoughts about the troubles now plaguing the White House. Congressman Mark Sanford joins me on the Grill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: There's something profoundly un- American about targeting your political opponents. Whether you're a Republican or a Democrat or independent in this country, to take the abuse of a 3.8 trillion dollar government, the power of that government, and to use it to stifle opposition is profoundly un- American.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Senator Rand Paul earlier today. In the wake of the IRS scandal, the Tea Party is making a comeback, as is my next gift. Mark Sanford has gone from that fictitious hike on the Appalachian Trail to a rebirth in Congress. And he joins me now exclusively on the Grill.
Mark, welcome back to you.
REP. MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: My pleasure.
MORGAN: And congratulations. How you feeling?
SANFORD: I'm good. It's my first day back on the job. And it's been an awfully busy day.
MORGAN: It's been a very busy day up in Washington as well, as it has been all week. Let me ask you this, I was thinking about this before I spoke to you tonight. How do you feel about having had your political career torn to pieces over an extramarital affair, yet now, in one week, we have the IRS targeting the Tea Party, we have journalists targeted by the Justice Department, in what many perceive to be a grotesque manner, we have a new slew of emails revealing what looks certainly like a lot of interference in the Benghazi scandal?
How do you feel that many people are calling for heads to roll over these and very few have. We've had one acting boss of the IRS who was about to leave anyway. Other than that, no one's going anywhere.
SANFORD: Yeah. It was interesting. I talked to a member on the House floor today. And his point was, wait a minute, this is like saying your term ends January next -- obviously all Congressional terms end in two-year periods, and you're leaving then. In other words, that's not exactly a resignation. That's not exactly a head rolling. But that's exactly the case with the head of the IRS. They were already intending to leave on that day and they're saying I'm going to leave.
So I think that, you know, as this oversight has continued, both on the Senate and the House side, there are going to be a fair number of folks asking the question of where is the accountability given the number of different things that I think, as Rand Paul so eloquently stated just a moment ago, had been breached with regard to American tradition.
MORGAN: Let's go through them one by one quickly. On the IRS, should more heads roll? Should all the people who have had any involvement in targeting Tea Party groups just on the supposition that they're Tea Party activists -- should they all be fired?
SANFORD: Again, I'm not going to speak for the executive branch. But I mean, my humble opinion would be yes, there ought to be accountability. You know, our American system is all predicated on the people loaning to the government power. And for those folks in power, then to come around and do this kind of thing to different interest groups who may be against their particular political persuasion is not at all in keeping with the American tradition, again, as Rand Paul was speaking a moment ago.
And most interestingly, I spoke with Darrell Issa, who is head of the Government Reform Committee, today on the House floor. And his point was in their testimony tomorrow, they're going to be interesting I guess testimonies. They are going to talk about this larger theme of are there, in fact, any safeguards to prevent this happening, whether it's from the right or the left, in terms of one's political persuasion as a 501(c)3 or affiliated group.
MORGAN: Absolutely. Let's move to Benghazi. On that, these e- mails seem to somewhat exonerate the White House from any direct interference. But they don't exonerate the State Department. In fact, it's quite clear the State Department were putting a lot of pressure to remove references to, say, al Qaeda and al Qaeda groups and so on, which may well have been politically motivated suggestions. We can't be entirely sure.
If it turns out they were, if more e-mails come out and the State Department, for political reasons, were trying to remove the fact this may have been a terrorist attack, should heads roll at the State Department?
SANFORD: Again, I'm not going to speak for the executive branch. But I do think that there ought to be accountability. An interesting comment came from -- again, I'm only one day old in this process, but one of my peers in the House of Representatives, who made the point of, wait a minute, it seems like the executive branch, other than acknowledging SEAL Team 6-- saying SEAL Team 6 works for us. Other than that, there's a great distance.
Yet, at the end of the day, the State Department is a function of the executive branch. It's ultimately run from there. And there ought to be accountability going all the way back up through executive branch.
MORGAN: What about Eric Holder, who runs a department that has been effectively bugging the Associated Press, getting all their phone records from maybe up to 100 journalists? But he apparently knows nothing about this, still knows nothing about this, says he recused himself, but there's no paperwork. Some people say hang on, you can't have that. The attorney general should consider his position. Should he?
SANFORD: Yeah, I think so. Again, this is part of a larger pattern that I do think obviously disturbs conservatives. And I think it ought to concern every American regardless of one's political stripe or flavor. And that is the pattern within the executive branch, within the administration, of overstepping bounds. And so if you look at here the size and scale of, you know, the A.P. investigation, its scale is completely out of bounds with what you've seen in the past.
And this fits with I guess this larger notion of what we saw, for instance, in Charleston, South Carolina, where you had the National Labor Relations Board stepping in, dictating where Boeing might or might not go based on and voiding advice and consent to the United States Senate with regard to executive branch appointments. So I think that the frustrating thing for a lot of folks, as they begin to look into these three different mine fields, is has there been a pattern of the executive branch overstretching with regard to what it has historically done, particularly as it relates to I think a great tradition in this country, which is an independent and open press.
MORGAN: Mark Sanford, good to talk to you again. You haven't set a date for your wedding yet, have you?
SANFORD: Well, I'm not going to make news there. But we're working on that. We're working on that.
MORGAN: I wish you all the very best with it. Good to talk to you again. Congratulations.
SANFORD: My pleasure. Thank you so much.
MORGAN: When we come back, we are going to call a new segment. It's called the Bull Pen. Penn Gillette is here to take on the big stories of the week. And he is feeling very bullish. He actually looks like a bull.
MORGAN: Back now with the Bull Pen, my new weekly segment looking at the wild stories making headlines, as seen through the eyes of comedian and best selling author and professional antagonist Penn Jillette. .
This week, thanks to the White House, there's plenty of ground to cover. Penn Gillette joins me now. Penn, how are you doing?
PENN JILLETTE, COMEDIAN: I'm doing very well, thank you. Very well.
MORGAN: Feeling bullish?
JILLETTE: I suppose so.
MORGAN: As an American, somebody who pays a lot of taxes, I would imagine, like I do, how do you feel about the IRS turning all political, going off to people for their political believes?
JILLETTE: You know, this is one of those things that just breaks my heart. I have a lot of friends in the small government movement, the Tea Party movement, you know, that I don't necessarily agree with on everything. When they say stuff like the IRS is targeting them, I want to be able to dismiss them. I want to be able to say, you're just being nuts; you're being paranoid; this is tinfoil hat stuff. I never want them proven right.
MORGAN: That's how I feel. I feel like the Tea Party have squealed a lot about this kind of thing, I think wrongly in the past. Now, it's absolutely crystal clear that that's exactly what the IRS has been doing.
JILLETTE: And I just don't want them to be right. I want there to be differences of opinion in this country. You know, I differ with Obama on a lot of issues, but I don't want anybody doing something that's just passionately wrong.
MORGAN: What about Obama as a leader? Because I've not been overly impressed on any of these scandals. Jay Carney said to me earlier, well, only one of them is a scandal. Well, I don't agree, actually.
JILLETTE: I thought you were using the word dented. The transparency --
MORGAN: -- whiter than white transparent president, then none of these three things, Benghazi, the AP scandal or the IRS scandal -- none of them are what I would call transparent government. JILLETTE: You know, I always try to do this thing when I disagree with people, which is often, but I like them to be wrong and not evil. You know? I want to disagree with people. I'm very fine disagreeing with people. And when you cross this kind of line, when you actually do something that is wrong, it just blows the whole thing wide open.
I want to be mean. I want to be aggressive. I want to yell in your face that you're wrong. But I hate to see something that's actually criminal.
MORGAN: See, I've had some of the gun -- pro-gun lobbyists on here saying to me, well, the reason we need to be armed is because of tyranny from our own government. And I've always laughed at them. I've always said, don't be so ridiculous. Your own government won't turn itself on you. But, actually, when you look at this, it's nothing to do with guns. But actually, this is vaguely tyrannical behavior by the American government.
I think what the IRS did is bordering on tyrannical behavior. I think what the Department of Justice has done, actually, to the A.P. is bordering on tyrannical behavior.
JILLETTE: This's no doubt about that. Once you use the word bordering, that's true. And I also think that it shows you how much we can trust the government and just sit back, which is not very much at all. We have to be ever vigilant.
MORGAN: And the president basically saying, hey look, I knew nothing about any of this; I learned about it on CNN. You've got Eric Holder -- Eric Holder, the attorney general, saying look, it may be my department, but I recused myself. There's no evidence apparently that he did. There's no paperwork. He can't find it.
And he still doesn't seem to know exactly what his own department has done to the Associated Press, when many view it as one of the most scandalous invasions of press freedom for a very long time.
JILLETTE: Yes. It's huge. And when I see how some of the liberals are trying to spin it, saying, well, the Republicans are going to jump on this -- yeah, they are.
MORGAN: And by the way, I don't blame them. The Democrats would be all over a Republican administration for this.
JILLETTE: And the Democrats should be all over a Democratic administration.
MORGAN: Let's listen to a a little bit of what Republicans have been saying. We've got a little roundup here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: You know, Thomas Jefferson told us, when government fears the citizens, there's liberty. But when citizens fear the government, there's tyranny. SEN. MIKE LEE (R), UTAH: Your government is targeting you, that your government is spying on you, and that your government lying to you.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: This is run away government at its worst. Who knows who they'll target next?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: You see, if they were talking two weeks ago, I'd have said, don't be so ridiculous. Actually tonight, I listen to them and I think, you have got a fair point.
JILLETTE: You know, there's also this thing that goes on -- there's all this celebration with Al Capone. We couldn't get him on the real crimes, so we got him on income tax evasion. And we celebrated that. And I think it really is important to make sure that all the battles are fought on the proper battlefields.
MORGAN: I agree. Talking of battlefields, Sunday night, NBC --
JILLETTE: You're the king of segues.
MORGAN: 9:00 pm is the "Celebrity Apprentice" finale. You're in the final against the man I vanquished, Trace Adkins.
MORGAN: Here is the ice cream you made for the finale.
JILLETTE: Love it.
MORGAN: I'm not going to say what I think. I'll leave that to Donald Trump. Best of luck with the finale. Trace is a great competitor. But I did beat him. So if you don't beat him, you're not quite as good as me.
MORGAN: Come back next week.
JILLETTE: I like when you do algebra.
MORGAN: Penn Jillette in the Bull Pen. We'll be right back with Dear Piers, where you respond to me about the stories of the day.
MORGAN: Time now for Dear Piers. I must say, we've got some good ones tonight.
This one is from Jen, "it continues to shock me that the media haven't made more of Ariel Castro's prior horrendous domestic violence." I agree, Jen. We discussed this tonight. His former daughter-in-law told me about the abuse he caused his family earlier. It was despicable. Someone should have done something a lot earlier. And from Ron, "as a journalist, are you personally concerned regarding government investigations into media sources. Will it inhibit you" Well, the answer is yes, I'm massively concerned. But no, it won't inhibit me. And it shouldn't stop any journalist. Keep at it.
And this from Tyler, "Dear Piers, why are you an idiot?" To which my answer is, it's a long story, Tyler. And sadly, I haven't got time to tell you.
Tomorrow night, Bob Costas, outspoken about the issues on and off the field. He talks guns, doping and much more. He also takes on the critics who say he should stick to just covering the game.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: In a way, the sports world has straddled every other world, whether it's racial equality, whether it's gay-rights.
BOB COSTAS, SPORTS BROADCASTER: If not always, at least from time-to-time, which is why it's so almost amusing, but also annoying when people will say a sports announcer has no business dealing with these issues. When what they really mean is a sports announcer has no business saying something I disagree with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A fascinating hour with the voice of American sport. That's Bob Costas with an audience. That's tomorrow night. That's all for us tonight, though. Anderson Cooper starts right now.