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IRS on Defense over Dance Video; Former Kansas Cop Accused of Killing Wife; Devastation in Tornado Alley; Angelina Jolie Back on Red Carpet; Player Fined for Using Anti-Gay Slur

Aired June 3, 2013 - 13:30   ET



SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: They're mourning the loss of Senator Frank Lautenberg. The New Jersey Democrats was the U.S. Senate's last World War II veteran. He died this morning of viral pneumonia. He's going to be remembered as a staunch liberal who fought for tough gun laws, the ban on smoking on airplanes and cracking down on drunk driving. And as you can see here, they have already lowered the flag at the White House. It is flying at half-staff in his honor. Senator Lautenberg was 89 years old.

Also in Washington, another video -- another controversy for the IRS. Watch.








MALVEAUX: All right. These are IRS workers, on the clock, learning how to do the Cupid Shuffle. It was for a 2010 conference. The agency spent almost $50 million on conferences between 2010 and 2012. House Republicans want some answers here. They also want to know who ordered the IRS to target the Tea Party.

Republican Congressman Darrell Issa says White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is lying about this.


REP. DARRELL ISSA, (R-CA) CHAIRMAN, HOUSE OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE: They're paid liar, their paid spokesperson, he's still making up things about what happens and calling this local rogue. There's no indication -- the reason that Lois Lerner tried to take the Fifth is not because there's a rogue in Cincinnati. It's because this is a problem that was coordinated, in all likelihood, right out of Washington headquarters. And we're getting to proving it.


MALVEAUX: I want to bring in Wolf Blitzer, who's joining us from Washington.

Wolf, good to see you as always.

We'll get to Darrell Issa's comments in a moment. But first, I wanted to ask you this because I'm sure you remember this story from before. The GSA had this embarrassing video that came out and it made it look like they were wasting money at these conferences, these dance and competitions, that kind of thing. You would have thought the IRS would have learned something from that. Do we know what is behind this video? Can we put this into context?

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, THE SITUATION ROOM: Unfortunately, I think there are a whole bunch of government agencies out there that used to have these kinds of events to try to get team productivity or whatever excuse they had, and cost the taxpayers a lot of money, whether it was a GSA event or now an IRS event. You see the video that's come to light. This was considered good policy as far as getting cohesiveness, teamwork, stuff like that out there. They try to adopt some of these strategies from the private sector and it didn't necessarily work as far as the IRS and the GSA, because the publicity is awful. It looks like they're just having a bunch of -- like the GSA, they went to Vegas, had a little fun and at taxpayers expense. It's not a good idea. It looks awful and they should stop.

MALVEAUX: Yeah. It looks very silly.

I want to bring back Darrell Issa's comments here. Clearly, he's going after the administration, the White House. But he very specifically went after Jay Carney, the press secretary, calling him a paid liar. There was pushback from the former White House advisor, David Plouffe. He tweeted this out about Issa's past. He said, "In response, "Strong words from mar. Grand Theft Auto and suspected arsonist/insurance swindler."

He doesn't usually use those kinds of words, do you think there's a danger here,Wolf, that the White House might look like it is now playing small ball? That it's tit-for-tat and they like to applaud themselves for being above the fray.

BLITZER: Well, David Plouffe no longer works in the White House. He was -- he's now a private citizen so he can say and do whatever he wants, and the White House can suggest he's no longer part of the president's official team, if you will.

Today, just a few moments ago, I just heard, Suzanne, Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, was asked about Issa's comments about him calling him a paid liar and he tried to take the high road. He said he didn't want to get into a back-and-forth with Issa. The Plouffe comments about grand theft auto and arsonist charges, these were charges 20 and 40 years ago that were never proven against Issa. There were no criminal charges ever leveled against him, and when he was in the private sector. But it does underscore, you're absolutely right, how angry and how bitter this personal feud, when you have a congressman calling the White House press secretary a paid liar, then you have a former aide to the president of the United States saying what he said about a suspected arsonist, Darrell Issa, it underscores how bitter, how angry. Even by Washington standards, this is getting very, very ugly.

MALVEAUX: And the administration, of course, trying to get something done before the president becomes a lame-duck president.

Wolf, thank you so much. We really appreciate it. Good to see you.

BLITZER: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: A former cop on trial accused of murdering his wife. The suspicious note found on the suspect, up next.


MALVEAUX: A former Kansas police officer is on trial for allegedly murdering his wife. His name is Brett Seacat. Hers was Vashti. And Seacat accused of shooting his wife and then setting her body on fire.

Listen to his response in a police interrogation.








UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: She told a friend a week and a half prior to this incident happening that you threatened to kill her.


UNIDENTIFIED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER: You threatened to burn the house down and you threatened to make it look like she did it.



(END VIDEO CLIP) MALVEAUX: Our Ted Rowlands has been covering the case. He joins us from Kingman, Kansas.

Ted, he seems pretty defiant there in that video. What is his defense?

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically, he's saying, Suzanne, that his wife was depressed and that she did this herself. That she set the house on fire and then got in her bed and shot herself in the head. He claims that he was downstairs. And he had just been served divorce papers three days prior to this murder, this killing. He says he got a phone call from her on his cell phone saying, get up here and get the kids. They had a 4-year-old and a 2- year-old. He claims he ran upstairs, saw the flames, ran into the bedroom, picked her up and realized she was dead, saw all the blood on the bed, dropped her and thought of the kids. So he runs out, grabs the kids, gets out of the house. And he calls 911 saying the house is on fire and my wife is upstairs.

The prosecution saying that's complete malarkey. There's no way a woman is going to set her house on fire in three different spots, get back into bed, pull the covers all the way up onto her body and then shoot herself in the head. They say that this was a person that could not live without his wife. He had threatened to kill her before. And he did absolutely that.

It's going to be a fascinating trial here. We're eight days into it. And the state of Kansas is absolutely riveted on this. This is a law enforcement family. He was a cop. His dad was a cop. His brother's a cop.

He's going to take the stand. And he's going to have to save his skin here because there's evidence against him that is very compelling. And we expect the prosecution to finish their case up in the next few days. We expect him on the stand by the end of the week.

MALVEAUX: Ted, fascinating. We're going to be following that case very closely.

Thank you, Ted. Appreciate it.

Watch this. We have homes, schools, even churches now reduced to rubble after a terrifying tornado hitting Oklahoma. Up next, our own Nick Valencia just came back from a tour of a school where students had just minutes to run for cover.


MALVEAUX: Sadly, this is a familiar routine now in Oklahoma. This is cleaning up, recovering from tornadoes less than two weeks after the city of Moore was hit. There's now a series of tornadoes that slammed the state again. It happened on Friday night. 14 people died. Crews still searching for the missing.

Our Nick Valencia, he is in El Reno, Oklahoma.

Nick, I understand you came back. You just returned from this vocational school that was destroyed. Tell us what you saw.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Hey, Suzanne. We just came back from the school behind me. You can tell it took a direct hit from that EF-3 tornado. In fact, I took a tour with a teacher, Larry Fisher, whose quick thinking probably saved the lives of 15 students. In fact, he took us through. It's no electricity in there. It's completely dark.

And just to speak to how dangerous it still is in there and how unsafe, just about 30 minutes ago, we saw police vehicles pull up with their lights on. And I went to go talk to the superintendent of the school. He told me that an insurance worker fell and broke his arm trying to get to another part that was unreachable inside the rubble. So it's still very unsafe in there. Crews as you can see are still assessing the damage, still cleaning up.

It's estimated, Suzanne -- it's estimated this is about $40 million of damage. This is a vocational school, technology school. They teach aviation. In fact, Larry Fisher said he was teaching a class on how to reload weapons when the tornado hit.

And because the information that they got initially was that this tornado was on the other side of Interstate 40, on the south side, they didn't think it was coming towards them. But because it was so wide at its base, Suzanne, about a mile and a half wide, they took -- they ended up taking a direct hit. A lot of them are lucky to be alive. They sure feel lucky today any way.

MALVEAUX: Nick, this is a community, a state that over and over, time and time again they've had to deal with this kind of tragedy. How are they doing? When you talk to people, do you get a sense if they're exhausted here or that they're fortified? I mean, how are they coping at this point?

VALENCIA: Exhausted, terrified, anxious, just ready for the severe weather to be over. It's as if this community seemingly can't catch a break when it comes to severe weather.

In fact, we're anticipating perhaps more thunderstorms later in the week, more heavy rain. And it wasn't just the tornadoes, Suzanne. It was the flooding that caused problems as well. We understand now that there were several people that died as they tried to take cover in a storm drain. The flooding causing problems all throughout the roads in this area.

But as I mentioned, Suzanne, it's just an anxious community. You know -- right now, it's beautiful out, right?


VALENCIA: But wait five minutes, they say here in Oklahoma, and the weather can change. There's a lot of people still very concerned about how the weather will change in the coming days.

MALVEAUX: All right. Nick, thanks so much. Of course, we should mention as well those three storm chasers who lost their lives chasing storms over the weekend. Just an absolute tragic situation there. Going out really in the eye of danger to try to warn people and educate them about these tornadoes, having lost their lives over the weekend.

Angelina Jolie making her first red-carpet appearance. This is after having a double mastectomy after finding out she had a good chance of getting breast or ovarian cancer. She's now not stopping with one surgery. We'll have more information after a quick break.


MALVEAUX: In Turkey, what started as a protest over plans to demolish a park has now grown into something that is much, much bigger. Watch this.




MALVEAUX: Hundreds of students facing off against riot police. This is in Ankara today. Police eventually brought in armored vehicles. They fired tear gas and water cannons at the demonstrators. And protesters say the bigger issue now is freedom of speech and what they see as heavy-handed government. The demonstrations have now spread to 67 of Turkey's 81 provinces.

And America lost an acting great over the weekend.




MALVEAUX: Those were the days. Jean Stapleton -- loved her -- she played Edith on "All in the Family." She died Saturday in her New York home. She was 90 years old. Stapleton won three Emmys, was nominated another five times for her iconic role, of course, as Archie Bunker's wife. The show's producer and director, Norman Lear, paid his tribute saying, "No one gave us more profound how to be human being lessons than Jean Stapleton. Good-bye, Edith, darling." She was great.

Angelina Jolie back on the red carpet for the first time since having a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. The star attended a London world premier of, of course, her fiance, Brad Pitts, new movie, "World War Z." Jolie decided to get a double mastectomy after learning that she carries a gene that sharply increases her risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Her mother, also an actress, died of ovarian cancer. The 37-year-old got a bit emotional while talking to reporters, saying she is grateful for all the support that she has now gotten from the public. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANGELINA JOLIE, ACTRESS: I've been very happy to see the discussion about women's health expanded, and that means the world to me. And after losing my mom to these issues, I'm very grateful for it. And I've been very moved by the kind of support from the people. Really, very grateful for it.


MALVEAUX: Jolie says she has also decided to have her ovaries removed at some point to prevent ovarian cancer.


MALVEAUX: Tonight, in Miami, it is the last game of the NBA eastern conference finals between the Heat and the Indiana Pacers. So you would think the focus would be on which team makes it to the finals to take on San Antonio, right? But instead, it is the NBA slapping a huge fine on Pacers center, Roy Hibbert. $75,000 for using profanity, including an anti-gay slur during a post-game news conference on Saturday.

CNN's sports Jarrett Greenburg, he's got that and a lot more in the "Bleacher Report.

JARRETT GREENBURG, BLEACHERREPORT.COM: That mandated cooling off period from the time the game ends to when players are available to the media apparently not long enough for Roy Hibbert. Facing elimination, Hibbert's dominant on court performance spoiled by a homophobic post-game comment.

ROY HIBBERT, INDIANA PACER'S CENTER: I really felt that I let Paul down in terms of having his back when Lebron was scoring in the post or getting to the paint because they stretched me out so much. The homo.


GREENBURG: Hibbert found out it was no laughing matter, apologizing for the insensitive remarks. The NBA still slapped with a fine for using inappropriate and vulgar language. He said it just after scoring 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. And the Pacers beat the Heat to stay alive in the eastern conference finals, forcing a decisive game seven, which will be played tonight in downtown Miami. The winner advances to the NBA finals against San Antonio.

Weekend warriors, here is your chance to feel like Tiger Woods. Second-worst four-round tournament ever played by Tiger on a course he has historically dominated. The defending champ of the memorial couldn't find the bottom of the cup. Tiger finished tied for 65th, carding a 296. That put him 20 shots behind this guy, the winner, Matt Kutcher. Sealed the deal here with this 20-footer. Then it was his son supplying the "ah" moment of the weekend, high five from the legend Jack Nicklaus. Kutcher moves up to the four spot in the world rankings. Here's a lesson that cameras are always rolling. And it comes in at number three on Bleacher's lineup. During a rain delay, in last night's Yankees-Red Sox game, the stormy weather got a little too close for comfort for both teams. Loud thunder nearby made the Yankees almost jump out of their pinstripes. Where are those Teddy Bears and blankets when you need them? Red Sox did win the game, but after just five and a half innings due to the weather.

For more, logon to

MALVEAUX: That's it for me. Have a great afternoon. Brooke Baldwin takes it from here.