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PIERS MORGAN LIVE
Police vs. Protesters in Istanbul; Sex, Drugs and the State Department
Aired June 11, 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: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world, especially in Turkey, where there is more breaking news tonight. This is the scene live in Istanbul. Just before dawn. Violent clashes going on throughout the night. The city reeling from explosive protests, tear gas, fireworks. CNN correspondents forced to report wearing gas masks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're trying to hurl the rocks back, (EXPLETIVE DELETED), towards the line of police who are advancing on the street below, but anger, really, really flaring right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Those people live in Istanbul and here in New York plus sex, drugs and the State Department, chalking allegations of a cover-up right to the very top. All of it while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state. What will it mean for her presidential ambitions. I'll talk to the man who broke that story, John Miller.
Also breaking the news, when we get behind the headlines. Tonight, the NSA leaker's pole dancing girlfriend and where is he? And the $27,000 gun that hit a target 10 football fields away. That's available to American civilians right now.
Plus, in the chair Robert Zimmerman, my prime time exclusive with the brother of the man who shot Trayvon Martin.
But I want to begin with our breaking news in Istanbul. Clashes between protesters and police still going on tonight and spreading to the capital city of Ankara. The White House says, "We continue to follow events in Turkey with concern and our interest remains supporting freedom of expression and assembling Turkish rights to peaceful protests. We are concerned by any attempt to punish individuals for exercising their right to free speech as well as intent by any party to provoke violence."
Arwa Damon and Nick Paton Walsh live for us in Istanbul. Here with me in the studio is Ivan Watson, who's based in Istanbul. Also CNN's Fareed Zakaria.
Welcome to all of you.
Arwa Damon, let me start with you because some dramatic footage in the last couple of hours of you coming under attack along with a lot of protesters from the tear gas from the police. Describe what was going on there.
DAMON: Well, we were down in Gezi Park, and remember, the government had actually said that it would not enter the park itself and while we did not see the riot police going in, it most certainly came under some incredibly intense fire with the -- with the tear gas, water cannons at one point, too, and it's fairly densely populated so when that happens there is complete chaos.
Some people fairly used to this, trying to calm others down. There are people running around. They will pour this white liquid, it's actually an anti-acid mixed with water into each other's eyes to try to ease the sting but this went on four hours. People were incredibly angry, frustrated and saying that the government was effectively lying to them because even though they didn't physically enter the park, they most certainly were firing tear gas directly into it.
We ended up having to run from one side of the park, came under too much tear gas to another. Same thing happened there. Eventually ended up taking cover inside a hotel for a short period.
MORGAN: And we have got some footage, I think, of you being directly assaulted by this tear gas. Let's watch a bit of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAMON: Right now in the very front of the park, you can see people trying to help us out because of the tear gas. The entire front part of the park right now has been cleared out because of the intensity of what was just fired in and this, again, is not what people here were expecting after their government promised them that they would be allowed to stay in this position.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Very alarming for everyone involved in that situation.
Nick Paton Walsh, you're into your 20th hour I think of reporting on this and I've been watching almost all of it. It's been a dramatic escalation certainly over the last few hours I noticed. In the level of violence on both sides here, tell me for viewers who are tuning in, who were wondering what is really going on here because it began as an environmental protest about a small park not far from where you both are now and has evolved suddenly into a much bigger deal.
Tell me why that is.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly this began conservationalists trying to reserve this remnants of green in the very heart of Istanbul, that was met with a pretty hard police response to that protest and what we've seen over the past 12 day is a response by the people to police tactics, the heavy hand they've been using, causing many to come onto the streets. And that caused this protest to spiral, to multiply.
It's caused people to join them, who were simply angry at what they see is the Erdogan administration, authoritarianism, the creeping conservatism that they've seen over the past decade or so. Elements of the Sunni Islamists ideas that Prime Minister Erdogan would like to see more prevalence of society. Some feel they're being imposed upon them.
So in the crowds we've seen across the country, secular, middle class people expressing their anger at authoritarianism, some demanding resignation, and some simply demanding an apology for excessive police force.
We saw over the past week or so an ebbing of this police violence. More negotiations certainly in Ankara where I was. A little bit more of that here as well but there were these signs from the prime minister. He wouldn't tolerate what he referred to as a legal protest for much longer. Referring to protesters as extremists, marginals, et cetera. So today, early morning at about 8:00 we saw the police moving in slowly into this central area here and then the clashes began.
Protesters are small, hard core here prepared to meet them with rocks, Molotov fire bomb cocktails, and even an elaborate firework launcher, I saw one person firing from behind a corrugated iron shield he's also made.
The police relatively sober in their response, beginning to see the heavy hand we've seen earlier in the week. But as they day went on, everyone began to lose patience. More stun grenades on the part of the police and then slowly as we saw people gathering in a peaceful protest as working hours ended here in the thousands, something set that off.
Arwa seems to have seen some sort of small altercation that caused a launch of a massive volume of tear gas. People running, scattering for their own safety and now we're again into the cycle of tit-for- tat, fireworks at police, water cannons fired back, tear gas fired back, and it moved around Gezi Park itself, police trying to retake control and push protesters' barricades away.
That's pretty successful to the far side and the near side of where I am but we still have this popular protesters down on the road that heads down to the left of Gezi Park. Police still have some work cut out but the force they've shown with a lot of the debris and barricades to one side -- Piers.
MORGAN: And, Arwa, Arwa, we saw looked like some members of the public there spraying a liquid into your eyes when you'd been tear gassed. What was that and is that what people are doing to protect themselves?
DAMON: Yes, that very much is what people are doing. It's basically an anti-acid mixed in with water that help take a lot of the sting out. You also have to remember that these aren't people that are experienced in protesting and dealing with these kinds of situations. A lot of the people that come out, especially after working hours, as Nick was just saying, they are engineers, they're bankers, they're IT professionals.
They come out after working hours to show their solidarity with what is taking place because they feel as if they have been pushed to the brink. Many of them coming up and telling us that before all of this began, they would actually consider themselves to be apolitical. Sure, they might go out and vote during the elections but they've never taken this stance before but they feel like the government has pushed the boundaries so far that now they have to just -- they have effectively been learning as they go along, how to deal with the tear gas.
They've set up a makeshift medical center inside to try to deal with the wounded, with the casualties, and they have their own system to try to handle all of these different challenges they've never faced before, but of course they're now putting up with on a regular basis.
MORGAN: Arwa and Nick, thank you both very much for the incredible reporting done all day and it's also pretty dangerous still. Stay safe. I'm sure we'll be back to you as the evening continues to unfold. Indeed as morning begins to break there in Turkey.
Fareed, let's listen, first of all, to what Prime Minister Erdogan had to say about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, PRIME MINISTER OF TURKEY (Through Translator): Heavy damage being done to the Turkish economy. I urge the young people to put an end to this protest and I call on those who insist on continuing this is over. We won't put up with this any longer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: This reminds me of two and a half years ago, Egypt, Tahrir Square, the imagery, all of it, looks very similar. Is it similar, though, or is it a very different kind of thing that what we're seeing right now in Istanbul?
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: It looks similar, but it's actually more -- the parallels are closer to another set of scenes that you might remember. 1968 in the United States because what you're seeing here is a democratically elected government, one that's been elected three times with ever increasing parliamentary majorities that is exercising what it regards as this democratic mandate.
It has the mandate to do what it wants to do but it's a polarized country and the minority that didn't vote for it are very frustrated and there is a social logical divide, a socio-economic divide. Erdogan's people tent to be seen as people from the country, religious, devout, conservative. The people protesting are urban, middle class, secular.
So you have a kind of culture clash here but you have also perhaps the oldest democratic question which is, what do you do with a minority? Fine, you won -- you know, 51 percent voted for you. What -- how do you treat the 49 percent who didn't? And what has gathered this opposition together is the feeling that Erdogan is just too authoritarian, too tough, in the way he handles it.
But you can see in a sense both sides of the story. You know, remember back again in 1968 in Chicago, Mayor Daley was saying, look, I am the elected mayor here and I'm telling you, you've got to allow me to conduct business and the people who were protesting had a very different view.
MORGAN: Ivan, this is your hometown. You know, you know Istanbul better than anybody. What has really triggered this? Because on the face of it Turkey is a much more prosperous country than the other places we've seen in the Arab Spring uprising. The Yemen or Tunisia or Egypt. There seems to be less reason for people to be doing this kind of protesting.
Are you surprised it's happening? And what do you think has triggered it?
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm absolutely surprised. I never thought we'd see these scenes in Istanbul. The people who are protesting as Fareed mentioned, the people I talked to, these are university educated, professionals, middle class, many young Turks. This is the largest civil disobedience we've ever seen there in a generation. Many of these have benefited from the economic stability of Erdogan's decade in power --
MORGAN: But he's seen -- I'm told now, he's been seen a force predominantly for good in Turkey.
WATSON: Well, I think it depends --
MORGAN: I mean, a tough character.
WATSON: -- on who you talk to. But also before this exploded I was hearing from Turks I think I've got to leave this country. I can't live here anymore. They are banning -- they are strictly prohibiting alcohol sales. They're moving ahead with the development programs without bothering to talk to local business owners in the city.
There were a whole rap of complaints that people had and a rhetoric from this tough talking prime minister that left no -- very little room for dissent. And the tear gas is not a new thing in Istanbul. People who live in this neighborhood they had tear gas every month. It was happening more and more frequently. And this park protest was the straw that broke the camel's back.
And what's been incredible is the prime minister's rhetoric, his insults at these young apolitical -- previously apolitical people who never gave a damn about elections or political parties before, by insulting them, by using the word terrorist in the same sentence. It scares the hell out of these people. It makes them angry. MORGAN: Right. Fareed, I mean, this prompts the question given what has happened to all the dictators in the Middle East in the last two years, why would Erdogan want to put himself into that kind of category by behaving in what appears to be a dictatorial manner?
ZAKARIA: It is clearly a miscalculation but the reason is I think he sees himself as very different. Remember, he is the most popular political leaders in Turkey.
ZAKARIA: In two generations since Ataturk. I wonder whether what you have in place here is the kind of democratic disease, which is what I call the 10 -year itch. After about 10 years in power every democratic leader becomes arrogant and believes that they speak for the country. You remember --
MORGAN: Margaret Thatcher?
ZAKARIA: Margaret Thatcher.
MORGAN: Tony Blair. Yes. My theory is nobody should stay in anybody job for more than 10 years.
WATSON: And the problem is is he is preparing the way, he's trying to change the constitution to change the presidency, which is largely symbolic now into a much more powerful position with himself as the president.
MORGAN: Are we seeing that the Turkish Putin emerging here do you think?
WATSON: There are elements of Putinism here that certainly in the way the media has been treated in Turkey and the fact that my colleagues in the Turkish media are largely terrified of criticizing this prime minister and showing things that will make him angry and also the measures that have been taken against the big media owners in the country, slapping them with half billion-dollar tax fines has a certain way of changing the editorial tone of TV network.
MORGAN: Final question for you three. In terms of America's position, this is clearly a key ally. They've been pretty censorious in this. A statement tonight at the White House, more than I've seen from any NATO for a very long time. Clearly saying, look, you've got to stop doing these to these protesters. This is not what a democratic society supposed to do. What will happen in the next few days and weeks do you think?
ZAKARIA: I think it all depends. This is one man's dilemmas. Because Erdogan is powerful enough that he doesn't even need to listen to President Obama. He doesn't even need to listen to the State Department. And the question is, does he want to leave a historical legacy for himself as -- you put it, as the modernizer? Turkey's GDP -- Turkey is on the verge of becoming a trillion-dollar economy. MORGAN: Right. It all seems so unnecessary, this.
ZAKARIA: And the question is, can he rein himself in? But it appears that, you know, the one defect here is that he has begun to believe that he speaks for all of Turkey, that this is a small group of rebel, and that if he views it that way, I fear that he will actually endanger his entire legacy over a decade.
MORGAN: Fareed, Ivan, thank you both very much indeed.
I want to bring in now John Negroponte, the former director of National Intelligence and former ambassador to Iraq.
John Negroponte, what do you make of what's going on here? How serious is it? I mean, the White House, as I've just said, released a pretty strong statement. They're clearly very concerned. Are they right to be that concerned?
JOHN NEGROPONTE, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Well, I think so and I think that the behavior of the prime minister has become increasingly authoritarian as was said. Here is this huge country, 70, 80 million people. Largest city in the country, Istanbul, god knows how big it is. 20, 30 million people. This is having -- first of all having serious consequences on the economy of the country, which is being effected in terms of its foreign business interest, its tourism and so forth.
And it also -- you wonder what it portends for the political future, and then I wonder also if there isn't a little subtext here about Erdogan, who -- it was mentioned that he hopes perhaps to become president under a modified constitution and could in some way this -- could there be forces that are joining in here whose aim it is to prevent him from achieving his ambition of becoming the next president of the country.
MORGAN: Let's move on to Edward Snowden, the supposed whistleblower. You made an interesting clarification today about what it takes to be a whistleblower. You said that, "To be a whistleblower there would have to be a pattern of him filing complaints to appropriate channels, to his supervisors, to me, this is just an outright case of betrayal of confidences and a violation of his nondisclosure agreement."
Pretty strong words there. What is going to happen now? This guy is on the run. There's a huge manhunt for him. He was last seen in Hong Kong. What do you think will happen? What should happen? How tough should the penalties be for him?
NEGROPONTE: Well, what should happen, I guess, first of all, we have to -- we have to get him back under our jurisdiction and it's not clear to me how that's going to happen because he's half way around the world. We thought he was in Hong Kong and now we don't even know that for absolutely certain.
So that's step one is to get him back under United States jurisdiction. Then I think the authorities will have to look at what kind of charges to press, but it seems to me on the face of it, at least, it would appear that he has committed some kind of criminal act by divulging classified federal government information to the public in an -- completely unauthorized fashion.
MORGAN: Finally and briefly, if you don't mind, where do you see the line being drawn between an individual's right to privacy in America particular in the modern technological era with so much data available through computers and social networking and cell phones, and so on and a government, a state, a country's right to defeat and attack and take on terrorism through the kind of activities the NSA does?
NEGROPONTE: Well, I think we got to be absolutely clear that whenever the NSA wants to look into the content of communications of Americans, they've got to have a warrant. They have to have judicial permit to do that. That's different from this so-called metadata which has been collected which is like the information on the outside of an envelope from whom, to whom and on what date.
And that's not considered -- to collect that kind of information is not considered an invasion of one's privacy. Nonetheless, I think given the state of technology today, I think we always have to double check ourselves every now and then. We ought to have this debate about whether, what the NSA is doing now continues to be appropriate.
It's been judged to be appropriate in the past. It's completely legal and there are judges who are ruling on the legality of many of the steps that are taken, but I think given the uproar that's occurred, clearly, this is something that Congress might take another look at or at least debate.
MORGAN: Ambassador, thank you very much indeed for joining me.
NEGROPONTE: Thank you.
MORGAN: Coming up, shocking allegations of the State Department. An ambassador soliciting prostitutes, to drug ring at the embassy in Iraq and alleged cover-up. I'll talk to the man who broke the sensational story, John Miller.
MORGAN: Shocking allegations of an American ambassador soliciting sex from prostitutes and minors. A State Department security official accused of sexual assault, evidence of an Iraqi drug ring upon the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, all part of the latest scandal rocking the State Department amid allegations of massive cover-ups. It all dates to Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state, emits questions about what this could mean for her presidential ambitions.
John Miller is the man who broke the story. He's a senior correspondent for "CBS This Morning."
John, welcome to you. I'm holding two pieces of paper here, two collections of pieces of paper. One is a draft. One is actually what got released, two very different documents, and that seems to be at the center of the scandal you've unearthed. Tell me about this. JOHN MILLER, "CBS THIS MORNING" SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, this was an -- this was an inspection, not even an investigation. Basically it's when the inspectors from the Inspector General come to do an assessment of how -- given division is operating, how it's being managed, they look at the diplomatic security service. These are the people who are the protectors of the secretary of state.
They guard foreign U.S. ambassadors in foreign countries, but they also do criminal investigations. Everything from passport fraud to -- if a State Department person is accused of wrongdoing or a crime they'll investigate that, too.
And that is at the heart here. There were eight investigations mentioned in a memorandum that said when we interviewed the DSS agents they said they were in the middle of the investigations and they were cut off. So that is what spurred the deeper dive into, was there interference from higher ups? Were cases influenced? Were things that might turn into scandals just cut off midway?
MORGAN: In terms of the reaction from various bodies, the State Department's response is, "We hold all employees to the highest standards. We take allegations of misconduct seriously. We investigate thoroughly all cases mentioned in the CBS report were thoroughly investigated and under investigation. And the department continues to take action."
A little bit woolly, I would say, in its wording and guarding itself. The ambassador in question who was directly accused issued a statement saying he's saddened and angered by the baseless allegations that appeared in the press and to watch the four years I proudly served in the country which we're not going to name smeared is devastating. I live on a beautiful park that you walk through to get to many locations, at no point have I ever engaged in any improper activity."
And Hillary Clinton's spokesman said we learned of through this through the media and don't know anything beyond what's been reported.
So pretty blanket denials. Hiding in the investigations and so. Where do you think this will go, though? Because it has blown up very big. People are very concerned about it.
MILLER: Well, I think what's happening now is the Inspector General has -- part of the rub here, Piers, was the State Department said these were inspectors. They are not criminal investigators. They can't properly assess a criminal investigation because that's not what they do. They basically look at the good order and efficiency of whatever division they are examining.
MORGAN: These are serious allegations.
MILLER: Yes, they are, and here is the real rub. The person who basically was the author of the memo that listed the eight case was an inspector for the Inspector General but for 26 years before that she was a criminal investigator for the Diplomatic Security Service.
MORGAN: So she knew what she was dealing with then. MILLER: She certainly would have had the training that they claim -- you know, the people who looked at it lacked. So here's what's going on. The IG, the Inspector General, has brought in three criminal investigators from the outside, hired them in, and said, you review the eight cases that are in here and here is a couple more that came in later. You do a comprehensive review, speak to the investigators who investigated them, and you report back to us where these cases derailed, were they interfered with, were they influenced.
And when the State Department says some of these investigations are complete and some are still being looked at, that's what they're talking about.
MORGAN: Where does it leave Hillary Clinton? She's obviously -- she's just launched herself on Twitter and had TBD at the end of her own biography, suggesting there may be a big move, possibly a presidential run and so on. How damaging could this be to her?
MILLER: I think it's cannon fodder for political shows and talk radio. I think really when you're the secretary of state, you're focused on international relations with key partners and adversaries, you probably don't get into the weeds. And here's an example of that, Piers.
In that report it says four members of Hillary Clinton's security detail who allegedly were engaged with prostitutes in trips to Colombia and Russia and that this problem was endemic among the security details, and this was before the Secret Service scandal.
MILLER: They were given one-day suspensions and removed from the detail. Now the Secret Service scandal breaks and what we're told is when Hillary Clinton went to her people and said, do we have an issue like that? She was told no. So I think part of the problem is I think politically some people would like to use this against Hillary Clinton.
Just from looking at it from a distance, it seems that the security apparatus, the people who protect her, fly a little bit below the secretary's radar screen.
MORGAN: Finally, you've just turned to the NSA leak scandal. You're a former assistant deputy director of National Intelligence. You know this world better than many people. What is your view of the whistleblower, the leaker, the criminal, as many people are calling him, Edward Snowden? Is there anything that he's done except to warn the public interest?
MILLER: I think there's a couple of answers to that. One is, as the president has now pointed out, there probably is the need for a wider debate on where we are in terms of what is our actual expectation of privacy today.
Our Internet companies vacuum up everything about us, our credit card companies, Amazon.com can tell you what you bought the last time and what you should buy the next time. So where are we vis-a-vis the government and our records versus -- so what's our expectation and what's understanding?
So that's the broader question. I think the narrower question is Ed Snowden did what I did. He stuck his right hand up in the air and he swore an oath. Then he signed a paper under the penalty of perjury and criminal prosecution saying, as long as he was being paid to work inside the U.S. government even as a contractor he would uphold that oath and protect those secrets.
He could have gone to an inspector general, he could have gone to Congress and he choose to go to the media which is a tried and true pathway for exposing scandal and then he's made himself public, which is interesting. So I think it's too early to say on him, although when you look at him, he was, you know, three months in the army, then he was out on an injury, then he was a short time at the CIA, according to him, and a very short time at Booz Allen.
He doesn't seem to have excelled or produced much in any one place or stayed in one place for long. So he may just be a guy who didn't amount to as much as he wanted to in life and decided this was a different way to get recognized. It's the kind of thing you'd almost want a profiler to look at and say --
MILLER: What do you see here with this guy?
MORGAN: Yes. It's a fascinating story. John Miller, thank you very much indeed.
MORGAN: He's on the run but is the NSA leaker a hero or a traitor? We're breaking the news and going back the headlines. That's coming next.
MORGAN: He's the NSA leaker, but is he a hero or a traitor? We're breaking the news tonight. We're getting to the story behind the headlines with CNN political contributor Kevin Madden, Columbia University and "HuffPost Live" host, Marc Lamont Hill, and Robin Meade, host of HLN's "Morning Express with Robin Meade."
Welcome to you all.
MARC LAMONT HILL, HOST, HUFFPOST LIVE: Good to be here.
ROBIN MEADE, HLN HOST: Thank you.
KEVIN MADDEN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Great to be here.
MORGAN: And, Kevin, welcome to you.
MADDEN: Thank you so much. MORGAN: Welcome to CNN.
MADDEN: Great to be with you.
MORGAN: We'll start with you because you're the new boy. Hero or villain? Edward Snowden.
MADDEN: Well, I certainly don't think he's a hero. I think -- I think those are two very emotionally charged words, but I certainly don't think he's a hero. I think what he is and he is a confessed law breaker. You know, he took an oath to uphold the confidentiality of the position that he was -- that he was afforded in working with the NSA. And he knew that the ramifications of disclosing classified information and yet he did it.
So I think it's very clear that he's a lawbreaker. I think the idea of whether or not he's a traitor I think that goes to the intent of whether or not he was trying to actually harm the country, but those who are very -- who work very closely with classified information and those who do work with law enforcement and do work in intelligence will tell you that he has done a great damage to our --
MADDEN: Our intelligence capability.
MORGAN: Let's go to Marc Lamont Hill. You're crying hero --
HILL: He is absolutely a hero.
MORGAN: Why is he a hero?
HILL: OK. First, he's not a traitor because even by his own admission -- I don't think there's anyone who thinks he was trying to destroy the country. He was trying to make America better. Even if you think he's wrong, as Kevin probably does.
MORGAN: But has he made America better? Why --
HILL: That's an issue, though.
MORGAN: By revealing so much information of this nature, which we now know was all completely legal regardless of your view about whether it should be happening.
MORGAN: It was legal. It wasn't something that they were doing sneakily illegally.
MORGAN: But doing that he's clearly exposed America to its enemies in a way they prefer not to be exposed. HILL: Well -- I worry that to some extent, maybe the State Department and the intelligence agencies are overstating that to dissuade people from doing it in the future and to make it easier to ratchet up punishment against this man. I think what we know for sure is that the American public has more awareness that we're entering a surveillance state that the country is surveiling people in ways that we probably didn't know and probably wouldn't want.
As far as him being a hero, yes, he's a hero. Did he break a law? Perhaps. But many heroes break laws. That's what makes them heroes. That he knew the risk. He knew the personal risks and the professional risks, and he did it anyway. Martin Luther King broke --
MORGAN: What I can't understand is he left his beautiful girlfriend behind.
MEADE: The pole dancer.
MORGAN: To me quite extraordinary --
HILL: That's a sacrifice.
MORGAN: Right. That is -- that is a heroic sacrifice.
MEADE: That's what my -- you know, I was just looking on Twitter and that's what a lot of the viewers were saying was, like, he gave that up, gave up a pole dancer.
MORGAN: But let me ask you, Robin.
MEADE: Is that really what she is?
MORGAN: Robin, let me ask you. I mean, as an American citizen, how far are you prepared to have your privacy invaded in terms of data about you and your life? Because as John Miller was saying, almost without realizing it we all surrender loads of information.
MORGAN: You know, I'm on Amazon, Google, all these things. I buy loads of stuff online.
MEADE: Give them your credit cards. Yes.
MORGAN: They know where I live. They know my name. They know my birthday. They know all sorts of stuff. Why are we getting so exercised about this?
MEADE: You know, it's almost like, someone asked me the other day, how much transparency do you think there should be in marriage? And I said 100 percent. If there is not 100 percent, then I've got something to hide. So I feel comfortable because I'm not involved in activities that I think the government would even be excited about. However, on the flip side, I just went through a compliance audit with the IRS.
While I didn't have anything to hide, it was very uncomfortable, right? Because you're revealing so much information.
MORGAN: So you've hit the nail on the head. And again, let me come to you, Kevin Madden, on this.
MORGAN: About the IRS. This is where I get twitchy. And if I was an American citizen, which I'm not, I'm a resident, not a citizen. But if I was I'd like, well, I'm supposed to trust the government with this information but in the last month we have the IRS scandal where people of lower-ranking levels of the IRS abused that information and that data to target their enemies. What is to stop people with this kind of information doing exactly the same thing?
MADDEN: Yes, well, that is the big tradeoff. I think one of the big problems here for this debate is that what you're seeing is the public's -- an erosion of the public's trust now in government. I think the difference is on the two profiles of the folks that are involved. With the IRS there has always been a profile that this is a government agency that is inefficient, that is taking too much power from me, it's taking my money from me so there is never really been a great deal of faith in it.
With the intelligence services and the military there's always been an understanding or at least a perception that what they're doing with the information is keeping you safe. And I think that --
MADDEN: That is a big --
MORGAN: Marc, Marc Lamont Hill, do you -- do you feel that, Marc Lamont Hill?
HILL: Kevin, there hasn't always been a good faith expectation from the American public. I would argue there's been a good faith expectation. We've had -- we've FBI and the CIA agencies spying on people from the co-intel, the counterintelligence program in the 1960s and the '70. We've had Jewish people, supposed communist and socialist investigated. We've had radical leftist groups and right- wing groups investigated. People have always fundamental distrust of this --
MADDEN: It is by no means perfect. You're right, it's by no means perfect and I don't think that they --
HILL: It's broken. MADDEN: I don't think that they don't have 100 percent --
MADDEN: You know, rating amongst the American public but we've seen poll after poll come out actually in the context of a very heated and emotional debate in the country where people have said in poll after poll that they are willing to give up some freedom for -- for security.
HILL: But that doesn't make it right.
MEADE: Did we -- did we ever answer the question of why the guy didn't go through the checks and balances? Was he just inpatient? Why didn't he go through the whistleblower program?
MORGAN: They -- as John Miller suggested, he could just be a bit of a loser, who was never a big achiever, who didn't go through all checks and balances, and thought I'm going to go out as some great hero. Actually it is a crumbling edifice of nonsense.
MADDEN: That's a good question but --
MORGAN: Let's take a break --
MADDEN: -- one of the things that I have a problem with -- I'm sorry.
MORGAN: Kevin, let's take a break there. When we come back with -- I want to know why any American citizen should be buying a gun for $27,000, which can shoot from 10 football fields away. I'd love to hear my panel give me one good reason why that is not complete insanity.
And I'm going to talk to Robin Meade about her singing. In fact, I may get you to sing.
MEADE: And I hope that's not complete insanity.
MORGAN: Back with me now for Breaking the News," Kevin Madden, Marc Lamont Hill, HLN's Robin Meade. So look, very quickly, give me one good reason why any American civilian needs a gun for $27,000 that can fire from 10 football fields away.
HILL: For hunting, silly. That's what all (INAUDIBLE).
MORGAN: Of course. Of course it is.
(LAUGHTER) Robin, what do you hunt with a gun that can shoot from that far away?
MEADE: A gazelle, I guess. Maybe not in America. Yes.
MORGAN: Are there elephants in Texas that I'm not aware of?
MEADE: But you know what, if civilians could have that, I would be happy to know that our military has it.
MORGAN: Kevin Madden?
MADDEN: Yes, you could probably shoot the wings off a fly with that. But, you know, look, you can't fight technology. Folks who are gun enthusiasts, they want the best. And if it's something of that kind of price with that type of advanced technology, people are going to want it.
HILL: Kevin, you don't think that's OK, do you?
MORGAN: The right to bear arms means you have a right to bear a gun that can shoot from 10 football fields away and take down herds of elephants. I mean, it's complete and utter madness.
Let's move on, talking of madness, I like this story. Chad Johnson.
MEADE: I do, too.
MORGAN: He gave his attorney a backside pat in court after being encouraged to thank him in court and it got him a 30-day jail sentence. Watch what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE KATHLEEN MCHUGH, BROWARD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: He's an excellent attorney. He did a great job for you, sir. OK? Do you have any questions? This isn't a joke.
CHAD JOHNSON, NFL PLAYER: I didn't do it as a joke, ma'am.
MCHUGH: Everybody in this courtroom was laughing. I'm not accepting these plea negotiations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Robin Meade, explain to me how he doesn't get any jail time for head butting his wife but he does get 30 days in jail for patting the backside of his attorney?
MEADE: I really don't think he meant it as a joke. I don't mean the wife part --
MEADE: But, I mean, when you say to an athlete you should probably thank --
MORGAN: That's how they do it.
MEADE: -- your attorney.
HILL: That's how they do it.
MEADE: Everyone slaps their butts, right?
MEADE: So -- and he wasn't smacking, it seems like the reaction from the courtroom angered the judge because she lost control then.
MORGAN: Marc Lamont Hill --
MEADE: I don't think it's fair. I really don't.
MORGAN: Justice completely turned on its face here?
HILL: This is absolutely ridiculous. I'm all for him getting 30 days for domestic violence. In fact, I think he should have to send a strong message to the rest of the world --
HILL: -- that domestic violence is wrong. But that back-side pat was inappropriate but I don't think it's jail worthy. I think this is about a judge who wanted attention --
MEADE: And she was about to let him out on probation, correct?
MEADE: About domestic violence?
HILL: Right. Correct. It's all right to beat your wife, it's just not all right to --
MORGAN: Yes. Yes, I think, Kevin Madden, I mean, there is a -- you know, it was clearly a laughable situation in many ways but the seriousness of what he was accused of doing, and he was acquitted on it, it was a very serious thing.
Why is he being jailed for triviality when he wasn't being jailed for head-butting his wife?
MADDEN: Well, full disclosure, I'm a Cincinnati Bengals fan, so I used to be a big fan of Chad Johnson. But look, the problem here is that -- the reason he was in court was that he had missed, you know, meetings with his probation officer on the previous charge. When you go into a court and -- especially to a plea agreement like that you have to have all -- you have to throw yourself at the mercy of the court. You have to have as right an attitude as you can with that judge in order to get out of there and he didn't. And so she had -- he had the ability to put him in jail and she did.
MORGAN: OK. Kevin, Marc, thank you for now.
I want to turn directly to you, Robin Meade, because you have a new album out. "Count On Me." You are an HLN's --
MEADE: I'm nervous to talk about it.
MORGAN: You're a casting star, you're a country singer. There is no -- there's no end to your talent. And no beginning -- no beginning to mine.
MEADE: Well, I said I'm a little nervous to talk about it because you are a past judge of "America's Got Talent."
MORGAN: Exactly right.
MEADE: And I don't want you to go that's part of America does or doesn't.
MORGAN: Are you -- are you brave enough to give me a few little bars now?
MORGAN: Give me a little blast.
MEADE: OK. Full discloser, a singer should never do this.
MORGAN: I know.
MEADE: Because I've been up since 2:30 a.m.
MORGAN: I know.
MEADE: So I'm suddenly a baritone.
MORGAN: Just give me a little taste.
MEADE: Of something off the album?
MORGAN: Anything you like?
MORGAN: You know, I just wanted you to say those words on air.
MEADE: I love it.
MORGAN: So good. I mean, no professional singers I've had on here before would sing at this time of night after a whole day. You've had (INAUDIBLE).
Do you love the singing? Obviously you're a terrific broadcaster. But what is it about singing?
MORGAN: I've seen you performing live on YouTube and stuff, and you clearly, absolutely get a buzz out of it.
MEADE: Thanks. You know, it is. It is my drug. I'm going to say that. You know what's on the screen right now, this is the behind the scenes of the making of this album, and you can see the way the producer really has a job on her hands because she's got to keep it on time, under budget, and keep me in order. But it is my drug. I think more than singing, it's the song writing. I can't get enough of that.
MORGAN: You wrote seven of the 12 songs on the album.
MEADE: Seven of the 12 and, you know, the fun little behind-the- scenes of songwriting in Nashville is, if you're what they consider the junior writer, then you've got to come with the concepts to the -- to the song writing session because those are professional writers.
MORGAN: Well, it's a -- it's a great album. It's called "Count On Me," it's available right now. You can check out Robin Meade hosting the 40th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards this Sunday on HLN. And of course on your daily show. You're having a massive party in New York over this, which I tragically can't go to. Have a little fun and best of luck on the album.
MEADE: Thank you. Well, thank you. Thanks for having me.
MORGAN: Lovely good to see you. Our thanks. Chat with us again.
We'll be right back after this short break.
MORGAN: The explosive murder trial of George Zimmerman is underway in Florida. He says he killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense. The defendant isn't talking. Well, tonight, his brother Robert Zimmerman, edging your ears (ph), and he joins me now in the chair for a primetime exclusive interview.
Welcome back to you, Robert.
ROBERT ZIMMERMAN JR., GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S BROTHER: Thanks, Piers.
MORGAN: Obviously a very tense time for your family. Both families involved in this extremely emotive case. Jury selection is going on right now. Expected to see another fourth night or so. How important is that going to be, do you think, for determining the outcome? ZIMMERMAN: Well, many attorneys will tell you that a case is won essentially in jury selection. And I think that as a family member, we have concerns. We have faith in juries that they're able to rise to the occasion and do the right thing, and find a just outcome. But we've been living under constant threat ourselves and not having the pool sequestered.
I'm, you know, talking about the nature of the media. I'm sure the media is going to be very interested in finding out who these jurors are. I'm very concerned their safety could be compromised. That concerns me because Florida includes lesser included offenses in -- in the charge. If George is not convicted of second-degree murder, it wouldn't be the first time that jurors feel pressured to convict him on perhaps manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter because they feel like they have to do something.
MORGAN: In terms of George himself, he's put on a lot of weight, raising some people to be pretty concerned about his physical and perhaps mental condition. I mean, how is he and why has he put on so much weight?
ZIMMERMAN: Well, I think -- I think George put on the weight because of the stress. I mean, he's been completely railroaded. This is not a case about race. He was, as you called him a year ago, you know, the most hated man in America. Everything that he held dear and sacred, the criminal justice system, the truth, the police, for example, that they would do the right thing was tossed out the window and he was charged with murder. And I think that's the way he's responding to the stress.
MORGAN: Obviously, if George had not had a gun on him that night, the distinct likelihood is that Trayvon Martin would still be alive. Does he regret now carrying a gun around now like that?
ZIMMERMAN: Well, I can't talk about George's regrets but I certainly --
MORGAN: Do you regret that he had?
ZIMMERMAN: Absolutely not. Now I think that sends a wrong message that if we don't have a gun, then our attacker would still be alive. You know, maybe George would not. And George is just an example of a very straightforward self-defense case but that happens all the time. If you're allowed to have a gun --
MORGAN: But do you actually think that Trayvon Martin was going to beat your brother to death?
ZIMMERMAN: I don't --
MORGAN: With his bare hands.
ZIMMERMAN: I don't have any idea what Trayvon Martin --
MORGAN: That's what he had. You know, he had a packet of Skittles in his bare hands. I mean, is that really what you think would have happened in that case?
ZIMMERMAN: I think that there has been discoverable evidence that's come forward that shows that Mr. Martin really enjoyed fighting. He really enjoyed fighting --
MORGAN: But he's not beating people to death with his bare hands.
ZIMMERMAN: Right. So let me finish about what Mr. Martin enjoyed or what's evidence that he enjoyed. He enjoyed beating people until he saw enough blood, going back to attack people until he saw enough blood. He was very disappointed allegedly that he had lost fights because someone had sat on top of him. He really had an interest in guns, marijuana plants, drugs.
MORGAN: Robert, how much of that is relevant to the fact that on that night, a 17-year-old boy with no gun just armed with a packet of Skittles and a soft drink, meets your brother, there's an altercation? If it hadn't been for the gun, they would probably, probably have both just walked away --
ZIMMERMAN: Well -- yes.
MORGAN: And wouldn't have been seriously --
ZIMMERMAN: I think it's relevant to your question because you said, is it likely that that would have just happened? You know, I don't know that it's likely that that would have just happened. Because I don't think they were just two people that just got into scuffle. I think one had a proven propensity for violence and a -- and a -- you know, a history of participating in that kind of MMA fighting and the other did not.
So I think it's relevant to your question and also to your point about guns in this country, Piers. If your children or your high schoolers want to procure guns for themselves, legally or illegally, at 17 years old and are asking people to secure guns for them, we have a problem in this country with guns. And it can't just be after a Newtown or something like that --
MORGAN: Personally, I wouldn't let anyone under 25 have a gun in America. At least have an age limit.
Robert, obviously, as I said, a testing time for you and the family. You're not the one accused. Appreciate you coming on tonight.
ZIMMERMAN: Thanks, Piers.
MORGAN: And we'll be right back.
MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. We'll be back tomorrow at 9:00 Eastern. Anderson Cooper starts right now.