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THE SITUATION ROOM

Is Obama Tough Enough?; Supreme Court Limits Voting Rights Act; Interview With Rep. John Lewis; Graphic Testimony in Zimmerman Murder Trial; Was IRS Politically Motivated?; $1.3 Million Stolen from Flight at JFK; Tourists on Safari Chased by Giraffe

Aired June 25, 2013 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


WOLF BLITZER, HOST: Happening now, Russia's President Putin tells the United States where the NSA leaker is, but won't turn him over.

So here's the question people are asking -- is President Obama tough enough to do anything about that?

Also, a dagger in the heart of the Voting Rights Act -- that's how the veteran civil rights activist, Congressman John Lewis, describes today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling. He'll join us this hour.

And another emotional day in the Zimmerman murder trial, with graphic testimony. And, for the first time, jurors see images of the victim's body.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.

You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The mystery of the NSA leaker's whereabouts answered today by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Putin says Edward Snowden remains at Moscow's international airport.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA: (through translator): Snowden is still in transit area as a transit passenger. Our special services never worked with Snowden and are not working with him today.

BLITZER: But Putin is not complying with requests from the Obama administration to turn Edward Snowden over to U.S. authorities. That, once again, raises the question, is President Obama tough enough to do anything about that?

What can we expect to hear from the president?

We're going to hear from CNN's John King and Fareed Zakaria momentarily.

But let's go over to the White House first.

Our national political correspondent, Jim Acosta, is standing by.

It seems the president is getting criticized by a lot of different quarters -- Jim. JIM ACOSTA, HOST: That's right, Wolf. And we should point out that President Obama is just wrapping up -- or appears to be wrapping up a meeting with top Congressional leaders here at the White House. Those Congressional leaders are making their way out of the White House, we believe, right around now. And as you know, Wolf, the president is not just seeing his leverage being tested by members of Congress, but also on the world stage, where he's not getting much public cooperation in the search for NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

And that has some Republicans up on Capitol Hill questioning his toughness.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA (voice-over): Revealing at a news conference that fugitive NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, is cooling his heels in an international terminal at a Moscow airport, Russian President Vladimir Putin essentially told the U.S., don't look to him for any help.

PUTIN: Mr. Snowden is a free man. The faster he chooses his ultimate destination, the better for us and for him.

ACOSTA: While welcoming the news that Putin appears to be blocking Snowden's entry into Russia, U.S. officials are pushing for more assistance, saying, "We are asking the Russian government to take action to expel Mr. Snowden without delay."

Secretary of State John Kerry pointed out the U.S. has done similar favors for Russia in the past.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We're not looking for a confrontation. We're not ordering anybody. We're simply requesting, under a very normal procedure, for the transfer of somebody, just as we transferred to Russia seven people in the last two years that they requested that we did without any clamor.

ACOSTA: Slamming White House handling of the Snowden case, Republican Senator John McCain on CNN'S "NEW DAY" accused President Obama of showing weak leadership.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "NEW DAY")

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The first thing would I do is go to the Oval Office and say I've told Vladimir Putin that we want this guy back. And when you believe in light footprints, when you show the world you're leading from behind, these are the consequences of American leadership. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And what we know is, is that we're following all the appropriate legal channels.

ACOSTA: The president has personally avoided any saber rattling over Snowden, another example of his picking and choosing fights on the world stage.

It's a similar approach he's taking with Congress, where he's now doing an end run around lawmakers, pursuing new policies on climate change that don't need approval on Capitol Hill.

OBAMA: This is a challenge that does not pause for partisan gridlock.

ACOSTA: In a surprise announcement, Mr. Obama said the State Department should approve the contested Keystone oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico only if it results in no net increases in greenhouse gas emissions.

OBAMA: The net effects of the pipeline's impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward. It's relevant.

ACOSTA: And the president is largely staying out of the fight over immigration reform, just as the Senate reached a breakthrough on the issue...

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE: We're going to make sure that we do it right.

ACOSTA: -- a key House Republican appears to be slamming on the brakes.

RYAN: We won't bring the Senate bill up in the House. The House will do its own legislation. We're going to do our own plan, which is going to be far more methodical.

We're going to take our time.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

ACOSTA: Getting back to Edward Snowden, a spokesman for the National Security Council noted that the U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with Russia. That was not lost on Russian president, Vladimir Putin, who noted today that he has no legal authority to forcibly return Edward Snowden back to the United States. That leaves Putin in a comfortable political position, both following international law, Wolf, and also telling the U.S., you're on your own -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

And let's dig a little bit deeper right now with John King and Fareed Zakaria -- John, the president didn't make this statement. It was released by a spokeswoman for the National Security Council.

Does it make any difference?

Would it have been more effective, for example, if the president of the United States would have publicly made an appeal to President Putin to release -- to send back to the United States Snowden?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's an interesting point, because at least -- as we know -- we don't know what's going on behind-the-scenes they haven't told us about. But at least as we know, no calls to President Putin. No calls to the Chinese as this was playing out in Hong Kong. What the administration essentially is saying now is please, pretty please, we may not have an extradition treaty, but we think you have grounds and we think in the past we've cooperated with you, please help us now.

But if you look at what President Putin said today, Wolf, he gave no indications the Russians are prepared to do that. So it looks like this saga could continue and that the administration, at the moment, is being snubbed by the Chinese and the Russians.

BLITZER: Because, Fareed, if the president would have, for example, opened up his speech over at Georgetown University today on climate change and said, you know, I'm going to talk about climate change in a moment, but first, I just want to say this -- a direct appeal to Russia to send Snowden back to the United States, it obviously would escalate this situation, because the president has a lot more at stake then.

FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": I think the danger, Wolf, is that if the president makes a public appeal like that and it doesn't work, you really do look bad. You lose credibility.

So I think the White House is probably calculating exactly how much pressure they can put.

That statement you just read is interesting in that it is a dial back, as was John Kerrey, the secretary of State's, most recent remarks. Where they had started out very tough with the Russians, thinking that they might even kind of push them into doing something. And it became very clear the Russians weren't willing to do that.

So they're now playing nicer. They're saying, look, can't you help us?

The U.S. has extradited a number of people.

But this is a unique situation. This is a situation in which the person that we're talking about has revealed that the United States is engaging in massive surveillance programs of many, many foreign countries and governments.

So from the point of view of those foreign countries and governments, it is, of course a very complicated issue. I bet you that if you were to poll public opinion in Russia or China, they would support what their governments are doing right now.

BLITZER: How does the president, John, turn this around, in other words, get some leverage on the Russians to send Snowden back to the United States?

KING: He doesn't have really any good known options, no good -- no options. Look, the Putin/Obama relationship has been even more sour than the Putin/Bush relationship was at the end. Putin/Bush started off very well, ended very sour. As Fareed notes, if the president does this publicly, he risks humiliation on top of the embarrassment the White House has been through.

And so here you have, on the world stage, this playing out at a time when he's already upset with the Russians over Syria. He already has a whole bunch of other issues that have nothing to do with the Russians, or at least not directly, in trying to get other things done on the world stage, like the Middle East process back on track, a lot of domestic issues at home that are stalled. So the president right now is in, you'd have to say, a funk.

And what can he do to resolve this one?

It appears like his direct levers are limited. He essentially needs a favor.

BLITZER: Can he sweeten the pot, Fareed, if you will, give the Russians something that they've wanted from the United States for a long time and try to make a deal along those lines?

ZAKARIA: You know, part of what's happened here is that the asymmetry of power has become so great. During the cold war, we spied a lot on them, they spied a lot on us. They would catch one of ours, we'd exchange them.

We have developed, ever since the end of the cold war and after 9/11, this massive surveillance capacity that dwarfs anything any of these guys have.

And so it's not clear what -- what they have that, you know, what could we give them?

We're -- we tower over them and they resent it. The Chinese resent it. The Russians resent it.

So they look upon this as such wonderful P.R. that I don't know what we could give them in return.

I think there are things, in a more general sense. The Russians want the relaxation of Jackson-Vanik, which is about grain exports from Soviet -- from Russia, which an old cold war relic. There are probably other trade-related issues. But that would be a kind of an unusual tie.

Typically in espionage, you've done a like for like, an apples for apples swap, except that we now do stuff that nobody else does, so I don't quite know what we could -- you know, what we could offer them.

BLITZER: OK, and Fareed Zakaria, guys, thanks very much for joining us.

On this note, we're going to have an hour-long special report, "The NSA Leader on the Run." That will air at 6:00 p.m. Eastern, right at the top of the next hour here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Up next, "a dagger in the heart of the Voting Rights Act" -- that's how Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis describes today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling. He'll join us here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Also coming up, a day of graphic testimony and graphic images in the Zimmerman murder trial. We'll have full coverage.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Outrage today from civil rights groups and the Obama administration after the U.S. Supreme Court limited a key part of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark piece of legislation dating back to the peak of the civil rights movement in 1965.

The veteran civil rights leader, Congressman John Lewis, calls it "a dagger in the heart" of that law.

He'll join me next.

But first, here's CNN's crime and justice correspondent, Joe Johns.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Court's bitterly divided 5-4 opinion guts a parts of the Voting Rights Act that singled out 15 mostly Southern states and other jurisdictions with a history of discrimination. Federal Courts and the Justice Department are no longer allowed special oversight on changes to their voting laws.

EDWARD BLUM, PROJECT ON FAIR REPRESENTATION: This decision restores an important constitutional order to our system of government. And that requires that all 50 states in every jurisdiction have the laws applied equally to them.

JOHNS: Chief Justice Roberts said discrimination still exists, but in the South, things have changed dramatically since 1965, when the law was enacted. Yet the Act has not eased the restrictions.

As Roberts read the decision, the Court's conservative majority read along with him, but the liberal justices on the losing side stared stone-faced into the audience. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg read a fiery dissent, quoting from Martin Luther King. "The Court had erred egregiously," she wrote, "in overriding Congress" and said there was sad irony in the Court's utter failure to grasp why the law has proven effective.

Civil rights advocates angry and disappointed.

REV. ALBERT JONES, MT. OLIVE BAPTIST CHURCH: We come a long way, but we are not there yet. We're not there where we need to be yet.

JOHNS: In a statement, President Obama said he was deeply disappointed and said the decision upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent. The attorney general warned against new attempts to infringe on voting rights.

ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We will not hesitate to take swift enforcement action using every legal tool that remains to us.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: This case could have a lot of impact on elections at the local level. Certain states and localities will no longer have to ask the federal government before making changes to voting laws. It could be viewed as having a racial impact. The state of Mississippi announced it will begin today to implement its new voter I.D. law. Before the ruling, the state would have had to ask the federal government for approval -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Joe Johns reporting. Thank you.

And Representative John Lewis of Georgia is with me here in the SITUATION ROOM. This is a significant decision by the Supreme Court today. You say it's awful. Why?

REP. JOHN LEWIS, (D) GEORGIA: It is awful. It's a sad day. I never thought that I would see the day when the United States Supreme Court would put a dagger in the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. I marched across that bridge on bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama when people stood in unmovable lines, when people had to pass a so-called literacy test.

People were asked to count the number of bubbles in a bar soap, the number of jelly beans in a jar. My own mother, my own father, my grandparents could not register to vote simply because of the color of their skin.

BLITZER: But those five justices who said that was then, this is now. It's been 50 years. Times have changed, and basically, their argument is that all 50 states should be held to the same federal standards.

LEWIS: We have made a lot of progress, will come a (ph) distant. But the question of race is deeply embedded in the American society. And we cannot sweep it under a rug in some dark corner. The state of Alabama, the state Mississippi, the state of Georgia, 11 states that are old confederacies, there are other states, they selected it themselves.

They made a decision in a systematic deliberate way to make it hard, to make it difficult for African-American and other minority to participate in the Democratic process.

BLITZER: But there are other problems in some of the other states as well. The Chief Justice Roberts spoke about Massachusetts, for example, that there are serious problems as far as voting rights, in Massachusetts is concerned. Why shouldn't Massachusetts have the same standards as Alabama or Georgia?

LEWIS: When we passed the Voting Rights Act, at least the Congress passed that and President Johnson signed it into law --

BLITZER: And you were there.

LEWIS: I was there. I was there. He gave me one of the pens that he used to sign the Voting Rights Act. These states were covered by the law. Now, if we want to move to that point and cover other states, but even (INAUDIBLE) in New York and places in Alaska are covered, but if we want to move to that point and cover all 50 states, let's have that debate. But the serious violation of the right of people to participate is in the heart of the Deep South.

BLITZER: And that still exists in the Deep South, in Georgia, in your --

LEWIS: In the state of Georgia, my native state of Alabama, in Mississippi, and several other parts in the south, there are still problems, serious problems, why we continue to insist that we need the Voting Rights Act. We need section 4.

BLITZER: Where do you go from here? So, how do you fix this?

LEWIS: I think we need to meet with our leadership on the Democratic side, as well as on the Republican side and say let's do what we did in 2006. Let's reauthorize the act.

BLITZER: You have the votes in the House, for example? There's a Republican majority there.

LEWIS: Well, in 2006, we came together Republicans and Democrats, and we passed it. Only 33 members of the House voted against the reauthorization of the act. On the Senate side, not a single senator voted against the reauthorization of the act. And we can do it again.

BLITZER: And you think you can? In this current Congress?

LEWIS: We can and we must. The vote is powerful. It's the most powerful non-violent tool that we have in a Democratic society. We have to do it. We have an obligation to do it.

BLITZER: Because the Supreme Court said now they've thrown it back to Congress. It's up to Congress to decide.

LEWIS: But the people elected us and we should be responsible and responsive and do it.

BLITZER: Congressman, thanks very much for coming in.

LEWIS: Thank you, sir.

BLITZER: And joining us now, our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, and our chief political analyst, Gloria Borger. Jeff, in terms of actual voting rights legislation, how much of it was dismantled today?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's important to point out as Chief Justice Roberts said in his opinion that discrimination against people for trying to vote or discrimination in voting is still illegal. What is different and dramatically different is the system that had been in place where certain parts of the country had to go first to the justice department for approval, for what was known as preclearance.

That's gone now. And, that basically gives a green light to these nine southern states and a handful of other jurisdictions to change the law any way they want and basically to say to the justice department, catch me if you can. It looks like these southern states are going to start making some changes, and we'll see how that affects the actual right to vote in the relatively near future.

BLITZER: So, the political fallout, Gloria, from this is pretty significant.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it is very significant. I mean, you heard what Congressman Lewis said. There's going to be a move from the Democratic leadership in Congress to revise this act so that they can do exactly what Justice Roberts said, which is essentially update it, because he said it's outmoded, that what occurs today is not wha occurred 40 years ago.

So, he basically said to Congress fix it. John Lewis wants to fix it. The question is whether Congress can agree. I know that when it was reauthorized, it was a very lopsided margin. But now, this is a different Congress. This is a different political environment. I believe personally that it's going to come into play in the mid-term elections. The Democrats will be able to mobilize their voter base particularly in the minority community to come out and vote on this particular issue.

But, in the short term, as Jeff points out, you've got Mississippi and Texas both coming out today saying they're going to implement their voter I.D. laws. And, that's going to be a problem for Democrats as they try and turn out their voters.

BLITZER: But if there's real discrimination, Jeffrey, there are other laws out there right now that will enable the justice department to intervene.

TOOBIN: Indeed. And Chief Justice Roberts made that point repeatedly in his opinion that we are not invalidating all of the Voting Rights Act. But it's very important to sort of look at -- how this works in the real world. The justice department can't investigate every county in every state in the south. There a lot of changes that now will certainly go under the radar.

The real test will be do those changes really hurt African-Americans' right to vote? Certainly, a lot of civil rights groups are very worried about that now. John Lewis made that point. It is still illegal to discrimination against people in voting. The question is the justice department now has to go seek it out rather than have all the counties come to them and get preapproval first. That shift is going to be very significant.

BORGER: And you know, Wolf, during the 2012 election, a lot of Democrats you spoke to said, look, that it was this section of the act that really helped them when it came to keeping voting booths open later, you know, curtailing all those lines that were forming and blocking voter I.D. requirements. And they say now that without that, that's going to stop because they don't have that --

BLITZER: That political fallout is significant.

BORGER: Yes.

BLITZER: Gloria, thanks very much. Jeffrey, thanks to you as well. Coming up -- go ahead, Jeffrey.

TOOBIN: Tomorrow morning, ten o'clock --

BLITZER: I know.

TOOBIN: -- we'll get the same-sex marriage decision.

BLITZER: That's it. The last day of this session of the Supreme Court. We'll have live coverage starting at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. Two issues involving same-sex marriage before the U.S. justices. Thank you.

Coming up, jurors in George Zimmerman's murder trial hear graphic testimony, and for the first time, they see graphic images of his victim's body.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Happening now --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER (voice-over): Jurors in the George Zimmerman murder trial see images of the body of the teenager he shot. That and graphic new testimony about the night Trayvon Martin died just ahead.

Also, a suspect at a large after -- a suspect at large after a brazen ambush on two L.A. police officers.

And more than a million dollars disappears from a flight that landed at New York's JFK Airport. When did it vanish?

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in the SITUATION ROOM.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Another dramatic, emotional day in the court in the George Zimmerman murder trial. Jurors saw images of Trayvon Martin's body taken in the moments just after he was shot and heard powerful testimony from a first responder who attempted to save him. CNN's Martin Savidge was inside the courtroom today. he's Joining us now with the latest details -- Martin.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Wolf. Yes. Day two of this trial transported that courtroom back to that fateful night, which would have been February 26, 2012.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE (voice-over): For the first time, jurors in the George Zimmerman murder trial saw the body of the teenager he shot, Trayvon Martin, and heard graphic testimony from one of the first responders to the scene that night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you attempt to see if Trayvon Martin was still alive?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. I attempted to get his pulse, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you detect a pulse on Trayvon Martin?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir, I did not.

SAVIDGE: Sgt. Anthony Remando (ph) and another officer attempted CPR on the 17-year-old.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I breathed for Mr. Martin. I tried to, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was your role in the CPR attempts on Trayvon Martin?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was doing breaths sir.

SAVIDGE: In the courtroom, Martin's mother sat stoically, listening to the last moments of her son's life. Earlier in the day when the jury was out of a courtroom, the defense and the prosecution fought over phone calls.

The famous phone call George Zimmerman made the night he killed Trayvon Martin has been wildly heard but not calls like this one to police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've had some break-ins in our neighborhood and it's a real suspicious guy.

SAVIDGE: Police record shows Zimmerman made dozens of phone calls over the years reporting things he found suspicious. The states wants to introduce six from the last six months prior to the fatal night, including one where he repeats a now well-known line "they always get away."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They always get away.

SAVIDGE: Prosecutors want to show Zimmerman is becoming increasingly frustrated over seeing people he perceived as suspicious eluding police. The state contends (ph) Zimmerman followed 17-year-old Trayvon martin to make sure this time he wouldn't get away.

RICH MANTEI, PROSECUTOR: His actions and behavior that night are very different from his other actions.

SAVIDGE: The defense says any calls Zimmerman made prior to that night are irrelevant. MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S ATTORNEY: You're going to be asking this jury to make a quantum leap from good, responsible citizen behavior to seething anger.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: Of course the defense maintains that it was Trayvon Martin that began all of this by attacking George Zimmerman and George Zimmerman simply acted in self-defense.

It should be pointed out the judge has yet to rule on whether there -- those other phone calls, Wolf, will be allowed into the court and for the jury to hear.

BLITZER: Yes, that's a sensitive issue. Martin, thanks very much.

Let's dig a little bit deeper with CNN legal correspondent Jean Casarez.

Jean, how unlikely is it that the dramatic images that were shown today of Trayvon Martin's body, some of the graphic testimony, it's obviously going to have an impact on those six jurors.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: It definitely has to. Obviously the evidence is what is important. The jury will be told when they deliberate they cannot go by their emotions. But that room was filled with emotion today because all of a sudden, as Martin said, you were taken back to the scene of February 26th and you saw Trayvon Martin, you saw his body, you saw the gunshot.

You didn't see any blood on his hands, you didn't see any other marks on him but he was dead. And then in stark contrast, the crime scene investigator also took pictures of George Zimmerman not too much later when he went to the police department, he looked immaculate. It didn't seem as though he had a wound on him. And so that was their first image in that courtroom.

Then on cross-examination the defense brought out all the photos of the back of George Zimmerman's head. And he had been cleaned up by the crime scene techs and the fire official there is but you saw the bumps, you saw the lumps, you saw the blood. And it's just interesting to look because you're looking at the evidence here and the devil is going to be in the details, Wolf. The inconsistencies with George Zimmerman's stories as to the position of Trayvon Martin's body on the grass. The evidence is continuing to be developed.

BLITZER: It's going to be in the hands of six women, the six jurors in this trial. And, you know, Trayvon Martin's parents, they're out there, they're sitting in the courtroom, they're weeping, they're pretty distraught. They're seeing what's going on. That potentially could have an impact on the jurors as well.

CASAREZ: It does. It really does. It's not supposed to but they are sitting on the side of the jury. But do you know what is really limiting the view today is that the clothes of Trayvon Martin and the clothes of George Zimmerman, I've never seen this done before, they are like between plastic with great big frames around them. It is so huge that I think it really impacts the view of the jury to the family of the -- of Trayvon Martin. And they were shown to the jury today, too, the clothes that Trayvon Martin was wearing.

BLITZER: We heard Martin talk about these six other 911 calls that George Zimmerman made. They were played for the judge, they weren't played for the jurors. But why does the prosecution -- what's their goal right now in getting these earlier 911 calls admitted as evidence?

CASAREZ: You know, Wolf, this could be so critical for the prosecution because this is second-degree murder. They don't have to prove intent to kill, but they do have to prove a depraved mind, ill will, hatred, spite on the part of George Zimmerman toward Trayvon Martin.

Well, he didn't know Trayvon Martin, but they want these calls to come before the jury so the jury can hear all these different phone calls the months before where George Zimmerman -- when he's asked, though, he says he's black and he says he looks suspicious and he also repeats, "they always get away," to show that that state of mind was building, building, building and finally on February 26th he didn't stay in his house anymore, he was in his car and he pursued him unlike he did any of the others, but it got to that boiling point where he just had to do something and take the law into his own hands.

That's what the prosecution wants to show.

BLITZER: Jean Casarez, reporting for us from outside the courthouse in Sanford, Florida. We'll stay in close touch with you, Jeanne. Thanks very much.

When we come back, Paula Deen's sons break their silence about the racial controversy that could destroy her empire. We're going to see the exclusive CNN interview that's just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Mary Snow is monitoring some of the other top stories in the SITUATION ROOM right now.

What's going on, Mary?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, a bit of good news on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 100 points today on a string of positive economic data. After suffering heavy losses in the past few days investors were encouraged by reports showing consumer confidence at its highest level since January of 2008 and a big surge in the housing market.

Carnival Cruise Line is replacing its longtime CEO Micky Arison after a string of mishaps with its ships including the infamous cripple Triumph which had to be towed back to port February after an engine fire left it adrift in the Gulf of Mexico. More than 4,000 passengers were forced to endure power outages, overflowing toilets and food shortages. Arison will stay on as chairman of the board. And just days after being fired from the Food Network and losing a major endorsement with Smithfield Foods, Paula Deen's sons, Jamie and Bobby Deen, are speaking out for the first time in an exclusive interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOBBY DEEN, PAULA DEEN'S SON: We were raised in a family with love and of faith, in a house where God lived. And neither one of our parents ever taught us to be bigoted towards any other person for any reason. And this is so saddening to me because our mother is one of the most compassionate, good-hearted, empathetic people that you'd ever meet. And these accusations are very hurtful to her and it's very sad.

JAMIE DEEN, PAULA DEEN'S SON: This environment of racism that's been spoken about could not be further from the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNOW: Jamie and Bobby Deen are also chefs, both with their own shows -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much, Mary, for that.

Just ahead, it turns out the IRS wasn't only targeting conservative groups. There were also liberal groups on its list. We'll have a full report.

Also coming up at the top of the hour, our special report, "The NSA Leaker on the Run."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Conservatives weren't the only ones targeted by the IRS. Now a new wave of controversy and more outrage.

CNN's chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In these newly revealed IRS memos terms used to screen liberal groups, progressive, medical marijuana, even blue as in blue states, hardly words targeting Tea Party conservatives.

Democrat Sander Levin is lashing out at the IRS inspector general for leaving that out of his explosive report last month.

REP. SANDER LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: It was a serious mistake, and I think the Republicans took advantage of that by claiming that there was some kind of an enemies list of the White House.

BASH: What's worse, says Levin, the IRS I.G. was asked last month about so-called Be on the Lookout memos or BOLOS for liberals. He wouldn't answer. J. RUSSELL GEORGE, TREASURY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR TAX ADMINISTRATION: I'm not in a position to give you a definitive response on that question at this time, Mr. Issa.

BASH: The I.G. report did detail how many groups labeled Tea Party, 9/12 or patriots were targeted. Liberal groups, it seems, were folded in here, 212 "other terms."

LEVIN: He failed to indicate the liberal groups were among the 202.

BASH: An inspector general spokesman responded that he focused on conservatives as that's what the Republican-led committee asked him to do. As for Republicans, they're pushing back on the notion that progressives were targeted the way Tea Party groups were.

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM CHAIRMAN: They continued as usual through the process while conservative groups were stopped in their tracks.

BASH: But what about the big question, whether IRS targeting was politically motivated? Darrell Issa says this.

ISSA: I've never said it came out of the office of the president or his campaign. What I've said is it comes out of Washington.

BASH: But then this.

(On camera): Do you think based on what you know now that the White House simply was not involved, that the Obama political team was not involved?

ISSA: For years the president bashed the Tea Party groups. He was very public against these groups and on his behalf, perhaps not on his request, on his behalf, the IRS executed a delaying tactic against the very groups that he talked about.

BASH: But do you have evidence of that based on the interviews that you've done or are you just making an assumption?

ISSA: You cannot -- Dana, you cannot close a case, you can never close a case on what you don't know. You can only close a case on what you do know.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: Translation, Issa and many of his fellow Republicans are not publicly letting the president and his aides off the hook on this. They say they're not going to do this until they finished their investigation.

And GOP sources, Wolf, say that they are just in the opening stages of that investigation. As for Democrats, they actually say they want to continue this probe, too, of course not because they think that there is anything political because they say that they really do worry about IRS mismanagement and they want to fix that troubled agency -- Wolf.

BLITZER: The story clearly continuing. Dana, thanks very much.

Coming up more than a million dollars missing from the cargo hold of a passenger airline.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Authorities are now on the hunt for a suspect after a brazen ambush outside of Los Angeles police station. The LAPD says two detectives were injured when someone opened fire from behind them. One officer suffered a head injury. The other had a bullet graze. Both have been treated and released. The men worked on an undercover burglary task force but it's unknown if that is linked to the attack.

The FBI is on the hunt for whomever is behind a $1.2 million heist from a Swiss International Airlines flight that landed at New York's JFK International Airport.

Mary Snow is working the story for us. Mary is joining us.

What do we know, Mary?

SNOW: Well, Wolf, this was a regular passenger plane with cash carried in the cargo space. As FBI agents trace its path, a federal law enforcement source says the theft wasn't discovered until two days after the flight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW (voice-over): More than $1 million disappears from a Swiss International Airlines flight. What's unclear is when the $1.2 million all in $100 bills actually vanished. Was it before passenger flight 17 left Zurich on Saturday or after it arrived in New York? A federal law enforcement official says the cash was part of a bigger shipment. Roughly $50 million coming through the JFK International Airport.

The money belongs to a U.S. bank, says a law enforcement source, shipped in a cargo container headed to a Federal Reserve facility. The shortfall was discovered, the source says, when the shipment arrived there Monday.

Former federal agent Robert Schrang says huge cash shipments aren't unusual.

(On camera): Is it common that so much cash would be on a passenger flight?

ROBERT SCHRANG, INVESTIGATIVE MANAGEMENT GROUP: Sure. I mean, when you look under the belly of most commercial airplanes, you're going to find many things that you can't believe that are there because you're transferring money, assets, whether it's gold bars, jewelry, other valuable items all around the world. And that's done mostly in passenger aircraft.

SNOW (voice-over): The Federal Reserve declined comment. Swiss International Airlines would only say an investigation is underway. The caper brought back memories of the 1978 Lufthansa heist at JFK made famous in the movie "Good Fellas."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from the scene of the heist at JFK. It looks like a big one. Maybe the biggest this country has ever seen.

SNOW: Thieves made off with roughly $8 million in cash and jewelry. At the time it was the biggest heist in history, but the amount pales in comparison to one earlier this year in Belgium. Eight heavily armed men burst through a fence on to Brussels airport tarmac in two vehicles, stole $50 million worth of diamonds from a plane bound for Zurich, Switzerland. Months later more than 30 people were arrested.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: And in that Brussels heist, authorities retrieved some of the stolen diamonds, cash and luxury cars after finding them spread across three countries -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What a story. Mary, thank you.

Coming up here in THE SITUATION ROOM, a special report. "NSA Leaker on the Run." We'll talk to the top WikiLeaks man who's been helping Snowden.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Sounds like something out of a Jurassic Park story. Tourists on Safari being chased by a wild animal.

Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Don't look now. But something's following us. Step on it or we'll be neck and neck with a giraffe.

The guy who describes shooting this video says they were on an African Safari following a wedding when a giraffe started chasing their jeep. Chased it three miles. Remind you of anything? Say a tyrannosaurus rex?

JEFF GOLDBLUM, ACTOR, "JURASSIC PARK": We must go faster.

MOOS: Forget "Jurassic Park," welcome to "Giraffic Park." As the giraffe chase went viral, the comparison was irresistible.

Now the T-Rex is terrifying. But a giraffe? Someone posted, "Why is she panicking? What's it going to do?" Obviously he hasn't seen Animal Planet's "Untamed and Uncut."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a shocking display of animal-on-animal brutality.

MOOS (on camera): It's called necking. There is nothing romantic about it. It's just how male giraffes fight using their necks as clubs.

(Voice-over): Fortunately this giraffe didn't try to neck with the tourists. When they yelled and the park ranger beat on the jeep, the giraffe finally stopped.

(On camera): Of course there was the usual Internet squabble over how the video was shot. This versus this.

(Voice-over): "Say no to vertical videos" was met with, "Actually if your subject is very tall like, let's say, a giraffe, it's quite acceptable."

Both the "Jurassic" and the giraffic chase scenes had happy endings.

You think they'll have that on the tour?

MOOS: In no time some YouTuber put the sound track from one over the other.

GOLDBLUM: Come on, come on. We've got to get out of here. Now. Now. Right now. Let's go.

MOOS: If you're ever chased by a giraffe, you know what to tell the driver.

GOLDBLUM: Must go faster.

MOOS: Faster than a giraffe's top speed of about 35 miles per hour.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: The man who described shooting the video says the winding dirt road that they were on was about to run out when the giraffe finally gave up the chase.