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THE SITUATION ROOM
George Zimmerman Trial Continues; Protests in Egypt; NSA Leaker Breaks His Silence; 19 Firefighters Perish Battling Arizona Fire; George W. Bush Weighs in on NSA Leaker; Bush Program Fights Cervical Cancer in Africa
Aired July 1, 2013 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And according to Zimmerman's account of what happened, Trayvon Martin jumped out at him, beat him, and told him he was going to die before Zimmerman pulled the trigger of his gun.
CNN's Martin Savidge is joining us right now from outside the courthouse in Sanford, Florida.
A dramatic day, indeed, Martin. For viewers who were not watching all of this riveting testimony, update us.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think even the defense had mentioned that this was probably the most difficult day that George Zimmerman has had to face so far, because it was obvious that the prosecution was attempting here to use his own words, whether it be his written statements that he's made, the interviews that he's given to police, or the reenactment that he did just a day after the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Taking all of those instances and trying to bring out the inconsistencies in the storytelling, and also to try to back up their initial claim, the prosecution's, that is, that George Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin as a bad person, as a suspect from the very moment he spotted him on that night, February 26 in 2012.
Were they effective at doing that? There were moments they were able to show that there was some interesting developments. One of the things we had not heard before, and those of us who have followed this case closely thought we knew everything, was Doris Singleton. She's the Sanford police officer, the first officer to take the initial statement by George Zimmerman.
And one of the things that shocked her or actually, she said she was surprised that George Zimmerman seemed shocked to learn that Trayvon Martin had died. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had noticed your cross, I think, you said, and asked you whether or not you were Catholic?
DORIS SINGLETON, SANFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT: Yes. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he told you that he was Catholic.
SINGLETON: I don't know that he said he was Catholic. He asked if I were Catholic and I told him that I wasn't. So I assumed that he was Catholic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then you told him you were Christian and his response was what again?
SINGLETON: Because in the Catholic religion, it is always wrong to kill somebody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And your response to that?
SINGLETON: Was that if what you're telling me is truthful, then I don't believe that that is what God means when he means to kill somebody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it your opinion that if what he is telling you was true, presuming that it was true, it was your suggestion then to comfort him in whatever he was working through?
SINGLETON: To let him know, if he was being truthful, that he was in fear for his life, and he had to kill Trayvon, that I don't believe that that was what God meant.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it was just right after that, that you had said that Trayvon Martin was not identified yet?
SINGLETON: We did not know who he was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that was when you communicated that to George Zimmerman, correct?
SINGLETON: I don't know if it was directly at that same moment, but yes. We spoke about not being able to know who the victim was.
I made a statement. I don't know what it was in response to. It was that we hadn't yet identified the victim.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And his response was that he didn't even realize that Trayvon Martin had passed, correct?
SINGLETON: He gave me, yes, like a blank stare on his face and said what do you mean you don't know the victim? I said, well, we don't know who he is. And he said, he's dead? And I said to him, I mean, I thought you knew that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: After that police officer, the lead investigator took the stand, Chris Serino. And again, the prosecution tried to point out inconsistencies. But Mark O'Mara for the defense quickly came back and rebutted and said, however, there may have been different ways he told the story, but was there ever a way that he told it differently that made you suspicious of George Zimmerman? And, in fact, the lead investigator said no -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Martin Savidge on the scene for us in Sanford.
Let's dig a little bit deeper right now with our legal analysts, the former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin, the criminal defense attorney Mark NeJame. They're both in Sanford. Also joining us from New York, Diane Dimond, special correspondent for "Newsweek" and the Daily Beast.
Diane, you were watching all of this very carefully today. What was your bottom line assessment on this, day six of this trial?
DIANE DIMOND, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: My bottom line assessment is that whatever evidence is in the pot, that the prosecution is bringing forward, the defense has been able, quite ably, I think, to turn it around to their benefit.
I'm not saying the prosecutor is doing a bad job, not at all. But what I'm saying is when you get the two police detectives who had the most contact with this defendant immediately after the shooting both sort of being sympathetic to him, talking to him about God and God would forgive you if you shot someone in self-defense, and then the male detective saying, you know, I told him he was going to have problems, anxiety, we would get him psychiatric help, I got to tell you, Wolf, I think that there are defense attorneys across the country slack-jawed tonight, having watched this thinking what a great job Mark O'Mara did.
It will be taught in law schools, I will bet you.
COOPER: Sunny, what do you think? Did Mark O'Mara do a brilliant job?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think Mark O'Mara is a very skilled attorney. I think he did a great job.
But again, I mean, I think you have got to look at the fact that a lot of information came in on direct examination that I thought was very helpful to the prosecution. They are going step by step by step in putting their case together. And as Diane just mentioned, it's sort of a balancing act at this point. There's a lot coming at this jury. I wouldn't go so far as to say the prosecution had a bad day, that the prosecution's case is going badly.
But again, Mark O'Mara is a very skilled defense attorney, and I think he did a good job today.
BLITZER: In effect, we did hear George Zimmerman maybe you could even say testified, because they allowed the playing of an interview that he did, a walk-through the day after the killing of Trayvon Martin. They allowed him the jurors to hear what he said on that day. Let me play this clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, DEFENDANT: He said, you know, you got a problem? I turned around and said, no, I don't have a problem, man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where was he at?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was about there, but he was walking towards me.
Somebody here opened the door and I said "help me, help me." And they said, "I will call 911." I said, "No, help me. I need help." And I don't know what they did, but that's when my jacket moved up and I had my firearm on my right side hip.
My jacket moved up and he saw -- I feel like he saw it and looked at it and he said, "You're going to die tonight (EXPLETIVE DELETED)."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All right, Mark NeJame, what do you think of this videotape that was played in the courtroom?
MARK NEJAME, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, normally, you tell a client never to talk. Zimmerman made a choice to go in and talk without an attorney. And he was unscripted and laid it all out.
Now you have law enforcement saying that all his statements are basically truthful, that none of them are inconsistent with other statements that he's made, and we now know that Mr. Good, the neighbor who came out, gave a story that was consistent with that.
That's a defense lawyer's dream. They don't now have to put on Zimmerman to the stand. They have got him coming across as a living, breathing human being. He's looking decent, he's sounding decent, and the officers are confirming and corroborating his testimony. That's a good thing for the defense. They can now not subject him, presumably, to cross-examination when it's time for them to put their case.
BLITZER: I assume he's not going to be testifying directly, and let me get Diane back into this conversation. Diane, really based on what we just heard on that videotape, there's really no need for his defense attorneys to put him on the stand.
DIMOND: Right. He testified. In effect, George Zimmerman testified in court today on that videotape. And he wasn't cross-examined. That's the important thing.
I think that it's very important when they play a tape like this, and we all say, oh, look at how great, and the story hasn't changed at all, in the jurors' minds, they might not be buying what George Zimmerman says at all. Again, the prosecutor is not doing a bad job. This is only the 25th witness and the second week of this trial. So there's a lot more to go.
But I think it's important to note that George Zimmerman's story doesn't change. It doesn't substantively change about the fight, about how the gun went off, about being cooperative with the police officers. He comes across flat affect, no real emotion, but that's the way he is sitting in court, too.
I really hope that the jurors could hear some of those tapes today that were kind of tough for us to hear, and really hear that sort of cross-examination between the good cop, bad cop.
BLITZER: Go ahead, Sunny.
HOSTIN: You know, I think Diane is right in terms of the statements being consistent, but where he is somewhat inconsistent, or where he seems to waver is when he talks about following George Zimmerman.
On direct, when you look at all the statements, he says, oh, we don't need you to follow him. The dispatcher says OK. But he really is pressed by both Serino and Singleton and they say yes, you know, you told me one thing, which was you weren't following him, or you just got out to look at a street sign, but now you seem to be responding to the fact that he was running.
And I hear wind in the background. Sounds like you were running. He says, well, I was just going in the same direction as you were. And Serino says, well, that is following. I think when you talk about the initial aggressor, which is a really important part of this case, Wolf, I don't know that George Zimmerman did himself any favors when he was talking about following and not following. I don't think he was very consistent and I think that's a very, very important part of this case.
BLITZER: Hold that thought, guys. Hold that thought. We're going to have much more from the Zimmerman trial a little bit later this hour. And, by the way, don't miss a CNN special report, "The N-Word," and that will air right after THE SITUATION ROOM, 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Don Lemon has a special report. Stand by for that.
Much more coming up on the Zimmerman trial.
Also, we're following three breaking stories this hour, as anti- government protests explode in Egypt, the military there taking signs and giving the country's embattled government a deadline.
Also, hundreds of firefighters are batting an out-of-control blaze that killed 19 of their own. What went wrong? Could it happen again? We're standing by for a news conference this hour.
And a new threat from the NSA leaker. He's still holed up in Russia and he may be trying to stay there permanently.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: We're following the breaking news out of Egypt, and it is so dramatic. Look at this. The clock clearly ticking now on a new deadline. The Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's government has been given an ultimatum, meet the demands of the people within 48 hours or the Egyptian military might step in to end the chaos.
And the chaos has been intense, President Obama watching the situation play out, even as he visits Africa, and he appeared to try to distance himself from President Morsi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our commitment to Egypt has never been around any particular individual or party. Our commitment has been to a process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Let's bring in our senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, and he's on the scene for us in Cairo.
It's intense right now. Ben, you covered what happened to President Mubarak there. Are we seeing a similar situation unfold right now?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not really.
During the revolution that led to Mubarak's ouster, what was saw was some resistance from his supporters to the revolution. But, by and large, there were very few people who were really ready to risk their lives to keep him in power.
What we have now are two very large political forces. Of course, you have seen the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Egyptians in the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, and elsewhere calling for his ouster, but there's still a very significant percentage of the population that still supports President Mohammed Morsi. We have been to their rallies. They're just as passionate as the people in Tahrir.
So you have really two blocs of people, and so far, there have been -- there were 16 deaths yesterday in violence in Cairo. Eight people were killed. Others in other parts of the country. But so far, the two demonstrating groups have stayed apart.
The problem is that this evening, Wolf, the Muslim Brotherhood has called on its supporters to have nationwide marches, and if you have large marches going around major Egyptian cities, while there are other anti-Morsi marches as well, there's a very explicit danger that they can clash, and that is the real concern, that so far, in this grand scheme of things, it's been relatively peaceful. But there's no guarantee that harmony, that peace could last much longer, and that may explain why the army has come out with this explicit 48-hour ultimatum, not directed at specifically President Mohammed Morsi, but also all politicians, the opposition as well, telling them get together, work out a program.
Otherwise, the military says they have a long-term program that they will implement if no agreement is reached.
BLITZER: And, Ben, just quickly, that Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo, I take it, it was invaded by the protesters, and literally trashed, is that right? WEDEMAN: That is correct. Overnight, there were -- people attacked it with Molotov cocktails and rocks. There was gunfire from within the Muslim Brother headquarters itself.
What is significant in this case, Wolf, is that the police refused to provide any significant protection to the Brotherhood headquarters, even though everyone knew it would be a target. And when these protesters approached the headquarters, there were just two policemen on the scene and they joined the protesters, and in fact, what we saw today when we went to the headquarters, after it had been partially burned, sacked and looted was that the police had come not to protect the headquarters, but to protect the ruins.
BLITZER: Amazing, amazing developments. Ben Wedeman watching the story for us, thank you.
Let's bring in our chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour.
Christiane, what do you make of these dramatic developments?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the army giving both the president and the opposition this 48- hour ultimatum to get together or else the army says it will put out its own road map, I think that's very significant.
We had expected today a statement from the Egyptian president. It didn't come. We might get it tomorrow. There's this picture that's being released by the Egyptian president, Morsi and his prime minister meeting with the head of the Egyptian army, the defense minister, al- Sisi.
And we also know that General Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff here, has been in touch with his Egyptian counterpart, and we're told that the Egyptian army doesn't want to take sides. It wants to be a force for stability and not instability.
So this is a very, very crucial moment, and basically comes after a year -- I mean, I was there a year ago when Morsi was inaugurated and there were huge, huge crowds celebrating that. And at the time, he said he was going to be president for all Egyptians, but what's happened is that people just simply don't see that. They believe that he's way too much under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and has interfered too much in terms of gathering power to himself and not inclusive enough to the opposition. The opposition, it must be said, is also very fragmented, very divided and there hasn't been one point of unity either from their side.
BLITZER: It's hard for me to see, Christiane, Morsi remaining in power given these developments over the past few days. Do you see a way he stays as Egypt's president?
AMANPOUR: Well, he has been saying and certainly his people have been saying that this is definitely not about him stepping down. And you have heard from Ben this is not the same kind of violence that we had seen at the beginning of the anti-Mubarak demonstrations. The opposition is calling for him to step down. But even President Obama today said that, look, Morsi is democratically-elected. Everybody signed off on that election. It was by a very slim margin, we do remember, but nonetheless, he was democratically-elected. So the challenge for him, according to President Obama and others, is to try to reach out to the opposition and have a more inclusive path forward.
Now, the opposition hasn't wanted to go into a government of national unity the last time this was broached, but maybe things will change now that the military is giving a very specifically ultimatum. And it's very interesting, because both the Muslim Brotherhood and the presidency and the opposition believes the army is on their side. So I think this is a very interesting thing to watch.
And some said perhaps the best way forward is to try to prepare for parliamentary elections and defuse this current crisis.
BLITZER: All right, Christiane, don't go too far away. There's some other stuff I want to talk to you about.
We're following other breaking news out of Russia. The NSA leaker now speaking out, making threats, his first statement in days. We will read it to you. Stand by for that.
And the former President George W. Bush speaking exclusively to CNN together with his wife, Laura Bush. The former president explaining why he's now fighting for people who wouldn't have voted for him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: It's really an inspiration to people around the world and to a lot of Americans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: And the breaking news comes this time from Moscow, where the National Security Agency leaker, Edward Snowden, is now breaking his silence.
He has just issued a lengthy statement. Let me read it to our viewers here in the United States and around the world.
"One week ago, I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful."
He goes on to say this: "On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic 'wheeling and dealing' over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.
"This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile."
Snowden continues: "These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me. For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country."
"The Obama administration," he says, "has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum."
And he winds up with this: "In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistle-blowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised -- and it should be.
"I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many, Edward Joseph Snowden, Monday 1, July 2013."
That's the statement.
Let's bring in our foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty. Christiane Amanpour is also standing by.
First, conflicting reports about whether Snowden has actually asked for asylum in Russia. What's the latest you're hearing?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: They're still conflicting and maybe deliberately so. There are two reports that came out from two Russian news agencies that are very closely tied to the government, one saying that he actually had -- I should say the lawyer, the WikiLeaks lawyer who was traveling with him had handed over documents that were the request from Snowden for asylum in Russia. Those who went to the Foreign Ministry.
Then, Interfax news agency very quickly after that said no, no, and quoted an official who said, no, that is not correct, he has not applied for asylum. And then you have the interesting statements by President Putin saying, well, if he wants to stay, but he didn't say asylum, there's a condition. He cannot continue to do that work that is aimed at harming our American partners, and then he added, as strange as that may sound coming from my lips.
So there's a lot of confusion. In the meantime, there's a lot of criticism being lobbed at the United States.
BLITZER: Let's get to Christiane.
Christiane, what's your assessment first of all of the latest developments coming out of Moscow and now Snowden breaking his silence with this lengthy statement?
AMANPOUR: Just in terms of the governments that have been involved in this, Ecuador and Russia, I think it's really interesting over the last several days that they have gradually backed away from their initial wholehearted support for Snowden, both Ecuador and Russia.
You just heard Jill say and quote that statement from President Putin. Mind you, on Russian television, he is being hailed as a hero. In Germany and France today, there was an immediate backlash, angry statements, including from President Hollande of France, saying unless the United States stops spying on the E.U., they will, or at least he will, France will pull out of any negotiations.
This was another alleged revelation by Snowden about U.S. spying in Europe. So there's a huge amount of new information coming out, and this sort of war of words going on between the U.S. and Europe certainly, and between Snowden and the U.S., as you have just described.
There's also a very growing concern in Europe by the revelations that Snowden has made. In other words, very concerned by the level of intelligence gathering and surveillance that the U.S. seems to be engaged in. And this is causing a huge amount of concern, in many parts of Europe, because many people are saying that this -- stretches the American law to the very, very limit. And many people think that it's a huge intrusion into personal life, into other people's lives. And a lot of lawyers are saying that this is not just foreigners who are being surveyed; this is also Americans, as well.
BLITZER: What do you make, Christiane, of Snowden's direct frontal attack on President Obama personally?
AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, it's probably not surprising, given the situation he's in. It's probably incredibly difficult psychologically to be in that situation that he's in right now, stateless, and unable to pass through -- apparently, as far as we know, pass through the transit area of the Russian airport. Who really knows? I can't pretend to know everything that's going on; nor can anybody. But we just keep trying to analyze all these statements that are being made.
And, you know, when he first got there, there was a very distinct welcome mat put down for him by the Russian government. President Putin's spokesmen, other Russian officials said -- you know, hailed him as a hero, hailed him as a human rights defender, and now they're not.
And now Putin himself says, strange as it may seem, you know, he mustn't do what's harming our American partners. When did you last hear President Putin talk like that? So clearly, the diplomacy between the U.S. and Russia has had some effect. And also, the FBI director and his equivalent in Russia have been talking. And I think the U.S. itself said from the State Department today that, although Snowden portrays this as a political persecution, we, in fact, consider it a criminal matter and we are happy to give him his papers to come back here to face a free and fair trial.
BLITZER: And just to reiterate what Snowden wrote in that letter in going after President Obama personally, after noting that the president has pressured other countries not to allow Snowden to come in. "This kind of deception," Snowden says, "from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression." That from Snowden blasting the president of the United States.
Jill, you wanted to make one more point?
DOUGHERTY: Wolf, I think it's very important, exile, the word "exile." I think that the U.S. government would take issue with that. He says that they've revoked his passport. That is true, leaving him a stateless person. He is not, according to what we understand, a stateless person. They have revoked his passport. That is a travel document. They have not taken away his citizenship. He is still a citizen of the United States.
And the State Department says the thing that we will do is we will give him a travel document to come back to the United States. Of course, to be arrested, but they are not taking away his citizenship.
BLITZER: He's still a United States citizen, so he isn't stateless. All right. Fair point, Jill. Thanks very much.
Christiane, of course, thanks to you, as well.
There's other breaking news we're following right now. Officials in Arizona, they have just released the names of those 19 firefighters killed in a single blaze. The investigation is only just beginning to how they perished last night in a wildfire northwest of Phoenix. It's still raging out of control right now. We're standing by, by the way, for a news conference by state and local officials there.
Let's go to CNN's Brian Todd. He's in Arizona. He's been watching this story unfold.
What's the latest, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, you mentioned that the city of Prescott has released the names and the ages of the 19 firefighters killed. The ages range from 21 years old to 43 years old. The bodies have been recovered and have been brought to the local medical examiner's office as the investigation continues into just what caused the Yarnell Hill Fire to overtake those 19 men.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TODD (voice-over): Firefighters are back on the front lines of the deadliest wildfire in America in decades, knowing that 19 of their colleagues didn't make it out alive.
ROY HALL, INCIDENT COMMANDER, ARIZONA HAZARD MANAGEMENT TEAM: It's been a long night, and these are the worst of times for firefighters.
TODD: They were members of an elite squad from the Prescott, Arizona, fire department. The Granite Mountain Hot Shots lived up to their name, bravely battling raging infernos up close.
VOICE OF WADE WARD, PRESCOTT, ARIZONA, FIRE DEPARTMENT: It's a very elite group of people that are highly-trained, highly-motivated, very fit. They know exactly what they're doing.
TODD: A news report last year showed how they do their dangerous and back-breaking work, digging barriers to stop the racing flames. That's what they were doing on Sunday when they joined the fight against the Yarnell Hill fire northwest of Phoenix.
VOICE OF ART MORRISON, U.S. STATE FORESTRY SPOKESPERSON: When you're digging fire line, you make sure you have a good escape route, and you have a safety zone set up. And evidently, their safety zone wasn't big enough and, you know, the fire just overtook them.
TODD: The conditions were perilous. The land bone dry. The winds whipping unpredictably. Authorities believed the Hot Shots used a last-ditch survival tool, a fire shelter. That's sort of an aluminum blanket to protect them from the flames and heat, but it wasn't enough to save them. Fire officials still are trying to figure out what went wrong.
CHIEF DAN FRAIJO, PHOENIX, ARIZONA, FIRE DEPARTMENT: Those gentlemen were in the position of protecting property, when something tragically took place that only Mother Nature might be able to explain, which caused them to become casualties.
GOV. JAN BREWER, ARIZONA: The Yarnell fire claimed the lives of more responders than any single disaster since 9/11. Just as we honor the memory of the firefighters lost that day as they charged into the burning towers, we will remember the brave men of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families.
TODD: President Obama is calling the fallen firefighters heroes. Their remains have been recovered from the fire zone where hundreds of other firefighters are in harm's way right now.
The Yarnell Hill fire is still growing. Over 8,000 acres have been scorched, more than 200 buildings destroyed. But Prescott's mayor is still thinking of those the fallen men left behind.
MAYOR MARLIN KUYKENDALL, PRESCOTT, ARIZONA: It's tough. Within a few minutes, their entire life changed. (END VIDEOTAPE)
TODD: Now, one member of the Hot Shot team did survive this, officials say because he happened to be moving a crew truck while the flames engulfed the rest of his team -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian Todd in Arizona for us.
And the mayor of Prescott has just started speaking out there in a little news conference. We're going to monitor what he's saying. We'll take a quick break, resume our special coverage right after this.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Wade Ward of the Prescott Fire Department speaking about those 19 firefighters who were killed. Let's just listen in.
WADE WARD, PRESCOTT FIRE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Continue to do what you've done and respect the families and the firefighters in the community, and allow us to go through this process. So I'll turn it over to Chief now, and we'll read the names.
FRAIJO: There is a little bit of new information. We have recovered all the casualties. They are currently at the Maricopa County medical examiner, and there's going to be a process prior to the bodies being delivered back here to Yavapai County here in Prescott. So we're waiting for that information.
Some of the old information -- this is still under investigation, so there's a lot of information that we don't have yet. However, we do have the names of those people that were the casualties on the team. There has been some misinformation that I think has been corrected several times. However, I keep being asked if there was either 18 or 19 people. The fact is that there were 19 people. But there was a crew of 20. So that's just information for you, just in case there was any clarity.
What we're going to do with this list is I'm going to name the names, and then we're going to provide you all the list that you can use, and at the same time, it has already been sent to the news media, to the printed media. So we hope that we're getting all this information to you in an accurate way. We will be available for questions. Hopefully they're going to be new questions. We had a lot of them this morning. But we will be available to answer these questions.
Andrew Ashford [SIC], 29 years old. Anthony Rose, 23 years old. Christopher MacKenzie, 30 years old. Dustin Deford, 24 years old. Garret Zuppiger, 27. Grant MacKenzie, 21. Jess Steed, 36. Joe Thurston, 32. John Percin, 24. Kevin Woyjeck, 21. Eric Marsh, 43. Robert Caldwell, 23. Scott Norris, 28. Sean Misner, 26. Travis Carter, 31. Travis Turbyfill, 27. Wade Parker, 22. And William Warneke, 25. You will be provided this list.
OK. One correction. I missed Clayton Whitted, whose age is 28.
Very young crew. Very energetic crew. Very professional crew. You will be getting this, and also in the near future, we hope to have a little bit more information about these folks. But as of right now, we don't have that assembled. But as I mentioned previously, we want you to have all the information that we have. We just won't give it prematurely.
So I'm going to introduce...
BLITZER: So there you have it, the fire chief in Prescott, Arizona, Dan Fraijo, reading the names of those 19 firefighters who were killed in this fire in Arizona, a wildfire that continues right now. We'll stay on top of this story. Much more on that coming up.
Also coming up, the CNN exclusive interview with the former president of the United States, George W. Bush and Laura Bush.
Also, we spoke with Jimmy Carter. They both are two former presidents, and they have two very different views of the NSA leaker, Edward Snowden. Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush on Edward Snowden and a lot more coming up.
BLITZER: Now a CNN exclusive. The former president, George W. Bush, speaking candidly about the NSA leaker, Edward Snowden. Speaking also about the ailing Nelson Mandela, and speaking also about his successor in the White House, President Barack Obama.
Former President Bush and his wife, Laura, sat down with CNN in Zambia where they're renovating a health clinic. Listen to what they told our Robyn Curnow about the man who revealed massive government surveillance programs and who may now be seeking asylum in Russia.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you think he's a traitor?
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know he damaged the country. The Obama administration will deal with him.
CURNOW: But do you think it's possible for one man to really damage the security of the nation?
G. BUSH: I think he damaged the security of the country.
CURNOW: And when it comes to surveillance, there can be real-time understanding...
G. BUSH: I put that program -- I put that program in place to protect the country. And one of the certainties is civil liberties were guaranteed.
CURNOW: So you don't think there's a compromise between security and privacy? G. BUSH: I think there needs to be a balance. And I think as the president explained, there is a proper balance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And listen to what another former president -- this one Jimmy Carter -- what he told our Suzanne Malveaux about Snowden. Very different.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think he's obviously violated the laws of America, for which he's responsible. But I think that the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far. And I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive. So I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long- term, beneficial.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER; So the Republican, George W. Bush, defending President Obama, the Democrat Jimmy Carter not so much.
Let's bring in our CNN contributor, the Democratic strategist Paul Begala, and the former president, George W. Bush's, press secretary at the time, Ari Fleischer. Paul, are you with the Democratic ex- president or the Republican ex-president?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, get -- seeing George W. Bush praising Barack Obama, it's a little bit like getting praised for your weight-loss program from Chris Christie. I mean, you know, the thought is maybe nice and the praise is welcome, but the source is not very credible.
BLITZER: Why isn't he credible?
BEGALA: Well, because Bush did a very different thing. He had a very similar program, but here's the important difference. At the beginning when President Bush began this, he did not include the Congress. He did not have statutory authorization. He did not go to the courts for approval and supervision.
President Obama has a program that I'm not thrilled with, President Carter's not thrilled with, but at least it's legal under President Obama. He's going through the proper channels, and the checks and balances are there. I may not like the program, but it's clearly legal what President Obama's doing.
BLITZER: You were -- Ari, you were the White House press secretary during that first term of the Bush administration when some of these programs went into effect. Were these extralegal programs that didn't have the backing of the judicial system or Congress, for that matter, that the president simply decided to do?
ARI FLEISCHER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: No, Paul's just repeating the usual Democratic talking points on this. If they were illegal, then how come President Obama was in charge of enforcing the laws and didn't do anything about the illegality? He didn't prosecute anybody; he didn't go after anybody. Why? Because the programs were proper and legal.
But you know, Wolf, the real big issue is here, how do you keep America safe? And what you've got going forward is an Obama/Bush template a bipartisan template that really exists for the mainstream of America. You've got people who fall outside of that: essentially on the Jimmy Carter, ACLU left, and the libertarian, Ron Paul right. I am very comfortable occupying those 80 yards of the football field where a bipartisan group exists. Let the fringes be as they are.
Jimmy Carter, I don't think he really has much influence on foreign policy or what we should do to protect America or keep us safe. Because of Jimmy Carter, frankly -- I used to be a Democrat; I became a Republican thanks to Jimmy Carter.
BLITZER: Hold on for a moment, because in the interview with Robyn Curnow, the former President Bush also had this exchange involving the ailing president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
G. BUSH: Sometimes there are leaders who come and go. He -- his legacy will last for a long time.
LAURA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: He is, I think, really an inspiration to people around the world. And to a lot of Americans: a figure that we watched from afar from the United States, and I have a lot of respect, of course.
CURNOW: He was quite tough on you, though. He criticized you publicly about the Iraq war.
G. BUSH: Yes, he wasn't the only guy. It's OK. I mean, I didn't look at him any differently because he didn't agree with me on an issue.
CURNOW: Don't want to criticize the Obama administration, is that something that you've really made a decision?
G. BUSH: I don't think it does any good. It's a hard job. He's got plenty on his agenda, and it's difficult. And a former president doesn't need to make it harder.
CURNOW: Because in the polls, you're now sort of...
G. BUSH: I could care less.
CURNOW: You don't care...
G. BUSH: No.
CURNOW: ... whether people think you're favorable or unfavorable?
G. BUSH: The only time I really cared was on election day. You know, I guess it's nice. I mean, let me rephrase it. Thank you for bringing it up.
CURNOW: You like the idea that people, perhaps, are looking at you differently?
G. BUSH: You know, I mean, ultimately history will judge the decisions I made. And I won't be around, because it's going to take a while for the objective historians to show up. And so I'm pretty comfortable with it. I did what I did. I know the spirit in which I did it.
BLITZER: Paul, he's very gracious to the current president of the United States. And his poll numbers are improving right now even as President Obama's seem to be sliding a bit.
BEGALA: Well, because he's not doing anything. He should, by the way, get credit for his PEPFAR program, the President's Emergency Program for African [SIC] Relief. This was really important, really significant, went far beyond anything that my old boss, Bill Clinton, or any Democrat had ever done. So he deserves credit for that.
But he also should be held to history, for example, on Nelson Mandela. His vice president, Dick Cheney, was chosen to be on the ticket, even though in the Congress, Cheney voted repeatedly on the side of the racists in South Africa, even voted against a resolution to free Nelson Mandela. They were wrong about Mandela.
BLITZER: Ari, go ahead.
FLEISCHER: I'm sorry, I couldn't hear your question.
BLITZER: I said go ahead and respond very quickly.
FLEISCHER: Well, look, I think President Bush has shown a new way to govern as the ex-president, and that's with graciousness and with style. Jimmy Carter won't do that. I'll be curious to see if President Obama, when he leaves office, will have the same grace on his post presidency that President Bush has brought to it.
And I love what Bush said about he could've disagreed with Nelson Mandela on Iraq, and they did. That's one issue. That doesn't change the man's legacy. That's the type of bringing people together spirit that we could all use in this country.
BLITZER: Ari and Paul, guys, thanks very much.
I want to bring in Robyn Curnow. She's joining us from Pretoria right now, outside the hospital where Nelson Mandela is.
Robyn, thanks so much for doing that interview with the former president and the former first lady of the United States. And you also spoke to them at length about their very important work in Africa. Tell us a little bit about that.
CURNOW: Wolf, thanks so much. And they said that it was actually a coincidence that both them and President Obama were in Africa. And of course, the Bushes on a far more low-key agenda.
CURNOW (voice-over): He painted the doors and the walls.
(on camera): You got a lot of paint on your face yesterday.
G. BUSH: I did, yes.
CURNOW: You really got yourself dirty.
G. BUSH: Well, I'm -- I'm here to serve.
CURNOW (voice-over): The women of Zambia are dying of cervical cancer and unnecessarily so, says the former president and the first lady.
(on camera): Are you excited about that?
G. BUSH: Fired up.
CURNOW: Do you think people are going to be lining up outside here?
G. BUSH: Absolutely, yes.
L. BUSH: I think women really are, because they know people who have died with cervical cancer.
CURNOW (voice-over): A mission to build on the AIDS program he set up while president a decade ago. PEPFAR, or the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, dramatically reduced the number of AIDS deaths in Africa with a massive investment of anti-retroviral drugs for the region.
G. BUSH: I'm very proud of American people for their generosity. Billions have been poured into a far-away land. I wish Americans knew how many lives were saved as a result of their generosity. And some day they will.
CURNOW: The program's success highlighted by Bush's successor, President Obama, in his visit to South Africa.
OBAMA: And while America will continue to provide billions of dollars in support, we can't make progress without African partners. So I'm proud that by the end of my presidency, South Africa has determined it will be the first African country to fully manage its HIV care and treatment program.
G. BUSH: It breaks your heart to realize that such hope was given to communities throughout the continent of Africa because of anti- retrovirals, and then women are dying from cervical cancer. So there's hope, and then there's despondency.
L. BUSH: It really can be avoided. Very few women in the United States die from cervical cancer. So if you can just add to the PEPFAR platform that's already established, the health system that's already up, the testing and treatment for cervical cancer, then very few African women will die of cervical cancer.
CURNOW: With his commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS, President Bush is respected as a humanitarian in Africa. His legacy on the continent secure, but it's a presidency that didn't come without its criticism even here.
(on camera): I just want to get your reaction to Mandela. What kind of a man is he to you?
G. BUSH: An historic figure that made a huge difference in people's lives.
CURNOW: He was quite tough on you, though. He criticized you publicly about the Iraq war.
G. BUSH: Yes. He wasn't the only guy.
CURNOW (voice-over): He recognizes many of the decisions he made were divisive, but some Americans seem to be softening their opinion of him.
(on camera): In the polls, you're now sort of...
G. BUSH: I could care less.
CURNOW: You don't care...
G. BUSH: No.
CURNOW: ... whether people think you're favorable or unfavorable?
G. BUSH: The only time I really cared was on election day. I really didn't, no. You know, I guess it's nice. Let me rephrase that. Thank you for bringing it up.
CURNOW: You like the idea that people perhaps are looking at you differently?
G. BUSH: You know, I mean, ultimately history will judge the decisions that I made. And I won't be around, because it's going to take a while for the objective historians to show up. And so I'm pretty comfortable with it. I did what I did. I know the spirit in which I did it.
CURNOW (voice-over): Comfortable with his past, Bush now looks toward Africa in his retirement.
(on camera): You seem quite proud of this, like your new granddaughter. I mean, it's -- I get a sense that this is -- this is very personal.
G. BUSH: I made the decision post-presidency to stay out of the limelight, let others debate the key issues; made the decision not to criticize my successor.
And so the challenge for me personally was, you know, how can I make a difference? And this program, Pink Ribbon/Red Ribbon, is a vehicle to spend the rest of my life as best as I can trying to improve the human condition.
CURNOW: So far away from where you live.
G. BUSH: Makes it even more special.
CURNOW (voice-over): Away from Washington, the former commander in chief has found a new mission.
CURNOW: OK. And that clinic opened today, Wolf. The Bushes are hoping that thousands of lives will be saved.
BLITZER: They're doing very, very important work in Africa, the former president and the former first lady. I want to thank them for what they are doing.
By the way, tomorrow, there'll be something extraordinary going on in Tanzania. The former president and the current president of the United States, they will both be there. They will remember what happened back in 1998 when the U.S. embassy in Dar es Salaam was bombed. We'll have special coverage of that.
Meantime, thanks very much for joining us. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. A CNN special, "The 'N' Word" with Don Lemon, starts right now.