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PIERS MORGAN LIVE

Usher's Son Nearly Drowns; Escaped Python Kills Two Boys; Interview with Star Jones; Interview with Carl Bernstein

Aired August 6, 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: Animal attack. An escaped python kills two sleeping children. How did it happen? Why did it happen? And should these deadly snakes ever be let out of zoos? All the questions tonight and we'll ask all the experts and try to get some answers.

Plus the Fort Hood gunman terrorizes a courtroom. You won't believe what he said at the start of the trial.

And are you ready for some football? Is football ready for her? Sarah Thomas is hoping to be the first female official in the NFL. Can she break the grass ceiling? See what they did there? Sarah joins me live to give me the answer.

Let's get to our big story. We begin with R&B superstar Usher's young son who was rushed to the hospital today after nearly drowning in a dramatic swimming pool incident.

CNN entertainment correspondent and anchor Nischelle Turner joins me with the latest.

Nischelle, a very potentially tragic incident here involving Usher's son.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

MORGAN: And to put it in context, only last year he lost his stepson in a jet ski accident so nearly a double tragedy. Tell me what happened.

TURNER: Well, first of all, this happened on Monday, Piers, and his son was swimming in a swimming pool, we're told, and this is according to the police report. His son was swimming in a swimming pool and got his arm caught in the drain. Like those things happen it seems like around water and accidents like that.

The woman that was watching him, his aunt and the housekeeper couldn't get him up but apparently there were some electricians, sound guys at the house doing some work, they ran out to see what the commotion was, were able to get him out of the water, do CPR and revive the boy until the paramedics got there.

MORGAN: And they called 911 obviously.

TURNER: Yes. MORGAN: This is the frantic call. We've got a tape of this now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RENE ODEN, USHER'S AUNT: My nephew was in the pool and he -- he went. I couldn't get him. I couldn't -- I couldn't get him. I tried to get him and they got him, and they're doing CPR on him. He's 5 years old.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. Stay with me. Is he awake?

ODEN: Huh?

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Is he breathing?

ODEN: Is he breathing? Is he breathing? He's breathing, yes, ma'am.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Very dramatic, obviously. Thankfully, the boy, it's Usher Raymond V is the boy's name.

TURNER: Yes.

MORGAN: He's 5 years old. He does appear to be OK tonight. But behind all this is the backdrop of a very ugly divorce --

TURNER: Yes.

MORGAN: Between Usher and his wife Tameka. You spoke to Tameka tonight?

TURNER: Yes, I did speak with her tonight and she did tell me that her son was OK. She didn't want to talk much more after that. She told me she had no other comment with that when I asked her because there were reports that surfaced today that she was going to ask for an emergency custody hearing because of what happened.

I asked her about that and she said, you know, I don't want to talk about that. I don't have any comment. And then she told me the kids were in the room with her. So presumably she didn't want to talk with the children around, but yes, you're right a very ugly divorce battle they had. A very ugly custody battle. Three years long. And then Usher was finally awarded custody of the two boys after a three- year battle.

MORGAN: And now we don't know what impact this will have because, of course, Tameka may, despite what she's not saying tonight, she may decide to use this as a stick to beat Usher with and try and perhaps get more custody.

TURNER: Well, I think she probably will. I think she -- you know, there have been reports that have surfaced that she did file for an emergency custody hearing, that she feels like the boys aren't being taken care of properly, the way they should be in Usher's care. And that she wants to reverse that because he has primary custody. She has limited visitation right now. So we'll have to see what happens with that.

MORGAN: Well, thankfully, as I say, the tragedy was averted it would seem.

Nischelle, thank you very much indeed. And with your new perm, your Oprah perm tonight.

(LAUGHTER)

Barely recognized you.

TURNER: Piers, I did it just for you, honey.

MORGAN: The big perm came out.

TURNER: I did it for you.

MORGAN: For the big show. Thank you. Good to see you.

MORGAN: And another shocking story out of Canada. It really is an unthinkable one. Two boys sleeping in a home are killed by a python that escaped from its enclosure in an exotic pet store. The snake was said to be between 11 and 15 feet long.

Jarrod Miller is a zoologist and television host. He joins me on the phone from Buffalo with more on this horrific tragedy.

JARROD MILLER, ZOOLOGIST: Jarrod Miller, this is a really awful shocking story, isn't it?

It is. This is a tragedy and it's just such an odd occurrence that -- and there's and so many questions that need to be answered.

MORGAN: What do we believe happened here? These boys were on a sleepover, they were just above this pet store. Where was this snake and how did it get out?

MILLER: Well, from what I've read and from what information that's out currently is that the snake escaped it's enclosure, which was housed in the pet store in the first floor. It ended up making its way up the air ducts and just the sheer size and weight of the snake apparently caused this thing to drop through the air duct into the room, in the living room where the two boys were sleeping on a mattress on the floor.

MORGAN: I mean, I did a recent show involving various animals, including a very large python and just having it in close proximity to me was -- is a scary experience. It was a huge, huge thing and, you know, very menacing to be close up to it. I can't even imagine what it was like for these poor kids.

I assume that they were constricted to death. Is that what we believe the cause of death is?

MILLER: Well, you know, that would be the cause of death involving a snake, especially of that size.

And keep in mind, Piers, too, I mean, you've been in close proximity to a snake of that size, as well, as I have, you know, holding one physically and just the sheer size, the musculature is incredible. And you said it perfectly, I mean, they -- that's what they are built for is for constriction. They're not a venomous snake, and especially a large African rock python, 15 feet long, it's going to -- it's going to have quite a bit of squeezing power.

Now keep in mind the odd thing that, you know, we're considering is that typically when a snake -- the two motivations for a snake to actually strike is one being out of fear, and B, responding to -- a feeding response. So let's say the snake dropped out and considered -- wanting to make one of the small boys a potential prey item, the snake would actually have to strike the child first and then wrap around.

So what's kind of unusual is that it's odd to think that the kid wouldn't react. I mean, I would scream like a little girl if I was bit by a snake that size. So if you were to be struck by this, you would wake up and then the snake would then -- you know, would proceed to wrap around and really with their power -- where the killing potential comes from is they use their musculature to actually push against the diaphragm.

So every time, you know, in this case, if it was one of the children, every time the child exhaled the snake would press against his diaphragm causing -- you know, causing him to just eventually be asphyxiated. I think we'll find these kids simply, their eyesight is very poor and they rely on their sense of smell, especially at night solely to find their prey.

MORGAN: Right, I mean, these two boys, Conner 6 and Noah 4, they'd actually been playing with animals earlier at the farm.

I want to play a clip here from their great uncle talking about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID ROSE, VICTIMS' UNCLE: Jean-Claude's family, went to Jean- Claude's family farm. There they played with llamas and goats and horses. They played with dogs and cats in the hay loft. And went for a ride on the farm tractor with Jean-Claude and he let them steer the tractor. That's the type of life they have and that's what we're going to try to remember.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: I mean, Jarrod, could it have been that the boys still had the scent of these animals that they'd been playing with earlier? Could that have attracted the snake, do you think?

MILLER: Absolutely. That would be a very large contributing factor. For example, especially if this snake is used to eating and being fed on a regular basis, and then a pet store in a captive situation, especially that of a pet store, this snake was most likely fed rabbits and rats and furry animals they have particular (INAUDIBLE).

So really by the fact that the children were playing with other animals earlier in the day, that's a huge contributing factor and that scent alone would attract the snake much more than just their own human body scent.

MORGAN: Jarrod Miller, a terrible story, and our heart goes out to the poor kids' family.

MILLER: Absolutely.

MORGAN: They must be grieving so badly today.

Thank you very much for joining me.

MILLER: Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: And I want to bring in a guest who always speaks her mind on all this sort of issues. Attorney Star Jones.

It's an awful stories, isn't this, Star, but --

STAR JONES, ATTORNEY: It really breaks your heart any time two little ones lose their lives. You started the show about another tragedy involving a child and then this, also. My heart bleeds for the mother and the father in this case.

MORGAN: Do you know Usher well? I know you've tweeted occasionally.

JONES: Well, I've interviewed him before. I've obviously talked to him and I've spoken to his ex-wife before. This is obviously a household accident. This is something that happens in homes across our country. The people who have pools, who are privileged enough to have pools, thank god there was somebody there to do CPR, to assist before the paramedics got there.

You know, I'm unsure of why it's a national story, although it's a tragedy. This is -- you know, you want to care about little kids. There are some kids across the street in Brooklyn that we should be caring about. This child has a nanny, has a mother, has a father, has a lot of people that care about them. And thank God he's OK.

MORGAN: Yes. I mean, it's a story, I guess, because of Usher's celebrity status.

JONES: Yes. But, you know, also, you know, I heard you all talking earlier about the possibility of Tameka Raymond going back into court and seeking custody. Whenever there is a custody battle the court has already decided based solely on the best interest of the child. Who is the more responsible parent to have primary custody. And unless you can show recklessness, negligence or some sort of abuse they are low to go ahead and disturb that custody arrangement.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Right. And we don't really know --

JONES: Right.

MORGAN: We don't really know what's happened. And there's no sign yet that there was negligence.

JONES: Right.

MORGAN: It just seemed to be an awful accident.

JONES: An awful accident.

MORGAN: And thank God the boy is OK.

JONES: Right. That was averted.

MORGAN: There is another quite dramatic story tonight, a California woman found dead in her home and there's an Amber alert out for her two children. California police had waited 24 hours to put out the Amber alert. It's now a nationwide Amber alert.

What do you think of those alerts? People getting messages on their cell phones and so on to try and encourage them to see if they can see these two kids, Hanna Anderson and Ethan Anderson?

JONES: Piers, it's extremely helpful, these Amber alerts. You know, I -- one of the first times I was here visiting with you, I talked about the tragic death of a family friend.

MORGAN: Right.

JONES: And, you know, getting the word out as quickly as possible is something that generates a lot of interests and a lot of tips. Amber alerts work because people start to be on the alert. I'm a little concerned that they waited 24 hours. There is no law that says you have to wait 24 hours.

You may see that on "Law & Order." You may see that on one of the CSI shows but you don't have to. If the police really do suspect that there may have been foul play or there is a reason for -- a nefarious reason for these kids to be missing, they can just go into action right away.

MORGAN: Well, if anybody is watching, they're looking at these pictures. And they see these kids anywhere, please do get in touch with the authorities. There is a suspect. We got a face of him there. James Lee DiMaggio. He's the prime suspect here that police want to get ahold of. So if you do see him or these kids, please contact the police immediately wherever you are.

JONES: And pay attention also to some of the things they put out in the Amber alert, whatever car this suspect was driving at the time.

MORGAN: Right. JONES: What the suspect was wearing. What the kids were wearing. Be on the lookout for the fact that they can change appearances with dye and/or wigs and/or hats so just be on alert.

MORGAN: This other big story today, the Fort Hood shooter. He's defending himself, Hasan. You were a former prosecutor. He's going to -- said look, I'm the shooter. So he basically admitted all his guilt at the start. Is there a sensible way of spending public money?

JONES: Well, the first thing -- one of the first things you learn in law school, Piers, any person that defends himself has a fool for a client.

MORGAN: Right.

JONES: That's the silliest thing in the world. You want -- if you're going to go ahead and avail yourself of due process in the criminal justice system, then go ahead and get an attorney that can go in there and fight for your rights.

MORGAN: But he's doing it, I would think, to turn the whole thing into a show circus --

JONES: A little bit.

MORGAN: And vent his views. He's still being paid apparently. He's received hundreds of thousands of dollars since he shot so many American servicemen. It just seemed on every level a complete outrage.

JONES: It's a little bit outrageous but because he has a right to go pro say the court is not going to prevent him unless they found that he had some mental disease or defect that would not allow him to be --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: But what about the rights -- what about the rights, Star, of the victims that he shot who he may now have the legal right to interrogate?

JONES: Not may, does. If he is going --

MORGAN: How can that be right?

JONES: Because the criminal justice system is there where the defendant is innocent, unless and until proven guilty.

MORGAN: Even when he's admitted I'm the shooter?

JONES: But admission of responsibility for the act is not admission of culpability under the law. And there's -- I know that sounds like legal --

MORGAN: Do you mind if I say, this is legal gooblededoo? JONES: I know. It depends -- what did the president once said, depends on the definition of is. Well, that's exactly what I'm doing for you right now. It's one thing to admit that I am the person who committed the act. It's another to admit that the act is a violation of the criminal law, the criminal law that I've been charged with. That's where he's arguing.

MORGAN: So it's a necessary evil?

JONES: It is a necessary evil. And you know what? It's not so much evil. I'm not going to let you go after the criminal justice system. Everybody gets a little irritated with it, but it's the best system there is. I believe that the American criminal justice system is the best there is, may not be perfect. But when I'm the defendant, if I'm ever in that position, I want to put the state or the government to their burden.

I want you to walk in there and prove my guilt, and if you can't, I deserve to walk out. I deserve to avail myself of every law, every rule, every regulation. And if you can't prove me guilty, I deserve to walk out of that courtroom. It may irritate the heck out of you, but if your son is sitting at that table, that's exactly what you want.

MORGAN: Star Jones, provocative as ever, stay with me. When we come back I want to talk about Oprah's surprising racism claims. Also now you're a big Yankees fan.

JONES: Yes.

MORGAN: I want to talk to you about that disgusting little cheat, A-Rod. Sorry, Mr. Alex Rodriguez. The handsome and powerful, $270 million superstar.

JONES: Still a Yankee.

MORGAN: That's what I meant to say.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back now with my special guest Star Jones. Let's talk Oprah Winfrey who's giving lots of interviews to go with this much anticipated Lee Daniels film, "The Butler", where she's apparently terrific. I haven't seen it yet. This is what she told my great friend Larry King. Let's watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OPRAH WINFREY, ACTRESS/TV HOST: I saw a sweater in the window. This was on Madison Avenue, and they wouldn't open the door, and they wouldn't open the door. And I am not the person who pulls the race card. So I'm just so like wow, gee, I wonder what -- god, do they see us out here?

(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: And what is amazing to that, she goes on to say this store on Madison Avenue, just up the road from here, a very smart part of New York, obviously, Manhattan, that she actually rang up later and confronted them and somebody at the store admitted that they've had two black intruders break in the week before and therefore assumed the worst when they saw Oprah.

JONES: Sounds a little George Zimmerman-like to me.

MORGAN: Extraordinary profiling going on here. What do you make of that?

JONES: I wish I could say I'm surprised. I think most people that are in New York and in California, smart people, people who have been exposed get surprised when you hear a powerful African-American woman or man identify that racism still exists in the United States, and we're not talking about Alabama or Mississippi. We're talking about New York City, Madison Avenue.

MORGAN: Have you experienced it in New York?

JONES: Not as much because New York is sort of my city, and I tend to go places where I'm expected. And I think in some ways I've started to do that because I don't want to have these kinds of experiences.

MORGAN: Right. So you're almost subliminally avoiding it?

JONES: Exactly. I have been, you know, passed up by a taxi driver. I've also had a taxi driver yell something foul at me.

MORGAN: Both of us.

(LAUGHTER)

JONES: I have been. But I think I might be more --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: But it's just because I'm annoying.

(LAUGHTER)

JONES: Right. Whereas I've had some foul N word yelled at me on a New York City street.

MORGAN: Have you really?

JONES: Absolutely, in the middle of the street.

MORGAN: And how do you reach when you hear that?

JONES: I act like they're not talking to me because it's not what they call you, it's what you answer to. I know exactly who I am and I'm never going to allow anybody to put me in a box.

MORGAN: Has it gotten any better since the first black president of the United States or not?

JONES: Yes, it's not so much that it's gotten better. I think it's become more of a conversation, and, you know, the race conversation is one that black America has had regularly for a long period of time. This is now a conversation that white America is now being a part of. And in order for the conversation to turn into action, we need to be talking together.

MORGAN: Right.

JONES: And we need to be sitting around the table exposing each other to different aspects of our lives. You know, the people whoever were in the Madison Avenue store when they saw Oprah Winfrey, they immediately thought black woman can't afford this so why am I letting her in?

MORGAN: Right.

JONES: Instead of thinking she could buy the store if she wanted to.

MORGAN: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

JONES: And put some people in there who were not racist --

MORGAN: It's a bit like that Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman," big mistake.

JONES: Big mistake.

MORGAN: Big -- this is a $3 billion woman you're talking to.

JONES: And she's being very discreet in not identifying the store.

MORGAN: Right.

JONES: Because, you know, Winfrey could stand on the television and say --

MORGAN: Close that store down. I agree.

JONES: Exactly.

MORGAN: But she's been (INAUDIBLE). And she also compared the killing of Trayvon Martin to the death of Emmett Till in the '50s as a pivotal moment in America's race history. There are two schools of thought about the Zimmerman-Trayvon case, that actually it wasn't about race, others think it was. What do you think of Oprah linking the Emmett Till case to this?

JONES: Clearly, the facts and circumstances were very much different but in terms of it being pivotal and starting a discussion, and starting a turn, I think she's exactly right. I think she's spot on this case, no matter how people want to gloss over it, the Zimmerman murder case was definitely involving race.

There is no way you will make anybody with any good sense believe that George Zimmerman would have been following a young white kid walking in that same neighborhood, would have stalked him, would have gotten out of his car, would have called the police, would have done what the police told him not to.

There's no way you can believe anybody would -- anyone with good sense believes that. So if we give that race at least was a factor, you're going to now say, how do we learn something from this, as the president likes to say, a teachable moment? And the teachable moment is every young black man should not be presumed to be doing something wrong.

We have to start that right here in the media. We have to stop putting images of African-American young men in orange jumpsuits as the example of who black men are. Black men are teachers, black men are police officers --

MORGAN: Black men are presidents of the United States.

JONES: Of the United States.

MORGAN: Doesn't need to be a bigger endorsement than that, really.

Let's turn to A-Rod. I'm not -- got no stomach for this whatsoever. The idea this guy is still playing baseball for the Yankees, shame on the Yankees.

JONES: But --

MORGAN: Sorry. But it wasn't doing that.

JONES: Put the proof out. Excuse me, did I miss something because I've been really trying to focus on this, Piers.

MORGAN: You think he's innocent?

JONES: No, it's not that I think he's innocent. I just would like to see some proof. In the United States of America, when you accuse somebody of something, you have to present some evidence.

MORGAN: Star, even he isn't denying it.

JONES: He's appealing --

MORGAN: He's not denied it. He wants to go through the process. At no stage in this (INAUDIBLE) press yesterday --

JONES: Are you --

MORGAN: -- did he actually say it's not true?

JONES: If you get told today that they no longer want you here at CNN, I guarantee you, you going to ask them to go through the process.

MORGAN: If I was the biggest abuser of drugs in the history of CNN, I wouldn't expect to still be sitting here.

JONES: But you would expect them to go through due process.

MORGAN: I don't think I would. I think I'll just fall gently on my (INAUDIBLE).

JONES: And then -- and then, you know what I would do as your lawyer friend?

MORGAN: Tell me not to?

JONES: I will tell you, please shut up and let me do the talking.

MORGAN: But what about the other 12 players that have taken their punishment like proper men. And have been punished accordingly.

JONES: What makes you say that it's proper men --

MORGAN: Because I think he's a lying toe rag. I think he's Lance Armstrong. He's being paid $270 million and he's taking us all for a ride.

JONES: And you know what --

MORGAN: Alex Rodriguez is a cheat.

JONES: I have never in my life defended anybody who has taken drugs. As a matter of fact --

MORGAN: Why are you starting with him?

JONES: No. But I'm the corniest 50-year-old there is. I've never even smoked a joint but what I'm telling you is, I would die for the law and the process. The process says if Major League Baseball accuses A-Rod of something, put up or shut up. Once they do, once they put up, then he's got to be off. Until then, he has every right to play. We as Yankee fans have every right to boo the hell out of him, but he has every right to play, and the Yankees got to write a check. That's the way it works.

MORGAN: Let's move on because that's not the way it should work in my opinion but let's move on.

JONES: Should work and does work is another thing.

MORGAN: Miss Jones, move on.

Hillary Clinton is meeting with Dr. Mark Hyman. People were saying it's to get ready for 2016. She needs to look skinnier and sharper whatever. To me it's a lot of hogwash. Do we need to have a president who looks a certain way? Can't we just have Hillary the way she is? Can we have, you know, someone like Chris Christie with his large weight? Does it matter what people are like?

JONES: Well, first of all, I don't know what is wrong with the way Hillary looks now.

MORGAN: I agree.

JONES: That's one thing. But, number two, whether you're running for president or running to be the biggest soccer mom in your neighborhood, every woman needs to be healthy. And I think that this is extremely responsible of the secretary of state to say, I'm going to put my health as a priority.

When you're on a plane, the first thing they tell you is to put your own mask on in case of emergency before you help other people. That's exactly what she's doing. She's putting on her own mask of health. Regardless of what happens in 2016 she needs to be a healthy woman.

MORGAN: But you know what, Winston Churchill smoked big fat cigars, drank gallons of whisky and was the greatest prime minister in my country's history and won a great war for us so I think --

JONES: And --

MORGAN: Great health for these leaders is massively overrated.

JONES: Heart disease is the number one killer of all Americans, the number one killer of black Americans and the number one killer of women. And I would say I am three for three.

Go ahead, Hillary, get your health on.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Star Jones, come back soon. I love having you on.

JONES: Same here.

MORGAN: Coming next, President Obama choosing a likely setting to make some major news about the global terror threat. There's lots to say about that tonight. We'll have it for you coming next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: President Obama tonight using "The Tonight Show" to make some use. He told Jay Leno that the embassy closings in the wake of new terror warnings are not an overreaction. He said Americans should use commonsense and caution while traveling abroad.

Also said Russia's decision to give Edward Snowden asylum shows that the U.S. still has challenges with Russia and stated that Moscow sometimes slips into a Cold War mentality. But he said he will attend the G-20 summit in Russia.

He also spoke about his lunch with Hillary Clinton. Let's watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, HOST, "TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": You and Hillary had lunch. Who invited who to lunch? I'm curious?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I invited her.

LENO: OK.

OBAMA: And we had a great time. She had that post- administration glow.

LENO: Yes.

OBAMA: You know when -- when folks leave the White House?

LENO: Yes.

OBAMA: Like two weeks later, they look great.

LENO: Yes. Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: With me tonight breaking the news, a Columbia University Professor, Marc Lamont Hill and Politics Editor for "Business Insider," Josh Barro.

Welcome to you, both.

Marc Lamont Hill, President Obama there said they're going to take this threat very, very seriously. It was indicated at (ph) their (ph) various sources what Al Qaeda had been trying to do is create something so dramatic, it would actually change the power structure in the Middle East.

So we don't know what it is. We don't know what it was planned for. What do you think about this?

MARC LAMONT HILL, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Well, I think it's a very dangerous thing and not just in Libya but also in Syria. We saw very serious questions about -- with the role Al Qaeda is playing in some of the opposition groups, that the point here is that the Obama administration for a long time so (ph) as (ph) the (ph) Al Qaeda was reeling (ph), that they were on their heels and that they -- that we were in control. And now suddenly...

MORGAN: Especially after the election.

HILL: Right.

MORGAN: This was the narrative...

HILL: Right.

MORGAN: ...that of course got them into trouble with Benghazi... HILL: Exactly.

MORGAN: ...because Benghazi still recently did not confirm what they have been trying to sell the America (ph), too (ph).

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: Right. But they don't also (ph) organize and offensively -- offensive-minded to be on their heels. It changes the narrative of our administration -- has (ph) offered for the last few months. So it's -- it's worrisome.

MORGAN: Josh, probably, it does change that narrative. But then Al Qaeda is a very different beast to what it was when you had Osama Bin Laden and his underlings (ph).

You've not got this kind of amorphous global entity of cells (ph) which may or may not all be linked together, may be working almost entirely independently -- very, very hard to take on an enemy like that.

BARRO: Right. And this was always the problem with the war on terror, that you could get Osama Bin Laden, get the leaders of these groups. And it's always possible for new groups and -- and new cells to spring up.

So I think the -- the situation that we got to over the last few years was not that Al Qaeda or terrorism was defeated. But they were able to have a sort of return to normal where terrorism became a -- a low-level threat.

One of the things the President said in his interview with Jay Leno tonight is he noted that Americans are much more likely to die in a car accident than in a terrorist attack. And I think that's been healthy for the way America has thought about foreign policy in the last few years.

And I think that if there -- if there is some big event that happens in the Middle East, I think that it could change that for -- in a very negative way and -- and force us, draw us back in.

MORGAN: And also -- and it has to be noted for all the talk about the NSA and the invasion of people's privacy and so on and so on, the -- the security services in America have been incredibly successful in forging (ph) a huge atrocity by Al Qaeda since 9/11.

HILL: Right. But some would argue that the overreach of government power isn't the reason why we've been sort of successful in preventing domestic terrorism.

MORGAN: No, we know that answer.

HILL: We -- we don't know. And that's -- that's why it's problematic. And I would never want to yield my personal privacy or my civil liberties in the stake (ph) of national security. I don't think they're competing agendas (ph). I think we can do both. But also, another piece to add is while we've been relatively safe here, we see embassy bombings.

We see terrorism spreading, as you said, cells spreading all around the political and geographical Middle East. I don't think we're as good a shape as people say we are.

MORGAN: Let's go (ph) to Hillary Clinton -- a lot of business now about her possible 2016 campaign. How much of her potential success, if she does run, Josh, will be determined by Obama's last bit of reign as president in the sense of, you know, if he gets into a big mess with the Middle East, if it does all (ph) blow up, if there are Al Qaeda atrocities, this could directly impact her chances of success.

BARRO: I -- I think in -- in the current situation, her service as secretary of state in the Obama foreign policy record is a major asset to her in the campaign. I think the reason the Benghazi issue was never really stuck as a mass political issue even though Republicans are sort of obsessed with it is that it's a small blemish on her foreign policy record that's been overall quite successful.

Now, if there were a big change soon on that, some of that could stick to Hillary the -- the longer we persist without any major international incidents that I think the -- the longer Hillary has been out of the administration, the less blame she's likely to get for that. we just had a poll out that -- that has her up 50-some points and (ph) they're (ph) heading (ph) for primary.

So I think she's in a very strong position both in the primarily and general elections. I -- I don't think Benghazi is a big deal for her.

MORGAN: Let's just completely change tack (ph) here, Marc Lamont Hill. I want to talk about boobies with you. Do you think...

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: He -- he gets Benghazi and I get boobies?

MORGAN: Benghazi guy go to guy for the boobies.

HILL: Fair -- fair enough, OK.

MORGAN: The (ph) serious point is -- so after years of litigation, the U.S. Appeals Court has ruled that this bracelet which says "I heart boobies, keep a breast" is not lewd and can therefore not be banned from Pennsylvania schools. The teens involved testified they were trying to raise awareness of breast cancer in their schools.

And they sued when they were suspended. I mean, I think that the people with the boobies and all of this are the authorities who try to ban them. This is -- these are young teenagers doing a good thing.

HILL: You think that kids running around American high schools saying "I love boobies," a thing about breast cancer awareness? It's actually what you think...

MORGAN: I think -- I think that humor is always the best way to get kids to do anything. And I think they were actually making a very important point.

HILL: I hope so. I mean, I -- I love -- I love this -- I don't like the idea of banning it. But I also don't want to overstate the level of commitment to anti-breast movements that young people have. I think they like boobies.

MORGAN: Does it matter, Josh?

BARRO: I mean, look, the first amendment applies to all Americans including students in schools. The Supreme Court precedent on this is there has actually be disruptive to the educational environment and the -- though it's a humorous message, it's a message that conveys something serious also about breast cancer.

So I think -- I -- I think it was an over reaction by the school administrators but also, I think the courts were right, that this is a constitutional right of the students to be a little bit juvenile on (ph) this (ph).

MORGAN: I agree. And this show loves boobies, too, when it's in connection with keep a breast and saving people's lives from breast cancer. I'm presenting you with my -- with my boobies...

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: Thank you. I'm an advocate now.

MORGAN: You can wear it. Put it -- put it on. I want to see that on you.

HILL: I will wear this everytime, especially (ph)...

MORGAN: Marc -- Marc Lamont Hill and Josh Barro, thank you, both, very much.

Coming up next, Carl Bernstein -- he's reporting at "Washington Post," led to the downfall of Richard Nixon. I'll ask him about the sale of that tape (ph) on (ph) amazon.com and also about the recent CNN film revealed (ph) amongst among things -- Nixon's hatred for all of the family.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERLICHMAN: What's it called? I've never seen it.

NIXON: Archie is the guy's name.

ERLICHMAN: Now, that's real family entertainment, isn't it?

NIXON: The point that I make is that goddamnit, I do think that you glorify on public television homosexuality. You ever see what -- you know, what happened to the Greeks. Homosexuality destroyed them. (END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): Didn't you all know he was talking to a reporter?

(UNKNOWN): Yes, but I think I woke him up.

(UNKNOWN): And good notes?

(UNKNOWN): It's verbatim.

(UNKNOWN): He really said that about Mr. Fred (ph)? Well, I got the words (ph) printed.

(UNKNOWN): Well...

(UNKNOWN): This is a family newspaper.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: A classic scene from "All the President's Men" with Jason Robards of "Washington Post," Editor Ben Bradlee, Robert Redford is Bob Woodward and of course, Dustin Hoffman playing my next guest, Carl Bernstein, the (ph) post (ph) of the family paper back then.

Many (ph) more (ph), the Graham families have sold it to Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos for $250 million. What does Carl Bernstein think about all this?

He and Bob Woodward of course brought down Richard Nixon with their "Washington Post" reporting. And he's speaking out on the sale tonight for the first time.

Carl, welcome to you.

CARL BERNSTEIN, WASHINGTON POST: Good to be here.

MORGAN: You may not want to hear this. But you're one of the reasons I went into journalism like so many young journalists of that era.

BERNSTEIN: It -- it seems to have paid off for you. I mean...

MORGAN: I was doing (ph) too badly.

BERNSTEIN: ...you're doing all right.

MORGAN: What is your -- your personal reaction to the fact that the Graham family that you served under for so long have finally sold out now to, you know, a -- a dot-com billionaire?

BERNSTEIN: Well, first great sadness given the contribution of the Graham family to journalism, to the national good health in terms of promoting a kind of reporting that serves everybody in this country, and a kind of honesty and a kind of principled management. That said, the paper was not economically healthy and like most newspapers and like most news organizations.

And I think this could be a great thing for a great institution.

MORGAN: Finally (ph), Jeff Bezos, he's a genius. He's not only a genius. He's a multi-billionaire genius that everyone who uses Amazon loves it because it's an incredibly efficient service that provides everything you could possibly want in life from that (ph)...

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: Well, the great -- well, the great hope here is look, our failings (ph) are an economic model that doesn't work anymore. And hopefully, by having a genius from the internet age, from internet technology who will help find a model that will preserve the most enduring aspects of great journalism ad marry it with this new culture, that's the hope.

We need an economic model. We need somebody who has deep pockets to sustain great reporting. That's what's been lacking. There are tons of stories out there that we're not doing.

We don't have a good enough news report, not in the "Washington Post," not even in the "New York Times..."

MORGAN: Right.

BERNSTEIN: ...which is -- is right now, by far, the most successful reporting organization in the world. At the same time, very few organizations are doing great reporting.

MORGAN: Well, I sat next to Jeff Bezos. Twelve years ago when I was editing a paper written called "The Daily Mirror" and he said to me, in 10 years' time, you'll be reading this paper on a tablet and I laughed at him. I thought it was ridiculous.

I said what kind of tablet. Well, it'll be like that and he said by the way, you'll end up being bended (ph) but you put them in your pocket as you walk around. Now, you've got an iPad, I noticed...

BERNSTEIN: Right.

MORGAN: ...you brought (ph) with you today. That's what he was talking about before anybody else was talking about it. And I was over (ph) at a party recently and he said the bended (ph) element is about to come in as well.

The guy is a visionary genius. Positive (ph) post (ph), I'll be thrilled about it.

BERNSTEIN: Well, one of the things that -- that Bezos has done is he's shown a willingness to stand by an idea, watch it develop, go through troubled times. In the development, continue to fund it and perfect it. That is part of what we need in the newspaper business or the former newspaper business, marry the new technology with the great things we're capable of.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Yes, the one thing...

BERNSTEIN: But we need -- we need an entrepreneurship of reporting.

MORGAN: ...the one thing I'd bet on topic (ph) delivery (ph), the "Washington Post" becomes really good under the...

(CROSSTALK)

BERNSTEIN: I -- I think -- I think we're talking less about delivering newspapers than we are about using a great platform...

MORGAN: Yes.

BERNSTEIN: ...that digital is. And we'll become even better. But to use it with the thing that journalism is about, the best obtainable version of the truth (ph)...

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Well, let me come to that. Let me...

BERNSTEIN: ...let's just talk about the best obtainable version of the truth.

MORGAN: ...yes.

BERNSTEIN: That's what we're trying to do here is preserve this and add to it on a great scale. We have seen a diminution of great reporting because it hasn't been supported by news organizations.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Well, let me talk to you about Edward -- Edward Snowden there because that was my next question for you, is that I remember seeing from "All the President's Men" where your character, Dustin Hoffman playing you, obviously, met with a contact and was trying to get phone records off it. That's -- that's in the early '70s.

So you were clearly deploying that kind of technique in the public interest as you would have seen it then to try and expose Watergate and everything else. Where is the line to be drawn between what the guardians say and Glenn Greenwald and on behalf of Snowden have been doing and where the public interest lies?

BERNSTEIN: Look, it's always a tough call. I think what we've seen with Snowden is the beginning of a long overdue debate about what our government is doing in terms of gathering information and whether it is justified and we needed to know more about what the government is doing.

That's Snowden's contribution. At the same time, the way he has gone about handling his persona -- look, he's -- look at Ellsberg. Look at Daniel Ellsberg with the Pentagon papers.

This is a form of civil disobedience. Ellsberg was willing to take the consequences, go to court, stay here, be tried. As a result of Nixon's excesses, breaking into Ellsberg's psychiatrist office, his case was dismissed.

In the case of Snowden, he ran. I think that makes it -- him a much more difficult figure to identify with here if he's really interested in the national interest.

MORGAN: CNN has ran this documentary on -- on Nixon. Did you see it by any chance?

BERNSTEIN: I saw it in an -- in an early cut. I...

MORGAN: It's being re-aired tomorrow night on CNN at 10:00 if you missed it, anyone watching. But did your view of Nixon -- has it changed over the years?

BERNSTEIN: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Do you think we're (ph) forgiving (ph) of him with history?

BERNSTEIN: No, I'm more empathy to his demons, I would say. The fact that he was such a troubled man, I think we know now that -- that his presidency was much worse than we thought.

The criminality of his presidency was worse. We see -- hear it in the tapes all the time. We hear Nixon on tape now which we didn't at the time of our coverage in the "Washington Post" say of ordering a break-in, a firebombing at (ph) a think tank in Washington.

I don't care what you have to do to get those documents -- break into the safe, firebomb the place over and over, for days on end. He wants that place fire-bombed.

He's (ph) a good president of the United States.

MORGAN: Yes.

BERNSTEIN: This is -- this is something awful. In our history, he was anomalous. It was a criminal presidency. It had its policy moments. But this is something apart from -- from other presidencies.

MORGAN: Just as a -- a side to all this, Dustin Huffman -- he played you in that movie, was revealed today to -- to have been battling cancer. And he's making a good recovery.

I just read that tonight on people.com. So we wish him the very best.

BERNSTEIN: Absolutely.

MORGAN: He's -- he's a great guy. Carl Bernstein, I could talk to you for hours if I'd like to another time. You should come back...

BERNSTEIN: Happy to do it.

MORGAN: ...do (ph) more of this. It's been a great pleasure to see you.

BERNSTEIN: Good to see you.

MORGAN: One of my great journalistic heroes. A -- a real pleasure for me.

Coming next, the gender barrier in the NFL could be broken in the upcoming season. Sarah Thomas may be the first female official. And she joins me after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS: You know, I've had a lot of people say, I told you that was a girl when I left the field and had my hair down or something. So those are the games I want.

I want to go unnoticed just like the other six guys on the field.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: It's going to be hard there (ph) to go unnoticed because she could be making history, kickoff at (ph) NFL is one month away. And Sarah Thomas could break the league's gender barrier by becoming its first female full-time official.

And Sarah joins me now.

Sarah, welcome to you.

THOMAS: Well, thank you. Thanks for having me.

MORGAN: So we've coined this great phrase for you. You're -- you're going to smash the grass ceiling.

THOMAS: That's why I wore green tonight.

MORGAN: You did. There's (ph) 21 finalists now. But you are deemed (ph) to possibly make it -- huge pressure on you. How are you dealing with all the attention that comes with the fact you may be the first ever NFL official, female?

THOMAS: You know, Piers, what -- well, when I get to thinking about this, I've never worked a preseason where there's been more focus on the next season. So I just -- I embrace everything that is -- has been put before me that really and truly, I'm just focusing on being an official and going out and working the games like I normally do, just try to become a better official.

MORGAN: Now, you're going to be surrounded by these gigantic men. How do they treat you as a rule? Are they good to you? Are they terrible sexists?

I mean, what's it like when you get out there with these honking (ph) guys?

THOMAS: They're professionals. I mean, this is their job, the -- the collegiate (ph) level as well. But when they see me in stripes, I'm just one of the officials that's out there.

It just so happens that I am a female. But whenever we're out there working, we're a team. And -- and we're just trying to go unnoticed like I said.

And I'm just -- I'm just one of the guys.

MORGAN: Now, I have three teenage sons. And we go and watch soccer. And one of the joys of that bonding experience is shouting at the referees.

Now, you've got two sons, 12 and 9, as well as a young daughter. How are they going to react? Are they going to go to the football, want to instinctively shout at the referee for some terrible call and discover it's their mom?

THOMAS: Well, I always tell them if I'm coaching them or being a mom to them, that don't ever be in a game whenever you're playing or sitting back watching and let the official make one play that you think blew the game. I mean, you've got a lot of opportunities as an athlete, as a player to make a difference instead of just pinning on that one call that might affect the outcome of the game.

So I guess if -- if someone's yelling at me, they're used to it. So this has been a part of their life.

MORGAN: Have you had some surprising messages of support and goodwill from people?

THOMAS: Yes, I have. It's been -- it's been a lot of good support.

MORGAN: You nervous?

THOMAS: No...

MORGAN: You do seem remarkably calm.

(CROSSTALK)

THOMAS: There's nothing to be nervous about. I've been doing this -- well, you know, this -- this is what I've been doing for 17 years. And so I feel like I'm continuing to prepare. And I'm qualified for this coming-up season with conference USA. And if next season I'm still part of the 21, then that's great. If -- if things progress, then I'll embrace it just like I have any other season, getting ready to officiate football.

MORGAN: And there's somebody you could (ph) be potentially right in the front line of refereeing a great American sport. What do you make of A-Rod, that little cheat down the road at the Yankees?

THOMAS: I really don't have any comments on that, Piers. I just want to stay focused on officiating.

MORGAN: You know what, I knew you were going to say that. That was beautifully handled (ph). You should be a diplomat.

THOMAS: Some may say I am.

MORGAN: Do you have a favorite team -- a favorite NFL team?

THOMAS: No, I don't. And I played college basketball. And there wasn't a football team there. So I think it's just fitting that I am a football official. So I'm not biased.

And I just have a job to do and -- and a position to manage and get out of there unnoticed.

MORGAN: Well, Sarah, your absolute credit to your profession. I think it would be terrific for the NFL if you get this -- this opportunity.

And we wish you all the very best. And thank you so much for coming on the show tonight. I think it's quite obvious that we're all watching why you may be getting this, because you're a very cool customer under fire, whether it's me bombing you interesting (ph) questions at you or the NFL potentially pitting you in front of all of these hulking (ph) footballers. The best of luck with it all.

THOMAS: Absolutely. Thank you, Piers.

MORGAN: Good to see you. It'll be great I think for the NFL. So just get on with it and do it. She seems perfect to me. And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Tomorrow night, the fight for medical marijuana takes a very emotional turn as parents say they need it to treat their young daughter's disease. They say it's the only drug that works.

Now, they're asking New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to change the laws. They join me live. That's tomorrow night. That's all for us tonight.

Now Erin Burnett anchors a CNN special investigation, "The Truth about Benghazi."