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PIERS MORGAN LIVE
Suspected Killer's Car Found in Idaho; Usher's Bitter Custody Battle; Obama Gets Defensive
Aired August 9, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world.
Tonight, breaking news on the desperate search for James DiMaggio and the girl he allegedly abducted. Police now scouring a location where they were spotted in Idaho.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERIFF BILL GORE, SAN DIEGO: They did seem to think the two of them were out of place in that area with the light camping equipment they had.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: We'll have the very latest details.
Also, a superstar takes the stand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
USHER RAYMOND, ENTERTAINER: I went straight there to assess what really happened. When I arrived, my son was hysterical and in the back of an ambulance. I knew there had been an incident in the pool, but I didn't have clarity on exactly what took place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Usher's bitter custody battle plays out in court. A judge decides whether he's putting his son's life in danger and getting defensive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to make clear once again that America is not interested in spying on ordinary people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: But is it? President Obama's testy news conference, taking on his critics and talking tough about the NSA's snooping. We begin, though, with the big breaking news, that manhunt for James DiMaggio that triggered a multi-state Amber Alert. The accused murderer allegedly abducted 16-year-old Hannah Anderson. Authorities believe a pair fitting the description was seen in a remote area of Idaho. That's where his car was found.
And Paul Vercammen joins me now from San Diego with the very latest.
Paul, dramatic development today, a discovery of this car clearly indicating that they may be hiding this remote area of Idaho, possibly camping. Tell me more.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Piers, that was always the concern of detectives here is that he was a bit of an outdoorsman, Mr. DiMaggio and that he would head to the back country. And indeed, when they found the car it was covered in brush. He had pried off the license plates, allegedly. They're able to match it by using the car's VIN number.
Let's listen to what the county sheriff here in San Diego had to say about the discovery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORE: The blue Nissan Versa was discovered covered in brush. The license plates had been removed, but local law enforcement in the area were able to confirm through the VIN number that the vehicle did belong to DiMaggio.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERCAMMEN: So not only did they discover the car, but also, again, a single rider on horseback reportedly saw Hannah, the 16-year-old, and DiMaggio about 8 miles from a trail head in the back country with camping equipment, Piers.
MORGAN: Paul, from everything we're gleaning from all this, from the eyewitness accounts, the encounter with random strangers, from the car, et cetera, we clearly think they are in that vicinity but do we think they are there together as sometime of couple, that they may have established a relationship?
VERCAMMEN: Well, I pressed the sheriff on that very question, Piers. And he said from what the rider on horseback saw, he did not seem to think that Hannah was being kept against her will, but he did think it was odd enough that he called authorities.
So, who knows what threats could have been leveled against her by DiMaggio? So far, they did say one thing that is a pleasant sign is that she is reportedly in good health, Piers.
MORGAN: And, of course, she may have had no idea about what happened to her mother and what we fear has happened to her brother that died in the house fire, as police believe.
Let's turn to the family who obviously are in a terrible state, as you can imagine, desperate to see Hannah come back safely. You have intelligence about the family and what's going on there.
VERCAMMEN: Well, it's just been an awful harrowing week for the family. Not long ago, we talked to the maternal grandmother, so she's lost her daughter this week, presumably she's lost her 8-year-old grandson but does have now hope about Hannah. Here's what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARA BRITT, HANNAH ANDERSON'S GRANDMOTHER: Bittersweet. It's, you know, you're afraid of what they will tell you and so excited that what they might tell you is good news, what we've been waiting for.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it is good news.
BRITT: It is good news. It's awesome news.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERCAMMEN: Here is why, though, that news is somewhat dire, Piers. They did not see any sign of little 8-year-old Ethan and as we discussed all week, the remains inside the home match those of an 8- year-old child. They are trying to get a good DNA sample on him, very difficult because of the state of the body, Piers.
MORGAN: Yes, and you have to fear the worst given that we heard the father earlier in the week only talking about Hannah and getting Hannah back. He clearly believes his son perished in that fire. Very, very sad story.
Paul Vercammen, thank you very much, indeed.
The area where the car was found is called the River of No Return Wilderness, very rugged terrain. But where in that vast region are James DiMaggio and Hannah Anderson?
With me now on the phone is Andrea Dearden. She's a public relations information officer for the Ada County Sheriff's Department.
Welcome to you, Mrs. Dearden.
What can you tell me about the search and how you go about finding people in such extraordinary terrain?
ANDREA DEARDEN, ADA COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT (via telephone): Well, it certainly is a challenge, Piers. We are -- we have hundreds of people on the ground, local, state, federal officials who are here. These are teams that are trained, tactical teams that know how to handle these areas.
But access is a challenge. We're talking about very rugged terrain, steep topography, rocky, very dense pine trees in much of the area. So, certainly, it's not accessible by vehicle. So we have -- we're flying resources in. Also, people on horseback.
We'll be on the ground and in the air and putting as many resources as possible to hopefully make this search a successful one, as quickly as possible as well.
MORGAN: Well, if the people who saw them actually did see them and it was a clear sighting, we now believe that they don't have much equipment with them, they are pretty light in terms of equipment. Does that matter at this time of year or can you survive quite easily, given it's pretty warm?
DEARDEN: Well, we don't -- right, we don't have any of the extreme temperatures, however, again, I mean, this is not -- you're not going to have easy access to food in this area. So you're not going to be able to stop for supplies if you are deep in the back country. And so, certainly, you're going to need, depending on the length of stay, you're going to need plenty of supplies.
MORGAN: Andrea Dearden, thank you very much indeed for that update. Appreciate it.
Is James DiMaggio a killer, did he in fact abduct Hannah or is there more to the story?
Well, with me now is Andrew Spanswick, a friend of the suspect, who joined me last night and joins me again now.
Andrew, a lot happened since we spoke yesterday. We now seem to have clear evidence of the vehicle that they were traveling in, and indeed, your friend, James DiMaggio, is clearly traveling with Hannah and she is still alive, certainly as far as Wednesday, we believe.
What is your reaction to that?
ANDREW SPANSWICK, FRIEND OF JAMES DIMAGGIO: Well, first, I'd like to say that the information I am about to tell you, I've already notified the FBI about three hours ago when I became aware of it and told the FBI which I got directly from Laura Robinson. In talking with Laura and getting more into depth, especially regarding the motivation of what might be going on with Jim --
MORGAN: Just to clarify, Andrea, Laura Robinson is James DiMaggio's sister.
SPANSWICK: Jim's sister, that's correct.
SPANSWICK: She looks quite a lot like Hannah, which is another interesting point. Let me just say, you know, we've been trying to figure out what the motivation might be or with what might have brought this on, hopefully to bring Hannah and James home safely and unfortunately had to call the FBI to let them know I found out more information. What I found out was that Jim's father had committed suicide in 1998. His mother had died of cancer and I got that wrong the other night, I'm sorry for that -- several years before.
The date that Jim's father disappeared prior to his substance -- or prior to his suicide was actually the date that Jim's house was lit on fire. That's the anniversary date. The date of his father's suicide is tomorrow. So, at this point --
MORGAN: So that clearly could point to some kind of motive and some kind of psychological trauma.
SPANSWICK: It's bone chilling information when I heard it that potentially he's had a plan. I often in my practice and working with clients who have had psychological problems and trauma in their past and they make a suicide pact or plan they have hidden from other people it relates to anniversaries of the traumatic event. And I think that's very much what we're seeing here is that there might be a possible link between the anniversary date of his father's disappearance and eventual suicide and the date of the burning of the house, and now, hopefully not, but possibly a suicide of his own tomorrow.
And to have a countdown like that is just bone-chilling.
MORGAN: It is bone-chilling. You've been camping many times with James DiMaggio. Can he survive pretty easily in that kind of terrain from your experience?
SPANSWICK: No, and that's one of the things that, you know, has got me more concerned with a small backpack they are looking at several days of being in the woods. He obviously didn't prepare for a long period of hiding out and would coincide with these dates and times I've been able to discover.
So, you know, Laura is just petrified this will be the end result that her brother might commit suicide. And we're obviously very concerned about Hannah, as well.
MORGAN: And in terms of -- obviously, yesterday, you were very defensive of your friend and understandably. We didn't have so much information. But given what you know now, do you fear that you may have been too optimistic in terms of believing he may be an innocent victim?
SPANSWICK: I wouldn't say I was defensive or optimistic. I think that I was trying to be calculated and logical with respect to the information that was available, and I was working to gain the trust of Laura and their family for the positive outcome for Hannah and for Jim. These traumatic events are often the first reaction of people involved, family, is grief and within grief, you have a process of denial until you get to point of acceptance.
And I think over the last couple days, the shocking announcement of finding the car and that it seemed it was clear that Jim was involved, Laura was much more forthcoming with information that I'm now able to share with the audience.
SPANSWICK: And, thankfully, with the FBI and hopefully they'll be able to use it to bring both of them home safety.
MORGAN: Yes, Andrew, just to clarify -- I wasn't accusing you of being too defensive. It's obviously a horrendous situation for family, for friends, anyone that knows him, and clearly, completely out of character. But what is fascinating about what you unearthed today is the potential, as you said, bone-chilling timeline which may be one of the motivations for what is going on here.
Interestingly, Barry Robinson --
SPANSWICK: The name of the location --
MORGAN: Brother --
SPANSWICK: -- the name of the location is chilling, right? It coincides with a suicidal type destination.
MORGAN: Yes --
SPANSWICK: So there --
MORGAN: And in terms of -- in terms of the impact of the father's suicide back in the late 1990s, I think you found out from Barry, he's a good friend of yours. You went camping with Barry Robinson, Smokey Robinson's son, who's married to Laura, who's James DiMaggio's sister. And you and Barry and James DiMaggio went campaign regularly.
But, Barry, I think confided to you that Laura herself finds it incredibly difficult around the time of the anniversary of the father's disappearance and indeed, his suicide.
SPANSWICK: Right, that's typical of most people that had a traumatic event. Whenever there's an anniversary date of the traumatic event, people do that. You see that when people get sober, when the anniversary date of their sobriety day comes around, they'll start to -- all the issues that might have been suffered through a developmental delay of their addiction will start resurfacing. And therapeutically, it's important as a therapist to be able to know what the anniversary dates of traumatic events so that you can be prepared to intercept homicidal or suicidal ideation that can come up with a client or patient around these dates.
It's very common to have all these feelings resurface, and if there is other depressive circumstances that are going on, that can be true. Now I did check out also, the issue about the house repossession. I found out he was only one month behind, so I don't think that was as much of a motivating factor as anything else.
And more, importantly, I think it has to do with the father because Jim was in military -- at a military academy in Georgia training to work on submarines, and I think that's why they might have thought he got some of his bomb ideas or ideas that he might be trained in explosives.
And Jim is -- he went forward -- he, in the schooling, his mother became sick with cancer and died and he dropped out of school, the last test, to go home and be with his sister because he was concerned about her welfare and her mental ability to handle it with her father, who is an active drug addict using crystal meth.
So, after his mother died, it was only a couple years later that the father actually then relapsed and was using meth cocaine -- I'm sorry, methamphetamine and --
MORGAN: But obviously --
SPANSWICK: And he went out to the dessert, took a large I.V. dose of methamphetamine and then walked into the desert and died --
MORGAN: It's obviously --
MORGAN: Right. I've got jump in. I have to move on unfortunately --
SPANSWICK: I know. You have a lot going on.
MORGAN: Yes, it's riveting details and I'm grateful to you for bringing it to us. And obviously, you've told the FBI and I'm sure it's something they will take seriously because it clearly from your experience as a therapist, it can be very significant indeed. Andrew Spanswick, thank you very much, indeed.
SPANSWICK: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: Coming up next, two friends of Hannah Anderson join me live. What she told them about her relationship with her alleged captor, James DiMaggio.
Plus, John Walsh will also join me. He spoke to Hannah's father.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRETT ANDERSON, FATHER OF HANNAH ANDERSON: Like I said before, you've taken everything. The damage is done. Just let my daughter go. Let her go home safe. Let her be with me and try to mend things from there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: A desperate plea from Hannah Anderson's father. Today, she's believed to be in the Idaho wilderness with her alleged kidnapper, James DiMaggio.
With me now, two of Hannah's friends, Hannah Darby and Alan MacNabb.
Thank you both for joining me. It's obviously a very difficult time for anyone that knows Hannah.
Let me start with you, Alan, if I may. You had concerns about Hannah Anderson's relationship with this man, James DiMaggio. Tell me about that.
ALAN MACNABB, FRIEND OF HANNAH ANDERSON: Yes, she had mentioned earlier in the year something about Jim having a crush on her, but that's it.
MORGAN: And was she concerned about that? Was she unnerved by it?
MACNABB: Oh, yes, definitely, as well as me and Hannah were.
MORGAN: And Hannah Darby, you obviously share the same name as your friend. In terms of what she said to you about James DiMaggio, is it possible at all do you think that she could have gone off with him willingly?
HANNAH DARBY, FRIEND OF HANNAH ANDERSON: Absolutely not. I'm sure that this is one thing that Hannah would not have wanted because she absolutely loved her mom and her little brother and this -- it's just one thing that I know she wouldn't want to do willingly.
MORGAN: Is it possible, Alan, that Hannah may be totally unaware about what happened to her mother and to her brother and this and that she's absconded with this man and gone on some crazy adventure completely unaware about what he's done?
MACNABB: She may be unaware of her mother and brother's death, but I feel like even if she is, she knows something is wrong because she would never go off to Idaho and across four states with him, without knowing anything.
MORGAN: I mean, Hannah, what would you say James DiMaggio is like from what she's told you and what you may have seen and heard yourself?
DARBY: Well, he was -- he was a very nice person that you could easily get along with and he was just always there for Hannah for anything and just -- just a really nice sensitive person, I guess, you would say. I didn't really know him that well to get to know him more.
MORGAN: And, finally, Alan, if by any chance Hannah is near a television and may see this now or when we repeat the show later, what would you say to her?
MACNABB: Just that, I mean, we're looking for her and we came across his car and that we are looking for her. And that if she has a chance, just to run and that someone will find her and so many people are looking for her right now, and we just want her home.
MORGAN: Alan MacNabb and Hannah Darby, thank you both so much for joining me. I really do appreciate that.
DARBY: Thank you. MORGAN: I'm now going to bring in John Walsh.
John, from what we heard today, it changes the story. We don't have -- we don't have John Walsh. I'm sorry. We have a technical problem. We'll get John later.
Next, high drama for superstar singer Usher. He takes the stand in a bitter custody battle and it's all in front of the cameras.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
USHER RAYMOND, SUPERSTAR SINGER: I knew there had been an incident in the pool but didn't have clarity of exactly what took place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Back to the breaking news on the manhunt for James DiMaggio and the girl he allegedly kidnapped, Hannah Anderson.
With me now on the phone is John Walsh, host of "America's Most Wanted" on Lifetime.
John, pretty dramatic day in terms of the narrative of this incident. What do you think may have happened now from all that you've gleaned?
JOHN WALSH, AMERICA'S MOST WANTED (via telephone): Well, I think it's great. You and I talked about this yesterday, that I thought that he was keeping Hannah as his obsession object and hopefully that she was alive. I thought she would be alive.
Now, the big -- the big problem and the big challenge is to get this guy before he does something to Hannah and finding the car and finding the area where he was, was a huge break in this and as I said, it's always the public that helps law enforcement catch these creeps.
MORGAN: Right, and the fascinating interview, I don't know if you heard it but I talked to Andrew Spanswick. He's a very close friend of James DiMaggio, who revealed an important piece of information tonight, which is this is all around the anniversary of James DiMaggio's father's disappearance and subsequent suicide. He commented suicide and the anniversary is tomorrow. It was back in the '90s.
Could this be very significant, do you think? Do you think he planned it because of the psychological trauma perhaps of his death?
WALSH: Well, let's get real here, Piers. I listened to that interview and talked to Brett, the father of Hannah, twice in the last 24 hours and just talked to him an hour ago. That therapist never mentioned Christina's name or Ethan, the mother who was beaten to death, Ethan, who was the 8-year-old boy who was beaten to death. And, you know, there are millions of Americans who have traumatic childhoods and didn't go out and plan murders and deaths. Brett is so upset by what different people are saying about this whole case, that are saying that Hannah may have run away with this guy. It is really bothering this father who has had his heart ripped out, and went to a memorial tonight for his wife and his 8-year-old son and the focus is on catching this guy, not making excuses for him. If he really was bothered by the suicides, why didn't he kill himself and end all this pain?
He is obsessed with this girl. He murdered her mother and her 8-year- old brother and took off with this young girl. He's a pedophile and planned it.
As the FBI says that he bought camping gear and now, the main thing is to get to him before he hurts Hannah. And I think the one thing that will keep Brett, the father going, the one thing he's desperate for is to get this girl back, to get her into therapy, treatment, keep her away from the media and start to try to patch up his life and her life.
MORGAN: Given the fact that we have an eyewitness now, who was on horseback and claimed to see them and saw no sign of unwillingness on the part of the woman that he believed to be young Hannah and the fact that the investigators saying the fire and kidnapping seem to be a very well-planned event, can we rule out, John, despite the father's understandable total distress and desperation to get her back, can we rule out, given all that, that Hannah may be completely unaware of what he did to her brother and her mother, and that she may have gone on what she believed to be just an adventure with this man?
WALSH: Well, let's hope that's the case, but no one, unless -- until the story is over and no one who has walked in the shoes of Hannah, unless they have walked in those shoes, has any right. Elizabeth -- people talked about Elizabeth smart, the girl from Utah that was kidnapped and kept in captivity for eight months. She said, you know, we were stopped by the police three times and she said I was in -- I was so traumatized, I was so afraid and so scared, my kidnapper told me I got into your house, I will kill your little sister, I will kill your mother and father if you ever say to people I kidnapped you.
Maybe that's the situation Hannah is in now. She's so traumatized. She may or may not have witnessed the murder of her mother and brother.
And as we know from the girls in Ohio and many cases I've done on "America's Most Wanted," particularly with women, they will do what they have to do to survive. And the jury is still out. But I don't think anybody has the right to assume that Hannah took off with this guy.
MORGAN: Finally, John, when we spoke yesterday, we were both, I think, fearful about what may have happened, given there was no sign of Hannah being alive, we now believe, the investigators believe she was alive certainly as far as Wednesday. Are you encouraged by that? Do you believe that that is a good positive sign that he hasn't gone away and just killed her? WALSH: No, absolutely, absolutely. If -- that Hannah is his obsession. This is probably the perpetrator of all this. He's probably this narcissistic pedophile who became obsessed with this girl and hopefully he will think in his deluded mind like so many criminals that I've done on "America's Most Wanted", that he's going to beat the cops, that he's going to get away with his little trophy, which is Hannah and somehow he's going to survive.
I'm praying for this family, and particularly for Brett that we get this girl back alive. I told him not to give up hope, do as much media as he could.
Fortunately, the media is very interested in this case right now. We know Jaycee Dugard was kept in a backyard for 18 years. We know the women in Ohio for 10 years by a perpetrator. And we know that Elizabeth Smart for eight months.
So I am praying that this guy thinks he's going to beat law enforcement, that he's going to get away with it. Somehow get away and that they get him before he does anything to Hannah. But the saddest, saddest thing of this is that he -- he's already crossed the line and killed her mother and 8-year-old brother.
So, he's capable of anything but I have a lot of faith in law enforcement that they'll be able to get him before he does something terrible to this girl.
MORGAN: I sincerelyhope so.
John Walsh, thank you very much indeed for joining me.
Coming next, superstar entertainer Usher in court today, fighting to keep custody of his son after almost drowning in the swimming pool. It's a dramatic and emotional day. That's coming next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Usher, give us five seconds here. What do you think about the judge's ruling? Just one moment.
USHER: The most important thing is I get back to the hospital with my boys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That's Usher after a dramatic and emotional day in court. His ex-wife is seeking custody of their sons. But the judge ruled they can stay with the superstar singer. The case was triggered when Usher's 5-year-old boy nearly drowned in a swimming pool at his home.
CNN correspondent Alina Machado joins me now from Atlanta, along with Ryan Smith, attorney and anchor of HLN's "Evening Express."
Welcome to both of you. Alina, very emotional day. I want -- before we get into it, I want to play a clip from Tameka Raymond's evidence though, where she broke down and sobbed pretty uncontrollably. Let's watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAMEKA FOSTER RAYMOND, EX-WIFE OF USHER RAYMOND: I've been there since 4:00, 3:50 the day of the accident and I left this morning at 9:45 I left the hospital.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ma'am, I know this is very difficult --
FOSTER RAYMOND: This is ridiculous. This is ridiculous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Step down.
FOSTER RAYMOND: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Alina, the backdrop to this for viewers who aren't aware of all the background is that Usher got custody of these two boys. Why was that? That's pretty unusual for a mother not to get custody at all in that kind of case, and that probably explains her desperation to try and resolve that today using the swimming pool incident as an excuse?
ALINA MACHADO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we don't know exactly why it is Tameka Foster Raymond did not get custody of the two boys. They do have joined legal custody but Usher has obtained primary physical custody. That means that the kids live with him.
What went down, what happened in that custody hearing, the initial custody hearing that happened and especially the modification that was filed last year, we just don't know, Piers.
MORGAN: Ryan, Usher was very calm and composed today, which I'm sure played very well with the judge, in contrast to Tameka who was very emotional. Let's watch a bit of Usher on the stand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAYMOND: My son was hysterical and in the back of an ambulance. I knew that there had been an incident in the pool, but I didn't have clarity of exactly what took place. When I got in the back of the ambulance, he was hysterical. He didn't want to go to the hospital. He was very irate, and I did my best to calm him down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: In the end, Ryan, the judge seemed to agree it had been an awful accident and no negligence because Usher's aunt was there by the pool at the time and there was a malfunction with the pool and Usher himself was just a block away, I think, in a recording studio. So, it wasn't negligence in the way Tameka was trying to make out. RYAN SMITH, ANCHOR, HLN'S "EVENING EXPRESS": That's exactly what the judge found. They found that Usher was only an exit away, couple minutes from the house. But you mentioned his composure, he was calm and that helped him because it helped him show he was a fit parent.
If the judge found the children at this point in time were in life or death-type danger, such that they needed to be removed from him and given to Tameka, that's what he would have ruled. He ruled this was an accident. And Usher's composure and calm under those circumstances as he portrayed, seemed to go a long way in the judge's sense.
MORGAN: Right. And, Alina, there was a very emotional moment at the end of this after the judge came down on Usher side, when Usher walked over to Tameka, put his arm on her shoulder and they ended up having a friendly embrace.
Tell me about that. It's a strange way to end what had been a hostile moment in court.
MACHADO: It was interesting. I would say it was unexpected. We were all getting up, ready to leave the courtroom and court was over and all of a sudden we saw Usher get up. He had a smile on his face. He hugged his own attorneys and turned toward Tameka, he looked at her, he walked toward her, he tapped her on the shoulder. There was some question about whether she hesitated just a bit, and then they hugged.
We're not sure what it is he said, but you can see he was clearly talking to her. And it was a very unexpected moment to say the least.
MORGAN: Yes, and I thought a very decent thing of him to do given the circumstances. Ryan, you spoke to Tameka's attorneys after the case today. What was the mood there? Is she going to carry on trying to get custody, do you think?
SMITH: She is going to carry on. What is interesting talking to the attorneys was they mentioned at the end of the conversation that if Usher is able to let the kids be with her when he's out of town -- and they maintain he's out of town a lot, maybe they are willing to be happy with that kind of situation.
Now, in the modification they filed, which the hearing is based on later in the month, one of the things they requested in that modification was the possibility of her getting the custody back. So, maybe they are thinking there is room for middle ground here, but we won't know until that hearing takes place later this month.
MORGAN: Ryan Smith and Alina Machado, thank you both very much indeed.
Coming next, President Obama on the defensive. He tells America to trust him. The government is not spying on America, he claims. We're going to break down the news and see whether that's true or not.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: I want to make clear once again that America is not interested in spying on ordinary people. Our intelligence is focused above all on finding the information necessary to protect our people and in many cases, protect our allies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: President Obama standing by the government surveillance program. He had a lot to say at the press conference today.
We're going to break down the news tonight with Marc Lamont Hill, host of "HuffPost Live" and Columbia University professor. And Amy Holmes, anchor of GBTV's "Real News".
Welcome to both of you.
Marc Lamont Hill, President Obama keeps saying until he's blue in the teeth that they are not going after the average American's e-mails and phone records. But, actually, as we know from yesterday's revelations, that's exactly what they are doing quite regularly if they think -- there's any suspicion they're talking to some dodgy abroad.
MARC LAMONT HILL, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: Well, that's the problem. It's a distinction without a difference. He's saying we're not going after regular citizens. We're only going after suspicious folk. The problem is the net is so white what constitutes a suspicious person that the everyday person gets lumped into that.
And then we also learned over the last few months that they've picked aggregate levels of data. So, when they data mine for people, you get lumped in any way. So, it's a big, big net. It's very dangerous and the president was not persuasive today that he is not spying on every day people.
MORGAN: Yes, I wasn't persuaded at all.
Amy Holmes, just on the point about Edward Snowden for example, again, I thought the president was a bit disingenuous and contradictory. He was trying to say, look, people on both sides of this argument are all patriotic. The only person who isn't is Edward Snowden, the guy who brought it all out into public domain. And he's calling a presser to say we're going to bring in a whole new load of regulations but this guy is still not a patriot, he's a disgusting traitor, needs to come home and face the music.
It can't all be true.
AMY HOLMES, GBTV: Right. President Obama has sort of been all over the place on this issue and let's remember, also, the administration -- they are willing to leak information themselves if they think it makes the administration look good.
Of course, we just had the information about the 19 embassies being closed and we were told why, that they are picking up on conversations, you know, between al Qaeda's leader in Yemen and so forth, you know, and the plans.
So, for me, what's peculiar is President Obama on Tuesday, on Jay Leno, defends the program saying there is no such thing as domestic spying. I agree with Marc it's precisely -- there is no difference in the statements. But then, today, he comes out and announces these reforms.
So I don't know. I think he's leaving the American people confused and we saw it even Matt Damon has fallen out of love.
HILL: The reforms are very good, though. The president did make important points here.
For example, the American judicial system thrives on an adversarial process. We have two different sides making competing arguments in the interest of justice. The problem is with the current court, somebody goes and says, look, there is terrorism, there's bad stuff happening and the court listens to that argument and there's no counter argument in the interest of civil liberties.
Now, President Obama is saying, we're going to have an independent source come in and make the counterargument. We're going to become more transparent. The words were great.
I think the president laid out four important points. The only question is, will he really do it? Will the word become flesh? Will this become something that we see in real life?
HOLMES: There is another question --
HOLMES: Will the FISA court's decisions also be transparent? Will we understand why the court is arriving at the conclusions that they do? That could be in secret. And this idea of having oversight, that's precisely what Congress has been trying to do and administration is stonewalling.
And we've seen certainly with Darrell Issa's oversight committee that that's always politicized. That the president even calls these phony scandals -- I mean, only a couple weeks ago he was calling this a phony scandal, and today holding a press conference --
HILL: There were phony scandals, Amy.
HOLMES: Those are the president's words.
HILL: But there were phony scandals, Amy.
HOLMES: -- all of this together including NSA. HILL: No, he's right.
HOLMES: And saying it's a phony scandal. This is a real scandal, to scoop up innocent American's phone numbers, yours mine, everyone. Verizon, we learned about. Also to track innocent Americans, their use of --
MORGAN: Let's move --
HILL: The problem --
MORGAN: Let's move on. Let's move on. Let's move on, if I may, talking of scandals to Anthony Weiner, because he really to me, crossed a line because he's now abusing the British accent and I want to play you a clip of his confrontation with this British journalist. Let's watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY WEINER (D), NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I just had a feeling I'd like stepped into a Monty Python bit. I don't know, would anything stop me? Now, is a rock going to fall on my head? Anything else I can do for ITV? You want to do the weather or something?
REPORTER: If you can do the weather, you can do for me?
WEINER: Where is this from? This is in England?
REPORTER: You can do the weather here in New York.
WEINER: No, no, I'll do yours instead. It's going to be raining , cloudy and gray, so do what you can guys, to try to keep your head up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I mean, I can deal with all the sexting stuff, but this is beyond the pale, Marc Lamont Hill.
HILL: I agree. Sexting is fine. It's when you abuse that British accent that you have to draw a line. No. He's --
HILL: He's clearly just unraveling. He's unraveling, Piers. I mean, this guy doesn't know what to do or say.
I think in his mind, he thought he was being funny and charming. The problem is I think, fundamentally, and I don't like to say this, I think he doesn't like women. I think he hates women and he doesn't know how to engage them with respect, with civility, with collegiality. He doesn't know how to do that and that's why you see something as disgusting as what we saw tonight. He's a problem. It's time for him to get off the campaign trail.
MORGAN: And, Amy, I mean, for him -- for him to invoke the spirit of Monty Python, given the farcical nature of his own behavior recently, I thought that was pretty rich, too. He's like a walking sketch.
HOLMES: You know, Piers, when I watched this, I watched the video, it struck me -- I think we're well past penis jokes at this point with Anthony Weiner. I felt I was watching someone who was frankly deranged. He seemed as if his personality is disintegrating before our eyes. He was speed talking, he could barely keep eye contact, he's shouting at passers-by, mocking his interviewer. I think there's something deeply, deeply damaged about this person.
And at this point in his political career, he's just managing the critical phase of how badly does he wipe out.
MORGAN: Yes, I'm afraid I agree with both of you.
Let's turn to "bring your gun to Starbucks day." This was an initiative that gathered momentum on social media today. Marc Lamont Hill, where -- because Starbucks has traditionally allowed people to conceal carry in their stores. They now have the counter-protests of the gun rights people saying right, we're going to march in support and take our guns to Starbucks.
This is the stuff of madness, isn't it?
HILL: No, this is exactly what makes the NRA and its supporters look insane. I'm a very reasonable person when it comes to the Second Amendment. I don't want to talk people's guns away. I often disagree with you, Piers, on guns. I think you go too far to the other extreme.
But when you have protests like this which are insensitive, which are flat out just reprehensible as we approach, you know, the anniversary of Sandy Hook and all the violence we've seen in this country in the last few years, with Aurora -- all these shootings -- it's absolutely shameful, it's disgusting and there's no excuse for it.
Guns are not under assault. All people want are reasonable gun laws. And protests like this make it harder to have a real conversation.
MORGAN: Yes. But, Amy Holmes, they were even doing it in Newtown. I mean, what is the mentality of people marching down to their Starbucks which sells coffee, and taking their firearms to make some fatuous point, in a place that's been desecrated by gun violence?
HOLMES: Well, I didn't agree with the Newtown march. I thought that was in poor taste.
But as far as the rest of Starbucks, in states that allow concealed carry, I have to applaud Starbucks for following the law and standing by the voters who have decided that this is how they want their communities to be organized. As far as the gun owners, they are exercising their rights, their rights under the laws in that state. Now, I'm a little worried about caffeine withdrawal and guns, I'm not sure if that makes a very great combination, but I don't agree that somehow it's offensive to exercise your Second Amendment rights around other people. That's the whole point of concealed carry law.
HILL: No, no, no --
MORGAN: Hang on, what about my right as a Starbucks customer, regular, what about my rights to go to my Starbucks and not have to be in a line with a bunch of people with AR-15s? What about that right?
HOLMES: That is where the Constitution comes in, you don't get to impose your view of the Second Amendment on your fellow citizens if your state has decided that those citizens can carry concealed weapons. Now, you can -- here in New York City, when you go to the Starbucks, you don't have to worry anybody is going to have a gun. But there are different states with different cultures, different laws, and those people who -- you know, on the other side of it, they don't get to dictate to everybody else.
HILL: Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do something. Yes, you can walk in Starbucks with an AR-15 --
HOLMES: What is someone that has a gun on their person and they want to get a coffee? Are they to -- are supposed to go home and do it at home and brew it themselves. They can't go into a Starbucks and get a coffee like you can?
HILL: No. But, Amy, that's a hypothetical. That's also counterfactual. This isn't someone who happens to have a .9 millimeter on them. This is a group of gun nuts getting together and ordering mocha lattes with Uzis. It's unsafe and it's ridiculous.
HOLMES: They are demonstrating that they have every right to be a part of civil society, just like everybody else. And let's remember, Starbucks themselves stands by those state laws that allow customers to bring guns into their establishments.
MORGAN: We're going to leave it there. I will buy you both a latte next time I'm in New York because we can have at least some confidence that everyone else won't be armed to the teeth.
Marc Lamont Hill and Amy Holmes, thank you both very much indeed.
HOLMES: Thank you.
MORGAN: We'll be right back after this break.
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