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Rescue of Hannah Anderson; Like Father, Like Son?; Interview with Katie Beers; Interview with Ben Smith

Aired August 12, 2013 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Plus, like father, like son. Reports of James DiMaggio's father once held a 16-year-old girl at gunpoint. A suspect's friend Andrew Spanswick tells me about chilling parallels.

Also a woman who was abducted when she was only 9 and imprisoned in underground bunker. She survived to build a new life and now Katie Beers has a message for Hannah Anderson.

And one-on-one with the man who's still wants to be mayor of New York, Anthony Weiner.


ANTHONY WEINER, NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I did these thing. I know who did this to me. No one's to blame for this, but I am.


MORGAN: BuzzFeed's Ben Smith joins me exclusively fresh from that interview.

And a woman who will not hold back when it comes to her opinion of Anthony Weiner or anything else for that matter. Star Jones joins me for round three.

We begin tonight with our big story, the rescue of Hannah Anderson. Disturbing new revelations about the man that police believed abducted her after killing her mother and brother.

Joining me now is CNN's Paul Vercammen live in San Diego.

Paul, the story came do a soon to be gruesome end with the death of the number one suspect. What can you tell me about events from the moment we learned about it.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that there were these ranchers, if you will. Two couples on horseback who came upon the couple -- of Anderson. And, of course, Hannah quite by accident. And they discovered them in the vast Idaho wilderness, and they looked way out of place.

They said basically DiMaggio may have been an outdoorsman in California but he sure wasn't in Idaho. Among the several smoking guns, the fact that he had new camping equipment, he was up on a ridge in an odd place. Her feet were in the water. They seemed to not want to discuss anything with them, Piers.

So they were alerted that something was odd. And later they saw Hannah's picture on the news. One of the horseback riders probable fatefully was an ex-sheriff and an army ranger and he knew enough to call his contacts at Idaho State Police. And the wheels were set in motion. And in the end it took an FBI crew, they were helicoptered in, they hiked two hours, they snuck up on a campsite, and by all accounts, DiMaggio, who was armed, picked up a rifle, fired once and then the lethal blow, the return fire from the FBI -- Piers.

MORGAN: And we also now know that Hannah had no idea that he had, as we believe, already set fire to his house killing her mother and her little brother.

VERCAMMEN: And this is what detectives and relatives had maintained all along. And now confirmation she not only did not know that he had killed her mother and her brother, but she had no idea that his rural home had been set on fire, that's about a three-acre property, it's sprawling, so she didn't detect that either. So as she went on this four-state escapade, if will, no idea that she had lost her family members.

MORGAN: And is there any suggestion, Paul, at all that Hannah may have had any part of this, gone along voluntarily, perhaps, and it then became a much bigger adventure or whatever it may be. But is there any suggestion that that may be the case.

VERCAMMEN: Certainly not at this point. And many people have suggested that she didn't know at all what was going on. Of course, this was a family friend who she had called uncle -- Piers.

MORGAN: It certainly is. Paul Vercammen, thank you very much indeed.

Hannah Anderson's father says he and his daughter face a long road to recovery.


BRETT ANDERSON, FATHER OF HANNAH ANDERSON: The healing process will be slow. She has been through a tremendous, horrific ordeal. I am very proud of her, and I love her very much. She is surrounded by the love of her family, friends and community. Again, please, as a family, give us our time to heal and grieve.


MORGAN: Joining me now with more on this case is San Diego County sheriff, Bill Gore.

Sheriff Gore, obviously a very satisfactory end to what could have potentially been a horrendous situation for Hannah Anderson. She's alive, she's safe, she's back with her father. Tell me about the operation itself. Our understanding is that he opened fire first, James DiMaggio, and that the FBI officers here on the ground then killed him. Is that your understanding? SHERIFF BILL GORE, SAN DIEGO COUNTY: Yes, Piers, what we've determined from the interview that was done with Hannah up in Idaho by FBI forensic experts, is that DiMaggio had a rifle, he fires at least one round. And then lowered the rifle and fired one more as best we can tell at that time. The hostage rescue team, FBI hostage rescue teams, sharpshooters, opened fire and killed DiMaggio.

MORGAN: And from the conversations that the investigative officers have had with Hannah herself, do you have yet an accurate picture of what went on in terms of sequence of events? She clearly did not know that her mother and brother had been killed in this house fire. But do you know where she was, for example, when James DiMaggio picked her up, or whether she went along with any part of this voluntarily?

GORE: Yes. We know that the entire family, Christina, Ethan, the 8-year-old boy, and Hannah were going to DiMaggio's house for some type of a party. Beyond that, we know that Hannah did not know that her brother and mother were killed until we told her that -- law enforcement told her that in the interview up in Idaho.

It's very clear to experienced homicide investigators from this department, and FBI interviewers, that she's nothing but a victim in this case. She was under severe duress from the time she was taken from Boulevard until she was rescued by the hostage rescue team in Idaho.

There's no -- there's no doubt in our mind from a lot of years of experience, that was the case, she had no idea what was going on, and was not participating in this with DiMaggio.

MORGAN: And clearly a devastating revelation for her. Obviously after the elation of being rescued and freed, to then discover this double tragedy of her mother and brother being killed. How do you describe her state of mind after all this?

GORE: Well, I think she's got to be devastated as you expect. What we're asking -- first of all, we thank the media for their coverage, I don't think the hikers that spotted them up in Idaho would have known anything about this case, wouldn't have known to go to authorities had the media not been so great in getting out the word.

But she's devastated, obviously. She went through a terrible ordeal, a week of extreme duress, and then to find out that her brother and mother had been murdered. What we're asking now is for everybody to give her a time to grieve, to heal from this -- just tragic ordeal she's been through, and that's what we're asking the public to do now. It's just going to take time.

MORGAN: And in terms of the potential motive for all this, there are increasingly parallels between what has happened here, and what happened to James DiMaggio's own father. What can you tell me about how your inquiries have gone in that regard?

GORE: Yes, we have a lot of interviews, we're still conducting, we're examining the evidence we seized from the fire here in Boulevard, as well as the crime scene investigations in Idaho. So we have a lot of work to be done yet. There's indications from people we've interviewed already that he was becoming infatuated with her.

We may never know the cause of what was -- you know, what really prompted him to snap like this, kill two people and brutally kidnap Hannah. Sometimes we're going to try to get as many answers as we, but it's difficult to get inside somebody's head and see what the real motivation is.

And then there's sometimes in these horrific accident we try to come up with a logical explanation for really something that's completely illogical. So we're going to do the best we can. I don't have enough answers for you right now and that's what we're working on.

MORGAN: Well, Sheriff Gore, I thank you very much for joining me. Clearly a very successful operation by you and your men and the FBI in tracking down this -- James DiMaggio, and making sure that Hannah Anderson was able to get away alive and well. And for that, I thank you very much indeed.

GORE: Thanks for having me on, Piers.

MORGAN: And I want to bring back a man I first spoke to last week. Andrew Spanswick is a close friend of James DiMaggio. He's also a therapist and CEO of Clean Treatment Center in Los Angeles where we are now.

Andrew, we've spoken several times in the build-up to a sort of final (INAUDIBLE) of all this. What was your reaction when you heard how it all ended?

ANDREW SPANSWICK, FRIEND OF JAMES DIMAGGIO: You know, I was very relieved that Hannah was saved. My feelings about Jim being shot, I'm proud that the police and the FBI did whatever they had to do to save Hannah's life. That was probably paramount in this situation.

Yet, you know, everybody is looking for answers still, and I've also been having to work with Laura, his sister, and Berry and their children, of which Jim was the uncle of. So that's been difficult as well because there's a lot of grief and mourning. And all those children used to play together, Jim and Jim's sister, Berry's and kids used to play with the Anderson kids so --

MORGAN: And this -- there's this extraordinary parallel, I think, you've got new details about, which is that James DiMaggio's own father took his life 18 years ago to the day that James DiMaggio was killed. But that he also had a background of an apparent infatuation and abduction of a 16-year-old girl himself, the father, for which he eventually went to prison.

Tell me about this?

SPANSWICK: Yes, I can now confirm that, I wasn't able to talk about it before for obvious reasons. But, you know, the family had a terribly traumatic upbringing. Both Jim and Laura were both emotionally and physically abused by their father who had an extreme problem with methamphetamine use.

And when the mother died of cancer, the father sort of really became worse. The parents had separated prior to that, and Jim had decided to go with the father, and Laura had gone with the mother. But as it turns out, I've been able to find out more and more information about how Jim was basically abandoned as a child. And after the mother died, it was really up to Jim to take on the father role for Laura.

MORGAN: And this incident with this 16-year-old girl the father had, what do you know about that?

SPANSWICK: I can confirm that everything that's been reported by the woman who's been speaking out is absolutely accurate.

MORGAN: Well, let's listen to a clip from this. This is an interview with the alleged victim of James DiMaggio's father. She was 16 and she, too, was taken by the father and held at gunpoint. Liston what she had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I asked him to please not kill us. And he said, don't worry, it will be over quick.


MORGAN: We're not naming her at this stage, and nor have we been able to independently speak to her. But she makes it pretty clear that she was taken and held at gunpoint against her will. He did then served prison time. The parallels here, I mean, you have two hats here. You are a close friend of James DiMaggio but you're also a very experienced mental health therapist.

What -- do you think this is what is really behind all this?

SPANSWICK: I'm positive that he had a suicidal plan. The fact that he took his cat out into the wilderness with him, that he had saved before I mentioned on your show, that it was very strange that he would shoot a dog. But, you know, when people have a suicidal plan, they'll often take things with them, that they want to die and go with them, if they believe in God or an afterlife.

A lot of people are sure he's probably going to hell, but, you know, it's very common, when people have a suicidal plan, and the dates fit so perfectly and then he was there. There's also an eerie semblance between the fact that he took on a father role with this girl Hannah, and then he also did the same thing with Laura when Laura was abandoned by their family.

MORGAN: His sister.

SPANSWICK: Yes, his sister.

MORGAN: How is she dealing with all this? It must be crushing. She lost her mother to cancer, her father to suicide, her brother now to what looks like a double homicide.

SPANSWICK: In her own words, she said, you know, I'm the last one left and I feel all alone. She's also devastated because she knew the Anderson family and was friends with the kids and the family. So, you know, in a strange way, she's victimized by his actions as well. And having to deal with the grief of it, and dealing with the body and such, it's been really difficult this past day.

MORGAN: Andrew, stay with me. We're going to come back after the break, talk to somebody who has evolved in a similar case of abduction but survived. She'll say what it takes to recover from this type of trauma. We'll also talk to a top psychologist, somebody that you know of really professional. So it'll be interesting to see what you make of what he has to say. We'll come back after the break.



BRETT ANDERSON, FATHER OF HANNAH ANDERSON: I want to thank all who spread the word, shared their thoughts social media across the country. Because of you this reached across and beyond the U.S. Have no doubt that this made -- did make a difference.


MORGAN: Hannah Anderson's father talking about her ordeal. I want to bring in now a woman who knows all too well the terror of being abducted.

Katie Beers was kidnapped by a neighbor when she was only 9 years old and held prisoner in an underground bunker for 17 days. She tells a story in the book "Buried Memories," and Katie Beers joins me now.

Katie, this kind of story must bring back so many memories for you. Most of them pretty awful, I would think. Apart from the elation of the moment of freedom. What kind of parallels did you see with this case and yours, and what advice would you give to Hannah Anderson about how you recover from it?

KATIE BEERS, AUTHOR, "BURIED MEMORIES": The parallels between my abduction and Hannah's abduction are the fact that we were both abducted by family friends. Family friends that apparently had an infatuation with us as young girls. And the recovery for her, it's going to be I think a long road because it was somebody that she trusted so very much that had abducted her and completely put a distrust in her, or in him now.

And the fact that she has her family is gone now, and she just has her dad, I think it's going to be a long road to recovery.

MORGAN: How does it affect your ability to trust people again? And to hold down normal relationships, perhaps, with men as you get older?

BEERS: I think it all depends upon what your early childhood was like. For me, I did not have a very good upbringing. I was sexually and physically abused by my godmother's husband. And the only stable relationship that I had with a male was with my older brother who was six years older than me.

So for me, the trust factor was very difficult because of the lack of relationships. Through therapy and through the love of my foster family, I was able to get to a point where I could trust members of the opposite sex. My foster brothers, my foster father, different things like that, and eventually I had boyfriends, I got married, I had children, so I was able to learn how to trust again. So I'm hoping that Hannah will be able to get to that point.

MORGAN: What kind of lessons can be learned from this in terms of how to spot the warning signs, perhaps, when somebody who is a trusted family friend does start to develop an unhealthy interest or obsession or infatuation with a young women? What do you think should happen in that situation?

BEERS: From the media reports that I read, it seems like the abductor said something to Hannah that showed that he was infatuated with her or was in love with her, in some sort of inappropriate way. At that point I think she should have said something to her mother or her father to alert them of his comments. It shouldn't have been somebody that she should have been around any longer once that came to light.

MORGAN: And finally, Katie, I mean, do you feel like you've been able to properly move on now, and if so, how have you done that? What do you think? What's the most effective thing you've been able to do for yourself, that's made you recover in that way?

BEERS: For me, I definitely think that I have moved toward almost a full recovery. There are sometimes that maybe not so much that I feel like I've moved toward a full recovery, but I think that the years of therapy, and the love of my foster family and my foster siblings has definitely aided in that, and now I got married seven years ago, and my husband is every day helping in my recovery.

It's definitely a long process. Twenty years later I wouldn't say that I'm completely recovered, but I'm definitely on that path where I feel very comfortable with myself and my life, and where I've come from.

MORGAN: Well, Katie Beers, it's terrific to talk to you, and to see you looking so well and to hear you talk about the recovery. I'm sure it will be a great solace to Hannah Anderson, who is now facing a very long and probably a very arduous recovery process herself.

Thank you very much for joining me.

BEERS: Not a problem, thank you.

MORGAN: Joining me now is Charles Sophy. He's a psychiatrist, medical director of the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services. Also back with me James DiMaggio's close friend, Andrew Spanswick. You two actually know each other. I didn't realize that, Dr. Sophia. You both work in the field of psychiatry and mental health and so on. The more you've seen of this case, what do you think is the most likely motivation for -- a simple infatuation or a mixture of an infatuation coupled with all the trauma that James DiMaggio clearly endured at the hands of his own father?

DR. CHARLES SOPHY, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, L.A. COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN & FAMILY SERVICES: I think it's a combination of both. And I think he's reliving a lot of the stuff from the role model he never got to own and figure out. So he's just repeating what he was taught and what he saw, in order to connect to that role model.

MORGAN: I mean, in a way, it's a classic abuser turned -- abused person turned abuser, isn't it?

SOPHY: Right.

MORGAN: But also that father figure role that Andrew is talking about that he had to adopt.

SOPHY: Right.

MORGAN: After his mother died and the father killed himself. Again that must all come into play, I would think.

SOPHY: Absolutely. And it's all coupled around anger from abandonment and disappointment and having to take on the responsibility of a parent when you're supposed to be a child or a sibling. And that's where it comes out.

MORGAN: I mean, Andrew, it's -- you were saying in the break, you yourself have had death threats and people treating you horrendously. Just for appearing on this show and talking about your friend as Jim and somebody that you've known as a close friend.


MORGAN: You know, you're as stunned by what happened as anybody else.

SPANSWICK: Yes. Horrible things, people saying that I've been out supporting a pedophile and whatnot. You know, and I've done nothing but from the beginning just to help make sense of this for the authorities and for Laura, and for the Anderson family. And luckily, Hannah got back alive.

But there does seemed to be a little bit of a lynch mob mentality when something like this happens. It's typical, sort of American folklore, Western behavior to go out there, and let's go round up the guys and let's go hang the guys as quickly as possible.

MORGAN: Did you, at any stage, in all the camping trips you went with Smokey Robinson's son and James DiMaggio --

SPANSWICK: Yes. MORGAN: Did you at any stage see anything looking back from his behavior that could possibly have led you to think he might one day be this kind of violent or to kidnap somebody?

SPANSWICK: You know, it's -- in hindsight, it's -- you know, I keep looking back, and I've been thinking about it for the past five days, and it's still very much sort of a no. And you know, I've been -- I do this for a living, and I work with people who, it's -- they're in denial, they're in a state of denial. And even working with Laura over the past few days, dealing with her denial about what her brother did. I mean, trying to get information that would give me a better insight into what might be going on in Jim's mind.

It's very -- you know, this is all very common. So -- but, you know, on our camping trip he would sit there and he would tell me his childhood was horrendous. But I had no level of understanding that yes, the level of abuse and neglect that he had suffered, and if I had, obviously, I would have talked more to him about that, but his -- he was a prideful person, who took on this fatherly role. And so he did everything he could to cover up the pain of his past.

MORGAN: And also, I mean, none of this, Dr. Sophy, is to excuse what he did, it's to try and explain it.

SOPHY: And to understand.

MORGAN: Try to understand it.

SOPHY: Absolutely. Right.

MORGAN: Which I'm sure, you know, Hannah Anderson and her father, Brett, in particular, who's lost his wife and his son. He must -- this is a close friend of his.

SOPHY: Absolutely.

MORGAN: As good a friend as he was to Andrew. He must be wrestling with all this, wondering, how could this have happened?

SOPHY: Absolutely, deception, lies, hurt. But anniversary dates mean a lot. And I think that probably had a lot of significance for this man.

MORGAN: Eighteen years to the day.

SOPHY: Yes. Absolutely.

MORGAN: Remember, he killed -- his father himself and he was killed in the --

SOPHY: And the house was burned down to the day when his father didn't show up. And this is what I just found out today. He -- when he didn't show up for Laura's 16th birthday, which is a very interesting about puberty as well. When Laura turns 16, the father didn't show up, he disappeared. And as the date -- anniversary date that Jim burned the house down, and then he took an IV dose of methamphetamine and walked into the desert, and died on the day that Jim was shot.

MORGAN: And finally, Dr. Sophy, we've heard a very moving interview there with Katie Beers, who's been through all this. It seems to have come out pretty well actually given the trauma that she went through.

What did you make of what she said and what advice specifically for Hannah Anderson given the trauma, not just her own ordeal, but what she's now discovered about her mother and brother?

SOPHY: I think the bottom line is that she needs to heal, the way to heal is to start to go through the funeral or whatever services are going to be so those feelings can come out and then get into some good solid treatment.

Because that foster family that Katie refers to is that wraparound tight-knit support system that is going to get anybody through that. Because at the end of the day, no matter what it is, it's about rebuilding trust and feeling that you could trust other people to love and not hurt you.

MORGAN: Dr. Sophie and Andrew Spanswick, thank you both very much indeed.

SOPHY: Thank you.

SPANSWICK: Thank you.

MORGAN: Coming up, the man who still wants to be mayor of New York. But doesn't New York want Anthony Weiner as his mayor? Well, Ben Smith sat down with him just a little ago. He joins me exclusively to talk about that interview. Let's just say, it was combative.


WEINER: You can do this or show videos of cats, whatever it is you do at BuzzFeed.




BEN SMITH, BUZZFEED: Are you back in therapy?

WEINER: I -- you know, apparently you never go out of therapy. Like they just have this thing or you just remain in forever. But I still see a therapist from time to time.


MORGAN: New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner talked to BuzzFeed's Ben Smith a little while ago. If he's still seeing a therapist, not surprising. When the sexting scandal that threatens to implode his campaign and also some other revelations and Ben Smith now joins me exclusively to discuss those.

Ben, first of all, congratulations of the very combative lively and revealing interview with Anthony Weiner. And so (ph) my overriding question today (ph) is is he really going to stay in this race, or does the sense that you were getting from your encounter with him suggest that perhaps even he knows the game may be up?

SMITH: No, he sure didn't seem happy to be there. He didn't feel like he was out there trying to make people like him, which is -- which is, you know, the name of the game.

But at this point, though, the primaries on September 10, I think if he was going to drop out, he probably would have dropped out already. His best bet of getting back in there is -- is a series of debates that start tomorrow.

So no, I mean, I don't see any clue that he would drop out.

MORGAN: Yes, kind of (inaudible). Well, let's go through some of the revelations that show some glitch (ph). One is when you discussed his wife, Huma, who obviously works closely with closely with Hillary Clinton. Let's watch this.


SMITH: Do you know what her role on -- in Hillary's 2016 campaign is going to be?


SMITH: What will it be?

WEINER: I'm not telling you.

SMITH: Do you feel like you've damaged her place in that world?

WEINER: I feel that what I've done has hurt her, yes. It's hurt her professionally. It's hurt her personally.


MORGAN: My take away from that, he had a pretty grim face when he said it was that perhaps we won't be seeing Huma closely aligned to Hillary Clinton. Was that your reading of that?

SMITH: Well, my first take takeaway was just a clarity of the assumption from somebody who's, you know, one career (ph) move, one of the closest people to Hillary Clinton that she's running -- the unquestioned assumption that she's running. Yes, beyond that, I mean, you know, Huma had been until last week, the person you go to, if you want to get access to Hillary Clinton for whatever reason.

She took a leave from that, I think, it was reported last week. I mean, you know, whether she is the gatekeeper or not is -- is a big question in that very small, very political world. MORGAN: Let's go to the second clip. This was one that I thought was a brilliant question, could only have come from somebody who runs something like BuzzFeed with tech geek know-how that you have. This is about Snapchat.

Let's watch this.


SMITH: The one question that actually I got most from like BuzzFeed staff and -- and the internet was -- was why not use Snapchat?

WEINER: I don't have a good answer to that.



MORGAN: I mean, that was a fantastic question. But viewers did not know Snapchat is. It's -- it's an application you get on your phone that you can take any pictures you like and send them.

But they disintegrate completely into the ether, untraceable after 10 seconds, which, if you're Anthony Weiner, you would have thought it's Christmas come early.

SMITH: Yes, it's sort of mean (ph) for sexting, among -- among other things, and launched greater on the time that he was kind of watching his second wave of these things, that got him in all this trouble this time around, I mean, in which he did on this obscure platform called Formspring. I don't -- I don't know how he wound up there.

I mean, I do think one -- you know, one of the interesting things is that I think a lot of people, maybe of your age, of my age, mid- 30s, even, you know, thinks that what he did is in some way kind of weird. You know, there is this recent study from the University of Rhode Island, 78 percent of college kids have basically exchanged sexually charged texts in some way there, like I -- I think for a lot of our audience, like the -- the form that this took was not particularly weird.

And the notion that he's being pillory for the digital element of this seems kind of strange...


MORGAN: Yes, but the two -- yes, but the two -- the two weird points, I think, that I would say about Anthony Weiner, one is that he never met any of these women or knew anything about them before he did all of this, which seems incredibly high risk, never mind anything else.

SMITH: Yes. MORGAN: And secondly, the fact that even when he was brought crashing to his political knees and had to resign, we now discovered that he carried on after that with at least three more women -- again, a grave risk not only to his career, but to his marriage. I mean, on one (ph) thing (ph), you (ph) could (ph) admire just the fact that he just doesn't seem to care.


SMITH: That you kind of...

MORGAN: ...but on the other, how can you -- yes, go ahead.

SMITH: I mean, you know, I asked him, you know, why didn't you just say, you know, this is what I do. Live with it. Lots of New Yorkers do lots of strange things, that in fact, like New York is not known for having mayors with particularly conventional personal lives. I mean, I think David Dinkins is the only mayor in memory who was like married to his wife and stayed that way.

So he could, you know, that's not the root he chose. But yes, and I think -- you think there's sort of a -- he had this sense in, you know, tonight (ph), one of our editors, Summer Burton wrote a piece today about how, you know, for -- for young people to -- the internet is very real.

There's no sense of a difference between something that happens online and something that happens in real life. But for Anthony, it almost felt like he -- he thought this was this other alternate universe, right, with (ph) those -- that wasn't real, where they see more real people, where this stuff could stay secret.

Instead, you know, this woman, you know, turned, pivoted, then turned around and cashed in on ever ounce of -- of her relationship with them.

MORGAN: I mean, finally now, I guess the reality of politics, since the latest sent (ph) in "New York Times," CNN college poll, this is about who you would want as NYC mayor nominee among democratic registered voters, the key ones obviously for Weiner. Christine Quinn ahead at 25 percent, Anthony Weiner down to 20 percent.

I mean, though that trend, you've got say, his chances are somewhere between no hope and Bob (ph) hope.

SMITH: You know, look at that pole. I mean, it's -- it's a runoff system, the top two get in, not that big a difference between 10 percent and 14 percent. So I don't think that means he's out of the running.

I mean, that said, in that poll, like 75 percent of people have a negative impression of him. And that is terrible and very hard to overcome.

MORGAN: Having said all this, there's something about Anthony Weiner I can't help liking. He's a very intelligent guy. Soon he makes speech at (ph) his big events where he's brought the house down and being very funny and very charming but I remember I had to it myself. I've always liked the guy. Does he have a future outside of the New York mayoral campaign later?

Could he make another comeback?

SMITH: I asked him that. He seemed not to be able to imagine anything beyond next month. I don't know. I mean, I think if he -- if he finishes at five percent, maybe not, if it seems like he made a decent showing and the voters ultimately forgave him, you know, there's a -- I mean, he's already proven that there are second acts and maybe there's a third.

MORGAN: Well, Ben Smith, it was a great interview, electrifying to watch that in many ways. Congratulations on that.


SMITH: I embrace (ph) the news (ph). Thanks.

MORGAN: I love the straight talking. I'm a bit worried about my job after that. But it was -- it was -- it was good to watch and a fascinating insight to Weiner.

He just seemed like he lost a little bit of his own, I thought -- just something about his demeanor I (ph) felt was a lot of loser suddenly.


SMITH: I've done interviews -- yes, I talked to him -- had (ph) fun (ph) fighting with me. He didn't even insult me until 15 minutes in...

MORGAN: Right.

SMITH: felt like, you know, where are you?

MORGAN: Well, Ben, congratulations. And thanks for joining me. I appreciate it.

SMITH: Thank you.

MORGAN: When we come back, a woman who's not afraid to say what she thinks about Anthony Weiner or anything else for that matter. Star Jones speaks out on that.

And on San Diego's scandalous mayor and another hot topic. She joins me next.



WEINER: I apologized many, many times for my personal failings. I don't recall hearing Speaker Quinn apologize once for the (inaudible) or once for the slush fund.

You know, I think to some degree, it's a matter of saying I don't mind that people make mistakes. It's a matter of taking some ownership of them.


MORGAN: More from Anthony Weiner's interview tonight with BuzzFeed's Ben Smith, an interview that may not have done him much good. Sitting down with my next guest in the chair tonight, Star Jones, attorney and national spokesperson for the National Association of Professional Women.

Star, are you impressed by Anthony Weiner's latest fight-back interview?

JONES: I don't know why, but I -- what keeps coming through my head is something Al Pacino would say every time I try to get out, you pull me back in, Anthony Weiner, with this entirely ridiculous interview.

He looked as if he didn't want to be there. Talk about somebody who is miserable. I've never seen someone run for office with less enthusiasm than what we saw during the interview.

I thought the interview was very, very well-done, some really great questions. Too bad the answers were not as forthcoming as the voters deserve.

MORGAN: I mean, the problem really is that from the moment it was revealed, I think, that even after he had to resign in disgrace, and we were reading People Magazine interviews with his wife, how he's trying to save his marriage and be a good father, when we discovered that he just carried on with endless more complete stranger women...


JONES: He was just lying.

MORGAN: ...and would be sexting like (ph)...

JONES: He was just lying.

MORGAN: ...the (ph) sort of thing is it -- you know, it made him a bit of a laughing stock, didn't it?

JONES: A lying and a laughing stock. And the worst part about it is I could care less what his after-work sex life is or what his during-work sex life is.

If you are just -- if you don't have the judgment necessary to make the decision that I've been caught doing something, that a significant number of people who I want to vote for me, think it's kind of pervy, I'm going to keep doing it, that's really not a person that needs to be sitting in city hall with all of the issues that New Yorkers are going to have to face. I'm someone who wants to elect a mayor that can handle all aspects of the job. I am not looking for someone who spends his leisure time sending penis pictures all across the world. I think that's tacky.

MORGAN: Now, let's turn to perhaps the bigger picture in all this, which may well be more to do with his wife, Huma, and her boss, Hillary Clinton. Now, Hillary Clinton was actually out today talking of what many believe to be sort of an early stump speech in many ways.

Let's take a little look at what she had to say.

Oh, I'm sorry, we'll (ph) go (ph) take (ph) the (ph) show (ph). Then we'll come back to that in a moment. But just broadly speaking, Star, on -- on the question of Hillary Clinton in 2016, can Huma stay as her right-hand woman, do you think, without damaging Hillary politically?

JONES: The biggest problem has been that Huma has always been the sort of stalwart second to Hillary without any question. She has had her back on days when a lot of people would not have known what to say to Hillary.

And I do believe that she really and truly cares about Hillary Clinton. And Hillary really and truly cares about her. She would be a distraction in anyway, if she were affiliated with Hillary Clinton and a run for another office.

Of course, the presidency is what we're talking about. The last thing that Secretary Clinton would want is to have every single time there's a picture of her with Huma standing next to each other, is to be reminded of her husband's infidelities. And that is what -- what happened.

MORGAN: Well, we -- we now -- we now have -- right, we now have this clip I was trying to get to earlier of Hillary speaking today. Let's watch this.


CLINTON: It should reinforce the fundamental principles of the voting rights act and ensure that citizens have the information and access they need to fully participate in our democracy.


JONES: She is speaking...

MORGAN: Because I thought she looked -- she looked pretty rested, I thought. She looked pretty on point politically.

There's no question in my mind that she's just quite deliberately sort of an unofficial launch pad for I'm going to be there in 2016. Is that your take?

JONES: And she's speaking to a constituency that she's going to need. When you start talking to people about voting rights, that is just the basic foundation of being an American citizen.

The ability to go in and say, this is who I want to represent me in making choices that will impact on my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. It's my very basic freedom.

And for her to start the speaker series, addressing the issue of voting rights tells you where she's coming from, what she finds important and who she plans to appeal to. I think 2016 is looking a lot more likely every time we hear a little more from Secretary Clinton.

MORGAN: Now, before she gets there, we still have President Obama and a big fury (ph) blew up today over the outrage that both his Portuguese water dog hitched a ride on one of the two osprey MV-22 (ph) helicopters that landed with various personnel.

Quickly, the first time the ospreys have been used to support of a presidential flight aboard marine 1, an outrage (ph) that apparently the dog may have cost a few thousand dollars to transport from the White House to the vacation.

Do you share the outrage over Bo and his freebie?

JONES: I really -- well, from what I understand, and I'm only going to go on what I've actually heard on CNN right now is that the dog was on the helicopter or the -- with a bunch of staffs.

And that's the way he was transported. If you tell me that they use taxpayers' dollars to just transport the dog with nothing else, then I would share the outrage.

But if you're telling me that the dog hitched a ride with the rest of the staff, and it was just a space (ph), you're talking to a dog lover. My dog goes everywhere with me.

So she will be hitching a ride tomorrow when I get on a plane tomorrow to go to L.A.

MORGAN: You see, I'm not particularly a dog lover, but a dog hater (ph). I'm sort of ambivalent towards dogs really.

But I just think if he hadn't taken the dog, then the scandal would then be cruel, heartless president leaves pet dog behind as he goes on holiday.

JONES: And you do know that President Obama and the first lady, Michelle Obama, they can do no right when it comes to this particular vacation. They can't even take two days off to go walk on the beach and hold hands.

The fact that we have a married couple in the White House that wants to go somewhere together and hold hands and have a vacation that's not for the press is something that actually makes me feel pretty good as an American.

MORGAN: You know, I find myself in the staggering position of actually agreeing with you, Star Jones. So let's move on so we can find something to argue about.

JONES: Yes...

MORGAN: Come back after the break, talk about Paula Deen's lawsuit, a slight victory for her today on that. We'll get your take on that. And also Eric Holder talking about the ridiculous overcrowding of American prisons.

We'll discuss that as well.



HOLDER: Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no truly good law enforcement reason.


MORGAN: Attorney General Eric Holder early today. Back with me now to react to that is Star Jones.

You know, Star, some staggering statistics that I discovered today. The U.S. prison population has grown by almost 800 percent since 1980, federal prisons operating nearly 40 percent above capacity.

When you read stuff on that, the U.S. is five percent of the world's population. But it incarcerates 25 percent of the world's prisoners.

This is a broken system. What do we do about it?

JONES: Well, it may be broken but it's still quite frankly the best system that they have across the world. If you can name me a system that works better than ours...


MORGAN: Is it -- is it, though?

JONES: Now, all...

MORGAN: Well, is it? When (ph)...

JONES: Well, name me one in the world that's better.

MORGAN: When you're incarcerating so many people often for minor misdemeanors -- and I -- I hate that whole three strikes and you're out thing.

JONES: Well...

MORGAN: Well, I've read stories here in California where people, you know, caught, say, with three small amounts of cannabis and they get a 35-year mandatory sentence. How can that be good justice? JONES: But three strikes you're out is supposed to be with good judgment. Every time there's a blanket law like we had the stop and frisk decision happening here in -- in New York, any time there's just a blanket rule without the ability to have any discretion, I don't think it's a good rule.

But I'm going to tell you, I understand where -- where the attorney general is coming from. I understand where he's saying that we do not need to incarcerate minor drug offenses that are unaffiliated with sort of these cartel-type gangs that are roving our country and -- and really infiltrating our cities, that by the same token, you're talking to an ex-prosecutor.

So I do know what drugs do to a community. And so I'm not one of these people that throws out the baby with the bath water. I do agree with him that the mandatory minimum sentences should be changed, should be evaluated.

And each court should have the ability to make decisions. I don't like three strikes you're out just being mandatory. And I don't like the three strikes just being any kind of case.

But violent felony offenders I do think should be treated that exact same way.

MORGAN: OK, let's move on to Paula Deen. She got a bit of, I would say, good news today. The racial discrimination claims were dismissed by a federal judge against her.

So the judge stated that at best, plaintiff is an accidental victim of the alleged racial discrimination. What did you make of that? Was the judge right?

And should we start to forgive Paula Deen and allow her back into civilized society?

JONES: Well, you know, what's -- what's interesting about this is I -- I'm of two minds. I start to think about somebody like -- do you remember Richard Jewell (ph) from the accusation of the Atlanta bombings? And...


JONES: realize that he had zero to do with it, and the old adage, where do I go to get my reputation back sort of comes into place. But then you look at what the court ruling actually was as it relates to Paula Deen.

The court didn't say she didn't say it. The court didn't say she didn't mean it. The court just said the person who's bringing that particular element of the case didn't have standing to bring it because she was not subjected to racial discrimination.

The court also left completely in place the sexual harassment aspects of the case. And that is where you don't need to have a big celebration around the pot of okra tonight, Paula Deen, because that sexual harassment part actually does have some teeth to it.

If you make for an uncomfortable work environment for anyone because of your behavior, that can be considered sexual harassment. So there's not a big celebration yet.

She got rid of some of it, but not all of it.

MORGAN: I mean, my final point on this would be what I said earlier about this case which is if you put all Americans over the age of, say, 55 or 60 under oath and said, "Have you ever used the "N" word," and they had to answer honestly, I would say that a vast majority probably would have used it in the early stages of their life when it was nowhere near as inflammatory as it is now. Would you agree with that?


MORGAN: And if that is true...

JONES: I would actually agree...

MORGAN: ...should we be slightly more forgiving, given she brought this out herself?

JONES: You know, I would actually probably agree with you on that. What I would not be able to just sort of sweep under the rug is any time you sit around and you fantasize about going back to the confederate era when you can dress black men in little black suits with black ties and have women who are African-American walk around in the, quote, "slave maid" costume, then I've got a problem with that.

I'm not sure who you are and what you really feel.

MORGAN: Star Jones, as always, I bow to your wisdom on most things -- not all, just some of them. I'll speak to you soon, Star. Good to talk to you.

JONES: You got it.

MORGAN: And that's all for us tonight. Anderson Cooper coming up next.