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Egypt Erupts; Bradley Manning Apologizes; Two Killed in Alabama Plane Crash; Bloodshed and Chaos Flares in Egypt; U.S. Journalist Beaten, Arrested in Cairo; Kidnap Victim Discusses Her Ordeal; Jesse Jackson Jr. Gets 30 Months in Prison; Can Chris Christie Save the GOP?

Aired August 14, 2013 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, Cairo becomes a bloody battleground as troops storm supporters of the ousted president. There are hundreds of casualties and Egypt is now in a state of emergency. Is it on the brink, though, of civil war?

I'll ask Egypt's ambassador to the United States.

Just days after her rescue, kidnapping survivor, Hannah Anderson opens up about her ordeal, answering social media questions from total strangers.

And brand-new insight into how President Obama spent his time while U.S. special operations forces killed Osama bin Laden. It may surprise you.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world.

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

It's been a day of horrific bloodshed and chaos in Egypt that began at dawn when troops moved against supporters of the ousted President Mohammed Morsy, storming to large tent camps in Cairo. There was tear gas, clubs, a lot of gunfire as pitched battles broke out. The day ended with streets covered in blood; 278 people are reported dead, 235 civilians, 43 police officers; 1,400 people have been wounded. Egypt now in an official state of emergency, with Cairo and other major cities under curfew.

Fighting has raged across the country, and the United States, the Obama administration strongly condemning the violence, and warning against a return to emergency law.

Let's go straight to Cairo. CNN's Reza Sayah was right in the middle of the action.

Reza, what's the situation like now?

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right now, Wolf, it's eerily calm and quiet and that's because a curfew is in effect. A state of emergency declared by this interim government several hours ago. It's midnight local time, and usually this time of night, this city is buzzing, not the case because of this curfew, this calm and quiet, a stark contrast to what we witnessed earlier today. This was just an awful day and, frankly, I have never seen this much bloodshed, this much use of force, the targeting of demonstrations that based on what we have seen over the past six weeks was mostly peaceful.

Many are describing this as a massacre. And when you look at the staggering death toll, it's hard to dispute that description. We're getting conflicting accounts as to how many people were killed. According to the interim government, they put the number at 278. The Muslim Brotherhood, supporters of the ousted president, they have numbers ranging from hundreds killed to thousands.

It's impossible for us, at this moment, to verify those figures. All of this of course, the fallout the outcome of a ferocious crackdown that was launched at dawn this morning against two pro-Morsy demonstrations at two locations in Cairo. We were at the one in east Cairo. That was the major one, really the headquarters of the pro- Morsy demonstrators for the past six weeks, different accounts as to what happened.

The Interior Ministry insists that they tried to use nonlethal force. They came in, they say, using water cannons, tear gas. They allege that Morsy supporters fired on them first, and they had to fire back. What unfolded, what followed was hours of gunfights, and scores of people killed, Wolf.

I can tell you we paid a visit to the makeshift clinic there and we were literally walking on the blood of the victims, meandering through the victims who were on the floor being treated by frantic volunteer medics, who were there doing their best to treat these victims, but just an awful, awful day. And now we wait for the fallout, for the implications that are going to be far-reaching for post-revolution Egypt and this interim government -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And 43 police officers were killed during these demonstrations, and that must mean that supporters of Mohammed Morsy, they must have some weapons, right?

SAYAH: According to the Interior Ministry, they did. And they have put out some video, showing purportedly pro-Morsy supporters firing weapons.

We should point out that during these six weeks we have paid frequent visits to the demonstrations in east Cairo. Again, it was impossible for us to confirm and witness everything that was going on there. But we can tell you, for the most part, these demonstrations were peaceful. However, repeatedly, this interim government claimed that there was terrorist activity there. And they used that narrative as a justification to move in, Wolf.

BLITZER: Reza Sayah on the streets of Cairo for us, thanks very much.

The Obama administration is sharply condemning the violence in Egypt, opposing a return to emergency rule. Joining us now here in THE SITUATION ROOM, Egypt's ambassador to the United States, Mohamed Tawfik. He was actually appointed by the ousted president, President Morsy.

But you now support this new government in Egypt, is that correct, correct, Mr. Ambassador?


BLITZER: I want you to hear what John Kerry, the secretary of state, said today in part reacting to a very bloody day in Cairo.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Today's events are deplorable and they run counter to Egyptian aspirations for peace, inclusion and genuine democracy. Egyptians inside and outside of the government need to take a step back. They need to calm the situation and avoid further loss of life.


BLITZER: What's your reaction to the secretary of state?

TAWFIK: I think that we have made, made it very clear -- the prime minister gave a statement this afternoon. And he said that we have put into place a road map for the future and that we are committed to respecting that road map.

BLITZER: Are you upset with the U.S. response? Because the U.S. response clearly is deploring what the government is doing, the security forces, in addition to what the opposition is doing as well, but -- and certainly blaming the military, the security forces, for so much of the violence.

TAWFIK: Listen, I'm not going to comment on the U.S. position.

What I will say is that this was not a solution that anyone is happy with. The loss of life is something that we all mourn very, very seriously. However, the fact, as you just said, 43 police officers were killed, that is not a peaceful demonstration. This is a very serious thing.

Today, there are news that they found mass graves in the sit-ins. This is something in the past few days there were reports about people that were abducted and tortured and killed there.

BLITZER: By the supporters of Mohammed Morsy?

TAWFIK: Of course, by the supporters of Mohammed Morsy. And the fact that you have -- it is true that the majority of the people in the sit-ins, they were not armed. But you had armed people, well-trained people among them. So in fact, they were using these people as human shields.

BLITZER: Where did they get these arms?

TAWFIK: That's a very good question and I'm sure we have to find out.

BLITZER: What's your suspicion?

TAWFIK: Well, my suspicion is that they have been preparing arms for a long -- arms caches for a long time.

BLITZER: Are we on the verge in Egypt of a civil war?

TAWFIK: No, a civil war happens when you have two equal sides. In Egypt, you have the entire Egyptian population on the one hand and the Muslim Brotherhood on the other hand.

BLITZER: The Muslim Brotherhood represents a big percentage of the people in Egypt, and Morsy won with 52 percent of the vote, as you remember.

TAWFIK: Of course, but he won with the votes of people who are not Muslim Brotherhood members.

The Muslim Brotherhood is not the majority of Egyptians. And after today, after they have seen the attacks on the churches -- seven churches were torched down -- when they have seen the attacks, 21 police stations were attacked by gunmen. Police officers were killed, and after they were killed, their bodies were mutilated.

When the people of Egypt have seen this, I don't think they're going to have a lot of support.

BLITZER: Mohamed ElBaradei, the former Nobel Peace Prize winner, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, well known to me, well known to you, he was in the government. He opposed Morsy. But he resigned today, because he said he can't take it anymore. What's your reaction to that?

TAWFIK: That's a personal position on his part. And I think he can comment on that better than I.

What I can say is that the vast majority of Egyptians support the measure that the government took today. It was not certainly what we would have desired. But it became very clear that any alternative to that would have caused even more casualties. So, again, as the prime minister said, this is something that we had to do because we had to do it, not because we wanted to do it.

BLITZER: Here's what -- obviously, I'm a journalist. A lot of journalists were hurt today as well trying to cover what's going on, including one photographer who used to work for CNN, was killed in the action.

Is there an effort by the security forces, whether military or police, to go after the media to try to shut them down?

TAWFIK: Absolutely not. Absolutely -- what was happening is you had shooting from the side of the Muslim Brotherhood. They had people on rooftops shooting. When you have that sort of situation, then you don't know who's going to get hurt. Certainly, there had been warnings from the security people in Egypt to journalists to take care as much as they could.

I know people get taken by all the action and they want to be right into it. But it's -- it's something that certainly we feel very sorry about.

BLITZER: As you know, the U.S. military, the Egyptian military, every year, they have Operation Bright Star, which is a huge military exercise in Sinai, to show the cooperation between these two militaries.

Have you been informed by the Obama administration, by the Defense Department that that is being canceled for the coming weeks?

TAWFIK: No, I have not been informed of that.

BLITZER: Do you expect them to go forward, this operation?

TAWFIK: Well, that's a matter that is left to the two militaries to decide, based upon their operational considerations.

BLITZER: But it would be a serious blow if the U.S. said we're not doing Bright Star this year?

TAWFIK: It would be a serious blow to both sides, because this is an operation that basically benefits both sides.

BLITZER: We will see what happens. Mr. Ambassador, thanks for coming in. We will stay in close touch with you.

And as someone who has been to Egypt many times, I hope, I hope things quiet down and get under control over there.

TAWFIK: I'm confident that we're going to be able to handle this.

BLITZER: Thank you very much for coming in.

TAWFIK: Thank you very much.

BLITZER: Coming up, an American reporter in Cairo, he was actually beaten by the security forces today. He was forced to turn over his laptop. He will join us with his own harrowing experience.

Also, now facing sentencing, the Army Private Bradley Manning formally apologizes for leaking U.S. secrets.


BLITZER: The U.S. Army private who gave hundreds of thousands of secret documents to WikiLeaks now says he's sorry. At his sentencing hearing a little bit ago, the Private 1st Class Bradley Manning told the court he only wanted to help people, not hurt them.

Manning also says he now realizes he must pay a price for what he did. CNN Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence is joining us now from Fort Meade in Maryland, outside Washington, D.C.

What else did he have to say, Chris? You were there.

CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, he looked emotional, he sounded emotional, but this contrition from Bradley Manning is coming in the final days of this hearing, as he faces 90 years in prison for his crimes.

He basically started off the day by saying, I'm sorry. He said -- quote -- "I want to start off with an apology." He said: "I am very sorry. I'm sorry that my actions hurt people and I'm sorry that I hurt the United States." He went on to say: "I understood what I was doing and the decisions that I made. However, I did not fully appreciate the broader effects of my actions."

He went on to explain that now he does understand that and he says, "When I made these decisions, I believed I was going to help people, not hurt people."

And Wolf, he went on to say: "As I look back," he said, "I wonder how in the world I, as a junior analyst, ever believed that I could do better for the world than the people in the proper authority." He says that he now understands that. But, again, Wolf, it's coming as he faces 90 years in prison.

BLITZER: What happens next? Walk us through the process.

LAWRENCE: Yes. Basically on Friday, the prosecution will give their rebuttal and then the judge is going to have to come up with a number. We also earlier heard testimony from Bradley Manning's sister. She talked about it what it was like growing up with two alcoholic parents, some of the hardships that Bradley Manning faced in his life.

At one point, the attorney asked her, who was caring for Bradley Manning as a baby? And she said, I did. When he would cry, I would get up, I would make the bottle, I would rock him back to sleep. At the time, she was only 11 years old. So the defense has been building the case that he had a tough life, that he had fetal alcohol syndrome, that he had gender issues and was very confused and wanted to become a woman.

And they're arguing that the Army missed a lot of these psychological red flags that should have taken him off the battlefield well before this happened. Prosecutors will say he was well within his right mind and knew exactly what he was doing -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Chris, thank you, Chris Lawrence reporting. We will see what the judge decides about eventual sentence.

Meanwhile, there's a stunning new revelation about what President Obama was doing while U.S. special operations forces raided Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan. Reggie Love, who was the personal aide, the so-called body man to the president, now says that during part of that very tense time, he and the president played cards. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REGGIE LOVE, FORMER PERSONAL AIDE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: I spent the entire day at the White House. And probably, you know, typically like the weekends, he's like he will work like a half-day. And this Sunday, we worked the -- we were there until almost -- I think he went on TV at midnight and -- almost midnight -- and sat around in the private dining room, kind of like -- most people were like down in the Situation Room.

And he was like, I'm not -- I'm not going to be down there. I can't watch this entire thing. So he, myself, Pete Souza, the White House photographer, Marvin, we played -- we must have played 15 hands, 15 games of spades.


BLITZER: Reggie -- by the way, Reggie Love stuck close to the president's side dating back to his days as a senator. And he spoke in L.A. At the Artists and Athletes Alliance event at UCLA.

Up next, new information about that deadly and fiery cargo plane crash. What caused it to go down a half-a-mile short of the runway, just yards away from homes?

Plus, a kidnapping survivor opening up about her ordeal -- why Hannah Anderson is speaking out now, just days after her dramatic rescue.


BLITZER: Federal investigators now on the scene of the latest deadly plane crash, a UPS cargo jet that went down about a half-mile from the airport in Birmingham, Alabama, early this morning, very early.

Moments ago, they updated reporters on their investigation.

CNN's Rene Marsh is joining us now with the latest.

Very early in this process. What are we learning, Rene, so far?

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we do know now is that the NTSB, they have been unable to recover those very important flight recorders. They're located in the tail of the plane.

And right now the tail is still smoldering. They will have to let things cool down first. And the recorders, we should let you know, they're built to withstand very intense heat. So they should remain intact. But it has happened three times in a little over a month, serious crashes during the critical approach and landing phase.

Now some aviation safety experts are wondering, if there's a common thread, and if there's something being overlooked.


KEVIN HIATT, FLIGHT SAFETY FOUNDATION: These are your normal UPS boxes and envelopes and everything else that were on that particular shipment.

MARSH (voice-over): Pilot and aviation safety expert Kevin Hiatt is waiting to learn more about what caused this latest crash, the third in just over 30 days during the critical approach-and-landing phase, Asiana in San Francisco, Southwest at La Guardia, and now the UPS cargo plane crashing before reaching the runway.

HIATT: Are we missing something? Is there something that has come up in the last three flights that we're not aware of? Or have become complacent? Do we need to look at the technology? Do we need to look at human factors?

MARSH: Is there a common thread? It's too early to tell. But one thing will be different in the Alabama investigation.

(on camera): The key difference you would say, though is, in this case, would be the cargo.

HIATT: Correct. You're going to take a look to see if there was any hazardous materials in this cargo or anything that was part of this cargo that might have caused this accident to happen.

MARSH (voice-over): UPS has yet to say what was on board. But in 2010, it was a pallet of lithium batteries and other combustible materials that caught fire, bringing down this UPS 747 in Dubai.

Another concern? How cargo is secured. All seven crew members on this 747 died this year when heavy military vehicles on board shifted on takeoff. HIATT says shifting cargo is not likely in the Alabama crash.

(on camera): This was on arrival and not takeoff, like the other?

HIATT: Correct. The other was on takeoff. The load shifted due to the amount of weight that broke the restraints. This particular case, those cans are actually strapped or clipped into the floor. And, therefore, your likelihood of a shift is a lot less.


MARSH: Well, another question investigators will look at is, did pilot fatigue play a role? The FAA changed the rules, requiring airline pilots have 10 hours of rest and limit flight time. But the rule excludes cargo pilots. And the union representing UPS pilots says that rest rules should be just as strict for cargo pilots as they are for airline pilots.

So, Wolf, they have taken this issue to federal court.

BLITZER: They have got to learn some lessons from this as well on that specific issue, even though we don't know the cause of this crash.

MARSH: Right.

BLITZER: Thanks very much, Rene, for that report. Just ahead, amid the carnage in Cairo, an American reporter is punched, beaten and arrested. He's standing by to tell us what happened.

And can Chris Christie save the Republican Party from itself? We are going to show you what he's now up to.


BLITZER: Happening now: We're about to hear from a reporter who is lucky to be alive after getting caught and beaten during today's police crackdown in Egypt.

The 16-year-old teenager freed from a kidnapper just days ago now answering strangers' questions on the Internet.

And a former congressman sent to prison. You're going to hear what Jesse Jackson Jr. and his father had to say today.

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

Let's get back to our top story. Close to 300 people are dead, many hundreds wounded as Egyptian security forces crack down on supporters of the ousted President Mohammed Morsy. Dawn raids on two protest camps were followed by battles that have now spread way beyond Cairo.

There's a curfew in major cities across the country. The entire country is under a state of emergency. Today's violence has been extraordinarily bloody. And we must caution you that our next report contains some very graphic pictures.

Brian Todd has been combing through some of the strongest images. He put together a cold, hard look at the unrest.

Brian, what did you find?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, a lot of what we have seen today out of Cairo, we cannot show viewers, it's so grisly.

But we're giving you the most raw images we can, along with a brutally honest take on what's happened from an analyst who has been there through some of the worst unrest.

We start with the video of a protester who was cut down in an instant.


TODD (voice-over): As these protesters peel back, watch the man in the white hat and purple shirt. In seconds he'll be at the very least near death. In this video from Cairo, from the Web site, LiveLeak, you see the man standing. After gunfire erupts, the camera jostles. Then there's a crowd around him. They carry him as he bleeds and place him on a motorcycle. This is Egypt's violence laid bare, the most raw images we feel we can show you from social media.

ERIC TRAGER, WASHINGTON INSTITUTE FOR NEAR EAST POLICY: Suddenly, it's one of the most deadly days, if not the most deadly day, since the 2011 uprising. So I mean that's a good reason to expect that it's a game-changer.

TODD: A game-changer, says analyst Eric Trager, because the Egyptian military is clearly escalating against the Muslim Brotherhood, moving in to clear protesters who support ousted president, Mohammed Morsy.

In this picture, tweeted by the news agency AFP, a scene reminiscent of Tiananmen Square. A woman tries to shield a wounded man from a bulldozer. A picture tweeted by journalist Sharif Kaduz (ph) shows what the caption says is a woman shot in the head, brought to a hospital. In this photo, uploaded to CNN's i-Report Web site, several bodies are seen severely charred. We don't know how it happened.

(on camera): Bodies are burned. This is a tweeted picture of bodies lined up in the hospital. Who is doing the killing?

TRAGER: It seems that security forces are doing the killing. The security forces came in and, according to all reports, really used live fire on protesters.

TODD (voice-over): But it's not always clear. In this video, apparently from a TV network, you see men moving in the same direction. The two on the lower part of the screen. Are they on the same side? Hard to tell when the one on the right wheels and fires, leaving the other writhing in agony. We can't independently verify any of the claims that come with these pictures or who's doing what to whom.

(on camera): For many Americans and others outside Egypt, this violence has become part of the background because it's flared up so recently. Why do we need to be more riveted to this?

TRAGER: Egypt is the most popular Arab country. It's 90 million people in the heart of the Middle East, and stability in Egypt has tremendous consequences for the stability of the region more broadly. Remember that any part of the Middle East where there's a vacuum becomes a breeding ground for terrorism.


TODD: Trager says that's already started to happen in one area of Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula, which borders Israel. What's scary now, he says, is that the new round of violence signals that Egypt's cities are starting to become unstable.

Wolf, a very bad sign. You and I were just talking that any city in any other country, America or anywhere else, what would we be saying if 300 people died in one day and 43 policemen? What would we be saying?

BLITZER: It would be a disaster, obviously, and it's a disaster in Cairo.

What about the Muslim Brotherhood? Are they going to ramp this up now? TODD: Trager says that's very possible they could be escalating toward the military now. But the problem with them is a lot of their top leaders have been arrested.

In that event, some of the more unstable and some of the more violent elements of that group could take control. Now watch what happens next. It could really spiral from here.

BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much, Brian Todd.

Journalists certainly among the casualties in Cairo. At least two have been killed, and "Newsweek" and the "Daily Beast" correspondent, Mike Giglio, had a terrifying experience. He was beaten by police, forced to hand over his laptop, then arrested. He's joining us on the phone right now.

What exactly happened, Mike?

MIKE GIGLIO, CORRESPONDENT, "NEWSWEEK" AND "DAILY BEAST" (via phone): Thanks, Wolf. Yes, so I was at the main sit-in when the crackdown commenced. And I was able to report on it from the front of the police line to about an hour and a half. And eventually, they just decided they didn't want journalists there anymore, and they rounded me up with a couple of other journalists, and they took us away.

BLITZER: What did they do?

GIGLIO: First they -- they found out that I was an American; and second, they found out I was a journalist, and both of those seemed to be counting against me.

And they -- you know, they demanded my laptop. When I wouldn't give them the password to open it, they started beating me. And you know, I saw them beat the other journalists with me, as well. And then they took us into a paddy wagon with about 30 other people who had been arrested from the protest and brought us to an arena nearby where they were housing detainees.

BLITZER: Did you eventually give them your password?


BLITZER: And then did they ever return your laptop or do they still have it?

GIGLIO: They've got that. They've got my wallet, and they've got my cell phone.

BLITZER: So they basically took everything. What about physically? Did they -- you said -- did they actually really beat you hard or what happened?

GIGLIO: I mean, they bunched me in the face. They punched me in the head. I'm fine. I didn't get it too bad. And I think there were a lot of journalists out there that were facing a lot worse than I was today: dodging bullets, getting shot, getting killed. I think the main thing is that there's -- there is such an atmosphere of hatred and anger against western journalists in particular right now that I think it's incredibly dangerous to cover this right now.

BLITZER: Why do they hate western journalists so much? You're talking about the Egyptian military, the police security forces.

GIGLIO: Because we're not -- we're not always supporting the narrative that the government wants to be out there right now, and the narrative is extremely important to the government. And the, you know, government politicians in Egypt, anti-Morsy activists, you know, whether they're giving interviews or even tweeting online, and the state media and local media all trying to reinforce the same message. And when they see the foreign media going against it, they really attack.

And they're spreading the idea that foreign media is working against Egypt; foreign media can't be trusted, especially American media.

BLITZER: And you point out correctly it could have been worse for you. Two journalists were killed, including Mike Dean, a former CNN photographer. There we have a picture of him. He's been working for Sky News for the past 15 years. Are you familiar what happened to the other journalists who were actually killed?

GIGLIO: Yes, I've heard the reports. I mean, most of that happened while I was detained. And I guess it's not clear whether they were targeted directly, and I guess it's not clear whether I was, either.

But I think the best I can say is that in my case, you know, it was well-established that I was a journalist before any of this happened. So they knew that it was a journalist they were beating. They knew it was a journalist that they were arresting. And the two photojournalists that were arrested along with me had the exact same experience.

BLITZER: Our own Arwa Damon, she came under fire while she was reporting live. Just showing the viewers some video of that dramatic footage. She's OK, the rest of our team OK. But obviously, a very, very, dangerous situation.

Be careful over there, Mike, and we'll stay in close touch.

GIGLIO: Thanks very much.

BLITZER: Mike Giglio reporting from "The Daily Beast" in Cairo.

Up next, just days after her rescue, the kidnapping survivor Hannah Anderson, opens up about her ordeal, answering social media questions from total strangers, but why?


BLITZER: This just coming in to THE SITUATION ROOM. A preliminary autopsy shows the man who kidnapped Hannah Anderson, James DiMaggio, was shot at least five times. FBI agents killed DiMaggio and freed Anderson on Saturday.

Now Anderson has showed up on social media, typing remarkably candid answers to questions from total strangers. Here's CNN's Casey Wian.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, perhaps it's no surprise that Hannah Anderson did what practically any teenaged girl would do after going through a life-changing ordeal. She took to social media and discussed the event with her peers.


WIAN (voice-over): Sixteen-year-old Hannah Anderson is sharing details about her kidnapping on social media. She fielded questions on the site "AskFM" about her abduction by the man she knew as uncle Jim, James DiMaggio.

A user asked, "Did you want to go with DiMaggio?"

She replied, "No, not at all."

"Why didn't you run?"

"He would have killed me."

"Why didn't you tell your parents he creeped you out?"

"In part, he was my dad's best friend, and I didn't want to ruin anything between them."

Hannah shed new light on the night she was kidnapped, the same night her mother and younger brother were murdered, their bodies burned in DiMaggio's house.

"How did he separate you from your mom and brother?"

"He tied them up in the garage."

"How did he keep the fire a secret?"

"He had it set where it would catch on fire at a certain time."

Hannah also wrote DiMaggio threatened to kill her if she fled and brought her at least in part to help carry equipment in the wilderness. Some questions from subscribers were brutally blunt.

"Did he rape you?"

"I'm not allowed to talk about it. So don't ask questions about it, thank you."

"Are you glad he's dead?"


Some experts questioned the wisdom of Hannah's online chats. WENDY WALSH, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: This is a 16-year-old who's totally traumatized. She is in state of trauma, and so she's not thinking. Sometimes in a numb state, you're doing things that you don't really -- really consider the consequences.

WIAN: Hannah even posted a selfie and engaged in lighter conversation, typical of a teenaged girl, but even some of that seemed painful.

"What design did you get on your nails?"

"Pink for my mom and blue for Ethan."

Those who know her tell CNN Hannah spent some of Tuesday helping to plan their funerals.


WIAN: Hannah also expressed regret that she could not have done more to save the lives of her mother and younger brother -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Casey Wian reporting.

Now, let's dig a little bit deeper right now about Hannah Anderson's insights, as well as her decision to go public only days after being freed. Joining us from New York is the psychotherapist, Robi Ludwig.

What do you make of all of this, Robi?

ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: I actually thought it was very healthy of Hannah to go online and to be so candid about her feelings. Part of healing a trauma, is by talking. And by feeling like your words and your experience is being listened to.

Of course, there's always dangers when you go online, and you're speaking to an anonymous group. We don't know that that group will always be supportive. But I think what Hannah experienced was so awful and devastating, that she felt supported. It seems like she felt supported. So I think it's the strength of hers that she wants to talk. She's not isolating and trying to process what happened to her.

BLITZER: Because I was surprised to see all of this. Because only the other day, her father came out and publicly said, you know, this young woman is going to be going through a lot. Give her some time to heal, if you will. And you urged the news media, for example, to back away and not try to talk to her. So that's why it was surprising to me all of a sudden to see this exchange she had on the social media site, AskFM.

LUDWIG: Well, it's also very different if you are making a choice to reveal your feelings on social media, versus having reporters ask you questions that you're not in control over.

You have to remember, this is a girl whose life was out of her control for a long period of time. So probably taking to social media felt very normal for this girl, and it was almost for her getting back to what a normal 16-year-old girl would do, which is healthy.

BLITZER: What -- if she asked you, and asked you for some advice, what would you tell her?

LUDWIG: I would tell her not to blame herself. This is absolutely not her fault. She's going to experience a range of emotions. That it's going to take time to heal. That the human spirit is resilient. There are other people who have been through horrible situations similar to hers, who have also healed, and they are available to her. There is a support network of people who have been abducted.

So just to hang in there and continue talking and being around supportive people.

BLITZER: Yes, you've got to remember what this young 16-year-old has gone through.


BLITZER: Kidnapped. Also losing her mother and her younger brother, Ethan. Our heart goes out to her and the entire family.

Robi, good advice. Thanks very much.

LUDWIG: Thanks so much.

BLITZER: Dr. Robi Ludwig, the psychotherapist.

This afternoon, the former congressman, Jesse Jackson Jr., found out how long he will be in prison. Up next, you're going to hear what his dad had to say today.


BLITZER: A stunning fall for a former United States congressman who once was a rising Democratic star. Jesse Jackson Jr. was sentenced to prison today for misusing campaign funds, and his wife got a prison term of her own.

Let's get the details. CNN's Athena Jones was inside the courtroom where it all went down.

What happened?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a heavy day in that courtroom, Wolf. And I had a chance during a break in the proceedings to speak with Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. about how his family prepared for this day, the day when they would learn how long his son and daughter-in-law would serve. He told me, they had been praying.


JONES (voice-over): An emotional day capping a spectacular political downfall.

JESSE JACKSON JR., FORMER CONGRESSMAN: I still believe in the power of forgiveness. I believe in the power of redemption. Today I manned up and tried to accept responsibility for the errors of my ways. And I still believe in the resurrection.

JONES: Former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. pled guilty in February to misusing $750,000 in campaign money for personal expenses like fur coats, high-end electronics, children's furniture, Michael Jackson memorabilia and a $43,000 Rolex watch, making more than 3,000 purchases over a seven-year period.

His wife, Sandra, pled guilty to filing false tax returns. Today Jackson and his wife arrived at the federal courthouse in Washington -- just steps from the Capitol in which he served for 17 years -- to learn their fate.

Jackson Jr. was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and false statements; less than the four-year sentence government prosecutors wanted.

The 48-year-old son of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson Sr. wept before the judge, saying, "I was wrong. I take responsibility for my actions. I know I have let a lot of people down."

His attorney, Reid Weingarten, said the sentence was fair but called it a sad day for Jackson.

REID WEINGARTEN, ATTORNEY FOR JESSE JACKSON JR.: The fall from grace is complete. My client, Jesse Jackson, went from an enormously respected, charismatic, long-term member of Congress to a convicted felon who's about to be incarcerated. So it's a day of deep sadness.

JONES: The case has taken a toll on Jackson's family, as well.

REV. JESSE JACKSON SR., CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: I speak today as a father. This (UNINTELLIGIBLE) outflowing, loving someone else and something I really understood, socially, politically. But this, of course, is home.

JONES: After Jackson serves his time, his wife, Sandra, will serve 12 months in prison.


JONES: Now, the judge agreed to stagger the sentences, because the couple has two young children.

And Wolf, one more thing. Jackson's lawyer argued his client's mental health should be taken into account in deciding his sentence. Jackson is being treated for bipolar disorder. But the judge said Jackson's team offered no evidence to show that that condition made him steal.

BLITZER: Was that what he was arguing, that because of his mental -- mental health issues, he did what he did?

JONES: Well, he hasn't argued that. He said he takes full responsibility. But his lawyers said it should be a mitigating factor in determining his sentence. In the end he got a shorter sentence than what the government wanted. But the judge did address this discussion of mental health, which came up repeatedly in the proceedings, and simply said that he didn't show that made him make this decision.

BLITZER: So he'll serve 30 months, and then his wife after that will serve, what, 12 months?

JONES: Exactly, 12 months.

BLITZER: All right. Thanks very much, Athena Jones reporting.

Up next, one of the country's most popular Republicans prepares to do a little damage control with his own party's top leaders.


BLITZER: Republicans have lost two straight presidential elections, but leaders of the divided party are looking ahead to the next one. Can Chris Christie step up to save the GOP? Here's CNN national political correspondent, Jim Acosta.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, top Republican leaders are meeting right here in Boston to start plotting their strategy for getting back to the White House. Some in the GOP are wondering whether Chris Christie will ride to their rescue and just how bumpy that ride might be.

(voice-over): Here is how Chris Christie is spending his summer: crisscrossing New Jersey, asking voters for another term as the state's tough-talking governor.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I won't rest until everybody who wants to be back in their home is back in their home.

ACOSTA: A campaign he's running as he's also the face of rebuilding efforts on the Jersey shore with Hurricane Sandy.

CHRISTIE: Because we're stronger than the storm.

ACOSTA: Christie's reelection may feel like a tune-up for 2016, but to become the GOP's next nominee, the New Jersey governor will have some work to do.

For starters, the party is divided on big issues. Just listen to some of the conservatives at the Republican Party's summer strategy meeting, where Christie is slated as one of the headliners.

(on camera): I want to ask you, then, about Chris Christie.

(voice-over): Ron Paul supporter Amy Hedtke is still getting over disappointment with the GOP's last standard bearer, Mitt Romney.

AMY HEDTKE, RON PAUL SUPPORTER: I'm not a Christie fan either.

ACOSTA: Why not?

HEDTKE: His -- I mean, you don't sit there and call for FEMA aid and then turn around and say you're a conservative.

ACOSTA: Not only must Christie overcome some hard feelings left over from his embrace of President Obama after Sandy, there are the government surveillance programs that got him into a public spat with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who seemed to pick up an endorsement of sorts from Sarah Palin.

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Rand Paul understands. He gets the whole notion of "don't tread on me" government, whereas Chris Christie is for big government.

ACOSTA: Paul, who's called for a truce with Christie, all but blushed.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I love an endorsement by Sarah Palin. What's not to like?

ACOSTA: Christie's aides say he has no time to fight with Paul. The governor is quietly building for the future recently heading to Las Vegas for a fundraiser at another event where he spoke about the death of his mother.

CHRISTIE: This is a woman who I thought would beat anything, but when she looked at me and said, "I know I'm going to die," that was my low point.

ACOSTA: North Carolina RNC official Ada Fisher (ph) argues Christie's unconventional style will have national appeal.

(on camera): You think he could be your guy in 2016?

ADA FISHER (ph), NORTH CAROLINA RNC OFFICIAL: Well, he could be my guy any time. There are people who want purists. And I want somebody who will represent the nation.


FISHER: As for Christie's speech on making the GOP more competitive here in Boston tomorrow, those remarks are closed to the press, a rare instance when Christie's straight talk won't be heard by everyone -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jim Acosta, thanks very much.

Finally, the sad note, the political journalist Jack Germond died today. He was 85. He started covering presidential campaigns more than half a century ago during John F. Kennedy's 1960 campaign.

Over the years, he worked with the Gannett newspapers, the "Baltimore Sun." He co-wrote an excellent political column with Jules Witcover for many years. Beginning back in the 1990s, Jack Germond shared his insights right here on CNN. He was one of our political analysts. He will be sorely missed. I used to go up and watch him in action in Iowa and New Hampshire and learn a great deal from him.

Jack Germond, a great political journalist. Remember, you can always follow what's going on here in THE SITUATION ROOM on Twitter. Tweet me, @WolfBlitzer. Tweet the show, @CNNSitRoom.

That's it for me. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.