Return to Transcripts main page


Bloodbath Rages On; NSA Journalist's Partner Detained; Dramatic Downfall for GOP's Rising Star; Christie Outlaws Gay Conversion Therapy; U.S.-Born al Qaeda Spokesman's New Threats; Robin Thicke Sues Over Latest Hit; Is Coffee Good or Bad?

Aired August 19, 2013 - 17:00   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN GUEST HOST: Happening now, Egypt's bloodbath rages on, with dozens more dead and a bold, new call for an investigation into the shocking loss of life.

Plus, chilling new threats against U.S. ambassadors around the world, purportedly from al Qaeda's American born spokesman. You're going to see the video.

And A-Rod gets beaned on the baseball field, as sentiment against the embattled Yankee reaches a fever pitch.

Wolf Blitzer is off today.

I'm Brianna Keilar.


Another day of deadly bloodshed in Egypt, where 25 soldiers were reportedly killed when suspected militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades struck their buses at the Gaza border. The death toll just in the last week now close to 1,000 people, and that number including both civilians and security personnel.

The carnage has prompted Amnesty International to call for an investigation into the, quote, "shocking loss of life." And the pressure is mounting on the United States to do more.

CNN's senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh, is in Cairo and he joins us now with the latest -- hi, Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, you said the U.S. is being prompted to do more. Well, we have heard from the State Department today, who said that yesterday's death of 37 Muslim Brotherhood prisoners being transported between prisons and suffocated by tear gas was, quote, "suspicious."

And we, today, have been looking into the five hellish days that activists say comprised the end of the life of one of those prisoners.


PATON WALSH (voice-over): This is what happened when police first got hold of protester Shareef Seyam, according to this activist video. And this is where, five days after the brutal police crackdown, his friends gathered to mourn. Even now, it was hard to find a safe mosque.

(on camera): They're morning here in small numbers, nervously, with a sense as of fear that's entirely understandable when you learn how their friend Shareef came to die.

(voice-over): Hamma (ph) collected and washed Shareef's unrecognizable body for burial.

HAMMA (through translator): His torso was fine, but his face -- the doctors told me he was suffocated. And because of that, his face was swollen like a soccer ball, to the point, you could not make out his features and his skin was totally black.

PATON WALSH: The story we heard of his journey to that moment is sickening. After this arrest, he was among hundreds herded by police into this stadium from the Rabba al-Adawia Mosque, where police and protesters were clashing. Some were battered there, said this lawyer, whose phone rings constantly with families asking for help to find loved ones missing in the crackdown.

In Shareef's case, one day there was good news, the next, the worst.

AHMED HLMY, COURT OF APPEALS LAWYER (through translator): Emotionally, it was difficult for us. We could not bring ourselves to call families and tell them that their son, who we found alive yesterday, is now today dead, just like these people are prisoners of war. The usual laws don't apply.

PATON WALSH: Shareef's last Facebook posting said, "I'm all right. I'm detained in Cairo Stadium. Tell me parents not to worry.

And I'm in the inside hall. Call my father."

He was moved to a central Cairo prison and then put on a convoy headed to the city's north. One van in the convoy, state media said, took a police officer hostage.

Police retaliated with tear gas and 37 prisoners suffocated. Shareef was one of them. Activists said he was buried Monday, after five days of hell.


PATON WALSH: Now, Brianna, you mentioned the death of those 25 soldiers. State TV full of images of them in civilian clothing, saying they were on their way home, on leave. The images suggesting perhaps they shot execution-style. We can't confirm them independently. But it feeds into a government narrative here, building steam, that they're fighting terrorism across the country.

The Muslim Brotherhood, office, come under that umbrella in the eyes of the interim administration here. Very harsh rhetoric against them in the past few days. Although the Brotherhood did today speak out against the violence in the Sinai, saying they wanted to remain peaceful. We've soon very low numbers, though, of their protesters on the streets for the past 48 hours. People are thinking perhaps the enthusiasm behind their supporters may be ebbing. And, as I say, this continued government narrative, they're fighting terrorism, almost ubiquitous at this point -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Nick Paton Walsh for us in Cairo.

Thank you for that excellent reported.

And now a twist that is unfolding in this unfolding saga of those leaks that revealed details of the U.S. government's massive surveillance programs. This involves a new player in the drama, not Edward Snowden, who leaked the information, or journalist Glenn Greenwald, who first reported it, but Greenwald's partner.

CNN's Atika Shubert is working this story in London.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Why was David Miranda, a Brazilian citizen, detained for nearly nine hours at London's Heathrow Airport on Sunday?

His partner, Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who exposed the vast spying apparatus of the U.S. through documents provided by NSA leaker Edward Snowden said this is an attack on the free press.

In "The Guardian" newspaper, which published most of those revelations, Greenwald wrote, "It is bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It is worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic."

Schedule 7 of the U.K. Terrorism Act allows British police to detain and interrogate anyone passing through British borders, ostensibly in the name of preventing an attack, but in practice, police can stop anyone for any reason. Detainees are not given access to lawyers until they are released.

According to Britain's Home Office, 97 percent of people stopped are released in less than an hour. One in 2,000 are held for the maximum time allowed, nine hours.

So why was Miranda in that category?

Miranda has now returned to Brazil, greeted at the airport by Greenwald. But his laptop, phone, DVDs and a game console all remain confiscated. He was traveling from Berlin, where he stayed with documentary filmmaker, Laura Poitras, another of Edward Snowden's contacts. "The Guardian" newspaper has confirmed they paid for Miranda's flights. But it's not clear if Miranda was asked to deliver any documents or information.

According to Greenwald, Miranda spent nine hours answering questions only about Edward Snowden and the NSA, no terror-related questions.

(on camera): Whatever the reason, Brazilian diplomats are now expressing their outrage and some British members of parliament are saying his detention was an abuse of the law.

As for Glenn Greenwald, he has stated he will not be intimidated or deterred, and says he will continue to expose U.S. secrets using the power of the free press.

Atika Shubert, CNN, London.


KEILAR: So what did the White House know about all of this?

Let's go ahead and bring in our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin -- so, Jessica, Miranda's laptop, his cell phone, confiscated.

What are you hearing about what the White House knew?


The White House today insisted that U.S. officials had no involvement in what they called "a British police action."

Today in the briefing, the White House refused to condemn the action, but also acknowledged that officials here did know about it before it occurred.

Listen to this exchange.


YELLIN: Can you state with authority that the U.S. government has not obtained material from the laptop the British authorities confiscated from Glenn Greenwald's partner or from any of his personal devices they also confiscated?

JOSH EARNEST, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm just not in a position to talk to you about the conversations between British law enforcement officials and American law enforcement officials.

YELLIN: So you can't rule out that the U.S. has obtained this material?

EARNEST: I'm not in a position to do that right now, no.

YELLIN: Was the White House consulted or given a heads-up in advance?

EARNEST: There -- there was a consul -- there was a -- there was a heads-up that was provided by the British government. So this -- again, this is something that we had an indication was likely to occur, but it's not something that we requested.

(END VIDEO CLIP) YELLIN: Now, Brianna, in numerous follow-up questions, the White House clarified that they essentially were notified by the British government once Miranda's name appeared on a list, that he was flying on an airline, and that the Brits planned to detain him. The U.S. government was told by the British.

We're not -- we haven't been told who in the U.S. government was told and whether it was directly a call to the White House. But clearly, they knew in advance -- Brianna.

KEILAR: And, Jessica, it's pretty interesting, because the U.S. here not condemning this action, as you mentioned. Very careful not to do that. I think it makes a lot of people wonder, could this kind of thing happen here?

Do you have any sense of the answer to that question?

YELLIN: Good question. And the answer is yes. The U.S. can do something similar at U.S. airports and borders. Government officials can check bags, as we all know; can ask people to turn on their laptops and can even take them and confiscate them for a period of time. Our rules require that they -- our government officials return them after a certain number of days or weeks.

Now that, all, of course, depends on what they find on those laptops or devices. If they find something suspicious, of course, they could keep them indefinitely and call them evidence.

The bottom line is, one former official for the DHS tells me we never have less personal freedom than when you're crossing an international border -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Interesting. So it could happen here.

Jessica Yellin for us at the White House.

Thank you for that report.

And when we come back, a stunning turnaround for one of the GOP's rising stars. Just ahead, we will look at the scandal plaguing Virginia governor, Bob McDonnell, and what it could mean for his party's future.

Plus, chilling new threats against the United States, purportedly from al Qaeda's American-born spokesman. You're going to see the video coming up.


KEILAR: A dramatic downfall for a Republican once sitting at the top of his party, now plagued by scandal, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is hoping to make it to the end of his term.

CNN crime and justice correspondent, Joe Johns, is working this story.

He joins us now with the details. And some pretty fascinating details here -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's for sure, Brianna. It's another potential political star caught in a bitter personal legal fight.

A federal grand jury remains on this case in Richmond, plus an all meeting between Justice Department officials and lawyers for the governor and his wife.

A source says the aim is to try to figure out where the case is headed by Labor Day.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The star (INAUDIBLE). Do your children still have...

JOHNS (voice-over): Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was side-stepping questions Monday as federal prosecutors searched for clarity about gifts and loans to him and his family given by the generous CEO of a dietary supplement company.

A stunning turnaround for a rising star no longer in national Republican politics. Last year, McDonnell was being mentioned as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney, though never officially vetted for the spot, sources said.

This year, McDonnell is fending off questions about resigning, though he's term-limited and out of office in January.


GOV. BOB MCDONNELL (R), VIRGINIA: Now, I intend to work this next 160 days to do everything possible to be able to finish out a very good term.


JOHNS: McDonnell has already repaid his friend, donor and CEO of Star Scientific Supplements, Johnny Williams, for tens of thousands of dollars in loans for clothes for his wife Maureen, for catering for his daughter's wedding, for a $6,500 Rolex watch. Worse still, Maureen McDonnell bought stock in Star Scientifics and promoted the company's products with a luncheon at the governor's mansion.

A main question is whether McDonnell accepted things of value in exchange for official acts, which he denies, or if he willfully turned a blind eye to gifts to his wife. McDonnell says he doesn't know about the gifts or the stock.

JEFF SCHAPIRO, COLUMNIST, "RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH": The governor has said, twice, essentially, thrown his wife under the bus.

JOHNS: Still, a former top official of the Justice Department tells CNN this would be a very difficult case for federal prosecutors to make without clear evidence of a quid pro quo involving the governor. ANDRE MCBRIDE, FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: What I don't see for a federal crime right now is the governor acting in his official capacity in order to aid Star Scientific in exchange for the money.

JOHNS: McDonnell says he broke no laws, pointing out in a recent radio interview that even under the gift disclosure rules in Virginia, his wife and kids are off the hook, and so is he.

MCDONNELL: -- which is gifts to elected officials are reported, gifts to family members are not.

JOHNS: Still, the public memory of all this could pose a long-term political problem, regardless of whether charges are filed.


SCHAPIRO: Well, clearly, with the court of public opinion, with a growing segment of the electorate, the governor has been charged, tried and convicted.


JOHNS: McDonnell can't run for reelection. But the controversy is also having an impact on what has become one of the nation's nastiest gubernatorial races. The state of Virginia hasn't really had a lot of hanky-panky from elected officials recently. So to some, this situation is a bit of a shock -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Joe Johns, thank you so much for your reporting.

Joining us now with more analysis on this, CNN chief national correspondent, John King -- John, first off, I mean is he handling this the right way, deflecting or confronting?

Is he he doing the right thing?

Is he doing the best, I guess, (INAUDIBLE)?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think without a doubt, he waited too long to give some statements about what he knew and what he was prepared to say.

But part of this, Brianna, if you talk to his gubernatorial staff, if you talk to his legal staff, if you talk to his political friends and advisers, is they say that he feels hamstrung in what he can say publicly because you do have the ongoing investigations. And they also say that he has not been fully aware of some of his wife's activities. That's what they say.

So they say the governor has to be very careful.

It's a cautionary tale, we were talking before during the break, in the sense that, imagine this. The economy in Virginia has been pretty good, better than the -- many of the other states during the recession. Yes, he was not vetted to be Mitt Romney's running mate, but he would have been in a Romney cabinet, maybe, if Romney had won and we didn't know about this.

Here's a guy winding down his term. He would be part of the 2016 conversation, a state that has recently gone blue, but Republicans want to take back, if you want to do the electoral math.

Now, forget about it. You do not hear Bob McDonnell and the words future in the same sentence anymore.

KEILAR: Well, and let's talk a little bit about that. I was there on Election Night, in Richmond, in 2009. And there were a number of top Republicans who were there, so excited about the fact that he was doing well, and then when he won, this rising star in the Republican Party.

What does this mean for him and what does it mean for the party?

KING: Well, you mentioned that optimism on that Election Night, because this state is one of the big tug of wars. You know, we talk often about Ohio and what about Florida. But the little states like Virginia and North Carolina, that have gone back and forth, he was gut -- he was -- this Republican was elected, Bob McDonnell, after Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, the Democrats had taken back the governor's mansion in Richmond two terms in a row.

Barack Obama carried the state in two presidential elections in a row.

To get the Republicans to 270, it's hard to get there without the stage of Virginia, which is why Bob McDonnell has played in all these conversations.

Now, he's trying to keep himself out of a courtroom. And this is usually the time -- the Virginia governor only gets one term. It's one of the quirky laws in our country. This is normally when they're taking a tour of the state as a farewell tour. Just last week, he was putting out press releases about how many cases of wine Virginia exported last year. It's a big part of their economy. This is what he should be, you know, pounding his chest, saying, look at my record.

Instead, he's trying to keep himself out of a courtroom.

Again, in terms of political future, none.


John King, thank you so much.

Now to another leading face in the GOP, this one with his sights potentially set on 2016. We're talking New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, signing into law today legislation making his state the second in the country to forbid gay conversion therapy for under the age of 18. This controversial practice is based on the premise that a person's sexual orientation can be changed with counseling.

A number of leading medical organizations oppose the practice and the governor says that agrees.

Now, coming up, we have details of new al Qaeda threats by a terror spokesman who's also an American.

Plus, new drama on and off the field for A-Rod.

And a church choir preaching about the dangers of social media. We show you the video that's going viral.


KEILAR: Chilling new calls for attacks on U.S. ambassadors around the world, apparently from the American-born spokesman for al Qaeda, Adam Gadahn in a new video just surfacing.

Let's go ahead now and bring in our Brian Todd.

He's working the details on this story.

And I think the question is really how meaningful is the threat?

Can we take it to the bank?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's a key question, Brianna, and one they're assessing inside the halls of U.S. intelligence right now.

We've been speaking with U.S. intelligence officials and outside analysts about this video. What they're trying to assess now is just how influential is Adam Gadahn within al Qaeda and can his calls to kill U.S. ambassadors carry real weight inside the organization?


TODD (voice-over): He's California-born and raised, the son of goat farmers, had at least one pair of Jewish grandparents. Now, as one of al Qaeda's top propagandists, he lavishes praise on the people who killed America's ambassador to Libya last year in Benghazi.

ADAM GADAHN, AL QAEDA SPOKESMAN (through translator): The American ambassador to Libya was killed to heal the chests (ph) of believers and enrage the criminals.

TODD: The latest video from Adam Gadahn, the American-born spokesman for al Qaeda, was posted and analyzed in recent days by SITE, a global intelligence company. In the video, Gadahn calls for more attacks on U.S. ambassadors in the Middle East, urging wealthy Muslims to offer rewards for killing them. Gadahn himself has a $1 million bounty on his head, is on the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists.

The video indicates it was produced in March of this year.

Did it have any bearing on the recent decision to close America's embassies in the Middle East?

An administration official told me the video was not specifically a factor. Still, Gadahn has made an extraordinary journey from being what family members described as a teenager obsessed with heavy metal music to a role as one of al Qaeda's most visible figures.

GADAHN: Today could be your last day.

TODD: Raised and home-schooled on this Orange County goat farm, relatives say he converted to Islam at this nearby mosque, but fell in with a hard-line Islamist group there and had a run-in with the mosque's leader.

HAITHAM BUNDAKJI, ISLAMIC CENTER OF ORANGE COUNTY: He came changing into my office that one day, screaming and yelling and angry, really angry. And he caught me off guard. And he slapped me right across the face.

TODD: Shortly after he was placed on the Most Wanted list, Gadahn's father said this.

PHILIP GADAHN, ADAM GADAHN'S FATHER: I was surprised, because I really couldn't imagine that he would do anything that would get him in this position.

TODD: I asked analyst Peter Bergen if Adam Gadahn is as dangerous to the U.S. as another American who joined al Qaeda.

(on camera): Could he be like Anwar al-Awlaki and have an operational role in al Qaeda?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I mean, so far, there's no evidence that he's got an operational role in al Qaeda. But that's what we said about -- that's what the U.S. government view of Anwar al-Awlaki was originally, that he was a propagandist and a cleric and he didn't really have an operational role. And one of the reasons that, you know, the president signed off on a drone strike is that he was -- suddenly people decided hey, this guy really does have an operational role.

So things can change.


TODD: Where is Adam Gadahn now?

Peter Bergen believes he's very likely in Pakistan. Bergen points out Assahav (ph), which is the video production arm of al Qaeda, is based in Pakistan.

I reached out to Gadahn's family to ask what they think of this latest video. His mother, sounding upset after I described the video to her over the phone, told me she didn't want to talk to us -- Brianna.

KEILAR: And, Brian, Anwar al-Awlaki was taken out by the U.S.

TODD: That's right.

KEILAR: So it begs the question if the U.S. might do that, as well, with Adam Gadahn.

You have at least one U.S. senator now calling for this.

TODD: That's right. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican on the Armed Services Committee, he Tweeted out today -- he sent out a statement saying that lethal force is appropriate to use against Adam Gadahn and that it should be used without hesitation. Graham says he should be considered an enemy combatant.

But we have to point out, Gadahn was indicted in the U.S., but for treason for the videos that he did, not for any operational role in al Qaeda. That's different from Anwar al-Awlaki, where U.S. officials did believe that at least toward the end, he had a role in planning attacks.

Adam Gadahn, that's not at all clear and whether they have the legal basis for taking him out, that's not clear, either.

KEILAR: As Peter Bergen said, maybe things will change.

TODD: Maybe.

KEILAR: I guess we'll see.


KEILAR: Brian Todd, thank you so much.

Next A-Rod gets beaned on the baseball field.

Did you see this last night?

Sentiments against the embattled Yankee reaching a fever pitch. We will talk to a national baseball writer and also our own resident baseball expert, John King, about what this means for America's pastime.

Plus, you may love that morning cup of coffee and then some, but how much is too much?

That's just ahead.


KEILAR: Happening now, British authorities detain the partner of the journalist who first reported the NSA leaks to the world.

And summer's hit song and a controversial lawsuit pits Robin Thicke against the family of a music legend.

Plus, coffee and your health. What's the truth about one of the world's favorite beverages?

Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Briana Keilar, and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM. So this was an awkward moment to say the least. At last night's Red Sox/Yankees game in Boston - yes, look at that, A-Rod literally getting hit by a pitch. The sentiment against the star Yankee has really reached a fever pitch as he battles accusations that he used performance-enhancing drugs, and he's now appealing that 211-game suspension that he was hit with.

CNN national correspondent Jason Carroll sat down with A-Rod's attorney. So, what did he say, Jason?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He had a lot to say. Beginning, let's just say it like it is. He's the highest paid player in baseball. And as you can see there, Brianna, he's facing fastballs on the field. But he's also serving up very serious allegations off the field. Alex Rodriguez's attorney coming forward, alleging misconduct on behalf of the Yankees and Major League Baseball.


CARROLL (voice-over): The drama playing out on the field is no match for the battle raging off the field.

JOE TACOPINA, RODRIGUEZ ATTORNEY: Both the Yankees and the MLB never want Alex Rodriguez on the baseball field again.

CARROLL: And to that end, Joe Tacopina, Rodriguez's attorney, says Major League Baseball and the Yankees have been trying to sabotage Rodriguez. Tacopina points to this MRI from October of last year, which he says shows a tear on Rodriguez's left hip. A copy of the written diagnosis also provided to CNN.

TACOPINA: Now, the amazing part of that is that was never shared with Alex Rodriguez at the time. He was sent off to play.

CARROLL (on camera): When you say it wasn't shared, what do you mean?

TACOPINA: He wasn't told about it.

CARROLL (voice-over): Given clearance to play by the Yankees when he was hurt, and Tacopina doesn't stop there. He also alleges Yankees' president, Randy Levine, made it clear to the doctor chosen by the Yankees he did not want Rodriguez back.

TACOPINA: What Randy Levine said to Dr.Kelly was that, "I would rather Alex never step on the field again." In so many words. "I would rather Alex never step on the field again."

CARROLL (on camera): When you say in so many words, do you know what words were used?

TACOPINA: Well, my understanding was there was a word not fit for TV that was used in that sentence as well.

CARROLL (voice-over): A spokeswoman for Dr. Brian Kelly could not confirm the conversation. MLB responded by saying, "Mr. Tacopina continues to avoid the only relevant question. Did Rodriguez use performance enhancing drugs? The rest of what he says is to distract people from the real issues."

(on camera): Why is the Rodriguez team not being as strong in coming out and saying, look, he did not use performance enhancing drugs?

TACOPINA: You understand where some of these lawyers are. We're in the midst of some of the best lawyers in New York City.

CARROLL: As an attorney, you know it's a very simple statement: my client did not use performance-enhancing drugs.

TACOPINA: Because there is a confidentiality clause.

CARROLL (voice-over): There is a confidentiality agreement in place while Rodriguez appeals his 211-game suspension. MLB says it has evidence Rodriguez used performance enhancing drugs, allegedly provided by the former anti-aging clinic Biogenesis.

(on camera): What can you tell us about what relationship, if any, that Rodriguez had with Biogenesis?

TACOPINA: Oh, clearly - well again, there's certain things we can't get into and can get into. But clearly there was a relationship.

CARROLL: What kind of relationship?

TACOPINA: A consulting relationship. I mean, Biogenesis, that lab has consulted with many professional athletes. And not every single one of those athletes has been accused of or found guilty of using illegal substances. I will say --

CARROLL: I think that's fair. But just help me understand. When you say a consulting relationship, what does that mean? To me, that's a bit vague.

TACOPINA: Yes, it is a bit vague. And again, we're back to the point where now I'm starting to get into the allegations and the defenses of those allegations. And I just can't do it, as much as I want to.


CARROLL: We did reach out to Yankees management, several times, in fact, throughout the day for a response regarding allegations that medical information was withheld from Rodriguez. They did not return our calls for comment. And Brianna, as for that confidentiality agreement, Major League Baseball did send a letter to Rodriguez's attorney, who you heard from there, saying they'd waive it. However, Tacopino points out, he says, that's just posturing. He says in order for that to be official, they have to send that very same type of letter to the Players Association, and that has not been done as of yet. Brianna?

KEILAR: Jason Carroll, thank you for your report.

And let's talk a little more about this. Joining us now for more is Brian Costa. He is a reporter for the "Wall Street Journal." Also our chief national correspondent and Boston native John King, back with us.

So, you know, I want to talk a little bit about what this means - obviously, Brian, not just for this game but moving forward. We still have a couple months left in the season, especially if the Yankees make the postseason. Is this the new normal? Are we on boo watch all the time. Is this baseball now?

BRIAN COSTA, REPORTER, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": Yes, I think this is pretty much become business as usual. I mean, it seems like every day now, there's more of the he said/he said back and forth here. And really become a surreal drama that's consuming the Yankee season.

KEILAR: OK, so John, let me ask you this, because you obviously were glued to the TV last night as I was, as baseball fans were. You're watching this whole game go down, you see that shot right there, he gets beaned. Dempster, the pitcher, after the game says, no, I was actually trying to go inside. Do you believe that or --

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's a unique perspective for the Red Sox fans (INAUDIBLE) mediocre high school catcher. It was unintentional. Of course it was unintentional. Ah- ha.


KEILAR: Because he can't say he did it on purpose.

KING: He can't say he did it on purpose. Ryan Dempster's an old- school baseball player. There's a lot of bad blood. I hate to say this as a Red Sox fan -- last night, A-Rod got the last word. He hit a home run, and the Yankees won the game.

But think about what's going on as a baseball fan. Anyone watching - I am a Red Sox fan. I have a bias, I don't like A-Rod, I think he's a crybaby. OK, I'll say that straight up. But think of what's happening here. His manager, Joe Girardi, is one of the great class acts in baseball. I hate the Yankees, but he's a class act. Mario Rivera is a hall of famer. He's the best closer ever. He's in his farewell season. This is distracting the Yankees, who are actually trying to make a run right now in the American League East. The Red Sox are up a game, there are great pennant races, the Pittsburgh Pirates might make the playoffs for the first time in forever.

Baseball should be a great story this fall. Instead, it's about this.

KEILAR: It's this. Instead it's this.

Now Brian, you wrote this for the "Wall Street Journal" today. You said, "On the field, A-Rod has proved to be an asset at a position where the Yankees desperately need help. Off the field, though, his co-existence with the Yankees resembles that of a match and a tank of gasoline." He's not very well liked, even on his own team.

And I'm wondering, when you look at what happened last night, what do you think the cause of that is? Is it just because of the sort of anti-A-Rod sentiment we've seen all along, a crybaby as John called him? Obviously very well paid? Or is it also that you see these players really disliking what he's doing to baseball at this point? Is it a little bit of self-policing maybe?

COSTA: Well, I think you have a player who wasn't the most well-liked guy by his own peers to begin with. And now that they're seeing this happen, most players I think believe that Alex Rodriguez did commit the violations the MLB is accusing him of and are unhappy he's playing out the rest of the season as the appeals process plays out.

But I think the dynamic within his own team is interesting because between him and the Yankees' front office, it's very contentious, very tense right now. He and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman are barely on speaking terms.

On the other hand, within his own clubhouse, it sort of varies. I mean, you have some players he has a history with that he's friendlier with. There are some other players who really have made it known they're not huge fans of his. So I think the players on the rest of the team are really almost like spectators in this drama like the rest of we are.

KEILAR: Do you think that someone -- to you first, Brian and then I want to ask you, John. Do you think someone -- that MLB needs to step in and kind of put an end to this? Or can anything be done?

COSTA: Well, MLB is reviewing the incident that happened last night with Dempster and Alex Rodriguez. We'll see what, if any, discipline they offer. It's the first time this has happened as far as him getting beaned like this. So I think we'll have to see how it plays out. I don't anticipate that happening on a nightly basis, but could it happen again? Sure.

KEILAR: What do you think, John?

KING: I think he's going to be booed everywhere he goes. I think again as you have these great pennant races, he'll be seen by baseball fans, whether they're deeply involved or not, as distracting from a great season.

I talked to a couple of people deeply involved in the investigation today. And they insist, Brianna, they say the evidence against him is overwhelming. They say there is no doubt. But - but -- this is part because of the process. In America, we're innocent until proven guilty, and there is a process through which A-Rod gets to appeal. I hate to defend him, but the MLB has a process, and that is what he is doing.

Now, should his attorneys be saying this about his employer? Could the MLB maybe try to get a gag order? That might help everybody. But he does have the right to appeal. As he does, we have this mess.

KEILAR: And a lot of people felt that if MLB had used their other authority to kind of get him out of the game at this point in time, it would be overreaching. So, I guess for now, this is --

KING: That's a lot of the bad blood. They've shown him the evidence, and he still wants to appeal. (INAUDIBLE) suspension, and that's about money.

KEILAR: There's a lot of money riding on this as you mentioned, John King. Thank you so much, and thank you to Brian Costa as well.

And you know, A-Rod was not the only one who was caught on camera getting hit by a ball this weekend. We feel perhaps more sorry for this person. A Fox Sports sideline reporter, Pam Oliver. You may know her. She was getting socked in the face there by a football in yesterday's preseason game between the New York Giants and the Indianapolis Colts. She was just preparing for a report when the pass knocked her in the head. She's okay, though, as can you see there. What a tough cookie. Unbelievable.

And the Colts backup quarterback responsible for that apologized, he gave her a big hug. He also tweeted at her that he owed her some flowers. And I will definitely say they better be on their way.

The so-called Olympic "Blade Runner," Oscar Pistorius, has now been formally indicted in the death of his model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. In court today, an emotional Pistorius was charged with planning and premeditating (INAUDIBLE) planned and premeditated murder, which comes with a mandatory sentence of life behind bars.

CNN's Robyn Curnow is in Pretoria, South Africa.

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Reeva Steenkamp was supposed to be celebrating her 30th birthday today. Instead her boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius, was here at the Pretoria magistrate's court, head bowed, praying, facing charges of killing her, shooting her to death in the early hours of Valentine's Day morning. He said it was just a tragic mistake, that he mistook her for an intruder. But the state said it was premeditated murder, and they indicted him for that today.


KELLY PHELPS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: If they appear to have a tenuous case for premeditated murder, the rest of their indictment appears to paint a picture of a fight and killing her in the spur of the moment. And it's very difficult to argue on the one hand murder in the spur of the moment but premeditation at the same time.

CURNOW: What was striking about today's indictment was the sheer number of witnesses that the state intends to call. More than 100 names were listed on the charge sheet.

PHELPS: If they do end up calling all 107 witnesses, this could be a very, very long trial. And all, the defense will want to rebut the evidence of the state's witnesses. They'll be calling their own witnesses as well. And it's a very unusual number of witnesses to have on a list at this stage.

CURNOW: A long case that begins on March 3rd next year.

Robyn Curnow, CNN, Pretoria, South Africa.


KEILAR: Now, just ahead a rare glimpse into the finances of a very private Carolyn Kennedy. How much is the presidential daughter worth?

Plus, not preaching to the choir, but the choir preaching us to about the dangers of social media.


KEILAR: Let's take a look now at some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The Beaver Creek Fire in -- Idaho, I should say, now more than 100,000 acres and growing, 2200 homes are under a mandatory evacuation and the celebrity heavy Sun Valley ski area is among the threatened areas. We'll have much more on this story coming up. We'll be taking you there live in the next hour of THE SITUATION ROOM.

And royal watchers are dismissing a new conspiracy theory about the death of Princess Diana. British media reporting allegations that members of Britain's Elite Special Air Service Commando Unit were involved in assassinating Diana, a claim that a former Special Forces sniper allegedly made to his wife. The official investigation ruled the crash that killed Diana, her boyfriend and his driver an accident.

And Caroline Kennedy is disclosing some personal financial information as part of her nomination to be the next U.S. ambassador to Japan. They show that JFK's daughter has extensive financial interests in real estate in her portfolio and on the low side they would put her net worth at $70 million. On the high side, $280 million or more.

And you know, it's not exactly one of the "Ten Commandments" but one church choir is preaching about the dangers of social media, warning people to keep your business off Facebook.


So this has gone viral. This clip from an unidentified church. Hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube there. The song warns about the pitfalls of sharing questionable behavior online saying, quote, "Sundays you act like a saint but your Facebook post say you ain't." Maybe some truth to that, I think.

Now coming up, some say that it's good for you, some say it's bad for you. We go digging for the truth about coffee.

Plus details of Robin Thicke's lawsuit against the family of music icon Marvin Gay. It's over this summer's blockbuster hit.


KEILAR: I admit. It's on my iPad. Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" is the it song right now. And despite that, the hit is caught up in a tense legal battle, hitting some of today's most popular stars against some of Motown's finest.

Here's CNN entertainment correspondent Nischelle Turner.


NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is the hottest hit of the summer. Too similar to this Motown hit of 1977? Robin Thicke and his producers are going to court preemptively filing a lawsuit against Marvin Gaye's family and the copyright owner of his work. At issue, complaints about similarities in the compositions between Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and at least two other songs, including Gaye's hit, "Gotta Give It Up" performed here on Soul Train among them.

The suit claims that Gaye's family alleges the song feel or sound the same. Thicke argues that "Blurred Lines" was to invoke an era and reminiscent of a sound. But that's not copyright infringement -- or is it?

CHRISTOPHER JOHN FARLEY, EDITOR, WSJ.COM/SPEAKEASY: Typically, unless you find a melodic progression that sounds exactly like the songs that people are alleging that you're stealing sounds, they usually get away with it.

TURNER: The suit alleges that the Gaye defendants are claiming ownership of an entire genre as opposed to a specific work. And then a second allegation, the head of Bridge Port Music, Armen Boladian, pictured here with Funkadelic in 1969, also claims Thicke and producers extracted samplings of the Funkadelic's "Sexy Ways."

But George Clinton himself, a former member of the group, disagrees, tweeting last week, "No sample of Funkadelic's 'sexy Ways' and Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines.' Yet Armen Boladian thinks so? We support Robin Thicke and Pharrell."

Now it's up to a court to determine whether Thicke's "Blurred Lines" crossed the line.

Nischelle Turner, CNN, New York.


KEILAR: And when we come back, controversy brewing over coffee and conflicting claims about its effect on your health. We are digging deeper.



KEILAR: Americans love their coffee. But is all that coffee good for us or bad for us? Turns out the answer depends on whom you ask.

CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen takes a closer look.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, there's a lot of conflicting information out there about coffee drinking. So listen to this, we'll break it down for you.


COHEN (voice-over): Conflicting studies about coffee and your health are brewing up confusion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know, is it good for me? Is it bad? I mean, should I drink it, should I not?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I find the information confusing but I just drink it anyway.


I drink like 10 cups a day.

COHEN: But a recent study says maybe she should learn to live without it, or perhaps not quite so much of it. The study found that people under age 55 who drank four or more cups a day were 50 percent more likely to die during the course of the 16-year study. And we're talking about eight-ounce cups of coffee. Not the giant drinks that many people like to order.

Coffee might hurt you by increasing your chances of getting gastrointestinal cancer, plus --

DR. SCOTT WRIGHT, CARDIOLOGIST, MAYO CLINIC: The stimulant from coffee with caffeine could cause irregular heart rhythms.

COHEN: But, and it's a big but, several other studies have found that coffee is actually good for you, decreasing the likelihood that you'll get Alzheimer's, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases.

So what's the java lover to do?

BRIDGET FIELDS, COFFEE DRINKER: When you smell coffee, you know, it's time to get your day going.

COHEN: Some doctors say you can hedge your bets.

WRIGHT: As Mark Twain once said everything in moderation.

COHEN: So maybe instead of 10 cups a day, try sticking to fewer than four.


COHEN: Now maybe in this most recent study, coffee actually isn't the culprit. Maybe it's just that people who drink a lot of coffee tend to have bad health habits. For example, maybe they're really stressed out and that's what's making them die young. We really have no way of knowing -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Well, that's it for me. The next hour of THE SITUATION ROOM begins now with my colleague, Jake Tapper.