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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Gunman Opens Fire at Georgia School; Father Demands Investigation Into Son's Killing; State Department Won't Fire Staffers Tied to Benghazi; Kaitlyn Hunt Going Back to Jail; Dr. Oz Helps Treat Woman Hit By NYC Taxi; Unpaid White House Interns Demand Pay; Ted Cruz Dumps Canadian Citizenship
Aired August 20, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: "OUTFRONT" next, breaking news. A man with an AK-47 goes into a school in Georgia. We are live at the scene tonight.
Plus new details on the so-called conference call between al Qaeda leaders and how American intelligence discovered it. This is one incredible story.
And police say three Oklahoma teens shot and killed an unarmed man. Just for the fun of it. Because they said they were bored.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, I want to begin with the breaking news with the new details breaking tonight about a gunman who opened fire at a Georgia elementary school today. The suspect was armed with an AK-47 when he began firing inside the school. You can see here the footage of the children sprinting hundreds of panicked children then ran for safety. Now, the miracle here is they weren't injured. None of them, but we're learning tonight that the gunman was armed and ready to kill a lot of people.
Our David Mattingly is outside the Discovery Learning Academy just outside Atlanta with the latest tonight. David, let's start off first of all with this gunman. What did they find, what was he prepared to do? What do you know about him?
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When police first got to the scene shortly after 1:00 Eastern Time today, the gunman inside fired about a half dozen shots at them. They returned fire. That was all the shooting that went on here. After that, the gunman actually gave himself up without incident. But you can bet there was a great deal of concern about what was going on inside that school as he gave himself up when they went in there, they found he had an AK- 47, other weapons on him.
They haven't elaborated what he was carrying. He is in custody. He is described as 19 years old. No motive has been described by authorities yet, but he is being interrogated and hoping to have answers soon. You can imagine as the police were there, under fire themselves, the children were having to find ways to get out of that school. Some of them had to exit the school out the back in those dramatic pictures that we saw going off to a playground to seek refuge.
They were all OK. Frightened, some of them thought it was a fire drill as they were getting out of there. But again, they were all OK. Some of them had to stay in the school because of where they were and they had a shelter in place. But this gunman didn't hurt anyone though he had the potential to do a great deal of harm here -- Erin.
BURNETT: Just amazing, David, in terms of the children and how hundreds of them were able to get in terms of this gunman, do they know, I know you are saying at this point we know about the AK-47 and other multiple weapons. It makes me think about the Lanza situation, at this point are the guns and all of that still a question mark?
MATTINGLY: A big question mark. The authorities here just have not elaborated on what he was carrying, only specifically saying the AK-47. They were also talking about concerns about his car parked out in the parking lot in front of the school. One of the police dogs was able to sniff it and actually act -- responded as if there were explosives at this vehicle, so they were very carefully going through the car to make sure there was nothing there. We're waiting for the all-clear.
We suspect we should be getting that pretty shortly. But at this point there's been no report that they actually found any explosives in there. Because the car, Erin, was in front of the school, they couldn't get the school buses to come in there and take the kids out like they normally do so all the kids had to go out the back. They had to cut a hole in the screen at the back of the property of the school. Go through someone's yard to a neighboring street where they had the buses line up.
So, that in itself was a big production. It took hours for the parents to get reunited with their kids and they were standing out here in the hot sun in a parking lot at a shopping center, very anxious, all of them very aware of what could have happened. You can't say that no one was hurt enough times to them to make them feel better until their child actually stepped off that school bus and into their arms.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, David Mattingly.
And now our second story, OUTFRONT, we have new details tonight about planned terror attacks on America. U.S. officials have discovered an electronic meeting between more than 20 al Qaeda top leaders and they did that by following the internet trail of an al Qaeda courier. Now, this is according to reporting by the "Daily Beast."
You'll recall it was that meeting of al Qaeda leaders that prompted the Obama administration to issue an unprecedented terror alert ordering the closing of nearly two dozen American embassies in the Mideast and North Africa.
Josh Rogin is the reporter who broke the story. Josh, let me start with this, when you hear the word courier and al Qaeda you think of the capture of Osama Bin Laden, literally, a physical courier driving the car that they were able to follow, so we've heard about this before. But this is an electronic trail, that's how they were able to find this. How do they do it?
JOSH ROGIN, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT, "THE DAILY BEAST": So, here's what happened, after a seven-hour internet conference between all of these leaders, the details of that conference, the minutes of it, were given to this courier and he then took it and tried to send it around to a greater distribution list inside the al Qaeda community. When he did that, he made some mistakes in his operational security. U.S. intelligence agencies were able to catch the mistakes and track him and with the help of the Yemeni authorities pick him up and capture him.
And when they got him, they found a video of the entire seven- hour conference call along with a host of all other sorts of goodies about what al Qaeda was up to. That is exactly how we found out about the worldwide terror threat that prompted the embassy closings. The courier himself is still in custody somewhere in Yemen being held by Yemeni authorities and they are still going through the troves of information that were caught on his person.
BURNETT: You talked about a seven-hour conference and obviously there was a lot of information that led to these closings but other information that they found as well. What more can you tell us about the conference?
ROGIN: Right, so it was described by some of our sources as a board meeting of al Qaeda leaders and affiliates and aspiring affiliates from all over the world, Nigeria, Southeast Asia and Eli Lake and I at the "Daily Beast" were able to report that the leader of al Qaeda, Zawahiri started the conference with a video message, it's not clear if he was in the conference or he just gave a video message to give at the conference.
He then announced the promotion of the leader of the Yemeni affiliate AQAP and he was in the conference and took direct questions. Zawahiri reappeared later in the conference. It was a long conference so people were coming in and out. They discussed all sorts of things. They discussed Zawahiri's opinion that the U.S. was in decline.
He compared the U.S. now to Soviet Union in 1989 just before the Berlin wall came down. He advised the al Qaeda affiliates to take advantage of this decline in American influence in the region. He announced the promotion of the general manager of al Qaeda --
BURNETT: It does sound like a board meeting.
ROGIN: Yes, so they covered a whole bunch of things, ideology, some business, some tasks, they really got a lot done, apparently.
BURNETT: Before you go, Josh, you said the courier is in custody in Yemen and a lot of embassies have all now reopening including the American embassy in Yemen. So is this an all-clear or given all the information that they have, do they think there's another attack in the works?
ROGIN: Right. So on this conference call they vaguely discussed a threat and said some teams that were in place. There was a date around that threat. Now that date has come and gone. The consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, remains closed. What we know is that the overall threat from al Qaeda remains, the specific threat may have passed. We know they're out there and they're trying to plan attacks and we have to be vigilant at all times.
BURNETT: All right, Josh, thank you very much, Josh Rogin, of course, breaking that with Eli Lake.
Still to come, how and where was the accused Boston marathon bomber shot? We have new details tonight for you.
And the secretary of state Hillary Clinton, put four officials on administrative leave following the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, guess what? They're being brought back to their jobs.
Plus what would motivate three Oklahoma teens to allegedly murder a stranger? Just for the thrill of it we talk to the police chief.
And why what you see here is good news for some cars.
BURNETT: New details on the injuries sustained by the suspected Boston marathon bomber. So we have some newly released court documents and if you feed them, you see this Dzhokhar Tsarnaev suffered multiple gunshot wounds dunk the shootout with police on April 19th and the most severe injury according to the report was a gunshot wound to the left side of his face which came all the way through his face and exited the other side.
There are also questions tonight surrounding the death of someone that knew his older brother, someone that could be very important to the murders the brothers committed. He was killed by the FBI in May, while agents and police questioned him about his connection to the Tsarnaevs. His father is convinced the FBI is hiding something and he's demanding answers tonight.
Susan Candiotti is OUTFRONT in Orlando and we want to warn you that some of the images that you will see in this piece are disturbing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For us, very difficult.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nearly four months after the FBI fatally shot his son during questions, he insists things don't add up.
ABDUL BAKI TODASHEV, IBRAGIM TODASHEV'S FATHER (through translator): I would want to tell them that they committed a murder. CANDIOTTI: Officially the FBI has yet to explain exactly what happened at this apartment in May. Its internal review is not complete. Law enforcement sources tell CNN the agent involved acted in self-defense. Ibrahim Todashev, a skilled mix martial arts fighter allegedly had just confessed to participating in a triple murder with Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, slitting the throats of three people.
From there things are murky. Todashev allegedly attacked an FBI agent, but why? Was Todashev provoked? Did he simply snap? Did an FBI agent overreact when he shot Todashev or was that agent genuinely afraid he was going to lose his life? Law enforcement sources tell CNN the un-cuffed Todashev allegedly flipped over a table knocking the agent against the wall and came after him with a broomstick. The agent opened fire.
(on camera): Do you think the FBI can fairly investigate itself?
TODASHEV (through translator): It's doubtful someone can fairly judge themselves.
CANDIOTTI (voice-over): These never-before-seen photos obtained by CNN show blood inside Todashev's apartment where he apparently fell. Sources say he was shot seven times. For now the medical examiner's report is sealed. At CNN's request, forensic expert Cyril Wecht looked at photos taken at a funeral home.
DR. CYRIL WECHT, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: I think he was first struck in the chest. He began to fall. They continued to fire and as he's falling forward as I'm demonstrating here, a shot goes into the shoulder and a shot goes into the head.
CANDIOTTI: Todashev's father asked for a private meeting with Florida's lead prosecutor in Orlando who recently announced he's conducting an independent investigation.
TODASHEV (through translator): I think he will be fair and not take the FBI's side.
CANDIOTTI: The Council on American-Islamic relations representing Todashev's father said CARE has faith in the justice department but wants a second set of eyes.
HASSAN SHIBLY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CAIR TAMPA: And it's about, you know, answering the questions that this father has why his son was killed.
BURNETT: Now, Susan, I mean, you hear about this and obviously there seems to have been something that could have gone very wrong, seven shots. Any response from the FBI?
CANDIOTTI: No, they're not saying anything, Erin, and they say they won't until their internal investigation is done. But they did issue a statement, and it reads in part, quote, "The FBI takes very seriously any shooting incidents involving our agents. The review process is thorough and objective and conducted as expeditiously as possible."
But we also wanted to point out, as "The New York Times" did, that after it obtained records through the Freedom of Information Act, looking at 150 shootings by the FBI between 1993 and 2011, the records show that all FBI internal investigations found those shootings to be justified.
Now, will the family sue? They say they haven't decided yet. They're waiting for all of these reviews to be done, including the ones from the FBI and the state attorney's office here in Orlando. Erin?
BURNETT: All right, Susan, thank you.
And now our fourth story OUTFRONT, three Oklahoma teenagers charged today for shooting a man to death for fun. This is one of the most horrible stories you've ever heard. The teens told police that 22-year-old Christopher Lane, an Australian student who was in America on a baseball scholarship was chosen at random. They say he ran by their house, and then they saw him and then decided to get in their car and followed him. They then gunned him down in the street.
In a hearing today, 15-year-old James Edward, Jr. and 16-year-old Chancey Luna, who allegedly pulled the trigger, were both charged as adults with first-degree murder. The third suspect, 17-year-old Michael Jones, is charged with accessory and for driving the car from which the gun was fired.
Chief Daniel Ford of the Duncan, Oklahoma police department, is OUTFRONT. I spoke to him.
BURNETT: Chief Ford, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us.
DANIEL FORD, POLICE CHIEF, DUNCAN, OKLAHOMA: No problem.
BURNETT: Obviously you have these three teenagers. This story is really impossible to believe, sir. What led you to believe that they killed this student, this 22-year-old young man, purely for amusement? How do you know there was no other motivation?
FORD: It was in the second interview of the 17-year-old. He was asked why they did it. And he basically said we were bored. They didn't have anything to do, and we decided to kill somebody. He was our target.
BURNETT: Do they at all explain why they picked this young man, Christopher Lane?
FORD: The word -- the best word I can give you is that they said they saw him go by. They were in a residence, saw him go by. The statement I have that has been conveyed to me is that's our target.
BURNETT: And you also, I know in addition to the interviews that your police force has conducted about these three teenagers. There was also reportedly surveillance video that led to the arrests, that led to people seeing how exactly this happened that they allegedly shot this 22-year-old innocent man in the back and killed him. What else did you see on that surveillance video?
FORD: The surveillance video came from some merchants in the area where they left the -- one of the roads that they had gone west on and hit U.S. 81. And basically, it was the vehicle, a black vehicle, entering the parking lot going behind a motel. And then about 11 minutes coming from back out from behind that motel.
BURNETT: And, Chief, what goes through your head when you hear something like this, so senseless, so horrible, that these young men in interrogation with your police force admit they were going to kill somebody; "We were bored." I mean, no one watching this program has ever heard anything like that in their lives.
FORD: I don't think anybody could understand that. I would hope that the general public and other people would not be able to understand or have -- or be able to say I understand because I don't.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, Chief Ford, we appreciate your time tonight.
FORD: You bet.
BURNETT: And in tonight's "Money and Power," the safest car on the road -- it's the all-electric Tesla model S. The vehicle earned the highest possible rating in government crash tests. Watch this. Scored 5.4 when you see it drive into the wall there. And basically, the reason Tesla did so well apparently partly because it's electric, so it doesn't have a gasoline engine. And what that means it creates a large crumple zone in the front of the car so that can absorb a greater frontal impact.
Safe and apparently pretty hot and sexy. That car also won Motor Trend Car of the Year last November. That's a pretty good combo. It's great news for Tesla's founder, Elon Musk, who last week unveiled the Hyperloop, which he hopes will someday get people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes instead of, I believe five or six hours.
Still to come, was it a relationship or an assault? A Florida 19-year-old is going back to jail, accused of more inappropriate contact with a younger girl that she's involved with.
Plus, the controversy over unpaid intern lands at the president's doorsteps. Should the White House be paying its interns?
And this video shocked people who saw it on the Internet today. We're going to tell you the story behind it.
BURNETT: Our fifth story OUTFRONT: death of a legend. Bestselling author Elmore Leonard died today. He was known for gritty realism and forceful dialogue, referred to as the "Dickens of Detroit." Twenty- six of his books -- 26 -- have been adapted for the big screen, including things you've probably seen. "Get Shorty," "Out Of Sight," "3:10 To Yuma." Earlier today, we talked about how to pay tribute to someone many consider one of America's great writers, and we decided the best way was to hear from the man himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELMORE LEONARD, AUTHOR & SCREENWRITER: I'll come to my desk about 9:30 and work. I always work until 6:00. Rarely have lunch. The idea of lunch doesn't interest me at all, and I'm not hungry. I'm just into what I'm doing. I write in longhand -- and it's just to me that's writing, you know? And then I put it on a typewriter.
I just stop at 6:00 because you got to stop sometime. But, still, yes, the character, though, could still be in my head. And maybe I might even sound like that character. Maybe all day long, I might sound like that character. And my wife might say, well, I know who you are today.
I never, ever write from my own point of view. I never use my words. I don't want them to hear me telling them what the -- or showing them what the book is about. I want them immersed in it the same way that I am.
But, still, the satisfaction is sitting right here. And I do think about it every once in a while. That here I am all alone. I'm looking out the window. And I'm just fooling around with a scene. I'm writing a story. I'm all by myself writing the story. And somebody's going to pay me a lot of money for it. And I think that's wonderful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Still to come, outrage continues over the government's surveillance program, but what about the other people who are watching us every single day?
Plus, a new PSA re-creates the last moments of Trayvon Martin's life. Something, by the way, that was forbidden in the courtroom. Is this an important message or does it go way too far?
And the 1972 Miami Dolphins finally get to the White House. But you know what? There's a problem here, and some of them chose not to make the trip.
And our "Shoutout" tonight: the truck going airborne. I promised to tell you the story here. This video was shot in Michigan and posted to a Web site called Vine. Local police tell us the driver suffered from an unknown medical condition, veered into the median before going airborne. Now the truck, as you can see, soared into the air, dropped 15 to 20 feet into a dry creek bed, which in the spring could have been filled with 12 feet of water. "Shoutout" goes to the first responders who aided the driver who yes, was injured, but is expected to make a full recovery. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT. We're going to start with stories where we focus on reporting from the front lines, so want to begin with an update on a story we've been looking for answers to for the past year, the attack in Benghazi.
CNN has learned that the four State Department workers who were put on administrative leave after the Benghazi attack are being offered their -- new positions at the State Department. They include then Assistant Secretary of State Eric Boswell, who according to testimony was one of two officials responsible for approving -- or not as the case ended up being -- requests for more security.
It's worth noting an accountability review board found that the deaths of the four Americans were the result of, quote, "systemic failures in leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels." But both the board and Secretary John Kerry don't believe these officials should lose their jobs.
We have a lot more on Benghazi on our blog, including clips from our documentary, "The Truth About Benghazi."
It's back to jail for Kaitlin Hunt, the Florida teenage girl charged with having sex with a 14-year-old female classmate. Hunt's bond was revoked because prosecutors prove she violated a court order. They say that Hunt exchanged 20,000 texts messages, sent sexually explicit photos and secretly met with the girl after she was ordered not to.
One text message allegedly sent from the girl to Hunt reads, quote, "Brian asked me today if anyone saw us in the bathroom when we would do stuff. Should I have said names?"
Hunt, according to authorities responded, quote, "No. Say nobody."
Hunt's family maintains that the relationship between the two girls was consensual.
Dr. Oz to the rescue, the famous cardiac surgeon was in the right place at the right time and he stepped up to the plate. He helped treat a woman who was hit by a cab outside of his office in New York today.
The cab careened up onto the sidewalk, hit this woman. Dr. Oz was there. He didn't pat himself on the back. He praised the heroic actions of plumber David Justino, who removed his belt that Dr. Oz used as a tourniquet.
Well, "The Hill" newspaper is out with its list of the 50 wealthiest lawmakers in Congress. I always love this kind of thing.
Topping it this year, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa. His fortune rose to $355 million in 2012. That is -- that is wealthy by any Forbes standard. His riches certainly are not tied to the $174,000 a year he makes on the Hill, but the greenbacks he raked as director -- the founder, I'm sorry, of Directing Electronics (ph), which is the company that makes the Viper car alarm.
Remember this TV commercial?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Viper car. Protected by Viper. Stand back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: That is Darrell Issa's voice, protected by Viper, stand back.
It is been 745 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back? Most U.S. stocks were up today. That ended a four-day down streak. All eyes are on the Fed tomorrow. Minutes of its most recent meeting will come out. Investors are desperate to find out when the Fed will start scaling back its unprecedented stimulus for the U.S. economy.
The sixth story OUTFRONT: you are being watched. The Obama administration, of course, has been on the defensive, to say the least, over its spy agencies collecting information on us. But it is not only the government that is keeping tabs on you. Not even close.
Every single time you go on the Internet and you search, a wealth of information about you, your family, and, yes, your most personal, personal details are being collected and sold. Tom Foreman with the first in a series of an OUTFRONT investigation.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Worth more than the company that produced the "Star Wars" films, more than McDonald's makes in a year, even more than Ferrari, that is how valuable Internet advertising has become, raking in well over $30 billion annually, spurring a gold rush among companies for information about you.
JUSTIN BROOKMAN, CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY And TECHNOLOGY: Just in the last couple years you've seen a real explosion in sophistication of tracking and targeting technologies.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Jason Brookman is with the Center for Democracy and Technology.
FOREMAN: So let's talk about how this works. Imagine there's a couple that finds out they are expecting a baby and they go online immediately to look up the word "pregnancy."
BROOKMAN: Right. So right away they've shared with Google that they're interested in pregnancy, and so they can add that to the profile about me. They (inaudible) a lot of ads. And then I start clicking on links.
FOREMAN (voice-over): And with every click, powerful marketing companies drop electronic cookies onto our couple's track to record their browsing history, what they looked at and for how long and how much they spend.
Some may even link to the couple's real world shopping habits, noting that they purchased a home pregnancy test. And suddenly in their e-mails, on their smartphones in social media sites comes an avalanche of ads for baby bottles, strollers, car seats, cribs and much more.
FOREMAN: And all of this could happen before this couple even tells their family that they're pregnant.
FOREMAN (voice-over): And if you search something more delicate like sexually transmitted disease, infidelity or escorts, those, too, would be tracked. And all of this is drawing the attention of the Federal Trade Commission.
JESSICA RICH, BUREAU OF CONSUMER PROTECTION: Consumers may be very concerned if their children's information is tracked in this way. And there are also questions about whether this information is -- who it's given to.
Can your employer get it?
Can your insurer get it and learn about, you know, all your habits?
FOREMAN (voice-over): Still, so far the government is relying on the Internet ad industry to control itself, even as it grows steadily better at tracking your every move, purchase and click. For OUTFRONT, I'm Tom Foreman in Washington.
BURNETT: Pretty amazing, right? Well, this is the first in a series and we'll have a lot more scary things about what's really happening out there coming up later this week.
And now our seventh story OUTFRONT a dramatic new reenactment of the Trayvon Martin shooting. There's a 90-second public service announcement now that says -- and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has put it out. It's re-creating the final encounter between George Zimmerman and the Florida teen; it uses actors, but it uses portions of the real 9-1-1 call.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you following him?
GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, FORMER NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH OFFICER: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. We don't need you to do that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Sir, what is your name?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, you think he's yelling help?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is saying they shot who?
BURNETT (voice-over): The ad is called "Stand Up to 'Stand Your Ground'," and as you can see, it dramatizes the shooting and then urges voters to oppose the laws that exist in 26 states.
And while it's doing that it pans across the bodies of young boys dressed in hoodies that represent not just Trayvon Martin but they say shooting victims from "stand your ground" across the country.
Is this ad fair? Does it go too far?
I want to bring in OUTFRONT tonight George Zimmerman's defense attorney, Mark O'Mara.
And great to see you, Mark. Let me just --
MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Great to see you.
BURNETT: What bothers you the most about this ad, or do you think it's fair?
O'MARA: Well, the real problem with it is that it's just the dramatic sort of fantasy of what really happened that night. I'm not sure why they have to reinterpret the facts of what happened.
My greatest concern is that those people who are using this ad for certain purposes sort of are going to allow themselves to be ignored because the legislators who know better that this stuff doesn't represent the truth or the facts now have an opportunity to sort of ignore the message and ignore the messenger. I think they're hurting their own cause by doing something that doesn't base itself in fact.
BURNETT: A spokesman person for Trayvon Martin's family did put out a statement, which you may be aware of, but let me just read it for our viewers.
"The ads are too emotional for the family to discuss at this time. However, they're committed to building the Trayvon Martin Foundation and educating the public about how these laws need to be reviewed."
Now, Mark, of course, as you're well aware the "Tampa Bay Times" did a study that we put on this program of "stand your ground" cases, 73 percent of those who killed a black person faced no penalty; 59 percent who killed a white person faced no penalty.
When looked at that way, it does seem that these laws need to be looked at again.
Do you acknowledge that at all, or no?
O'MARA: No, I do. And actually, I've said in other times that we do need to maybe review the "stand your ground" statute, take a look at it and the see if it needs some polishing in the area where it seems to tell people that you don't have to try another way out.
My concern is the way that it's been presented is now 250 million, 300 million Americans may be getting the wrong message about a self-defense statute that otherwise is a pretty good law.
So we need to look at it and polish it up, but doing so with this sort of dramatic overtone to it is just going to allow things to be ignored and we're not going to have a conversation unless we have a true, honest and straightforward one about what does need to be changed about the law.
BURNETT: Now, there's that conversation. Then there's this, the fact that your client was acquitted, and your client is living in this country and there's ads like this that, you know, obviously put out a different picture, right?
They presume that something was very wrong and that this was a wrong verdict. Now, people are very passionate about this issue, but nonetheless he's a citizen and he's allowed to live his life freely right now.
Does this ad further damage his reputation?
Make him even less safe?
O'MARA: It absolutely does. What it does is sort of perpetuate this belief that was started a week after the event happened in February of 2012, and says that George Zimmerman is some racist murderer when all of the facts that have been supported by evidence and not by emotion suggest that he's not.
Unfortunately, my hope -- it may be sort of Pollyannaish as it was, people would listen to the verdict, listen to the whole trial and realize what did and didn't happen.
Instead we have this blowback about evidence that's not supported that now people believe in.
BURNETT: Have you spoken to George recently? How recently? What is he telling you? What's he doing? O'MARA: This past week he is doing OK. He is concerned about this sort of blowback or this reaction to a well-founded, not guilty verdict that people still want to believe that he did something wrong when the jury decided he didn't. And he's got to sort of live in that type of fear still.
And quite honestly, you know, the country that we live in, the system that we utilize to dispense justice did so. It did so in a well-presented trial and we should have trust in it and move on from that point.
BURNETT: And a final question to you, sir, everyone is waiting for what the Department of Justice will do, whether they would push ahead with a civil rights case.
Do you think that they will?
O'MARA: Eric Holder said that they're looking into it. I know they started looking into it a year ago and stopped looking into it in April of 2012. I'm not sure what else they have to do but we welcome any investigation they want to do, because we'd like to have it finalized once and for all.
We certainly know and believe that the result of that investigation's going to be as it was last year, that there is no racism that was inherent in this case or obvious in this case or existing in this case.
And I would just ask DOJ to get to their job and then to announce, in fact, that there was no racist tendencies, no civil rights violations so the rest of the country can finally put that to rest.
Mark O'Mara, thanks so much. Good to talk to you again.
Well, it's been 41 years since the 1972 Miami Dolphins won the Super Bowl and they finally got their visit to the White House. You usually get one. Didn't happen back then.
President Obama hosted 31 players and the coach, Don Shula, at a ceremony today. It was a make-good because, you know, an appearance with the president was not possible back in 1973.
Nixon had, you know, other things going on at the time.
Anyway, incidentally three players, Bob Kuechenberg, Jim Langer and Manny Fernandez did not make the trip due to political differences with the current administration.
Still the 1972 Miami Dolphins went 14-0 in the regular season, then they won all three postseason games, including Super Bowl VII, they remain the only NFL team to complete an entire season undefeated to the Super Bowl, which is an amazing achievement. And it brings me to tonight's number four, which is the number of teams that have come within one game of perfection since the Dolphins' perfection. Only one loss during the regular and post seasons, the 1972 Dolphins actually reportedly host a champagne toast whenever an undefeated team finally loses a game, which really sounds unsportsmanlike to us and kind of mean. It's taking it way too far.
Shouldn't they want to eventually celebrate the next winners?
Maybe not. Let us know what you think at Twitter @ErinBurnett or @OutfrontCNN.
And still to come, the debate over unpaid interns is landing on the president's lap.
Should the White House start paying its interns?
And Senator Ted Cruz reaffirms his allegiance to America. But he did it in a pretty nasty way. Why did he leave Canada in the cold?
BURNETT: To pay or not to pay? Tonight the White House is under growing pressure to pay its interns, so here's how it works right now. Internships at the White House are not paid.
I mean, after all, you get to meet the president. Housing is not provided. An intern should expect to work Monday through Friday 9:00 to 6:00 pm, which I'm sorry; I must editorialize, is a lot shorter hours than anybody who has actually has a paying job in the White House. But those rules are not flying with one advocacy group, which claims just because you call someone an intern doesn't mean you can get out of paying the minimum wage. And it's a serious legal issue.
Does their argument add up?
Or is the experience that a student gets worth its weight in gold? After all, you come in with no skills and you leave with the ability to get a real good job and tell everybody that you met the president.
OUTFRONT radio host Stephanie Miller, contributor Reihan Salam and Mediaite's Joe Concha.
OK. Great to have all of you here.
Joe, let me start with you, 9:00 to 6:00 Monday through Friday, that's a part-time job for the White House. I'm just kidding, but that is a full-time job, so why shouldn't they be paid for the work?
JOE CONCHA, MEDIAITE: Because they're getting so many other things when they're interning at the White House, Erin. They are getting experience, not just the kind of experience you get in college when you dabble with a couple of things, you're getting practical experience, hands-on experience.
But you're also getting the ability to have people write recommendations for you, if I'm in journalism and Jay Carney, I'm interning under him and he writes a recommendation to say, Jeff Zucker says hey, you should hire this guy, I think he'll pay more attention to that than the guy working at the Shake Shack over the summer, right?
And finally networking, all the people you meet along the way. These are invaluable things that give you long-term prospects that you cannot get anywhere else and you cannot get in a classroom.
BURNETT: I have to say, I wouldn't expect -- if I were offered an internship like that and I wasn't related to anybody that would allow me to get that, which is a bigger issue I have with those internships, but why should they be paid?
REIHAN SALAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You are making their point for the folks who want to pay interns -- you're making their point for them, because the thing is that, yes, social networks matter. Getting access to those resources are matters, but not everyone can afford to take an unpaid internship, right?
BURNETT: Fair point.
SALAM: So if I'm an employer, I want to have people who are motivated or dedicated who are actually willing to do real work.
And if I'm not giving them a payment, what I'm going to create is a fun experience for them, right? And that's not actually training you for the real world of work.
The kid who is working at the Shake Shack is actually going to get more valuable experience than the person who comes where they are essentially being entertained, where it's essentially an obligation for the actual employees of the organization to keep the kids --
BURNETT: Interesting point.
SALAM: -- to give them some faux busy work, to give them an imaginary look at what the real work life is like. And that's not like what it's like at all.
You really want to teach people to be responsible to show up on time and to do their part. And for that you pay people.
BURNETT: All right. So Stephanie, federal law. Here is how it breaks down, OK? An unpaid internship is acceptable for public and governmental agencies (inaudible) the White House, religious groups and charitable and other non-profit organizations.
Now people who might get offended by this then would need to remember that if you were to pay them, you would be using taxpayer dollars to pay people who have no qualifications to do a job , to do a job that essentially trains them, which might bother some people.
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO SHOW HOST: Right, the main thing of outrage on this segment is I really, really love Shake Shack. It is a really good burger.
But my point is, Erin, look, there would be a lot of opportunities that kids wouldn't get if you didn't have this. There's a lot of companies -- look, I know I just hired an intern that is going to start with me in the fall. Trust me in progressive radio you can't afford to pay interns. It's an experience that he wouldn't get otherwise, because there are a lot of places that either they can't afford it or there's some other issues, as you brought it that I think that it's a lot of opportunities that would be lost for kids. And I did it when I was in college. When you were in college, you did it for class credit. I think --
CONCHA: Rohan (ph), if you don't mind.
MILLER: It's an amazing experience to work at the White House.
CONCHA: It's an amazing experience, and by the way --
MILLER: You get to meet the new White House dog, come on. There's two of them.
CONCHA: Sunny, tremendous.
But that's the whole thing.
Who is paying for this, by the way because, last I checked, White House tours still aren't going on. So students who want to be educated on the White House in our country's history, they can't go see the White House but we're going to pay interns who never got paid before to do a job that, again, the experience they are getting is far worse --
SALAM: There is profit companies that face extremely tight profit margins, businesses that are losing money and they, I'm sure, would love to have free labor.
As much free labor as they can take on but it's just the same as progressive radio or anything else and yet, we say, hey, we'll impose a wage floor on you. We'll do that because we believe this protects the interest of workers and I actually personally think we should be a little more flexible about that. I think that there are workers for whom it does make (inaudible) training (inaudible). But if you're going to do that for one group, you have to do that for all firms.
BURNETT: I want everyone to please let us know what you think about this. And by the way, as you do that, keep in mind, a former intern of P. Diddy is suing him. P. Diddy's intern is suing because she had to answer the phone, get lunch, make deliveries and decorate the office. But she got to work for P. Diddy.
Anyway let us know what you think.
Every night we take a look outside the day's top stories for something we call the OUTFRONT outtake. It's has been a really rough day for our friends in Canada. They thought they were Cruzing to the White House, you know. I mean, but their hopes were Ted on arrival.
Yes, it's true, because despite being born in Calgary, Canada, Senator Cruz has decided to turn his back on our neighbors to the north, his people and wrap himself in the American flag.
But why? What would cause him to leave the Canucks out in the cold? Well, he wants to be president. For some reason Ted Cruz thinks the American voters would never accept someone with dual citizenship, dual citizenship between Canada and the United States, as president. Apparently in his mind Canadians just don't have that self-made can-do spirit that voters rally around.
Well, Senator, when it comes to can do, don't forget what Canada has done.
Canadians have brought us the walkie-talkie, the hydrofoil, the electric wheelchair, the snowblower, the pacemaker, the egg carton, insulin, the alkaline battery, instant replay, the garbage bag, the game of basketball -- that would be interesting to prove -- and the bear trap, which we apparently need more of in this country if you've been watching the news over the past couple weeks.
Have you seen the news? We need a president who knows about those bear traps.
But maybe Ted Cruz is right. Maybe there is just too much baggage associated with being Canadian, because after all, the luggage ticket, the kind you get at the hotel or an airport, was invited by a Canadian, too.
Still to come, an idea that could change the way you read forever.
BURNETT: When promoting their books, authors don't usually have the resources available to them that filmmakers and television producers do, but one writer's idea could change all of this forever.
BURNETT (voice-over): In a world where the producers of film, television and even video games use slick marketing campaigns to promote their work, books often fall through the cracks but one author's idea could change all of that.
When Marisha Pessl discusses her latest novel, "Night Film," it's easy to forget she's talking about a book at all.
MARISHA PESSL, AUTHOR, "NIGHT FILM": I'm actually standing here where the first scene takes place. The main character is a washed up investigative journalist whose life has not turned out as he would like. And he encounters a mysterious young woman who later ends up dead. BURNETT (voice-over): Because like some other novelists whose process begins and ends with the manuscript, Pessl is looking beyond the book using trailers, apps and other digital content to promote and enhance her story.
PESSL: I wrote five short films, and they are basically windows into the world of "Night Film," introducing readers to the universe. We're at a really interesting time right now in terms of content creation, and boundaries that previously existed between books and film and television and the Internet and mobile devices aren't so rigid anymore.
BURNETT (voice-over): The response online has been very positive. Pessl is optimistic the idea can grow.
PESSL: So much of storytelling now is a 360-degree experience. I like the idea of writers feeling that they don't have to be confined to a particular medium anymore, and they can have a larger landscape in which to play and be creative and tell stories. The novel itself is not going away, but there is a place for innovation and taking risks and that's probably where I'm going to be staying.
BURNETT: Innovation and taking risks and changing the way books live in our lives but keeping them a part of them is pretty exciting, as far as we're concerned. We're rooting for it. "Night Film" is in stores today. Thank you as always for joining us. We appreciate it. "AC360" starts now.