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Bradley Manning's Sexual Identity; Will San Diego Mayor Resign?; Aaron Hernandez Indicted

Aired August 22, 2013 - 15:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Very close to the top of the hour here. I'm Don Lemon in for Brooke today.

Breaking today -- we've got a lot of news breaking.

But after weeks of refusing to step down, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner may give up his seat tomorrow. The 70-year-old Democrat is now facing allegations from 18 women that he sexually harassed them. The allegations first came out back in July. So what happened for him to reach this point?

I want to turn now to CNN's Casey Wian. He's live for us in San Diego.

Casey, what is prompting the reports that Mayor Filner will resign, will step down?

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're getting those reports from multiple sources. One is CNN affiliate KGTV, which says part of this negotiated settlement that was reached yesterday includes a provision for Mayor Filner to resign if, in fact, the city council accepts this tentative settlement, this proposed settlement involving a lawsuit filed against Mayor Filner by his former spokeswoman.

We just received the notice of the closed city council meeting. And I will read you part of that notice. It's going to happen at 1:00 local time tomorrow afternoon. Here is how it's going to work.

The city attorney will update the city council on the status of the litigation and seek direction regarding settlement and other matters related to the case. We can only presume that those other matters are the possible resignation of Mayor Filner -- C.C.ed on that notice, the Honorable Mayor Bob Filner.

It may very well be the last time that he receives an official communication with that title, Don.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: OK. So, there is a big recall effort going on right now. Some big names have asked Filner to step down as well, Casey.

WIAN: That's right, Don. The head of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has called for him to resign. California Senator Barbara Boxer has called for him to resign. The Democratic National Committee itself is holding a meeting in Phoenix this week. They're expected to vote on a resolution, calling for him to resign.

All of the members of his own city council have called on him to resign. It's a near-unanimous push. And we're likely to see, as long as the city council goes along with this proposed settlement, that to happen as soon as tomorrow, Don.

LEMON: All right, Casey Wian in California. Casey, thank you very much.

In the meantime, also in California, Southern California, multiple injuries today when a charter bus collided with a big rig and it overturned north of Los Angeles. Look at that mess on the ground. My goodness. About six people were airlifted to hospitals. No word on how serious their injuries are. But we're checking on them for you. The bus was on a gambling junket with about 40 people on board. Again, we will continue to update that story as we get more information here.

You know, for a week, she was under the control of a kidnapper. Now Hannah Anderson is trying to take control about what she says are misconceptions about her story. The 16-year-old rescued in the Idaho mountains on August 10 spoke to NBC. She talked about why she went online to answer people's questions about her murdered mother and brother and about her gratitude to her supporters.

But she would not go into the details offer captivity. However, Hannah did explain past letters as well as 13 phone calls from the day of her abduction that search warrants say she exchanged with her kidnapper, longtime family friend James DiMaggio.


HANNAH ANDERSON, KIDNAPPING VICTIM: The phone calls weren't phone calls. They were texts, because he was picking me up from cheer camp, and he didn't know the address or like, where I was, so I had to tell him the address and tell him that I was going to be in the gym and not in front of the school, just so he knew where to come get me.

And the letters were from like a year ago when me and my mom weren't getting along very well. Me and him would talk about how to deal with it, and I would tell him how I felt about it and he would help me through it. They weren't anything bad. They were just to help me through tough times.


LEMON: I'm going to bring in psychologist Wendy Walsh now.

Wendy, first of all, it is -- I'm surprised that she actually did this, she actually went in front of cameras. We have seen Hannah giving interviews on social media and now this television appearance, her latest interview. Is this good for her to do?

WENDY WALSH, FAMILY THERAPIST: You know, it's hard for us to judge, Don. Remember, people like you and me, who are extroverts, actually process externally. And because of her unique age, these teenagers reach out. I actually asked my own 15-year-old daughter, God, if I was murdered, would you be online at, and she said, yes, probably, because I would want to talk to people and reach out and that's how we do things.

So the level of damage, we have to be careful not to look through it through the lens of somebody over 40, Don.

LEMON: I can't believe you asked -- when you said you asked your daughter that question, like, oh, my gosh, I would say, mom, I don't want to hear that. My mom is getting up there, and I don't want to hear about anything like that.

WALSH: Right.


WALSH: Is that what she said? You know, I probably would, because I was actually -- I was trying to get her to get a gauge on this. And she said, it's very normal. That's what teens do.

LEMON: That's what you do. And like you said, people like us, we process externally, and that's what you're doing with your daughter.

Wendy, let's move along here. Hannah spoke lovingly about her mother, Christina. Listen and then we will talk.


ANDERSON: In the beginning, I was a victim, but now, knowing everyone's out there is helping me, I consider myself a survivor instead. My mom raised me to be strong.


LEMON: Wendy, I understand that you also have concerns that Hannah may have some negative feelings towards her parents. What's that all about?

WALSH: Well, you know, it's very common that children who have been abused somehow blame themselves.

And we do know that she said -- when she reached out on that Web site, she said she wished she could turn back the clock and do something different. Those are the beginnings of those feelings we call survivor's guilt. You know, I should've, would've, could've, and then everything would be OK.

But, remember, the person who is really responsible for the boundaries in her relationship with this DiMaggio guy is her mom and her father. I mean, the fact that they allowed these blurred lines to take place, that she could have this kind of contact with non-biologically related middle-aged men who didn't have children, who wasn't a father, speaks to me that, really, it's the parents who are culpable here, not the child.

LEMON: There's so much I want to ask you about, but we have so much news today. We can talk about this really all day long. Wendy, we will get you back. Thank you very much. Appreciate that.

WALSH: Sure. OK. Thanks.

LEMON: We need to move on and talk about this, because the president -- you're very welcome, Wendy. Thank you.

The president just ordered the urgent gathering of additional information to try to assess whether chemical weapons were used this week inside Syria. Remember the video of the alleged attack? It was disturbing, it's shocking. If you need to turn away, I'm going to give you the opportunity to do that right now. OK?

Pictures of children, some no older than 6 or 7, gasping, foaming at the mouth. Dead bodies scattered across the room. Could a regime desperately clinging to power really unleash chemical weapons on its own civilians?

In an exclusive interview with CNN's "NEW DAY," John McCain says yes, and he says, it's time to act, to go in and help the rebels.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: These people are fighting for their lives and I know them. I have been in Syria. Yes, jihadists are flowing in from all over the place, but there's still a majority of people that we should support.

Where does this stop? When does the United States, with very little cost, stand up for these people and stop this horrific -- you can't look at those pictures without being deeply moved. Are we going to just let that go on?

In a matter of a couple of days, using standoff weapons, we could take out their runways, take out the 40 or 50 aircraft that they're using, which is dominating the battlefields and the towns and the cities. And we can supply the right kind of weapons to the rebels to establish a no-fly zone by using -- moving Patriot missiles up to the border.


LEMON: So, you know, he's not alone, because Samantha Power, the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations tweeted this: "Reports devastating. Hundreds dead in streets, including kids killed by chem weapons. U.N. must get there fast and if true perps must face justice."

Joining me now to talk about this, Paul Begala, CNN political commentator, and Cheri Jacobus, a Republican strategist and columnist for "The Hill."

Good to see both of you. Cheri, I'm going to start with you. Let's talk about Samantha Power. She is a really outspoken human rights activist. Doesn't always agree with the administration. So what do you think of her tweet, particularly the line about perps facing justice?

CHERI JACOBUS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, at this point, I think she's obviously getting a little bit further down the road than a lot of the other people are. A lot of people are seeing this now and we're still in shock. Even though we have been hearing about it, we're seeing these pictures of these children who have been killed, who have been slaughtered and I think it's clear that something has to be done.

The president, you know, he said he was drawing a line in the sand and then sat around for a year. But at this point, this is the hand we're dealt. He does seem to have some gaining support in Congress. Even though you don't need the support, you don't have to go to the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committee, he's getting some support from Republicans who are taking this seriously.

And at this point, he needs to show the world that he doesn't care anymore about partisanship, that he is going to be strong and it's an iffy situation, because al Qaeda are there and the jihadists are there, but I think we are going to have to send weapons. I don't think we can -- he's not going to have support to do boots on the ground. But if I may, and I think that Paul will probably disagree with me on this, but the president, I think, would be showing strength if he acknowledged or had someone with gravitas in his circle acknowledge the possibility, if not the likelihood, that these chemical weapons were Saddam Hussein's weapons.

This was a loaded issue, obviously...


LEMON: In order for him to agree, though, you would have to give him a chance to jump in here.

So, Paul, Syria is a huge pressure point, to Cheri's point, for the Obama administration. What are his options and what would acting vs. not acting potentially cost him?


But my mind was just blown, because all of a sudden, now the Tooth Fairy came back in. Saddam didn't have weapons of mass destruction. These aren't Saddam's weapons. They're Assad's. It's preposterous and it's insulting to suggest that somehow this is Saddam Hussein, long dead and forgotten.

But the Iraq analogy is interesting this way. Senator McCain is to be respected. And he speaks with real moral authority as a hero himself and his family has fought in every war this country has ever had. So, when he speaks, even Democrats like me have to respect what he said.

But the phrase he used, when does this stop, is also the question I think that needs to be asked about any engagement. Obviously, no American can abide these pictures. And I'm so glad that Ambassador Power is speaking out about what's happening. But the question about moving in a military action, when we have had a disastrous decade in Iraq -- thank God President Obama ended that war -- and we're winding down we hope this war in Afghanistan -- the notion of a third war in the Middle East is just not something that the American people I think want at all.

So I think to proceed with real caution here is actually the proper mode for the president to be in.

JACOBUS: But that's a strange -- but what's real caution, though?

I think you have to distinguish between sending weapons to very targeted, specific, strategic folks with the rebel opposition, but, obviously, not the al Qaeda folks. That's a lot of weapons coming in. That's very different from boots on the ground. And the president is starting to get the support of Republicans in Congress, but I do think, and I know that you said it's a Tooth Fairy and that sort of thing, but it shows the world, I think the president would be operating from a position of strength if he acknowledged the possibility, as so many people are, of where these weapons came from.

That shows the world and partisans on both sides that he's not willing to let partisan politics or the past issues get in the way.

LEMON: OK, Cheri.

JACOBUS: And it show that he -- I think it would make him look strong and I think that he would get a lot of respect from people on both sides of the aisle and a lot more cooperation.

LEMON: OK. So, Paul, is this a new narrative, it's Saddam Hussein's fault that we're going to be hearing coming -- going forward?

BEGALA: That may be. You will have to forgive me. I have been on vacation. I have been in America. Now that I'm back on Fantasy Island, I suppose I have to adapt to Republican talking points. But it's just preposterous. This is a life-and-death matter, though, Syria.

JACOBUS: It's not preposterous, Paul.


BEGALA: It's lunacy. It's madness. I'm sorry, but it's insane.

JACOBUS: Why? Explain why it's insane.


BEGALA: Because the United States of America went through that country. We have been occupying it for a dang decade.

He had no weapons. The Bush administration misled this country into that godforsaken war. (CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: Excuse me for talking while I'm interrupting.

But the American people are so loathe to engage in another military conflict in the Middle East. This is the problem. We will be paying the price for Mr. Bush's deceitful and I think disastrous war in Iraq for a generation. And maybe this is part of the price that we're paying, is that Americans do not want a third war in the Middle East.


LEMON: Let me jump in here, Cheri.

It does sound like an argument that's really, it's like, have you stopped beating your wife argument? Because you're saying, in order to show that he's not partisan, that he has to admit in some way that these chemical weapons could have come from Saddam. Do you understand what I'm saying here?

JACOBUS: Yes. Well, I think it shows that he's rising above politics by looking at the landscape.

Of course, you will have people on the left and the right, they're going to start lobbing little political grenades at that. But I think the serious people, Republicans and Democrats, can acknowledge the possibility -- and I think that way the president doesn't get tangled up in past politics, and it sends a signal that this country is united, when we're talking about people who are killing children.

We're willing to look at everything, even if we -- at home we have to admit that maybe we were wrong on something or maybe we missed something, but these I think are Saddam's hidden weapons of mass destruction. They could be. People are saying that.

The president doesn't have to say that unequivocally. But I think to be intellectually honest, he has to make it clear that that's one possibility. And we're spending more time on this than that fact is important, but I think it helps him...


LEMON: You're doing most of the talking, Cheri.



JACOBUS: ... to be a leader for everybody.


LEMON: All right. It was a great discussion, though. That's why we spent some time on it. And it's always good to see Paul Begala's -- you can see the exasperation. You can see the frustration.


LEMON: It's palpable.

BEGALA: Sorry.

LEMON: Thank you, Paul.

Thank you, Cheri. Appreciate it.

Syria, Egypt, college tuition, all things President Obama has to tackle. And tomorrow CNN will air an exclusive interview with the president. Chris Cuomo met up with the president today as he hit the road on a bus tour for education reform, his exclusive interview, tomorrow morning, CNN's "NEW DAY," 6:00 a.m. starting.

Up next, Bradley Manning wants to be a woman. Call him Chelsea. The Army says it won't pay for his hormone therapy, but does he have a case?

Plus, one school in Arkansas arming teachers and they have got a warning to prove it, this as we hear the chilling conversation between a school worker and a gunman in Georgia.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought the same thing. You know, I tried to commit suicide last year after my husband left me, but look at me now. I'm still working and everything is OK. You said Michael Hill, right? OK.



LEMON: We have been monitoring the situation since the beginning of this newscast.

We want to tell you, just a short time, former NFL star Aaron Hernandez was in court. A grand jury indicted Hernandez on murder charges. The 23-year-old's future officially transformed from privileged athlete to accused murder, awaiting trial. Hernandez is charged with the execution-style murder of Odin Lloyd, a man who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee.

Attorneys for Hernandez came out swinging. Listen.


JAMES SULTAN, ATTORNEY FOR AARON HERNANDEZ: We do have two motions we would like the court to hear, because I think they're significant. One of them relates to what we consider to be serious prosecutorial misconduct in this case.

And I think it's important that the court address that before we wait another week or two or however long we have to wait to get to the superior court. There's also a discovery motion we would like addressed. And, third, we would like to address the status of the gag order.

We're very concerned that Mr. Hernandez's right to a fair trial not be further undermined and tainted by some explosion of publicity from the district attorney's office.


LEMON: And outside the Massachusetts courtroom right now is CNN's Susan Candiotti.

So, Susan, what's next for Aaron Hernandez?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he didn't say anything in court today and he wasn't required to.

He appeared in a blazer and an open shirt and he -- the next time he will appear in court, Don, is at his arraignment, which will probably be some time next week. Another thing we want to tell you about, news that we initially broke here on CNN a couple weeks ago, we reported that Aaron Hernandez's cousin was jailed on August 1 and was being held on contempt of court charges for refusing to testify before this very same grand jury.

Well, just now, the state attorney announced that she has been indicted on those charges and she remains jailed. A lot of legal troubles, not only for Aaron Hernandez, but nor for a relative as well -- Don.

LEMON: For the family as well. My goodness, and the drama continues. Thank you, Susan Candiotti. Appreciate that.

Up next here on CNN, Bradley Manning wants to be a woman. Call him Chelsea. The Army says it won't pay for his hormone therapy. But the question is, does he really have a case and could this impact his parole? Our legal panel debates that next.


LEMON: Bradley Manning can no longer expose government secrets, but that's not keeping the leaker from launching a jaw-dropper today. His attorney announced on "The Today Show" that the man just sentenced to 35 years for releasing documents to WikiLeaks wants to be a woman or says he's a woman.

He released a statement from Manning and here's what the statement says, a portion of it. "I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female. I want to begin hormone therapy as soon as possible."

Army officials say that Fort Leavenworth prison does not provide hormones or sex change operations to inmates, but Manning's attorney told NBC, if necessary, he will sue to get Manning the hormones.


DAVID COOMBS, ATTORNEY FOR BRADLEY MANNING: Well, I don't know about the sex reassignment surgery. Chelsea hasn't indicated that that would be her desire. But as far as the hormone therapy, yes, I'm hoping Fort Leavenworth would do the right thing and provide that. If Fort Leavenworth does not, then I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that they are forced to do so.


LEMON: Let's talk now to our lawyers here. Criminal defense attorneys Faith Jenkins and Darren Kavinoky are back with me.

I will turn to you now.

Should the Army pay for the hormone therapy for Bradley Manning, or Chelsea?

FAITH JENKINS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, they're arguing that they shouldn't. And it's because of their policy. They just don't perform these kind of services.

But what Bradley Manning is going to do, he's either going to have to petition to be transferred to a federal prison that does provide hormone therapy or he may file a lawsuit and say the Eighth Amendment protects me. It protects against inflicting cruel and unusual punishment. I have been diagnosed with a gender identity disorder.

This is something that I need treatment for, and as a prisoner, confined in prison, you are required to provide me with treatment under the Constitution. That's going to be his argument.

LEMON: Darren Kavinoky?

DARREN KAVINOKY, ATTORNEY: Well, ultimately, this does become a medical issue. And regardless of how titillating people may find it, because it speaks to issue of sexuality and gender, legitimately, if there is a legitimate medical diagnosis, then there is an affirmative obligation to provide him, or her, with the kind of treatment that's necessary.

I have been involved in cases and seen cases in the state court system where sex change operations, not just the hormone replacement, but actual gender reassignment surgery, has been performed to keep prisoners from mutilating themselves. And it becomes, as I said, a legitimate medical concern.

LEMON: You bring up a very good point. I was going to mention that.

I want to move on and talk about, could this gender identity disorder impact parole for Bradley Manning? Reports say he could get -- he could get out after seven years.

JENKINS: Well, he has to serve at least one-third of his prison term, but he's not -- you can't hold -- because a prisoner has been diagnosed with a disorder, you absolutely cannot use that against them in terms of whether or not they're going to be allowed to be released on parole. That's not going to happen here.

LEMON: Go ahead. KAVINOKY: The issue is going to be one, ultimately, of public safety, when we're talking about issues of probation or parole, allowing people to rejoin the community.

Ultimately, the thing that guides those decisions is, does the release pose an unreasonable danger to the public at large?

LEMON: And there's always an issue, too, when you're dealing with gender reassignment, where is this person housed in the interim, before, interim, as it's happening, and then after the -- what happens?

JENKINS: And so you're going to look at the federal prisons and how they have handled situations like this, because I think this is a case that's new for the military. I don't know if there's ever even been a lawsuit or this issue has come up or the request has been made in military prisons.

So, you are going to look at federal prisoners and how they handle protecting prisoners that receive hormone treatment or are requesting this surgery or want to be -- live as females in the confinements of a prison.

KAVINOKY: But, Don, it's worth pointing out...

LEMON: Quickly, Darren.

KAVINOKY: ... that this isn't a expensive proposition. Hormone therapy is approximately $100 a month. So the financial impact is relatively low.

LEMON: Yes. All right, thank you. We need to move on. Thank you. Appreciate it.

Coming up next: conservatives like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh livid at the media over coverage of the Australian baseball player killed in Oklahoma. So, coming up, we will debate whether they have a point when it comes to race and double standards in the media. You don't want to miss this one.