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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
White House Briefs Top Lawmakers On Syria; Official: U.S. May Take Unilateral Action In Syria; Obama Administration Won't Challenge State Pot Laws; NFL And Ex-Players Reach A Deal; Prosecutors Fighting 30-Day Rape Sentence
Aired August 29, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: "OUTFRONT" next, at this moment the White House is briefing lawmakers on Capitol Hill about the latest intelligence on Syria. Is this country headed for war?
And the Obama administration says it will not interfere with the state laws that legalize marijuana. Is this a step toward legalizing weed nationwide?
Plus, a major development in a story we have been following. A Montana teacher sentenced to only 30 days in prison for raping his teenage student. Will there be an appeal?
Let's go "OUTFRONT."
I'm Jessica Yellin in for Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight breaking news, a senior U.S. official tells CNN's Jim Acosta that the U.S. could go it alone in Syria after our closest ally votes against taking action. British lawmakers just voted down a proposal to strike Syria. Britain's prime minister says he will not go against parliament.
Here at home right now, top lawmakers are being briefed by the White House. The president's top national security officials are making their case against the Syrian regime. Will the administration be able to win enough support?
Our chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash is in Washington. Hi, Dana. I know you have been working your sources all day. It looks from here like the mood in Washington really seems to reflect the mood around the country right now on Syria, it's conflicted. So, what are you learning right now?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Hi, Jess. I should tell you that the conference call should be wrapping up right about now and I'm hoping to get a read on what these top lawmakers were told and whether their questions were answered. But, yes, you're right, the mood among members of Congress I would say is beyond ambivalence, it's really frustration.
A 150-plus lawmakers are demanding that the president come to Congress for authorization before any military action. Now that's a big partisanship group, but it's a lot of anti-war and anti- interventionist members of Congress who are reluctant to engage militarily no matter what the cost or interest.
The problem, Jessica, for the administration is even some lawmakers who I've spoken with who are natural allies with the Obama administration at holding Syria accountable are having trouble supporting him because they feel that the administration simply isn't making enough of a case publicly or privately for what the intelligence shows on chemical weapons and what the military objective would be.
YELLIN: Well, one of the administration's closest allies, Britain, just voted down military action, I'm curious what you think if Congress were to come back now and take a similar vote, do you think the same thing would happen?
BASH: Yes. Absolutely, I do. And it's not just my analysis, it's also top lawmakers who I've talked to and that's one of the reasons why Congress isn't coming back. They are on recess. It will be for a little short of two weeks. And, you know, you've heard some lawmakers saying we should come back, we should take an authorization vote. But do you know what, what happened in the House of Commons tonight is almost exactly what would likely happen in Congress, too.
It would embarrass the president if Congress voted to authorize military force and it was defeated and it would hurt the U.S. on the world stage. And as you heard Jim Acosta and others reporting, the fact is that given what happened in Great Britain, the U.S. is likely going to have to go it alone if they do go ahead in the next few days and doing that without the backing of Congress, which means without the backing officially of the American people, would be disastrous for the president.
YELLIN: It's such a tough situation in Washington right now. Dana, keep up the great reporting. Thank you.
BASH: Thanks, Jess.
YELLIN: OUTFRONT tonight, a top Democrat in the House, Congressman Chris Van Hollen joins us. Congressman, thank you for being with us. I want to pick it up where Dana left off. If Congress were asked to come back and take a vote authorizing the use of military force, do you think they would vote yes?
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: I'm not sure I agree with Dana on that. I think it depends on the specific resolution that's been put before the Congress. Many members of Congress who said they wanted to come back and vote on this issue have said they might support the president depending on the specific request, how narrow it was. So, I think that's an open question. But it may be --
YELLIN: So why doesn't the president call the members back and get that authorization for use of force? There's no reason not to if he has the votes.
HOLLEN: Well, as you know, Jessica, the president's position is that if the military action that is taken is very limited in scope and time, the president as commander in chief has the ability to do that. Certainly if the president was going to engage, you know, full-scale war, he needs an authorization, a vote from Congress. But there are many precedents for the administration, for the president, to be able to act in limited ways without authorization.
If the Congress really wants to come back, the speaker of the House, John Boehner, can call the Congress back into session. He doesn't need the president to do that. And given the fact the president says that he's able under the constitution to take very limited military action, without congressional authorization, it would really be incumbent on the speaker to call back the Congress if he wanted to take that action.
YELLIN: OK, this will be an open question that will be debated for some time. I want to move on to your op-ed which you wrote for cnn.com today, you called it "on Syria learn from U.S. mistakes in Iraq." In this article you said Iraq taught us three lessons, the first lesson, these are your words, quote, "the president must present the American people and the international community with clear evidence that the Al Assad regime was responsible for the use of chemical weapons."
Today at the White House they were asked if the president -- if they will present more than circumstance shall evidence that Assad ordered this attack, and the White House gave the response that, quote, "we have already seen a preponderance of public evidence showing that Assad carried out these attacks." A preponderance of public evidence, are you persuaded that there is no question Assad was responsible?
HOLLEN: No, Jessica, and I think the administration will have to come forward with additional evidence. My understanding is that there is additional evidence and I think it's very important that they come forward and make a clear and convincing case that Assad was responsible for the U.S. of chemical weapons. I think the circumstantial evidence clearly points in that direction, but I think that they should release additional information that they've got.
After all, one of the legacies of the Iraq war was that we went to war based on the false claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. That turned out not to be true, so I think it's really important for our credibility in the international community and with the American public to come forward with additional evidence.
YELLIN: Our closest ally, Britain, seems pretty unsure today, as you know, not long ago the British parliament voted against military action. So, you've said both the American people and the international community must be convinced. Is this worth doing in your view without the backing of the international community?
HOLLEN: Jessica, I think the president was absolutely right to establish the red line he did. If Saddam Hussein is shown to have used chemical weapons, it's a gross violation of international conventions against the use of poison gas. The United States and the international community have an interest in deterring that activity in the future, both from Saddam Hussein and others who may contemplate that use in future conflicts. So, I think it's important that we take this action. Obviously it's better if we take the action collectively, but I think the president was right to lay down this marker.
YELLIN: So go it alone is OK?
HOLLEN: It's OK as long as -- and, again, as I mentioned in that piece, the action has to have a very limited purpose, and the purpose is to deter future use of chemical weapons. There are lots of people who have argued that they want to use this as an excuse or an opportunity to expand dramatically U.S. participation in the war in Syria, to try and change the balance of power. That's an unrealistic goal and would certainly set us up only to be dragged further and further into this conflict.
YELLIN: OK, Congressman, we have some breaking news. I want to get to it for a moment and we can ask you to react to it. CNN has just gotten some new details on the Obama administration's intelligence assessment of Syria. CNN's own Elise Labott joins us from Washington. Elise, what have you learned?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS REPORTER: Well, Jessica, as congressmen are being briefed on this intelligence assessment, some of the details are leaking out. We've already told you that the administration has intercepts between Syrian officials before and after the attack getting a little bit more detail now. We understand that we have the U.S. has an intercept of senior regime officials making preparations for a massive chemical attack in the area.
One senior official telling me there's even more of a body of evidence before the attack, tying it to the regime. Immediately after some of these regime officials, top officials, we're hearing, were talking about the attack, concerned about the blowback and the massive attention it was already getting, the amount of casualties, and discussing about -- that it might be wise to lay low for a while and not use such massive attacks in the near future.
And then also immediately after the attack, the U.S. says, according to officials, increased shelling in the area. We've heard about this, but apparently this intel assessment will show intelligence, increased shelling in the area as the regime tried to clean it up. Even as in Britain they're talking that the U.S. and others don't have a strong case, the U.S. says it's undeniable that the regime is involved and they have the intelligence to prove it.
YELLIN: Elise, great reporting. Thank you for bringing us that and continue to bring us more news as you get it. Elise Labott reporting that the administration has been sharing with senior U.S. officials more details about the chemical attacks that they say are justifying a potential action in Syria.
Congressman Van Hollen, if you're still with us and able to hear that, to you does that sound like the kind of evidence that is more persuasive and is convincing that would warrant a U.S. strike on Syria?
HOLLEN: Yes, it does, Jessica. That's exactly the kind of additional evidence that I was talking about. Obviously I'd want to see these reports and look at the details. But if that's true, what it demonstrates is clear signals intelligence, information that directly links the use of chemical weapons here to the Assad regime. And I think it's important that if that administration -- if the administration has that information that it be made available not only to members of Congress, but to the public.
YELLIN: All right, well, we'll continue to ask these questions of you. Congressman Van Hollen, thank you so much for joining us.
HOLLEN: Thank you.
YELLIN: And of other members of Congress including some in the opposite party, the Republican Party and some more skeptics who are still questioning whether this course of action is the right one to pursue.
Still to come, the Obama administration's policy on a different controversial issue.
And on a lighter note, on marijuana, their policy there? It's getting hazy. Is their policy on Mary Jane about to be legal nationwide?
Plus, some new details about how the United States tracked Osama Bin Laden leading up to the raid that took his life.
And the NFL prepares to pay out millions of dollars to players suffering from head trauma.
YELLIN: Our second story, OUTFRONT, lighting up in America. Today the Justice Department announced it will not try to block new laws in Washington State and Colorado legalizing marijuana use. So, what does this mean for pot in the rest of the country? OUTFRONT tonight, criminal defense attorney and CNN legal analyst, Danny Cevallos.
Danny, hi, thanks for being with us. First question, how significant is this decision for other states?
DANNY CEVALLOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: From a constitutional perspective, the implications of this are staggering and broad. Here's why, the constitution couldn't be more clear, state laws that conflict with federal laws like the controlled substances act, are invalid. They're pre-empted, period. It couldn't be clearer in the constitution. So, now we have a situation where other states can simply say, we know the constitution, we're just not listening.
This creates a very possibly dangerous precedent from a constitutional perspective, but for other states and marijuana, this certainly is a clarion call for them to possibly do the same thing, to simply decline to follow future federal law, maybe not just in marijuana but otherwise. YELLIN: Wow, that's a very serious tone to take about marijuana. I asked about this issue during the White House briefing last week. Let's listen for a moment, if you would, and we can talk about it on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YELLIN: Given the reported medical benefits of marijuana, does the president believe the government should reconsider this classification?
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: The president and the administration believe that targeting individual marijuana user -- marijuana users especially those with serious illnesses and their caregivers is not the best allocation of federal law enforcement resources. But at the same time, the president does not, you know, at this point advocate a change in the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YELLIN: I think the key phrase was "at this point advocate a change in the law." You heard what he said. But by failing to enforce the law, I'm curious, do you think the administration is tacitly supporting a change in the law right now?
CEVALLOS: I think that's pretty clear. And candidly, even though it's the morally correct result, it does create a constitutional problem. And frankly, the executive branch, the president, certainly might have an argument to say, look, this pressure shouldn't be brought on us, we're the executive branch. We're designed to enforce the law period, we don't create the law, that's Congress' job.
This should have fallen on Congress to possibly repeal, readdress the controlled substances act. But now the executive branch, the Department of Justice, is in a precarious position of being forced to pick and choose, which parts of that act they will choose to follow. It's an interesting position for them to be in. And maybe -- and it's hard for me as a defense attorney to say this, but maybe not entirely all their fault.
YELLIN: Right. Maybe they're saving face a little bit. The states were doing this anyway and they were in an impossible position?
CEVALLOS: Absolutely. This couldn't be a face saving move and that's evidenced by the memo that was issued. In fact, they didn't just say they were going to completely abandon the controlled substances act, but, rather, focus on certain elements, like providing marijuana to children, marijuana as part of a criminal enterprise, essentially big ticket items.
CEVALLOS: And in that sense they backed off, they didn't completely abdicate the federal law.
YELLIN: That might mean more weed coming to states near you. Thanks so much for being with us.
YELLIN: Good to see you.
Our third story, OUTFRONT, money and power settlement reached. The National Football League has reached a $765 million settlement with ex-players over concussions. About $675 million of the settlement will go to players who have suffered a brain injury or to their families. The rest will go to pay for things like medical exams, research, and court costs. More than 4,500 former players participated in the suit, which still needs to be approved by a judge. They likely won't get the money right away.
Half of the money will be paid out over three years, but the rest of it will be distributed over the course of 17 years. It likely will not have a huge financial impact on the league. The NFL raked in more than $9 billion in 2012. But it wants to bring in $25 billion a year by 2027.
Still OUTFRONT, George Zimmerman's wife speaks out about her life during the murder trial and whether she's still with her husband.
Plus, a big development in the sentence that shocked the nation, a Montana teacher receives only 30 days in prison for raping a 14- year-old student. Now, that sentence could change.
And a lesson on why you should never stop running until you cross the finish line.
YELLIN: Our fourth story, OUTFRONT, George Zimmerman's wife speaks out. Shellie Zimmerman stood by his side during his trial for killing Trayvon Martin. But his acquittal has not put an end to the couple's troubles. Yesterday Shellie Zimmerman got probation for lying under oath about the couple's finances. Well, today, she's speaking out about her marriage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN'S WIFE: We have been pretty much gypsies for the last year and a half. We lived in a 20-foot trailer in the woods, scared every night that someone was going to find us and that it would be horrific.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YELLIN: Martin Savidge is OUTFRONT tonight. Hi, Martin. It was interesting to hear her speak, so what did she have to say about her relationship with George Zimmerman?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hello, Jessica. A number of interesting things, I mean, just that bite there that you heard was insightful as to what their life has been like when they were hiding including the life in that trailer. But their relationship is quite clear is in trouble. And maybe that's not a surprise given the incredible hardship that they have been through as a result of this tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.
But I think also we realized that they were in trouble before that tragedy. And I should point out, this interview was conducted by Christie O'Connor, she's an independent investigative journalist and she is writing a book about this case. But what you realize now as she questioned Shellie is that their relationship right now is in some very serious trouble. Listen --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you together?
SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: I'm not going to answer that. Of course, I want to have children and stay married.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With George?
SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN: That's something I'm going to have to think about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Yes, that does not sound good. And, but, you know, given again, Jessica, what they've been through, you would have to have an incredibly strong relationship and not have suffered in some way, but it appears now they, too, may be victims of what is just this entire terrible tragedy.
YELLIN: Yes, that's a good point. Any couple would certainly feel a strain after this. Do you have a sense why she's speaking out now? Do you think she's distancing herself from George or to be, frank, maybe she's looking for publicity for herself?
SAVIDGE: I think it's a couple of things. I do agree with that it's possible she is looking to distance herself. It's also the right time legally. She had just cleared up the case of the perjury against her, so now she can speak out without necessarily feeling that it's going to jeopardize her case. And then also there is that limited window when you know you have the public spotlight. And she does have it, at least for now, as a result of her husband and the controversy that still swirls around his acquittal. I think she wanted to sort of set the record straight from her perspective at least she accomplished some of that -- Jessica.
YELLIN: She did. Thanks so much, Martin Savidge, for reporting.
SAVIDGE: You're welcome.
YELLIN: And still to come, an update on a story we have been following closely, a Montana teacher sentenced to just 30 days in prison for raping a teenage student, will the sentence change?
Mike Tyson, the former heavyweight champion of the world, talks about the demons he says he has been fighting since the day he was born.
Plus, an update on the baby panda just born at the National Zoo in the nation's capital.
YELLIN: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT, we start the second half with stories where we focus on our own reporting from the front lines. We're learning more details about the surveillance learn to organize the raid on Osama Bin Laden. The "Washington Post" citing documents obtained by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, reports that satellites were gathering intel as the mission occurred.
"The Post" reports the satellites were gathering a torrent of electronic and signal intelligence. And we also learned today that a Pakistani doctor accused of helping the U.S. find bin Laden will get a new trial. He was sentenced last year to 33 years in prison. Senior U.S. officials told CNN in 2012 that the doctor worked with the United States but he was never asked to spy on Pakistan and was asked only to help locate al Qaeda terrorists posing a threat.
Fast food workers in 60 cities walked off the job. Workers want among other things their wages raised to $15 an hour. Currently, the median wage for fast food workers is about $9 an hour.
The National Restaurant Association sees things differently, obviously. The group said in a statement that the industry not only provides fair wages for its employees, but also numerous opportunities for career growth.
We have an update now on the national zoo's newest panda cub. In a statement, the zoo says the cub has a round belly which indicates that it is nursing well. You can see it on the little corner. It is quite loud, too, you can hear the cub crying out until its mom picks it up and starts cradling it.
Keepers report that the mama bear Mei Xiang is more aware of them when they enter her den but so far both bears appear to be doing very well.
Legally married same-sex couples will now get to file their federal income taxes as married couples. The Treasury Department's decision applies to federal income taxes and things like federal estate and gift taxes. Same-sex marriage is legal in 13 states and Washington, D.C. GLAD says the decision will provide critical financial security for countless families.
And now our fifth story OUTFRONT: fighting, a 30-day sentence for rape.
Tonight, there are new developments regarding a Montana judge's decision to sentence a former teacher to a month in prison for raping his 14-year-old student who later killed herself. It's a story that we've been following and now prosecutors say they're planning a potential appeal that could put this former teacher behind bars for much longer than 30 days. Our Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT with these new details.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outrage spilled on to the front lawn of the Yellowstone County Courthouse, 500 women demanding a resignation saying it's time for the 71-year-old judge to go. Outrage based on the judge's decision in the case of former high school teacher Stacey Rambold, who received what amounted to a 30-day sentence for raping his 14-year-old student.
Scott Twito is a Yellowstone County attorney, the prosecutor.
SCOTT TWITO, YELLOWSTONE COUNTY ATTORNEY: I vehemently disagree with the sentence that Mr. Rambold was given on Monday.
LAH: What he got was a slap on the wrist for the crime, says Twito, and one prosecutors hope to appeal. CNN obtained a copy of this memo from the county attorney's office in the Montana attorney general. About the 30-day sentence, they write, "We believe the statute was misapplied and the minimum sentence should have been two years."
TWITO: This case is very important. As we said before, this resulted in the loss of one of our young people in my community. We take these charges very seriously and we fight for those victims and we fight for our community to let them know we're there to back you up. We're there to make sure.
LAH: Rambold was 49, teaching business at Billings Senior High School when he was charged with raping his student 14-year-old Cherice Morales. As the case lagged through the justice system, this girl just shy of her 17th birthday, she committed suicide.
The victim dead, prosecutors struck a deal -- confess to one rape and stay away from children and they would dismiss the charges. Rambold appeared Monday before Judge Bah because he violated that deal. In this hearing, the judge says Cherice Morales was in as much control as her rapist and seemed older than her chronological age. Then, he sentenced Rambold to just 30 days behind bars.
His ruling and words grabbed national headlines. There's an online petition for his resignation, his reputation ravaged on social media. The judge later apologized for the language he used.
G. TODD BAUGH, DISTRICT JUDGE: I'm not sure just what I was attempting to say at that point, but it didn't come out correct. What I said was demeaning to all women.
YELLIN: Kyung, this judge isn't backing down from the sentence, I know, but have you learned more about him?
LAH: Well, we know he's been a judge for a very long time in Billings, Montana. He's been a presiding judge continuously since 1984. And that he's basically run opposed in every single election except for 1994. And, Jessica, when we last spoke to him he certainly intended on running for another term next year. He would be 72.
YELLIN: Wow. Thank you for your reporting on this story. It's really upsetting, but well done. Thank you.
Tonight, we want to bring you more of our exclusive interview with Auliea Hanlon. She is the mother of Cherice Morales, the young girl in this story. We spoke to Auliea last night and at the end of the interview, we still had so much to talk about that we asked if she'd stay and we continued our conversation with her after the show.
She recalled for us her emotion when she found out that her daughter had been raped by her high school teacher.
AULIEA HANLON, MOTHER OF CHERICE MORALES: Disappointment and horror. He had groomed her well.
YELLIN: What do you mean by that when you say "groom"? Explain.
HANLON: They find someone. They prey on them. They act like they're their friends and they're not. And they make the kids seem -- make the kids think it's their fault and it's not. They're not responsible. They're not old enough to be responsible.
YELLIN: Have you spoken to the teacher?
HANLON: I've only seen the man twice. Once I was going to forgive him, and then I changed my mind. And the next time I seen him, I only ever see the back of his head in a courtroom.
YELLIN: And what made you change your mind?
HANLON: Because when I went up and talked to him, he ducked behind his attorney. And -- how chicken (EXPLETIVE DELETED), pardon my language.
YELLIN: You've said you were horrified by the sentence just 30 days. What would justice look like to you?
HANLON: Any time behind bars. He's very lucky. He seems to slide by, by the very skin of his teeth, any jail time would have been better than 30 days. Not jail time, prison time.
YELLIN: What most upsets you about this 30-day sentence?
HANLON: It discourages other kids from coming forward. If they come forward, what's going to happen? Nothing.
YELLIN: There are now growing calls for the judge to resign and the Montana organization of women has started a petition calling for his resignation. Do you think he should resign?
HANLON: If he want -- if he -- if he's going to keep putting down sentences like that, you bet.
YELLIN: What would you like to say to the judge?
HANLON: Shoot, I don't know. Don't you wish there were re-dos in life?
YELLIN: As I mentioned, your daughter did commit suicide. After the rape were there signs that she was growing depressed? Did she change after this happened?
HANLON: Yes. She had a lot going on. But I'm pretty sure it definitely affected her. You know teenagers their whole life is their school, their peers, their social ties. And he took that all away from her. And he did it on purpose. He knew he was doing it.
YELLIN: If you could go back and talk to your daughter, what would you say to her now?
HANLON: I love you. Nothing else really matters. Everyone should tell their kids they love them.
YELLIN: Would you explain this sentence to her?
HANLON: I had a hard enough time trying to explain the sentence to my sons and my other daughter, because they said, oh, did he hurt her, mom? Well, yes, he did. Oh, what happened to him? Nothing. I'm sorry.
YELLIN: Please, take your time.
HANLON: How do you tell a 10-year-old it's OK, you know? The judge says it's OK. I told him the judge was wrong.
YELLIN: Our thanks to Auliea Hamlin and her family, it's such a tragic and emotional story and it's a story we're going to continue to cover for some time now.
And now we move to our sixth story on OUTFRONT: Mike Tyson's demons.
The former heavyweight boxing champ is now opening up about his battle to stay sober. He's calling himself a, quote, "vicious alcoholic." Tyson spoke to NBC about his ongoing struggles saying he won't survive if he doesn't get help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE TYSON, FORMER HEAVYWEIGHT BOXING CHAMPION: When I start drinking and I relapse, I think of dying. I'm in a real dark mood, I think of dying. And I don't know, I don't want to be around no more. Sometimes I don't want to live when I'm in that state.
It's a real challenge, because I don't like -- I don't know if I like this sober guy. It's hard for me to live normal, straight is hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YELLIN: OUTFRONT tonight, Dr. Drew Pinsky host of HLN's "Dr. Drew on Call."
Dr. Drew, thanks for being with us.
Today, Matt Lauer asked Mike Tyson about his inner demons. Let's listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, NBC TODAY SHOW: You pointed to your head and said it's dangerous to hang out in your head alone.
TYSON: Alone, yes.
LAUER: Up here, right?
LAUER: It wants to kill everything. It wants to kill me. All I can think of is what a tough way to go through life on a daily basis, kind of fearing what's going on in your own head.
TYSON: I'm so happy you don't have to go through that. Yes, it is kind of strange and scary.
LAUER: How long has that been going on?
TYSON: I was born that way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YELLIN: To say this publicly, is that essentially a cry for help?
DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: You know, addicts don't really cry for help. They don't. They want to go on in their disease and the disease to continue on and until they get so far into it that they nearly die and then they usually ask for assistance at that point. Addicts don't cry for help. They look back and say, well, maybe I was crying for help. But when they're in it, they do not.
Think about Mike Tyson, he had been identifying as a recovering person. I think he had stable sobriety but he's saying now most of the time he was identifying as sober he was actually using. That it was a lie, and that is deeply shaming to him.
I think in that interview when he's talking about wanting to kill, that's his addiction wanting to kill him. That's not Mike Tyson the killer fighter, that's his addiction wanting to kill Mike Tyson.
YELLIN: We always talk about celebrities collapsing in the public life. We talk about Lindsay Lohan, we talk about Amanda Bynes and we've seen Mike Tyson do this over and over for decades. But we don't intervene. We just watch it happen.
Do you think there is an obligation for people in the public to somehow help some of these celebrities?
PINSKY: There's an obligation to help, but it's an obligation to check ourselves. The reality is that we think about when you watch people go down in flames, you feel a certain amount of satisfaction, we come together in groups and cluck about it. It makes us feel, at least it's not me, it galvanizes our little groups to gossip about somebody else.
The fact is this is somebody suffering and dying. You need to think about that. I believe, Jessica, the reason we do, people will love this, but I think humans have a primitive motivation toward human sacrifice.
PINSKY: They just do. This is a vestige of that. This is a vestige of something that has been in human anthropologic history forever, and it still sits somewhere in there and that's why we sit. It galvanizes us, makes us feel good and we sit in judgment of that one who going down in flames.
Now, in America, we like resurrection, we like to be relieved of our guilt for having done that, and we like see those stories of restitution. And God bless Mike Tyson, I hope this is the beginning of a real recovery for him because that man's life in danger. Make no mistake by it, by his addiction and his addiction is in his brain and that's what he's talking about when it says it wants to kill him.
YELLIN: We hope he has a good comeback story, too. And, Dr. Drew, thank you.
Tonight on "Dr. Drew on Call", a rare inside look in the mind of a serial murderer. Dr. Drew will ask a woman whose own father was a serial killer. That's tonight at 9:00 Eastern on HLN.
Ahead, a status symbol? Would you wear your relationship status on your sleeve?
Plus, a new roller coaster that's breaking not just one, but three records.
And, a shootout tonight -- don't count your chickens before they hatch. This video comes from Brazil where a man is about to win the half ironman triathlon. The problem, and watch it closely, he started celebrating before he actually crossed the finish line. Never a good idea.
Upon realizing his mistake, that triathlete holds out his arm to keep the other competitor from crossing the finish line. So, our shout-out goes to the triathlete who placed second for not losing his cool after that unsportsmanlike conduct.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) YELLIN: Now let's check in with Anderson Cooper to see what's ahead on "AC360."
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Jessica.
Yes, the breaking news tonight, of course, the decision about what to do with Syria now lies squarely with the president of the United States after British lawmakers rejected military action. We'll look into that.
Also, new details on how high in the Syrian regime was the planning for last week's suspected chemical attack. We'll talk about all of that with our panel and get a live report from Dana Bash in Washington and the latest White House conference call with members of Congress which ended moments ago.
Also tonight, America is having trouble sleeping at night. A new study shows that nearly 9 million of us use prescription sleeping pill or sedatives. I'll talk with Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the medical risks getting a little help to this get a good night's sleep.
The rest of the stories and tonight's "RidicuList" all at the top of the hour, Jessica.
YELLIN: There's a lot of developing news on Syria and we'll check in to see what you've got. Thanks, Anderson.
YELLIN: And in our seventh story OUTFRONT -- OK, I like this one -- wearing your relationship status on your sleeve, or your wrist.
The makers of a new bracelet are promising to revolutionize the dating world. Their concept? These bright-colored bracelets which make it easy for folks on the market to spot one another.
So, the idea is people wear wedding rings to show that they're married. Why not wear a bracelet to let folks know that you're single and ready to mingle?
OUTFRONT: Stephanie Miller, Dean Obeidallah and Michael Medved.
OK. Dean, I'm going to you because I think you're my ally on this.
Why not wear one of these things? People, you know, post on Facebook if they are single and available.
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, COMEDIAN: Sure.
YELLIN: Why not wear a wristband that says I'm available? I'm interested.
OBEIDALLAH: There is nothing wrong with that. There is literally over 100 million Americans over 18 years old who are single -- they are not looking, millions are.
Let's make it easier. People used to make fun of online dating Web sites.
OBEIDALLAH: And now, they are so popular.
YELLIN: That's a good point.
OBEIDALLAH: Match.com. But one thing before Medved and Miller jump in here, to say that I think the colors of the brace lets should indicate more not just single but maybe like I'm ready to get married would be nice, or just looking to hook up. That's another one, that's a very popular one. And you meet someone else with that, and they want to empower and activate. So it's great.
YELLIN: Stephanie, you know it's challenging to meet people in the busy world. So, if this helps, why not?
STEPHANIE MILLER, RADIO HOST: You know, to quote broadcast news, who knew sweaty desperation was unattractive? Maybe they should call the sweaty desperation bracelet. Whatever happened to asking somebody if they are single?
OBEIDALLAH: It's hard.
MILLER: Whatever happened to seeing if there is a tan line where the guy's ring is supposed to be or if there's a ring? I mean, really? We need a bracelet?
YELLIN: Oh, come on. Michael, it's no different really than putting on Facebook status. If you put it online whether you're single or not, why not wear it on your wrist?
MICHAEL MEDVED, RADIO HOST: Well, online is different from in person, and this is going to be a problem in the workplace. I mean, seriously, there are a lot of people out there who live in fear of unwanted fraternization at the workplace. It can lead to charges of harassment and all kinds of problems, and I think both for men and women wearing a bracelet that says, "Hey, I'm single," is going to bring on no-ended results.
Any attractive woman wants less sexual attention, less hassles. And any -- a guy who actually wants more hassles is going to get -- is going to get fewer.
YELLIN: You could take it off at work.
MEDVED: Jessica, how are people going to react? How would you react to somebody who says, hey, I'm single --
YELLIN: I hate it --
MILLER: Not everyone -- not everyone works for Bob Filner. I mean, come on. Really?
OBEIDALLAH: The bracelets just send a message, and I think who will wear it the most, married guys, will take their ring off and buy it.
YELLIN: That's always the problem.
OBEIDALLAH: That's one problem.
Look at Stephanie Miller, she's coveted by millions of men and women on the left. She's like a cross between Beyonce and Elizabeth Warren. She's chasing Medved, the darling the right, they got millions chasing them.
The average person, it's hard to meet people. Let's let them connect. What's wrong with one little step to make them connect?
MEDVED: What about a bracelet -- Dean, what about a bracelet that says it's complicated, if you want to compare to your Facebook status?
ODEIDALLAH: There is nothing wrong with that.
YELLIN: It is complicated that's why the bracelets could be helpful. If you have one that says I'm interested in marriage and you go out to a club and there's other people who have one that says I'm interested in marriage and you can find each other and then, you know, not avoid -- you can avoid the people who aren't.
OBEIDALLAH: Family values --
MEDVED: If you're interested in marriage, you're probably not going out to a club wearing a bracelet advertising that.
YELLIN: That's a good point.
MILLER: Listen, Jessica, this necklace is saying, I'm single but not Miley Cyrus twerking single.
YELLIN: I like your necklace. I like your necklace.
Do you think it screams desperation?
OBEIDALLAH: I think, honestly, depending on the situation and how they're wearing it. I think the way you dress has a lot to say. But look, we live in a busy world. We work all day, have the same friends at night and go to sleep, repeat. Like Groundhog Day, and people don't have a chance to meet people.
Anything that lets people have a chance at finding love, as long as it's not a scam I'm completely in favor of. I think it's a great thing.
And these two Grinches who don't want people to find love or whatever diabolical reasons they have is ridiculous, you guys.
YELLIN: I think --
MEDVED: But I'm a supporter of capitalism. I'm glad that they are entrepreneurs out there with the noble idea. I hope they create a lot of jobs with it.
YELLIN: All right. And he has a good point. Online dating used to have a real stigma and now, everybody is doing it.
All right. Good discussion. We'll see if this becomes the next big thing -- and thanks to all you guys.
OUTFRONT next, a wild and record-breaking ride.
YELLIN: Breaking news on the California wildfire that's threatening Yosemite National Park. The acting California governor today issued an emergency proclamation in Mariposa County because of the so-called Rim Fire. It's so far 30 percent contained, but nearly 200,000 acres have burned. It cost the state more than $39 million to date.
Well, we have good news for all you thrill seekers out there. A new record-breaking wooden roller coaster is on the way. Today, Six Flags great America in Chicago announced plans for Goliath, set to open in spring 2014. It's a ride that will break wooden rollercoaster records.
It's built the fastest in the world set to barrel down the track at 72 miles an hour. That's two miles per hour faster than the top speed limit in highways in 36 U.S. states. The ride is said to have the tallest drop on a wooden roller coaster, 180 feet, as tall as another Chicago born architectural wonder, the world's first skyscraper. The Home Insurance Building, it topped out at 180 feet also before it was demolished in 1931.
And Goliath boasts the steepest drop on a wooden roller coaster, 85 degrees -- no, that's not a new boy band from England but as all you protector enthusiasts should remember, it's just shy of 90 degrees, which is perpendicular to the ground.
And that brings us to tonight's number: 174. That is the number of wooden roller coasters operating worldwide, so says the roller costar database. That's 174 wooden roller coasters -- coasters that have made you scream, made you panic, maybe even made you cry at speeds that are slower, heights that are shorter and drops that are less steep than Goliath.
So, would you ride Goliath? Let us know what you think at Twitter @jessicayellen or @CNNoutfront.
"AC 360" starts now.