Return to Transcripts main page


Graham, McCain Praise and Criticize Strike Plan; Record Swim With No Shark Cage; Searching For Oregon Boy Three Years After Disappearance; "50 Shades Of Grey" Movie Leads Announced; Hunting For Sinkholes

Aired September 2, 2013 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: "OUTFRONT" next, the latest breaking news on the crisis in Syria tonight. President Obama says he wants to upgrade the opposition. Does that mean arming al Qaeda?

Then, an amazing feat that proves you're never too old to chase your dreams. What one 64-year-old woman did today that defies belief.

And it has an innocent-sounding woman's name, but it far from that. What is Molly and why is it so deadly? WE have a special report.

Let's go "OUTFRONT."

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, is America going to war? Today, President Obama met with two key Republican senators who want military strikes and regime change in Syria, John McCain and Lindsey Graham. Tonight, the senators say they still prefer a more significant military effort, but that they understand where the president is coming from.


SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: It is my hope that even a limited military strike can degrade Assad's ability to reject force particularly using chemical weapons, but there seems to be emerging from this administration a pretty solid plan to upgrade the opposition.


BURNETT: A solid plan to upgrade the opposition. Is that really an America's national interest? George Little is the assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs and joins us tonight.

George, you know, obviously we know there are al Qaeda elements fighting among the rebels in Syria. That's been a big part of the problem. How do you pull one group out from another group? How can the United States be sure that it's not helping the extremists if the United States as Senator Graham said, quote/unquote, "upgrades the opposition?"

GEORGE LITTLE, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Erin, thank you for having me on tonight. It's imperative of the United States to engage in strong diplomatic efforts with the Syrian opposition, to talk to them on a regular basis and that's been a big push, especially by our State Department and they've done a terrific job.

So yes, we need to identify moderate opposition groups that can come together and become more cohesive and oppose the regime of Bashar Al-Assad. We're not blind to the fact that there are terrorist elements in Syria, but we believe that at the end of the day the Syrian people will reject extremism and that they will adopt a diplomatic process that gets them to a new political landscape in their country that does not involve Bashar Al-Assad.

BURNETT: And Secretary of Defense, obviously, Chuck Hagel and John Kerry are said to appear tomorrow as you know at the first congressional hearing in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. What is Secretary Hagel going to say? Is he going to make any more of a clear case than we have already heard? For example, to hit on this issue that many around the world have questioned, which is, is there proof of who used the chemical weapons and when they were used? I mean, are we going to learn more tomorrow?

LITTLE: I think what you'll hear from Secretary Hagel is a very strong endorsement of the view that chemical weapons used in Syria and elsewhere, for that matter, violates basic standards of human dignity. And also, it's in our national interest to prevent their use. Think about the precedent this could set, Erin, not just in Syria but for Iran and Hezbollah and North Korea and for others. We're deeply concerned about the precedent that if we don't act, that others may believe they might be able to use chemical weapons against their own innocent populations in the future.

BURNETT: When you say you're deeply concerned about the precedent it's clear where you stand on that front. But what if Congress now that the president has given them this opportunity to vote, what if they vote "no." So in that case it would sound like what you're saying is he should still go ahead with strikes. He says he has the right to do without their approval he's just being polite to ask for it, but if they vote no he needs to go ahead with it or else he sets the wrong precedent for Iran and others.

LITTLE: Well, with respect, Erin, I take issue with some of your question. This is not -- this is constructive engagement of the Congress. This is not a mere fig leaf process. We're working closely with them. As Secretary Kerry said yesterday he thinks that Congress will pass the authorization to use force and Congress will do the right thing.

BURNETT: Robert Gibbs, of course, the former press secretary as you know just said it is going to be very, very difficult for the president to get the votes so I guess the question I'm asking you if he doesn't get the votes -- I know that's not the scenario you want, but if he doesn't get, is he still going to strike?

LITTLE: We're in a very constructive process right with the United States Congress. That's our focus. That's where we are engaged. I think it would be a little bit of a hypothetical right now to discuss what happens if Congress should vote "no." But we believe that Congress will do the right thing.

BURNETT: Thank you very much, George Little, appreciate your time.

Now I want to bring in Republican Congressman Peter King OUTFRONT. He sits on both the House Homeland Security Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. Obviously you just heard George Little and the risk that Congress could vote "no." He is saying, look, it's a hypothetical. Do you agree, I mean, or is there a real danger that Congress could vote "no?"

REPRESENTATIVE PETER KING (R), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I think -- first, thanks for having me on, Erin. I think the president made a terrible mistake in going to Congress. He has the absolute power to launch this attack if he wants to. If it's that serious he should have done it. I'll vote for it. I'm not trying to duck a vote, but I think he's put himself in a position that right now I think if the vote were today it would be very difficult to get a majority.

I don't know what is going to happen by next week or the week after, but I think it will be difficult. I think the president constitutionally will have the right to go in after he didn't get the vote, like President Clinton in Kosovo, they were defeated in the House, but he still attacked so it can be done. It weakens the opposition diplomatically. It weakens the president's stature and it makes him look vacillating and weak.

BURNETT: And you just said before and you just said it now. You don't think he needed to ask for approval, but now he's done it. Let's say the vote is "no." Should he then go against what Congress said and still strike or should he do what Congress says, which is not strike? I mean, which makes him look better?

KING: I think he should do it. I think he should go ahead and strike. It can't be one day or two days of Tomahawk missiles. There has to be a purpose to this and to me the purpose should be to really diminish Syria's capacity to use chemical weapons to carry out war. And not just to knock out -- to weaken their position so they have to enter into negotiations with the rebels. I am concerned that there's a strong al Qaeda element within the rebels, but if we bring about the negotiations that would give us a much stronger hand at those talks to bring about a government, which would not be Assad and not be an al Qaeda affiliate.

BURNETT: But to you it is worth the risk at this point that arms anticipation help whatever it might be might get in the hands of al Qaeda sort of what George little was saying. Because a lot of people point to Afghanistan where we used to aid the Taliban and look what happened to them, you know, look at what happened in Libya and North Africa, I mean, this happenings again and again. Is it a risk we have to take?

KING: I take it this far. I want negotiations to start. If we bring about the negotiations that gives us a much stronger hand at the talks to diminish the position of the al Qaeda affiliates, but I'm not confident that we can keep weapons out of their hands. But I believe but us playing a major role in getting the talks going, we'll have much more control over the al Qaeda elements in the rebel forces.

BURNETT: Now Congressman King, obviously online either well aware in your position on homeland security that the United States that already tightened up domestic security measures ahead of this possible strike, right? What I didn't understand is if there's going to be a vote why wait until next week? Now it looks like they're going to be talking about it next Monday. You could have a vote on September 11th, obviously a terrible anniversary for this country. How concerned are you for America's homeland security?

KING: Well, you know, again everything that can be done will be done, but we have to be concerned. I agree with you. I think the vote, again, if it's that serious if the president wants to launch the attack then he should have brought Congress back, brought us back into special session over the weekend, done it last week for that matter. He didn't so, no, I am concerned, but no need to panic. But again, if we're talking about Hezbollah or any of those affiliates we have to be very concerned.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Congressman King. It's always a pleasure and thank you for joining us on Labor Day.

KING: Erin, thank you very much. Thank you.

BURNETT: All right, still OUTFRONT, an American music festival cut short after partygoers end up dead. The hot drug molly is to blame.

And then she's been trying to break this record for a quarter century, try, try and try again. Today, a 64-year-old athlete did something no one of any age has ever done before.

It's been a long time speculating who will play the lead in the movie version of "Fifty Shades of Grey." Who will it be? Tonight, we'll tell you.

And a shocking fact about sinkholes.


BURNETT: Our second story, a record-setting swim with no shark cage. Diana Nyad stumbled to shore today after a 103-mile swim from Cuba to Florida. The 64-year-old endurance swimmer says she's dreamt for decades about making this trip through those shark-infested waters.


DIANA NYAD, ENDURANCE SWIMMER: We should never ever give up. You're never too old to chase your dream.


BURNETT: It took her 53 hours and she did it without flippers or a wet suit. She's the first person to do it without a cage. The cage obviously is what most people do to protect themselves from sharks. She was fearless. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been following Nyad's progress for over three years. She has tried this before. When she failed she didn't give up. She came back and did it again. Sanjay, this time, the magic time, how come?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, some of it is just pure grit and determination. You could see that on her face as she gets out of the water after swimming that long and still, you know, pumping her firsts in the air. There's a lot to this as you might imagine, Erin. I mean, there are a lot of things that have to go perfectly well. The conditions of the water were more flat than normal. The water temperature was good. There were no major storms in the area.

Also, you know, in the past, I don't know if you've seen some of these images, Erin, but jellyfish would sting her and besides being so painful on her face, it would actually impede her ability to breathe well on her own when she was trying to do the swim so that's what stopped her a couple of times in the past. But look, things just went well for her. She was swimming at one point, I heard, 5 miles an hour, to give you an idea. She's 64 years old and she swam for 53 hours. My mom has been calling me and my kids are calling me. She inspires everybody.

BURNETT: That's incredible when you say that and how you give sort of a sense of why the jellyfish would be so problematic not just the pain that affected her breathing. I mean, we talk about the danger of jellyfish and the shark, how she went without a shark cage, which is incredible. What other kind of tolls would this take on her body?

GUPTA: The best way that I sort of heard it explained was that she essentially is unable to keep up with the amount of nutrition and hydration she would need no matter what she does. She's not allowed to stop or touch anything so she's given a line to drink fluids every now and then. Food can be scooped into her mouth but even with that it almost impossible to get enough hydration and nutrition.

One doctor explained it that she essentially digesting her own body to get through the swim so it's a race against her own body. I mean, you can imagine the physical toll that takes on somebody. She loses tons of weight in that 53-hour time period and just sheerly exhausted when she gets out.

BURNETT: All right, Sanjay, thank you very much and I want everyone to know Sanjay is going to be back later on this hour. He is going to talking to Diana Nyad, which will be amazing to see that. So Sanjay will be along and also tonight at 11:00, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has a special show "Extreme Dream Come True" about Diana Nyad. That's at 11:00 p.m. Eastern so that's tonight and the interview, of course, coming up in a few moments right here OUTFRONT.

Now our third story OUTFRONT, searching for Kyron. It has been over three years since the 7-year-old Kyron Foreman disappeared outside his Portland, Oregon elementary school. His family though has not given up hope. This weekend with the help of over 100 volunteers, Kyron's mom, Desiree Young, spent two days searching for her son. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DESIREE YOUNG, MISSING BOY'S MOTHER: I had great people dedicated for the mission to find Kyron and we had great people help us this weekend. I will forever be grateful that they came to help me and I know that if Kyron was here, he would say thank you very much.


BURNETT: That mom not giving up hope. This is a story we've been following closely on the show and we've spoken to Kyron's dad as well. He's also not given up hope. Tonight, CNN's Stephanie Elam is OUTFRONT with the latest. Stephanie, in the search this weekend, what did they find?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the thing about this, Erin. Young has said all along that they did find things that could be clues and possibly evidence, but she wasn't letting us know exactly what they found at this time. Now we did talk to the sheriff's department and they tell us that they do know that there was a search. They did not participate in it, but a spokesman said that the search party did turn over a few items to the department. What they plan to do now is process those items to determine if they are actually related to Kyron's disappearance here -- Erin.

BURNETT: Stephanie, obviously, there's been so many questions about this. Desiree and her father are divorced and he had remarried. That was a big part of the story. Has a suspect ever been named in his disappearance?

ELAM: It's a very sort of twisted story here, Erin but, no, there's never been a suspect named. Young filed a lawsuit against Terry Horman last year demanding she disclose the whereabouts of the missing boy. That is the boy's stepmom who was married to Cain, his fair. She was the last to see the boy when she dropped him off at school.

It's also important to note that Cain Horman, Kyron's father left Terry Horman after he was alerted by officials that Terry had tried to hire someone to kill him and he reportedly learned about the plan after Kyron disappeared and subsequently he moved out of the house and took the couple's now 4-year-old daughter with him.

In divorce filings, Cain also said he believes his estranged wife is involved in Kyron's disappearance here. So a lot of people point a finger, but no one has been blamed for his disappearance or perhaps his murder.

BURNETT: Obviously incredible, but so incredible that they're not giving up hope. Thanks, Stephanie.

And now money and power tonight, "Fifty Shades of Grey" the movie has its lead so the book's author, E.L. James tweeted that Dakota Johnson, who is the daughter of Melanie Griffiths and Don Johnson will play Anastasia Steel, the college student apparently seduced by Christian Grey. Johnson has previously appeared in the films "The Social Network" and "21 Jump Street." Charlie Hunnam, star of "Sons of Anarchy" will play the billionaire playboy, Christian Grey.

Now the movie is expected to be released in August of next year and there is a good reason for film executives to be really hopeful about this one because "Fifty Shades of Grey" the book, the series, has sold more than 70 million copies worldwide and the author has become incredibly wealthy. "Forbes" estimates E.L. James earned $95 million in the past year. That's pretty amazing.

Next, an OUTFRONT investigation. There are homes right now that are being built over areas prone to sinkholes and guess what, you as a home buyer would know absolutely nothing about it.

And then a designer drug that was bleeped out at the performance by Miley Cyrus at the VMAs and now being blamed for deaths at concerts, what is this drug, Molly?

Plus incredible video of a boat crash and the captain of the boat, a police officer.


BURNETT: Our fourth story, OUTFRONT, sinkholes everywhere. There are tons of sinkholes in Florida as you now know. They've killed people, sucked down homes and even hotels, but you should be amazed to hear that despite the risk there is absolutely no state requirement to actually test for a sinkhole before you build. You heard me right. You can go ahead and build a whole set of developments and never test. John Zarrella is OUTFRONT.


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The drill is down to about 55 feet. The geological team from Geohazards Inc. is looking for voids beneath the surface, evidence of a possible sinkhole. About a year ago, the home owner, Ed Denning, started noticing cracks in the walls of his home.

ED DENNING, HOMEOWNER: This is the first thing. I noticed the paint started to buckle on this side and this side of the wall.

ZARRELLA: And beneath the floor tile -- hollow spots. An inspection done by his insurance company said it was settling cracks, not a sinkhole. Not good enough for Denning. He hired Geohazards.

DENNING: I wasn't satisfied at all because there were sinkholes popping up everywhere and in the case in Tampa where the guy fell in the hole in his bedroom I was thinking I don't want that to happen to my family.

ZARRELLA: Peace of mind is costing Denning about $6,000 out of his own pocket. He might be might not be going through this if the ground had been tested before the home was built. But while Florida's regarded as the most sinkhole-prone state there's no requirement, that's right, no requirement for developers or builders to test before they put up a home. TONY RANDAZZO, GEOHAZARDS INC.: That's the ludicrousness of the situation. They will demand an insect termite inspection or a structural inspection of the house, but nothing about the subsurface conditions.

ZARRELLA: The Florida Home Builders Association past president told us that it comes down to two things. Testing is isn't foolproof and it's expensive. Quote, "Do you add five to $10,000 cost to each house when there's a very low percentage that a sinkhole could occur?, ends quote." Insurance, he added, covers the catastrophic events like the partial collapse of a timeshare near Orlando. Scientists say there's no more evidence of sinkholes and the state says the governor is studying whether the danger can be quantified.

GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: We're looking at -- there's a way to assess what the risk is.

ZARRELLA: Dave Bierman represents sinkhole victims.

DAVE BIERMAN, ATTORNEY: You are playing the odds and some areas your odds are worse than in other areas of the state. But you still play the odds no matter what.

ZARRELLA: And as Florida's population grows and spreads out, the odds don't get any better.


ZARRELLA: Geohazards says its final report on the home should be completed by midweek, but the company says preliminary results do indicate evidence of sinkhole activity -- Erin.

BURNETT: Thanks very much to you, John. Just unbelievable that there's no requirement to test.

OUTFRONT next, drug users are calling it the female name Molly and it's showing up in pop culture references, but police say it is actually a common drug that users are taking it with deadly dosages right now.

Plus got hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army. What officials say the attackers were able to see.

And is this man worth $132 million cash, a one-time payment?


BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT. Good news tonight on Caylee Harding. She's the 12-year-old girl in Arkansas who was infected with the rare brain eating ameba, that parasite. We have learned today that she's eating, drinking and talking and look at the picture of the 12-year-old girl. She's even walking without assistance.

This is a miracle because according to the Centers for Disease Control there have been 128 known cases of this brain eating amoeba and only two other people have survived it. Dr. Lee Vincor of the American College of Emergency Physicians tells us that Caylee has still months of rehab ahead of her. It really is a true medical miracle.

And now an OUTFRONT update on the acid attack targeting two teenage girls. One of the victims speaking out fort the first time since the attack in Zanzibar. Kirsty told the "Sunday Times" that she's frustrated her attackers have not been found, saying the city is small and that ever knows everyone. But she also said and this is amazing, she go back to Zanzibar to continue her volunteer work.

This photo we're going to show is of one of the women. You can just see how unbelievably horrific this was. Brutal, the acid hit her face, chest and hands. It's believed the other victim is still in the hospital tonight.

And now, take a look at this video. This is the Washington, D.C. police boat crashing into two other vessels on the busy Potomac River. It might want surprise you that no one was injured which is why we're showing you this. One of the boats sustained a large gash and partially sank. I mean, look at that gash.

Coast Guard is investigating the accident. We reached out to the Washington, D.C. police department for statement. We have not yet heard back.

CBS is back on Time Warner Cable. For the past month, 3 million Time Warner Cable customers have gone without CBS or Showtime which apparently has upset many people who like to watch TV. But, today, the two sides announce that they have struck a deal programming resume. The financial details were not disclosed but Greg Moffitt of Moffitt Research, a top analyst, covering the company, says there was a sense of urgency and Time Warner Cable's part to get a deal done before the NFL season starts.

It has been 758 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating, what are we doing to get it back?

Well, U.S. markets were close today for the Labor Day holiday, but it didn't stop deal-making or money raising. Verizon had no problem raising money and in debt, paying $130 billion to take full control of Verizon Wireless from its British partner, Vodafone.

And now our fifth story OUTFRONT: Syria retaliates tonight. A group calling itself the Syrian Electronic Army is claimed responsibility for a cyber attack on the Marines recruiting Web site. And it's a bold strike and said to be in response to the growing threat of a U.S. military strike against Syria.

The pro-Syrian group wrote, "We understand you're patriotism and love for your country, so please understand our love for ours. Obama is a traitor who wants to put your lives in danger to rescue al Qaeda insurgents."

Now, this is the same group that has also gone after other U.S. companies in the past month, all obviously in defense of a Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Deb Feyerick is OUTFRONT.

And, Deb, So another attack on an American Web site. What do we know about being hacked?

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We know it's a recruitment site. And similar to "The New York Times" and "Washington Post" attacks, it appears that the actual recruitment site itself, was not breached. The Marine say no confidential or personal information was compromised but people continue access the information and they were redirected to another site.

Now, I spoke with the cybersecurity expert who has investigated the Syrian Electronic Army. He tells me that the hackers could actually be doing much more damage than they are right now. They're able to control what people see, where they go online, yet so far it seems that their intention as you mentioned, is to spread pro-Syrian information.

For example, telling the U.S. to stay out as opposed to directing them or spreading malware which is clearly much more difficult to do, which is clearly difficult to do, but also, it's much, much more destructive. And keep in mind, it also appear that this is particular group itself was hacked in April with someone gaining access to its information. Syrian Electronic Army denies it, but clearly any claims of responsibility against, whether it's "The New York Times" or, inconclusive because nobody really knows.

BURNETT: It's interesting when you say that they think they could do more damage than they have done.

FEYERICK: Absolutely.

BURNETT: Now, law enforcement has ramped up its efforts in anticipation of a potential U.S. strike. Obviously, not just on the cyber front, but also in the physical front. We were talking to Congressman King about that earlier in the show.

What are they doing?

FEYERICK: Well, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, they began warning of a higher risk of cyber attacks. And as we've seen, there had been half a dozen in about the last month, targeted at U.S. companies, including, "Financial Times", even here at CNN. Law enforcement officials are now going back, they are looking at cases that are underway, those that also bear a second look.

And they call this rescrubbing leads and information both on physical cases and cyber cases that have some type of Syrian connection. For example, it might be an ongoing terrorism of financing investigation. Don't forget, also, they're likely looking at surrogates. Iran, Lebanon, Hezbollah, and the U.S. and elsewhere, a former CIA agent told me that the Syrians aren't really good at terrorism, but the people who support them, well, they are and a strike by the U.S. could be seen as an attack on all Shias. BURNETT: And are there new 'intelligence about potential attacks? I guess that's the question, right, because now we know when those embassies were closed, right, there was all this chatter that preceded that. Are they hearing that now?

FEYERICK: Exactly. What we're hearing is a lot of political cyber-rattling about what could happen, what's going to happen. Three people in the intelligence community tell me that there's no new chatter. Nothing on the radar at this time that seems really out of the ordinary but again, threat, counter-threat, threat, counter-threat so you never know which direction it's coming from. So, no new chatter. That's I guess the good thing.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Deb Feyerick, reporting.

And now our sixth story OUTFRONT, a deadly high, an electronic music festival was cut short this weekend after two partygoers died apparently from using a drug called Molly. That's right, spelled M-O- L-L-Y. Like the woman's name. It is, though, a powdered form of ecstasy. The drug has been around for decades but with the new name Molly, it has become a hot new party drug apparently, even performers like Kanye West, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, and Miley Cyrus have mentioned it in their songs.


BURNETT: The word "Molly" was even bleeped during Miley Cyrus's VMA performance just last week. And then use of designer drug is urging.

OUTFRONT tonight, Dr. Howard Samuels, founder and CEO of the Hills Treatment Center.

And good to have you with us, sir. We appreciate it. Let me just ask you this. This drug has been around for a long time but emergency room visits related to the drug Molly have surged in recent years. Why?

DR. HOWARD SAMUELS, HILLS TREATMENT CENTER: Well, first of all, Molly is the pure form of MDMA. Ecstasy is been cut with caffeine, with speed, so we've gone to another level in the last few years with the drug Molly. Now, if you sort of look at that and then look at all of the positive reports in these music songs by these artists, which is totally irresponsible. They're like with pushing the drug to be more popular and that's what's really frightening here because people are dying because of this irresponsibility.

BURNETT: I mean, you see it doubling in emergency room visits. She saw kids died this weekend, and we just heard those songs. I mean, there's no question that their songs are saying this is cool or glorifying it, right? I mean, is it fair to say that those celebrities bear some of the blame?

SAMUELS: Oh, without question. And this is what is really irresponsible. We have to put pressure on these celebrities and the record labels to be more socially conscious of what these artists are really promoting out there with the young people.

I mean, Miley Cyrus, she was on the award show the other night and this was the song she was singing. I mean, this is absolutely wrong what's going on here. And we've really got to sort of step up the pressure here to really, you know, help our young people before it's too late, especially for these two young kids in New York.

BURNETT: And these kids died and apparently there were other kids that also died at an event in Boston.

Let me just ask you, Dr. Samuels, why is this that this is so available or, does it just a do anything different to your body because of how much it's constructed? Is it really cheap to get? I mean, why is it we're seeing all these teenagers and young adults doing this drug, Molly?

SAMUELS: Well, you know, you have to understand, ecstasy has been around for 25 years. You know, I even took MDA because I'm a recovering addict. I'm sober 29 years. I took the drug in the early '70s.


SAMUELS: So this drug has been around. But you have to know something. It's become so popular and there's not been a lot of PR and news about how dangerous this drug is. So it's become really part of the drug culture, especially at nightclubs, music festivals. I mean, wherever you go to hear music, this drug is prevalent because it creates, you know, euphoria.

It creates like some physical and sexual touchy-feely kind of vibe, through it, but you just want to dance for hours. And so, you know, the word spreads in these festivals, but the word is not spreading in what we're doing tonight which really has to happen.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Dr. Samuels, thank you for taking the time. Of course, I think everyone should take it socially media and let the celebrities know what you think about singing and glorifying a drug like that.

And now our seventh story OUTFRONT: Defending an alleged killer. Tonight, the sister of James DiMaggio speaking out.

Now, you'll remember the police say DiMaggio abducted 16-year-old Hannah Anderson and allegedly murdered her mother and brother after torturing them, but DiMaggio's sister insists this may not be the case.

OUTFRONT tonight, DiMaggio sister Lora DiMaggio, and Andrew Spanswick, the DiMaggio family spokesman.

And I really appreciate both of you taking the time.

Lora, let me start with you. You had a chance to speak last week with my colleague, Piers Morgan and in that interview, you said Hannah is not as innocent as she might seem. I wanted to play that sound byte and able to get your reaction to what you meant. Here you are.


LORA DIMAGGIO, JAMES DIMAGGIO'S SISTER: I remember very vividly telling my brother, she's -- she's trouble. She's going to -- I said, you need to watch out for that one. She's trouble. She was -- he came into my home, was very gracious. She didn't, you know, say thank you once. She had on extremely heavy eye makeup.


BURNETT: That's what you said at the time. I just kinds of honed in, Lora, on your comment there about extremely heavy eye makeup. I mean, why is that relevant?

DIMAGGIO: Well, it wasn't eye makeup alone that led me to say that to my brother. It was her demeanor. Clothing. It was -- it was several different factors came into play to lead me to say that to my brother.

BURNETT: And so what do you think actually happened? You know, no matter how you look at this, right -- I mean, she's 16 years old. Your brother was 40 years old. You know, he was the one really in control of a relationship like that.

DIMAGGIO: Right and I'm certainly not in any way defending my brother. Obviously, he was involved in some capacity. All I'm asking is -- you know, are questions that any reasonable person who has lost their last living family member would be asking.

I want answers. I want the truth. I want facts. My brother was shot and killed and all I'm asking for is the truth.

BURNETT: And, Andrew, let me ask you, Lora talking about, you know, James DiMaggio saying, look, she's not -- she's not paying attention to reality here. But, obviously, he's still being classified as a suspect and those are the words they're using in the murders of Hannah's mother and brother.

Have authorities given you any indication as to whether or not they're close to wrapping up the investigation? Whether they're sure what happened that day and what he did or not?

ANDREW SPANSWICK, DIMAGGIO FAMILY SPOKESMAN: I think what's most disturbing is so many people first labeled Jim a pedophile. There's been no evidence of that. And then, after the case, now, Lora goes on TV and expresses her concerns and now they're going after Lora and saying she's in denial. You know, I've known her a long time and she's clearly not in denial.

She's definitely grieving and suffering pain from her brother's death. But this isn't the case of denial. This is a case where there's lots of questions. It's not just Lora that's out there, asking these questions. There's hundreds of people on the Internet and thousands that are asking the same questions. There are certain things that just don't add up. How is her cell phone in the house that burned in the house but yet she has no idea that her mother and brother died and, you know, there's time gaps in the timeline.

And we would like to respect her privacy as a minor, as a 16- year-old. But this is a young girl who decided now to act like an adult, out on social media, saying anything she wants to, attacking Lora personally, you know, laughing at her online, making derogatory comments. And, you know, she's not appropriate.

So while we would like to respect her privacy as a minor, she has chosen to take it into the public spotlight through social media and we think in that case the sheriff department of San Diego has an obligation to release the information to Lora and to let her know whether the timeline fits and whether or not Hannah was -- you know, where was she? There are so many questions people have that aren't being answered.

BURNETT: All right. Well, we thank you both very much for taking the time and asking some of them here to Lora and Andrew.

And now, the talk of the day on Twitter was actually about a world record $132 million paycheck. It's a hell of a lot of money. It was a check for this young man. He's a football player, the real kind, not the American kind.

His name is Gareth Bale, and he was MVP of the British Premiere League, which is the NFL of soccer. He was unveiled today by Spain's Real Madrid after forking over the money to get him to jump.

Following other famous players who depicted to the Real Madrid, team like David Beckham. "Bloomberg News" reports that the $132 million paycheck is actually being paid in one single check. Insane, huh?

Now, Real Madrid's president, Florentino Perez, is worth $1.4 billion according to Forbes. So, he's got the cash. But you know what? She's actually rather destitute by the standards of soccer, and that brings me to our number tonight: $10 billion. According to Forbes, that is the minimum net worth required to get you in top 10 richest soccer club owners. So, that's number two.

Roman Abramovich, the Russian oligarch who's both spent months docked here in New York to a small little boat, see? He made the cut, just barely.

Only three Americans did -- George Soros, Paul Allen and Philip Anschutz. Maybe that means we'll start seeing more record-setting soccer player paychecks right here in the USA.

Still OUTFRONT, a man gets three years in jail for rape and murder. Does it add up?

And kids head back to school. Is saying the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: We are back with tonight's "Outer Circle", where we go to India. The outrage is spreading after a teen convicted of a gang rape. Now, the victim died for injuries in this rate. But the teen received a sentence of just three years in jail.

Sumnima Udas is covering the story.


SUMNINA UDAS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Erin, this outrage over the sentencing of a teenager for his involvement in the deadly gang rape that shook India. The suspect was 17 1/2 years old. When the crime was committed he was a minor, therefore he was being tried at a juvenile court. And the maximum sentence any juvenile can get in India for any crime is three years in a correctional facility. And that's exactly the sentencing that has been handed down to him.

Now, as soon as that was announced, there were protests outside the court. Many say that punishment is not enough, and asking that juvenile rape laws be changed -- Erin.


BURNETT: Thanks to Sumnima.

Well, "Under God" faces new scrutiny. This week, Massachusetts's highest court reportedly scheduled to hear arguments whether the Pledge of Allegiance violates a student's right. Now, at issue is that phrase "Under God".

In this case, the people lodging the complaint are an atheist couple who claimed the daily pledge violates the state's guarantee of equal protection. Does their argument add up?

Reihan Salam and Dean Obeidallah are with me, as they almost always are. Reihan and I back from vacation.

All right. Dean, similar case went to the Supreme Court ultimately failed, on this "Under God".

Do the words "Under God" violate the child's rights? This whole separation of church and state?

DEAN OBEIDALLAH, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: I think to me, at this time, in this world that we live in, where you have 16 percent of Americans that don't believe in any faith whatsoever, I believe "under God" doesn't have to be there. I think it's a relic from the Cold War. It's out of date as the Edsall or Rush Limbaugh. It has nothing to do with what we're doing now.

We live in a multicultural nation and people think --

BURNETT: You said the Edsall as in the old car?


OBEIDALLAH: You guys aren't sponsored by Ford, are you? I take that back.

The reality is, things have changed. In 1954, they did this in the Cold War, it was definitely for religious purposes. It was pandering for political gain during a tight time. America has changed.

These words should be gone. They have no place in it. They don't make us a better country. They don't make people more loyal to this nation. They don't make the nation safer, they do nothing. But to me, make it divisive saying "Under God." You pledge allegiance under God. Why?

BURNETT: All right. Now, let me pledge this, Reihan. Those people out there who say, oh my gosh, it's sacrilegious, can you say that. The Pledge of Allegiance was penned in the early 1900s. The words "Under God" were not in it.

It read, in part, "To the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." What's missing? Oh, that's right, the words "under God": which were put in, Reihan, in 1954, allegedly in response to the godless, quote/unquote, "communist."

So, what about this? I mean, it was added in?

REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's a great point. It was an ideological conflict. And the argument that's been embraced by the Ninth Circuit and the Supreme Court has let stand is that this is not a prayer, it's not about -- it's not about sectarianism, rather, it's a statement about political philosophy.

And here's what the Ninth Circuit said in 2010. "It's a recognition of our founder's political philosophy, that a power greater than government gives the people their inalienable rights."

So, again, the idea is a prayer or religious statement is pretty salient, mind you, but --

BURNETT: But the power is God. That is a religious thing, is it not?

SALAM: But here's the thing, OK? Now, let's say the country has changed and we ought to have a different way of going about this. We got to get rid of "Under God." Well, there are five states in the Union, conservative states like Oklahoma and Wyoming, and there are liberal states like Vermont and Hawaii, included, that don't have the pledge. They don't set aside time in schools for students to say the pledge.

Why don't we persuade people, actually, why don't we go through the political process, make that argument and have state legislatures role back the pledge if we feel it's truly outdated.


SALAM: When the court is more progressive, then we just impose its view on the population, rather than actually persuade people, legislature by legislature. That's what you ought to be trying to do. This is a statement of political philosophy, not --


OBEIDALLAH: Often times the court has to be advanced. In 1967, Loving versus Virginia, law banning interracial marriage. Seventy percent of Americans agreed with the law banning interracial marriage. Thank goodness the Supreme Court had the vision to strike that law down. Our courts have to be ahead of the popular people.


BURNETT: Here's my question, when has God -- when people invoke God for their country, been good?

SALAM: I feel --

BURNETT: I feel like people always use God when they want to say someone is worse than they are or something terrible.

SALAM: Two separate points here.

One is that, look, you can go to the political process and you can change this if you feel very strongly about it. But here's the thing -- it's not about the God as such, it's about ceremony, our history, it's about our culture. And it's about the idea that we did have Founders who had certain beliefs about where our rights come from.

That phrase under God doesn't necessarily mine Christianity or Islam or anything else. What it means is that there's a transcendent source of our rights and the government can't just take it away.

OBEIDALLAH: Just Google Thomas Jefferson letter 1802, makes it clear the separation of church and state --


SALAM: This is about ceremonial deism.

BURNETT: And I asked, ceremonial deism, I like that. We will end on that well put, yet fancy little phrase.

And please, of course, let us know what you think, "Under God", time to boot it out of the pledge or not.

Still to come, remembering the man behind one of the most important presidential interviews of all time.


BURNETT: Tonight, OUTFRONT honors David Frost, the television interviewer and satirist died this weekend of a sudden heart attack at the age 74. He was working when he died. As the host of "Frost Over the World" on al Jazeera English. Frost, of course, is famous in America for his interview with the impeached Richard Nixon in 1977.


DAVID FROST, TV INTERVIEWER: I think that there are three things, since you asked me, I would like to hear you say -- I think the American people would like to hear you say -- one is, there was probably more than mistakes. There was wrongdoing, whether it was a crime or not. Yes, it may have been a crime, too.

RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I let down my friends. I let down the country. I let down our system of government and the dreams of all those young people that ought to get into government and think it's all too corrupt and the rest.

Yes, I let the American people down. And I have to carry that burden with me for the rest of my life.


BURNETT: As brilliantly portrayed in the Oscar-nominated 2008 movie, "Nixon", Frost got that interview because thought he'd be an easy interviewer. Frost actually paid Nixon $600,000 to do it. But, Frost got the last word, not the journalist who criticized him at the time, because he brought out the human side of a disgraced president. He became part of American history due to his perseverance, his willingness to throw his notes away and go with his heart and his talent. And for that tonight, we honor Sir David Frost.

"AC360" starts now.