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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Iran May Be Plotting Retaliation Strike Against U.S.; Judge Denied Do-Over For 30-Day Rape Sentence; Ariel Castro's Close Calls; The Greatest Prize In Yachting

Aired September 6, 2013 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Up next, we have breaking news from Barbara Starr at the Pentagon: word that Iran may have plans for retaliatory action against America if the United States strikes Syria.

Plus, the case of a 54-year-old teacher accused of raping a 14- year-old student who then killed herself. A judge sentenced him to 30 days in jail. Today a ruling on whether that judge can get a do-over.

And how did Ariel Castro get away with kidnapping three women, holding them hostage for more than a decade? The videotapes, the audio of his interrogation revealed for the first time.

Let's go "OUTFRONT."

OUTFRONT tonight breaking news, the U.S. has intelligence showing Iran may be planning retaliatory attacks against Americans if the U.S. strikes Syria. This is according to a senior U.S. official talking to our Barbara Starr at the Pentagon and I want to get straight to Barbara with that breaking news. Barbara, what more can you tell us about the intelligence?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, clearly, Erin, it is something that the U.S. is holding very close to its vest right now. They do have intelligence, they tell me, that shows Iran may be planning that retaliatory strike against the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and it's useful to keep in mind that inside of Iraq, Iran has a lot of Shia-backed operative, supporters, affiliates.

This would not be tough for them to recruit the people to do it. The U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad public knowledge, heavily fortified, heavily guarded, but a lot of concern as there is this growing sense that there may be a strike against Syria. We come up on the 9/11 anniversary next week, very tense in the region -- Erin.

BURNETT: Very tense in the region and, of course, raising the specter of a much broader conflict that anyone would have hoped for or anticipated. Barbara Starr, thank you with that breaking news.

I want to bring in Adam Entous of the "Wall Street Journal," who first broke the story this morning. Adam, you've been reporting that the United States intercepted an order directly from Iran to militants in Iraq who could carry out that attack, of course, that embassy the biggest American embassy in the world. Who did that order come from? I mean, this is obviously a crucial question when you talk about an issue whether this could spark a war?

ADAM ENTOUS, REPORTER, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": Right. I mean, the U.S., the CIA and the NSA are monitoring communications very closely. What we were told by our sources was that Sulaimani who is the head of the IRGC, which is the revolutionary Qods force in Iran was overheard in an intercept communicating with the Iraqi contacts with the Shia groups that Barbara mentioned giving them instructions that if the U.S. attacks in Syria that they have to be prepared to respond and target the American facilities that are in Baghdad including -- including the embassy.

So, that's the information that the Americans picked up a few days ago, which is triggering now the U.S. military to take some precautions including having warships stationed in the Red Sea area as well as in the Mediterranean for a quick response.

BURNETT: And obviously when you say the IRGC, that is the most powerful group, of course, you know, in Iran. That is a random rogue person. That is serious and central to the government. Iran, of course, calls the allegations baseless. The spokesmen for the U.N. mission here in New York said we should remember that relying on U.S. intelligence reports from anonymous officials will repeat the tragedy of Iraq. How convinced are you from your reporting that this is a serious threat?

ENTOUS: Well, we're getting sort of mixed -- we get mixed views from different officials about the likelihood that this would -- this would occur. I think the fact that it's being reported out there that this communication took place is an indication that American officials want this out there. You saw a similar thing happen last month with threats that there would be an al Qaeda attack against embassies in Yemen and elsewhere in the Middle East.

You saw, again, the administration going public with that in that case. In this case, you know, maybe by making these public officials are hoping that Sulaimaniyah will get the idea that the Americans are on to this potential plot and hoping that doing so would thwart it. It also obviously puts Malaki, the Iraqi leader on notice that he needs to take steps to secure the embassy compound there and protect the Americans that are there.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much. We appreciate it. Adam and Barbara, of course, with that breaking news tonight, hugely significant development in this story.

And now our second story, OUTFRONT, 30 days in prison for rape, today Montana Supreme Court blocked the much-anticipated hearing that would have reviewed the outrageous prison sentence. This sentence went to a man who raped his 14-year-old student, she then killed herself.

This is a story we've been following since day one and our Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT, again, in Billings, Montana, tonight with what today's surprise decision means for the victim's family's fight for justice.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Reporters packed the short hallway to the Judge G. Todd Baugh's courtroom, but minutes before the start of the hearing, the State Supreme Court stepped in ordering the judge to cancel, calling it clearly unlawful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All rise, please.

LAH: But that didn't stop Judge Baugh from holding court even if the seats were empty.

JUDGE G. TODD BAUGH, YELLOWSTONE DISTRICT COURT: As many of you may have heard, we're not actually going to have a hearing today.

LAH: It was a highly anticipated hearing, a do-over for Judge Baugh who touched off a national firestorm last week in a child rape case. Cherise Moralez was 14 when she raped by her high school teacher, Stacey Rambold. Cherise committed suicide before Rambold went to trial. At his sentencing, Judge Baugh gave Rambold just 30 days in jail saying Cherise seemed older than her chronological age.

Protests sprung up across Montana and Judge Baugh was portrayed in national press and social media as a victim blamer. Days after the controversial sentence the judge said he made a mistake and should have sentenced the teacher to at least two years for child rape. He called the hearing and while it was canceled, the judge seemed to want to still set the record straight. And then handed it over to the state supreme court where the case has been appealed, ending Judge Baugh's connection to this chase.

BAUGH: That's about all I've got to say.

AULIEA HANLON, VICTIM'S MOTHER: Thank God I don't have to deal with him anymore because I don't think he's really in touch.

LAH: Auleia Hanlon simply relieved that Judge Baugh is out of her life. She's Cherise's Moralez mother and while Judge Baugh's 30- day sentence still stands for the moment, Cherise's mother says justice may finally be in sight.

(on camera): Your daughter isn't here today, but is this for her?

HANLON: Yes. I think she's looking down smiling. She felt real guilt.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: It's terrific that she would have felt that guilt. Kyung, I mean, my understanding is that Montana law says the minimum is two years behind bars. I know everyone's been so upset that he got 30 days, but do you know what, two years outrages a lot of people. It seems like nothing when you look at a 49-year-old teacher raping his student who kills herself. Is anything being done to change that?

LAH: Well, something to point out here is that's the legal minimum. We've heard the prosecution in this case ask for something far higher, 10 to 20 years. If there is a takeaway in all of this, it is that people should know that when it comes to sentencing not just in Montana but in many states judges have wide discretion. They can do anything from 2 to 100 years in a case like this.

And in talking to the victim's mother, she says what she hopes people understand and what they take to heart here is that they have to change the laws when it comes to victims of violence and child sex rape she wants there to be much tougher restrictions on sentencing when it comes to judges.

BURNETT: Thank you very much, Kyung Lah, reporting from Billings as she has been covering this story.

Still to come, days after Ariel Castro hanged himself in prison, we hear him speak in recordings made shortly after his arrest. You're going to hear him describe in detail how he was able to hold three women captive for more than a decade. How he was almost caught.

Plus George Zimmerman's wife speaks out a day after filing for divorce. Shellie Zimmerman talks about why she is leaving.

And then could this be the next weapon of choice for home grown terrorists? It's a popular sporting item that could be devastating in the wrong hands. Think about the Boston bombing. We have a special OUTFRONT investigation on that tonight.

And then this, shocking online confession.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ended up going the wrong way down the highway, directly into oncoming traffic. And I struck a car. I killed a man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Our third story, OUTFRONT, Ariel Castro's close calls. For the first time we are now hearing Castro speak on camera about how he got away with kidnapping three young women and holding them captive in his Cleveland home for a decade.

Earlier this week Castro committed suicide. He only served one month of a life plus 1,000-year sentence. Martin Savidge as you know has been coverage the story and he's OUTFRONT tonight. Martin, when and why did Castro talk? Because I know he answered a lot of questions.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he did. Hello, Erin. He actually was making this statement. The interrogation took place a couple days after he was arrested. He's in the hands of the Cleveland Police Department and he's at the city jail. But the why, that's a very good question. Why did he speak? I mean, after all, he could have gotten an attorney and the attorney would have said don't say a word. But instead he just reveals everything and we should point out these interrogation tapes were obtained by NBC.

BURNETT: One very bizarre exchange where Castro told investigators about a phone call that he had made to Amanda Berry's mother and this was a truly strange back and forth.

SAVIDGE: It was. I thought I knew everything about this case. I didn't know that and it was really almost horrifying to hear. As you point out he claims, Castro, that he used Amanda Berry's telephone to call her mother apparently feeling, I guess, he was feeling guilty? And wanted her to know she was all right, but that is so bizarre. Listen how he explained it to interrogators.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED INVESTIGATOR: What did you say to her mom?

ARIEL CASTRO: I think I said something that I have her daughter and that she's OK. That she's my wife now. Something like that, you know, probably not the exact words and that she's my wife now.

UNIDENTIFIED INVESTIGATOR: What was her mom's response?

CASTRO: I don't know. I hung up so we didn't have a conversation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: He hung up the telephone and I can only imagine Amanda Berry's mother, she would have had so many questions, how is she, where is she, and she just hung up the phone. A lot of investigators in Cleveland are not sure that really happened. Amanda Berry's mother passed away, they can't ask her. They say if it would have truly happened it would have been huge news and a key tip to follow-up on they could have traced her phone call.

BURNETT: You think if she would have reported it is, maybe it could have ended so much sooner, which I guess, Martin, brings me to my next question, which was in this interrogation he did talk about times where he thought he could have gotten caught, right?

SAVIDGE: Right. Exactly two in particular the first one he talks about when he kidnapped Gina Dejesus, and he said there was a video camera that snapped a photo or image of him 15 minutes before. He assumed authorities would see that and eventually put two and two together and come knocking on his door. It never happened.

The next one when he had Michelle Knight and he was holding her in a room upstairs, she had the television on. The then girlfriend of Castro comes over to the house and sees a TV on upstairs and says, what's that all about? Again, here's the exchange to detectives.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CASTRO: She seen that I had a TV on in the upstairs room.

UNIDENTIFIED INVESTIGATOR: OK. CASTRO: And she says, what is that? You have a TV on up there? And my heart started beating and I was, like, OK, she's probably catching on to something.

UNIDENTIFIED INVESTIGATOR: It was a close call?

CASTRO: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: Unfortunately not close a call enough I guess. He wasn't found out.

BURNETT: And, Martin, you know, he hanged himself in prison and, of course, now we're hearing this isn't the first time he committed suicide, but it seems there was this bizarre conflict going on within himself. He had a suicide note in 2004 during the interrogation he was asked about suicidal thoughts, and, well, I guess, let me just play you that part and get your reaction to it.

SAVIDGE: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED INVESTIGATOR: What about the suicide, do you still?

CASTRO: I just want to crash through the window.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: He's crying.

SAVIDGE: You can't really determine how genuine he really is.

BURNETT: Yes.

SAVIDGE: But, of course, now prophetic he did kill himself, but many believe it was the coward's way out. It wasn't in some way showing his guilt. He just took the coward's way.

BURNETT: Martin Savidge, thank you very much, reporting on this story tonight.

And our fourth story, OUTFRONT, a very public confession. An Ohio man's videotaped a mission that he killed a man while driving drunk has gone viral. So the question is this -- it was a horrific thing that he did, but will coming clean affect his punishment? Jason Carroll has been following that story for OUTFRONT tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I killed a man.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It begins with a man concealed, speaking sobering words.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was trying to have a good time and I lost control.

CARROLL: Then his face and a chilling confession are revealed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Matthew Cordle. And on June 22nd, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Kanzani. I will plead guilty and take full responsibility for everything I've done to Vincent and his family.

CARROLL: The video came as shock to Vincent Kanzani's family.

CORRIE OLCOTT, VICTIM'S DAUGHTER-IN-LAW (via telephone): It brings up a lot of emotion as far as, you know, Vince is gone. He'll never be back and this video just came as a reminder that, you know, and then this man's going to have to live with that for the rest of his life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I take a different round, maybe I would get a reduced sentence and maybe I could get off, but I won't dishonor Vincent's memory by lying about what happened.

JON O'BRIEN, FRANKLIN COUNTY PROSECUTOR: It is a compelling piece of evidence as well as I think a compelling statement by the offender.

CARROLL: Franklin County Prosecutor Jon O'Brien viewed the video several times. He said despite the conscientious confession, his office will consult with Kanzani's family and recommend a lengthy sentence.

O'BRIEN: Obviously it will be a prison sentence and I presume based on the facts apart from the video, we would probably be on the high end.

CARROLL: And what does the victim's family say about what sort of punishment is due?

OLCOTT: It's a tough question because he made a decision that took a man's life. I honestly can't answer that. I don't know how to feel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the prosecution, everything they need to put me away for a very long time.

CARROLL: The person who Cordle first contacted about wanting to publicly confess was Alex Sheen. Sheen runs a web site called "Because I Said I would," a site where people make public commitments.

ALEX SHEEN, BECAUSEISAIDIWOULD.COM: I believe he should be treated fairly like everybody would in the legal system. I can say that he feels guilty. I know this much. The intent of this video is never to get him a lighter sentence.

CARROLL: Ultimately Sheen says Cordle's goal is to help stop others from drinking and driving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your victims can still be saved. So, please --

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARROLL: The prosecution plans to charge Cordle with aggravated vehicular homicide as well as driving under the influence. That carries a maximum sentence of up to 8-1/2 years and now that they have this confession, they could present their case to the grand jury as early as next week. For OUTFRONT, Jason Carroll, New York.

BURNETT: Poignant story, and let us know what you think about it, what you think about his confession and what you think about that sentence, of course, you can always reach me on Twitter.

Still to come more potential waste by the IRS, we're going to show, literally, we're going to show because we have the tape, where your money is ending up.

And big boats and big money, what it takes to win yachting's greatest and riskiest prize.

And the video that has set the web on fire. Will this be the thing that finally puts an end to twerking?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Our fifth story, OUTFRONT, money and power, tonight boats and billionaires. For more than 160 years the oldest trophy in international sports has gone to the yacht that reigned supreme in America's Cup, the best sailors and the fastest boats, life and death on the line, they go fast, and they start racing tomorrow. Dan Simon is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At speeds of 50 miles an hour, America's Cup Racing is now an adrenaline-induced sport.

SARAH DILLON-LEETCH, SPECTATOR: It's amazing. They are, like, flying.

SIMON: What's also amazing is the amount of money behind these boats. The teams competing backed by some of the world's wealthiest men, Team Oracle of the U.S. funded by Larry Ellison whose Silicon Valley software company has made him the world's fifth richest person. He got to decide on the type of boat and where the competition would be held.

Team Artemus of Sweden belongs to Tornquist, a Swedish oil magnate reportedly worth $8 billion, Italy's Luna Rosa backed by the chief executive of fashion house, Prada, the Tricio Portelli, the poor man of the group worth a paltry $6.7 billion. That leaves just the New Zealand team financed by its government and Emirates Airlines.

(on camera): So what does it take to field a team these days? It's upwards of $100 million and that's led to just four teams competing, the smallest contingent in modern cup history. (voice-over): That's why some say the cup, which dates back to 1851 is now tarnished. The big money needed to fund team has become so astronomical it has kept many competitors away.

JACK GRIFFIN, CUPEXPERIENCE.COM: It was big money before. This time around it's megamoney and that's one of the failings of this edition of the America's Cup.

SIMON: Jack Griffin is something of an America's Cup historian who said the boats used for competition this year a 72-foot catamaran has made the barrier of entry too high in terms of cost and the sophisticated technology to design it.

GRIFFIN: I think people just said this is too hard for me. I can't win.

SIMON (on camera): How do you address those folks who say there is so much power, money, and influence involved in this sport and it's clouded it?

IAIN MURRAY, REGATTA DIRECTOR: Well, I think you can look at it many sports now, you can look at a NASCAR team, a Formula One team, a polo team. You can spend that amount of money on a lot of different teams.

SIMON (voice-over): And there's no denying that the hundreds of millions being spent are bringing a new excitement to the sport and perhaps some new fans as the final series of the cup is about to get under way. For OUTFRONT, Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: We'll be watching that tomorrow. It's an incredible, 60 miles an hour for those boats.

Up next, the president losing a lot of support for the Syrian strike. Could a humiliation in Congress define his second term?

Plus, more potential waste at the IRS, we're going to show you. We got the video tonight, where your money has been going. >

And is this the latest terrorist threat? It's a common sporting item that could be devastating in the wrong hands. We have a special OUTFRONT investigation tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT on this Friday night.

Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez pleaded not guilty today to first-degree murder. Hernandez is accused of killing a man he knew named Odin Lloyd. He also pleaded not guilty to five weapons charges.

Now, our Susan Candiotti has been reporting on this story tirelessly. She was in the courtroom. She tells us as the hearing ended today, Hernandez mouthed "I love you" to his mother and fiancee.

He is being held without bail and authorities are also investigating Hernandez for ties to an unsolved 2012 double homicide case in Boston.

Shellie Zimmerman speaking out as we told you last night, she's filed for divorce from George Zimmerman. And on ABC this morning, she had some very harsh words for her husband.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHELLIE ZIMMERMAN, FILING FOR DIVORCE: In my opinion, he feels more invincible. I just think he's making some reckless decisions. I have a selfish husband and I think George is all about George.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Zimmerman's lawyers tell us the divorce is a private matter and they will not be making a statement at this time.

All week, we've been bringing you a special OUTFRONT series of investigation called the truth about the IRS and that's why tonight we want to share something with you we are learning about controversial spending about the IRS. Take a look at this parody video of "The Apprentice." It was made for an IRS conference.

The House Ways and Means released the video, saying it cost $10,000 to make. Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany said in a statement the video is another example of abuse and waste at the IRS. And I want to note as we have this video up we've shown you other videos, $25,000, $50,000 it appears there was a trend of this sort happening at various conferences by the IRS.

It has been 762 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?

Well, sort of a mixed headline on that front today. The U.S. added 169,000 jobs in August. That's good. They were added. And the unemployment rate actually dropped to 7.3 percent.

The problem is, they didn't add as many jobs as expected and the reason the unemployment rate dipped was not because more people got jobs, it was because more people gave up looking for jobs. In fact, the people who have jobs who are looking for them is the lowest in this country since August 1978.

The biggest question is, was this report bad enough to keep the Fed from stopping pumping money into the economy as everyone expects it will do this fall? It's a crucial question for 401(k)s.

And now our sixth story OUTFRONT: a major uphill battle. The president may have to strike Syria without Congress or international support. But will he order a military strike if he fails on Capitol Hill?

Our own Brianna Keilar asked him that question today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I knew this was going to be a heavy lift. I said that on Saturday when I said we're going to take it to Congress.

I think it would be a mistake for me to jump the gun and speculate because right now, I'm working to get as much support as possible out of Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And support is really hard to come by especially because some of the biggest opposition the president faces comes from his own party.

OUTFRONT tonight, chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash on Capitol Hill with the latest.

Dana, I know you have the numbers and this really has become just incredible to watch. It's like a chess game. It's a horse race every day.

I mean, how much of an uphill battle, when you look at the count right now, is it for the president?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, the president, you just heard, he called it a heavy lift, but it's an understatement and that's -- that is really sure. It's more like a herculean task.

Let's take a look at where things stand based on CNN's own vote count and let's start with the Democratic-led Senate. That's where you're going to need 60 votes at least procedurally to begin this debate, 19 firm noes, 25 firm yeses, and 56 undecideds. And, anecdotally, I can tell you that many of the 56 are the president's fellow Democrats who are truly torn, truly undecided.

Now, in the Republican-led House, 217, that's the number, the magic number, needed to pass, 119 firm noes, only 24 firm yes, 270 undecided and 20 undeclared.

Now, on those undecideds, we are pretty conservative in our count because things are so fluid but again anecdotally and talking to a lot of these members, a lot who are undecided, Democrats and Republicans, really are leaning no and they are just kind of waiting for more information.

The momentum that we reported earlier this week that really seemed to be with the president when the congressional leaders came out in a bipartisan way, it seemed to have stalled big time as this week is coming to a close, Erin.

BURNETT: You know, we were talking about John Boehner, Eric Cantor, the leadership is coming out behind the president on the Republican side and they thought they would get more and it does seem to be petering out.

How are they balancing what they are hearing from their constituents? Just because when you look at polls of the American people, they do not want this strike.

BASH: They don't. And these members do not have to look at polls. It is unbelievable how much these lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans, are saying that they are hearing from their constituents, at town halls. We've seen it on our air, on Twitter and just walking the streets, supermarkets and gas stations, they are hearing overwhelmingly from their constituents -- don't do this.

I just give you one example, prime example that I think really hits at home -- Elijah Cummings. He is a Democrat who served 10 terms from the inner city in Baltimore, he said his district voted 80 percent for the president, Erin. And he also said that based on what he's hearing, at least 95 percent say do not do this, this is the wrong way I go, I don't care how much I support the president.

So, he's balancing that with the fact that he's been here three or four days going to classified briefing after classified briefing, trying to get answers about the military strike in particular and really try to understand whether or not the president from his point of view has the kind of strategy to go forward. He says he simply doesn't know if it's enough to defy his constituents. That's a great example of what we're hearing all across the capitol.

BURNETT: Amazing, put the president in an unprecedented position. Thanks to our Dana Bash, reporting on that crucial count which is what the whole country is watching right now.

One person who could make a huge difference is California Congressman John Garamendi. He's OUTFRONT tonight.

Congressman Garamendi, you have not publicly announced how you're going to vote yet. What's it going to be for you, yes or no?

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D), CALIFORNIA: As of today, it's a no. But I've got a hearing next week. Maybe Dempsey will tell me something I don't know, but everything I know, everything I've heard, all of the information, I'm a no.

BURNETT: You're a no. And let me just play for you, Secretary of State John Kerry, you know, he's been adamant, you've heard him, you know, with the Foreign Relations Committee saying I don't want to go to war. This isn't a war.

I want to play what he said most recently about how he said this isn't a war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: We don't believe we are going to war in the classic sense of taking American troops and America to war. The president is asking for the authority to do a limited action.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: I mean, Congressman, does this rhetoric add up to you? Because obviously they don't want a war, but how in the world can they ensure that it will not become a war?

GARAMENDI: Well, General Dempsey, chairman of the chief of staff, said it very clearly, it's an act of war. He said it in a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee on July 17th. You drop bombs on somebody, that's an act of war.

And the Constitution's quite clear, unless there -- quite clear, an act of only Congress can declare war or authorize it. And only the War Powers Act speaks to something imminent. There is nothing imminent here by the own words of the president and the secretary of state. Down the road, maybe there's a threat, but not an imminent threat. Therefore, the War Powers Act doesn't apply.

But going beyond that, this thing lacks legal clarity. It's not clear that the United States has the legal authority to do this. Also, we don't have a long-term strategy. It's kind of like drop the bombs and then hope for the best. That's not the way to deal with it.

Once again, attention should be paid to what General Dempsey said on July 17th. He made it very clear -- this is a very risky, very expensive adventure with unknown reaction.

BURNETT: And, you know, if you go with that no and you become, you know, vote 120, right, change that to vote against the president. You know, you're voting against him, obviously the American people support you, right? Fifty-nine percent of "The Washington Post" poll said don't do anything in Syria, do not strike and more than half of them are Democrats.

But people are saying this president's legacy, his ability to get anything done, his respect, his credibility is on the line. That puts you in a tough spot. Voting your conscience, voting with what your constituents want, might mean undermining and putting a nail in the coffin of your president.

GARAMENDI: Well, of course, I must listen to my constituents, I must listen to the president. But I must also listen to my conscience and weigh all of the information that's available to me. And the information I have is this is not the way to do it. This was -- we've got to get to the negotiating table, the president himself as recently as yesterday said this thing has to be solved at the negotiating table.

Will bombing Syria bring us closer to that? Highly doubtful. Will bombing Syria actually make it safer from nuclear -- from the chemical weapons? General Dempsey said not necessarily unless you put 75,000 boots on the ground in Syria to secure those weapons.

So --

BURNETT: Wow.

GARAMENDI: -- and it's not about the president. This is about America and about going to war and it doesn't add up.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Congressman. We appreciate it.

Seventy-five thousand troops on the ground.

Well, I want to have a note for you. CNN aired a video yesterday showing the execution of Syrian troops by rebel forces. The source was "The New York times." They stand by that video.

There was one error, though, they had reported the video was from April of this year. "The New York Times" has now issued a correction saying the date of the video was earlier than that, early 2012 instead of early 2013.

And now our seventh story OUTFRONT: quote-unquote, "explosives kits for dummies". It's how one expert describes exploding hunting targets.

Now, this is actually apparently a common sporting product that can be converted into weapons for homegrown terrorism. Federal authorities have now issued a warning about it. They're legal and accessible. But in the wrong hands, they provide way too much bang for the buck.

And in light of the Boston marathon horrific bombings, Rene Marsh is OUTFRONT with this investigation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ready to fire.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tannerite, a top- selling brand of rifle targets, triggered that sonic boom signaling the shooter struck his target.

(on camera): In this jar is ammonium nitrate and in the package aluminum powder, separately they're not explosive. But it's when you mix them together that it creates a high explosive.

(voice-over): Both ingredients come in a kit and can be mixed together in seconds. It's sold at sporting good stores and online. Manufacturers say the targets are safe if used as intended.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a Tannerite bomb.

MARSH: But a quick web search shows a lot of misuse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are going to blow 12 pounds of Tannerite up.

(EXPLOSIONS)

MARSH: This Minnesota man detonated 100 pounds of Tannerite in the back of a dump truck. Shock waves were felt at a nuclear plant more than a mile away forcing it into lockdown. Just last month, a U.S. Forest Service banned exploding targets, blaming them for 16 western wildfires, costing taxpayers about $33 million. And the FBI is warning exploding targets can be used by criminals and extremists in improvised explosive devices. Maryland and California have restrictions on the targets, but in every other state anyone can buy any amount without ID or a background check.

JOSEPH FLANAGAN, DEPUTY CHIEF FIRE MARSHAL, MARYLAND: With very little training, with very little expertise, with very little initiative I've been able to create a high explosive.

MARSH: Joseph Flanagan is Maryland's deputy fire marshal. In his state, you need a license to use the targets and they showed us why.

One pound of it shredded a watermelon and a wooden table and three pounds ripped up a bomb suit made of ballistic material.

(on camera): All of the lining, it ripped through this, so that would -- one would have to assume if you were just a regular person wearing a shirt --

FLANAGAN: That's right.

MARSH: -- the impact --

FLANAGAN: The impact actually took the outer layer of cloth and ripped it to pieces.

MARSH: Tannerite acknowledges its products can be misused and issued this plea.

DENA WOERNER, TANNERITE SPORTS: Please, please, don't misuse the product. Don't blow up anything. If you use Tannerite brand targets for anything other than a shot indicator, you very well could be breaking the law.

MARSH: For OUTFRONT, Rene Marsh, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: Is "please, please" enough?

Ahead, a man knowingly exposes more than 300 people to HIV should he be convicted of attempted murder?

Plus, an amazing recovery -- discovery, sorry, 6,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, and guess what, there is so much more down there.

And, our shout-out tonight -- honestly, please stop twerking. It's in the attractive and it's not cute and your underwear is showing. According to the description, the girl in this video was trying to make a sexy twerk video for her boyfriend. She failed.

It started normally until she started to get creative swerking upside down. Of course, a friend walks in knocking over the coffee table which has lit candles which light the girl's pants on fire. She deserved to burn her -- yes.

Anyway, she's fine. Hopefully she learned her lesson. The shout-out goes to the woman who opened the door, ending the twerking movie.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BURNETT: Tonight, we are learning more about a Missouri man who could face 15 years for possibly infecting up to 300 people with HIV. According to court documents, David magnum first tested positive for the virus back in 2003. Since then he has acknowledged he's had more than 300 sexual partners, including a 28-year-old who later tested positive for the virus two months ago.

Now, Missouri is one of 37 states that makes it a crime to transmit HIV to others knowingly. Its penalties are among the toughest but tonight, the question is this. Are they tough enough? Should he get the maximum 15 years? That's the maximum.

Or is knowing you could infect someone with HIV tantamount to murder?

OUTFRONT tonight, Mediaite's Joe Concha, and HIV/AID activist Sean Strub.

Good to have both of you.

Sean, let me start with you. There is still obviously no cure for HIV/AIDS although it has become more treatable with the right drugs and the right care. But some say 15 years isn't enough of a sentence for something that when you infect someone, you know they could die.

SEAN STRUB, EXPERT ON HIV CRIMINALIZATION: First of all, we don't even know if this man infected anyone. We have somebody who has tested positive who claims that he had been a sexual partner of this person, but we don't know they used condoms, we don't know if he had a detectable viral load and was even capable of infecting anyone.

BURNETT: But if he did, that's the question. If he did, isn't that the same as murder? Attempted murder, I'm sorry?

STRUB: It starts with his state of mind. Was it an intentional, was he maliciously trying to harm someone? You know, someone maliciously trying to harm someone, whether they use whatever weapon they use should be subject to prosecution. It can be in every state under existing assault statutes, but singling out HIV, with an HIV- specific statute, is really wrong. It's bad for public health and it's unjust for people with HIV.

BURNETT: Discriminatory against them.

What do you think, Joe, because the National Cancer Institute estimates 4,000 women will die of cervical cancer this year? Of course, as we now know because of the HPV vaccine for young girls, that is caused by an STD, almost always.

So, to Sean's point, is it fair to prosecute someone for murder for transmitting HIV and not for transmitting something like HPV?

JOE CONCHA, MEDIAITE: That's a very good point. I think in this case, we're talking about David Magnum. This was a calculated decision by a gentleman who took out an ad online, not to meet people like it's E-Harmony and JDate, and Christian Mingle. This was to meet over 300 people, knowing that he had --

BURNETT: For the purpose of transactional sex.

CONCHA: Right. This wasn't emotional. This was something -- if it's a couple people and it's a dating kind of thing and I'm afraid to talk about it because I don't want to be rejected, that's one thing. When you have 300 people that are involved here, 300 people that could be infected, a person like that should not be a member of civilized society.

BURNETT: Sean, what do you think about that? Fifteen years for that, putting those people at risk. I mean, to some, that does sound outrageous. He knew those people he might kill somebody.

STRUB: I don't know that he knew that.

BURNETT: He knew he had HIV and he said he was afraid of rejection is why he didn't tell them.

STRUB: Right. I don't know if he was on treatment. I don't know if he was even capable of transmitting HIV. The statute in Missouri doesn't require transmission. It really is a statute that has nothing to do with whether there was risk. It has nothing to do with whether HIV was transmitted. It only has to do with whether the person with HIV can prove that they disclosed prior to being sexually intimate with someone else.

CONCHA: I doubt in this situation that basically, the way it worked out according to police is that he responded to the ad and he met with him perhaps in a park. I don't think there's much conversation going on here, most likely, you know? And, by the way, let's talk about the victims here, by the way -- personal responsibility.

You respond to an ad and you have unprotected sex in a park?

BURNETT: You get what you ask for.

CONCHA: Right. You reap what you sow, unfortunately. You know, it's something that this is a stranger and it's unprotected.

And the funny thing is the police said afterwards oh, we're getting inundated with calls by people saying, shall I get tested? You never thought of this before this went public? I find that ridiculous.

BURNETT: It's interesting part of this. Very quick.

STRUB: Most HIV transmission happens from people who don't know that they have it, people who have not gotten tested. These statutes are horrible public health because they discourage people from getting tested. If you haven't been tested, you can't be prosecuted. Take the test and risk arrest. Yet we know that once people know their HIV status, they are far less likely to transmit it.

BURNETT: Right. Thanks very much to both of you. And, of course, a lot of feedback on this last night. Please let us know what you think @ErinBurnett.

Well, every night we take a look outside the day's top stories for the OUTFRONT "Outtake".

Tonight, the largest volcano has been discovered. I know what you're thinking, how could the largest volcano on earth stay hidden. The reason is it's underwater, about 1,000 miles east of Japan, in the vast Pacific. A mound known as Tamu Massif has been found 6,500 feet below the surface.

It was formed 145 million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the planet and it's 400 miles wide. Researchers actually say there are bigger volcanoes underneath the sea. The reason? This might be hard to hear but apparently we know next to nothing about our own planet. Seventy percent of earth is oceans, but according to the National Ocean Service, only 5 percent of it has been explored by people, 5 percent.

Our advanced society supposedly knows nothing about this planet. We openly mock how little our ancestors knew about the world. We've all seen the maps with sirens and sea monsters on them and you laughed and said they knew nothing, right?

But they were right. Recently, we stumbled upon all kinds of strange beasts and buildings we didn't know were there, giant squids, giant eyeballs -- yes, an entire lost civilizations we had no idea were down there. That is an eyeball. That means there's a lot left to explore right here at home.

Still to come, something happened today that has never happened before. And it's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT (voice-over): History was made today. Eden Miller was the first plus-sized designer ever to grace the famed runways at New York's fashion week. Her new line, Cabiria, isn't even a year old, but it's filling a massive void in the high end plus-size clothing market.

EDEN MILLER, FIST PLUS DESIGNER AT NY FASHION WEEK: It's thrilling to be here. I'm so thrilled. BURNETT: This is a big deal. For years, plus-sized women have been ignored at best. Usually seen as the woman no woman wants to be. Dove was one of the first companies to challenge those notions with this campaign. One of its ads featuring an FBI trained sketch artist drawing women first based on their own self-perception and then based on that of a stranger, is the most viewed commercial in history on the web. With more than 100 million views in the month it was released.

So, is plus size couture a blip on the radar?

Emme, who rose to fame as being the first plus sized model, thinks it's more than that.

EMME, MODEL & AUTHOR: Eden Miller's Cabiria style happening at New York Fashion Week under the tent is record-breaking, history making for women above a size 12.

BURNETT: For 23-year-old Maxi Green, being invited to walk the runway in the ultra-skinny world of New York Fashion Week, today was more than an historic moment. It was a message.

MAXI GREEN, MODEL: We just proved that we're real and we're real models and it's happening.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BURNETT: This is something for all women to celebrate, because traditional fashion models never looked like real women. High end fashion thrived on boy-like model.

So here's celebrating today's show and those fighting for women to be proud of their bodies instead of telling them they're overweight and lacking.

Have a great weekend.

Anderson starts now.