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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Kerry Prepares To Meet With Russians On Syria; Interview with Congressman McCaul; Former TSA Agent Arrested for LAX Threats; World's Most Expensive Car Now Available; Diana Nyad Insists Swim Was Unassisted; Newlywed Accused of Pushing Husband Off Cliff; Army Specialist Shares Story of Sexual Assault
Aired September 11, 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 HOST: Good evening to all of you. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, a nation at risk. As we remember the lives lost in the terror attacks 12 years ago today, and all of us remember where we were at that moment when those planes struck, this country is facing another national security crisis, this time Syria.
At this moment, Secretary of State John Kerry is getting ready to head overseas to Geneva to meet with his Russian counterpart and discuss Moscow's plan to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control. This is a crucial meeting. It could determine whether America goes to war. But is the plan feasible? It does rely on trusting Russia.
Republican Congressman Michael McCaul is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and he also sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee. Good to see you, sir. Appreciate your taking that time.
Let me start by asking you this, Chairman McCaul. We all know how many chemical weapon Syria has and we don't know where they all and yet it is pretty clear now that the entire world including the president of the United States is hoping that the world can secure them and get rid of them. That this is how it is all going to work, is it going to work?
REPRESENTATIVE MICHAEL MCCAUL (R), CHAIRMAN, HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: Well, I've always said from day one, I think the plan should be to secure and destroy these weapons. There are no good sides in this war. There are no good options quite frankly. You have a puppet of Iran using chemical weapons, rebel forces, who are they? We heard from Secretary Kerry. At least 25 percent of them are bad actors, bad guys.
The intelligence I have is 50 percent. I don't think we should be arming and supporting al Qaeda in this effort as well. With respect to the amount of stockpiles, Syria actually ranks number three behind Russia and the United States. So they're sitting on an enormous amount of chemical weapons.
And my concern, I think as the Homeland Security chairman, the biggest threat to the homeland would be these radical Islamist groups, getting hold of these chemical weapons, bringing them into the United States and using them. And I think that's what we need to first and foremost protect Americans from.
BURNETT: An interesting you said the biggest threat to the United States I have to follow up though, Chairman, on something you just said. You said John Kerry said 15 percent to 25 percent of the rebels in Syria were so-called bad guys. You're saying 50 percent is your intelligence. I mean, that's a high number. That's the first I've heard it.
MCCAUL: It is a very high number. I think it is something the American people should know. Who are we supporting in this conflict? The rebel forces again have been infiltrated and hijacked by al Qaeda. Two years ago, they were more moderate, but today it is a different game. The fact is I think we should be focused on the chemical weapons themselves, which is why I believe this latest breakthrough gives us some hope that we may be able to do something constructively to secure these weapons.
Why do I say that? I don't always trust the Russians. I'm skeptical like everybody else, but the fact is the Russians have more influence over Syria than any other country in the world. And the idea that Putin is putting this forward, you know, it is interesting. He is driving the foreign policy globally not the president.
But I do think an international force and international coalition to secure and destroy these weapons is probably the best outcome in what has been known as a no good outcome situation.
BURNETT: It sounds like what you're saying, Chairman, you know, some have criticized the president because he said strike and then he said I'm going to Congress and then he said I'm not striking and I want diplomacy and I want to secure weapons that a lot of people say cannot be secured. But it sounds like you're saying you think he has the right idea. That you're not in the camp of people who think he has hurt his credibility here by changing his mind.
MCCAUL: Not necessarily. I think he has damaged his credibility in the international community. When he went to the G20 Summit, he walked away virtually snubbed by most of the countries. I think Putin put this idea forward. Now I'll tell you why I think that's important because we do share a couple things with Russia even though they are traditional.
One is that we both think al Qaeda is the enemy and the Jihadists. Number two is I think we both have a shared interest in seeing these weapons not proliferated throughout the region. Assad and his father have sat on these chemical weapons for two decades have never threatened western interests or the Soviets, the Russians or America for that matter.
If these chemical weapons end up in the rebel forces' hands, the ones that have been radicalized, the ones that are more, the Jihadist types, then I think we have a whole different equation to look at that quite frankly concerns me. BURNETT: You're saying as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, speaking on September 11th, speaking after we've had now home grown terror in the form of the Boston marathon bombers. That you think that chemical weapons being used in this country is the biggest threat we face.
MCCAUL: Well, as we look at Syria, I have to look at the homeland to protect Americans from these radical forces. Remember, sarin is basically a powder. It can be brought into the country very easily undetectable. That's my concern is that gets brought into the United States and it could wipe out cities, Washington, New York. I want to make sure that does not happen. So that's my greatest concern when it comes to Syria. I think this international coalition of forces is probably the best hope we have to securing and destroying those weapons.
BURNETT: All right, Chairman McCaul, thank you very much for taking the time tonight.
I want to get to our second story OUTFRONT because it was a year ago tonight when we first got the news. I remember reporting at the top of this program that an American had been killed in Benghazi. When will there be justice?
A car bomb exploded outside the Foreign Ministry in Benghazi today on the anniversary of those horrific attacks. It claimed the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The White House says and I'll quote, "We remain committed to bringing the perpetrators of the Benghazi attacks to justice."
That was said today in their 9/11 release from the president. But still it is a year later and there has not been a significant arrest. OUTFRONT tonight, John King in Washington with the latest. John, of course, you and I worked on that documentary on what really happened in Benghazi. A year later, justice promised, but this issue is still haunting the Obama administration.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is, Erin. And we're going to get a great sense I think in the next week of how long, how much staying power the Republican-driven investigation in Congress will have, the two men who led the State Department's internal investigation. The Accountability Review Board, veteran diplomat, Thomas Pickering, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen, they're going to be up on Capitol Hill next week before a House Oversight Committee whose chairman, Darrell Issa told me in that very committee room, he thinks the investigation was a whitewash.
It helped brush away some of the sins of Benghazi and the committee still wants a lot. We'll get a better sense of the mood in the partisanship and whether Democrats will support those Republicans. They say they want transcripts of interviews. They want the documents the ARB had that have yet to be shared with Congress. They want the notes those people took during that investigation.
And they also want, and this is a key sticking point, they want to interview the State Department employees who were there on that night a year ago, survivors of Benghazi, and they say they should get access to them. The State Department just again today said no. It believes having those witnesses interviewed would undermine the criminal investigation.
But House Republicans say this, why then is the CIA cooperating with the intelligence committee saying its covert operatives there that night can be questioned. And they also say, Erin, they had a lot more sympathy for this investigation argument if they actually saw some progress in the investigation.
BURNETT: You know, when you think is about Benghazi, John, obviously, you know, Chairman McCaul, a Republican, obviously on the other side of the aisle here, but saying, look, I'm on board with getting the chemical weapons under control even though it is difficult. But he does think the president has damaged his credibility in the international community on Syria. My question to you is how much has Benghazi and the failure there ham strung, put the president's hands tied behind his back around Syria?
KING: For the most part these other international issues are treated separately, Syria, the big controversy over the NSA. We do see what I'll the spill over effect of Benghazi when you see it. Part have it is trust and transparency. People asking questions and they're skeptical of the answers they are getting from the administration especially the Republicans. Some of this is partisan when the Republicans say we want information, we don't trust you.
We see that in the NSA hearings. The committee is looking into that, but there's also this. Look at the skepticism. That not only key members of Congress, but the American people have about can the United States in a limited way do something? Maybe with diplomacy, maybe military force, maybe with both in the Middle East and walk away after a limited duration and do something good.
People looked at Egypt. There was American diplomacy involved there. They thought it was going to work out. What is it like today? It is chaos. They look at Libya. Remember, he was criticized for leading from behind, but then there was a new government. Gadhafi was gone. Everyone thought maybe this would be good.
And then a year ago tonight that optimism died, Erin, along with four Americans, and that mood, that spirit that this region is just a mess impacts the president when he tries to sell people that he can have an effective plan nearby in Syria.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, John King. We're going to have much more. We're going to hear from the families who lost their loved ones a year ago in Benghazi later on tonight.
Still to come, officials at an American airport beefing up security today after receiving threats, the person behind the threats was a TSA screener.
Plus, breaking news and a major blow to gun control advocates, the decision in one state that could ripple across the United States. And new information about a murder in Montana tonight, did a new bride push her husband off a cliff to his death? Friends think she did and they tell us tonight they saw it coming.
BURNETT: Our third story OUTFRONT, breaking tonight what could be a punishing blow to gun control. As we speak, the Missouri House and Senate, which have already passed a bill that would make it a crime, a crime for federal agents to enforce federal gun laws. That would mean a crime to enforce a background check, for example. They're back at it.
That bill was vetoed by the governor. A short time ago, the House voted to override the governor's veto. Now the Senate is taking up the measure. This is a story we've been following. George Howell is OUTFRONT. He's been to Missouri to cover this story for us. George, the Senate expected to vote tonight. Obviously, this is a huge national story, but what will happen in Missouri tonight?
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erin, look, this could be a really nail biter in the Senate. We know it will take 23 of 34 members in the Senate to vote yes to override the governor's veto of this bill and we know of at least one member of the Republican Majority Leader Ron Richard who switched his support of this bill to no, only because he's concerned that the constitutionality of this proposed legislation.
But again, this is expected to go to the Senate tonight. The House already voted. The House voted 149-49 to override the governor's veto. So we're waiting to see what happens with the Senate. They're in recess right now, but they will take this up tonight.
BURNETT: All right, so if they override that veto, this passes. What does it mean then for Missouri where it's a crime as you reported on this program yesterday to then enforce any kind of federal gun law like a background check and what then happens in Missouri?
HOWELL: You know, it really all depends upon who you talk to. So if you talk to supporters, they call it the Second Amendment Protection Act. They say that it is more symbolic than anything else. But when you talk to opponents of this proposed legislation, they say it could have real teeth to cause real problems, would it essentially nullify federal gun laws in the state of Missouri.
It would also give citizens the right to take legal action, Erin, legal action against law enforcement officers who enforce federal laws. And it would make it illegal in the state of Missouri to publish the names and addresses of gun owners. That's something that came after the Sandy Hook incident. They decided to add that to the law, but many say that would protect some people who should not have guns. You're hearing from law enforcement agencies like the St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson. He says, Erin, look, this is a bad law. He says it would criminalize law enforcement officers when they try work with federal agents to take guns off the streets. You know, this will be a nail biter tonight to see what happens with the Senate. They are expected to vote. And we will continue to watch.
BURNETT: Obviously crucial and so many national implications, these stories we're following.
Thanks to George Howell.
And it's not just Missouri. I mean, we're watching stories like this in a few other states. Another big one, Colorado. Two lawmakers out of a job in the state's first ever recall. The reason? They supported gun control laws. John Morse is one of them. He says he's proud of the stand he took despite losing the recall race.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MORSE, FORMER COLORADO STATE SENATE PRESIDENT: What we did was the right thing. And I said months ago, if doing this costs me my political career, that's a very small price to pay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The lawmakers were up against the National Rifle Association. The NRA spent about half a million dollars to oust of them. But obviously that's another big blow to gun control today.
And our fourth story OUTFRONT is threats against one of America's biggest and busiest airports in Vegas. Tonight, officials beefing up security at LAX, Los Angeles International, after a former TSA security screener was arrested and charged with making threats against that airport.
So yes, on the inside. Someone on the inside. The TSA. These threats, the world in particular would be watching 12 years to the day after 9/11.
Casey Wian is OUTFRONT tonight with that story.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The former TSA worker Nna Alpha Onuoha's Web site shows in photos and rambling writings a disturbed man obsessed with Jesus Christ and Satan. On Tuesday, the day before the 12th anniversary of 9/11, he quit the TSA screening job he had had since 2006 and left a suspicious package at Los Angeles International Airport.
(On camera): Los Angeles airport police are taking the threat by the former TSA employee so seriously that they beefed up security around all Los Angeles area airports. It's the middle of the day. Normally there's no wait to get into LAX. You can see the extra police presence in effect here.
(Voice-over): Onuoha's package did not contain a bomb. Rather an eight-page letter criticizing the United States and his recent suspension from his job. The FBI also says he called the TSA twice, instructing it to begin evacuating terminals, adding he would be watching. Onuoha was arrested outside a church about 65 miles away in Riverside, California. The Joint Terrorism Task Force has now conducted at least two searches of his Englewood apartment near the airport. And this latest this afternoon, traffic around the apartment was blocked off while police investigated another suspicious package.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An angry little guy so I left him alone. He was just always mad at the world.
IVAN MASON, DIRECTOR, U.S. VETS LOS ANGELES: He's been living in our community for a number of years and he works in the TSA. He has not displayed any abhorrent behavior while here in our community.
WIAN: It turns out Onuoha is the same TSA agent who in June allegedly criticized the attire of a 15-year-old girl, telling her to cover up. Her father then tweeted out this picture of his daughter as she was dressed then and complained to the TSA, causing national outrage. Photos on his Web site showed a note dated September 11th, 2013, proclaiming the scriptures are being fulfilled and a banner reading "The end of America" and "The end of the world."
For OUTFRONT, I'm Casey Wian, Los Angeles.
BURNETT: Still just incredible that that person worked, past all the security procedures, worked for the TSA.
Money and power tonight is all about a car. In fact the most expensive new car in the world, Lamborghini, in the United Arab Emirates is currently displaying a diamond encrusted gold Lamborghini Aventador.
OK. Take a look at this. The car features a solid goal suspension, because you need gold against the asphalt. Wheels cast from platinum. Gold plated body panels and seats lined with more than 700 diamonds. They probably really hurt when they get stuck in the wrong part of your butt.
It will be a great toy for one buy which is appropriate since it is at the moment literally a toy. The car currently on display as a prototype, an eighth of the size of a real Lamborghini. If you are willing, though, and able to cough up $7 million, they will make the full size Lamborghini for you with all the gold and diamonds.
Now this will put you in very exclusive company. The number of people in -- on the planet, OK, who bought million-dollar cars is only in the hundreds. The makers always limit production to maintain exclusively and then they pre-sell them often years in advance. Two of this year's most anticipated car, a new Bugatti and the Koenigsegg will be sold for more than $3 million each. And there's only a few of them available. So you'll be one of like two or three people.
So what to do if you're like, you know, us? You don't have the money but you want to get some to begin with. Actually -- well, I want one of these cars, but anyway, here's a solution if you do. Visualspicer.com sells a Lamborghini Aventador for $3.90. It is a paper kit. It does not come with gold or diamonds, but like the Lamborghini on display in the UAE, it's about an eighth the size of the real one and looks very real.
And the truth is it probably handles just as well as that $7 million car made of gold and diamonds because the acceleration with all the diamonds and all that other junk, well, we're betting, frankly, it's just not Lamborghini style.
Still to come, the White House playing defense over Syria today. Using Twitter to take on critics aggressively. One of the journalists targeted by the Obama administration comes OUTFRONT.
Plus more questions about Diana Nyad's record setting swim. Others swimmers now saying she was, quote-unquote, assisted.
And new questions tonight about how a groom in Montana was killed. Why authorities believe his bride was the one who pushed off a cliff to his death.
BURNETT: Our fifth story OUTFRONT, did Diana Nyad cheat? It is the question the long distance swimmer is facing after her record swim between Cuba and Florida. She's 64 years old, she insists she completed the 110-mile journey in 53 hours without anyone's help. But now there are members of the Marathon Swimming Forum, people who do this sort of thing for a living that have doubts and say it was -- the word they're using is, quote-unquote, "assisted swim."
Well, John Zarrella has been reporting on this story for us OUTFRONT. And tonight, Diana Nyad in her own words.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Diana Nyad swam 110 miles from Cuba to Florida. That's a fact. But was it a record? How it will be categorized?
At a news conference last week, Nyad was confident.
DIANA NYAD, MARATHON SWIMMER: I get some awards, I'll be gracious about it. But people, people's individual reactions mean everything. So I'm sure the swim will be ratified in due time and that's fine. But I just don't care about it.
ZARRELLA: But the current has changed in the week since. Questions arose. How could her speed have nearly doubled at one point? What about the seven and a half hours she supposedly went without food or water? Did her team assist her in any way?
During the three and a half hour conference call with peers, who will decide the legitimacy of her swim, Nyad acknowledged she was touched but said she was never supported.
NYAD: No handlers grabbing my ankle. I was on my own steam entirely. But I was touched. I agree with it.
ZARRELLA: Getting into the suit that protected her from the potentially deadly box jellyfish required duct taping her booties and gloves. Did the people doing that perhaps inadvertently give her flotation help support her in any way? And did she rest during that time? Those are now the central issues that could determine whether Nyad is recognized as the first person who ever to make the crossing unassisted.
A co-founder of the Marathon Swimmers Forum and a marathoner himself, Evan Morrison, was on the call.
EVAN MORRISON, CO-FOUNDER, MARATHON SWIMMERS FORUM: She acknowledged that her crew touched her when she was putting on the jellyfish suit. And I know that she felt that that was -- that was necessary. But I personally believe that it puts it in the category of an assisted swim.
ZARRELLA: Nyad insists there was no other way.
NYAD: The only way to make it across, you don't just get lucky, and they're not there one night. They are there. The only way to make it across is with this gear.
ZARRELLA: The other issues appeared to be resolved or at least less critical. Asked about the reports she went for hours without food and water, Nyad said that was wrong. She never went more than 90 minutes. As far as the doubling of her speed, it came down to a boost from a near perfect current.
It could be weeks before the marathon swimming community determines how Diana Nyad's swim will be remembered.
For OUTFRONT, I am John Zarrella, CNN, Miami.
BURNETT: An incredible story. Diana Nyad will be on "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" at 9:00 Eastern.
Still to come, the White House fires back at a reporter on Twitter when he criticized the president. That reporter is OUTFRONT along with the man who used to work for the White House.
And the man who confessed to killing someone while drunk driving pleads not guilty in court today. He said he was going to plead guilty. We're going to tell you what's happening here.
And the bride suspected of murdering her husband by pushing him off a cliff. Her actions at his funeral might break open the case.
BURNETT: Welcome back to the second half of OUTFRONT on this Wednesday. Matthew Cordle, the Ohio man who confessed in a YouTube video to killing a man while driving drunk pleaded not guilty today. His attorney, though, says he plans to plead guilty when he is assigned to a new judge. So, we're not sure this adds up.
But in the video, you may remember, it was a poignant video and Cordle promised to take full responsibility for the death of a 61- year-old man. So, Cordle still faces as little as 2 years in prison. That pales in comparison for sentences at other states in the U.S. That's even after Ohio changed the penalty for aggravated vehicular homicide to make it tougher.
Well, an OUTFRONT update on Kali Hardig. You remember her as the 12-year-old girl from Arkansas who is infected with a rare brain- eating amoeba. She miraculously went home today, and we use that word on purpose. Kali is only the third person to survive that infection in 50 years. And the miracle isn't lost on her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KALI HARDIG, BRAIN-EATING AMOEBA SURVIVOR: I'm lucky to be alive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Kali will now spend half her days in school, the other half in therapy until she can to go school full time.
Now, one of her doctors tells OUTFRONT she might never be recovered 100 percent because brain cell don't regenerate the way skin cells do. But here's the thing -- humans have so many more brain cells than we actually use. So, the doctors hope the cell will take over the function that Kali lost and you may not notice any difference at all.
Well, Shellie Zimmerman, the strange wife of George Zimmerman, spoke just moments ago to the public, her lawyer there beside her. She doesn't want to press for alleged domestic battery. Her attorney says everything has calmed down and they're going their separate ways. But this comes as Florida police are saying charges won't be filed against George Zimmerman after an altercation between the couple this week.
Dash cam video shows Zimmerman being taken into custody at gun point. You see them there. Shellie Zimmerman says he threatened her with a gun. Police that night, though, said a weapon wasn't involved. So, as I said, a lot of clarity is still lacking. Police are trying to actually recover video taken by Shellie on an iPad that could answer a lot of the questions but it's going to be difficult and take a lot of time because apparently the iPad was broken in the fight.
It has been 767 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back?
Well, as this country gets ready for another debt ceiling debate, America's biggest company took a hit today. Apple shares fell more than 5 percent, after a lot of people thought these two new phones that rolled out yesterday were disappointing, there was a bright spot, though, for the market. Facebook hit an all time high, which is 46 bucks a share.
And now our sixth story OUTFRONT: The White House on defense. As the president was giving his Syria speech last night, the Obama administration went after critical voices on Twitter.
Columnist Jeffrey Goldberg wrote, let me just quote it. This was one of the most -- this was the best part last night. I was watching this whole exchange.
He wrote, "Maybe it would have been better to have postponed this speech along with the vote." And he continued to tweet, "After two years of saying Assad should go, the message is now Assad can stay. We just want to take away one of his weapons systems."
The White House fired back immediately. Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes replied to Goldberg, who is hugely influential, tweeting, "The U.S. position remains Assad leaving power as part of a political process. But we must also act specifically to remove the chemical weapons threat."
Jeffrey Goldberg is OUTFRONT. He's a "Bloomberg" columnist and correspondent for "The Atlantic".
Also with us, Bill Burton, former deputy press secretary for President Obama.
Jeff, let me start with you. Let's start with that first tweet. You thought the president shouldn't have given that speech last night -- at least from your tweet.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG, THE ATLANTIC: Well, the speech was originally men to ask congress to vote on the resolution and get the American people behind that. Once this Russian play came into the picture, it was obvious that he was going to do that.
So, there was really no demand made of Congress or the American people out of the speech. And it didn't seem worthy of a primetime address.
BURNETT: All right. That's it in a nut shell, standing by your tweets.
And, Bill, Jeff also tweeted the only action president promised to take tonight is to send John Kerry to Switzerland for the meetings in Geneva. The rest was much more vague.
Did the president hurt himself by making a big primetime address? Should he have said, look, the metrics have changed here, I'm not going to do this?
GOLDBERG: That wouldn't even work -- sorry, go ahead. BILL BURTON, EVP GLOBAL STRATEGY GROUP: I think that what folks ought to consider is that, well, in Washington, and New York and in TV studios, people are paying very close attention to what's happening in Syria. The American people are not necessarily.
As we stand at this moment, where something important is about to happen between the United States and some other player in the world, it's important that the president of the United States comes forward as commander in chief and talks about the stakes and talks about what's happened and why the U.S. must act.
BURNETT: Jeff, what were you going to say you would have changed on that tweet?
GOLDBERG: No, no. I stand by my tweets. That's a very post modern statement. I stand by my tweets.
What I was going to say is that, you know, look, I understand that point that he is making as well, which is that, you know, there are a lot of people there who aren't following the minutia of this. And, look, the president did present a coherent understanding for a lot of people of the jam that he's in. And, you know, the truth is he presented a case on chemical weapon. And, you know, he made the case that only the threat of military action has brought us to the point where there is even, I think it is a pretty bad proposal the Russians have made.
But even to the point where we have this discussion going on, so that was useful. But of course, those arguments could have been made without this. I'm afraid that he's going to have to go back to the American people again in primetime when this process fails -- and I do think it's going to fail -- to say, look, we're back at square one. Let's now get to deal with this again.
BURTON: He may well have to go back to the American people but I wouldn't consider it to be a failure.
GOLDBERG: No, no, it's not a failure. I think what we've seen over the past week are -- is a failure of sequencing and a failure of forethought. You know, when the secretary of state comes out of the box and says, well, we're going to have an incredibly small war, and the president says, no, we're not going to have an incredibly small war, we're going to have pinprick attacks. And then we moved away from talking about attacks at all.
I mean, this wasn't -- you have to admit -- the smoothest process.
BURTON: Well, I think -- I think you have to take a broader view of this and look back at the arc of where President Obama has been as it relates to when do you use force and when do you not use force? And I don't think that it's -- as some have suggested, in conflict to say that sometime there are times when you need to use military force, but the preferred solution is still a diplomatic one.
And in this case, I just think when chemical weapons are at play, the United States has to take stand and there's no one else in the world who really can.
BURNETT: Bill, I have to say, you know, it may be true but the president is getting a lot of criticism, you know, for what Jeff said. For process that at least to the public doesn't seem to have been smooth, right? You start here and then you move here and then you move there.
You know, Bob Corker of the Foreign Relations Committee, was very critical of the president today, you know, saying in a much more harsh way what a lot of other people, senators and congressmen, have been saying.
I wanted to play that and get your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB CORKER (R-TN), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: The president just seems to be very uncomfortable being commander-in-chief of this nation. He is very good in an interpersonal setting. He just cannot follow through.
He cannot speak to the nation as a commander-in-chief. He cannot speak to the world as a commander-in-chief. He just cannot do it. And I don't know what it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I mean, it's pretty harsh.
Bill, what do you say to those who are saying the president has lost serious credibility?
BURTON: I respectfully disagree with Senator Corker. And I think you should ask Osama bin Laden if he thinks that the president seems like he can look like he is commander-in-chief. I think that notion is foolish.
I think the president set out very clear goals when he became president of the United States. It was to end the war in Iraq, to put a strategy in place in Afghanistan, and it was to get Osama bin Laden. He did those things.
I think the president has performed as commander-in-chief in a way that no Republican is necessarily stand and cheerlead for, but in a way that American people certainly have.
BURNETT: Well, thanks very much to both of you.
And I encourage to you check out the tweet war last night between Jeffrey Goldberg and people like Ben Rhodes. It is well word reading them all.
Our seventh story OUTFRONT: a newly wed charged with murdering her husband. Police say Jordan Linn Graham pushed her husband of eight days over a cliff at Glacier National Park in Montana. The two were on a hike. They had a fight. They thought the hike would make it better. Well, Graham claims the two got into a fight when her husband fell. But her friends tell CNN Graham's story doesn't add up.
Kyung Lah is in Missoula, Montana. She spoke to them and she's OUTFRONT.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty-two-year-old Jordan Graham, the defendant. No longer the bride, trading her wedding dress for an orange jump suit and handcuffs. Her attorneys arguing for the newly wed's release for second-degree murder of her husband, Cody Johnson.
Prosecutors say she pushed him face first off a steep cliff at Glacier National Park, just eight days into their young marriage.
Graham broke down and cried only once during the hearing, when her mother walked into the courtroom. Her mother, emotionless as she left court with defense attorneys.
REPORTER: Tell me what her defense is.
ANDREW NELSON, PUBLIC DEFENDER: No cases are standard.
LAH: They argue Graham is not a threat, has no criminal history and no prior record of any violence. The victim' uncle says his side of the family still can't understand why.
RICHARD SOTO, CODY JOHNSON'S UNCLE: There is always an annulment, there is always divorce.
LAH: Prosecutors say Graham told numerous lies to police and to friends in the wake of Johnson's death.
Cameron Fredrickson says he was lied to. He was one of the groomsmen at Graham's wedding.
(on camera): How did you begin to suspect that Jordan might be involved with his disappearance?
CAMERON FREDRICKSON, GROOMSMAN AT CODY JOHNSON'S WEDDING: I started to suspect that actually on Tuesday.
LAH (voice-over): That Tuesday in July was one story. Then, there was another, and then came the funeral. And Graham's odd behavior as friends eulogized her new husband.
(on camera): Was she texting during the funeral?
FREDRICKSON: She was on her phone. Whether it was texting or a mobile app, while Levi was up there speaking which I don't -- I can't get -- I don't understand.
MAXIMINO ROCHA, CODY JOHNSONS'S CO-WORKER & FRIEND: I knew right then that something was not right.
LAH: What was in your gut?
ROCHA: My gut was that she had involvement with the process. Whether she knew or had done something. This was not right for her loved one, her new husband. And she was not displaying any kind of emotional reaction.
LAH (voice-over): Prosecutors argued in court that Graham also tried to cover up the crime, by creating a bogus email account and writing fake emails from a made up friend, an account that traces back to Graham's home address.
ROCHA: I know that there was a point in the situation where Jordan probably could have done the right thing, even if it was an accident. And the right thing wasn't done. So, now, we're trying to pursue what the right thing is.
BURNETT: Kyung, what happens next?
LAH: Well, the judge is going to come out with a decision by noon local time tomorrow on detention. She is either, Erin, going to be released conditionally, maybe going home to her family or she will stay behind bars.
BURNETT: All right. Kyung Lah, who's been covering that story in Missoula, as we said, on the ground.
Still to come, an exclusive OUTFRONT report, sexual assault in the United States military. One victim, an army specialist comes forward for the first time to share her story.
And it's been exactly one year since the deadly attack against America in Benghazi. Tonight, the family speak about the ones they lost, OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: And now to an exclusive OUTFRONT investigation and I want to warn you -- this story contains graphic language.
An army specialist coming forward with her story for the first time after she was sexually assaulted by a superior officer. It's a growing problem in the military in the United States and one that some members of Congress are now trying to address. Ted Rowlands is OUTFRONT with the exclusive.
SPC. CHELSEA CANDACE TRAUGOTT, U.S. ARMY: Just an utter devastation.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Army Specialist Candace Traugott was a private, just three week on the job in 2001 at Ft. Carson in Colorado Springs, when one of her sergeants drugged and assaulted her.
TRAUGOTT: He offered me a glass of water and I drank it. That was the last thing I remember before I woke up.
ROWLANDS: Traugott says she woke up in a room at this Motel 6.
TRAUGOTT: I was fully nude and he was on top of me putting his fingers inside me.
ROWLANDS: The sergeant had driven Traugott to the hotel after a night of drinking and drugged her after she asked for a ride home. Her attacker, Sergeant Alberto Silva Sader (ph) had a stellar reputation at Ft. Carson. He claimed the sex was consensual and the people at Traugott's unit believed him and ridiculed her.
TRAUGOTT: He had a lot of friends and comrades and had been to battle with some of them. So there was a bond there.
ROWLANDS: Erica Laue, a victim's advocate, was at the hospital the night of the assault and helped Traugott throughout the ordeal.
ERICA LAUE, VICTIM ADVOCATE: She could hardly drag herself out of bed. She didn't want to go to work. She was hardly eating. She just -- it was like watching a ghost.
TRAUGOTT: Your world crumbles. You know, there is a part of you that is just lost. It is gone. And you now have to figure out, how are you going to live without that piece of you that will never be there again?
ROWLANDS: After almost a year of fighting for justice, the case broke open when investigators found photos on the sergeant's cell phone of four women, including Traugott.
LAUE: They were photos of her naked, of close photos of her genitalia. And I think one of the most heart rending was a photo of her face, she was very clearly unconscious, and he had his penis on her face. And it was, you know, just absolutely degrading.
ROWLANDS: While all four women testified against Silva Sader, Traugott was the only one to report an assault.
Of the estimated 26,000 sexual assaults in the military last year, only 302 cases were prosecuted. Without the photos, it's likely Sergeant Silva Sader would have gotten away with it.
LT. COLONEL BRIAN SPANGLER, FORT CARSON: We, as the military, take the victim's fight and their case very seriously, but we have to balance that against the accused, to make sure we protect their rights, too. Our job is to hunt the hunters. In the realm of sexual assault and sexual abuse, we take it very seriously.
ROWLANDS: A bipartisan group of lawmakers are pushing to revamp the way the military investigates sexual assault cases by taking the cases away from on-site commanders. SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D), NEW YORK: Our carefully crafted common sense proposal was written in direct response to what the victims told us, the stories that came from them, what happened to them, the fact they didn't trust the chain of come band, that they were retaliated against.
ROWLANDS: A vote on changing the system is expected this fall, but at this point, the legislation does not have the needed support to pass. Meanwhile, Silva Sader was tried and convicted and is serving a 35-year sentence at Leavenworth.
Despite what she's been through, Candace Traugott has decided to stay in the Army.
TRAUGOTT: Silva took enough from me. This is my dream job. This is what I've always wanted to do. To me, this is probably one of the most important jobs an American can do, is fight for their country that they live in, and I was not going to give that up.
ROWLANDS: For OUTFRONT, Ted Rowlands, Fort Carson, Colorado.
BURNETT: Next, a year ago tonight, four Americans were murdered in Benghazi. When we return, the families.
BURNETT: Twelve years ago, America lost nearly 3,000 Americans in the attacks on September 11th. If you're old enough to remember, you remember what you were doing that day, and today, we remembered the lost with memorials at Ground Zero in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where that heroic group of passengers brought that plane down.
This is a live picture that you're looking at now of Lower Manhattan on September 11th, twin towers of light shining tonight as a tribute to those who lost their lives. So many of them trapped in that building racing down those stairwells or who chose death instead of fighting, given they had to throw themselves out of the windows, those horrific images that are now emblazoned on all of our minds.
It is also the one-year anniversary of the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, attacks that claimed the lives of four Americans. We recently had the opportunity to speak with their surviving family members and tonight, we remember them.
BURNETT (voice-over): Four Americans were lost on September 11th, 2012, but their memories live on for their families.
Christopher Stevens, age 52.
MARY COMMANDAY, MOTHER OF CHRIS STEVENS: When he was in high school, he played the saxophone. They were going to do music man. So, he decided to audition for it. I remember I was in the kitchen and he came home from a performance and said, mom, I'll never be in the pit again.
BURNETT: Chris' parents remember when they first saw their son's talent for diplomacy as a young Peace Corps volunteer.
JAN STEVENS, FATHER OF STEVENS: And remember a peddler came up with a rusty dagger that he was purporting to be valuable and he wanted to sell to Chris and Chris took the dagger and ran his down and said in Arabic, said, "This is worthless, it will cut nothing", and said it in such a way the peddler and waiter burst out in laughter.
BURNETT: Glen Doherty, age 42. His younger sister Kate says the tough slide skier and surfer was larger than life.
KATE QUIGLEY, SISTER OF GLEN DOHERTY: Glen was a people person. He was always the life of the party, and always had a great story, a big smile, huge hug. And he was just so, so fun all the time and when you were with him, he made you be the best that you could be, and that's -- that's a great thing.
BURNETT: Sean Smith, age 34. Pat Smith says her son was a gamer.
PAT SMITH, MOTHER OF SEAN SMITH: He was a nerd, and he grew up to be a big nerd, but one of those wonderful nerds, and I love the hell out of him.
BURNETT: She always encouraged Sean to explore the world.
SMITH: Taste it, find out what it is about. That's what he did, and he reached for the stars.
BURNETT: Tyrone Woods, age 41. He lived to be a Navy SEAL.
(on camera): How much did he love it?
CHERYL BENNETT, MOTHER OF TYRONE WOODS: He loved it. He loved it.
BURNETT (voice-over): In his passion to be a seal started early.
BENNETT: This is a drawing he did when he was oh, 12 years old and it's a game and it has helicopters and killer bees, alligators, obstacles to overcome, and you had to start down here and the object of the game was to get home, which was up here, and overcome all these obstacles. Friends and family have really been supportive.
BURNETT: And she's at peace knowing Ty helped bring others home on September 11th.
BENNETT: I said, "Secretary Clinton, you're a mother." She said, "Yes." And I said, "My concern as a mother is that my son perished thinking that he had not completed or fulfilled his mission," and I said, "He would not want that." And she said, "He completed his mission. He saved 30 people's lives who would not be here today," and I thought, "OK. Mission completed."
BURNETT: Thanks for watching. Anderson starts now.