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JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Barreling Toward Shutdown?

Aired September 30, 2013 - 19:00:00   ET

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


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, breaking news. Fasten your seat belts. We`re in for a bumpy ride. We are just five hours away from the U.S. government shutting down. Click. Will politicians reach a deal before our economy gets a case of whiplash as three quarters of a million Americans lose their paycheck like that?

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live. Thanks for joining me.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Call it budget Hell-oween.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t play games anymore, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In just a few hours, we could have a government shutdown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Behave. Behave. You know, you guys are highly intelligent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A big mess in Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would be bankrupt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That begins midnight October 1.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can`t compromise to the point we got to shut the government down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No deal looking likely.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first one in nearly 18 years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`d be horrified. I`d be horrified.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, disagreements are one thing, but should politicians really be allowed to drum up this kind of manufactured crisis that ruins lives and creates heartache for American families and also, by the way, trips up our economy that`s just getting on his feet?

If there isn`t an agreement at precisely 12:01 tonight, the government shuts down, and that means three-quarters of a million Americans who work for the government will be booted out the door without their paycheck.

But you know who`s still cashing in? The elite who live inside the Beltway and walk the halls of power. The president will continue to collect his $400,000-a-year salary. U.S. senators and members of the House will keep cashing their $174,000-a-year paychecks.

So while the politicians play a game of chicken on the taxpayer`s dime, rank-and-file workers, many of whom have fought for our country, will be without a check or benefits.

I went to the streets to talk to Americans, and this lady was not amused.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know they get their salaries, and what about everyone else? It`s ridiculous.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Military personnel, military families are going to get IOUs. How are they going to pay their electricity bills, their phone bills?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s just -- I can`t believe they`re letting this happen to the people that are depending on those checks. I mean, it`s -- can`t they just work it out like adults?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Apparently not. Anyway, I want to hear from you. What do you think of the government shutdown? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1- 877-586-7297.

We have a call to action tonight right now to write to your members of Congress and tell them, "Get to work people right now."

We have a fabulous Lion`s Den, ready to debate panel today, including Pete Dominic, host of "Stand Up with Pete Dominic"; and Amy Holmes, anchor of "The Host List," TheBlaze.com.

Straight to Pete Dominic. How do you feel about the inside-the- Beltway elite? I`m talking about the politicians still making all of their change, but three quarters of a million low-level everyday government employees kicked to the curb with no money to pay their bills?

PETE DOMINIC, HOST, "STAND UP WITH PETE DOMINIC": That`s actually part of the Constitution. If you want to change the Constitution, that`s something that we can consider. But let`s be clear with who this debate is between, this stand-off, this showdown. It`s between Republicans and Republicans. It`s between the traditionalists, the establishment, the moderates, if you will, the leadership in the Republican House and the radicals, the Tea Party, the extreme right. That`s who`s not disagreeing.

We`ve got news right now from a lot of different sources that say the moderates may be willing to help out John Boehner and stand up to those radical on the right and pass this clean resolution that would keep the government open. But let`s just be clear who this debate is between. It`s between Republicans and Republicans.

AMY HOLMES, ANCHOR, "THE HOT LIST," THEBLAZE.COM: Let`s also not forget, though, that you have Democrats, the president and Senate majority leader Harry Reid saying over and over and over they refuse to negotiate when it comes to this continued resolution.

But I do have some good news for you, Jane. I think it should make all of our panelists happy. That the Senate did move to vote to not suspend military pay.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

HOLMES: The military will be covered. That was passed separately both in the House and in the Senate. So at least that group of Americans is off the table in terms of being affected by the shutdown.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me say this...

JON LEIBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: But Jane...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Those in active duty. But what about the veterans? Let`s face it: The last people the U.S. government should basically pull the rug out from under and kick to the curb are the men and women who have taken bullets and grenades, fighting for our country. And that`s exactly who is going to be hurt if this drags on.

More than 3 million veterans of our wars who`s become disabled and are often in desperate need to get help just to get through the day, they could get their pension checks and other money cut from them. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re living paycheck to paycheck as it is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s going to be bills that are going to be due. And those places, like, you can`t tell the electric department, "Hey, you know, I got an IOU.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They fight so hard, and they do so much. And they sacrifice their lives every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason we have the freedom we have today is because of our armed forces. And the fact that, you know, they risk not getting paid after all the work they do, it`s not fair to them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So as Amy mentioned just a couple of seconds ago, in a last-minute effort there was a deal that ensures active duty military members still get paid in the event of a shutdown. What about the millions of veterans and their families?

Straight out to the Lion`s Den. My gosh, Jon Leiberman, of all people in America, hurt the veterans who`ve taken bullets for us? Isn`t that close to evil?

LEIBERMAN: All it does, Jane, is reinforce the fact that the politicians in Washington, D.C., are completely out of touch with the regular, normal American folk.

You know, a new CNN poll came out tonight. It shows that 10 percent of Americans approve of what`s going on in Congress. Frankly, I want to know who those 10 percent are, because I can`t believe even 10 percent of Americans are OK with this. It`s outrageous; it`s disturbing; it needs to stop.

And I love Pete Dominic, but I disagree with him. I think they`re all to blame.

DOMINIC: No.

LEIBERMAN: At this point everybody has played a role of somebody...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This wouldn`t be happening if it weren`t for the fact that the GOP is adamantly against Obama care. They want to defund Obama care so badly. They lost in the fall, so they`re obsessed with getting back with at the president`s most signature piece of legislation. They want to stop it before it happens. Oh my goodness, people might actually like it. That`s their actual fear. He might actually get a win out of this. They have to stop it at all costs. They`re willing to shut down the government for it. They`re willing to hold the American people hostage.

DOMINIC: It`s also a negotiation...

HOLMES: But Jane, here is my question. If the government shutdown is so catastrophic, then why -- why did the president go golfing? Why did Harry Reid give everybody a vacation in the Senate?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, please. Enough with the golf.

HOLMES: And not try to work out a deal?

And I`d also like to go back to that CNN poll that finds that Harry Reid, his unfavorables, they`re also very high, only three points behind John Boehner. That this fight is hurting both parties.

DOMINIC: This is a negotiate -- a negotiation.

LEIBERMAN: Maybe that`s the one good thing that might come out of this is that Americans will finally become so outraged about what`s happening in Washington that they`ll actually do something about it.

DOMINIC: A negotiation -- a negotiation insinuates that there`s two parties that want to make a deal, that each side compromises. The situation we have going on right now would be like, Jane, I walk into your car dealership and offer you $10,000 for a $40,000 car. You say no, and I say you`re screwing me. That`s not what`s happening. You can`t negotiate and say, "If you don`t give us what we want, we`re going to shut down the government." No one wants the government shut down.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is a game that has been played 17 times since 1977. And it`s why people in America despise politicians. Because they know that it`s become a cynical game, ego-based, and it`s really all about the battle of wills between people wanting to come out winners and the chumps are the American taxpayers who are going to suffer as a result of this.

Let`s go to the phone lines. Becky, Tennessee, your question or thought. Becky, Tennessee.

CALLER: Hi. My thought is my dad was in Castle Air Force Base California when the Cuba crisis started. He was on red alert, and we didn`t see him for two months.

OK. He was in the Korea War, two tours of Vietnam. He passed away five years ago of cancer. But he would roll over right now just thinking, "My freedom has been taken away by forcing me to get insurance."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, let me address that, because this whole crisis is about some politicians and some Americans, like the lady you just heard from, despising Obama care.

Obama care, a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act, will go into effect tomorrow, no matter what, according to the president. Ironically, it`s not affected by any government shutdown.

One thing it does, it says people who suffered illnesses like cancer cannot be denied insurance for that preexisting condition. I had breast cancer, and guess what? I learned firsthand, because I started making phone calls, that I could not get any private health insurance, because I hadn`t been cancer free for five years. No insurance can feel like a death sentence.

But here`s what I`d like to know, Amy Holmes. OK. You respect the conservative voice on this panel. Why is nobody talking about other ways to improve the health of Americans and cut the budget, aside from attacking Obama care and shutting the government down?

Let`s go back to the Lion`s Den. For example, this is my suggestion. Why not slash subsidies to big agriculture and big food that are producing all the cheap fast food and junk food that are making Americans sick? We could cut millions and -- excuse me, many billions in year-end health-care costs from heart disease alone. By ending foreign policies that subsidize the massive production of junk and fast food.

DOMINIC: You`re making too much sense. You`re making too much sense, Jane.

HOLMES: If I could answer Jane`s question. Jane, you would find a lot of conservatives and a lot of libertarians who agree with you when it comes to farm subsidies. In fact, John McCain, he voted consistently against farm subsidiaries. That`s why he lost Iowa in the Republican primary back in 2008.

But going back to your caller`s -- you know, her remark about how she feels her freedoms are being taken away by Obama care going into effect tomorrow and whether or not compromise is available, Republicans have suggested that Obama care be delayed by a year. And what I think is a really interesting wild card that no one has considered is how the implementation of Obama care, the rollout tomorrow, might affect American`s attitudes about Obama care if it would be train wreck as Democrat Max Baucus is predicting...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You say -- you say that there`s a whole conservative- libertarian movement that wants to cut farm subsidies.

HOLMES: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, fine, the Farm Bill is on the table right now. It is also set to expire, if it hadn`t expired already. And still, the massive giveaways for big food and big ag continue. And who`s suffering? The American people. It`s skyrocketing health-care costs, one of the reasons people oppose Obama care because it`s costing so much money. It doesn`t have to be that way.

Now, stay right there. We`re just getting started on this debate. But later a Hollywood couple on a romantic get-away say they were racially profiled, harassed. You will not believe their story.

But first, I was out and about today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Normally I would say, you know, 12 clock they`re going to come to an agreement, but I don`t think they will.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just think that Congress is only thinking about themselves and they`re not thinking about the everyday workers who come to work and give all we`ve got.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No food until they make a decision?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn`t say no food, but I definitely think they need to make a decision.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I would say no food. No food, no water, how about that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sounds good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are we headed for a government Hell-oween with a shutdown of U.S. government in less than five hours or -- well, there`s a whole other school of thought that quite a few people have. Namely that so what if the government shuts down? That`s right. Their feelings being that the government is bloated with massive bureaucracies and a shutdown might illustrate that America can function quite well without nonessential personnel.

That -- well, we certainly want our senior citizens like my mom to get their Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid benefits, and we want our air traffic controllers on duty.

But the belief is among many there`s too many essential employees in a government that`s bloated, an shutdowns like this can remind us that Uncle Sam needs to go on a major diet. Back out to the Lion`s Den. So Pete Dominic, could there be a silver lining to a shutdown like this?

DOMINIC: No, no. I mean, not unless you want to be a hack Democrat and say the Democrats are going to gain seats. But I`m not a hack and I`m not a partisan, and I don`t think this should be political. These are real people`s lives.

I`d like to -- Can I ask a question, Jane? I`d like to yield my time to Amy Holmes and ask her if this is really a negotiation between Democrats and Republicans. Because I`m telling you, it`s between Republicans only in the House. What do the Democrats get in this negotiation? What do they get? What does the president, what do Democrats get -- Amy?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: First of all, let me say this. You`re not a senator and so, no, you can`t yield the floor.

DOMINIC: I know. I yield to the gentle lady -- the gentle lady.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And also, I want to say that I want to get past the Democrat, Republican, conservative liberal tired argument. This is exactly why so many Americans are sick of politics. They`re sick of these 20th century labels.

Even more than that...

HOLMES: Let me give you an example.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time.

HOLMES: Let me give you an example that answers Pete`s question. What would Democrats get in what would the American people get? They would get a repeal of the medical tax device. That passed in the senator with 39 votes, 33 Democrats. You`re asking me what they would get. They would get something that folks in the health care community, doctors, medical device folks and including 33 Senate demeanors say they want. It would help Americans get those lifesaving devices. They would get bipartisan reforms that everyone wants.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Order on the floor, order on the floor. We want to go out to the phone lines, because this is a real democracy on this show.

Barbara, California, your question or thought. Barbara California.

CALLER: Hi, how are you? Thank you for having me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sure.

CALLER: I have a few questions here, but I`ll try to make it short. My first one is why is Obama to blame for the economy that he came into in 2009? And I ask that because today Newt Gingrich mentioned that on TV, and it just seems to me that this was a Bush problem, President Bush and a situation that, although it was there and no one spoke of it until Obama came into office.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Barbara you`re making an excellent point and we`re going to address that first question, the first part of this.

This is a punch in the stomach to our economy, which as this caller mentioned, is just now rebounding from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression that hit us five years ago.

Now, people are worried the shutdown is going to hit the stock market. And that`s not just for rich people. That can hurt every single person with an individual retirement account, millions of Americans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s get on with the business of running the country and pass the budget, pass the debt limit and let us keep improving the economy. Don`t play games anymore, please.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So if our government shuts at midnight, that`s going to close hundreds of national parks and museums. This hurts hotels, restaurants, tourism.

Danielle Belton, this is a disaster as we approach the holiday season, where the vast majority of consumer spending is done.

BELTON: Exactly. I mean, if you take people`s job away, take their checks away by shutting down the government, you`re impacting the economy greatly. And that`s what`s so depressing. That`s what`s so devastating about this unnecessary, easily preventable fight.

I mean, this is purely just about Obama care. It doesn`t have anything to do with anything else. And the fact that you have a faction of the government, that you have a faction of the House of Republicans [SIC] who are willing to, you know, basically tank the economy and affect millions of Americans, just to defund.

It`s going to happen anyway. It`s going to happen tomorrow, no matter what they do. It just shows how deep the dislike for the president and...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jon Leiberman.

LEIBERMAN: And Jane, the other thing is we have a huge perception problem here in the world, as well. That`s one reason why you saw the world market skittish today. Our stock market, you know, go down, because the world looks to us to provide examples of good leadership in the world. And then they look at this, and you see Congress has one job, and that is to fund our government, and they can`t even do that. So think of what the world thinks of us today when we can`t even keep our own government running.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re about to hit the debt ceiling too. Little problem there, multi, multi, multibillion even trillion dollar problem. We`ll address that in a second. And also passports, people.

Later a Hollywood couple`s romantic getaway turns terrifying. Were they racially profiled, harassed and cuffed? They are going to tell me, firsthand. And guess what? They`re Hollywood stars and it was awful until one of them was recognized.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve survived the last government shutdown, so I`m quite confident that we`ll survive this government shutdown, as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The last big one back in 1995 cost taxpayers like $1.4 billion. Why should we pay that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hopefully they`ll find a way to answer that question.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a minute? What do you mean they`ll find -- you sound like a -- you sound like a politician!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you please go up and stop the infighting and let`s get something done?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I ran my house the way the government is running the country, I would be bankrupt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tick tock, tick tock. We`re less than five hours away from a U.S. government shutdown. You don`t like it? There`s something you can do: Contact the president. Contact your members of Congress, and say, "Get to work, and don`t stop, don`t sleep, don`t eat until you reach an agreement." Because if they don`t reach an agreement quickly, an estimated 800,000 government employees will not be paid but you know what? Guess who`s still going to get their paychecks? Oh, yes, you guessed it: the people responsible for this mess.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my opinion the government has been wasting money for years, and if they got to shut something down, first off I think the politicians should lose their money first before all this other stuff gets shut down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s right. President Obama will still get his $400,000-a-year salary. The House speaker will still get his $200,000. And the rest of the U.S. Senate and members of Congress will kept cashing their $174,000-a-year paychecks. It`s constitutionally guaranteed.

Straight out to the Lion`s Den. Amy Holmes, anchor of "The Hot List," should the president and all members of both houses forfeit their pay for the duration of this crisis? I say yes.

HOLMES: Absolutely. Absolutely agree with you that if other federal employees have to forfeit their pay and wait to be reimbursed, this whole thing is over. Certainly, the politicians who are involved in this tussle should have to follow the same standards.

But I do want to report to our viewers after we were talking about the veterans and their benefits, that was very concerning to me. So I did a little quick research during the break. And the Veteran`s Administration is funded until the end of the month. Veterans will get their benefits through the end of the month during the government shutdown. But it certainly can`t last any longer than that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dominic?

HOLMES: That`s reported by CNN.

DOMINIC: Hold on. I do a lot -- quite a few segments every week with veterans organizations, and I talked to IAVA, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Yes, they`ll get their benefits. They may get their salary. But the biggest problem that the veterans have right now, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans especially, is getting their claims heard and getting someone at the V.A. on the phone.

The biggest issue is the backlog at the V.A. Those people in the V.A. will not be working. They will not be answering those phones. Those claims will not be addressed, and that will just increase the biggest problem that veterans have.

HOLMES: You know as well as I do that General Shinseki has not been on top of that. That`s been a problem for many years now.

DOMINIC: But it`s improving. It`s improving. Shutting the government down will hurt veterans who need health care right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I say the one group that must be protected at all costs, people have taken bullets and grenades on behalf of our government. Danielle Belton, let`s talk very briefly about, "Oh, my gosh, the U.S. is going to run out of cash October 17. So if this crisis goes until then, we`ve got a double whammy that could really rattle the markets.

BELTON: They`re playing these political games with something as important as our economy. We barely recovered. We still have high unemployment in certain community.

The fact that they`re just willing just to go ahead and just to toss it up and just let things happen, as well, because they can`t have their particular way regarding the "Formal Care Act," it`s emotionally devastating for me. I can`t believe that you just have...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me say this. I do not like the old games, Democrat, Republican, liberals, conservative. Let`s move past that.

I think it was Mark Zuckerberg who said, "Let`s talk about information-based opinions." I mean, really, we`ve got to reconfigure things. These same old brinksmanship games. Shutting down the government has happened 17 times before. We have to move to the next level, get smart. There`s many other ways to improve the government, aside from next.

Next Hollywood`s couple trip from hell. You will not believe what these stars wept through when they were pulled over by a police officer in South Carolina. They`re joining me live next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After he told me that I did not have a warrant for my arrest and he started asking me about drugs for the third time. I said are you doing this because we`re black?

And that was when everybody took a turn for the worst. He padded the car, he walked back to his car and HE put on gloves. The next thing I knew he was handcuffing...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hollywood couple, Cherie Johnson and Dennis White, say they were improperly stopped by police, put in handcuffs and harshly questioned about drugs and money during a recent weekend get away in South Carolina. They claimed the incident took place because of their race. Both actors are black.

She asked Dennis if they could stop and take pictures. She said when they were done they walked back to their car and noticed that a sheriff`s patrol car was pulled up behind them. She wants to make sure that something like this never happens again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, uproar and outrage as two Hollywood stars claim they were harassed by a police officer all because of their race. Cherie Johnson and her boyfriend, Dennis White driving through South Carolina on their way to Myrtle Beach for a romantic get away when they were pulled over for allegedly speeding.

A little while later, the couple got on the highway. They passed some cotton fields and they decided to stop and get a better look. They took some photos in the field including the one that you are looking at right here. And then they came back to their car to find a cop parked behind it.

That`s when things took an ugly turn. Cherie and Dennis claim the officer grabbed his gun, told Cherie to get in the car and things escalated from there. Both actors had starred in movies and TV were in fact in the South because they had been teaching acting work shops there.

You will remember Cherie from "Family Matters " and the beloved 80s NBC sitcom "Punky Brewster". Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHERIE JOHNSON, ACTRESS: Why are you putting that on? We`re only going upstairs to my place to sleep.

SOLEIL MOON FRYE, ACTRESS: Well, we won`t be just sleeping and we won`t be just upstairs at your place.

JOHNSON: What are you talking about?

FRYE: I`m talking about this gorgeous idea I have. Cherie, you`re going to love this.

JOHNSON: Punky, last time you had a gorgeous idea and snapped your fingers I ended up getting grounded for a month.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How adorable. And Dennis starred in the film "Notorious" from Fox Searchlight along with many other film and TV shows. So was this all just a big misunderstanding or was this couple targeted just because of their race?

Straight out to my very special guests, actors Cherie Johnson and Dennis White. Thank you so much for joining us tonight.

And I just want to hear from Cherie first of all, what happened when the police officer approached you? Tell us what went down.

JOHNSON: We were leaving like the cotton field and I kind of walked up to the police. I didn`t even get really close to him. I got like to the back of our car. I said "Hi. I`m sorry. I just wanted to see cotton." At that moment he grabbed his gun and hew told me to get back in the passenger seat of the car.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I understand, Dennis that you became -- you said this hit you in your core because your girlfriend Cherie ended up being cuffed. How did this impact you in terms of emotionally?

DENNIS WHITE, ACTOR: It was scary because you know I grew up in the South in North Carolina and I`ve been accosted before. But to have the woman I love handcuffed for nothing, you know, there`s plenty of stories of people getting killed for nothing. So I was afraid for her life more than my life, which is unfortunate.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Cherie, you say the officer kept questioning you about drugs and at one point alleged that you had marijuana. What was it really? And why is this so upsetting to you?

JOHNSON: After asking about five or six times if I had marijuana, he would just write us a citation and let us go, we were in handcuffs and he searched the car. He found a tea bag in Dennis` backpack and told us, "Oh, what is this? You know, I can test this if I have to." And Dennis said, "Test it if you want to. It`s tea."

It was so upsetting for me because I hate drugs. I helped start the "Just Say No to Drugs" campaign in the 80s, getting national attention, asking Nancy Reagan to go on tour with us for the "Just Say No to Drugs" campaign which is actually the last time I was in South Carolina. I was like nine or ten years old doing a "Just Say No to Drugs" rally.

WHITE: And it was so bad because she didn`t want to go to Myrtle Beach and I wanted her to go because, you know, it`s a vacation spot. And I knew we didn`t have any drugs in the car but he kept on pressing it. And when he looked in my bag, you know, I knew there was nothing in there but he said there was marijuana. I`m like "That`s tea." So he smelled it and confirmed that it was. But we were just violated. It was unnecessary -- totally unnecessary.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s the thing. I mean we`ve covered so many of these sorts of stories on our show and it seems to be happening a lot lately especially in the South. I mean everybody, of course, knows 17- year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed near his father`s house last year. And of course, George Zimmerman was acquitted but this case sparked national, national outrage.

And then just a few weeks ago we covered this, a former FAMU football star, Jonathan Ferrell, he was shot and killed by cops who thought he was a suspect. In fact he just had a bad car accident and was looking for help and was going towards the officer, so happy that they were there to help him. They automatically allegedly assumed that he was a suspect or at least one of them did and he was shot dead.

WHITE: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So Cherie, I understand that this officer immediately according to you said there`s a warrant out for your arrest. What do you think was behind that and tell us about that?

JOHNSON: I had no idea. I looked at him and I said there`s no warrant for any arrest. I`ve never done anything wrong.

So he asked me where I lived. I said "California, I gave you a California driver`s license." He asked me how long I had lived there, why my parents moved me there and then he went back to run, I guess, the name with my middle name. So he comes back to the car and says "You`re right, you don`t have a warrant."

And I said, "Sir, can I ask you a question? Are you doing this because we`re black?" Shortly after that he tapped on -- he just looked at me with like this really stern look and he said no. And then he tapped on the car and walked back to his car and before I knew it he was putting on gloves and handcuffing Dennis.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable.

WHITE: And I asked him was I under arrest, did I do anything wrong? He said no. I said why are you handcuffing me? He said, because I can.

And then he came back, I was tweeting that they just put Dennis in handcuffs and I was texting my mother. He took the phone out of my hand and put it in the car and I said, "Wait, wait, wait. What are you going to do? I want to text my mom and let her know where I am." He said "You could text her in a minute." And I said "Are you going to handcuff me too?" And he said "Yes." And I said "Why?" And he said for his safety.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How did it make you feel? I know people say don`t ask that question but really it`s at the heart. How did it make you feel?

JOHNSON: I was stared for our lives because he was talking about his safety. He had already reached for his gun once. We hadn`t done anything wrong. It was like something out of a movie.

WHITE: It`s crazy because --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.

WHITE: -- our lives could have been ended in a matter of seconds for nothing. And it has to stop.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to ask you to stand by. I want to go to our panel. Areva Martin, the sheriff has said "Discrimination in any form including racial profiling is strictly prohibited by this department. And as sheriff of Marion County I can assure you, I will take immediate and appropriate action to investigate the allegations of racial profiling." An internal investigation? I don`t know. I don`t Areva know about an internal investigation.

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: I don`t know either, Jane, about, an internal investigation. I would like to see the state`s attorney get involved in this case. How many of these cases do we have to have before something changes?

You know, we`ve heard about the President who was stopped in Harlem. We just saw the stop-and-frisk law in New York being determined to be illegal. African Americans and Latinos are racially profiled in high numbers in this country and it must end.

I would like to see this officer involved -- I`d like to see him disciplined and I would like to see some widespread sensitivity training for officers. African-Americans are not criminals and when you`re stopped, they`re likely -- they`re not criminals and they can`t be treated like criminals just because of the color of their skin. That`s what happened to these two individuals and it must stop -- Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. The sheriff says he`s going to ask the state law enforcement division to review as well.

I think what`s so insulting, Brian, is that apparently eventually another cop shows up and recognizes Cherie and then everything changes. That -- I mean -- go ahead.

BRIAN SILBER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Let me tell you something. As a criminal defense lawyer and as a former prosecutor, nothing burns me up more than hearing these disgusting stories. And you know what, Jane? It happens every single day in our country like it`s a third world nation. And there`s never any responsibility that`s put on these animals that do this to these people.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Don`t call them animals.

SILBER: And here`s the biggest problem.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Animals are not racist and they`re not sadistic. They`re innocent.

(CROSSTALK)

SILBER: You`re right. You know what; you make an excellent.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you.

SILBER: You`re correct about that, Jane. You`re absolutely correct about that. What these people lack -- these cops --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cheri I want to go back to you.

SILBER: I`m sorry. It`s just something that really upsets me.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I understand and it upsets all of us. And I say that there are many decent law enforcement officers. I don`t want to paint them with a broad brush.

But there are a lot of these incidents happening and for you as a star who has achieved so much, Cherie and who has fought against drugs with Nancy Reagan of all people in a "Just Say No" campaign, was it humiliating to be treated in this manner?

JOHNSON: It was absolutely humiliating but not because I think I`m a star. It was humiliating because I didn`t do anything wrong. I was just, you know, trying to go on vacation and enjoy ourselves. That`s what was most humiliating. I don`t think I`m any better than anyone else but I`m not ok with them thinking that this is something that they could do and it just being protocol and thinking that it`s going to happen after me.

WHITE: Well how fortunate the situation is, I`m glad that we can help bring it to the forefront and let people know that this is happening all the time. And, you know, we were already violated and disrespected. But hopefully this will help those in the future so they won`t have to go through the same thing we went through.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to compliment you on your courage. I know this is difficult to talk about and emotional and I want to thank you for having the courage to come forward and talk about this very uncomfortable incident so that others hopefully will not suffer in the same way. Thank you both.

JOHNSON: Thank you so much for having us.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I hope you have a wonderful vacation the next time out.

JOHNSON: It won`t be in Myrtle Beach.

WHITE: I`m not scared. We`re going back.

JOHNSON: I don`t know about that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Yes, try it again.

All right. Up next, will a doctor`s dead wife be able to speak from the grave? Stay right there. Big, big decision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your wife?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My wife has just had surgery. She had a (inaudible) a week ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind of surgery did she have?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She had a facelift.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had a facelift?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok. Do you know how to do CPR?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m doing it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok. Do you know --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michelle MacNeill`s body was discovered in a bathtub in their home.

DR. MARTIN MACNEILL, ACCUSED OF MURDERING WIFE: I need help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok, sir. They`re on their way. Is your wife breathing?

MACNEILL: She is not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An initial autopsy report said she died of natural causes. Prosecutors allege she was drugged and drown, a murder plot so Dr. MacNeill could continue an affair with this woman, Gypsy Willis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s adamantly professed his innocence from the beginning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The world now knows that my father has committed a murder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight breaking news. It`s a one-two punch for the defense team in the high-profile murder case of Dr. Martin MacNeill. A judge rules to keep two of the most incriminating pieces of information away from the jury. MacNeill a very prominent doctor, attorney, father of eight is accused of drugging and drowning his stunning wife, Michelle, just eight days after he pressured her into having a facelift.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where is your wife?

MACNEILL: My wife is (inaudible), she just had surgery (inaudible) a week ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind of surgery did she have?

MACNEILL: She had a facelift.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She had a facelift?

MACNEILL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok. Do you know how to do CPR?

MACNEILL: I`m doing it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok. Do not take --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Prosecutors say Martin used his wife`s facelift surgery and recovery to get powerful drugs and set in motion a plot to drug her, murder her in the tub and cover his tracks. His motive, an alleged affair he was having with long-time mistress, Gypsy Willis -- that`s right, Gypsy.

The defendant`s own daughters are crusading for a conviction, calling for justice for their mom. But one ruling handed down today is sparking outrage. The judge barred the doctor`s daughter from testifying about what some called the smoking gun. She claims her mother told her, quote, "If anything happen to me, make sure it wasn`t your dad."

Now that`s some the most powerful evidence the prosecution has. The jury will never hear it.

Straight out to "The Lion`s Den", Brian Silber, criminal defense attorney, why not? She`s speaking from beyond the grave.

SILBER: She`s not speaking from beyond the grave and that`s the problem. This is a classic example of hearsay. You have to understand, when statements come into court and they`re brought before a jury, the other side has the right to question the person making the statement. And the reason is to determine if it`s truthful, to determine what context it was taken in. Is it consistent with other evidence, is it consistent with other statements?

And when the person making that statement is not present to be questioned, we can`t let the statement come in. That is a basic rule of evidence.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Areva Martin, what about the excited utterance rule?

MARTIN: Jane, I don`t know if this falls --

SILBER: That doesn`t apply.

MARTIN: I don`t think that falls -- it`s not an exception in this case, Jane. I think this statement is way too speculative. It`s like conjuring up motive out of thin air.

As much as my, you know, my heart goes out to these girls, who think their dad killed their mom. I think the judge made the absolute right call in excluding this hearsay.

SILBER: Correct.

MARTIN: I don`t see any exceptions. And the prosecution is going to have to win the case on other evidence if they`re going to win.

JON LIEBERMAN, HLN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, that`s the thing Jane.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I remember the Drew Peterson case, there were things that the missing wife said that they ended up rewriting a whole law so that they could get the evidence in against Drew Peterson -- Jon Leiberman.

LEIBERMAN: Well Jane, that`s absolutely right. That`s absolutely right. And you know what? This is a big blow to prosecutors because their case is mostly a circumstantial case and they were relying in fairly large part on this daughter`s testimony.

Now, I agree with the other panelists that the judge made the right ruling. That being said this daughter has been consistent almost since the beginning in what she has said to law enforcement and to others investigating this case. But it won`t ever be heard in open court.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, first they ignore these daughters for years and say no, it was an accidental drowning; nothing to see here, go away. And now a one-two punch -- we`ll tell you about the other punch against the prosecution and the daughters who want justice for their mom.

Stay right there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok. Did you get her out of the water?

MACNEILL: I can`t. I just (inaudible) -- I`ll let the water out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why would an adult female be so heavy?

MACNEILL: Hello.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, this is 911 can I help you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Time for Pet of the Day. Send your pet pics to hlntv.com/jane.

Fredi -- oh, you are ready for some fun. And Minky -- oh, you are making me want to winky at you because you are just so cute. Yes you are, cutie patootie. And Hank -- Hank is (inaudible) -- he likes to stick his tongue out like Miley Cyrus. Thunder -- you are a beautiful, beautiful baby. Just because you`re tiny doesn`t mean you don`t have feelings. You have feelings just like dogs and cats. All animals do.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My father orchestrated this whole plan and how to murder my mother.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that young lady, fighting for justice, wants to convict her dad, but there`s been another blow to the prosecution. The judge ruled against most of Anna Osborne`s testimony. Now, she`s a woman who says she was the defendant. Martin MacNeill`s lover back in 2005 while he was still married to the wife he`s now accused of murdering. And she had unbelievable claims against the doctor including allegations that he told her he had tried to kill his own mother when he was eight years old. That he killed his brother by drowning him, and she says he admitted to drugging and drowning his wife Michelle.

Straight out to "The Lion`s Den" -- oh, my gosh. These are not allowed in, according to this judge. Areva Martin, How are they going to win this case? It happened eight years ago.

MARTIN: You know, Jane, as inflammatory as those statements are, they`re just not very relevant to this trial.

SILBER: Correct.

MARTIN: They have to have a whole separate trial on those the alleged murders. Are these people even dead? How were they killed? Are there any similarities? There`s so many questions. A judge is not going to let those statements come in because they`re more prejudicial than they are probative.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She said he admitted killing the wife, the wife, the wife he`s on trial for murdering, and the jury will never hear it. Is that fair? I think not.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Prosecutors say Dr. Martin MacNeill was diabolical man with dark secrets who pressured his beautiful wife into getting a face- lift she didn`t want nor did she need and then kept her drugged up with a variety of pain killers and sedatives. Then gets her in the tub, murders her and makes it look like a natural death. And now he is barreling towards trial.

We`re going to be all over it. We are covering it here on HLN. So watch us.

And Nancy Grace is up next.

END