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AC 360 LATER
Government Shutdown; Frank Sinatra's Love Child?
Aired October 2, 2013 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey. Good evening, everyone. Welcome to "AC360 Later."
A lot on the table tonight, big questions to talk about, all the latest, of course, on the government shutdown. Is it affecting national security. Also tonight, is Frank Sinatra the father of Mia Farrow's son Ronan? Come to think of it, could I also be Frank Sinatra's son? And that attack by bikers on a man in an SUV, new details, and should the SUV driver face charges?
We begin of course with the government sudden. It's looking bleak on day two of the government shutdown with the White House meeting yielding a whole lot of nothing tonight.
Joining me tonight at the table, Daily Beast editor in chief Tina Brown, CNN political commentator and Republican strategist Ana Navarro, CNN political commentator and "New York Times" op-ed columnist Charles Blow, and legendary journalist and author Carl Bernstein.
Great to you here.
Let's start in Washington with chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash.
Did anything come out of tonight's meeting at the White House, Dana?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, except for the fact they all actually were breathing the same air, probably drinking the same coffee or water and sitting around the same table as opposed to just trading barbs through us in the media.
I'm told there was no staff in the room, not even the White House chief of staff, that the president decided he wanted to just sit with the principals, meaning the two Democratic leaders and the two Republican leaders who came to meet with him from Capitol Hill, and that he did most of the talking. And he said a lot of what we heard before, that he laid it out in a stern, some say even tough way that he's not going to negotiate on this.
You heard John Boehner come out and say publicly that didn't make him happy and it didn't move the ball forward at all.
COOPER: Carl Bernstein, you made headlines this morning when you said -- you basically compared Cruz and other House Republicans to McCarthy.
CARL BERNSTEIN, AUTHOR/JOURNALIST: What I said, I did it on "Morning Joe." And I said that this Eric Cantor Republican wing, his Republican Party is the most demagogic force in American politics, destructive force since Joe McCarthy.
And I think the comparison is really apt, because McCarthyism was about taking a broad brush and creating an hysteria about something that didn't exist, a threat that didn't exist. And what Cantor has done, and what the appeasement of McCarthy by Republicans is similar to the appeasement of Boehner and McConnell toward Cantor and this wing of the Republican Party that is willing to have a scorched earth politics that says the hell with the national interests, we're going to shut down the government. We're just going to destroy this presidency. We don't have anything bridges to build. Let's burn all the bridges.
It is demagogic. They're demagogues. It's time they become the issue. Look, we can have a great debate in this country, a great political debate between liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans. This is beyond the fringe.
And it's time to engage in real conversation about, what are these people about? What is the purpose of this movement? I'm not saying the Tea Party doesn't have some really legitimate things about the way ordinary working-class people have been treated in this country.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Carl, why do you focus on Eric Cantor, who I don't see as a Tea Party Republican? I see him as a Republican. And I don't see him going out after other Republicans in the way that Senator Ted Cruz is doing.
BERNSTEIN: It's not about going after other Republicans. It's about going after Obama, the president of the United States, not as a political figure, but as an Antichrist.
It's very similar to -- let's go back to inauguration eve when Eric Cantor and eight other, nine other Republicans sat down, had a meeting that has been reported widely, and said, we are going to dedicate ourselves to the destruction of this presidency, not to the national interests. You know the meeting I'm talking about. This is extraordinary. This has never happened before.
This is not about a constructive force. It's about a destructive force.
NAVARRO: But I also think people like you have a role to play. I think we have to ratchet down the rhetoric, because it's gotten really ugly. I have been hearing things this week I can't believe I'm hearing, particularly in the floor of the Senate or the floor of the House.
NAVARRO: I have heard Democrats call Republicans the Taliban. I have heard them call, that was a stupid senator, congressman from Miami. I have heard Ted Cruz call his Republican colleagues, compare them to Nazi appeasers, compare his 21-hour speech to the death march to...
NAVARRO: We have got to ratchet it down. That includes people like you and me.
COOPER: One at a time.
TINA BROWN, CO-FOUNDER, THEDAILYBEAST.COM: I think I would call them legislative Branch Davidians the way they...
BROWN: I do think it's interesting what Carl has been saying though about McCarthy, because there's something extremely demagogic and almost sinister.
When I looked at Ted Cruz on "Meet the Press," he was so facile, such sophistry. And there's a kind of totalitarian technique they do as well in which they kind of accusing the other side of doing exactly what they're doing.
In the Ted Cruz sort of universe, it's Harry Reid that brought us into the shutdown, which is just absolutely the opposite of the reality
NAVARRO: But he's getting called out. There was a lunch today, I'm sure Dana can tell us more about this, but there was a lunch today in the Republican Caucus in the Senate. It was a rough lunch for Senator Ted Cruz, because many of his colleagues, Republican colleagues, are just really upset that he and the organizations that are aligned with him and that he's aligned with are going active.
NAVARRO: It's the first time I remember in my lifetime where Republicans are spending more money and more time and more resources going after other Republicans, instead of Democrats.
COOPER: It violates Reagan's commandment.
NAVARRO: Nobody remembers that.
COOPER: Dana, there are some moderate Republicans who you were reporting earlier are actually willing to vote on just a clean bill, but that's not going to happen right now.
BASH: Not in the near future. You're right. These are Republicans over in the House. There's definitely a growing number of them. Some have said -- and told me and others that they think if there was actually allowed a vote on the House floor, if Boehner allowed a vote to just have a clean, no-strings-attached bill to fund the government, it could get 100 Republicans. I don't know if that's an accurate number.
But the problem for these moderates is that they're gathering in numbers, but they're not willing to fight. They're really not willing to do what they need to do to push John Boehner to take that vote.
COOPER: Let me also bring in Grover Norquist, the founder and president for Americans for Tax Reform.
Grover, good to have you here.
Where do you stand on this? Who are you supporting in all this?
GROVER NORQUIST, PRESIDENT, AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: Well, the tactic that was employed that Ted Cruz said let's have -- demand a vote in the House to abolish Obamacare, and that anything other than that vote on the continuing resolution was an act of cowardice and appeasement, that's kind of nonsense, because there are many things that Republicans might insist on.
The president of the United States wants to increase the debt another trillion or two or three trillion dollars. That's not something that should be allowed without some reform in spending. In 2011, we agreed the president could have his $2.5 trillion additional debt that he had run up and that he planned to run up, but only if we cut spending $2.5 trillion over a decade, which was agreed to. Those caps happened. The country got real reform.
Spending began to come down a bit as a percentage of the economy. So there's some very real things in terms of spending restraint that the country needs. And the only time the president talks to Republicans is when you hit a did ceiling or a C.R. So this is the time we're forced to have this conversation.
Does it have to be the one thing that Ted Cruz said on one day? No. And that plan didn't work because Cruz said he was going to get Senate votes for it, didn't. So now we have moved on to other subjects other than defund Obamacare. But there are lots of questions. Why do special interests like the big companies get a delay, but not average citizens? Why does the president want to defend that?
COOPER: Charles, where do you see this going? How does this resolve?
CHARLES BLOW, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Boehner is going to cave. He has to cave, right?
So it's just a matter of how he does it, can he do it and save face, when he does it. You could easily see a path where this rolls into the debt ceiling debate so that you can have a situation where he can claim that if he gets a concession, that it applies to both and to not the one. Right? But he has to at some point cave on this issue.
The president is basically saying, you broke it, you fix it. He's not going to debate. He's not going to negotiate on it. And he's never going to give up his signature piece of legislation. So you just write that off. That is not going to happen. So Boehner just has to figure out, is holding onto his speakership, holding onto his job more important than the 800,000 people who are not going to their jobs?
BROWN: But he can hold onto his speakership, actually, though, if he just takes it to the floor for the vote because he will be supported by the Democrats, so then he will become the bipartisan hero of the hour.
BERNSTEIN: Now you're really onto something, because, look. Let's face it. We have one of the three branches of government is broken. Our system is not working in this country. This has never happened, when one of the three branches of government is totally dysfunctional.
Why is it dysfunctional? You have got to go to both parties on that. But at the same time, there is some disproportionality here when one group of people with this scorched earth politics refuses to engage in a constructive dialogue about, what can we do with health care to make it better?
BROWN: Isn't one of the reasons there's now an alternative universe in which people live in terms of what they watch, read, listen, the whole kind of media complicity in it as well, the fact the Ted Cruz wing in a sense, they are in this echo chamber?
It's why in fact that Romney's side was so amazed that they lost. They didn't really expect to lose because they were living in a world where everything was reverberating back and forth.
NAVARRO: But what kind of alternative universe is it where 79 senators vote in favor of repealing the medical device tax? Do you know how hard it is to get 79 senators to agree on the climate, on the time of day? And they vote on this on a nonbinding resolution. They agree on this. And yet nothing happens. What kind of parallel universe is that?
COOPER: Grover, I saw you kind of smiling while Carl was talking. How do you see this resolving?
NORQUIST: Well, there are a number of things. The issue that was just brought up, medical devices, a majority of the Democrats in the Senate have voted saying -- telling their constituents that they want to get rid of that. When it came up for a vote, the Republicans sent it over. Reid said, you have to vote against it. Poor Mary Landrieu and Begich from Alaska who try and pretend to be moderates in their states were forced to vote the way Reid told them to.
The Democrats are being put in a very awkward position going into 2014 being told, you can't vote your district. You have to vote what Reid and Obama tell you to. They have cast enough votes in the last week to lose the Senate. And they're going to keep voting against allowing the national parks to open, against NIH to fund? At some point the Democrats in the Senate are going to tell Reid, they're tired of throwing away their careers for his tactics.
COOPER: Do you see this as the Democrats being in an awkward position?
BLOW: I think it's laughable. I think you can't have the Republicans create a crisis and then beg the president to give them cover to crawl out from underneath that crisis. That's ridiculous.
I mean, the idea that we are now in this topsy-turvy world where we can argue a position like that, where we can basically sit down with a straight face and say, no, I created this problem, but it is your fault, that is ridiculous.
BERNSTEIN: This is about inside baseball. And it's nuts, because, look, we have had -- let's go back to the federalist debate. We have had divisions, fissures in our politics, but we have always managed to have a fact-based debate in this country.
That's what we have lost. And what we are seeing now, the craziness that is being uttered about who is responsible, there's only one party that is responsible for this government shutdown. This is a factual matter right now. Let's deal with the set of facts. Now, why did the Republicans want to -- this group of Republicans want to shut it down? You have to ask them.
But let's not start in inside baseball, inside-the-Beltway media nonsense.
COOPER: And then we have got to take a quick break.
NORQUIST: Before we started all this, the president of the United States said that he would shut the government down if the Republicans this fall didn't agree to massive tax increases and breaking the sequester. That was the opening bid.
This nonsense that the Republicans started this, I think Cruz made some tactical mistakes, but the president opened that door. The president has wanted a $1 trillion tax increase every time we came to the table. He didn't get it. I understand the frustration on the part of the left. But they're not going to get their $1 trillion in tax increases. And we are going to get some reforms.
BERNSTEIN: Grover, who cast the votes?
BERNSTEIN: Who cast the votes, Grover?
NORQUIST: Well, for two years, you had only Democrats in the House, the Senate and the presidency. They owned the entire tax policy and the Senate policy.
BERNSTEIN: Who cast the votes?
BERNSTEIN: Let's be factual.
NAVARRO: Well, this is the only leverage they have. They don't have a way to bring up the problems with Obamacare.
NAVARRO: Here's the ridiculous part about all this. We all know that the shutdown is incredibly unpopular. Republicans know that. But Democrats also know that there's huge problems with Obamacare. Democrats know that. And neither party is doing anything about it.
COOPER: We're going to continue this discussion as soon as...
BERNSTEIN: Let's go back to that.
COOPER: We will.
Grover Norquist, thanks for being on.
Let us know what you think. Follow me on Twitter #AC360Later.
Up next, is the government shutdown not only bad for the country, but also dangerous for homeland security? We will talk about that, as well as other things. Our panel weighs in ahead.
COOPER: Hey. Thanks for your tweets. Tweet us at #AC360Later.
We all know the government shutdown is, let's face it, annoying. There's a warning today that it's actually dangerous to national security. National Intelligence Director James Clapper told a Senate panel the shutdown is extremely damaging to intelligence operations, seriously hurts their ability to protect the safety of the nation.
We're back with our panel, Tina Brown, Ana Navarro, Charles Blow, Carl Bernstein. Also joining us, CNN national security analyst Fran Townsend, member of the CIA and DHS external advisory boards.
Do you buy this, Fran? Because what Clapper is saying is some 70 percent of civilian employees in intelligence have been furloughed, even analysts. Is this a threat to the nation?
FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Certainly, look, I think it is true to say we ought to be concerned about the degrading of our intelligence capability that Clapper is referring to.
Here's where he loses me. When you say 70 percent, most of the American people hear 70 percent of civilians are furloughed and don't realize that civilians in many of these agencies are a small percentage of those doing the work. So, for example, at NSA, by and large that is staffed by uniformed military, not to say there aren't...
COOPER: CIA is largely civilian, no?
TOWNSEND: That's right. There are many civilians. But, again, in critical threat -- imminent threat positions like the Counterterrorism Center, you have got operatives who are essential personnel, you have got analysts who are essential personnel.
Anderson, the first people that you cut in the federal government when you have to do one of these furloughs is the support staff, it's the people answering the phone, it's the administrative support. That's not to say -- you need them, right? You don't like not having them there. But you're not talking about kind of the critical people to the counterterrorism mission, for example, or the counterproliferation mission.
BROWN: Actually, on The Daily Beast just going up, we have a very good story by Josh Rogin began and Eli Lake about the fact that the Treasury Department has actually furloughed approximately 90 percent of employees working in its Office of Terrorist Finance and Intelligence.
These are the people who are actually working on the sanctions with Iran and with Syria. They are the people who are probing money- laundering, shifting these illegal funds around, narcotics trading, all of that stuff that is going on, and now going to be all furloughed. They're all furloughed now. It's a fantastic time if you are a terrorist.
BERNSTEIN: Can we agree that this discussion illustrates the absolute insanity and recklessness of what has happened here? We're talking about the degrees to which our national security is compromised, the degrees to which our hospitals aren't functioning, the degrees to which our education system is not functioning, the degrees to which our dollars are not getting out to people who need them.
This is nuts. Who perpetrated this? Why was this perpetrated? Because of ideology. That is what this is about. And we have got to put it -- whether it were to happen on the left or the right, the idea that ideology can do this is disgraceful.
BROWN: The others haven't pushed back against it. They have no conviction and they have no...
BERNSTEIN: This is what I said about the appeasement by McConnell and Boehner.
It is just like McCarthyism. You just said a very interesting thing, though, about Democrats who think that Obamacare needs some work, needs some re-tweaking, et cetera. You know, we go back to Social Security when it was passed in the Roosevelt administration. There were a lot of Republicans -- Republican votes against it. But then Republicans joined to make it work.
Why can't Republicans say, who the hell ever heard of loving your insurance company? Where did we get the idea that...
COOPER: Do you believe it when the White House says, well, look, we're willing to look at problems with Obamacare down the road, just not now, not under the gun, not like this? Do you buy that the White House is willing to do that?
NAVARRO: The question is, do Republicans in Congress buy it? And I don't think they have a reason to buy it because I don't think they have seen any action by the White House to give them that comfort level.
But this is insane. I will tell you what's insane about it. Republicans need to come to terms with the fact that Obamacare is the law of the land and that there's aspects about Obamacare that people, the American people, like. And Democrats have to come to terms with the fact that there's problems with Obamacare. That's why it's been delayed. Some aspect of it has been delayed.
We have seen that the American public is not knowledgeable on what Obamacare means to them, because the White House and the administration have done a poor job of selling it, and that delaying is for a few months, maybe not a year, would not be a bad thing. We saw yesterday it's not ready for prime time.
COOPER: Wait, wait, wait.
NAVARRO: Do you think the American people understand Obamacare?
BLOW: You don't have to understand...
COOPER: One at a time. One at a time.
BLOW: ... every aspect of Obamacare to believe that widening the pool of people who are covered in this country is a good thing. You don't have to understand every aspect of it.
And you can't keep calling it a failure before it's fully implemented. And what the Republicans are really scared of is that they have oversold the problem. They have oversold the idea that it is going to fail and they're scared to death that it will actually succeed, that a year from now or five years from now or 10 years from now or a generation from now, it will be so woven into the fabric of America that we will look back and say, what were we thinking to not have more people covered by health insurance? What kind of country were we then?
BLOW: It will be Obamacare.
COOPER: One at a time. One at a time.
COOPER: Let him finish.
BLOW: It will be allied with the Democratic cause, and the Republicans will forever be shackled with this idea that they were the people who were standing in the way of it. And they do not want that to happen.
COOPER: Let Anna respond.
NAVARRO: You haven't heard me once talk about Obamacare as a failure.
What I have said is that both sides realize there are problems, and neither side is willing to engage in the C-word, compromise, which has become a bad word in Washington.
COOPER: But whose fault that is?
NAVARRO: And it's a problem by both sides. COOPER: Both sides.
NAVARRO: Do you think that it is leadership for the president to say, no negotiation?
BROWN: Right now, I do. I absolutely do, because he's now defending our national security.
NAVARRO: If Democrats were being strategic here, they would figure out a way to work with John Boehner, because if not John Boehner, who? They will rue the day, they will rue the day that there is another Republican speaker that is not John Boehner, a mature man with whom you can make a deal.
BERNSTEIN: What happened all of last year trying to work with John Boehner? This is how we got to this place, because the president and the Democrats tried to work with John Boehner. And you saw what happened.
But you're onto something here, though. But let's look at Obamacare. And let's look at say an operating system on our computers. They come out and they have got all kinds of glitches. But we don't say let's hold it off for the next year. Let's not put it out there and not put it in the store. We have got it. Let's start to make it work. We have got the exchanges.
You know what? The head of CMS, the former head of CMS, Tom Scully, a Republican appointed by George W. Bush, talk to him about what this health care system needs, because would he like to see a delay of a year? Yes. He would like to see a delay not because of the glitches in it, but because of the overall economic situation perhaps.
NAVARRO: But when you have got the medical device tax and you have got senators even like Elizabeth warren, a progressive from Massachusetts, not somebody -- not a Democrat from a red state, voting to repeal it, do you not think in the effort for compromise it's worth taking a look at how that can be fixed?
BERNSTEIN: I think compromise -- there's always -- compromise is a good thing. At the same time, I think that easy centrism is not always the answer to everything, that principle counts.
All I'm saying, let's not get into this thing about this particular piece of legislation, that particular legislation. Let's look at where we are today. We are in the midst of a scorched earth act by a group of people who have stopped this country from operating.
COOPER: We have got to take a break.
BERNSTEIN: That's where we are.
COOPER: Fran, though, one other quick -- just a final quick thought on this. As this goes on, do you see a growing threat to national security? I mean, you say right now, OK, it's largely -- it's assistants, it's people answering phones, it's maybe analysts for countries that are not on the front lines in the fight against terrorism or al Qaeda. As the days go on, as possibly weeks go on, does that change?
Look, I think Clapper, the director of national intelligence, is right to say there's something insidious about this, because as you weaken the analyst capability, right, those are the people -- you remember the old connect the dots. Those are the people who connect the dots. So even if you have got collectors out there, if you don't have adequate coverage by the analysts who know these subjects, you do run a greater risk over time.
BROWN: And you're slowing them down. You say there's no -- you cut the administrative staff first. Well, that just slows you down when you're actually trying to...
COOPER: Right. They are there for a reason. You need administrative staff.
Fran, good to have you on, Carl Bernstein as well. Thank you. Great conversation.
Everyone else, stay with us. We're going to be switching gears.
Up next, Mia Farrow and eight of her children break their silence on the scandals that they have endured over the years. And could one of them actually be Frank Sinatra's love child? Made headlines today.
Plus, motorcycle mayhem. You have probably seen the video -- charges dropped against one of these bikers in this high-speed chase here in New York. But there are still a lot of questions about who should be brought up on charges.
We will be right back.
COOPER: Welcome back to AC 360 LATER.
A new bombshell interview by actress and activist Mia Farrow. She and eight of her kids talked exclusively to "Vanity Fair" for their November issue on everything from Woody Allen and the sexual molestation claims against him years ago to whether one of her children, Ronan Farrow, may actually be Frank Sinatra's love child. Here they are side by side. You can sort of see a resemblance.
By the way, Ronan tweeted, quote, "Listen, we're all possibly Frank Sinatra's son."
Back with our panel and joining the conversation, CNN legal analyst and defense attorney Mark Geragos is joining us, as well as Tina Brown, Ana Navarro and Charles Blow.
What do you make -- I was really surprised by this.
CHARLES BLOW, COLUMNIST, "NEW YORK TIMES": I don't think I could be Frank Sinatra's son.
MARK GERAGOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR/CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Your mom and Frank were friends. You do have shockingly ice blue eyes. So...
TINA BROWN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "THE DAILY BEAST"/"NEWSWEEK": Willing to throw this story out, Anderson.
COOPER: My mom and Frank Sinatra had a relationship. I was not born -- this was long before. We have some pictures we're going to show of my mom and Frank Sinatra hanging out. I'm not sure how long they hung out for. Are we showing the pictures? I can't see the screen.
GERAGOS: Doesn't look like your mom.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN ANALYST: Can you sing?
COOPER: Here we go. There they are at the theater. My mom and Frank Sinatra. That's them hanging out.
NAVARRO: Do you have any musical ability?
COOPER: I do not have any musical -- I do have blue eyes. This was, like, long ago. So there's no way I am. But did this surprise you, Tina?
BROWN: I mean, at first I thought maybe it was a wonderful kind of revenge against Woody Allen to just say, "Oh, by the way all the way through our time together, I was still sleeping with Old Blue Eyes." That must have been a pretty irritating interview for Woody Allen.
GERAGOS: Anti-Woody Allen.
BROWN: He is the anti-Woody Allen. But it is kind of fascinating that he did have such thrall over the women who had dated him except for Ava Gardner, who was the one who kicked him to the curb.
NAVARRO: If a man can sing to you the way Frank Sinatra can.
COOPER: A lot of people who were with him were very -- my mom to this day speaks incredibly highly of Frank Sinatra. They weren't together for very long.
NAVARRO: You are looking more and more like Frank Sinatra. GERAGOS: I was going to say the same thing. Give him a DNA test.
Why wouldn't you want to hang with Frank? I mean, you hang with Frank, you hang with Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. That is a good -- that's a good...
BLOW: They have not performed a DNA test. It's not like it's one of these situations where someone is denying. So it's kind of strange their part of it.
NAVARRO: Does anybody think any of Woody Allen's DNA is in that gorgeous child?
BLOW: No. Listen, the old saying is, mama's baby, daddy's maybe. I think this is where...
COOPER: I never heard that.
BLOW: That's Louisiana fare. Mama's baby, daddy's maybe. And that is not daddy's baby. That is Frank Sinatra's baby not daddy's maybe.
GERAGOS: We definitely have the low brow back into the show, don't we?
COOPER: But we were talking about this during the break, just how cool Mia Farrow is. And you were saying she was Angelina Jolie before...
BROWN: Angelina Jolie before anybody. And the fact that there are these eight kids and they were -- all have these tremendous disabilities and so on and they lived with this family, it's actually an amazing story, I think. She is the coolest woman. And actually, she's been involved with three of the most amazing men, when you think about it. Andre Previn, the conductor, Woody Allen, Frank Sinatra. I mean, this woman has...
NAVARRA: Mia, Mia, we want you to continue. Give us something to talk about, girls.
COOPER: An excellent actress, too, and involved. I read her on Twitter.
(CROSSTALK) BROWN: And an activist. For Darfur and everything she's done there has been incredibly good.
COOPER: The way Ronan Farrow dealt with it, this tweet is kind of cool. Just kind of like -- sort of played it off, made a tongue- and-cheek reference to it.
GERAGOS: Sinatra's family (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- welcoming.
BLOW: But also, just why not just confirm or not?
NAVARRO: Maybe he doesn't want to confirm that he's Woody Allen's son. Let's just also remember that the actions that led to Woody Allen leaving their family were very traumatic. He was the father figure of a very extended family, a loving family. And he slept with his stepdaughter. I don't blame him for not wanting to know if he is Woody Allen's son.
BROWN: That's a very good point. Because it's a way of not dealing with it in a sense, saying, "I don't want to know." Because if it turns out it's Woody Allen that's traumatic for me.
COOPER: Let's take a look, because there's actually another paternity in doubt. Do we have that side by side? Yes. Charles Blow, Frank Sinatra right there.
GERAGOS: He's very welcoming to you.
BLOW: They call me -- they call me all the time.
NAVARRO: And you know what? You almost have the Brat (ph) Pack uniform on today.
COOPER: I know. You're looking very dapper tonight.
NAVARRO: Very handsome.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do have the same tie on and everything?
BLOW: I try to clean up every now and then.
COOPER: All right. Listen, stick around, everyone. After the break, why the assault on an SUV driver by a pack of bikers is resonating with so many people, especially here in New York. The video is extraordinary. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Some of your tweets there. Thanks for tweeting us. Hash tag AC360.
Late today prosecutors dropped charges against one of those bikers involved in a high-speed chase on a Manhattan highway. It was all caught on video. The video has gone viral. It doesn't really tell the whole story. The chase ended with an assault on the driver of the SUV. What happened leading up to that point is still being sorted out. There are details we don't know. Let's be frank about that.
If you live in New York, chances are you've seen or at least heard packs of bikers on the streets and you know, frankly, how menacing they can be. And I'm saying that as someone who used to ride bikes for years.
Back with me at the table, Tina Brown, Ana Navarro, Charles Blow and Mark Geragos.
You actually think there's a lot -- obviously, that there's a lot we don't know and that maybe -- because I mean, a lot of people -- the vast majority of people on Twitter tonight are taking the side of the SUV driver...
COOPER: ... saying he shouldn't be charged. He was protecting his family.
GERAGOS: And the fact that the D.A. today rejected -- because that's what they did. It's called rejected. The cops brought the case to them. They rejected the case, dropped the case.
COOPER: Rejecting. I've never heard that word before.
GERAGOS: The D.A. reject. And the reason they did it was because I think there's a lot more to this. I don't know that it's necessarily the way it's been portrayed.
The way it's been portrayed this poor guy is out there, and these bikers were marauding. These biker gangs and thug gangs and everything else.
I think the prosecutors want to get -- drill down on this. Because you heard today that they said look, for all we know this guy who is cooperating thought that they were trying to go to his aid, they were trying to help him or let him know that he had hurt somebody.
COOPER: These packs of bikers -- I'm not calling them a gang or anything, but these -- they're motorcycle enthusiasts who like to get together. And I've seen them in New York.
GERAGOS: The first guy who's called them motorcycle enthusiasts on the story.
COOPER: But they are...
(CROSSTALK) COOPER: Look, I don't know these individuals in particular. But you see them. They pop wheelies; they're taking over the road. I mean you see them stop in the middle of a highway.
GERAGOS: Ana and I were talking. This is only -- and I hate to say it. I'm in New York. I love New York. This is only a story in New York. Los Angeles, never a story.
NAVARRO: In Miami, in L.A. people are dragged out of their car and beaten to a pulp?
GERAGOS: Are you kidding me? Road rage in L.A.? Every day of the week. I must get 15 of these cases a year where guys are charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon because they bash each other on the freeway. They get out, they fight. (CROSSTALK)
BROWN: I mean, he wasn't experiencing road rage. He was an innocent guy driving his SUV.
BLOW: I don't think we can go all the way to innocent so fast, right? So at first I think it's important to remember that there are dozens of people out there. Every one of those people is a separate person. You can't say that the gang is operating as a single mind.
COOPER: And it's not a gang. It's not a motorcycle gang.
BLOW: Each individual person can be operating in different directions. Somebody can be helping somebody and somebody trying to hurt.
GERAGOS: Remember, there's one motorcyclist who's in the hospital in critical condition now.
BLOW: And the videos, I mean, you do have to say, OK, if the driver felt fear, what is the reasonable reaction to that fear while you're still in the confines of your car? He does clip one bike. He does run over bikers who are in front of him. I mean...
BROWN: Swarm of bikers.
BLOW: I don't know -- I don't know what the reasonable response is, and that is for the courts to figure out. But I think you do have to say there could be a lot of fault to sprinkle around here.
COOPER: The question is...
BROWN: I think you're sitting there with your 2-year-old child and your wife out on your anniversary day, which is what they were. And...
GERAGOS: ... probably drive an SUV. I mean, for those who drive bikes, there are a lot of bikers who get -- who are just frustrated by the fact that they get hit by cars, cars don't look. They get knocked off. Guys lose legs, arms and everything else.
COOPER: But it's not OK. I mean, OK, so he hit one biker who slowed down and stopped in front of him. It does -- from the video it appears as if a number of other bikers stopped their cars -- stopped their bikes in the middle of a highway. There was a report one of the tires was slashed, tried to open up the door and get this guy out.
GERAGOS: I understand what happen here. I've defended guys within the last three months, high-profile cases where somebody was arrested for hit-and-run because he hit, he got out. There was no damage. And he hadn't left his insurance.
This guy knocks somebody off a bike, keeps riding. He may have been scared. I mean, there is the possibility here that he and the motorcyclist both had a misconception as to what was going on.
COOPER: But let's just quickly show the video of what happened when they finally did catch up with him when he went off the road.
NAVARRO: Beating in that window with that helmet.
COOPER: One of them takes a helmet off, slashes at the thing. Now, this other guy who came up and punched the window, he's the one who was actually released today.
GERAGOS: Correct. And you know what he said? He thought that apparently, if you believe what was -- what the prosecutor was saying, he thought that he was trying to rescue this guy from other people.
Mind you, I told you this at the 8 p.m. hour. In L.A. again, remember the night stalker, Richard Ramirez. When he was finally caught in east L.A., a gang of 50 people grabbed him because they recognized him, beat the holy daylights out of him until the police got there.
It could have been somebody thinking he hit this guy, he ran. It was a hit-and-run. We're going to hold him here until the police got here, pull him out of the car. You just don't know what people were thinking.
BLOW: A lot of people could have done things wrong in this particular case. I think it is -- it is not smart to start pointing fingers and saying these are the guilty parties and these are not. These are completely innocent. I think that that's too far to go.
GERAGOS: They got it right. They say, "I want to find out."
BLOW: I will wait on the prosecutor's final investigation to figure out how they kind of suss out the details here.
NAVARRO: I have to tell you all, you know, the three of you are New Yorkers. It blows my mind that we are talking about this on national TV and that this has so captured the public's attention.
COOPER: It is. And I understand why.
NAVARRO: Anderson, if we covered every, you know, road rage...
GERAGOS: Road rage.
NAVARRO: ... fight that happened in Miami, there would be no other news to cover in Miami. So are you telling me New Yorkers don't...
COOPER: I think there's something about this that...
BROWN: Call these guys rebels without a clue. COOPER: There's something about this that has resonated with people, whether they are motorcycle enthusiasts or people who can imagine themselves sitting in that SUV with their -- with their toddler and trying to figure out what to do.
NAVARRO: This is what happens when Anthony Weiner goes away.
COOPER: And we do actually have some sound from one of the bikers who was interviewed earlier. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The driver was a maniac.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The driver of the SUV.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he was a maniac. He hit the first -- he hit the first guy. The bike kind of lost control, went over. He stopped. And from my rearview left -- excuse me from the right rear view, the body was just underneath the truck. He just right over. Truck came at least -- at least sky high, and he kept proceeding on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GERAGOS: I've had this identical case about two years ago. It was an SUV. My client was in the SUV. He was in a parking lot in Pasadena. And there was a bunch of kids who got the wrong impression of him and thought he was trying to come at them. One of them was dragged underneath it. He believed in his own mind that he was trying to escape guys who were coming at him. They thought he was assaulting them. It was just a massive misunderstanding. It's entirely possible that's what happened here. I mean, it doesn't make for great coverage by saying that, but that could clearly be what's going on.
BROWN: Did you win it?
I don't talk about a lot of lawsuits.
BROWN: I think everyone is forgetting that guy with his helmet beating that window in.
GERAGOS: That was the guy that the prosecutor, I believe...
COOPER: No, no, no. The second guy who came back who punched the window. Anyway, we'll see. There's obviously a lot we don't know. We'll continue to follow it.
Up next "What's Your Story?" We'll ask everybody to share a story that caught their attention that maybe you haven't heard about. We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Live shot of New York City there. Time now for part of the program we call "What's Your Story?" Our panelists bring to the table the stories that caught their attention, maybe stories that were overlooked by everyone else. Tina, do you -- what's your story?
BROWN: There was a very interesting story in "The Times" about the two senior Marine Corps generals who've just been forced into early retirement by General Amos. And the reason they were forced into retirement is because there was an attack at the base in West Afghanistan last year in which Taliban got into the camp and two soldiers died and 15 people were wounded.
And they were cashiered out of the Marines because Amos in his statement, you know, he said that they -- they did not take enough precautions in terms of security.
But I thought what was kind of painful about it was that you've really got a picture of the fact that these generals had actually said that security was not good enough in those bases, and at the end of the day, you know, we're doing this thing of fighting and retreating at the same time. And so we're really putting so much pressure on our military now.
COOPER: And so many of the attacks now are coming from Afghan police, Afghan army.
BROWN: That's right. And they need made to train the Afghans. At the same time, they're not trustworthy anymore, because they're actually attacking them. It's a painful sort of vignette of a tragedy, really, of two careers that have been ended in a sense in a very sad way.
COOPER: Such a tough assignment for our troops.
BROWN: Very, very tough.
COOPER: Ana, What's Your Story?
NAVARRO; Listen, you're never going to hear me talk about sports because really, I don't know a football from a tennis ball. But tonight I'm going to talk about Chris Anderson. He is the Birdman on the Miami Heat.
And he was the victim of this Internet hacker that just blows my mind. She was playing. She got into his Internet, and she was playing both the role of Chris Anderson and a 17-year-old. So she was pretending to be both.
It ended him -- it ended up with him having his home raided...
COOPER: Oh, my goodness.
NAVARRO: ... there being allegations of child pornography. He has been fighting this. She's been accused. She's going to stand trial. And my Birdman's got his name back. I love the Miami Heat. So my guy's got his name back, and he's going to beat your basketball team. And everybody else's.
COOPER: I don't know what my basketball team is. I actually don't have one.
GERAGOS: I do. It's the Lakers, and they don't stand a chance.
COOPER: OK. "What's Your Story?"
GERAGOS: Mine is also L.A. today, the verdict in the Michael Jackson wrongful death.
COOPER: Who you represented for a time.
GERAGOS: Yes. Who is a former client.
They came back. It's amazing. This trial lasted for months. The one thing that AEG, who was the concert promotion firm, had denied at all times is that they had hired Conrad Murray.
COOPER: The doctor...
GERAGOS: The doctor who was later convicted in criminal court, sentenced and is still sitting in L.A. County jail.
And the jury came back today; 12-0, they found that AEG did hire him, but the jury as juries do, found that he was not unfit with Michael and awarded a giant goose egg.
COOPER: And it was a relatively quick jury response, wasn't it?
GERAGOS: Well, it was four days. But you know, the interesting thing is if you're Conrad Murray and you're sitting in jail and here's the jury, you say, "I want that jury. Because that jury just found that I was competent, I was" -- on a civil context, mind you. For him he had to be convict beyond a reasonable doubt. Here in the civil case, it was just a preponderance.
BLOW: Does that mean that Michael Jackson helped -- Are they basically saying that he contributed to his own death by kind of doctor shopping?
GERAGOS: They didn't even have to get to those questions, but that's the implication.
BLOW: That's the implication.
GERAGOS: Do I? Look, I think it's a find that -- I mean, AEG has taken this, drawn this line in the sand that they didn't hire him. And the jury found 12-zip that they did hire him.
GERAGOS: And he'd been convicted in criminal court. That to me is -- doesn't make a whole lot of sense. COOPER: We're out of time. I'm sorry. Didn't get to your story.
I want to thank our entire panel for being here. That does it for AC 360 LATER. Thanks for watching. See you again tomorrow night.