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PIERS MORGAN LIVE
Government Still Shut Down; Interview with Raffaele Sollecito
Aired October 2, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Tonight, breaking news, of course, shutdown showdown, or rather shutdown stalemate. Listen to John Boehner and Harry Reid a little while ago after a meeting with the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO, HOUSE SPEAKER: We've asked him at conference, let's sit down and try to resolve our differences. They don't want, they will not negotiate.
SEN. HARRY REID, D-NEV., SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I said "Fine, we'll go to conference. All we want you to do is open the government."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The government of the United States of America is still closed, 800,000 real Americans out of work, millions more suffering the effects of the shutdown. Tonight, I'll talk to some of those, including a cancer patient who is supposed to start a clinical trial at the NIH very soon.
A government worker who has no idea when she'll see her next paycheck, and a New Yorker who's already lost 15 percent of his Statue of Liberty small business. Also two congressmen, who couldn't disagree more go head-to-head on the key issues involved here. And I'll get answers from one of America's top CEO, Jack Welch. He's here to say why he thinks (inaudible) is lacking on both sides.
Plus, exclusive, the murder case that shocked the world, Amanda Knox found guilty, then acquitted of the brutal murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher. But that's not the end of the story. Now she's on trial again along with ex, Raffaele Sollecito. Tonight he tells his side in story and his first primetime interview.
I want to begin those with our Big Story that everyone in America is watching right now waiting for some kind of resolution, the shutdown day two. Dana Bash is on Capitol Hill with all the latest.
Dana any movement really since I spoke to you yesterday?
DANA BASH, CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The only movement is that the President of the United States and the four congressional leaders two in each party sat down and faced each other eyeball-to- eyeball and they did talked. They hurt each other, face to face, and not through you and I, and others in the media. That's about it.
I'm told by sources in both parties who were familiar with this meeting, Piers, that there is no staff in the room that it was very, very, very small, intimate crowd of just the president, the vice- president, and the four leaders.
And that the president did most of the talking making clear his position that he is not going to negotiate, that he wants to have a clean no-strings attach bill to fund the government. And then they can talk about other things.
MORGAN: In terms of how people are viewing it in Washington where in the end, this deal will get resolved.
Where is the sympathy lying? Is it mainly with the president? Are the Republicans making any headwind with their argument that he is also to blame here?
BASH: In Washington, not so much. Republican, sort of, if you want to call them the establishment. Most of the Republican establishments are scratching their heads, rolling their eyes saying "Come on, enough already."
But, you know, I just want to actually play for you before I finish answering that, some of what happened outside the White House when we heard from some of these leaders who talked right after the meeting.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE (R), OHIO: The president reiterated one more time tonight that he will not negotiate. We've got divided government, Democrats who controlled the White House and the Senate. Republicans control the House.
SEN. HARRY REID, (D), MAJORITY LEADER: We're through playing these little games on -- it's all focused on Obamacare. That's all is it's about.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, MINORITY LEADER: If they don't take yes for an answer then I can only conclude that they wanted to shutdown government.
BASH: So, Piers, those arguments that you heard from Democrats really do seem to be resonating, again, like I said, even with some of the Republican establishment here in Washington who say "This is just crazy. We shouldn't be doing this."
But, and this is the important "But", such a lot of conservative lawmakers who say that they're hearing from their constituents and they're very conservative districts attaboy. They're going to calls saying "Keep the government shutdown. This is the right way to do it. You're fighting for principle." And they're in lies the big problem particularly for John Boehner as he tries to navigate this as he has those 20 to 30 hard liners who are hearing that from their constituents it's hard to break free. MORGAN: Dana Bash, thank you for much indeed. If you thought it would all end or the end of the shutdown putting everybody in the same room in the White House and think again 'cause it happens today. And of course absolutely nothing was achieved.
Now, I want to turn to a pretty all-star panel. Let me go a this head-to-head, Luke Messer is on the House Budget Committee, Adam Schiff, the House Select Committee on Intelligence.
You vehemently disagree with each other. Let's start with you Luke Messer. Many people has (inaudible) most moderate Republicans scratching their heads. Wondering what the hell is going on here? What is going on here? Why don't the Republicans causing on this mess work harder and quicker to resolve it?
REP. LUKE MESSER, (R), INDIANA: Listen we've worked all day. We've passed three bills, one that would fund the National Parks. Another that would make sure that we have the National Institute of Health open so that we could fund those. They are trying to cure diseases.
We don't want the government closed. We want to try to protect the American people from Obamacare. And I would echo the comments from your panel second ago. I got to tell you overwhelmingly in my district, people aren't applauding us for closing the government. No one wants the government closed but they are applauding us for standing up against Obamacare.
MORGAN: Adam Schiff, I mean, the president has made it very, very clear that he sees no reason why he should sacrifice any part of Obamacare as part of some kind of political terrorism as some are seeing it on behalf of Ted Cruz and some of the more hard-line Tea Party Republicans, is that your position. I mean do you see any way that the president can negotiate down from his current position?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-CALIF.: Well, I think very hard because this is really an internal GOP fight in the House. So, it's hard for the president to intervene in that GOP fight and try to decide it. Ultimately, it's a decision the Speakers going to have to make. Is he going to cater to this 30 or 40 person cabal in the Tea Party, and let them run the House. Let Senator Cruz run the House, or is he going to say "Okay, this is nonsense. This is crazy."
One of my Republican colleagues tell me that "You know all that stuff you Democrats say about us Republicans. Well this time it's true." You know, they're governing. They have responsibility to keep the doors open. And it's very hard to the president to intervene in that without setting a bad president not only for him but for future presidents that the Minority Party or the Majority in the House can extort the president, can extort the country if they don't get what they want on unrelated issues.
Imagine if the Democrat said that will shutdown the government if you don't pass on safety legislation or give us something else we want. Just, you know, just can't operate that way so the president I think has to maintain this line. And ultimately, I think the Republicans are going to have to decide they want to govern and they can't let this ramp group shutdown or burn down the House.
MORGAN: Okay, let's hear a little clip from what the president told CNBC earlier today about his exasperation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: During the course of my presidency, I've bent over backwards to work with the Republican Party. And have purposely kept my rhetoric down. I think I'm pretty well known for being a calm guy. Sometimes people think I'm too calm. And am I exasperated? Absolutely I'm exasperated because this is entirely unnecessary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: So I want to put you two guys into a room right now. Okay, you disagree on this. You could throw (inaudible) being the negotiators here. Talk to each other. Try and resolve this right now. How would you two do it if you were the chosen representatives who are going to resolve this out? Let me start with you, Luke Messer. You go, talk to your opposite number.
MESSER: Well, I think it start, Piers, by...
MORGAN: No, don't talk to me.
MESSER ... doing exactly what you described to being in the room and talking you know...
MORGAN: Talk, talk to Adam Schiff. Tell Adam Schiff.
MESSER: ... despite the president's rhetoric the president said unless he gets...
SCHIFF: Unfortunately, I can't hear him on the audio (inaudible).
MORGAN: OK, wait a minute.
MORGAN: Luke Messer...
MESSER: I think the points forward is one it funds the rest of government and try -- I mean I believe it's this delay of the individual mandate. The president has already given about 12 different exemptions in delays under the law. He's delayed it for businesses. And I think he should do the same thing for individuals. If we come forward on that we have an opportunity to get something done here. Nobody wants to see the government continue to be closed. MORGAN: But a sublime already there, Luke Messer. You couldn't hear me and Adam Schiff couldn't hear you in terms of the entire fuzz of this.
MESSER: Is that right?
SCHIFF: But I can hear you both now.
MORGAN: Okay. So we're now all back in communication. That was part when I say perfect illustration of what happens in these situations. Absolutely nobody can hear anybody else.
Adam Schiff, you're in the room now, Luke Messer's opposite you. For arguments sake he's John Boehner, what would your pitch be?
SCHIFF: My pitch could be this "Look, you wouldn't want us doing this if it was Republican President. You wouldn't want us threatening the full faith and (inaudible) of the country or the shutdown of the government on unrelated issues.
But let's do this, you want another vote on Obamacare, you want to vote on delay of Obamacare, or medical device stocks. Okay, we'll agree to vote on that. We're not going to guarantee you're going to win that vote. You're going to have to deliver the votes in the House and Senate. But we're not going to allow you to put a gun to our heads. So let's reopen the government. We'll guarantee once the government is reopened you can have your votes in both chambers. We'll let the Majority decide both but you going to let the people's will be done in the House. And you know and I know that if you took up a clean funding bill, we could send it to the president tonight because it has a majority of support in the House. So it would passed I think very overwhelmingly.
MORGAN: Now, Luke Messer, everything that I just heard there seems eminently sensible. Certainly when you're talking about Obamacare which is an existing law on which the president has already being reelected with that as one of the main planks of his first term.
So what is your sensible coherent argument for why that is not an acceptable position?
MESSER: Well, listen, history is littered with bad laws that once in a fact and later were changed. So the fact that this used to be a law or it is a law not used to be. In fact it is the law it's obviously relevant but it doesn't by in of itself, you know, validated.
I think there's a path through this. I think that the path includes coming to the table and talking. I mean, we've gotten to the point now and later we're changed. So the fact that this used to be a law or it is a law not used to be. In fact it is the law it's obviously relevant but it doesn't by in of itself, you know, validated.
I think there's a path through this. I think that the path includes coming to the table and talking. I mean, we've gotten to the point now where Harry Reid and the president have said that they won't even discuss possible changes to Obamacare before we go through this process. I believe the American people expect more and that, you know, Adam puts forward a potential resolution here where you would have a clean vote in both chambers on some these changes. That's not what you've seen so far. What you've seen is sort of procedural votes that let folks hide behind the procedure.
The bottom line is the American people want more out of their leaders and we've got to find a way to get this done.
MORGAN: OK, I'm going to leave it there, but that was quite a rational and reasonable debate between you two. I really like to think that this maybe the precursor to the big boys Mr. Speaker Boehner and Mr. President Obama this is actually the same thing. We can live in hope.
Coming next, Jack Welch weighs in, and from Wall Street to Main Street, a New Yorker on what he's doing to keep his business afloat. And later, a matter of real life and death, a cancer patient afraid he may not get into a clinical trial at the NIH because of the shutdown going on right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID LETTERMAN: All the national monuments are closed. You can't go like the Washington -- yes, any -- as a matter of fact, anybody go to the harbor today to look at the Statue of Liberty?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was going on?
DAVID LETTERMAN: Look what you see, good as a harbor, there's the Statue of Liberty they got to -- they got it perked up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: David Letterman having some fun there with the shutdown on the Statue of Liberty.
My next guest is not laughing and Mike Burke runs a company, operated boat tolls (ph) to the Statue of Liberty. His business is already down 50 to 60 percent and he joins me now.
Mr. Burke, you know, people can make jokes about this. I mean, to me the symbolic nature of the Statue of Liberty being shut is pretty appalling for America, if you're outside of American looking in. What is it mean, like for you on the sharp end financially hearing this shutdown?
MIKE BURKE, VP AND COO OF STATUE CRUISES: Well, it's just as outrageous for us, Mr. Morgan, coming on the heels of eight months of closure after Sandy only to reopen the Statue of Liberty on July 4th. We're in a pretty good economic hole to begin with. Ellis Island has yet to reopen prior to this closure. We are hopeful for October 28th which is the Statue's birthday, if you will anniversary, so at this point we're down and we'd be lucky to break-even had this not happened.
But now, that's -- that seem impossible. We're going to be 50 to 60 percent down everyday and maybe more in revenue and at this point we have not laid off any employees but, you know, as weeks go by we'll to certainly make adjustments as we did during Sandy.
MORGAN: And unlike people who get furloughed who work for the government and so on, you have no hope of getting any of that money back it's a right-off, right?
BURKE: There's no recovery of our revenues, there's no recovery on the employees lost wages. It's a total loss.
MORGAN: Final question. What is your personal view about the Statue of Liberty being closed for business?
BURKE: I mean, as an American and as someone who has worked around the Statue for almost 30 years, it's outrageous, it's illogical. In fact, Statue Cruises and the other (inaudible), Evelyn Hills who do the food and souvenirs on the island to, collectively, we would pay fees to the United States government daily, averaging $50,000 that's inflows to the United States government. They're not coming in over $16 million a year from just our two enterprises. There's $174 million worth of economic activity that revolves around the Statue of Liberty, 2,200 annual jobs. So this makes no sense whatsoever.
MORGAN: Mike Burke, I'm sorry for what you're going through. It's absolutely outrageous like you said and I hope you get back your business very soon and thank you for joining me.
BURKE: Thank you very much.
MORGAN: I want to bring in now Jack Welch. I mean, you know one of the great CEOs of modern times in America. This is no right way to run a business, is it Jack?
JACK WELCH, FORMER CEO, GE: It's terrible. I mean, both sides deserve a spanking for this. I mean, the fact that they're not talking, haven't been talking for the last six months, Piers. It's terrible.
MORGAN: I mean, let's see -- let's take this point. We'll get to the Republicans in a moment and everyone wants to blame. But I don't understand when I spoke to Bill Clinton last week and to Newt Gingrich, when they went to the last shutdown they both told me they talked every single day, sometimes multiple times in a day. Why is this not happening with the president? He finally spoke to John Boehner tonight. But why are they not talking all the time?
WELCH: It took him 18 months to call the Head of the Senate after getting elected. But more, that's not a strong suite (ph). But the facts are, the only way you can solve these problems is to schmooze, if you will. Well, when you're not in crisis, you don' want the negotiation to be your first date. You only have been dating all along as you come to the crisis. So you know where each other stands, you know what you can give and what you can't give.
MORGAN: On the principle that President Obama has adapted, many people have sympathy with this. The Obamacare is the law of the land. When he got reelected last year, John Boehner came out and said, "It is now the law of the land. We lost the election and that must stand." Now, suddenly he says the complete opposite.
Does the president have a good point that you think here?
MORGAN: That it is simply wrong to be held to ransom by what many see as political terrorist? Political terrorist.
BURKE: Come on.
BURKE: You know, Piers, let's talk about that for a minute.
MORGAN: We know the analogy is it that they've got all of these hostages ...
BURKE: Look, look, I think both sides are to blame here so -- but let me give you another view of that. It was the law of the land and then the president said, "I think I'll change it. I think I'll give labors. I think I'll give companies a free right for a year. And by the way, I think I'll give $11,000 to the families in Congress and $5,000 to individual." I think I'll do that. But don't you dare do anything. Don't you dare say let's delay and give people choice for a year. Well, let's not look at that tax on medical devices. What the country needs is a growing, thriving medical business and we're cashing it for entrepreneurs and we're taxing revenues?
MORGAN: Here's the point there, Jack. You don't shutdown the government to negotiate over stuff like that, do you? You keep government going but you negotiate and you haggle and you ...
MORGAN: ... go into battle with the president.
BURKE: Not with somebody you don't talk to. Now, the Republicans made a ghastly mistake by going over there to defund Obamacare. This is signature deal. You've got to have it done in some form and they ought to have and let that go and then, negotiate off the points he changed. He changed the employer mandate, OK. Let's give citizens a choice of going into it or waiting a year.
MORGAN: If you had to renegade, when you are running G.E. and you are the boss, you are the John Boehner figure if you like of the Republican Party and suddenly you got a Ted Cruz, right?
WELCH: I thought I was going to be on marketing guide on that.
MORGAN: But if you had to take Cruz and suddenly burst out of nowhere and begin to run your gig for you and call on a (inaudible) what would you do?
WELCH: I wouldn't be dealing with him alone, but I'll be listening to him to see what he had to say and I'll be trying to figure out if he made any sense. In this case I don't buy defunding the government showing Obamacare. We got to let it go and see where it goes.
But I do think, what I would like to say, is I'd like to see this C.R., the debt ceiling which is far more important and the sequester, all thrown in the back.
MORGAN: So what comes to that because the debt ceiling fillies (ph) are much bigger deal which far more ranging consequences. Some people think that the game plan here for Republicans is keep the shutdown going until the debt ceiling on the 17th, and then they'll be no much better bargaining position to draw the kind of concessions that they're after on a bigger scale.
WELCH: I don't think that's the case. I mean I (inaudible), if they shutdown the government over not paying our bills they'll be staying for a long deep time.
Now, if we throw -- but if you throw all three in, we got lots of give and take. And we can save face on both sides.
WELCH: Because there's so many -- let's give on the medical tax. Let's give the democrats what they want in costs and sequester. Let's -- we get more chips to play with and we can do it if we got a lot of things now. It's just right on Obamacare. If we put them all together we got everything.
MORGAN: In terms of the parties I'm not sure Washington right now, we've discussed this many times. Many people just find that increasingly dispiriting, if not, shameful that there is such victory along both sides.
And John McCain tell me the other night, you know, he's never known it's so poisonous. What is the way through that? How do you try and change the way Washington has now become?
WELCH: Piers, I've read a column today from Linkedn, a lot of action. Talking about what leaders have to do. They've got to face into the people that dealing with. You can't just -- he can't hang out with all the Democrats and John Boehner can't hang out with all Republicans, you got to deal with your adversaries.
When I was running G.E. we met with the union all the time. G.E. strikes in the 60's, in the 70's. We know they had a strike in 21 years, because we were talking face to face, not the day of the negotiation, but the three years in between it. They knew us. We know their families. We know all about them.
This is a human thing. These are guys that are acting like robots, who don't talk, who don't smooch, who don't ever be together, who don't hang out. It's wrong. The only way you get these things done is through human understanding. And this is being robotic.
MORGAN: I completely agree with you. John Welch does not often I say though when you come in, as you know. We normally go hammering songs, but on this, I'm with you.
WELCH: Thanks pal.
MORGAN: Good to see you.
WELCH: Nice to see you.
MORGAN: The great John Welch making as usual a lot of sense. Coming up, one of the government workers who's out of the job tonight, how she's explaining all this to her young daughter and the heated debate, who's really to blame for the shutdown?
MORGAN: Sometimes, having to cause a huge and devastating impact across America, the effects and the toil are real and very costly for many people. People like Natasha Rozier, she works for the Census Bureau as an information technology specialist and she was furloughed because of the shutdown. Welcome to you Natasha. How do you feel about this? How do you feel about you've been sent home, no pay, and you may or may not end up getting paid for this period?
NATASHA ROZIER, EMPLOYEE, CENSUS BUREAU: I feel awful. The amazing employees of the United States' Census Bureau just want to go back to work. We want to be able to provide services to those that we support from federal state and local not-for-profit businesses throughout the world. And it's an awful feeling to know that I will not receive pay and don't know when will get paid again.
MORGAN: How do you feel about all the -- how do you feel about all the members of congress getting their salaries in this period?
ROZIER: I don't think they should receive any pay. They need to know what it feels like to not have any resources and to exhaust your savings and to use your credit cards to make you through this terrible ordeal that we all now are experiencing right now.
MORGAN: You have a five-year-old daughter, Naila (ph) I think her name is.
MORGAN: What have you said to her about this?
ROZIER: Well, it's kind of difficult to explain to a five-year old that mommy is not working. We're not able to enjoy activities as we want to do, going to the movies, going to the mall, just having a day at the park, and just letting her know that when she see something in the store, mommy's not able to buy it for her. A book or anything like that because, you know, a five-year old don't understand financial obligations. They don't understand what we're going to right now. So I have to try to explain to her the best way I can in her language what we are going through and what we're not able to do at this time.
MORGAN: Natasha, I'm so sorry for what you're going through. It's completely disgusting and I hope it gets resolved very quickly and then, you get back to some kind of normality. Thanks for joining me.
ROZIER: Yes, thank you.
MORGAN: Two days in counting in both sides in shutdown showdown about as far (inaudible) they could possibly be. Let's see if we can get some answers. Joining me now is Josh Barro, Politics Editor at Business Insider. Valerie Plame Wilson, she's the former CIA officer whose cover was blown in 2003 also the author of the new book "Blowback." Also, the CNN Legal Commentator and host of the aptly named, Ben Ferguson Show because his name is Ben Ferguson. Welcome to all of you. I'll start with you Ben Ferguson because...
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah.
MORGAN: ... you've always got a lot to say about all this. You still pretty pleased of your self that the Republicans have lead the government into a meltdown, shutdowns affecting so many normal lives?
FERGUSON: You know, it's funny. I talked to Ted Cruz earlier today and we were both laughing over this idea that one guy, one freshman, junior senator is somehow able to shutdown the government. It's not physically possible. The President of United States of America has decided to again deny even after he met with Republicans to say "I refuse to negotiate on anything." Now, let's look at that in comparison to just a week ago -- week and a half ago.
The president was willing to negotiate with Assad who actually murders his own people and the broker for that deal was Russia. So, how can you how can you have that much ability to negotiate in that situation but on something like this, you refuse to negotiate with the Republicans. I'm sorry. I'm not buying into it. And even Ted Cruz laughed to the idea that somehow he's able to shutdown the government because he's not.
MORGAN: OK. Josh Barro. Barro it's nothing to do with Ted Cruz, not his thought, as usual it's all the democrats.
JOSH BARRO, POLITICS EDITOR, BUSINESS INSIDER: What it has a great deal to do with Ted Cruz? Obviously he didn't check on the government by himself. He had the whole house Republican caucus to help him.
And theoretically the house Republicans are just being dragged along by 40 or 50 extreme conservatives in the caucus who are aligned with Ted Cruz but in fact if these moderate republicans like Peter King and other representatives from the northeast who say they'll vote for a clean continuing resolution to reopen the government.
If they really wanted to there's a procedural tactic available to them and the democrats to cost that to come to the floor and be passed. They haven't been willing to do. It's Republicans as a whole who've decided to shut down the government and this "he won't negotiate" line is just complete nonsense.
FERGUSON: They don't have the power.
BARRO: The offer that is on the table from the democrats is the same budget numbers that we're agreed on by the President and the Republicans in Congress through the Budget Control Act. It includes all the spending cuts and sequestration. These are the spending levels that are causing the federal get to stabilize and ...
FERGUSON: Can I ask you a question?
BARRO: ... to deserve (ph) GDP over the next 10 years. We already have an agreement on this. Republicans are coming back and trying to get more.
MORGAN: Ben -- Ben Ferguson wants to ask you one question.
FERGUSON: One question. When was the last time a federal budget was passed and signed into law by Barack Obama?
BARRO: It doesn't matter.
FERGUSON: No, no. You're not answering my question. When was the last time?
BARRO: (Inaudible) The government spend money...
FERGUSON: When was the last time?
BARRO: The government spends money for appropriations bills like this.
FERGUSON: The one that Republicans are blocking right now.
BARRO: Piers. Piers, the bills must...
FERGUSON: Piers, this is my point.
BARRO: ... is just a non-binding framework.
FERGUSON: This is my point though. He couldn't answer the question because Barack Obama has never done that. And so, when you're continuing...
BARRO: It doesn't matter.
FERGUSON: ...to have resolutions like this at some point not having a budget is also an issue of not being a leader. You had on the former CEO of these brilliant moments ago. When he have ever run a company without an actual budget? Of course not.
So the president got himself into the situation. He got himself in a trouble by not having a budget for the federal government and having all the people unlike (inaudible).
MORGAN: Let's turn to one of the consequences of a list by agencies apparently are forced to furlough, at the moment, 70 percent of civilian employees. Here's what James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence have to say about this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CLAPPER, THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: This seriously damages our ability to protect the safety and security of this nation and our citizens. And the danger here of course that this will accumulate overtime. The damage will be insidious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: As you are a former CIA spy, this is your wheelhouse, what do you think or what do have to say there?
VALERIE PLAME WILSON, FRM. CIA OFFICER: Like every other American I'm absolutely appalled that no advancement has been made and that the children in NIH are being turned away and all the terrible consequences that you saw earlier at the top of the segment, furloughing.
So yes, of course it is very dangerous. I understand that essential intelligence officers work on kind of terrorism affairs they are still on the job, thank goodness. But that statement he went on to say and I was little puzzled by it.
He said that as a result of all these intelligence officers being f furloughed that they were somehow open to perhaps, being recruited by a foreign intelligence service.
I'm not sure he meant to imply that, you know, every -- because you don't get a paycheck that you will commit a treasonous act.
MORGAN: I mean everyone's taking all these points to extremities.
MORGAN: But it is still pretty disturbing. If 70 percent all civilian employees of the spy agencies have been sent home, I can't see how that can't have some damaging effect, whichever side of this debate you're on.
WILSON: Absolutely. I mean across the board we are seeing it -- all these effects are going to begin to snowball.
But I think, you know, the intelligence community already is so vast and so big. We know about 60 to 70 percent of intelligence budget goes toward contractors. So it's not really clear, you know, what is does our budgeting look like.
WILSON: Who is being -- I think it's too big to begin with.
MORGAN: Good point. Stay with me everybody. If we come back the real impact of Washington dysfunction, a cancer patient who fears the shutdown may affect his clinical trial at the NIH.
MORGAN: Greg Sibbel's life has been turned upside down by political bickering and finger pointing in Washington. He's cancer, about to start a clinical trial at the National Institutes of Health in a few weeks. Greg is now along with Dr. Brian Van Tine, his oncologist. Welcome to both of you.
Greg, tell me exactly what your position is right now why you're so concerned about the shutdown.
GREG SIBBEL: Well, like I diagnosed with uterine sarcoma in March. And I've been on various treatments since then going through both chemotherapy and radiation. And through these various regimens, none of them have been seem to work out very well for me. With the -- they were able to hold off on the disease somewhat but new tumors are still popping up occasionally every time we set of scan, there's always some good news with a bad news. So this -- the clinical trial that could be put on might be something that might really help me out long-term.
MORGAN: And at the moment, is the situation -- this kind of trial is on hold to the duration of the shutdown?
SIBBEL: I think Brian can answer that better.
DR. BRIAN VAN TINE, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, ONCOLOGIST: Listen, I actually called NIH today and it's actually a very good thing that his trial's not being affected because it's already open but I think this has caused Greg a lot of distress with everything that's going on. And I think that everything that we're doing to NIH right now is actually quite dangerous. And if we don't start impacting our -- the things we're doing with NIH and actually correcting it very quickly, we're going to hurt people. And we're going to hurt people like Greg. And if we're not careful, the drugs that we really need to bring out (inaudible) labs all the way across to the clinical trials, it's going to slow down. And that's going to affect everyone.
MORGAN: I mean, Greg, obviously, you're going through the most stressful time of your life and you're literally in a life and death situation here. How do you feel about the fact that squabbling politicians in Washington might -- and I say might at this stage -- has some effect on your chances of survival?
SIBBEL: I think it's pretty ridiculous that -- especially since the whole debates over Healthcare Law like they're trying to engulf all of these. He's trying to help people like me trying to get hold insurance and get treatment. And I can't find a resolution and it's affecting people all over the country just like me. MORGAN: Greg, so I wish you all the very best with this -- and all the people I've heard from the last three or four days, yours is one of the most agonizing stories -- imaginable. And I just hope they solve that quickly and you can have this particular stress removed from the awful situation you're in. Thank you so much for joining me and for you Dr. Brian Van Tine. Thank you very much.
VAN TINE: Well, thank you.
SIBBEL: Thank you.
MORGAN: Ben Ferguson, let's be very serious about this for a moment because when you hear that kind of story, it is very serious. And, you know, when you hear a top oncologist saying, "Look. There's a real impact here at the sharp end of how we do our business. This is life and death of people we're playing with." Surely -- whichever side of this argument you're on, it is time to get this sorted, isn't it?
FERGUSON: Well, and I think, look, my wife worked for seven years in the Children's Cancer Research Hospital and when you see these parents that are told that their kids' scans don't go well, it is the entire world they're in crumbling around them. And some of these clinical trials, these last ditch efforts, many times to see if they can get things to work. This is not saying you have time to wait on it. And I think you can see a partisan this is today.
Dana Bash I thought asked a brilliant question of this in Majority Leader Harry Reid and he went into political talking point so fast when -- I would plead seriously with the White House tonight to say, "Here's one good step for it forward. We're going to make sure these programs are not going to be affected. This is going to be -- something is going to help Americans, those that are fighting for their lives and it's going to be a place that Republicans and Democrats can be as a starting point." And that's something that I would hope politics would stay out of it, Harry Reid would do the same thing. And they come together at least from that one issue because that would be moving in the right directions. And...
MORGAN: But hang on...
FERGUSON: ... it could help people's lives.
MORGAN: ... hang on. Hang on, Ben. Exactly as Greg Sibbel said that the irony, the hideous irony -- this renegade group of Republicans led by Ted Cruz have led to the shutdown of the government over Obamacare which is being set up deliberately to try and help people like Greg Sibbel who now fear they're not going to get the help. I mean you must be aware, this is a hideous irony.
FERGUSON: But the clinical trials that we're talking about today that are going to affect his life are not directly going to have anything to do with Obamacare for months on in until the exchanges become not only active and open and working. But then, you also get the coverage. We're talking about now with these clinical trials. There's a difference between life and death with cancer patients. And sometimes that can be weeks and months, not 2014.
MORGAN: OK. OK. Let me go to, Josh....
FERGUSON: There's a difference...
MORGAN: ... go to Josh.
BARRO: The difference is that these clinical trials impact relatively small number of people and they're very much impacted. And we should get the government back open so that they can get back into it. Whereas, Obamacare will extend health insurance to about 30 million people who don't have it now and gold one for that Republican Party at the national level over the last four years has been trying to prevent those people from getting health coverage.
In every step of the way, they've been acting like they're acting in the interest of people with low incomes. You have all these Republicans going out on the Senate floor bemoaning how "Oh no, if Obamacare comes in, we're going to lose all these jobs and people are going to be out of work." Meanwhile, this something that actually acts for the betterment of these people and they've been trying to stop it. It's so completely cynical.
FERGUSON: Here's a thing that I would say though. If it's so good as you just put it and no jobs are going to be lost and everything's going to be, you know, roses out there -- smelling like roses -- then why is the president giving out more than 1,000 exemptions to different companies, unions, and lobbyists who have a ton of money that the average American don't have to get out Obamacare. If it's so great, why did he have to give out more than 1,000 of it? It's outrageous.
BARRO: Because big new government programs are complicated and working them out is complicated just as Mitt Romney did. The guy the Republicans nominated for president in 2012, the one who came up with this idea, they -- it took them a little while to get there on the road in Massachusetts and it's very popular.
MORGAN: All right. Final words, to Valerie. You were a subject yourself of bipartisan attacks. What do you think of the poisonous atmosphere in Washington right now?
WILSON: Well, actually I was a subject of partisan attacks.
MORGAN: Partisan attacks. My apologies.
WILSON: Exactly. Well, with some very dark days where that's for sure -- and living through that on a personal basis, it's very difficult. It has only gotten worse since then. As famously, Tip O'Neill and President Reagan went out, you know, they would fight tooth and nail during the day and after hours, they would go out and could have a drink together. And that doesn't seem -- we have now gerrymandered our Congressional districts to such a point that they most -- Congress people are only playing to their particular narrow constituency. There is no incentive for compromise and that's what we see now. MORGAN: All right. That's a good point. I thought it causes the novel blood-bank (ph), is that about right now thank you for coming in.
Thank you, Josh and always Ben Ferguson.
Someone said earlier, "Why do you have anybody (ph) ruins my dinner?" That's why I have a (inaudible), that's why I have Ben Ferguson now. Good to see you. They ruin the American dinner.
Coming next, Amanda Knox's ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito he joins me exclusively to talk about the shocking murder case and his relationship with Amanda Knox.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANDA KNOX: What's important for me to say is just thank you everyone, who's believed in me, who's defended me, who supported my family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Amanda Knox who's murder conviction was turned out by the Italian court with strict prosecutors in Italy in backing (ph)court trying to prove Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito killed Meredith Kercher. One of the most sensational crime stories in recent memory.
Joining me now is Raffaele Sollecito is the author of Honor Bound, also his attorney and U.S. spokesman John Q. Kelly and Judge Mike Heavey is a retired King County Superior Court Judge and cofounder of judges for justice.
Hey Raffaele you are prepared as I understand it, to go back...
RAFFAELE SOLLECITO, AMANDA KNOX EX-BOYFRIEND: It's a pleasure to be here.
MORGAN: Well thank you for coming in the show. You're prepared to go back and face yet further questioning in this court case, if they ask you, is that your position?
SOLLECITO: I will be back when the trial gets into the court. During the first hearing, they just decided what are do's and don'ts, what's the schedule about this court of this trial.
So basically, at the moment, my -- I consulted my lawyers and they told me that there's no need in this moment to me to be there.
MORGAN: You're an Italian and this is an Italian justice system, it's your country's justice system. How do you feel about the way they keep coming after you and why do you think it is? They simply don't want to believe the version of events that you and Amanda have put forward? SOLLECITO: No -- well, it's not the justice in my -- a version of defense or Amanda, the version of defense. So, it's the real facts that tells that me and Amanda are innocent. What's the -- I don't know well -- what is going on in the mind of the judges and I just think that in my -- in the Italian system, there's something really wrong in the way -- in the rules that they sometimes, they are not respected or they are turned to harsh people and they cannot actually innocent people.
MORGAN: You don't even know Amanda Knox about a week when this happened. I mean, do you with hindsight that you'd never laid eyes on her that you had never become embroiled in such a lurid crime scandal as this become?
SOLLECITO: Yes. Well, basically, nobody will ever -- whatever -- will stay in a situation like mine. My life now is hard but it's not Amanda's fault in this situation. It's -- this situation is a fault inside the investigation at first sight and inside in a prosecution that didn't want to admit their faults.
MORGAN: When the retrial began, the court orders a new test on a knife that's found in your kitchen, which had DNA on it. What do you know about that knife?
SOLLECITO: Well basically, in my opinion just logically, it's ridiculous that's anybody will bring such a big knife from my house to another house. But upon on that, in the investigation, the forensic science found that there's amines on the blades and there's no trace of blood are nothing about Meredith Kercher DNA even if they -- the prosecution say something different, but it was contaminated because they didn't respect the protocols when they picked and dump that knife.
MORGAN: A follow up question for you Raffaele, I know, Meredith Kercher's father. I used to work with him a bit in England and they'd suffered enormously from what has happened obviously to their daughter. Although you described your life as hellish and Amanda has used similar terminology for her life now. Obviously, you both are alive and you have your lives.
What is your message to Meredith Kercher's family?
SOLLECITO: Basically, I feel a lot of compassion for their situation and it's horrible because the -- her, their daughter is no more in this world. But I'm not responsible of that.
I -- me and Amanda would -- we have nothing to do with this crime. And I don't -- what I really want is that we don't need in this tragedy more victims. Meredith had been horribly murdered. And if it came to my sister, I will get crazy as well. But I'm just begging to look at the real facts and the truth about this case.
MORGAN: OK, let me bring in John Q. Kelly, quickly, John. What do you think will be the outcome of this later stage of this? Now, how do you feel about the legal process? JOHN Q. KELLY, SOLLECITO'S ATTORNEY & U.S. SPOKESMAN: Well, it's a little different than ours first of all. This is the third time we're on where the courts could be hearing evidence and making a decision of innocence and guilt that quite likely, it will go up on appeal again regardless of the results. So this is going to be a legal ping-pong bill probably for the next five years with the -- you know, the fate of Amanda and Raffaele hanging on the balance all this time.
It's a difficult situation, a human tragedy for the Kercher's and a fairly (inaudible) justice for Amanda and Raffaele.
MORGAN: Judge Heavey, you've always been a strong supporter of Amanda Knox is -- it's a very divisive case. Many people have strong opinions on both sides of this. Why do you feel so strongly with your exemplary legal background that she is 100 percent innocent?
MIKE HEAVEY, CO-FOUNDER, JUDGES FOR JUSTICE: Mr. Morgan, five years ago, October of 2008, less than a year after the murder of Meredith Kercher, Rudy Guede, overwhelming evidence. Meredith's blood, his thumb print. DNA all over her body and on her clothes admits to being there was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison, later reduced on appeal.
He is the sole killer. This two young people have been victims themselves. My heart goes out to the Kercher family. I cried for the Kercher family. I pray for the Kercher family. But the fact is these two young people are victims themselves. They have been terrorized by this process that got way out of control and it's just a crying shame.
There is absolutely the second trial. The judge said, "There is no evidence."
MORGAN: Judge Heavey, thank you for those words. John Q. Kelly, good to see you again. And Raffaele Sollecito, thank you for joining me as well.
That's all for us tonight. And tomorrow, in Piers Morgan Live Town Hall Special. Shutdown scare (inaudible) in front of the -- will be very lively and pretty animated audience that keep us the other night.
AC360 LATER though starts in a few minutes.