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House Passes Budget Deal; Pelosi To Dems: "Embrace The Suck"; Report: North Korea Executes Leader's Uncle; Report: "Affluenza" Killer Gets Pricey Rehab; Budget Deal Will Cost Airline Passenger More

Aired December 12, 2013 - 19:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Next, breaking news. The budget put to a vote. Nancy Pelosi rallies the Democrats around the deal. But she doesn't seem very happy about it.

(on camera): So, this morning you told your members, "embrace the suck".


TAPPER: That's a quote.


TAPPER: Then, a North Korean purge.

A member of Kim Jong-un's own family executed for treason.

And the man known as the fake sign language interpreter fighting back. But is he telling the whole story?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) you see that to yourself that the people that interpreted we put them, through all these, they said I'm not I'm like I'm speaking rubbish.


TAPPER: Good evening. I'm Jake Tapper in for Erin Burnett. Tonight, breaking news, the House votes to approve the bipartisan budget deal, which brings us one step closer to avoiding another government shutdown. It's a rare break from gridlock in Washington, D.C. But plenty of Democrats and Republicans still have hang-ups about the bill as it now heads to the Senate.

Dana Bash is on Capitol Hill. Dana, is this likely to reach the president's desk soon?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Probably next week. The Senate is going to take this next week and given what just happened in the House, almost surely pass it. This really is, it feels bizarre, I have to tell you, on Capitol Hill, Jake, because there is such a different vibe, a different atmosphere than we have seen so much months and years gone by particularly on this fiscal issues. Not only did a majority of Republicans and Democrats vote for this budget in the House, a majority of the majority.

Meaning most Republicans voted yes for this despite a lot of pressure from conservatives outside and even from within the Republican caucus here saying that this budget, which would go ahead for two years and make sure that the government doesn't shut down, doesn't go far enough with regard to keeping the core conservative principles and attacking the major contributors to the debt and deficit like Medicare and Medicaid -- Jake.

TAPPER: Last night we had Congressman Huelskamp on and he was very dead set against the bill and then as we mentioned, all those conservative groups. The club for growth, et cetera, saying nobody should vote for this. Obviously a lot of division within the Republican Party writ large regarding the bill. Earlier today you had a chance to ask House Speaker John Boehner about it. What did he say?

BASH: Really interesting. He made pretty clear that his frustration with the outside groups is not a one off thing. He mentioned it first yesterday so I asked whether or not this is a turning point given the fact that he has, his hands tied so often by these outside groups with his striving to, for compromise with Democrats. Listen to what he said.


BASH: They've had a lot of sway in a lot of the decisions that your members have made over the last couple years. Does this mark a turning point? Are your members at your behest going to be more focused on maybe compromise and less on what the outside groups are pressuring them to do?

REPRESENTATIVE JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: When groups come out and criticize an agreement that they've never seen, you begin to wonder how credible those actions are. I thought it was my job to stand up for those who want more deficit reduction. Stand up for the work that Chairman Ryan did.


BASH: So it's not just the fact that the House just passed a bipartisan budget. It is the fact that the speaker is openly standing up to the groups that really made things difficult for him and also contributed to some of the gridlock here in Congress and that may be something we'll see different in the next year.

TAPPER: We'll see. Chief congressional correspondent, Dana Bash, thank you so much.

Earlier today, I spoke with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi about why she backed this bill even though she wasn't entirely happy with it. Pelosi and a lot of other Democrats say they're upset because the deal does not extend long term unemployment benefits, which are set to expire next year and also because it doesn't do anything about job creation. She had some choice words for the plan behind close door even though she was advising her Democratic colleagues to vote for it.


TAPPER: So this morning, you told your members, embrace the suck. That's a quote.


TAPPER: That's a quote.

PELOSI: That's a quote, yes.

TAPPER: First before I get to the substance of the bill, where did you get that from?

PELOSI: I think it really captured the moment. Wouldn't you think?

TAPPER: I'm not criticizing it. It seem to sum up what you think of the legislation.

PELOSI: Well, it's not just the legislation. It is the whole process and the fact that we don't have unemployment insurance, those kinds of things. At the end of the day we need to have a budget. Where it came from, and I was impressed when I heard it was from Patrick Murphy, a former congressman. He was telling us one time about what it was like to be in Iraq.

He was the head of a unit in Iraq and he said, you would be there, you would have like a 30, 40-pound pack you had to carry around all the time. It was 130 degrees. You couldn't take a shower for a month. It was awful. What we decided was that our approach would be --

TAPPER: You won't say it. Embrace the suck. OK.

PELOSI: So then you roll with it, right? So that's what I was saying to them. I used Patrick's story about how they coped there to say, I understand every concern you have about the procedure, the this, the that, what's in, what's not. The fact is we have to get the job done.

TAPPER: You don't want to look right at the camera and say embrace the suck?

PELOSI: You'll be using it. I'm telling you. You'll be using it.

TAPPER: You were very critical of the fact that unemployment insurance benefits were not extend for I think it is 1.3 million Americans. You called it immoral.

PELOSI: I think it is immoral that we have in our country people work hard, play by the rules, are unemployed through no fault of their own. It is a safety net for our system as much as it is for individuals. And this is just the start. It will be, that number will be more than double in the next six months if we do not honor our commitment to unemployment benefits. TAPPER: You said you haven't given up on that. Do you think Senate Democrats negotiated a bad deal or do you think this is just the best any Democrat could have gotten?

PELOSI: No, I think that they took it to a draw.

TAPPER: Other Democrats are opposed to this bill even though you're going to vote for it and you said Democrats won't let it go down.

PELOSI: Again, how do you register your concern by voting for it? Moving it along? So they can have a straight-out discussion of our value system. Whether it comes to raising the minimum wage, whether it come to unemployment insurance, whether it come to passing an immigration bill, passing back ground checks. The list goes on and the list goes on.

TAPPER: And Democrats will not let it go down.

PELOSI: It won't go down.

TAPPER: Let's talk about what they've been able to achieve this year because I think as strict matter of math, it is one of the least productive congresses in American history.

PELOSI: That's unfortunate because American people have needs. We have responsibilities to them. So it is not only just the number bills. It is the unattended to responsibilities that we have that are not being addressed. Republicans have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity when it comes to creating jobs. Job creation is an answer to so many problems our economy faces.

And we have to pass legislation that invests in growth, produces jobs. The immigration bill and all these things, we have the votes on all these issues. We have strong bipartisan support. We need speaker to give a signal to take it to the floor.

TAPPER: Speaker Boehner has an unruly group of Tea Party Republicans. How have you been able to cajole, convince the feistier progressives in your caucus as speaker and as minority leader in a way he has not been able to do with Tea Party Republicans?

PELOSI: There is a very fundamental difference. First of all, we do not have the equivalence. There is nothing equivalent in the House Democratic caucus to the Tea Party for many reasons. Most importantly, they are here to undo government. President George Washington cautioned when he left office against political parties that are at war with their own government. While we don't want any more government, we need government. That's what they're here to undo.

TAPPER: One of the things that I have always found kind of charming about you and Speaker Boehner is you really do seem to have affection for one another.

PELOSI: We have a good rapport.

TAPPER: Tou like each other. What do you say to him when it comes to how he has led his Republicans this year and Congress?

PELOSI: I think that we all have to make some very difficult decisions about how to bring bills to the floor that may not have a majority of the votes in our own caucus. I say let them vote for whatever they can vote for, but make sure they can vote for or against whatever we need to do. That's what I have tried to convey. These are not ploys or interparty bickering. These are philosophical differences. What is the role of government?

What is the public/private partnership? You want just the private side without the public part of it. Those are legitimate debates of the history of our country. But now the party is dominated by people who do not believe in government and they don't believe in government. They don't believe in science and they don't believe in the presidency of Barack Obama. So it is a trifecta.

Those people have hijacked the name Republican, which has made such a valuable contribution to our country, the Republican Party, but they've taken it over the cliff.

TAPPER: The 2014 midterms, right around the corner. It seems as though Democrats were in a strong a position after the government shutdown and then there were some bad stories about the web site and the rollout. If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. According to polls, Democrats are not in as strong a position as they were after the shutdown.

PELOSI: In the districts we have to win, we feel very confident about where we go in and what our opportunity is in those districts. And I think some of the more recent polls will show that that was turbulence that we went through but it wasn't a brick wall that we could not get through in terms of the web site and the rest. The website was unfortunate for the American people.

The impact it had on politics is incidental. Our case is about the same thing, the jobs, the economy. Our case is focused on women. When women succeed, America succeeds. Women make 77 percent the same as men in the same job. Valuing work, paid sick leave is really important for women to succeed in the workplace, for families to succeed and advancing early childhood learning.

TAPPER: I've heard some progressive advocates say they're concerned about the Obamacare rollout. Not just the web site, but also things like, if you like your plan, you can keep your plan, not being true for people because it undermines the argument for progressive advocacy in government. It says sure, Democrats can go out there and say these things. If the actual implementation isn't what it was sold as, that could hurt liberal politics.

PELOSI: Well, you know what? Don't spend a lot of time on that. The affordable care act is going to be a giant plus over time. And what is important is not what it means politically, but what it means personally to the American people as a policy and as an improvement in their lives. So while some may say that, and I don't disagree with any of it, we want government to work. The government that we have to work, the rollout was, I don't even know if disappointing even comes close to the word I would use. The fact is we're getting over. That it is transforms. It stags right there with Social Security, Medicare, with affordable health care as a right, not a privilege. It is really going to be great.


TAPPER: Our thanks to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Still to come, a purge in North Korea, a member of Kim Jong-Un's own family put to death.

Plus a story we first brought you yesterday, a teen kills four people while drunk driving and gets no jail time because the defense argues his wealthy parents never taught him right from wrong. Is affluenza a real condition?

And a big story we're following tonight, the cost of flights about to go way up.


TAPPER: Breaking news out of North Korea. The uncle of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-Un has been executed for treason. That's according to the state run news agency. The report also says a special military tribunal found Kim's uncle, Jang Song Tek guilty calling him a traitor for all ages and a despicable human scum who was worse than a dog.

This is reportedly Kim Jong-Un's uncle being led away from what is seemingly the tribunal that ruled Jang Song Tek be executed. He was the vice chairman of North Korea's top military body, considered one of his nephew's top deputies.

Jim Sciutto is CNN's chief national security correspondent. Jim, what are you hearing about the execution and how is the U.S. responding?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, U.S. officials say they cannot independently confirm it, but the truth is they don't doubt it. A U.S. spokesperson for the State Department calling it another example of the extreme brutality of the regime and some in the U.S. government have been expecting this to happen for the last few day.

Because once he was accused of plotting to overthrow the government in addition to womanizing, drug use, going to expensive restaurants, you know, real crimes. Once they put that out there, it was hard for them to back off from anything like this. So they had kind of seen this coming.

TAPPER: Well, I guess the question is, is this just a family squabble or is it somebody disappointed with a top aide and this is just how they deal with these things in North Korea or is there a larger geopolitical significance?

SCIUTTO: It is significant because he is so senior. This is the second most powerful person in the country and a family member. Kim Jong-Un's uncle and it follows the removal of the most powerful general in the country a year ago. So two out of the three most powerful people in North Korea removed in the span of a year, that speaks to instability.

You also have a concern now that North Korea lashes out as a result of this. The leadership to show its strength might light off a nuclear bomb or attack South Korean military forces or a sign of how much on pins and needles the region is right now. This statement just release by the South Koreans, "We're fully prepared for any potential regional conflict or full scale war."

No abnormal activities so far from the North Korea military detected, but they have to say that kind of thing because they know that's the kind of regime this is. If there is one positive in here, the U.S. and China's view of North Korea are converging. They have been converging over the last couple years. This will add to that and might lead the some cooperation. It is a bad sign for our already -- absolutely.

TAPPER: Jim Sciutto, thank you so much. Gordon Chang is the author of the book, "Nuclear Showdown, North Korea Takes On The World." He joins us now. Gordon, thanks so much. Can you remember another time when someone within the family has been executed? What does this execution tell us about the state of the regime?

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN: NORTH KOREA TAKES ON THE WORLD": In the history of North Korea, no Kim family member has ever been publicly executed. Now, some have been shuffled off to foreign countries, some have disappeared. What we are seeing is unprecedented. And what is important here is that Jang Song Thaek, the guy who was executed, has hundreds of supporters throughout North Korea.

Now those supporters know that they are either going to be executed themselves or sent off to a death camp. That means they very well might fight back. This is a regime which is going to go through medieval intrigue. This is Richard III with nukes.

TAPPER: The regime has said that he was executed for treason, but on Sunday when it was confirmed that he was removed from his post. He was also accused of drug use, gambling, womanizing, being bribed by the enemy. What do you think is really going on here?

CHANG: Yes, the bribe by enemies is really important. That's a direct reference to China. And I think that what we're going to see is North Korea be even more untethered from Beijing. U.S. policy has always been to rely on China to press its best friend, North Korea. I don't think China has really that influence anymore.

You know, what we have is a blood feud. When you have executions, you're going to have more executions. This is just going to ripple throughout society and that is why this is important because North Korea is going to be even more isolated, more dangerous than it has been in the past.

TAPPER: It mentioned the North Korean news agency mentioned womanizing a few days ago. Is that a crime in North Korea?

CHANG: What's going on here is that Jang Song Thaek is known to have introduced Kim Jong-Un to his wife. Now his wife comes from a dance troupe. If you remember about two months ago, there was a story about how this dance troupe has disappeared largely because it made a sex tape. There are all sorts of stories going on in terms of intrigue within the Kim family as to what is actually happened.

But we do know that Jang Song Thaek's wife who is Kim Jong-Un's aunt has had a very strained relationship with Jang Song Thaek and is the one who finally turned on him, making it acceptable within the regime for Kim Jong-Un to execute Jang Song Thaek. This is getting very, very complicated. Essentially what we have is a family feud that has international implications.

TAPPER: As you said, Shakespearean with nukes. Gordon Chang, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

Still to come, a story we first brought you yesterday, a wealthy teenager kills four people while drunk driving and he gets no jail time because he apparently did not know right from wrong. It is called affluenza. The woman who popularized the term joins us.

Plus, this sign language interpreter is being called a fake. He will tell his side of the story to CNN. Does it add up?


TAPPER: The backlash is growing over the rich kid defense. A story we first brought you yesterday. Ethan Couch, a wealthy 16-year-old who killed four people while driving drunk will avoid jail because his defense team said he suffers from affluenza. According to one psychologist, his privileged parents never taught him right from wrong. Never taught him there would be consequences.

The best remedy for this rare condition which took lives of four people according to CNN affiliate, a $450,000 a year rehabilitation center in Newport Beach, California. Let's get to Jessie O'Neill, a therapist who popularized the term affluenza in the 1990s.

She said she suffered from affluenza and now counsels others who have it. Also with us tonight, Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of HLN's "Dr. Drew On Call," both of you, thanks for being here. Jessie, I want to start with you. When you hear the details of this case, do you think this 16-year-old is suffering from affluenza?

JESSIE H. O'NEILL, SUFFERED FROM AFFLUENZA: Yes, do I. He definitely has an inability to delay gratification, loss of future motivation and most of all a false sense of entitlement.

TAPPER: What's the difference between affluenza and being a spoiled kid?

O'NEILL: Well, they're a lot of the same qualities. Money provides cushion or a band-aid so that often times children are not held accountable for their bad behavior. That way they don't grow up. They don't develop character.

TAPPER: Dr. Drew, I grew up in Philadelphia where there are probably a lot of kids who commit crimes who were raise in the dysfunctional households and were not taught the consequences of their actions. But they were poor, not rich. What do you think about affluenza?

DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST, HLN'S "DR. DREW ON CALL": Well, those kids had poor-fluenza or Philly-fluenza or we can make up any other term we wish, these are made-up terms. You won't find them in the psychiatric diagnostic manuals. They're clever. There are all sorts of term we can make up for horrible parenting. This is terrible parenting. What disturbs me is that a made-up term becomes a seemingly sort of a justified defense for somebody killing other people.

The time for this kid to have been treated for whatever the circumstances was before he killed other people. The treatment he's getting is good. The problem is it is too late. Once you have killed people because of your psychiatric condition, the justice system steps in. And that's what must happen. Giving this kid treatment should have been done long ago.

TAPPER: Jessie --

O'NEILL: I agree with that. I do think that affluenza plays a big part of it and I agree. But it doesn't really matter what word you use. But I do believe that money and the effects of affluence on children, particularly second and third generation, are profound and it is something that many psychologists and psychiatrists in this country ignore when they have wealthy clients.

TAPPER: Jessie, do you -- obviously, it is one thing to have affluenza and quite another to use it a as defense in a murder trial. Have you ever heard of such a thing?

O'NEILL: No. I never have. And I have very mixed feelings about it. I certainly think that it added it to the child's dysfunction. To use it as a primary defense seems a little overboard to me. So I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. I would like to see a test case where there is a child that is rather than going into the legal system, is given treatment. But I'm not sure this particular case with four people being murdered is the case that I would choose.

TAPPER: Dr. Drew, the psychologist who testified for the defense said when Ethan Couch was 15. He was caught with a naked 14-year-old girl and was never punished. He was allowed to drink at a young age. He began driving at 13. Playing devil's advocate, if this child was never disciplined, never told any limits, is it possible that he may not have known right from wrong?

PINSKY: Well, and he was intoxicated too. So in that moment he may not have known it, but this is not an insanity defense they're going for. This is a justification for murderous behavior. Let's remind ourselves. We're talking about two things this kid, I believe, judging from what I'm hearing, that is in the diagnostic manual, which is addiction of some sort, whether it's alcoholism or some other addictive process.

O'NEILL: I agree with that.

PINSKY: --and a personality disorder, which is an Axis II personality disorder, which are very difficult to treat, particularly in an unmotivated patient.

Now, we've got a kid who has had no consequences still. We're taking him to Newport Beach and giving him a cushy treatment. Maybe in prison under a five-year program, maybe then we could have gotten through.

But to tell him, well, we'll just gloss this over for six months in Newport --


O'NEILL: A lot of it depends on whether the treatment center has any knowledge of affluenza and how it affects kids. If they get with a therapist who understands the effects of money and how it pertains to the other addictions and how it weaves in and out of their lives, one of the personality traits of affluenza is often a loss of self- identity, because the children frequently are raised by surrogate care takers or on their own, which is what I understand happened with this young man.

So, they have no self reference. They have no self-identity.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Jessie, you say --

PINSKY: I don't disagree with that but that is a dynamic issue. That's not a diagnostic construct. Again, for every diagnosis --

O'NEILL: No, I'm not sure it has to be diagnostic construct. It can be --


PINSKY: I'm sorry. Is it in the DSM 5?

O'NEILL: People are dynamic.

PINSKY: Is it in the DSM 5 right now?

O'NEILL: They don't have to be in the DSM three or four or five or whatever we're up to.

TAPPER: Jessie --

PINSKY: That's a very dangerous to say. You're saying you can make your own diagnostic construct and therefore your own treatment plan based on the diagnostic construct.

O'NEILL: I think one of the things that is missing in today's treatment programs is the knowledge of how our cultural affluenza. Our addiction to money and the effects that it has on our children and our culture and our spirituality are ignored.

PINSKY: No disagreement.

O'NEILL: And if there's one set of parents out there that hears this interview and turns around and says, no, I'm not going on give that you new toy, I'm not going on send out that expensive trip. You're going to stay here and you're going to pay the consequences of your behavior, then this interview has been worth it. And whether that's in a --

PINSKY: Again, no disagreement.

O'NEILL: Whether that's in those terms or not, I don't care.

TAPPER: Jessie, you say you suffered from affluenza. Tell us about your experience.

O'NEILL: Well, may grandfather was secretary of defense under Dwight D. Eisenhower, and prior to that he was president of General Motors. And his six children were raised with a great deal of money. My grandfather was a great man. He did wonderful things for the country.

But what I noticed when I went back to do my masters degree in psychology in counseling was that the next generation, rather than using the money always for good, oftentimes struggled with using the money in dysfunctional ways. And that was passed down again to my generation. And so, when I looked at that, I decided to do my thesis on it and then turned it into my book, "The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence".

TAPPER: But how did it manifest itself in your life? What were, what did you do that --

O'NEILL: I would say --

TAPPER: -- show that you suffered from this?

O'NEILL: I would say I was given things rather than attention. Certainly bought out of the consequences of my behavior, much as what's happening in this young man's case.

I agree with Dr. Drew that putting him in a cushy treatment center in Newport, California, is not necessarily the answer. But I do think that affluenza plays a part in it, and I don't think that our legal system is set up to deal with it.

TAPPER: All right. Jessie O'Neill and Dr. Drew, thank you so much for joining us. Great debate. I appreciate it.

Still to come, the cost of flying is going up. Why Congress is to blame?

Plus, the man known as the fake sign language interpreter talks to CNN. He claims he is legit despite hallucinating during the memorial.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TAPPER: The House just passed the bipartisan budget deal that may help us avoid another government shutdown, but anyone who flies should be prepared to pay up.

The new deal nearly doubles the TSA security fees paid by airline passengers. Congressman Paul Ryan who helped craft this budget bill defended the higher fees in an interview with me.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Before 9/11, the person getting on an airplane paid for all their security when they paid for their ticket. They covered all of it. Since 9/11, that person is paying for less than 40 percent of their security and the non-flying public, the non- flying taxpayer is subsidizing the rest it. We think that the user should pay for the services that they're using, instead of making some hardworking taxpayer that never used those services paying for it.


TAPPER: Does that math really add up? It's tonight's "Money and Power".

And Tom Foreman is here to break it down -- Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake. Of all the proposals in the budget deal, this one provision probably has the greatest potential to directly affect the greatest number of regular Americans in a direct way. Meaning anyone who flies and that's a lot of folks.

The Department of Transportation says 736 million almost 737 million time passengers boarded U.S. airlines in 2012. Obviously, a very heavy traveled businessperson could account for dozens of those trips, maybe even hundreds. And the security for all that travel is expensive. In fact, you're already paying for it. If you take a flight, you may notice a security fee is tacked on to your particular price. It's $2.50 for a one-way trip, $5 for a round trip.

The proposed changes -- look at the numbers and add them up -- $2.50 over here going one way, and it's over here, $5 if you're going for a round trip.

The proposed change would jack that fee up. It would more than double. It, in fact, would go to $5.60 for a one-way ticket and $11.20 for a roundtrip. Now, that may seem like relatively small amount if you're taking one flight. But again, if you fly many times during the course of the year, this could add up. Although supporters of this idea would say, as Congressman Ryan said a moment ago, look, let the people who fly the most shoulder the heaviest burden for the cause of the airline. That's their argument, Jake.

TAPPER: Tom, assuming that the House bill goes to the Senate, passes, goes to President Obama's desk, how much is this going to bring in?

FOREMAN: This deal if it is approved by the Senate. The bottom line on this is it is going to generate, according to the Congressional Budget Office, $13.4 billion over the next 10 years. That's a pretty good chunk of change. If you get all the flyers out there and you cash in on all of this, they will contribute a lot to this.

However, when the congressman said let's have just the people who use it pay for it, well, we already have schools of people who don't have students in school pay for it, things like that. We have a lot of things that are taxes where people pay for other people for the good of all and security is really about all of us. Not just people using part of it. That's going to be the argument from some of the people pushing back against this.

And just because we were curious about it, we decided to do some math of our own. And look at this, if you added one penny to the comment of every gallon of gasoline based on all the gasoline that sold in 2012, over 10 years, you would get exactly the same amount of money, Jake. So, I'm sure that these debates will go on even if the Senate does approve this, because there will be the constant fight of revenue in this country, where it should come from.

TAPPER: Very interesting. Tom Foreman, thanks.

Higher fees, that doesn't even take into account the higher fees that the taxpayers might see because of airline mergers and the like. That's another subject for another day.

Still to come, this sign language interpreter is being called a fake but he says that's not true. He'll give his side of the story to CNN.

Plus, an "IDEA" that will make your wallet a lot lighter and guess what? That's a good thing.


TAPPER: What if you were convicted of a crime you didn't commit? What if no one believed you were innocent? Not even your son?

Tonight, the incredible story an innocent man sent to jail for killing his wife and his fight to clear his name. Watch CNN Films "An Unreal Dream" tonight at 9:00, right here on CNN.

The sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela's memorial who has been called a fraud around the world for allegedly making up gibberish signs is now blaming the incident on a schizophrenic hallucination. Thamsanqa Jantjie told "The Associated Press" he saw visions of angels flying into the stadium during the event and that he's had a history of violent incidents in the past.

But in a separate interview with CNN's David McKenzie, Jantjie defended his performance and claimed that his schizophrenia was the inspiration for wanting to become an interpreter.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What sort of disability do you have? THAMSANQA JANTJIE, MANDELA MEMORIAL INTERPRETER: Me, I'm suffering from schizophrenic which is controllable and under -- I'm under treatment.

MCKENZIE: Can you show me some of the signs?

JANTJIE: What are you --

MCKENZIE: Well, I don't know the signs.

JANTJIE: -- people that I was interpreted for them through all this, they said I'm not -- I'm like, I'm speaking rubbish. But if I was speaking rubbish and then there was nothing that had been done and then it is only now when something has been done and then I must again make another sense, you want to me what? You want me, maybe our problem is that (INAUDIBLE), you want me to call me what?

MCKENZIE: No, I'm just asking if you can show me some of the signs.

JANTJIE: No, no, no, let's be realistic.

MCKENZIE: But people have complained before when you interpreted for President Zuma before.

JANTJIE: Listen. Listen. I've never, ever in my life have anything that I've interpreted wrong. You can go through all the media of South Africa, been interpreting through all the media of South Africa. Even if you can see my portfolio, I've been (INAUDIBLE) for a very long time. Not single ones I'm interpreting it wrong, wrong interpreting.

MCKENZIE: Who employed your company for this?

JANTJIE: That one is a question of my company to answer it.

MCKENZIE: But it was an ANC, government event. So presumably someone from the government employed them.

JANTJIE: I've told you that I cannot talk on behalf of anc. I cannot talk on behalf of government. I am here on behalf of interpreters. People that should answer that question --

MCKENZIE: We couldn't find any sign of SA Interpreters in the phone book, anywhere. They said there's no, where's the company based?

JANTJIE: You should ask yourself the same question.


TAPPER: How could a self-described schizophrenic who says he was having hallucinations be allowed to stand just feet from President Obama and a host of other dignitaries?

Mary Ellen O'Toole is a former senior profiler with the FBI. She joins me now.

Mary Ellen, you just saw this man defending himself, defending his performance. Many calling him a fraud.

Do you think he could have been a security threat?

MARY ELLEN O'TOOLE, FORMER SENIOR FBI PROFILER: Oh, I definitely think he could have been a security threat. This is what we call in the BAU and the Secret Service calls it as well, a threat assessment.

You ask, does this person pose a threat, for example, to President Obama? And what you do is you have to go into their background and you look at criminal behavior. But you look at mental health history.

Mental health history alone is not enough to say he's a security risk, but what he's saying is he had hallucinations and as he described them, he had hallucinations. He was hearing voices. He was seeing angels. He was feeling threatened. He was feeling in a situation where it was dangerous.

He could have acted out in a very violent way towards whoever was standing next to him. Does that make him a security risk? Absolutely, it does.

TAPPER: Is there any way the Secret Service or FBI could have known this? We know that when you go to a foreign country, things like the interpreter and the security really is left into the host country's hands.

O'TOOLE: Right. And I got to be honest with you. The Secret Service are wonderful at threat assessment. I mean, those folks are really, really good.

But if your hands are tied and the vetting process is done by the people in the host country, then there is no use to even run Mary Ellen O'Toole's name in the data system in the United States if I spent my entire life in South Africa or another country. I'm not going to pop up.

So, if any process was done over there, but from all indications, that vetting process really compromised the security.

TAPPER: A lot of people in the deaf community and those who are hearing challenged were very offended by this. I interviewed Oscar- winning actress Marlee Matlin yesterday on the show. Here's what she had to say.


MARLEE MATLIN, OSCAR-WINNING ACTRESS (translated): Each language shares facial and presentations and to see someone standing there with no movement, no facial expressions that one incorporates into sign, indicates he has no understanding of the culture, no understanding of the language. I knew exactly right then and there he wasn't authentic at all. And it was offensive to me.


TAPPER: Matlin and thousands of others spotted him as a fraud immediately. Some of those people took to social media that moment.

Is that something that the FBI would have been paying attention to?

O'TOOLE: Well, we certainly will be paying attention to it at this point. I don't know if people were looking at it at the time, but here is what's important to point out. Was his skill set substandard, below par? It certainly could have been based on what experts are saying.

But the real question for the Secret Service and for the FBI, we address a different concern and that concern is did he pose a threat, a security risk to President Obama and the other world leaders? Not whether or not he was a good signer.

But here's a point I think --

TAPPER: No, but it's not that he was a good signer, it's his signs were non-sense.

O'TOOLE: Well, here is something to take a step further is that if you have someone who presents -- who is really a fraud and they don't get vetted, if the Secret Service is not doing the vetting at the FBI, and they are able to get in there, then the question is -- why are you going to this trouble to commit this fraud to stand next to the president? Who else is involved? And maybe the signs are really indicating to other people to take some kind of action.

So, when we vet people over here -- I mean, we do a very thorough process, particularly if you stand that close to someone like the president of the United States.

TAPPER: Lucky that nothing happened.

Mary Ellen O'Toole, former senior profiler with the FBI, thank you so much. We appreciate your time.

Coming up next, a new idea that puts your credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, gift cards, everything, on one card.


TAPPER: Well, according to George Costanza, a fat wallet is a good thing. But over the years, the notion has evolved from a stack of bills into an even larger stack of debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, loyalty cards, basically, a lot of plastic.

A new idea aims to change it up once again with a single coin, possibly making your fat wallet a thing of the past.

Dan Simon has the story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a coin.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's an idea that makes sense. An electronic credit card, Visa, American Express and all the rest can be stored, gift cards and reward cards, too. It even works at the ATM.

The device won't be available until next summer. But demand is already off the charts. Presales shattered initial expectations just minutes after this company video went viral.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a business launch, so I'm going to expense it on the business card.

SIMON: So, we went to the company's small San Francisco office.

(on camera): In terms of thickness, it's the same as a credit card.

(voice-over): To meet the guy that came up with the product called Coin.

KANISHK PARASHAR, FOUNDER AND CEO, COIN: We feel like we might have built something people love, and that excited us and gave us purpose.

SIMON: Kanishk Parashar says Coin evolved out of a previous startup that failed. It was a payment solution that involved no cards, just smart phones, but the fact is he says people like cards, and there is no learning curve. The price will be $100, but for those who ordered early, it will be half.

(on camera): What do you think is the very best thing about this product?

PARASHAR: I think the very best thing about this product, is it improves what you already use.

SIMON (voice-over): This thing along with the company app is used to get the card's on Coin and a toggle switch allows you to select the card you want.

PARASHAR: That's Visa, that's Discover, that's Master.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five is the much positive rail.

SIMON: The company says it has built in protected features, it's paired with your phone. So, if the two get separated, you'll receive an alert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See that? The coin uses a low power Bluetooth signals that know when your phone is near and when it's not.

SIMON: There is a work around if your phone battery dies or you lose it.

Still, some might be skittish given the potential security risks. It's also not clear how the credit card companies themselves will feel about it, and whether they will embrace Coin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, $29.29, please.

SIMON: Same goes for merchants.

But this idea of combining the old with the new may for the first time actually allow you to ditch your card-filled wallet.

Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.


TAPPER: And our thanks to Dan Simon.

Thanks for joining us. I'll see you tomorrow starting at 4:00 p.m. Eastern on "THE LEAD".

"AC360" starts right now.


Tonight, breaking news. Word than an uncle of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, has been executed just days after being stripped of his post. He wasn't just a relative. He was Kim Jong-un's mentor. At one time, his number two guy, the second most powerful person in the entire country is now being called a traitor to the nation.

Also tonight, a sensational murder trial screeches to a halt before closing arguments even begin. Why the newlywed accused on pushing her young husband off a cliff eight days after the wedding cut a deal with prosecutors.

We begin, though, tonight, keeping them honest, with new details about the sentence that many are calling a miscarriage of justice.

Sixteen-year-old Ethan Couch, that man young there, killed four people while drunk driving, but got off this week with no prison time at all. His lawyers argued and the judge agreed that Couch was a victim of his family's wealth, a victim of something a doctor called "affluenza," what we know is a completely, well, basically a made-up term.