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U.S: Many Of 223 Kidnapped Girls Already Gone; Plane Crashes into House in Colorado; America Split on Forcing Clippers' Sale

Aired May 5, 2014 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next, hundreds of girls kidnapped and sold into slavery. Tonight, we hear from the man responsible.

And breaking news out of Colorado, where a plane has just crashed into a home. We are live.

And is the NBA profiting from Donald Sterling's racist rant? Yes. You heard me right. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, we begin with breaking news on the abduction of hundreds of girls in Nigeria. This is a story we have been following here OUTFRONT. The United States saying tonight it believes that many of the 223 kidnapped girls are no longer in Nigeria. The terrorists that took the girls admit they are selling them into slavery. The leader of that terror group, Boko Haram, made this horrific claim today.

Relatives say those girls could be sold for $12 a piece. They were taken by members of Boko Haram. The name of that group means western education is sinful. That was back on April 14th in a school in Nigeria. We have been reporting on the story as it has gained the world's attention. Crowds rallied today from Washington, D.C. to London.

And the #bringbackourgirls has been trending on Twitter around the world. President Obama has been briefed on the situation, but has not spoken out publicly. Today, the White House spokesman, Jay Carney was the one to do so, saying the United States is offering its support.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is an outrage and a tragedy, and we are doing what we can to assist the Nigerian government to support its efforts to find and free the young women who were abducted.


BURNETT: American officials, though, also tell CNN it's up to the Nigerian government to take the lead in any rescue operations. Sources at the Pentagon tell OUTFRONT there is no plan right now to send American troops or assets into the country because the Nigerian government has not asked for help. Isha Sesay is in Nigeria tonight. Isha, do people there, the city I know on the cross roads between the north and the south of Nigeria think that those girls will be found?

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Erin. As I've gone around speaking to people and examined local media, I haven't gotten a sense that people have given up hope that these girls will be found, even though three weeks have already gone by and there's not been any sighting of them, you know, any confirmed sightings. I think the overwhelming feeling on the ground here in the place I was in before I got here today is the overwhelming feeling of frustration.

Frustration that the government has not shed more information about their efforts to find the girls and frustration that the president when he spoke in his first on-camera comments, which he made on Sunday, he said that the Nigerian government have no idea where these girls are.

This is a very religious country. It is a very prayerful country, and what we're getting and hearing over and over again is that people continue to pray in the hope that these girls will be found and reunited with their families -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Isha, please stay with us. We'll be back with Isha in a moment. I've traveled to Nigeria to cover its positive story, it's one of the fastest growing economies on earth, and the negative story, the story of the underwear bomber was from the Muslim- dominated north of Nigeria and since then, Boko has gotten stronger, more vile, and more ambitious.


BURNETT (voice-over): A nation changed April 14th, the night terrorists posing as soldiers arrived at a school in Northern Nigeria, telling 276 girls, gather, to take their O-level or high school graduation exams that they were Nigerian military.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We thought they were soldiers and they asked us to board a vehicle, which was headed towards Zimboa and my friends and I jumped from the vehicle and ran back home because we realized they don't look innocent to us.

BURNETT: Abubakar Shekau is the leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group, Boko Haram. In an hour long video posted today, he took pride in kidnapping the girls, who may be used as sex slaves. This is not the first terrorist abduction of schoolgirls by Boko Haram. In at least one other incident this spring, up to 25 girls were taken.

Sources tell OUTFRONT Boko Haram militants also kidnap girls individually from their homes. They are sold and never seen again. The atrocity with the girls, the most brazen in a series of horrific acts by Boko Haram, which has burned people alive in churches and mosques and carried out other unspeakable attacks. In one attack, militants murdered more than 180 people in one day. One businessman in Nigeria telling me after years of thinking of Boko Haram with disgust and resignation, quote, "I am finally scared now," and the president of the country is slow to move. A source tells me that his wife just this weekend was still in denial, telling a group of women the abduction of the girls was a hoax, a story created to make her husband look bad on the eve of Nigeria hosting the important world economic forum meeting of rich and powerful dignitaries.

In fact, it took President Goodluck Jonathan three weeks before he addressed the nation about the attack and they may not see them. One former Nigerian government official tells me he believes many of the girls already are out of Nigeria, possibly sold at sex slaves in Chad and Cameroon.

The same former government official telling me soldiers -- adding to questions whether the Nigerian military can rescue the girls, something Nigeria's president, obviously, doesn't want to think about.



BURNETT: Nigerians I spoke to are unanimous in saying Boko cannot be stop without foreign help. Tonight, the Pentagon says the Nigerians have not asked for help. Joining me now, former supreme allied commander in Europe for NATO, Retired General Wesley Clark, associate director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center, Seth Jones, and Issa Sesay, of course, back with us as well live in Abuja tonight. General Clark, can the United States do more to help?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK (RETIRED), FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER EUROPE: Certainly. I mean, first of all, we have intelligence, we have overhead imagery. We can listen and monitor what's being said. We can provide training and assistance. We could do something to help. Maybe not immediately get these girls back. That depends on where they are, but we have reached through that part of Africa and Boko Haram is becoming an increasing threat, not only inside North East Nigeria, but to its neighbors as well.

BURNETT: Seth, this kidnapping was on a grand scale. As I was reporting there, there have been other abductions of girls. This has been an ongoing problem, but it's the sheer headline of this that's gotten people's attention, but the truth is Boko has been doing horrific things for years, slitting people's throats, burning them alive, but the united states only designated them as a terrorist organization a few months ago, in December. Why did it take so long?

SETH JONES, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENSE POLICY CENTER, RAMD CORPORATION: Boko Haram has not been conducting a lot of attacks against the U.S. homeland or against U.S. interests, including embassies overseas. It's primarily threatening the Nigerian government and some of the countries, including France, in the region. Without that direct threat up until now, we haven't seen a U.S. respond like this.

BURNETT: General Clark, do you think that the United States is going to get involved? Are these girls even findable? The people I've been talking to in Nigeria are saying they think they could be in smaller groups, groups of five or ten, that there would be a miracle there was some group of these girls unscarred from the horrible fate that awaits them.

CLARK: I'm sure they've been broken down and maybe they have been hustled out of the country, but the United States will provide assistance if it's asked by the Nigerian government, but as the White House said, the Nigerians have to take the lead. If they have to come in and ask for it, they are proud nation. They have not been eager to ask for U.S. involvement. They want to handle their own matters, and they should. But in this case, they probably aren't capable.

BURNETT: You know, Isha, it's interesting, look, we do want to do this on our own but we need help. This is sort of the proverbial straw that they want to get that help, but I'm really curious when you're talking to people on the street, do they feel that need for help or do they feel, no, we want to do this ourselves?

SESAY: No. When I speak to people on the streets, they are very, very clear that the Nigerian government needs help in the situation. That, of course, that feeling strengthened after hearing from the president yesterday that they have no idea where these girls are. Now, it is worth adding that we did speak to the Nigerian foreign minister this evening, and she said quite bluntly that they need help. They need help and they are willing to take help from anyone in the international community that is willing to give it. You know, the question of capacity, how capable is the Nigerian government to tackle this threat on their own.

You know, the Nigerian president again in his comments yesterday said, listen, we're underequipped, we need to train more, we need to recruit more. I think the Nigerian president even saying on the one hand we can do this, really acknowledging that this is a hard hill for them to climb and they need help.

BURNETT: General Clark, what about this issue, you know, as the sources were telling me that the Nigerian military has to draw lots to fight Boko Haram, that over the past few years they have been, at best, undertrained in terms of doing this, but also afraid because of the horrific nature of the attacks these militants pull off. Is there any sense that this could have spiraled too far and gotten too out of control?

CLARK: Well, of course, there's concern about this, and for years the Nigerians have participated in peacekeeping training, peacekeeping exercises, and so it's not that they have no military capacity, but like all these African militaries, if they are not used, trained, exercised properly, they don't have the right schooling, there are problems. And Nigeria is a nation which has historically been endemic with corruption. A lot of that oil money that comes in is siphoned off, so the military, like other institutions and like other economic developments, is historically underfunded in countries like this.

BURNETT: All right, thanks very much to all three of you, as we continue to cover that story and hope that some, if not all, of those girls can be reunited with their families in spite of the atrocity they may be enduring at this very moment.

OUTFRONT next, the search for Flight 370. Have they been looking in the wrong place the entire time?

And then a major beef recall, an illicit affair going on at the plant. The government is investigating tonight because of our reporting.

And breaking news, we're going to show you pictures right here of a plane crash in Colorado. We are live at the scene.


BURNETT: New developments tonight in the hunt for Malaysia airlines flight 370, which is entering a crucial new phase. On Wednesday, experts going to begin a painstaking review of the information that they have collected in the first 59 days of the search, that includes data from the Bluefin-21 drone, which 150 miles of ocean floor and so far has failed to find a single shred of evidence.


CMDR. JAMES LYBRAND, OCEAN SHIELD MISSION COMMANDER: What happens if you get a metallic object on the floor, it will look shine, for a better word, greater than the sea floor, which is mainly silt, and when they do, the analysis of what the AUV has seen, you can resolve down to less than a square meter. So the guys are looking at it very, very closely. S what we do know now, is that we know where it's not.


BURNETT: What we do know now, as we know where it's not.

All right, OUTFRONT tonight, CNN aviation analyst Arthur Rosenberg and CNN safety analyst David Soucie.

One of the more depressing things, Arthur, I've heard in awhile. I mean, what really here at this point where they are going back to square one and saying we're going to go through every single piece of data upon which we have built this case.


BURNETT: That's sort of shocking after 59 days.

ROSENBERG: And they should.


ROSENBERG: Here's the bottom line, they put out their a-team that had the highest degree of confidence where they were looking. The a-team struck out. You now need to field a new team.

Now, this new team has to take a fresh, new look at the Inmarsat data, the radar data, and the ping data. And in very general terms, I've maintained that these three separate analyses all coalesce and get you to the same area. It's either an incredible coincidence, or a plausible explanation of where this plane is located.

BURNETT: All right. David, let me ask you, though, because this all does come down to, I know you're pointing to the pings, as well, right, which is a fair point. But ultimately to that Inmarsat data, and what I've never understood, why not at some point release the data, release the calculations upon which you build your case.

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: You know what, I think that's right. But you need to release it to people who can do something with it, or you're going to spend a lot of resources investigating things that are bad leads. You have to qualify who it is doing the analysis. There are some great teams. I've been working with some teams online doing some crowd sourcing on our own and it's working out great and there's pieces of data missing.

BURNETT: What is that, the crowd sourcing online, where is that leading you to?

SOUCIE: Well, what was leading me to is that it is good data. With this last preliminary report when it said 40 degrees at the last minute, they said well, this is a 40-degree angle of (INAUDIBLE). We didn't have that information before. Maybe some people might have, but we sure didn't. And that 40-degree angle tells us that arc is legitimate. It tells us without even talking about the Inmarsat data, it tells us that arc is real. That's where they get the arc from.

So that's very important information to have and makes us much more confident in it, makes me more confident in it. And as you said, they coalesce into one. But back to the tools, I'm not sure they had the right bat, you know, the team.

BURNETT: You're talking about the Bluefin.

SOUCIE: Yes. The Bluefin was the wrong tool for where they were. They had the right tool for the one spot where that one ping was. What they couldn't do is going north and look at deeper areas and that's what they are fighting now.

ROSENBERG: I would say it a little bit differently. I look at the Bluefin as a microscope. A microscope is no better than the slide that you're looking at. The slide, which is the section of the ocean that they were investigating with the Bluefin was now, we know, probably the wrong area.

BURNETT: Arthur, you just contradicted yourself. As a lawyer, you should have heard that. You said the pings and everything led you to this one spot and now you're saying you're looking at the wrong spot.

ROSENBERG: But spot is defined as a very broad area.


ROSENBERG: If you change the slide with a Bluefin and you now have the right slide, you're can see everything that you want to see. So what's going to happen now? Just to take off on what he said, now they are going to bring in new tools of investigation. The new tools, which I've always maintained, are the deep towed side scanning sonar units. They are more of a binocular view, they give you a broader view, which is what we need. And then having scanned all that, then if you want to bring a Bluefin in to fine tune it under the microscope, that's how you do it.

BURNETT: But here's the stats, 26 countries, 300 search flights, 1.7 million square miles of ocean, 59 days, it's sort of stupendous. If it does turn out we weren't looking in the right place. And I know you both think we are and everyone agree, that's pretty much where the data coalesces, but if we weren't, holy cow.

ROSENBERG: And that's why I say, I take a little bit of exception with what you said on the Inmarsat data, OK. I think you have to divide Inmarsat into two things, the raw data and the analysis. The magic of the Inmarsat analysis was this Doppler burst mode phase shift, where they compared it to other 777s and came up with the same Doppler fingerprint. We need to see that. By having only a select group of people, you know, the AAIB, the NTSB, the Aussies, it's not enough.

BURNETT: Final word.

SOUCIE: The Inmarsat data was analyzed by Inmarsat. I talked to people that did that, I'm familiar with them we've used satellite data for years. I think they've come up with something. I think they know it works and I have confidence in that.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.

And still to come, last week we told you about one of the largest beef recalls in history. Tonight, because of our report, the department of agriculture is investigating.

And the NBA, guess what, go to their Web site, because they are selling t-shirts inspired by Donald Sterling. You would pay them to buy that t-shirt, obviously. Appropriate?

And a plane has just crashed into a home in Colorado. We are live.


BURNETT: Breaking news, the department of agriculture looking into our exclusive report on one of the biggest meat recalls in history. Nine million pounds of beef pulled from thousands of store shelves because it may have come from cows who have cancer. The agency telling CNN it's now looking into the inspector's behavior.

And Chris Frates is OUTFRONT.

So Chris, how is the government responding to all of this exclusive reporting that you did?

CHRIS FRATES, CNN INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Well Erin, I'll tell you, a USDA spokesman and responded to our story saying quote "the USDA is conducting a thorough investigation into personnel issues related to this case." Remember, we reported last week that a USDA inspector was having an inappropriate romance with a plant foreman at rancho feeding corporation. That's according to sources who also told us rancho processed cancerous cows and hid the evidence.

The USDA's response is more than we usually get from that agency. The USDA has made a practice of referring reporters' questions to a U.S. attorney who is conducting a criminal investigation. And that inability to get answers has also frustrated a local congressman, whose district includes the old rancho plant.


FRATES: Are you talking to the U.S. attorney here, as well?


FRATES: And what have you heard?

HUFFMAN: Crickets.

FRATES: Crickets. So the congressman can't get a call back from the U.S. attorney?

HUFFMAN: Correct.

FRATES: Have you ever seen anything like this before?

HUFFMAN: No, I haven't. This is radio silence from the federal agency that did something very significant in my district that is affecting lots and lots of people, and I've never seen anything quite like it.


FRATES: So what happened inside that plant, Erin, is pretty surprising.

Federal officials believe rancho processed cancerous cows when government inspectors were not there, and after they were slaughtered, hid the warning signs of cancer, trimming off diseased parts, using a fake stamp of approval, and replacing the heads of sick cows with healthy ones. It's not clear which employees were involved, though.

BURNETT: I just -- every time, you know, I see you using that image again, it's horrific. I mean, what more have you been able to find out about how this could have happened, about this elicit relationship between the foreman and the inspector?

FRATES: Well, federal officials familiar with this investigation tell me the U.S. attorney's office is looking into this relationship, but so far they haven't connected it to the recall. But a federal law enforcement source tells us that charges against rancho's former owners have been decided, so I think we're going to learn more very soon, Erin.

BURNETT: All right, Chris, thank you very much.

And, of course, that was Chris's exclusive reporting OUTFRONT.

And next, a Texas judge under fire for questioning whether a rape victim was a victim.

And breaking news, a plane has just crashed into a home in Colorado. We are going to go there live. It's a pretty miraculous story.


BURNETT: And breaking news we are following in Colorado. Right now, a plane crashed into the home in the town of Northglenn. It's about 12 miles north of Denver.

You're looking right now at a live picture. This is footage from our affiliate KDVR. You can see the smoke billowing out around the plane, complete destruction there with that house. Firefighters are desperately trying to clear the scene.

Ana Cabrera joins me now on the phone.

And, Ana, when you look at this picture, I mean, you would certainly think that everybody on that plane would have died, you would think anyone in the home probably would have died. What can you tell us?

ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): You certainly think the worst, but miraculously, we're told, the pilot walked away from this crash and nobody was in this house when the crash happened, which, of course, is amazing when you look at these pictures of the plane. You can see it looks like it crashed right into the middle of the back of the house, burst into flames. Firefighters now have the fire out. They are still on scene putting out some hot spots, but really all that's left of that airplane is the shell.

You can see the tail there sticking out. You can see it sort of lodged on its side, flipped upside-down. Again, this is just north of Denver.

We did get additional information within the last 20 minutes from the FAA spokesman telling us this is a Piper PA-25 Pawnee. So, a very small plane. It was towing a banner when it started to experience some kind of trouble.

He says the pilot was able to escape, parachuted to safety, and again, no serious injuries, but why the plane ended up so low, how it ended up plunging into this house, of course, that's going to be part of this investigation that's just now getting under way.

But again, everybody at this point looks like everybody is OK, Erin.

BURNETT: That's pretty incredible. Now, I guess, when you say parachuted, makes a little more sense, but I mean, wow, to get that timing right and survive.

I want to bring in Shanna Rudd now. She was driving nearby and saw the plane go down. She also joins me on the phone.

Shanna, I don't know if you heard our reporting saying, you know, the pilot walked away, was able to parachute out. What did you see happen?

SHANNA RUDD, WITNESSED PLANE CRASH (via telephone): Well, I was actually on 112th and Huron and the plane was right above me and it was so low, the banner was about 200 feet off the ground. And the nose was straight up and it was just teeter tottering.

And my husband and I looked at each other, there's something seriously wrong. And it started going back north and it looked like it was going back up, and then it turned south and that was it.

BURNETT: And did you see it strike the ground, Shanna, did you see the pilot parachute out?

RUDD: I did not see him. I did not see that at all, but I did see the plane go down and the smoke afterwards.

BURNETT: And you must have just had a horrible feeling.

RUDD: It was so scary. I've never seen anything like that before.

BURNETT: All right. Shanna, thank you very much for telling us exactly what you saw.

Just incredible story, and looks so horrific, but no one was home and the pilot parachuted to safety.

Well, outrage in Texas tonight. A judge is under fire for sentencing an admitted rapist to just 45 years in jail, five years probation after he sexually assaulted a 14-year-old. Judge Jeanine Howard told "The Dallas Morning News", the victim, quote, "wasn't the victim she claimed to be and implied she was promiscuous after reviewing the girl's medical records.

Howard has recused herself from the case, also said 20-year-old Sir Young is not your typical sex offender, after he confessed to raping the freshman girl when he was an 18-year-old high school senior.

Craig Watkins is a Dallas district attorney, begins our coverage OUTFRONT tonight.

And, Craig, let me just start by asking when you got a 45-day sentence here, people find that shocking, and then you have the judge making statements like this, that the girl was not the victim she claimed to be, that Sir Young is not your typical sex offender.

CRAIG WATKINS, DALLAS DISTRICT ATTORNEY: You know, I think it's unfortunate. We have a hard enough time prosecuting these types of cases and having victims come forward, and when we have a judge that makes these types of statements, it deters those individuals who become victims of crime to come forward. And so, we're outraged, you know, by the statements made by the judge, and also outraged by the sentence that the judge gave the defendant. BURNETT: And let me ask you, because the judge talked about this not being a typical rapist, and let me just tell you why, because his defense attorney earlier said on CNN, look, this was an 18-year-old high school student, very talented, very gifted, had scholarships at a couple of universities, describes him as having had a relationship with the 14-year-old girl, had had previous conversations with her about having sex, and apparently, according to him, she agreed to that but didn't want to have it on school premises.

Is there any such thing as this person is not your usual rapist?

WATKINS: Well, obviously, the defense attorney in this case did a very good job of convincing this judge that this defendant didn't need to be sentenced appropriately. We believe that's unfortunate. We presented evidence that showed that this defendant needed to actually go to prison. In fact, we had asked for 10 years of prison time for the crime that he committed. Not only did he commit this crime, but it was committed in a public place, in a high school.

And so, you know, we are at the point it boggles our mind that the judge would not only give him probation, but also blame the victim for what happened to her in this case. And not only blame the victim, but not put at least the normal conditions of probation on this defendant.

BURNETT: All right. I want to add Jean Casarez into the conversation, she's also an attorney licensed to practice in Texas.

I mean, Jean, what amazes me, I think about it, I know people in college who were raped in college, how one would say that because this kid had scholarships to college, he's not a rapist is really hard to understand.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that can be used as a mitigating factor at sentencing. The defense can bring out anything to say, your honor, it's two to 20 years, we're asking for deferred adjudication.

And another fact, I just got off the phone with the defense lawyer, because I wanted to understand some facts in this case.


CASAREZ: He said that the defendant waived his right to a jury trial. The prosecution agreed to that, so at that point, there was going to be a trial by the judge. The judge was going to determine the facts and the law. In Texas, under the judge determining that, there is a chance of adjudicated, deferred adjudication, so that was always a possibility in this case, and lo and behold, the judge agreed under the confines of the law and the facts that she was going to do that.

BURNETT: Craig, what's your feeling about that? I mean, is this sort of, well, they made the decision, this is how it's decided, this is then fair, this is what the system did?

WATKINS: Well, you know, as the district attorney of Dallas County, we always put our faith and trust in the judges that we have on the bench. Unfortunately, this judge chose to do something that was -- that will basically damage our community for a long time. This individual actually admitted that he committed rape. It was not a contested hearing. The only issue that we have to deal with was punishment.

And so, from our perspective and the fact that there was an admission that this person committed this crime, we thought that the judge would be a little bit more responsible in her approach to making sure that our community was protected.

BURNETT: Jean, does this surprise you this was a female judge?

CASAREZ: A female judge with two daughters, by the way.


CASAREZ: And, you know, what the district attorney is saying, the statement by the defendant now a convicted felon is absolutely horrific. He talks about how I wouldn't stop and I wouldn't stop, and he talks about blood in his statement, and it is quite dramatic.

On the other hand, I guess the accepted responsibility to the fullest extent of the law, at least in his statement.

BURNETT: What about the sentence, when you hear Craig talking about they wanted ten years. I mean, is that -- is that appropriate? Does that stop a boy from doing this again? Does that stop another boy somewhere else from raping a girl?

CASAREZ: That is the question, what is appropriate. If you really look at all of the conditions, and I've read them all, he's going to be a registered sex offender. So for the rest of his life, everywhere he goes, graduate school, trying to get a job, he's going to have to put down he's a registered sex offender,

So that is the type of punishment, for the next five years, he's going to have to spend 24 hours in jail on the date that he raped her, he's going to have to go to counseling through the registered sex offender program, so there are aspects to this. Would he be better off just sitting in a prison somewhere, or having to do these things that he has to do, and he can't violate any law in five years.

BURNETT: Craig, what's your take on that? If you put him in jail for 10 years, he's not going to finish school, not going to finish college, not going to be able to get a job. This seems to be something that would enable him to theoretically become a functioning member of society, even though he's going to be a registered sex offender.

WATKINS: You know, I understand a young individual may make a mistake. Unfortunately, this was one that dealt with rape, but what is misunderstood is that the judge did not even place those conditions upon him where he has to basically go to counseling. Normally in these types of cases, there's an assessment done, and the judge waived that requirement to make a determination of what this young man needs to move forward so he can be rehabilitated. BURNETT: All right.

WATKINS: And so, we are appalled that not even that she required that sex offender assessment be done, so we can rehabilitate this individual.

BURNETT: All right. Thanks to both of you. We appreciate it.

Please, let us know. Do you think -- especially when you hear the details from Jean, that this is an appalling sentence or something that's fair?

Still to come, should Donald Sterling be forced to sell his team? America, much more divided than you probably think.

And a fiery exchange between a candidate and a reporter.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just wrote down blah, blah, blah, blah, for everything Jo Rae said. Jo Rae is a respectable woman. Why are you not respecting her by writing, "blah, blah, blah" on your note pad?



BURNETT: And now, let's check in with Anderson with a look at what's coming up on "AC360."

Hey, Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Erin. Yes, we have breaking news tonight on the program. Two veterans groups tonight calling for the resignation of the head of the Veterans Affairs Department -- this man, Eric Shinseki -- over allegations that V.A. hospitals had secret waiting lists. It's a story we've been reporting on for quite some time, including this hospital in Phoenix. And the vets died waiting for care.

Tonight, our senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin, who has been keeping them honest from the beginning, joins us from Washington, live outside V.A. headquarters, with his report, on efforts just to get Secretary Shinseki to answer his questions. For months we've been trying. He's been dodging us.

Also tonight, my exclusive interview with Michelle Knight. She is, as you know, one of three women that escaped from the Cleveland apartment, Cleveland home, where she and Amanda Berry and Gina Dejesus were held for more than 10 years in hellish conditions. Her message, you can survive anything with tremendous strength, and she has tremendous strength.

It's a fascinating, revealing conversation. You don't want to miss that. That's tonight on "360", all at the top of the hour, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Anderson, I'm really, really looking forward to seeing that interview, thanks.

And tonight, should Donald Sterling be forced to sell his team, the Los Angeles Clippers? Now I don't know. I might have assumed you felt a certain way, but then this poll came out, a CNN/ORC poll, and it shows that this country is split, 60 percent of NBA fans said, yes, he should be forced. When it comes to the public at large, though, only 41 percent think that he should be forced to sell the team.

Don Lemon, Steve Adubato, media analyst, and our legal analyst Sunny Hostin all join us.

OK, can I just ask, like little things. Put up your hand if you were not surprised by that poll.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm not surprised by it.

BURNETT: You're not surprised. Why -- of course. Don --

LEMON: I'm not surprised. Are you surprised?

BURNETT: I was surprised. I thought people would support it.

STEVE ADUBATO, MEDIA ANALYST: I see a pattern here.

LEMON: When you look at the civil rights movement, people didn't overwhelmingly support that, either, but people don't realize is that Donald Sterling has a contract and I don't think you should take people's property away because they're idiots. But when you have a contract, you must abide by a contract.

BURNETT: Well, that is a rule of law in the country.

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that is true. But I think the contract actually is less than clear as to whether or not the NBA, based on his views, can force him to sell.

But I got to tell you, I wasn't surprised, because I think people are uncomfortable with the notion that you're having a conversation with someone, you believe it's a private conversation, and based upon that conversation becoming public, you can lose your property.

I, myself, even as an attorney, even as a person of color, I'm uncomfortable with it.

ADUBATO: I may be uncomfortable from a legal point of view.

BURNETT: This is the slippery slope point of view that Mark Cuban. What if he made a comment about another person or about a woman or about a homosexual and then all of a sudden, you become --

ADUBATO: I get it. Here's the catch -- legally, I hear it. I understand people looking at that, and this woman, V. Stiviano, who we'll talk about in a minute, I get creeps thinking about a lot of the things she is and has done and I'll share that later.

But on this, I got to tell you something, practical business issue. The business issue is this, those players won't play for him. The fans won't go to the games. Sixteen sponsors have left the Clippers. It's a business bottom line issue.

And Rochelle, his wife, they are creeped out by her, too. This is a business issue here.


LEMON: -- out there saying, we're in partnership with him and we're not comfortable with how he --


LEMON: This particular issue. And guess what? I'm not uncomfortable with the fact it was recorded in his house. I don't have conversations like that in my house personally with anyone. So, if you have those feelings, if you're saying things like that, even in the privacy of your own home, then you have problems.

HOSTIN: And I hear you. But to piggy back on that, the issue I have on that is he is an owner. It is his position.

And so, if you have those views, don't tell me those views somehow have not seeped into the way you've run your business and how you treat your employees, and that's where there's been all those discrimination lawsuits against them.

ADUBATO: And let's not kid ourselves. The NBA should not be surprised about this. The Clippers should not be surprised. And the bottom line is this, what people may not understand about this, folks, I get you're turned off about how some of this happened.

But the reality is, bottom line, business, you cannot have players, disproportionately African-American and those who are not black who are sensitive to the reality of what players and others face. But they're not going to play for this guy. They shouldn't play for him.

LEMON: We have to point out, though, that the NBA supports the decision of the commissioner.

ADUBATO: Not officially yet, Don. They haven't voted yet.

LEMON: No, the people that they asked. The NBA fans, the NBA fans, they asked.

HOSTIN: But in terms of the owners, and I've been saying this from day one, I want that vote to be public. I want it to be transparent because if I am a fan or an NBA player, I want to know who voted and who did not.


BURNETT: I don't want to be called a racist. In you vote in favor of this guy, you're going to be called that.

HOSTIN: I think you're going to be surprised. ADUBATO: My opinion, it has to be unanimous. And whether it's public or not, every one of those owners will have to go along. And I'll tell you why -- if an owner does it and even if people think they go along, the fan base, the sponsors, and the players most importantly. I don't think they would play for it. They will not play for an owner who did not go along challenging Donald Sterling on this.


LEMON: Everyone is saying it's a family. He's not going to keep the team because if he keeps the team, nobody is going to play for him.


HOSTIN: Shelly is the major player no one wants to talk about. She has come out and said as a co-owner, I'm supportive of this decision.


ADUBATO: I think he made a mistake. She does not get a past because she has history.

BURNETT: I want -- let me ask the question about the whole issue that started this. The conversation about who she was seen with, who was she was taking pictures with, who she was at games with.

She gave this interview to Barbara Walters. You know, wonderful thing for Barbara Walters in her final few weeks to get this big interview. Here is what she said.

LEMON: On "The View."

BURNETT: On the --



V. STIVIANO: On occasion when Mr. Sterling wasn't there and I was attending the games, people would call him and tell him that I brought a certain amount of people, and that they look like a certain way. They would say negative things like V. brought gangsters or V. was hanging out with thugs or V. was hanging around with bad women, or with fat women.


LEMON: Code word for black people.

BURNETT: The word "thug", which I know you are very passionate about this.

LEMON: A certain kind of black person. That's the code word for a certain kind of black person.

HOSTIN: Although how does Magic Johnson fit in there? LEMON: Magic Johnson is not that kind of black person. So --

ADUBATO: Here's my view it.

LEMON: In his eyes.

ADUBATO: I have my view on this, but here's the other the reality: the Clippers -- let's face it. I look at this as a PR branding thing. Magic Johnson sitting at courtside with V. Stiviano does a heck of a lot for the clippers brand because they're the number two team in Los Angeles. The Lakers are number one.


BURNETT: All the celebrities and --


ADUBATO: Sorry, for interrupting, you have Magic Johnson sitting there. It's the best day for the Clippers.


LEMON: Magic Johnson is not going to go -- you go to any basketball, any NBA game. It's like a Benetton ad. You see all kinds of people. This guy is clearly out of his gourd and she is, too, if she thinks he's not racist. So, I'm just saying, and that is a code word for a certain kind of black person, N-word, thug, gangster, yes.

BURNETT: And still to come -- blah blah blah. I'm not talking about you.


BURNETT: How those words led to an all-out fight, also caught on tape, ironically. Jeanne Moos is next.


BURNETT: A politician scolds a reporter because of something he wrote on his note pad, not even in the actual story.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you think the news is a bunch of blah blah blah? Well, in this case you're right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I called you out for putting blah blah blah on your notepad.

MOOS: Five Republicans were being interviewed by an Oregon paper "Willamette Week", the only one not present Jo Rae Perkins was on speakerphone. When she gave one Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Nigel Jaquiss evidently considered to be a rambling answer, he got nabbed by another candidate.

MARK CALLAHAN (R), OREGON STATE SENATE CANDIDATE: You want to talk about disrespect, I see what you're writing there down. You just wrote down blah, blah, blah for everything Jo Rae said. Jo Rae is a respectable woman.

MOOS: Now, whether you prefer to say blah, blah, blah or yadda, yadda, yadda --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We went back to my place, yadda, yadda, yadda, I've never heard from him again.

MOOS: -- it's no fun getting caught saying it behind someone's back.

CALLAHAN: You put down blah, blah, blah when Jo Rae was giving a detailed and descriptive answer.

MOOS: But the interviewers moved on.

REPORTER: Climate change. Do you believe it's a myth or reality?

CALLAHAN: It's a myth.

REPORTER: Where are you on the Easter bunny?

CALLAHAN: What's that?

REPORTER: I said, where are you on the Easter bunny?

MOOS: That's where the climate really changed and candidate Mark Callahan started quoting "A Few Good Men."

CALLAHAN: Are these really the questions that I was called here to answer?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are these really the questions that I was called her to answer?

MOOS: The newspaper's editor warned the candidate they might ask him to leave.

REPORTER: That's two strikes.

CALLAHAN: Who do you think you are?

REPORTER: OK, you may leave now have. Go ahead.

MOOS (on camera): The newspaper's editor didn't think his reporter's blah, blah, blah was disrespectful. He did think the Easter bunny crack went a little too far.

MARK ZUSMAN, EDITOR, WILLAMETTE WEEK: I do turn to Nigel and say, now that was disrespectful.

As a reporter, Jeanne, how often have you listened to an elected official or candidate for office who said something that was completely vapid, and you have said to yourself, not to him, blah, blah, blah.

MOOS: There was nothing boring about how this blowup ended.

CALLAHAN: Disrespectful, things getting liberals like yourself --

REPORTER: There's the door.

CALLAHAN: I have better things to do with my time.

REPORTER: You clearly do.

MOOS (voice-over): The moral of the story, maybe OK to sing it. But better not write it down.

CALLAHAN: You just wrote down blah, blah, blah.


MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --

REPORTER: Where are you on the Easter bunny?

MOOS: -- New York.


BURNETT: Anderson starts now.