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Donald Sterling Slams Magic Johnson; U.S. Planes Join Search for Nigerian Girls

Aired May 13, 2014 - 08:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome once again to NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, May 13th, 8:00 in the East.

If Donald Sterling was looking for redemption, he probably did not help his chances last night. In a CNN exclusive, Sterling took another shot at Magic Johnson, if you can believe it, questioning his place as a role model and how much he thinks Johnson's done to help the black community.

NBA's commissioner is responding, responding quickly, making it clear that he won't stand for Sterling's remarks. Despite his apologies, Sterling made things worse for himself.


DONALD STERLING, OWNER, L.A. CLIPPERS: Here is a man who -- I don't know if I say this. He acts so holy. I mean, he made love to every girl in every city in America and he had AIDS. And when he had those AIDS I went to my synagogue and I prayed for him. I hoped he could live and be well.

I didn't criticize him. I could have. Is he an example for children? You know, because he has money, he is able to treat himself.

But Magic Johnson is irrelevant in this thing. What has he done? Can you tell me? Big Magic Johnson, what has he done?

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, CNN'S "AC360": Well, he's a businessperson. He --

STERLING: He's got AIDS. Did he do any business -- I like -- did he help anybody in South L.A.?

COOPER: I think he has HIV. It doesn't actually a full-blown AIDS.

STERLING: What kind of guy goes to every city and has sex with every girl and then he catches HIV? Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about?

I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background. But what does he do for the black people? He doesn't do anything. You call up and say, well --

COOPER: He's opened a lot of businesses in inner city neighborhoods.

STERLING: The Jewish people have a company and it's for people who want to borrow money with no interest. They want to give them a fishing pole.

We want to help people. If you don't have to money, we loan it to you. If you don't have interest, one day you will pay us back.

I'm just telling you, he does nothing, it's all talk.

COOPER: Are you saying that African-Americans don't contribute to African-American communities as much as Jewish people do?

STERLING: There's no African-American -- never mind. He's a good person and he -- what am I going to say? Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don't think so.

But I'll say it. I'll say it, you know. He's great. But I -- I just don't think he is a good example for the children of Los Angeles, that he would go and do what he did and then get AIDS. I mean, come on. Jews, when they get successful, they will help their people.

And some of the African-Americans, maybe I'll get in trouble again, they don't want to help anybody. What has Magic Johnson really done for children's hospital? Which kids are lying in the hallways? They're sick. They need a bed. What has he done for any hospital? What has he done for any group?

I don't know. Maybe he's done a lot.


CUOMO: Let me guess. You're shaking your head right now, right? So was the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver who responded to Sterling saying, quote, "I just read a transcript of Donald Sterling's interview with Anderson Cooper, and while Magic Johnson doesn't need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this and be degraded by such a malicious, personal attack. The NBA board of governors is continuing with its process to remove Mr. Sterling as expeditiously as possible."

I want to bring in .AC. Green. He's a retired NBA player, a great at that, and a former teammate and friend of Magic Johnson.

A.C., the first thing to get to this morning is that Shelly Sterling, obviously, the estranged wife of Donald, spoke this morning about what she thinks about what her husband had to say about Magic Johnson. Let's play that for everybody.


SHELLY STERLING, ESTRANGED WIFE OF DONALD STERLING: He's not the man I know, or I knew. There's something wrong. I really think personally, he has dementia. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some people look at that and think, maybe you're making excuses for him.

SHELLY STERLING: No. I don't make excuses for anybody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you shed any light on what he said about Magic Johnson?

SHELLY STERLING: Why would he bring Magic Johnson into the issue about what's happening now? I mean, that's where I feel pity, because he couldn't get all the dots together. He couldn't connect the dots.

I'm very angry, and I'm very hurt, and I've even cried listening to that, because I just feel bad.


CUOMO: What do you make of that, A.C.?

A.C. GREEN, FORMER NBA PLAYER: Well, I feel bad, too, at what Mrs. Sterling is saying, I echo her comments.

I don't necessarily know Donald Sterling like a personal friend but I tell you what, the dots are definitely not connecting. I am appalled by just hearing the statements that he made about my friend Magic Johnson, my former teammate. And talking about behavior that was 20- plus years ago, obviously, the man is totally changed. He is everything that Donald Sterling was saying he's not doing, public will tell you that Earvin "Magic" Johnson and his wife Cookie are doing in various communities across our country.

CUOMO: Well, look, I think the good news is, to few people, this has anything to do with the truth, it has just to do with this one man, Donald Sterling. Notably, to actually blame Magic Johnson for his fight with HIV. I haven't heard anything like that in 20 years. Have you?

GREEN: No. No, I haven't, and that's exactly the point. I mean, I think there's the just -- there's something haywire upstairs in Mr. Sterling's mind. So his reality is definitely clouded.

You know what? If anyone needs pray right now, it is Mr. Sterling who needs it, because no one really understands what's going on in his mind. I mean, I think the gentleman, what I understand, is pretty much living, quote/unquote, "in a box" in Beverly Hills feeling he can't come outside of his own home because of what the public really feels about him at this point in time in Los Angeles.

CUOMO: He just made the worst case for himself that he could, probably. Let me ask you. You know Magic. Is there any chance along allegation, a suggestion without proof, right? And Donald Sterling makes one.

GREEN: Right.

CUOMO: He seems to be suggesting that magic somehow knew this woman in his life and somehow got him to be recorded and baited and to say these horrible things in some type of gambit, maybe to help get access to the team.

Do you have any reason to believe any kind of scheme like this is existing?

GREEN: That is such a farfetched story. I mean, if Magic really wanted to go and try and buy another, another sports team, let alone the Clippers, I don't think he's going to have a problem doing that as Mr. Adam Silver has said, he's a friend of the NBA, a lifetime friend of the NBA. He can make that call to the commissioner and find out what team is available, and if it happens to be the Clippers, it happens to be the Clippers.

He doesn't have time for that petty type of stuff to really go on and try and come up with some concoction to take the Clippers away? I mean, that really doesn't make any sense.

CUOMO: To your knowledge, does he have any type of relationship with Donald Sterling to say, be quiet about this and I'll help you out. Just be quite for a couple of weeks. To your knowledge, do they have that kind of relationship?

GREEN: Well, I think there's a business relationship and a mutual respect for the things that they've done and what they're trying to do in L.A. itself. But I'll tell you what, I can see Magic reaching out to Donald Sterling and trying to help him and trying to understand the situation.

But I'll tell you what I also think. I think once he found out exactly sort of what has been said and assess what the damages really were done at that time, I wouldn't have called Donald Sterling back either.

CUOMO: And, you know, so if anything, he would be reaching out to help, but you don't think he was in any way plotting against Donald Sterling?

GREEN: No. I have -- there's nothing within me that would think magic would ever think about plotting against Donald Sterling. That's just ridiculous, honestly.

CUOMO: Now, your friend has tweeted, look, I want to talk about the playoffs. After this, I don't want to talk about Sterling anymore. How wounded is it to be reminded of his fight with HIV? Obviously, a life or death struggle and to be talked about this way by an owner of the NBA.

What impact do you think it has on Magic John Johnson?

GREEN: You know, look, Magic's a successful father, husband, businessman, respected figure in our community as well as just across this world. And to have at the same time, really, a colleague, someone that you do respect, because you have to go to battle with, you, in a sense, you do some similar things in the community, but to have someone say -- that you have a sense of relationship and a level of respect for say something like that, I mean, honestly, that is so far below the belt that I know Earvin well enough, that he can forgive him and he will forgive him, he will move past this but this is a call for a low blow and, like I said, it has no merit whatsoever.

So why would a person have to dig up something so many years back that has no relevance to 2014? I just don't get it, but then again, no one gets Donald Sterling these days.

CUOMO: One thing we know for sure for all the questions raised by this interview is that, if Magic Johnson or anybody else wants to buy the Clippers, it looks like it will be available.

A.C. Green, thank you very much for joining us. Pleasure to meet you.

GREEN: Thanks, Chris. Appreciate your time.

CUOMO: Oh, yes.

All right. So, Magic Johnson, obviously, unfortunately forced into this situation. What is his actual take? You heard from his friend right there. You're going to get to hear from him directly. Anderson is going to sit down with him in a CNN exclusive with the NBA legend tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on "AC360."


BOLDUAN: Turning now to a stunning scene at a home in New Hampshire as it literally explodes and it happened on live TV.

The blast coming just moments after a deadly shoot-out with police. Now authorities are trying to simply figure out exactly what happened here.

Don Lemon has been taking a look at it -- Don.

DON LEMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You look at that video, it is unimaginable and happened in the town of Brentwood, about 25 miles from Manchester, New Hampshire. Police were dispatched to investigate an altercation between a father and his son.



LEMON (voice-over): This violent explosion tearing through a New Hampshire home is leaving police puzzled and adding to the mystery just moments before the massive explosion -- a man in the home shot and killed a police officer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just felt the explosion. We looked at each other. We really got to get out of here.

LEMON: Officer Steve Arkell was responding to a call of domestic disturbance when authorities say Michael Nolan fatally shot him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officers arrived and a short time later the home was engulfed in flames and then exploded.

LEMON: According to neighbors, Nolan lived in the home with his father. Neighbors also saying that a loud argument could be heard before the blast.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You could see our house. We saw the explosion go up and stuff blow over to our house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not only did we hear it, we saw it simultaneously. Very frightening.

LEMON: The cause of the fire and explosion are still unknown. A frightening scene leaving this neighborhood on edge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All the cops came, SWAT team, people there walking around house with machine guns. It was just scary, scary, scary.


LEMON: Frightening.

Well, police believe the suspected shooter died in the fire. Officer Stephen Arkell leaves behind a wife and two teenage daughters. It's an awful story.

BOLDUAN: Awful story and important to rep the family left behind. Thanks, Don.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, American planes and technology, part of the mission to get back the girls kidnapped in Nigeria. Meanwhile, new video of them just released. We're going to show it to you as well as the calls for their release and asking for negotiations by the men holding them.


LEMON: Well, in a terrible situation, there is a little good news. The United States is front and center in the search is for nearly 300 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls. American spy planes are now in the skies over Nigeria hoping to somehow find a spot to zero in on a location the girls may be and help determine whether it really is them in a new video that was released by Boko Haram.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian army arrived in the town where the girls were taken.

Let's bring in Vlad Duthiers. He's live from Abuja, Nigeria, this morning.

What's the latest, Vlad?


Well, in addition to the U.S. assets you pointed out that are helping with surveillance, with reconnaissance, they're also going to be doing some intelligence gathering and even providing hostage negotiation techniques for the Nigerian government. We're learning now after speaking to parents in Chibok, that a group of military officers arrived in the town yesterday, Monday -- eight pickup loads of them in the town. A lot of residents still not trusting the military will be able to get the job done on their own but this is a welcome sign.

In addition to the startling video released yesterday, which purports to show not only the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, offering to negotiate with 100-plus girls you also see in the video, which he says of the girls that he's kidnapped. Nigerian government, Chris, are saying that they are prepared to look at all options to secure the release of these girls -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Vlad, thank you so much.

Let's continue the conversation and let's focus on the video and how to get those girls back.

With me once again is retired Army Major General James Spider Marks, a CNN military analyst, and, of course, former commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center.

Spider, let's lay ought, once again, where we're talking and why it poses such a challenge to finding these girls, not only talking a month later.

We're looking at a map of Nigeria. The two capital cities, Lagos, Abuja, and the town where the girls were all taken from. Where is the Boko Haram influence greatest? Is it all over Nigeria?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES MARKS (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: No, it's not all over Nigeria. Now, certainly, when you talk about influence, it's only presence, where is their presence but also where is their influence, their ability to touch.

BOLDUAN: The fear of them.

MARKS: Absolutely. That's all over Nigeria.

You got it, and, in fact, it is expanding throughout the world right now. We're talking about it.

But in terms of physical presence, it's primarily in what I would call kind of the upper two-thirds, most importantly in the Northeast, which is really the desert region of Nigeria, as compared to what you see along the coast, which is the oil exploration takes place. This is an area that would be entirely easier to get to in terms of intelligence collection, because it's not forested. You're not down there on the coast where there's some natural cover.

So, this is an area where we can gather good intelligence and we can acquire that intelligence through technical means which is what we're doing now. It's a layering effect. We have satellites, we have air breather aircraft, we have UAVs, drones that are being flown.

The key issue, Kate, at this point is to try to get some sources, some folks on the ground. Not U.S. folks but indigenous, locals, that are willing to risk getting up into that area to further build the picture of what's taking place.

BOLDUAN: Because as you look at the map, you can also see why there is a big concern amongst, especially U.S. intelligence officials, that the girls have been not only split up, but also maybe moved into the neighboring countries. Chad, Cameroon, Niger, right?

MARKS: Absolutely correct. These are -- there are borders that are established, they're not well-recognized or certainly policed. If the United States was going to do anything, we have a presence in a number of neighboring countries, and if we were going to try, if we had the authorization, the good intelligence and we had the authorization --

BOLDUAN: Let's show that presence. These are specifically some of our main bases where we have drones that can help with that aerial surveillance.

MARKS: Correct and that's exactly right. We have presence, reship, able to operate before. If we were going to do something in northeast Nigeria, we wouldn't do it. We wouldn't stage from southern Nigeria. You go to some place like Chad where you come across the border very quickly, do something precisely.

Intelligence is fleeting. We don't want it to be late. So, if we have a good picture what's going on we want to act as quickly as possible.

BOLDUAN: And you were mentioning before, it's not only important to have the drones in the air, to have the aerial surveillance to try to find the girls, or some indication where, their captors, but also to have eyes on the ground to corroborate them?

MARKS: Absolutely correct. You never want a sole source of intelligence, Kate. You want to verify it through other means.

Clearly, the best and most precise picture we're going to paint if it has all of these different forms of intelligence, human intelligence, imagery intelligence to get from satellites. Signal intelligence. These folks communicate. You want to be able to break into signals and break it down and get a better sense what they're doing.

BOLDUAN: Let me all -- when you take all of this into account, Spider, let me get your take on the fact Nigerian officials have said everything is on the table what they'll do and can do to get the girls back. We know that in the video where we finally saw some of the girls we believe for the first time since they've gone missing, the supposed leader of the group said also, you're not going to see them again until you release our brothers that you have captured.

But then top of that, layer in the United States as policy does not negotiate with terrorists. Does that pose a problem for our involvement --

MARKS: Oh, sure.

BOLDUAN: -- in this search?

MARKS: Well, first of all, yes. Short answer is, yes. The United States does negotiate with terrorists. We can qualify that.


MARKS: But this is the Nigerian government negotiated --

BOLDUAN: This is their deal?

MARKS: This is absolutely their deal. The United States is in a support-type role but we have great capabilities that we bring forward, and the key thing not only is the intelligence, but with our Special Forces presence, albeit a small group of folks, they have what's called a command and control capability where they can fight beyond their weight. There are more capabilities that can are brought in and controlled by that small group of incredibly talented young Americans, that would really help clarify the situation on the ground.

But any time you're talking about a hostage release, it really is a matter of weighing the risk. You're going to give something up, get something in return. If you have incredibly grotesque people coming out of jail, we know immediately what they're going to -- this is recidivism. They're going back to their bad behavior and they're going to go join the ranks of Boko Haram. That's not a good outcome.

BOLDUAN: That's not a good balance. But these girls' lives hang on the balance as well.

MARKS: Absolutely.

MARKS: Yes. I mean, we all are on the same page on that.

Spider, great to see you. Thank you so much.

The focus should remain, of course, on how to help these girls and how to help girls all over the world. How can you help? Go to You can do your part.


CUOMO: All right. Thanks for getting the word out, Kate.

Coming up on NEW DAY, music's first couple hits a sour note. What had Beyonce's sister trying to pummel Jay-Z? Good thing their bodyguard was there. We're going to show the video and see what you make of it.