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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Classified Bergdahl Briefing Just Wrapped Up; Two Police Officers Shot Dead In Las Vegas Restaurant; Comedian Tracy Morgan Still In Critical Condition
Aired June 9, 2014 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: Next, breaking news, the entire House of Representatives was just briefed on Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's controversial release. We're going to hear from members of Congress who just walked out of that classified briefing.
Plus, what we're learning about a Las Vegas couple who went on a killing rampage. Did their political beliefs lead them to kill?
And just in, some brand new video of the moments right after the crash that left actor, Tracy Morgan, in critical condition. How he's doing tonight and what we know about the driver who slammed into him. Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Ashleigh Banfield in for Erin Burnett tonight. And breaking news OUTFRONT tonight, just moments ago, top Obama administration officials finished briefing the entire House of Representatives on the prisoner swap and the release of U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Behind closed doors, the administration made its case for the trade. One American soldier for five Taliban officials.
It is a deal that certainly has created a lot of firestorm, a lot of controversy for this administration, and it's also raised some concerns from both parties on a number of fronts. Not discluding the proof of life video that helped -- that officials say helped them determine Bergdahl's life was at risk.
The charge that the Obama administration broke the law when it failed to give Congress 30 days' notice before releasing those five Taliban officials from Guantanamo Bay. And the possibility that those officials will return to the terror battlefield.
Our Dana Bash is on Capitol Hill tonight with all of the details. So they've just walked out. Brief me, tell me what went on. What did they hear?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Listening to a lot of lawmakers, they said they heard a lot of what they've been hearing from us in the press, which made many of them very unhappy, but I think the one thing that several members said that upset them the most is that these administration briefers said that there were 80 to 90 members of the administration who knew about this swap and nobody in Congress did, at least the leadership and on down knew about it. And that made a lot of these lawmakers that we talked to very upset, including the armed services chair in the House, Buck McKeon, so that seems to be news, particularly in the context of how frustrated Democrats and Republicans have been and the idea, as you said, Ashleigh, that many believed that the law was broken in not giving Congress, never mind 30 days, but any hard notification this swap was happening.
Let me just give you an example of some of the frustration that we heard from lawmakers in a conversation with Adam Kinzinger, Republican from Illinois.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL), FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: We heard nothing except continued excuses about why they didn't come to Congress. I didn't get a good answer as to why five high ranking Taliban were traded and why that was a good deal. And so I think people probably are leaving there even more disappointed than they walked in.
BASH: Sounds like you are?
KINZINGER: Yes, yes, I expected something, but I got nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Expected something but got nothing. I should say, as you can imagine, things do tend to get partisan here and this is no exception. I asked one of the lawmakers about the kinds of questions that happened inside this meeting, whether or not there were Democrats as frustrated as Republicans. It turns out the vast majority of the questions among these House members to the administration briefers were from Republicans.
Demanding answers, not just on the fact Congress wasn't briefed, but also trying to get more information about the conditions of this swap. Many lawmakers who I talked to afterwards say they simply, again, didn't get anything more than what we've already known in the public.
BANFIELD: Well, that's frustrating. Dana Bash live for us on Capitol Hill, thank you for that. We are also learning some brand new details tonight about Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's five years in captivity, as well as his recovery. Bergdahl is telling medical officers that are treating him that he was tortured, that he was beaten, that he was held in a cage.
According to "New York Times," he was held in a so-called shark cage in total darkness, possibly for weeks, even months. Bergdahl, who is now in the midst of his second week of treatment, so far refusing to acknowledge that promotion that he got while he was being held, the promotion to sergeant, though he has started to wear his military uniform. That according to "The Times."
And we also know that he has still not spoken to his family. Although officials say if he wants to, he is certainly allowed to. OUTFRONT, Roy Halloms is an American contractor who was kidnapped in Iraq in 2004 and spent 311 days in captivity, and Dr. Alan Hopewell was the chief of psychology at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and that's where Bergdahl is currently being treated.
Allen, I first want to ask you, with your background and knowing the protocol that Bergdahl's going through right now, nine days and still no contact with any of his family members. To me this seems exceptional, but I don't have your training. Is it exceptional, or is it normal?
MAJ. ALAN HOPEWELL (RET.), FORMER CHIEF OF PSYCHOLOGY, LANDSTUHL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: In my experience, it's quite exceptional. Thank you for having me on, Ashleigh, and I've really never seen anything like that with any of the patients that I've examined before.
BANFIELD: It would seem to me healthy, again, I don't know your business, but it would seem healthy at some point, at least within a few days, to acknowledge or communicate even if it's just mere minutes, with a member of your family.
HOPEWELL: Well, normally it would be. My father was actually a prisoner of war for two years in Germany. We have a research group, there were 10,000 prisoners at that one camp, we don't know of a single instance where any of the POWs at the first available moment wouldn't contact their families.
Of course, in those days you had to be back in the states to write or telephone, but frankly I've never heard of that. It's unusual and raises a question that there's some issue there that he deliberately or doesn't want to speak to them because, certainly, he would be allowed to if he could.
BANFIELD: And I'm going to press that in a moment, but first, Roy, you've got insight here, 311 days with no contact with anyone including your family. What was the first thing you wanted to do when you were rescued?
ROY HALLUMS, AMERICAN HELD HOSTAGE IN IRAQ FOR 10 MONTHS: Well, after I was rescued, I wanted to call my family to let them know that I had been rescued and I was OK, and making that phone call was originally delayed because unbeknownst to me, the psychiatrist thought it was better if I waited awhile, but after I complained, within about six hours, I was able to call my family.
BANFIELD: So, Alan, that seems like the natural reaction. What circumstance could exist that would be the legitimate reason for a nine-day delay for this young man speaking with his family?
HOPEWELL: As far as the medical team, I can't really think of any reason, again, it would be extremely unusual, so there must be something with Bergdahl himself, where he's reluctant to talk to them. And we can only speculate what that is, but, obviously, if you're reluctant to speak to your family, then there's some issue or some difficulty or something that you don't want to say to them or explain to them or have to explain to them. BANFIELD: But you don't think this is in some way a protection mechanism for his family? We can only guess the condition that this young man is in and would it be possible that the medical experts are trying to protect his family from being exposed to that?
HOPEWELL: I doubt that seriously, as the other gentleman said, one of the doctors may want to delay it a little while, but for some reason, but I've never seen anything like that delayed day after day, and I can't think of a particular medical reason for that. Obviously, people have testing to do, but everybody I've ever worked with or evaluated, we've -- that hasn't been an issue. They've contacted their family the first chance that they wanted, and I've been through an attack myself, that was the first thing I wanted to do. Nobody would stop us from doing that.
BANFIELD: Roy, I want to ask you, a Taliban source has told CNN that the treatment of Bowe Bergdahl after there were these reports of torture and the shark cage, et cetera, wasn't quite perhaps what the reports seem to indicate, that instead he'd been given fruits and vegetables, that he was allowed to celebrate Christmas and Easter. Does that sound like the kind of treatment, having been a prisoner yourself, that is realistic?
HALLUMS: No. That sounds ridiculous. I mean, we're talking about a gang here that's holding a human, like I was, and I was held in a cage. The food was terrible. You know, I don't know what kind of food he had, but to come out and say the hostage you're holding has been treated well, that's ridiculous to me.
BANFIELD: Well, I appreciate both of you and your insight, Roy Hallums and Alan Hopewell, and I hope we get to talk under different circumstances and hope this young man is able to speak to his family soon for his sake and theirs. Thank you to both of you.
OUTFRONT next, the entire House of Representatives just briefed moments ago about Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's controversial release. Two of the people who were in that classified meeting are going to join us live.
Also, some disturbing new details about that married couple who went on a killing rampage in Las Vegas this weekend. Did their anti- government views actually lead them to do this?
And is Hillary Clinton out of touch? Some comments about her personal fortune have some who are against her certainly making that loud and clear.
BANFIELD: A chilling picture is emerging of the angry couple accused of killing two Las Vegas police officers and an innocent bystander before killing themselves at a Walmart. Authorities say 31-year-old Jerad Miller and his wife, Amanda, may have bragged to their neighbors about their plan to kill and then when it came time to carrying out their deadly plan, they acted alone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASST. SHERIFF KEVIN MCMAHILL, LAS VEGAS, NEVADA: We do believe that they acted individually. We certainly believe they are connected to a certain ideology, which is antipolice and anti-government, but as of right now, we have not been able to find any additional links or any additional suspects.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Our Stephanie Elam is OUTFRONT live in Las Vegas. What more are we learning about this awful attack?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's really just brutal, Ashleigh, when you look at the details here, just cold-blooded murder around 11:30 in the morning on Sunday when this couple, the officers believe they may have walked from their apartment until they got to this restaurant here in Las Vegas. There were two officers enjoying their lunch break, and then apparently Jerad Miller, that's the name of the man they've released, that is the male suspect in this case, walked in, saw the officers, left, came back with his wife, Amanda Miller. And behind the head shooting one of the officers at point-blank range and then shooting the other officer in his neck.
The two officers that passed away, Igor Saldo who is 31-years-old and another Alyn Beck who is 41. Both of these officers were married with young children. But after killing them, that's not where they left. Now, take a listen to what police said they found on these two officers' bodies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASST. SHERIFF KEVIN MCMANHILL, LAS VEGAS, NEVADA: Immediately upon the shooting are finishing, the suspects pulled the officers out of the booth and on to the ground, where they placed a Gadsden flag, which is a don't tread on me yellow flag on the body of officer Beck and they also threw a swastika on top of his body.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELAM: And there were several people around in this restaurant, and also when the couple ran across the street to Wal-Mart and began shooting there, that heard the couple yelling that the revolution had begun. When they got into the Wal-Mart, Jerad reportedly shot a gunshot up into the ceiling, telling everyone to leave, the revolution had begun. At that point there was one man there that tried to take matters into his own hands and try to help out and that is the man that w now know has lost his life. His name was Joseph Wilcox and he was 31-years-old.
But as we look back, and more that we are learning about this couple, Ashleigh, we do know that they were at the Cliven Bundy rancher outrage. You may remember that a few weeks ago, when people were saying that the government was mistreating this man who wanted to farm his animals on some government-owned property.
Well, we have now learned that the ranchers actually threw this couple out because they said their ideals were too radical. We also know they had mush ammunition, a lot of ammunition in their backpacks that they have brought into the Wal-Mart with them. That it was clear that they did not plan on leaving out of there. So after they were caught in Wal-Mart, could not get out, they took each other -- well, actually the wife actually shot her husband and then she shot herself, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: Stephanie, you mention that third victim, Joseph Wilcox, you had a chance to speak to a couple of people who knew him. What did they say?
ELAM: I was actually able to speak to his sister. And also I was able to speak to his friend, who was with Joseph in Wal-Mart at the time. His name is Jeremy Tanner. And he was saying that he was conflicted, because he knows his friend did have a license to conceal and carry. He, himself, did not but he knew at that moment that he was the kind of guy who was going to try to do what he could and he says he's going to remember him as a hero. Take a listen to how he saw that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY TANNER, FRIEND OF JOSEPH WILCOX: I believe that he diverted their attention from shooting innocent, other innocent victims, to scaring them away to where they eventually went and hid and committed their suicide.
I wanted to tell him, don't do this, come with me, but I also felt that he's possibly going to be saving some lives and it all happened so quick. I think before I could get any words out to him, I started hearing gunshots and I just wanted to get out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELAM: And they also told me that Joseph really believed that guns are not the problem, that people kill people, guns don't kill people. And that he firmly believed that. And that he really thought that he could do some good and help out here.
Overall, everyone does see Joseph Wilcox as a hero and he lost his life trying to do that, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: Stephanie Elam live for us in Las Vegas. Thank you.
John Avlon is a CNN political analyst. He is also the author of "Wing Nuts, how the lunatics fringe of hijacking America" and he has written about this incident. He is also the editor in chief of "the Daily Beast."
You have spent a long time today on the Facebook pages of this two. What did you learn?
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: We learned that these folks are definitely influenced by politics, by extremist politics and politics of incitement, that echo chamber debate that you hear so much, where the federal government is a tyranny, fascism, which is why apparently they put the swastikas as well as Gadsden flag on the two police officers.
So, in some case of these shootings, we have seen mentally ill people with access to weapons. These folks were definitely motivated, however unhinged they were as well, by politics, by ideology. And that is the wages of this kind of divisive hatred movement we've seen in America.
BANFIELD: You said Hatriot, not Patriot.
BANFIELD: Yes. Specifically in the Facebook, you know, I am just going to call it ranting, because somebody who does this doesn't even have -- they doesn't deserve to be attached to any political movement. But was there anything that indicated that they were violent or that they were intending on avenging what they thought to be so unequal?
AVLON: Yes, the answer is yes. If you look at the Facebook postings from Jerad Miller in particular, he talks a lot of about deport of standing up to a tyrannical government, risking his life, being willing to die for a cause. They really said -- they said at the shooting they wanted to start a revolution. And this is the kind of rhetoric you hear a lot on the fringes. But if you look at his Facebook likes, I mean, they are from fringe organizations, militia movements like three percenters, to mainstream political candidates, he was a supporter of Ron Paul, and he like various conservative activist groups. But there's this ugly drum beat of divisiveness, of hate, that America is a fight between freedom and tyranny. They deeply drank from that rhetoric and then they executed on it.
BANFIELD: Are we not paying enough attention to this?
AVLON: These folks were not on, for example, on the southern poverty law centers, the hate watch database. These are probably relatively new recruits to this kind of movement. But it shows the way that when unhinged souls have access to weapons and they drink deeply to this kind of rhetoric, that they can explode, and this really was an attempt in their eyes to start a revolution. They have been gone with the Cliven Bundy ranch. They called it another Wako. All those folks that try to those politics of incitement that we see and talk about so much, they have a real cost and this is one example of that cause.
BANFIELD: By killing two innocent guys and then a third, all of them leaving young children and families behind. Unbelievable.
John, always good to see you, thank you. Wish it were under better circumstances.
Still to come, latest on actor Tracy Morgan's condition after this weekend's deadly car crash.
And also video of the moments right after that accident.
Also, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's family has been under attack. And now the FBI is investigating death threats, yes, death threats, against his parents. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BANFIELD: Some brand new video obtained by TMZ shows the immediate aftermath of the crash that killed one man and injured comedian Tracy Morgan. Kevin Roper, the driver of the tractor-trailer that hit the limo bus Morgan was riding in, has been charged with vehicular homicide and assault by auto.
Nischelle Turner joins me live now.
One of the reports that I heard early on, and they run rampant when this stuff happens with a celebrity, was that Tracy Morgan might lose his leg. I think this was being tweeted out by perhaps, some rap artist. Can you dispel any of this?
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's a good point, Ashleigh, because in this social media age that we live in right now, somebody tweets one thing and then it spreads like wildfire. And people start taking it as gospel and we're hearing tonight from Tracy Morgan's representative that that is, in fact, completely fabricated. Those are Lewis' case for --
BANFIELD: Thank God.
TURNER: He did put out, you know, a new statement tonight, and I'll read exactly from it. He said that Tracy remains in critical, but stable condition. He also said the concern for his well being has been overwhelming. But Megan, which is Tracy's fiance, is respectfully asking the media await official word through these channels, meaning him, before speculating on, mostly inaccurate, on his condition. Rumors about amputating his leg are completely fabricated.
BANFIELD: I'm so glad you got that dispelled. It was distressing to hear that. He is such an incredibly talented and beloved actor. The man who's been brought in on this, the Walmart truck driver, Kevin Roper, a lot of reports today about him being up for 24 hours and that this might have been the reason he was charged so quickly. What else do we know about this?
TURNER: You know, I read the criminal complaint today. We went and got that from the court house, obtained that case in the criminal complaint, it does specifically say that he's being charged with vehicular homicide and injury by auto because he was recklessly operating the vehicle. And they say this because he apparently said, and according to the prosecutor, had been up in excess of 24 hours, had not slept in more than a day. So in the prosecutor's eyes, they are deeming that as being reckless when operating a vehicle if you haven't slept in more than a day.
BANFIELD: I wonder if he just offered that up or had an attorney present. The lawyers that tell you, don't say anything till I get there.
TURNER: We do know he turned himself in on Saturday night. He was on $50,000 bail. He did get released, he did. And he was officially charged. He will be in court on Wednesday to answer these charges, Wednesday afternoon at 3:00, so maybe we'll get a little more information.
BANFIELD: Nischelle Turner, great job, thank you. And thank you for dispelling those rumors, because that's been upsetting all day.
Coming up next, breaking news, top White House officials just finished a briefing for Congress about Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's release. Two top ranking congressmen in the briefing room are coming OUTFRONT live next to say what they saw on the tape and what they heard from the administration.
And what some are calling Hillary Clinton's first slip-up and her campaign hasn't even officially started. You be the judge next.
BANFIELD: Breaking news: a classified briefing by the Obama administration to the entire House of Representatives and it just wrapped up not long ago. The officials are trying to quiet that growing controversy over why they agreed to trade U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban leaders.
Joining me now, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Republican Congressman Buck McKeon.
Congressman, thanks so much for coming out to talk to us.
So, quickly, after this meeting adjourned, listen, one of the details we're hearing is there were apparently 80 to 90 administration officials who were privy to the details of this swap, and yet the administration says they didn't brief you and Congress for fear of a leak. Is this sitting well with you?
REP. BUCK MCKEON (R-CA), HOUSE ARMED SERVICES CMTE CHAIRMAN: Thanks for having me, Ashleigh. It's disturbing because the number's a little inflexible. This is the second briefing I've had, and this time they were able to narrow it down to 80 or 90 people from various departments in the administration that knew about this or various parts of this, and yet not one member of Congress was informed.
And we passed a law last year that said that before they would transfer any prisoners out of Guantanamo, they would give us a 30-day notice. We got the notice Saturday after the exchange was made.
BANFIELD: Let me also ask you about one of these other details and forgive me sort of looking at these rough notes, as this meeting has just wrapped up, but I'm hearing that in your meeting, someone asked the question, who gave the final go ahead for this deal, and the answer came back, the secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel, not the president.
Is that accurate?
MCKEON: That was the last question asked, and the answer was Secretary Hagel, which kind of surprised me, because I did see the president out there with the Bergdahls, sounded like he was taking full credit for the operation, and now they are saying that Secretary Hagel made the decision, probably parsing of words or probably maybe now that there's a little pushback or, I don't know, I don't know who's in charge or who's making the decisions. It did seem to me that it was the president, and that was the emphasis up until this briefing, and now they are saying Secretary Hagel. So --
BANFIELD: With all due respect, Congressman, I'm not so sure that taking credit, if it's your secretary of defense, it's your administration. I suppose you could take all the credit you want, they did it as a team. But ultimately the secretary of defense is going to be appearing before the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. I'm assuming that you'll have some questions for him about this.
MCKEON: Oh, I'm sure we will.
BANFIELD: Like what?
MCKEON: Well, I haven't formulated all the questions yet. I just left the briefing.
BANFIELD: Surely something's got to be at the top of your head, because this controversy's been going on for nine days.
MCKEON: I'm very concerned about how many people knew about this when their concern was a leak, and it seems to me that they not only can tell us the exact number, they should be able to tell us the names.
My question to them was, if you don't know who knew, then how could you, if a leak had happened and the sergeant had been killed, how could you go back and find out who leaked?
BANFIELD: Yes, Congressman, let me ask you some details. When the videotape, the proof of life tape of Sergeant Bergdahl was first shown to senators days ago, many came out and talked about the fact he seemed drugged, they talked about the look on the sergeant's face, his health, but almost no one detailed what was on the tape, what were the circumstances, was he sitting, was he standing, were there people? Could you tell me at least what was on the tape?
MCKEON: He was sitting. I couldn't see anybody else in the film. I'm not a doctor, I'm not a psychologist. I don't know how --
BANFIELD: Was he talking?
MCKEON: No, just kind of mumbling. If he was talking, the volume wasn't high enough that I could hear.
BANFIELD: There was some descriptions there may have been cue cards or cards being held up. Did you see anything like that?
MCKEON: No, I didn't.
BANFIELD: So, ultimately, it was just a person on a videotape making some sound that was inaudible, is that the extent of the tape you saw? :
BANFIELD: And no other detail to it?
MCKEON: No. Very short.
BANFIELD: Was it convincing at all to you that perhaps this was an exigent circumstance, the failing health and perhaps the chance to get him would be -- the window would be closing?
MCKEON: Well, not to me, and I understand that Senator Coburn indicated that he may have been drugged. He is a physician, would be better able to make that judgment. I'm not prepared to make the judgment.
One of the questions I want to ask, though, is, did they have a physician, did they have a psychologist look at this, or did they -- somebody just made a decision based on that, or were other reasons for the decision? I really don't know, that's why we're having the hearing, that's why we're going to have an investigation into this.
BANFIELD: Congressman Buck McKeon, it's good to have you, thank you for taking the time. Do appreciate it, sir.
MCKEON: Thank you, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: And joining me now is Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, who just so happens to sit on the intelligence Committee.
Congressman, thank you for being with us.
I want to ask the same question to you that I did to Congressman McKeon about the notion we just learned 80 to 90 administration officials knew about this action to trade the five Taliban leaders, prisoners of Guantanamo, for Sergeant Bergdahl, and yet the reason that's been given by the administration for not sharing it with Congress, even though the law says they've got to be informed 30 days prior, was the leak issue. This doesn't seem to square.
What's your defense of this administration?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, I tell you, didn't sit very well with those of us listening to the briefing.
Look, I think the president had the constitutional authority under Article 2 to make this decision without consulting with Congress, but I think it would have been wiser, far wiser, for the administration to have notified, certainly, the leadership of Congress in the interest of having good relations and comity with a co-equal branch of government. So, they should have done it. It was a mistake that they didn't. And the fact that there were so many people within the administration doesn't help their case.
One other fact I'll raise is that most of the leaks that have taken place have come from the administration and not from Congress. So, they really should have brought at least the leadership within their confidence and I think that was a mistake.
BANFIELD: So, no defense from you, a Democrat from California, as we're hearing from other Democrats, as well.
Let me ask you about your position on the House Intelligence Committee, because Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN that the way to handle the circumstance we now find ourselves in, with respect to these five Taliban, you know, prisoners who have been released, is that if they, and I'm going to paraphrase, if they start behaving badly, we have weighed to kill them.
How, exactly how would this happen? Do we have a CIA agent posted to them 24/7 for the next year?
SCHIFF: No, we don't. We don't have that capability, but I think what the secretary's referring to is, if they go back and join the fight, and, you know, we have to be, I think, candid in acknowledging there is a risk certainly that they will, these were senior Taliban commanders, and a certain percentage of those who have been released from Guantanamo have rejoined the fight. What the secretary is saying is, if they rejoin the battlefield, we're taking a lot of their people off the battlefield and we may take them off the battlefield in a body bag.
BANFIELD: Then, how will we know? I hear you, and that's wonderful to say that, but ultimately, how do you get the intel -- since you're on the House Intel Committee -- how do you get the intel they've got nefarious actions in their roster?
SCHIFF: Well, you know, we have pretty good intel that will tell us if and when they rejoin the fight. We may not know precisely when they do, we may not know immediately where they are, but, ultimately --
BANFIELD: Congressman, do you know, are you aware, has anyone briefed you -- look, it's serious. These guys are in Qatar and no one knows exactly how free they are to go about their business and move about the country, how we're watching them and how we're going to determine how Americans will stay safe ultimately for the next year? Have you been briefed on how that will happen?
SCHIFF: Well, look, it's not possible to guarantee for sure that these people are not going to return to the fight. We'll have a better sense, I think, of where they are while they are in Qatar during the course of the next year. But after that, it's going to be very hard to track them, to trace them, and the fact is that there's no way to eliminate the risk. I think there are ways to mitigate the risk, but it is a real risk.
And that's why I think that this trade was such a difficult decision for the president, because there are real tradeoffs here. And anyone says no risk either to our troops who are making the trade themselves, who are put in harm's way, or the added risk of these people released that may rejoin the battlefield, I think can't deny that there is some risk. At the same time, it's good to have Bowe Bergdahl on his way
home, and we can't have 535 people in Congress making this decision. We have one commander in chief who's got to make the call, it was a tough call, and I respect the decision he's made.
BANFIELD: Congressman Schiff, it's good to have you. Thanks so much for being OUTFRONT tonight.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
BANFIELD: Be well.
We are certainly learning some more now about the death threats, yes, death threats that have been made against Bowe Bergdahl's family. The FBI has decided it's serious enough that they are investigating.
Senior law enforcement officer telling CNN that Bergdahl's father, Bob, has received threats in three e-mail messages and a friend of the family telling CNN that he's had voice mail messages, effectively suggesting, we know where you live and you need to leave town.
Ed Lavandera has been following the story. He's OUTFRONT live tonight.
Ed, what else have you been learning about this very disturbing side of the story?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of those intimate details of just how these threats were made and the exact content of those communications have not been made.
But a military spokesman had told us that all of this is being left up to law enforcement officials to investigate, FBI agents are looking into these threats, as well, but it is something that is very alarming to the friends and the people who have stood by the Bergdahl family here for the last five years and they are upset to see this, one local official calling these threats absolutely appalling.
And many people around here are asking those that are criticizing the family and Bowe Bergdahl to wait and hear their side of the story, and at least try to understand with so much criticism of Bob Bergdahl from some corners around the country, one family friend is saying try to stop and understand just what this man had gone through for the last five years and understand a little bit from his perspective.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW HOH, FRIEND OF BERGDAHL FAMILY: This is a man who immersed himself into it because he wanted to understand what his son was going through, and for anybody not to understand that, either, you know, either they have no children, or they have no shame, or they are so devoted to some ideology and political rhetoric that they are blind to everything else.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LAVANDERA: Ashleigh, this kind of goes to exactly what many
around here, especially those who have been close to the Bergdahl family for so long and watched them go through this ordeal, is that when Bowe Bergdahl was first released a little more than a week ago now, they thought this was going to be a jubilant situation and are in many ways stunned and upset by the way this has taken such a nasty and vile turn, at least in the public talking about this, it has really stunned and angered many people around here who have been close to the family.
BANFIELD: Yes, these are parents who have not been with their son for five years, never knowing if they are going to see him again.
Ed Lavandera live for us, thank you for that.
And still to come, Hillary Clinton under fire for comments about her personal fortune. Some are saying that she's out of touch with Americans. Is she?
And, the wedding photo that seems to have everybody talking. Jeanne Moos has this very fiery discussion, coming up.
BANFIELD: Tonight, the Republican National Committee says nobody could be more out of touch than Hillary Clinton. They are jumping on her response to an ABC News question about the combined over $10 million that Hillary and Bill Clinton earned making speeches.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt. We had no money when we got there and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for Chelsea's education.
You know? It was not easy. First of all we had to pay off all our debts which was, you know, make double the money because of, obviously, the taxes and debts and get houses and take care of family members.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: Did I say $10 million? $110 million is actually the real number.
OUTFRONT tonight, former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton's campaign, Kiki McLean, as well as Republican strategist (AUDIO GAP), and CNN political commentator Carl Bernstein. He is the author of "A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton." That came out in 2008.
Kiki, I want to begin with you. I suppose when you heard that comment, you knew full well that that was going to be fodder for the Republicans. Mrs. Clinton used the word houses -- the plural version which many Americans would hear and sort of think, holy molly. Isn't it fair that perhaps that's the criticism that comes out of
this? That that's somebody who perhaps isn't in touch with Americans in general?
KIKI MCLEAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: There's nothing fair with anybody to insinuate Hillary Clinton doesn't understand the struggle of a middle class family. He certainly grew up with one and she gave a statement of fact that when President Clinton and Mrs. Clinton left the White House they were dead broke. They have a life and a set of expectations that are different and they've been fortunate to make some money --
BANFIELD: But what does dead broke mean? I think it means dead broke.
MCLEAN: Well, I think, Ashleigh, I think she said it on the air. They were on debt, in deep debt. There were lots of bills to pay and I think that people who go big transitions in life had that experience.
And the reality is, to insinuate Hillary Clinton or Bill Clinton who spent their life fighting to grow a middle class and help people step into the middle class don't get that, they're just dead wrong is what they are.
BANFIELD: So, Rich, the RNC put out a statement saying that it was, quote, "laughable" to think that the Clintons were broke when they left the Oval Office. So, I want to bring up the "L" word. Are they suggesting that Hillary Clinton is a liar?
RICH GALEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I have no idea. I mean, anybody in this day and age that listens to either one of the national political committees for their talking points deserves what they get.
But I do -- let's take an example that I do know personally. When Newt Gingrich had to pay for the cost of the ethics investigation, he needed to borrow that money. He had been in public life for decades and he just department have the $330,000 in his checking account.
Today, of course, he's in a completely different situation but what I do think this shows isn't whether she is out of touch or in touch -- I have no idea about that. But what I think this does show is that there's a little bit of rust on Mrs. Clinton's kind of response activity. She was out of office. She didn't have to answer these kinds of questions when she was the secretary of state.
And I think in this pregame, pre-election season, she's going to make those sorts of mistakes. Republicans are perfectly legitimate to jump on them. Whether it changes any votes, who knows? But I do think it shows that she needs a little work.
BANFIELD: This is a really sought after interview an hats off to Diane Sawyer for getting it.
And, Carl, I want to ask you about one of the things that was brought up, and you know Diane Sawyer was going to go Benghazi on her. And she did answer. She -- when she was asked about Benghazi, she says she takes responsibility and Ms. Sawyer went right to the core of it and said, if she thinks that might be a reason not to run in 2016.
Have a look at her response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Actually, it's more of a reason to run because I do not believe our great country should be playing minor league ball. We ought to be in the majors. And I view this as really a part from even, diversion from the work that the Congress should be doing about the problems facing our country and the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: So, score or no score?
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: She hit that out of the park. But the real thing is, is that this roll-out of her campaign and this book is running circles around the 24/7 media. She's got us deep in the weeds, talking not about the big picture, not about who --
BANFIELD: Right? People put out a book before they announce they're going to run.
BERNSTEIN: Look, she is generous in this culture, in the world. She's the most famous in the world. She's an icon. She's a phenomenon. She is going to be judged differently.
She doesn't want us to know certain things about who she really is and I don't mean anything nefarious there. She is a very guarded person. I found in doing this book, I spent about seven years on it, that she is a remarkable, fascinating, spontaneous person in a way that you never see in this stuff.
BANFIELD: She is a real lightning rod, true.
BERNSTEIN: But she -- well, but the real thing is that she is now running a campaign unlike anything we have ever seen and we have to figure a way to cover it that doesn't get down in the weeds with this --
BANFIELD: Hey, Rich?
MCLEAN: I have to say --
BANFIELD: Go, Kiki.
MCLEAN: I appreciate some of the things Carl said, but at the end of the day, what we're talking about this week is about the release of her book and she was secretary of state and she's shared series of moments and a look at history that's important for everybody to see and understand and know.
I mean, she played a unique role as a partner and part of a team and helping restore America's standing in the world. That's why people are interested in this book. I know some people want to say it's more of that and when she makes a decision about what she's going to do in the future, maybe we'll look back on this window and that frame. But, right now, there's a big story to tell about how she helped restore America's standing in the world, and I think that's something that people --
BANFIELD: I have a feeling there's an open invitation for all three of you to show up again with that announcement. I could have asked so much more about so many things that she's having to say, but thank you all. I appreciate all of you and your perspective tonight.
Coming up next, the most dramatic wedding photo ever. Jeanne Moos with that story.
BANFIELD: Something old, something new, something borrowed and something on fire.
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Singers are always comparing love to a raging fire.
MOOS: Well, a picture's worth a thousand lyrics. This is an actual wedding photo.
It's sort of like an apocalyptic wedding.
JOSH NEWTON, PHOTOGRAPHER: Yes. Like end times, like --
MOOS: Josh Newton was the wedding photographer. When Michael and April Wolber were planning their June wedding in Bend, Oregon, they weren't expecting a wildfire.
APRIL WOLBER, WILDFIRE WEDDING BRIDE: All of my bridesmaids did a good job keeping me calm and didn't tell me about the fire until about 30 minutes before the wedding.
MOOS: As Michael waited for April to walk down the aisle, a fire truck arrived, siren blaring.
APRIL WOLBER: He says, you guys got to get out.
MICHAEL WOLBER, WILDFIRE WEDDING GROOM: To get to the final minute before it was going to happen and everything feel like it's falling apart. It's a pretty crazy, crazy reality to be in.
MOOS: The firemen said they had to evacuate because of the wildfires, six miles away. Exactly like what happened to the gay wedding on 'Modern Family's" season finale.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Attention, attention, please. The fire has jumped the freeway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have waited ten years. Can we have an hour?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can give you 30 minutes.
MOOS: In real life, the wedding coordinator shouted the news.
MICHAEL WOLBER: Waving the arms saying, we can do it. We can do the ceremony.
MOOS: Fire officials gave them about 20 minutes to do a sped-up ceremony.
NEWTON: They actually kissed a couple of times. They are pretty excited.
MOOS: Then, while everyone began moving the rest of the event to another location, Josh started taking photos with his iPhone and his professional camera.
The pictures are like something straight out of a movie. Well, actually, one movie in particular.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kiss me. Kiss me once.
MOOS: But between Atlanta burning and an Oregon wildfire, there was one major difference.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You low-down, cowardly, nasty thing, you.
MOOS: At least April and Michael's marriage wasn't gone with the blaze.
MICHAEL WOLBER: We wouldn't change a single thing.
MOOS: Just think, they can tell the kids what happened by quoting Johnny Cash.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BANFIELD: Picture's gorgeous.
"AC360" starts right now.