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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Obama Official: "We Will Send You Back"; GOP Representative Due To Tour Immigration Facility; Lebron James To Cleveland: I'm Coming Home; Airstrikes Pound Gaza As Rockets Hit Israel; Escort Killed Google Executive; Gay Teacher Fired by Catholic School; The Hunt for Shane Miller
Aired July 12, 2014 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a championship vibe. Lebron is the man. He did it.
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: My boyfriend overdosed or something like he's -- he won't respond.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The similarities are the deaths of the two men by heroin overdose and the common denominator is Miss Tichelman.
JOHN WALSH, CNN HOST, "THE HUNT": God forbid nobody is helping him. Shane Miller can turn around and shoot you in the face if you make him mad for one second.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: It is 8:00 on a Saturday morning. I hope your feet are up or coffee and O.J. in hand. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. It's 5:00 on the west coast. NEW DAY SATURDAY here. It's a pleasure to be with you.
PAUL: So much to talk about today. We want to begin this morning with the flood of undocumented immigrants. Tens of thousands of children still pouring in the U.S.
BLACKWELL: And from the Obama administration, this new message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Those who are coming here illegally, to those contemplating coming here illegally into South Texas is we will send you back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: That was Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson stressing the president's goal of hastening deportation to a matter of days. That is not going to be easy.
PAUL: A gridlocked Congress is rebuffing President Obama's request for nearly $4 billion in crisis funding as he calls it.
BLACKWELL: And on Friday, Arizona Senator John McCain insisted Republicans will not approve the money until a key legal loophole is plugged.
PAUL: So for now, one thing most politicians do agree on is for the children fleeing gang violence in Central America, this is a humanitarian crisis, they say.
BLACKWELL: A lot of the children, some of them as young as 4, 5 years old. They arrive in the U.S. alone and they end up in federal holding facilities and not just along the border.
PAUL: Later today, Republican Congressman Jim Bridenstine plans to tour one such facility, the HHS Center for Unaccompanied Alien Children in his home state of Oklahoma. He is with us now by phone from Tulsa. Congressman, thank you so much for being with us. I understand that you tried to visit this facility last week. What happened at that point?
REPRESENTATIVE JIM BRIDENSTINE (R), OKLAHOMA (via telephone): Right. I was visiting Fort Sill, which is an army base in my state. I'm on the Armed Forces Committee so I met with the commanding general down there. We had a great conversation about military modernization. We talked about air defense artillery. The fire brigades down there.
When we were done talking about military stuff, I asked him if I could tour the HHS facility there on the base. He said that he wasn't going to stop me from going over there, but he said that is not his mission. He did not want to go with me, which I understood. I just went over there with a couple of my staff members. We drove around the facility.
It looked just like a military barracks like any other military barracks on a military base. Except this time there was a chain link fence all the way around it and no access points. The chain link fence was obscured with cloth so that nobody could see in or out. We made an effort to find a gate with a gate guard.
All we wanted to do was talk to the person running the facility. We finally drove around and we saw somebody peering through the cloth. We stopped the car and asked if I could talk to the person who runs the facility. They said I could come back on the 21st of July. This was on the 1st of July.
I explained I was a representative of the people and make sure that the gentleman who runs the facility understands that. They came back and said we are not taking any visitors until the 21st of July. I said I needed to talk to the gentleman. He came out and said sorry, no access until the 21st of July. I said you do understand I'm a representative of the people and this is federal property. It seemed I would have access here.
BLACKWELL: So Congressman, what did you expect to see? What is your concern that is happening inside this facility? BRIDENSTINE: Well, I think my concern is that of many people, which is we have heard stories of tragedy. A lot of these children have gone miles and they have been trafficked, whether it is drug trafficking organizations that are human trafficking now, whether it is the coyotes. There are stories of once the children end up in these, I guess, organizations that are trafficking humans, whether they are coyotes or other organizations, organized crime, there are stories of massacres.
There are 70,000 to 100,000 dead bodies in Northern Mexico as a direct result of the open border on the south side of the United States. These people are being trafficked. There are stories of death and stories of course, abuse and human trafficking. All I wanted to do was visit the facility and talk to the medical professionals and try to understand the situation.
As a member of Congress, I want to be able to solve this problem. I can't solve it if I don't know what is happening on the ground. The concerns here are very real. This is a humanitarian crisis. We all agree on that. The question is -- go ahead.
PAUL: I was going to say, Congressman Bridenstine, we are grateful you will join us tomorrow once you get into the facility to let us know what you saw and how you feel about what is going on there. We want to thank you so much for your time and look forward to talking to you again tomorrow.
BRIDENSTINE: Thank you so much. I look forward to joining you.
PAUL: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, Congressman. Let's bring in now CNN contributor, Dan Restrepo and also the former director of Western Hemisphere Affairs for the National Security Council.
PAUL: Dan, thank you so much for being here. First of all, what is your reaction to what you heard from Congressman Bridenstine?
DAN RESTREPO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I mean, obviously, the Congress has a role to play here. The failure to see these facilities and see what is happening firsthand is important. This has to be done in a way so it doesn't disrupt the kinds of activities that need to take place at these places.
Earlier this week, we had a big debate about whether the president should or should not have gone to the border. Part of the reason I think he was justified not going was that he is very disruptive when he shows up somewhere and he kind of takes away from what's going on. So I think that balancing act is part of what needs to happen here.
But obviously there is a lot on Congress' plate right now with the administration's request for funding. Congress has a role to play here and making sure that it is done in the way that doesn't disrupt. I think it can be win-win. BLACKWELL: You know, if you can help people understand why that 2008 aid law was enacted that treated children from Mexico differently than children from Central America and now all the discussion about overturning that and going in the other direction and treating all children the same.
RESTREPO: It is actually from non-contiguous countries. Canada and Mexico are treated differently although we don't talk about Canada much in the context. So part of it is the management of these flows, right. You had a pretty steady state of about 10,000 kids a year from Mexico show up over the years.
There was less evidence that those kids were being trafficked by human trafficking networks. The different set of rules put in place so that border patrol agents could do a quick assessment and decide if any trafficking was going on. If there was, those kids got processed. If not, they could be returned much like any other Mexican, adult Mexican can get a return quicker than most in our immigration system.
So the idea here was to protect and there was more evidence of human trafficking among Central American and other folks from further away from the United States who are arriving in the United States illegally. So the idea was to give them more process and a chance for the system to determine if they were victims of human trafficking or migrants or some sort of other set of claims.
As a result of that 2008 law, what you have is the lag in time among Central American kids in particular that as they arrive in the United States, they get put into immigration system that is overwhelmed. That immigration system takes sometimes 18 months to two years for folks to have a hearing and determine if they have valid claims.
If they don't have valid claims, these kids get sent home and deported. If they have valid claims, they stay. The lag has created noise in the system, if you will, and people think they have a better chance of being able to stay in the United States two years or even longer, which is creating some of the incentive for the movement of people.
I say some because it is important to remember here, people from these three countries from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are also migrating south. They are going to Nicaragua. They are going to Costa Rica. They are going to Panama. That has nothing to do with U.S. immigration law that has everything to do with the dangerous situation these folks are facing. Dangerous and poverty situation these folks are facing in that country.
PAUL: So real quickly, we just have a couple of seconds here. Why not repeal the law that allows those children to apply for asylum?
RESTREPO: Because there is still trafficking going on here and you need to make sure -- so that is why I think the administration is looking for more discretion to be able to be a little more flexible here. We have to get the balance right between the nation of law and compassionate nation where immigration is part of the equation.
BLACKWELL: Dan Restrepo, thanks so much for joining us this morning.
RESTREPO: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: A lot of people who watch this and doesn't matter which side of the line they fall on when it comes to immigration policy. They want to know what can do to help these children. Some of them are 4 or 5 or 14 or 15. They still need some help. If you want to know how to help, you can find the organizations you can support that offer food and medical care and support on the ground. Go to cnn.com/impact. You can find ways to help.
Let's talk about these air strikes that continuing in Gaza and our own Wolf Blitzer got caught in the crossfire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": You can hear the sirens that just gone off. We are told to get to a shelter. We are running.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Wolf weighs in on his experience coming up in just a moment.
PAUL: And another story everybody is talking about. The king going home. Lebron James choosing Cleveland over the Heat. Some of your favorite sports stars weighed in. Check it out.
PAUL: Take a look at that. That is the live look at Atlanta. That is the billboard talking about "THE HUNT WITH JOHN WALSH." It premieres tomorrow right here on CNN at 9:00 p.m. He is going after the bad guys and we are hoping that you can help bring them home.
BLACKWELL: I'm looking forward to this debut, looking forward to this show. Thank you so much.
PAUL: We are talking to him actually too at the end of the hour here so stay close. He has so much to say.
BLACKWELL: Excellent. Stay with us for that and thanks for being with us this morning. It is a new day in Cleveland. Lebron James is coming home. Revealing he will hang up his Miami Heat jersey and once again don the colors of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
PAUL: You know Cav fans were in a mood to celebrate. They were snapping up as many tickets as they can, as many t-shirts as they can. Season tickets in fact for next year reportedly sold out within hours of Lebron's announcement.
BLACKWELL: And the celebrities, they jumped on social media as soon as they heard it, tweeting congratulations both to Cleveland and Lebron. This from Magic Johnson, "Sitting in France when I got the news that King James is going home to Cleveland. Congrats to Lebron and the Cavs fans.
PAUL: And even funny man, Seth Meyers, got in on the action saying, "I have never been this happy for a city I don't have a rooting interest in. Congrats, Cleveland. Bravo, Lebron," he says.
BLACKWELL: Those tweets though calm in comparison to how the fans felt when they heard the news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: City of Cleveland, say it with me. Lebron is back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: High fiving people I don't know. It feels good that we are finally coming back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We love you. We love you.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Welcome home, Lebron.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: I love it. He says I high fived a guy. I hugged a guy I don't know.
PAUL: Martin Savidge is with us now from the Cleveland. You were a reporter in Cleveland for years. I will say it, there was so much hatred of the decision when he left. Was this a universal decision to embrace it and forgive?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I have to say I empathize with the people who high fived. It was a community celebration. Not everybody is happy. I had a few tweets from folks who say, no, I don't care. Some are saying look, forgive, but never forget. I would say they are in the extreme minority. Most folks here were absolutely elated.
One of the strange things. I was outside of the cue when the announcement was made. People did not know how to react because they are accustomed to things not going their way. The first thing was, did I hear this right? Once they heard, they ran into a bar or ran to a TV to make sure they had it right before they celebrated. It was a second and a half of a city collectively sighing and letting it out with a grand cheer.
BLACKWELL: Martin, while you were talking, we had video of the guy who ripped the shirt off and has Cavs on his chest. Season ticket holder, Jason Herron. Do we have him here?
JASON HERRON, CAVALIERS SEASON TICKET HOLDER (via telephone): I apologize for my voice. I sound like everybody else who was celebrating.
BLACKWELL: Martin described what everybody else did when they heard. What did you do when you heard?
HERRON: I jumped up on the bar stool I was at and screaming bloody murder. I saw it on twitter. Before anyone else saw it. Everybody looked at me like I had six heads and then 5 minutes later, it came on ESPN and everybody in the bar erupted. It was one of the greatest downtown scenes in downtown Cleveland. It did not matter if you were gay or straight or black or white, everyone was hugging. Grown men crying in the streets. It was incredible.
PAUL: Grown men crying in the streets. I have to ask you, Jason, this is bigger than just a game. This is bigger than Reno. What do you think this will do to the Cleveland community as a whole?
HERRON: Well, as a community, it is so cool to see our hometown kid come back. We still consider him a kid. We watched him grow up in Akron as a phenom. He was on the cover of "Sports Illustrated." To see him come back and that amazing letter to "Sports Illustrated" and how he did things wrong the first time and now he will do it right. Everyone is excited. The economy will be booming downtown.
I talked to a bar owner downtown. He will hire on additional ten people for basketball season. That is just one bar. It is amazing what one guy can do to downtown Cleveland. It will be an incredible season.
BLACKWELL: Martin, we were talking in my office not long ago about the impact that Lebron coming back to Cleveland could have on the business community there.
SAVIDGE: Yes, it is huge. So many different ways you can measure it. From the morale to the city and perspective of Lebron coming back and sheer dollar and cents. It was the projection that he left and took $250 million worth of business region wide. Now, you know, he has become more famous as a result of that. The value has increased. Some people have suggested his impact is $500 million a year to the total economy.
So you know, it means a lot, but really more so than anything, to speak as a Clevelander, he is returning and he is coming back to where he was from and the letter resonates. I cannot stress that enough. How that letter resonates. It is so important to the people here what he said.
PAUL: And it is so true. Martin Savidge and Jason Herron, we thank you both for being here. As a Clevelander, I get it. You know, you can take the girl out of Ohio, but not Ohio out of the girl.
BLACKWELL: Jason, you rest up, at least rest your voice. Take some time to rest after celebrating this weekend.
PAUL: Drink some tea.
BLACKWELL: Let's talk about what is happening here between Israel and Hamas. The squaring off in the rocket battle. Wolf Blitzer shows us why the conflict could get a lot worse.
PAUL: And we were just talking about John Walsh, he is bringing his hunt for bad guys to CNN. Why his first case could be one of his toughest and he needs your help for it. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the crisis in the Middle East now. Sometimes we talk about these in terms of day by day things are changing. This is ratcheting up by the hour.
PAUL: Israel's defense minister says the military is gearing up for more long days of fighting, speculation increases that Israeli ground troops may move into Gaza. That is the iron dome defense system intercepting militant rockets flying across the border from Gaza.
BLACKWELL: There is no iron dome defense shield in Gaza. Instead, activists are forming human shields around some hospitals. We are seeing casualties mount as Israeli missiles rain down there. Officials say an air strike at a facility for the disabled killing two women. They say 127 people now have been killed in Gaza and nearly 1,000 have been injured.
PAUL: CNN's Wolf Blitzer is in Israel. In fact, he and his team had to run for cover when air raids sirens sounded. Here is the video of him trying to take cover. He is safely in Jerusalem -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": I've been coming to this region for many years. Usually when I'm here the situation is bad. I'm here usually covering bloody conflicts, though, I did have a happy experience back in 1994 when I was CNN's senior White House correspondent. I covered the signing of the Israeli Jordanian peace treaty. That was in Aqaba in Jordan, but now the situation is very tense, very bad and I truly fear it's about to get a whole lot worse.
Israeli attacks and armored vehicles, they are poised to move into Gaza, which already has taken a severe Israeli pounding from the air. There will be many casualties on both sides if that happens. Millions of Israelis have been living in fear, fear of hearing those awful air raid sirens blast out. I've encountered a few of those experiences over the past couple of days when I drove down south to the border with Gaza.
But as bad as the situation is on the Israeli side, it's a whole lot worse in Gaza. That's a small area with more than a million and a half Palestinians crowded in. Finding a way out of this awful mess won't be easy. Everyone seems to appreciate that. What's so sad is that Israeli and Palestinian leaders, they've had opportunities over the years.
They would have a wonderful coexistence if that long elusive peace process could get off the ground once again and both sides were willing to make the necessary compromises. Unfortunately, right now that seems so unlikely. Wolf Blitzer, CNN, Jerusalem.
BLACKWELL: An alleged escort is charged with manslaughter in the death of a California Google executive, but it does not stop there. PAUL: Investigators are taking a new look at the death of a nightclub owner in Georgia that's scarily similar.
PAUL: All right. It is 8:30 on a Saturday. Yes, you're waking up on Saturday. Hope you just got a free day for yourself. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell.
Five things you need to know for your "NEW DAY."
First, Cleveland's prodigal son is coming home. Lebron James announced yesterday that he will once again play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. James told "Sports Illustrated" he is returning to the team an older, wiser player. And that he is ready to win a championship for Cleveland but he says that will take some time.
PAUL: Number two, a former police officer is out on bail months after being charged with murder for killing a man inside a movie theater in Florida. Curtis Reeves Jr. will be under house arrest subject to GPS monitoring and also has to surrender his firearms. Reeves allegedly shot and killed Chad Oulson after an argument over text messaging.
BLACKWELL: Number three, Tracy Morgan is suing Wal-Mart over a late night crash in June that left him and three others seriously injured and also killed one of his friends. According to the lawsuit, Wal- Mart should have known that its driver had been awake for more than 24 hours. Morgan is now recovering in a rehabilitation facility.
PAUL: Number four, fans of the iconic punk rock band The Ramones are pretty sad this morning as the quartet's drummer and founding member Tommy Ramone has died at his home in New York at the age of 65. He'd been suffering from bile duct cancer. Tommy Ramone once said his band wanted to quote, "bring back something that was missing in rock music and say something new and different", unquote. And he certainly did.
BLACKWELL: Certainly did.
Number five now -- it's mostly for those living in the Midwest. The weather is just not looking good for you this weekend. Damaging winds, isolated tornadoes possible today; that includes the city of Chicago.
PAUL: Jennifer Gray is with us to help work out the details. Jenn, where is the target? Where's the bull's-eye?
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Midwest -- you're exactly right. We have a slight chance of severe weather for later today. These storms are going to set up along this front. And as we good through the day today around 10:00 this evening between 8:00 and 10:00, the late evening hours, do plan on some of those showers to pop up and even some storms right around Chicago and even points west. This is going to push to the East tomorrow bring possible severe weather tomorrow to a much larger area. And then the very cool air is going to sink in from the north.
We are talking about lows in the 40s and 50s across the Midwest early next week, high temperatures barely getting into the low 70s. So there's going to be huge changes for the Midwest as we go through the week this week.
There is your area for severe weather today. That area shifts to the east, like I said. For tomorrow large hail, damaging winds even the possibility of an isolated tornado or two. And then that cold air filters in behind it. We're going to see those temperatures drop dramatically and then on the other hand though, we're going to see very warm temperatures in the Pacific Northwest, temperatures in the low 90s guys, for the next couple of days to an area where a lot of people don't have air conditioning.
PAUL: Ouch. All right. Jenn, thank you so much.
GRAY: All right.
PAUL: The bizarre death of a Google executive on a yacht is raising questions about the death of a nightclub owner on the other side of the country.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Because each man had a connection to this woman, Alix Tichelman. She's a 26-year-old alleged prostitute, who according to police injected the Google executive with heroin, and then drank wine on his yacht as he died.
CNN's Laurie Segall has the story.
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Dean Riopelle died from a heroin overdose last September, it appeared to be a tragic accident. His girlfriend made the call to 911.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok. And why do you think it is an overdose?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because there's nothing else it could be.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok. Accidental or intentional?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think oh, definitely accidental. Accidental.
SEGALL: That was the story from Alix Tichelman and the case was closed until police in California announced this week that the model turned prostitute had been arrested in connection with the death of Google executive Forrest Hayes, a 61-year-old father of five. Police say he too died of a lethal amount of heroin that they believe was given to him by the 26-year-old Tichelman. Georgia authorities reopened the Riopelle case because the circumstances were too similar to ignore.
CAPT. SHAWN MCCARTY, MILTON, GEORGIA POLICE: The similarities are basically, you know, the deaths of the two men by heroin overdose and the common denominator being Miss Tichelman. In both cases, the individual seemed to have died from an overdose on what appears to be their first time in using heroin.
SEGALL: Alan Vine told CNN's Erin Burnett, he was a friend of Dean Riopelle.
ALAN VINE, FRIEND OF DEAN RIOPELLE: Back when me and Dean used to play music together, I used to smoke weed and, you know, I used to party a little bit. He was always saying, "Dude, that is not the way to go."
SEGALL: Vine says he was shocked to learn of the heroin overdose given Riopelle's lifestyle.
VINE: You need to do right and be health conscious. And, you know, just -- it's not the way to go. He always preached that to me. When I heard that he died of a heroin overdose, I was immediately no freaking way.
SEGALL: Tichelman moved to California working as a prostitute. She surfaced in Santa Cruz. In November, she joined Hayes on his yacht. Investigators say surveillance cameras showed Tichelman doing absolutely nothing to help the distressed Hayes after injecting him with the heroin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was callous that in gathering her things, she was literally stepping over the body.
SEGALL: It is the detail that has people going oh, my goodness. Now, she is charged with felony manslaughter. We're going to see her appear in court next week. The bail is set at $1.5 million, guys. Pretty unbelievable story.
PAUL: It is and I know you talked to one of the friends of the first man in Georgia. What did they tell you?
SEGALL: I did. You know, I asked her. I said did Dean do drugs because that's how he apparently. She said this was so shocking to me because he didn't. He loved his family and he made sure not to do that. She has a lot of questions as do authorities now.
PAUL: Laurie Segall, thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: Thank you Laurie.
Coming up, a gay teacher in Georgia is taking on a Catholic school after being fired around the same time he announced he was getting married to a man. But he says his sexuality was never a secret.
PAUL: Plus, John Walsh is on the hunt for this triple murder suspect. His theory about why the alleged killer has been so elusive -- ahead.
BLACKWELL: Well, you know, as summer heats up across the country, people are always looking for new ways to keep cool. PAUL: Dr. Sanjay Gupta goes snow skiing in the most unlikely of
places in this "Travel Insider."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta and today I'd like to show you a different side of Dubai. Certainly, it's a city known for their skyscrapers, their beaches and their shopping. But Dubai also has a lot of different types of activities, including, skiing. Yes, snow skiing.
I've never seen anything quite like this. There's something counterintuitive about skiing indoors. As you might imagine they provide you with all the equipment you need, including a helmet, over here. I tell you, as a neurosurgeon I personally think this is the most important piece. Let's go.
Feels like the real thing. I'm going to give it a shot.
There's something sort of unnatural about skiing in the middle of the desert. But I think just the novelty of it makes this pretty extraordinary -- a lot of fun.
So who'd have thought I come all the way to the desert here in Dubai and I get to go snow skiing. What a terrific day.
BLACKWELL: All right. Thank you, Dr. Gupta.
Consider this, imagine if marrying the one you love meant getting fired from your job. For a Georgia music teacher, Flint Dollar, that's exactly what he says happened after he announced on Facebook he was planning to marry a man.
PAUL: Here's the thing. Dollar says he told employers at his Catholic school that he was gay from the start. It didn't seem to matter in the end. Federal law does not explicitly prohibit employers from firing someone on the basis of sexual orientation, nor do the state laws in Georgia.
BLACKWELL: But Dollar is not going down without a fight. According to Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act, employers are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. Flint argues the school's decision to fire him is gender discrimination.
PAUL: All this happening as gay rights groups, of course, yanked their support from employment non-discrimination act over a sweeping exemption for religious organizations.
Well, guess what, Flint Dollar is with us live this morning from Minneapolis where he will be married later today. Wow, what a day for you.
BLACKWELL: Congratulations on that, first before we get to the controversy.
PAUL: Yes, wow.
Also his attorney, Charles Cox here in Atlanta with us. Thank you, gentlemen, we appreciate it.
Charlie, let me -- let me start with you. Do you think that you can make the case that gender discrimination as it's defined under the Civil Rights Act applies to sexual orientation?
CHARLES COX, ATTORNEY FOR FLINT DOLLAR: I feel confident we can do that. Gender discrimination is when you discriminate against somebody because they do not comply with gender stereotypes. And I think that's pretty clear that that is what happened to Flint. He was discriminated against because he was marrying a man, which did not comply with the gender stereotypes.
BLACKWELL: Flint, I mean you were not closeted up to the point of saying now I'm going to marry a man. What did the school say four years ago when you told them you were gay?
FLINT DOLLAR, GAY TEACHER: I was told that it would not be a problem as long as I did my job, that I was welcome in the school. The school was glad that I was there. I had even been told even now that the school is glad that I had a hand in shaping the moral compass of our students. But still, I can't work there.
PAUL: You heard from the school. I mean you are a teacher. I'm a parent. I know that I get to know my kids' teachers. What are you hearing from some of the parents? Are you finding support from them?
DOLLAR: There has been a lot of support coming from the parents and the students. There was a rally immediately after I was fired. The outpouring of support has been phenomenal.
BLACKWELL: Let's read what the school said here. We have a statement for them. Let's put it. "Personnel decisions are never easy. And we consider many factors when making such decisions -- teaching ability, knowledge of the subject matter, the ability to communicate with constituents, and the willingness to support the teachings of the Catholic Church are just some of the factors considered. Please know that these decisions are never made arbitrarily and are guided always by our mission as a Catholic school."
Charlie, let's start with you. What's the response to that?
COX: Well, Flint was an excellent. He was affirmed in his teaching ability by the president of the school. He had the support of the community, the support of the students and the parents, he never opposed the teachings of the Catholic Church at school. In fact, the school was planning a wedding shower for he and his fiance prior to his termination.
So there are really no grounds for his termination at all except that he was engaging in a same-sex marriage. PAUL: Flint, let me ask you, just play devil's advocate here, what
would you say to critics who say this is a private Catholic school. It doesn't go with the teachings of the Catholic faith, nothing personal, but we just don't agree. What do you say to that?
DOLLAR: Then, I shouldn't have been hired in the first place. If that is really an issue, then don't hire me to begin with. That is why I was so open and honest when I had my first interview because I did not want this situation to come up. If me being gay, knowing that I was gay and knowing that I was in a long-term relationship that I was living with my partner if that was a problem it should have been dealt with at the front, not four years later.
BLACKWELL: Yes, I think the question for most people is the line there. If this organization, this school was ok with initially with your relationship, now it is just the union that I guess has caused them to fire you.
There is this Facebook page that's been set up. Save Flint Dollar. There's a hash tag that's being used. I'm sure we will see it this morning after our conversation. What do you feel? I mean I know great teachers connect with their students. What do you feel after not having that connection daily with these kids?
DOLLAR: Right now, it is kind of surreal because the school year hasn't started back, but normally what I would be doing right now other than getting married this afternoon, I would be getting ready for summer band to start in two weeks. We would be gearing up with clinicians to come work with the students and getting music mailed, getting things ready to go. And not having that right now is like a part of my life has been closed with no closure. To just have that taken away was shocking to the system.
PAUL: Well, Flint Dollar, we appreciate you being with us. Charles Cox, you as well. Flint, again congratulations. I'm sure that this is one of those days that you talked about this morning and you can let it go for a little while because you have some other big things on your plate today. Congratulations. Have a wonderful day.
BLACKWELL: Yes, have fun at your wedding. Thank you, Flint.
PAUL: Thanks gentlemen.
BLACKWELL: John Walsh is back on the hunt for the most wanted criminals in the world now.
PAUL: Yes. The search for a man cops say gunned down his wife and his own two little girls is now on the run. You could help him solve this case.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: Hey, good morning. I'm Michael Smerconish.
Coming up on my program this morning -- we are talking immigration and ramification for the midterm elections.
Plus, former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan is with me. He's got a unique insight into the Oval Office, one that Mitt Romney might want to hear.
Also now that America's top spy chief has been kicked out of Berlin, is Germany still one of our closest allies.
And you'll hear about the picture-perfect family that defied a welfare stereotype.
Join me right here at the top of the hour -- Christi, Victor.
BLACKWELL: All right, Michael. Thank you so much. "SMERCONISH" airs this morning at the top of the hour at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.
PAUL: So please do me a favor here. Whatever you are doing, take a moment and look at your screen. This is Shane Miller -- 46 years old -- on the U.S. Marshals 15 most wanted list. He is accused of killing his wife Sandy and his two young daughters. They were just eight and four years old. This happened in May of last year.
His case is featured on CNN's new original series, "THE HUNT WITH JOHN WALSH." I spoke with John a bit earlier and asked him why law enforcement officials have not been able to track this guy down.
JOHN WALSH, CNN HOST: This is a really elusive, dangerous fugitive. And one of the reasons that I think this show is going to be so important, he is our first fugitive and very different from "America's Most Wanted." We dedicated the whole hour to catching Shane Miller.