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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Crisis at the Border; Interview with Jose Antonio Vargas; Grieving Families, Living in Fear in Honduras; Temporary Humanitarian Cease Fire Will Start at 10 A.M. Local Time Thursday; Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Hires Lawyer, Prepares For Cautioning By Military Investigators
Aired July 16, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, good evening, thanks for joining us. There is breaking news tonight. A very brief pause in the Israeli bombardment of Gaza and now Hamas is saying it will stop firing, as well. Not soon enough, though, for a group of boys killed by naval gunfire in Gaza or for an Israeli man killed in a rocket strike.
We'll look beyond the temporary ceasefire, when and whether the two sides can agree on a longer truce.
Later, the alleged killer call girl, the woman with a stable of men, two of whom are now dead.
We begin, though, tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with a serious problem that deserves serious consideration. Instead the arrival on the southern border of tens of thousands of undocumented immigrant children is being met with overheated rhetoric and paranoid ranting from politicians who only stoke the anger when they should be finding answers to a very real crisis.
Instead, this is what they are encouraging, this is Oracle, Arizona, where protesters came yesterday to block the arrival of a bus carrying a few dozen kids to a ranch for troubled youth to be held until court hearings on whether they can stay in the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM KWASMAN (R), ARIZONA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: The reason why Lady Justice was blind for --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, in the crowd making a speech, this guy, Republican state legislator and congressional candidate, Adam Kwasman, and when he saw a bus he got very excited. He tweeted, "Bus coming in, this is not compassion, this is the abrogation of the rule of law," and sure enough it was a bus. He tweeted this out, "Ran to confront the bus," later telling a local reporter about the encounter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KWASMAN: I was able to actually see some of the children in the buses and the fear on their faces. This is not compassion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You know, it's unclear whose compassion he's talking about there and what that has to do with the fear on the face of children as their bus encounters an angry mob of screaming grownups. As you'll see, though, the kids might just as well have been puzzled by the scene, not scared because -- well, watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Which children on the buses were those?
KWASMAN: We -- I saw a school bus with plenty of children on it, so I'm assuming that that was the bus that was moving through.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He assumed it was the bus, but it wasn't the bus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you know that was a bus with YMCA kids?
KWASMAN: They were sad, too. OK. I apologize. I didn't know -- I was leaving -- I was leaving when I saw them, so if that was a school bus, people are not happy down the line. That was an error by me.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Should you be making those kinds of assumptions on such a charged issue to talk about seeing the kids when those weren't the kids?
KWASMAN: OK. I said, I saw children. I saw children.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: But those weren't migrant children.
KWASMAN: Those were not migrant children. That's fine. Listen. When you see -- I have people -- it was a mistake. That was a mistake. If that was not -- if that was not correct, then that's a mistake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Kids from the YMCA. Certainly was, but Mr. Kwasman is right, people are upset. Now you hear people talking about Trojan horses and stealth invasions, contagious diseases, even White House plots to turn red states blue or turn the country socialist.
"Keeping Them Honest," though, plenty of that hyped up language is coming straight from the mouths not of everyday people but of elected representatives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: "World English Dictionary" defines invasion among the definition is invading with armed forces but it's any encroachment or intrusion, the onset or advent of something harmful like a disease.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: There is the D word, again. Disease. Let's just take a second to insert some facts here because that disease word is getting tossed around now all the time.
"Keeping Them Honest." According to UNICEF the vaccination rate for kids in Honduras ranges from 88 percent to 94 percent for common childhood illnesses. According to the CDC the rate for American kids is actually slightly worse.
Now when it's not disease that people are accusing these kids of, it's crime. Here is Republican Florida U.S. Congressman Richard Nugent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RICHARD NUGENT (R), FLORIDA: You know, where do they get the jobs? And a lot of these children, quote-unquote, you know, and the caller, the first caller mentioned it is, you know, they are gang members. They are gang affiliated. These kids have been brought up in a culture of, you know, of thievery, a culture of, you know, murder, of rape.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
NUGENT: All of those things, and we're going to now infuse them into the American culture. It's just ludicrous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, again, "Keeping Them Honest," while gang violence is a very real problem in Central America and no doubt gang members cross illegally into the United States, there's plenty of evidence that the kids we are actually talking about here are kids fleeing violence. There is no good evidence yet that they've come here to spread violence.
There are other theories, though, from politicians. Republican Congressman Steve King and Steve Stockman tell World Net Daily this is all a deliberate move by the Obama administration which is derived, they say, from strategy by radical sociologist to transform America into a socialist state.
Congressman King, referring to the sociologists, to Columbia University professors named Cloward and Piven, telling World Net, quote, "I do feel this is an attempt to flood the border with illegals is playing out of the Cloward-Piven theory."
Congressman Stockman agreeing with that but he also had an alternative hypothesis, he called it, quote, "An open secret Obama is trying to flood Texas with illegals to make it into a blue state." It's an open secret, according to him. After Cloward-Piven, that seems downright simple.
Now in the meantime, as lawmakers crank up the hype the time for action, for actually passing legislation to address this problem is ticking away. They are just 11 days until Congress breaks for the summer.
Dana Bash is there along with Republican strategist Ana Navarro, former Huntsman 2012 Hispanic chair, and Dan Restrepo, formerly President Obama's top adviser in Latin American affairs.
Dana, let's start with you. You're on Capitol Hill. Every day you talk to these members of Congress. Do you get a sense like this kind of amped up rhetoric is actually increasing?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly with the members that you put up there, which is unfortunately not that unusual, but I actually had a chance to talk to one of the members, Republican Richard Nugent, and you well know this, Anderson, sometimes when we try to chase -- try to talk to members and clarify their comments, I have to chase them down the hallways.
That wasn't the case with Congressman Nugent. He and his staff invited us into his office where I asked him, if he stands by his comments that some of these children coming illegally are actually gang members. He said yes and explained why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NUGENT: I believe that some members of MS-13 have come across the border. I know that only because of the reports from FOX News from Phoenix that reported in an interview with the president of the Border Patrol Union that was talking about just that particular issue and there was about 16 that were identified because of the tattoos they had. Doesn't mean they are all identified.
BASH: But as a sitting member of Congress, you also have access to try to get information on your own, not with news reports.
NUGENT: Right. Right.
BASH: Have you tried to figure out if what you saw and what you said is accurate?
NUGENT: Well, I mean, I can only go by what the Border Patrol -- the president of the union said. I would suspect that he is being accurate. I have no way of double checking that. It's not within my district. You know, you do take that for face value because as a fellow law enforcement officer, I don't think he's going to lie to us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Now he mentioned that he is a fellow law enforcement officer, Anderson. Congressman Nugent was actually a sheriff for 38 years before he came here on the Republican wave in 2010 and he said that that's why he heard these comments, he believed it but he also did say that he understands that it is likely a very small number. He -- customs union had said it was just 16 that they had identified, that really pales in comparison to the 50,000 that we're seeing come across. But he's also eager to say that he's a parent, he's grandparent, he
obviously feels for these kids, the majority of whom are probably fleeing from terrible conditions at home.
COOPER: It's interesting, because, I mean, in the headlines grabbing rhetoric, you know, when people are screaming, that's what they are screaming about, it's not the factual, OK, 16 members of MS and no doubt there are gang members coming over. We all know this, but to paint everybody with a broad brush seems an odd thing and just factually incorrect.
Ana, I mean, it seems like every time immigration becomes a serious issue, we get this kind of inflamed talk, particularly from those who are against any kind of reform effort and just want to focus on border security and many are Republicans. Does your party risk being damaged by this and what do you make of this kind of rhetoric?
ANA NAVARRO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: First of all, some of the -- you know, the majority of those Congress people who you highlighted in this story, frankly, are the ones whose -- the only reason they live is to be anti-immigration. It's -- you know, it's why they get on TV. They don't get on TV because they are relevant when it comes to any other passing of legislation.
Really the ironic part here, Anderson, that hasn't been talked about much is that the United States when we deported criminal aliens back to these countries, which I think we have every right to do and anybody who comes here and becomes a criminal should be deported but we deported a lot of these gang members who had taught themselves and become gang members here in the United States, exported all those bad things they knew into countries that have broken down justice systems that they just don't have the ability, that they are corrupt, they are inept, they are incapable of dealing with a flow of gang members going back into these countries, and it turned into a very big problem in Central America, which is now biting us back in this current situation.
COOPER: And Ana, I mean, you're exactly right. I actually -- back when I was with ABC News like in '95, '96, I was down in El Salvador doing stories on just that, on gang members from L.A. from 18th Street, from MS who had been deported and rightfully so today broken laws ended up starting up these L.A. Street gangs in El Salvador that have now gravitated south. And it's become a huge major issue.
Dan, if you look at recent polling, certainly Democrats aren't fairing that well, either, in this debate which is surprising to, I guess, a lot of Democrats. Why do you think that is?
DAN RESTREPO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think it's two things. One is there's just a lot of crisis fatigue and it's hard to look at what is going on at the border right now and put anybody in the right. I think people see a crisis and have a basic sense that's not -- nobody is doing a perfect job here.
And then among Democrats who also have -- you got to remember the president was under pressure from advocates and from Democrats and remains under pressure and from some Democrats to do a lot more for the undocumented population that's already in the United States administratively because Republicans in Congress have decided that they can't or won't do comprehensive immigration reform, he's under a lot of pressure to ratchet back deportations, ratchet back some of the enforcement that he's been engaged in over the course of the last five or six years.
So the politics on this on the Democratic side of the House is quite different than what we've seen from Republicans in that abhorrent rhetoric that you had at the top of the segment.
COOPER: It is interesting, Dan. You know, we had on Sheriff Babeu last night from Arizona and I was kind of stunned, I mean, maybe I'm just naive on this but for a law enforcement guy, he put out a press release saying that no federal immigration laws are being enforced, which is just factually ridiculous. I mean, whether or not you agree that they are effective laws, whether you think they're ridiculous laws, even the way these kids are being treated is based on a federal immigration law from 2008. So there is just so much rhetoric that is just not factually correct which is just inappropriate at a time like this, particularly for a sheriff to be putting forward.
RESTREPO: Absolutely. And this is in the context of a president who is being assailed, again, by immigration, pro-immigration advocates as the deporter-in-chief, a guy who has deported 400,000 undocumented immigrants per year during -- throughout his presidency in accordance with mandates of federal immigration law as passed by Congress and moneys appropriated by Congress.
So the notion that immigration law isn't being enforced is ludicrous but it also shows just how detached from reality the voices, the anti- immigrant voices are in this debate and sadly, they tend to concentrate on one political party, and they tend to concentrate within the Republican Party and they've held that Republican Party hostage in the House in a way that doesn't allow a comprehensive solution or part of a comprehensive solution, comprehensive immigration reform, to move forward is something that's supported by a majority of the country.
COOPER: And beyond just -- I mean, forgetting about comprehensive immigration reform, just in the time before, Congress goes away on break, do you see some sort of change or, you know, whether it's a repeal of the 2008 law that started all this, I mean, do you see some sort of actual change or something that will actually take place that can affect all these kids coming over?
BASH: Well, we do think that at least next week the House of Representatives is going to pass something, likely going to be a change to that 2008 law and probably some form of the money that the president very unlikely. In fact I can just say it's not going to happen that he's going to get the $3.7 billion he wants but the issue is then going to be what about the Democrats?
Dan is exactly right, just in the last hour, the Homeland Security secretary, Jeh Johnson, was here on Capitol Hill trying to convince not just Republicans, his fellow Democrats that they've got to change that 2008 law to try to make all of these countries, Central American and the contiguous countries, the same, to be able to allow the government, the administration to send people back without these hearings and that is a very controversial thing within the Democratic caucus.
COOPER: Ana, it is sort of strange that there is a different law for people from Mexico, for kids from Mexico versus kids from Central America.
NAVARRO: Actually it was a law for kids from Central America.
COOPER: For trafficking.
NAVARRO: It was an amendment that was sponsored by Senator Diane Feinstein back in 2008 and it was meant to protect victims of human trafficking, so that they wouldn't be immediately repatriated and fall back into the hands of human traffickers immediately after being repatriated. Never having the intent and never foreseeing that this issue would pop up.
NAVARRO: But again, look, Anderson, we're talking about our neighbors in the region. You know, people that can actually walk over here, ride a train over here, ride a bus over here, so it's very different than if we're doing something with Nigeria or some other country where these things are not possible.
I think we have to stop the finger-wagging. We have to stop the partisan blaming. We have to look at this problem comprehensively, look at all the factors and really be able to address it and do so quickly and also with a degree of compassion.
COOPER: Yes. Ana Navarro, appreciate it. Dana Bash, Dan Restrepo, as well.
You can see Dana's entire interview with Congressman Nugent on our Web site, ac360.com.
A quick reminder, be sure to set your DVR, you can watch 360 any time.
Just ahead, filmmaker, activist and famously undocumented immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas about his recent brush with the law, apprehended there along the border. We'll talk to him in a moment.
And later, Bowe Bergdahl after five years in captivity, weeks in treatment, he is back on regular duty now. The latest on that. We're going to talk to his new attorney who joins us ahead.
COOPER: Well, tonight one of the best known faces and perhaps most honored voices in the immigration debate joins us, Pulitzer Prize- winning documentary filmmaker, and undocumented immigrant, Jose Antonio Vargas, is best known for his work on "DOCUMENTED," now he's also known as the guy in video getting busted by federal authorities at the airport in McAllen, Texas. It happened yesterday, he was detained briefly, released on his own recognizance.
He joins us tonight.
Thanks very much, Jose, for being with us. Did you have any idea that you would likely be detained? Because I mean, I read some tweets you had sent out when you were down there saying that, you know, you're in the country illegally, you're traveling without a visa, you sent a tweet saying you weren't sure how you're going to be able to leave. Did you really have no idea this would happen?
JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT: So I think it's really important that I kind of clear up the timeline. So I flew down there because I was invited by undocumented youth leaders from there and also from D.C. to come down, as a way to show solidarity with what's happening with the child migrant crisis. I actually went and visited a shelter and we filmed in the shelter, what's happening with the refugees, what's happening with these children, which is just completely heartbreaking.
So I flew down Thursday morning. The moment I got there, one of the young women, one of the people who live there, Tania Chavez, said to me, oh my god, I'm really happy you're here but how are you going to get out? And I looked at her, like, what are you -- what are you talking about? I've been flying around the country with this Filipino passport as I.D. and there's never been a problem.
And then she says but you're in the Texas border, you know, this is basically a trap, you know, like you're trapped. When you live in that 45-mile radius, you can't go anywhere without there being a checkpoint or without Border Patrol being at the TSA line at the airport. Now in all of my travels across the country in the past three years, there has never been a Border Patrol agent next to the TSA person.
So all of this started sinking in by Thursday night, and I talked to my friends, I talked to the people at Define American and we were trying to figure out how am I going to get out of here? And they were trying to figure out how to like sneak me out, and then I'm thinking wait a second, like I have to -- you know, I have the agency to tell people when you're undocumented in this country and you don't have a single piece of government issued I.D. this is the situation that you find yourself in.
COOPER: So was this --
VARGAS: So then I ended up staying a couple of more days.
COOPER: Was this, in fact, though, a stunt? Because I mean, your critics are saying, look, there was someone with a video camera there when you were actually detained. I talked to even some supporters of the kids crossing over who say that you're taking attention away from the very real issue of these kids and that, you know, the story has become you as opposed to these kids. VARGAS: Well, all of these stories, by the way, are intersected in
some way. I mean, I came there to video, we actually have it now, what's happening down there with the child migrant crisis. That's why I came there for. I didn't know that the 45-mile radius is a -- basically a military zone. That I didn't know.
But here's what I find really, really interesting. What is the stunt? I had to get out of south Texas. I have to either get out by car or by plane. If I got out by car, Anderson, if you had driven me by car you would have gotten apprehended for smuggling me out. So it was either I get out by car or I get out by plane. Now that's not a stunt.
COOPER: Do you worry --
VARGAS: That's the reality of what it's like to be undocumented in this country.
COOPER: Do you worry this overshadows the very real issue of what's happening to these kids? I mean I know you went down there to focus on that but the story for the last day for a lot of people has become you getting detained.
VARGAS: Yes. Well, I mean, I think this is just in many ways how these issues get conflated, right? I mean, for example, let me give you an example. People are saying that the border is not secure. I can tell you right now as somebody who spent almost five days in that area, that it's definitely secure. I mean, I ended up spending actually, you know, about seven to eight hours at a Border Patrol station, exactly with some of these kids that are just crossed. Some of these refugee children.
I don't think it's taking any attention away. I think what it does, it tells you what it's like to be undocumented in this country, and what happens when you're in that area and you're trapped. Now I got out. Can you imagine living in an area? I mean, I've talked to people who have lived in that area for 17 years, Anderson, and never left.
Can you imagine that? I talked to a woman who is an American citizen, right, a 21-year-old woman, Roxy, whose parents are undocumented, who have not left that area for 15 years.
COOPER: Because they're -- for fear.
VARGAS: Or a guy who couldn't -- I mean, that's horrible.
COOPER: I know you now have to appear before an immigration judge. We'll obviously continue to follow that.
Jose Antonio Vargas, appreciate you being on tonight, thank you.
Earlier tonight you heard a U.S. congressman warning about gang members coming into the country from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Again, there is no evidence that in large numbers this is happening in a substantial way. That congressman said that he had been told there were 16 members of MS coming out of tens of thousands of these kids.
There is plenty of evidence, though, of what these kids are running from. You can find it as our Rosa Flores did in Honduras at the local morgue. Take a look.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In this building in the coroner's office is where the most painful exchange happens. Families come here to claim bodies, so they find out if their loved one is alive or dead.
Take a look at this wall. This entire wall that's filled with men and women who are missing. Overnight there were four bodies that came in to the coroner's office and that's a decrease.
(Voice-over): It didn't take long for us to find a grieving family. These two women are looking for (INAUDIBLE).
(On camera): They had a family pact to go to Disney, the entire family, and the family went first, the wife and the kids, and then he was supposed to leave later so he had his visa to go to the United States, and tickets but they say that he stayed only to die. He was killed.
She's saying that they couldn't find her son. They found him dead? She said they were raided, that they couldn't recognize his face. His facial features were destroyed somehow. She says that people here live in fear. That's how they live. They don't have another option.
Her nephew, the person that they are trying to identify today, actually, she says actually helped her when they were trying to kidnap her, extort her for money. She says that she just doesn't know what the future holds at this point.
Some people don't want to come here to claim bodies because they don't want to be associated with their family member who ends up dead because, hear this, gang members come here to the medical examiner's office and they case out families to figure out who is next in that family unit that they would be attacking.
Now this is the medical forensics truck that actually brings the bodies here. The medical examiner tells us that 48 unclaimed bodies are in this facility at this point in time. Now here's the sad thing, a lot of the families in Honduras think that their family member is on their way to the United States, only to find out that they are here dead.
COOPER: Rosa Flores reporting from San Pedro Sula in Honduras.
We have new details tonight in the military's investigation of Bowe Bergdahl in his disappearance five years ago. I'll talk to his brand- new attorney ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Welcome back. We have breaking news tonight, Israel has agreed to hold air strikes so humanitarian aid can reach Gaza. Hamas has also agreed to the temporary ceasefire. Anger over civilian deaths is growing. In Gaza today, four Palestinians boys were killed while playing on a beach.
A shell from an Israel gunship exploded near them, hundreds turn out to funerals. Officials say the death toll in Gaza is now more than 200. In Israel, a 37-year-old civilian killed in a Hamas rocket attack this week. He was buried today. He's the only Israeli fatality so far.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer joins me tonight from Jerusalem. So Wolf, the killing of these four Palestinian boys, I mean, what do we know about them? What has Israel actually said about it?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": The Israelis say they are very disturbed by it. They say they have launched a full scale investigation to try to determine what happened. Prime Minister Netanyahu's spokesman, Mark Regev, told me in his really general knowledge has been asked to lead this investigation. They think it was probably some sort of major mistake. They want to review it to make sure it doesn't happen again.
At the same time, they also point out, they say these four little Palestinian boys would be alive right now if Hamas had accepted the ceasefire yesterday, the one the Israelis accepted, that Egyptian sponsored ceasefire. So indirectly they are at least blaming Hamas, but they acknowledge they may have blundered somehow in that operation and they say they feel horrible about that.
COOPER: The pause in the air strikes tomorrow, Israel has been very clear that it's not going to hesitate to resume them if that window is exploited by Hamas, right?
BLITZER: Right, they say they are going to intensify their activities, their military action, a lot of people are bracing for at least a limited Israeli ground incursion if these seize fires don't hold. The Israelis say they will accept the six-hour pause that the United Nations has put forward.
As we speak right now, Anderson, we're still waiting for an official response from Hamas, one of their spokesmen told me earlier that they have questions that need to be answered and they will get back to us, whether they will respect that U.N. proposal.
COOPER: I mean, any kind of ground incursion into Gaza is obviously an incredibly difficult thing, a dangerous thing that is going to result in a lot more fatalities. Does Israel think it can actually achieve its objectives without invading Gaza? Does it seem inevitable that they are going to do some sort of a ground operation?
BLITZER: I've spoken with a lot of Israeli military analysts and people in the military and they say there is certainly a lot they can do with these continued air strikes, but there are certain things they can't do because a lot of the Hamas infrastructure, if you will, military infrastructure storage of rockets is deep underground.
They have a network of tunnels and you can't just simply do that especially in these heavily populated areas of Gaza. That would require boots on the ground as they say. It's a tough decision that the Israeli have to make because there will no doubt be a lot more Palestinian casualties including a lot of civilians who will be killed.
And there will be Israeli casualties as well. Israeli troops who will go in there, some of them will be killed as well. So this is a very, very difficult decision for Prime Minister Netanyahu and his inner security cabinet.
COOPER: Right, Wolf Blitzer, appreciate it from Jerusalem. Wolf, thanks.
I want to turn now to Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl who is disappearance and homecoming has sparked such intense debate. He's back on the job for three days now. Returned to regular duty this week at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. As you know, he was released by the Taliban six weeks ago in a controversial prisoner swap. Now he could be facing a court martial. His lawyer joins us shortly, but first Ed Lavandera has the latest.
SGT. BOWE BERGDAHL: Release me, please.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Army has already conducted much of the investigation into Bowe Bergdahl's disappearance and capture, but those investigators have never heard directly from the 28-year-old Army Sergeant, that's about to change. Now that Sergeant Bergdahl is back to regular Army duty, his lawyer says that in the next two weeks, he'll meet with Major General Kenneth Doll, the man appointed to lead the Bergdahl investigation.
According to U.S. Army regulation, the general has about a month left to present his findings and make recommendations to the Army on whether Bergdahl should face criminal charges.
STEPHEN KARNS, MILITARY LAWYER: The Army will look at this to make sure they didn't get embarrassed.
LAVANDERA: Do you see a way that Bowe Bergdahl is in the Army a year from now?
KARNS: I don't. I don't think anybody is going to want to work for him or under him and he's probably ready to get out, as well.
LAVANDERA (on camera): Army officials say Bowe Bergdahl has completed the official reintegration program and that he's now been assigned administrative duties for a unit at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, all of this while he waits to hear what Army investigators will do next. In the meantime, Army officials insist he's being treated like any other soldier working as a sergeant. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They assign him to a special project, that's code for not really doing anything. So he is probably doing some sort of administrative work, maybe at a desk job.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): In the days after Bowe Bergdahl was turned over to U.S. forces by his captors, the soldier's friends and hometown of Haley, Idaho anxiously awaited the emotional reunion with his family. Army officials said a reunion would be arrange the anytime Bowe Bergdahl asks for it, but that reunion hasn't happened and there is no sign it will happen any time soon.
Army officials and Bergdahl's lawyer say it's a private family matter. In recent weeks, army officials say Bergdahl has ventured into public. He's gone to grocery stores and restaurants and even been recognized by civilians on the streets. His future, though, is still very much in limbo. Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.
COOPER: Eugene Fidell is Sergeant Bergdahl's attorney. He joins me now. Thanks very much for being with us. First of all, I understand you met with Sgt. Bergdahl for the first time in San Antonio last week. What can you tell us about the visit? I know obviously because of attorney client privilege there is a lot you can't say. What can you say about him?
EUGENE FIDELL, ATTORNEY FOR SGT. BOWE BERGDAHL: Well, I can tell you, Anderson, that I liked him immediately, and part of the, without going into any confidential conversations, part of the thing that a lawyer hopes for an initial meeting with a client is that there would be, you know, one gets along with the client and vice versa and I certainly had that feeling. I consider this an important case. It's one that I was very happy to be asked to participate in.
COOPER: Did he express gratitude?
FIDELL: To me?
COOPER: No, to the United States, to the administration for being rescued?
FIDELL: That's what he told me was, and I'm saying -- I'm disclosing this with his consent, that he is deeply grateful to President Obama for having saved his life.
COOPER: I know you said you have spoken to General Dahl. He is leading this investigation. He's high level. Do you have a sense of the timetable for this investigation and has the military spoken to your client yet about the details of him leaving or is that something that General Dahl will do directly with Sergeant Bergdahl and obviously, that would be something either you or the military attorney would be present for.
FIDELL: Right, I'll be present for those interviews.
COOPER: But as far as you know, no conversations have taken place up to this point between the military and Sergeant Bergdahl?
FIDELL: That's correct, aside from the debriefings that have occurred before the reintegration process ran its course. There are a number of government agencies that are interested in talking to him and my understanding is he's cooperated, start to finish with the authorities.
COOPER: And finally, I'm obviously not asking about, you know, the circumstances of him leaving or whether or not he's talked to his parents because I know you won't answer those questions for your own attorney-client privilege, do you have the answers, though, in terms of has your client -- have you talked to your client about the circumstances of his leaving or this part of representation you haven't gone that far? Can you say?
FIDELL: I've had substantial conversations with my client about the -- there was a judge who used to say, the meat of the coconut.
FIDELL: It was the late Judge Charles Richy in Washington, D.C. We have a very good sense of the core facts. We'll learn more. I still haven't seen the original report that was done several years ago, which is classified. I'm going to see that in due course and obviously, we'll get a chance to see General Dahl's report, but I have a pretty good sense, I believe, of how events actually unfolded on the ground.
COOPER: Eugene Fidell, I look forward to learning more. Appreciate you being on. Thank you.
FIDELL: Thanks for the opportunity.
COOPER: Coming up tonight, accidental overdose or murder by heroin. That's the question for an alleged high price call girl charged in the death of a Google executive.
COOPER: Welcome back. In Crime and Punishment tonight, a 26-year-old woman in California today pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, prostitution and other charges in the death of a 51-year-old Google executive that authorities say she met on a "Sugar Daddy" web site. Forest Hayes, married, father of five was found dead on his yacht back in November. At the time, his death was ruled an accident, but now alleged prostitute, Alix Tichelman has been arrested and is in custody. Our Kyung Lah has the story.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shackled, her tattoos visible under her red jail jump suit, Alix Tichelman stood before a judge accused of being a paid prostitute, a heroine addict and killer.
STEVE CLARK, SANTA CRUZ POLICE DEPARTMENT: You know, what's particularly shocking in this case though is just the glacial callousness and coldness that she showed towards the condition of the victim.
LAH: Her alleged victim, 51-year-old Forest Hayes, a Google executive and father of five. He was the so-called sugar daddy on the website seekingarrangement.com. Police say he met her, a Silicon Valley prostitute with the 200 clients on the site. Surveillance videos showing her giving him a lethal dose of heroin. Hayes began to overdose.
CLARK: She immediately started to walk around. She gathered all of her personal items. She cleaned up the drugs. She walked around with her glass of wine in her hand as she stepped over the body a number of times.
LAH: This crime and even darker image than the one she portrayed on social media, the heavily mascaraed, 26-year-old openly shared her love of the underbelly of society, shock rocker Marilyn Manson, "Dexter" and her tattoo reads "until death do us part," flaunting her body in numerous provocative images.
A self-described makeup artist, exotic dancer and hustler was openly struggling to find her path in life, a distant cry from her apparently privileged upbringing. She attended expensive private schools as a child. Her father could afford it. He's the wealthy CEO of a tech company. His daughter was seemingly struggling. Something that wasn't just confined to California.
In Georgia, Tichelman had met nightclub owner and musician, Dean Riopelle who died of a heroin overdose last September.
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: I think my boyfriend overdosed or something. He won't respond.
LAH: That's Alix Tichelman calling 911.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Why do you think it's an overdose?
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: There is nothing else it could be.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER: Is it accidental or intentional?
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Definitely accidental, accidental.
LAH: Police in Georgia agreed ruling the death accidental, but now they have reopened the case.
CAPT. SHAWN MCCARTY, MILTON, GEORGIA POLICE DEPT.: The similarities are basically the deaths of the two men by heroin overdose, and the common denominator being Ms. Tichleman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The case is sad. Five kids have no father but to totally blame Alix Tichelman is simple wrong.
LAH: Tichelman's public defender say she is a heroin addict. She was Hayes' prostitute but that they say, was it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This case is about two adults who got engaged in a consensual, mutual drug abuse affair and he initiated and encouraged and wanted and it went awry. It went bad. But it was unintended.
COOPER: That was our Kyung Lah reporting. Up next, John F. Kennedy junior, 15 years after his death, his life and how he's being remembered next.
COOPER: Well, 15 years ago today, another sad page in the Kennedy family book of tragedy was written. John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife and sister-in-law killed when the small plane crashed. Tonight we remember.
COOPER (voice-over): From the moment he was born, John F. Kennedy Jr. was in the spotlight, a little boy from a famous family who experienced tragedy at far too young an age. His third birthday, the same day of his father's state funeral. His move out of Washington didn't diminish the obsession with his nearly every move and expectations the young, handsome member of the clan would enter politics would always surround him. He spoke about his father's political legacy to the History Channel.
JOHN F. KENNEDY JR.: I think he would have wanted both his children to live good lives and not try to mimic for the sake of public expectation his life.
COOPER: So John went into magazine publishing instead of politics.
KENNEDY: George is a magazine that understands.
COOPER: In 1996 he married Caroline Besset, a publicist in New York City. She was beautiful, stately. They were in the eyes of the public the perfect pair. Less than three years after they married, John, Caroline and her older sister, Lauren, boarded a single engine plane at a small airport in New Jersey. They were going to John's cousin, Rory Kennedy's wedding and going to drop off Lauren at Martha's Vineyard on the way.
It was July 16th, 1999, the pilot was john himself who had just gotten his pilot's license 15 months earlier. Visibility was poor that night, but the plane was cleared for takeoff at 8:38 p.m., 12 minutes after sundown. After about 48 minutes of flying, the plane suddenly turned right towards the open ocean and started descending quickly for reasons still unknown.
Kennedy may have been trying to avoid the haze. The Martha's Vineyard Airport was only 20 miles away, but the troubles for the plane continued and ended up hitting the water.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The plane believed to have been flown by John F. Kennedy Jr. is being reported as overdue and officially missing.
COOPER: The search for the missing plane began. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The water temperature is 68 degrees. Survivability in those water temperatures has been exceeded, but I think those are only statistics and they are just factors in terms of all of the things that we look at.
COOPER: On July 21st, the bodies of John, Caroline and Lauren were found. Caroline and Lauren were near the fuselage. John was still strapped into the pilot seat. An investigation later found that pilot error was the probably cause of the crash. The three passengers died on impact.
If he had lived, John F. Kennedy Jr. would be 53 years old today, but like so many other members of the Kennedy family, his life was cut short. At his funeral, John Junior's uncle, Ted Kennedy, said we dare to think that this John Kennedy would live to comb gray hair with his beloved Caroline by his side, but like his father, he had every gift but length of years.
COOPER: Fifteen years ago today. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Time for "The Ridiculist." Tonight, we have what has been the most cogent commentary yet in the national debate over immigration. Our affiliate, WJZ reports there was a plan to use a former U.S. Army reserve building in Maryland to house undocumented children who crossed the border. That plan reportedly was scrapped but someone armed only with a strong opinion and a can of spray paint left a message anyway, there it is.
No illegals here. No undocumented Democrats. You notice the creative spelling of illegals. Some might say if you can't spell the word illegal, you probably should not weigh in on the topic or that a quick spell check might be a wise investment of time before one immortalizes the graffiti.
Maybe illegals really does refer to under the weather birds. I mean, who would want a bunch of sick eagles hanging around? Not me, not in my backyard or maybe someone doesn't appreciate the styling of ill- eagles, the Eagle's tribute band. Doesn't seem like they have been playing a gig quite a while, but there are band posters from a few years ago. Maybe they have broken up because of creative differences.
In any case, I ask must graffiti be spelled differently to maintain impact? If those request to vote libertarian or support Romney 2012 were spelled correctly, would you take them more seriously? It's doubtful. However, if you can't spell, step away from the sharpies and spray paint and Facebook and Twitter. Don't listen me.
I'm talking about the always relevant sage who returned to impart his wisdom one again, Weird Al. He's still got it. That's "Word Crimes," from "Blurred Lines." The whole thing is worth a listen, actually.