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Charity Cheats; NFL Abuse Scandals; Ground Troops: Yes, No, Maybe?; Manhunt For Suspected Cop Killer; Joan Rivers Death Investigation

Aired September 17, 2014 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us. Different day, different team. The same sad story. Another pro- football player facing domestic violence charges. We'll tell you why police arrested Arizona running back Jonathan Dwyer.

Also tonight a strange new twist in the hunt for an alleged cop killer. The fugitive is a war re-enactor. Not the civil war but the cold war and he's said to be armed like a member of the old Warsaw Pact.

We begin, though, with the story that you'll only see here. The latest in our effort. This program's and correspondent Drew Griffin's investigative teams to expose people who are letting America's wounded warriors down. Raising millions in their name. Taking your money and lining their own pockets with the proceeds.

Tonight the focus is on a discredited charity, one that is amazingly still doing business, if you can call it that. And not only that, it's who we've learned is now running this outfit. It is truly mind bending. And it comes on a day when VA officials took the heat, a whole lot of it, for yet another scandal involving veterans. The hospital mess.

So Drew has been busy chasing that as well. He joins us from our Washington bureaus.

So you were at the hearing today. What happened?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the big question at this congressional hearing was to what happened at the Phoenix V.A. Did veterans die waiting for care and did the actual wait kill them?

The report that we talked about that was released a couple of weeks ago by the inspectors' general office, went out of its way it seems to say there was no conclusive proof the way it's killed anybody. Well, today we learned the inspector general team actually didn't examine all of the deaths of veterans who died waiting for care. And in fact, didn't look at the records of thousands of veterans who are waiting for care which, take a listen, some congressmen found just incredulous.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's 5600 veterans cases that apparently were not reviewed. And that you have in the report. And so I look forward to the determination why they decided not to review those cases because I fear there are more veterans that died because of --


RICHARD GRIFFIN, ACTING VA INSPECTOR GENERAL: There was nothing to review if they didn't get in the door. He was reviewing medical records and if they didn't get an appointment, they didn't have any records to review.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you agree that the wait lists contributed to the deaths of veterans? It's a -- yes or no? Please, yes or no?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Words mean something and you need to just decide what your answer is.

R. GRIFFIN: Yes. They do.


R. GRIFFIN: No. I would say that it may have contributed to their death. But we can't say conclusively it caused their deaths.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, you can't say conclusively it didn't.


D. GRIFFIN: The bottom line from this hearing is the Phoenix V.A., Anderson, was, appears to be still somewhat of a mess. No one really has been fired in all of this. And despite the fact that there are 9300 V.A. hospitals under investigation across the country, and the FBI brought into investigate possible criminal violations, no one has ever been charged with a crime.

COOPER: Which, again, brings us to this other outrage tonight, involving veterans and that's -- this terrible charity that we've been following despite our reporting and actually been prosecuted by the state of California continues to rake in money in the name of veterans.

Here is Drew's report.


D. GRIFFIN (voice-over): Help Hospitalized Veterans is one of the most troubling charities we've ever reported on. Its mission is to take in donations and then help hospitalized veterans by sending them arts and crafts kits, models, to occupy time of vets who are hospitalized.

The charity has been raking in donations for more than 40 years. And in 2011 and 2012 the last two years the charity filed tax returns it collected $64 million. Those same filings showed its officers paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries, donated money, paid for $80,000 in golf club memberships, and directors and their spouses were approved to travel first class for any function related to the charity. All money supposedly donated to help hospitalized veterans.

(On camera): Hello, Mr. Lynch.

(Voice-over): When we confronted their then CEO two years ago about what this charity actually does, Mike Lynch told us he would explain it all tomorrow.

(On camera): All right. We'll see you tomorrow.

(Voice-over): Tomorrow came and we got this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a statement that I have prepared. It says, "We hope that these unproven allegations will not diminish the more than 40 years of service that HHV has provided to our nation's most valuable treasure, our veterans. HHV looks forward to the chance to tell its story and hopes that this action will not impede its ability to provide vital support to hospitalized veterans nationwide."

Thank you very much.

D. GRIFFIN (on camera): What about -- I've got to ask you about the money, though, I mean, that doesn't answer any of the questions about the money that they're -- that is it? That is all you have -- all you guys are going to say?

(Voice-over): The state of California cracked down on the charity, forced it to change its board, retire its CEO and pay back $4 million in fines. And even more startling, CNN has just learned the Veterans Administration itself banned Help Hospitalized Veterans from having anything to do with its veterans hospitals or patients for the past two years, something Help Hospitalized Veterans never bothered to mention on its Web site.

But in a surreal twist, the charity survived. How? By hiring this woman to run its operation. And this is where poor management of the V.A., the actual Department of Veterans Affairs and the very bad veteran charities intersect.

Diane Hartman was an administrator with the V.A. for years. Until this 2010 scathing government reporting found Hartman taking luxurious trips to Las Vegas and San Diego. Misusing money and then lying to cover it all up. According to the V.A.'s Office on the Inspector General, Hartman had misused official time and travel, failed to properly record compensatory time for her subordinates, and improperly used hundreds of hours of unauthorized compensatory leave herself.

It wasn't enough at the V.A. for Hartman to get fired. She retired a year later after a more than 30-year career with the V.A.

(On camera): So what does Diane Hartman have to do with Help Hospitalized Veterans? This disgraced charity was looking for a new CEO, and a disgraced former V.A. administrator apparently was the perfect fit.

DOUG WHITE, DIRECTOR, MASTER FUNDRAISING PROGRAM, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: I can't believe a charity of that stature could possibly overlook that person's background. That was not merely an allegation made by someone at the Veterans Administration. That was a long, thorough, well-vetted report, and what they concluded are activities that no CEO, I would say actually no charity employee, should have in his or her background.

D. GRIFFIN (voice-over): Hartman has been the CEO here for two years, but when we began asking questions, her status suddenly changed. She's now listed as interim CEO. And that ban on Help Hospitalize Veterans from doing business with the V.A., well, it's just been extended another two years.

At its warehouse in California, workers looked busy assembling what looked like those craft kits. At least that's what we were able to see until they shut the doors. In a statement, the charity says it is finding alternative avenues to distribute the craft kits.

But where are they sending them and why is this charity still collecting money? We wanted to talk to the new CEO.

(On camera): Hello.


D. GRIFFIN: Hi. Is Diane Hartman in?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is not available.

D. GRIFFIN: Is she in?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is not available.

D. GRIFFIN: Can we talk to somebody about Help Hospitalize Veterans. My name is Drew Griffin with CNN.


D. GRIFFIN (voice-over): Even though the CEO, Diane Hartman, is just upstairs, the receptionist calls the plant manager, whose name is Chip.

(On camera): Hey, Chip, Drew Griffin with CNN.


D. GRIFFIN: I was trying to reach Diane Hartman. I understand she's here but not available. I want to ask you about this letter which extends the ban you guys have with V.A. hospitals. You can't work in V.A. hospitals, you can't have any access to V.A. hospital, and I want to know how does the Help Hospitalized Veterans continue to operate if you can't deliver any products that you say you deliver to veterans and hospitals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have any comment to that. I -- you know, am not -- I don't know how to comment to that.

D. GRIFFIN: Can anybody comment? I mean, you're asking the public for donations and you're getting millions in donations. And yet the V.A. doesn't want you to have anything to do with any of their hospital services or veterans. It would seem that somebody at this facility should be able to explain what is going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not part of that operation. I don't have --

D. GRIFFIN: Can you find anybody who is part of that operation? This is the operation, right?


D. GRIFFIN: Diane is upstairs, right?


D. GRIFFIN: Can she come down?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know, I don't know --

D. GRIFFIN: Can you go ask her maybe or just give her a call?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't been able to get hold of her this morning. She is tied up.

D. GRIFFIN: She's upstairs. OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Between meetings and --

D. GRIFFIN: Does she have an assistant?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I don't know if you can make an appointment --

D. GRIFFIN: Well, we tried. We have tried. Maybe I'll ask this person here. Is there any chance of making an appointment with Diane?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can leave your information.

D. GRIFFIN: OK, we tried that route already. Haven't gotten a call back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I just answer the phones here. I'm sorry.


COOPER: You know, what makes me so outraged about this, I mean, these people are so sleazy, they're taking people's money. And if they were a real charity, if they were a legitimate charity, they would at the very least give you an appointment, they be completely transparent. They should be completely willing to say oh, here is how we deliver, you know, kits to veterans in hospitals even though we've been banned by the veteran's hospitals we supposedly deliver these kits to. Here is how we do it.

And Chip, you know, is standing there like this is the first he's ever heard of it, like he doesn't even know that he works for this sleazy organization.

D. GRIFFIN: It doesn't make sense, and, Anderson, you're involved with charities that do good works. And what's the first thing they do? Please come with us, we're going to show you what --

COOPER: Right. They're eager for attention.

D. GRIFFIN: Exactly. They're dying for attention.

COOPER: These guys are, to quote Mike Wallace from "60 Minutes," they're running away like cockroaches, like scuttling from the cameras.

D. GRIFFIN: That's exactly right. And the problem is, their target audience, the people who are sending in money are mostly -- I hate to say it, Anderson. They're not watching our show. They're elderly people, they're people who are soft sells through the mail, and they don't get the information that we're delivering right now to all of our viewers that if you get something from Help Hospitalized Veterans in the mail you should be very suspicious when they're asking you for money. We can't tell that story enough.

COOPER: And obviously, I mean, the name is so manipulative. Of course you get something if it's Help Hospitalized Veterans, you want to do whatever you can. Obviously the state of California here agrees with this. The veteran's administration agrees. Yet they continue to exist taking donations. Is there nothing that can be done to shut them down?

D. GRIFFIN: You know, like I said, this is what can be done. People need to stop giving to this group. It's unfortunate. But the laws are extremely weak, and there is no push to make them any stronger.

We did receive a statement from this charity's new chairman of the board, basically saying that they did know, by the way, about that most recent V.A. letter that bans them from the V.A. and that the charity was trying to reinstate itself, get access to the hospitals hoping for a more favorable outcome.

And that the new chairman also blamed employees that are no longer there. They are trying -- they say they are fully focused on rebuilding the trust that was shaken. But they're not going to say that on camera or answer questions.

COOPER: You know, how about -- yes. How about one of these sleazy people actually come on camera and do an interview with you, with me, with us both, together, I mean, rather than just give out statements, which are -- you know, oh, yes, we're aware that the V.A. has banned us. Well, yes, I would hope you -- you know, they are, I'm sure they're aware of that. That's nothing new. Anyway, it's just outrageous.

D. GRIFFIN: Yes. The invitation is open. The last thing I want to do is truck back to this desert in California and have to knock on their door because they won't answer our calls.

COOPER: Well, let's hope Chip is watching or whoever.

All right, Drew, thanks very much.

A quick reminder, make sure you set your DVR so you can watch 360 whenever you want.

Just ahead tonight, breaking news in the NFL, another player facing domestic abuse charges. His alleged victim is an adult women and an 18-month-old child.

Plus today's major reversal by the Minnesota Vikings. They finally benched Adrian Peterson banning him from all team activities until his felony child abuse charge is resolved. We'll take a look at actually what made them change their mind.


COOPER: Breaking news involving another NFL running back. Jonathan Dwyer of the Arizona Cardinals has been arrested. He's facing domestic abuse charges including two counts of aggravated assault. One of the alleged victims is an 18-month-old child. In a statement the Cardinals said they have deactivated Dwyer.

His arrest comes just hours after major reversal by the Minnesota Vikings. That team benched its star running back Adrian Peterson, banning him from all team activities until his felony child abuse charge is resolved.

Here's what the team's owner said.


ZYGI WILF, MINNESOTA VIKINGS OWNER: We have decided that the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian is to put him on the exempt list until the legal proceedings are complete. We made a mistake. And we needed to get this right.


COOPER: Well, the mistake he is talking about was the decision on Monday to lift Peterson's suspension after the Vikings got shellacked by the New England Patriots. The fallout was immediate, hasn't stopped several sponsors that suspended or cancelled deals with both the team and with Peterson.

Anheuser-Busch, one of the NFL's biggest sponsors hasn't pulled out yet but had criticized the league's handling of domestic violence cases saying, "We're disappointed and increasingly concerned. We're not yet satisfied with the league's handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code." Now another new developments today, the Carolina Panthers placed

defensive end Greg Hardy, who was recently convicted of domestic violence, not just accused or charged, convicted of domestic violence, on their exempt list calling it a voluntary leave.

Joining me now Rachel Nichols, host of CNN's "UNGUARDED," also senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

So another investigation, Rachel, another NFL player involved.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN HOST, UNGUARDED WITH RACHEL NICHOLS: Yes, I mean, these just keep coming, and this is Arizona Cardinals running back, Jonathan Dwyer, he's the second string running back, but an important part of their team came over from the Pittsburgh Steelers. And the investigation has been into two separate incidents that happened on back to back days in July involving a women who is the mother of his child. And after those incidents she actually left the state and left him with the child.

So the investigation has taken a while as they have tried to get out of state medical records, court documents, things like that. But they actually pulled him out of the practice facility today to question him and then he is being arrested and booked pretty much as we speak.

COOPER: And the Vikings' decision to deactivate Peterson, I mean, it's really interesting because it wasn't even out of fans or the public's uproar, it was when sponsors started to --

NICHOLS: Or a sense of moral responsibility.

COOPER: Well --

NICHOLS: I mean, god forbid anybody employ that around here.

COOPER: But it does seem more like when sponsors started to get nervous and speak out, that's when the decision was reversed.

NICHOLS: Yes. I mean, you could say those sponsorships, though, and those sponsors were acting because there are consumers who were so upset. I mean, it's all a domino situation with money. But yes, absolutely. And right now, we've got this situation where the NFL seems to be levying punishment with an Etch-a-Sketch that they scribble something out, then they shake it and erase it the next day, and then they scribble something out.

Adrian Peterson in the last four days has been deactivated, reactivated, and deactivated again, even though the incident stands. Nothing has changed.

COOPER: Nothing has changed. Right. No, the facts have changed.

Jeff, so both Peterson and Hardy were put on this exempt list today, but why didn't the NFL step in and suspend them under its new domestic violence policy?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, because I think the NFL is operating under a complete panic approach. That they are operating day-by-day trying to figure this thing out as they go. They don't have a clear policy in place and they are just trying to get from one -- not even one week to the next. One day to the next. Because as Rachel said, you know, you have had the two most prominent people arrested in the NFL.

The NFL has changed and the teams have changed their punishments immediately after public reaction. And you know, there is no reason to think that these rulings are at all final and they're going to continue operating by the seat of their pants because they don't have a clear policy in place.

COOPER: I want to play something the Carolinas -- the Panthers' coach said about the Greg Hardy situation.


RON RIVERA, HEAD COACH, CAROLINA PANTHERS: There are a lot of circumstances that we don't know. There are a lot of situations we don't understand. And it is hard because you don't know how. You really don't. This is not a normal set of circumstances situation. And when you get into these types of situations you try to handle them the best you can.


COOPER: What's kind of stunning about this, I mean, is that there are a lot of circumstances we do understand about this. And I just want to point this out. Hardy was found guilty, guilty of domestic abuse, according to his ex-girlfriend's testimony. He beat her, threw her onto a floor, into a bathtub, on to a couch filled with weapons, saying he was going to use those weapons to kill her.

NICHOLS: Yes. And there was --

COOPER: What else do you need to understand?

NICHOLS: Yes. There's a 911 call of another witness to all of this. And then the reason the coach is sort of saying oh, these are unusual circumstances, that Greg Hardy, the player involved, has gone to not only the team but the police and said, hey, she's making all of this up. His claim is that she got the bruises by throwing herself into the bathtub somehow? Bruising herself, and that she is just making it up despite again a witness calling in to 911.

So he is appealing his judged verdict for a jury trial which he is allowed to do in that state. However, anybody on the outside of this team has said over and over again he was convicted. And yes, he has the right to appeal. But while he is appealing there is no way he should be on the field.

TOOBIN: And Anderson, if I could just add one thing. You know, just one corner of this bizarre series of developments is sort of the cult of the head coach in football is a big thing. They are, you know, the leaders. They are supposedly the masterminds of these complicated operations. And we have seen two of the dumbest comments from Harbaugh, the coach of Baltimore, and Rivera, I mean, that was just a word salad.

What he said made no sense at all and it's just embarrassing that these guys who are supposedly so smart on the football field can be so dumb when it comes to human relations.

COOPER: And again, dumb after all of this stuff has hit the public's, you know, radar. It's not as if these statements were made a long time ago, especially even for Harbaugh who came out in the wake of all this and said stuff which is kind of stunning.

All right, Jeff, thanks very much. And Rachel Nichols.

We're going to have more on this in the 9:00 hour tonight.

As always you can find out more on the story right now and many others at

Up next, (INAUDIBLE), what he says is a clear threat from ISIS. President Obama under fire for being less than clear, some say, about how to meet the challenge. I'll talk to the president's spokesman about how he answers the critics.


COOPER: Welcome back. "Keeping Them Honest" in what critics of the Obama administration's shortage of clear speaking when it comes to dealing with ISIS and the problem that all sides seem to have in deciding openly, fully and honestly what needs to be done and how realistically to actually do it.

Whether it's preemptively promising to fight and win a war without ground troops even though that hasn't really been started or selling an alliance against ISIS without, it seems, too many willing allies, certainly few actually willing to fight, at least publicly.

Whether it's rhetorically boosting the Iraqi government that hasn't shown it can actually govern, or on the other side of the argument pushing as many war hawks to deepen America's commitment to go all in, as one lawmaker said recently, without openly acknowledging the potential costs of going all in.

Listen to what you'll hear tonight. See if it sounds like clear speaking to you or not. First President Obama.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to be clear, the American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission.


COOPER: Well, that's today at CENTCOM headquarters in Tampa. A clear promise right there. Or Secretary of State Kerry also today testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Listen.


JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: ISIL must be defeated, period, end of story. And collectively, we are all going to be measured by how we carry out this mission.


COOPER: It is a simple commitment and that's about as far as clarity and simplicity go. Now listen from just a day ago. Here's General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on sending troops.


GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraq troops on attacks against the specific ISIL targets I'll recommend that to the president.


COOPER: All right, so now as a member of the military, Dempsey doesn't make policy. He does however have clout and his words certainly got noticed by the president's supporters and opponents alike.

In a hotly worded editorial from the anti-war side, "The New York Times" treated it as a betrayal, quote, "There is no way to read yesterday's testimony by Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey other than as a reversal from the firm commitment Mr. Obama made not to immerse the country in another endless ground war in the Middle East."

Well, there are other doubts as well, such as these from bipartisan former defense secretary, Robert Gates, who served Presidents Obama and Bush.


ROBERT GATES, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: They're not going to be able to be successful against ISIS strictly from the air or strictly depending on the Iraqi forces or the Peshmerga or the Sunni tribes acting on their own, so there will be boots on the ground if there is to be any hope of success in the strategy. And I think that by continuing to repeat that the president in effect traps himself.


COOPER: Well, "Keeping Him Honest," we have Senator John McCain on the program several times. We asked him tough questions about the risks of getting deeper and deeper into the mess in Iraq and Syria. Earlier tonight I had a chance to do the same with White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.


COOPER: So Josh, you said today the president wouldn't even consider a combat role for U.S. troops in the expanded fight against ISIS. The president said as much in front of troops saying this is -- there won't be a combat mission.

As you know, General Dempsey said, if the situation change and he felt U.S. ground troops were necessary, he would recommend that to the president. I want to play for our viewers exactly what he said.


GENERAL MARTIN DEMPSEY: If we reach the point where I believe our troops should company on specific ISIL targets, I'll recommend that to the president.


COOPER: Special Forces operators accompanying Iraqi troops on attacks against ISIS forces that sounds like a combat role.

JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Anderson, what he talked about, that was the advice and assist role that American service personnel already have in Iraq.

He was contemplating situations in which American military personnel could be deployed with Iraqi security forces, and from those deployed locations could be offering them some tactical advice as they carry out combat operations --

COOPER: But he is talking about going out on attacks.

EARNEST: Well, when Iraqi security forces are carrying out attacks or engaged in combat with the enemy, you could imagine a scenario where the American service men and women could be forward deployed alongside them, offering some assistance, maybe even calling in airstrikes.

But those American military members would not be in a position where they were directly or personally engaging the enemy in combat. That is the distinction that the president is drawing here.

COOPER: But combat, as you know, is a messy thing and the best laid plans change once bullets start flying. You can't actually say that forward-deployed U.S. military personnel with Iraqi troops on an attack are not going to be in a position where they have to use their own weapons to either defend themselves or to go after the enemy. You can't now say that, can you really?

EARNEST: The president directed the deployment of some military personnel to Iraq to do things like secure the embassy and to staff the joint operation centers to coordinate with the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces.

Those troops were equipped for combat, right because they need to be in a position where they can defend themselves. But ultimately their mission and their role will not be to engage in combat directly with the enemy. That will be the responsibility of the Iraqi security forces. It is the president's view that the United States military should not be American people should not be in a position where we are providing security for the Iraqi people. The Iraqi people, the Iraqi military and the Iraqi government need to step up and take responsibility for their nation's security.

COOPER: They need to but their capabilities are under question at best. I mean, as we've seen, on the battlefield, their general corps that was put in by Maliki basically is incompetent in most cases.

The soldiers have not been able to actually fight or retake territory certainly in any Sunni-controlled areas, and probably the most efficient fighters they have right now are the Shia militias.

Are you seeing a scenario or under what scenario do you see the Iraqi security forces or the military actually being capable of engaging in combat successfully.

And how is that suddenly going to change given all the money and training we've already given them. And they have been inept. How in the next few months will it change and they can actually work on the battlefield?

EARNEST: Well, Anderson, there is something really important that's changed, which is that there is a new government in Iraq, the previous government under Prime Minister Maliki had divided that country.

That Prime Minister Maliki governed that country in a way that exposed the sectarian divisions that were prevalent in that country. The new government took office, took power, in a way that sort of reflected the diversity of the nation of Iraq.

COOPER: As you know, though, Iraqi security forces, I mean, they have been decimated by the politicalization of their officer corps. And a lot of those generals didn't even have military experience. They were appointed for political reasons.

Are you telling me reforming the entire Iraqi military is going to change just because they have a new president or new prime minister?

EARNEST: No, what I'm saying, Anderson, is those who are serving in the Iraqi security forces can now be confident that they're actually fighting for a central government that reflects the interests of the whole country.

COOPER: I certainly hope the Sunnis would share your enthusiasm for this new government. Will the U.S. military personnel or intelligence personnel be reaching out to Sunnis, to Sunni groups just as we did to advent the Sunni awakening in 2006 and 2007?

Will we try to make direct contact or will are we going to be solely relying on this new government, which you clearly seem to believe has a desire to reach out?

EARNEST: Well, we have seen positive indications from the new central government in their commitment to unifying that country -- COOPER: Will the U.S. military personnel reach out?

EARNEST: I do anticipate that will be part of the responsibility of American personnel in Iraq. More importantly, Anderson, know that there are other governments in the region, Sunni-led governments in the region that do have a stake in the region.

That ISIL, this extremist organization that is wreaking havoc and perpetrating terrible acts of violence on the doorstep of these other Sunni-led governments. So it is in the interest of these other Sunni- led government in the region to counter this threat.

COOPER: I know I got let you, but will U.S. military personnel be working with the Shiite militias?

EARNEST: Well, I'm confident that what we'll see -- I mean, let me say it this way, Anderson, we have been clear that the United States will not coordinate our military activities with Iran. What we will do, though, is we're going to work very closely with Iraqi security forces and Kurdish security forces.

COOPER: But as you know, Shiite militias, I mean, are the ones defending Baghdad. They are much now with the Iraqi security forces.

EARNEST: And what the Iraqi security forces are doing is they're working with some militias. The United States and our coalition partners will be working closely with the Iraqi and Kurdish security forces to make sure that we're coordinating the effort to take the fight to ISIL on the ground.

That will be the responsibility of Iraqi security forces and they will be backed up where appropriate by the use of American and allied air power. And I do think that will make them more effective on the battlefield.

COOPER: So we don't have a direct policy. There is no way that U.S. personnel will be directly advising Shia militias?

EARNEST: The responsibility of the American military when they are on the ground in Iraq will be to work closely with Iraq security forces to advise and assist them as they take the fight to ISIL on the ground in Iraq.

COOPER: All right, as you know, it is a complicated situation on the ground. Josh Earnest, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

EARNEST: Thank you, Anderson.


COOPER: Again, we should point out Shia militias are working hand and glove with Iraqi security forces on the ground there.

Up next, the hunt for an alleged cop killer who maybe hunting for more targets. Today, authorities releasing new details about who this guy is. The manhunt that is going on right now. He is a cold war role player and how they say he is now bringing that role to deadly life.

Right now, as I said this manhunt is under way. We'll have the latest on that ahead.


COOPER: Welcome back. A troubling story right now, a manhunt is on, authorities say he is out there somewhere tonight armed with a rifle, an AK-47, and a vicious hatred of police according to authorities in North Eastern Pennsylvania.

They say he ambushed and shot these two state police officers late Friday night, killing Corporal Brian Dickson and wounding Trooper Alex Douglass. The guy's name is Eric Frein. He is 31 years old. This is a picture of him.

He is on the run, dangerous, thought by police to be bent on killing again. That's not all they are saying about him. Tonight, we have new details from Jason Carroll.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pennsylvania State Police are piecing together a profile of a man they're calling a killer, 31-year-old Eric Frein.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This fellow is extremely dangerous.

CARROLL: Pennsylvania Police Commissioner Frank Noonan describes him as a man with a mean streak, who had separatist leanings, a love for guns and a hatred of law enforcement.

COMM. FRANK NOONAN, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: His head is shaved very closely on the sides and with long hair on top. It's wider than a Mohawk. He was last seen with no facial hair and was wearing a brown and gold windbreaker, khaki shorts and sneakers carrying a dark green backpack.

CARROLL: They also had determined Frein belongs to a military simulation group known as an airsoft gun team. This particular group re-enacted the role of Eastern European soldiers during the cold war and simulated combat.

LT. COL. GEORGE BIVENS, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: In his current frame of mind, Frein now appears to have assumed that role in real life.

CARROLL: Investigators also say Frein was socially withdrawn and had made angry statements about police to people he knew.

NOONAN: That is one of the real focal points of our investigation is, why now, why Blooming Grove -- we really don't know. But we're talking to everybody that we can find that might have any information concerning that.

CARROLL: Investigators spent much of the day not only searching for Frein, but also interviewing his neighbors, his friends and family.

(on camera): Investigators continued to come in and out of the Frein home. Also right outside here you can see there is a state patrol car keeping guard, as well. The suspect lived here with his parents. The suspect's father telling investigators that two weapons are missing from the house, an AK-47 and a rifle.

(voice-over): Investigators found a book in Frein's bedroom titled "Sniper Training and Employment." His father, an Army veteran told police he trained his son to shoot and that he does not miss.

These pictures from Frein's high school year book from his senior year, showing him on the school's rifle team. His quote, "I feel that we could have done a lot better in matches this year if it wasn't for the fact that in anticipation for the rifle team being cancelled."

Frein's love of guns and the military continued into adulthood. He is well known for walking around the small community of Canadensis in full military uniform.

ELAINE, FAMILY FRIEND: He was a very serious young man. He always wore green. I always thought he was in the service.

CARROLL: Elaine did not want to give her last name. She runs a gardening store in town and says she has known the family for ten years.

ELAINE: I was devastated and it didn't surprise me, I guess.

CARROLL (on camera): Why didn't it surprise you?

ELAINE: I guess, because my children are so outgoing. You know what I mean? When my kids meet you, hello, how are you? They shake your hand. They're very outgoing. This young man was not and I do think -- but the mother is very sweet. I don't know the father.

CARROLL: And when you say he wasn't outgoing, was he withdrawn?

ELAINE: I think he was very quiet and he did not speak when he came in.

CARROLL: Now, a town on edge as police continue their manhunt.


COOPER: And Jason Carroll joins us now from the search zone. Did this guy have any run-ins with the law that have caused a grudge against law enforcement or something? Do we know?

CARROLL: Well, he did, and in fact, it was just about several years ago, he was arrested for possession of stolen property that happened in New York, in New York State. And investigators are theorizing that perhaps, Anderson, just perhaps, that may have been the beginning of him mistrusting law enforcement.

So these are some of the things that they're piecing together as they put together their investigation, but make no mistake about this. The real focus of what is going on out here, out here in these dark woods behind me is to try to find this man before he hurt somebody else.

COOPER: Yes, let's hope they do. Jason, thanks.

Digging deeper now in the story, it seems as strange as it is scary with law enforcement and former FBI deputy director, Tom Fuentes. If this guy is acting in some kind of military simulation role as police believe he is, it certainly would make one think he may be looking to engage in combat or engage with officers searching for him.

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, that would be the possibility, Anderson, that this was just the beginning. He ambushed those two officers using the .308 sniper rifle that he used, a hunting rifle, he is able to kill officers or anyone else from hundreds of yards away.

Firing a large supersonic bullet that the victim actually gets hit with the bullet before the sound even gets there. So he could have shot these two officers before they ever knew what hit them, wounding one, killing the other. So that is a very dangerous weapon.

The AK-47, obviously, you know, if he is doing Cold War re-enactments. The Calishnakov weapon developed in the Soviet Union during the Cold War was the weapon of choice by the Soviet Union.

Now world's famous as the weapon of choice of terrorists everywhere. So if that gun is either a semiautomatic or maybe he converted it back to being a fully automatic weapon. That is dangerous.

So we don't know how much ammunition. How many magazines he has, what capacity he has for the sustained gun battle. But just the fact he can kill from a long way off makes him very, very dangerous.

COOPER: And the state police in Pennsylvania were speaking directly to this guy during the press conference. They made it very clear they're coming for him, which sounds like it could be exactly what he wants.

FUENTES: It could be. It could be that he is lining this up to have the Armageddon gun battle with law enforcement that he is looking for. And you know, the FBI had a case in 2010 involving the militia who wanted to kill a police officer.

And then ambushed hundreds of officers when they attended the police funeral parade. That is going to happen tomorrow. So maybe he will come out of the woodwork shooting. We don't know.

COOPER: You don't know -- I mean, in a case like this and you have a heavily wooded area. Police have to search everywhere and then do they have to maintain troopers in that area so that the suspect doesn't potentially move back into an area they have already searched?

FUENTES: Right. They absolutely do. The big concern here is that he would commit a home invasion to seek shelter and food and water.

COOPER: Like Chris Dorner did --

FUENTES: Very much like Dorner, and I thought of Dorner immediately when they talked about finding his abandoned vehicle because that is what Dorner did. The authorities during that case were speculating that Dorner had fled.

He could be a long way off. He maybe in Mexico and all that time he was within a few yards of the original where he abandoned. So he is dangerous. He could be right there under their nose right there in the woods in Pennsylvania.

COOPER: We'll continue to follow it. Tom Fuentes, appreciate you being on.

Just ahead tonight in this hour, new questions about whether the clinic where Joan Rivers suffered fatal complications should still be open for business. We have exclusive new details about who ordered the clinic's to suspend all procedures.


COOPER: Tonight we are digging deeper on the clinic where Joan Rivers suffered fatal complications during what was supposed to be a routine procedure on her throat.

Her death, another focus of multiple investigation. Last night, we reported what a source close to one of those investigations told CNN's Susan Candiotti that Rivers stopped breathing and suffered cardiac arrest.

As her personal doctor who was not certified to work at that specific clinic began performing a biopsy on her vocal chords, a biopsy that was done without Rivers' prior consent.

This source also said that doctor took a selfie in the procedure room while Rivers was under anesthesia. Tonight, Susan has more to report and new questions about whether the clinic should even be open for business.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the Yorkville Endoscopy Clinic, it appears to be business as usual pending the outcome of the state investigation following the death of Joan Rivers.

But the clinic's accrediting agency has been for two weeks been calling Yorkville to suspend procedures and surgeries immediately. It is the non-profit American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities.

Yorkville and more than 2,000 other medical facilities pay the group for inspections to assure the public of quality care. In some states, accreditation is the same as being licensed.

ANDREW SMILEY, MEDICAL MALPRACTICE ATTORNEY: It shows you're a member of the club in good standing and you're recognized to be good at what you do.

CANDIOTTI: CNN has exclusively obtained letters written by the accreditation group to the clinic. And we've learned to the federal agency that governs Medicare payments stating Yorkville is in quote, "immediate jeopardy putting it on emergency suspension."

Adding it must stop procedures and surgery until the accreditation questions are settled. One letter was written to Dr. Lawrence Cohen who CNN has learned performed the endoscopy on rivers.

According to the letters, the agency jumped in on its own when it heard about Rivers' cardiac arrest at the clinic. Accreditors made an unscheduled visit to Yorkville and cited two so-called deficiencies.

Both an expert tells us involved possible uncertified, uncredited staff, doctors and unauthorized procedures at the clinic.

(on camera): The same allegations, CNN has been told, that state investigators have been looking into including Rivers' personal doctor not certified by the clinic who was asked to begin an unauthorized vocal chords biopsy.

(voice-over): If Rivers did not consent at all?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is malpractice. You're not allowed as a physician to operate on a patient without consent to perform that operation.

CANDIOTTI: That is because of one penalty of even temporarily losing accreditation could mean losing all Medicare reimbursements according to an expert. Yet, with activity Wednesday inside and out of the facility on New York's affluent Upper East Side, there was no sign of an emergency suspension.

How can that be? Medical malpractice attorney, Andrew Smiley.

(on camera): It appears to be open. It appears they are seeing patients. What are we to make of that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What I would make of it is that they're not too worried about Medicare. They're on the Upper East Side and probably have a lot of private paying wealthy patients who don't want to deal with hospitals.

CANDIOTTI: The fact is, New York licenses Yorkville Clinic, not the accreditation association. So far neither the clinic nor any doctors have been accused of wrongdoing.


COOPER: And Susan Candiotti joins us now. You've got a statement now from the clinic?

CANDIOTTI: We did. And it says that they continued to maintain all the federal, state accreditation and that they're fully authorized to take care of their patients as that statement reads and they will continue to do so. And they're committed to adhering to the standards of the accreditation agency.

But we couldn't ask any more questions to try to clarify did something change between the time that you received these letters two weeks ago and now? Because we can't get any more information.

What is interesting, though, is that we checked back with the accreditation agency that sent the letters today. And they said we can't comment to you because of our ongoing investigation of the clinic. So we'll try to clear it up, of course, and get back to you to explain what is going on.

COOPER: All right, Susan, thanks very much. Our live coverage continues into the next hour, another edition of AC360 starting in just a few minutes from now.

Just ahead, more on tonight's arrest of another NFL running back, this time, Jonathan Dwyer, facing domestic violence charges and his team has deactivated him.